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Fiore de'i Liberi/Spear

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Morgan Transcription [edit]
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Getty Transcription [edit]
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[1] The extended lance which is used in hand;
The more it is extended, the less it deceives.
Six Masters stand in guard with it,
And with a step and a beat, they suddenly strike,
Both from the right side and from the left (for certain):
The beat is made to the side and not up;
And the beat wants to be one arm's length on the lance,
And whoever goes against it will make such a failure.

I am a noble weapon, Lance by name:
In the beginning of battle I am always used.
And whoever watches me with my dashing pennant
Should be frightened with great dread.
And if in the beginning I make my due,
Axe, sword, and dagger will I upset.

Here begins the art of the noble weapon called Lance; in the beginning of battle, on horse and on foot, is its use. And whoever watches it with its dashing pennant should be frightened with great dread. And it makes great thrusts which are dangerously strong, and with a single one it can give death. And if in the first blow it makes its due, then axe, sword, and dagger will all be upset.

[2] I wait in this guard with my lance shortened:
My method is to beat and to exchange thrusts.

We are three masters in guards with our spears, conforming to the grips of the sword. And I am the first, which is Tutta Porta di Ferro (Full Iron Door). I am positioned to quickly beat (rebatter) the spear of the player, that is I pass (passarò) with the right foot traversing out of the way, and traversing/crossing his spear beat it to the left side. If I pass and I beat in doing that pass I injure [the opponent], this is a thing that is not possible to fail in.

We are three Masters in guard with our lances, and we conform to the grips of the sword. And I am the first, and I am set in the Full Iron Gate to beat the lance of the player quickly—that is, that I will step with my right foot out of the way to the side, and crossing his lance I will beat it to the left side such that the step and the beat are made in a single pass with the strike. This is a thing that cannot fail.

[3] Your lance is extended and mine is shortened:
Attack and do not flee, so I may do you villainy.

In Mezza Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Door) I am positioned with the spear. The beat and the injuring is always my custom. And he wants to come with the mid/half-spear or staff, I will not fail to injure him with my beat and pass, that all the guards which move out of the way, with short spear and short sword I am sufficient at waiting for all long hand weapons. And those from the right side cover, and with covering they pass and place a thrust. And the guards of the left side cover and beat (rebatteno) and with a strike they injure, and can not place thrusts well.

I have set myself in the Middle Iron Gate with shortened lance, and to beat and to strike is always my method. Come whoever wishes with extended lance or staff and I will beat with a step and I won't botch the strike. And all the guards that stay off to the side with shortened lance or shortened sword are sufficient to await any extended hand-held weapon; those of the right side cover, and with the cover step and thrust the point, while the guards of the left side cover or beat and then strike with blows, but cannot thrust very well with the point.

[4] I will beat your [lance] with my lance as I step
And then I will quickly encase it in your chest.

I am the noble Posta di Fenestra Destra (Position of the Window on the Right), which in beating-back (rebatter) and injuring I am always ready, and a long spear bothers me little. Also with the sword I could wait for the long spear, standing in this guard which beats-back all thrusts, and retards them. And I can exchange thrusts, and beat them to the ground with no possibility to fail. In the play which is next I want to finish.

I am the noble Stance of the Casement Window on the right; I am always quick to beat and to strike, and of extended lances I care little. I would also await an extended lance with a sword by standing in this guard, which beats and retards every thrust. I could also make the exchange of thrusts, or beat them to the ground (which cannot fail). In the play hereafter I want to finish.

[In the Paris, the Master's spear leaves his face uncovered, appearing to go behind his head.]

[5] This is the strike of these three previous Masters,
And in this way their lance should end in your face or chest.

In this play I will finish, from the three guards which were before; that is, Tutta Porta di Ferro (Full Iron Door), and Porta di Ferro la Mezana (Middle Iron Door), and Posta de Fenestra la Soprana Destra (Position of the Window, High on the Right). In this play finishes their plays and that is their art. As I will do for their part.

[In the Getty, the Master is missing his crown.]

The three guards which came before should finish in this play—that is, the Full Iron Gate and the Middle Iron Gate and the Stance of the Casement Window, high on the right. In this play they finish the plays of their art. And I strike this man in the face on their behalf…

[In the Morgan, the Master is missing his crown.]

MS Ludwig XV 13 39v-d.jpg


This is the contrario (counter) to the three masters of the spear which finished in the play which was before me. And their way I want to explain. When these masters believe that my spear is fallen/useless (caçare), I do a turn (volta) of my spear and injure with the butt, and because of the good iron [head/tip] at the butt which can thrust. These plays of these masters block me little.

…This is the counter to the three Masters of the lance that would finish in this play and in the way that was said. When the Masters believe my lance to be away from harming their persons, I give a turn to my lance and strike with its butt, since it has as good iron in the butt as in the point. The plays of these Masters bother me little.

[7] We are three Masters who play on the left side:
Come one by one whoever wishes and we will waste him.
And for the fourth Master that finishes our plays in the art,
We have given him his fair share of the Crown.
This guard can suffice for me against any lance,
I cover myself both above and below by beating and stepping;
I do it with the butt low and with the other end high,
And I could make a cover and a strike without trouble.

We are three guards of the reverse side, and I am the first in Dente di Zengiaro (Boar's Tooth). Those that are on the right side do the same on the reverse. We pass (passamo) forward out of the way, advancing (acressando) the foot which is in front as said, out of the way. And we make our thrusts on the reverse side easily (derada). And all the right side and reverse converge in beating thrusts to finish, because other offences with the spear should not follow.

We are three guards of the left side and I am the first, in the Boar's Tusk. Those guards that are on the right side do the same as we do on the left side: we step out of the way, first advancing the foot which is behind (as was said, out of the way), and with our thrusts on the right side we make a bargain. And to finish the beat, both the right side and the left converge in a thrust so that other offenses with the lance cannot follow.

[8] I know how to ward any lance with this guard:
Strike, for I want to harm you with mine in your chest.

In Posta di Vera Croce (Position of the True Cross) I wait. You are too close, play fair! The right foot which is in front I will turn behind, and beat your spear out of the way, towards the right-hand side. My thrust will not fail, yours will fail.

I wait in the Stance of the True Cross, for you are too close for my play. I return backward the right foot which is in front, and I will beat your lance out of the way toward the right-hand side. My thrust will not fail: yours will be the failure.

[9] I will finish you without fail in my turn,
Because I am the Master of all exchanges.

In Posta di Fenestra Sinistra (Position of the Window on the Left) I am positioned. If I do not injure you with a thrust, you will be lucky. The point pulled high and the arms carried low, and with the foot which is behind I will pass out of the way to the left-hand side. The thrust I will put to you in the face, you not having any defence. The play which is after we three masters is what we can do. If once you try it, you will never more want to try it.

I appear in the Stance of the Casement Window on the Left; if I don't strike you with the point, you will have a good deal. I will hold the point high and I will carry my arms low, and I will step out of the way to the left-hand side with the foot that is behind. Then I will thrust the point in your face without any possible defense. We three Masters can all make the play which is after me; once you try it, you will not want to taste any more.

[10] The art of the lance makes its end here.
In armor and without, this is its greatest defense.

The play of the spear finishes here, I do it on the reverse side, of their plays I free myself. These three guards which are before think of long spear or short not to fail, because they are offence and defence. And the counter (contrario) of these thrusts can be done well; when the thrust gets broken you can turn the butt (pedale) and with that injure their play of spear well, that this can be enough.

[In the Getty, the Master is missing his crown.]

The play of the lance finishes here and I make it from the left side; I am besotted with their plays. These three guards which were previously make me think that they will not fail against lance extended or shortened, for they are guards of great protection (in that in one jaunt they make both defense and offense).

And the counter to this thrust can be done well. When the thrust is broken with that strike, the butt should be turned [forward]. This may be enough of the play of the lance.

[In the Morgan, the Master is missing his crown.]

  1. Telum refers specifically to a distance weapon, which can include any of the following: missile weapon, dart, shaft, spear, javelin, sword, axe, sunbeam, lightning (the last two are the specific province of Jove)
  2. Word partially effaced.
  3. Added later: "…trare".
  4. This is not the first time “contraria” has had the '+'—is it marking where the word is a technical term (ie, counter rather than contrary)?