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Megalophias His Page - Harleian Ms. Modernized
Harleian Ms. 3542 Modernized

Published in Alfred Hutton's "The Sword Through the Centuries", later transcribed and webbed by Steve Hick, Will McLean, and Terry Brown.

Note: I am no expert, and this modernization may be incorrect. Where I was particularly unsure of a word I have put the original in square brackets, or in some cases left the original and put a possible meaning in square brackets followed by a question mark. In many cases it isn't clear if "stop" should be "step", and vice versa.

Grounds of the Two-handed Sword
Lessons Between Two Bucklers
To Encounter with the Two-handed Sword
Verses on the Two-handed Sword (Man Yt Wol)

The Use of the Two-handed Sword

The first playing and beginning of the substance of the two-handed sword / the first ground begins with an hauke bearing in with the foot with a double round with 3 feet outward and as many homeward making end of the play with a quarter cross smitten with an hauke snatch setting down by the foot.

The 2nd lesson is 2 haukes with 2 half haukes cleaving [cleuing] the elbows with the same 2 double rounds aforesaid with 3 foot outward and as many homeward.

The 3rd lesson is a spring upward . with an hauke quarter . down by the cheek . with 3 double rounds standing borne on the head . with a double round born in with the foot . with . 3 outwards.

The 4th lesson is with a double hauke with 2 double rounds bearing in with a step upon both feet.

The 5th lesson is with an hauke meant [menyd] over the head . but bear it up with a step . break off the earth with running rounds on the head with 2 half haukes borne with 2 cock [koc] steps of the foot.

The 6th lesson bear out the earth with 3 cock [koc] steps and so come home out of danger again.

The 7th lesson is . Smite an hauke cross . cross over the elbows with a back step [stop] and so smite it on the feet.

The 8th lesson is with an hauke cross smitten with a back step borne with both feet and a contrary hauke homeward borne with 2 steps.

These be stroke and rule of the two-handed sword to make his hand and his foot accord. The play of the two-handed sword between 2 bucklers is . first take a sign Of the ground [gonde] there the play between 2 bucklers . make first a sign to them [or each other, or him, h] with a large hauke down to the ground . with . 3 rolling strokes . with an hauke to the other side.

The 2nd lesson is a chase . or an hauke with a quarter borne in with a cock [koc] step and an hauke borne in with a chase foin . that [y] made up with a light spring.

The 3rd lesson is . a chase . with 2 haukes cleaving [cleuing] the elbows.

The 4th lesson . is a chase smitten with 2 half rounds . with 2 cock [koc] steps . a quarter with a step an hauke with a chase foin . with the stroke aventure smitten on 3 feet . and made up with a rake down. ~ borne up with a double hauke . and so serve the stroke aventure upon both feet.

The 5th lesson . is a chase with an hauke & with a back step standing on the foot . & playing on that other side a quarter and the same chase . and an hauke with a step . and an hauke with a chase foin contrary smitten . and so smite in with both feet i made up with 2 half haukes . with 2 back steps [bakstoppis] . and with the running.

The 6th lesson is . 2 hauke quarters rounds with a broken half hauke a laying down to the foot with a contrary hand this is the first laying a down.

The 7th lesson and the first taking up is 3 rakes upward and 3 downward . and going in with a great step . with double quarter well smitten . bearing out with the foot a broken half hauke setting down the sword by the foot.

The 8th lesson and the second laying a down of thy sword . 2 haukes with a quarter and 3 with the foot with a broken hauke . a laying down to the foot with a contrary hand.

The 9th lesson and the second taking up of thy sword is 3 haukes on each side standing on the earth still with a stop bor [borne?] meant [menyd] on the earth . with an hauke quarter borne with a step . and with a double quarter hand and foot borne over the head . an hauke meant [menyd] setting down thy sword by thy foot.

The 10th lesson and the 3rd laying down of thy sword is a quarter and in with the foot and an hauke broken [brokyng] at the cheek and then a double hauke about the head broken . and then in with a spring of the foot . with a stroke aventure . with a quarter and with a snatch . laying to the earth with a contrary hand.

The 11th lesson and the 3rd taking up is with a spring with that on [one?] hand right up on to the face [visage] with an half round broken into a step with a reuence [reverence?] to the cross of thy hilt with a long quarter [cartar] stroke smitten flat down by the back . with a double broken spring back the foot a drawing . and in with a long rake double . in with the foot walking and on each foot 2 rakes and at the walk's [allure's] end smite in 4 rakes double born into a step . and so the other rakes in to the walk [allure] end . and double that [or it, yt] one [on] into a step . again turning in with a long double rake with a step . & with that other hand spring up thy sword to thy right shoulder and smite thy stroke aventure with an hauke setting down thy sword by thy foot.

To Encounter with the Two-handed Sword

And as for the first countenance of the two-handed sword . thou shalt walk in with 3 foot to thy adversary with a bold spirit and a merry heart with a single quarter . and a single quarter wasted with a quarter [cartr] stroke and thus smite thy counter both off and on and let thy hand and thy foot accord together in good offence.

The 2nd counter is with a double quarter with the foot going . & . a double quarter wasted into a step & in with thy foot & smite a large hauke up into the sky . with a double snatch.

The 3rd lesson of the counter is . a rake on each foot going till thou come to thy adversary . with a double quarter with whole defence borne with another double quarter with whole defence break in [broken?] & a sign a touch with a large spring & smite with fierce stroke meant [menyd] with whole defence & so smite this counter both off & on . & bovre thy strokes of each of thy counters.

The 4th counter is 2 half rounds. With a turn [tne] foin . bearing in the foin with a quarter. & an hauke at the sky with a snatch with thy whole defence born before thee [a for the] . & this counter must be smote with transposing of thy earth of both feet for sureness of defence.

The 5th counter is an half round of the second foot . & then smite 2 double haukes & both sides whole . & broken enter in [or him, or quickly, h] with the first foot, with a double quarter . & so smite a quarter [cartr] stroke but turn [tne] him with a stroke aventure with whole defence . & smite this counter both off and on . & let thy eye, thy foot, & thy hand accord in thy defence . the cause of stroke aventure is called . for a man turns his back on his enemy.

The 6th counter is bearing in with 3 foins on both feet . & look thou turn hand & foot & smite a large quarter . & bear in a step [stop] with thy back naked borne . & smite a large hauke with fierce heart & draw him strongly [sore] up to the sky.

The 7th counter is meant [menyd] 3 meant [menyd] foins & transpose them both going & coming . & smite thy foins with in thy single quarter . & at the last quarter smite a large spring with a lusty step forward [stop a fore] & then a chase foin.

Verses on the Play of the Two-handed Sword

[These verses may have a separate origin from the rest of the manuscript, likely older. There are many archaic terms here that I am not at all sure how best to translate.]

One who would [man yt wol to] learn the two-handed sword both close and clear
He must have a good eye both far and near
And an in stop , & an out stop , & an hauke quarter
A cantel, a doublet, an half for his fere
Two rounds . & an half with a good cheer.
This is the first counter of the two-handed sword sere
Bind them together & say God-speed
Two quarters & a round a stop thou him bid
A rake with a spring there thou him abide.
Fall in with an hauke & stride not too wide
Smite a running quarter out for his side
Fall upon his harness if he would abide
Come in with a rake in every aside
An whole round & an half . What so it betide.
4 quarters & a round . & aventure stroke with
Bear up his harness & get thou the grith
Double up lightly & do as I say
Fall in with an hauke & bear a good eye
A spring & a round & step in with
Spare not an hauke if he lie in thy kith
Smite a running quarter for out of thy hand
Abide upon a pendant and lose not thy land
Smite in the left foot & cleave right down
Gather out of thy right hand & smite an hauke round
Swiftly smite thy strokes one after another
And hold well thy land that it may be seen
Thy rakes, thy rounds, thy quarters about
Thy stops, thy foins, let them strike swiftly
Thy springs, thy quarters, thy rabetts also
Bear a good eye & let thy hand go
Fie on a false heart that dare not abide
When he sees rounds & rakes running by his side
Fly not hastily for a little pride
For little knows thy adversary what him shall betide
Let strokes swiftly follow after his hand
And hauke round with a stop & still that thou stand
Grieve not greatly though you are touched a little
For an after-stroke is better if thou dare him smite
A good round with an hauke & smite right down
Gather up a doublet and spare not his crown
With a round & a rake abide at bay
With a running quarter set him out of his way
This is [beeth] the letter that standing in his sight
To teach . or to play . or else for to fight
These are [beeth] the strokes of thy whole ground
For hurt . or for dint or else for death's wound.

Notes on Archaic Words:

"Thou, thy" is the familiar form of "you, your" used to address a friend, student, family member, etc. "Smite" is to hit or strike.
Cantel - a corner piece or slice of something; a cunning trick.
Doublet - something doubled, in this case probably a double stroke of some kind.
Fere - can mean companion, company, also ability, life, or health.
Sere - extraordinary, diverse, set apart.
Abide - to wait, remain, withstand something without moving.
Running - can have the modern sense, but can also imply quick, moving, or continuous.
Harness - armour. "Fall upon his harness" and "bear up his harness" probably refer to grappling.
Betide - happen.
Grith - peace, truce, quarter. "Get thou the grith" probably means "make him surrender".
Kith - area of acquaintance; so "in thy kith" means near you.
Pendant - probably a hanging guard, as this word is used in later sources.
Land - in this context probably means ground, as in "hold your ground".
Grieve - to get angry or upset, not the modern sense.
Crown - top of the head.
Letter - writing.
Dint - blows, force.