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There sate Melezius, in his hye estate,
And over his head was a payre of balaunce;
With his crowne and septer, after the true rate
Of another wordly king for to have governaunce,
In his hand a ball of right great cyrcumstaunce,
Before whome than I did knele adowne,
Sayeng: O Emperour! moost hye of renowne,
I the beseche, of thine haboundaunt grace,
Me to accepte in this courte the for to serve,
So to contynue by longe time and space,
Of chivalry that I may now deserve
The order right, and well it to observe;
For to attayne the high advauntage
Of the enterpryse of my dougty vyage.
Welcome, he sayd, to this court ryal!
Mynerve shall arme you with grete dylygence.
And teche you the feates of armes all;
For she them knoweth by good experyence,
In the olde tyme it was her scyence.
And I my selfe shall gyve you a worthy stede,
Called Galantyse, to helpe you in your nede.
I humbly thanked his grete hyenes;
And so to Mynerve I dyd than applye,
Whiche dyd me teche with syker perfytnes
For to haunt armes ryght well and nobly.
Sapyence me ruled well and prudently;
Thus amonge knyghtes for to just and tourney,
Mynerve me taught in sundry wyse all day.
It was a joyfull and a knyghtly syght,
For to beholde so fayre and good a sorte
Of goodly knyghtes armed clere and bryght,
That I sawe there, whiche dyd me well exorte
Armes to haunte with coragyous comforte:
Mynerve me taught my strokes and defence,
That in short space was no resystence
Agaynst my powre and myghty puyssaunce;
To my wylfull herte was nought impossyble,
I bare my selfe so without doubtaunce
My herte made my courage invyncible,
Of whiche the trouthe was soone intellygyble,
With my behavynge before the
Of kynge Melezius famous excellence.
Which right anone for dame Minerve sent,
And me also, with sir Trouth to obey.
We thought full litell what the mater ment,
But unto him we toke anone the way,
Entring the chambre so fayre, clere, and gay.
The king us called unto his person,
Sayeng: I wyll Graund Amoure anone
Truly make knight; for the time approcheth
That he must haunt and seke adventure
For La Belle Pucell, as true love requireth.
And first of all began to me discure
The highe order how I shoulde take in cure;
And than anone he gan to expresse
What knighthode was to perfite sekernesse.
Knighthode, he sayd, was first established
The comenwelth in right to defende,
That by the wrong it be not minished;
So every knight did truely condiscende,
For the comynwelth his power to entende
Ageynst all suche rebelles contrarious,
Them to subdue with power victorious!
For knighthode is not in the feates of warre,
As for to fight in quarell right or wronge,
But in a cause which trouth can not defarre;
He ought him selfe for to make sure and stronge
Justice to kepe mixt with mercy amonge;
And no quarell a knight ought to take,
But for a trouth or for the comins sake.
For fyrst, good hope his legge harneys sholde be;
His habergion of perfyte ryghtwysenes;
Gyrde faste wyth the gyrdle of chastite,
His riche placarde should be good besines,
Brandred with almes so full of larges;
The helmet mekenes, and the shelde good faytlı;
His swerde Goddes worde, as saynt Poule sayth.
Also true wyddowes he ought to restore
Unto their right for to attayne theyr dower,
And to upholde and mainteyne evermore
The welth of maydens with his myghty power.
And to his soverayne, at every maner hower,
To be redy, true, and eke obeysaunt,
In stable love fixt and not variaunt.
Thus, after this noble and solempne doctryne,
He made me knight, and gave me in charge
Unto these poyntes right low to enclyne,
And to stere well the frayle tombling barge
Over vayne glory whan I sayle at large.
Whan the winde is right, the barge can not fayle,
Unto his purpose so with hardines to sayle.
I dyd well register in my remembraunce
Every thing which he hath to me tolde,
And right anone in good resemblaunce
The kyng I thanked, with courage right bolde,
Of his great grace and giftes many a folde,
Which unto me right openly he shewed,
With golden droppes so lyberally indewed.
I toke my leve of his right hye estate;
And than Mynerve into the hall me brought,
Accompanied by Trouth, my faythfull mate.
Us for to solace ther lacced right nought,
That ony man can printe in his thought;
The knightes all unto their armes went,
To bryng me forward with a true entent.
And Mynerve armed me as she coude devyse,
And brought unto me my fayre barbed stede,
On whome I mounted in all goodly guyse,
With shelde and spere, as nothing to drede
In right to fyght for to attayne my mede.
So with me wente both my greyhoundes twayne,
And good Attendaunce, my verlet certayne.
The good knight Trouth brought me on the way,
Accompanied then of syr Fidelitie,
Wyth haute courage betrapped fayre and gaye
Wyth shyning trappers of curiositie;
And then also there rode forth wyth me
The sturdy knight well named Fortitude,
With the noble veterane syr Consuetude.
And eke syr Justice and syr Mysericorde,
Syr Sapience, with good syr Curteysy;
Wyth famous Nurture, and than syr Concorde
Accompanied me full ryght gentylly
Oute of the castell, ryding ryally;
And dame Minerve, the chevalryous goddes,
Dyd me endue then with harty hardynes.
And whan we came into a goodly playne,
Right of them all I toke my lycence;
Me thought it time that they tourne agayne
Unto the king with all their diligence.
I made mine othe with percing influence,
Unto them all for to remayne full true
In stedfast love, all treason to eschue.
Full loth they were fro me to departe,
Every one of them, as ye may understande;
With salt teres full wofull was my herte,
Whan all on rowe they toke me by the hande.
Adew! they sayd, and grace with you stand,
You for to ayde whan that you do fyght!
And so they turned unto the castell ryght.