Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden maonachi Cestrensis; together with the English translations of John Trevisa and of an unknown writer of the fifteenth century.
Higden, Ranulf, d. 1364., Trevisa, John, tr. d. 1402., Caxton, William, ca. 1422-1491., Malverne, John, d 1415?, Babington, Churchill, ed. 1821-1889,, Lumby, J. Rawson ed. (Joseph Rawson), 1831-1895.
Page  393, vol.4

Capitulum nonum.

NERO þe sone of Domicius and of Agrippina, Gaius his suster, hadde i-wedded Claudius his douȝter,*. [doȝter, γ.] and bygan to regne*. [and regnede, added in β. and γ.] alle mest*. [almoost, Cx.] fourtene ȝere. Þis was most curious and crafty to worche*. [wyrche, γ.; werke, Cx.] wiþ instrumentȝ of musik, so þat he hadde ioye and likynge to be openliche*. [oponlych, γ.; openly, Cx.] i-cleped prince of har|poures*. [harpers, β. and Cx.; harpours, γ.]; also he hadde greet likynge in þe swetnesse of his voys, þat abstynede hym and sparede al manere mete and drynke*. [dryngke, γ.] þat was nouȝt good for þe voys, and nouȝt onlyche þat didde*. [dude, γ.] he,*. [not only he dyde that, β. and Cx.] but also he usede ofte clistories*. [clysteryes, α., β., γ., and Cx.] and spuynge.*. [vomytes, β. and Cx.; spuwyng, γ.]Trevisa. A clisterie is an instrument þat phicicians useþ forto putte in a manis neþer ende forto clense his wombe. Þanne it folweþ in þe storie:*. [Trevisa . . . storie] om. β. and Cx.] whan Nero gan*. [bigan, β. and Cx.] to synge,*. [syngge, γ.] no man was so hardy to go out of þe theatre or*. [er, β. and Cx.; ar, γ.] he hadde i-made ende of his song. And he was [al]*. [From α., β., and Cx.] i-ruled and i-ladde by ledynge and counsaille of mynstralles*. [ministrals, γ.] al þat he hadde:*. [al . . . hadde] om. Cx.] and for he was moost coveitous of alle emperours, he usede Page  395, vol.4 forto seie,*. [segge, γ.; saye, Cx.] "He þat is above al haþ nede*. [neode, γ.] to al;" bot*. [but, Cx.] ȝit it greved hym nouȝt to ȝeve mynstralles*. [mynstrals, β. and Cx.] al þat he hadde; and he*. [he] om. γ.] ȝaf hem all þe worschippes of þe citee of Rome. Sueto|nius. He werede no clooþ twyes; he usede scho soles of silver and schodde his mules*. [muyles, γ.] wiþ silver.*. [and . . . silver] om. β. and Cx.] He fisched*. [fysshed, Cx.] wiþ nettes of gold, þe nettes were i-drawe wiþ [ropis of]*. [From β. and Cx.] reed silk. Also þis,*. [for this, Cx.] for he wolde see þe liknesse of Troye whan it was i-sette a fuyre,*. [fyre, Cx.] [he sette a greet deel of Rome a fuyre,*. [fier, β.]]*. [From α., β., γ., and Cx.] þat brende sevene nyght*. [nyghtes, Cx.] and sevene dayes; and he gan to ȝelle*. [ȝolle, γ.] and songe*. [synge, α., β., and γ.; crye and singe, Cx.] þe gestes*. [geestes, γ.] of Troye. Orosius. Also he was so leccherous þat he wolde be i-wasche*. [wesshe, Cx.] wiþ hote oynementes and colde. Also he wedded a man for to be his wif, and [he]*. [From γ. and Cx.] bycam*. [bycaam, γ.] anoþir manis wif. Also he lete kerue his owne moder wombe, for he wolde see þe place þat he was conceyved ynne. Martinus. Phisicians*. [Phisiciens, Cx.] blamed hym for he hadde defouled*. [defowled, Cx.] his owne modir, and he*. [he] om. γ.] answerde and seide, "But ȝe make me goo Page  397, vol.4 wiþ childe,*. [þat y may assaye what sorowe hyt is for to trauayle and bere chyld, added here in γ.] ȝe schulle*. [shal, Cx.] be deed everichon." Þanne þey made hym swelle with drinkes,*. [drenches, β.; drynches, γ.] and made hym unwitynge drinke a frogge; and at þe laste aftir moche*. [mych, β.] woo and wiþ moche sorwe he delyvered hym and caste up þe*. [þe] a, Cx.] frogge. But þe phisiciens seide þat þe childe was i-bore to fore*. [afore, Cx.] his tyme, and þerfore it was so unþryvyngeliche*. [unþryvynglich, β.; unthryvynly, Cx.] and so evel*. [and so evel] om. γ.] i-schape. But Nero made this frogge be kept in a toure to his owne lyves ende. Þerfore som men weneþ þa*. [wenen that, Cx.] Lateran haþ þat name of a frogge þa*. [þat, β.] lotede þer; fore*. [loted there for, Cx.] latere a Latyn is lotye and be i-hidde oþer unknowe in*. [an, α., β., and γ.] Englische, and rana in*. [α, α., β., and γ.] Latyn a frogge in*. [an, α., β., and γ.] Englisshe. Also Nero made hym an hevene of an hondred foot hyȝe, i-bored and i-þrulled*. [þurled, α.; yþirled, β.; yþurled, γ.; and bored and thyrled, Cx.] wiþ meny smale holes, and it was i-bore up wiþ foure score pilers and ten of marbil stoon. He leet hilde*. [helde, β. and γ.; fall, Cx.] water þer uppon, þat dropped doun*. [droppide adoun, β.] as it were reyn þat falleþ from hevene. He made also a lampe brenninge be i-drawe in*. [in] into, Cx.] þat hevene be day, þat ȝede*. [ȝeode, γ.] adoun westward as it were þe sonne; and he made a myrour*. [merour yhyȝt, γ.] i-liȝt*. [hiȝt, α.; yhiȝte, β.; sette, Cx.] with pre|cious Page  399, vol.4 stones, þat schyned*. [schyne, α., β., and γ; shone, Cx.] by nyȝte as it were þe mone. But al þis was*. [þeus were, γ.; these were, Cx.] by Goddis ordinaunce so sodeynliche*. [sodenly, Cx.] de|stroyed*. [distruyed, β.; so sodeynliche destroyed, om. γ.] so to russhed*. [rusched, β. and Cx.; ruyschet, γ.] and to*. [y, α.] broke þat þerof was nevere i-founde gobet*. [gobet founde, Cx.] noþer cromme.*. [crome, γ.] Also he made a carte*. [carre, Cx.] wiþ foure wheeles*. [whelis, Cx.] be i-drawe up on þe*. [þat, α., β., and Cx.] hevene, so þat þat noyse was i-herde*. [yhurd, γ.] as it were þe noyse of a greet þondir, but God almyty sente a greet wynde þat þrewe the carte into the ryver. Eutropius. Nero slouȝ*. [slewe, Cx.] meny noblemen and Livia Octavi|anus his wif,*. [Octavians wyf, Cx.] his owne moder Agrippina, and his fadir suster and his wif; and Seneca þe philosofre of Corduben, Lucanus his eme,*. [Lucanus eame, Cx.] was Nero his maister, and axed covenable reward for þat he hadde i-be Nero his maister, and hadde choys in whiche*. [whuch, γ.] bowȝ*. [bowe, Cx.] of a tree*. [treo, γ.] he wolde be an honged.*. [hanged, Cx.] Seneca axede why he hadde disserved*. [deserved, β. and Cx.] þat manere deth; þan Nero made oon skirmysshe above*. [one to scarmuch about, Cx.] Seneca his heed with a bryght swerd, and sigh*. [sawe, Cx.] þat he was wondir soore afeerd,*. [sore aferd, Cx., et infra.] and seide, "As sore as Page  401, vol.4 þou art afeerd of þis swerd, as sore I*. [ych, β. (bis).] am aferde of the, and ȝit I*. [ych, β. (bis).] am as sore aferd of the as I was somtyme while I*. [ich, β.] was a childe. And þerfore while þou art on lyve*. [alyve, Cx.] I*. [y, β.] may nouȝt be wiþ oute drede, but evere in greet drede." Þerfore Seneca chees*. [ches, β. (bis).] what manere deth he wolde take, and chees*. [ches, β. (bis).] to be i-late blood in a bathe, and to dye in þat manere. As so*. [so] om. Cx.] as it was*. [were, Cx.] by a forbledynge*. [for bedynge, α., β., and Cx.; forbodyng, γ.] he hadde þat name Seneca. For Seneca in*. [α, β., γ., and Cx.] Latyn is he þat sleeþ hym self in*. [an, α., β., and γ.] Englisshe. Þis Seneca hadde tweyne*. [two, Cx.] breþeren; oon of hem heet Iulius Gallo, and was [the]*. [From β. and Cx.] best declamator of alle. He slow hym self wiþ his owne hond. Þe oþer broþer heet Mela, Lucanus [þe poete his fader. Also þis Lucanus,]*. [From α., β., and Cx.] whanne he hadde i-made his book of þe harm and damage of stryf and discord bytwene citeȝeynes,*. [citesens, γ.; cyteseins, Cx.] and þerby he brouȝte*. [he brouȝte] ybroȝt, γ.] Nero*. [Nero] om. γ.] to acorde and myldenesse, ȝit by heste of Nero he was i-slawe in blood leest*. [bloodlest, α.; slayn and blodelese, β.; yn blodles, γ.; slayn in bleding, Cx.] by kuttynge*. [kittyng, Cx.] of his veynes as it is seide. Policratica, libro 8o. Som ben*. [beþ, β.; buþ, γ.] bolde and hardy*. [and hardy] om. γ.] to despise þis Seneca, and fondith*. [fondith] om. Cx.; foundeþ to grounde ham, γ.] forto grounde hem*. [him, Cx.] uppon þe Page  403, vol.4 auctorite of Quintilianus, but me semeth þat þey doteþ,*. [doute, Cx.] for he was worthy to be homeliche*. [homely, Cx.] [with]*. [From β., γ., and Cx.] Paul, and Ierom rekeneth hym*. [hym] om. γ.] among holy seyntes. Þis Seneca hadde noble witte to lerne*. [leurne, γ.] and to teche, and hadde greet studieng*. [studiyng, β. and Cx.] and greet knowleche of þynges, and wel nyh*. [nye, Cx.] al matir of study of witte*. [In MS. the words from to lerne . . . of witte are repeated by an error of the scribe.] and of sciens, he hadde and wroot resouns of poetrie and nyh al manere philosofie, and in every doynge [he]*. [From β. and Cx.] was good and trewe kepere of vertues, and enemy of vices and of synnes, so þat it semede þat he made worldes*. [worlles, α. and γ.] of golde and godes*. [goddes, β.] acorde wiþ mankynde. Also he made bookes de Beneficiis, de Clemencia, declamaciones, tregideas,*. [tragedias, β., γ., and Cx.] de naturalibus questionibus, et de Tusculanis, de casibus fortuitis. Iero de viris illustribus. Paul appelede to the emperour, and was i-sent y-bounde*. [bounden, β. and Cx.] to Rome, and þere he was two ȝere in fre warde, and desputed*. [despuytede, γ.] aȝenst þe Iewes, and was aftirwarde i-lete goo free.*. [freo, γ.] Þat ȝere Peter ordeyned at Rome tweyne bisshoppes, þat were helperes to teche þe fey*. [feith, Cx.]Page  405, vol.4 of holy chirche; Lynus was oon and Cletus þat oþer; forto fulfille*. [fulfulle, γ.] þe offys*. [thoffice, Cx., bis.] of preosthood to þe peple þat com, and nouȝt the office of bisshoppes. Peter hym self was occupied in bedes and in prechynge. Martinus. Of þis Cletus hit is i-write þat he wroot first in his lettris "Salutem et apostolicam bene|dictionem," þat is, greetynge*. [greting, Cx.] and þe apostles blissynge. Þis preysed*. [praised, β. and Cx.] moche pilgrimage i-doo to holy seintes, and special|liche to þe apostles Peter and Paul;*. [Poul, β.] and seide þat oon visitynge of þe apostles was more helpliche*. [more helpyng, γ.; most helpli, Cx.] to a man his soule þan two ȝeres fastynge. Also þat ȝere Lukeas*. [Lucas, α., β., γ., and Cx.] was wiþ Poule*. [Paul, Cx.] in þe citee of Rome, and wroot þe book þat hatte*. [hete, Cx.] Actus Aposto|lorum; but he hadde i-wrete*. [write, β. and Cx.] þe gospel to forehonde.*. [afore, Cx.] Aboute þat ȝere deyde Longius,*. [Longinus, α., β., and γ.] [the]*. [From β. and Cx.] knyȝt and cen|turio*. [and centurio] om. Cx.] þat opened*. [opnede, γ.] Crist his side*. [his side] om. Cx.] wiþ a spere at Pilatus his heste,*. [at Pilatus his heste] om. Cx.] and feng his sight*. [toke his syhte, Cx.] by þe blood þat ran uppon þe spere out of Cristes side; and so he trowide*. [trouwede, γ.] in Crist, and was i-tauȝht of þe apostles, and wente to Cesaria*. [Cesarea, β. and Cx.] in Capadocia, Page  407, vol.4 and lyvede holy lyf eyȝte and twenty ȝere, and convertede and*. [convertede and] om. Cx.] tornede meny men to þe fey*. [fayth, Cx.] of holy chirche, and deide martir at þe laste. Persius Satiricus a*. [and, α., γ., and Cx.] poet is deed.*. [is deed] dyed, Cx.] [℞]*. [From α., β., γ., and Cx.] Þere were more*. [mo, β. and γ.] poetes þan satirices. Poeta haþ þat name of feynynge, and suche on*. [oon, β.; one, Cx.] was Virgil, specialliche in his Eneyd,*. [Eneidis, Cx.] and Ovidius. Satiricus is [y-]*. [From α. and γ.] seide of saturitas, þat is fulnesse of þe matir, oþer of the reprovynges*. [reprevingis, Cx.] þat þey speke aȝenst wikked*. [yl, Cx.] men and evel levynge, for þey speke þerof at þe fulle.*. [atte folle, γ.] And þere were þre [such],*. [From γ. and Cx.; siche, β.] Persius, Oracius, and Iuvenalis. Ysidorus, libro 8, capitulo 7o. Þe office of a poet is forto telle þinges þat beeþ*. [ben, Cx.] sooþ in dede by oþir liknesse and chaungynge, with florischynge of*. [and, α., β., and Cx.] faire manere of spekynge. Þerfore it is þat*. [it is þat] hyt ys noȝt þat, γ.] as poetes sigh*. [syȝ, β.; sye, Cx.] þat temples were fairer þan oþer hous,*. [howses, Cx.] and mawmettes*. [mametes, γ.] huger*. [houger, γ.; heyer, Cx.] þan oþir*. [oþir] om. γ.] bodies, so þey trowed þat goddes schulde be wor|schipped wiþ the more*. [more] om. Cx.] faire and noble spekynge; þerfore som poetes beeþ i-cleped*. [ben called, Cx.] dyvynes, ffor þey made here Page  409, vol.4 deytee*. [dyte, α.; dites, Cx.] of goddes. [℞]*. [From α., β., and Cx.] Here*. [Hereby, α. and β.; Herby, γ.; Thereby, Cx.] it semeth þat Lucanus was no poet whan he made þre stories of þe stryf of citeseynes, but ȝif it were by þe manere of mellynge of poyesyes.*. [poysyes, β.; medlyng of poises, Cx.] Þe lasse Iames, bisshop of Ierusalem, was i-slawe sevene dayes to fore Averel,*. [afore April, Cx.] in the Ester*. [Estern, Cx.] tyme, þritty [yere]*. [From β., γ., and Cx.] aftir þe passioun of oure Lord. Firste þe Iewes [they]*. [From Cx.] stened þis*. [þis] om. Cx.] Iames for wreche*. [wreche] anger, Cx.] þat þey myȝte nouȝt slee Poule,*. [Paul, Cx.] and aftirward þey smyte out his brayn wiþ a walkere his perche.*. [a walkers staf, Cx.] [℞.]*. [From α., β., γ., and Cx., but a space is left in MS.] Eusebius, in Historia Ecclesiastica, libro 2o, capitulo 2o, seiþ þat þis Iames was þe sone of Ioseph oure lady spouse, y-gete on his oþer wif,*. [The leaves of γ. are here wrongly arranged. The following numbers (according to the present numbering) should follow each other, 140, 143, 142, 141, 144.] and þerfore he was cleped our Lordes broþer. But Ierom meeneþ more soþeliche*. [sothly, Cx.] þat he was þe sone of the oþer Marye, oure lady suster, and his fadir heet*. [hete, Cx.] Alpheus. Mark þe gospellour,*. [gospeler, β. and Cx.] Paule his disciple and his mener,*. [mever, γ. and Cx.] deide at Alexandria in Egipt. His gospel was i-write*. [wreten, Cx.] at Rome, and Peter appreved it, and allowed*. [alowyd, Cx.] it, and took hit forto be Page  411, vol.4 rad in chirchis. Linus þe bisshop suffrede deþ at Rome sevene dayes to fore*. [afore, Cx.] Decembre. Aftir [hym]*. [From α., β., γ., and Cx.] Cletus was his successour xij. ȝere. Þat ȝere*. [ȝere] om. Cx.] Peter wente to Rome, to withstonde and to*. [to] om. Cx.] put of Symon Magus, þat come of þe Samaritanes. Peter hadde over come hym to forehonde*. [afore, Cx.] at Cesarea, and i-chased*. [chaced, Cx.] hym out of þe Iewerye. Symon Magus gadrede þe peple to gidres*. [togider, Cx.] at Rome, and seide þat Petir and Poule,*. [Paul, Cx.] men of Galile, had i-greved hym sore, and þerfore he wolde forsake Rome, þat he [had]*. [From β., γ., and Cx.] diffended longe tyme; and þan he sette aday whan he wolde stye*. [styȝe, β.] up into hevene. And whan þat day was i-come he turned to and kydde*. [kudde, γ.] al the myght of his wicche*. [wych, γ.] craft. Þan þey þat were in his side seide þat Crist dede nevere suche a dede. But at þe prayere of Peter he fil down of his fliȝt, and was al to broke and to brosyd.*. [brused, α., β., γ., and Cx.] Nero was sory þat he hadde y-lost suche*. [sich, β.] an helpere, and putte Petir in warde, and Peter knewe þat his ende day was nygh,*. [neyȝ, β.; nye, Cx.] and made Clement bisshop in his Page  413, vol.4 stede.*. [stude, γ.] Also at þe*. [þe] om. Cx.] instaunce*. [instauns, α. and γ.] of breþeren*. [breþeron, γ.] he wolde fonde to ascape*. [finde to escape, Cx.] Nero his tyrandise,*. [tirauntre, β.; tyraundys, γ; Neroes tirannie, Cx.] and mette Crist in þe ȝate of þe citee, and seide, "Lord, whedir goost þow?"*. [whether gost thou, Cx.] "I goo," quoþ Crist, "to Rome, for*. [for] om. Cx.] to be*. [be i-] om. γ.] i-nayled to þe cros aȝen."*. [crosse agein, Cx.] Þanne Petir undirstood þat it was i-seide of his owne pas|sioun, and torned aȝen into þe citee, and was i-take of þe wardeynes, and i-honged in*. [on, β.] þe cros,*. [on the crosse, Cx.] and his heed dounward. His disciples*. [disciple, α., β., and Cx.; dy|scyple, γ.] Marcellus abood no man his*. [abode no mannes, β. and Cx.] sentence noþer leve, but took Peter doun of þe croys*. [crosse, Cx.] wiþ his owne hondes, and buried hym in a place þat hatte*. [hete, Cx.] Vaticanus, aftir the fyve and twenty ȝere of þe bisshopriche of Rome. In Nero his laste ȝere, Nere*. [Nero, β., γ., and Cx.] dede Peter on*. [in, α., β., γ., and Cx.] þe cros, and made Paul i-slawe wiþ a swerd, al in oon day, and sent þe duke Vaspacianus*. [duc Vaspasianus, Cx.] in to þe Iewerie,*. [Jewry, Cx.] to make the Iewes suget,*. [subgette, Cx.] þat wolde nouȝt suffre þe covetise of Floures*. [Florus, α., β., γ., and Cx.] þat was iustice. Eutropius.Page  415, vol.4 Whanne he herde*. [hurde, γ.] þat Galba in Speyne*. [Spayn, α., β., and γ.; Spain, Cx.] was i-made em|perour, þan he lost al confort;*. [comforte, Cx.] and for harmes þat he hadde i-doo and byþouȝt to*. [to] om. Cx.] þe comounte,*. [comynte, β., γ., and Cx.] þe senatoures demed hym for an enemy,*. [enmye, Cx.] and he fliȝ*. [fled, Cx.] foure myle fro þe citee, and slowȝ hym self in a subarbe of his bondeman, þat he hadde i-made free,*. [freo, γ.] þe ȝere of his owne age two and þritty. Þat ȝere al þe meyne of Augustus Cesar was consumpte. Whan Peter hadde i-suffred deth, þanne Clement come aftir hym;*. [and, added in γ.] Clement hadde governed holy chirche nyne ȝere under Peter while he was on lyve,*. [alyve, Cx.] and aftir Peter*. [and aftir Peter] om. Cx.] he was bisshop two and twenty ȝere, twelve ȝere with Linus and Cletus, and after hem nyne ȝere by hymself allone for to*. [al oon for to, β.; aloon for tho, Cx.] he was exciled.*. [for to þat a was exiled, γ.; exyled, Cx.] Þis Clement as a wise man and a*. [α] om. Cx.] war, for to be war*. [ware, Cx.] of meschief þat myȝt falle aftirward ȝif everiche*. [every, Cx.] oþer wolde make hym a successour by þat ensample of Peter, and so holy dignyte myȝte falle into*. [yn, α.; in, γ. and Cx.] possessioun as it were by heritage;*. [eritage, γ.] þerfore he resignede his dignite to Linus, and aftirward to Cletus. Also þis Clement [wroot meny bookes of Cristen*. [Crystene, γ.] lawe, and made Linus and Cletus bysshops to fore hym. And so þis Clement]*. [From α., β., and γ.] was þe firste aftir Peter by elleccioun,*. [election, Cx.]Page  417, vol.4 and þe þridde in degree of ordre, ffor Lynus and Cletus were bytwene Peter and hym. His body*. [bodi, Cx.] was i-þrowe into the see Cerson; and after meny ȝeres oon Cirillus, apostel of þe Sclaves, fond hit, and brouȝt it to Rome in þe firste Nichol*. [Nicolas, β.; Nycholas, Cx.] his tyme. Gaufridus. Aboute þat tyme Marius, þe sone of Arviragus, regnede in Britayne. In his tyme oon Rodoricus,*. [Rodricus, β. and γ.; Rodicus, Cx., et infra.] kyng of Pictes, come out of Schicia,*. [Sicia, Cx.] and occupiede the norþ*. [norþ] om.] partie of Britayne, þat partie hiȝt*. [hete, Cx. (bis).] Albania, and nowe it hatte*. [hete, Cx. (bis).] Scot|lande. But at þe laste Marius slowȝ Rodoricus,*. [Rodricus, β. and γ.; Rodicus, Cx., et infra.] and in mynde*. [muynde, γ.] of þat victorie [kyng]*. [From α., β., γ., and Cx.] Marius rerede a stoon in þat place, þe whiche contray is i-cleped by his name West Maria, þat is Westmerlond; ȝit it is i-write*. [wreton, Cx.] in þat*. [þat] a, Cx.] stoon "Marii victorie."*. [℞, added here in β. and γ.] Here Willelmus*. [Wyllelmus, Cx.] of Malmesbury was desceyved,*. [disseyved, Cx.] þat trowed*. [troweth, Cx.] þat*. [þat] om. Cx.] this stoon was rerede*. [reerde, Cx.] in mynde*. [muynde, γ.] of Marius þe consul of Rome. But it is no wonder, for*. [for] om. Cx.] he hadde nouȝt i-rad*. [radde, Cx.] þe Brittisshe book, þere it is i-write*. [wreten, Cx.] of Marius þe kyng. Aftirward Marius þe kyng grauntede to Rodoricus*. [Rodycus, Cx.]Page  419, vol.4 his men, þat were overcome, þe lond of Catenesey*. [Catenesi, γ.] þat is in þe laste endes of Scotlond for to wonye ynne,*. [dwelle there ynne, Cx.] as it is [y-]*. [From α. and γ.] seide in þe laste chapitre of þe firste book. Galba.*. [Galba] om. Cx.]