William Caxton.

Game and Playe of the Chesse A Verbatim Reprint of the First Edition, 1474 online

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morenynges ne with to moche wyn on euenynges/ wherby her synewis and
vaynes myght be greuy/ that they muste for faute of good rewle tarye But
they ought to goo and come hastely for to reporte to their maistres
answers as hit apperteyneth And this suffisen of the thynges aboue sayd.



_The fourth tractate & the last of the progression and draughtes of the
forsayd playe of the chesse.

The first chapitre of the fourth tractate of the chesse borde in genere
how it is made._

Ze haue deuised aboue the thinges that apperteyne vnto the formes of the
chesse men and of theyr offices/ that is to wete as well of noble men as
of the comyn peple/ than hit apperteyneth that we shold deuyse shortly
how they yssue and goon oute of the places where they be sette/ And
first we ought to speke of the forme and of the facion of the chequer
after that hit representeth and was made after/ For hyt was made after
the forme of the cyte of Babyloyne/ In the whiche this same playe was
founden as hit is sayd afore/ And foure thinges The first is/ wher y'e
shal vnderstande that y'e ought to consydere here in fore that. lxiiii.
poyntes ben sette in the eschequer whiche ben alle square/ The seconde
is wherfore the bordeur aboute his hyher than the squarenes of the
poyntes/ The thirde is wherfore the comyn peple ben sette to fore the
nobles/ The fourthe wherfore the nobles and the peples ben sette in
their propre places Ther ben as many poyntes in y'e eschequer wyde as
full And y'e shall first vnderftande wherfore that ther ben. lxiiii.
poyntes in the eschequer/ For as the blessid saint Iherome saith/ the
cyte of babilone was right grete and was made alle square/ and in euery
quarter was. xvi. myle by nombre and mesure/ the whiche nombre foure
tymes told was. lxiiii. myles/ After the maner of lombardye they be
callid myles/ and in france leukes/ and in englong they be callid mylis
also/ And for to reprefente the mesure of thys cyte/ In whiche thys
playe or game was founden/ The philosopher that fonde hit first ordeyned
a tablier conteynyng .lxiiii. poynts square/ the which ben comprised
wyth in the bordour of the tablier/ ther ben xxxii. on that on fide &.
xxxii. on that other whiche ben ordeyned for the beaulte of the playe/
and for to mewe the maner & drawynge of the chesse as hit shall appere
in the chapitres folowynge/ and as to the seconde wherfore y'e bordour
of theschequyer is hyher than the table wyth in. hit is to be
vnderftande y't the bordour aboute representeth the walle of t'e cyte/
whiche is right hyghe/ And therfor made y'e philosopher the bordour more
hyghe than y'e tablier. And as y'e blessid saint Iherome saith vpon y'e
prophesie of ysaye/ that is to wete vpon a montayne of obscurete. whiche
wordes were said of babilone whiche standeth in chaldee and nothinge of
that babilone that stondeth in egipte/ for it is so y't babilone whiche
standeth in chaldee was sette in a right grete playne/ & had so hyghe
walles that by the heyghte of them/ was contynuell derkenes environed &
obscurete/ that none erthely man might beholde and see the ende of y'e
hyghnes of the walle/ And therfore ysaye callid hit y'e montaigne
obscure/ And saint Iherome sayth y't the mesure of the heyght of this
walle was thre thousand paas/ whiche extendeth vnto y'e lengthe of thre
myle lombardes/ hit is to wete that lombarde mylis and english myles ben
of one lengthe And in one of the corners of this cyte was made a toure
treangle as a shelde wherof the heyght extended vnto the lengthe of
.vii. thousand paas/ whiche is .vii. myle english And this tour was
callyd the tour of Babell/ The walles aboute the tour made a woman whos
name was semiranus as sayth virgilius/ As to the thirde wherfore the
comyn peple ben sette to fore the nobles in the felde of the bataylle in
one renge First for as moche as they ben necessarye to alle nobles For
the rooke whiche standeth on the ryght syde and is vicaire of the kynge
what may he doo yf the labourer were not sette to fore hym and labourid
to mynystre to hym suche temporell thynges as be necessary for hym/ And
what may the knyght doo yf he ne had to fore hym the smyth for to forge
his armours. sadellis. axis and spores and suche thynges as apperteyneth
to hym/ And what is a knyght worth wyth oute hors and armes/ certaynly
nothynge more than on of the peple or lasse pauenture And in what maner
shold the nobles lyue yf no man made cloth and bought and solde
marchandyse/ And what shulde kynges and quenes and the other lordes doo
yf they had no phisicyens ne cyrurgiens/ than I saye that the peple ben
the glorye of the Crowne And susteyne. the lyf of the nobles And
therfore thou that art a lord or a noble man or knyght/ despise not the
comyn peple for as moche as they ben sette to fore the in y'e pleye The
seconde cause is why the peple ben sette to fore the nobles and haue the
table wyde to fore them/ is be cause they begyn the bataylle/ They ought
to take hede and entende to do theyr offices and theyr craftes/ In suche
wyse that they suffre the noble men to gouerne the cytees and to
counceylle and make ordenances of the peple of the batayll how shold a
labourer a plowman or a craftyman counceylle and make ordenance of suche
thynges as he neuer lerned/ And wote ne knoweth the mater vpon what
thynge the counceylle ought to be taken/ Certes the comyn peple ought
not to entende to none other thynge but for to do their seruyse and the
office whiche is couenable vnto hem/ And hyt apperteyneth not to hem to
be of counceyllys ne at the aduocacions/ ne to menace ne to threte
noman/ for ofte tymes by menaces and by force good counceylle is
distroublid/ And where good counceyll faylleth/ there ofte tymes the
cytees ben betrayed and destroyed/ And Plato sayth That the comyn
thynges and the cytees ben blessid whan they ben gouerned by wyse men/
or whan the gouernours studye in wisedom/ And so hit apperteyneth to the
comyn to lerne to vttre the maters & the maner of procuracion to fore
they be counceyllours/ For hit happeth oftetymes that he that maketh hym
wyser that he vnderstandeth is made more foole than he is/ And the
fourth cause wherfore y't ther ben in the tabler as many poynts wyde as
ben full. hit is to wete for that they what euer they be that haue peple
to gouerne/ ought tenforce to haue cytees & caftellis & possessions for
to sette his peple theryn/ And for to laboure & doo their ocupacion/ For
for to haue the name of a kynge with out royame is a name voyde/ and
honour with oute prouffit/ And alle noblesse wyth oute good maners/ and
with out suche thinges as noblesse may be mayntenyd/ ought better be
callid folye than noblesse. And shamefull pouerte is the more greuous
whan hit cometh by nature of an hyhe and noble burth or hous. For noman
gladly wole repreue a poure man of the comyn peple/ But euery man hath
in despite a noble man that is poure yf he haue not in hym good maners
and vertuous/ by whiche his pouerte is forgoten/ and truly a royame with
oute haboundance of goodes by whiche hit may be gouerned and prospere/
may better be callyd a latrocynye or a nest of theeuys than a royame/
Alas what haboundance was some tymes in the royames. And what prosþite/
In whiche was Iustice/ And euery man in his office contente/ how stood
the cytees that tyme in worship and renome/ how was renomed the noble
royame of Englond Alle the world dredde hit And spack worship of hit/
how hit now standeth and in what haboundance I reporte me to them that
knowe hit yf ther ben theeuis wyth in the royame or on the see/ they
knowe that laboure in the royame And sayle on the see I wote well the
fame is grete therof I pray god saue that noble royame And sende good
true and politicque counceyllours to the gouernours of the same &c./ And
noblesse of lignage wyth oute puyssance and might is but vanyte and
despite. And hit is so as we haue sayd to fore that theschequer whiche
the philosopher ordeyned represented and figured the sayd cyte of
Babilone And in lyke wyse may hit figure a royame and signefye alle the
world And yf men regarde and take heed vnto the poyntes vnto the middes
of euery quadrante and so to double euery quadrant to other the myles of
this cyte all way doublinge vnto the nombre of .lxiiii. The nombre of
the same shulde surmounte alle the world/ And not only the world but
many worldes by the doublinge of mylis/ whiche doublinge so as a fore is
sayd shuld surmounte alle thynges/ And thus endeth the first chapitre of
the fourth booke.


_The seconde chaitre of the fourth tractate tretheth of the draught of
the kynge/ And how he meuyth hym in the chequer._

We ought to knowe that in this world/ the kynges seygnourye and regne
eche in his royame. And in this playe we ought to knowe by the nature of
hit how the kynge meueth hym and yssueth oute of his place/ For y'e shall
vnderstande that he is sette in the fourth quadrante or poynt of
theschequer. And whan he is black/ he standeth in the white/ and the
knyght on his ryght side in white/ And the Alphyn and the rooke in
black/ And on the lifte side the foure holden the places opposite/ And
the rayson may be suche/ For be cause that the knyghtes ben the glorye &
the crowne of the kynge,' They ensiewe in semblable residence/ that they
doo whan they ben sette semblably on the ryght side of the kynge & on
the lyfte side of the quene/ And for as moche as the rook on the ryght
syde is vicayre of the kynge he accompanyeth the quene in semblable
siege that the Alphyn doth whiche is Iuge of the kynge/ And in lyke wyse
the lifte rook & the lyfte Alphyn accompanye the kynge in semblable
siege/ In suche wyse as they ben sette aboute the kynge in bothe sides
wyth the Quene in manere of a crowne/ That they may seurely kepe the
royame that reluyseth and shyneth in the kynge and in the Quene/ In
suche wyse as they may conferme and diffende hym in theyr sieges and in
theyr places. And the more hastily renne vpon his enemyes And for as
moche as the Iuge, the knyght/ and the vicaire. kepe and garnysshe the
kynge on that one syde/ They that ben sette on the other syde kepe the
Quene/ And thus kepe they alle the strength and fermete of the royame/
And semblably otherwhile for to ordeyne the thynges that apperteyne to
the counceyll/ and to the besoygne of the royame/ For yf eche man shold
entende to his owen proper thynges/ And y't they defended not ner toke
hede vnto the thingis y't apperteynen to the kynge to the comyn and to
the royame/ the royalme shold an[=o]n be deuided in parties And thus
myght the Iuge regne/ And the name of the dignyte royall shold be lost/
And truly for as moche as the kynge holdeth the dignyte aboue alle other
and the seygnourye royall/ therfore hit apperteyneth not that he absente
hym longe/ ne wythdrawe hym ferre by space of tyme from the maister
siege of his royame/ For whan he wele meue hym/ he ought not to passe at
the first draught the nombre of .iii. poynts/ And whan he begynneth thus
to meue from his whyt poynt/ he hath the nature of the rooks of the
right syde and of the lifte syde for to goo black or whithe/ And also he
may goo vnto the white poynt where the gardes of the Cyte ben sette And
in this poynt he hath the nature of a knyght. And thyse two maners of
meuynge apperteyneth otherwhile to the quene/ and for as moche as the
kynge and the quene that ben conioyned to geder by mariage ben one
thynge as one flessh and blood/ therfore may the kynge meue on the lifte
side of his propre poynt also wele as he were sette in the place of the
quene whiche is black/ and whan he goth right in maner of the rook only/
And hit happen that the aduersarie be not couered in ony poynt in the
seconde ligne/ The kynge may not passe from his black poynt vnto the
thirde ligne/ And thus he sortisith the nature of the rook on the ryght
syde and lyfte syde vnto the place of the knyghtes and for to goo ryght
to fore In to the whyte poynt to fore the marchant/ And the kynge also
sortyst the nature of the knyghtes whan he goth on the ryght syde in two
maners/ For he may put hym in the voyde space to fore the phisicyen/ And
in the black space to fore the tauerner/ And on the other side he goth
in to other two places in lyk wise that is to fore the smyth/ and the
notarye/ And thus as in goynge out first in to .iiii. poynts he sorteth
the nature of knyghtes/ and also the kynge sortiseth the nature of the
alphins at his first yssu in to .ii. places And he may goo on bothe
sides vnto the white place voyde/ that one to fore y'e smith on that on
side/ and that other to for the tauerner on that other side/ All these
yssues hath y'e kyng out of his propre place of his owen vertue whan he
begynneth to meue. But whan he is ones meuyd fro his propre place/ He
may not meue but in to one space or poynt/ and so from one to an other/
And than he sortiseth the nature of the comyn peple/ and thus by good
right he hath in hymfelf the nature of alle/ For alle the vertue that is
in the membres cometh of the heed and all meuyng of the body/ The
begynnynge & lyf comen from the herte/ And all the dignyte that the
subgettes haue by execucion/ and contynuell apparence of their meuynge &
yssue/ The kynge deteyneth hit & is attribued to hym/ the victorye of
the knightes/ the prudence of y'e Iuges/ the auctorite of the vicaires
or legates The c[=o]tynence of the quene/ the c[=o]corde & vnyte of y'e
peple Ben not all thise thinges ascribed vnto the honour and worship of
the kynge Jn his yssue whan he meuyd first The thirde ligne to fore the
peple he neuer excedeth/ Fro in the .iii. nombre alle maner of states
begynne to meue For the trynary nombre conteyneth .iii. parties/ whiche
make a perfect nombre/ For a trynarye nombre hath. i. ii. iii. Whiche
Ioyned to geder maken .vi. Whiche is the first parfyt nombre And
signefieth in this place/ vi. persones named that constitute the
þfection of a royame That is to wete the kynge. the quene. Iuges,
knyghtes. the vicaires or legats/ and the comyn peple And therfor the
kynge ought to begynne in his first meuynge of .iii. poyntes/ that he
shewe perfection of lyf as well in hym self as in other After that the
kynge begynneth to meue he may lede wyth hym the quene/ after the maner
of his yssue For why the quene foloweth vnto two angularye places/ after
the maner of the alphyn/ and to a place indirect in the maner of a rook
in to the black poynt to fore the phisicien/ herin is signefied that the
women may not meue neyther make vowes of pylgremage ner of viage
wythoute the wylle of theyr husbondes/ For yf a woman had a vowed ony
thynge/ her husbonde lyuynge/ and agaynsaynge/ she may not yelde ne
accomplisshe her vowe/ yf the husbond wyll goo oughwer. he may well goo
wyth oute her And yf so be that the husbond wyll haue her wyth hym/ she
is bounden to folowe hym/ And by reson For a man is the heed of a woman/
and not econuerso/ For as to suche thingis as longe to patrymony/ they
ben lyke/ but the man hath power ouer her body/ And so hath not the
woman ouer his And therfore whan the kynge begynneth to meue. the Quene
may folowe/ And not alleway whan she meuyd it is no nede the kynge to
meue/ For why four the first lignes be with in the limytes and space of
the royame/ And vnto the thirde poynt the kynge may meue at his first
meuynge out of his propre place/ And whan he passith the fourth ligne he
goeth oute of his royame. And yf he passe oon poynt late hym beware/ For
the persone of a kynge Is acounted more than a thousand of other/ For
whan he exposeth hym vnto the paryllis of bataylle/ Hit is necessarye
that he goo temperatly and slyly/ For yf he be taken or ded/ or ellis
Inclusid and shette vp/ Alle the strengthes of alle other faylle and
alle Is fynysshid and loste/ And therfore he hath nede to goo and meue
wysely/ And also therfore he may not meue but one poynt after hys fyrst
meuynge but where that euer he goo foreward or bacward or on that one
syde or that other or ellis cornerwyse/ He may neuer approche hys
aduersarye the kynge nerrer than in the thirde poynt/ And therfore the
kynges in batayll ought neuer tapproche one nyghe that other/ And also
whan the kynge hath goon so ferre that alle his men be lost/ than he is
sole/ And than he may not endure longe whan he is brought to y't
extremyte/ And also he ought to take hede that he stande not soo that a
knyght or an other saith chek rook/ than the kyng loseth y'e rook/ That
kynge is not well fortunat that leseth hym to whom his Auctoryte
delegate apperteyneth/ who may doo the nedes of the royame yf he be
priuyd taken or dede/ that was prouisour of alle the royame/ he shall
bere a sack on his hede that Is shette in a cyte/ And alle they that
were theryn ben taken in captiuite and shette vp &c.


_The seconde chapiter of the fourth book of the quene and how she
yssueth oute of her place._ [Transcriber's note: The printer's
error in the original text, labeling the third chapter as "The
seconde chapiter" is preserved here.]

Whan the Quene whiche is accompanyed vnto the kynge begynneth to meue
from her propre place/ She goth in dowble manere/ that is to wete as an
Alphyn whan she is black/ fhe may goo on the ryght syde & come in to the
poynt to fore the notarye And on the lifte syde in the black poynt and
come to fore the gardees of the cyte And hit is to wete that me
sortiseth in her self the nature in .iii. maners first on the ryght syde
to fore the alphyn/ Secondly on the lifte syde where the knyght is/ And
thirdly indirectly vnto the black poynt to fore the phisicyen And the
rayson why. Is for as moche as she hath in her self by grace/ the
auctrorite that the rooks haue by c[=o]myscion/ For she may gyue &
graute many thynges to her subgetts graciously And thus also ought she
to haue parfyt wisedom/ as the alphyns haue whiche ben Iuges/ as hit
sayd aboue in the chapitre of the Quene/ And she hath not the nature of
knyghtes/ And hit is not fittynge ne couenable thynge for a woman to goo
to bataylle for the fragilite and feblenes of her/ And therfore holdeth
she not the waye in her draught as the knyghtes doon/ And whan she is
meuyd ones oute of her place she may not goo but fro oon poynt to an
other and yet cornerly whether hit be foreward or backward takynge or to
be taken/ And here may be axid why the quene goth to the bataylle wyth
the kynge/ certainly it is for the solace of hym/ and ostencion of loue/
And also the peple desire to haue sucession of the kynge And therfore
the tartaris haue their wyues in to the felde with hem/ yet hit is not
good that men haue theyr wyuys with hem/ but that they abyde in the
cytees or within their owne termes/ For whan they ben oute of theyr
cytees and limytes they ben not sure/ but holden suspecte/ they shold be
shamfast and hold alle men suspect/ For dyna Iacob's doughter as longe
as she was in the hows of her brethern/ she kept her virginite/ But
assone as she wente for to see the strange Regyons. Anone she was
corrupt and defowled of the sone of sichem/ Seneca sayth that the women
that haue euyll visages ben gladly not chaste/ but theyr corage desireth
gladly the companye of men/ And Solynus saith that no bestes femellys
desyre to be towched of theyr males whan they haue conceyuyd/ Exept
woman whyche ought to be a best Raysonable/ And in thys caas she lefeth
her rayson/ And Sidrac wythnesseth the same And therfore in the olde
lawe/ the faders hadd dyuerce wyues and Ancellys to thende whan one was
wyth childe/ they myght take another/ They ought to haue the visage
enclyned for teschewe the fight of the men/ that by the fight they be
not meuyd with Incontynence and diffame of other/ And Ouyde sayth that
ther ben some That how well that they eschewe the dede/ yet haue they
grete Joye whan they ben prayed/ And therfore ought the good women flee
the curyositees and places wher they myght falle in blame and noyse
of the peple.


_The fourth chapitre of the fourth book Is of the yssuynge of the

The manere and nature of the draught of the Alphyn is suche/ that he
that is black in his propre fiege is sette on the right side of the
kynge/ And he that is whyt is sette on the lifte side/ And ben callyd
and named black and white/ But for no cause that they be so in subftance
of her propre colour/ But for the colour of the places in whiche they
ben sette/ And alleway be they black or white/ whan they ben sette in
theyr places/ the alphyn on the ryght syde/ goynge oute of his place to
the ryght sydeward comyth to fore the labourer/ And hit is reson that
the Iuge ought to deffende and kepe the labourers and possessions whiche
ben in his Iurisdiction by alle right and lawe/ And also he may goo on
the lyste syde to the wyde place to fore the phisicien/ For lyke as the
phisiciens haue the charge to hele the Infirmites of a man/ In lyke wyse
haue the Iuges charge to appese alle stryues and contencions and reduce
vnto vnyte/ And to punyfshe and correcte causes crymynels/ The lyste
alphyn hath also two wayes fro his owen place oon toward y'e right syde
vnto the black space voyde to fore the marchant/ For the marchants nede
ofte tymes counceylle and ben in debate of questions whiche muste be
determyned by the Iuges/ And that other yssue is vnto the place to fore
the rybauldis/ And that ys be caufe that ofte tymes amonge them. falle
noyses discencions thefte and manslaghter/ wherfore they ought to be
punysshid by the Iuges/ And y'e shall vnderstande that the alphyn goth
alleway corner wyse fro the thirde poynt to the thirde poynt kepynge all
way his owne fiege/ For yf he be black/ he goth all way black/ And yf he
be whyte he goth alleway whyte. the yssue or goynge cornerly or
angularly signefieth cautele or fubtylyte/ whiche Iuges ought to haue/
The .iii. poyntes betoken .iii. thynges that the Iuge ought to attende/
A Iuge ought to furder rightfull & trewe causes. secondly he ought to
gyue trewe counceyll/ and thirdly he ought to gyue and Iuge rightfull
sentences after tha legeances/ And neuer to goo fro the ryghtwisnes of
the lawe/ And it is to wete that the Alphyn goth in fix drawhtes alle
the tablier round aboute/ and that he cometh agayn in to his owen place/
And how be hit that alle rayson and good perfection shold be in a kynge/
yet ought hit also specially be in them that ben conceyllours of the
kynge and the Quene And the kynge ought not to doo ony thynge doubtouse/
tyll he haue axid counceyll of his Iuges And of the sages of the royame
And therfore ought the Iuge to be parfaytly wyse and sage as well in
science as in good maners/ And that is signefied whan they meue from
thre poynts in to thre/ For the fixt nombre by whiche they goo alle
theschequer/ And brynge hem agayn in to her propre place in suche wyse
that thende of her moeuynge is conioyned agayn to the begynnynge of the
place frowhens they departed/ And therfore hit is callid a parfayt


_The fyfth chapitre of the fourth Tractate Is of the meuynge of the

After the yssue of the Alphyns we shall deuyse to yow the yssue & the
moeuynge of the knyghtes/ And we saye that the knyght on the right syde
is whyt/ And on the lifte syde black/ And the yssue and moeuynge of hem
bothe is in one maner whan so is that the knyght on the ryght syde Is
whyt/ The lyfte knyght is black/ The moeuynge of hem is suche/ That the
whyte may goo in to the space of the alphyn/ as hit apperyth of the
knyght on the right side that is whyte. And hath thre yssues fro his
proper place/ one on his ryght syde in the place to fore the labourer/
And hit is well reson that whan the labourer and husbonde man hath
laboured the feldes/ the knyghtes ought to kepe them/ to thentent that
they haue vitailles for them self and their horses/ The second yssue is
that he may meue hym vnto the black space to fore the notarye or draper.
For he is bounden to deffende and kepe them that make his vestementis &
couertours necessarye vnto his body. The thirde yssue is that he may go
on the lifte syde in to the place to fore y'e marchant whiche is sette to
fore the kynge/ the whiche is black/ And the refon is for as moche as he
ought and is holden to deffende the kynge as well as his owen persone/
whan he passith the first draught/ he may goo foure wayes/ And whan he
is in the myddes of the tabler he may goo in to .viii. places fondry/ to
whiche he may renne And in lyke wise may the lyste knyght goo whiche is
black and goth oute of his place in to white/ and in that maner goth the
knyght fightynge by his myght/ and groweth and multiplieth in hys
poyntis/ And ofte tymes by them the felde Is wonne or lost/ A knyghts

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Online LibraryWilliam CaxtonGame and Playe of the Chesse A Verbatim Reprint of the First Edition, 1474 → online text (page 13 of 15)