Polichronicon, libro septimo. Capitulum vicesimum tertium.
Plato, the noble philosophre, diede after he hade con|tynuede in life by lxxxj. yere, whiche was hade in so grete veneracion and reuerence after his dethe that thei made a dubitacion wheþer he scholde be annumerate with goddes, other elles with halfe goddes. For the sonne was seen to haue [folio 151a] falle downe in the day of his obite. This Plato was the moste excellente philosophre amonge the discipulles of Socrates; callede Plato for the latitude of his breste, other of the fore|hede, or elles of largenesse betwene þe eien; for platos in Grewe sowndethe brode in Englische: whiche Plato was borne at Athenes. Tullius de divinatione, libro primo, capitulo sextoPage 343, vol.3decimo. Bees come and sate on the lippes of Plato, beenge but litelle and slepenge in his cradelle, wherefore hit was seide of wicches that he scholde be an excellente man in connynge. Valerius, libro primo, capitulo quarto decimo. Socrates semede in his slepe a thynge or signe to haue bene impressede in to his knees in the nyȝte folowenge that Plato was sette to scole. Valerius, libro octavo, capitulo septimo. After the dethe of that noble philosophre Socrates, Plato wente to the disciples of Pictagoras, worschippenge not oonly the reason of theyme, but also the continence and aspecte of theyme; after that he wente to Theodorus Cironense, that he myȝte lerne geometry, goenge after that to Egipte to lerne astrologye. Polichronicon, libro septimo. Mony men sup|pose Page 345, vol.3 Plato to haue lernede þer the oracles of the prophetes; but the supputacion of tyme wille not suffre hym to haue bene in the tyme of the prophetes. ℞. For after Seynte Austyn, de Civitate Dei, libro octavo, capitulo undecimo, Plato was borne almoste by a c. yere after the dethe of þe pro|phete Ieremy. And after the dethe of Plato, the scrip|tures off the prophecy were hade firste in Egipte by lx. yere after the dethe of Plato in the tyme of Ptolomeus. Wherefore Plato in that labore myȝte not see Ieremy, whiche was dedde by a c. yere afore, neither he myȝte not rede the scriptures of the prophecy in that thei were not translate in that tyme owte of Hebrewe in to Grewe. Neverthelesse, mony thinges be founde in the bokes of Plato consonante to the writenges of the prophetes. For Seynte Austyn, De Civitate Dei, libro sexto decimo, capitulo vicesimo, and also 7o libro Confessionum afore þe ende, rehersethe [folio 151b] that the gospelle of Seynte Iohn was founde in his bookes from the begynnenge vn to those wordes: "Et tenebræ eum non comprehenderunt." Whiche thynge y wolde not Page 347, vol.3 beleve, but that hit is writen in the bokes of holy faders, sythe that thapostle seithe suche men to haue euaneschede aweye in theire thouȝhtes. Ieronimus contra Iouinianum. When that Plato was ryche, and Diogenes hade defilede his bedde with ryalle apparaile with his feete fulle of myre and of cley, he chosede a ruynous towne callede Achademia and a fowle, beenge from Athenes by a myle, that the brennenge hete of the flesche myȝhte be resteynede Page 349, vol.3 by theire labore, not of hym selfe oonly, but also of his disciples, and that thei scholde not ȝiffe theire myndes to voluptuosite, but to theire doctrine and leson. Macro|bius, libro tertio. This Plato seide that þer were ij. dethes, oon by the whiche the sawle dothe leue the body, an other dethe when the sawle, beenge in the body, despisethe and refusethe the unlawefulle movenges and sensualites of the body. And that dethe is to be desirede of prophetes and of holy men. Seneca de natura, libro tertio. Plato beynge wrothe with his seruaunte in a tyme commaundede hym to do of his clothes and to make his scholders bare that he myȝhte bete hym, but he suffrede and refreynede hym selfe from correccion. Pseusippus, his luffer and frende, inquirede of hym what he intendede to do, whiche ansuerede and seide, "Y refreyne my selfe from correccion and suffre penaunce: do thy selfe correccion to this seruaunte, for Page 351, vol.3 y am wrothe; lest perauenture y scholde excede in cor|reccion, þat the seruaunte may be in his powere that is not in his powere." ℞. Elimandus rehersethe þat Plato usede to intitle and name his bokes by the names of his maisters, þat thei myȝhte haue moore auctorite þerof, other elles after the names of his disciples whom he luffede moche. Polichronicon, libro septimo. I suppose that be not trewe whiche is seide of Plato, that he scholde dye for schame in that he cowthe not ȝiffe a solucion to þe question of schippe men, but y trawe that to be trewe of Homerus, [folio 152a] after the testimonialle of Valerius Maximus; for oftetymes those ij. men be equiuocate for excellence of sapience, Page 353, vol.3 for the elegancy of speche, and for the latitude of breste. Valerius, libro nono, capitulo duodecimo. The noble poete Homerus diede for schame in that he cowthe not ȝiffe a solucion to þe question of the schippe men. ℞. The question of the schippe men was this, as Gregory Nazanzene rehersethe on this texte of thapostle, "Sapientia hujus mundi stultitia est apud Deum." Plato wente in a tyme nye to the see side, lokenge up to heuyn and beholdenge the firmamente, whom the schippe men mockede and skornede. Then Plato inquirede of theyme what thei hade. Thei seide, "As mony we toke we haue not, and we haue so mony as we tooke not;" for the seide schippe men hade made clene theire clothes of vermyn, and sleyne theym thei hade taken, and so thei hade not that thei hade taken. Then Plato settenge his thouȝhte on fysches, mervaylede moche; whiche not eitenge neiþer drynkenge for the in|quisicion of that thynge, diede in that wyse and maner. Polichronicon, libro septimo. Pseusippus, the sonne of his sustyr, and Zenocrates, þe amiable disciple of Plato, suc|cedede Page 355, vol.3 in his place after his dethe in the scole whiche was callede Achademia; wherefore theire successores, as Platinus, Porphirius, Apuleus, Afer were callede Achademici, as mony men were callede Platonici of Plato. Valerius, libro quarto. Hit is redde of this Zenocrates, that a beautuous woman of ylle disposicion hade made promyse to breke his continency for a certeyne summe of goode, whiche commenge and lyenge with hym cowthe not move hym to incontinency in eny wise. Wherefore the yonge men of the cite of Athenes hade that woman in derision, in that sche cowthe not cause hym to breke his continency. The woman ansuerede and Page 357, vol.3 seide that sche spake and made promyse of a man and not of a ymage. Ieronimus contra Iouinianum. Zenocrates, that noble philosophre, lefte at Athenes thre preceptes oonly to be obser|uede, whiche were of the lawes of Tritolomus: the firste was to honoure theire fader and moder, to worschippe goddes, and [folio 152b] not to eite flesche. Also hit is redde in a booke De Dictis Philosophorum, that Zenocrates seenge a man condempnede Page 359, vol.3 and brouȝte to the place where he scholde be hongede, did laȝhe, and seide, "Beholde, frendes, for grete theves lede a litelle thefe to hongenge." Policronicon, libro septimo, et Augustinus de Civitate Dei, libro nono, capitulo undecimo.