Modernised 1580



























































































































































































































































                                 THE BOOK NAMED

                                  THE GOVERNOR

                                        devised by

                             Sir Thomas Elyot, Knight


                                Imprinted at London,

                                    by Thomas East







I, late considering most excellent prince, and mine only

redoubted sovereign Lord, my duty, that I owe to my natural

country, with my faith also of allegiance and oath, wherewith I

am double bound unto your majesty. Moreover, the account that

I have to render for that one little talent delivered to me, to

Employ, as I suppose, to the increase of virtue, I am as – God

judge me – violently stirred to divulgate or set forth some part

of my study, trusting thereby to acquit me of my duties to God,

your highness, and this my country, wherefore taking comfort

and boldness, partly of your grace’s most benevolent inclination

towards the universal weal of your subjets, partly inflamed with

zeal, I have now enterprised to describe in our vulgar tongue, the

form of a just public weal, which matter I have gathered, as well

of the sayings of most noble authors (Greeks and Latins) as by

mine own experience. I, being continually trained in some daily

affairs of the public weal of this your most noble realm, almost

from my childhood, which attemptate is not of presumption to

teach any person, I myself having most need of teaching, but

only to the intent that men, which will be studious about the

weal public, may find the thing thereto expedient

compendiously written. And for as much as this present book

treateth of the education of them that hereafter may be deemed

worthy to be governors of the public weal under your highness,

which Plato affirmeth to be the first and chief part of a public

weal, Salomon saying also: “where governors be not, the people

shall fall into ruin”. I, therefore, have named it The Governor,

and do now dedicate it unto your highness, as the first fruits of

my study, verily trusting that your most excellent wisdom will

therein esteem my loyal heart and diligent endeavour, by the

example of Artaxerxes, the noble king of Persia, who rejected

not the poor husbandman, which offred to him his homely hands

full of clean water, but most graciously received it with thanks,

esteeming the present not after the value, but rather the will of

the giver. Semblably, king Alexander retained with him the poet

Choerilus honourably, for writing his History, although that the

poet was but of a small estimation, which that prince did not for

lack of judgement, he being of excellent learning as disciple to

Aristotle, but to the intent that his liberality employed on

Choerilus should animate or give courage to others much better

learned, to contend with him in a semblable enterprise. And if,

most vertuous prince, I may perceive your highness to be

herewith pleased, I shall soon after – God giving me quietness –

present your grace with the residue of my studies and labours,

wherein your highness shall well perceive that I nothing esteem

so much in this world, as your royal estate, my most dear

sovereign Lord, and the public weal of my country, protesting

unto your excellent majesty, that where I commend herein any

one virtue, or dispraise any one vice, I mean the general

description of the one and the other, without any other

particular meaning to the reproach of any one person, to the

which protestation I am now driven through the malignity of

this present time all disposed to malicious detraction. Wherefore

I most humbly beseech your highness, to deign to be patron and

defender of this little work, against the assaults of malign

interpreters, which fail not to rent and deface the renown of

writers, they themselves being in nothing to the public weal

profitable, which is by no man sooner perceived, than by your

highness, beeing both in wisdom, and very nobility equal to the

most excellent princes, whom I beseech God ye may surmount

in long life and perfect felicity. Amen.


                                The second Book

           The true description of amity or friendship.

                                        Cap. 11.


I have already treated of benevolence, and beneficence

generally. But forasmuch as friendship, called in Latin

amicitia, comprehendeth both those virtues more specially,

and in a higher degree, and is now so infrequent or strange

among mortal men by the tiranny of covetousness or

ambition, which have long reigned, and yet do, that amity may

now uneath be known, or found throughout the world, by

them that seek for her as diligently as a maiden would seek for

a small silver pin, in a great chamber strawed with white rushes.

        I will therfore borrow so much of the gentle reader, though

he be nigh weary of this long matter, barren of eloquence and

pleasant sentence, and declare somewhat by the way of very

and true friendship, which perchance may be an allective to

good men to seek for their semblable, on whom they may

practice amity. For, as Tully said, nothing is more to be loved,

or to be joined together, than similitude of good manners or

virtues, wherein be the same or semblable studies, the same

wills or desires, in them it happeneth that one in another as

much delighteth as in himself. But now let us ensearch what

friendship or amity is.

        Aristotle saith: “Friendship is a virtue, or joineth with

virtue”. Which is affirmed by Tully, saying: “Friendship cannot

be without virtue, neither but in good men only, who be good

men”, he after declareth, “to be those persons, which so do bear

themselves, and in such wise do live, that their faith, surety,

equality and liberality be sufficently proved. Neither that there

is in them any covetousness, willfulness or foolhardiness, and

that in them is great stability or constance, them, suppose I, as

they be taken to be called good men, which do follow, as much

as men may, Nature, the chief captain or guide of man’s life”.

Moreover, the same Tully defineth friendship in this manner,

saying: “It is none other thing, but a perfect consent of all things

appertaining as well to God as to man, with benevolence and

charity”. And that he knoweth nothing given of God, except

sapience to man more commodious, which definition is

excellent and very true. For in God and all thing that cometh of

God nothing is of more greater estimation than love, called in

Latin amor, whereof amicitia commeth, named in English

friendship or amity, the which taken away from the life of man,

no house shall abide standing, no field shall be in culture. And

that is lightly perceived, if a man does remember what

commeth of dissention and discord, finally he seemeth to take

the sun from the world that taketh friendship from man’s life.

       Since friendship cannot be in good men, ne may not be

without virtue, we may be assured that thereof none evil may

proceed or therewith any evil thing may participate. Wherefore

in as much as it may be but in a few persons (good men being

in a small number) and also it is rare and seldom, as all virtues

be commonly. I will declare, after the opinion of philosophers,

and partly by common experience, who among good men be of

nature most apt to friendship.

        Between all men that be good, cannot always be amity, but

it also requireth that they be of semblable or much like

manners or study, and specially of manners. for gravity and

affability, be every of them laudable qualities, so be severity

and placability. Also magnificence and liberality be noble

virtues. And yet frugality, which is a soberness or moderation

in living, is and that for good cause of all wise men extolled, yet

where these virtues and qualities be separately in sundry

persons assembled, may well be perfect concord, but friendship

is there seldom or never. For that which the one for a virtue

embraceth, the other contemneth, or at the least neglecteth.

Wherefore it seemeth, that it, wherein the one delighteth, is

repugnant to the other’s nature. And where is any repugnancy,

may be none amity, since friendship is an entire consent of wills

and desires. Therfore, it is seldom seen, that friendship is

between these persons: a man sturdy, of opinion inflexible, and

of sour countenance and speech, with him that is tractable, and

with reason persuaded, and of sweet countenance and

entertainment. Also, between him, which is elevate in

authority, and another of a very base estate or degree, yea and

if they be both in an equal dignity, if they be desirous to climb,

as they do ascend, so friendship for the more part decayeth. For

as Tully saith in his first book of Offices: “What thing soever it

be, in the which many cannot excel, or have therein superiority,

therein oftentimes is such a contention that it is a thing of all

other most difficile to keep among them good or virtuous

company, that is as much to say, as to retain among them

friendship and amity. And it is oftentimes seen that diverse

which, before they came in authority, were of good and

virtuous conditions, being in their prosperity were utterly

changed and, despising their old friends, set all their study and

pleasure on their new acquaintance. Wherein men shall

perceive to be a wonderful blindness or, as I might say, a

madness, if they note diligently all that I shall hereafter write

of friendship. But now to resort to speak of them, in whom

frienship is most frequent and they also there to be most aptly


        Undoubtedly it be specially they which be wise, and of

nature inclined to beneficence, liberality, and constancy. For

by wisdom is marked and substantially discerned the words,

acts, and demeanour of all men between whom happeneth to

be any intercourse or familiarity, whereby is engendered a

favour or disposition of love. Beneficence, that is to say,

mutually putting to their study and help in necessary affairs,

induceth love. They that be liberal, do withhold or hide

nothing from them whom they love, whereby love increaseth.

And in them that be constant is never mistrust or suspicion,

nor any surmise or evil report can withdraw them from their

affection. And hereby friendship is made perpetual and stable.

But if similitude of study or learning be joined unto the said

virtues, friendship much rather happeneth, and the mutual

interview and conversation is much more pleasant, specially if

the studies have in them any delectable affection or motion. For

where they be too serious, or full of contention, friendship is

oftentimes assaulted, whereby it is often in peril. Where the

study is elegant, and the matter illecebrous, that is to say,

sweet to the reader the course whereof is rather gentil

persuasion and quick reasonings, than oversubtle argument

or litigious controversies, there also it happeneth that the

students do delight one in another, and be without envy or

malicious contention.

        Now let us try out what is that friendship that we

suppose to be in good men, verily it is a blessed and stable

connection of sundry wills, making of two persons one, in

having and suffering. And therefore, a friend is proprely named

of philosophers: “the other I”. For that in them is but one mind

and one possession, and that which more is, a man more

rejoiceth at his friend’s good fortune than at his own.

        Orestes and Pylades, being wonderful like in all features,

were taken together, and presented unto a tyrant, who deadly

hated Orestes. But when he beheld them both, and would

have slain Orestes only, he could not discern the one from the

other. And also Pylades to deliver his friend affirmed that he

was Orestes; on the other part Orestes, to save Pylades, denied,

and said that he was Orestes, as the truth was. Thus, a long

time they together contending the one to die for the other, at

the last so relented the fierce and cruel heart of the tyrant that,

wondering at their marvelous friendship, he suffered them

freely to depart, without doing to them any damage.

        Pythias and Damon[i], two Pythagoreans, that is to say,

students of Pythagoras learning, being joined together in a

perfect friendship, for that one of them was accused to have

conspired against Dionysius King of Sicily, they were both

taken and brought to the king who immediatly gave sentence

that he that was accused should be put to death. But he desired

the king that, ere he died, he might return home, to set his

household in order, and to distribute his goods. Whereat the

king laughing, demanded of him scornfully what pledge he

would leave him to come again. At the which words, his

companion stepped forth and said that he would remain there

as a pledge for his friend, that in case he came not again at the

day to him appointed, he willingly would lose his head, which

condition the tyrant received. The young man that should have

died was suffered to depart home to his house, where he did set

all things in order and disposed his goods wisely.

        The day appointed for his return was come, the time much

passed. Wherefore the king called for him that was pledge, who

came forth merrily, without semblant of dread, offering to abide

the sentence of the tyrant and, without grudging, to die for the

saving the life of his friend. But as the officer of justice had

closed his eyes with a kerchief, and had drawn his sword to

have striken off his head, his fellow came running and crying

that the day of his appointment was not yet past, wherefore he

desired the minister of justice to lose his fellow, and to prepare

to do execution on him, that had given the occasion. Whereat

the tyrant being all abashed, commanded both to be brought to

his presence, and when he had enough wondered at their noble

hearts, and their constance in very friendship, he offering to

them great rewards, desired them to receive him into their

company, and so doing them much honour, did set them at


        Undoubtedly that friendship which doth depend either on

profit or else on pleasure, if the ability of the person which

might be profitable does fail or diminish, or the disposition of

the person which should be pleasant does change or appair,

the ferventness of love cesseth, and then is there no friendship.
















                                 The second Book.


 The wonderful history of Titus and Gisippus, and whereby is

                fully declared the figure of perfect amity.

                                         Cap. 12.


But now in the mid of my labour as it were to pause and take

breath, and also to recreate the readers, which, fatigate with

long precepts, desire variety of matter or some new pleasant

fable of history, I will rehearse a right goodly example of

friendship, which example, studiously read, shall minister to

the readers singular pleasure, and also incredible comfort to

practice amity.


Frame: the author speaks

of his story as an

example of friendship













     There was in the city of Rome a noble senator, named

Fulvius, who sent his son called Titus, being a child, to the city

of Athens in Greece, which was the fountain of all manner of

doctrine, there to learn good letters, and caused him to be

hosted with a worshipful man of that city, called Chremes. This

Chremes happened to have also a son named Gisippus, who not

only was equal to the said young Titus in years, but also in

stature, proportion of body, favour, and colour of visage,

countenance and speech. The two children were so like that

without much difficulty it could not be discerned of their proper

parents which was Titus from Gisippus, or Gisippus from Titus.

1. Titus, son of a Roman

senator, is sent to

Athens at Chermes’












These two young gentlemen, as they seemed to be one in

form and personage, so shortly after acquaintance the same

nature wrought in their hearts such a mutual affection that

their wills and appetites daily more and more so confederated

themselves that it seemed none other when their names were

declared, but that they had only changed their places, issuing,

as I might say, out of the one body, and entering into the


2. Chermes’ son

Gisippus and

Titus look the








          They together, and at one time, went to their learning and

study, at one time to their meals and refection, they delighted

both in one doctrine, and profited equally therein, finally, they

together increased in doctrine that, within a few years, few

within Athens might be compared unto them.

3. They share

mutual affection, they

are alike in feelings and

interests, and are always












        At the last died Chremes, which was not only to his son,

but also to Titus cause of much sorrow and heaviness. Gisippus,

by the goods of his father was known to be a man of great

substance, wherefore there were offered to him great and rich

marriages. And he then being of ripe years, and of an able and

goodly personage, his friends, kin, and allies, exhorted him

busily to take a wife, to the intent he might increase his lineage

and progeny.


4. Chermes dies

and people want

Gisippus to get









                      But the young man, having his heart already

wedded to his friend Titus, and his mind fixed to the study of

philosophy, fearing that marriage should be the occasion to

sever him both from the one and the other, refused of long

time to be persuaded,

5. Gisippus does not

want to marry, because

of his friendship with

Titus and love for












                                      until at the last, partly by the

importunate calling one of his kinsmen, partly by the consent

and advice of his dear friend Titus, thereto by other desired, he

assented to marry such a one as should like him. What shall

need any words? His friends found a young gentlewoman,

which in equality of years, virtuous conditions, nobility of

blood, beauty, and sufficient riches they thought was for such a

young man apt and convenient.

6. Gisippus

consents to marry

a woman chosen

by his friends














                                                     And when they and her

friends upon the covenants of marriage were throughly

accorded, they counselled Gisippus to repair unto the maiden,

and to behold how her person contented him. And he so doing,

found her in every form and condition according to his

expectation and appetite, whereat he much rejoyced, and

became of her amorous, insomuch as many and oftentimes

leaving Titus at his study, he secretly repaired unto her.


7. Gisippus meets

the woman and falls in

love with her












        Notwithstanding the fervent love that he had to his friend

Titus, at the last surmounted shamefastness, wherefore he

disclosed to him his secret journeys, and what delectation he

took in beholding the excellent beauty of her whom he

intended to marry, and how with her good manners and sweet

entertainment she had constrained him to be her lover.

8. Gisippus tells Titus he

loves the woman and

introduces him to her


















                                                                                          And on

a time, he having with him his friend Titus went to his lady, of

whom he was received most joyously, but Titus forthwith as he

beheld so heavenly a personage, adorned with beauty

inexplicable, in whole visage was a most amiable countenance

mixed with maidenly shamefastness, and the rare and sober

words and well couched which issued out of her pretty mouth,

Titus was thereat abashed, and had the heart through pierced

with the fiery dart of blind Cupid, of the which wound the

anguish was so exceeding and vehement that neither the study

of philosophy, neither the remembrance of his dear friend

Gisippus, who so much loved and trusted him, could any thing

withdraw him from that unkind appetite, but that of force he

must love inordinately that lady whom his said friend had

determined to marry.


9. Titus too falls in love

with the woman



























       Albeit with incredible pains, he kept his thoughts secret

until that he and Gisippus were returned unto their lodgings.

Then the miserable Titus withdrawing him as it were to his

study, all tormented and oppressed with love, threw himself on

a bed, and there rebuking his own most despiteful unkindness,

which by the sudden sight of a maiden he had conspired against

his most dear friend Gisippus, against all humanity and reason,

cursed his fate or constellation, and wished that he had never

comen to Athens. And therewith he sent out from the bottom

of his heart deep and cold sighs, in such plenty that it lacked

but little that his heart was not riven in pieces. In dolour and

anguish tossed he himself by a certain space, but to no man

would he discover it.


10. Titus decides not to

disclose his feelings and























        But at the last, the pain became so intollerable that, would

be or not, he was so enforced to keep his bed, being for lack of

sleep and other natural sustenance brought in such feebleness

that his legs might not sustain his body.

        Gisippus, missing his dear friend Titus, was much abashed,

and, hearing that he lay sick in his bed, had forthwith his heart

pierced with heaviness, and with all speed came to him, where

he lay. And beholding the roseal colour, which was wont to be

in his visage, tourned into sallow, the residue pale, his ruddy

lips wan, and his eyes leady and hollow, might uneath keep

himself from weeping, but to the intent he would not

discomfort his friend Titus, dissimuled his heaviness,


11. Titus gets sick and

lies in his bed; Gisippus

visits him
















                                                                                       and with

a comfortable countenance demanded of Titus what was the

cause of his disease, blaming him of unkindness, that he so long

had sustained it without giving him knowledge that he might

for him have provided some remedy, if any might have been

gotten, though it were with the dispending of all his substance.


12. Gisippus asks Titus

the cause of his disease















        With which words the mortal sighs renewed in Titus, and

the salt tears burst out of his eyes in such abundance as it had

been a land flood running down of a mountain after a storm.

That beholding Gisippus, and being also resolved into tears,

most heartily desired him, and, as I might say, conjured him

for the fervent and entire love that had been, and yet was

between them, that he would no longer hide from him his grief,

and that there was nothing to him so dear and precious,

although it were his own life, that might restore Titus to

health, but that he should gladly, and without grutching,

employ it.


13. Titus and Gisippus

cry. Gisippus asks Titus

the cause of his grief and

declares he would do

anything to help him









































       With which words, obtestations and tears of Gisippus,

Titus constrained, all blushing and ashamed, holding down his

head, brought forth with great difficulty his words in this wise[ii]:

“My dear and most loving friend, withdraw your friendly

offers, cease of your courtesy, refrain your tears and

regrettings, take rather your knife, and slay me here where I

lie, or otherwise take vengeance on me, most miserable and

false traitor unto you, and of all other most worthy to suffer

most shameful death. For whereas God of nature like as he hath

given to us similitude in all the parts of our body, so hath he

conjoyned our wills, studies and appetites together in one, so

that between men was never like concord and love, as I

suppose. And now notwithstanding, only with the look of a

woman those bonds of love be dissolved, reason oppressed,

friendship is excluded, there availeth no wisdom, no doctrine,

no fidelity or trust. Yea, your trust is the cause that I have

conspired against you this treason. Alas Gisippus, what envious

spirit moved you to bring me to her, whom ye have chosen to

be your wife, where I received this poison? I say Gisippus,

where was then your wisdom, that ye remembred not the

fragility of our common Nature? What need you to call me for

a witness of your private delights? Why would ye have me see

that which you yourself could not behold without ravishing of

mind and carnal appetite? Alas, why forgotten ye that our

minds and appetites were ever one? And that also what so ye

liked was ever to me in like degree pleasant. What will ye more?

Gisippus I say, your trust is the cause that I am entrapped. The

rays or beames issuing from the eyes of her whom ye have

chosen, with the remembrance of her incomparable virtues,

hath thrilled throughout the mids of my heart, and in such wise

burneth it, that above all things I desire to be out of this

wretched and most unkind life, which is not worthy the

company of so noble and loving a friend as ye be”. And

therewith Titus concluded his confession, with so profound and

bitter a sigh received with tears that it seemed that all his body

should be dissolved and relented into salt drops.


14. Titus avows he is in

love with Gisippus’

woman and that he

prefers to die rather than

betray their friendship





















































































        But Gisippus, as he were therewith nothing astonied or

discontented, with an assured countenance and merry regard,

embracing Titus, and kissing him, answered in this wise[iii]:“Why

Titus, is this your only sickness and grief that ye so

uncourteously have so long concealed, and with much more

unkindness kept from me, than ye have conceived it? I

knowledge my folly wherewith ye have with good right

embraided me, that in showing to you her whom I loved I

remembered not the common estate of our nature, neither the

agreableness, or, as I might say, the unity of our two appetites.

Surely that default can be by no reason excused, wherefore it is

only I that have offended. For who may by right prove that ye

have trespassed, that by the inevitable stroke of Cupid’s dart

are thus bitterly wounded? Think ye me such a fool or ignorant

person that I know not the power of Venus where she liketh to

show her importable violence? Have not ye well resisted

against such a goddess, that for my sake have striven with her

almost to the death? What more loyalty or truth can I require

of you? Am I of that virtue that I may resist against celestial

influence, preordinate by providence divine? If I so thought

what were my wits? Where were my study so long time spent

in noble philosophy? I confess to you Titus, I love that maiden

as much as any wise man might possible, and took in her

company more delight and pleasure than of all the treasure and

lands that my father left me, which ye know was right

abundant. But now I perceive that the affection of love towards

her surmounteth in you above measure, what, shall I think it of

a wanton lust, or sudden appetite in you, whom I have ever

known of grave and sad disposition, inclined always to honest

doctrine, flying all vain dalliance and dishonest pastime? Shall

I imagine to be in you any malice or fraud, since from the tender

time of our childhood I have always found in you, my sweet

friend Titus, such a conformity with all my manners, appetites,

and desires that never was seen between us any manner of

contention? May God forbid that in the friendship of Gisippus

and Titus should happen any suspicion, or that any fantasy

should pierce my head, whereby that honourable love between

us should be the maintenance of a crumb perished. Nay, nay

Titus, it is as I have said, the only providence of God, she was

by him from the beginning prepared to be your lady and wife.

For such fervent love entereth not into the heart of a wise man

and virtuous, but by a divine disposition, whereat if I should be

discontented or grudge, I should not only be unjust to you,

withholding that from you which is undoubtedly yours, but also

obstinate and repugnant against the determination of God,

which shall never be found in Gisippus.

        Therfore, gentle friend Titus, dismay you not at the chance

of love, but receive it joyously with me that am with you

nothing discontented, but marvellous glad, since it is my hap to

find for you such a lady, with whom ye shall live in felicity, and

receive fruits to the honour and comfort of all your lineage.

Here I renounce to you clearly all my title and interest that I

now have or might have in the fair maiden.


15. Gisippus says that he

is not discontented and

that he knew that Titus

would have fallen in

love with his mistress.

He renounces any right

on her in order to save

Titus’ life.










































































                                                                        Call to your

pristinate courage, wash clean your visage and eyes thus

bewept, and abandon all heaviness, the day appointed for our

marriage approcheth, let us consult how without difficulty ye

may wholly attain your desires. Take heed, this is mine advice:

ye know well that we two be so like that, being apart, and in

one apparel, few men do know us. Also, ye do remember that

the custom is that, notwithstanding any ceremony done at the

time of the spousals, the marriage notwithstanding is not

confirmed until at night that the husband putteth a ring on the

finger of his wife, and unloseth her girdle. Therefore, I myself

will be present with my friends, and perform all the parts of a

bride. And ye shall abide in a place secret, where I shall appoint

you until it be night. And then shall ye quickly convey yourself

into the maiden’s chamber, and for the similitude of our

personages, and of our apparel, ye shall not be espied of the

women, which have with none of us any acquaintance, and

shortly get you to bed, and put your own ring on the maiden’s

finger, and undo her girdle of virginity, and do all other thing

that shall be to your pleasure. Be now of good cheer, Titus, and

comfort yourself with good refections and solace, that this wan

and pale colour and your cheeks meagre and lean be not the

cause of your discovering. I know well that ye having your

purpose, I shall be in obloquy and derision of all men, and so

hated of all my kindred that they shall seek occasion to expulse

me out of this city, thinking me to be a notable reproach to all

my family. But let God therein work, I force not what pain that

I abide, so that ye my friend Titus may be safe, and pleasantly

enjoy your desires, to the encreasing of your felicity”.


16. Gisippus says he

wants Titus to marry his

mistress in his own

place, and illustrates the











































        With these words Titus began to move, as it were out of a

dream, and doubting whether he heard Gisippus speak, or

else saw but a vision, lay still as a man abashed. But when he

beheld the tears, trickling down by the face of Gisippus, he then

recomforted him, and, thanking him for his incomparable

kindness, refused the benefit that he offered, saying that it were

better that a hundred such unkind wretches as he was should

perish, than so noble a man as was Gisippus should sustain

reproach or damage. But Gisippus eftsoons comforted Titus,

and therewith swore and protested, that with free and glad will

he would that this thing should be in form aforesaid

accomplished, and therewith embraced and sweetly kissed

Titus, who, perceiving the matter sure, and not feigned, as a

man not sick, but only awaked out of his sleep, set himself up

in his bed, the quick blood somewhat resorted unto his visage,

and after a little good meats and drinks taken, he was shortly

and in a few days restored into his old fashion and figure.

17. Titus initially

refuses, but then

accepts and his

health is restored






















        To make the tale short, the day of marriage was come.

Gisippus, accompanied with his allies and friends, came to the

house of the damsel where they honourably and joyously

seated. And between him and the maiden was a sweet

entertainment, which to behold all that were present took

much pleasure and comfort, praising the beauty, goodliness,

virtue, and courtesy which in this couple were excellent above

all other that they had ever seen.

18. Gisippus marries the














        What shall I say more? The covenants were read and

sealed, the dower appointed, and all other bargains concluded,

and the friends of either part took their leave and departed. The

bride with a few women, as was the custom, brought into her

chamber, then, as it was before agreed, Titus conveyed himself,

after Gisippus returned to his house, or perchance to the

chamber appointed for Titus, nothing sorowfull, although that

he heartily loved the maiden, but with a glad heart and

countenance, that he had so recovered his friend from death,

and so well brought him to the effect of his desire.


19. Titus goes to her

chamber after the

wedding, pretending to

be Gisippus




















       Now is Titus in bed with the maiden, not known of her,

nor of any other, but for Gysippus. And first he sweetly

demanded her if that she loved him, and deigned to take him

for her husband, forsaking all other. Which she, also blushing

with an eye half laughing, half mourning, as in point to depart

from her maidenhead, but supposing it to be Gisippus that

asked her, affirmed. And than he eftsoons asked her if she, in

ratifying that promise, would receive his ring, which he had

there already, whereto, she consenting, putteth the ring on her

finger, and unlooseth her girdle. What thing else he did they

two only knew of it. Of one thing I am sure: that night was to

Titus more comfortable than ever was the longest day of the

year, yes, and I suppose a whole year of days.


20. Titus asks the

woman to take him as a

husband, gives her his

ring and they spend the

night together














        The morrow is come. Gisippus, thinking it expedient

that the truth should be discovered, assembled all the nobility

of the city at his own house, where also by the appointment

was Titus, who among them had these words, that do follow:


21. The following

morning Gisippus

assembles all the town’s

nobility in his house


















































































“My friends Athenienses[iv], there is at this time showed among

you an example, almost incredible, of the divine power of

honourable love, to the perpetual renown and commendation

of this noble city of Athens, whereof he ought to take excellent

comfort, and therefore give due thanks to God, if there remains

among you any token of the ancient wisdom of your most noble

progenitors. For what more praise may be given to people than

benevolence, faithfulness and constance? Without whom all

countries and cities, be brought unto desolation and ruin, like

as by them they become prosperous, and in most high felicity.

What shall I long tarry you in conjecting mine intent and

meaning, ye all know from whence I came unto this city, that

of adventure I found in the house of Chremes his son Gisippus,

of mine own age, and in everything so like to me, that neither

his father nor any other man could discern of us the one from

the other, but by our own ensignment or showing, in so much

as there were put about our necks laces of sundry colours to

declare our personages. What mutual agreement and love have

been always between us during the eight years that we have

been together, ye all be witnesss, that have been beholders and

wonderers of our most sweet conversation and consent of

appetites, when was never any discord or variance. And as for

my part, after the decease of my father, notwithstanding that

there was descended and happened unto me great possessions,

fair houses with abundances of riches, also I being called home

by the desirous and importunate letters of mine allies and

friends, which be of the most noble of all the senators, offered

the advancement to the highest dignities in the public weal. I

will not remember the lamentations of my most natural mother,

expressed in her tender letters, all besprent and blotted with

abundance of tears, wherein she accuseth me of unkindness, for

my long tarrying, and specially now in her most discomfort. But

all this could not remove me the breadth of my nail from my

dear friend Gisippus. And but by force could not I, nor yet may

be drawn from his sweet company but if he thereto will consent.

I chosing rather to live with him as his companion and fellow,

yea, and as his servant rather than to be consul of Rome. Thus,

my kindness hath been well acquitted or, as I might say,

redoubled, delivering me from the death, yea from the most

cruel and painful death of all other. I perceive ye wonder here

at, noble Athenienses, and no marvel. For what person should

be so hardy to attempt any such thing against me being a

Roman, and of the noble blood of the Romans? Or who should

be thought so malicious to slay me, who, as all ye be my judges,

never trespassed against any person within this city.

Nay, nay, my friends, I have none of you all therein suspected,

I perceive you desire and harken to know what he was that

presumed to do so cruel and great an enterprise. It was Love

noble Athenienses, the same Love, which as your poets do

remember, did wound the more part of all the Gods, that ye do

honour, that constrained Jupiter to transform himself in a swan,

a bull, and diverse other likeness. The same Love that caused

Hercules, the vanquisher and destroyer of monsters and giants,

to spin on a rock, sitting among maidens in a woman’s apparel,

the same love that caused to assemble all the noble princes of

Asia and Greece in the fields of Troy, the same Love, I say,

against whose assaults may be found no defence or resistance,

hath suddenly and unaware striken me unto the heart, with

such vehemence and might that I had in short space died with

most fervent torments, had not the incomparable friendship of

Gisippus helped me. I see, you would fain know who she is that

I loved. I will no longer delay you noble Athenienses: it is

Sophronia, the lady whom Gisippus had chosen to have to his

wife, and whom he most entirely loved. But when his most

gentle heart perceived that my love was in a much higher

degree than his towards that lady, and that it proceeded neither

of wantonness, neither of long conversation, nor of any other

corrupt desire or fantasy, but in an instant, by the only look,

and with such fervence that immediatly I was so cruciate that I

desired, and in all that I might provoke, death to take me. He,

by his wisdom, soon perceived – as I doubt not but that ye do –

that it was the very provision of God that she should be my

wife, and not his: whereto, he giving place and more esteeming

true friendship than the love of a woman, whereunto he was

induced by his friends, and not by violence of Cupid

constrained as I am, hath willingly granted to me the interest

that he had in the damsel. And it is I, Titus, that have verily

wedded her, I have put the ring on her finger, I have undone

the girdle of shamefastness, what will ye more, I have lain with

her, and confirmed the matrimony, and made her a wife”.


22. Titus tells the truth

about his love and the

















































































































        At these words all they that were present began to

murmur and to cast a disdainous and grievous look upon

Gisippus. Then spoke again Titus: “Leave your grudgings and

menacing countenance towards Gisippus, he hath done to you

all honour, and no need of reproach. I tell you he hath

accomplished all the parts of a friend, that love, which was

most certain, hath he continued. He knew he might find in

Greece another maiden, and fair and as rich as this that he had

chosen, and one perchance that he might love better. But such

a friend, as I was, having respect to our similitude, the long

approved concord, also mine estate and condition, he was sure

to find never none. Also, the damsel suffereth no disparagement

in her blood, or hindrance in her marriage, but is much rather

advanced, no dispraise to my dear friend Gisippus. Also,

consider noble Athenienses, that I took her not my father living,

when ye might have suspected that as well her riches as her

beauty should have thereto allured me, but soon after my

father’s decease, when I far exceeded her in possessions and

subsance, when the most notable men of Rome and of Italy

desired mine alliance, ye have therefore all cause to rejoice and

thank Gisippus, and not to be angry, and also to extol his

wonderful kindness towards me, whereby he hath won me and

all my blood, such friends to you and your city, that ye may be

assured to be by us defended against all the world. Which being

considered, Gisippus hath well deserved a statue or image of

gold to be set on a pillar in the mids of your city, for an

honorable monument, in the remembrance of our incomparable

friendship, and of the good that thereby may come to your city.

But if this persuasion cannot satisfy you, but that ye will

imagine anything to the damage of my dear friend Gisippus,

after my departing I make mine avow unto God, creator of all

thing, that as I shall have knowledge thereof, I shall forthwith

resort hither with the invincible power of the Romans, and

revenge him in such wise against his enemies that all Greece

shall speak of it to their perpetual dishonour, shame, and



23. The nobility is upset

by the story and Titus

defends Gisippus






































        And therewith Titus and Gisippus rose, but the other for

fear of Titus dissembled their malice, making semblant as they

had been with all thing contented.


24. The nobles pretend

that they are content but

are actually disappointed












        Soon after, Titus, being sent for by the authority of the

Senate and people of Rome, prepared to depart out of Athens,

and would fain have had Gisippus to have gone with him,

offering to divide with him all his substance and fortune. But

Gisippus, considering how necessary his counsel should be to

the city of Athens, would not depart out of his country.

Notwithstanding that above all earthly things he most desired

the company of Titus, which abode also, for the said

consideration, Titus approved.


25. Titus must go to

Rome, while Gisippus

remains in Athens for

the city’s good













        Titus with his lady is departed towards the city of Rome,

where at their coming they were of the mother of Titus, his

kinsmen, and of all the Senate and people joyously received.

And there lived Titus with his lady in joy inexplicable, and had

by her many fair children, and for his wisdom and learning was

so highly esteemed that there was no dignity or honourable

office within the city that he had not with much favour and

praise achieved and occupied.


26. Titus goes to Rome

and there lives happily

with his wife












        But now let us resort to Gisippus, who, immediately upon

the departing of Titus, was so maligned at as well by his own

kinsmen as by the friends of the lady that he, to their seeming

shamefully abandoned, leaving her to Titus, that they spared

not daily to vexe him with all kinds of reproach that they could

devise or imagine, and first they excluded him out of their

counsel, and prohibited from him all honest company.


27. Gisippus’ fellow

citizens and the friends

of Titus’ wife exclude

him from the political











yet, not being therewith satisfied, finally they adjudged him

unworthy to enjoy any possessions or goods left to him by his

parents, whom he, as they supposed, by his undiscrete

friendship had so distained.


28. They deprive

Gisippus of his











                                             Wherefore they despoiled him of all

things, and, almost naked, expelled him out of the city. Thus, is

Gisippus late wealthy, and one of the most noble men of

Athens, for his kind heart banished his country forever, and as

a man dismayed, wandering hither and thither, finding no man

that would succour him.


29. Gisippus is banished

from Athens







                                         At the last remembering in what

pleasure his friend Titus lived with his lady, for whom he

suffered these damages, concluded to go to Rome, and declare

his infortune to his said friend Titus.


30. Gisippus decides to

go to Rome









        What shall need a long tale? In conclusion, with much

pain, cold, hunger and thirst, he is come to the city of Rome,

and diligently enquiring for the house of Titus, at the last he

came to it, but, beholding it so beautiful, large, and princely, he

was ashamed to approach nigh to it, being in so simple estate

and unclad, but standeth by that in case Titus came forth out of

his house he might present himself to him.


31. Gisippus arrives at

Titus’ house but is

ashamed to enter, and

waits for him outside








        He being in this thought, Titus holding his lady by the

hand issued out from his door and, taking their horses to solace

themselves, beheld Gisippus, and beholding his vile apparel,

regarded him not, but passed forth on their way,

32. Titus and his wife

pass by Gisippus and do

not recognise him

because of his poor state








wherewith Gisippus was so wounded to the heart, thinking

Titus had contemned his fortune, that, oppressed with mortal

heaviness, fell in a swoon, but being recovered by some that

stood by, thinking him to be sick, forthwith departed, intending

not to abide any longer, but as a wild beast to wander abroad in

the world.

33. Gisippus feels

abandoned, faints, is

helped by a bystander,

and decides to leave






        But for weariness he was constrained to enter into an old

barn without the city, where he, casting himself on the bare

ground with weeping and dolorous crying, bewailed his

fortune, but most of all accusing the ingratitude of Titus, for

whom he suffered all that misery,


34. He stops in a barn

and cries for his

misfortune and for

Titus’ behaviour





                                                        the remembrance whereof

was so intolerable that he determined no longer to live in that

anguish and dolour. And therewith drew his knife, purposing

to have slain himself.

35. He decides to kill

himself with a knife







                                   But ever wisdom, which he by the study

of philosophy had attained, withdrew him from that desperate

act. And in this contention between wisdom and will, fatigate

with long jouneys in watch, or as God would have it, he fell into

a deep sleep, his knife – wherewith he would have slain himself

– falling down by him.


36. But he changes his

mind and falls asleep,

letting the knife fall

from his hand












       In the meantime, a common and notable ruffian or thief,

which had robbed and slain a man, was entered into the barn

where Gisippus lay to the intent to sojourn there all that night.

And seeing Gisippus bewept, and his visage replenished with

sorrow, and also the naked knife by him, perceived well that he

was a man desperate and, suppressed with heaviness of heart,

was weary of his life, which the said ruffian taking for a good

occasion to escape, took the knife of Gisippus and, putting it in

the wound of him that was slain, put it all bloody in the hand

of Gisippus being fast asleep, and so departed.

37. A murderer enters

the barn and, seeing the

knife, after covering it in

his victim’s blood, he

puts it in Gisippus’ hand,

and then runs away








                                                                           Soon after the

dead man being found, the officers made diligent search for the

murderer. At the last they entering into the barn, and finding

Gisippus on sleep, with the bloody knife in his hand, awaked

him, wherewith he entered again into his old sorrows,

complaining his evil fortune.


38. Some officers find

Gisippus asleep in the

barn with the knife

covered in blood










                                                But when the officers laid unto

him the death of the man, and the having of the bloody knife,

thereat rejoiced, thanking God, that such occasion was

happened, whereby he should suffer death by the laws, and

escape the violence of his own hands. Wherefore he denied

nothing that was laid to his charge, desiring the officers to

make haste that he might be shortly out of his life. Whereat

they marvelled.

39. Gisippus does not

deny the accusation of

murder in order to be

sentenced to death











        Anon report came to the Senate that a man was slain and

that a stranger, and a Greek born, was found in such form as is

before mentioned. They forthwith commanded him to be

brought unto their presence, sitting there at that time Titus

being then consul or in other like dignity. The miserable

Gisippus was brought to the bar with bills and staves like a

felon, of whom it was demanded if he slew the man that was

founden dead. He nothing denied, but in most sorrowful

manner cursed his fortune, naming himself of all other most



40. Gisippus is brought

in front of the Senate, of

which Titus is a consul
















        At the last, one demanding him of what country he was,

he confessed to be an Athenian, and therewith he cast his

sorrowful eyes upon Titus with much indignation, and burst

out into sighs and tears abundantly, that beholding Titus, and

espying by a little sign in his visage which he knew that it was

his dear friend Gisippus, and anon considering that he was

brought into despair by some misadventure, rose out of his

place where he sat, and, falling on his knees before the judges,

said that he had slain the man, for old malice that he bare

towards him, and that Gisippus, being a stranger, was guiltless,

and all men might perceive that the other was a desperate

person, wherefore, to abreviate his sorrows, he confessed the

act whereof he was innocent, to the intent that he would finish

his sorrows with death. Wherefore, Titus desired the judges to

give sentence on him according to his merits.


41. Titus recognises

Gisippus, and pretends

to be the murderer in

order to save his friend’s







        But Gisippus, perceiving his friend Titus, contrary to his

expectation, to offer himself to the death for his safeguard, more

importunately cried to Senate to proceed in their judgement in

him, that was the very offender.


42. Gisippus tells he is

the murder, to save Titus








        Titus denied, and affirmed with reasons and arguments

that he was the murderer, and not Gisippus. Thus, they of long

time with abundance of teares contended which of them should

die for the other, whereat all the Senate and people were

wonderously abashed, not knowing what it meant.


43. Both plead guilty in

order to save one




























murderer indeed happened to be in the press at that time, who

perceiving the marvellous contention of these two persons,

which were both innocent, and that it proceeded of an

incomparable friendship, was vehemently provoked to discover

the truth. Wherefore he broke through the press, and, coming

before the Senate, spake in this wise: “Noble fathers, I am such

a person whom ye know have been a common barrator and

thief by a long space of years, ye know also, that Titus is of a

noble blood, and is approved to be always a man of excellent

virtue and wisdom, and never was malicious. This other

stranger seemeth to be a man full of simplicity, and that more

is desperate for some grievous sorrow that he hath taken, as it

is to you evident. I say to you fathers they both be innocent, I

am that person, that slew him that is found dead by the barn,

and robbed him of his money. And when I found in the barn

this stranger lying on sleep, having by him a naked knife, I, the

better to hide mine offence, did put the knife into the wound of

the dead man, and so all bloody laid it again by this stranger.

This was my mischievous device to escape your judgement,

whereunto now I remit me wholly rather than this noble man

Titus, or this innocent stranger, should unworthily die.

44. The real murderer

enters the Senate and

confesses the murder





        Hereat the Senate and people took comfort, and the noise

of rejoicing hearts filled the court. And when it was further

examined, Gisippus was discovered, the friendship between

him and Titus was throughout the city published, extolled and



45. Titus and Gisippus

are acquitted and their

firenship is celebrated in

the whole city






                  Wherefore the Senate consulted of this matter and

finally, at the instance of Titus and the people, discharged the



46. The murderer is













          Titus recognised his negligence in forgetting Gisippus,

and Titus being advertised of the exile of Gisippus, and the

despiteful cruelty of his kindred, was therewith wonderful

wrath, and having Gisippus home to his house (where he was

with incredible joy received of the lady whom some time he

should have wedded) honourably apparelled him, and there

Titus offered to him to use all his goods and possessions at his

own pleasure and appetite.


47. Titus welcomes

Gisippus in his house,

gives him rich clothes,

and offers to share his

wealth with him










                                            But Gisippus, desiring to be again in

his proper country, Titus by the consent of the Senate and

people assembled a great army, and went with Gisippus unto

Athens, where he, having delivered to him all those which were

causers of banishing and despoiling of his friend Gisippus, did

on them sharp execution, and restoring to Gisippus his lands

and substance, stablished him in perpetual quietness, and so

returned to Rome.


48. Gisippus wants to go

back to Athens, Titus

goes with him with an

army, he executes

Gisippus’ enemies and

restores him to his








       This example in the affects of friendship expresseth, if I be

not deceived, the description of friendship, engendered by the

simlilitude of age and personage, augmented by the conformity

of manners and studies, and confirmed by the long continuance

of company.


49. The narrator

comments on the story

as an example of



























      It would be remembered that friendship is between good

men only[v], and is engendered of an opinion of virtue. Then,

may we reason in this form: a good man is so named because

all that he willeth or doth is only good, in good can be none evil,

therefore nothing that a good man willeth or dot, can be evil.

Likewise, virtue is the affection of a good man, which neither

willeth nor doth anything that is evil. And vice is contrary unto

virtue, for in the opinion of virtue is neither evil nor vice. And

very amity is virtue. Wherefore, nothing evil or vicious may

happen in friendship. Therefore, in the first election of friends

resteth all the importance. Wherefore, it would not be without

a long deliberation and proof, and as Aristotle[vi] saith, in as long

time as by them both, being together conversant, a whole

bushell of salt might be eaten. For oftentimes with fortune, as I

late said, is changed or at the least minished the ferventness of

that affection, according as the sweet poet Ovid affirmeth,

saying in this sentence:

        Whiles Fortune thee favoreth, friends thou hast plenty.

        The time being troublous, thou art all alone.

        Thou seest culvers haunt houses made white and dainty.

        To the ruinous tour almost cometh none,

        Of emmets innumerable uneath thou findest one.

        In empty barns, and where faileth substance,

        Happeneth no friend in whom is assurance.[vii]

50. The narrator speaks

of friendship and virtue









But if any happeneth in every fortune to be constant in

friendship, he is to be made of above all things that may come

unto man, and above any other that be of blood or kindred, as

Titus saith. For from kindred may be taken benevolence, from

friendship it can never be severed. Wherefore benevolence taken

from kindred, yet the name of kinsman remaineth, take it from

friendship, and the name of friendship is utterly perished.


51. The narrator speaks

of friendship and

























        But since this liberty of speech is now usurped by

flatterers[viii], where they perceive that assentation and praises

be abhorred, I am therefore not well assured, how a man

nowadays shall know or discern such admonition from flattery,

but by one only means, that is to say, to remember that

friendship may not be but between good men. Then consider if

he that doth admonish thee be himself voluptuous, ambitious,

covetous, arrogant, or dissolute, refuse not his admonition, but

by the example of the Emperor Antonine, thankfully take it, and

amend such default as thou perceivest, doth give occasion of

obloquy in such manner as the reporter also by thine example

may be corrected. But for that admonition only, account him

not immediately to be thy friend, until thou have of him a long

and sure experience. For undoubtedly it is wonderful difficile,

to find a man very ambitious or covetous to be assured in

friendship. For where findest thou him, saith Tully, that will not

preferred honours, great offices, rule, authority, and richesse

before friendship. Therefore, saith he, it is very hard to find

friendship in them that be occupied in acquiring honour, or

about the affairs of the public weal. Which saying is proved by

daily experience. For disdain and contempt be companions

with ambition, like as envy and hatred be also her fellows.

52. Difference between

friend and flatterer


[i] Pitheas & Damon

[ii] The words of Titus to Gisippus

[iii] The answer of Gisippus

[iv] The oration of Titus to the Athenienses

[v] None evil may be in friendship

[vi] Ethic

[vii] Ovid, De Ponto.

[viii] How to discern a friend from a flatterer