LIBELLE OF ENGLYSHE POLYCYE
Edited by Sir George Warner.
Oxford University Press. American Branch, New York.
Reviewed by Captain D. W. Knox, U. S. Navy (Retired).
The Libel of English Policy is a poem written by an unknown author in about 1436, with the purpose of demonstrating that England should give priority to developing her sea power rather than continue the then customary military efforts at conquest across the channel. The poet was evidently a person of great wisdom and vision, in close touch with the higher government officials, if not indeed a high official himself.
The poem is printed in old English and is therefore not easy for the modern person to read, but this difficulty is largely overcome by the critique contained in the introduction written by Sir George Warner.
In view of English history during the five hundred years since the poem was written, it is of great interest to note the constantly reiterated theme that sea power inherently served a dual role in promoting both security and prosperity. His “trewe processe of Englysh polycye” is summed up in the couplet: