Capystranus: A Metrical Romance


STC 14649
Ringler 14649 and TP 1351. Not in Brown and Robbins. The siege of Belgrade, the subject of the romance, was raised in 1456. A fragment, A2-C3 only. Selection vv. 360-521, _Oxford Book of Late Medieval Verse and Prose_, ed. Douglas Gray (Oxford, 1985), pp. 199-203. Two further fragments in STC 14649.5 (W. de Worde, 1527?; rpt. Karl D. Bülbring, _Englische Studien_ 13 (1889), 154-55) and STC 14650 (W. de Worde, 1530?). UMI microfilm reel 754.

[Capystranus: A Metrical Romance]
London: Wynkyn de Worde,c. 1515.

Variant source 1: W. de Worde, 1527? (STC 14649.5) [from Bülbring] Variant source 2: W. de Worde, 1530? (STC 14650)

Composition Date: 1456-1515.

The leaf is torn at the edge resulting in loss of text here and in the next lineSee OED s.v. were v 'guard', 'defend'; or perhaps emend to warde.see 'blacke Iohan' belowcf. Obedyaunce belowOED notes disprave as a 'bad form' of deprave.
sig: [A2]
O Myghty fader in heuen on hye
One god and persones thre
That made bothe daye and nyght
And after as it was thy wyll
5 Thyn owne sone thou sent vs tyll Thyn owne] Thy nowne 1527
In a mayden to lyght
Syth the Iewes that were wylde
Hanged hym that was so mylde
And to dethe hym dyght
10 Whan he was deed the sothe to saye
To lyfe he rose on the thyrde daye
Thoroughe his owne myght

Then to helle he wente anone
And toke out soules many one
15 Out of that holde he hente
Maugre the fendes that were bolde
He toke the prysoners out of holde
With them to heuen he wente
On his faders ryght hande he hym sette
20 That all sholde knowe withouten lette
That he was omnypotente

And after wysdome he was sente
That all sholde kepe his commaundemente
And for to byleue in hym verray
25 That is our sauyour
That borne was of that blyssed floure
That hyght Mary I saye
That shall vs deme withouten mysse
Some to payne and some to blysse
30 At dredefull domes-daye
Tho that byleue on hym a_ryght
To blysse they gone with aungelles bryght
sig: [A2v]
[To bl]ysse and Ioye for aye To blysse] To blysse 1527The leaf is torn at the edge resulting in loss of text here and in the next line

[No]w Ihesu as thou bought vs dere Now] Now 1527
35 Gyue them Ioye this gest wyll here
And herken on a_ryght
Some men loueth to here tell
Of doughty knyghtes that were fell
And some of ladyes bryght
40 And some myracles that are tolde
And some of venterous knyghtes olde
That for our lorde dyde fyght
As Charles dyde that noble kynge
That hethen downe dyde brynge
45 Thrughe the helpe of god almyght almyght] almyghty 1515, 1527

He wanne fro the hethen houndes
The spere and nayles of crystes woundes
And also the crowne of thorne
And many a ryche relyke mo
50 Mawgre of them he wanne also
And kylled them euen and morne
The turkes and the paynyms bolde
He felled doune many a folde
Durst none stande hym beforne
55 Charles gan them so affraye
That the catyues myght curse the daye
And the tyme that they were borne

sig: A3

NOw Machamyte that turke vntrue
To our lorde Cryst_Ihesu
60 And to his lawe also
Many crysten men slayne hath [h]e he] be 1515, he 1527
And wanne constantyne that noble cyte
With many townes mo
He brent and slewe / and lefte none on lyfe
65 Neyther man / chylde / ne wyfe
To dethe he made them go
Yonge Innocentes that neuer dyde gylte
That false turke hath them spylte
He played the kynge Pharao

70 All the stretes of Constantyne
Ranne blode reder than wyne
That meruayle was to se
sig: [A3v]
There coude no man his fote downe sette
I gyue you knowlege witho[u]ten lette
75 But on a deed body
The crysten men wente to wrake
The chirches and our ymages they brake
That were made of stone and tree stone] stones 1527
The crucyfyxe of our sauyour
80 They kest it downe with dyshonour
And also our lady

[................................] The rhyme-scheme indicates that a line is wanting here
The[y] slewe our preestes at the masse They] The 1515, They 1527
Goddes men had no grace
85 They kylled them downe in euery stede
Bothe preestes and clerkes they put to dede
Within goddes holy place
The turkes kene with shelde and spere
Our preestes before the hye aultere
90 They ranne thrughe in a ra[c]e race] rage 1515, 1527
Many gan dye for crystes loue
Aungelles theyr soules bare aboue
To blysse and moche solace

Thus the turke the wycked quede
95 Crysten people he put to dede
And lefte fewe vpon lyue
The hethen cryed with grete dyspyte
On mahounde and Macamyte
The turkes men full ryue
100 There was [n]one that durst on Ihesu crye
But they were taken and slayne in hye
Anone and that byleue
The turke hym-selfe a crye dyde make
There sholde no man a prysoner take
105 God lette them neuer thryue

sig: [A4]
Then the dogges that byleued on mahounde
The crysten people kylled to the grounde
No golde myght be theyr mede
The Crysten sawe that they sholde dye
110 And on theyr maysters layde hande quycly
And faught a wele good spede
Euery prysoner then on lyue
Kylled of the turkes foure or fyue
To helle theyr soules yede
115 Or our prysoners after were take
Many a turke they made blake
[...........................] The rhyme-scheme indicates that a line is wanting here

There was no helme nor haubergyon
Plate or male nor good aucton
120 Theyr dyntes myght refrayne
Macamyte sawe his men so dye
And loude on mahounde he gan crye
In herte he was not fayne
Our crysten neded no wepen craue
125 The stretes laye full take who wolde haue
To fyght with men of mayne
Anone within a lytell throwe
Fyue .M. turkes on a rowe
In the stretes lay slayne

130 Whan Mychamyte that spyed
Out on mahounde he cryed
And as a fende dyde yell
Our crysten stode in full grete doubte
As doughty men layde fast aboute
135 Upon the houndes of helle
Our crysten men were then to fewe
For the turkes came euer newe
In sothe as I you tell
sig: [A4v]
Our men hewed on hastely
140 And made turkes loude to crye
The false downe they fell

Thus countred with sarasyns kene
Tyll .lxxx.M. were layde be_dene
In a lytell thought
145 Mychamyte was neuer so wo
To se so fewe so many slo
His sorowe was not shorte
He cryed Mahounde as he wolde braste
Our crysten on Ihesu cryed faste
150 That all the worlde wrought

Some scaped away with goddes grace
On lyue maugre the turkes face
But many than gan dye
At the dystruccyon of Cyuys
155 Were not so many slayne ywys
As were o[n] bothe partye partye] partyes 1515
Alas saufe cryste[s] wyll of heuen crystes] crysten 1515
Our crysten were [m]ade vneuen
With a false company
160 For of the turkes and sarasyns kene
An .C. were withouten wene
Agaynst one of our meny

sig: B1

THe emperour of Constantyne
A doughty man at a tyme a] that 1530
165 [..........................] The rhyme-scheme indicates that a line is wanting here
The turke hym toke that hethen hounde
And gaue hym many a grysly wounde
I praye god gyue hym grame
He bounde hym tyll the blode outbraste
170 And badde hym forsake Ihesu in haste
Or elles thou shalte haue shame
Haue done anone / and hym defye
And also his moder Marye
That thou callest his dame

175 Ualeryan answered and sayd nay
Thou shalte neuer se that daye
That I shall hym forsake
Turne the turke and all thy men
Or elles in helle thou shalte brenne
sig: [B1v]
180 Amonge the fendes blacke
Leue in Ihesu full of myght
And that mayden that he in lyght
For crysten men[nes] sake mennes] men 1515, mennes 1530
Than the turke wexed euyll a_payed
185 Commaunded his men at a brayed
Anone to make hym nake nake] naked 1515, 1530

He bad them bete him with scourges kene
And after bore out his eyen
With wymbles hote and reed
190 They plucked his her[r]e by and by herre] herte 1515, heare 1530
And bothe his eeres on hy
They cut of his heed
With pynsons his te[t]he they brake tethe] teche 1515, tethe 1530
Bad hym anone his god forsake
195 Or [he] sholde neuer ete breed he] 1515 omits, he 1530; breed] no breed 1530
They sawe in no wyse that it wolde be
Anone they made a sawe of tre
They sawed hym to deed

Tho the turkes with moche payne
200 This doughty m[a]n haue they slayne man] men 1515, man 1530
For Crystes sake I saye
And so they dyde with many mo
The turkes myght curse the tyme also
That they there came that daye
205 Of crystes people was many a part marte marte] mate 1530
There was no turke payed of his parte
By the laste ende of the fraye
They had helle for theyr fyght
[The] crysten wente to heuen bryght The] They 1515
210 To bye in blysse for aye

Thus is constantyne the noble cyte wonne
sig: [B2]
Beten doune with many a gonne
And crysten people slayne
There the turke with his meyne meyne] men 1530
215 Keped styll that noble cyte
Durste no man hym with_sayne
Forty myle rounde aboute
Durst no man by hym route
Neyther on hyll ne playne
220 The turke kepte the felde many a day
Crysten people in the countray
Of hym were dredde I sayne

Where they myght ony crysten gete
I tell you now withouten doute
225 They lefte there lyfe to wedde
All suffred dethe for Crystes sake
That this turke myght ouertake
But thus they for hym fledde thus] there 1530
Therof herde a holy frere
230 The werkes of the fendes fere
And to Rome hym spedde

Iohan_capystranus the frere hyght
I dare say he was goddes knyght
An holy man was he
235 To the pope anone he wanne
Capystranus that holy man
And kneled vpon his kne
He sayd fader for crystes lo[u]e of heuen
That made this worlde and dayes seuen
240 Herken now to me
There is a turke I vnderstande
That brennes and slees goddes lande
Grete dole it is to se

sig: B2v]
The turke his pur[p]ose is purpose] purose 1515, purpose 1530
245 I lete you wete withouten mys
To wynne all hungree
Therfore fader put thy holy hande
And helpe to w[e]rre goddes lande werre] warre 1515, 1530See OED s.v. were v 'guard', 'defend'; or perhaps emend to warde.

His true vycar yf thou be
250 He brenneth chirches in euery place
Crysten men gothe to deth a_pace
To beholde is grete pyte
Now fader helpe with thy socoure
For Maryes loue that swete floure
255 Our hope is moche in the

With two hondred this same daye
To Grecuswyssyngburgh he toke the waye Grecuswyssyngburgh: 'Kriechisch Weissenburg', Belgrade
This is no scorne
Many a thousande there shall dye
260 If he wynne that ryall cytye
All hungrye is forlorne
I am the messynger of Ihesus
Truely lorde it wyllbe thus
As I haue sayd beforne
265 Therfore helpe with all thy myght
For goddes loue for to fyght
That was of Marye borne

Than the pope sayd anone
Good broder frere Ihon
270 As I vnderstande
Thou prechest goddes wordes wyde
In the countree on eue[r]y syde euery] euecy 1515
In many a dyuerse lande
Thou knowest many a noble-man
275 Take a capytayne where thou can
sig: [B3]
Whyder that he be free or bonde
And as I am goddes vycar true
This false turke his rese shall rue
And therto my holy hande

280 Now fader I thanke the hartely
To chese a capytayne th[ou] bydde me thou] the 1515, ye 1530
Certayne without ony mys
Now holy fader withouten layne
This shall be my capytayne
285 He sayd the pope y[w]ys ywys] ymys 1515, 1530
A baner of crystes p[a]ssyon passyon] pyssyon 1515, passyon 1530
That mannes soule dyde redempcyon
And brought them from payne to lyght
H[a]lowe it with thy hande Halowe] Holowe 1515, Halowe 1530
290 The people may the better stande
That vnder it dooth fyght

This shall be my capytayne
An-other wolde I haue fayne
That is thy bull of leed
295 That all that vnder it dooth fyght
For goddes loue moost of myght
Euer in ony lande
If it happen them to be slayne
That theyr soules come neuer in payne
300 After that they be deed
The p[op]e sayd blyssed myght thou be pope] people 1515, pope 1530
A holy man I holde the
I wyll do after thy rede

Anone the baner was made and halowed
305 The bull cealed and vp-folded
And the pardon of grace
Delyuered it to the frere truely
sig: [B3v]
The p[op]e blyssed hym tymes thre pope] people 1515, 1530
And thus his leue he taketh
310 Barefote he bare out of the toune
The baner of crystes passyoune
Towarde the turke he hasteth
And preched goddes lawe as he yede
And moche people to hym gan spede
315 To gete theyr soules solace

Grete golde and syluer was hym gyuen
And euer he delte it euen
[To] people that with hym yede To] Tho 1515, The 1530
So certaynly as I you saye
320 All romayne for hym dyde praye romayne] Rome 1530
And so it was grete nede
Suche freres we haue to fewe
Pray all we Cryste_Ihesu
To be his helpe and spede
325 For of this I fynde a fytte
Ferther and ye wyll sytte
Herkyn and take good hede

sig: [B4]
THis frere wente to Hungry
And many men with hym truely
330 That for our lorde dyde fyght
To an vnyuersyte he toke the waye
The gretest in Hungrye I dare well saye
Gottauntas it hyght
Out of the vnyuersyte there wente in fere
335 Syxe and twenty .M. with the frere
Of relygyous men full ryght
The moost partye was preestes I saye
Eueryche preued hym that day
That he was goddes knyght

340 The frere with grete deuocyon
Bare the baner of crystes passyon
Amonge the people all
Dysplayed abrode grete Ioye to se
Men of dyuerse countre
345 Fast to hym gan fall
Thus passed forthe Capystranus
And met with the good erle Obedyanus
A captayne pryncypall
Twenty thousande and mo
350 Amonge them was but knyghtes two
And thus men dooth them call

Rycharde_morpath a knyght of Englonde
And syr Iohan_[B]lacke I vnderstonde Blacke] Elacke 1515, 1530see 'blacke Iohan' below

That was a turke before
355 And now he is a curteys knyght
I lete you wete and a wyght
And stedfast in our lore
360 [........................]
[........................] The apparent rhyme "lore":"sore" has perhaps led the compositor to conflate two stanzas

365 [........................]
370 [........................]
Many a turke hath greued sore
Theyr lyues they lefte behynde
sig: [B4v]
He hath made them hop heedles
Many one withouten les
375 Where he myght theym fynde

There .xx. thousande met in fere
With Obedya[un]s and the frere Obedyauns] Obedyanus 1530cf. Obedyaunce below

In helme and hauberke bryght
To grecuswyssynburgh he toke the waye
380 There the turke at syege laye
With many a knyght
Fourtene wekes the turke had ben there
And put the crysten to moche fere
To hym they had no myght
385 Fyue .C. gonnes he lete shote at ones
Brake doune the walles with stones
The wylde-fyre lemed lyght

To here it was grete wonder
The noyse of gonnes moche lyke the thonder
390 That was a f[e]refull dynne ferefull] frefull 1515, feerfull 1530
The noyse was herde many a myle
Obedyaunce the meane-whyle Obedyaunce] Obedyanus 1530
Entred the towne within
At .vi of the clocke the sothe to saye
395 After noone on the Maudeleyne [daye] daye] 1515 omits, daye 1530
And neyther lesse ne mo
And Capystranus good frere Iohn
Assoyled our men euerychone
To batayll or they dyde go go] gone 1515, go 1530

400 And cryed loude with voyce clere voyce] a voyce 1530
Lete vs fyght for our soupere
In heuen is redy dyght
Our baner shall I bere to_daye
And to Ihesu fast shall praye praye] I praye 1530
sig: C1
405 To spede vs in our ryght
Anone they togyder mette
Fyue .M. deed withouten lette deed] dyed 1530
In helme and hauberke bryght

Obedianus that noble man
410 Slewe them fast that serued sathan
Thorowe cryst theyr crownes had care
All that he with his faucon hyt faucon: ='falchion'
There was no salue I lette you wyt
That euer myght hele that sore
415 There was no turke that he with met
But he had suche a buffet
That he greued neuer crysten man more
He was a doughty knyght
The fals he felled for goddes ryght
420 I praye god wele myght he fare

Morpath and blacke Iohan
That daye kylled turkes many one
Certayne withouten lette
There was none so good armoure
425 That theyr dyntes myght endure
Helme nor bryght basynet
They hewe vpon the hethen on hye
[The] fyre out of euery syde gan flye The] They 1515
So boldely on they bette
430 Many a turke there was cast
Beten tyll the braynes brast
Theyr maysters there they mette

Many a .M. of preestes there was
The turkes herde neuer suche a masse
435 As they harde that daye
Our preestes te deum songe
sig: [C1v]
The hethen fast downe they donge
Then pax was put awaye
There was scole-maysters of the best
440 Many of them were brought to rest
That wolde not lere theyr lawe
Thus our crysten people dyde fyght
From .v. of the clocke on Maudeleyne nyght
Tyll .x. on the other daye

445 Then came the turkes with newe batayll
Clene clad in plate and male
A .C. thousande and mo
On dromydaryes gan they ryde
And kylled our men on euery syde
450 Two .M. were there sloo
Our men to stande they had no mayne
But fledde to the towne anone Gray emends anone to agayne.
With woundes wyde and bloo
Twenty thousande of our men
455 Were borne downe at the brydge-ende
The turkes were so thro

Dromydaryes ouer them ranne
And kylled downe bothe horse and man
In the felde durst none abyde
460 Obedianus had many a wounde
Or he wolde flee the grounde
For all the turkes pryde
Morpath and blacke Iohan
Had woundes many one
465 That blody were and wyde
To the towne they fledde on fote
They sawe it was no better bote
Theyr stedes were slayne that tyde

sig: [C2]
The turkes folowed in-to the towne
470 And kylled all before them downe
Grete doyll it was to see doyll: =dole
In-to the towne the grete turke wanne
And kylled wyfe chylde and man
The Innocentes thycke gan dye
475 Iohan_Capystranus se that it was thus
And hent a c[ru]cyfyxe of cryst_Ihesus crucyfyxe] curcyfyxe 1515
Ranne vp tyll a toure on hye
The halowed baner with hym he bare
In the top of the toure he set it there
480 And cryed full pytefully

He sayd lorde god in heuen on hye Gray emends hye to hyght
Where is become thyn olde myght
That men were wonte to haue
O my lorde cryste_Ihesus
485 Why hast thou forgoten vs
Now helpe of the we craue
Loke on thy people that do thus dye
Lorde ones cast downe thyn eye
And helpe thy men to saue
490 Now lorde sende downe thy moche myght
Agaynst these fendes for to fyght
That so thy people dyspra[ue] dyspraue] dyspray 1515OED notes disprave as a 'bad form' of deprave.

Thynke lorde how I haue preched thy lawe
Gone barefote bothe in frost and snawe
495 To please the to thy paye
I haue fasted and suffred dysease
Prayed all-onely the to please
The psalmes ofte I saye
For all my seruyse I haue done the
500 I aske no more to my fee
sig: [C2v]
But helpe thy men to_day
For and thou lette them thus spyll
I am ryght in good wyll
For euer to forsake thy laye

505 Now mary mayden helpe me to_daye
Or elles thy matyns shall I neuer saye
Dayes of all my lyue
Ne no prayer that the shall please
But yf thou helpe now our desease
510 Ne menye thy Ioyes fyue
A_poynt is for thy maydenhede
That all this people suffreth dede
Now helpe to stynte our stryue
Now lady of thy men haue pyte
515 Praye for them to thy sone on hye
As thou arte mayden and wyfe

O lorde fader omnypotent
Thynke of the myracle that thou charles sent
That for the dyde fyght
520 Thrughe his prayer and grace
The sone s[tod]e styll thre dayes space stode] shone 1515
And shone with beames bryght
Pharao thou drowned in the see
Tho that thou lete go free
525 Awaye thou ledde them ryght
This daye lorde thou helpe thy men
Thou art also bygge now as thou was then
And of as moche myght

The frere loude on god cryed
530 A longe myle on euery syde
The people herde his voyse
Twenty .M. dede for to see
sig: [C3]
Within the twynclyn[g] of an eye twynclyng] twynclyn 1515
To lyfe [agayne they rose] agayne they rose] they rose agayne 1515
535 Echone a wepyn in hande hente
And frely began to fyght
And felde downe fast theyr foes
The good erle Obedianus
Faught frely for our lorde Ihesus
540 On euery syde spronge his lose

He droue the t[ur]ke out of the towne turke] truke 1515
The crysten felled the false downe
And droue them to the felde agayne
Twenty .M. with them mette
545 Or elles the turke withouten lette
Surely had ben slayne
Than were they fayne[r] for to fyght fayner] fayne 1515
Than euer was foule of daye-lyght
Certayne withouten layne

550 NOw begynneth a newe batayll
I let you wyt withouten fayle
Of myghty men of mayne

Ychone hewe on other with Ire
That all the felde semed fyre
555 Also lyght as leme of thonder
Euery man hurte other in hast
And layde on basynettes to braynes brast
And euer the false fell vnder
The blode ranne all the felde
560 Of doughty men vnder shelde
To se it was grete wonder

There was hewynge from the hals
The helmes and the hedes als
sig: [C3v]
Ryche knyghtes were vnknytte
565 Many a turke withouten fayle
Tombled top ouer tayle
That neuer rose yet
So harde on helmes they hewe
That there were turkes but fewe
570 That in sadyll coude sytte
There was no turke there
But he myght tell of moche care
I lette you well wytte

There was stycked many a stede
575 Grete dromydaryes made blede
Tho they for faynt fell
The crysten men had quarelles good
They dredde nothynge to shed theyr blode
Whan Ihesu dyde them call
580 They hewed on with swerdes kene
Of helmes with the hedes by_deene
Tumbled as a ball
So delte they strokes on a brayde
That no turke helde hym apayde
585 The proudest of them all

There was hurtelynge in fere
Broken many a sharpe spere
And drawen many a knyfe
Stedes sterted out of stryfe
590 And kest theyr maysters in the waye
Utterly byleue
Many a hethen in theyr ghere
His f[e]lowe gan downe bere felowe] folowe 1515
And to the erthe hym dryue
595 The blode ranne thrughe the brest The fragment breaks off here in 1515