Capitulum vicesimum nonum.
WHEN that kynge Alexander hade compassede and goen abowte the este partes of the ocean, he intendede to go to the Page 457, vol.3 yle of the Bragmannes, and to ȝiffe batelle to þeim. The Bragmannes herenge that sende to hym an epistole contenynge this sentence: "O nowble prince, we haue herde thy victoryes and batelles, but what scholde suffisaunce auaile hym to whom alle the worlde is not sufficiaunte. We haue noo [folio 163a] richesse for whom thou wolde ȝiffe batelle to vs; the goodes of alle men be commune amonge vs; meyte is to vs for richesse, and fowle or vile clothenge for golde. Oure women be not onournede that thei may be pleasante to man, for clothenge is iuggede to burdon more then to feirenes or worschippe, couetenge noon other clothes but as nature ȝiffethe to vs. The dennes of the erthe ȝiffe to vs a dupli|cate use, for hit ȝiffethe to vs couerenge in oure life and a berialle in oure dethe. Also when we haue a kynge hit is not for ryȝhtewissenes, but for honeste of maneres to be conseruede: we haue noo iuggementes amonge us, for we do not thynges to be correcte. Also we desire noo thynge Page 459, vol.3 but that the reason of nature requirethe; we trawe that thynge to be necessary whiche is not superfluous; the egallenes of pouerte makethe alle men ryche; the lawe of oure peple is not to go ageyne the lawe of nature. Also we use not laboure whiche scholde moue and excite auarice; we eschewe fowle ydellenesse and the luste of the flesche; we do not eny thynge for whiche we scholde be punyschede. We thenke also wrong to deuoure the hilles with plowes. We ȝiffe not attendaunce to superfluous meytes, wherefore we be not seke. Heuen ȝiffethe couerenge to vs in habitenge the dennes of the erthe, and the erthe is oure bedde. We ȝiffe noo batelles, reformenge peace raþer þro vertues þen thro armes. Also the fader and moder sorowe not þe dethe of theire children. We inquire not playes and disportes, for the beautuous siȝhte of heuyn ȝiffethe to vs a pleasaunte dis|porte and spectacle. Also simple eloquency is vsede amonge vs alle. God the maker of alle thynges is oure God Page 461, vol.3 and Lorde, for he hathe delectacion in wordes and in preiers as in a similitude. Then sithe þat worde and son of God be a spiritte, he is not pleasede with riches terrestrialle, but with religious werkes and þonkenges of dedes." Responsio Alexandri. "O Dindimus, if these thynges be trewe that thow seyeste, oonly Bragmannes be contenede under þe nowmbre of men whiche wonte vices and terrestrialle substaunce, supposenge and iuggenge that thynge wronge and ageyne the lawe that we do; whiche suppose benefites grauntede to vs for necessites as thynges grevous, seyenge þe ministerys of artes as wickede thynges, destroyenge at the laste the lawes off lyvynge; wherefore other thei knowlege theim selfe to be goddes other elles to haue envye to God whos beautuous and noble creature thei reproue and blame." Responsio Dindimi regis Bragmannorum. "We be not the inhabitatores of this vale fulle of misery, but aliaundes where we haue noo permanente habitacion, but we knowe vs to departe from this worlde, hyenge to oure propre Page 463, vol.3 habitacion, not oppressede with the burthones of synne, neuer|thelesse we say not vs to be goddes, neiþer to haue envye at hym; but we say vs to not wille to vse ylle the goodenesse of God, neiþer we say not alle thynges to beseme and to be seide that be lawefulle. Then sithe God hathe ȝiffen the vse of thynges to be discernede to the arbitrement and wille of man, the man refusenge ylle and chosenge goode thynge is not to be acompte god, but he is þe trewe frende of God. But ye afflate and replete with pride, hauenge not in yre and remembraunce that ye be men, afferme and say Allemyȝhty God not to ȝiffe attendaunce to thynges mortalle, makenge to yow temples where ye schede blode; wherefore y may calle you woode, that ye know not what ye do; or elles, if ye despise God knowengely ye be astricte and cheynede with the synne of sacrilege." Epistola Alexandri ad Dindimium regem Bragmannorum. "O Dindimus, thou calles thy selfe blessede, for thow inhabites that place to whom þere is noo commenge, also ye commende the study and exercise off Page 465, vol.3 parcimony, but by that reason men imprisonede were blessede. For þe vse of goodes is alienate from yow as hit is from theyme. For prison takethe from theym that the lawe of nature denyethe to yow; and that ye exercise not the tillenge of londe and gardynes, the defawte and wonte of yrne [folio 164a] causethe hit, that oure cuntre ȝiffethe to vs. And that ye lyue by rootes ye may not chose, for ye may not go to eny other place, and so brute bestes lyue by rootes; wherefore hit is a laudable thynge to lyue temperately, not in disease and pouerte, but in plente; other elles blyndenes, in that hit may not see þat hit scholde couette, other elles pouerte, in that hit may not haue that hit wolde, scholde oonly be noble vertues. And that youre women be not ryally onornede y consente ther to, for neiþer richesse nor goodes habunde not þerto. Also that ye haue noo grete mouenge to the luste of þe flesche hit is not to be meruaylede, for the vile siȝhte and aspecte of the barenesse of theym causethe hit. Page 467, vol.3 Also ye say that ye haue noo lawes ne iuggementes, neither þat ye study in eny artes neither to aske mercy neither to ȝife mercy, whiche thynges ye haue as commune with wilde and bestes vnreasonable. For truly the mynde of man or sawle, after the diversite of tymes, and after the influence of bodies supracelestialle, is chaungede after the disposicion of þeim. For þe mynde of man is pregnante in a feire day, and feynte in a clowdy day; and lyke as the reason of the wittes of man is multiplicate, so he is mutable; wherefore hit is that infancy ioyethe in simplicite, yowthe in temeryte, age in debilite; so that alle wittes be noryschede thro the softenes of theire propre obiecte, the mater of whom the elementes Page 469, vol.3 ȝiffe to vs, and be supposede to be the begynnenges of oure lyfe; thro the permixtion of whom the stature of man com|pacte, is made that euery thinge may satisfye to his partes, and ȝiffethe to vs a familier subsidy þro theire dispensacion. Wherefore yf þou wille not vse þe benefites whiche be ministrede to vs of the elementes, as carnes, fisches, briddes, other hit schal be ascribed to thy pride that þou dose refuse thynges y-ȝiffen, other to envye that thei be ȝiffen of a better thynge." Responsio Dindimi ad regem Alexan|drum. "Ye moue batelles exterialle to men where hit is so that ye haue not victory of your enmyes interialle. But we Bragmannes be as in quiete, in that we haue the victory of oure enemys interialle. We beholde heuyn and here the songes of birddes; we be clothede with leues, eitenge frutes, drynkenge water, and if thonkenge to God, considerenge the Page 471, vol.3 life of the worlde to come, contente with fewe wordes. Ye say thynges whiche awe to be done, but ye do theyme not; your wisedome is in your lippes; ye thruste golde, hauenge nede to howses and to servauntes, and couette honoure. Water dothe repelle oure naturalle thurste, and golde your thurste: neverthelesse if hit procedede of nature, suffisaunce receyvede at oon tyme scholde be sufficiaunte. The writenge sende from vs to yow is hade in contempte, and honourede of vs." Then kynge Alexander sende a messynger Onesi|critus to Dindimus, with this wrytenge in sentence, whiche was sittenge on a tree in the woode. Littera Alexandri regis ad Dindimum. "Alexander son of the grete god Iubiter, and lorde of the worlde, commaundethe the to comme to hym. And if thow comme he schalle ȝiffe to the grete ȝiftes, and if Page 473, vol.3 thow despise to comme thow schalle lose thy hede." Re|scriptio Dindimi ad Alexandrum. Dindimus the kynge of the Bragmannes beenge on a tre answerede by writenge in this maner folowenge: "Allemyȝhty God luffethe noon iniury, but the liȝhte of a trewe sawle, lettenge batelles, and not excitenge theym; also Alexander schalle dye, wherefore he is noo god. Those thynges be not necessary to me that he dothe promise, y haue noo nede of þeim; y go wheder or to what place y have luste. Thauȝhe Alexander kytte myne hede he may not sle my sawle. The sorowes of men oppressede with iniury begynne to be tormentes of men doynge hurte; þerfore say to youre kynge Alexander, that and if he desire eny thynge of me that he comme to me." Alexander leuenge his pride come to Dindimus. To whom Dindimus seide, "Where to dothe thow trouble oure pease? we may not ȝiffe to the that thou dose couette, and that we haue is not necessary to the. We do honoure to God, we luffe man, we Page 475, vol.3 despise golde. But ye luffe golde, hate men, and haue God in contempte." To whom kynge Alexander seide, "Teche me that wisedome whiche þow seiste the to haue lernede of God." To whom Dindimus seide, "Thow hase not a veselle in whom thou myȝhte receyve wisedome: veyne [folio 165a] auarice and couetise haue fullefillede thy sawle, how scholde y satisfye the to whom alle the worlde is not sufficiaunte. Thow arte made lytelle of God, and þauȝhe thou couette alle thynges thow schalle haue noo more grounde in thy ende but as þou seeste me lyenge to occupy or the sittenge. Thow schalle haue alle, and if thow lerne this wysedome of me: Covetise is the moder of pouerte. But God is my frende, for y haue heuyn for a couerenge, the erthe for a bedde, water for drynke, þe woode for my table; for þe flesche of bestes cause not corrupcion in my body, y am not the sepulcre of dedde thynges, y lyve after my creacion, y knowe the secretes of God, for God wille me to haue Page 477, vol.3 communion and participacion with his creatures and werkes. Þerfore what thenkes thow, wheþer hit be more ryȝtefulle to hurte men or to defende þeim, to disperse theim or to kepe theym? And if thow sle me y schalle go to my God, whose hondes and power thou may not auoide. Wherefore be not in wille to destroye that God hathe made." To whom Alexander seide: "Thow lyves here in surete, and y in drede: y do drede my kepers and my frendes more then myne enmys, whom y may not wonte, neiþer to myne enemys ȝiffe conffidence. In the day y ȝiffe batelle to peple, in the nyȝhte y drede oppressede with laboure: y am sory if y sle þeim whom y drede, and if y doo noo correccion y am despisede." These þinges finischede, Alexander offerede to Dindimus golde, siluyr, clothes, brede, and oyle. To whom Dindimus seide: "May þou moue and excite the briddes sing|enge Page 479, vol.3 here in the woode to synge more meryly then thei were wonte for thy golde and siluyr? Then sithe thou may not, why supposeste þou me to receyve that thynge whiche wille not do servyce to me, also that wolde make me a seruaunte of a liberalle man? Neuerthelesse as for your pleasure y schalle receyve of the oonly that oyle:" whiche [folio 165b] receyvede he sette hit on fire, and ȝafe lawde to Allemyȝhty God. Alexander beholdenge that returnede and departede from hym.