De Julio Cesare
By wisedom, manhede, and by greet labour,
From humble bed to roial magestee
Up roos he julius, the conquerour,
That wan al th' occident by land and see,
By strengthe of hand, or elles by tretee,
And unto rome made hem tributarie;
And sitthe of rome the emperour was he,
Til that fortune weex his adversarie.
O myghty cesar, that in thessalie
Agayn pompeus, fader thyn in lawe,
That of the orient hadde al the chivalrie
As fer as that the day bigynneth dawe,
Thou thurgh thy knyghthod hast hem take and slawe,
Save fewe folk that with pompeus fledde,
Thurgh which thou puttest al th' orient in awe.
Thanke fortune, that so wel thee spedde!
But now a litel while I wol biwaille
This pompeus, this noble governour
Of rome, which that fleigh at this bataille.
I seye, oon of his men, a fals traitour,
His heed of smoot, to wynnen hym favour
Of julius, and hym the heed he broghte.
Allas, pompeye, of th' orient conquerour,
That fortune unto swich a fyn thee broghte!
To rome agayn repaireth julius
With his triumphe, lauriat ful hey;
But on a tyme brutus cassius,
That evere hadde of his hye estaat envye,
Ful prively hath maad conspiracye
Agayns this julius in subtil wise,
And caste the place in which he sholde dye
With boydekyns, as I shal yow devyse.
This julius to the capitolie wente
Upon a day, as he was wont to goon,
And in the capitolie anon hym hente
This false brutus and his othere foon,
And stiked hym with boydekyns anoon
With many a wounde, and thus they lete hym lye;
But nevere gronte he at no strook but oon,
Or elles at two, but if his storie lye.
So manly was this julius of herte,
And so wel lovede estaatly honestee,
That though his deedly woundes soore smerte,
His mantel over his hypes caste he,
For no man sholde seen his privetee;
And he lay of diyng in a traunce,
And wiste verraily that deed was hee,
Of honestee yet hadde he remembraunce.
Lucan, to thee this storie I recomende,
And to swetoun, and to valerie also,
That of this storie writen word and ende,
How that to thise grete conqueroures two
Fortune was first freend, and sitthe foo.
No man ne truste upon hire favour longe,
But have hire in awayt for everemoo;
Witnesse on alle thise conqueroures stronge.