A Descripcion of this Ymage in Speciall

Capitulo Trisesimo

`Of this generalle statua here leue I for to speke, and of this other special I wylle somwhat tellen after my felynge. And I wylle make here the distinction how that gouernement by reason shold be distribute, and how ordynaunces and statutes sholde ben establysshed

`And also tho persones that haue them in hande to kepe and mayntene, after the fygure of this statua that we haue spoken of, Reason, Iustyce & Trouthe, Nature, Ryght, and Equyte, helden somtyme a parlement. And by comyn accord of grete deliberacion they maden a statute, that there shold no persone be sette in estate, but he were the most suffysaunt and the moost worthy.

`And this was theyr decre: "Hit apperteyneth wel", quod they, "that suche one be set in estate abouen al other, that is, the best and worthyest, and moost hath of perfection."

`Now is this well fygured in this statua that here hath be shewed the, for why the hede, that is the ouermoost parte, is of fyn gold, whiche is a metal moost worthy and precious. And soo by processe the nether partes of this ymage ben of dyuerse metals, euery metal in his ordre; the worthyer abouen, and the vnworthyer bynethen, as theyr ordre asketh, the whiche ordenauncea shold be kept in al gouernementes, so that al gouernours, emperours, kynges, prynces, and prelates of the Chirche shold mayntene this ordre in this forsaid wyse.

`In regard, thenne, of the lower subgettes, the hede oweth rightwysly to be of gold, shewyng hym self tough and ductyble, that well wylle enduren vnder the hamoure of auysement, enlargyng hym self withouten crasure, receyuyng impressions suche as men wyll setten in hym, and yeuyng a grete shynynge light to euery mans eye, and comfort of herte.

`Ful wel appertynent it is, and ful couenable to the hede of a comynalte that itb must be gouerned by conceylle; he may no better token haue of Grace and of goodnes, than for to shewe hym self tretable and benygne to receyuen goodly good aduys and counceyll, withouten indignacion of herte, and for to receyuen in to his hert [76(▀)r] suche impressyon as other wyse men and sadde wylle in hym enprenten. Suche an heede may wel be cleped an hede of fyn gold, bryght shynyng in vertuous lyuynge, that the hertes of his subgettis be gladid for to speken and heren of his worthynesse.

`But in that other syde, yf this heede at euery stroke of counceylle that myslyketh hym, is displesid and wrothe, and sowneth ouer hyhe with despytous wordes thorugh mysproud desdayn of them that yeuen hym counceylle, he may nought be skylfully cleped an hede of fyn gold, but an hede of vnthryfty, rude, and vntrewe metal, in whiche maye be formed ne enprynted no maner of good fygure. Suche an emperour was Commodius
81, that wold be clothed with the skyn of a lyon, in signe that he was kyng of men, ryght as the lyon is cleped kynge of bestes. Full of pryde & impacyente, hym thought that wylful tyrannye suffysed for lawe to doo what hym lyst.

`Yf if soo byfalle that the hede be fyn gold, enclyned to counceylşle, plyant and tretable, redy to receyuen al manere impressions, yf it soo be, that in his hede be founde ony defaute, hit wylle seme skylfully that hyt is y long vppon his counceyl, for why he hath bytake hym to his counceyll ryght as the gold is bitaken to the forge, for to werken and gouernen withouten deceyte of feynyng or flaterynge, or sparynge of the trouthe. And soth it is, that withouten strook of hamour ne may none impression be brought in to gold, nomore vnto a kynges or prynce. Flaterers and forgeours that sparen the soothe ben nothynge profitable, for they ne syken nought the honoure of the prynce, but only entendyn to plesen for the tyme.'

`But how', quodc I,`may a man vndertake or haue hardyesse that is of smal degre in regard of a kynge for to bete or hameren vppon his hede by yeuynge of counceylle contrary to his plesaunce? Soothely, as me thynketh, suche one putteth his persone in auenture and in grete peryll. Although he saye but sooth and profitable to honoure of his prynce, hit is likely that suche one shalle often mysbetyde.'

`And seye me by thy feyth', quodd myn angel thenne, `how dar ther ony man be so fole hardy for to dampnen hym seluen, deceyuyng suche a persone by fauour of flaterye, or by vntrewe counceyll, sith that for grete tryst of grete trouthe he is assigned to that occupacion? And in that other side his owne hede and souerayne is hooly taken in to handes of suche counceylours to be gouerned after them, that they shall trewely and feythfully forgen theyr hede and brynge hit in to good couenable fourme as to suche a lord bilongeth of reson. [76(▀)v] And yf he doo nought soo, but iapeth and flatereth, he bryngeth hym self in moche more perylle and auenture than he can suppose, for in that one syde he dampneth hym seluen to the peyne of helle, and in that other side he is lykely to ben appeled of treson, and by the lawe to lesen his lyf, as to a fals traitour of good right and reason belongeth.

`And veray sothe it is that euery good hede and souerayne that is of fyn gold, he wylle be plyaunt and tretable, & conforme hym self to the forge and good counceylle. And yf it so is that he be no golde, but only in contenaunce & coloure, withouten hauyng no more but a maner of resemblaunce, the soothe it is he wylle cheuysse hym suche a counceylle as he troweth wylle wryen to his purpoos.

`And yf that the metal be harder than the hamour or the aneuelt, soo that the counceylours applyen them to the lust and lykynge of the souerayne, eueriche shendeth other. And soothe it is, ther wylle be fourged a fowle deformed hede, & nedes must be mysformyd all the body after, wherfor that this forsaid statua be faciound duelly and fourmed as it sholde; hit behoueth that it be gold in hym self, & that it be fourged right withoute ony errour.'

`Soothly', said I thenne, `this vnderstande I wel. But now knowe I clerely that I haue sene in a reaume many hedes and chyuetayns that were not of gold. And yet had they grete lordship and soueraynte ouer the peple. Of them I speke only, that haue commaundement for to kepe tounes and castels in bordures of the reame, and to repressen auersaryes and enemyes that besyen them to destroyen the countrey.'

`Wherby wotest thou', quod myn aungel, `that they ben no hedes of gold?'

`Sothly', quod I,`for theyr wylle was not aplyaunt to the counceyll of the same peple that they had to gouerne, ne they were nought ductible as good gold, ne no thyng mallyable. Ne they wold no thynge done but at their owne lust, wherby many good countrees ben wasted and destroyed, and moche people slayn. For the chyuetayns haue at the moost nede of socour yeuen weye to their enemyes and made the peple proye to them, whome them owed to socouren and to saue, and were lokyng after their help til they were deceyued.'

`Ful soothe it is', quod he, `that though a reame haue a noble kynge and worthy, whiche is their pryncipal hede that be of fyn gold in al condicions and propirtees that therto belongen, he ne suffiseth nought hym selue to gouerne ne to kepe his reame withouten other substitutes sett in diuerse places; namely in tyme of werre. If the land be large in hit self, [77(▀)r] and yf he myght done it hym self, the countree wold be sure ynow fro al theyr aduersaryes, wherfore hit behoueth hym that he send chyuetaynes and gouernours in to many places to kepe the frounters of the reame fro perille of enemyes.

`But soothe it is, that in the election and establysshynge of suche chyuetayns ther may be founden errour, for oftyme copre is coloured wondre lyke to gold by crafte done therto, soo that symple herted folk wene that it be fyn gold.
`Also it is noo doute that to euery body the propre hede is mooste conuenient. As to an ymage an hede of the same mater as is the body is more accordaunt than of ony other, ryght so to euery contre suche an hede and chyuetayne is moost able and competent to reson, whiche that isf enherited in the same countreye, soo that he be hym self able of persone to taken gouernaunce. And moche more profitable sholde he be, by skyle, than ony other straungeour, be it Duysshe man, or Lumbard, or ony other nacion, for why the straungeour wylle flee; he hath no more to care fore within the countre but his propre persone, whiche he wil assuren as ferforth as he may.

`And parauenture, as it hath be preuyd, he wylle receyuen yeftes of the enemyes, and soo abaundone the countreye, and suffre them for to take the towne or the castel that he hath to kepe, and yelde hym self withouten ony shame, or parauenture by cautele flee and voyde the countre, and seye that he myght doo no more thereg to than he dyde. But soothly, yf the chyuetayne were taken of the same countreh where that he is enheryted & hath his lyuelode, no doute he wol be redy anon to the deth to kepe the countre & defende it fro his enemyes; he wold not flee ther fro. For wyte it wel: ther must nedes be a difference bytwene trouthe and apparence.

`Another thynge is a veray hede, and another a feyned hede, formed of playstred clothe other of coerboyle. For the very hede will defende hym self, but the feyned hede wyll falle aweye with a litel wynde or with a lytel stroke, for there ini is no maner poynt of vertu, saue only parauenture hornes or grennyng teeth to aferen fooles. Suche ben these vnthrifty chyuetayns, and of suche jgargailes men yek shall fynde ynowe. But fewel of them, that withouten vacillacion wille done theyr deuoyre or hold them seluen stedfast as tho that ben naturelle of the same countre, for kynde techeth them bothe to loue theyr owne grounde; that one wyl flee thyder that he come fro, that other wylle abyde ther that he bigan, and receyuen good counceylle, in the manere as a rynge of golde receyueth the gemme, and neuer refuseth it, yf that a good goldsmyth haue hit on hande.