Monday, November 4, 2013

The Book of the Order of Chivalry

The Book of the Order of Chivalry

Translation by Todd H. C. Fischer, 2009-2011, known within the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) as THLaird Colyne Stewart, valet to Sir Nigel MacFarlane, and student to Adrielle Kerrec, OP, PL, who reigned as the King and Queen of Ealdormere when the project began.

Blessed be the Lady Ealdormere, who looks down on us from the stars, and whose noble heart beats within the breast of all those who dwell in the northlands, and through whose grace I now set my quill to parchment. Blessings also to Their Lupine Majesties, Sir Nigel MacFarlane, and Adrielle Kerrec, who between them represent all three Great Orders of our Society, and to whom I am bound by oath, vow and friendship. For them have I translated this booke which is of great interest to His Majesty, as the honour and nobility of Chivalry is deeply wrought within him.[1]

Here begins the table of contents of this book, entitled the Book of the Order of Chivalry or Knighthood.

Unto the praising and divine glory of god, who is lord and sovereign king above and over all things celestial and worldy, we begin this book of the order of chivalry which shows the significance of god, the prince almighty, who reigns over the seven planets and things celestial, and has power and seniority in governing and ordering the bodies terrestrial and earthly, that likewise gives the kings, princes and great lords sovereignty over the knights, and knights by similitude ought to have dominion over common people. And this contains eight chapters.

The first chapter shows a hermit knight, divine and wise, passing on the rule and order of chivalry to a squire.

The second is on the origins of chivalry.

The third is about the office of chivalry.

The fourth is about the examination that should be made of a squire when he is about to be inducted into the order of chivalry.

The fifth tells how the squire should receive chivalry.

The sixth relates the significance of the arms belonging to a knight, in order of importance.

The seventh is of the customs that appertain to being a knight.

This ends the table of the book of chivalry.

Hereafter follows the matter of this said book, and the first chapter shows how the good and divine Hermit tells the squire of the Rule and Order of Chivalry.

A country there once was in which there was a knight who had long maintained the order of chivalry. Through the force and nobleness of his high courage and wisdom, and in adventuring, he had survived wars and tourneys, and in battles he had had many noble victories. In his courage, thinking that in his wounded state he might not live very much longer, he chose to become a hermit. As he aged and nature took its toll, he had found that he could not bear arms as he had before. So he left all his riches to his children and went to live in a great wood abundant with waters and great trees and diverse fruit. And so he fled the world due to the feebleness of his body, and his wish to not dishonour the ideals he had long treasured.

This same knight, thinking of his impending death, also thought about the transcendence from earth to heaven, and of the sacrifice made by our lord.

Within this wood there was a fair meadow, within which there was a tree well laid with fruit. Under the tree was a fountain which ran fair and clear, that watered all the meadow. And it was in this place that the knight would come each day to pray and adore god almighty, to whom he gave thanks for the honour that He had bestowed upon him all his life.

That winter, another knight who was very wise and noble and full of good customs, sent out invitations to the nobles of the land, for he was to hold a great court. Drawn by the allure of this great court, a squire set out to attend with the aim of being made a knight.

As the squire traveled alone riding upon his palfrey, he fell deeply asleep.

While the squire slept his palfrey wandered from its path and entered the forest wherein the hermit dwelled. As fate would have it, the horse found its way to the fountain where the hermit was praying to God, as he did every day. When he saw the squire asleep upon his steed, the hermit left his prayers and sat in the shadow of a tree and began to read from a little book in his lap. The horse stopped at the fountain to drink, and the squire, perhaps unconsciously feeling the lack of movement, awoke.

Seeing the squire wake, the hermit walked to his side. The squire saw him as a wild man, whose beard was great, whose hair was long, and whose clothes were worn and torn from long wearing. By the penance that he made each day, his face was discoloured and lean, and his eyes were wasted from the tears he wept each day. The squire thought he had a countenance of much holy life.

Each of them marveled at the other. For the knight has not seen another man since he went upon his hermitage, and the squire marveled at him strongly, wondering how he had come to be in such a place. Then the squire descended from his palfrey and saluted the knight, and the knight recognized him most wisely, and they sat beside each other in the grass. Before either of them spoke, they regarded each other’s face. [2]

The knight, knowing that out of respect the squire would not speak first, said, “Fair friend, what is your mind[3] and intent, and where are you bound, and how have you come here?”

“Sir,” said the squire, “the renown is spread by fair countries that a king most noble and wise has commanded a general Court, where he will be made a new knight. And after being dubbed he will make other new knights, strange[4] barons and privy[5]. Therefore, I am going to his court to be dubbed a knight. However, as I have been traveling long, I feel asleep and my palfrey wandered from its road and brought me to this place.”

When the knight heard him speak of the knighthood and chivalry, and remembered the order and that which appertains to being a knight, he let out a great sigh and fell into a great thought, ruminating on the honour in which chivalry had long been maintained.

Seeing the knight so deep in thought, the squire[6] asked him why he was so pensive.

The knight replied, “Fair son, my thought is of the order of knighthood or chivalry, and of the greatness in which a knight is held in maintaining the greatness of the honour of chivalry.” Then the squire begged the knight to tell him of the order and the manner wherefore he would be better able to honour and keep it in high worship, as it ought to be after the ordinance of God.

“How, son,” said the knight,” do you not know what is in the rule and order of knighthood? And I marvel that you dare demand to be knighted when you do not know the order. For no knight can love the order and that which appertains to his order if he does not know when he is acting against the order of chivalry. And no knight ought to make any knights unless he himself knows the order. For a disordinate knight is he that makes a knight and cannot show the order to him and the custom of chivalry.”

Then the squire, that demanded chivalry without knowing what chivalry was, said, “Sir, if it be your pleasure, I beseech you to tell me the order of chivalry. For it seems[7] to me, and I think, that I should learn it for the great desire that I have for it. And after my power I shall follow[8] it, if it pleases you to instruct[9] me and teach it to me.”

“Friend,” said the knight, “the Rule and Order of Chivalry is written in this little book that I hold here in my hands in which I read and am busy[10] sometimes, to the end that it makes me remember or think on the grace and bounty that God has given and done to me in this world because I honoured and maintained with all my power the Order of Chivalry. For just as chivalry gives to a knight all that makes him a knight, so must a knight give all his power to honour chivalry.”

The the knight gave the squire the little book, and when he had read what was written within, he understood that the knight only among a thousand people is chosen as worthy to have this noble office. And he also understood by that little book, the Rule and Order of Chivalry. He then said, :Sir, blessed be you that has brought me to this place and time that I now have knowledge of the Order of Chivalry, that which I have long desired, though I did not know the nobleness of the order, and the honour in which our lord God has set all of them that are in that order.”

The knight said, “Fair son, I am an old man, and feeble, and may not live for much longer. Therefore, this little book, which is made for the devotion[11], loyalty and ordinance that a knight ought to have in holding to his order, you shall bear with you to the court to where you are bound. And show it to those that will be made knights. And when you shall be dubbed a knight, and you return toy our own kingdom, come again to this place and let me have knowledge of who they may be that have been made into knights and shall have been obedient[12] to the doctrine of chivalry.”

Then the knight gave the squire his blessing, and the squire took his leave and devoutly took the book with him. And after mounting his palfrey he went hastily to the court. Upon arrival he presented the book very wisely and ordinately to the noble king, and furthermore he offered that every noble man that would be in the Order of Chivalry might have a copy of that book, to the end that he might see and learn the Order of Knighthood and Chivalry.

The second chapter is of the beginning of Chivalry and Knighthood.

When charity, loyalty, truth, justice and veracity[13] fail in the world, then begins cruelty, injury, disloyalty and falseness. And therefore there was error and trouble in the world in which God had created man, with the intention that in man he be known and loved, doubted, served, and honoured. At the beginning, when to the world came wickedness, justice returned through a fear of god[14] into honour, in which she was supposed to be. And therefore all the people were divided by thousands, and of each thousand was chosen a man most loyal, most strong, and most noble of courage, and better instructed and mannered than all the others.

And afterward was a beast sought out, that was most fitting, most fair, most courageous and most able to handle long travels, and was most able to serve man. And therefore among all the beasts man chose the horse, and one was given to the same man that was so chosen from amongst a thousand men. So after the horse, which is called chevail in French, is that man named Chevalier (or knight as it is rendered in English). Thus to the most noble man was given the most noble beast.

It was of benefit[15] after this, that there should be chosen all the armours that were most noble and most appropriate[16] to battle and that could defend man from death. And these armours were given and became property[17] of the knight.

Then, he that would enter into the order of chivalry should think on the noble beginning of chivalry, and it behooves him to ensure that the nobleness of his courage is in good customs according to the beginning of chivalry. For if it were not so, he would be contrary to his order, and to his beginnings. And therefore it is not an appropriate thing that the order of chivalry receive his enemies in honours, nor them that be contrary to his beginnings, love and dread begin[18] against hate and wickedness.[19] And therefore it behooves the knight by nobleness of courage and of noble custom and bounty and by the honour so great and so high that he is made by election by his horse, and by his arms be loved and have the respect of the people[20], and that by their love he obtain[21] charity and training[22], and by fairness obtain truth and justice.

As a man has more wit and understanding, and is of a stronger nature than a woman, he is therefore better than a woman. For is he were not more powerful[23] and different to be better than a woman, then bounty and strength of nature would be contrary to bounty of courage and to all good works. Then, as a man by his nature is more suited to have noble courage, and to be better than a woman, in likewise he is more inclined to be viscous than a woman. For if it were not this way, he would not be worthy that he had greater merit to be good, more than the woman.[24]

Beware you squire that will enter into the order of chivalry, of what you should do. For if you would be a knight, you receive honour and the servitude that must be had unto the friends of chivalry. For of so much as you have more noble beginnings, and have more honour, you are much more bound[25] to be good and agreeable to God, and also to the people. And if you be wicked, you are the enemy of chivalry, and are contrary to his commandments and honours so high. And so noble is the order of chivalry that if it is not right[26] if there be made knights of the most noble persons, and that these should be given the most noble beast, and to the beast the most noble armours, who are not also made lord of many men. For in authority and lordship[27] there is much nobleness, and in servitude as much of subjections.

Then, if you take the order of knighthood, and are a vile man and wicked, you do great injury to all your subjects and to your fellows that are good. For by the vileness[28] in which you are, if you be wicked, you ought to be put under a serf or boundsman.

And by the nobleness of knights that are good it is unworthy[29] and not worthy that you be called a knight, with but election and horse and armour which are not enough alone for the high honour that belongs to a knight. He should also be given a squire and servant to care for his horse. As well, the common people should labour the lands to bring fruits and goods where the knight and his beasts make their living, and that the knight rest him and be at sheltered[30] after his nobleness, and deport him upon his horse for hunting or in any other manner which might please him, and that he ease him and delight in things of which his men have pain and travail.

The clerks studying in doctrine and science, how they may be able[31] to know God and love him and his works, to the end that they give doctrine to the common[32] people through good examples[33] to know, love, serve and do honour to God, our glorious lord. So that they may ordinately do so, they follow[34] the schools. So, as clerks by honest life, good example, and science have received order and office to direct[35] the people to devotion and good life. All in likewise the knights, by nobleness and courage, and by force of arms, maintain the Order of Chivalry. They also have the same aim, that they direct[36] the small people through dread so they fear doing wrong to one another.

The science and the school of order of Chivalry is that the knight instructs his son in his youth in riding; for if he does not learn it in his youth, he will never learn it in his old age. And it behooves that the son of a knight in the time he is a squire can take the keeping of a horse, and it behooves him to serve, and that he be first subject or he be the lord. Otherwise he will not know the nobleness of the lordly class when he is made a knight. Therefore, every man that will come to knighthood should learn in his youth how to carve at the table, to serve to arm and to dub[37] a knight. For just as a man[38] will learn to sew to become a tailor or hew to become a carpenter, he needs a master who knows how to sew or hew. Likewise, a noble man that loves the Order of Chivalry and wants to become a knight should have a master that is a knight, for to do otherwise would be unsuitable[39] and like a man learning to sew from a carpenter. Likewise, it should be self evident that a squire should only learn about the order and the nobleness of chivalry from no other man than a knight.  In so much regard is held the order of chivalry that nothing will suffice for a squire except to keep horses and learn to serve a knight, and go with him to tourneys and battles, and it is necessary for their to be schooling available to him to learn of the order of knighthood, and the sciences that are written in books, and the arts that are written of and shown in books, and in such manner all the other sciences. The sons of knights should first learn the sciences that appertain to knighthood and after they are squires they should ride through diverse countries with their knights. And if there are no errors in the clerks and in the knights there is no difficulty[40], there should be no difficulties in any other people. For as the clerks should have devotion and a love for god, so the knights should have no reason to do wrong, engage in treason or berate another. And as the clerks have masters and doctrines and go to schools to learn, and as there are so many sciences in which they have written and been ordained in their doctrine, so is great wrong done to the order of knighthood, of this that is not a science that is written and read in schools like the other sciences. Therefore the one who wrote this book beseeches the noble king and all the noble company of noble knights that be in this Court assembled in the order of chivalry, of that wrong which is done to it, and which must be amended and satisfaction done.

Of the office that appertains to a knight.

The office of a knight is the end and the beginning of the Order of Chivalry. Therefore, if a knight does no exercise his office, he is acting contrary to the Order and the very font of chivalry. One who does so is not a true knight, and by bearing that name is more vile than the smith or carpenter that done their office after that they owe to do and have learned. The office of a knight is to maintain and defend the holy Catholic faith, by whose god the father sent his son into the world to take on human flesh through the glorious virgin—our Lady Saint Mary—and to honour and multiply the faithful who suffer in this world through travails, despites and anguishing deaths. Then, just as our lord god has chosen the clerks to maintain the holy Catholic faith with scripture and reason against the miscreants and non-believers, so has god of glory chosen knights that can, by force of arms, vanquish the miscreants which daily labour to destroy the holy church. Such knights god holds as his honoured friends in this world, and in the next, when they keep and maintain the faith by which we all intend to be saved. The knight that has no faith, and uses no faith, and is contrary to those that maintain it, is like the understanding[41] of a man to whom god has given reason and chooses not to use it. Therefore he that has faith and is contrary to faith and will be saved acts against himself. For his will accords to miscreant behaviour, which is contrary to faith and to Salvation[42]. By this miscreant behaviour a man is condemned[43] to eternal[44] infernal torments. There have been many that have had offices given to them by god in this world to the end that they use those offices to serve him and honour him; but the most noble and the most honourable of those offices have been the offices of clerks and of knights. Therefore, the greatest friendship[45] that should be in this world, ought to be between the knights and clerks. Therefore, just as clerks cannot be ordained in their order if they do not believe in the Order of Chivalry, so should no knight be maintained by the Order of Chivalry who is contrary to the clerks, who have been bound to love and maintain the Order of Chivalry. The Order is not bestowed upon a man for him to love his Order only, but rather he ought to love the other Orders as well. For to love one Order and hate another is wrong; for god has given no one an Order that is contrary to another Order. Therefore, a religious man should not love his own Order so much that it makes him an enemy of another Order he is not a member of nor follows[46].

If a knight loved the Order of Chivalry, and destroyed some other Order, it would make that Order contrary to God, which may not be since[47] He has established order. So noble is Chivalry that every knight ought to be governor of a great country on land. But, there being so many knights, that the land may not suffice to signify that one ought to be lord of all things. The Emperor ought to be a knight and a lord of knights. And because the Emperor may not by himself govern all knights it behooves him that he hand under him kings that are knights to the end that they aid and help maintain the Order of Chivalry. And the kings ought to have under them dukes, earls, viscounts and other lords. And under the barons there ought to be knights which ought to govern themselves after the ordinance of the barons, which being in the high degree of chivalry should show their excellence, lordship, power and wisdom of our lord God, which is the one true God of the Trinity, and can and may govern all things. Therefore it is not reasonable[48] that a knight alone should by himself govern all the people of this world. For if one knight alone might do so, the lordship, the power and wisdom of God should not be so signified. And therefore to govern all the peoples there are in the world, God wills that there be many knights, of whom He is the governor of all, like as it was said at the beginning.

And then kings and princes which make provosts and bailiffs of other persons than of knights done against the office of chivalry for the knight is more worthy to have lordship over the people that any other man, and by honour of his office ought to be done to him greater honour than any other man that has not so honourable an office, and by the honour that he receives of his Order. He has nobleness of heart, and nobleness of courage he is less inclined to do a villainous feat or deed than another man.

The office of a knight is to maintain and defend his worldly or earthly[49] lord , for no king or high baron has the power to maintain righteousness in his men without aid and help. Then if any man acts against the commandment of his king or prince, it behooves the knights to aid their lord, which is but a man as another is. And therefore the evil knight which sooner helps another man that would overthrow his Lord and seize his powers does not follow the office and should not be called knight.

By the knights ought to be maintained and kept justice for in likewise have the knights the office for to keep them from violence in exercising the fate of justice if it might be that chivalry and clergy assembled them together in such a manner that knights should be learned so that by science they were sufficient to be judges.

No one office is as reasonable a choice to be a judge as is chivalry, for he that by justice may best be held is more reasonable to be a judge than any other knights ought to take coursers to joust and go to tourneys, to hold open tables, to hunt at harts, at boars and other wild beasts. For in doing these things the knights exercise in arms to maintain the Order of knighthood. Then to inspire and love the custom of that which the knight is most appairalled to use his office is but despising of the order and thus as all these things afore said appertain to a knight as touching his body, in likewise justice, wisdom, charity, loyalty, virility, humility, strength, hope, swiftness and all other virtues that would[50] appertain to a knight as touching his soul and therefore the knight that uses the things that appertain to the order of chivalry as touching his body he has none of the virtues that appertain to chivalry touching his soul is not the friend of the order of knighthood. For if it were thus that he made no separation of the virtues above said, saying that they appertain not to the soul, and to the body of chivalry together[51], it should signify that the body and chivalry were both two together contrary to the soul and to these virtues and that is false. The office of a knight is to maintain the land, for because the dread of the common people have of the knights, they labour and cultivate the earth, for fear lest they should be destroyed. And by the dread of the knights they redouble the kings, princes and lords, by whom they have their power. But the wicked knight that aids not his earthly lord and natural country against another prince is a knight without office and is like onto faith without works and like onto disbelief which is against the faith.

Then if such a knight follows the office of chivalry in destroying himself and not to aid his lord. Such a knight and his order should do wrong to that knight which fight unto the death for justice and to maintain and defend his lord. There is no offense that is often made but that may be defeated. For if that which is made might not be defeated that should be a thing resembling God which is not nor may not be defeated nor destroyed. Then as the office is made and ordained of God, and is maintained by them that love the Order of chivalry. Because the wicked knight that loves not the Order of chivalry defeat a knight in himself, but the evil king or prince that defeats in himself the Order of chivalry he defeats it not only in himself but he defeats it in the knights that are under him, the which done that which appertains not to a knight by the wicked example[52] of their lord so that by disloyal flattery they be loved of him.

And by this reason the wicked princes being not all only contrary to the order and office of chivalry to their persons, but they being also to them that being submissive to them in whom they defeat the order of chivalry. Then if to cast a knight out of chivalry is great cruelty and great wickedness. Much more great default is for to cast many out of chivalry when any noble prince or high baron has in his court or in his company wicked knights, false and traitors, that never finish to admonish him that he do wickedness, strife[53], treasons, and extortions to his true subjects. And the good prince by the strengths of his noble courage and by the great love and loyalty that he has to chivalry surmounts them, vanquishes and destroys by cause that in himself he destroys not chivalry. Much great strength of courage and great nobleness has such a lord in himself. And greatly is he a friend of chivalry when he takes vengeance of such enemies that would take from him and pluck away the wealth[54] and honour of chivalry and corrupt his noble courage if chivalry were more strong of body then in strength of courage, order of chivalry should more accord to the body than to the soul. And if it were so the body should be more noble than the soul, but that is openly false. Then nobleness of courage may not be vanquished of man, nor surmounted, nor of all the man that being when she is in her right strength.

And when a body is lightly taken and vanquished of another it appears well that the courage of man is more strong and noble than the body.

And by such manner a knight that is in battle with his lord and for lack of courage flees from the battle when need should be that he should aid. Therefore the that more terrible[55] or fears the torment or peril of his body than of his courage and uses not the office of chivalry nor is not servant nor observant to other honours but is against the order of chivalry which has begun by nobleness of courage if the less nobleness of courage should accord better to the order of chivalry than the greater unto chivalry should accord sloth of heart and cowardice against hardiness and strength of courage.

And if it were thus, sloth and cowardice should be the office of a knight and hardiness and strength of courage should make up[56] the order of chivalry.

Then how be it all the contrary.

Therefore a noble knight that loves chivalry how much less[57] he has aid of his fellows, and less of arms and less to defend, so much more him behooves to enforce himself to have the office of a knight by hardiness of a strong courage and of a noble appearance then that are contrary to chivalry. And if he die for to maintain chivalry then he acquires chivalry in that in which he may the better love and serve it. For chivalry abides not so agreeably in no place as in nobleness of courage. And no man may more honour and love chivalry, nor more for him may not be do that that dies for love and for to honour the order of chivalry. Chivalry and hardiness may not accord without wit and discretion. And if it were thus that folly and ignorance accorded there to, wit and discretion should be contrary to the order of chivalry and that is a thing impossible by which is openly signified to the knight that has great love to the order of chivalry. That all in likewise as chivalry by nobleness of courage have made the to have hardiness so that you doubt not no peril nor death by cause you might honour chivalry. In likewise it behooves that the order of chivalry make the love wisdom by which you may love and honour the order of chivalry against the disordinence and default that is in them that were to follow the order of chivalry by folly and ignorance and without understanding. The office of a knight is to maintain and defend women, widows and orphans, and men diseased and not powerful[58] or strong. For like as custom and reason is that the greatest and most mighty help the feeble and less, and that they have recourse to the great. Right so is the order of chivalry because she is great, honourable and mighty, be in succor and in aid to them that are under him and less mighty and less honoured than he is. Then as it is so that for to do wrong and force to women widows that have need of aid, and orphans that have need of governance. And to rob and destroy the feeble that have need of strength and to take away from them that is given to them. These things may not accord to the order of chivalry. For this is wickedness, cruelty and tyranny, and the knight that instead of these vices is full of virtues, he is of great honour[59] and worthy to have the order of chivalry. And in all likewise as God has given even to the workman for to see to work. Right so he has given even to a sinner, to the end that he laments[60] his sins, and like as God has given to him a heart, to the end that he be hardy by his nobleness, so ought he to have in his heart mercy, and that his courage be inclined to the works of compassion[61] and of pity, that is to bathe[62], to help and aid and mercy, and that in them have them that all weeping[63] require of the knights aid and mercy, and that in themselves have their hope. Then knights that have none even. By which they may see the feeble and not strong nor have not the heart nor the might by which they may record the needs of the wicked[64] and needy people be not worthy to be in the order of chivalry, if chivalry, which is so much more honourable office, were to rob and destroy the poor people and not mighty and [tengyne] and do wrong to good women, widows, that have nothing to defend them, that office then were not virtuous, but it should be vicious.

The office of a knight is to have a castle and horse for to keep the ways, and for to defend them that labour on the lands and the earth, and they ought to have towns and cities for to hold right to the people and for to assemble in a place men of many diverse crafts which be much necessary to the ordinance of this world to keep and maintain the life of man and woman.

Then as the knights for to maintain their offices be so much praised and allowed that they be lords of towns, castles and cities and of much people if then they intend to destroy castles, cities and towns, burn houses, hew down trees, slay beasts, and rob in the highways were the office of chivalry, it should be disordinence to chivalry. For if it were so, chivalry were not well ordained, for then good ordinance and his contrary should be one thing, and that may not be. The office of a knight is also to seek[65] out these robbers and other wicked folk for to make them to be punished. For in likewise as the axe is made to hew and destroy the evil[66] trees, in likewise is the office of a knight established for to punish the trespassers and delinquents. And because that God and chivalry concorde together it behooves that false swearing and untrue oaths be not in them that maintain the order of chivalry. And if lechery and justice accorded together, chivalry which accords to justice should accord to lechery, and if chivalry and lechery accorded chastity which is contrary to lechery should be against the honour of chivalry. And if it were so that for to maintain lechery knights were honoured in maintaining chivalry seeing that lechery and justice being contrary and that chivalry is ordained for to maintain justice.

The knight ought and should be just and totally contrary to the end wherefore the order of knighthood was first established. And if justice and humility weren’t contrary, chivalry which accords him not to justice should be contrary to humility. And if he accords him to pride, he should be contrary to humility.

And then if a knight in as much as he is proud maintained chivalry, he corrupts his order which was begun by justice and humility for to sustain the humble against the proud. For if it were so the knights that now being should not be in that order in which they were first knights, But all the knights now injurous and proud full of wickedness be not worthy to chivalry but ought to be reputed for naught where from[67] being humility and justice what do they or where serve they and if justice and peace were contrary, chivalry which accords him to justice should be contrary to peace. And by that, they that love wars, thefts, and robbery should be knights and to the contrary they that pacify and accord the good people and that flee the tribulations and wickedness of the world should be evil and wicked knights.

But the high emperor God which all sees and knows[68] well that it is contrary and otherwise. For the felons and injurous being all contrary to chivalry and to all honour I demand they who were the first knights that accorded them to justice and peace and pacified by justice and by force and strength of arms. For all in likewise in the time in which chivalry began was the office of chivalry to pacify and accord the people by force of arms. The knights injurous and warriors that now being maintain and make up the order of chivalry in many manners owe and may a knight use the office of knighthood. But because we have to speak of many things we pass over as lightly as we may. And also at the request of the right courteous esquire, veritably[69] loyal, and well trained in all courtesy and honour, which much long have desired the rule and order of chivalry. We have begun this book for the love of him, and for his desire and will to accomplish. We purpose briefly to speak in this book because that shortly he shall be dubbed and made new knight.

Of the examining of the squire that will enter in to the order of chivalry or knighthood.

To examine a squire that will enter into the order of chivalry appertains well and him behooves an examiner which ought to be a knight and next after God that he love above all things chivalry or knighthood. For some knights there are which love better great number of knights all be they cruel and wicked than a little number of good. And not withstanding chivalry have no regard to the multitude of number but love only them that are full of nobleness or courage and if good training as to fore is said. Therefore if the Examiner loves more multitude of knights than nobleness of chivalry he is not considered nor worthy to be an examiner and reproved of the wrong and he has done to the high honour of chivalry.

First him behooves to demand of the squire that will be a knight if he love and dread God. For without to love and to dread God no man is worthy to enter into the order of chivalry. And dread makes him to fear the defaults by which chivalry takes dishonour. Then when it happens that the squire that nothing dreads God is made knight, he takes the honour in receiving Chivalry and receives dishonour in as much that he receives it without to honour and dread God of whom Chivalry is honoured. Therefore a squire without love and dread of God is not noble nor worthy to be a knight for to destroy and punish the wicked men. Then if a knight is a robber, wicked and traitor and that it be true that thieves and robbers ought to be taken and delivered to death by the knights. Than late the knight so crowded together[70] with wicked [códycions] take justice and right of himself and use his office as he ought to do of other. And if he will not use in himself his office like as he should use it in other it should follow that  he should love better the order of chivalry in other than in himself. But a thing reasonable nor lawful is it not that a man slay himself. And therefore a knight that is a robber and a thief ought to be taken and delivered to death by other knights and every knight that sustains and suffers a knight to be a robber and thief in that doing he uses not his office. For if he used in that manner he should do then against his office. Therefore the false men and traitors ought to be destroyed which be not very true knights if thou knight have only evil or suffering[71] in one of your ranks[72] that [sure] or pain is more near[73] to your other hand than to me or to another man. Then every knight a traitor and robber is more near to the that are a knight than to me that am no knight nor of your office as he whom sustains and is such by the default and if that same evil grew the more than me wherefore then excuses the of the punishing of such a man which is contrary and enemy of chivalry and they that being not knights you reprove or ought to blame[74] of their defaults. A knight being a thief does greater theft to the high order of chivalry in as much as he takes away the name of a knight without cause than he does that takes away or steals money or other things.

For to steal or take away the honour is to give evil fame and reknown and to blame that thing which is worthy to have praising and honour. For honour is more worth than gold or silver without any comparison. First because it is said that it is said that it is more great default for to steal or take away chivalry than for to steal money or other things that be not chivalry. For if it were the contrary it should be of more value than honour. Secondly if any traitor slew his lord or lay with his wife or betrayed his castle were named a knight what name should have that man that for to honour and defenc his lord dies in the feat of arms. Thirdly if a knight being a traitor be born out of his default what default may he then make of which he may be reproved and punished since that his lord punishes him not of treason. And if his lord maintains not the order of chivalry in punishing his knight traitor in whom shall he maintain it. And if he destroy not his traitor what thing shall he destroy and every lord that takes not vengeance of his traitor wherefore is he a lord or a man of any authority[75]. The office of a true knight is to accuse a traitor and to fight against him and the office of a knight traitor is to gainsay him of that he is fearful[76] of and to fight against a true knight. And these two offices being well contrary that one against that other. For so much evil is the courage of a knight traitor that he may not vanquish and surmount the noble courage of a good knight how well that by surrendering he win [sótyme] to overcome in fighting for the true knight that fights for the right may not be surmounted. For if a knight a friend of chivalry were vanquished that should be pity[77] and against[78] the honour of chivalry if to rob and to take away were the office of a knight to give should be contrary to the order of chivalry. And if to give appertained to any other office how well that a man should have that he should maintain the office for to give. And to give the things stolen appertained to chivalry to whom should appertain to render and re-establish. And if a knight took away from the good people that which God has given to them and would retain it as his possession what thing should defend to good men their right little knows he and evil keeps he that commands his sheep to the keeping of the wolf and that puts his fair wife in the keeping of a young knight traitor and that his castle is given into custody[79] to a knight courteous.

And if such a man that thus foolishly delivers to keep his things how should he well keep other men’s. Is there no knight that gladly would keep his wife from a knight traitor. Certainly I think yes. Also is there no knight courteous and robber that never [fayneth] him to steel. Certainly no such knights that being evil and wicked may not be brought again nor redressed to the order of chivalry. For to have harness fair and good and to know himself to take care[80] of his horse is the office of a knight. That is to say that a knight ought well to have the ability[81] to be a good master to the end that them whom he has committed[82] to do or make anything he could reprove of their difficulties. And if to have harness and no horse were the office of a knight it would seem that which that is and that which is not were the office of a knight. But to be and not to be should be things contrary, wherefore a knight without harness may not be nor ought to be named a knight.

There is a commandment in our law that no Christian man should be perjured. Also a false oath ought to be reproved in the order of chivalry. And he is not that [periureth] him worthy to be in the order of chivalry.

Then if a squire has a vile courage and would be a knight he will destroy the order that he demanded wherefore then demands he the order that he loves it not the which he intends to destroy by his evil nature. And he that makes a knight of vile courage by favour or otherwise for see that he know that he be such does against his order and charges his conscience. Seek not nobleness of courage in the mouth. For every mouth says not the truth. Nor seek it in honourable clothing. For under many a fair habit has been oft vile courage full of strife and wickedness. Nor seek it not in the horse. For he may not answer. Nor seek it not in the fair harness. For within fair garments is often a wicked heart and coward. Then if you will find nobleness of courage demand it of faith, hope, charity, justice, strength, temperance, loyalty and other noble virtues. For in them is nobleness of courage by them is defeated the heart of a noble knight from wickedness from treachery and from the enemies of chivalry. Age reasonable appertains to a new knight for if the squire that be a knight be over young he is not worthy to be it because he may not be so wise that he has learned the things that appertain a squire for to know before he be a knight and if he be a knight in his infancy he may never so much remember that which he promises to the order of chivalry. When need shall be that he remember it and if the squire that will be a knight be vile before that he be in it he does villainy and injury to chivalry that is maintained by strong men and fighters and is defaulted by coward men and faint of heart, unmighty, feeble, upset[83] and [flears]. All in likewise as virtue and measure abide in the middle of two extremities and their contrary that is to soak in pride and vice. Right so a knight ought to be made a knight and to be nourished in age competent and always virtuous unto the end by right measure. For if it were not thus it should follow that contrariness were between chivalry and measure. And if it were so virtue and chivalry should be contrary. And if they should be contrary in the squire which is negligent[84] and slow to be a knight wherefore will you then be in the order of knighthood or chivalry. If by beauty of fashion[85] or by a body fair great and well adorned or by fair hair by regard or for to hold the mirror in the hand, and by the other [lolytees] should a squire be dubbed[86] knight of villains and of people of little language and vile may you make knights. And if you make them your language you should dishonour and wickedness. And the nobleness that God has given greater to man than to woman you should make it less and bring it to violence[87].

For by the things before said you might chose women to be knights which often have the mirror in the hand by which you should diminish and make low the order of chivalry in so much that any vile woman or any villain of heart might come to be put in the right high honour of the order of chivalry. Peerage and chivalry according together. For peerage is nothing but honour anciently accustomed. And chivalry is an order that has endured since the time in which it was begun unto this present time. And because that peerage and chivalry accord them if you make a knight that is not of peerage you make chivalry to be contrary to peerage. And by this same reason he who you make a knight is contrary to peerage and chivalry then you may not have so much power that you make a knight a man of vile courage. Forseen that to the order of chivalry you will do right. Nature is much honoured in trees and in beasts as touching to nature corporeal[88]. But by the nobleness of the soul reasonable which so much only parts with the heart of a man because that nature has greater virtue in the body human than in the body bestial. Thus in the same wise the order of chivalry is more suitable and much more supporting[89] to a gentle heart replenished with all virtues than in a man vile and of evil life. And if it were otherwise it should ensue that chivalry should better agree to the nature of the body than to the virtue of the soul. And that is flase. For it better agrees to the soul than to the body. Nobleness of courage appertains to chivalry. To examine a squire that will be a knight behooves to demand and inquire of his customs and manners, For evil training being occasion by which the wicked knights being put out of the order of chivalry an unsuitable thing it is that a squire being wicked be made a knight. And that he enter into the order out of which he must issue[90] by wicked feats and disagreeable customs. For chivalry costs out of his order all the enemies to honour and requires them that have valour and maintain honesty. And if it were not so it should follow that chivalry might be destroyed in violence and might not be repaired nor restored into nobleness. And that is false and therefore you knight that examines the squire are bound more strongly to search for nobleness and valour in a squire than in any other person.

Thou knight that has the office to examine a squire that will enter into the order of chivalry, you ought to know, for what intention the squire has will for to join[91] or for to be honoured without that he do honour to chivalry and to them that honour it. And if it appear to the that for cause he pretends to be a knight know that he is not worthy to be made knight nor for to have the order. All thus as the intention falls and ends in clerks by buying their office[92] by which they being enhanced to be prelates right so an evil squire deceives[93] and sets his will and intention when he will be knight against the order of chivalry. And if a clerk has bought his office in that it is against his office[94]. Right so a squire that has false intention to the office of chivalry is against the order of chivalry what so ever he does. A squire that desires chivalry him behooves to know the great charge and the perils that being apparialled to them that will have chivalry and maintain it. A knight ought more to doubt the blame of the people and his dishonour than he should the peril of death and ought to give greater passion to his courage than hunger or thirst, heat or cold may give to his body.

And because all the perils ought to be shown and told to the squire before he is dubbed or made knight. Chivalry may not be maintained without harness[95] which appertains to a knight nor without the honourable costs and dispenses which appertain to chivalry. Because a squire being without harness and that has no riches for to make his dispenses if he be made a knight he should perchance[96] unluckily[97] for need to be a robber, a thief, traitor, liar or begger or have some other vices which being contrary to chivalry. A man lame or over great or over fat or that has any other evil disposition in his body for which he may not use the office of chivalry is not sufficient to be a knight. For it should not be honest to the order of chivalry if she received a man for to bear arms which were spotted[98] corrupt and not mighty. For so much noble and high is chivalry in her honour that a squire lame of any member how well that he be noble and rich and born of noble language is not noble or worthy to be received into the order of chivalry and after also ought to be inquired and demanded of the squire that demands chivalry if he ever did any falseness or treachery which is against the order of chivalry. For such a feat may he have done and yet but little set by it that he is not worthy that chivalry should receive him into his order nor that he be made fellow of them that maintain the order of chivalry if a squire have vainglory of that he does he is not worthy to be a knight. For vainglory is a vice which destroys and brings to naught the merits and rewards[99] of the benevolence[100] of chivalry. A squire a flatterer discords to the order of chivalry. For a man being a flatterer corrupts good intention by the which corruption is destroyed and corrupt the nobleness that appertains to the courage of a knight. A squire proud, evil taught, full of villainous words and of villain courage, avarice, a liar, untrue, slothful, a glutton, perjured, or that has any other vices seemingly according not to chivalry, then if chivalry receive them that being against the order it should follow that in chivalry ordinance and disordinance were one proper thing. And when one’s life[101] in chivalry is known for the order of valour therefore every squire ought to be examined before he be made a knight.

In what manner a squire ought to be received into the order of chivalry.

At the beginning that a squire ought to enter into the order of chivalry him behooves that he confess him of his defaults that he has done against God and ought to receive chivalry in intention that in the same he serve our lord God which is glorious and if he be clean out of sin he ought to receive his savior. For to make and dub a knight it appertains the day of some great feast as Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, or on such days of religious reverence[102] because that by the honour of the feast assemble much people in that place where the squire ought to be dubbed a knight and God ought to be adored and prayed that he give to him grace for to live well after the order of chivalry. The squire ought to fast the vigil of the same feast in the honour of the saint of whom the feast is made that day and he ought to go to the church for to pray God and ought to wake the night and be in his prayers and ought to hear the word of God and touching the deed[103] of chivalry for if he otherwise hear jongleurs and ribalds that speak of fornication[104] and of sin he should begin then to dishonour chivalry. On the morn after the feast in the which he has been dubbed him behooves that he do a mass to be dream[105] religious reverence[106] and the squire ought to come before the altar and offer to the priest which holds the place of our lord to the honour of whom he must oblige and [submyse] himself to keep the honour of chivalry with all his power in that same day ought to be made a sermon in which should be recounted and declared the twelve articles in which is founded[107] the holy faith Catholic, the ten commandments and the seven sacrements of holy church and the other things that appertain to the faith and the squire ought much diligently to take heed and retain all these things to congregate[108] he keep in his mind the office of chivalry touching the things that appertain to faith.

The twelve articles being such to believe one God only, that is the first, and it behooves to believe that the Father, the Son and the holy ghost being one God only in three persons without end and without beginning which make unto the fourth article. To believe that God is creator and maker of all things is the fifth. The sixth is to believe that God is redeemer that is to say that he was redeemed or bought again the human language from the pains of hell to which it was pulled[109] by the sin of Adam and Eve our first father and mother. The seventh is to bless that God above gave glory to them that be in heaven. These seven articles appertain to the deity and the other following appertain to the humanity that the son of God took in our lady Saint Mary. The first of the seven articles following to the humanity is to believed that Jesus Christ was conceived of the holy ghost when Saint Gabriel the archangel greeted[110] our lady. The second and third is to believe that he has been crucified and died for to save us. The fourth is to believe that his soul dwelled in hell for to deliver his friends. That is to [wete] Adam, Abraham and other prophets which believed his holy coming. The fifth is to believe that he be raised from death to life. The sixth is to believe that he stayed up in heaven the day of ascension. The seventh is to believe that Jesus Christ shall come at the day of judgement when all shall arise and shall judge the good and evil and shall give to each pain and glory after that he has deserved in this transitory world. It behooves to all good Christian men to believe these articles which being very witness of God and of his works. For without these articles none may be saved. The commandments of God which he gave to Moses upon the mount of Sinai being ten. The first is that you shall adore, love and shall serve all only one God. Nor you should not be [pariured] hallow and sanctify the Sunday, honour thy father and mother and be thou neither homicide or murderer, do no theft nor fornication, and bear no false witness nor covet the wife of your neighbour nor have you any of the goods of your neighbour. To all knights it behooves to know the ten commandments that God has given. The sacrements of holy church being seven, that is to wet, baptism, confirmation, the sacrament of the alter, marriage, penance, and unction. By these seven sacrements we hope all to be saved. And a knight is bound by his oath to honour and accomplish these seven sacrements. And therefore it appertains to every knight that he know well his office and the things to which he is bound since that he has received the order of knighthood. And all these things before said and of other that appertain to chivalry the preacher ought to make mention that preaches in the presence of the squire which ought to pray much devoutly that God give to him his grace and blessing by which he may be a good knight all the days of his life from then forth. And when the preacher has said all this that appertains to his office, then must the prince or baron that will make the squire and dub him a knight have in himself the virtue and order of chivalry. For if the knight that makes knights is not virtuous how may he give that which he has not? Such a knight is of worse condition that be the plants. For the plants have power to give their natures the one to the other, And of beast and of fowl is also a thing resembling and like. But this may not the knight do. Sucha knight is evil and false that disordinately will multiple his order. For he does wrong and villainy to chivalry. For he will do that the which is not suitable thing to so and that by which he ought to honour chivalry he defeats and blames. Then if by default of such a knight it happens sometimes that the squire that receives of him chivalry is not so much aided nor maintained of the grace of our lord nor of virtue nor of chivalry as he should be if he were made of a good and loyal knight. And therefore such a squire is a fool and all other similar[111] that of such a knight receives the order of chivalry. The squire ought to kneel before the altar and lift up to God his eyes corporeal and spiritual and his hands to heaven and the knight ought to gird him in sign of chastity, justice and of charter with his sword. The knight ought to kiss the squire and to give him a palm because that he be remembering of that which he receives and promises and of the great charge in which he is obliged and bound and of the great honour that he receives by the order of chivalry. And after when the knight spiritual[112] that is the priest and the knight [terryen] have done that appertaining to their office as touching to the making of a new knight. The new knight ought to ride through the town and to show him to the people to the end that all men know and see that he is a newly made knight. And that he is bound to maintain and defend the high honour of chivalry. For so much shall he have more greater refraining[113] to do evil. For by his shame that he shall have of the people that shall know his chivalry he shall withdraw him so much the more for to [mespryse] against the order of chivalry. At that same day him behooves to make a great feast and to give fair gifts and great dinners to joust and sport and do other things that appertain to the order of chivalry and to give to kings of arms and to heralds as it is accustomed or ancient and the lord that makes a new knight ought to give to the new knight also a present or gift. And also the new knight ought to give to him and other that same day. For who so receives so great a gift as is the order of chivalry honours not his order if he give not after the power that he may give. All these things and many others the which I will not now recount because of shortness of time appertain to chivalry.

Of the significance of the arms of a knight.

Then that which the priest [reuestyth] him when he sings the mass has some significance which concords to his office. And the office of priesthood and of chivalry have great concordance. Therefore to the order of chivalry requires that all that which is needful to a knight as touching the use of his office have some significance. By the which is signified the nobleness of chivalry and of his order. Unto a knight is given a sword which is made is reminiscent[114] of the cross for to signify how our lord God vanquished in the cross the death of human lineage[115] to the which he was judged for the sin of our first father Adam. All in likewise a knight owes to vanquish and destroy the enemies of the cross by the sword. For chivalry is to maintain justice. And therefore is the sword made cutting on both sides to signify that the knight ought with the sword maintain chivalry and justice. To a knight is given a spear for to signify truth. For truth ought to go before falseness and the iron or head of the spear signifies strength which truth ought to have above falseness. And the pennon signifies that truth shows to all faith and has no dread nor fear of falseness nor of treachery. And veracity is sustaining of hope and also of other things which being signified by the spear of a knight. The hat of steel or iron is given to the knight to signify shamefastness. For a knight without shamefastness may not be obedient to the order of chivalry.

And all thus as shamefastness makes a man to be ashamed and causes to cast down his eyes against the earth in likewise the hat of iron defends a man to look upward or high and makes him to look toward the ground and is the middle[116] between the things high and low. For it covers the head of a man which is the most high and principal [mébre] that is in the body of a man. Also shamefastness defends the knight which has the most noble office and most high that is next the office of a clerk that he incline nor bow him not to villainous fates and horrible and that the nobleness of his courage [abádoune] him nor give him to berate wickedness nor to any evil knowledge. The hauberk signifies a castle and fortress against vices and defaults for all in likewise as a castle and fortress being closed all about in likewise a hauberk is firm and close on all parts to the end that it give significance to a noble knight that he in his courage ought not to enter into treason nor any other vice. Chausses of iron or leg harness being given to a knight for to keep and hold surely his legs and feet from peril to signify that a knight with iron ought to hold him upon the ways that is to understand with the sword, spear and mace and other garments of iron for to make the malefactors and to punish them. The spurs being given to a knight to signify diligence and swiftness because that with these two things every knight may maintain his order in the high honour that belongs to it. For in likewise as with the spurs he pricks his horse by cause to hasten him to do his things and makes him to procure the harness and the dispenses that beings needful to a knight to the end that a man be not surprised nor taken suddenly.

The gorget is given to a knight to signify obedience, for every knight that is not obedient to his lord nor to the order of chivalry dishonours his lord and issues out of his order. And right so as the gorget encompasses[117] or goes about the neck of a knight by cause it should be defended from strokes and wounds in likewise makes obedience a knight to be within the commandments of his sovereign and within the order of chivalry to the end that treason, pride, nor no other vice corrupt not the oath that the knight has made to his lord and to chivalry. The mace is given to the knight to signify strength of courage. For like as a mace or poleaxe is strong against all armies and smites on all parts right so force or strength of courage defends a knight from all vices and enforces virtues and good customs by the which knights maintain the order of chivalry in the high honour which is due and appertains to it. A dagger[118] or knife with a cross is given to a knight to the end that if his other armours fail him that he have recourse to the myserycorde[119] or dagger or if he be so near his enemy that he may not greive nor smite him with his spear or with his sword that then he join to him and surmount him if he may by the force or strength of his dagger or knife. And because this armour which is named myserycirde shows to a knight that he ought not to trust all in his arms nor in his strength but he ought so much reliance[120] and trust in God and to join to him by right good works and by very hope that he ought to have in him that by the help and aid of God he vanquish his enemies and them which being contrary to the order of chivalry. The shield is given to the knight to signify the office of a knight for in likewise as the knight puts his shield between him and his enemy right so the knight is the middle between the prince and the people. And like as the stroke falls upon the shield and saves the knight right so the knight ought to apparel him and present his body before his lord when he is in peril, hurt, or taken. Gauntles being given to a knight to the end that he put his hands therein for to be sure and to receive the strokes. If it were so that his other armours manifold[121] failed to him. And thus as the knight with his gauntlets handles more surely the spear or his sword. And that to the significance of the gauntlets he lift up on high his hand. Right so ought he to life them up in thanking God of the victory that he has had.

By the gauntlets is also signified that he ought not to lift up his hand in making a false oath nor handle none evilly no foul teachings nor dishonest with his hands. The saddle in which the knight sits when he rides signifies surety of courage, the charge and the great burden of chivalry. For like as by the saddle a knight is sure upon his horse. Right so surety of courage makes a knight to be in the front of battle. By the which surety adventure friend of chivalry aids him. And by surety being [mesprysed] many cowards [vaútours] and many vain appearances which make men cowards for to seem hardy and strong of courage and by that being many men refrained in such a manner that they dare not pass to fore in that place where noble courage and strong ought to be and pass above the course of a valiant knight and hardy.

And by the saddle is signified the charge of a knight. For the saddle like as we have said holds the knights firm upon his horse so that he may not fall nor move lightly but if he will and therefore the saddle which is so great signifies the charge of chivalry that the knight ought not in no wise to move light things. And if it behooves him and move he ought to have great courage, noble and hardy against his enemy for to enhance[122] the order of chivalry. To a knight is given a horse and also a courser for to signify nobleness of courage. And by cause that he be well horsed and high is by cause he may be seen from far and that is the significance that he ought to be made ready to do all that which behooves to the order of chivalry more than another man.

To a horse is given a bridle and the reins of the bridle being given in the hands of a knight by cause that the knight may at his will hold his horse and refrain him. And this signifies that a knight ought to refrain his tongue and hold that he speak no foul words nor false. And also it signifies that he ought to refrain his hands that he give not so much that he be suffering[123] and needy and that he beg nor demand nothing nor he ought not to be so hardy but that in his hardiness he have reason and temperance.

And by the reins is signified to the knight that he ought to be a soldier[124] in all ways[125] where the order of chivalry will lead him or send him.

And when it shall be time of necessity to make largesse his hands must give and depend after that it appertains to his honour. And that be hardy and doubt nothing his enemies for uncertainty[126]  [affeblyssheth] strength of courage.

And if a knight do contrary to do all these things his horse keeps better the rule of chivalry than he does to his horse keeps better the rule of chivalry than he does to his horse is given his head a reason to signify that a knight ought to do no one arms without reason. For like as the head of a horse goes before the knight right so ought reason go before all that a knight does. For all works without reason being vices in him and in all likewise as the testrier[127] keeps and defends the head of the horse. Right so reason keeps and defends a knight from blame and from shame. Garments of the horse being for to keep and defend the horse and they signify that a knight ought to keep his goods and his riches because that they might suffice to him for the office of chivalry to maintain. For like as the horse is defended of the strokes or hurts by his garments and without him he is in peril of death. In likewise a knight without goods temporal may not maintain the order of chivalry nor may not be defended from evil perils. For poverty causes a man to think turmoils, falsities and treasons and to this purpose says the scripture Propter inopiam multi delinquerunt. For poverty many have made falsehood. A coat is given to the knight in significance of the great travails that a knight must suffer for to honour chivalry. For like as the coat is above the other garments of iron and is in the rain and receives the strokes to fore the hauberk and the other armours. Right so is a knight chosen to sustain greater travail less than another man. And all the men that being under the nobleness of him and in his guard[128] ought when they have need to have recourse to him. And the knights ought to defend them after his power and the knights ought rather to be taken, hurt or dead, then the men that being in their guard. Then as it is so right great and large chivalry therefore being the princes and barons in so great travails for to keep their lands and their people.

A token or heraldic emblem[129] of arms is given to a knight in his shield and in his coat because that he be known in battle. And that he be allowed if he be hardy and if he do great and fair feats of arms and if he be coward faulty or recreant the emblem is given to him because that he be blamed, censured[130] and reproved. The emblem is also given to a knight to the end that he be known if he be a friend or enemy of chivalry wherefore every knight ought to honour his emblem that he be kept from blame the which blame casts the knight and puts him out of chivalry. The banner is given to a king, a prince, baron and to a knight banneret[131] which has under him many knights to signify that a knight ought to maintain the honour of his lord and of his land. For a knight is loved, praised and honoured by the folk of worship of the kingdom of his lord. And if they do dishonour of the land wherein they be and of their lord such knights being more blamed and shamed that other men. For like as for honour they ought to be more praised because that in them ought to be the honour of a prince and of the knight and of the lord. In likewise is their dishonour they ought to be more blamed. And because that for their heavy[132] falsehood or treason being knights and princes more disinherited[133] then by any other men.

Of the customs that appertain to a knight.

The nobleness of courage has chosen a knight to be above all other men that being under him in servitude nobleness of customs and good nourishments appertain to a knight for nobleness of courage may not strong[134] in the high honour of chivalry without election of virtues and good customs. Then as it is so it behooves of force to a knight that he be replenished of good customs and of good habits[135]. Every knight ought to know the seven virtues which being beginning and root[136] of all good customs and being the way and path of the celestial glory everlasting[137] of which seven virtues the three being theology or divine and the other four being cardinal. The theological being faith, hope and charity. The cardinal being justice, prudence, strength and temperance. A knighy without faith may not have in him good customs. For by faith a man sees spiritually God and his works and believes things invisible. And by faith has a man hope, charity and loyalty and is servant of verity[138] and truth. And by default of faith a man believes not God to be a man his works and the things which being invisible the which a man without faith may not understand nor know. Knights being accustomed by the faith that they have gone in to the land over the sea in pilgrimage. And there prove their strength and chivalry against the enemies of the cross and being martyrs if they die. For they fight for to enhance the holy faith Catholic. And also by faith being the clerks defended by the knights from wicked men which by default frauds[139], rob and disheart them as much as they may.

Hope is a virtue which much strongly appertains to the office of a knight. For by hope that he has in God he intends to have victory over the battle. By reason of the confidence[140] which he has greater in God than in his body nor in his arms. By hope is enforced the courage of the knight and vanquishes the tardiness and cowardice. Hope makes knights to sustain and suffer travails and for to be adventurous in perils in which they put themselves often.

Also hope makes them to suffer hunger and thirst in castles, cities and fastnesses. To the guard of whom they being assigned and defend them and the castle valiantly as much as they may for if there were no hope a knight might use his office.

And also hope is principal instrument to use the office of a knight like as the hand of a carpenter is principal instrument of carpentry. A knight without charity may not be without cruelty and evil will. And cruelty and evil will accord not to the office of chivalry because that charity behooves to be in a knight for is a knight have not charity in God and in his neighbour how or in what wise should he love God. And if he had not pity on poor men not mighty and diseased how should her have mercy on the men taken and vanquished that demand mercy as not of power to escape and may not find the outcome[141] that is of them demanded for their deliverance and if in a knight were not charity how might he be in the order of chivalry.

Charity is a virtue above other virtues for she departs every vice. Charity is a love of the which every knight ought to have as much as need is to maintain his office and charity also makes a man to bear lightly the heavy burdens[142] of chivalry for all in likewise as a horse without feet may not bear the knight. Right so a knight may not without charity sustain the great charge and burden of his order.

And by charity may chivalry being honoured and enhanced if a man without body were a man. Then were a man a thing invisible. And if he were invisible he were not a man nor that which he is. And all in likewise if a man without justice were a knight him behooves by force that justice were not in that in which she is or that chivalry were a thing diverse from the same chivalry which now is.

And how be it that a knight have the beginning of justice and be injurous and when to be in the order of chivalry that appertains not. For chivalry and justice according so strongly that withoug justice chivalry may not be. For an injurous knight is enemy of justice and defeats and casts himself out of chivalry and of his noble order and ruins it and despises.

The virtue of prudence is she by the which a man has knowledge of good and evil and by the which a man has grace to be friend of the good and enemy to the evil for prudence is a science by the which a man has knowledge of the things that being to come by the things present. And prudence is when by any caution[143] and control[144] a man can eschew the damages bodily and ghostly. And as the knights being ordained for to put away and destroy the evil. For no men put their bodies in so many perils as done the knights what thing is then to a knight more necessary than the virtue of prudence. To the custom[145] of a knight is equipment[146] to arm him and to fight. But that accords not so much to the office of knight as does usage[147] of reason and of understanding and ordained will. For many battles being many times vanquished more by dominance by wit and industry than by multitude of people of horse nor of good armours.

And to this purpose said the valiant knight Judas Maccabeus to his people when he saw his enemies which were in number six times more than were his and came for to fight. “Oh my brethren,” said he, “be you nothing, doubt, but that God will help us at this time. For I say you well that victory lays not in great multitude. For therein is great confusion.”

And by the wit and good prudence of the said Judas Maccabeus was the battle of his enemies vanquished and he obtained glorious victory. Then as it is so, if you knight will accustom and use reason and understanding and make him that will with all his power he be friend to good and enemy to evil. For by such usages prudence and chivalry assemble them to honour the order of chivalry. Strength is a virtue which remains and dwells in noble courage against the seven deadly sins by which men ho to hell to suffer and sustain grievous torments without end, the which sins being gluttony, lechery, avarice, pride, sloth, envy and ire. Then a knight that follows such way goes not in the ways[148] of nobleness of heart nor makes not there his abiding nor his habitation.

Gluttony engenders feebleness of body by over excessive[149] drinking and eating. For in over much drinking gluttony changes all the body with meats[150] and engenders sloth and laziness of body which grieves the soul. Then all the vices being contrary to chivalry therefore that strong courage of a knight fights with the aid of abstinence, prudence and temperance that he has against gluttony, lechery and chastity[151] fighting that are against that other. And the arms with which lechery wars with chastity being youth, beauty, much drink and much meat, quaint clothing[152] and gallant falsehood, treason, injury, and despising of God and of His glory.

And for to doubt the pains of hell which being infinite and the other things resembling that chastity and strength war on and fight against lechery and surmount it by remembrance of his commandments and for to remember and well to understand the goods and glory that God gives to them that love, serve, and honour him. And the evil and the pain which is appareled to them that despise and believe not in Him. And by well to love God he is worthy to be loved, served and honoured. And by that chastity wars and vanquishes lechery with nobleness of courage who that will not submit to evil nor to foul thoughts nor will not be lowered[153] nor defouled from his high honour and as a knight is named chevalier because that he owes to fight and war against vices and ought to vanquish and surmount by force of noble and good courage if he be not such one that he be without strength nor has not the heart of a knight nor has the arms with which he ought to fight then is he none.

Avarice is a vice which makes noble courage to descend and lower and to be submitted[154]  to vile and foul things. Then by the defeat of strength and of good courage which defend them not against avarice being many submitted and vanquished. And the courage of a knight also that will be strong and noble is vanquished. And by that being the knights covetous and avarice and by their courtesies done many wrongs and wickedness and being slaves[155] and bound to the goods that god has given to whom they being abandoned and submitted. Strength has such a custom that no time he aids his enemy nor never shall help a man if he demand him not succor and aid. For so much is noble and high a thing strength of courage in himself and so much great honour is due to it that at need of travails and perils it ought to be called and aid ought to be demanded of it. Then when the knight is by avarice tempted to incline his courage thereto which is mother[156] and root of all evils and of treason then ought he to have his recourse and run[157] to strength into which he shall never find cowardice nor laziness[158] nor feebleness nor default of succors nor of aid. For with strength a noble heart may vanquish all vices. Then thou knight covetous[159] wherefore have you not strong courage and noble like as was the noble courage of the powerful king Alexander which in dispraising avarice and covetousness had always the hands stretched forth for to give unto his knights. So much that by the renown of his largesse they that were soldiers with the king avarice which made war against him turned and came toward the same Alexander and confused his enemy covetous which to fore was their master. And therefore you ought for to think to the end that though he not submitted to villainous works and to foul thoughts by avarice the which accords not nor appertains not to chivalry. For if she appertained to it who should deny then that lechery were not appertaining to a knight. Sloth is a vice by the which a man is lover of wickedness and of evil and to hate goodness. And by this vice may be known and seen in men signs of damnation[160] better than by any other vice. And by the contrary of strength may be better known in a man the sign of salvation than by any other virtue. And therefore who that will overcome and surmount spiritual sloth[161] him behooves that in his heart he have strength by the which he vanquish the nature of the body which by the sin of Adam is inclined and appareled to do evil.

A man that has apathy or sloth has some sorrow and anger the while that he knows that another man does well. And when a man does harm to himself he has apathy or sloth is sick[162] and sorrowful of that that he has not more and greater. And therefore such a man has sorrow if good and of evil of other men. For ire[163] and displeasure given passion and pain to the body and to the soul. Therefore you knight which will vanquish and surmount that same vice ought to pray strength that she will enforce your courage against apathy in remembering that if God do good to any man therefore it follows it not thathe ought also well to do the for he gives not to him all that he has nor that he may give nor in that so giving he takes away nothing from the and therefore our God has given to us a parable in the gospel of them that laboured in the vineyard when he reproved them that had wrought from the morning unto the evening of that they murmured because that the lord of the vineyard gave as much salary and wages to them that were come at evensong time as to them that had laboured all the day and said to them that he did them no wrong and that of his own good he might do his will.

Pride is a vice or inequity or to be inequal to other and not like. For a proud man will have no peer nor equal to him but loves better to be alone not like any other. And therefore humility and strength being two virtues that love equality[164] and in that they be against pride if you proud knight will vanquish your pride. Assemble within your courage, humility and strength for humility without strength is nothing nor it may not hold against pride. And pride may not be vanquished but by that when you shall be armed and mounted upon your great horse you shall be perhaps[165] proud. But if strength of humility make you to remember the reason and the intention wherefore you are a knight you shall never have strength in your courage by which you may cast out proud thoughts. But if you be beaten down of their horse in battle, taken and vanquished you shall not be then so much proud as you were here before. For strength of body has vanquished and surmounted the pride of your courage. Then if strength of body may vanquish and surmount the pride of your courage how be it that nobleness is not a thing corporeal. Strength and humility which being things spiritual ought much better to cast out pride of noble courage.

Envy is a vice disagreeable to justice, to charity and to largesse which appertains to the order of chivalry. Then when any knight has a slothful heart and failing of courage and may not sustain nor follow the order of chivalry for default of strength which is not in his courage nor has not in himself the virtues of justice, charity, nor of largesse such fate is force violence dishonour and injury to chivalry. And by that is many a knight envious of others well and is slow to get the goods above said by strength of arms and is full of evil courage inclined and ready to take away other men’s things that be not his and of which he was never in possession. And by that him behooves to think how he might make strife and falsehood for to get riches of which sometime the order of chivalry is dishonoured is in courage disturbed[166] and remembrance of wicked will and by this trouble and remembrance it turns him in to forgetting or obligations[167] the intention into ignorance and will in to not [retchynge]. And as to remember to understand and to will being often illuminating[168] by the which a knight may follow the way and the rule of chivalry who will then cast out of his courage that which is trouble or understanding. And of his spirit him behooves to recover strength of courage, charity, temperance and patience which have domination upon the refraining of ire and they be rest and allegiance of the travails and passions that ire gives. Of so much that ire is great of so much it behooves that he have strength of courage that will surmount and join with him benevolence, abstinence, charity, patience and humility. And thus shall be ire surmounted and evil will, ire and impatience and other vices [appetyced] and lessen[169]. And when the vices being diminished[170] and the virtues greater as being justice and wisdom and by the greatness of justice and of wisdom is the order of chivalry the greater we have said here to fore the manner of after the which strength ought to be in the courage of a knight against the seven deadly sins. And we shall say here after of the virtue of temperance. Temperance is a virtue the which dwells in the middle of two vices of whom that one is sin by over great quantity. And that other is sin by over little quantity. And therefore between over much and over little must be temperance in so reasonable quantity that it be virtue. For it there should be no middle. And that may not be. A knight accustomed of good customs and well emblemed ought to be tempered in hardiness in eating, in drinking, in words and expenditures[171] and other things resembling to the same. Without temperance a knight may not maintain the order of chivalry nor he may not be in place where virtue dwells. The custom and usage of a knight ought to be to hear mass and sermon, to adore and pray to God, and the same love and dread, for by that habit[172] a knight may remember the death and filth of this world and demand of God the celestial glory and dread and doubt the pains of hell. And by that he may accustom him to use virtues and other things that appertain to maintain the order of chivalry. But a knight that to this does the contrary and believes in diviners[173] and in flying of birds does against God and has greater faith and hope in the wind of his head and in the works that the birds done and the diviners than in God and in his works, And therefore such a knight is not agreeable to God nor maintains not the order of chivalry. The carpenter nor the tailor nor the other crafty men have not power to use their office without the art and the manner that appertains to their offices. And as God has given discretion and reason to a knight by which he can use his office. And if he can live in maintaining the rule of chivalry if he then so do not he does wrong and injury to discretion and reason. For a knight that loves his discretion and that which reason and understanding[174] signify and show. And he follow and believe the diviners of them that by the flight of birds divine and saying that the bird flees on the right side signifies contrary to the left side. And to such things thanks and gives assurance. Such a knight casts away the nobleness of his courage and is all like to be a fool that uses no wit nor reason but does at all risk[175] all that he does. And therefore such a knight is against God. And after right and reason he ought to be vanquished and surmounted of his enemy which uses reason and discretion against him and has hope in God. And if it were not so it should follow that the diviners by the flight of birds and other things without reason and order of chivalry has among them a greater concordance than God, reason, discretion, hope, faith, and noble courage. And that is openly false. Knights that exhibit[176] faith to diviners that say that it is evil fortune[177] to see a woman discovered in the morning and that he may not make nor do a good feat of arms that day that he sees the head of his wife or any other bare and discovered by the false belief that he has. Also like as a judge uses his office when he judges after custom right so a knight uses his office when he uses reason and discretion which being the custom of chivalry. And also like as the judge that should give sentence after witness and then gives false judgement by the flight of birds or by barking of dogs or by such other things like to the same. Right so a knight does against his office if he do not that which reason and discretion show to him and witnessing but believes that which the birds done by their necessities. And because they go flying by the air at fate. Then as it is so by that ought to eschew reason and discretion and di after the significance that his weapons and armour[178] representing like to that which we have said before. And of the things that happen by adventure he ought not to make necessity nor custom.

To a knight appertains that he be lover of the commonwealth for by the commenality of the people was the chivalry founding and established. And the commonwealth is greater and more necessary than proper good and special. To a knight appertains to speak nobly and courteously and to have fair harness and to be well clad and to hold a good household and an honest house. For all these things being to honour chivalry necessary.

Courtesy and chivalry concording together. For villainous and foul words being against the order of chivalry [pryualte] and acquaintance of good folk, loyalty and truth, hardiness, largesse, honesty, humility, pity, and the other things related to these appertain to chivalry. And in likewise as he ought to God to compare all his nobleness. Right so a knight ought to compare to all that where of chivalry may achieve honour for them that being in his order the custom and the good teachings that a knight does to his horse is not so much to maintain the order of chivalry is not only in the horse nor in the arms but it is in the knight that well induces[179] and trains[180] his horse and accustomed himself and his son to good teachings[181] and virtuous works.

And so a wicked knight which induces and trains himself and his son to evil teachings and doctrines he enforces to make of himself and of his son beasts and of his horse a knight.

Of the honour that ought to be done a knight.

God has honoured a knight and all the people honours him like as in this book is recounted. And chivalry is an honourable office aboive all offices, orders and estates of the world save for the order of priesthood which appertains to the holy sacrifice of the altar. And the order of chivalry is much necessary as touching the government of the world like as we have before touched. And therefore chivalry by all these reasons and by the many other ought to be honoured of the people if to a knig nor to a prince were not nobleness of chivalry incarnate[182] by default of that which they should not be sufficient[183] and that they had not in them the virtues nor the honour that appertains to the order of chivalry.

They should not be worthy to be kings nor princes nor lords of countries. For in them chivalry ought to be honoured by the kings and great barons. For like as by the knights the high barons being honoured above the middle people. Right so the kings and high barons ought above the other people to hold the knights, chivalry and franchise[184] according together. And to the franchise and lordship of the king or of the prince according to the knights. For the knight must be free and frank because that the king is his lord. And therefore it behooves that the honour of a king or of a prince or of every baron and lord of a land be according in the honour of a knight in such manner that the king or prince be lord and the knight be honoured. To the honour of a knight appertains that he be loved for his bounty and goodness and that he be doubted and dreaded by his strength and that he be prayed for his gentleness[185] and [pryualte] and because that he is councilor of the king or of the prince or of another high baron.

Then to the despise[186] a baron because he is of the same nature of which every man is, is to despise all the things before said for which a knight ought to be honoured. Every noble baron and high lord that honours a knight and holds him in his court in his council and at his table he honours himself and similarly[187] he that honours him in battle honours himself.

And the lord that of a wise knight makes his messenger or ambassador delivers his honour to the nobleness of courage and the lord that multiples honour in a knight that is in his service multiples honour in himself. And the lord that aids and maintains a knights he does his office and enforces his seniority[188]. And the lord that is friend[189] with a knight has amity to chivalry. To require folly of the wife of a knight nor to incline her to wickedness is not the honour of a knight. And the wife of a knight which has children of villains honours not the knight but destroys and brings to naught the ancient[190] of the noble confraternity and of the noble lineage of a knight.

A knight also that has children of a villain woman honours not gentleness and the honour of chivalry according together in a knight and in a lady by virtue of marriage. And the contrary is destruction of chivalry if the men that being not knights being obliged and holding to honour a knight much more is obliged and bound[191] a knight to honour his body in being well clad and nobly and in being well horsed and to have fair harness good and noble and to be served and honoured of good persons much more without comparision than of any other. Then to honour the nobleness of his courage by the which he is in the order of chivalry the which courage is disordinate and dishonoured when a knight puts foul thoughts, wickedness and treasons in himself and casts out of his courage noble thoughts and good cogitations[192] which appertain to the order of chivalry. The knight that dishonours himself and his peer that is to [wete] another knight he is not noble or worthy to have honour. For if he were worthy wrong should be done to the knight that holds and does to chivalry as touching to himself and to that other knight.

Then as [chyuahy] has his dwelling in the noble courage of a knight no man may not so much honour or dishonour chivalry as a knight. Many being the honours and the reverences that ought to be done a knight. And as much as the knight is greater of so much is he more charged and bounding to honour chivalry.

In this book here have we spoken shortly enough of the order of chivalry therefore we make now here an end to the honour and the praise[193] of God our glorious lord and to our lady Saint Mary which be blessed in secula seculorū. Amen.

Caxton’s Epilogue

Here ends the book of the order of chivalry which book is translated out of French into English at a request of a gentle and noble esquire by me, William Caxton, dwelling at Westminster beside London in the most best wise that God has suffered me and according to the copy that the said squire delivered to me which book is not requisite to every common man to have but to noble gentlemen that by their virtue intend to came and enter into the noble order of chivalry the which in these late days has been used according to this book here to fore written but forgotten and practices[194] of chivalry not used, honoured, nor exercised as it has been in ancient time at which time the noble of the knights of England that used chivalry were renowned through the universal world as for to speak to fore the incarnation of Jesus Christ where were ever only like to Brenius[195] and Belynus that from the great Britain now called England unto Rome and fair beyond conquered many kingdoms[196] and lands whose noble acts remain in the old histories of the Romans and say the incarnation of our lord behold that noble King of Britain King Arthur with all the noble knights of a round table whose noble acts and noble chivalry of his knights occupy so many large volumes that is a world or as a thing incredible to believe. Oh you knights of England where is the custom and usage of noble chivalry that was used in those days what do you now but go to the baths[197] and play at dice. And some not well advised use not honest and good rule against all order of knighthood leave this, leave it and read the noble volumes of Saint [grail] of Lancelot, of Galahad, of Tristan, of [perse] forest, of Perceval, of Gawain and many more. There shall you see manhood, courtesy and gentleness and look in latter days of the noble acts since the conquest as in King Richard’s day [cuer du lyon], Edward the First, and the Third, and his noble sons, Sir Robert Knolles, Sir Joahn Hawkwode, Sir Johan Chaūdos and Sir Gaultier Manny rede Froissart. And also behold that victorious and noble King Harry the fifth and the captains under him his noble brothers the Earl of Salisbury Montague and many whose names shine gloriously by their virtuous nobleness and acts that they did in the honour of the order of chivalry. Alas what do you but sleep and take ease and are all disordered from chivalry I would demand a question if I should not displease, how many knights being there now in England that have the use and the exercise of a knight that is to [wete] that he knows his horse and his horse him, that is to say he being ready at a point to have all thing that longs to a knight, a horse that is according and broken after his hand, his armours and harness [mete] and sitting, and so forth et cetera. I suppose and a due search should be made there should be many to found[198] that lack the more pity is [j] would it pleased our sovereign lord that twice or thrice in a year or at the least once he would do any justices of peace to the end that every knight should have a horse and harness and also the use and craft of a knight and also to tourney one against another or two against two and the best to have a purse, a diamond or jewel, such as would please the prince. This should cause gentlemen to resort to the ancient customs of chivalry to great fame and renown and also to be always ready to serve their prince when he shall call them or have need. Then let every man that is come of noble blood and intends to come to the noble order of chivalry read this little book and do thereafter in keeping the lore and commandments therein comprised. And then I doubt not he shall attain to the order of chivalry et cetera. And thus this little book I present to any redoubted natural and most dread sovereign lord King Richard, King of England and of France, to the end that he commend this book to be had and read unto other young lords, knights and gentlemen within this realm[199] that the noble order of chivalry be hereafter better used and honoured than it has been in late days passed. And herein he shall do a noble and virtuous deed. And I shall pray almighty God for his long life and prosperous welfare and that he may have victory of all his enemies and after this short and transitory life to have everlasting life in heaven where as is joy and bliss world without end. Amen.

The ancient poem of Guillaume de Guileville, entitled Le pèlerinage de l’homme, Nathanial Hill et al, Basil Montagu Pickering, London, 1858.,

The Booke of Thenseygnementes and Techynge that the Knyght of the Towre made to his Doughters by the Chevalier Geoffroy de la Tour Landry, Rawlings, Gertrude Burford, ed.,

The Book of the Order of Chivalry, Ramon Lull, William Caxton, trans., Alfred T. P. Byles, ed.

The Book of the Order of Chivalry or Knighthood, Ramon Lull, unknown trans., Civil and Military Order of the Knights Templar (CMOKT).

Chaucer Glossary,

A Concise Dictionary of Middle English, A. L. Mayhew and Walter W. Skeat, Claredon Press, London, 1888, released by Project Gutenberg October 2008, EBook #10625,

Dictionaire de francais “Littré”

First Middle English Primer, Henry Sweet, MacMillan and Co., London, 1884.

The Game and Playe of the Chesse, William Caxton, Library of Rochester, 2009.,

Middle English Glossary,

The Middle English Weye of Paradys and the Middle French Voie de Paradis: a parallel-text edition, Volume 1990, F. N. M. Diekstra, E. J. Brill, the Netherlands, 1991.

An Old English, Middle English, Late-Modern English Glossary,

Real Knights—Real Chivalry, Scott Farrell, 2004,

Society at War: The Experience of England and France during the Hundred Years War, Christopher Allmand, ed., Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1998.,

[1] This is an original translation of Caxton’s “Ordre of Chyvalry”, as presented by Alfred T. P. Byles in his book The Book of the Order of Chivalry.
[2] Chere/cheire: “In Auvergne, term indicating an old lava flow characterized by its rough, chaotic and arid surface”, Since I doubt that they each had their own lave flow, I am assuming the author meant this as an allusion to their worn faces.
[3] Corage: Common Romance word from Lat. “cor,” meaning “the heart as the seat of feeling, thought, etc.; spirit, mind, disposition, nature.” In Caxton it has sometimes this meaning and sometimes the modern significance, courage. – The Book of the Order of Chivalry, Alfred T. P. Byles, p. 135.
[4] Estraunge: from Old French estrange, adjective, strange.
[5] Pryve.
[6] Here called Esquire.
[7] Semeth: Third person singular present tense of semen (to seem).
[8] Ensiewe. Byles, p. 136.
[9] Enseygne. Byles, p. 136.
[10] Besy: From the Anglo-Saxon bysig: busy, occupied.
[11] Devocion: From Old French devotion.
[12] Obeyssaunt: obedient, Byles, p. 139.
[13] Veryte: Another word for ‘truth’, but which also means the divine attribute of truth, a tenet of faith, moral integrity, exactness or truthfulness (veracity). MED.
[14] Drede: fear, fright, anxiety, danger or a fear of god. MED.
[15] Behoueth: for someone’s use, benefit or advantage. MED.
[16] Covenable: appropriate, suitable, adapted, reasonable, qualified, congruous. MED.
[17] Approred: to acquire possession or control of, to set aside or reserve, be a characteristic of. MED.
[18] Begynnen: to bring, to start, to undertake. MED.
[19] Mespryson: error, wickedness. Byles, p. 139.
[20] Doubted: to feel uncertain, to be anxious, or “To fear (God), honor, reverence; fear or respect (a king); respect (one's husband).” MED.
[21] Recovere: To recover, to regain, to relieve, to obtain recompense, to return, to rise, to obtain, to gain the upper hand, to reach. MED.
[22] Enseygnement: training, teaching, advice, knowledge or information that is taught, translating, the handing over of someone to authority. MED (enseignement).
[23] Puissant: powerful, influential, etc. MED.
[24] Caxton engages in a lot of these circular arguments that to modern ears are extremely misogynistic.
[25] Bonde and bounden: Bonde – servant, serf; Bounden – to put in shackles. MED.
[26] Suffyseth: adequate to the purpose, to be capable, to require, to be complete, to be content. MED.
[27] Seygnorye: Lordship, power, authority, control, jurisdiction, realm, rank. MED.
[28] Vylete: also wilete. Current translation is inference by the translator.
[29] Jndygne: should likely be ‘indygne’; unworthy.
[30] Seiourne: to stay, reside, live in, spend time in, dwell with, be lodged, etc. MED
[31] Conne: have ability, be able, know how, be in a position, be justified, to have mastery, etc. MED
[32] Laye & bestiall: Bestiall being an adjective for “as an animal, brutishly’, MED.
[33] Ensample: an instance typical of a class, a comparable instance, something spoken or written to teach a class, a model to be imitated, ­MED.
[34] Follow and ensyewe: ‘ensyewe’ (or ensiewe) is another way of saying ‘follow’, Byles, pg. 136.
[35] Tenclyne: “to enclyne”, see footnote 35.
[36] Enclyne: ‘Encline’ – to turn or direct, to dispose favourably toward a course of action, et al. MED
[37] Adoube: also ‘doubit’; dubbed, ordained (Byles, p. 133.) or to arm or equip oneself (MED).
[38] Ma: according to the MED this is an error in translation, and should simply have been rendered as ‘man’. MED
[39] Discouenable: unsuitable, unfit. MED
[40] Unneth:  with difficulty, not without effort. MED
[41] entendement: understanding. Byles, p. 136.
[42] Sauacion: divine deliverance, MED.
[43] Iuged: I believe this means “to be judged”, MED.
[44] Perdurable: long lasting, MED.
[45] Amytye: likely ‘friendship’ as in ‘amity’.
[46] Ensieweth: follows, Byles, p. 136.
[47] Syth: since, Free Dictionary.
[48] Covenable: reasonable, MED.
[49] Terryen: earthly. Byles, p. 142.
[50] Sémblable: something that closely resembles something else. Free Dictionary.
[51] To gyder: together, one of many variants. MED.
[52] Ensample: comparison, illustration, example. MED.
[53] Barate: strife, wretchedness, turmoil, etc. MED.
[54] Wele: wealth, fortunes, etc. MED.
[55] Redoubtable: terrible, frightening, venerable. MED.
[56] Dysordeyne: make up, devise, invent, chose, create, etc. MED.
[57] Lasse: less. Wordnik.
[58] Puyssaunt: powerful. MED.
[59] Dygne: noble, worshipful, worthy, etc. MED.
[60] Bywepe: to weep, lament, etc. MED.
[61] Myserycorde: compassion, mercy. MED.
[62] Wete: bathe, moisten, get drunk etc. MED.
[63] Wepynge: weeping, lamentation, etc. MED.
[64] Myschaut: wicked. . Byles, p. 139.
[65] Enserche: to study, search, investigate, etc. MED.
[66] Evylle: likely ‘evil’.
[67] Théne: from that place, from a specific point, etc. MED.
[68] Wote: to know. Mayhew and Skeats.
[69] Veritable: likely ‘veritably’.
[70] Entached: crowded together. MED.
[71] Sore: pain, suffering, sore, etc. MED.
[72] Hádes: from ‘had’ = state, order, rank, person of Christ, ranks of angels, Mayhew and Skeat.
[73] Ner: near. MED.
[74] Reprehende: blame, censure, rebuke, etc. MED.
[75] Puyssaunce: authority, influence, etc. MED.
[76] Appelled: afraid, fearful, etc. MED.
[77] Pyte: likely a variant of ‘pite’. Wordnik.
[78] Ayenst: in opposition to, against. MED.
[79] Delyvere: likely a variant of ‘deliverens’, which means to give possession (of land) in a formal manner. MED.
[80] Hedde: take care of, attention, notice, regard, etc. MED.
[81] Conne: to have ability, skill, etc. MED.
[82] Commysed: committed; also to commission. MED.
[83] Overcomen: to overcome, defeat, perform an action, upset, etc. MED.
[84] Latchous: According to Byles this is a variant of ‘laches’, which means not performing a task at the appropriate time.
[85] Facion: Fashion, style, etc. MED.
[86] Adoubed: Likely means ‘dubbed’.
[87] Vylete: likely violence.
[88] Corporal: bodily, physical. MED.
[89] Syttynge: in anatomy a supporting structure in the body; also sitting, position, etc. MED.
[90] Yssue: outpouring, sortie, and many more. MED.
[91] Soiourne: to reside or stay. MED.
[92] Symonye: the buying or selling of an ecclesiastical office. MED.
[93] Falseth: to deceive, counterfeit, etc. MED.
[94] Prelacye: the office of a bishop. MED.
[95] Harneys: personal fighting equipment. MED.
[96] Peradventure: perchance, perhaps, etc. MED.
[97] Happe: unfortunate, unlucky, etc. MED.
[98] Entatched: spotted. Hill p. 90.
[99] Guerdons: reward, payment. Free Dictionary.
[100] Benefice: benevolence, advantage, benefit, etc. MED.
[101] Sith: one’s life, journey, way, etc. MED.
[102] Solempne: religious relevance, solemnity, etc. MED.
[103] Fait: deed. Mayhew and Skeat.
[104] Putery: form of potage: fornication (especially on part of a woman). Free Dictionary.
[105] Songen: dream. MED.
[106] Solemnly: religious reverence, formally, ceremoniously, etc. MED.
[107] Foūded: likely ‘founded’.
[108] Thēde: to gather together, congregate, unite. MED.
[109] Luged: pulled, dragged, mistreated. MED.
[110] Salewed: greeted. MED.
[111] Semblably: similar. MED.
[112] Espyrytuel: also ‘spirytuel’, meaning ‘spiritual’. Diekstra p. 496.
[113] Refraynynge: likely ‘refraining’.
[114] Semblance: resemblance, likeness, expression, etc. MED.
[115] Lygnage: likely ‘lineage’.
[116] Moyen: middle. Wiktionary.
[117] Envyronneth: encompasses. Library of Rochester.
[118] Mysericorde: a dagger used to administer the coup de grace. MED.
[119] Ibid.
[120] Affye: reliance, trust. MED.
[121] Manyable: manifold. Mayhew and Skeats.
[122] Tenhaunce: to enhance. MED.
[123] Suffratous: people in want, the needy. MED.
[124] Ladde: a young male attendant, a foot soldier, servant, etc. MED.
[125] Oueral: entirely, wholly, especially, etc. MED.
[126] Doubtaunce: uncertainty, doubt. MED.
[127] Armour that protects the head of a horse. CMOKT.
[128] Garde: a group of soldiers or retainers. MED.
[129] Enseygnal: heraldic emblem. CMOKT.
[130] Vytupered: likely ‘vituperate’ meaning censured, scolded, etc. Wiktionary.
[131] Banerere: likely ‘banneret’. MED.
[132] Latchesse: heaviness, dullness, tardiness, etc. MED.
[133] Disheryted: possibly from ‘disheriten’ = disinherit. Mayhew and Skeat.
[134] Moūte: strong, power, etc. MED.
[135] Enseygnements: habits. CMOKT.
[136] Rote: root (and others). MED.
[137] Perdurable: long lasting, permanent, etc. MED.
[138] Veryte: likely ‘variety’.
[139] Mespryse: frauds. CMOKT.
[140] Affyaunce: assurance, trust, faith in, etc. MED.
[141] Fynaunce: outcome, ending, settlement, etc. MED.
[142] peisāt burthés: heavy burdens. CMOKT.
[143] Cautels: prudence, caution, etc. MED.
[144] Maystryes: controls, dominance, rulership, etc. MED.
[145] Custommaunce: from ‘acustommaunce’, meaning habit or custom. Rawlings.
[146] Apperteynaunt: likely related to “appurtenant”, meaning ‘equipment’. Free Dictionary.
[147] Usance: usage. MED.
[148] Howes: likely meaning “the hows” as in “the ways”.
[149] Oultragyous: ‘Excessive’ likely from ‘outrageous’. CMOKT.
[150] Metes: likely ‘meats’.
[151] Chastyte: likely ‘chastity’, as per ‘chast’ meaning ‘chaste’. Sweet.
[152] Vestures: clothing. MED.
[153] Aualed: lowered, dropped, etc. MED.
[154] Submysed: likely ‘submitted’.
[155] Serft: slaves.CMOKT.
[156] Moder: mother, female progenitor, etc. MED.
[157] Renne: run. Mayhew and Skeats.
[158] Latchedness: laziness. CMOKT.
[159] Couetyse: covetous. MED.
[160] Dampnacōn: likely ‘damnation’.
[161] Accydye: variation of ‘accidie’, meaning spiritual sloth, apathy or indifference. Free Dictionary.
[162] Hevy: physical affliction, illness. MED.
[163] Yre: ire. Mayhew and Skeats.
[164] Egalte: equality. OmniDict.
[165] Paraventer: perhaps. Middle English Glossary.
[166] Troublement: likely ‘disturbed’. Dictionaire de francais “Littré”.
[167] Oublyaunce: obligations. CMOKT.
[168] Enlumynyng: illuminating. MED.
[169] Lassed: lesson, abate, etc. MED.
[170] Mynusshed: likely ‘diminished’.
[171] Dyspensys: possibly ‘dispences’ = expenditures. Mayhew and Skeats.
[172] Acustommaunce: habit, custom. Rawlings.
[173] Devynayles: likely ‘diviners’.
[174] Entendment: understanding, intelligence. Mayhew and Skeat.
[175] Aventure: risk venture, fate, etc. MED.
[176] Adiouste: likely ‘exhibit’.
[177] Happe: chance, fortune. Mayhew and Skeat.
[178] Armures: weapons and armour, collectively. MED.
[179] Enduceth: induces. MED.
[180] Enseyneth: ‘trains’ likely from ‘assigns’. CMOKT.
[181] Enseygnements: ‘teachings’ likely from ‘assignments’. CMOKT.
[182] Incorporate: forming one body, incarnate, etc. MED.
[183] Suffysaunt: adequate, sufficient, etc. MED.
[184] Fraunchyse: franchise.
[185] Debonayrte: possibly ‘debonerte’ = gentleness. Mayhew and Skeat.)
[186] Despryse: likely ‘despise’.
[187] Semblably: similarly. Mayhew and Skeats.
[188] Seygnorye: likely ‘seniority’.
[189] Pryue: Friend, confidant, advisor, etc. MED.
[190] Auncyente: likely ‘ancient’.
[191] Boūden: likely ‘bound’.
[192] Cogytacions: likely ‘cogitations’.
[193] Lawde: praise. MED.
[194] Thexersytees: practice. Allmand p. 29.
[195] Brenius: a king in Arthurian legend.
[196] Royammes: kingdoms. Rawlings.
[197] Baynes: baths. MED.
[198] Founden: to found. Mayhew and Skeat.
[199] Royame: likely ‘realm’.

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