The Brest of this Ymage

Capitulo xxxiii

`After this hit seweth to speke of the brest of syluer. The brest, after comyn seynge, shold ben as a closure of tresour shyt or closid in maner of a coufre wherin that men shal put pryue thynges that nedyn to be saued. Vpon this brest shal be set an ouche or a broche, whiche shal ben as it were a keye or fastnyng of this maner of closure.

`By this breste is vnderstandea the streyte counceyll closen, by whiche a kyng wylle be gouerned [81v] hym self and his reame, so that these shalle trewely kepen his secret withouten shewynge outward. And hit ne shalle nought be withoute a broche fastned therupon, that is sacrament of assurence, by whiche he may haue the more siker triste.

`Ne it is nought outrageous, though a kynge haue suche two or thre, of the wiche he may maken a coufre closid with his pryue counceyll. But for to speke of counceilours in special, thou shalt vnderstande to a kynge byhoueth seuen counceylours, of whiche I shal seye the the maner and their office, eueriche in his kynde.

`The first counceylourb must be a good and trewe counceilour, moost pryue to hym of ony other persone, as touchynge to the secrete of his conscyence.

`The second ben tho pryue frendys whiche I haue spoken of before, to whiche he must affyen hym self of other worldly thynges that nedyn to be tretid of gouernaunce of his owne estate to be mayntened in worshype, & also of the reame to be kept & saued fro theyr enemyes within & withoute.

`The thyrd counceilour is the chauncelerc with other connynge men of lawe, as iustyces and sergeauntes, and suche other connyng men that owen for to knowen the lawes and statutes of the land, by whoos counceylle he shal yelde euery man that to his right bilongeth.

`The fourth counceylour ben other, that shal haue for to sene in special to gouernaunce of his propre goodes, his rentes and his reuenues, gabelles & customes, and suche other auauntages rightwysly to be lyfte, that he haue no nede to pyllen his peple, ne to bed enbryked by dette to ony of his subgettis, ne that he faile not of good in the tyme of nede, bothe for his houshold and also for other auentures, whatsoeuer betyde.

`The fyfthe counceylour must ben the steward of his houshold, with the tresorer, and other wyse offycers, whiche oweth for to see that his houshold be honestly gouerned, fyrst in honeste of the persones in good pees and charyte, acordaunt to geders, sithen in plente and lyberalyte of mete and drynke to all manere of peple, sithen in chere and disport to straungeourse, comynge fro alyene countrees, so that the kynges worship may wexen and encrecen and long tyme be mayntened in prosperite.

`The sixthe counceilour is the conestable, with the marschall and other wise knyghtes of werre and other auncyen, trauayled men that ben experte in dedes of armes, by whome he must ordeyne his castels and garnysons duely to be kept and stuffed with vitaille, and with armour, & with suffysauntf persones to sauyng of the countreg, & yf nede be also to ony iourney outward for to repressen the pride & theh malice [82r] of his enemyes.

`The seuenthe counceyloure is the phisicyen, after whoos counceylle he must be gouerned in dyete and in medycynes that nedeth to the hele of his persone.

`And al these seuen counceylloursi muste alweye be cloos and pryue, soo that by them his counceylle be nought shewed ne publysshed outward. And this is wel fygured in the Apocalipsis
84 by the angel that was gyrd vpon the brest with a gyrdell of gold, bytokenyng that the pryue counceylle of a kynge shold be kepte secrete and loken in the brestes of his counceylours, right as tresoure is loken in a cheste.

`The breste is of syluer riche and suffysaunt ynowe, soo that them nedeth nought to glosen ne to flateren for plesaunce and hope of yeftes, ne bryken ne stele for nede of them seluen.

`Bryght shynyng must this brest be by honeste of fame and also of theyr byrthe, so that they be nought disclaundredj of no vicious tatches, pryncipally of couetyse, which is cleped maumetrye and rote of al synne

`This brest also must be wel sownynge, that they drede no persone for to seye a trouthe. This syluer also must ben withouten medlure of ony corrupte metal, that they coueyte nought to be neyhe the kyng for no corrupte cause ne hope of auauncement, but only goode and trewe counceyll. First to Goddes worship, and sithen to his owne.

`Ful soothe it is that somme ther ben that semyn syluer by apparence without forth. But they faren lyke to wormes that shynen by nyght lyke to a sterre or to a precious stone, vppon whiche yf thou putte thy hand, thou shalt nought fynde but fylthe. Soothly suche shold hold no thyng pryue, ne yeue no trewe counceylle.

`But yf hit soo be that this kynges counceylle be very trewe syluer, sownynge clerely and shewynge by quyck reson that theyr seynge is sad and sothfast, suche a counceyller may wel be lyk to Aaron
86, that had a broche or a tatche fastned vnder his breste, that was cleped Racionale, in whiche was wryten these wordes: Dyscrecion in iugement, trouthe, and trewe doctryne, as though a man wolde seye: euery bisshop and prelate shold ben lyke to Aaron; iust in his iugementes, trewe in counceyll, yeuyng by hyhe discression the sadnes of his counceylle. The hygher that he is sette in estate, the more shold his wordes be of substaunce, and moost of reputacion.

`And grete shame is to hym, yf he yeue ony other counceylle than good and profitable, for he shold nought be set in that estate, but yf he were wyse and of grete discression. And but yf more were founden in hym than in ony other, and soothely yf a counceylourk be founde in defaute of vntrewe counceylll, [82v] he shold be iuged to the same peyne as was the serpent that falsely deceyued Eue with his fals counceylle. He was iuged that for euer after he shold eten of the erthe and crepe vpon his breste

`For soothly euery fals counceylour may properly be cleped a serpent whiche that with his enuenymed tonge defameth the renome of thylke that he counceyleth, puttynge in his ere the venym of his fals and wycked deceyte, wherfore good ryght is that vpon suche one be take vengeaunce by iugement, as to suche a deceyuoure lawfully belongeth. And no lesse peyne is due to suche one that can nought kepen cloos the counceylle of a kynge, which sholde be kepte pryue and nought proclamed out.