Pedigree: This book is a translation into English (by John Bourchier, Lord Berners ) from (according to the U. Sheffield info page below) a French translation of a Spanish book, “Carcel de amor” (Prison of Love), by Diego de San Pedro, originally written in 1492. Bourchier’s translation dates from circa 1526-1533. The edition in the British Museum was printed “at the sign of the Bible” by John Turke.
Synopsis: Unlike the other “matters of philosophy…”, etc. from this part of Laneham’s list, “The Castell of Love” begins (according to the summary Furnivall reprints at this point in his book) “allegorically”, with the author meeting a savage figure, revealed to be Desire, and his prisoner, Leriano, a man desperately in love. Followed by the author, Leriano is taken, by Desire, to the Prison / Castle of Love by mystical means, and is chained to a “fiery seat” and tortured. Leriano tells the author of his unsuccessful suit for Laureola, daughter of the king of Macedonia. Moved by pity, the author enables the two to make contact, thus freeing the prisoner.
At this juncture in the narrative, the tone is said to alter from allegory to something more like chivalric romance, like “The Squire of Low Degree” or “The Knight of Courtesy and the Lady Faguell”. After being falsely accused of adultery, Leriano fights, successfully, for his lady’s honor and forces one of the false witnesses to recant. This satisfies the King but not his daughter, who sends Leriano away for the sake of her own honor. Leriano sickens and dies of love.
Availability: I have been unable to locate any online translation of this work into English. There are two publications of John Bourchier’s translation, one from 1950, one from 2007, both copyrighted / not public domain. WorldCat library info pages here, change zip code to personalize:
University of Sheffield’s HRI Online has an “Origins Entry” page for the original (circa 1548) printing (the copy in the British Museum?) , which contains descriptions of the chapters with some direct quotes from the book:
HRI Online also states that the British Museum copy is available to view at Early English Books Online / EEBO, for those of you with access to it.