Patriark and Constable

Patriark and constable.
Patriark and constable

Dethe to the Patriarke.(1)

Sire Patriark / al ȝowre humble chere
Ne quyte ȝow not / ne ȝowre humylite
Ȝowre dowble cros / of golde & stones clere
Ȝowre power hole / and al ȝowre dignyte
Somme other shal / of verrei equyte
Possede a-noon / as I reherce can
Trusteth neuere / that ȝe shul pope be
For foli hope / deceyueth many a man.
ȝowre: Your, chere: mien /appearance
Ne quyte ȝow not: will not save you

hole: whole
verrei: true, equyte: fairness, impartiality
a-noon: Straightway, reherce: demonstrate

foli: foolish

The Patriark answereth

Worldli honowre / grete tresowre and richesse
Haue me deceyued / sothfastli in dede
Myne olde Joies / ben turned to tristesse
What vaileth hit / suche tresowr to possede
Hi[e] clymbyng vp / [a f]alle hathe for his mede
Grete estates folke / wasten owte of nombre
Who mounteth hye / hit is sure & no drede
Grete burdoun / dothe hym ofte encombre.

sothfastli in dede: truthfully indeed

What vaileth hit: What does it help
mede: reward

no drede: no doubt

Dethe to the Constable(2)

Hit is my right / to reste & yow constrayn
With vs to daunce / my maiester sire Conestable
For more stronge / than euer was Charlemayn
Dethe hathe a-forced / & more worshipable
For hardynesse [n]e knyȝthode / this is no fable
Ne stronge armoure / of plates ne of maile
What geyneth armes / of folkes most notable
Whan cruel deth / luste hem to assaile.




knyȝthode: knighthood


hem: them

The Constable answereth

Mi purpose was / & hole entencioun
To assaille castelles / and myȝty [forteresses]
And brynge folke / vn-to subieccioun
To seke honowre / fame & grete richesses
But I se welle / that alle wordli prowesses
Deth can a-bate / whiche is a grete despite
To hym al-on sorowe / & eke swetenesse[s]
For aȝeyne deth / is founden no respite.






eke: also
aȝeyne: against

Variants

Footnotes: (1) (2)

Patriark: A dignitary of the Roman Church in rank superior to an Archbishop.
Constable: The constable is not a British policeman. Webster's has another explanation: "An officer of high rank in medieval monarchies, usually the commander of all armed forces esp. in the absence of the ruler".

The part about "absence of the ruler" is interesting, considering that in 1424 France was under English rule and Henry VI was only 3 years old!


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