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Knyghthode and Bataile

A XVth Century Verse Paraphrase of Flavius Vegetius Renatus' Treatise 'DE RE MILITARI'

Salue, festa dies
i martis,
Mauortis! auete
Kalende. Qua Deus
ad celum subleuat
ire Dauid.

Hail, halyday deuout! Alhail Kalende
Of Marche, wheryn Dauid the Confessour
Commaunded is his kyngis court ascende;
Emanuel, Jhesus the Conquerour,
This same day as a Tryumphatour,
Sette in a Chaire & Throne of Maiestee,
To London is comyn. O Saviour,
Welcome a thousand fold to thi Citee!

And she, thi modir Blessed mot she be
That cometh eke, and angelys an ende,
Wel wynged and wel horsed, hidir fle,
Thousendys on this goode approche attende;
And ordir aftir ordir thei commende,
As Seraphin, as Cherubyn, as Throne,
As Domynaunce, and Princys hidir sende;
And, at o woord, right welcom euerychone!

But Kyng Herry the Sexte, as Goddes Sone
Or themperour or kyng Emanuel,
To London, welcomer be noo persone;
O souuerayn Lord, welcom! Now wel, Now wel!
Te Deum to be songen, wil do wel,
And Benedicta Sancta Trinitas!
Now prosperaunce and peax perpetuel
Shal growe,-and why? ffor here is Vnitas.

Therof to the Vnitee 'Deo gracias'
In Trinitee! The Clergys and Knyghthode
And Comynaltee better accorded nas
Neuer then now; Now nys ther noon abode,
But out on hem that fordoon Goddes forbode,
Periurous ar, Rebellovs and atteynte,
So forfaytinge her lyif and lyvelode,
Although Ypocrisie her faytys peynte.

Now, person of Caleys, pray euery Seynte
In hevenys & in erth of help Thavaile.
It is, That in this werk nothing ne feynte,
But that beforn good wynde it go ful sayle;
And that not oonly prayer But travaile
Heron be sette, Enserche & faste inquere.
Thi litil book of knyghthode & bataile,
What Chiualer is best, on it bewere.

Whil Te Deum Laudamus vp goth there
At Paulis, vp to Westmynster go thee;
The Kyng comyng, Honor, Virtus the Quene,
So glad goth vp that blisse it is to see.
Thi bille vnto the Kyng is red, and He
Content withal, and wil it not foryete.
What seith my lord Beaumont? 'Preste, vnto me
Welcom.' (here is tassay, entre to gete).

'Of knyghthode & Bataile, my lord, as trete
The bookys olde, a werk is made now late,
And if it please you, it may be gete.'
'What werk is it?' 'Vegetius translate
Into Balade.' 'O preste, I pray the, late
Me se that werk.' 'Therto wil I you wise.
Lo, here it is!' Anon he gan therate
To rede, thus: 'Sumtyme it was the gise'-

And red therof a part. 'For my seruyse
Heer wil I rede (he seith) as o psaultier.'
'It pleaseth you right wel; wil your aduyse
Suppose that the kyng heryn pleasier
May haue?' 'I wil considir the matier;
I fynde it is right good and pertynente
Vnto the kyng; his Celsitude is hier;
I halde it wel doon, hym therwith presente.

Almyghti Maker of the firmament,
O mervailous in euery creature,
So singuler in this most excellent
Persone, our Souuerayn Lord! Of what stature
Is he, what visagynge, how fair feture,
How myghti mad, and how strong in travaile!
In oonly God & hym it is tassure
As in a might, that noo wight dar assaile.

Lo, Souuerayn Lord, of Knyghthode & bataile
This litil werk your humble oratour,
Ye, therwithal your Chiualers, travaile,
Inwith your hert to Crist the Conquerour
Offreth for ye. Ther, yeueth him thonour;
His true thought, accepte it, he besecheth,
Accepte; it is to this Tryumphatour,
That myghti werre exemplifying techeth.

He redeth, and fro poynt to poynt he secheth,
How hath be doon, and what is now to done;
His prouidence on aftirward he strecheth,
By see & lond; he wil provide sone
To chace his aduersaryes euerychone;
Thei hem by lond, thei hem by see asseyle;-
The Kyng his Oratoure, God graunt his bone,
Ay to prevaile in knyghthode & bataile.



Sumtyme it was the gise among the wise
To rede and write goode and myghti thingis,
And have therof the dede in exercise;
Pleasaunce heryn hadde Emperour and Kingis.
O Jesse flour, whos swete odour our Kinge is,
Do me to write of knyghthode and bataile
To thin honour and Chiualers tavaile.

Mankyndys lyfe is mylitatioun,
And she, thi wife, is named Militaunce,
Ecclesia; Jhesu, Saluatioun,
My poore witte in thi richesse avaunce,
Cast out therof the cloude of ignoraunce,
Sette vp theryn thi self, the verrey light,
Therby to se thi Militaunce aright.

O Lady myn, Maria, Lode sterre,
Condite it out of myst & nyght, that dark is,
To write of al by see & lond the werre.
Help, Angelys, of knyghthode ye Ierarkys
In heven & here; o puissaunt Patriarkys,
Your valiaunce and werre in see & londe
Remembering, to this werk putte your honde.

Apostolys, ye, with thalmyghti swoorde
Of Goddis woord, that were Conquerourys
Of al the world, and with the same woorde
Ye Martirys that putte of sharpe shourys,
Ye Virgynys pleasaunt and Confessourys
That with the same sworde haue had victory,
Help heer to make of werre a good memory.

And euery werreour wil I beseche,
Impropurly where of myn ignoraunce
Of werre I write, as putte in propre speche
And mende me, prayinge herof pleasaunce
To God be first, by Harry Kyng of Fraunce
And Englond, and thenne ereither londe,
Peasibilly that God putte in his honde.

Thus seide an humble Inuocatioun
To Criste, his Modir, and his Sayntis alle,
With confidence of illustratioun,
Criste me to spede, and prayer me to walle,
Myn inwit on this werk wil I let falle,
And sey what is kynyghthode, and in bataile,
By lond & see, what feat may best prevaile.

Knyghthode an ordir is, the premynent;
Obeysaunt in God, and rather deye
Then disobeye; and as magnificent
As can be thought; exiled al envye;
As confident the right to magnifie
As wil the lawe of Goddis mandement,
And as perseueraunt and patient.

The premynent is first thalmyghti Lord,
Emanuel, that euery lord is vndir
And good lyver; but bataile and discord
With him hath Sathanas; thei are asondir
As day & nyght, and as fier wasteth tundir,
So Sathanas his flok; and Cristis oste
In gemmy gold goth ardent, euery cooste.

Themanuel, this Lord of Sabaoth,
Hath ostis angelik that multitude,
That noon of hem, nor persone erthly, woote
Their numbir or vertue or pulcritude;
Our chiualers of hem similitude
Take as thei may, but truely ? fer is,
As gemmys are ymagyned to sterrys.

Folk angelik, knyghthode archangelike,
And the terrible tourmys pryncipaunt,
The Potestates myght, ho may be like,-
The vigoroux vertue so valyaunt,
The Regalye of thordir domynaunt,
The Thronys celsitude of Cherubyn?
Who hath the light or flamme of Seraphyn?

Yit true it is, Man shal ben angelike;
Forthi their hosteyinye the Lord hath shewed
Ofte vnto man, the crafte therof to pike,
In knyghthode aftir hem man to be thewed:
By Lucyfer falling, rebate and fewed
Her numbir was, and it is Goddis wille,
That myghti men her numbir shal fulfille.

Of myghty men first is thelectioun
To make, & hem to lerne, & exercise
An ooste of hem for his perfectioun,
Be numbred thenne; and aftir se the gise
Of strong bataile, fighting in dyuers wise;
In craft to bilde, and art to make engyne
For see & lond, this tretys I wil fyne.

Thelectioun of werreours is good
In euery londe; and southward ay the more,
The more wit thei haue & lesse blood,
Forthi to blede thei drede it, and therfore
Reserue theim to labour & to lore,
And northeward hath more blood and lesse
Wit, and to fight & blede an hardinesse.

But werreours to worthe wise & bolde,
Is good to take in mene atwix hem twayne,
Where is not ouer hote nor ouer colde;
And to travaile & swete in snow & rayne,
In colde & hete, in wode & feeldys playne,
With rude fode & short, thei that beth vsed,
To chere it is the Citesens seclused.

And of necessitee, if thei be take
To that honour as to be werreourys,
In grete travaile her sleuth is of to shake,
And tolleraunce of sonne & dust & shourys,
To bere & drawe, & dayes delve and hourys
First vse thei, and reste hem in a cave,
And throute among, and fode a smal to haue.

In soden case emergent hem elonge
Fro their Cite, streyt out of that pleasaunce;
So shal thei worthe, ye, bothe bolde & stronge;
But feithfully the feld may most avaunce
A myghti ooste; of deth is his doubtaunce
Ful smal, that hath had smal felicite.
To lyve, and lande-men such lyuers be.

Of yonge folk is best electioun,
In puberte thing lightlier is lerned,
Of tendre age vp goth perfectioun
Of chiualers, as it is wel gouerned;
Alacrite to lepe & renne vnwerned,
Not oonly be, but therto sette hem stronge
And chere theim therwith, whil thei beth yonge.

For better is ?ge men compleyne
On yerys yet commyng and nat fulfilled,
Then olde men dolorouxly disdeyne,
That thei here yougthe in negligence haspilde.
The yonge may seen alle his daies filde
In disciplyne of were and exercise,
That age may not haue in eny wise.

Not litil is the discipline of werre,
O fote, on hors, with sword or shild or spere,
The place & poort to kepe and not to erre,
Ne truble make, and his shot wel bewere,
To dike and voyde a dike, and entir there,
As is to do; lerned this gouernaunce,
No fere is it to fight, but pleasaunce.

The semelyest, sixe foote or litil lesse,
The first arayes of the legyoun,
Or wyngys horsyd, it is in to dresse;
Yet is it founde in euery regioun,
That smale men have had myght & renoun:
Lo, Tideus, as telleth swete Homere,
That litil man in vigour had no pere.

And him, that is to chese, it is to se
The look, the visagynge, the lymys stronge,
That thei be sette to force & firmytee;
For bellatours, men, horsis, hondis yonge,
As thei be wel fetured, is to fonge,
As in his book seith of the bee Virgile,
Too kyndis are, a gentil and a vile.

The gentil is smal, rutilaunt, glad-chered,
That other horribil, elenge and sloggy,
Drawinge his wombe abrede, and vgly-hered,
To grete the bolk, and tremulent and droggy,
The lymes hery, scabious & ruggy;
That be wil litil do, but slepe & ete,
And al deuoure, as gentil bees gete.

So for bataile adolescentys yonge
Of grym visage and look pervigilaunt,
Vpright-necked, brod-brested, boned stronge.
Brawny, bigge armes, fyngeres elongaunt,
Kne deep, smal wombe, and leggys valiaunt,
To renne & lepe: of these and suche signys
Thelectioun to make ascribed digne is.

For better is, of myghti werryourys
To haue ynogh, then ouer mych of grete.-
What crafty men tabide on werrys shourys,
It is to se; fisshers, foulers, forlete
Hem alle, and pigmentaryes be foryete,
And alle they that are of idil craftys,
Their insolence & feet to be forlafte is.

The ferrour and the smyth, the carpenter,
The huntere of the hert & of the boor,
The bocher & his man, bed hem com nere,
For alle tho may do and kepe stoor.
An old prouerbe is it: Stoor is not soor,
And commyn wele it is, a werreour
To have aswel good crafte as grete vigour.

The reaumys myght, the famys fundament,
Stont in the first examynatioun
Or choys, wheryn is good be diligent.
Of the provynce that is defensioun;
A wysdom and a just intensioun
Is him to have, an ost that is to chese,
Wheryn is al to wynne or al to lese.

If chiualers, a land that shal defende,
Be noble born, and have lond & fee,
With thewys goode, as can noman amende,
Thei wil remembir ay their honeste,
And shame wil refreyne hem not to fle;
Laude & honour, hem sporynge on victory,
To make fame eternal in memory.

What helpeth it, if ignobilitee
Have exercise in werre and wagys large;
A traitour or a coward if he be,
Thenne his abode is a disceypt & charge;
If cowardise hym bere away by barge
Or ship or hors, alway he wil entende
To marre tho that wolde make or mende.

Ciuilians or officers to make
Of hem that have habilite to werre,
Is not the worship of a lond tawake,
Sumtyme also lest noughti shuld com nerre,
Thei sette hym to bataile, & theryn erre;
Therfore it is by good discretioun
And grete men to make electioun.

And not anoon to knyghthode is to lyft
A bacheler elect; let first appare
And preve it wel that he be stronge & swift
And wil the discipline of werrys lere,
With confidence in conflict as he were.
Ful oftyn he that is right personabil,
Is aftir pref reported right vnabil.

He putte apart, putte in his place an other;
Conflicte is not so sure in multitude,
As in the myght. Thus proved oon & other
Of werre an entre or similitude,
In hem to shewe. But this crafte dissuetude
Hath take away; here is noon exercise
Of disciplyne, as whilom was the gise.

How may I lerne of hym that is vnlerned,
How may a thing informal fourme me?
Thus I suppose is best to be gouerned:
Rede vp thistories of auctoritee,
And how thei faught, in theym it is to se,
Or better thus: Celsus Cornelius
Be red, or Caton, or Vegetius.

Vegetius it is, that I entende
Aftir to goon in lore of exercise,
Besechinge hem that fynde a faut, amende
It to the best, or me tamende it wise;
As redy wil I be with my seruyce
Tamende that, as ferther to procede.
Now wel to go, the good angel vs lede.

First is to lerne a chiualerys pace,
That is to serue in journey & bataile;
Gret peril is, if they theryn difface,
That seyn: our enemye wil our oste assaile
And jumpe light; to goon is gret availe,
And pace in howrys fyve
Wel may they goon, and not goon ouer blyve.

And wightly may thei go moo,
But faster and they passe, it is to renne;
In rennyng exercise is good also,
To smyte first in fight, and also whenne
To take a place our foomen wil, forrenne,
And take it erst; also to serche or sture,
Lightly to come & go, rennynge is sure.

Rennynge is also right good at the chace,
And forto lepe a dike, is also good,
To renne & lepe and ley vppon the face,
That it suppose a myghti man go wood
And lose his hert withoute sheding blood;
For myghtily what man may renne & lepe,
May wel devicte and saf his party kepe.

To swymme is eek to lerne in somer season;
Men fynde not a brigge as ofte as flood,
Swymmyng to voide and chace an oste wil eson;
Eeke aftir rayn the ryueres goth wood;
That euery man in thoost can swymme, is good.
Knyght, squyer, footman, cook & cosynere
And grome & page in swymmyng is to lere.

Of fight the disciplyne and exercise
Was this: to haue a pale or pile vpright
Of mannys hight, thus writeth olde wyse;
Therwith a bacheler or a yong knyght
Shal first be taught to stonde & lerne fight;
A fanne of doubil wight tak him his shelde,
Of doubil wight a mace of tre to welde.

This fanne & mace, which either doubil wight is
Of shelde & sword in conflicte or bataile,
Shal exercise as wel swordmen as knyghtys,
And noo man (as thei seyn) is seyn prevaile
In felde or in gravel though he assaile,
That with the pile nath first gret exercise;
Thus writeth werreourys olde & wise.

Have vche his pile or pale vpfixed faste,
And, as in werre vppon his mortal foo,
With wightynesse & wepon most he caste
To fighte stronge, that he ne shape him fro,-
On him with shild & sword avised so,
That thou be cloos, and prest thi foo to smyte,
Lest of thin owne deth thou be to wite.

Empeche his hed, his face, have at his gorge,
Bere at the breste, or serue him on the side
With myghti knyghtly poort, eue as Seynt George,
Lepe o thi foo, loke if he dar abide;
Wil he nat fle, wounde him; mak woundis wide,
Hew of his honde, his legge, his thegh, his armys;
It is the Turk: though he be sleyn, noon harm is.

And forto foyne is better then to smyte;
The smyter is deluded mony oonys,
The sword may nat throgh steel & bonys bite,
Thentrailys ar couert in steel & bonys,
But with a foyn anoon thi foo fordoon is;
Tweyne vnchys entirfoyned hurteth more
Then kerf or ege, although it wounde sore.

Eek in the kerf, thi right arm is disclosed,
Also thi side; and in the foyn, couert
Is side & arm, and er thou be supposed
Redy to fight, the foyn is at his hert
Or ellys where, a foyn is euer smert;
Thus better is to foyne then to kerve;
In tyme & place ereither is tobserue.

This fanne & mace ar ay of doubil wight,
That when the Bacheler hath exercise
Of hevy gere, and aftir taketh light
Herneys, as sheeld & sword of just assise,
His hert avaunceth, hardynes tarise.
My borthon is delyuered, thinketh he,
And on he goth, as glad as he may be.

And ouer this al, exercise in armys
The doctour is to teche and discipline,
For double wage a wurthi man of armys
Was wont to take, if he wer proved digne
Aforn his prince, ye, tymes VIII or IX;
And whete he had, and barly had the knyght
That couthe nat as he in armys fight.

Res publica right commendabil is,
If chiualers and armys there abounde,
For, they present, may nothing fare amys,
And ther thei are absent, al goth to grounde;
In gemme, in gold, in silk be thei fecounde,
It fereth not; but myghti men in armys,
They fereth with the drede of deth & harmys.

Caton the Wise seith: where as men erre
In other thinge, it may be wel amended;
But emendatioun is noon in werre;
The cryme doon, forthwith the grace is spended,
Or slayn anoon is he that there offended,
Or putte to flight, and euer aftir he
Is lesse worth then they that made him fle.

But turne ageyn, Inwit, to thi preceptys!
With sword & sheld the lerned chiualer
At pale or pile, in artilaunce excepte is;
A dart of more wight then is mester,
Tak him in honde, and teche hym it to ster,
And caste it at that pile, as at his foo,
So that it route, and right vppon hym go.

Of armys is the doctour heer tattende,
That myghtily this dart be take & shake,
And shot as myghtily, forthright on ende,
And smyte sore, or nygh, this pile or stake;
Herof vigour in tharmys wil awake
And craft to caste & smyte shal encrece;
The werreours thus taught, shal make peax.

But bachilers, the thridde or firthe part,
Applied ar to shote in bowes longe
With arowys; heryn is doctryne & art,
The stringys vp to breke in bowes stronge,
And swift and craftily the taclis fonge,
Starkly the lifte arm holde with the bowe,
Drawe with the right, and smyte, and ouerthrowe.

Set hert & eye vppon that pile or pale,
Shoot nygh or on, and if so be thou ride
On hors, is eek the bowys bigge vp hale;
Smyte in the face or breste or bak or side,
Compelle fle, or falle, if that he bide.
Cotidian be mad this exercise,
On fote & hors, as writeth olde wise.

That archery is grete vtilitee,
It nedeth not to telle eny that here is;
Caton, therof in bookys writeth he,
Among the discipline of chiualerys,
And Claudius, that werred mony yeres,
Wel seide, and Affricanus Scipio
With archerys confounded ofte his foo.

Vse eek the cast of stoon with slynge or honde;
It falleth ofte, if other shot ther noon is,
Men herneysed in steel may not withstonde
The multitude & myghti caste of stonys;
It breketh ofte & breseth flesh & bonys,
And stonys in effecte are euerywhere,
And slyngys ar not noyous forto bere.

And otherwhile in stony stede is fight,
A mountayn otherwhile is to defende,
An hil, a toun, a tour, and euery knyght
And other wight may caste stoon on ende.
The stonys axe, if other shot be spende,
Or ellys thus: save other shot with stonys,
Or vse hem, as requireth, both atonys.

The barbulys that named ar plumbatys,
Set in the sheld is good to take fyve,
That vsed hem of old, wer grete estatys;
As archerys, they wolde shote and dryve
Her foo to flight, or leve him not alyve;
This shot commended Dioclisian
And his Coemperour Maxymyan.

The Chiualers and werreourys alle,
Quicly to lepe on hors, and so descende
Vppon the right or lyft side, if it falle,
That exercise is forto kepe an ende;
Vnarmed first, and armed thenne ascende,
And aftir with a spere or sword & shelde,
This feet is good, when troubled is the felde.

And LX pounde of weght it hade to bere
And go therwith a chiualerys pace,
Vitaile & herneysing and sword & spere,
Frely to bere; al this is but solace;
Thinge exercised ofte in tyme & space,
Hard if it be, with vse it wil ben eased,
The yonge men herwith beth best appesed.

And exercise him vche in his armure,
As is the gise adayes now to were,
And se that euery peece herneys be sure,
Go quycly in, and quyk out of the gere,
And kepe it cler, as gold or gemme it were;
Corraged is that hath his herneys bright,
And he that is wel armed, dar wel fight.

To warde & wacche an oste it is to lerne
Both holsom is that fvlly and necessary,
Withinne a pale an oste is to gouerne,
That day & nyght saftly theryn they tary
And take reste, and neuer oon myscary;
For faute of wacch, ha worthi not myscheved
Now late, and al to rathe? Is this nat preved?

To make a fortresse, if the foon be nygh,
Assure a grounde, and se that ther be fode
For man & beest, and watir deep mydthigh,
Not fer; and se there wode or grovys goode.
Now signe it, lyne it out by yerde or rode,
An hil if ther be nygh, wherby the foo
May hurte, anoon set of the ground therfro.

Ther flood is wont the felde to ouer flete,
Mak ther noo strength; and as is necessary
Vnto thyn oste, as mych is out to mete,
And cariage also theryn most tary;
Men dissipat, here enemy may myscary,
And combred is an oste that is compressed;
Tak eue ynough, and hoom have vch man dressed.

Trianguler, or square, or dymyrounde
The strength it is to make of hosteyinge;
Thavis therof is taken at the grounde;-
And estward, or vppon thi foo comynge,
The yatys principal have vssuynge,
To welcom him; and if an ost journey,
The yatis ar to sette vppon his wey.

The centenaryes thervppon shal picche
Her pavilons, and dragonys and signys
Shal vp be set, and Gorgona the wicche
Vpsette they; to juste batail condigne is
Vch helply thing; another yate & signe is,
Ther trespassers shal go to their juesse,
That oponeth north, or westward, as I gesse.

In maneer a strengthe is to be walled,
If ther oppresse noo necessitee:
Delve vp the torf, have it togedir malled,
Therof the wal be mad high footys
Above grounde; the dike withouten be
IX foote brode, and deep dounright;
Thus dike & wal is wel fote in hight.

This werk they calle a dike tumultuary;
To stynte a rore, and if the foo be kene,
Legytymat dykinge is necessary;
XII foote brod that dike is to demene,
And nyne deep; his sidys to sustene,
And hege it as is best on either side,
That diked erth vpheged stonde & bide.

Above grounde arise it foure foote;
Thus hath the dike in brede footys XII,
And XIII is it high fro crop to roote,
That stake of pith which euery man him selve
Hath born, on oneward is it forto delve.
And this to do, pikens, mattok and spade
And tole ynough ther most be redy made.

But and the foo lene on forwith to fight,
The hors men alle, and half the folk ofoote
Embataile hem, to showve away their myght,
That other half, to dike foot by foote,
Be sette, and an heraude expert by roote,
The Centrions other the Centenaryis
In ordre forth hem calle, as necessary is.

And ay among the centrions enserch,
The werk, if it be wrought, kept the mesure,
In brede & deep & high, perch aftir perch,
And chastise him, that hath nat doon his cure.
An hoste thus exercised may ensure
In prevalence, whos debellatioun
Shal not be straught by perturbatioun.

Wel knowen is, nothinge is more in fight
Then exercise and daily frequentaunce;
Vch werreour therfore do his myght
To knowe it wel and kepe his ordynaunce;
An ooste to thicke, I sette, is encombraunce,
And also perilous is ouer thynne,
Thei sone fle that be to fer atwynne.

We werreours, forthi go we to feelde;
And as our name in ordir in the rolle is,
Our ordynaunt, so sette vs, dart & sheelde
And bowe & axe, and calle vs first by pollys;
Triangulys, quadrangulys, and rollys,
We may be made; and thus vs embataile,
Gouerned, vndir grate to prevaile.

A sengil ege is first to strecch in longe,
Withoute bosomynge or curuature,
With dowbeling forwith let make it stronge,
That also fele assiste, in like mesure,
And with a woord turne hem to quadrature,
And efte trianguler, and then hem rounde,
And raunge hem efte, and keep euerych his grounde.

This ordynaunce of right is to prevaile;
Doctryne hem eek, whenne it is best to square,
And when a triangul may more availe,
And orbys, how they necessary are;
How may be to condense, and how to rare;
The werreours that ha this exercise,
Be preste with hardynesse, & stronge & wise.

And ouer this, an olde vsage it was
To make walk thryes in euery mone,
And tho they wente a chiualerys paas
X myle outward, the men of armys, none
Vnharneysed; the footmen euerychone
Bowed, tacled, darted, jacked, saladed;
Vitaile eke born withal, her hertis gladed.

In hom comynge, among thei wente faste
And ranne among. Eek tourmys of ryderys
Sumtyme journeyed on foote in haste,
Shelded & herneysed with myghti sperys;
Not oonly in the playn, but also where is
A mountayn or a clif or streyt passagys.
Thus hadde thei both exercise and wagys.

Ereithre ege in this wise exercised
Was by & by, so that no chaunce of newe
Nas to be thought, that thei nere of avised,
And hadde way the daungerys teschewe
Vndaungered; and this wisdom thei knewe
By discipline of their doctour of armys,
To wynne honour withouten hate or harmys.

Thelectioun and exercise anended,
An ooste is now to numbre & dyvide,
And seen vch officer his part commended,
And how to sette a feeld to fight & bide.
Goode Angelys and Sayntys, ye me gide
And lighte me, o Lady Saynte Mary!
To write wel this werk & not to tary.-


Electrix ita Milicie pars prima recedit,
Et pars partitrix ecce secunda subit.

The firste parte of IIII is here at ende;
Now to the part secounde! er we procede
To knowe this, His grace God vs sende!
Myn auctour ofte aduiseth vs to rede
And to the sense of it to taken hede;
To rede a thinge withoute intelligence,
As seith Cato the Wise, is negligence.

But this I leve vnto the sapience
Of chiualers, and to my werk retorne,
Theryn to do my feithful diligence
For their pleasaunce, out of this prosis storne
The resonaunce of metris wolde I borne.
As myghti herte in ryngynge herneysinge,
So gentil wit wil in good metris springe.

And for thonour of theuerlastyng kynge,
Our saviour Jhesus and his Ierarkys,
His Angelys, and for that swete thinge,
His Modre, patronesse of al my warkys,
For His prophetys love and patriarkys,
And for thapostolis that made our Crede,
As do me fauour, ye that wil me rede.

Virgile seith (an high poete is he)
That werre in armys stont and mannys myght,
The man on hors, o fote, or on the see;
Riders be wyngis clept, for swift & light,
On either half of thege eke ar thei dight;
But now that ege is called the banere
Or banerye, hauyng his banereer.

Also ther are riders legyonaryis;
Thei are annexed to the legioun.
In too maner of shippes men to cary is,
Their namys ar couth in this regioun;
Orthwart go they the flood, and vp & doun;
Riders in playn, footmen goth euery where,
By theyme the commyn wele is to conquere;

Riders a fewe, and haue o foote fele,
Thei spende smal, and horsmen spende fre.
Footmen o tweyne is to dyuide & dele:
Or legiaunt or aydaunt for to be.
Confederat men aydaunt is to se,
That is to say, by trewce or toleraunce,
As Frensh ar suffred here, and we in Fraunce.

Aydaunt be they, but in the legioun
Lith thordinaunce in werre to prevaile.
A legioun out of electioun
Hath take his name, as elect to bataile.
Her diligence and feith is not to faile;
Thi legyaunt forthi to multiplie
Is right, but aydauntys a fewe applie.

Thousant werreours was a phalange
In dayis olde, and of men
Was a caterve, but this diagalange
Is, as to this, not worth a pulled hen.
The legioun, departed into X,
Is vs to lerne, and legions how fele
It is to haue, and how asondir dele.

The consules legiounys ladden,
Al aldermeest; but thei hadde exercise,
Wherof the felde victoriously thei hadden;
To chose a legioun, this was the gise,
In bookys as they seyn, these olde wise:
Wyis, hardy, strong, doctryned, high statured,
In feet of werre ofte vsed & wel vred.

That was the man, he was mad mylitaunt,
When al the world to the Romayn Empire
Was made obey, by knyghthod valiaunt;-
A sacramental oth doth it requyre,
To write pleyn this matere I desire,
By God & Criste and Holy Goost swar he,
And by that Emperourys maiestee.

Next God is hym to drede and hym to honour is;
Right as to God ther bodily present,
To themperour, when he mad Emperour is,
Devotioun; vch loyal ympendent
Is to be vigilaunt, his seruyent;
God serueth he, both knyght & comynere,
That loueth him, to God that regneth here.

God, Criste Jhesus, and Holy Goste; was sworn
By theim, and themperourys maiestee,
That his commaundementys shuld be born
And strenuously be doon, be what thei be;
Fro mylitaunce that thei shal neuer fle
Ner voyde deth, but rather deth desire
For themperour, and wele of his Empire.

Thus sworn, vch knyght is of the legioun.
The legioun stont in cohortys;
Cohors the Latyn is, this regioun
Tenglish it fore, help vs, good Lord! Amen.
The dignite and number of the men
Hath in the firste cohors an excellence
Of noble blood, manhode and sapience.

This feleshepe, most worshipful, most digne,
Bar thegil and thymage of themperour;
As God present was holden either signe,
Thei hadde both attendaunce & honour;
Of chiualers heryn was doon the flour,
A an and footmen,
And of wight horsmen.

The military cohors, or the choors,
Thus named it the wise, and the secounde
Cohors, like as the bonet to his coors
Is set, thei sette it footmen stronge & sounde,
And an half, and abounde
In hit, with sixe & sixti hors, and it
The Quyngentary called men of wit.

As fele & myghty choys putte in the thridde is,
For in their honde espeyre is al to thryve;
Her place in ordynaunce is in the myddys,
And for the firth choors is to discrive
Footmen and an half,
With sixe & sixti hors, and eue as fele,
With better hors, vnto the fifthe dele.

For as the first cohors is the right horn,
So in the lift horn is the fifthe choors;
For V choors stonde in the frounte aforn,
Or the vawarde; of termys is noo foors,
So the conceyt be had. The sixt cohors
Hath, as the fifthe, yet lusty men & yonge;
To thegil next to stonde it is to fonge,

That is the right horn; in the myddil warde
The nexte choors hath eue as mony as she,
The nexte as fele, and therto is tawarde
The myghti men, amyddis forto be;
The nynth is of the same quantitie,
The tenth is eue as is the choors beforn,
But make it strong, for it is the lift horn.

The legioun in ten is thus cohorted,
And an see men on foote,
Hors, and therty therto soorted,
Of fewer hors is not to speke or moote
In eny legioun; yet, crop & roote
To seyn, of hors ther may be take moo,
Commaundement if ther be so to do.

Exployed heer thusage and ordynaunce
Of legyoun, vnto the principal
Of chiualers retourne our remembraunce;
The dignitie and name in special
Of euery prince enrolled, and who shal
Do what, and whenne, and where, it is to write;
Good angel, help vs al this werk tendite.

The grete Trybune is mad by Themperour,
And by patent, and send by jugement;
Thundir Trybune is hent of his labour.-
An Ordyner for fighters forth present
Is forto sette; eek Themperour content
Is ofte to sende and make secoundaryis;
What name is heer for hem? Coordinaryis.

An Egiller bar thegil, and thymage
Of themperour bar an Ymaginary;
And moo then oon ther were of those in wage;
A Banereer, tho clept a Draconary,
A Kyng Heralde, tho clept a Tesserary,-
The baner he, he bar commaundement,
Al thoost tobeye her princys hole entent.

Campigeners made exercise in feeldys,
Campymeters mesured out the grounde,
To picche pavilons, tentys and teeldys,
The forteresse triangeler or rounde
Or square to be made or dymyrounde,
His part hit was; and he that was Library,
Thaccomptys wrot, that rekenyng ne vary.

The Clarioner, Trompet, and Hornycler,
With horn, & trompe of bras, and clarioun,
In terribil batailis bloweth cleer,
That hors & man reioyceth at the soun;
The firmament therto making resoun
Or resonaunce; thus joyneth thei bataile;
God stonde with the right, that it prevaile!

A Mesurer, that is our Herbagere,
For paviloun & tent assigneth he
The grounde, and seith: 'Be ye ther, be ye here!'
Vch hostel eek, in castel and citee,
Assigneth he, vch aftir his degre.
A wreth o golde is signe of grete estate;
That wered it, was called a Torquate.

Sengil ther were of these, and duplicate
And triplicate, and so to for and fiv,
That hadde wage, vche aftir his estate.
Tho namys goon, such personys alyve,
It may be thought, therof wil I not scryve.
Ther were eek worthymen clept Candidate,
And last, the souldeours, vch othrys mate.

The principal prince of the legioun,
Sumtyme it was, and yet is a like gise,
To make a Primypile, a centurioun;
A Lieutenaunt men calle him in our wise;
And him beforn is Thegil forto arise;
Four hudred knyghtis eek of valiaunce
This prymypile hadde in his gouernaunce.

He in the frounte of al the legioun
Was as a vicaptayn, a gouernour,
And took availe at vch partitioun.
The First Spere was next, a lusty flour;
Two hundred to gouerne is his honour,
Wherof thei named him a Ducennary,
The name fro the numbir not to vary.

The Prince an hundred and an half gouerned,
Eek he gouerned al the legioun
In ordynaunce; oueral he went vnwerned.
The nexte spere, of name and of renoun,
As mony hadde in his directioun;
The First Triari hadde an hundred men;
A Chevetayn was eke of euery ten

Thus hath the first cohors fyve Ordinayris,
And euery ten an hed, a Cheveteyne,
To rewle theim; and so it necessayr is,
An hundred and fyve on this choors to reigne:
Four Ordinayris and the cheef Captayne,
That is their Ordinary General,
And seyde is ofte of him: He rewleth al.

So high honour, so gret vtilitee
Hath euerych estate of this renoun
Prouided hem by sage Antiquitee,
That euery persone in the legioun
With al labour, with al deuotioun
To that honour attended to ascende,
And that avail to wynne, her bodyis bende.

The nexte choors, named the Quyngentary,
Hath Centurions or Centenerys fyve;
Thridde choors as fele hath necessary;
The firthe fyve, and, forto spede vs blyve,
In euery choors the Centyners oo fyve
In numbir make, and so the legioun
Of hem hath fyvty-fyve vp & doun.

Not fyvty-fyve Whi? For fyve thordinayrys
In their Estate and stede of fyve stonde;
To graunte this, me semeth, noo contrary is;
Though in my book so wryton I ne fonde,
Of LV, wel I vndirstonde
And fynde cleer, so that it most appere,
That vndir Ordynayrys V were.

The consulys, for themperour Legatys
Sende vnto the oste; to thaim obtemperaunt
Was al the legioun, and al the statys;
They were of al the werres ordynaunt;
To theim obeyed euerych aydaunt;
In stede of whom illustres Lordes, Peerys,
Be substitute, Maistrys of Chiualerys;

By whom not oonly legiounys twayn,
But grete numbrys hadde gouernaunce.
The propre juge is the Provost, certayn,
With worthinesse of the first ordynaunce;
The vilegate is he by mynystraunce
Of his power, to hym the Centeners
Obey, and the Trybune and Chiualers.

Of him the rolle of wacch and of progresse
Thei crave and haue, and if a knyght offende,
At his precepte he was put to juesse
By the trybune, in payne or deth tanende.
Hors, herneys, wage & cloth, vitail to spende,
His cure it was tordeyn, and disciplyne
Vnto euery man, seuerous or benygne.

His justising, with sobre diligence,
And pite doon vppon his legioun,
Assured hem to longh obedience
And reuerence, and high deuotioun;
Good gouernaunce at his promotioun
Kept euery man; and his honour, him thoughte
It was, when euery man dede as him oughte.

The Maister or Provost of Ordynaunce,
Although he were of lower dignitie,
His estimatioun & gouernaunce,
The bastilys, dich, & pale is to se;
And wher the tabernaculys shal be
And tent & teelde & case & paviloun
And cariage of al the legioun.

For seeke men the leche and medycyne
Procureth he, for larderye and toolys;
Of euery werk cartyng he most assigne,
For bastile or engyne or myne. And fole is
He noon, that is expert in these scolys;
This was a wise, appreved chiualere,
That, as he dede himself, couth other lere.

And ouer this, the ferrour & the smyth,
The tymbre men, hewer & carpenter,
The peyntour, and vch other craft goth with,
To make a frame or engyne euerywhere,
Hem to defense and her foomen to fere;
Tormentys olde and carrys to repare
And make newe, as they to broken are.

Foregys and artelryis, armeryis,
To make tole, horshoon, shot & armurre;
And euery thing that nede myght aspie, is
In thooste; and eek mynours that can go sure
Vndir the dich, and al the wal demure
Or brynge in thoost; herof the Maister Smyth
Had al the rule, and euer went he with.

The legioun is seide haue choorsis X.
The military first, or miliary,
The best and gentilest and wisest men
And myghtiest, therto be necessary;
Eek letterure is good & light to cary.
Her gouernour was a Trybune of Armys,
Wise & honest, that body strong & arm is.

The choorsys aftir that, Trybunys cured
Or Maysterys, as it the prince pleased;
Vch chiualeer in exercise assured
So was, that God & man therwith was pleased;
And first to se the prince do, mych eased
The hertys alle. Fresh herneys, armur bright,
Wit, hardinesse & myght had euery knyght.

The firste signe of al the legioun
An Egil is, born by an Egeler,
And thenne in euery Choors is a Dragoun,
Born by a Draconair or Banereer;
A baner eek had euery Centener
Other a signe, inscrived so by rowe,
His Chevetayn that euery man may knowe.

The Centeners had also werreourys,
Hardy, wel harneysed, in their salet
That had a creste of fetherys or lik flourys,
That noon errour were in the batail set,
To his Cristate and to his Baneret
And to his Decanair euerych his sight
May caste, and in his place anoon be pight.

Right as the footmen haue a Centurion,
That hath in rewle an C men & X,
So haue the riders a Decurion,
That hath in rewle XXXII horsmen.
By his banere him knoweth alle his men,
And ouer that, right as it is to chese
A myghti man for thaym, so is for these.

For theim a stronge & wel fetured man,
That can a spere, a dart, a sword wel caste,
And also fight, and rounde a sheld wel can,
And spende his wepon wel withoute waste,
Redier to fight then flite, and ner agaste,
That can be sobre, sadde, & quyk & quyver,
And with his foo com of and him delyuer;

Obeyssaunt his premynentys wille,
And rather do the feat then of it crake,
Impatient that day or tyme spille
In armys exercise and art to wake,
And of himself a sampeler to make
Among his men, wel shod, honestly dight,
And make hem fourbe her armure euer bright.

Right so it is, for these men to chese
A Decurioun, thorugh lik to him in fourme,
Impatient that thei the tyme lese,
Wel herneysed, and euerych of hys tourme
In euery poynt of armys wil enfourme,
And armed wil his hors so sone ascende,
That mervaile is, and course hym stronge anende,

And vse wel a dart, a shaft, a spere,
And teche chiualers vndir his cure,
Right as himself to torne hem in her gere,
The brigandyn, helmet, and al procure,
It oftyn wipe clene,-and knowe sure,
With herneysing and myghti poort affrayed
Is ofte a foo, and forto fight dismayed.

Is it to sey: 'he is a werrely knyght,'
Whos herneys is horribil & beduste,
Not onys vsed in a fourte nyght,
And al that iron is or steel, beruste;
Vnkept his hors, how may he fight or juste?
The knyghtis and her horsys in his tourme
This Capitayn shal procure & refourme.


Tercia bellatrix pars est et pacificatrix,
In qua quosque bonos concomitatur honos.

Comprised is in smal this part secounde,
An ooste to numbir, and a legioun;
In foylis is it fewe, in fruyt fecounde;
The saluature of al religioun
Is founde heryn for euery regioun.
Wel to digeste this God graunte vs grace,
And by the werre his reste to purchace.

O gracious our Kyng! Thei fleth his face.
Where ar they now? Summe are in Irelonde,
In Walys other are, in myghti place,
And other han Caleys with hem to stonde,
Thei robbeth & they reveth see & londe;
The kyng, or his ligeaunce or amytee,
Thei robbe anende, and sle withoute pitee.

The golden Eagle and his briddys III,
Her bellys ha they broke, and jessys lorne;
The siluer Bere his lynkys al to fle,
And bare is he behinde & eke beforne;
The lily whit lyoun, alas! forsworne
Is his colour & myght; and yet detrude
Entende thei the lond, and it conclude.

Of bestialite, lo, ye so rude,
The Noblis alle attende on the Antilope;
Your self & youris, ye yourself exclude,
And lose soule & lyif. Aftir your coope
Axe humble grace, and sette yourself in hope,
For and ye wiste, hou hard lyif is in helle,
No lenger wolde ye with the murthre melle.

Ye se at eye, it nedeth not you telle,
Hou that the beestis and the foulys alle,
That gentil are, ar sworn your wrong to quelle;
Ypocrisie of oothis wil not walle
You fro the sword, but rather make it falle
On your auarous evel gouernaunce,
That may be called pride & arrogaunce.

This yeve I theim to kepe in remembraunce;
Goode Antilop, that eny blood shal spille,
Is not thi wille; exiled is vengeaunce
From al thi thought; hemself, alas, thei kille.
O noble pantere! of thi breth the smylle,
Swete and pleasaunt to beest & briddis alle,
It oonly fleth the dragon fild with galle.

What helpeth it, lo, thangelis wil falle
On him with al our werreours attonys;
Thei muste nede his membris al to malle.-
Of this matere I stynte vntil eftsonys,
And fast I hast to write as it to doone is,
That myght in right vppon the wrong prevaile
In londe & see, by knyghthode & bataile.

Lo, thus thelectioun with exercise
And ordynaunce, as for a legioun,
Exployed is, as writeth olde wise.
What ha we next? Belligeratioun.
O Jesse flour! Jhesu, Saluatioun
And Savyour, commaunde that my penne
To thin honour go right heryn & renne.

An oste of exercise 'exercitus'
Hath holde of olde his name; a legioun
As an electioun is named thus,
And a choors of cohortatioun.
The princys of her mynystratioun
Her namys have, and aftir her degre
The Chevetaynys vndir named be.

Exercitus, that is to seyn an Ooste,
Is legiounys, or a legioun;
Tweyne is ynough, and IIII is with the moste,
And oon suffiseth in sum regioun;
Therof, with ayde and horsmen of renoun,
As needful is, groweth good gouernaunce
In euery londe, and parfit prosperaunce.

What is an ayde? It is stipendiaryis
Or souldiours conduct of straunge londe,
To such a numbir as it necessary is,
Aftir the legioun thei for to stonde
In ordynaunce, to make a myghti honde;
Heryn who wil be parfit and not erre,
Tak Maysterys of armys and of werre.

This was the wit of Princys wel appreved,
And ofte it hath be seid and is conclude,
That oostis ouer grete be myscheved
More of her owne excessif multitude
Then of her foon, that thenne wil delude
Her ignoraunce, that can not modifie
The suffisaunce, an ooste to geder & gye.

To gret an oost is hurt in mony cace:
First, slough it is in journeyinge & longe;
Forthi mysaventure it may difface,
Passagis hard, and floodis hye amonge;
Expense eek of vitaile is ouer stronge,
And if thei turne bak and onys fle,
They that escape, aferd ay aftir be.

Therfore it was the gise amonge the wise,
That of ?es had experience,
Oonly to take an oost as wil suffice,
Of preved & acheved sapience,
In chiualerys that han done diligence
In exercise of werre; a lerned ooste
Is sure, an vnlerned is cost for loste.

In light bataile, oon legioun with ayde,
That is, X Ml. men o fote, and too
Thousand on hors, sufficed as thei saide;
They with a lord no grete estat to goo,
And with a gret Estate as mony mo;
And for an infinit rebellioun
Twey dukys and tweyn oostys went adoun.

Prouisioun be mad for sanytee
In watre, place & tyme & medycyne
And exercise. In place ?h be
The pestilence, his place anoon resigne,
To weet marice and feeld to hard declyne;
To high, to lough, to light, to derk, to colde,
To hoot, is ille; attemperaunce be holde.

In snow & hail & frost & wintir shouris,
An ooste beyng, most nedes kacche colde;
For wyntir colde affrayeth somer flourys,
And mareys watir is vnholsom holde;
Good drinke and holsom mete away wil folde
Infirmytee; and fer is he fro wele,
That with his foon & sekenesse shal dele.

Cotidian at honde ha medycyne,
First for the prince; as needful is his helth
To thooste, as to the world the sonne shyne;
His prosperaunce procureth euery welth;
But let not exercise goon o stelthe;
Holde euer it. Ful seelde be thei seek
That euer vppon exercise seeke.

In ouer colde & hoot, kepe the couert,
And exercise in tymes temperate;
Footmen in high & lough, feeld & desert;
An hors to lepe a dich, an hege, a yate.
Tranquillite with peax & no debate
Be sadly kept, exiled al envie;
Grace in this gouernaunce wil multiplie.

Ha purviaunce of forage & vitaile
For man & hors; for iron smyteth not
So sore as honger doth, if foode faile.
The colde fyer of indigence is hoote,
And wood theron goth euery man, God woot;
For other wepen is ther remedie,
But on the dart of hongir is to deye.

Or have ynough, or make a litil werre,
And do the stuf in placys stronge & sure;
In more then ynough, me may not erre;
The moneyles by chevishaunce procure,
As lauful is, I mene, nat vsure;
But tak aforn the day of payment;
It loseth not, that to the prince is lent.

What man is hool in his possessioun,
If he ha no defense of men of armys?
Beseged if me be, progressioun
That ther be noon, and noo vitail in arm is,
O woful wight, ful careful thin alarm is!
Honger within, and enmytee abowte,
A warse foo withinn is then withoute.

And though thi foo withoute an honger be,
He wil abide on honger thee to sle;
Forthi comynge a foo, vitaile the,
And leve hym noght, or lite, vnworth a stre;
Whete and forage and flesh, fissh of ?
Wyn, salt & oyle, fewel and euery thinge
That helpeth man or beest to his lyvinge:

Tak al, thi foo comyng, and mak an oye
That euery man to strengthes ha ther goodis,
As thei of good & lyves wil ha joye,
And negligentys to compelle it good is.
The feriage be take away fro flodis,
The briggis on the ryverys to breke,
And passagis with falling tymbour steke.

The yatis and the wallys to repare,
The gunnys and engynys & tormente,
And forge newe, ynowe if that ther nare;
Ful late is it, if thi foo be presente,
And fere ingoth, if hardinesse absente.
Be war of this, and euery thing prouide,
That fere fle, and good corage abide.

Golde it is good to kepe, and make stoor
Of other thing, and spende in moderaunce;
More and ynough to haue, it is not soor,
And spare wel, whil ther is aboundaunce;
To spare of litil thing may lite avaunce.
By pollys dele, and not by dignitee,
So was the rewle in sage antiquytee.

And best be war, when that thin aduersary
Wil swere grete, ye by the Sacrament,
And vse that, ye and by seint Mary,
And al that is vndir the firmament:
Beleve nat his othe, his false entent
Is this: thi trewe entent for to begile.
The pref herof nys passed but a while.

Wel ofter hath fals simulatioun
Desceyved vs, then opon werre; and where
Me swereth ofte, it is deceptioun.
Judas, away from vs! cum thou no nere:
Thou gretest, Goddis child as thaugh thou were;
But into the is entred Sathanas,
And thou thi self wilt hange! an hevy cas.

Sumtyme amonge an ooste ariseth roore.
Of berth, of age, of contre, of corage
Dyuers thei are, and hoom thei longe sore,
And to bataile thei wil, or out of wage.
What salue may this bolnyng best aswage?
Wherof ariseth it? Of ydilnesse.
What may aswage it best? Good bisinesse.

With drede in oost to fight thei are anoyed,
And speke of fight, when theim wer leuer fle,
And with the fode and wacch thei are acloyed.
'Where is this felde? Shal we no batail see?
Wil we goon hoom? What say ye, sirs?' 'Ye, ye!'
And with her hed to fighting are thei ripe
Al esily, but he the swellinge wipe.

A remedie is, when thei are asonder,
The graunt Tribune, or els his lieutenaunt,
With discipline of armys holde hem vndir
Seuerously, tech hem be moderaunte,
To God deuout, and fait of werrys haunte,
The dart, baliste, and bowe, and cast of stoon,
And swymme & renne & leep, tech euerychoon.

Armure to bere, and barrys like a sworde,
To bere on with the foyn, and not to shere,
And smyte thorgh a plank other a boorde,
And myghtily to shake and caste a spere,
And loke grym, a Ml. men to fere,
And course a myghti hors with spere & shelde,
And daily se ho is flour of the feelde.

To falle a grove or wode, and make a gate
Thorgh it, and make a dike, and hewe a doun
A cragge, or thurl an hil, other rebate
A clyf, to make an even regioun,
Or dowbil efte the dike abowte a toun;
To bere stoon, a boolewerk forto make,
Other sum other gret werk vndirtake.

The chiualer, be he legionary,
As seide it is beforn, on hors or foote,
Or aydaunt, that is auxiliary,
On hors or foote,-if that thei talk or mote
Of werre, and reyse roore, vp by the roote
Hit shal be pulde with myghti exercise
Of werreourys, gouerned in this wise.

Commende, and exercise, and holde hem inne,
For when thei ha the verrey craft to fight,
Thei wil desire it, wel this for to wynne.
He dar go to, that hath both art & myght.
And if a tale is tolde that eny knyght
Is turbulent other sedicious,
Examyne it the duke, proceding thus:

The envious man, voide his suggestioun,
And knowe the trowth of worthi & prudent
Personys, that withouten questioun
Wil say the soth, of feith and trewe entent,
And if the duke so fynde him turbulent,
Disseuer him, and sende hym ellys where,
Sum myghti feet to doon as thaugh it were:

To kepe a castel, make a providence,
Or warde a place, and do this by thaduyce
Of counsel, and commende his sapience,
That he suppose hym self heryn so wise,
That therof hath he this honour & price;
So wittily do this, that he, reiecte,
Suppose that to honour he is electe.

For verreily, the hole multitude
Of oon assent entendeth not rebelle,
But egged ar of theim that be to rude,
And charge not of heven or of helle,
With mony folk myght thei her synnys melle;
Thei were at ease her synnys forto wynne,
Suppose thei, if mony be ther inne.

But vse not the medycyne extreme
Save in thin vtterest necessitee,
That is, the crymynous to deth to deme,
The principals; by hem that other be
Aferd to roore, yet better is to se
An oost of exercise in temperaunce
Obeysaunt, then for feere of vengeaunce.

The werriours ha myche thing to lerne;
And grace is noon, to graunte negligence,
Wher mannys helth is taken to gouerne;
To lose that, it is a gret offense;
And sikerly, the best diligence
Vnto thonour of victory tascende,
The seygnys is or tokenys tattende.

For in bataile, when al is on a roore,
The kynge or princys precept who may here
In such a multitude? And euermore
Is thinge of weght in hond, & gret matere,
And how to doon, right nedful is to lere;
Therfore in euery oste antiquitee
Hath ordeyned III signys forto be.

Vocal is oon, and that is mannys voys,
Semyvocal is trompe & clarioun
And pipe or horn; the thridde macth no noys,
And mute it hight or dombe, as is dragoun
Or thegil or thimage or the penoun,
Baner, pensel, pleasaunce or tufte or creste
Or lyuereys on shildir, arm or breste.

Signys vocal in wacch and in bataile
Be made, as wacch woordis: 'Feith, hope & grace,'
Or 'Help vs God,' or 'Shipman, mast & saile,'
Or other such, aftir the tyme and place;
Noo ryme or geeste in hem be, ner oon trace,
Ne go thei not amonge vs, lest espyes
With wepon of our owne out putte our eyis.

Semyvocals, as Trumpe and Clarioun
And pipe or horn, an hornepipe thoo
It myghte be; the trumpe, of gretter soun,
Toward batail blewe vp 'Go to, go to!';
The clarions techeth the knyghtys do,
And signys, hornys move; and when thei fight,
Attonys vp the soun goth al on hight.

To wacch or worch or go to felde, a trumpe
Hem meved out, and to retourne; and signys
Were moved, how to do, by hornys crompe,
First to remeve, and fixe ayeyn ther digne is.
Oonly the clarioun the knyghtis signe is;
Fight & retrayt and chace or feer or neer,
The clarion his voys declareth cleer.

What so the duke commaundeth to be doon
In werk or wacch or feeld, or frith or werre,
At voys of these it was fulfild anoon.-
The signys mute, in aventure a sterre,
A portcolys, a sonne, it wil not erre,
In hors, in armature, and in array
They signifie, and make fresh & gay.

Al this in exercise and longe vsage
Is to be knowe; and if a dust arise,
Theere is an oost, or sum maner outrage;
With fiyr a signe is mad in dyuers wise
Or with a beem, vche in his contre gise
His signys hath; and daily is to lerne,
That aftir hem men gide hem & gouerne.

Tho that of werre have had experience,
Afferme that ther is in journeyinge
Gretter peril, then is in resistence
Of fers batail; for in the counterynge
Men armed are oonly for yeynstondinge
And expugnatioun of hem present
In fight; theron oonly ther bowe hath bent.

Their sword & hert al preste ereither fight,
In journeyinge ereither lesse attente is;
Assault sodeyne a day other by nyght,
For vnavised men ful turbulent is.
Wherfore avised wel and diligent is
The duke to be purveyed for vnwist,
And redy is the forseyn to resiste.

A journal is in euery regioun
First to be had, wheryn he thinketh fight,
Wheryn haue he a pleyn descriptioun
Of euery place, and passage a forsight,
The maner, wey, both turnyng & forthright,
The dale & hil, the mountayn & the flood;
Purtreyed al to have is holdon good.

This journal is to shewe dukys wise
Of that province, or as nygh as may be,
The purtreyture & writing forto advise;
And of the contrey men a serch secre
Himself he make, and lerne in veritee
Of hem, that on her lyf wil vndirtake,
That thus it is, and vnder warde hem make.

Tak gidis out of hem, beheste hem grete,
As to be trewe, her lyif and grete rewarde,
And other if thei be, with deth hem threte,
And sette a wayt secret on hem, frowarde
Whethor thei thinke be other towarde;
Thei, this seynge, wil wel condite & lede,
Of grete rewarde & deth for hope & drede.

Tak wise and vsed men, and not to fewe;
Good is it not to sette on II or III
The doubte of al, though thei be parfit trewe;
The simpil man supposeth ofte he be
Weywiser then he is, and forthi he
Behesteth that he can not bringe aboute;
And such simpilnesse is forto doubte.

And good it is, that whidirward goth thooste,
Secret it be. The Mynotaurys mase
Doctryned hem to sey: 'Whidir thou gooste,
Kepe it secret; whil thi foomen go gase
Aboute her bekenys, to tende her blase,
Go thou the way that thei suppose leeste
Thou woldest go; for whi? it is sureste.'

Espyis are, of hem be war! also
The proditours that fle from oost to ooste,
Be war of hem; for swere thei neuer so,
They wil betray, and make of it their booste.
Escurynge is to haue of euery cooste;
Men wittiest on wightiest hors by nyght
May do it best, but se the hors be wight.

In a maner himself betrayeth he,
Whos taken is by negligence thespie;
Forthi be war, and quicly charge hem se
On euery side, and fast ayeyn hem hye;
Horsmen beforn eke euer haue an eye;
On vch an half footmen, and cariage
Amyddis is to kepe in the viage.

Footmen it is to haue & of the beste
Horsmen behinde; vppon the tail a foo
Wil sette among, and sumtyme on the breste,
And on the sidis wil he sette also.
With promptitude it is to putte him fro;
Light herneysed, and myghtiest that ride,
Doubte if ther is, putte hem vppon that side.

And archery withal is good to take;
And if the foo falle on on euery side,
Good wacch on euery side it is to make;
Charge euery man in herneys fast abide,
And wepynys in hondys to prouide.
Selde hurteth it, that is wel seyn beforn,
And whos is taken sleping, hath a scorn.

Antiquitee prouided eek, that roore
Arise not in thoost, for trowbelinge
The chiualers behinde other before,
As when the folk that cariage bringe,
Ar hurt, or are aferd of on comynge,
And make noyse; herfore helmettis wight
A fewe vppon the cariours were dight.

A baner hadde thei togedre to,
Alway CC vndir oon banere;
The forfighters a-sondred so ther-fro,
That no turbatioun amonge hem were,
If that ther felle a conflicte enywhere.
And as the journeyinge hadde variaunce,
So the defense had diuers ordynaunce.

In open felde horsmen wold rather falle
On then footmen; in hil, mareys & woodis,
Footmen rather. In feeld & frith to walle
An oost with myght, as wil the place, it good is,
And to be war that slough viage or floodis
Asondre not the chiualerys; for thynne
If that me be, ther wil the foo bygynne.

Therfore amonge it is to sette wyse
Doctours, as of the feelde, or other grete;
The forgoer to sette vnto his sise,
And hem that beth to slough, forthward to gete.
To fer aforn, and sole, a foo may bete;
He may be clipped of, that goth behinde;
And to goon hole as o man, that is kynde.

In placys as him semeth necessary,
And aduersaunt wil sette his busshement,
Not in apert, but in couert to tary,
And falle vppon; the duke heer diligent
It is to be, to haue his foomen shent;

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