Dictes Pitagoras

Transcription by: Andrew Frey & Jenna Hazzard

Unfortunately images of these texts cannot be reproduced.  Please find the original copies of the four versions of the text by following these links: 1477, 1480, 1489, 1528.


Pitagoras’s section from Dictes and Sayeings of the Philosophres.  Collated version tracking the differences between the four editions of this text (1477, 1480, 1489, 1528).


PItagoras saide that it is a Right blessed and a noble thing to serue god + and to sayntifie his sainctes to dispreyse the world + to vse Iustice / and of alle vertues + the (1)    1489, 1528 om.  moost principal is to absteyne hym from synne + And it is good to vse fastynges and studyes / and to make hym to be biloued + and it is goode to haue science to vnderstande the trouth of thinges + and to lerne it to the men and shewe it to the women he ordeigned also predicacions and to polisshe and enourne (2)    adorn or decorate   the spech   And said the saule is perpetuel and couenable to receyue merites and peynes / he moderated so his mete and his drinke that he was at noo tyme fatter nor leener than other + he was a sub til man and loued aswele to do good to his frendes as to him self + sayng the goodis of frendes ought to be comyn He made + CC + four score (3)    1528: Ixxx (4)    eighty volumes of bookes + and was borne in the countre of Samye (5)    Aegean Island And said an harme not durable is bettir than a welthe not abiding + And that was wreten both in his scale and in his girdil   And said as the begynnyng of our creacion cometh of god + right so is it behoueful + that at our ende our saule retourne to him   And said if thou wilt knowe god enforce not thy self to knowe the wordely people   And said a wysman reputeth not the worship of god in wordes but in dedes   And said sapience is to loue god / and he that loueth god doth that god loueth And he that doth the werkis that god loueth is toward god + and he that is toward god + is nygh vnto hym   And said god is not (6)    1480: not onely  worshipped by the sacrifices or by other oblacious don vnto hym + but onely by the wyll and acceptable ententis   And sayd he that clatereth moche it is (7)    1489, 1528: is a  signe that he hath litil knowledge   And sayde at all tymes whatsomeuer thou do (8)    1528 om.  / haue in thy remembraunce that god is by the / and knoweth thy thoughtes / and seeth thy dedes + And therfore by reason / thou oughtest to be ashamed to do amysse   And sayd / God (9)    1528 om.  onely knowith the wyseman that dredeth him + and merueylle not though the people knoweth not the   And sayde / God hath not in this worlde amore couenable place / than in a clene and a pure soule   And sayde / A man ought to speke of honest and goode thinges / and ellis harkyn to them that wil talke therof   And sayde + grugge (10)      1489, 1528: grudge and eschewe all vyle thinges aswele of the / as of other / but in especiall of thy selfe   And sayde / purchasse the goodes of this worlde in rightfull laudable and worshipfull manere and dispende them in like wyse   And sayde / kepe thy pacience whan thou herest lesinges / and do thoo dedis that noman may speke harme of / and entende to the suretie of thy body / be attemperate at thy mete in thy drynke / in thy (11)       1528 om.  lying with women and in all thyn other labours   And sayde / enforce thy selfe to do soo wele that other men haue enuie at the   And sayde Dispende not to outrageousely nor be not to scarse / so that thou be not bounde to thy tresore / haue therin attemperaunce and mesure / whiche in all thinges is prouffytable   Ande sayde + Be waking and herkenyng to thy counseyle / for thy nedis / for if thou slougth it / or slepe it / hit (12)       1528 om.  myght cause the to be partener of thyn owne deth   And sayde medyll the not to do eny thing + that ought not to be doon And saide / he that is not content can not atteyne to trouth   And sayd / he that hath no science / ought to be dispraised And sayd the Iuge that demeth not Rightfully / deserueth grete blame + ware that (13)      1489: the thy tunge speke no vilanye nor that thou yeue thyn eeres to here it   And sayd aman ought not tenforce hym self in this world / to make pourchasses nor byldyngis to serue other after hys deth + but ought to peyne hym to wynne and to gete suche thyngis as may prouffit him after hys deth   And sayd + It is bettir to aman to lye vpon the harde grownde beleuyng fermely in god + than to lye in abedde of gold / puttyng doubtes in him   And sayd + let thy marchaundise by spirituell and not corporell + and thencresse and wynnyng shal be goode + and durable   And sayd + he that hath pite vpon hys owne saule fereth our lorde   And sayd whan thou wylt sette vpon eny man + thynke thou woldeste deffende the yf thou were set vpon   And sayd dispose thy saule to receyue alle goode and couenable thynges   And said sette a syde the vanytes of this world + for they lette and empesche thy reason   And sayd + thou oughtest not to slepe eny nyght + till thou hast remembred and considered / thy dedes of the day past + And yf thou haue weldoon be gladde and Ioyous therfore + and thanke god therof + And yf thou hast erred and doon a mysse + repente the therof and aske forgeuenesse and pardon of god + and in thy self so (14)       1489, 1528 om.  doyng + thou mayest opteyne vnto hys grace   And sayde + whan thou shalt begynne eny werke / pray god of helpe to bringe yt to a good conclusion   And sayde + yf thou haue haunted eny felowe + and thou (15)      1489 om.  se hys companye is not couenable vnto the + spare it + and yet dele so that he be not after thin ennemy / and (16)      1480 om.  proue euery man by his dedis / and not by his wordis + for thou shalt fynde many of euyl werkis + and goode wordes   And sayde + Aman may nat refrayne him from doyng amysse + but whan he hath (17)      1528 om.  trespassed + let him beware to fall eny more in that errour   And sayde + wyne is ennemye to the saule in taking of it outrageousely + and is (18)        1528 om.  like setting fyre + to fyre + And sayde + aseruaunt ought to be obeyssant vnto his lorde / but not so absolutely that he lese therby all his liberte and fraunchise   And sayde + It is more couenable for aman to su fre deth + than to put his soule in perpetuel derknes + And sayde + Lette not to doo goode dedis + though they be not pleasaunt to the worlde   And sayde (19)      1489, 1520 om.  + dele alwaye so to thy power + that thy saule may stande in goode and noble state whatsomeuer falle of thy body   And sayde + Aclene and pure saule hath no delyte in wordely thinges   And sayde + go not the pathes that thou maist gete hatered therby (20)      1480: by And sayde + thou oughtest to wynne frendis / for the maynteynyng of thyn astate + and do not thoo thinges that thou couetest + but that thou oughtest to do + and take hede whan thou shalt speke + and whan thou should holde thy peace   And sayde + he refreyneth him from couetise that letteth not to spende hys goode for his frendes   And sayde + Put all couetise from the + and than shalt thou apperceyue trouth   And sayd + He is not verry pacient that sufferyth but as moche as he may + But he is presentely pacient + that suffereth ouer his power   And say de Pytagoras (21)      1528 om.  + Ryght as a leche is not reputed nor taken for goode nor connyng that heleth other + and can not hele him selfe + right so is he no goode gouernour that comandeth other to eschewe vices + and nether can nor wyl leue them him selfe   And sayde the worlde varieth nowe wyth the and nowe ayenst the / If it be with the / thinke to do wele / and if it be ayenst the / take it paciently   And sayde + many harmes come to beestes + by cause thy be domme + and (22)      1528 om.  vnto men through their owne speche   And sayde + harde it is to greue him that can absteyne him from + iiij (23)      1528: foure  + thingis that is to wille hastynesse / wilfull frowardenesse + pride + and slowthe + for hastynesse causith repentaunce + wilfulle frowardenessedeuesse causeth losses + pryde causeth hattered + and slowth causeth dispreysing + He sawe aman right nobly and richely arrayed / whiche hadde vyle and foule wordes To whom he sayde / Other speke after thyn arraye + or lete thin arraye be aftir thy wordes + The kyng than of Cecil le (24)      1489, 1528: Cecille desired him to dwelle with him + To whom he sayd + thy werkes and thy demeanyngis be countrary to thy proffit And thin office is not wele executed + for thou distroyest the fundement of thy feyth + wherfore I wol not dwelle with the / for the physicien + Is not sure + for amongis his pacientis + he may take sekenesse   And sayd + If thou wilt that thy childeren or thy (25)      1489, 1528 om.  seruauntis do no fawtes thou desirest a thing innaturall   And sayd + The saule that is in the company of good people is in delectacion and Ioye And when it is amonge euyl + It is in sorowe a (26)      1489, 1528 om.  and heuinesse   And sayde + The wyseman thenketh on the wele of his saule as attentyuely as other attende to the wele of their bodyes   And sayde / take frenship of hem that thou seest folowe trouth / and thinke or thou werke   And said right as a physicien can not hele his pacient without he tell him the trouth of hys disease + right so may not aman be wele counseylled of hys frende withoute he telle hym the playnesse of hys cause   And seyd many ennemytees growen for faulte of trust betwix parties / and trust causeth often many harmes   And whan pytagoras sat in his cheyre he vsed in shewyng his doctrines to saye + mesure your pathes and go the right weye + and so shal ye go surely Attempre you from couetise / and your goode astate shall dure + vse Iustice / and ye shalbe be byloued and dredde + kepe nat your body in grete delectacions / for and ye so do ye shal not con fusteyne the aduersites that myght falle vnto you + And he sawe an olde man that was shamefast to lerne+ to whom he sayde Science is bettir in age than in yought +   And sayde + If thou wylt dispreyse hym + that thou hatest + shewe not that thou art hys ennemye And sayd + a goode kyng or a prince ought to thynke diligentely to the state and guydyng of hys lande + and ought to ouersee hyt as often as a goode gardyner doth his garden   And sayde hyt behoueth a kyng to yeue example him self to kepe his lawes / and se that his next kynnes mem and frendes do so after hym and it apparteneth not to a kyng to be prowde nor to do aftir hys owne wil onely nor to ride couertely / nor in no derke nyght but gladdely shewe him self open faced amongis his people / and (27)      1528: and subiectes  conueny ently be conuersant amongis them without ouermoche famylyarite   And whan a kyng or a prince shal go to his rest + that he se ther be goode wache + and if thy faille theryn that he punysshe them wele / and to beware to ete the mete that a Ialous woman yeueth hym or eny other suspect persone   And sayde + the wele disposed man remembreth / but his synnes / and the euyl disposed hath mynde / but on his vertues / It fortuned his wyf was deces sed in a ferce (28)       1528: ferre countre / and som axed him If there were eny difference to dye in their propre lande orellis ferce (29)        1528: ferre from thens / He ansuerd / whersomeuer one dye / the weye to the other world is all like   And sayde to a yong man that wolde not lerne in his yonthe / If thou woll not take peyne to lerne thou shalt haue the peyne to be lewde + and vnconnyng   And sayde god loueth thoos that bee disobeissaunt to euyl temptacion   And sayde / good praeyer is one of the beste thinges (30)      1528: thinges that aman may present to god / and if thou axe him eny boon lete thy werkis be agreable vnto hym

Annotations   [ + ]

1.    1489, 1528 om. 
2.    adorn or decorate
3.    1528: Ixxx
4.    eighty
5.    Aegean Island
6.    1480: not onely 
7.    1489, 1528: is a 
8.    1528 om.
9.    1528 om. 
10.      1489, 1528: grudge
11.       1528 om. 
12.       1528 om.
13.      1489: the
14.       1489, 1528 om.
15.      1489 om. 
16.      1480 om. 
17.      1528 om. 
18.        1528 om.
19.      1489, 1520 om. 
20.      1480: by
21.      1528 om.
22.      1528 om. 
23.      1528: foure
24.      1489, 1528: Cecille
25.      1489, 1528 om.
26.      1489, 1528 om. 
27.      1528: and subiectes
28.       1528: ferre
29.        1528: ferre
30.      1528: thinges that