The Chronicles of Froissart Preface

The Chronicles of Froissart Preface is in The Chronicles of Froissart.

A history of the Hundred Years War written in French in the 14th Century by Jean Froissart Chronicler 1337-1405.

The Chronicles of Froissart Folio 1r

Here begin the chronicles as recorded by master Jehan Froissart, which speak of the recent wars between France, England, Scotland, Spain, and Brittany, the first chapter of which refers to the cause thereof and the names of the lords who were involved in these affairs.

In order that the honourable deeds and ventures accomplished by arms, which took place during the wars between France and England, might be aptly documented and commended to lasting memory, so that courageous men might follow such examples to inspire them to good, it is my wish to undertake to record this glorious history, which will be divided into four parts.

But before I begin, I entreat the Saviour of the whole world, who created all things from nothing, that he may create and instil in me such exceptional insight and understanding that I may continue and persevere with this book which I have begun, in such a way that all those, men and women, who read it, see it, or hear it read, may take enjoyment and pleasure in it, and that I may prove worthy of their esteem.

The Chronicles of Froissart Folio 1v

It is said, and such is the case, that each edifice is built and constructed one stone after another, and all great rivers are formed and created from different places and from several sources. In like fashion, the sciences are compiled and derived by many learned men, for what one of them may be ignorant of is known to another; yet there is nothing that will not be known sooner or later. Now to address the matter that I have undertaken to commence, firstly, by the grace of God and of the Blessed Virgin Mary from whom proceed all succour and advancement, I wish to base myself on the true chronicles formerly composed and collected by that venerable and wise master Jean le Bel, canon of Saint Lambert's in Li├Ęge, who applied himself with the utmost care and diligence in this matter, and continued with it for his entire lifetime as accurately as he could. It cost him a great deal to acquire such material, but whatever expenses he incurred did not matter, nor did he lament them, for he was rich and powerful and so could well take them on himself for, being as he was a generous, honourable and courtly man, he would gladly spend his own wealth. During his lifetime he was also a beloved and intimate friend of my most noble and redoubtable lord Sir Jean de Hainault, who is rightly venerated in this book, for he was at the head of many fine ventures and a close companion of kings.

Battle of Poitiers

For this reason, the aforementioned master Jean le Bel could in his company witness and hear of many exploits, which are contained in what now follows. It is true that I, who have taken on the composition of this book, have been led to do so for the pleasure, to which I have always been inclined, afforded by spending time with many a great and noble lord, whether in France, England, Scotland, or in various other countries, so becoming acquainted with them. I have always requested and enquired to the best of my ability for true accounts of the wars and exploits that have occurred, and in particular since the great battle of Poitiers at which the noble king Jean of France was captured. For before that I was still young in both thinking and years. Yet despite this I undertook rather audaciously, having just left school, to compose and chronicle in verse the aforementioned wars, and to carry to England the completed book duly compiled, to present to that most high and most gracious lady, lady Philippa of Hainault, queen of England, who received it most pleasantly and joyfully, bringing me much profit. Now, it may well be that this book has not been researched or composed as meticulously as such a subject demands, for deeds of arms, which are so dearly bought, should be justly attributed and credited to those who accomplish them through valour. Therefore, to acquit myself with all, as is only right, I have undertaken to continue with this history according to the manner and foundation aforementioned, at the request and entreaty of one of my dear patrons and masters, my lord Robert de Namur, to whom I gladly owe my affection and obedience, and may God grant me to do as may be pleasing to him.