Mandeville's travels : the Egerton version
Mandevill, John, Sir, British Library. Manuscript. Egerton 1982.
Warner, George F. (George Frederic), Sir, 1845-1936.
Page  152


[Of the customs of kynges and othere that dwellen in the yles costynge to Prestre Johnes lond; and of the worschipe that the sone doth to the fader, whan he is dede.]

OTHER iles þare er, wha so wald pursue þam, by þe whilk men myght ga all aboute þe erthe, wha so had grace of Godd to hald þe riȝt way, and com riȝt to þe same cuntreez þat þai ware off and come fra, and so ga all aboute þe erthe, as I hafe sayd before, by processe of tyme. Bot for it schuld be a lang tyme are þat vaiage ware made, and also so many perils of tymez fallez to men þat passez thurgh straunge cuntreez bathe by water and by land, and semely ware to fall to men þat wald make þat vayage, þerfore few men assays þat passage; and neuerþeles ȝit myght it be done wele ynogh thurgh Goddes grace. Bot men lefes þat passage and turnez agayne fra þir forsaid iles by oþer iles costayand þe land of Prestre Iohn and iles þat er of his lordschepe. And [folio 129] in commyng so, þai comme till ane ile þat men callez Casson; and þat ile es nere lx. day iournez lang and mare þan l. on brede. And it es þe best ile in þase parties, safe Cathay; and, if marchandes come þider als comounly as þai do to Cathay, it schuld be better þan Cathay. For citeez and gude tounes er þare so thikk þat, when a man gase oute of a citee, he seez alssone anoþer citee or a gude toune before him on what syde so he turne him. Þis ile es full and plentifous of all maner of spicery and of all maner of oþer gudez, and namely þat partenez to mannez lyflade; and þare er many grete woddez full of chestaynes. 1. [sc. chestnuts; chesteynes, C.] Þe king of þis ile es full riche and myghty, and he haldez his land of þe Grete Caan of Cathay; for þat es ane of þe xii. prouineez þat þe Grete Caan has vnder him withouten his awen land and oþer smale iles, as I talde ȝow before. Fra þis ile men commez til anoþer ile þat men callez Ryboth or Gyboth; and þat es also vnder þe Grete Caan. Þis es a gude land and a plentifous of corne, of wyne, and of many oþer thingez. Men of þis land hase na housez to dwell in, bot þai dwell all in tentez made of blakk filtre. 2. [sc. felt; blak ferne, C.] Þe principall citee of þat land es walled aboute with blakk stanes and whyte; and all þe stretez er paued with swilk maner of stanes. And in þat citee es na man so hardy to schedd blude, nowþer of man ne of beste, for lufe of a mawmet þat es wirschipped þare. In þis citee dwellez þe papePage  153 [folio 129b] of þaire lawe, wham þai call Lobassi. And he giffez all þe digniteez and beneficez þat fallez to þaire mawmetes; and all þe prestez and ministres of ydoles er obedient to him as oure prestez er till oure pape.

In þis ile þai hafe a custom thurgh oute all þe land þat, when any mannez fader es deed and his son will do him wirschepe, he sendez after all his kynredyn and his gude frendez, prestez of þaire lawe, minstralles and many oþer; and þai bere þe body to a hill with grete sollempnytee and grete myrth. And, when it es þare, þe grettest prelate smytet off þe deed mannez heued and lays it apon a grete plater of siluer, or of gold if he be a riche man, and giffez it to his son. And þan all his frendez singez and saise many orisouns, and þan þe prestez and religious men of þaire lawe hewez þe body all in smale pecez and saise many orisouns. And fewles of þe cuntree, þat knawez þe custom commez þider and houers abouue þam, as vowltures, egles, rauyns, and oþer fewlez of rauyne; and þe prestez castez þis flesch to þam, and þai bere it a lytill þeine and etez it. And þan, riȝt as prestez in oure cuntree syngez for saulez Subuenite, sancti Dei, so þase prestez þare singez with a hie voice on þaire langage on þis wyse "Takez tent now and seez how gude a man þis was, wham þe aungelles of Godd commez to fecche and bere in to Paradys." And þan thinkes þe sonne and and his frendez þat his fader es gretely wirschipped, when fewles hase þus eten him. And ay þe ma fewles þar commez, þe mare ioy hase all his frendez, and þe mare think þam þe deed man es wirschipt. And þan wendez þe sonne hame and takez with [folio 130] him all his frendez aad makez þam a grete feste; and ilke ane of þam tellez till oþer in þaire myrth how þare come x. fewles, þare xvi., þare xx., riȝt as it ware to þam grete cause of myrth. And þe sonne gers sethe his fader heued, and þe flesch þeroff he partez amang his speciale frendez, ilke man a lytill, for a dayntee. 1. [in stede of entremesse, or a sukkarke, C.] And of þe scalpe 2. [brayn panne, C.] of þe heued he gers make him a coppe, and þeroff he drinkez all his lyf tyme in remembraunce of his fader.

Fra þis land for to comme hiderward thurgh þe land of þi Grete Caan x. day iournez es ane oþer gude ile, whare off þare es a riche king and a myghty. And in þat ile þare es a lord amanges oþer þat es wounder riche; and ȝit he es nowþer prince, ne duke, ne erle. Neuerþeles þare haldez many a man þaire landes of him, and he es a lorde of grete ricchess. For he has ilke a ȝere broght till him cccm hors lade of corne and als many of ryess. And þis lorde ledez a meruailous lif. For he has fyfty damyselles þat seruez him ilk a day at his mete and hisPage  154 bedd, and dose what he will. And, when he sittez at þe mete, þai bring him mete and euermare fyfe meessez togyder: and in þe bringyng þai sing a faire sang. And þai schere his mete before him and puttez it in his mouth, as he ware a childe; for he scherez nane ne touchez nane with his handez, bot haldez þam before him on þe table. For he has so lang nayles on his fyngers þat he may hald na thing with þam. And þat es a grete noblay in þat cuntree and a grete wirschepe to hafe so lang nayles. And þerfore þai late þaire nayles growe [folio 130b] als lang as þai may and cuttez þam noȝt. And sum latez þam growe so lang to þai growe all aboute þaire hend; and þat think þaim es a grete noblay and a grete gentry. And þe gentry of wymmen þare es to hafe smale fete; and þerfore alssone as þai er borne, þai bynd þaire fete so straite þat þai may noȝt waxe so grete as þai schuld. Þir forsaid damyselles, als lang as þaire lorde es sittand at þe mete, er nerehand all way singand; and, when he has eten ynogh of þe first course, þai bring before him oþer fyfe meessez, syngand as þai didd before. And þus þai do ay, till þe end of þe mete. And on þis wise ledez þis lorde his lyfe by alde custom of his auncestres, þe whilk custum on þe same wyse his successoures will vse. And þus þai make þaire godd of þaire wambe, so þat na worthyness ne doghtyness þai vse, bot all anely liffez in lust and lyking of þe flesch, as a swyne fedd in stye. Þis riche man also hase a full faire palays and riche, whare he dwellez, of whilke þe walle es twa myle vmgang. And þerin er many faire gardynes; and all þe pament of hallez and chaumbres er of gold and siluer. And in myddes of ane of þe gardynez es a lytill hill, whare apon es a lytil palace made with toures and pynnacles 1. [is a lytill mountayne, where þere is a lityll medewe, and in þat medewe is a lityll toothill, with toures and pynacles, C.] all of gold; and þare in will he sitt oft for to disporte him and take þe aer, for it es made for noȝt elles.

Fra þis land men commez thurgh þe land of þe Grete Caan, of þe whilk I talde ȝow before and þerfore it [folio 131] nedez noȝt to reherce it here agayne. And ȝe schall vnderstand þat in all þir landes, rewmes and naciouns, outaken þase þat er inhabited with vnresonable men, es na folk þat ne þai hald sum articlez of oure beleue. If all þai be of diuerse lawes and diuerse trowyngs, þai hafe sum gude poyntes of oure trowth. And generally þai trowe in Godd þat made þe werld, and him call þai Godd of Kynde 2. [God of Nature, C.]; and þus es þe prophecy verified þat saise, "Et metuent eum omnes fines terre", 3. [Ps. lxvi. 8.] þat es to say, "And all þe endes of þe erthe schall drede him." And in anoþer place "Omnes gentes seruient ei", 4. [Ps. lxxi. 11.] þat es to say, "All folk schall serue him." Bot þai can noȝt properly speke of Godd, and namely of þe Trinytee, by cause þai hafe na teching. Þai can noȝt of þe Sonne, ne of þePage  155 Haly Gaste; bot þai can speke wele of þe Bible and specially of þe buke of Genesis and oþer bukes of Moises, and sum tyme of þe xii. Prophetez sayinges. And þai say þat þase creatures þat þai wirschippe er na goddes, bot þai wirschippe þam for þe grete vertuz þat er in þam, whilk þai say may noȝt be withouten speciall grace of Godd. And of ydoles and simulacres þai say þat þer es na folk þat þai ne hafe simulacres; and þat say þai principally for þai see Cristen men hafe crucifixez and ymages of oure Lady and of oþer sayntes and do wirschepe to þam. Bot þai wate noȝt þat we wirschepe noȝt þase ymagez of stane or of tree for þam self, bot in remembraunce of þe sayntz for whaim þai er made; for, riȝt as letterure and bukez techez clerkes, so ymagez and payntures [folio 131b] techez lawd men to wirschepe þe sayntes for whaim þai er made. Þai say also þat aungelles spekez to þam in þaire mawmetes and dose miracles. And þai say sothe, for þai hafe ane aungell within þam; bot þar er twa maner of aungelles, þat es at say ane gude, anoþer ill, as men of Grece saise, Chaco and Calo. Chaco es þe ill aungell and Calo es þe gude. Bot þat es na gude aungell þat es in þe mawmetz, bot ane ill, þat es to say a fende þat answeres þam and tellez þam many thinges, for to dessayfe þam with and for to mayntene þam in þaire mawmetry and þaire errour.

Þare 1. [These concluding paragraphs are more literally rendered in C than here. See [commentary].] er many oþer cuntrcez and oþer meruailes whilk I hafe noȝt sene, and þerfore I can noȝt speke properly of þam; and also in cuntreez whare I hafe bene er many meruailes of whilk I speke noȝt, for it ware owere lang to tell. And also I will tell na mare of meruailes þat er þare, so þat oþer men þat wendez þider may fynd many new thingez to speke off, whilk I hafe noȝt spoken off. For many men hase grete lykyng and desyre for to here new thinges; and þerfore will I now ceesse of tellyng of diuerse thingez þat I sawe in þase cuntreez, so þat þase þat couetez to visit þase cuntrez may fynd new thinges ynewe to tell off for solace and recreacioun of þaim þat lykez to here þam.

And I, IOHN MAWNDEUILL, knyght, þat went oute of my cuntree and passed þe see þe ȝere of oure Lord Ihesu Criste mlcccxxxii, and hase passed thurgh many landes, cuntreez and iles, and hase bene at many [folio 132] wirschipfull iourneez and dedez of armez with worthy men, if all I be vnworþi, and now am commen to rest, as man discomfitt for age and trauaile and febilness of body þat constraynez me þarto, and for oþer certayne causez, I hafe compiled þis buke and writen it, as it coome to my mynde, in þe ȝere of oure Lord Ihesu Criste mlccclxvi, þat es for to say in þe foure and thrittyde ȝere efter þat I departed oute of þis land and tuke my way þiderward.

Page  156

And for als mykill as many men trowez noȝt bot þat at þai see with þaire eghen, or þat þai may consayue with þaire awen kyndely wittes, þerfore I made my way in my commyng hamward vnto Rome to schew my buke till oure haly fader þe Pape. 1. [Pape, erased and rewritten, MS.; and so below, l. 8.] And I tald him þe meruailes whilk I had sene in diuerse cuntreez, so þat he with his wyse counsaile wald examyne it with diuerse folke þat er in Rome, for þare er euermare dwelland men of all naciouns ofþi werld. And a lytill after [supplied by ed.] , 2. [This word and portions of a few others at the edge of the leaf have been cut away.] when he and his wyse counsaile had examynde it all thurgh, he said to me for certayne þat all was soth þat was þerin. For he [supplied by ed.] said þat he had a buke of Latyn þat conteyned [supplied by ed.] all þat and mykill mare, after whilk buke the Mappa [supplied by ed.] Mundi es made; and þat buke he schewed me. And [supplied by ed.] þerfore oure haly fader þe Pape hase ratified and [supplied by ed.] confermed my buke in all poyntes.

Qwherfore [supplied by ed.] I pray til all þase þat redez þis Buke or heres it redd, þat þai will pray for me, and I schall [folio 132b] pray [supplied by ed.] for þaim. And all þase þat saise for me deuotely a Pater Noster and ane Aue, þat Godd forgife me my synnez, he graunt þam parte of all my pilgrimage and all oþer gude dedis þat I hafe done or may do in tyme commyng vnto my lyfez end. And I, in þat in me es, makez þam parceneres of þam, prayand to Godd, of wham all grace commez, þat he fulfill with his grace all þase þat þis buke redez or heres, and saue þam and kepe þam in body and saule, and after þis lyf bring þam to þe cuntree whare ioy es and endles rest and peesse with outen end. Amen.