The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 4984
IMEV 3187
NIMEV 3187
Sometime there was a noble man
The Seuyn Sages of Rome — in short couplets; ‘A’ text
Note: For ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ texts, see 4985, 4986 and 4987.
Title(s): The Seuyn Sages of Rome
Subjects: tales; wise men; women, against
Versification: — two-line — aa

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Balliol College 354, pp. 39-112
First Lines:
In olde days ther was a man
His name was dyoclosyan…
Last Lines:
…And that it may ever so be
Amen amen for charyte
Note: 3708 lines.
Attributed Author: Quod Richard Hill (p. 112)
Attributed Title: Here begynneth þe prologes of the vij sagis or / vij wise men masters which were named / as here after ffollowith (p. 38); Thus endith of the vij sages of Rome / which was drawen owt of crownycles & owt of / wrytyng of old men & many / a notable tale is ther in / as ye beffore sayde / Quod Richard Hill (p. 112)
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University: Facsimile of Oxford, Balliol MS 354. (
Brunner, Karl. The Seven Sages of Rome. EETS o.s. 191 (1933); repr. 1988.
2.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ff.2.38, ff. 134ra-156vb
First Lines:
Some tyme þer was a noble man
Whos name was clepyd dyaclysyan
Of ryche rome & þat honour
Lorde he was and Emperour…
Last Lines:
…And sende vs heuen blysse aboue
Amen for hys modur loue
Note: Defective copy, 2555 lines; part of f. 135 torn away.
McSparran, Frances, and Pamela R. Robinson. “Introduction.” Cambridge University Library MS Ff.2.38. London: Scolar Press, 1979.
3.Source: London, British Library Arundel 140, ff. 152ra-165vb
First Lines:
Hys commandement þei dide be lyue
Þane wex þeir moch stryue…
Last Lines:
…Ryȝt glad þou schalt be for soþe
Ȝef I will late þe without oþe
Note: Defective copy, 2467 lines.
4.Source: London, British Library Egerton 1995, ff. 3-54v
First Lines:
HErkenythe lordynges curteys and hende
Howe thys gentylle geste shalle ende…
Last Lines:
…The blysse of heuen a boue
Ihesu for hys modyr loue
Note: 3588 lines.
Attributed Title: This boke ys callyd the vii sages of Rome (f. 3)
Brunner, Karl. The Seven Sages of Rome. EETS o.s. 191 (1933); repr. 1988.
5.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 19.2.1 [Auchinleck MS], ff. 85ra-99vb
First Lines:
…ffor þe mede of mi seruise
Tac me þi sone to loke and lore…
Last Lines:
…A viser ȝit he made more
Two faced bihende & two bifore…
Note: Extract only in this MS: The Tell Tale Bird, corresponding to lines 120-2770.
Pearsall, Derek, and I. C. Cunningham, eds. The Auchinleck Manuscript. National Library of Scotland Advocates’ MS. 19.2.1. London: Scolar Press, 1977.
Weber, Henry William. Metrical Romances of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Centuries. 3 vols. Edinburgh: A. Carstalle, 1810: 3.3-153 (4002 lines with lines 1-134, 3180-4328 from 4986-2).
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Originals and Analogues of some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society 2nd ser. 7, 10, 15, 20, 22. London: Trübner, 1872-87: 448-50.
Varnhagen, Hermann. “über eine unbekannte schottische Bearbeitung der Sieben Weisen.” Englische Studien 25 (1898): 321-5: 322-4 (Tale of Cato only, 196 lines).
Brunner, Karl. The Seven Sages of Rome. EETS o.s. 191 (1933); repr. 1988: (with lines 1-119 and 2771ff. from 4984-1 and 4984-4).

Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 21298. Here begynneth thystorye of ye vii. wyse maysters of Rome: conteynynge ryghe fayre [et] right ioyous narrac[i]ons. [et] to ye reder ryght delectable, London: Wynkyn de Worde, 1506
2.Source: STC 21299. Here beginneth thystorye of the seuen wyse maysters of Rome: conteynynge right faire and ryght ioyous narracio[n]s, and to the reder ryght delectable, London: WIlliam Copland, 1555
3.Source: STC 21299.3. The history of the seuen wise maisters of Rome, [London]: Imprinted at London in Paules Churchyard by Thomas Purfoote, dwelling at the signe of the Lucrece, Edition: Now newly corrected with a pleasant stile, & purged from all old and rude wordes and phrases which were lothsome or tedious to the reader, 1546