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Body Politic

Christine de Pizan, The Book of the Body of Policy, p. 275-277: ...I hope to speak, by the grace of God, of the order of living pertaining to noblemen and knights, and thirdly, of the common people.

These three estates ought to be united in one commonwealth, like /p. 276: a living body, according to the saying of Plutarch, who sent a letter to the Emperor Trajan comparing the commonwealth to a living body, of which the prince holds the place of the head, since he is or ought to be the ruler, and from him come the laws, as from the mind of man come the plans that the limbs achieve. The knights and noblemen hold the place of the hands and arms. As the arms of a man are strong to sustain labor and pain, they must defend the right of the prince and the commonwealth; and they are also the hands because as the hands discard harmful things, they must get rid of all that is destructive or unprofitable. The common people are all the stomach, feet, and legs. As the stomach receives all that sustains the head and the limbs, the deeds of the prince and the nobles must turn to the good and the love of the commonwealth, as will be declared hereafter. As the legs and feet support the actions of the human body, similarly the laborers support all the other estates....

Now it is necessary to govern effectively the body of policy so that the head will be healthy, that is to say virtuous. For if it is sick, all the rest shall feel it. We will begin to speak of the medicine for the head, that is to say the king or princes; and since our work begins with the head, we will take the first head of age, that is to say the childhood of the prince when he is nourished under the guidance of his relatives.

Christine de Pizan on Charles V

Excerpt from Christine de Pizan, The Book of the Deeds and Good Character of King Charles V the Wise, I.xvi, as quoted in The Writings of Christine de Pizan, ed. Charity Cannon Willard, pp. 236- : I find a comparable order in the case of our own wise King Charles, so that it seems to me reasonable to recount his agreeable habit of leading a life well-regulated in all respects, which should be an example to all who may follow be it in empires, kingdoms, or important lordships for a well-ordered life.

The hour of his rising in the morning was normally six or seven o'clock, and indeed anyone who wanted to make use here of the language of poets might say that just as the goddess Aurora, by her rising, rejoices the hearts of those who see her, so the king gives pleasure to his chamberlains and other servants appointed to attend his person at that hour, for, regardless of anything that might make it otherwise, his face was joyous. Then, after making the sign of the cross, and very devoutly addressing his first words to God in prayer, he exchanged with his servants, in agreeable familiarity, some pleasant and happy remarks, so that his kindness and gentleness would encourage even the least of them to joke and enjoy themselves with him, / p. 237 however humble they might be. They all enjoyed these comments and exchanges. When he had been combed, dressed, and outfitted according to the demands of the day's program, his chaplain, a distinguished person and honorable priest, brought him his breviary and helped him to say his hours, according to the canonical day of the calendar. Around eight o'clock he would go to mass, which was celebrated each day with glorious, melodious, solemn singing. In the retirement of his oratory low masses were sung for him.

As he came out of the chapel, all sorts of people, rich or poor, ladies or maidens, widows or others who had problems, could make their petitions to him and he very kindly would pause to listen to their supplications, responding charitably to those that were reasonable or piteous. More doubtful cases he turned over to some master of requests to examine. After this, on appointed days, he would meet with his council, and then with some noblemen of his own blood or some clergymen who happened to be present. If some particular lengthy matter did not prevent him, he would go to the table around ten o'clock. His meal was not long, for he did not favor elaborate food, saying that such food bothered his stomach and disturbed his memory, He drank clear and simple wine, light in color, well cut, and not much quantity nor great variety. Like David, to rejoice his spirits, he listened willingly at the end of his meals to stringed instruments playing the sweetest possible music. When he had risen from table after his light meal, all sorts of strangers and others who had come with request could approach him. There one might find several kinds of foreign ambassadors, noblemen, and knights, of whom there was often such a crowd, both foreign and from his own realm, that one could scarcely turn around. Nevertheless, the very prudent king received them all and replied to them in such a civil manner and received each one so justly with the honor due him, that all considered themselves content and left his presence happily.... [H]e arranged what should be done according to what was proposed to him, or promised to solve some matter in council, forbade what was unreasonable, accorded favors, signed letters with his own hand, gave reasonable gifts, promised vacant offices, or answered reasonable requests. He occupied himself with such details as these for perhaps two hours, after which he withdrew and retired to rest for about an hour. After his rest period, he spent a time with his most intimate companions in pleasant diversions / p. 238, perhaps looking at his jewels or other treasures. He took this recreation so that excessive demands on him would not damage his health.... Then he went to vespers, after which, if it was summertime, he sometimes went into his gardens where, if he was in his Hotel of Saint Paul, sometimes the queen would join him with their children. There he spoke with the women of the court, asking news of their children. Sometimes he received curious gifts from various places, perhaps artillery or other armaments and a variety of other things, or merchants would come bringing velvet, cloth of gold, and all sorts of beautiful, exotic objects, or jewels, which he had them show to the connoisseurs of such things among members of his family.

In winter, especially, he often occupied himself by having read to him fine stories from the Holy Scriptures, or the Deeds of the Romans, or Wise Sayings of the Philosophers and such matters until the hour of supper, where he took his place rather early for a light meal. After this, he spent a short period in recreation with his barons and knights before retiring to rest. And thus in continual good order, this wise and well-bread king followed the course of his life.

III.xii, p. 240-241: Let us now speak further of the wisdom of King Charles, the great love he had for study and learning; the truth of this is shown by his collection of important books and his great library where he had all the most outstanding works compiled by great authors, whether of the Holy Scriptures, or theology, or the the sciences, all very well written and richly decorated, for always the best scribes who could be found were engaged to work for him. There is no need to ask if his fine study was well arranged, as he wanted everything to be handsome and neat, polished and well ordered, and it could not have been better. Even though he understood Latin well and there was not need of translating for him, he was so provident that because of the great love he had for those who would follow him in times to come, he wanted to provide them with teachings and knowledge leading to all sorts of virtue, and / p.241: for this reason he had all the most important books translated from Latin into French by solemn masters highly competent in all the sciences and arts: the Bible in three ways, which is to say the text, then the text and glosses together, and then in another allegorized fashion; also The City of God; likewise, The Book of the Sky and the World and Saint Augustine's Soliloquy; the Ethics and Politics of Aristotle with the addition of new examples ; Vegetius' On Chivalry; the ninteen books of The Properties of Things; Valerius Maximus; The Policratus; Titus Livius; and a great many others as he unceasingly had scholars engaged in this work, who were well paid for their efforts.

This great love that he had for possessing many books and the pleasure he derived from them reming me of a king of Egypt named Ptolomy Philadelphius, a very studious man who loved books above everything else to the point where he could never have enough of them....

Christine de Pizan on how a wise princess should lead an ordered life

Christine de Pizan, Livre des trois vertus, I, 11 (pp. 59-62 ): Prudence, as I have said before, will advise the wise princess how her life should be ordered, and as a result she will adopt the following way of life. She will rise quite early every day and address her first words to God, saying 'Lord, I beseech thee to guard us this day from sin, from sudden death and from all evil mischance, and also protect all our relatives and friends. To those who have passed on, pardon, and to our subjects peace and tranquility. Amen, Pater Noster." She will say such additional prayers as her devotion may prompt her to, but she will not insist on having a great attendance of servants around her. (The good and wise Queen Jeanne, the late wife of King Charles V of France, followed this course when she was alive. She rose every morning before daylight, lit her candle herself to say her prayers, and did not allow any woman of hers to get up or to lose sleep on her account.)

When the lady is ready she will go to hear her Masses, as many as accord with her devotion and as time and leisure will permit her. For there is no doubt that this lady, to whom great powers to govern are entrusted, will merit the trust that many lords have, and have had, in their wives when they see that they are good and prudent and they themselves have to go away to be occupied elsewhere. The husbands give them the responsibility and authority to govern and to be head of the council. Such ladies are more to be excused in the eyes of God of they do not spend so much time in long prayers as those who have more leisure, nor do they have less merit in attending conscientuiously to public affairs than those who occupy themselves more with prayers (unless they intend to devote themselves to the contemplative life and leave the active life). But as I have said before, the contemplative life can manage quite well without the active, but the good and proper active life cannot function without some part of the contemplative. This lady will have such a good, orderly system that as she leaves her chapel there will be some poor people at the door to who she herself with humility and devotion will give alms from her own hand, and if any deserving petitions are made to her, she will hear them kindly and give a gracious reply. She will not detain those that she can deal with quickly, and she will therefore increase her alms and also her great renown. If she perhaps cannot consider all the requests that are made to her, certain gentlemen will be appointed to hear them. She will wish them to be charitable and work quickly, and she herself will watch over their conduct.

When she has done these things, if she has responsibility of government, she will go to the council on days when it is held. There she will have such a bearing, such a manner and such an expression when she is seated in her high seat that she will indeed seem to be the lady and mistress over all, and everyone will hold her in great reverence as their wise mistress with great authority. She will conscientiously hear the proposals that are put forward and listen to everyone's opinion. She will be so attentive that she will grasp the principal points and conclusions of matters and will note carefully which of her counsellors speak better and with the best deliberation and advice, and which seem to her the most prudent and intelligent. And she will also note, in the diversity of opinions, which causes and which reasons most stir the speakers. In this way she will attend to everything, and when someone comes to her to speak on a subject or to reply, according to the circumstances, so wisely will she consider the matter that she cannot be thought simple or ignorant. If she can find out in advance what someone is going to propose and what the ramifications of it may be, and if she can with wise counsel think of a suitable reply, it is all to the good. Furthermore, this lady will establish a certain number of wise gentlemen who will sit on her council, who she will deem good, loyal, virtuous and not too covetous. A great many princes and princesses are put to shame by counsellors filled with covetousness, for according to their own inclinations they incite and encourage those whom they counsel. Inevitably, those who indulge in such vice counsel neither well nor loyally, neither to the profit of their souls nor to the honour of their bodies, and so the prudent lady must inquite whether they lead virtuous lives. She will be counselled every day by these gentlemen at a certain hour about the necessary matters that she has to deal with.

After the morning council she will have her midday meal, which ordinarily and especially on solemn days and on feast days will be in the hall, where the ladies and maidens are seated, and other suitable persons ranked according to their position at court. There she will be served in a manner befitting her rank, and while the plates are still on the table (according to the fine old custom of queens and princesses) she will have a gentleman at hand who will speak of the deeds of some good deceased person, or he will speak on some excellent moral subject or tell stories of exemplary lives. No dispute will be conducted there. After the tables have been taken up and grace has been said, if there are any princes or lords present, if there are any ladies or damsels or other visitors around her, then she will receive each of them in such honor as is fitting so that everyone will feel contented. She will speak to them in a thoughtful manner, with a pleasant expression; the elderly people in a more serious manner, to the young people in a different and merrier one. And if one happens to say or to hear any amusing thing or any merriment she will know how to contain it with such a pleasant manner that everyone will say that she is a gracious lady and one who well knows her manners in all places.

After the spices have been taken and it is time to retire, the lady will go to her chamber, where she will rest for a short while if she feels the need to. Then afterwards, if it is a weekday and she has no other more important occupation with which to avoid idleness, she will take up some work, and she will have the women and girls around her work similarly. In the privacy of her chamber she will wish each of them to choose freely whatever she like from all respectable kinds of merriment, and she herself will laugh with them and divert herself in private gatherings so unconstrainedly that they will all praise her great liberty and indulgence and they will lover her with all their hearts. She will be occupied like this until the hour of vespers, when she will go to hear them in her chapel if it is a feast day and if no weighty business prevents her, or otherwise she will say them without fail with her lady chaplain/ After doing this, if it is summer, she will go off to amuse herself in a garden until supper-time, walking up and down for her health. She will wish that if any persons need to see her for any reason they be allowed to enter and she will hear them. At bedtime she will pray to God. And that concludes the schedule of the ordinary day of the prudent princess living in good and holy occupation.

Christine de Pizan on the Importance of Dress as a Sign of Social Status

Christine de Pizan, Livre des trois vertus, I, 10 (p. 57 ): It is most seemly that any princess or land-owning lady, according to her station in life be richly adorned, as much by garments, dress, ornaments, and jewels, as by a great court with courtiers and much ceremony due to the honour of the position where God has placed her. But do not doubt for a moment that if you (or anyone else) are not content with such rank and clothing as your noble forebears have enjoyed and you want to have something greater or to make innovations, you are making a mistake and act against your honour and against the good of sobriety. ...

Christine de Pizan, Livre des trois vertus, II, 11 (pp. 133-34 ): As for these gowns, we must explain that the women who take such delight in them are mistaken. It is beyond doubt that in the old days duchesses dared not wear the gowns of queens, nor countesses those of duchesses, nor ordinary ladies those of countesses, nor young women those of older ladies. But nowadays those rules are in disarray and women wear anything, for no one keeps to the rules in gowns or head-dresses. Whether they are men or women, if they can afford whatever degree of grandeur it may be, they have the idea that they must have the best. Just as sheep follow each other, if people see anyone do some extravagant or inappropriate thing the matter of dress, they immediately follow him and say that they must do what everybody else does. And they are telling the truth: one extravagant person must follow another! But if the majority of people were moderate and had good sense, they would not follow each other in doing anything extreme, but rather the one who had begun it would be less respected and would remain alone in his folly....

A still greater shame to many of them is that sone of the debts they run up are often to seamstresses, furriers, clothiers, and goldsmiths, with whom they place their orders at the same time, and then they have to pawn one gown in order to pay for another....

No one is satisfied with his social standing, but rather each one wants to look like a king. God sometimes punishes such pride severely, for He cannot tolerate it. Is this not truly a great extravagance that a Parisian tailor reported the other day? He had made a cotte hardie for an ordinary lady who lives in the province of Gatinais. He had used five ells (according to the Paris measure) of wide Brussels cloth in making it. Three quarters of the train touched the ground, and the full sleeves reached to her feet, and God only knows how correspondingly large the head-dress is and how high the points are! It is actually an extremely ugly and unbecoming outfit, as anyone who really looks at will agree. The gold mean is the most civilized and the most pleasing course.

These remarks are addressed to the ladies of France, for in other countries clothing is usually worn for longer by both men and women. They do not change from one year to the next, as people do here, where clothing keeps getting more and more elaborate. It seems to us the clothing of Italy especially and a few other places is more valuable as far as the cost is concerned, but although they may be of greater showiness and covered with pearls, gold, and precious stones, they do not really cost as much, for they last for a long time and can be handed on to someone else. But such extravagances of cloth, silks, and trailing feathers are in vogue, not to mention many others. And likewise their headgear is more beautiful, for there it nothing in the world lovelier on a woman's head than beautiful blond hair. St. Paul had the very same view when he said that hair is the glory of women.

Christine de Pizan, Livre des trois vertus, III, 2 (pp. 149-50 ): [I]t is quite right that each woman wear such clothing as indicates her husband's and her rank, rather than if she is a middle-class townswoman and she dresses like a young noblewoman and the young noblewoman like a lady -- and so on, step by step on up the scale. It is indubitably a thing contrary to good public order, in which, in any country, if it well regulated everything ought to be within limits.

Christine de Pizan, Livre des trois vertus, III, 3 (pp. 153-55 ): "Now we come to merchants, that is, the wives of men who deal with merchandise, who in Paris and elsewhere are very rich and whose wives dress expensively and with great show, and even more so in some regions and cities than in Paris, as, for example, in Venice, Genoa, Florence, Lucca, Avignon and elsewhere. But these places (although any place has its excesses) can be excused more easily than these parts of France, because there are not so many distinctions of high rank as in Paris and that area, that is, queens and duchesses, countesses and other ladies and young ladies, by which ranks are more differentiated. And for that reason in France, which is the noblest realm in the world and where all things ought to be in the best order (according to the ancient usages of France), it is not fitting for women to do what they do in other places (as had been mentioned several times): that the wife of a country labourer enjoy the same rank as the wife of an honest artisan in Paris, nor the wife of a common artisan as a merchant's wife, nor a merchant's wife as an unmarried lady, nor the unmarried lady as a married lady, nor the lady as a countess or duchess, nor the countess as the queen. Rather, each woman ought to keep to her own station in life, and just as there is a difference in the way of life of people, so there ought to be a difference in their estates. But these rules are not kept nowadays, nor many other good ones that always used to be, and for this reason a woman loses the effect that she seeks. For beyond a doubt neither the pride nor the pomp were ever so extreme in all sorts of people from the great to the indigent as they are now; one can see this by reading the chronicles and ancient histories. For this reasons we have said that although it is true that in Italy the women still wear greater finery, they do not go to such great expense as they do here, considering the retinues and all sorts of luxuries that ladies go in for. In these things as well as in their gowns they all try to outdo each other.

"But now let us say something about merchants' wives. Was this not truly a great extravagance for a wife of a grocer? Even as a merchant, the husband is not like those of Venice or Genoa who go abroad and have their agents in every country, buy in large quantities and have a big turnover, and then they send their merchandise to every land in great bundles and thus earn enormous wealth. Such ones as these are called 'noble merchants'. But this one we are describing now buys in large quantities and sells in small amounts for perhaps only a few pennies, more or less, although his wife is rich and dresses like a great lady. Not long ago she had a lying-in before the birth of her child. Now before one entered her chamber, one passed through two other very fine chambers, in each of which there was a large bed well and richly hung with curtains, In the second one there was a large dresser covered like an altar and laden with silver vessels. And then from that chamber one entered the chamber of the woman in childbed, and a large and well-appointed room hung from floor to ceiling with tapestries made with her device worked very richly in fine Cyprus gold.

In this chamber was a large, highly ornamented dresser covered with golden dishes. The bed was large and handsome and hung with exquisite curtains. On the floor around the bed carpets on which one walked were all worked with gold, and the large ornamented hangings, which extended more than a hand span below the bed-spread, were of such fine linen of Rheims that they were worth three hundred francs. On top of this bedspread of tissue of gold was another large covering of linen as fine as silk, all of one piece and without a seam (made by a method only recently invented) and very expensive; and it was said to be worth two hundred francs and more. It was so wide and long that it covered all sides of this large, elaborate bed and extended beyond the edge of the bedspread, which trailed on the floor on all sides. In this bed lay the woman who was going to give birth, dressed in in crimson silk cloth and propped up on big pillows of the same silk with big pearl buttons, adorned like a young lady. And God knows what money was wasted on amusements, bathing and various social gatherings, according to the customs in Paris for women in childbed (some more than others), at this lying-in! Although there are many example of great prodigality, this extravagance exceeds all others, and so is worth putting in a book! This thing was even reported in the queen's chamber! Some people will remark that the people of Paris have too much blood, and that the abundance of it sometimes brings on certain illnesses. In other words, a great abundance of riches can easily lead them astray. It would be better for them if the king imposed some aide, impost or tax on them to prevent their wives from going about comparing themselves with the queen of France, who scarcely looks any grander.

"Now, such a circumstance is not in the right order of things and comes from presumption and not from good sense, for those men and women who do these things acquire from them not esteem but contempt. Although they adopt the style of great ladies or princesses, they are not really such, nor are they called that, but rather they retain the name of merchants or wives of merchants, even those who in Lombardy would be call not merchants but retailers because they sell in small quantities. It is very great folly to dress up in clothes more suitable for someone else when everyone knows very well to whom they rightfully belong; in other words, to take up the grander style that belongs to another and not to oneself. Even if those men and women who indulge in such excesses, whether in clothing or grand style, left their business and took up fine horses and the status of princes and lords, their real social position would still dog them. It is very stupid not to be ashamed to sell their merchandise and conduct their business, but yet to be ashamed to wear the corresponding clothing. Truly the clothing is very handsome, fine and respectable for whoever has the right to wear it, and the rank of merchant is fine and honourable in France and in any other country. Such people can be called 'disguised people', and we do not say this to diminish their honor, for we have just said that the rank of a merchant is fine and good for those who deserve it.... [I]t is to their advantage and it is their best course of action to wear their rightful clothing, each woman according to her own position. Assuming that the women are rich, they may wear handsome, fine and modest clothing without adopting others."

Christine de Pizan on the importance of Gift Giving

Christine de Pizan, Livre de trois vertus, I, 19 (pp. 78-79): " The wise princess wishing to be without reproach will take special care that neither the vice of meanness and avarice may be seen in her, nor foolish generosity, which is no less a vice. Therefore, she will distribute these gifts with great discretion and prudence, for munificence is one of the things that most magnifies the reputation of great lords and ladies. John of Salisbury proves this in Polycraticus (book three, chapter twenty-four) by demonstrating that the virtue of generosity is necessary for those who rule over public affairs. For example, Titus, the noble emperor, acquired such renown through his generosity that he was known as the benefit, the relief and the help of all persons. He loved this virtue of largesse so much that the day he had not given any gift he could not be happy. In this way he acquired the general favour and love of everyone....

If any great lords give her presents or gifts she will reward the messengers so generously that they will have cause to rejoice. She will give more to foreigners than to other people so that in their country they may mention her generosity to their lords. She will want her stewards to deliver the gifts promptly. If great ladies give her presents, she will send them some of her jewels and fine things, but more generously. If a poor or simple person does her any service or kindly presents her with some curiosity, she will consider the abilities of the person and his or her social position and the importance of the service, or the value, beauty or novelty of the gift, according to the case. Whatever the remuneration is, she will give it so abundantly that the person will rejoice. Furthermore, she will receive the thing with such a delighted expression that it will be half the payment by itself.

"She will certainly not do what we saw happen once, something that we thought was deplorable at a sophisticated court of a prince or princess. A person was summoned there who was considered wise, so that the court might hear and learn his knowledge. He attended the court several times and everyone felt greatly satisfied with his deeds and his counsel. As a result of his knowledge he did the ruler certain, just, good and laudable services that were worthy of commendation and reward. At the same time another person frequented this same court who had the reputation of being a buffoon and was in the habit of entertaining the lords and ladies with jests and stories of who everyone was doing everywhere and with worthless chatter in the way of mockery and jokes. It was decided that they both be remunerated, and so gifts were given both to the person who was reputed to be wise and who had deserved them because of his knowledge and to the person reputed to be a fool who had done nothing but tell his jokes. A gift was given to this buffoon that was valued at forty écus and to the other a gift worth twelve écus...."

Literary Patronage

Christine de Pizan receiving the commission from Philip le Hardi, the Duke of Burgundy, to write an account of Charles V

Christine de Pizan, The Book of the Deeds and Good Character of King Charles V the Wise, I.ii (as quoted in C.C. Willard, The Writings of Christine de Pizan, pp. 233-34.): "Since unknown or unexplained motives occasionally cause people to wonder at the reasons why things have been done, I shall recount faithfully, making no concession to flattery, how this modest composition came to be written, and what its origins were. It happened in the present year of the Grace of Our Lord, fourteen hundred and three, that I presented one of my volumes, called The Mutation of Fortune, to the most august prince, my Lord of Burgundy, as a gift for the first of January, which we call New Year's Day. In his gracious humility he accepted it kindly and with great pleasure.

Afterwards, Monbertaut, his treasurer, told and explained to me personally that the aforementioned lord would be pleased if I were to compose a treatise on a certain subject which the said prince would outline to me, so that I might understand exactly whit it was he wanted. And thus I, desirous of fulfilling his kind wishes, so far as my modest intelligence would allow, betook myself with my servants to the Louvre palace in Paris, where he was then residing, and there, informed by my presence, by the goodness of his grace he bade me come before him, sending two of his squires to conduct me in his presence, men accomplished in all manner of courtesy, Jean de Chalon and Taupinet de Chantemerle by name. I found him in relative privacy, retired in the company of his noble son Antoine, Count of Rethel. Having made my reverence before him in the proper fashion, I explained why I had come and how the desire of his service and the pleasure of His Highness had brought me there, if only I were worthy of so high a cause, but that he needed to inform me what kind of treatise it pleased him to have me work upon. Then, having thanked me more profusely in his humility than befitted someone of my modest station, he told and explained to me how and on what subject it pleased him that I work. And having received of his goodness many considerable assurances I took my leave, content of my charge, holding this commission more honorable than myself able or worthy of its perfect accomplishment."

Jean Froissart presents a copy of his collected works to Richard II, King of England

Froissart, Chronicles, 4:62-64 (pp. 565-568):

In truth, I, sir John Froissart, treasurer and canon of Chimay, in the county of Hainault, and diocese of Liege, had, during my stay at Abbeville, a great desire to go and see the kingdom of England: more especially since a truce had been concluded, for four years, on sea and land, between France, England, and their allies. Several reasons urged me to make this journey; but principally, because in my youth I had been educated at the court of king Edward, of happy memory, and that good lady Philippa, his queen, with their children, and others of the barons of those times, and was treated by them with all honor, courtesy, and liberality. I was anxious, therefore, to visit that country, for it ran in my imagination, that if I once saw it, I should live longer; for twenty-seven years past I had intentions of going thither, and if I should not meet with the lords whom I had left there, I should at least see their heirs, who would likewise be of great service to me in the verification of the many histories I have related of them.

I mentioned my purpose to my very dear patrons, the lord duke Albert of Bavaria, count of Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, and lord of Frizeland; to the lord William his son, styled count d'Ostrevant; to my dear and much honored lady Joan, duchess of Brabant and Luxembourg; and to my very much respected lord Enguerrand, lord of Coucy; as well as to that gallant knight, the lord de Gomegines. We had both, during our youth, arrived together at the English court, where I saw also the lord de Coucy, and all the nobles of France, who were hostages for the redemption of king John of France, which had been before related in this history. The three lords above mentioned, as well as the lord de Gomegines, and madame de Brabant, on my telling them my intentions, encouraged me to persevere, and they all gave me letters of introduction to the king and his uncles, with the reserve of the lord de Coucy, who, from being now so much attached to France, could only write to his daughter, the duchess of Ireland.

I had taken care to form a collection of all the poetry on love and morality that I had compose during the last twenty-four years, which I had caused to be fairly written and illuminated. I was also incited to go to England and see King Richard, son to the noble and valiant prince of Wales and Aquitaine.... I was desirous, therefore, to pay my respects to the king of England and his uncles, and had provided myself with my book of poesy finely ornamented, bound in velvet, and decorated with silver-gilt clasps and studs, as a present for the king. Having this intention, I spared no pains; and the cost and labor seem trifiling to people, whenever they undertake anything willingly....

I was at first quite astonished, and should have been comforted could I have seen an ancient knight who had been of the bed-chamber to king Edward, and was in the same capacity to the present king, as well as of his privy council, and could I have made myself known to him. The name of this knight was sir Richard Sturry. I asked if he were alive: they said he was, but not then present, as he was at his residence in London. I then determined to address myself to sir Thomas Percy, high steward of England. I found him gracious and of agreeable manners, and he offered to present me and my letters to the king. I was rejoiced at this promise; for it is necessary to have friends introduce one to so great a prince as the king of England. He went to the king's apartments to see if it were a proper time, but found the king had retired to repose: he therefore bade me return to my inn. When I thought the king might be risen, I went again to the palace of the archbishop, where he lodged; but sir Thomas Percy and his people were preparing to set out for Ospringe, whence he had come that morning. I asked sir Thomas's advice how to act: "For the present," he said, "do not make further attempts to announce your arrival, but follow the king; and I will take care, when he comes to his palace in this country, which he will do in two days, that you shall be well lodged as long as the court tarries there...."
I courted the acquaintance of sir William de Lisle, as a means of gaining greater intimacy with the king's household.....

The king received me graciously and kindly; he took all the letters I presented to him, and having read them attentively, said I was welcome, and that since I had belonged to the household of the late king and queen, his grandfather and grandmother, I must consider myself still as of the royal household of England. This day I did not offer him the book I had brought; for sir Thomas Percy told me it was not a fit opportunity, as he was much occupied with serious business....

On the Sunday, the whole council were gone to London, excepting the duke of York, whom remained with the king, and sir Richard Sturry: these two, in conjunction with sir Thomas Percy, mentioned me again to the king, who desired to see the book I had brought for him. I presented it to him in his chamber, for I had it with me, and laid it on his bed. He opened and looked into it with much pleasure. He ought to have been pleased, for it was handsomely written and illuminated, and bound in crimson velvet, with ten silver-gilt studs, and roses of the same in the middle, with two large clasps of silver-gilt, richly worked with roses in the center. The king asked me what the book treated of: I replied, "Of love!" He was pleased with the answer, and dipped into several places, reading parts aloud, for he read and spoke French perfectly well, and then gave it to one of his knights, called sir Richard Credon, to carry to his oratory, and made me many acknowledgments for it.

Letter written by the Milanese Ambassador Johanne Pietro Panigarola to Duke of Milan Galeazzo Maria Sforza describes the appearance of Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy at the ceremony marking the treaty between Burgundy, Savoy, and Milan in April 1475:

His lordship came to the church dressed in a long robe, of cloth of gold lined with sable, extremely sumptuous, in which silver was substituted for silk. On his head he had a black velvet hat with a plume of gold loaded with the largesty balas-rubies and diamonds and with large pearls, some good ones pendent, and the pearls and gems were so closely packed that one could not see the plume, though the first branch of it was as long as a finger. He stayed in his oratory, which was hung round as usual with curtains of black silk. After a time the curtains were drawn aside. His lordship was on a dais three steps high under a canopy, gold above and below, richly embroidered with the arms of Burgundy. On the dais was a quadriga similar to those used by your excellency, but all the wood, hafts and pommel were of solid gold. It had been sent as a gift to him this Christmas by his illustrious consort.... And at once the trumpeters began to play, eight of them; then the pipers, of which they were many...I particularly wanted to inform your lordship about this solemnity because every act of this prince is done with majesty and much ceremony (Cited by Vaughan 1973, 169-70 and quoted in Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, p. 53)