HERE BEGYNNEZ ÞE BUKE OF JOHN MAUNDEUILL[folio 3]
SEN yt es so þat þe land beȝond þe see, þat es to say þe land of repromission, þat men calles þe Haly Land, amanges all oþer landes es þe maste worthy land and souerayne of all oþer, and es blissed and sacred and halowed of þe preciouse blude of oure Lorde Ihesu Criste; in þe whilk land it lyked him to take lief and blude of oure Lady Saint Marie and to enuirun þat land with his blissed fete.—And þare he didd many miracles and preched and teched þe faithe and þe lawe of vs Cristen men, as vnto his childer; and þare he sufferd many reprufes and scornes by vs. And he þat was King 1. [King, om. E.] of heuen and of erthe, of þe aer and of þe see, and of all thingz þat er contened in þam, wald be called all anely king of þat land, as þe prophete saise, "Noli timere, filia Syon: ecce, rex tuus venit tibi mansuetus", 2. [This quotation, made up of John xii. 15 and Matt. xxi. 5, only in E. C follows the French texts.] þat es to say, "þou doghter of Syon, drede þou noȝt; for, lo, þi kyng commes to þe, dulye mylde and meke"; and þat land he chose before all oþer landes as þe best and þe maste worthy of þe werld; for, as þe philosophere saise, "Virtus rerum in medio consistit", þat es to say, "þe vertu of thingez es in þe myddes." And in þat land he wald lede his lyf and suffer hard passioun and dede of þe Iews for vs synfull wormes, to by and delyuer vs fra deed withouten end, whilk was ordeyned til vs for þe synne of oure forme fader Adam and for oure awen also. For, as for himself, he desserued neuer nane euill; for he did neuer euill, ne thoght neuer euill. And he þat was king of glory and of ioy, mightiest and best, 3. [myghte best in that place suffre, C.] wald in þat place suffer þe deed titter þan in anoþer. For he þat willPage 2 [folio 3b] do any thing þat he will be knawen openly til all men, he will ger crie it openly in þe middell of a toune or of a citee, so þat it may be knawen til all þe parties of þe citee. On þe same wyse he þat was kyng of all the werld wald suffer deed at Ierusalem, þat es in middes of þe werld, so þat it might be knawen to men of all þe parties of þe werld how dere he boght man þat he had made til his awen liknes for þe grete luffe þat he had til him. For mare worthie catell myght he noȝt hafe sett for vs þan his awen blissed body and his precious blude, þe whilk he sufferd be schedd for vs. A, dere Godd! what lufe he had til his sugets, when he þat neuer didd trespas wald for trespassours suffer ded! Right wele aght men to lufe and serue swilk a lorde, and wirschepe and praise swilk a haly land, þat broȝt furthe swilk fruyte, thurgh whilk ilk man es saued, bot if it be his awen defaute. Þis es þe land þat es hight til vs in heritage; and in þat land he wald die and sesse þare in, to leefe it to his childer. For þe whilk land ilke a gude Cristen man þat may, and has wharoff, suld enforce him for to conquere oure right heritage and chace oute þerof þaim þat er mistrowand. For we er called Cristen men of Criste oure fader; and if we be riȝt childer of Criste, we awe for to chalange þe heritage þat oure fader left to vs, and for to do it oute of straunge men handes. Bot now pride enuy and couetise has so enflaumbed þe hertes of lordes of þe werld þat þai er mare bisie for to disherite þaire neghbours þan for to chalange or conquere þaire right heritage before said. And þe common pople, þat wald putte þaire bodys and þaire catell in iupardy for to conquere oure heritage, þai may na thing do withouten lordes. [folio 4] For assemblee of þe pople withouten lordes þat may gouerne þam es as a flokk of schepe þat has na schepehird, þe whilk departes sunder and wate neuer whider þai schuld ga. But wald Godd þat þir werldly lordes ware at gude accorde and, with oþer of þaire common pople, wald take þis haly viage ouer þe see, I trowe wele þat within a lytill tyme oure riȝt heritage before said schuld be recounsailed and putte in to þe handes of þe right heyers of Ihesu Criste.
And for als mykill as it es lang tyme passed sen þare was any general passage ouer þe see in to þe haly land, and men coueytes to here speke of þat land and of diuerse cuntreez þer aboute, and þeroff þai hafe grete solace and comforthe, I JOHN MAWNDEVYLE, Knyȝt, þof all I be vnworthy, þat was borne in Ingeland in þePage 3 toune of Saynt Albanes, and passed þe see þe ȝere of oure Lorde Ihesu Criste mlcccxxxij, 1. [So in four English manuscripts in the British Museum, viz. Harley MSS. 2386, 3954, and Royal MSS. 17 B. xliii., 17 C. xxxviii. All the French and Latin manuscripts have 1322, as well as the English version in C.] on Myghelmesday, and seyne hiderward has bene lang tyme ouer þe see, and has sene and gane thurgh many kingdomes, landes and prouincez and iles, and hase passed thurgh Turkye, Ermony þe lesse and þe mare, Tartarye, Perse, Sirie, Araby, Egipte þe hie and þe lawe, Liby, Caldee, and a grete party of Ethiope, Amazon, Inde þe lesse and þe mare a grete party, and thurgh many oþer iles þat er aboute Inde, whare dwelles many diuerse maners of folke of diuerse lawes and schappes—of whilke landes and iles I schall speke mare playnely, and I schall diuyse a party of þa thinges what þai er, when tyme commes, after þat it may comme to my mynde, and specially for þaim þat wil and er in purpose to visit þe haly citee of Ierusalem and the haly [folio 4b] placez þat er þare aboute; and I schall tell þe way þat þai schall hald þider, for I hafe many tymes passed and riden it in gude company of lordes. 2. [A passage about the language of the work, present in the French texts, is not found in E. A unique version of the passage, not precisely following the French but on the issue of language, occurs in C.]