Archive for May 10th, 2017

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

How king Edward & his menye met with the Spaniardes in the see by Laurence Minot with rough rendering into modern English and notes by flusteredduck

I wald noght spare for to speke, wist I to spede,
of wight men with wapin and worthly in wede
that now er driven to dale and ded all thaire dede.
Thai sail in the see gronde fissches to fede.
Fele fissches thai fede for all thaire grete fare;
it was in the waniand that thai come thare.

Thai sailed furth in the Swin in a somers tyde,
with trompes and taburns and mekill other pride.
The word of tho werkmen walked full wide;
the gudes that thai robbed in holl gan thai it hide.
In holl than thai hided grete welthes, als I wene,
of gold and of silver, of skarlet and grene.

When thai sailed westward, tho wight men in were,
thaire hurdis, thaire ankers hanged thai on here.
Wight men of the west neghed tham nerr
and gert tham snaper in the snare – might thai no ferr.
Fer might thai noght flit, bot thare most thai fine,
and that thai bifore reved than most thai tyne.

Boy with thi blac berd, I rede that thou blin,
and sone set the to schrive  with sorow of thi syn.
If thou were on Ingland  noght saltou win;
cum thou more on that coste, thi bale sall bigin.
Thare kindels thi care; kene men sall the kepe
and do the dye on a day and domp in the depe.

Ye broght out of Bretayne yowre custom with care;
ye met with the marchandes and made tham ful bare.
It es gude reson and right that ye evill misfare,
when ye wald in Ingland lere of a new lare.
New lare sall ye lere, sir Edward to lout,
for when ye stode in yowre strenkith ye war allto stout.

How King Edward and his Men Met with the Spaniards on the Sea

I would not forbear to speak, would I wish to succeed,
of valiant men with weapons and brave in armour,
that now are driven to the grave and despite all their deeds.
They sail in the sea bottom, fishes to feed.
Many fishes they feed, for all their great vaunting;
it was in the waning moon, that they came there.

They sailed forth from the Zwin on a summer’s tide,
with trumpets and tabours and much other pride.
The boasts of those warriors spread wide;
the goods that they robbed and all their hiding places.
In all their hiding places they hid great wealth, as I understood,
of gold and silver, of scarlet and green.

When they sailed westward, those valiant men of war,
their bulwarks, their anchors they hung off her [the ship].
Brave men of the west as they drew nearer
and made them fish in the snare – they feared no might.
For might they would not flee, but there must they die,
and what they had plundered, then must they lose.

Boy with your black beard, I suggest that you cease,
and soon confess with sorrow of your sin.
If you were in England, nought should you win,
go you on that coast, your grief shall begin.
There kindles your care; keen men sail the keep
and will kill you one day and dump you in the deep.

You brought out of Breton your custom with care;
you met with the merchants and bartered them bare.
It is with good reason and right that you mistrust evil,
when you are in England, learn you a new way.
New ways shall you learn, sir Edward to obey,
for when you stood in your strength you were always the strongest.

Note: This poem celebrates a naval victory of the English over the French during the Hundred Years’ War. It refers to the Battle of Sluys, fought in 1340, which was considered a great victory for Edward III of England who was in command on one of the ships during the battle. The Spanish were allied with the French and popular opinion alleged that the French fleet contained many Spanish ships, although this has not been verified in historical documents. At this time in naval history, both the Spanish and English were infamous for privateering (ie government-sanctioned piracy). The “sir Edward” of the poem, the “boy with your black beard”, is probably the Black Prince, Edward, son of Edward III.


Date: 1333-1352

By: Laurence Minot (?1300-?1352)