IV

`TALKYNG OF CRONYCLES OF KINGES
AND OF OTHER POLYCYEZ':
FIFTEENTH-CENTURY MISCELLANIES,
THE BRUT AND THE READERSHIP
OF LE MORTE DARTHUR

Raluca Radulescu

King Edward IV's Black Book and the Ordinances of 1478 describes the type of activities that the squires of the court engaged in:

Thes esquires of housold of old be acustomed, wynter and somer, in after nonys and in euenynges, to drawe to lordez chambrez within courte, there to kepe honest company aftyr theyre cunyng, in talkyng of cronycles of kinges and of other polycyez, or in pypyng, or harpyng, synging, other actez marciablez, to help ocupy the court and acompany straungers, tyll the tym require of departing. 1

This passage displays the typical activities of the squires and knights attending the court; activities like listening and talking `of cronycles of kinges and of other polycyez' ensured a constant exchange of ideas related to history and to the national past, as well as to contemporary political events.

Another reading matter for squires and knights was chivalry, as William Caxton implies in his preface to Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur. Caxton explains that `many noble and dyvers gentylmen' asked him to `sette [the story of King Arthur] in enprynte'

to the entente that noble men may see and lerne the noble actes of chyvalrye, the jentyl and vertuous dedes that somme knyghtes used in tho dayes, by whyche they came to honour, and how they that were vycious were

____________________
1
The Household of Edward IV: the Black Book and the Ordinances of 1478, ed. A. R. Myers (Manchester, 1959), p. 129 (my italics).

-125-

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