De provinciis orbis; primo de Paradiso. Capitulum decimum.
FOR þe knowleche of erþelyche Paradys þre poyntes moste be i-knowe. Wherfore þre questiouns beeþ i-axed: þe firste questioun axeþ,*. [α. has the same variations of spelling; Cx. has axeth in all three places.] Ȝif eny suche place is on erþe? þe secounde axiþ,*. [α. has the same variations of spelling; Cx. has axeth in all three places.] Whiderwarde or where is Paradys in erþe? þe þridde askeþ,*. [α. has the same variations of spelling; Cx. has axeth in all three places.] What contraye or what place*. [contray and place, Cx.] is Paradys in erþe? For þe firste, foure manere witnesses we haueþ þat Paradys is in erþe; first stories þat likneþ Sodom, or*. [er, Cx.] hit were ouertorned, to Paradise; þe secounde witnes is of*. [So Cx.; witnessiþ of, MS.] hem þat assaiede and*. [and] om. Cx., who has wrote.] write and seide, þat þey had i-seie*. [seen, Cx.] þat place; þe þridde witnesse beeþ*. [So α.; wytnes ben, Cx.; wit|nessiþ that beeþ, MS.] þe foure ryueres, þat renneþ out of Paradyse; for þe heed of þilke ryueres beeþ nouȝt i-founde in see, noþer in fresche water, noþer in londe þat men woneþ*. [dwelle, Cx.] ynne, þeyȝ kynges of Egipt and many oþer trauailled wel ofte and souȝte þereafter. Þerfore Isid[ore], xiii. Eth., seiþ þat Hieronymus*. [Ieronimus, MS., and so often; Iherom, Cx.] toke hede þat ouþer vnderstondynge bihoueþ of þe ryueres of Paradys, þan auctours writeþ; Page 69, vol.1 also Basilius, in Hexaemeron, Ysid[ore], Eth. lib. quarto de|cimo, and Iosephus, libro primo, seiþ þat wateres fallynge of þe hiȝest*. [of heyȝeste, α.] hille of Paradys makeþ a grete ponde, and out of þat ponde (as it were of a welle) þe foure ryueres springeþ. Petrus, capitulo quarto decimo. Of þe whiche foure ryueres þe firste is Phison, and is to menynge ful wexynge of plente; þat ryuer Phison passeþ into Inde, and draweth wiþ hym golden grauel. Phison haþ anoþer name, and is i-cleped Ganges of a kynge*. [So α.; MS. askynge.] of Ynde þat was i-cleped Gangarius; but Ganges*. [So Cx.; Gangus, MS.] is to menynge*. [to say, Cx., who has, however, to menynge above.]felawschippe and companye, for he fongeþ ten greet ryueres þat renneþ þerto. Þe secounde is i-cleped Gyon and Nilus also, and gooþ aboute Ethiopia and Egipt. Þe þridde is Tigris, and, as Iosephus seiþ, Diglath also, þat is to menynge,*. [to say, Cx., who has, however, to menynge above.]scharp, for he*. [it, Cx. (and so often).] is swift as tigris, þat is a wel*. [ryght, Cx.] swift best; and Tigris passeþ toward Assyria þat londe. Þe fourþe is Euphrates, þat is to menynge fructuous and fruit berere, and goþ toward Caldea þat londe.*. [þe fourþe . . . þat land] om. Cx.]Isidorus, libro tertio decimo. Þe moste certeyn auctor, Salustius, seiþ, þat þere comeþ a welle oute of Cerauneys, þe hulles of Armenye, and springeþ out at*. [of, Cx.] þe foote of þe hulle þat is i-cleped Caucasus; and þat welle is Page 71, vol.1 þe hede of tweie ryueres [of Tigris and of Euphrates, þe whiche tweie ryuers]*. [Added from α. and Cx. Here, and commonly, the versions write Eufrates.] somtyme beeþ i-deled atwynne*. [departed a sonder, Cx.] and somtyme i-melled*. [medlid, Cx.] to gidres, and ofte tyme þey beeþ i-swelewed into þe erþe, and efte*. [after, Cx.] springeþ up aȝen, and longe after gooþ aboute Mesopotamia*. [Macepotanea, MS. and α.; Me|sopotonya, Cx.] þat londe, and doun|ward into þe Rede see. ℞. And þey me*. [men, Cx., and so in many other places, where MS. and α. agree in reading me, aȝe, &c.] rede in bookes þat Nilus comeþ out of Paradys, ȝit som men affermeþ and seiþ*. [affermen and saye, Cx., to whom this plural seems unknown.] þat Nilus springeþ in þe west side of þe londe of Ethiopia, nouȝt fer from þe hil þat is i-cleped Atlas,*. [Athlas, MSS. and Cx.] and goþ aboute Ethiopia and dounward by Egipt. Loke*. [Seche, Cx.] þe propurte of Nilus in þe chapitre Egiptus. Þe fourþe wit|nesse and preef, þat suche a place is in erþe þat is i-cleped Paradys, is olde fame and longe durynge; for me schal trowe*. [bileue, Cx.] olde fame, þat is nouȝt wiþseide; but fame of Paradys haþ i-dured*. [endured, Cx., and endureth for dureþ, below.] wiþoute wiþseienge*. [gayn sayeng, Cx., but withscyde above.] sexe þowsand ȝere and more; for from þe bygynnynge of þe world anon to oure dayes [it haþ endured. And]*. [Added from Cx. (not in α.)] fame þat is false dureþ nouȝt so longe, for it falliþ out of mynde, oþer is des|preued by soþenesse i-knowe. Of þe secounde questioun, þat axeþ in whiche side of þe worlde and in what place Paradys schulde be; þey*. [though that, Cx.] schort witted men and litel of Page 73, vol.1 assay seie þat Paradys is longe seillynge out of erþe*. [þe erþe, α., Cx.] þat men woneþ ynne, and also departed from þe erþe and*. [Cx. adds is.] hiȝe as þe mone, — hit is not to trowynge;*. [to be bileued, Cx.] for kynde*. [nature, Cx.] and resoun boþe wiþseieþ.*. [Cx. adds it.] For ȝif Paradys were departed atwynne from þe erþe þat men woneþ ynne, noþer*. [ne, Cx., twice.] water noþer*. [ne, Cx., twice.] aier myȝte bere suche a burþen. Also þe fuyre*. [So α. and Cx.; ferþe, MS. (cle|rical error.)] occupieþ al þe myddel space bytwene the aier and þe mone, þan Paradys is nouȝt þare; for þan noþing myȝte lyue þerynne. Also ȝif Paradys were so hiȝe, somtyme it schulde byneme*. [bynyme, α.; take away, Cx.] þe liȝt, and make þe clips*. [make eclips, α., Cx.] of þe mone; but of suche*. [Cx. adds an.] eclipse herde we neuere. Also ȝif Paradys were so hiȝe, and departed in sonder*. [asonder, α., Cx.] from euery oþer*. [Om. Cx.] lond and erþe, how schulde þe foure ryueres þat springeþ out of Paradys passe by þe aier and þe wide see and come in to londes þat men woneþ ynne? And ȝif me seith þat Paradys is so hiȝe and in oon*. [oo and one, Cx.] place contynued*. [it contynueth, Cx.] to þe erþe þat men woneþ ynne, þan þe erþe is euen longe*. [is enlong, Cx. (typogr. error?).] and nouȝt rounde al aboute, as wise men descryueþ hit; bot þat may not stonde: for it is i-knowe by experience Page 75, vol.1 and assay, þat in euery eclips of þe mone þe erþe makeþ a rounde schilde. Þerfore þe erþe, wiþ alle his parties, mote*. [muste, Cx.] nedes be rounde. And so wise men concludeþ þat Paradys is in þe vttermest ende*. [endes, Cx.] of þe est, and þat it is a grete contray*. [contrey, Cx.; contrary, MS.] of þe erþe no lasse þan Ynde oþer*. [or, Cx.] Egipte;*. [Cx. adds and.] a place large and couenable for al mankynde to wone ynne, ȝif mankynde had nouȝt i-synned. Of þe þridde þat axeþ of Paradys, What manere place*. [place] Added from α. and Cx.] it schulde be, Isid[ore] seiþ, libro quarto decimo, capitulo tertio, þat þis name Paradys i-turned out of Grew in to Latyn is to menynge*. [is as moch to say as, Cx.]an orcheȝerde. But Paradys in Hebrewe*. [Hebrewe] Added from α. and Cx.] is i-cleped Eden, þat is to menynge*. [to say, Cx. (and so generally).]likynge; þe whiche tweyne i-putte*. [Cx. here, contrary to his cus|tom, retains y put.] to gidres makeþ an orcheȝerde of likynge. ℞. No wonder, for in þat place is al þyng þat accordeþ to lyf. Isidorus, libro quarto decimo. Þere is helþe, for þe aier is in tempre*. [is attemperat, Cx.] noþer to hote noþer*. [ne, Cx. (and so often).] to colde, so þat no þyng þat leueþ may deie þerynne: þat witnessiþ Ennok and Ely, þat ȝit beeþ þere on lyue.*. [a lyue, Cx.]Iohannes Damascenus.Page 77, vol.1 Þat place haþ faire weder and merþe, for it was þe celer and place of all fairenesse: no manere of*. [α. and Cx. omit of.] tree leseþ þere his leues; no floures þere welkeþ;*. [welwoþ, α.; fade, Cx., who has ne for no.] þere is merþe and swetnesse; of fruyt and trees þat groweþ þere, Genesis, secundo capitulo, it is i-write: Euerich tree þerynne is swete to ete and faire to siȝt. Þerynne is sikernesse and suerte, for þe place is hiȝe. ℞. Petrus, capitulo tertio decimo, seiþ þat þe water of þe greet flood com*. [cometh, Cx.] nouȝt in Paradys. Þei som men seie þat Paradys is hiȝe as þe mone, þat is not sooþ in wordes and in dede; but þat speche is i-saued by an excusacioun of spekynge, þat is i-cleped yperbolica: so þat þei þat so spekeþ wolde mene, þat Paradys in heyȝt passeþ all oþer londes. Treuisa. So we preiseþ a worldely*. [erþe, MS.; erthly, Cx.] man Iordan or Iohan, and seiþ þat he was þe beste man þat euere was; and ȝit he was neuere so good as Crist. So in wordes þat sotil men wole*. [wel, Cx.] deuyne, his menynge*. [the menyng is, Cx.] trewe and good. But allas, as Isidre*. [Ysidorus, Cx.] seiþ, libro nono, capitulo primo: Oure wey to Paradys is faste i-stopped by cause of þe synne of oure forme*. [forn, Cx.] fader; it*. [α. omits it.] is i-closed al aboute wiþ a firen*. [brennyng, Cx.] wal, so þat þe brennynge þerof arecheþ to heuene, as som men Page 79, vol.1 wolde wene. Paradys is i-closed wiþ þat wal to holde out mankynde; aungelles stondeþ on þat wal to kepe wel Paradys, þat none euel goostes mowe come þerynne.