Chapter 10

Text

Do not resemble Phoebe, and why?
He is changeable and enemy
To steadfastness and to courage strong,
Is melancholy and full of wrong.

Gloss

Phoebe is also called the Moon, and Monday is named after him, and we associate him with the metal called silver. The moon rests at a fixed point and is associated with unsteadfastness and folly; and therefore a good knight should avoid these vices. And to this purpose Hermes says: Use wisdom and be steadfast.

Allegory

Phoebe the moon, who note for unsteadfastness, which a good knight should not have, nor on the same wise, the good spirit. As Saint Ambrose said in the Epistle of Simpliciam, a fool is changeable as the moon, but a wiseman is ever steadfast in one state, where he never breaks out of fear nor changes out of force; he rises not in prosperity, nor plunges in lack. There where wisdom is, there is virtue, strength, and steadfastness. The wiseman is ever of one courage; it neither lessons nor increases, for changing of nothing; he flourishes not in diverse opinions, but abides perfect in Jesus Christ, grounded in charity and rooted in faith. And to this purpose says Holy Scripture: “The discourse of a godly man is always with wisdom; but a fool changeth as the moon.”1

Footnotes

  1. This section of the Bible was removed from later versions, so in lieu of the New International I have chosen a translation from the old King James Bible. However, this translation does not fully encompass Christine’s metaphor. Her Latin, from the Vulgate bible, reads “Homo sanctus in sapiencia manet sicut sol; nam stultus sicut luna mutatur” (Ecclesiasticus 27:12). Roughly, my translation is “The wise man is steadfast like the sun, the fool is changeable as the moon.”

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