Anonymous Olde English

Here you will find the Long Poem Knyghthode and Bataile of poet Anonymous Olde English

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.