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Title: Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)
Author: Jean Froissart, Thomas Malory, Raphael Holinshed
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)" ***

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[Illustration: _The Battle of Poitiers
from the painting by H. Dupray
(See page 52)_]











The Campaign of Crecy
The Battle of Poitiers
Wat Tyler's Rebellion
The Battle of Otterburn




    I. Of Degrees of People
   II. Of Cities and Towns
  III. Of Gardens and Orchards
   IV. Of Fairs and Markets
    V. Of the Church of England
   VI. Of Food and Diet
  VII. Of Apparel and Attire
 VIII. Of Building and Furniture
   IX. Of Provision for the Poor
    X. Of Air, Soil, and Commodities
   XI. Of Minerals and Metals
  XII. Of Cattle Kept for Profit
 XIII. Of Wild and Tame Fowls
  XIV. Of Savage Beasts and Vermin
   XV. Of Our English Dogs
  XVI. Of the Navy of England
 XVII. Of Kinds of Punishment
XVIII. Of Universities






Jean Froissart, _the most representative of the chroniclers of the
later Middle Ages, was born at Valenciennes in 1337. The Chronicle
which, more than his poetry, has kept his fame alive, was undertaken
when he was only twenty; the first book was written in its earliest
form by 1369; and he kept revising and enlarging the work to the end
of his life. In 1361 he went to England, entered the Church, and
attached himself to Queen Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward
III, who made him her secretary and clerk of her chapel. Much of his
life was spent in travel. He went to France with the Black Prince, and
to Italy with the Duke of Clarence. He saw fighting on the Scottish
border, visited Holland, Savoy, and Provence, returning at intervals
to Paris and London. He was Vicar of Estinnes-au-Mont, Canon of
Chimay, and chaplain to the Comte de Blois; but the Church to him was
rather a source of revenue than a religious calling. He finally
settled down in his native town, where he died about 1410.

Froissart's wandering life points to one of the most prominent of his
characteristics as a historian. Uncritical and often inconsistent
as he is, his mistakes are not due to partisanship, for he is
extraordinarily cosmopolitan. The Germans he dislikes as unchivalrous;
but though his life lay in the period of the Hundred Years' War
between England and France, and though he describes many of the events
of that war, he is as friendly to England as to France.

By birth Froissart belonged to the bourgeoisie, but his tastes and
associations made him an aristocrat. Glimpses of the sufferings which
the lower classes underwent in the wars of his time appear in his
pages, but they are given incidentally and without sympathy. His
interests are all in the somewhat degenerate chivalry of his age, in
the splendor of courts, the pomp and circumstance of war, in tourneys,
and in pageantry. Full of the love of adventure, he would travel
across half of Europe to see a gallant feat of arms, a coronation, a
royal marriage. Strength and courage and loyalty were the virtues he
loved; cowardice and petty greed he hated. Cruelty and injustice could
not dim for him the brilliance of the careers of those brigand lords
who were his friends and patrons.

The material for the earlier part of his Chronicles he took largely
from his predecessor and model, Jean Lebel; the later books are filled
with narratives of what he saw with his own eyes, or gathered from the
lips of men who had themselves been part of what they told. This fact,
along with his mastery of a style which is always vivacious if
sometimes diffuse, accounts for the vividness and picturesqueness of
his work. The pageant of medieval life in court and camp dazzled and
delighted him, and it is as a pageant that we see the Middle Ages in
his book.

Froissart holds a distinguished place among the poets as well as the
historians of his century. He wrote chiefly in the allegorical style
then in vogue; and his poems, though cast in a mold no longer in
fashion, are fresh and full of color, and were found worthy of
imitation by Geoffrey Chaucer.

But it is as the supreme chronicler of the later age of chivalry that
he lives. "God has been gracious enough" he writes, "to permit me to
visit the courts and palaces of kings, ... and all the nobles, kings,
dukes, counts, barons, and knights, belonging to all nations, have
been kind to me, have listened to me, willingly received me, and
proved very useful to me.... Wherever I went I enquired of old knights
and squires who had shared in deeds of arms, and could speak with
authority concerning them, and also spoke with heralds in order to
verify and corroborate all that was told me. In this way I gathered
noble facts for my history, and as long as I live, I shall, by the
grace of God, continue to do this, for the more I labour at this the
more pleasure I have, and I trust that the gentle knight who loves
arms will be nourished on such noble fare, and accomplish still more."_



The king of England, who had heard how his men were sore constrained
in the castle of Aiguillon, then he thought to go over the sea into
Gascoyne with a great army. There he made his provision and sent for
men all about his realm and in other places, where he thought to speed
for his money. In the same season the lord Godfrey of Harcourt came
into England, who was banished out of France: he was well received
with the king and retained to be about him, and had fair lands
assigned him in England to maintain his degree. Then the king caused a
great navy of ships to be ready in the haven of Hampton, and caused
all manner of men of war to draw thither. About the feast of Saint
John Baptist the year of our Lord God MCCCXLVI., the king departed
from the queen and left her in the guiding of the earl of Kent his
cousin; and he stablished the lord Percy and the lord Nevill to be
wardens of his realm with (the archbishop of Canterbury,) the
archbishop of York, the bishop of Lincoln and the bishop of Durham;
for he never voided his realm but that he left ever enough at home to
keep and defend the realm, if need were. Then the king rode to Hampton
and there tarried for wind: then he entered into his ship and the
prince of Wales with him, and the lord Godfrey of Harcourt, and all
other lords, earls, barons and knights, with all their companies. They
were in number a four thousand men of arms and ten thousand archers,
beside Irishmen and Welshmen that followed the host afoot.

Now I shall name you certain of the lords that went over with king
Edward in that journey. First, Edward his eldest son, prince of Wales,
who as then was of the age of thirteen years or thereabout,[1] the
earls of Hereford, Northampton, Arundel, Cornwall, Warwick,
Huntingdon, Suffolk, and Oxford; and of barons the lord Mortimer, who
was after earl of March, the lords John, Louis and Roger of Beauchamp,
and the lord Raynold Cobham; of lords the lord of Mowbray, Ros, Lucy,
Felton, Bradestan, Multon, Delaware, Manne,[2] Basset, Berkeley, and
Willoughby, with divers other lords; and of bachelors there was John
Chandos, Fitz-Warin, Peter and James Audley, Roger of Wetenhale,
Bartholomew of Burghersh, and Richard of Pembridge, with divers other
that I cannot name. Few there were of strangers: there was the earl
Hainault,[3] sir Wulfart of Ghistelles, and five or six other knights
of Almaine, and many other that I cannot name.

      [1] He was in fact sixteen; born 15th June 1330.

      [2] Probably 'Mohun'.

      [3] The usual confusion between 'comté' and 'comte.' It means,
      'of the county of Hainault there was sir Wulfart of Ghistelles,'

Thus they sailed forth that day in the name of God. They were well
onward on their way toward Gascoyne, but on the third day there rose a
contrary wind and drave them on the marches of Cornwall, and there
they lay at anchor six days. In that space the king had other counsel
by the means of sir Godfrey Harcourt: he counselled the king not to go
into Gascoyne, but rather to set aland in Normandy, and said to the
king: 'Sir, the country of Normandy is one of the plenteous countries
of the world: sir, on jeopardy of my head, if ye will land there,
there is none that shall resist you; the people of Normandy have not
been used to the war, and all the knights and squires of the country
are now at the siege before Aiguillon with the duke. And, sir, there
ye shall find great towns that be not walled, whereby your men shall
have such winning, that they shall be the better thereby twenty year
after; and, sir, ye may follow with your army till ye come to Caen in
Normandy: sir, I require you to believe me in this voyage,'

The king, who was as then but in the flower of his youth, desiring
nothing so much as to have deeds of arms, inclined greatly to the
saying of the lord Harcourt, whom he called cousin. Then he commanded
the mariners to set their course to Normandy, and he took into his
ship the token of the admiral the earl of Warwick, and said now he
would be admiral for that viage, and so sailed on before as governour
of that navy, and they had wind at will. Then the king arrived in the
isle of Cotentin, at a port called Hogue Saint-Vaast.[4]

      [4] Saint-Vaast-de la Hogue.

Tidings anon spread abroad how the Englishmen were aland: the towns of
Cotentin sent word thereof to Paris to king Philip. He had well heard
before how the king of England was on the sea with a great army, but
he wist not what way he would draw, other into Normandy, Bretayne or
Gascoyne. As soon as he knew that the king of England was aland in
Normandy, he sent his constable the earl of Guines, and the earl of
Tancarville, who were but newly come to him from his son from the
siege at Alguillon, to the town of Caen, commanding them to keep that
town against the Englishmen. They said they would do their best: they
departed from Paris with a good number of men of war, and daily there
came more to them by the way, and so came to the town of Caen, where
they were received with great joy of men of the town and of the
country thereabout, that were drawn thither for surety. These lords
took heed for the provision of the town, the which as then was not
walled. The king thus was arrived at the port Hogue Saint-Vaast near
to Saint-Saviour the Viscount[5] the right heritage to the lord
Godfrey of Harcourt, who as then was there with the king of England.

      [5] Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte.


When the king of England arrived in the Hogue Saint-Vaast, the king
issued out of his ship, and the first foot that he set on the ground,
he fell so rudely, that the blood brast out of his nose. The knights
that were about him took him up and said: 'Sir, for God's sake enter
again into your ship, and come not aland this day, for this is but an
evil sign for us.' Then the king answered quickly and said:
'Wherefore? This is a good token for me, for the land desireth to have
me.' Of the which answer all his men were right joyful. So that day
and night the king lodged on the sands, and in the meantime discharged
the ships of their horses and other baggages: there the king made two
marshals of his host, the one the lord Godfrey of Harcourt and the
other the earl of Warwick, and the earl of Arundel constable. And he
ordained that the earl of Huntingdon should keep the fleet of ships
with a hundred men of arms and four hundred archers: and also he
ordained three battles, one to go on his right hand, closing to the
sea-side, and the other on his left hand, and the king himself in the
midst, and every night to lodge all in one field.

Thus they set forth as they were ordained, and they that went by the
sea took all the ships that they found in their ways: and so long they
went forth, what by sea and what by land, that they came to a good
port and to a good town called Barfleur, the which incontinent was
won, for they within gave up for fear of death. Howbeit, for all that,
the town was robbed, and much gold and silver there found, and rich
jewels: there was found so much riches, that the boys and villains of
the host set nothing by good furred gowns: they made all the men of
the town to issue out and to go into the ships, because they would not
suffer them to be behind them for fear of rebelling again. After the
town of Barfleur was thus taken and robbed without brenning, then they
spread abroad in the country and did what they list, for there was not
to resist them. At last they came to a great and a rich town called
Cherbourg: the town they won and robbed it, and brent part thereof,
but into the castle they could not come, it was so strong and well
furnished with men of war. Then they passed forth and came to
Montebourg, and took it and robbed and brent it clean. In this manner
they brent many other towns in that country and won so much riches,
that it was marvel to reckon it. Then they came to a great town well
closed called Carentan, where there was also a strong castle and many
soldiers within to keep it. Then the lords came out of their ships and
fiercely made assault: the burgesses of the town were in great fear of
their lives, wives and children: they suffered the Englishmen to enter
into the town against the will of all the soldiers that were there;
they put all their goods to the Englishmen's pleasures, they thought
that most advantage. When the soldiers within saw that, they went into
the castle: the Englishmen went into the town, and two days together
they made sore assaults, so that when they within saw no succour, they
yielded up, their lives and goods saved, and so departed. The
Englishmen had their pleasure of that good town and castle, and when
they saw they might not maintain to keep it, they set fire therein and
brent it, and made the burgesses of the town to enter into their
ships, as they had done with them of Barfleur, Cherbourg and
Montebourg, and of other towns that they had won on the sea-side. All
this was done by the battle that went by the sea-side, and by them on
the sea together.[1]

      [1] Froissart is mistaken in supposing that a division of the
      land army went to these towns. Barfleur and Cherbourg were
      visited only by the fleet. According to Michael of Northburgh,
      who accompanied the expedition, Edward disembarked 12th July
      and remained at Saint Vaast till the 18th, and meanwhile the
      fleet went to Barfleur and Cherbourg. The army arrived at Caen
      on the 26th.

Now let us speak of the king's battle. When he had sent his first
battle along by the sea-side, as ye have heard, whereof one of his
marshals, the earl of Warwick, was captain, and the lord Cobham with
him, then he made his other marshal to lead his host on his left hand,
for he knew the issues and entries of Normandy better than any other
did there. The lord Godfrey as marshal rode forth with five hundred
men of arms, and rode off from the king's battle as six or seven
leagues, in brenning and exiling the country, the which was plentiful
of everything--the granges full of corn, the houses full of all
riches, rich burgesses, carts and chariots, horse, swine, muttons and
other beasts: they took what them list and brought into the king's
host; but the soldiers made no count to the king nor to none of his
officers of the gold and silver that they did get; they kept that to
themselves. Thus sir Godfrey of Harcourt rode every day off from the
king's host, and for most part every night resorted to the king's
field. The king took his way to Saint-Lo in Cotentin, but or he came
there he lodged by a river, abiding for his men that rode along by the
sea-side; and when they were come, they set forth their carriage, and
the earl of Warwick, the earl of Suffolk, sir Thomas Holland and sir
Raynold Cobham, and their company rode out on the one side and wasted
and exiled the country, as the lord Harcourt had done; and the king
ever rode between these battles, and every night they lodged together.


Thus by the Englishmen was brent, exiled, robbed, wasted and pilled
the good, plentiful country of Normandy. Then the French king sent for
the lord John of Hainault, who came to him with a great number: also
the king sent for other men of arms, dukes, earls, barons, knights and
squires, and assembled together the greatest number of people that had
been seen in France a hundred year before. He sent for men into so far
countries, that it was long or they came together, wherefore the king
of England did what him list in the mean season. The French king heard
well what he did, and sware and said how they should siever return
again unfought withal, and that such hurts and damages as they had
done should be dearly revenged; wherefore he had sent letters to his
friends in the Empire, to such as were farthest off, and also to the
gentle king of Bohemia and to the lord Charles his son, who from
thenceforth was called king of Almaine; he was made king by the aid of
his father and the French king, and had taken on him the arms of the
Empire: the French king desired them to come to him with all their
powers, to the intent to fight with the king o£ England, who brent and
wasted his country. These princes and lords made them ready with great
number of men o£ arms, of Almains, Bohemians and Luxemburgers, and so
came to the French king. Also king Philip sent to the duke of
Lorraine, who came to serve him with three hundred spears: also there
came the earl (of) Salm in Saumois, the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl
of Flanders, the earl William of Namur, every man with a fair company.

Ye have heard herebefore of the order of the Englishmen, how they went
in three battles, the marshals on the right hand and on the left, the
king and the prince of Wales his son in the midst They rode but small
journeys and every day took their lodgings between noon and three of
the clock, and found the country so fruitful, that they needed not to
make no provision for their host, but all only for wine; and yet they
found reasonably sufficient thereof.[1] It was no marvel though they
of the country were afraid, for before that time they had never seen
men of war, nor they wist not what war or battle meant. They fled away
as far as they might hear speaking of the Englishmen,[2] and left
their houses well stuffed, and granges full of corn, they wist not how
to save and keep it. The king of England and the prince had in their
battle a three thousand men of arms and six thousand archers and a ten
thousand men afoot, beside them that rode with the marshals.

      [1] Or rather, 'thus they found reasonably sufficient provisions.'

      [2] That is, they fled as soon as they heard their coming spoken

Thus as ye have heard, the king rode forth, wasting and brenning the
country without breaking of his order. He left the city of
Coutances[3] and went to a great town called Saint-Lo, a rich town of
drapery and many rich burgesses. In that town there were dwelling an
eight or nine score burgesses, crafty men. When the king came there,
he took his lodging without, for he would never lodge in the town for
fear of fire: but he sent his men before and anon the town was taken
and clean robbed. It was hard to think the great riches that there was
won, in clothes specially; cloth would there have been sold good
cheap, if there had been any buyers.

      [3] That is, he did not turn aside to go to it. Froissart
      says, 'He did not turn aside to the city of Coutances, but went
      on toward the great town of Saint-Lo in Cotentin, which at that
      time was very rich and of great merchandise and three times as
      great as the city of Coutances.' Michael of Northburgh says that
      Barfleur was about equal in importance to Sandwich and Carentan
      to Leicester, Saint-Lo greater than Lincoln, and Caen greater
      than any city in England except London.

Then the king went toward Caen, the which was a greater town and full
of drapery and other merchandise, and rich burgesses, noble ladies and
damosels, and fair churches, and specially two great and rich abbeys,
one of the Trinity, another of Saint Stephen; and on the one side of
the town one of the fairest castles of all Normandy, and captain
therein was Robert of Wargny, with three hundred Genoways, and in the
town was the earl of Eu and of Guines, constable of France, and the
earl of Tancarville, with a good number of men of war. The king of
England rode that day in good order and lodged all his battles
together that night, a two leagues from Caen, in a town with a little
haven called Austrehem, and thither came also all his navy of ships
with the earl of Huntingdon, who was governour of them.

The constable and other lords of France that night watched well the
town of Caen, and in the morning armed them with all them of the town:
then the constable ordained that none should issue out, but keep their
defences on the walls, gate, bridge and river, and left the suburbs
void, because they were not closed; for they thought they should have
enough to do to defend the town, because it was not closed but with
the river. They of the town said how they would issue out, for they
were strong enough to fight with the king of England. When the
constable saw their good wills, he said: 'In the name of God be it, ye
shall not fight without me,' Then they issued out in good order and
made good face to fight and to defend them and to put their lives in


The same day the Englishmen rose early and apparelled them ready to go
to Caen.[1] The king heard mass before the sun-rising and then took
his horse, and the prince his son, with sir Godfrey of Harcourt
marshal and leader of the host, whose counsel the king much followed.
Then they drew toward Caen with their battles in good array, and so
approached the good town of Caen. When they of the town, who were
ready in the field, saw these three battles coming in good order, with
their banners and standards waving in the wind, and the archers, the
which they had not been accustomed to see, they were sore afraid and
fled away toward the town without any order or good array, for all
that the constable could do: then the Englishmen pursued them eagerly.
When the constable and the earl Tancarville saw that, they took a gate
at the entry and saved themselves[2] and certain with them, for the
Englishmen were entered into the town. Some of the knights and squires
of France, such as knew the way to the castle, went thither, and the
captain there received them all, for the castle was large. The
Englishmen in the chase slew many, for they took none to mercy.

      [1] This was 26th July. Edward arrived at Poissy on 12th August.
      Philip of Valois left Paris on the 14th, the English crossed the
      Seine at Poissy on the 16th, and the Somme at Blanche-taque on
      the 24th.

      [2] 'Set themselves for safety in a gate at the entry of the

Then the constable and the earl of Tancarville, being in the little
tower at the bridge foot, looked along the street and saw their men
slain without mercy: they doubted to fall in their hands. At last they
saw an English knight with one eye called sir Thomas Holland, and a
five or six other knights with him: they knew them, for they had seen
them before in Pruce, in Granade, and in other viages. Then they
called to sir Thomas and said how they would yield themselves
prisoners. Then sir Thomas came thither with his company and mounted
up into the gate, and there found the said lords with twenty-five
knights with them, who yielded them to sir Thomas, and he took them
for his prisoners and left company to keep them, and then mounted
again on his horse and rode into the streets, and saved many lives of
ladies, damosels, and cloisterers from defoiling, for the soldiers
were without mercy. It fell so well the same season for the
Englishmen, that the river, which was able to bear ships, at that time
was so low, that men went in and out beside the bridge. They of the
town were entered into their houses, and cast down into the street
stones, timber and iron, and slew and hurt more than five hundred
Englishmen, wherewith the king was sore displeased. At night when he
heard thereof, he commanded that the next day all should be put to the
sword and the town brent; but then sir Godfrey of Harcourt said: 'Dear
sir, for God's sake assuage somewhat your courage, and let it suffice
you that ye have done. Ye have yet a great voyage to do or ye come
before Calais, whither ye purpose to go; and, sir, in this town there
is much people who will defend their houses, and it will cost many of
your men their lives, or ye have all at your will; whereby
peradventure ye shall not keep your purpose to Calais, the which
should redound to your rack. Sir, save your people, for ye shall have
need of them or this month pass; for I think verily your adversary
king Philip will meet with you to fight, and ye shall find many
straight passages and rencounters; wherefore your men, an ye had more,
shall stand you in good stead: and, sir, without any further slaying
ye shall be lord of this town; men and women will put all that they
have to your pleasure.' Then the king said: 'Sir Godfrey, you are our
marshal, ordain everything as ye will.' Then sir Godfrey with his
banner rode from street to street, and commanded in the king's name
none to be so hardy to put fire in any house, to slay any person, nor
to violate any woman. When they of the town heard that cry, they
received the Englishmen into their houses and made them good cheer,
and some opened their coffers and bade them take what them list, so
they might be assured of their lives; howbeit there were done in the
town many evil deeds, murders and robberies. Thus the Englishmen were
lords of the town three days and won great riches, the which they sent
by barks and barges to Saint-Saviour by the river of Austrehem,[3] a
two leagues thence, whereas all their navy lay. Then the king sent the
earl of Huntingdon with two hundred men of arms and four hundred
archers, with his navy and prisoners and riches that they had got,
back again into England. And the king bought of sir Thomas Holland the
constable of France and the earl of Tancarville, and paid for them
twenty thousand nobles.

      [3] Froissart says that they sent their booty in barges and
      boats 'on the river as far as Austrehem, a two leagues from
      thence, where their great navy lay.' He makes no mention of
      Saint-Sauveur here. The river in question is the Orne, at the
      mouth of which Austrehem is situated.


Thus the king of England ordered his business, being in the town of
Caen, and sent into England his navy of ships charged with clothes,
jewels, vessels of gold and silver, and of other riches, and of
prisoners more than sixty knights and three hundred burgesses. Then he
departed from the town of Caen and rode in the same order as he did
before, brenning and exiling the country, and took the way to Evreux
and so passed by it; and from thence they rode to a great town called
Louviers: it was the chief town of all Normandy of drapery, riches,
and full of merchandise. The Englishmen soon entered therein, for as
then it was not closed; it was overrun, spoiled and robbed without
mercy: there was won great riches. Then they entered into the country
of Evreux and brent and pilled all the country except the good towns
closed and castles, to the which the king made none assault, because
of the sparing of his people and his artillery.

On the river of Seine near to Rouen there was the earl of Harcourt,
brother to sir Godfrey of Harcourt, but he was on the French party,
and the earl of Dreux with him, with a good number of men of war: but
the Englishmen left Rouen and went to Gisors, where was a strong
castle: they brent the town and then they brent Vernon and all the
country about Rouen and Pont-de-l'Arche and came to Mantes and to
Meulan, and wasted all the country about, and passed by the strong
castle of Rolleboise; and in every place along the river of Seine they
found the bridges broken. At last they came to Poissy, and found the
bridge broken, but the arches and joists lay in the river: the king
lay there a five days: in the mean season the bridge was made, to pass
the host without peril. The English marshals ran abroad just to Paris,
and brent Saint-Germain in Laye and Montjoie, and Saint-Cloud, and
petty Boulogne by Paris, and the Queen's Bourg:[1] they of Paris were
not well assured of themselves, for it was not as then closed.

      [1] Bourg-la-Reine.

Then king Philip removed to Saint-Denis, and or he went caused all the
pentices in Paris to be pulled down; and at Saint-Denis were ready
come the king of Bohemia, the lord John of Hainault, the duke of
Lorraine, the earl of Flanders, the earl of Blois, and many other
great lords and knights, ready to serve the French king. When the
people of Paris saw their king depart, they came to him and kneeled
down and said: 'Ah, sir and noble king, what will ye do? leave thus
this noble city of Paris?' The king said: 'My good people, doubt ye
not: the Englishmen will approach you no nearer than they be.' 'Why
so, sir?' quoth they; 'they be within these two leagues, and as soon
as they know of your departing, they will come and assail us; and we
not able to defend them: sir, tarry here still and help to defend your
good city of Paris.' 'Speak no more,' quoth the king, 'for I will go
to Saint-Denis to my men of war: for I will encounter the Englishmen
and fight against them, whatsoever fall thereof.'

The king of England was at Poissy, and lay in the nunnery there, and
kept there the feast of our Lady in August and sat in his robes of
scarlet furred with ermines; and after that feast he went forth in
order as they were before. The lord Godfrey of Harcourt rode out on
the one side with five hundred men of arms and thirteen[2] hundred
archers; and by adventure he encountered a great number of burgesses
of Amiens a-horseback, who were riding by the king's commandment to
Paris. They were quickly assailed and they defended themselves
valiantly, for they were a great number and well armed: there were
four knights of Amiens their captains. This skirmish dured long: at
the first meeting many were overthrown on both parts; but finally the
burgesses were taken and nigh all slain, and the Englishmen took all
their carriages and harness. They were well stuffed, for they were
going to the French king well appointed, because they had not seen him
a great season before. There were slain in the field a twelve hundred.

      [2] A better reading is 'twelve.'

Then the king of England entered into the country of Beauvoisis,
brenning and exiling the plain country, and lodged at a fair abbey and
a rich called Saint-Messien[3] near to Beauvais: there the king
tarried a night and in the morning departed. And when he was on his
way he looked behind him and saw the abbey a-fire: he caused
incontinent twenty of them to be hanged that set the fire there, for
he had commanded before on pain of death none to violate any church
nor to bren any abbey. Then the king passed by the city of Beauvais
without any assault giving, for because he would not trouble his
people nor waste his artillery. And so that day he took his lodging
betime in a little town called Milly. The two marshals came so near to
Beauvais, that they made assault and skirmish at the barriers in three
places, the which assault endured a long space; but the town within
was so well defended by the means of the bishop, who was there within,
that finally the Englishmen departed, and brent clean hard to the
gates all the suburbs, and then at night they came into the king's

      [3] Commonly called Saint-Lucien, but Saint Maximianus (Messien)
      is also associated with the place.

The next day the king departed, brenning and wasting all before him,
and at night lodged in a good village called Grandvilliers. The next
day the king passed by Dargies: there was none to defend the castle,
wherefore it was soon taken and brent. Then they went forth destroying
the country all about, and so came to the castle of Poix, where there
was a good town and two castles. There was nobody in them but two fair
damosels, daughters to the lord of Poix; they were soon taken, and had
been violated, an two English knights had not been, sir John Chandos
and sir Basset; they defended them and brought them to the king, who
for his honour made them good cheer and demanded of them whither they
would fainest go. They said, 'To Corbie,' and the king caused them to
be brought thither without peril. That night the king lodged in the
town of Poix. They of the town and of the castles spake that night
with the marshals of the host, to save them and their town from
brenning, and they to pay a certain sum of florins the next day as
soon as the host was departed. This was granted them, and in the
morning the king departed with all his host except a certain that were
left there to receive the money that they of the town had promised to
pay. When they of the town saw the host depart and but a few left
behind, then they said they would pay never a penny, and so ran out
and set on the Englishmen, who defended themselves as well as they
might and sent after the host for succour. When sir Raynold Cobham and
sir Thomas Holland, who had the rule of the rearguard, heard thereof,
they returned and cried, 'Treason, treason!' and so came again to
Poix-ward and found their companions still fighting with them of the
town. Then anon they of the town were nigh all slain, and the town
brent, and the two castles beaten down. Then they returned to the
king's host, who was as then at Airaines and there lodged, and had
commanded all manner of men on pain of death to do no hurt to no town
of Arsyn,[4] for there the king was minded to lie a day or two to take
advice how he might pass the river of Somme; for it was necessary for
him to pass the river, as ye shall hear after.

      [4] A mistranslation. The original is '(Il avoit) deffendu sus
      le hart que nuls ne fourfesist rien à le ville d'arsin ne d'autre
      cose,' 'he had commanded all on pain of hanging to do no hurt to
      the town by burning or otherwise.' The translator has taken
      'arsin' for a proper name.


Now let us speak of King Philip, who was at Sant-Denis and his people
about him, and daily increased. Then on a day he departed and rode so
long that he came to Coppegueule, a three leagues from Amiens, and
there he tarried. The king of England being at Airaines wist not where
for to pass the river of Somme, the which was large and deep, and all
bridges were broken and the passages well kept. Then at the king's
commandment his two marshals with a thousand men of arms and two
thousand archers went along the river to find some passage, and passed
by Longpré, and came to the bridge of Remy,[1] the which was well kept
with a great number of knights and squires and men of the country. The
Englishmen alighted afoot and assailed the Frenchmen from the morning
till it was noon; but the bridge was so well fortified and defended,
that the Englishmen departed without winning of anything. Then they
went to a great town called Fountains on the river of Somme, the which
was clean robbed and brent, for it was not closed. Then they went to
another town called Long-en-Ponthieu; they could not win the bridge,
it was so well kept and defended. Then they departed and went to
Picquigny, and found the town, the bridge, and the castle so well
fortified, that it was not likely to pass there: the French king had
so well defended the passages, to the intent that the king of England
should not pass the river of Somme, to fight with him at his advantage
or else to famish him there.

      [1] Pont-à-Remy, corrupted here into 'bridge of Athyne.'

When these two marshals had assayed in all places to find passage and
could find none, they returned again to the king, and shewed how they
could find no passage in no place. The same night the French king came
to Amiens with more than a hundred thousand men. The king of England
was right pensive, and the next morning heard mass before the
sun-rising and then dislodged; and every man followed the marshals'
banners and so rode in the country of Vimeu approaching to the good
town of Abbeville, and found a town thereby, whereunto was come much
people of the country in trust of a little defence that was there; but
the Englishmen anon won it; and all they that were within slain, and
many taken of the town and of the country. The king took his lodging
in a great hospital[2] that was there. The same day the French king
departed from Amiens and came to Airaines about noon; and the
Englishmen were departed thence in the morning. The Frenchmen found
there great provision that the Englishmen had left behind them,
because they departed in haste. There they found flesh ready on the
broaches, bread and pasties in the ovens, wine in tuns and barrels,
and the tables ready laid. There the French king lodged and tarried
for his lords.

      [2] That is, a house of the knights of Saint John.

That night the king of England was lodged at Olsemont. At night when
the two marshals were returned, who had that day overrun the country
to the gates of Abbeville and to Saint-Valery and made a great
skirmish there, then the king assembled together his council and made
to be brought before him certain prisoners of the country of Ponthieu
and of Vimeu. The king right courteously demanded of them, if there
were any among them that knew any passage beneath Abbeville, that he
and his host might pass over the river of Somme: if he would shew him
thereof, he should be quit of his ransom, and twenty of his company
for his love. There was a varlet called Gobin Agace who stepped forth
and said to the king: 'Sir, I promise you on the jeopardy of my head I
shall bring you to such a place, whereas ye and all your host shall
pass the river of Somme without peril. There be certain places in the
passage that ye shall pass twelve men afront two times between day and
night: ye shall not go in the water to the knees. But when the flood
cometh, the river then waxeth so great, that no man can pass; but when
the flood is gone, the which is two times between day and night, then
the river is so low, that it may be passed without danger both
a-horseback and afoot. The passage is hard in the bottom with white
stones, so that all your carriage may go surely; therefore the passage
is called Blanche-taque. An ye make ready to depart betimes, ye may be
there by the sun-rising.' The king said: 'If this be true that ye say,
I quit thee thy ransom and all thy company, and moreover shall give
thee a hundred nobles.' Then the king commanded every man to be ready
at the sound of the trumpet to depart.


The king of England slept not much that night, for at midnight he
arose and sowned his trumpet: then incontinent they made ready
carriages and all things, and at the breaking of the day they departed
from the town of Oisemont and rode after the guiding of Gobin Agace,
so that they came by the sun-rising to Blanche-taque; but as then the
flood was up, so that they might not pass: so the king tarried there
till it was prime; then the ebb came.

The French king had his currours in the country, who brought him word
of the demeanour of the Englishmen. Then he thought to close the king
of England between Abbeville and the river of Somme, and so to fight
with him at his pleasure. And when he was at Amiens he had ordained a
great baron of Normandy, called sir Godemar du Fay, to go and keep the
passage of Blanche-taque, where the Englishmen must pass or else in
none other place. He had with him a thousand men of arms and six
thousand afoot, with the Genoways: so they went by Saint-Riquier in
Ponthieu and from thence to Crotoy, whereas the passage lay; and also
he had with him a great number of men of the country, and also a great
number of them of Montreuil, so that they were a twelve thousand men
one and other.

When the English host was come thither, sir Godemar du Fay arranged
all his company to defend the passage. The king of England let not for
all that; but when the flood was gone, he commanded his marshals to
enter into the water in the name of God and Saint George. Then they
that were hardy and courageous entered on both parties, and many a man
reversed. There were some of the Frenchmen of Artois and Picardy that
were as glad to joust in the water as on the dry land.

The Frenchmen defended so well the passage at the issuing out of the
water, that they had much to do. The Genoways did them great trouble
with their cross-bows: on the other side the archers of England shot
so wholly together, that the Frenchmen were fain to give place to the
Englishmen. There was a sore battle, and many a noble feat of arms
done on both sides. Finally the Englishmen passed over and assembled
together in the field. The king and the prince passed, and all the
lords; then the Frenchmen kept none array, but departed, he that might
best. When sir Godemar saw that discomfiture, he fled and saved
himself: some fled to Abbeville and some to Saint-Riquiers. They that
were there afoot could not flee, so that there were slain a great
number of them of Abbeville, Montreuil, Rue and of Saint-Riquiers: the
chase endured more than a great league. And as yet all the Englishmen
were not passed the river, and certain currours of the king of Bohemia
and of sir John of Hainault came on them that were behind and took
certain horses and carriages and slew divers, or they could take the

The French king the same morning was departed from Airaines, trusting
to have found the Englishmen between him and the river of Somme: but
when he heard how that sir Godemar du Fay and his company were
discomfited, he tarried in the field and demanded of his marshals what
was best to do. They said, 'Sir, ye cannot pass the river but at the
bridge of Abbeville, for the flood is come in at Blanche-taque': then
he returned and lodged at Abbeville.

The king of England when he was past the river, he thanked God and so
rode forth in like manner as he did before. Then he called Gobin Agace
and did quit him his ransom and all his company, and gave him a
hundred nobles and a good horse. And so the king rode forth fair and
easily, and thought to have lodged in a great town called Noyelles;
but when he knew that the town pertained to the countess d'Aumale,
sister to the lord Robert of Artois,[1] the king assured the town and
country as much as pertained to her, and so went forth; and his
marshals rode to Crotoy on the sea-side and brent the town, and found
in the haven many ships and barks charged with wines of Poitou,
pertaining to the merchants of Saintonge and of Rochelle: they brought
the best thereof to the king's host. Then one of the marshals rode to
the gates of Abbeville and from thence to Saint-Riquiers, and after to
the town of Rue-Saint-Esprit. This was on a Friday, and both battles
of the marshals returned to the king's host about noon and so lodged
all together near to Cressy in Ponthieu.

      [1] She was in fact his daughter.

The king of England was well informed how the French king followed
after him to fight. Then he said to his company: 'Let us take here
some plot of ground, for we will go no farther till we have seen our
enemies. I have good cause here to abide them, for I am on the right
heritage of the queen my mother, the which land was given at her
marriage: I will challenge it of mine adversary Philip of Valois.' And
because that he had not the eighth part in number of men as the French
king had, therefore he commanded his marshals to chose a plot of
ground somewhat for his advantage: and so they did, and thither the
king and his host went. Then he sent his currours to Abbeville, to see
if the French king drew that day into the field or not. They went
forth and returned again, and said how they could see none appearance
of his coming: then every man took their lodging for that day, and to
be ready in the morning at the sound of the trumpet in the same place.
This Friday the French king tarried still in Abbeville abiding for his
company, and sent his two marshals to ride out to see the dealing of
the Englishmen, and at night they returned, and said how the
Englishmen were lodged in the fields. That night the French king made
a supper to all the chief lords that were there with him, and after
supper the king desired them to be friends each to other. The king
looked for the earl of Savoy, who should come to him with a thousand
spears, for he had received wages for a three months of them at Troyes
in Champagne.


On the Friday, as I said before, the king of England lay in the
fields, for the country was plentiful of wines and other victual, and
if need had been, they had provision following in carts and other
carriages. That night the king made a supper to all his chief lords of
his host and made them good cheer; and when they were all departed to
take their rest, then the king entered into his oratory and kneeled
down before the altar, praying God devoutly, that if he fought the
next day, that he might achieve the journey to his honour: then about
midnight he laid him down to rest, and in the morning he rose betimes
and heard mass, and the prince his son with him, and the most part of
his company were confessed and houselled; and after the mass said, he
commanded every man to be armed and to draw to the field to the same
place before appointed. Then the king caused a park to be made by the
wood side behind his host, and there was set all carts and carriages,
and within the park were all their horses, for every man was afoot;
and into this park there was but one entry. Then he ordained three
battles: in the first was the young prince of Wales, with him the earl
of Warwick and Oxford, the lord Godfrey of Harcourt, sir Raynold
Cobham, sir Thomas Holland, the lord Stafford, the lord of Mohun, the
lord Delaware, sir John Chandos, sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, sir
Robert Nevill, the lord Thomas Clifford, the lord Bourchier, the lord
de Latimer, and divers other knights and squires that I cannot name:
they were an eight hundred men of arms and two thousand archers, and a
thousand of other with the Welshmen: every lord drew to the field
appointed under his own banner and pennon. In the second battle was
the earl of Northampton, the earl of Arundel, the lord Ros, the lord
Lucy, the lord Willoughby, the lord Basset, the lord of Saint-Aubin,
sir Louis Tufton, the lord of Multon, the lord Lascelles and divers
other, about an eight hundred men of arms and twelve hundred archers.
The third battle had the king: he had seven hundred men of arms and
two thousand archers. Then the king leapt on a hobby,[1] with a white
rod in his hand, one of his marshals on the one hand and the other on
the other hand: he rode from rank to rank desiring every man to take
heed that day to his right and honour. He spake it so sweetly and with
so good countenance and merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited
took courage in the seeing and hearing of him. And when he had thus
visited all his battles, it was then nine of the day: then he caused
every man to eat and drink a little, and so they did at their leisure.
And afterward they ordered again their battles: then every man lay
down on the earth and by him his salet and bow, to be the more fresher
when their enemies should come.

      [1] 'Un petit palefroi.'


This Saturday the French king rose betimes and heard mass in Abbeville
in his lodging in the abbey of Saint Peter, and he departed after the
sun-rising. When he was out of the town two leagues, approaching
toward his enemies, some of his lords said to him: 'Sir, it were good
that ye ordered your battles, and let all your footmen pass somewhat
on before, that they be not troubled with the horsemen.' Then the king
sent four knights, the Moine (of) Bazeilles, the lord of Noyers, the
lord of Beaujeu and the lord d'Aubigny to ride to aview the English
host; and so they rode so near that they might well see part of their
dealing. The Englishmen saw them well and knew well how they were come
thither to aview them: they let them alone and made no countenance
toward them, and let them return as they came. And when the French
king saw these four knights return again, he tarried till they came to
him and said: 'Sirs, what tidings?' These four knights each of them
looked on other, for there was none would speak before his companion;
finally the king said to (the) Moine, who pertained to the king of
Bohemia and had done in his days so much, that he was reputed for one
of the valiantest knights of the world: 'Sir, speak you,' Then he
said: 'Sir, I shall speak, sith it pleaseth you, under the correction
of my fellows. Sir, we have ridden and seen the behaving of your
enemies: know ye for truth they are rested in three battles abiding
for you. Sir, I will counsel you as for my part, saving your
displeasure, that you and all your company rest here and lodge for
this night: for or they that be behind of your company be come hither,
and or your battles be set in good order, it will be very late, and
your people be weary and out of array, and ye shall find your enemies
fresh and ready to receive you. Early in the morning ye may order your
battles at more leisure and advise your enemies at more deliberation,
and to regard well what way ye will assail them; for, sir, surely they
will abide you.'

Then the king commanded that it should be so done. Then his two
marshals one rode before, another behind, saying to every banner:
'Tarry and abide here in the name of God and Saint Denis.' They that
were foremost tarried, but they that were behind would not tarry, but
rode forth, and said how they would in no wise abide till they were as
far forward as the foremost: and when they before saw them come on
behind, then they rode forward again, so that the king nor his
marshals could not rule them. So they rode without order or good
array, till they came in sight of their enemies: and as soon as the
foremost saw them, they reculed then aback without good array, whereof
they behind had marvel and were abashed, and thought that the foremost
company had been fighting. Then they might have had leisure and room
to have gone forward, if they had list: some went forth and some abode
still. The commons, of whom all the ways between Abbeville and Cressy
were full, when they saw that they were near to their enemies, they
took their swords and cried: 'Down with them! let us slay them all.'
There is no man, though he were present at the journey, that could
imagine or shew the truth of the evil order that was among the French
party, and yet they were a marvellous great number. That I write in
this book I learned it specially of the Englishmen, who well beheld
their dealing; and also certain knights of sir John of Hainault's, who
was always about king Philip, shewed me as they knew.


The Englishmen, who were in three battles lying on the ground to rest
them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen approach, they rose upon their
feet fair and easily without any haste and arranged their battles. The
first, which was the prince's battle, the archers there stood in
manner of a herse and the men of arms in the bottom of the battle. The
earl of Northampton and the earl of Arundel with the second battle
were on a wing in good order, ready to comfort the prince's battle, if
need were.

The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly together in
good order, for some came before and some came after in such haste and
evil order, that one of them did trouble another. When the French king
saw the Englishmen, his blood changed, and said to his marshals: 'Make
the Genoways go on before and begin the battle in the name of God and
Saint Denis.' There were of the Genoways cross-bows about a fifteen
thousand,[1] but they were so weary of going afoot that day a six
leagues armed with their cross-bows, that they said to their
constables: 'We be not well ordered to fight this day, for we be not
in the case to do any great deed of arms: we have more need of rest.'
These words came to the earl of Alengon, who said: 'A man is well at
ease to be charged with such a sort of rascals, to be faint and fail
now at most need.' Also the same season there fell a great rain and a
clipse[2] with a terrible thunder, and before the rain there came
flying over both battles a great number of crows for fear of the
tempest coming. Then anon the air began to wax clear, and the sun to
shine fair and bright, the which was right in the Frenchmen's eyen and
on the Englishmen's backs. When the Genoways were assembled together
and began to approach, they made a great leap[3] and cry to abash the
Englishmen, but they stood still and stirred not for all that: then
the Genoways again the second time made another leap and a fell cry,
and stept forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not one foot:
thirdly, again they leapt and cried, and went forth till they came
within shot; then they shot fiercely with their cross-bows. Then the
English archers stept forth one pace and let fly their arrows so
wholly (together) and so thick, that it seemed snow. When the Genoways
felt the arrows piercing through heads, arms and breasts, many of them
cast down their cross-bows and did cut their strings and returned
discomfited. When the French king saw them fly away, he said: 'Slay
these rascals, for they shall let and trouble us without reason.' Then
ye should have seen the men of arms dash in among them and killed a
great number of them: and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas they
saw thickest press; the sharp arrows ran into the men of arms and into
their horses, and many fell, horse and men, among the Genoways, and
when they were down, they could not relieve[4] again, the press was so
thick that one overthrew another. And also among the Englishmen there
were certain rascals that went afoot with great knives, and they went
in among the men of arms, and slew and murdered many as they lay on
the ground, both earls, barons, knights and squires, whereof the king
of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been taken

      [1] Villani, a very good authority on the subject, says 6000,
      brought from the ships at Harfleur.

      [2] A mistranslation of 'une esclistre,' 'a flash of lightning.'

      [3] These 'leaps' of the Genoese are invented by the translator,
      and have passed from him into several respectable English
      text-books, sometimes in company with the eclipse above
      mentioned. Froissart says 'Il commencièrent à juper moult
      epouvantablement'; that is, 'to utter cries.' Another text makes
      mention of the English cannons at this point: 'The English
      remained still and let off some cannons that they had, to
      frighten the Genoese.'

      [4] The translator's word 'relieve' (relyuue) represents
      'relever,' for 'se relever.'

The valiant king of Bohemia called Charles of Luxembourg, son to the
noble emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was nigh blind,
when he understood the order of the battle, he said to them about him:
'Where is the lord Charles my son?' His men said: 'Sir, we cannot
tell; we think he be fighting.' Then he said: 'Sirs, ye are my men, my
companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far
forward, that I may strike one stroke with my sword.' They said they
would do his commandment, and to the intent that they should not lose
him in the press, they tied all their reins of their bridles each to
other and set the king before to accomplish his desire, and so they
went on their enemies. The lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote
himself king of Almaine and bare the arms, he came in good order to
the battle; but when he saw that the matter went awry on their party,
he departed, I cannot tell you which way. The king his father was so
far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea and more than
four, and fought valiantly and so did his company; and they adventured
themselves so forward, that they were there all slain, and the next
day they were found in the place about the king, and all their horses
tied each to other.

The earl of Alençon came to the battle right ordinately and fought
with the Englishmen, and the earl of Flanders also on his part. These
two lords with their companies coasted the English archers and came to
the prince's battle, and there fought valiantly long. The French king
would fain have come thither, when he saw their banners, but there was
a great hedge of archers before him. The same day the French king had
given a great black courser to sir John of Hainault, and he made the
lord Tierry of Senzeille to ride on him and to bear his banner. The
same horse took the bridle in the teeth and brought him through all
the currours of the Englishmen, and as he would have returned again,
he fell in a great dike and was sore hurt, and had been there dead, an
his page had not been, who followed him through all the battles and
saw where his master lay in the dike, and had none other let but for
his horse, for the Englishmen would not issue out of their battle for
taking of any prisoner. Then the page alighted and relieved his
master: then he went not back again the same way that they came, there
was too many in his way.

This battle between Broye and Cressy this Saturday was right cruel and
fell, and many a feat of arms done that came not to my knowledge. In
the night[5] divers knights and squires lost their masters, and
sometime came on the Englishmen, who received them in such wise that
they were ever nigh slain; for there was none taken to mercy nor to
ransom, for so the Englishmen were determined.

      [5] 'Sus le nuit,' 'towards nightfall.'

In the morning[6] the day of the battle certain Frenchmen and Almains
perforce opened the archers of the prince's battle and came and fought
with the men of arms hand to hand. Then the second battle of the
Englishmen came to succour the prince's battle, the which was time,
for they had as then much ado; and they with the prince sent a
messenger to the king, who was on a little windmill hill. Then the
knight said to the king: 'Sir, the earl of Warwick and the earl of
Oxford, sir Raynold Cobham and other, such as be about the prince your
son, are fiercely fought withal and are sore handled; wherefore they
desire you that you and your battle will come and aid them; for if the
Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they will, your son and they shall
have much ado.' Then the king said: 'Is my son dead or hurt or on the
earth felled?' 'No, sir,' quoth the knight, 'but he is hardly matched;
wherefore he hath need of your aid.' 'Well,' said the king, 'return to
him and to them that sent you hither, and say to them that they send
no more to me for any adventure that falleth, as long as my son is
alive: and also say to them that they suffer him this day to win his
spurs;[7] for if God be pleased, I will this journey be his and the
honour thereof, and to them that be about him.' Then the knight
returned again to them and shewed the king's words, the which greatly
encouraged them, and repoined[8] in that they had sent to the king as
they did.

      [6] The text has suffered by omissions. What Froissart says is
      that if the battle had begun in the morning, it might have gone
      better for the French, and then he instances the exploits of
      those who broke through the archers. The battle did not begin
      till four o'clock in the afternoon.

      [7] 'Que il laissent à l'enfant gaegnier ses esperons.'

      [8] i.e. 'they repoined': Fr. 'se reprisent.'

Sir Godfrey of Harcourt would gladly that the earl of Harcourt his
brother might have been saved; for he heard say by them that saw his
banner how that he was there in the field on the French party: but sir
Godfrey could not come to him betimes, for he was slain or he could
come at him, and so was also the earl of Aumale his nephew. In another
place the earl of Alençon and the earl of Flanders fought valiantly,
every lord under his own banner; but finally they could not resist
against the puissance of the Englishmen, and so there they were also
slain, and divers other knights and squires. Also the earl Louis of
Blois, nephew to the French king, and the duke of Lorraine fought
under their banners, but at last they were closed in among a company
of Englishmen and Welshmen, and there were slain for all their
prowess. Also there was slain the earl of Auxerre, the earl of
Saint-Pol and many other.

In the evening the French king, who had left about him no more than a
three-score persons, one and other, whereof sir John of Hainault was
one, who had remounted once the king, for his horse was slain with an
arrow, then he said to the king: 'Sir, depart hence, for it is time;
lose not yourself wilfully: if ye have loss at this time, ye shall
recover it again another season.' And so he took the king's horse by
the bridle and led him away in a manner perforce. Then the king rode
till he came to the castle of Broye. The gate was closed, because it
was by that time dark: then the king called the captain, who came to
the walls and said: 'Who is that calleth there this time of night?'
Then the king said: 'Open your gate quickly, for this is the fortune
of France.'[9] The captain knew then it was the king, and opened the
gate and let down the bridge. Then the king entered, and he had with
him but five barons, sir John of Hainault, sir Charles of Montmorency,
the lord of Beaujeu, the lord d'Aubigny and the lord of Montsault. The
king would not tarry there, but drank and departed thence about
midnight, and so rode by such guides as knew the country till he came
in the morning to Amiens, and there he rested.

      [9] 'C'est la fortune de France': but the better MSS. have
      'c'est li infortunés rois de France.'

This Saturday the Englishmen never departed from their battles for
chasing of any man, but kept still their field, and ever defended
themselves against all such as came to assail them. This battle ended
about evensong time.


On this Saturday, when the night was come and that the Englishmen
heard no more noise of the Frenchmen, then they reputed themselves to
have the victory, and the Frenchmen to be discomfited, slain and fled
away. Then they made great fires and lighted up torches and candles,
because it was very dark. Then the king avaled down from the little
hill whereas he stood; and of all that day till then his helm came
never on his head. Then he went with all his battle to his son the
prince and embraced him in his arms and kissed him, and said: 'Fair
son, God give you good perseverance; ye are my good son, thus ye have
acquitted you nobly: ye are worthy to keep a realm.' The prince
inclined himself to the earth, honouring the king his father.

This night they thanked God for their good adventure and made no boast
thereof, for the king would that no man should be proud or make boast,
but every man humbly to thank God. On the Sunday in the morning there
was such a mist, that a man might not see the breadth of an acre of
land from him. Then there departed from the host by the commandment of
the king and marshals five hundred spears and two thousand archers, to
see if they might see any Frenchmen gathered again together in any
place. The same morning out of Abbeville and Saint-Riquiers in
Ponthieu the commons of Rouen and of Beauvais issued out of their
towns, not knowing of the discomfiture of the day before. They met
with the Englishmen weening they had been Frenchmen, and when the
Englishmen saw them, they set on them freshly, and there was a sore
battle; but at last the Frenchmen fled and kept none array. There were
slain in the ways and in hedges and bushes more than seven thousand,
and if the day had been clear there had never a one escaped. Anon
after, another company of Frenchmen were met by the Englishmen, the
archbishop of Rouen and the great prior of France, who also knew
nothing of the discomfiture the day before, for they heard that the
French king should have fought the same Sunday, and they were going
thitherward. When they met with the Englishmen, there was a great
battle, for they were a great number, but they could not endure
against the Englishmen; for they were nigh all slain, few escaped; the
two lords were slain. This morning the Englishmen met with divers
Frenchmen that had lost their way on the Saturday and had lain all
night in the fields, and wist not where the king was nor the captains.
They were all slain, as many as were met with; and it was shewed me
that of the commons and men afoot of the cities and good towns of
France there was slain four times as many as were slain the Saturday
in the great battle.


The same Sunday, as the king of England came from mass, such as had
been sent forth returned and shewed the king what they had seen and
done, and said: 'Sir, we think surely there is now no more appearance
of any of our enemies.' Then the king sent to search how many were
slain and what they were. Sir Raynold Cobham and Sir Richard Stafford
with three heralds went to search the field and country: they visited
all them that were slain and rode all day in the fields, and returned
again to the host as the king was going to supper. They made just
report of that they had seen, and said how there were eleven great
princes dead, fourscore banners, twelve hundred knights, and more than
thirty thousand other.[1] The Englishmen kept still their field all
that night: on the Monday in the morning the king prepared to depart:
the king caused the dead bodies of the great lords to be taken up and
conveyed to Montreuil, and there buried in holy ground, and made a cry
in the country to grant truce for three days, to the intent that they
of the country might search the field of Cressy to bury the dead

      [1] Another text makes the loss of persons below the rank of
      knight 15,000 or 16,000, including the men of the towns. Both
      estimates must be greatly exaggerated. Michael of Northburgh says
      that 1542 were killed in the battle and about 2000 on the next
      day. The great princes killed were the king of Bohemia, the duke
      of Lorraine, the earls of Alençon, Flanders, Blois, Auxerre,
      Harcourt, Saint-Pol, Aumale, the grand prior of France and the
      archbishop of Rouen.

Then the king went forth and came before the town of
Montreuil-by-the-sea, and his marshals ran toward Hesdin and Brent
Waben and Serain, but they did nothing to the castle, it was so strong
and so well kept. They lodged that night on the river of Hesdin
towards Blangy. The next day they rode toward Boulogne and came to the
town of Wissant: there the king and the prince lodged, and tarried
there a day to refresh his men, and on the Wednesday the king came
before the strong town of Calais.



After the taking of the castle of Romorantin and of them that were
therein, the prince then and his company rode as they did before,
destroying the country, approaching to Anjou and to Touraine. The
French king, who was at Chartres, departed and came to Blois and there
tarried two days, and then to Amboise and the next day to Loches: and
then he heard how that the prince was at Touraine[1] and how that he
was returning by Poitou: ever the Englishmen were coasted by certain
expert knights of France, who alway made report to the king what the
Englishmen did. Then the king came to the Haye in Touraine and his men
had passed the river of Loire, some at the bridge of Orleans and some
at Meung, at Saumur, at Blois, and at Tours and whereas they might:
they were in number a twenty thousand men of arms beside other; there
were a twenty-six dukes and earls and more than sixscore banners, and
the four sons of the king, who were but young, the duke Charles of
Normandy, the lord Louis, that was from thenceforth duke of Anjou, and
the lord John duke of Berry, and the lord Philip, who was after duke
of Burgoyne. The same season, pope Innocent the sixth sent the lord
Bertrand, cardinal of Perigord, and the lord Nicholas, cardinal of
Urgel, into France, to treat for a peace between the French king and
all his enemies, first between him and the king of Navarre, who was in
prison: and these cardinals oftentimes spake to the king for his
deliverance during the siege at Bretuel, but they could do nothing in
that behalf. Then the cardinal of Perigord went to Tours, and there he
heard how the French king hasted sore to find the Englishmen: then he
rode to Poitiers, for he heard how both the hosts drew thitherward.

      [1] 'En Touraine.'

The French king heard how the prince hasted greatly to return, and the
king feared that he should scape him and so departed from Haye in
Touraine, and all his company, and rode to Chauvigny, where he tarried
that Thursday in the town and without along by the river of Creuse,
and the next day the king passed the river at the bridge there,
weening that the Englishmen had been before him, but they were not.
Howbeit they pursued after and passed the bridge that day more than
threescore thousand horses, and divers other passed at Chatelleraut,
and ever as they passed they took the way to Poitiers.

On the other side the prince wist not truly where the Frenchmen were;
but they supposed that they were not far off, for they could not find
no more forage, whereby they had great fault in their host of victual,
and some of them repented that they had destroyed so much as they had
done before when they were in Berry, Anjou and Touraine, and in that
they had made no better provision. The same Friday three great lords
of France, the lord of Craon, the lord Raoul of Coucy and the earl of
Joigny, tarried all day in the town of Chauvigny, and part of their
companies. The Saturday they passed the bridge and followed the king,
who was then a three leagues before, and took the way among bushes
without a wood side to go to Poitiers.

The same Saturday the prince and his company dislodged from a little
village thereby, and sent before him certain currours to see if they
might find any adventure and to hear where the Frenchmen were. They
were in number a threescore men of arms well horsed, and with them was
the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt and the lord John of Ghistelles, and
by adventure the Englishmen and Frenchmen met together by the foresaid
wood side. The Frenchmen knew anon how they were their enemies; then
in haste they did on their helmets and displayed their banners and
came a great pace towards the Englishmen: they were in number a two
hundred men of arms. When the Englishmen saw them, and that they were
so great a number, then they determined to fly and let the Frenchmen
chase them, for they knew well the prince with his host was not far
behind. Then they turned their horses and took the corner of the wood,
and the Frenchmen after them crying their cries and made great noise.
And as they chased, they came on the prince's battle or they were ware
thereof themselves; the prince tarried there to have word again from
them that he sent forth. The lord Raoul de Coucy with his banner went
so far forward that he was under the prince's banner: there was a sore
battle and the knight fought valiantly; howbeit he was there taken,
and the earl of Joigny, the viscount of Brosse, the lord of Chauvigny
and all the other taken or slain, but a few that scaped. And by the
prisoners the prince knew how the French king followed him in such
wise that he could not eschew the battle:[2] then he assembled
together all his men and commanded that no man should go before the
marshals' banners. Thus the prince rode that Saturday from the morning
till it was against night, so that he came within two little leagues
of Poitiers. Then the captal de Buch, sir Aymenion of Pommiers, the
lord Bartholomew of Burghersh and the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt, all
these the prince sent forth to see if they might know what the
Frenchmen did. These knights departed with two hundred men of arms
well horsed; they rode so far that they saw the great battle of the
king's, they saw all the fields covered with men of arms. These
Englishmen could not forbear, but set on the tail of the French host
and cast down many to the earth and took divers prisoners, so that the
host began to stir, and tidings thereof came to the French king as he
was entering into the city of Poitiers. Then he returned again and
made all his host do the same, so that Saturday it was very late or he
was lodged in the field. The English currours returned again to the
prince and shewed him all that they saw and knew, and said how the
French host was a great number of people. 'Well,' said the prince, 'in
the name of God let us now study how we shall fight with them at our
advantage.' That night the Englishmen lodged in a strong place among
hedges, vines and bushes, and their host well watched, and so was the
French host.

      [2] Or rather, 'that the French king had gone in front of them
      (les avoit advancez) and that he could in no way depart without
      being fought with.'


On the Sunday in the morning the French king, who had great desire to
fight with the Englishmen, heard his mass in his pavilion and was
houselled, and his four sons with him. After mass there came to him
the duke of Orleans, the duke of Bourbon, the earl of Ponthieu, the
lord Jaques of Bourbon,[1] the duke of Athens, constable of France,
the earl of Tancarville, the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl of
Dammartin, the earl of Ventadour, and divers other great barons of
France and of other neighbours holding of France, as the lord
Clermont, the lord Arnold d'Audrehem, marshal of France, the lord of
Saint-Venant, the lord John of Landas, the lord Eustace Ribemont, the
lord Fiennes, the lord Geoffrey of Charny, the lord Chatillon, the
lord of Sully, the lord of Nesle, sir Robert Duras and divers other;
all these with the king went to counsel. Then finally it was ordained
that all manner of men should draw into the field, and every lord to
display his banner and to set forth in the name of God and Saint
Denis: then trumpets blew up through the host and every man mounted on
horseback and went into the field, where they saw the king's banner
wave with the wind. There might a been seen great nobless of fair
harness and rich armoury of banners and pennons; for there was all the
flower of France, there was none durst abide at home without he would
be shamed for ever. Then it was ordained by the advice of the
constable and marshals to be made three battles, and in each ward
sixteen thousand men of arms all mustered and passed for men of arms.
The first battle the duke of Orleans to govern, with thirty-six
banners and twice as many pennons, the second the duke of Normandy and
his two brethren the lord Louis and the lord John, the third the king
himself: and while that these battles were setting in array, the king
called to him the lord Eustace Ribemont, the lord John of Landas and
the lord Richard of Beaujeu, and said to them; 'Sirs, ride on before
to see the dealing of the Englishmen and advise well what number they
be and by what means we may fight with them, other afoot or
a-horseback.' These three knights rode forth and the king was on a
white courser and said a-high to his men: 'Sirs, among you, when ye be
at Paris, at Chartres, at Rouen or at Orleans, then ye do threat the
Englishmen and desire to be in arms out against them. Now ye be come
thereto: I shall now shew you them: now shew forth your evil will that
ye bear them and revenge your displeasures and damages that they have
done you, for without doubt we shall fight with them.' Such as heard
him said: 'Sir, in God's name so be it; that would we see[2] gladly.'

      [1] That is, Jaques de Bourbon, earl of la Marche and Ponthieu.

      [2] 'Verrons': but a better reading is 'ferons,' 'that will we
      do gladly.'

Therewith the three knights returned again to the king, who demanded
of them tidings. Then sir Eustace of Ribemont answered for all and
said: 'Sir, we have seen the Englishmen: by estimation they be two
thousand men of arms and four thousand archers and a fifteen hundred
of other. Howbeit they be in a strong place, and as far as we can
imagine they are in one battle; howbeit they be wisely ordered, and
along the way they have fortified strongly the hedges and bushes: one
part of their archers are along by the hedge, so that none can go nor
ride that way, but must pass by them, and that way must ye go an ye
purpose to fight with them. In this hedge there is but one entry and
one issue by likelihood that four horsemen may ride afront. At the end
of this hedge, whereas no man can go nor ride, there be men of arms
afoot and archers afore them in manner of a herse, so that they will
not be lightly discomfited,'[3] 'Well,' said the king, 'what will ye
then counsel us to do?' Sir Eustace said: 'Sir, let us all be afoot,
except three hundred men of arms, well horsed, of the best in your
host and most hardiest, to the intent they somewhat to break and to
open the archers, and then your battles to follow on quickly afoot and
so to fight with their men of arms hand to hand. This is the best
advice that I can give you: if any other think any other way better,
let him speak.'

      [3] The translation of this passage is unsatisfactory. It should
      be: 'Howbeit they have ordered it wisely, and have taken post
      along the road, which is fortified strongly with hedges and
      thickets, and they have beset this hedge on one side (_or
      according to another text_, on one side and on the other) with
      their archers, so that one cannot enter nor ride along their road
      except by them, and that way must he go who purposes to fight
      with them. In this hedge there is but one entry and one issue,
      where by likelihood four men of arms, as on the road, might ride
      a-front. At the end of this hedge among vines and thorn-bushes,
      where no man can go nor ride, are their men of arms all afoot,
      and they have set in front of them their archers in manner of a
      harrow, whom it would not be easy to discomfit.

The king said: 'Thus shall it be done': then the two marshals rode
from battle to battle and chose out a three hundred knights and
squires of the most expert men of arms of all the host, every man well
armed and horsed. Also it was ordained that the battles of Almains
should abide still on horseback to comfort the marshals, if need were,
whereof the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl of Nidau and the earl of
Nassau were captains. King John of France was there armed, and twenty
other in his apparel; and he did put the guiding of his eldest son to
the lord of Saint-Venant, the lord of Landas and the lord Thibault of
Vaudenay; and the lord Arnold of Cervolles, called the archpriest,[4]
was armed in the armour of the young earl of Alençon.

      [4] Arnaud de Cervolles, one of the most celebrated adventurers
      of the 14th century, called the archpriest because though a
      layman he possessed the ecclesiastical fief of Vélines.


When the French king's battles was ordered and every lord under his
banner among their own men, then it was commanded that every man
should cut their spears to a five foot long and every man to put off
their spurs. Thus as they were ready to approach, the cardinal of
Perigord[1] came in great haste to the king. He came the same morning
from Poitiers; he kneeled down to the king and held up his hands and
desired him for God's sake a little to abstain setting forward till he
had spoken with him: then he said: 'Sir, ye have here all the flower
of your realm against a handful of Englishmen as to regard your
company,[2] and, sir, if ye may have them accorded to you without
battle, it shall be more profitable and honourable to have them by
that manner rather than to adventure so noble chivalry as ye have here
present. Sir, I require you in the name of God and humility that I may
ride to the prince and shew him what danger ye have him in,' The king
said: 'It pleaseth me well, but return again shortly.' The cardinal
departed and diligently he rode to the prince, who was among his men
afoot: then the cardinal alighted and came to the prince, who received
him courteously. Then the cardinal after his salutation made he said:
'Certainly, fair son, if you and your council advise justly the
puissance of the French king, ye will suffer me to treat to make a
peace between you, an I may,' The prince, who was young and lusty,
said: 'Sir, the honour of me and of my people saved, I would gladly
fall to any reasonable way.' Then the cardinal said: 'Sir, ye say
well, and I shall accord you, an I can; for it should be great pity if
so many noblemen and other as be here on both parties should come
together by battle,' Then the cardinal rode again to the king and
said: 'Sir, ye need not to make any great haste to fight with your
enemies, for they cannot fly from you though they would, they be in
such a ground: wherefore, sir, I require you forbear for this day till
tomorrow the sun-rising.' The king was loath to agree thereto, for
some of his council would not consent to it; but finally the cardinal
shewed such reasons, that the king accorded that respite: and in the
same place there was pight up a pavilion of red silk fresh and rich,
and gave leave for that day every man to draw to their lodgings except
the constable's and marshals' battles.

      [1] Talleyrand de Périgord.

      [2] The meaning is, 'Ye have here all the flower of your realm
      against a handful of people, for so the Englishmen are as
      compared with your company.'

That Sunday all the day the cardinal travailed in riding from the one
host to the other gladly to agree them: but the French king would
not agree without he might have four of the principallest of the
Englishmen at his pleasure, and the prince and all the other to yield
themselves simply: howbeit there were many great offers made. The
prince offered to render into the king's hands all that ever he had
won in that voyage, towns and castles, and to quit all prisoners that
he or any of his men had taken in that season, and also to swear not
to be armed against the French king in seven year after; but the king
and his council would none thereof: the uttermost that he would do
was, that the prince and a hundred of his knights should yield
themselves into the king's prison; otherwise he would not: the which
the prince would in no wise agree unto.

In the mean season that the cardinal rode thus between the hosts in
trust to do some good, certain knights of France and of England both
rode forth the same Sunday, because it was truce for that day, to
coast the hosts and to behold the dealing of their enemies. So it
fortuned that the lord John Chandos rode the same day coasting the
French host, and in like manner the lord of Clermont, one of the
French marshals, had ridden forth and aviewed the state of the English
host; and as these two knights returned towards their hosts, they met
together: each of them bare one manner of device, a blue lady
embroidered in a sunbeam above on their apparel. Then the lord
Clermont said: 'Chandos, how long have ye taken on you to bear my
device?' 'Nay, ye bear mine,' said Chandos, 'for it is as well mine as
yours.' 'I deny that,' said Clermont, 'but an it were not for the
truce this day between us, I should make it good on you incontinent
that ye have no right to bear my device.' 'Ah, sir,' said Chandos, 'ye
shall find me to-morrow ready to defend you and to prove by feat of
arms that it is as well mine as yours,' Then Clermont said: 'Chandos,
these be well the words of you Englishmen, for ye can devise nothing
of new, but all that ye see is good and fair.' So they departed
without any more doing, and each of them returned to their host.

The cardinal of Perigord could in no wise that Sunday make any
agreement between the parties, and when it was near night he returned
to Poitiers. That night the Frenchmen took their ease; they had
provision enough, and the Englishmen had great default; they could get
no forage, nor they could not depart thence without danger of their
enemies. That Sunday the Englishmen made great dikes and hedges about
their archers, to be the more stronger; and on the Monday in the
morning the prince and his company were ready apparelled as they were
before, and about the sun-rising in like manner were the Frenchmen.
The same morning betimes the cardinal came again to the French host
and thought by his preaching to pacify the parties; but then the
Frenchmen said to him: 'Return whither ye will: bring hither no more
words of treaty nor peace: and ye love yourself depart shortly.' When
the cardinal saw that he travailed in vain, he took leave of the king
and then he went to the prince and said: 'Sir, do what ye can; there
is no remedy but to abide the battle, for I can find none accord in
the French king.' Then the prince said: 'The same is our intent and
all our people: God help the right!' So the cardinal returned to
Poitiers. In his company there were certain knights and squires, men
of arms, who were more favourable to the French king than to the
prince; and when they saw that the parties should fight, they stale
from their masters and went to the French host; and they made their
captain the chatelain of Amposte,[3] who was as then there with the
cardinal, who knew nothing thereof till he was come to Poitiers.

      [3] Amposta, a fortress in Catalonia.

The certainty of the order of the Englishmen was shewed to the French
king, except they had ordained three hundred men a-horseback and as
many archers a-horseback to coast under covert of the mountain and to
strike into the battle of the duke of Normandy, who was under the
mountain afoot. This ordinance they had made of new, that the
Frenchmen knew not of. The prince was with his battle down among the
vines and had closed in the weakest part with their carnages.

Now will I name some of the principal lords and knights that were
there with the prince: the earl of Warwick, the earl of Suffolk, the
earl of Salisbury, the earl of Oxford, the lord Raynold Cobham, the
lord Spencer, the lord James Audley, the lord Peter his brother, the
lord Berkeley, the lord Bassett, the lord Warin, the lord Delaware,
the lord Manne, the lord Willoughby, the lord Bartholomew de
Burghersh, the lord of Felton, the lord Richard of Pembroke, the lord
Stephen of Cosington, the lord Bradetane and other Englishmen; and of
Gascon there was the lord of Pommiers, the lord of Languiran, the
captal of Buch, the lord John of Caumont, the lord de Lesparre, the
lord of Rauzan, the lord of Condon, the lord of Montferrand, the lord
of Landiras, the lord soudic of Latrau and other that I cannot name;
and of Hainowes the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt, the lord John of
Ghistelles, and two other strangers, the lord Daniel Pasele and the
lord Denis of Morbeke: all the prince's company passed not an eight
thousand men one and other, and the Frenchmen were a sixty thousand
fighting men, whereof there were more than three thousand knights.


When the prince saw that he should have battle and that the cardinal
was gone without any peace or truce making, and saw that the French
king did set but little store by him, he said then to his men: 'Now,
sirs, though we be but a small company as in regard to the puissance
of our enemies, let us not be abashed therefor; for the victory lieth
not in the multitude of people, but whereas God will send it. If it
fortune that the journey be ours, we shall be the most honoured people
of all the world; and if we die in our right quarrel, I have the king
my father and brethren, and also ye have good friends and kinsmen;
these shall revenge us. Therefore, sirs, for God's sake I require you
do your devoirs this day; for if God be pleased and Saint George, this
day ye shall see me a good knight.' These words and such other that
the prince spake comforted all his people. The lord sir John Chandos
that day never went from the prince, nor also the lord James Audley of
a great season; but when he saw that they should needs fight, he said
to the prince: 'Sir, I have served always truly my lord your father
and you also, and shall do as long as I live. I say this because I
made once a vow that the first battle that other the king your father
or any of his children should be at, how that I would be one of the
first setters on,[1] or else to die in the pain: therefore I require
your grace, as in reward for any service that ever I did to the king
your father or to you, that you will give me licence to depart from
you and to set myself thereas I may accomplish my vow.' The prince
accorded to his desire and said, 'Sir James, God give you this day
that grace to be the best knight of all other,' and so took him by the
hand. Then the knight departed from the prince and went to the
foremost front of all the battles, all only accompanied with four
squires, who promised not to fail him. This lord James was a right
sage and a valiant knight, and by him was much of the host ordained
and governed the day before. Thus sir James was in front of the battle
ready to fight with the battle of the marshals of France. In like wise
the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt did his pain to be one of the foremost
to set on. When sir James Audley began to set forward to his enemies,
it fortuned to sir Eustace d'Aubrecicourt as ye shall hear after. Ye
have heard before how the Almains in the French host were appointed to
be still a-horseback. Sir Eustace being a-horseback laid his spear in
the rest and ran into the French battle, and then a knight of Almaine,
called the lord Louis of Recombes, who bare a shield silver, five
roses gules, and sir Eustace bare ermines, two branches of
gules[2],--when this Almain saw the lord Eustace come from his
company, he rode against him and they met so rudely, that both knights
fell to the earth. The Almain was hurt in the shoulder, therefore he
rose not so quickly as did sir Eustace, who when he was up and had
taken his breath, he came to the other knight as he lay on the ground;
but then five other knights of Almaine came on him all at once and
bare him to the earth, and so perforce there he was taken prisoner and
brought to the earl of Nassau, who as then took no heed of him; and I
cannot say whether they sware him prisoner or no, but they tied him to
a chare and there let him stand[3].

      [1] The first setter-on and the best combatant.

      [2] That is, two hamedes gules on a field ermine.

      [3] They tied him on to a cart with their harness.

Then the battle began on all parts, and the battles of the marshals of
France approached, and they set forth that were appointed to break the
array of the archers. They entered a-horseback into the way where the
great hedges were on both sides set full of archers. As soon as the
men of arms entered, the archers began to shoot on both sides and did
slay and hurt horses and knights, so that the horses when they felt
the sharp arrows they would in no wise go forward, but drew aback and
flang and took on so fiercely, that many of them fell on their
masters, so that for press they could not rise again; insomuch that
the marshals' battle could never come at the prince. Certain knights
and squires that were well horsed passed through the archers and
thought to approach to the prince, but they could not. The lord James
Audley with his four squires was in the front of that battle and there
did marvels in arms, and by great prowess he came and fought with sir
Arnold d'Audrehem under his own banner, and there they fought long
together and sir Arnold was there sore handled. The battle of the
marshals began to disorder by reason of the shot of the archers with
the aid of the men of arms, who came in among them and slew of them
and did what they list, and there was the lord Arnold d'Audrehem taken
prisoner by other men than by sir James Audley or by his four squires;
for that day he never took prisoner, but always fought and went on his

Also on the French party the lord John Clermont fought under his own
banner as long as he could endure: but there he was beaten down and
could not be relieved nor ransomed, but was slain without mercy: some
said it was because of the words that he had the day before to sir
John Chandos. So within a short space the marshals' battles were
discomfited, for they fell one upon another and could not go forth;[4]
and the Frenchmen that were behind and could not get forward reculed
back and came on the battle of the duke of Normandy, the which was
great and thick and were afoot, but anon they began to open behind;[5]
for when they knew that the marshals' battle was discomfited, they
took their horses and departed, he that might best. Also they saw a
rout of Englishmen coming down a little mountain a-horseback, and many
archers with them, who brake in on the side of the duke's battle. True
to say, the archers did their company that day great advantage; for
they shot so thick that the Frenchmen wist not on what side to take
heed, and little and little the Englishmen won ground on them.

      [4] 'Ne posient aler avant.'

      [5] 'Which was great and thick in front (pardevant), but anon
      it became open and thin behind.'

And when the men of arms of England saw that the marshals' battle was
discomfited and that the duke's battle began to disorder and open,
they leapt then on their horses, the which they had ready by them:
then they assembled together and cried, 'Saint George! Guyenne!' and
the lord Chandos said to the prince: 'Sir, take your horse and ride
forth; this journey is yours: God is this day in your hands: get us to
the French king's battle, for their lieth all the sore of the matter.
I think verily by his valiantness he will not fly: I trust we shall
have him by the grace of God and Saint George, so he be well fought
withal: and, sir, I heard you say that this day I should see you a
good knight.' The prince said, 'Let us go forth; ye shall not see me
this day return back,' and said, 'Advance, banner, in the name of God
and of Saint George,' The knight that bare it did his commandment:
there was then a sore battle and a perilous, and many a man
overthrown, and he that was once down could not be relieved again
without great succour and aid. As the prince rode and entered in among
his enemies, he saw on his right hand in a little bush lying dead the
lord Robert of Duras and his banner by him,[6] and a ten or twelve of
his men about him. Then the prince said to two of his squires and to
three archers: 'Sirs, take the body of this knight on a targe and bear
him to Poitiers, and present him from me to the cardinal of Perigord,
and say how I salute him by that token.' And this was done. The prince
was informed that the cardinal's men were on the field against him,
the which was not pertaining to the right order of arms, for men of
the church that cometh and goeth for treaty of peace ought not by
reason to bear harness nor to fight for neither of the parties; they
ought to be indifferent: and because these men had done so, the prince
was displeased with the cardinal, and therefore he sent unto him his
nephew the lord Robert of Duras dead: and the chatelain of Amposte was
taken, and the prince would have had his head stricken off, because he
was pertaining to the cardinal, but then the lord Chandos said: 'Sir,
suffer for a season: intend to a greater matter: and peradventure the
cardinal will make such excuse that ye shall be content.'

      [6] The original adds, 'qui estoit de France au sentoir (sautoir)
      de gueulles.'

Then the prince and his company dressed them on the battle of the duke
of Athens, constable of France. There was many a man slain and cast to
the earth. As the Frenchmen fought in companies, they cried,
'Mountjoy! Saint Denis!' and the Englishmen, 'Saint George! Guyenne!'
Anon the prince with his company met with the battle of Almains,
whereof the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl Nassau and the earl Nidau
were captains, but in a short space they were put to flight: the
archers shot so wholly together that none durst come in their dangers:
they slew many a man that could not come to no ransom: these three
earls was there slain, and divers other knights and squires of their
company, and there was the lord d'Aubrecieourt rescued, by his own men
and set on horseback, and after he did that day many feats of arms and
took good prisoners. When the duke of Normandy's battle saw the prince
approach, they thought to save themselves, and so the duke and the
king's children, the earl of Poitiers and the earl of Touraine, who
were right young, believed their governours and so departed from the
field, and with them more than eight hundred spears, that strake no
stroke that day. Howbeit the lord Guichard d'Angle and the lord John
of Saintré, who were with the earl of Poitiers, would not fly, but
entered into the thickest press of the battle. The king's three sons
took the way to Chauvigny, and the lord John of Landas and the lord
Thibauld of Vaudenay, who were set to await on the duke of Normandy,
when they had brought the duke a long league from the battle, then
they took leave of the duke and desired the lord of Saint-Venant that
he should not leave the duke, but to bring him in safeguard, whereby
he should win more thank of the king than to abide still in the field.
Then they met also the duke of Orleans and a great company with him,
who were also departed from the field with clear hands: there were
many good knights and squires, though that their masters departed from
the field, yet they had rather a died than to have had any reproach.

Then the king's battle came on the Englishmen: there was a sore fight
and many a great stroke given and received. The king and his youngest
son met with the battle of the English marshals, the earl of Warwick
and the earl of Suffolk, and with them of Gascons the captal of Buch,
the lord of Pommiers, the lord Amery of Tastes, the lord of Mussidan,
the lord of Languiran and the lord de Latrau. To the French party
there came time enough the lord John of Landas and the lord of
Vaudenay; they alighted afoot and went into the king's battle, and a
little beside fought the duke of Athens, constable of France, and a
little above him the duke of Bourbon and many good knights of
Bourbonnais and of Picardy with him, and a little on the one side
there were the Poitevins, the lord de Pons, the lord of Partenay, the
lord of Dammartin, the lord of Tannay-Bouton, the lord of Surgieres,
the lord John Saintré, the lord Guichard d'Angle, the lord Argenton,
the lord of Linieres, the lord of Montendre and divers other, also the
viscount of Rochechouart and the earl of Aunay;[7] and of Burgoyne the
lord James of Beaujeu, the lord de Chateau-Vilain and other: in
another part there was the earl of Ventadour and of Montpensier, the
lord James of Bourbon, the lord John d'Artois and also the lord James
his brother, the lord Arnold of Cervolles, called the archpriest,
armed for the young earl of Alençon; and of Auvergne there was the
lord of Mercoeur, the lord de la Tour, the lord of Chalençon, the lord
of Montaigu, the lord of Rochfort, the lord d'Acier, the lord d'Acon;
and of Limousin there was the lord de Melval, the lord of Mareuil, the
lord of Pierrebuffiere; and of Picardy there was the lord William of
Nesle, the lord Arnold of Rayneval, the lord Geoffrey of Saint-Dizier,
the lord of Chauny, the lord of Helly, the lord of Montsault, the lord
of Hangest and divers other: and also in the king's battle there was
the earl Douglas of Scotland, who fought a season right valiantly, but
when he saw the discomfiture, he departed and saved himself; for in no
wise he would be taken of the Englishmen, he had rather been there
slain. On the English part the lord James Audley with the aid of his
four squires fought always in the chief of the battle: he was sore
hurt in the body and in the visage: as long as his breath served him
he fought; at last at the end of the battle his four squires took and
brought him out of the field and laid him under a hedge side for to
refresh him; and they unarmed him and bound up his wounds as well as
they could. On the French party king John was that day a full right
good knight: if the fourth part of his men had done their devoirs as
well as he did, the journey had been his by all likelihood. Howbeit
they were all slain and taken that were there, except a few that saved
themselves, that were with the king.[8] There was slain the duke Peter
of Bourbon, the lord Guichard of Beaujeu, the lord of Landas, and the
duke of Athens, constable of France, the bishop of Chalons in
Champagne, the lord William of Nesle, the lord Eustace of Ribemont,
the lord de la Tour, the lord William of Montaigu, sir Grismouton of
Chambly, sir Baudrin de la Heuse, and many other, as they fought by
companies; and there were taken prisoners the lord of Vaudenay, the
lord of Pompadour, and the archpriest, sore hurt, the earl of
Vaudimont, the earl of Mons, the earl of Joinville, the earl of
Vendome, sir Louis of Melval, the lord Pierrebuffiere and the lord of
Serignac: there were at that brunt, slain and taken more than two
hundred knights.[9]

      [7] Le conte d'Aulnoy,' but it should be 'visconte.'

      [8] 'Howbeit they that stayed acquitted them as well as they
      might, so that they were all slain or taken. Few escaped of those
      that set themselves with the king': or according to the fuller
      text: 'Few escaped of those that alighted down on the sand by the
      side of the king their lord.'

      [9] The translator has chosen to rearrange the above list of
      killed, wounded or taken, which the French text gives in order
      as they fought, saying that in one part there fell the duke of
      Bourbon, sir Guichard of Beaujeu and sir John on Landas, and
      there were severely wounded or taken the arch-priest, sir Thibaud
      of Vodenay and sir Baudouin, d'Annequin; in another there were
      slain the duke of Athens and the bishop of Chalons, and taken the
      earl of Vaudemont and Joinville and the earl of Vendome: a little
      above this there were slain sir William de Nesle, sir Eustace de
      Ribemont and others, and taken sir Louis de Melval, the lord of
      Pierrebuffière and the lord of Seregnach.


Among the battles, recounterings, chases and pursuits that were made
that day in the field, it fortuned so to sir Oudart of Renty that when
he departed from the field because he saw the field was lost without
recovery, he thought not to abide the danger of the Englishmen;
wherefore he fled all alone and was gone out of the field a league,
and an English knight pursued him and ever cried to him and said,
'Return again, sir knight, it is a shame to fly away thus.' Then the
knight turned, and the English knight thought to have stricken him
with his spear in the targe, but he failed, for sir Oudart swerved
aside from the stroke, but he failed not the English knight, for he
strake him such a stroke on the helm with his sword, that he was
astonied and fell from his horse to the earth and lay still. Then sir
Oudart alighted and came to him or he could rise, and said, 'Yield
you, rescue or no rescue, or else I shall slay you.' The Englishman
yielded and went with him, and afterward was ransomed. Also it
fortuned that another squire of Picardy called John de Hellenes was
fled from the battle and met with his page, who delivered him a new
fresh horse, whereon he rode away alone. The same season there was in
the field the lord Berkeley of England, a young lusty knight, who the
same day reared his banner, and he all alone pursued the said John of
Hellenes. And when he had followed the space of a league, the said
John turned again and laid his sword in the rest instead of a spear,
and so came running toward the lord Berkeley, who lift up his sword to
have stricken the squire; but when he saw the stroke come, he turned
from it, so that the Englishman lost his stroke and John strake him as
he passed on the arm, that the lord Berkeley's sword fell into the
field. When he saw his sword down, he lighted suddenly off his horse
and came to the place where his sword lay, and as he stooped down to
take up his sword, the French squire did pike his sword at him, and by
hap strake him through both the thighs, so that the knight fell to the
earth and could not help himself. And John alighted off his horse and
took the knight's sword that lay on the ground, and came to him and
demanded if he would yield him or not. The knight then demanded his
name. 'Sir,' said he, 'I hight John of Hellenes; but what is your
name?' 'Certainly,' said the knight, 'my name is Thomas and am lord of
Berkeley, a fair castle on the river of Severn in the marches of
Wales.' 'Well, sir,' quoth the squire, 'then ye shall be my prisoner,
and I shall bring you in safe-guard and I shall see that you shall be
healed of your hurt.' 'Well,' said the knight, 'I am content to be
your prisoner, for ye have by law of arms won me.' There he sware to
be his prisoner, rescue or no rescue. Then the squire drew forth the
sword out of the knight's thighs and the wound was open: then he
wrapped and bound the wound and set him on his horse and so brought
him fair and easily to Chatelleraut, and there tarried more than
fifteen days for his sake and did get him remedy for his hurt: and
when he was somewhat amended, then he gat him a litter and so brought
him at his ease to his house in Picardy. There he was more than a year
till he was perfectly whole; and when he departed he paid for his
ransom six thousand nobles, and so this squire was made a knight by
reason of the profit that he had of the lord Berkeley.


Oftentimes the adventures of amours and of war are more fortunate and
marvellous than any man can think or wish. Truly this battle, the
which was near to Poitiers in the fields of Beauvoir and Maupertuis,
was right great and perilous, and many deeds of arms there was done
the which all came not to knowledge. The fighters on both sides
endured much pain: king John with his own hands did that day marvels
in arms: he had an axe in his hands wherewith he defended himself and
fought in the breaking of the press. Near to the king there was taken
the earl of Tancarville, sir Jaques of Bourbon earl of Ponthieu, and
the lord John of Artois earl of Eu, and a little above that under the
banner of the capital of Buch was taken sir Charles of Artois and
divers other knights and squires. The chase endured to the gates of
Poitiers: there were many slain and beaten down, horse and man, for
they of Poitiers closed their gates and would suffer none to enter;
wherefore in the street before the gate was horrible murder, men hurt
and beaten down. The Frenchmen yielded themselves as far off as they
might know an Englishman: there were divers English archers that had
four, five or six prisoners: the lord of Pons, a great baron of
Poitou, was there slain, and many other knights and squires; and there
was taken the earl of Rochechouart, the lord of Dammartin, the lord of
Partenay, and of Saintonge the lord of Montendre and the lord John of
Saintré, but he was so sore hurt that he had never health after: he
was reputed for one of the best knights in France. And there was left
for dead among other dead men the lord Guichard d'Angle, who fought
that day by the king right valiantly, and so did the lord of Charny,
on whom was great press, because he bare the sovereign banner of the
king's: his own banner was also in the field, the which was of gules,
three scutcheons silver. So many Englishmen and Gascons come to that
part, that perforce they opened the king's battle, so that the
Frenchmen were so mingled among their enemies that sometime there was
five men upon one gentleman. There was taken the lord of Pompadour
and[1] the lord Bartholomew de Burghersh, and there was slain sir
Geoffrey of Charny with the king's banner in his hands: also the lord
Raynold Cobham slew the earl of Dammartin. Then there was a great
press to take the king, and such as knew him cried, 'Sir, yield you,
or else ye are but dead.' There was a knight of Saint-Omer's, retained
in wages with the king of England, called sir Denis Morbeke, who had
served the Englishmen five year before, because in his youth he had
forfeited the realm of France for a murder that he did at
Saint-Omer's. It happened so well for him, that he was next to the
king when they were about to take him: he stept forth into the press,
and by strength of his body and arms he came to the French king and
said in good French, 'Sir, yield you,' The king beheld the knight and
said: 'To whom shall I yield me? Where is my cousin the prince of
Wales? If I might see him, I would speak with him.' Denis answered and
said: 'Sir, he is not here; but yield you to me and I shall bring you
to him. 'Who be you?' quoth the king. 'Sir,' quoth he, 'I am Denis of
Morbeke, a knight of Artois; but I serve the king of England because I
am banished the realm of France and I have forfeited all that I had
there,' Then the king gave him his right gauntlet, saying, 'I yield me
to you,' There was a great press about the king, for every man
enforced him to say,[2] 'I have taken him,' so that the king could not
go forward with his young son the lord Philip with him because of the

      [1] This 'and' should be 'by,' but the French text is responsible
      for the mistake.

      [2] 'S'efforçoit de dire.'

The prince of Wales, who was courageous and cruel as a lion, took that
day great pleasure to fight and to chase his enemies. The lord John
Chandos, who was with him, of all that day never left him nor never
took heed of taking of any prisoner: then at the end of the battle he
said to the prince: 'Sir, it were good that you rested here and set
your banner a-high in this bush, that your people may draw hither, for
they be sore spread abroad, nor I can see no more banners nor pennons
of the French party; wherefore, sir, rest and refresh you, for ye be
sore chafed.' Then the prince's banner was set up a-high on a bush,
and trumpets and clarions began to sown. Then the prince did off his
bassenet, and the knights for his body and they of his chamber were
ready about him, and a red pavilion pight up, and then drink was
brought forth to the prince and for such lords as were about him, the
which still increased as they came from the chase: there they tarried
and their prisoners with them. And when the two marshals were come to
the prince, he demanded of them if they knew any tiding of the French
king. They answered and said: 'Sir, we hear none of certainty, but we
think verily he is other dead or taken, for he is not gone out of the
battles.' Then the prince said to the earl of Warwick and to sir
Raynold Cobham: 'Sirs, I require you go forth and see what ye can
know, that at your return ye may shew me the truth.' These two lords
took their horses and departed from the prince and rode up a little
hill to look about them: then they perceived a flock of men of arms
coming together right wearily:[3] there was the French king afoot in
great peril, for Englishmen and Gascons were his masters; they had
taken him from sir Denis Morbeke perforce, and such as were most of
force said, 'I have taken him,' 'Nay,' quoth another, 'I have taken
him': so they strave which should have him. Then the French king, to
eschew that peril, said: 'Sirs, strive not: lead me courteously, and
my son, to my cousin the prince, and strive not for my taking, for I
am so great a lord to make you all rich.' The king's words somewhat
appeased them; howbeit ever as they went they made riot and brawled
for the taking of the king. When the two foresaid lords saw and heard
that noise and strife among them, they came to them and said: 'Sirs,
what is the matter that ye strive for?' 'Sirs,' said one of them, 'it
is for the French king, who is here taken prisoner, and there be more
than ten knights and squires that challenged the taking of him and of
his son.' Then the two lords entered into the press and caused every
man to draw aback, and commanded them in the prince's name on pain of
their heads to make no more noise nor to approach the king no nearer,
without they were commanded. Then every man gave room to the lords,
and they alighted and did their reverence to the king, and so brought
him and his son in peace and rest to the prince of Wales.

      [3] 'Lentement.'


As soon as the earl of Warwick and the lord Cobham were departed from
the prince, as ye have heard before, then the prince demanded of the
knights that were about him for the lord Audley, if any knew anything
of him. Some knights that were there answered and said: 'Sir, he is
sore hurt and lieth in a litter here beside.' 'By my faith,' said the
prince, 'of his hurts I am right sorry: go and know if he may be
brought hither, or else I will go and see him thereas he is.' Then two
knights came to the lord Audley and said: 'Sir, the prince desireth
greatly to see you, other ye must go to him or else he will come to
you.' 'Ah, sir,' said the knight, 'I thank the prince when he thinketh
on so poor a knight as I am.' Then he called eight of his servants and
caused them to bear him in his litter to the place whereas the prince
was. Then the prince took him in his arms and kissed him and made him
great cheer and said: 'Sir James, I ought greatly to honour you, for
by your valiance ye have this day achieved the grace and renown of us
all, and ye are reputed for the most valiant of all other,' 'Ah, sir,'
said the knight, 'ye say as it pleaseth you: I would it were so: and
if I have this day anything advanced myself to serve you and to
accomplish the vow that I made, it ought not to be reputed to me any
prowess.' 'Sir James,' said the prince, 'I and all ours take you in
this journey for the best doer in arms, and to the intent to furnish
you the better to pursue the wars, I retain you for ever to be my
knight with five hundred marks of yearly revenues, the which I shall
assign you on mine heritage in England.' 'Sir,' said the knight, 'God
grant me to deserve the great goodness that ye shew me': and so he
took his leave of the prince, for he was right feeble, and so his
servants brought him to his lodging. And as soon as he was gone, the
earl of Warwick and the lord Cobham returned to the prince and
presented to him the French king. The prince made lowly reverence to
the king and caused wine and spices to be brought forth, and himself
served the king in sign of great love.


Thus this battle was discomfited, as ye have heard, the which was in
the fields of Maupertuis a two leagues from Poitiers the twenty-second
day of September the year of our Lord MCCCLVI. It begun in the
morning[1] and ended at noon, but as then all the Englishmen were not
returned from the chase; therefore the prince's banner stood on a bush
to draw all his men together, but it was well nigh night or all came
from the chase. And as it was reported, there was slain all the flower
of France, and there was taken with the king and the lord Philip his
son a seventeen earls, beside barons, knights and squires, and slain a
five or six thousand of one and other. When every man was come from
the chase, they had twice as many prisoners as they were in number in
all. Then it was counselled among them because of the great charge and
doubt to keep so many, that they should put many of them to ransom
incontinent in the field, and so they did: and the prisoners found the
Englishmen and Gascons right courteous; there were many that day put
to ransom and let go all only on their promise of faith and truth to
return again between that and Christmas to Bordeaux with their
ransoms. Then that night they lay in the field beside whereas the
battle had been: some unarmed them, but not all, and unarmed all their
prisoners, and every man made good cheer to his prisoner; for that day
whosoever took any prisoner, he was clear his and might quit or ransom
him at his pleasure. All such as were there with the prince were all
made rich with honour and goods, as well by ransoming of prisoners as
by winning of gold, silver, plate, jewels, that was there found: there
was no man that did set anything by rich harness, whereof there was
great plenty, for the Frenchmen came thither richly beseen, weening to
have had the journey for them.

      [1] 'Environ heure de prime.'


When sir James Audley was brought to his lodging, then he sent for sir
Peter Audley his brother and for the lord Bartholomew of Burghersh,
the lord Stephen of Cosington, the lord of Willoughby and the lord
Ralph Ferrers, all these were of his lineage, and then he called
before him his four squires, that had served him that day well and
truly. Then he said to the said lords: 'Sirs, it hath pleased my lord
the prince to give me five hundred marks of revenues by year in
heritage, for the which gift I have done him but small service with my
body. Sirs, behold here these four squires, who hath always served me
truly and specially this day: that honour that I have is by their
valiantness. Wherefore I will reward them: I give and resign into
their hands the gift that my lord the prince hath given me of five
hundred marks of yearly revenues, to them and to their heirs for ever,
in like manner as it was given me. I clearly disherit me thereof and
inherit them without any repeal[1] or condition. The lords and other
that ere there, every man beheld other and said among themselves: It
cometh of a great nobleness to give this gift.' They answered him with
one voice: 'Sir, be it as God will; we shall bear witness in this
behalf wheresoever we be come.' Then they departed from him, and some
of them went to the prince, who the same night would make a supper to
the French king and to the prisoners, for they had enough to do
withal, of that the Frenchmen brought with them,[2] for the Englishmen
wanted victual before, for some in three days had no bread before.

      [1] 'Rappel,' i.e. power of recalling the gift. The word
      'repeal' is a correction of 'rebel.'

      [2] 'Who was to give the king of France a supper of his own
      provisions; for the French had brought great abundance with
      them, and provisions had failed among the English,' etc.


The same day of the battle at night the prince made a supper in his
lodging to the French king and to the most part of the great lords
that were prisoners. The prince made the king and his son, the lord
James of Bourbon, the lord John d'Artois, the earl of Tancarville, the
earl of Estampes, the earl Dammartin, the earl of Joinville and the
lord of Partenay to sit all at one board, and other lords, knights and
squires at other tables; and always the prince served before the king
as humbly as he could, and would not sit at the king's board for any
desire that the king could make, but he said he was not sufficient to
sit at the table with so great a prince as the king was. But then he
said to the king: 'Sir, for God's sake make none evil nor heavy cheer,
though God this day did not consent to follow your will; for, sir,
surely the king my father shall bear you as much honour and amity as
he may do, and shall accord with you so reasonably that ye shall ever
be friends together after. And, sir, methinks ye ought to rejoice,
though the journey be not as ye would have had it, for this day ye
have won the high renown of prowess and have passed this day in
valiantness all other of your party. Sir, I say not this to mock you,
for all that be on our party, that saw every man's deeds, are plainly
accorded by true sentence to give you the prize and chaplet.'
Therewith the Frenchmen began to murmur and said among themselves how
the prince had spoken nobly, and that by all estimation he should
prove a noble man, if God send him life and to persevere in such good


When supper was done, every man went to his lodging with their
prisoners. The same night they put many to ransom and believed them on
their faiths and troths, and ransomed them but easily, for they said
they would set no knight's ransom so high, but that he might pay at
his ease and maintain still his degree. The next day, when they had
heard mass and taken some repast and that everything was trussed and
ready, then they took their horses and rode towards Poitiers. The same
night there was come to Poitiers the lord of Roye with a hundred
spears: he was not at the battle, but he met the duke of Normandy near
to Chauvigny, and the duke sent him to Poitiers to keep the town till
they heard other tidings. When the lord of Roye knew that the
Englishmen were so near coming to the city, he caused every man to be
armed and every man to go to his defence to the walls, towers and
gates; and the Englishmen passed by without any approaching, for they
were so laded with gold, silver and prisoners, that in their returning
they assaulted no fortress; they thought it a great deed if they might
bring the French king, with their other prisoners and riches that they
had won, in safeguard to Bordeaux. They rode but small journeys
because of their prisoners and great carriages that they had: they
rode in a day no more but four or five leagues and lodged ever
betimes, and rode close together in good array saving the marshals'
battles, who rode ever before with five hundred men of arms to open
the passages as the prince should pass; but they found no encounters,
for all the country was so frayed that every man drew to the

As the prince rode, it was shewed him how the lord Audley had given to
his four squires the gift of the five hundred marks that he had given
unto him: then the prince sent for him and he was brought in his
litter to the prince, who received him courteously and said: 'Sir
James, we have knowledge that the revenues that we gave you, as soon
as ye came to your lodging, you gave the same to four squires: we
would know why ye did so, and whether the gift was agreeable to you or
not.' 'Sir,' said the knight, 'it is of truth I have given it to them,
and I shall shew you why I did so. These four squires that be here
present have a long season served me well and truly in many great
businesses and, sir, in this last battle they served me in such wise
that an they had never done nothing else I was bound to reward them,
and before the same day they had never nothing of me in reward. Sir, I
am but a man alone: but by the aid and comfort of them I took on me to
accomplish my vow long before made. I had been dead in the battle an
they had not been: wherefore, sir, when I considered the love that
they bare unto me, I had not been courteous if I would not a rewarded
them. I thank God I have had and shall have enough as long as I live:
I will never be abashed for lack of good. Sir, if I have done this
without your pleasure, I require you to pardon me, for, sir, both I
and my squires shall serve you as well as ever we did.' Then the
prince said: 'Sir James, for anything that ye have done I cannot blame
you, but can you good thank therefor; and for the valiantness of these
squires, whom ye praise so much, I accord to them your gift, and I
will render again to you six hundred marks in like manner as ye had
the other.'

Thus the prince and his company did so much that they passed through
Poitou and Saintonge without damage and came to Blaye, and there
passed the river of Gironde and arrived in the good city of Bordeaux.
It cannot be recorded the great feast and cheer that they of the city
with the clergy made to the prince, and how honourably they were there
received. The prince brought the French king into the abbey of Saint
Andrew's, and there they lodged both, the king in one part and the
prince in the other. The prince bought of the lords, knights and
squires of Gascoyne the most part of the earls of the realm of France,
such as were prisoners, and paid ready money for them. There was
divers questions and challenges made between the knights and squires
of Gascoyne for taking of the French king; howbeit Denis Morbeke by
right of arms and by true tokens that he shewed challenged him for his
prisoner. Another squire of Gascoyne called Bernard of Truttes said
how he had right to him: there was much ado and many words before the
prince and other lords that were there, and because these two
challenged each other to fight in that quarrel, the prince caused the
matter to rest till they came in England and that no declaration
should be made but afore the king of England his father; but because
the French king himself aided to sustain the challenge of Denis
Morbeke, for he inclined more to him than to any other, the prince
therefore privily caused to be delivered to the said sir Denis two
thousand nobles to maintain withal his estate.

Anon after the prince came to Bordeaux, the cardinal of Perigord came
thither, who was sent from the pope in legation, as it was said. He
was there more than fifteen days or the prince would speak with him
because of the chatelain of Amposte and his men, who were against him
in the battle of Poitiers. The prince believed that the cardinal sent
them thither, but the cardinal did so much by the means of the lord of
Caumont, the lord of Montferrand and the captal of Buch, who were his
cousins, they shewed so good reasons to the prince, that he was
content to hear him speak. And when he was before the prince, he
excused himself so sagely that the prince and his council held him
excused, and so he fell again into the prince's love and redeemed out
his men by reasonable ransoms; and the chatelain was set to his ransom
of ten thousand franks, the which he paid after. Then the cardinal
began to treat on the deliverance of the French king, but I pass it
briefly because nothing was done. Thus the prince, the Gascons and
Englishmen tarried still at Bordeaux till it was Lent in great mirth
and revel, and spent foolishly the gold and silver that they had won.
In England also there was great joy when they heard tidings of the
battle of Poitiers, of the discomfiting of the Frenchmen and taking of
the king: great solemnities were made in all churches and great fires
and wakes throughout all England. The knights and squires, such as
were come home from that journey, were much made of and praised more
than other.



In the mean season while this treaty was, there fell in England great
mischief and rebellion of moving of the common people, by which deed
England was at a point to have been lost without recovery. There was
never realm nor country in so great adventure as it was in that time,
and all because of the ease and riches that the common people were of,
which moved them to this rebellion, as sometime they did in France,
the which did much hurt, for by such incidents the realm of France
hath been greatly grieved.

It was a marvellous thing and of poor foundation that this mischief
began in England, and to give ensample to all manner of people I will
speak hereof as it was done, as I was informed, and of the incidents
thereof. There was an usage in England, and yet is in divers
countries, that the noblemen hath great franchise over the commons and
keepeth them in servage, that is to say, their tenants ought by custom
to labour the lords' lands, to gather and bring home their corns, and
some to thresh and to fan, and by servage to make their hay and to hew
their wood and bring it home. All these things they ought to do by
servage, and there be more of these people in England than in any
other realm. Thus the noblemen and prelates are served by them, and
especially in the county of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Bedford. These
unhappy people of these said countries began to stir, because they
said they were kept in great servage, and in the beginning of the
world, they said, there were no bondmen, wherefore they maintained
that none ought to be bond, without he did treason to his lord, as
Lucifer did to God; but they said they could have no such battle,[1]
for they were neither angels nor spirits, but men formed to the
similitude of their lords, saying why should they then be kept so
under like beasts; the which they said they would no longer suffer,
for they would be all one, and if they laboured or did anything for
their lords, they would have wages therefor as well as other. And of
this imagination was a foolish priest in the country of Kent called
John Ball, for the which foolish words he had been three times in the
bishop of Canterbury's prison: for this priest used oftentimes on the
Sundays after mass, when the people were going out of the minster, to
go into the cloister and preach, and made the people to assemble about
him, and would say thus: 'Ah, ye good people, the matters goeth not
well to pass in England, nor shall not do till everything be common,
and that there be no villains nor gentlemen, but that we may be all
united together, and that the lords be no greater masters than we be.
What have we deserved, or why should we be kept thus in servage? We be
all come from one father and one mother, Adam and Eve: whereby can
they say or shew that they be greater lords than we be, saving by that
they cause us to win and labour for that they dispend? They are
clothed in velvet and camlet furred with grise, and we be vestured
with poor cloth: they have their wines, spices and good bread, and we
have the drawing out of the chaff[2] and drink water; they dwell in
fair houses, and we have the pain and travail, rain and wind in the
fields; and by that that cometh of our labours they keep and maintain
their estates: we be called their bondmen, and without we do readily
them service, we be beaten; and we have no sovereign to whom we may
complain, nor that will hear us nor do us right. Let us go to the
king, he is young, and shew him what servage we be in, and shew him
how we will have it otherwise, or else we will provide us of some
remedy; and if we go together, all manner of people that be now in any
bondage will follow us to the intent to be made free; and when the
king seeth us, we shall have some remedy, either by fairness or
otherwise.' Thus John Ball said on Sundays, when the people issued out
of the churches in the villages; wherefore many of the mean people
loved him, and such as intended to no goodness said how he said truth;
and so they would murmur one with another in the fields and in the
ways as they went together, affirming how John Ball said truth.

      [1] The true text is, 'Mais ils n'avoient pas cette taille,'
      'but they were not of that nature.' The translator found the
      corruption 'bataille' for 'taille.'

      [2] Froissart says 'le seigle, le retrait et la paille,' 'the
      rye, the bran and the straw.' The translator's French text had
      'le seigle, le retraict de la paille.'

The archbishop of Canterbury, who was informed of the saying of this
John Ball, caused him to be taken and put in prison a two or three
months to chastise him: howbeit, it had been much better at the
beginning that he had been condemned to perpetual prison or else to
have died, rather than to have suffered him to have been again
delivered out of prison; but the bishop had conscience to let him die.
And when this John Ball was out of prison, he returned again to his
error, as he did before.

Of his words and deeds there were much people in London informed, such
as had great envy at them that were rich and such as were noble; and
then they began to speak among them and said how the realm of England
was right evil governed, and how that gold and silver was taken from
them by them that were named noblemen: so thus these unhappy men of
London began to rebel and assembled them together, and sent word to
the foresaid countries that they should come to London and bring their
people with them, promising them how they should find London open to
receive them and the commons of the city to be of the same accord,
saying how they would do so much to the king that there should not be
one bondman in all England.

This promise moved so them of Kent, of Essex, of Sussex, of Bedford
and of the countries about, that they rose and came towards London to
the number of sixty thousand. And they had a captain called Water
Tyler, and with him in company was Jack Straw and John Ball: these
three were chief sovereign captains, but the head of all was Water
Tyler, and he was indeed a tiler of houses, an ungracious patron. When
these unhappy men began thus to stir, they of London, except such as
were of their band, were greatly affrayed. Then the mayor of London
and the rich men of the city took counsel together, and when they saw
the people thus coming on every side, they caused the gates of the
city to be closed and would suffer no man to enter into the city. But
when they had well imagined, they advised not so to do, for they
thought they should thereby put their suburbs in great peril to be
brent; and so they opened again the city, and there entered in at the
gates in some place a hundred, two hundred, by twenty and by thirty,
and so when they came to London, they entered and lodged: and yet of
truth the third part[3] of these people could not tell what to ask or
demand, but followed each other like beasts, as the shepherds[4] did
of old time, saying how they would go conquer the Holy Land, and at
last all came to nothing. In like wise these villains and poor people
came to London, a hundred mile off, sixty mile, fifty mile, forty
mile, and twenty mile off, and from all countries about London, but
the most part came from the countries before named, and as they came
they demanded ever for the king. The gentlemen of the countries,
knights and squires, began to doubt, when they saw the people began to
rebel; and though they were in doubt, it was good reason; for a less
occasion they might have been affrayed. So the gentlemen drew together
as well as they might.

      [3] 'Bien les trois pars.'  i.e. 'three-fourths.'

      [4] 'Les pastoureaulx.' The reference no doubt is to the
      Pastoureaux of 1320, who were destroyed at Aigues-Mortes when
      attempting to obtain a passage to the Holy Land.

The same day that these unhappy people of Kent were coming to London,
there returned from Canterbury the king's mother, princess of Wales,
coming from her pilgrimage. She was in great jeopardy to have been
lost, for these people came to her chare and dealt rudely with her,
whereof the good lady was in great doubt lest they would have done
some villany to her or to her damosels. Howbeit, God kept her, and she
came in one day from Canterbury to London, for she never durst tarry
by the way. The same time king Richard her son was at the Tower of
London: there his mother found him, and with him there was the earl of
Salisbury, the archbishop of Canterbury, sir Robert of Namur, the lord
of Gommegnies and divers other, who were in doubt of these people that
thus gathered together, and wist not what they demanded. This
rebellion was well known in the king's court, or any of these people
began to stir out of their houses; but the king nor his council did
provide no remedy therefor, which was great marvel. And to the intent
that all lords and good people and such as would nothing but good
should take ensample to correct them that be evil and rebellious, I
shall shew you plainly all the matter, as it was.


The Monday before the feast of Corpus Christi the year of our Lord God
a thousand three hundred and eighty-one these people issued out of
their houses to come to London to speak with the king to be made free,
for they would have had no bondman in England. And so first they came
to Saint Thomas of Canterbury, and there John Ball had thought to have
found the bishop of Canterbury, but he was at London with the king.
When Wat Tyler and Jack Straw entered into Canterbury, all the common
people made great feast, for all the town was of their assent; and
there they took counsel to go to London to the king, and to send some
of their company over the river of Thames into Essex, into Sussex and
into the counties of Stafford and Bedford, to speak to the people that
they should all come to the farther side of London and thereby to
close London round about, so that the king should not stop their
passages, and that they should all meet together on Corpus Christi
day. They that were at Canterbury entered into Saint Thomas' church
and did there much hurt, and robbed and brake up the bishop's chamber,
and in robbing and bearing out their pillage they said: 'Ah, this
chancellor of England hath had a good market to get together all this
riches: he shall give us now account of the revenues of England and of
the great profits that he hath gathered sith the king's coronation.'
When they had this Monday thus broken the abbey of Saint Vincent, they
departed in the morning and all the people of Canterbury with them,
and so took the way to Rochester and sent their people to the villages
about. And in their going they beat down and robbed houses of
advocates and procurers of the king's court and of the archbishop, and
had mercy of none. And when they were come to Rochester, they had
there good cheer; for the people of that town tarried for them, for
they were of the same sect, and then they went to the castle there and
took the knight that had the rule thereof, he was called sir John
Newton, and they said to him: 'Sir, it behoveth you to go with us and
you shall be our sovereign captain and to do that we will have you,'
The knight excused himself honestly and shewed them divers
considerations and excuses, but all availed him nothing, for they said
unto him: 'Sir John, if ye do not as we will have you, ye are but
dead,' The knight, seeing these people in that fury and ready to slay
him, he then doubted death and agreed to them, and so they took him
with them against his inward will; and in like wise did they of other
counties in England, as Essex, Sussex, Stafford, Bedford and Warwick,
even to Lincoln; for they brought the knights and gentlemen into such
obeisance, that they caused them to go with them, whether they would
or not, as the lord Moylays, a great baron, sir Stephen of Hales and
sir Thomas of Cosington and other.

Now behold the great fortune. If they might have come to their
intents, they would have destroyed all the noblemen of England, and
thereafter all other nations would have followed the same and have
taken foot and ensample by them and by them of Gaunt and Flanders, who
rebelled against their lord. The same year the Parisians rebelled in
like wise and found out the mallets of iron, of whom there were more
than twenty thousand, as ye shall hear after in this history; but
first we will speak of them of England.

When these people thus lodged at Rochester departed, and passed the
river and came to Brentford, alway keeping still their opinions,
beating down before them and all about the places and houses of
advocates and procurers, and striking off the heads of divers persons.
And so long they went forward till they came within a four mile of
London, and there lodged on a hill called Blackheath; and as they
went, they said ever they were the king's men and the noble commons of
England:[1] and when they of London knew that they were come so near
to them, the mayor, as ye have heard before, closed the gates and kept
straitly all the passages. This order caused the mayor, who was called
Nicholas Walworth,[2] and divers other rich burgesses of the city, who
were not of their sect; but there were in London of their unhappy
opinions more than thirty thousand.

      [1] 'That they were for the king and the noble commons (or
      commonwealth) of England.'

      [2] Froissart calls him John: his name was really William.

Then these people thus being lodged on Blackheath determined to send
their knight to speak with the king and to shew him how all that they
have done or will do is for him and his honour, and how the realm of
England hath not been well governed a great space for the honour of
the realm nor for the common profit by his uncles and by the clergy,
and specially by the archbishop of Canterbury his chancellor; whereof
they would have account. This knight durst do none otherwise, but so
came by the river of Thames to the Tower. The king and they that were
with him in the Tower, desiring to hear tidings, seeing this knight
coming made him way, and was brought before the king into a chamber;
and with the king was the princess his mother and his two brethren,
the earl of Kent and the lord John Holland, the earl of Salisbury, the
earl of Warwick, the earl of Oxford, the archbishop of Canterbury, the
lord of Saint John's,[3] sir Robert of Namur, the lord of Vertaing,
the lord of Gommegnies, sir Henry of Senzeille, the mayor of London
and divers other notable burgesses. This knight sir John Newton, who
was well known among them, for he was one of the king's officers, he
kneeled down before the king and said: 'My right redoubted lord, let
it not displease your grace the message that I must needs shew you,
for, dear sir, it is by force and against my will.' 'Sir John,' said
the king, 'say what ye will: I hold you excused.' 'Sir, the commons of
this your realm hath sent me to you to desire you to come and speak
with them on Blackheath; for they desire to have none but you: and,
sir, ye need not to have any doubt of your person, for they will do
you no hurt; for they hold and will hold you for their king. But, sir,
they say they will shew you divers things, the which shall be right
necessary for you to take heed of, when they speak with you; of the
which things, sir, I have no charge to shew you: but, sir, it may
please you to give me an answer such as may appease them and that they
may know for truth that I have spoken with you; for they have my
children in hostage till I return again to them, and without I return
again, they will slay my children incontinent.'

      [3] That is, the grand prior of the Hospital.

Then the king made him an answer and said: 'Sir, ye shall have an
answer shortly.' Then the king took counsel what was best for him to
do, and it was anon determined that the next morning the king should
go down the river by water and without fail to speak with them. And
when sir John Newton heard that answer, he desired nothing else and so
took his leave of the king and of the lords and returned again into
his vessel, and passed the Thames and went to Blackheath, where he had
left more than threescore thousand men. And there he answered them
that the next morning they should send some of their council to the
Thames, and there the king would come and speak with them.[4] This
answer greatly pleased them, and so passed that night as well as they
might, and the fourth part of them fasted for lack of victual for they
had none, wherewith they were sore displeased, which was good reason.

      [4] 'Les quatre pars d'eux,' 'four-fifths of them.'

All this season the earl of Buckingham was in Wales, for there he had
fair heritages by reason of his wife, who was daughter to the earl of
Northumberland and Hereford; but the voice was all through London how
he was among these people. And some said certainly how they had seen
him there among them; and all was because there was one Thomas in
their company, a man of the county of Cambridge, that was very like
the earl. Also the lords that lay at Plymouth to go into Portugal were
well informed of this rebellion and of the people that thus began to
rise; wherefore they doubted lest their viage should have been broken,
or else they feared lest the commons about Hampton, Winchester and
Arundel would have come on them: wherefore they weighed up their
anchors and issued out of the haven with great pain, for the wind was
sore against them, and so took the sea and there cast anchor abiding
for the wind. And the duke of Lancaster, who was in the marches of
Scotland between Moorlane and Roxburgh entreating with the Scots,
where it was shewed him of the rebellion, whereof he was in doubt, for
he knew well he was but little beloved with the commons of England;
howbeit, for all those tidings, yet he did sagely demean himself as
touching the treaty with the Scots. The earl Douglas, the earl of
Moray, the earl of Sutherland and the earl Thomas Versy, and the Scots
that were there for the treaty knew right well the rebellion in
England, how the common people in every part began to rebel against
the noblemen; wherefore the Scots thought that England was in great
danger to be lost, and therefore in their treaties they were the more
stiffer against the duke of Lancaster and his council.

Now let us speak of the commons of England and how they persevered.


In the morning on Corpus Christi day king Richard heard mass in the
Tower of London, and all his lords, and then he took his barge with
the earl of Salisbury, the earl of Warwick, the earl of Oxford and
certain knights, and so rowed down along the Thames to Rotherhithe,
whereas was descended down the hill a ten thousand men to see the king
and to speak with him. And when they saw the king's barge coming, they
began to shout, and made such a cry, as though all the devils of hell
had been among them. And they had brought with them sir John Newton to
the intent that, if the king had not come, they would have stricken
him all to pieces, and so they had promised him. And when the king and
his lords saw the demeanour of the people, the best assured of them
were in dread; and so the king was counselled by his barons not to
take any landing there, but so rowed up and down the river. And the
king demanded of them what they would, and said how he was come
thither to speak with them, and they said all with one voice: 'We
would that ye should come aland, and then we shall shew you what we
lack.' Then the earl of Salisbury answered for the king and said:
'Sirs, ye be not in such order nor array that the king ought to speak
with you.' And so with those words no more said: and then the king was
counselled to return again to the Tower of London, and so he did.

And when these people saw that, they were inflamed with ire and
returned to the hill where the great band was, and there shewed them
what answer they had and how the king was returned to the Tower of
London. Then they cried all with one voice, 'Let us go to London,' and
so they took their way thither; and in their going they beat down
abbeys and houses of advocates and of men of the court, and so came
into the suburbs of London, which were great and fair, and there beat
down divers fair houses, and specially they brake up the king's
prisons, as the Marshalsea and other, and delivered out all the
prisoners that were within: and there they did much hurt, and at the
bridge foot they threat them of London because the gates of the bridge
were closed, saying how they would bren all the suburbs and so conquer
London by force, and to slay and bren all the commons of the city.
There were many within the city of their accord, and so they drew
together and said: 'Why do we not let these good people enter into the
city? they are your fellows, and that that they do is for us,' So
therewith the gates were opened, and then these people entered into
the city and went into houses and sat down to eat and drink. They
desired nothing but it was incontinent brought to them, for every man
was ready to make them good cheer and to give them meat and drink to
appease them.

Then the captains, as John Ball, Jack Straw and Wat Tyler, went
throughout London and a twenty thousand with them, and so came to the
Savoy in the way to Westminster, which was a goodly house and it
pertained to the duke of Lancaster. And when they entered, they slew
the keepers thereof and robbed and pilled the house, and when they had
so done, then they set fire on it and clean destroyed and brent it.
And when they had done that outrage, they left not therewith, but went
straight to the fair hospital of the Rhodes called Saint John's,[1]
and there they brent house, hospital, minster and all. Then they went
from street to street and slew all the Flemings that they could find
in church or in any other place, there was none respited from death.
And they brake up divers houses of the Lombards and robbed them and
took their goods at their pleasure, for there was none that durst say
them nay. And they slew in the city a rich merchant called Richard
Lyon, to whom before that time Wat Tyler had done service in France;
and on a time this Richard Lyon had beaten him, while he was his
varlet, the which Wat Tyler then remembered and so came to his house
and strake off his head and caused it to be borne on a spear-point
before him all about the city. Thus these ungracious people demeaned
themselves like people enraged and wood, and so that day they did much
sorrow in London.

      [1] This is called afterwards 'l'Ospital de Saint Jehan du
      Temple,' and therefore would probably be the Temple, to which
      the Hospitallers had suceeded. They had, however, another house
      at Clerkenwell, which also had been once the property of the

And so against night they went to lodge at Saint Katherine's before
the Tower of London, saying how they would never depart thence till
they had the king at their pleasure and till he had accorded to them
all (they would ask, and) that they would ask accounts of the
chancellor of England, to know where all the good was become that he
had levied through the realm, and without he made a good account to
them thereof, it should not be for his profit. And so when they had
done all these evils to the strangers all the day, at night they
lodged before the Tower.

Ye may well know and believe that it was great pity for the danger
that the king and such as were with him were in. For some time these
unhappy people shouted and cried so loud, as though all the devils of
hell had been among them. In this evening the king was counselled by
his brethren and lords and by sir Nicholas Walworth, mayor of London,
and divers other notable and rich burgesses, that in the night time
they should issue out of the Tower and enter into the city, and so to
slay all these unhappy people, while they were at their rest and
asleep; for it was thought that many of them were drunken, whereby
they should be slain like flies; also of twenty of them there was
scant one in harness. And surely the good men of London might well
have done this at their ease, for they had in their houses secretly
their friends and servants ready in harness, and also sir Robert
Knolles was in his lodging keeping his treasure with a sixscore ready
at his commandment; in like wise was sir Perducas d'Albret, who was as
then in London, insomuch that there might well (have) assembled
together an eight thousand men ready in harness. Howbeit, there was
nothing done, for the residue of the commons of the city were sore
doubted, lest they should rise also, and the commons before were a
threescore thousand or more. Then the earl of Salisbury and the wise
men about the king said: 'Sir, if ye can appease them with fairness,
it were best and most profitable, and to grant them everything that
they desire, for if we should begin a thing the which we could not
achieve, we should never recover it again, but we and our heirs ever
to be disinherited,' So this counsel was taken and the mayor
countermanded, and so commanded that he should not stir; and he did as
he was commanded, as reason was. And in the city with the mayor there
were twelve aldermen, whereof nine of them held with the king and the
other three took part with these ungracious people, as it was after
well known, the which they full dearly bought.

And on the Friday in the morning the people, being at Saint
Katharine's near to the Tower, began to apparel themselves and to cry
and shout, and said, without the king would come out and speak with
them, they would assail the Tower and take it by force, and slay all
them that were within. Then the king doubted these words and so was
counselled that he should issue out to speak with them: and then the
king sent to them that they should all draw to a fair plain place
called Mile-end, whereas the people of the city did sport them in the
summer season, and there the king to grant them that they desired; and
there it was cried in the king's name, that whosoever would speak with
the king let him go to the said place, and there he should not fail to
find the king. Then the people began to depart, specially the commons
of the villages, and went to the same place: but all went not thither,
for they were not all of one condition; for there were some that
desired nothing but riches and the utter destruction of the noblemen
and to have London robbed and pilled; that was the principal matter of
their beginning, the which they well shewed, for as soon as the Tower
gate opened and that the king was issued out with his two brethren and
the earl of Salisbury, the earl of Warwick, the earl of Oxford, sir
Robert of Namur, the lord of Vertaing, the lord Gommegnies and divers
other, then Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John Ball and more than four
hundred entered into the Tower and brake up chamber after chamber, and
at last found the archbishop of Canterbury, called Simon, a valiant
man and a wise, and chief chancellor of England, and a little before
he had said mass before the king. These gluttons took him and strake
off his head, and also they beheaded the lord of Saint John's and a
friar minor, master in medicine, pertaining to the duke of Lancaster,
they slew him in despite of his master, and a sergeant at arms called
John Leg; and these four heads were set on four long spears and they
made them to be borne before them through the streets of London and at
last set them a-high on London bridge, as though they had been
traitors to the king and to the realm. Also these gluttons entered
into the princess' chamber and brake her bed, whereby she was so sore
affrayed that she swooned; and there she was taken up and borne to the
water side and put into a barge and covered, and so conveyed to a
place called the Queen's Wardrobe;[2] and there she was all that day
and night like a woman half dead, till she was comforted with the king
her son, as ye shall hear after.

      [2] The Queen's Wardrobe was in the 'Royal' (called by Froissart
      or his copyist 'la Réole'), a palace near Blackfriars.


When the king came to the said place of Mile-end without London, he
put out of his company his two brethren, the earl of Kent and sir John
Holland, and the lord of Gommegnies, for they durst not appear before
the people: and when the king and his other lords were there, he found
there a threescore thousand men of divers villages and of sundry
countries in England; so the king entered in among them and said to
them sweetly: 'Ah, ye good people, I am your king: what lack ye? what
will ye say?' Then such as understood him said: 'We will that ye make
us free for ever, ourselves, our heirs and our lands, and that we be
called no more bond nor so reputed.' 'Sirs,' said the king, 'I am well
agreed thereto. Withdraw you home into your own houses and into such
villages as ye came from, and leave behind you of every village two or
three, and I shall cause writings to be made and seal them with my
seal, the which they shall have with them, containing everything that
ye demand; and to the intent that ye shall be the better assured, I
shall cause my banners to be delivered into every bailiwick, shire and

These words appeased well the common people, such as were simple and
good plain men, that were come thither and wist not why. They said,
'It was well said, we desire no better.' Thus these people began to be
appeased and began to withdraw them into the city of London. And the
king also said a word, the which greatly contented them. He said:
'Sirs, among you good men of Kent ye shall have one of my banners with
you, and ye of Essex another, and ye of Sussex, of Bedford, of
Cambridge, of Yarmouth, of Stafford and of Lynn, each of you one; and
also I pardon everything that ye have done hitherto, so that ye follow
my banners and return home to your houses.' They all answered how they
would so do: thus these people departed and went into London. Then the
king ordained more than thirty clerks the same Friday, to write with
all diligence letter patents and sealed with the king's seal, and
delivered them to these people; and when they had received the
writing, they departed and returned into their own countries: but the
great venom remained still behind, for Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John
Ball said, for all that these people were thus appeased, yet they
would not depart so, and they had of their accord more than thirty
thousand. So they abode still and made no press to have the king's
writing nor seal, for all their intents was to put the city to trouble
in such wise as to slay all the rich and honest persons and to rob and
pill their houses. They of London were in great fear of this,
wherefore they kept their houses privily with their friends and such
servants as they had, every man according to his puissance. And when
these said people were this Friday thus somewhat appeased, and that
they should depart as soon as they had their writings, every man home
into his own country, then king Richard came into the Royal, where the
queen his mother was, right sore affrayed: so he comforted her as well
as he could and tarried there with her all that night.

Yet I shall shew you of an adventure that fell by these ungracious
people before the city of Norwich, by a captain among them called
Guilliam Lister of Stafford. The same day of Corpus Christi that these
people entered into London and brent the duke of Lancaster's house,
called the Savoy; and the hospital of Saint John's and brake up the
king's prisons and did all this hurt, as ye have heard before, the
same time there assembled together they of Stafford, of Lynn, of
Cambridge, of Bedford and of Yarmouth; and as they were coming towards
London, they had a captain among them called Lister. And as they came,
they rested them before Norwich, and in their coming they caused every
man to rise with them, so that they left no villains behind them. The
cause why they rested before Norwich I shall shew you. There was a
knight, captain of the town, called sir Robert Sale. He was no
gentleman born, but he had the grace to be reputed sage and valiant in
arms, and for his valiantness king Edward made him knight. He was of
his body one of the biggest knights in all England. Lister and his
company thought to have had this knight with them and to make him
their chief captain, to the intent to be the more feared and beloved:
so they sent to him that he should come and speak with them in the
field, or else they would bren the town. The knight considered that it
was better for him to go and speak with them rather than they should
do that outrage to the town: then he mounted on his horse and issued
out of the town all alone, and so came to speak with them. And when
they saw him, they made him great cheer and honoured him much,
desiring him to alight off his horse and to speak with them, and so he
did: wherein he did great folly; for when he was alighted, they came
round about him and began to speak fair to him and said: 'Sir Robert,
ye are a knight and a man greatly beloved in this country and renowned
a valiant man; and though ye be thus, yet we know you well, ye be no
gentleman born, but son to a villain such as we be. Therefore come you
with us and be our master, and we shall make you so great a lord, that
one quarter of England shall be under your obeisance,' When the knight
heard them speak thus, it was greatly contrarious to his mind, for he
thought never to make any such bargain, and answered them with a
felonous regard: 'Fly away, ye ungracious people, false and evil
traitors that ye be: would you that I should forsake my natural lord
for such a company of knaves as ye be, to my dishonour for ever? I had
rather ye were all hanged, as ye shall be; for that shall be your
end.' And with those words he had thought to have leapt again upon his
horse, but he failed of the stirrup and the horse started away. Then
they cried all at him and said: 'Slay him without mercy.' When he
heard those words, he let his horse go and drew out a good sword and
began to scrimmish with them, and made a great place about him, that
it was pleasure to behold him. There was none that durst approach near
him: there were some that approached near him, but at every stroke
that he gave he cut off other leg, head or arm: there was none so
hardy but that they feared him: he did there such deeds of arms that
it was marvel to regard. But there were more than forty thousand of
these unhappy people: they shot and cast at him, and he was unarmed:
to say truth, if he had been of iron or steel, yet he must needs have
been slain; but yet, or he died, he slew twelve out of hand, beside
them that he hurt. Finally he was stricken to the earth, and they cut
off his arms and legs and then strake his body all to pieces. This was
the end of sir Robert Sale, which was great damage; for which deed
afterward all the knights and squires of England were angry and sore
displeased when they heard thereof.

Now let us return to the king. The Saturday the king departed from the
Wardrobe in the Royal and went to Westminster and heard mass in the
church there, and all his lords with him. And beside the church there
was a little chapel with an image of our Lady, which did great
miracles and in whom the kings of England had ever great trust and
confidence. The king made his orisons before this image and did there
his offering; and then he leapt on his horse, and all his lords, and
so the king rode toward London; and when he had ridden a little way,
on the left hand there was a way to pass without London.[1]

      [1] Or rather, 'he found a place on the left hand to pass
      without London.'

The same proper morning Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John Ball had
assembled their company to common together in a place called
Smithfield, whereas every Friday there is a market of horses; and
there were together all of affinity more than twenty thousand, and yet
there were many still in the town, drinking and making merry in the
taverns and paid nothing, for they were happy that made them best
cheer. And these people in Smithfield had with them the king's
banners, the which were delivered them the day before, and all these
gluttons were in mind to overrun and to rob London the same day; for
their captains said how they had done nothing as yet. 'These liberties
that the king hath given us is to us but a small profit: therefore let
us be all of one accord and let us overrun this rich and puissant
city, or they of Essex, of Sussex, of Cambridge, of Bedford, of
Arundel, of Warwick, of Reading, of Oxford, of Guildford, of Lynn, of
Stafford, of Yarmouth, of Lincoln, of York and of Durham do come
hither. For all these will come hither; Baker and Lister will bring
them hither; and if we be first lords of London and have the
possession of the riches that is therein, we shall not repent us; for
if we leave it, they that come after will have it from us.'

To this counsel they all agreed; and therewith the king came the same
way unware of them, for he had thought to have passed that way without
London, and with him a forty horse. And when he came before the abbey
of Saint Bartholomew and beheld all these people, then the king rested
and said how he would go no farther till he knew what these people
ailed, saying, if they were in any trouble, how he would rappease them
again. The lords that were with him tarried also, as reason was when
they saw the king tarry. And when Wat Tyler saw the king tarry, he
said to his people: 'Sirs, yonder is the king: I will go and speak
with him. Stir not from hence, without I make you a sign; and when I
make you that sign, come on and slay all them except the king; but do
the king no hurt, he is young, we shall do with him as we list and
shall lead him with us all about England, and so shall we be lords of
all the realm without doubt.' And there was a doublet-maker of London
called John Tycle, and he had brought to these gluttons a sixty
doublets, the which they ware: then he demanded of these captains who
should pay him for his doublets; he demanded thirty mark. Wat Tyler
answered him and said: 'Friend, appease yourself, thou shalt be well
paid or this day be ended. Keep thee near me; I shall be thy
creditor.' And therewith he spurred his horse and departed from his
company and came to the king, so near him that his horse head touched
the croup of the king's horse, and the first word that he said was
this: 'Sir king, seest thou all yonder people?' 'Yea truly,' said the
king, 'wherefore sayest thou?' 'Because,' said he, 'they be all at my
commandment and have sworn to me faith and truth, to do all that I
will have them' 'In a good time,' said the king, 'I will well it be
so.' Then Wat Tyler said, as he that nothing demanded but riot: 'What
believest thou, king, that these people and as many more as be in
London at my commandment, that they will depart from thee thus without
having thy letters?' 'No,' said the king, 'ye shall have them: they
be ordained for you and shall be delivered every one each after other.
Wherefore, good fellows, withdraw fair and easily to your people and
cause them to depart out of London; for it is our intent that each of
you by villages and townships shall have letters patents, as I have
promised you.'

With those words Wat Tyler cast his eyen on a squire that was there
with the king bearing the king's sword, and Wat Tyler hated greatly
the same squire, for the same squire had displeased him before for
words between them. 'What,' said Tyler, 'art thou there? Give me thy
dagger.' 'Nay,' said the squire, 'that will I not do: wherefore should
I give it thee?' The king beheld the squire and said: 'Give it him;
let him have it.' And so the squire took it him sore against his will.
And when this Wat Tyler had it, he began to play therewith and turned
it in his hand, and said again to the squire: 'Give me also that
sword.' 'Nay,' said the squire, 'it is the king's sword: thou art not
worthy to have it, for thou art but a knave; and if there were no more
here but thou and I, thou durst not speak those words for as much gold
in quantity as all yonder abbey.'[2] 'By my faith,' said Wat Tyler, 'I
shall never eat meat till I have thy head': and with those words the
mayor of London came to the king with a twelve horses well armed under
their coats, and so he brake the press and saw and heard how Wat Tyler
demeaned himself, and said to him: 'Ha, thou knave, how art thou so
hardy in the king's presence to speak such words? It is too much for
thee so to do.' Then the king began to chafe and said to the mayor:
'Set hands on him.' And while the king said so, Tyler said to the
mayor: 'A God's name what have I said to displease thee?' 'Yes truly,'
quoth the mayor, 'thou false stinking knave, shalt thou speak thus in
the presence of the king my natural lord? I commit never to live,
without thou shalt dearly abye it.'[3] And with those words the mayor
drew out his sword and strake Tyler so great a stroke on the head,
that he fell down at the feet of his horse, and as soon as he was
fallen, they environed him all about, whereby he was not seen of his
company. Then a squire of the king's alighted, called John Standish,
and he drew out his sword and put it into Wat Tyler's belly, and so he

      [2] The full text has, 'for as much gold as that minster of
      Saint Paul is great.'

      [3] 'Jamais je veux vivre, si tu ne le compares.'

Then the ungracious people there assembled, perceiving their captain
slain, began to murmur among themselves and said: 'Ah, our captain is
slain, let us go and slay them all': and therewith they arranged
themselves on the place in manner of battle, and their bows before
them. Thus the king began a great outrage;[4] howbeit, all turned to
the best: for as soon as Tyler was on the earth, the king departed
from all his company and all alone he rode to these people, and said
to his own men: 'Sirs, none of you follow me; let me alone.' And so
when he came before these ungracious people, who put themselves in
ordinance to revenge their captain, then the king said to them: 'Sirs,
what aileth you? Ye shall have no captain but me: I am your king: be
all in rest and peace.' And so the most part of the people that heard
the king speak and saw him among them, were shamefast and began to wax
peaceable and to depart; but some, such as were malicious and evil,
would not depart, but made semblant as though they would do somewhat.

      [4] 'Outrage' here means 'act of boldness,' as elsewhere, e.g.
      'si fist une grant apertise d'armes et un grant outrage.'

Then the king returned to his own company and demanded of them what
was best to be done. Then he was counselled to draw into the field,
for to fly away was no boot. Then said the mayor: 'It is good that we
do so, for I think surely we shall have shortly some comfort of them
of London and of such good men as be of our part, who are purveyed and
have their friends and men ready armed in their houses.' And in the
mean time voice and bruit ran through London how these unhappy people
were likely to slay the king and the mayor in Smithfield; through the
which noise all manner of good men of the king's party issued out of
their houses and lodgings well armed, and so came all to Smithfield
and to the field where the king was, and they were anon to the number
of seven or eight thousand men well armed. And first thither came sir
Robert Knolles and sir Perducas d'Albret, well accompanied, and divers
of the aldermen of London, and with them a six hundred men in harness,
and a puissant man of the city, who was the king's draper,[5] called
Nicholas Bramber, and he brought with him a great company; and ever as
they came, they ranged them afoot in order of battle: and on the other
part these unhappy people were ready ranged, making semblance to give
battle, and they had with them divers of the king's banners. There the
king made three knights, the one the mayor of London sir Nicholas
Walworth, sir John Standish and sir Nicholas Bramber. Then the lords
said among themselves: 'What shall we do? We see here our enemies, who
would gladly slay us, if they might have the better hand of us.' Sir
Robert Knolles counselled to go and fight with them and slay them all;
yet the king would not consent thereto, but said: 'Nay, I will not so:
I will send to them commanding them to send me again my banners and
thereby we shall see what they will do. Howbeit, other by fairness or
otherwise, I will have them.' 'That is well said, sir,' quoth the earl
of Salisbury. Then these new knights were sent to them, and these
knights made token to them not to shoot at them, and when they came so
near them that their speech might be heard, they said: 'Sirs, the king
commandeth you to send to him again his banners, and we think he will
have mercy of you.' And incontinent they delivered again the banners
and sent them to the king. Also they were commanded on pain of their
heads, that all such as had letters of the king to bring them forth
and to send them again to the king; and so many of them delivered
their letters, but not all. Then the king made them to be all to torn
in their presence; and as soon as the king's banners were delivered
again, these unhappy people kept none array, but the most part of them
did cast down their bows, and so brake their array and returned into
London. Sir Robert Knolles was sore displeased in that he might not go
to slay them all: but the king would not consent thereto, but said he
would be revenged of them well enough; and so he was after.

      [5] 'Qui estoit des draps du roy.' He owned large estates in
      Essex and also shops in London. He became one of the councillors
      of Richard II.

Thus these foolish people departed, some one way and some another; and
the king and his lords and all his company right ordinately entered
into London with great joy. And the first journey that the king made
he went to the lady princess his mother, who was in a castle in the
Royal called the Queen's Wardrobe, and there she had tarried two days
and two nights right sore abashed, as she had good reason; and when
she saw the king her son, she was greatly rejoiced and said: 'Ah, fair
son, what pain and great sorrow that I have suffered for you this
day!' Then the king answered and said: 'Certainly, madam, I know it
well; but now rejoice yourself and thank God, for now it is time. I
have this day recovered mine heritage and the realm of England, the
which I had near lost.' Thus the king tarried that day with his
mother, and every lord went peaceably to their own lodgings. Then
there was a cry made in every street in the king's name, that all
manner of men, not being of the city of London and have not dwelt
there the space of one year, to depart; and if any such be found there
the Sunday by the sun-rising, that they should be taken as traitors to
the king and to lose their heads. This cry thus made, there was none
that durst brake it, and so all manner of people departed and sparkled
abroad every man to their own places. John Ball and Jack Straw were
found in an old house hidden, thinking to have stolen away, but they
could not, for they were accused by their own men. Of the taking of
them the king and his lords were glad, and then strake off their heads
and Wat Tyler's also, and they were set on London bridge, and the
valiant men's heads taken down that they had set on the Thursday
before. These tidings anon spread abroad, so that the people of the
strange countries, which were coming towards London, returned back
again to their own houses and durst come no farther.



When the English lords saw that their squire returned not again at the
time appointed, and could know nothing what the Scots did, nor what
they were purposed to do, then they thought well that their squire was
taken. The lords sent each to other, to be ready whensoever they
should hear that the Scots were abroad: as for their messenger, they
thought him but lost.

Now let us speak of the earl Douglas and other, for they had more to
do than they that went by Carlisle. When the earls of Douglas, of
Moray, of March, and Dunbar[1] departed from the great host, they took
their way thinking to pass the water and to enter into the bishopric
of Durham, and to ride to the town and then to return, brenning and
exiling the country and so to come to Newcastle and to lodge there in
the town in the despite of all the Englishmen. And as they determined,
so they did assay to put it in use, for they rode a great pace under
covert without doing of any pillage by the way or assaulting of any
castle, tower or house, but so came into the lord Percy's land and
passed the river of Tyne without any let a three leagues above
Newcastle not far from Brancepeth, and at last entered into the
bishopric of Durham, where they found a good country. Then they began
to make war, to slay people and to bren villages and to do many sore

      [1] George, earl of March and Dunbar: the text gives Mare, but
      there was at this time no earl of Mar.

As at that time the earl of Northumberland and the other lords and
knights of that country knew nothing of their coming. When tidings
came to Newcastle and to Durham that the Scots were abroad, and that
they might well see by the fires and smoke abroad in the country, the
earl sent to Newcastle his two sons and sent commandment to every man
to draw to Newcastle, saying to his sons: 'Ye shall go to Newcastle
and all the country shall assemble there, and I shall tarry at
Alnwick, which is a passage that they must pass by. If we may enclose
them, we shall speed well.' Sir Henry Percy and sir Ralph his brother
obeyed their father's commandment and came thither with them of the
country. The Scots rode burning and exiling the country, that the
smoke thereof came to Newcastle. The Scots came to the gates of Durham
and scrimmished there; but they tarried not long but returned, as they
had ordained before to do, and that they found by the way took and
destroyed it. Between Durham and Newcastle is but twelve leagues
English and a good country: there was no town, without it were closed,
but it was brent, and they repassed the river of Tyne where they had
passed before, and then came before Newcastle and there rested. All
the English knights and squires of the country of York and bishopric
of Durham were assembled at Newcastle, and thither came the seneschal
of York, sir Ralph Lumley, sir Matthew Redman, captain of Berwick, sir
Robert Ogle, sir Thomas Grey, sir Thomas Holton, sir John Felton, sir
John Lilleburn, sir Thomas Abingdon, the baron of Hilton, sir John
Coppledike and divers other, so that the town was so full of people
that they wist not where to lodge.

When these three Scottish earls who were chief captains had made their
enterprise in the bishopric of Durham and had sore overrun the
country, then they returned to Newcastle and there rested and tarried
two days, and every day they scrimmished. The earl of Northumberland's
two sons were two young lusty knights and were ever foremost at the
barriers to scrimmish. There were many proper feats of arms done and
achieved: there was fighting hand to hand: among other there fought
hand to hand the earl Douglas and sir Henry Percy, and by force of
arms the earl Douglas won the pennon of sir Henry Percy's, wherewith
he was sore displeased and so were all the Englishmen. And the earl
Douglas said to sir Henry Percy: 'Sir, I shall bear this token of your
prowess into Scotland and shall set it on high on my castle of
Dalkeith, that it may be seen far off,' 'Sir,' quoth sir Henry, 'ye
may be sure ye shall not pass the bounds of this country till ye be
met withal in such wise that ye shall make none avaunt thereof,'
'Well, sir,' quoth the earl Douglas, 'come this night to my lodging
and seek for your pennon: I shall set it before my lodging and see if
ye will come to take it away.' So then it was late, and the Scots
withdrew to their lodgings and refreshed them with such as they had.
They had flesh enough: they made that night good watch, for they
thought surely to be awaked for the words they had spoken, but they
were not, for sir Henry Percy was counselled not so to do.

The next day the Scots dislodged and returned towards their own
country, and so came to a castle and a town called Pontland, whereof
sir Edmund of Alphel was lord, who was a right good knight. There the
Scots rested, for they came thither betimes, and understood that the
knight was in his castle. Then they ordained to assail the castle, and
gave a great assault, so that by force of arms they won it and the
knight within it. Then the town and castle was brent; and from thence
the Scots went to the town and castle of Otterburn, an eight English
mile from Newcastle[2] and there lodged. That day they made none
assault, but the next morning they blew their horns and made ready to
assail the castle, which was strong, for it stood in the marish. That
day they assaulted till they were weary, and did nothing. Then they
sowned the retreat and returned to their lodgings. Then the lords drew
to council to determine what they should do. The most part were of the
accord that the next day they should dislodge without giving of any
assault and to draw fair and easily towards Carlisle. But the earl
Douglas brake that counsel and said: 'In despite of sir Henry Percy,
who said he would come and win again his pennon, let us not depart
hence for two or three days. Let us assail this castle: it is
pregnable: we shall have double honour. And then let us see if he will
come and fetch his pennon: he shall be well defended.'[3] Every man
accorded to his saying, what for their honour and for the love of him.
Also they lodged there at their ease, for there was none that troubled
them: they made many lodgings of boughs and great herbs and fortified
their camp sagely with the marish that was thereby, and their
carriages were set at the entry into the marishes and had all their
beasts within the marish. Then they apparelled for to assault the next
day: this was their intention.

      [2] Froissart says 'eight English leagues.' In the next chapter
      the distance becomes 'seven little leagues,' and later on, 'a
      six English miles,' where the original is 'lieues.' The actual
      distance is about thirty miles. The translator gives the form
      'Combur' here, but 'Ottenburge' in the next chapter, as the
      name of the place. It is remarkable indeed how little trouble
      he seems to have taken generally to give English names correctly.
      In this chapter we have 'Nymyche' for 'Alnwick' and 'Pouclan'
      for 'Pontland,' forms rather less like the real names than those
      which he found in the French text, viz. Nynich and Ponclau.

      [3] Froissart says, 'if he comes, it shall be defended.' The
      translator perhaps means 'he shall be prevented.'

Now let us speak of sir Henry Percy and of sir Ralph his brother and
shew somewhat what they did. They were sore displeased that the earl
Douglas had won the pennon of their arms: also it touched greatly
their honours, if they did not as sir Henry Percy said he would; for
he had said to the earl Douglas that he should not carry his pennon
out of England, and also he had openly spoken it before all the
knights and squires that were at Newcastle. The Englishmen there
thought surely that the earl Douglas' band was but the Scots' vanguard
and that their host was left behind. The knights of the country, such
as were well expert in arms, spake against sir Henry Percy's opinion
and said to him: 'Sir, there fortuneth in war oftentimes many losses.
If the earl Douglas have won your pennon, he bought it dear, for he
came to the gate to seek it and was well beaten:[4] another day ye
shall win as much of him or more. Sir, we say this because we know
well all the power of Scotland is abroad in the fields, and if we
issue out and be not men enow to fight with them, and peradventure
they have made this scrimmish with us to the intent to draw us out of
the town, and the number that they be of, as it is said, above forty
thousand men, they may soon enclose us and do with us what they will.
Yet it were better to lose a pennon than two or three hundred knights
and squires and put all our country in adventure,' These words
refrained sir Henry and his brother, for they would do nothing against
counsel. Then tidings came to them by such as had seen the Scots and
seen all their demeanour and what way they took and where they rested.

      [4] i.e. 'well fought with.'


It was shewed to sir Henry Percy and to his brother and to the other
knights and squires that were there, by such as had followed the Scots
from Newcastle and had well advised their doing, who said to sir Henry
and to sir Ralph: 'Sirs, we have followed the Scots privily and have
discovered all the country. The Scots be at Pontland and have taken
sir Edmund Alphel in his own castle, and from thence they be gone to
Otterburn and there they lay this night. What they will do to-morrow
we know not: they are ordained to abide there: and, sirs, surely their
great host is not with them, for in all they pass not there a three
thousand men,' When sir Henry heard that, he was joyful and said:
'Sirs, let us leap on our horses, for by the faith I owe to God and to
my lord my father I will go seek for my pennon and dislodge them this
same night.' Knights and squires that heard him agreed thereto and
were joyous, and every man made him ready.

The same evening the bishop of Durham came thither with a good
company, for he heard at Durham how the Scots were before Newcastle
and how that the lord Percy's sons with other lords and knights should
fight with the Scots: therefore the bishop of Durham to come to the
rescue had assembled up all the country and so was coming to
Newcastle. But sir Henry Percy would not abide his coming, for he had
with him six hundred spears, knights and squires, and an eight
thousand footmen. They thought that sufficient number to fight with
the Scots, if they were not but three hundred spears and three
thousand of other. Thus they departed from Newcastle after dinner and
set forth in good order, and took the same way as the Scots had gone
and rode to Otterburn, a seven little leagues from thence and fair
way, but they could not ride fast because of their foot-men. And when
the Scots had supped and some laid down to their rest, and were weary
of travailing and assaulting of the castle all that day, and thought
to rise early in the morning in cool of the day to give a new assault,
therewith suddenly the Englishmen came on them and entered into the
lodgings, weening it had been the masters' lodgings, and therein were
but varlets and servants. Then the Englishmen cried, 'Percy, Percy!'
and entered into the lodgings, and ye know well where such affray is
noise is soon raised: and it fortuned well for the Scots, for when
they saw the Englishmen came to wake them, then the lord sent a
certain of their servants of foot-men to scrimmish with the Englishmen
at the entry of the lodgings, and in the mean time they armed and
apparelled them, every man under his banner and under his captain's
pennon. The night was far on, but the moon shone so bright as an it
had been in a manner day. It was in the month of August and the
weather fair and temperate.

Thus the Scots were drawn together and without any noise departed from
their lodgings and went about a little mountain, which was greatly for
their advantage. For all the day before they had well advised the
place and said among themselves: 'If the Englishmen come on us
suddenly, then we will do thus and thus, for it is a jeopardous thing
in the night if men of war enter into our lodgings. If they do, then
we will draw to such a place, and thereby other we shall win or lose.'
When the Englishmen entered into the field, at the first they soon
overcame the varlets, and as they entered further in, always they
found new men to busy them and to scrimmish with them. Then suddenly
came the Scots from about the mountain and set on the Englishmen or
they were ware, and cried their cries; whereof the Englishmen were
sore astonied. Then they cried 'Percy!' and the other party cried

There began a cruel battle and at the first encounter many were
overthrown of both parties; and because the Englishmen were a great
number and greatly desired to vanquish their enemies, and rested at
their pace[1] and greatly did put aback the Scots, so that the Scots
were near discomfited. Then the earl James Douglas, who was young and
strong and of great desire to get praise and grace, and was willing to
deserve to have it, and cared for no pain nor travail, came forth with
his banner and cried, 'Douglas, Douglas!' and sir Henry Percy and sir
Ralph his brother, who had great indignation against the earl Douglas
because he had won the pennon of their arms at the barriers before
Newcastle, came to that part and cried, 'Percy!' Their two banners met
and their men: there was a sore fight: the Englishmen were so strong
and fought so valiantly that they reculed the Scots back. There were
two valiant knights of Scots under the banner of the earl Douglas,
called sir Patrick of Hepbourn and sir Patrick his son. They acquitted
themselves that day valiantly: the earl's banner had been won, an they
had not been: they defended it so valiantly and in the rescuing
thereof did such feats of arms, that it was greatly to their
recommendation and to their heirs' for ever after.

      [1] In French, 'ilz se arresterent,' without 'and.'

It was shewed me by such as had been at the same battle, as well by
knights and squires of England as of Scotland, at the house of the
earl of Foix,--for anon after this battle was done I met at Orthez two
squires of England called John of Chateauneuf and John of Cantiron;
also when I returned to Avignon I found also there a knight and a
squire of Scotland; I knew them and they knew me by such tokens as I
shewed them of their country, for I, author of this book, in my youth
had ridden nigh over all the realm of Scotland, and I was as then a
fifteen days in the house of earl William Douglas, father to the same
earl James, of whom I spake of now, in a castle of five leagues from
Edinburgh in the country of Dalkeith;[2] the same time I saw there
this earl James, a fair young child, and a sister of his called the
lady Blanche,--and I was informed by both these parties[3] how this
battle was as sore a battle fought as lightly hath been heard of
before of such a number; and I believe it well, for Englishmen on the
one party and Scots on the other party are good men of war, for when
they meet there is a hard fight without sparing, there is no ho
between them as long as spears, swords, axes or daggers will endure,
but lay on each upon other, and when they be well beaten[4] and that
the one party hath obtained the victory, they then glorify so in their
deeds of arms and are so joyful, that such as be taken they shall be
ransomed or they go out of the field, so that shortly each of them is
so content with other that at their departing-courteously they will
say, 'God thank you'; but in fighting one with another there is no
play nor sparing, and this is true, and that shall well appear by this
said rencounter, for it was as valiantly foughten as could be devised,
as ye shall hear.

      [2] 'Which is called in the country Dalkeith.' The French has
      'que on nomme au pays Dacquest,' of which the translator makes
      'in the countrey of Alquest.'

      [3] 'By both sides,' i.e. Scotch and English.

      [4] 'When they have well fought.'


Knights and squires were of good courage on both parties to fight
valiantly: cowards there had no place, but hardiness reigned with
goodly feats of arms, for knights and squires were so joined together
at hand strokes, that archers had no place of nother party. There the
Scots shewed great hardiness and fought merrily with great desire of
honour: the Englishmen were three to one: howbeit, I say not but
Englishmen did nobly acquit themselves, for ever the Englishmen had
rather been slain or taken in the place than to fly. Thus, as I have
said, the banners of Douglas and Percy and their men were met each
against other, envious who should win the honour of that journey. At
the beginning the Englishmen were so strong that they reculed back
their enemies: then the earl Douglas, who was of great heart and high
of enterprise, seeing his men recule back, then to recover the place
and to shew knightly valour he took his axe in both his hands, and
entered so into the press that he made himself way in such wise, that
none durst approach near him, and he was so well armed that he bare
well off such strokes as he received.[1] Thus he went ever forward
like a hardy Hector, willing alone to conquer the field and to
discomfit his enemies: but at last he was encountered with three
spears all at once, the one strake him on the shoulder, the other on
the breast and the stroke glinted down to his belly, and the third
strake him in the thigh, and sore hurt with all three strokes, so that
he was borne perforce to the earth and after that he could not be
again relieved. Some of his knights and squires followed him, but not
all, for it was night, and no light but by the shining of the moon.
The Englishmen knew well they had borne one down to the earth, but
they wist not who it was; for if they had known that it had been the
earl Douglas, they had been thereof so joyful and so proud that the
victory had been theirs. Nor also the Scots knew not of that adventure
till the end of the battle; for if they had known it, they should have
been so sore despaired and discouraged that they would have fled away.
Thus as the earl Douglas was felled to the earth, he was stricken into
the head with an axe, and another stroke through the thigh: the
Englishmen passed forth and took no heed of him: they thought none
otherwise but that they had slain a man of arms. On the other part the
earl George de la March and of Dunbar fought right valiantly and gave
the Englishmen much ado, and cried, 'Follow Douglas,' and set on the
sons of Percy: also earl John of Moray with his banner and men fought
valiantly and set fiercely on the Englishmen, and gave them so much to
do that they wist not to whom to attend.

      [1] 'No man was so well armed that he did not fear the great
      strokes which he gave.'


Of all the battles and encounterings that I have made mention of
herebefore in all this history, great or small, this battle that I
treat of now was one of the sorest and best foughten without cowardice
or faint hearts. For there was nother knight nor squire but that did
his devoir and fought hand to hand: this battle was like the battle of
Becherel,[1] the which was valiantly fought and endured. The earl of
Northumberland's sons, sir Henry and sir Ralph Percy, who were chief
sovereign captains, acquitted themselves nobly, and sir Ralph Percy
entered in so far among his enemies that he was closed in and hurt,
and so sore handled that his breath was so short, that he was taken
prisoner by a knight of the earl of Moray's called sir John Maxwell.
In the taking the Scottish knight demanded what he was, for it was in
the night, so that he knew him not, and sir Ralph was so sore overcome
and bled fast, that at last he said: 'I am Ralph Percy.' Then the Scot
said: 'Sir Ralph, rescue or no rescue I take you for my prisoner: I am
Maxwell.' 'Well,' quoth sir Ralph, 'I am content: but then take heed
to me, for I am sore hurt, my hosen and my greaves are full of blood,'
Then the knight saw by him the earl Moray and said: 'Sir, here I
deliver to you sir Ralph Percy as prisoner; but, sir, let good heed be
taken to him, for he is sore hurt.' The earl was joyful of these words
and said: 'Maxwell, thou hast well won thy spurs.' Then he delivered
sir Ralph Percy to certain of his men, and they stopped and wrapped
his wounds: and still the battle endured, not knowing who had as then
the better, for there were many taken and rescued again that came to
no knowledge.

      [1] Or, according to another reading, 'Cocherel.'

Now let us speak of the young James earl of Douglas, who did marvels
in arms or he was beaten down. When he was overthrown, the press was
great about him, so that he could not relieve, for with an axe he had
his death's wound. His men followed him as near as they could, and
there came to him sir James Lindsay his cousin and sir John and sir
Walter Sinclair and other knights and squires. And by him was a gentle
knight of his, who followed him all the day, and a chaplain of his,
not like a priest but like a valiant man of arms, for all that night
he followed the earl with a good axe in his hands and still
scrimmished about the earl thereas he lay, and reculed back some of
the Englishmen with great strokes that he gave. Thus he was found
fighting near to his master, whereby he had great praise, and thereby
the same year he was made archdeacon of Aberdeen. This priest was
called sir William of North Berwick: he was a tall man and a hardy and
was sore hurt. When these knights came to the earl, they found him in
an evil case and a knight of his lying by him called sir Robert Hart:
he had a fifteen wounds in one place and other. Then sir John Sinclair
demanded of the earl how he did. 'Right evil, cousin,' quoth the earl,
'but thanked be God there hath been but a few of mine ancestors that
hath died in their beds: but, cousin, I require you think to revenge
me, for I reckon myself but dead, for my heart fainteth oftentimes. My
cousin Walter and you, I pray you raise up again my banner which lieth
on the ground, and my squire Davie Collemine slain: but, sirs, shew
nother to friend nor foe in what case ye see me in; for if mine
enemies knew it, they would rejoice, and our friends discomforted.'
The two brethren of Sinclair and sir James Lindsay did as the earl had
desired them and raised up again his banner and cried 'Douglas!' Such
as were behind and heard that cry drew together and set on their
enemies valiantly and reculed back the Englishmen and many overthrown,
and so drave the Englishmen back beyond the place whereas the earl
lay, who was by that time dead, and so came to the earl's banner, the
which sir John Sinclair held in his hands, and many good knights and
squires of Scotland about him, and still company drew to the cry of
'Douglas.' Thither came the earl Moray with his banner well
accompanied, and also the earl de la March and of Dunbar, and when
they saw the Englishmen recule and their company assembled together,
they renewed again the battle and gave many hard and sad strokes.


To say truth, the Englishmen were sorer travailed than the Scots, for
they came the same day from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a six English miles,
and went a great pace to the intent to find the Scots, which they did;
so that by their fast going they were near out of breath, and the
Scots were fresh and well rested, which greatly availed them when time
was of their business: for in the last scrimmish they reculed back the
Englishmen in such wise, that after that they could no more assemble
together, for the Scots passed through their battles. And it fortuned
that sir Henry Percy and the lord of Montgomery, a valiant knight of
Scotland, fought together hand to hand right valiantly without letting
of any other, for every man had enough to do. So long they two fought
that per force of arms sir Henry Percy was taken prisoner by the said
lord of Montgomery.

The knights and squires of Scotland, as sir Marc Adreman,[1] sir
Thomas Erskine, sir William, sir James and sir Alexander Lindsay, the
lord of Fenton, sir John of Saint-Moreaulx,[2] sir Patrick of Dunbar,
sir John and sir Walter Sinclair, sir John Maxwell, sir Guy Stuart,
sir John Haliburton, sir Alexander Ramsay, Robert Collemine[3] and his
two sons John and Robert; who were there made knights, and a hundred
knights and squires that I cannot name, all these right valiantly did
acquit themselves. And on the English party, before that the lord
Percy was taken and after, there fought valiantly sir Ralph Lumley,
sir Matthew Redman, sir Thomas Ogle, sir Thomas Gray, sir Thomas
Helton, sir Thomas Abingdon, sir John Lilleburn, sir William
Walsingham, the baron of Helton, sir John of Colpedich,[4] the
seneschal of York and divers other footmen. Whereto should I write
long process? This was a sore battle and well foughten; and as fortune
is always changeable, though the Englishmen were more in number than
the Scots and were right valiant men of war and well expert, and that
at the first front they reculed back the Scots, yet finally the Scots
obtained the place and victory, and all the foresaid Englishmen taken,
and a hundred more, saving sir Matthew Redman, captain of Berwick, who
when he knew no remedy nor recoverance, and saw his company fly from
the Scots and yielded them on every side, then he took his horse and
departed to save himself.

      [1] Perhaps 'Malcolm Drummond.'

      [2] The true reading seems to be 'Sandilands.'

      [3] Perhaps 'Coningham.'

      [4] Either 'Copeland' or 'Copeldike.'

The same season about the end of this discomfiture there was an
English squire called Thomas Waltham, a goodly and a valiant man, and
that was well seen, for of all that night he would nother fly nor yet
yield him. It was said he had made a vow at a feast in England, that
the first time that ever he saw Englishmen and Scots in battle, he
would so do his devoir to his power, in such wise that either he would
be reputed for the best doer on both sides or else to die in the pain.
He was called a valiant and a hardy man and did so much by his
prowess, that under the banner of the earl of Moray he did such
valiantness in arms, that the Scots had marvel thereof, and so was
slain in fighting: the Scots would gladly have taken him alive, but he
would never yield, he hoped ever to have been rescued. And with him
there was a Scottish squire slain, cousin to the king of Scots, called
Simon Glendowyn; his death was greatly complained of the Scots.

This battle was fierce and cruel till it came to the end of the
discomfiture; but when the Scots saw the Englishmen recule and yield
themselves, then the Scots were courteous and set them to their
ransom, and every man said to his prisoner: 'Sirs, go and unarm you
and take your ease; I am your master:' and so made their prisoners as
good cheer as though they had been brethren, without doing to them any
damage. The chase endured a five English miles, and if the Scots had
been men enow, there had none scaped, but other they had been taken or
slain. And if Archambault Douglas and the earl of Fife, the earl
Sutherland and other of the great company who were gone towards
Carlisle had been there, by all likelihood they had taken the bishop
of Durham and the town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I shall shew you how.
The same evening that the Percies departed from Newcastle, as ye have
heard before, the bishop of Durham with the rearband came to Newcastle
and supped: and as he sat at the table, he had imagination in himself
how he did not acquit himself well to see the Englishmen in the field
and he to be within the town. Incontinent he caused the table to be
taken away and commanded to saddle his horses and to sown the
trumpets, and called up men in the town to arm themselves and to mount
on their horses, and foot-men to order themselves to depart. And thus
every man departed out of the town to the number of seven thousand,
two thousand on horseback and five thousand afoot; they took their way
toward Otterburn, whereas the battle had been. And by that time they
had gone two mile[5] from Newcastle tidings came to them how their men
were fighting with the Scots. Therewith the bishop rested there, and
incontinent came more flying fast, that they were out of breath. Then
they were demanded how the matter went. They answered and said: 'Right
evil; we be all discomfited: here cometh the Scots chasing of us.'
These tidings troubled the Englishmen, and began to doubt. And again
the third time men came flying as fast as they might. When the men of
the bishopric of Durham heard of these evil tidings, they were abashed
in such wise that they brake their array, so that the bishop could not
hold together the number of five hundred. It was thought that if the
Scots had followed them in any number, seeing that it was night, that
in the entering into the town, and the Englishmen so abashed, the town
had been won.

      [5] The word 'lieue' is translated 'mile' throughout.

The bishop of Durham, being in the field, had good will to have
succoured the Englishmen and recomforted his men as much as he could;
but he saw his own men fly as well as other. Then he demanded counsel
of sir William Lucy and of sir Thomas Clifford and of other knights,
what was best to do. These knights for their honour would give him no
counsel; for they thought to return again and do nothing should sown
greatly to their blame, and to go forth might be to their great
damage; and so stood still and would give none answer, and the longer
they stood, the fewer they were, for some still stale away. Then the
bishop said: 'Sirs, all things considered, it is none honour to put
all in peril, nor to make of one evil damage twain. We hear how our
company be discomfited, and we cannot remedy it: for to go to recover
them, we know not with whom nor with what number we shall meet. Let us
return fair and easily for this night to Newcastle, and to-morrow let
us draw together and go look on our enemies.' Every man answered: 'As
God will, so be it.' Therewith they returned to Newcastle. Thus a man
may consider the great default that is in men that be abashed and
discomfited: for if they had kept them together and have turned again
such as fled, they had discomfited the Scots. This was the opinion of
divers; and because they did not thus, the Scots had the victory.


I shall shew you of sir Matthew Redman, who was on horseback to save
himself, for he alone could not remedy the matter. At his departing
sir James Lindsay was near to him and saw how sir Matthew departed,
and this sir James, to win honour, followed in chase sir Matthew
Redman, and came so near him that he might have striken him with his
spear, if he had list. Then he said: 'Ah, sir knight, turn; it is a
shame thus to fly: I am James of Lindsay: if ye will not turn, I shall
strike you on the back with my spear.' Sir Matthew spake no word, but
strake his horse with the spurs sorer than he did before. In this
manner he chased him more than three miles, and at last sir Matthew
Redman's horse foundered and fell under him. Then he stept forth on
the earth and drew out his sword, and took courage to defend himself;
and the Scot thought to have stricken him on the breast, but sir
Matthew Redman swerved from the stroke, and the spear-point entered
into the earth. Then sir Matthew strake asunder the spear with his
sword; and when sir James Lindsay saw how he had lost his spear, he
cast away the truncheon and lighted afoot, and took a little
battle-axe that he carried at his back and handled it with his one
hand quickly and deliverly, in the which feat Scots be well expert,
and then he set at sir Matthew and he defended himself properly. Thus
they tourneyed together, one with an axe and the other with a sword, a
long season, and no man to let them. Finally sir James Lindsay gave
the knight such strokes and held him so short, that he was put out of
breath in such wise that he yielded himself, and said: 'Sir James
Lindsay, I yield me to you.' 'Well,' quoth he, 'and I receive you,
rescue or no rescue,' 'I am content,' quoth Redman, 'so ye deal with
me like a good companion.' 'I shall not fail that,' quoth Lindsay, and
so put up his sword. 'Well, sir,' quoth Redman, 'what will you now
that I shall do? I am your prisoner, ye have conquered me. I would
gladly go again to Newcastle, and within fifteen days I shall come to
you into Scotland, whereas ye shall assign me.' 'I am content,' quoth
Lindsay: 'ye shall promise by your faith to present yourself within
this three weeks at Edinboro, and wheresoever ye go, to repute
yourself my prisoner,' All this sir Matthew sware and promised to
fulfil. Then each of them took their horses and took leave each of
other. Sir James returned, and his intent was to go to his own company
the same way that he came, and sir Matthew Redman to Newcastle.

Sir James Lindsay could not keep the right way as he came: it was dark
and a mist, and he had not ridden half a mile, but he met face to face
with the bishop of Durham and more than five hundred Englishmen with
him. He might well escaped if he had would, but he supposed it had
been his own company, that had pursued the Englishmen. When he was
among them, one demanded of him what he was. 'I am,' quoth he, 'sir
James Lindsay,' The bishop heard those words and stept to him and
said: 'Lindsay, ye are taken: yield ye to me.' 'Who be you?' quoth
Lindsay. 'l am,' quoth he, 'the bishop of Durham.' 'And from whence
come you, sir?' quoth Lindsay. 'I come from the battle,' quoth the
bishop, 'but I struck never a stroke there. I go back to Newcastle for
this night, and ye shall go with me,' 'I may not choose,' quoth
Lindsay, 'sith ye will have it so. I have taken and I am taken; such
is the adventures of arms.' 'Whom have ye taken?' quoth the bishop.
'Sir,' quoth he, 'I took in the chase sir Matthew Redman.' 'And where
is he?' quoth the bishop. 'By my faith, sir, he is returned to
Newcastle: he desired me to trust him on his faith for three weeks,
and so have I done,' 'Well,' quoth the bishop, 'let us go to
Newcastle, and there ye shall speak with him.' Thus they rode to
Newcastle together, and sir James Lindsay was prisoner to the bishop
of Durham.

Under the banner of the earl de la March and of Dunbar was taken a
squire of Gascoyne, called John of Chateauneuf, and under the banner
of the earl of Moray was taken his companion John de Camiron. Thus the
field was clean avoided, or the day appeared. The Scots drew together
and took guides and sent out scurrers to see if any men were in the
way from Newcastle, to the intent that they would not be troubled in
their lodgings; wherein they did wisely, for when the bishop of Durham
was come again to Newcastle and in his lodging, he was sore pensive
and wist not what to say nor do; for he heard say how his cousins the
Percies were slain or taken, and all the knights that were with them.
Then he sent for all the knights and squires that were in the town;
and when they were come, he demanded of them if they should leave the
matter in that case, and said: 'Sirs, we shall bear great blame if we
thus return without looking on our enemies,' Then they concluded by
the sun-rising every man to be armed, and on horseback and afoot to
depart out of the town and to go to Otterburn to fight with the Scots.
This was warned through the town by a trumpet, and every man armed
them and assembled before the bridge, and by the sun-rising they
departed by the gate towards Berwick and took the way towards
Otterburn to the number of ten thousand, what afoot and a-horseback.
They were not gone past two mile from Newcastle, when the Scots were
signified that the bishop of Durham was coming to themward to fight:
this they knew by their spies, such as they had set in the fields.

After that sir Matthew Redman was returned to Newcastle and had shewed
to divers how he had been taken prisoner by sir James Lindsay, then it
was shewed him how the bishop of Durham had taken the said sir James
Lindsay and how that he was there in the town as his prisoner. As soon
as the bishop was departed, sir Matthew Redman went to the bishop's
lodging to see his master, and there he found him in a study, lying in
a window,[1] and said: 'What, sir James Lindsay, what make you here?'
Then sir James came forth of the study to him and gave him good
morrow, and said: 'By my faith, sir Matthew, fortune hath brought me
hither; for as soon as I was departed from you, I met by chance the
bishop of Durham, to whom I am prisoner, as ye be to me. I believe ye
shall not need to come to Edinboro to me to make your finance: I think
rather we shall make an exchange one for another, if the bishop be so
content.' 'Well, sir,' quoth Redman, 'we shall accord right well
together, ye shall dine this day with me: the bishop and our men be
gone forth to fight with your men, I cannot tell what shall fall, we
shall know at their return.' 'I am content to dine with you,' quoth
Lindsay. Thus these two knights dined together in Newcastle.

      [1] Or rather, 'very pensive leaning against a window,' and
      afterwards the expression 'came forth of the study to him'
      should be 'broke off his thought and came towards him.'

When the knights of Scotland were informed how the bishop of Durham
came on them with ten thousand men, they drew to council to see what
was best for them to do, other to depart or else to abide the
adventure. All things considered, they concluded to abide, for they
said they could not be in a better nor a stronger place than they were
in already; they had many prisoners and they could not carry them
away, if they should have departed; and also they had many of their
men hurt and also some of their prisoners, whom they thought they
would not leave behind them. Thus they drew together and ordered so
their field, that there was no entry but one way, and they set all
their prisoners together and made them to promise how that, rescue or
no rescue, they should be their prisoners. After that they made all
their minstrels to blow up all at once and made the greatest revel of
the world. Lightly it is the usage of Scots, that when they be thus
assembled together in arms, the footmen beareth about their necks
horns in manner like hunters, some great, some small, and of all
sorts, so that when they blow all at once, they make such a noise,
that it may be heard nigh four miles off: thus they do to abash their
enemies and to rejoice themselves. When the bishop of Durham with his
banner and ten thousand men with him were approached, within a league,
then the Scots blew their horns in such wise, that it seemed that all
the devils in hell had been among them, so that such as heard them and
knew not of their usage were sore abashed. This blowing and noise
endured a long space and then ceased: and by that time the Englishmen
were within less than a mile. Then the Scots began to blow again and
made a great noise, and as long endured as it did before. Then the
bishop approached with his battle well ranged in good order and came
within the sight of the Scots, as within two bow-shot or less: then
the Scots blew again their horns a long space. The bishop stood still
to see what the Scots would do and aviewed them well and saw how they
were in a strong ground greatly to their advantage. Then the bishop
took counsel what was best for him to do; but all things well advised,
they were not in purpose to enter in among the Scots to assail them,
but returned without doing of anything, for they saw well they might
rather lose than win.

When the Scots saw the Englishmen recule and that they should have no
battle, they went to their lodgings and made merry, and then ordained
to depart from thence. And because that sir Ralph Percy was sore hurt,
he desired of his master that he might return to Newcastle or into
some place, whereas it pleased him unto such time as he were whole of
his hurts, promising, as soon as he were able to ride, to return into
Scotland, other to Edinboro or into any other place appointed. The
earl of March, under whom he was taken, agreed thereto and delivered
him a horse litter and sent him away; and by like covenant divers
other knights and squires were suffered to return and took term other
to return or else to pay their finance, such as they were appointed
unto. It was shewed me by the information of the Scots, such as had
been at this said battle that was between Newcastle and Otterburn in
the year of our Lord God a thousand three hundred fourscore and eight,
the nineteenth day of August, how that there were taken prisoners of
the English party a thousand and forty men, one and other, and slain
in the field and in the chase eighteen hundred and forty, and sore
hurt more than a thousand: and of the Scots there were a hundred
slain, and taken in the chase more than two hundred; for as the
Englishmen fled, when they saw any advantage they returned again and
fought: by that means the Scots were taken and none otherwise. Every
man may well consider that it was a well fought field, when there were
so many slain and taken on both parties.


After this battle thus finished, every man returned,[1] and the earl
Douglas' dead body chested and laid in a chare, and with him sir
Robert Hart and Simon Glendowyn, then they prepared to depart: so they
departed and led with them sir Henry Percy and more than forty knights
of England, and took the way to the abbey of Melrose. At their
departing they set fire in their lodgings, and rode all the day, and
yet lay that night in the English ground: none denied them. The next
day they dislodged early in the morning and so came that day to
Melrose. It is an abbey of black monks on the border between both
realms. There they rested and buried the earl James Douglas. The
second day after his obsequy was done reverently, and on his body laid
a tomb of stone and his banner hanging over him. Whether there were as
then any more earls of Douglas, to whom the land returned, or not, I
cannot tell; for I, sir John Froissart, author of the book, was in
Scotland in the earl's castle of Dalkeith, living earl William, at
which time he had two children, a son and a daughter; but after there
were many of the Douglases, for I have seen a five brethren, all
squires, bearing the name of Douglas, in the king of Scotland's house,
David; they were sons to a knight in Scotland called sir James
Douglas, and they bare in their arms gold, three oreilles gules, but
as for the heritage, I know not who had it: as for sir Archambault
Douglas, of whom I have spoken before in this history in divers
places, who was a valiant knight, and greatly redoubted of the
Englishmen, he was but a bastard.

      [1] That is, 'After the battle was over and every man had
      returned,' but it should be, 'After all this was done and
      everything was gathered together.'

When these Scots had been at Melrose abbey and done there all that
they came thither for, then they departed each from other and went
into their own countries, and such as had prisoners, some led them
away with them and some were ransomed and suffered to return. Thus
the Englishmen found the Scots right courteous and gentle in their
deliverance and ransom, so that they were well content. This was
shewed me in the country of Bearn in the earl of Foix's house by a
knight named John of Chateauneuf, who was taken prisoner at the same
journey under the banner of the earl of March and Dunbar: and he
greatly praised the said earl, for he suffered him to pass in manner
as he desired himself.

Thus these men of war of Scotland departed, and ransomed their
prisoners as soon as they might right courteously, and so returned
little and little into their own countries. And it was shewed me and I
believe it well, that the Scots had by reason of that journey two
hundred thousand franks for ransoming of prisoners: for sith the
battle that was before Stirling in Scotland, whereas sir Robert of
Bruce, sir William Douglas, sir Robert Versy, sir Simon Fraser and
other Scots chased the Englishmen three days, they never had journey
so profitable nor so honourable for them, as this was. When tidings
came to the other company of the Scots that were beside Carlisle, how
their company had distressed the Englishmen beside Otterburn, they
were greatly rejoiced, and displeased in their minds that they had not
been there. Then they determined to dislodge and to draw into their
own countries, seeing their other company were withdrawn. Thus they
dislodged and entered into Scotland.

Now let us leave to speak of the Scots and of the Englishmen for this
time, and let us return to the young Charles of France, who with a
great people went into Almaine, to bring the duke of Gueldres to

When the French king and all his army were past the river of Meuse at
the bridge of Morsay, they took the way of Ardennes and of Luxembourg,
and always the pioneers were before, beating woods and bushes and
making the ways plain. The duke of Juliers and his country greatly
doubted the coming of the French king, for they knew well they should
have the first assault and bear the first burden: and the land of
Juliers is a plain country; in one day the men of war should do much
damage there, and destroy and waste all, except the castles and good
towns. Thus the French king entered into the country of Luxembourg and
came to an abbey, whereas Wenceslas sometime duke of Brabant was
buried. There the king tarried two days: then he departed and took the
way through Bastogne, and lodged within a league whereas the duchess
of Brabant lay. She sent word of her being there to the duke of
Burgoyne, and he brought her into the field to speak with the king,
who received her right honourably, and there communed together. Then
the duchess returned to Bastogne, and thither she was conveyed with
sir John of Vienne and sir Guy of Tremouille; and the next day the
king went forward, approaching to the land of his enemies, and came to
the entering into Almaine, on the frontiers of the duchy of Juliers.
But or he came so far forward, Arnold bishop of Liege had been with
the king and had greatly entreated for the duke of Juliers, that the
king should not be miscontent with him, though he were father to the
duke of Gueldres; for he excused him of the defiance that his son had
made, affirming how it was not by his knowledge nor consent,
wherefore, he said, it were pity that the father should bear the
default of the son. This excuse was not sufficient to the king nor to
his uncles: for the intent of the king and his council was, without
the duke of Juliers would come and make other manner of excuse, and to
yield himself to the king's pleasure, his country should be the first
that should bear the burden. Then the bishop of Liege and the lords of
Hesbaing and the councils of the good towns offered to the king and
his council wholly the bishopric of Liege for his army to pass and
repass paying for their expenses, and to rest and refresh them there
as long as it pleased them. The king thanked them, and so did his
uncles, and would not refuse their offer, for he knew not what need he
should have after.





The earliest extant form of the story of the Holy Grail is the French
metrical romance of "Perceval" or "Le Conte du Graal" of Chrétien de
Troies, written about 1175. Chrétien died leaving the poem unfinished,
and it was continued by three other authors till it reached the vast
size of 63,000 lines. The religious signification of the Grail is
supposed to have been attached to it early in the thirteenth century
by Robert de Boron; and, perhaps a little later, in the French prose
"Quest of the Holy Grail," Galahad takes the place of Perceval as the
hero of the story. The later history of the various versions of the
legend is highly intricate, and in many points uncertain. It was from
a form of it embodied in the French prose "Lancelot" that Sir Thomas
Malory drew the chapters of his "Morte d'Arthur" which are here
reprinted, and which, more than the earlier versions, are the source
from which the legend has passed into modern English poetry.

Until a few years ago Malory himself was little more than a name, our
information about him being limited to the statement in Caxton's
edition of the "Morte d'Arthur" that he was the author. It now appears
probable, however, that Sir Thomas Malory was an English knight born
about 1400, of an old Warwickshire family. He served in the French
wars under Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, "whom all Europe
recognized as embodying the knightly ideal of the age" and may well
have owed his enthusiasm for chivalry to his association with this
distinguished nobleman. He died in 1471.

Malory's book is a compilation from French and English sources. These
are chosen without much discrimination, and put together without great
skill in arrangement. But the author's whole-hearted enthusiasm for
chivalrous ideals and the noble simplicity and fine rhythm of his
prose have combined to give his work a unique place in English
literature. In it the age of chivalry is summed up and closed. It is
not without reason that the date of its publication by Caxton, 1485,
should be conventionally accepted as the end of the Middle Ages in
England. Romance had passed under the printing press, and a new age
had begun._






At the vigil of Pentecost, when all the fellowship of the Round Table
were come unto Camelot and there heard their service, and the tables
were set ready to the meat, right so entered into the hall a full fair
gentlewoman on horseback, that had ridden full fast, for her horse was
all besweated. Then she there alit, and came before the king and
saluted him; and he said: Damosel, God thee bless. Sir, said she, for
God's sake say me where Sir Launcelot is. Yonder ye may see him, said
the king. Then she went unto Launcelot and said: Sir Launcelot, I
salute you on King Pelles' behalf, and I require you come on with me
hereby into a forest. Then Sir Launcelot asked her with whom she
dwelled. I dwell, said she, with King Pelles. What will ye with me?
said Launcelot. Ye shall know, said she, when ye come thither. Well,
said he, I will gladly go with you. So Sir Launcelot bad his squire
saddle his horse and bring his arms; and in all haste he did his
commandment. Then came the queen unto Launcelot, and said: Will ye
leave us at this high feast? Madam, said the gentlewoman, wit ye well
he shall be with you tomorn by dinner time. If I wist, said the queen,
that he should not be with us here tomorn he should not go with you by
my good will. Right so departed Sir Launcelot with the gentlewoman,
and rode until that he came into a forest and into a great valley,
where they saw an abbey of nuns; and there was a squire ready and
opened the gates, and so they entered and descended off their horses;
and there came a fair fellowship about Sir Launcelot, and welcomed
him, and were passing glad of his coming. And then they led him unto
the Abbess's chamber and unarmed him; and right so he was ware upon a
bed lying two of his cousins, Sir Bors and Sir Lionel, and then he
waked them; and when they saw him they made great joy. Sir, said Sir
Bors unto Sir Launcelot, what adventure hath brought you hither, for
we weened tomorn to have found you at Camelot? As God me help, said
Sir Launcelot, a gentlewoman brought me hither, but I know not the
cause. In the meanwhile that they thus stood talking together, therein
came twelve nuns that brought with them Galahad, the which was passing
fair and well made, that unnethe in the world men might not find his
match: and all those ladies wept. Sir, said they all, we bring you
here this child the which we have nourished, and we pray you to make
him a knight, for of a more worthier man's hand may he not receive the
order of knighthood. Sir Launcelot beheld the young squire and saw him
seemly and demure as a dove, with all manner of good features, that he
weened of his age never to have seen so fair a man of form. Then said
Sir Launcelot: Cometh this desire of himself? He and all they said
yea. Then shall he, said Sir Launcelot, receive the high order of
knighthood as tomorn at the reverence of the high feast. That night
Sir Launcelot had passing good cheer; and on the morn at the hour of
prime, at Galahad's desire, he made him knight and said: God make him
a good man, for of beauty faileth you not as any that liveth.



Now fair sir, said Sir Launcelot, will ye come with me unto the court
of King Arthur? Nay, said he, I will not go with you as at this time.
Then he departed from them and took his two cousins with him, and so
they came unto Camelot by the hour of underne on Whitsunday. By that
time the king and the queen were gone to the minster to hear their
service. Then the king and the queen were passing glad of Sir Bors and
Sir Lionel, and so was all the fellowship. So when the king and all
the knights were come from service, the barons espied in the sieges of
the Round Table all about, written with golden letters: Here ought to
sit he, and he ought to sit here. And thus they went so long till that
they came to the Siege Perilous, where they found letters newly
written of gold which said: Four hundred winters and four and fifty
accomplished after the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ ought this
siege to be fulfilled. Then all they said: This is a marvellous thing
and an adventurous. In the name of God, said Sir Launcelot; and then
accounted the term of the writing from the birth of our Lord unto that
day. It seemeth me, said Sir Launcelot, this siege ought to be
fulfilled this same day, for this is the feast of Pentecost after the
four hundred and four and fifty year; and if it would please all
parties, I would none of these letters were seen this day, till he be
come that ought to achieve this adventure. Then made they to ordain a
cloth of silk, for to cover these letters in the Siege Perilous. Then
the king bad haste unto dinner. Sir, said Sir Kay the Steward, if ye
go now to your meat ye shall break your old custom of your court, for
ye have not used on this day to sit at your meat or that ye have seen
some adventure. Ye say sooth, said the king, but I had so great joy of
Sir Launcelot and of his cousins, which he come to the court whole and
sound, so that I bethought me not of mine old custom. So, as they
stood speaking, in came a squire and said unto the king: Sir, I bring
unto you marvellous tidings. What be they? said the king. Sir, there
is here beneath at the river a great stone which I saw fleet above the
water, and therein I saw sticking a sword. The king said: I will see
that marvel. So all the knights went with him, and when they came to
the river they found there a stone fleeting, as it were of red marble,
and therein stuck a fair rich sword, and in the pommel thereof were
precious stones wrought with subtil letters of gold. Then the barons
read the letters which said in this wise: Never shall man take me
hence, but only he by whose side I ought to hang, and he shall be the
best knight of the world. When the king had seen the letters, he said
unto Sir Launcelot: Fair sir, this sword ought to be yours, for I am
sure ye be the best knight of the world. Then Sir Launcelot answered
full soberly: Certes, sir, it is not my sword; also, Sir, wit ye well
I have no hardiness to set my hand to it, for it longed not to hang by
my side. Also, who that assayeth to take the sword and faileth of it,
he shall receive a wound by that sword that he shall not be whole long
after. And I will that ye wit that this same day shall the adventures
of the Sangreal, that is called the Holy Vessel, begin.



Now, fair nephew, said the king unto Sir Gawaine, essay ye, for my
love Sir, he said, save your good grace I shall not do that. Sir, said
the king, essay to take the sword and at my commandment. Sir, said
Gawaine, your commandment I will obey. And therewith he took up the
sword by the handles, but he might not stir it. I thank you, said the
king to Sir Gawaine. My lord Sir Gawaine, said Sir Launcelot, now wit
ye well this sword shall touch you so sore that ye shall will ye had
never set your hand thereto for the best castle of this realm. Sir, he
said, I might not withsay mine uncle's will and commandment. But when
the king heard this he repented it much, and said unto Sir Percivale
that he should essay, for his love. And he said: Gladly, for to bear
Sir Gawaine fellowship. And therewith he set his hand on the sword and
drew it strongly, but he might not move it. Then were there more that
durst be so hardy, to set their hands thereto. Now may ye go to your
dinner, said Sir Kay unto the King, for a marvellous adventure have ye
seen. So the king and all went unto the court, and every knight knew
his own place, and set him therein, and young men that were knights
served them. So when they were served, and all sieges fulfilled save
only the Siege Perilous, anon there befell a marvellous adventure,
that all the doors and windows of the palace shut by themself. Not for
then the hall was not greatly darked; and therewith they abashed both
one and other. Then King Arthur spake first and said: By God, fair
fellows and lords, we have seen this day marvels, but or night I
suppose we shall see greater marvels. In the meanwhile came in a good
old man, and an ancient, clothed all in white, and there was no knight
knew from whence he came. And with him he brought a young knight, both
on foot, in red arms, without sword or shield, save a scabbard hanging
by his side. And these words he said: Peace be with you, fair lords.
Then the old man said unto Arthur: Sir, I bring here a young knight,
the which is of king's lineage, and of the kindred of Joseph of
Aramathie, whereby the marvels of this court, and of strange realms,
shall be fully accomplished.



The king was right glad of his words, and said unto the good man: Sir,
ye be right welcome, and the young knight with you. Then the old man
made the young man to unarm him, and he was in a coat of red sendel,
and bare a mantle upon his shoulder that was furred with ermine, and
put that upon him. And the old knight said unto the young knight: Sir,
follow me. And anon he led him unto the Siege Perilous, where beside
sat Sir Launcelot; and the good man lift up the cloth, and found there
letters that said thus: This is the siege of Galahad, the haut prince.
Sir, said the old knight, wit ye well that place is yours. And then he
set him down surely in that siege. And then he said to the old man:
Sir, ye may now go your way, for well have ye done that ye were
commanded to do; and recommend me unto my grandsire, King Pelles, and
unto my lord Petchere, and say them on my behalf, I shall come and see
them as soon as ever I may. So the good man departed; and there met
him twenty noble squires, and so took their horses and went their way.
Then all the knights of the Table Round marvelled greatly of Sir
Galahad, that he durst sit there in that Siege Perilous, and was so
tender of age; and wist not from whence he came but all only by God;
and said: This is he by whom the Sangreal shall be achieved, for there
sat never none but he, but he were mischieved. Then Sir Launcelot
beheld his son and had great joy of him. Then Bors told his fellows:
Upon pain of my life this young knight shall come unto great worship.
This noise was great in all the court, so that it came to the queen.
Then she had marvel what knight it might be that durst adventure him
to sit in the Siege Perilous. Many said unto the queen he resembled
much unto Sir Launcelot. I may well suppose, said the queen, that Sir
Launcelot begat him on King Pelles' daughter, by the which he was made
to lie by, by enchantment, and his name is Galahad. I would fain see
him, said the queen, for he must needs be a noble man, for so is his
father that him begat, I report me unto all the Table Round. So when
the meat was done that the king and all were risen, the king yede unto
the Siege Perilous and lift up the cloth, and found there the name of
Galahad; and then he shewed it unto Sir Gawaine, and said: Fair
nephew, now have we among us Sir Galahad, the good knight that shall
worship us all; and upon pain of my life he shall achieve the
Sangreal, right as Sir Launcelot had done us to understand. Then came
King Arthur unto Galahad and said: Sir, ye be welcome, for ye shall
move many good knights to the quest of the Sangreal, and ye shall
achieve that never knights might bring to an end. Then the king took
him by the hand, and went down from the palace to shew Galahad the
adventures of the stone.



The queen heard thereof, and came after with many ladies, and shewed
them the stone where it hoved on the water. Sir, said the king unto
Sir Galahad, here is a great marvel as ever I saw, and right good
knights have essayed and failed. Sir, said Galahad, that is no marvel,
for this adventure is not theirs but mine; and for the surety of this
sword I brought none with me, for here by my side hangeth the
scabbard. And anon he laid his hand on the sword, and lightly drew it
out of the stone, and put it in the sheath, and said unto, the king:
Now it goeth better than it did aforehand. Sir, said the King, a
shield God shall send you. Now have I that sword that sometime was the
good knight's, Balin le Savage, and he was a passing good man of his
hands; and with this sword he slew his brother Balan, and that was
great pity, for he was a good knight, and either slew other through a
dolorous strode that Balin gave unto my grandfather King Pelles, the
which is not yet whole, nor not shall be till I heal him. Therewith
the king and all espied where came riding down the river a lady on a
white palfrey toward them. Then she saluted the king and the queen,
and asked if that Sir Launcelot was there. And then he answered
himself: I am here, fair lady. Then she said all with weeping: How
your great doing is changed sith this day in the morn. Damosel, why
say you so? said Launcelot. I say you sooth, said the damosel, for ye
were this day the best knight of the world, but who should say so now,
he should be a liar, for there is now one better than ye, and well it
is proved by the adventures of the sword whereto ye durst not set to
your hand; and that is the change and leaving of your name. Wherefore
I make unto you a remembrance, that ye shall not ween from henceforth
that ye be the best knight of the world. As touching unto that, said
Launcelot, I know well I was never the best. Yes, said the damosel,
that were ye, and are yet, of any sinful man of the world. And, Sir
king, Nacien, the hermit, sendeth thee word, that thee shall befall
the greatest worship that ever befell king in Britain; and I say you
wherefore, for this day the Sangreal appeared in thy house and fed
thee and all thy fellowship of the Round Table. So she departed and
went that same way that she came.



Now, said the king, I am sure at this quest of the Sangreal shall all
ye of the Table Round depart, and never shall I see you again whole
together; therefore I will see you all whole together in the meadow of
Camelot to joust and to tourney, that after your death men may speak
of it that such good knights were wholly together such a day. As unto
that counsel and at the king's request they accorded all, and took on
their harness that longed unto jousting. But all this moving of the
king was for this intent, for to see Galahad proved; for the king
deemed he should not lightly come again unto the court after his
departing. So were they assembled in the meadow both more and less.
Then Sir Galahad, by the prayer of the king and the queen, did upon
him a noble jesseraunce, and also he did on his helm, but shield would
he take none for no prayer of the king. And then Sir Gawaine and other
knights prayed him to take a spear. Right so he did; and the queen was
in a tower with all her ladies, for to behold that tournament. Then
Sir Galahad dressed him in middes of the meadow, and began to break
spears marvellously, that all men had wonder of him; for he there
surmounted all other knights, for within a while he had defouled many
good knights of the Table Round save twain, that was Sir Launcelot and
Sir Percivale.



The the king, at the queen's request, made him to alight and to unlace
his helm, that the queen might see him in the visage. When she beheld
him she said: Soothly I dare well say that Sir Launcelot begat him,
for never two men resembled more in likeness, therefore it is no
marvel though he be of great prowess. So a lady that stood by the
queen said: Madam, for God's sake ought he of right to be so good a
knight? Yea, forsooth, said the queen, for he is of all parties come
of the best knights of the world and of the highest lineage; for Sir
Launcelot is come but of the eighth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ,
and Sir Galahad is of the ninth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ,
therefore I dare say they be the greatest gentlemen of the world. And
then the king and all estates went home unto Camelot, and so went to
evensong to the great minster, and so after upon that to supper, and
every knight sat in his own place as they were toforehand. Then anon
they heard cracking and crying of thunder, that them thought the place
should all to drive. In the midst of this blast entered a sunbeam more
clearer by seven times than ever they saw day, and all they were
alighted of the grace of the Holy Ghost. Then began every knight to
behold other, and either saw other, by their seeming, fairer than ever
they saw afore. Not for then there was no knight might speak one word
a great while, and so they looked every man on other as they had been
dumb. Then there entered into the hall the Holy Greal covered with
white samite, but there was none might see it, nor who bare it. And
there was all the hall fulfilled with good odours, and every knight
had such meats and drinks as he best loved in this world. And when the
Holy Greal had been borne through the hall, then the Holy Vessel
departed suddenly, that they wist not where it became: then had they
all breath to speak. And then the king yielded thankings to God, of
His good grace that he had sent them. Certes, said the king, we ought
to thank our Lord Jesu greatly for that he hath shewed us this day, at
the reverence of this high feast of Pentecost. Now, said Sir Gawaine,
we have been served this day of what meats and drinks we thought on;
but one thing beguiled us, we might not see the holy Grail, it was so
preciously covered. Wherefore I will make here avow, that tomorn,
without longer abiding, I shall labour in the quest of the Sangreal,
that I shall hold me out a twelvemonth and a day, or more if need be,
and never shall I return again unto the court till I have seen it more
openly than it hath been seen here; and if I may not speed I shall
return again as he that may not be against the will of our Lord Jesu
Christ. When they of the Table Round heard Sir Gawaine say so, they
arose up the most part and made such avows as Sir Gawaine had made.
Anon as King Arthur heard this he was greatly displeased, for he wist
well they might not again say their avows. Alas, said King Arthur unto
Sir Gawaine, ye have nigh slain me with the avow and promise that ye
have made; for through you ye have bereft me the fairest fellowship
and the truest of knighthood that ever were seen together in any realm
of the world; for when they depart from hence I am sure they all shall
never meet more in this world, for they shall die many in the quest.
And so it forthinketh me a little, for I have loved them as well as my
life, wherefore it shall grieve me right sore, the departition of this
fellowship: for I have had an old custom to have them in my



And therewith the tears filled in his eyes. And then he said: Gawaine,
Gawaine, ye have set me in great sorrow, for I have great doubt that
my true fellowship shall never meet here more again. Ah, said Sir
Launcelot, comfort yourself; for it shall be unto us a great honour
and much more than if we died in any other places, for of death we be
siccar. Ah, Launcelot, said the king, the great love that I have had
unto you all the days of my life maketh me to say such doleful words;
for never Christian king had never so many worthy men at his table as
I have had this day at the Round Table, and that is my great sorrow.
When the queen, ladies, and gentlewomen, wist these tidings, they had
such sorrow and heaviness that there might no tongue tell it, for
those knights had held them in honour and charity. But among all other
Queen Guenever made great sorrow. I marvel, said she, my lord would
suffer them to depart from him. Thus was all the court troubled for
the love of the departition of those knights. And many of those ladies
that loved knights would have gone with their lovers; and so had they
done, had not an old knight come among them in religious clothing; and
then he spake all on high and said: Fair lords, which have sworn in
the quest of the Sangreal, thus sendeth you Nacien, the hermit, word,
that none in this quest lead lady nor gentlewoman with him, for it is
not to do in so high a service as they labour in; for I warn you
plain, he that is not clean of his sins he shall not see the mysteries
of our Lord Jesu Christ. And for this cause they left these ladies and
gentlewomen. After this the queen came unto Galahad and asked him of
whence he was, and of what country. He told her of whence he was. And
son unto Launcelot, she said he was. As to that, he said neither yea
or nay. So God me help, said the queen, of your father ye need not to
shame you, for he is the goodliest knight, and of the best men of the
world come, and of the strain of all parties, of kings. Wherefore ye
ought of right to be, of your deeds, a passing good man; and
certainly, she said, ye resemble him much. Then Sir Galahad was a
little ashamed and said: Madam, sith ye know in certain, wherefore do
ye ask it me? for he that is my father shall be known openly and all
betimes. And then they went to rest them. And in the honour of the
highness of Galahad he was led into King Arthur's chamber, and there
rested in his own bed. And as soon as it was day the king arose, for
he had no rest of all that night for sorrow. Then he went unto Gawaine
and to Sir Launcelot that were arisen for to hear mass. And then the
king again said: Ah Gawaine, Gawaine, ye have betrayed me; for never
shall my court be amended by you, but ye will never be sorry for me as
I am for you. And therewith the tears began to run down by his visage.
And therewith the king said: Ah, knight Sir Launcelot, I require thee
thou counsel me, for I would that this quest were undone an it might
be. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, ye saw yesterday so many worthy knights
that then were sworn that they may not leave it in no manner of wise.
That wot I well, said the king, but it shall so heavy me at their
departing that I wot well there shall no manner of joy remedy me. And
then the king and the queen went unto the minster. So anon Launcelot
and Gawaine commanded their men to bring their arms. And when they all
were armed save their shields and their helms, then they came to their
fellowship, which were all ready in the same wise, for to go to the
minster to hear their service. Then after the service was done the
king would wit how many had undertaken the quest of the Holy Grail;
and to account them he prayed them all. Then found they by tale an
hundred and fifty, and all were knights of the Round Table. And then
they put on their helms and departed, and recommended them all wholly
unto the queen: and there was weeping and great sorrow. Then the queen
departed into her chamber so that no man should apperceive her great
sorrows. When Sir Launcelot missed the queen he went into her chamber,
and when she saw him she cried aloud: O Sir Launcelot, ye have
betrayed me and put me to death, for to leave thus my lord. Ah, madam,
said Sir Launcelot, I pray you be not displeased, for I shall come as
soon as I may with my worship. Alas, said she, that ever I saw you;
but he that suffered death upon the cross for all mankind be to you
good conduct and safety, and all the whole fellowship. Right so
departed Sir Launcelot, and found his fellowship that abode his
coming. And so they mounted upon their horses and rode through the
streets of Camelot; and there was weeping of the rich and poor, and
the king turned away and might not speak for weeping. So within a
while they came to a city, and a castle that hight Vagon. There they
entered into the castle, and the lord of that castle was an old man
that hight Vagon, and he was a good man of his living, and set open
the gates, and made them all the good cheer that he might. And so on
the morrow they were all accorded that they should depart every each
from other; and then they departed on the morrow with weeping and
mourning cheer, and every knight took the way that him best liked.



Now rideth Sir Galahad yet without shield, and so he rode four days
without any adventure. And at the fourth day after evensong he came to
a White Abbey, and there he was received with great reverence, and led
to a chamber, and there he was unarmed; and then was he ware of two
knights of the Round Table, one was King Bagdemagus, and that other
was Sir Uwaine. And when they saw him they went unto him and made of
him great solace, and so they went to supper. Sirs, said Sir Galahad,
what adventure brought you hither? Sir, said they, it is told us that
within this place is a shield that no man may bear about his neck but
if that he be mischieved or dead within three days, or else maimed for
ever. Ah sir, said King Bagdemagus, I shall it bear to-morrow for to
essay this strange adventure. In the name of God, said Sir Galahad.
Sir, said Bagdemagus, an I may not achieve the adventure of this
shield ye shall take it upon you, for I am sure ye shall not fail.
Sir, said Galahad, I agree right well thereto, for I have no shield.
So on the morn they arose and heard mass. Then King Bagdemagus asked
where the adventurous shield was. Anon a monk led him behind an altar
where the shield hung as white as any snow, but in the middes was a
red cross. Sir, said the monk, this shield ought not to be hanged
about no knight's neck but he be the worthiest knight of the world,
and therefore I counsel you knights to be well advised. Well, said
King Bagdemagus, I wot well that I am not the best knight of the
world, but yet shall I essay to bear it. And so he bare it out of the
monastery; and then he said unto Sir Galahad: If it will please you I
pray you abide here still, till ye know how I shall speed. I shall
abide you here, said Galahad. Then King Bagdemagus took with him a
squire, the which should bring tidings unto Sir Galahad how he sped.
Then when they had ridden a two mile and came in a fair valley afore
an hermitage, then they saw a goodly knight come from that part in
white armour, horse and all; and he came as fast as his horse might
run, with his spear in the rest, and King Bagdemagus dressed his spear
against him and brake it upon the white knight. But the other struck
him so hard that he brake the mails, and thrust him through the right
shoulder, for the shield covered him not as at that time; and so he
bare him from his horse. And therewith he alighted and took the white
shield from him, saying: Knight, thou hast done thyself great folly,
for this shield ought not to be borne but by him that shall have no
peer that liveth. And then he came to King Bagdemagus' squire and
said: Bear this shield unto the good knight Sir Galahad, that thou
left in the abbey, and greet him well from me. Sir, said the squire,
what is your name? Take thou no heed of my name, said the knight, for
it is not for thee to know nor for none earthly man. Now, fair sir,
said the squire, at the reverence of Jesu Christ, tell me for what
cause this shield may not be borne but if the bearer thereof be
mischieved. Now sith thou hast conjured me so, said the knight, this
shield behoveth unto no man but unto Galahad. And the squire went unto
Bagdemagus and asked whether he were sore wounded or not. Yea,
forsooth, said he, I shall escape hard from the death. Then he fetched
his horse, and brought him with great pain unto an abbey. Then was he
taken down softly and unarmed, and laid in a bed, and there was looked
to his wounds. And as the book telleth, he lay there long, and escaped
hard with the life.



Sir Galahad, said the squire, that knight that wounded Bagdemagus
sendeth you greeting, and bad that ye should bear this shield,
wherethrough great adventures should befall. Now blessed be God and
fortune, said Galahad. And then he asked his arms, and mounted upon
his horse, and hung the white shield about his neck, and commended
them unto God. And Sir Uwaine said he would bear him fellowship if it
pleased him. Sir, said Galahad, that may ye not, for I must go alone,
save this squire shall bear me fellowship: and so departed Uwaine.
Then within a while came Galahad there as the white knight abode him
by the hermitage, and every each saluted other courteously. Sir, said
Galahad, by this shield be many marvels fallen? Sir, said the knight,
it befell after the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ thirty-two year,
that Joseph of Aramathie, the gentle knight, the which took down our
Lord off the holy Cross, at that time he departed from Jerusalem with
a great party of his kindred with him. And so he laboured till that
they came to a city that hight Sarras. And at that same hour that
Joseph came to Sarras there was a king that hight Evelake, that had
great war against the Saracens, and in especial against one Saracen,
the which was King Evelake's cousin, a rich king and a mighty, which
marched nigh this land, and his name was called Tolleme la Feintes. So
on a day these two met to do battle. Then Joseph, the son of Joseph of
Aramathie, went to King Evelake and told him he should be discomfit
and slain, but if he left his belief of the old law and believed upon
the new law. And then there he shewed him the right belief of the Holy
Trinity, to the which he agreed unto with all his heart; and there
this shield was made for King Evelake, in the name of Him that died
upon the Cross. And then through his good belief he had the better of
King Tolleme. For when Evelake was in the battle there was a cloth set
afore the shield, and when he was in the greatest peril he let put
away the cloth, and then his enemies saw a figure of a man on the
Cross, wherethrough they all were discomfit. And so it befell that a
man of King Evelake's was smitten his hand off, and bare that hand in
his other hand; and Joseph called that man unto him and bade him go
with good devotion touch the Cross. And as soon as that man had
touched the Cross with his hand it was as whole as ever it was tofore.
Then soon after there fell a great marvel, that the cross of the
shield at one time vanished away that no man wist where it became. And
then King Evelake was baptised, and for the most part all the people
of that city. So, soon after Joseph would depart, and King Evelake
would go with him whether he would or nold. And so by fortune they
came into this land, that at that time was called Great Britain; and
there they found a great felon paynim, that put Joseph into prison.
And so by fortune tidings came unto a worthy man that hight Mondrames,
and he assembled all his people for the great renown he had heard of
Joseph; and so he came into the land of Great Britain and disinherited
this felon paynim and consumed him; and therewith delivered Joseph out
of prison. And after that all the people were turned to the Christian



Not long after that Joseph was laid in his deadly bed. And when King
Evelake saw that he made much sorrow, and said: For thy love I have
left my country, and sith ye shall depart out of this world, leave me
some token of yours that I may think on you. Joseph said: That will I
do full gladly; now bring me your shield that I took you when ye went
into battle against King Tolleme. Then Joseph bled sore at the nose,
so that he might not by no mean be staunched. And there upon that
shield he made a cross of his own blood. Now may ye see a remembrance
that I love you, for ye shall never see this shield but ye shall think
on me, and it shall be always as fresh as it is now. And never shall
man bear this shield about his neck but he shall repent it, unto the
time that Galahad, the good knight, bare it; and the last of my
lineage shall have it about his neck, that shall do many marvellous
deeds. Now, said King Evelake, where shall I put this shield, that
this worthy knight may have it? Ye shall leave it there as Nacien, the
hermit, shall be put after his death; for thither shall that good
knight come the fifteenth day after that he shall receive the order of
knighthood: and so that day that they set is this time that he have
his shield, and in the same abbey lieth Nacien, the hermit. And then
the white knight vanished away. Anon as the squire had heard these
words, he alit off his hackney and kneeled down at Galahad's feet, and
prayed him that he might go with him till he had made him knight. If I
would not refuse you? Then will ye make me a knight? said the squire,
and that order, by the grace of God, shall be well set in me. So Sir
Galahad granted him, and turned again unto the abbey where they came
from; and there men made great joy of Sir Galahad. And anon as he was
alit there was a monk brought him unto a tomb in a churchyard, where
there was such a noise that who that heard it should verily nigh be
mad or lose his strength: and Sir, they said, we deem it is a fiend.



Now lead me thither, said Galahad. And so they did, all armed save his
helm. Now, said the good man, go to the tomb and lift it up. So he
did, and heard a great noise; and piteously it said, that all men
might hear it: Sir Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, come thou not
nigh me, for thou shalt make me go again there where I have been so
long. But Galahad was nothing afraid, but lifted up the stone; and
there came out so foul a smoke, and after he saw the foulest figure
leap thereout that ever he saw in the likeness of a man; and then he
blessed him and wist well it was a fiend. Then heard he a voice say:
Galahad, I see there environ about thee so many angels that my power
may not dare thee. Right so Sir Galahad saw a body all armed lie in
that tomb, and beside him a sword. Now, fair brother, said Galahad,
let us remove this body, for it is not worthy to lie in this
churchyard, for he was a false Christian man. And therewith they all
departed and went to the abbey. And anon as he was unarmed a good man
came and set him down by him and said: Sir, I shall tell you what
betokeneth all that ye saw in the tomb; for that covered body
betokeneth the duresse of the world, and the great sin that our Lord
found in the world. For there was such wretchedness that the father
loved not the son, nor the son loved not the father; and that was one
of the causes that our Lord took flesh and blood of a clene maiden,
for our sins were so great at that time that wellnigh all was
wickedness. Truly, said Galahad, I believe you right well. So Sir
Galahad rested him there that night; and upon the morn he made the
squire knight, and asked him his name, and of what kindred he was
come. Sir, said he, men calleth me Melias de Lile, and I am the son of
the king of Denmark. Now, fair sir, said Galahad, sith that ye be come
of kings and queens, now look that knighthood be well set in you, for
ye ought to be a mirror unto all chivalry. Sir, said Sir Melias, ye
say sooth. But, sir, sithen ye have made me a knight ye must of right
grant me my first desire that is reasonable. Ye say sooth, said
Galahad. Melias said: Then that ye will suffer me to ride with you in
this quest of the Sangreal, till that some adventure depart us. I
grant you, sir. Then men brought Sir Melias his armour and his spear
and his horse, and so Sir Galahad and he rode forth all that week or
they found any adventure. And then upon a Monday in the morning, as
they were departed from an abbey, they came to a cross which departed
two ways, and in that cross were letters written that said thus: Now,
ye knights errant, the which goeth to seek knights adventurous, see
here two ways; that one way defendeth thee that thou ne go that way,
for he shall not go out of the way again but if he be a good man and a
worthy knight; and if thou go on the left hand, thou shalt not lightly
there win prowess, for thou shalt in this way be soon essayed. Sir,
said Melias to Galahad, if it like you to suffer me to take the way on
the left hand, tell me, for there I shall well prove my strength. It
were better, said Galahad, ye rode not that way, for I deem I should
better escape in that way than ye. Nay, my lord, I pray you let me
have that adventure. Take it in God's name, said Galahad.



And then rode Melias into an old forest, and therein he rode two days
and more. And then he came into a fair meadow, and there was a fair
lodge of boughs. And then he espied in that lodge a chair, wherein was
a crown of gold, subtily wrought. Also there were cloths covered upon
the earth, and many delicious meats set thereon. Sir Melias beheld
this adventure, and thought it marvellous, but he had no hunger, but
of the crown of gold he took much keep; and therewith he stooped down
and took it up, and rode his way with it. And anon he saw a knight
came riding after him that said: Knight, set down that crown which is
not yours, and therefore defend you. Then Sir Melias blessed him and
said: Fair lord of heaven, help and save thy new-made knight. And then
they let their horses run as fast as they might, so that the other
knight smote Sir Melias through hauberk and through the left side,
that he fell to the earth nigh dead. And then he took the crown and
went his way; and Sir Melias lay still and had no power to stir. In
the meanwhile by fortune there came Sir Galahad and found him there in
peril of death. And then he said: Ah, Melias, who hath wounded you?
therefore it had been better to have ridden the other way. And when
Sir Melias heard him speak: Sir, he said, for God's love let me not
die in this forest, but bear me unto the abbey here beside, that I may
be confessed and have my rights. It shall be done, said Galahad, but
where is he that hath wounded you? With that Sir Galahad heard in the
leaves cry on high: Knight, keep thee from me. Ah sir, said Melias,
beware, for that is he that hath slain me. Sir Galahad answered: Sir
knight, come on your peril. Then either dressed to other, and came
together as fast as their horses might run, and Galahad smote him so
that his spear went through his shoulder, and smote him down off his
horse, and in the falling Galahad's spear brake. With that came out
another knight out of the leaves, and brake a spear upon Galahad or
ever he might turn him. Then Galahad drew out his sword and smote off
the left arm of him, so that it fell to the earth. And then he fled,
and Sir Galahad pursued fast after him. And then he turned again unto
Sir Melias, and there he alit and dressed him softly on his horse
tofore him, for the truncheon of his spear was in his body; and Sir
Galahad start up behind him, and held him in his arms, and so brought
him to the abbey, and there unarmed him and brought him to his
chamber. And then he asked his Saviour. And when he had received Him
he said unto Sir Galahad: Sir, let death come when it pleaseth him.
And therewith he drew out the truncheon of the spear out of his body:
and then he swooned. Then came there an old monk which sometime had
been a knight, and beheld Sir Melias. And anon he ransacked him; and
then he said unto Sir Galahad: I shall heal him of his wound, by the
grace of God, within the term of seven weeks. Then was Sir Galahad
glad, and unarmed him, and said he would abide there three days. And
then he asked Sir Melias how it stood with him. Then he said he was
turned unto helping, God be thanked.



Now will I depart, said Galahad, for I have much on hand, for many
good knights be full busy about it, and this knight and I were in the
same quest of the Sangreal. Sir, said the good man, for his sin he was
thus wounded; and I marvel, said the good man, how ye durst take upon
you so rich a thing as the high order of knighthood without clene
confession, and that was the cause ye were bitterly wounded. For the
way on the right hand betokeneth the highway of our Lord Jesu Christ,
and the way of a good true good liver. And the other way betokeneth
the way of sinners and of misbelievers. And when the devil saw your
pride and presumption, for to take you in the quest of the Sangreal,
that made you to be overthrown, for it may not be achieved but by
virtuous living. Also, the writing on the cross was a signification of
heavenly deeds, and of knightly deeds in God's works, and no knightly
deeds in worldly works. And pride is head of all deadly sins, that
caused this knight to depart from Galahad. And where thou tookest the
crown of gold thou sinnest in covetise and in theft: all this were no
knightly deeds. And this Galahad, the holy knight, the which fought
with the two knights, the two knights signify the two deadly sins
which were wholly in this knight Melias; and they might not withstand
you, for ye are without deadly sin. Now departed Galahad from thence,
and betaught them all unto God. Sir Melias said: My lord Galahad, as
soon as I may ride I shall seek you. God send you health, said
Galahad, and so took his horse and departed, and rode many journeys
forward and backward, as adventure would lead him. And at the last it
happened him to depart from a place or a castle the which was named
Abblasoure; and he had heard no mass, the which he was wont ever to
hear or ever he departed out of any castle or place, and kept that for
a custom. Then Sir Galahad came unto a mountain where he found an old
chapel, and found there nobody, for all, all was desolate; and there
he kneeled tofore the altar, and besought God of wholesome counsel. So
as he prayed he heard a voice that said: Go thou now, thou adventurous
knight, to the Castle of Maidens, and there do thou away the wicked



When Sir Galahad heard this he thanked God, and took his horse; and he
had not ridden but half a mile, he saw in a valley afore him a strong
castle with deep ditches, and there ran beside it a fair river that
hight Severn; and there he met with a man of great age, and either
saluted other, and Galahad asked him the castle's name. Fair sir, said
he, it is the Castle of Maidens. That is a cursed castle, said
Galahad, and all they that be conversant therein, for all pity is out
thereof, and all hardiness and mischief is therein. Therefore, I
counsel you, sir knight, to turn again. Sir, said Galahad, wit you
well I shall not turn again. Then looked Sir Galahad on his arms that
nothing failed him, and then he put his shield afore him; and anon
there met him seven fair maidens, the which said unto him: Sir knight,
ye ride here in a great folly, for ye have the water to pass over. Why
should I not pass the water? said Galahad. So rode he away from them
and met with a squire that said: Knight, those knights in the castle
defy you, and defenden you ye go no further till that they wit what ye
would. Fair sir, said Galahad, I come for to destroy the wicked custom
of this castle. Sir, an ye will abide by that ye shall have enough to
do. Go you now, said Galahad, and haste my needs. Then the squire
entered into the castle. And anon after there came out of the castle
seven knights, and all were brethren. And when they saw Galahad they
cried: Knight, keep thee, for we assure thee nothing but death. Why,
said Galahad; will ye all have ado with me at once? Yea, said they,
thereto mayest thou trust. Then Galahad put forth his spear and smote
the foremost to the earth, that near he brake his neck. And
therewithal the other smote him on his shield great strokes, so that
their spears brake. Then Sir Galahad drew out his sword, and set upon
them so hard that it was marvel to see it, and so through great force
he made them to forsake the field; and Galahad chased them till they
entered into the castle, and so passed through the castle at another
gate. And there met Sir Galahad an old man clothed in religious
clothing, and said; Sir, have here the keys of this castle. Then Sir
Galahad opened the gates, and saw so much people in the streets that
he might not number them, and all said: Sir, ye be welcome, for long
have we abiden here our deliverance. Then came to him a gentlewoman
and said: These knights be fled, but they will come again this night,
and here to begin again their evil custom. What will ye that I shall
do? said Galahad. Sir, said the gentlewoman, that ye send after all
the knights hither that hold their lands of this castle, and make them
to swear for to use the customs that were used heretofore of old time.
I will well, said Galahad. And there she brought him an horn of ivory,
bounden with gold richly, and said: Sir, blow this horn which will be
heard two mile about this castle. When Sir Galahad had blown the horn
he set him down upon a bed. Then came a priest to Galahad, and said:
Sir, it is past a seven year agone that these seven brethren came into
this castle, and harboured with the lord of this castle, that hight
the Duke Lianour, and he was lord of all this country. And when they
espied the duke's daughter, that was a full fair woman, then by their
false covin they made debate betwixt themself, and the duke of his
goodness would have departed them, and there they slew him and his
eldest son. And then they took the maiden and the treasure of the
castle. And then by great force they held all the knights of this
castle against their will under their obeisance, and in great service
and truage, robbing and pillaging the poor common people of all that
they had. So it happened on a day the duke's daughter said: Ye have
done unto me great wrong to slay mine own father, and my brother, and
thus to hold our lands: not for then, she said, ye shall not hold this
castle for many years, for by one knight ye shall be overcome. Thus
she prophesied seven years agone. Well, said the seven knights, sithen
ye say so, there shall never lady nor knight pass this castle but they
shall abide maugre their heads, or die therefor, till that knight be
come by whom we shall lose this castle. And therefore is it called the
Maidens' Castle, for they have devoured many maidens. Now, said
Galahad, is she here for whom this castle was lost? Nay sir, said the
priest, she was dead within these three nights after that she was thus
enforced; and sithen have they kept her younger sister, which endureth
great pains with more other ladies. By this were the knights of the
country come, and then he made them do homage and fealty to the king's
daughter, and set them in great ease of heart. And in the morn there
came one to Galahad and told him how that Gawaine, Gareth, and Uwaine,
had slain the seven brethren. I suppose well, said Sir Galahad, and
took his armour and his horse, and commended them unto God.



Now, saith the tale, after Sir Gawaine departed, he rode many
journeys, both toward and froward. And at the last he came to the
abbey where Sir Galahad had the white shield, and there Sir Gawaine
learned the way to sewe after Sir Galahad; and so he rode to the abbey
where Melias lay sick, and there Sir Melias told Sir Gawaine of the
marvellous adventures that Sir Galahad did. Certes, said Sir Gawaine,
I am not happy that I took not the way that he went, for an I may meet
with him I will not depart from him lightly, for all marvellous
adventures that Sir Galahad achieveth. Sir, said one of the monks, he
will not of your fellowship. Why? said Sir Gawaine. Sir, said he, for
ye be wicked and sinful, and he is full blessed. Right as they thus
stood talking there came in riding Sir Gareth. And then they made joy
either of other. And on the morn they heard mass, and so departed. And
by the way they met with Sir Uwaine les Avoutres, and there Sir Uwaine
told Sir Gawaine how he had met with none adventure sith he departed
from the court. Nor we, said Sir Gawaine. And either promised other of
the three knights not to depart while they were in that quest, but if
fortune caused it. So they departed and rode by fortune till that they
came by the Castle of Maidens; and there the seven brethren espied the
three knights, and said: Sithen, we be flemyd by one knight from this
castle, we shall destroy all the knights of King Arthur's that we may
overcome, for the love of Sir Galahad. And therewith the seven knights
set upon the three knights, and by fortune Sir Gawaine slew one of the
brethren, and each one of his fellows slew another, and so slew the
remnant. And then they took the way under the castle, and there they
lost the way that Sir Galahad rode, and there every each of them
departed from other; and Sir Gawaine rode till he came to an
hermitage, and there he found the good man saying his evensong of Our
Lady; and there Sir Gawaine asked harbour for charity, and the good
man granted it him gladly. Then the good man asked him what he was.
Sir, he said, I am a knight of King Arthur's that am in the quest of
the Sangreal, and my name is Sir Gawaine. Sir, said the good man, I
would wit how it standeth betwixt God and you. Sir, said Sir Gawaine,
I will with a good will shew you my life if it please you; and there
he told the hermit How a monk of an abbey called me wicked knight. He
might well say it, said the hermit, for when ye were first made knight
you should have taken you to knightly deeds and virtuous living, and
ye have done the contrary, for ye have lived mischievously many
winters; and Sir Galahad is a maid and sinner never, and that is the
cause he shall achieve where he goeth that ye nor none such shall not
attain, nor none in your fellowship, for ye have used the most
untruest life that ever I heard knight live. For certes had ye not
been so wicked as ye are, never had the seven brethren been slain by
you and your two fellows. For Sir Galahad himself alone beat them all
seven the day tofore, but his living is such he shall slay no man
lightly. Also I may say you the Castle of Maidens betokeneth the good
souls that were in prison afore the Incarnation of Jesu Christ. And
the seven knights betoken the seven deadly sins that reigned that time
in the world; and I may liken the good Galahad unto the son of the
High Father, that light within a maid, and bought all the souls out of
thrall: so did Sir Galahad deliver all the maidens out of the woful
castle. Now, Sir Gawaine, said the good man, thou must do penance for
thy sin. Sir, what penance shall I do? Such as I will give, said the
good man. Nay, said Sir Gawaine, I may do no penance; for we knights
adventurous oft suffer great woe and pain. Well, said the good man,
and then he held his peace. And on the morn Sir Gawaine departed from
the hermit, and betaught him unto God. And by adventure he met with
Sir Aglovale and Sir Griflet, two knights of the Table Round. And they
two rode four days without finding of any adventure, and at the fifth
day they departed. And every each held as befel them by adventure.
Here leaveth the tale o£ Sir Gawaine and his fellows, and speak we of
Sir Galahad.



So when Sir Galahad was departed from the Castle o£ Maidens he rode
till he came to a waste forest, and there he met with Sir Launcelot
and Sir Percivale, but they knew him not, for he was new disguised.
Right so Sir Launcelot, his father, dressed his spear and brake it
upon Sir Galahad, and Galahad smote him so again that he smote down
horse and man. And then he drew his sword, and dressed him unto Sir
Percivale, and smote him so on the helm, that it rove to the coif of
steel; and had not the sword swerved Sir Percivale had been slain, and
with the stroke he fell out of his saddle. This jousts was done tofore
the hermitage where a recluse dwelled. And when she saw Sir Galahad
ride, she said: God be with thee, best knight of the world. Ah certes,
said she, all aloud that Launcelot and Percivale might hear it: An
yonder two knights had known thee as well as I do they would not have
encountered with thee. When Sir Galahad heard her say so he was adread
to be known: therewith he smote his horse with his spurs and rode a
great pace froward them. Then perceived they both that he was Galahad;
and up they gat on their horses, and rode fast after him, but in a
while he was out of their sight. And then they turned again with heavy
cheer. Let us spere some tidings, said Percivale, at yonder recluse.
Do as ye list, said Sir Launcelot. When Sir Percivale came to the
recluse she knew him well enough, and Sir Launcelot both. But Sir
Launcelot rode overthwart and endlong in a wild forest, and held no
path but as wild adventure led him. And at the last he came to a stony
cross which departed two ways in waste land; and by the cross was a
stone that was of marble, but it was so dark that Sir Launcelot might
not wit what it was. Then Sir Launcelot looked by him, and saw an old
chapel, and there he weened to have found people; and Sir Launcelot
tied his horse till a tree, and there he did off his shield and hung
it upon a tree. And then he went to the chapel door, and found it
waste and broken. And within he found a fair altar, full richly
arrayed with cloth of clene silk, and there stood a fair clean
candlestick, which bare six great candles, and the candlestick was of
silver. And when Sir Launcelot saw this light he had great will for to
enter into the chapel, but he could find no place where he might
enter; then was he passing heavy and dismayed. Then he returned and
came to his horse and did off his saddle and bridle, and let him
pasture, and unlaced his helm, and ungirt his sword, and laid him down
to sleep upon his shield tofore the cross.



And so he fell on sleep; and half waking and sleeping he saw come by
him two palfreys all fair and white, the which bare a litter, therein
lying a sick knight. And when he was nigh the cross he there abode
still. All this Sir Launcelot saw and beheld, for he slept not verily;
and he heard him say: O sweet Lord, when shall this sorrow leave me?
and when shall the holy vessel come by me, wherethrough I shall be
blessed? For I have endured thus long, for little trespass. A full
great while complained the knight thus, and always Sir Launcelot heard
it. With that Sir Launcelot saw the candlestick with the six tapers
come before the cross, and he saw nobody that brought it. Also there
came a table of silver, and the holy vessel of the Sangreal, which
Launcelot had seen aforetime in King Pescheour's house. And therewith
the sick knight set him up, and held up both his hands, and said: Fair
sweet Lord, which is here within this holy vessel; take heed unto me
that I may be whole of this malady. And therewith on his hands and on
his knees he went so nigh that he touched the holy vessel and kissed
it, and anon he was whole; and then he said: Lord God, I thank thee,
for I am healed of this sickness. So when the holy vessel had been
there a great while it went unto the chapel with the chandelier and
the light, so that Launcelot wist not where it was become; for he was
overtaken with sin that he had no power to rise ageyne the holy
vessel; wherefore after that many men said of him shame, but he took
repentance after that. Then the sick knight dressed him up and kissed
the cross; anon his squire brought him his arms, and asked his lord
how he did. Certes, said he, I thank God right well, through the holy
vessel I am healed. But I have marvel of this sleeping knight that had
no power to awake when this holy vessel was brought hither. I dare
right well say, said the squire, that he dwelleth in some deadly sin
whereof he was never confessed. By my faith, said the knight,
whatsomever he be he is unhappy, for as I deem he is of the fellowship
of the Round Table, the which is entered into the quest of the
Sangreal. Sir, said the squire, here I have brought you all your arms
save your helm and your sword, and therefore by mine assent now may ye
take this knight's helm and his sword: and so he did. And when he was
clene armed he took Sir Launcelot's horse, for he was better than his;
and so departed they from the Cross.



Then anon Sir Launcelot waked, and set him up, and bethought him what
he had seen there, and whether it were dreams or not. Right so heard
he a voice that said: Sir Launcelot, more harder than is the stone,
and more bitter than is the wood, and more naked and barer than is the
leaf of the fig tree; therefore go thou from hence, and withdraw thee
from this holy place. And when Sir Launcelot heard this he was passing
heavy and wist not what to do, and so departed sore weeping, and
cursed the time that he was born. For then he deemed never to have had
worship more. For those words went to his heart, till that he knew
wherefore he was called so. Then Sir Launcelot went to the cross and
found his helm, his sword, and his horse taken away. And then he
called himself a very wretch, and most unhappy of all knights; and
there he said: My sin and my wickedness have brought me unto great
dishonour. For when I sought worldly adventures for worldly desires, I
ever achieved them and had the better in every place, and never was I
discomfit in no quarrel, were it right or wrong. And now I take upon
me the adventures of holy things, and now I see and understand that
mine old sin hindereth me and shameth me, so that I had no power to
stir nor speak when the holy blood appeared afore me. So thus lie
sorrowed till it was day, and heard the fowls sing: then somewhat he
was comforted. But when Sir Launcelot missed his horse and his harness
then he wist well God was displeased with him. Then he departed from
the cross on foot into a forest; and so by prime he came to an high
hill, and found an hermitage and a hermit therein which was going unto
mass. And then Launcelot kneeled down and cried on Our Lord mercy for
his wicked works. So when mass was done Launcelot called him, and
prayed him for charity for to hear his life. With a good will, said
the good man. Sir, said he, be ye of King Arthur's court and of the
fellowship of the Round Table? Yea forsooth, and my name is Sir
Launcelot du Lake that hath been right well said of, and now my good
fortune is changed, for I am the most wretch of the world. The hermit
beheld him and had marvel how he was so abashed. Sir, said the hermit,
ye ought to thank God more than any knight living, for He hath caused
you to have more worldly worship than any knight that now liveth. And
for your presumption to take upon you in deadly sin for to be in His
presence, where His flesh and His blood was, that caused you ye might
not see it with worldly eyes; for He will not appear where such
sinners be, but if it be unto their great hurt and unto their great
shame; and there is no knight living now that ought to give God so
great thank as ye, for He hath given you beauty, seemliness, and great
strength above all other knights; and therefore ye are the more
beholding unto God than any other man, to love Him and dread Him, for
your strength and manhood will little avail you an God be against you.



Then Sir Launcelot wept with heavy cheer, and said: Now I know well ye
say me sooth. Sir, said the good man, hide none old sin from me.
Truly, said Sir Launcelot, that were me full loth to discover. For
this fourteen year I never discovered one thing that I have used, and
that may I now wyte my shame and my misadventure. And then he told
there that good man all his life. And how he had loved a queen
immeasurably and out of measure long. And all my great deeds of arms
that I have done, I did for the most part for the queen's sake, and
for her sake would I do battle were it right or wrong; and never did I
battle all only for God's sake, but for to win worship and to cause me
to be the better beloved, and little or nought I thanked God of it.
Then Sir Launcelot said: I pray you counsel me. I will counsel you,
said the hermit, if ye will ensure me that ye will never come in that
queen's fellowship as much as ye may forbear. And then Sir Launcelot
promised him he nold, by the faith of his body. Look that your heart
and your mouth accord, said the good man, and I shall ensure you ye
shall have more worship than ever ye had. Holy father, said Sir
Launcelot, I marvel of the voice that said to me marvellous words, as
ye have heard toforehand. Have ye no marvel, said the good man,
thereof, for it seemeth well God loveth you; for men may understand a
stone is hard of kind, and namely one more than another; and that is
to understand by thee, Sir Launcelot, for thou wilt not leave thy sin
for no goodness that God hath sent thee; therefore thou art more than
any stone, and never wouldst thou be made neysshe nor by water nor by
fire, and that is the hete of the Holy Ghost may not enter in thee,
Now take heed, in all the world men shall not find one knight to whom
Our Lord hath given so much of grace as He hath given you, for He hath
given you fairness with seemliness, He hath given thee wit, discretion
to know good from evil. He hath given thee prowess and hardiness, and
given thee to work so largely that thou hast had at all days the
better wheresomever thou came; and now Our Lord will suffer thee no
longer, but that thou shalt know Him whether thou wilt or nylt. And
why the voice called thee bitterer than wood, for where overmuch sin
dwelleth, there may be but little sweetness, wherefore thou art
likened to an old rotten tree. Now have I shewed thee why thou art
harder than the stone and bitterer than the tree. Now shall I shew
thee why thou art more naked and barer than the fig tree. It befel
that Our Lord on Palm Sunday preached in Jerusalem, and there He found
in the people that all hardness was harboured in them, and there He
found in all the town not one that would harbour him. And then He went
without the town, and found in the middes of the way a fig tree, the
which was right fair and well garnished of leaves, but fruit had it
none. Then Our Lord cursed the tree that bare no fruit; that
betokeneth the fig tree unto Jerusalem, that had leaves and no fruit.
So thou, Sir Launcelot, when the Holy Grail was brought afore thee, He
found in thee no fruit, nor good thought nor good will, and defouled
with lechery. Certes, said Sir Launcelot, all that you have said is
true, and from henceforward I cast me, by the grace of God, never to
be so wicked as I have been, but as to follow knighthood and to do
feats of arms. Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot such penance
as he might do and to pursue knighthood, and so assoiled him, and
prayed Sir Launcelot to abide with him all that day. I will well, said
Sir Launcelot, for I have neither helm, nor horse, nor sword. As for
that, said the good man, I shall help you or tomorn at even of an
horse, and all that longed unto you. And then Sir Launcelot repented
him greatly.

_Here leaveth of the history of syr launcelot. And here followeth of
sir Percyvale de galys which is the xiiii book_.




Now saith the tale, that when Sir Launcelot was ridden after Sir
Galahad, the which had all these adventures above said, Sir Percivale
turned again unto the recluse, where he deemed to have tidings of that
knight that Launcelot followed. And so he kneeled at her window, and
the recluse opened it and asked Sir Percivale what he would. Madam, he
said, I am a knight of King Arthur's court, and my name is Sir
Percivale de Galis. When the recluse heard his name she had great joy
of him, for mickle she had loved him tofore any other knight, for she
ought to do so, for she was his aunt. And then she commanded the gates
to be opened, and there he had all the cheer that she might make him,
and all that was in her power was at his commandment. So on the morn
Sir Percivale went to the recluse and asked her if she knew that
knight with the white shield. Sir, said she, why would ye wit? Truly,
madam, said Sir Percivale, I shall never be well at ease till that I
know of that knight's fellowship, and that I may fight with him, for I
may not leave him so lightly, for I have the shame yet. Ah, Percivale,
said she, would ye fight with him? I see well ye have great will to be
slain as your father was through outrageousness. Madam, said Sir
Percivale, it seemeth by your words that ye know me. Yea, said she, I
well ought to know you, for I am your aunt, although I be in a priory
place. For some called me sometime the queen of the Waste Lands, and I
was called the queen of most riches in the world; and it pleased me
never my riches so much as doth my poverty. Then Sir Percivale wept
for very pity when that he knew it was his aunt. Ah, fair nephew, said
she, when heard ye tidings of your mother? Truly, said he, I heard
none of her, but I dream of her much in my sleep; and therefore I wot
not whether she be dead or on live. Certes, fair nephew, said she,
your mother is dead, for after your departing from her she took such a
sorrow that anon, after she was confessed, she died. Now, God have
mercy on her soul, said Sir Percivale, it sore forthinketh me; but all
we must change the life. Now, fair aunt, tell me what is the knight? I
deem it be he that bare the red arms on Whitsunday. Wit you well, said
she, that this is he, for otherwise ought he not to do, but to go in
red arms; and that same knight hath no peer, for he worketh all by
miracle, and he shall never be overcome of none earthly man's hand.



Also Merlin made the Round Table in tokening of roundness of the
world, for by the Round Table is the world signified by right, for all
the world, Christian and heathen, repair unto the Round Table; and
when they are chosen to be of the fellowship of the Round Table they
think them more blessed and more in worship than if they had gotten
half the world; and ye have seen that they have lost their fathers and
their mothers, and all their kin, and their wives and their children,
for to be of your fellowship. It is well seen by you; for since ye
have departed from your mother ye would never see her, ye found such
fellowship at the Round Table. When Merlin had ordained the Round
Table he said, by them which should be fellows of the Round Table the
truth of the Sangreal should be well known. And men asked him how men
might know them that should best do and to achieve the Sangreal? Then
he said there should be three white bulls that should achieve it, and
the two should be maidens, and the third should be chaste. And that
one of the three should pass his father as much as the lion passeth
the leopard, both of strength and hardiness. They that heard Merlin
say so said thus unto Merlin: Sithen there shall be such a knight,
thou shouldest ordain by thy crafts a siege, that no man should sit in
it but he all only that shall pass all other knights. Then Merlin
answered that he would do so. And then he made the Siege Perilous, in
the which Galahad sat in at his meat on Whitsunday last past. Now,
madam, said Sir Percivale, so much have I heard of you that by my good
will I will never have ado with Sir Galahad but by way of kindness;
and for God's love, fair aunt, can ye teach me some way where I may
find him? for much would I love the fellowship of him. Fair nephew,
said she, ye must ride unto a castle the which is called Goothe, where
he hath a cousin-germain, and there may ye be lodged this night. And
as he teacheth you, pursue after as fast as ye can; and if he can tell
you no tidings of him, ride straight unto the Castle of Carbonek,
where the maimed king is there lying, for there shall ye hear true
tidings of him.



Then departed Sir Percivale from his aunt, either making great sorrow.
And so he rode till evensong time. And then he heard a clock smite;
and then he was ware of an house closed well with walls and deep
ditches, and there he knocked at the gate and was let in, and he alit
and was led unto a chamber, and soon he was unarmed. And there he had
right good cheer all that night; and on the morn he heard his mass,
and in the monastery he found a priest ready at the altar. And on the
right side he saw a pew closed with iron, and behind the altar he saw
a rich bed and a fair, as of cloth of silk and gold. Then Sir
Percivale espied that therein was a man or a woman, for the visage was
covered; then he left off his looking and heard his service. And when
it came to the sacring, he that lay within that percloos dressed him
up, and uncovered his head; and then him beseemed a passing old man,
and he had a crown of gold upon his head, and his shoulders were naked
and unhilled unto his navel. And then Sir Percivale espied his body
was full of great wounds, both on the shoulders, arms, and visage. And
ever he held up his hands against our Lord's body, and cried: Fair,
sweet Father, Jesu Christ, forget not me. And so he lay down, but
always he was in his prayers and orisons; and him seemed to be of the
age of three hundred winter. And when the mass was done the priest
took Our Lord's body and bare it to the sick king. And when he had
used it he did off his crown, and commanded the crown to be set on the
altar. Then Sir Percivale asked one of the brethren what he was. Sir,
said the good man, ye have heard much of Joseph of Aramathie, how he
was sent by Jesu Christ into this land for to teach and preach the
holy Christian faith; and therefore he suffered many persecutions the
which the enemies of Christ did unto him, and in the city of Sarras he
converted a king whose name was Evelake. And so this king came with
Joseph into this land, and ever he was busy to be thereas the Sangreal
was; and on a time be nighed it so nigh that Our Lord was displeased
with him, but ever he followed it more and more, till God struck him
almost blind. Then this king cried mercy, and said: Fair Lord, let me
never die till the good knight of my blood of the ninth degree be
come, that I may see him openly that he shall achieve the Sangreal,
that I may kiss him.



When the king thus had made his prayers he heard a voice that said:
Heard be thy prayers, for thou shalt not die till he have kissed thee.
And when that knight shall come the clearness of your eyes shall come
again, and thou shalt see openly, and thy wounds shall be healed, and
erst shall they never close. And this befel of King Evelake, and this
same king hath lived this three hundred winter this holy life, and men
say the knight is in the court that shall heal him. Sir, said the good
man, I pray you tell me what knight that ye be, and if ye be of King
Arthur's court and of the Table Round. Yea, forsooth, said he, and my
name is Sir Percivale de Galis. And when the good man understood his
name he made great joy of him. And then Sir Percivale departed and
rode till the hour of noon. And he met in a valley about a twenty men
of arms, which bare in a bier a knight deadly slain. And when they saw
Sir Percivale they asked him of whence he was. And he answered: Of the
court of King Arthur. Then they cried all at once: Slay him. Then Sir
Percivale smote the first to the earth and his horse upon him. And
then seven of the knights smote upon his shield all at once, and the
remnant slew his horse so that he fell to the earth. So had they slain
him or taken him had not the good knight, Sir Galahad, with the red
arms come there by adventure into those parts. And when he saw all
those knights upon one knight he cried: Save me that knight's life.
And then he dressed him toward the twenty men of arms as fast as his
horse might drive, with his spear in the rest, and smote the foremost
horse and man to the earth. And when his spear was broken he set his
hand to his sword, and smote on the right hand and on the left hand
that it was marvel to see, and at every stroke he smote one down or
put him to a rebuke, so that they would fight no more but fled to a
thick forest, and Sir Galahad followed them. And when Sir Percivale
saw him chase them so, he made great sorrow that his horse was away.
And then he wist well it was Sir Galahad. And then he cried aloud: Ah,
fair knight, abide and suffer me to do thankings unto thee, for much
have ye done for me. But ever Sir Galahad rode so fast that at the
last he passed out of his sight. And as fast as Sir Percivale might he
went after him on foot, crying. And then he met with a yeoman riding
upon an hackney, the which led in his hand a great steed blacker than
any bear. Ah, fair friend, said Sir Percivale, as ever I may do for
you, and to be your true knight in the first place ye will require me,
that ye will lend me that black steed, that I might overtake a knight
the which rideth afore me. Sir knight, said the yeoman, I pray you
hold me excused of that, for that I may not do. For wit ye well, the
horse is such a man's horse, that an I lent it you or any man, that he
would slay me. Alas, said Sir Percivale, I had never so great sorrow
as I have had for losing of yonder knight. Sir, said the yeoman, I am
right heavy for you, for a good horse would beseem you well; but I
dare not deliver you this horse but if ye would take him from me. That
will I not do, said Sir Percivale. And so they departed; and Sir
Percivale set him down under a tree, and made sorrow out of measure.
And as he was there, there came a knight riding on the horse that the
yeoman led, and he was clene armed.



And anon the yeoman came pricking after as fast as ever he might, and
asked Sir Percivale if he saw any knight riding on his black steed.
Yea, sir forsooth, said he; why, sir, ask ye me that? Ah, sir, that
steed he hath benome me with strength; wherefor my lord will slay me
in what place he findeth me. Well, said Sir Percivale, what wouldst
thou that I did? Thou seest well that I am on foot, but an I had a
good horse I should bring him soon again. Sir, said the yeoman, take
mine hackney and do the best ye can, and I shall serve you on foot to
wit how that ye shall speed. Then Sir Percivale alit upon that
hackney, and rode as fast as he might, and at the last he saw that
knight And then he cried: Knight, turn again; and he turned and set
his spear again Sir Percivale, and he smote the hackney in the middes
of the breast that he fell down dead to the earth, and there he had a
great fall, and the other rode his way. And then Sir Percivale was
wood worth, and cried: Abide, wicked knight; coward and false-hearted
knight, turn again and fight with me on foot. But he answered not, but
passed on his way. When Sir Percivale saw he would not turn he cast
away his helm and sword, and said: Now am I a very wretch, cursed and
most unhappy above all other knights. So in this sorrow he abode all
that day till it was night; and then he was faint, and laid him down
and slept till it was midnight; and then he awakened and saw afore him
a woman which said unto him right fiercely: Sir Percivale, what dost
thou here? He answered, I do neither good nor great ill. If thou wilt
ensure me, said she, that thou wilt fulfil my will when I summon thee,
I shall lend thee mine own horse which shall bear thee whither thou
wilt. Sir Percivale was glad of her proffer, and ensured her to fulfil
all her desire. Then abide me here, and I shall go and fetch you an
horse. And so she came soon again and brought an horse with her that
was inly black. When Percivale beheld that horse he marvelled that it
was so great and so well apparelled; and not for then he was so hardy,
and he leapt upon him, and took none heed of himself. And so anon as
he was upon him he thrust to him with his spurs, and so he rode by a
forest, and the moon shone clear. And within an hour and less he bare
him four days' journey thence, until he came to a rough water the
which roared, and his horse would have borne him into it.



And when Sir Percivale came nigh the brim, and saw the water so
boistous, he doubted to overpass it. And then he made a sign of the
cross on his forehead. When the fiend felt him so charged he shook off
Sir Percivale, and he went into the water crying and roaring, making
great sorrow, and it seemed unto him that the water brent. Then Sir
Percivale perceived it was a fiend, the which would have brought him
unto his perdition. Then he commended himself unto God, and prayed Our
Lord to keep him from all such temptations; and so he prayed all that
night till on the morn that it was day; then he saw that he was in a
wild mountain the which was closed with the sea nigh all about, that
he might see no land about him which might relieve him, but wild
beasts. And then he went into a valley, and there he saw a young
serpent bring a young lion by the neck, and so he came by Sir
Percivale. With that came a great lion crying and roaring after the
serpent. And as fast as Sir Percivale saw this he marvelled, and hied
him thither, but anon the lion had overtaken the serpent and began
battle with him. And then Sir Percivale thought to help the lion for
he was the more natural beast of the two; and therewith he drew his
sword, and set his shield afore him, and there he gave the serpent
such a buffet that he had a deadly wound. When the lion saw that, he
made no resemblant to fight with him, but made him all the cheer that
a beast might make a man. Then Percivale perceived that, and cast down
his shield which was broken; and then he did off his helm for to
gather wind, for he was greatly enchafed with the serpent: and the
lion went alway about him fawning as a spaniel. And then he stroked
him on the neck and on the shoulders. And then he thanked God of the
fellowship of that beast. And about noon the lion took his little
whelp and trussed him and bare him there he came from. Then was Sir
Percivale alone. And as the tale telleth, he was one of the men of the
world at that time which most believed in our Lord Jesu Christ, for in
those days there were but few folks that believed in God perfectly.
For in those days the son spared not the father no more than a
stranger. And so Sir Percivale comforted himself in our Lord Jesu, and
besought God no temptation should bring him out of God's service, but
to endure as his true champion. Thus when Sir Percivale had prayed he
saw the lion come toward him, and then he couched down at his feet.
And so all that night the lion and he slept together; and when Sir
Percivale slept he dreamed a marvellous dream, that there two ladies
met with him, and that one sat upon a lion, and that other sat upon a
serpent, and that one of them was young, and the other was old; and
the youngest him thought said: Sir Percivale, my lord saluteth thee,
and sendeth thee word that thou array thee and make thee ready, for
tomorn thou must fight with the strongest champion of the world. And
if thou be overcome thou shalt not be quit for losing of any of thy
members, but thou shalt be shamed for ever to the world's end. And
then he asked her what was her lord. And she said the greatest lord of
all the world: and so she departed suddenly that he wist not where.



Then came forth the other lady that rode upon the serpent, and she
said: Sir Percivale, I complain me of you that ye have done unto me,
and have not offended unto you. Certes, madam, he said, unto you nor
no lady I never offended. Yes, said she, I shall tell you why. I have
nourished in this place a great while a serpent, which served me a
great while, and yesterday ye slew him as he gat his prey. Say me for
what cause ye slew him, for the lion was not yours. Madam, said Sir
Percivale, I know well the lion was not mine, but I did it for the
lion is of more gentler nature than the serpent, and therefore I slew
him; meseemeth I did not amiss against you. Madam, said he, what would
ye that I did? I would, said she, for the amends of my beast that ye
become my man. And then he answered: That will I not grant you. No,
said she, truly ye were never but my servant syn ye received the
homage of Our Lord Jesu Christ. Therefore, I ensure you in what place
I may find you without keeping I shall take you as he that sometime
was my man. And so she departed from Sir Percivale and left him
sleeping, the which was sore travailed of his advision. And on the
morn he arose and blessed him, and he was passing feeble. Then was Sir
Percivale ware in the sea, and saw a ship come sailing toward him; and
Sir Percivale went unto the ship and found it covered within and
without with white samite. And at the board stood an old man clothed
in a surplice, in likeness of a priest. Sir, said Sir Percivale, ye be
welcome. God keep you, said the good man. Sir, said the old man, of
whence be ye? Sir, said Sir Percivale, I am of King Arthur's court,
and a knight of the Table Round, the which am in the quest of the
Sangreal; and here am I in great duresse, and never like to escape out
of this wilderness. Doubt not, said the good man, an ye be so true a
knight as the order of chivalry requireth, and of heart as ye ought to
be, ye should not doubt that none enemy should slay you. What are ye?
said Sir Percivale. Sir, said the old man, I am of a strange country,
and hither I come to comfort you. Sir, said Sir Percivale, what
signifieth my dream that I dreamed this night? And there he told him
altogether: She which rode upon the lion betokeneth the new law of
holy church, that is to understand, faith, good hope, belief, and
baptism. For she seemed younger than the other it is great reason, for
she was born in the resurrection and the passion of our Lord Jesu
Christ. And for great love she came to thee to warn thee of thy great
battle that shall befall thee. With whom, said Sir Percivale, shall I
fight? With the most champion of the world, said the old man; for as
the lady said, but if thou quit thee well thou shalt not be quit by
losing of one member, but thou shalt be shamed to the world's end. And
she that rode on the serpent signifieth the old law, and that serpent
betokeneth a fiend. And why she blamed thee that thou slewest her
servant, it betokeneth nothing; the serpent that thou slewest
betokeneth the devil that thou rodest upon to the rock. And when thou
madest a sign of the cross, there thou slewest him, and put away his
power. And when she asked thee amends and to become her man, and thou
saidst thou wouldst not, that was to make thee to believe on her and
leave thy baptism. So he commanded Sir Percivale to depart, and so he
leapt over the board and the ship, and all went away he wist not
whither. Then he went up unto the rock and found the lion which always
kept him fellowship, and he stroked him upon the back and had great
joy of him.



By that Sir Percivale had abiden there till mid-day he saw a ship came
rowing in the sea as all the wind of the world had driven it. And so
it drove under that rock. And when Sir Percivale saw this he hied him
thither, and found the ship covered with silk more blacker than any
bear, and therein was a gentlewoman of great beauty, and she was
clothed richly that none might be better. And when she saw Sir
Percivale she said: Who brought you in this wilderness where ye be
never like to pass hence, for ye shall die here for hunger and
mischief? Damosel, said Sir Percivale, I serve the best man of the
world, and in his service he will not suffer me to die, for who that
knocketh shall enter, and who that asketh shall have, and who that
seeketh him he hideth him not. But then she said: Sir Percivale, wot
ye what I am? Yea, said he. Now who taught you my name? said she. Now,
said Sir Percivale, I know you better than ye ween. And I came out of
the waste forest where I found the red knight with the white shield,
said the damosel. Ah, damosel, said he, with that knight would I meet
passing fain. Sir knight, said she, an ye will ensure me by the faith
that ye owe unto knighthood that ye shall do my will what time I
summon you, and I shall bring you unto that knight. Yea, said he, I
shall promise you to fulfil your desire. Well, said she, now shall I
tell you. I saw him in the forest chasing two knights unto a water,
the which is called Mortaise; and they drove him into that water for
dread of death, and the two knights passed over, and the red knight
passed after, and there his horse was drenched, and he, through great
strength, escaped unto the land: thus she told him, and Sir Percivale
was passing glad thereof. Then she asked him if he had ate any meat
late. Nay, madam, truly I ate no meat nigh this three days, but late
here I spake with a good man that fed me with his good words and holy,
and refreshed me greatly. Ah, sir knight, said she, that same man is
an enchanter and a multiplier of words. For an ye believe him ye shall
plainly be shamed, and die in this rock for pure hunger, and be eaten
with wild beasts; and ye be a young man and a goodly knight, and I
shall help you an ye will. What are ye, said Sir Percivale, that
proffered me thus great kindness? I am, said she, a gentlewoman that
am disherited, which was sometime the richest woman of the world.
Damosel, said Sir Percivale, who hath disherited you? for I have great
pity of you. Sir, said she, I dwelled with the greatest man of the
world, and he made me so fair and clear that there was none like me;
and of that great beauty I had a little pride more than I ought to
have had. Also I said a word that pleased him not. And then he would
not suffer me to be any longer in his company, and so drove me from
mine heritage, and so disherited me, and he had never pity of me nor
of none of my council, nor of my court. And sithen, sir knight, it
hath befallen me so, and through me and mine I have benome him many of
his men, and made them to become my men. For they ask never nothing of
me but I give it them, that and much more. Thus I and all my servants
were against him night and day. Therefore I know now no good knight,
nor no good man, but I get them on my side an I may. And for that I
know that thou art a good knight, I beseech you to help me; and for ye
be a fellow of the Round Table, wherefore ye ought not to fail no
gentlewoman which is disherited, an she besought you of help.



Then Sir Percivale promised her all the help that he might; and then
she thanked him. And at that time the weather was hot. Then she called
unto her a gentlewoman and bad her bring forth a pavilion; and so she
did, and pyght it upon the gravel. Sir, said she, now may ye rest you
in this heat of the day. Then he thanked her, and she put off his helm
and his shield, and there he slept a great while. And then he awoke
and asked her if she had any meat, and she said: Yea, also ye shall
have enough. And so there was set enough upon the table, and thereon
so much that he had marvel, for there was all manner of meats that he
could think on. Also he drank there the strongest wine that ever he
drank, him thought, and therewith he was a little chafed more than he
ought to be; with that he beheld the gentlewoman, and him thought she
was the fairest creature that ever he saw. And then Sir Percivale
proffered her love, and prayed her that she would be his. Then she
refused him, in a manner, when he required her, for the cause he
should be the more ardent on her, and ever he ceased not to pray her
of love. And when she saw him well enchafed, then she said: Sir
Percivale, wit you well I shall not fulfil your will but if ye swear
from henceforth ye shall be my true servant, and to do nothing but
that I shall command you. Will ye ensure me this as ye be a true
knight? Yea, said he, fair lady, by the faith of my body. Well, said
she, now shall ye do with me what so it please you; and now wit ye
well ye are the knight in the world that I have most desire for. And
then two squires were commanded to make a bed in middes of the
pavilion. And anon she was unclothed and laid therein. And then Sir
Percivale laid him down by her naked; and by adventure and grace he
saw his sword lie on the ground naked, in whose pommel was a red cross
and the sign of the crucifix therein, and bethought him on his
knighthood and his promise made toforehand unto the good man; then he
made a sign of the cross in his forehead, and therewith the pavilion
turned up so down, and then it changed unto a smoke, and a black
cloud, and then he was adread and cried aloud:



Fair sweet father, Jesu Christ, ne let me not be shamed, the which was
nigh lost had not thy good grace been. And then he looked into a ship,
and saw her enter therein, which said: Sir Percivale, ye have betrayed
me. And so she went with the wind roaring and yelling, that it seemed
all the water brent after her. Then Sir Percivale made great sorrow,
and drew his sword unto him, saying: Sithen my flesh will be my master
I shall punish it; and therewith he rove himself through the thigh
that the blood start about him, and said: O good Lord, take this in
recompensation of that I have done against thee, my Lord. So then he
clothed him and armed him, and called himself a wretch, saying: How
nigh was I lost, and to have lost that I should never have gotten
again, that was my virginity, for that may never be recovered after it
is once lost. And then he stopped his bleeding wound with a piece of
his shirt. Thus as he made his moan he saw the same ship come from
Orient that the good man was in the day afore, and the noble knight
was ashamed with himself, and therewith he fell in a swoon. And when
he awoke he went unto him weakly, and there he saluted this good man.
And then he asked Sir Percivale: How hast thou done sith I departed?
Sir, said he, here was a gentlewoman and led me into deadly sin. And
there he told him altogether. Knew ye not the maid? said the good man.
Sir, said he, nay, but well I wot the fiend sent her hither to shame
me. O good knight, said he, thou art a fool, for that gentlewoman was
the master fiend of hell, the which hath power above all devils, and
that was the old lady that thou sawest in thine advision riding on the
serpent. Then he told Sir Percivale how our Lord Jesu Christ beat him
out of heaven for his sin, the which was the most brightest angel of
heaven, and therefore he lost his heritage: And that was the champion
that thou foughtest withal, the which had overcome thee had not the
grace of God been. Now beware Sir Percivale, and taken this for an
ensample. And then the good man vanished away. Then Sir Percivale took
his arms, and entered into the ship, and so departed from thence.

_Here endeth the fourtenthe booke, whiche is of syr Percyval. And here
followeth of syre Launcelot, whiche is the fyftenth book_.




When the hermit had kept Sir Launcelot three days, the hermit gat him
a horse, an helm, and a sword. And then he departed about the hour of
noon. And then he saw a little house. And when he came near he saw a
chapel, and there beside he saw an old man that was clothed all in
white full richly; and then Sir Launcelot said: God save you. God keep
you, said the good man, and make you a good knight. Then Sir Launcelot
alit and entered into the chapel and there he saw an old man dead, in
a white shirt of passing fine cloth. Sir, said the good man, this man
that is dead ought not to be in such clothing as ye see him in, for in
that he brake the oath of his order, for he hath been more than an
hundred winter a man of a religion. And then the good man and Sir
Launcelot went into the chapel; and the good man took a stole about
his neck, and a book, and then he conjured on that book; and with that
they saw in an hideous figure and horrible, that there was no man so
hard-hearted nor so hard but he should have been afeard. Then said the
fiend: Thou hast travailed me greatly; now tell me what thou wilt with
me. I will, said the good man, that thou tell me how my fellow became
dead, and whether he be saved or damned. Then he said with an horrible
voice: He is not lost but saved. How may that be? said the good man;
it seemed to me that he lived not well, for he brake his order for to
wear a shirt where he ought to wear none, and who that trespasseth
against our order doth not well. Not so, said the fiend, this man that
lieth here dead was come of a great lineage. And there was a lord that
hight the Earl de Vale, that held great war against this man's nephew,
the which hight Aguarus. And so this Aguarus saw the earl was bigger
than he. Then he went for to take counsel of his uncle, the which
lieth here dead as ye may see. And then he asked leave, and went out
of his hermitage for to maintain his nephew against the mighty earl;
and so it happed that this man that lieth here dead did so much by his
wisdom and hardiness that the earl was taken, and three of his lords,
by force of this dead man.



Then was there peace betwixt the earl and this Aguarus, and great
surety that the earl should never war against him. Then this dead man
that here lieth came to this hermitage again; and then the earl made
two of his nephews for to be avenged upon this man. So they came on a
day, and found this dead man at the sacring of his mass, and they
abode him till he had said mass. And then they set upon him and drew
out swords to have slain him; but there would no sword bite on him
more than upon a gad of steel, for the high Lord which he served he
him preserved. Then made they a great fire, and did off all his
clothes, and the hair off his back. And then this dead man hermit said
unto them: Ween you to burn me? It shall not lie in your power nor to
perish me as much as a thread an there were any on my body. No, said
one of them, it shall be essayed. And then they despoiled him, and put
upon him this shirt, and cast him in a fire, and there he lay all that
night till it was day in that fire, and was not dead, and so in the
morn I came and found him dead; but I found neither thread nor skin
tamyd, and so took him out of the fire with great fear, and led him
here as ye may see. And now may ye suffer me to go my way, for I have
said you the sooth. And then he departed with a great tempest. Then
was the good man and Sir Launcelot more gladder than they were tofore.
And then Sir Launcelot dwelled with that good man that night. Sir,
said the good man, be ye not Sir Launcelot du Lake? Yea, sir, said he.
What seek ye in this country? Sir, said Sir Launcelot, I go to seek
the adventures of the Sangreal. Well, said he, seek it ye may well,
but though it were here ye shall have no power to see it no more than
a blind man should see a bright sword, and that is long on your sin,
and else ye were more abler than any man living. And then Sir
Launcelot began to weep. Then said the good man: Were ye confessed
sith ye entered into the quest of the Sangreal? Yea, sir, said Sir
Launcelot. Then upon the morn when the good man had sung his mass,
then they buried the dead man. Then Sir Launcelot said: Father, what
shall I do? Now, said the good man, I require you take this hair that
was this holy man's and put it next thy skin, and it shall prevail
thee greatly. Sir, and I will do it, said Sir Launcelot. Also I charge
you that ye eat no flesh as long as ye be in the quest of the
Sangreal, nor ye shall drink no wine, and that ye hear mass daily an
ye may do it. So he took the hair and put it upon him, and so departed
at evensong-time. And so rode he into a forest, and there he met with
a gentlewoman riding upon a white palfrey, and then she asked him: Sir
knight, whither ride ye? Certes, damosel, said Launcelot, I wot not
whither I ride but as fortune leadeth me. Ah, Sir Launcelot, said she,
I wot what adventure ye seek, for ye were afore time nearer than ye be
now, and yet shall ye see it more openly than ever ye did, and that
shall ye understand in short time. Then Sir Launcelot asked her where
he might be harboured that night. Ye shall not find this day nor
night, but tomorn ye shall find harbour good, and ease of that ye be
in doubt of. And then he commended her unto God. Then he rode till
that he came to a Cross, and took that for his host as for that night.



And so he put his horse to pasture, and did off his helm and his
shield, and made his prayers unto the Cross that he never fall in
deadly sin again. And so he laid him down to sleep. And anon as he was
on sleep it befell him there an advision, that there came a man afore
him all by compass of stars, and that man had a crown of gold on his
head, and that man led in his fellowship seven kings and two knights.
And all these worshipped the Cross, kneeling upon their knees, holding
up their hands toward the heaven. And all they said: Fair sweet Father
of heaven, come and visit us, and yield unto us every each as we have
deserved. Then looked Launcelot up to the heaven, and him seemed the
clouds did open, and an old man came down, with a company of angels,
and alit among them, and gave unto every each his blessing, and called
them his servants, and good and true knights. And when this old man
had said thus he came to one of those knights, and said: I have lost
all that I have set in thee, for thou hast ruled thee against me as a
warrior, and used wrong wars with vain glory, more for the pleasure of
the world than to please me, therefore thou shalt be confounded
without thou yield me my treasure. All this advision saw Sir Launcelot
at the Cross. And on the morn he took his horse and rode till midday;
and there by adventure he met with the same knight that took his
horse, helm, and his sword, when he slept when the Sangreal appeared
afore the Cross. When Sir Launcelot saw him he saluted him not fair,
but cried on high: Knight, keep thee, for thou hast done to me great
unkindness. And then they put afore them their spears, and Sir
Launcelot came so fiercely upon him that he smote him and his horse
down to the earth, that he had nigh broken his neck. Then Sir
Launcelot took the knight's horse that was his own aforehand, and
descended from the horse he sat upon, and mounted upon his own horse,
and tied the knight's own horse to a tree that he might find that
horse when that he was arisen. Then Sir Launcelot rode till night and
by adventure he met an hermit, and each of them saluted other; and
there he rested with that good man all night, and gave his horse such
as he might get. Then said the good man unto Launcelot: Of whence be
ye? Sir, said he, I am of Arthur's court, and my name is Sir Launcelot
du Lake that am in the quest of the Sangreal, and therefore I pray you
to counsel me of a vision the which I had at the Cross. And so he told
him all.



Lo, Sir Launcelot, said the good man, there thou mightest understand
the high lineage that thou art come of, and thine advision betokeneth.
After the passion of Jesu Christ forty year, Joseph of Aramathie
preached the victory of King Evelake, that he had in the battles the
better of his enemies. And of the seven kings and the two knights: the
first of them is called Nappus, an holy man; and the second hight
Nacien, in remembrance of his grandsire, and in him dwelled our lord
Jesu Christ; and the third was called Helias le Grose; and the fourth
hight Lisais; and the fifth hight Jonas, he departed out of his
country and went into Wales, and took there the daughter of Manuel,
whereby he had the land of Gaul, and he came to dwell in this country.
And of him came King Launcelot thy grandsire, the which there wedded
the king's daughter of Ireland, and he was as worthy a man as thou
art, and of him came King Ban, thy father, the which was the last of
the seven kings. And by thee, Sir Launcelot, it signifieth that the
angels said thou were none of the seven fellowships. And the last was
the ninth knight, he was signified to a lion, for he should pass all
manner of earthly knights that is Sir Galahad, the which thou gat on
King Pelles' daughter; and thou ought to thank God more than any other
man living, for of a sinner earthly thou hast no peer as in
knighthood, nor never shall be. But little thank hast thou given to
God for all the great virtues that God hath lent thee. Sir, said
Launcelot, ye say that that good knight is my son. That oughtest thou
to know and no man better, said the good man, for thou knewest the
daughter of King Pelles fleshly, and on her thou begattest Galahad,
and that was he that at the feast of Pentecost sat in the Siege
Perilous; and therefore make thou it known openly that he is one of
thy begetting on King Pelles' daughter, for that will be your worship
and honour, and to all thy kindred. And I counsel you in no place
press not upon him to have ado with him. Well, said Launcelot,
meseemeth that good knight should pray for me unto the High Father,
that I fall not to sin again. Trust thou well, said the good man, thou
farest mickle the better for his prayer; but the son shall not bear
the wickedness of the father, nor the father shall not bear the
wickedness of the son, but every each shall bear his own burden. And
therefore beseek thou only God, and he will help thee in all thy
needs. And then Sir Launcelot and he went to supper, and so laid him
to rest, and the hair pricked so Sir Launcelot's skin which grieved
him full sore, but he took it meekly, and suffered the pain. And so on
the morn he heard his mass and took his arms, and so took his leave.



And then mounted upon his horse, and rode into a forest, and held no
highway. And as he looked afore him he saw a fair plain, and beside
that a fair castle, and afore the castle were many pavilions of silk
and of diverse hue. And him seemed that he saw there five hundred
knights riding on horseback; and there were two parties: they that
were of the castle were all on black horses and their trappours black,
and they that were without were all on white horses and trappours, and
every each hurtled to other that it marvelled Sir Launcelot. And at
the last him thought they of the castle were put to the worse. Then
thought Sir Launcelot for to help there the weaker party in increasing
of his chivalry. And so Sir Launcelot thrust in among the party of the
castle, and smote down a knight, horse and man, to the earth. And then
he rushed here and there, and did marvellous deeds of arms. And then
he drew out his sword, and struck many knights to the earth, so that
all those that saw him marvelled that ever one knight might do so
great deeds of arms. But always the white knights held them nigh about
Sir Launcelot, for to tire him and wind him. But at the last, as a man
may not ever endure, Sir Launcelot waxed so faint of fighting and
travailing, and was so weary of his great deeds, but he might not lift
up his arms for to give one stroke, so that he weened never to have
borne arms; and then they all took and led him away into a forest, and
there made him to alight and to rest him. And then all the fellowship
of the castle were overcome for the default of him. Then they said all
unto Sir Launcelot: Blessed be God that ye be now of our fellowship,
for we shall hold you in our prison; and so they left him with few
words. And then Sir Launcelot made great sorrow, For never or now was
I never at tournament nor jousts but I had the best, and now I am
shamed; and then he said: Now I am sure that I am more sinfuller than
ever I was. Thus he rode sorrowing, and half a day he was out of
despair, till that he came into a deep valley. And when Sir Launcelot
saw he might not ride up into the mountain, he there alit under an
apple tree, and there he left his helm and his shield, and put his
horse unto pasture. And then he laid him down to sleep. And then him
thought there came an old man afore him, the which said: Ah, Launcelot
of evil faith and poor belief, wherefore is thy will turned so lightly
toward thy deadly sin? And when he had said thus he vanished away, and
Launcelot wist not where he was become. Then he took his horse, and
armed him; and as he rode by the way he saw a chapel where was a
recluse, which had a window that she might see up to the altar. And
all aloud she called Launcelot, for that he seemed a knight errant.
And then he came, and she asked him what he was, and of what place,
and where about he went to seek.



And then he told her all together word by word, and the truth how it
befell him at the tournament. And after told her his advision that he
had had that night in his sleep, and prayed her to tell him what it
might mean, for he was not well content with it. Ah, Launcelot, said
she, as long as ye were knight of earthly knighthood ye were the most
marvellous man of the world, and most adventurous. Now, said the lady,
sithen ye be set among the knights of heavenly adventures, if
adventure fell thee contrary at that tournament have thou no marvel,
for that tournament yesterday was but a tokening of Our Lord. And not
for then there was none enchantment, for they at the tournament were
earthly knights. The tournament was a token to see who should have
most knights, either Eliazar, the son of King Pelles, or Argustus, the
son of King Harlon. But Eliazar was all clothed in white, and Argustus
was covered in black, the which were come. All what this betokeneth I
shall tell you. The day of Pentecost, when King Arthur held his court,
it befell that earthly kings and knights took a tournament together,
that is to say the quest of the Sangreal. The earthly knights were
they the which were clothed all in black, and the covering betokeneth
the sins whereof they be not confessed. And they with the covering of
white betokeneth virginity, and they that chose chastity. And thus was
the quest begun in them. Then thou beheld the sinners and the good
men, and when thou sawest the sinners overcome, thou inclinest to that
party for bobaunce and pride of the world, and all that must be left
in that quest, for in this quest thou shalt have many fellows and thy
betters. For thou art so feeble of evil trust and good belief, this
made it when thou were there where they took thee and led thee into
the forest. And anon there appeared the Sangreal unto the white
knights, but thou was so feeble of good belief and faith that thou
mightest not abide it for all the teaching of the good man, but anon
thou turnest to the sinners, and that caused thy misadventure that
thou should'st know good from evil and vain glory of the world, the
which is not worth a pear. And for great pride thou madest great
sorrow that thou haddest not overcome all the white knights with the
covering of white by whom was betokened virginity and chastity; and
therefore God was wroth with you, for God loveth no such deeds in this
quest. And this advision signifieth that thou were of evil faith and
of poor belief, the which will make thee to fall into the deep pit of
hell if thou keep thee not. Now have I warned thee of thy vain glory
and of thy pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker.
Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most
pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer of any earthly
sinful man. And so she commended Sir Launcelot to dinner. And after
dinner he took his horse and commended her to God, and so rode into a
deep valley, and there he saw a river and an high mountain. And
through the water he must needs pass, the which was hideous; and then
in the name of God he took it with good heart. And when he came over
he saw an armed knight, horse and man black as any bear; without any
word he smote Sir Launcelot's horse to the earth; and so he passed on,
he wist not where he was become. And then he took his helm and his
shield, and thanked God of his adventure.

_Here leveth of the story of syr launcelot. And speke we of sir
gawayne, the whiche is the xvi. book_.




When Sir Gawaine was departed from his fellowship he rode long without
any adventure. For he found not the tenth part of adventure as he was
wont to do. For Sir Gawaine rode from Whitsuntide until Michaelmas and
found none adventure that pleased him. So on a day it befell Gawaine
met with Sir Ector de Maris, and either made great joy of other that
it were marvel to tell. And so they told every each other, and
complained them greatly that they could find none adventure. Truly,
said Sir Gawaine unto Sir Ector, I am nigh weary of this quest, and
loth I am to follow further in strange countries. One thing marvelled
me, said Sir Ector, I have met with twenty knights, fellows of mine,
and all they complain as I do. I have marvel, said Sir Gawaine, where
that Sir Launcelot, your brother, is. Truly, said Sir Ector, I cannot
hear of him, nor of Sir Galahad, Percivale, nor Sir Bors. Let them be,
said Sir Gawaine, for they four have no peers. And if one thing were
not in Sir Launcelot he had no fellow of none earthly man; but he is
as we be, but if he took more pain upon him. But an these four be met
together they will be loth that any man meet with them; for an they
fail of the Sangreal it is in waste of all the remnant to recover it.
Thus as Ector and Gawaine rode more than eight days. And on a Saturday
they found an old chapel, the which was wasted that there seemed no
man thither repaired; and there they alit, and set their spears at the
door, and in they entered into the chapel, and there made their
orisons a great while, and set them down in the sieges of the chapel.
And as they spake of one thing and other, for heaviness they fell on
sleep, and there befel them both marvellous adventures. Sir Gawaine
him seemed he came into a meadow full of herbs and flowers, and there
he saw a rack of bulls, an hundred and fifty, that were proud and
black, save three of them were all white, and one had a black spot,
and the other two were so fair and so white that they might be no
whiter. And these three bulls which were so fair were tied with two
strong cords. And the remnant of the bulls said among them: Go we
hence to seek better pasture. And so some went, and some came again,
but they were so lean that they might not stand upright; and of the
bulls that were so white, that one came again and no more. But when
this white bull was come again among these other there rose up a great
cry for lack of wind that failed them; and so they departed one here
and another there; this advision befell Gawaine that night.



But to Ector de Maris befell another vision the contrary. For it
seemed him that his brother, Sir Launcelot, and he alit out of a chair
and leapt upon two horses, and the one said to the other: Go we seek
that we shall not find. And him thought that a man beat Sir Launcelot,
and despoiled him, and clothed him in another array, the which was all
full of knots, and set him upon an ass, and so he rode till he came to
the fairest well that ever he saw; and Sir Launcelot alit and would
have drunk of that well. And when he stooped to drink of the water the
water sank from him. And when Sir Launcelot saw that, he turned and
went thither as the head came from. And in the meanwhile he trowed
that himself and Sir Ector rode till that they came to a rich man's
house where there was a wedding. And there he saw a king the which
said: Sir knight, here is no place for you. And then he turned again
unto the chair that he came from. Thus within a while both Gawaine and
Ector awaked, and either told other of their advision, the which
marvelled them greatly. Truly, said Ector, I shall never be merry till
I hear tidings of my brother Launcelot. Now as they sat thus talking
they saw an hand showing unto the elbow, and was covered with red
samite, and upon that hung a bridle not right rich, and held within
the fist a great candle which burned right clear, and so passed afore
them, and entered into the chapel, and then vanished away and they
wist not where. And anon came down a voice which said: Knights of full
evil faith and of poor belief, these two things have failed you, and
therefore ye may not come to the adventures of the Sangreal. Then
first spake Gawaine and said: Ector, have ye heard these words? Yea
truly, said Sir Ector, I heard all. Now go we, said Sir Ector, unto
some hermit that will tell us of our advision, for it seemeth me we
labour all in vain. And so they departed and rode into a valley, and
there met with a squire which rode on an hackney, and they saluted him
fair. Sir, said Gawaine, can thou teach us to any hermit? Here is one
in a little mountain, but it is so rough there may no horse go
thither, and therefore ye must go upon foot; there shall ye find a
poor house, and there is Nacien the hermit, which is the holiest man
in this country. And so they departed either from other. And then in a
valley they met with a knight all armed, which proffered them to joust
as far as he saw them. In the name of God, said Sir Gawaine, sith I
departed from Camelot there was none proffered me to joust but once.
And now, sir, said Ector, let me joust with him. Nay, said Gawaine, ye
shall not but if I be beat; it shall not forethink me then if ye go
after me. And then either embraced other to joust and came together as
fast as their horses might run, and brast their shields and the mails,
and the one more than the other; and Gawaine was wounded in the left
side, but the other knight was smitten through the breast, and the
spear came out on the other side, and so they fell both out of their
saddles, and in the falling they brake both their spears. Anon Gawaine
arose and set his hand to his sword, and cast his shield afore him.
But all for naught was it, for the knight had no power to rise against
him. Then said Gawaine: Ye must yield you as an overcome man, or else
I may slay you. Ah, sir knight, said he, I am but dead, for God's sake
and of your gentleness lead me here unto an abbey that I may receive
my Creator. Sir, said Gawaine, I know no house of religion hereby.
Sir, said the knight, set me on an horse tofore you, and I shall teach
you. Gawaine set him up in the saddle, and he leapt up behind him for
to sustain him, and so came to an abbey where they were well received;
and anon he was unarmed, and received his Creator. Then he prayed
Gawaine to draw out the truncheon of the spear out of his body. Then
Gawaine asked him what he was that knew him not. I am, said he, of
King Arthur's court, and was a fellow of the Round Table, and we were
brethren sworn together; and now Sir Gawaine, thou hast slain me, and
my name is Uwaine les Avoutres, that sometime was son unto King
Uriens, and was in the quest of the Sangreal; and now forgive it thee
God, for it shall ever be said that the one sworn brother hath slain
the other.



Alas, said Gawaine, that ever this misadventure is befallen me. No
force, said Uwaine, sith I shall die this death, of a much more
worshipfuller man's hand might I not die; but when ye come to the
court recommend me unto my lord, King Arthur, and all those that be
left on live, and for old brotherhood think on me. Then began Gawaine
to weep, and Ector also. And then Uwaine himself and Sir Gawaine drew
out the truncheon of the spear, and anon departed the soul from the
body. Then Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector buried him as men ought to bury a
king's son, and made write upon his name, and by whom he was slain.
Then departed Gawaine and Ector as heavy as they might for their
misadventure, and so rode till that they came to the rough mountain,
and there they tied their horses and went on foot to the hermitage.
And when they were come up they saw a poor house, and beside the
chapel a little courtelage, where Nacien the hermit gathered worts, as
he which had tasted none other meat of a great while. And when he saw
the errant knights he came toward them and saluted them, and they him
again. Fair lords, said he, what adventure brought you hither? Sir,
said Gawaine, to speak with you for to be confessed. Sir, said the
hermit, I am ready. Then they told him so much that he wist well what
they were. And then he thought to counsel them if he might. Then began
Gawaine first and told him of his advision that he had had in the
chapel, and Ector told him all as it is afore rehearsed. Sir, said the
hermit unto Sir Gawaine, the fair meadow and the rack therein ought to
be understood the Round Table, and by the meadow ought to be
understood humility and patience, those be the things which be always
green and quick; for men may no time overcome humility and patience,
therefore was the Round Table founded; and the chivalry hath been at
all times so by the fraternity which was there that she might not be
overcome; for men said she was founded in patience and in humility. At
the rack ate an hundred and fifty bulls; but they ate not in the
meadow, for their hearts should be set in humility and patience, and
the bulls were proud and black save only three. By the bulls is to
understand the fellowship of the Round Table, which for their sin and
their wickedness be black. Blackness is to say without good or
virtuous works. And the three bulls which were white save only one
that was spotted: the two white betoken Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale,
for they be maidens clene and without spot; and the third that had a
spot signifieth Sir Bors de Ganis, which trespassed but once in his
virginity, but sithen he kept himself so well in chastity that all is
forgiven him and his misdeeds. And why those three were tied by the
necks, they be three knights in virginity and chastity, and there is
no pride smitten in them. And the black bulls which said: Go we hence,
they were those which at Pentecost at the high feast took upon them to
go in the quest of the Sangreal without confession: they might not
enter in the meadow of humility and patience. And therefore they
returned into waste countries, that signifieth death, for there shall
die many of them: every each of them shall slay other for sin, and
they that shall escape shall be so lean that it shall be marvel to see
them. And of the three bulls without spot, the one shall come again,
and the other two never.



Then spake Nacien unto Ector: Sooth it is that Launcelot and ye come
down off one chair: the chair betokeneth mastership and lordship which
ye came down from. But ye two knights, said the hermit, ye go to seek
that ye shall never find, that is the Sangreal; for it is the secret
thing of our Lord Jesu Christ. What is to mean that Sir Launcelot fell
down off his horse: he hath left pride and taken him to humility, for
he had cried mercy loud for his sin, and sore repented him, and our
Lord hath clothed him in his clothing which is full of knots, that is
the hair that he weareth daily. And the ass that he rode upon is a
beast of humility, for God would not ride upon no steed, nor upon no
palfrey; so in ensample that an ass betokeneth meekness, that thou
sawest Sir Launcelot ride on in thy sleep. And the well whereas the
water sank from him when he should have taken thereof, and when he saw
he might not have it, he returned thither from whence he came, for the
well betokeneth the high grace of God, the more men desire it to take
it, the more shall be their desire. So when he came nigh the Sangreal,
he meeked him that he held him not a man worthy to be so nigh the holy
vessel, for he had been so befouled in deadly sin by the space of many
years; yet when he kneeled to drink of the well, there he saw great
providence o£ the Sangreal. And for he had served so long the devil,
he shall have vengeance four and twenty days long, for that he hath
been the devil's servant four and twenty years. And then soon after he
shall return unto Camelot out of this country, and he shall say a part
of such things as he hath found. Now will I tell you what betokeneth
the hand with the candle and the bridle: that is to understand the
holy ghost where charity is ever, and the bridle signifieth
abstinence. For when she is bridled in Christian man's heart she
holdeth him so short that he falleth not in deadly sin. And the candle
which sheweth clearness and sight signifieth the right way of Jesu
Christ. And when he went and said: Knights of poor faith and of wicked
belief, these three things failed, charity, abstinence, and truth;
therefore ye may not attain that high adventure of the Sangreal.



Certes, said Gawaine, soothly have ye said, that I see it openly. Now,
I pray you, good man and holy father, tell me why we met not with so
many adventures as we were wont to do, and commonly have the better. I
shall tell you gladly, said the good man; the adventure of the
Sangreal which ye and many other have undertaken the quest of it and
find it not, the cause is for it appeareth not to sinners. Wherefore
marvel not though ye fail thereof, and many other. For ye be an untrue
knight, and a great murderer, and to good men signifieth other things
than murder. For I dare say as sinful as Sir Launcelot hath been, sith
that he went into the quest of the Sangreal he slew never man, nor
nought shall, till that he come unto Camelot again, for he hath taken
upon him for to forsake sin. And nere that he nys not stable, but by
his thought he is likely to turn again, he should be next to achieve
it save Galahad, his son. But God knoweth his thought and his
unstableness, and yet shall he die right an holy man, and no doubt he
hath no fellow of no earthly sinful man. Sir, said Gawaine, it seemeth
me by your words that for our sins it will not avail us to travel in
this quest. Truly, said the good man, there be an hundred such as ye
be that never shall prevail, but to have shame. And when they had
heard these voices they commended him unto God. Then the good man
called Gawaine, and said: It is long time passed sith that ye were
made knight, and never sithen thou servedst thy Maker, and now thou
art so old a tree that in thee is neither life nor fruit; wherefore
bethink thee that thou yield to Our Lord the bare rind, sith the fiend
hath the leaves and the fruit. Sir, said Gawaine, an I had leisure I
would speak with you, but my fellow here, Sir Ector, is gone, and
abideth me yonder beneath the hill. Well, said the good man, thou were
better to be counselled. Then departed Gawaine and came to Ector, and
so took their horses and rode till they came to a forester's house,
which harboured them right well. And on the morn they departed from
their host, and rode long or they could find any adventure.



When Bors was departed from Camelot he met with a religious man riding
on an ass, and Sir Bors saluted him. Anon the good man knew him that
he was one of the knights errant that was in the quest of the
Sangreal. What are ye? said the good man. Sir, said he, I am a knight
that fain would be counselled in the quest of the Sangreal, for he
shall have much earthly worship that may bring it to an end. Certes,
said the good man, that is sooth, for he shall be the best knight of
the world, and the fairest of all the fellowship. But wit you well
there shall none attain it but by cleanness, that is pure confession.
So rode they together till that they came to an hermitage. And there
he prayed Bors to dwell all that night with him. And so he alit and
put away his armour, and prayed him that he might be confessed; and so
they went into the chapel, and there he was clean confessed, and they
ate bread and drank water together. Now, said the good man, I pray
thee that thou eat none other till that thou sit at the table where
the Sangreal shall be. Sir, said he, I agree me thereto, but how wit
ye that I shall sit there. Yes, said the good man, that know I, but
there shall be but few of your fellows with you. All is welcome, said
Sir Bors, that God sendeth me. Also, said the good man, instead of a
shirt, and in sign of chastisement, ye shall wear a garment; therefore
I pray you do off all your clothes and your shirt: and so he did. And
then he took him a scarlet coat, so that should be instead of his
shirt till he had fulfilled the quest of the Sangreal; and the good
man found in him so marvellous a life and so stable, that he marvelled
and felt that he was never corrupt in fleshly lusts, but in one time
that he begat Elian le Blank. Then he armed him, and took his leave,
and so departed. And so a little from thence he looked up into a tree,
and there he saw a passing great bird upon an old tree, and it was
passing dry, without leaves; and the bird sat above, and had birds,
the which were dead for hunger. So smote he himself with his beak, the
which was great and sharp. And so the great bird bled till that he
died among his birds. And the young birds took the life by the blood
of the great bird. When Bors saw this he wist well it was a great
tokening; for when he saw the great bird arose not, then he took his
horse and yede his way. So by evensong, by adventure he came to a
strong tower and an high, and there was he lodged gladly.



And when he was unarmed they led him into an high tower where was a
lady, young, lusty, and fair. And she received him with great joy, and
made him to sit down by her, and so was he set to sup with flesh and
many dainties. And when Sir Bors saw that, he bethought him on his
penance, and bad a squire to bring him water. And so he brought him,
and he made sops therein and ate them. Ah, said the lady, I trow ye
like not my meat. Yes, truly, said Sir Bors, God thank you, madam, but
I may eat none other meat this day. Then she spake no more as at that
time, for she was loth to displease him. Then after supper they spake
of one thing and other. With that came a squire and said: Madam, ye
must purvey you tomorn for a champion, for else your sister will have
this castle and also your lands, except ye can find a knight that will
fight tomorn in your quarrel against Pridam le Noire. Then she made
sorrow and said: Ah, Lord God, wherefore granted ye to hold my land,
whereof I should now be disherited without reason and right? And when
Sir Bors had heard her say thus, he said, I shall comfort you. Sir,
said she, I shall tell you there was here a king that hight Aniause,
which held all this land in his keeping. So it mishapped he loved a
gentlewoman a great deal elder than I. So took he her all this land to
her keeping, and all his men to govern; and she brought up many evil
customs whereby she put to death a great part of his kinsmen. And when
he saw that, he let chase her out of this land, and betook it me, and
all this land in my demesnes. But anon as that worthy king was dead,
this other lady began to war upon me, and hath destroyed many of my
men, and turned them against me, that I have wellnigh no man left me;
and I have nought else but this high tower that she left me. And yet
she hath promised me to have this tower, without I can find a knight
to fight with her champion. Now tell me, said Sir Bors, what is that
Pridam le Noire? Sir, said she, he is the most doubted man of this
land. Now may ye send her word that ye have found a knight that shall
fight with that Pridam le Noire in God's quarrel and yours. Then that
lady was not a little glad, and sent word that she was purveyed, and
that night Bors had good cheer; but in no bed he would come, but laid
him on the floor, nor never would do otherwise till that he had met
with the quest of the Sangreal.



And anon as he was asleep him befel a vision, that there came to him
two birds, the one as white as a swan, and the other was marvellous
black; but it was not so great as the other, but in the likeness of a
Raven. Then the white bird came to him, and said: An thou wouldst give
me meat and serve me I should give thee all the riches of the world,
and I shall make thee as fair and as white as I am. So the white bird
departed, and there came the black bird to him, and said: An thou
wolt, serve me to-morrow and have me in no despite though I be black,
for wit thou well that more availeth my blackness than the other's
whiteness. And then he departed. And he had another vision: him
thought that he came to a great place which seemed a chapel, and there
he found a chair set on the left side, which was wormeaten and feeble.
And on the right hand were two flowers like a lily, and the one would
have benome the other's whiteness but a good man departed them that
the one touched not the other; and then out of every flower came out
many flowers, and fruit great plenty. Then him thought the good man
said: Should not he do great folly that would let these two flowers
perish for to succour the rotten tree, that it fell not to the earth?
Sir, said he, it seemeth me that this wood might not avail. Now keep
thee, said the good man, that thou never see such adventure befall
thee. Then he awaked and made a sign of the cross in middes of the
forehead, and so rose and clothed him. And there came the lady of the
place, and she saluted him, and he her again, and so went to a chapel
and heard their service. And there came a company of knights, that the
lady had sent for, to lead Sir Bors unto battle. Then asked he his
arms. And when he was armed she prayed him to take a little morsel to
dine. Nay, madam, said he, that shall I not do till I have done my
battle, by the grace of God. And so he lept upon his horse, and
departed all the knights and men with him. And as soon as these two
ladies met together, she which Bors should fight for complained her,
and said: Madam, ye have done me wrong to bereave me of my lands that
King Aniause gave me, and full loth I am there should be any battle.
Ye shall not choose, said the other lady, or else your knight withdraw
him. Then there was the cry made, which party had the better of the
two knights, that his lady should rejoice all the land. Now departed
the one knight here, and the other there. Then they came together with
such a raundon that they pierced their shields and their hauberks, and
the spears flew in pieces, and they wounded either other sore. Then
hurtled they together, so that they fell both to the earth, and their
horses betwixt their legs; and anon they arose, and set hands to their
swords, and smote each one other upon the heads, that they made great
wounds and deep, that the blood went out of their bodies. For there
found Sir Bors greater defence in that knight more than he weened. For
that Pridam was a passing good knight, and he wounded Sir Bors full
evil, and he him again; but ever this Pridam held the stour in like
hard. That perceived Sir Bors, and suffered him till he was nigh
attaint. And then he ran upon him more and more, and the other went
back for dread of death. So in his withdrawing he fell upright, and
Sir Bors drew his helm so strongly that he rent it from his head, and
gave him great strokes with the flat of his sword upon the visage, and
bad him yield him or he should slay him. Then he cried him mercy and
said: Fair knight, for God's love slay me not, and I shall ensure thee
never to war against thy lady, but be alway toward her. Then Bors let
him be; then the old lady fled with all her knights.



So then came Bors to all those that held lands of his lady, and said
he should destroy them but if they did such service unto her as longed
to their lands. So they did their homage, and they that would not were
chased out of their lands. Then befel that young lady to come to her
estate again, by the mighty prowess of Sir Bors de Ganis. So when all
the country was well set in peace, then Sir Bors took his leave and
departed; and she thanked him greatly, and would have given him great
riches, but he refused it. Then he rode all that day till night, and
came to an harbour to a lady which knew him well enough, and made of
him great joy. Upon the morn, as soon as the day appeared, Bors
departed from thence, and so rode into a forest unto the hour of
midday, and there befel him a marvellous adventure. So he met at the
departing of the two ways two knights that led Lionel, his brother,
all naked, bounden upon a strong hackney, and his hands bounden tofore
his breast. And every each of them held in his hands thorns wherewith
they went beating him so sore that the blood trailed down more than in
an hundred places of his body, so that he was all blood tofore and
behind, but he said never a word; as he which was great of heart he
suffered all that ever they did to him as though he had felt none
anguish. Anon Sir Bors dressed him to rescue him that was his brother;
and so he looked upon the other side of him, and saw a knight which
brought a fair gentlewoman, and would have set her in the thickest
place of the forest for to have been the more surer out of the way
from them that sought him. And she which was nothing assured cried
with an high voice: Saint Mary succour your maid. And anon she espied
where Sir Bors came riding. And when she came nigh him she deemed him
a knight of the Round Table, whereof she hoped to have some comfort;
and then she conjured him: By the faith that he ought unto him in
whose service thou art entered in, and for the faith ye owe unto the
high order of knighthood, and for the noble King Arthur's sake, that I
suppose that made thee knight, that thou help me, and suffer me not to
be shamed of this knight. When Bors heard her say thus he had so much
sorrow there he nyst not what to do. For if I let my brother be in
adventure he must be slain, and that would I not for all the earth.
And if I help not the maid she is shamed for ever, and also she shall
lose her virginity the which she shall never get again. Then lift he
up his eyes and said weeping: Fair sweet Lord Jesu Christ, whose liege
man I am, keep Lionel, my brother, that these knights slay him not,
and for pity of you, and for Mary's sake, I shall succour this maid.



Then dressed he him unto the knight the which had the gentlewoman, and
then he cried: Sir knight, let your hand off that maiden, or ye be but
dead. And then he set down the maiden, and was armed at all pieces
save he lacked his spear. Then he dressed his shield, and drew out his
sword, and Bors smote him so hard that it went through his shield and
habergeon on the left shoulder. And through great strength he beat him
down to the earth, and at the pulling out of Bors' spear there he
swooned. Then came Bors to the maid and said: How seemeth it you? of
this knight ye be delivered at this time. Now sir, said she, I pray
you lead me there as this knight had me. So shall I do gladly: and
took the horse of the wounded knight, and set the gentlewoman upon
him, and so brought her as she desired. Sir knight, said she, ye have
better sped than ye weened, for an I had lost my maidenhead, five
hundred men should have died for it. What knight was he that had you
in the forest? By my faith, said she, he is my cousin. So wot I never
with what engyn the fiend enchafed him, for yesterday he took me from
my father privily; for I nor none of my father's men mistrusted him
not, and if he had had my maidenhead he should have died for the sin,
and his body shamed and dishonoured for ever. Thus as she stood
talking with him there came twelve knights seeking after her, and anon
she told them all how Bors had delivered her; then they made great
joy, and besought him to come to her father, a great lord, and he
should be right welcome. Truly, said Bors, that may not be at this
time, for I have a great adventure to do in this country. So he
commended them unto God and departed. Then Sir Bors rode after Lionel,
his brother, by the trace of their horses, thus he rode seeking a
great while. Then he overtook a man clothed in a religious clothing,
and rode on a strong black horse blacker than a bear, and said: Sir
knight, what seek you? Sir, said he, I seek my brother that I saw
within a while beaten with two knights. Ah, Bors, discomfort you not,
nor fall into no wanhope, for I shall tell you tidings such as they
be, for truly he is dead. Then showed he him a new slain body lying in
a bush, and it seemed him well that it was the body of Lionel; and
then he made such a sorrow that he fell to the earth all in a swoon,
and lay a great while there. And when he came to himself he said: Fair
brother, sith the company of you and me is departed shall I never have
joy in my heart, and now he which I have taken unto my master, He be
my help. And when he had said thus he took his body lightly in his
arms, and put it upon the arson of his saddle. And then he said to the
man: Canst thou tell me unto some chapel where that I may bury this
body? Come on, said he, here is one fast by; and so long they rode
till they saw a fair tower, and afore it there seemed an old feeble
chapel. And then they alit both, and put him into a tomb of marble.



Now leave we him here, said the good man, and go we to our harbour
till to-morrow; we will come here again to do him service. Sir, said
Bors, be ye a priest? Yea forsooth, said he. Then I pray you tell me a
dream that befell to me the last night. Say on, said he. Then he began
so much to tell him of the great bird in the forest, and after told
him of his birds, one white, another black, and of the rotten tree,
and of the white flowers. Sir, I shall tell you a part now, and the
other dele to-morrow. The white fowl betokeneth a gentlewoman, fair
and rich, which loved thee paramours, and hath loved thee long; and if
thou warne her love she shall go die anon, if thou have no pity on
her. That signifieth the great bird, the which shall make thee to
warne her. Now for no fear that thou hast, nor for no dread that thou
hast of God, thou shalt not warne her, but thou wouldst not do it for
to be holden chaste, for to conquer the loos of the vain glory of the
world; for that shall befall thee now an thou warne her, that
Launcelot, the good knight, thy cousin, shall die. And therefore men
shall now say that thou art a manslayer, both of thy brother, Sir
Lionel, and of thy cousin, Sir Launcelot du Lake, the which thou
mightest have saved and rescued easily, but thou weenest to rescue a
maid which pertaineth nothing to thee. Now look thou whether it had
been greater harm of thy brother's death, or else to have suffered her
to have lost her maidenhood. Then asked he him: Hast thou heard the
tokens o£ thy dream the which I have told to you? Yea forsooth, said
Sir Bors, all your exposition and declaring of my dream I have well
understood and heard. Then said the man in this black clothing: Then
is it in thy default if Sir Launcelot, thy cousin, die. Sir, said
Bors, that were me loth, for wit ye well there is nothing in the world
but I had lever do it than to see my lord Sir Launcelot du Lake, to
die in my default. Choose ye now the one or the other, said the good
man. And then he led Sir Bors into an high tower, and there he found
knights and ladies: those ladies said he was welcome, and so they
unarmed him. And when he was in his doublet men brought him a mantle
furred with ermine, and put it about him; and then they made him such
cheer that he had forgotten all his sorrow and anguish, and only set
his heart in these delights and dainties, and took no thought more for
his brother, Sir Lionel, neither of Sir Launcelot du Lake, his cousin.
And anon came out of a chamber to him the fairest lady that ever he
saw, and more richer bysene than ever he saw Queen Guenever or any
other estate. Lo, said they, Sir Bors, here is the lady unto whom we
owe all our service, and I trow she be the richest lady and the
fairest of all the world, and the which loveth you best above all
other knights, for she will have no knight but you. And when he
understood that language he was abashed. Not for then she saluted him,
and he her; and then they sat down together and spake of many things,
in so much that she besought him to be her love, for she had loved him
above all earthly men, and she should make him richer than ever was
man of his age. When Bors understood her words he was right evil at
ease, which in no manner would not break chasity, so wist not he how
to answer her.



Alas, said she, Bors, shall ye not do my will? Madam, said Bors,
there is no lady in the world whose will I will fulfill as of this
thing, for my brother lieth dead which was slain right late. Ah Bors,
said she, I have loved you long for the great beauty I have seen in
you, and the great hardiness that I have heard of you, that needs ye
must lie by me this night, and therefore I pray you grant it me.
Truly, said he, I shall not do it in no manner wise. Then she made him
such sorrow as though she would have died. Well Bors, said she, unto
this have ye brought me, nigh to mine end. And therewith she took him
by the hand, and bad him behold her. And ye shall see how I shall die
for your love. Ah, said then he, that shall I never see. Then she
departed and went up into an high battlement, and led with her twelve
gentlewomen; and when they were above, one of the gentlewomen cried,
and said: Ah, Sir Bors, gentle knight have mercy on us all, and suffer
my lady to have her will, and if ye do not we must suffer death with
our lady, for to fall down off this high tower, and if ye suffer us
thus to die for so little a thing all ladies and gentlewomen will say
of you dishonour. Then looked he upward, they seemed all ladies of
great estate, and richly and well bisene. Then had he of them great
pity; not for that he was uncounselled in himself that lever he had
they all had lost their souls than he his, and with that they fell
adown all at once unto the earth. And when he saw that, he was all
abashed, and had thereof great marvel. With that he blessed his body
and his visage. And anon he heard a great noise and a great cry, as
though all the fiends of hell had been about him; and therewith he saw
neither tower nor lady, nor gentlewoman, nor no chapel where he
brought his brother to. Then held he up both his hands to the heaven,
and said: Fair Father God, I am grievously escaped; and then he took
his arms and his horse and rode on his way. Then he heard a clock
smite on his right hand; and thither he came to an Abbey on his right
hand, closed with high walls, and there was let in. Then they supposed
that he was one of the quest of the Sangreal, so they led him into a
chamber and unarmed him. Sirs, said Sir Bors, if there be any holy man
in this house I pray you let me speak with him. Then one of them led
him unto the Abbot, which was in a Chapel. And then Sir Bors saluted
him, and he him again. Sir, said Bors, I am a knight errant; and told
him all the adventure which he had seen. Sir Knight, said the Abbot, I
wot not what ye be, for I weened never that a knight of your age might
have been so strong in the grace of our Lord Jesu Christ. Not for then
ye shall go unto your rest, for I will not counsel you this day, it is
too late, and to-morrow I shall counsel you as I can.



And that night was Sir Bors served richly; and on the morn early he
heard mass, and the Abbot came to him, and bad him good morrow, and
Bors to him again. And then he told him he was a fellow of the quest
of the Sangreal, and how he had charge of the holy man to eat bread
and water. Then said the Abbot: Our Lord Jesu Christ showed him unto
you in the likeness of a soul that suffered great anguish for us, syne
He was put upon the cross, and bled His heart blood for mankind: there
was the token and the likeness of the Sangreal that appeared afore
you, for the blood that the great fowl bled revived the chickens from
death to life. And by the bare tree is betokened the world which is
naked and without fruit but if it come to Our Lord. Also the lady for
whom ye fought for, and King Aniause which was lord there tofore,
betokeneth Jesu Christ which is the King of the world. And that ye
fought with the champion for the lady, this it betokeneth: for when ye
took the battle for the lady, by her shall ye understand the new law
of Jesu Christ and Holy Church; and by the other lady ye shall
understand the old law and the fiend, which all day warreth against
Holy Church, therefore ye did your battle with right. For ye be Jesu
Christ's knights, therefore ye ought to be defenders of Holy Church.
And by the black bird might ye understand Holy Church, which sayeth I
am black, but he is fair. And by the white bird might men understand
the fiend, and I shall tell you how the swan is white without forth,
and black within: it is hypocrisy which is without yellow or pale, and
seemeth without forth the servants of Jesu Christ, but they be within
so horrible of filth and sin, and beguile the world evil. Also when
the fiend appeared to thee in likeness of a man of religion, and
blamed thee that thou left thy brother for a lady, so led thee where
thou seemed thy brother was slain, but he is yet on live; and all was
for to put thee in error, and bring thee unto wanhope and lechery, for
he knew thou were tender hearted, and all was for thou shouldst not
find the blessed adventure of the Sangreal. And the third fowl
betokeneth the strong battle against the fair ladies which were all
devils. Also the dry tree and the white lily: the dry tree betokeneth
thy brother Lionel, which is dry without virtue, and therefore many
men ought to call him the rotten tree, and the wormeaten tree, for he
is a murderer and doth contrary to the order of knighthood. And the
two white flowers signify two maidens, the one is a knight which was
wounded the other day, and the other is the gentlewoman which ye
rescued; and why the other flower drew nigh the other, that was the
knight which would have befouled her and himself both. And Sir Bors,
ye had been a great fool and in great peril for to have seen those two
flowers perish for to succour the rotten tree, for and they had sinned
together they had been damned; and for that ye rescued them both, men
might call you a very knight and servant of Jesu Christ.



Then went Sir Bors from thence and commended the abbot unto God. And
then he rode all that day, and harboured with an old lady. And on the
morn he rode to a castle in a valley, and there he met with a yeoman
going a great pace toward a forest. Say me, said Sir Bors, canst thou
tell me of any adventure? Sir, said he, here shall be under this
castle a great and a marvellous tournament. Of what folks shall it be?
said Sir Bors. The Earl of Plains shall be in the one party, and the
lady's nephew of Hervin on the other party. Then Bors thought to be
there if he might meet with his brother Sir Lionel, or any other of
his fellowship, which were in the quest of the Sangreal. And then he
turned to an hermitage that was in the entry of the forest. And when
he was come thither he found there Sir Lionel, his brother, which sat
all armed at the entry of the chapel door for to abide there harbour
till on the morn that the tournament shall be. And when Sir Bors saw
him he had great joy of him, that it were marvel to tell of his joy.
And then he alit off his horse, and said: Fair sweet brother, when
came ye hither? Anon as Lionel saw him he said: Ah Bors, ye may not
make none avaunt, but as for you I might have been slain; when ye saw
two knights leading me away beating me, ye left me for to succour a
gentlewoman, and suffered me in peril of death; for never erst me did
no brother to another so great an untruth. And for that misdeed now I
ensure you but death, for well have ye deserved it; therefore keep
thee from henceforward, and that shall ye find as soon as I am armed.
When Sir Bors understood his brother's wrath he kneeled down to the
earth and cried him mercy, holding up both his hands, and prayed him
to forgive him his evil will. Nay, said Lionel, that shall never be an
I may have the higher hand, that I make mine avow to God, thou shalt
have death for it, for it were pity ye lived any longer. Right so he
went in and took his harness, and mounted upon his horse, and came
tofore him and said: Bors, keep thee from me, for I shall do to thee
as I would to a felon or a traitor, for ye be the untruest knight that
ever came out of so worthy an house as was King Bors' de Ganis which
was our father, therefore start upon thy horse, and so shall ye be
most at your advantage. And but if ye will I will run upon you there
as ye stand upon foot, and so the shame shall be mine and the harm
yours, but of that shame ne reck I nought. When Sir Bors saw that he
must fight with his brother or else to die, he nist what to do; then
his heart counselled him not thereto, inasmuch as Lionel was born or
he, wherefore he ought to bear him reverence; yet kneeled he down
afore Lionel's horse's feet, and said: Fair sweet brother, have mercy
upon me and slay me not, and have in remembrance the great love which
ought to be between us twain. What Sir Bors said to Lionel he recked
not, for the fiend had brought him in such a will that he should slay
him. Then when Lionel saw he would none other, and that he would not
have risen to give him battle, he rushed over him so that he smote
Bors with his horse, feet upward to the earth, and hurt him so sore
that he swooned of distress, the which he felt in himself to have died
without confession. So when Lionel saw this, he alit off his horse to
have smitten off his head. And so he took him by the helm, and would
have rent it from his head. Then came the hermit running unto him,
which was a good man and of great age, and well had heard all the
words that were between them, and so fell down upon Sir Bors.



Then he said to Lionel: Ah gentle knight, have mercy upon me and on
thy brother, for if thou slay him thou shalt be dead of sin, and that
were sorrowful, for he is one of the worthiest knights of the world,
and of the best conditions. So God help me, said Lionel, sir priest,
but if ye flee from him I shall slay you, and he shall never the
sooner be quit. Certes, said the good man, I have lever ye slay me
than him, for my death shall not be great harm, not half so much as of
his. Well, said Lionel, I am agreed; and set his hand to his sword and
smote him so hard that his head yede backward. Not for that he
restrained him of his evil will, but took his brother by the helm, and
unlaced it to have stricken off his head, and had slain him without
fail. But so it happed, Colgrevance, a fellow of the Round Table, came
at that time thither as Our Lord's will was. And when he saw the good
man slain he marvelled much what it might be. And then he beheld
Lionel would have slain his brother, and knew Sir Bors which he loved
right well. Then start he down and took Lionel by the shoulders, and
drew him strongly aback from Bors, and said: Lionel, will ye slay your
brother, the worthiest knight of the world one? and that should no
good man suffer. Why, said Lionel, will ye let me? therefore if ye
intermit you in this I shall slay you, and him after. Why, said
Colgrevance, is this sooth that ye will slay him? Slay him will I,
said he, whoso say the contrary, for he hath done so much against me
that he hath well deserved it. And so ran upon him, and would have
smitten him through the head, and Sir Colgrevance ran betwixt them,
and said: An ye be so hardy to do so more, we two shall meddle
together. When Lionel understood his words he took his shield afore
him, and asked him what that he was. And he told him, Colgrevance, one
of his fellows. Then Lionel defied him, and gave him a great stroke
through the helm. Then he drew his sword, for he was a passing good
knight, and defended him right manfully. So long dured the battle that
Bors rose up all anguishly, and beheld Colgrevance, the good knight,
fought with his brother for his quarrel; then was he full sorry and
heavy, and thought if Colgrevance slay him that was his brother he
should never have joy; and if his brother slew Colgrevance the shame
should ever be mine. Then would he have risen to have departed them,
but he had not so much might to stand on foot; so he abode him so long
till Colgrevance had the worse, for Lionel was of great chivalry and
right hardy, for he had pierced the hauberk and the helm, that he
abode but death, for he had lost much of his blood that it was marvel
that he might stand upright. Then beheld he Sir Bors which sat
dressing him upward and said: Ah, Bors, why come ye not to cast me out
of peril of death, wherein I have put me to succour you which were
right now nigh the death? Certes, said Lionel, that shall not avail
you, for none of you shall bear others warrant, but that ye shall die
both of my hand. When Bors heard that, he did so much, he rose and put
on his helm. Then perceived he first the hermit priest which was
slain, then made he a marvellous sorrow upon him.



Then often Colgrevance cried upon Sir Bors: Why will ye let me die
here for your sake? if it please you that I die for you the death, it
will please me the better for to save a worthy man. With that word Sir
Lionel smote off the helm from his head. Then Colgrevance saw that he
might not escape; then he said: Fair sweet Jesu, that I have misdone
have mercy upon my soul, for such sorrow that my heart suffereth for
goodness, and for alms deed that I would have done here, be to me
alygement of penance unto my soul's health. At these words Lionel
smote him so sore that he bare him to the earth. So he had slain
Colgrevance he ran upon his brother as a fiendly man, and gave him
such a stroke that he made him stoop. And he that was full of humility
prayed him for God's love to leave this battle: For an it befel, fair
brother, that I slew you or ye me, we should be dead of that sin.
Never God me help but if I have on you mercy, and I may have the
better hand. Then drew Bors his sword, all weeping, and said: Fair
brother, God knoweth mine intent. Ah, fair brother, ye have done full
evil this day to slay such an holy priest the which never trespassed.
Also ye have slain a gentle knight, and one of our fellows. And well
wot ye that I am not afeared of you greatly, but I dread the wrath of
God, and this is an unkindly war, therefore God show miracle upon us
both. Now God have mercy upon me though I defend my life against my
brother; with that Bors lift up his hand and would have smitten his



And then he heard a voice that said: Flee Bors, and touch him not, or
else thou shall slay him. Right so alit a cloud betwixt them in
likeness of a fire and a marvellous flame, that both their two shields
burnt. Then were they sore afraid, that they fell both to the earth,
and lay there a great while in a swoon. And when they came to
themself, Bors saw that his brother had no harm; then he held up both
his hands, for he dread God had taken vengeance upon him. With that he
heard a voice say: Bors, go hence, and bear thy brother no longer
fellowship, but take thy way anon right to the sea, for Sir Percivale
abideth thee there. Then he said to his brother: Fair sweet brother,
forgive me for God's love all that I have trespassed unto you. Then he
answered: God forgive it thee and I do gladly. So Sir Bors departed
from him and rode the next way to the sea. And at the last by fortune
he came to an Abbey which was nigh the sea. That night Bors rested him
there; and in his sleep there came a voice to him and bad him go to
the sea. Then he start up and made a sign of the Cross in the middes
of his forehead, and took his harness, and made ready his horse, and
mounted upon him; and at a broken wall he rode out, and rode so long
till that he came to the sea. And on the strand he found a ship
covered all with white samite, and he alit, and betook him to Jesu
Christ. And as soon as he entered into the ship, the ship departed
into the sea, and went so fast that him seemed the ship went flying,
but it was soon dark so that he might know no man, and so he slept
till it was day. Then he awaked, and saw in middes of the ship a
knight lie all armed save his helm. Then knew he that it was Sir
Percivale of Wales, and then he made of him right great joy; but Sir
Percivale was abashed of him, and he asked him what he was. Ah, fair
sir, said Bors, know ye me not? Certes, said he, I marvel how ye came
hither, but if Our Lord brought ye hither Himself. Then Sir Bors
smiled and did off his helm. Then Percivale knew him, and either made
great joy of other, that it was marvel to hear. Then Bors told him how
he came into the ship, and by whose admonishment; and either told
other of their temptations, as ye have heard toforehand. So went they
downward in the sea, one while backward, another while forward, and
every each comforted other, and oft were in their prayers. Then said
Sir Percivale: We lack nothing but Galahad, the good knight.

_And thus endeth the syxteenth book, whiche is of syre Gawayne, Ector
de marys, and syre Bors de ganys, and sir Percyval.

And here followeth the sevententh book, whiche is of the noble Knyghte
syre Galahad._




Now saith this story, when Galahad had rescued Percivale from the
twenty knights, he yede then into a waste forest wherein he rode many
journeys; and he found many adventures the which he brought to an end,
whereof the story maketh here no mention. Then he took his way to the
sea on a day, and it befel as he passed by a castle where was a wonder
tournament, but they without had done so much that they within were
put to the worse, yet were they within good knights enough. When
Galahad saw that those within were at so great a mischief that men
slew them at the entry of the castle, then he thought to help them,
and put a spear forth and smote the first that he fell to the earth,
and the spear brake to pieces. Then he drew his sword and smote there
as they were thickest, and so he did wonderful deeds of arms that all
they marvelled. Then it happed that Gawaine and Sir Ector de Maris
were with the knights without. But when they espied the white shield
with the red cross the one said to the other: Yonder is the good
knight, Sir Galahad, the haut prince: now he should be a great fool
which should meet with him to fight. So by adventure he came by Sir
Gawaine, and he smote him so hard that he clave his helm and the
coiffe of iron unto his head, so that Gawaine fell to the earth; but
the stroke was so great that it slanted down to the earth and carved
the horse's shoulder in two. When Ector saw Gawaine down he drew him
aside, and thought it no wisdom for to abide him, and also for natural
love, that he was his uncle. Thus through his great hardiness he beat
aback all the knights without. And then they within came out and
chased them all about. But when Galahad saw there would none turn
again he stole away privily so that none wist where he was become. Now
by my head, said Gawaine to Ector, now are the wonders true that were
said of Launcelot du Lake, that the sword which stuck in the stone
should give me such a buffet that I would not have it for the best
castle in this world; and soothly now it is proved true, for never ere
had I such a stroke of man's hand. Sir, said Ector, meseemeth your
quest is done. And yours is not done, said Gawaine, but mine is done,
I shall seek no further. Then Gawaine was borne into a castle and
unarmed him, and laid him in a rich bed, and a leech found that he
might live, and to be whole within a month. Thus Gawaine and Ector
abode together, for Sir Ector would not away till Gawaine were whole.
And the good knight, Galahad, rode so long till he came that night to
the Castle of Carboneck; and it befel him thus that he was benighted
in an hermitage. So the good man was fain when he saw he was a knight
errant. Then when they were at rest there came a gentlewoman knocking
at the door, and called Galahad, and so the good man came to the door
to wit what she would. Then she called the hermit: Sir Ulfin, I am a
gentlewoman that would speak with the knight which is with you. Then
the good man awaked Galahad, and bad him: Arise, and speak with a
gentlewoman that seemeth hath great need of you. Then Galahad went to
her and asked her what she would. Galahad, said she, I will that ye
arm you, and mount upon your horse and follow me, for I shall show you
within these three days the highest adventure that ever any knight
saw. Anon Galahad armed him, and took his horse, and commended him to
God, and bad the gentlewoman go, and he would follow there as she



So she rode as fast as her palfrey might bear her, till that she came
to the sea, the which was called Collibe. And at the night they came
unto a castle in a valley, closed with a running water, and with
strong walls and high; and so she entered into the castle with
Galahad, and there had he great cheer, for the lady of that castle was
the damosel's lady. So when he was unarmed, then said the damosel:
Madam, shall we abide here all this day? Nay, said she, but till he
hath dined and till he hath slept a little. So he ate and slept a
while till that the maid called him, and armed him by torchlight. And
when the maid was horsed and he both, the lady took Galahad a fair
child and rich; and so they departed from the castle till they came to
the seaside; and there they found the ship where Bors and Percivale
were in, the which cried on the ship's board: Sir Galahad, ye be
welcome, we have abiden you long. And when he heard them he asked them
what they were. Sir, said she, leave your horse here, and I shall
leave mine; and took their saddles and their bridles with them, and
made a cross on them, and so entered into the ship. And the two
knights received them both with great joy, and every each knew other;
and so the wind arose, and drove them through the sea in a marvellous
place. And within a while it dawned. Then did Galahad off his helm and
his sword, and asked of his fellows from whence came that fair ship.
Truly, said they, ye wot as well as we but of God's grace; and then
they told every each to other of all their hard adventures, and of
their great temptations. Truly, said Galahad, ye are much bounden to
God, for ye have escaped great adventures; and had not the gentlewoman
been I had not come here, for as for you I weened never to have found
you in these strange countries. Ah Galahad, said Bors, if Launcelot,
your father, were here then were we well at ease, for then meseemed we
failed nothing. That may not be, said Galahad, but if it pleased Our
Lord. By then the ship went from the land of Logris, and by adventure
it arrived up betwixt two rocks passing great and marvellous; but
there they might not land, for there was a swallow of the sea, save
there was another ship, and upon it they might go without danger. Go
we thither, said the gentlewoman, and there shall we see adventures,
for so is Our Lord's will. And when they came thither they found the
ship rich enough, but they found neither man nor woman therein. But
they found in the end of the ship two fair letters written, which said
a dreadful word and a marvellous: Thou man, which shall enter into
this ship, beware thou be in steadfast belief, for I am Faith, and
therefore beware how thou enterest, for an thou fail I shall not help
thee. Then said the gentlewoman: Percivale, wot ye what I am? Certes,
said he, nay, to my witing. Wit ye well, said she, that I am thy
sister, which am daughter of King Pellinore, and therefore wit ye well
ye are the man in the world that I most love; and if ye be not in
perfect belief of Jesu Christ enter not in no manner of wise, for then
should ye perish the ship, for he is so perfect he will suffer no
sinner in him. When Percivale understood that she was his very sister
he was inwardly glad, and said: Fair sister, I shall enter therein,
for if I be a miscreature or an untrue knight there shall I perish.



In the meanwhile Galahad blessed him, and entered therein; and then
next the gentlewoman, and then Sir Bors and Sir Percivale. And when
they were in, it was so marvellous fair and rich that they marvelled;
and in middes of the ship was a fair bed, and Galahad went thereto,
and found there a crown of silk. And at the feet was a sword, rich and
fair, and it was drawn out of the sheath half a foot and more; and the
sword was of divers fashions, and the pommel was of stone, and there
was in him all manner of colours that any man might find, and every
each of the colours had divers virtues; and the scales of the haft
were of two ribs of divers beasts, the one beast was a serpent which
was conversant in Calidone, and is called the serpent of the fiend;
and the bone of him is of such a virtue that there is no hand that
handleth him shall never be weary nor hurt. And the other beast is a
fish which is not right great, and haunteth the flood of Euphrates;
and that fish is called Ertanax, and his bones be of such a manner of
kind that who that handleth them shall have so much will that he shall
never be weary, and he shall not think on joy nor sorrow that he hath
had, but only that thing that he beholdeth before him. And as for this
sword there shall never man begrip him at the handles but one, but he
shall pass all other. In the name of God, said Percivale, I shall
essay to handle it. So he set his hand to the sword, but he might not
begrip it. By my faith, said he, now have I failed. Bors set his hand
thereto and failed. Then Galahad beheld the sword and saw letters like
blood that said: Let see who shall essay to draw me out of my sheath,
but if he be more hardier than any other; and who that draweth me, wit
ye well he shall never fail of shame of his body, or to be wounded to
the death. By my faith, said Galahad, I would draw this sword out of
the sheath, but the offending is so great that I shall not set my hand
thereto. Now sirs, said the gentlewoman, wit ye well that the drawing
of this sword is warned to all men save all only to you. Also this
ship arrived in the realm of Logris; and that time was deadly war
between King Labor, which was father unto the maimed king, and King
Hurlame, which was a Saracen. But then was he newly christened, so
that men held him afterward one of the wyttyest men of the world. And
so upon a day it befel that King Labor and King Hurlame had assembled
their folk upon the sea where this ship was arrived; and there King
Hurlame was discomfit, and his men slain; and he was afeard to be
dead, and fled to his ship, and there found this sword and drew it,
and came out and found King Labor, the man in the world of all
Christendom in whom was then the greatest faith. And when King Hurlame
saw King Labor he dressed this sword, and smote him upon the helm so
hard that he clave him and his horse to the earth with the first
stroke of his sword. And it was in the realm of Logris; and so befel
great pestilence and great harm to both realms. For sithen increased
neither corn, nor grass, nor well-nigh no fruit, nor in the water was
no fish; wherefore men call it the lands of the two marches, the waste
land, for that dolorous stroke. And when King Hurlame saw this sword
so carving, he turned again to fetch the scabbard, and so came into
this ship and entered, and put up the sword in the sheath. And as soon
as he had done it he fell down dead afore the bed. Thus was the sword
proved, that none ne drew it but he were dead or maimed. So lay he
there till a maiden came into the ship and cast him out, for there was
no man so hardy of the world to enter into that ship for the defence.



And then beheld they the scabbard, it seemed to be of a serpent's
skin, and thereon were letters of gold and silver. And the girdle was
but poorly to come to, and not able to sustain such a rich sword. And
the letters said: He which shall wield me ought to be more harder than
any other, if he bear me as truly as me ought to be borne. For the
body of him which I ought to hang by, he shall not be shamed in no
place while he is girt with this girdle, nor never none be so hardy to
do away this girdle; for it ought not to be done away but by the hands
of a maid, and that she be a king's daughter and queen's, and she must
be a maid all the days of her life, both in will and in deed. And if
she break her virginity she shall die the most villainous death that
ever died any woman. Sir, said Percivale, turn this sword that we may
see what is on the other side. And it was red as blood, with black
letters as any coal, which said: He that shall praise me most, most
shall he find me to blame at a great need; and to whom I should be
most debonair shall I be most felon, and that shall be at one time.
Fair brother, said she to Percivale, it befell after a forty year
after the passion of Jesu Christ that Nacien, the brother-in-law of
King Mordrains, was borne into a town more than fourteen days' journey
from his country, by the commandment of Our Lord, into an isle, into
the parts of the West, that men clepyd the isle of Turnance. So befell
it that he found this ship at the entry of a rock, and he found the
bed and this sword as we have heard now. Not for then he had not so
much hardiness to draw it; and there he dwelled an eight days, and at
the ninth day there fell a great wind which departed him out of the
isle, and brought him to another isle by a rock, and there he found
the greatest giant that ever man might see. Therewith came that
horrible giant to slay him; and then he looked about him and might not
flee, and he had nothing to defend him with. So he ran to his sword,
and when he saw it naked he praised it much, and then he shook it, and
therewith he brake it in the middes. Ah, said Nacien, the thing that I
most praised ought I now most to blame, and therewith he threw the
pieces of his sword over his bed. And after he leapt over the board to
fight with the giant, and slew him. And anon he entered into the ship
again, and the wind arose, and drove him through the sea, that by
adventure he came to another ship where King Mordrains was, which had
been tempted full evil with a fiend in the port of perilous rock. And
when that one saw the other they made great joy of other, and either
told other of their adventure, and how the sword failed him at his
most need. When Mordrains saw the sword he praised it much: But the
breaking was not to do but by wickedness of thy self ward, for thou
art in some sin. And there he took the sword, and set the pieces
together, and they soldered as fair as ever they were tofore; and
there put he the sword in the sheath, and laid it down on the bed.
Then heard they a voice that said: Go out of this ship a little while,
and enter into the other, for dread ye fall in deadly sin, for and ye
be found in deadly sin ye may not escape but perish: and so they went
into the other ship. And as Nacien went over the board he was smitten
with a sword on the right foot, that he fell down noseling to the
ship's board; and therewith he said: O God, how am I hurt. And then
there came a voice and said: Take thou that for thy forfeit that thou
didst in drawing of this sword, therefore thou receivest a wound, for
thou were never worthy to handle it, as the writing maketh mention. In
the name of God, said Galahad, ye are right wise of these works.



Sir, said she, there was a king that hight Pelles, the maimed king.
And while he might ride he supported much Christendom and Holy Church.
So upon a day he hunted in a wood of his which lasted unto the sea;
and at the last he lost his hounds and his knights save only one: and
there he and his knight went till that they came toward Ireland, and
there he found the ship. And when he saw the letters and understood
them, yet he entered, for he was right perfect of his life, but his
knight had none hardiness to enter; and there found he this sword, and
he drew it out as much as ye may see. So therewith entered a spear
wherewith he was smitten him through both the thighs, and never sith
might he be healed, nor nought shall tofore we come to him. Thus, said
she, was not King Pelles, your grandsire, maimed for his hardiness? In
the name of God, damosel, said Galahad. So they went toward the bed to
behold all about it, and above the head there hung two swords. Also
there were two spindles which were as white as any snow, and other
that were as red as blood, and other above green as any emerald: of
these three colours were the spindles, and of natural colour within,
and without any painting. These spindles, said the damosel, were when
sinful Eve came to gather fruit, for which Adam and she were put out
of paradise, she took with her the bough on which the apple hung on.
Then perceived she that the branch was fair and green, and she
remembered her the loss which came from the tree. Then she thought to
keep the branch as long as she might. And for she had no coffer to
keep it in, she put it in the earth. So by the will of Our Lord the
branch grew to a great tree within a little while, and was as white as
any snow, branches, boughs, and leaves: that was a token a maiden
planted it. But after God came to Adam, and bad him know his wife
fleshly as nature required. So lay Adam with his wife under the same
tree; and anon the tree which was white was full green as any grass,
and all that came out of it; and in the same time that they medled
together there was Abel begotten: thus was the tree long of green
colour. And so it befell many days after, under the same tree Cain
slew Abel, whereof befel great marvel. For anon as Abel had received
the death under the green tree, it lost the green colour and became
red; and that was in tokening of the blood. And anon all the plants
died thereof, but the tree grew and waxed marvellously fair, and it
was the fairest tree and the most delectable that any man might behold
and see; and so died the plants that grew out of it tofore that Abel
was slain under it. So long dured the tree till that Solomon, King
David's son, reigned, and held the land after his father. This Solomon
was wise, and knew all the virtues of stones and trees, and so he knew
the course of the stars, and many other divers things. This Solomon
had an evil wife, wherethrough he weened that there had been no good
women, and so he despised them in his books. So answered a voice him
once: Solomon, if heaviness come to a man by a woman, ne reck thou
never; for yet shall there come a woman whereof there shall come
greater joy to man an hundred times more than this heaviness giveth
sorrow; and that woman shall be born of thy lineage. Then when Solomon
heard these words he held himself but a fool, and the truth he
perceived by old books. Also the Holy Ghost showed him the coming of
the glorious Virgin Mary. Then asked he of the voice, if it should be
in the yerde of his lineage. Nay, said the voice, but there shall come
a man which shall be a maid, and the last of your blood, and he shall
be as good a knight as Duke Josua, thy brother-in-law.



Now have I certified thee of that thou stoodest in doubt. Then was
Solomon glad that there should come any such of his lineage; but ever
he marvelled and studied who that should be, and what his name might
be. His wife perceived that he studied, and thought she would know it
at some season; and so she waited her time, and asked of him the cause
of his studying, and there he told her all together how the voice told
him. Well, said she, I shall let make a ship of the best wood and most
durable that men may find. So Solomon sent for all the carpenters of
the land, and the best. And when they had made the ship the lady said
to Solomon:

Sir, said she, syne it is so that this knight ought to pass all
knights of chivalry which have been tofore him and shall come after
him, moreover I shall tell you, said she, ye shall go into Our Lord's
temple, where is King David's sword, your father, the which is the
marvelloust and the sharpest that ever was taken in any knight's hand.
Therefore take that, and take off the pommel, and thereto make ye a
pommel of precious stones, that it be so subtilely made that no man
perceive it but that they be all one; and after make there an hilt so
marvellously and wonderly that no man may know it; and after make a
marvellous sheath. And when ye have made all this I shall let make a
girdle thereto such as shall please me. All this King Solomon did let
make as she devised, both the ship and all the remnant. And when the
ship was ready in the sea to sail, the lady let make a great bed and
marvellous rich, and set her upon the bed's head, covered with silk,
and laid the sword at the feet, and the girdles were of hemp, and
therewith the king was angry. Sir, wit ye well, said she, that I have
none so high a thing which were worthy to sustain so high a sword, and
a maid shall bring other knights thereto, but I wot not when it shall
be, nor what time. And there she let make a covering to the ship, of
cloth of silk that should never rot for no manner of weather. Yet went
that lady and made a carpenter to come to the tree which Abel was
slain under. Now, said she, carve me out of this tree as much wood as
will make me a spindle. Ah madam, said he, this is the tree the which
our first mother planted. Do it, said she, or else I shall destroy
thee. Anon as he began to work there came out drops of blood: and then
would he have left, but she would not suffer him, and so he took away
as much wood as might make a spindle: and so she made him to take as
much of the green tree and of the white tree. And when these three
spindles were shapen she made them to be fastened upon the selar of
the bed. When Solomon saw this, he said to his wife: Ye have done
marvellously, for though all the world were here right now, he could
not devise wherefore all this was made, but Our Lord Himself; and thou
that hast done it wotest not what it shall betoken. Now let it be,
said she, for ye shall hear tidings sooner than ye ween. Now shall ye
hear a wonderful tale of King Solomon and his wife.



That night lay Solomon before the ship with little fellowship. And
when he was on sleep him thought there come from heaven a great
company of angels, and alit into the ship, and took water which was
brought by an angel, in a vessel of silver, and sprente all the ship.
And after he came to the sword, and drew letters on the hilt. And
after went to the ship's board, and wrote there other letters which
said: Thou man that wilt enter within me, beware that thou be full
within the faith, for I ne am but Faith and Belief. When Solomon
espied these letters he was abashed, so that he durst not enter, and
so drew him aback; and the ship was anon shoven in the sea, and he
went so fast that he lost sight of him within a little while. And then
a little voice said: Solomon, the last knight of thy lineage shall
rest in this bed. Then went Solomon and awaked his wife, and told her
of the adventures of the ship. Now saith the history that a great
while the three fellows beheld the bed and the three spindles. Then
they were at certain that they were of natural colours without
painting. Then they lift up a cloth which was above the ground, and
there found a rich purse by seeming. And Percivale took it, and found
therein a writ and so he read it, and devised the manner of the
spindles and of the ship, whence it came, and by whom it was made.
Now, said Galahad, where shall we find the gentlewoman that shall make
new girdles to the sword? Fair sir, said Percivale's sister, dismay
you not, for by the leave of God I shall let make a girdle to the
sword, such one as shall long thereto. And then she opened a box, and
took out girdles which were seemly wrought with golden threads, and
upon that were set full precious stones, and a rich buckle of gold.
Lo, lords, said she, here is a girdle that ought to be set about the
sword. And wit ye well the greatest part of this girdle was made of my
hair, which I loved well while that I was a woman of the world. But as
soon as I wist that this adventure was ordained me I clipped off my
hair, and made this girdle in the name of God. Ye be well found, said
Sir Bors, for certes ye have put us out of great pain, wherein we
should have entered ne had your tidings been. Then went the
gentlewoman and set it on the girdle of the sword. Now, said the
fellowship, what is the name of the sword, and what shall we call it?
Truly, said she, the name of the sword is the Sword with the strange
girdles; and the sheath, mover of blood; for no man that hath blood in
him ne shall never see the one part of the sheath which was made of
the tree of life. Then they said to Galahad: In the name of Jesu
Christ, and pray you that ye gird you with this sword which hath been
desired so much in the realm of Logris. Now let me begin, said
Galahad, to grip this sword for to give you courage; but wit ye well
it longeth no more to me than it doth to you. And then he gripped
about it with his fingers a great deal; and then she girt him about
the middle with the sword. Now reck I not though I die, for now I hold
me one of the blessed maidens of the world, which hath made the
worthiest knight of the world. Damosel, said Galahad, ye have done so
much that I shall be your knight all the days of my life. Then they
went from that ship, and went to the other. And anon the wind drove
them into the sea a great pace, but they had no victuals: but it
befell that they came on the morn to a castle that men call
Carteloise, that was in the marches of Scotland. And when they had
passed the port, the gentlewoman said: Lords, here be men arriven
that, an they wist that ye were of King Arthur's court, ye should be
assailed anon. Damosel, said Galahad, He that cast us out of the rock
shall deliver us from them.



So it befell as they spoke thus there came a squire by them, and asked
what they were; and they said they were of King Arthur's house. Is
that sooth? said he. Now by my head, said he, ye be ill arrayed; and
then turned he again unto the cliff fortress. And within a while they
heard an horn blow. Then a gentlewoman came to them, and asked them of
whence they were; and they told her. Fair lords, said she, for God's
love turn again if ye may, for ye be come unto your death. Nay, they
said, we will not turn again, for He shall help us in whose service we
be entered in. Then as they stood talking there came knights well
armed, and bad them yield them or else die. That yielding, said they,
shall be noyous to you. And therewith they let their horses run, and
Sir Percivale smote the foremost to the earth, and took his horse, and
mounted thereupon, and the same did Galahad. Also Bors served another
so, for they had no horses in that country, for they left their horses
when they took their ship in other countries. And so when they were
horsed then began they to set upon them; and they of the castle fled
into the strong fortress, and the three knights after them into the
castle, and so alit on foot, and with their swords slew them down, and
gat into the hall. Then when they beheld the great multitude of people
that they had slain, they held themself great sinners. Certes, said
Bors, I ween an God had loved them that we should not have had power
to have slain them thus. But they have done so much against Our Lord
that He would not suffer them to reign no longer. Say ye not so, said
Galahad, for if they misdid against God, the vengeance is not ours,
but to Him which hath power thereof. So came there out of a chamber a
good man which was a priest, and bare God's body in a cup. And when he
saw them which lay dead in the hall he was all abashed; and Galahad
did off his helm and kneeled down, and so did his two fellows. Sir,
said they, have ye no dread of us, for we be of King Arthur's court.
Then asked the good man how they were slain so suddenly, and they told
it him. Truly, said the good man, an ye might live as long as the
world might endure, ne might ye have done so great an alms deed at
this. Sir, said Galahad, I repent me much, inasmuch as they were
christened. Nay, repent you not, said he, for they were not
christened, and I shall tell you how that I wot of this castle. Here
was Lord Earl Hernox not but one year, and he had three sons, good
knights of arms, and a daughter, the fairest gentlewoman that men
knew. So those three knights loved their sister so sore that they
brent in love, and so they lay by her, maugre her head. And for she
cried to her father they slew her, and took their father and put him
in prison, and wounded him nigh to death, but a cousin of hers rescued
him. And then did they great untruth: they slew clerks and priests,
and made beat down chapels, that Our Lord's service might not be
served nor said. And this same day her father sent to me for to be
confessed and houseld; but such shame had never man as I had this day
with the three brethren, but the earl had me suffer, for he said they
should not long endure, for three servants of Our Lord should destroy
them, and now it is brought to an end. And by this may ye wit that Our
Lord is not displeased with your deeds. Certes, said Galahad, an it
had not pleased Our Lord, never should we have slain so many men in so
little a while. And then they brought the Earl Hernox out of prison
into the middes of the hall, that knew Galahad anon, and yet he saw
him never afore but by revelation of Our Lord.



Then began he to weep right tenderly, and said: Long have I abiden
your coming, but for God's love hold me in your arms, that my soul may
depart out of my body in so good a man's arms as ye be. Gladly, said
Galahad. And then one said on high, that all heard: Galahad, well hast
thou avenged me on God's enemies. Now behoveth thee to go to the
maimed king as soon as thou mayest, for he shall receive by thee
health which he hath abiden so long. And therewith the soul departed
from the body, and Galahad made him to be buried as him ought to be.
Right so departed the three knights, and Percivale's sister with them.
And so they came into a waste forest, and there they saw afore them a
white hart which four lions led. Then they took them to assent for to
follow after for to know whither they repaired; and so they rode after
a great pace till that they came to a valley, and thereby was an
hermitage where a good man dwelled, and the hart and the lions entered
also. So when they saw all this they turned to the chapel, and saw the
good man in a religious weed and in the armour of Our Lord, for he
would sing mass of the Holy Ghost; and so they entered in and heard
mass. And at the secrets of the mass they three saw the hart become a
man, the which marvelled them, and set him upon the altar in a rich
siege; and saw the four lions were changed, the one to the form of a
man, the other to the form of a lion, and the third to an eagle, and
the fourth was changed unto an ox. Then took they their siege where
the hart sat, and went out through a glass window, and there was
nothing perished nor broken; and they heard a voice say: In such a
manner entered the Son of God in the womb of a maid Mary whose
virginity ne was perished ne hurt. And when they heard these words
they fell down to the earth and were astonied; and therewith was a
great clereness. And when they were come to theirself again they went
to the good man and prayed him that he would say them truth. What
thing have ye seen? said he. And they told him all that they had seen.
Ah lords, said he, ye be welcome; now wot I well ye be the good
knights the which shall bring the Sangreal to an end; for ye be they
unto whom Our Lord shall shew great secrets. And well ought Our Lord
be signified to an hart, for the hart when he is old he waxeth young
again in his white skin. Right so cometh again Our Lord from death to
life, for He lost earthly flesh that was the deadly flesh, which He
had taken in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary; and for that cause
appeared Our Lord as a white hart without spot. And the four that were
with Him is to understand the four evangelists which set in writing a
part of Jesu Christ's deeds that He did sometime when He was among you
an earthly man; for wit ye well never erst ne might no knight know the
truth, for ofttimes or this Our Lord showed Him unto good men and unto
good knights, in likeness of an hart, but I suppose from henceforth ye
shall see no more. And then they joyed much, and dwelled there all
that day. And upon the morrow when they had heard mass they departed
and commended the good man to God: and so they came to a castle and
passed by. So there came a knight armed after them and said: Lords,
hark what I shall say to you.



This gentlewoman that ye lead with you is a maid? Sir, said she, a
maid I am. Then he took her by the bridle and said: By the Holy Cross,
ye shall not escape me tofore ye have yolden the custom of this
castle. Let her go, said Percivale, ye be not wise, for a maid in what
place she cometh is free. So in the meanwhile there came out a ten or
twelve knights armed, out of the castle, and with them came
gentlewomen which held a dish of silver. And then they said: This
gentlewoman must yield us the custom of this castle. Sir, said a
knight, what maid passeth hereby shall give this dish full of blood of
her right arm. Blame have ye, said Galahad, that brought up such
customs, and so God me save, I ensure you of this gentlewoman ye shall
fail while that I live. So God me help, said Percivale, I had lever be
slain. And I also, said Sir Bors. By my troth, said the knight, then
shall ye die, for ye may not endure against us though ye were the best
knights of the world. Then let them run each to other, and the three
fellows beat the ten knights, and then set their hands to their swords
and beat them down and slew them. Then there came out of the castle a
three score knights armed. Fair lords, said the three fellows, have
mercy on yourself and have not ado with us. Nay, fair lords, said the
knights of the castle, we counsel you to withdraw you, for ye be the
best knights of the world, and therefore do no more, for ye have done
enough. We will let you go with this harm, but we must needs have the
custom. Certes, said Galahad, for nought speak ye. Well, said they,
will ye die? We be not yet come thereto, said Galahad. Then began they
to meddle together, and Galahad, with the strange girdles, drew his
sword, and smote on the right hand and on the left hand, and slew what
that ever abode him, and did such marvels that there was none that saw
him but weened he had been none earthly man, but a monster. And his
two fellows halp him passing well, and so they held the journey every
each in like hard till it was night; then must they needs depart. So
came in a good knight, and said to the three fellows: If ye will come
in to-night and take such harbour as here is ye shall be right
welcome, and we shall ensure you by the faith of our bodies, and as we
be true knights, to leave you in such estate to-morrow as we find you,
without any falsehood. And as soon as ye know of the custom we dare
say ye will accord. Therefore for God's love, said the gentlewoman, go
thither and spare not for me. Go we, said Galahad; and so they entered
into the chapel. And when they were alit they made great joy of them.
So within a while the three knights asked the custom of the castle and
wherefore it was. What it is, said they, we will say you sooth.



There is in this castle a gentlewoman which we and this castle is
hers, and many other. So it befell many years agone there fell upon
her a malady; and when she had lain a great while she fell unto a
measle, and of no leech she could have no remedy. But at the last an
old man said an she might have a dish full of blood of a maid and a
clene virgin in will and in work, and a king's daughter, that blood
should be her health, and for to anoint her withal; and for this thing
was this custom made. Now, said Percivale's sister, fair knights, I
see well that this gentlewoman is but dead. Certes, said Galahad, an
ye bleed so much ye may die. Truly, said she, an I die for to heal her
I shall get me great worship and soul's health, and worship to my
lineage, and better is one harm than twain. And therefore there shall
be no more battle, but tomorn I shall yield you your custom of this
castle. And then there was great joy more than there was tofore, for
else had there been mortal war upon the morn; notwithstanding she
would none other, whether they would or nold. That night were the
three fellows eased with the best; and on the morn they heard mass,
and Sir Percivale's sister bad bring forth the sick lady. So she was,
the which was evil at ease. Then said she: Who shall let me blood? So
one came forth and let her blood, and she bled so much that the dish
was full. Then she lift up her hand and blessed her; and then she said
to the lady: Madam, I am come to the death for to make you whole, for
God's love pray for me. With that she fell in a swoon. Then Galahad
and his two fellows start up to her, and lift her up and staunched
her, but she had bled so much that she might not live. Then she said
when she was awaked: Fair brother Percivale, I die for the healing of
this lady, so I require you that ye bury me not in this country, but
as soon as I am dead put me in a boat at the next haven, and let me go
as adventure will lead me; and as soon as ye three come to the City of
Sarras, there to achieve the Holy Grail, ye shall find me under a
tower arrived, and there bury me in the spiritual place; for I say you
so much, there Galahad shall be buried, and ye also, in the same
place. Then Percivale understood these words, and granted it her
weeping. And then said a voice: Lords and fellows, to-morrow at the
hour of prime ye three shall depart every each from other, till the
adventure bring you to the maimed king. Then asked she her Saviour;
and as soon as she had received it the soul departed from the body. So
the same day was the lady healed, when she was anointed withal. Then
Sir Percivale made a letter of all that she had holpen them as in
strange adventures, and put it in her right hand, and so laid her in a
barge, and covered it with black silk; and so the wind arose, and
drove the barge from the land, and all knights beheld it till it was
out of their sight. Then they drew all to the castle, and so forthwith
there fell a sudden tempest and a thunder, lightning, and rain, as all
the earth would have broken. So half the castle turned up so down. So
it passed evensong or the tempest was ceased. Then they saw afore them
a knight armed and wounded hard in the body and in the head, that
said: O God, succour me for now it is need. After this knight came
another knight and a dwarf, which cried to them afar: Stand, ye may
not escape. Then the wounded knight held up his hands to God that he
should not die in such tribulation. Truly, said Galahad, I shall
succour him for His sake that he calleth upon. Sir, said Bors, I shall
do it, for it is not for you, for he is but one knight. Sir, said he,
I grant. So Sir Bors took his horse, and commended him to God, and
rode after, to rescue the wounded knight. Now turn we to the two



Now saith the story that all night Galahad and Percivale were in a
chapel in their prayers, for to save Sir Bors. So on the morrow they
dressed them in their harness toward the castle, to wit what was
fallen of them therein. And when they came there they found neither
man nor woman that he ne was dead by the vengeance of Our Lord. With
that they heard a voice that said: This vengeance is for blood
shedding of maidens. Also they found at the end of the chapel a
churchyard and therein might they see a three score fair tombs, and
that place was so fair and so delectable that it seemed them there had
been none tempest, for there lay the bodies of all the good maidens
which were martyred for the sick lady's sake. Also they found the
names of every each, and of what blood they were come, and all were of
kings' blood, and twelve of them were kings' daughters. Then they
departed and went into a forest. Now, said Percivale unto Galahad, we
must depart, so pray we Our Lord that we may meet together in short
time: then they did off their helms and kissed together, and wept at
their departing.



Now saith the history, that when Launcelot was come to the water of
Mortoise, as it is rehearsed before, he was in great peril, and so he
laid him down and slept, and took the adventure that God would send
him. So when he was asleep there came a vision unto him and said:
Launcelot, arise up and take thine armour, and enter into the first
ship that thou shalt find. And when he heard these words he start up
and saw great clereness about him. And then he lift up his hand and
blessed him, and so took his arms and made him ready; and so by
adventure he came by a strand, and found a ship the which was without
sail or oar. And as soon as he was within the ship there he felt the
most sweetness that ever he felt, and he was fulfilled with all thing
that he thought on or desired. Then he said: Fair sweet Father, Jesu
Christ, I wot not in what joy I am, for this joy passeth all earthly
joys that ever I was in. And so in this joy he laid him down to the
ship's board, and slept till day. And when he awoke he found there a
fair bed, and therein lying a gentlewoman dead, the which was Sir
Percivale's sister. And as Launcelot devised her, he espied in her
right hand a writ, the which he read, the which told him all the
adventures that ye have heard tofore, and of what lineage she was
come. So with this gentlewoman Sir Launcelot was a month and more. If
ye would ask how he lived, He that fed the people of Israel with manna
in the desert, so was he fed; for every day when he had said his
prayers he was sustained with the grace of the Holy Ghost. So on a
night he went to play him by the water side, for he was somewhat weary
of the ship. And then he listened and heard an horse come, and one
riding upon him. And when he came nigh he seemed a knight. And so he
let him pass, and went thereas the ship was; and there he alit, and
took the saddle and the bridle and put the horse from him, and went
into the ship. And then Launcelot dressed unto him, and said: Ye be
welcome. And he answered and saluted him again, and asked him: What is
your name? for much my heart giveth unto you. Truly, said he, my name
is Launcelot du Lake. Sir, said he, then be ye welcome, for ye were
the beginning of me in this world. Ah, said he, are ye Galahad? Yea,
forsooth, said he; and so he kneeled down and asked him his blessing,
and after took off his helm and kissed him. And there was great joy
between them, for there is no tongue can tell the joy that they made
either of other, and many a friendly word spoken between, as kin
would, the which is no need here to be rehearsed. And there every each
told other of their adventures and marvels that were befallen to them
in many journeys sith that they departed from the court. Anon, as
Galahad saw the gentlewoman dead in the bed, he knew her well enough,
and told great worship of her, that she was the best maid living, and
it was great pity of her death. But when Launcelot heard how the
marvellous sword was gotten, and who made it, and all the marvels
rehearsed afore, then he prayed Galahad, his son, that he would show
him the sword, and so he did; and anon he kissed the pommel, and the
hilt, and the scabbard. Truly, said Launcelot, never erst knew I of so
high adventures done, and so marvellous and strange. So dwelt
Launcelot and Galahad within that ship half a year, and served God
daily and nightly with all their power; and often they arrived in
isles far from folk, where there repaired none but wild beasts, and
there they found many strange adventures and perillous, which they
brought to an end; but for those adventures were with wild beasts, and
not in the quest of the Sangreal, therefore the tale maketh here no
mention thereof, for it would be too long to tell of all those
adventures that befell them.



So after, on a Monday, it befell that they arrived in the edge of a
forest tofore a cross; and then saw they a knight armed all in white,
and was richly horsed, and led in his right hand a white horse; and so
he came to the ship, and saluted the two knights on the High Lord's
behalf, and said: Galahad, sir, ye have been long enough with your
father, come out of the ship, and start upon this horse, and go where
the adventures shall lead thee in the quest of the Sangreal. Then he
went to his father and kissed him sweetly, and said: Fair sweet
father, I wot not when I shall see you more till I see the body of
Jesu Christ. I pray you, said Launcelot, pray ye to the High Father
that He hold me in His service. And so he took his horse, and there
they heard a voice that said: Think for to do well, for the one shall
never see the other before the dreadful day of doom. Now, son Galahad,
said Launcelot, syne we shall depart, and never see other, I pray to
the High Father to conserve me and you both. Sir, said Galahad, no
prayer availeth so much as yours. And therewith Galahad entered into
the forest. And the wind arose, and drove Launcelot more than a month
throughout the sea, where he slept but little, but prayed to God that
he might see some tidings of the Sangreal. So it befell on a night, at
midnight, he arrived afore a castle, on the back side, which was rich
and fair, and there was a postern opened toward the sea, and was open
without any keeping, save two lions kept the entry; and the moon shone
clear. Anon Sir Launcelot heard a voice that said: Launcelot, go out
of this ship and enter into the castle, where thou shalt see a great
part of thy desire. Then he ran to his arms, and so armed him, and so
went to the gate and saw the lions. Then set he hand to his sword and
drew it. Then there came a dwarf suddenly, and smote him on the arm so
sore that the sword fell out of his hand. Then heard he a voice say: O
man of evil faith and poor belief, wherefore trowest thou more on thy
harness than in thy Maker, for He might more avail thee than thine
armour, in whose service that thou art set. Then said Launcelot: Fair
Father Jesu Christ, I thank thee of Thy great mercy that Thou
reprovest me of my misdeed; now see I well that ye hold me for your
servant. Then took he again his sword and put it up in his sheath, and
made a cross in his forehead, and came to the lions, and they made
semblant to do him harm. Notwithstanding he passed by them without
hurt, and entered into the castle to the chief fortress, and there
were they all at rest. Then Launcelot entered in so armed, for he
found no gate nor door but it was open. And at the last he found a
chamber whereof the door was shut, and he set his hand thereto to have
opened it, but he might not.



Then he enforced him mickle to undo the door. Then he listened and
heard a voice which sang so sweetly that it seemed none earthly thing;
and him thought the voice said: Joy and honour be to the Father of
Heaven. Then Launcelot kneeled down tofore the chamber, for well wist
he that there was the Sangreal within that chamber. Then said he: Fair
sweet Father, Jesu Christ, if ever I did thing that pleased Thee, Lord
for Thy pity never have me not in despite for my sins done aforetime,
and that Thou show me something of that I seek. And with that he saw
the chamber door open, and there came out a great clereness, that the
house was as bright as all the torches of the world had been there. So
came he to the chamber door, and would have entered. And anon a voice
said to him, Flee, Launcelot, and enter not, for thou oughtest not to
do it; and if thou enter thou shalt forethink it. Then he withdrew him
aback right heavy. Then looked he up in the middes of the chamber, and
saw a table of silver, and the holy vessel, covered with red samite,
and many angels about it, whereof one held a candle of wax burning,
and the other held a cross, and the ornaments of an altar. And before
the holy vessel he saw a good man clothed as a priest. And it seemed
that he was at the sacring of the mass. And it seemed to Launcelot
that above the priest's hands were three men, whereof the two put the
youngest by likeness between the priest's hands; and so he lift it up
right high, and it seemed to show so to the people. And then Launcelot
marvelled not a little, for him thought the priest was so greatly
charged of the figure that him seemed that he should fall to the
earth. And when he saw none about him that would help him, then came
he to the door a great pace, and said: Fair Father Jesu Christ, ne
take it for no sin though I help the good man which hath great need of
help. Right so entered he into the chamber, and came toward the table
of silver; and when he came nigh he felt a breath, that him thought it
was intermeddled with fire, which smote him so sore in the visage that
him thought it brent his visage; and therewith he fell to the earth,
and had no power to arise, as he that was so araged, that had lost the
power of his body, and his hearing, and his seeing. Then felt he many
hands about him, which took him up and bare him out of the chamber
door, without any amending of his swoon, and left him there, seeming
dead to all people. So upon the morrow when it was fair day they
within were arisen, and found Launcelot lying afore the chamber door.
All they marvelled how that he came in, and so they looked upon him,
and felt his pulse to wit whether there were any life in him; and so
they found life in him, but he might not stand nor stir no member that
he had. And so they took him by every part of the body, and bare him
into a chamber, and laid him in a rich bed, far from all folk; and so
he lay four days. Then the one said he was on live, and the other
said, Nay. In the name of God, said an old man, for I do you verily to
wit he is not dead, but he is so full of life as the mightiest of you
all; and therefore I counsel you that he be well kept till God send
him life again.



In such manner they kept Launcelot four and twenty days and all so
many nights, that ever he lay still as a dead man; and at the
twenty-fifth day befell him after midday that he opened his eyes. And
when he saw folk he made great sorrow, and said: Why have ye awaked
me, for I was more at ease than I am now. O Jesu Christ, who might be
so blessed that might see openly thy great marvels of secretness there
where no sinner may be! What have ye seen? said they about him. I have
seen, said he, so great marvels that no tongue may tell, and more than
any heart can think, and had not my son been here afore me I had seen
much more. Then they told him how he had lain there four and twenty
days and nights. Then him thought it was punishment for the four and
twenty years that he had been a sinner, wherefore Our Lord put him in
penance four and twenty days and nights. Then looked Sir Launcelot
afore him, and saw the hair which he had borne nigh a year, for that
he forethought him right much that he had broken his promise unto the
hermit, which he had avowed to do. Then they asked how it stood with
him. For sooth, said he, I am whole of body, thanked be Our Lord;
therefore, sirs, for God's love tell me where I am. Then said they all
that he was in the castle of Carbonek. Therewith came a gentlewoman
and brought him a shirt of small linen cloth, but he changed not
there, but took the hair to him again. Sir, said they, the quest of
the Sangreal is achieved now right in you, that never shall ye see of
the Sangreal no more than ye have seen. Now I thank God, said
Launcelot, of His great mercy of that I have seen, for it sufficeth
me; for as I suppose no man in this world hath lived better than I
have done to achieve that I have done. And therewith he took the hair
and clothed him in it, and above that he put a linen shirt, and after
a robe of scarlet, fresh and new. And when he was so arrayed they
marvelled all, for they knew him that he was Launcelot, the good
knight. And then they said all: O my lord Sir Launcelot, be that ye?
And he said: Truly I am he. Then came word to King Pelles that the
knight that had lain so long dead was Sir Launcelot. Then was the king
right glad, and went to see him. And when Launcelot saw him come he
dressed him against him, and there made the king great joy of him. And
there the king told him tidings that his fair daughter was dead. Then
Launcelot was right heavy of it, and said: Sir, me forthinketh the
death of your daughter, for she was a full fair lady, fresh and young.
And well I wot she bare the best knight that is now on the earth, or
that ever was sith God was born. So the king held him there four days,
and on the morrow he took his leave at King Pelles and at all the
fellowship, and thanked them of their great labour. Right so as they
sat at their dinner in the chief hall, then was it so that the
Sangreal had fulfilled the table with all manner of meats that any
heart might think. So as they sat they saw all the doors and the
windows of the place were shut without man's hand, whereof they were
all abashed, and none wist what to do. And then it happened suddenly
that a knight came to the chief door and knocked, and cried: Undo the
door. But they would not. And ever he cried: Undo; but they would not.
And at last it annoyed him so much that the king himself arose and
came to a window where the knight called. Then he said: Sir knight, ye
shall not enter at this time while the Sangreal is here, and therefore
go into another; for certes ye be none of the knights of the quest,
but one of them which hath served the fiend, and hast left the service
of Our Lord: and he was passing wroth at the king's words. Sir knight,
said the king, sith ye would so fain enter, say me of what country ye
be. Sir, said he, I am of the realm of Logris, and my name is Ector de
Maris, and brother unto my lord, Sir Launcelot. In the name of God,
said the king, me forthinketh of what I have said, for your brother is
here within. And when Ector de Maris understood that his brother was
there, for he was the man in the world that he most dread and loved,
and then he said: Ah God, now doubleth my sorrow and shame. Full truly
said the good man of the hill unto Gawaine and to me of our dreams.
Then went he out of the court as fast as his horse might, and so
throughout the castle.



Then King Pelles came to Sir Launcelot and told him tidings of his
brother, whereof he was sorry, that he wist not what to do. So Sir
Launcelot departed, and took his arms, and said he would go see the
realm of Logris, which I have not seen these twelve months. And
therewith he commended the king to God, and so rode through many
realms. And at the last he came to a white abbey, and there they made
him that night great cheer; and on the morn he rose and heard mass.
And afore an altar he found a rich tomb, the which was newly made; and
then he took heed, and saw the sides written with gold which said:
Here lieth King Bagdemagus of Gore, which King Arthur's nephew slew;
and named him, Sir Gawaine. Then was he not a little sorry, for
Launcelot loved him much more than any other, and had it been any
other than Gawaine he should not have escaped from death to life; and
said to himself: Ah Lord God, this is a great hurt unto King Arthur's
court, the loss of such a man. And then he departed and came to the
abbey where Galahad did the adventure of the tombs, and won the white
shield with the red cross; and there had he great cheer all that
night. And on the morn he turned unto Camelot, where he found King
Arthur and the queen. But many of the knights of the Round Table were
slain and destroyed, more than half. And so three were come home
again, that were Sir Gawaine, Sir Ector, and Sir Lionel, and many
other that need not to be rehearsed. Then all the court was passing
glad of Sir Launcelot, and the king asked him many tidings of his son
Galahad. And there Launcelot told the king of his adventures that had
befallen him syne he departed. And also he told him of the adventures
of Galahad, Percivale, and Bors, which that he knew by the letter of
the dead damosel, and as Galahad had told him. Now God would, said the
king, that they were all three here. That shall never be, said
Launcelot, for two of them shall ye never see, but one of them shall
come again.



Now saith the story that Galahad rode many journeys in vain. And at
the last he came to the Abbey where King Mordrains was, and when he
heard that, he thought he would abide to see him. And upon the morn,
when he had heard mass, Galahad came unto King Mordrains, and anon the
king saw him, which had lain blind a long time. And then he dressed
him against him, and said: Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, whose
coming I have abiden so long, now embrace me and let me rest on thy
breast, so that I may rest between thine arms, for thou art a clene
virgin above all knights, as the flower of the lily in whom virginity
is signified, and thou art the rose the which is the flower of all
good virtues, and in colour of fire. For the fire of the Holy Ghost is
taken so in thee that my flesh which was of dead oldness is become
young again. When Galahad heard his words, then he embraced him and
all his body. Then said he: Fair Lord Jesu Christ, now I have my will.
Now I require thee, in this point that I am in, thou come and visit
me. And anon Our Lord heard his prayer: therewith the soul departed
from the body. And then Galahad put him in the earth as a king ought
to be, and so departed and came into a perilous forest where he found
the well the which boileth with great waves, as the tale telleth
tofore. And as soon as Galahad set his hand thereto it ceased, so that
it burnt no more, and the heat departed. For that it brent it was a
sign of lechery, the which was that time much used. But that heat
might not abide his pure virginity. And this was taken in the country
for a miracle. And so ever after was it called Galahad's well. Then by
adventure he came into the country of Gore, and into the Abbey where
Launcelot had been toforehand, and found the tomb of King Bagdemagus,
but Joseph of Aramathie's son was founder thereof; and the tomb of
Simeon where Launcelot had failed. Then he looked into a croft under
the minster, and there he saw a tomb which burnt full marvellously.
Then asked he the brethren what it was. Sir, said they, a marvellous
adventure that may not be brought unto none end but by him that
passeth of bounty and of knighthood all the knights of the Round
Table. I would, said Galahad, that ye would lead me thereto. Gladly,
said they. And so they led him unto a cave. And he went down upon
gretys, and came nigh the tomb. And then the flaming failed, and the
fire stanched, the which many a day had been great. Then came there a
voice that said: much are ye beholden to thank Our Lord, the which
hath given you a good hour, that ye may draw out the souls of earthly
pain, and to put them into the joys of paradise. I am of your kindred,
the which hath dwelled in this heat this three hundred four and fifty
winter to be purged of the sin that I did against Joseph of Aramathie.
Then Galahad took the body in his arms and bare it into the minster.
And that night lay Galahad in the abbey; and on the morn he gave him
service, and put him in the earth afore the high altar.



So departed he from thence, and commended the brethren to God; and so
he rode five days till that he came to the maimed king. And ever
followed Percivale the five days, asking where he had been; and so one
told him how the adventures of Logris were achieved. So on a day it
befell that they came out of a great forest, and there they met at
traverse with Sir Bors, the which rode alone. It is none need to tell
if they were glad; and them he saluted, and they yielded him honour
and good adventure, and every each told other. Then said Bors: It is
more than a year and an half that I ne lay ten times where men
dwelled, but in wild forests and in mountains, but God was ever my
comfort. Then rode they a great while till that they came to the
castle of Carbonek. And when they were entered within the castle King
Pelles knew them; then there was great joy, for they wist well by
their coming that they had fulfilled the quest of the Sangreal. Then
Eliazar, King Pelles' son, brought tofore them the broken sword
wherewith Joseph was stricken through the thigh. Then Bors set his
hand thereto, if that he might have soldered it again; but it would
not be. Then he took it to Percivale, but he had no more power thereto
than he. Now have ye it again, said Percivale to Galahad, for an it be
ever achieved by any bodily man ye must do it. And then he took the
pieces and set them together, and they seemed that they had never been
broken, and as well as it had been first forged. And when they within
espied that the adventure of the sword was achieved, then they gave
the sword to Bors, for it might not be better set; for he was a good
knight and a worthy man. And a little afore even the sword arose great
and marvellous, and was full of great heat that many men fell for
dread. And anon alit a voice among them, and said: They that ought not
to sit at the table of Jesu Christ arise, for now shall very knights
be fed. So they went thence, all save King Pelles and Eliazar, his
son, the which were holy men, and a maid which was his niece; and so
these three fellows and they three were there, no more. Anon they saw
knights all armed come in at the hall door, and did off their helms
and their arms, and said unto Galahad: Sir, we have hied right much
for to be with you at this table where the holy meat shall be
departed. Then said he: Ye be welcome, but of whence be ye? So three
of them said they were of Gaul, and other three said they were of
Ireland, and the other three said they were of Denmark. So as they sat
thus there came out a bed of tree, of a chamber, the which four
gentlewomen brought; and in the bed lay a good man sick, and a crown
of gold upon his head; and there in the middes of the place they set
him down, and went again their way. Then he lift up his head, and
said: Galahad, Knight, ye be welcome, for much have I desired your
coming, for in such anguish I have been long. But now I trust to God
the term is come that my pain shall be allayed, that I shall pass out
of this world so as it was promised me long ago. Therewith a voice
said: There be two among you that be not in the quest of the Sangreal,
and therefore depart ye.



Then King Pelles and his son departed. And therewithal beseemed them
that there came a man, and four angels from heaven, clothed in
likeness of a bishop, and had a cross in his hand; and there four
angels bare him in a chair, and set him down before the table of
silver whereupon the Sangreal was; and it seemed that he had in middes
of his forehead letters the which said: See ye here Joseph, the first
bishop of Christendom, the same which Our Lord succoured in the city
of Sarras in the spiritual place. Then the knights marvelled, for that
bishop was dead more than three hundred years tofore. O knights, said
he, marvel not, for I was sometime an earthly man. With that they
heard the chamber door open, and there they saw angels; and two bare
candles of wax, and the third a towel, and the fourth a spear which
bled marvellously, that three drops fell within a box which he held
with his other hand. And they set the candles upon the table, and the
third the towel upon the vessel, and the fourth the holy spear even
upright upon the vessel. And then the bishop made semblant as though
he would have gone to the sacring of the mass. And then he took an
ubblye which was made in likeness of bread. And at the lifting up
there came a figure in likeness of a child, and the visage was as red
and as bright as any fire, and smote himself into the bread, so that
they all saw it that the bread was formed of a fleshly man; and then
he put it into the holy vessel again, and then he did that longed to a
priest to do to a mass. And then he went to Galahad and kissed him,
and bad him go and kiss his fellows: and so he did anon. Now, said he,
servants of Jesu Christ, ye shall be fed afore this table with
sweetmeats that never knights tasted. And when he had said, he
vanished away. And they set them at the table in great dread and made
their prayers. Then looked they and saw a man come out of the holy
vessel, that had all the signs of the passion of Jesu Christ, bleeding
all openly, and said: My knights, and my servants, and my true
children, which be come out of deadly life into spiritual life, I will
now no longer hide me from you, but ye shall see now a part of my
secrets and of my hidden things: now hold and receive the high meat
which ye have so much desired. Then took he himself the holy vessel
and came to Galahad; and he kneeled down, and there he received his
Saviour, and after him so received all his fellows; and they thought
it so sweet that it was marvellous to tell. Then said he to Galahad:
Son, wotest thou what I hold betwixt my hands? Nay, said he, but if ye
will tell me. This is, said he, the holy dish wherein I ate the lamb
on Sher-Thursday. And now hast thou seen that thou most desired to
see, but yet hast thou not seen it so openly as thou shalt see it in
the city of Sarras in the spiritual place. Therefore thou must go
hence and bear with thee this holy vessel; for this night it shall
depart from the realm of Logris, that it shall never be seen more
here. And wotest thou wherefore? For he is not served nor worshipped
to his right by them of this land, for they be turned to evil living;
therefore I shall disherit them of the honour which I have done them.
And therefore go ye three to-morrow unto the sea, where ye shall find
your ship ready and with you take the sword with the strange girdles,
and no more with you but Sir Percivale and Sir Bors. Also I will that
ye take with you of the blood of this spear for to anoint the maimed
king, both his legs and all his body, and he shall have his health.
Sir, said Galahad, why shall not these other fellows go with us? For
this cause: for right as I departed my apostles one here and another
there, so I will that ye depart; and two of you shall die in my
service, but one of you shall come again and tell tidings. Then gave
he them his blessing and vanished away.



And Galahad went anon to the spear which lay upon the table, and
touched the blood with his fingers, and came after to the maimed king
and anointed his legs. And therewith he clothed him anon, and start
upon his feet out of his bed as an whole man, and thanked Our Lord
that He had healed him. And that was not to the world ward, for anon
he yielded him to a place of religion of white monks, and was a full
holy man. That same night about midnight came a voice among them which
said: My sons and not my chief sons, my friends and not my warriors,
go ye hence where ye hope best to do and as I bad you. Ah, thanked be
Thou, Lord, that Thou wilt vouchsafe to call us, Thy sinners. Now may
we well prove that we have not lost our pains. And anon in all haste
they took their harness and departed. But the three knights of Gaul,
one of them hight Claudine, King Claudas' son, and the other two were
great gentlemen. Then prayed Galahad to every each of them, that if
they come to King Arthur's court that they should salute my lord, Sir
Launcelot, my father, and of them of the Round Table; and prayed them
if that they came on that part that they should not forget it. Right
so departed Galahad, Percivale and Bors with him; and so they rode
three days, and then they came to a rivage, and found the ship whereof
the tale speaketh of tofore. And when they came to the board they
found in the middes the table of silver which they had left with the
maimed king, and the Sangreal which was covered with red samite. Then
were they glad to have such things in their fellowship; and so they
entered and made great reverence thereto; and Galahad fell in his
prayer long time to Our Lord, that at what time he asked, that he
should pass out of this world. So much he prayed till a voice said to
him: Galahad, thou shalt have thy request; and when thou askest the
death of thy body thou shalt have it, and then shalt thou find the
life of the soul. Percivale heard this, and prayed him, of fellowship
that was between them, to tell him wherefore he asked such things.
That shall I tell you, said Galahad; the other day when we saw a part
of the adventures of the Sangreal I was in such a joy of heart, that I
trow never man was that was earthly. And therefore I wot well, when my
body is dead my soul shall be in great joy to see the blessed Trinity
every day, and the Majesty of Our Lord, Jesu Christ. So long were they
in the ship that they said to Galahad: Sir, in this bed ought ye to
lie, for so saith the scripture. And so he laid him down and slept a
great while; and when he awaked he looked afore him and saw the city
of Sarras. And as they would have landed they saw the ship wherein
Percivale had put his sister in. Truly, said Percivale, in the name of
God, well hath my sister holden us covenant. Then took they out of the
ship the table of silver, and he took it to Percivale and to Bors, to
go tofore, and Galahad came behind. And right so they went to the
city, and at the gate of the city they saw an old man crooked. Then
Galahad called him and bad him help to bear this heavy thing. Truly,
said the old man, it is ten year ago that I might not go but with
crutches. Care thou not, said Galahad, and arise up and shew thy good
will. And so he essayed, and found himself as whole as ever he was.
Then ran he to the table, and took one part against Galahad, And anon
arose there great noise in the city, that a cripple was made whole by
knights marvellous that entered into the city. Then anon after, the
three knights went to the water, and brought up into the palace
Percivale's sister, and buried her as richly as a king's daughter
ought to be. And when the king of the city, which was cleped
Estorause, saw the fellowship, he asked them of whence they were, and
what thing it was that they had brought upon the table of silver. And
they told him the truth of the Sangreal, and the power which that God
had set there. Then the king was a tyrant, and was come of the line of
paynims, and took them and put them in prison in a deep hole.



But as soon as they were there Our Lord sent them the Sangreal,
through whose grace they were alway fulfilled while that they were in
prison. So at the year's end it befel that this King Estorause lay
sick, and felt that he should die. Then he sent for the three knights,
and they came afore him; and he cried them mercy of that he had done
to them, and they forgave it him goodly; and he died anon. When the
king was dead all the city was dismayed, and wist not who might be
their king. Right so as they were in counsel there came a voice among
them, and bad them choose the youngest knight of them three to be
their king: For he shall well maintain you and all yours. So they made
Galahad king by all the assent of the holy city, and else they would
have slain him. And when he was come to behold the land, he let make
above the table of silver a chest of gold and of precious stones, that
hylled the holy vessel. And every day early the three fellows would
come afore it, and make their prayers. Now at the year's end, and the
self day after Galahad had borne the crown of gold, he arose up early
and his fellows, and came to the palace, and saw tofore them the holy
vessel, and a man kneeling on his knees in likeness of a bishop, that
had about him a great fellowship of angels as it had been Jesu Christ
himself; and then he arose and began a mass of Our Lady. And when he
came to the sacrament of the mass, and had done, anon he called
Galahad, and said to him: Come forth the servant of Jesu Christ, and
thou shalt see that thou hast much desired to see. And then he began
to tremble right hard when the deadly flesh began to behold the
spiritual things. Then he held up his hands toward heaven and said:
Lord, I thank thee, for now I see that that hath been my desire many a
day. Now, blessed Lord, would I not longer live, if it might please
thee, Lord. And therewith the good man took Our Lord's body betwixt
his hands, and proffered it to Galahad, and he received it right
gladly and meekly. Now wotest thou what I am? said the good man. Nay,
said Galahad. I am Joseph of Aramathie, the which Our Lord hath sent
here to thee to bear thee fellowship; and wotest thou wherefore that
he hath sent me more than any other? For thou hast resembled me in two
things; in that thou hast seen the marvels of the Sangreal, in that
thou hast been a clene maiden, as I have been and am. And when he had
said these words Galahad went to Percivale and kissed him, and
commended him to God; and so he went to Sir Bors and kissed him, and
commended him to God, and said: Fair lord, salute me to my lord, Sir
Launcelot, my father, and as soon as ye see him, bid him remember of
this unstable world. And therewith he kneeled down tofore the table
and made his prayers, and then suddenly his soul departed to Jesu
Christ, and a great multitude of angels bare his soul up to heaven,
that the two fellows might well behold it. Also the two fellows saw
come from heaven an hand, but they saw not the body. And then it came
right to the Vessel, and took it and the spear, and so bare it up to
heaven. Sithen was there never man so hardy to say that he had seen
the Sangreal.



When Percivale and Bors saw Galahad dead they made as much sorrow as
ever did two men. And if they had not been good men they might lightly
have fallen in despair. And the people of the country and of the city
were right heavy. And then he was buried; and as soon as he was buried
Sir Percivale yielded him to an hermitage out of the city, and took a
religious clothing. And Bors was alway with him, but never changed he
his secular clothing, for that he purposed him to go again into the
realm of Logris. Thus a year and two months lived Sir Percivale in the
hermitage a full holy life, and then passed out of this world; and
Bors let bury him by his sister and by Galahad in the spiritualities.
When Bors saw that he was in so far countries as in the parts of
Babylon he departed from Sarras, and armed him and came to the sea,
and entered into a ship; and so it befell him in good adventure he
came into the realm of Logris; and he rode so fast till he came to
Camelot where the king was. And then was there great joy made of him
in the court, for they weened all he had been dead, forasmuch as he
had been so long out of the country. And when they had eaten, the king
made great clerks to come afore him, that they should chronicle of the
high adventures of the good knights. When Bors had told him of the
adventures of the Sangreal, such as had befallen him and his three
fellows, that was Launcelot, Percivale, Galahad, and himself, there
Launcelot told the adventures of the Sangreal that he had seen. All
this was made in great books, and put up in almeryes at Salisbury. And
anon Sir Bors said to Sir Launcelot: Galahad, your own son, saluted
you by me, and after you King Arthur and all the Court, and so did Sir
Percivale, for I buried them with mine own hands in the city of
Sarras. Also, Sir Launcelot, Galahad prayed you to remember of this
unsyker world as ye behight him when ye were together more than half a
year. This is true, said Launcelot; now I trust to God his prayer
shall avail me. Then Launcelot took Sir Bors in his arms, and said:
Gentle cousin, ye are right welcome to me, and all that ever I may do
for you and for yours ye shall find my poor body ready at all times,
while the spirit is in it, and that I promise you faithfully, and
never to fail. And wit ye well, gentle cousin, Sir Bors, that ye and I
will never depart in sunder whilst our lives may last. Sir, said he, I
will as ye will.

_Thus endeth thistory of the Sancgreal, that was breuely drawen oute
of Frensshe in to Englysshe, the whiche is a story cronycled for one
of the truest and the holyest that is in thys world, the which is the
xvii. book_.






Near the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, Reginald Wolfe, the Queen's
Printer, with the splendid audacity characteristic of that age,
planned to publish a "universal Cosmography of the whole world, and
therewith also certain particular histories of every known nation."
Raphael Holinshed had charge of the histories of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, the only part of the work ever published; and these were
issued in 1577, and have since been known as "Holinshed's Chronicles."
From them Shakespeare drew most of the material for his historical

Among Holinshed's collaborators was one William Harrison, chaplain to
Lord Cobham, and later Rector of Radwinter in Essex and Canon of
Windsor. To him was allotted the task of writing the "Descriptions of
Britain and England" from which the following chapters are drawn. He
gathered his facts from books, letters, maps, conversations, and, most
important of all, his own observation and experience; and he put them
loosely together into what he calls "this foul frizzled treatise."
Yet, with all his modesty, he claims to "have had an especial eye to
the truth of things"; and as a result we have in his pages the most
vivid and detailed picture in existence of the England into which
Shakespeare was born.

In 1876 Dr. Furnivall condensed Harrison's chapters for the New
Shakspere Society, and these have since been reprinted by Mr. Lothrop
Withington in the modern dress in which the most interesting of them
appear here. No apology is needed for thus selecting and rearranging,
since in their original form they were without unity, and formed part
of a vast compilation.

Harrison's merit does not lie in the rich interest of his matter
alone. He wrote a racy style with a strong individual as well as
Elizabethan flavor; and his personal comment upon the manners of his
time serves as a piquant sauce to the solid meat of his historical




[1577, Book III., Chapter 4; 1587, Book II., Chapter 5.][1]

      [1] These references are to the first two editions of
      Holinshed's _Chronicles_. The modernization of the spelling,
      etc., follows that of Mr. L. Wilkington, whose notes are signed

We in England, divide our people commonly into four sorts, as
gentlemen, citizens or burgesses, yeomen, and artificers or labourers.
Of gentlemen the first and chief (next the king) be the prince, dukes,
marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons; and these are called
gentlemen of the greater sort, or (as our common usage of speech is)
lords and noblemen: and next unto them be knights, esquires, and, last
of all, they that are simply called gentlemen. So that in effect our
gentlemen are divided into their conditions, whereof in this chapter
I will make particular rehearsal.

The title of prince doth peculiarly belong with us to the king's
eldest son, who is called Prince of Wales, and is the heir-apparent
to the crown; as in France the king's eldest son hath the title of
Dauphin, and is named peculiarly _Monsieur_. So that the prince is so
termed of the Latin word _Princeps_, since he is (as I may call him)
the chief or principal next the king. The king's younger sons be but
gentlemen by birth (till they have received creation or donation from
their father of higher estate, as to be either viscounts, earls, or
dukes) and called after their names, as Lord Henry, or Lord Edward,
with the addition of the word Grace, properly assigned to the king and
prince, and now also by custom conveyed to dukes, archbishops, and (as
some say) to marquesses and their wives.[2]...

      [2] Here follow etymologies of the terms "Duke," "Marquess,"
      and "Baron."--W.

Unto this place I also refer our bishops, who are accounted
honourable, called lords, and hold the same room in the Parliament
house with the barons, albeit for honour sake the right hand of the
prince is given unto them, and whose countenances in time past were
much more glorious than at this present it is, because those lusty
prelates sought after earthly estimation and authority with far more
diligence than after the lost sheep of Christ, of which they had small
regard, as men being otherwise occupied and void of leisure to attend
upon the same. Howbeit in these days their estate remaineth no less
reverend than before, and the more virtuous they are that be of this
calling the better are they esteemed with high and low. They retain
also the ancient name ("lord") still, although it be not a little
impugned by such as love either to hear of change of all things or can
abide no superiors. For notwithstanding it be true that in respect of
function the office of the eldership[3] is equally distributed between
the bishop and the minister, yet for civil government's sake the first
have more authority given unto them by kings and princes, to the end
that the rest may thereby be with more ease retained within a limited
compass of uniformity than otherwise they would be if each one were
suffered to walk in his own course. This also is more to be marvelled
at, that very many call for an alteration of their estate, crying to
have the word "lord" abolished, their civil authority taken from them,
and the present condition of the church in other things reformed;
whereas, to say truly, few of them do agree upon form of discipline
and government of the church succeedent, wherein they resemble the
Capuans (of whom Livy doth speak) in the slaughter of their senate.
Neither is it possible to frame a whole monarchy after the pattern of
one town or city, or to stir up such an exquisite face of the church
as we imagine or desire, sith our corruption is such that it will
never yield to so great perfection; for that which is not able to be
performed in a private house will be much less be brought to pass in a
commonwealth and kingdom, before such a prince be found as Xenophon
describeth, or such an orator as Tully hath devised.[4]...

      [3] 1 Sam. ii. 15; 1 Kings i. 7.--H.

      [4] Here follows a long paragraph on the character of the clergy
      which is more appropriate to the chapter on "The Church."--W.

Dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons either be created of
the prince or come to that honour by being the eldest sons or highest
in succession to their parents. For the eldest son of a duke during
his father's life is an earl, the eldest son of an earl is a baron, or
sometimes a viscount, according as the creation is. The creation I
call the original donation and condition of the honour given by the
prince for good service done by the first ancestor, with some
advancement, which, with the title of that honour, is always given to
him and his heirs males only. The rest of the sons of the nobility by
the rigour of the law be but esquires; yet in common speech all dukes'
and marquesses' sons and earls' eldest sons be called lords, the which
name commonly doth agree to none of lower degree than barons, yet by
law and use these be not esteemed barons.

The barony or degree of lords doth answer to the degree of senators of
Rome (as I said) and the title of nobility (as we used to call it in
England) to the Roman _Patricii_. Also in England no man is commonly
created baron except he may dispend of yearly revenues a thousand
pounds, or so much as may fully maintain and bear out his countenance
and port. But viscounts, earls, marquesses, and dukes exceed them
according to the proportion of their degree and honour. But though by
chance he or his son have less, yet he keepeth this degree: but if the
decay be excessive, and not able to maintain the honour (as _Senatores
Romani_ were _amoti à senatu_), so sometimes they are not admitted to
the upper house in the parliament, although they keep the name of
"lord" still, which cannot be taken from them upon any such occasion.

The most of these names have descended from the French invention, in
whose histories we shall read of them eight hundred years past.[5]...

      [5] Here follows a learned disquisition upon "Valvasors."--W.

Knights be not born, neither is any man a knight by succession, no,
not the king or prince: but they are made either before the battle, to
encourage them the more to adventure and try their manhood; or after
the battle ended, as an advancement for their courage and prowess
already shewed, and then are they called _Milites_; or out of the wars
for some great service done, or for the singular virtues which do
appear in them, and then are they named _Equites Aurati_, as common
custom intendeth. They are made either by the king himself, or by his
commission and royal authority given for the same purpose, or by his
lieutenant in the wars.[6]...

      [6] Here follows a discourse upon _Equites Aurati_.--W.

Sometime diverse ancient gentlemen, burgesses, and lawyers are called
unto knighthood by the prince, and nevertheless refuse to take that
state upon them, for which they are of custom punished by a fine, that
redoundeth unto his coffers, and (to say truth) is oftentimes more
profitable unto him than otherwise their service should be, if they
did yield unto knighthood. And this also is a cause wherefore there be
many in England able to dispend a knight's living, which never come
unto that countenance, and by their own consents. The number of the
knights in Rome was also uncertain: and so is it of knights likewise,
with us, as at the pleasure of the prince. And whereas the _Equites
Romani_ had _Equum Publicum_ of custom bestowed upon them, the knights
of England have not so, but bear their own charges in that also, as in
other kind of furniture, as armour meet for their defence and service.
This nevertheless is certain, that whoso may dispend forty pounds by
the year of free land, either at the coronation of the king, or
marriage of his daughter, or time of his dubbing, may be informed unto
the taking of that degree, or otherwise pay the revenues of his land
for one year, which is only forty pounds by an old proportion, and so
for a time be acquitted of that title.[7]...

      [7] Here is a description of dubbing a knight.--W.

At the coronation of a king or queen, there be other knights made with
longer and more curious ceremonies, called "knights of the bath." But
howsoever one be dubbed or made knight, his wife is by-and-by called
"Madam," or "Lady," so well as the baron's wife: he himself having
added to his name in common appellation this syllable "Sir," which is
the title whereby we call our knights in England. His wife also of
courtesy so long as she liveth is called "my lady," although she
happen to marry with a gentleman or man of mean calling, albeit that
by the common law she hath no such prerogative. If her first husband
also be of better birth than her second, though this latter likewise
be a knight, yet in that she pretendeth a privilege to lose no honour
through courtesy yielded to her sex, she will be named after the most
honourable or worshipful of both, which is not seen elsewhere.

The other order of knighthood in England, and the most honourable, is
that of the garter, instituted by King Edward the Third, who, after he
had gained many notable victories, taken King John of France, and King
James of Scotland (and kept them both prisoners in the Tower o£ London
at one time), expelled King Henry of Castille, the bastard, out of his
realm, and restored Don Pedro unto it (by the help of the Prince of
Wales and Duke of Aquitaine, his eldest son, called the Black Prince),
he then invented this society of honour, and made a choice out of his
own realm and dominions, and throughout all Christendom of the best,
most excellent, and renowned persons in all virtues and honour, and
adorned them with that title to be knights of his order, giving them a
garter garnished with gold and precious stones, to wear daily on the
left leg only; also a kirtle, gown, cloak, chaperon, collar, and other
solemn and magnificent apparel, both of stuff and fashion exquisite
and heroical to wear at high feasts, and as to so high and princely an
order appertaineth....

The order of the garter therefore was devised in the time of King
Edward the Third, and (as some write) upon this occasion. The queen's
majesty then living, being departed from his presence the next way
toward her lodging, he following soon after happened to find her
garter, which slacked by chance and so fell from her leg, unespied in
the throng by such as attended upon her. His grooms and gentlemen also
passed by it, as disdaining to stoop and take up such a trifle: but
he, knowing the owner, commanded one of them to stay and reach it up
to him. "Why, and like your grace," saith a gentleman, "it is but some
woman's garter that hath fallen from her as she followed the queen's
majesty." "Whatsoever it be," quoth the king, "take it up and give it
me." So when he had received the garter, he said to such as stood
about him: "You, my masters, do make small account of this bule garter
here," and therewith held it out, "but, if God lend me life for a few
months, I will make the proudest of you all to reverence the like."
And even upon this slender occasion he gave himself to the devising of
this order. Certes, I have not read of anything that having had so
simple a beginning hath grown in the end to so great honour and

      [8] Long details are given of Garter history, very inaccurate,
      both here and in the last omitted passage.--W.

There is yet another order of knights In England called knights
bannerets, who are made in the field with the ceremony of cutting away
the point of his pennant of arms, and making it as it were a banner,
so that, being before but a bachelor knight, he is now of an higher
degree, and allowed to display his arms in a banner, as barons do.
Howbeit these knights are never made but in the wars, the king's
standard being unfolded.[9]...

      [9] Derivations of "Esquire" and "Gentleman" are given.--W.

Moreover, as the king doth dub knights, and createth the barons and
higher degrees, so gentlemen whose ancestors are not known to come in
with William Duke of Normandy (for of the Saxon races yet remaining we
now make none accounted, much less of the British issue) do take their
beginning in England, after this manner in our times.

Whosoever studieth the laws of the realm, whoso abideth in the
university (giving his mind to his book), or professeth physic and the
liberal sciences, or beside his service in the room of a captain in the
wars, or good counsel given at home, whereby his commonwealth is
benefited, can live without manual labour, and thereto is able and will
bear the port, charge, and countenance of a gentleman, he shall for
money have a coat and arms bestowed upon him by heralds (who in the
charter of the same do of custom pretend antiquity and service, and
many gay things), and thereunto, being made so good cheap, be called
master (which is the title that men give to esquires and gentlemen),
and reputed for a gentleman ever after, which is so much less to be
disallowed of for that the prince doth lose nothing by it, the
gentleman being so much subject to taxes and public payments as is the
yeoman or husbandman, which he likewise doth bear the gladlier for the
saving of his reputation. Being called also to the wars (for with the
government of the commonwealth he meddleth little), whatsoever it cost
him, he will both array and arm himself accordingly, and shew the more
manly courage, and all the tokens of the person which he represented.
No man hath hurt by it but himself, who peradventure will go in wider
buskins than his legs will bear, or, as our proverb saith, "now and
then bear a bigger sail than his boat is able to sustain."

Certes the making of new gentlemen bred great strife sometimes amongst
the Romans, I mean when those which were _Novi homines_ were more
allowed of for their virtues newly seen and shewed than the old smell
of ancient race, lately defaced by the cowardice and evil life of their
nephews and descendants, could make the other to be. But as envy hath
no affinity with justice and equity, so it forceth not what language
the malicious do give out, against such as are exalted for their
wisdoms. This nevertheless is generally to be reprehended in all
estates of gentility, and which in short time will turn to the great
ruin of our country, and that is, the usual sending of noblemen's and
mean gentlemen's sons into Italy, from whence they bring home nothing
but mere atheism, infidelity, vicious conversation, and ambitious and
proud behaviour, whereby it cometh to pass that they return far worse
men than they went out. A gentleman at this present is newly come out
of Italy, who went thither an earnest Protestant; but coming home he
could say after this manner; "Faith and truth is to be kept where no
loss or hindrance of a future purpose is sustained by holding of the
same; and forgiveness only to be shewed when full revenge is made."
Another no less forward than he, at his return from thence, could add
thus much: "He is a fool that maketh account of any religion, but more
fool that will lose any part of his wealth or will come in trouble for
constant leaning to any; but if he yield to lose his life for his
possession, he is stark mad, and worthy to be taken for most fool of
all the rest." This gay booty got these gentlemen by going Into Italy;
and hereby a man may see what fruit is afterward to be looked for where
such blossoms do appear. "I care not," saith a third, "what you talk to
me of God, so as I may have the prince and the laws of the realm on my
side." Such men as this last are easily known; for they have learned in
Italy to go up and down also in England with pages at their heels
finely apparelled, whose face and countenance shall be such as sheweth
the master not to be blind in his choice. But lest I should offend too
much, I pass over to say any more of these Italianates and their
demeanour, which, alas! is too open and manifest to the world, and yet
not called into question.

Citizens and burgesses have next place to gentlemen, who be those that
are free within the cities, and are of some likely substance to bear
office in the same. But these citizens or burgesses are to serve the
commonwealth in their cities and boroughs, or in corporate towns where
they dwell, and in the common assembly of the realm wherein our laws
are made (for in the counties they bear but little sway), which
assembly is called the High Court of Parliament: the ancient cities
appoint four and the borough two burgesses to have voices in it, and
give their consent or dissent unto such things as pass, to stay there
in the name of the city or borough for which they are appointed.

In this place also are our merchants to be installed as amongst the
citizens (although they often change estate with gentlemen, as
gentlemen do with them, by a mutual conversion of the one into the
other), whose number is so increased in these our days that their
only maintenance is the cause of the exceeding prices of foreign
wares, which otherwise, when every nation was permitted to bring in
her own commodities, were far better, cheaper, and more plentifully
to be had. Of the want of our commodities here at home, by their
great transportation of them into other countries, I speak not, sith
the matter will easily betray itself. Certes among the Lacedæmonians
it was found out that great numbers of merchants were nothing to the
furtherance of the state of the commonwealth: wherefore it is to be
wished that the huge heap of them were somewhat restrained, as also
of our lawyers, so should the rest live more easily upon their own,
and few honest chapmen be brought to decay by breaking of the
bankrupt. I do not deny but that the navy of the land is in part
maintained by their traffic, and so are the high prices of wares kept
up, now they have gotten the only sale of things upon pretence of
better furtherance of the commonwealth into their own hands: whereas
in times past, when the strange bottoms were suffered to come in, we
had sugar for fourpence the pound, that now at the writing of this
Treatise is well worth half-a-crown; raisins or currants for a penny
that now are holden at sixpence, and sometimes at eightpence and
tenpence the pound; nutmegs at twopence halfpenny the ounce, ginger
at a penny an ounce, prunes at halfpenny farthing, great raisins
three pounds for a penny, cinnamon at fourpence the ounce, cloves at
twopence, and pepper at twelve and sixteen pence the pound. Whereby
we may see the sequel of things not always, but very seldom, to be
such as is pretended in the beginning. The wares that they carry out
of the realm are for the most part broad clothes and carsies[10] of
all colours, likewise cottons, friezes, rugs, tin, wool, our best
beer, baize, bustian, mockadoes (tufted and plain), rash, lead,
fells, etc.: which, being shipped at sundry ports of our coasts, are
borne from thence into all quarters of the world, and there either
exchanged for other wares or ready money, to the great gain and
commodity of our merchants. And whereas in times past their chief
trade was into Spain, Portugal, France, Flanders, Danske (Denmark),
Norway, Scotland, and Ireland only, now in these days, as men not
contented with these journeys, they have sought out the East and West
Indies, and made now and then suspicious voyages, not only unto the
Canaries and New Spain, but likewise into Cathay, Muscovy, and
Tartaria, and the regions thereabout, from whence (as they say) they
bring home great commodities. But alas! I see not by all their travel
that the prices of things are any whit abated. Certes this enormity
(for so I do account of it) was sufficiently provided for (Ann. 9
Edward III.) by a noble statute made in that behalf, but upon what
occasion the general execution thereof is stayed or not called on, in
good sooth, I cannot tell. This only I know, that every function and
several vocation striveth with other, which of them should have all
the water of commodity run into her own cistern.

      [10] Kerseys.

Yeomen are those which by our law are called _Legales homines_, free
men born English, and may dispend of their own free land in yearly
revenue to the sum of forty shillings sterling, or six pounds as money
goeth in our times. Some are of the opinion, by Cap. 2 Rich. 2 Ann.
20, that they are the same which the Frenchmen call varlets, but, as
that phrase is used in my time, it is very unlikely to be so. The
truth is that the word is derived from the Saxon term, _Zeoman_, or
_Geoman_, which signifieth (as I have read) a settled or staid man,
such I mean as, being married and of some years, betaketh himself to
stay in the place of his abode for the better maintenance of himself
and his family, whereof the single sort have no regard, but are likely
to be still fleeting now hither now thither, which argueth want of
stability in determination and resolution of judgment, for the
execution of things of any importance. This sort of people have a
certain pre-eminence, and more estimation than labourers and the
common sort of artificers, and these commonly live wealthily, keep
good houses, and travel to get riches. They are also for the most part
farmers to gentlemen (in old time called _Pagani, et opponuntur
militibus_, and therefore Persius calleth himself _Semipaganus_), or
at the leastwise artificers, and with grazing, frequenting of markets,
and keeping of servants (not idle servants, as the gentlemen do, but
such as get both their own and part of their masters' living), do come
to great wealth, insomuch that many of them are able and do buy the
lands of unthrifty gentlemen, and often setting their sons to the
schools, to the universities, and to the Inns of the Court, or,
otherwise leaving them sufficient lands whereupon they may live
without labour, do make them by those means to become gentlemen. These
were they that in times past made all France afraid. And albeit they
be not called "Master," as gentlemen are, or "Sir," as to knights
appertaineth, but only "John" and "Thomas," etc., yet have they been
found to have done very good service.

The kings of England in foughten battles were wont to remain among
them (who were their footmen) as the French kings did amongst their
horsemen, the prince thereby shewing where his chief strength did

The fourth and last sort of people in England are day-labourers, poor
husbandmen, and some retailers (which have no free land) copyholders,
and all artificers, as tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, brickmakers,
masons, etc.[11]

      [11] Capite censi, or Proletarii--H.

As for slaves and bondmen, we have none; nay, such is the privilege
of our country by the especial grace of God and bounty of our
princes, that if any come hither from other realms, so soon as they
set foot on land they become so free of condition as their masters,
whereby all note of servile bondage is utterly removed from them,
wherein we resemble (not the Germans, who had slaves also, though
such as in respect of the slaves of other countries might well be
reputed free, but) the old Indians and the Taprobanes,[12] who
supposed it a great injury to Nature to make or suffer them to be
bond, whom she in her wonted course doth product and bring forth
free. This fourth and last sort of people therefore have neither
voice nor authority in the commonwealth, but are to be ruled and not
to rule other: yet they are not altogether neglected, for in cities
and corporate towns, for default of yeomen, they are fain to make up
their inquests of such manner of people. And in villages they are
commonly made churchwardens, sidesmen, aleconners, now and then
constables, and many times enjoy the name of head boroughs. Unto this
sort also may our great swarms of idle serving-men be referred, of
whom there runneth a proverb, "Young servingmen, old beggars,"
because service is none heritage. These men are profitable to none;
for, if their condition be well perused, they are enemies to their
masters; to their friends, and to themselves: for by them oftentimes
their masters are encouraged unto unlawful exactions of their
tenants, their friends brought unto poverty by their rents enhanced,
and they themselves brought to confusion by their own prodigality and
errors, as men that, having not wherewith of their own to maintain
their excesses, do search in highways, budgets, coffers, mails, and
stables, which way to supply their wants. How divers of them also,
coveting to bear an high sail, do insinuate themselves with young
gentlemen and noblemen newly come to their lands, the case is too
much apparent, whereby the good natures of the parties are not only a
little impaired, but also their livelihoods and revenues so wasted
and consumed that, if at all, yet not in many years, they shall be
able to recover themselves. It were very good therefore that the
superfluous heaps of them were in part diminished. And since
necessity enforceth to have some, yet let wisdom moderate their
numbers, so shall their masters be rid of unnecessary charge, and the
commonwealth of many thieves. No nation cherisheth such store of them
as we do here in England, in hope of which maintenance many give
themselves to idleness that otherwise would be brought to labour, and
live in order like subjects. Of their whoredoms I will not speak
anything at all, more than of their swearing; yet is it found that
some of them do make the first a chief pillar of their building,
consuming not only the goods but also the health and welfare of many
honest gentlemen, citizens, wealthy yeomen, etc., by such unlawful
dealings. But how far have I waded in this point, or how far may I
sail in such a large sea? I will therefore now stay to speak any more
of those kind of men. In returning therefore to my matter, this
furthermore among other things I have to say of our husbandmen and
artificers, that they were never so excellent in their trades as at
this present. But as the workmanship of the latter sort was newer,
more fine, and curious to the eye, so was it never less strong and
substantial for continuance and benefit of the buyers. Neither is
there anything that hurteth the common sort of our artificers more
than haste, and a barbarous or slavish desire to turn the penny, and,
by ridding their work, to make speedy utterance of their wares: which
enforceth them to bungle up and despatch many things they care not
how so they be out of their hands, whereby the buyer is often sore
defrauded, and findeth to his cost that haste maketh waste, according
to the proverb.

      [12] The Ceylonese. The Greek name for the island of Ceylon was
      Taprobane, which Harrison used merely as a classical scholar.--W.

Oh, how many trades and handicrafts are now in England whereof the
commonwealth hath no need! How many needful commodities have we which
are perfected with great cost, etc., and yet may with far more ease
and less cost be provided from other countries if we could use the
means! I will not speak of iron, glass, and such like, which spoil
much wood, and yet are brought from other countries better cheap than
we can make them here at home; I could exemplify also in many other.
But to leave these things and proceed with our purpose, and herein (as
occasion serveth) generally, by way of conclusion, to speak of the
commonwealth of England, I find that it is governed and maintained by
three sorts of persons--

1. The prince, monarch, and head governor, which is called the king,
or (if the crown fall to a woman) the queen: in whose name and by
whose authority all things are administered.

2. The gentlemen which be divided into two sorts, as the barony or
estate of lords (which containeth barons and all above that degree),
and also those that be no lords, as knights, esquires, and simple
gentlemen, as I have noted already. Out of these also are the great
deputies and high presidents chosen, of which one serveth in Ireland,
as another did some time in Calais, and the captain now at Berwick, as
one lord president doth govern in Wales, and the other the north parts
of this island, which later, with certain counsellors and judges, were
erected by King Henry the Eighth. But, for so much as I have touched
their conditions elsewhere, it shall be enough to have remembered them
at this time.

3. The third and last sort is named the yeomanry, of whom and their
sequel, the labourers and artificers, I have said somewhat even now.
Whereto I add that they may not be called _masters_ and _gentlemen_,
but _goodmen_, as Goodman Smith, Goodman Coot, Goodman Cornell,
Goodman Mascall, Goodman Cockswet, etc., and in matters of law these
and the like are called thus, _Giles Jewd, yeoman; Edward Mountford,
yeoman; James Cocke, yeoman; Harry Butcher, yeoman_, etc.; by which
addition they are exempt from the vulgar and common sorts. Cato
calleth them "_Aratores et optimos cives rei publicæ_," of whom also
you may read more in the book of commonwealth which Sir Thomas Smith
some time penned of this land.



[1577, Book II., Chapter 7, 1587, Book II., Chapter 13.]

As in old time we read that there were eight-and-twenty flamines and
archflamines in the south part of this isle, and so many great cities
under their jurisdiction, so in these our days there is but one or
two fewer, and each of them also under the ecclesiastical regiment of
some one bishop or archbishop, who in spiritual cases have the charge
and oversight of the same. So many cities therefore are there in
England and Wales as there be bishoprics and archbishoprics.[1] For,
notwithstanding that Lichfield and Coventry and Bath and Wells do seem
to extend the aforesaid number unto nine-and-twenty, yet neither of
these couples are to be accounted but as one entire city and see of
the bishop, sith one bishopric can have relation but unto one see, and
the said see be situate but in one place, after which the bishop doth
take his name.[2]...

      [1] If Harrison means to give us the impression that a city has
      any direct connection with episcopal affairs, he is quite in
      error. Cities are distinctly royal and imperial institutions.
      The accident of the number of cities and sees being the same
      comes from the natural tendency of the two institutions to drift
      together, though of distinct origin--W.

      [2] Here follows a long and learned disquisition upon the Roman
      and other early towns, especially about St. Albans, a portion of
      which will be found in the Appendix.--W.

Certes I would gladly set down, with the names and number of the
cities, all the towns and villages in England and Wales with their
true longitudes and latitudes, but as yet I cannot come by them in
such order as I would; howbeit the tale of our cities is soon found by
the bishoprics, sith every see hath such prerogative given unto it as
to bear the name of a city and to use _Regaleius_ within her own
limits. Which privilege also is granted to sundry ancient towns in
England, especially northward, where more plenty of them is to be
found by a great deal than in the south, The names therefore of our
cities are these: London, York, Canterbury, Winchester, Carlisle,
Durham, Ely, Norwich, Lincoln, Worcester, Gloucester, Hereford,
Salisbury, Exeter, Bath, Lichfield, Bristol, Rochester, Chester,
Chichester, Oxford, Peterborough, Llandaff, St. Davids, Bangor, St.
Asaph, whose particular plots and models, with their descriptions,
shall ensue, if it may be brought to pass that the cutters can make
despatch of them before this history be published.

Of towns and villages likewise thus much will I say, that there were
greater store in old time (I mean within three or four hundred years
passed) than at this present. And this I note out of divers records,
charters, and donations (made in times past unto sundry religious
houses, as Glastonbury, Abingdon, Ramsey, Ely, and such like), and
whereof in these days I find not so much as the ruins. Leland, in
sundry places, complaineth likewise of the decay of parishes in great
cities and towns, missing in some six or eight or twelve churches and
more, of all which he giveth particular notice. For albeit that the
Saxons builded many towns and villages, and the Normans well more at
their first coming, yet since the first two hundred years after the
latter conquest, they have gone so fast again to decay that the
ancient number of them is very much abated. Ranulph, the monk of
Chester, telleth of general survey made in the fourth, sixteenth, and
nineteenth of the reign of William Conqueror, surnamed the Bastard,
wherein it was found that (notwithstanding the Danes had overthrown a
great many) there were to the number of 52,000 towns, 45,002 parish
churches, and 75,000 knights' fees, whereof the clergy held 28,015. He
addeth moreover that there were divers other builded since that time,
within the space of a hundred years after the coming of the Bastard,
as it were in lieu or recompense of those that William Rufus pulled
down for the erection of his New Forest. For by an old book which I
have, and some time written as it seemeth by an under-sheriff of
Nottingham, I find even in the time of Edward IV. 45,120 parish
churches, and but 60,216 knights' fees, whereof the clergy held as
before 28,015, or at the least 28,000; for so small is the difference
which he doth seem to use. Howbeit, if the assertions of such as write
in our time concerning this matter either are or ought to be of any
credit in this behalf, you shall not find above 17,000 towns and
villages, and 9210 in the whole, which is little more than a fourth
part of the aforesaid number, if it be thoroughly scanned.[3]...

      [3] Here follows an allusion to the decay of Eastern cities.--W.

In time past in Lincoln (as the same goeth) there have been
two-and-fifty parish churches, and good record appeareth for
eight-and-thirty, but now, if there be four-and-twenty, it is all.
This inconvenience hath grown altogether to the church by
appropriations made unto monasteries and religious houses--a terrible
canker and enemy to religion.

But to leave this lamentable discourse of so notable and grievous an
inconvenience, growing as I said by encroaching and joining of house
to house and laying land to land, whereby the inhabitants of many
places of our country are devoured and eaten up, and their houses
either altogether pulled down or suffered to decay little by little,
although some time a poor man per adventure doth dwell in one of them,
who, not being able to repair it, suffereth it to fall down--and
thereto thinketh himself very friendly dealt withal, if he may have an
acre of ground assigned unto him, wherein to keep a cow, or wherein to
set cabbages, radishes, parsnips, carrots, melons, pompons,[4] or such
like stuff, by which he and his poor household liveth as by their
principal food, sith they can do no better. And as for wheaten bread,
they eat it when they can reach unto the price of it, contenting
themselves in the meantime with bread made of oats or barley: a poor
estate, God wot! Howbeit, what care our great encroachers? But in
divers places where rich men dwelled some time in good tenements,
there be now no houses at all, but hop-yards, and sheds for poles, or
peradventure gardens, as we may see in Castle Hedingham, and divers
other places. But to proceed.

      [4] The old and proper form of the modern pumpkin.--W.

It is so that, our soil being divided into champaign ground and
woodland, the houses of the first lie uniformly builded in every town
together, with streets and lanes; whereas in the woodland countries
(except here and there in great market towns) they stand scattered
abroad, each one dwelling in the midst of his own occupying. And as in
many and most great market towns, there are commonly three hundred or
four hundred families or mansions, and two thousand communicants (or
peradventure more), so in the other, whether they be woodland or
champaign, we find not often above forty, fifty, or three score
households, and two or three hundred communicants, whereof the
greatest part nevertheless are very poor folks, oftentimes without all
manner of occupying, sith the ground of the parish is gotten up into a
few men's hands, yea sometimes into the tenure of one or two or three,
whereby the rest are compelled either to be hired servants unto the
other or else to beg their bread in misery from door to door.

There are some (saith Leland) which are not so favourable, when they
have gotten such lands, as to let the houses remain upon them to the
use of the poor; but they will compound with the lord of the soil to
pull them down for altogether, saying that "if they did let them
stand, they should but toll beggars to the town, thereby to surcharge
the rest of the parish, and lay more burden upon them." But alas!
these pitiful men see not that they themselves hereby do lay the
greatest log upon their neighbours' necks. For, sith the prince doth
commonly loose nothing of his duties accustomable to be paid, the rest
of the parishioners that remain must answer and bear them out: for
they plead more charge other ways, saying: "I am charged already with
a light horse; I am to answer in this sort, and after that matter."
And it is not yet altogether out of knowledge that, where the king had
seven pounds thirteen shillings at a task gathered of fifty wealthy
householders of a parish in England, now, a gentleman having three
parts of the town in his own hands, four households do bear all the
aforesaid payment, or else Leland is deceived in his _Commentaries_,
lib. 13, lately come to my hands, which thing he especially noted in
his travel over this isle. A common plague and enormity, both in the
heart of the land and likewise upon the coasts. Certes a great number
complain of the increase of poverty, laying the cause upon God, as
though he were in fault for sending such increase of people, or want
of wars that should consume them, affirming that the land was never so
full, etc.; but few men do see the very root from whence it doth
proceed. Yet the Romans found it out, when they flourished, and
therefore prescribed limits to every man's tenure and occupying. Homer
commendeth Achilles for overthrowing of five-and-twenty cities: but in
mine opinion Ganges is much better preferred by Suidas for building of
three score in India, where he did plant himself. I could (if need
required) set down in this place the number of religious houses and
monasteries, with the names of their founders, that have been in this
island: but, sith it is a thing of small importance, I pass it over as
impertinent to my purpose. Yet herein I will commend sundry of the
monastical votaries, especially monks, for that they were authors of
many goodly borowes and endwares,[5] near unto their dwellings
although otherwise they pretended to be men separated from the world.
But alas! their covetous minds, one way in enlarging their revenues,
and carnal intent another, appeared herein too, too much. For, being
bold from time to time to visit their tenants, they wrought oft great
wickedness, and made those endwares little better than brothel-houses,
especially where nunneries were far off, or else no safe access unto
them. But what do I spend my time in the rehearsal of these
filthinesses? Would to God the memory of them might perish with the
malefactors! My purpose was also at the end of this chapter to have
set down a table of the parish churches and market towns throughout
all England and Wales; but, sith I cannot perform the same as I would,
I am forced to give over my purpose; yet by these few that ensue you
shall easily see what I would have used according to the shires, if I
might have brought it to pass.

      [5] The first is a variant on a Keltic, the second on a Saxon
      word, both relating to matters sufficiently indicated in the

Shires.                  Market Towns.    Parishes.

Middlesex                     3              73
London within the walls and without         120
Surrey                        6             140
Sussex                       18             312
Kent                         17             398
Cambridge                     4             163
Bedford                       9              13
Huntingdon                    5              78
Rutland                       2              47
Berkshire                    11             150
Northampton                  10             326
Buckingham                   11             196
Oxford                       10             216
Southampton                  18             248
Dorset                       19             279
Norfolk                      26             625
Suffolk                      25             575
Essex                        18             415

And these I had of a friend of mine, by whose travel and his master's
excessive charges I doubt not but my countrymen ere long shall see all
England set forth in several shires after the same manner that
Ortelius hath dealt with other countries of the main, to the great
benefit of our nation and everlasting fame of the aforesaid parties.



[1587, Book II., Chapter 20.]

After such time as Calais was won from the French, and that our
countrymen had learned to trade into divers countries (whereby they
grew rich), they began to wax idle also, and thereupon not only left
off their former painfulness and frugality, but in like sort gave
themselves to live in excess and vanity, whereby many goodly
commodities failed, and in short time were not to be had amongst us.
Such strangers also as dwelled here with us, perceiving our
sluggishness, and espying that this idleness of ours might redound to
their great profit, forthwith employed their endeavors to bring in the
supply of such things as we lacked continually from foreign countries,
which yet more augmented our idleness. For, having all things at
reasonable prices (as we supposed) by such means from them, we thought
it mere madness to spend either time or cost about the same here at
home. And thus we became enemies to our own welfare, as men that in
those days reposed our felicity in following the wars, wherewith we
were often exercised both at home and other places. Besides this, the
natural desire that mankind hath to esteem of things far sought,
because they be rare and costly, and the irksome contempt of things
near hand, for that they are common and plentiful, hath borne no small
sway also in this behalf amongst us. For hereby we have neglected our
own good gifts of God, growing here at home, as vile and of no value,
and had every trifle and toy in admiration that is brought hither from
far countries, ascribing I wot not what great forces and solemn
estimation unto them, until they also have waxen old, after which they
have been so little regarded, if not more despised, amongst us than
our own. Examples hereof I could set down many and in many things;
but, sith my purpose is to deal at this time with gardens and
orchards, it shall suffice that I touch them only, and show our
inconstancy in the same, so far as shall seem and be convenient for my
turn. I comprehend therefore under the word "garden" all such grounds
as are wrought with the spade by man's hand, for so the case

Of wine I have written already elsewhere sufficiently, which commodity
(as I have learned further since the penning of that book) hath been
very plentiful in this island, not only in the time of the Romans, but
also since the Conquest, as I have seen by record; yet at this present
have we none at all (or else very little to speak of) growing in this
island, which I impute not unto the soil, but the negligence of my
countrymen. Such herbs, fruits, and roots also as grow yearly out of
the ground, of seed, have been very plentiful in this land, in the
time of the first Edward, and after his days; but in process of time
they grew also to be neglected, so that from Henry the Fourth till the
latter end of Henry the Seventh and beginning of Henry the Eighth,
there was little or no use of them in England, but they remained
either unknown or supposed as food more meet for hogs and savage
beasts to feed upon than mankind. Whereas in my time their use is not
only resumed among the poor commons. I mean of melons, pompons,
gourds, cucumbers, radishes, skirets,[1] parsnips, carrots, cabbages,
navews,[2] turnips, and all kinds of salad herbs--but also fed upon as
dainty dishes at the tables of delicate merchants, gentlemen, and the
nobility, who make their provision yearly for new seeds out of strange
countries, from whence they have them abundantly. Neither do they now
stay with such of these fruits as are wholesome in their kinds, but
adventure further upon such as are very dangerous and hurtful, as the
verangenes, mushrooms, etc., as if nature had ordained all for the
belly, or that all things were to be eaten for whose mischievous
operation the Lord in some measure hath given and provided a remedy.

      [1] A vegetable something like a carrot.

      [2] A kind of turnip.

Hops in time past were plentiful in this land. Afterwards also their
maintenance did cease. And now, being revived, where are any better
to be found? Where any greater commodity to be raised by them? Only
poles are accounted to be their greatest charge. But, sith men have
learned of late to sow ashen kexes in ashyards by themselves, that
inconvenience in short time will be redressed.

Madder hath grown abundantly in this island, but of long time
neglected, and now a little revived, and offereth itself to prove no
small benefit unto our country, as many other things else, which are
now fetched from us: as we before time, when we gave ourselves to
idleness, were glad to have them other.

If you look into our gardens annexed to our houses, how wonderfully is
their beauty increased, not only with flowers, which Columella calleth
_Terrena sydera_[3] saying,

  "_Pingit et in varios terrestria sydera flores_,"[4]

and variety of curious and costly workmanship, but also with rare and
medicinable herbs sought up in the land within these forty years: so
that, in comparison of this present, the ancient gardens were but
dunghills and laistowes,[5] to such as did possess them. How art also
helpeth nature in the daily colouring, doubling, and enlarging the
proportion of our flowers, it is incredible to report: for so curious
and cunning are our gardeners now in these days that they presume to
do in manner what they list with nature, and moderate her course in
things as if they were her superiors. It is a world also to see how
many strange herbs, plants, and annual fruits are daily brought unto
us from the Indies, Americans, Taprobane, Canary Isles, and all parts
of the world: the which, albeit that in respect of the constitutions
of our bodies they do not grow for us (because that God hath bestowed
sufficient commodities upon every country for her own necessity), yet,
for delectation sake unto the eye and their odoriferous savours unto
the nose, they are to be cherished, and God to be glorified also in
them, because they are his good gifts, and created to do man help and
service. There is not almost one nobleman, gentleman, or merchant that
hath not great store of these flowers, which now also do begin to wax
so well acquainted with our soils that we may almost account of them
as parcel of our own commodities. They have no less regard in like
sort to cherish medicinable herbs fetched out of other regions nearer
hand, insomuch that I have seen in some one garden to the number of
three hundred or four hundred of them, if not more, of the half of
whose names within forty years past we had no manner of knowledge. But
herein I find some cause of just complaint, for that we extol their
uses so far that we fall into contempt of our own, which are in truth
more beneficial and apt for us than such as grow elsewhere, sith (as I
said before) every region hath abundantly within her own limits
whatsoever is needful and most convenient for them that dwell therein.
How do men extol the use of tobacco in my time, whereas in truth
(whether the cause be in the repugnancy of our constitution unto the
operation thereof, or that the ground doth alter her force, I cannot
tell) it is not found of so great efficacy as they write. And beside
this, our common germander or thistle benet is found and known to be
so wholesome and of so great power in medicine as any other herb, if
they be used accordingly. I could exemplify after the like manner in
sundry other, as the _Salsa parilla, Mochoacan_, etc., but I forbear
so to do, because I covet to be brief. And truly, the estimation and
credit that we yield and give unto compound medicines made with
foreign drugs is one great cause wherefore the full knowledge and use
of our own simples hath been so long raked up in the embers. And as
this may be verified so to be one sound conclusion, for, the greater
number of simples that go unto any compound medicine, the greater
confusion is found therein, because the qualities and operations of
very few of the particulars are thoroughly known. And even so our
continual desire of strange drugs, whereby the physician and
apothecary only hath the benefit, is no small cause that the use of
our simples here at home doth go to loss, and that we tread those
herbs under our feet, whose forces if we knew, and could apply them to
our necessities, we would honour and have in reverence as to their
case behoveth. Alas! what have we to do with such Arabian and Grecian
stuff as is daily brought from those parties which lie in another
clime? And therefore the bodies of such as dwell there are of another
constitution than ours are here at home. Certes they grow not for us,
but for the Arabians and Grecians. And albeit that they may by skill
be applied unto our benefit, yet to be more skilful in them than in
our own is folly; and to use foreign wares, when our own may serve the
turn, is more folly; but to despise our own, and magnify above measure
the use of them that are sought and brought from far, is most folly of
all: for it savoureth of ignorance, or at the leastwise of negligence,
and therefore worthy of reproach.

      [3] Earthly stars.

      [4] "And paints terrestrial constellations with varied flowers."

      [5] Refuse-heaps.

Among the Indians, who have the most present cures for every disease
of their own nation, there is small regard of compound medicines, and
less of foreign drugs, because they neither know them nor can use
them, but work wonders even with their own simples. With them also the
difference of the clime doth show her full effect. For, whereas they
will heal one another in short time with application of one simple,
etc., if a Spaniard or Englishman stand in need of their help, they
are driven to have a longer space in their cures, and now and then
also to use some addition of two or three simples at the most, whose
forces unto them are thoroughly known, because their exercise is only
in their own, as men that never sought or heard what virtue was in
those that came from other countries. And even so did Marcus Cato, the
learned Roman, endeavour to deal in his cures of sundry diseases,
wherein he not only used such simples as were to be had in his own
country, but also examined and learned the forces of each of them,
wherewith he dealt so diligently that in all his lifetime he could
attain to the exact knowledge but of a few, and thereto wrote of those
most learnedly, as would easily be seen if those his books were
extant. For the space also of six hundred years the colewort only was
a medicine in Rome for all diseases, so that his virtues were
thoroughly known in those parts. * * *

For my part, I doubt not if the use of outlandish drugs had not
blinded our physicians of England in times past, but that the virtues
of our simples here at home would have been far better known, and so
well unto us as those of India are to the practitioners of those
parts, and thereunto be found more profitable for us than the foreign
either are or may be. This also will I add, that even those which are
most common by reason of their plenty, and most vile because of their
abundance, are not without some universal and special efficacy, if it
were known, for our benefit: sith God in nature hath so disposed his
creatures that the most needful are the most plentiful and serving for
such general diseases as our constitution most commonly is affected
withal. Great thanks therefore be given unto the physicians of our age
and country, who not only endeavour to search out the use of such
simples as our soil doth yield and bring forth, but also to procure
such as grow elsewhere, upon purpose so to acquaint them with our
clime that they in time, through some alteration received from the
nature of the earth, may likewise turn to our benefit and commodity
and be used as our own.

The chief workman (or, as I may call him, the founder of this device)
is Carolus Clusius, the noble herbarist whose industry hath
wonderfully stirred them up into this good act. For albeit that
Matthiolus, Rembert, Lobell, and others have travelled very far in
this behalf, yet none hath come near to Clusius, much less gone
further in the finding and true descriptions of such herbs as of late
are brought to light. I doubt not but, if this man were in England but
one seven years, he would reveal a number of herbs growing with us
whereof neither our physicians nor apothecaries as yet have any
knowledge. And even like thanks be given unto our nobility, gentlemen,
and others, for their continual nutriture and cherishing of such
homeborne and foreign simples in their gardens: for hereby they shall
not only be had at hand and preserved, but also their forms made more
familiar to be discerned and their forces better known than hitherto
they have been.

And even as it fareth with our gardens, so doth it with our orchards,
which were never furnished with so good fruit nor with such variety as
at this present. For, beside that we have most delicate apples, plums,
pears, walnuts, filberts, etc., and those of sundry sorts, planted
within forty years past, in comparison of which most of the old trees
are nothing worth, so have we no less store of strange fruit, as
apricots, almonds, peaches, figs, corn-trees[6] in noblemen's
orchards. I have seen capers, oranges, and lemons, and heard of wild
olives growing here, beside other strange trees, brought from far,
whose names I know not. So that England for these commodities was
never better furnished, neither any nation under their clime more
plentifully endued with these and other blessings from the most high
God, who grant us grace withal to use the same to his honour and
glory! And not as instruments and provocations into further excess and
vanity, wherewith his displeasure may be kindled, lest these his
benefits do turn unto thorns and briers unto us for our annoyance and
punishment, which he hath bestowed upon us for our consolation and

      [6] Probably _cornels_.

We have in like sort such workmen as are not only excellent in
grafting the natural fruits, but their artificial mixtures, whereby
one tree bringeth forth sundry fruits, and one and the same fruit of
divers colours and tastes, dallying as it were with nature and her
course, as if her whole trade were perfectly known unto them: of hard
fruits they will make tender, of sour sweet, of sweet yet more
delicate, bereaving also some of their kernels, other of their cores,
and finally enduing them with the savour of musk, amber, or sweet
spices, at their pleasures. Divers also have written at large of these
several practices, and some of them how to convert the kernels of
peaches into almonds, of small fruit to make far greater, and to
remove or add superfluous or necessary moisture to the trees, with
other things belonging to their preservation, and with no less
diligence than our physicians do commonly show upon our own diseased
bodies, which to me doth seem right strange. And even so do our
gardeners with their herbs, whereby they are strengthened against
noisome blasts, and preserved from putrefaction and hindrance: whereby
some such as were annual are now made perpetual, being yearly taken
up, and either reserved in the house, or, having the ross pulled from
their roots, laid again into the earth, where they remain in safety.
With choice they make also in their waters, and wherewith some of them
do now and then keep them moist, it is a world to see, insomuch that
the apothecaries' shops may seem to be needful also to our gardens and
orchards, and that in sundry wise: nay, the kitchen itself is so far
from being able to be missed among them that even the very dish-water
is not without some use amongst our finest plants. Whereby, and sundry
other circumstances not here to be remembered, I am persuaded that,
albeit the gardens of the Hesperides were in times past so greatly
accounted of, because of their delicacy, yet, if it were possible to
have such an equal judge as by certain knowledge of both were able to
pronounce upon them, I doubt not but he would give the prize unto the
gardens of our days, and generally over all Europe, in comparison of
those times wherein the old exceeded. Pliny and others speak of a rose
that had three score leaves growing upon one button: but if I should
tell of one which bare a triple number unto that proportion, I know I
shall not be believed, and no great matter though I were not; howbeit
such a one was to be seen in Antwerp, 1585, as I have heard, and I
know who might have had a slip or stallon thereof, if he would have
ventured ten pounds upon the growth of the same, which should have
been but a tickle hazard, and therefore better undone, as I did always
imagine. For mine own part, good reader, let me boast a little of my
garden, which is but small, and the whole area thereof little above
300 foot of ground, and yet, such hath been my good luck in purchase
of the variety of simples, that, notwithstanding my small ability,
there are very near three hundred of one sort and other contained
therein, no one of them being common or usually to be had. If
therefore my little plot, void of all cost in keeping, be so well
furnished, what shall we think of those of Hampton Court, Nonsuch,
Tibaults, Cobham Garden, and sundry others appertaining to divers
citizens of London, whom I could particularly name, if I should not
seem to offend them by such my demeanour and dealing.



[1577, Book II., Chapter 11; 1587, Book II., Chapter 18.]

There are (as I take it) few great towns in England that have not
their weekly markets, one or more granted from the prince, in which
all manner of provision for household is to be bought and sold, for
ease and benefit of the country round about. Whereby, as it cometh to
pass that no buyer shall make any great journey in the purveyance of
his necessities, so no occupier shall have occasion to travel far off
with his commodities, except it be to seek for the highest prices,
which commonly are near unto great cities, where round[1] and
speediest utterance[2] is always to be had. And, as these have been in
times past erected for the benefit of the realm, so are they in many
places too, too much abused: for the relief and ease of the buyer is
not so much intended in them as the benefit of the seller. Neither are
the magistrates for the most part (as men loath to displease their
neighbours for their one year's dignity) so careful in their offices
as of right and duty they should be. For, in most of these markets,
neither assizes of bread nor orders for goodness and sweetness of
grain and other commodities that are brought thither to be sold are
any whit looked unto, but each one suffered to sell or set up what and
how himself listeth: and this is one evident cause of dearth and
scarcity in time of great abundance.

      [1] Direct.

      [2] Market.

I could (if I would) exemplify in many, but I will touch no one
particularly, sith it is rare to see in any country town (as I said)
the assize of bread well kept according to the statute; and yet, if
any country baker happen to come in among them on the market day with
bread of better quantity, they find fault by-and-by with one thing or
other in his stuff, whereby the honest poor man (whom the law of
nations do commend, for that he endeavoureth to live by any lawful
means) is driven away, and no more to come there, upon some round
penalty, by virtue of their privileges. Howbeit, though they are so
nice in the proportion of their bread, yet, in lieu of the same, there
is such heady ale and beer in most of them as for the mightiness
thereof among such as seek it out is commonly called "huffcap," "the
mad dog," "Father Whoreson," "angels' food," "dragon's milk,"
"go-by-the-wall," "stride wide," and "lift leg," etc. And this is more
to be noted, that when one of late fell by God's providence into a
troubled conscience, after he had considered well of his reachless
life and dangerous estate, another, thinking belike to change his
colour and not his mind, carried him straight away to the strongest
ale, as to the next physician. It is incredible to say how our
malt-bugs lug at this liquor, even as pigs should lie in a row lugging
at their dame's teats, till they lie still again and be not able to
wag. Neither did Romulus and Remus suck their she-wolf or shepherd's
wife Lupa with such eager and sharp devotion as these men hale at
"huffcap," till they be red as cocks and little wiser than their
combs. But how am I fallen from the market into the ale-house? In
returning therefore unto my purpose, I find that in corn great abuse
is daily suffered, to the great prejudice of the town and country,
especially the poor artificer and householder, which tilleth no land,
but, labouring all the week to buy a bushel or two of grain on the
market day, can there have none for his money: because bodgers,
loaders, and common carriers of corn do not only buy up all, but give
above the price, to be served of great quantities. Shall I go any
further? Well, I will say yet a little more, and somewhat by mine own

At Michaelmas time poor men must make money of their grain, that they
may pay their rents. So long then as the poor man hath to sell, rich
men bring out none, but rather buy up that which the poor bring, under
pretence of seed corn or alteration of grain, although they bring none
of their own, because one wheat often sown without change of seed will
soon decay and be converted into darnel. For this cause therefore they
must needs buy in the markets, though they be twenty miles off, and
where they be not known, promising there, if they happen to be espied
(which, God wot, is very seldom), to send so much to their next
market, to be performed I wot not when.

If this shift serve not (neither doth the fox use always one track for
fear of a snare), they will compound with some one of the town where
the market is holden, who for a pot of "huffcap" or "merry-go-down,"
will not let to buy it for them, and that in his own name. Or else
they wage one poor man or other to become a bodger, and thereto get
him a licence upon some forged surmise, which being done, they will
feed him with money to buy for them till he hath filled their lofts,
and then, if he can do any good for himself, so it is; if not, they
will give him somewhat for his pains at this time, and reserve him for
another year. How many of the like providers stumble upon blind creeks
at the sea coast, I wot not well; but that some have so done and yet
do under other men's wings, the case is too, too plain. But who dare
find fault with them, when they have once a licence? yes, though it be
but to serve a mean gentleman's house with corn, who hath cast up all
his tillage, because he boasteth how he can buy his grain in the
market better cheap than he can sow his land, as the rich grazier
often doth also upon the like device, because grazing requireth a
smaller household and less attendance and charge. If any man come to
buy a bushel or two for his expenses unto the market cross, answer is
made: "Forsooth, here was one even now that bade me money for it, and
I hope he will have it." And to say the truth, these bodgers are fair
chapmen; for there are no more words with them, but _"Let me see it!
What shall I give you? Knit it up! I will have it--go carry it to such
a chamber, and if you bring in twenty_ seme[3] _more in the weekday to
such an inn or sollar[4] where I lay my corn, I will have it, and give
you (   ) pence or more in every bushel for six weeks' day of payment
than another will."_ Thus the bodgers bear away all, so that the poor
artificer and labourer cannot make his provision in the markets, sith
they will hardly nowadays sell by the bushel, nor break their measure;
and so much the rather for that the buyer will look (as they say) for
so much over measure in the bushel as the bodger will do in a quarter.
Nay, the poor man cannot oft get any of the farmer at home, because he
provideth altogether to serve the bodger, or hath an hope, grounded
upon a greedy and insatiable desire of gain, that the sale will be
better in the market, so that he must give twopence or a groat more in
the bushel at his house than the last market craved, or else go
without it, and sleep with a hungry belly. Of the common carriage of
corn over unto the parts beyond the seas I speak not; or at the
leastwise, if I should, I could not touch it alone, but needs must
join other provision withal, whereby not only our friends abroad, but
also many of our adversaries and countrymen, the papists, are
abundantly relieved (as the report goeth); but sith I see it not, I
will not so trust mine ears as to write it for a truth. But to return
to our markets again.

      [3] Horse-loads.

      [4] Loft.

By this time the poor occupier hath sold all his crop for need of
money, being ready peradventure to buy again ere long. And now is the
whole sale of corn in the great occupiers' hands, who hitherto have
threshed little or none of their own, but bought up of other men as
much as they could come by. Henceforth also they begin to sell, not by
the quarter or load at the first (for marring the market) but by the
bushel or two, or a horseload at the most, thereby to be seen to keep
the cross, either for a show, or to make men eager to buy, and so, as
they may have it for money, not to regard what they pay. And thus corn
waxeth dear; but it will be dearer the next market day. It is possible
also that they mislike the price in the beginning for the whole year
ensuing, as men supposing that corn will be little worth for this and
of better price the next year. For they have certain superstitious
observations whereby they will give a guess at the sale of corn for
the year following. And our countrymen do use commonly for barley,
where I dwell, to judge after the price at Baldock upon St. Matthew's
day; and for wheat, as it is sold in seed time. They take in like sort
experiment by sight of the first flocks of cranes that flee southward
in winter, the age of the moon in the beginning of January, and such
other apish toys as by laying twelve corns upon the hot hearth for the
twelve months, etc., whereby they shew themselves to be scant good
Christians; but what care they, so that they come by money? Hereupon
also will they thresh out three parts of the old corn, towards the
latter end of the summer, when new cometh apace to hand, and cast the
same in the fourth unthreshed, where it shall lie until the next
spring, or peradventure till it must and putrify. Certes it is not
dainty to see musty corn in many of our great markets of England which
these great occupiers bring forth when they can keep it no longer. But
as they are enforced oftentimes upon this one occasion somewhat to
abate the price, so a plague is not seldom engendered thereby among
the poorer sort that of necessity must buy the same, whereby many
thousands of all degrees are consumed, of whose death (in mine
opinion) these farmers are not unguilty. But to proceed. If they lay
not up their grain or wheat in this manner, they have yet another
policy, whereby they will seem to have but small store left in their
barns: for else they will gird their sheaves by the band, and stack it
up anew in less room, to the end it may not only seem less in
quantity, but also give place to the corn that is yet to come into the
barn or growing in the field. If there happen to be such plenty in the
market on any market day that they cannot sell at their own price,
then will they set it up in some friend's house, against another on
the third day, and not bring it forth till they like of the sale. If
they sell any at home, beside harder measure, it shall be dearer to
the poor man that buyeth it by twopence or a groat in a bushel than
they may sell it in the market. But, as these things are worthy
redress, so I wish that God would once open their eyes that deal thus
to see their own errors: for as yet some of them little care how many
poor men suffer extremity, so that they fill their purses and carry
away the gain.

It is a world also to see how most places of the realm are pestered
with purveyors, who take up eggs, butter, cheese, pigs, capons, hens,
chickens, hogs, bacon, etc., in one market under pretence of their
commissions, and suffer their wives to sell the same in another, or to
poulterers of London. If these chapmen be absent but two or three
market days then we may perfectly see these wares to be more
reasonably sold, and thereunto the crosses sufficiently furnished of
all things. In like sort, since the number of buttermen have so much
increased, and since they travel in such wise that they come to men's
houses for their butter faster than they can make it, it is almost
incredible to see how the price of butter is augmented: whereas when
the owners were enforced to bring it to the market towns, and fewer of
these butter buyers were stirring, our butter was scarcely worth
eighteen pence the gallon that now is worth three shillings fourpence
and perhaps five shillings. Whereby also I gather that the maintenance
of a superfluous number of dealers in most trades, tillage always
excepted, is one of the greatest causes why the prices of things
became excessive: for one of them do commonly use to outbid another.
And whilst our country commodities are commonly bought and sold at our
private houses, I never look to see this enormity redressed or the
markets well furnished.

I could say more, but this is even enough, and more peradventure than
I shall be well thanked for: yet true it is, though some think it no
trespass. This moreover is to be lamented, that one general measure is
not in use throughout all England, but every market town hath in
manner a several bushel; and the lesser it be, the more sellers it
draweth to resort unto the same. Such also is the covetousness of many
clerks of the market, that in taking a view of measures they will
always so provide that one and the same bushel shall be either too big
or too little at their next coming, and yet not depart without a fee
at the first so that what by their mending at one time, and impairing
the same at another, the country is greatly charged, and few just
measures to be had in any steed. It is oft found likewise that divers
unconscionable dealers have one measure to sell by and another to buy
withal; the like is also in weights, and yet all sealed and branded.
Wherefore it were very good that these two were reduced unto one
standard, that is, one bushel, one pound, one quarter, one hundred,
one tale, one number: so should things in time fall into better order
and fewer causes of contention be moved in this land. Of the complaint
of such poor tenants as pay rent corn unto their landlords, I speak
not, who are often dealt withal very hardly. For, beside that in
measuring of ten quarters for the most part they lose one through the
iniquity of the bushel (such is the greediness of the appointed
receivers thereof), fault is found also with the goodness and
cleanness of the grain. Whereby some piece of money must needs pass
unto their purses to stop their mouths withal, or else "My lord will
not like of the corn," "Thou art worthy to lose thy lease," etc. Or,
if it be cheaper in the market than the rate allowed for it is in
their rents, then must they pay money and no corn, which is no small
extremity. And thereby we may see how each one of us endeavoureth to
fleece and eat up another.

Another thing there is in our markets worthy to be looked into, and
that is the recarriage of grain from the same into lofts and cellars,
of which before I gave some intimation; wherefore if it were ordered
that every seller should make his market by an hour, or else the
bailey or clerk of the said market to make sale thereof, according to
his discretion, without liberty to the farmers to set up their corn in
houses and chambers, I am persuaded that the prices of our grain would
soon be abated. Again, if it were enacted that each one should keep
his next market with his grain (and not to run six, eight, ten,
fourteen, or twenty miles from home to sell his corn where he doth
find the highest price, and thereby leaveth his neighbours
unfurnished), I do not think but that our markets would be far better
served than at this present they are. Finally, if men's barns might be
indifferently viewed immediately after harvest, and a note gathered by
an estimate, and kept by some appointed and trusty person for that
purpose, we should have much more plenty of corn in our town crosses
than as yet is commonly seen: because each one hideth and hoardeth
what he may, upon purpose either that it will be dearer, or that he
shall have some privy vein by bodgers, who do accustomably so deal
that the sea doth load away no small part thereof into other countries
and our enemies, to the great hindrance of our commonwealth at home,
and more likely yet to be, except some remedy be found. But what do I
talk of these things, or desire the suppression of bodgers, being a
minister? Certes I may speak of them right well as feeling the harm in
that I am a buyer, nevertheless I speak generally in each of them.

To conclude therefore, in our markets all things are to be sold
necessary for man's use; and there is our provision made commonly for
all the week ensuing. Therefore, as there are no great towns without
one weekly market at least, so there are very few of them that have
not one or two fairs or more within the compass of the year, assigned
unto them by the prince And albeit that some of them are not much
better than Louse fair,[5] or the common kirkemesses,[6] beyond the
sea, yet there are divers not inferior to the greatest marts in
Europe, as Stourbridge fair near to Cambridge, Bristow fair,
Bartholomew fair at London, Lynn mart, Cold fair at Newport pond for
cattle, and divers other, all which, or at leastwise the greatest part
of them (to the end I may with the more ease to the reader and less
travel to myself fulfil my task in their recital), I have set down
according to the names of the months wherein they are holden at the
end of this book, where you shall find them at large as I borrowed the
same from J. Stow and the reports of others.

      [5] The ancient London counterpart of the more modern "Rag
      Fair" known to literary fame.--W.

      [6] The Kermess, or literally, "Church mass," so famous in



[1577, Book II., Chapter 5, 1585, Book II., Chapter 1.]

There are now two provinces only in England, of which the first and
greatest is subject to the see of Canterbury, comprehending a part of
Lhoegres, whole Cambria, and also Ireland, which in time past were
several, and brought into one by the archbishop of the said see, and
assistance of the pope, who, in respect of meed, did yield unto the
ambitious desires of sundry archbishops of Canterbury, as I have
elsewhere declared. The second province is under the see of York. And,
of these, each hath her archbishop resident commonly within her own
limits, who hath not only the chief dealing in matters appertaining to
the hierarchy and jurisdiction of the church, but also great authority
in civil affairs touching the government of the commonwealth, so far
forth as their commissions and several circuits do extend.

In old time there were three archbishops, and so many provinces in
this isle, of which one kept at London, another at York, and the third
at Caerleon upon Usk. But as that of London was translated to
Canterbury by Augustine, and that of York remaineth (notwithstanding
that the greatest part of his jurisdiction is now bereft him and given
to the Scottish archbishop), so that of Caerleon is utterly
extinguished, and the government of the country united to that of
Canterbury in spiritual cases, after it was once before removed to St.
David's in Wales, by David, successor to Dubritius, and uncle to King
Arthur, in the 519 of Grace, to the end that he and his clerks might
be further off from the cruelty of the Saxons, where it remained till
the time of the Bastard, and for a season after, before it was annexed
to the see of Canterbury.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is commonly called the Primate of all
England; and in the coronations of the kings of this land, and all
other times wherein it shall please the prince to wear and put on his
crown, his office is to set it upon their heads. They bear also the
name of their high chaplains continually, although not a few of them
have presumed (in time past) to be their equals, and void of
subjection unto them. That this is true, it may easily appear by their
own acts yet kept in record, beside their epistles and answers written
or in print, wherein they have sought not only to match but also to
mate[1] them with great rigour and more than open tyranny. Our
adversaries will peradventure deny this absolutely, as they do many
other things apparent, though not without shameless impudence, or at
the leastwise defend it as just and not swerving from common equity,
because they imagine every archbishop to be the king's equal in his
own province. But how well their doing herein agreeth with the saying
of Peter and examples of the primitive church it may easily appear.
Some examples also of their demeanour--I mean in the time of popery--I
will not let to remember, lest they should say I speak of malice, and
without all ground of likelihood.

      [1] Overcome.

Of their practices with mean persons I speak not, neither will I begin
at Dunstan, the author of all their pride and presumption here in

Wherefore I refer you to those reports of Anselm and Becket
sufficiently penned by other, the which Anselm also making a shew as
if he had been very unwilling to be placed in the see of Canterbury,
gave this answer to the letters of such his friends as did make
request unto him to take the charge upon him--

    _"Secularia negotia, nescio, quia scire nolo, eorum námque
    occupationes horreo, liberum affectans animum. Voluntati sacrarum
    intendo scripturarum, vos dissonantiam facitis, verendumque est né
    aratrum sancta ecclesia, quod in Anglia duo boves validi et pari
    fortitudine, ad bonum certantes, id est, rex et archepiscopus,
    debeant trahere nunc ove verula cum tauro indomito jugata,
    distorqueatur a recto. Ego ovis verula, qui si quietus essem,
    verbi Dei lacte, et operinento lanæ, aliquibus possèm fortassis
    non ingratus esse, sed si me cum hoc tauro coniungitis, videbitis
    pro disparilitate trahentium, aratrum non rectè procedere,"_ etc.

Which is in English thus--

    "Of secular affairs I have no skill, because I will not know them;
    for I even abhor the troubles that rise about them, as one that
    desireth to have his mind at liberty. I apply my whole endeavour
    to the rule of the Scriptures; you lead me to the contrary; and it
    is to be feared lest the plough of holy church, which two strong
    oxen of equal force, and both like earnest to contend unto that
    which is good (that is, the king and the archbishop), ought to
    draw, should thereby now swerve from the right furrow, by matching
    of an old sheep with a wild, untamed bull. I am that old sheep,
    who, if I might be quiet, could peradventure shew myself not
    altogether ungrateful to some, by feeding them with the milk of
    the Word of God, and covering them with wool: but if you match me
    with this bull, you shall see that, through want of equality in
    draught, the plough will not go to right," etc.

As followeth in the process of his letters. The said Thomas Becket was
so proud that he wrote to King Henry the Second, as to his lord, to
his king, and to his son, offering him his counsel, his reverence, and
due correction, etc. Others in like sort have protested that they owed
nothing to the kings of this land, but their council only, reserving
all obedience unto the see of Rome, whereby we may easily see the
pride and ambition of the clergy in the blind time of ignorance.

And as the old cock of Canterbury did crow in this behalf, so the
young cockerels of other sees did imitate his demeanour, as may be
seen by this one example also in King Stephen's time, worthy to be
remembered; unto whom the Bishop of London would not so much as swear
to be true subject: wherein also he was maintained by the pope....

Thus we see that kings were to rule no further than it pleased the
pope to like of; neither to challenge more obedience of their subjects
than stood also with their good will and pleasure. He wrote in like
sort unto Queen Maud about the same matter, making her "Samson's
calf"[2] (the better to bring his purpose to pass)....

      [2] A fool or dupe.

Is it not strange that a peevish order of religion (devised by man)
should break the express law of God, who commandeth all men to honour
and obey their kings and princes, in whom some part of the power of
God is manifest and laid open unto us? And even unto this end the
cardinal of Hostia also wrote to the canons of Paul's after this
manner, covertly encouraging them to stand to their election of the
said Robert, who was no more willing to give over his new bishopric
than they careful to offend the king, but rather imagined which way to
keep it still, maugre his displeasure, and yet not to swear obedience
unto him for all that he should be able to do or perform unto the

Hereby you see how King Stephen was dealt withal. And albeit the
Archbishop of Canterbury is not openly to be touched herewith, yet it
is not to be doubted but he was a doer in it, so far as might tend to
the maintenance of the right and prerogative of holy church. And even
no less unquietness had another of our princes with Thomas of Arundel,
who fled to Rome for fear of his head, and caused the pope to write an
ambitious and contumelious letter unto his sovereign about his
restitution. But when (by the king's letters yet extant, and beginning
thus: _"Thomas proditionis non expers nostræ regiæ majestati insidias
fabricavit"_[3]) the pope understood the bottom of the matter, he was
contented that Thomas should be deprived, and another archbishop
chosen in his stead.

      [3] "Thomas, not innocent of treason, has intrigued against
      the majesty of our court."

Neither did this pride stay at archbishops and bishops, but descended
lower, even to the rake-hells of the clergy and puddles of all
ungodliness. For, beside the injury received of their superiors, how
was King John dealt withal by the vile Cistertians at Lincoln in the
second of his reign? Certes when he had (upon just occasion) conceived
some grudge against them for their ambitious demeanour, and upon
denial to pay such sums of money as were allotted unto them, he had
caused seizure to be made of such horses, swine, neat, and other
things of theirs as were maintained in his forests, they denounced him
as fast amongst themselves with bell, book, and candle, to be accursed
and excommunicated. Thereunto they so handled the matter with the pope
and their friends that the king was fain to yield to their good
graces, insomuch that a meeting for pacification was appointed between
them at Lincoln, by means of the present Archbishop of Canterbury, who
went off between him and the Cistertian commissioners before the
matter could be finished. In the end the king himself came also unto
the said commissioners as they sat in their chapterhouse, and there
with tears fell down at their feet, craving pardon for his trespasses
against them, and heartily requiring that they would (from henceforth)
commend him and his realm in their prayers unto the protection of the
Almighty, and receive him into their fraternity, promising moreover
full satisfaction of their damages sustained, and to build an house of
their order in whatsoever place of England it should please them to
assign. And this he confirmed by charter bearing date the
seven-and-twentieth of November, after the Scottish king was returned
into Scotland, and departed from the king. Whereby (and by other the
like, as between John Stratford and Edward the Third, etc.) a man may
easily conceive how proud the clergymen have been in former times, as
wholly presuming upon the primacy of their pope. More matter could I
allege of these and the like broils, not to be found among our common
historiographers. Howbeit, reserving the same unto places more
convenient, I will cease to speak of them at this time, and go forward
with such other things as my purpose is to speak of. At the first,
therefore, there was like and equal authority in both our archbishops,
but as he of Canterbury hath long since obtained the prerogative above
York (although I say not without great trouble, suit, some bloodshed,
and contention), so the Archbishop of York is nevertheless written
Primate of England, as one contenting himself with a piece of a title
at the least, when all could not be gotten. And as he of Canterbury
crowneth the king, so this of York doth the like to the queen, whose
perpetual chaplain he is, and hath been from time to time, since the
determination of this controversy, as writers do report. The first
also hath under his jurisdiction to the number of one-and-twenty
inferior bishops; the other hath only four, by reason that the
churches of Scotland are now removed from his obedience unto an
archbishop of their own, whereby the greatness and circuit of the
jurisdiction of York is not a little diminished. In like sort, each of
these seven-and-twenty sees have their cathedral churches, wherein the
deans (a calling not known in England before the Conquest) do bear the
chief rule, being men especially chosen to that vocation, both for
their learning and godliness, so near as can be possible. These
cathedral churches have in like manner other dignities and canonries
still remaining unto them, as heretofore under the popish regiment.
Howbeit those that are chosen to the same are no idle and unprofitable
persons (as in times past they have been when most of these livings
were either furnished with strangers, especially out of Italy, boys,
or such idiots as had least skill of all in discharging of those
functions whereunto they were called by virtue of these stipends), but
such as by preaching and teaching can and do learnedly set forth the
glory of God, and further the overthrow of anti-Christ to the
uttermost of their powers.

These churches are called cathedral, because the bishops dwell or lie
near unto the same, as bound to keep continual residence within their
jurisdictions for the better oversight and governance of the same, the
word being derived _a cathedra_--that is to say, a chair or seat where
he resteth, and for the most part abideth. At the first there was but
one church in every jurisdiction, whereinto no man entered to pray but
with some oblation or other toward the maintenance of the pastor. For
as it was reputed an infamy to pass by any of them without visitation,
so it was no less reproach to appear empty before the Lord. And for
this occasion also they were builded very huge and great; for
otherwise they were not capable to such multitude as came daily unto
them to hear the Word and receive the sacraments.

But as the number of Christians increased, so first monasteries, then
finally parish churches, were builded in every jurisdiction: from
whence I take our deanery churches to have their original (now called
"mother churches," and their incumbents, archpriests), the rest being
added since the Conquest, either by the lords of every town, or
zealous men, loth to travel far, and willing to have some ease by
building them near hand. Unto these deanery churches also the clergy
in old time of the same deanery were appointed to repair at sundry
seasons, there to receive wholesome ordinances, and to consult upon
the necessary affairs of the whole jurisdiction if necessity so
required; and some image hereof is yet to be seen in the north parts.
But as the number of churches increased, so the repair of the faithful
unto the cathedrals did diminish; whereby they now become, especially
in their nether parts, rather markets and shops for merchandise than
solemn places of prayer, whereunto they were first erected. Moreover,
in the said cathedral churches upon Sundays and festival days the
canons do make certain ordinary sermons by course, whereunto great
numbers of all estates do orderly resort; and upon the working days,
thrice in the week, one of the said canons (or some other in his
stead) doth read and expound some piece of holy Scripture, whereunto
the people do very reverently repair. The bishops themselves in like
sort are not idle in their callings; for, being now exempt from court
and council, which is one (and a no small) piece of their felicity
(although Richard Archbishop of Canterbury thought otherwise, as yet
appeareth by his letters to Pope Alexander, Epistola 44, Petri
Blesensis, where he saith, because the clergy of his time were
somewhat narrowly looked unto, _"Supra dorsum ecclesiæ fabricant
peccatores," etc._),[4] they so apply their minds to the setting forth
of the Word that there are very few of them which do not every Sunday
or oftener resort to some place or other within their jurisdictions
where they expound the Scriptures with much gravity and skill, and yet
not without the great misliking and contempt of such as hate the Word.
Of their manifold translations from one see to another I will say
nothing, which is not now done for the benefit of the flock as the
preferment of the party favoured and advantage unto the prince, a
matter in time past much doubted of--to wit, whether a bishop or
pastor might be translated from one see to another, and left undecided
till prescription by royal authority made it good. For, among princes,
a thing once done is well done, and to be done oftentimes, though no
warrant be to be found therefore.

      [4] "Sinners build on the back of the church."

They have under them also their archdeacons, some one, divers two, and
many four or more, as their circuits are in quantity, which
archdeacons are termed in law the bishops' eyes; and these (beside
their ordinary courts, which are holden within so many or more of
their several deaneries by themselves or their officials once in a
month at the least) do keep yearly two visitations or synods (as the
bishop doth in every third year, wherein he confirmeth some children,
though most care but a little for that ceremony), in which they make
diligent inquisition and search, as well for the doctrine and
behaviour of the ministers as the orderly dealing of the parishioners
in resorting to their parish churches and conformity unto religion.
They punish also with great severity all such trespassers, either in
person or by the purse (where permutation of penance is thought more
grievous to the offender), as are presented unto them; or, if the
cause be of the more weight, as in cases of heresy, pertinacy,
contempt, and such like, they refer them either to the bishop of the
diocese, or his chancellor, or else to sundry grave persons set in
authority, by virtue of an high commission directed unto them from the
prince to that end, who in very courteous manner do see the offenders
gently reformed or else severely punished if necessity so enforce.

Beside this, in many of our archdeaconries, we have an exercise lately
begun which for the most part is called a _prophecy_ or _conference_,
and erected only for the examination or trial of the diligence of the
clergy in their study of holy Scriptures. Howbeit, such is the thirsty
desire of the people in these days to hear the Word of God that they
also have as it were with zealous violence intruded themselves among
them (but as hearers only) to come by more knowledge through their
presence at the same. Herein also (for the most part) two of the
younger sort of ministers do expound each after other some piece of
the Scriptures ordinarily appointed unto them in their courses
(wherein they orderly go through with some one of the Evangelists, or
of the Epistles, as it pleaseth the whole assembly to choose at the
first in every of these conferences); and when they have spent an hour
or a little more between them, then cometh one of the better learned
sort, who, being a graduate for the most part, or known to be a
preacher sufficiently authorised and of a sound judgment, supplieth
the room of a moderator, making first a brief rehearsal of their
discourses, and then adding what him thinketh good of his own
knowledge, whereby two hours are thus commonly spent at this most
profitable meeting. When all is done, if the first speakers have
shewed any piece of diligence, they are commended for their travel,
and encouraged to go forward. If they have been found to be slack, or
not sound in delivery of their doctrine, their negligence and error is
openly reproved before all their brethren, who go aside of purpose
from the laity after the exercise ended to judge of these matters, and
consult of the next speakers and quantity of the text to be handled in
that place. The laity never speak, of course (except some vain and
busy head will now and then intrude themselves with offence), but are
only hearers; and, as it is used in some places weekly, in other once
in fourteen days, in divers monthly, and elsewhere twice in a year, so
is it a notable spur unto all the ministers thereby to apply their
books, which otherwise (as in times past) would give themselves to
hawking, hunting, tables, cards, dice, tippling at the alehouse,
shooting of matches, and other like vanities, nothing commendable in
such as should be godly and zealous stewards of the good gifts of God,
faithful distributors of his Word unto the people, and diligent
pastors according to their calling.

But alas! as Sathan, the author of all mischief, hath in sundry
manners heretofore hindered the erection and maintenance of many good
things, so in this he hath stirred up adversaries of late unto this
most profitable exercise, who, not regarding the commodity that riseth
thereby so well to the hearers as speakers, but either stumbling (I
cannot tell how) at words and terms, or at the leastwise not liking to
hear of the reprehension of vice, or peradventure taking a misliking
at the slender demeanours of such negligent ministers as now and then
in their course do occupy the rooms, have either by their own
practice, their sinister information, or suggestions made upon
surmises unto other, procured the suppression of these conferences,
condemning them as hurtful, pernicious, and daily breeders of no small
hurt and inconvenience. But hereof let God be judge, unto the cause

Our elders or ministers and deacons (for subdeacons and the other
inferior orders sometime used in popish church we have not) are made
according to a certain form of consecration concluded upon in the time
of King Edward the Sixth by the clergy of England, and soon after
confirmed by the three estates of the realm in the high court of
parliament. And out of the first sort--that is to say, of such as are
called to the ministry (without respect whether they be married or
not)--are bishops, deans, archdeacons, and such as have the higher
places in the hierarchy of the church elected; and these also, as all
the rest, at the first coming unto any spiritual promotion do yield
unto the prince the entire tax of that their living for one whole
year, if it amount in value unto ten pounds and upwards, and this
under the name and title of first fruits.

With us also it is permitted that a sufficient man may (by
dispensation from the prince) hold two livings, not distant either
from other above thirty miles; whereby it cometh to pass that, as her
Majesty doth reap some commodity by the faculty, so that the unition
of two in one man doth bring oftentimes more benefit to one of them in
a month (I mean for doctrine) than they have had before peradventure
in many years.

Many exclaim against such faculties, as if there were more good
preachers that want maintenance than livings to maintain them. Indeed
when a living is void there are so many suitors for it that a man
would think the report to be true, and most certain; but when it
cometh to the trial (who are sufficient and who not, who are staid men
in conversation, judgment, and learning), of that great number you
shall hardly find one or two such as they ought to be, and yet none
more earnest to make suit, to promise largely, bear a better shew, or
find fault with the stage of things than they. Nevertheless I do not
think that their exclamations, if they were wisely handled, are
altogether grounded upon rumours or ambitious minds, if you respect
the state of the thing itself, and not the necessity growing through
want of able men to furnish out all the cures in England, which both
our universities are never able to perform. For if you observe what
numbers of preachers Cambridge and Oxford do yearly send forth, and
how many new compositions are made in the Court of First Fruits by the
deaths of the last incumbents, you shall soon see a difference.
Wherefore, if in country towns and cities, yea even in London itself,
four or five of the little churches were brought into one, the
inconvenience would in great part be redressed and amended.

And, to say truth, one most commonly of those small livings is of so
little value that it is not able to maintain a mean scholar, much less
a learned man, as not being above ten, twelve, sixteen, seventeen,
twenty, or thirty pounds at the most, toward their charges, which now
(more than before time) do go out of the same. I say more than before,
because every small trifle, nobleman's request, or courtesy craved by
the bishop, doth impose and command a twentieth part, a three score
part, or twopence in the pound, etc., out of the livings, which
hitherto hath not been usually granted, but by the consent of a synod,
wherein things were decided according to equity, and the poorer sort
considered of, which now are equally burdened.

We pay also the tenths of our livings to the prince yearly, according
to such valuation of each of them as hath been lately made: which
nevertheless in time past were not annual, but voluntary, and paid at
request of king or pope.[5]...

      [5] Here follows a story about the bootless errand of a pope's
      legate in 1452.--W.

But to return to our tenths, a payment first as devised by the pope,
and afterward taken up as by the prescription of the king, whereunto
we may join also our first fruits, which is one whole year's commodity
of our living, due at our entrance into the same, the tenths abated
unto the prince's coffers, and paid commonly in two years. For the
receipt also of these two payments an especial office or court is
erected, which beareth name of First Fruits and Tenths, whereunto, if
the party to be preferred do not make his dutiful repair by an
appointed time after possession taken, there to compound for the
payment of his said fruits, he incurreth the danger of a great
penalty, limited by a certain statute provided in that behalf against
such as do intrude into the ecclesiastical function and refuse to pay
the accustomed duties belonging to the same.

They pay likewise subsidies with the temporalty, but in such sort that
if these pay after four shillings for land, the clergy contribute
commonly after six shillings of the pound, so that of a benefice of
twenty pounds by the year the incumbent thinketh himself well
acquitted if, all ordinary payments being discharged, he may reserve
thirteen pounds six shillings eightpence towards his own sustentation
or maintenance of his family. Seldom also are they without the compass
of a subsidy; for if they be one year clear from this payment (a thing
not often seen of late years), they are like in the next to hear of
another grant: so that I say again they are seldom without the limit
of a subsidy. Herein also they somewhat find themselves grieved that
the laity may at every taxation help themselves, and so they do,
through consideration had of their decay and hindrance, and yet their
impoverishment cannot but touch also the parson or vicar, unto whom
such liberty is denied, as is daily to be seen in their accounts and

Some of them also, after the marriages of their children, will have
their proportions qualified, or by friendship get themselves quite out
of the book. But what stand I upon these things, who have rather to
complain of the injury offered by some of our neighbours of the laity,
which daily endeavour to bring us also within the compass of their
fifteens or taxes for their own ease, whereas the tax of the whole
realm, which is commonly greater in the champagne than woodland soil,
amounteth only to 37,930 pounds ninepence halfpenny, is a burden easy
enough to be borne upon so many shoulders, without the help of the
clergy, whose tenths and subsidies make up commonly a double, if not
treble sum unto their aforesaid payments? Sometimes also we are
threatened with a _Melius inquirendum_, as if our livings were not
racked high enough already. But if a man should seek out where all
those church lands which in time past did contribute unto the old sum
required or to be made up, no doubt no small number of the laity of
all states should be contributors also with us, the prince not
defrauded of her expectation and right. We are also charged with
armour and munitions from thirty pounds upwards, a thing more needful
than divers other charges imposed upon us are convenient, by which and
other burdens our ease groweth to be more heavy by a great deal
(notwithstanding our immunity from temporal services) than that of the
laity, and, for aught that I see, not likely to be diminished, as if
the church were now become the ass whereon every market man is to ride
and cast his wallet.

The other payments due unto the archbishop and bishop at their several
visitations (of which the first is double to the latter), and such
also as the archdeacon receive that his synods, etc., remain still as
they did without any alteration. Only this I think he added within
memory of man, that at the coming of every prince his appointed
officers do commonly visit the whole realm under the form of an
ecclesiastical inquisition, in which the clergy do usually pay double
fees, as unto the archbishop.

Hereby then, and by those already remembered, it is found that the
Church of England is no less commodious to the prince's coffers than
the state of the laity, if it do not far exceed the same, since their
payments are certain, continual, and seldom abated, howsoever they
gather up their own duties with grudging, murmuring, suit, and
slanderous speeches of the payers, or have their livings otherwise
hardly valued unto the uttermost farthing, or shrewdly cancelled by
the covetousness of the patrons, of whom some do bestow advowsons of
benefices upon their bakers, butlers, cooks, good archers, falconers,
and horsekeepers, instead of other recompense, for their long and
faithful service, which they employ afterward unto the most advantage.

Certes here they resemble the pope very much; for, as he sendeth out
his idols, so do they their parasites, pages, chamberlains, stewards,
grooms, and lackeys; and yet these be the men that first exclaim of
the insufficiency of the ministers, as hoping thereby in due time to
get also their glebes and grounds into their hands. In times past
bishoprics went almost after the same manner under the lay princes,
and then under the pope, so that he which helped a clerk unto a see
was sure to have a present or purse fine, if not an annual pension,
besides that which went to the pope's coffers, and was thought to be
very good merchandise.

To proceed therefore with the rest, I think it good also to remember
that the names usually given unto such as feed the flock remain in
like sort as in times past, so that these words, _parson, vicar,
curate_, and such, are not yet abolished more than the canon law
itself, which is daily pleaded, as I have said elsewhere, although the
statutes of the realm have greatly infringed the large scope and
brought the exercise of the same into some narrower limits. There is
nothing read in our churches but the canonical Scriptures, whereby it
cometh to pass that the Psalter is said over once in thirty days, the
New Testament four times, and the Old Testament once in the year. And
hereunto, if the curate be adjudged by the bishop or his deputies
sufficiently instructed in the holy Scriptures, and therewithal able
to teach, he permitteth him to make some exposition or exhortation in
his parish unto amendment of life. And for so much as our churches and
universities have been so spoiled in time of error, as there cannot
yet be had such number of able pastors as may suffice for every parish
to have one, there are (beside four sermons appointed by public order
in the year) certain sermons or homilies (devised by sundry learned
men, confirmed for sound doctrine by consent of the divines, and
public authority of the prince), and those appointed to be read by the
curates of mean understanding (which homilies do comprehend the
principal parts of Christian doctrine, as of original sin, of
justification by faith, of charity, and such like) upon the Sabbath
days unto the congregation. And, after a certain number of psalms
read, which are limited according to the dates of the month, for
morning and evening prayer we have two lessons, whereof the first is
taken out of the Old Testament, the second out of the New; and of
these latter, that in the morning is out of the Gospels, the other in
the afternoon out of some one of the Epistles. After morning prayer
also, we have the Litany and suffrages, an invocation in mine opinion
not devised without the great assistance of the Spirit of God,
although many curious mind-sick persons utterly condemn it as
superstitious, and savouring of conjuration and sorcery.

This being done, we proceed unto the communion, if any communicants be
to receive the Eucharist; if not, we read the Decalogue, Epistle, and
Gospel, with the Nicene Creed (of some in derision called the "dry
communion"), and then proceed unto an homily or sermon, which hath a
psalm before and after it, and finally unto the baptism of such
infants as on every Sabbath day (if occasion so require) are brought
unto the churches; and thus is the forenoon bestowed. In the afternoon
likewise we meet again, and, after the psalms and lessons ended, we
have commonly a sermon, or at the leastwise our youth catechised by
the space of an hour. And thus do we spend the Sabbath day in good and
godly exercises, all done in our vulgar tongue, that each one present
may hear and understand the same, which also in cathedral and
collegiate churches is so ordered that the psalms only are sung by
note, the rest being read (as in common parish churches) by the
minister with a loud voice, saving that in the administration of the
communion the choir singeth the answers, the creed, and sundry other
things appointed, but in so plain, I say, and distinct manner that
each one present may understand what they sing, every word having but
one note, though the whole Harmony consist of many parts, and those
very cunningly set by the skilful in that science.

Certes this translation of the service of the church into the vulgar
tongue hath not a little offended the pope almost in every age, as a
thing very often attempted by divers princes, but never generally
obtained, for fear lest the consenting thereunto might breed the
overthrow (as it would indeed) of all his religion and hierarchy;
nevertheless, in some places where the kings and princes dwelled not
under his nose, it was performed maugre his resistance. Wratislaus,
Duke of Bohemia, would long since have done the like also in his
kingdom; but, not daring to venture so far without the consent of the
pope, he wrote unto him thereof, and received his answer inhibitory
unto all his proceeding in the same....

I would set down two or three more of the like instruments passed from
that see unto the like end, but this shall suffice, being less common
than the other, which are to be had more plentifully.

As for our churches themselves, bells and times of morning and evening
prayer remain as in times past, saving that all images, shrines,
tabernacles, rood-lofts, and monuments of idolatry are removed, taken
down, and defaced, only the stories in glass windows excepted, which,
for want of sufficient store of new stuff, and by reason of extreme
charge that should grow by the alteration of the same into white panes
throughout the realm, are not altogether abolished in most places at
once, but by little and little suffered to decay, that white glass may
be provided and set up in their rooms. Finally, whereas there was wont
to be a great partition between the choir and the body of the church,
now it is either very small or none at all, and (to say the truth)
altogether needless, sith the minister saith his service commonly in
the body of the church, with his face toward the people, in a little
tabernacle of wainscot provided for the purpose, by which means the
ignorant do not only learn divers of the psalms and usual prayers by
heart, but also such as can read do pray together with him, so that
the whole congregation at one instant pour out their petitions unto
the living God for the whole estate of His church in most earnest and
fervent manner. Our holy and festival days are very well reduced also
unto a less number; for whereas (not long since) we had under the pope
four score and fifteen, called festival, and thirty _profesti_, beside
the Sundays, they are all brought unto seven and twenty, and, with
them, the superfluous numbers of idle wakes, guilds, fraternities,
church-ales, help-ales, and soul-ales, called also dirge-ales, with
the heathenish rioting at bride-ales, are well diminished and laid
aside. And no great matter were it if the feasts of all our apostles,
evangelists, and martyrs, with that of all saints, were brought to the
holy days that follow upon Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and
those of the Virgin Mary, with the rest, utterly removed from the
calendars, as neither necessary nor commendable in a reformed church.

The apparel in like sort of our clergymen is comely, and, in truth,
more decent than ever it was in the popish church, before the
universities bound their graduates unto a stable attire, afterward
usurped also even by the blind Sir Johns. For, if you peruse well my
Chronology ensuing, you shall find that they went either in divers
colours like players, or in garments of light hue, as yellow, red,
green, etc., with their shoes piked, their hair crisped, their girdles
armed with silver, their shoes, spurs, bridles, etc., buckled with
like metal, their apparel (for the most part) of silk, and richly
furred, their caps laced and buttoned with gold, so that to meet a
priest in those days was to behold a peacock that spreadeth his tail
when he danceth before the hen, which now (I say) is well reformed.
Touching hospitality, there was never any greater used in England,
sith by reason that marriage is permitted to him that will choose that
kind of life, their meat and drink is more orderly and frugally
dressed, their furniture of household more convenient and better
looked unto, and the poor oftener fed generally than heretofore they
have been, when only a few bishops and double or treble beneficed men
did make good cheer at Christmas only, or otherwise kept great houses
for the entertainment of the rich, which did often see and visit them.
It is thought much peradventure that some bishops, etc., in our time
do come short of the ancient gluttony and prodigality of their
predecessors; but to such as do consider of the curtailing of their
livings, or excessive prices whereunto things are grown, and how their
course is limited by law, and estate looked into on every side, the
cause of their so doing is well enough perceived. This also offended
many, that they should, after their deaths, leave their substances to
their wives and children, whereas they consider not that in old time
such as had no lemans nor bastards (very few were there, God wot, of
this sort) did leave their goods and possessions to their brethren and
kinsfolks, whereby (as I can shew by good record) many houses of
gentility have grown and been erected. If in any age some one of them
did found a college, almshouse, or school, if you look unto these our
times, you shall see no fewer deeds of charity done, nor better
grounded upon the right stub of piety than before. If you say that
their wives be fond, after the decease of their husbands, and bestow
themselves not so advisedly as their calling requireth (which, God
knoweth, these curious surveyors make small account of truth, further
than thereby to gather matter of reprehension), I beseech you then to
look into all states of the laity, and tell me whether some duchesses,
countesses, barons' or knights' wives, do not fully so often offend in
the like as they? For Eve will be Eve, though Adam would say nay. Not
a few also find fault with our threadbare gowns, as if not our patrons
but our wives were causes of our woe. But if it were known to all that
I know to have been performed of late in Essex, where a minister
taking a benefice (of less than twenty pounds in the Queen's books, so
far as I remember) was enforced to pay to his patron twenty quarters
of oats, ten quarters of wheat, and sixteen yearly of barley (which he
called _hawks' meat_), and another let the like in farm to his patron
for ten pounds by the year which is well worth forty at the least, the
cause of our threadbare gowns would easily appear: for such patrons do
scrape the wool from our cloaks. Wherefore I may well say that such a
threadbare minister is either an ill man or hath an ill patron, or
both; and when such cooks and cobbling shifters shall be removed and
weeded out of the ministry, I doubt not but our patrons will prove
better men, and be reformed whether they will or not, or else the
single-minded bishops shall see the living bestowed upon such as do
deserve it. When the Pragmatic Sanction took place first in France, it
was supposed that these enormities should utterly have ceased; but
when the elections of bishops came once into the hands of the canons
and spiritual men, it grew to be far worse. For they also, within a
while waxing covetous, by their own experience learned aforehand,
raised the markets, and sought after new gains by the gifts of the
greatest livings in that country, wherein (as Machiavelli writeth) are
eighteen archbishoprics, one hundred forty and five bishoprics, 740
abbeys, eleven universities, 1,000,700 steeples (if his report be
sound). Some are of the opinion that, if sufficient men in every town
might be sent for from the universities, this mischief would soon be
remedied; but I am clean of another mind. For, when I consider
whereunto the gifts of fellowships in some places are grown, the
profit that ariseth at sundry elections of scholars out of grammar
schools to the posers, schoolmasters, and preferers of them to our
universities, the gifts of a great number of almshouses builded for
the maimed and impotent soldiers by princes and good men heretofore
moved with a pitiful consideration of the poor distressed, how
rewards, pensions, and annuities also do reign in other cases whereby
the giver is brought sometimes into extreme misery, and that not so
much as the room of a common soldier is not obtained oftentimes
without a _"What will you give me?"_ I am brought into such a mistrust
of the sequel of this device that I dare pronounce (almost for
certain) that, if Homer were now alive, it should be said to him:

    "Tuque licet venias musis comitatus Homere,
    Si nihil attuleris, ibis Homere foras!"

More I could say, and more I would say, of these and other things,
were it not that in mine own judgment I have said enough already for
the advertisement of such as be wise. Nevertheless, before I finish
this chapter, I will add a word or two (so briefly as I can) of the
old estate of cathedral churches, which I have collected together here
and there among the writers, and whereby it shall easily be seen what
they were, and how near the government of ours do in these days
approach unto them; for that there is an irreconcilable odds between
them and those of the Papists. I hope there is no learned man indeed
but will acknowledge and yield unto it.

We find therefore in the time of the primitive church that there was
in every see or jurisdiction one school at the least, whereunto such
as were catechists in Christian religion did resort. And hereof, as we
may find great testimony for Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, and Jerusalem,
so no small notice is left of the like in the inferior sort, if the
names of such as taught in them be called to mind, and the histories
well read which make report of the same. These schools were under the
jurisdiction of the bishops, and from thence did they and the rest of
the elders choose out such as were the ripest scholars, and willing to
serve in the ministry, whom they placed also in their cathedral
churches, there not only to be further instructed in the knowledge of
the world, but also to inure them to the delivery of the same unto the
people in sound manner, to minister the sacraments, to visit the sick
and brethren imprisoned, and to perform such other duties as then
belonged to their charges. The bishop himself and elders of the church
were also hearers and examiners of their doctrine; and, being in
process of time found meet workmen for the Lord's harvest, they were
forthwith sent abroad (after imposition of hands and prayer generally
made for their good proceeding) to some place or other then destitute
of her pastor, and other taken from the school also placed in their
rooms. What number of such clerks belonged now and then to some one
see, the Chronology following shall easily declare; and, in like sort,
what officers, widows, and other persons were daily maintained in
those seasons by the offerings and oblations of the faithful it is
incredible to be reported, if we compare the same with the decays and
oblations seen and practised at this present. But what is that in all
the world which avarice and negligence will not corrupt and impair?
And, as this is a pattern of the estate of the cathedral churches in
those times, so I wish that the like order of government might once
again be restored unto the same, which may be done with ease, sith the
schools are already builded in every diocese, the universities, places
of their preferment unto further knowledge, and the cathedral churches
great enough to receive so many as shall come from thence to be
instructed unto doctrine. But one hindrance of this is already and
more and more to be looked for (beside the plucking and snatching
commonly seen from such houses and the church), and that is, the
general contempt of the ministry, and small consideration of their
former pains taken, whereby less and less hope of competent
maintenance by preaching the word is likely to ensue. Wherefore the
greatest part of the more excellent wits choose rather to employ their
studies unto physic and the laws, utterly giving over the study of the
Scriptures, for fear lest they should in time not get their bread by
the same. By this means also the stalls in their choirs would be
better filled, which now (for the most part) are empty, and prebends
should be prebends indeed, there to live till they were preferred to
some ecclesiastical function, and then other men chosen to succeed
them in their rooms, whereas now prebends are but superfluous
additiments unto former excesses, and perpetual commodities unto the
owners, which before time were but temporal (as I have said before).
But as I have good leisure to wish for these things, so it shall be a
longer time before it will be brought to pass. Nevertheless, as I will
pray for a reformation in this behold, so will I here conclude my
discourse on the estate of our churches.



[1577, Book III., Chapter 1; 1587, Book II., Chapter 6.]

The situation of our region, lying near unto the north, doth cause the
heat of our stomachs to be of somewhat greater force: therefore our
bodies do crave a little more ample nourishment than the inhabitants
of the hotter regions are accustomed withal, whose digestive force is
not altogether so vehement, because their internal heat is not so
strong as ours, which is kept in by the coldness of the air that from
time to time (especially in winter) doth environ our bodies.

It is no marvel therefore that our tables are oftentimes more
plentifully garnished than those of other nations, and this trade hath
continued with us even since the very beginning. For, before the
Romans found out and knew the way unto our country, our predecessors
fed largely upon flesh and milk, whereof there was great abundance in
this isle, because they applied their chief studies unto pasturage and
feeding. After this manner also did our Welsh Britons order themselves
in their diet so long as they lived of themselves, but after they
became to be united and made equal with the English they framed their
appetites to live after our manner, so that at this day there is very
little difference between us in our diets.

In Scotland likewise they have given themselves (of late years to
speak of) unto very ample and large diet, wherein as for some respect
nature doth make them equal with us, so otherwise they far exceed us
in over much and distemperate gormandise, and so ingross their bodies
that divers of them do oft become unapt to any other purpose than to
spend their times in large tabling and belly cheer. Against this
pampering of their carcasses doth Hector Boethius in his description
of the country very sharply inveigh in the first chapter of that
treatise. Henry Wardlaw also, bishop of St. Andrews, noting their
vehement alteration from competent frugality into excessive gluttony
to be brought out of England with James the First (who had been long
time prisoner there under the fourth and fifth Henries, and at his
return carried divers English gentlemen into his country with him,
whom he very honourably preferred there), doth vehemently exclaim
against the same in open Parliament holden at Perth, 1433, before the
three estates, and so bringeth his purpose to pass in the end, by
force of his learned persuasions, that a law was presently made there
for the restraint of superfluous diet; amongst other things, baked
meats (dishes never before this man's days seen in Scotland) were
generally so provided for by virtue of this Act that it was not lawful
for any to eat of the same under the degree of a gentleman, and those
only but on high and festival days. But, alas, it was soon forgotten!

In old time these north Britons did give themselves universally to
great abstinence, and in time of wars their soldiers would often feed
but once or twice at the most in two or three days (especially if they
held themselves in secret, or could have no issue out of their bogs
and marshes, through the presence of the enemy), and in this distress
they used to eat a certain kind of confection, whereof so much as a
bean would qualify their hunger above common expectation. In woods
moreover they lived with herbs and roots, or, if these shifts served
not through want of such provision at hand, then used they to creep
into the water or said moorish plots up unto the chins, and there
remain a long time, only to qualify the heats of their stomachs by
violence, which otherwise would have wrought and been ready to oppress
them for hunger and want of sustenance. In those days likewise it was
taken for a great offence over all to eat either goose, hare, or hen,
because of a certain superstitious opinion which they had conceived of
those three creatures; howbeit after that the Romans, I say, had once
found an entrance into this island it was not long ere open shipwreck
was made of this religious observation, so that in process of time so
well the north and south Britons as the Romans gave over to make such
difference in meats as they had done before.

From thenceforth also unto our days, and even in this season wherein
we live, there is no restraint of any meat either for religious sake
or public order in England, but it is lawful for every man to feed
upon whatsoever he is able to purchase, except it be upon those days
whereon eating of flesh is especially forbidden by the laws of the
realm, which order is taken only to the end our numbers of cattle may
be the better increased and that abundance of fish which the sea
yieldeth more generally received. Besides this, there is great
consideration had in making this law for the preservation of the navy
and maintenance of convenient numbers of seafaring men, both which
would otherwise greatly decay if some means were not found whereby
they might be increased. But, howsoever this case standeth, white
meats, milk, butter, and cheese (which were never so dear as in my
time, and wont to be accounted of as one of the chief stays throughout
the island) are now reputed as food appertinent only to the inferior
sort, whilst such as are more wealthy do feed upon the flesh of all
kinds of cattle accustomed to be eaten, all sorts of fish taken upon
our coasts and in our fresh rivers, and such diversity of wild and
tame fowls as are either bred in our island or brought over unto us
from other countries of the main.

In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of England (whose
cooks are for the most part musical-headed Frenchmen and strangers) do
most exceed, sith there is no day in manner that passeth over their
heads wherein they have not only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork,
cony, capon, pig, or so many of these as the season yieldeth, but also
some portion of the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of fish
and wild fowl, and thereto sundry other delicates wherein the sweet
hand of the seafaring Portugal is not wanting: so that for a man to
dine with one of them, and to taste of every dish that standeth before
him (which few used to do, but each one feedeth upon that meat him
best liketh for the time, the beginning of every dish notwithstanding
being reserved unto the greatest personage that sitteth at the table,
to whom it is drawn up still by the waiters as order requireth, and
from whom it descendeth again even to the lower end, whereby each one
may taste thereof), is rather to yield unto a conspiracy with a great
deal of meat for the speedy suppression of natural health than the use
of a necessary mean to satisfy himself with a competent repast to
sustain his body withal. But, as this large feeding is not seen in
their guests, no more is it in their own persons; for, sith they have
daily much resort unto their tables (and many times unlooked for), and
thereto retain great numbers of servants, it is very requisite and
expedient for them to be somewhat plentiful in this behalf.

The chief part likewise of their daily provision is brought in before
them (commonly in silver vessels, if they be of the degree of barons,
bishops, and upwards) and placed on their tables, whereof, when they
have taken what it pleaseth them, the rest is reserved, and afterwards
sent down to their serving men and waiters, who feed thereon in like
sort with convenient moderation, their reversion also being bestowed
upon the poor which lie ready at their gates in great numbers to
receive the same. This is spoken of the principal tables whereat the
nobleman, his lady, and guests are accustomed to sit; besides which
they have a certain ordinary allowance daily appointed for their
halls, where the chief officers and household servants (for all are
not permitted by custom to wait upon their master), and with them such
inferior guests do feed as are not of calling to associate the
nobleman himself; so that, besides those afore-mentioned, which are
called to the principal table, there are commonly forty or three score
persons fed in those halls, to the great relief of such poor suitors
and strangers also as oft be partakers thereof and otherwise like to
dine hardly. As for drink, it is usually filled in pots, goblets,
jugs, bowls of silver, in noblemen's houses; also in fine Venice
glasses of all forms; and, for want of these elsewhere, in pots of
earth of sundry colours and moulds, whereof many are garnished with
silver, or at the leastwise in pewter, all which notwithstanding are
seldom set on the table, but each one, as necessity urgeth, calleth
for a cup of such drink as him listeth to have, so that, when he has
tasted of it, he delivered the cup again to some one of the standers
by, who, making it clean by pouring out the drink that remaineth,
restoreth it to the cupboard from whence he fetched the same. By this
device (a thing brought up at the first by Mnesitheus of Athens, in
conservation of the honour of Orestes, who had not yet made expiation
for the death of his adulterous parents, Aegisthus and Clytemnestra)
much idle tippling is furthermore cut off; for, if the full pots
should continually stand at the elbow or near the trencher, divers
would always be dealing with them, whereas now they drink seldom, and
only when necessity urgeth, and so avoid the note of great drinking,
or often troubling of the servitors with filling of their bowls.
Nevertheless in the noblemen's halls this order is not used, neither
is any man's house commonly under the degree of a knight or esquire of
great revenues. It is a world to see in these our days, wherein gold
and silver most aboundeth, how that our gentility, as loathing those
metals (because of the plenty) do now generally choose rather the
Venice glasses, both for our wine and beer, than any of those metals
or stone wherein before time we have been accustomed to drink; but
such is the nature of man generally that it most coveteth things
difficult to be attained; and such is the estimation of this stuff
that many become rich only with their new trade unto Murana (a town
near to Venice, situate on the Adriatic Sea), from whence the very
best are daily to be had, and such as for beauty do well near match
the crystal or the ancient _murrhina vasa_ whereof now no man hath
knowledge. And as this is seen in the gentility, so in the wealthy
communalty the like desire of glass is not neglected, whereby the gain
gotten by their purchase is yet much more increased to the benefit of
the merchant. The poorest also will have glass if they may; but, sith
the Venetian is somewhat too dear for them, they content themselves
with such as are made at home of fern and burned stone; but in fine
all go one way--that is, to shards at the last, so that our great
expenses in glasses (beside that they breed much strife toward such as
have the charge of them) are worst of all bestowed in mine opinion,
because their pieces do turn unto no profit. If the philosopher's
stone were once found, and one part hereof mixed with forty of molten
glass, it would induce such a metallical toughness thereunto that a
fall should nothing hurt it in such manner; yet it might peradventure
bunch or batter it; nevertheless that inconvenience were quickly to be
redressed by the hammer. But whither am I slipped?

The gentlemen and merchants keep much about one rate, and each of them
contenteth himself with four, five, or six dishes, when they have but
small resort, or peradventure with one, or two, or three at the most,
when they have no strangers to accompany them at their tables. And yet
their servants have their ordinary diet assigned, beside such as is
left at their master's boards, and not appointed to be brought thither
the second time, which nevertheless is often seen, generally in
venison, lamb, or some especial dish, whereon the merchantman himself
liketh to feed when it is cold, or peradventure for sundry causes
incident to the feeder is better so than if it were warm or hot. To be
short, at such times as the merchants do make their ordinary or
voluntary feasts, it is a world to see what great provision is made of
all manner of delicate meats, from every quarter of the country,
wherein, beside that they are often comparable herein to the nobility
of the land, they will seldom regard anything that the butcher usually
killeth, but reject the same as not worthy to come in place. In such
cases also jellies of all colours, mixed with a variety in the
representation of sundry flowers, herbs, trees, forms of beasts, fish,
fowls, and fruits, and thereunto marchpane wrought with no small
curiosity, tarts of divers hues, and sundry denominations, conserves
of old fruits, foreign and home-bred, suckets, codinacs, marmalades,
marchpane, sugar-bread, gingerbread, florentines, wild fowls, venison
of all sorts, and sundry outlandish confections, altogether seasoned
with sugar (which Pliny calleth _mel ex arundinibus_, a device not
common nor greatly used in old time at the table, but only in
medicine, although it grew in Arabia, India, and Sicilia), do
generally bear the sway, besides infinite devices of our own not
possible for me to remember. Of the potato, and such venerous roots as
are brought out of Spain, Portugal, and the Indies to furnish up our
banquets, I speak not, wherein our mures[1] of no less force, and to
be had about Crosby-Ravenswath, do now begin to have place.

      [1] Sweet cicely, sometimes miscalled myrrh. Mure is the Saxon
      word. At one time the plant was not uncommon as a salad.--W.

But among all these, the kind of meat which is obtained with most
difficulty and costs, is commonly taken for the most delicate, and
thereupon each guest will soonest desire to feed. And as all estates
do exceed herein, I mean for strangeness and number of costly dishes,
so these forget not to use the like excess in wine, insomuch as there
is no kind to be had, neither anywhere more store of all sorts than in
England, although we have none growing with us but yearly to the
proportion of 20,000 of 30,000 tun and upwards, notwithstanding the
daily restraints of the same brought over unto us, whereof at great
meetings there is not some store to be had. Neither do I mean this of
small wines only, as claret, white, red, French, etc., which amount to
about fifty-six sorts, according to the number of regions from whence
they came, but also of the thirty kinds of Italian, Grecian, Spanish,
Canarian, etc., whereof vernage, catepument, raspis, muscadell,
romnie, bastard lire, osy caprie, clary, and malmesey, are not least
of all accompted of, because of their strength and valour. For, as I
have said in meat, so, the stronger the wine is, the more it is
desired, by means whereof, in old time, the best was called
_theologicum_, because it was had from the clergy and religious men,
unto whose houses many of the laity would often send for bottles
filled with the same, being sure they would neither drink nor be
served of the worst, or such as was any ways mingled or brewed by the
vinterer: nay, the merchant would have thought that his soul should
have gone straightway to the devil if he should have served them with
other than the best. Furthermore, when these have had their course
which nature yieldeth, sundry sorts of artificial stuff as ypocras and
wormwood wine must in like manner succeed in their turns, beside stale
ale and strong beer, which nevertheless bear the greatest brunt in
drinking, and are of so many sorts and ages as it pleaseth the brewer
to make them.

The beer that is used at noblemen's tables in their fixed and standing
houses is commonly a year old, or peradventure of two years' tunning
or more; but this is not general. It is also brewed in March, and
therefore called March beer; but, for the household, it is usually not
under a month's age, each one coveting to have the same stale as he
may, so that it be not sour, and his bread new as is possible, so that
it be not hot.

The artificer and husbandman makes greatest account of such meat as
they may soonest come by, and have it quickliest ready, except it be
in London when the companies of every trade do meet on their quarter
days, at which time they be nothing inferior to the nobility. Their
food also consisteth principally in beef, and such meat as the butcher
selleth--that is to say, mutton, veal, lamb, pork, etc., whereof he
findeth great store in the markets adjoining, beside sows, brawn,
bacon, fruit, pies of fruit, fowls of sundry sorts, cheese, butter,
eggs, etc., as the other wanteth it not at home, by his own provision
which is at the best hand, and commonly least charge. In feasting
also, this latter sort, I mean the husbandmen, do exceed after their
manner, especially at bridals, purifications of women, and such odd
meetings, where it is incredible to tell what meat is consumed and
spent, each one bringing such a dish, or so many with him, as his wife
and he do consult upon, but always with this consideration, that the
lesser friend shall have the better provision. This also is commonly
seen at these banquets, that the good man of the house is not charged
with anything saving bread, drink, sauce, house-room, and fire. But
the artificers in cities and good towns do deal far otherwise; for,
albeit that some of them do suffer their jaws to go oft before their
claws, and divers of them, by making good cheer, do hinder themselves
and other men, yet the wiser sort can handle the matter well enough in
these junketings, and therefore their frugality deserveth
commendation. To conclude, both the artificer and the husbandman are
sufficiently liberal, and very friendly at their tables; and, when
they meet, they are so merry without malice, and plain without inward
Italian or French craft and subtlety, that it would do a man good to
be in company among them. Herein only are the inferior sort somewhat
to be blamed, that, being thus assembled, their talk is now and then
such as savoureth of scurrility and ribaldry, a thing naturally
incident to carters and clowns, who think themselves not to be merry
and welcome if their foolish veins in this behalf be never so little
restrained. This is moreover to be added in these meetings, that if
they happen to stumble upon a piece of venison and a cup of wine or
very strong beer or ale (which latter they commonly provide against
their appointed days), they think their cheer so great, and themselves
to have fared so well, as the Lord Mayor of London, with whom, when
their bellies be full, they will not often stick to make comparison,
because that of a subject there is no public officer of any city in
Europe that may compare in port and countenance with him during the
time of his office.

I might here talk somewhat of the great silence that is used at the
tables of the honourable and wiser sort generally over all the realm
(albeit that too much deserveth no commendation, for it belongeth to
guests neither to be _muti_ nor _loquaces_[2]), likewise of the
moderate eating and drinking that is daily seen, and finally of the
regard that each one hath to keep himself from the note of surfeiting
and drunkenness (for which cause salt meat, except beef, bacon, and
pork, are not any whit esteemed, and yet these three may not be much
powdered); but, as in rehearsal thereof I should commend the nobleman,
merchant, and frugal artificer, so I could not clear the meaner sort
of husbandmen and country inhabitants of very much babbling (except it
be here and there some odd yeoman), with whom he is thought to be the
merriest that talketh of most ribaldry or the wisest man that speaketh
fastest among them, and now and then surfeiting and drunkenness which
they rather fall into for want of heed taking than wilfully following
or delighting in those errors of set mind and purpose. It may be that
divers of them living at home, with hard and pinching diet, small
drink, and some of them having scarce enough of that, are soonest
overtaken when they come into such banquets, howbeit they take it
generally as no small disgrace if they happen to be cupshotten, so
that it is a grief unto them, though now sans remedy, sith the thing
is done and past. If the friends also of the wealthier sort come to
their houses from far, they are commonly so welcome till they depart
as upon the first day of their coming; whereas in good towns and
cities, as London, etc., men oftentimes complain of little room, and,
in reward of a fat capon or plenty of beef and mutton largely bestowed
upon them in the country, a cup of wine or beer with a napkin to wipe
their lips and an "You are heartily welcome!" is thought to be a great
entertainment; and therefore the old country clerks have framed this
saying in that behalf, I mean upon the entertainment of townsmen and
Londoners after the days of their abode, in this manner:

    "Primus jucundus, tollerabilis estque secundus,
    Tertius est vanus, sed fetet quatriduanus."

      [2] Neither "silent" nor "garrulous."

The bread throughout the land is made of such grain as the soil
yieldeth; nevertheless the gentility commonly provide themselves
sufficiently of wheat for their own tables, whilst their household and
poor neighbours in some shires are forced to content themselves with
rye, or barley, yea, and in time of dearth, many with bread made
either of beans, peas, of oats, or of altogether and some acorns
among, of which scourge the poorest do soonest taste, sith they are
least able to provide themselves of better. I will not say that this
extremity is oft so well to be seen in time of plenty as of dearth,
but, if I should, I could easily bring my trial. For, albeit that
there be much more ground eared now almost in every place than hath
been of late years, yet such a price of corn continueth in each town
and market without any just cause (except it be that landlords do get
licences to carry corn out of the land only to keep up the prices for
their own private gains and ruin of the commonwealth), that the
artificer and poor labouring man is not able to reach unto it, but is
driven to content himself with horse corn--I mean beans, peas, oats,
tares, and lentils: and therefore it is a true proverb, and never so
well verified as now, that "Hunger setteth his first foot into the
horse-manger."[3] If the world last awhile after this rate, wheat and
rye will be no grain for poor men to feed on; and some caterpillars
there are that can say so much already.

      [3] A famine at hand is first seen in the horse-manger, when
      the poor do fall to horse corn.--H.

Of bread made of wheat we have sundry sorts daily brought to the
table, whereof the first and most excellent is the manchet, which we
commonly call white bread, in Latin _primarius panis_, whereof Budeus
also speaketh, in his first book _De asse_; and our good workmen
deliver commonly such proportion that of the flour of one bushel with
another they make forty cast of manchet, of which every loaf weigheth
eight ounces into the oven, and six ounces out, as I have been
informed. The second is the cheat or wheaten bread, so named because
the colour thereof resembleth the grey or yellowish wheat, being clean
and well dressed, and out of this is the coarsest of the bran (usually
called gurgeons or pollard) taken. The ravelled is a kind of cheat
bread also, but it retaineth more of the gross, and less of the pure
substance of the wheat; and this, being more slightly wrought up, is
used in the halls of the nobility and gentry only, whereas the other
either is or should be baked in cities and good towns of an appointed
size (according to such price as the corn doth bear), and by a statute
provided by King John in that behalf.[4] The ravelled cheat therefore
is generally so made that out of one bushel of meal, after two and
twenty pounds of bran be sifted and taken from it (whereunto they add
the gurgeons that rise from the manchet), they make thirty cast, every
loaf weighing eighteen ounces into the oven, and sixteen ounces out;
and, beside this, they so handle the matter that to every bushel of
meal they add only two and twenty, or three and twenty, pound of
water, washing also (in some houses) their corn before it go to the
mill, whereby their manchet bread is more excellent in colour, and
pleasing to the eye, than otherwise it would be. The next sort is
named brown bread, of the colour of which we have two sorts one baked
up as it cometh from the mill, so that neither the bran nor the flour
are any whit diminished; this, Celsus called _autopirus panis_, lib.
2, and putteth it in the second place of nourishment. The other hath
little or no flour left therein at all, howbeit he calleth it _Panem
Cibarium_, and it is not only the worst and weakest of all the other
sorts, but also appointed in old time for servants, slaves, and the
inferior kind of people to feed upon. Hereunto likewise, because it is
dry and brickle in the working (for it will hardly be made up
handsomely into loaves), some add a portion of rye meal in our time,
whereby the rough dryness or dry roughness thereof is somewhat
qualified, and then it is named _miscelin_, that is, bread made of
mingled corn, albeit that divers do sow or mingle wheat and rye of set
purpose at the mill, or before it come there, and sell the same at the
markets under the aforesaid name.

      [4] The size of bread is very ill kept or not at all looked
      unto in the country towns or markets.--H.

In champaign countries much rye and barley bread is eaten, but
especially where wheat is scant and geson. As for the difference that
it is between the summer and winter wheat, most husbandmen know it
not, sith they are neither acquainted with summer wheat nor winter
barley; yet here and there I find of both sorts, specially in the
north and about Kendal, where they call it March wheat, and also of
summer rye, but in so small quantities as that I dare not pronounce
them to be greatly common among us.

Our drink, whose force and continuance is partly touched already, is
made of barley, water, and hops, sodden and mingled together, by the
industry of our brewers in a certain exact proportion. But, before our
barley do come into their hands, it sustaineth great alteration, and
is converted into malt, the making whereof I will here set down in
such order as my skill therein may extend unto (for I am scarce a good
maltster), chiefly for that foreign writers have attempted to describe
the same, and the making of our beer, wherein they have shot so far
wide, as the quantity of ground was between themselves and their mark.
In the meantime bear with me, gentle reader (I beseech thee), that
lead thee from the description of the plentiful diet of our country
unto the fond report of a servile trade, or rather from a table
delicately furnished into a musty malt-house; but such is now thy hap,
wherefore I pray thee be contented.

Our malt is made all the year long in some great towns; but in
gentlemen's and yeomen's houses, who commonly make sufficient for
their own expenses only, the winter half is thought most meet for that
commodity: howbeit the malt that is made when the willow doth bud is
commonly worst of all. Nevertheless each one endeavoureth to make it
of the best barley, which is steeped in a cistern, in greater or less
quantity, by the space of three days and three nights, until it be
thoroughly soaked. This being done, the water is drained from it by
little and little, till it be quite gone. Afterward they take it out,
and, laying it upon the clean floor on a round heap, it resteth so
until it be ready to shoot at the root end, which maltsters call
_combing_. When it beginneth therefore to shoot in this manner, they
say it is come, and then forthwith they spread it abroad, first thick,
and afterwards thinner and thinner upon the said floor (as it
_combeth_), and there it lieth (with turning every day four or five
times) by the space of one and twenty days at the least, the workmen
not suffering it in any wise to take any heat, whereby the bud end
should spire, that bringeth forth the blade, and by which oversight or
hurt of the stuff itself the malt would be spoiled and turn small
commodity to the brewer. When it hath gone, or been turned, so long
upon the floor, they carry it to a kiln covered with hair cloth, where
they give it gentle heats (after they have spread it there very thin
abroad) till it be dry, and in the meanwhile they turn it often, that
it may be uniformly dried. For the more it be dried (yet must it be
done with soft fire) the sweeter and better the malt is, and the
longer it will continue, whereas, if it be not dried down (as they
call it), but slackly handled, it will breed a kind of worm called a
weevil, which groweth in the flour of the corn, and in process of time
will so eat out itself that nothing shall remain of the grain but even
the very rind or husk.

The best malt is tried by the hardness and colour; for, if it look
fresh with a yellow hue, and thereto will write like a piece of chalk,
after you have bitten a kernel in sunder in the midst, then you may
assure yourself that it is dried down. In some places it is dried at
leisure with wood alone or straw alone, in others with wood and straw
together; but, of all, the straw dried is the most excellent. For the
wood-dried malt when it is brewed, beside that the drink is higher of
colour, it doth hurt and annoy the head of him that is not used
thereto, because of the smoke. Such also as use both indifferently do
bark, cleave, and dry their wood in an oven, thereby to remove all
moisture that should procure the fume; and this malt is in the second
place, and, with the same likewise, that which is made with dried
furze, broom, etc.: whereas, if they also be occupied green, they are
in manner so prejudicial to the corn as is the moist wood. And thus
much of our malts, in brewing whereof some grind the same somewhat
grossly, and, in seething well the liquor that shall be put into it,
they add to every nine quarters of malt one of headcorn (which
consisteth of sundry grain, as wheat and oats ground). But what have I
to do with this matter, or rather so great a quantity, wherewith I am
not acquainted? Nevertheless, sith I have taken occasion to speak of
brewing, I will exemplify in such a proportion as I am best skilled
in, because it is the usual rate for mine own family, and once in a
month practised by my wife and her maid-servants, who proceed withal
after this manner, as she hath oft informed me.

Having therefore ground eight bushels of good malt upon our quern,
where the toll is saved, she addeth unto it half a bushel of wheat
meal, and so much of oats small ground, and so tempereth or mixeth
them with the malt that you cannot easily discern the one from the
other; otherwise these latter would clunter, fall into lumps, and
thereby become unprofitable. The first liquor (which is full eighty
gallons, according to the proportion of our furnace) she maketh
boiling hot, and then poureth it softly into the malt, where it
resteth (but without stirring) until her second liquor be almost ready
to boil. This done, she letteth her mash run till the malt be left
without liquor, or at the leastwise the greatest part of the moisture,
which she perceiveth by the stay and soft issue thereof; and by this
time her second liquor in the furnace is ready to seethe, which is put
also to the malt, as the first woort also again into the furnace,
whereunto she addeth two pounds of the best English hops, and so
letteth them seethe together by the space of two hours in summer or an
hour and a half in winter, whereby it getteth an excellent colour, and
continuance without impeachment or any superfluous tartness. But,
before she putteth her first woort into the furnace, or mingleth it
with the hops, she taketh out a vessel full, of eight or nine gallons,
which she shutteth up close, and suffereth no air to come into it till
it become yellow, and this she reserveth by itself unto further use,
as shall appear hereafter, calling it _brackwoort_ or _charwoort_,
and, as she saith, it addeth also to the colour of the drink, whereby
it yieldeth not unto amber or fine gold in hue unto the eye. By this
time also her second woort is let run; and, the first being taken out
of the furnace, and placed to cool, she returneth the middle woort
unto the furnace, where it is stricken over, or from whence it is
taken again, when it beginneth to boil, and mashed the second time,
whilst the third liquor is heat (for there are three liquors), and
this last put into the furnace, when the second is mashed again. When
she hath mashed also the last liquor (and set the second to cool by
the first), she letteth it run, and then seetheth it again with a
pound and a half of new hops, or peradventure two pounds, as she seeth
cause by the goodness or baseness of the hops, and, when it hath
sodden, in summer two hours, and in winter an hour and a half, she
striketh it also, and reserveth it unto mixture with the rest when
time doth serve therefore. Finally, when she setteth her drink
together, she addeth to her brackwoort or charwoort half an ounce of
arras, and half a quarter of an ounce of bayberries, finely powdered,
and then, putting the same into her woort, with a handful of wheat
flour, she proceedeth in such usual order as common brewing requireth,
Some, instead of arras and bays, add so much long pepper only, but, in
her opinion and my liking, it is not so good as the first, and hereof
we make three hogsheads of good beer, such (I mean) as is meet for
poor men as I am to live withal, whoso small maintenance (for what
great thing is forty pounds a year, _computatis computandis_, able to
perform?) may endure no deeper cut, the charges whereof groweth in
this manner. I value my malt at ten shillings, my wood at four
shillings (which I buy), my hops at twenty pence, the spice at
twopence, servants' wages two shillings sixpence, with meat and drink,
and the wearing of my vessel at twenty pence, so that for my twenty
shillings I have ten score gallons of beer or more, notwithstanding
the loss in seething, which some, being loth to forego, do not observe
the time, and therefore speed thereafter in their success, and
worthily. The continuance of the drink is always determined after the
quantity of the hops, so that being well _hopt_ it lasteth longer. For
it feedeth upon the hop, and holdeth out so long as the force of the
same continueth, which being extinguished, the drink must be spent, or
else it dieth and becometh of no value.

In this trade also our brewers observe very diligently the nature of
the water, which they daily occupy, and soil through which it passeth,
for all waters are not of like goodness, sith the fattest standing
water is always the best; for, although the waters that run by chalk
or cledgy soils be good, and next unto the Thames water, which is the
most excellent, yet the water that standeth in either of these is the
best for us that dwell in the country, as whereon the sun lieth
longest, and fattest fish is bred. But, of all other, the fenny and
marsh is the worst, and the clearest spring water next unto it. In
this business therefore the skilful workman doth redeem the iniquity
of that element, by changing of his proportions, which trouble in ale
(sometime our only, but now taken with many for old and sick men's
drink) is never seen nor heard of. Howbeit, as the beer well sodden in
the brewing, and stale, is clear and well coloured as muscadel or
malvesey, or rather yellow as the gold noble, as our pot-knights call
it, so our ale, which is not at all or very little sodden, and without
hops, is more thick, fulsome, and of no such continuance, which are
three notable things to be considered in that liquor. But what for
that? Certes I know some ale-knights so much addicted thereunto that
they will not cease from morrow until even to visit the same,
cleansing house after house, till they defile themselves, and either
fall quite under the board, or else, not daring to stir from their
stools, sit still pinking with their narrow eyes, as half sleeping,
till the fume of their adversary be digested that he may go to it
afresh. Such slights also have the ale-wives for the utterance of this
drink that they will mix it with rosen and salt; but if you heat a
knife red-hot, and quench it in the ale so near the bottom of the pot
as you can put it, you shall see the rosen come forth hanging on the
knife. As for the force of salt, it is well known by the effect, for
the more the drinker tippleth, the more he may, and so doth he carry
off a dry drunken noll to bed with him, except his luck be the better.
But to my purpose.

In some places of England there is a kind of drink made of apples
which they call cider or pomage, but that of pears is called perry,
and both are ground and pressed in presses made for the nonce. Certes
these two are very common in Sussex, Kent, Worcester, and other steeds
where these sorts of fruit do abound, howbeit they are not their only
drink at all times, but referred unto the delicate sorts of drink, as
metheglin is in Wales, whereof the Welshmen make no less account (and
not without cause, if it be well handled) than the Greeks did of their
ambrosia or nectar, which for the pleasantness thereof was supposed to
be such as the gods themselves did delight in. There is a kind of
swish-swash made also in Essex, and divers other places, with
honeycombs and water, which the homely country wives, putting some
pepper and a little other spice among, call mead, very good in mine
opinion for such as love to be loose bodied at large, or a little
eased of the cough. Otherwise it differeth so much from the true
metheglin as chalk from cheese. Truly it is nothing else but the
washing of the combs, when the honey is wrung out, and one of the best
things that I know belonging thereto is that they spend but little
labour, and less cost, in making of the same, and therefore no great
loss if it were never occupied. Hitherto of the diet of my countrymen,
and somewhat more at large peradventure than many men will like of,
wherefore I think good now to finish this tractation, and so will I
when I have added a few other things incident unto that which goeth
before, whereby the whole process of the same shall fully be
delivered, and my promise to my friend[5] in this behalf performed.

      [5] Holinshed. This occurs in the last of Harrison's prefatory

Heretofore there hath been much more time spent in eating and
drinking than commonly is in these days; for whereas of old we had
breakfast in the forenoon, beverages or nunchions[6] after dinner,
and thereto rear suppers generally when it was time to go to rest (a
toy brought into England by hardy Canutus, and a custom whereof
Athenaeus also speaketh, lib. 1, albeit Hippocrates speaks but of
twice at the most, lib. 2, _De rat vict. in feb ac_). Now, these odd
repasts--thanked be God!--are very well left, and each one in manner
(except here and there some young, hungry stomach that cannot fast
till dinner-time) contenteth himself with dinner and supper only. The
Normans, misliking the gormandise of Canutus, ordained after their
arrival that no table should be covered above once in the day, which
Huntingdon imputeth to their avarice; but in the end, either waxing
weary of their own frugality, or suffering the cockle of old custom
to overgrow the good corn of their new constitution, they fell to
such liberty that in often-feeding they surmounted Canutus surnamed
the Hardy. For, whereas he covered his table but three or four times
in the day, these spread their cloths five or six times, and in such
wise as I before rehearsed. They brought in also the custom of long
and stately sitting at meat, whereby their feasts resembled those
ancient pontifical banquets whereof Macrobius speaketh (lib. 3, cap.
13), and Pliny (lib. 10, cap. 10), and which for sumptuousness of
fare, long sitting, and curiosity shewed in the same, exceeded all
other men's feasting; which fondness is not yet left with us,
notwithstanding that it proveth very beneficial for the physicians,
who most abound where most excess and misgovernment of our bodies do
appear, although it be a great expense of time, and worthy of
reprehension. For the nobility, gentlemen, and merchantmen,
especially at great meetings, do sit commonly till two or three of
the clock at afternoon, so that with many it is a hard matter to rise
from the table to go to evening prayer, and return from thence to
come time enough to supper.[7]...

      [6] This word is not obsolete. South coast countrymen still
      eat _nuntions_ and not _luncheons_.--W.

      [7] Here follows a disquisition upon the table practices of
      the ancients.--W.

With us the nobility, gentry, and students do ordinarily go to dinner
at eleven before noon, and to supper at five, or between five and six
at afternoon. The merchants dine and sup seldom before twelve at noon,
and six at night, especially in London. The husbandmen dine also at
high noon as they call it, and sup at seven or eight; but out of the
term in our universities the scholars dine at ten. As for the poorest
sort they generally dine and sup when they may, so that to talk of
their order of repast it were but a needless matter. I might here take
occasion also to set down the variety used by antiquity in their
beginnings of their diets, wherein almost every nation had a several
fashion, some beginning of custom (as we do in summer time) with
salads at supper, and some ending with lettuce, some making their
entry with eggs, and shutting up their tables with mulberries, as we
do with fruit and conceits of all sorts. Divers (as the old Romans)
began with a few crops of rue, as the Venetians did with the fish
called gobius; the Belgres with butter, or (as we do yet also) with
butter and eggs upon fish days. But whereas we commonly begin with the
most gross food, and end with the most delicate, the Scot, thinking
much to leave the best for his menial servants, maketh his entrance at
the best, so that he is sure thereby to leave the worst. We use also
our wines by degrees, so that the hostess cometh last to the table:
but to stand upon such toys would spend much time, and turn to small
profit. Wherefore I will deal with other things more necessary for
this turn.



[1577, Book III., Chapter 2; 1587, Book II., Chapter 7.]

An Englishman, endeavouring sometime to write of our attire, made
sundry platforms for his purpose, supposing by some of them to find
out one steadfast ground whereon to build the sum of his discourse.
But in the end (like an orator long without exercise), when he saw
what a difficult piece of work he had taken in hand, he gave over his
travel, and only drew the picture of a naked man[1], unto whom he
gave a pair of shears in the one hand and a piece of cloth in the
other, to the end he should shape his apparel after such fashion as
himself liked, sith he could find no kind of garment that could
please him any while together; and this he called an Englishman.
Certes this writer (otherwise being a lewd popish hypocrite and
ungracious priest) shewed himself herein not to be altogether void of
judgment, sith the phantastical folly of our nation (even from the
courtier to the carter) is such that no form of apparel liketh us
longer than the first garment is in the wearing, if it continue so
long, and be not laid aside to receive some other trinket newly
devised by the fickle-headed tailors, who covet to have several
tricks in cutting, thereby to draw fond customers to more expense of
money. For my part, I can tell better how to inveigh against this
enormity than describe any certainty of our attire; sithence such is
our mutability that to-day there is none to the Spanish guise,
to-morrow the French toys are most fine and delectable, ere long no
such apparel as that which is after the high Almaine fashion,
by-and-by the Turkish manner is generally best liked of, otherwise
the Morisco gowns, the Barbarian fleeces, the mandilion worn to
Colley-Weston ward, and the short French breeches make such a comely
vesture that, except it were a dog in a doublet, you shall not see
any so disguised as are my countrymen of England. And as these
fashions are diverse, so likewise it is a world to see the costliness
and the curiosity, the excess and the vanity, the pomp and the
bravery, the change and the variety, and finally the fickleness and
the folly, that is in all degrees, insomuch that nothing is more
constant in England than inconstancy of attire. Oh, how much cost is
bestowed nowadays upon our bodies, and how little upon our souls! How
many suits of apparel hath the one, and how little furniture hath the
other! How long time is asked in decking up of the first, and how
little space left wherein to feed the latter! How curious, how nice
also, are a number of men and women, and how hardly can the tailor
please them in making it fit for their bodies! How many times must it
be sent back again to him that made it! What chafing, what fretting,
what reproachful language, doth the poor workman bear away! And many
times when he doth nothing to it at all, yet when it is brought home
again it is very fit and handsome; then must we put it on, then must
the long seams of our hose be set by a plumb-line, then we puff, then
we blow, and finally sweat till we drop, that our clothes may stand
well upon us. I will say nothing of our heads, which sometimes are
polled, sometimes curled, or suffered to grow at length like woman's
locks, many times cut off, above or under the ears, round as by a
wooden dish. Neither will I meddle with our variety of beards, of
which some are shaven from the chin like those of Turks, not a few
cut short like to the beard of Marquess Otto, some made round like a
rubbing brush, others with a _pique de vant_ (O! fine fashion!), or
now and then suffered to grow long, the barbers being grown to be so
cunning in this behalf as the tailors. And therefore if a man have a
lean and straight face, a Marquess Otton's cut will make it broad and
large; if it be platter-like, a long, slender beard will make it seem
the narrower; if he be weasel-becked, then much hair left on the
cheeks will make the owner look big like a bowdled hen, and as grim
as a goose, if Cornells of Chelmersford say true. Many old men do
wear no beards at all. Some lusty courtiers also and gentlemen of
courage do wear either rings of gold, stones, or pearl, in their ears,
whereby they imagine the workmanship of God not to be a little
amended. But herein they rather disgrace than adorn their persons, as
by their niceness in apparel, for which I say most nations do not
unjustly deride us, as also for that we do seem to imitate all nations
round about us, wherein we be like to the polypus or chameleon; and
thereunto bestow most cost upon our arses, and much more than upon all
the rest of our bodies, as women do likewise upon their heads and
shoulders. In women also, it is most to be lamented, that they do now
far exceed the lightness of our men (who nevertheless are transformed
from the cap even to the very shoe), and such staring attire as in
time past was supposed meet for none but light housewives only is now
become a habit for chaste and sober matrons. What should I say of
their doublets with pendant codpieces on the breast full of jags and
cuts, and sleeves of sundry colours? Their galligascons to bear out
their bums and make their attire to fit plum round (as they term it)
about them. Their fardingals, and diversely coloured nether stocks of
silk, jerdsey, and such like, whereby their bodies are rather deformed
than commended? I have met with some of these trulls in London so
disguised that it hath passed my skill to discern whether they were
men or women.

      [1] (COS.)

        "I am an English man and naked I stand here,
        Musying in my mynde what rayment I shall were;
        For now I will were thys, and now I will were that;
        Now I will were I cannot tell what.
        All new fashyons be plesaunt in me;
        I wyl haue them, whether I thryve or thee."

      From Andrew Boorde's _Introduction_ (1541), and _Dyetary_ (1542),
      edited by F.J.F. for Early English Text Society, 1870, p. 116. (A
      most quaint and interesting volume, though I say so.)--Furnivall.

Thus it is now come to pass, that women are become men, and men
transformed into monsters; and those good gifts which Almighty God
hath given unto us to relieve our necessities withal (as a nation
turning altogether the grace of God into wantonness, for

  "Luxuriant animi rebus plerunque fecundis,")

not otherwise bestowed than in all excess, as if we wist not
otherwise how to consume and waste them. I pray God that in this
behalf our sin be not like unto that of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose
errors were pride, excess of diet, and abuse of God's benefits
abundantly bestowed upon them, beside want of charity towards the
poor, and certain other points which the prophet shutteth up in
silence. Certes the commonwealth cannot be said to nourish where
these abuses reign, but is rather oppressed by unreasonable exactions
made upon rich farmers, and of poor tenants, wherewith to maintain
the same. Neither was it ever merrier with England than when an
Englishman was known abroad by his own cloth, and contented himself
at home with his fine carsey hosen, and a mean slop; his coat, gown,
and cloak of brown, blue, or puke, with some pretty furniture of
velvet or fur, and a doublet of sad tawny, or black velvet, or other
comely silk, without such cuts and garish colours as are worn in
these days, and never brought in but by the consent of the French,
who think themselves the gayest men when they have most diversities
of jags and change of colours about them. Certes of all estates our
merchants do least alter their attire, and therefore are most to be
commended; for albeit that which they wear be very fine and costly,
yet in form and colour it representeth a great piece of the ancient
gravity appertaining to citizens and burgesses, albeit the younger
sort of their wives, both in attire and costly housekeeping, cannot
tell when and how to make an end, as being women indeed in whom all
kind of curiosity is to be found and seen, and in far greater measure
than in women of higher calling. I might here name a sort of hues
devised for the nonce, wherewith to please fantastical heads, as
goose-turd green, peas-porridge tawny, popingay blue, lusty gallant,
the devil-in-the-head (I should say the hedge), and such like; but I
pass them over, thinking it sufficient to have said thus much of
apparel generally, when nothing can particularly be spoken of any
constancy thereof.



[1577, Book II., Chapter 10; 1587, Book II., Chapter 12.]

The greatest part of our building in the cities and good towns of
England consisteth only of timber, for as yet few of the houses of
the communalty (except here and there in the West-country towns) are
made of stone, although they may (in my opinion) in divers other
places be builded so good cheap of the one as of the other. In old
time the houses of the Britons were slightly set up with a few posts
and many raddles, with stable and all offices under one roof, the
like whereof almost is to be seen in the fenny countries and northern
parts unto this day, where for lack of wood they are enforced to
continue this ancient manner of building. It is not in vain,
therefore, in speaking of building, to make a distinction between the
plain and woody soils; for as in these, our houses are commonly
strong and well-timbered (so that in many places there are not above
four, six, or nine inches between stud and stud), so in the open
champaign countries they are forced, for want of stuff, to use no
studs at all, but only frankposts, raisins, beams, prickposts,
groundsels, summers (or dormants), transoms, and such principals,
with here and there a girding, whereunto they fasten their splints or
raddles, and then cast it all over with thick clay to keep out the
wind, which otherwise would annoy them. Certes this rude kind of
building made the Spaniards in Queen Mary's days to wonder, but
chiefly when they saw what large diet was used in many of these so
homely cottages; insomuch that one of no small reputation amongst
them said after this manner--"These English (quoth he) have their
houses made of sticks and dirt, but they fare commonly so well as the
king." Whereby it appeareth that he liked better of our good fare in
such coarse cabins than of their own thin diet in their prince-like
habitations and palaces. In like sort as every country house is thus
apparelled on the outside, so is it inwardly divided into sundry
rooms above and beneath; and, where plenty of wood is, they cover
them with tiles, otherwise with straw, sedge, or reed, except some
quarry of slate be near hand, from whence they have for their money
much as may suffice them. The clay wherewith our houses are
impannelled is either white, red, or blue; and of these the first
doth participate very much of the nature of our chalk; the second is
called loam; but the third eftsoons changeth colour as soon as it is
wrought, notwithstanding that it looks blue when it is thrown out of
the pit. Of chalk also we have our excellent asbestos or white lime,
made in most places, wherewith being quenched, we strike over our
clay works and stone walls, in cities, good towns, rich farmers' and
gentlemen's houses: otherwise, instead of chalk (where it wanteth,
for it is so scant that in some places it is sold by the pound), they
are compelled to burn a certain kind of red stone, as in Wales, and
elsewhere other stones and shells of oysters and like fish found upon
the sea coast, which, being converted into lime, doth naturally (as
the other) abhor and eschew water, whereby it is dissolved, and
nevertheless desire oil, wherewith it is easily mixed, as I have seen
by experience. Within their doors also, such as are of ability do oft
make their floors and parget of fine alabaster burned, which they
call plaster of Paris, whereof in some places we have great plenty,
and that very profitable against the rage of fire. In plastering
likewise of our fairest houses over our heads, we use to lay first a
line or two of white mortar, tempered with hair, upon laths, which
are nailed one by another (or sometimes upon reed of wickers more
dangerous for fire, and make fast here and there saplaths for falling
down), and finally cover all with the aforesaid plaster, which,
beside the delectable whiteness of the stuff itself, is laid on so
even and smoothly as nothing in my judgment can be done with more
exactness. The walls of our houses on the inner sides in like sort be
either hanged with tapestry, arras work, or painted cloths, wherein
either divers histories, or herbs, beasts, knots, and such like are
stained, or else they are ceiled with oak of our own, or wainscot
brought hither out of the east countries, whereby the rooms are not a
little commended, made warm, and much more close than otherwise they
would be. As for stoves, we have not hitherto used them greatly, yet
do they now begin to be made in divers houses of the gentry and
wealthy citizens, who build them not to work and feed in, as in
Germany and elsewhere, but now and then to sweat in, as occasion and
need shall require it.

This also hath been common in England, contrary to the customs of all
other nations, and yet to be seen (for example, in most streets of
London), that many of our greatest houses have outwardly been very
simple and plain to sight, which inwardly have been able to receive a
duke with his whole train, and lodge them at their ease. Hereby,
moreover, it is come to pass that the fronts of our streets have not
been so uniform and orderly builded as those of foreign cities, where
(to say truth) the outer side of their mansions and dwellings have
oft more cost bestowed upon them than all the rest of the house,
which are often very simple and uneasy within, as experience doth
confirm. Of old time, our country houses, instead of glass, did use
much lattice, and that made either of wicker or fine rifts of oak in
checkerwise. I read also that some of the better sort, in and before
the times of the Saxons (who notwithstanding used some glass also
since the time of Benedict Biscop, the monk that brought the feat of
glazing first into this land), did make panels of horn instead of
glass, and fix them in wooden calmes. But as horn in windows is now
quite laid down in every place, so our lattices are also grown into
less use, because glass is come to be so plentiful, and within a very
little so good cheap, if not better than the other. I find obscure
mention of the specular stone also to have been found and applied to
this use in England, but in such doubtful sort as I dare not affirm
it for certain. Nevertheless certain it is that antiquity used it
before glass was known, under the name of _selenites_. And how glass
was first found I care not greatly to remember, even at this present,
although it be directly beside my purposed matter. In Syria Phenices,
which bordereth upon Jewry, and near to the foot of Mount Carmel,
there is a moor or marsh whereout riseth a brook called sometime
Belus, and falleth into the sea near to Ptolemais. This river was
fondly ascribed unto Baal, and also honoured under that name by the
infidels long time before there was any king in Israel. It came to
pass also, as a certain merchant sailed that way, loaden with nitrum,
the passengers went to land for to repose themselves, and to take in
some store of fresh water into their vessel. Being also on the shore,
they kindled a fire and made provision for their dinner, but (because
they wanted trevets or stones whereon to set their kettles on) ran by
chance into the ship, and brought great pieces of nitrum with them,
which served their turn for that present. To be short, the said
substance being hot, and beginning to melt, it mixed by chance with
the gravel that lay under it, and so brought forth that shining
substance which now is called glass, and about the time of Semiramis.
When the company saw this, they made no small accompt of their
success, and forthwith began to practise the like in other mixtures,
whereby great variety of the said stuff did also ensue. Certes for
the time this history may well be true, for I read of glass in Job;
but, for the rest, I refer me to the common opinion conceived by
writers. Now, to turn again to our windows. Heretofore also the
houses of our princes and noblemen were often glazed with beryl (an
example whereof is yet to be seen in Sudeley Castle) and in divers
other places with fine crystal, but this especially in the time of
the Romans, whereof also some fragments have been taken up in old
ruins. But now these are not in use, so that only the clearest glass
is most esteemed: for we have divers sorts, some brought out of
Burgundy, some out of Normandy, much out of Flanders, beside that
which is made in England, which would be so good as the best if we
were diligent and careful to bestow more cost upon it, and yet as it
is each one that may will have it for his building. Moreover the
mansion houses of our country towns and villages (which in champaign
ground stand altogether by streets, and joining one to another, but
in woodland soils dispersed here and there, each one upon the several
grounds of their owners) are builded in such sort generally as that
they have neither dairy, stable, nor brew-house annexed unto them
under the same roof (as in many places beyond the sea and some of the
north parts of our country), but all separate from the first, and one
of them from another. And yet, for all this, they are not so far
distant in sunder but that the goodman lying in his bed may lightly
hear what is done in each of them with ease, and call quickly unto
his many if any danger should attack him.

The ancient manors and houses of our gentlemen are yet and for the
most part of strong timber, in framing whereof our carpenters have
been and are worthily preferred before those of like science among
all other nations. Howbeit such as be lately builded are commonly
either of brick or hard stone, or both, their rooms large and comely,
and houses of office further distant from their lodgings. Those of
the nobility are likewise wrought with brick and hard stone, as
provision may best be made, but so magnificent and stately as the
basest house of a baron doth often match in our days with some
honours of a princes in old time. So that, if ever curious building
did flourish in England, it is in these our years wherein our workmen
excel and are in manner comparable in skill with old Vitruvius, Leo
Baptista, and Serlo. Nevertheless their estimation, more than their
greedy and servile covetousness, joined with a lingering humour,
causeth them often to be rejected, and strangers preferred to greater
bargains, who are more reasonable in their takings, and less wasters
of time by a great deal than our own.

The furniture of our houses also exceedeth, and is grown in manner
even to passing delicacy: and herein I do not speak of the nobility
and gentry only, but likewise of the lowest sort in most places of
our south country that have anything at all to take to. Certes in
noblemen's houses it is not rare to see abundance of arras, rich
hangings of tapestry, silver vessels, and so much other plate as may
furnish sundry cupboards to the sum oftentimes of a thousand or two
thousand pounds at the least, whereby the value of this and the rest
of their stuff doth grow to be almost inestimable. Likewise in the
houses of knights, gentlemen, merchantmen, and some other wealthy
citizens, it is not geson to behold generally their great provision
of tapestry, Turkey work, pewter, brass, fine linen, and thereto
costly cupboards of plate, worth five or six hundred or a thousand
pounds to be deemed by estimation. But, as herein all these sorts do
far exceed their elders and predecessors, and in neatness and
curiosity the merchant all other, so in times past the costly
furniture stayed there, whereas now it is descended yet lower even
unto the inferior artificers and many farmers, who, by virtue of
their old and not of their new leases, have, for the most part,
learned also to garnish their cupboards with plate, their joined beds
with tapestry and silk hangings, and their tables with carpets and
fine napery, whereby the wealth of our country (God be praised
therefore, and give us grace to employ it well) doth infinitely
appear. Neither do I speak this in reproach of any man, God is my
judge, but to shew that I do rejoice rather to see how God hath
blessed us with his good gifts; and whilst, I behold how (in a time
wherein all things are grown to most excessive prices, and what
commodity so ever is to be had is daily plucked from the communalty
by such as look into every trade) we do yet find the means to obtain
and achieve such furniture as heretofore hath been unpossible.

There are old men yet dwelling in the village where I remain which
have noted three things to be marvellously altered in England within
their sound remembrance, and other three things too too much

One is the multitude of chimneys lately erected, whereas in their
young days there were not above two or three, if so many, in most
uplandish towns of the realm (the religious houses and manor places
of their lords always excepted, and peradventure some great
personages), but each one made his fire against a reredos in the
hall, where he dined and dressed his meat.

The second is the great (although not general) amendment of lodging;
for, said they, our fathers, yea and we ourselves also, have lain
full oft upon straw pallets, on rough mats covered only with a sheet,
under coverlets made of dagswain or hopharlots (I use their own
terms), and a good round log under their heads instead of a bolster
or pillow. If it were so that our fathers--or the good man of the
house had within seven years after his marriage purchased a mattress
or flock bed, and thereto a stack of chaff to rest his head upon, he
thought himself to be as well lodged as the lord of the town, that
peradventure lay seldom in a bed of down or whole feathers, so well
were they content, and with such base kind of furniture: which also
is not very much amended as yet in some parts of Bedfordshire, and
elsewhere, further off from our southern parts. Pillows (said they)
were thought meet only for women in childbed. As for servants, if
they had any sheet above them, it was well, for seldom had they any
under their bodies to keep them from the pricking straws that ran oft
through the canvas of the pallet and rased their hardened hides.

The third thing they tell of is the exchange of vessel, as of treen
platters into pewter, and wooden spoons into silver or tin. For so
common were all sorts of treen stuff in old time that a man should
hardly find four pieces of pewter (of which one was peradventure a
salt) in a good farmer's house, and yet for all this frugality (if it
may so be justly called) they were scarce able to live and pay their
rents at their days without selling of a cow, or a horse or more,[1]
although they paid but four pounds at the uttermost by the year. Such
also was their poverty that, if some one odd farmer or husbandman had
been at the ale-house, a thing greatly used in those days, amongst six
or seven of his neighbours, and there in a bravery, to shew what store
he had, did cast down his purse, and therein a noble or six shillings
in silver, unto them (for few such men then cared for gold, because it
was not so ready payment, and they were oft enforced to give a penny
for the exchange of an angel), it was very likely that all the rest
could not lay down so much against it; whereas in my time, although
peradventure four pounds of old rent be improved to forty, fifty, or a
hundred pounds, yet will the farmer, as another palm of date tree,
think his gains very small toward the end of his term if he have not
six or seven years' rent lying by him, therewith to purchase a new
lease, beside a fair garnish of pewter oft his cupboard, with so much
more in odd vessel going about the house, three or four feather beds,
so many coverlids and carpets of tapestry, a silver salt, a bowl for
wine (if not a whole neast), and a dozen of spoons to furnish up the
suit. This also he takes to be his own clear, for what stock of money
soever he gathereth and layeth up in all his years it is often seen
that the landlord will take such order with him for the same when he
reneweth his lease, which is commonly eight or six years before the
old be expired (sith it is now grown almost to a custom that if he
come not to his lord so long before another shall step in for a
reversion, and so defeat him outright), that it shall never trouble
him more than the hair of his beard when the barber hath washed and
shaved it from his chin.

      [1] This was in the time of general idleness.--H.

And as they commend these, so (beside the decay of housekeeping
whereby the poor have been relieved) they speak also of three things
that are grown to be very grevious unto them--to wit, the enhancing
of rents, lately mentioned; the daily oppression of copyholders,
whose lords seek to bring their poor tenants almost into plain
servitude and misery, daily devising new means, and seeking up all
the old, how to cut them shorter and shorter, doubling, trebling, and
now and then seven times increasing their fines, driving them also
for every trifle to lose and forfeit their tenures (by whom the
greatest part of the realm doth stand and is maintained), to the end
they may fleece them yet more, which is a lamentable hearing. The
third thing they talk of is usury, a trade brought in by the Jews,
now perfectly practised almost by every Christian, and so commonly
that he is accompted but for a fool that doth lend his money for
nothing. In time past it was _sors pro sorte_--that is, the principal
only for the principal; but now, beside that which is above the
principal properly called _Usura_, we challenge _Foenus_--that is,
commodity of soil and fruits of the earth, If not the ground itself.
In time past also one of the hundred was much; from thence it rose
unto two, called in Latin _Usura, Ex sextante_; three, to wit _Ex
quadrante_; then to four, to wit, _Ex triente_; then to five, which
is _Ex quincunce_; then to six, called _Ex semisse_, etc. As the
accompt of the _Assis_ ariseth, and coming at the last unto _Usura ex
asse_, it amounteth to twelve in the hundred, and therefore the
Latins call it _Centesima_, for that in the hundred month it doubleth
the principal; but more of this elsewhere. See Cicero against Verres,
Demosthenes against Aphobus, and Athenaeus, lib. 13, in fine; and,
when thou hast read them well, help I pray thee in lawful manner to
hang up such as take _Centum pro cento_, for they are no better
worthy as I do judge in conscience. Forget not also such landlords as
used to value their leases at a secret estimation given of the wealth
and credit of the taker, whereby they seem (as it were) to eat them
up, and deal with bondmen, so that if the lessee be thought to be
worth a hundred pounds he shall pay no less for his new term, or else
another to enter with hard and doubtful covenants. I am sorry to
report it, much more grieved to understand of the practice, but most
sorrowful of all to understand that men of great port and countenance
are so far from suffering their farmers to have any gain at all that
they themselves become graziers, butchers, tanners, sheepmasters,
woodmen, and _denique quid non_, thereby to enrich themselves, and
bring all the wealth of the country into their own hands, leaving the
communalty weak, or as an idol with broken or feeble arms, which may
in a time of peace have a plausible shew, but when necessity shall
enforce have a heavy and bitter sequel.



[1577, Book III., Chapter 5; 1587, Book II., Chapter 10.]

There is no commonwealth at this day in Europe wherein there is not
great store of poor people, and those necessarily to be relieved by
the wealthier sort, which otherwise would starve and come to utter
confusion. With us the poor is commonly divided into three sorts, so
that some are poor by impotence, as the fatherless child, the aged,
blind, and lame, and the diseased person that is judged to be
incurable; the second are poor by casualty, as the wounded soldier,
the decayed householder, and the sick person visited with grievous
and painful diseases; the third consisteth of thriftless poor, as the
rioter that hath consumed all, the vagabond that will abide nowhere,
but runneth up and down from place to place (as it were seeking work
and finding none), and finally the rogue and the strumpet, which are
not possible to be divided in sunder, but run to and fro over all the
realm, chiefly keeping the champaign soils in summer to avoid the
scorching heat, and the woodland grounds in winter to eschew the
blustering winds.

For the first two sorts (that is to say, the poor by impotence and
poor by casualty, which are the true poor indeed, and for whom the
Word doth bind us to make some daily provision), there is order taken
throughout every parish in the realm that weekly collection shall be
made for their help and sustentation--to the end they shall not
scatter abroad, and, by begging here and there, annoy both town and
country. Authority also is given unto the justices in every county
(and great penalties appointed for such as make default) to see that
the intent of the statute in this behalf be truly executed according
to the purpose and meaning of the same, so that these two sorts are
sufficiently provided for; and such as can live within the limits of
their allowance (as each one will do that is godly and well disposed)
may well forbear to roam and range about. But if they refuse to be
supported by this benefit of the law, and will rather endeavour by
going to and fro to maintain their idle trades, then are they adjudged
to be parcel of the third sort, and so, instead of courteous
refreshing at home, are often corrected with sharp execution and whip
of justice abroad. Many there are which, notwithstanding the rigour of
the laws provided in that behalf, yield rather with this liberty (as
they call it) to be daily under the fear and terror of the whip than,
by abiding where they were born or bred, to be provided for by the
devotion of the parishes. I found not long since a note of these
latter sort, the effect whereof ensueth. Idle beggars are such either
through other men's occasion or through their own default--by other
men's occasion (as one way for example) when some covetous man (such,
I mean, as have the cast or right vein daily to make beggars enough
whereby to pester the land, espying a further commodity in their
commons, holds, and tenures) doth find such means as thereby to wipe
many out of their occupyings and turn the same unto his private
gains.[1] Hereupon it followeth that, although the wise and
better-minded do either forsake the realm for altogether, and seek to
live in other countries, as France, Germany, Barbary, India, Muscovia,
and very Calcutta, complaining of no room to be left for them at home,
do so behave themselves that they are worthily to be accounted among
the second sort, yet the greater part, commonly having nothing to stay
upon, are wilful, and thereupon do either prove idle beggars or else
continue stark thieves till the gallows do eat them up, which is a
lamentable case. Certes in some men's judgment these things are but
trifles, and not worthy the regarding. Some also do grudge at the
great increase of people in these days, thinking a necessary brood of
cattle far better than a superfluous augmentation of mankind. But I
can liken such men best of all unto the pope and the devil, who
practise the hindrance of the furniture of the number of the elect to
their uttermost, to the end the authority of the one upon the earth,
the deferring of the locking up of the other in everlasting chains,
and the great gains of the first, may continue and endure the longer.
But if it should come to pass that any foreign invasion should be
made--which the Lord God forbid for his mercies' sake!--then should
these men find that a wall of men is far better than stacks of corn
and bags of money, and complain of the want when it is too late to
seek remedy. The like occasion caused the Romans to devise their law
_Agraria_: but the rich, not liking of it, and the covetous, utterly
condemning it as rigorous and unprofitable, never ceased to practise
disturbance till it was quite abolished. But to proceed with my

      [1] At whose hands shall the blood of these men be required?--H.

Such as are idle beggars through their own default are of two sorts,
and continue their estates either by casual or mere voluntary means:
those that are such by casual means are in the beginning justly to be
referred either to the first or second sort of poor aforementioned,
but, degenerating into the thriftless sort, they do what they can to
continue their misery, and, with such impediments as they have, to
stray and wander about, as creatures abhorring all labour and every
honest exercise. Certes I call these casual means, not in the respect
of the original of all poverty, but of the continuance of the same,
from whence they will not be delivered, such is their own ungracious
lewdness and froward disposition. The voluntary means proceed from
outward causes, as by making of corrosives, and applying the same to
the more fleshy parts of their bodies, and also laying of ratsbane,
spearwort, crowfoot, and such like unto their whole members, thereby
to raise pitiful and odious sores, and move the hearts of the
goers-by such places where they lie, to yearn at their misery, and
thereupon bestow large alms upon them. How artificially they beg,
what forcible speech, and how they select and choose out words of
vehemence, whereby they do in manner conjure or adjure the goer-by to
pity their cases, I pass over to remember, as judging the name of God
and Christ to be more conversant in the mouths of none and yet the
presence of the Heavenly Majesty further off from no men than from
this ungracious company. Which maketh me to think that punishment is
far meeter for them than liberality or alms, and sith Christ willeth
us chiefly to have a regard to Himself and his poor members.

Unto this nest is another sort to be referred, more sturdy than the
rest, which, having sound and perfect limbs, do yet notwithstanding
sometime counterfeit the possession of all sorts of diseases. Divers
times in their apparel also they will be like serving men or
labourers: oftentimes they can play the mariners, and seek for ships
which they never lost. But in fine they are all thieves and
caterpillars in the commonwealth, and by the Word of God not
permitted to eat, sith they do but lick the sweat from the true
labourers' brows, and bereave the godly poor of that which is due
unto them, to maintain their excess, consuming the charity of
well-disposed people bestowed upon them, after a most wicked and
detestable manner.

It is not yet full threescore years since this trade began: but how
it hath prospered since that time it is easy to judge, for they are
now supposed, of one sex and another, to amount unto above 10,000
persons, as I have heard reported. Moreover, in counterfeiting the
Egyptian rogues, they have devised a language among themselves, which
they name "Canting," but others, "pedler's French," a speech compact
thirty years since, of English and a great number of odd words of
their own devising, without all order or reason, and yet such is it
as none but themselves are able to understand. The first deviser
thereof was hanged by the neck--a just reward, no doubt, for his
deserts, and a common end to all of that profession.

A gentleman also of late hath taken great pains to search out the
secret practices of this ungracious rabble. And among other things he
setteth down and describeth three and twenty sorts of them, whose
names it shall not be amiss to remember whereby each one may take
occasion to read and know as also by his industry what wicked people
they are, and what villainy remaineth in them.

_The several disorders and degrees amongst our idle vagabonds_.

 1. Rufflers.
 2. Uprightmen.
 3. Hookers or anglers.
 4. Rogues.
 5. Wild rogues.
 6. Priggers or pransers.
 7. Palliards.
 8. Fraters.
 9. Abrams.
10. Freshwater mariners or whipjacks.
11. Drummerers.
12. Drunken tinkers.
13. Swadders or pedlers.
14. Jarkemen or patricoes.

_Of the women kind_.

1. Demanders for glimmar or fire.
2. Bawdy-baskets.
3. Mortes.
4. Autem mortem.
5. Walking mortes.
6. Doxies.
7. Dells.
8. Kinching mortes.
9. Kinching cooes.

The punishment that is ordained for this kind of people is very sharp,
and yet it cannot restrain them from their gadding: wherefore the end
must needs be martial law,[2] to be exercised upon them, as upon
thieves, robbers, despisers of all laws, and enemies to the
commonwealth and welfare of the land. What notable robberies,
pilferies, murders, rapes, and stealings of young children, burning,
breaking, and disfiguring their limbs to make them pitiful in the
sight of the people, I need not to rehearse; but for their idle
rogueing about the country, the law ordaineth this manner of
correction. The rogue being apprehended, committed to prison, and
tried in the next assizes (whether they be of gaol delivery or
sessions of the peace), if he happen to be convicted for a vagabond,
either by inquest of office or the testimony of two honest and
credible witnesses upon their oaths, he is then immediately adjudged
to be grievously whipped and burned through the gristle of the right
ear with a hot iron of the compass of an inch about, as a
manifestation of his wicked life, and due punishment received for the
same. And this judgment is to be executed upon him except some honest
person worth five pounds in the queen's books in goods, or twenty
shillings in land, or some rich householder to be allowed by the
justices, will be bound in recognisance to retain him in his service
for one whole year. If he be taken the second time, and proved to have
forsaken his said service, he shall then be whipped again, bored
likewise through the other ear, and set to service: from whence if he
depart before a year be expired, and happen afterwards to be attached
again, he is condemned to suffer pains of death as a felon (except
before excepted) without benefit of clergy or sanctuary, as by the
statute doth appear. Among rogues and idle persons, finally, we find
to be comprised all proctors that go up and down with counterfeit
licences, cozeners, and such as gad about the country, using unlawful
games, practisers of physiogonomy and palmestry, tellers of fortunes,
fencers, players, minstrels, jugglers, pedlers, tinkers, pretended
scholars, shipmen, prisoners gathering for fees, and others so oft as
they be taken without sufficient licence. From among which company our
bearwards are not excepted, and just cause: for I have read that they
have, either voluntarily or for want of power to master their savage
beasts, been occasion of the death and devouration of many children in
sundry countries by which they have passed, whose parents never knew
what was become of them. And for that cause there is and have been
many sharp laws made for bearwards in Germany, whereof you may read in
other. But to our rogues. Each one also that harboureth or aideth them
with meat or money is taxed and compelled to fine with the queen's
majesty for every time that he doth succour them as it shall please
the justices of peace to assign, so that the taxation exceed not
twenty, as I have been informed. And thus much of the poor and such
provision as is appointed for them within the realm of England.

      [2] Law of the Marshal.--Furnivall.



[1577, Book I., Chapter 13; 1587, Book I., Chapter 18.]

The air (for the most part) throughout the island is such as by
reason in manner of continual clouds is reputed to be gross, and
nothing so pleasant as that of the main. Howbeit, as they which
affirm these things have only respect to the impediment or hindrance
of the sunbeams by the interposition of the clouds and of ingrossed
air, so experience teacheth us that it is no less pure, wholesome,
and commodious than is that of other countries, and (as Caesar
himself hereto addeth) much more temperate in summer than that of the
Gauls, from whom he adventured hither. Neither is there any thing
found in the air of our region that is not usually seen amongst other
nations lying beyond the seas. Wherefore we must needs confess that
the situation of our island (for benefit of the heavens) is nothing
inferior to that of any country of the main, wheresoever it lie under
the open firmament. And this Plutarch knew full well, who affirmeth a
part of the Elysian Fields to be found in Britain, and the isles that
are situated about it in the ocean.

The soil of Britain is such as by the testimonies and reports both of
the old and new writers, and experience also of such as now inhabit
the same, is very fruitful, and such indeed as bringeth forth many
commodities, whereof other countries have need, and yet itself (if
fond niceness were abolished) needless of those that are daily
brought from other places. Nevertheless it is more inclined to
feeding and grazing than profitable for tillage and bearing of corn,
by reason whereof the country is wonderfully replenished with neat
and all kind of cattle; and such store is there also of the same in
every place that the fourth part of the land is scarcely manured for
the provision and maintenance of grain. Certes this fruitfulness was
not unknown unto the Britons long before Caesar's time, which was the
cause wherefore our predecessors living in those days in manner
neglected tillage and lived by feeding and grazing only. The graziers
themselves also then dwelled in movable villages by companies, whose
custom was to divide the ground amongst them, and each one not to
depart from the place where his lot lay (a thing much like the Irish
Criacht) till, by eating up of the country about him, he was enforced
to remove further and seek for better pasture. And this was the
British custom, as I learn, at first. It hath been commonly reported
that the ground of Wales is neither so fruitful as that of England,
neither the soil of Scotland so bountiful as that of Wales, which is
true for corn and for the most part; otherwise there is so good
ground in some parts of Wales as is in England, albeit the best of
Scotland be scarcely comparable to the mean of either of both.
Howbeit, as the bounty of the Scotch doth fail in some respect, so
doth it surmount in other, God and nature having not appointed all
countries to yield forth like commodities.

But where our ground is not so good as we would wish, we have--if
need be--sufficient help to cherish our ground withal, and to make it
more fruitful. For, beside the compest that is carried out of the
husbandmen's yards, ditches, ponds, dung-houses, or cities and great
towns, we have with us a kind of white marl which is of so great
force that if it be cast over a piece of land but once in threescore
years it shall not need of any further compesting. Hereof also doth
Pliny speak (lib. 17, cap. 6, 7, 8), where he affirmeth that our marl
endureth upon the earth by the space of fourscore years: insomuch
that it is laid upon the same but once in a man's life, whereby the
owner shall not need to travel twice in procuring to commend and
better his soil. He calleth it _marga_, and, making divers kinds
thereof, he finally commendeth ours, and that of France, above all
other, which lieth sometime a hundred foot deep, and far better than
the scattering of chalk upon the same, as the Hedui and Pictones did
in his time, or as some of our days also do practise: albeit divers
do like better to cast on lime, but it will not so long endure, as I
have heard reported.

There are also in this island great plenty of fresh rivers and
streams, as you have heard already, and these thoroughly fraught with
all kinds of delicate fish accustomed to be found in rivers. The
whole isle likewise is very full of hills, of which some (though not
very many) are of exceeding height, and divers extending themselves
very far from the beginning; as we may see by Shooter's Hill, which,
rising east of London and not far from the Thames, runneth along the
south side of the island westward until it come to Cornwall. Like
unto these also are the Crowdon Hills, which, though under divers
names (as also the other from the Peak), do run into the borders of
Scotland. What should I speak of the Cheviot Hills, which reach
twenty miles in length? of the Black Mountains in Wales, which go
from ([1]) to ([1]) miles at the least in length? of the Clee Hills
in Shropshire, which come within four miles of Ludlow, and are
divided from some part of Worcester by the Leme? of the Crames in
Scotland, and of our Chiltern, which are eighteen miles at the least
from one end of them, which reach from Henley in Oxfordshire to
Dunstable in Bedfordshire, and are very well replenished with wood
and corn, notwithstanding that the most part yield a sweet short
grass, profitable for sheep? Wherein albeit they of Scotland do
somewhat come behind us, yet their outward defect is inwardly
recompensed, not only with plenty of quarries (and those of sundry
kinds of marble, hard stone, and fine alabaster), but also rich mines
of metal, as shall be shewed hereafter.

      [1] Here lacks.--H.

In this island the winds are commonly more strong and fierce than in
any other places of the main (which Cardane also espied): and that is
often seen upon the naked hills not guarded with trees to bear and
keep it off. That grievous inconvenience also enforceth our nobility,
gentry, and communality to build their houses in the valleys, leaving
the high grounds unto their corn and cattle, lest the cold and stormy
blasts of winter should breed them greater annoyance; whereas in other
regions each one desireth to set his house aloft on the hill, not only
to be seen afar off, and cast forth his beams of stately and curious
workmanship into every quarter of the country, but also (in hot
habitations) for coldness sake of the air, sith the heat is never so
vehement on the hill-top as in the valley, because the reverberation
of the sun's beams either reacheth not so far as the highest, or else
becometh not so strong as when it is reflected upon the lower soil.

But to leave our buildings unto the purposed place (which
notwithstanding have very much increased, I mean for curiosity and
cost, in England, Wales, and Scotland, within these few years) and to
return to the soil again. Certainly it is even now in these our days
grown to be much more fruitful than it hath been in times past. The
cause is for that our countrymen are grown to be more painful,
skilful, and careful through recompense of gain, than heretofore they
have been: insomuch that my _synchroni_ or time fellows can reap at
this present great commodity in a little room; whereas of late years
a great compass hath yielded but small profit, and this only through
the idle and negligent occupation of such as daily manured and had
the same in occupying. I might set down examples of these things out
of all the parts of this island--that is to say, many of England,
more out of Scotland, but most of all out of Wales; in which two last
rehearsed, very other little food and livelihood was wont to be
looked for (beside flesh) more than the soil of itself and the cow
gave, the people in the meantime living idly, dissolutely, and by
picking and stealing one from another. All which vices are now (for
the most part) relinquished, so that each nation manureth her own
with triple commodity to that it was before time.

The pasture of this island is according to the nature and bounty of
the soil, whereby in most places it is plentiful, very fine, batable,
and such as either fatteth our cattle with speed or yieldeth great
abundance of milk and cream whereof the yellowest butter and finest
cheese are made. But where the blue clay aboundeth (which hardly
drinketh up the winter's water in long season) there the grass is
speary, rough, and very apt for bushes: by which occasion it becometh
nothing so profitable unto the owner as the other. The best pasture
ground of all England is in Wales, and of all the pasture in Wales
that of Cardigan is the chief. I speak of the same which is to be
found in the mountains there, where the hundredth part of the grass
growing is not eaten, but suffered to rot on the ground, whereby the
soil becometh matted and divers bogs and quickmoors made withal in
long continuance: because all the cattle in the country are not able
to eat it down. If it be accounted good soil on which a man may lay a
wand over night and on the morrow find it hidden and overgrown with
grass, it is not hard to find plenty thereof in many places of this
land. Nevertheless such is the fruitfulness of the aforesaid county
that it far surmounteth this proportion, whereby it may be compared
for batableness with Italy, which in my time is called the paradise
of the world, although by reason of the wickedness of such as dwell
therein it may be called the sink and drain of hell; so that whereas
they were wont to say of us that our land is good but our people
evil, they did but only speak it; whereas we know by experience that
the soil of Italy is a noble soil, but the dwellers therein far off
any virtue or goodness.

Our meadows are either bottoms (whereof we have great store, and
those very large, because our soil is hilly) or else such as we call
land meads, and borrowed from the best and fattest pasturages. The
first of them are yearly and often overflown by the rising of such
streams as pass through the same, or violent falls of land-waters,
that descend from the hills about them. The other are seldom or never
overflown, and that is the cause wherefore their grass is shorter
than that of the bottoms, and yet is it far more fine, wholesome, and
batable, sith the hay of our low meadows is not only full of sandy
cinder, which breedeth sundry diseases in our cattle, but also more
rowty, foggy, and full of flags, and therefore not so profitable for
store and forrage as the higher meads be. The difference furthermore
in their commodities is great; for, whereas in our land meadows we
have not often above one good load of hay, or peradventure a little
more in an acre of ground (I use the word _carrucata_, or _carruca_,
which is a wain load, and, as I remember, used by Pliny, lib. 33,
cap. 2), in low meadows we have sometimes three, but commonly two or
upwards, as experience hath oft confirmed.

Of such as are twice mowed I speak not, sith their later math is not
so wholesome for cattle as the first; although in the mouth more
pleasant for the time: for thereby they become oftentimes to be
rotten, or to increase so fast in blood, that the garget and other
diseases do consume many of them before the owners can seek out any
remedy, by phlebotomy or otherwise. Some superstitious fools suppose
that they which die of the garget are ridden with the nightmare, and
therefore they hang up stones which naturally have holes in them, and
must be found unlooked for; as if such a stone were an apt cockshot
for the devil to run through and solace himself withal, while the
cattle go scot-free and are not molested by him! But if I should set
down but half the toys that superstition hath brought into our
husbandmen's heads in this and other behalf, it would ask a greater
volume than is convenient for such a purpose, wherefore it shall
suffice to have said thus much of these things.

The yield of our corn-ground is also much after this rate following.
Throughout the land (if you please to make an estimate thereof by the
acre) in mean and indifferent years, wherein each acre of rye or
wheat, well tilled and dressed, will yield commonly sixteen or twenty
bushels, an acre of barley six-and-thirty bushels, of oats and such
like four or five quarters, which proportion is notwithstanding oft
abated toward the north, as it is oftentimes surmounted in the south.
Of mixed corn, as peas and beans, sown together, tares and oats
(which they call bulmong), rye and wheat (named miscelin), here is no
place to speak, yet their yield is nevertheless much after this
proportion, as I have often marked. And yet is not this our great
foison comparable to that of hotter countries of the main. But, of
all that I ever read, the increase which Eldred Danus writeth of in
his _De imperie Judaeorum in Aethiopia_ surmounteth, where he saith
that in the field near to the Sabbatike river, called in old time
Gosan, the ground is so fertile that every grain of barley growing
doth yield an hundred kernels at the least unto the owner.

Of late years also we have found and taken up a great trade in
planting of hops, whereof our moory hitherto and unprofitable grounds
do yield such plenty and increase that there are few farmers or
occupiers in the country which have not gardens and hops growing of
their own, and those far better than do come from Flanders unto us.
Certes the corruptions used by the Flemings, and forgery daily
practised in this kind of ware, gave us occasion to plant them here
at home; so that now we may spare and send many over unto them. And
this I know by experience, that some one man by conversion of his
moory grounds into hopyards, whereof before he had no commodity, doth
raise yearly by so little as twelve acres in compass two hundred
marks--all charges borne towards the maintenance of his family. Which
industry God continue! though some secret friends of Flemings let not
to exclaim against this commodity, as a spoil of wood, by reason of
the poles, which nevertheless after three years do also come to the
fire, and spare their other fuel.

The cattle which we breed are commonly such as for greatness of bone,
sweetness of flesh, and other benefits to be reaped by the same, give
place unto none other; as may appear first by our oxen, whose
largeness, height, weight, tallow, hides, and horns are such as none
of any other nation do commonly or may easily exceed them. Our sheep
likewise, for good taste of flesh, quantity of limbs, fineness of
fleece, caused by their hardness of pasturage and abundance of
increase (for in many places they bring forth two or three at an
caning), give no place unto any, more than do our goats, who in like
sort do follow the same order, and our deer come not behind. As for
our conies, I have seen them so fat in some soils, especially about
Meall and Disnege, that the grease of one being weighed hath peised
very near six or seven ounces. All which benefits we first refer to
the grace and goodness of God, and next of all unto the bounty of our
soil, which he hath endued with so notable and commodious

But, as I mean to intreat of these things more largely hereafter, so
will I touch in this place one benefit which our nation wanteth, and
that is wine, the fault whereof is not in our soil, but the
negligence of our countrymen (especially of the south parts), who do
not inure the same to this commodity, and which by reason of long
discontinuance is now become inapt to bear any grapes almost for
pleasure and shadow, much less then the plain fields or several
vineyards for advantage and commodity. Yet of late time some have
essayed to deal for wine (as to your lordship also is right well
known). But sith that liquor, when it cometh to the drinking, hath
been found more hard than that which is brought from beyond the sea,
and the cost of planting and keeping thereof so chargeable that they
may buy it far better cheap from other countries, they have given
over their enterprises without any consideration that, as in all
other things, so neither the ground itself in the beginning, nor
success of their travel, can answer their expectation at the first,
until such time as the soil be brought as it were into acquaintance
with this commodity, and that provision may be made for the more
easiness of charge to be employed upon the same.

If it be true that where wine doth last and endure well there it will
grow no worse, I muse not a little wherefore the planting of vines
should be neglected in England. That this liquor might have grown in
this island heretofore, first the charter that Probus the Emperor
gave equally to us, the Gauls, and Spaniards, is one sufficient
testimony. And that it did grow here (beside the testimony of Beda,
lib. 1., cap. 1) the old notes of tithes for wine that yet remain in
the accounts of some parsons and vicars in Kent, elsewhere, besides
the records of sundry suits, commenced in divers ecclesiastical
courts, both in Kent, Surrey, etc., also the enclosed parcels almost
in every abbey yet called the vineyards, may be a notable witness, as
also the plot which we now call East Smithfield in London, given by
Canutus, sometime king of this land, with other soil thereabout, unto
certain of his knights, with the liberty of a Guild which thereof was
called Knighton Guild. The truth is (saith John Stow, our countryman
and diligent traveller in the old estate of this my native city) that
it is now named Portsoken Ward, and given in time past to the
religious house within Aldgate. Howbeit first Otwell, the archovel,
Otto, and finally Geffrey Earl of Essex, constables of the of London,
withheld that portion from the said house until the reign of King
Stephen, and thereof made a vineyard to their great commodity and
lucre. The Isle of Ely also was in the first times of the Normans
called Le Ile des Vignes. And good record appeareth that the bishop
there had yearly three or four tun at the least given him _nomine
decimæ_, beside whatsoever over-sum of the liquor did accrue to him
by leases and other excheats whereof also I have seen mention.
Wherefore our soil is not to be blamed, as though our nights were so
exceeding short that in August and September the moon, which is lady
of moisture and chief ripener of this liquor, cannot in any wise
shine long enough upon the same: a very mere toy and fable, right
worthy to be suppressed, because experience convinceth the upholders
thereof even in the Rhenish wines.

The time hath been also that woad, wherewith our countrymen dyed
their faces (as Cæsar saith), that they might seem terrible to their
enemies in the field (and also women and their daughters-in-law did
stain their bodies and go naked, in that pickle, to the sacrifices of
their gods, coveting to resemble therein the Ethiopians, as Pliny
saith, [lib. 22, cap. 1]), and also madder have been (next unto our
tin and wools) the chief commodities and merchandise of this realm, I
find also that rape oil hath been made within this land. But now our
soil either will not, or at the leastwise may not, bear either woad
or madder. I say not that the ground is not able so to do, but that
we are negligent, afraid of the pilling of our grounds, and careless
of our own profits, as men rather willing to buy the same of others
than take any pain to plant them here at home. The like I may say of
flax, which by law ought to be sown in every country town in England,
more or less; but I see no success of that good and wholesome law;
sith it is rather contemptuously rejected than otherwise dutifully
kept in any place in England.

Some say that our great number of laws do breed a general negligence
and contempt of all good order, because we have so many that no
subject can live without the transgression of some of them, and that
the often alteration of our ordinances doth much harm in this
respect, which (after Aristotle) doth seem to carry some reason
withal, for (as Cornelius Gallus hath)--

  _"Eventus varios res nova semper habet."_[1]

      [1] "An innovation, has always mixed effects."

But very many let not to affirm that the greedy corruption of the
promoters on the one side, facility in dispensing with good laws and
first breach of the same in the lawmakers and superiors and private
respects of their establishment on the other, are the greatest causes
why the inferiors regard no good order, being always so ready to
offend without any faculty one way as they are otherwise to presume
upon the examples of their betters when any hold is to be taken. But
as in these things I have no skill, so I wish that fewer licences for
the private commodity but of a few were granted (not that thereby I
deny the maintenance of the prerogative royal, but rather would with
all my heart that it might be yet more honourably increased), and
that every one which by fee'd friendship (or otherwise) doth attempt
to procure ought from the prince that may profit but few and prove
hurtful to many might be at open assizes and sessions denounced enemy
to his country and commonwealth of the land.

Glass also hath been made here in great plenty before, and in the
time of the Romans; and the said stuff also, beside fine scissors,
shears, collars of gold and silver for women's necks, cruises and
cups of amber, were a parcel of the tribute which Augustus in his
days laid upon this island. In like sort he charged the Britons with
certain implements and vessels of ivory (as Strabo saith); whereby it
appeareth that in old time our countrymen were far more industrious
and painful in the use and application of the benefits of their
country than either after the coming of the Saxons or Normans, in
which they gave themselves more to idleness and following of the

If it were requisite that I should speak of the sundry kinds of mould,
as the cledgy, or clay, whereof are divers sorts (red, blue, black,
and white), also the red or white sandy, the loamy, roselly, gravelly,
chalky, or black, I could say that there are so many divers veins in
Britain as elsewhere in any quarter of like quantity in the world.
Howbeit this I must need confess, that the sand and clay do bear great
sway: but clay most of all, as hath been and yet is always seen and
felt through plenty and dearth of corn. For if this latter (I mean the
clay) do yield her full increase (which it doth commonly in dry years
for wheat), then is there general plenty: whereas if it fail, then
have we scarcity, according to the old rude verse set down of England,
but to be understood of the whole island, as experience doth confirm--

  "_When the sand doth serve the clay,
  Then may we sing well-away;
  But when the clay doth serve the sand,
  Then is it merry with England_."

I might here intreat of the famous valleys in England, of which one
is called the Vale of White Horse, another of Evesham (commonly taken
for the granary of Worcestershire), the third of Aylesbury, that
goeth by Thame, the roots of Chiltern Hills, to Dunstable, Newport
Pagnel, Stony Stratford, Buckingham, Birstane Park, etc. Likewise of
the fourth, of Whitehart or Blackmoor in Dorsetshire. The fifth, of
Ringdale or Renidale, corruptly called Kingtaile, that lieth (as mine
author saith) upon the edge of Essex and Cambridgeshire, and also the
Marshwood Vale: but, forsomuch as I know not well their several
limits, I give over to go any further in their description. In like
sort it should not be amiss to speak of our fens, although our
country be not so full of this kind of soil as the parts beyond the
seas (to wit, Narbonne, etc.), and thereto of other pleasant bottoms,
the which are not only endued with excellent rivers and great store
of corn and fine fodder for neat and horses in time of the year
(whereby they are exceeding beneficial unto their owners), but also
of no small compass and quantity in ground. For some of our fens are
well known to be either of ten, twelve, sixteen, twenty, or thirty
miles in length, that of the Girwies yet passing all the rest, which
is full sixty (as I have often read). Wherein also Ely, the famous
isle, standeth, which is seven miles every way, and whereunto there
is no access but by three causies, whose inhabitants in like sort by
an old privilege may take wood, sedge turf, etc., to burn, likewise
hay for their cattle and thatch for their houses of custom, and each
occupier in his appointed quantity throughout the isle; albeit that
covetousness hath now begun somewhat to abridge this large
benevolence and commodity, as well in the said isle as most other
places of this land.

Finally, I might discourse in like order of the large commons, laid
out heretofore by the lords of the soil for the benefit of such poor
as inhabit within the compass of their manors. But, as the true
intent of the givers is now in most places defrauded, insomuch that
not the poor tenants inhabitating upon the same, but their landlords,
have all the commodity and gain. Wherefore I mean not at this present
to deal withal, but reserve the same wholly unto the due place,
whilst I go forward with the rest, setting down nevertheless by the
way a general commendation of the whole island, which I find in an
ancient monument, much unto this effect--

  "Illa quidem longè celebris splendore, beata,
  Glebis, lacte, favis, supereminet insula cunctis,
  Quas regit ille Deus, spumanti cujus ab oro
  Proffuit oceanus," etc.

And a little after--

  "Testis Lundoniurntibus, Wintonia Baccho,
  Herefordia grege, Worcestria frugeredundans,
  Batha lacu, Salabyra feris, Cantuarin pisce,
  Eboraca sylvis, Excestria clara metallis,
  Norwicum Dacis hybernis, Cestria Gallis,
  Cicestrum Norwagenis, Dunelmia præpinguia,
  Testis Lincolnia gens infinita decore,
  Testis Ell formosa situ, Doncastria visu," etc.



[1577, Book III., Chapters 16 and 18; 1587, Book III., Chapters
10 and 11.]

With how great benefits this island of ours hath been endued from the
beginning I hope there is no godly man but will readily confess, and
yield unto the Lord God his due honour for the same. For we are
blessed every way, and there is no temporal commodity necessary to be
had or craved by any nation at God's hand that he hath not in most
abundant manner bestowed upon us Englishmen, if we could see to use
it, and be thankful for the same. But alas! (as said in the chapter
precedent) we love to enrich them that care not for us, but for our
great commodities: and one trifling toy not worth the carriage,
coming (as the proverb saith) in three ships from beyond the sea, is
more worth with us than a right good jewel easy to be had at home.
They have also the cast to teach us to neglect our own things; for,
if they see that we begin to make any account of our commodities (if
it be so that they have also the like in their own countries) they
will suddenly abase the same to so low a price that our gain not
being worthy our travel, and the same commodity with less cost ready
to be had at home from other countries (though but for a while), it
causeth us to give over our endeavours and as it were by-and-by to
forget the matter whereabout we went before, to obtain them at their
hands. And this is the only cause wherefore our commodities are oft
so little esteemed of. Some of them can say, without any teacher,
that they will buy the case of a fox of an Englishman for a groat,
and make him afterwards give twelve pence for the tail. Would to God
we might once wax wiser, and each one endeavour that the commonwealth
of England may nourish again in her old rate, and that our
commodities may be fully wrought at home (as cloth if you will for an
example) and not carried out to be shorn and dressed abroad, while
our clothworkers here do starve and beg their bread, and for lack of
daily practice utterly neglect to be skilful in this science! But to
my purpose.

We have in England great plenty of quicksilver, antimony, sulphur,
black lead, and orpiment red and yellow. We have also the finest alum
(wherein the diligence of one of the greatest favourers of the
commonwealth of England of a subject[1] hath been of late egregriously
abused, and even almost with barbarous incivility) and of no less
force against fire, if it were used in our parietings, than that of
Lipari, which only was in use sometime amongst the Asians and Romans
and whereof Sylla had such trial that when he meant to have burned a
tower of wood erected by Archelaus, the lieutenant of Mithridates, he
could by no means set it on fire in a long time, because it was washed
over with alum, as were also the gates of the temple of Jerusalem with
like effect, and perceived when Titus commanded fire to be put unto
the same. Besides this, we have also the natural cinnabarum or
vermillion, the sulphurous glebe called bitumen in old time, for
mortar, and yet burned in lamps where oil is scant and geson; the
chrysocolla, copperas, and mineral stone, whereof petriolum is made,
and that which is most strange, the mineral pearl, which as they are
for greatness and colour most excellent of all other, so are they
digged out of the main land and in sundry places far distant from the
shore. Certes the western part of the land hath in times past greatly
abounded with these and many other rare and excellent commodities, but
now they are washed away by the violence of the sea, which hath
devoured the greatest part of Cornwall and Devonshire on either side;
and it doth appear yet by good record that, whereas now there is a
great distance between the Scilly Isles and the point of the Land's
End, there was of late years to speak of scarcely a brook or drain of
one fathom water between them, if so much, as by those evidences
appeareth, and are yet to be seen in the hands of the lord and chief
owner of those isles. But to proceed.

      [1] The Lord Mountjoy.--H.

Of coal-mines we have such plenty in the north and western parts of
our island as may suffice for all the realm of England; and so must
they do hereafter indeed, if wood be not better cherished than it is
at this present. And so say the truth, notwithstanding that very many
of them are carried into other countries of the main, yet their
greatest trade beginneth now to grow from the forge into the kitchen
and hall, as may appear already in most cities and towns that lie
about the coast, where they have but little other fuel except it be
turf and hassock. I marvel not a little that there is no trade of
these into Sussex and Southamptonshire, for want thereof the smiths
do work their iron with charcoal. I think that far carriage be the
only cause, which is but a slender excuse to enforce us to carry them
into the main from hence.

Besides our coal-mines, we have pits in like sort of white plaster,
and of fat and white and other coloured marble, wherewith in many
places the inhabitors do compest their soil, and which doth benefit
their land in ample manner for many years to come. We have saltpetre
for our ordinance and salt soda for our glass, and thereto in one
place a kind of earth (in Southery; as I ween, hard by Codington, and
sometime in the tenure of one Croxton of London) which is so fine to
make moulds for goldsmiths and casters of metal, that a load of it
was worth five shillings thirty years ago; none such again they say
in England. But whether there be or not, let us not be unthankful to
God, for these and other his benefits bestowed upon us, whereby he
sheweth himself a loving and merciful father unto us, which
contrariwise return unto him in lieu of humility and obedience
nothing but wickedness, avarice, mere contempt of his will, pride,
excess, atheism, and no less than Jewish ingratitude.[2]

      [2] Here ends the chapter entitled "Minerals," and the one
      on "Metals" begins.--W.

All metals receive their beginning of quicksilver and sulphur, which
are as mother and father to them. And such is the purpose of nature in
their generations that she tendeth always to the procreation of gold;
nevertheless she seldom reacheth unto that her end, because of the
unequal mixture and proportion of these two in the substance
engendered, whereby impediment and corruption is induced, which as it
is more or less doth shew itself in the metal that is produced....

And albeit that we have no such abundance of these (as some other
countries do yield), yet have my rich countrymen store enough of both
in their purses, where in time past they were wont to have least,
because the garnishing of our churches, tabernacles, images, shrines,
and apparel of the priests consumed the greatest part, as experience
hath confirmed.

Of late my countrymen have found out I wot not what voyage into the
West Indies, from whence they have brought some gold, whereby our
country is enriched; but of all that ever adventured into those
parts, none have sped better than Sir Francis Drake, whose success
(1582) hath far passed even his own expectation. One John Frobisher
in like manner, attempting to seek out a shorter cut by the northerly
regions into the peaceable sea and kingdom of Cathay, happened (1577)
upon certain islands by the way, wherein great plenty of much gold
appeared, and so much that some letted not to give out for certainty
that Solomon had his gold from thence, wherewith he builded the
temple. This golden shew made him so desirous also of like success
that he left off his former voyage and returned home to bring news of
such things as he had seen. But, when after another voyage it was
found to be but dross, he gave over both the enterprises, and now
keepeth home without any desire at all to seek into far countries. In
truth, such was the plenty of ore there seen and to be had that, if
it had holden perfect, might have furnished all the world with
abundance of that metal; the journey also was short and performed in
four or five months, which was a notable encouragement. But to

Tin and lead, metals which Strabo noteth in his time to be carried
unto Marsilis from hence, as Diodorus also confirmeth, are very
plentiful with us, the one in Cornwall, Devonshire, and elsewhere in
the north, the other in Derbyshire, Weredale, and sundry places of
this island; whereby my countrymen do reap no small commodity, but
especially our pewterers, who in times past employed the use of
pewter only upon dishes, pots, and a few other trifles for service
here at home, whereas now they are grown unto such exquisite cunning
that they can in manner imitate by infusion any form or fashion of
cup, dish, salt bowl, or goblet, which is made by goldsmiths' craft,
though they be never so curious, exquisite, and artificially forged.
Such furniture of household of this metal as we commonly call by the
name of _vessel_ is sold usually by the garnish, which doth contain
twelve platters, twelve dishes, twelve saucers, and those are either
of silver fashion or else with broad or narrow brims, and bought by
the pound, which is now valued at six or seven pence, or peradventure
at eight pence. Of porringers, pots, and other like, I speak not,
albeit that in the making of all these things there is such exquisite
diligence used, I mean for the mixture of the metal and true making
of this commodity (by reason of sharp laws provided in that behalf),
as the like is not to be found in any other trade. I have been also
informed that it consisteth of a composition which hath thirty pounds
of kettle brass to a thousand pounds of tin, whereunto they add three
or four pounds of tin-glass; but as too much of this doth make the
stuff brickle, so the more the brass be, the better is the pewter,
and more profitable unto him that doth buy and purchase the same. But
to proceed.

In some places beyond the sea a garnish of good flat English pewter
of an ordinary making (I say flat, because dishes and platters in my
time begin to be made deep like basins, and are indeed more
convenient both for sauce, broth, and keeping the meat warm) is
esteemed almost so precious as the like number of vessels that are
made of fine silver, and in manner no less desired amongst the great
estates, whose workmen are nothing so skilful in that trade as ours,
neither their metal so good, nor plenty so great, as we have here in
England. The Romans made excellent looking-glasses of our English
tin, howbeit our workmen were not then so exquisite in that feat as
the Brundusians, wherefore the wrought metal was carried over unto
them by way of merchandise, and very highly were those glasses
esteemed of till silver came generally in place, which in the end
brought the tin into such contempt that in manner every dishwasher
refused to look in other than silver glasses for the attiring of her
head. Howbeit the making of silver glasses had been in use before
Britain was known unto the Romans, for I read that one Praxiteles
devised them in the young time of Pompey, which was before the coming
of Caesar into this island.

There were mines of lead sometimes also in Wales, which endured so
long till the people had consumed all their wood by melting of the
same (as they did also at Comeriswith, six miles from Stradfleur),
and I suppose that in Pliny's time the abundance of lead (whereof he
speaketh) was to be found in those parts, in the seventeenth of his
thirty-fourth book; also he affirmeth that it lay in the very sward
of the earth, and daily gotten in such plenty that the Romans made a
restraint of the carriage thereof to Rome, limiting how much should
yearly be wrought and transported over the sea.[3]

      [3] Here follow two stories about crows and miners.--W.

Iron is found in many places, as in Sussex, Kent, Weredale, Mendip,
Walshall, as also in Shropshire, but chiefly in the woods betwixt
Belvos and Willock (or Wicberry) near Manchester, and elsewhere in
Wales. Of which mines divers do bring forth so fine and good stuff as
any that cometh from beyond the sea, beside the infinite gains to the
owners, if we would so accept it, or bestow a little more cost in the
refining of it. It is also of such toughness, that it yieldeth to the
making of claricord wire in some places of the realm. Nevertheless, it
was better cheap with us when strangers only brought it hither; for it
is our quality when we get any commodity to use it with extremity
towards our own nation, after we have once found the means to shut out
foreigners from the bringing in of the like. It breedeth in like
manner great expense and waste of wood, as doth the making of our pots
and table vessels of glass, wherein is much loss, sith it is so
quickly broken; and yet (as I think) easy to be made tougher, if our
alchemists could once find the true birth or production of the red
man, whose mixture would induce a metallic toughness unto it, whereby
it should abide the hammer.

Copper is lately not found, but rather restored again to light. For I
have read of copper to have been heretofore gotten in our island;
howbeit as strangers have most commonly the governance of our mines,
so they hitherto make small gains of this in hand in the north parts;
for (as I am informed) the profit doth very hardly countervail the
charges, whereat wise men do not a little marvel, considering the
abundance which that mine doth seem to offer, and, as it were, at
hand. Leland, our countryman, noteth sundry great likelihoods of
natural copper mines to be eastwards, as between Dudman and Trewardth,
in the sea cliffs, beside other places, whereof divers are noted here
and there in sundry places of this book already, and therefore it
shall be but in vain to repeat them here again. As for that which is
gotten out of the marchasite, I speak not of it, sith it is not
incident to my purpose. In Dorsetshire also a copper mine lately found
is brought to good perfection.

As for our steel, it is not so good for edge-tools as that of Cologne,
and yet the one is often sold for the other, and like talc used in
both, that is to say, thirty gads to the sheaf, and twelve sheaves to
the burden.

Our alchemy is artificial, and thereof our spoons and some salts are
commonly made and preferred before our pewter with some,[4] albeit in
truth it be much subject to corruption, putrefaction, more heavy and
foul to handle than our pewter; yet some ignorant persons affirm it to
be a metal more natural, and the very same which Encelius calleth
_plumbum cincreum_, the Germans _wisemute, mithan_, and _counterfeie_,
adding that where it groweth silver cannot be far off. Nevertheless it
is known to be a mixture of brass, lead, and tin (of which this latter
occupieth the one-half), but after another proportion than is used in
pewter. But alas, I am persuaded that neither the old Arabians nor new
alchemists of our time did ever hear of it, albeit that the name
thereof do seem to come out of their forge. For the common sort indeed
do call it alchemy, an unwholesome metal (God wot) and worthy to be
banished and driven out of the land. And thus I conclude with this
discourse, as having no more to say of the metals of my country,
except I should talk of brass, bell metal, and such as are brought
over for merchandise from other countries; and yet I cannot but say
that there is some brass found also in England, but so small is the
quantity that it is not greatly to be esteemed or accounted for.

      [4] Some tell me that it is a mixture of brass, lead, and



[1577, Book III., Chapter 8; 1587, Book III., Chapter 1.]

There is no kind of tame cattle usually to be seen in these parts of
the world whereof we have not some, and that great store, in England,
as horses, oxen, sheep, goats, swine, and far surmounting the like in
other countries, as may be proved with ease. For where are oxen
commonly made more large of bone, horses more decent and pleasant in
pace, kine more commodious for the pail, sheep more profitable for
wool, swine more wholesome of flesh, and goats more gainful to their
keepers than here with us in England? But, to speak of them
peculiarly, I suppose that our kine are so abundant in yield of milk,
whereof we make our butter and cheese, as the like any where else, and
so apt for the plough in divers places as either our horses or oxen.
And, albeit they now and then twin, yet herein they seem to come short
of that commodity which is looked for in other countries, to wit, in
that they bring forth most commonly but one calf at once. The gains
also gotten by a cow (all charges borne) hath been valued at twenty
shillings yearly; but now, as land is enhanced, this proportion of
gain is much abated, and likely to decay more and more, if ground
arise to be yet dearer--which God forbid, if it be His will and
pleasure. I heard of late of a cow in Warwickshire, belonging to
Thomas Breuer of Studley, which in six years had sixteen calves, that
is four at once in three calvings and twice twins, which unto many may
seem a thing incredible. In like manner our oxen are such as the like
are not to be found in any country of Europe, both for greatness of
body and sweetness of flesh or else would not the Roman writers have
preferred them before those of Liguria. In most places our graziers
are now grown to be so cunning that if they do but see an ox or
bullock, and come to the feeling of him, they will give a guess at his
weight, and how many score or stone of flesh and tallow he beareth,
how the butcher may live by the sale, and what he may have for the
skin and tallow, which is a point of skill not commonly practised
heretofore. Some such graziers also are reported to ride with velvet
coats and chains of gold about them and in their absence their wives
will not let to supply those turns with no less skill than their
husbands: which is a hard work for the poor butcher, sith he through
this means can seldom be rich or wealthy by his trade. In like sort
the flesh of our oxen and kine is sold both by hand and by weight as
the buyer will; but in young ware rather by weight especially for the
steer and heifer, sith the finer beef is the lightest, whereas the
flesh of bulls and old kine, etc., is of sadder substance, and
therefore much heavier as it lieth in the scale. Their horns also are
known to be more fair and large in England than in any other places,
except those which are to be seen among the Paeones, which quality,
albeit that it be given to our breed generally by nature, yet it is
now and then helped also by art. For, when they be very young, many
graziers will oftentimes anoint their budding horns or tender tips
with honey, which mollifieth the natural hardness of that substance,
and thereby maketh them to grow unto a notable greatness. Certes it is
not strange in England to see oxen whose horns have the length of a
yard or three feet between the tips, and they themselves thereto so
tall as the height of a man of mean and indifferent stature is scarce
equal unto them. Nevertheless it is much to be lamented that our
general breed of cattle is not better looked unto; for the greatest
occupiers wean least store, because they can buy them (as they say)
far better cheap than to raise and bring them up. In my time a cow
hath risen from four nobles to four marks by this means, which
notwithstanding were no great price if they did yearly bring forth
more than one calf a piece, as I hear they do in other countries.

Our horses, moreover, are high, and, although not commonly of such
huge greatness as in other places of the main, yet, if you respect the
easiness of their pace, it is hard to say where their like are to be
had. Our land doth yield no asses, and therefore we want the
generation also of mules and somers, and therefore the most part of
our carriages is made by these, which, remaining stoned, are either
reserved for the cart or appointed to bear such burdens as are
convenient for them. Our cart or plough horses (for we use them
indifferently) are commonly so strong that five or six of them (at the
most) will draw three thousand weight of the greatest tale with ease
for a long journey, although it be not a load of common usage, which
consisteth only of two thousand, or fifty foot of timber, forty
bushels of white salt, or six-and-thirty of bay, of five quarters of
wheat, experience daily teacheth, and I have elsewhere remembered.
Such as are kept also for burden will carry four hundredweight
commonly without any hurt or hindrance. This furthermore is to be
noted, that our princes and the nobility have their carriage commonly
made by carts, whereby it cometh to pass that when the queen's majesty
doth remove from any one place to another, there are usually 400
carewares, which amount to the sum of 2400 horses, appointed out of
the countries adjoining, whereby her carriage is conveyed safely unto
the appointed place. Hereby also the ancient use of somers and sumpter
horses is in manner utterly relinquished, which causeth the trains of
our princes in their progresses to shew far less than those of the
kings of other nations.

Such as serve for the saddle are commonly gelded, and now grew to be
very dear among us, especially if they be well coloured, justly
limbed, and have thereto an easy ambling pace. For our countrymen,
seeking their ease in every corner where it is to be had, delight very
much in those qualities, but chiefly in their excellent paces, which,
besides that it is in manner peculiar unto horses of our soil, and not
hurtful to the rider or owner sitting on their backs, it is moreover
very pleasant and delectable in his ears, in that the noise of their
well-proportioned pace doth yield comfortable sound as he travelleth
by the way. Yet is there no greater deceit used anywhere than among
our horsekeepers, horsecoursers, and hostlers; for such is the subtle
knavery of a great sort of them (without exception of any of them be
it spoken which deal for private gain) that an honest-meaning man
shall have very good luck among them if he be not deceived by some
false trick or other.

There are certain notable markets wherein great plenty of horses and
colts is bought and sold, and whereunto such as have need resort
yearly to buy and make their necessary provision of them, as Ripon,
Newport Pond, Wolfpit, Harboro', and divers others. But, as most
drovers are very diligent to bring great store of these unto those
places, so many of them are too too lewd in abusing such as buy them.
For they have a custom, to make them look fair to the eye, when they
come within two days' journey of the market to drive them till they
sweat, and for the space of eight or twelve hours, which, being done,
they turn them all over the backs into some water, where they stand
for a season, and then go forward with them to the place appointed,
where they make sale of their infected ware, and such as by this means
do fall into many diseases and maladies. Of such outlandish horses as
are daily brought over unto us I speak not, as the jennet of Spain,
the courser of Naples, the hobby of Ireland, the Flemish roile and the
Scottish nag, because that further speech of them cometh not within
the compass of this treatise, and for whose breed and maintenance
(especially of the greatest sort) King Henry the Eighth erected a
noble studdery, and for a time had very good success with them, till
the officers, waxing weary, procured a mixed brood of bastard races,
whereby his good purpose came to little effect. Sir Nicholas Arnold of
late hath bred the best horses in England, and written of the manner
of their production: would to God his compass of ground were like to
that of Pella in Syria, wherein the king of that nation had usually a
studdery of 30,000 mares and 300 stallions, as Strabo doth remember,
lib. 16. But to leave this, let us see what may be said of sheep.

Our sheep are very excellent, sith for sweetness of flesh they pass
all other. And so much are our wools to be preferred before those of
Milesia and other places that if Jason had known the value of them
that are bred and to be had in Britain he would never have gone to
Colchis to look for any there. For, as Dionysius Alexandrinus saith in
his _De situ Orbis_, it may by spinning be made comparable to the
spider's web. What fools then are our countrymen, in that they seek to
bereave themselves of this commodity by practising daily how to
transfer the same to other nations, in carrying over their rams and
ewes to breed and increase among them! The first example hereof was
given under Edward the Fourth, who, not understanding the bottom of
the suit of sundry traítorous merchants that sought a present gain
with the perpetual hindrance of their country licensed them to carry
over certain numbers of them into Spain, who, having licence but for a
few, shipped very many: a thing practised in other commodities also,
whereby the prince and his land are not seldom times defrauded. But
such is our nature, and so blind are we indeed, that we see no
inconvenience before we feel it; and for a present gain we regard not
what damage may ensue to our posterity. Hereto some other man would
add also the desire that we have to benefit other countries and to
impeach our own. And it is, so sure as God liveth, that every trifle
which cometh from beyond the sea, though it be not worth threepence,
is more esteemed than a continual commodity at home with us, which far
exceedeth that value. In time past the use of this commodity
consisteth (for the most part) in cloth and woolsteds; but now, by
means of strangers succoured here from domestic persecution, the same
hath been employed unto sundry other uses, as mockados, bays,
vellures, grograines, etc., whereby the makers have reaped no small
commodity. It is furthermore to be noted, for the low countries of
Belgie know it, and daily experience (notwithstanding the sharpness of
our laws to the contrary) doth yet confirm it, that, although our rams
and wethers do go thither from us never so well headed according to
their kind, yet after they have remained there a while they cast there
their heads, and from thenceforth they remain polled without any horns
at all. Certes this kind of cattle is more cherished in England than
standeth well with the commodity of the commons or prosperity of
divers towns, whereof some are wholly converted to their feeding; yet
such a profitable sweetness is their fleece, such necessity in their
flesh, and so great a benefit in the manuring of barren soil with
their dung and piss, that their superfluous members are the better
born withal. And there is never a husbandman (for now I speak not of
our great sheepmasters, of whom some one man hath 20,000) but hath
more or less of this cattle feeding on his fallows and short grounds,
which yield the finer fleece.

Nevertheless the sheep of our country are often troubled with the rot
(as are our swine with the measles, though never so generally), and
many men are now and then great losers by the same; but, after the
calamity is over, if they can recover and keep their new stock sound
for seven years together, the former loss will easily be recompensed
with double commodity. Cardan writeth that our waters are hurtful to
our sheep; howbeit this is but his conjecture, for we know that our
sheep are infected by going to the water, and take the same as a sure
and certain token that a rot hath gotten hold of them, their livers
and lights being already distempered through excessive heat, which
enforceth them the rather to seek unto the water. Certes there is no
parcel of the main wherein a man shall generally find more fine and
wholesome water than in England; and therefore it is impossible that
our sheep should decay by tasting of the same. Wherefore the hindrance
by rot is rather to be ascribed to the unseasonableness and moisture
of the weather in summer, also their licking in of mildews, gossamire,
rowtie fogs, and rank grass, full of superfluous juice, but especially
(I say) to over moist weather, whereby the continual rain piercing
into their hollow fells soaketh forthwith into their flesh, which
bringeth them to their baines. Being also infected, their first shew
of sickness is their desire to drink, so that our waters are not unto
them _causa aegritudinis_, but _signum morbi_, whatsoever Cardan do
maintain to the contrary. There are (and peradventure no small babes)
which are grown to be such good husbands that they can make account of
every ten kine to be clearly worth twenty pounds in common and
indifferent years, if the milk of five sheep be daily added to the
same. But, as I wot not how true this surmise is, because it is no
part of my trade, so I am sure hereof that some housewives can and do
add daily a less portion of ewe's milk unto the cheese of so many
kine, whereby their cheese doth the longer abide moist and eateth more
brickle and mellow than otherwise it would.

Goats we have plenty, and of sundry colours, in the west parts of
England, especially in and towards Wales and amongst the rocky hills,
by whom the owners do reap so small advantage: some also are cherished
elsewhere in divers steeds, for the benefit of such as are diseased
with sundry maladies, unto whom (as I hear) their milk, cheese, and
bodies of their young kids are judged very profitable, and therefore
inquired for of many far and near. Certes I find among the writers
that the milk of a goat is next in estimation to that of the woman,
for that it helpeth the stomach, removeth oppilations and stoppings of
the liver, and looseth the belly. Some place also next unto it the
milk of the ewe, and thirdly that of the cow. But hereof I can shew no
reason; only this I know, that ewe's milk is fulsome, sweet, and such
in taste as (except such as are used unto it) no man will gladly yield
to live and feed withal.

As for swine, there is no place that hath greater store, nor more
wholesome in eating, than are these here in England, which
nevertheless do never any good till they come to the table. Of these
some we eat green for pork, and other dried up into bacon to have it
in more continuance. Lard we make some, though very little, because it
is chargeable: neither have we such use thereof as is to be seen in
France and other countries, sith we do either bake our meat with sweet
suet of beef or mutton and baste all our meat with sweet or salt
butter or suffer the fattest to baste itself by leisure. In champaign
countries they are kept by herds, and a hogherd appointed to attend
and wait upon them, who commonly gathereth them together by his noise
and cry, and leadeth them forth to feed abroad in the fields. In some
places also women do scour and wet their clothes with their dung, as
other do with hemlocks and nettles; but such is the savour of the
clothes touched withal that I cannot abide to wear them on my body,
more than such as are scoured with the refuse soap, than the which (in
mine opinion) there is none more unkindly savour.

Of our tame boars we make brawn, which is a kind of meat not usually
known to strangers (as I take it), otherwise would not the swart
Rutters and French cooks, at the loss of Calais (where they found
great store of this provision almost in every house), have attempted
with ridiculous success to roast, bake, broil, and fry the same for
their masters, till they were better informed. I have heard moreover
how a nobleman of England not long since did send over a hogshead of
brawn ready soused to a Catholic gentleman of France, who, supposing
it to be fish, reserved it till Lent, at which time he did eat thereof
with great frugality. Thereto he so well liked the provision itself
that he wrote over very earnestly, and with offer of great recompense,
for more of the same fish against the year ensuing; whereas if he had
known it to have been flesh he would not have touched it (I dare say)
for a thousand crowns without the pope's dispensation. A friend of
mine also dwelling some time in Spain, having certain Jews at his
table, did set brawn before them, whereof they did eat very earnestly,
supposing it to be a kind of fish not common in those parts; but when
the goodman of the house brought in the head in pastime among them, to
shew what they had eaten, they rose from the table, hied them home in
haste, each of them procuring himself to vomit, some by oil and some
by other means, till (as they supposed) they had cleansed their
stomachs of that prohibited food. With us it is accounted a great
piece of service at the table from November until February be ended,
but chiefly in the Christmas time. With the same also we begin our
dinners each day after other; and, because it is somewhat hard of
digestion, a draught of malvesey, bastard, or muscadel, is usually
drank after it, where either of them are conveniently to be had;
otherwise the meaner sort content themselves with their own drink,
which at that season is generally very strong, and stronger indeed
than it is all the year beside. It is made commonly of the fore part
of a tame boar, set up for the purpose by the space of a whole year or
two, especially in gentlemen's houses (for the husbandmen and farmers
never frank them for their own use above three or four months, or half
a year at the most), in which time he is dieted with oats and peason,
and lodged on the bare planks of an uneasy coat, till his fat be
hardened sufficiently for their purpose: afterward he is killed,
scalded, and cut out, and then of his former parts is our brawn made.
The rest is nothing so fat, and therefore it beareth the name of sowse
only, and is commonly reserved for the serving-man and hind, except it
please the owner to have any part thereof baked, which are then
handled of custom after this manner: the hinder parts being cut off,
they are first drawn with lard, and then sodden; being sodden, they
are soused in claret wine and vinegar a certain space, and afterward
baked in pasties, and eaten of many instead of the wild boar, and
truly it is very good meat: the pestles may be hanged up a while to
dry before they be drawn with lard, if you will, and thereby prove the
better. But hereof enough, and therefore to come again unto our brawn.
The neck pieces, being cut off round, are called collars of brawn, the
shoulders are named shilds, only the ribs retain the former
denomination, so that these aforesaid pieces deserve the name of
brawn: the bowels of the beast are commonly cast away because of their
rankness, and so were likewise his stones, till a foolish fantasy got
hold of late amongst some delicate dames, who have now found the means
to dress them also with great cost for a dainty dish, and bring them
to the board as a service among other of like sort, though not without
note of their desire to the provocation of fleshly lust which by this
their fond curiosity is not a little revealed. When the boar is thus
cut out each piece is wrapped up, either with bulrushes, ozier, peels,
tape inkle,[1] or such like, and then sodden in a lead or caldron
together, till they be so tender that a man may thrust a bruised rush
or straw clean through the fat: which being done, they take it up and
lay it abroad to cool. Afterward, putting it into close vessels, they
pour either good small ale or beer mingled with verjuice and salt
thereto till it be covered, and so let it lie (now and then altering
and changing the sousing drink lest it should wax sour) till occasion
serve to spend it out of the way. Some use to make brawn of great
barrow hogs, and seethe them, and souse the whole as they do that of
the boar; and in my judgment it is the better of both, and more easy
of digestion. But of brawn thus much, and so much may seem sufficient.

      [1] Tape.



[1577, Book III., Chapters 9 and 11; 1587, Book III., Chapters
2 and 5.]

Order requireth that I speak somewhat of the fowls also of England,
which I may easily divide into the wild and tame; but, alas! such is
my small skill in fowls that, to say the truth, I can neither recite
their numbers nor well distinguish one kind of them from another. Yet
this I have by general knowledge, that there is no nation under the
sun which hath already in the time of the year more plenty of wild
fowl than we, for so many kinds as our island doth bring forth, and
much more would have if those of the higher soil might be spared but
one year or two from the greedy engines of covetous fowlers which set
only for the pot and purse. Certes this enormity bred great troubles
in King John's days, insomuch that, going in progress about the tenth
of his reign, he found little or no game wherewith to solace himself
or exercise his falcons. Wherefore, being at Bristow in the Christmas
ensuing, he restrained all manner of hawking or taking of wild fowl
throughout England for a season, whereby the land within few years was
thoroughly replenished again. But what stand I upon this impertinent
discourse? Of such therefore as are bred in our land, we have the
crane, the bitter,[1] the wild and tame swan, the bustard, the heron,
curlew, snite, wildgoose, wind or doterell, brant, lark, plover (of
both sorts), lapwing, teal, widgeon, mallard, sheldrake, shoveller,
peewitt, seamew, barnacle, quail (who, only with man, are subject to
the falling sickness), the knot, the oliet or olive, the dunbird,
woodcock, partridge, and pheasant, besides divers others, whose names
to me are utterly unknown, and much more the taste of their flesh,
wherewith I was never acquainted. But as these serve not at all
seasons, so in their several turns there is no plenty of them wanting
whereby the tables of the nobility and gentry should seem at any time
furnished. But of all these the production of none is more marvellous,
in my mind, than that of the barnacle, whose place of generation we
have sought ofttimes as far as the Orchades, whereas peradventure we
might have found the same nearer home, and not only upon the coasts of
Ireland, but even in our own rivers. If I should say how either these
or some such other fowl not much unlike unto them have bred of late
times (for their place of generation is not perpetual, but as
opportunity serveth and the circumstances do minister occasion) in the
Thames mouth, I do not think that many will believe me; yet such a
thing hath there been seen where a kind of fowl had his beginning upon
a short tender shrub standing near unto the shore, from whence, when
their time came, they fell down, either into the salt water and lived,
or upon the dry land and perished, as Pena the French herbarian hath
also noted in the very end of his herbal. What I, for mine own part,
have seen here by experience, I have already so touched upon in the
chapter of islands, that it should be but time spent in vain to repeat
it here again. Look therefore in the description of Man (or Manaw) for
more of these barnacles, as also in the eleventh chapter of the
description of Scotland, and I do not doubt but you shall in some
respect be satisfied in the generation of these fowls. As for egrets,
pawpers, and such like, they are daily brought unto us from beyond the
sea, as if all the fowl of our country could not suffice to satisfy
our delicate appetites.

      [1] The proper English name of the bird which vulgar acceptance
      forces us to now call _bittern_.--W.

Our tame fowl are such (for the most part) as are common both to us
and to other countries, as cocks, hens, geese, ducks, peacocks of Ind,
pigeons, now a hurtful fowl by reason of their multitudes, and number
of houses daily erected for their increase (which the boors of the
country call in scorn almshouses, and dens of thieves, and such like),
whereof there is great plenty in every farmer's yard. They are kept
there also to be sold either for ready money in the open markets, or
else to be spent at home in good company amongst their neighbours
without reprehension or fines. Neither are we so miserable in England
(a thing only granted unto us by the especial grace of God and liberty
of our princes) as to dine or sup with a quarter of a hen, or to make
as great a repast with a cock's comb as they do in some other
countries; but, if occasion serve, the whole carcases of many capons,
hens, pigeons, and such like do oft go to wrack, beside beef, mutton,
veal, and lamb, all of which at every feast are taken for necessary
dishes amongst the communalty of England.

The gelding of cocks, whereby capons are made, Is an ancient practice
brought in old time by the Romans when they dwelt here in this land;
but the gelding of turkeys or Indian peacocks is a newer device, and
certainly not used amiss, sith the rankness of that bird is very much
abated thereby and the strong taste of the flesh is sundry wise
amended. If I should say that ganders grow also to be gelded, I
suppose that some will laugh me to scorn, neither have I tasted at any
time of such a fowl so served, yet have I heard it more than once to
be used in the country, where their geese are driven to the field like
herds of cattle by a gooseherd, a boy also no less to be marvelled at
than the other. For, as it is rare to hear of a gelded gander, so is
it strange to me to see or hear of geese to be led to the field like
sheep; yet so it is, and their gooseherd carrieth a rattle of paper or
parchment with him when he goeth about in the morning to gather his
goslings together, the noise whereof cometh no sooner to their ears
than they fall to gaggling, and hasten to go with him. If it happen
that the gates be not yet open, or that none of the house be stirring,
it is ridiculous to see how they will peep under the doors, and never
leave creaking and gaggling till they be let out unto him to overtake
their fellows. With us, where I dwell, they are not kept in this sort,
nor in many other places, neither are they kept so much for their
bodies as their feathers. Some hold furthermore an opinion that in
over rank soils their dung doth so qualify the batableness of the soil
that their cattle is thereby kept from the garget, and sundry other
diseases, although some of them come to their ends now and then by
licking up of their feathers. I might here make mention of other fowls
produced by the industry of man, as between the pheasant cock and
dunghill hen, or between the pheasant and the ringdove, the peacock
and the turkey hen, the partridge and the pigeon; but, sith I have no
more knowledge of these than what I have gotten by mine ear, I will
not meddle with them. Yet Cardan, speaking of the second sort, doth
affirm it to be a fowl of excellent beauty. I would likewise intreat
of other fowls which we repute unclean, as ravens, crows, pies,
choughs, rooks, kites, jays, ringtails, starlings, woodspikes,
woodnaws, etc.; but, sith they abound in all countries, though
peradventure most of all in England (by reason of our negligence), I
shall not need to spend any time in the rehearsal of them. Neither are
our crows and choughs cherished of purpose to catch up the worms that
breed in our soils (as Polydor supposeth), sith there are no uplandish
towns but have (or should have) nets of their own in store to catch
them withal. Sundry acts of Parliament are likewise made for their
utter destruction, as also the spoil of other ravenous fowls hurtful
to poultry, conies, lambs, and kids, whose valuation of reward to him
that killeth them is after the head: a device brought from the Goths,
who had the like ordinance for the destruction of their white crows,
and tale made by the beck, which killed both lambs and pigs. The like
order is taken with us for our vermin as with them also for the
rootage out of their wild beasts, saving that they spared their
greatest bears, especially the white, whose skins are by custom and
privilege reserved to cover those planchers whereupon their priests do
stand at mass, lest he should take some unkind cold in such a long
piece of work: and happy is the man that may provide them for him, for
he shall have pardon enough for that so religious an act, to last if he
will till doomsday do approach, and many thousands after. Nothing
therefore can be more unlikely to be true than that these noisome
creatures are nourished amongst us to devour our worms, which do not
abound much more in England than elsewhere in other countries of the
main. It may be that some look for a discourse also of our other fowls
in this place at my hand, as nightingales, thrushes, blackbirds,
mavises, ruddocks, redstarts or dunocks, larks, tivits, kingfishers,
buntings, turtles (white or grey), linnets, bullfinches, goldfinches,
washtails, cherrycrackers, yellowhammers, fieldfares, etc.; but I
should then spend more time upon them than is convenient. Neither will
I speak of our costly and curious aviaries daily made for the better
hearing of their melody, and observation of their natures; but I cease
also to go any further in these things, having (as I think) said
enough already of these that I have named.[2]...

      [2] Here ends the first chapter of "fowls," that which follows
      being restricted to "hawks and ravenous fowls."--W.

I cannot make as yet any just report how many sorts of hawks are bred
within this realm. Howbeit which of those that are usually had among
us are disclosed within this land, I think it more easy and less
difficult to set down. First of all, therefore, that we have the eagle
common experience doth evidently confirm, and divers of our rocks
whereon they breed, if speech did serve, could well declare the same.
But the most excellent eyrie of all is not much from Chester, at a
castle called Dinas Bren, sometime builded by Brennus, as our writers
do remember. Certes this castle is no great thing, but yet a pile
sometime very strong and inaccessible for enemies, though now all
ruinous as many others are. It standeth upon a hard rock, in the side
whereof an eagle breedeth every year. This also is notable in the
overthrow of her nest (a thing oft attempted), that he which goeth
thither must be sure of two large baskets, and so provide to be let
down thereto, that he may sit in the one and be covered with the
other: for otherwise the eagle would kill him and tear the flesh from
his bones with her sharp talons, though his apparel were never so
good. The common people call this fowl an erne; but, as I am ignorant
whether the word eagle and erne do shew any difference of sex, I mean
between the male and the female, so we have great store of them. And,
near to the places where they breed, the commons complain of great
harm to be done by them in their fields; for they are able to bear a
young lamb or kid unto their nests, therewith to feed their young and
come again for more. I was once of the opinion that there was a
diversity of kind between the eagle and the erne, till I perceived
that our nation used the word erne in most places for the eagle. We
have also the lanner and the lanneret, the tersel and the goshawk, the
musket and the sparhawk, the jack and the hobby, and finally some
(though very few) marleons. And these are all the hawks that I do hear
as yet to be bred within this island. Howbeit, as these are not
wanting with us, so are they not very plentiful: wherefore such as
delight in hawking do make their chief purveyance and provision for
the same out of Danske, Germany, and the eastern countries, from
whence we have them in great abundance and at excellent prices,
whereas at home and where they be bred they are sold for almost right
nought, and usually brought to the markets as chickens, pullets, and
pigeons are with us, and there bought up to be eaten (as we do the
aforesaid fowl) almost of every man. It is said that the sparhawk
pryeth not upon the fowl in the morning, that she taketh over even,
but as loath to have double benefit by one seelie fowl doth let it go
to make some shift for itself. But hereof as I stand in some doubt. So
this I find among the writers worthy the noting: that the sparhawk is
enemy to young children, as is also the ape, but of the peacock she is
marvellously afraid, and so appalled that all courage and stomach for
a time is taken from her upon the sight thereof. But to proceed with
the rest. Of other ravenous birds we have also very great plenty, as
the buzzard, the kite, the ringtail, dunkite, and such as often annoy
our country dames by spoiling of their young breeds of chickens,
ducks, and goslings, whereunto our very ravens and crows have learned
also the way: and so much are ravens given to this kind of spoil that
some idle and curious heads of set purpose have manned, reclaimed, and
used them instead of hawks, when other could not be had. Some do
imagine that the raven should be the vulture, and I was almost
persuaded in times past to believe the same; but, finding of late, a
description of the vulture, which better agreeth with the form of a
second kind of eagle, I freely surcease to be longer of that opinion:
for, as it hath, after a sort, the shape, colour, and quantity of an
eagle, so are the legs and feet more hairy and rough, their sides
under their wings better covered with thick down (wherewith also their
gorge or a part of their breast under their throats is armed, and not
with feathers) than are the like parts of the eagle, and unto which
portraiture there is no member of the raven (who is almost black of
colour) that can have any resemblance: we have none of them in England
to my knowledge; if we have, they go generally under the name of eagle
or erne. Neither have we the pygargus or grip, wherefore I have no
occasion to treat further. I have seen the carrion crows so cunning
also by their own industry of late that they have used to soar over
great rivers (as the Thames for example) and, suddenly coming down,
have caught a small fish in their feet and gone away withal without
wetting of their wings. And even at this present the aforesaid river
is not without some of them, a thing (in my opinion) not a little to
be wondered at. We have also osprays, which breed with us in parks and
woods, whereby the keepers of the same do reap in breeding time no
small commodity; for, so soon almost as the young are hatched, they
tie them to the butt ends or ground ends of sundry trees, where the
old ones, finding them, do never cease to bring fish unto them, which
the keepers take and eat from them, and commonly is such as is well
fed or not of the worst sort. It hath not been my hap hitherto to see
any of these fowl, and partly through mine own negligence; but I hear
that it hath one foot like a hawk, to catch hold withal, and another
resembling a goose, wherewith to swim; but, whether it be so or not
so, I refer the further search and trial thereof unto some other. This
nevertheless is certain, that both alive and dead, yea even her very
oil, is a deadly terror to such fish as come within the wind of it.
There is no cause whereof I should describe the cormorant amongst
hawks, of which some be black and many pied, chiefly about the Isle of
Ely, where they are taken for the night raven, except I should call
him a water hawk. But, sith such dealing is not convenient, let us now
see what may be said of our venomous worms, and how many kinds we have
of them within our realm and country.[3]

      [3] This on "venomous beasts" will be found included in the
      "savage beasts" of the following.



[1577, Book III., Chapters 7 and 12; 1587, Book III., Chapters
4 and 6.]

It is none of the least blessings wherewith God hath endued this
island that it is void of noisome beasts, as lions, bears, tigers,
pardes, wolves, and such like, by means whereof our countrymen may
travel in safety, and our herds and flocks remain for the most part
abroad in the field without any herdman or keeper.

This is chiefly spoken of the south and south-west parts of the
island. For, whereas we that dwell on this side of the Tweed may
safely boast of our security in this behalf, yet cannot the Scots do
the like in every point wherein their kingdom, sith they have grievous
wolves and cruel foxes, beside some others of like disposition
continually conversant among them, to the general hindrance of their
husbandmen, and no small damage unto the inhabitants of those
quarters. The happy and fortunate want of these beasts in England is
universally ascribed to the politic government of King Edgar.[1]...

      [1] Here follows an account of the extermination of wolves,
      and a reference to lions and wild bulls rampant in Scotland of

Of foxes we have some, but no great store, and also badgers in our
sandy and light grounds, where woods, furze, broom, and plenty of
shrubs are to shroud them in when they be from their burrows, and
thereunto warrens of conies at hand to feed upon at will. Otherwise in
clay, which we call the cledgy mould, we seldom hear of any, because
the moisture and the toughness of the soil is such as will not suffer
them to draw and make their burrows deep. Certes, if I may freely say
what I think, I suppose that these two kinds (I mean foxes and
badgers) are rather preserved by gentlemen to hunt and have pastime
withal at their own pleasures than otherwise suffered to live as not
able to be destroyed because of their great numbers. For such is the
scarcity of them here in England, in comparison of the plenty that is
to be seen in other countries, and so earnestly are the inhabitants
bent to root them out, that, except it had been to bear thus with the
recreations of their superiors in this behalf, it could not otherwise
have been chosen but that they should have been utterly destroyed by
many years agone.

I might here intreat largely of other vermin, as the polecat, the
miniver, the weasel, stote, fulmart, squirrel, fitchew, and such like,
which Cardan includeth under the word _Mustela_: also of the otter,
and likewise of the beaver, whose hinder feet and tail only are
supposed to be fish. Certes the tail of this beast is like unto a thin
whetstone, as the body unto a monstrous rat: as the beast also itself
is of such force in the teeth that it will gnaw a hole through a thick
plank, or shere through a double billet in a night; it loveth also the
stillest rivers, and it is given to them by nature to go by flocks
unto the woods at hand, where they gather sticks wherewith to build
their nests, wherein their bodies lie dry above the water, although
they so provide most commonly that their tails may hang within the
same. It is also reported that their said tails are a delicate dish,
and their stones of such medicinal force that (as Vertomannus saith)
four men smelling unto them each after other did bleed at the nose
through their attractive force, proceeding from a vehement savour
wherewith they are endued. There is greatest plenty of them in Persia,
chiefly about Balascham, from whence they and their dried cods are
brought into all quarters of the world, though not without some
forgery by such as provide them. And of all these here remembered, as
the first sorts are plentiful in every wood and hedgerow, so these
latter, especially the otter (for, to say the truth, we have not many
beavers, but only in the Teisie in Wales) is not wanting or to seek in
many, but most, streams and rivers of this isle; but it shall suffice
in this sort to have named them, as I do finally the martern, a beast
of the chase, although for number I worthily doubt whether that of our
beavers or marterns may be thought to be the less.

Other pernicious beasts we have not, except you repute the great
plenty of red and fallow deer whose colours are oft garled white and
black, all white or all black, and store of conies amongst the hurtful
sort. Which although that of themselves they are not offensive at all,
yet their great numbers are thought to be very prejudicial, and
therefore justly reproved of many, as are in like sort our huge flocks
of sheep, whereon the greatest part of our soil is employed almost in
every place, and yet our mutton, wool, and felles never the better
cheap. The young males which our fallow deer do bring forth are
commonly named according to their several ages: for the first year it
is a fawn, the second a pricket, the third a sorel, the fourth a
soare, the fifth a buck of the first head, not bearing the name of a
buck till he be five years old: and from henceforth his age is
commonly known by his head or horns. Howbeit this notice of his years
is not so certain but that the best woodman may now and then be
deceived in that account: for in some grounds a buck of the first head
will be as well headed as another in a high rowtie soil will be in the
fourth. It is also much to be marvelled at that, whereas they do
yearly mew and cast their horns, yet in fighting they never break off
where they do grife or mew. Furthermore, in examining the condition of
our red deer, I find that the young male is called in the first year a
calf, in the second a broket, the third a spay, the fourth a staggon
or stag, the fifth a great stag, the sixth a hart, and so forth unto
his death. And with him in degree of venerie are accounted the hare,
boar, and wolf. The fallow deer, as bucks and does, are nourished in
parks, and conies in warrens and burrows. As for hares, they run at
their own adventure, except some gentleman or other (for his pleasure)
do make an enclosure for them. Of these also the stag is accounted for
the most noble game, the fallow deer is the next, then the roe,
whereof we have indifferent store, and last of all the hare, not the
least in estimation, because the hunting of that seely beast is mother
to all the terms, blasts, and artificial devices that hunters do use.
All which (notwithstanding our custom) are pastimes more meet for
ladies and gentlewomen to exercise (whatsoever Franciscus Patritius
saith to the contrary in his _Institution of a Prince_) than for men
of courage to follow, whose hunting should practise their arms in
tasting of their manhood, and dealing with such beasts as eftsoons
will turn again and offer them the hardest, rather than their horses'
feet which many times may carry them with dishonour from the

      [2] Here follows a discourse on ancient boar hunting, exalting
      it above the degenerate sports of the day. This ends the
      chapter on "savage beasts."--W.

If I should go about to make any long discourse of venomous beasts or
worms bred in England, I should attempt more than occasion itself
would readily offer, sith we have very few worms, but no beasts at
all, that are thought by their natural qualities to be either venomous
or hurtful. First of all, therefore, we have the adder (in our old
Saxon tongue called an atter), which some men do not rashly take to be
the viper. Certes, if it be so, then is not the viper author of the
death of her[3] parents, as some histories affirm, and thereto
Encelius, a late writer, in his _De re Metallica_, lib. 3, cap. 38,
where he maketh mention of a she adder which he saw in Sala, whose
womb (as he saith) was eaten out after a like fashion, her young ones
lying by her in the sunshine, as if they had been earthworms.
Nevertheless, as he nameth them _viperas_, so he calleth the male
_echis_. and the female _echidna_, concluding in the end that _echis_
is the same serpent which his countrymen to this day call _ein atter_,
as I have also noted before out of a Saxon dictionary. For my part I
am persuaded that the slaughter of their parents is either not true at
all, or not always (although I doubt not but that nature hath right
well provided to inhibit their superfluous increase by some means or
other), and so much the rather am I led hereunto for that I gather by
Nicander that of all venomous worms the viper only bringeth out her
young alive, and therefore is called in Latin _vipera quasivivipara_,
but of her own death he doth not (to my remembrance) say anything. It
is testified also by other in other words, and to the like sense, that
"_Echis id est vipera sola ex serpentibus non ova sed animalia
parit_."[4] And it may well be, for I remember that I have read in
Philostratus, _De vita Appollonii_, how he saw a viper licking her
young. I did see an adder once myself that lay (as I thought) sleeping
on a molehill, out of whose mouth came eleven young adders of twelve
or thirteen inches in length apiece, which played to and fro in the
grass one with another, till some of them espied me. So soon therefore
as they saw my face they ran again into the mouth of their dam, whom I
killed, and then found each of them shrouded in a distinct cell or
pannicle in her belly, much like unto a soft white jelly, which maketh
me to be of the opinion that our adder is the viper indeed. The colour
of their skin is for the most part like rusty iron or iron grey, but
such as be very old resemble a ruddy blue; and as once in the year (to
wit, in April or about the beginning of May) they cast their old skins
(whereby as it is thought their age reneweth), so their stinging
bringeth death without present remedy be at hand, the wounded never
ceasing to swell, neither the venom to work till the skin of the one
break, and the other ascend upward to the heart, where it finisheth
the natural effect, except the juice of dragons (in Latin called
_dracunculus minor_) be speedily ministered and drunk in strong ale,
or else some other medicine taken of like force that may countervail
and overcome the venom of the same. The length of them is most
commonly two feet, and somewhat more, but seldom doth it extend into
two feet six inches, except it be in some rare and monstrous one,
whereas our snakes are much longer, and seen sometimes to surmount a
yard, or three feet, although their poison be nothing so grievous and
deadly as the others. Our adders lie in winter under stones, as
Aristotle also saith of the viper (lib. 8, cap. 15), and in holes of
the earth, rotten stubs of trees, and amongst the dead leaves; but in
the heat of the summer they come abroad, and lie either round in heaps
or at length upon some hillock, or elsewhere in the grass. They are
found only in our woodland countries and highest grounds, where
sometimes (though seldom) a speckled stone called _echites_, in Dutch
_ein atter stein_, is gotten out of their dried carcases, which divers
report to be good against their poison.[5] As for our snakes, which in
Latin are properly named _angues_, they commonly are seen in moors,
fens, loam, walls, and low bottoms.

      [3] Galenus, _De Theriaca ad Pisonem_; Pliny, lib. 10, cap.

      [4] "The adder or viper alone among serpents brings forth not
      eggs but living creatures."

      [5] Sallust, cap. 40, Pliny, lib. 37, cap. 2.--H.

As we have great store of toads where adders commonly are found, so do
frogs abound where snakes do keep their residence. We have also the
slow-worm, which is black and greyish of colour, and somewhat shorter
than an adder. I was at the killing once of one of them, and thereby
perceived that she was not so called of any want of nimble motion, but
rather of the contrary. Nevertheless we have a blind-worm, to be found
under logs, in woods and timber that hath lain long in a place, which
some also do call (and upon better ground) by the name of slow-worms,
and they are known easily by their more or less variety of striped
colours, drawn long-ways from their heads, their whole bodies little
exceeding a foot in length, and yet is their venom deadly. This also
is not to be omitted; and now and then in our fenny countries other
kinds of serpents are found of greater quantity than either our adder
or our snake, but, as these are not ordinary and oft to be seen, so I
mean not to intreat of them among our common annoyances. Neither have
we the scorpion, a plague of God sent not long since into Italy, and
whose poison (as Apollodorus saith) is white, neither the tarantula or
Neapolitan spider, whose poison bringeth death, except music be at
hand. Wherefore I suppose our country to be the more happy (I mean in
part) for that it is void of these two grievous annoyances wherewith
other nations are plagued.

We have also efts both of the land and water, and likewise the noisome
swifts, whereof to say any more it would be but loss of time, sith
they are all well known, and no region to my knowledge found to be
void of many of them. As for flies (sith it shall not be amiss a
little to touch them also), we have none that can do hurt or hindrance
naturally unto any: for whether they be cut-waisted or whole-bodied,
they are void of poison and all venomous inclination. The cut or girt
waisted (for so I English the word _insecta_) are the hornets, wasps,
bees, and such like, whereof we have great store, and of which an
opinion is conceived that the first do breed of the corruption of dead
horses, the second of pears and apples corrupted, and the last of kine
and oxen: which may be true, especially the first and latter in some
parts of the beast, and not their whole substances, as also in the
second, sith we have never wasps but when our fruit beginneth to wax
ripe. Indeed Virgil and others speak of a generation of bees by
killing or smothering a bruised bullock or calf and laying his bowels
or his flesh wrapped up in his hide in a close house for a certain
season; but how true it is, hitherto I have not tried. Yet sure I am
of this, that no one living creature corrupteth without the production
of another, as we may see by ourselves, whose flesh doth alter into
lice, and also in sheep for excessive numbers of flesh flies, if they
be suffered to lie unburied or uneaten by the dogs and swine, who
often and happily present such needless generations.

As concerning bees, I think it good to remember that, whereas some
ancient writers affirm it to be a commodity wanting in our island, it
is now found to be nothing so. In old times peradventure we had none
indeed; but in my days there is such plenty of them in manner
everywhere that in some uplandish towns there are one hundred or two
hundred hives of them, although the said hives are not so huge as
those of the east country, but far less, and not able to contain above
one bushel of corn or five pecks at the most. Pliny (a man that of set
purpose delighteth to write of wonders), speaking of honey, noteth
that in the north regions the hives in his time were of such quantity
that some one comb contained eight foot in length, and yet (as it
should seem) he speaketh not of the greatest. For in Podolia, which is
now subject to the King of Poland, their hives are so great, and combs
so abundant, that huge boars, overturning and falling into them, are
drowned in the honey before they can recover and find the means to
come out.

Our honey also is taken and reputed to be the best, because it is
harder, better wrought, and cleanlier vesselled up, than that which
cometh from beyond the sea, where they stamp and strain their combs,
bees, and young blowings altogether into the stuff, as I have been
informed. In use also of medicine our physicians and apothecaries
eschew the foreign, especially that of Spain and Pontus, by reason of
a venomous quality naturally planted in the same, as some write, and
choose the home-made: not only by reason of our soil (which hath no
less plenty of wild thyme growing therein than in Sicilia and about
Athens, and maketh the best stuff) as also for that it breedeth (being
gotten in harvest time) less choler, and which is oftentimes (as I
have seen by experience) so white as sugar, and corned as if it were
salt. Our hives are made commonly of rye straw and wattled about with
bramble quarters; but some make the same of wicker, and cast them over
with clay. We cherish none in trees, but set our hives somewhere on
the warmest side of the house, providing that they may stand dry and
without danger both of the mouse and the moth. This furthermore is to
be noted, that whereas in vessels of oil that which is nearest the top
is counted the finest and of wine that in the middest, so of honey the
best which is heaviest and moistest is always next the bottom, and
evermore casteth and driveth his dregs upward toward the very top,
contrary to the nature of other liquid substances, whose grounds and
leeze do generally settle downwards. And thus much as by the way of
our bees and English honey.

As for the whole-bodied, as the _cantharides_, and such venomous
creatures of the same kind, to be abundantly found in other countries,
we hear not of them: yet have we beetles, horseflies, turdbugs or dors
(called in Latin _scarabei_), the locust or the grasshopper (which to
me do seem to be one thing, as I will anon declare), and such like,
whereof let other intreat that make an exercise in catching of flies,
but a far greater sport in offering them to spiders, as did Domitian
sometime, and another prince yet living who delighted so much to see
the jolly combats betwixt a stout fly and an old spider that divers
men have had great rewards given them for their painful provision of
flies made only for this purpose. Some parasites also, in the time of
the aforesaid emperor (when they were disposed to laugh at his folly,
and yet would seem in appearance to gratify his fantastical head with
some shew of dutiful demeanour), could devise to set their lord on
work by letting a flesh fly privily into his chamber, which he
forthwith would eagerly have hunted (all other business set apart) and
never ceased till he had caught her into his fingers, wherewith arose
the proverb, "_Ne musca quidem_" uttered first by Vibius Priscus, who
being asked whether anybody was with Domitian, answered "_Ne musca
quidem_" whereby he noted his folly. There are some cockscombs here
and there in England, learning it abroad as men transregionate, which
make account also of this pastime, as of a notable matter, telling
what a sight is seen between them, if either of them be lusty and
courageous in his kind. One also hath made a book of the spider and
the fly, wherein he dealeth so profoundly, and beyond all measure of
skill that neither he himself that made it nor any one that readeth it
can reach unto the meaning thereof. But if those jolly fellows,
instead of the straw that they must thrust into the fly's tail (a
great injury no doubt to such a noble champion), would bestow the cost
to set a fool's cap upon their own heads, then might they with more
security and less reprehension behold these notable battles.

Now, as concerning the locust, I am led by divers of my country, who
(as they say) were either in Germany, Italy, or Pannonia, 1542, when
those nations were greatly annoyed with that kind of fly, and affirm
very constantly that they saw none other creature than the grasshopper
during the time of that annoyance, which was said to come to them from
the Meotides. In most of our translations also of the Bible the word
_locusta_ is Englished a grasshopper, and thereunto (Leviticus xi.) it
is reputed among the clean food, otherwise John the Baptist would
never have lived with them in the wilderness. In Barbary, Numidia, and
sundry other places of Africa, as they have been,[6] so are they eaten
to this day powdered in barrels, and therefore the people of those
parts are called _Acedophagi_: nevertheless they shorten the life of
the eaters, by the production at the last of an irksome and filthy
disease. In India they are three foot long, in Ethiopia much shorter,
but in England seldom above an inch. As for the cricket, called in
Latin _cicada_, he hath some likelihood, but not very great, with the
grasshopper, and therefore he is not to be brought in as an umpire in
this case. Finally, Matthiolus and so many as describe the locust do
set down none other form than that of our grasshopper, which maketh me
so much the more to rest upon my former imagination, which is that the
locust and the grasshopper are one.

      [6] See Diodorus Siculus.--H.



[1577, Book III., Chapter 13; 1587, Book III., Chapter 7.]

There is no country that may (as I take it) compare with ours in
number, excellency, and diversity of dogs.

The first sort therefore he divideth either into such as rouse the
beast, and continue the chase, or springeth the bird, and bewrayeth
her flight by pursuit. And as these are commonly called spaniels, so
the other are named hounds, whereof he maketh eight sorts, of which
the foremost excelleth in perfect smelling, the second in quick
espying, the third in swiftness and quickness, the fourth in smelling
and nimbleness, etc., and the last in subtlety and deceitfulness.
These (saith Strabo) are most apt for game, and called Sagaces by a
general name, not only because of their skill in hunting, but also for
that they know their own and the names of their fellows most exactly.
For if the hunter see any one to follow skilfully, and with likelihood
of good success, he biddeth the rest to hark and follow such a dog,
and they eftsoones obey so soon as they hear his name. The first kind
of these are often called harriers, whose game is the fox, the hare,
the wolf (if we had any), hart, buck, badger, otter, polecat,
lopstart, weasel, conie, etc.: the second height a terrier and it
hunteth the badger and grey only: the third a bloodhound, whose office
is to follow the fierce, and now and then to pursue a thief or beast
by his dry foot: the fourth height a gazehound, who hunteth by the
eye: the fifth a greyhound, cherished for his strength and swiftness
and stature, commended by Bratius in his _De Venatione_, and not
unremembered by Hercules Stroza in a like treatise, and above all
other those of Britain, where he saith: "Magna spectandi mole
Britanni;" also by Nemesianus, libro Cynegeticón, where he saith:
"Divisa Britannia mittit Veloces nostrique orbis venatibus aptos," of
which sort also some be smooth, of sundry colours, and some
shake-haired: the sixth a liemer, that excelleth in smelling and
swift-running: the seventh a tumbler: and the eighth a thief whose
offices (I mean of the latter two) incline only to deceit, wherein
they are oft so skilful that few men would think so mischievous a wit
to remain in such silly creatures. Having made this enumeration of
dogs which are apt for the chase and hunting, he cometh next to such
as serve the falcons in their time, whereof he maketh also two sorts.
One that findeth his game on the land, another that putteth up such
fowl as keepeth in the water: and of these this is commonly most usual
for the net or train, the other for the hawk, as he doth shew at
large. Of the first he saith that they have no peculiar names assigned
to them severally, but each of them is called after the bird which by
natural appointment he is alloted to hunt or serve, for which
consideration some be named dogs for the pheasant, some for the
falcon, and some for the partridge. Howbeit the common name for all is
spaniel (saith he), and thereupon alluded as if these kinds of dogs
had been brought hither out of Spain. In like sort we have of water
spaniels in their kind. The third sort of dogs of the gentle kind is
the spaniel gentle, or comforter, or (as the common term is) the
fistinghound, and those are called Melitei, of the Island Malta, from
whence they were brought hither. These are little and pretty, proper
and fine, and sought out far and near to falsify the nice delicacy of
dainty dames, and wanton women's wills, instruments of folly to play
and dally withal, in trifling away the treasure of time, to withdraw
their minds from more commendable exercises, and to content their
corrupt concupiscences with vain disport--a silly poor shift to shun
their irksome idleness. The Sybaritical puppies the smaller they be
(and thereto if they have a hole in the fore parts of their heads) the
better they are accepted, the more pleasure also they provoke, as meet
playfellows for mincing mistresses to bear in their bosoms, to keep
company withal in their chambers, to succour with sleep in bed, and
nourish with meat at board, to lie in their laps, and lick their lips
as they lie (like young Dianas) in their waggons and coaches. And good
reason it should be so, for coarseness with fineness hath no
fellowship, but featness with neatness hath neighbourhood enough. That
plausible proverb therefore versified sometime upon a tyrant--namely,
that he loved his sow better than his son--may well be applied to some
of this kind of people, who delight more in their dogs, that are
deprived of all possibility of reason, than they do in children that
are capable of wisdom and judgment. Yea, they oft feed them of the
best where the poor man's child at their doors can hardly come by the
worst. But the former abuse peradventure reigneth where there hath
been long want of issue, else where barrenness is the best blossom of
beauty: or, finally, where poor men's children for want of their own
issue are not ready to be had. It is thought of some that it is very
wholesome for a weak stomach to bear such a dog in the bosom, as it is
for him that hath the palsy to feel the daily smell and savour of a
fox. But how truly this is affirmed let the learned judge: only it
shall suffice for Doctor Caius to have said thus much of spaniels and
dogs of the gentle kind.

Dogs of the homely kind are either shepherd's curs or mastiffs. The
first are so common that it needeth me not to speak of them. Their use
also is so well known in keeping the herd together (either when they
grass or go before the shepherd) that it should be but in vain to
spend any time about them. Wherefore I will leave this cur unto his
own kind, and go in hand with the mastiff, tie dog, or band dog, so
called because many of them are tied up in chains and strong bonds in
the daytime, for doing hurt abroad, which is a huge dog, stubborn,
ugly, eager, burthenous of body (and therefore of but little
swiftness), terrible and fearful to behold, and oftentimes more fierce
and fell than any Archadian or Corsican cur. Our Englishmen, to the
extent that these dogs may be more cruel and fierce, assist nature
with some art, use, and custom. For although this kind of dog be
capable of courage, violent, valiant, stout, and bold: yet will they
increase these their stomachs by teaching them to bait the bear, the
bull, the lion, and other such like cruel and bloody beasts (either
brought over or kept up at home for the same purpose), without any
collar to defend their throats, and oftentimes there too they train
them up in fighting and wrestling with a man (having for the safeguard
of his life either a pikestaff, club, sword, privy coat), whereby they
become the more fierce and cruel unto strangers. The Caspians make so
much account sometimes of such great dogs that every able man would
nourish sundry of them in his house of set purpose, to the end they
should devour their carcases after their deaths thinking the dog's
bellies to be the most honourable sepulchres. The common people also
followed the same rate, and therefore there were tie dogs kept up by
public ordinance, to devour them after their deaths: by means whereof
these beasts became the more eager, and with great difficulty after a
while restrained from falling upon the living. But whither am I
digressed? In returning therefore to our own, I say that of mastiffs,
some bark only with fierce and open mouth but will not bite; but the
cruelest do either not bark at all or bite before they bark, and
therefore are more to be feared than any of the other. They take also
their name of the word "mase" and "thief" (or "master-thief" if you
will), because they often stound and put such persons to their shifts
in towns and villages, and are the principal causes of their
apprehension and taking. The force which is in them surmounteth all
belief, and the fast hold which they take with their teeth exceedeth
all credit: for three of them against a bear, four against a lion, are
sufficient to try mastries with them. King Henry the Seventh, as the
report goeth, commanded all such curs to be hanged, because they durst
presume to fight against the lion, who is their king and sovereign.
The like he did with an excellent falcon, as some say, because he
feared not hand-to-hand match with an eagle, willing his falconers in
his own presence to pluck off his head after he was taken down, saying
that it was not meet for any subject to offer such wrong unto his lord
and superior, wherein he had a further meaning. But if King Henry the
Seventh had lived in our time what would he have done to our English
mastiff, which alone and without any help at all pulled down first a
huge bear, then a pard, and last of all a lion, each after other
before the French king in one day, when the Lord Buckhurst was
ambassador unto him, and whereof if I should write the circumstances,
that is, how he took his advantage being let loose unto them, and
finally drave them into such exceeding fear, that they were all glad
to run away when he was taken from them, I should take much pains, and
yet reap but small credit: wherefore it shall suffice to have said
thus much thereof. Some of our mastiffs will rage only in the night,
some are to be tied up both day and night. Such also as are suffered
to go loose about the house and yard are so gentle in the daytime that
children may ride on their backs and play with them at their
pleasures. Divers of them likewise are of such jealousy over their
master and whosoever of his household, that if a stranger do embrace
or touch any of them, they will fall fiercely upon them, unto their
extreme mischief if their fury be not prevented. Such a one was the
dog of Nichomedes, king sometime of Bithynia, who seeing Consigne the
queen to embrace and kiss her husband as they walked together in a
garden, did tear her all to pieces, maugre his resistance and the
present aid of such as attended on them. Some of them moreover will
suffer a stranger to come in and walk about the house or yard where he
listeth, without giving over to follow him: but if he put forth his
hand to touch anything, then will they fly upon them and kill them if
they may. I had one myself once, which would not suffer any man to
bring in his weapon further than my gate: neither those that were of
my house to be touched in his presence. Or if I had beaten any of my
children, he would gently have essayed to catch the rod in his teeth
and take it out of my hand or else pluck down their clothes to save
them from the stripes: which in my opinion is not unworthy to be

The last sort of dogs consisteth of the currish kind meet for many
toys, of which the whappet or prick-eared cur is one. Some men call
them warners, because they are good for nothing else but to bark and
give warning when anybody doth stir or lie in wait about the house in
the night season. Certes it is impossible to describe these curs in
any order, because they have no one kind proper unto themselves, but
are a confused company mixed of all the rest. The second sort of them
are called turnspits, whose office is not unknown to any. And as these
are only reserved for this purpose, so in many places our mastiffs
(beside the use which tinkers have of them in carrying their heavy
budgets) are made to draw water in great wheels out of deep wells,
going much like unto those which are framed for our turnspits, as is
to be seen at Roiston, where this feat is often practised. Besides
these also we have sholts or curs daily brought out of Ireland, and
made much of among us, because of their sauciness and quarrelling.
Moreover they bite very sore, and love candles exceedingly, as do the
men and women of their country; but I may say no more of them, because
they are not bred with us. Yet this will I make report of by the way,
for pastime's sake, that when a great man of those parts came of late
into one of our ships which went thither for fish, to see the form and
fashion of the same, his wife apparelled in fine sables, abiding on
the deck whilst her husband was under the hatches with the mariners,
espied a pound or two of candles hanging on the mast, and being loath
to stand there idle alone, she fell to and eat them up every one,
supposing herself to have been at a jolly banquet, and shewing very
pleasant gesture when her husband came up again unto her.

The last kind of toyish curs are named dancers, and those being of a
mongrel sort also, are taught and exercised to dance in measure at the
musical sound of an instrument, as at the just stroke of a drum, sweet
accent of the citharne, and pleasant harmony of the harp, shewing many
tricks by the gesture of their bodies: as to stand bolt upright, to
lie flat on the ground, to turn round as a ring holding their tails in
their teeth, to saw and beg for meat, to take a man's cap from his
head, and sundry such properties, which they learn of their idle
roguish masters, whose instruments they are to gather gain, as old
apes clothed in motley and coloured short-waisted jackets are for the
like vagabonds, who seek no better living than that which they may get
by fond pastime and idleness. I might here intreat of other dogs, as
of those which are bred between a bitch and a wolf, also between a
bitch and a fox, or a bear and a mastiff. But as we utterly want the
first sort, except they be brought unto us: so it happeneth sometimes
that the other two are engendered and seen at home amongst us. But all
the rest heretofore remembered in this chapter there is none more ugly
and odious in sight, cruel and fierce in deed, nor untractable in
hand, than that which is begotten between the bear and the bandog. For
whatsoever he catcheth hold of he taketh it so fast that a man may
sooner tear and rend his body in sunder than get open his mouth to
separate his chaps. Certes he regardeth neither wolf, bear, nor lion,
and therefore may well be compared with those two dogs which were sent
to Alexander out of India (and procreated as it is thought between a
mastiff and a male tiger, as be those also of Hircania), or to them
that are bred in Archadia, where copulation is oft seen between lions
and bitches, as the lion is in France (as I said) between she wolves
and dogs, whereof let this suffice, sith the further tractation of
them doth not concern my purpose, more than the confutation of
Cardan's talk, _De subt._, lib. 10, who saith that after many
generations dogs do become wolves, and contrariwise, which if it were
true, then could not England be without many wolves: but nature hath
set a difference between them, not only in outward form, but also
inward disposition of their bones, whereof it is impossible that his
assertion can be sound.



[1577, Book II., Chapter 13; 1587, Book II., Chapter 17.]

There is nothing that hath brought me into more admiration of the
power and force of antiquity than their diligence and care had of
their navies: wherein, whether I consider their speedy building, or
great number of ships which some one kingdom or region possessed at
one instant, it giveth me still occasion either to suspect the
history, or to think that in our times we come very far behind

      [1] Here follows an account of Roman and Carthaginian galleys
      which "did not only match, but far exceed" in capacity our ships
      and galleys of 1587.--W.

I must needs confess therefore that the ancient vessels far exceeded
ours for capacity, nevertheless if you regard the form, and the
assurance from peril of the sea, and therewithal the strength and
nimbleness of such as are made in our time, you shall easily find that
ours are of more value than theirs: for as the greatest vessel is not
always the fastest, so that of most huge capacity is not always the
aptest to shift and brook the seas: as might be seen by the _Great
Henry_, the hugest vessel that ever England framed in our times.
Neither were the ships of old like unto ours in mould and manner of
building above the water (for of low galleys in our seas we make small
account) nor so full of ease within, since time hath engendered more
skill in the wrights, and brought all things to more perfection than
they had in the beginning. And now to come unto our purpose at the
first intended.

The navy of England may be divided into three sorts, of which the one
serveth for the wars, the other for burden, and the third for
fishermen which get their living by fishing on the sea. How many of
the first order are maintained within the realm it passeth my cunning
to express; yet, since it may be parted into the navy royal and common
fleet, I think good to speak of those that belong unto the prince, and
so much the rather, for that their number is certain and well known to
very many. Certainly there is no prince in Europe that hath a more
beautiful or gallant sort of ships than the queen's majesty of England
at this present, and those generally are of such exceeding force that
two of them, being well appointed and furnished as they ought, will
not let to encounter with three or four of those of other countries,
and either bowge them or put them to flight, if they may not bring
them home.

Neither are the moulds of any foreign barks so conveniently made, to
brook so well one sea as another lying upon the shore of any part of
the continent, as those of England. And therefore the common report
that strangers make of our ships amongst themselves is daily confirmed
to be true, which is, that for strength, assurance, nimbleness, and
swiftness of sailing, there are no vessels in the world to be compared
with ours. And all these are committed to the regiment and safe
custody of the admiral, who is so called (as some imagine) of the
Greek word _almiros_, a captain on the sea; for so saith Zonaras in
_Basilio Macedone_ and _Basilio Porphyriogenito_, though others fetch
it from _ad mare_, the Latin words, another sort from _Amyras_, the
Saracen magistrate, or from some French derivation: but these things
are not for this place, and therefore I pass them over. The queen's
highness hath at this present (which is the four-and-twentieth of her
reign) already made and furnished, to the number of four or
five-and-twenty great ships, which lie for the most part in Gillingham
Road, beside three galleys, of whose particular names and furniture
(so far forth as I can come by them) it shall not be amiss to make
report at this time.

_The names of so many ships belonging to her majesty as I could come
by at this present_.

The Bonadventure.      White Bear.
Elizabeth Jonas.[2]    Philip and Mary.
Triumph.               Aid.
Bull.                  Handmaid.
Tiger.[3]              Dreadnought.
Antelope.              Swallow.
Hope.                  Genet.
Lion.                  Bark of Bullen.
Victory.               Achates.
Mary Rose.             Falcon.
Foresight.             George.
Swiftsure.             Revenge.

      [2] A name devised by her grace in remembrance of her own
      deliverance from the fury of her enemies, from which in one
      respect she was no less miraculously preserved than was the
      prophet Jonas from the belly of the whale.--H.

      [3] So called of her exceeding nimbleness in sailing and
      swiftness of course.--H.

It is said that as kings and princes have in the young days of the
world, and long since, framed themselves to erect every year a city in
some one place or other of their kingdom (and no small wonder that
Sardanapalus should begin and finish two, to wit, Anchialus and
Tarsus, in one day), so her grace doth yearly build one ship or other
to the better defence of her frontiers from the enemy. But, as of this
report I have no assured certainty, so it shall suffice to have said
so much of these things; yet this I think worthy further to be added,
that if they should all be driven to service at one instance (which
God forbid) she should have a power by sea of about nine or ten
thousand men, which were a notable company, beside the supply of other
vessels appertaining to her subjects to furnish up her voyage.

Beside these, her grace hath other in hand also, of whom hereafter, as
their turns do come about, I will not let to leave some further
remembrance. She hath likewise three notable galleys: the Speedwell,
the Try Right, and the Black Galley, with the sight whereof, and the
rest of the navy royal, it is incredible to say how greatly her grace
is delighted: and not without great cause (I say) since by their means
her coasts are kept in quiet, and sundry foreign enemies put back,
which otherwise would invade us. The number of those that serve for
burden with the other, whereof I have made mention already and whose
use is daily seen, as occasion serveth in time of the wars, is to me
utterly unknown. Yet if the report of one record be anything at all to
be credited, there are one hundred and thirty-five ships that exceed
five hundred ton; topmen, under one hundred and above forty, six
hundred and fifty-six; hoys, one hundred; but of hulks, catches,
fisherboats, and crayers, it lieth not in me to deliver the just
account, since they are hard to come by. Of these also there are some
of the queen's majesty's subjects that have two or three; some, four
or six; and (as I heard of late) one man, whose name I suppress for
modesty's sake, hath been known not long since to have had sixteen or
seventeen, and employed them wholly to the wafting in and out of our
merchants, whereby he hath reaped no small commodity and gain. I might
take occasion to tell of the notable and difficult voyages made into
strange countries by Englishmen, and of their daily success there; but
as these things are nothing incident to my purpose, so I surcease to
speak of them. Only this will I add, to the end all men shall
understand somewhat of the great masses of treasure daily employed
upon our navy, how there are few of those ships, of the first and
second sort, that, being apparelled and made ready to sail, are not
worth one thousand pounds, or three thousand ducats at the least, if
they should presently be sold. What shall we think then of the
greater, but especially of the navy royal, of which some one vessel is
worth two of the other, as the shipwrights have often told me? It is
possible that some covetous person, hearing this report, will either
not credit it at all, or suppose money so employed to be nothing
profitable to the queen's coffers: as a good husband said once when he
heard there should be a provision made for armour, wishing the queen's
money to be rather laid out to some speedier return of gain unto her
grace, "because the realm (saith he) is in case good enough," and so
peradventure he thought. But if, as by store of armour for the defence
of the country, he had likewise understanded that the good keeping of
the sea is the safeguard of our land, he would have altered his
censure, and soon given over his judgment. For in times past, when our
nation made small account of navigation, how soon did the Romans, then
the Saxons, and last of all the Danes, invade this island? whose
cruelty in the end enforced our countrymen, as it were even against
their wills, to provide for ships from other places, and build at home
of their own whereby their enemies were oftentimes distressed. But
most of all were the Normans therein to be commended. For, in a short
process of time after the conquest of this island, and good
consideration had for the well-keeping of the same, they supposed
nothing more commodious for the defence of the country than the
maintenance of a strong navy, which they speedily provided,
maintained, and thereby reaped in the end their wished security,
wherewith before their times this island was never acquainted. Before
the coming of the Romans I do not read that we had any ships at all,
except a few made of wicker and covered with buffalo hides, like unto
which there are some to be seen at this present in Scotland (as I
hear), although there be a little (I wot not well what) difference
between them. Of the same also Solinus speaketh, so far as I remember:
nevertheless it may be gathered from his words how the upper parts of
them above the water only were framed of the said wickers, and that
the Britons did use to fast all the whiles they went to the sea in
them; but whether it were done for policy or superstition, as yet I do
not read.

In the beginning of the Saxons' regiment we had some ships also; but
as their number and mould was little, and nothing to the purpose, so
Egbert was the first prince that ever thoroughly began to know this
necessity of a navy and use the service thereof in the defence of his
country. After him also other princes, as Alfred, Edgar, Ethelred,
etc., endeavoured more and more to store themselves at the full with
ships of all quantities, but chiefly Edgar, for he provided a navy of
1600 _aliàs_ 3600 sail, which he divided into four parts, and sent
them to abide upon four sundry coasts of the land, to keep the same
from pirates. Next unto him (and worthy to be remembered) is Ethelred,
who made a law that every man that hold 310 hidelands should find a
ship furnished to serve him in the wars. Howbeit, as I said before,
when all their navy was at the greatest, it was not comparable for
force and sure building to that which afterward the Normans provided,
neither that of the Normans anything like to the same that is to be
seen now in these our days. For the journeys also of our ships, you
shall understand that a well-builded vessel will run or sail commonly
three hundred leagues or nine hundred miles in a week, or peradventure
some will go 2200 leagues in six weeks and a half. And surely, if
their lading be ready against they come thither, there be of them that
will be here, at the West Indies, and home again in twelve or thirteen
weeks from Colchester, although the said Indies be eight hundred
leagues from the cape or point of Cornwall, as I have been informed.
This also I understand by report of some travellers, that, if any of
our vessels happen to make a voyage to Hispaniola or New Spain (called
in time past Quinquegia and Haiti), which lieth between the north
tropic and the Equator, after they have once touched at the Canaries
(which are eight days' sailing or two hundred and fifty leagues from
St. Lucas de Barameda, in Spain) they will be there in thirty or forty
days, and home again in Cornwall in other eight weeks, which is a
goodly matter, beside the safety and quietness in the passage, but
more of this elsewhere.



[1577, Book III., Chapter 6; 1587, Book II., Chapter 11.]

In cases of felony, manslaughter, robbery, murder, rape, piracy, and
such capital crimes as are not reputed for treason or hurt of the
estate, our sentence pronounced upon the offender is, to hang till he
be dead. For of other punishments used in other countries we have no
knowledge or use; and yet so few grievous crimes committed with us as
elsewhere in the world. To use torment also or question by pain and
torture in these common cases with us is greatly abhorred, since we
are found always to be such as despise death, and yet abhor to be
tormented, choosing rather frankly to open our minds than to yield our
bodies unto such servile haulings and tearings as are used in other
countries. And this is one cause wherefore our condemned persons do go
so cheerfully to their deaths; for our nation is free, stout, haughty,
prodigal of life and blood, as Sir Thomas Smith saith, lib. 2, cap.
25, _De Republica_, and therefore cannot in any wise digest to be used
as villains and slaves, in suffering continually beating, servitude,
and servile torments. No, our gaolers are guilty of felony, by an old
law of the land, if they torment any prisoner committed to their
custody for the revealing of his accomplices.

The greatest and most grievous punishment used in England for such as
offend against the State is drawing from the prison to the place of
execution upon an hurdle or sled, where they are hanged till they be
half dead, and then taken down, and quartered alive; after that, their
members and bowels are cut from their bodies, and thrown into a fire,
provided near hand and within their own sight, even for the same

Sometimes, if the trespass be not the more heinous, they are suffered
to hang till they be quite dead. And whensoever any of the nobility
are convicted of high treason by their peers, that is to say, equals
(for an inquest of yeomen passeth not upon them, but only of the lords
of parliament), this manner of their death is converted into the loss
of their heads only, notwithstanding that the sentence do run after
the former order. In trial of cases concerning treason, felony, or any
other grievous crime not confessed, the party accused doth yield, if
he be a noble man, to be tried by an inquest (as I have said) and his
peers; if a gentleman, by gentlemen; and an inferior, by God and by
the country, to wit, the yeomanry (for combat or battle is not greatly
in use), and, being condemned of felony, manslaughter, etc., he is
eftsoons hanged by the neck till he be dead, and then cut down and
buried. But if he be convicted of wilful murder, done either upon
pretended malice or in any notable robbery, he is either hanged alive
in chains near the place where the fact was committed (or else upon
compassion taken, first strangled with a rope), and so continueth till
his bones consume to nothing. We have use neither of the wheel nor of
the bar, as in other countries; but, when wilful manslaughter is
perpetrated, beside hanging, the offender hath his right hand commonly
stricken off before or near unto the place where the act was done,
after which he is led forth to the place of execution, and there put
to death according to the law.

The word felon is derived of the Saxon words _fell_ and _one_, that is
to say, an evil and wicked one, a one of untameable nature and
lewdness not to be suffered for fear of evil example and the
corruption of others. In like sort in the word _felony_ are many
grievous crimes contained, as breach of prison (Ann. I of Edward the
Second), disfigurers of the prince's liege people (Ann. 5 of Henry the
Fourth), hunting by night with painted faces and visors (Ann. I of
Henry the Seventh), rape, or stealing of women and maidens (Ann. 3 of
Henry Eight), conspiracies against the person of the prince (Ann. 3 of
Henry the Seventh), embezzling of goods committed by the master to the
servant above the value of forty shillings (Ann. 17 of Henry the
Eighth), carrying of horses or mares into Scotland (Ann. 23 of Henry
Eight), sodomy and buggery (Ann. 25 of Henry the Eighth), conjuring,
forgery, witchcraft, and digging up of crosses (Ann. 33 of Henry
Eight), prophesying upon arms, cognisances, names, and badges (Ann. 33
of Henry Eight), casting of slanderous bills (Ann. 37, Henry Eight),
wilful killing by poison (Ann. 1 of Edward the Sixth), departure of a
soldier from the field (Ann. 2 of Edward the Sixth), diminution of
coin, all offences within case of premunire, embezzling of records,
goods taken from dead men by their servants, stealing of whatsoever
cattle, robbing by the high way, upon the sea, or of dwelling houses,
letting out of ponds, cutting of purses, stealing of deer by night,
counterfeits of coin, evidences charters, and writings, and divers
other needless to be remembered. If a woman poison her husband, she is
burned alive; if the servant kill his master, he is to be executed for
petty treason; he that poisoneth a man is to be boiled to death in
water or lead, although the party die not of the practice; in cases of
murder, all the accessories are to suffer pains of death accordingly.
Perjury is punished by the pillory, burning in the forehead with the
letter P, the rewalting of the trees growing upon the grounds of the
offenders, and loss of all his movables. Many trespasses also are
punished by the cutting off of one or both ears from the head of the
offender, as the utterance of seditious words against the magistrates,
fraymakers, petty robbers, etc. Rogues are burned through the ears;
carriers of sheep out of the land, by the loss of their hands; such as
kill by poison are either boiled or scalded to death in lead or
seething water. Heretics are burned quick; harlots and their mates, by
carting, ducking, and doing of open penance in sheets in churches and
market steeds, are often put to rebuke. Howbeit, as this is counted
with some either as no punishment at all to speak of, or but little
regarded of the offenders, so I would with adultery and fornication to
have some sharper law. For what great smart is it to be turned out of
hot sheet into a cold, or after a little washing in the water to be
let loose again unto their former trades? Howbeit the dragging of some
of them over the Thames between Lambeth and Westminster at the tail of
a boat is a punishment that most terrifieth them which are condemned
thereto; but this is inflicted upon them by none other than the knight
marshall, and that within the compass of his jurisdiction and limits
only. Canutus was the first that gave authority to the clergy to
punish whoredom, who at that time found fault with the former laws as
being too severe in this behalf. For, before the time of the said
Canutus, the adulterer forfeited all his goods to the king and his
body to be at his pleasure; and the adulteress was to lose her eyes or
nose, or both if the case were more than common: whereby it appears of
what estimation marriage was amongst them, since the breakers of that
holy estate were so grievously rewarded. But afterward the clergy
dealt more favourably with them, shooting rather at the punishments of
such priests and clerks as were married than the reformation of
adultery and fornication, wherein you shall find no example that any
severity was shewed except upon such lay men as had defiled their
nuns. As in theft therefore, so in adultery and whoredom, I would wish
the parties trespassing to be made bond or slaves unto those that
received the injury, to sell and give where they listed, or to be
condemned to the galleys: for that punishment would prove more bitter
to them than half-an-hour's hanging, or than standing in a sheet,
though the weather be never so cold.

Manslaughter in time past was punished by the purse, wherein the
quantity or quality of the punishment was rated after the state and
calling of the party killed: so that one was valued sometime at 1200,
another at 600, or 200 shillings. And by a statute made under Henry
the First, a citizen of London at 100, whereof elsewhere I have spoken
more at large. Such as kill themselves are buried in the field with a
stake driven through their bodies.

Witches are hanged, or sometimes burned; but thieves are hanged (as I
said before) generally on the gibbet or gallows, saving in Halifax,
where they are beheaded after a strange manner, and whereof I find
this report. There is and has been of ancient time a law, or rather a
custom, at Halifax, that whosoever does commit any felony, and is taken
with the same, or confesses the fact upon examination, if it be valued
by four constables to amount to the sum of thirteenpence-halfpenny, he
is forthwith beheaded upon one of the next market days (which fall
usually upon the Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays), or else upon the
same day that he is so convicted, if market be then holden. The engine
wherewith the execution is done is a square block of wood of the
length of four feet and a half, which does ride up and down in a slot,
rabbet, or regall, between two pieces of timber, that are framed and
set upright, of five yards in height. In the nether end of the sliding
block is an axe, keyed or fastened with an iron into the wood, which
being drawn up to the top of the frame is there fastened by a wooden
pin (with a notch made into the same, after the manner of a Samson's
post), unto the midst of which pin also there is a long rope fastened
that cometh down among the people, so that, when the offender hath
made his confession and hath laid his neck over the nethermost block,
every man there present doth either take hold of the rope (or putteth
forth his arm so near to the same as he can get, in token that he is
willing to see true justice executed), and, pulling out the pin in
this manner, the head-block wherein the axe is fastened doth fall down
with such a violence that, if the neck of the transgressor were as big
as that of a bull, it should be cut in sunder at a stroke and roll
from the body by a huge distance. If it be so that the offender be
apprehended for an ox, oxen, sheep, kine, horse, or any such cattle,
the self beast or other of the same kind shall have the end of the
rope tied somewhere unto them, so that they, being driven, do draw out
the pin, whereby the offender is executed. Thus much of Halifax law,
which I set down only to shew the custom of that country in this

Rogues and vagabonds are often stocked and whipped; scolds are ducked
upon cucking-stools in the water. Such felons as stand mute, and speak
not at their arraignment, are pressed to death by huge weights laid
upon a board, that lieth over their breast, and a sharp stone under
their backs; and these commonly held their peace, thereby to save
their goods unto their wives and children, which, if they were
condemned, should be confiscated to the prince. Thieves that are saved
by their books and clergy, for the first offence, if they have stolen
nothing else but oxen, sheep, money, or such like, which be no open
robberies, as by the highway side, or assailing of any man's house in
the night, without putting him in fear of his life, or breaking up his
walls or doors, are burned in the left hand, upon the brawn of the
thumb, with a hot iron, so that, if they be apprehended again, that
mark betrayeth them to have been arraigned of felony before, whereby
they are sure at that time to have no mercy. I do not read that this
custom of saving by the book is used anywhere else than in England;
neither do I find (after much diligent enquiry) what Saxon prince
ordained that law. Howbeit this I generally gather thereof, that it
was devised to train the inhabitants of this land to the love of
learning, which before contemned letters and all good knowledge, as
men only giving themselves to husbandry and the wars: the like whereof
I read to have been amongst the Goths and Vandals, who for a time
would not suffer even their princes to be learned, for weakening of
their courage, nor any learned men to remain in the council house, but
by open proclamation would command them to avoid whensoever anything
touching the state of the land was to be consulted upon. Pirates and
robbers by sea are condemned in the Court of the Admiralty, and hanged
on the shore at low-water mark, where they are left till three tides
have overwashed them. Finally, such as having walls and banks near
unto the sea, and do suffer the same to decay (after convenient
admonition), whereby the water entereth and drowneth up the country,
are by a certain ancient custom apprehended, condemned, and staked in
the breach, where they remain for ever as parcel of the foundation of
the new wall that is to be made upon them, as I have heard reported.

And thus much in part of the administration of justice used in our
country, wherein, notwithstanding that we do not often hear of
horrible, merciless, and wilful murders (such I mean as are not seldom
seen in the countries of the main), yet now and then some manslaughter
and bloody robberies are perpetrated and committed, contrary to the
laws, which be severely punished, and in such wise as I have before
reported. Certes there is no greater mischief done in England than by
robberies, the first by young shifting gentlemen, which oftentimes do
bear more port than they are able to maintain. Secondly by
serving-men, whose wages cannot suffice so much as to find them
breeches; wherefore they are now and then constrained either to keep
highways, and break into the wealthy men's houses with the first sort,
or else to walk up and down in gentlemen's and rich farmers' pastures,
there to see and view which horses feed best, whereby they many times
get something, although with hard adventure: it hath been known by
their confession at the gallows that some one such chapman hath had
forty, fifty, or sixty stolen horses at pasture here and there abroad
in the country at a time, which they have sold at fairs and markets
far off, they themselves in the mean season being taken about home for
honest yeomen, and very wealthy drovers, till their dealings have been
betrayed. It is not long since one of this company was apprehended,
who was before time reputed for a very honest and wealthy townsman; he
uttered also more horses than any of his trade, because he sold a
reasonable pennyworth and was a fairspoken man. It was his custom
likewise to say, if any man hucked hard with him about the price of a
gelding, "So God help me, gentlemen (or sir), either he did cost me so
much, or else, by Jesus, I stole him!" Which talk was plain enough;
and yet such was his estimation that each believed the first part of
his tale, and made no account of the latter, which was truer indeed.

Our third annoyers of the commonwealth are rogues, which do very great
mischief in all places where they become. For, whereas the rich only
suffer injury by the first two, these spare neither rich nor poor;
but, whether it be great gain or small, all is fish that cometh to net
with them. And yet, I say, both they and the rest are trussed up
apace. For there is not one year commonly wherein three hundred or
four hundred of them are not devoured and eaten up by the gallows in
one place and other. It appeareth by Cardan (who writeth it upon the
report of the bishop of Lexovia), in the geniture of King Edward the
Sixth, how Henry the Eighth, executing his laws very severely against
such idle persons, I mean great thieves, petty thieves, and rogues,
did hang up threescore and twelve thousand of them in his time. He
seemed for a while greatly to have terrified the rest; but since his
death the number of them is so increased, yea, although we have had no
wars, which are a great occasion of their breed (for it is the custom
of the more idle sort, having once served, or but seen the other side
of the sea under colour of service, to shake hand with labour for
ever, thinking it a disgrace for himself to return unto his former
trade), that, except some better order be taken, or the laws already
made be better executed, such as dwell in uplandish towns and little
villages shall live but in small safety and rest. For the better
apprehension also of thieves and mankillers, there is an old law in
England very well provided whereby it is ordered that, if he that is
robbed (or any man) complain and give warning of slaughter or murder
committed, the constable of the village whereunto he cometh and crieth
for succour is to raise the parish about him, and to search woods,
groves, and all suspected houses and places, where the trespasser may
be, or is supposed to lurk; and not finding him there, he is to give
warning unto the next constable, and so one constable, after search
made, to advertise another from parish to parish, till they come to
the same where the offender is harboured and found. It is also
provided that, if any parish in this business do not her duty, but
suffereth the thief (for the avoiding of trouble sake) in carrying him
to the gaol, if he should be apprehended, or other letting of their
work to escape, the same parish is not only to make fine to the king,
but also the same, with the whole hundred wherein it standeth, to
repay the party robbed his damages, and leave his estate harmless.
Certainly this is a good law; howbeit I have known by my own
experience felons being taken to have escaped out of the stocks, being
rescued by other for want of watch and guard, that thieves have been
let pass, because the covetous and greedy parishioners would neither
take the pains nor be at the charge, to carry them to prison, if it
were far off; that when hue and cry have been made even to the faces
of some constables, they have said: "God restore your loss! I have
other business at this time." And by such means the meaning of many a
good law is left unexecuted, malefactors emboldened, and many a poor
man turned out of that which he hath sweat and taken great pains
toward the maintenance of himself and his poor children and family.



[1577, Book II., Chapter 6; 1587, Book II., Chapter 3.]

There have been heretofore, and at sundry times, divers famous
universities in this island, and those even in my days not altogether
forgotten, as one at Bangor, erected by Lucius, and afterward
converted into a monastery, not by Congellus (as some write), but by
Pelagius the monk. The second at Caerleon-upon-Usk, near to the place
where the river doth fall into the Severn, founded by King Arthur. The
third at Thetford, wherein were six hundred students, in the time of
one Rond, sometime king of that region. The fourth at Stamford,
suppressed by Augustine the monk. And likewise other in other places,
as Salisbury, Eridon or Cricklade, Lachlade, Reading, and Northampton;
albeit that the two last rehearsed were not authorised, but only arose
to that name by the departure of the students from Oxford in time of
civil dissension unto the said towns, where also they continued but
for a little season. When that of Salisbury began I cannot tell; but
that it flourished most under Henry the Third and Edward the First I
find good testimony by the writers, as also by the discord which fell,
1278, between the chancellor for the scholars there on the one part
and William the archdeacon on the other, whereof you shall see more in
the chronology here following. In my time there are three noble
universities in England--to wit, one at Oxford, the second at
Cambridge, and the third in London; of which the first two are the
most famous, I mean Cambridge and Oxford, for that in them the use of
the tongues, philosophy, and the liberal sciences, besides the
profound studies of the civil law, physic, and theology, are daily
taught and had: whereas in the latter the laws of the realm are only
read and learned by such as give their minds unto the knowledge of the
same. In the first there are not only divers goodly houses builded
four square for the most part of hard freestone or brick, with great
numbers of lodgings and chambers in the same for students, after a
sumptuous sort, through the exceeding liberality of kings, queens,
bishops, noblemen and ladies of the land; but also large livings and
great revenues bestowed upon them (the like whereof is not to be seen
in any other region, as Peter Martyr did oft affirm) to the
maintenance only of such convenient numbers of poor men's sons as the
several stipends bestowed upon the said houses are able to

      [1] Here follows a paragraph about the legendary foundation
      of the universities.--W.

Of these two, that of Oxford (which lieth west and by north from
London) standeth most pleasantly, being environed in manner round
about with woods on the hills aloft, and goodly rivers in the bottoms
and valleys beneath, whose courses would breed no small commodity to
that city and country about if such impediments were removed as
greatly annoy the same and hinder the carriage which might be made
thither also from London. That of Cambridge is distant from London
about forty and six miles north and by east, and standeth very well,
saving that it is somewhat near unto the fens, whereby the
wholesomeness of the air is not a little corrupted. It is excellently
well served with all kinds of provisions, but especially of fresh
water fish and wild fowl, by reason of the river that passeth thereby;
and thereto the Isle of Ely, which is so near at hand. Only wood is
the chief want to such as study there, wherefore this kind of
provision is brought them either from Essex and other places
thereabouts, as is also their coal, or otherwise the necessity thereof
is supplied with gall (a bastard kind of mirtus as I take it) and
seacoal, whereof they have great plenty led thither by the Grant.
Moreover it hath not such store of meadow ground as may suffice for
the ordinary expenses of the town and university, wherefore the
inhabitants are enforced in like sort to provide their hay from other
villages about, which minister the same unto them in very great

Oxford is supposed to contain in longitude eighteen degrees and eight
and twenty minutes, and in latitude one and fifty degrees and fifty
minutes: whereas that of Cambridge standing more northerly, hath
twenty degrees and twenty minutes in longitude, and thereunto fifty
and two degrees and fifteen minutes in latitude, as by exact
supputation is easy to be found.

The colleges of Oxford, for curious workmanship and private
commodities, are much more stately, magnificent, and commodious than
those of Cambridge: and thereunto the streets of the town for the most
part are more large and comely. But for uniformity of building,
orderly compaction, and politic regiment, the town of Cambridge, as
the newer workmanship,[2] exceeds that of Oxford (which otherwise is,
and hath been, the greater of the two) by many a fold (as I guess),
although I know divers that are of the contrary opinion. This also is
certain, that whatsoever the difference be in building of the town
streets, the townsmen of both are glad when they may match and annoy
the students, by encroaching upon their liberties, and keep them bare
by extreme sale of their wares, whereby many of them become rich for a
time, but afterward fall again into poverty, because that goods evil
gotten do seldom long endure.[3]...

      [2] Cambridge burned not long since.--H.

      [3] Here follows an account of Oxford and Cambridge castles, and
      the legend of the building of Osney Abbey by Robert and Edith

In each of these universities also is likewise a church dedicated to
the Virgin Mary, wherein once in the year--to wit, in July--the
scholars are holden, and in which such as have been called to any
degree in the year precedent do there receive the accomplishment of
the same, in solemn and sumptuous manner. In Oxford this solemnity is
called an Act, but in Cambridge they use the French word
_Commencement_; and such resort is made yearly unto the same from all
parts of the land by the friends of those who do proceed that all the
town is hardly able to receive and lodge those guests. When and by
whom the churches aforesaid were built I have elsewhere made relation.
That of Oxford also was repaired in the time of Edward the Fourth and
Henry the Seventh, when Doctor Fitz James, a great helper in that
work, was warden of Merton College; but ere long, after it was
finished, one tempest in a night so defaced the same that it left few
pinnacles standing about the church and steeple, which since that time
have never been repaired. There were sometime four and twenty parish
churches in the town and suburbs; but now there are scarcely sixteen.
There have been also 1200 burgesses, of which 400 dwelt in the
suburbs; and so many students were there in the time of Henry the
Third that he allowed them twenty miles compass about the town for
their provision of victuals.

The common schools of Cambridge also are far more beautiful than those
of Oxford, only the Divinity School of Oxford excepted, which for fine
and excellent workmanship cometh next the mould of the King's Chapel
in Cambridge, than the which two, with the Chapel that King Henry the
Seventh did build at Westminster, there are not (in my opinion) made
of lime and stone three more notable piles within the compass of

In all the other things there is so great equality between these two
universities as no man can imagine how to set down any greater, so
that they seem to be the body of one well-ordered commonwealth, only
divided by distance of place and not in friendly consent and orders.
In speaking therefore of the one I cannot but describe the other; and
in commendation of the first I cannot but extol the latter; and, so
much the rather, for that they are both so dear unto me as that I
cannot readily tell unto whether of them I owe the most good-will.
Would to God my knowledge were such as that neither of them might have
cause to be ashamed of their pupil, or my power so great that I might
worthily requite them both for those manifold kindnesses that I have
received of them! But to leave these things, and proceed with other
more convenient to my purpose.

The manner to live in these universities is not as in some other of
foreign countries we see daily to happen, where the students are
enforced for want of such houses to dwell in common inns, and taverns,
without all order or discipline. But in these our colleges we live in
such exact order, and under so precise rules of government, as that
the famous learned man Erasmus of Rotterdam, being here among us fifty
years passed, did not let to compare the trades in living of students
in these two places, even with the very rules and orders of the
ancient monks, affirming moreover, in flat words, our orders to be
such as not only came near unto, but rather far exceeded, all the
monastical institutions that ever were devised.

In most of our colleges there are also great numbers of students, of
which many are found by the revenues of the houses and other by the
purveyances and help of their rich friends, whereby in some one
college you shall have two hundred scholars, in others an hundred and
fifty, in divers a hundred and forty, and in the rest less numbers, as
the capacity of the said houses is able to receive: so that at this
present, of one sort and other, there are about three thousand
students nourished in them both (as by a late survey it manifestly
appeared). They were erected by their founders at the first only for
poor men's sons, whose parents were not able to bring them up unto
learning; but now they have the least benefit of them, by reason the
rich do so encroach upon them. And so far has this inconvenience
spread itself that it is in my time a hard matter for a poor man's
child to come by a fellowship (though he be never so good a scholar
and worthy of that room). Such packing also is used at elections that
not he which best deserveth, but he that has most friends, though he
be the worst scholar, is always surest to speed, which will turn in
the end to the overthrow of learning. That some gentlemen also whose
friends have been in times past benefactors to certain of those houses
do intrude into the disposition of their estates without all respect
of order or statutes devised by the founders, only thereby to place
whom they think good (and not without some hope of gain), the case is
too too evident: and their attempt would soon take place if their
superiors did not provide to bridle their endeavours. In some grammar
schools likewise which send scholars to these universities, it is
lamentable to see what bribery is used; for, ere the scholar can be
preferred, such bribage is made that poor men's children are commonly
shut out, and the richer sort received (who in time past thought it
dishonour to live as it were upon alms), and yet, being placed, most
of them study little other than histories, tables, dice, and trifles,
as men that make not the living by their study the end of their
purposes, which is a lamentable hearing. Beside this, being for the
most part either gentlemen or rich men's sons, they often bring the
universities into much slander. For, standing upon their reputation
and liberty, they ruffle and roist it out, exceeding in apparel, and
banting riotous company (which draweth them from their books unto
another trade), and for excuse, when they are charged with breach of
all good order, think it sufficient to say that they be gentlemen,
which grieveth many not a little. But to proceed with the rest.

Every one of these colleges have in like manner their professors or
readers of the tongues and several sciences, as they call them, which
daily trade up the youth there abiding privately in their halls, to
the end they may be able afterward (when their turn cometh about,
which is after twelve terms) to shew themselves abroad, by going from
thence into the common schools and public disputations (as it were
"_In aream_") there to try their skill, and declare how they have
profited since their coming thither.

Moreover, in the public schools of both the universities, there are
found at the prince's charge (and that very largely) fine professors
and readers, that is to say, of divinity, of the civil law, physic,
the Hebrew and the Greek tongues. And for the other lectures, as of
philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and the quadrivials (although the latter,
I mean arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy, and with them all
skill in the perspectives, are now smally regarded in either of them),
the universities themselves do allow competent stipends to such as
read the same, whereby they are sufficiently provided for, touching
the maintenance of their estates, and no less encouraged to be
diligent in their functions.

These professors in like sort have all the rule of disputations and
other school exercises which are daily used in common schools
severally assigned to each of them, and such of their hearers as by
their skill shewed in the said disputations are thought to have
attained to any convenient ripeness of knowledge according to the
custom of other universities (although not in like order) are
permitted solemnly to take their deserved degrees of school in the
same science and faculty wherein they have spent their travel. From
that time forward also they use such difference in apparel as becometh
their callings, tendeth unto gravity, and maketh them known to be
called to some countenance.

The first degree is that of the general sophisters, from whence, when
they have learned more sufficiently the rules of logic, rhetoric, and
obtained thereto competent skill in philosophy, and in the
mathematicals, they ascend higher unto the estate of bachelors of art,
after four years of their entrance into their sophistry. From thence
also, giving their minds to more perfect knowledge in some or all the
other liberal sciences and the tongues, they rise at the last (to wit,
after other three or four years) to be called masters of art, each of
them being at that time reputed for a doctor in his faculty, if he
profess but one of the said sciences (besides philosophy), or for his
general skill, if he be exercised in them all. After this they are
permitted to choose what other of the higher studies them liketh to
follow, whether it be divinity, law, or physic, so that, being once
masters of art, the next degree, if they follow physic, is the
doctorship belonging to that profession; and likewise in the study of
the law, if they bend their minds to the knowledge of the same. But,
if they mean to go forward with divinity, this is the order used in
that profession. First, after they have necessarily proceeded masters
of art, they preach one sermon to the people in English, and another
to the university in Latin. They answer all comers also in their own
persons unto two several questions of divinity in the open schools at
one time for the space of two hours, and afterward reply twice against
some other man upon a like number and on two several dates in the same
place, which being done with commendation, he receiveth the fourth
degree, that is, bachelor of divinity, but not before he has been
master of arts by the space of seven years, according to their

The next, and last degree of all, is the doctorship, after other three
years, for the which he must once again perform all such exercises and
acts as are before remembered; and then is he reputed able to govern
and teach others, and likewise taken for a doctor. I have read that
John of Beverley was the first doctor that ever was in Oxford, as Beda
was in Cambridge. But I suppose herein that the word "doctor" is not
so strictly to be taken in this report as it is now used, since every
teacher is in Latin called by that name, as also such in the primitive
church as kept schools of catechists, wherein they were trained up in
the rudiments and principles of religion, either before they were
admitted unto baptism or any office in the Church.

Thus we see that from our entrance into the university unto the last
degree received is commonly eighteen or twenty years, in which time,
if a student has not obtained sufficient learning thereby to serve his
own turn and benefit his commonwealth, let him never look by tarrying
longer to come by any more. For after this time, and forty years of
age, the most part of students do commonly give over their wonted
diligence, and live like drone bees on the fat of colleges,
withholding better wits from the possession of their places, and yet
doing little good in their own vocation and calling. I could rehearse
a number (if I listed) of this sort, as well in one university as the
other. But this shall suffice instead of a large report, that long
continuance in those places is either a sign of lack of friends, or of
learning, or of good and upright life, as Bishop Fox[4] sometime
noted, who thought it sacrilege for a man to tarry any longer at
Oxford than he had a desire to profit.

      [4] This Fox builded Corpus Christi College, in Oxford.--H.

A man may (if he will) begin his study with the law, or physic (of
which this giveth wealth, the other honour), so soon as he cometh to
the university, if his knowledge in the tongues and ripeness of
judgment serve therefor: which if he do, then his first degree is
bachelor of law, or physic; and for the same he must perform such acts
in his own science as the bachelors or doctors of divinity do for
their parts, the only sermons except, which belong not to his calling.
Finally, this will I say, that the professors of either of those
faculties come to such perfection in both universities as the best
students beyond the sea do in their own or elsewhere. One thing only I
mislike in them, and that is their usual going into Italy, from whence
very few without special grace do return good men whatsoever they
pretend of conference or practice, chiefly the physicians[5] who under
pretence of seeking of foreign simples do oftentimes learn the framing
of such compositions as were better unknown than practised, as I have
heard often alleged, and therefore it is most true that Doctor Turner
said: "Italy is not to be seen without a guide, that is, without
special grace given from God, because of the licentious and corrupt
behaviour of the people."

      [5] So much also may be inferred of lawyers.--H.

There is moreover in every house a master or provost, who has under
him a president and certain censors or deans, appointed to look to the
behaviour and manners of the students there, whom they punish very
severely if they make any default, according to the quantity and
quality of their trespass. And these are the usual names of governors
in Cambridge. Howbeit in Oxford the heads of houses are now and then
called presidents in respect of such bishops as are their visitors and
founders. In each of these also they have one or more treasurers, whom
they call _bursarios_ or bursars, beside other officers whose charge
is to see unto the welfare and maintenance of these houses. Over each
university also there is a several chancellor, whose offices are
perpetual, howbeit their substitutes, whom we call vice-chancellors,
are changed every year, as are also the proctors, taskers, masters of
the streets, and other officers, for the better maintenance of their
policy and estate.

And thus much at this time of our two universities, in each of which I
have received such degree as they have vouchsafed--rather of their
favour than my desert--to yield and bestow upon me, and unto whose
students I wish one thing, the execution whereof cannot be prejudicial
to any that meaneth well, as I am resolutely persuaded, and the case
now standeth in these our days. When any benefice therefor becometh
void it were good that the patron did signify the vacation thereof to
the bishop, and the bishop the act of the patron to one of the
universities, with request that the vice-chancellor with his
assistants might provide some such able man to succeed in the place as
should by their judgment be meet to take the charge upon him.
Certainly if this order were taken, then should the church be provided
of good pastors, by whom God should be glorified, the universities
better stored, the simoniacal practices of a number of patrons utterly
abolished, and the people better trained to live in obedience toward
God and their prince, which were a happier estate.

To these two also we may in like sort add the third, which is at
London (serving only for such as study the laws of the realm) where
there are sundry famous houses, of which three are called by the name
of Inns of the Court, the rest of the Chancery, and all built before
time for the furtherance and commodity of such as apply their minds to
our common laws. Out of these also come many scholars of great fame,
whereof the most part have heretofore been brought up in one of the
aforesaid universities, and prove such commonly as in process of time
rise up (only through their profound skill) to great honour in the
commonwealth of England. They have also degrees of learning among
themselves, and rules of discipline, under which they live most
civilly in their houses, albeit that the younger of them abroad in the
streets are scarcely able to be bridled by any good order at all.
Certainly this error was wont also greatly to reign in Cambridge and
Oxford, between the students and the burgesses; but, as it is well
left in these two places, so in foreign countries it cannot yet be

Besides these universities, also there are great number of grammar
schools throughout the realm, and those very liberally endowed, for
the better relief of poor scholars, so that there are not many
corporate towns now under the Queen's dominion that have not one
grammar school at the least, with a sufficient living for a master and
usher appointed to the same.

There are in like manner divers collegiate churches, as Windsor,
Winchester, Eton, Westminster (in which I was some time an
unprofitable grammarian under the reverend father Master Nowell, now
dean of Paul's), and in those a great number of poor scholars, daily
maintained by the liberality of the founders, with meat, books, and
apparel, from whence, after they have been well entered in the
knowledge of the Latin and Greek tongues, and rules of versifying (the
trial whereof is made by certain apposers yearly appointed to examine
them), they are sent to certain special houses in each university,
where they are received and trained up in the points of higher
knowledge in their private halls, till they be adjudged meet to shew
their face's in the schools as I have said already.

And thus much have I thought good to note of our universities, and
likewise of colleges in the same, whose names I will also set down
here, with those of their founders, to the end the zeal which they
bare unto learning may appear, and their remembrance never perish from
among the wise and learned.


Years of the
Foundation     Colleges        Founders

1546   1 Trinity College       King Henry 8.

1441   2 The King's College    King Henry 6, Edward 4, Henry 7,
                               and Henry 8.

1511   3 St. John's            Lady Margaret, grandmother to Henry 8.

1505   4 Christ's College      King Henry 6 and the Lady Margaret

1446   5 The Queen's College   Lady Margaret, wife to King Henry 6.

1496   6 Jesus College         John Alcock, bishop of Ely.

1342   7 Bennet College        The brethren of a Popish guild
                               called _Corporis Christi_.

1343   8 Pembroke Hall         Maria de Valentia, Countess of Pembroke.

1256   9 Peter College         Hugh Balsham, bishop of Ely.

1348  10 Gundewill and Caius   Edmund Gundevill, parson of
1557        College            Terrington, and John Caius,
                               doctor of physic.

1354  11 Trinity Hall          William Bateman, bishop of Norwich.

1326  12 Clare Hall            Richard Badow, chancellor of Cambridge.

1459  13 Catherine Hall        Robert Woodlark, doctor of divinity.

1519  14 Magdalen College      Edward, Duke of Buckingham, and
                               Thomas, lord Audley.

1585  15 Emanuel College       Sir Walter Mildmay, etc.


Years of the
Foundation     Colleges        Founders

1539   1 Christ's Church       King Henry 8.

1459   2 Magdalen College      William Wainfleet, first fellow of
                               Merton College, then scholar at
                               Winchester, and afterwards bishop

1375   3 New College           William Wickham, bishop of Winchester.

1276   4 Merton College        Walter Merton, bishop of Rochester.

1437   5 All Souls' College    Henry Chicheley, archbishop of

1516   6 Corpus Christi College  Richard Fox, bishop of Winchester.

1430   7 Lincoln College       Richard Fleming, bishop of Lincoln.

1323   8 Auriel College        Adam Broune, almoner to Edward 2.

1340   9 The Queen's College   R. Eglesfeld, chaplain to Philip,
                               queen of England, wife to Edward 3.

1263  10 Balliol College       John Balliol, king of Scotland.

1557  11 St. John's            Sir Thomas White, knight.

1556  12 Trinity College       Sir Thomas Pope, knight.

1316  13 Excester College      Walter Stapleten, bishop of Excester.

1513  14 Brasen Nose           William Smith, bishop of Lincoln.

1873  15 University College    William, archdeacon of Duresine.

      16 Gloucester College    John Crifford, who made it a cell
                               for thirteen monks.

      17 St. Mary's College

      18 Jesus College, now    Hugh ap Rice, doctor of the civil
         in hand               law.

      [6] He founded also a good part of Eton College, and a free
      school at Wainfleet, where he was born.

There are also in Oxford certain hotels or halls which may right well
be called by the names of colleges, if it were not that there is more
liberty in them than is to be seen in the other. In my opinion the
livers in these are very like to those that are of the inns in the
chancery, their names also are these so far as I now remember:

Brodegates.            St. Mary Hall.
Hart Hall.             White Hall.
Magdalen Hall.         New Inn.
Alburne Hall.          Edmond Hall.
Postminster Hall.

The students also that remain in them are called hostlers or halliers.
Hereof it came of late to pass that the right Reverend Father in God,
Thomas, late archbishop of Canterbury, being brought up in such an
house at Cambridge, was of the ignorant sort of Londoners called an
"Hostler," supposing that he had served with some inn-holder in the
stable, and therefore, in despite, divers hung up bottles of hay at
his gate when he began to preach the gospel, whereas indeed he was a
gentleman born of an ancient house, and in the end a faithful witness
of Jesus Christ, in whose quarrel he refused not to shed his blood,
and yield up his life, unto the fury of his adversaries.

Besides these there is mention and record of divers other halls or
hostels that have been there in times past, as Beef Hall, Mutton Hall,
etc., whose ruins yet appear: so that if antiquity be to be judged by
the shew of ancient buildings which is very plentiful in Oxford to be
seen, it should be an easy matter to conclude that Oxford is the elder
university. Therein are also many dwelling-houses of stone yet
standing that have been halls for students, of very antique
workmanship, besides the old walls of sundry others, whose plots have
been converted into gardens since colleges were erected.

In London also the houses of students at the Common Law are these:

Sergeant's Inn.        Furnival's Inn.
Gray's Inn.            Clifford's Inn.
The Temple.            Clement's Inn.
Lincoln's Inn.         Lion's Inn.
David's Inn.           Barnard's Inn.
Staple Inn.            Newmann.

And thus much in general of our noble universities, whose lands some
greedy gripers do gape wide for, and of late have (as I hear)
propounded sundry reasons whereby they supposed to have prevailed in
their purposes. But who are those that have attempted this suit, other
than such as either hate learning, piety, and wisdom, or else have
spent all their own, and know not otherwise than by encroaching upon
other men how to maintain themselves? When such a motion was made by
some unto King Henry the Eighth, he could answer them in this manner:
"Ah, sirra! I perceive the Abbey lands have fleshed you, and set your
teeth on edge, to ask also those colleges. And, whereas we had a
regard only to pull down sin by defacing the monasteries, you have a
desire also to overthrow all goodness, by subversion of colleges. I
tell you, sirs, that I judge no land in England better bestowed than
that which is given to our universities; for by their maintenance our
realm shall be well governed when we be dead and rotten. As you love
your welfares therefore, follow no more this vein, but content
yourselves with that you have already, or else seek honest means
whereby to increase your livelihoods; for I love not learning so ill
that I will impair the revenues of any one house by a penny, whereby
it may be upholden." In King Edward's days likewise the same suit was
once again attempted (as I have heard), but in vain; for, saith the
Duke of Somerset, among other speeches tending to that end--who also
made answer thereunto in the king's presence by his assignation: "If
learning decay, which of wild men maketh civil; of blockish and rash
persons, wise and goodly counsellors; of obstinate rebels, obedient
subjects; and of evil men, good and godly Christians; what shall we
look for else but barbarism and tumult? For when the lands of colleges
be gone, it shall be hard to say whose staff shall stand next the
door; for then I doubt not but the state of bishops, rich farmers,
merchants, and the nobility, shall be assailed, by such as live to
spend all, and think that whatsoever another man hath is more meet for
them and to be at their commandment than for the proper owner that has
sweat and laboured for it." In Queen Mary's days the weather was too
warm for any such course to be taken in hand; but in the time of our
gracious Queen Elizabeth I hear that it was after a sort in talk the
third time, but without success, as moved also out of season; and so I
hope it shall continue for ever. For what comfort should it be for any
good man to see his country brought into the estate of the old Goths
and Vandals, who made laws against learning, and would not suffer any
skilful man to come into their council-house: by means whereof those
people became savage tyrants and merciless hell-hounds, till they
restored learning again and thereby fell to civility.

_Planned and Designed at The Collier Press
By William Patten_

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