« PreviousContinue »
( The first
Booke of the communication of
Raphael Vythloday, concernyng
HE moste victorious and triumphant kyng of
Englande Henrye the eyght of that name, in al roial vertues, a prince most perelesse, hadde of
late in controversie with Charles, the right highe and mightye kyng of Castell, weighty matters and of great 5 importaunce. For the debatement and final determination wherof, the kinges Majesty sent me ambassadour into Flaunders, joyned in commission with Cuthbert Tunstall, a man doutlesse out of comparison, and whom the kynges Majestie of late, to the great re- 10 joysynge of all men, dyd preferre to the office of Maister of the Rolles.
But of this mannes prayses I wyll saye nothyng, not bicause I doo feare that small credence shal be geven to the testimonye that cometh out of a frendes mouthe: but 15 bicause his vertue and lernyng be greater, and of more excellency, then that I am able to praise them: and also in all places so famous and so perfectly well knowne, that they neede not, nor oughte not of me to bee praysed, unlesse I woulde seeme to shew and set furth the brightnes of the 20 sonne with a candell, as the proverbe saieth. There mette us at Bruges (for thus it was before agreed) thei whom their Prince hadde for that matter appoynted commissioners :
excellent men all. The chiefe and the head of theym was the Maregrave (as thei call him) of Bruges, a right honorable man: but the wisest and the best spoken of them was
George Temsice, provost of Casselses, a man, not only by 5 lernyng, but also by nature of singular eloquence, and in
the lawes profoundly learned: but in reasonynge and debatyng of matters, what by his naturall witte, and what by daily exercise, surely he hadde few fellowes. After that we
had once or twise mette, and upon certayne poyntes or 10 articles coulde not fully and throughly agree, they for a
certayne space tooke their leave of us, and departed to Bruxelle, there to know their Princes pleasure. I in the meane time (for so my busines laye) wente streighte thence
to Antwerpe. Whiles I was there abidynge, often times 15 am ge other, but whiche to me was more welcome then
annye other, dyd visite me one Peter Giles, a Peter Gyles.
citisen of Antwerpe, a man there in his countrey of honest reputation, and also preferred to high pro
motions, worthy truly of the hyghest. For it is hard to say, 20 whether the yong man be in learnyng, or in honestye more
excellent. For he is bothe of wonderfull vertuous conditions, and also singularly wel learned, and towardes all sortes of people excedyng gentyll : but towardes his frendes
so kynde herted, so lovyng, so faithfull, so trustye, and of 25 so earnest affection, that it were verye harde in any place to
fynde a man, that with him in all poyntes of frendshippe maye be compared. No man can be more lowlye or courteous. No man useth lesse simulation or dissimulation, in
no man is more prudent simplicitie. Besides this, he is in 30 his talke and communication so merye and pleasaunte, yea
and that withoute harme, that throughe his gentyll intertaynement, and his sweete and delectable communication, in me was greatly abated and diminished-the- fervente de: syre, that I had to see my native countrey, my wyfe and my chyldren, whom then I dyd muche longe and covete to see, because that at that time I had been more then iii. monethes from them. Upon a certayne daye when I hadde herde the divine service in our Ladies churche, 5 which is the fayrest, the most gorgeous and curious churche of buyldyng in all the citie and also most frequented of people and, the service beynge doone, was readye to go home to my lodgynge, I chaunced to espye this foresayde Peter talkynge with a certayne straunger, a man well stricken 10 in age, with a blacke sonneburned face, a longe bearde, and a cloke cast homly about his shoulders, whome by his favoure and apparell furthwith I judged to bee a mariner. But the sayde Peter seyng me, came unto me and saluted me.
And I was aboute to answere him: see you this man, 15 sayth he (and therewith he poynted to the man, that I sawe hym talkynge with before) I was mynded, quod he, to brynge him strayghte home to you.
He should have ben very welcome to me, sayd I, for
Nay (quod he) for his owne sake, if you knewe him : for there is no man thys day livyng, that can tell you of so manye straunge and unknowen peoples, and countreyes, as this man can. And I know wel that you be very desirous to heare of such newes.
25 Then I conjectured not farre a misse (quod I) for even at the first syght I judged him to be a mariner.
Naye (quod he) there ye were greatly deceyved: he hath sailed in deede, not as the mariner Palinure, but as the experte and prudent prince Ulisses : yea, rather as 30 the auncient and sage philosopher Plato.
For this same Raphaell Hythlodaye (for this is his name) is
Raphaell very well lerned in the Latine tongue : but hithlodaye.
profounde and excellent in the Greke language. Wherin he ever bestowed more studye then in the Latine, bycause he had geven himselfe wholy to the study of philosophy.
Wherof he knew that ther is nothyng extante in Latine, 5 that is to anye purpose, savynge a fewe of Senecaes, and
Ciceroes dooynges. His patrimonye that he was borne unto, he lefte to his brethern (for he is a Portugall borne) and for the desire that he had to see, and knowe, the farre
countreyes of the worlde, he joyned himselfe in company 10 with Amerike Vespuce, and in the iii. last voyages of
those iiii. that be nowe in printe and abrode in every mannes handes, he continued styll in his company, savyng that in the last voyage he came not home agayne with him.
For he made suche meanes and shift, what by intretaunce, 15 and what by importune sute, that he gotte licence of mayster
Americke (though it were sore against his wyll) to be one of the xxiiii whiche in the ende of the last voyage were left in the countrey of Gulike. He was therefore lefte be
hynde for hys mynde sake, as one that tooke more 20 thoughte and care for travailyng then dyenge: havyng cus
tomably in his mouth these saiynges : he that hathe no grave, is covered with the skye: and, the way to heaven out of all places is of like length and distaunce. Which
fantasy of his (if God had not ben his better frende) he 25 had surely bought full deare. But after the departynge of
mayster Vespuce, when he had travailed thorough and aboute many countreyes with v. of his companions Gulikianes, at the last by merveylous chaunce he arrived in
Taprobane, from whence he went to Caliquit, where he 30
chaunced to fynde certayne of hys countreye shippes, wherein he retourned agayne into his countreye, nothynge lesse then looked for.
All this when Peter hadde tolde me, I thanked him for his gentle kindnesse, that he had vouchsafed to brynge me to the speache of that man, whose communication he thoughte shoulde be to me pleasaunte and acceptable. And therewith I tourned me to Raphaell. And when wee hadde haylsed eche other, and had spoken these commune 5 woordes, that bee customablye spoken at the first meting and acquaintaunce of straungers, we went thence to my house, and there in my gardaine upon a bench covered with greene torves we satte downe talkyng together. There he tolde us, how that after the departyng of Vespuce, he to and his fellowes, that taried behynde in Gulicke, began by litle and litle, throughe fayre and gentle speache, to wynne the love and favoure of the people of that countreye, insomuche that within shorte space, they dyd dwell amonges them, not only harmlesse, but also occupiyng 15 with them verye familiarly. He tolde us also, that they were in high reputation and favour with a certayne great man (whose name and countreye is nowe quite out of my remembraunce) which of his mere liberalitie dyd beare the costes and charges of him and his fyve companions. And 20 besides that gave theim a trustye guyde to conducte them in their journey (which by water was in botes, and by land in wagons) and to brynge theim to other princes with verye frendlye commendations. Thus after manye dayes journeys, he sayd, they founde townes and cities and weale pub- 25 liques, full of people, governed by good and holsome lawes. For under the line equinoctiall, and on bothe sydes of the same, as farre as the sonne doth extende his course, lyeth (quod he) great and wyde desertes and wildernesses, parched, burned and dryed up with continuall and intoller- 30 able heate. All thynges bee hideous, terrible, lothesome and unpleasaunt to beholde : all thynges out of fassyon and comelinesse, inhabited withe wylde beastes and ser