The Project Gutenberg eBook of The complete works of John Gower, volume 3

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The complete works of John Gower, volume 3

The English works

Author: John Gower

Editor: G. C. Macaulay

Release date: August 18, 2023 [eBook #71433]

Language: English

Credits: Ted Garvin, Stephen Rowland, Krista Zaleski and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors in punctuation have been silently corrected.

Corrections noted in “CORRIGENDA ET ADDENDA” before page 1 have been corrected in place.

Page 548 - corrected “inital” to “initial”

Footnote 847 (original page 208) - Corrected 2513 to 1513



* * *










* * *

(Confessio Amantis, Lib. V. 1971—Lib. VIII; and In Praise of Peace)

O gentile Engleterre, a toi j’escrits.




Confessio Amantis:— PAGE
Liber V (l. 1971) 1
Liber VI 167
Liber VII 233
Liber VIII 386
In Praise of Peace 481
Notes 495
Glossary and Index of Proper Names 555
Index to the Notes 651


[Pg 1]


(Liber Quintus).

iii. Agros iungit agris cupidus domibusque domosque,
Possideat totam sic quasi solus humum.
Solus et innumeros mulierum spirat amores,
Vt sacra millenis sit sibi culta Venus.1
Dame Avarice is noght soleine,
Which is of gold the Capiteine;
Bot of hir Court in sondri wise2
After the Scole of hire aprise
Hic tractat confessor super illa specie Auaricie, que Cupiditas3 dicitur, quam in amoris causa pertractans Amanti super hoc opponit.
Sche hath of Servantz manyon,
Wherof that Covoitise is on;
Which goth the large world aboute,
To seche thavantages oute,4
Wher that he mai the profit winne5
To Avarice, and bringth it inne. 1980
That on hald and that other draweth,6
Ther is no day which hem bedaweth,
No mor the Sonne than the Mone,
Whan ther is eny thing to done,
And namely with Covoitise;
For he stant out of al assisse
P. ii. 194
Of resonable mannes fare.
Wher he pourposeth him to fare7
[Pg 2]
Upon his lucre and his beyete,
The smale path, the large Strete, 1990
The furlong and the longe Mile,
Al is bot on for thilke while:8
And for that he is such on holde,
Dame Avarice him hath withholde,
As he which is the principal
Outward, for he is overal
A pourveour and an aspie.
For riht as of an hungri Pie
The storve bestes ben awaited,
Riht so is Covoitise afaited 2000
To loke where he mai pourchace,
For be his wille he wolde embrace9
Al that this wyde world beclippeth;
Bot evere he somwhat overhippeth,
That he ne mai noght al fulfille
The lustes of his gredi wille.
Bot where it falleth in a lond,
That Covoitise in myhti hond
Is set, it is ful hard to fiede;
For thanne he takth non other hiede, 2010
Bot that he mai pourchace and gete,
His conscience hath al foryete,
And not what thing it mai amonte
That he schal afterward acompte.
Bote as the Luce in his degre
Of tho that lasse ben than he
P. ii. 195
The fisshes griedeli devoureth,
So that no water hem socoureth,
Riht so no lawe mai rescowe
Fro him that wol no riht allowe;10 2020
For wher that such on is of myht,
His will schal stonde in stede of riht.
Thus be the men destruid fulofte,
Til that the grete god alofte
Ayein so gret a covoitise
Redresce it in his oghne wise:
[Pg 3]
And in ensample of alle tho
I finde a tale write so,
The which, for it is good to liere,
Hierafterward thou schalt it hiere.11 2030
[Tale of Virgil’s Mirror.]
Whan Rome stod in noble plit,
Virgile, which was tho parfit,
Hic ponit exemplum contra magnates cupidos. Et narrat de Crasso Romanorum Imperatore, qui turrim, in qua speculum Virgilii Rome fixum extiterat, dolosa circumuentus cupiditate euertit; vnde non solum sui ipsius perdicionem, set tocius Ciuitatis intollerabile dampnum contingere causauit.
A Mirour made of his clergie
And sette it in the tounes ÿe
Of marbre on a piler withoute;
That thei be thritty Mile aboute
Be daie and ek also be nyhte
In that Mirour beholde myhte
Here enemys, if eny were,
With al here ordinance there, 2040
Which thei ayein the Cite caste:
So that, whil thilke Mirour laste,
Ther was no lond which mihte achieve
With werre Rome forto grieve;
Wherof was gret envie tho.
And fell that ilke time so,
P. ii. 196
That Rome hadde werres stronge
Ayein Cartage, and stoden longe
The tuo Cites upon debat.
Cartage sih the stronge astat12 2050
Of Rome in thilke Mirour stonde,
And thoghte al prively to fonde
To overthrowe it be som wyle.
And Hanybal was thilke while
The Prince and ledere of Cartage,
Which hadde set al his corage
Upon knihthod in such a wise,13
That he be worthi and be wise
And be non othre was conseiled,14
Wherof the world is yit merveiled 2060
Of the maistries that he wroghte
Upon the marches whiche he soghte.
[Pg 4]
And fell in thilke time also,
The king of Puile, which was tho,
Thoghte ayein Rome to rebelle,
And thus was take the querele,
Hou to destruie this Mirour.
Of Rome tho was Emperour15
Crassus, which was so coveitous,
That he was evere desirous 2070
Of gold to gete the pilage;
Wherof that Puile and ek Cartage
With Philosophres wise and grete
Begunne of this matiere trete,16
And ate laste in this degre
Ther weren Philosophres thre,
P. ii. 197
To do this thing whiche undertoke,
And therupon thei with hem toke
A gret tresor of gold in cophres,17
To Rome and thus these philisophres 2080
Togedre in compainie wente,
Bot noman wiste what thei mente.
Whan thei to Rome come were,
So prively thei duelte there,
As thei that thoghten to deceive:
Was non that mihte of hem perceive,
Til thei in sondri stedes have
Here gold under the ground begrave
In tuo tresors, that to beholde
Thei scholden seme as thei were olde. 2090
And so forth thanne upon a day
Al openly in good arai
To themperour thei hem presente,
And tolden it was here entente
To duellen under his servise.
And he hem axeth in what wise;
And thei him tolde in such a plit,
That ech of hem hadde a spirit,18
The which slepende a nyht appiereth
[Pg 5]
And hem be sondri dremes lereth 2100
After the world that hath betid.
Under the ground if oght be hid
Of old tresor at eny throwe,
They schull it in here swevenes knowe;
And upon this condicioun,
Thei sein, what gold under the toun
P. ii. 198
Of Rome is hid, thei wole it finde,
Ther scholde noght be left behinde,19
Be so that he the halvendel
Hem grante, and he assenteth wel; 2110
And thus cam sleighte forto duelle
With Covoitise, as I thee telle.
This Emperour bad redily
That thei be logged faste by20
Where he his oghne body lay;
And whan it was amorwe day,
That on of hem seith that he mette
Wher he a goldhord scholde fette:
Wherof this Emperour was glad,
And therupon anon he bad 2120
His Mynours forto go and myne,
And he himself of that covine
Goth forth withal, and at his hond
The tresor redi there he fond,
Where as thei seide it scholde be;
And who was thanne glad bot he?
Upon that other dai secounde
Thei have an other goldhord founde,
Which the seconde maister tok
Upon his swevene and undertok. 2130
And thus the sothe experience
To themperour yaf such credence,
That al his trist and al his feith
So sikerliche on hem he leith,
Of that he fond him so relieved,
That thei ben parfitli believed,
P. ii. 199
As thogh thei were goddes thre.
Nou herkne the soutilete.
[Pg 6]
The thridde maister scholde mete,
Which, as thei seiden, was unmete 2140
Above hem alle, and couthe most;
And he withoute noise or bost
Al priveli, so as he wolde,
Upon the morwe his swevene tolde
To themperour riht in his Ere,
And seide him that he wiste where
A tresor was so plentivous
Of gold and ek so precious
Of jeueals and of riche stones,
That unto alle hise hors at ones21 2150
It were a charge sufficant.
This lord upon this covenant
Was glad, and axeth where it was.
The maister seide, under the glas,
And tolde him eke, as for the Myn
He wolde ordeigne such engin,
That thei the werk schull undersette22
With Tymber, that withoute lette
Men mai the tresor saufli delve,
So that the Mirour be himselve 2160
Withoute empeirement schal stonde:
And this the maister upon honde23
Hath undertake in alle weie.
This lord, which hadde his wit aweie
And was with Covoitise blent,
Anon therto yaf his assent;
P. ii. 200
And thus they myne forth withal,
The timber set up overal,
Wherof the Piler stod upriht;
Til it befell upon a nyht 2170
These clerkes, whan thei were war
Hou that the timber only bar
The Piler, wher the Mirour stod,—
Here sleihte noman understod,—
Thei go be nyhte unto the Myne
[Pg 7]
With pich, with soulphre and with rosine,
And whan the Cite was a slepe,24
A wylde fyr into the depe
They caste among the timberwerk,
And so forth, whil the nyht was derk, 2180
Desguised in a povere arai
Thei passeden the toun er dai.
And whan thei come upon an hell,
Thei sihen how the Mirour fell,
Wherof thei maden joie ynowh,
And ech of hem with other lowh,
And seiden, ‘Lo, what coveitise
Mai do with hem that be noght wise!’
And that was proved afterward,
For every lond, to Romeward 2190
Which hadde be soubgit tofore,
Whan this Mirour was so forlore
And thei the wonder herde seie,
Anon begunne desobeie
With werres upon every side;
And thus hath Rome lost his pride
P. ii. 201
And was defouled overal.
For this I finde of Hanybal,
That he of Romeins in a dai,
Whan he hem fond out of arai, 2200
So gret a multitude slowh,
That of goldringes, whiche he drowh25
Of gentil handes that ben dede,
Buisshelles fulle thre, I rede,
He felde, and made a bregge also,
That he mihte over Tibre go
Upon the corps that dede were
Of the Romeins, whiche he slowh there.26
Bot now to speke of the juise,
The which after the covoitise 2210
Was take upon this Emperour,
For he destruide the Mirour;
[Pg 8]
It is a wonder forto hiere.
The Romeins maden a chaiere
And sette here Emperour therinne,
And seiden, for he wolde winne
Of gold the superfluite,
Of gold he scholde such plente
Receive, til he seide Ho:
And with gold, which thei hadden tho 2220
Buillende hot withinne a panne,
Into his Mouth thei poure thanne.
And thus the thurst of gold was queynt,
With gold which hadde ben atteignt.
Wherof, mi Sone, thou miht hiere,
Whan Covoitise hath lost the stiere27
P. ii. 202
Of resonable governance,
Ther falleth ofte gret vengance.
For ther mai be no worse thing
Than Covoitise aboute a king: 2230
If it in his persone be,
It doth the more adversite;
And if it in his conseil stonde,
It bringth alday meschief to honde
Of commun harm; and if it growe
Withinne his court, it wol be knowe,
For thanne schal the king be piled.
The man which hath hise londes tiled,
Awaiteth noght more redily
The Hervest, than thei gredily 2240
Ne maken thanne warde and wacche,
Wher thei the profit mihten cacche:
And yit fulofte it falleth so,
As men mai sen among hem tho,
That he which most coveiteth faste
Hath lest avantage ate laste.
For whan fortune is therayein,
Thogh he coveite, it is in vein;
The happes be noght alle liche,
On is mad povere, an other riche, 2250
The court to some doth profit,
[Pg 9]
And some ben evere in o plit;
And yit thei bothe aliche sore
Coveite, bot fortune is more
Unto that o part favorable.
And thogh it be noght resonable,
P. ii. 203
This thing a man mai sen alday,
Wherof that I thee telle may
A fair ensample in remembrance,
Hou every man mot take his chance 2260
Or of richesse or of poverte.
Hou so it stonde of the decerte,
Hier is noght every thing aquit,
For ofte a man mai se this yit,
That who best doth, lest thonk schal have;
It helpeth noght the world to crave,
Which out of reule and of mesure
Hath evere stonde in aventure
Als wel in Court as elles where:
And hou in olde daies there 2270
It stod, so as the thinges felle,
I thenke a tale forto telle.
[Tale of the two Coffers.]
In a Cronique this I rede.
Aboute a king, as moste nede,
Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos, qui in domibus Regum seruientes, pro eo quod ipsi secundum eorum cupiditatem promoti non existunt, de regio seruicio quamuis in eorum28 defectu indiscrete murmurant.
Ther was of knyhtes and squiers
Gret route, and ek of Officers:
Some of long time him hadden served,
And thoghten that thei have deserved
Avancement, and gon withoute;
And some also ben of the route 2280
That comen bat a while agon,
And thei avanced were anon.
These olde men upon this thing,
So as thei dorste, ayein the king
Among hemself compleignen ofte:
Bot ther is nothing seid so softe,
P. ii. 204
That it ne comth out ate laste;
The king it wiste, and als so faste,29
[Pg 10]
As he which was of hih Prudence,
He schop therfore an evidence 2290
Of hem that pleignen in that cas,30
To knowe in whos defalte it was.
And al withinne his oghne entente,
That noman wiste what it mente,
Anon he let tuo cofres make
Of o semblance and of o make,
So lich that no lif thilke throwe31
That on mai fro that other knowe:
Thei were into his chambre broght,
Bot noman wot why thei be wroght, 2300
And natheles the king hath bede
That thei be set in prive stede.
As he that was of wisdom slih,
Whan he therto his time sih,
Al prively, that non it wiste,
Hise oghne hondes that o kiste
Of fin gold and of fin perrie,
The which out of his tresorie
Was take, anon he felde full;
That other cofre of straw and mull 2310
With Stones meind he felde also.
Thus be thei fulle bothe tuo,
So that erliche upon a day
He bad withinne, ther he lay,
Ther scholde be tofore his bed
A bord upset and faire spred;
P. ii. 205
And thanne he let the cofres fette,
Upon the bord and dede hem sette.
He knew the names wel of tho,
The whiche ayein him grucche so, 2320
Bothe of his chambre and of his halle,
Anon and sende for hem alle,
And seide to hem in this wise:
‘Ther schal noman his happ despise;
I wot wel ye have longe served,
And god wot what ye have deserved:
Bot if it is along on me
[Pg 11]
Of that ye unavanced be,32
Or elles it be long on you,
The sothe schal be proved nou, 2330
To stoppe with youre evele word.
Lo hier tuo cofres on the bord:
Ches which you list of bothe tuo;
And witeth wel that on of tho
Is with tresor so full begon,
That if ye happe therupon,
Ye schull be riche men for evere.
Now ches and tak which you is levere:
Bot be wel war, er that ye take;
For of that on I undertake 2340
Ther is no maner good therinne,
Wherof ye mihten profit winne.
Now goth togedre of on assent
And taketh youre avisement,
For bot I you this dai avance,
It stant upon youre oghne chance
P. ii. 206
Al only in defalte of grace:
So schal be schewed in this place
Upon you alle wel afyn,
That no defalte schal be myn.’33 2350
Thei knelen alle and with o vois
The king thei thonken of this chois:34
And after that thei up arise,
And gon aside and hem avise,
And ate laste thei acorde;
Wherof her tale to recorde,
To what issue thei be falle,35
A kniht schal speke for hem alle.
He kneleth doun unto the king,
And seith that thei upon this thing, 2360
Or forto winne or forto lese,
Ben alle avised forto chese.
Tho tok this kniht a yerde on honde,
And goth there as the cofres stonde,
And with assent of everichon
[Pg 12]
He leith his yerde upon that on,
And seith the king hou thilke same
Thei chese in reguerdoun be name,
And preith him that thei mote it have.
The king, which wolde his honour save, 2370
Whan he hath herd the commun vois,
Hath granted hem here oghne chois
And tok hem therupon the keie.
Bot for he wolde it were seie
What good thei have, as thei suppose,
He bad anon the cofre unclose,
P. ii. 207
Which was fulfild with straw and stones:
Thus be thei served al at ones.
This king thanne in the same stede
Anon that other cofre undede, 2380
Where as thei sihen gret richesse,
Wei more than thei couthen gesse.
‘Lo,’ seith the king, ‘nou mai ye se
That ther is no defalte in me;
Forthi miself I wole aquyte,
And bereth ye youre oghne wyte
Of that fortune hath you refused.’
Thus was this wise king excused,
And thei lefte of here evele speche
And mercy of here king beseche. 2390
[Tale of the Beggars and the Pasties.]
Somdiel to this matiere lik
I finde a tale, hou Frederik,
Nota hic de diuiciarum Accidencia: vbi narrat qualiter Fredericus Romanorum Imperator duos pauperes audiuit litigantes, quorum vnus dixit, ‘Bene potest ditari, quem Rex vult ditare.’ Et alius dixit, ‘Quem deus vult ditare, diues erit.’ Que res cum ad experimentum postea probata fuisset, ille qui deum inuocabat pastellum auro plenum sortitus est, alius vero caponis pastellum sorte36 preelegit.
Of Rome that time Emperour,
Herde, as he wente, a gret clamour
Of tuo beggers upon the weie.
That on of hem began to seie,
‘Ha lord, wel mai the man be riche
Whom that a king list forto riche.’
That other saide nothing so,
Bot, ‘He is riche and wel bego, 2400
To whom that god wole sende wele.’
And thus thei maden wordes fele,
Wherof this lord hath hiede nome,
And dede hem bothe forto come
[Pg 13]
To the Paleis, wher he schal ete,
And bad ordeine for here mete
P. ii. 208
Tuo Pastes, whiche he let do make.
A capoun in that on was bake,
And in that other forto winne
Of florins al that mai withinne 2410
He let do pute a gret richesse;37
And evene aliche, as man mai gesse,38
Outward thei were bothe tuo.
This begger was comanded tho,
He that which hield him to the king,
That he ferst chese upon this thing:
He sih hem, bot he felte hem noght,39
So that upon his oghne thoght
He ches the Capoun and forsok
That other, which his fela tok. 2420
Bot whanne he wiste hou that it ferde,
He seide alowd, that men it herde,
‘Nou have I certeinly conceived
That he mai lihtly be deceived,
That tristeth unto mannes helpe;
Bot wel is him whom god wol helpe,
For he stant on the siker side,
Which elles scholde go beside:
I se my fela wel recovere,
And I mot duelle stille povere.’ 2430
Thus spak this begger his entente,
And povere he cam and povere he wente;
Of that he hath richesse soght,40
His infortune it wolde noght.
So mai it schewe in sondri wise,
Betwen fortune and covoitise
P. ii. 209
The chance is cast upon a Dee;
Bot yit fulofte a man mai se
Ynowe of suche natheles,
Whiche evere pute hemself in press 2440
To gete hem good, and yit thei faile.
[Pg 14]
[Coveitise of Lovers.]
And forto speke of this entaile
Touchende of love in thi matiere,
Mi goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,
That riht as it with tho men stod
Of infortune of worldes good,
As thou hast herd me telle above,
Riht so fulofte it stant be love:
Thogh thou coveite it everemore,
Thou schalt noght have o diel the more, 2450
Bot only that which thee is schape,
The remenant is bot a jape.
And natheles ynowe of tho41
Ther ben, that nou coveiten so,
That where as thei a womman se,
Ye ten or tuelve thogh ther be,
The love is nou so unavised,
That wher the beaute stant assised,
The mannes herte anon is there,
And rouneth tales in hire Ere, 2460
And seith hou that he loveth streite,
And thus he set him to coveite,
An hundred thogh he sihe aday.
So wolde he more thanne he may;
Bot for the grete covoitise42
Of sotie and of fol emprise
P. ii. 210
In ech of hem he fint somwhat
That pleseth him, or this or that;
Som on, for sche is whit of skin,
Som on, for sche is noble of kin, 2470
Som on, for sche hath rodi chieke,
Som on, for that sche semeth mieke,
Som on, for sche hath yhen greie,
Som on, for sche can lawhe and pleie,
Som on, for sche is long and smal,
Som on, for sche is lyte and tall,
Som on, for sche is pale and bleche,43
Som on, for sche is softe of speche,
Som on, for that sche is camused,
Som on, for sche hath noght ben used, 2480
Som on, for sche can daunce and singe;[Pg 15]
So that som thing to his likinge44
He fint, and thogh nomore he fiele,
Bot that sche hath a litel hiele,
It is ynow that he therfore
Hire love, and thus an hundred score,
Whil thei be newe, he wolde he hadde;
Whom he forsakth, sche schal be badde.45
Cecus non iudicat de coloribus.
The blinde man no colour demeth,
But al is on, riht as him semeth; 2490
So hath his lust no juggement,
Whom covoitise of love blent.
Him thenkth that to his covoitise
Hou al the world ne mai suffise,
For be his wille he wolde have alle,
If that it mihte so befalle:
P. ii. 211
Thus is he commun as the Strete,
I sette noght of his beyete.
Mi Sone, hast thou such covoitise?
Nai, fader, such love I despise,46 2500
And whil I live schal don evere,
For in good feith yit hadde I levere,
Than to coveite in such a weie,
To ben for evere til I deie
As povere as Job, and loveles,
Outaken on, for haveles
His thonkes is noman alyve.
For that a man scholde al unthryve47
Ther oghte no wisman coveite,
The lawe was noght set so streite: 2510
Forthi miself withal to save,
Such on ther is I wolde have,
And non of al these othre mo.48
Mi Sone, of that thou woldest so,
I am noght wroth, bot over this
I wol thee tellen hou it is.
For ther be men, whiche otherwise,
[Pg 16]
Riht only for the covoitise
Of that thei sen a womman riche,
Ther wol thei al here love affiche; 2520
Noght for the beaute of hire face,
Ne yit for vertu ne for grace,
Which sche hath elles riht ynowh,
Bot for the Park and for the plowh,
And other thing which therto longeth:
For in non other wise hem longeth49
P. ii. 212
To love, bot thei profit finde;
And if the profit be behinde,
Here love is evere lesse and lesse,
For after that sche hath richesse, 2530
Her love is of proporcion.
If thou hast such condicion,
Mi Sone, tell riht as it is.
Confessio Amantis.
Min holi fader, nay ywiss,
Condicion such have I non.
For trewli, fader, I love oon
So wel with al myn hertes thoght,
That certes, thogh sche hadde noght,
And were as povere as Medea,
Which was exiled for Creusa,50 2540
I wolde hir noght the lasse love;
Ne thogh sche were at hire above,
As was the riche qwen Candace,
Which to deserve love and grace
To Alisandre, that was king,
Yaf many a worthi riche thing,51
Or elles as Pantasilee,
Which was the quen of Feminee,
And gret richesse with hir nam,
Whan sche for love of Hector cam52 2550
To Troie in rescousse of the toun,—53
I am of such condicion,
That thogh mi ladi of hirselve
Were also riche as suche tuelve,54
[Pg 17]
I couthe noght, thogh it wer so,
No betre love hir than I do.
P. ii. 213
For I love in so plein a wise,
That forto speke of coveitise,
As for poverte or for richesse
Mi love is nouther mor ne lesse. 2560
For in good feith I trowe this,
So coveitous noman ther is,
Forwhy and he mi ladi sihe,55
That he thurgh lokinge of his yhe56
Ne scholde have such a strok withinne,
That for no gold he mihte winne
He scholde noght hire love asterte,
Bot if he lefte there his herte;
Be so it were such a man,
That couthe Skile of a womman. 2570
For ther be men so ruide some,57
Whan thei among the wommen come,
Thei gon under proteccioun,58
That love and his affeccioun59
Ne schal noght take hem be the slieve;
For thei ben out of that believe,
Hem lusteth of no ladi chiere,
Bot evere thenken there and hiere
Wher that here gold is in the cofre,60
And wol non other love profre: 2580
Bot who so wot what love amounteth
And be resoun trewliche acompteth,
Than mai he knowe and taken hiede
That al the lust of wommanhiede,
Which mai ben in a ladi face,
Mi ladi hath, and ek of grace
P. ii. 214
If men schull yiven hire a pris,61
Thei mai wel seie hou sche is wys
And sobre and simple of contenance,
[Pg 18]
And al that to good governance 2590
Belongeth of a worthi wiht62
Sche hath pleinli: for thilke nyht
That sche was bore, as for the nones
Nature sette in hire at ones
Beaute with bounte so besein,
That I mai wel afferme and sein,
I sawh yit nevere creature
Of comlihied and of feture
In eny kinges regioun
Be lich hire in comparisoun: 2600
And therto, as I have you told,
Yit hath sche more a thousendfold
Of bounte, and schortli to telle,
Sche is the pure hed and welle
And Mirour and ensample of goode.
Who so hir vertus understode,
Me thenkth it oughte ynow suffise
Withouten other covoitise
To love such on and to serve,
Which with hire chiere can deserve 2610
To be beloved betre ywiss
Than sche per cas that richest is
And hath of gold a Milion.
Such hath be myn opinion
And evere schal: bot natheles
I seie noght sche is haveles,
P. ii. 215
That sche nys riche and wel at ese,
And hath ynow wherwith to plese
Of worldes good whom that hire liste;
Bot o thing wolde I wel ye wiste, 2620
That nevere for no worldes good
Min herte untoward hire stod,
Bot only riht for pure love;
That wot the hihe god above.
Nou, fader, what seie ye therto?
Mi Sone, I seie it is wel do.
For tak of this riht good believe,63
[Pg 19]
What man that wole himself relieve
To love in eny other wise,
He schal wel finde his coveitise 2630
Schal sore grieve him ate laste,
For such a love mai noght laste.
Bot nou, men sein, in oure daies
Men maken bot a fewe assaies,
Bot if the cause be richesse;
Forthi the love is wel the lesse.
And who that wolde ensamples telle,64
Be olde daies as thei felle,
Than mihte a man wel understonde
Such love mai noght longe stonde. 2640
Now herkne, Sone, and thou schalt hiere
A gret ensample of this matiere.
[Tale of the King and his Steward’s Wife.]
To trete upon the cas of love,
So as we tolden hiere above,
Hic ponit exemplum contra istos qui non propter amorem sed propter diuicias sponsalia sumunt. Et narrat de quodam Regis Apulie Seneschallo, qui non solum propter pecuniam vxorem duxit, set eciam pecunie commercio vxorem sibi desponsatam vendidit.
I finde write a wonder thing.
Of Puile whilom was a king,
P. ii. 216
A man of hih complexioun
And yong, bot his affeccioun
After the nature of his age
Was yit noght falle in his corage 2650
The lust of wommen forto knowe.
So it betidde upon a throwe
This lord fell into gret seknesse:
Phisique hath don the besinesse
Of sondri cures manyon
To make him hol; and therupon
A worthi maister which ther was
Yaf him conseil upon this cas,65
That if he wolde have parfit hele,
He scholde with a womman dele, 2660
A freissh, a yong, a lusti wiht,
To don him compaignie a nyht;
For thanne he seide him redily,
That he schal be al hol therby,
[Pg 20]
And otherwise he kneu no cure.
This king, which stod in aventure66
Of lif and deth, for medicine
Assented was, and of covine
His Steward, whom he tristeth wel,
He tok, and tolde him everydel, 2670
Hou that this maister hadde seid:67
And therupon he hath him preid
And charged upon his ligance,
That he do make porveance
Of such on as be covenable
For his plesance and delitable;
P. ii. 217
And bad him, hou that evere it stod,
That he schal spare for no good,
For his will is riht wel to paie.
The Steward seide he wolde assaie: 2680
Bot nou hierafter thou schalt wite,
As I finde in the bokes write,68
What coveitise in love doth.
This Steward, forto telle soth,
Amonges al the men alyve69
A lusti ladi hath to wyve,
Which natheles for gold he tok
And noght for love, as seith the bok.
A riche Marchant of the lond
Hir fader was, and hire fond70 2690
So worthily, and such richesse
Of worldes good and such largesse
With hire he yaf in mariage,
That only for thilke avantage71
Of good this Steward hath hire take,
For lucre and noght for loves sake,72
And that was afterward wel seene;
Nou herkne what it wolde meene.
This Steward in his oghne herte
[Pg 21]
Sih that his lord mai noght asterte 2700
His maladie, bot he have
A lusti womman him to save,
And thoghte he wolde yive ynowh
Of his tresor; wherof he drowh
Gret coveitise into his mynde,
And sette his honour fer behynde.
P. ii. 218
Thus he, whom gold hath overset,
Was trapped in his oghne net;
The gold hath mad hise wittes lame,
So that sechende his oghne schame 2710
He rouneth in the kinges Ere,
And seide him that he wiste where
A gentile and a lusti on
Tho was, and thider wolde he gon:73
Bot he mot yive yiftes grete;
For bot it be thurgh gret beyete
Of gold, he seith, he schal noght spede.
The king him bad upon the nede
That take an hundred pound he scholde,
And yive it where that he wolde, 2720
Be so it were in worthi place:
And thus to stonde in loves grace
This king his gold hath abandouned.
And whan this tale was full rouned,
The Steward tok the gold and wente,
Withinne his herte and many a wente
Of coveitise thanne he caste,
Wherof a pourpos ate laste
Ayein love and ayein his riht
He tok, and seide hou thilke nyht 2730
His wif schal ligge be the king;
And goth thenkende upon this thing
Toward his In, til he cam hom
Into the chambre, and thanne he nom
His wif, and tolde hire al the cas.74
And sche, which red for schame was,
P. ii. 219
With bothe hire handes hath him preid75
[Pg 22]
Knelende and in this wise seid,76
That sche to reson and to skile
In what thing that he bidde wile77 2740
Is redy forto don his heste,
Bot this thing were noght honeste,
That he for gold hire scholde selle.
And he tho with hise wordes felle
Forth with his gastly contienance
Seith that sche schal don obeissance
And folwe his will in every place;
And thus thurgh strengthe of his manace
Hir innocence is overlad,
Wherof sche was so sore adrad 2750
That sche his will mot nede obeie.
And therupon was schape a weie,78
That he his oghne wif be nyhte
Hath out of alle mennes sihte
So prively that non it wiste
Broght to the king, which as him liste
Mai do with hire what he wolde.
For whan sche was ther as sche scholde,
With him abedde under the cloth,
The Steward tok his leve and goth 2760
Into a chambre faste by;79
Bot hou he slep, that wot noght I,
For he sih cause of jelousie.
Bot he, which hath the compainie
Of such a lusti on as sche,
Him thoghte that of his degre
P. ii. 220
Ther was noman so wel at ese:
Sche doth al that sche mai to plese,
So that his herte al hol sche hadde;
And thus this king his joie ladde, 2770
Til it was nyh upon the day.80
The Steward thanne wher sche lay
Cam to the bedd, and in his wise81
Hath bede that sche scholde arise.
[Pg 23]
The king seith, ‘Nay, sche schal noght go.’
His Steward seide ayein, ‘Noght so;82
For sche mot gon er it be knowe,
And so I swor at thilke throwe,
Whan I hire fette to you hiere.’83
The king his tale wol noght hiere,84 2780
And seith hou that he hath hire boght,
Forthi sche schal departe noght,
Til he the brighte dai beholde.
And cawhte hire in hise armes folde,
As he which liste forto pleie,
And bad his Steward gon his weie,
And so he dede ayein his wille.
And thus his wif abedde stille
Lay with the king the longe nyht,
Til that it was hih Sonne lyht; 2790
Bot who sche was he knew nothing.
Tho cam the Steward to the king
And preide him that withoute schame85
In savinge of hire goode name
He myhte leden hom ayein
This lady, and hath told him plein
P. ii. 221
Hou that it was his oghne wif.
The king his Ere unto this strif
Hath leid, and whan that he it herde,
Welnyh out of his wit he ferde, 2800
And seide, ‘Ha, caitif most of alle,
Wher was it evere er this befalle,
That eny cokard in this wise
Betok his wif for coveitise?
Thou hast bothe hire and me beguiled
And ek thin oghne astat reviled,
Wherof that buxom unto thee
Hierafter schal sche nevere be.
For this avou to god I make,
After this day if I thee take, 2810
Thou schalt ben honged and todrawe.
[Pg 24]
Nou loke anon thou be withdrawe,
So that I se thee neveremore.’
This Steward thanne dradde him sore,
With al the haste that he mai
And fledde awei that same dai,86
And was exiled out of londe.
Lo, there a nyce housebonde,
Which thus hath lost his wif for evere!
Bot natheles sche hadde a levere; 2820
The king hire weddeth and honoureth,
Wherof hire name sche socoureth,
Which erst was lost thurgh coveitise
Of him, that ladde hire other wise,
And hath himself also forlore.
Mi Sone, be thou war therfore,
P. ii. 222
Wher thou schalt love in eny place,
That thou no covoitise embrace,
The which is noght of loves kinde.
Bot for al that a man mai finde 2830
Nou in this time of thilke rage
Ful gret desese in mariage,
Whan venym melleth with the Sucre
And mariage is mad for lucre,
Or for the lust or for the hele:
What man that schal with outher dele,87
He mai noght faile to repente.
Mi fader, such is myn entente:
Bot natheles good is to have,
For good mai ofte time save 2840
The love which scholde elles spille.
Bot god, which wot myn hertes wille,
I dar wel take to witnesse,
Yit was I nevere for richesse
Beset with mariage non;
For al myn herte is upon on
So frely, that in the persone
Stant al my worldes joie al one:
I axe nouther Park ne Plowh,
[Pg 25]
If I hire hadde, it were ynowh, 2850
Hir love scholde me suffise
Withouten other coveitise.
Lo now, mi fader, as of this,
Touchende of me riht as it is,
Mi schrifte I am beknowe plein;
And if ye wole oght elles sein,88
P. ii. 223
Of covoitise if ther be more
In love, agropeth out the sore.
[False Witness and Perjury.]
iv. Fallere cum nequeat propria vir fraude, subornat
Testes, sit quod eis vera retorta fides.89
Sicut agros cupidus dum querit amans mulieres,
Vult testes falsos falsus habere suos.90
Non sine vindicta periurus abibit in eius
Visu, qui cordis intima cuncta videt.
Fallere periuro non est laudanda puellam91
Gloria, set false condicionis opus.
Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde
Hou Coveitise hath yit on honde 2860
In special tuo conseilours,
That ben also hise procurours.
Hic tractat super illis92 Auaricie speciebus, que falsum Testimonium et Periurium nuncupantur; quorum fraudulenta circumuencio tam in cupiditatis95 quam in amoris causa sui desiderii propositum quamsepe fallaciter attingit.
The ferst of hem is Falswitnesse,93
Which evere is redi to witnesse
What thing his maister wol him hote:
Perjurie is the secounde hote,94
Which spareth noght to swere an oth,
Thogh it be fals and god be wroth.96
That on schal falswitnesse bere,
That other schal the thing forswere, 2870
Whan he is charged on the bok.
So what with hepe and what with crok97
Thei make here maister ofte winne
And wol noght knowe what is sinne
[Pg 26]
For coveitise, and thus, men sain,
Thei maken many a fals bargain.
Ther mai no trewe querele arise
In thilke queste and thilke assise,98
Where as thei tuo the poeple enforme;
For thei kepe evere o maner forme, 2880
P. ii. 224
That upon gold here conscience
Thei founde, and take here evidence;
And thus with falswitnesse and othes
Thei winne hem mete and drinke and clothes.
Riht so ther be, who that hem knewe,
Of thes lovers ful many untrewe:
Nou mai a womman finde ynowe,
That ech of hem, whan he schal wowe,
Anon he wole his hand doun lein
Upon a bok, and swere and sein 2890
That he wole feith and trouthe bere;
And thus he profreth him to swere
To serven evere til he die,
And al is verai tricherie.
For whan the sothe himselven trieth,
The more he swerth, the more he lieth;
Whan he his feith makth althermest,
Than mai a womman truste him lest;
For til he mai his will achieve,
He is no lengere forto lieve.99 2900
Thus is the trouthe of love exiled,
[False Witness.]
And many a good womman beguiled.
And ek to speke of Falswitnesse,
There be nou many suche, I gesse,100
That lich unto the provisours
Thei make here prive procurours,101
To telle hou ther is such a man,
Which is worthi to love and can
Al that a good man scholde kunne;
So that with lesinge is begunne 2910
P. ii. 225
The cause in which thei wole procede,
And also siker as the crede
[Pg 27]
Thei make of that thei knowen fals.
And thus fulofte aboute the hals
Love is of false men embraced;
Bot love which is so pourchaced
Comth afterward to litel pris.
Forthi, mi Sone, if thou be wis,
Nou thou hast herd this evidence,
Thou miht thin oghne conscience 2920
Oppose, if thou hast ben such on.
Nai, god wot, fader, I am non,
Ne nevere was; for as men seith,
Whan that a man schal make his feith,
His herte and tunge moste acorde;
For if so be that thei discorde,
Thanne is he fals and elles noght:
And I dar seie, as of my thoght,
In love it is noght descordable
Unto mi word, bot acordable. 2930
And in this wise, fader, I
Mai riht wel swere and salvely,102
That I mi ladi love wel,
For that acordeth everydel.
It nedeth noght to mi sothsawe
That I witnesse scholde drawe,
Into this dai for nevere yit103
Ne mihte it sinke into mi wit,
That I my conseil scholde seie
To eny wiht, or me bewreie104 2940
P. ii. 226
To sechen help in such manere,
Bot only of mi ladi diere.105
And thogh a thousend men it wiste,
That I hire love, and thanne hem liste
With me to swere and to witnesse,
Yit were that no falswitnesse;
For I dar on this trouthe duelle,
I love hire mor than I can telle.
Thus am I, fader, gulteles,
[Pg 28]
As ye have herd, and natheles 2950
In youre dom I put it al.106
Mi Sone, wite in special,
It schal noght comunliche faile,
Al thogh it for a time availe
That Falswitnesse his cause spede,
Upon the point of his falshiede
It schal wel afterward be kid;
Wherof, so as it is betid,
Ensample of suche thinges blinde
In a Cronique write I finde. 2960
[Tale of Achilles and Deidamia.]
The Goddesse of the See Thetis,
Sche hadde a Sone, and his name is
Achilles, whom to kepe and warde,
Hic ponit exemplum de illis, qui falsum testificantes amoris innocenciam circumueniunt. Et narrat qualiter Thetis Achillem filium suum adolescentem, muliebri vestitum apparatu, asserens esse puellam inter Regis Lichomedis filias ad educandum produxit. Et sic Achilles decepto Rege filie sue Deidamie socia et cubicularia effectus super ipsam Pirrum genuit; qui postea mire probitatis miliciam assecutus mortem patris sui apud Troiam in Polixenen tirannice vindicauit.
Whil he was yong, as into warde107
Sche thoghte him salfly to betake,
As sche which dradde for his sake108
Of that was seid in prophecie,109
That he at Troie scholde die,
Whan that the Cite was belein.
Forthi, so as the bokes sein, 2970
P. ii. 227
Sche caste hire wit in sondri wise,
Hou sche him mihte so desguise
That noman scholde his bodi knowe:
And so befell that ilke throwe,
Whil that sche thoghte upon this dede,110
Ther was a king, which Lichomede
Was hote, and he was wel begon
With faire dowhtres manyon,
And duelte fer out in an yle.
Nou schalt thou hiere a wonder wyle: 2980
This queene, which the moder was
Of Achilles, upon this cas
Hire Sone, as he a Maiden were,
Let clothen in the same gere
Which longeth unto wommanhiede:
And he was yong and tok non hiede,
[Pg 29]
Bot soffreth al that sche him dede.
Wherof sche hath hire wommen bede
And charged be here othes alle,
Hou so it afterward befalle, 2990
That thei discovere noght this thing,
Bot feigne and make a knowleching,
Upon the conseil which was nome,
In every place wher thei come
To telle and to witnesse this,
Hou he here ladi dowhter is.111
And riht in such a maner wise
Sche bad thei scholde hire don servise,
So that Achilles underfongeth
As to a yong ladi belongeth 3000
P. ii. 228
Honour, servise and reverence.
For Thetis with gret diligence
Him hath so tawht and so afaited,
That, hou so that it were awaited,112
With sobre and goodli contenance
He scholde his wommanhiede avance,
That non the sothe knowe myhte,
Bot that in every mannes syhte
He scholde seme a pure Maide.
And in such wise as sche him saide, 3010
Achilles, which that ilke while
Was yong, upon himself to smyle
Began, whan he was so besein.
And thus, after the bokes sein,
With frette of Perle upon his hed,
Al freissh betwen the whyt and red,
As he which tho was tendre of Age,
Stod the colour in his visage,
That forto loke upon his cheke
And sen his childly manere eke, 3020
He was a womman to beholde.
And thanne his moder to him tolde,
That sche him hadde so begon
Be cause that sche thoghte gon
To Lichomede at thilke tyde,
[Pg 30]
Wher that sche seide he scholde abyde113
Among hise dowhtres forto duelle.
Achilles herde his moder telle,
And wiste noght the cause why;
And natheles ful buxomly 3030
P. ii. 229
He was redy to that sche bad,
Wherof his moder was riht glad,114
To Lichomede and forth thei wente.
And whan the king knew hire entente,
And sih this yonge dowhter there,
And that it cam unto his Ere
Of such record, of such witnesse,
He hadde riht a gret gladnesse
Of that he bothe syh and herde,
As he that wot noght hou it ferde 3040
Upon the conseil of the nede.
Bot for al that king Lichomede
Hath toward him this dowhter take,
And for Thetis his moder sake
He put hire into compainie115
To duelle with Deïdamie,116
His oghne dowhter, the eldeste,
The faireste and the comelieste
Of alle hise doghtres whiche he hadde.
Lo, thus Thetis the cause ladde, 3050
And lefte there Achilles feigned,
As he which hath himself restreigned
In al that evere he mai and can
Out of the manere of a man,117
And tok his wommannysshe chiere,
Wherof unto his beddefere
Deïdamie he hath be nyhte.
Wher kinde wole himselve rihte,118
After the Philosophres sein,
Ther mai no wiht be therayein: 3060
P. ii. 230
And that was thilke time seene.
[Pg 31]
The longe nyhtes hem betuene
Nature, which mai noght forbere,
Hath mad hem bothe forto stere
Thei kessen ferst, and overmore
The hihe weie of loves lore
Thei gon, and al was don in dede,
Wherof lost is the maydenhede;
And that was afterward wel knowe.
For it befell that ilke throwe 3070
At Troie, wher the Siege lay
Upon the cause of Menelay
And of his queene dame Heleine,
The Gregois hadden mochel peine
Alday to fihte and to assaile.
Bot for thei mihten noght availe
So noble a Cite forto winne,
A prive conseil thei beginne,
In sondri wise wher thei trete;
And ate laste among the grete 3080
Thei fellen unto this acord,
That Protheüs, of his record
Which was an Astronomien
And ek a gret Magicien,
Scholde of his calculacion
Seche after constellacion,
Hou thei the Cite mihten gete:
And he, which hadde noght foryete
Of that belongeth to a clerk,
His studie sette upon this werk.119 3090
P. ii. 231
So longe his wit aboute he caste,
Til that he fond out ate laste,
Bot if they hadden Achilles
Here werre schal ben endeles.
And over that he tolde hem plein
In what manere he was besein,
And in what place he schal be founde;
So that withinne a litel stounde
Ulixes forth with Diomede
Upon this point to Lichomede 3100
Agamenon togedre sente.[Pg 32]
Bot Ulixes, er he forth wente,
Which was on of the moste wise,
Ordeigned hath in such a wise,
That he the moste riche aray,
Wherof a womman mai be gay,
With him hath take manyfold,
And overmore, as it is told,
An harneis for a lusti kniht,
Which burned was as Selver bryht,120 3110
Of swerd, of plate and ek of maile,
As thogh he scholde to bataille,
He tok also with him be Schipe.
And thus togedre in felaschipe
Forth gon this Diomede and he
In hope til thei mihten se
The place where Achilles is.
The wynd stod thanne noght amis,
Bot evene topseilcole it blew,121
Til Ulixes the Marche knew, 3120
P. ii. 232
Wher Lichomede his Regne hadde.
The Stieresman so wel hem ladde,
That thei ben comen sauf to londe,
Wher thei gon out upon the stronde
Into the Burgh, wher that thei founde
The king, and he which hath facounde,
Ulixes, dede the message.
Bot the conseil of his corage,
Why that he cam, he tolde noght,
Bot undernethe he was bethoght 3130
In what manere he mihte aspie
Achilles fro Deïdamie
And fro these othre that ther were,
Full many a lusti ladi there.
Thei pleide hem there a day or tuo,
And as it was fortuned so,
[Pg 33]
It fell that time in such a wise,
To Bachus that a sacrifise
Thes yonge ladys scholden make;
And for the strange mennes sake, 3140
That comen fro the Siege of Troie,
Thei maden wel the more joie.
Ther was Revel, ther was daunsinge,
And every lif which coude singe
Of lusti wommen in the route122
A freissh carole hath sunge aboute;
Bot for al this yit natheles
The Greks unknowe of Achilles
So weren, that in no degre
Thei couden wite which was he, 3150
P. ii. 233
Ne be his vois, ne be his pas.
Ulixes thanne upon this cas123
A thing of hih Prudence hath wroght:
For thilke aray, which he hath broght
To yive among the wommen there,
He let do fetten al the gere
Forth with a knihtes harneis eke,—
In al a contre forto seke124
Men scholden noght a fairer se,—
And every thing in his degre 3160
Endlong upon a bord he leide.
To Lichomede and thanne he preide
That every ladi chese scholde
What thing of alle that sche wolde,
And take it as be weie of yifte;
For thei hemself it scholde schifte,
He seide, after here oghne wille.
Achilles thanne stod noght stille:
Whan he the bryhte helm behield,125
The swerd, the hauberk and the Schield, 3170
His herte fell therto anon;
Of all that othre wolde he non,
The knihtes gere he underfongeth,
[Pg 34]
And thilke aray which that belongeth
Unto the wommen he forsok.
And in this wise, as seith the bok,
Thei knowen thanne which he was:
For he goth forth the grete pas
Into the chambre where he lay;
Anon, and made no delay, 3180
P. ii. 234
He armeth him in knyhtli wise,
That bettre can noman devise,
And as fortune scholde falle,
He cam so forth tofore hem alle,
As he which tho was glad ynowh.
But Lichomede nothing lowh,
Whan that he syh hou that it ferde,
For thanne he wiste wel and herde,
His dowhter hadde be forlein;
Bot that he was so oversein, 3190
The wonder overgoth his wit.
For in Cronique is write yit126
Thing which schal nevere be foryete,
Hou that Achilles hath begete
Pirrus upon Deïdamie,
Wherof cam out the tricherie
Of Falswitnesse, whan thei saide127
Hou that Achilles was a Maide.
Bot that was nothing sene tho,
For he is to the Siege go 3200
Forth with Ulixe and Diomede.
Lo, thus was proved in the dede
And fulli spoke at thilke while:
If o womman an other guile,
Wher is ther eny sikernesse?
Whan Thetis, which was the goddesse,
Deïdamie hath so bejaped,
I not hou it schal ben ascaped
With tho wommen whos innocence128
Is nou alday thurgh such credence129 3210
P. ii. 235
Deceived ofte, as it is seene,
[Pg 35]
With men that such untrouthe meene.
For thei ben slyhe in such a wise,
That thei be sleihte and be queintise
Of Falswitnesse bringen inne
That doth hem ofte forto winne,
Wher thei ben noght worthi therto.130
Forthi, my Sone, do noght so.
Mi fader, as of Falswitnesse
The trouthe and the matiere expresse, 3220
Touchende of love hou it hath ferd,
As ye have told, I have wel herd.
Bot for ye seiden otherwise,
Hou thilke vice of Covoitise
Hath yit Perjurie of his acord,131
If that you list of som record
To telle an other tale also
In loves cause of time ago,
What thing it is to be forswore,
I wolde preie you therfore, 3230
Wherof I mihte ensample take.
Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake
Touchende of this I schal fulfille
Thin axinge at thin oghne wille,
And the matiere I schal declare,
Hou the wommen deceived are,
Whan thei so tendre herte bere,132
Of that thei hieren men so swere;
Bot whan it comth unto thassay,
Thei finde it fals an other day: 3240
P. ii. 236
As Jason dede to Medee,133
Which stant yet of Auctorite
In tokne and in memorial;
Wherof the tale in special
Is in the bok of Troie write,
Which I schal do thee forto wite.134
In Grece whilom was a king,
Of whom the fame and knowleching
[Pg 36]
[Tale of Jason and Medea.]
Beleveth yit, and Peleüs
He hihte; bot it fell him thus, 3250
Hic in amoris causa ponit exemplum contra periuros. Et narrat qualiter Iason, priusquam ad insulam Colchos pro aureo vellere ibidem conquestando transmearet, in amorem et coniugium Medee Regis Othonis filie iuramento firmius se astrinxit; set suo postea completo negocio, cum ipsam secum nauigio in Greciam perduxisset, vbi illa senectam135 patris sui Esonis in floridam iuuentutem mirabili sciencia reformauit, ipse Iason fidei sue ligamento aliisque beneficiis postpositis, dictam Medeam pro quadam Creusa Regis Creontis filia periurus dereliquit.
That his fortune hir whiel so ladde
That he no child his oghne hadde
To regnen after his decess.
He hadde a brother natheles,
Whos rihte name was Eson,
And he the worthi kniht Jason
Begat, the which in every lond
Alle othre passede of his hond
In Armes, so that he the beste
Was named and the worthieste, 3260
He soghte worschipe overal.
Nou herkne, and I thee telle schal
An aventure that he soghte,
Which afterward ful dere he boghte.
Ther was an yle, which Colchos
Was cleped, and therof aros
Gret speche in every lond aboute,
That such merveile was non oute
In al the wyde world nawhere,
As tho was in that yle there. 3270
P. ii. 237
Ther was a Schiep, as it was told,
The which his flees bar al of gold,
And so the goddes hadde it set,
That it ne mihte awei be fet
Be pouer of no worldes wiht:
And yit ful many a worthi kniht
It hadde assaied, as thei dorste,
And evere it fell hem to the worste.
Bot he, that wolde it noght forsake,
Bot of his knyhthod undertake 3280
To do what thing therto belongeth,136
This worthi Jason, sore alongeth
To se the strange regiouns
And knowe the condiciouns
Of othre Marches, where he wente;
And for that cause his hole entente
[Pg 37]
He sette Colchos forto seche,
And therupon he made a speche
To Peleüs his Em the king.
And he wel paid was of that thing;137 3290
And schop anon for his passage,
And suche as were of his lignage,
With othre knihtes whiche he ches,
With him he tok, and Hercules,
Which full was of chivalerie,138
With Jason wente in compaignie;
And that was in the Monthe of Maii,
Whan colde stormes were away.
The wynd was good, the Schip was yare,
Thei tok here leve, and forth thei fare139 3300
P. ii. 238
Toward Colchos: bot on the weie
What hem befell is long to seie;
Hou Lamedon the king of Troie,
Which oghte wel have mad hem joie,140
Whan thei to reste a while him preide,
Out of his lond he hem congeide;141
And so fell the dissencion,
Which after was destruccion
Of that Cite, as men mai hiere:
Bot that is noght to mi matiere. 3310
Bot thus this142 worthi folk Gregeis143
Fro that king, which was noght curteis,
And fro his lond with Sail updrawe
Thei wente hem forth, and many a sawe
Thei made and many a gret manace,
Til ate laste into that place
Which as thei soghte thei aryve,
And striken Sail, and forth as blyve
Thei sente unto the king and tolden
Who weren ther and what thei wolden. 3320
Oëtes, which was thanne king,144
[Pg 38]
Whan that he herde this tyding
Of Jason, which was comen there,
And of these othre, what thei were,
He thoghte don hem gret worschipe:
For thei anon come out of Schipe,
And strawht unto the king thei wente,
And be the hond Jason he hente,
And that was ate paleis gate,
So fer the king cam on his gate 3330
P. ii. 239
Toward Jason to don him chiere;
And he, whom lacketh no manere,
Whan he the king sih in presence,
Yaf him ayein such reverence
As to a kinges stat belongeth.
And thus the king him underfongeth,
And Jason in his arm he cawhte,
And forth into the halle he strawhte,
And ther they siete and spieke of thinges,
And Jason tolde him tho tidinges,145 3340
Why he was come, and faire him preide
To haste his time, and the kyng seide,
‘Jason, thou art a worthi kniht,
Bot it lith in no mannes myht
To don that thou art come fore:
Ther hath be many a kniht forlore
Of that thei wolden it assaie.’
Bot Jason wolde him noght esmaie,
And seide, ‘Of every worldes cure
Fortune stant in aventure, 3350
Per aunter wel, per aunter wo:
Bot hou as evere that it go,
It schal be with myn hond assaied.’
The king tho hield him noght wel paied,
For he the Grekes sore dredde,
In aunter, if Jason ne spedde,
He mihte therof bere a blame;
For tho was al the worldes fame
In Grece, as forto speke of Armes.
Forthi he dredde him of his harmes, 3360
P. ii. 240
And gan to preche him and to preie;[Pg 39]
Bot Jason wolde noght obeie,
Bot seide he wolde his porpos holde
For ought that eny man him tolde.
The king, whan he thes wordes herde,146
And sih hou that this kniht ansuerde,
Yit for he wolde make him glad,
After Medea gon he bad,
Which was his dowhter, and sche cam.
And Jason, which good hiede nam, 3370
Whan he hire sih, ayein hire goth;
And sche, which was him nothing loth,
Welcomede him into that lond,
And softe tok him be the hond,
And doun thei seten bothe same.
Sche hadde herd spoke of his name147
And of his grete worthinesse;
Forthi sche gan hir yhe impresse
Upon his face and his stature,
And thoghte hou nevere creature 3380
Was so wel farende as was he.
And Jason riht in such degre
Ne mihte noght withholde his lok,
Bot so good hiede on hire he tok,
That him ne thoghte under the hevene
Of beaute sawh he nevere hir evene,
With al that fell to wommanhiede.
Thus ech of other token hiede,
Thogh ther no word was of record;
Here hertes bothe of on acord 3390
P. ii. 241
Ben set to love, bot as tho
Ther mihten be no wordes mo.
The king made him gret joie and feste,148
To alle his men he yaf an heste,
So as thei wolde his thonk deserve,
That thei scholde alle Jason serve,
Whil that he wolde there duelle.
And thus the dai, schortly to telle,
[Pg 40]
With manye merthes thei despente,
Til nyht was come, and tho thei wente, 3400
Echon of other tok his leve,
Whan thei no lengere myhten leve.
I not hou Jason that nyht slep,
Bot wel I wot that of the Schep,
For which he cam into that yle,
He thoghte bot a litel whyle;
Al was Medea that he thoghte,
So that in many a wise he soghte
His witt wakende er it was day,
Som time yee, som time nay, 3410
Som time thus, som time so,
As he was stered to and fro
Of love, and ek of his conqueste
As he was holde of his beheste.
And thus he ros up be the morwe
And tok himself seint John to borwe,
And seide he wolde ferst beginne
At love, and after forto winne
The flees of gold, for which he com,
And thus to him good herte he nom. 3420
P. ii. 242
Medea riht the same wise,
Til dai cam that sche moste arise,149
Lay and bethoughte hire al the nyht,
Hou sche that noble worthi kniht
Be eny weie mihte wedde:
And wel sche wiste, if he ne spedde
Of thing which he hadde undertake,
Sche mihte hirself no porpos take;
For if he deide of his bataile,
Sche moste thanne algate faile 3430
To geten him, whan he were ded.
Thus sche began to sette red
And torne aboute hir wittes alle,
To loke hou that it mihte falle
That sche with him hadde a leisir
To speke and telle of hir desir.
And so it fell that same day150
[Pg 41]
That Jason with that suete may
Togedre sete and hadden space
To speke, and he besoughte hir grace.151 3440
And sche his tale goodli herde,
And afterward sche him ansuerde
And seide, ‘Jason, as thou wilt,
Thou miht be sauf, thou miht be spilt;
For wite wel that nevere man,
Bot if he couthe that I can,
Ne mihte that fortune achieve
For which thou comst: bot as I lieve,
If thou wolt holde covenant
To love, of al the remenant 3450
P. ii. 243
I schal thi lif and honour save,
That thou the flees of gold schalt have.’
He seide, ‘Al at youre oghne wille,
Ma dame, I schal treuly fulfille
Youre heste, whil mi lif mai laste.’
Thus longe he preide, and ate laste
Sche granteth, and behihte him this,
That whan nyht comth and it time is,
Sche wolde him sende certeinly
Such on that scholde him prively 3460
Al one into hire chambre bringe.
He thonketh hire of that tidinge,
For of that grace him is begonne
Him thenkth alle othre thinges wonne.
The dai made ende and lost his lyht,152
And comen was the derke nyht,
Which al the daies yhe blente.
Jason tok leve and forth he wente,
And whan he cam out of the pres,
He tok to conseil Hercules, 3470
And tolde him hou it was betid,
And preide it scholde wel ben hid,153
And that he wolde loke aboute,
Therwhiles that he schal ben oute.
Thus as he stod and hiede nam,
[Pg 42]
A Mayden fro Medea cam
And to hir chambre Jason ledde,
Wher that he fond redi to bedde
The faireste and the wiseste eke;
And sche with simple chiere and meke, 3480
P. ii. 244
Whan sche him sih, wax al aschamed.154
Tho was here tale newe entamed;155
For sikernesse of Mariage
Sche fette forth a riche ymage,156
Which was figure of Jupiter,
And Jason swor and seide ther,
That also wiss god scholde him helpe,
That if Medea dede him helpe,
That he his pourpos myhte wtnne,
Thei scholde nevere parte atwinne,157 3490
Bot evere whil him lasteth lif,
He wolde hire holde for his wif.
And with that word thei kisten bothe;
And for thei scholden hem unclothe,
Ther cam a Maide, and in hir wise
Sche dede hem bothe full servise,
Til that thei were in bedde naked:
I wot that nyht was wel bewaked,
Thei hadden bothe what thei wolde.
And thanne of leisir sche him tolde, 3500
And gan fro point to point enforme
Of his bataile and al the forme,
Which as he scholde finde there,
Whan he to thyle come were.
Sche seide, at entre of the pas
Hou Mars, which god of Armes was,
Hath set tuo Oxen sterne and stoute,
That caste fyr and flamme aboute
Bothe at the mouth and ate nase,
So that thei setten al on blase 3510
P. ii. 245
What thing that passeth hem betwene:
And forthermore upon the grene
Ther goth the flees of gold to kepe
[Pg 43]
A Serpent, which mai nevere slepe.
Thus who that evere scholde it winne,
The fyr to stoppe he mot beginne,
Which that the fierce bestes caste,158
And daunte he mot hem ate laste,
So that he mai hem yoke and dryve;
And therupon he mot as blyve 3520
The Serpent with such strengthe assaile,
That he mai slen him be bataile;
Of which he mot the teth outdrawe,
As it belongeth to that lawe,
And thanne he mot tho Oxen yoke,
Til thei have with a plowh tobroke
A furgh of lond, in which arowe
The teth of thaddre he moste sowe,
And therof schule arise knihtes
Wel armed up at alle rihtes. 3530
Of hem is noght to taken hiede,
For ech of hem in hastihiede
Schal other slen with dethes wounde:159
And thus whan thei ben leid to grounde,160
Than mot he to the goddes preie,
And go so forth and take his preie.
Bot if he faile in eny wise
Of that ye hiere me devise,
Ther mai be set non other weie,
That he ne moste algates deie. 3540
P. ii. 246
‘Nou have I told the peril al:
I woll you tellen forth withal,’
Quod Medea to Jason tho,
‘That ye schul knowen er ye go,
Ayein the venym and the fyr161
What schal ben the recoverir.
Bot, Sire, for it is nyh day,
Ariseth up, so that I may
Delivere you what thing I have,
That mai youre lif and honour save.’ 3550
Thei weren bothe loth to rise,
[Pg 44]
Bot for thei weren bothe wise,
Up thei arisen ate laste:
Jason his clothes on him caste
And made him redi riht anon,
And sche hir scherte dede upon
And caste on hire a mantel clos,
Withoute more and thanne aros.
Tho tok sche forth a riche Tye
Mad al of gold and of Perrie, 3560
Out of the which sche nam a Ring,
The Ston was worth al other thing.
Sche seide, whil he wolde it were,
Ther myhte no peril him dere,
In water mai it noght be dreynt,
Wher as it comth the fyr is queynt,
It daunteth ek the cruel beste,
Ther may no qued that man areste,
Wher so he be on See or lond,
Which hath that ring upon his hond: 3570
P. ii. 247
And over that sche gan to sein,
That if a man wol ben unsein,
Withinne his hond hold clos the Ston,
And he mai invisible gon.
The Ring to Jason sche betauhte,
And so forth after sche him tauhte
What sacrifise he scholde make;
And gan out of hire cofre take
Him thoughte an hevenely figure,
Which al be charme and be conjure 3580
Was wroght, and ek it was thurgh write
With names, which be scholde wite,162
As sche him tauhte tho to rede;
And bad him, as he wolde spede,
Withoute reste of eny while,
Whan he were londed in that yle,
He scholde make his sacrifise
And rede his carecte in the wise
As sche him tauhte, on knes doun bent,
Thre sithes toward orient; 3590
For so scholde he the goddes plese[Pg 45]
And winne himselven mochel ese.
And whanne he hadde it thries rad,
To opne a buiste sche him bad,
Which sche ther tok him in present,
And was full of such oignement,
That ther was fyr ne venym non
That scholde fastnen him upon,
Whan that he were enoynt withal.163
Forthi sche tauhte him hou he schal 3600
P. ii. 248
Enoignte his armes al aboute,
And for he scholde nothing doute,
Sche tok him thanne a maner glu,
The which was of so gret vertu,
That where a man it wolde caste,
It scholde binde anon so faste
That noman mihte it don aweie.
And that sche bad be alle weie
He scholde into the mouthes throwen
Of tho tweie Oxen that fyr blowen, 3610
Therof to stoppen the malice;
The glu schal serve of that office.
And over that hir oignement,
Hir Ring and hir enchantement
Ayein the Serpent scholde him were,
Til he him sle with swerd or spere:
And thanne he may saufliche ynowh
His Oxen yoke into the plowh
And the teth sowe in such a wise,164
Til he the knyhtes se arise, 3620
And ech of other doun be leid
In such manere as I have seid.
Lo, thus Medea for Jason
Ordeigneth, and preith therupon
That he nothing foryete scholde,
And ek sche preith him that he wolde,
Whan he hath alle his Armes don,
To grounde knele and thonke anon
[Pg 46]
The goddes, and so forth be ese
The flees of gold he scholde sese. 3630
P. ii. 249
And whanne he hadde it sesed so,
That thanne he were sone ago
Withouten eny tariynge.
Whan this was seid, into wepinge
Sche fell, as sche that was thurgh nome
With love, and so fer overcome,
That al hir world on him sche sette.
Bot whan sche sih ther was no lette,
That he mot nedes parte hire fro,
Sche tok him in hire armes tuo, 3640
An hundred time and gan him kisse,
And seide, ‘O, al mi worldes blisse,
Mi trust, mi lust, mi lif, min hele,
To be thin helpe in this querele
I preie unto the goddes alle.’
And with that word sche gan doun falle
On swoune, and he hire uppe nam,165
And forth with that the Maiden cam,
And thei to bedde anon hir broghte,
And thanne Jason hire besoghte, 3650
And to hire seide in this manere:
‘Mi worthi lusti ladi dere,
Conforteth you, for be my trouthe
It schal noght fallen in mi slouthe
That I ne wol thurghout fulfille
Youre hestes at youre oghne wille.
And yit I hope to you bringe
Withinne a while such tidinge,
The which schal make ous bothe game.’
Bot for he wolde kepe hir name, 3660
P. ii. 250
Whan that he wiste it was nyh dai,
He seide, ‘A dieu, mi swete mai.’
And forth with him he nam his gere,
Which as sche hadde take him there,
And strauht unto his chambre he wente,166
And goth to bedde and slep him hente,
[Pg 47]
And lay, that noman him awok,
For Hercules hiede of him tok,167
Til it was undren hih and more.168
And thanne he gan to sighe sore 3670
And sodeinliche abreide of slep;169
And thei that token of him kep,
His chamberleins, be sone there,
And maden redi al his gere,
And he aros and to the king
He wente, and seide hou to that thing
For which he cam he wolde go.
The king therof was wonder wo,170
And for he wolde him fain withdrawe,
He tolde him many a dredful sawe, 3680
Bot Jason wolde it noght recorde,
And ate laste thei acorde.
Whan that he wolde noght abide,
A Bot was redy ate tyde,
In which this worthi kniht of Grece
Ful armed up at every piece,
To his bataile which belongeth,
Tok ore on honde and sore him longeth,171
Til he the water passed were.
Whan he cam to that yle there, 3690
P. ii. 251
He set him on his knes doun strauht,172
And his carecte, as he was tawht,
He radde, and made his sacrifise,
And siththe enoignte him in that wise,
As Medea him hadde bede;
And thanne aros up fro that stede,
And with the glu the fyr he queynte,
And anon after he atteinte
The grete Serpent and him slowh.
Bot erst he hadde sorwe ynowh, 3700
For that Serpent made him travaile
[Pg 48]
So harde and sore of his bataile,
That nou he stod and nou he fell:
For longe time it so befell,
That with his swerd ne with his spere173
He mihte noght that Serpent dere.174
He was so scherded al aboute,
It hield all eggetol withoute,
He was so ruide and hard of skin,
Ther mihte nothing go therin; 3710
Venym and fyr togedre he caste,
That he Jason so sore ablaste,
That if ne were his oignement,
His Ring and his enchantement,
Which Medea tok him tofore,
He hadde with that worm be lore;
Bot of vertu which therof cam
Jason the Dragon overcam.
And he anon the teth outdrouh,
And sette his Oxen in a plouh,175 3720
P. ii. 252
With which he brak a piece of lond
And sieu hem with his oghne hond.
Tho mihte he gret merveile se:
Of every toth in his degre
Sprong up a kniht with spere and schield,
Of whiche anon riht in the field
Echon slow other; and with that
Jason Medea noght foryat,
On bothe his knes he gan doun falle,
And yaf thonk to the goddes alle. 3730
The Flees he tok and goth to Bote,
The Sonne schyneth bryhte and hote,
The Flees of gold schon forth withal,
The water glistreth overal.
Medea wepte and sigheth ofte,
And stod upon a Tour alofte:
Al prively withinne hirselve,
Ther herde it nouther ten ne tuelve,
Sche preide, and seide, ‘O, god him spede,
[Pg 49]
The kniht which hath mi maidenhiede!’ 3740
And ay sche loketh toward thyle.
Bot whan sche sih withinne a while176
The Flees glistrende ayein the Sonne,
Sche saide, ‘Ha lord, now al is wonne,177
Mi kniht the field hath overcome:
Nou wolde god he were come;
Ha lord, that he ne were alonde!’178
Bot I dar take this on honde,
If that sche hadde wynges tuo,
Sche wolde have flowe unto him tho 3750
P. ii. 253
Strawht ther he was into the Bot.179
The dai was clier, the Sonne hot,
The Gregeis weren in gret doute,
The whyle that here lord was oute:
Thei wisten noght what scholde tyde,
Bot waiten evere upon the tyde,
To se what ende scholde falle.
Ther stoden ek the nobles alle
Forth with the comun of the toun;
And as thei loken up and doun, 3760
Thei weren war withinne a throwe,
Wher cam the bot, which thei wel knowe,
And sihe hou Jason broghte his preie.
And tho thei gonnen alle seie,
And criden alle with o stevene,180
‘Ha, wher was evere under the hevene
So noble a knyht as Jason is?’
And welnyh alle seiden this,
That Jason was a faie kniht,
For it was nevere of marines miht 3770
The Flees of gold so forto winne;
And thus to talen thei beginne.181
With that the king com forth anon,
And sih the Flees, hou that it schon;
[Pg 50]
And whan Jason cam to the lond,
The king himselve tok his hond
And kist him, and gret joie him made.
The Gregeis weren wonder glade,
And of that thing riht merie hem thoghte,
And forth with hem the Flees thei broghte, 3780
P. ii. 254
And ech on other gan to leyhe;
Bot wel was him that mihte neyhe,
To se therof the proprete.
And thus thei passen the cite
And gon unto the Paleis straght.
Medea, which foryat him naght,
Was redy there, and seide anon,
‘Welcome, O worthi kniht Jason.’
Sche wolde have kist him wonder fayn,
Bot schame tornede hire agayn; 3790
It was noght the manere as tho,182
Forthi sche dorste noght do so.
Sche tok hire leve, and Jason wente
Into his chambre, and sche him sente
Hire Maide to sen hou he ferde;
The which whan that sche sih and herde,183
Hou that he hadde faren oute
And that it stod wel al aboute,184
Sche tolde hire ladi what sche wiste,
And sche for joie hire Maide kiste. 3800
The bathes weren thanne araied,
With herbes tempred and assaied,
And Jason was unarmed sone
And dede as it befell to done:
Into his bath he wente anon
And wyssh him clene as eny bon;
He tok a sopp, and oute he cam,
And on his beste aray he nam,
And kempde his hed, whan he was clad,
And goth him forth al merie and glad 3810
P. ii. 255
Riht strawht into the kinges halle.
The king cam with his knihtes alle
[Pg 51]
And maden him glad welcominge;
And he hem tolde the tidinge185
Of this and that, hou it befell,
Whan that he wan the schepes fell.
Medea, whan sche was asent,
Com sone to that parlement,
And whan sche mihte Jason se,
Was non so glad of alle as sche. 3820
Ther was no joie forto seche,
Of him mad every man a speche,186
Som man seide on, som man seide other;187
Bot thogh he were goddes brother
And mihte make fyr and thonder,
Ther mihte be nomore wonder
Than was of him in that cite.
Echon tauhte other, ‘This is he,
Which hath in his pouer withinne
That al the world ne mihte winne: 3830
Lo, hier the beste of alle goode.’
Thus saiden thei that there stode,
And ek that walkede up and doun,
Bothe of the Court and of the toun.
The time of Souper cam anon,
Thei wisshen and therto thei gon,
Medea was with Jason set:
Tho was ther many a deynte fet
And set tofore hem on the bord,
Bot non so likinge as the word 3840
P. ii. 256
Which was ther spoke among hem tuo,
So as thei dorste speke tho.
Bot thogh thei hadden litel space,
Yit thei acorden in that place
Hou Jason scholde come at nyht,
Whan every torche and every liht
Were oute, and thanne of other thinges188
Thei spieke aloud for supposinges
Of hem that stoden there aboute:
[Pg 52]
For love is everemore in doute, 3850
If that it be wisly governed189
Of hem that ben of love lerned.
Whan al was don, that dissh and cuppe
And cloth and bord and al was uppe,
Thei waken whil hem lest to wake,
And after that thei leve take
And gon to bedde forto reste.
And whan him thoghte for the beste,
That every man was faste aslepe,
Jason, that wolde his time kepe, 3860
Goth forth stalkende al prively
Unto the chambre, and redely
Ther was a Maide, which him kepte.
Medea wok and nothing slepte,
Bot natheles sche was abedde,
And he with alle haste him spedde
And made him naked and al warm.
Anon he tok hire in his arm:
What nede is forto speke of ese?
Hem list ech other forto plese, 3870
P. ii. 257
So that thei hadden joie ynow:
And tho thei setten whanne and how
That sche with him awey schal stele.
With wordes suche and othre fele
Whan al was treted to an ende,
Jason tok leve and gan forth wende
Unto his oughne chambre in pes;
Ther wiste it non bot Hercules.
He slepte and ros whan it was time,190
And whanne it fell towardes prime, 3880
He tok to him suche as he triste
In secre, that non other wiste,
And told hem of his conseil there,191
And seide that his wille were
That thei to Schipe hadde alle thinge
So priveliche in thevenynge,
That noman mihte here dede aspie
[Pg 53]
Bot tho that were of compaignie:192
For he woll go withoute leve,
And lengere woll he noght beleve; 3890
Bot he ne wolde at thilke throwe
The king or queene scholde it knowe.
Thei saide, ‘Al this schal wel be do:’
And Jason truste wel therto.
Medea in the mene while,
Which thoghte hir fader to beguile,
The Tresor which hir fader hadde
With hire al priveli sche ladde,
And with Jason at time set
Awey sche stal and fond no let, 3900
P. ii. 258
And straght sche goth hire unto schipe
Of Grece with that felaschipe,
And thei anon drowe up the Seil.
And al that nyht this was conseil,
Bot erly, whan the Sonne schon,
Men syhe hou that thei were agon,
And come unto the king and tolde:
And he the sothe knowe wolde,
And axeth where his dowhter was.
Ther was no word bot Out, Allas! 3910
Sche was ago. The moder wepte,
The fader as a wod man lepte,
And gan the time forto warie,
And swor his oth he wol noght tarie,193
That with Caliphe and with galeie
The same cours, the same weie,
Which Jason tok, he wolde take,
If that he mihte him overtake.
To this thei seiden alle yee:
Anon thei weren ate See, 3920
And alle, as who seith, at a word
Thei gon withinne schipes bord,
The Sail goth up, and forth thei strauhte.
Bot non espleit therof thei cauhte,
And so thei tornen hom ayein,
[Pg 54]
For al that labour was in vein.
Jason to Grece with his preie
Goth thurgh the See the rihte weie:
Whan he ther com and men it tolde,
Thei maden joie yonge and olde. 3930
P. ii. 259
Eson, whan that he wiste of this,
Hou that his Sone comen is,
And hath achieved that he soughte
And hom with him Medea broughte,
In al the wyde world was non
So glad a man as he was on.
Togedre ben these lovers tho,
Til that thei hadden sones tuo,
Wherof thei weren bothe glade,
And olde Eson gret joie made 3940
To sen thencress of his lignage;
For he was of so gret an Age,
That men awaiten every day,
Whan that he scholde gon away.
Jason, which sih his fader old,
Upon Medea made him bold,
Of art magique, which sche couthe,
And preith hire that his fader youthe
Sche wolde make ayeinward newe:
And sche, that was toward him trewe, 3950
Behihte him that sche wolde it do,
Whan that sche time sawh therto.
Bot what sche dede in that matiere
It is a wonder thing to hiere,
Bot yit for the novellerie
I thenke tellen a partie.194
Nota quibus medicamentis Esonem senectute decrepitum ad sue iuuentutis adolescenciam prudens Medea reduxit.
Thus it befell upon a nyht,
Whan ther was noght bot sterreliht,
Sche was vanyssht riht as hir liste,
That no wyht bot hirself it wiste,195 3960
P. ii. 260
And that was ate mydnyht tyde.
The world was stille on every side;196
[Pg 55]
With open hed and fot al bare,
Hir her tosprad sche gan to fare,197
Upon hir clothes gert sche was,
Al specheles and on the gras198
Sche glod forth as an Addre doth:
Non otherwise sche ne goth,
Til sche cam to the freisshe flod,
And there a while sche withstod. 3970
Thries sche torned hire aboute,
And thries ek sche gan doun loute
And in the flod sche wette hir her,
And thries on the water ther
Sche gaspeth with a drecchinge onde,199
And tho sche tok hir speche on honde.
Ferst sche began to clepe and calle
Upward unto the sterres alle,
To Wynd, to Air, to See, to lond
Sche preide, and ek hield up hir hond 3980
To Echates, and gan to crie,
Which is goddesse of Sorcerie.
Sche seide, ‘Helpeth at this nede,
And as ye maden me to spede,
Whan Jason cam the Flees to seche,
So help me nou, I you beseche.’
With that sche loketh and was war,
Doun fro the Sky ther cam a char,
The which Dragouns aboute drowe:
And tho sche gan hir hed doun bowe,200 3990
P. ii. 261
And up sche styh, and faire and wel
Sche drof forth bothe char and whel201
Above in thair among the Skyes.
The lond of Crete and tho parties
Sche soughte, and faste gan hire hye,
And there upon the hulles hyhe
Of Othrin and Olimpe also,
And ek of othre hulles mo,
[Pg 56]
Sche fond and gadreth herbes suote,
Sche pulleth up som be the rote, 4000
And manye with a knyf sche scherth,
And alle into hir char sche berth.
Thus whan sche hath the hulles sought,
The flodes ther foryat sche nought,
Eridian and Amphrisos,
Peneie and ek Spercheïdos,202
To hem sche wente and ther sche nom
Bothe of the water and the fom,203
The sond and ek the smale stones,
Whiche as sche ches out for the nones, 4010
And of the rede See a part,
That was behovelich to hire art,
Sche tok, and after that aboute
Sche soughte sondri sedes oute
In feldes and in many greves,
And ek a part sche tok of leves:
Bot thing which mihte hire most availe
Sche fond in Crete and in Thessaile.
In daies and in nyhtes Nyne,
With gret travaile and with gret pyne,204 4020
P. ii. 262
Sche was pourveid of every piece,
And torneth homward into Grece.
Before the gates of Eson
Hir char sche let awai to gon,205
And tok out ferst that was therinne;
For tho sche thoghte to beginne
Such thing as semeth impossible,
And made hirselven invisible,
As sche that was with Air enclosed206
And mihte of noman be desclosed. 4030
Sche tok up turves of the lond
Withoute helpe of mannes hond,
Al heled with the grene gras,
Of which an Alter mad ther was
[Pg 57]
Unto Echates the goddesse
Of art magique and the maistresse,
And eft an other to Juvente,
As sche which dede hir hole entente.
Tho tok sche fieldwode and verveyne,
Of herbes ben noght betre tueine, 4040
Of which anon withoute let
These alters ben aboute set:
Tuo sondri puttes faste by207
Sche made, and with that hastely
A wether which was blak sche slouh,
And out therof the blod sche drouh
And dede into the pettes tuo;
Warm melk sche putte also therto
With hony meynd: and in such wise208
Sche gan to make hir sacrifice, 4050
P. ii. 263
And cride and preide forth withal
To Pluto the god infernal,
And to the queene Proserpine.
And so sche soghte out al the line
Of hem that longen to that craft,
Behinde was no name laft,
And preide hem alle, as sche wel couthe,
To grante Eson his ferste youthe.
This olde Eson broght forth was tho,
Awei sche bad alle othre go 4060
Upon peril that mihte falle;
And with that word thei wenten alle,
And leften there hem tuo al one.
And tho sche gan to gaspe and gone,
And made signes manyon,
And seide hir wordes therupon;
So that with spellinge of hir charmes209
Sche tok Eson in bothe hire armes,
And made him forto slepe faste,
And him upon hire herbes caste. 4070
The blake wether tho sche tok,
[Pg 58]
And hiewh the fleissh, as doth a cok;210
On either alter part sche leide,211
And with the charmes that sche seide
A fyr doun fro the Sky alyhte
And made it forto brenne lyhte.
Bot whan Medea sawh it brenne,
Anon sche gan to sterte and renne
The fyri aulters al aboute:
Ther was no beste which goth oute 4080
P. ii. 264
More wylde than sche semeth ther:
Aboute hir schuldres hyng hir her,
As thogh sche were oute of hir mynde
And torned in an other kynde.
Tho lay ther certein wode cleft,
Of which the pieces nou and eft
Sche made hem in the pettes wete,
And put hem in the fyri hete,212
And tok the brond with al the blase,
And thries sche began to rase 4090
Aboute Eson, ther as he slepte;
And eft with water, which sche kepte,
Sche made a cercle aboute him thries,
And eft with fyr of sulphre twyes:
Ful many an other thing sche dede,
Which is noght writen in this stede.
Bot tho sche ran so up and doun,
Sche made many a wonder soun,
Somtime lich unto the cock,
Somtime unto the Laverock, 4100
Somtime kacleth as a Hen,
Somtime spekth as don the men:
And riht so as hir jargoun strangeth,
In sondri wise hir forme changeth,
Sche semeth faie and no womman;
For with the craftes that sche can213
Sche was, as who seith, a goddesse,
And what hir liste, more or lesse,
Sche dede, in bokes as we finde,
[Pg 59]
That passeth over manneskinde.214 4110
P. ii. 265
Bot who that wole of wondres hiere,
What thing sche wroghte in this matiere,
To make an ende of that sche gan,215
Such merveile herde nevere man.
Apointed in the newe Mone,
Whan it was time forto done,
Sche sette a caldron on the fyr,
In which was al the hole atir,
Wheron the medicine stod,
Of jus, of water and of blod, 4120
And let it buile in such a plit,
Til that sche sawh the spume whyt;
And tho sche caste in rynde and rote,
And sed and flour that was for bote,
With many an herbe and many a ston,
Wherof sche hath ther many on:
And ek Cimpheius the Serpent
To hire hath alle his scales lent,
Chelidre hire yaf his addres skin,216
And sche to builen caste hem in; 4130
A part ek of the horned Oule,
The which men hiere on nyhtes houle;
And of a Raven, which was told
Of nyne hundred wynter old,
Sche tok the hed with al the bile;
And as the medicine it wile,
Sche tok therafter the bouele217
Of the Seewolf, and for the hele218
Of Eson, with a thousand mo
Of thinges that sche hadde tho,219 4140
P. ii. 266
In that Caldroun togedre as blyve
Sche putte, and tok thanne of Olyve
A drie branche hem with to stere,
The which anon gan floure and bere
And waxe al freissh and grene ayein.
[Pg 60]
Whan sche this vertu hadde sein,
Sche let the leste drope of alle
Upon the bare flor doun falle;
Anon ther sprong up flour and gras,
Where as the drope falle was, 4150
And wox anon al medwe grene,220
So that it mihte wel be sene.221
Medea thanne knew and wiste
Hir medicine is forto triste,
And goth to Eson ther he lay,
And tok a swerd was of assay,
With which a wounde upon his side
Sche made, that therout mai slyde
The blod withinne, which was old
And sek and trouble and fieble and cold.222 4160
And tho sche tok unto his us223
Of herbes al the beste jus,
And poured it into his wounde;
That made his veynes fulle and sounde:
And tho sche made his wounde clos,
And tok his hand, and up he ros;
And tho sche yaf him drinke a drauhte,
Of which his youthe ayein he cauhte,
His hed, his herte and his visage
Lich unto twenty wynter Age; 4170
P. ii. 267
Hise hore heres were away,
And lich unto the freisshe Maii,
Whan passed ben the colde schoures,
Riht so recovereth he his floures.
Lo, what mihte eny man devise,
A womman schewe in eny wise
Mor hertly love in every stede,224
Than Medea to Jason dede?
Ferst sche made him the flees to winne,
And after that fro kiththe and kinne 4180
With gret tresor with him sche stal,
And to his fader forth withal
[Pg 61]
His Elde hath torned into youthe,
Which thing non other womman couthe:
Bot hou it was to hire aquit,
The remembrance duelleth yit.225
King Peleüs his Em was ded,
Jason bar corone on his hed,
Medea hath fulfild his wille:
Bot whanne he scholde of riht fulfille 4190
The trouthe, which to hire afore
He hadde in thyle of Colchos swore,
Tho was Medea most deceived.
For he an other hath received,
Which dowhter was to king Creon,
Creusa sche hihte, and thus Jason,
As he that was to love untrewe,
Medea lefte and tok a newe.
Bot that was after sone aboght:
Medea with hire art hath wroght 4200
P. ii. 268
Of cloth of gold a mantel riche,
Which semeth worth a kingesriche,
And that was unto Creusa sent
In name of yifte and of present,
For Sosterhode hem was betuene;
And whan that yonge freisshe queene
That mantel lappeth hire aboute,
Anon therof the fyr sprong oute
And brente hir bothe fleissh and bon.
Tho cam Medea to Jason 4210
With bothe his Sones on hire hond,
And seide, ‘O thou of every lond
The moste untrewe creature,
Lo, this schal be thi forfeture.’
With that sche bothe his Sones slouh
Before his yhe, and he outdrouh
His swerd and wold have slayn hir tho,226
Bot farewel, sche was ago
Unto Pallas the Court above,
Wher as sche pleigneth upon love, 4220
As sche that was with that goddesse,
[Pg 62]
And he was left in gret destresse.
Thus miht them se what sorwe it doth
To swere an oth which is noght soth,
In loves cause namely.
Mi Sone, be wel war forthi,
And kep that thou be noght forswore:
For this, which I have told tofore,
Ovide telleth everydel.
Mi fader, I may lieve it wel, 4230
P. ii. 269
For I have herde it ofte seie227
Hou Jason tok the flees aweie
Fro Colchos, bot yit herde I noght
Be whom it was ferst thider broght.
And for it were good to hiere,
If that you liste at mi preiere
To telle, I wolde you beseche.
Mi Sone, who that wole it seche,
In bokes he mai finde it write;
And natheles, if thou wolt wite, 4240
In the manere as thou hast preid
I schal the telle hou it is seid.
[Tale of Phrixus and Helle.]
The fame of thilke schepes fell,228
Which in Colchos, as it befell,
Nota qualiter aureum vellus in partes insule Colchos primo deuenit. Athemas Rex Philen habuit coniugem, ex qua Frixum et Hellen genuit: mortua autem229 Philen Athemas Ynonem Regis Cadmi filiam postea in vxorem duxit, que more Nouerce dictos infantes in tantum recollegit odium, quod ambos in mare proici penes Regem procurauit. Vnde Iuno compaciens quendam Arietem grandem aureo vestitum vellere ad litus natantem destinauit; super cuius dorsum pueros apponi iussit. Quo facto Aries super vndas regressus cum solo Frixo sibi adherente in Colchos applicuit, vbi Iuno dictum Arietem cum suo vellere,230 prout in aliis canitur231 cronicis, sub arta custodia collocauit.
Was al of gold, schal nevere deie;
Wherof I thenke for to seie
Hou it cam ferst into that yle.
Ther was a king in thilke whyle
Towardes Grece, and Athemas
The Cronique of his name was; 4250
And hadde a wif, which Philen hihte,
Be whom, so as fortune it dihte,
He hadde of children yonge tuo.
Frixus the ferste was of tho,
A knave child, riht fair withalle;
A dowhter ek, the which men calle
Hellen, he hadde be this wif.
Bot for ther mai no mannes lif
[Pg 63]
Endure upon this Erthe hiere,
This worthi queene, as thou miht hiere, 4260
P. ii. 270
Er that the children were of age,
Tok of hire ende the passage,
With gret worschipe and was begrave.
What thing it liketh god to have
It is gret reson to ben his;
Forthi this king, so as it is,
With gret suffrance it underfongeth:
And afterward, as him belongeth,
Whan it was time forto wedde,
A newe wif he tok to bedde, 4270
Which Yno hihte and was a Mayde,
And ek the dowhter, as men saide,
Of Cadme, which a king also
Was holde in thilke daies tho.
Whan Yno was the kinges make,
Sche caste hou that sche mihte make232
These children to here fader lothe,
And schope a wyle ayein hem bothe,233
Which to the king was al unknowe.
A yeer or tuo sche let do sowe 4280
The lond with sode whete aboute,
Wherof no corn mai springen oute;
And thus be sleyhte and be covine
Aros the derthe and the famine
Thurghout the lond in such a wise,
So that the king a sacrifise
Upon the point of this destresse
To Ceres, which is the goddesse
Of corn, hath schape him forto yive,
To loke if it mai be foryive, 4290
P. ii. 271
The meschief which was in his lond.
Bot sche, which knew tofor the hond
The circumstance of al this thing,
Ayein the cominge of the king
Into the temple, hath schape so,
[Pg 64]
Of hire acord that alle tho
Whiche of the temple prestes were
Have seid and full declared there
Unto the king, bot if so be
That he delivere the contre 4300
Of Frixus and of Hellen bothe,
With whom the goddes ben so wrothe,
That whil tho children ben therinne,
Such tilthe schal noman beginne,
Wherof to gete him eny corn.
Thus was it seid, thus was it sworn
Of all the Prestes that ther are;234
And sche which causeth al this fare
Seid ek therto what that sche wolde,235
And every man thanne after tolde 4310
So as the queene hem hadde preid.236
The king, which hath his Ere leid,
And lieveth al that evere he herde,
Unto here tale thus ansuerde,
And seith that levere him is to chese
Hise children bothe forto lese,
Than him and al the remenant
Of hem whiche are aportenant
Unto the lond which he schal kepe:
And bad his wif to take kepe 4320
P. ii. 272
In what manere is best to done,237
That thei delivered weren sone
Out of this world. And sche anon
Tuo men ordeigneth forto gon;
Bot ferst sche made hem forto swere
That thei the children scholden bere
Unto the See, that non it knowe,
And hem therinne bothe throwe.
The children to the See ben lad,
Wher in the wise as Yno bad238 4330
These men be redy forto do.
Bot the goddesse which Juno
[Pg 65]
Is hote, appiereth in the stede,
And hath unto the men forbede239
That thei the children noght ne sle;
Bot bad hem loke into the See
And taken hiede of that thei sihen.
Ther swam a Schep tofore here yhen,
Whos flees of burned gold was al;
And this goddesse forth withal 4340
Comandeth that withoute lette
Thei scholde anon these children sette
Above upon this Schepes bak;240
And al was do, riht as sche spak,
Wherof the men gon hom ayein.
And fell so, as the bokes sein,
Hellen the yonge Mayden tho,
Which of the See was wo bego,
For pure drede hire herte hath lore,241
That fro the Schep, which hath hire bore, 4350
P. ii. 273
As sche that was swounende feint,242
Sche fell, and hath hirselve dreint;243
With Frixus and this Schep forth swam,
Til he to thyle of Colchos cam,
Where Juno the goddesse he fond,
Which tok the Schep unto the lond,
And sette it there in such a wise
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
Wherof cam after al the wo,
Why Jason was forswore so 4360
Unto Medee, as it is spoke.244
Mi fader, who that hath tobroke
His trouthe, as ye have told above,
He is noght worthi forto love
Ne be beloved, as me semeth:
Bot every newe love quemeth
To him which newefongel is.245
And natheles nou after this,
[Pg 66]
If that you list to taken hiede246
Upon mi Schrifte to procede, 4370
In loves cause ayein the vice
Of covoitise and Avarice
What ther is more I wolde wite.
Mi Sone, this I finde write,
Ther is yit on of thilke brood,
Which only for the worldes good,
To make a Tresor of Moneie,
Put alle conscience aweie:
Wherof in thi confession
The name and the condicion 4380
P. ii. 274
I schal hierafterward declare,
Which makth on riche, an other bare.
v. Plus capit vsura sibi quam debetur, et illud
Fraude colorata sepe latenter agit.
Sic amor excessus quamsepe suos vt auarus
Spirat, et vnius tres capit ipse loco.
Upon the bench sittende on hih
With Avarice Usure I sih,
Hic tractat de illa specie Auaricie, que Vsura dicitur, cuius creditor in pecunia tantum numerata plusquam sibi de iure debetur incrementum lucri adauget.
Full clothed of his oghne suite,
Which after gold makth chace and suite
With his brocours, that renne aboute
Lich unto racches in a route.
Such lucre is non above grounde,
Which is noght of tho racches founde; 4390
For wher thei se beyete sterte,247
That schal hem in no wise asterte,
Bot thei it dryve into the net
Of lucre, which Usure hath set.
Usure with the riche duelleth,
To al that evere he beith and selleth248
He hath ordeined of his sleyhte
Mesure double and double weyhte:
Outward he selleth be the lasse,
And with the more he makth his tasse, 4400
Wherof his hous is full withinne.
[Pg 67]
He reccheth noght, be so he winne,249
Though that ther lese ten or tuelve:
His love is al toward himselve
And to non other, bot he se
That he mai winne suche thre;
P. ii. 275
For wher he schal oght yive or lene,
He wol ayeinward take a bene,
Ther he hath lent the smale pese.
And riht so ther ben manye of these 4410
Lovers, that thogh thei love a lyte,250
That scarsly wolde it weie a myte,
Yit wolde thei have a pound again,251
As doth Usure in his bargain.
Bot certes such usure unliche
It falleth more unto the riche,
Als wel of love as of beyete,
Than unto hem that be noght grete,
And, as who seith, ben simple and povere;
For sielden is whan thei recovere, 4420
Bot if it be thurgh gret decerte.
And natheles men se poverte
With porsuite and continuance252
Fulofte make a gret chevance
And take of love his avantage,253
Forth with the help of his brocage,
That maken seme wher is noght.254
And thus fulofte is love boght
For litel what, and mochel take,
With false weyhtes that thei make. 4430
Nou, Sone, of that I seide above
Thou wost what Usure is of love:
Tell me forthi what so thou wilt,
If thou therof hast eny gilt.
Mi fader, nay, for ought I hiere.
For of tho pointz ye tolden hiere
P. ii. 276
I wol you be mi trouthe assure,
[Pg 68]
Mi weyhte of love and mi mesure
Hath be mor large and mor certein
Than evere I tok of love ayein: 4440
For so yit couthe I nevere of sleyhte,
To take ayein be double weyhte
Of love mor than I have yive.
For als so wiss mot I be schrive
And have remission of Sinne,
As so yit couthe I nevere winne,
Ne yit so mochel, soth to sein,
That evere I mihte have half ayein
Of so full love as I have lent:
And if myn happ were so wel went, 4450
That for the hole I mihte have half,
Me thenkth I were a goddeshalf.255
For where Usure wole have double,
Mi conscience is noght so trouble,
I biede nevere as to my del
Bot of the hole an halvendel;
That is non excess, as me thenketh.
Bot natheles it me forthenketh;
For wel I wot that wol noght be,
For every day the betre I se 4460
That hou so evere I yive or lene
Mi love in place ther I mene,256
For oght that evere I axe or crave,
I can nothing ayeinward have.
Bot yit for that I wol noght lete,
What so befalle of mi beyete,
P. ii. 277
That I ne schal hire yive and lene
Mi love and al mi thoght so clene,257
That toward me schal noght beleve.
And if sche of hire goode leve 4470
Rewarde wol me noght again,
I wot the laste of my bargain
Schal stonde upon so gret a lost,
That I mai neveremor the cost
Recovere in this world til I die.
[Pg 69]
So that touchende of this partie
I mai me wel excuse and schal;
And forto speke forth withal,
If eny brocour for me wente,
That point cam nevere in myn entente: 4480
So that the more me merveilleth,
What thing it is mi ladi eilleth,
That al myn herte and al my time
Sche hath, and doth no betre bime.
I have herd seid that thoght is fre,258
And natheles in privete
To you, mi fader, that ben hiere
Min hole schrifte forto hiere,
I dar min herte wel desclose.
Touchende usure, as I suppose, 4490
Which as ye telle in love is used,
Mi ladi mai noght ben excused;
That for o lokinge of hire yë
Min hole herte til I dye
With al that evere I may and can
Sche hath me wonne to hire man:
P. ii. 278
Wherof, me thenkth, good reson wolde
That sche somdel rewarde scholde,
And yive a part, ther sche hath al.
I not what falle hierafter schal, 4500
Bot into nou yit dar I sein,
Hire liste nevere yive ayein
A goodli word in such a wise,
Wherof min hope mihte arise,259
Mi grete love to compense.
I not hou sche hire conscience
Excuse wole of this usure;260
Be large weyhte and gret mesure
Sche hath mi love, and I have noght
Of that which I have diere boght, 4510
And with myn herte I have it paid;
Bot al that is asyde laid,261
And I go loveles aboute.
[Pg 70]
Hire oghte stonde in ful gret doute,
Til sche redresce such a sinne,
That sche wole al mi love winne
And yifth me noght to live by:
Noght als so moche as ‘grant mercy’262
Hir list to seie, of which I mihte
Som of mi grete peine allyhte. 4520
Bot of this point, lo, thus I fare
As he that paith for his chaffare,
And beith it diere, and yit hath non,263
So mot he nedes povere gon:
Thus beie I diere and have no love,264
That I ne mai noght come above265
P. ii. 279
To winne of love non encress.
Bot I me wole natheles
Touchende usure of love aquite;
And if mi ladi be to wyte, 4530
I preie to god such grace hir sende
That sche be time it mot amende.
Mi Sone, of that thou hast ansuerd
Touchende Usure I have al herd,
Hou thou of love hast wonne smale:
Bot that thou tellest in thi tale
And thi ladi therof accusest,
Me thenkth tho wordes thou misusest.
For be thin oghne knowlechinge
Thou seist hou sche for o lokinge 4540
Thin hole herte fro the tok:
Sche mai be such, that hire o lok
Is worth thin herte manyfold;
So hast thou wel thin herte sold,
Whan thou hast that is more worth.
And ek of that thou tellest forth,
Hou that hire weyhte of love unevene
Is unto thin, under the hevene
Stod nevere in evene that balance
Which stant in loves governance. 4550
Such is the statut of his lawe,
[Pg 71]
That thogh thi love more drawe
And peise in the balance more,
Thou miht noght axe ayein therfore
Of duete, bot al of grace.
For love is lord in every place,
P. ii. 280
Ther mai no lawe him justefie
Be reddour ne be compaignie,
That he ne wole after his wille
Whom that him liketh spede or spille. 4560
To love a man mai wel beginne,
Bot whether he schal lese or winne,
That wot noman til ate laste:
Forthi coveite noght to faste,
Mi Sone, bot abyd thin ende,266
Per cas al mai to goode wende.
Bot that thou hast me told and said,
Of o thing I am riht wel paid,267
That thou be sleyhte ne be guile
Of no brocour hast otherwhile 4570
Engined love, for such dede268
Is sore venged, as I rede.
[Love-Brokerage. Tale of Echo.]
Brocours of love that deceiven,
No wonder is thogh thei receiven269
After the wrong that thei decerven;
For whom as evere that thei serven270
And do plesance for a whyle,
Yit ate laste here oghne guile
Hic ponit exemplum contra istos maritos qui vltra id quod proprias habent vxores ad noue voluptatis incrementum alias mulieres superflue lucrari non verentur. Et narrat qualiter Iuno vindictam suam in Eccho decreuit, pro eo quod ipsa Eccho272 in huiusmodi mulierum lucris adquirendis de consilio mariti sui Iouis mediatrix extiterat.
Upon here oghne hed descendeth,271
Which god of his vengance sendeth, 4580
As be ensample of time go
A man mai finde it hath be so.
It fell somtime, as it was sene,
The hihe goddesse and the queene
Juno tho hadde in compainie
A Maiden full of tricherie;
P. ii. 281
For sche was evere in on acord273
[Pg 72]
With Jupiter, that was hire lord,
To gete him othre loves newe,
Thurgh such brocage and was untrewe 4590
Al otherwise than him nedeth.
Bot sche, which of no schame dredeth,
With queinte wordes and with slyhe
Blente in such wise hir lady yhe,
As sche to whom that Juno triste,274
So that therof sche nothing wiste.
Bot so prive mai be nothing,
That it ne comth to knowleching;
Thing don upon the derke nyht
Is after knowe on daies liht: 4600
So it befell, that ate laste
Al that this slyhe maiden caste
Was overcast and overthrowe.
For as the sothe mot be knowe,
To Juno was don understonde
In what manere hir housebonde
With fals brocage hath take usure
Of love mor than his mesure,
Whan he tok othre than his wif,
Wherof this mayden was gultif, 4610
Which hadde ben of his assent.
And thus was al the game schent;275
Sche soffreth him, as sche mot nede,
Bot the brocour of his misdede,
Sche which hir conseil yaf therto,
On hire is the vengance do:
P. ii. 282
For Juno with hire wordes hote,
This Maiden, which Eccho was hote,
Reproveth and seith in this wise:
‘O traiteresse, of which servise 4620
Hast thou thin oghne ladi served!
Thou hast gret peine wel deserved,
That thou canst maken it so queinte,
Thi slyhe wordes forto peinte
Towardes me, that am thi queene,
Wherof thou madest me to wene
[Pg 73]
That myn housbonde trewe were,
Whan that he loveth elleswhere,
Al be it so him nedeth noght.
Bot upon thee it schal be boght, 4630
Which art prive to tho doinges,
And me fulofte of thi lesinges
Deceived hast: nou is the day
That I thi while aquite may;276
And for thou hast to me conceled
That my lord hath with othre deled,
I schal thee sette in such a kende,
That evere unto the worldes ende
Al that thou hierest thou schalt telle,
And clappe it out as doth a belle.’ 4640
And with that word sche was forschape,
Ther may no vois hire mouth ascape,277
What man that in the wodes crieth,278
Withoute faile Eccho replieth,
And what word that him list to sein,
The same word sche seith ayein.
P. ii. 283
Thus sche, which whilom hadde leve
To duelle in chambre, mot beleve
In wodes and on helles bothe,
For such brocage as wyves lothe, 4650
Which doth here lordes hertes change279
And love in other place strange.280
Forthi, if evere it so befalle,
That thou, mi Sone, amonges alle
Be wedded man, hold that thou hast,
For thanne al other love is wast.
O wif schal wel to thee suffise,
And thanne, if thou for covoitise
Of love woldest axe more,
Thou scholdest don ayein the lore 4660
Of alle hem that trewe be.
Mi fader, as in this degre
My conscience is noght accused;
[Pg 74]
For I no such brocage have used,
Wherof that lust of love is wonne.
Forthi spek forth, as ye begonne,
Of Avarice upon mi schrifte.
Mi Sone, I schal the branches schifte
Be ordre so as thei ben set,
On whom no good is wel beset. 4670
vi. Pro verbis verba, munus pro munere reddi
Convenit, vt pondus equa statera gerat.
Propterea cupido non dat sua dona Cupido,
Nam qui nulla serit, gramina nulla metet.
Blinde Avarice of his lignage281
For conseil and for cousinage,
P. ii. 284
To be withholde ayein largesse,
Hic tractat super illa specie Auaricie que Parcimonia dicitur, cuius natura tenax aliqualem sue substancie porcionem aut deo aut hominibus participare nullatenus consentit.
Hath on, whos name is seid Skarsnesse,
The which is kepere of his hous,
And is so thurghout averous,
That he no good let out of honde;
Thogh god himself it wolde fonde,
Of yifte scholde he nothing have;
And if a man it wolde crave,282 4680
He moste thanne faile nede,
Wher god himselve mai noght spede.283
And thus Skarsnesse in every place
Be reson mai no thonk porchace,
And natheles in his degree
Above alle othre most prive
With Avarice stant he this.
For he governeth that ther is
In ech astat of his office
After the reule of thilke vice; 4690
He takth, he kepth, he halt, he bint,
That lihtere is to fle the flint
Than gete of him in hard or neisshe
Only the value of a reysshe
Of good in helpinge of an other,
Noght thogh it were his oghne brother.
[Pg 75]
For in the cas of yifte and lone
Stant every man for him al one,
Him thenkth of his unkindeschipe
That him nedeth no felaschipe: 4700
Be so the bagge and he acorden,284
Him reccheth noght what men recorden
P. ii. 285
Of him, or it be evel or good.
For al his trust is on his good,
So that al one he falleth ofte,
Whan he best weneth stonde alofte,
Als wel in love as other wise;
For love is evere of som reprise
To him that wole his love holde.
Forthi, mi Sone, as thou art holde, 4710
Touchende of this tell me thi schrifte:
Hast thou be scars or large of yifte
Unto thi love, whom thou servest?
For after that thou wel deservest
Of yifte, thou miht be the bet;
For that good holde I wel beset,
For why thou miht the betre fare;285
Thanne is no wisdom forto spare.
For thus men sein, in every nede
He was wys that ferst made mede; 4720
For where as mede mai noght spede,
I not what helpeth other dede:
Fulofte he faileth of his game
That wol with ydel hand reclame
His hauk, as many a nyce doth.
Forthi, mi Sone, tell me soth
And sei the trouthe, if thou hast be
Unto thy love or skars or fre.
Confessio Amantis.
Mi fader, it hath stonde thus,
That if the tresor of Cresus 4730
And al the gold Octovien,
Forth with the richesse Yndien286
P. ii. 286
Of Perles and of riche stones,
Were al togedre myn at ones,
[Pg 76]
I sette it at nomore acompte
Than wolde a bare straw amonte,
To yive it hire al in a day,
Be so that to that suete may287
I myhte like or more or lesse.288
And thus be cause of my scarsnesse 4740
Ye mai wel understonde and lieve
That I schal noght the worse achieve289
The pourpos which is in my thoght.
Bot yit I yaf hir nevere noght,
Ne therto dorste a profre make;
For wel I wot sche wol noght take,
And yive wol sche noght also,
She is eschu of bothe tuo.
And this I trowe be the skile
Towardes me, for sche ne wile 4750
That I have eny cause of hope,
Noght also mochel as a drope.
Bot toward othre, as I mai se,
Sche takth and yifth in such degre,
That as be weie of frendlihiede
Sche can so kepe hir wommanhiede,
That every man spekth of hir wel.
Bot sche wole take of me no del,
And yit sche wot wel that I wolde
Yive and do bothe what I scholde 4760
To plesen hire in al my myht:
Be reson this wot every wyht,
P. ii. 287
For that mai be no weie asterte,
Ther sche is maister of the herte,
Sche mot be maister of the good.
For god wot wel that al my mod
And al min herte and al mi thoght
And al mi good, whil I have oght,
Als freliche as god hath it yive,
It schal ben hires, while I live,290 4770
Riht as hir list hirself commande.
So that it nedeth no demande,
[Pg 77]
To axe of me if I be scars
To love, for as to tho pars
I wole ansuere and seie no.
Mi Sone, that is riht wel do.
For often times of scarsnesse
It hath be sen, that for the lesse
Is lost the more, as thou schalt hiere
A tale lich to this matiere. 4780
[Tale of Babio and Croceus.]
Skarsnesse and love acorden nevere,
For every thing is wel the levere,
Whan that a man hath boght it diere:
Hic loquitur contra istos, qui Auaricia stricti largitatis beneficium in amoris causa confundunt. Et ponit exemplum, qualiter Croceus largus et hillaris Babionem292 auarum et tenacem de amore Viole, que pulcherrima fuit, donis largissimis circumuenit.
And forto speke in this matiere,
For sparinge of a litel cost
Fulofte time a man hath lost
The large cote for the hod.
What man that scars is of his good291
And wol noght yive, he schal noght take:
With yifte a man mai undertake 4790
The hihe god to plese and queme,
With yifte a man the world mai deme;293
P. ii. 288
For every creature bore,
If thou him yive, is glad therfore,
And every gladschipe, as I finde,
Is confort unto loves kinde
And causeth ofte a man to spede.
So was he wys that ferst yaf mede,
For mede kepeth love in house;
Bot wher the men ben coveitouse 4800
And sparen forto yive a part,
Thei knowe noght Cupides art:
For his fortune and his aprise
Desdeigneth alle coveitise
And hateth alle nygardie.
And forto loke of this partie,
A soth ensample, hou it is so,
I finde write of Babio;294
Which hadde a love at his menage,
[Pg 78]
Ther was non fairere of hire age, 4810
And hihte Viola be name;
Which full of youthe and ful of game
Was of hirself, and large and fre,
Bot such an other chinche as he295
Men wisten noght in al the lond,
And hadde affaited to his hond
His servant, the which Spodius296
Was hote. And in this wise thus297
The worldes good of sufficance
Was had, bot likinge and plesance, 4820
Of that belongeth to richesse
Of love, stod in gret destresse;
P. ii. 289
So that this yonge lusty wyht
Of thing which fell to loves riht
Was evele served overal,
That sche was wo bego withal,
Til that Cupide and Venus eke
A medicine for the seke
Ordeigne wolden in this cas.
So as fortune thanne was, 4830
Of love upon the destine
It fell, riht as it scholde be,
A freissh, a fre, a frendly man
That noght of Avarice can,
Which Croceus be name hihte,
Toward this swete caste his sihte,
And ther sche was cam in presence.
Sche sih him large of his despence,
And amorous and glad of chiere,
So that hir liketh wel to hiere 4840
The goodly wordes whiche he seide;
And therupon of love he preide,
Of love was al that he mente,
To love and for sche scholde assente,
He yaf hire yiftes evere among.
Bot for men sein that mede is strong,
It was wel seene at thilke tyde;
[Pg 79]
For as it scholde of ryht betyde,
This Viola largesce hath take
And the nygard sche hath forsake: 4850
Of Babio sche wol no more,298
For he was grucchende everemore,
P. ii. 290
Ther was with him non other fare
Bot forto prinche and forto spare,
Of worldes muk to gete encress.
So goth the wrecche loveles,299
Bejaped for his Skarcete,
And he that large was and fre
And sette his herte to despende,
This Croceus, the bowe bende, 4860
Which Venus tok him forto holde,
And schotte als ofte as evere he wolde.300
Lo, thus departeth love his lawe,
That what man wol noght be felawe
To yive and spende, as I thee telle,
He is noght worthi forto duelle
In loves court to be relieved.
Forthi, my Sone, if I be lieved,301
Thou schalt be large of thi despence.
Mi fader, in mi conscience 4870
If ther be eny thing amis,
I wol amende it after this,302
Toward mi love namely.
Mi Sone, wel and redely
Thou seist, so that wel paid withal
I am, and forthere if I schal
Unto thi schrifte specefie303
Of Avarices progenie
What vice suieth after this,
Thou schalt have wonder hou it is, 4880
Among the folk in eny regne
That such a vice myhte regne,
P. ii. 291
Which is comun at alle assaies,
As men mai finde nou adaies.
[Pg 80]
vii. Cuncta creatura, deus et qui cuncta creauit,
Dampnant ingrati dicta que facta viri.304
Non dolor alonge stat, quo sibi talis amicam305
Traxit, et in fine deserit esse suam.
The vice lik unto the fend,
Which nevere yit was mannes frend,
And cleped is Unkindeschipe,
Hic loquitur super illa aborta specie Auaricie, que Ingratitudo, dicta est, cuius condicionem non solum creator, set eciam cuncte creature abhominabilem detestantur.
Of covine and of felaschipe
With Avarice he is withholde.
Him thenkth he scholde noght ben holde 4890
Unto the moder which him bar;
Of him mai nevere man be war,
He wol noght knowe the merite,
For that he wolde it noght aquite;
Which in this world is mochel used,
And fewe ben therof excused.
To telle of him is endeles,
Bot this I seie natheles,
Wher as this vice comth to londe,
Ther takth noman his thonk on honde; 4900
Thogh he with alle his myhtes serve,
He schal of him no thonk deserve.
He takth what eny man wol yive,
Bot whil he hath o day to live,
He wol nothing rewarde ayein;
He gruccheth forto yive o grein,
Wher he hath take a berne full.
That makth a kinde herte dull,
P. ii. 292
To sette his trust in such frendschipe,
Ther as he fint no kindeschipe; 4910
And forto speke wordes pleine,
Thus hiere I many a man compleigne,
That nou on daies thou schalt finde
At nede fewe frendes kinde;
What thou hast don for hem tofore,
It is foryete, as it were lore.
The bokes speken of this vice,
And telle hou god of his justice,
[Pg 81]
Be weie of kinde and ek nature
And every lifissh creature,306 4920
The lawe also, who that it kan,307
Thei dampnen an unkinde man.
It is al on to seie unkinde
As thing which don is ayein kinde,
For it with kinde nevere stod
A man to yelden evel for good.
For who that wolde taken hede,
A beste is glad of a good dede,
And loveth thilke creature
After the lawe of his nature 4930
Which doth him ese. And forto se
Of this matiere Auctorite,
Fulofte time it hath befalle;
Wherof a tale amonges alle,
Which is of olde ensamplerie,308
I thenke forto specefie.
[Tale of Adrian and Bardus.]
To speke of an unkinde man,
I finde hou whilom Adrian,
P. ii. 293
Of Rome which a gret lord was,
Hic dicit qualiter bestie in suis beneficiis hominem ingratum naturaliter precellunt. Et ponit exemplum de Adriano Rome Cenatore, qui in quadam Foresta venacionibus insistens, dum predam persequeretur, in Cisternam profundam nescia familia corruit: vbi superueniens quidam pauper nomine Bardus, immissa cordula, putans hominem extraxisse, primo Simeam extraxit, secundo Serpentem, tercio Adrianum, qui pauperem despiciens aliquid ei pro benefacto reddere recusabat. Set tam Serpens quam Simea gratuita beneuolencia ipsum311 singulis donis sufficienter remunerarent.
Upon a day as he per cas 4940
To wode in his huntinge wente,
It hapneth at a soudein wente,309
After his chace as he poursuieth,
Thurgh happ, the which noman eschuieth,310
He fell unwar into a pet,
Wher that it mihte noght be let.
The pet was dep and he fell lowe,
That of his men non myhte knowe
Wher he becam, for non was nyh,
Which of his fall the meschief syh. 4950
And thus al one ther he lay
Clepende and criende al the day
For socour and deliverance,
[Pg 82]
Til ayein Eve it fell per chance,
A while er it began to nyhte,
A povere man, which Bardus hihte,
Cam forth walkende with his asse,
And hadde gadred him a tasse
Of grene stickes and of dreie
To selle, who that wolde hem beie, 4960
As he which hadde no liflode,
Bot whanne he myhte such a lode
To toune with his Asse carie.
And as it fell him forto tarie
That ilke time nyh the pet,
And hath the trusse faste knet,
He herde a vois, which cride dimme,
And he his Ere to the brimme
P. ii. 294
Hath leid, and herde it was a man,
Which seide, ‘Ha, help hier Adrian, 4970
And I wol yiven half mi good.’
The povere man this understod,
As he that wolde gladly winne,
And to this lord which was withinne
He spak and seide, ‘If I thee save,
What sikernesse schal I have
Of covenant, that afterward
Thou wolt me yive such reward
As thou behihtest nou tofore?’
That other hath his othes swore 4980
Be hevene and be the goddes alle,312
If that it myhte so befalle
That he out of the pet him broghte,
Of all the goodes whiche he oghte313
He schal have evene halvendel.
This Bardus seide he wolde wel;
And with this word his Asse anon
He let untrusse, and therupon
Doun goth the corde into the pet,314
To which he hath at ende knet 4990
A staf, wherby, he seide, he wolde[Pg 83]
That Adrian him scholde holde.
Bot it was tho per chance falle,
Into that pet was also falle315
An Ape, which at thilke throwe,
Whan that the corde cam doun lowe,
Al sodeinli therto he skipte
And it in bothe hise armes clipte.
P. ii. 295
And Bardus with his Asse anon
Him hath updrawe, and he is gon. 5000
But whan he sih it was an Ape,
He wende al hadde ben a jape
Of faierie, and sore him dradde:316
And Adrian eftsone gradde
For help, and cride and preide faste,
And he eftsone his corde caste;
Bot whan it cam unto the grounde,
A gret Serpent it hath bewounde,
The which Bardus anon up drouh.
And thanne him thoghte wel ynouh, 5010
It was fantosme, bot yit he herde317
The vois, and he therto ansuerde,
‘What wiht art thou in goddes name?’
‘I am,’ quod Adrian, ‘the same,
Whos good thou schalt have evene half.’
Quod Bardus, ‘Thanne a goddes half
The thridde time assaie I schal’:
And caste his corde forth withal
Into the pet, and whan it cam
To him, this lord of Rome it nam, 5020
And therupon him hath adresced,318
And with his hand fulofte blessed,
And thanne he bad to Bardus hale.
And he, which understod his tale,
Betwen him and his Asse al softe319
Hath drawe and set him up alofte
[Pg 84]
Withouten harm al esely.
He seith noght ones ‘grant merci,’
P. ii. 296
Bot strauhte him forth to the cite,
And let this povere Bardus be. 5030
And natheles this simple man
His covenant, so as he can,
Hath axed; and that other seide,
If so be that he him umbreide320
Of oght that hath be speke or do,321
It schal ben venged on him so,
That him were betre to be ded.
And he can tho non other red,
But on his asse ayein he caste
His trusse, and hieth homward faste: 5040
And whan that he cam hom to bedde,
He tolde his wif hou that he spedde.
Bot finaly to speke oght more
Unto this lord he dradde him sore,
So that a word ne dorste he sein:322
And thus upon the morwe ayein,
In the manere as I recorde,
Forth with his Asse and with his corde
To gadre wode, as he dede er,
He goth; and whan that he cam ner 5050
Unto the place where he wolde,323
He hath his Ape anon beholde,
Which hadde gadred al aboute
Of stickes hiere and there a route,324
And leide hem redy to his hond,
Wherof he made his trosse and bond;
Fro dai to dai and in this wise
This Ape profreth his servise,
P. ii. 297
So that he hadde of wode ynouh.
Upon a time and as he drouh 5060
Toward the wode, he sih besyde
The grete gastli Serpent glyde,
Til that sche cam in his presence,
[Pg 85]
And in hir kinde a reverence325
Sche hath him do, and forth withal
A Ston mor briht than a cristall
Out of hir mouth tofore his weie
Sche let doun falle, and wente aweie,
For that he schal noght ben adrad.
Tho was this povere Bardus glad, 5070
Thonkende god, and to the Ston326
He goth and takth it up anon,
And hath gret wonder in his wit
Hou that the beste him hath aquit,
Wher that the mannes Sone hath failed,
For whom he hadde most travailed.
Bot al he putte in goddes hond,
And torneth hom, and what he fond
Unto his wif he hath it schewed;
And thei, that weren bothe lewed, 5080
Acorden that he scholde it selle.
And he no lengere wolde duelle,
Bot forth anon upon the tale
The Ston he profreth to the sale;
And riht as he himself it sette,
The jueler anon forth fette
The gold and made his paiement,
Therof was no delaiement.
P. ii. 298
Thus whan this Ston was boght and sold,
Homward with joie manyfold 5090
This Bardus goth; and whan he cam
Hom to his hous and that he nam
His gold out of his Purs, withinne
He fond his Ston also therinne,
Wherof for joie his herte pleide,
Unto his wif and thus he seide,
‘Lo, hier my gold, lo, hier mi Ston!’
His wif hath wonder therupon,
And axeth him hou that mai be.
‘Nou be mi trouthe I not,’ quod he, 5100
‘Bot I dar swere upon a bok,
[Pg 86]
That to my Marchant I it tok,327
And he it hadde whan I wente:
So knowe I noght to what entente
It is nou hier, bot it be grace.328
Forthi tomorwe in other place
I wole it fonde forto selle,
And if it wol noght with him duelle,
Bot crepe into mi purs ayein,
Than dar I saufly swere and sein, 5110
It is the vertu of the Ston.’329
The morwe cam, and he is gon
To seche aboute in other stede
His Ston to selle, and he so dede,330
And lefte it with his chapman there.
Bot whan that he cam elleswhere,
In presence of his wif at hom,
Out of his Purs and that he nom
P. ii. 299
His gold, he fond his Ston withal:
And thus it fell him overal, 5120
Where he it solde in sondri place,
Such was the fortune and the grace.
Bot so wel may nothing ben hidd,
That it nys ate laste kidd:
This fame goth aboute Rome331
So ferforth, that the wordes come
To themperour Justinian;
And he let sende for the man,332
And axede him hou that it was.
And Bardus tolde him al the cas,333 5130
Hou that the worm and ek the beste,334
Althogh thei maden no beheste,
His travail hadden wel aquit;
Bot he which hadde a mannes wit,335
And made his covenant be mouthe
And swor therto al that he couthe
To parte and yiven half his good,
[Pg 87]
Hath nou foryete hou that it stod,
As he which wol no trouthe holde.
This Emperour al that he tolde 5140
Hath herd, and thilke unkindenesse
He seide he wolde himself redresse.
And thus in court of juggement
This Adrian was thanne assent,
And the querele in audience336
Declared was in the presence
Of themperour and many mo;
Wherof was mochel speche tho
P. ii. 300
And gret wondringe among the press.
Bot ate laste natheles 5150
For the partie which hath pleigned
The lawe hath diemed and ordeigned
Be hem that were avised wel,
That he schal have the halvendel
Thurghout of Adrianes good.
And thus of thilke unkinde blod
Stant the memoire into this day,337
Wherof that every wysman may338
Ensamplen him, and take in mynde339
What schame it is to ben unkinde; 5160
Ayein the which reson debateth,
And every creature it hateth.
Forthi, mi Sone, in thin office
I rede fle that ilke vice.
For riht as the Cronique seith
Of Adrian, hou he his feith
Foryat for worldes covoitise,
Fulofte in such a maner wise
Of lovers nou a man mai se
Full manye that unkinde be: 5170
For wel behote and evele laste
That is here lif; for ate laste,
Whan that thei have here wille do,
Here love is after sone ago.
What seist thou, Sone, to this cas?
[Pg 88]
Mi fader, I wol seie Helas,
That evere such a man was bore,
Which whan he hath his trouthe suore
P. ii. 301
And hath of love what he wolde,
That he at eny time scholde340 5180
Evere after in his herte finde
To falsen and to ben unkinde.
Bot, fader, as touchende of me,
I mai noght stonde in that degre;
For I tok nevere of love why,
That I ne mai wel go therby
And do my profit elles where,
For eny sped I finde there.
I dar wel thenken al aboute,
Bot I ne dar noght speke it oute; 5190
And if I dorste, I wolde pleigne,
That sche for whom I soffre peine
And love hir evere aliche hote,
That nouther yive ne behote
In rewardinge of mi servise
It list hire in no maner wise.
I wol noght say that sche is kinde,
And forto sai sche is unkinde,
That dar I noght; bot god above,341
Which demeth every herte of love, 5200
He wot that on myn oghne side
Schal non unkindeschipe abide:
If it schal with mi ladi duelle,
Therof dar I nomore telle.342
Nou, goode fader, as it is,
Tell me what thenketh you of this.
Mi Sone, of that unkindeschipe,
The which toward thi ladischipe
P. ii. 302
Thou pleignest, for sche wol thee noght,
Thou art to blamen of that thoght.343 5210
For it mai be that thi desir,
Thogh it brenne evere as doth the fyr,
Per cas to hire honour missit,
[Pg 89]
Or elles time com noght yit,
Which standt upon thi destine:344
Forthi, mi Sone, I rede thee,
Thenk wel, what evere the befalle;
For noman hath his lustes alle.
Bot as thou toldest me before
That thou to love art noght forswore, 5220
And hast don non unkindenesse,
Thou miht therof thi grace blesse:
And lef noght that continuance;
For ther mai be no such grevance
To love, as is unkindeschipe.345
Wherof to kepe thi worschipe,
So as these olde bokes tale,
I schal thee telle a redi tale:
Nou herkne and be wel war therby,
For I wol telle it openly. 5230
[Tale of Theseus and Ariadne.]
Mynos, as telleth the Poete,
The which whilom was king of Crete,
A Sone hadde and Androchee
Hic ponit exemplum contra viros amori ingratos. Et narrat qualiter Theseus Cadmi filius, consilio suffultus347 Adriagne Regis Mynos filie, in domo que laborinthus dicitur Minotaurum vicit:348 vnde Theseus Adriagne sponsalia certissime promittens ipsam vna cum Fedra sorore sua a Creta secum nauigio duxit. Set statim postea oblito gratitudinis beneficio Adriagnam ipsum saluantem in insula Chio spretam post tergum reliquit; et Fedram Athenis sibi sponsatam ingratus coronauit.
He hihte: and so befell that he
Unto Athenes forto lere
Was send, and so he bar him there,346
For that he was of hih lignage,
Such pride he tok in his corage,
P. ii. 303
That he foryeten hath the Scoles,
And in riote among the foles 5240
He dede manye thinges wronge;
And useth thilke lif so longe,349
Til ate laste of that he wroghte
He fond the meschief which he soghte,
Wherof it fell that he was slain.
His fader, which it herde sain,
Was wroth, and al that evere he mihte,
Of men of Armes he him dighte350
A strong pouer, and forth he wente
[Pg 90]
Unto Athenys, where he brente
The pleine contre al aboute: 5250
The Cites stode of him in doute,
As thei that no defence hadde351
Ayein the pouer which he ladde.
Egeüs, which was there king,
His conseil tok upon this thing,
For he was thanne in the Cite:
So that of pes into tretee
Betwen Mynos and Egeüs
Thei felle, and ben acorded thus; 5260
That king Mynos fro yer to yeere
Receive schal, as thou schalt here,
Out of Athenys for truage
Of men that were of myhti Age
Persones nyne, of whiche he schal
His wille don in special
For vengance of his Sones deth.
Non other grace ther ne geth,
P. ii. 304
Bot forto take the juise;
And that was don in such a wise, 5270
Which stod upon a wonder cas.
For thilke time so it was,
Wherof that men yit rede and singe,
King Mynos hadde in his kepinge
A cruel Monstre, as seith the geste:
For he was half man and half beste,
And Minotaurus he was hote,352
Which was begete in a riote
Upon Pasiphe, his oghne wif,
Whil he was oute upon the strif 5280
Of thilke grete Siege at Troie.353
Bot sche, which lost hath alle joie,354
Whan that sche syh this Monstre bore,
Bad men ordeigne anon therfore:
And fell that ilke time thus,
Ther was a Clerk, on Dedalus,
Which hadde ben of hire assent
[Pg 91]
Of that hir world was so miswent;355
And he made of his oghne wit,
Wherof the remembrance is yit, 5290
For Minotaure such an hous,
Which was so strange and merveilous,
That what man that withinne wente,
Ther was so many a sondri wente,
That he ne scholde noght come oute,
But gon amased al aboute.
And in this hous to loke and warde
Was Minotaurus put in warde,
P. ii. 305
That what lif that therinne cam,356
Or man or beste, he overcam 5300
And slow, and fedde him therupon;
And in this wise many on357
Out of Athenys for truage
Devoured weren in that rage.
For every yeer thei schope hem so,
Thei of Athenys, er thei go
Toward that ilke wofull chance,
As it was set in ordinance,358
Upon fortune here lot thei caste;
Til that Theseüs ate laste, 5310
Which was the kinges Sone there,
Amonges othre that ther were
In thilke yeer, as it befell,
The lot upon his chance fell.
He was a worthi kniht withalle;
And whan he sih this chance falle,359
He ferde as thogh he tok non hiede,
Bot al that evere he mihte spiede,
With him and with his felaschipe
Forth into Crete he goth be Schipe; 5320
Wher that the king Mynos he soghte,360
And profreth all that he him oghte
Upon the point of here acord.
[Pg 92]
This sterne king, this cruel lord
Tok every day on of the Nyne,
And put him to the discipline361
Of Minotaure, to be devoured;
Bot Theseüs was so favoured,
P. ii. 306
That he was kept til ate laste.
And in the meene while he caste 5330
What thing him were best to do:
And fell that Adriagne tho,
Which was the dowhter of Mynos,
And hadde herd the worthi los
Of Theseüs and of his myht,
And syh he was a lusti kniht,
Hire hole herte on him sche leide,
And he also of love hir preide,
So ferforth that thei were al on.
And sche ordeigneth thanne anon 5340
In what manere he scholde him save,362
And schop so that sche dede him have
A clue of thred, of which withinne
Ferst ate dore he schal beginne
With him to take that on ende,
That whan he wolde ayeinward wende,363
He mihte go the same weie.
And over this, so as I seie,
Of pich sche tok him a pelote,364
The which he scholde into the throte 5350
Of Minotaure caste rihte:
Such wepne also for him sche dighte,
That he be reson mai noght faile
To make an ende of his bataile;
For sche him tawhte in sondri wise,
Til he was knowe of thilke emprise,
Hou he this beste schulde quelle.365
And thus, schort tale forto telle,
P. ii. 307
So as this Maide him hadde tawht,366
[Pg 93]
Theseüs with this Monstre fawht, 5360
Smot of his hed, the which he nam,
And be the thred, so as he cam,
He goth ayein, til he were oute.
Tho was gret wonder al aboute:367
Mynos the tribut hath relessed,
And so was al the werre cessed
Betwen Athene and hem of Crete.
Bot now to speke of thilke suete,
Whos beaute was withoute wane,
This faire Maiden Adriane, 5370
Whan that sche sih Theseüs sound,
Was nevere yit upon the ground368
A gladder wyht than sche was tho.
Theseüs duelte a dai or tuo
Wher that Mynos gret chiere him dede:
Theseüs in a prive stede
Hath with this Maiden spoke and rouned,
That sche to him was abandouned
In al that evere that sche couthe,
So that of thilke lusty youthe 5380
Al prively betwen hem tweie
The ferste flour he tok aweie.
For he so faire tho behihte
That evere, whil he live mihte,
He scholde hire take for his wif,
And as his oghne hertes lif
He scholde hire love and trouthe bere;369
And sche, which mihte noght forbere,
P. ii. 308
So sore loveth him ayein,
That what as evere he wolde sein 5390
With al hire herte sche believeth.
And thus his pourpos he achieveth,
So that assured of his trouthe
With him sche wente, and that was routhe.
Fedra hire yonger Soster eke,
A lusti Maide, a sobre, a meke,
Fulfild of alle curtesie,
[Pg 94]
For Sosterhode and compainie
Of love, which was hem betuene,
To sen hire Soster mad a queene, 5400
Hire fader lefte and forth sche wente
With him, which al his ferste entente
Foryat withinne a litel throwe,
So that it was al overthrowe,
Whan sche best wende it scholde stonde.
The Schip was blowe fro the londe,
Wherin that thei seilende were;
This Adriagne hath mochel fere
Of that the wynd so loude bleu,
As sche which of the See ne kneu, 5410
And preide forto reste a whyle.370
And so fell that upon an yle,
Which Chyo hihte, thei ben drive,
Where he to hire his leve hath yive
That sche schal londe and take hire reste.
Bot that was nothing for the beste:
For whan sche was to londe broght,
Sche, which that time thoghte noght
P. ii. 309
Bot alle trouthe, and tok no kepe,
Hath leid hire softe forto slepe, 5420
As sche which longe hath ben forwacched;
Bot certes sche was evele macched
And fer from alle loves kinde;
For more than the beste unkinde
Theseüs, which no trouthe kepte,
Whil that this yonge ladi slepte,
Fulfild of his unkindeschipe371
Hath al foryete the goodschipe
Which Adriane him hadde do,
And bad unto the Schipmen tho372 5430
Hale up the seil and noght abyde,
And forth he goth the same tyde
Toward Athene, and hire alonde
He lefte, which lay nyh the stronde
[Pg 95]
Slepende, til that sche awok.
Bot whan that sche cast up hire lok
Toward the stronde and sih no wyht,
Hire herte was so sore aflyht,373
That sche ne wiste what to thinke;
Bot drouh hire to the water brinke, 5440
Wher sche behield the See at large.
Sche sih no Schip, sche sih no barge
Als ferforth as sche mihte kenne:
‘Ha lord,’ sche seide, ‘which a Senne,
As al the world schal after hiere,
Upon this woful womman hiere
This worthi kniht hath don and wroght!
I wende I hadde his love boght,
P. ii. 310
And so deserved ate nede,374
Whan that he stod upon his drede, 5450
And ek the love he me behihte.
It is gret wonder hou he mihte
Towardes me nou ben unkinde,
And so to lete out of his mynde
Thing which he seide his oghne mouth.
Bot after this whan it is couth375
And drawe into the worldes fame,376
It schal ben hindringe of his name:
For wel he wot and so wot I,
He yaf his trouthe bodily, 5460
That he myn honour scholde kepe.’
And with that word sche gan to wepe,
And sorweth more than ynouh:
Hire faire tresces sche todrouh,377
And with hirself tok such a strif,378
That sche betwen the deth and lif379
Swounende lay fulofte among.380
And al was this on him along,
Which was to love unkinde so,
Wherof the wrong schal everemo 5470
Stonde in Cronique of remembrance.[Pg 96]
And ek it asketh a vengance
To ben unkinde in loves cas,
So as Theseüs thanne was,
Al thogh he were a noble kniht;
For he the lawe of loves riht
Forfeted hath in alle weie,
That Adriagne he putte aweie,
P. ii. 311
Which was a gret unkinde dede:
And after this, so as I rede,381 5480
Fedra, the which hir Soster is,
He tok in stede of hire, and this
Fel afterward to mochel teene.
For thilke vice of which I meene,
Unkindeschipe, where it falleth,
The trouthe of mannes herte it palleth,
That he can no good dede aquite:
So mai he stonde of no merite
Towardes god, and ek also
Men clepen him the worldes fo; 5490
For he nomore than the fend
Unto non other man is frend,
Bot al toward himself al one.
Forthi, mi Sone, in thi persone
This vice above alle othre fle.
Mi fader, as ye techen me,
I thenke don in this matiere.
Bot over this nou wolde I hiere,
Wherof I schal me schryve more.
Mi goode Sone, and for thi lore,382 5500
After the reule of coveitise
I schal the proprete devise
Of every vice by and by.
Nou herkne and be wel war therby.
viii. Viribus ex clara res tollit luce Rapina,
Floris et inuita virgine mella capit.
In the lignage of Avarice,
Hic tractat super illa specie cupida que Rapina nuncupatur, cuius mater extorcio ipsam ad deseruiendum magnatum curiis specialius commendauit.
Mi Sone, yit ther is a vice,
[Pg 97]
P. ii. 312
His rihte name it is Ravine,383
Which hath a route of his covine.
Ravine among the maistres duelleth,
And with his servantz, as men telleth,384 5510
Extorcion is nou withholde:
Ravine of othre mennes folde
Makth his larder and paieth noght;
For wher as evere it mai be soght,
In his hous ther schal nothing lacke,
And that fulofte abyth the packe
Of povere men that duelle aboute.
Thus stant the comun poeple in doute,
Which can do non amendement;
For whanne him faileth paiement,385 5520
Ravine makth non other skile,
Bot takth be strengthe what he wile.386
So ben ther in the same wise
Lovers, as I thee schal devise,387
That whan noght elles mai availe,
Anon with strengthe thei assaile
And gete of love the sesine,388
Whan thei se time, be Ravine.
Forthi, mi Sone, schrif thee hier,
If thou hast ben a Raviner 5530
Of love.
Certes, fader, no:
For I mi ladi love so,389
That thogh I were as was Pompeie,390
That al the world me wolde obeie,
Or elles such as Alisandre,
I wolde noght do such a sklaundre;
P. ii. 313
It is no good man, which so doth.
In good feith, Sone, thou seist soth:
For he that wole of pourveance391
Be such a weie his lust avance, 5540
He schal it after sore abie,[Pg 98]
Bot if these olde ensamples lie.
Nou, goode fader, tell me on,
So as ye cunne manyon,
Touchende of love in this matiere.
Nou list, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere,392
So as it hath befalle er this,
In loves cause hou that it is
A man to take be Ravine
The preie which is femeline. 5550
[Tale of Tereus.]
Ther was a real noble king,
And riche of alle worldes thing,
Which of his propre enheritance
Hic ponit exemplum contra istos in amoris causa raptores. Et narrat qualiter Pandion Rex Athenarum duas filias,393 videlicet Progne et Philomenam, habuit. Progne autem Tereo394 Regi Tracie desponsata, contigit quod cum395 Tereus ad instanciam vxoris396 sue Philomenam de Athenis in Traciam sororie visitacionis causa secum quadam vice perduceret, in concupiscenciam Philomene tanta seueritate in itinere dilapsus est, quod ipse non solum sue violencia rapine virginitatem eius oppressit, set et ipsius linguam, ne factum detegeret, forpice mutulauit. Vnde in perpetue memorie Cronicam tanti raptoris austeritatem miro ordine dii postea vindicarunt.
Athenes hadde in governance,
And who so thenke therupon,
His name was king Pandion.
Tuo douhtres hadde he be his wif,
The whiche he lovede as his lif;
The ferste douhter Progne hihte,
And the secounde, as sche wel mihte,397 5560
Was cleped faire Philomene,
To whom fell after mochel tene.
The fader of his pourveance
His doughter Progne wolde avance,
And yaf hire unto mariage
A worthi king of hih lignage,
P. ii. 314
A noble kniht eke of his hond,
So was he kid in every lond,
Of Trace he hihte Tereüs;
The clerk Ovide telleth thus. 5570
This Tereüs his wif hom ladde,
A lusti lif with hire he hadde;
Til it befell upon a tyde,
This Progne, as sche lay him besyde,
Bethoughte hir hou it mihte be
That sche hir Soster myhte se,
[Pg 99]
And to hir lord hir will sche seide,
With goodly wordes and him preide
That sche to hire mihte go:
And if it liked him noght so, 5580
That thanne he wolde himselve wende,
Or elles be som other sende,
Which mihte hire diere Soster griete,
And schape hou that thei mihten miete.
Hir lord anon to that he herde
Yaf his acord, and thus ansuerde:
‘I wole,’ he seide, ‘for thi sake
The weie after thi Soster take
Miself, and bringe hire, if I may.’
And sche with that, there as he lay,398 5590
Began him in hire armes clippe,
And kist him with hir softe lippe,399
And seide, ‘Sire, grant mercy.’
And he sone after was redy,
And tok his leve forto go;
In sori time dede he so.
P. ii. 315
This Tereüs goth forth to Schipe400
With him and with his felaschipe;
Be See the rihte cours he nam,
Into the contre til he cam,401 5600
Wher Philomene was duellinge,
And of hir Soster the tidinge
He tolde, and tho thei weren glade,
And mochel joie of him thei made.
The fader and the moder bothe
To leve here douhter weren lothe,
Bot if thei weren in presence;
And natheles at reverence
Of him, that wolde himself travaile,
Thei wolden noght he scholde faile402 5610
Of that he preide, and yive hire leve:403
And sche, that wolde noght beleve,
[Pg 100]
In alle haste made hire yare
Toward hir Soster forto fare,
With Tereüs and forth sche wente.
And he with al his hole entente,
Whan sche was fro hir frendes go,
Assoteth of hire love so,
His yhe myhte he noght withholde,
That he ne moste on hir beholde; 5620
And with the sihte he gan desire,404
And sette his oghne herte on fyre;405
And fyr, whan it to tow aprocheth,
To him anon the strengthe acrocheth,
Til with his hete it be devoured,
The tow ne mai noght be socoured.
P. ii. 316
And so that tirant raviner,406
Whan that sche was in his pouer,
And he therto sawh time and place,
As he that lost hath alle grace, 5630
Foryat he was a wedded man,
And in a rage on hire he ran,
Riht as a wolf which takth his preie.407
And sche began to crie and preie,
‘O fader, o mi moder diere,
Nou help!’ Bot thei ne mihte it hiere,
And sche was of to litel myht
Defense ayein so ruide a knyht
To make, whanne he was so wod
That he no reson understod, 5640
Bot hield hire under in such wise,
That sche ne myhte noght arise,
Bot lay oppressed and desesed,
As if a goshauk hadde sesed
A brid, which dorste noght for fere
Remue: and thus this tirant there408
Beraft hire such thing as men sein
Mai neveremor be yolde ayein,
And that was the virginite:
Of such Ravine it was pite. 5650
Bot whan sche to hirselven com,[Pg 101]
And of hir meschief hiede nom,
And knew hou that sche was no maide,
With wofull herte thus sche saide:
‘O thou of alle men the worste,
Wher was ther evere man that dorste
P. ii. 317
Do such a dede as thou hast do?
That dai schal falle, I hope so,
That I schal telle out al mi fille,
And with mi speche I schal fulfille 5660
The wyde world in brede and lengthe.
That thou hast do to me be strengthe,
If I among the poeple duelle,
Unto the poeple I schal it telle;
And if I be withinne wall
Of Stones closed, thanne I schal
Unto the Stones clepe and crie,409
And tellen hem thi felonie;
And if I to the wodes wende,
Ther schal I tellen tale and ende,410 5670
And crie it to the briddes oute,411
That thei schul hiere it al aboute.
For I so loude it schal reherce,
That my vois schal the hevene perce,
That it schal soune in goddes Ere.
Ha, false man, where is thi fere?
O mor cruel than eny beste,
Hou hast thou holden thi beheste412
Which thou unto my Soster madest?
O thou, which alle love ungladest, 5680
And art ensample of alle untrewe,
Nou wolde god mi Soster knewe,
Of thin untrouthe, hou that it stod!’
And he than as a Lyon wod413
With hise unhappi handes stronge
[Pg 102]
Hire cauhte be the tresses longe,
P. ii. 318
With whiche he bond ther bothe hire armes,
That was a fieble dede of armes,
And to the grounde anon hire caste,
And out he clippeth also faste 5690
Hire tunge with a peire scheres.
So what with blod and what with teres
Out of hire yhe and of hir mouth,
He made hire faire face uncouth:
Sche lay swounende unto the deth,
Ther was unethes eny breth;
Bot yit whan he hire tunge refte,
A litel part therof belefte,
Bot sche with al no word mai soune,
Bot chitre and as a brid jargoune. 5700
And natheles that wode hound
Hir bodi hent up fro the ground,
And sente hir there as be his wille
Sche scholde abyde in prison stille
For everemo: bot nou tak hiede
What after fell of this misdede.
Whanne al this meschief was befalle,
This Tereüs, that foule him falle,
Unto his contre hom he tyh;
And whan he com his paleis nyh, 5710
His wif al redi there him kepte.
Whan he hir sih, anon he wepte,
And that he dede for deceite,
For sche began to axe him streite,
‘Wher is mi Soster?’ And he seide
That sche was ded; and Progne abreide,
P. ii. 319
As sche that was a wofull wif,
And stod betuen hire deth and lif,
Of that sche herde such tidinge:414
Bot for sche sih hire lord wepinge, 5720
She wende noght bot alle trouthe,
And hadde wel the more routhe.
The Perles weren tho forsake
To hire, and blake clothes take;
[Pg 103]
As sche that was gentil and kinde,
In worschipe of hir Sostres mynde
Sche made a riche enterement,
For sche fond non amendement
To syghen or to sobbe more:
So was ther guile under the gore. 5730
Nou leve we this king and queene,
And torne ayein to Philomene,
As I began to tellen erst.
Whan sche cam into prison ferst,
It thoghte a kinges douhter strange
To maken so soudein a change
Fro welthe unto so grete a wo;415
And sche began to thenke tho,
Thogh sche be mouthe nothing preide,
Withinne hir herte thus sche seide:416 5740
‘O thou, almyhty Jupiter,
That hihe sist and lokest fer,
Thou soffrest many a wrong doinge,417
And yit it is noght thi willinge.
To thee ther mai nothing ben hid,
Thou wost hou it is me betid:
P. ii. 320
I wolde I hadde noght be bore,
For thanne I hadde noght forlore418
Mi speche and mi virginite.
Bot, goode lord, al is in thee, 5750
Whan thou therof wolt do vengance
And schape mi deliverance.’
And evere among this ladi wepte,
And thoghte that sche nevere kepte
To ben a worldes womman more,
And that sche wissheth everemore.
Bot ofte unto hir Soster diere
Hire herte spekth in this manere,
And seide, ‘Ha, Soster, if ye knewe
Of myn astat, ye wolde rewe, 5760
I trowe, and my deliverance
[Pg 104]
Ye wolde schape, and do vengance
On him that is so fals a man:
And natheles, so as I can,
I wol you sende som tokninge,419
Wherof ye schul have knowlechinge
Of thing I wot, that schal you lothe,
The which you toucheth and me bothe.’
And tho withinne a whyle als tyt420
Sche waf a cloth of Selk al whyt 5770
With lettres and ymagerie,
In which was al the felonie,
Which Tereüs to hire hath do;421
And lappede it togedre tho422
And sette hir signet therupon
And sende it unto Progne anon.
P. ii. 321
The messager which forth it bar,
What it amonteth is noght war;
And natheles to Progne he goth
And prively takth hire the cloth, 5780
And wente ayein riht as he cam,
The court of him non hiede nam.
Whan Progne of Philomene herde,
Sche wolde knowe hou that it ferde,
And opneth that the man hath broght,
And wot therby what hath be wroght
And what meschief ther is befalle.
In swoune tho sche gan doun falle,
And efte aros and gan to stonde,
And eft sche takth the cloth on honde, 5790
Behield the lettres and thymages;
Bot ate laste, ‘Of suche oultrages,’
Sche seith, ‘wepinge is noght the bote:’
And swerth, if that sche live mote,
It schal be venged otherwise.
And with that sche gan hire avise
Hou ferst sche mihte unto hire winne
Hir Soster, that noman withinne,
Bot only thei that were suore,
[Pg 105]
It scholde knowe, and schop therfore 5800
That Tereüs nothing it wiste;
And yit riht as hirselven liste,423
Hir Soster was delivered sone
Out of prison, and be the mone
To Progne sche was broght be nyhte.
Whan ech of other hadde a sihte,
P. ii. 322
In chambre, ther thei were al one,424
Thei maden many a pitous mone;
Bot Progne most of sorwe made,
Which sihe hir Soster pale and fade425 5810
And specheles and deshonoured,
Of that sche hadde be defloured;
And ek upon hir lord sche thoghte,
Of that he so untreuly wroghte
And hadde his espousaile broke.
Sche makth a vou it schal be wroke,426
And with that word sche kneleth doun
Wepinge in gret devocioun:
Unto Cupide and to Venus
Sche preide, and seide thanne thus: 5820
‘O ye, to whom nothing asterte
Of love mai, for every herte
Ye knowe, as ye that ben above
The god and the goddesse of love;
Ye witen wel that evere yit
With al mi will and al my wit,
Sith ferst ye schopen me to wedde,
That I lay with mi lord abedde,
I have be trewe in mi degre,
And evere thoghte forto be, 5830
And nevere love in other place,
Bot al only the king of Trace,
Which is mi lord and I his wif.
Bot nou allas this wofull strif!
That I him thus ayeinward finde
The most untrewe and most unkinde
[Pg 106]
P. ii. 323
That evere in ladi armes lay.427
And wel I wot that he ne may
Amende his wrong, it is so gret;
For he to lytel of me let, 5840
Whan he myn oughne Soster tok,
And me that am his wif forsok.’
Lo, thus to Venus and Cupide
Sche preide, and furthermor sche cride
Unto Appollo the hiheste,
And seide, ‘O myghti god of reste,
Thou do vengance of this debat.
Mi Soster and al hire astat
Thou wost, and hou sche hath forlore
Hir maidenhod, and I therfore 5850
In al the world schal bere a blame
Of that mi Soster hath a schame,
That Tereüs to hire I sente:
And wel thou wost that myn entente
Was al for worschipe and for goode.
O lord, that yifst the lives fode
To every wyht, I prei thee hiere
Thes wofull Sostres that ben hiere,
And let ous noght to the ben lothe;428
We ben thin oghne wommen bothe.’ 5860
Thus pleigneth Progne and axeth wreche,
And thogh hire Soster lacke speche,
To him that alle thinges wot
Hire sorwe is noght the lasse hot:
Bot he that thanne had herd hem tuo,
Him oughte have sorwed everemo
P. ii. 324
For sorwe which was hem betuene.
With signes pleigneth Philomene,
And Progne seith, ‘It schal be wreke,
That al the world therof schal speke.’ 5870
And Progne tho seknesse feigneth,
Wherof unto hir lord sche pleigneth,
And preith sche moste hire chambres kepe,429
And as hir liketh wake and slepe.
[Pg 107]
And he hire granteth to be so;
And thus togedre ben thei tuo,
That wolde him bot a litel good.
Nou herk hierafter hou it stod430
Of wofull auntres that befelle:
Thes Sostres, that ben bothe felle,—431 5880
And that was noght on hem along,
Bot onliche on the grete wrong
Which Tereüs hem hadde do,—
Thei schopen forto venge hem tho.
This Tereüs be Progne his wif
A Sone hath, which as his lif
He loveth, and Ithis he hihte:
His moder wiste wel sche mihte
Do Tereüs no more grief432
Than sle this child, which was so lief.433 5890
Thus sche, that was, as who seith, mad
Of wo, which hath hir overlad,
Withoute insihte of moderhede
Foryat pite and loste drede,
And in hir chambre prively
This child withouten noise or cry
P. ii. 325
Sche slou, and hieu him al to pieces:
And after with diverse spieces
The fleissh, whan it was so toheewe,
Sche takth, and makth therof a sewe, 5900
With which the fader at his mete
Was served, til he hadde him ete;
That he ne wiste hou that it stod,
Bot thus his oughne fleissh and blod
Himself devoureth ayein kinde,
As he that was tofore unkinde.
And thanne, er that he were arise,
For that he scholde ben agrise,
To schewen him the child was ded,
This Philomene tok the hed 5910
Betwen tuo disshes, and al wrothe
[Pg 108]
Tho comen forth the Sostres bothe,
And setten it upon the bord.
And Progne tho began the word,
And seide, ‘O werste of alle wicke,
Of conscience whom no pricke
Mai stere, lo, what thou hast do!
Lo, hier ben nou we Sostres tuo;434
O Raviner, lo hier thi preie,
With whom so falsliche on the weie 5920
Thou hast thi tirannye wroght.
Lo, nou it is somdel aboght,
And bet it schal, for of thi dede
The world schal evere singe and rede
In remembrance of thi defame:435
For thou to love hast do such schame,
P. ii. 326
That it schal nevere be foryete.’
With that he sterte up fro the mete,
And schof the bord unto the flor,436
And cauhte a swerd anon and suor 5930
That thei scholde of his handes dye.
And thei unto the goddes crie
Begunne with so loude a stevene,
That thei were herd unto the hevene;
And in a twinclinge of an yhe
The goddes, that the meschief syhe,437
Here formes changen alle thre.
Echon of hem in his degre
Was torned into briddes kinde;
Diverseliche, as men mai finde, 5940
After thastat that thei were inne,
Here formes were set atwinne.
And as it telleth in the tale,
The ferst into a nyhtingale438
Was schape, and that was Philomene,
Which in the wynter is noght sene,
For thanne ben the leves falle
[Pg 109]
And naked ben the buisshes alle.
For after that sche was a brid,
Hir will was evere to ben hid, 5950
And forto duelle in prive place,
That noman scholde sen hir face
For schame, which mai noght be lassed,
Of thing that was tofore passed,
Whan that sche loste hir maidenhiede:
For evere upon hir wommanhiede,
P. ii. 327
Thogh that the goddes wolde hire change,
Sche thenkth, and is the more strange,439
And halt hir clos the wyntres day.
Bot whan the wynter goth away, 5960
And that Nature the goddesse
Wole of hir oughne fre largesse440
With herbes and with floures bothe
The feldes and the medwes clothe,
And ek the wodes and the greves
Ben heled al with grene leves,441
So that a brid hire hyde mai,
Betwen Averil and March and Maii,
Sche that the wynter hield hir clos,
For pure schame and noght aros, 5970
Whan that sche seth the bowes thikke,442
And that ther is no bare sticke,
Bot al is hid with leves grene,
To wode comth this Philomene443
And makth hir ferste yeres flyht;
Wher as sche singeth day and nyht,
And in hir song al openly444
Sche makth hir pleignte and seith, ‘O why,
O why ne were I yit a maide?’445
For so these olde wise saide, 5980
Which understoden what sche mente,446
Hire notes ben of such entente.
[Pg 110]
And ek thei seide hou in hir song
Sche makth gret joie and merthe among,
And seith, ‘Ha, nou I am a brid,
Ha, nou mi face mai ben hid:
P. ii. 328
Thogh I have lost mi Maidenhede,
Schal noman se my chekes rede.’
Thus medleth sche with joie wo
And with hir sorwe merthe also, 5990
So that of loves maladie
Sche makth diverse melodie,
And seith love is a wofull blisse,
A wisdom which can noman wisse,
A lusti fievere, a wounde softe:
This note sche reherceth ofte
To hem whiche understonde hir tale.
Nou have I of this nyhtingale,
Which erst was cleped Philomene,
Told al that evere I wolde mene, 6000
Bothe of hir forme and of hir note,
Wherof men mai the storie note.
And of hir Soster Progne I finde,
Hou sche was torned out of kinde
Into a Swalwe swift of winge,
Which ek in wynter lith swounynge,
Ther as sche mai nothing be sene:
Bot whan the world is woxe grene447
And comen is the Somertide,
Than fleth sche forth and ginth to chide, 6010
And chitreth out in hir langage448
What falshod is in mariage,449
And telleth in a maner speche
Of Tereüs the Spousebreche.
Sche wol noght in the wodes duelle,
For sche wolde openliche telle;450
P. ii. 329
And ek for that sche was a spouse,
Among the folk sche comth to house,
To do thes wyves understonde451
[Pg 111]
The falshod of hire housebonde,452 6020
That thei of hem be war also,
For ther ben manye untrewe of tho.
Thus ben the Sostres briddes bothe,
And ben toward the men so lothe,
That thei ne wole of pure schame
Unto no mannes hand be tame;453
For evere it duelleth in here mynde
Of that thei founde a man unkinde,
And that was false Tereüs.
If such on be amonges ous 6030
I not, bot his condicion
Men sein in every region
Withinne toune and ek withoute
Nou regneth comunliche aboute.
And natheles in remembrance
I wol declare what vengance
The goddes hadden him ordeined,
Of that the Sostres hadden pleigned:
For anon after he was changed
And from his oghne kinde stranged, 6040
A lappewincke mad he was,
And thus he hoppeth on the gras,454
And on his hed ther stant upriht
A creste in tokne he was a kniht;455
And yit unto this dai men seith,
A lappewincke hath lore his feith456
P. ii. 330
And is the brid falseste of alle.
Bewar, mi Sone, er thee so falle;457
For if thou be of such covine,
To gete of love be Ravine 6050
Thi lust, it mai thee falle thus,
As it befell of Tereüs.458
Mi fader, goddes forebode!459
[Pg 112]
Me were levere be fortrode460
With wilde hors and be todrawe,
Er I ayein love and his lawe
Dede eny thing or loude or stille,
Which were noght mi ladi wille.
Men sein that every love hath drede;461
So folweth it that I hire drede, 6060
For I hire love, and who so dredeth,
To plese his love and serve him nedeth.
Thus mai ye knowen be this skile
That no Ravine don I wile
Ayein hir will be such a weie;
Bot while I live, I wol obeie
Abidinge on hire courtesie,
If eny merci wolde hir plie.
Forthi, mi fader, as of this
I wot noght I have don amis: 6070
Bot furthermore I you beseche,
Som other point that ye me teche,
And axeth forth, if ther be auht,
That I mai be the betre tauht.
ix. Viuat vt ex spoliis grandi quamsepe tumultu,
Quo graditur populus, latro perurget iter.
P. ii. 331
Sic amor, ex casu poterit quo carpere predam,
Si locus est aptus, cetera nulla timet.
Whan Covoitise in povere astat
Stant with himself upon debat462
Thurgh lacke of his misgovernance,
That he unto his sustienance
Hic loquitur super illa Cupiditatis specie quam furtum vocant, cuius Ministri alicuius legis offensam non metuentes, tam in amoris causa quam aliter, suam quamsepe conscienciam offendunt.
Ne can non other weie finde
To gete him good, thanne as the blinde, 6080
Which seth noght what schal after falle,
That ilke vice which men calle
Of Robberie, he takth on honde;
Wherof be water and be londe463
Of thing which othre men beswinke
[Pg 113]
He get him cloth and mete and drinke.
Him reccheth noght what he beginne,
Thurgh thefte so that he mai winne:
Forthi to maken his pourchas
He lith awaitende on the pas, 6090
And what thing that he seth ther passe,
He takth his part, or more or lasse,
If it be worthi to be take.
He can the packes wel ransake,
So prively berth non aboute
His gold, that he ne fint it oute,
Or other juel, what it be;
He takth it as his proprete.
In wodes and in feldes eke
Thus Robberie goth to seke, 6100
Wher as he mai his pourpos finde.464
And riht so in the same kinde,
P. ii. 332
My goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,465
To speke of love in the matiere
And make a verrai resemblance,
Riht as a thief makth his chevance
And robbeth mennes good aboute
In wode and field, wher he goth oute,
So be ther of these lovers some,
In wylde stedes wher thei come466 6110
And finden there a womman able,
And therto place covenable,
Withoute leve, er that thei fare,
Thei take a part of that chaffare:467
Yee, though sche were a Scheperdesse,
Yit wol the lord of wantounesse
Assaie, althogh sche be unmete,
For other mennes good is swete.
Bot therof wot nothing the wif
At hom, which loveth as hir lif 6120
Hir lord, and sitt alday wisshinge
After hir lordes hom comynge:
Bet whan that he comth hom at eve,
[Pg 114]
Anon he makth his wif beleve,
For sche noght elles scholde knowe:
He telth hire hou his hunte hath blowe,
And hou his houndes have wel runne,
And hou ther schon a merye Sunne,
And hou his haukes flowen wel;
Bot he wol telle her nevere a diel 6130
Hou he to love untrewe was,
Of that he robbede in the pas,
P. ii. 333
And tok his lust under the schawe
Ayein love and ayein his lawe.
Which thing, mi Sone, I thee forbede,
For it is an ungoodly dede.
For who that takth be Robberie
His love, he mai noght justefie
His cause, and so fulofte sithe
For ones that he hath be blithe 6140
He schal ben after sory thries.
Ensample of suche Robberies
I finde write, as thou schalt hiere,
Acordende unto this matiere.
[Neptune and Cornix.]
I rede hou whilom was a Maide,
The faireste, as Ovide saide,
Hic loquitur contra istos in amoris causa predones, qui cum in suam furtiue concupiscenciam aspirant, fortuna in contrarium operatur. Et narrat quod cum468 Neptunus quamdam virginem nomine Cornicem solam iuxta mare deambulantem opprimere suo furto voluisset, superueniens Pallas ipsam e manibus eius virginitate seruata gracius liberauit.
Which was in hire time tho;
And sche was of the chambre also
Of Pallas, which is the goddesse
And wif to Marte, of whom prouesse 6150
Is yove to these worthi knihtes.469
For he is of so grete mihtes,
That he governeth the bataille;
Withouten him may noght availe
The stronge hond, bot he it helpe;
Ther mai no knyht of armes yelpe,
Bot he feihte under his banere.
Bot nou to speke of mi matiere,
This faire, freisshe, lusti mai,
Al one as sche wente on a dai 6160
Upon the stronde forto pleie,
[Pg 115]
Ther cam Neptunus in the weie,470
P. ii. 334
Which hath the See in governance;
And in his herte such plesance
He tok, whan he this Maide sih,
That al his herte aros on hih,
For he so sodeinliche unwar471
Behield the beaute that sche bar.
And caste anon withinne his herte
That sche him schal no weie asterte, 6170
Bot if he take in avantage
Fro thilke maide som pilage,
Noght of the broches ne the Ringes,
Bot of some othre smale thinges
He thoghte parte, er that sche wente;
And hire in bothe hise armes hente,
And putte his hond toward the cofre,
Wher forto robbe he made a profre,472
That lusti tresor forto stele,
Which passeth othre goodes fele 6180
And cleped is the maidenhede,
Which is the flour of wommanhede.
This Maiden, which Cornix be name
Was hote, dredende alle schame,
Sih that sche mihte noght debate,
And wel sche wiste he wolde algate
Fulfille his lust of Robberie,
Anon began to wepe and crie,
And seide, ‘O Pallas, noble queene,
Scheu nou thi myht and let be sene,473 6190
To kepe and save myn honour:
Help, that I lese noght mi flour,
P. ii. 335
Which nou under thi keie is loke.’
That word was noght so sone spoke,
Whan Pallas schop recoverir
After the will and the desir
Of hire, which a Maiden was,
And sodeinliche upon this cas
[Pg 116]
Out of hire wommanisshe kinde
Into a briddes like I finde 6200
Sche was transformed forth withal,
So that Neptunus nothing stal
Of such thing as he wolde have stole.
With fetheres blake as eny cole
Out of hise armes in a throwe
Sche flih before his yhe a Crowe;
Which was to hire a more delit,
To kepe hire maidenhede whit
Under the wede of fethers blake,
In Perles whyte than forsake 6210
That no lif mai restore ayein.
Bot thus Neptune his herte in vein
Hath upon Robberie sett;
The bridd is flowe and he was let,
The faire Maide him hath ascaped,474
Wherof for evere he was bejaped
And scorned of that he hath lore.
Mi Sone, be thou war therfore
That thou no maidenhode stele,
Wherof men sen deseses fele 6220
Aldai befalle in sondri wise;
So as I schal thee yit devise
An other tale therupon,
Which fell be olde daies gon.
P. ii. 336
[Tale of Calistona.]
King Lichaon upon his wif
A dowhter hadde, a goodly lif,
Hic ponit exemplum contra istos in causa virginitatis lese predones. Et narrat quod cum Calistona Lichaontis mire pulcritudinis filia suam virginitatem Diane conseruandam castissima vouisset, et in Siluam que Tegea dicitur inter alias ibidem Nimphas moraturam se transtulisset, Iupiter virginis castitatem subtili furto surripiens, quendam476 filium, qui postea Archas nominatus est, ex ea genuit: vnde Iuno in Calistonam seuiens eius pulcritudinem in vrse turpissime deformitatem subito transfigurauit.
A clene Maide of worthi fame,
Calistona whos rihte name
Was cleped, and of many a lord
Sche was besoght, bot hire acord 6230
To love myhte noman winne,
As sche which hath no lust therinne;
Bot swor withinne hir herte and saide
That sche wolde evere ben a Maide.475
Wherof to kepe hireself in pes,
[Pg 117]
With suche as Amadriades
Were cleped, wodemaydes, tho,
And with the Nimphes ek also
Upon the spring of freisshe welles
Sche schop to duelle and nagher elles. 6240
And thus cam this Calistona
Into the wode of Tegea,
Wher sche virginite behihte
Unto Diane, and therto plihte
Her trouthe upon the bowes grene,
To kepe hir maidenhode clene.
Which afterward upon a day
Was priveliche stole away;
For Jupiter thurgh his queintise
From hire it tok in such a wise, 6250
That sodeinliche forth withal
Hire wombe aros and sche toswal,
So that it mihte noght ben hidd.
And therupon it is betidd,
P. ii. 337
Diane, which it herde telle,
In prive place unto a welle477
With Nimphes al a compainie478
Was come, and in a ragerie
Sche seide that sche bathe wolde,
And bad that every maide scholde 6260
With hire al naked bathe also.
And tho began the prive wo,
Calistona wax red for schame;
Bot thei that knewe noght the game,
To whom no such thing was befalle,
Anon thei made hem naked alle,
As thei that nothing wolden hyde:479
Bot sche withdrouh hire evere asyde,
And natheles into the flod,
Wher that Diane hirselve stod, 6270
Sche thoghte come unaperceived.
Bot therof sche was al deceived;
For whan sche cam a litel nyh,
[Pg 118]
And that Diane hire wombe syh,
Sche seide, ‘Awey, thou foule beste,
For thin astat is noght honeste
This chaste water forto touche;
For thou hast take such a touche,
Which nevere mai ben hol ayein.’
And thus goth sche which was forlein 6280
With schame, and fro the Nimphes fledde,
Til whanne that nature hire spedde,
That of a Sone, which Archas
Was named, sche delivered was.
P. ii. 338
And tho Juno, which was the wif
Of Jupiter, wroth and hastif,
In pourpos forto do vengance
Cam forth upon this ilke chance,
And to Calistona sche spak,480
And sette upon hir many a lak, 6290
And seide, ‘Ha, nou thou art atake,
That thou thi werk myht noght forsake.
Ha, thou ungoodlich ypocrite,481
Hou thou art gretly forto wyte!
Bot nou thou schalt ful sore abie
That ilke stelthe and micherie,482
Which thou hast bothe take and do;
Wherof thi fader Lichao
Schal noght be glad, whan he it wot,
Of that his dowhter was so hot, 6300
That sche hath broke hire chaste avou.
Bot I thee schal chastise nou;483
Thi grete beaute schal be torned,
Thurgh which that thou hast be mistorned,484
Thi large frount, thin yhen greie,
I schal hem change in other weie,
And al the feture of thi face
In such a wise I schal deface,
That every man thee schal forbere.’
With that the liknesse of a bere 6310
Sche tok and was forschape anon.
[Pg 119]
Withinne a time and therupon
Befell that with a bowe on honde,485
To hunte and gamen forto fonde,
P. ii. 339
Into that wode goth to pleie
Hir Sone Archas, and in his weie
It hapneth that this bere cam.486
And whan that sche good hiede nam,487
Wher that he stod under the bowh,488
Sche kneu him wel and to him drouh; 6320
For thogh sche hadde hire forme lore,
The love was noght lost therfore
Which kinde hath set under his lawe.
Whan sche under the wodesschawe489
Hire child behield, sche was so glad,
That sche with bothe hire armes sprad,
As thogh sche were in wommanhiede,
Toward him cam, and tok non hiede
Of that he bar a bowe bent.
And he with that an Arwe hath hent 6330
And gan to teise it in his bowe,
As he that can non other knowe,
Bot that it was a beste wylde.
Bot Jupiter, which wolde schylde
The Moder and the Sone also,
Ordeineth for hem bothe so,490
That thei for evere were save.
Bot thus, mi Sone, thou myht have
Ensample, hou that it is to fle
To robbe the virginite 6340
Of a yong innocent aweie:491
And overthis be other weie,
In olde bokes as I rede,
Such Robberie is forto drede,
P. ii. 340
And nameliche of thilke good
Which every womman that is good
Desireth forto kepe and holde,
[Pg 120]
As whilom was be daies olde.
For if thou se mi tale wel
Of that was tho, thou miht somdiel 6350
Of old ensample taken hiede,492
Hou that the flour of maidenhiede
Was thilke time holde in pris.
And so it was, and so it is,
And so it schal for evere stonde:
And for thou schalt it understonde,
Nou herkne a tale next suiende,
Hou maidenhod is to commende.
x. Vt Rosa de spinis spineto preualet orta,493
Et lilii flores cespite plura valent,
Sic sibi virginitas carnis sponsalia vincit,
Eternos fetus que sine labe parit.
Of Rome among the gestes olde
I finde hou that Valerie tolde 6360
Hic loquitur de virginitatis commendacione, vbi dicit quod nuper Imperatores ob tanti status dignitatem virginibus cedebant496 in via.
That what man tho was Emperour494
Of Rome, he scholde don honour
To the virgine, and in the weie,495
Wher he hire mette, he scholde obeie
In worschipe of virginite,
Which tho was of gret dignite.497
Noght onliche of the wommen tho,498
Bot of the chaste men also
It was commended overal:
And forto speke in special 6370
P. ii. 341
Touchende of men, ensample I finde,
Hic loquitur, qualiter Phyrinus, iuuenum Rome pulcherrimus, ut illesam suam conseruaret virginitatem, ambos oculos eruens vultus sui decorem abhominabilem constituit.
Phyryns, which was of mannes kinde499
Above alle othre the faireste
Of Rome and ek the comelieste,
That wel was hire which him mihte
Beholde and have of him a sihte.
Thus was he tempted ofte sore;
[Pg 121]
Bot for he wolde be nomore500
Among the wommen so coveited,
The beaute of his face streited 6380
He hath, and threste out bothe hise yhen,501
That alle wommen whiche him syhen502
Thanne afterward, of him ne roghte:
And thus his maidehiede he boghte.
So mai I prove wel forthi,
Above alle othre under the Sky,
Who that the vertus wolde peise,503
Virginite is forto preise,
Which, as thapocalips recordeth,
To Crist in hevene best acordeth.504 6390
So mai it schewe wel therfore,
As I have told it hier tofore,
In hevene and ek in Erthe also
It is accept to bothe tuo*.
And if I schal more over this
Declare what this vertu is,
I finde write upon this thing
[Chastity of Valentinian.]
Of Valentinian the king
And Emperour be thilke daies,
Hic loquitur qualiter Valentinianus Imperator, cum ipse octogenarius plures prouincias Romano Imperio belliger subiugasset, dixit se super omnia magis gaudere de eo, quod contra sue carnis concupiscenciam victoriam optinuisset; nam et ipse virgo omnibus diebus vite sue castissimus permansit.
A worthi knyht at alle assaies, 6400
Hou he withoute Mariage
Was of an hundred wynter Age,
And hadde ben a worthi kniht
Bothe of his lawe and of his myht.

*Out of his flessh a man to live505
In carne preter carnem viuere pocius vita angelica quam humana est.506
Gregoire hath this ensample yive,
And seith it schal rather be told
Lich to an Angel manyfold,507
P. ii. 342
Than to the lif of mannes kinde.
Ther is no reson forto finde,6400*
Bot only thurgh the grace above,
In flessh withoute flesshly love
A man to live chaste hiere:
And natheles a man mai hiere
Of suche that have ben er this,
And yit ther ben; bot for it is
A vertu which is sielde wonne,
Now I this matiere have begonne,
[Pg 122]
I thenke tellen overmore,
Which is, mi Sone, for thi lore,6410*
If that the list to taken hiede.
x.508Vt Rosa de spinis spineto preualet orta,
Et lilii flores cespite plura valent,
Sic sibi virginitas carnis sponsalia vincit,
Eternos fetus que sine labe parit.
To trete upon the maidenhiede,
Milicia est vita hominis super terram.509
The bok seith that a mannes lif
Upon knyhthode in werre and strif510
Is sett among hise enemys:
The frele fleissh, whos nature is
Ai redy forto sporne and falle,
The ferste foman is of alle;
For thilke werre is redi ai,
It werreth nyht, it werreth dai,6420*
So that a man hath nevere reste.
Forthi is thilke knyht the beste,
Thurgh myht and grace of goddes sonde
Which that bataille mai withstonde:
Wherof yit duelleth the memoire
Of hem that whilom the victoire
Of thilke dedly werre hadden;511
The hih prouesse which thei ladden,
P. ii. 343
Wherof the Soule stod amended,512
Upon this erthe is yit commended.5136430*
Hic loquitur qualiter Valentinianus Imperator, cum ipse octogenarius plures prouincias Romano Imperio belliger subiugasset, dixit se super omnia magis gaudere de eo quod contra514 sue carnis concupiscenciam victoriam optinuisset; nam et ipse virgo omnibus diebus vite sue castissimus515 permansit.
An Emperour be olde daies
Ther was, and he at alle assaies
A worthi knyht was of his hond,
Ther was non such in al the lond;
Bot yit for al his vasselage
He stod unwedded al his age,516
And in Cronique as it is told,
He was an hundred wynter old.
Bot whan men wolde etc. (as 6405 ff.)

[Pg 123]

Bot whan men wolde his dedes peise
And his knyhthode of Armes preise,
Of that he dede with his hondes,
Whan he the kinges and the londes517
To his subjeccion put under,518
Of al that pris hath he no wonder, 6410
For he it sette of non acompte,
And seide al that may noght amonte
Ayeins o point which he hath nome,
That he his fleissh hath overcome:
P. ii. 344
He was a virgine, as he seide;
On that bataille his pris he leide. (6450*)
Lo nou, my Sone, avise thee.
Yee, fader, al this wel mai be,519
Bot if alle othre dede so,
The world of men were sone go: 6420
And in the lawe a man mai finde,
Hou god to man be weie of kinde
Hath set the world to multeplie;
And who that wol him justefie,
It is ynouh to do the lawe.
And natheles youre goode sawe
Is good to kepe, who so may,
I wol noght therayein seie nay.
Mi Sone, take it as I seie;520
If maidenhod be take aweie 6430
Withoute lawes ordinance,
[Pg 124]
It mai noght failen of vengance.
And if thou wolt the sothe wite,
Behold a tale which is write,
Hou that the King Agamenon,
Whan he the Cite of Lesbon
Hath wonne, a Maiden ther he fond,
Which was the faireste of the Lond
In thilke time that men wiste.
He tok of hire what him liste 6440
Of thing which was most precious,
Wherof that sche was dangerous.
This faire Maiden cleped is
Criseide, douhter of Crisis,521
P. ii. 345
Which was that time in special
Of thilke temple principal,
Wher Phebus hadde his sacrifice,
So was it wel the more vice.
Agamenon was thanne in weie
To Troieward, and tok aweie 6450
This Maiden, which he with him ladde,
So grete a lust in hire he hadde.522
Bot Phebus, which hath gret desdeign
Of that his Maiden was forlein,
Anon as he to Troie cam,
Vengance upon this dede he nam
And sende a comun pestilence.
Thei soghten thanne here evidence
And maden calculation,
To knowe in what condicion 6460
This deth cam in so sodeinly;523
And ate laste redyly
The cause and ek the man thei founde:524
And forth withal the same stounde
Agamenon opposed was,525
Which hath beknowen al the cas(6500*)
Of the folie which he wroghte.
[Pg 125]
And therupon mercy thei soghte
Toward the god in sondri wise
With preiere and with sacrifise, 6470
The Maide and hom ayein thei sende,526
And yive hire good ynouh to spende527
For evere whil sche scholde live:
And thus the Senne was foryive
P. ii. 346
And al the pestilence cessed.
Lo, what it is to ben encressed
Of love which is evele wonne.
It were betre noght begonne
Than take a thing withoute leve,
Which thou most after nedes leve, 6480
And yit have malgre forth withal.
Forthi to robben overal
In loves cause if thou beginne,
I not what ese thou schalt winne.
Mi Sone, be wel war of this,
For thus of Robberie it is.528
Mi fader, youre ensamplerie
In loves cause of Robberie
I have it riht wel understonde.
Bot overthis, hou so it stonde, 6490
Yit wolde I wite of youre aprise
What thing is more of Covoitise.
[Stealth and Michery.]
xi. Insidiando latens tempus rimatur et horam529
Fur, quibus occulto tempore furta parat.530
Sic amor insidiis vacat, vt sub tegmine ludos531
Prendere furtiuos nocte fauente queat.
With Covoitise yit I finde
A Servant of the same kinde,
Hic tractat super illa Cupiditatis specie, que secretum latrocinium dicitur, cuius natura custode532 rerum nesciente ea que cupit tam per diem quam per noctem absque strepitu clanculo furatur.
Which Stelthe is hote, and Mecherie
With him is evere in compainie.
[Pg 126]
Of whom if I schal telle soth,
He stalketh as a Pocok doth,
And takth his preie so covert,
That noman wot it in apert. 6500
P. ii. 347
For whan he wot the lord from home,533
Than wol he stalke aboute and rome;
And what thing he fint in his weie,
Whan that he seth the men aweie,
He stelth it and goth forth withal,
That therof noman knowe schal.
And ek fulofte he goth a nyht
Withoute Mone or sterreliht,
And with his craft the dore unpiketh,
And takth therinne what him liketh: 6510
And if the dore be so schet,
That he be of his entre let,
He wole in ate wyndou crepe,
And whil the lord is faste aslepe,
He stelth what thing as him best list,
And goth his weie er it be wist.(6550*)
Fulofte also be lyhte of day
Yit wole he stele and make assay;534
Under the cote his hond he put,
Til he the mannes Purs have cut, 6520
And rifleth that he fint therinne.
And thus he auntreth him to winne,
And berth an horn and noght ne bloweth,
For noman of his conseil knoweth;
What he mai gete of his Michinge,
It is al bile under the winge.
And as an hound that goth to folde
And hath ther taken what he wolde,
His mouth upon the gras he wypeth,
And so with feigned chiere him slypeth, 6530
P. ii. 348
That what as evere of schep he strangle,
Ther is noman therof schal jangle,
As forto knowen who it dede;535
Riht so doth Stelthe in every stede,
[Pg 127]
Where as him list his preie take.
He can so wel his cause make
And so wel feigne and so wel glose,
That ther ne schal noman suppose,
Bot that he were an innocent,
And thus a mannes yhe he blent: 6540
So that this craft I mai remene
Withouten help of eny mene.
[Stealth of Lovers.]
Ther be lovers of that degre,
Which al here lust in privete,
As who seith, geten al be Stelthe,
And ofte atteignen to gret welthe
As for the time that it lasteth.536
For love awaiteth evere and casteth
Hou he mai stele and cacche his preie,
Whan he therto mai finde a weie: 6550
For be it nyht or be it day,
He takth his part, whan that he may,
And if he mai nomore do,
Yit wol he stele a cuss or tuo.
Mi Sone, what seist thou therto?
Tell if thou dedest evere so.
Mi fader, hou?
Mi Sone, thus,—
If thou hast stolen eny cuss
Or other thing which therto longeth,
For noman suche thieves hongeth: 6560
P. ii. 349
Tell on forthi and sei the trouthe.
Confessio Amantis.
Mi fader, nay, and that is routhe,
For be mi will I am a thief;
Bot sche that is to me most lief,
Yit dorste I nevere in privete
Noght ones take hire be the kne,(6600*)
To stele of hire or this or that,
And if I dorste, I wot wel what:
And natheles, bot if I lie,
Be Stelthe ne be Robberie 6570
Of love, which fell in mi thoght,
To hire dede I nevere noght.
[Pg 128]
Bot as men sein, wher herte is failed,
Ther schal no castell ben assailed;
Bot thogh I hadde hertes ten,
And were als strong as alle men,
If I be noght myn oghne man
And dar noght usen that I can,
I mai miselve noght recovere.
Thogh I be nevere man so povere, 6580
I bere an herte and hire it is,
So that me faileth wit in this,
Hou that I scholde of myn acord
The servant lede ayein the lord:
For if mi fot wolde awher go,537
Or that min hand wolde elles do,
Whan that myn herte is therayein,
The remenant is al in vein.
And thus me lacketh alle wele,
And yit ne dar I nothing stele 6590
P. ii. 350
Of thing which longeth unto love:
And ek it is so hyh above,
I mai noght wel therto areche,
Bot if so be at time of speche,
Ful selde if thanne I stele may
A word or tuo and go my way.
Betwen hire hih astat and me538
Comparison ther mai non be,
So that I fiele and wel I wot,
Al is to hevy and to hot 6600
To sette on hond withoute leve:
And thus I mot algate leve
To stele that I mai noght take,
And in this wise I mot forsake
To ben a thief ayein mi wille
Of thing which I mai noght fulfille.
For that Serpent which nevere slepte
The flees of gold so wel ne kepte
In Colchos, as the tale is told,
That mi ladi a thousendfold 6610
Nys betre yemed and bewaked,
[Pg 129]
Wher sche be clothed or be naked.
To kepe hir bodi nyht and day,
Sche hath a wardein redi ay,
Which is so wonderful a wyht,
That him ne mai no mannes myht(6650*)
With swerd ne with no wepne daunte,539
Ne with no sleihte of charme enchaunte,
Wherof he mihte be mad tame,
And Danger is his rihte name; 6620
P. ii. 351
Which under lock and under keie,
That noman mai it stele aweie,
Hath al the Tresor underfonge
That unto love mai belonge.
The leste lokinge of hire yhe
Mai noght be stole, if he it syhe;
And who so gruccheth for so lyte,
He wolde sone sette a wyte
On him that wolde stele more.
And that me grieveth wonder sore, 6630
For this proverbe is evere newe,
That stronge lokes maken trewe
Of hem that wolden stele and pyke:540
For so wel can ther noman slyke541
Be him ne be non other mene,
To whom Danger wol yive or lene
Of that tresor he hath to kepe.
So thogh I wolde stalke and crepe,
And wayte on eve and ek on morwe,
Of Danger schal I nothing borwe, 6640
And stele I wot wel may I noght:542
And thus I am riht wel bethoght,
Whil Danger stant in his office,
Of Stelthe, which ye clepe a vice,
I schal be gultif neveremo.
Therfore I wolde he were ago
So fer that I nevere of him herde,
Hou so that afterward it ferde:
[Pg 130]
For thanne I mihte yit per cas
Of love make som pourchas 6650
P. ii. 352
Be Stelthe or be som other weie,
That nou fro me stant fer aweie.
Bot, fader, as ye tolde above,543
Hou Stelthe goth a nyht for love,
I mai noght wel that point forsake,
That ofte times I ne wake
On nyhtes, whan that othre slepe;
Bot hou, I prei you taketh kepe.
Whan I am loged in such wise544
That I be nyhte mai arise, 6660
At som wyndowe and loken oute
And se the housinge al aboute,
So that I mai the chambre knowe
In which mi ladi, as I trowe,
Lyth in hir bed and slepeth softe,
Thanne is myn herte a thief fulofte:(6700*)
For there I stonde to beholde545
The longe nyhtes that ben colde,
And thenke on hire that lyth there.
And thanne I wisshe that I were 6670
Als wys as was Nectanabus
Or elles as was Protheüs,
That couthen bothe of nigromaunce
In what liknesse, in what semblaunce,
Riht as hem liste, hemself transforme:
For if I were of such a forme,
I seie thanne I wolde fle
Into the chambre forto se546
If eny grace wolde falle,
So that I mihte under the palle 6680
P. ii. 353
Som thing of love pyke and stele.
And thus I thenke thoghtes fele,
And thogh therof nothing be soth,
Yit ese as for a time it doth:
Bot ate laste whanne I finde
That I am falle into my mynde,
[Pg 131]
And se that I have stonde longe
And have no profit underfonge,
Than stalke I to mi bedd withinne.
And this is al that evere I winne 6690
Of love, whanne I walke on nyht:
Mi will is good, bot of mi myht
Me lacketh bothe and of mi grace;
For what so that mi thoght embrace,547
Yit have I noght the betre ferd.
Mi fader, lo, nou have ye herd
What I be Stelthe of love have do,548
And hou mi will hath be therto:
If I be worthi to penance
I put it on your ordinance.549 6700
Mi Sone, of Stelthe I the behiete,
Thogh it be for a time swete,
At ende it doth bot litel good,
As be ensample hou that it stod
Whilom, I mai thee telle nou.
I preie you, fader, sei me hou.550
Mi Sone, of him which goth be daie
Be weie of Stelthe to assaie,
In loves cause and takth his preie,
Ovide seide as I schal seie, 6710
P. ii. 354
And in his Methamor he tolde
A tale, which is good to holde.
[Tale of Leucothoe.]
The Poete upon this matiere
Of Stelthe wrot in this manere.
Venus, which hath this lawe in honde551
Hic in amoris causa super isto Latrocinio quod de die552 contigit ponit exemplum. Et narrat quod, cum Leuchotoe Orchami filia in cameris sub arta matris custodia virgo preseruabatur, Phebus eius pulcritudinem concupiscens, in conclave domus clara luce subintrans, virginis pudiciciam matre nescia553 deflorauit: vnde ipsa inpregnata iratus pater filiam suam ad sepeliendum viuam effodit; ex cuius tumulo florem, quem554 Solsequium vocant, dicunt tunc555 consequenter primitus accreuisse.
Of thing which mai noght be withstonde,(6750*)
As sche which the tresor to warde
Of love hath withinne hir warde,
Phebum to love hath so constreigned,556
That he withoute reste is peined 6720
With al his herte to coveite
[Pg 132]
A Maiden, which was warded streyte
Withinne chambre and kept so clos,
That selden was whan sche desclos
Goth with hir moder forto pleie.
Leuchotoe, so as men seie,
This Maiden hihte, and Orchamus
Hir fader was; and befell thus.
This doughter, that was kept so deere,
And hadde be fro yer to yeere 6730
Under hir moder discipline
A clene Maide and a Virgine,
Upon the whos nativite
Of comelihiede and of beaute
Nature hath set al that sche may,
That lich unto the fresshe Maii,
Which othre monthes of the yeer
Surmonteth, so withoute pier
Was of this Maiden the feture.
Wherof Phebus out of mesure 6740
P. ii. 355
Hire loveth, and on every syde
Awaiteth, if so mai betyde,557
That he thurgh eny sleihte myhte
Hire lusti maidenhod unrihte,
The which were al his worldes welthe.
And thus lurkende upon his stelthe558
In his await so longe he lai,
Til it befell upon a dai,
That he thurghout hir chambre wall
Cam in al sodeinliche, and stall 6750
That thing which was to him so lief.559
Bot wo the while, he was a thief!
For Venus, which was enemie
Of thilke loves micherie,
Discovereth al the pleine cas
To Clymene, which thanne was560
[Pg 133]
Toward Phebus his concubine.
And sche to lette the covine
Of thilke love, dedli wroth
To pleigne upon this Maide goth, 6760
And tolde hire fader hou it stod;
Wherof for sorwe welnyh wod
Unto hire moder thus he saide:
‘Lo, what it is to kepe a Maide!
To Phebus dar I nothing speke,
Bot upon hire I schal be wreke,561(6800*)
So that these Maidens after this
Mow take ensample, what it is562
To soffre her maidenhed be stole,563
Wherof that sche the deth schal thole.’ 6770
P. ii. 356
And bad with that do make a pet,564
Wherinne he hath his douhter set,
As he that wol no pite have,
So that sche was al quik begrave
And deide anon in his presence.
Bot Phebus, for the reverence
Of that sche hadde be his love,
Hath wroght thurgh his pouer above,
That sche sprong up out of the molde
Into a flour was named golde, 6780
Which stant governed of the Sonne.
And thus whan love is evele wonne,
Fulofte it comth to repentaile.
Mi fader, that is no mervaile,
Whan that the conseil is bewreid.
Bot ofte time love hath pleid
And stole many a prive game,
Which nevere yit cam into blame,
Whan that the thinges weren hidde.
Bot in youre tale, as it betidde, 6790
Venus discoverede al the cas,
And ek also brod dai it was,
Whan Phebus such a Stelthe wroghte,
[Pg 134]
Wherof the Maide in blame he broghte,
That afterward sche was so lore.565
Bot for ye seiden nou tofore
Hou stelthe of love goth be nyhte,
And doth hise thinges out of syhte,
Therof me liste also to hiere
A tale lich to the matiere, 6800
P. ii. 357
Wherof I miyhte ensample take.
Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake,566
So as it fell be daies olde,567
And so as the Poete it tolde,
Upon the nyhtes micherie
Nou herkne a tale of Poesie.
[Tale of Hercules and Faunus.]
The myhtieste of alle men
Whan Hercules with Eolen,
Hic ponit exemplum super eodem quod de nocte contigit. Et narrat qualiter Hercules cum Eole in quadam spelunca nobili, Thophis dicta, sub monte Thymolo, vbi silua Bachi est, hospicio pernoctarunt. Et cum ipsi variis lectis seperatim568 iacentes dormierunt, contigit lectum Herculis vestimentis Eole lectumque Eole pelle leonis, qua Hercules induebatur, operiri. Super quo Faunus a silua descendens speluncam subintrauit, temptans si forte cum Eole sue concupiscencie voluptatem569 nesciente Hercule furari posset. Et cum ad lectum Herculis muliebri palpata veste ex casu peruenisset, putans Eolen fuisse, cubiculum nudo corpore ingreditur; quem senciens Hercules manibus apprehensum ipsum ad terram ita fortiter allisit, ut impotens sui corporis effectus usque mane ibidem requieuit, vbi Saba cum Nimphis siluestribus superueniens ipsum sic illusum deridebat.
Which was the love of his corage,
Togedre upon a Pelrinage 6810
Towardes Rome scholden go,570
It fell hem be the weie so,
That thei upon a dai a Cave
Withinne a roche founden have,
Which was real and glorious
And of Entaile curious,(6850*)
Be name and Thophis it was hote.
The Sonne schon tho wonder hote,
As it was in the Somer tyde;
This Hercules, which be his syde 6820
Hath Eolen his love there,571
Whan thei at thilke cave were,
He seide it thoghte him for the beste
That sche hire for the hete reste
Al thilke day and thilke nyht;
And sche, that was a lusti wyht,
It liketh hire al that he seide:
And thus thei duelle there and pleide
The longe dai. And so befell,
[Pg 135]
This Cave was under the hell 6830
P. ii. 358
Of Tymolus, which was begrowe
With vines, and at thilke throwe
Faunus with Saba the goddesse,
Be whom the large wildernesse
In thilke time stod governed,
Weere in a place, as I am lerned,572
Nyh by, which Bachus wode hihte.
This Faunus tok a gret insihte
Of Eolen, that was so nyh;573
For whan that he hire beaute syh, 6840
Out of his wit he was assoted,
And in his herte it hath so noted,
That he forsok the Nimphes alle,
And seide he wolde, hou so it falle,
Assaie an other forto winne;
So that his hertes thoght withinne574
He sette and caste hou that he myhte
Of love pyke awey be nyhte575
That he be daie in other wise
To stele mihte noght suffise: 6850
And therupon his time he waiteth.
Nou tak good hiede hou love afaiteth
Him which withal is overcome.
Faire Eolen, whan sche was come
With Hercules into the Cave,
Sche seide him that sche wolde have576
Hise clothes of and hires bothe,577
That ech of hem scholde other clothe.578
And al was do riht as sche bad,
He hath hire in hise clothes clad 6860
P. ii. 359
[Pg 136]
And caste on hire his gulion,
Which of the Skyn of a Leoun
Was mad, as he upon the weie
It slouh, and overthis to pleie
Sche tok his grete Mace also
And knet it at hir gerdil tho.(6900*)
So was sche lich the man arraied,579
And Hercules thanne hath assaied
To clothen him in hire array:
And thus thei jape forth the dai, 6870
Til that her Souper redy were.
And whan thei hadden souped there,
Thei schopen hem to gon to reste;
And as it thoghte hem for the beste,
Thei bede, as for that ilke nyht,
Tuo sondri beddes to be dyht,
For thei togedre ligge nolde,
Be cause that thei offre wolde
Upon the morwe here sacrifice.
The servantz deden here office 6880
And sondri beddes made anon,
Wherin that thei to reste gon
Ech be himself in sondri place.580
Faire Eole hath set the Mace
Beside hire beddes hed above,
And with the clothes of hire love
Sche helede al hire bed aboute;
And he, which hadde of nothing doute,
Hire wympel wond aboute his cheke,
Hire kertell and hire mantel eke 6890
P. ii. 360
Abrod upon his bed he spredde.
And thus thei slepen bothe abedde;
And what of travail, what of wyn,
The servantz lich to drunke Swyn
Begunne forto route faste.581
This Faunus, which his Stelthe caste,
Was thanne come to the Cave,
And fond thei weren alle save
[Pg 137]
Withoute noise, and in he wente.
The derke nyht his sihte blente, 6900
And yit it happeth him to go
Where Eolen abedde tho
Was leid al one for to slepe;
Bot for he wolde take kepe
Whos bed it was, he made assai,
And of the Leoun, where it lay,
The Cote he fond, and ek he fieleth
The Mace, and thanne his herte kieleth,
That there dorste he noght abyde,
Bot stalketh upon every side 6910
And soghte aboute with his hond,
That other bedd til that he fond,
Wher lai bewympled a visage.
Tho was he glad in his corage,
For he hir kertell fond also
And ek hir mantell bothe tuo(6950*)
Bespred upon the bed alofte.
He made him naked thanne, and softe
Into the bedd unwar he crepte,
Wher Hercules that time slepte, 6920
P. ii. 361
And wende wel it were sche;
And thus in stede of Eole
Anon he profreth him to love.
But he, which felte a man above,
This Hercules, him threw to grounde582
So sore, that thei have him founde
Liggende there upon the morwe;
And tho was noght a litel sorwe,
That Faunus of himselve made,
Bot elles thei were alle glade 6930
And lowhen him to scorne aboute:
Saba with Nimphis al a route583
Cam doun to loke hou that he ferde,584
And whan that thei the sothe herde,
He was bejaped overal.
Mi Sone, be thou war withal
[Pg 138]
To seche suche mecheries,
Bot if thou have the betre aspies,
In aunter if the so betyde
As Faunus dede thilke tyde, 6940
Wherof thou miht be schamed so.
Min holi fader, certes no.
Bot if I hadde riht good leve,
Such mecherie I thenke leve:
Mi feinte herte wol noght serve;
For malgre wolde I noght deserve
In thilke place wher I love.
Bot for ye tolden hier above
Of Covoitise and his pilage,
If ther be more of that lignage, 6950
P. ii. 362
Which toucheth to mi schrifte, I preie
That ye therof me wolde seie,
So that I mai the vice eschuie.
Mi Sone, if I be order suie585
The vices, as thei stonde arowe,586
Of Covoitise thou schalt knowe
Ther is yit on, which is the laste;
In whom ther mai no vertu laste,
For he with god himself debateth,
Wherof that al the hevene him hateth. 6960
xii. Sacrilegus tantum furto loca sacra prophanat;
Vt sibi sunt agri, sic domus alma dei.
Nec locus est, in quo non temptat amans quod amatur,
Et que posse nequit carpere, velle capit.
Hic tractat super vltima Cupiditatis specie, que Sacrilegium dicta est, cuius furtum ea que altissimo sanctificantur bona depredans ecclesie tantum spoliis insidiatur.
The hihe god, which alle goode
Pourveied hath for mannes fode
Of clothes and of mete and drinke,
Bad Adam that he scholde swinke
To geten him his sustienance;
And ek he sette an ordinance(7000*)
Upon the lawe of Moïses,587
That though a man be haveles,
Yit schal he noght be thefte stele.
Bot nou adaies ther ben fele, 6970
That wol no labour undertake,[Pg 139]
Bot what thei mai be Stelthe take
Thei holde it sikerliche wonne.
And thus the lawe is overronne,
Which god hath set, and namely
With hem that so untrewely
The goodes robbe of holi cherche.
P. ii. 363
The thefte which thei thanne werche
Be name is cleped Sacrilegge,
Ayein the whom I thenke alegge.* 6980
Of his condicion to telle,
Which rifleth bothe bok and belle,

588*Upon the pointz as we ben taught589
Stant sacrilege, and elles nought.
The firste point is for to seye,
Whan that a thief schal stele aweye
The holy thing from holy place.
The secounde is, if he pourchace7020*
By wey of thefte unholy thing,
Which he upon his knowleching
Fro holy place aweie took.
The thridde point, as seith the book,
Is such as, wher as evere it be,590
In woode, in feld or in Cite,
Schal no man stele by no wise
That halwed is to the servise
Of god which alle thinges wot.
But ther is nouther cold ne hot,7030*
Which he for god or man wol spare,
So that the body may wel fare;
And that he may the world aschape,
The hevene him thenkth is but a jape:591
And thus, the sothe for to telle,
He rifleth bothe book and belle,592
So forth with al, etc. (as 6983 ff.)

[Pg 140]

So forth with al the remenant
To goddes hous appourtenant,
Wher that he scholde bidde his bede,
He doth his thefte in holi stede,
P. ii. 364
And takth what thing he fint therinne:
For whan he seth that he mai winne,
He wondeth for no cursednesse,
That he ne brekth the holinesse 6990
And doth to god no reverence;
For he hath lost his conscience,
That though the Prest therfore curse,
He seith he fareth noght the wurse.593
And forto speke it otherwise,
What man that lasseth the franchise(7050*)
And takth of holi cherche his preie,
I not what bedes he schal preie.
Whan he fro god, which hath yive al,
The Pourpartie in special, 7000
Which unto Crist himself is due,594
Benymth, he mai noght wel eschue
The peine comende afterward;
For he hath mad his foreward
With Sacrilegge forto duelle,
Which hath his heritage in helle.
And if we rede of tholde lawe,595
I finde write, in thilke dawe596
Of Princes hou ther weren thre597
Coupable sore in this degre.598 7010
That on of hem was cleped thus,
The proude king Antiochus;
That other Nabuzardan hihte,
Which of his crualte behyhte
The temple to destruie and waste,
And so he dede in alle haste;
P. ii. 365
The thridde, which was after schamed,
Was Nabugodonosor named,
[Pg 141]
And he Jerusalem putte under,
Of Sacrilegge and many a wonder 7020
There in the holi temple he wroghte,
Which Baltazar his heir aboghte,599
Whan Mane, Techel, Phares write
Was on the wal, as thou miht wite,
So as the bible it hath declared.600
Bot for al that it is noght spared
Yit nou aday, that men ne pile,
And maken argument and skile
To Sacrilegge as it belongeth,
For what man that ther after longeth, 7030
He takth non hiede what he doth.*
And riht so, forto telle soth,

601*And if a man schal telle soth,
Of guile and of soubtilite
Is non so slyh in his degre
To feigne a thing for his beyete,
As is this vice of which I trete.7090*
He can so priveliche pyke,
He can so wel hise wordes slyke
To putte awey suspecioun,
That in his excusacioun,
Ther schal noman defalte finde.
And thus fulofte men be blinde,
That stonden of his word deceived,
Er his queintise be perceived.
P. ii. 366
Bot natheles yit otherwhile,
For al his sleyhte and al his guile,6027100*
Of that he wolde his werk forsake,
He is atteint and overtake;
Wherof thou schalt a tale rede,
In Rome as it befell in dede.603
[Pg 142]
[Tale of Lucius and the Statue.]
Er Rome cam to the creance
Of Cristes feith, it fell per chance,
Hic loquitur de illis qui laruata consciencia Sacrilegium sibi licere fingunt. Et narrat quod, cum quidam Lucius clericus famosus et Imperatori notus deum suum Apollinem in templo Rome de anulo suo, pallio et barba aurea spoliasset, ipse tandem apprehensus et coram Imperatore accusatus taliter se excusando ait: ‘Anulum a deo recepi, quia ipse digito protenso ex sua largitate anulum hunc graciose michi optulit; pallium ex lamine aureo constructum tuli, quia aurum maxime ponderosum et frigidum naturaliter consistit, vnde nec in estate propter pondus nec in yeme propter frigus ad dei vestes vtile fuit; barbam ab eo605 deposui, quia ipsum patri suo assimilare volui,606 nam et Apollo, qui ante ipsum in templo607 stetit, absque barba iuvenis apparuit. Et sic ea que gessi non ex furto set honestate608 processisse manifeste declaraui.’
Cesar, which tho was Emperour,
Him liste forto don honour
Unto the temple Apollinis,
And made an ymage upon this,7110*
The which was cleped Apollo.
Was non so riche in Rome tho;
Of plate of gold a berd he hadde,
The which his brest al overspradde;
Of gold also withoute faile
His mantell was of large entaile,
Beset with perrie al aboute,
Forthriht he strawhte his finger oute,
Upon the which he hadde a ryng,
To sen it was a riche thing,7120*
A fin Carbuncle for the nones,604
Most precious of alle Stones.
And fell that time in Rome thus:
Ther was a clerk, on Lucius,
A Courteour, a famous man,
Of every witt somwhat he can,
Outake that him lacketh reule
His oghne astat to guide and reule;
P. ii. 367
How so it stod of his spekinge,
He was noght wys in his doinge.7130*
Bot every riot ate laste
Mot nedes falle and mai noght laste:
After the meede of his decerte,
So fell this clerk into poverte
And wiste noght how forto ryse;
Wherof in many a sondri wyse
[Pg 143]
He caste his wittes hier and ther,
He loketh nyh, he loketh fer,
Til on a time that he com
Into the temple, and hiede he nom6097140*
Wher that the god Apollo stod.
He sih the richesse and the good,
And thoghte he wolde be som weie
The tresor pyke and stele aweie;
And therupon so slyhly wroghte,
That his pourpos aboute he broghte,
And wente awey unaparceived.
Thus hath the man his god deceived,610
His ryng, his mantell and his beerd,
As he which nothing was a feerd,6117150*
Al prively with him he bar:
And whan the wardeins weren war
Of that here god despuiled was,
Hem thoghte it was a wonder cas,
How that a man for eny wele
Durste in so holy place stele,612
And namely so gret a thing.613
This tale cam unto the king,
P. ii. 368
And was thurgh spoken overal:
Bot forto knowe in special7160*
What maner man hath do the dede,
Thei soghten help upon the nede
And maden calculacioun,
Wherof be demonstracioun
The man was founde with the good.
In juggement and whan he stood,
The king hath axed of him thus:
‘Sey, thou unsely Lucius,
Whi hast thou do this sacrilegge?’
[Pg 144]
‘Mi lord, if I the cause allegge,’7170*
Quod he ayein, ‘me thenketh this,
That I have do nothing amis.
Thre pointz ther ben whiche I have do,
Wherof the ferste point stant so,
That I the ryng have take aweie.
As unto that this wole I seie:614
Whan I the god behield aboute,
I sih how he his hond strawhte oute
And profred me the ryng to yive;
And I, which wolde gladly live7180*
Out of poverte of his largesse,615
It underfing, so that I gesse,
As therof I am noght to wyte.616
And overmore I wol me quite,
Of gold that I the mantell tok:
Gold in his kinde, as seith the bok,
Is hevy bothe and cold also;
And for that it was hevy so,
P. ii. 369
Me thoghte it was no garnement
Unto the god convenient,7190*
To clothen him the somer tide;
I thoghte upon that other side
How gold is cold, and such a cloth
Be resoun oghte to be loth
In wynter time for the chele.
And thus thenkende thoghtes fele,
As I myn yhe aboute caste,
His large beerd thanne ate laste
I syh, and thoghte anon therfore
How that his fader him before,7200*
Which stod upon the same place,
Was beerdles with a yongly face:
And in such wise as ye have herd
I tok awey the Sones berd,617
For that his fader hadde non,
To make hem liche, and hier upon
I axe forto ben excused.’
Lo thus, wher Sacrilegge is used,
A man can feigne his conscience;
And riht upon such evidence7210*
In loves cause, &c. (as 7033 ff.)

[Pg 145]

In loves cause if I schal trete,
[Sacrilege of Lovers.]
Ther ben of suche smale and grete:
If thei no leisir fynden elles,
Thei wol noght wonden for the belles,
Ne thogh thei sen the Prest at masse;
That wol thei leten overpasse.
If that thei finde here love there,
Thei stonde and tellen in hire Ere, 7040
P. ii. 370
And axe of god non other grace,
Whyl thei ben in that holi place;
Bot er thei gon som avantage
Ther wol thei have, and som pilage
Of goodli word or of beheste,
Or elles thei take ate leste
Out of hir hand or ring or glove,
So nyh the weder thei wol love,618
As who seith sche schal noght foryete,
Nou I this tokne of hire have gete: 7050
Thus halwe thei the hihe feste.
Such thefte mai no cherche areste,
For al is leveful that hem liketh,619
To whom that elles it misliketh.
And ek riht in the selve kinde
In grete Cites men mai finde
This lusti folk, that make it gay,
And waite upon the haliday:
In cherches and in Menstres eke
Thei gon the wommen forto seke, 7060
And wher that such on goth aboute,
Tofore the faireste of the route,
Wher as thei sitten alle arewe,
Ther wol he most his bodi schewe,
His croket kembd and theron set
A Nouche with a chapelet,
Or elles on of grene leves,
Which late com out of the greves,
Al for he scholde seme freissh.
And thus he loketh on the fleissh,620 7070
P. ii. 371[Pg 146]
Riht as an hauk which hath a sihte
Upon the foul, ther he schal lihte;(7250*)
And as he were of faierie,
He scheweth him tofore here yhe
In holi place wher thei sitte,
Al forto make here hertes flitte.
His yhe nawher wole abyde,
Bot loke and prie on every syde621
On hire and hire, as him best lyketh:
And otherwhile among he syketh; 7080
Thenkth on of hem, ‘That was for me,’
And so ther thenken tuo or thre,
And yit he loveth non of alle,
Bot wher as evere his chance falle.
And natheles to seie a soth,
The cause why that he so doth
Is forto stele an herte or tuo,
Out of the cherche er that he go:
And as I seide it hier above,
Al is that Sacrilege of love; 7090
For wel mai be he stelth away
That he nevere after yelde may.
Tell me forthi, my Sone, anon,
Hast thou do Sacrilege, or non,622
As I have said in this manere?
Confessio Amantis.
Mi fader, as of this matiere
I wole you tellen redely
What I have do; bot trewely
I mai excuse min entente,
That nevere I yit to cherche wente 7100
P. ii. 372
In such manere as ye me schryve,
For no womman that is on lyve.
The cause why I have it laft
Mai be for I unto that craft
Am nothing able so to stele,
Thogh ther be wommen noght so fele.623
Bot yit wol I noght seie this,
Whan I am ther mi ladi is,
[Pg 147]
In whom lith holly mi querele,
And sche to cherche or to chapele 7110
Wol go to matins or to messe,—
That time I waite wel and gesse,
To cherche I come and there I stonde,
And thogh I take a bok on honde,
Mi contienance is on the bok,
Bot toward hire is al my lok;
And if so falle that I preie
Unto mi god, and somwhat seie
Of Paternoster or of Crede,624
Al is for that I wolde spede, 7120
So that mi bede in holi cherche
Ther mihte som miracle werche(7300*)
Mi ladi herte forto chaunge,
Which evere hath be to me so strange.625
So that al mi devocion
And al mi contemplacion
With al min herte and mi corage
Is only set on hire ymage;
And evere I waite upon the tyde.
If sche loke eny thing asyde, 7130
P. ii. 373
That I me mai of hire avise,626
Anon I am with covoitise
So smite, that me were lief
To ben in holi cherche a thief;
Bot noght to stele a vestement,
For that is nothing mi talent,
Bot I wold stele, if that I mihte,627
A glad word or a goodly syhte;
And evere mi service I profre,
And namly whan sche wol gon offre, 7140
For thanne I lede hire, if I may,
For somwhat wolde I stele away.
Whan I beclippe hire on the wast,
Yit ate leste I stele a tast,
And otherwhile ‘grant mercy’
Sche seith, and so winne I therby
[Pg 148]
A lusti touch, a good word eke,
Bot al the remenant to seke
Is fro mi pourpos wonder ferr.
So mai I seie, as I seide er, 7150
In holy cherche if that I wowe,
My conscience it wolde allowe,628
Be so that up amendement
I mihte gete assignement
Wher forto spede in other place:
Such Sacrilege I holde a grace.
And thus, mi fader, soth to seie,
In cherche riht as in the weie,
If I mihte oght of love take,
Such hansell have I noght forsake.629 7160
P. ii. 374
Bot finali I me confesse,
Ther is in me non holinesse,
whil I hire se in eny stede;630
And yit, for oght that evere I dede,
No Sacrilege of hire I tok,
Bot if it were of word or lok,631
Or elles if that I hir fredde,
Whan I toward offringe hir ledde,
Take therof what I take may,
For elles bere I noght away: 7170
For thogh I wolde oght elles have,
Alle othre thinges ben so save632(7350*)
And kept with such a privilege,
That I mai do no Sacrilege.
God wot mi wille natheles,
Thogh I mot nedes kepe pes
And malgre myn so let it passe,633
Mi will therto is noght the lasse,
If I mihte other wise aweie.
Forthi, mi fader, I you preie, 7180
Tell what you thenketh therupon,634
If I therof have gult or non.
[Pg 149]
Thi will, mi Sone, is forto blame,
The remenant is bot a game,
That I have herd the telle as yit.
Bot tak this lore into thi wit,
That alle thing hath time and stede,
The cherche serveth for the bede,
The chambre is of an other speche.
Bot if thou wistest of the wreche, 7190
P. ii. 375
Hou Sacrilege it hath aboght,
Thou woldest betre ben bethoght;
And for thou schalt the more amende,
A tale I wole on the despende.635
[Tale of Paris and Helen.]
To alle men, as who seith, knowe
It is, and in the world thurgh blowe,
Hic in amoris causa super istius vicii articulo ponit exemplum. Et narrat, pro eo quod Paris Priami Regis filius Helenam Menelai vxorem in quadam Grecie insula a templo Veneris Sacrilegus abduxit, illa Troie famosissima636 obsidio per vniuersi637 orbis climata divulgata precipue causabatur.638 Ita quod huiusmodi Sacrilegium non solum ad ipsius regis Priami omniumque suorum interitum, set eciam ad perpetuam vrbis desolacionem vindicte fomitem ministrabat.
Hou that of Troie Lamedon
To Hercules and to Jasoun,
Whan toward Colchos out of Grece
Be See sailende upon a piece 7200
Of lond of Troie reste preide,—
Bot he hem wrathfulli congeide:
And for thei founde him so vilein,
Whan thei come into Grece ayein,
With pouer that thei gete myhte
Towardes Troie thei hem dyhte,
And ther thei token such vengance,
Wherof stant yit the remembrance;639
For thei destruide king and al,
And leften bot the brente wal. 7210
The Grecs of Troiens many slowe
And prisoners thei toke ynowe,
Among the whiche ther was on,
The kinges doughter Lamedon,
Esiona, that faire thing,640
Which unto Thelamon the king
Be Hercules and be thassent
Of al the hole parlement
[Pg 150]
Was at his wille yove and granted.
And thus hath Grece Troie danted, 7220
P. ii. 376
And hom thei torne in such manere:
Bot after this nou schalt thou hiere(7400*)
The cause why this tale I telle,641
Upon the chances that befelle.
King Lamedon, which deide thus,
He hadde a Sone, on Priamus,
Which was noght thilke time at hom:
Bot whan he herde of this, he com,
And fond hou the Cite was falle,
Which he began anon to walle 7230
And made ther a cite newe,
That thei whiche othre londes knewe
Tho seiden, that of lym and Ston
In al the world so fair was non.
And on that o side of the toun
The king let maken Ylioun,642
That hihe Tour, that stronge place,
Which was adrad of no manace
Of quarel nor of non engin;
And thogh men wolde make a Myn, 7240
No mannes craft it mihte aproche,
For it was sett upon a roche.
The walles of the toun aboute,
Hem stod of al the world no doute,
And after the proporcion
Sex gates weren of the toun
Of such a forme, of such entaile,
That hem to se was gret mervaile:
The diches weren brode and depe,
A fewe men it mihte kepe 7250
P. ii. 377
From al the world, as semeth tho,
Bot if the goddes weren fo.
Gret presse unto that cite drouh,
So that ther was of poeple ynouh,
Of Burgeis that therinne duellen;
Ther mai no mannes tunge tellen
[Pg 151]
Hou that cite was riche of good.643
Whan al was mad and al wel stod,
King Priamus tho him bethoghte
What thei of Grece whilom wroghte, 7260
And what was of her swerd devoured,
And hou his Soster deshonoured
With Thelamon awey was lad:
And so thenkende he wax unglad,644
And sette anon a parlement,
To which the lordes were assent.
In many a wise ther was spoke,
Hou that thei mihten ben awroke,
Bot ate laste natheles
Thei seiden alle, ‘Acord and pes.’ 7270
To setten either part in reste645
It thoghte hem thanne for the beste(7450*)
With resonable amendement;
And thus was Anthenor forth sent646
To axe Esionam ayein647
And witen what thei wolden sein.
So passeth he the See be barge648
To Grece forto seie his charge,
The which he seide redely
Unto the lordes by and by: 7280
P. ii. 378
Bot where he spak in Grece aboute,
He herde noght bot wordes stoute,
And nameliche of Thelamon;
The maiden wolde he noght forgon,
He seide, for no maner thing,
And bad him gon hom to his king,
For there gat he non amende
For oght he couthe do or sende.
This Anthenor ayein goth hom
Unto his king, and whan he com, 7290
He tolde in Grece of that he herde,
And hou that Thelamon ansuerde,
[Pg 152]
And hou thei were at here above,
That thei wol nouther pes ne love,
Bot every man schal don his beste.
Bot for men sein that nyht hath reste,
The king bethoghte him al that nyht,649
And erli, whan the dai was lyht,
He tok conseil of this matiere;
And thei acorde in this manere, 7300
That he withouten eny lette
A certein time scholde sette
Of Parlement to ben avised:650
And in the wise it was devised,
Of parlement he sette a day,
And that was in the Monthe of Maii.
This Priamus hadde in his yhte
A wif, and Hecuba sche hyhte,
Be whom that time ek hadde he
Of Sones fyve, and douhtres thre 7310
P. ii. 379
Besiden hem, and thritty mo,651
And weren knyhtes alle tho,
Bot noght upon his wif begete,
Bot elles where he myhte hem gete
Of wommen whiche he hadde knowe;
Such was the world at thilke throwe:
So that he was of children riche,
As therof was noman his liche.652
Of Parlement the dai was come,
Ther ben the lordes alle and some; 7320
Tho was pronounced and pourposed,
And al the cause hem was desclosed,(7500*)
Hou Anthenor in Grece ferde.
Thei seten alle stille and herde,
And tho spak every man aboute:
Ther was alegged many a doute,
And many a proud word spoke also;653
Bot for the moste part as tho654
[Pg 153]
Thei wisten noght what was the beste,
Or forto werre or forto reste. 7330
Bot he that was withoute fere,
Hector, among the lordes there
His tale tolde in such a wise,
And seide, ‘Lordes, ye ben wise,
Ye knowen this als wel as I,
Above all othre most worthi655
Stant nou in Grece the manhode
Of worthinesse and of knihthode;
For who so wole it wel agrope,
To hem belongeth al Europe, 7340
P. ii. 380
Which is the thridde parti evene
Of al the world under the hevene;
And we be bot of folk a fewe.
So were it reson forto schewe656
The peril, er we falle thrinne:
Betre is to leve, than beginne
Thing which as mai noght ben achieved;
He is noght wys that fint him grieved,
And doth so that his grief be more;
For who that loketh al tofore 7350
And wol noght se what is behinde,
He mai fulofte hise harmes finde:
Wicke is to stryve and have the worse.
We have encheson forto corse,
This wot I wel, and forto hate
The Greks; bot er that we debate
With hem that ben of such a myht,
It is ful good that every wiht
Be of himself riht wel bethoght.
Bot as for me this seie I noght; 7360
For while that mi lif wol stonde,
If that ye taken werre on honde,
Falle it to beste or to the werste,657
I schal miselven be the ferste
To grieven hem, what evere I may.
[Pg 154]
I wol noght ones seie nay
To thing which that youre conseil demeth,
For unto me wel more it quemeth
The werre certes than the pes;
Bot this I seie natheles, 7370
P. ii. 381
As me belongeth forto seie.
Nou schape ye the beste weie.’(7550*)
Whan Hector hath seid his avis,
Next after him tho spak Paris,
Which was his brother, and alleide
What him best thoghte, and thus he seide:
‘Strong thing it is to soffre wrong,
And suffre schame is more strong,
Bot we have suffred bothe tuo;
And for al that yit have we do 7380
What so we mihte to reforme
The pes, whan we in such a forme658
Sente Anthenor, as ye wel knowe.
And thei here grete wordes blowe
Upon her wrongful dedes eke;
And who that wole himself noght meke
To pes, and list no reson take,
Men sein reson him wol forsake:659
For in the multitude of men
Is noght the strengthe, for with ten 7390
It hath be sen in trew querele660
Ayein an hundred false dele,
And had the betre of goddes grace.
This hath befalle in many place;
And if it like unto you alle,
I wole assaie, hou so it falle,
Oure enemis if I mai grieve;
For I have cawht a gret believe
Upon a point I wol declare.
This ender day, as I gan fare661 7400
P. ii. 382
To hunte unto the grete hert,
Which was tofore myn houndes stert,
[Pg 155]
And every man went on his syde662
Him to poursuie, and I to ryde
Began the chace, and soth to seie,663
Withinne a while out of mi weie
I rod, and nyste where I was.
And slep me cauhte, and on the gras
Beside a welle I lay me doun
To slepe, and in a visioun664 7410
To me the god Mercurie cam;
Goddesses thre with him he nam,
Minerve, Venus and Juno,
And in his hond an Appel tho
He hield of gold with lettres write:
And this he dede me to wite,
Hou that thei putt hem upon me,665
That to the faireste of hem thre
Of gold that Appel scholde I yive.666
With ech of hem tho was I schrive, 7420
And echon faire me behihte;
Bot Venus seide, if that sche mihte(7600*)
That Appel of mi yifte gete,
Sche wolde it neveremor foryete,
And seide hou that in Grece lond
Sche wolde bringe unto myn hond
Of al this Erthe the faireste;
So that me thoghte it for the beste,
To hire and yaf that Appel tho.
Thus hope I wel, if that I go, 7430
P. ii. 383
That sche for me wol so ordeine,
That thei matiere forto pleigne
Schul have, er that I come ayein.
Nou have ye herd that I wol sein:
Sey ye what stant in youre avis.’
And every man tho seide his,
And sundri causes thei recorde,
Bot ate laste thei acorde
That Paris schal to Grece wende,
[Pg 156]
And thus the parlement tok ende. 7440
Cassandra, whan sche herde of this,667
The which to Paris Soster is,
Anon sche gan to wepe and weile,
And seide, ‘Allas, what mai ous eile?
Fortune with hire blinde whiel
Ne wol noght lete ous stonde wel:
For this I dar wel undertake,
That if Paris his weie take,
As it is seid that he schal do,
We ben for evere thanne undo.’ 7450
This, which Cassandre thanne hihte,
In al the world as it berth sihte,
In bokes as men finde write,
Is that Sibille of whom ye wite,
That alle men yit clepen sage.
Whan that sche wiste of this viage,
Hou Paris schal to Grece fare,
No womman mihte worse fare
Ne sorwe more than sche dede;
And riht so in the same stede 7460
P. ii. 384
Ferde Helenus, which was hir brother,
Of prophecie and such an other:
And al was holde bot a jape,
So that the pourpos which was schape,
Or were hem lief or were hem loth,668
Was holde, and into Grece goth
This Paris with his retenance.
And as it fell upon his chance,
Of Grece he londeth in an yle,
And him was told the same whyle669 7470
Of folk which he began to freyne,
Tho was in thyle queene Heleyne,(7650*)
And ek of contres there aboute
Of ladis many a lusti route,
With mochel worthi poeple also.
And why thei comen theder tho,
The cause stod in such a wise,—
[Pg 157]
For worschipe and for sacrifise
That thei to Venus wolden make,
As thei tofore hadde undertake, 7480
Some of good will, some of beheste,
For thanne was hire hihe feste
Withinne a temple which was there.
Whan Paris wiste what thei were,
Anon he schop his ordinance
To gon and don his obeissance
To Venus on hire holi day,
And dede upon his beste aray.
With gret richesse he him behongeth,
As it to such a lord belongeth, 7490
P. ii. 385
He was noght armed natheles,
Bot as it were in lond of pes,
And thus he goth forth out of Schipe
And takth with him his felaschipe:
In such manere as I you seie
Unto the temple he hield his weie.
Tydinge, which goth overal
To grete and smale, forth withal
Com to the queenes Ere and tolde
Hou Paris com, and that he wolde 7500
Do sacrifise to Venus:
And whan sche herde telle thus,
She thoghte, hou that it evere be,
That sche wole him abyde and se.670
Forth comth Paris with glad visage
Into the temple on pelrinage,
Wher unto Venus the goddesse
He yifth and offreth gret richesse,
And preith hir that he preie wolde.
And thanne aside he gan beholde,671 7510
And sih wher that this ladi stod;
And he forth in his freisshe mod
Goth ther sche was and made hir chiere,
As he wel couthe in his manere,
That of his wordes such plesance
Sche tok, that al hire aqueintance,
[Pg 158]
Als ferforth as the herte lay,
He stal er that he wente away.
So goth he forth and tok his leve,
And thoghte, anon as it was eve, 7520
P. ii. 386
He wolde don his Sacrilegge,
That many a man it scholde abegge.(7700*)
Whan he to Schipe ayein was come,
To him he hath his conseil nome,
And al devised the matiere
In such a wise as thou schalt hiere.
Withinne nyht al prively
His men he warneth by and by,
That thei be redy armed sone
For certein thing which was to done: 7530
And thei anon ben redi alle,
And ech on other gan to calle,
And went hem out upon the stronde672
And tok a pourpos ther alonde
Of what thing that thei wolden do,673
Toward the temple and forth thei go.
So fell it, of devocion
Heleine in contemplacion
With many an other worthi wiht
Was in the temple and wok al nyht, 7540
To bidde and preie unto thymage674
Of Venus, as was thanne usage;
So that Paris riht as him liste
Into the temple, er thei it wiste,675
Com with his men al sodeinly,
And alle at ones sette ascry
In hem whiche in the temple were,
For tho was mochel poeple there;
Bot of defense was no bote,
So soffren thei that soffre mote. 7550
P. ii. 387
Paris unto the queene wente,
And hire in bothe hise armes hente
With him and with his felaschipe,
And forth thei bere hire unto Schipe.676
[Pg 159]
Up goth the Seil and forth thei wente,
And such a wynd fortune hem sente,
Til thei the havene of Troie cauhte;
Where out of Schipe anon thei strauhte
And gon hem forth toward the toun,
The which cam with processioun 7560
Ayein Paris to sen his preie.
And every man began to seie
To Paris and his felaschipe
Al that thei couthen of worschipe;
Was non so litel man in Troie,
That he ne made merthe and joie
Of that Paris hath wonne Heleine.
Bot al that merthe is sorwe and peine
To Helenus and to Cassaundre;
For thei it token schame and sklaundre677 7570
And lost of al the comun grace,
That Paris out of holi place(7750*)
Be Stelthe hath take a mannes wif,
Wherof that he schal lese his lif
And many a worthi man therto,
And al the Cite be fordo,
Which nevere schal be mad ayein.
And so it fell, riht as thei sein,
The Sacrilege which he wroghte
Was cause why the Gregois soughte 7580
P. ii. 388
Unto the toun and it beleie,
And wolden nevere parte aweie,
Til what be sleihte and what be strengthe
Thei hadde it wonne in brede and lengthe,
And brent and slayn that was withinne.
Now se, mi Sone, which a sinne
Is Sacrilege in holy stede:
Be war therfore and bidd thi bede,
And do nothing in holy cherche,
Bot that thou miht be reson werche. 7590
And ek tak hiede of Achilles,
Whan he unto his love ches
Polixena, that was also
[Pg 160]
In holi temple of Appollo,
Which was the cause why he dyde
And al his lust was leyd asyde.
And Troilus upon Criseide
Also his ferste love leide
In holi place, and hou it ferde,
As who seith, al the world it herde;678 7600
Forsake he was for Diomede,
Such was of love his laste mede.
Forthi, mi Sone, I wolde rede,
Be this ensample as thou myht rede,679
Sech elles, wher thou wolt, thi grace,
And war the wel in holi place
What thou to love do or speke,
In aunter if it so be wreke
As thou hast herd me told before.
[Divisions of Avarice.]
And tak good hiede also therfore 7610
P. ii. 389
Upon what forme, of Avarice680
Mor than of eny other vice,
I have divided in parties
The branches, whiche of compainies
Thurghout the world in general
Ben nou the leders overal,
Of Covoitise and of Perjure,
Of fals brocage and of Usure,
Of Skarsnesse and Unkindeschipe,681
Which nevere drouh to felaschipe, 7620
Of Robberie and privi Stelthe,682
Which don is for the worldes welthe,(7800*)
Of Ravine and of Sacrilegge,
Which makth the conscience agregge;
Althogh it mai richesse atteigne,
It floureth, bot it schal noght greine
Unto the fruit of rihtwisnesse.
Bot who that wolde do largesse
Upon the reule as it is yive,
So myhte a man in trouthe live683 7630
Toward his god, and ek also[Pg 161]
Toward the world, for bothe tuo
Largesse awaiteth as belongeth,
To neither part that he ne wrongeth;684
He kepth himself, he kepth his frendes,
So stant he sauf to bothe hise endes,
That he excedeth no mesure,
So wel he can himself mesure:
Wherof, mi Sone, thou schalt wite,
So as the Philosophre hath write. 7640
[Prodigality and Largess.]
P. ii. 390
xiii. Prodegus et parcus duo sunt extrema, que largus685
Est horum medius, plebis in ore bonus.
Nota hic de virtute Largitatis, que ad oppositum Auaricie inter duo extrema, videlicet Parcimoniam et Prodegalitatem, specialiter consistit.
Betwen the tuo extremites
Of vice stant the propretes
Of vertu, and to prove it so
Tak Avarice and tak also
The vice of Prodegalite;
Betwen hem Liberalite,
Which is the vertu of Largesse,
Stant and governeth his noblesse.
For tho tuo vices in discord
Stonde evere, as I finde of record; 7650
So that betwen here tuo debat
Largesse reuleth his astat.
For in such wise as Avarice,
As I tofore have told the vice,
Thurgh streit holdinge and thurgh skarsnesse
Stant in contraire to Largesse,
Riht so stant Prodegalite
Revers, bot noght in such degre.
For so as Avarice spareth,
And forto kepe his tresor careth, 7660
That other al his oghne and more
Ayein the wise mannes lore
Yifth and despendeth hiere and there,
So that him reccheth nevere where.
While he mai borwe, he wol despende,
[Pg 162]
Til ate laste he seith, ‘I wende’;
Bot that is spoken al to late,
For thanne is poverte ate gate
P. ii. 391
And takth him evene be the slieve,
For erst wol he no wisdom lieve. 7670
And riht as Avarice is Sinne,
That wolde his tresor kepe and winne,(7850*)
Riht so is Prodegalite:
Bot of Largesse in his degre,
Which evene stant betwen the tuo,
The hihe god and man also
The vertu ech of hem commendeth.
For he himselven ferst amendeth,
That overal his name spredeth,
And to alle othre, where it nedeth, 7680
He yifth his good in such a wise,
That he makth many a man arise,
Which elles scholde falle lowe.
Largesce mai noght ben unknowe;
For what lond that he regneth inne,
It mai noght faile forto winne
Thurgh his decerte love and grace,
Wher it schal faile in other place.
And thus betwen tomoche and lyte686
Largesce, which is noght to wyte, 7690
Halt evere forth the middel weie:
Bot who that torne wole aweie
Fro that to Prodegalite,
Anon he lest the proprete687
Of vertu and goth to the vice;
For in such wise as Avarice
Lest for scarsnesse his goode name,
Riht so that other is to blame,
P. ii. 392
Which thurgh his wast mesure excedeth,
For noman wot what harm that bredeth.688 7700
Bot mochel joie ther betydeth,689
[Pg 163]
Wher that largesse an herte guydeth:
For his mesure is so governed,
That he to bothe partz is lerned,
To god and to the world also,
He doth reson to bothe tuo.
The povere folk of his almesse
Relieved ben in the destresse
Of thurst, of hunger and of cold;
The yifte of him was nevere sold, 7710
Bot frely yive, and natheles
The myhti god of his encress
Rewardeth him of double grace;
The hevene he doth him to pourchace
And yifth him ek the worldes good:
And thus the Cote for the hod
Largesse takth, and yit no Sinne
He doth, hou so that evere he winne.
Lucas. Omni habenti dabitur.
What man hath hors men yive him hors,
And who non hath of him no fors, 7720
For he mai thanne on fote go;
The world hath evere stonde so.
Bot forto loken of the tweie,
A man to go the siker weie,
Beacius est dare quam accipere.690
Betre is to yive than to take:
With yifte a man mai frendes make,
P. ii. 393
Bot who that takth or gret or smal,
He takth a charge forth withal,
And stant noght fre til it be quit.
So forto deme in mannes wit, 7730
It helpeth more a man to have
His oghne good, than forto crave
Of othre men and make him bounde,
Wher elles he mai stonde unbounde.
Seneca. Si res tue tibi non sufficiant, fac vt rebus tuis sufficias.
Senec conseileth in this wise,
And seith, ‘Bot if thi good suffise
Unto the liking of thi wille,
Withdrawh thi lust and hold the stille,
And be to thi good sufficant.’
[Pg 164]
Apostolus.691 Ordinata caritas incipit a seipsa.
For that thing is appourtenant 7740
To trouthe and causeth to be fre
After the reule of charite,
Which ferst beginneth of himselve.
For if thou richest othre tuelve,
Wherof thou schalt thiself be povere,
I not what thonk thou miht recovere.
Whil that a man hath good to yive,
With grete routes he mai live
And hath his frendes overal,
And everich of him telle schal. 7750
Therwhile he hath his fulle packe,692
Thei seie, ‘A good felawe is Jacke’;
Bot whanne it faileth ate laste,
Anon his pris thei overcaste,
For thanne is ther non other lawe
Bot, ‘Jacke was a good felawe.’
P. ii. 394
Whan thei him povere and nedy se,
Thei lete him passe and farwel he;
Al that he wende of compainie
Is thanne torned to folie. 7760
[Prodigality of Lovers.]
Bot nou to speke in other kinde
Of love, a man mai suche finde,
That wher thei come in every route
Thei caste and waste her love aboute,
Til al here time is overgon,
And thanne have thei love non:693
For who that loveth overal,
It is no reson that he schal(7900*)
Of love have eny proprete.
Forthi, mi Sone, avise thee 7770
If thou of love hast be to large,
For such a man is noght to charge:
And if it so be that thou hast
Despended al thi time in wast
And set thi love in sondri place,
Though thou the substance of thi grace
[Pg 165]
Lese ate laste, it is no wonder;
For he that put himselven under,
As who seith, comun overal,
He lest the love special 7780
Of eny on, if sche be wys;
For love schal noght bere his pris
Be reson, whanne it passeth on.
So have I sen ful many on,694
That were of love wel at ese,
Whiche after felle in gret desese
P. ii. 395
Thurgh wast of love, that thei spente
In sondri places wher thei wente.
Riht so, mi Sone, I axe of thee
If thou with Prodegalite 7790
Hast hier and ther thi love wasted.
Mi fader, nay; bot I have tasted
In many a place as I have go,
And yit love I nevere on of tho,
Bot forto drive forth the dai.
For lieveth wel, myn herte is ay
Withoute mo for everemore
Al upon on, for I nomore
Desire bot hire love al one:
So make I many a prive mone, 7800
For wel I fiele I have despended
Mi longe love and noght amended
Mi sped, for oght I finde yit.
If this be wast to youre wit695
Of love, and Prodegalite,
Nou, goode fader, demeth ye:
Bot of o thing I wol me schryve,
That I schal for no love thryve,
Bot if hirself me wol relieve.696
Mi Sone, that I mai wel lieve: 7810
And natheles me semeth so,
For oght that thou hast yit misdo
Of time which thou hast despended,
It mai with grace ben amended.
[Pg 166]
For thing which mai be worth the cost
Per chaunce is nouther wast ne lost;
P. ii. 396
For what thing stant on aventure,697
That can no worldes creature(7950*)
Telle in certein hou it schal wende,698
Til he therof mai sen an ende. 7820
So that I not as yit therfore
If thou, mi Sone, hast wonne or lore:
For ofte time, as it is sene,699
Whan Somer hath lost al his grene
And is with Wynter wast and bare,
That him is left nothing to spare,
Al is recovered in a throwe;
The colde wyndes overblowe,
And stille be the scharpe schoures,700
And soudeinliche ayein his floures 7830
The Somer hapneth and is riche:
And so per cas thi graces liche,
Mi Sone, thogh thou be nou povere
Of love, yit thou miht recovere.
Mi fader, certes grant merci:
Ye have me tawht so redeli,
That evere whil I live schal
The betre I mai be war withal
Of thing which ye have seid er this.
Bot overmore hou that it is,701 7840
Toward mi schrifte as it belongeth,
To wite of othre pointz me longeth;
Wherof that ye me wolden teche
With al myn herte I you beseche.

Explicit Liber Quintus.


1 Latin verses iii. 4 tibi AM ... B₂, AdBT
2 1973 his AM ... B₂
3 1976 margin cupiditatis RCLB₂
4 1978 þauantage (þe auantage) E ... B₂, W þe vantages MH₁XG
5 1979 that om. RCLB₂
6 1981 That on om. B And that oon H₁ hald S, F halt A, B haltd J
7 1988 tofare S, F
8 1992 while] Mile AM
9 2002 he his wille wolde AMH₁E ... B₂
10 2020 ffor him E ... B₂
11 2030 thou schalt it] as þou schalt BT
12 2050 seeþ H₁XG seiþ AM
13 2057 knyhthod S knithod F knyhthode AJ in] on E ... B₂ vp on Δ
14 2059 non oþre AJ, S, F non oþer C, B
15 2068 tho] þat E ... B₂
16 2074 matier(e) to trete H₁L, AdBT, W
17 2079 cophres AC, F cofres (coffres) J, SB
18 2098 ech AJ, B eche F
19 2108 beleft F
20 2114 faste by A, F fasteby J, B
21 2150 unto] it to BT to Δ
22 2157 scholde (schuld &c.) M ... B₂, TΔ, W
23 2162 And þus A ... B₂, W Al þis S ... Δ
24 2177 a slepe B, F aslepe AJ
25 2202 goldringes JE, S, F gold ringes A, B
26 2208 Of þe comuns E ... B₂ (þo EC) Of þe bomeins (?) M Of Romayns W
27 2226 the] his XCB₂, Ad
28 2278 margin eorum om. AMH₁
29 2288 and als so] anon als B and als (as) X, WH₃
30 2291 þe cas S ... Δ
31 2297 lich J, S, F liche A, B
32 2328 vnauanced (vn auanced) ȝe be E ... B₂
33 2350 faute E ... B₂
34 2352 his chois AM ... B₂, BT
35 2357 be falle] byfalle A
36 2405 margin sorte om. A ... B₂
37 2411 He] And BT
38 2412 man] a man AMH₁ men WH₃
39 2417 seeþ B
40 2433 he richesse (om. hath) E ... B₂ richesse he haþ Ad
41 2453 ynowe] I trowe BT
42 2465 Bot] So BT
43 2477 Somon F
44 2482 to] of BT
45 2488 forsakeþ sche is b. BT forsaketh he shal be b. H₃
46 2500 My fader G ... B₂
47 2508 that] þan (þanne) XG, B þough E ... B₂
48 2513 al A, S, F alle J, B
49 2526 hem om. RCB₂ he L
50 2540 for J, FH₃ fro AM ... B₂, S ... Δ, WMagd.
51 2546 Yaf] Of E ... B₂
52 2550 to Hector BT
53 2551 recousse F
54 2554 also] as AM ... B₂, Ad, W
55 2563 he] I (y) BT
56 2564 his] hir X ... B₂, T
57 2571 some] of some A ... B₂, B
58 2573 protectioun (?) F
59 2574 and] of B
60 2579 þe gold is in her cofre AdBT her(e) gold is in her(e) E ... B₂ ther ... her H₁
61 2587 schulde E ... B₂, W hire a pris BTΔ, F hir(e) apris (appris) AJMXERLB₂, W here a pris C her(e) apris H₁, Ad, H₃
62 2591 of] to AJMXG vnto H₁E ... B₂ as Δ
63 2627 To take E ... B₂
64 2637 ensample AM ... B₂, W
65 2658 conseil upon] to conseil in AM ... B₂
66 2666 The B
67 2671 his maister E ... B₂
68 2682 the om. E ... B₂
69 2685 al the] alle (all) XE ... B₂
70 2690 hire] he hir(e) A ... B₂, S ... Δ
71 2694 f.
Whan þat sche was but of ȝong age
ffor good

E ... B₂ (was of L)

72 2696 And lucre E ... B₂
73 2714 Ther was RCLB₂, W Wher was E
74 2735 tolde J, S told A, B, F
75 2737 hath him preid] to him preide B with him p. T
76 2738 seyde BT
77 2740 bidde] didde AM
78 2752 a weie MC, T aweie AJ, B, F
79 2761 faste by AJ, B fasteby F
80 2771 nyh om. E ... B₂
81 2773 þis wise JR, BT, W
82 2776 The stiward BT Theward J seide no þing so B
83 2779 hire fette to] hire fette vnto C ȝou fette vnto B
84 2780 wold(e) H₁E ... B₂, W
85 2793 that om. AdB
86 2816 þe same E ... B₂, S ... Δ, WH₃
87 2836 outher] oþer (oþir) M ... B₂, AdBT, W eiþer Δ
88 2856 wold(e) RCLB₂, W
89 Latin Verses iv. 2 vere A ... CB₂ vero L verba W
90 4-7 om. B
91 7 laudando E ... B₂
92 2863 margin super illis] semper de illis E ... B₂
93 2863 ferst J, S, F ferste A
94 2866 Periurie J, F Periure AC, B
95 2867 margin tam cupiditatis EC causa cup. RLB₂ tam in cupiditate H₁
96 2868 be wroth] wroth AMH₁
97 2872 hepe J, SB, F hipe T hupe C hup A
98 2878 and] of BT in XE, W
99 2900 line om. B
100 2904 suche J, SB such A, F
101 2906 hire AR, F procurous B, F
102 2932 saluely S, F sauely AJ, B
103 2937 euere BT
104 2940 bewreie C, SB be wreie J, F by wreie A
105 2942 of] for BT on W
106 2951 put AJ, S, F (?) putte C, BT
107 2964 as] and BT, H₃
108 2966 And AM ... B₂, W
109 2967 in] of BT
110 2975 this] his AMH₁X
111 2996 hir(e) lady H₁ ... B₂, B, W (here l. G)
112 3004 it] he S ... Δ
113 3026 he] sche E, BT
114 3032 hir B riht] ful E ... B₂
115 3045 put AJ, S, F putte C, B
116 3046 wiþ þat Dedamie RCLB₂
117 3054 the om. AMGRLB₂ alle (maner of man) H₁
118 3058 wolde EL, BT
119 3090 his werk E ... B₂, Δ the werke W
120 3110 burned as þe siluer E ... B₂ b. was with s. W b. was of s. H₃
121 3119 topseilcole ACL, SAd, FH₃ topseil cole (coole) MH₁XGERB₂, BT top seile cole Δ to pseilcole J to Pheilcole W to pleiseil cole Λ
122 3145 Al (Alle) lusti wommen AMH₁ A lusty womman ECLB₂ Of women lusti Ad þat route E ... B₂
123 3152 this] þe BT
124 3158 a contre] þe contre BTΔ
125 3169 the om. B
126 3192 in a Cronique AMH₁RCLB₂, AdΔ, H₃
127 3197 thei] he X, BT
128 3209 whos] which AMH₁XG
129 3210 now a day X, B, WH₃
130 3217 Wher] þer BT
131 3225 Periurie J, B, F Periure AC
132 3237 hertes XL, S ... Δ
133 3241 vnto B of T
134 3246 Who þat wol rede it þer may wite E ... B₂
135 3261 margin illam senectam E ... B₂, BT illa senecta MH₁
136 3281 þerto what þing A ... B₂
137 3290 that] þis B
138 3295 was ful AMH₁XG
139 3300 tok (took) AJ, SB, F toke C, Ad, H₃ (token leue H₁)
140 3304 have mad] to make BT
141 3306 But (Bot) of his lond E ... B₂
142 3311 this] þe B þese X
143 3311 f. gregeis (Gregeis): curteis J, S, F Gregois (gregois): curtois (courtoys) AC, B
144 3321 which þanne (þan) was þe k. E ... B₂ which was the k. H₁, W which was þer k. X
145 3340 tho] þe AM ... B₂
146 3365 thes] þis MXGEC
147 3376 speke(n) AM ... B₂, B, W
148 3393 made AJ, B mad S, F
149 3422 rise RCLB₂, T, W
150 3437 þe same day XE ... B₂, BTΔ
151 3440 he om. E ... B₂
152 3465 lost is l. AYEC, S
153 3472 And nought þer of haþ fro him hid E ... B₂ ben wel MH₁X
154 3481 aschamed A, SB a schamed J, F
155 3482 hire tale AJMXE
156 3484 sette BT
157 3490 departe AMXG
158 3517 the] þo ERC, SBT
159 3533 dethes] hasty E ... B₂
160 3534 leid] brought B
161 3545 and] of BT
162 3582 name RCLB₂, T which AJ, S, F whiche B
163 3599 enoynt J, S, F anoynt AC, B So 3601
164 3619 such(e) wise XGE, B
165 3647 Of swoune RCLB₂, BT Inne swone W uppe nam] vp þo nam E ... B₂ vpon name H₁
166 3665 he om. E ... B₂, BT, W
167 3668 of hem CL on him W
168 3669 vndern ERL, BT, H₃ vndorne X vndur CB₂, W
169 3671 abreide] he breide E ... B₂, BT, H₃
170 3678 was wonder wo] þan was ful wo YE ... B₂, BTΛ
171 3688 ore on] oore in RLB₂, Δ sore in EC, BT (And forþ with all his wey he fongeþ X)
172 3691 set AJ, S, F sette C, B
173 3705 ne] and BT, W
174 3706 þe serpent XB₂, BT, W
175 3720 his plough YE ... B₂, BT the plogh W
176 3742 whan (when) AJC, B whanne F
177 3744 a (ha) lord al is y wonne (al is wonne) YE ... B₂, BTΛ ha lord al now is w. MH₁XG
178 3747 on londe E ... B₂, BTΔ, W
179 3751 he om. AM
180 3765 cried (criede) RCLB₂, Δ
181 3772 to talen] talen B of talen M of tales H₁ to talkan W
182 3791 as tho] also AM ... B₂, BT
183 3796 sche] he H₁, BT
184 3798 al om. AMH₁, H₃W
185 3814 the] þo EC, B
186 3822 mad AJ, S, F made C, B
187 3823 seide ... seide AC, B seid ... seide S, F seid ... seid J
188 3847 of om. E ... B₂, BT
189 3851 ffor if it be E ... B₂, BT, But if hit be W
190 3879 slepte] slep (sleep) YE, B
191 3883 him AH₁XR
192 3888 in compaignie AM ... B₂, BT
193 3914 wolde (wold) M ... B₂, BTΔ, WH₃
194 3956 telle a gret partie B, W tellen it a parti Δ
195 3960 it wiste] wiste CLB₂, BTΔ ne wist(e) MH₁X
196 3962 in euery side E ... B₂, BT
197 3964 Hir heed BT
198 3966 and on] vpon BT
199 3975 dreechinge honde J drenching(e) onde YXGEC, BTΛ drenching(e) hond(e) AH₁RLB₂ dremchinge honde M
200 3990 An F
201 3992 bothe] by þe E, BTΛ but H₃
202 4006 Spertheidos XECB₂, BT
203 4008 and of þe AM ... B₂, BTΔΛ, W
204 4020 To make wiþ þis medicine B line om.
205 4024 His AMRC, T
206 4029 þat wiþ þe air YE ... B₂, BT þat was with þe air Δ þat was of air XG
207 4043 puttes AJ, B, F pettes S
208 4049 and in such wise] in such a wise C in such(e) wise BT and such(e) wise RLB₂
209 4067 And þan B And þat T
210 4072 þe cook H₁G, BT
211 4073 either] euery AM ... B₂
212 4088 put J, S, F putte AC, B
213 4106 fforþ A ... GC
214 4110 over] euery ERLB₂, W ony C oure X
215 4113 make] take ERCB₂
216 4129 his] hir C, B
217 4137 therafter] after E ... B₂ her (hir) after BT
218 4138 seefoul E, BTΛ sedewolf L
219 4140 that] which E ... B₂, W
220 4151 mede E ... B₂
221 4152 be sene (seene) AJ, B besene S, F
222 4160 and fieble] fieble E, B, W
223 4161 into (in to) AM ... B₂
224 4177 eny stede XGL, BΔ
225 4186 telleþ BT
226 4217 wold C, SB, F wolde AJ
227 4231 herde AJ, F herd C, B
228 4243 schepe felle B
229 4250 margin mortua autem Philen SΔΛ mortua autem Hellen A ... B₂, BT, FWH₃
230 4266 margin cum solo vellere A ... B₂, B
231 4267 margin canitur YGE, BTΔΛ canetur AMH₁XRCLB₂, S, FH₃ habetur W
232 4276 Anon sche bigan for to make E ... B₂ She kest anone howe she myght make W
233 4278 schope AJ, S, F schop (schoop) C, B
234 4307 all S, F alle AJ, B
235 4309 seid AJ, B, F seide C
236 4311 hem haþ preid B hath hem preide W
237 4321 it is AMH₁
238 4330 Wherin J, F
239 4334 þo men H₁XGEC, B
240 4343 þe AMH₁XGB₂, Δ, W
241 4349 was lore H₁ ... B₂
242 4351 As] And AM ... B₂
243 4352 hirself adreynt B
244 4361 was spoke H₁XECLB₂
245 4367 To him þat BT, W
246 4369 you] þou H₁YB₂, BT, WH₃
247 4391 where þe biȝete sterte EC wher euere þei be ȝit stert(e) H₁XRLB₂
248 4396 To] And H₁ ... B₂
249 4402 by so AMH₁XRCLB₂, B so W
250 4411 thei] sche B
251 4413 wolde he H₁XRCLB₂
252 4423 of continuance BT and contenance LB₂, WH₃
253 4425 his om. AM ... B₂
254 4427 wher it is A ... B₂, FWKH₃
255 4452 it were AM
256 4462 ther] þat BT
257 4468 My þought and al my loue BT Mi loue and al mi trewþe Δ
258 4485 sein (seie) MXCLB₂, W
259 4504 mihte S miht (might) AJ, B, F
260 4507 usure] mesure BT
261 4512 al þis BT
262 4518 als so] als (as) X, Ad, WH₃
263 4523 it om. B
264 4525 Thus beie I diere] I beye deere H₁ ... B₂
265 4526 noght om. H₁RCLB₂, W
266 4565 þe ende H₁ ... B₂
267 4568 riht wel paid] wel a payd (appaied) H₁ ... B₂
268 4571 of suche dede BT
269 4574 thogh] of ERCB₂ if H₁
270 4576 ffro whom AM
271 4579 hire AJM
272 4586 margin decreuit, pro eo quod ipsa Eccho om. BT, H₃
273 4587 on om. BT
274 4595 that om. MH₁XRCLB₂, Δ, W
275 4612 was om. AM
276 4634 quite BT, W
277 4642 vice BT
278 4643 in the wodes] euere in wodes AM ... B₂
279 4651 herte XEC, BT, W
280 4652 places XGLB₂, B
281 4671 Blinde AJ, S, F Blind C, B
282 4680 wole A
283 4682 Whan EC
284 4701 By (Bi) so AM ... B₂, B (Be so G)
285 4717 why F which A ... B₂, S ... Δ, KH₃Magd thi W
286 4732 ffor wiþ SΔ
287 4738 By so AMX ... B₂, B
288 4739 I myhte] It m. AM ... B₂, S ... Δ
289 4742 That it schal H₁ ... B₂
290 4770 I schal BT
291 4788 That man H₁ ... B₂
292 4789 margin Babilonem A ... B₂
293 4792 yifte om. H₁RCLB₂
294 4808 Rabio A ... B₂
295 4814 such om. AMRCL
296 4817 Spondeus H₁ ... B₂ Spondius T
297 4818 in om. RCB₂
298 4851 Rabio A ... B₂
299 4856 the] he AM
300 4862 schette (schet) JXERCB₂
301 4868 I] it BT þou H₁ ... B₂
302 4872 wold B
303 4877 thi] þis H₁E ... B₂
304 Latin Verses vii. 2 dicta que SBT dictaque AJM, FW dictique (dicti que) H₁E ... B₂
305 3 alonge AJ, F a longe SB
306 4920 Dampnen þe vnkinde creature H₁ ... B₂ (Dampneth H₁B₂) lifissh S, F liuissh BT liuynge AJM, Δ liflich (livelich) WH₃
307 4921 who that it kan] þat it can AM by þat I can H₁ ... B₂
308 4935 olde AJ, S, F old C, B
309 4942 at] þat XECLB₂ þat at H₁R
310 4944 the om. H₁ ... B₂, BΔ
311 4959 margin ipsum] insuper ipsum AM
312 4981 the] þo B om. T
313 4984 all S, F alle AJ, B
314 4989 f. put: knvt AMC pit: knit H₁XRLB₂, Ad, W
315 4994 þe pit (put &c.) H₁ ... B₂, Ad, W
316 5003 sore] for AM he W
317 5011 fantosme, bot yit] fantasme (fantome) þat BTΛ fantasme and ȝit L fantasie but he ȝit W
318 5021 him hath adresced] þo him haþ dresced H₁XRCLB₂
319 5025 al softe] alofte B softe W
320 5034 If it so be þat he vpbreyde (vmbreide) BT
321 5035 speke F rest spoke
322 5045 o word H₁C, BT one word Δ, W
323 5051 the om. AM
324 5054 aroute F
325 5064 a om. H₁RCLB₂
326 5071 Thonkende] Touchynge AH₁R (Thonkinge in ras. C)
327 5102 That to] Vnto B
328 5105 bot it be grace] but it be bi grace AM but be goddis grace Δ
329 5111 the om. AM
330 5114 so he dede AdBTΔ, W
331 5125 al aboute H₁XRCL
332 5128 þat man H₁ ... B₂
333 5130 him om. BT
334 5131 ek (eek) AJC, BT eke F
335 5134 a mannes] mannes XE, B
336 5145 And in þe AM And tho the H₁
337 5157 the] in AM ... B₂
338 5158 eny AM
339 5159 hem AMGRLB₂
340 5180 eny om. AM
341 5199 bot] by (be) BT for W
342 5204 Wherof AM ... B₂
343 5210 þy þought BT
344 5215 standt S, F stant AC, B standeþ J thi] þe H₁ ... B₂
345 5225 ffor loue H₁ ... B₂
346 5236 bar AJC, BT bare S, F
347 5237 margin suffultus] fultus BT
348 5239 margin vincit H₁ ... B₂
349 5242 vsed AM ... B₂, W
350 5248 dighte F dihte AJ and so also in l. 5352
351 5252 cite H₁ ... B₂, T
352 5277 And] Of B
353 5281 of Troie XC, S ... Δ, W
354 5282 lost hath] lost(e) H₁ ... B₂ hath lost W
355 5288 world] lord BT
356 5299 therinne] euer inne H₁ ... B₂
357 5302 many AC, B manye (manie) S, F monie J
358 5308 As] And X ... B₂
359 5316 this] his L, BT
360 5321 the king] to king E ... B₂, kynge (om. the) X
361 5326 put AJ, S, F putte C, BT
362 5341 sche schold B, W sche wolde T
363 5346 ayeinward] aȝein H₁ ... B₂
364 5349 tok (took) AJC, SB toke F
365 5357 Hou he] How þat he AH₁RCLB₂ How þat M
366 5359 þe maide AM ... B₂
367 5364 So was B gret om. AM wonder AC, BT wondre J, S, F
368 5372 þis ground S ... Δ
369 5387 wold(e) BT
370 5411 f.
And so fell þat vpon an ile
Thei were wind driue wiþinne a while

H₁ ... B₂ (driuen in a while L)

371 5427 his] alle B
372 5430 schipman H₁ ... B₂, W
373 5438 afriht (a fright &c.) A ... B₂ (except E), W
374 5449 it at nede H₁XRCLB₂
375 5456 is] was H₁E ... B₂
376 5457 into] to S ... Δ
377 5464 tresces AC tresses BT trescess J, S, F
378 5465 wiþ hir selue (self) took a strif H₁ ... B₂ wiþ hirself sche took such a s. B
379 5466 betwen(e) deþ H₁ ... B₂
380 5467 lay] weepe (wep) BT
381 5480 after þat S ... Δ
382 5500 as for BT
383 5507 it om. AM ... B₂ (except E)
384 5510 seruant H₁ ... B₂
385 5520 þei failen H₁ ... B₂ he faileth W
386 5522 what] al þat B
387 5524 thee schal] schal M ... B₂ schal þe Δ, W
388 5527 seline BT
389 5532 ladi love] loue desire H₁ ... B₂
390 5533 That] ffor BT was om. H₁ ... B₂
391 5539 wolde H₁ ... B₂
392 5546 lust AMCL listne Δ
393 5557 margin duas filias om. B
394 5559 margin Terco A ... B₂
395 5561 margin cum om. A ... B₂
396 5563 margin sororis A ... B₂, B, W
397 5560 wel om. H₁E ... B
398 5590 sche lay XGB₂, S ... Δ, W
399 5592 kist SB, F kyste (kiste) AJ
400 5597 to] by (be) A ... B₂
401 5600 Vnto B
402 5610 noght om. AM
403 5611 Of þat þey preyde T And þat þei preyde B
404 5621 he om. BT
405 5622 a fyre XC, B
406 5627 that] þe BT
407 5633 which] that H₁, BT om. M, W
408 5646 þi A this] þe M
409 5667 þo stones EC
410 5670 tale] al BT
411 5671 f.
And crie it to briddes al aboute
How þou hast do to me þurghoute H₁ ... B₂

(to þe briddes R)

412 5678 How schalt AM ... B₂ Euel has W
413 5684 a om. A
414 5719 Of] And BT
415 5737 wele vnto E, B welþe into MH₁C grete A, S, F gret JC, B
416 5740 and þus C
417 5743 wrongful þing X ... B₂ wonderfull thyng H₁
418 5748 hadde I S ... Δ
419 5765 wold(e) H₁ECB₂, W
420 5769 tyt (tit) AC, SB tyd J, F
421 5773 hadde (had) do H₁ ... B₂
422 5774 lappeþ B
423 5802 riht om. H₁ ... B₂
424 5807 ther] wher H₁ ... B₂
425 5810 sihe AJ, S, F sih C, B
426 5816 a vov (a vou) J, S, F avow AC, B
427 5837 ladis (ladyes) H₁ ... B₂
428 5859 noght] neuer H₁ ... B₂
429 5873 chambre H₁XELB₂, AdBTΔ, W
430 5878 herkne (herken) LB₂, BTΔ, W
431 5880 The AJMH₁XRLB₂ Tho EC
432 5889 To ... grieue H₁ ... B₂
433 5890 þat was so lieue H₁ ... B₂
434 5918 hier ben nou we] here be we now J nowe we her be W here ben we M hier (here) ben now (om. we) H₁ ... B₂
435 5925 remenbrance F
436 5929 in to H₁ECLB₂, BTΔ, H₃
437 5936 Al sodeinly þat men it syhe H₁ ... B₂
438 5944 þe nightingale XECLB₂
439 5958 Sche thenkth] Sche was H₁ ... B₂
440 5962 larchesse F
441 5966 al] and AM ... L om. B₂
442 5971 sih (sigh &c.) E, AdBT, WH₃ saw Δ (seþ S)
443 5974] þe Philomene H₁ ... B₂
444 5977 openly] priuely H₁ ... B₂
445 5979 O why] Why BT
446 5981 Which AJ, S, F Whiche B
447 6008 world] woode B word T
448 6011 chatreþ (chatereth) AMH₁ chater (chateren) YXG ... B₂
449 6012 falshod A, S, F falshode JC, B
450 6016 wol C, B
451 6019 to vnderstonde H₁E ... B₂
452 6020 falshod A, F falshode J, SB falshede C hire] here (her) H₁ERL, SAdΔ, FH₃
453 6026 no om. AM, Ad þe X, W
454 6042 in H₁E ... B₂
455 6044 he was] of a BT
456 6046 The l. A ... B₂, SAdΔ, WH₃
457 6048 Bewar F Be war AJC, SB
458 6052 to Tereus BT
459 6053 goddes forebode] nay god it forbede X ... B₂ nay god for bede H₁ (goddes forbode AJM, AdT, WH₃)
460 6054 be fortrede (for trede) H₁XECLB₂ to be trede R
461 6059 louer(e) AM ... B₂
462 6076 himseluen (himself) in d. H₁ ... B₂
463 6084 water AC, B watre J, S, F
464 6101 pourchas S ... Δ
465 6103 as] or AMRCL heere H₁ om. E
466 6110 wyldee F wher] þer AM
467 6114 hir(e) chaffare H₁ ... B₂ þi ch. M
468 margin cum om. B
469 6151 þis AM þe H₁XGRB₂ þo EC
470 6162 Neptimus AH₁R, BT, H₃
471 6167 so sod.] al sod. H₁ ... B₂
472 6178 Wherfor(e) to AB₂, Δ Wherof to H₁ Where to BT, W
473 6190 and] ad F lete it be AM
474 6215 Maide] may H₁ ... B₂ him hath] is him S ... Δ hath him W
475 6234 wol B
476 6239 margin quendam] quem B
477 6256 in to A ... B₂, W
478 6257 al a] alle AM al þe (alle the) H₁E ... B₂
479 6267 byde AM
480 6289 he AdBT
481 6293 vngoodlich JC, SB, F vngoodliche A
482 6296 of micherye B
483 6302 chastie EC
484 6304 that om. AM, Ad
485 6313 in honde X, SAdBTΔ
486 6317 happeþ E, AdBTΔ happed W
487 6318 he YEC, AdBT
488 6319 a bough H₁ ... B₂, Δ
489 6324 wodesschawe AJ, F woode schawe C, BT
490 6336 so] tuo E, B too W
491 6341 a weie F
492 6351 olde ensamples AdBT, W
493 Latin Verses x. om. here and ins. later S ... Δ (ins. here Λ)
494 6361 That whilom was an emp. H₁E That whilom þer was emp. XRCLB₂ þat what man was þo emp. Δ
495 6363 and in] and AMR in LB₂
496 6364 margin sedebant H₁RCLB₂
497 6366 of] a AdBT
498 6367 womman H₁ ... B₂, W
499 6372 Phirus AM
500 6378 be om. AM
501 6381 threste] put B
502 6382 him] it B
503 6387 f.
That maidenhode is forto preise
Who þat þe vertus wolde peise

S ... ΔΛ

504 6390 margin Hii secuntur agnum quocunque ierit SΔ
505 6395*-6438* Only in SAdBTΔΛ The text here follows S
506 6396* ff. margin In carne—est om. B
507 6398* Lich BT Liche S
508 Latin Verses x. inserted after 6412* SAdBT after 6413* Δ
509 margin Milicia—terram BΛ om.
510 6413* book BT boke S
511 6427* dedly BT dedely S
512 6429* stood BT stode S
513 6430* is ȝit SΔ it is AdBTΛ
514 margin contra sue om. B
515 6439* margin castissime B
516 6436* stood BT stode S
517 6408 and] of AdBT
518 6409 put AJ, S, F putte B
519 6418 My fader H₁ ... B₂, Ad mai wel AMEC, S ... ΔΛ
520 6429 take AJ, F tak SB
521 6444 Criseid(e) þe doughter AdBTΔ (Criseide dowhter S)
522 6452 grete AJ, S, F gret C, BT
523 6461 in] hem AXG ... B₂ hym MH₁
524 6463 he founde RCLB₂ be f. E
525 6465 apposed AM ... B₂ (except E)
526 6471 maide and] mayden (maide) H₁ ... B₂, AdBT, W
527 6472 ȝaf AM ... B₂, T, W (gave)
528 6486 f.
[Sidenote: Amans.]
My fader so I wole I wis
But now [wiþ] ȝour ensamplerie H₁ ... B₂

(wiþ om. all except E)

529 Latin Verses xi. 1 ad horam E, B
530 2 tempora AdBT
531 3 insidii H₁ ... B₂
532 6499 margin custodire A ... B₂
533 6501 at home H₁ ... B₂
534 6518 wold(e) H₁ ... B₂
535 6533 As] And AdBT, H₃
536 6547 And for AdBT, W
537 6585 wolde AJ, SB wold C, F
538 6597 hih A, F hihe B hye J
539 6617 no om. H₁E ... B₂, H₃
540 6633 pile C
541 6634 skile C
542 6641 I wot wel may I] wel ne may I B wel may I AdT I wot wel I mai Δ
543 6653 tolde] me tolde AM
544 6659 such a wise MH₁E ... B₂, W
545 6667 to] and S ... Δ
546 6678 the] hire (hir) X ... B₂, B here H₁
547 6694 who so AdBT þoght (þought) C, SB þoghte (þouhte) AJ, F
548 6697 ha doo AM kan do Δ
549 6700 put AJ, S, F putte B it on] it in H₁ECL me in B₂
550 6706 tel E, B
551 6715 his lawe AMX ... B₂ hire lawe H₁ þe lawe S ... Δ
552 6717 margin de die] die H₁ ... B₂ de nocte B
553 6728 margin matre nescia] matre H₁RCLB₂ matre nesciente X, B nesciente matre E
554 6731 margin quem om. AMH₁E ... B₂
555 6732 margin nunc H₁ ... B₂
556 6719 Phebus H₁ ... B₂
557 6742 if om. AM
558 6746 thus om. AM
559 6751 which] þat A ... B₂ om. W
560 6756 How it befell and how it was H₁ ... B₂
561 6766 it schal S ... Δ
562 6768 Mow AC, S, F Mowe J, B
563 6769 hir(e) AJM, WH₃
564 6771 do make J, SΔ, FH₃ to make AM, AdBT, W go make H₁ ... B₂
565 6795 he AdBT
566 6802 and om. B
567 6803 bifell AM, Ad, H₃
568 6816 margin sectis ARCLB₂
569 6824 margin voluntatem AM
570 6811 Toward XRCLB₂ Towarde H₁
571 6821 S has lost a leaf (ll. 6821-7000)
572 6836 Weere F Were AC, B Wher(e) JG
573 6839 so om. H₁XRCLB₂ him E
574 6846 herte H₁RCLB₂
575 For 6848-6851 X has
That he by daye in oþer stede
ffor ouȝte þat he haþ prayde and bede
To stele myȝte nouȝt suffise
Beþouȝte him in a noþer wise
And þer vpon his time awaiteþ
576 6856 him om. A ... B₂
577 6857 hire AM, B
578 6858 That] And AM ... B₂
579 6867 the man] to man H₁ ... B₂
580 6883 Ech AJC, B Eche F hemself B
581 6895 Beginne H₁ ... B₂ (except C), AdBT
582 6925 þrew C, B þrewe AJ, F
583 6932 a route J, B, F arowte A
584 6933 it ferde AdBT
585 6954 Mi om. AdBT
586 6955 on rowe H₁RCLB₂
587 6967 a lawe B
588 7015*-7036* Only in AdBTΛ (not Δ) S is here defective, but did not contain the passage. Text follows B
589 7015* f. taght: naght T
590 7025* euere T euer B
591 7034* þenkeþ B thinkth T
592 7036* rifleth T ruyfleþ B
593 6994 wurse A, F worse JC, B
594 7001 S resumes
595 7007 (7061*) margin SBΔΛ have here Hic tractat precipue de tribus sacrilegis, quorum vnus fuit Antiochus, alter Nabuzardan, tercius Nabugodonosor. (precipue om. Δ)
596 7008 lawe AdBT
597 7009 hou om. H₁ ... B₂
598 7010 sore] alle H₁ ... B₂
599 7022 (7076*) margin Nota de scriptura in pariete tempore Regis Baltazar, que fuit mane, techel, phares SBΛ (scripta B)
600 7025 it om. H₁ ... B₂
601 7086*-7210* Only in SAdBTΔΛ Text here follows S
602 7100* sleyhte SΔ stelþe AdBT
603 7104* line om. BT
604 7121* charboncle AdT charbocle B
605 7126* margin barbam ab eo] barbam a deo BΛ (margin om. AdT)
606 7128* margin volui] nolui BΛ
607 7129* margin qui ante—templo om. B
608 7132* margin set honestate] sed ex honestate BΛ
609 7140* he om. AdBTΛ
610 7148* the] he S
611 7150* a feerd (a ferd) SB aferd T
612 7156* Durste BT Durst S
613 7157* gret BT grete S
614 7176* As vnto þat SΔ Vnto þat AdTΛ Vnto þat point B
615 7181* of SΔ þurgh BT þoro Ad
616 7183* And ... am I AdBTΛ
617 7204* took BT toke S
618 7048 love] houe G, AdBTΛ
619 7053 leueful AJ, S, F leuful C lieful B
620 7070 the fleissh] his fl. AdBTΛ
621 7078 preie (prey) AMH₁
622 7094 do] be CL
623 7106 noght] neuer (neer) A ... B₂
624 7119 or of] of a AM
625 7124 to me haþ be strange H₁ ... B₂, W
626 7131 on hire A ... B₂ on here H₁
627 7137 wold C, S, F wolde AJ, B
628 7152 I wolde AdBTΛ
629 7160 I om. AMR
630 7163 eny] holi S ... ΔΛ
631 7166 as it were H₁ ... B₂ ȝif I were J
632 7172 so] to AM
633 7177 so] sone H₁ ... B₂
634 7181 ȝe þenken AM ȝou þenken H₁XRCL ye thingeth W
635 7194 on þe I wol H₁ ... CB₂ on þe wol I L
636 7203 margin famossima F
637 7205 margin vniuersa BT vniuersum A ... B₂
638 7206 margin causabat A ... B₂
639 7208 the] in AM ... B₂
640 7215 that] þe H₁ ... B₂
641 7223 þe tale H₁ ... B₂
642 7236 maken] make an B
643 7257 of good] and good JH₁, AdBTΛ
644 7264] þo þenkende he B þus þenking he GC he þenking he H₁XRLB₂ he þenking þus E
645 7271 euery AdBT
646 7274 Antenor F
647 7275 Esiona H₁ ... B₂, T
648 7277 be large Ad by grace AM
649 7297 that] þe S ... Δ
650 7303 f. two lines om. AdBT
651 7311 hem] tuo (too) H₁ ... B₂
652 7318 his] him H₁ ... B₂, B, W
653 7327 And a proud word AMH₁XRCL And proude wordes B₂
654 7328 as tho] also AdBT
655 7336 all S, F alle AJ, B
656 7344 forto schewe] forto eschewe (for teschewe &c.) H₁ ... B₂
657 7363 or to werste JXERCL, H₂ falle it to werste H₁B₂
658 7382 This wrong and schame in bettre forme H₁ ... B₂ (The wrong X)
659 7388 wol (wil) him H₁ ... B₂, W
660 7391 trew F trewe AJC, SB
661 7400 ende er dai A
662 7403 went AC, S, F wente J, BT
663 7405 the] to AdBT
664 7410 a visioun MXGCLB₂, Δ, FWH₃ auisioun (avision etc.) AJH₁ER, SAdBT
665 7417 putt A, S, F putte JC, B
666 7419 that] þe AM
667 7441 Cassandre H₁ ... B₂
668 7464 the om. AM ... B₂
669 7470 þat same XRCLB₂, T
670 7504 wolde AdB
671 7510 on side H₁ ... B₂ (except E)
672 7533 went A, SB, F wente JC
673 7535 that om. AM ... B₂
674 7541 unto] to H₁ ... B₂
675 7544 it om. H₁ ... B₂
676 7554 in to AM ... B₂, WH₃ to Δ
677 7570 token] tolden S ... Δ
678 7602 of lust (luste) H₁ ... B₂
679 7604 line om. B
680 7611 what] þe AdBT that W
681 7619 Skarnesse F
682 7621 and of M ... B₂, T
683 7630 to trouþe AMH₁XRCLB₂ by trouþe E
684 7634 partie (party) þat he wrongeþ AM ... B₂
685 Latin Verses xiii. 1 extrema que C, B extremaque J, F
686 7689 tomoche E, S, F to moche AJ, BT tuo (two) moche H₁ ... B₂ (except E) the moche W
687 7694 lost AM ... B₂ (except E) loseth W leueth Δ
688 7700 it bredeþ A ... B₂
689 7701-7746 Forty-six lines om. S ... Δ (ins. Λ)
690 7725 margin Beacius—accipere om. A ... B₂ accipere] ac-pere F
691 7742 margin Aplus A Amplus H₁ERC Amplius B₂ Ambrosius X
692 7751 The whil J, W þat whil C (Al þe while he hath his pak Δ)
693 7766 non] gon AM
694 7784 sene (sen) many on H₁ ... B₂
695 7804 to] vnto E, B
696 7809 wol me AdBT, W me wolde M
697 7817 in auenture AM ... B₂, W
698 7819 Telle JC, SB Tell A, F
699 7823 tymes AdBTΔ
700 7829 stilled S ... Δ
701 7840 euermore H₁XRB₂, BΔ, W

[Pg 167]

Incipit Liber Sextus

P. iii. 1
i. Est gula que nostrum maculauit prima parentem
Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo.
Hec agit vt corpus anime contraria spirat,
Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer.
Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur,
Potibus ebrietas conuiciata ruit.
Mersa sopore, labris, que Bachus inebriat hospes,
Indignata Venus oscula raro premit.
The grete Senne original,
Which every man in general
Upon his berthe hath envenymed,
Hic in sexto libro tractare intendit de illo capitali vicio quod Gula dicitur, nec non et de eiusdem duabus solummodo speciebus, videlicet Ebrietate et Delicacia, ex quibus humane concupiscencie oblectamentum habundancius augmentatur.
In Paradis it was mystymed:
Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,
His swete morscel was to hot,
Which dedly made the mankinde.
And in the bokes as I finde,
This vice, which so out of rule
Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule;702 10
P. iii. 2
Of which the branches ben so grete,
That of hem alle I wol noght trete,
Bot only as touchende of tuo703
I thenke speke and of no mo;
[i. Drunkenness.]
Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,
Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.
Ful many a wonder doth this vice,
He can make of a wisman nyce,
And of a fool, that him schal seme
That he can al the lawe deme, 20
And yiven every juggement
Which longeth to the firmament
Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;
[Pg 168]
And thus he makth a gret clerk sone
Of him that is a lewed man.
Ther is nothing which he ne can,
Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,
He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,
He is a noble man of armes,
And yit no strengthe is in his armes: 30
Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,
With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,
And al is changed his astat,
And wext anon so fieble and mat,704
That he mai nouther go ne come,
Bot al togedre him is benome
The pouer bothe of hond and fot,
So that algate abide he mot.
And alle hise wittes he foryet,
The which is to him such a let, 40
P. iii. 3
That he wot nevere what he doth,
Ne which is fals, ne which is soth,
Ne which is dai, ne which is nyht,
And for the time he knowth no wyht,705
That he ne wot so moche as this,
What maner thing himselven is,
Or he be man, or he be beste.
That holde I riht a sori feste,
Whan he that reson understod
So soudeinliche is woxe wod, 50
Or elles lich the dede man,
Which nouther go ne speke can.
Thus ofte he is to bedde broght,
Bot where he lith yit wot he noght,
Til he arise upon the morwe;
And thanne he seith, ‘O, which a sorwe
It is a man be drinkeles!’706
So that halfdrunke in such a res
With dreie mouth he sterte him uppe,707
And seith, ‘Nou baillez ça the cuppe.’ 60
That made him lese his wit at eve[Pg 169]
Is thanne a morwe al his beleve;
The cuppe is al that evere him pleseth,
And also that him most deseseth;
It is the cuppe whom he serveth,
Which alle cares fro him kerveth708
And alle bales to him bringeth:
In joie he wepth, in sorwe he singeth,
For Dronkeschipe is so divers,709
It may no whyle stonde in vers. 70
P. iii. 4
He drinkth the wyn, bot ate laste
The wyn drynkth him and bint him faste,
And leith him drunke be the wal,
As him which is his bonde thral
And al in his subjeccion.
And lich to such condicion,
As forto speke it other wise,
It falleth that the moste wise
Ben otherwhile of love adoted,710
And so bewhaped and assoted, 80
Of drunke men that nevere yit
Was non, which half so loste his wit
Of drinke, as thei of such thing do
Which cleped is the jolif wo;
And waxen of here oghne thoght
So drunke, that thei knowe noght711
What reson is, or more or lesse.
Such is the kinde of that sieknesse,
And that is noght for lacke of brain,
Bot love is of so gret a main, 90
That where he takth an herte on honde,
Ther mai nothing his miht withstonde:
The wise Salomon was nome,
And stronge Sampson overcome,
The knihtli David him ne mihte
Rescoue, that he with the sihte
Of Bersabee ne was bestad,
Virgile also was overlad,
[Pg 170]
And Aristotle was put under.
Forthi, mi Sone, it is no wonder 100
P. iii. 5
If thou be drunke of love among,712
Which is above alle othre strong:
And if so is that thou so be,
Tell me thi Schrifte in privite;
It is no schame of such a thew
A yong man to be dronkelew.
Of such Phisique I can a part,
And as me semeth be that art,
Thou scholdest be Phisonomie
Be schapen to that maladie 110
Of lovedrunke, and that is routhe.
Confessio Amantis.
Ha, holi fader, al is trouthe
That ye me telle: I am beknowe
That I with love am so bethrowe,
And al myn herte is so thurgh sunke,
That I am verrailiche drunke,
And yit I mai bothe speke and go.
Bot I am overcome so,
And torned fro miself so clene,
That ofte I wot noght what I mene; 120
So that excusen I ne mai
Min herte, fro the ferste day
That I cam to mi ladi kiththe,
I was yit sobre nevere siththe.
Wher I hire se or se hire noght,
With musinge of min oghne thoght,
Of love, which min herte assaileth,
So drunke I am, that mi wit faileth
And al mi brain is overtorned,
And mi manere so mistorned, 130
P. iii. 6
That I foryete al that I can
And stonde lich a mased man;
That ofte, whanne I scholde pleie,
It makth me drawe out of the weie
In soulein place be miselve,
As doth a labourer to delve,
Which can no gentil mannes chere;
[Pg 171]
Or elles as a lewed Frere,
Whan he is put to his penance,
Riht so lese I mi contienance. 140
And if it nedes so betyde,
That I in compainie abyde,
Wher as I moste daunce and singe
The hovedance and carolinge,
Or forto go the newefot,713
I mai noght wel heve up mi fot,
If that sche be noght in the weie;
For thanne is al mi merthe aweie,
And waxe anon of thoght so full,
Wherof mi limes ben so dull, 150
I mai unethes gon the pas.714
For thus it is and evere was,715
Whanne I on suche thoghtes muse,
The lust and merthe that men use,
Whan I se noght mi ladi byme,
Al is foryete for the time
So ferforth that mi wittes changen
And alle lustes fro me strangen,
That thei seie alle trewely,
And swere, that it am noght I.716 160
P. iii. 7
For as the man which ofte drinketh,
With win that in his stomac sinketh717
Wext drunke and witles for a throwe,
Riht so mi lust is overthrowe,
And of myn oghne thoght so mat
I wexe, that to myn astat
Ther is no lime wol me serve,
Bot as a drunke man I swerve,
And suffre such a Passion,
That men have gret compassion, 170
And everich be himself merveilleth
What thing it is that me so eilleth.718
Such is the manere of mi wo
Which time that I am hire fro,
[Pg 172]
Til eft ayein that I hire se.
Bot thanne it were a nycete
To telle you hou that I fare:
For whanne I mai upon hire stare,
Hire wommanhede, hire gentilesse,
Myn herte is full of such gladnesse, 180
That overpasseth so mi wit,
That I wot nevere where it sit,
Bot am so drunken of that sihte,
Me thenkth that for the time I mihte
Riht sterte thurgh the hole wall;
And thanne I mai wel, if I schal,
Bothe singe and daunce and lepe aboute,
And holde forth the lusti route.
Bot natheles it falleth so
Fulofte, that I fro hire go 190
P. iii. 8
Ne mai, bot as it were a stake,
I stonde avisement to take
And loke upon hire faire face;
That for the while out of the place
For al the world ne myhte I wende.
Such lust comth thanne into mi mende,
So that withoute mete or drinke,719
Of lusti thoughtes whiche I thinke
Me thenkth I mihte stonden evere;
And so it were to me levere 200
Than such a sihte forto leve,
If that sche wolde yif me leve720
To have so mochel of mi wille.
And thus thenkende I stonde stille
Withoute blenchinge of myn yhe,
Riht as me thoghte that I syhe
Of Paradis the moste joie:
And so therwhile I me rejoie,
Into myn herte a gret desir,721
The which is hotere than the fyr, 210
Al soudeinliche upon me renneth,
That al mi thoght withinne brenneth,
[Pg 173]
And am so ferforth overcome,
That I not where I am become;
So that among the hetes stronge722
In stede of drinke I underfonge
A thoght so swete in mi corage,
That nevere Pyment ne vernage
Was half so swete forto drinke.
For as I wolde, thanne I thinke 220
P. iii. 9
As thogh I were at myn above,
For so thurgh drunke I am of love,
That al that mi sotye demeth
Is soth, as thanne it to me semeth.
And whyle I mai tho thoghtes kepe,
Me thenkth as thogh I were aslepe
And that I were in goddes barm;
Bot whanne I se myn oghne harm,
And that I soudeinliche awake
Out of my thought, and hiede take 230
Hou that the sothe stant in dede,
Thanne is mi sekernesse in drede
And joie torned into wo,
So that the hete is al ago
Of such sotie as I was inne.723
And thanne ayeinward I beginne
To take of love a newe thorst,
The which me grieveth altherworst,
For thanne comth the blanche fievere,
With chele and makth me so to chievere, 240
And so it coldeth at myn herte,724
That wonder is hou I asterte,725
In such a point that I ne deie:
For certes ther was nevere keie
Ne frosen ys upon the wal
More inly cold than I am al.
And thus soffre I the hote chele,
Which passeth othre peines fele;
In cold I brenne and frese in hete:
And thanne I drinke a biter swete250
P. iii. 10
[Pg 174]With dreie lippe and yhen wete.
Lo, thus I tempre mi diete,
And take a drauhte of such reles,
That al mi wit is herteles,
And al myn herte, ther it sit,
Is, as who seith, withoute wit;
So that to prove it be reson
In makinge of comparison
Ther mai no difference be
Betwen a drunke man and me. 260
Bot al the worste of everychon
Is evere that I thurste in on;726
The more that myn herte drinketh,
The more I may; so that me thinketh,
My thurst schal nevere ben aqueint.
God schilde that I be noght dreint
Of such a superfluite:
For wel I fiele in mi degre
That al mi wit is overcast,
Wherof I am the more agast, 270
That in defaulte of ladischipe
Per chance in such a drunkeschipe
I mai be ded er I be war.
For certes, fader, this I dar
Beknowe and in mi schrifte telle:
Bot I a drauhte have of that welle,
In which mi deth is and mi lif,
Mi joie is torned into strif,
That sobre schal I nevere worthe,
Bot as a drunke man forworthe; 280
P. iii. 11
So that in londe where I fare727
The lust is lore of mi welfare,
As he that mai no bote finde.
Bot this me thenkth a wonder kinde,
As I am drunke of that I drinke,728
So am I ek for falte of drinke;
Of which I finde no reles:
Bot if I myhte natheles
[Pg 175]
Of such a drinke as I coveite,
So as me liste, have o receite, 290
I scholde assobre and fare wel.
Bot so fortune upon hire whiel
On hih me deigneth noght to sette,
For everemore I finde a lette:
The boteler is noght mi frend,
Which hath the keie be the bend;
I mai wel wisshe and that is wast,729
For wel I wot, so freissh a tast,
Bot if mi grace be the more,
I schal assaie neveremore. 300
Thus am I drunke of that I se,
For tastinge is defended me,
And I can noght miselven stanche:
So that, mi fader, of this branche
I am gultif, to telle trouthe.
Mi Sone, that me thenketh routhe;
For lovedrunke is the meschief
Above alle othre the most chief,
If he no lusti thoght assaie,
Which mai his sori thurst allaie: 310
P. iii. 12
As for the time yit it lisseth
To him which other joie misseth.
Forthi, mi Sone, aboven alle
Thenk wel, hou so it the befalle,
And kep thi wittes that thou hast,
And let hem noght be drunke in wast:
Bot natheles ther is no wyht
That mai withstonde loves miht.
Bot why the cause is, as I finde,
Of that ther is diverse kinde 320
Of lovedrunke, why men pleigneth
After the court which al ordeigneth,
I wol the tellen the manere;
Nou lest, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere.
[Jupiter’s Two Tuns.]
For the fortune of every chance
After the goddes pourveance
Hic narrat secundum Poetam, qualiter in suo celario Iupiter duo dolea habet, quorum primum liquoris dulcissimi, secundum amarissimi plenum consistit, ita quod ille cui fatata est prosperitas de dulci potabit, alter vero, cui aduersabitur, poculum gustabit amaram.
To man it groweth from above,
[Pg 176]
So that the sped of every love
Is schape there, er it befalle.730
For Jupiter aboven alle, 330
Which is of goddes soverein,
Hath in his celier, as men sein,
Tuo tonnes fulle of love drinke,
That maken many an herte sinke
And many an herte also to flete,
Or of the soure or of the swete.
That on is full of such piment,
Which passeth all entendement
Of mannes witt, if he it taste,731
And makth a jolif herte in haste: 340
P. iii. 13
That other biter as the galle,
Which makth a mannes herte palle,
Whos drunkeschipe is a sieknesse
Thurgh fielinge of the biternesse.
Cupide is boteler of bothe,
Which to the lieve and to the lothe
Yifth of the swete and of the soure,
That some lawhe, and some loure.
But for so moche as he blind is,
Fulofte time he goth amis 350
And takth the badde for the goode,
Which hindreth many a mannes fode
Withoute cause, and forthreth eke.
So be ther some of love seke,732
Whiche oghte of reson to ben hole,
And some comen to the dole
In happ and as hemselve leste733
Drinke undeserved of the beste.734
And thus this blinde Boteler
Yifth of the trouble in stede of cler 360
And ek the cler in stede of trouble:
Lo, hou he can the hertes trouble,
And makth men drunke al upon chaunce735
[Pg 177]
Withoute lawe of governance.
If he drawe of the swete tonne,
Thanne is the sorwe al overronne
Of lovedrunke, and schalt noght greven736
So to be drunken every even,
For al is thanne bot a game.
Bot whanne it is noght of the same, 370
P. iii. 14
And he the biter tonne draweth,
Such drunkeschipe an herte gnaweth
And fiebleth al a mannes thoght,
That betre him were have drunke noght
And al his bred have eten dreie;
For thanne he lest his lusti weie737
With drunkeschipe, and wot noght whider
To go, the weies ben so slider,
In which he mai per cas so falle,738
That he schal breke his wittes alle. 380
And in this wise men be drunke
After the drink that thei have drunke:739
Bot alle drinken noght alike,
For som schal singe and som schal syke,
So that it me nothing merveilleth,
Mi Sone, of love that thee eilleth;
For wel I knowe be thi tale,740
That thou hast drunken of the duale,
Which biter is, til god the sende
Such grace that thou miht amende. 390
[Prayer. Bacchus in the Desert.]
Bot, Sone, thou schalt bidde and preie
In such a wise as I schal seie,
That thou the lusti welle atteigne
Thi wofull thurstes to restreigne
Of love, and taste the swetnesse;
As Bachus dede in his distresse,
Whan bodiliche thurst him hente
Nota hic qualiter potus aliquando sicienti precibus adquiritur. Et narrat in exemplum quod, cum Bachus de quodam bello ab oriente repatrians in quibusdam Lubie partibus alicuius generis potum non inuenit, fusis ad Iouem precibus, apparuit ei Aries, qui terram pede percussit,742 statimque fons emanauit; et sic potum petenti peticio preualuit.
In strange londes where he wente.
This Bachus Sone of Jupiter
[Pg 178]
Was hote, and as he wente fer 400
P. iii. 15
Be his fadres assignement
To make a werre in Orient,
And gret pouer with him he ladde,
So that the heiere hond he hadde
And victoire of his enemys,
And torneth homward with his pris,
In such a contre which was dreie
A meschief fell upon the weie.741
As he rod with his compainie
Nyh to the strondes of Lubie, 410
Ther myhte thei no drinke finde
Of water nor of other kinde,
So that himself and al his host
Were of defalte of drinke almost743
Destruid, and thanne Bachus preide
To Jupiter, and thus he seide:
‘O hihe fader, that sest al,
To whom is reson that I schal
Beseche and preie in every nede,
Behold, mi fader, and tak hiede 420
This wofull thurst that we ben inne744
To staunche, and grante ous forto winne,
And sauf unto the contre fare,
Wher that oure lusti loves are
Waitende upon oure hom cominge.’
And with the vois of his preiynge,
Which herd was to the goddes hihe,
He syh anon tofore his yhe
A wether, which the ground hath sporned;
And wher he hath it overtorned, 430
P. iii. 16
Ther sprang a welle freissh and cler,
Wherof his oghne boteler
After the lustes of his wille
Was every man to drinke his fille.745
And for this ilke grete grace
Bachus upon the same place
[Pg 179]
A riche temple let arere,
Which evere scholde stonde there
To thursti men in remembrance.
Forthi, mi Sone, after this chance 440
It sit thee wel to taken hiede
So forto preie upon thi nede,746
As Bachus preide for the welle;
And thenk, as thou hast herd me telle,
Hou grace he gradde and grace he hadde.
He was no fol that ferst so radde,
For selden get a domb man lond:
Tak that proverbe, and understond
That wordes ben of vertu grete.
Forthi to speke thou ne lete, 450
And axe and prei erli and late
Thi thurst to quenche, and thenk algate,
The boteler which berth the keie
Is blind, as thou hast herd me seie;
And if it mihte so betyde,
That he upon the blinde side
Per cas the swete tonne arauhte,
Than schalt thou have a lusti drauhte
And waxe of lovedrunke sobre.
And thus I rede thou assobre 460
P. iii. 17
Thin herte in hope of such a grace;
For drunkeschipe in every place,
To whether side that it torne,747
Doth harm and makth a man to sporne
And ofte falle in such a wise,
Wher he per cas mai noght arise.
[Love-Drunkenness. Tristram.]
And forto loke in evidence
Upon the sothe experience,
Hic de amoris ebrietate ponit exemplum, qualiter Tristrans ob potum,749 quem Brangweyne in naui ei porrexit, de amore Bele Isolde inebriatus extitit.
So as it hath befalle er this,748
In every mannes mouth it is 470
Hou Tristram was of love drunke
With Bele Ysolde, whan thei drunke
The drink which Brangwein hem betok,
Er that king Marc his Eem hire tok
[Pg 180]
To wyve, as it was after knowe.
And ek, mi Sone, if thou wolt knowe,
As it hath fallen overmore
In loves cause, and what is more
Of drunkeschipe forto drede,
As it whilom befell in dede, 480
Wherof thou miht the betre eschuie
Of drunke men that thou ne suie
The compaignie in no manere,
A gret ensample thou schalt hiere.
[Marriage of Pirithous.]
This finde I write in Poesie
Of thilke faire Ipotacie,
Hic de periculis ebrietatis causa in amore contingentibus750 narrat quod, cum Pirothous illam pulcherimam Ypotaciam in vxorem duceret, quosdam qui Centauri vocabantur inter alios vicinos ad nupcias inuitauit; qui vino imbuti, noue nupte formositatem aspicientes, duplici ebrietate insanierunt, ita quod ipsi subito salientes a mensa Ipotaciam a Pirothoo marito suo in752 impetu rapuerunt.
Of whos beaute ther as sche was
Spak every man,—and fell per cas,
That Pirotoüs so him spedde,
That he to wyve hire scholde wedde, 490
P. iii. 18
Wherof that he gret joie made.
And for he wolde his love glade,
Ayein the day of mariage
Be mouthe bothe and be message
Hise frendes to the feste he preide,751
With gret worschipe and, as men seide,
He hath this yonge ladi spoused.
And whan that thei were alle housed,
And set and served ate mete,
Ther was no wyn which mai be gete,753 500
That ther ne was plente ynouh:
Bot Bachus thilke tonne drouh,
Wherof be weie of drunkeschipe
The greteste of the felaschipe
Were oute of reson overtake;
And Venus, which hath also take
The cause most in special,
Hath yove hem drinke forth withal754
Of thilke cuppe which exciteth
The lust wherinne a man deliteth: 510
And thus be double weie drunke,[Pg 181]
Of lust that ilke fyri funke
Hath mad hem, as who seith, halfwode,755
That thei no reson understode,
Ne to non other thing thei syhen,
Bot hire, which tofore here yhen
Was wedded thilke same day,
That freisshe wif, that lusti May,
On hire it was al that thei thoghten.756
And so ferforth here lustes soghten, 520
P. iii. 19
That thei the whiche named were
Centauri, ate feste there
Of on assent, of on acord
This yonge wif malgre hire lord
In such a rage awei forth ladden,
As thei whiche non insihte hadden
Bot only to her drunke fare,
Which many a man hath mad misfare
In love als wel as other weie.
Wherof, if I schal more seie 530
Upon the nature of the vice,757
Of custume and of excercice
The mannes grace hou it fordoth,
A tale, which was whilom soth,
Of fooles that so drunken were,
I schal reherce unto thine Ere.
[Galba and Vitellius.]
I rede in a Cronique thus
Of Galba and of Vitellus,
Hic loquitur specialiter contra vicium illorum, qui nimia potacione quasi ex consuetudine ebriosi efficiuntur. Et narrat exemplum de Galba et Vitello, qui potentes in Hispania principes fuerunt, set ipsi cotidiane ebrietatis potibus assueti, tanta vicinis intulerunt enormia, quod tandem760 toto conclamante populo pena sentencie capitalis in eos iudicialiter diffinita est: qui priusquam morerentur, vt penam mortis alleuiarent, spontanea vini ebrietate sopiti, quasi porci semimortui gladio interierunt.758
The whiche of Spaigne bothe were
The greteste of alle othre there, 540
And bothe of o condicion
After the disposicion
Of glotonie and drunkeschipe.759
That was a sori felaschipe:
For this thou miht wel understonde,
That man mai wel noght longe stonde
Which is wyndrunke of comun us;
[Pg 182]
For he hath lore the vertus,
Wherof reson him scholde clothe;
And that was seene upon hem bothe. 550
P. iii. 20
Men sein ther is non evidence,
Wherof to knowe a difference
Betwen the drunken and the wode,
For thei be nevere nouther goode;761
For wher that wyn doth wit aweie,
Wisdom hath lost the rihte weie,
That he no maner vice dredeth;
Nomore than a blind man thredeth
His nedle be the Sonnes lyht,762
Nomore is reson thanne of myht, 560
Whan he with drunkeschipe is blent.
And in this point thei weren schent,
This Galba bothe and ek Vitelle,
Upon the cause as I schal telle,
Wherof good is to taken hiede.
For thei tuo thurgh her drunkenhiede
Of witles excitacioun
Oppressede al the nacion
Of Spaigne; for of fool usance,763
Which don was of continuance 570
Of hem, whiche alday drunken were,
Ther was no wif ne maiden there,
What so thei were, or faire or foule,
Whom thei ne token to defoule,
Wherof the lond was often wo:
And ek in othre thinges mo
Thei wroghten many a sondri wrong.
Bot hou so that the dai be long,
The derke nyht comth ate laste:
God wolde noght thei scholden laste, 580
P. iii. 21
And schop the lawe in such a wise,
That thei thurgh dom to the juise
Be dampned forto be forlore.
[Pg 183]
Bot thei, that hadden ben tofore
Enclin to alle drunkenesse,—
Here ende thanne bar witnesse;
For thei in hope to assuage
The peine of deth, upon the rage
That thei the lasse scholden fiele,
Of wyn let fille full a Miele,764 590
And dronken til so was befalle
That thei her strengthes losten alle
Withouten wit of eny brain;
And thus thei ben halfdede slain,
That hem ne grieveth bot a lyte.
Mi Sone, if thou be forto wyte
In eny point which I have seid,
Wherof thi wittes ben unteid,
I rede clepe hem hom ayein.765
I schal do, fader, as ye sein, 600
Als ferforth as I mai suffise:
Bot wel I wot that in no wise
The drunkeschipe of love aweie
I mai remue be no weie,
It stant noght upon my fortune.
Bot if you liste to comune
Of the seconde Glotonie,
Which cleped is Delicacie,
Wherof ye spieken hier tofore,
Beseche I wolde you therfore. 610
P. iii. 22
Mi Sone, as of that ilke vice,
Which of alle othre is the Norrice,
And stant upon the retenue
Of Venus, so as it is due,
The proprete hou that it fareth
The bok hierafter nou declareth.
ii. Delicie cum diuiciis sunt iura potentum,
In quibus orta Venus excitat ora gule.
Non sunt delicie tales, que corpora pascunt,
Ex quibus impletus gaudia venter agit,
[Pg 184]
Quin completus amor maiori munere gaudet,
Cum data deliciis mens in amante satur.766
Of this chapitre in which we trete
There is yit on of such diete,
Hic tractat super illa specie Gule que Delicacia nuncupatur, cuius mollicies767 voluptuose carni in personis precipue potentibus queque768 complacencia corporaliter ministrat.
To which no povere mai atteigne;
For al is Past of paindemeine769 620
And sondri wyn and sondri drinke,
Wherof that he wole ete and drinke:
Hise cokes ben for him affaited,
So that his body is awaited,
That him schal lacke no delit,
Als ferforth as his appetit
Sufficeth to the metes hote.
Wherof this lusti vice is hote
Of Gule the Delicacie,
Which al the hole progenie 630
Of lusti folk hath undertake
To feede, whil that he mai take
Richesses wherof to be founde:770
Of Abstinence he wot no bounde,
To what profit it scholde serve.
And yit phisique of his conserve
P. iii. 23
Makth many a restauracioun
Unto his recreacioun,
Which wolde be to Venus lief.
Thus for the point of his relief 640
The coc which schal his mete arraie,
Bot he the betre his mouth assaie,
His lordes thonk schal ofte lese,
Er he be served to the chese:
For ther mai lacke noght so lyte,
That he ne fint anon a wyte;
For bot his lust be fully served,771
Ther hath no wiht his thonk deserved.
And yit for mannes sustenance,
To kepe and holde in governance, 650
To him that wole his hele gete[Pg 185]
Is non so good as comun mete:
For who that loketh on the bokes,772
It seith, confeccion of cokes,
A man him scholde wel avise
Hou he it toke and in what wise.
For who that useth that he knoweth,
Ful selden seknesse on him groweth,
And who that useth metes strange,
Though his nature empeire and change 660
It is no wonder, lieve Sone,
Whan that he doth ayein his wone;
Philosophus. Consuetudo est altera natura.
For in Phisique this I finde,
Usage is the seconde kinde.773
P. iii. 24
And riht so changeth his astat774
He that of love is delicat:
For though he hadde to his hond
The beste wif of al the lond,
Or the faireste love of alle,
Yit wolde his herte on othre falle 670
And thenke hem mor delicious
Than he hath in his oghne hous:
Men sein it is nou ofte so;775
Avise hem wel, thei that so do.
And forto speke in other weie,
Fulofte time I have herd seie,
That he which hath no love achieved,
Him thenkth that he is noght relieved,
Thogh that his ladi make him chiere,
So as sche mai in good manere 680
Hir honour and hir name save,776
Bot he the surplus mihte have.
Nothing withstondende hire astat,
Of love more delicat
He set hire chiere at no delit,
[Pg 186]
Bot he have al his appetit.777
Mi Sone, if it be with thee so,
Tell me.
Confessio Amantis.
Myn holi fader, no:
For delicat in such a wise
Of love, as ye to me devise, 690
Ne was I nevere yit gultif;
For if I hadde such a wif
As ye speke of, what scholde I more?
For thanne I wolde neveremore
P. iii. 25
For lust of eny wommanhiede
Myn herte upon non other fiede:
And if I dede, it were a wast.
Bot al withoute such repast
Of lust, as ye me tolde above,
Of wif, or yit of other love, 700
I faste, and mai no fode gete;
So that for lacke of deinte mete,
Of which an herte mai be fedd,
I go fastende to my bedd.
Bot myhte I geten, as ye tolde,
So mochel that mi ladi wolde
Me fede with hir glad semblant,
Though me lacke al the remenant,
Yit scholde I somdel ben abeched
And for the time wel refreched. 710
Bot certes, fader, sche ne doth;
For in good feith, to telle soth,
I trowe, thogh I scholde sterve,
Sche wolde noght hire yhe swerve,
Min herte with o goodly lok778
To fede, and thus for such a cok
I mai go fastinge everemo:
Bot if so is that eny wo
Mai fede a mannes herte wel,
Therof I have at every meel 720
Of plente more than ynowh;
Bot that is of himself so towh,
[Pg 187]
Mi stomac mai it noght defie.
Lo, such is the delicacie
P. iii. 26
Of love, which myn herte fedeth;
Thus have I lacke of that me nedeth.
Bot for al this yit natheles
I seie noght I am gylteles,
That I somdel am delicat:
For elles were I fulli mat, 730
Bot if that I som lusti stounde
Of confort and of ese founde,
To take of love som repast;
For thogh I with the fulle tast779
The lust of love mai noght fiele,
Min hunger otherwise I kiele
Of smale lustes whiche I pike,
And for a time yit thei like;
If that ye wisten what I mene.
Nou, goode Sone, schrif thee clene 740
Of suche deyntes as ben goode,
Wherof thou takst thin hertes fode.
Confessio Amantis.
Mi fader, I you schal reherce,
Hou that mi fodes ben diverse,
So as thei fallen in degre.
O fiedinge is of that I se,780
An other is of that I here,
The thridde, as I schal tellen here,
It groweth of min oghne thoght:
And elles scholde I live noght; 750
For whom that failleth fode of herte,781
He mai noght wel the deth asterte.
Of sihte is al mi ferste fode,
Nota qualiter visus in amore se continet delicatus.
Thurgh which myn yhe of alle goode
P. iii. 27
Hath that to him is acordant,
A lusti fode sufficant.
Whan that I go toward the place
Wher I schal se my ladi face,
Min yhe, which is loth to faste,
Beginth to hungre anon so faste, 760
That him thenkth of on houre thre,[Pg 188]
Til I ther come and he hire se:782
And thanne after his appetit
He takth a fode of such delit,
That him non other deynte nedeth.
Of sondri sihtes he him fedeth:
He seth hire face of such colour,
That freisshere is than eny flour,
He seth hire front is large and plein
Withoute fronce of eny grein, 770
He seth hire yhen lich an hevene,
He seth hire nase strauht and evene,
He seth hire rode upon the cheke,
He seth hire rede lippes eke,
Hire chyn acordeth to the face,
Al that he seth is full of grace,
He seth hire necke round and clene,
Therinne mai no bon be sene,
He seth hire handes faire and whyte;
For al this thing without wyte 780
He mai se naked ate leste,
So is it wel the more feste
And wel the mor Delicacie
Unto the fiedinge of myn yhe.783
P. iii. 28
He seth hire schapthe forth withal,784
Hire bodi round, hire middel smal,
So wel begon with good array,
Which passeth al the lust of Maii,
Whan he is most with softe schoures
Ful clothed in his lusti floures. 790
With suche sihtes by and by
Min yhe is fed; bot finaly,
Whan he the port and the manere
Seth of hire wommanysshe chere,
Than hath he such delice on honde,
Him thenkth he mihte stille stonde,
And that he hath ful sufficance
Of liflode and of sustienance
[Pg 189]
As to his part for everemo.
And if it thoghte alle othre so, 800
Fro thenne wolde he nevere wende,
Bot there unto the worldes ende
He wolde abyde, if that he mihte,
And fieden him upon the syhte.
For thogh I mihte stonden ay
Into the time of domesday
And loke upon hire evere in on,
Yit whanne I scholde fro hire gon,
Min yhe wolde, as thogh he faste,
Ben hungerstorven al so faste, 810
Til efte ayein that he hire syhe.
Such is the nature of myn yhe:
Ther is no lust so deintefull,
Of which a man schal noght be full,
P. iii. 29
Of that the stomac underfongeth,
Bot evere in on myn yhe longeth:
For loke hou that a goshauk tireth,
Riht so doth he, whan that he pireth
And toteth on hire wommanhiede;
For he mai nevere fulli fiede 820
His lust, bot evere aliche sore
Him hungreth, so that he the more
Desireth to be fed algate:
And thus myn yhe is mad the gate,
Thurgh which the deyntes of my thoght
Of lust ben to myn herte broght.
Riht as myn yhe with his lok785
Is to myn herte a lusti coc
Of loves fode delicat,
Qualiter auris in amore delectatur.
Riht so myn Ere in his astat, 830
Wher as myn yhe mai noght serve,
Can wel myn hertes thonk deserve
And fieden him fro day to day
With suche deyntes as he may.
For thus it is, that overal,
Wher as I come in special,
I mai hiere of mi ladi pris;
[Pg 190]
I hiere on seith that sche is wys,786
An other seith that sche is good,
And som men sein, of worthi blod 840
That sche is come, and is also787
So fair, that nawher is non so;
And som men preise hire goodli chiere:
Thus every thing that I mai hiere,
P. iii. 30
Which souneth to mi ladi goode,
Is to myn Ere a lusti foode.
And ek min Ere hath over this
A deynte feste, whan so is
That I mai hiere hirselve speke;
For thanne anon mi faste I breke 850
On suche wordes as sche seith,
That full of trouthe and full of feith
Thei ben, and of so good desport,
That to myn Ere gret confort
Thei don, as thei that ben delices.
For al the metes and the spices,788
That eyn Lombard couthe make,
Ne be so lusti forto take
Ne so ferforth restauratif,
I seie as for myn oghne lif, 860
As ben the wordes of hire mouth:
For as the wyndes of the South
Ben most of alle debonaire,
So whan hir list to speke faire,
The vertu of hire goodly speche
Is verraily myn hertes leche.
And if it so befalle among,
That sche carole upon a song,
Whan I it hiere I am so fedd,
That I am fro miself so ledd, 870
As thogh I were in paradis;
For certes, as to myn avis,
Whan I here of hir vois the stevene,
Me thenkth it is a blisse of hevene.
P. iii. 31
And ek in other wise also
[Pg 191]
Fulofte time it falleth so,
Min Ere with a good pitance
Is fedd of redinge of romance
Of Ydoine and of Amadas,
That whilom weren in mi cas, 880
And eke of othre many a score,
That loveden longe er I was bore.
For whan I of here loves rede,
Min Ere with the tale I fede;
And with the lust of here histoire
Somtime I drawe into memoire
Hou sorwe mai noght evere laste;
And so comth hope in ate laste,
Whan I non other fode knowe.
And that endureth bot a throwe, 890
Riht as it were a cherie feste;
Bot forto compten ate leste,789
As for the while yit it eseth
And somdel of myn herte appeseth:
For what thing to myn Ere spreedeth,
Which is plesant, somdel it feedeth
With wordes suche as he mai gete
Mi lust, in stede of other mete.
Lo thus, mi fader, as I seie,790
Of lust the which myn yhe hath seie, 900
And ek of that myn Ere hath herd,
Fulofte I have the betre ferd.
And tho tuo bringen in the thridde,
The which hath in myn herte amidde
P. iii. 32
His place take, to arraie
The lusti fode, which assaie791
I mot; and nameliche on nyhtes,
Whan that me lacketh alle sihtes,
And that myn heringe is aweie,
Thanne is he redy in the weie 910
Mi reresouper forto make,
Of which myn hertes fode I take.
This lusti cokes name is hote
[Pg 192]
Thoght, which hath evere hise pottes hote
Qualiter cogitatus impressiones leticie ymaginatiuas cordibus inserit amantum.
Of love buillende on the fyr
With fantasie and with desir,
Of whiche er this fulofte he fedde
Min herte, whanne I was abedde;
And thanne he set upon my bord
Bothe every syhte and every word 920
Of lust, which I have herd or sein.
Bot yit is noght mi feste al plein,
Bot al of woldes and of wisshes,
Therof have I my fulle disshes,
Bot as of fielinge and of tast,
Yit mihte I nevere have o repast.
And thus, as I have seid aforn,792
I licke hony on the thorn,793
And as who seith, upon the bridel
I chiewe, so that al is ydel 930
As in effect the fode I have.
Bot as a man that wolde him save,
Whan he is sek, be medicine,
Riht so of love the famine
P. iii. 33
I fonde in al that evere I mai
To fiede and dryve forth the day,
Til I mai have the grete feste,
Which al myn hunger myhte areste.
Lo suche ben mi lustes thre;
Of that I thenke and hiere and se 940
I take of love my fiedinge
Withoute tastinge or fielinge:
And as the Plover doth of Eir
I live, and am in good espeir
That for no such delicacie
I trowe I do no glotonie.794
And natheles to youre avis,
Min holi fader, that be wis,
I recomande myn astat
Of that I have be delicat. 950
Mi Sone, I understonde wel
[Pg 193]
That thou hast told hier everydel,
And as me thenketh be thi tale,
It ben delices wonder smale,
Wherof thou takst thi loves fode.
Bot, Sone, if that thou understode
What is to ben delicious,
Thou woldest noght be curious
Upon the lust of thin astat
To ben to sore delicat, 960
Wherof that thou reson excede:
For in the bokes thou myht rede,
If mannes wisdom schal be suied,
It oghte wel to ben eschuied795
P. iii. 34
In love als wel as other weie;
For, as these holi bokes seie,
Delicie corporis militant aduersus animam.
The bodely delices alle
In every point, hou so thei falle,
Unto the Soule don grievance.
And forto take in remembrance, 970
A tale acordant unto this,
Which of gret understondinge is
To mannes soule resonable,796
I thenke telle, and is no fable.
[Dives and Lazarus.]
Of Cristes word, who wole it rede,
Hou that this vice is forto drede
Hic ponit exemplum contra istos delicatos. Et narrat de diuite et Lazaro, quorum gestus797 in euangelio Lucas euidencius describit.
In thevangile it telleth plein,
Which mot algate be certein,
For Crist himself it berth witnesse.
And thogh the clerk and the clergesse 980
In latin tunge it rede and singe,
Yit for the more knoulechinge
Of trouthe, which is good to wite,
I schal declare as it is write
In Engleissh, for thus it began.
Crist seith: ‘Ther was a riche man,
A mihti lord of gret astat,
And he was ek so delicat798
Of his clothing, that everyday
Of pourpre and bisse he made him gay, 990[Pg 194]
And eet and drank therto his fille
After the lustes of his wille,
As he which al stod in delice799
And tok non hiede of thilke vice.
P. iii. 35
And as it scholde so betyde,
A povere lazre upon a tyde
Cam to the gate and axed mete:
Bot there mihte he nothing gete800
His dedly hunger forto stanche;
For he, which hadde his fulle panche 1000
Of alle lustes ate bord,
Ne deigneth noght to speke a word,
Onliche a Crumme forto yive,
Wherof the povere myhte live801
Upon the yifte of his almesse.
Thus lai this povere in gret destresse802
Acold and hungred ate gate,
Fro which he mihte go no gate,803
So was he wofulli besein.
And as these holi bokes sein,804 1010
The houndes comen fro the halle,
Wher that this sike man was falle,
And as he lay ther forto die,
The woundes of his maladie
Thei licken forto don him ese.
Bot he was full of such desese,
That he mai noght the deth eschape;
Bot as it was that time schape,
The Soule fro the bodi passeth,
And he whom nothing overpasseth, 1020
The hihe god, up to the hevene
Him tok, wher he hath set him evene
In Habrahammes barm on hyh,805
Wher he the hevene joie syh
[Pg 195]
P. iii. 36
And hadde al that he have wolde.
And fell, as it befalle scholde,
This riche man the same throwe806
With soudein deth was overthrowe,
And forth withouten eny wente
Into the helle straght he wente;807 1030
The fend into the fyr him drouh,
Wher that he hadde peine ynouh
Of flamme which that evere brenneth.
And as his yhe aboute renneth,
Toward the hevene he cast his lok,
Wher that he syh and hiede tok
Hou Lazar set was in his Se
Als ferr as evere he mihte se
With Habraham; and thanne he preide
Unto the Patriarch and seide: 1040
“Send Lazar doun fro thilke Sete,
And do that he his finger wete
In water, so that he mai droppe
Upon my tunge, forto stoppe
The grete hete in which I brenne.”
Bot Habraham answerde thenne
And seide to him in this wise:
“Mi Sone, thou thee miht avise808
And take into thi remembrance,
Hou Lazar hadde gret penance, 1050
Whyl he was in that other lif,
Bot thou in al thi lust jolif
The bodily delices soghtest:
Forthi, so as thou thanne wroghtest,
P. iii. 37
Nou schalt thou take thi reward
Of dedly peine hierafterward
In helle, which schal evere laste;
And this Lazar nou ate laste
The worldes peine is overronne,
In hevene and hath his lif begonne 1060
Of joie, which is endeles.
[Pg 196]
Bot that thou preidest natheles,
That I schal Lazar to the sende
With water on his finger ende,
Thin hote tunge forto kiele,
Thou schalt no suche graces fiele;
For to that foule place of Sinne,
For evere in which thou schalt ben inne,
Comth non out of this place thider,
Ne non of you mai comen hider; 1070
Thus be yee parted nou atuo.”
The riche ayeinward cride tho:
“O Habraham, sithe it so is,
That Lazar mai noght do me this
Which I have axed in this place,
I wolde preie an other grace.
For I have yit of brethren fyve,
That with mi fader ben alyve
Togedre duellende in on hous;
To whom, as thou art gracious, 1080
I preie that thou woldest sende
Lazar, so that he mihte wende
To warne hem hou the world is went,
That afterward thei be noght schent
P. iii. 38
Of suche peines as I drye.809
Lo, this I preie and this I crie,
Now I may noght miself amende.”
The Patriarch anon suiende
To his preiere ansuerde nay;810
And seide him hou that everyday 1090
His brethren mihten knowe and hiere
Of Moïses on Erthe hiere
And of prophetes othre mo,
What hem was best. And he seith no;
Bot if ther mihte a man aryse
Fro deth to lyve in such a wise,
To tellen hem hou that it were,
He seide hou thanne of pure fere811
Thei scholden wel be war therby.
[Pg 197]
Quod Habraham: “Nay sikerly;812 1100
For if thei nou wol noght obeie
To suche as techen hem the weie,
And alday preche and alday telle
Hou that it stant of hevene and helle,
Thei wol noght thanne taken hiede,813
Thogh it befelle so in dede
That eny ded man were arered,814
To ben of him no betre lered
Than of an other man alyve.”815
If thou, mi Sone, canst descryve 1110
This tale, as Crist himself it tolde,
Thou schalt have cause to beholde,816
To se so gret an evidence,
Wherof the sothe experience
P. iii. 39
Hath schewed openliche at ÿe,
That bodili delicacie
Of him which yeveth non almesse
Schal after falle in gret destresse.
And that was sene upon the riche:
For he ne wolde unto his liche 1120
A Crumme yiven of his bred,
Thanne afterward, whan he was ded,
A drope of water him was werned.
Thus mai a mannes wit be lerned
Of hem that so delices taken;
Whan thei with deth ben overtaken,
That erst was swete is thanne sour.
Bot he that is a governour
Of worldes good, if he be wys,
Withinne his herte he set no pris 1130
Of al the world, and yit he useth
The good, that he nothing refuseth,
As he which lord is of the thinges.
The Nouches and the riche ringes,
The cloth of gold and the Perrie
He takth, and yit delicacie
[Pg 198]
He leveth, thogh he were al this.
The beste mete that ther is
He ett, and drinkth the beste drinke;
Bot hou that evere he ete or drinke, 1140
Delicacie he put aweie,
As he which goth the rihte weie
Noght only forto fiede and clothe
His bodi, bot his soule bothe.
P. iii. 40
Bot thei that taken otherwise
Here lustes, ben none of the wise;817
And that whilom was schewed eke,
If thou these olde bokes seke,
Als wel be reson as be kinde,
Of olde ensample as men mai finde. 1150
[Delicacy of Nero.]
What man that wolde him wel avise,818
Delicacie is to despise,
Hic loquitur de delicacia Neronis, qui corporalibus deliciis magis adherens spiritalia gaudia minus819 obtinuit.
Whan kinde acordeth noght withal;
Wherof ensample in special
Of Nero whilom mai be told,
Which ayein kinde manyfold
Hise lustes tok, til ate laste
That god him wolde al overcaste;
Of whom the Cronique is so plein,
Me list nomore of him to sein. 1160
And natheles for glotonie
Of bodili Delicacie,
To knowe his stomak hou it ferde,
Of that noman tofore herde,
Which he withinne himself bethoghte,
A wonder soubtil thing he wroghte.
Thre men upon eleccioun
[Pg 199]
Of age and of complexioun
Lich to himself be alle weie
He tok towardes him to pleie, 1170
And ete and drinke als wel as he.
Therof was no diversite;
For every day whan that thei eete,
Tofore his oghne bord thei seete,
And of such mete as he was served,
Althogh thei hadde it noght deserved,
P. iii. 41
Thei token service of the same.
Bot afterward al thilke game
Was into wofull ernest torned;
For whan thei weren thus sojorned, 1180
Withinne a time at after mete
Nero, which hadde noght foryete
The lustes of his frele astat,
As he which al was delicat,
To knowe thilke experience,
The men let come in his presence:820
And to that on the same tyde,
A courser that he scholde ryde
Into the feld, anon he bad;
Wherof this man was wonder glad, 1190
And goth to prike and prance aboute.
That other, whil that he was oute,
He leide upon his bedd to slepe:
The thridde, which he wolde kepe
Withinne his chambre, faire and softe
He goth now doun nou up fulofte,
Walkende a pass, that he ne slepte,
Til he which on the courser lepte
Was come fro the field ayein.
Nero thanne, as the bokes sein, 1200
These men doth taken alle thre
And slouh hem, for he wolde se
The whos stomak was best defied:
And whanne he hath the sothe tryed,
He fond that he which goth the pass
Defyed best of alle was,
[Pg 200]
P. iii. 42
Which afterward he usede ay.
And thus what thing unto his pay
Was most plesant, he lefte non:821
With every lust he was begon, 1210
Wherof the bodi myhte glade,
For he non abstinence made;
Bot most above alle erthli thinges
Of wommen unto the likinges
Nero sette al his hole herte,
For that lust scholde him noght asterte.
Whan that the thurst of love him cawhte,
Wher that him list he tok a drauhte,
He spareth nouther wif ne maide,
That such an other, as men saide, 1220
In al this world was nevere yit.
He was so drunke in al his wit
Thurgh sondri lustes whiche he tok,
That evere, whil ther is a bok,
Of Nero men schul rede and singe
Unto the worldes knowlechinge,
Mi goode Sone, as thou hast herd.
For evere yit it hath so ferd,
Delicacie in loves cas
Withoute reson is and was;822 1230
For wher that love his herte set,
Him thenkth it myhte be no bet;
And thogh it be noght fulli mete,823
The lust of love is evere swete.
Lo, thus togedre of felaschipe
Delicacie and drunkeschipe,
P. iii. 43
Wherof reson stant out of herre,
Have mad full many a wisman erre
In loves cause most of alle:
For thanne hou so that evere it falle, 1240
Wit can no reson understonde,
Bot let the governance stonde
To Will, which thanne wext so wylde,
That he can noght himselve schylde
[Pg 201]
Fro no peril, bot out of feere824
The weie he secheth hiere and there,
Him recheth noght upon what syde:
For oftetime he goth beside,
And doth such thing withoute drede,
Wherof him oghte wel to drede. 1250
Bot whan that love assoteth sore,
It passeth alle mennes lore;
What lust it is that he ordeigneth,
Ther is no mannes miht restreigneth,825
And of the godd takth he non hiede:
Bot laweles withoute drede,
His pourpos for he wolde achieve826
Ayeins the pointz of the believe,
He tempteth hevene and erthe and helle,
Hierafterward as I schal telle. 1260
[Sorcery and Witchcraft.]
iii. Dum stimulatur amor, quicquid iubet orta voluptas,
Audet et aggreditur, nulla timenda timens.
Omne quod astra queunt herbarum siue potestas,
Seu vigor inferni, singula temptat amans.
Quod nequit ipse deo mediante parare sinistrum,
Demonis hoc magica credulus arte parat.
Sic sibi non curat ad opus que recia tendit,
Dummodo nudatam prendere possit auem.
P. iii. 44
Who dar do thing which love ne dar?
To love is every lawe unwar,
Hic tractat qualiter Ebrietas et Delicacia omnis pudicicie contrarium instigantes inter alia ad carnalis concupiscencie promocionem Sortilegio827m magicam requirunt.
Bot to the lawes of his heste
The fissch, the foul, the man, the beste
Of al the worldes kinde louteth.
For love is he which nothing douteth;
In mannes herte where he sit,827
He compteth noght toward his wit
The wo nomore than the wele,
No mor the hete than the chele, 1270
No mor the wete than the dreie,
No mor to live than to deie,
[Pg 202]
So that tofore ne behinde
He seth nothing, bot as the blinde
Withoute insyhte of his corage
He doth merveilles in his rage.
To what thing that he wole him drawe,
Ther is no god, ther is no lawe,
Of whom that he takth eny hiede;
Bot as Baiard the blinde stede, 1280
Til he falle in the dich amidde,
He goth ther noman wole him bidde;
He stant so ferforth out of reule,
Ther is no wit that mai him reule.
And thus to telle of him in soth,
Ful many a wonder thing he doth,
That were betre to be laft,
Among the whiche is wicchecraft,
That som men clepen Sorcerie,828
Which forto winne his druerie 1290
P. iii. 45
With many a circumstance he useth,
Ther is no point which he refuseth.
Nota de Auctorum necnon et de829 librorum tam naturalis quam execrabilis magice nominibus.
The craft which that Saturnus fond,
To make prickes in the Sond,830
That Geomance cleped is,
Fulofte he useth it amis;
And of the flod his Ydromance,
And of the fyr the Piromance,
With questions echon of tho
He tempteth ofte, and ek also 1300
Aëremance in juggement
To love he bringth of his assent:
For these craftes, as I finde,
A man mai do be weie of kinde,
Be so it be to good entente.
Bot he goth al an other wente;
For rathere er he scholde faile,
With Nigromance he wole assaile
To make his incantacioun
With hot subfumigacioun. 1310
Thilke art which Spatula is hote,[Pg 203]
And used is of comun rote831
Among Paiens, with that craft ek
Of which is Auctor Thosz the Grek,
He worcheth on and on be rowe:
Razel is noght to him unknowe,
Ne Salomones Candarie,832
His Ydeac, his Eutonye;
The figure and the bok withal833
Of Balamuz, and of Ghenbal834 1320
P. iii. 46
The Seal, and therupon thymage
Of Thebith, for his avantage
He takth, and somwhat of Gibiere,
Which helplich is to this matiere.
Babilla with hire Sones sevene,
Which hath renonced to the hevene,
With Cernes bothe square and rounde,
He traceth ofte upon the grounde,
Makende his invocacioun;
And for full enformacioun 1330
The Scole which Honorius
Wrot, he poursuieth: and lo, thus
Magique he useth forto winne
His love, and spareth for no Sinne.
And over that of his Sotie,
Riht as he secheth Sorcerie
Of hem that ben Magiciens,
Riht so of the Naturiens
Upon the Sterres from above
His weie he secheth unto love, 1340
Als fer as he hem understondeth.
In many a sondry wise he fondeth:
He makth ymage, he makth sculpture,
He makth writinge, he makth figure,
He makth his calculacions,
He makth his demonstracions;
His houres of Astronomie
He kepeth as for that partie
[Pg 204]
Which longeth to thinspeccion
Of love and his affeccion; 1350
P. iii. 47
He wolde into the helle seche
The devel himselve to beseche,
If that he wiste forto spede,
To gete of love his lusti mede:
Wher that he hath his herte set,
He bede nevere fare bet
Ne wite of other hevene more.
Mi Sone, if thou of such a lore
Hast ben er this, I red thee leve.835
Min holi fader, be youre leve 1360
Of al that ye have spoken hiere
Which toucheth unto this matiere,
To telle soth riht as I wene,
I wot noght o word what ye mene.
I wol noght seie, if that I couthe,
That I nolde in mi lusti youthe
Benethe in helle and ek above
To winne with mi ladi love
Don al that evere that I mihte;
For therof have I non insihte 1370
Wher afterward that I become,
To that I wonne and overcome
Hire love, which I most coveite.
Mi Sone, that goth wonder streite:
For this I mai wel telle soth,
Ther is noman the which so doth,
For al the craft that he can caste,
That he nabeith it ate laste.
For often he that wol beguile
Is guiled with the same guile, 1380
P. iii. 48
And thus the guilour is beguiled;
As I finde in a bok compiled
To this matiere an old histoire,
The which comth nou to mi memoire,
And is of gret essamplerie
Ayein the vice of Sorcerie,
Wherof non ende mai be good.
[Pg 205]
Bot hou whilom therof it stod,836
A tale which is good to knowe
To thee, mi Sone, I schal beknowe. 1390
[Tale of Ulysses and Telegonus.]
Among hem whiche at Troie were,837
Uluxes ate Siege there
Nota contra istos ob amoris causam sortilegos; vbi narrat in exemplum quod, cum Vluxes a subuersione Troie repatriare nauigio voluisset, ipsum in Insula Cilly, vbi illa expertissima maga nomine Circes regnauit, contigit applicuisse: quem vt in sui amoris concupiscenciam exardesceret, Circes omnibus suis incantacionibus vincere conabatur. Vluxes tamen magica potencior ipsam in amore subegit, ex qua filium nomine Thelogonum genuit, qui postea patrem suum interfecit: et sic contra fidei naturam genitus contra generacionis naturam patricidium operatus est.
Was on be name in special;
Of whom yit the memorial
Abit, for whyl ther is a mouth,
For evere his name schal be couth.
He was a worthi knyht and king
And clerk knowende of every thing;
He was a gret rethorien,
He was a gret magicien; 1400
Of Tullius the rethorique,
Of king Zorastes the magique,
Of Tholome thastronomie,
Of Plato the Philosophie,
Of Daniel the slepi dremes,
Of Neptune ek the water stremes,
Of Salomon and the proverbes,
Of Macer al the strengthe of herbes,
And the Phisique of Ypocras,
And lich unto Pictagoras 1410
P. iii. 49
Of Surgerie he knew the cures.
Bot somwhat of his aventures,
Which schal to mi matiere acorde,
Ter thee, mi Sone, I wol recorde.
This king, of which thou hast herd sein,
Fro Troie as he goth hom ayein
Be Schipe, he fond the See divers,
With many a wyndi storm revers.
Bot he thurgh wisdom that he schapeth838
Ful many a gret peril ascapeth, 1420
Of whiche I thenke tellen on,
Hou that malgre the nedle and ston
Wynddrive he was al soudeinly
Upon the strondes of Cilly,
[Pg 206]
Wher that he moste abyde a whyle.
Tuo queenes weren in that yle
Calipsa named and Circes;
And whan they herde hou Uluxes
Is londed ther upon the ryve,
For him thei senden als so blive. 1430
With him suche as he wolde he nam
And to the court to hem he cam.839
Thes queenes were as tuo goddesses
Of Art magique Sorceresses,
That what lord comth to that rivage,
Thei make him love in such a rage
And upon hem assote so,840
That thei wol have, er that he go,
Al that he hath of worldes good.
Uluxes wel this understod, 1440
P. iii. 50
Thei couthe moche, he couthe more;
Thei schape and caste ayein him sore841
And wroghte many a soutil wyle,
Bot yit thei mihte him noght beguile.842
Bot of the men of his navie
Thei tuo forschope a gret partie,
Mai non of hem withstonde here hestes;
Som part thei schopen into bestes,
Som part thei schopen into foules,
To beres, tigres, Apes, oules, 1450
Or elles be som other weie;
Ther myhte hem nothing desobeie,
Such craft thei hadde above kinde.
Bot that Art couthe thei noght finde,
Of which Uluxes was deceived,
That he ne hath hem alle weyved,
And broght hem into such a rote,
That upon him thei bothe assote;
And thurgh the science of his art
He tok of hem so wel his part, 1460
That he begat Circes with childe.
He kepte him sobre and made hem wilde,
[Pg 207]
He sette himselve so above,
That with here good and with here love,
Who that therof be lief or loth,
Al quit into his Schip he goth.
Circes toswolle bothe sides
He lefte, and waiteth on the tydes,
And straght thurghout the salte fom
He takth his cours and comth him hom, 1470
P. iii. 51
Where as he fond Penolope;
A betre wif ther mai non be,
And yit ther ben ynowhe of goode.
Bot who hir goodschipe understode
Fro ferst that sche wifhode tok,
Hou many loves sche forsok
And hou sche bar hire al aboute,
Ther whiles that hire lord was oute,
He mihte make a gret avant843
Amonges al the remenant 1480
That sche was on of al the beste.844
Wel myhte he sette his herte in reste,
This king, whan he hir fond in hele;
For as he couthe in wisdom dele,
So couthe sche in wommanhiede:
And whan sche syh withoute drede
Hire lord upon his oghne ground,
That he was come sauf and sound,
In al this world ne mihte be845
A gladdere womman than was sche. 1490
The fame, which mai noght ben hidd,
Thurghout the lond is sone kidd,
Here king is come hom ayein:
Ther mai noman the fulle sein,
Hou that thei weren alle glade,
So mochel joie of him thei made.
The presens every day be newed,
He was with yiftes al besnewed;
The poeple was of him so glad,
That thogh non other man hem bad, 1500
P. iii. 52[Pg 208]
Taillage upon hemself thei sette,
And as it were of pure dette
Thei yeve here goodes to the king:
This was a glad hom welcomyng.
Thus hath Uluxes what he wolde,
His wif was such as sche be scholde,
His poeple was to him sougit,
Him lacketh nothing of delit.
Bot fortune is of such a sleyhte,
That whan a man is most on heyhte,846 1510
Sche makth him rathest forto falle:
Ther wot noman what schal befalle,
Oracius. Omnia847 sunt hominum tenui pendencia filo.
The happes over mannes hed
Ben honged with a tendre thred.
That proved was on Uluxes;
For whan he was most in his pes,848
Fortune gan to make him werre
And sette his welthe al out of herre.849
Upon a dai as he was merie,
As thogh ther mihte him nothing derie,850 1520
Whan nyht was come, he goth to bedde,
With slep and bothe his yhen fedde.
And while he slepte, he mette a swevene:
Him thoghte he syh a stature evene,851
Which brihtere than the sonne schon;
A man it semeth was it non,
Bot yit it was as in figure
Most lich to mannyssh creature,
Bot as of beaute hevenelich
It was most to an Angel lich: 1530
P. iii. 53
And thus betwen angel and man
Beholden it this king began,
And such a lust tok of the sihte,
That fain he wolde, if that he mihte,
The forme of that figure embrace;
And goth him forth toward the place,852
Wher he sih that ymage tho,
[Pg 209]
And takth it in his Armes tuo,
And it embraceth him ayein
And to the king thus gan it sein: 1540
‘Uluxes, understand wel this,
The tokne of oure aqueintance is
Hierafterward to mochel tene:
The love that is ous betuene,
Of that we nou such joie make,
That on of ous the deth schal take,
Whan time comth of destine;
It may non other wise be.’
Uluxes tho began to preie
That this figure wolde him seie 1550
What wyht he is that seith him so.
This wyht upon a spere tho
A pensel which was wel begon,
Embrouded, scheweth him anon:
Thre fisshes alle of o colour
In manere as it were a tour
Upon the pensel were wroght.
Uluxes kneu this tokne noght,
And preith to wite in som partie
What thing it myhte signefie, 1560
P. iii. 54
‘A signe it is,’ the wyht ansuerde,
‘Of an Empire:’ and forth he ferde
Al sodeinly, whan he that seide.
Uluxes out of slep abreide,
And that was riht ayein the day,
That lengere slepen he ne may.
Bernardus. Plures plura sciunt853 et seipsos nesciunt.
Men sein, a man hath knowleching854
Save of himself of alle thing;
His oghne chance noman knoweth,
Bot as fortune it on him throweth: 1570
Was nevere yit so wys a clerk,
Which mihte knowe al goddes werk,
Ne the secret which god hath set
Ayein a man mai noght be let.
Uluxes, thogh that he be wys,
[Pg 210]
With al his wit in his avis,
The mor that he his swevene acompteth,
The lasse he wot what it amonteth:
For al his calculacion,
He seth no demonstracion 1580
Al pleinly forto knowe an ende;855
Bot natheles hou so it wende,
He dradde him of his oghne Sone.
That makth him wel the more astone,
And schop therfore anon withal,
So that withinne castel wall
Thelamachum his Sone he schette,
And upon him strong warde he sette.
The sothe furthere he ne knew,
Til that fortune him overthreu; 1590
P. iii. 55
Bot natheles for sikernesse,
Wher that he mihte wite and gesse
A place strengest in his lond,
Ther let he make of lym and sond
A strengthe where he wolde duelle;
Was nevere man yit herde telle
Of such an other as it was.
And forto strengthe him in that cas,856
Of al his lond the sekereste
Of servantz and the worthieste, 1600
To kepen him withinne warde,
He sette his bodi forto warde;857
And made such an ordinance,
For love ne for aqueintance,
That were it erly, were it late,
Thei scholde lete in ate gate
No maner man, what so betydde,
Bot if so were himself it bidde.
Bot al that myhte him noght availe,
For whom fortune wole assaile, 1610
Ther mai be non such resistence,
Which mihte make a man defence;
[Pg 211]
Al that schal be mot falle algate.
This Circes, which I spak of late,
On whom Uluxes hath begete
A child, thogh he it have foryete,
Whan time com, as it was wone,
Sche was delivered of a Sone,
Which cleped is Thelogonus.
This child, whan he was bore thus, 1620
P. iii. 56
Aboute his moder to ful age,
That he can reson and langage,
In good astat was drawe forth:
And whan he was so mochel worth
To stonden in a mannes stede,
Circes his moder hath him bede
That he schal to his fader go,
And tolde him al togedre tho
What man he was that him begat.
And whan Thelogonus of that 1630
Was war and hath ful knowleching858
Hou that his fader was a king,
He preith his moder faire this,
To go wher that his fader is;
And sche him granteth that he schal,
And made him redi forth withal.
It was that time such usance,
That every man the conoiscance
Of his contre bar in his hond,
Whan he wente into strange lond; 1640
And thus was every man therfore
Wel knowe, wher that he was bore:
For espiaile and mistrowinges
They dede thanne suche thinges,
That every man mai other knowe.859
So it befell that ilke throwe
Thelogonus as in this cas;
Of his contre the signe was
Thre fisshes, whiche he scholde bere
Upon the penon of a spere: 1650
P. iii. 57[Pg 212]
And whan that he was thus arraied
And hath his harneis al assaied,
That he was redy everydel,
His moder bad him farewel,
And seide him that he scholde swithe
His fader griete a thousand sithe.
Thelogonus his moder kiste
And tok his leve, and wher he wiste
His fader was, the weie nam,
Til he unto Nachaie cam, 1660
Which of that lond the chief Cite
Was cleped, and ther axeth he
Wher was the king and hou he ferde.
And whan that he the sothe herde,
Wher that the king Uluxes was,
Al one upon his hors gret pas
He rod him forth, and in his hond
He bar the signal of his lond
With fisshes thre, as I have told;860
And thus he wente unto that hold, 1670
Wher that his oghne fader duelleth.
The cause why he comth he telleth
Unto the kepers of the gate,
And wolde have comen in therate,
Bot schortli thei him seide nay:
And he als faire as evere he may
Besoghte and tolde hem ofte this,
Hou that the king his fader is;
Bot they with proude wordes grete
Begunne to manace and threte,861 1680
P. iii. 58
Bot he go fro the gate faste,
Thei wolde him take and sette faste.
Fro wordes unto strokes thus
Thei felle, and so Thelogonus
Was sore hurt and welnyh ded;
Bot with his scharpe speres hed
He makth defence, hou so it falle,
And wan the gate upon hem alle,
And hath slain of the beste fyve;
[Pg 213]
And thei ascriden als so blyve 1690
Thurghout the castell al aboute.862
On every syde men come oute,
Wherof the kinges herte afflihte,
And he with al the haste he mihte
A spere cauhte and out he goth,863
As he that was nyh wod for wroth.864
He sih the gates ful of blod,
Thelogonus and wher he stod
He sih also, bot he ne knew
What man it was, and to him threw865 1700
His Spere, and he sterte out asyde.
Bot destine, which schal betide,
Befell that ilke time so,
Thelogonus knew nothing tho
What man it was that to him caste,
And while his oghne spere laste,
With al the signe therupon
He caste unto the king anon,
And smot him with a dedly wounde.
Uluxes fell anon to grounde; 1710
P. iii. 59
Tho every man, ‘The king! the king!’
Began to crie, and of this thing
Thelogonus, which sih the cas,
On knes he fell and seide, ‘Helas!
I have min oghne fader slain:
Nou wolde I deie wonder fain,866
Nou sle me who that evere wile,
For certes it is riht good skile.’867
He crith, he wepth, he seith therfore,
‘Helas; that evere was I bore, 1720
That this unhappi destine
So wofulli comth in be me!’
This king, which yit hath lif ynouh,
His herte ayein to him he drouh,
And to that vois an Ere he leide
[Pg 214]
And understod al that he seide,
And gan to speke, and seide on hih;
‘Bring me this man.’ And whan he sih
Thelogonus, his thoght he sette
Upon the swevene which he mette, 1730
And axeth that he myhte se
His spere, on which the fisshes thre
He sih upon a pensel wroght.868
Tho wiste he wel it faileth noght,
And badd him that he telle scholde869
Fro whenne he cam and what he wolde.
Thelogonus in sorghe and wo
So as he mihte tolde tho
Unto Uluxes al the cas,
Hou that Circes his moder was, 1740
P. iii. 60
And so forth seide him everydel,
Hou that his moder gret him wel,
And in what wise sche him sente.
Tho wiste Uluxes what it mente,
And tok him in hise Armes softe,
And al bledende he kest him ofte,870
And seide, ‘Sone, whil I live,
This infortune I thee foryive.’
After his other Sone in haste
He sende, and he began him haste 1750
And cam unto his fader tyt.
Bot whan he sih him in such plit,
He wolde have ronne upon that other
Anon, and slain his oghne brother,
Ne hadde be that Uluxes
Betwen hem made acord and pes,
And to his heir Thelamachus
He bad that he Thelogonus
With al his pouer scholde kepe,
Til he were of his woundes depe 1760
Al hol, and thanne he scholde him yive
Lond wher upon he mihte live.
Thelamachus, whan he this herde,
[Pg 215]
Unto his fader he ansuerde
And seide he wolde don his wille.
So duelle thei togedre stille,
These brethren, and the fader sterveth.
Lo, wherof Sorcerie serveth.
Thurgh Sorcerie his lust he wan,
Thurgh Sorcerie his wo began, 1770
P. iii. 61
Thurgh Sorcerie his love he ches,
Thurgh Sorcerie his lif he les;
The child was gete in Sorcerie,
The which dede al this felonie:
Thing which was ayein kynde wroght
Unkindeliche it was aboght;
The child his oghne fader slowh,
That was unkindeschipe ynowh.
Forthi tak hiede hou that it is,
So forto winne love amis, 1780
Which endeth al his joie in wo:
For of this Art I finde also,
That hath be do for loves sake,
Wherof thou miht ensample take,
A gret Cronique imperial,
Which evere into memorial871
Among the men, hou so it wende,872
Schal duelle to the worldes ende.
[Tale of Nectanabus.]
The hihe creatour of thinges,
Which is the king of alle kinges, 1790
Hic narrat exemplum super eodem, qualiter Nectanabus ab Egipto873 in Macedoniam fugitiuus,874 Olimpiadem Philippi Regis ibidem tunc absentis vxorem arte magica decipiens, cum ipsa concubuit, magnumque ex ea Alexandrum sortilegus genuit: qui natus, postea cum ad erudiendum sub custodia Nectanabi commendatus fuisset, ipsum Nectanabum patrem suum ab altitudine cuiusdam turris in fossam profundam proiciens interfecit. Et sic sortilegus ex875 suo sortilegio infortunii sortem sortitus est.
Ful many a wonder worldes chance
Let slyden under his suffrance;
Ther wot noman the cause why,
Bot he the which is almyhty.
And that was proved whilom thus,
Whan that the king Nectanabus,
Which hadde Egipte forto lede,—
Bot for he sih tofor the dede
Thurgh magique of his Sorcerie,
Wherof he couthe a gret partie, 1800
P. iii. 62[Pg 216]
Hise enemys to him comende,
Fro whom he mihte him noght defende,
Out of his oghne lond he fledde;
And in the wise as he him dredde
It fell, for al his wicchecraft,
So that Egipte him was beraft,
And he desguised fledde aweie
Be schipe, and hield the rihte weie
To Macedoine, wher that he
Aryveth ate chief Cite. 1810
Thre yomen of his chambre there
Al only forto serve him were,
The whiche he trusteth wonder wel,
For thei were trewe as eny stiel;
And hapneth that thei with him ladde876
Part of the beste good he hadde.
Thei take logginge in the toun877
After the disposicion
Wher as him thoghte best to duelle:
He axeth thanne and herde telle 1820
Hou that the king was oute go
Upon a werre he hadde tho;
But in that Cite thanne was
The queene, which Olimpias
Was hote, and with sollempnete
The feste of hir nativite,
As it befell, was thanne holde;
And for hire list to be beholde878
And preised of the poeple aboute,
Sche schop hir forto riden oute 1830
P. iii. 63
At after mete al openly.
Anon were alle men redy,
And that was in the monthe of Maii,
This lusti queene in good arrai
Was set upon a Mule whyt:
To sen it was a gret delit
The joie that the cite made;
With freisshe thinges and with glade
[Pg 217]
The noble toun was al behonged,
And every wiht was sore alonged 1840
To se this lusti ladi ryde.
Ther was gret merthe on alle syde;
Wher as sche passeth be the strete,
Ther was ful many a tymber bete
And many a maide carolende:
And thus thurghout the toun pleiende
This queene unto a pleine rod,879
Wher that sche hoved and abod
To se diverse game pleie,
The lusti folk jouste and tourneie; 1850
And so forth every other man,
Which pleie couthe, his pley began,
To plese with this noble queene.
Nectanabus cam to the grene
Amonges othre and drouh him nyh.
Bot whan that he this ladi sih
And of hir beaute hiede tok,
He couthe noght withdrawe his lok
To se noght elles in the field,
Bot stod and only hire behield. 1860
P. iii. 64
Of his clothinge and of his gere
He was unlich alle othre there,
So that it hapneth ate laste,
The queene on him hire yhe caste,
And knew that he was strange anon:
Bot he behield hire evere in on
Withoute blenchinge of his chere.
Sche tok good hiede of his manere,
And wondreth why he dede so,
And bad men scholde for him go. 1870
He cam and dede hire reverence,
And sche him axeth in cilence
Fro whenne he cam and what he wolde.
And he with sobre wordes tolde,
And seith, ‘Ma dame, a clerk I am,880
To you and in message I cam,
The which I mai noght tellen hiere;
[Pg 218]
Bot if it liketh you to hiere,
It mot be seid al prively,881
Wher non schal be bot ye and I.’ 1880
Thus for the time he tok his leve.
The dai goth forth til it was eve,
That every man mot lete his werk;882
And sche thoghte evere upon this clerk,
What thing it is he wolde mene:
And in this wise abod the queene,
And passeth over thilke nyht,
Til it was on the morwe liht.
Sche sende for him, and he com,
With him his Astellabre he nom, 1890
P. iii. 65
Which was of fin gold precious
With pointz and cercles merveilous;
And ek the hevenely figures
Wroght in a bok ful of peintures
He tok this ladi forto schewe,
And tolde of ech of hem be rewe
The cours and the condicion.
And sche with gret affeccion
Sat stille and herde what he wolde:
And thus whan he sih time, he tolde, 1900
And feigneth with hise wordes wise
A tale, and seith in such a wise:
‘Ma dame, bot a while ago,
Wher I was in Egipte tho,
And radde in scole of this science,
It fell into mi conscience
That I unto the temple wente,
And ther with al myn hole entente
As I mi sacrifice dede,
On of the goddes hath me bede 1910
That I you warne prively,
So that ye make you redy,
And that ye be nothing agast;
For he such love hath to you cast,
That ye schul ben his oghne diere,
[Pg 219]
And he schal be your beddefiere,
Til ye conceive and be with childe.’
And with that word sche wax al mylde,
And somdel red becam for schame,
And axeth him that goddes name, 1920
P. iii. 66
Which so wol don hire compainie.
And he seide, ‘Amos of Lubie.’
And sche seith, ‘That mai I noght lieve,
Bot if I sihe a betre prieve.’
‘Ma dame,’ quod Nectanabus,
‘In tokne that it schal be thus,
This nyht for enformacion
Ye schul have an avision:
That Amos schal to you appiere,
To schewe and teche in what manere 1930
The thing schal afterward befalle.883
Ye oghten wel aboven alle
To make joie of such a lord;
For whan ye ben of on acord,
He schal a Sone of you begete,
Which with his swerd schal winne and gete
The wyde world in lengthe and brede;
Alle erthli kinges schull him drede,
And in such wise, I you behote,884
The god of erthe he schal be hote.’ 1940
‘If this be soth,’ tho quod the queene,
‘This nyht, thou seist, it schal be sene.
And if it falle into mi grace,
Of god Amos that I pourchace
To take of him so gret worschipe,
I wol do thee such ladischipe,
Wherof thou schalt for everemo
Be riche.’ And he hir thonketh tho,
And tok his leve and forth he wente.
Sche wiste litel what he mente, 1950
P. iii. 67
For it was guile and Sorcerie,
Al that sche tok for Prophecie.
Nectanabus thurghout the day,
[Pg 220]
Whan he cam hom wher as he lay,885
His chambre be himselve tok,
And overtorneth many a bok,
And thurgh the craft of Artemage
Of wex he forgeth an ymage.
He loketh his equacions
And ek the constellacions, 1960
He loketh the conjunccions,
He loketh the recepcions,
His signe, his houre, his ascendent,
And drawth fortune of his assent:
The name of queene Olimpias
In thilke ymage write was
Amiddes in the front above.
And thus to winne his lust of love
Nectanabus this werk hath diht;
And whan it cam withinne nyht, 1970
That every wyht is falle aslepe,
He thoghte he wolde his time kepe,
As he which hath his houre apointed.
And thanne ferst he hath enoignted
With sondri herbes that figure,
And therupon he gan conjure,
So that thurgh his enchantement
This ladi, which was innocent
And wiste nothing of this guile,
Mette, as sche slepte thilke while, 1980
P. iii. 68
Hou fro the hevene cam a lyht,
Which al hir chambre made lyht;
And as sche loketh to and fro,
Sche sih, hir thoghte, a dragoun tho,
Whos scherdes schynen as the Sonne,
And hath his softe pas begonne
With al the chiere that he may
Toward the bedd ther as sche lay,
Til he cam to the beddes side.
And sche lai stille and nothing cride, 1990
For he dede alle his thinges faire
And was courteis and debonaire:
[Pg 221]
And as he stod hire fasteby,886
His forme he changeth sodeinly,
And the figure of man he nom,
To hire and into bedde he com,887
And such thing there of love he wroghte,
Wherof, so as hire thanne thoghte,
Thurgh likinge of this god Amos
With childe anon hire wombe aros, 2000
And sche was wonder glad withal.
Nectanabus, which causeth al
Of this metrede the substance,
Whan he sih time, his nigromance
He stinte and nothing more seide
Of his carecte, and sche abreide
Out of hir slep, and lieveth wel
That it is soth thanne everydel
Of that this clerk hire hadde told,
And was the gladdere manyfold 2010
P. iii. 69
In hope of such a glad metrede,
Which after schal befalle in dede.
Sche longeth sore after the dai,
That sche hir swevene telle mai
To this guilour in privete,
Which kneu it als so wel as sche:888
And natheles on morwe sone
Sche lefte alle other thing to done,
And for him sende, and al the cas
Sche tolde him pleinly as it was, 2020
And seide hou thanne wel sche wiste
That sche his wordes mihte triste,
For sche fond hire Avisioun
Riht after the condicion
Which he hire hadde told tofore;
And preide him hertely therfore
That he hire holde covenant
So forth of al the remenant,
That sche may thurgh his ordinance
Toward the god do such plesance,889 2030
That sche wakende myhte him kepe[Pg 222]
In such wise as sche mette aslepe.
And he, that couthe of guile ynouh,
Whan he this herde, of joie he louh,
And seith, ‘Ma dame, it schal be do.
Bot this I warne you therto:
This nyht, whan that he comth to pleie,
That ther be no lif in the weie
Bot I, that schal at his likinge
Ordeine so for his cominge, 2040
P. iii. 70
That ye ne schull noght of him faile.890
For this, ma dame, I you consaile,
That ye it kepe so prive,
That no wiht elles bot we thre
Have knowlechinge hou that it is;
For elles mihte it fare amis,891
If ye dede oght that scholde him grieve.’
And thus he makth hire to believe,
And feigneth under guile feith:
Bot natheles al that he seith 2050
Sche troweth; and ayein the nyht
Sche hath withinne hire chambre dyht,
Wher as this guilour faste by
Upon this god schal prively
Awaite, as he makth hire to wene:892
And thus this noble gentil queene,
Whan sche most trusteth, was deceived.
The nyht com, and the chambre is weyved,
Nectanabus hath take his place,
And whan he sih the time and space, 2060
Thurgh the deceipte of his magique893
He putte him out of mannes like,894
And of a dragoun tok the forme,
As he which wolde him al conforme
To that sche sih in swevene er this;
[Pg 223]
And thus to chambre come he is.
The queene lay abedde and sih,
And hopeth evere, as he com nyh,
That he god of Lubye were,
So hath sche wel the lasse fere. 2070
P. iii. 71
Bot for he wolde hire more assure,895
Yit eft he changeth his figure,
And of a wether the liknesse
He tok, in signe of his noblesse
With large hornes for the nones:
Of fin gold and of riche stones
A corone on his hed he bar,
And soudeinly, er sche was war,
As he which alle guile can,
His forme he torneth into man, 2080
And cam to bedde, and sche lai stille,
Wher as sche soffreth al his wille,
As sche which wende noght misdo.896
Bot natheles it hapneth so,
Althogh sche were in part deceived,
Yit for al that sche hath conceived
The worthieste of alle kiththe,
Which evere was tofore or siththe
Of conqueste and chivalerie;897
So that thurgh guile and Sorcerie 2090
Ther was that noble knyht begunne,898
Which al the world hath after wunne.
Thus fell the thing which falle scholde,
Nectanabus hath that he wolde;
With guile he hath his love sped,
With guile he cam into the bed,
With guile he goth him out ayein:
He was a schrewed chamberlein,
So to beguile a worthi queene,
And that on him was after seene. 2100
P. iii. 72
Bot natheles the thing is do;
This false god was sone go,
[Pg 224]
With his deceipte and hield him clos,
Til morwe cam, that he aros.
And tho, whan time and leisir was,
The queene tolde him al the cas,
As sche that guile non supposeth;
And of tuo pointz sche him opposeth.
On was, if that this god nomore
Wol come ayein, and overmore, 2110
Hou sche schal stonden in acord
With king Philippe hire oghne lord,
Whan he comth hom and seth hire grone.
‘Ma dame,’ he seith, ‘let me alone:
As for the god I undertake
That whan it liketh you to take
His compaignie at eny throwe,
If I a day tofore it knowe,
He schal be with you on the nyht;
And he is wel of such a myht 2120
To kepe you from alle blame.
Forthi conforte you, ma dame,
Ther schal non other cause be.’
Thus tok he leve and forth goth he,
And tho began he forto muse
Hou he the queene mihte excuse
Toward the king of that is falle;
And fond a craft amonges alle,
Thurgh which he hath a See foul daunted,
With his magique and so enchaunted, 2130
P. iii. 73
That he flyh forth, whan it was nyht,
Unto the kinges tente riht,
Wher that he lay amidde his host:
And whanne he was aslepe most,
With that the See foul to him broghte
And othre charmes, whiche he wroghte899
At hom withinne his chambre stille,
The king he torneth at his wille,
And makth him forto dreme and se
The dragoun and the privete 2140
Which was betuen him and the queene.900
[Pg 225]
And over that he made him wene
In swevene, hou that the god Amos,
Whan he up fro the queene aros,
Tok forth a ring, wherinne a ston901
Was set, and grave therupon
A Sonne, in which, whan he cam nyh,
A leoun with a swerd he sih;
And with that priente, as he tho mette,902
Upon the queenes wombe he sette 2150
A Seal, and goth him forth his weie.
With that the swevene wente aweie,
And tho began the king awake
And sigheth for his wyves sake,
Wher as he lay withinne his tente,903
And hath gret wonder what it mente.904
With that he hasteth him to ryse
Anon, and sende after the wise,
Among the whiche ther was on,
A clerc, his name is Amphion: 2160
P. iii. 74
Whan he the kinges swevene herde,
What it betokneth he ansuerde,
And seith, ‘So siker as the lif,
A god hath leie be thi wif,
And gete a Sone, which schal winne
The world and al that is withinne.
As leon is the king of bestes,
So schal the world obeie his hestes,
Which with his swerd schal al be wonne,
Als ferr as schyneth eny Sonne.’ 2170
The king was doubtif of this dom;
Bot natheles, whan that he com
Ayein into his oghne lond,
His wif with childe gret he fond.
He mihte noght himselve stiere,
That he ne made hire hevy chiere;
Bot he which couthe of alle sorwe,
Nectanabus, upon the morwe
Thurgh the deceipte and nigromance
[Pg 226]
Tok of a dragoun the semblance, 2180
And wher the king sat in his halle,
Com in rampende among hem alle
With such a noise and such a rore,
That thei agast were also sore
As thogh thei scholde deie anon.
And natheles he grieveth non,
Bot goth toward the deyss on hih;
And whan he cam the queene nyh,
He stinte his noise, and in his wise
To hire he profreth his servise, 2190
P. iii. 75
And leith his hed upon hire barm;
And sche with goodly chiere hire arm
Aboute his necke ayeinward leide,
And thus the queene with him pleide
In sihte of alle men aboute.
And ate laste he gan to loute
And obeissance unto hire make,
As he that wolde his leve take;
And sodeinly his lothly forme
Into an Egle he gan transforme, 2200
And flyh and sette him on a raile;
Wherof the king hath gret mervaile,
For there he pruneth him and piketh,
As doth an hauk whan him wel liketh,
And after that himself he schok,
Wherof that al the halle quok,
As it a terremote were;
Thei seiden alle, god was there:
In such a res and forth he flyh.
The king, which al this wonder syh, 2210
Whan he cam to his chambre alone,
Unto the queene he made his mone905
And of foryivenesse hir preide;
For thanne he knew wel, as he seide,
Sche was with childe with a godd.
Thus was the king withoute rodd
Chastised, and the queene excused
Of that sche hadde ben accused.
[Pg 227]
And for the gretere evidence,
Yit after that in the presence 2220
P. iii. 76
Of king Philipp and othre mo,
Whan thei ride in the fieldes tho,
A Phesant cam before here yhe,
The which anon as thei hire syhe,
Fleende let an ey doun falle,
And it tobrak tofore hem alle:906
And as thei token therof kepe,
Thei syhe out of the schelle crepe
A litel Serpent on the ground,
Which rampeth al aboute round, 2230
And in ayein it wolde have wonne,907
Bot for the brennynge of the Sonne
It mihte noght, and so it deide.
And therupon the clerkes seide,
‘As the Serpent, whan it was oute,
Went enviroun the schelle aboute
And mihte noght torne in ayein,
So schal it fallen in certein:
This child the world schal environe,
And above alle the corone 2240
Him schal befalle, and in yong Age
He schal desire in his corage,
Whan al the world is in his hond,
To torn ayein into the lond908
Wher he was bore, and in his weie
Homward he schal with puison deie.’
The king, which al this sih and herde,909
Fro that dai forth, hou so it ferde,
His jalousie hath al foryete.
Bot he which hath the child begete, 2250
P. iii. 77
Nectanabus, in privete
The time of his nativite
Upon the constellacioun
Awaiteth, and relacion
Makth to the queene hou sche schal do,910
[Pg 228]
And every houre apointeth so,
That no mynut therof was lore.911
So that in due time is bore
This child, and forth with therupon
Ther felle wondres many on 2260
Of terremote universiel:
The Sonne tok colour of stiel
And loste his lyht, the wyndes blewe,
And manye strengthes overthrewe;
The See his propre kinde changeth,
And al the world his forme strangeth;
The thonder with his fyri levene
So cruel was upon the hevene,
That every erthli creature
Tho thoghte his lif in aventure. 2270
The tempeste ate laste cesseth,
The child is kept, his age encresseth,
And Alisandre his name is hote,
To whom Calistre and Aristote
To techen him Philosophie
Entenden, and Astronomie,
With othre thinges whiche he couthe
Also, to teche him in his youthe
Nectanabus tok upon honde.
Bot every man mai understonde, 2280
P. iii. 78
Of Sorcerie hou that it wende,
It wole himselve prove at ende,
And namely forto beguile
A lady, which withoute guile
Supposeth trouthe al that sche hiereth:
Bot often he that evele stiereth
His Schip is dreynt therinne amidde;
And in this cas riht so betidde.
Nectanabus upon a nyht,
Whan it was fair and sterre lyht, 2290
This yonge lord ladde up on hih
Above a tour, wher as he sih
The sterres suche as he acompteth,
And seith what ech of hem amonteth,
[Pg 229]
As thogh he knewe of alle thing;
Bot yit hath he no knowleching
What schal unto himself befalle.
Whan he hath told his wordes alle,
This yonge lord thanne him opposeth,912
And axeth if that he supposeth 2300
What deth he schal himselve deie.913
He seith, ‘Or fortune is aweie
And every sterre hath lost his wone,914
Or elles of myn oghne Sone
I schal be slain, I mai noght fle.’
Thoghte Alisandre in privete,
‘Hierof this olde dotard lieth’:
And er that other oght aspieth,
Al sodeinliche his olde bones
He schof over the wal at ones, 2310
P. iii. 79
And seith him, ‘Ly doun there apart:
Wherof nou serveth al thin art?
Thou knewe alle othre mennes chance
And of thiself hast ignorance:915
That thou hast seid amonges alle
Of thi persone, is noght befalle.’
Nectanabus, which hath his deth,
Yit while him lasteth lif and breth,
To Alisandre he spak and seide
That he with wrong blame on him leide; 2320
Fro point to point and al the cas
He tolde, hou he his Sone was.
Tho he, which sory was ynowh,
Out of the dich his fader drouh,
And tolde his moder hou it ferde
In conseil; and whan sche it herde
And kneu the toknes whiche he tolde,
Sche nyste what sche seie scholde,
Bot stod abayssht as for the while
Of his magique and al the guile. 2330
Sche thoghte hou that sche was deceived,916
[Pg 230]
That sche hath of a man conceived,
And wende a god it hadde be.
Bot natheles in such degre,
So as sche mihte hire honour save,
Sche schop the body was begrave.
And thus Nectanabus aboghte
The Sorcerie which he wroghte:
Thogh he upon the creatures
Thurgh his carectes and figures 2340
P. iii. 80
The maistrie and the pouer hadde,
His creatour to noght him ladde,
Ayein whos lawe his craft he useth,
Whan he for lust his god refuseth,
And tok him to the dieules craft,917
Lo, what profit him is belaft:
That thing thurgh which he wende have stonde,
Ferst him exilede out of londe
Which was his oghne, and from a king
Made him to ben an underling; 2350
And siththen to deceive a queene,
That torneth him to mochel teene;
Thurgh lust of love he gat him hate,
That ende couthe he noght abate.
His olde sleyhtes whiche he caste,918
Yonge Alisaundre hem overcaste,
His fader, which him misbegat,919
He slouh, a gret mishap was that;
Bot for o mis an other mys
Was yolde, and so fulofte it is; 2360
Nectanabus his craft miswente,
So it misfell him er he wente.
I not what helpeth that clergie
Which makth a man to do folie,
And nameliche of nigromance,
Which stant upon the mescreance.
And forto se more evidence,
Nota qualiter Rex Zorastes, statim cum ab vtero matris sue nasceretur, gaudio magno risit; in quo prenosticum doloris subsequentis signum figurabatur: nam et ipse detestabilis magice primus fuit inuentor, quem postea Rex Surrie dira morte trucidauit, et sic opus operarium consumpsit.
Zorastes, which thexperience
Of Art magique ferst forth drouh,
[Pg 231]
Anon as he was bore, he louh, 2370
P. iii. 81
Which tokne was of wo suinge:
For of his oghne controvinge
He fond magique and tauhte it forth;
Bot al that was him litel worth,
For of Surrie a worthi king
Him slou, and that was his endyng.920
Bot yit thurgh him this craft is used,
And he thurgh al the world accused,
For it schal nevere wel achieve
That stant noght riht with the believe: 2380
Bot lich to wolle is evele sponne,
Who lest himself hath litel wonne,
[Saul and the Witch.]
An ende proveth every thing.921
Saül, which was of Juys king,
Nota de Saule et Phitonissa.922
Up peine of deth forbad this art,
And yit he tok therof his part.
The Phitonesse in Samarie
Yaf him conseil be Sorcerie,
Which after fell to mochel sorwe,
For he was slain upon the morwe. 2390
To conne moche thing it helpeth,
Bot of to mochel noman yelpeth:
So forto loke on every side,
Magique mai noght wel betyde.
[Magic to be eschewed.]
Forthi, my Sone, I wolde rede
That thou of these ensamples drede,
That for no lust of erthli love
Thou seche so to come above,
Wherof as in the worldes wonder
Thou schalt for evere be put under. 2400
P. iii. 82
Mi goode fader, grant mercy,
For evere I schal be war therby:
Of love what me so befalle,923
Such Sorcerie aboven alle
Fro this dai forth I schal eschuie,
[Pg 232]
That so ne wol I noght poursuie
Mi lust of love forto seche.
Bot this I wolde you beseche,
Beside that me stant of love,
As I you herde speke above 2410
Hou Alisandre was betawht
To Aristotle, and so wel tawht
Of al that to a king belongeth,
Wherof min herte sore longeth
To wite what it wolde mene.
For be reson I wolde wene
That if I herde of thinges strange,924
Yit for a time it scholde change
Mi peine, and lisse me somdiel.
Mi goode Sone, thou seist wel. 2420
For wisdom, hou that evere it stonde,
To him that can it understonde
Doth gret profit in sondri wise;
Bot touchende of so hih aprise,
Which is noght unto Venus knowe,
I mai it noght miselve knowe,
Which of hir court am al forthdrawe
And can nothing bot of hir lawe.
Bot natheles to knowe more
Als wel as thou me longeth sore; 2430
P. iii. 83
And for it helpeth to comune,
Al ben thei noght to me comune,
The scoles of Philosophie,925
Yit thenke I forto specefie,
In boke as it is comprehended,926
Wherof thou mihtest ben amended.
For thogh I be noght al cunnynge
Upon the forme of this wrytynge,
Som part therof yit have I herd,
In this matiere hou it hath ferd. 2440

Explicit Liber Sextus.


702 10 sette AJC, S, F set BT
703 13 tuo] mo B
704 34 wext BT, F wexit J wexþ A wexeþ C
705 44 As for AdBTΛ
706 57 a man be] for to be AdBT a man to be JB₂, Δ
707 59 sterte AJ, S, F stert C, BT
708 66 care H₁ ... B₂
709 69 ffro F
710 79 doted AdBT
711 86 þei ne knowe AM ... B₂ (except GE) þei knewe J
712 101 If] Of ERCB₂ Thouȝe X
713 145 newefot S, F the rest newe foot (fot)
714 151 a pas H₁ ... B₂
715 152 cuer(e) it was AdBT
716 160 I am H₁XERC
717 162 With] The AM ... B₂
718 172 so om. H₁ ... B₂
719 197 or] and AMX ... B₂, Δ
720 202 ȝif A, F ȝiue J, B ffor wel is me þat I haue leue H₁ ... B₂ (I om. C)
721 209 Vnto AdBT
722 215 þo hetes ST þo hertes B
723 235 I om. AM
724 241 at] al (alle) H₁E, SAdTΔ
725 242 hou] þat AM
726 262 þruste M, Δ trust(e) AdBT, W
727 281 wher þat AMG, H₃
728 285 line om. B
729 297 wel om. AM ... B₂
730 329 be falle JH₁ERB₂, BT
731 339 caste AdBT, H₃
732 354 of þe seke AM ... B₂
733 357 In iape AM
734 358 vnserued AM, W
735 363 drinke al H₁X, AdBT drunken (om. al) E all (om. drunke) B₂ dronke and W
736 367 Of louedrunke and schalt FK Of louedrunke and schal J, SAdBT, W Of louedrinke and schal AM ... B₂, Δ Of loue drunken and shal H₃
737 376 lest J, B, F lesþ A leeseþ C
738 379 which A, B, F whiche J
739 382 that om. AdBT
740 387 I wel AJM I wol(e) H₁ ... B₂
741 408 the] þei F
742 409 margin concussit A ... B₂
743 414 for defaute H₁ ... C, Δ, H₃ in defaute B₂, W
744 421 wofull] foule AdBT
745 434 Was] Ȝaf H₁ ... B₂
746 442 þe nede AM ... B₂
747 463 i (I) torne AM
748 469 So þat AdBT, W
749 470 margin ad potum H₁ ... B₂
750 488 margin contigentibus F
751 495 feste AJ, B fest C, F
752 497 margin in om. H₁ ... B₂, SBΔ, W
753 500 be gete] begete (bigete) AX, SAdTΔ
754 508 ȝoue B, F ȝeue A ȝiue J, C
755 513 halfwode S, F half wode (woode) AJ, B
756 519 On] Of B
757 531 þis vice A ... B₂, S ... Δ
758 556 margin perierunt A ... B₂
759 543 and of H₁ ... B₂, W
760 550 margin que tandem AM coclamante F
761 554 neuere AJ, T neuer C, SB, F
762 559 Sonne H₁E, B, W (sonne bright)
763 569 of fool] a fool AM ... C a foul B₂ of foul Ad of foli Δ
764 590 fille ful] fulfille (ful fille) H₁XRCB₂ fulle M fille W
765 599 I rede þe H₁ERCB₂, Ad I rede þou X (I rede þe M corr.)
766 Latin Verses ii. 6 fatur H₁ ... B₂, B
767 621 margin molliciis A ... B₂
768 623 margin quoque AMH₁XB₂, W
769 620 is Past of] his past of AJ is past(e) as BT his past is Ad
770 633 Richesse AMH₁, H₃ Riches W
771 647 For bot] But if AdBT
772 653 who that] who so AM ... B₂
773 664 Vsance A ... B₂
774 665-964 ins. after 1146 SAdBTΔΛ These copies proceed here with l. 965
Vsage is þe seconde kinde
In loue als wel as oþer weie, &c.
775 673 nou om. AM
776 681 His honour AM
777 686 But if BT
778 715 a goodly JH₁RCB₂, AdBT, H₃ a gladly W one goodly Δ
779 734 ful paast AM
780 746 Of fieding(e) AM, AdΛ, H₃ If feding(e) H₁ ... B₂ (not G) Tho fedyng W
781 751 of herte] and herte AJM
782 762 he hire] to hir(e) AdBT
783 784 myn] his AM ... B₂
784 785 schapþe S, F the rest schape (schappe &c.)
785 827 Paragraph at l. 830 in MSS.
786 838 seith] seie MC, AdΔ, W (say)
787 841 is also] seiþ also AdBT
788 856 and all(e) þe spices M ... B₂, W
789 892 for tacompten B
790 899 as I þe seye B
791 906 fode] þoughtes B om. AdT flode B₂
792 927 toforn AdBT
793 928 on] of EB₂, AdBT
794 946 I do] to do AM
795 After 964 Als wel be reson as be kinde etc. (1149 ff.) SAdBTΔΛ
796 973 To] In AM ... B₂
797 979 margin gesta B
798 988 eek he was C, Δ
799 993 As] And AdBT stood al H₁ ... B₂, Ad, W
800 998 he] be AMXRB₂
801 1004 þis p. S ... Δ
802 1006 þe p. S ... Δ
803 1008 ffor AdBT
804 1010 these] þe AM ... B₂, H₃
805 1023 Habrahammes J, F rest Abrahames (Abrahams &c.): so 1039, 1046, 1073
806 1027 the] þis H₁ ... B₂
807 1030 Vnto þe helle BT In to helle JRB₂, Δ, W
808 1048 margin Salomon. Qui obturat aures suas ad clamorem pauperum, ipse clamabit et non exaudietur SBTΔ
809 1085 I drye] þey drye B
810 1089 his] þis (this) H₁, AdBTΔ (his S)
811 1098 hou om. S ... Δ
812 1100 Habraham JX, F rest Abraham
813 1105 wold(e) M, B, W
814 1107 Than eny AH₁ Themeny M (p. m.)
815 1109 of lyue X ... B₂, Ad, H₃ on liue Δ
816 1112 be holde JH₁RB₂
817 After 1146 SAdBTΔΛ have the following six lines (omitting the two 1147 f.), and then insert the passage 665-964. The text here is that of S:—
Bot now a dai a man mai se
The world so full of vanite,
That noman takþ of reson hiede
Or forto cloþe or forto fiede,
Bot al is sett vnto þe vice
To newe and changen his delice.
And riht so etc. (as 665 ff.)
818 1151 That man X ... B₂ (not G), W
819 1155 margin minus om. B
820 1186 let C, BT lete AJ, S, F
821 1209 non] anon EC, AdBT
822 1230 it is AM ... B₂
823 1233 Alþough B As þough AdT Thogh W
824 1245 no] þe B₂, AdBT þat M
825 1254 is] as A ... B₂
826 1257 wol(e) AH₁ ... B₂
827 1267 he] it G, B
827m 1267 margin Sortilegio SBTΔΛ Sacrilegio AX ... B₂, FH₃ sacrilegis H₁ sacri legis M (Latin om. J, Ad, W)
828 1289 som men] somme (some &c.) A ... B₂
829 1293 margin et de] et BT
830 1294 pikkes AdBTΛ
831 1312 of] to AM
832 1317 Ne] The B
833 1319 and] of B
834 1320 Chenbal B₂, SΔ Geubal AM Glenball H₃ Thenballe W
835 1359 red S, F rede AJC, B
836 1388 whilom how þerof AMX ... B₂ hou somtyme þ. J whilome therof how H₁
837 1391 whiche SB which AJC, F
838 1419 which B
839 1432 of hem AdBT
840 1437 And] That AM ... B₂ (not G)
841 1442 schope S ... Δ
842 1444 And ȝit AM ... B₂
843 1479 a om. AJMXGERCL
844 1481 was om. AdBT
845 1489 þe world AM ... B₂
846 1510 on] of AMG, H₃ in Δ
847 1513 margin Omina T, F
848 1516 in pes AdBTΔ (in his pes S)
849 1518 al om. AdBT
850 1520 ther] he AM
851 1524 statue A ... B₂, B
852 1536 þat place BT
853 1567 margin Multi multa sciunt AH₁XGECLB₂ Latin om. JMR, AdB, W
854 1567 seiþ SBT
855 1581 As S ... Δ
856 1598 þe cas JM, Δ þa cas A
857 1602 He] His F He charged hem þei scholde harde H₁ ... B₂ (but warde E)
858 1631 hath] had (hadde) AM ... B₂, W
859 1645 mihte (might) S ... Δ
860 1669 Which A
861 1680 and to þrete JH₁CB₂, Δ, WK
862 1691 al om. AM
863 1695 out] forþ H₁, AdBT
864 1696 nyh] right AdBT for wroth] and wroþ AM ... B₂ (except C), W wroþ T for worþ J
865 1700 and] but AdBT
866 1716 I wolde AMX ... B₂
867 1718 good skile] and skile S ... ΔΛ
868 1733 þe pensel G, B
869 1735 badd S bad A, B bed J badde F
870 1746 kest J, SB, F keste T kiste AC
871 1786 into] in A ... B₂ vnto W
872 1787 it so AM
873 1793 margin de Egipto BT
874 1794 margin fugiturus BT
875 1806 margin ex] pro BT
876 1815 thei] he B
877 1817 toke (took &c.) A ... B₂
878 1828 to beholde (be holde) H₁, AdTB
879 1847 þe pleine AdBT
880 1875 And] He AdBT
881 1879 al] so S ... Δ
882 1883 leue R, AdBT
883 1931 thing] king B
884 1939 such AJC, B suche S, F
885 1954 wher þat A ... B₂ (except E) ther as W
886 1993 fasteby J, F faste by AC, SB
887 1996 he om. AdBT
888 2016 als (as) wel XCLB₂, Δ(?), WK
889 2030 Towardes (Toward) god AdBT
890 2041 ȝe schol (schul) not of him AdΔ ye ne shalle of him H₁ I ne schal of him AM
891 2046 mihte AJ, S miht F might C, B
892 2055 and he makþ BT and makeþ Ad
893 2061 the om. AM ... B₂, Δ
894 2062 putte AC, B put J, F
895 2071 wolde AJ, SB wold F
896 2083 noght misdo om. B
897 2089 and of cheualerie (chiualrie &c.) AM ... B₂, AdΔ, W
898 2091 that] þe AM
899 2136 Anoþer charme H₁ ... B₂
900 2141 hem B, K
901 2145 þer inne AdBT
902 2149 tho] so AdBT
903 2155 Wher þat AM ... B₂
904 2156 what] þat AM
905 2212 he om. B
906 2226 bifore (biforn &c.) M ... B₂ afore (aforn) Δ, W
907 2231 he wolde AdBT
908 2244 vnto AdBT
909 2247 sih (sigh, seyh) A, SB sihe F sye J
910 2255 schal] had H₁, AdBT
911 2257 no om. B
912 2299 apposeþ AMGB₂, W
913 2301 schold(e) SAdBT
914 2303 hast F
915 2314 of H₁GEC, S ... Δ, W if AJMXRLB₂, FK
916 2331 that om. AM ... B₂, WK
917 2345 dieules S, F dieueles A deueles J, B
918 2355 caste] caughte B
919 2357 S has lost a leaf 2357-vii. 88.
920 2376 that om. AM
921 2383 An ende BT, F And ende AJMERL, Ad, K And þende CL And the ende H₁ And sende X The ende B₂, W At ende Δ
922 2385 margin Nota de Saule et Ph. om. AM, Δ
923 2403 so me A ... B₂, AdΔ euer me W
924 2417 But B
925 2433 Philophie F
926 2435 bokes AdBT, W

[Pg 233]

Incipit Liber Septimus.

P. iii. 84
[The Education of Alexander.]
i. Omnibus in causis sapiens doctrina salutem
Consequitur, nec habet quis nisi doctus opem.
Naturam superat doctrina, viro quod et ortus
Ingenii docilis non dedit, ipsa dabit.
Non ita discretus hominum per climata regnat,
Quin, magis vt sapiat, indiget ipse scole.
I Genius the prest of love,
Quia omnis doctrina bona humano regimini salutem confert, in hoc septimo libro ad instanciam Amantis languidi intendit Genius illam ex qua Philosophi et Astrologi philosophie doctrinam Regem Alexandrum imbuerunt, secundum aliquid declarare. Diuidit enim philosophiam in tres partes, quarum prima Theorica, secunda Rethorica, tercia Practica nuncupata est, de quarum condicionibus subsequenter per singula tractabit.
Mi Sone, as thou hast preid above
That I the Scole schal declare
Of Aristotle and ek the fare
Of Alisandre, hou he was tauht,
I am somdel therof destrauht;
For it is noght to the matiere
Of love, why we sitten hiere
To schryve, so as Venus bad.
Bot natheles, for it is glad, 10
So as thou seist, for thin aprise
To hiere of suche thinges wise,
Wherof thou myht the time lisse,927
So as I can, I schal the wisse:
P. iii. 85
For wisdom is at every throwe928
Above alle other thing to knowe
In loves cause and elleswhere.
Forthi, my Sone, unto thin Ere,
Though it be noght in the registre
Of Venus, yit of that Calistre 20
And Aristotle whylom write
To Alisandre, thou schalt wite.
Bot for the lores ben diverse,
[Pg 234]
[Three Parts of Philosophy.]
I thenke ferst to the reherce
The nature of Philosophie;929
Which Aristotle of his clergie,
Wys and expert in the sciences,
Declareth thilke intelligences,930
As of thre pointz in principal.931
Wherof the ferste in special 30
Is Theorique, which is grounded
On him which al the world hath founded,
Which comprehendeth al the lore.
And forto loken overmore,
Next of sciences the seconde
Is Rethorique, whos faconde
Above alle othre is eloquent:
To telle a tale in juggement
So wel can noman speke as he.
The laste science of the thre 40
It is Practique, whos office
The vertu tryeth fro the vice,
And techeth upon goode thewes
To fle the compaignie of schrewes,
P. iii. 86
Which stant in disposicion
Of mannes free eleccion.
Practique enformeth ek the reule,
Hou that a worthi king schal reule
His Realme bothe in werre and pes.
Lo, thus danz Aristotiles 50
These thre sciences hath divided
And the nature also decided,
Wherof that ech of hem schal serve.
The ferste, which is the conserve
And kepere of the remnant,
As that which is most sufficant932
And chief of the Philosophie,
If I therof schal specefie
So as the Philosophre tolde,
Nou herkne, and kep that thou it holde. 60
[i. Theoric.][Pg 235]
ii. Prima creatorem dat scire sciencia summum:
Qui caput agnoscit, sufficit illud ei.933
Plura viros quandoque iuuat nescire, set illud
Quod videt expediens, sobrius ille sapit.
Of Theorique principal
The Philosophre in special
The propretees hath determined,
Hic tractat de prima parte Philosophie, que Theorica dicitur, cuius natura triplici dotata est sciencia, scilicet Theologia, Phisica et Mathematica: set primo illam partem Theologie declarabit.
As thilke which is enlumined
Of wisdom and of hih prudence
Above alle othre in his science:
And stant departed upon thre,
The ferste of which in his degre
Is cleped in Philosophie
The science of Theologie, 70
P. iii. 87
That other named is Phisique,
The thridde is seid Mathematique.
Theologie is that science
Which unto man yifth evidence
Of thing which is noght bodely,
Wherof men knowe redely
The hihe almyhti Trinite,
Which is o god in unite
Withouten ende and beginnynge
And creatour of alle thinge, 80
Of hevene, of erthe and ek of helle.
Wherof, as olde bokes telle,
The Philosophre in his resoun
Wrot upon this conclusioun,
And of his wrytinge in a clause
He clepeth god the ferste cause,
Which of himself is thilke good,934
Withoute whom nothing is good,
Of which that every creature935
Hath his beinge and his nature. 90
Nota quod triplex dicitur essencia: Prima temporanea, que incipit et desinit, Secunda perpetua, que incipit et non desinit, Tercia sempiterna, que nec incipit nec desinit.
After the beinge of the thinges
Ther ben thre formes of beinges:936
Thing which began and ende schal,
[Pg 236]
That thing is cleped temporal;
Ther is also be other weie
Thing which began and schal noght deie,
As Soules, that ben spiritiel,
Here beinge is perpetuel:
Bot ther is on above the Sonne,
Whos time nevere was begonne, 100
P. iii. 88
And endeles schal evere be;
That is the god, whos mageste
Alle othre thinges schal governe,
And his beinge is sempiterne.
The god, to whom that al honour
Belongeth, he is creatour,
And othre ben hise creatures:
The god commandeth the natures937
That thei to him obeien alle;938
Withouten him, what so befalle, 110
Her myht is non, and he mai al:
The god was evere and evere schal,
And thei begonne of his assent;
The times alle be present
To god, to hem and alle unknowe,
Bot what him liketh that thei knowe:
Thus bothe an angel and a man,
The whiche of al that god began
Be chief, obeien goddes myht,939
And he stant endeles upriht. 120
To this science ben prive
The clerkes of divinite,
The whiche unto the poeple prechen
The feith of holi cherche and techen,
Which in som cas upon believe
Stant more than thei conne prieve
Be weie of Argument sensible:
Bot natheles it is credible,
And doth a man gret meede have,
To him that thenkth himself to save. 130
P. iii. 89
Theologie in such a wise
[Pg 237]
Of hih science and hih aprise
Above alle othre stant unlike,
And is the ferste of Theorique.
Phisique is after the secounde,
Nota de secunda parte Theorice, que Phisica dicitur.
Thurgh which the Philosophre hath founde
To techen sondri knowlechinges
Upon the bodiliche thinges.
Of man, of beste, of herbe, of ston,
Of fissch, of foughl, of everychon 140
That ben of bodely substance,
The nature and the circumstance
Thurgh this science it is ful soght,
Which vaileth and which vaileth noght.
The thridde point of Theorique,
Nota de tercia parte Theorice, que Mathematica dicitur, cuius condicio quatuor in se continet intelligencias, scilicet Arsmeticam, Musicam, Geometriam et Astronomiam: set primo de Artismetice natura dicere intendit.
Which cleped is Mathematique,
Devided is in sondri wise
And stant upon diverse aprise.
The ferste of whiche is Arsmetique,
And the secounde is seid Musique, 150
The thridde is ek Geometrie,
Also the ferthe Astronomie.
Of Arsmetique the matiere
Is that of which a man mai liere
What Algorisme in nombre amonteth,
Whan that the wise man acompteth
After the formel proprete
Of Algorismes Abece:
Be which multiplicacioun
Is mad and diminucioun 160
P. iii. 90
Of sommes be thexperience
Of this Art and of this science.
Nota de Musica, que secunda pars Artis Mathematice dicitur.
The seconde of Mathematique,940
Which is the science of Musique,
That techeth upon Armonie
A man to make melodie
Be vois and soun of instrument
Thurgh notes of acordement,
The whiche men pronounce alofte,
Nou scharpe notes and nou softe, 170
Nou hihe notes and nou lowe,[Pg 238]
As be the gamme a man mai knowe,
Which techeth the prolacion
Of note and the condicion.
Nota de tercia specie Artis Mathematice, quam Geometriam vocant.941
Mathematique of his science
Hath yit the thridde intelligence
Full of wisdom and of clergie
And cleped is Geometrie,
Thurgh which a man hath thilke sleyhte
Of lengthe, of brede, of depthe, of heyhte 180
To knowe the proporcion
Be verrai calculacion
Of this science: and in this wise
These olde Philosophres wise,
Of al this worldes erthe round,
Hou large, hou thikke was the ground,
Controeveden thexperience;
The cercle and the circumference
Of every thing unto the hevene
Thei setten point and mesure evene.942 190
P. iii. 91
Mathematique above therthe
Of hyh science hath yit the ferthe,
Which spekth upon Astronomie
And techeth of the sterres hihe,
Beginnynge upward fro the mone.
Bot ferst, as it was forto done,
This Aristotle in other thing
Unto this worthi yonge king
The kinde of every element
Which stant under the firmament, 200
Hou it is mad and in what wise,
Fro point to point he gan devise.
[Creation of the Four Elements.]
iii. Quatuor omnipotens elementa creauit origo,
Quatuor et venti partibus ora dabat.
Nostraque quadruplici complexio sorte creatur,
Corpore sicque suo stat variatus homo.
Tofore the creacion
Of eny worldes stacion,
[Pg 239]
Hic interim943 tractat de creacione quatuor Elementorum, scilicet terre, aque, aeris et ignis, necnon et de eorum naturis, nam et singulis proprietates singule attribuuntur.
Of hevene, of erthe, or eke of helle,
So as these olde bokes telle,
As soun tofore the song is set
And yit thei ben togedre knet,
Riht so the hihe pourveance
Tho hadde under his ordinance 210
A gret substance, a gret matiere,
Of which he wolde in his manere
These othre thinges make and forme.
For yit withouten eny forme
Was that matiere universal,
Which hihte Ylem in special.
P. iii. 92
Of Ylem, as I am enformed,
These elementz ben mad and formed,
Of Ylem elementz they hote
After the Scole of Aristote, 220
Of whiche if more I schal reherce,
Foure elementz ther ben diverse.
The ferste of hem men erthe calle,
Nota de Terra, quod est primum elementum.
Which is the lowest of hem alle,
And in his forme is schape round,
Substancial, strong, sadd and sound,
As that which mad is sufficant
To bere up al the remenant.
For as the point in a compas
Stant evene amiddes, riht so was 230
This erthe set and schal abyde,
Philosophus. Vnumquodque naturaliter appetit suum centrum.
That it may swerve to no side,
And hath his centre after the lawe
Of kinde, and to that centre drawe
Desireth every worldes thing,
If ther ne were no lettyng.944
Nota de Aqua, quod est secundum elementum.
Above therthe kepth his bounde
The water, which is the secounde
Of elementz, and al withoute
It environeth therthe aboute. 240
Bot as it scheweth, noght forthi
This soubtil water myhtely,
[Pg 240]
Thogh it be of himselve softe,
The strengthe of therthe perceth ofte;
For riht as veines ben of blod
In man, riht so the water flod
P. iii. 93
Therthe of his cours makth ful of veines,
Als wel the helles as the pleines.
And that a man may sen at ÿe,
For wher the hulles ben most hyhe, 250
Ther mai men welle stremes finde:
So proveth it be weie of kinde
The water heyher than the lond.
Nota de Aere, quod est tercium elementum.
And over this nou understond,
Air is the thridde of elementz,
Of whos kinde his aspirementz
Takth every lifissh creature,945
The which schal upon erthe endure:
For as the fissh, if it be dreie,
Mot in defaute of water deie, 260
Riht so withouten Air on lyve
No man ne beste myhte thryve,946
The which is mad of fleissh and bon;
There is outake of alle non.
Nota qualiter Aer in tribus Periferiis diuiditur.
This Air in Periferies thre
Divided is of such degre,
Benethe is on and on amidde,
To whiche above is set the thridde:
And upon the divisions947
There ben diverse impressions 270
Of moist and ek of drye also,
Whiche of the Sonne bothe tuo
Ben drawe and haled upon hy,
And maken cloudes in the Sky,
As schewed is at mannes sihte;948
Wherof be day and ek be nyhte
P. iii. 94
After the times of the yer
Among ous upon Erthe her
In sondri wise thinges falle.
De prima Aeris Periferia.
The ferste Periferie of alle 280
[Pg 241]
Engendreth Myst and overmore
The dewes and the Frostes hore,
After thilke intersticion
In which thei take impression,
De secunda Aeris Periferia.
Fro the seconde, as bokes sein,
The moiste dropes of the reyn
Descenden into Middilerthe,
And tempreth it to sed and Erthe,
And doth to springe grass and flour.
And ofte also the grete schour 290
Out of such place it mai be take,
That it the forme schal forsake
Of reyn, and into snow be torned;
And ek it mai be so sojorned
In sondri places up alofte,
That into hail it torneth ofte.
De tercia Aeris Periferia.
The thridde of thair after the lawe
Thurgh such matiere as up is drawe949
Of dreie thing, as it is ofte,
Among the cloudes upon lofte,950 300
And is so clos, it may noght oute,—
Thanne is it chased sore aboute,
Til it to fyr and leyt be falle,951
And thanne it brekth the cloudes alle,
The whiche of so gret noyse craken,
That thei the feerful thonder maken.
P. iii. 95
The thonderstrok smit er it leyte,
And yit men sen the fyr and leyte,
The thonderstrok er that men hiere:
So mai it wel be proeved hiere 310
In thing which schewed is fro feer,
A mannes yhe is there nerr
Thanne is the soun to mannes Ere.
And natheles it is gret feere
Bothe of the strok and of the fyr,
Of which is no recoverir
In place wher that thei descende,
Bot if god wolde his grace sende.
[Pg 242]
Nota hic952 qualiter Ignes, quos noctanter in Aere discurrere videmus, secundum varias apparencie formas varia gestant nomina: quorum primus Assub, secundus Capra saliens, tercius Eges et quartus Daali in libris Philosophorum nuncupatus est.
And forto speken over this,
In this partie of thair it is 320
That men fulofte sen be nyhte
The fyr in sondri forme alyhte.
Somtime the fyrdrake it semeth,953
And so the lewed poeple it demeth;
Somtime it semeth as it were
A Sterre, which that glydeth there:
Bot it is nouther of the tuo,
The Philosophre telleth so,
And seith that of impressions
Thurgh diverse exalacions954 330
Upon the cause and the matiere
Men sen diverse forme appiere
Of fyr, the which hath sondri name.
Assub, he seith, is thilke same,
The which in sondry place is founde,
Whanne it is falle doun to grounde,955
P. iii. 96
So as the fyr it hath aneled,
Lich unto slym which is congeled.
Of exalacion I finde956
Fyr kinled of the fame kinde, 340
Bot it is of an other forme;
Wherof, if that I schal conforme
The figure unto that it is,
These olde clerkes tellen this,
That it is lik a Got skippende,
And for that it is such semende,
It hatte Capra saliens.
And ek these Astronomiens
An other fyr also, be nyhte
Which scheweth him to mannes syhte, 350
Thei clepen Eges, the which brenneth
Lik to the corrant fyr that renneth
Upon a corde, as thou hast sein,
[Pg 243]
Whan it with poudre is so besein
Of Sulphre and othre thinges mo.
Ther is an other fyr also,
Which semeth to a mannes yhe
Be nyhtes time as thogh ther flyhe
A dragon brennende in the Sky,
And that is cleped proprely 360
Daaly, wherof men sein fulofte,957
‘Lo, wher the fyri drake alofte
Fleth up in thair!’ and so thei demen.
Bot why the fyres suche semen
Of sondri formes to beholde,958
The wise Philosophre tolde,
P. iii. 97
So as tofore it hath ben herd.
Lo thus, my Sone, hou it hath ferd:959
Of Air the due proprete
In sondri wise thou myht se, 370
And hou under the firmament
It is ek the thridde element,
Which environeth bothe tuo,
The water and the lond also.960
Nota de Igne, quod est quartum elementum.
And forto tellen overthis
Of elementz which the ferthe is,
That is the fyr in his degre,
Which environeth thother thre
And is withoute moist al drye.
Bot lest nou what seith the clergie; 380
For upon hem that I have seid
The creatour hath set and leid
The kinde and the complexion
Of alle mennes nacion.
Foure elementz sondri ther be,
Lich unto whiche of that degre
Among the men ther ben also
Complexions foure and nomo,
Wherof the Philosophre treteth,
That he nothing behinde leteth, 390
And seith hou that thei ben diverse,
[Pg 244]
So as I schal to thee reherse.
[The Four Complexions of Man.]
He which natureth every kinde,961
The myhti god, so as I finde,
Of man, which is his creature,
Nota hic qualiter secundum naturam quatuor elementorum quatuor in humano corpore complexiones, scilicet Malencolia, Fleuma, Sanguis et Colera, naturaliter constituuntur: vnde primo de Malencolia dicendum est.
Hath so devided the nature,
P. iii. 98
That non til other wel acordeth:
And be the cause it so discordeth,
The lif which fieleth the seknesse
Mai stonde upon no sekernesse. 400
Of therthe, which is cold and drye,
The kinde of man Malencolie
Is cleped, and that is the ferste,
The most ungoodlich and the werste;
For unto loves werk on nyht
Him lacketh bothe will and myht:
No wonder is, in lusty place
Of love though he lese grace.
What man hath that complexion,
Full of ymaginacion 410
Of dredes and of wrathful thoghtes,
He fret himselven al to noghtes.
De complexione Fleumatis.
The water, which is moyste and cold,
Makth fleume, which is manyfold
Foryetel, slou and wery sone
Of every thing which is to done:
He is of kinde sufficant
To holde love his covenant,
Bot that him lacketh appetit,
Which longeth unto such delit. 420
De complexione Sanguinis.
What man that takth his kinde of thair,
He schal be lyht, he schal be fair,
For his complexion is blood.
Of alle ther is non so good,
For he hath bothe will and myht
To plese and paie love his riht:
P. iii. 99
Wher as he hath love undertake,
Wrong is if that he be forsake.
De complexione Colere.
The fyr of his condicion962
[Pg 245]
Appropreth the complexion 430
Which in a man is Colre hote,
Whos propretes ben dreie and hote:
It makth a man ben enginous
And swift of fote and ek irous;
Of contek and folhastifnesse
He hath a riht gret besinesse,
To thenke of love and litel may:
Though he behote wel a day,963
On nyht whan that he wole assaie,
He may ful evele his dette paie. 440
Nota qualiter quatuor complexiones quatuor in homine habitaciones diuisim possident.
After the kinde of thelement,
Thus stant a mannes kinde went,
As touchende his complexion,
Upon sondri division
Of dreie, of moiste, of chele, of hete,964
And ech of hem his oghne sete
Appropred hath withinne a man.
And ferst to telle as I began,
Splen domus est965 Malencolie.
The Splen is to Malencolie
Assigned for herbergerie: 450
Pulmo domus966m Fleumatis.
The moiste fleume with his cold966
Hath in the lunges for his hold
Ordeined him a propre stede,
To duelle ther as he is bede:
Epar domus Sanguinis.
To the Sanguin complexion
Nature of hire inspeccion967
P. iii. 100
A propre hous hath in the livere
For his duellinge mad delivere:
Fel domus Colere.
The dreie Colre with his hete
Be weie of kinde his propre sete 460
Hath in the galle, wher he duelleth,
So as the Philosophre telleth.
Nota de Stomacho, qui vna cum aliis cordi968 specialius deseruit.
Nou over this is forto wite,
As it is in Phisique write
Of livere, of lunge, of galle, of splen,
[Pg 246]
Thei alle unto the herte ben
Servantz, and ech in his office
Entendeth to don him service,
As he which is chief lord above.969
The livere makth him forto love, 470
The lunge yifth him weie of speche,
The galle serveth to do wreche,
The Splen doth him to lawhe and pleie,
Whan al unclennesse is aweie:
Lo, thus hath ech of hem his dede.
And to sustienen hem and fede
In time of recreacion,
Nature hath in creacion970
The Stomach for a comun Coc
Ordeined, so as seith the boc.971 480
The Stomach coc is for the halle,
And builleth mete for hem alle,
To make hem myghty forto serve972
The herte, that he schal noght sterve:
For as a king in his Empire
Above alle othre is lord and Sire,
P. iii. 101
So is the herte principal,
To whom reson in special
Is yove as for the governance.
[The Soul of Man.]
And thus nature his pourveance 490
Hath mad for man to liven hiere;
Bot god, which hath the Soule diere,973
Hath formed it in other wise.
That can noman pleinli devise;
Bot as the clerkes ous enforme,
That lich to god it hath a forme,
Thurgh which figure and which liknesse
The Soule hath many an hyh noblesse
Appropred to his oghne kinde.
Bot ofte hir wittes be mad blinde 500
Al onliche of this ilke point,
That hir abydinge is conjoint
[Pg 247]
Forth with the bodi forto duelle:
That on desireth toward helle,
That other upward to the hevene;
So schul thei nevere stonde in evene,
Bot if the fleissh be overcome
And that the Soule have holi nome974
The governance, and that is selde,
Whil that the fleissh him mai bewelde.975 510
Al erthli thing which god began
Was only mad to serve man;
Bot he the Soule al only made
Himselven forto serve and glade.
Alle othre bestes that men finde
Thei serve unto here oghne kinde,
P. iii. 102
Bot to reson the Soule serveth;
Wherof the man his thonk deserveth
And get him with hise werkes goode
The perdurable lyves foode. 520
[The Division of the Earth.]
Of what matiere it schal be told,976
A tale lyketh manyfold
Hic loquitur vlterius de diuisione Terre que post diluuium tribus filiis Noe in tres partes, scilicet Asiam, Affricam et Europam diuidebatur.
The betre, if it be spoke plein:
Thus thinke I forto torne ayein
And telle plenerly therfore977
Of therthe, wherof nou tofore
I spak, and of the water eke,
So as these olde clerkes spieke,978
And sette proprely the bounde
After the forme of Mappemounde, 530
Thurgh which the ground be pourparties
Departed is in thre parties,
That is Asie, Aufrique, Europe,
The whiche under the hevene cope,
Als ferr as streccheth eny ground,
Begripeth al this Erthe round.
Bot after that the hihe wrieche
The water weies let out seche
[Pg 248]
And overgo the helles hye,
Which every kinde made dye 540
That upon Middelerthe stod,979
Outake Noë and his blod,
His Sones and his doughtres thre,
Thei were sauf and so was he;—
Here names who that rede rihte,
Sem, Cam, Japhet the brethren hihte;—980
P. iii. 103
And whanne thilke almyhty hond
Withdrouh the water fro the lond,
And al the rage was aweie,
And Erthe was the mannes weie, 550
The Sones thre, of whiche I tolde,
Riht after that hemselve wolde,981
This world departe thei begonne.
De Asia.
Asie, which lay to the Sonne
Upon the Marche of orient,
Was graunted be comun assent
To Sem, which was the Sone eldeste;
For that partie was the beste
And double as moche as othre tuo.
And was that time bounded so; 560
Wher as the flod which men Nil calleth
Departeth fro his cours and falleth
Into the See Alexandrine,
Ther takth Asie ferst seisine
Toward the West, and over this
Of Canahim wher the flod is
Into the grete See rennende,
Fro that into the worldes ende
Estward, Asie it is algates,
Til that men come unto the gates 570
Of Paradis, and there ho.
And schortly for to speke it so,
Of Orient in general
Withinne his bounde Asie hath al.
De Aufrica982 et Europa.
And thanne upon that other syde
[Pg 249]
Westward, as it fell thilke tyde,
P. iii. 104
The brother which was hote Cham
Upon his part Aufrique nam.983
Japhet Europe tho tok he,
Thus parten thei the world on thre. 580
Bot yit ther ben of londes fele
In occident as for the chele,
In orient as for the hete,
Which of the poeple be forlete984
As lond desert that is unable,
For it mai noght ben habitable.
Nota de mari quod magnum Occeanum dicitur.
The water eke hath sondri bounde,
After the lond wher it is founde,
And takth his name of thilke londes
Wher that it renneth on the strondes: 590
Bot thilke See which hath no wane
Is cleped the gret Occeane,
Out of the which arise and come
The hyhe flodes alle and some;
Is non so litel welle spring,
Which ther ne takth his beginnyng,
And lich a man that haleth breth985
Be weie of kinde, so it geth
Out of the See and in ayein,
The water, as the bokes sein. 600
Nota hic secundum philosophum de quinto Elemento, quod omnia sub celo creata infra suum ambitum continet, cui nomen Orbis specialiter appropriatum est.
Of Elementz the propretes
Hou that they stonden be degres,
As I have told, nou myht thou hiere,
Mi goode Sone, al the matiere
Of Erthe, of water, Air and fyr.
And for thou saist that thi desir
P. iii. 105
Is forto witen overmore
The forme of Aristotles lore,
He seith in his entendement,
That yit ther is an Element 610
Above the foure, and is the fifte,
Set of the hihe goddes yifte,
The which that Orbis cleped is.
[Pg 250]
And therupon he telleth this,
That as the schelle hol and sound
Encloseth al aboute round
What thing withinne an Ey belongeth,
Riht so this Orbis underfongeth
These elementz alle everychon,
Which I have spoke of on and on.986 620
Bot overthis nou tak good hiede,987
Mi Sone, for I wol procede
To speke upon Mathematique,
Which grounded is on Theorique.
The science of Astronomie
I thinke forto specefie,
Withoute which, to telle plein,
Alle othre science is in vein988
Toward the scole of erthli thinges:
For as an Egle with his winges 630
Fleth above alle that men finde,
So doth this science in his kinde.
iv. Lege planetarum magis inferiora reguntur,
Ista set interdum regula fallit opus.
Vir mediante deo sapiens dominabitur astris,
Fata nec immerito quid nouitatis agunt.989
P. iii. 106
Benethe upon this Erthe hiere
Of alle thinges the matiere,
Hic loquitur de Artis Mathematice quarta specie, que Astronomia nuncupata est, cui eciam Astrologia socia connumeratur: set primo de septem planetis, que inter astra potenciores existunt, incipiendo a luna seorsum tractare intendit.
As tellen ous thei that ben lerned,
Of thing above it stant governed,
That is to sein of the Planetes.
The cheles bothe and ek the hetes,
The chances of the world also,
That we fortune clepen so, 640
Among the mennes nacion
Al is thurgh constellacion,
Wherof that som man hath the wele,
And som man hath deseses fele
In love als wel as othre thinges;
[Pg 251]
The stat of realmes and of kinges
In time of pes, in time of werre
It is conceived of the Sterre:
And thus seith the naturien
Which is an Astronomien. 650
Bot the divin seith otherwise,
That if men weren goode and wise
And plesant unto the godhede,
Thei scholden noght the sterres drede;
For o man, if him wel befalle,
Is more worth than ben thei alle
Towardes him that weldeth al.
Bot yit the lawe original,
Which he hath set in the natures,
Mot worchen in the creatures, 660
That therof mai be non obstacle,
Bot if it stonde upon miracle
P. iii. 107
Thurgh preiere of som holy man.
And forthi, so as I began
To speke upon Astronomie,
As it is write in the clergie,
To telle hou the planetes fare,
Som part I thenke to declare,
Mi Sone, unto thin Audience.
Astronomie is the science 670
Of wisdom and of hih connynge,
Which makth a man have knowlechinge990
Of Sterres in the firmament,
Figure, cercle and moevement
Of ech of hem in sondri place,
And what betwen hem is of space,
Hou so thei moeve or stonde faste,
Al this it telleth to the laste.
Assembled with Astronomie
Is ek that ilke Astrologie, 680
The which in juggementz acompteth
Theffect, what every sterre amonteth,
And hou thei causen many a wonder
To tho climatz that stonde hem under.991
[Pg 252]
[Planets and Signs.]
And forto telle it more plein,992
These olde philosophres sein
That Orbis, which I spak of err,
Is that which we fro therthe a ferr
Beholde, and firmament it calle,
In which the sterres stonden alle, 690
Among the whiche in special
Planetes sefne principal
P. iii. 108
Ther ben, that mannes sihte demeth,
Bot thorizonte, as to ous semeth.993
And also ther ben signes tuelve,
Whiche have her cercles be hemselve
Compassed in the zodiaque,
In which thei have here places take.
And as thei stonden in degre,
Here cercles more or lasse be, 700
Mad after the proporcion
Of therthe, whos condicion
Is set to be the foundement
To sustiene up the firmament.
And be this skile a man mai knowe,
The more that thei stonden lowe,
The more ben the cercles lasse;
That causeth why that some passe
Here due cours tofore an other.
Bot nou, mi lieve dere brother, 710
As thou desirest forto wite
What I finde in the bokes write,
To telle of the planetes sevene,
Hou that thei stonde upon the hevene
And in what point that thei ben inne,
Tak hiede, for I wol beginne,
So as the Philosophre tauhte994
To Alisandre and it betauhte,
Wherof that he was fulli tawht
Of wisdom, which was him betawht. 720
Benethe alle othre stant the Mone,
[Pg 253]
[The Planets.]
The which hath with the See to done:
Nota hic de prima planeta, que aliis inferior Luna dicitur.
P. iii. 109
Of flodes hihe and ebbes lowe
Upon his change it schal be knowe;995
And every fissh which hath a schelle
Mot in his governance duelle,
To wexe and wane in his degre,
As be the Mone a man mai se;
And al that stant upon the grounde
Of his moisture it mot be founde. 730
Alle othre sterres, as men finde,
Be schynende of here oghne kinde
Outake only the monelyht,
Which is noght of himselve bright,
Bot as he takth it of the Sonne.
And yit he hath noght al fulwonne996
His lyht, that he nys somdiel derk;
Bot what the lette is of that werk
In Almageste it telleth this:
The Mones cercle so lowe is, 740
Wherof the Sonne out of his stage
Ne seth him noght with full visage,
For he is with the ground beschaded,
So that the Mone is somdiel faded
And may noght fully schyne cler.
Bot what man under his pouer
Is bore, he schal his places change
And seche manye londes strange:
And as of this condicion
The Mones disposicion 750
Upon the lond of Alemaigne
Is set, and ek upon Bretaigne,
P. iii. 110
Which nou is cleped Engelond;
For thei travaile in every lond.
De secunda planeta, que Mercurius dicitur.
Of the Planetes the secounde
Above the Mone hath take his bounde,
Mercurie, and his nature is this,
That under him who that bore is,
In boke he schal be studious
And in wrytinge curious, 760
And slouh and lustles to travaile[Pg 254]
In thing which elles myhte availe:
He loveth ese, he loveth reste,
So is he noght the worthieste;
Bot yit with somdiel besinesse
His herte is set upon richesse.
And as in this condicion,
Theffect and disposicion
Of this Planete and of his chance997
Is most in Burgoigne and in France. 770
De tercia planeta, que Venus dicitur.
Next to Mercurie, as wol befalle,
Stant that Planete which men calle
Venus, whos constellacion
Governeth al the nacion
Of lovers, wher thei spiede or non,
Of whiche I trowe thou be on:
Bot whiderward thin happes wende,
Schal this planete schewe at ende,
As it hath do to many mo,
To some wel, to some wo. 780
And natheles of this Planete
The moste part is softe and swete;
P. iii. 111
For who that therof takth his berthe,
He schal desire joie and merthe,
Gentil, courteis and debonaire,
To speke his wordes softe and faire,
Such schal he be be weie of kinde,
And overal wher he may finde
Plesance of love, his herte boweth
With al his myht and there he woweth. 790
He is so ferforth Amourous,
He not what thing is vicious
Touchende love, for that lawe
Ther mai no maner man withdrawe,
The which venerien is bore
Be weie of kinde, and therefore
Venus of love the goddesse
Is cleped: bot of wantounesse998
[Pg 255]
The climat of hir lecherie
Is most commun in Lombardie. 800
Nota de Sole, qui medio planetarum residens Astrorum principatum obtinet.
Next unto this Planete of love
The brighte Sonne stant above,
Which is the hindrere of the nyht
And forthrere of the daies lyht,
As he which is the worldes ÿe,
Thurgh whom the lusti compaignie
Of foules be the morwe singe,
The freisshe floures sprede and springe,
The hihe tre the ground beschadeth,
And every mannes herte gladeth. 810
And for it is the hed Planete,
Hou that he sitteth in his sete,
P. iii. 112
Of what richesse, of what nobleie,
These bokes telle, and thus thei seie.
Nota de curru Solis necnon et de vario eiusdem apparatu.
Of gold glistrende Spoke and whiel
The Sonne his carte hath faire and wiel,
In which he sitt, and is coroned
With brighte stones environed;
Of whiche if that I speke schal,
Ther be tofore in special 820
Set in the front of his corone
Thre Stones, whiche no persone
Hath upon Erthe, and the ferste is
Be name cleped Licuchis;
That othre tuo be cleped thus,
Astrices and Ceramius.
In his corone also behinde,
Be olde bokes as I finde,
Ther ben of worthi Stones thre
Set ech of hem in his degre: 830
Wherof a Cristall is that on,
Which that corone is set upon;
The seconde is an Adamant;
The thridde is noble and avenant,
Which cleped is Ydriades.
And over this yit natheles
Upon the sydes of the werk,
[Pg 256]
After the wrytinge of the clerk,
Ther sitten fyve Stones mo:
The smaragdine is on of tho, 840
Jaspis and Elitropius
And Dendides and Jacinctus,
P. iii. 113
Lo, thus the corone is beset,
Wherof it schyneth wel the bet;
And in such wise his liht to sprede
Sit with his Diademe on hede
The Sonne schynende in his carte.
And forto lede him swithe and smarte
After the bryhte daies lawe,
Ther ben ordeined forto drawe 850
Foure hors his Char and him withal,
Wherof the names telle I schal:
Eritheüs the ferste is hote,
The which is red and schyneth hote,
The seconde Acteos the bryhte,
Lampes the thridde coursier hihte,
And Philogeüs is the ferthe,
That bringen lyht unto this erthe,
And gon so swift upon the hevene,
In foure and twenty houres evene 860
The carte with the bryhte Sonne
Thei drawe, so that overronne
Thei have under the cercles hihe
Al Middelerthe in such an hye.
And thus the Sonne is overal
The chief Planete imperial,
Above him and benethe him thre:
And thus betwen hem regneth he,
As he that hath the middel place
Among the Sevene, and of his face 870
Be glade alle erthly creatures,
And taken after the natures
P. iii. 114
Here ese and recreacion.
And in his constellacion
Who that is bore in special,
Of good will and of liberal
He schal be founde in alle place,
[Pg 257]
And also stonde in mochel grace
Toward the lordes forto serve
And gret profit and thonk deserve. 880
And over that it causeth yit
A man to be soubtil of wit
To worche in gold, and to be wys
In every thing which is of pris.
Bot forto speken in what cost
Of al this erthe he regneth most
As for wisdom, it is in Grece,
Wher is apropred thilke spiece.
Nota de quinta planeta, que Mars dicitur.
Mars the Planete bataillous
Next to the Sonne glorious 890
Above stant, and doth mervailes
Upon the fortune of batailes.
The conquerours be daies olde
Were unto this planete holde:
Bot who that his nativite
Hath take upon the proprete
Of Martes disposicioun
Be weie of constellacioun,
He schal be fiers and folhastif
And desirous of werre and strif. 900
Bot forto telle redely
In what climat most comunly
P. iii. 115
That this planete hath his effect,
Seid is that he hath his aspect
Upon the holi lond so cast,
That there is no pes stedefast.
Nota de sexta planeta, que Iupiter dicitur.
Above Mars upon the hevene,
The sexte Planete of the sevene,
Stant Jupiter the delicat,
Which causeth pes and no debar. 910
For he is cleped that Planete999
Which of his kinde softe and swete
Attempreth al that to him longeth;
And whom this planete underfongeth
To stonde upon his regiment,
He schal be meke and pacient
[Pg 258]
And fortunat to Marchandie
And lusti to delicacie
In every thing which he schal do.
This Jupiter is cause also 920
Of the science of lyhte werkes,
And in this wise tellen clerkes
He is the Planete of delices.
Bot in Egipte of his offices
He regneth most in special:
For ther be lustes overal
Of al that to this lif befalleth;
For ther no stormy weder falleth,
Which myhte grieve man or beste,
And ek the lond is so honeste 930
That it is plentevous and plein,
Ther is non ydel ground in vein;
P. iii. 116
And upon such felicite1000
Stant Jupiter in his degre.
De septima planeta, que reliquis celsior Saturnus dictus est.1001
The heyeste and aboven alle
Stant that planete which men calle1002
Saturnus, whos complexion
Is cold, and his condicion
Causeth malice and crualte
To him the whos nativite 940
Is set under his governance.
For alle hise werkes ben grevance
And enemy to mannes hele,
In what degre that he schal dele.
His climat is in Orient,
Wher that he is most violent.
Of the Planetes by and by,
Hou that thei stonde upon the Sky,
Fro point to point as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere. 950
Bot overthis touchende his lore,
Of thing that thei him tawhte more
Upon the scoles of clergie
Now herkne the Philosophie.
[Pg 259]
[The Signs.]
He which departeth dai fro nyht,
Postquam dictum est de vii. Planetis, quibus singuli septimane dies singulariter attitulantur, dicendum est iam de xii. Signis, per que xii. Menses Anni variis temporibus effectus varios assequntur.1004
That on derk and that other lyht,1003
Of sevene daies made a weke,
A Monthe of foure wekes eke
He hath ordeigned in his lawe,
Of Monthes tuelve and ek forthdrawe 960
He hath also the longe yeer.
And as he sette of his pouer
P. iii. 117
Acordant to the daies sevene
Planetes Sevene upon the hevene,
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
To speke riht in such a wise,
To every Monthe be himselve
Upon the hevene of Signes tuelve
He hath after his Ordinal
Assigned on in special, 970
Wherof, so as I schal rehersen,
The tydes of the yer diversen.
Bot pleinly forto make it knowe
Hou that the Signes sitte arowe,
Ech after other be degre
In substance and in proprete
The zodiaque comprehendeth
Withinne his cercle, as it appendeth.1005
Nota hic de primo Signo, quod Aries dicitur, cui Mensis Marcii specialiter appropriatus est.
Quo deus in primo produxit ad esse1006 creata.
The ferste of whiche natheles1007
Be name is cleped Aries, 980
Which lich a wether of stature
Resembled is in his figure.
And as it seith in Almageste,
Of Sterres tuelve upon this beste1008
Ben set, wherof in his degre
The wombe hath tuo, the heved hath thre,
The Tail hath sevene, and in this wise,
As thou myht hiere me divise,
Stant Aries, which hot and drye
Is of himself, and in partie 990
[Pg 260]
P. iii. 118
He is the receipte and the hous
Of myhty Mars the bataillous.
And overmore ek, as I finde,
The creatour of alle kinde
Upon this Signe ferst began
The world, whan that he made man.
And of this constellacioun
The verray operacioun
Availeth, if a man therinne
The pourpos of his werk beginne; 1000
For thanne he hath of proprete
Good sped and gret felicite.
The tuelve Monthes of the yeer
Attitled under the pouer
Of these tuelve Signes stonde;
Wherof that thou schalt understonde
This Aries on of the tuelve1009
Hath March attitled for himselve,
Whan every bridd schal chese his make,
And every neddre and every Snake 1010
And every Reptil which mai moeve,
His myht assaieth forto proeve,
To crepen out ayein the Sonne,
Whan Ver his Seson hath begonne.
Secundum Signum dicitur Taurus, cuius Mensis est Aprilis.
Quo prius occultas inuenit herba vias.
Taurus the seconde after this
Of Signes, which figured is
Unto a Bole, is dreie and cold;