Of the Feete of
it is to speken of the feete, whiche that ben medled
of yren and of erth. These feete must be wel helpyng
to the legges, for they ben the bases and the
fundament to sustene them and al the remenaunt of
the body whiche that is abouen. These feete ben
dyuerse crafty men and labourers, withouten whiche
the body of the reame ne may nought be mayntened.
And oftyme suche maystres as ben of lest reputacion
ben mooste necessary, and worst mowe
`Tho clepe I the plauntesa of the fete, ne the lest of the feete may nought be despysed, for more necessary to the land is a diker & a deluer than a goldsmyth or a embrawderer. And more helply is a carpenter or a potter than an organer, a peynter, or an ymager.
`But thenne must we see why these feete ben thus of dyuerse mater entermellyd, as of yren and of erthe; hit wold seme that wonder disparaylle ben these two thynges: yren and erthe. Neuertheles they ben drawen to geders oute of one place. soothe hit is that al the necessary labour of the world entendeth no thyng els but norysshyng to the body within, and koueryng withoute.
`All that is apperteynent to norysshynge of the body withyn is drawen of the erthe, wherfor by erthe I vnderstande alle suche labourers that trauaylen in erynge and sowyng, dykynge and deluynge, in ympyng and plantyng, in pasturynge of beestes, in fysshyng and fowlynge, and alle suche thynges wherby is norysshed mannes sustenaunce. Oute of the erthe hit cometh, & in to erthe hit torneth in a lytel tyme.
`The yren parte of the feete I clepe alle tho mystres whiche that apperteynen to the body without, as clothyng, howsynge, defensynge ageyne dyuerse perylles, for whiche thynges besyen them carpenters, masons, smythes, armerours, and al suche crafty men whiche, though that many of them be nought necessary, yet be they ordeyned to comforte of man. For al though a goldsmyth be nought nedeful, yet for honeste of ornamentes of Holy Chirche, and also for array of mannes body as for manere of comforte, it is necessary.
`Loo, al these outward worchen mooste specially with yren, and withoute yren mowe they nought doo. And skylfully they ben medled of bothe twoo maters, for the yren part may nought lyue withoute the erthen parte, ne the erthen withoute the yren, but eueriche hath nede of other. And noo doute that the golden hede ne the sylueren brest, ne the brasen wombeb, ne the yren legges, withouten these entermellyd feete mowe nought be susteyned.
`Loo,thus haue I told the of this statua [85r] after the forme that thou hast beholden and Danyel hath wryten, for of no moo membres spake nought the prophete, ne parauenture Nabugodonosor sawe no more hym self. Ne otherwyse is hit nought founden in the prophecye, ne none other is the statua that thou sawe vppon the machynement, wherfore I haue good cause and occasion to cessen of this mater, for no more men maye glosen withouten text than bylde materles.'