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THE CHRONICLES OF FROISSART

CHAPTER 1

Here beginneth the prologue of sir John Froissart of the Chronicles of France, England and other places adjoining.

 

To the intent that the honourable and noble adventures of feats of arms, done and achieved by the wars of France and England, should notably be enregistered and put in perpetual memory,whereby the prewe and hardy may have ensample to encourage them in their well-doing, I, sir John Froissart, will treat and record an history of reat louage and praise. But, or I begin, require the Saviour of all the world, who of nothing created all things, that he will give me such grace and understanding, that I may continue and persevere in such wise, that whoso this process readeth or heareth may take pastance, pleasure and ensample. It is said of truth that all buildings are masoned and wrought of divers stones, and all great rivers are gurged and assembled of divers surges and springs of water ; in likewise all sciences are extraught and compiled of divers clerks ; of that one writeth, another peradventure is ignorant ; but by the famous writing of ancient authors all things ben known in one place or other. Then to attain to the matter that I have enterprised, I will begin first by the grace of God and of the blessed Virgin our Lady Saint Mary, from whom all comfort and consolation proceedeth, and will take my foundation out of the true chronicles sometime compiled by the right reverend, discreet and sage master John le Bel, B sometime canon in Saint Lambert's of Liege, who with good heart and due diligence did his true devoir in writing this noble chronicle, and did continue it all his life's days, in following the truth as near as he might, to his great charge and cost in seeking to have the perfect knowledge thereof. He was also in his life's days well beloved and of the secret council with the lord sir John of Hainault, who is often remembered, as reason requireth, hereafter in this book, for of many fair and noble adventures he was chief cause', and by whose means the said sir John le Bel might well know and hear of many divers noble deeds, the which hereafter shall be declared. Truth it is that I, who have enterprised this book to ordain for pleasure and pastance, to the which always I have been inclined, and for that intent I have followed and frequented the company of divers noble and great lords, as well in France, England and Scotland, as in divers other countries, and have bad knowledge by them, and always to my power justly have enqu' ed for the truth of the deeds of war and adventures that have fallen, and especially sith the great battle of Poitiers, whereas the noble king John of France was taken prisoner, as before that time I was but of a young age or understanding.'

 

1 This extraordinary sentence does not at all represent the original, which maybe thus translated `True it is that I who have enterprised to set in order this book, have for pleasure, which hath ever inclined me thereto, frequented the company of divers noble and great lords, as well in France as England, Scotland and other countries, and have had acquaintance with them. So I have .always to my power justly enquired and demanded of the wars and adventures,' etc. The translation given by Johnes is equally incorrect.