To see a commentary note, click on a blue square. To see the Latin text, click on a green square.
I. BOULOGNE, SCOURGE OF THE FRENCH
IN PRAISE OF THE MOST HAPPY VICTORY OF KING HENRY VIII OF ENGLAND, FRANCE, SCOTLAND, AND IRELAND
I was entirely French, now I am British according to the fortune of war, and this marriage greatly pleases me. Let Henry hear your loud applause: you must say “Io, long live the victor! Io, the victor!”
BOULOGNE, SCOURGE OF THE FRENCH
Lately the noble King of France was my greatest glory, now the King of England will be my sweet ornament. Thus the dice of Mars sport in human affairs, and when they are thrown they undergo varying changes. The Belgian nation envies the English sovereign's happy successes, and yet the reason for this envy is not clear. Fame sang of the laurel-clad triumphs of Henry V, and of his lightning-like hands, at the happy time when I enclosed the victorious English within my walls, and held them in a safe place, not otherwise than when I protected my own Burgundians, entrusted to their ancient faith, and served as their help. The French King appreciated this, at a time when the Burgundian was his supporter, and hence was a fickle protection for simple-minded Henry VI. Immediately he sought out my walls in a festive progress, and I endured under the government of the leader of the French. Shifty Cordes was a contriver of an evil deed, foully betraying his master. Sad, in a submissive voice I made these predictions to the departing English, who had earned my sure loyalty: “Live, you great-hearted men, once my objects of love. Farewell, and now store up my words in your mindful hearts. As an enemy, Edward IV will threaten me with wars, but, having achieved an unstable piece, he will depart in triumphant. Henry VII will rock my citadels, but Henry VIII will be the greatest avenger of Henry VI.” Thus I sang, well-versed in the course of destiny, and the British throng believed my utterances. For me the centuries passed happily, and Clio extolled my excellent name to high heaven. Behold, as a palm of renewing virtue famed Henry VIII holds the British under his sway. He scatters the rebellious Morini and the fierce Belgae, subduing their proud necks with his yoke. Having entered my world, shattering my towers with great force, he rides conspicuously on his Scythian horse, and, serenely examining the delightful sights with his eager eyes, he has heard “Io, the victor!” from his happy troops. In autumn the vintner had pressed his trampled grapes and lovely Doris had gotten back her victor, when Henri, son of the King of France and a keen knight, renewed the war and stirred up notable tumults, and, employing sudden deceit, despoiled my suburbs by night. But he did not commit this crime with impunity: the Dauphin's infantry were turned back, and partially put to flight, and that day was the just avenger of the slaughter he had committed. A number of their nobility were killed in the surf, and their red blood dyed the sand. Mighty Biez, born to arms, prepared to reclaim me as a familiar companion and consort. I have nothing to do with the likes of Biez. De Vervines failed. One English nobleman will be the equal of many Frenchmen. Seymour, a famous captain, and Grey will take the bridge, the French throng will be cast down. Dudley, that darling of Mars, goes a-flying forward and flashes like lightning with his drawn sword. The victors drive off the French, having gained their camps and their spoils. Wounded Biezdeparts. The great earthworks built by the French as their bulwark is broken. You fail to understand the strength of your mistress, Biez, the English fortificiations have been enhanced by their strong hand. Let Poynings, that vigorous avenger, serve as an example to you, he is my protection and your executioner. The gods have done well in appointing me a stepmother to the French but a pious mother to the Brutus-born. Let Henry lead me from strength to strength. The Morini will mourn and flee far away. They will bewail these things too in their ravaged hearts, their lamentations will reach high heaven. Woe to the shattered Morini, Boulogne lies too close, and the Englishman sails about in the midst of her harbor.
BOULOGNE ADDRESSES THE RIGHT ILLUSTRIOUS HENRY VIII
When they were masters of the world the Romans, seeking the Rhutupine shores, cultivated me as the guide for their crossing. Now that they are conquered, what do I have to do with the Romans? A noble hand wholly possesses me, Englishman, and it is yours, and (since it displeases the Frenchman) I have cheerfully shifted all my dutifulness to your divine self. May the father's happy victory flourish forever, and may his son Edward maintain its like.
II. IN PRAISE OF PEACE
You who adore the fair gifts of candid peace, join in singing these songs with tuneful sounds. The happy day which brought us back fostering peace has restored us all brightness, the shadows banished. Let us therefore harmoniously worship Christ in our hearts, the author of light and our sure protection.
In a multicolored garden the first place is granted the roses, and the fair lilies own the next. The ones are painted with Phoenician purple, the others are whiter than Thracian snow. The ones are loved by our prince as badges of his royal pedigree, the others are held in highest honor by the King of France. May the gods preserve the lilies, conjoined to the purple roses, so that the nourishing tranquility of peace may grow green on this earth!
IN PRAISE OF PEACE
Let other men sing of martial excursions and swords a-drip with blood, my pleasure is to laud to the shining stars in a striking song the happy divinity of excellent Peace. Inspire me, you bright lights of heaven, grant me strength equal to my undertaking. And you too, you bright father of our nation, Henry, gleaming with foremost glory among sovereigns, now look favorably upon my wishes. Thus my fair Muse will do her part and with a ready hand will happily weave a garland of roses to adorn the happy brow of snow-white Peace, and will adorn her with ample titles.
Almighty Jove, the ruler of high Olympus, looks down on the world with His mature judgment and thus manages its flow of events as a fair umpire that He shows himself a constant master and god, and mercifully manages the whole human race that by this means He stands revealed as the common Father of all people, establishes fostering laws by means of which His fair flock may always revere and adore Him, and pay Him his due honors. And so that this flock might render Him their devout minds and its members might serve Him with a happy heart, He has freely provided gifts such as no mortals could dare hope for themselves and for their near and dear. He has created the sun with its golden locks and the tranquil moon, and the glittering stars in their fixed abodes. He has created waters to surround the vast masses of earth. He has spread abroad the air, and set fire above it. The earth brings forth its fruits, a wonderful gift, and burgeoning nature sports in gardens, so that flowers feed our eyes with their varied gleaming. And, not content to display such beauty, they produce an unfathomable ambrosial nectar and exhale spirits which produce a sweet scent. and the grace of their fragrance refreshes our twin nostrils. What am I to say now about the greenwoods and the glades with their wild beasts, or to include about the choirs of birds pouring forth their music? Let the tuneful nightingale sing about them with her plaintive tunes, for in her shrill mouth the Muses sings so that she sweetens the resounding forest and high heaven. What does the sea possess, flowing with its salt waters? In its depths it cherishes scaly fish, and among their slippery bodies it has deservedly given first place to the crescent-shaped dolphin, because he leaps higher among the surging waves, and breathe the lively airs, and furthermore is a well-known lover of little boys, and because he adores all manner of harmonious music. Perhaps this is the reason why Henri of Valois, that sweet ornament of the French king, has borne this as the mark of his outstanding fame, his lofty high title. The air, shining in the clear sky, makes its claim on my attention, does mighty fire, which generously supplies life and heat as helps, generous in its bounties. Here my subject admits no long discourse, and these aforementioned gifts of the Thunderer have indeed been great, rightly reminding the people that they should be mindful and obey their Master’s commands, lest they be condemned of treason and suffer punishment, and the penalty of His well-deserved lash. But they will seem small in comparison with His new gifts which follow, shining with their sure evidence (at least in the eyes of an acute judge). The divine spirit has freely given us lively intellect and eternal sources from which flow the great advantages of Reason, so that by their aid pleasing Virtue might exist. And the indulgence of our Divine Father has reached its pinnacle, and He has promised His people the right bounteous gifts of His peace as they dwell on the earth, and then bright heaven is appointed for them on this sagacious law, that each man must observe his fostering mandates, faithful day and night. Wherefore, since our God’s mercy is so great, oh let us mindfully give Him thanks with hearts as pure as snow. Let our harmonious voices strike all the harmonious heaven. And since now peace shines forth by sea and by land, after the dire lightning-bolts of war and its horrible thunder such as the world has never heard before, and after much slaughter, as when the golden sun dispels the unkind darkness, and with its divine power shows us its bright light, so often hoped for in our prayers and our humble mind, but scarce hoped-for, as Mars was providing the opposite. Conquered, Mars has perished, depart, you bloody weapons. Let the fulminating blasts fall silent, and the loud roaring. Peace, that best of all things, has at length returned. Hail, festive day! No brighter has dawned since the day of Christ’s birth, at which happy time the angelic chorus sang its sweet songs that established fair peace. With what white stones should I now mark the famed names of your pedigree, virgin, noble virgin? Or with what green garlands should I in many ways crown your happy head with due praise? The empurpled roses, my concern, desire to shine from your brow, adding their happy honors. The branch of Pallas eagerly demands the same, for the fertile olive offers symbols of safe peace. And the triumphal laura, once familiar to victors, will duly adorn your pleasing self. Thus your presence convicts grim Mars, so that, at length a refugee and with hope in no way favoring him, he will return to the race of the Sarmatians, or that of the Getes. How I would like to depict your deeds with shining paintings! Even in the market-place you would shine forth wholly, like fairest Cynthia borne by her chariot. But no happy grace has made me a painter, no learned Muse has made me a poet. These things require a honied Ovid, whose glory has been spread throughout the world with its starry beams. These same things require the lights of bright Pontanus, who gleams with all the sweet glory of his tuneful Muses. Now, placed between these, I am between a rock and a hard place, my doubtful mind is ever-changing. Albeit I lack the strength, my will nevertheless commands me, urges me, propels me with its friendly exhortations to heap high your praises in a protracted song, lest I seem idle in my duty and abandoning that which is honorable. I shall not shirk, and every stone will be turned so that your praise may thrive through the zones of this wide world, Peace, you candid mother and bright nursemaid of Quiet. Meanwhile I entrust my sails to favorable breezes, so that now my little barque may sail happily in a safe harbor.
In the first place I shall relate blessed Peace’s immortal pedigree, and her noble, famed origin. The sole, supreme, all-seeing Ruler of heaven, He who made the solid to shine, fathered bright Peace with His divine godhead, so that she might shed her light on the earth, like a new star rising in the sky, and, beautiful with her tranquil beams, might gently soothe men’s minds. This gleaming virgin obeyed her father’s pious commands, mounting a car handsome for its gold, and taking for her companions the daughters of Virtue, among which shines forth that blessed maiden Astraea, whose praises were sung in that song of Aratus: “Not yet had madness bared mad swords, nor were discords known to kinsmen.” These are the words of that excellent bard who described the stars. And he sang more, how, as vices grew among men, she mounted the lofty sphere and was allotted a place in heaven, next to which sluggish Bootes follows his wain to the west. Next beamed Concord with her happy face, so often hymned by the Greeks and the Romans. Then followed Tranquility, a daughter of heaven herself. Likewise came Piety and fair Probity, and gentle Clemency, called by an excellent name. Nor was Modesty lacking in her holy duty, nor did welcome Grace fail in her honorable work, freely offering herself as a companion. Amity saw these things and circled the festive world, bringing along her little son Love. Then all these nymphs, bearing fragrant garlands and waving branches of olive in their hands, and lilies as emblems of their great candor, adored Peace as she celebrated her triumph on earth, and sounded forth their prayerful words.
Seeing such things, God shone forth with a happy face, for He Himself most mercifully looks out for mankind, and by His laws and His prophets He piously warns us that Peace is to be cultivated, for she bestows bright rewards. And what of the fact that the Son of our everlasting Father, the ever-living Christ, the sole hope of our life, also did not come to broadcast horrible wars throughout the world, but rather was bent on sowing the happy seeds of peace, so that His eager people might reap an ample harvest? Neither did his servants the Apostles teach anything to uproot snow-white Peace and Tranquility. Rather, they more properly strove that she would spread far and wide. God’s herald Paul thus praises Peace’s divinity, he preached it and extolled it more wholeheartedly than all the others, so as to place her rare gift atop Olympus.
To omit here the bright lights of Holy Scripture, there are not lacking a large number of testimonies of the ancient Greeks celebrating the pious gifts of laurel-crowned Peace, as they vied in lauding her worthy person to the stars with their resounding songs. Euripides, that first glory of the tragic Muse, described her as lavish and then called her blessed, adding these words: “the fairest of goddesses.” And elsewhere, “ how much better peace is for mankind than war,-peace, the Muses’ chiefest friend, the foe of sorrow, whose joy is in glad throngs of children, and its delight in prosperity.” Likewise the poet Aristophanes wholly approves his judgment, enhancing the praises of most prosperous peace. In his Paeans holy Bacchylides sung these words: “the children of Peace give us everything golden.” And Plato’s learned Muse commends peace, using these words: “Now I have invented that which greatly pleases me. Consider the gifts I have generously given you: marriages, children, kinsmen, wealth, bodily strength, and sweet wine.” S o much for the Greek poet’s celebration of celestial Peace. Soon they were succeeded by the Romans, mindful of their duty, who with their honeyed voices fitly sang bright proclamations of fostering peace. Ovid, that glory of Sulmo, who flourished at the time when happy Octavian ruled over a world quiet with tranquil peace. He sang songs right worthy of the cedar. There where his succinct Muse sang of the calendar, he wrote “Come, Peace, your hair wreathed with garlands of Actium, gently remain throughout the world while we lack enemies and any grounds for a triumph, you will be a greater glory than war for our captains.” Likewise this same bard added “Let the ox submit to the plow, let seed lie under plowed lands. Peace nourishes Ceres, Ceres is the daughter of Peace.” Again, in his Art of Love he writes, “Fair peace suits Man, savage wrath befits beasts.” Now the eloquent Muse of Tibullus thrusts herself forward: “It was Peace, fair Peace, that which yoked the oxen. Peace nurtured the vines and stored up the juice of the grape, so a son might pour wine from his father’s cask. In peacetime the sheep and the plowshare thrive, and the baleful arms of dire warfare rust away in darkness.” Silius Italicus sings these words: “Peace is the best of the things granted mankind to know. Peace by itself is better than countless triumphs. Peace has the power to preserve safety and render citizens equal.” thus said Silius.
There are also remains of the Orators which ornament the sublime titles of settled peace. The rhetor Isocrates (a man both good and sweet), lashed out at criminal war with the lightning-bolt of his tongue. The reason is well known. He was innocent Peace’s attorney, and he piously learned to assist his client, whom he had so loved from his youth that he worshiped the divine presence of that virgin goddess. And a second orator — this one a Roman — prudently wrote such things as this about toga-clad Peace, that small things grow, as long as concord is present, but unhappy discord destroys even the greatest of things. With these concordant words he taught nothing else than that he wholeheartedly embraced the gifts of peace. Furthermore, a number of learned men have cheered friendly peace, but now my short time does not allow me to enter into details. So my Muse will play her part more succinctly, and yet she will not rashly skip over the honors of candid peace. If I may speak the truth, war is a dire and all-destroying winter, like a cruel ravager. It allows us no hopes that something sweet or useful will remain. But happy peace always bids us hope for happy things, she shines upon human affairs like the evening star. Tillers go back to their fields, gardens are a-glow, excellently painted with their flowers, and cattle receive a fine feeding. Homesteads are built throughout the fields. Ruined towns are quickly rebuilt, and hence are decorated in their places and, enhanced, display an unwonted splendor thanks to their bright lights. The wholesome power of the law thrives everywhere. A genuine commonwealth flourishes, made strong by familiarity with Peace, and lofty Religion relies on her props. Amidst cities themselves the just and the good prevail, and a quite nobler cleanliness of morals. Furthermore, the prudent industry of craftsmen heats up far and wide, and helpless poverty feels friendly aid. Widows are defended by their patrons’ care, the rich man’s hall shines more brightly than usual. Tranquil leisure will bless happy old age, and the cheap price of grain will oppress no man. True glory will adorn all pious folk with well-earned praises, and the depraved license of evildoers will suffer grave punishments, bitterly regretting its crimes. The flock, having lost its young in war, will be restored. Many a dear maiden will marry her beloved husband, and the numerous legion will make good the losses of its fallen. Now pacified, the surging sea’s wicked fury will repay the shipmaster’s losses with interest, and, lastly, the brilliant pursuit of goodly studies and the glory of eloquence, known to the skies by its reputation, will happily display its every talent and its arts. These things, now downcast in many a way and by many a downfall, will return to their fair freedom, relying on hope. May Peace look favorably on these prayers, dutiful and kind, may she uplift the sons of bright Virtue.
I, a devotee of divine Peace, have sung these things, of whatsoever quality they may be, showing off my heart’s delight. May the great gods also be friendly and preserve you, Henry, greatest of sovereigns, and preserve your Edward, that famous flower, the ornament of the nobility and the leading glory of our boys. May they also long preserve the treaties of olive-bearing Peace, so that you, most splendid victor, may thrive on this earth leagued with your friend François, the supreme lord of the French and a mighty ruler. Thus the fame of the both of you will flourish with its shining lights, and your happy peoples will cheer with their resonant voices.
Io, long live victorious Henry, may he live the years of a Nestor, as a great lover of sound virtue, and may he defend the fostering faith of Christians. And may he continue the embrace the fairest gifts of peace.
Io, long live François, that supreme lord of the French, for he preferred snow-white peace to black war, banishing its darkness and calling back the sunlight.
Io, long live Prince Edward, the morning star, may he resemble his serene father in looks and in deeds.
Io, long live Henri the Dauphin, resplendent in his title, said to be the leading glory of youths.
Io, long live Dudley, that man well known to the sons of surging Neptune, that glory of the Nereids, his happy brow wreathed with Apollo’s bays, whom the honorable Court of France now holds to its embrace, and, ever-noble, requites with its duties of politesse.
Io, long live d’Annebault, hymned, extolled and celebrated by the shores of France because he commands their tall ships and, as their ruler, subdues the ocean’s heaving waves, a man whom our divine Henry’s even loftier Court now praises, reveres, and decorates.