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[001] I ask the reader, if he finds in this work anything superfluous or erroneous, to
[002] correct and amend it, or pass it over with eyes half closed,1 for 2 to keep all in mind
[003] and err in nothing is divine rather than human.3

The author's preamble.

[005] 4In this tractate, as in others, these must be considered: 5the matter with which it
[006] deals, its intention, its utility, the end it serves and the division of learning into
[007] which it falls.

The matter with which it deals.

[009] 6Its matter consists of the judgments and the cases that daily arise and come to
[010] pass7 in the realm of England.8

The intention of the author.

[012] 9The intention of the author is to treat of such matters10 and to instruct and teach
[013] all who desire to be taught what action lies and what writ, [and], according as
[014] the plea is real or personal,11 how and by what procedure, [by suing and proving,
[015] defending and excepting, replicating and the like,] suits and pleas are decided
[016] according to English laws and customs, and [the art] of preparing records and
[017] enrollments according to what is alleged and denied,12 and to treat of these so that
[018] 13those who err may be instructed and set right and those who obstinately do
[019] otherwise punished. The general intention is to treat of law that the unskilled may
[020] be made expert, the expert more expert,1415the bad good and the good better,
[021] as well by the fear of punishment as by the hope of reward,17 according to this [verse]:
[022] Good men hate to err from love of virtue;
[023] The wicked from fear of pain.

The utility.

[025] 18The utility [of this work] is that it 19ennobles apprentices and doubles their
[026] honours and profits and enables them to rule in the realm and sit in the royal
[027] chamber, on the very seat of the king, on the throne of God, so to speak, judging
[028] tribes and nations, plaintiffs and defendants, in lordly order,20 in the place of the
[029] king,21 as though in the place of Jesus Christ, since the king is God's vicar.22 For
[030] judgments are not made by man but by God,23 which is why the heart of a king
[031] who rules well is said to be in the hand of God.24

The end served.

[033] 25The end of this work is to quiet disputes and avert wrongdoing,26 that peace
[034] and justice may be preserved in the realm. 27It must be set under ethics, moral
[035] science, as it were, since it treats of customary principles of behaviour.28


1. Azo, Summa Inst. proe. Just., no. 2: ‘conniventibus oculis’

2-3. C.; Azo, Summa Cod., summarium, no. 3; 1.17, no. 4; Drogheda, 3

4. Br. and Azo, 5, 13, 15. 18; Richardson in E.H.R., lix, 26; Traditio, vi, 65

5-8. Drogheda, xxxiv, 2: ‘casus de facto’

6. Br. and Azo, 5, 15; Richardson, supra n. 4

7. ‘eveniunt,’ all MSS.; supra i, 50

8. The remainder of this paragraph, which supplements the next section, transposed below

9. Br. and Azo, 5, 7, 15, 18; Richardson, supra n. 4

9-10. Drogheda, 2; ‘de hiis,’ as Drogheda

9-10. Drogheda, 2; ‘de hiis,’ as Drogheda

11. ‘quae competat...personale,’ from lines 11-12; om: ‘ut sciatur,’ a connective

12. ‘et [ars] super...obiecta,’ from lines 12-13; ‘ars conficiendi,’ as Drogheda, 2

13-16. Azo, Summa Inst., proe. Just., no. 5

14. Drogheda, 2

15-17. Azo, Summa Cod., materia ad Cod., no. 2; Horace, Epist., i, 16, 52

18. Br. and Azo, 2, 7, 15; Richardson, supra no. 4

19-20. Azo, Summa Inst. proe. Azonis, no. 1, with alterations

21. Infra 304

22. Infra 33, 166, 305; E. Kantorowicz, 160

23. Infra 305

24. Prov. 21:1: ‘cor regis in manu Domini’; infra 305

25-26. Azo, Summa Inst. proe. Just., no. 5

27-28. Azo, loc. cit.; Summa Cod. materia ad Cod., no. 25; the words ‘morali scientiae’ are from Drogheda, 2

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