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 the son of Domicius and of Agrippina sustyr to Gaius, sonne in lawe to Claudius, began to reigne, whiche reignede allemoste xiiij. yere. This Nero luffede gretely instrumentes musicalle, in so moche that he enioyede hym to be callede in festes the prince of harpers; whiche ioyede so moche of the swetenesse of his voyce, that he wolde not ab|steyne oonly from meytes and drynkes, but also to haue a vomite in certeyne tyme. Whiche begynnenge to synge, noo man hade audacite to go furthe from the place un til that he hade endede thynges begunne. Neuerthelesse this em|perour Nero moste avarous, seyenge to the peple oftetymes, Page  395, vol.4 "He that is a prince hathe nede to alle thynge," ȝafe grete rewardes to mynstrelles, ȝiffenge to theym singuler pre|rogatives, and inconsuete of the noble dignites of Rome. Suetonius. This emperour usede not to were oon clothenge too tymes; usenge schone of siluyr, and schoenge his mules in lyke wise; fischenge with nettes of golde whiche were drawen with cordes made of purpulle. Whiche willenge to see the similitude of the cite of Troye in the brennenge of hit, causede a grete parte of the cite of Rome to brenne con|tynually [folio 208b] by vij. daies and vij. nyȝhtes, and then he songe a songe of Troy. Orosius. Nero was of so grete lecchery that he was waschen with hoote oyntementes and colde; whiche causede the wombe of his moder be kytte that he myȝhte see the place of concepcion. Martinus. Whiche reprovede of leches in that he hade doen to his moder so grete crudelite, Page  397, vol.4 seide to theym, "ȝe schalle suffre dethe withowte ye make me with childe, that y may knowe the maner and peyne of child|enge. The leches causede hym to be inflate with pociones, and to drynke a frogge priuely, whiche euomette that frogge after that he hade felede a lytelle peyne, as if he hade bene delyverede off childe. The lecches seide the deformite of the childe to be causede in that the dewe tyme of childenge was prevente. Neuertheles Nero causede that frogge to be kepede in a towre un to his dethe. Also this Nero made to hym an heuyn of the altitude of a c. foote, boorede þro with litelle hooles, borne up with xc. pillers of marbole, on whom he causede water to be caste, fallenge downe lyke as if hit hade bene water descendenge from heuyn. Also he made a lampe to be movede in hit by alle the day, and to goe downe at the weste lyke un to the sonne, makenge a myrrour onornede with Page  399, vol.4 gemmes to schyne in the nyȝhte in to the similitude of the moone. But these thynges were broken sodenly by the wille and power of Godde, that eny parte of theym cowthe not be founde. Also he made wheles and cartes to be made in hit and drawen þer, that hit scholde seme to peple that hit hade be the thundre. But Allemyȝhty God causede that instrumente to be brouȝhte in to the water as sodenly by a grete wynde. Eutropius. This Nero did sle diverse noble women, as Liuia the wiffe of Octouian, Agrippina his moder, the suster of his fader, and also his awne wife. Seneca Cordubens, uncle to Lucanus and maister to Nero, askenge a condigne [folio 209a] rewarde of Nero themperour for his doctryne, hade licence to chose on what bowȝhe he wolde be hongede. Then Seneca in|quirede what offense he hade doen that he scholde haue suche a dethe. Nero takenge owte a swerde and puttenge hit on his hedde, seide to Seneca, "Lyke as thow dredes this swerde, Page  401, vol.4 soe y drede the, lyke as y did in my yowthe, wherefore y can not be bolde thow beenge in lyfe." Wherefore Seneca chosede the kynde of his dethe, that he myȝht dye in a bathe thro the kyttenge of a veyne; and so the name of Seneca was fullefillede, callede Seneca as sleenge him selfe. This Seneca hade ij. brether; that oon of whom was callede Iulius Gallo, a noble declamer, whiche did slee hym selfe. That other broþer hiȝhte Mela, fader to Lucan the poete. This Lucan makenge a booke of the incommodite of ciuile batelle and dethe to Nero, that he myȝhte inclyne his herte to concorde, was seide to dye thro the kyttenge of a veyne thro þe pre|cepte of Nero themperour. Policronicon, libro octavo. Mony men haue audacite to despise Seneca, usenge for theire schelde Page  403, vol.4 the seyenge of Quintilian, whiche seme to deceyve me, sythe he hade grete familiarite with Seynte Paule, and is put in the nowmbre of holy men after the seyenge of Seynte Ierome; whiche made bookes and tretys allemoste of alle matters; the trewe keper of vertu, and the enmy of vices, in so moche that he scholde seme to reforme golden worldes, and to reconsile goddes to makynde. This Seneca made bokes of benefites, of clemency, declamacions, and tragedies, of naturalle questiones, and Tusculan, and of chaunces of fortune. Jeronimus de viris illustribus. Seynte Paule appellenge or makenge appellacion to themperoure, was sende to Rome y-bownde, where he taryede in fre kepenge by the space of ij. yere, and disputede ageyne the Iewes; after that he was dimitte and wente at liberte. In whiche yere Seynte Petyr ordeynede ij. bis|choppes at Rome, other ij. helperes to hym, Linus and Cletus, Page  405, vol.4 to fullefille the ministery off pristes to the peple commenge to theyme, and notte the pontificalles, for Seynte Petyr ȝafe his laboure to preier and to prechynge. Martinus. Hit is redde that this Cletus did wryte firste in his letters salutem et apostolicam benedictionem, whiche commended gretely pil|gremages, [folio 209b] and specially the visitation of thapostles at Rome, seyenge that the pilgrimage made to thapostles was more meritorius to the sawle then the faste of ij. yere. Seynte Luke and Seynte Paule did wryte the Actes of the Apostles in the cite of Rome, neverthelesse thei hade wryten afore the gospelle of Criste. Longius the knyȝhte and centurio diede abowte this yere, whiche openede the side of oure Lorde with a spere by the commaundement of Pilate, and receyvede siȝhte of that precious blode in towchenge his eien with hit. Whiche belevenge in Criste, and instructe in the feithe by thapostles, wente to Cesarea of Capadocia, where he lyvede a monasticalle Page  407, vol.4 life by xxviijti yere, and convertede mony peple to the feithe of Criste, and at the laste he diede a martir. Persius Satiricus the poete diede this tyme. ℞. There were mony poetes whiche were not callede Satirici, for the name of a poete is seide of feynenge, as Virgille was specially in Eneydos, and Ovidius was callede Satiricus of fullefyllenge of the mater, other elles of reprovenges whom they invecte ageyne tres|passoures. And of suche men were iij. specially, Persius, Oracius, and Iuvenalle. Isidorus, libro octavo, capitulo septimo. The office of a poete is to transmute those thynges whiche be doen truly in to other similitudes in oblike figuraciones with pulcritude. Therefore hit is that poetes enhauncede temples and ryalle edifications for the magnitude and beawte off theyme, and the similacres of theyme to be honourede as goddes. Wherefore somme poetes be callede diuynes, in that they made Page  409, vol.4 tretys and dites of goddes. Iames the lesse, bischop of Ieru|salem, was sleyne the viijthe kalendes of Aprile, in the tyme of Ester, in the xxxti yere after the passion of Criste. Whiche was stonede firste of the Iewes, chalaungenge in hym that he cowthe not putte Seynte Paule to dethe, and after that he was [folio 210a] putte to dethe on a fuller's perche. ℞. Eusebius in his story ecclesiasticalle rehersethe this Iames the lesse to haue bene the sunne of Ioseph howsebonde to oure Lady, and for that to have be callede the broþer of oure Lorde. But Seynte Ierom understondethe the trawthe, seyenge hym to haue bene the sonne of Alpheus, maryenge the suster of oure Lady. Mathewe theuangeliste, the disciple and interpretator of Seynte Petyr, the gospelle of whom sende to Rome Seynte Petyr didde ap|probate, Page  411, vol.4 diede this yere at Alexandria of Egipte. Linus the bischop suffrede passion at Rome this tyme, the viijthe kalendes of December, whom Cletus succeded xij. yere. Seynte Petyr wente to Rome to expugne Symon Magus in this yere, a Samaritan of kynde, whom he hade deuicte afore at Cesarea, and causede hym to fle from the Iewery. Thys Symon Magus hade gedrede the peple off Rome of his secte, seyenge hym to be trowblede with men off Galile, Petyr and Paule, wherefore he seide that he wolde leve Rome. Neuerthelesse he prefixede a day in whom he wolde ascende to hevyn, whiche commen he schewede his arte and connynge, and ascendede in to the aier, wherefore the Romanes seide Criste never to haue doen suche a thynge in hys lyfe. But Symon Magus hade a soore falle thro the preier of Seynte Petyr, where þro his body was broken. Nero themperour sorowenge his dethe, putte Seynte Petyr in to kepenge, whiche knowenge thende of hys lyfe to drawe nere ordeynede and made Seynte Clemente bischop, to reioyce his Page  413, vol.4 place and office. Seynte Petyr movede to escape from prison by his breþer, mette oure Savioure Criste at a ȝate in Rome, to whom he seide: "O Lorde, wheþer goethe þow?" Criste seide: "I goe to Rome to be crucifiede ageyne." Seynte Petyr understondenge that to be seide of his person, returnede to Rome, whiche taken of his kepers was hongede, his hedde beenge downwarde towarde the grownde. The body of whom Marcellus his disciple toke downe from the crosse, abydenge [folio 210b] not the sentence off eny man, and beryede hit in the laste yere of Nero. That emperour Nero commaunded Petyr and Paule to be sleyne, and to be putte to dethe in oon day, Seynte Petyr suffrenge þe dethe of the crosse, and Paule was heded with a swerde. Nero sende that tyme a noble man to the Iewery, Vespasian by name, to make the Iewes subiecte, not willenge to suffre the avarice of Florus presidente þer. Eutropius.Page  415, vol.4 This emperour Nero herenge Galba to be made emperour in Speyne, fledde with a certeyne men to a place of a libertyne of his, iiij. myles from Rome, and did sle hym selfe þer in the xxxij. yere of his age. In whiche place alle þe men of his felowschippe were pereschede. Clement the pope succeded after Seynte Petyr, whiche governede that chirche ix. yeres afore the dethe of Seynte Petyr, and after Seynte Petyr xxij. yere, that is to say, xij. yere with Linus and Cletus, and ix. yere allone after theyme un til that he was sende to exile. This Clemente made mony noble bookes of Cristen feythe, causenge Livius and also Cletus to be bischoppe afore hym, and so this Clemente was the firste by eleccion after Petur, and the thridde Page  417, vol.4 bischoppe in ordre. The body of whom drownede in the see Cerson, was founde by blessede Cirillus, thapostelle of men of Sclavia, and browȝhte to Rome in the tymes of þe firste Nicholas. Gaufridus. Marius the son of Arviragus reignede this tyme in Briteyne. In whos tyme a kynge of the Pictes Rodricus, commenge from Sichia, occupiede the northe partes of Albania, callede nowe Scottelande. Whiche sleyne by Marius, a ston was erecte in signe of triumphe and of victory in that prouince of Westemarelonde, by þe name of Marius, in whom hit is writen in this wise, "The victories of Marius." ℞. William Malmesbur was deceyvede here, supposenge the writenge of that ston to perteyne to Marius the consul of Rome, and noo mervayle, for he see neuer the boke of the gestes of Britones, in whom hit is expressede of Marius the kynge. This Marius hauenge the victory of Rodricus, ȝafe [folio 211a] Page  419, vol.4 licence to his peple to inhabite a cuntre in the laste costes of Albania callede Cateneyse, as hit is rehersede afore, libro jo. capitulo ultimo.