Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Dedication to Edward IV.
By John Capgrave (1393–1464)
O MY benign Lord, receive this book, though it be simple: and let that Gospel come in mind, where the widow offered so little, and had so much thank.  1
  Now will I make you privy what manner opinion I have of your person in my privy meditations. I have a trust in God that your entry into your heritage shall, and must be, fortunate, for many causes. First, for ye entered in the sixtieth year of Christ after that a M.CCCC. were complete. This number of six is among writers much commended for that same perfection that belongeth to six. When he riseth by one the same belongeth to him when he is multiplied by ten. The number of six is applied to a square stone, which hath six planes, and eight corners. Wherever you lay him or turn him, he lieth firm and stable. Ye shall understand that all the labour of the world is figured in six days; for the Sunday betokeneth the rest that shall be in Heaven. We pray God that all your labour in this world may rest on God, which joined by the corner stone Christ the two walls of Jews and Heathen into one Faith. This number eke of six is praised for his particular numbers, which be one, two, three; and these be cleped cote, 1 for in their revolving they make him ever whole, as six times one is six, thrice two is six, twice three is six. This consideration may ye have in this arsmetrick. 2 Serve one God all the days of your life, which days, as is said, be comprehended in the number six, and there is six times one. Make in your soul two ternaries, 3 one in faith, another in love: believe in God—Father and Son and Holy Ghost: love God in all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Make eke three binaries. 4 As for the first, think that ye be made of two natures—body and soul. Look that your soul have ever the sovereignty, and that the bestial moving of the body oppress not the soul. The second binary is to think that there be two ways in this world, one to life, another to death. That way that leadeth to everlasting life, though it be strait, keep it. Those men that run the large way clepe them again by your power. The third binary is love of God, and love of your neighbour. For even as it is your duty to love God with dread, so it is your office for to see that men love you with dread. The Apostle, when he speaketh of potestates, 5 “He beareth not his sword,” he saith, “without cause.” The Roman law was, “To spare them that asked grace, and to smite down the proud.” 6  2
Note 1. cote.  From quotus, like our quotient. [back]
Note 2. arsmetrick (ars metrica) = method of calculation. [back]
Note 3. ternaries = triple resolutions. [back]
Note 4. binaries = double resolutions. [back]
Note 5. potestates = magistrates. [back]
Note 6. The Roman law was, “To spare them that asked grace, and to smite down the proud.” Quoted, of course, from Virgil
  Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos.

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