The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries
Richard Hakluyt

Part 5 out of 6

companyed with hem. And also all the lond is comoun: for alle that a man
holdethe o zeer, another man hathe it another zeer. And every man takethe
what part that him lykthe. And also alle the godes of the lond ben comoun,
cornes and alle other thinges: for no thing there is clept in clos, ne no
thing there is undur lok; and every man there takethe what he wole, with
outen ony contradiccioun: and als riche is o man there, as is another. But
in that contree, there is a cursed custom: for thei eten more gladly mannes
flesche, than ony other flesche: and zit is that contree habundant of
flesche, of fissche, of cornes, of gold and sylver, and of alle other
godes. Thidre gone Marchauntes, and bryngen with hem children, to selle to
hem of the contree, and thei byzen hem: and zif thei ben fatte, thei eten
hem anon; and zif thei ben lene, thei feden hem, tille thei ben fatte, and
thanne thei eten hem: and thei seyn, that it is the best flesche and the
swettest of alle the world. In that lond, ne in many othere bezonde that,
no man may see the sterre transmontane, that is clept the sterre of the
see, that is unmevable, and that is toward the northe, that we clepen the
lode sterre. But men seen another steere, the contrarie to him, that is
toward the south, that is clept Antartyk. And right as the schip men taken
here avys here, and governe hem be the lode sterre, right so don schip men
bezonde the parties, be the sterre of the southe, the whiche sterre
apperethe not to us. And this sterre, that is toward the north, that wee
clepen the lode sterre, ne apperethe not to hem. For whiche cause, men may
wel perceyve, that the lond and the see ben of rownde schapp and forme. For
the partie of the firmament schewethe in o contree, that schewethe not in
another contree. And men may well preven be experience and sotyle
compassement of wytt, that zif a man fond passages be schippes, that wolde
and aboven and benethen. The whiche thing I prove thus, aftre that I have
seyn. For I have ben toward the parties of Braban, and beholden the
astrolabre, that the sterre that is clept the Transmontayne, is 53 degrees
highe. And more forthere in Almayne and Bewme, it hathe 58 degrees. And
more forthe toward the parties septemtrioneles, it is 62 degrees of heghte,
and certeyn mynutes. For I my self have mesured it by the astrolabre. Now
schulle ze knowe, that azen the Transmontayne, is the tother sterre, that
is clept Antartyke; as I have seyd before. And tho 2 sterres ne meeven
nevere. And be hem turnethe alle the firmament, righte as dothe a wheel,
that turnethe be his axille tree; so that tho sterres beren the firmament
in 2 egalle parties; so that it hathe als mochel aboven, as it hathe
benethen. Aftre this, I have gon toward the parties meridionales, that is
toward the southe: and I have founden, that in Lybye, men seen first the
sterre Antartyk. And so fer I have gon more forthe in tho contrees, that I
have founde that sterre more highe; so that toward the highe Lybye, it is
18 degrees of heghte, and certeyn minutes (of the whiche, 60 minutes maken
a degree). After goynge be see and be londe, toward this contree, of that I
have spoke, and to other yles and londes bezonde that contree, I have
founden the sterre Antartyk of 33 degrees of heghte, and mo mynutes. And
zif I hadde had companye and schippynge, for to go more bezonde, I trowe
wel in certeyn, that wee scholde have seen alle the roundnesse of the
firmament alle aboute. For as I have seyd zou be forn, the half of the
firmament is betwene tho 2 sterres: the whiche halfondelle I have seyn. And
of the tother halfondelle, I have seyn toward the north, undre Transmontane
62 degrees and 10 mynutes; and toward the partie meridionalle, I have seen
undre the Antartyk 33 degrees and 16 mynutes: and thanne the halfondelle of
the firmament in alle, ne holdethe not but 180 degrees. And of tho 180, I
have seen 62 on that o part, and 33 on that other part, that ben 95
degrees, and nyghe the halfondelle of a degree; and so there ne faylethe
but that I have seen alle the firmament, saf 84 degrees and the halfondelle
of a degree; and that is not the fourthe part of the firmament. For the 4
partie of the roundnesse of the firmament holt 90 degrees: so there
faylethe but 5 degrees and an half, of the fourthe partie. And also I have
seen the 3 parties of alle the roundnesse of the firmament, and more zit 5
degrees and an half. Be the which I seye zou certeynly, that men may
envirowne alle the erthe of alle the world, as wel undre as aboven, and
turnen azen to his contree, that hadde companye and schippynge and conduyt:
and alle weyes he scholde fynde men, londes, and yles, als wel as in this
contree. For zee wyten welle, that thei that ben toward the Antartyk, thei
ben streghte, feet azen feet of hem, that dwellen undre the transmontane;
als wel as wee and thei that dwellyn undre us, ben feet azenst feet. For
alle the parties of see and of lond han here appositees, habitable or
trepassables, and thei of this half and bezond half. And wytethe wel, that
aftre that, that I may parceyve and comprehend, the londes of Pestre John,
Emperour of Ynde, ben undre us. For in goynge from Scotland or from England
toward Jerusalem, men gon upward alweys. For oure lond is in the lowe
partie of the erthe, toward the west: and the lond of Prestre John is the
lowe partie of the erthe, toward the est: and thei han there the day, whan
wee have the nyghte, and also highe to the contrarie, thei han the nyghte,
whan wee han the day. For the erthe and the see ben of round form and
schapp, as I have seyd beforn. And that that men gon upward to o cost, men
gon dounward to another cost. Also zee have herd me seye, that Jerusalem is
in the myddes of the world; and that may men preven and schewen there, be a
spere, that is pighte in to the erthe, upon the hour of mydday, whan it is
equenoxium, that schewethe no schadwe on no syde. And that it scholde ben
in the myddes of the world, David wytnessethe it in the psautre, where he
seythe, _Des operatus est salutem in medie Terre_. Thanne thei that parten
fro the parties of the west, for to go toward Jerusalem, als many iorneyes
as thei gon upward for to go thidre, in als many iorneyes may thei gon fro
Jerusalem unto other confynyes of the superficialtie of the erthe bezonde.
And whan men gon bezonde tho iourneyes, toward Ynde and to the foreyn yles,
alle is envyronynge the roundnesse of this erthe and of the see, undre oure
contrees on this half. And therfore hathe it befallen many tymes of o
thing, that I have herd cownted, whan I was zong; how a worthi man departed
somtyme from oure contrees, for to go serche the world. And so he passed
Ynde, and the yles bezonde Ynde, where ben mo than 5000 yles: and so longe
he wente be see and lond, and so enviround the world be many seysons, that
he fond an yle, where he herde speke his owne langage, callynge an oxen in
the plowghe, suche wordes as men speken to bestes in his owne contree:
whereof he hadde gret mervayle: for he knewe not how it myghte be. But I
seye, that he had gon so longe, be londe and be see, that he had envyround
alle the erthe, that he was comen azen envirounynge, that is to seye,
goynge aboute, unto his owne marches, zif he wolde have passed forthe, til
he had founden his contree and his owne knouleche. Bur he turned azen from
thens, from whens he was come fro; and so he loste moche peynefulle labour,
as him self seyde, a gret while aftre, that he was comen hom. For it
befelle aftre, that he wente in to Norweye; and there tempest of the see
toke him; and he arryved in an yle; and whan he was in that yle, he knew
wel, that it was the yle, where he had herd speke his owne langage before,
and the callynge of the oxen at the plowghe: and that was possible thinge.
But how it semethe to symplemen unlerned, that men ne mowe not go undre the
erthe, and also that men scholde falle toward the hevene, from undre! But
that may not be, upon lesse, than wee mowe falle toward hevene, fro the
erthe, where wee ben. For fro what partie of the erthe, that men duelle,
outher aboven or benethen, it semethe alweys to hem that duellen, that thei
gon more righte than ony other folk. And righte as it semethe to us, that
thei ben undre us, righte so it semethe hem, that wee ben undre hem. For
zif a man myghte falle fro the erthe unto the firmament: be grettere
resoun, the erthe and the see, that ben so grete and so hevy, scholde
fallen to the firmament: but that may not be: and therfore seithe oure Lord
God, _Non timeas me, qui suspendi Terram ex nichilo?_ And alle be it that
it be possible thing, that men may so envyrone alle the world, natheles of
a 1000 persones, on ne myghte not happen to returnen in to his contree.
For, for the gretnesse of the erthe and of the see, men may go be a 1000
and a 1000 other weyes, that no man cowde redye him perfitely toward the
parties that he cam fro, but zif it were be aventure and happ, or be the
grace of God. For the erthe is fulle large and fulle gret, and holt in
roundnesse and aboute envyroun, be aboven and be benethen 20425 myles,
aftre the opynyoun of the olde wise astronomeres. And here seyenges I
repreve noughte. But aftre my lytylle wytt, it semethe me, savynge here
reverence, that it is more. And for to have bettere understondynge, I seye
thus, Be ther ymagyned a figure, that hathe a gret compas, and aboute the
poynt of the gret compas, that is clept the centre, be made another litille
compas: then aftre, be the gret compas devised be lines in manye parties;
and that alle the lynes meeten at the centre; so that in as many parties,
as the grete compas schal be departed, in als manye schalle be departed the
litille, that is aboute the centre, alle be it that the spaces ben lesse.
Now thanne, be the gret compas represented for the firmament, and the
litille compas represented for the erthe. Now thanne the firmament is
devysed, be astronomeres, in 12 signes; and every signe is devysed in 30
degrees, that is 360 degrees, that the firmament hathe aboven. Also, be the
erthe devysed in als many parties as the firmament; and lat every partye
answere to a degree of the firmament: and wytethe it wel, that aftre the
auctoures of astronomye, 700 fulonges of erthe answeren to a degree of the
firmament; and tho ben 87 myles and 4 furlonges. Now be that here
multiplyed by 360 sithes; and than thei ben 31500 myles, every of 8
furlonges, aftre myles of oure contree. So moche hathe the erthe in
roundnesse, and of heght enviroun, aftre myn opynyoun and myn
undirstondynge. And zee schulle undirstonde, that aftre the opynyoun of
olde wise philosophres and astronomeres, oure contree ne Irelond ne Wales
ne Scotlond ne Norweye ne the other yles costynge to hem, ne ben not in the
superficialte cownted aboven the erthe: as it schewethe be alle the bokes
of astronomye. For the superficialtee of the erthe is departed in 7
parties, for the 7 planetes: and tho parties ben clept clymates. And oure
parties be not of the 7 clymates; for thei ben descendynge toward the west.
And also these yles of Ynde, which beth even azenst us, beth noght reckned
in the climates; for thei ben azenst us, that ben in the lowe contree. And
the 7 clymates strecchen hem envyrounynge the world.

Of the Palays of the Kyng of the Yle of Java. Of the Trees, that beren
Mele, Hony, Wyn and Venym; and of othere Mervayilles and Customes, used
in the Yles marchinge thereabouten.

[Sidenote: Cap. XVIII.] Besyde that yle that I have spoken of, there is
another yle, that is clept Sumobor, that is a gret yle: and the kyng
thereof is righte myghty. The folk of that yle maken hem alweys to ben
marked in the visage with an hote yren, bothe men and wommen, for gret
noblesse, for to ben knowen from other folk. For thei holden hem self most
noble and most worthi of alle the world. And thei han werre alle weys with
the folk that gon alle naked. And faste besyde is another yle, that is
clept Betemga, that is a gode yle and a plentyfous. And many other yles ben
there about; where ther ben many of dyverse folk: of the whiche it were to
longe to speke of alle.

But fast besyde that yle, for to passe be see, is a gret yle a gret
contree, that men clepen Java: and it is nyghe 2000 myle in circuyt. And
the kyng of that contree is a fulle gret lord and a ryche and a myghty, and
hathe undre him 7 other kynges of 7 other yles abouten hym. This yle is
fulle wel inhabyted, and fulle wel manned. There growen alle maner of
spicerie, more plentyfous liche than in ony other contree; as of gyngevere,
clowegylofres, canelle, zedewalle, notemuges and maces. And wytethe wel,
that the notemuge berethe the maces. For righte as the note of the haselle
hathe an husk with outen, that the note is closed in, til it be ripe, and
aftre fallethe out; righte so it is of the notemuge and of the maces. Manye
other spices and many other godes growen in that yle. For of alle thing is
there plenty, saf only of wyn: but there is gold and silver gret plentee.
And the kyng of that contree hathe a paleys fulle noble and fulle
marveyllous, and more riche than ony in the world. For alle the degrez to
gon up into halles and chambres, ben on of gold, another of sylver. And
also the pavmentes of halles and chambres ben alle square, on of gold and
another of sylver: and alle the walles with inne ben covered with gold and
sylver, in fyn plates: and in tho plates ben stories and batayles of
knyghtes enleved. And the crounes and the cercles abouten here hedes ben
made of precious stones and riche perles and grete. And the halles and the
chambres of the palays ben alle covered with inne with gold and sylver: so
that no man wolde trowe the richesse of that palays, but he had seen it.
And witethe wel, that the kyng of that yle is so myghty, that he hathe many
tymes overcomen the grete Cane of Cathay in bataylle, that is the most gret
emperour that is undre the firmament, outher bezonde the see or on this
half. For thei han had often tyme werre betwene hem, be cause that the
grete cane wolde constreynen him to holden his lond of him: but that other
at alle tymes defendethe him wel azenst him.

Aftre that yle, in goynge be see, men fynden another yle, gode and gret,
that men clepen Pathen, that is a gret kyngdom, fulle of faire cytees and
fulle of townes. In that lond growen trees, that beren mele, wherof men
maken gode bred and white, and of gode savour; and it semethe as it were of
whete, but it is not allynges of suche savour. And there ben other trees,
that beren hony, gode and swete: and other trees, that beren venym; azenst
the whiche there is no medicyne but on; and that is to taken here propre
leves, and stampe hem and tempere hem with watre, and then drynke it: and
elle he schalle dye; for triacle will not avaylle, ne non other medicyne.
Of this venym, the Jewes had let seche of on of here frendes, for to
empoysone alle Cristiantee, as I have herd hem seye in here confessioun,
before here dyenge. But thanked be alle myghty God, thei fayleden of hire
purpos: but alle weys thei maken gret mortalitee of people. And other trees
there ben also, that beren wyn of noble sentement. And zif zou like to here
how the mele comethe out of the trees, I shalle seye zou. Men hewen the
trees with an hatchet, alle aboute the fote of the tree, tille that the
bark be parted in many parties; and than comethe out ther of a thikke
lykour, the whiche thei resceyven in vesselles, and dryen it at the hete of
the sonne; and than thei han it to a mylle to grynde; and it becomethe
faire mele and white. And the hony and the wyn and the venym ben drawen out
of other trees, in the same manere, and put in veselles for to kepe. In
that yle is a ded see, that is a lake, that hathe no ground. And zif ony
thing falle in to that lake, it schalle nevere comen up azen. In that lake
growen redes, that ben cannes, that thei clepen thaby, that ben 30 fadme
long. And of theise canes men maken faire houses. And ther ben other canes,
that ben not so longe, that growen neer the lond, and han so longe rotes,
that duren wel a 4 quartres of a furlong or more; and at the knottes of tho
rotes, men fynden precious stones, that han gret vertues: and he that
berethe ony of hem upon him, yren ne steel ne may not hurt him, ne drawe no
blood upon him: and therfore thei that han tho stones upon hem, fighten
fulle hardyly, bothe on see and lond: for men may not harmen hem on no
partye. And therfore thei that knowen the manere, and schulle fighten with
hem, thei schoten to hem arwes and quarrelles with outen yren or steel; and
so thei hurten hem and sleen hem. And also of tho cannes, thei maken houses
and schippes and other thinges; as wee han here, makynge houses and
schippes of oke or of ony other trees. And deme no man, that I seye it, but
for a truffulle: for I have seen of the cannes with myn owne eyzen fulle
many tymes lyggynge upon the ryvere of that lake: of the whiche, 20 of oure
felowes ne myghten not liften up ne beren on to the erthe.

Aftre this yle, men gon be see to another yle, that is clept Calonak: and
it is a fair lond and a plentifous of godes. And the kyng of that contrey
hath als many wyfes as he wole; for he makethe serche alle the contree, to
geten him the fairest maydens that may ben founde, and makethe hem to ben
broughte before him; and he takethe on o nyght, and another another nyght,
and so forthe contynuelle sewyng; so that he hath a 1000 wyfes or mo. And
he liggethe never but o nyght with on of hem, and another nyght with
another, but zif that on happene to ben more lusty to his plesance than
another. And therfore the kyng getethe fully many children; sum tyme an
100, sum tyme an 200, and sum tyme mo. And he hathe also into a 14000
olifauntz or mo, that he makethe for to ben brought up amonges his
vileynes, be alle his townes. For in cas that he had ony werre azenst any
other kyng aboute him, thanne he makethe certeyn men of armes for to gon up
in to the castelles of tree, made for the werre, that craftily ben sett up
on the olifantes bakkes, for to fyghten azen hire enemyes: and so don other
kynges there aboute. For the maner of werre is not there, as it is here or
in other contrees; ne the ordinance of werre nouther. And men clepen the
olifantes, warkes.

And in that yle there is a gret marvayle, more to speke of than in ony
other partie of the world. For alle manere of fissches, that ben there in
the see abouten hem, comen ones in the zeer, eche manere of dyverse
fissches, on maner of kynde aftre other; and thei casten hem self to the
see banke of that yle, so gret plentee and multitude, that no man may
unnethe see but fissche; and there thei abyden 3 dayes: and every man of
the contree takethe of hem, als many as him lykethe: And aftre, that maner
of fissche, after the thridde day, departethe and gothe into the see. And
aftre hem, comen another multitude of fyssche of another kynde, and don in
the same maner as the firste diden other 3 dayes. And aftre hem, another;
tille alle the dyverse maner of fissches han ben there, and that men han
taken of hem, that hem lykethe. And no man knowethe the cause wherfore it
may ben. But thei of the contree seyn, that it is for to do reverence to
here kyng, that is the most worthi kyng, that is in the world, as thei
seyn; because that he fulfillethe the comandement, that God bad to Adam and
Eve, whan God seyde, _Crescite et multplicamini et replete terram_. And for
because that he multipliethe so the world with children, therfore God
sendethe him so the fissches of dyverse kyndes, of alle that ben in the
see, to taken at his wille, for him and alle his peple. And therfore alle
the fissches of the see comen, to maken him homage, as the most noble and
excellent kyng of the world, and that is best beloved with God, als thei
seyn. I knowe not the resoun, whi it is; but God knowethe. But this, me
semethe, is the moste marveylle, that evere I saughe. For this mervaylle is
azenst kynde, and not with kynde, that the fissches, that han fredom to
enviroun alle the costes of the see, at here owne list, comen of hire owne
wille to profren hem to the dethe, with outen constreynynge of man: and
therfore I am syker, that this may not ben, with outen a gret tokene.

There ben also in that contree a kynde of snayles, that ben so grete, that
many persones may loggen hem in here schelles, as men wolde done in a
litylle hous. And other snayles there ben, that ben fulle grete, but not so
huge as the other. And of theise snayles, and of gret white wormes, that
han blake hedes, that ben als grete as a mannes thighe, and somme lesse, as
grete wormes that men fynden there in wodes, men maken vyaunde rialle, for
the kyng and for other grete lordes. And zif a man, that is maryed, dye in
that contree, men buryen his wif with him all quyk. For men seyn there,
that it is resoun, that sche make him companye in that other world, as sche
did in this.

CAPVT. 30.

De Regnis Cynocephalorum, et alijs Insulis.

Per mare oceanum potest hinc veniri in Insulam Kaffa: [Marginal note: Vel
Caffeles.] quicunque ibi infirmari videtur ad mortem, suspenditur ad
arborem, antequam moriatur, vt non ab immundis terræ vermibus, sed a coeli
auibus, quas reputant Dei Angelos, comedatur.

In alia insula faciunt suos infirmos ante mortem ab eductis in hoc magnis
canibus strangulari, manducantes in conuiuio carnes pro optimo ferculo

Interpositis quoque multis Insulis, de quibus subticeo gratia breuitatis,
habetur Insula Mylke, [Marginal note: Vel Mekke.] et hij videntur omnium
hominum crudelissimi; Nam quilibet particularitèr pro leui et modica
stimulatione, vulnerat, sauciat, et occidit, proximum, vicinum et amicum:
Et si quando dissidentes contigerit concordari, non habebitur pax rata,
nisi quisque de alterius sanguine biberit bonum haustum.

Hinc nauigando per multas et diuersas Insulas, qui in singulas intrare, et
moram trahere voluerit, stupenda multa videbit, et poterit venire in
Insulam Tracoide. [Marginal Note: Vel Traceda.]

Illic sunt homines àbsque vllo ingenio penitus bestiales, serpentibus,
vermibusque vescentes, nec inuicem loquentes, sed conceptus suos signis et
indicijs ostendentes. Diligunt preciosos lapides tantummodo pulchritudinis
gratia, non causa virtutis: et super omnes vnum diligunt lapidem habentem
60. colorum varietates, qui et Tracoides vocatur propter ipsos.

Intratur hinc per Oceanum in regionem Niconoram, vel Nacumeram, habentem in
circuitu spacium mille leucarum: omnes ibi geniti homines habent capita ad
formam canum, vnde et in Græco Cynocephali dicuntur. Isti etiam incedunt
nudis corporibus, excepto parui panniculi operimento, secretiora loca et
posteriora retro tegente. Rationabiles tamen multum sunt hij, et plurimum
virtuosi, ac de omni forefacto rigidam iustitiam exercentes. Sunt statura
elegantes, robusti corpore, in prælijs lanceam cum tergia lata gerentes,
virilitérque, et prudentèr pugnantes. Omnes pro deo adorant bouem, vnde et
quilibet in fronte argenteam seu auream similitudinem bouis defert, et si
quem viuum in prælio ceperint, sine vlla miseratione manducant.

Rex multum est diues et potens, ac deuotus in superstitione. Nam circa
collum gestat trecentas orientales margaritas, quibus quotidiè antè
commestionem orationes suas colligit, quemadmodum nos colligimus, Pater
noster, etc. Ac præterea portat ad collum [Marginal note: Siue
carbunculum.] rubetum orientalem, nobilem, purum, pulchrum, resplendentem,
et summè preciosum, ad longitudinem pedis humani, quem habet diligentèr
seruare, quod dum eo caret non tenetur pro Rege.

Pro isto carbunculo Grand Can Imperator, per ingenium, per insidias, per
precium, et per prælium sæpè laborauit, sed nihil profecit. Post istam
apparet insula Syllan, habens leucas de circuitu 80. quæ paucos habet
homines propter multitudinem draconum, serpentum, crocodilorum in ea. Sunt
autem crocodili speciales serpentes, coloris virgulati de croceo et nigro,
cum quatuor cruribus, et tibijs et latis pedum vngulis. Aliqui horum habent
longitudinem quínque tensarum, aut citrà, qui dum tendunt per arenosa
relinquunt signum semitæ, acsi sit ibi tractus grandis arboris truncus.

Item in hac insula habetur nons altus, et in sui vertice satis altus et
distentus et magnus aquæ lacus, de quo et stulti homines fabulantur, quòd
primi parentes post eiectionem suam, illam aquam primò lacrymauerunt. In
huius fundo lacus nascuntur margaritæ, et habentur semper lapides preciosi.
Solentque pauperes terræ, accepta à Rege licentia, semel in anno ingredi,
ac piscari gemmas, qui intrantes vngunt se succo Lymonsæ, contra hirudines,
colubros, et serpentes. Sed et de lacu effluit riuulus per montis
descensum, in quo nonnunquam margaritæ inueniuntur, et gemmæ: dicunt etiam
ibi nullum venenatum animal nocere aduenis.

Ibi videntur leones albi in mira magnitudine boum nostrorum, et multæ
diuersæ bestiæ, et aues, bestiolæ, et auiculæ aliarum specierum quàm in
partibus istis. Nam ibi et in nonnullis alijs insulis vidi vnum mirum, de
quo prius vix credidissem narranti, videlicet anates cum duobus capitibus.

Et sciatis quòd tam hic quam alibi mare apparet satis altius suo littore,
imo qui a remotis aspicit videt suspensum quasi ad nubes. Et de hoc
admiratus fuissem, nisi quod scriptum sciui mirabiles elationes maris.

CAPVT. 31.

De multis alijs Insulis Meridionalibus, de quibus et Plinius, et Munsterus.

Versus meridien hinc legendo per mare, inuenitur regio speciosa nomine
Doudin: [Marginal note: Vel Doudeia.] cuius rex imperat seu principatur 54.
regibus in circuitu insularum.

Dum quis hic infirmatur tendit proximus ad Idolum sciscitans an morietur,
et si respondit non, addit et dicere medicinam qua curabitur: si autem
responderit moriturum, statim conuocatis amicis occiditur, et cum
symphonia, et solemnitate comedunt eius carnes, ossa tantummodò
sepelientes. In Insulis verò circumiacentibus, habentur incredibilitèr
diuersæ gentes. Nam vna habet homines enormis magnitudinis, cum solo in
medio frontis oculo, qui absque vllo condimento manducant carnes et pisces.

Alia Insula habet homines aspectu deformes, nihil autem colli aut capitis
ostendentes, vnde et Acephali nuncupantur: oculos autem habent ante ad
scapulas, et in loco pectoris os apertum ad formam ferri, quo nostri
caballi frænantur.

In alia Insula sunt gentes planis faciebus absque eleuatione nasorum, et
palpebratum cum paruis foraminibus oculorum, et scissura modica oris. Et in
alia gentes cum superiore oris labio ita lato et amplo, vt, dum velint,
totam faciem de illo tegant.

Alia generat homines paruæ saturæ cum oris foramine sic paruo, vt per
fistulas alimentum, et potum sumant, et quoniam carent lingua et dentibus,
monstrant per naturalia signa conceptus. Et aliqui sunt homines debitæ
quidem staturæ, et formæ, nisi quòd habent pedes equínos, quibus ita sunt
præpetes, vt syluestres bestias capiant, quas comedunt, et manducant.

In alia homines sunt toti pilosi et hispidi, vsu simiarum manibus et
pedibus ambulantes, et ad arbores reptantes, qui quamuis non loquuntur,
apparent rationabiles, qui regem habent, et rectores.

Et in alia omnes sunt claudi, qui quamuis pedes habeant, tamen ambulant
super genua multum ridiculosè, imò miserabiliter, vt de passu in passum
videantur casuri in terrem. Et in quadam, sexum tam masculinum, quàm
foeminieum habentes, qui dum masculino vtuntur generant, dum foeminino,
impregnantur et pariunt. Atque, in compendio multa concludam, in singulis
54. insularum inueniuntur homines, forma, statura, actibus et moribus
singulis ab inuicem differentes, de quibus potest fieri descriptio, quam
pertranseo gratia breuitatis, et causa incredulitatis fortè quorundum

In istis autem meridionalibus partibus apparebat mihi eleuatio poli
Antarctici 33. graduum, cum 16. minutis. Et sciendum quod in Bohemia,
similitèr in Anglia eleuatur polus Arcticus 52. gradibus vel citra: Et in
partibus magis septentrionalibus, vbi sunt Scoti 62. gradibus cum quatuor
minutis. Ex quo patet respiciendo ad latitudinem coeli, quæ est de polo ad
polum, quod itineratio mea fuit per quartum Horizontis spheræ terræ et
vltra, per quinque gradus, cum 20. minutis. Cum ergò secundum Astrologos,
totus terræ circuitus sit 31500. milliarium, octo stadijs pro milliario
computatis, et septinginta stadia respondeant ad vnum gradum, quod patet ad
latitudinem terræ, perambulaui 66733. stadia cum vno tertio, quæ faciunt
4170. leucas Geometricas cum dimidia vel propè.

CAPVT. 32.

De bona Regione Man chus. [Footnote: Mangi.]

Cum igitur tot et talsa in istis Insulis vidimus monstra (quæ si explicarem
scribendo vix à legentibus omnia crederentur) non curauimus vlterius
procedere sub polo australi, ne in maiora pericula incideremus: sed proptèr
auditam et inuisam nobis famositatem potentiæ, nobilitatis, et gloriæ
Imperatoris Tartarorum, vertebam faciem cum socijs nauigare magis versus
Orientem. Cumque per multas diætas sustinuissemus multa pericula maris,
peruenimus in Regnum Manchus, [Marginal Note: Vel Mangi.] quod est in
confinibus superioris Indiæ, et iungitur ab vna parte Tartariæ. Hæc Regio
Manchus, pro sui quantitate reputatur melior, delectabilior, et omnium
bonorum abundantior de cunctis ibi propè Regionibus. Nam et homines bestiæ,
et volucres maiores et corpulentiores sunt alijs, et præ vbertate vix
inuenirentur in vna ciuitate decem mendici. Formosi sunt viri, sed feminæ
formosiores. Sed viri loco barbæ, habent perpaucos pilos, rigidos, et
longos ab vtraque oris parte, quemadmodum nostros videmus cattos habere.

Prima quam ingrediebaumer ciuitàs est Lachori, [Marginal Note: Siue
Lateryn.] distans vna dieta à mari, et mirabamur, et gauisi sumus nos
inuenisse integram ciuitatem Christianæ fidei. Nam et maior pars Regni
credit in Christum.

Ibi habetur in leui precio copia rerum omnium, et præcipuè victualium: vnum
genus est ibi serpentum in abundantia quod manducant ad omne conuiuium, et
nisi pro finali ferculo ministraretur de illis serpentibus, conuiuium quàm
modicum diceretur.

Suntque per hoc regnum pleræque ciuitates et Ecclesiæ, et relligiones, quas
instituit dux Ogerus, quia hoc est vnum de quindecim regnis quæ quæsiuit,
sicut infra dicetur.

Illic sunt elegantes albæ gallinæ, quæ non vestiuntur plumis vt nostraæ,
sed optima lana. Canes aquatici, quos nos lutras nominamus, sunt ibi multi
edomiti, quòd quoties mittuntur in flumen, exportant domino piscem.

Ab hoc loco per aliquas diætas, venitur ad huius regionis maximam vrbem
Cansay, hoc est dicere ciuitatem coeli, imo de vniuerso orbe terrarum
putatur hæc maxima Ciuitatum; nam eius circuitus 50. leucis est mensus, nec
est facile dicere, quàm, compressè a quamplurimis populis inhabitatur. Hæc
sedet in lacu maris, quemadmodum, et Venetiæ: et habentur in ea plures quàm
mille ducenti pontes, et in quolibet turres miræ magnitudinis, ac
fortitudinis, munitæ peruigíli custodia, et pro vrbe tuenda contra
Imperatorem Grand Can.

Multi sunt ibi Christiani, et multæ Religiones Christianorum, sed et de
ordinibus Minorum, et prædicatorum, qui tamen ibi non mendicant; est magna
pluralitas ex diuersis nationibus Mercatorum. Per Regionem nascitur vinum
valdè bonum, quod appellatur Bigon. Et ad leucam extra ciuitatem, Abbatia
magna est, non de religione Christiana sed Pagana: et in ea forrestum, siue
hortus magnus vndíque circumclusus, consitus arboribus, et arbustis, in
cuius etiam medio mons, altus simul et latus, habens hortum vbi solum
inhabitant bestiolæ mirabiles, sicut Simiæ, marmotæ, Lanbon, papiones,
foreti et huiusmodi ad varia et multa genera, et ad numerum infinitum.

Omni autem die post refectionem conuentus Abbatiæ, qui est valdè
monachosus, deferuntur reliquiæ ciborum cum magno additamento, in vasis
auro lucentibus ad hunc hortum: et ad sonitum campanæ argenteæ, quam
Eleemosynarius manu gestat descendentes, et occurrentes de bestiolis duo
millia aut plures sese componunt residere ad circulum more pauperum
mendicorum, et traditur singulis per seruos aliquid de his cibarijs, ac
denuò audita campana segregando recurrunt: Cumque nos tanquam redarguentes,
diceremus, cur hæc non darentur egenis, responderunt, illic pauperes non
habentur, quod si inuenirentur, potius tamen dari deberent bestiolis. Habet
enim eorum perfidia, et Paganissimus, animas nobilium hominum post mortem
ingredi corpora nobilium bestiarum, et animas ignobilium corpora bestiarum
ignobilium et vilium, ad luenda videlicet crimina, donec peracta
poenitentia transeant in Paradisum: ideoque nutriunt, prout dicunt, has
nobiliores bestias, siue bestiolas, quòd a quibusdam nobilibus fundabatur
in principio hæc Abbatia. Multa sunt alia mira in hac ciuitate, de quibus
sciatis, quod non omnia vobis recitabo.

CAPVT. 33.

De Pygmæis, et de itinere vsque in prouinciam Cathay.

Eundo per Regionem eandem à dicta ciuitate Cansay, ad sex dietas venitur ad
nobilem vrbem Tylenso, [Marginal Note: Vel Chezolo.] cuius muri per
circuitum tendunt ad spacium 20. leucarum: [Marginal Note: Vel Miliarium.]
et sunt 60. petrini pontes, quibus nullos memini pulchriores.

In ista fuit prima sedes regni Mangi, nec immeritò, cum sit munita,
delectabilis, et abundans omnibus bonis, ac deinde in predicta Cansay, nunc
autem tenetur in quadam alia ciuitate.

Nota, quilibet ignis soluit quolibet anno vnum balis pro tributo, quod
valet vnum florenum cum dimidio, sed omnes famuli de domo vna pro vno igne
computantur: summa ignium tributalium, octies centum millia. Reliqui verò
Christiani mercatores, in isto vico non computantur. Copia est ibi

Quatuor fratres minores vnum potentem conuertebant apud quem hospitabar, et
qui duxit me ad Abbatiam istam, ibi vidi scilicet quod hic narratur.

Ad fines itaque regni Mangi transitur grandis fluuius de Dylay, [Marginal
note: Vel de Delay.] maius flumen mundi, vbi strictius est continet septem
miliaria Odericus: cuius alueus in loco districtiori continet quatuor
leucas. Et ex hoc in breui temporis spacio intratur Imperium Tartarorum,
sequendo fluuium vsque in terram Pygmeorum, per cuius medium transit.

Hij Pygmei sunt homines statura breues ad longitudinem nostri brachij, seu
trium manuum expansarum. Tam mares quam feminæ formosæ et gratiosæ, et
viuunt communiter ad annos sex vel septem: si qui pertingunt ad octo, mire
putantur senectutis. Ad dimidiam anni ætatem nubere possunt, in secundo
anno parturiunt: rationalis sunt, et sensati iuxta ætatem pusillam, ac
satis ingeniosi ad opera de serico, et de lana arboris. Frequentèr
præliantur contra aues grandes patriæ, exercitibus congregatis hinc inde,
et fit strages vtrimque. Hæc gens tam parua optimè operatur sericum et
bombycem. Isti Pygmei venerunt mihi obuiam chorizando. Non laborant terram,
prædia, seu vineas, sed morantur inter eos nostræ quantitatis homines, qui
eos incolunt, sicut serui, quos et Pygmæi sæpè derident, quia sunt ipsis
maiores: et quod ipse non cesso mirari dum dicti homines in illa terra
generant vel pariunt, non crescit proles supra Pygmæi staturam: Insula non
est protensa, sed fortè 12. ciuitatum. Quarum vna est grandis, et bene
munita, et quam Grand Can facit cum fortibus armaturis curiosè seruari,
contra regem Mangi.

Hinc proceditur per Imperium Grand Can, ad multas ciuitates, et villas
morum mirabiliter diuersorum, vsque in regnum Iamchan, quod est vnum de 12.
prouincijs maximis, quibus distinguitur totum Imperium Tartarorum.

Nobilior ciuitas huius Regni seu Prouinciæ dicitur Iamchan, abundans
mercimonijs, et diuitijs infinitis, et multa præstans proprio Regi tributa,
quoniam sicut illi de ciuitate fatentur, valet annuè regi quinquaginta
milia cuman florenorum auri.

Nota. In Iamchan ciuitate est conuentus fratrum minorum: in hac sunt tres
Ecclesiæ Monasteriorum: reditus simul ascendit ad 12. cuman. Odericus
dixit, Vnus cuman est decem millium. Summa tributi annui, quinquaginta
milia millium Florenorum. In illis namque partibus magnus numerorum summas
estimant per cuman, numerum 10. millium qui et in Flamingo dicitur laste.

Ad quinque leucas ab hac ciuitate est alia dicta Meke, in qua fiunt de
quodam albissimi genere ligni naues maxtimæ cum aulis et thalamis, ac
multis ædificijs, tanquam Palatium tellure fundatum.

Inde per idem regnum ad viam octo dietarum per aquam dulcem, multas per
ciuitates, et bonas villas, venimus Laucherim, [Marginal note: Siue
Lanterin.] (Odericus appellat Leuyim,) vrbem formosam opumque magnarum,
sitam super flumen magnum Cacameran. [Marginal note: Vel Caremoron.] Hoc
flumen transit per medium Cathay, cui aqua infert damnum, quando nimis
inundat, sicut palus in Ferraria, Mogus in Herbipoli: et illud sequentes
intrauimus principalem prouinciam Imperij Tartariæ, dictam Cathay Calay: et
ista prouincia est multum distenta, ac plena ciuitatibus, et oppidis bonis,
et magnis omnibusque referta mercimonijs, maximè sericosis operibus, et
aromaticis speciebus.

Nauigando per dictum flumen versus Orientem, et itinerando per hanc Cathay
prouinciam ad multas dietas per plurimas vrbes et villas, venitur in
ciuitatem Sugarmago, [Marginal note: Engarmago.] abundantiorem omnibus in
mercemoniis antedictis, quando sericum est hic vilissimum: quadragintæ
libræ habentur ibi pro decem florenis.

Ab hac ciuitate, multis ciuitatibtus peregratis versus Orientem, veni ad
ciuitatem Cambalu, quæ est antiqua in prouincia Cathay: Hanc postquam
Tartari ceperunt, ad dimidium miliare fecerunt vnam ciuitatem nomine Caydo,
et habet duodecim portas, et à porta in portam duo sunt grossa miliaria
Lombardica, spacium inter medium istarum ciuitatum habitatoribus plenum
est, et circuitus cuiuslibet istarum ambit 60. miliaria Lombardica, quæ
faciunt octo Teutonica.

In hac ciuitate Cambalu residet Imperator Magnus Can, Rex Regum
terrestrium, et Dominus Dominorum terrestrium. Atque indè vlterius in
Orientem intratur vetus vrbs Caydo, vbi communiter tenet suam sedem
Imperialem Grand Can in suo palatio. Ambitus autem vrbis Caydo, est viginti
ferè leucarum, duodecim habens portas à se distantes ampliùs quàm stadia

The English Version.

From that contree, men gon be the see occean, be an yle that is clept
Caffolos. Men of that contree, whan here frendes ben seke, thei hangen hem
upon trees; and seyn, that it is bettre, that briddes, that ben angeles of
God, eten hem, than the foule wormes of the erthe.

From that yle men gon to another yle, where the folk ben of fulle cursed
kynde: for thei norysschen grete dogges, and techen hem to strangle here
frendes, whan thei ben syke: for thei wil noughte, that thei dyen of
kyndely dethe: for thei seyn, that thei scholde suffren to gret peyne, zif
thei abyden to dyen be hem self, as nature wolde: and whan thei ben thus
enstrangled, thei eten here flesche, in stede of venysoun.

Aftreward men gon be many yles be see, unto an yle, that men clepen Milke:
and there is a fulle cursed peple: for thei delyten in ne thing more, than
for to fighten and to sle men. And thei drynken gladlyest mannes blood, the
whiche thei clepen dieu. And the mo men that a man may slee, the more
worschipe he hathe amonges hem. And zif 2 persones ben at debate, and
peraventure ben accorded be here frendes or be sumn of here alliance, it
behovethe that every of hem, that schulle ben accorded, drynke of otheres
blood: and elle the accord ne the alliance is noghte worthe, ne it schalle
not be ne repref to him to breke the alliance and the accord, but zif every
of hem drynke of otheres blood.

And from that yle, men gon be see, from yle to yle, unto an yle, that is
clept Tracoda; where the folk of that contree ben as bestes and
unresonable, and duellen in caves, that thei maken in the erthe; for thei
have no wytt to maken hem houses. And whan thei seen ony man passynge
thorghe here contrees, thei hyden hem in here caves. And thei eten flesche
of serpentes; and thei eten but litille, and thei speken nought; but thei
hissen, as serpentes don. And thei sette no prys be no richesse, but only
of a precyous ston, that is amonges hem, that is of 60 coloures. And for
the name of the yle, thei clepen it Tracodon. And thei loven more that
ston, than ony thing elle: and zit thei knowe not the vertue thereof: but
thei coveyten it and loven it only for the beautee.

Aftre that yle, men gon be the see occean, be many yles, unto an yle, that
is clept Nacumera; that is a gret yle and good and fayr: and it is in
kompas aboute, more than a 1000 myle. And alle the men and wommen of that
yle han houndes hedes: and thei ben clept Cynocephali: and thei ben fulle
resonable and of gode undirstondynge, saf that thei worschipen an ox for
here god. And also everyche of hem berethe an ox of gold or of sylver in
his forhed, in tokene that thei loven wel here god. And thei gon alle
naked, saf a litylle clout, that thei coveren with here knees and hire
membres. Thei ben grete folk and wel fyghtynge; and thei han a gret targe,
that coverethe alle the body, and a spere in here hond to fighte with. And
zif thei taken ony man in bataylle, anon thei eten him. The kyng of that
yle is fulle riche and fulle myghty, and righte devout aftre his lawe: and
he hathe abouten his nekke 360 perles oryent, gode and grete, and knotted,
as Pater Nostres here of amber. And in maner as wee seyn oure Pater Noster
and oure Ave Maria, cowntyng the Pater Nosters, right so this kyng seythe
every day devoutly 300 preyeres to his god, or that he ete: and he berethe
also aboute his nekke a rubye oryent, noble and fyn, that is a fote of
lengthe, and fyve fyngres large. And whan thei chesen here kyng, thei taken
him that rubye, to beren in his hond, and so thei leden him rydynge alle
abouten the cytee. And fro thens fromward, thei ben alle obeyssant to him.
And that rubye he schalle bere alle wey aboute his nekke: for zif he hadde
not that rubye upon him, men wolde not holden him for kyng. The grete Cane
of Cathay hathe gretly coveted that rubye; but he myghte never han it, for
werre ne for no maner of godes. This kyng is so rightfulle and of equytee
in his doomes, that men may go sykerlyche thorghe out alle his contree, and
bere with him what him list, that no man schalle ben hardy to robben hem:
and zif he were, the kyng wolde iustifyed anon.

Fro this lond men gon to another yle, that is clept Silha: and it is welle
a 800 myles aboute. In that lond is fulle mochelle waste; for it is fulle
of serpentes, of dragouns and of cokadrilles; that no man dar duelle there.
Theise cocodrilles ben serpentes, zalowe and rayed aboven, and han 4 feet
and schorte thyes and grete nayles, as clees or talouns; and there ben
somme that han 5 fadme in lengthe, and summe of 6 and of 8, and of 10: and
whan thei gon be places, that ben gravelly, it semethe as thoughe men hadde
drawen a gret tree thorghe the gravelly place. And there ben also many
wylde bestes, and namelyche of olyfauntes. In that yle is a gret mountayne;
and in mydd place of the mount, is a gret lake in a fulle faire pleyne, and
there is a gret plentee of watre. And thei of the contree seyn, that Adam
and Eve wepten upon that mount an 100 zeer, whan thei weren dryven out of
Paradys. And that watre, thei seyn, is of here teres: for so moche watre
thei wepten, that made the forseyde lake. And in the botme of that lake,
men fynden many precious stones and grete perles. In that lake growen many
reedes and grete cannes; and there with inne ben many cocodrilles and
serpentes and grete watre leches. And the kyng of that contree, ones every
zeer, zevethe leve to pore men to gon in to the lake, to gadre hem precyous
stones and perles, be weye of alemesse, for the love of God, that made
Adam. And alle the zeer, men fynde y nowe. And for the vermyn, that is with
inne, thei anoynte here armes and here thyes and legges with an oynement,
made of a thing that is clept lymons, that is a manere of fruyt, lyche
smale pesen: and thanne have thei no drede of no cocodrilles, ne of non
other venymous vermyn. This watre rennethe, flowynge and ebbynge, be a syde
of the mountayne: and in that ryver men fynden precious stones and perles,
gret plentee. And men of that yle seyn comounly, that the serpentes and the
wilde bestes of that contree ne will not don non harm, ne touchen with
evylle, no strange man, that entrethe into that contree, but only to men
that ben born of the same contree. In that contree and othere there
abouten, there ben wylde gees, that han 2 hedes: and there ben lyouns alle
white, and als grete as oxen, and many other dyverse bestes, and foules
also, that be not seyn amonges us. And witethe wel, that in that contree
and in othere yles there abouten, the see is to highe, that it semethe as
though it henge at the clowdes, and that it wolde covere alle the world:
and that is gret mervaylle, that it myghte be so, saf only the wille of
God, that the eyr susteynethe it. And therfore seyth David in the Psautere,
_Mirabiles elationes Maris_.

How men knowen be the Ydole, zif the sike schalle dye or non. Of folk of
dyverse schap and merveylously disfigured: And of the Monkes, that zeven
hire releef to Babewynes, Apes and Marmesettes and to other Bestes.

[Sidenote: Cap. XIX.] From that yle, in goynge be see, toward the southe,
is another gret yle, that is clept Dondun. In that yle ben folk of dyverse
kyndes; so that the fadre etethe the sone, the sone the fadre, the husbonde
the wif, and the wif the husbonde. And zif it so befall, that the fadre or
modre or ony of here frendes ben seke, anon the son gothe to the prest of
here law, and preyethe him to aske the ydole, zif his fadre or modre or
frend schalle dye on that evylle or non. And than the prest and the sone
gone to gydere before the ydole, and knelen fulle devoutly, and asken of
the ydole here demande. And zif the devylle, that is with inne, answere,
that he schalle lyve, thei kepen him wel: and zif he seye, that he schalle
dye, then the prest gothe with the sonne, with the wif of him that is
seeke, and thei putten here hondes upon his mouthe, and stoppon his brethe,
and so thei sleen him. And aftre that, thei choppen alle the body in smale
peces, and preyen alle his frendes to comen and eten of him, that is ded:
and thei senden for alle the mynstralle of the contree, and maken a
solempne feste. And whan thei han eten the flessche, thei taken the bones,
and buryen hem, and syngen and maken gret melodye. And alle tho that ben of
his kyn, or pretenden hem to ben his frendes, and thei come not to that
feste, thei ben repreved for evere and schamed, and maken gret doel; for
nevere aftre schulle thei ben holden as frendes. And thei seyn also, that
men eten here flesche, for to delyveren hem out of peyne. For zif the
wormes of the erthe eten hem, the soule scholde suffre gret peyne, as thei
seyn; and namely, whan the flesche is tendre and megre, thanne seyn here
frendes, that thei don gret synne, to leten hem have so long langure, to
suffre so moche peyne, with oute resoun. And whan thei fynde the flessche
fatte, than thei seyn, that it is wel don, to senden him sone to paradys;
and that thei have not suffred him to longe, to endure in peyne. The kyng
of this yle is a ful gret lord and a myghty; and hathe undre him 54 grete
yles, that zeven tribute to him: and in everyche of theise yles, is a kyng
crowned, and alle ben obeyssant to that kyng. And he hathe in tho yles many
diverse folk. In one of theise yles ben folk of gret stature, as Geauntes;
and thei ben hidouse for to loke upon; and thei han but on eye, and that is
in the myddylle of the front; and thei eten no thing but raw flessche and
raw fyssche.

And in another yle, toward the southe, duellen folk of foule suture and of
cursed kynde, that han no hedes: and here eyen ben in here scholdres.

And in another yle ben folk, that han the face all platt, alle pleyn, with
outen nese and with outen mouthe: but thei han 2 smale holes alle round, in
stede of hire eyen: and hire mouthe is plait also, with outen lippes.

And in another yle ben folk of foul fasceon and schapp, that han the lippe
above the mouthe so gret, that whan thei slepen in the sonne, thei keveren
alle the face with that lippe.

And in another yle, ther ben litylle folk, as dwerghes; and thei ben to so
meche as the pygmeyes, and thei han no mouthe, but in stede of hire mouthe,
thei han a lytylle round hole: and whan thei schulle eten or drynken, thei
taken thorghe a pipe or a penne or suche a thing, and sowken it in: for
thei han no tonge; and therfore thei speke not, but thei maken a maner of
hissynge, as a neddre doth, and thei maken signes on to another, as monkes
don; be the whiche, every of hem undirstondethe other.

And in another yle ben folk, that han gret eres and longe, that hangen doun
to here knees.

And in another yle ben folk, that han hors feet; and thei ben stronge and
myghty and swift renneres; for thei taken wyld bestes with rennyng, and
eten hem.

And in another yle ben folk, that gon upon hire hondes and hire feet, as
bestes: and thei ben alle skynned and fedred, and thei wolde lepen als
lightly in to trees, and fro tree to tree, as it were squyrelles or apes.

And in another yle ben folk that ben bothe man and womman: and thei han
kynde of that on and of that other; and thei han but o pappe on the o syde,
and on that other non: and thei han membres of generacioun of man and
womman; and thei usen bothe, whan hem list, ones that on, and another tyme
that other: and thei geten children, whan thei usen the membre of man; and
thei bere children, whan thei usen the membre of womman.

And in another yle ben folk, that gon alle weyes upon here knees, ful
merveylously; and at every pas that thei gon, it semethe that thei wolde
falle: and thei han in every foot, 8 toes.

Many other dyverse folk of dyverse nature ben there in other yles abouten,
of the whiche it were to longe to telle: and therfore I passe over

From theise yles, in passynge be the see occean toward the est, be many
iourneyes, men fynden a gret contree and a gret kyngdom, that men clepen
Mancy: and that is in Ynde the more: and it is the beste lond, and on of
the fairest, that may be in alle the world, and the most delectable, and
the most plentifous of all godes, that is in power of man. In that lond
duellen many Cristene men and Sarrazynes: for it is a gode contree and a
gret. And there ben there inne mo than 2000 grete cytees and riche, with
outen other grete townes. And there is more plentee of peple there, than in
ony other partie of Ynde; for the bountee of the contree. In that contree
is no nedy man, ne none that gothe on beggynge. And thei ben fulle faire
folk: but thei ben all pale. And the men han thynne berdes and fewe heres;
but thei ben longe: but unethe hathe ony man passynge 50 heres in his berd;
and on heer sitt here, another there, as the berd of a lyberd or of a catt.
In that lond ben many fairere wommen, than in ony other contree bezonde the
see: and therfore men clepen that lond Albanye; because that the folk ben
whyte. And the chief cytee of that contree is clept Latoryn; and it is a
iourneye from the see: and it is moche more than Parys. In that cytee is a
gret ryvere, berynge schippes, that gon to alle the costes in the see. No
cytee of the world is so wel stored of schippes, as is that. And alle tho
of the cytee and of the contree worschipen ydoles. In that contree ben
double sithes more briddes than ben here. There ben white gees, rede aboute
the nekke, and thei han a gret crest, as a cokkes comb upon hire hedes: and
thei ben meche more there, than thei ben here; and men byen hem there alle
quykke, right gret chepe. And there is gret plentee of neddres, of whom men
maken grete festes, and eten hem at grete sollempnytees. And he that
makethe there a feste, be it nevere so costifous, and he have no neddres,
he hathe no thanke for his travaylle.

Many gode cytees there ben in that contree, and men han gret plentee and
gret chep of alle wynes and vitailles. In that contree ben manye chirches
of religious men, and of here lawe: and in tho chirches been ydoles, als
grete as geauntes. And to theise ydoles thei zeven to ete, at grete
festyfulle dayes, in this manere. Thei bryngen before hem mete alle soden,
als hoot as thei comen fro the fuyr, and thei leten the smoke gon up
towardes the ydoles; and than thei seyn, that the ydoles han eten; and than
the religious men eten the mete aftrewardes. In that contree been white
hennes withouten fetheres: but thei beren white wolle, as scheep don here.
In that contree, wommen that ben unmaryed, thei han tokenes on hire hedes,
lyche coronales, to ben knowen for unmaryed. Also in that contree, ther ben
bestes, taughte of men to gon in to watres, in to ryveres and in to depe
stankes, for to take fysche; the whiche best is but lytille, and men clepen
hem loyres. And whan men casten hem in to the watre, anon thei bringen up
gret fissches, als manye as men wold. And zif men wil have mo, thei cast
hem in azen, and thei bryngen up als many as men list to have.

And fro that cytee, passynge many iourneyes, is another cytee, on of the
grettest of the world, that men clepen Cassay; that is to seyne, the Cytee
of Hevene. That cytee is well a 50 myle aboute, and it is strongliche
enhabyted with peple, in so moche that in on house men maken 10 housholdes.
In that cytee ben 12 princypalle zates; and before every zate, a 3 myle or
a 4 myle in lengthe, is a gret toun, or a gret cytee. That cytee sytt upon
a gret lake on the see; as dothe Venyse. And in that cytee ben mo than
12000 brigges: and upon every brigge, ben stronge toures and gode; in the
whiche duellen the wardeynes, for to kepen the cytee fro the gret Cane. And
on that o part of the cytee, rennethe a gret ryvere alle along the cytee.
And there duellen Cristene men, and many marchauntes and other folk of
dyverse natyouns: be cause that the lond is so gode and so plentifous. And
there growethe fulle gode wyn, that men clepen Bigon, that is fulle myghty
and gentylle in drynkynge. This is a cytee ryalle, where the Kyng of Mancy
was wont to duelle: and there duellen many religious men, as it were of the
order of freres: for thei ben mendyfauntes.

From that cytee, men gon be watre, solacynge and disportynge hem, tille
thei come to an abbey of monkes, that is faste bye, that ben gode religious
men, after here feythe and lawe. In that abbeye is a gret gardyn and a
fair, where ben many trees of dyverse manere of frutes: and in this gardyn,
is a lytille hille, fulle of delectable trees. In that hille and in that
gardyn, ben many dyverse bestes, as of apes, marmozettes, babewynes, and
many other dyverse bestes. And every day, whan the covent of this abbeye
hathe eten, the awmener let bere the releef to the gardyn, and he smytethe
on the gardyn zate with a clyket of sylver, that he holdethe in his hond,
and anon alle the bestes of the hille and of dyverse places of the gardyn,
comen out, a 3000 or a 4000; and thei comen in gyse of pore men: and men
zeven hem the releef, in faire vesselles of sylver, clene over gylt. And
whan thei han eten, the monk smytethe eft sones on the gardyn zate with the
clyket; and than anon alle the bestes retornen azen to here places, that
thei come fro. And thei seyn, that theise bestes ben soules of worthi men,
that resemblen in lyknesse of the bestes, that ben faire: and therfore thei
zeve hem mete, for the love of God. And the other bestes that ben foule,
they seyn, ben soules of pore men and of rude comouns. And thus thei
beleeven, and no man may putte hem out of this opynyoun. Theise bestes
aboveseyd, thei let taken, whan thei ben zonge, and norisschen hem so with
almesse; als manye, as thei may fynde. And I asked hem, zif it had not ben
better, to have zoven that releef to pore men, rathere than to the bestes.
And thei answerde me and seyde, that thei hadde no pore men amonges hem, in
that contree: and thoughe it had ben so, that pore men had ben among hem,
zit were it gretter almesse, to zeven it to tho soules, that don there here
penance. Many other marveylles ben in that cytee and in the contree there
aboute, that were to long to telle zou.

Fro that cytee, go men be the contree a 6 iourneyes, to another cytee, that
men clepen Chilenfo: of the whiche cytee, the walles ben 20 myle aboute. In
that cytee ben 60 brigges of ston, so faire, that no man may see fairere.
In that cytee was the firste sege of the Kyng of Mancy: for it is a faire
cytee, and plenteeyous of alle godes.

Aftre passe men overthwart a gret ryvere, that men clepen Dalay: and that
is the grettest ryvere of fressche water, that is in the world. For there,
as it is most narow, it is more than a myle of brede. And thanne entren men
azen into the lond of the grete Chane. That ryvere gothe thorghe the lond
of Pigmaus: where that the folk ben of litylle stature, that ben but 3 span
long: and thei ben right faire and gentylle, aftre here quantytees, bothe
the men and the wommen. And thei maryen hem, whan thei ben half zere of
age, and geten children. And thei lyven not, but 6 zeer or 7 at the moste.
And he that lyvethe 8 zeer men holden him there righte passynge old. Theise
men ben the beste worcheres of gold, sylver, cotoun, sylk, and of alle
suche thinges, of ony other, that be in the world. And thei han often tymes
werre with the briddes of the contree, that thei taken and eten. This
litylle folk nouther labouren in londes ne in vynes. But thei han grete men
amonges hem, of oure stature, that tylen the lond, and labouren amonges the
vynes for hem. And of tho men of oure stature, han thei als grete skorne
and wondre, as we wolde have among us of geauntes, zif thei weren amonges
us. There is a gode cytee, amonges othere, where there is duellynge gret
plentee of tho lytylle folk: and it is a gret cytee and a faire, and the
men ben grete, that duellen amonges hem: but whan thei geten ony children,
thei ben als litylle as the pygmeyes: and therfore thei ben alle, for the
moste part, alle pygmeyes; for the nature of the lond is suche. The grete
Cane let kepe this cytee fulle wel: for it is his. And alle be it, that the
pygmeyes ben lytylle, zit thei ben fulle resonable, aftre here age, and
connen bothen wytt and gode and malice, y now.

Fro that cytee, gon men be the contree, be many cytees and many townes,
unto a cytee, that men clepen Jamchay: and it is a noble cytee and a riche,
and of gret profite to the lord: and thidre go men to sechen marchandise of
alle manere of thing. That cytee is fulle moche worthe zerly to the lord of
the contree. For he hathe every zere to rente of that cytee (as thei of the
cytee seyn) 50000 cumantz of floreyns of gold: for thei cownten there alle
be cumanz: and every cumant is 10000 floryns of gold. Now may men wel
rekene, how moche that it amountethe. The kyng of that contree is fulle
myghty: and zit he is undre the grete Cane. And the gret Cane hathe undre
him 12 such provynces. In that contree, in the gode townes, is a gode
custom. For whoso wille make a feste to ony of his frendes, there ben
certeyn innes in every gode toum; and he that wil make the feste, wil seye
to the hostellere, arraye for me, to morwe, a gode dyner, for so many folk;
and tellethe him the nombre; and devysethe him the viaundes: and he seythe
also, thus moche I wil dispende, and no more. And anon the hostellere
arrayethe for him, so faire and so wel and so honestly, that ther schalle
lakke no thing. And it schalle be don sunnere, and with lasse cost, than
and a man made it in his owne hous.

And a 5 myle fro that cytee, toward the hed of the ryvere of Dalay, is
another cytee, that men clepen Menke. In that cytee is strong navye of
schippes; and alle ben white as snow, of the kynde of the trees, that thei
ben made offe. And thei ben fulle grete schippes, and faire, and wel
ordeyned, and made with halles and chambres, and other eysementes, as
thoughe it were on the lond.

Fro thens go men be many townes and many cytees, thorghe the contree, unto
a cytee, that men clepen Lanteryne: and it is an 8 iourneyes from the cytee
aboveseyd. This cytee sitt upon a faire ryvere, gret and brood, that men
clepen Caramaron. This ryvere passethe thorghe out Cathay: and it dothe
often tyme harm, and that fulle gret, whan it is over gret.

Of the grete Chane of Chatay. Of the Rialtee of his Palays, and how he sitt
at Mete; and of the grete nombre of Officeres, that serven hym.

[Sidenote: Cap. XX.] Chatay is a gret contree and a faire, noble and riche,
and fulle of marchauntes. Thidre gon marchaundes alle zeres, for to sechen
spices and alle manere of marchandises, more comounly than in ony other
partye. And zee schulle undirstonde, that marchaundes, that comen fro Gene
or fro Venyse or fro Romanye, or other partyes of Lombardye, thei gon be
see and be lond 11 monethes, or 12, or more sum tyme, or thei may come to
the yle of Cathay, that is the princypalle regyoun of alle partyes bezonde;
and it is of the grete Cane.

Fro Cathay go men toward the est, be many iourneyes: and than men fynden a
gode cytee, betwene theise othere, that men clepen Sugarmago. That cytee is
on of the beste stored of sylk and other marchandises, that is in the
world. Aftre go men zit to another old cytee, toward the est: and it is in
the provynce of Cathay. And besyde that cytee, the men of Tartarye han let
make another cytee, that is clept Caydon; and it hathe 12 zates: and
betwene the two zates, there is alle weyes a gret myle; so that the 2
cytees, that is to seyne, the olde and the newe, han in circuyt more than
20 myle.

CAPVT. 34.

De pallatio Imperatoris Grand Can.

Palatium Imperatoris Grand Can, quod est in Caydo ciuitate, continet in
circuitu proprij muralis vltrà duas leucas, et sunt in eo aulæ quàm plures,
in forma nobiles, et in materia nobiliores. Aula autem sedis, quæ est
maxime cæterarum, habet intrinsecus pro sui sustentatione 24. aereas
columnas factas opere fusorio, de auro puro, et omnes parietes ab intus
opertas pellibus quorundam animalium, quæ vocantur Pantheres: hæ sanguinei
sunt coloris, et ita remicantes, vt Sole desuper relucente; vix oculus
valeat humanus sufferre splendorem, tantæque fragantiæ, vt illi approximare
non posset aer infectus, vnde et ista opertura parietum appreciatur super
tegmen aurearum laminarum.

Namque stultorum aliqui Paganorum huiusmodi adorant animalia propter
colorum, odorumque virtutem. Proposui retrahere calamum à describenda
nobilitate, gubernatione et ministrantium frequentia, atque Imperatoris
magnificentia: attamen quia coepi ego, propter incredulos, et nescios, ac
inerudibiles, non dimittam in toto. Quicunque enim nihil credunt, nihil
sciunt, neque erudiri possunt, Scriptura testante, si non credideritis non
intelligetis. Dico ergo, et verè dico, quòd in huius aulæ capite sit
thronus, vel sedes Imperialis, excelsus et eminens in ascensu graduum
quamplurium, in quo residere solet in plenaria maiestate, in cuius throni
toto corpore nihil apparet minùs nobile, auro, margaritis, gemmis, et
lapidibus preciosis. Singuli gradus sunt de singulis, ac inter se diuersis
magnis lapidibus, vtpote primus de Hæmatisto, alius de Sardio, et alius de
Chrysolito, et sic vsque ad supremum gradum, qui singuli ad formam cuiusque
gradus sunt circumfusi, et clusorio opere firmati, auro solido, et
nihilominùs per superficiem auri, distinctè seminati, firmitèrque inclusi
lapilli cari, cum orientalibus Margaritis, summitas autem cum ferculo
residentiæ in nobilitate excisionis, et fabrifactura operis tam diuersa
est, et mira, vt paruitatem mei ingenij excedat, quamobrem et ei cedo,
vlteriusque procedo.

Ad Imperatoris sinistram gradu vno bassior, est sedes suæ primæ coniugis,
tota de iaspidibus auro circumfusis, et in superficie aulæ distinctæ
gemmulæ cum granellis eodem schemate, et similiter de iaspide. Sed adhuc
submissior vno gradu est sedes coniugis secundæ, nec non et sub illa vxoris
tertiæ. Nam tres proprias secum habet vxores, Odericus dicit, istas duas
concubinas. Itémque resident sub tertia coniuge nobiles mulieres de
Imperatoris progenie, iuxta illustriam vniuscuiusque.

Et notandum, quòd per totam patriam singulæ mulieres maritatæ, vt
intelligantur maritis subiectæ, et vt discernantur à solutis, gestant in
capitis summitate similitudinem pedis viri, longitudinis brachij et
dimidij, quadam leui materia operatam: videlicet nobiles de sericosis
operibus pannorum, seu alijs raris et pulchris pannis, et preciosis
lapillis, et ignobiles iuxta statum suum de materia communiori.

Ad dextram verò sedentis Imperatoris vno gradu submissus residet
primogenitus eius filius, et sub ipso ordinatè in consimilibus sedibus
nobiles proximi de cognitione Imperiali.

Item super thronum et desuper ante ipsius throni locum, tanquam pro celato
seu operimento in throno residentium, et eorum ministrantium, est extensa
similitudo vitis operata in palmitibus, et pampinis, de auro puro ad
extensionem cubitorum quadraginta, per quadrum, atque per eam dependentes
botri vuarum de gemmis, et granellis quinque colorum, quorum albi sunt de
christallo et beryllo, et iriscrocei de topazio et fuluo christallo, rubei
de rubetorum granis, corallo, et alibandinis, virides de Smaragdis,
pyropis, et chrysolytis, nigri, de onichinis, gagetis, et gerateris.

Tempore prandij in hac aula, Imperator et Imperatrices, et quisque de
prædictis, habet mensam sibi solam, quarum vilior præualet thesauro grandi.

In solennitatibus ponitur mensa Imperatori de exquisito electro, seu de
auro examinato, distincta diamantibus, et nobis ignotis in comparabilibus
gemmis, quandóque de christallo perspicuo, seu croceo, circumclusa auro cum
gemmis: quandóque de Hæmatisto, quandóque de ebore candido, vel rubicundo:
interdum de ligno artificiosè combinato, quod descendit per flumina de
Paradiso. Idem dicit Odericus.

His mensis astant Barones, et Principes pro vasallis attentè in suis
officijs ministrantes, quorum nec vnus emittere verbum aliqua præsumit
audacia, nisi Imperatore annuente, vel ad illum loquente, illis duntaxat
exceptis, qui certis interspatijs canunt, aut recitant de principum gestis.

Et notandum, quando in hoc solio Maiestatis diebus solennibus residet
Imperator, subsidere ad pedes eius notarios quatuor, qui omne quod Dominus
loquitur, singuli ponunt in scriptis: nam quodcunque tunc ex ore illius
egreditur, necesse est esse, vel effici, nec valet item ipse verbum suum
mutare, nec reuocare, nisi magno consilio conuocato.

Vniuersa vtensilia quibus in solennitate ad has seruitur mensas, sunt de
nobilibus petris auro reclusis, Cyphi de Smaragdis, vel Saphyris, topasijs,
pyropis, siue gryophis: et priuatioribus diebus, de auro probato etiam in
cameris, et cubiculis, nec reputatur ibi claritas argenti, nisi pro
pilarijs, columnis, gradibus, et pauimentis.

Istius autem ostia aulæ, dum in ea residet, aut deambulat Imperator, multi
Barones ingressum seruant intentè, et ne limen tangatur, quod hoc haberent
pro augurio, et benè verberaretur, quia Imperatore præsente, nemo nisi
adductus in quacunque camera, vel habitatione intromittitur, donec
interrogatus iusserit Imperator.

Latitudinem huius Basilicæ æstimo ad spatium de meis pedibus centum et
longitudinem vltrà quatuor centum. In cubiculo autem Regis dormitorio,
constat vnus pillarius, seu columna de auro solido et carbunculus conclusus
in illo longitudinis pedis vnius, totum habitaculum de nocte perfundens
lumine claro. Hic prout ego notaui, non est plenè rubeus, sed subrufus,
quasi coloris Hæmatistini. Porrò in vna aularum, circà medium palatii, est
alius excelsus ascensus, Odericus dicit pigma, super quem dum placet, stat,
vel residet Imperator, ditissimè etiam operatus, ex auro, gemmis, baccis,
margaritis, et lapidibus raris, et in quatuor angulis, imagines quatuor
serpentum de auro puro.

Huius per tria latera dependent retia seu cortinæ de cordulis
sericis, in quibus ad singulos nodos, grossa margarita habetur
innexa, quibus cortinis tegitur officina: in eius concauitate tenetur
tumba quadrata, in qua conueniunt conductus omnium potuum,
qui bibuntur in Curia, et innumera vasorum genera, quibus potus
omnibus ministratur.

Prætereà, iuxta palatii ambitum, habetur grandis parci spaciamentum,
diuersi generis arboribus repletum, fructus ferentibus varios, et nobis
inuisos, et in parte media, aula super excelsum collem de tam mira et
pulchra structura, vt eius nobilitas de facili ad præsens, non possit
describi. Et vndique, par collis gyrum aquæ fossatum profundum, et latum
vltrà quod pons vnicus ducit ad collem. Atque ex duobus montis lateribus,
stagnum cum diuersorum copia piscium, et volucrum indomitarum, vt aucarum,
anatum, cignorum, ciconiarum, ardearum, et collectorum in magna
pluralitate, nec non et per parcum, multæ syluestres bestiæ, et bestiolæ
quatenùs per aulæ fenestras possit Dominus pro solatio respicere volucrum
aucupationes, bestiarum venationes, et piscium captiones.

Et hoc proculdubio sciendum, quòd in nostris partibus rara sint oppida cum
pluribus mansionibus, quàm in isto palatio continentur.

Tota æstate moratur in India terra frigidissima, in hyeme in Cambalu.

Præter palatium hoc in Caydo, habet Imperator similitèr tria: vnum in
ciuitate Sadus, versus Septentrionem, vbi competens est frigus, ibi moratur
in æstate. Cambalu, vbi competens calor, ibi moratur hyeme. Tertium in
ciuitate Iongh, in quo et in isto Caydo, vt sæpiùs seruat sedem, eò quòd in
istis est aer magis temperatus, quamuis semper calidus videtur Nostratibus.

The English Version.

In this cytee is the Sege of the grete Cane in a fulle gret palays, and the
most passynge fair in alle the world: of the whiche the walles ben in
circuyt more than 2 myle: and within the walles, it is alle fulle of other
palays. And in the gardyn of the grete palays, there is a gret hille, upon
the whiche there is another palays; and it is the most fair and the most
riche, that ony man may devyse. And all aboute the palays and the hille,
ben many trees, berynge many dyverse frutes. And alle aboute that hille,
ben dyches grete and depe: and besyde hem, ben grete vyneres, on that o
part and on that other. And there is a fulle fair brigge to passe over the
dyches. And in theise vyneres, ben so many wylde gees and gandres and wylde
dokes and swannes and heirouns, that it is with outen nombre. And alle
aboute theise dyches and vyneres, is the grete gardyn, fulle of wylde
bestes; so that, whan the gret Cane wil have ony desport on that, to taken
ony of tho wylde bestes or of the foules, he wil lete chace hem and taken
hem at the wyndowes, with outen goynge out of his chambre. This palays,
where his sege is, is bothe gret and passynge fair. And with in the palays,
in the halle, there ben 24 pyleres of fyn gold: and alle the walles ben
covered with inne, of rede skynnes of bestes, that men clepen panteres;
that ben faire bestes, and well smellyng: so that for the swete odour of
tho skynnes, non evylle ayr may entre in to the palays. Tho skynnes ben als
rede as blode, and thei schynen so brighte azen the sonne, that unethes no
man may beholden hem. And many folk worschipen tho bestes, whan thei meeten
hem first at morwe, for here gret vertue and for the gode smelle that thei
han: and tho skynnes thei preysen more than thoughe thei were plate of fyn
gold. And in the myddes of this palays is the mountour for the grete Cane,
that is alle wrought of gold and of precyous stones and grete perles: and
at 4 corneres of the mountour, been 4 serpentes of gold: and alle aboute
ther is y made large nettes of sylk, and gold and grete perles hangynge
alle aboute the mountour. And undre the mountour, ben condytes of beverage,
that thei drynken in the emperours court. And besyde the condytes, ben many
vesselles of gold, be the whiche, thei that ben of houshold, drynken at the
condyt. And the halle of the palays is fulle nobelyche arrayed, and fulle
merveylleousely atyred on all parteys, in alle thinges, that men apparayle
with ony halle. And first, at the chief of the halle, is the emperours
throne, fulle highe, where he syttethe at the mete: and that is of fyn
precyouse stones, bordured alle aboute with pured gold and precyous stones
and grete perles. And the grees, that he gothe up to the table, ben of
precyous stones, medled with gold. And at the left syde of the emperoures
sege, is the sege of his firste wif, o degree lowere than the emperour: and
it is of jaspere, bordured with gold and preciouse stones. And the sege of
his seconde wif is also another sege, more lowere than his firste wif: and
it is also of jaspere, bordured with gold, as that other is. And the sege
of the thridde wif is also more lowe, be a degree, than the seconde wif.
For he hathe alweys 3 wifes with him, where that evere he be. And aftre his
wyfes, on the same syde, sytten the ladyes of his lynage, zit lowere, aftre
that thei ben of estate. And alle tho that ben maryed, han a countrefete,
made lyche a mannes foot, upon here hedes, a cubyte long, alle wrought with
grete perles, fyne and oryent, and aboven, made with pecokes fedres and of
other schynynge fedres; and that stont upon here hedes, like a crest, in
tokene that thei ben undre mannes fote and undre subiectioun of man. And
thei that ben unmaryed, han none suche. And aftre, at the right syde of the
Emperour, first syttethe his eldest sone, that schalle regne aftre him: and
he syttethe also o degree lowere than the emperour, in suche manere of
seges, as don the emperesses. And aftre him, sytten other grete lordes of
his lynage, every of hem a Degree lowere than other, as thei ben of estate.
And the emperour hathe his table allone be him self, that is of gold, and
of precious stones, or of cristalle, bordured with gold, and fulle of
precious stones or of amatystes or of lignum aloes, that comethe out of
paradys, or of ivory, bounden or bordured with gold. And everyche of his
wyfes hathe also hire table be hire self. And his eldest sone, and the
other lordes also, and the ladyes, and alle that sitten with the emperour,
han tables allone be hem self, fulle riche. And there nys no table, but
that it is worthe an huge tresour of gode. And undre the emperoures table,
sitten 4 clerkes, that writen alle, that the emperour seythe, be it good,
be it evylle. For alle that he seythe, moste ben holden; for he may not
chaungen his word, ne revoke it. At grete solempne festes, before the
emperoures table, men bryngen grete tables of gold, and there on ben
pecokes of gold, and many other maner of dyverse foules, alle of gold, and
richely wrought and enameled; and men maken hem dauncen and syngen,
clappynge here wenges to gydere, and maken gret noyse: and where it be by
craft or be nygromancye, I wot nere; but it is a gode sight to beholde, and
a fair; and it is gret marvayle how it may be. But I have the lasse
marvaylle, be cause that thei ben the moste sotyle men in alle sciences and
in alle craftes, that ben in the world. For of sotyltee and of malice and
of fercastynge, thei passen alle men undre hevene. And therfore thei seyn
hem self, that thei seen with 2 eyen; and the Cristene men see but with on:
be cause that thei ben more sotylle than thei. For alle other naciouns,
thei seyn, ben but blynde in conynge and worchynge in comparisoun to hem. I
did gret besynesse, for to have lerned that craft: but the maistre tolde
me, that he had made a vow to his God, to teche it to no creature, but only
to his eldeste sone. Also above the emperours table and the othere tables,
and aboven a gret partie in the halle, is a vyne, made of fyn gold: and it
spredethe alle aboute the halle; and it hath many clustres of grapes, somme
white, somme grene, summe zalowe and somme rede and somme blake, alle of
precious stones: the white ben of cristalle and of berylle and of iris; the
zalowe ben of topazes; the rede ben of rubies, and of grenaz and of
alabraundynes; the grene ben of emeraudes, of perydos and of crisolytes;
and the blake ben of onichez and garantez. And thei ben alle so propurlyche
made, that it semethe a verry vyne, berynge kyndely grapes. And before the
emperoures table, stonden grete lordes, and riche barouns and othere, that
serven the emperour at the mete. And no man is so hardy, to speke a word,
but zif the emperour speke to him; but zif it be mynstrelles, that syngen
songes, and tellen gestes or other desportes, to solace with the emperour.
And alle the vesselle, that men ben served with, in the halle or in
chambres, ben of precious stones; and specially at grete tables; outher of
jaspre or of cristalle or of amatystez or of fyn gold. And the cuppes ben
of emeraudez and of saphires or of topazes, of perydoz, and of many other
precyouse stones. Vesselle of sylver is there non: for thei telle no prys
there of, to make no vesselle offe: but thei maken ther of grecynges and
pileres and pawmentes, to halles and chambres. And before the halle dore,
stonden manye barounes, and knyghtes clene armed, to kepe that no man
entre, but zif it be the wille or the commandement of the emperour, or but
zif thei ben servauntes or mynstralle of the houshold: and other non is not
so hardy, to neighen nye the halle dore.

CAPVT. 35.

De quatuor solennitatibus, quas Magnus Can celebrat in anno.

Sciatis quòd ego, meíque sodales, pro fama magnificentiæ huius Imperatoris,
tradidimus nos stipendiarios esse in guerris, contra Regem Mangi
prænominatum. Et fuimus apud ipsum 15. mensibus, et certè inuenimus multò
maiorem partem hominum, in mediam partem nobis non fuisse relatam: hominum
(exceptis custodibus bestiarum et volucrum,) qui intra palatium certa
gerunt ministeria est numerus decem cuman.

Nota. Traxi moram in Cambalu tribus annis: fratres nostri locum habent in
Curia sua specialiter, et festis diebus statutis dant benedictionem,
Odericus. Et quoniam Imperator habet satis plures quàm decem mille
Elephantes edomitos, et velut vltrà numerum alias bestias, (quarum quædam
tenentur in caueis, stabulis mirabilibus, vel catenis) nec non et aues
rapaces, et accipitres, falcones, ostrones, gryfandos gentiles, Laueroys,
et Satyros, sed et auiculas loquentes, et papingos, et similes, aliásque
cantantes: reputatur numerus hominum de istis curam et laborem gerentium,
vltrà sex cuman, et prætereà iugiter ad Curiam equites cum plenarijs
armaturis, quinque cuman, et de peditibus cum præliandi armaturis, cuman
decem. Sed et omnes de natione quacunque mundi venientes, qui petunt
describi pro Curia recipiuntur. Sic enim iussit Imperator.

Habet et medicos Paganos viginti, et totidem Physicos, atque sine his
Medicos Christianos ducentos, et totidem Physicos, quoniam iste Grand Can
maiorem gerit confidentiam in Medicis Christianis, quàm in suæ propriæ
nationis medicis.

Hoc ergò firmiter scias, quod de Curia Regis accipiunt necessaria sua
iugitèr vltrà triginta cuman hominum, præter expensas animalium et
volucrum, cùm tamen in festis maioribus sint homines propè in duplo tanti.
Nec valet hic dominus defectum vllum pati pecuniæ, eò quòd in terra sua non
currit moneta de argento, vel auro, alióue metallo, sed tantùm de corio vel
papyro: horum enim forma denariorum signo Imperatoris impressorum preciatur
minoris aut maioris valoris, secundum diuersitatem impressionis, qui per
visitationem, detriti vel rupti, cùm ad Regis thesaurarios deferuntur,
protinùs dantur pro illis noui.

Quatèr in anno celebrat Imperator festiuitates solennes.

Primam de die propriæ Natiuitatis.

Secundam de die suæ primæ præsentationis in eorum Templo, quod appellant
Moseath, vbi et fit ijs, nescio quod genus circumcisionis.

Tertiam in thronizatione sui Idoli in Templo.

Quartam de die quo Idolum cepit dare responsum, seu facere diabolica mira.
Plures enim in anno non tenet solennitates, nisi si quando nuptias filij
aut filiæ celebrat.

Itaque in istis solennitatibus est populi multitudo absque numero, omnes
tamen in ordine debito, et singuli intendentes proprio ministerio, nam ad
hoc ordinandum, et disponendum, electa sunt quatuor Baronum nobilium
genera, ex quibus nonnulli sunt Reges, et alij Equites potentes, Duces, et
Marchiones, omnes induti holosericis, quibus inserti cum certa
disseminatione sunt vbique preciosi lapides, miræ virtutis, et aurifigia
speciosa, vt si quis in his partibus vnum de talibus haberet mutatorijs,
dici non posset pauper imò prædiues. Et habet quodlibet millenariorum in
his vestibus colorem sibi proprium: primum viridem, secundum vermiculum,
tertium croceum, quartum purpureum, seu indicum. Ergo in die solenni, dum
de mane Maiestatis thronum conscenderit, veniunt se præsentari hoc modo

Ante primum millenarium procedit copiosa symphonia dulcis chordarum, sicut
de violis, cytharis, lyris, et psalterijs, non autem de tubis aut tympanis:
et præcedunt Baronis per transuersum Aulæ coram residente Domino ordinatè
bini, et bini sub silentio, ferentes ambabus manibus ante pectus tabulam de
Iaspide, ebore, christallo, pyropo, vel Hæmatisto, et ante faciem throni
inclinant se Imperatori profundè.

Illísque pertranseuntibus, succedit simili modo millenarius secundus, et
tertius, atque quartus, nec auditur à quoquam vnicum verbum. Hac
præsentatione cum debita maturitate perfecta, resident in basso à latere
throni ad proprias mensas, multi Philosophi, seu Artistæ, sicut de
Astronomia, Geomantia, Pyromantia, Hydromantia, Chiromantia, Necromantia,
auguriis, ac aruspiciis, et huiusmodi, tenentes coram instrumenta suæ
artis, alii Astrolabium, et Sphæras de auro, alii in aureis vasis arenam,
prunas ardentes, aquam, vinum, oleum, et caluarias mortuorum, loquentes et
respondentes, nec non de auro horologia ad minùs duo: et ad cunctas horas
secundum cursum horologiorum innuunt Philosophi seruis sibi ad hoc
deputatis, vt faciant præstari auditum per aulam, quorum vnus aut duo
conscendentes scallum, alta voce proclamant, audite, auscultate, et omnibus
intendentibus dicit Philosophorum vnus: Quilibet nunc faciat reuerentiam
Imperatori, qui est filius Dei excelsi, Dominus et superior omnium
Dominorum Mundi, quia ecce hæc est hora. Et mox singuli in aula inclinato
corpore et capite se inclinant maiestati manentes accliui, donec idem
philosophus dicat, leuate. Atque protinùs super hoc factum, Musici suis
instrumentis, suauem personant melodiam.

Posteà ad aliquantam moram simili modo dicit alias philosophorum, minimus
digitus in aure: et ecce hoc omnes faciunt, donec dicat, sufficit: sic in
aliam horam, seu moram dicit, manus vestra super os, et posteà manus super
caput. Atque in hunc modum iuxta temporis cursum imponunt facienda signa
diuersa. Innuunt in eis latere magna mysteria, et quodlibet horum factorum
melodia terminat Musicorum. Et sciatis me quandoque in tempore opportuno ab
eis interrogasse de his signis, qui responderunt quòd inclinare caput
Domino ad illius horæ momentum, foret confirmatio omnibus diebus vitæ suæ,
ad obediendum ipsi et fidelitatem obseruandam imperio, nec posse corrumpi
promissionibus siue donis, quódque digitum in auricula imponere, obturatio
est auditus contra omnia Imperatori, et Imperio contraria. Et sic de
singulis factis singula mysteria confingentes decipiunt audientes: horum
itaque fraudulento ingenio, iste Grand Can festiuatus, non nisi ad talium
iudicium parari permittit cibaria, aut fieri indumenta pro suo corpore.

Dura autem est visum Curiæ gubernatoribus satis de prædictis auditum,
faciunt proclamatores silentium imperari, et incipit fieri offerenda
Imperatori hoc modo. Intrant omnes qui sunt de cognatione Imperatoris
Barones adornati nobilissimè pro cuiusque decentia balteis, et indumentis,
quorum primus cum resonante symphonia præmittit ad oblationem quotquot
valet de dextrarijs albis, et inclinans ante thronum pertransit, atque per
eundem modum singuli Baronum offerentes aliquid dignum iocale inclinant
transeuntes, silentio firmè seruato. Post hos intrantes simili modo prælati
et Abbates, de iurisdictionibus et religionibus Paganorum offerunt singuli
pro suo statu se reuerentèr inclinantes maiestati, et maior prælatorum
benedicit Regi, et suis ac Curiæ quadam suæ legis oratione.

Deinde introducuntur elephantes, leones, pardi, simiæ, marmotæ, et diuersæ
bestiæ, quarum ductores singuli transeuntes inclinant reuerenter, et
intentè. Postremò afferuntur aquilæ, struthiones, gryphandi, accipitres, et
papingi, cum diuersis auibus et auiculis, nec non serpentes ac pisces,
quorum portitores inclinant profundè, quoniam dicunt omnes terrenas
creaturas debere adorationem Imperatori Grand Can filio Dei excelsi: et his

Musicæ Camenæ persoluunt debita plenè.

Nos igitur intendamus hoc loco quæso quomodo veraciter Pagani in tenebris
ambulant: diabolica inuolutione mens eorum obtenebrata non videt quomodò,
cùm Imperator sit homo mortalis nuper natus, et similiter sicut illi
infirmitate circundatus, atque in breui cum ipsis moriturus, quem etiam non
dubitant sub Deo, clamant eum non Deum, sed Dei filium, vbi vtique prorsus
ignorant illum non esse laudandum, nec adorandum, sed eum non intendunt
alium filium, filium increatum et connaturalem, qui et ipsos et eum
creauit, solum superlaudabilem in secula.

Et hoc alto corde considerantes, laudemus, adoremus, glorificemus, et
superexaltemus totis viribus Deum, qui nos filios lucis esse voluit, et
salutis, nasci, baptizari, educari, erudiri sub sinceritate fidei
Christianæ, excluso schismate et errore, atque sub instituto sacrosanctæ
matris Ecclesiæ, in qua sola penè ab omni circumferentia orbis terræ fides,
quæ saluat, et per dilectionem operatur nunc remansit.

Et oremus instantèr pro ipsis Paganis, vt agnita veritatis luce videre
possint quò ambulant, vt perueniant ad Iesum Christuro coæqualem Dei
filium, atque in ipso, et per ipsum laudare et adorare solum vnum verum

CAPVT. 36.

De ludis et præstigijs in suo festo, et de suo comitatu.

Celebrato post hoc prandio satis morosè, quia nunquam est vltrà semel
edendum in die, de quo et eius administratione nunc longum est scribere,
adsunt gesticulatores, mira visu, suauiáque auditu pedibus, manibus,
brachijs, humeris, capitibus, et toto corpore, ac ad singulos gestus,
correspondentes debito vocis sono. Et semper finem horum mirabilium
cantilena subsequitur musicorum. Ex hoc ioculatores præstò sunt, et Magi,
qui suis incantationibus præstant præstigia multa.

Imprimis faciunt videri Solem et Lunam, oriendo, descendendo consuetum diei
intra Basilicam peragere cursum, cum tanta nimietate splendoris, vt vix se
inuicem homines valeant recognoscere præ fulgore, dicentes et mentientes,
Solem et Lunam coeli hanc mittere reuerentiam Imperatori.

Hinc pari ludo comparent speciosæ puellæ ducere semitas et choreas, nobili
gestu nobilissimum ferre poculum lactis equarum in aureis vasis, de quo,
ponentes se in genibus, tradunt potum dominis et dominabus.

Tunc portantur et milites in equis, et armis quoque pleni atque parati, qui
feruentibus sonipedibus se inuicem cuspidibus ad fragorem magnum
configentes lanceas comminuunt, et fragmenta per mensas, et pauimenta
discurrunt. Ac deindè fantasticè venantur per aulam, cum canibus et
papionibus, ad ceruos, lupos, vrsos, et apros, ad lepores, et marmotas. Quæ
singula cùm ad horam pascant vana delectatione sensus corporeos, miseriam
tamen inserunt piæ menti, quòd tot et tanti homines, neglecta prorsus animi
salute, his diabolicis operationibus se dederunt in toto. Nam certò non ita
sine dæmonum consolatione et familiaritate præmissa confingi dicerem.

Nota: à Cambalu ad viginti dietas, est pulchrum nemus girans octo dietas in
circuitu, in quo sunt omnia genera animalium: custodes habet circa eum.
Triennio vel quadriennio visitat illud Imperator, et cum multa gente nemus
circumdat, canes emittuntur et aues, cum multo clamore, et feras congregant
in medio nemoris, ad planiciem sibi sitam. Tunc Imperator priùs iacit
quinque sagittas, posteà alij: tunc Imperator dicit, Eya, hoc est, mina
bestijs, et sicut quilibet capit sagittam suam signatam, percussam, aliis
recedentibus ad sua loca. Odericus.

Prætereà ante Imperatoris mensam eriguntur tabulæ latæ aureæ cum sculptis,
ac si viuerent, imaginibus gallorum, pauonum ac diuersarum volucrum
artificiosè, quas præstigiator facit pro libitu sine apprehensione manus
ire, tripudiare, chorizare, tremere, compugnare, bibere, manducare, sed et
cantare: quod quidem inter cætera mihi videbatur mirabilius et aspectu
delectabilius. Nullus istud plenè intueri potuit, nisi qui erat in throno
vel circa: et me oportet hoc loco fateri stultitiam propriam, quòd hac
delectatione tractus, magnam adhibui apud Artistam diligentiam, verbis
blandis, et quibuscunque munusculis, ac melioribus promissis, quod de tali
mihi traderet artem, qui sagax simul et fallax imprimis, spem meam trahebat
sponsionum funibus: sed at vltimum penitùs abscindebat, dicens se vouisse
Deo immortali, ne cuiquam doceret nisi proprio filio seniori, ac per hoc me
Deus ab illo malo conseruauit inuitum, et gratias nunc reddentem.

Certum est illic homines esse subtiles ad quasdam humanas artes, et
ingeniosos ad fraudes super omnes, quas noui mundi partes, vnde et inter se
dicunt prouerbium, se solos videre duobus oculis, et Christianos vno,
cæteros autem homines cæecos: sed mentitur iniquitas sibi, quoniam ipsi
vident solo oculo terrena et transitoria, et nos Christiani duobus, quia
cum terrenis videmus spiritualia, et mansura: percussit enim Naas,
[Marginal Note: I Sam. 11. 2.] id est, humani generis hostis cum illis
foedus, vt erueret omnibus oculos dextros, scilicet spirituales.

Cùm itaque narrata de præmissis debeant sufficere, quando Imperator Grand
Can de vno quatuor palatiorum ad aliud transire velit, vel fortè gratia
visitationis aut ardui negotii per Imperium de Regno ad Regnum tendit per
comitatus, quatuor exercitibus antè et retrò, et ex ambobus lateribus.

Primus exercitus præcedit personam Regis per vnam de suis dietis, vt semper
in hospitium de quo recessit exercitus Rex intret nocte sequenti, et est
hic primus comitatus descriptus, et statutus de numero quinquaginta cuman
virorum, hoc est, quingentorum millium, sempérque præuisum, et prouisum
est, vt inueniant necessaria in locis, vbi habent quiescere, vel tardare
siue in hospitiis, siue in tentoriis.

Secundus et tertius comitatus sunt eiusdem numeri virorum cum primo, quorum
vnus ad dextram tendit Imperatoris, alius ad sinistrum in distantia ab ipso
ad trium vel duarum leucarum.

Quartus autem qui maior est omnibus, subsequitur Imperatorem quasi ad
spatium iactus balistæ. Et ad hoc sciendum est, quòd personæ horum
comitatuum sunt sigillatim, et summatim omnes descriptæ, vt dum vna moritur
vel recedit, protinùs alia inscribatur, et numerus non minuatur. Ipse verò
Imperator tendit residens in cella seu camera ædificata super currum
grandem forma, fortem robore, nobilem in structura, est cella de ligno
Aloes optimi odoris, et parietes cellæ operti in quibusdam locis laminis
aureis, quæ et ipsæ distinguuntur gemmis variis, et margaritis.

Est autem currus quatuor rotarum duntaxat, quem trahunt quatuor Elephantes
ad hoc curiosè instructi, cum quatuor hippis albis equæ doctis et ipsi
cooperti ditissimis tegumentis, ac præter aurigas nobiliter indutos, qui
currum cautissimè ducunt, adsunt et quatuor de maioribus palatii Dominis,
indè ad vehiculum habentes iugem curam, de minatione eius, et ne vltimo
exercitu appropriet infra iactum (vt dixi) sagittæ. Ipse autem interdum pro
sodalitate iubet secum ascendere quam vult personam, sed minimè vltrà duos.
In cellæ quoque culmine, quod aperiri valet et claudi, astant in pertica
quatuor grifandi, vel ostiones. Odericus: duodecim Girfalcones, vt si fortè
Imperator in ære aquilam, vulturum, ardeam, vel collectorem cerneret, citò
dimitteret istorum duas aut plures ad aucupandum.

Nota, per Dromedarios, et cursores, et veloces, qui de hospitio ad
hospitium permutantur, scit de remotis noua. Cursor enim appropinquans
cornu sonat, et tunc alius præparat, et vlteriùs currit. Odericus.
Sciendumque tam primogenitum Regis, quàm singulas de tribus vxoribus ducere
similem apparatum in itinerando post ipsum; scilicet cum quatuor
comitatibus, antè, et retrò, et à lateribus, sed in valdè minori numero
personarum pro placito, et in singulis curribus sequentibus se inuicem per
vnam dietam.

Præmissa omnia sic fiunt, dum Imperatori tendendum est remotè, aliàs autem
minuuntur, et distinguuntur comitatus, iuxta quod decet, vt nonnunquam
omnes Imperatores etiam cum filio simul tendant, cum vna comitatuum
distinctione. Transeunte autem sic Imperatore per ciuitates et villas
quilibet ante fores proprias præparato igne iactat poluerem aromata
redolentem, stans genibus flexis ad reuerentiam illi. Et sciatis vbi propè
transitum illius habentur Christianæ Abbatiæ, quas olim constituit Dux
Ogerus, exeunt obuiam illi in processione cum vexillis, et sancta cruce, et
aqua benedicta, et thuribulo, hymnum, Veni Creator spiritus decantantes.

Nota: Ego semel cum Episcopo nostro, et alijs fratribus, uimus obuiam per
duas dietas, et portaui thuribulum. Odericus. Quos ipse à remotis videns,
consueuit ad se appellare, et ad crucem suum galeatum deponere, ac
reuerentèr nudo capite inclinare: et prælatus dicens super cum aliquam
orationem signat cruce, et aqua benedicta aspergit. Et quoniam necesse est,
vt quisque extraneus ante Regem apparens, offerat ei aliquid, prælatus in
disco præsentat ei fructus, et poma, vel pyra, et hoc in numero nouenario,
(ratio ponitur primo capitullo proximo, quod iste numerus est plus cæteris
acceptus,) de quibus Imperator vnum sibi sumens, reliqua tradit Dominis
præsentibus: quo facto habent relligiosi recedere citò, ne opprimantur
multitudine populi subsequentis.

Præfatum Domini galeatum, est ita intextum auro, diamantibus, gemmunculis,
et orientalibus margaritis, granellis, et dubletis, et prædiues in materia
et artificio, vt ei non sit æquandus magni in partibus istis Regis
thesaurus. Item sicut hæc fiunt transeunti Imperatori, fiunt et
Imperatricibus, et filio seniori.

The English Version.

And zee schulle undirstonde, that my felawes and I, with oure zomen, we
serveden this emperour, and weren his soudyoures, 15 monethes, azenst the
Kyng of Mancy, that held werre azenst him. And the cause was, for we hadden
gret lust to see his noblelesse and the estat of his court and alle his
governance, to write zif it were suche, as wee herde seye, that it was. And
treuly, we fond it more noble and more excellent and ricchere and more
marveyllous, than ever we herde speke offe; in so moche, that we wolde
never han leved it, had wee not seen it. For I trowe, that no man wolde
beleve the noblesse, the ricchesse, ne the multytude of folk that ben in
his court, but he had seen it. For it is not there, as it is here. For the
lordes here han folk of certeyn nombre, als thei may suffise: but the grete
Chane hathe every day folke at his costages and expenses, as with outen
nombre. But the ordynance, ne the expenses in mete and drynk, ne the
honestee ne the clennesse, is not so arrayed there, as it is here: for alle
the comouns there eten withouten clothe upon here knees; and thei eten alle
maner of flessche, and litylle of bred. And aftre mete, thei wypen here
hondes upon here skyrtes: and thei eten not but ones a day. But the estat
of lordes is fulle gret and riche and noble. And alle be it, that sum men
wil not trow me; but holden it for fable, to telle hem the noblesse of his
persone and of his estate and of his court and of the gret multytude of
folk, that he holt, natheles I schalle seye zou, a partye of him and of his
folk, aftre that I have seen, the manere and the ordynance, fulle many a
tyme. And whoso that wole, may leve me, zif he wille; and who so wille not,
may chuse. For I wot wel, zif ony man hathe ben in tho contrees bezonde,
thoughe he have not ben in the place, where the grete Chane duellethe, he
schalle here speke of him so meche merveylouse thing, that he schalle not
trowe it lightly: and treuly, no more did I my self, til I saughe it. And
tho that han ben in tho contrees and in the gret Canes houshold, knowen
wel, that I seye sothe. And therfore I wille not spare, for hem that knowe
not, ne beleve not, but that that thei seen, for to telle zou a partie of
him and of his estate, that he holt, whan he gothe from contree to contree,
and whan he makethe solempne festes.

CAPVT. 37.

Qua de causa dicitur Grand Gan.

Si placet audire, dicam cur hic Imperator sit appellatus Grand Can.
Audieram ego in partibus Ierosolymorum hunc esse sic dictum, à filio Noe,
Cham: sed in terra Cathay accepi et aliam, et meram huius rei veritatem.
Nam et scribendo hæc duo nomina habent differentiam, quòd filius Noe Cham
scribitur quatuor elementis, quorum vltimum est M. et iste Can tribus
tantùm, quorum vltimum est N.

Post annos Christi 1100. illa prima Tartaria (de qua suprà scripsi in prima
parte, capitulo quinto) fuit nimis oppressa seruitute sub Regibus
circumiacentium sibi nationum. Quandò autem Deo placuit, maiores illius
Tartariæ eleuauerunt de seipsis sibi Regem dictum Guis Can, cui et
promiserunt subiectissimam obedientiam.

Idem cùm esset prudens strenuus 12. viriles habens filios, debellauit cum
ijs et populo suo, et vicit, ac subiecit cunctos in circuitu Reges, quibus
terra indebitè diù subiacuerat. Quin etiam apparente sibi in visione Angelo
Dei velut milite in albo equo, et candidis armis, et hortante se, vt
transiret Alpes, per montem Beliam, [Marginal note: Vel Belgiam.] et per
brachium maris, ad terram Cathay, et ad alias illic plurimas regiones
transiuit, et coepit com filijs suis aliquas ex illis debellare, et
subijcere, Deo in omnibus adiuuante patentèr. Et quoniam in equo albo ei
Angelus apparuit, qui etiam antè passum prædicti maris nouem orationes Deo
facere iussit, ideò successores vsque hodiè diligunt equos albos, et
nouenarium numerum habent præ cæteris in gratia. Dumque Guis Can morti præ
senio appropinquaret, conuocatos ante se filios hortabatur, et mouebat
exemplo 12. telorum in simul colligatorum, quæ à nullo filiorum paritèr
frangi potuerant, sed dissoluta vnumquodque per se facilè frangebatur, sic
filij (inquit) dilectissimi, si per concordiam vos inuicèm dilexeritis, et
vixeritis seniori fratri obedientes, confido in Deo iuxta promissionem mihi
ab Angelo factam, quòd omnem latissimam istam terram, et optimam illius
imperio subijcietis, quod et post patris discessum strenuissimè, ac
fidelissimè (Deo sibi prosperante) perfecerunt. Et quia cum propriis
nominibus habebant cognomen Can, primogenitus pro differentia obtinuit
nomen Grand Can, id est, Magnus Can, videlicit suprà cæteros fratres, qui
sibi in omnibus obediebant.

Itaque iste secundus Imperator vocabatur Ochoto Can.

Post quem filius eius regnauit dictus Guican.

Quartus autem, qui Mango Can baptizabatur, permansitque fidelis
Christianus, qui etiam misso magno exercitu cum fratre suo Hallaon in
partes Arabiæ et Aegypti mandauit destrui in toto Mahometi superstitionem,
et terram poni in manibus Christianorum. Et fratre procedente, accepit
rumores de fratris sui Imperatoris morte inopinata, quaproptèr et redijt
negotio imperfecto.

Quintus Cobilacan, qui etiam fuit Christianus, et regnauit 42. annis, et
ædificauit magnam ciuitatem Iong, maiorem satis vrbe Roma, in qua et
continetur valdè nobile palatium Imperiale. Hinc vsque hodie omnes
successores paganismo foedantur.

Tempore autem meò erat nomen Imperatoris Echian Can, et primogenitus eius
Cosuecan, præter quem et alios filios habuit 12. de quorum nominibus
conscribendis non est curæ presentis.

Prima vxorum suorum vocabatur Serochan, quæ et est filia Præsbyteri Ioannis
scilicet Imperatoris Indiæ.

Secunda Verouchan.

Tertia Caranthcan.

Istis duobus Imperatoribus non creditur inueniri maior Dominus sub
firmamento Coeli.

In literis quæ huius Imperatoris Tartariæ scribuntur nomine ponitur semper
iste Titulus. Can filius Dei excelsi, omnium vniuersam terram colentium
summus Imperator, et Dominus Dominantium omnium.

Circumferentia magni sui sigilli, continet hoc scriptum.

Deus in Coelo, Can super terram, eius fortitudo. Omnium hominum Imperatoris

Sciendum quoque quod quamuis populi ibi dicuntur, et sunt Pagani, tamen et
rex et omnes credunt in Deum immortalem, et omnipotentem, et iurant per
ipsum appellantes, Yroga, id est, Deum Naturæ. Sed nihilominus colunt et
adorant idola, et simulachra aurea, et argentea, lapidea, lignea, filtria,
lanea, et linea.

The English Version.

Wherefore he is clept the grete Chane. Of the Style of his Lettres, and of
the Superscripcioun abowten his grete Sealle, and his pryvee Sealle.

[Sidenote: Chap. XXI.] First I schalle seye zou, whi he was clept the gret
Chane. Zee schulle undirstonde, that alle the world was destroyed by Noes
flood, saf only Noe and his wif and his children. Noe had 3 sones, Sem,
Cham and Japhethe. This Cham was he that saughe his fadres prevy membres
naked, whan he slepte, and scorned hem and schewed hem with his finger, to
his brethren, in scornynge wise: and ther fore he was cursed of God. And
Japhethe turned his face away, and covered hem. Theise 3 bretheren had
cesoun in alle the lond: and this Cham, for his crueltee, toke the gretter
and the beste partie, toward the est, that is clept Asye: and Sem toke
Affryk: and Japhethe toke Europe. And therfore is alle the erthe departed
in theise 3 parties, be theise 3 bretheren. Cham was the grettest, and the
most myghty: and of him camen mo generaciouns, than of the othere. And of
his sone Chuse, was engendred Nembrothe the geaunt, that was the firste
kyng, that ever was in the world: and he began the foundacion of the Tour
of Babyloyne. And that tyme, the fendes of helle camen many tymes, and
leyen with the wommen of his generacioun, and engendered on hem dyverse
folk, as monstres, and folk disfigured, summe with outen hedes, summe with
gret eres, summe with on eye, summe geauntes, summ with hors feet, and many
other dyverse schapp, azenst kynde. And of that generacioun of Cham, ben
comen the Paynemes, and dyverse folk, that ben in yles of the see, be alle
Ynde. And for als moche as he was the moste myghty, and no man myghte
withstonde him, he cleped himself the sone of God, and sovereyn of alle the
world. And for this Cham, this emperour clepeth him Cham and sovereyn of
all the world. And of the generacioun of Sem, ben comen the Sarrazines, And
of the generacioun of Japhethe, is comen the peple of Israel. And thoughe
that wee duellen in Europe, this is the opynyoun, that the Syryenes and the
Samaritanes, han amonges hem; and that thei told me, before that I wente
toward Ynde: but I fond it otherwise. Natheles the sothe is this, that
Tartarynes and thei that duellen in the grete Asye, thei camen of Cham. But
the emperour of Cathay clepeth him not Cham, but Can: and I schalle telle
zou how. It is but litylle more but 8 score zeer, that alle Tartarye was in
subiectioun and in servage to othere nacyouns abouten: for thei weren but
bestyalle folk, and diden no thing but kepten bestes, and lad hem to
pastures. But among hem, thei hadden 7 princypalle nacyouns, that weren
soveraynes of hem alle: of the whiche, the firste nacyoun or lynage was
clept Tartar; and that is the most noble and the most preysed. The seconde
lynage is clept Tanghot; the thridde Eurache; the 4 Valair; the 5 Semoche;
the 6 Megly; the 7 Coboghe. Now befelle it so, that of the firste lynage
succeeded an old worthi man, that was not riche, that hadde to name
Changuys. This man lay upon a nyght in his bed, and he sawhe in a visioun,
that there cam before him a knyght armed alle in white, and he satt upon a
white hors, and seyd to him, Can, slepest thou? The inmortalle God hathe
sent me to the; and it is his wille, that thou go to the 7 lynages, and
seye to hem, that thou schalt ben here emperour. For thou schalt conquere
the londs and the contrees, that ben abouten: and thei that marchen upon
zou, schulle ben undre zoure subieccioun, as zee han ben undre hires: for
that is Goddes wille inmortalle. And whan he cam at morwe, Changuys roos,
and wente to the 7 lynages, and tolde hem how the white knyght had seyd.
And thei scorned him, and seyden, that he was a fool; and so he departed
fro hem alle aschamed. And the nyght sewynge, this white knyght cam to the
7 lynages, and commaunded hem, on Goddes behalve inmortalle, that thei
scholde make this Changuys here emperour; and thei scholde ben out of
subieccioun; and thei scholde holden alle other regiounes aboute hem in
here servage, as thei had ben to hem beforn. And on the morwe, thei chosen
him to ben here emperour: and thei setten him upon a blak fertre; and aftre
that, thei liften him op with gret solempnytee, and thei setten him in a
chayer of gold, and diden hym alle maner of reverence; and thei cleped him,
Chan, as the white knyght called him. And whan he was thus chosen, he wolde
assayen, zif he myghte trust in hem or non, and whether thei wolde ben
obeyssant to him or non. And thanne he made many statutes and ordinances,
that thei clepen _Ysya Chan_. The first statute was, that thei scholde
beleeven and obeyen in God inmortalle, that is allemyghty, that wolde
casten hem out of servage; and at alle tymes clepe to him for help, in tyme
of nede. The tother statute was, that alle maner of men that myghte beren
armes, scholden ben nombred: and to every 10 scholde ben a maystre, and to
every 100 a maystre, and to every 1000 a maystre, and to every 10000 a
maystre. Aftre he commanded to the princypales of the 7 lynages, that thei
scholde leven and forsaken alle that thei hadden in godes and heritage; and
fro thens forthe to holden hem payd, of that that be wolde zeve hem of his
grace. And thei diden so anon. Aftre he commanded to the princypales of the
7 lynages, that every of hem scholde brynge his eldest sone before him, and
with here owne handes smyten of here hedes, with outen taryenge. And anon
his commandement was performed. And whan the Chane saghe, that thei made
non obstacle to performen his commandement, thanne he thoughte wel, that he
myghte trusten in hem, and commanded hem anon to make hem redy, and to
sewen his banere. And aftre this, Chane putt in subieccioun alle the londes
aboute him. Aftreward it befelle upon a day, that the Cane rood with a fewe
meynee, for to beholde the strengthe of the contree, that he had wonnen:
and so befelle, that a gret multytude of his enemyes metten with hem; and
for to zeven gode ensample of hardynesse to his peeple, he was the firste
that faughte, and in the myddes of his enemyes encountred; and there he was
cast from his hors, and his hors slayn. And whan his folk saughe him at the
erthe, thei weren alle abasscht, and wenden he had ben ded, and flowen
everych one; and hire enemyes aftre, and chaced hem: but thei wiste not,
that the emperour was there. And whan thei weren comen azen fro the chace,
thei wenten and soughten the wodes, zif ony of hem had ben hid in the
thikke of the wodes: and manye thei founden and slowen hem anon. So it
happend, that as thei wenten serchinge, toward the place that the emperour
was, thei saughe an owle sittynge upon a tree aboven hym; and than thei
seyden amonges hem, that there was no man, be cause that thei saughe that
brid there: and to thei wenten hire wey; and thus escaped the emperour from
dethe. And thanne he wente prevylly, alle be nyghte, tille he cam to his
folk, that weren fulle glad of his comynge, and maden grete thankynges to
God immortalle, and to that bryd, be whom here lord was saved. And therfore
princypally aboven alle foules of world, thei worschipen the owle: and whan
thei han ony of here fedres, thei kepen hem fulle precyously, in stede of
relykes, and beren hem upon here hedes with gret reverence: and thei holden
hem self blessed and saf from alle periles, while that thei han hem upon
hem; and therfore thei beren here fedres upon here hedes. Aftre alle this
the Cane ordeyned him, and assembled his peple, and wente upon hem that
hadden assayled hym before, and destroyed hem, and put hem in subieccioun
and servage. And whan he had wonnen and putt alle the londes and contrees,
on this half the Mount Belyan, in subieccioun, the whyte knyght cam to him
azen in his sleep, and seyde to him, Chan, the wille of God immortalle is,
that thou passe the Mount Belyan; and thou schalt wynne the lond, and thou
schalt putten many nacyouns in subieccioun: and for thou schalt fynde no
gode passage for to go toward that contree, go to the Mount Belyan, that is
upon the see, and knele there 9 tymes toward the est, in the worschipe of
God immortalle; and he schal schewe the weye to passe by. And the Chane
dide so. And anon the see, that touched and was fast to the mount, began to
withdrawe him, and schewed fair weye of 9 fote brede large; and so he
passed with his folk, and wan the lond of Cathay, that is the grettest
kyngdom of the world. And for the 9 knelynges, and for the 9 fote of weye,
the Chane and alle the men of Tartarye han the nombre of 9 in gret
reverence. And therfore who that wole make the Chane ony present, be it of
hors, be it of bryddes, or of arwes, or bowes, or of frute, or of ony other
thing, alweys he most make it of the nombre of 9. And so thanne ben the
presentes of grettere plesance to him, and more benygnely he wil resceyven
hem, than though he were presented with an 100 or 200. For hym semethe the
nombre of 9 so holy, be cause the messagre of God immortalle devised it.
Also whan the Chane of Cathay hadde wonen the contree of Cathay, and put in
subieccioun and undre fote many contrees abouten, he felle seek. And whan
he felte wel, that he scholde dye, he seyde to his 12 sones, that everyche
of hem scholde brynge him on of his arewes; and so thei diden anon. And
thanne he commanded, that men scholde bynden hem to gedre, in 3 places; and
than he toke hem to his eldest sone, and bad him breke hem alle to gedre.
And he enforced hem with alle his myght to breken hem: but he ne myghte
not. And than the Chane bad his seconde sone to breke hem; and so schortly
too alle, eche aftre other: but non of hem myght breke hem. And than be bad
the zongest sone dissevere everyche from other, and breken everyche be him
self: and so he dide. And than seyde the Chane to his eldest sone, and to
alle the othere, Wherfore myght zee not breke hem? And thei answereden,
that thei myght not, be cause that thei weren bounden to gydre. And
wherfore, quothe he, hathe zoure litylle zongest brother broken hem?
Because, quothe thei, that thei weren departed eche from other. And thanne
seyde the Chane, My sones, quoth he, treuly thus wil it faren be zou. For
als longe as zee ben bounden to gedere, in 3 places, that is to seyne, in
love, in trouthe and in gode accord, no man schalle ben of powere to greve
zou; but and zee ben disevered fro theise 3 places, that zoure on helpe not
zoure other, zee schulle be destroyed and brought to nought: and zif eche
of zou love other, and helpe othere, ze schulle be lordes and sovereynes of
alle othere. And whan he hadde made his ordynances, he dyed. And thanne
after hym, regned Ecchecha Cane his eldest sone. And his othere bretheren
wenten to wynnen hem many contrees and kyngdomes, unto the lond of Pruysse
and of Rossye, and made hem to ben cleped Chane: but thei weren all
obeyssant to hire eldre brother: and therfore was he clept grete Chane.
Aftre Ecchecha, regned Guyo Chane: and aftre him, Mango Chan, that was a
gode Cristene man, and baptized, and zaf lettres of perpetuelle pes to alle
Cristene men, and sente his brother Halaon with gret multytude of folk, for
to wynnen the Holy Lond, and for to put it in to Cristene mennes hondes,
and for to destroye Machametes lawe, and for to take the Calyphee of
Baldak, that was emperour and lord of alle the Sarazines. And whan this
Calyphee was taken, men fownden him of so highe worschipe, that in alle the
remenant of the world, ne myghte a man fynde a more reverent man, ne
highere in worschippe. And then Halaon made him come before him, and seyde
to hym: Why, quoth be, haddest thow not taken with the mo sowdyoures, and
men y nowe, for a lytille quantytee of thresour, for to defende the and thi
contree, that art so habundant of tresore and so high in alle worschipe?
And the Calyphee answered him, For he wel trowede, that he hadde y nowe of
his owne propre men. And than seyde Halaon, Thou were as a god of the
Sarazines: and it is convenyent to a god, to ete no mete, that is mortalle;
and therfore thou schalt not ete, but precyous stones, riche perles, and
tresour, that thou lovest so moche. And then he commanded him to presoun,
and alle his tresoure aboute him; and so he dyed for hungre, and threst.
And than aftre this, Halaon wan alle the lond of promyssioun, and putte it
in to Cristene mennes hondes. But the grete Chane his brother dyede; and
that was gret sorwe and losse to alle Cristen men.

Aftre Mango Chan, regned Coblya Chan, that was also a Cristene man: and he
regnede 42 zere. He founded the grete cytee Izonge in Cathay, that is a
gret del more than Rome.

The tother gret Chane, that cam aftre him, becam a Payneme, and alle the
other aftre him.

The kyngdom of Cathay is the grettest reme of the world. And also the gret
Chan is the most myghty emperour of the world, and the grettest lord undre
the firmament; and so he clepethe him in his lettres, right thus, _Chan,
filius Dei excelsi, omnium universam Terram colentium summus Imperatur, et
Dominus omnium Dominantium_. And the lettre of his grete seel, writen
abouten, is this, _Deus in Celo, Chan super Terram, ejus fortitudo. Omnium
hominum Imperatoris Sigillum_. And the superscripcioun aboute his litylle
seel is this, _Dei Fortitudo omnium hominum. Imperatoris Sigillum_. And
alle be it that thei be not cristned, zit natheles the emperour and alle
the Tarterynes beleeven in God immortalle. And whan thei wille manacen ony
man thanne thei seyn, God knowethe wel, that I schalle do the suche a
thing, and tellethe his menace. And thus have zee herd, whi he is clept the
grete Chane.

Of the governance of the grete Chanes Court, and whan he makethe solempne
Festes. Of his Philosophres. And of his Array, whan he riddethe be the

[Sidenote: Cap. XXIII.] Now schalle I telle zou the governance of the court
of the grete chane, whan he makethe solempne festes: and that is
princypally 4 tymes in the zeer. The firste feste is of his byrthe: that
other is of his presentacioun in here temple, that thei clepen here
Moscache, where thei maken a manere of circumsicioun: and the tother 2
festes ben of his ydoles. The firste feste of the ydole is, whan he is
first put in to hire temple and throned. The tother feste is, whan the
ydole begynnethe first to speke or to worche myracles. Mo ben there not of
solempne festes, but zif he marye ony of his children. Now undirstondethe,
that at every of theise festes, he hathe gret multytude of peple, well
ordeyned and wel arrayed, be thousandes, be hundredes and be tenthes. And
every man knowethe wel, what servyse he schalle do. And every man zevethe
so gode hede and so gode attendance to his servyse, that no man fyndethe no
defaute. And there ben first ordeyned 4000 baronnes myghty and riche, for
to gouerne and to make ordynance for the feste, and for to serve the
emperour. And theise solempne festes ben made with outen, in hales and
tentes made of clothes of gold and of tartaries, fulle nobely. And alle tho
barouns han crounes of gold upon hire hedes, fulle noble and riche, fulle
of precious stones and grete perles oryent. And thei ben alle clothed in
clothes of gold or of tartaries or of camokas, so richely and so perfytly,
that no man in the world can amenden it, ne better devisen it. And alle tho
robes ben orfrayed alle abouten, and dubbed fulle of precious stones and of
grete oryent perles, fulle richely. And thei may wel do so; for clothes of
gold and of sylk ben gretter chep there a gret del, than ben clothes of
wolle. And theise 4000 barouns ben devised in 4 companyes: and every
thousand is clothed in clothes alle of o colour; and that so wel arrayed
and so richely, that it is marveyle to beholde. The firste thousand, that
is of Dukes, of Erles, of Marquyses and of Amyralles, alle clothed in
clothes of gold, with tysseux of grene silk, and bordured with gold, fulle
of preciouse stones, in maner as I have seyd before. The secounde thousand
is alle clothed in clothes dyapred of red silk, alle wroughte with gold,
and the orfrayes sett fulle of gret perl and precious stones, fulle nobely
wroughte. The 3 thousand is clothed in clothes of silk, of purpre of Ynde.
And the 4 thousand is in clothes of zalow. And alle hire clothes ben so
nobely and so richely wroughte with gold and precious stones and riche
perles, that zif a man of this contree hadde but only on of hire robes, he
myghte wel seye, that he sholde nevere be pore. For the gold and the
precious stones and the grete oryent perles ben of gretter value, on this
half the see, than thei ben bezond the see, in tho contrees. And whan thei
ben thus apparaylled, thei gon 2 and 2 togedre, fulle ordynatly before the
emperour, withouten speche of ony woord, saf only enclynynge to him. And
everyche of hem berethe a tablett of jaspere or of ivory or of cristalle;
and the mynstralle goynge before hem, sownyng here instrumentes of dyverse
melodye. And whan the firste thousand is thus passed, and hathe made his
mostre, he withdrawethe him on that o syde. And than entrethe that other
secunde thousand, and dothe right so, in the same manere of array and
contenance, as did the firste; and aftre the thridde, and than the fourthe;
and non of hem seythe not o word. And at o syde of the emperours table,
sitten many philosofres, that ben preved for wise men, in many dyverse
scyences; as of astronomye, nigromancye, geomancye, pyromancye, ydromancye,
of augurye and of many other scyences. And everyche of hem han before hem
astrolabes of gold; sum speres, summe the brayn panne of a ded man, summe
vesselles of gold fulle of gravelle or sond, summe vesseles of gold fulle
of coles brennynge, sume veselle of gold fulle of watre and of wyn and of
oyle, and summe oriloges of gold, mad ful nobely and richely wroughte, and
many other maner of instrumentes aftre hire sciences. And at certeyn
houres, whan hem thinkethe time, thei seyn to certeyn officeres, that
stonden before hem, ordeynd for the tyme, to fulfille hire commaudemenes,
Makethe pees. And than seyn the officeres, Now pees lystenethe. And aftre
that, seyth another of the philosophres, Every man do reverence, and
enclyne to the emperour, that is Goddes sone and soverayn lord of alle the
world; for now is tyme. And thanne every man bowethe his hed toward the
erthe. And thanne commandethe the same philosophre azen, Stondethe up. And
thei don so. And at another hour, seythe another philosophre, Puttethe
zoure litille fynger in zoure eres. And anon thei don so. And at another
hour, seythe another philosophre, Puttethe zoure honde before zoure mouthe.
And anon thei don so. And at another hour, seithe another philosophre,
Puttethe zoure honde upon zoure hede. And aftre that, he byddethe hem to
don here hond a wey; and thei don so. And so from hour to hour, thei
commanden certeyn thinges. And thei seyn, that tho thinges han dyverse
significaciouns. And I asked hem prevyly, what tho thinges betokened. And
on of the maistres told me, that the bowynge of the hed at that hour
betokened this, that alle tho that boweden here hedes, scholden evere more
aftre ben obeyssant and trewe to the emperour: and nevere for ziftes, ne
for promys in no kynde, ben fals ne traytour unto him for gode ne evylle.
And the puttynge of the litylle fynger in the ere, betokenethe, as thei
seyn, that none of hem ne schalle not here speke no contrarious thing to
the emperour, but that he schalle telle it anon to his conseille, or
discovere it to sum men that wille make relacioun to the emperour; thoughe
he were his fadre or brother or sone. And so forthe of alle other thtnges,
that is don be the philosophres, thei tolde me the causes of many dyverse
thinges. And trustethe righte wel in certyn, that no man dothe no thing to
the emperour, that belongethe unto him, nouther clothinge, ne bred, ne wyn,
ne bathe, ne non other thing, that longethe to hym, but at certeyn houres,
that his philosopheres wille devysen. And zif there falle werre in ony syde
to the emperour, anon the philosophres comen, and seyn here avys aftre her
calculaciouns, and conseylen the emperour of here avys, be here sciences;
so that the emperour dothe no thing with outen here conseille. And whan the
philosophres han don and perfourmed here commandementes, thanne the
mynstralle begynnen to don here mynstralcye, everyche in hire instrumentes,
eche aftre other, with alle the melodye that thei can devyse. And whan thei
han don a gode while, on of the officers of the emperour gothe up on an
highe stage wroughte fulle curyously, and cryethe and seythe with lowde
voys, Makethe pees. And than every man is stille. And thanne anon aftre,
alle the lordes, that ben of the emperours lynage, nobely arrayed in riche
clothes of gold, and ryally apparayled on white stedes, als manye as may
wel sewen hem at that tyme, ben redy to maken here presentes to the
emperour. And than seythe the styward of the court to the lordes be name,
N. of N. and nempnethe first the most enoble and the worthieste be name,
and seythe, be zee redy with suche a nombre of white hors, for to serve the
emperour, zoure sovereyn lord. And to another lord, he seythe, N. of N. be
zee redy with suche a nombre, to serve zoure sovereyn lord. And so another,
right so. And to alle the lordes of the emperoures lynage, eche aftre
other, as ben of estate. And whan thei ben alle cleped, thei entren eche
aftre other, and presentenen the white hors to the emperour; and than gon
hire wey. And than aftre, alle the other barouns every of hem zeven hem
presentes, or juelle, or sum other thing, aftre that thei ben of estate.
And than aftre hem, alle the prelates of hire lawe, and religiouse men and
other; and every man zevethe him sum thing. And whan that alle men han thus
presented the emperour, the greetest of dignytee of the prelates zevethe
hem a blessynge, seyenge an orisoun of hire lawe. And than begynnen the
mynstrelle to maken hire mynstralcye, in dyverse instrumentes, with alle
the melodye that thei can devyse. And whan thei han don hire craft, than
thei bryngen before the emperour, lyouns, libardes and other dyverse
bestes; and egles and veutours, and other dyverse foules; and fissches, and
serpentes; for to don him reverence. And than comen jogulours and
enchauntoures, that don many marvaylles: for thei maken to come in the ayr,
the sonne and the mone, be semynge, to every mannes sight. And aftre thei
maken the day to come azen, fair and plesant with bright sonne, to every
mannes sight. And than thei bryngen in daunces of the faireste damyselles
of the world, and richest arrayed. And aftre thei maken to come in, other
damyselles, bryngynge coupes of gold, fulle of mylk of dyverse bestes, and
zeven drynke to lordes and to ladyes. And than thei make knyghtes to
jousten in armes fulle lustyly; and thei rennen to gidre a gret randoum;
and thei frusschen to gidere fulle fiercely; and thei breken here speres so
rudely, that the tronchouns flen in sprotes and peces alle aboute the
halle. And than thei make to come in huntyng, for the hert and for the
boor, with houndes rennynge with open mouthe. And many other thinges thei
don, be craft of hire enchauntementes; that it is marveyle for to see. And
suche pleyes of desport thei make, til the takynge up of the boordes.

This gret Chan hathe fulle gret peple for to serve him, as I have told zou
before. For he hathe of mynstralles the nombre of 13 cumanez: but thei
abyde not alle weys with hym. For alle the mynstrelle that comen before
hym, of what nacyoun that thei ben of, thei ben withholden with him, as of
his houshold, and entred in his bokes, as for his owne men. And aftre that,
where that evere thei gon, ever more thei cleymen for mynstralle of the
grete Chane: and undre that tytle, alle kynges and lordes, cherisschen hem
the more with ziftes and alle thing. And therefore he hathe so gret
multytude of hem. And he hathe of certeyn men, as thoughe thei were zomen,
that kepen bryddes, as ostrycches, gerfacouns, sparehaukes, faukons
gentyls, lanyeres, sacres, sacrettes, papyngayes wel spekynge, and briddes
syngynge. And also of wylde bestes, as of olifauntz, tame and othere,
babewynes, apes, marmesettes, and othere dyverse bestes; the mountance of
15 cumanez of zomen. And of Phisicyens Cristene, he hathe 200. And of
leches, that ben Cristene, he hathe 210. And of leches and Phisicyens, that
ben Sarrazines 20: but he trustethe more in the Cristene leches, than in
the Sarrazines. And his other comoun houshold is with outen nombre: and
thei alle han alle necessaries, and alle that hem nedethe, of the
emperoures court. And he hathe in his court many barouns, as servytoures,
that ben Cristene and converted to gode feythe, be the prechynge of
religiouse Cristen men, that dwellen with him: but there ben manye mo, that
wil not, that men knowen that thei ben Cristene.

This emperour may dispenden als moche as he wille, with outen estymacioun.
For he despendethe not, he makethe no money, but of lether emprented, or of
papyre. And of that moneye, is som of gretter prys, and som of lasse prys,
aftre the dyversitee of his statutes. And whan that money hathe ronne so
longe, that it begynnethe to waste, than men beren it to the emperoures
tresorye: and than thei taken newe money for the olde. And that money gothe
thorghe out alle the contree, and thorghe out alle his provynces. For there
and bezonde hem, thei make no money, nouther of gold nor of sylver. And
therfore he may despende y now, and outrageously. And of gold and sylver,
that men beren in his contree, he makethe cylours, pyleres and paumentes in
his palays, and other dyverse thinges, what him lykethe. This emperour
hathe in his chambre, in on of the pyleres of gold, a rubye and a
charboncle of half a fote long, that in the nyght zevethe so gret clartee
and schynynge, that it is als light as day. And he hathe many other
precyous stones, and many other rubyes and charboncles: but tho ben the
grettest and the moste precyous.


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