HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF ENGLISH PROSE STYLE

Part 2: The Middle Ages (to 1500)

THE LIFE OF SAINT JULIANA [c 1200?]

[Transcribed and translated by John F. Tinkler.]

     In ure Laverdes luve the is Feader of frumschaft, ant on his
     In our Lord's love that is Father of creation, and in his

deorewurthe sunes nome, ant o thes hali gastes thet glideth
dear son's name, and from the holy ghost that proceeds

of ham bathen, alle lewede men thet understonden ne mahen Latines
from them both, all lay men that cannot understand Latin

ledene lithin and lustnin ane meidenes liflade, thet is of Latin
speech hear and listen a maiden's life, that is from Latin

iturnd into Englisch thet to lifhali Lefdi in heovene luvie us
turned into English that the holy believer in heaven love us 

the mare, ant of this lihinde lif leade us, with hire erndunge
the more, and from this lying life lead us, with her intercession

the is icoren of Crist, into the eche of heovene.
that is chosen of Christ, into the eternity of heaven.

     Theos meiden and tis martir wes Juliane inempnet in 
     This maiden and martyr was named Juliana in 

Nichomedes burh, ant of hethene cun icumen, ant hire fleschliche 
Nichomedia the city, and from heathen kin descended, and her 

feder wes Affrican ihaten, of the hethene mest.
fleshly father was called African, greatest of the heathen.

RICHARD ROLLE [1340s]. The Nature of the Bee.

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler.]

[Note: spelling has been partially modernized; words in square brackets have been translated]

The bee has thre [natures]. Ane is that scho is never ydill, and scho is noghte with them that will noghte wyrke, but castys them owte, and puttes them away. Anothire es that when scho flyes scho takes erthe in hyr fette, that scho be noghte lyghtly [raised too high] in the ayere of wynde. The thyrde es that scho kepes clene and bryghte hire wynges.

Thus ryghtwyse men that lufes God are never in ydyllnes. For owthyre thay ere in travayle, prayand [i.e. prayING], or thynkande, or redande, or othere gude doande; or [reprehending] ydill mene, and schewand thaym worthy to be put from the rest of hevene, for they will noghte travayle here.

Thay take erthe, that es, thay halde thamselfe vile and erthely, that thay be noghte blawene with the wynde of vanytee and of pryde. Thay kepe thaire winges clene, that es, the two commandments of charytee thay fulfill in gud concyens, and thay hafe othyre vertus, unblendyde with the fylthe of syne and unclene luste.

Arestotill sais that the bees are feghtande agaynes hym that will drawe thair hony fra thayme. So sulde we do agaynes devells, that [attempt] to [rob] fra us the hony of poure lyfe and of grace. For many are, that never can hold the ordyre of lufe toward thaire frendys, [kin or not kin]. Bot outhire thay lufe thaym over [much], settand thaire thoghte unryghtwysely on thaym, or they luf thaym over lyttill, yf thay doo noghte all as they wolde to them. Such can noghte fyghte for thair hony, for the develle turnes it to wormes, and makes theire soules [oftentimes] full bitter in anguish, and [suffering], and busynes of vayne thoghtes, and other wrechidnes.

SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE [d. 1372]: The Voiage and Travaile of Sir John Mandeville

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler]

For als moche as the lond beyonde the see that is to seye the holy lond that men callen the lond of promyssioun and of beheste passyinge all othere londes it is the most worthi lond most excellent and lady and souvereyn of all othere londes and is blessed and halewed of the precyous body and blood of oure lord jhesu crist; in the whiche land it lykede him to take flesch and blood of the virgyne Marie to envyrone that holy lond with his blessede feet; and there he wolde of his blessedness enoumbre him in the seyd blessed and glorious virgine Marie and become man and worche many myracles and preche and teche the feyth and the lawe of crystene men unto his children. And there it lykede him to suffre many reprevynges and scornes for us And he that was kyng of hevene of eyr of erthe of see and of all thinges that ben contayned in hem wolde all only be cleped kyng of that lond whan he seyde: REX SUM IUDORUM: that is to seyne, I am kyng of the Jewes. And that londe he chees before all other londes as the beste and most worthi lond and the most vertuouse lond of all the world, wytnessynge the philosophere that seyth thus: VIRTUS RERUM IN MEDIO CONSISTIT that is to seye "the vertue of thinges is in the myddes." And in that lond he wolde lede his lyf and suffre passioun and deth of jewes for us for to bye and to delyvere us from peynes of helle and from deth withouten ende, the whiche was ordeyned for us for the synne of oure formere fader Adam and for oure owne synnes also. For as for himself he hadde non evyll deserved for he thoughte nevere evyll ne did evyll. And he that was kyng of glorie and joye myghte best in that place suffre deth because he ches in that lond rathere than in ony othere there to suffre his passioun and his deth. For he that will pupplische ony thing to make it openly knowen he wil make it to ben cryed and pronounced in the myddel place of a town so that the thing that is proclamed and pronounced may evenly strecche to all parties. Right so he that was formyour of all the world wolde suffre for us at jerusalem that is the myddes of the world to that ende and entent that his passioun and his deth that was pupplischt there myghte ben knowen evenly to all the parties of the world. See now how dere he boughte man that he made after his own ymage and how dere he agen boght us for the grete love that he hadde to us and we nevere deserved it to him. For more precyous catell ne gretter raunsoum ne myghte he put for us than his blessede body his precious blood and his holy lyf that he thralled for us and all he offred for us that nevere did synne. Dere god, what love hadde he to us his subiettes whan he that nevere trespaced wolde for trespassours suffre deth! right wel aughte us for to love and worschipe to drede and serve such a lord and to worschipe and preyse such an holy lond that brought forth such fruyt thorgh the whiche every man is saved but it be his owne defaute. Wel may that lond be called delytable and a fructuouse lond that was bebledd and moysted with the precyouse blode of our lord jhesu crist, the whiche is the same lond that oure lord behighte us in heritage. And in that lond he wolde dye as seised for to leve it to us his children. Wherefore every gode cristene man that is of powere for to conquere oure right heritage and chacen out all the mysbeleevynge men. For wee ben clept cristene man after crist oure fader and yif wee be right children of crist we oughte for to challenge the heritage that oure fader lafte us and do it out of hetheene mennes hondes.

JOHN WICLIF [1370s]. On the Translation of the Bible. (Pastoral Duty, chapter 15.)

[Transacribed by John F. Tinkler.]

[Note: spelling has been partially modernized; words in square brackets have been translated. The word "wit" means, variously, "sense," "meaning," "intelligence" etc.]

Ant heere the freris with their [supporters] seyn that it is heresye to write thus Goddis lawe in English, and make it knowun to lewid men. And fourty signes that they bringen for to shewe an heretik ben not worthy to reherse, for noghte groundith hem but nygromansye [i.e. black magic].

It semyth first that the wit of Goddis lawe shulde be taught in that tunge that is more knowun, for this wit is Goddis word. Whanne Crist seith in the Gospel that bothe hevene and erthe shulen passe, but His wordis shulen not passe, He undirstondith bi His woordis His wit. And thus Goddis wit is Hooly Writ, that may on no maner be fals. Also the Hooly Gost gaf to apostlis wit at Wit Sunday for to knowe al maner langagis, to teche the puple Goddis lawe therby; and so God wolde that the puple were taught Goddis lawe in dyverse tungis. But what man, on Goddis half, shulde reverse Goddis ordenaunse and His wille?

And for this cause Seynt Jerome travailed and translatide the Bible fro dyverse tungis into Lateyn, that it myghte be aftir translatid to othere tungis. And thus Crist and apostlis taughten the puple in that tunge that was moost knowun to the puple. Why shulden not men do nou so?

And herfore autours of the newe law, that weren apostlis of Jesu Crist, writen ther Gospels in dyverse tungis that weren more knowun to the puple.

Also the worthy realm of Fraunse, notwithstondinge alle [hinderances], hath translatid the Bible and the Gospels, with othere trewe sentensis of doctours, out of Lateyn into Freynsch. Why shulden not Englischemen do so? As lordis of Englond han the bible in Freynsch, so it were not against reason that they hadden the same sentense in Englisch; for thus Goddis lawe wolde be betere knowun, and more [believed], for onehead of wit, and more acord be betwixe realms. ["onehead"="one-ness" or "unity"?]

And herfore freris han taught in Englond the Paternoster in Englische tunge, as men seyen in the pley of York, and in many othere cuntreys. Sithen the Paternoster is part of Matheus Gospel, as clerkis knowen, why may not al be turnyd to Englisch trewely, as is this part? Specialy sithen alle Cristen men, learned and lewid, that shulen be saved, moten [continually follow] Crist, and knowe His lore and His lif. But the commons of Englschmen knowen it best in ther modir tunge; and thus it were al one to lette siche knowing of the Gospel and to lette Englischmen to [follow] Crist and come to hevene.

DAME JULIAN OF NORWICH [1342-?]. A Book of Showings [1390s?]

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler.]

Ch. 59 As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother, and he revealed that in everything, and especially in these sweet words where he says. I am he; that is to say: I am he, the power and goodness of fatherhood; I am he, the wisdom and the lovingness of motherhood; I am he, the light and the grace which is all blessed love; I am he, the Trinity; I am he, the unity; I am he, the great supreme goodness of every kind of thing; I am he who makes you to love; I am he who makes you to long; I am he, the endless fulfilling of all true desires. For where the soul is highest, noblest, most honourable, still it is lowest, meekest, and mildest.

And from this foundation in substance we have all the powers of our sensuality by the gift of nature, without which we cannot profit. Our great Father, almighty God, who is being, knows us and loved us before time began. Out of this knowledge, in his most wonderful deep love, by the prescient eternal counsel of all the blessed Trinity he wanted the second person to become our Mother, our brother and our saviour. From this it follows as truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother. Our Father wills, our Mother works, our good Lord the Holy Spirit confirms. And therefore it is our part to love our God in whom we have our being, reverently thanking and praising him for our creation, mightily praying to our Mother for mercy and pity, and to our Lord the Holy Spirit for help and grace. For in these three is all our life: nature, mercy and grace, of which we have mildness, patience and pity, and hatred of sin and wickedness; for the virtues must of themselves hate sin and wickedness.

And so Jesus is our true Mother in nature by our first creation, and he is our true Mother in grace by his taking our created nature. All the lovely works and all the sweet loving offices of beloved motherhood are appropriated to the second person, for in him we have this godly will, whole and safe forever, both in nature and in grace, from his own goodness proper to him.

GEOFFREY CHAUCER [1340-1400]. Treatise on the Astrolabe

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler.]

Prologue: Littel Lowys my sone, I have perceived well by certeyne evidences thine abilite to lerne sciencez touchinge noumbres and proporciouns; and as wel considere I thy bisi preyere in special to lerne the Tretis of the Astrelabie. Than for as mechel as a philosofre seith, "He wrappeth him in his frend that condescendeth to the rihtful preiers of his frend," therfor have I geven the a suffisant astralabie as for owre orizontel, compowned after the latitude of Oxenford, upon which by mediacion of this litel tretis I purpose to teche the a certein nombre of conclusions apertenyng to the same instrument. I seye a certein number of conclusions for thre causes. The furste cause is this: truste wel that alle the conclusions that han ben fownde, or elles possibli myhten by fownde in so noble an instrument as an astralabie, ben unknowe perfitly to any mortal man in this regioun, as I suppose. Another cause is this: that sothly, in any tretis of the astrelabie that I have seyn there ben some conclusions that wole nat in alle thinges performen hir byhestes. And some of hem ben to harde to they tendre age of x yer to conseyve. . . .

Part I: 1. Thyn astrelabie hath a ring to putten on the thoumbe of thy riht hand in takyng the heyhte of thynges. And tak kep, for from hennesforth I wol clepe the heyhte of anything that is taken by thy rewle "the altitude" withowte mo wordes.

2. This ring rennyth in a maner turet, fast to the moder of thyn astrelabie, in so rowm a space that hit desturbeth nat the instrument to hangen after his rihte centre.

3. The Moder of this astrelabie is the thikkeste plate, perced with a large hole, that rescevieth in hir wombe the thynne plates compowned for diverse clymatz, and thy riet shapen in manere of a net or of a webbe of a loppe. And for the more declaracioun, lo here the figure. [illus.]

4. This moder is devyded on the bak half with a lyne that cometh dessendinge fro the ryng down to the nethereste bordure. The whiche lyne, fro the foreside ryng unto the centre of the large hole amydde, is cleped the Sowth Lyne, or elles the Lyne Meridional. And the remenant of this lyne downe to the bordure is cleped the North Lyne, or elles the Lyne of Midnyht. And for the more declaracioun, lo here the figure. [illus.]

MARGERY KEMPE [1373-?]. The Book of Margery Kempe [1436].

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler.]

On a night, as this creature [i.e. Margery] lay in her bed with her husband, she heard a sound of melancholy so sweet and delectable, that she thought she had been in Paradise, and therewith she started out of her bed and said:

Alas, that ever I did sin! It is full merry in Heaven.

This melody was so sweet that it surpassed all melody that ever might be heard in this world, without any comparison, and caused her, when she heard any mirth or melody afterwards, to have full plenteous and abundant tears of high devotion, with great sobbings and sighings after the bliss of Heaven, not dreading the shames and the spites of this wretched world. Ever after this inspiration, she had in her mind the mirth and the melody that was in Heaven, so much, that she could not well restrain herself from speaking thereof, for wherever she was in any company she would say oftentimes: It is full merry in Heaven.

And they that knew her behaviour beforetime, and now heard her speaking so much of the bliss of Heaven, said to her:

Why speak ye so of the mirth that is in Heaven? Ye know it not, and ye have not been there, any more than we. And were wroth with her, for she would not hear nor speak of worldly things as they did, and as she did beforetime.

And after this time she had never desired to commune fleshly with her husband, for the debt of matrimony was so abominable to her that she would rather, she thought, have eaten or drunk the ooze and the muck in the gutter than consent to any fleshly communing, save only for obedience.

TWO FIFTEENTH-CENTURY RECIPES

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler.]

Fritours: Take yolkes of egges, drawe hem thorgh a streynour, caste thereto faire floure, berme and ale; stere it togidre til hit be thik. Take pared appelles, cut hem thyn like obleies [wafers], lay hem in the batur; then put hem into a ffrying-pan and fry hem in faire grece or buttur till thei ben browne yelowe; then put hem in disshes, and strawe sugur on hem ynogh. And serve hem forthe.

Crem de Coloure: Take an make thicke milke of almaundys, and do it in a potte, and sethe it over the fyre; than take a fayre canvas, an put it ther-on, and late renne out the water; then take the halfyndele, and put it in a pot of erthe; then take the other halfyndele, and parte it in to, and make the half yelow, and do ther-yn wyn, sugre, clowes, maces, powder of canelle; take [blank] and grynd a lytel in a morter; than temper it uppe wyth almaunde mylke, and do every of hem in a potte, and loke that it be y-like chargeaunt [heavy?], and sette it over the fyre, an boyle it a lytel, an serve forth.

JOHN CAPGRAVE [1393-1464]. The Chronicle of England.

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler.]

In the XXI yere [1347], whan Kyng Philip of Frauns was fled thus cowardly fro the sege of Caleys, thei of the same town offered the town to Kyng Edward withoute any pointment. And he lay in the town a month, considering the strong dispocion thereof. Thanne, at instauns of the Pope, was taken trews betwix the Kyngis for a yere. Aboute the fest of Seynt Michael, the Kyng took the se into Ynglod and there had the grete tempest, and mervelous wyndes; and thanne he mad swech a compleynt unto oure Lady, and seide, O blessed Mayde, what menyth all this? Evyr, whan I go to Frauns, I have fayre wedir, and whanne I turne to Ynglond intollerable tempestes.

In the XXII yere were grete reynes, whech dured fro the Nativite of Seynt Jon Baptist onto Cristmasse.

And aftir that reyne there folowid a grete pestilens, specialy in the Est side of the world amongst the Sarasines. So many deied, that there left scarsly among hem the tenth man, or the tenth woman. Thei, seying this veniauns amonst hem, purposed veryly to be Cristen. But whan thei wist that the pestilens was among the Cristen men, than her good purpos sesed.

In the XXIII yere was the Grete Pestilens of puple. First it began in the north cuntre; than in the south; and so forth thorw oute the reme. Aftir this pestilens folowed a moreyn of bestis, whech had nevir be seyn. For, as it was supposed, there left not in Inglond the tenth part of the puple. Than cesed lordes rentis, prestis tithes. Because there were so fewe tylmen, the erde lay untillid. So mech misery was in the lond, that the prosperite whech was before was nevir recured. [moreyn-murrain-death-plague]

SIR JOHN FORTESCUE [1394?-1476?] The Governance of England.

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler]

Some men have said that it were good for the kyng, that the commons of Englande were made pore, as be the commons of Fraunce. For than thai wolde not rebelle, as now thai done oftentymes; wich the commons of Fraunce do not, nor mey doo; for thai have no wepen, nor armour, nor good to bie it with all. To theis maner of men mey be said with the phylosopher, "ad pauca respicientes de facili enunciant." That is to say, thai that see but few thynges, woll sone say thair advyses. For soth theis folke consideren litill the good of the reaume of Englond, wherof the myght stondith most uppon archers, wich be no ryche men. And yf thai were made more pouere than thai be, thai shulde not have wherewith to bie hem bowes, arroes, jakkes, or any other armour of defence wherby thai myght be able to resiste owre enymes, when thai liste to come uppon us; wich thai mey do in every side, considerynge that we be a Ilelonde; and, as it is said before, we mey not sone have soucour of any other reaume. Wherfore we shull be a pray to all owre enymyes, but yf we be myghty of owreself, wich myght stondith most uppon owre pouere archers; and therfore thai nedun not only have suche ablements as now is spoken of, but also thai nedun to be much exercised in shotynge, wich mey not be done withowt ryght grete expenses, as every man experte therin knowith ryght well. Wherfore the makyng pouere of the commons, wich is the makying pouere of owre archers, shalbe the distruccion of the grettest myght of owre reaume.

THE PASTON LETTERS: Margaret Paston to John Paston [1449?]

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler]

Right worshipful husband, I recommend me to you, and pray you to get some crossbows and windacs to bind them with, and quarrels [bolts]; for your houses here be so low that there may none man shoot out with no long bow, though we had never so much need.

I suppose ye should have such things of Sir John Fastolf if ye would send to him; and also I would ye should get two or three short pole-axes to keep with doors, and as many jacks, and ye may.

Partrich and his fellowship are sore afraid that ye would enter again upon them, and they made great ordinance within the house, as it is told me. They have made bars to bar the doors crosswise, and they have made wickets on every quarter of the house to shoot out at, both with bows and with hand-guns: and the holes that be made for hand-guns, they be scarce knee high from the plancher, and of such holes made five. There can none man shoot out at them with no hand-bows.

Purry fell in fellowship with William Hasard at Quarles's, and told him that he would come and drink with Partrich and with him, and he said he should be welcome. And after noon he went thither for to espy what he did, and what fellowship they had with them; and when he came thither the doors were fast sperred, and there were none folks with them but Mariot, and Capron and his wife, and Quarles's wife, and another man in a black hood somewhat halting; I suppose by his words that it was Norfolk of Gimmingham. And the said Purry espied all these foresaid things.

And Mariot and fellowship had much great language that shall be told you when ye come home.

I pray you that ye will vouchsafe to do buy for one lb. of almonds and one lb. of sugar, and that ye will do buy some frieze to make of your children's gowns, ye shall have best cheap and best choice of Hays's wife as it is told me. And that ye will buy a yard of broad cloth of black for an hood for me of 44d or four shillings a yard, for there is neither good cloth nor good frieze in this town. As for the children's gowns, and I have them, I will do them maken.

The Trinity have you in His keeping, and send you good speed in all your matters.

SIR THOMAS MALORY. Le Morte Arthur [c 1470].

[Transcribed by John F. Tinkler]

18.25 And thus it past on from Candylmas untyl after Ester that the moneth of May was com, whan every lusty harte begynneth to blossom and to burgyne. For lyke as herbes and trees burgenyth and florysshen in May, in lyke wyse every lusty harte that is ony maner of lover spryngeth, burgenyth, buddyth, and floryssheth in lusty dedis. For it gyveth unto all lovers corrayge, that lusty moneth of May, in somthynge to constrayne hym to some maner of thynge more in that moneth than in ony other moneth, for dyverse causes: For than alle erbys and treys renewyth a man and woman, and in lyke wyse lovers calleth to their mynde old gentilness and old servyse, and many kynde dedes that was forgotten by neclygence.

For lyke as wynter rasure doth alway arase and deface grene somer, soo fareth it by uynstable love in man and woman. For in many persons there is not stabylyte. For we may see al day, for a lytel blast of wynters rasure anone we shall deface and lay aparte true love, for lytel or noughte, that cost moch thynge. This is not wysedome nor stabylyte, but it is feblenes of nature and grete disworshyp who somever used this.

Therfore lyke as May moneth flowreth and floryssheth in many gardyns, soo in lyke wyse lete every man of worship florysshe his herte in this world, fyrst unto God, and next unto the joye of them that he promysed his feyth unto. For there was never worshypful man or worshipfull woman but they loved one better than another. And worshyp in armes may never be foyled, but fyrst reserve the honour to God, and secondly the quarrel must come to thy lady, and suche love I calle vertuous love.

But now adayes men can not love seven nyghte but they must have alle their desyres. That love may not endure by reason. For where they ben soone accorded, and hasty hete, soone it keleth. Ryghte soo fareth love now adayes: sone hote, soone cold. This is no stabylyte. But the old love was not so. Men and wymmen coude love togyders seven yeres, and no lycours lustes were bitwene them, and thenne was love trouthe and feythfulnes. And loo in lyke wyse was used love in kynge Arthurs dayes.

21.1 As sir Mordred was rular of all Inglonde, he lete make lettirs as thoughe that they had com frome beyonde the see, and the lettirs specifyed that kynge Arthur was slayne in batayle with sir Launcelot. Wherefore sir Mordred made a parlemente, and called the lordys togydir, and there he made them to chose hym kynge. And so was he crowned at Caunturbyry, and hylde a feste there fiftene dayes.

And aftirwarde he drew hym unto Wynchester, and there he toke quene Gwenyver, and seyde playnly that he wolde wedde her (which was hys unclys wyff and his fadirs wyff). And so he made redy for the feste, and a day prefyxte that they shulde be wedded; wherfore quene Gwenyver was passyng hevy. But she durst nat discover her harte, but spake fayre, and aggreed to sir Mordreds wylle.

And anone she desyred of sir Mordred to go to London to byghe all maner thynges that longed to the brydale. And bycause of her fayre speche sir Mordred trusted her and gaff her leve; and so whan she cam to London she toke the Towre of London, and suddeynly in all haste possyble she stuffed hit with all maner of vytayle, and well garnysshed hit with men, and kepte hit.

And whan sir Mordred wyst thys he was passynge wrothe oute of mesure. And shorte tale to make, he layde a myghty syge aboute the Towre and made many assautis, and threw engynnes unto them, and shotte grete gunnes. But all myght nat prevayle, for quene Gwenyver wolde never, for fayre speache nother for foule, never to truste unto sir Mordred to com in hys hondis agayne.

Then cam the Bysshop of Caunturbyry, whych was a noble clerke and an holy man, and thus he seyde unto sir Mordred:

'Sir, what woll ye do? Woll ye firste displease God and sytthyn shame youreselff and all knyghthode? for ys nat kynge Arthur youre uncle, and no farther but youre modirs brothir, and uppon her he hymselfe begate you, uppon hys owne syster? therefore how may ye wed youre owne fadirs wyff? And therefore, sir,' seyde the Bysshop, 'leve thys opynyon, other ellis I shall curse you with booke, belle and candyll.'

'Do thou thy warste,' seyde sir Mordred, 'and I defyghe the!'

'Sir,' seyde the Bysshop, 'wyte you well I shall nat feare me to do that me ought to do. And also ye noyse that my lorde Arthur ys slayne, and that ys nat so, and therefore ye woll make a foule warke in thys londe!'

'Peas, thou false pryste!' seyde sir Mordred, 'for and thou chauffe my ony more, I shall stryke of thy hede!'

So the bysshop departed, and ded the cursynge in the most orguluste wyse that myghte be done. And than sir Mordred sought the Bysshop of Caunturbyry for to have slayne hym. Than the Bysshop fledde, and tooke parte of hys good with hym, and wente nyghe unto Glassyngbyry. And there he was a preste-ermyte in a chapel, and lyved in poverte and in holy prayers; for well he undirstood that myschevous warre was at honde.

Than sir Mordred soughte uppon quene Gwenyver by lettirs and sondis, and by fayre meanys and foule meanys, to have her to com oute of the Towre of London; but all thys avayled nought, for she answered hym shortely, opynly and pryvayly, that she had levir sle herselff than to be maryed with hym.

Than cam there worde unto sir Mordred that kynge Arthur had areysed the syge frome sir Launcelot and was commynge homwarde wyth a greate oste to be avenged uppon sir Mordred. . . .