The Project Gutenberg EBook of Chaucer's Works, Volume 1 (of 7) -- Romaunt
of the Rose; Minor Poems, by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Title: Chaucer's Works, Volume 1 (of 7) -- Romaunt of the Rose; Minor Poems

Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

Editor: Walter Skeat

Release Date: July 3, 2013 [EBook #43089]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Keith Edkins and the Online
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Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage.


Vol. I. Frontispiece.







Litt.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Ph.D.




——'blanda sonantibus

Chordis carmina temperans.'

Boethius, De Cons. Phil. Lib. III. Met. 12.

'He temprede hise blaundisshinge songes by resowninge strenges.'

Chaucer's Translation.









*** The Portrait of Chaucer in the frontispiece is noticed at p. lix.

General Introduction vii
Life of Chaucer ix
List of Chaucer's Works lxii
Errata and Addenda lxiv
Introduction to the Romaunt of the Rose.§ 1. Why (the chief part of) the Romaunt of the Rose is not Chaucer's. § 2. The English Version of the Romaunt. § 3. Internal evidence. § 4. Dr. Lidner's opinion. § 5. Dr. Kaluza's opinion. The three Fragments. § 6. Discussion of Fragment B. Test. I.—Proportion of English to French. § 7. Test II.—Dialect. § 8. Test III.—The Riming of -y with -yë. § 9. Test IV.—Assonant Rimes. § 10. Result: Fragment B is not by Chaucer. § 11. Discussion of Fragment C. § 12. Rime-tests. § 13. Further considerations. § 14. Result: Fragment C is not by the author of Fragment B, and perhaps not by Chaucer. § 15. Discussion of Fragment A. (1) Rimes in -y. (2) Rimes in -yë § 16. No false rimes. § 17. The three Fragments seem to be all distinct. § 18. Fragment A is probably Chaucer's. § 19. Summary. § 20. Probability of the results. § 21. The external evidence. § 22. The Glasgow MS. § 23. Th.—Thynne's Edition; 1532. § 24. Reprints. § 25. The Present Edition. § 26. Some corrections. § 27. The French Text. §§ 28, 29. Brief Analysis of the French Poem: G. de Lorris. § 30. Jean de Meun; to the end of Fragment B. § 31. Gap in the Translation. § 32. Fragment C. § 33. Chaucer's use of 'Le Roman.' § 34. Méon's French text 1
Introduction to the Minor Poems.§ 1. Principles of selection. § 2. Testimony of Chaucer regarding his Works. § 3. Lydgate's List. § 4. Testimony of Shirley. § 5. Testimony of Scribes. § 6. Testimony of Caxton. § 7. Early Editions of Chaucer. § 8. Contents of Stowe's Edition (1561): Part I.—Reprinted Matter. § 9. Part II.—Additions by Stowe. § 10. Part I. discussed. § 11. Part II. discussed. § 12. Poems added by Speght. [vi] § 13. Poems added by Morris. § 14. Description of the MSS. List of the MSS. § 15. Remarks on the MSS. at Oxford. § 16. MSS. at Cambridge. § 17. London MSS. § 18. I.—A. B. C. § 19. II.—The Compleynt unto Pitè. § 20. III.—The Book of the Duchesse. § 21. IV.—The Compleynt of Mars. § 22. V.—The Parlement of Foules. § 23. VI.—A Compleint to his Lady. § 24. VII.—Anelida and Arcite. § 25. VIII. Chaucers Wordes unto Adam. § 26. IX.—The Former Age. § 27. X.—Fortune. § 28. XI.—Merciless Beauty. § 29. XII.—To Rosemounde. § 30. XIII.—Truth. § 31. XIV.—Gentilesse. § 32. XV.—Lak of Stedfastnesse. § 33. XVI—Lenvoy to Scogan. § 34. XVII.—Lenvoy to Bukton. § 35. XVIII.—Compleynt of Venus. § 36. XIX.—The Compleint to his Purse. § 37. XX.—Proverbs. § 38. XXI.—Against Women Unconstaunt. § 39. XXII.—An Amorous Complaint. § 40. XXIII.—Balade of Compleynt. § 41. Concluding Remarks 20
The Romaunt of the Rose.
Fragment A. (with the French Text) 93
Fragment B. (containing Northern forms) 164
Fragment C. 229
The Minor Poems.
I. An A. B. C. (with the French original) 261
II. The Compleynte unto Pitè 272
III. The Book of the Duchesse 277
IV. The Compleynt of Mars 323
V. The Parlement of Foules 335
VI. A Compleint to his Lady 360
VII. Anelida and Arcite 365
VIII. Chaucers Wordes unto Adam 379
IX. The Former Age 380
X. Fortune 383
XI. Merciles Beautè 387
XII. Balade to Rosemounde 389
XIII. Truth 390
XIV. Gentilesse 392
XV. Lak of Stedfastnesse 394
XVI. Lenvoy to Scogan 396
XVII. Lenvoy to Bukton 398
XVIII. The Compleynt of Venus (with the French original) 400
XIX. The Compleint of Chaucer to his empty Purse 405
XX. Proverbs of Chaucer 407
XXI. Appendix: Against Women Unconstaunt 409
XXII. An Amorous Complaint 411
XXIII. A Balade of Compleynt 415
Notes to the Romaunt of the Rose 417
Notes to the Minor Poems 452



The present edition of Chaucer contains an entirely new Text, founded solely on the manuscripts and on the earliest accessible printed editions. For correct copies of the manuscripts, I am indebted, except in a few rare instances, to the admirable texts published by the Chaucer Society.

In each case, the best copy has been selected as the basis of the text, and has only been departed from where other copies afforded a better reading. All such variations, as regards the wording of the text, are invariably recorded in the footnotes at the bottom of each page; or, in the case of the Treatise on the Astrolabe, in Critical Notes immediately following the text. Variations in the spelling are also recorded, wherever they can be said to be of consequence. But I have purposely abstained from recording variations of reading that are certainly inferior to the reading given in the text.

The requirements of metre and grammar have been carefully considered throughout. Beside these, the phonology and spelling of every word have received particular attention. With the exception of reasonable and intelligible variations, the spelling is uniform throughout, and consistent with the highly phonetic system employed by the scribe of the very valuable Ellesmere MS. of the Canterbury Tales. The old reproach, that Chaucer's works are chiefly remarkable for bad spelling, can no longer be fairly made; since the spelling here given is a fair guide to the old pronunciation of nearly every word. For further particulars, see the Introduction to vol. iv. and the remarks on Chaucer's language in vol. v.

The present edition comprises the whole of Chaucer's Works, whether in verse or prose, together with a commentary (contained in the Notes) upon every passage which seems to present any difficulty or to require illustration. It is arranged in six volumes, as follows.

Vol. I. commences with a Life of Chaucer, containing all the known facts and incidents that have been recorded, with [viii]authorities for the same, and dates. It also contains the Romaunt of the Rose and the Minor Poems, with a special Introduction and illustrative Notes. The Introduction discusses the genuineness of the poems here given, and explains why certain poems, formerly ascribed to Chaucer with more rashness than knowledge, are here omitted.

The attempt to construct a reasonably good text of the Romaunt has involved great labour; all previous texts abound with corruptions, many of which have now for the first time been amended, partly by help of diligent collation of the two authorities, and partly by help of the French original.

Vol. II. contains Boethius and Troilus, each with a special Introduction. The text of Boethius is much more correct than in any previous edition, and appears for the first time with modern punctuation. The Notes are nearly all new, at any rate as regards the English version.

The text of Troilus is also a new one. The valuable 'Corpus MS.' has been collated for the first time; and several curious words, which have been hitherto suppressed because they were not understood, have been restored to the text, as explained in the Introduction. Most of the explanatory Notes are new; others have appeared in Bell's edition.

Vol. III. contains The House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women, and the Treatise on the Astrolabe; with special Introductions. All these have been previously edited by myself, with Notes. Both the text and the Notes have been carefully revised, and contain several corrections and additions. The latter part of the volume contains a discussion of the Sources of the Canterbury Tales.

Vol. IV. contains the Canterbury Tales, with the Tale of Gamelyn appended. The MSS. of the Canterbury Tales, and the mode of printing them, are discussed in the Introduction.

Vol. V. contains a full Commentary on the Canterbury Tales, in the form of Notes. Such as have appeared before have been carefully revised; whilst many of them appear for the first time. The volume further includes all necessary helps for the study of Chaucer, such as remarks on the pronunciation, grammar, and scansion.

Vol. VI. contains a Glossarial Index and an Index of Names.



*** Many of the documents referred to in the foot-notes are printed at length in Godwin's Life of Chaucer, 2nd ed. 1804 (vol. iv), or in the Life by Sir H. Nicolas. The former set are marked (G.); the latter set are denoted by a reference to 'Note A,' or 'Note B'; &c.

§ 1. The name Chaucer, like many others in England in olden times, was originally significant of an occupation. The Old French chaucier (for which see Godefroy's Old French Dictionary) signified rather 'a hosier' than 'a shoemaker,' though it was also sometimes used in the latter sense. The modern French chausse represents a Low Latin calcia, fem. sb., a kind of hose, closely allied to the Latin calceus, a shoe. See Chausses, Chaussure, in the New English Dictionary.

It is probable that the Chaucer family came originally from East Anglia. Henry le Chaucier is mentioned as a citizen of Norfolk in 1275; and Walter le Chaucer as the same, in 1292[1]. But Gerard le Chaucer, in 1296, and Bartholomew le Chaucer, in 1312-3, seem to have lived near Colchester[2].

In several early instances, the name occurs in connexion with Cordwainer Street, or with the small Ward of the City of London bearing the same name. Thus, Baldwin le Chaucer dwelt in 'Cordewanerstrete' in 1307; Elyas le Chaucer in the same, in 1318-9; Nicholas Chaucer in the same, in 1356; and Henry Chaucer was a man-at-arms provided for the king's service by Cordwanerstrete Ward[3]. This is worthy of remark, because, as [x]we shall see presently, both Chaucer's father and his grandmother once resided in the same street, the northern end of which is now called Bow Lane, the southern end extending to Garlick Hithe. (See the article on Cordwainer Street Ward in Stowe's Survey of London.)

§ 2. Robert le Chaucer. The earliest relative with whom we can certainly connect the poet is his grandfather Robert, who is first mentioned, together with Mary his wife, in 1307, when they sold ten acres of land in Edmonton to Ralph le Clerk, for 100s.[4] On Aug. 2, 1310, Robert le Chaucer was appointed 'one of the collectors in the port of London of the new customs upon wines granted by the merchants of Aquitaine[5].' It is also recorded that he was possessed of one messuage, with its appurtenances, in Ipswich[6]; and it was alleged, in the course of some law-proceedings (of which I have more to say below), that the said estate was only worth 20 shillings a year. He is probably the Robert Chaucer who is mentioned under the date 1310, in the Early Letter-books of the City of London[7].

Robert Chaucer was married, in or before 1307 (see above), to a widow named Maria or Mary Heyroun[8], whose maiden name was probably Stace[9]; and the only child of whom we find any mention was his son and heir, named John, who was the poet's father. At the same time, it is necessary to observe that Maria had a son still living, named Thomas Heyroun, who died in 1349[10]. [xi]

John Chaucer was born, as will be shewn, in 1312; and his father Robert died before 1316 (Close Rolls, 9 Edw. II., p. 318).

§ 3. Richard le Chaucer. Some years after Robert's death, namely in 1323[11], his widow married for the third time. Her third husband was probably a relative (perhaps a cousin) of her second, his name being Richard le Chaucer, a vintner residing in the Ward of Cordwainer Street; respecting whom several particulars are known.

Richard le Chaucer was 'one of the vintners sworn at St. Martin's, Vintry, in 1320, to make proper scrutiny of wines[12]'; so that he was necessarily brought into business relations with Robert, whose widow he married in 1323, as already stated.

A plea held at Norwich in 1326, and entered on mem. 13 of the Coram Rege Roll of Hilary 19 Edw. II.[13], is, for the present purpose, so important that I here quote Mr. Rye's translation of the more material portions of it from the Life-Records of Chaucer (Chaucer Soc.), p. 125:—

'London.—Agnes, the widow of Walter de Westhale, Thomas Stace, Geoffrey Stace, and Laurence 'Geffreyesman Stace[14],' were attached to answer Richard le Chaucer of London and Mary his wife on a plea that whereas the custody of the heir and land of Robert le Chaucer, until the same heir became of full age, belonged to the said Richard and Mary (because the said Robert held his land in socage, and the said Mary is nearer in relationship to the heir of the said Robert,) and whereas the said Richard and Mary long remained in full and peaceful seizin of such wardship, the said Agnes, Thomas, Geoffrey, and Laurence by force and arms took away John, the son and heir of the said Robert, who was under age and in the custody of the said Richard and Mary, and married him[15] against the will of the said R. and M. and of the said heir, and also did other unlawful acts against the said R. and M., to the grave injury of the said R. and M., and against the peace.

'And therefore the said R. and M. complain that, whereas the custody of the land and heir of the said Robert, viz. of one messuage with its appurtenances in Ipswich, until the full age of, &c., belonged, &c., ... because the said Robert held the said messuage in socage, and the said Mary is nearer in relationship to the said Robert, viz. mother of the said heir, and formerly [xii]the wife of the said Robert, and (whereas) the said R. and M. remained in full and peaceful seizin of the said wardship for a long while, viz. for one year; they, the said Agnes, T., G., and L., on the Monday [Dec. 3] before the feast of St. Nicholas, in the eighteenth year of the present king [1324], ... stole and took away by force and arms ... the said John, son and heir of the said Robert, who was under age, viz. under the age of fourteen years, and then in the wardship of the said R. and M. at London, viz. in the Ward of Cordwanerstrete, and married him to one Joan, the daughter of Walter de Esthale [error for Westhale], and committed other unlawful acts, &c.

'Wherefore they say they are injured, and have suffered damage to the extent of 300l.'

The defence put in was—

'That, according to the customs of the borough of Ipswich ... any heir under age when his heirship shall descend to him shall remain in the charge of the nearest of his blood, but that his inheritance shall not descend to him till he has completed the age of twelve years ... and they say that the said heir of the said Robert completed the age of twelve years before the suing out of the said writ[16].'

And it was further alleged that the said Agnes, T., G., and L. did not cause the said heir to be married.

'Most of the rest of the membrane,' adds Mr. Rye, 'is taken up with a long technical dispute as to jurisdiction, of which the mayor and citizens of London apparently got the best; for the trial came on before R. Baynard and Hamo de Chikewell [Chigwell] and Nicholas de Farndon (the two latter sitting on behalf of the City) at St. Martin's the Great (le Grand), London, on the Sunday [Sept. 7, 1326] next before the Nativity of the B.V.M. [Sept. 8]; when, the defendants making default, a verdict was entered for the plaintiffs for 250l. damages.'

Further information as to this affair is given in the Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 1859, vol. i. pp. 437-444. A translation of this passage is given at pp. 376-381 of the English edition of the same work, published by the same editor in 1861. We hence learn that the Staces, being much dissatisfied with the heavy damages which they were thus called upon to pay, attainted Richard le Chaucer and his wife, in November, 1328, of committing perjury in the above-mentioned trial. But it was decided that attaint does not lie as to the verdict of a jury in London; a decision so important that the full particulars of the trial and of this appeal were carefully preserved among the city records. [xiii]

Mr. Rye goes on to give some information as to a third document relating to the same affair. It appears that Geoffrey Stace next 'presented a petition to parliament (2 Edw. III., 1328, no. 6), praying for relief against the damages of 250l., which he alleged were excessive, on the ground that the heir's estate was only worth 20s. a year[17]. This petition sets out all the proceedings, referring to John as "fuiz [fiz] et heire Robert le Chaucier," but puts the finding of the jury thus: "et trove fu qu'ils avoient ravi le dit heire, mes ne mie mariee," and alleges that "le dit heire est al large et ove [with] les avantditz Richard et Marie demourant et unkore dismarie."' The result of this petition is unknown.

From the above particulars I draw the following inferences.

The fact that Mary le Chaucer claimed to be nearer in relationship to the heir (being, in fact, his mother) than the Staces, clearly shews that they also were very near relations. We can hardly doubt that the maiden name of Mary le Chaucer was Stace, and that she was sister to Thomas and Geoffrey Stace.

In Dec. 1324, John le Chaucer was, according to his mother's statement, 'under age'; i. e. less than fourteen years old. According to the Staces, he had 'completed the age of twelve before the suing out, &c.' We may safely infer that John was still under twelve when the Staces carried him off, on Dec. 3, 1324. Hence he was born in 1312, and we have seen that his father Robert married the widow Maria Heyroun not later than 1307 (§ 2). She was married to Richard in 1323 (one year before 1324), and she died before 1349, as Richard was then a widower.

The attempt to marry John to Joan de Westhale (probably his cousin) was unsuccessful. He was still unmarried in Nov. 1328, and still only sixteen years old. This disposes at once of an old tradition, for which no authority has ever been discovered, that the poet was born in 1328. The earliest date that can fairly be postulated for the birth of Geoffrey is 1330; and even then his father was only eighteen years old.

We further learn from Riley's Memorials of London (Pref. p. xxxiii), that Richard Chaucer was a man of some wealth. He was assessed, in 1340, to lend 10l. towards the expenses of the French war; and again, in 1346, for 6l. and 1 mark towards [xiv]the 3,000l. given to the king. In 1345, he was witness to a conveyance of a shop situated next his own tenement and tavern in La Reole or Royal Street, near Upper Thames Street.

The last extant document relative to Richard Chaucer is his will. Sir H. Nicolas (Life of Chaucer, Note A) says that the will of Richard Chaucer, vintner, of London, dated on Easter-day (Apr. 12), 1349, was proved in the Hustings Court of the City of London by Simon Chamberlain and Richard Litlebury, on the feast of St. Margaret (July 20), in the same year. He bequeathed his tenement and tavern, &c., in the street called La Reole, to the Church of St. Aldermary in Bow Lane, where he was buried; and left other property to pious uses. The will mentions only his deceased wife Mary and her son Thomas Heyroun; and appointed Henry at Strete and Richard Mallyns his executors[18]. From this we may infer that his stepson John was, by this time, a prosperous citizen, and already provided for.

The will of Thomas Heyroun (see the same Note A) was dated just five days earlier, April 7, 1349, and was also proved in the Hustings Court. He appointed his half-brother, John Chaucer, his executor; and on Monday after the Feast of St. Thomas the Martyr[19] in the same year, John Chaucer, by the description of 'citizen and vintner, executor of the will of my brother Thomas Heyroun,' executed a deed relating to some lands. (Records of the Hustings Court, 23 Edw. III.)

It thus appears that Richard Chaucer and Thomas Heyroun both died in 1349, the year of the first and the most fatal pestilence.

§ 4. John Chaucer. Of John Chaucer, the poet's father, not many particulars are known. He was born, as we have seen, about 1312, and was not married till 1329, or somewhat later. His wife's name was Agnes, described in 1369 as the kinswoman (consanguinea) and heiress of the city moneyer, Hamo de Copton, who is known to have owned property in Aldgate[20]. He was [xv]a citizen and vintner of London, and owned a house in Thames Street[21], close to Walbrook, a stream now flowing underground beneath Walbrook Street[22]; so that it must have been near the spot where the arrival platform of the South-Eastern railway (at Cannon Street) now crosses Thames Street. In this house, in all probability, Chaucer was born; at any rate, it became his own property, as he parted with it in 1380. It is further known that John and Agnes Chaucer were possessed of a certain annual quit-rent of 40d. sterling, arising out of a tenement in the parish of St. Botolph-without-Aldgate[23].

In 1338 (on June 12), John Chaucer obtained letters of protection, being then on an expedition to Flanders, in attendance on the king[24]. Ten years later, in the months of February and November, 1348, he is referred to as being deputy to the king's butler in the port of Southampton[25]. In 1349, as we have seen, he was executor to the will of his half-brother, Thomas Heyroun. There is a mention of him in 1352[26]. His name appears, together with that of his wife Agnes, in a conveyance of property dated Jan. 16, 1366[27]; but he died shortly afterwards, aged about fifty-four. His widow married again in the course of a few months; for she is described in a deed dated May 6, 1367, as being then the wife of Bartholomew atte Chapel, citizen and vintner of London, and lately wife of John Chaucer, citizen and vintner[28]. The date of her death is not known.

§ 5. Chaucer's Early Years. The exact date of Geoffrey's birth is not known, and will probably always remain a subject of dispute. It cannot, as we have seen, have been earlier than [xvi]1330; and it can hardly have been later than 1340. That it was nearer to 1340 than 1330, is the solution which best suits all the circumstances of the case. Those who argue for an early date do so solely because the poet sometimes refers to his 'old age'; as for example in the Envoy to Scogan, 35-42, written probably in 1393; and still earlier, probably in 1385, Gower speaks, in the epilogue to the former edition of his Confessio Amantis, of the 'later age' of Chaucer, and of his 'dayes olde'; whereas, if Chaucer was born in 1340, he was, at that time, only forty-five years old. But it is essential to observe that Gower is speaking comparatively; he contrasts Chaucer's 'later age' with 'the floures of his youth,' when he 'fulfild the land,' in sundry wise, 'of ditees and of songes glade.' And, in spite of all the needless stress that has been laid upon such references as the above, we must, if we really wish to ascertain the truth without prejudice, try to bear in mind the fact that, in the fourteenth century, men were deemed old at an age which we should now esteem as almost young. Chaucer's pupil, Hoccleve, describes himself as worn out with old age, and ready to die, at the age of fifty-three; all that he can look forward to is making a translation of a treatise on 'learning to die.'

'Of age am I fifty winter and thre;

Ripeness of dethe fast vpon me hasteth.'

Hoccleve's Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 119[29].

And further, if, in order to make out that Chaucer died at the age of nearly 70, we place his birth near the year 1330, we are at once confronted with the extraordinary difficulty, that the poet was already nearly 39 when he wrote 'The Book of the Duchesse,' certainly one of the earliest of his poems that have been preserved, and hardly to be esteemed as a highly satisfactory performance. But as the exact date still remains uncertain, I can only say that we must place it between 1330 and 1340. The reader can incline to whichever end of the decade best pleases him. I merely record my opinion, for what it is worth, that 'shortly before 1340' fits in best with all the facts. [xvii]

The earliest notice of Geoffrey Chaucer, on which we can rely, refers to the year 1357. This discovery is due to Mr. (now Dr.) E. A. Bond, who, in 1851, found some fragments of an old household account which had been used to line the covers of a MS. containing Lydgate's Storie of Thebes and Hoccleve's De Regimine Principum, and now known as MS. Addit. 18,632 in the British Museum. They proved to form a part of the Household Accounts of Elizabeth, Countess of Ulster, wife of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the third son of King Edward III., for the years 1356-9[30]. These Accounts shew that, in April, 1357, when the Countess was in London, an entire suit of clothes, consisting of a paltock or short cloak, a pair of red and black breeches, and shoes, was provided for Geoffrey Chaucer at a cost of 7s., equal to about 5l. of our present money. On the 20th of May another article of dress was purchased for him in London. In December of the same year (1357), when the Countess was at Hatfield (near Doncaster) in Yorkshire, her principal place of residence, we find a note of a donation of 2s. 6d. to Geoffrey Chaucer for necessaries at Christmas. It further appears that John of Gaunt, the Countess's brother-in-law, was a visitor at Hatfield at the same period; which indicates the probable origin of the interest in the poet's fortunes which that illustrious prince so frequently manifested, during a long period of years.

It is further worthy of remark that, on several occasions, a female attendant on the Countess is designated as 'Philippa Pan', which is supposed to be the contracted form of Panetaria, i. e. mistress of the pantry. 'Speculations suggest themselves,' says Dr. Bond, 'that the Countess's attendant Philippa may have been Chaucer's future wife.... The Countess died in 1363, ... and nothing would be more likely than that the principal lady of her household should have found shelter after her death in the family of her husband's mother,' i. e. Queen Philippa. It is quite possible; it is even probable.

Perhaps it was at Hatfield that Chaucer picked up some knowledge of the Northern dialect, as employed by him in the Reves Tale. The fact that the non-Chaucerian Fragment B of the Romaunt of the Rose exhibits traces of a Northern dialect is [xviii]quite a different matter; for Fragment A, which is certainly Chaucer's, shews no trace of anything of the kind. What was Chaucer's exact position in the Countess of Ulster's household, we are not informed. If he was born about 1340, we may suppose that he was a page; if several years earlier, he would, in 1357, have been too old for such service. We only know that he was attached to the service of Lionel, duke of Clarence, and of the Countess of Ulster his wife, as early as the beginning of 1357, and was at that time at Hatfield, in Yorkshire. 'He was present,' says Dr. Bond, 'at the celebration of the feast of St. George, at Edward III's court, in attendance on the Countess, in April of that year; he followed the court to Woodstock; and he was again at Hatfield, probably from September, 1357, to the end of March, 1358, and would have witnessed there the reception of John of Ghent, then Earl of Richmond.' We may well believe that he accompanied the Countess when she attended the funeral of Queen Isabella (king Edward's mother), which took place at the Church of the Friars Minors, in Newgate Street, on Nov. 27, 1358.

§ 6. Chaucer's first expedition. 1359-60. A year later, in November, 1359, Chaucer joined the great expedition of Edward III. to France. 'There was not knight, squire, or man of honour, from the age of twenty to sixty years, that did not go[31].' The king of England was 'attended by the prince of Wales and three other sons,' including 'Lionel, earl of Ulster[32]'; and we may be sure that Chaucer accompanied his master prince Lionel. The march of the troops lay through Artois, past Arras to Bapaume; then through Picardy, past Peronne and St. Quentin, to Rheims, which Edward, with his whole army, ineffectually besieged for seven weeks. It is interesting to note that the army must, on this occasion, have crossed the Oise, somewhere near Chauny and La-Fère, which easily accounts for the mention of that river in the House of Fame (l. 1928); and shews the uselessness of Warton's suggestion, that Chaucer learnt the name of that river by studying Provençal poetry! In one of the numerous skirmishes that took place, Chaucer had the misfortune to be taken prisoner. This appears from his own evidence, in the 'Scrope and Grosvenor' trial, referred to below under the date [xix]of 1386; he then testified that he had seen Sir Richard Scrope wearing arms described as 'azure, a bend or,' before the town of 'Retters,' an obvious error for Rethel[33], not far from Rheims; and he added that he 'had seen him so armed during the whole expedition, until he (the said Geoffrey) was taken.' See the evidence as quoted at length at p. xxxvi. But he was soon ransomed, viz. on March 1, 1360; and the King himself contributed to his ransom the sum of 16l.[34] According to Froissart, Edward was at this time in the neighbourhood of Auxerre[35].

After a short and ineffectual siege of Paris, the English army suffered severely from thunder-storms during a retreat towards Chartres, and Edward was glad to make peace; articles of peace were accordingly concluded, on May 8, 1360, at Bretigny, near Chartres. King John of France was set at liberty, leaving Eltham on Wednesday, July 1; and after stopping for three nights on the road, viz. at Dartford, Rochester, and Ospringe, he arrived at Canterbury on the Saturday[36]. On the Monday he came to Dover, and thence proceeded to Calais. And surely Chaucer must have been present during the fifteen days of October which the two kings spent at Calais in each other's company; the Prince of Wales and his two brothers, Lionel and Edmund, being also present[37]. On leaving Calais, King John and the English princes 'went on foot to the church of our Lady of Boulogne, where they made their offerings most devoutly, and afterward returned to the abbey at Boulogne, which had been prepared for the reception of the King of France and the princes of England[38].' [xx]

On July 1, 1361, prince Lionel was appointed lieutenant of Ireland, probably because he already bore the title of Earl of Ulster. It does not appear that Chaucer remained in his service much longer; for he must have been attached to the royal household not long after the return of the English army from France. In the Schedule of names of those employed in the Royal Household, for whom robes for Christmas were to be provided, Chaucer's name occurs as seventeenth in the list of thirty-seven esquires. The list is not dated, but is marked by the Record Office '? 40 Edw. III,' i. e. 1366[39]. However, Mr. Selby thinks the right date of this document is 1368.

§ 7. Chaucer's Marriage: Philippa Chaucer. In 1366, we find Chaucer already married. On Sept. 12, in that year, Philippa Chaucer received from the queen, after whom she was doubtless named, a pension of ten marks (or 6l. 13s. 4d.) annually for life, perhaps on the occasion of her marriage; and we find her described as 'una domicellarum camerae Philippae Reginae Angliae[40].' The first known payment on behalf of this pension is dated Feb. 19, 1368[41]. Nicolas tells us that her pension 'was confirmed by Richard the Second; and she apparently received it (except between 1370[42] and 1373, in 1378, and in 1385, the reason of which omissions does not appear) from 1366 until June 18, 1387. The money was usually paid to her through her husband; but in November, 1374, by the hands of John de Hermesthorpe, and in June, 1377 (the Poet being then on his mission in France), by Sir Roger de Trumpington, whose wife, Lady Blanche de Trumpington, was [then], like herself[43], in the service of the Duchess of Lancaster.' As no payment appears after June, 1387, we may conclude that she died towards the end of that year[44]. [xxi]

Philippa's maiden name is not known. She cannot be identified with Philippa Picard, because both names, viz. Philippa Chaucer and Philippa Picard, occur in the same document[45]. Another supposition identifies her with Philippa Roet, on the assumption that Thomas Chaucer, on whose tomb appear the arms of Roet, was her son. This, as will be shewn hereafter, is highly probable, though not quite certain.

It is possible that she was the same person as Philippa, the 'lady of the pantry,' who has been already mentioned as belonging to the household of the Countess of Ulster. If so, she doubtless entered the royal household on the Countess's death in 1363, and was married in 1366, or earlier. After the death of the queen in 1369 (Aug. 15), we find that (on Sept. 1) the king gave Chaucer, as being one of his squires of lesser degree, three ells of cloth for mourning; and, at the same time, six ells of cloth, for the same, to Philippa Chaucer[46].

In 1372, John of Gaunt married (as his second wife) Constance, elder daughter of Pedro, king of Castile; and in the same year (Aug. 30), he granted Philippa Chaucer a pension of 10l. per annum, in consideration of her past and future services to his dearest wife, the queen of Castile[47]. Under the name of Philippa Chaucy (as the name is also written in this volume), the duke presented her with a 'botoner,' apparently a button-hook, and six silver-gilt buttons as a New Year's gift for the year 1373[48]. In 1374, on June 13, he granted 10l. per annum to his well-loved Geoffrey Chaucer and his well-beloved Philippa, for their service to Queen Philippa and to his wife the queen [i. e. of Castile], to be received at the duke's manor of the Savoy[49]. In 1377, on May 31, payments were made to Geoffrey Chaucer, varlet, of an annuity of 20 marks that day granted, and of 10 marks to Philippa Chaucer (granted to her for life) as being one of the damsels of the chamber to the late queen, by the hands of [xxii]Geoffrey Chaucer, her husband[50]. In 1380, the duke gave Philippa a silver hanap (or cup) with its cover, as his New Year's gift; and a similar gift in 1381 and 1382[51]. A payment of 5l. to Geoffrey 'Chaucy' is recorded soon after the first of these gifts. In 1384, the sum of 13l. 6s. 8d. (20 marks) is transmitted to Philippa Chaucer by John Hinesthorp, chamberlain[52]. The last recorded payment of a pension to Philippa Chaucer is on June 18, 1387; and it is probable, as said above, that she died very shortly afterwards.

Sir H. Nicolas mentions that, in 1380-2, Philippa Chaucer was one of the three ladies in attendance on the Duchess of Lancaster, the two others being Lady Senche Blount and Lady Blanche de Trompington; and that in June, 1377, as mentioned above, her pension was paid to Sir Roger de Trumpington, who was Lady Blanche's husband. This is worth a passing notice; for it clearly shews that the poet was familiar with the name of Trumpington, and must have known of its situation near Cambridge. And this may account for his laying the scene of the Reves Tale in that village, without necessitating the inference that he must have visited Cambridge himself. For indeed, it is not easy to see why the two 'clerks' should have been benighted there; the distance from Cambridge is so slight that, even in those days of bad roads, they could soon have returned home after dark without any insuperable difficulty.

§ 8. 1367. To return to Chaucer. In 1367, we find him 'a valet of the king's household'; and by the title of 'dilectus valettus noster,' the king, in consideration of his former and his future services, granted him, on June 20, an annual salary of 20 marks (13l. 6s. 8d.) for life, or until he should be otherwise provided for[53]. Memoranda are found of the payment of this pension, in half-yearly instalments, on November 6, 1367, and May 25, 1368[54]; but not in November, 1368, or May, 1369. The next entry as to its payment is dated October, 1369[55]. As to the [xxiii]duties of a valet in the royal household, see Life-Records of Chaucer, part ii. p. xi. Amongst other things, he was expected to make beds, hold torches, set boards (i. e. lay the tables for dinner), and perform various menial offices.

§ 9. 1368. The note that he received his pension, in 1368, on May 25, is of some importance. It renders improbable a suggestion of Speght, that he accompanied his former master, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, to Italy in this year. Lionel set off with an unusually large retinue, about the 10th of May[56], and passed through France on his way to Italy, where he was shortly afterwards married, for the second time, to Violante, daughter of Galeazzo Visconti. But his married life was of short duration; he died on Oct. 17 of the same year, not without suspicion of poison. His will, dated Oct. 3, 1368, is given in Testamenta Vetusta, ed. Nicolas, p. 70. It does not appear that Chaucer went to Italy before 1372-3; but it is interesting to observe that, on his second journey there in 1378, he was sent to treat with Barnabo Visconti, Galeazzo's brother, as noted at p. xxxii.

§ 10. 1369. In this year, Chaucer was again campaigning in France. An advance of 10l. is recorded as having been made to him by Henry de Wakefeld, the Keeper of the King's Wardrobe; and he is described as 'equitanti de guerre (sic) in partibus Francie[57].' In the same year, there is a note that Chaucer was to have 20s. for summer clothes[58].

This year is memorable for the last of the three great pestilences which afflicted England, as well as other countries, in the fourteenth century. Queen Philippa died at Windsor on Aug. 15; and we find an entry, dated Sept. 1, that Geoffrey Chaucer, a squire of less estate, and his wife Philippa, were to have an allowance for mourning[59], as stated above. Less than a month later, the Duchess Blaunche died, on Sept. 12; and her death was [xxiv]commemorated by the poet in one of the earliest of his extant poems, the Book of the Duchesse (see p. 277).

§ 11. 1370-1372. In the course of the next ten years (1370-80), the poet was attached to the court, and employed in no less than seven diplomatic services. The first of these occasions was during the summer of 1370, when he obtained the usual letters of protection, dated June 10, to remain in force till the ensuing Michaelmas[60]. That he returned immediately afterwards, appears from the fact that he received his half-yearly pension in person on Tuesday, the 8th of October[61]; though on the preceding occasion (Thursday, April 25), it was paid to Walter Walssh instead of to himself[62].

In 1371 and 1372, he received his pension himself[63]. In 1372 and 1373 he received 2l. for his clothes each year. This was probably a customary annual allowance to squires[64]. A like payment is again recorded in 1377.

Towards the end of the latter year, on Nov. 12, 1372, Chaucer, being then 'scutifer,' or one of the king's esquires, was joined in a commission with James Provan and John de Mari, the latter of whom is described as a citizen of Genoa, to treat with the duke, citizens, and merchants of Genoa, for the purpose of choosing an English port where the Genoese might form a commercial establishment[65]. On Dec. 1, he received an advance of 66l. 13s. 4d. towards his expenses[66]; and probably left England before the close of the year.

§ 12. 1373. Chaucer's First Visit to Italy. All that is known of this mission is that he visited Florence as well as Genoa, and that he returned before Nov. 22, 1373, on which day he received his pension in person[67]. It further appears that his [xxv]expenses finally exceeded the money advanced to him; for on Feb. 4, 1374, a further sum was paid to him, on this account, of 25l. 6s. 8d.[68] It was probably on this occasion that Chaucer met Petrarch at Padua, and learnt from him the story of Griselda, reproduced in the Clerkes Tale. Some critics prefer to think that Chaucer's assertions on this point are to be taken as imaginative, and that it was the Clerk, and not himself, who went to Padua; but it is clear that in writing the Clerkes Tale, Chaucer actually had a copy of Petrarch's Latin version before him; and it is difficult to see how he came by it unless he obtained it from Petrarch himself or by Petrarch's assistance. For further discussion of this point, see remarks on the Sources of the Clerkes Tale, in vol. iii., and the notes in vol. v.[69] We must, in any case, bear in mind the important influence which this mission to Italy, and a later one in 1378-9 to the same country, produced upon the development of his poetical writings.

It may be convenient to note here that Petrarch resided chiefly at Arquà, within easy reach of Padua, in 1370-4. His death took place there on July 18, 1374, soon after Chaucer had returned home.

§ 13. 1374. We may fairly infer that Chaucer's execution of this important mission was satisfactorily performed; for we find that on the 23rd of April, 1374, on the celebration at Windsor of the festival of St. George, the king made him a grant of a pitcher of wine daily, to be received in the port of London from the king's butler[70]. This was, doubtless, found to be rather a troublesome gift; accordingly, it was commuted, in 1378 (April 18), for the annual sum of 20 marks (13l. 6s. 8d.)[71]. The original grant was made 'dilecto Armigero nostro, Galfrido Chaucer.' [xxvi]

On May 10, in the same year, the corporation of London granted Chaucer a lease for his life of the dwelling-house situate above the city-gate of Aldgate, on condition that he kept the same in good repair; he seems to have made this his usual residence till 1385, and we know that he retained possession of it till October, 1386[72].

Four weeks later, on June 8, 1374, he was appointed Comptroller of the Customs and Subsidy of wools, skins, and tanned hides in the Port of London, with the usual fees. Like his predecessors, he was to write the rolls of his office with his own hand, to be continually present, and to perform his duties personally (except, of course, when employed on the King's service elsewhere); and the other part of the seal called the 'coket' (quod dicitur coket) was to remain in his custody[73]. The warrant by which, on June 13, 1374, the Duke of Lancaster granted him 10l. for life, in consideration of the services of himself and his wife, has been mentioned at p. xxi. In the same year, he received his half-yearly pension of 10 marks as usual; and again in 1375.

§ 14. 1375. On Nov. 8, 1375, his income was, for a time, considerably increased. He received from the crown a grant of the custody of the lands and person of Edmond, son and heir of Edmond Staplegate of Kent[74], who had died in 1372[75]; this he retained for three years, during which he received in all, for his wardship and on Edmond's marriage, the sum of 104l. This is ascertained from the petition presented by Edmond de Staplegate to Richard II. at his coronation, in which he laid claim to be permitted to exercise the office of chief butler to the king[76]. And further, on Dec. 28, 1375, he received a grant from the king of the custody of five 'solidates' of rent for land at Soles, in Kent, during the minority of William de Solys, then an infant aged 1 year, son and heir of John Solys, deceased; together with a fee due on the marriage of the said heir[77]. But the value of this grant cannot have been large. [xxvii]

§15. 1376. In 1376, on May 31, he received at the exchequer his own half-yearly pension of ten marks and his wife's of five marks, or 10l. in all (see Notes and Queries, 3rd Ser. viii. 63); and in October he received an advance from the exchequer of 50s. on account of his pension[78]. He also duly received his annuity of 10l. from the duke of Lancaster (Oct. 18, 1376, and June 12, 1377)[79].

In the same year, we also meet with the only known record connected with Chaucer's exercise of the Office of Comptroller of the Customs. On July 12, 1376, the King granted him the sum of 71l. 4s. 6d., being the value of a fine paid by John Kent, of London, for shipping wool to Dordrecht without having paid the duty thereon[80].

Towards the end of this year, Sir John Burley and Geoffrey Chaucer were employed together on some secret service (in secretis negociis domini Regis), the nature of which is unknown; for on Dec. 23, 1376, Sir John 'de Burlee' received 13l. 6s. 8d., and Chaucer half that sum, for the business upon which they had been employed[81].

§16. 1377. On Feb. 12, 1377, Chaucer was associated with Sir Thomas Percy (afterwards Earl of Worcester) in a secret mission to Flanders, the nature of which remains unknown; and on this occasion Chaucer received letters of protection during his mission, to be in force till Michaelmas in the same year[82]. Five days later, on Feb. 17, the sum of 33l. 6s. 8d. was advanced to Sir Thomas, and 10l. to Chaucer, for their expenses[83]. They started immediately, and the business was transacted by March 25; and on April 11 Chaucer himself received at the exchequer the sum of 20l. as a reward from the king for the various journeys which he had made abroad upon the king's [xxviii]service (pro regardo suo causâ diuersorum viagiorum per ipsum Galfridum factorum, eundo ad diuersas partes transmarinas ex precepto domini Regis in obsequio ipsius domini Regis)[84].

While Sir Thomas Percy and Chaucer were absent in Flanders, viz. on Feb. 20, 1377, the Bishop of Hereford, Lord Cobham, Sir John Montacu (i. e. Montague), and Dr. Shepeye were empowered to treat for peace with the French King[85]. Their endeavours must have been ineffectual; for soon after Chaucer's return, viz. on April 26, 1377, Sir Guichard d'Angle and several others were also appointed to negotiate a peace with France[86]. Though Chaucer's name does not expressly appear in this commission, he was clearly in some way associated with it; for only six days previously (Apr. 20), letters of protection were issued to him, to continue till Aug. 1, whilst he was on the king's service abroad[87]; and on April 30, he was paid the sum of 26l. 13s. 4d. for his wages on this occasion[88]. We further find, from an entry in the Issue Roll for March 6, 1381 (noticed again at p. xxix), that he was sent to Moustrell (Montreuil) and Paris, and that he was instructed to treat for peace.

This is clearly the occasion to which Froissart refers in the following passage. 'About Shrovetide[89], a secret treaty was formed between the two kings for their ambassadors to meet at Montreuil-sur-Mer; and the king of England sent to Calais sir Guiscard d'Angle, Sir Richard Sturey, and sir Geoffrey Chaucer. On the part of the French were the lords de Coucy and de la Rivieres, sir Nicholas Bragues and Nicholas Bracier. They for a long time discussed the subject of the above marriage [the marriage of the French princess with Richard, prince of Wales]; and the French, as I was informed, made some offers, but the others demanded different terms, or refused treating. These lords returned therefore, with their treaties, to their sovereigns; and [xxix]the truces were prolonged to the first of May.'—Johnes, tr. of Froissart, bk. i. c. 326.

I think Sir H. Nicolas has not given Froissart's meaning correctly. According to him, 'Froissart states that, in Feb. 1377, Chaucer was joined with Sir Guichard d'Angle, &c., to negociate a secret treaty for the marriage of Richard, prince of Wales, with Mary, daughter of the king of France,' &c.; and that the truce was prolonged till the first of May. And he concludes that Froissart has confused two occasions, because there really was an attempt at a treaty about this marriage in 1378 (see below). It does not appear that Froissart is wrong. He merely gives the date of about Shrovetide (Feb. 10) as the time when 'a secret treaty was formed'; and this must refer to the ineffectual commission of Feb. 20, 1377. After this 'the king of England' really sent 'Sir Guiscard d'Angle' in April; and Chaucer either went with the rest or joined them at Montreuil. Neither does it appear that discussion of the subject of the marriage arose on the English side; it was the French who proposed it, but the English who declined it, for the reason that they had received no instructions to that effect. On the other hand, the English ambassadors, having been instructed to treat for peace, procured, at any rate, a short truce. This explanation seems to me sufficient, especially as Froissart merely wrote what he had been informed; he was not present himself. The very fact that the marriage was proposed by the French on this occasion explains how the English came to consider this proposal seriously in the following year.

Fortunately, the matter is entirely cleared up by the express language employed in the Issue Roll of 4 Ric. II., under the date Mar. 6, as printed in Nicolas, Note R; where the object of the deliberations at Montreuil is definitely restricted to a treaty for peace, whilst the proposal of marriage (from the English side) is definitely dated as having been made in the reign of Richard, not of Edward III. The words are: 'tam tempore regis Edwardi ... in nuncium eiusdem ... versus Moustrell' et Parys ... causa tractatus pacis ... quam tempore domini regis nunc, causa locutionis habite de maritagio inter ipsum dominum regem nunc et filiam eiusdem aduersarii sui Francie.'

The princess Marie, fifth daughter of Charles V., was born in 1370 (N. and Q., 3 S. vii. 470), and was therefore only seven years [xxx]old in 1377; and died in the same year. It is remarkable that Richard married Isabella, daughter of Charles VI., in 1396, when she was only eight.

It is worth notice that Stowe, in his Annales, p. 437, alludes to the same mission. He mentions, as being among the ambassadors, 'the Earle of Salisbury and Sir Richard Anglisison a Poyton [can this be Sir Guiscard D'Angle?], the Bishop of Saint Dauids, the Bishop of Hereford, [and] Geffrey Chaucer, the famous Poet of England.' See Life-Records of Chaucer, p. 133, note 3.

The payments made to Chaucer by John of Gaunt on May 31 of this year have been noticed above in § 7, at p. xxi.

The long reign of Edward III. terminated on June 21, 1377, during which Chaucer had received many favours from the king and the Duke of Lancaster, and some, doubtless, from Lionel, Duke of Clarence. At the same time, his wife was in favour with the queen, till her death in August, 1369; and afterwards, with the second duchess of Lancaster. The poet was evidently, at this time, in easy circumstances; and it is not unlikely that he was somewhat lavish in his expenditure. The accession of Richard, at the early age of eleven, made no difference to his position for some nine years; but in 1386, the adverse supremacy of Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, caused him much pecuniary loss and embarrassment for some time, and he frequently suffered from distress during the later period of his life.

§ 17. Chaucer's earlier poems: till the death of Edward III. It is probable that not much of Chaucer's extant poetry can be referred to the reign of Edward III. At the same time, it is likely that he wrote many short pieces, in the form of ballads, complaints, virelayes, and roundels, which have not been preserved; perhaps some of them were occasional pieces, and chiefly of interest at the time of writing them. Amongst the lost works we may certainly include his translation of 'Origenes upon the Maudelayne,' 'The Book of the Lion,' all but a few stanzas (preserved in the Man of Lawes Tale) of his translation of Pope Innocent's 'Wrecched Engendring of Mankinde,' and all but the first 1705 lines of his translation of Le Roman de la Rose. His early work entitled 'Ceyx and Alcioun' is partly preserved in the Book of the Duchesse, written in 1369-70. His A. B. C. is, perhaps, his earliest extant complete poem.

It seems reasonable to date the poems which show a strong [xxxi]Italian influence after Chaucer's visit to Italy in 1373. The Compleint to his Lady is, perhaps, one of the earliest of these; and the Amorous Complaint bears so strong a resemblance to it that it may have been composed nearly at the same time. The Complaint to Pity seems to belong to the same period, rather than, as assumed in the text, to a time preceding the Book of the Duchesse. The original form of the Life of St. Cecily (afterwards the Second Nonnes Tale) is also somewhat early, as well as the original Palamon and Arcite, and Anelida. I should also include, amongst the earlier works, the original form of the Man of Lawes Tale (from Anglo-French), of the Clerkes Tale (from Petrarch's Latin), and some parts of the Monkes Tale. But the great bulk of his poetry almost certainly belongs to the reign of Richard II. See the List of Works at p. lxii.

§ 18. 1377. (CONTINUED). In the commencement of the new reign, Chaucer was twice paid 40s. by the keeper of the king's Wardrobe, for his half-yearly allowance for robes as one of the (late) king's esquires[90]. He also received 7l. 2s.d. on account of his daily allowance of a pitcher of wine, calculated from October 27, 1376, to June 21, 1377, the day of king Edward's death[91].

§ 19. 1378. In 1378, on Jan. 16, Chaucer was again associated with Sir Guichard d'Angle (created Earl of Huntingdon at the coronation of the new king), with Sir Hugh Segrave, and Dr. Skirlawe, in a mission to France to negotiate for the king's marriage with a daughter of the king of France[92]; this is in accordance with a suggestion which, as noted at p. xxix., originated with the French. The negotiations came, however, to no result.

On Mar. 9, 1378, Geoffrey Chaucer and John Beauchamp are mentioned as sureties for William de Beauchamp, Knight, in a business having respect to Pembroke Castle[93].

On Mar. 23, 1378, Chaucer's previous annuity of 20 marks was confirmed to him by letters patent[94]; on April 18, his previous grant of a pitcher of wine was commuted for an annual sum of [xxxii]twenty marks[95]; and, on May 14, he received 20l. for the arrears of his pension, and 26s. 8d. in advance, for the current half-year[96].

Chaucer's second visit to Italy: Barnabo Visconti. On May 10, 1378, he received letters of protection, till Christmas[97]; on May 21, he procured letters of general attorney, allowing John Gower (the poet) and Richard Forrester to act for him during his absence from England[98]; and on May 28, he received 66l. 13s. 4d. for his wages and the expenses of his journey, which lasted till the 19th of September[99]. All these entries refer to the same matter, viz. his second visit to Italy. On this occasion, he was sent to Lombardy with Sir Edward Berkeley, to treat with Barnabo Visconti, lord of Milan, and the famous free-lance Sir John Hawkwood, on certain matters touching the king's expedition of war (pro certis negociis expeditionem guerre regis tangentibus); a phrase of uncertain import. This is the Barnabo Visconti, whose death, in 1385, is commemorated by a stanza in the Monkes Tale, B 3589-3596. Of Sir John Hawkwood, a soldier of fortune, and the most skilful general of his age, a memoir is given in the Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, vol. vi. pp. 1-35. The appointment of Gower as Chaucer's attorney during his absence is of interest, and shews the amicable relations between the two poets at this time. For a discussion of their subsequent relations, see Sources of the Canterbury Tales, vol. iii. § 38, p. 413.

§ 20. 1379-80. In 1379 and 1380, the notices of Chaucer refer chiefly to the payment of his pensions. In 1379, he received 12l. 13s. 4d. with his own hands on Feb. 3[100]; on May 24, he received the sums of 26s. 4d. and 13l. 6s. 4d. (the latter on account of the original grant of a pitcher of wine), both by assignment[101], which indicates his absence from London at the time; [xxxiii]and on Dec. 9 he received, with his own hands, two sums of 6l. 13s. 4d. each on account of his two pensions[102]. In 1380, on July 3, he received the same by assignment[103]; and on Nov. 28, he received the same with his own hands[104], together with a sum of 14l. for wages and expenses in connexion with his mission to Lombardy in 1378[104], in addition to the 66l. 13s. 4d. paid to him on May 28 of that year. He also received 5l. from the Duke of Lancaster on May 11 (N. and Q., 7 S. v. 290).

By a deed dated May 1, 1380, a certain Cecilia Chaumpaigne, daughter of the late William Chaumpaigne and Agnes his wife, released to Chaucer all her rights of action against him 'de raptu meo[105].' We have no means of ascertaining either the meaning of the phrase, or the circumstances referred to. It may mean that Chaucer was accessory to her abduction, much as Geoffrey Stace and others were concerned in the abduction of the poet's father; or it may be connected with the fact that his 'little son Lowis' was ten years old in 1391, as we learn from the Prologue to the Treatise on the Astrolabe.

§ 21. 1381. On March 6, Chaucer received 22l. for his services in going to Montreuil and Paris in the time of the late king, i. e. in 1377, in order to treat for peace; as well as for his journey to France in 1378 to treat for a marriage between king Richard and the daughter of his adversary (adversarii sui)[106]. The Treasury must, at this time, have been slack in paying its just debts. On May 24, he and his wife received their usual half-yearly pensions[107].

By a deed dated June 19, 1380, but preserved in the Hustings Roll, no. 110, at the Guildhall, and there dated 5 Ric. II. (1381-2), Chaucer released his interest in his father's house to Henry Herbury, vintner, in whose occupation it then was; and it is here that he describes himself as 'me Galfridum Chaucer, [xxxiv]filium Johannis Chaucer, Vinetarii Londonie [108].' This is the best authority for ascertaining his father's name, occupation, and abode. Towards the close of the year we find the following payments to him; viz. on Nov. 16, sums of 6l. 13s. 4d. and 6s. 8d.; on Nov. 28, the large sum of 46l. 13s. 4d., paid to Nicholas Brembre and John Philipot, Collectors of Customs, and to Geoffrey Chaucer, Comptroller of the Customs; and on Dec. 31, certain sums to himself and his wife[109].

§ 22. 1382. We have seen that, in 1378, an ineffectual attempt was made to bring about a marriage between the king and a French princess. In 1382, the matter was settled by his marriage with Anne of Bohemia, who exerted herself to calm the animosities which were continually arising in the court, and thus earned the title of the 'good queen Anne.' It was to her that Chaucer was doubtless indebted for some relaxation of his official duties in February, 1385, as noted below.

On May 8, 1382, Chaucer's income was further increased. Whilst retaining his office of Comptroller of the Customs of Wools, the duties of which he discharged personally, he was further appointed Comptroller of the Petty Customs in the Port of London, and was allowed to discharge the duties of the office by a sufficient deputy[110]. The usual payments of his own and his wife's pensions were made, in this year, on July 22 and Nov. 11. On Dec. 10, a payment to him is recorded, in respect of his office as Comptroller of the Customs [111].

§ 23. 1383. In 1383, the recorded payments are: on Feb. 27, 6s. 8d.; on May 5, his own and his wife's pensions; and on Oct. 24, 6l. 13s. 4d. for his own pension[112]. Besides these, is the following entry for Nov. 23: 'To Nicholas Brembre and John Philipot, Collectors of Customs, and Geoffrey Chaucer, Comptroller; money delivered to them this day in regard of the assiduity, labour, and diligence brought to bear by them on the duties of their office, for the year late elapsed, 46l. 13s. 4d.'; [xxxv]being the same amount as in 1381[113]. It is possible that the date Dec. 10, on which he tells us that he began his House of Fame, refers to this year.

§ 24. 1384. In 1384, on Apr. 30, he received his own and his wife's pensions[114]. On Nov. 25, he was allowed to absent himself from his duties for one month, on account of his own urgent affairs; and the Collectors of the Customs were commanded to swear in his deputy[115]. On Dec. 9, one Philip Chaucer is referred to as Comptroller of the Customs, but Philip is here an error for Geoffrey, as shewn by Mr. Selby[116].

§ 25. 1385. In 1385, a stroke of good fortune befell him, which evidently gave him much relief and pleasure. It appears that Chaucer had asked the king to allow him to have a sufficient deputy in his office as Comptroller at the Wool Quay (in French, Wolkee) of London[117]. And on Feb. 17, he was released from the somewhat severe pressure of his official duties (of which he complains feelingly in the House of Fame, 652-660) by being allowed to appoint a permanent deputy[118]. He seems to have revelled in his newly-found leisure; and we may fairly infer from the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women, which seems to have been begun shortly afterwards, that he was chiefly indebted for this favour to the good queen Anne. (See the Introduction to vol. iii. p. xix.) On April 24, he received his own pensions as usual, in two sums of 6l. 13s. 4d. each; and, on account of his wife's pension, 3l. 6s. 8d.[119]

§ 26. 1386. In 1386, as shewn by the Issue Rolls, he received his pensions as usual. In other respects, the year was eventful. Chaucer was elected a knight of the shire[120] for the county of Kent, with which he would therefore seem to have had some connexion, perhaps by the circumstance of residing at [xxxvi]Greenwich (see § 32). He sat accordingly in the parliament which met at Westminster on Oct. 1, and continued its sittings till Nov. 1. He and his colleague, William Betenham, were allowed 24l. 8s. for their expenses in coming to and returning from the parliament, and for attendance at the same; at the rate of 8s. a day for 61 days[121]. The poet was thus an unwilling contributor to his own misfortunes; for the proceedings of this parliament were chiefly directed against the party of the duke of Lancaster, his patron, and on Nov. 19 the king was obliged to grant a patent by which he was practically deprived of all power. A council of regency of eleven persons was formed, with the duke of Gloucester at their head; and the partisans of John of Gaunt found themselves in an unenviable position. Among the very few persons who still adhered to the king was Sir Nicholas Brembre[122], Chaucer's associate in the Customs (see note above, Nov. 23, 1383); and we may feel confident that Chaucer's sympathies were on the same side. We shall presently see that, when the king regained his power in 1389, Chaucer almost immediately received a valuable appointment.

It was during the sitting of this parliament, viz. on Oct. 15, that Chaucer was examined at Westminster in the case of Richard, lord Scrope, against the claim of Sir Robert Grosvenor, as to the right of bearing the coat of arms described as 'azure, a bend or.' The account of Chaucer's evidence is given in French[123]; the following is a translation of it, chiefly in the words of Sir H. Nicolas:—

'Geoffrey Chaucer, Esquire, of the age of 40 years and upwards, armed for 27 years, produced on behalf of Sir Richard Scrope, sworn and examined.

'Asked, whether the arms, "azure, a bend or," belonged or ought to belong to the said Sir Richard of right and heritage? Said—Yes, for he had seen them armed in France before the town of Retters[124], and Sir Henry Scrope armed in the same arms with a white label, and with a banner, and the said Sir Richard armed in the entire arms, Azure, a bend Or, and he had so seen them armed during the whole expedition, till the said Geoffrey was taken.

'Asked, how he knew that the said arms appertained to the said Sir Richard? [xxxvii]Said—by hearsay from old knights and squires, and that they had always continued their possession of the said arms; and that they had always been reputed to be their arms, as the common fame and the public voice testifies and had testified; and he also said, that when he had seen the said arms in banners, glass, paintings, and vestments, they were commonly called the arms of Scrope.

'Asked, if he had ever heard say who was the first ancestor of the said Sir Richard who first bore the said arms? Said—No; nor had he ever heard otherwise than that they were come of old ancestry and of old gentry, and that they had used the said arms.

'Asked, if he had ever heard say how long a time the ancestors of the said Sir Richard had used the said arms? Said—No; but he had heard say that it passed the memory of man.

'Asked, if he had ever heard of any interruption or claim made by Sir Robert Grosvenor or by his ancestors or by any one in his name, against the said Sir Richard or any of his ancestors? Said—No; but said, that he was once in Friday Street, London, and, as he was walking in the street, he saw a new sign, made of the said arms, hanging out; and he asked what inn it was that had hung out these arms of Scrope? And one answered him and said—No, sir; they are not hung out as the arms of Scrope, nor painted for those arms; but they are painted and put there by a knight of the county of Chester, whom men call Sir Robert Grosvenor; and that was the first time that he had ever heard speak of Sir Robert Grosvenor, or of his ancestors, or of any one bearing the name of Grosvenor.'

The statement that Chaucer was, at this time, of the age of 'forty and upwards' (xl. ans et plus) ought to be of assistance in determining the date of his birth; but it has been frequently discredited on the ground that similar statements made, in the same account, respecting other persons, can easily be shewn to be incorrect. It can hardly be regarded as more than a mere phrase, expressing that the witness was old enough to give material evidence. But the testimony that the witness had borne arms for twenty-seven years (xxvii. ans) is more explicit, and happens to tally exactly with the evidence actually given concerning the campaign of 1359; a campaign which we may at once admit, on his own shewing, to have been his first. Taken in connexion with his service in the household of the Countess of Ulster, where his position was probably that of page, we should expect that, in 1359, he was somewhere near 20 years of age, and born not long before 1340. It is needless to discuss the point further, as nothing will convince those who are determined to make much of Chaucer's allusions to his 'old age' (which is, after all, a personal affair), and who cannot understand why Hoccleve should speak of himself as 'ripe for death' when he was only fifty-three. [xxxviii]

It was during the session of this same parliament (Oct. 1386) that Chaucer gave up the house in Aldgate which he had occupied since May, 1374; and the premises were granted by the corporation to one Richard Forster, possibly the same person as the Richard Forrester who had been his proxy in 1378[125]. In this house he must have composed several of his poems; and, in particular, The Parlement of Foules, The House of Fame, and Troilus, besides making his translation of Boethius. The remarks about 'my house' in the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women, 282, are inconsistent with the position of a house above a city-gate. If, as is probable, they have reference to facts, we may suppose that he had already practically resigned his house to his friend in 1385, when he was no longer expected to perform his official duties personally.

Meanwhile, the duke of Gloucester was daily gaining ascendancy; and Chaucer was soon to feel the resentment of his party. On Dec. 4, 1386, he was deprived of his more important office, that of Comptroller of the Customs of Wool, and Adam Yerdeley was appointed in his stead. Only ten days later, on Dec. 14, he lost his other office likewise, and Henry Gisors became Comptroller of the Petty Customs[126]. This must have been a heavy loss to one who had previously been in good circumstances, and who seems to have spent his money rather freely[127]. He was suffered, however, to retain his own and his wife's pensions, as there was no pretence for depriving him of them.

§ 27. 1387. In 1387, the payment of his wife's pension, on June 18, appears for the last time[128]. It cannot be doubted that she died during the latter part of this year. In the same year, [xxxix]and in the spring of 1388, he received his own pensions, as usual[129]; but his wife's pension ceased at her death, at a time when his own income was seriously reduced.

§ 28. 1388. In 1388, on May 1, the grants of his two annual pensions, of 20 marks each, were cancelled at his own request, and assigned, in his stead, to John Scalby[130]. The only probable interpretation of this act is that he was then hard pressed for money, and adopted this ready but rather rash method for obtaining a considerable sum at once. He retained, however, the pension of 10l. per annum, granted him by the duke of Lancaster in 1374. Chaucer was evidently a hard worker and a practical man. We have every reason for believing that he performed his duties assiduously, as he himself asserts; and the loss of his offices in Dec. 1386 must have occasioned a good deal of enforced leisure. This explains at once why the years 1387 and 1388 were, as appears from other considerations, the most active time of his poetical career; he was then hard at work on his Canterbury Tales. And though the loss of his wife, at the close of 1387, must have caused a sad interruption in his congenial task, we can hardly wonder if, after a reasonable interval, he resumed it; it was perhaps the best thing that he could do.

§ 29. 1389. This period of almost complete leisure came to an end in July, 1389; owing, probably, to the fact that the king, on May 3 in that year, suddenly took the government into his own hands. The influence of the duke of Gloucester was on the wane; the duke of Lancaster returned to England; and the cloud that had lain over Chaucer's fortunes was once more dispersed. His public work required some attention, though he was allowed to have a deputy, and the time devoted to the Canterbury Tales was diminished. It is doubtful whether, with the exception of a few occasional pieces, Chaucer wrote much new poetry during the last ten years of his life.

On July 12, Chaucer received the valuable appointment of Clerk of the King's Works at the palace of Westminster, the [xl]Tower of London, the Mews at Charing Cross, and other places. Among them are mentioned the Castle of Berkhemsted (Berkhamstead, Herts.), the King's manors of Kennington (now in London), Eltham (Kent), Clarendon (near Salisbury), Sheen (now Richmond, Surrey)[131], Byfleet (Surrey), Childern Langley (i. e. King's Langley, Hertfordshire), and Feckenham (Worcestershire); also the Royal lodge of Hatherbergh in the New Forest, and the lodges in the parks of Clarendon, Childern Langley, and Feckenham. He was permitted to execute his duties by deputy, and his salary was 2s. per day, or 36l. 10s. annually, a considerable sum[132]. A payment to Chaucer, as Clerk of the Works, is recorded only ten days later (July 22); and we find that, about this time, he issued a commission to one Hugh Swayn to provide materials for the king's works at Westminster, Sheen, and elsewhere[133].

§ 30. 1390. In 1390, on March 13, Chaucer was appointed on a commission, with five others, to repair the banks of the Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich (at that time, probably, his place of residence); but was superseded in 1391[134].

In the same year, Chaucer was entrusted with the task of putting up scaffolds in Smithfield for the king and queen to see the jousts which took place there in the month of May; this notice is particularly interesting in connexion with the Knightes Tale (A 1881-92). The cost of doing this, amounting to 8l. 12s. 6d., was allowed him in a writ dated July 1, 1390; and he received further payment at the rate of 2s. a day[135].

About this time, in the 14th year of king Richard (June 22, 1390-June 21, 1391), he was appointed joint forester, with Richard Brittle, of North Petherton Park, in Somersetshire, by the earl of March, the grandson of his first patron, Prince Lionel. Perhaps in consequence of the death of Richard Brittle, he was made sole forester in 21 Ric. II. (1397-8) by the countess of March; and he probably held the appointment till his death in 1400. No appointment, however, is known to have been then [xli]made, and we find that the next forester, appointed in 4 Hen. V. (1416-17), was no other than Thomas Chaucer, who may have been his son[136]. It is perhaps worthy of remark that some of the land in North Petherton, as shewn by Collinson, descended to Emma, third daughter of William de Placetis, which William had the same office of 'forester of North Petherton' till his death in 1274; and this Emma married John Heyron, who died in 1326-7, seised of lands at Enfield, Middlesex, and at Newton, Exton, and North Petherton, in the county of Somerset (Calend. Inquis. post Mortem, 1806, vol. i. p. 333; col. 1). If this John Heyron was related to the Maria Heyron who was Chaucer's grandmother, there was perhaps a special reason for appointing Chaucer to this particular office.

On July 12, 1390, he was ordered to procure workmen and materials for the repair of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, then in a ruinous condition; this furnishes a very interesting association[137].

On Sept. 6, 1390, a curious misfortune befell the poet. He was robbed twice on the same day, by the same gang of robbers; once of 10l. of the king's money, at Westminster, and again of 9l. 3s. 2d., of his horse, and of other property, near the 'foul oak' (foule ok) at Hatcham, Surrey (now a part of London, approached by the Old Kent Road, and not far from Deptford and Greenwich). One of the gang confessed the robberies; and Chaucer was forgiven the repayment of the money[138].

§ 31. 1391. In 1391, on Jan. 22, Chaucer appointed John Elmhurst as his deputy, for superintending repairs at the palace of Westminster and the tower of London; this appointment was confirmed by the king[139]. It was in this year that he wrote his Treatise on the Astrolabe, for the use of his son Lowis. By this time, the Canterbury Tales had ceased to make much progress. For some unknown reason, Chaucer lost his appointment in the [xlii]summer; for on June 17, a writ was issued, commanding him to give up to John Gedney[140] all his rolls, &c. connected with his office[141]; and on Sept. 16, we find, accordingly, that the office was held by John Gedney[142]; nevertheless, payments to Chaucer as 'late Clerk of the Works' occur on Dec. 16, 1391, Mar. 4 and July 13, 1392, and even as late as in 1393[143].

§ 32. 1392-3. Chaucer was now once more without public employment. No doubt the Canterbury Tales received some attention, and perhaps we may assign to this period various alterations in the original plan of the poem. The author must by this time have seen the necessity of limiting each of his characters to the telling of one Tale only. The Envoy to Scogan and the Complaint of Venus were probably written in 1393. According to a note written opposite l. 45 of the former poem, Chaucer was then residing at Greenwich, a most convenient position for frequent observation of pilgrims on the road to Canterbury. See §§ 26 and 30.

§ 33. 1394. Chaucer was once more a poor man, although, as a widower, his expenses may have been less. Probably he endeavoured to draw attention to his reduced circumstances, or Henry Scogan may have done so for him, in accordance with the poet's suggestion in l. 48 of the Envoy just mentioned. In 1394, on Feb. 28, he obtained from the king a grant of 20l. per annum for life, payable half-yearly at Easter and Michaelmas, being 6l. 13s. 8d. less than the pensions which he had disposed of in 1388[144]; but the first payment was not made till Dec. 20, when he received 10l. for the half-year from Easter to Michaelmas, and the proportional sum of 1l. 16s. 7d. for the month of March[145].

§ 34. 1395. The difficulties which Chaucer experienced at this time, as to money matters, are clearly illustrated during the year 1395. In this year he applied for a loan from the exchequer, in advance of his pension, no less than four times. In this way he borrowed 10l. on April 1; 10l. on June 25; 1l. 6s. 8d. on [xliii]Sept. 9; and 8l. 6s. 8d. on Nov. 27. He repaid the first of these loans on May 28; and the second was covered by his allowance at Michaelmas. He must also have repaid the small third loan, as the account was squared by his receipt of the balance of 1l. 13s. 4d. (instead of 10l.) on March 1, 1396[146]. All the sums were paid into his own hands, so that he was not far from home in 1395. The fact that he borrowed so small a sum as 1l. 6s. 8d. is significant and saddening.

In 19 Ric. II. (June, 1395-June, 1396), Chaucer was one of the attorneys of Gregory Ballard, to receive seizin of the manor of Spitalcombe, and of other lands in Kent[147].

§ 35. 1396. In 1396, as noted above, he received the balance of his first half-year's pension on March 1. The second half-year's pension was not paid till Dec. 25[148]. The Balades of Truth, Gentilesse, and Lak of Stedfastnesse possibly belong to this period, but some critics would place the last of these somewhat earlier.

§ 36. 1397. In 1397, the payment of the pension was again behindhand; there seems to have been some difficulty in obtaining it, due, probably, to the lavish extravagance of the king. Instead of receiving his half-yearly pension at Easter, Chaucer received it much later, and in two instalments; viz. 5l. on July 2, and 5l. on Aug. 9. But after this, things mended; for his Michaelmas pension was paid in full, viz. 10l., on Oct 26[149]. It was received for him by John Walden, and it is probable that at this time he was in infirm health.

§ 37. 1398. We may certainly infer that, at this time, Chaucer was once more in great distress for money, and considerably in debt. It is also probable that he was becoming infirm; for indeed, his death was now approaching. In the Easter term of 1398 (Apr. 24-May 20), one Isabella Buckholt sued him for the sum of 14l. 1s. 11d. He did not, however, put in an appearance; for the sheriff's return, in the Michaelmas term (Oct. 9-Nov. 28), was—'non est inventus'; and a similar return was again made in the Trinity term of 1399 (June 4-25)[150]. [xliv]

We are tempted to suspect that the sheriff was not particularly diligent in his search after the debtor. That Chaucer was well aware of the awkwardness of his position, is shewn by the fact that on May 4, 1398, just at the very time when the suit was brought, he applied for, and obtained, letters of protection from the king against his enemies, forbidding any one to sue or arrest him on any plea, except it were connected with land, for the term of two years[151]. This furnishes an additional reason why the sheriff did not 'find' him. When the two years terminated, in May, 1400, he had not half a year to live.

On June 3, 1398, Chaucer was again unable to receive his pension himself, but it was conveyed to him by William Waxcombe[152]. At the close of the next month, he was reduced to such pitiable straits that we find him applying personally to the exchequer, for such a trifling advance as 6s. 8d., on July 24; and for the same sum only a week later, on July 31[152].

On Aug. 23, he personally received a further advance of 5l. 6s. 8d.[152]

In his distress, he determined to send in a petition to the king. A copy of this, in French, is still preserved. On Oct. 13, 1398, he prayed to be allowed a hogshead of wine (tonel de vin), to be given him by the king's butler[153]; he even asked this favour 'for God's sake and as a work of charity' (pur Dieu et en œure de charitee). It is satisfactory to find that his request met with a prompt response; for only two days afterwards, on Oct. 15, the king made him a grant of a tun of wine annually for life, from the king's butler or his deputy; Sir H. Nicolas computes the value of this grant at about 5l. a year. Moreover, the grant was made to date as from Dec. 1, 1397; so that he necessarily received from it some immediate benefit[154]. He also received from the exchequer, with his own hands, the sum of 10l. on Oct. 28[155].

§ 38. 1399. In 1399, the great change in political affairs practically brought his distress to an end; and it is pleasant to think that, as far as money matters were concerned, he ended his [xlv]days in comparative ease. Henry of Lancaster was declared king on Sept. 30; and Chaucer lost no time in laying his case before him. This he did by sending in a copy of his 'Compleint to his Empty Purse,' a poem which seems to have been originally written on some other occasion. He added to it, however, an Envoy of five lines, which, like a postscript to some letters, contained the pith of the matter:—

'O conquerour of Brutes Albioun,

Which that by lyne and free eleccioun

Ben verray king, this song to you I sende;

And ye, that mowen al our harm amende,

Have mind upon my supplicacioun!'

The king was prompt to reply; it must have given him real satisfaction to be able to assist the old poet, with whom he must have been on familiar terms. On Oct. 3, only the fourth day after the king's accession, the answer came. He was to receive 40 marks yearly (26l. 13s. 4d.), in addition to the annuity of 20l. which king Richard had granted him; so that his income was more than doubled. Even then, he met with a slight misfortune, in losing his letters patent; but, having made oath in Chancery, that the letters patent of Feb. 28, 1394 (referring to king Richard's grant of 20l.), and the new letters patent of Oct. 3, 1399, had been accidentally lost, he procured, on Oct. 13, exemplifications of these records[156]. These grants were finally confirmed by the king on Oct. 21[157].

On Christmas eve, 1399, he covenanted for a lease of 53 years (a long term for one at his age to contemplate) of a house situate in the garden of the Chapel of St. Mary, Westminster, near Westminster Abbey, at the annual rent of 2l. 13s. 4d. This lease, from the Custos Capellae Beatae Mariae to Geoffrey Chaucer, dated Dec. 24, 1399, is in the Muniment Room of Westminster Abbey. The house stood on or near the spot now occupied by Henry the Seventh's Chapel[158]. We find, however, that he had only a life-interest in the lease, as the premises were to revert to the Custos Capellae if the tenant died within the term. [xlvi]

§ 39. 1400. In 1400, payments to him are recorded on Feb. 21, of the pension of 20l. granted by king Richard[159], in respect of the half-year ending at Michaelmas, 1399; and on June 5, the sum of 5l., being part of a sum of 8l. 13s. 5d. due for a portion of the next half-year, calculated as commencing on Oct. 21, 1399, and terminating on the last day of March, 1400, was sent him by the hands of Henry Somere[160].

We should notice that this Henry Somere was, at the time, the Clerk of the Receipt of the Exchequer; he was afterwards Under Treasurer, at which time Hoccleve addressed to him a Balade, printed in Furnivall's edition of Hoccleve's Works, at p. 59, followed by a Roundel containing a pun upon his name; as well as a second Balade, addressed to him after he had been made a Baron, and promoted to be Chancellor (see the same, p. 64). Perhaps he was related to John Somere, the Frere, mentioned in the Treatise on the Astrolabe (Prol. 62).

Chaucer died on Oct. 25, 1400, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The date of his death is only known from an inscription on the tomb of gray marble erected near his grave, in 1556, by Nicholas Brigham, a man of letters, and an admirer of the poet's writings; but it is probably correct, and may have rested on tradition[161]. We have no note of him after June 5, and no record of a payment of the pension in October. According to Stowe, Chaucer's grave is in the cloister, where also lies the body of 'Henrie Scogan, a learned poet,' i. e. the Scogan who was Chaucer's friend.

§ 40. Chaucer's Arms and Tomb. 'In front of the tomb,' says Sir. H. Nicolas, 'are three panelled divisions of starred quarterfoils (sic), containing shields with the Arms of Chaucer, viz. Per pale argent and gules, a bend counterchanged; and the same Arms also occur in an oblong compartment at the back of the recess, where the following inscription was placed, but which is now almost obliterated, from the partial decomposition and crumbling state of the marble. A small whole-length portrait of Chaucer was delineated in plano on the north side of the inscription, but [xlvii]not a vestige of it is left; and the whole of the recess and canopy has recently been coloured black.


Qui fuit Anglorum Vates ter maximus olim,

Galfridus Chaucer conditur hoc tumulo:

Annum si quaeras domini, si tempora vitae,

Ecce notae subsunt, quae tibi cuncta notant.

25 Octobris 1400.

Ærumnarum requies mors.

N. Brigham hos fecit musarum nomine sumptus


On the ledge of the tomb the following verses were engraved:—

'Si rogites quis eram, forsan te fama docebit:

Quod si fama negat, mundi quia gloria transit,

Haec monumenta lege.'

We learn from an interesting note at the end of Caxton's edition of Boethius, that the good printer was not satisfied with printing some of Chaucer's works, but further endeavoured to perpetuate the poet's memory by raising a pillar near his tomb, to support a tablet containing an epitaph consisting of 34 Latin verses. This epitaph was composed by Stephanus Surigonus of Milan, licentiate in decrees, and is reprinted in Stowe's edition of Chaucer's Works (1561), at fol. 355, back. The last four lines refer to Caxton's pious care:—

'Post obitum Caxton voluit te viuere cura

Willelmi, Chaucer, clare poeta, tui.

Nam tua non solum compressit opuscula formis,

Has quoque sed laudes iussit hic esse tuas.'

A description, by Dean Stanley, of the Chaucer window in Westminster Abbey, completed in 1868, is given in Furnivall's Temporary Preface (Ch. Soc.), p. 133. Some of the subjects in the window are taken from the poem entitled 'The Flower and the Leaf,' which he did not write.

It will be observed that Sir H. Nicolas speaks, just above, of 'the arms of Chaucer,' which he describes. But it should be remembered that this is, practically, an assumption, which at once launches us into an uncertain and debateable position. These arms certainly belonged to Thomas Chaucer, for they occur on a [xlviii]seal of his of which a drawing is given in MS. Julius C 7, fol. 153; an accurate copy of which is given by Sir H. Nicolas. It is therefore quite possible that the same arms were assigned to the poet in 1556, only because it was then assumed that Thomas was Geoffrey's son; the fact being that the relationship of Thomas to Geoffrey is open to doubt, and the case requires to be stated with great care.

§ 41. Thomas Chaucer. Few things are more remarkable than the utter absence of unequivocal early evidence as to the above-mentioned point. That Geoffrey Chaucer was a famous man, even in his own day, cannot be doubted; and it is equally certain that Thomas Chaucer was a man of great wealth and of some consequence. Sir H. Nicolas has collected the principal facts relating to him, the most important being the following. On Oct. 26, 1399, Henry IV. granted him the offices of Constable of Wallingford Castle and Steward of the Honours of Wallingford and St. Valery and of the Chiltern Hundreds for life, receiving therefrom 40l. a year, with 10l. additional for his deputy[162]. On Nov. 5, 1402, he was appointed Chief Butler for life to King Henry IV.[163]; and there is a note that he had previously been Chief Butler to Richard II.[164], but the date of that appointment has not been ascertained. He was also Chief Butler to Henry V. until March, 1418, when he was superseded[165]; but was again appointed Chief Butler to Henry VI. after his accession. He represented Oxfordshire in Parliament in 1402, 1408, 1409, 1412, 1414, 1423, 1427, and 1429; and was Speaker of the House of Commons in 1414[166], and in other years. 'He was employed on many occasions of trust and importance during the reigns of Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI.;' to which Sir H. Nicolas adds, that he 'never attained a higher rank than that of esquire.'

His wealth, at his death in 1434, was unusually great, as shewn by the long list of his landed possessions in the Inquisitiones post Mortem. This wealth he doubtless acquired by his marriage [xlix]with an heiress, viz. Matilda, second daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Burghersh, who died Sept. 21, 1391, when Matilda was 12 years old. Unfortunately, the date of this marriage is uncertain, though Sir H. Nicolas shews that it was probably earlier than 1403. The exact date would be very useful; for if it took place before 1399, it becomes difficult to understand why the poet was left so poor, whilst his son had vast possessions.

It should be noticed that there is but little to connect even Thomas Chaucer (still less Geoffrey) with Woodstock, until 1411; when the Queen (Joan of Navarre) granted Thomas the farm of the manors of Woodstock, Hanburgh, Wotton, and Stonfield, which, by the king's assignment, he enjoyed for life[167]. That the poet visited Woodstock in 1357, when in the service of Prince Lionel, is almost certain; but beyond this, we have no sure information on the matter. It is true that 'Wodestok' is mentioned in the last line of the Cuckow and the Nightingale, but this supposed connecting link is at once broken, when we find that the said poem was certainly not of his writing[168]. The suggested reference to Woodstock in the Parliament of Foules, l. 122, is discussed below, at p. 510.

The only child of Thomas and Matilda Chaucer was Alice, whose third husband was no less a person than William de la Pole, then Earl and afterwards Duke of Suffolk, who was beheaded in 1450. Their eldest son was John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, who married Elizabeth, sister of King Edward IV. Their eldest son bore the same name, and was not only created Earl of Lincoln, but was actually declared heir-apparent to the throne by Richard III; so that there was, at one time, a probability that Thomas Chaucer's great-grandson would succeed to the throne. But the battle of Bosworth, in 1485, set this arrangement aside; and the Earl of Lincoln was himself killed two years later, in the battle of Stoke.

§ 42. The relationship of Thomas to Geoffrey Chaucer. Considering the great eminence of these two men, the almost [l]total silence of early evidence, establishing a connexion between them, is in a high degree remarkable.

The earliest connecting link is the fact that a deed by Thomas Chaucer still exists, written (in English) at Ewelme, and dated May 20, 1409, to which a seal is appended. This seal exhibits the arms which were certainly borne by Thomas Chaucer (viz. party per pale, argent and gules, a bend counterchanged); but the legend, though somewhat indistinct, can only be read as: 'S' Ghofrai Chaucier[169]'; where S' signifies 'Sigillum.'

The spelling 'Ghofrai' is hardly satisfactory; but if Geoffrey be really meant, we gain a piece of evidence of high importance. It proves that Geoffrey bore the same arms as Thomas, and not the same arms as his father John; whose seal displays a shield ermine, on a chief, three birds' heads issuant (The Academy, Oct. 13, 1877, p. 364). Moreover, the use of Geoffrey's seal by Thomas goes far to establish that the latter was the son of the former.

The next link is that Geoffrey Chaucer was succeeded by Thomas Chaucer in the office of forester of North Petherton in Somersetshire; but even here there is a gap in the succession, as Thomas was not appointed till 1416-7, the fourth year of Henry V.[170]

It is not till the reign of Henry VI. that we at last obtain an unequivocal statement. Thomas Gascoigne, who died in 1458, wrote a Theological Dictionary, which still exists, in MS., in the Library of Lincoln College, Oxford. He tells us that Chaucer, in his last hours, frequently lamented the wickedness of his writings, though it is transparent that he here merely repeats, in a varied form, the general tenour of the well-known final paragraph of the Persones Tale. But he adds this important sentence: 'Fuit idem Chawserus pater Thomae Chawserus, armigeri, qui Thomas sepelitur in Nuhelm iuxta Oxoniam[171].' The statement is the more important because Gascoigne ought to have known the [li]exact truth. He was Chancellor of Oxford, and Thomas Chaucer held the manor of Ewelme, at no great distance, at the same date. As he mentions Thomas's sepulture, he wrote later than 1434, yet before 1458. Even in the case of this decisive statement, it were to be wished that he had shewn greater accuracy in the context; surely he gives a quite unfair turn to the poet's own words.

On the whole, I can only admit at present, that there is a high probability that Thomas was really Geoffrey's son. Perhaps we shall some day know the certainty of the matter.

§ 43. Thomas's Mother. The chief reason why it is so desirable to know the exact truth as to the relationship of Thomas to Geoffrey, is that a good deal depends upon it. If such was the case, it follows that Philippa Chaucer was Thomas's mother; in which case, we may feel tolerably confident that her maiden name was Roet or Rouet. This has been inferred from the fact that the arms (apparently) of Roet 'occur repeatedly on Thomas Chaucer's tomb, as his paternal coat, instead of the arms usually attributed to him and to the poet.' These arms bore 'three wheels, evidently in allusion to the name[172].' Having thus assigned to Philippa Chaucer the name of Roet, the next step (usually accepted, yet not absolutely proved) is to assume that she was the sister of the Katherine de Roet of Hainault[173], who married Sir Hugh Swynford, and afterwards became the mistress, and, in 1396, the third wife of John of Gaunt. Her father is supposed to have been Sir Payne Roet, of Hainault, upon the evidence of his epitaph, which (in Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 413) is thus given:—'Hic jacet Paganus Roet, Miles, Guyenne Rex Armorum, Pater Catherine Ducisse Lancastriae[174].' It is obvious that, if all the inferences are correct, they clearly establish an important and close connexion between the poet and John of Gaunt. Further arguments, whether in favour of or against this connexion, need hardly be repeated here. They may be found [lii]in Nicolas's Life of Chaucer, and in Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer, vol. i.

Thynne has the following remark in his Animadversions, &c. (ed. Furnivall, p. 22): 'Althoughe I fynde a recorde of the pellis exitus, in the tyme of Edwarde the thirde, of a yerely stypende to Elizabethe Chawcer, Domicelle regine Philippe, whiche Domicella dothe signyfye one of her weytinge gentlewomen: yet I cannott ... thinke this was his wyfe, but rather his sister or kinneswoman, who, after the deathe of her mystresse Quene Philippe, did forsake the worlde and became a nonne at Seinte Heleins in London.' And we find, accordingly (as Nicolas shews), that 'on July 27, 1377, the King exercised his right to nominate a Nun in the Priory of St. Helen's, London, after the coronation, in favour of Elizabeth Chausier.' Another Elizabeth Chaucy (who may have been the poet's daughter) is also noticed by Nicolas, for whose noviciate, in the Abbey of Berking in Essex, John of Gaunt paid 51l. 8s. 2d., on May 12, 1381. But these are mere matters for conjecture.

§ 44. The preceding sections include all the most material facts that have been ascertained with respect to Geoffrey Chaucer, and it is fortunate that, owing to his connexion with public business, they are so numerous and so authentic. At the same time, it will doubtless be considered that such dry details, however useful, tell us very little about the man himself; though they clearly shew the versatility of his talents, and exhibit him as a page, a soldier, a valet and esquire of the royal household, an envoy, a comptroller of customs, a clerk of works, and a member of Parliament. In the truest sense, his own works best exhibit his thoughts and character; though we must not always accept all his expressions as if they were all his own. We have to deal with a writer in whom the dramatic faculty was highly developed, and I prefer to leave the reader to draw his own inferences, even from those passages which are most relied upon to support the theory that his domestic life may have been unhappy, and others of the like kind. We can hardly doubt, for example, that he refers to his wife as 'oon that I coude nevene,' i. e. one that I could name, in the Hous of Fame, 562; and he plainly says that the eagle spoke something to him in a kindly tone, such as he never heard from his wife. But when we notice that the something said was the word 'awake,' in order that he should 'the bet abrayde,' i. e. the sooner recover from his dazed state, it is possible that [liii]a sentence which at first seems decidedly spiteful is no more than a mild and gentle jest.

§ 45. Personal allusions in Chaucer's Works. Instead of drawing my own inferences, which may easily be wrong, from various passages in Chaucer's Works, I prefer the humbler task of giving the more important references, from which the reader may perform the task for himself, to his greater satisfaction. I will only say that when a poet complains of hopeless love, or expresses his despair, or tells us (on the other hand) that he has no idea as to what love means, we are surely free to believe, in each case, just as little or as much as we please. It is a very sandy foundation on which to build up a serious autobiographical structure.

The only remark which I feel justified in making is, that I believe his wife's death to have been a serious loss to him in one respect at least. Most of his early works are reasonably free from coarseness; whereas such Tales as those of the Miller, the Reeve, the Shipman, the Merchant, and the Prologue to the Wife's Tale, can hardly be defended. All these may confidently be dated after the year 1387.

I have also to add one caution. We must not draw inferences as to Chaucer's life from poems or works with which he had nothing to do. Even Sir H. Nicolas, with all his carefulness, has not avoided this. He quotes the 'Cuckoo and Nightingale' as mentioning Woodstock; and he only distrusts the 'Testament of Love' because it is 'an allegorical composition[175].' As to the numerous fables that have been imported into the early Lives of Chaucer, see the excellent chapter in Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer, entitled 'The Chaucer Legend.'

§ 46. References. I here use the following abbreviations. [liv]Ast. (Treatise on the Astrolabe); B. D. (Book of the Duchesse); C. T. (Canterbury Tales); H. F. (Hous of Fame); L. G. W. (Legend of Good Women); T. (Troilus and Criseyde).

1. Personal Allusions. The poet's name is Geffrey, H. F. 729; and his surname, Chaucer, C. T., B 47. He describes himself, C. T., B 1886; Envoy to Scogan, 31. His poverty, H. F. 1349; Envoy to Scogan, 45; Compl. to his Purse. Refers to the sale of wine (his father being a vintner), C. T., C 564. Is despondent in love, Compl. unto Pity; B. D. 1-43; T. i. 15-18. His Complaints, viz. unto Pity; to his Lady; and an Amorous Complaint. Has long served Cupid and Venus; H. F. 616. Is no longer a lover, P. F. 158-166; H. F. 639; T. ii. 19-21; L. G. W. 490. Is love's clerk, T. iii. 41. Is love's foe, L. G. W. 323. His misery, H. F. 2012-8. His religious feeling, A. B. C., Second Nun's Tale, Prioress's Tale, &c. Refers to his work when Comptroller of the Customs, H. F. 652. Is unambitious of fame, H. F. 1870-900; and has but little in his head, ib. 621. Is sometimes a mere compiler, Ast. prol. 43. Addresses his little son Lowis, Ast. prol. 1-45[176]. Expresses his gratitude to the queen, L. G. W. 84-96, 445-461, 496. His old age, L. G. W., A 262, A 315; Envoy to Scogan, 31-42; Compl. of Venus, 76[177]. He will not marry a second time, Envoy to Bukton, 8. He exhibits his knowledge of the Northern dialect in the Reeve's Tale. The whole of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women deserves particular attention.

Chaucer mentions several friends, viz. Gower the poet, T. v. 1856; Strode, T. v. 1857 (cf. the colophon to Ast. pt. ii. § 40); and a lady named Rosemounde, in the Balade addressed to her. He also addresses Envoys to Henry Scogan and to Bukton. The Envoy to the Compleint to his Purse is addressed to king Henry IV.

He is fond of books and of reading, P. F. 15; H. F. 657; L. G. W. 17-35; and even reads in bed, B. D. 50, 274, 1326. [lv]For a full account of the books which he quotes, see vol. vi. I may just notice here the lists in C. T., B 2088; L. G. W., A 272-307; and his references to his own works in L. G. W. 329, 332, 417-28; C. T., B 57-76; C. T., I 1086[178]. His love of nature appears in several excellent descriptions; we may particularly notice his lines upon the sunrise, C. T., A 1491, F 385; on the golden-tressed Phoebus, T. v. 8; on the daisy, L. G. W. 41; his description of the birds, P. F. 330; of a blooming garden, P. F. 182; of the golden age, The Former Age; of fine weather for hunting, B. D. 336, and of the chase itself, B. D. 360, L. G. W. 1188. He frequently mentions the fair month of May, L. G. W. 36, 45, 108, 176, T. ii. 50, C. T. A 1500, 1510; and St. Valentine's day, Compl. of Mars, 13; P. F. 309, 322, 386, 683; Amorous Compleint, 85.

He was our first great metrist, and has frequent references to his poetical art. He never slept on Parnassus, C. T., F 721; and the Host (in the C. T.) even accused him of writing 'dogerel,' B 2115. He cannot write alliterative verse, C. T., I 43. He admits that his rime is 'light and lewed,' and that some lines fail in a syllable, H. F., 1096-8. Yet he hopes that none will 'mismetre' him, T. v. 1796. He writes books, songs, and ditties in rime or 'cadence,' H. F. 622; also hymns, balades, roundels, and virelays, L. G. W. 422; and complaints, such as the Complaint to Pity, to his Lady, to his Purse, the Complaints of Mars, Anelida, and Venus, and the Complaint D'amours (or Amorous Complaint). Specimens of his graphic and dramatic power, of his skill in story and metre, of his tenderness and his humour, need not be here specified. He is fond of astronomy, as shewn by his Treatise on the Astrolabe; and, though he has but little faith in astrology (Ast. ii. 4. 37), he frequently refers to it as well as to astronomy; see B. D. 1206; Compl. Mars, 29, 54, 69, 79, 86, 113, 120, 129, 139, 145; P. F., 56, 59, 67, 117; Envoy to Scogan, 3, 9; H. F. 932, 936, 965, 993-1017; T. ii. 50, iii. 2, 618, 625, 716, iv. 1592, v. 1809; L. G. W. 113, 2223, 2585-99; C. T., A 7, 1087, 1328, 1463, 1537, 1566, 1850, 2021, 2035, 2059, 2217, 2271, 2367, 2454-69, 3192, 3209, 3516; B 1-14, 191, [lvi]308, 312, 4045-8, 4378-89; D 613, 704; E 1795, 1969, 2132, 2222; F 47-51, 263-5, 386, 906, 1032-5, 1045-59, 1130, 1245-9, 1261-6, 1273-96; I 2-12. Even his alchemy has some reference to astrology; C. T., G 826-9; cf. H. F. 1430-1512.

He refers to optics, C. T., F 228-235; to Boethius on music, C. T., B 4484, H. F. 788-818; and to magical arts, H. F. 1259-81, C. T., F 115, 132, 146, 156, 219, 250, 1142-51, 1157-62, 1189-1208.

2. Historical Allusions. The references to contemporary history are but few. The death of the Lady Blaunche is commemorated in the Book of the Duchesse. He refers to good queen Anne, L. G. W. 255, 275, 496; to the archbishop of Canterbury, C. T., B 4635; to 'this pestilence,' C 679; to Tyler's rebellion, A 2459; and Jack Straw, B 4584. Perhaps the Complaints of Mars and Venus refer to real personages; see the Notes to those poems. He mentions Dante, H. F. 450, L. G. W. 360, C. T. B 3651, D 1126; Petrarch, C. T., E 31, 1147; Pedro the Cruel, king of Spain, C. T., B 3565, Bertrand du Gueschlin, 3573, and Sir Oliver Mauny, 3576; Peter, king of Cyprus, 3581; Bernabo Visconti, duke of Milan, 3589, and the 'tyrants' of Lombardy, L. G. W. 374; Ugolino of Pisa and the archbishop Ruggieri, C. T., B 3597, 3606. There are several allusions to recent events in the Prologue, A 51-66, 86, 276, 399; and perhaps in C. T., E 995-1001.

His literary allusions are too numerous to be here recited. The reader can consult the Index in vol. vi.

§ 47. Allusions to Chaucer. One of the earliest allusions to Chaucer as a poet occurs in the works of Eustache Deschamps, a contemporary poet of France. It is remarkable that he chiefly praises him as being 'a great translator.' Perhaps this was before his longest poems were written; there is express reference to his translation of Le Roman de la Rose, and, possibly, to Boethius. The poem tells us that Deschamps had sent Chaucer a copy of some of his poems by a friend named Clifford, and he hopes to receive something of Chaucer's in return. The poem is here quoted entire, from the edition of Deschamps by le Marquis de Queux de Saint-Hilaire, published for the Société des Anciens Textes Français, t. ii. p. 138:—

'O Socrates plains de philosophie,

Seneque en meurs et Anglux en pratique,


Ovides grans en ta poeterie,

Bries en parler, saiges en rethorique,

Aigles treshaulz, qui par ta theorique

Enlumines le regne d'Eneas,

L'Isle aux Geans, ceuls de Bruth, et qui as

Semé les fleurs et planté le rosier,

Aux ignorans de la langue pandras,

Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.

Tu es d'amours mondains Dieux en Albie:

Et de la Rose, en la terre Angelique,

Qui d'Angela saxonne, est puis flourie

Angleterre, d'elle ce nom s'applique

Le derrenier en l'ethimologique;

En bon anglès le livre translatas;

Et un vergier ou du plant demandas

De ceuls qui font pour eulx autorisier,

A ja longtemps que tu edifias,

Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.

A toy pour ce de la fontaine Helye

Requier avoir un buvraige autentique,

Dont la doys est du tout en ta baillie,

Pour rafrener d'elle ma soif ethique,

Qui en Gaule seray paralitique

Jusques a ce que tu m'abuveras.

Eustaces sui, qui de mon plant aras:

Mais pran en gré les euvres d'escolier

Que par Clifford de moy avoir pourras,

Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.


Poete hault, loenge destruye,

En ton jardin ne seroye qu'ortie:

Consideré ce que j'ay dit premier

Ton noble plant, ta douce mélodie,

Mais pour sçavoir, de rescripre te prie,

Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.'

Gower alludes to Chaucer in the first edition of the Confessio Amantis; see the passage discussed in vol. iii. p. 414.

Henry Scogan wrote 'a moral balade' in twenty-one 8-line stanzas, in which he not only refers to Chaucer's poetical skill, but quotes the whole of his Balade on Gentilesse; see vol. i. p. 83.

Hoccleve frequently refers to Chaucer as his 'maister,' i. e. his teacher, with great affection; and, if he learnt but little more, he certainly learnt the true method of scansion of his master's lines, [lviii]and imitates his metres and rimes with great exactness. The passages relating to Chaucer are as follows[179].

(1) From the Governail of Princes, or De Regimine Principum (ed. Wright, p. 67, st. 267):—

'Thou were acqueynted with Chaucer, pardee—

God save his soule—best of any wight.'

(2) From the same, p. 75, stanzas 280, 281-283, 297-299, 301:—

'But weylawey! so is myn herte wo

That the honour of English tonge is deed,

Of which I wont was han conseil and reed.

O maister dere and fader reverent,

My maister Chaucer, flour of eloquence,

Mirour of fructuous entendement,

O universel fader in science,

Allas! that thou thyn excellent prudence

In thy bed mortel mightest not bequethe!

What eyled Deeth? Allas! why wolde he slee thee?

O Deeth! thou didest not harm singuler

In slaghtre of him, but al this land it smerteth!

But nathelees, yit hast thou no powèr

His name slee; his hy vertu asterteth

Unslayn fro thee, which ay us lyfly herteth

With bokes of his ornat endyting,

That is to al this land enlumining....

My dere maister—God his soule quyte—

and fader, Chaucer, fayn wolde han me taught;

But I was dul, and lernede right naught[180].

Allas! my worthy maister honorable,

This landes verray tresor and richesse!

Deeth, by thy deeth, hath harm irreparable

Unto us doon; hir vengeable duresse

Despoiled hath this land of the swetnesse

Of rethoryk; for unto[181] Tullius

Was never man so lyk amonges us.


Also who was heyr[182] in philosophye

To Aristotle, in our tonge, but thou?

The steppes of Virgyle in poesye

Thou folwedest eek, men wot wel y-now.

That combre-world, that thee (my maister) slow—

Wolde I slayn werë—Deeth, was to hastyf

To renne on thee, and reve thee thy lyf....

She mighte han taried hir vengeance a whyle

Til that som man had egal to thee be;

Nay, lat be that! she knew wel that this yle

May never man forth bringe lyk to thee,

And hir offyce nedes do mot she:

God bad hir so, I truste as for the beste;

O maister, maister, God thy soule reste!

(3) From the same, p. 179, stanzas 712-4:—

The firste finder of our fair langage

Hath seyd in caas semblable, and othere mo,

So hyly wel, that it is my dotage

For to expresse or touche any of tho.

Allas! my fader fro the worlde is go,

My worthy maister Chaucer, him I mene:

Be thou advóket for him, hevenes quene?

As thou wel knowest, O blessèd virgyne,

With loving herte and hy devocioun

In thyn honour he wroot ful many a lyne.

O, now thy help and thy promocioun!

To God, thy Sonë, mak a mocioun

How he thy servaunt was, mayden Marië,

And lat his lovë floure and fructifyë.

Al-thogh his lyf be queynt, the résemblaunce

Of him hath in me so fresh lyflinesse

That, to putte othere men in rémembraunce

Of his persone, I have heer his lyknesse

Do makë, to this ende, in sothfastnesse,

That they, that have of him lest thought and minde,

By this peynturë may ageyn him finde.'

Here is given, in the margin of the MS., the famous portrait of Chaucer which is believed to be the best, and probably the only one that can be accepted as authentic. A copy of it is prefixed to the present volume, and to Furnivall's Trial-Forewords, Chaucer Soc., 1871; and an enlarged copy accompanies the Life-Records of Chaucer, part 2. It is thus described by Sir H. Nicolas:—'The figure, which is half-length, has a back-ground of green [lx]tapestry. He is represented with grey hair and beard, which is biforked; he wears a dark-coloured dress and hood; his right hand is extended, and in his left he holds a string of beads. From his vest a black case is suspended, which appears to contain a knife, or possibly a 'penner,' or pen-case[183]. The expression of the countenance is intelligent; but the fire of the eye seems quenched, and evident marks of advanced age appear on the countenance.' Hoccleve did not paint this portrait himself, as is often erroneously said; he 'leet do make it,' i. e. had it made. It thus became the business of the scribe, and the portraits in different copies of Hoccleve's works vary accordingly. There is a full-length portrait in MS. Reg. 17 D. vi, marked as 'Chaucers ymage'; and another in a MS. copy once in the possession of Mr. Tyson, which was engraved in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1792, vol. lxii. p. 614; perhaps the latter is the copy which is now MS. Phillipps 1099. A representation of Chaucer on horseback, as one of the pilgrims, occurs in the Ellesmere MS.; an engraving of it appears as a frontispiece to Todd's Illustrations of Chaucer. A small full-length picture of Chaucer occurs in the initial letter of the Canterbury Tales, in MS. Lansdowne 851. Other portraits, such as that in MS. Addit. (or Sloane) 5141, the painting upon wood in the Bodleian Library, and the like, are of much later date, and cannot pretend to any authenticity.

Lydgate has frequent references to his 'maister Chaucer.' The most important is that in the Prologue to his Fall of Princes, which begins thus:—

'My maister Chaucer, with his fresh comédies,

Is deed, allas! cheef poete of Bretayne,

That somtym made ful pitous tragédies;

The "fall of princes" he dide also compleyne,

As he that was of making soverayne,

Whom al this land of right[e] ought preferre,

Sith of our langage he was the loodsterre.'

The 'fall of princes' refers to the Monkes Tale, as explained in vol. iii. p. 431. He next refers to 'Troilus' as being a translation of a book 'which called is Trophe' (see vol. ii. p. liv.); and to the Translation of Boethius and the Treatise of the Astrolabe. [lxi]He then mentions many of the Minor Poems (in the stanzas quoted below, p. 23), the Legend of Good Women (see vol. iii. p. xx.), and the Canterbury Tales; and concludes thus:—

'This sayd poete, my maister, in his dayes

Made and composed ful many a fresh ditee,

Complaintes, balades, roundels, virelayes,

Ful delectable to heren and to see;

For which men shulde, of right and equitee,

Sith he of English in making was the beste,

Praye unto God to yeve his soule reste.'

So also, in his Siege of Troye, fol. K 2:—

'Noble Galfryde, chefe Poete of Brytayne,

Among our English that caused first to rayne

The golden droppes of Rethorike so fyne,

Our rudë language onely t'enlumine,' &c.

And again, in the same, fol. R 2, back:—

'For he our English gilt[e] with his layes,

Rude and boystous first, by oldë dayes,

That was ful fer from al perfeccioun

And but of lytel reputacioun,

Til that he cam, and with his poetrye

Gan our tungë first to magnifye,

And adourne it with his eloquence'; &c.

And yet again, at fol. Ee 2:—

'And, if I shal shortly him discryve,

Was never noon [un]to this day alyve,

To reken all[e], bothe of yonge and olde,

That worthy was his inkhorn for to holde.'

Similar passages occur in some of his other works, and shew that he regarded Chaucer with affectionate reverence.

Allusions in later authors have only a literary value, and need not be cited in a Life of Chaucer.

I subjoin (on p. lxii.) a List of Chaucer's genuine works, arranged, as nearly as I can conjecture, in their chronological order. Of his poetical excellence it is superfluous to speak; Lowell's essay on 'Chaucer' in My Study Windows gives a just estimate of his powers. [lxii]


The following list is arranged, conjecturally, in chronological order. It will be understood that much of the arrangement and some of the dates are due to guesswork; on a few points scholars are agreed. See further in pp. 20-91 below, &c. Of the Poems marked (a), there seem to have been two editions, (a) being the earlier. The letters and numbers appended at the end denote the metres, according to the following scheme.

A = octosyllabic metre; B = ballad metre, in Sir Thopas; C = 4-line stanza, in the Proverbes; P = Prose.

The following sixteen metres are original (i. e. in English); viz. 1 = 8-line stanza, ababbcbc; 1 b = the same, thrice, with refrain. 2 = 7-line stanza, ababbcc; 2 b = the same, thrice, with refrain; 2 c = 7-line stanza, ababbab. 3 = terza rima. 4 = 10-line stanza, aabaabcddc. 5 = 9-line stanza, aabaabbab; 5 b = the same, with internal rimes. 6 = virelai of 16 lines. 7 = 9-line stanza, aabaabbcc. 8 = roundel. 9 = heroic couplet. 10 = 6-line stanza, ababcb, repeated six times. 11 = 10-line stanza, aabaabbaab. 12 = 5-line stanza, aabba.

*** C. T. = Canterbury Tales; L. G. W. = Legend of Good Women; M. P. = Minor Poems.

Origenes upon the Maudeleyne (See L. G. W., A 418; lost.)
Book of the Leoun (C. T., I. 1087; lost).
(a) Ceys and Alcion (C. T., B. 57; Bk. Duch. 62-214).—A.
Romaunt of the Rose, ll. 1-1705; rest lost.—A.
A. B. C.; in M. P. I.—1.
1369. Book of the Duchesse; M. P. III.—A.
(a) Lyf of Seynt Cecyle (L. G. W., B 426; C. T., G. 1-553).—2[184].
(a) Monkes Tale (parts of); except B. 3565-3652.—1.
[lxiii] ab. 1372-3. (a) Clerkes Tale; except E. 995-1008, and the Envoy.—2.
(a) Palamon and Arcite (scraps preserved).—2.
Compleint to his Lady; M. P. VI.—2. 3. 4.
An Amorous Compleint, made at Windsor; M. P. XXII.—2.
Compleint unto Pitè; M. P. II.—2.
Anelida and Arcite (10 stt. from Palamon); M. P. VII.—2. 5. 6. 5 b.
(a) The Tale of Melibeus.—P.
(a) The Persones Tale.—P.
(a) Of the Wreched Engendring of Mankinde (L. G. W., A. 414; cf. C. T., B. 99-121, &c.)—2.
(a) Man of Lawes Tale; amplified in C. T.—2.
1377-81. Translation of Boethius.—P.
1379? Compleint of Mars; M. P. IV.—2. 7.
1379-83. Troilus and Criseyde (3 stt. from Palamon).—2.
Wordes to Adam (concerning Boece and Troilus); M. P. VIII.—2.
The Former Age (from Boece); M. P. IX.—1.
Fortune (hints from Boece); M. P. X.—1 b. 2 c.
1382. Parlement of Foules (16 stt. from Palamon); M. P. V.—2. 8.
1383-4. House of Fame.—A.
1385-6. Legend of Good Women.—9.
1386. Canterbury Tales begun.
1387-8. Central period of the Canterbury Tales.
1389, &c. The Tales continued.—B. 1. 2. 9. 10. P.
1391. Treatise on the Astrolabe.—P.
1393? Compleint of Venus; M. P. XVIII.—1 b. 11.
1393. Lenvoy to Scogan; M. P. XVI.—2.
1396. Lenvoy to Bukton; M. P. XVII.—1.
1399. Envoy to Compleint to his Purse; M. P. XIX.—12.

The following occasional triple roundel and balades may have been composed between 1380 and 1396:—

Merciless Beautè; M. P. XI—8.

Balade to Rosamounde; M. P. XII.—1 b.

Against Women Unconstaunt; M. P. XXI—2 b.

(a) Compleint to his Purse; M. P. XIX.—2 b.

Lak of Stedfastnesse; M. P. XV.—2 b.

Gentilesse; M. P. XIV.—2 b.

Truth; M. P. XIII.—2 b.

Proverbes of Chaucer; M. P. XX.—C.



P. 95: l. 47. Insert a comma after 'oughte'

P. 98: l. 114. Omit the comma at the end of the line.

P. 123: l. 705. It would be better to read 'Withoute.' The scansion then is:

Without | e fabl' | I wol | descryve.

P. 126: l. 793. Delete the comma at the end of the line.

P. 127: l. 806. Delete the comma at the end of the line.

P. 135: l. 997. For shall read shal

P. 136: ll. 1015-6. Improve the punctuation thus:—

As whyt as lilie or rose in rys

Hir face, gentil and tretys.

P. 136: l. 1021. Delete the comma after 'yelowe'

P. 141: l. 1154. Delete the comma after 'seide'

P. 168: l. 1962. For Bu -if read But-if

P. 176: l. 2456. For joy read Ioy

P. 201: l. 4035. For the comma substitute a semicolon.

P. 249: l. 7087. For echerye read trecherye

P. 253: l. 7324. For weary read wery

P. 255: l. 7437. Supply a comma at the end of the line.

P. 258: l. 7665. Insert a comma after 'helle'

P. 269: l. 145. The stop at the end should be a comma.

P. 278: l. 49. For aud read and

P. 282: l. 145. For Aud read And

P. 301: l. 716. The comma should perhaps be a semicolon or a full stop.

P. 313: l. 1069. For 'Antilegius,' a better form would be 'Antilogus,' a French form of Antilochus.

P. 326: l. 74. Perhaps 'let' should be 'lete'

P. 330: l. 206. For folke read folk

P. 338: l. 91. For Aud read And

P. 340: l. 133. For the read thee

P. 362: l. 76. The final stop should be a comma.

P. 374: ll. 243, 248. For desteny and ful better forms are destinee and fulle

P. 377: l. 328. For furlong wey read furlong-wey




§ 1. In the Third Edition of my volume of Chaucer Selections, containing the Prioress's Tale, &c., published by the Clarendon Press in 1880, I included an essay to shew 'why the Romaunt of the Rose is not Chaucer's,' meaning thereby the particular English version of Le Roman de la Rose which happens to be preserved. I have since seen reason to modify this opinion as regards a comparatively short portion of it at the beginning (here printed in large type), but the arguments then put forward remain as valid as ever as regards the main part of it (here printed in smaller type, and in double columns). Some of these arguments had been previously put forward by me in a letter to the Academy, Aug. 10, 1878, p. 143. I ought to add that the chief of them are not original, but borrowed from Mr. Henry Bradshaw, whose profound knowledge of all matters relating to Chaucer has been acknowledged by all students.

§ 2. That Chaucer translated the French poem called Le Roman de la Rose, or at least some part of it[185], no one doubts; for he tells us so himself in the Prologue of his Legend of Good Women (A 255, B 329), and the very frequent references to it, in many of his poems, shew that many parts of it were familiarly known to him. Nevertheless, it does not follow that the particular version of it which happens to be preserved, is the very one which he made; for it was a poem familiar to many others besides him, and it is [2]extremely probable that Middle English versions of it were numerous. In fact, it will presently appear that the English version printed in this volume actually consists of three separate fragments, all by different hands.

The English version, which I shall here, for brevity, call 'the translation,' has far less claim to be considered as Chaucer's than unthinking people imagine. Modern readers find it included in many editions of his Works, and fancy that such a fact is conclusive; but it is the merest prudence to enquire how it came there. The answer is, that it first appeared in Thynne's edition of 1532, a collection of Chaucer's (supposed) works made more than a hundred and thirty years after his death. Such an attribution is obviously valueless; we must examine the matter for ourselves, and on independent grounds.

§ 3. A critical examination of the internal evidence at once shews that by far the larger part of 'the translation' cannot possibly be Chaucer's; for the language of it contradicts most of his habits, and presents peculiarities such as we never find in his genuine poems. I shewed this in my 'Essay' by the use of several unfailing tests, the nature of which I shall explain presently. The only weak point in my argument was, that I then considered 'the translation' as being the production of one author, and thought it sufficient to draw my examples (as I unconsciously, for the most part, did) from the central portion of the whole.

§ 4. The next step in this investigation was made by Dr. Lindner. In a painstaking article printed in Englische Studien, xi. 163, he made it appear highly probable that at least two fragments of 'the translation' are by different hands. That there are two fragments, at least, is easily discerned; for after l. 5810 there is a great gap, equivalent to an omission of more than 5000 lines.

§ 5. Still more recently, Dr. Max Kaluza has pointed out that there is another distinct break in the poem near l. 1700. The style of translation, not to speak of its accuracy, is much better in the first 1700 lines than in the subsequent portions. We may notice, in particular, that the French word boutons is translated by knoppes in ll. 1675, 1683, 1685, 1691, 1702, whilst, in l. 1721 and subsequent passages, the same word is merely Englished by botoun or botouns. A closer study of the passage extending from l. 1702 to l. 1721 shews that there is a very marked break at the end of l. 1705. Here the French text has (ed. Méon, l. 1676):— [3]

'L'odor de lui entor s'espent;

La soatime qui en ist

Toute la place replenist.'

The English version has:—

'The swote smelle sprong so wyde

That it dide al the place aboute'—

followed by:—

'Whan I had smelled the savour swote,

No wille hadde I fro thens yit go'; &c.

It will be observed that the sentence in the two former lines is incomplete; dide is a mere auxiliary verb, and the real verb of the sentence is lost; whilst the two latter lines lead off with a new sentence altogether. It is still more interesting to observe that, at this very point, we come upon a false rime. The word aboute was then pronounced (abuu·tə), where (uu) denotes the sound of ou in soup, and (ə) denotes an obscure vowel, like the a in China. But the vowel o in swote was then pronounced like the German o in G. so (nearly E. o in so), so that it was quite unlike the M.E. ou; and the rime is no better than if we were to rime the mod. E. boot with the mod. E. goat. It is clear that there has been a join here, and a rather clumsy one. The supply of 'copy' of the first translation ran short, perhaps because the rest of it had been torn away and lost, and the missing matter was supplied from some other source. We thus obtain, as the result to be tested, the following arrangement:—

Fragment A.—Lines 1-1705. French text, 1-1678.

Fragment B.—Lines 1706-5810. French text, 1679-5169.

Fragment C.—Lines 5811-7698. French text, 10716-12564.

It should be noted, further, that l. 7698 by no means reaches to the end. It merely corresponds to l. 12564 of the French text, leaving 9510 lines untouched towards the end, besides the gap of 5547 lines between Fragments B and C. In fact, the three fragments, conjointly, only represent 7018 lines of the original, leaving 15056 lines (more than double that number) wholly untranslated.

§ 6. Discussion of Fragment B.

Test I.—Proportion of English to French.—As regards these fragments, one thing strikes us at once, viz. the much greater diffuseness of the translation in fragment B, as may be seen from the following table:— [4]

A.—English, 1705 lines; French, 1678; as 101.6 to 100.

B.—English, 4105 lines; French, 3491; as 117.5 to 100.

C.—English, 1888 lines; French, 1849; as 102.1 to 100.

Thus, in A and C, the translation runs nearly line for line; but in B, the translator employs, on an average, 11 lines and three-quarters for every 10 of the original.

§ 7. Test II.—Dialect.—But the striking characteristic of Fragment B is the use in it of a Northern dialect. That this is due to the author, and not merely to the scribe, is obvious from the employment of Northern forms in rimes, where any change would destroy the rime altogether. This may be called the Dialect-test. Examples abound, and I only mention some of the most striking.

1. Use of the Northern pres. part. in -and. In l. 2263, we have wel sittand (for wel sitting), riming with hand. In l. 2708, we have wel doand (for wel doing), riming with fand. Even fand is a Northern form. Chaucer uses fond, riming with hond (Cant. Ta. A 4116, 4221, &c.), lond (A 702, &c.); cf. the subj. form fond-e, riming with hond-e, lond-e, bond-e (B 3521).

2. In l. 1853, we have the rimes thar, mar (though miswritten thore, more in MS. G.), where the Chaucerian forms there, more, would not rime at all. These are well-known Northern forms, as in Barbour's Bruce. So again, in l. 2215, we find mar, ar (though mar is written as more in MS. G.). In l. 2397, we find stat, hat; where hat is the Northern form of Chaucer's hoot, adj., 'hot.' So also, in 5399, we have North. wat instead of Ch. wot or woot, riming with estat. In l. 5542, we find the Northern certis (in place of Chaucer's certes), riming with is.

3. Chaucer (or his scribes) admit the use of the Northern til, in place of the Southern to, very sparingly; it occurs, e.g. in Cant. Ta. A 1478, before a vowel. But it never occurs after its case, nor at the end of a line. Yet, in fragment B, we twice find him til used finally, 4594, 4852.

4. The use of ado (for at do), in the sense of 'to do,' is also Northern; see the New E. Dict. It occurs in l. 5080, riming with go.

5. The dropping of the inflexional e, in the infin. mood or gerund, is also Northern. In fragment B, this is very common; as examples, take the rimes lyf, dryf, 1873; feet, lete (= leet), 1981; sit, flit, 2371; may, convay, 2427; may, assay, 2453; set, get, 2615; spring, thing, 2627; ly, by, 2629; ly, erly, 2645; &c. The Chaucerian [5]forms are dryv-e, let-e, flit-te, convey-e, assay-e, get-e, spring-e, ly-e. That the Northern forms are not due to the scribe, is obvious; for he usually avoids them where he can. Thus in l. 2309, he writes sitting instead of sittand; but in l. 2263, he could not avoid the form sittand, because of the rime.

§ 8. Test III.—The riming of -y with -y-ë.—With two intentional exceptions (both in the ballad metre of Sir Thopas, see note to Cant. Ta. B 2092), Chaucer never allows such a word as trewely (which etymologically ends in -y) to rime with French substantives in -y-ë, such as fol-y-ë, Ielos-y-ë (Ital. follia, gelosia). But in fragment B, examples abound; e. g. I, malady(e)[186], 1849; hastily, company(e), 1861; generally, vilany(e), 2179; worthy, curtesy(e), 2209; foly(e), by, 2493, 2521; curtesy(e), gladly, 2985; foly(e), utterly, 3171; foly(e), hastily, 3241; and many more.

This famous test, first proposed by Mr. Bradshaw, is a very simple but effective one; it separates the spurious from the genuine works of Chaucer with ease and certainty in all but a few cases, viz. cases wherein a spurious poem happens to satisfy the test; and these are rare indeed.

§ 9. Test IV.—Assonant rimes. Those who know nothing about the pronunciation of Middle English, and require an easy test, appreciable by any child who has a good ear, may observe this. Chaucer does not employ mere assonances, i. e. rimes in which only the vowel-sounds correspond. He does not rime take with shape, nor fame with lane. But the author of fragment B had no ear for this. He actually has such rimes as these: kepe, eke, 2125; shape, make, 2259; escape, make, 2753; take, scape, 3165; storm, corn, 4343; doun, tourn, 5469.

Other strange rimes.—Other rimes which occur here, but not in Chaucer, are these and others like them: aboute, swote, 1705 (already noticed); desyre, nere, 1785, 2441; thar (Ch. there), to-shar, 1857; Ioynt, queynt[187], 2037; soon (Ch. son-e), doon, 2377; abrede, forweried, 2563; anney (Ch. annoy), awey, 2675; desyre, manere, 2779; Ioye, convoye (Ch. conveye), 2915, &c. It is needless to multiply instances. [6]

§ 10. It would be easy to employ further tests; we might, for example, make a minute critical examination of the method in which the final -e is grammatically employed. But the results are always the same. We shall always find irrefragable proof that fragment B exhibits usages far different from those which occur in the undoubted works of Chaucer, and cannot possibly have proceeded from his pen. Repeated investigations, made by me during the past thirteen years, have always come round to this result, and it is not possible for future criticism to alter it.

Hence our first result is this. Fragment B, consisting of ll. 1706-5810 (4105 lines), containing more than fragments A and C together, and therefore more than half of 'the translation,' is not Chaucer's, but was composed by an author who, to say the least, frequently employed Northern English forms and phrases. Moreover, his translation is too diffuse; and, though spirited, it is not always accurate.

§ 11. Discussion of Fragment C.

I shall now speak of fragment C. The first noticeable point about it is, that it does not exhibit many of the peculiarities of B. There is nothing to indicate, with any certainty, a Northern origin, nor to connect it with B. In fact, we may readily conclude that B and C are by different authors. The sole question that remains, as far as we are now concerned, is this. Can we attribute it to Chaucer?

The answer, in this case, is not quite so easily given, because the differences between it and Chaucer's genuine works are less glaring and obvious than in the case above. Nevertheless, we at once find some good reasons for refraining to attribute it to our author.

§ 12. Rime-tests.—If, for instance, we apply the simple but effective test of the rimes of words ending in -y with those ending in -y-e, we at once find that this fragment fails to satisfy the text.

Examples: covertly, Ipocrisy(e), 6112; company(e), outerly, 6301; loteby, company(e), 6339; why, tregetry(e), 6373; company(e), I, 6875; mekely, trechery(e), 7319. These six instances, in less than 1900 lines, ought to make us hesitate.

If we look a little more closely, we find other indications which should make us hesitate still more. At l. 5919, we find hors (horse) riming with wors (worse); but Chaucer rimes wors with curs (Cant. Ta. [7]A 4349), and with pervers (Book Duch. 813). At l. 6045, we find fare, are; but Chaucer never uses are at the end of a line; he always uses been. At l. 6105, we find atte last, agast; but Chaucer only has atte last-e (which is never monosyllabic). At l. 6429, we find paci-ence, venge-aunce, a false rime which it would be libellous to attribute to Chaucer; and, at l. 6469, we find force, croce, which is still worse, and makes it doubtful whether it is worth while to go on. However, if we go a little further, we find the pl. form wrought riming with nought, 6565; but Chaucer usually has wrought-e, which would destroy the rime. This, however, is not decisive, since Chaucer has bisought for bisoughte, Cant. Ta. A. 4117, and brought for broughte, id. F. 1273. But when, at l. 6679, we find preched riming with teched, we feel at once that this is nothing in which Chaucer had a hand, for he certainly uses the form taughte (Prologue, 497), and as certainly does not invent such a form as praughte to rime with it. Another unpleasant feature is the use of the form Abstinaunce in l. 7483, to gain a rime to penaunce, whilst in l. 7505, only 22 lines lower down, we find Abstinence, to rime with sentence; but the original has similar variations.

§ 13. I will just mention, in conclusion, one more peculiarity to be found in fragment C. In the Cant. Tales, B 480 (and elsewhere), Chaucer uses such rimes as clerkes, derk is, and the like; but not very frequently. The author of fragment C was evidently much taken with this peculiarity, and gives us plenty of examples of it. Such are: requestis, honést is, 6039; places, place is, 6119; nede is, dedis, 6659; apert is, certis, 6799; chaieris, dere is, 6915; enquestes, honést is, 6977; prophetis, prophete is, 7093; ypocritis, spite is, 7253. Here are eight instances in less than 1900 lines. However, there are five examples (at ll. 19, 75, 387, 621, 1349) in the Hous of Fame, which contains 2158 lines in the same metre as our 'translation'; and there are 19 instances in the Cant. Tales.

We should also notice that the character called Bialacoil throughout Fragment B is invariably called Fair-Welcoming in C.

We should also remark how Dr. Lindner (Engl. Studien, xi. 172) came to the conclusion that Chaucer certainly never wrote fragment C. As to the rest he doubted, and with some reason; for he had not before him the idea of splitting lines 1-5810 into two fragments.

§ 14. A consideration of the above-mentioned facts, and of others similar to them, leads us to our second result, which is this. Fragment C, containing 1888 lines, and corresponding to ll. [8]12564 of the French original, is neither by the author of fragment B, nor by Chaucer, but is not so glaringly unlike Chaucer's work as in the case of fragment B.

§ 15. Discussion of Fragment A.

It remains to consider fragment A. The first test to apply is that of rimes in -y and -y-e; and, when we remember how indiscriminately these are used in fragments B and C, it is at least instructive to observe the perfect regularity with which they are employed in fragment A. The student who is unacquainted with the subtle distinctions which this test introduces, and who probably is, on that account, predisposed to ignore it, may learn something new by the mere perusal of the examples here given.

1. Words that should, etymologically, end in -y (and not in -y-e) are here found riming together, and never rime with a word of the other class.

Examples: covertly, openly, 19; redily, erly, 93; by, I, 111; bisily, redily, 143; by, I, 163; I, by, 207; povrely, courtepy[188], 219; beggarly, by, 223; enemy, hardily, 269; awry[189], baggingly, 291; certeinly, tenderly, 331; prively, sikerly, 371; redily, by, 379; Pope-holy, prively, 415; I, openly, 501; queyntely, fetisly, 569; fetisly, richely, 577; only, uncouthly, 583; I, namely, 595; sikerly, erthely, 647; lustily, semely, 747; parfitly, sotilly, 771; queyntely, prively, 783; fetisly, richely, 837; sotilly, I, 1119; enemy[190], tristely, 1165; sotilly, therby, 1183; newely, by, 1205; fetisly, trewely, 1235; I, by, 1273; trewely, comunly, 1307; lustily, sikerly, 1319; merily, hastely, 1329; I, sikerly, 1549; I, craftely, 1567; openly, therby, 1585; diversely, verily, 1629; openly, by, 1637. Thirty-eight examples.

We here notice how frequently words in -ly rime together; but this peculiarity is Chaucerian; cf. semely, fetisly, C. T. prol. A 123, &c.

2. Words that, etymologically, should end in -y-e, rime together. These are of two sorts: (a) French substantives; and (b) words in -y, with an inflexional -e added.

Examples: (a) felony-e, vilany-e, 165; envy-e, masonry-e, 301; [9]company-e, curtesy-e, 639; melody-e, reverdy-e, 719; curtesy-e, company-e, 957; vilany-e, felony-e, 977; envy-e, company-e, 1069; chivalry-e, maistry-e, 1207; villany-e, sukkeny-e, 1231; envye, Pavie, 1653.

(b) dy-e, infin. mood, dry-e, dissyllabic adj. (A. S. drȳge), 1565.

(a) and (b) mixed: melody-e, F. sb., dy-e, infin. mood, 675; espy-e, gerund, curtesy-e, F. sb., 795; hy-e, dat. adj., maistry-e, 841; dy-e, gerund, flatery-e, F. sb., 1063; curtesy-e, F. sb., hy-e, dat. case, pl. adj., 1251; dy-e, infin. mood, remedy-e, F. sb., 1479. Seventeen examples. (In all, fifty-five examples.)

Thus, in more than fifty cases, the Chaucerian habit is maintained, and there is no instance to the contrary. Even the least trained reader may now fairly begin to believe that there is some value in this proposed test, and may see one reason for supposing that fragment A may be genuine.

§ 16. A still closer examination of other rimes tends to confirm this. There are no Northern forms (as in B), no merely assonant rimes (as in B), nor any false or bad or un-Chaucerian rimes (as in both B and C), except such as can be accounted for. The last remark refers to the fact that the scribe or the printer of Thynne's edition frequently misspells words so as to obscure the rime, whereas they rime perfectly when properly spelt; a fact which tells remarkably in favour of the possible genuineness of the fragment. Thus, at l. 29, Thynne prints befal, and at l. 30, al. Both forms are wrong; read befalle, alle. Here Thynne has, however, preserved the rime by making a double mistake; as in several other places. A more important instance is at l. 249, where the Glasgow MS. has farede, herede, a bad rime; but Thynne correctly has ferde, herde, as in Chaucer, Cant. Ta. A 1371. So again, at ll. 499, 673, where the Glasgow MS. is right (except in putting herd for herde in l. 673).

At l. 505, there is a false rime; but it is clearly due to a misreading, as explained in the notes. A similar difficulty, at l. 1341, is explicable in the same way.

§ 17. So far, there is no reason why fragment A may not be Chaucer's; and the more closely we examine it, the more probable does this supposition become. Dr. Kaluza has noticed, for instance, that the style of translation in fragment A is distinctly better, clearer, and more accurate than in fragment B. I find also another significant fact, viz. that in my essay written to shew that 'the translation' is not Chaucer's (written at a time when I unfortunately [10]regarded the whole translation as being the work of one writer, a position which is no longer tenable), nearly all my arguments were drawn from certain peculiarities contained in fragments B and C, especially the former. I have therefore nothing, of any consequence, to retract; nor do I even now find that I made any serious mistake.

§ 18. The third result may, accordingly, be arrived at thus. Seeing that Chaucer really translated the 'Roman de la Rose,' and that three fragments of English translations have come down to us, of which two cannot be his, whilst the third may be, we may provisionally accept fragment A as genuine; and we find that, the more closely we examine it, the more probable does its genuineness become.

§ 19. Summary.—Having now discussed the three fragments A, B, C, successively and separately (though in a different order), we may conveniently sum up the three results as follows.

1. Fragment A appears to be a real portion of Chaucer's own translation. Its occurrence, at the beginning, is, after all, just what we should expect. The scribe or editor would naturally follow it as far as it was extant; and when it failed, would as naturally piece it out with any other translation or translations to which he could gain access. This fragment ceases suddenly, at the end of l. 1705, in the middle of an incomplete sentence. The junction with the succeeding portion is clumsily managed, for it falsely assumes that the previous sentence is complete, and leads off with a false rime.

2. Fragment B is obviously from some other source, and is at once dissociated from both the other fragments by the facts (a) that it was originally written in a Northumbrian dialect, though this is somewhat concealed by the manipulation of the spelling by a later scribe; (b) that it was written in a more diffuse style, the matter being expanded to the extent, on an average, of nearly twelve lines to ten; (c) that many licences appear in the rimes, which sometimes degenerate into mere assonances; and (d) that it is less exact and less correct in its method of rendering the original.

3. After fragment B, there is a large gap in the story, more than 5000 lines of the original being missing. Hence Fragment C is from yet a third source, not much of which seems to have been accessible. It neither joins on to Fragment B, nor carries the story much further; and it comes to an end somewhat suddenly, at a point more than 9000 lines from the end of the original. It is, [11]however, both more correct than Fragment B, and more in Chaucer's style; though, at the same time, I cannot accept it as his.

§ 20. There is little that is surprising in this result. That translations of this then famous and popular French poem should have been attempted by many hands, is just what we should expect. At the same time, the enormous length of the original may very well have deterred even the most persevering of the translators from ever arriving at the far end of it. Chaucer's translation was evidently the work of his younger years, and the frequent use which he made of the French poem in his later works may have made him careless of his own version, if indeed he ever finished it, which may be doubted. All this, however, is mere speculation, and all that concerns us now is the net result. It is clear, that, in the 1705 lines here printed in the larger type, we have recovered all of Chaucer's work that we can ever hope to recover. With this we must needs rest satisfied, and it is a great gain to have even so much of it; the more so, when we remember how much reason there was to fear that the whole of Chaucer's work was lost. It was not until Dr. Kaluza happily hit upon the resolution of lines 1-5810 into two fragments, that Chaucer's portion was at last discovered.

§ 21. The External Evidence.

In what has preceded, we have drawn our conclusions from the most helpful form of evidence—the internal evidence. It remains to look at the external form of the poem, and to enquire how it has come down to us.

The apparent sources are two, viz. Thynne's edition of 1532 (reprinted in 1542, 1550, 1561, and at later dates), and a MS. in the Hunterian collection at Glasgow. But a very slight examination shews that these are nearly duplicate copies, both borrowed from one and the same original, which is now no longer extant. I shall denote these sources, for convenience, by the symbols Th., G., and O., meaning, respectively, Thynne, Glasgow MS., and the (lost) Original.

The resemblance of Th. and G. is very close; however, each sometimes corrects small faults in the other, and the collation of them is, on this account, frequently helpful. Both are remarkable for an extraordinary misarrangement of the material, in which respect they closely agree; and we are enabled, from this [12]circumstance, to say, definitely, that the C-portion of O. (i. e. their common original) was written (doubtless on vellum) in quires containing 8 leaves (or 16 pages) each, there being, on an average, 24 lines upon every page. Of these quires, the fourth had its leaves transposed, by mistake, when the MS. was bound, in such a manner that the middle pair of leaves of this quire was displaced, so as to come next the two outer pair of leaves; and this displacement was never suspected till of late years, nor ever (so far as I am aware[191]) fully appreciated and explained till now[192]. This displacement of the material was first noticed in Bell's edition, where the editor found it out by the simple process of comparing the English 'translation' with the French 'Roman'; but he gives no account of how it came about. But a closer investigation is useful as showing how exactly 'Th.' and 'G.' agree in following an original displacement in 'O.', or rather in the still older MS. from which the C-portion of O. was copied.

In the fourth sheet (as said above), the pair of middle leaves, containing its 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th pages (G, H, I, K, with the contents recorded in note 2 below) was subtracted from the middle of the quire, and placed so that the 7th page (G) followed the 2nd (B), whilst at the same time, the 10th page (K) came to precede the 15th page (P). The resulting order of pages was, necessarily, A, B, G, H, C, D, E, F, L, M, N, O, I, K, P, Q; as is easily seen by help of a small paper model. And the resulting order of the lines was, accordingly, 6965-6988, 6989-7012, 7109-7133, 7134-7158, 7013-7036, 7037-60, 7061-84, 7085-7108, 7209-7232, 7233-7256, 7257-7280, 7281-7304, 7159-7183, 7184-7208, 7305-7328, 7329-7352; or, collecting the successive numbers, ... -7012, 7109-7158, 7013-7108, 7209-7304, 7159-7208, 7305, &c. And this is precisely the order found, both in Th. and G. [13]

We see further that the fourth and last quire of this C-portion of O. consisted of 7 leaves only, the rest being torn away. For 7 leaves containing 48 lines apiece give a total of 336 lines, which, added to 7352, make up 7688 lines; and, as 10 of the pages seem to have had 25 lines, we thus obtain 7698 lines as the number found in O.

The A-portion of O. was probably copied from a MS. containing usually 25 lines on a page, and occasionally 26. Four quires at 50 lines to the leaf give 32 × 50, or 1600 lines; and 2 leaves more give 100 lines, or 1700 lines in all. If 5 of the pages had 26 lines, we should thus make up the number, viz. 1705. Of the B-portion we can tell nothing, as we do not know how it was made to join on.

As O. was necessarily older than G., and G. is judged by experts[193] to be hardly later than 1440, it is probable that O. was written out not much later than 1430; we cannot say how much earlier, if earlier it was.

§ 22. G. (the Glasgow MS.) is a well-written MS., on vellum; the size of each page being about 11 inches by 7½, with wide margins, especially at the bottom. Each page contains about 24 lines, and each quire contains 8 leaves. The first quire is imperfect, the 1st leaf (ll. 1-44) and the 8th (ll. 333-380) being lost. Nine other leaves are also lost, containing ll. 1387-1482, 2395-2442, 3595-3690, and 7385-7576; for the contents of which (as of the former two) Th. remains the sole authority. The date of the MS. is about 1440; and its class-mark is V. 3. 7.

It begins at l. 45—'So mochel pris,' &c. At the top of the first extant leaf is the name of Thomas Griggs, a former owner. On a slip of parchment at the beginning is a note by A. Askew (from whom Hunter bought the MS.) to this effect:—'Tho. Martinus. Ex dono dom' Iacobi Sturgeon de Bury scī Edmundi in agro Suffolc: Artis Chirurgicæ Periti. Nov. 9, 1720.' It ends very abruptly in the following manner:—

'Ne half so lettred as am I

I am licenced boldely

To Reden in diuinite

And longe haue red



The third of these lines is incorrect, and the fourth is corrupt and imperfect; moreover, Thynne's copy gives four more lines after them. It would thus appear that G. was copied from O. at a later period than the MS. used by Thynne and now lost, viz. at a period when O. was somewhat damaged or torn at the end of its last page. A careful and exact copy of this MS. is now (in 1891) being printed for the Chaucer Society, edited by Dr. Kaluza.

§ 23. Th.—The version printed in Thynne's edition, 1532, and reprinted in 1542, 1550, 1561, &c. The first four editions, at least, are very much alike. The particular edition at first used by me for constructing the present text is that which I call the edition of 1550. (It is really undated, but that is about the date of it.) Its variations from the earlier editions are trifling, and I afterwards reduced all the readings to the standard of the first edition (1532). The MS. used by Thynne was obviously a copy of 'O.', as explained above; and it shews indications of being copied at an earlier date than 'G.', i. e. before 1440. On the whole, 'Th.' appears to me more correct than 'G.', and I have found it very serviceable. We learn from it, for example, that the scribe of 'G.' frequently dropped the prefix y- in past participles, giving l. 890 in the form 'For nought clad in silk was he,' instead of y-clad. Cf. ll. 892, 897, 900, &c.; see the foot-notes.

'Th.' supplies the deficiencies in G., viz. ll. 1-44, 333-380, &c., as well as four lines at the end; and suggests numerous corrections.

§ 24. The various later reprints of the 'Romaunt,' as in Speght (1598) and other editions, are merely less correct copies of 'Th.', and are not worth consulting. The only exceptions are the editions by Bell and Morris. Bell's text was the first for which 'G.' was consulted, and he follows the MS. as his general guide, filling up the deficiencies from Speght's edition, which he describes as 'corrupt and half-modernised.' Why he chose Speght in preference to Thynne, he does not tell us. In consequence, he has left lines incomplete in a large number of instances, owing to putting too much faith in the MS., and neglecting the better printed sources. Thus, in l. 890, he gives us 'clad' instead of 'y-clad'; where any of the printed texts would have set him right.

Morris's edition is 'printed from the unique MS. in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow'; but contains numerous corrections, apparently from Thynne. Thus, in l. 890, he reads 'y-clad'; the y- being printed in italics to shew that it is not in the MS. [15]

§ 25. The Present Edition.

The present edition principally follows 'G.', but it has been collated with 'Th.' throughout. Besides this, a large number of spellings in Fragment A. have been slightly amended on definite principles, the rejected spellings being given in the footnotes, whenever they are of the slightest interest or importance. Silent alterations are changes such as i for y in king for kyng (l. 10), and whylom for whilom (in the same line), to distinguish vowel-length; the use of v for consonantal u in avisioun for auisioun (l. 9); the use of ee for (long) e in Iolitee for Iolite (l. 52) for the sake of clearness; and a few other alterations of the like kind, which make the text easier to read without at all affecting its accuracy. I have also altered the suffix -is into -es in such words as hertes for hertis (l. 76); and changed the suffixes -id and -ith into the more usual -ed and -eth, both of which are common in the MS., usually giving notice; and in other similar minute ways have made the text more like the usual texts of Chaucer in appearance. But in Fragments B and C such changes have been made more sparingly.

I have also corrected numerous absolute blunders, especially in the use of the final e. For example, in l. 125, I have no hesitation in printing wissh for wysshe, because the use of final e at the end of a strong past tense, in the first person singular, is obviously absurd. Owing to the care with which the two authorities, 'G.' and 'Th.', have been collated, and my constant reference to the French original, I have no hesitation in saying that the present edition, if fairly judged, will be found to be more correct than its predecessors. For Dr. Kaluza's help I am most grateful.

§ 26. For example, in l. 1188, all the editions have sarlynysh, there being no such word. It is an obvious error for Sarsinesshe (riming with fresshe); for the F. text has Sarrazinesche, i. e. Saracenic.

In l. 1201, the authorities and Bell have gousfaucoun, which Morris alters to gounfaucoun in his text, and to gownfaucoun in his glossary. But all of these are 'ghost-words,' i. e. non-existent. Seeing that the original has gonfanon, it is clear that Chaucer wrote gonfanoun, riming with renoun.

In l. 1379, late editions have lorey; in l. 1313, Bell has loreryes, which Morris alters to loreyes. There is no such word as lorey. Thynne has laurer, laurelles. Considering that loreres rimes with [16]oliveres, it is obvious that the right forms are lorer and loreres (French, loriers); see laurer in Stratmann.

In l. 1420, where the authorities have veluet, the modern editions have velvet. But the u (also written ou) was at that time a vowel, and velu-et (or velou-et) was trisyllabic, as the rhythm shews. The modern velvet seems to have arisen from a mistake.

Several other restorations of the text are pointed out in the notes, and I need not say more about them here.

N.B. After l. 4658, the lines in Morris's edition are misnumbered. His l. 4670 is really l. 4667; and so on. Also, 5700 is printed in the wrong place; and so is 6010; but without throwing out the numbering. Also, 6210 is only nine lines after 6200, throwing out the subsequent numbering, so that his l. 6220 is really 6216. At his l. 6232, 6231 is printed, and so counted; thus, his 6240 is really 6237. His 6380 is eleven lines after 6370, and is really 6378. After l. 7172, I insert two lines by translation, to fill up a slight gap. This makes his l. 7180 agree with my l. 7180, and brings his numbering right again.

For a few of the Notes, I am indebted to Bell's edition; but most of the work in them is my own.

§ 27. The French Text.

For some account of the famous French poem entitled 'Le Roman de la Rose,' see Morley's English Writers, 1889, iv. 1. It was commenced by Guillaume de Lorris, born at Lorris, in the valley of the Loire, who wrote it at the age of five-and-twenty, probably between the years 1200 and 1230[194]. He must have died young, as he left the poem incomplete, though it then extended to 4070 lines. It was continued, a little more than 40 years after Guillaume's death, by Jean de Meun (or Meung), born (as he tells us) at Meung-sur-Loire, and surnamed le Clopinel (i. e. the hobbler, the lame). See, for these facts, the French text, ll. 10601, 10603, 10626. He added 18004 lines, so that the whole poem finally extended to the enormous length of 22074 lines.

Jean de Meun was a man of a very different temperament from his predecessor. Guillaume de Lorris merely planned a fanciful allegorical love-poem, in which the loved one was represented as a Rose in a beautiful garden, and the lover as one who desired [17]to pluck it, but was hindered by various allegorical personages, such as Danger, Shame, Jealousy, and Fear, though assisted by others, such as Bel Accueil (Fair Reception), Frankness, Pity, and the like. But Jean de Meun took up the subject in a keener and more earnest spirit, inserting some powerful pieces of satire against the degraded state of many women of the day and against various corruptions of the church. This infused a newer life into the poem, and made it extremely popular and successful. We may look upon the former part, down to l. 4432 of the translation, as a pretty and courtly description of a fanciful dream, whilst the remaining portion intersperses with the general description many forcible remarks, of a satirical nature, on the manners of the time, and affords numerous specimens of the author's erudition. Jean de Meun was the author of several other pieces, including a poem which he called his 'Testament.' He probably lived into the beginning of the fourteenth century, and died about 1318.

§ 28. Professor Morley gives a brief analysis of the whole poem, which will be found to be a useful guide through the labyrinth of this rambling poem. The chief points in it are the following.

The poet's dream begins, after a brief introduction, with a description of allegorical personages, as seen painted on the outside of the walls of a garden, viz. Hate and Felony, Covetousness, &c.; ll. 147-474 of the translation.

We may next note a description of Idleness, the young girl who opens the door of the garden (531-599); of Sir Mirth (600-644); of the garden itself (645-732); again, of Sir Mirth, the lady Gladness, Cupid, or the God of Love, with his two bows and ten arrows, and his bachelor, named Sweet-looking (733-998). Next comes a company of dancers, such as Beauty, Riches, Largesse (Bounty), Frankness, Courtesy, and Idleness again (999-1308). The poet next describes the trees in the garden (1349-1408), and the wells in the same (1409-1454); especially the well of Narcissus, whose story is duly told (1455-1648). The Rose-tree (1649-1690). The Rose-bud (1691-1714).

At 1. 1705, Fragment A ends.

§ 29. Just at this point, the descriptions cease for a while, and the action, so to speak, begins. The God of Love seeks to wound the poet, or lover, with his arrows, and succeeds in doing so; after which he calls upon the lover to yield himself up as a prisoner, which he does (1715-2086). Love locks up the lover's heart, and gives him [18]full instructions for his behaviour (2087-2950); after which Love vanishes (2951-2966). The Rose-tree is defended by a hedge; the lover seeks the assistance of Bialacoil or Belacoil (i. e. Fair-Reception), but is warned off by Danger, Wicked-Tongue, and Shame (2967-3166); and at last, Fair-Reception flees away (3167-3188). At this juncture, Reason comes to the lover, and gives him good advice; but he rejects it, and she leaves him to himself (3189-3334).

He now seeks the help of a Friend, and Danger allows him to come a little nearer, but tells him he must not pass within the hedge (3335-3498). Frankness and Pity now assist him, and he enters the garden, rejoined by Fair-Reception (3499-3626). The Rose appears more beautiful than ever, and the lover, aided by Venus, kisses it (3627-3772). This leads to trouble; Wicked-tongue and Jealousy raise opposition, Danger is reproved, and becomes more watchful than before (3773-4144). Jealousy builds a strong tower of stone, to guard the Rose-tree; the gates of the tower are guarded by Danger, Shame, Dread, and Wicked-tongue (4145-4276); and Fair-Reception is imprisoned within it (4277-4314). The lover mourns, and is inclined to despair (4315-4432).

§ 30. At this point, the work of G. de Lorris ceases, and Jean de Meun begins by echoing the word 'despair,' and declaring that he will have none of it. The lover reconsiders his position (4433-4614). Reason (in somewhat of a new character) revisits the lover, and again instructs him, declaring how love is made up of contrarieties, and discussing the folly of youth and the self-restraint of old-age (4615-5134). The lover again rejects Reason's advice, who continues her argument, gives a definition of Friendship, and discusses the variability of Fortune (5135-5560), the value of Poverty (5561-5696), and the vanity of Covetousness (5697-5810).

§ 31. Here ends Fragment B, and a large gap occurs in the translation. The omitted portion of the French text continues the discourse of Reason, with examples from the stories of Virginia, Nero, and Crœsus, and references to the fall of Manfred (conquered by Charles of Anjou) and the fate of Conradin. But all this is wasted on the lover, whom Reason quits once more. The lover applies a second time to his Friend, who recommends bounty or bribery. Here Jean de Meun discourses on prodigality, on women who take presents, on the Age of Gold, and on jealous husbands, with much satire interspersed, and many allusions, as for example, to Penelope, Lucretia, Abelard, Hercules, and others. [19]

At last Love pities the lover, and descends to help him; and, with the further assistance of Bounty, Honour, and other barons of Love's court, proceeds to lay siege to the castle in which Jealousy has imprisoned Fair-Reception.

§ 32. Here begins Fragment C; in which the ranks of the besiegers are joined by other assistants of a doubtful and treacherous character, viz. False-Semblant and Constrained-Abstinence (5811-5876). Love discusses buying and selling, and the use of bounty and riches (5877-6016). Love's Barons ask Love to take False-Semblant and Constrained-Abstinence into his service (6017-6057). Love consents, but bids False-Semblant confess his true character (6058-6081). False-Semblant replies by truly exposing his own hypocrisy, with keen attacks upon religious hypocrites (6082-7334). Love now begins the assault upon the castle of Jealousy (7335-7352). A digression follows, regarding the outward appearance of False-Semblant and Constrained-Abstinence (7353-7420). The assailants advance to the gate guarded by Wicked-Tongue, who is harangued by Constrained-Abstinence (7421-7605), and by False-Semblant (7606-7696). And here the English version ends.

The above sketch gives a sufficient notion of the general contents of the poem. Of course the lover is ultimately successful, and carries off the Rose in triumph.

§ 33. It deserves to be noted, in conclusion, that, as the three Fragments of the English version, all taken together, represent less than a third of the French poem, we must not be surprised to find, as we do, that Chaucer's numerous allusions to, and citations from, the French poem, usually lie outside that part of it that happens to be translated. Still more often, they lie outside the part of it translated in Fragment A. Hence it seldom happens that we can compare his quotations with his own translation. In the chief instances where we can do so, we find that he has not repeated his own version verbatim, but has somewhat varied his expressions. I refer, in particular, to the Book of the Duchess, 284-6, as compared with Rom. Rose, 7-10; the same, 340-1, beside R.R., 130-1; the same, 410-2, beside R.R., 61-2; and the same, 419-426, 429-432, beside R.R., 1391-1403.

§ 34. In the present edition I have supplied the original French text, in the lower part of each page, as far as the end of Fragment A, where Chaucer's work ends. This text is exactly copied from the edition by M. Méon, published at Paris in four volumes in [20]1813[195]. I omit, however, the occasional versified headings, which appear as summaries and are of no consequence. Throughout the notes I refer to the lines as numbered in this edition. The later edition by M. Michel is practically useless for the purpose of reference, as the numbering of the lines in it is strangely incorrect. For example, line 3408 is called 4008, and the whole number of lines is made out to be 22817, which is largely in excess of the truth.

Fragments B and C are printed in smaller type, to mark their distinction from Fragment A; and the corresponding French text is omitted, to save space.


§ 1. It has been usual, in editions of Chaucer's Works, to mingle with those which he is known to have written, a heterogeneous jumble of poems by Gower, Lydgate, Hoccleve, Henrysoun, and various anonymous writers (some of quite late date), and then to accept a quotation from any one of them as being a quotation 'from Chaucer.' Some principle of selection is obviously desirable; and the first question that arises is, naturally, this: which of the Minor Poems are genuine? The list here given partly coincides with that adopted by Dr. Furnivall in the publications of the Chaucer Society. I have, however, added six, here numbered VI, XI, XII, XXI, XXII, and XXIII; my reasons for doing so are given below, where each poem is discussed separately. At the same time, I have omitted the poem entitled 'The Mother of God,' which is known to have been written by Hoccleve. The only known copy of it is in a MS. now in the library of the late Sir Thomas Phillipps, which contains sixteen poems, all of which are by the same hand, viz. that of Hoccleve. After all, it is only a translation; still, it is well and carefully written, and the imitation of Chaucer's style is good. In determining which poems have the best right to be reckoned as Chaucer's, we have to consider both the external and the internal evidence.

We will therefore consider, in the first place, the external evidence generally. [21]

§ 2. Testimony of Chaucer regarding his works.

The most important evidence is that afforded by the poet himself. In an Introduction prefixed to the Man of Law's Prologue (Cant. Tales, B 57), he says—

'In youth he made of Ceys and Alcion'—

a story which is preserved at the beginning of the Book of the Duchesse.

In the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women (see vol. iii.), he refers to his translation of the Romaunce of the Rose, and to his Troilus; and, according to MS. Fairfax 16, ll. 417-423, he says—

'He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame,

And eke the Deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse,

And the Parlement of Foules, as I gesse,

And al the love of Palamon and Arcite

Of Thebes, thogh the story ys knowen lyte,

And many an ympne for your halydayes

That highten Balades, Roundels, Virelayes,' &c.

The rest of the passage does not immediately concern us, excepting ll. 427, 428, where we find—

'He made also, goon ys a grete while,

Origenes vpon the Maudeleyne.'

In the copy of the same Prologue, as extant in MS. Gg. 4. 27, in the Cambridge University Library, there are two additional lines, doubtless genuine, to this effect—

'And of the wrechede engendrynge of mankynde,

As man may in pope Innocent I-fynde.'

There is also a remarkable passage at the end of his Persones Tale, the genuineness of which has been doubted by some, but it appears in the MSS., and I do not know of any sound reason for rejecting it. According to the Ellesmere MS., he here mentions—'the book of Troilus, the book also of Fame, the book of the xxv. Ladies[196], the book of the Duchesse, the book of seint Valentynes day of the parlement of briddes ... the book of the Leoun ... and many a song,' &c.

Besides this, in the House of Fame, l. 729, he mentions his own name, viz. 'Geffrey.' We thus may be quite certain as to the genuineness of this poem, the longest and most important of all the Minor Poems[197], and we may at once add to the list the Book of [22]the Duchesse, the next in order of length, and the Parliament of Foules, which is the third in the same order.

We also learn that he composed some poems which have not come down to us, concerning which a few words may be useful.

1. 'Origines vpon the Maudeleyne' must have been a translation from a piece attributed to Origen. In consequence, probably, of this remark of the poet, the old editions insert a piece called the 'Lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine,' which has no pretence to be considered Chaucer's, and may be summarily dismissed. It is sufficient to notice that it contains a considerable number of rimes such as are never found in his genuine works, as, for example, the dissyllabic dy-e[198] riming with why (st. 13); the plural adjective ken-e riming with y-ën, i. e. eyes, which would, with this Chaucerian pronunciation, be no rime at all (st. 19); and thirdly, disgised riming with rived, which is a mere assonance, and saves us from the trouble of further investigation (st. 25). See below, p. 37.

2. 'The wrechede engendrynge of mankynde' is obviously meant to describe a translation or imitation of the treatise by Pope Innocent III, entitled De Miseria Conditionis Humanae. The same treatise is referred to by Richard Rolle de Hampole, in his Pricke of Conscience, l. 498. It should be noted, however, that a few stanzas of this work have been preserved, by being incorporated (as quotations) in the Canterbury Tales, viz. in B 99-121, 421-7, 771-7, 925-31, 1135-8; cf. C 537-40, 551-2. See notes to these passages.

3. 'The book of the Leoun,' i. e. of the lion, was probably a translation of the poem called Le Dit du Lion by Machault; see the note to l. 1024 of the Book of the Duchesse in the present volume.

§ 3. Lydgate's List of Chaucer's Poems.

The next piece of evidence is that given in what is known as 'Lydgate's list.' This is contained in a long passage in the prologue to his poem known as the 'Fall of Princes,' translated from the French version (by Laurens de Premierfait) of the Latin book by Boccaccio, entitled 'De Casibus Virorum Illustrium[199].' In this [23]Lydgate commends his 'maister Chaucer,' and mentions many of his works, as, e. g. Troilus and Creseide, the translation of Boethius' De Consolatione Philosophiae, the treatise on the Astrolabe addressed to his 'sonne that called was Lowys,' the Legend of Good Women, and the Canterbury Tales. The whole passage is given in Morris's edition of Chaucer, vol. i. pp. 79-81; but I shall only cite so much of it as refers to the Minor Poems, and I take the opportunity of doing so directly, from an undated black-letter edition published by John Wayland.

'He wrote also full many a day agone

Dant in English, him-selfe doth so expresse,

The piteous story of Ceix and Alcion:

And the death also of Blaunche the duches:

And notably [he] did his businesse

By great auise his wittes to dispose,

To translate the Romaynt of the Rose.

'Thus in vertue he set all his entent,

Idelnes and vyces for to fle:

Of fowles also he wrote the parliament,

Therein remembring of royall Eagles thre,

Howe in their choyse they felt aduersitye,

To-fore nature profered the battayle,

Eche for his partye, if it woulde auayle.

'He did also his diligence and payne

In our vulgare to translate and endite

Orygene upon the Maudelayn:

And of the Lyon a boke he did write.

Of Annelida and of false Arcite

He made a complaynt dolefull and piteous;

And of the broche which that Uulcanus

'At Thebes wrought, ful diuers of nature.

Ouide[200] writeth: who-so thereof had a syght,

For high desire, he shoulde not endure

But he it had, neuer be glad ne light:

And if he had it once in his myght,

Like as my master sayth & writeth in dede,

It to conserue he shoulde euer liue in dred.'

It is clear to me that Lydgate is, at first, simply repeating the information which we have already had upon Chaucer's own authority; he begins by merely following Chaucer's own language in the extracts above cited. Possibly he knew no more than we do of 'Orygene vpon the Maudelayn,' and of the 'boke of the Lyon.' At any rate, [24]he tells us no more about them. Naturally, in speaking of the Minor Poems, we should expect to find him following, as regards the three chief poems, the order of length; that is, we should expect to find here a notice of (1) the House of Fame; (2) the Book of the Duchesse; and (3) the Parliament of Foules. We are naturally disposed to exclaim with Ten Brink (Studien, p. 152)—'Why did he leave out the House of Fame?' But we need not say with him, that 'to this question I know of no answer.' For it is perfectly clear to me, though I cannot find that any one else seems to have thought of it, that 'Dant in English' and 'The House of Fame' are one and the same poem, described in the same position and connexion. If anything about the House of Fame is clear at all, it is that (as Ten Brink so clearly points out, in his Studien, p. 89) the influence of Dante is more obvious in this poem than in any other. I would even go further and say that it is the only poem which owes its chief inspiration to Dante in the whole of English literature during, at least, the Middle-English period. There is absolutely nothing else to which such a name as 'Dante in English' can with any fitness be applied. The phrase 'himselfe doth so expresse' is rather dubious; but I take it to mean: '(I give it that name, for) he, i. e. Chaucer, expresses himself like Dante (therein).' In any case, I refuse to take any other view until some competent critic will undertake to tell me, what poem of Chaucer's, other than the House of Fame, can possibly be intended.

To which argument I have to add a second, viz. that Lydgate mentions the House of Fame in yet another way; for he refers to it at least three times, in clear terms, in other passages of the same poem, i. e. of the Fall of Princes.

'Fame in her palice hath trumpes mo than one,

Some of golde, that geueth a freshe soun'; &c.—Book I. cap. 14.

'Within my house called the house of Fame

The golden trumpet with blastes of good name

Enhaunceth on to ful hie parties,

Wher Iupiter sytteth among the heuenly skies.

'Another trumpet of sownes ful vengeable

Which bloweth vp at feastes funerall,

Nothinge bright, but of colour sable'; &c.—Prol. to Book VI.

'The golden trumpe of the house of Fame[201]

Through the world blew abrode his name.'—Book VI. cap. 15.


Lydgate describes the Parliament of Foules in terms which clearly shew that he had read it. He also enables us to add to our list the Complaint of Anelida and the Complaint of Mars; for it is the latter poem which contains the story of the broche of Thebes. We have, accordingly, complete authority for the genuineness of the House of Fame and the four longest of the Minor Poems, which, as arranged in order of length, are these: The House of Fame (2158 lines); Book of the Duchesse (1334 lines); Parliament of Foules (699 lines); Anelida and Arcite (357 lines); and Complaint of Mars (298 lines). This gives us a total of 4846 lines, furnishing a very fair standard of comparison whereby to consider the claims to genuineness of other poems. Lydgate further tells us that Chaucer

'Made and compiled many a freshe dittie,

Complaynts, ballades, roundels, vyrelaies.'

§ 4. Testimony of John Shirley.

The next best evidence is that afforded by notes in the existing MSS.; and here, in particular, we should first consider the remarks by Chaucer's great admirer, John Shirley, who took considerable pains to copy out and preserve his poems, and is said by Stowe to have died Oct. 21, 1456, at the great age of ninety, so that he was born more than 30 years before Chaucer died. On his authority, we may attribute to Chaucer the A. B. C.; the Complaint to Pity; the Complaint of Mars (according to a heading in MS. T.); the Complaint of Anelida (according to a heading in MS. Addit. 16165); the Lines to Adam, called in MS. T. 'Chauciers Wordes a. Geffrey vn-to Adam his owen scryveyne'; Fortune; Truth; Gentilesse; Lak of Stedfastnesse; the Compleint of Venus; and the Compleint to his Empty Purse. The MSS. due to Shirley are the Sion College MS., Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 20, Addit. 16165, Ashmole 59, Harl. 78, Harl. 2251, and Harl. 7333. See also § 23, p. 75.

§ 5. Testimony of Scribes of the MSS.

The Fairfax MS. 16, a very fair MS. of the fifteenth century, contains several of the Minor Poems; and in this the name of Chaucer is written at the end of the poem on Truth and of the Compleint to his Purse; it also appears in the title of Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan; in that of Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton; in that of the Compleint of Chaucer to his empty Purse, and in that of 'Proverbe of Chaucer.' [26]

Again, the Pepys MS. no. 2006 attributes to Chaucer the A. B. C., the title there given being 'Pryer a nostre Dame, per Chaucer'; as well as the Compleint to his Purse, the title being 'La Compleint de Chaucer a sa Bourse Voide.' It also has the title 'Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan.' See also p. 80, note 2.

The 'Former Age' is entitled 'Chawcer vp-on this fyfte metur of the second book' in the Cambridge MS. Ii. 3. 21; and at the end of the same poem is written 'Finit etas prima. Chaucers' in the Cambridge MS. Hh. 4. 12. The poem on Fortune is also marked 'Causer' in the former of these MSS.; indeed, these two poems practically belong to Chaucer's translation of Boethius, though probably written at a somewhat later period. After all, the most striking testimony to their authenticity is the fact that, in MS. Ii. 3. 21, these two poems are inserted in the very midst of the prose text of 'Boethius,' between the fifth metre and the sixth prose of Book II.

The Cambridge MS. Gg. 4. 27, which contains an excellent copy of the Canterbury Tales, attributes to Chaucer the Parliament of Foules; and gives us the title 'Litera directa de Scogon per G. C.' Of course 'G. C.' is Geoffrey Chaucer.

From Furnivall's Trial Forewords, p. 13, we learn that there is a verse translation of De Deguileville's Pèlerinage do la Vie Humaine, attributed to Lydgate, in MS. Cotton, Vitellius C. XIII. (leaf 256), in which the 'A. B. C.' is distinctly attributed to Chaucer[202].

The Balade 'To Rosamounde' is assigned to Chaucer in the unique copy of it in the Rawlinson MS. 'A Compleint to his Lady' is assigned to Chaucer in the only complete copy of it.

We ought also to assign some value to the manner in which the poems appear in the MS. copies. This can only be appreciated by inspection of the MSS. themselves. Any one who will look for himself at the copies of Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastnesse, Truth, and Against Women Inconstaunt in MS. Cotton, Cleop. D. 7, will see that the scribe clearly regarded the last of these as genuine, as well as the rest. And the same may be said of some other poems which are not absolutely marked with Chaucer's name. This [27]important argument is easily derided by those who cannot read MSS., but it remains valuable all the same.

§ 6. Testimony of Caxton.

At p. 116 of the same Trial Forewords is a description by Mr. Bradshaw of a very rare edition by Caxton of some of Chaucer's Minor Poems. It contains: (1) Parliament of Foules; (2) a treatise by Scogan, in which Chaucer's 'Gentilesse' is introduced; (3) a single stanza of 7 lines, beginning—'Wyth empty honde men may no hawkes lure'; (4) Chaucer's 'Truth,' entitled—'The good counceyl of Chawcer'; (5) the poem on 'Fortune'; and (6) part of Lenvoy to Scogan, viz. the first three stanzas. The volume is imperfect at the end. As to the article No. 3, it was probably included because the first line of it is quoted from l. 415 of the Wyf of Bathes Prologue (Cant. Ta. 5997, vol. iv. p. 332).

At p. 118 of the same is another description, also by Mr. Bradshaw, of a small quarto volume printed by Caxton, consisting of only ten leaves. It contains, according to him: (1) Anelida and Arcite, ll. 1-210; (2) The Compleint of Anelida, being the continuation of the former, ll. 211-350, where the poem ends; (3) The Compleint of Chaucer vnto his empty purse, with an Envoy headed—'Thenuoye of Chaucer vnto the kynge'; (4) Three[203] couplets, beginning—'Whan feyth failleth in prestes sawes,' and ending—'Be brought to grete confusioun'; (5) Two couplets, beginning—'Hit falleth for euery gentilman,' and ending—'And the soth in his presence'; (6) Two couplets, beginning—'Hit cometh by kynde of gentil blode,' and ending—'The werk of wisedom berith witnes'; followed by—'Et sic est finis.' The last three articles only make fourteen lines in all, and are of little importance[204].

§ 7. Early Editions of Chaucer's Works.

The first collected edition of Chaucer's Works is that edited by W. Thynne in 1532, but there were earlier editions of his separate poems. The best account of these is that which I here copy from a note on p. 70 of Furnivall's edition of F. Thynne's 'Animaduersions vpon the Annotacions and Corrections of some imperfections of [28]impressiones of Chaucer's Workes'; published for the Chaucer Society in 1875.

Only one edition of Chaucer's Works had been published before the date of Thynne's, 1532, and that was Pynson's in 1526, without a general title, but containing three parts, with separate signatures, and seemingly intended to sell separately; 1. the boke of Caunterbury tales; 2. the boke of Fame ... with dyuers other of his workes [i. e. Assemble of Foules[205], La Belle Dame[206], Morall Prouerbes]; 3. the boke of Troylus and Cryseyde. But of separate works of Chaucer before 1532, the following had been published:—

Canterbury Tales. 1. Caxton, about 1477-8, from a poor MS.; 2. Caxton, ab. 1483, from a better MS.; 3. Pynson, ab. 1493; 4. Wynkyn de Worde, 1498; 5. Pynson, 1526.

Book of Fame. 1. Caxton, ab. 1483; 2. Pynson, 1526.

Troylus. 1. Caxton, ab. 1483; 2. Wynkyn de Worde, 1517; 3. Pynson, 1526.

Parliament of Foules[207]. 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8; 2. Pynson, 1526; 3. Wynkyn de Worde, 1530.

Gentilnesse[207] (in Scogan's poem). 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.

Truth[207]. (The good counceyl of chawcer.) 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.

Fortune[207]. (Balade of the vilage (sic) without peyntyng.) 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.

Envoy to Skogan[207]. 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8 (all lost, after the third stanza).

Anelida and Arcyte[208]. 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.

Purse[208]. (The compleynt of Chaucer vnto his empty purse.) 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.

Mars; Venus; Marriage (Lenvoy to Bukton). 1. Julian Notary, 1499-1502.

After Thynne's first edition of the Works in 1532 (printed by Thomas Godfray), came his second in 1542 (for John Reynes and Wyllyam Bonham), to which he added 'The Plowman's Tale' after the Parson's Tale, i. e. at the end. [29]

Then came a reprint for the booksellers (Wm. Bonham, R. Kele, T. Petit, Robert Toye), about 1550, which put the Plowman's Tale before the Parson's. This was followed by an edition in 1561 for the booksellers (Ihon Kyngston, Henry Bradsha, citizen and grocer of London, &c.), to which, when more than half printed, Stowe contributed some fresh pieces, the spurious Court of Love, Lydgate's Sege of Thebes, and other poems. Next came Speght's edition of 1598—on which William Thynne comments in his Animadversions—which added the spurious 'Dreme,' and 'Flower and Leaf.' This was followed by Speght's second edition, in 1602, in which Francis Thynne helped him, and to which were added Chaucer's 'A. B. C.', and the spurious 'Jack Upland[209].' Jack Upland had been before printed, with Chaucer's name on the title-page, about 1536-40 (London, J. Gough, no date, 8vo.).

In an Appendix to the Preface to Tyrwhitt's edition of the Canterbury Tales, there is a similar account of the early editions of Chaucer, to which the reader may refer. He quotes the whole of Caxton's preface to his second edition of the Canterbury Tales, shewing how Caxton reprinted the book because he had meanwhile come upon a more correct MS. than that which he had first followed.

If we now briefly consider all the earlier editions, we find that they may be thus tabulated.

Separate Works. Various editions before 1532; see the list above, on p. 28.

Collected Works. Pynson's edition of 1526, containing only a portion, as above; La Belle Dame being spurious. Also the following:—

1. Ed. by Wm. Thynne; London, 1532. Folio. Pr. by Godfray.

2. Reprinted, with additional matter; London, 1542. Folio.

The chief addition is the spurious Plowman's Tale.

3. Reprinted, with the matter rearranged; London, no date, about 1550. Folio. (Of this edition I possess a copy.)

Here the Plowman's Tale is put before the Parson's. Moreover, the three pieces numbered 66-68 below (p. 45), are inserted at the end of the Table of Contents.

4. Reprinted, with large additions by John Stowe. London, 1561. Folio. (See further below, p. 31). I possess a copy. [30]

5. Reprinted, with additions and alterations by Thomas Speght; London, 1598. Folio.

Here, for the first time, appear 'Chaucer's Dream' and 'The Flower and the Leaf'; both are spurious.

6. Reprinted, with further additions and alterations by Thomas Speght; London, 1602. Folio.

Here, for the first time, appear the spurious Jack Upland[210] and the genuine A. B. C.

7. Reprinted, with slight additions; London, 1687. Folio.

8. Reprinted, with additions and great alterations in spelling, by John Urry; London, 1721. Folio.

This edition is the worst that has appeared. It is not necessary for our purpose to enumerate the numerous later editions. An entirely new edition of the Canterbury Tales was produced by Thomas Tyrwhitt in 1775-8, in 5 vols., 8vo.; to which all later editions have been much indebted[211].

The manner in which these editions were copied one from the other renders it no very difficult task to describe the whole contents of them accurately. The only important addition in the editions of 1542 and 1550 is the spurious Plowman's Tale, which in no way concerns us. Again, the only important additional poems after 1561 are the spurious Chaucer's Dream, The Flower and the Leaf, and the genuine A. B. C. The two representative editions are really those of 1532 and 1561. Now the edition of 1561 consists of two parts; the former consists of a reprint from former editions, and so differs but little from the edition of 1532; whilst the latter part consists of additional matter furnished by John Stowe. Hence a careful examination of the edition of 1561 is, practically, nearly sufficient to give us all the information which we need. I shall therefore give a complete table of the contents of this edition. [31]

§ 8. Table of Contents of Stowe's Edition (1561)[212].

Part I. Reprinted Matter.

1. Caunterburie Tales. (The Prologue begins on a page with the signature A 2, the first quire of six leaves not being numbered; the Knightes Tale begins on a page with the signature B ii., and marked Fol. i. The spurious Plowman's Tale precedes the Parson's Tale.)

2. The Romaunt of the Rose[213]. Fol. cxvi.

3. Troilus and Creseide. Fol. cli., back.

4. The testament of Creseide. [By Robert Henryson.] Fol. cxciiii. Followed by its continuation, called The Complaint of Creseide; by the same.

5. The Legende of Good Women. Fol. cxcvij.

6. A goodlie balade of Chaucer; beginning—'Mother of norture, best beloued of all.' Fol. ccx.

7. Boecius de Consolatione Philosophie. Fol. ccx., back.

8. The dreame of Chaucer. [The Book of the Duchesse.] Fol. ccxliiij.

9. Begins—'My master. &c. When of Christ our kyng.' [Lenvoy to Buckton.] Fol. ccxliiii[214].

10. The assemble of Foules. [Parlement of Foules.] Fol. ccxliiii., back.

11. The Floure of Curtesie, made by Ihon lidgate. Fol. ccxlviij. Followed by a Balade, which forms part of it.

12. How pyte is deed, etc. [Complaint unto Pite.] Fol. ccxlix., back.

13. La belle Dame sans Mercy. [By Sir R. Ros.] Fol. ccl.

14. Of Quene Annelida and false Arcite. Fol. cclv.

15. The assemble of ladies. Fol. ccxlvij.

16. The conclucions of the Astrolabie. Fol. cclxi. [32]

17. The complaint of the blacke Knight. [By Lydgate; see p. 35, note 3.] Fol. cclxx.

18. A praise of Women. Begins—'Al tho the lyste of women euill to speke.' Fol. cclxxiii.[215], back.

19. The House of Fame. Fol. cclxxiiij., back.

20. The Testament of Loue (in prose). Fol. cclxxxiiij., back.

21. The lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine. Fol. cccxviij.

22. The remedie of Loue. Fol. cccxxj., back.

23, 24. The complaint of Mars and Venus. Fol. cccxxiiij., back. (Printed as one poem; but there is a new title—The complaint of Venus—at the beginning of the latter.)

25. The letter of Cupide. [By Hoccleve; dated 1402.] Fol. cccxxvj., back.

26. A Ballade in commendacion of our Ladie. Fol. cccxxix. [By Lydgate; see p. 38.]

27. Ihon Gower vnto the noble King Henry the .iiij. Fol. cccxxx., back. [By Gower.]

28. A saiyng of dan Ihon. [By Lydgate.] Fol. cccxxxii., back[216].

29. Yet of the same. [By Lydgate.] On the same page.

30. Balade de bon consail. Begins—If it be fall that God the list visite. (Only 7 lines.) On the same page.

31. Of the Cuckowe and the Nightingale. Fol. cccxxxiij. [By Hoccleve?]

32. Balade with Envoy (no title). Begins—'O leude booke with thy foule rudenesse.' Fol. cccxxxiiij., back.

33. Scogan, vnto the Lordes and Gentilmen of the Kinges house. (This poem, by H. Scogan, quotes Chaucer's 'Gentilesse' in full.) Fol. cccxxxiiij., back.

34. Begins—'Somtyme the worlde so stedfast was and stable.' [Lak of Stedfastnesse.] Fol. cccxxxv., back.

35. Good counsail of Chaucer. [Truth.] Same page.

36. Balade of the village (sic) without paintyng. [Fortune.] Fol. cccxxxvj.

37. Begins—'Tobroken been the statutes hie in heauen'; headed Lenuoye. [Lenvoy to Scogan.] Fol. cccxxxvj., back.

38. Poem in two stanzas of seven lines each. Begins—'Go foorthe kyng, rule thee by Sapience.' Same page.

39. Chaucer to his emptie purse. Same page. [33]

40. A balade of good counseile translated out of Latin verses in-to Englishe, by Dan Ihon lidgat cleped the monke of Buri. Begins—'COnsyder well euery circumstaunce.' Fol. cccxxxvij.

41. A balade in the Praise and commendacion of master Geffray Chauser for his golden eloquence. (Only 7 lines.) Same leaf, back. [See p. 56.]

§ 9. Part II. Additions by John Stowe.

At the top of fol. cccxl. is the following remark:—

¶ Here foloweth certaine woorkes of Geffray Chauser, whiche hath not heretofore been printed, and are gathered and added to this booke by Ihon Stowe.

42. A balade made by Chaucer, teching what is gentilnes[217]. [Gentilesse.] Fol. cccxl.

43. A Prouerbe [read Prouerbs] agaynst couitise and negligence. [Proverbs.] Same page.

44. A balade which Chaucer made agaynst women vnconstaunt. Same page. [Certainly genuine, in my opinion; but here relegated to an Appendix, to appease such as cannot readily apprehend my reasons. Cf. p. 26.]

45. A balade which Chaucer made in the praise or rather dispraise, of women for their doublenes. [By Lydgate.] Begins—'This world is full of variaunce.' Same page.

46. This werke folowinge was compiled by Chaucer, and is caled the craft of louers. Fol. cccxli. [Written in 1448.]

47. A Balade. Begins—'Of their nature they greatly them delite.' Fol. cccxli., back. [Quotes from no. 56.]

48. The .x. Commaundementes of Loue. Fol. cccxlij.

49. The .ix. Ladies worthie. Fol. cccxlij., back.

50. [Virelai; no title.] Begins—'Alone walkyng.' Fol. cccxliij.

51. A Ballade. Begins—'In the season of Feuerere when it was full colde.' Same page.

52. A Ballade. Begins—'O Mercifull and o merciable.' Fol. cccxliij., back. [Made up of scraps from late poems; see p. 57.]

53. Here foloweth how Mercurie with Pallas, Venus and Minarua, appered to Paris of Troie, he slepyng by a fountain. Fol. cccxliiij.

54. A balade pleasaunte. Begins—'I haue a Ladie where so she [34]bee.' Same page. At the end—'Explicit the discriuyng of a faire Ladie.'

55. An other Balade. Begins—'O Mossie Quince, hangyng by your stalke.' Fol. cccxliiij., back.

56. A balade, warnyng men to beware of deceitptfnll women (sic). Begins—'LOke well aboute ye that louers bee.' Same page. [By Lydgate.]

57. These verses next folowing were compiled by Geffray Chauser, and in the writen copies foloweth at the ende of the complainte of petee. Begins—'THe long nyghtes when euery [c]reature.' [This is the 'Compleint to his Lady,' as I venture to call it.] Fol. cccxlv[218].

58. A balade declaring that wemens chastite Doeth moche excel all treasure worldly. Begins—'IN womanhede as auctours al write.' Back of same leaf.

59. The Court of Loue. Begins—'WIth temerous herte, and trembling hand of drede.' Fol. cccxlviij.

60. Chaucers woordes vnto his owne Scriuener[219]. Fol. ccclv., back. At the end—Thus endeth the workes of Geffray Chaucer. (This is followed by 34 Latin verses, entitled Epitaphium Galfridi Chaucer, &c.)

61. The Storie of Thebes. [By Lydgate.] Fol. ccclvj.

§ 10. Discussion of the Poems in Part I. of Ed. 1561.

Of the 41 pieces in Part I. of the above, we must of course accept as Chaucer's the four poems entitled Canterbury Tales, Troilus, Legend of Good Women, and House of Fame; also the prose translation of Boethius, and the prose treatise on the Astrolabie. The remaining number of Minor Poems (excluding the Romaunt of the Rose) is 34; out of which number I accept the 13 numbered above with the numbers 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 23, 24, 33 (so far as it quotes Chaucer), 34, 35, 36, 37, and 39. Every one of these has already been shewn to be genuine on sufficient external evidence, and it is not likely that their genuineness will be doubted. In the present volume they [35]appear, respectively, as nos. III, XVII, V, II, VII, IV, XVIII, XIV, XV, XIII, X, XVI, XIX. Of the remaining 21, several may be dismissed in a few words. No. 4 is well known to have been written by Robert Henryson. Nos. 11, 28, 29, and 40 are distinctly claimed for Lydgate in all the editions; and no. 27 is similarly claimed for Gower. No. 25 was written by Hoccleve[220]; and the last line gives the date—'A thousande, foure hundred and seconde,' i. e. 1402, or two years after Chaucer's death. No. 13 is translated from Alain Chartier, who was only four years old when Chaucer died; see p. 28, note 2. Tyrwhitt remarks that, in MS. Harl. 372, this poem is expressly attributed to a Sir Richard Ros[221]. No one can suppose that no. 41 is by Chaucer, seeing that the first line is—'Maister Geffray Chauser, that now lithe in graue.' Mr. Bradshaw once assured me that no. 17 is ascribed, on MS. authority, to Lydgate; and no one who reads it with care can doubt that this is correct[222]. It is, in a measure, an imitation of the Book of the Duchesse; and it contains some interesting references to Chaucer, as in the lines—'Of Arcite, or of him Palemoun,' and 'Of Thebes eke the false Arcite.' No. 20, i. e. the Testament of Love, is in prose, and does not here concern us; still it is worth pointing out that it contains a passage (near the end) such as we cannot suppose that Chaucer would have written concerning himself[223].

After thus removing from consideration nos. 4, 11, 13, 17, 20, 25, 27, 28, 29, 40, and 41, half of the remaining 21 pieces have been considered. The only ones left over for consideration are nos. 6, 15, 18, 21, 22, 26, 30, 31, 32, 38. As to no. 6, there is some [36]external evidence in its favour, which will be duly considered; but as to the rest, there is absolutely nothing to connect them with Chaucer beyond their almost accidental appearance in an edition by Wm. Thynne, published in 1532, i. e. one hundred and thirty-two years after Chaucer's death; and it has just been demonstrated that Thynne is obviously wrong in at least eleven instances, and that he wittingly and purposely chose to throw into his edition poems which he knew to have been written by Lydgate or by Gower! It is ridiculous to attach much importance to such testimony as this. And now let me discuss, as briefly as I can, the above-named poems separately.

6. A goodlie balade of Chaucer; begins—'Mother of norture, best beloued of all'; printed in Morris's edition, vi. 275; and in Bell's edition, iii. 413. I have little to say against this poem; yet the rime of supposeth with riseth (st. 8) is somewhat startling. It is clearly addressed to a lady named Margaret[224], as appears from her being likened to the daisy, and called the sun's daughter. I suspect it was merely attributed to Chaucer by association with the opening lines of the Legend of Good Women. The suggestion, in Bell's Chaucer, that it possibly refers to the Countess of Pembroke, is one of those bad guesses which are discreditable. Tyrwhitt shews, in note n to his 'Appendix to the Preface,' that she must have died not later than 1370, whereas this Balade must be much later than that date; and I agree with him in supposing that le Dit de la fleur de lis et de la Marguerite, by Guillaume de Machault (printed in Tarbé's edition, 1849, p. 123), and the Dittié de la flour de la Margherite, by Froissart, may furnish us with the true key to those mystical compliments which Chaucer and others were accustomed to pay to the daisy.

I wish to add that I am convinced that one stanza, probably the sixth is missing. It ought to form a triple Balade, i. e. three Balades of 21 lines each, each with its own refrain; but the second is imperfect. There seems to be some affectation about the letters beginning the stanzas which I cannot solve; these are M, M, M (probably for Margaret) in the first Balade; D, D in the second; and J, C, Q in the third. The poet goes out of his way to bring in these letters. The result looks like Margaret de Jacques; but this guess does not help us. [37]

The poem is rather artificial, especially in such inversions as It receyve, Cauteles whoso useth, and Quaketh my penne; these things are not in Chaucer's manner. In the second stanza there is a faulty rime; for we there find shal, smal, answering to the dissyllabic rimes alle, calle, appalle, befalle, in stanzas 1 and 3. Lydgate has: 'My pen quake,' &c.; Troy Book, ch. x., fol. F2, back.

15. The assemble of Ladies. This poem Tyrwhitt decisively rejects. There is absolutely nothing to connect it with Chaucer. It purports to have been written by 'a gentlewoman'; and perhaps it was. It ends with the rime of done, pp., with sone (soon); which in Chaucer are spelt doon and son-e respectively, and never rime. Most of the later editions omit this poem. It is conveniently printed in Chalmers' English Poets, vol. i. p. 526; and consists of 108 7-line stanzas. For further remarks, see notes on The Flower and the Leaf (p. 44).

At p. 203 of the Ryme-Index to Chaucer's Minor Poems (Chaucer Society), I have printed a Ryme-Index to this poem, shewing that the number of non-Chaucerian rimes in it is about 60.

18. A praise of Women. In no way connected with Chaucer. Rejected by Tyrwhitt. Printed in Bell's edition, iv. 416, and in Chalmers' English Poets, vol. i. p. 344; also in Morris's Aldine edition, vol. vi. p. 278. In twenty-five 7-line stanzas. The rime of lie (to tell a lie) with sie (I saw), in st. 20, is suspicious; Chaucer has ly-e, sy. The rime of queen-e (usually dissyllabic in Chaucer) with beene (miswritten for been, they be, st. 23) is also suspicious. It contains the adjective sere, i. e. various (st. 11), which Chaucer never uses.

21. The lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine. Printed in Bell's Chaucer, iv. 395; and in Chalmers, i. 532. Tyrwhitt's remarks are admirable. He says, in his Glossary, s. v. Origenes:—'In the list of Chaucer's Works, in Legend of Good Women, l. 427, he says of himself:—

"He made also, gon is a grete while,

Origenes upon the Maudeleine"—

meaning, I suppose, a translation, into prose or verse, of the Homily de Maria Magdalena, which has been commonly, though falsely, attributed to Origen; v. Opp. Origenis, T. ii. p. 291, ed. Paris, 1604. I cannot believe that the poem entitled The Lamentation of Marie Magdaleine, which is in all the [older] editions of Chaucer, is really that work of his. It can hardly be considered as a translation, or even as an imitation, of the Homily; and the composition, in every [38]respect, is infinitely meaner than the worst of his genuine pieces.' To those who are interested in Chaucer's rimes I will merely point out the following: die, why (Ch. dy-e, why); kene, iyen (Ch. ken-e, y-ën); disguised, to-rived, a mere assonance; crie, incessauntly (Ch. cry-ë, incessauntly); slaine, paine (Ch. slein, pein-e); y-fet, let (Ch. y-fet, let-te); accept, bewept (Ch. accept-e, bewept); die, mihi (Ch. dy-e, mihi). To those interested in Chaucer's language, let me point out 'dogges rabiate'—'embesile his presence'—'my woful herte is inflamed so huge'—'my soveraine and very gentilman.' See st. 34, 39, 54, 99.

22. The remedie of Loue. Printed in Chalmers' British Poets, i. 539. In sixty-two 7-line stanzas. Rejected by Tyrwhitt. The language is extremely late; it seems to have been written in the 16th century. It contains such words as incongruitie, deduction, allective, can't (for cannot), scribable (fit for writing on), olibane, pant, babé (baby), cokold (which Chaucer spells cokewold), ortographie, ethimologie, ethimologise (verb). The provincial word lait, to search for, is well known to belong to the Northern dialect. Dr. Murray, s. v. allective, dates this piece about A.D. 1560; but it must be somewhat earlier than this, as it was printed in 1532. I should date it about 1530.

26. A Ballade in commendacion of our Ladie. Tyrwhitt remarks that 'a poem with the same beginning is ascribed to Lydgate, under the title of Invocation to our Lady; see Tanner, s. v. Lydgate.' The poem consists of thirty-five 7-line stanzas. It has all the marks of Lydgate's style, and imitates Chaucer's language. Thus the line—'I have none English conuenient and digne' is an echo of the Man of Law's Tale, l. 778—'O Donegild, I ne haue noon English digne.' Some of the lines imitate Chaucer's A. B. C. But the most remarkable thing is his quotation of the first line of Chaucer's Merciless Beauty, which he applies to the Virgin Mary! See note to that poem, l. 1.

A poem called an 'Invocation to our Lady' is ascribed to Lydgate in MS. Ashmole 59, fol. 39, back. It agrees with the present Ballade; which settles the question.

30. Balade de bon consail. Not in previous editions. Printed in Chalmers, i. 552. Only 7 lines, and here they are, duly edited:—

'If it befall that God thee list visite

With any tourment or adversitee,

Thank first the Lord, and [fond] thy-self to quite;

Upon suffraunce and humilitee

Found thou thy quarel, what ever that it be;

Mak thy defence, and thou shalt have no losse,

The remembraunce of Christ and of his crosse.'


In l. 1, ed. 1561 has the; 2. aduersite; 3. Thanke; lorde; I supply fond, i. e. endeavour; thy-selfe; 4. (scans ill); 5. Founde; 6. Make.

31. Of the Cuckowe and the Nightingale. Printed in Bell's Chaucer, iv. 334; and in Morris's Chaucer, iv. 75. Not uncommon in MSS.; there is a copy in MS. Ff. 1. 6 in the Cambridge University Library; another in MS. Fairfax 16; another in MS. Bodley 638; another in MS. Tanner 346; and a fifth (imperfect) in MS. Arch. Selden B. 24, in the Bodleian Library. A sixth is in MS. Harl. 7333, in the British Museum. From some of these, Morris's better text was constructed; see his edition, pref. p. ix.

It is worth a note, by the way, that it is not the same poem as one entitled The Nightingale, extant in MS. no. 203 in Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and in MS. Cotton, Calig. A. ii., fol. 59, and attributed to Lydgate.

That the first two lines are by Chaucer, we cannot doubt, for they are quoted from the Knightes Tale, ll. 927, 928. Chaucer often quotes his own lines, but it is not likely that he would take them as the subject of a new poem. On the other hand, this is just what we should expect one of his imitators to do. The present poem is a very fair imitation of Chaucer's style, and follows his peculiarities of metre far more closely than is usually the case with Lydgate. The notion, near the end, of holding a parliament of birds, with the Eagle for lord, is evidently borrowed from Chaucer's Parliament of Foules. Whilst admitting that the present poem is more worthy of Chaucer than most of the others with which it has been proposed to burden his reputation, I can see no sufficient reason for connecting him with it; and the external evidence connects it, in fact, with Hoccleve. For the copy in MS. Bodley 638 calls it 'The boke of Cupide god of loue,' at fol. 11, back; whilst Hoccleve's Letter of Cupid is called 'The lettre of Cupide god of loue' in the same, fol. 38, back. The copy in the Fairfax MS. ends with the colophon—Explicit liber Cupidinis. The rimes are mostly Chaucerian; but the rime of day with the gerund to assay-e in st. 11 is suspicious; so also is that of now with the gerund to rescow-e in st. 46. In st. 13, grene rimes with been, whereas gren-e, in Chaucer, is always dissyllabic. Chaucer's biographers have been anxious to father this poem upon him, merely because it mentions Woodstock in l. 285.

One point about this poem is its very peculiar metre; the 5-line stanza, riming a a b b a, is certainly rare. If the question arises, whence [40]is it copied, the answer is clear, viz. from Chaucer's Envoy to his Compleint to his Purse. This is a further reason for dating it later than 1399.

32. Balade with envoy; 'O leude book,' &c. Printed in Bell's Chaucer, iv. 347, and in Morris's Chaucer, iv. 85, as if it were part of The Cuckoo and the Nightingale; but obviously unconnected with it. A Balade in the usual form, viz. three 7-line stanzas, with a refrain; the refrain is—'For of all good she is the best living.' The envoy consists of only six lines, instead of seven, rimed a b a b c c, and that for a sufficient reason, which has not been hitherto observed. The initial letters of the lines form, in fact, an anagram on the name Alison; which is therefore the name of the lady to whom the Balade is addressed. There is a copy of this poem in MS. Fairfax 16, and another in MS. Tanner 346. It is therefore as old as the 15th century. But to attribute to Chaucer the fourth line of the Envoy seems hazardous. It runs thus—'Suspiries whiche I effunde in silence.' Perhaps it is Hoccleve's.

38. Poem in two 7-line stanzas. There is nothing to connect this with Chaucer; and it is utterly unworthy of him. I now quote the whole poem, just as it stands in the edition of 1561:—

'Go foorthe king, rule thee by Sapience,

Bishoppe, be able to minister doctrine,

Lorde, to true counsale yeue audience,

Womanhode, to chastitie euer encline;

Knight, let thy deedes worship determine;

Be righteous, Iudge, in sauyng thy name;

Rich, do almose, lest thou lese blisse with shame.

'People, obeie your kyng and the lawe;

Age, be ruled by good religion;

True seruaunt, be dredfull & kepe the vnder awe;

And, thou poore, fie on presumpcion;

Inobedience to youth is vtter destruccion;

Remembre you, how God hath set you, lo!

And doe your parte, as ye be ordained to.'

In l. 7, ed. 1532 has almesse instead of almose. Surely it must be Lydgate's. Many of his poems exhibit similar catalogues, if I may so term them.

I have now gone through all the poems published in 1532 and copied into the later editions (with the exception of nos. 66-68, for which see p. 45); and I see no way of augmenting the list of Chaucer's Minor Poems any further from this source. [41]

§ 11. Discussion of the Poems in Part II. of Ed. 1561.

It is hardly worth while to discuss at length all the poems which it pleased John Stowe to fling together into the edition of 1561. But a few remarks may be useful.

Nos. 42, 43, and 60 are admittedly genuine; and are printed below, nos. XIV., XX., and VIII. I believe nos. 44 and 57 to be so also[225]; they are discussed below, and are printed as nos. XXI. and VI. No. 61 is, of course, Lydgate's. Besides this, no. 45 is correctly ascribed to Lydgate in the MSS.; there are copies of it in MS. Fairfax 16 and in MS. Ashmole 59. No. 56 is also Lydgate's, and is so marked in MS. Harl. 2251. As to no. 46, called the Craft of Lovers, it is dated by help of two lines in the last stanza, which are thus printed by Stowe:—

'In the yere of our lorde a .M. by rekeninge

CCCXL. .&. UIII. yere folowing.'

This seems to give the date as 1348; whereas the language is palpably that of the fifteenth century. Whether Stowe or his printer thought fit to alter the date intentionally, I cannot say. Still, the fact is, that in the MS. marked R. 3. 19 in Trinity College Library, at fol. 156, the reading is 'CCCCXL & VIII yere,' so that the true date is rather 1448, or nearly half a century after Chaucer's death[226]. The same MS., which I suppose belonged to Stowe, contains several other of these pieces, viz. nos. 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, and perhaps others. The language and, in some cases, the ruggedness of the metre, forbid us to suppose that Chaucer can have had anything to do with them, and some are palpably of a much later date; one or more of these considerations at once exclude all the rest of Stowe's additions. It may, however, be noted that no. 47 quotes the line 'Beware alwaye, the blind eats many a fly,' which occurs as a refrain in no. 56, and it is therefore later than the time of Lydgate. The author of no. 48 says he is 'a man vnknowne.' Many lines in no. 49 are of abnormal length; it begins with—'Profulgent in preciousnes, O Sinope the queen.' The same is true of no. 51, which is addressed to a Margaret, and begins with—'In the season of Feuerere when it was full colde.' Of no. 52, [42]Tyrwhitt says that the four first stanzas are found in different parts of an imperfect poem upon the Fall of Man, in MS. Harl. 2251; whilst the 11th stanza makes part of an Envoy, which in the same MS. is annexed to the poem entitled the Craft of Lovers. No. 53 is a poor affair. No. 54, called a Balade Pleasaunte, is very unpleasant and scurrilous, and alludes to the wedding of 'queene Iane[227]' as a circumstance that happened many years ago. No. 55 is scurrilous, odious, and stupid. I doubt if no. 58 is good enough for Lydgate. No. 59 belongs to the sixteenth century.

All the poems here rejected were rejected by Tyrwhitt, with two strange exceptions, viz. nos. 50 and 59, the Virelai and the Court of Love. Of both of these, the language is quite late. The Virelai is interesting from a metrical point of view, because such poems are scarce; the only similar poem that I can call to mind is the Balet (or rather Virelai) composed by Lord Rivers during his imprisonment in 1483, and printed by Percy in his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. Percy says that Lord Rivers copies the Virelai mentioned above, which he assumes to be Chaucer's; but it is quite as likely that the copying was in the other direction, and that Lord Rivers copied some genuine Virelai (either Chaucer's or in French) that is now lost[228]. The final rime of end with find, is bad enough; but the supposition that the language is of the 14th century is ridiculous. Still the Virelai is good in its way, though it can hardly be older than 1500, and may be still later.

Of all poems that have been falsely ascribed to Chaucer, I know of none more amazing than The Court of Love. The language is palpably that of the 16th century, and there are absolutely no examples of the occurrence in it of a final -e that is fully pronounced, and forms a syllable! Yet there are critics who lose their heads over it, and will not give it up. Tyrwhitt says—'I am induced by the internal evidence (!) to consider it as one of Chaucer's genuine productions.' As if the 'internal evidence' of a poem containing no sonant final -e is not enough to condemn it at once. The original MS. copy exists in MS. R. 3. 19 in Trinity College, and the writing is later than 1500. The poem itself has all the smoothness of the Tudor period[229]; it excels the style of Hawes, and would do credit [43]to Sackville. One reference is too interesting to be passed over. In the second stanza, the poet regrets that he has neither the eloquence of Tully, the power of Virgil, nor the 'craft of Galfride.' Tyrwhitt explains Galfride as 'Geoffrey of Monmouth,' though it is difficult to understand on what ground he could have been here thought of. Bell's 'Chaucer' explains Galfride as 'Geoffrey of Vinsauf,' which is still more curious; for Geoffrey of Vinsauf is the very Gaufride whom Chaucer holds up to eternal ridicule in the Nonne Prestes Tale (l. 526).

I have no doubt at all that the Galfrid here referred to is no other than Geoffrey Chaucer, who was called, indifferently, Galfrid or Geoffrey. This appears from the testimony of Lydgate, who speaks, in his 'Troy-book,' of 'Noble Galfryde, chefe Poete of Brytayne,' and again, of 'My mayster Galfride'; see Lydgate's Siege of Troye, bk. ii. ch. 15, and bk. iii. ch. 25; ed. 1557, fol. K 2, col. 1, and fol. R 2, back, col. 2. Hence we are not surprised to find that the author makes frequent reference to Chaucer's Works, viz. to Anelida (l. 235), the Death of Pity (701), Troilus (872), the Legend of Good Women (104, 873), and the Parl. of Foules (near the end). The two allusions to the Legend of Good Women at once make the poem later than 1385; and in fact, it must be quite a century later than that date. There are more than 70 rimes that differ from those employed by Chaucer. The Poet introduces to our notice personages named Philogenet, Philobone, and Rosial. Of these, at least the two former savour of the time of the Renaissance; for, although Chaucer uses the name Philostrate in the Knightes Tale (A 1428, 1558, 1728), he merely copies this name from Boccaccio; and it is amusing to find that Boccaccio himself did not understand it.[230]

§ 12. Poems added in Speght's Editions of 1598 and 1602.

We have now to consider the additions made by Speght in 1598. These were only two, viz. Chaucer's Dream and The Flower and the Leaf. [44]

62. Chaucer's Dream. A long poem of 2206 short lines, in metre similar to that of The House of Fame; accepted by Tyrwhitt, and in all the editions. But there is no early trace of it; and we are not bound to accept as Chaucer's a poem first ascribed to him in 1598, and of which the MS. (at Longleat) was written about 1550. The language is of late date, and the sonant final -e is decidedly scarce. The poem is badly named, and may have been so named by Speght; the proper title is 'The Isle of Ladies.' We find such rimes as be, companie (Ch. be, company-e); know, low, i. e. law (Ch. know-e, law-e); grene, yene, i. e. eyes (Ch. gren-e, y-ën); plesaunce, fesaunce (Ch. plesaunc-e, fesaunts); ywis, kisse (Ch. ywis, kis-se); and when we come to destroied riming with conclude, it is time to stop. The tediousness of this poem is appalling[231].

63. The Flower and the Leaf. This is rather a pretty poem, in 7-line stanzas. The language is that of the fifteenth century. It professes to be written by a gentlewoman, like the Assemble of Ladies; and perhaps it was[232]. Very likely, the same 'gentlewoman' wrote both these poems. If so, the Flower and the Leaf is the better finished, and probably the later of the two. It contains the word henchman, for which the earliest dated quotation which I have yet found is 1415 (Royal Wills, ed. Nichols, p. 220). An interesting reference is given in the lines—

'Eke there be knightes old of the garter

That in hir time did right worthily.'

The order of the Garter was established in 1349; and we should expect that more than half a century would elapse before it would be natural to refer to the Knights as old knights, who did worthily in their time. Of course the poem cannot be Chaucer's, and it is hardly necessary to look for rimes such as he never uses; yet such may easily be found, such as grew, pt. t. sing., riming with the dissyllabic hew-e, new-e; sid-e with espide, pp. (Ch. espy-ed); eie, eye [45](Ch. y-ë) with sie, saw (Ch. sy); and plesure[233] with desire; after which we may stop.

In 1602, Speght issued another edition, in which, according to Bonn's edition of Lowndes' Bibliographer's Manual, two more pieces were added, viz. the prose treatise against Friars called Jack Upland, and the genuine poem entitled 'A. B. C.' But this is not all; for I find, in a still later edition, that of 1687, which is said to be a 'reimpression of Speght's edition of 1602,' that, at the very end of all the prefatory matter, on what was probably a spare blank leaf, three more poems appear, which might as well have been consigned to oblivion. But the editors of Chaucer evidently thought that a thing once added must be added for ever, and so these three productions are retained in Bell's Chaucer, and must therefore be noticed with the rest. I find, however, that they had been printed previously, viz. at the end of the Table of Contents in ed. 1542 and ed. 1550, where they are introduced quite casually, without a word of explanation. Moreover, they are copied from MS. Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 15, a MS. which also contains the Canterbury Tales; and no doubt, this fact suggested their insertion. See Todd's Illustrations of Chaucer, p. 120.

64. Jack Upland. An invective against friars, in prose, worth printing, but obviously not Chaucer's.

65. Chaucer's A. B. C. Genuine; here printed as poem no. I.

66. Eight goodly questions with their answers; printed in Bell's Chaucer, vol. iv. p. 421; nine 7-line stanzas. In st. 3, tree rimes with profer; but tree is an obvious misprint for cofer! In st. 5, the gerund to lie (Ch. ly-e) rimes with honestie (Ch. honestee). This is quite enough to condemn it. But it may be Lydgate's.

67. To the Kings most noble Grace, and to the Lords and Knights of the Garter; pr. as above, p. 424; eight 8-line stanzas. In MS. Phillipps 8151, and written by Hoccleve; it much resembles his poem printed in Anglia, v. 23. The date may be 1416. The 'King' is Henry V.

68. Sayings. Really three separate pieces. They are all found on the fly-leaf of the small quarto edition of Caxton, described above, p. 27. When Caxton printed Chaucer's Anelida and Purse on a quire of ten leaves, it so happened that he only filled up nine of them. But, after adding explicit at the bottom of the ninth leaf, to shew that he had come to the end of his Chaucer, he thought it a [46]pity to waste space, and so added three popular sayings on the front of leaf 10, leaving the back of it still blank. Here is what he printed:—

'Whan feyth failleth in prestes sawes

And lordes hestes ar holden for lawes

And robbery is holden purchas

And lechery is holden solas

Than shal the lond of albyon

Be brought to grete confusioun.

Hit falleth for euery gentilman

To saye the best that he can

In mannes absence

And the soth in his presence.

'Hit cometh by kynde of gentil blode

To cast away al heuynes

And gadre to-gidre wordes good

The werk of wisedom berith witnes

Et sic est finis ****.'

The first of these sayings was probably a bit of popular rime, of the character quoted in Shakespeare's King Lear, iii. 2. 81. Shakespeare calls his lines Merlin's prophecy; and it has pleased the editors of Chaucer to call the first six lines Chaucer's Prophecy[234]. They appear in Bell's Chaucer, vol. iii. p. 427, in an 'improved' form, not worth discussing; and the last eight lines are also printed in the same, vol. iv. p. 426. Why they are separated, is mysterious. Those who think them genuine may thank me for giving them Caxton's spelling instead of Speght's.

§ 13. Pieces added in Morris's Edition, 1866.

In Morris's edition are some pieces which either do not appear in previous editions, or were first printed later than 1700.

69. Roundel; pr. in vol. vi. p. 304. The same as Merciless Beaute; here printed as no. XI. It first appeared, however, in Percy's Reliques of English Poetry. See p. 80 below.

70. The Former Age; pr. in vol. vi. p. 300, for the first time. Here printed as no. IX. See p. 78.

71. Prosperity; pr. in vol. vi. p. 296, for the first time. This is taken from MS. Arch. Selden B. 24, fol. 119, where it follows [47]Chaucer's Poem on 'Truth.' It has but one stanza of eight lines, and I here give it precisely as it stands in this Scottish MS.:—

'Richt as pouert causith sobirnes,

And febilnes enforcith contenence,

Rycht so prosperitee and grete riches

The moder is of vice and negligence;

And powere also causith Insolence;

And honour oftsiss changith gude thewis;

Thare is no more perilouss pestilence

Than hie estate geven vnto schrewis.

Quod Chaucere.'

I have no belief in the genuineness of this piece, though it is not ill written. In general, the ascription of a piece to Chaucer in a MS. is valuable. But the scribe of this particular MS. was reckless. It is he who made the mistake of marking Hoccleve's 'Mother of God' with the misleading remark—'Explicit oracio Galfridi Chaucere.' At fol. 119, back, he gives us a poem beginning 'Deuise prowes and eke humylitee' in seven 7-line stanzas, and here again at the end is the absurd remark—'Quod Chaucer quhen he was rycht auisit.' But he was himself quite 'wrongly advised'; for it is plainly not Chaucer's at all. His next feat is to mark Lydgate's Complaynt of the Black Knight by saying—'Here endith the Maying and disporte of Chaucere'; which shews how the editors were misled as to this poem. Nor is this all; for he gives us, at fol. 137, back, another poem in six 8-line stanzas, beginning 'O hie Emperice and quene celestial'; and here again at the end is his stupid—'Quod Chaucere.' The date of this MS. appears to be 1472; so it is of no high authority; and, unless we make some verbal alteration, we shall have to explain how Chaucer came to write oftsiss in two syllables instead of ofte sythe in four; see his Can. Yem. Tale, Group G, l. 1031.

72. Leaulte vault Richesse; pr. in vol. vi. p. 302, for the first time. This is from the same MS., fol. 138, and is as follows:—

'This warldly Ioy is onely fantasy,

Of quhich non erdly wicht can be content;

Quho most has wit, leste suld In It affy,

Quho taistis It most, most sall him repent;

Quhat valis all this richess and this rent,

Sen no man wate quho sall his tresour haue?

Presume nocht gevin that god has done but lent,

Within schort tyme the quhiche he thinkis to craue.

Leaulte vault richess.'


On this poem, I have three remarks to make. The first is that not even the reckless Scottish scribe attributes it to Chaucer. The second is that Chaucer's forms are content and lent without a final e, and repent-e and rent-e with a final -e, so that the poem cannot be his; although content, repent, rent, and lent rime well enough in the Northern dialect. The third is that if I could be sure that the above lines were by a well-known author, I should at once ascribe them to King James I., who might very well have written these and the lines called Prosperity above. It is somewhat of a coincidence that the very MS. here discussed is that in which the unique copy of the Kingis Quair is preserved.

73. Proverbs of Chaucer; printed in vol. vi. p. 303. The first eight lines are genuine; here printed as no. XX. But two 7-line stanzas are added, which are spurious. In MS. Addit. 16165, Shirley tells us that they were 'made by Halsham Esquyer'; but they seem to be Lydgate's, unless he added to them. See Lydgate's Minor Poems (Percy Soc. 1840), pp. 193 and 74. And see pp. 52, 57.

It thus appears that, of the 73 pieces formerly attributed to Chaucer, not more than 26, and a part of a 27th, can be genuine. These are: Canterbury Tales, Troilus, Legend of Good Women, House of Fame, about a quarter of The Romaunt of the Rose, the Minor Poems printed in the present volume and numbered I-XI, XIII-XXI, and two pieces in prose.

§ 14. Description of the MSS.

After the preceding somewhat tedious, but necessary discussion of the contents of the black-letter and other editions (in many of which poems were as recklessly attributed to Chaucer as medieval proverbs used to be to King Solomon), it is some relief to turn to the manuscripts, which usually afford much better texts, and are altogether more trustworthy.

The following is a list of the MSS. which have been followed. I must here acknowledge my great debt to Dr. Furnivall, whose excellent, careful, and exact reproduction in print of the various MSS. leaves nothing to be desired, and is a great boon to all Chaucer scholars. They are nearly all[235] printed among the Chaucer [49]Society's publications. At the same time, I desire to say that I have myself consulted most of the MSS., and have thus gleaned a few hints which could hardly have been otherwise acquired; it was by this process that I became acquainted with the poems numbered XXII. and XXIII., which are probably genuine, and with the poem numbered XII., which is certainly so. An editor should always look at the MSS. for himself, if he can possibly contrive to do so.

List of the MSS.; with abbreviations.

N.B. The roman numbers following the name of each MS. denote the numbers of the poems in the present edition.

A.—Ashmole 59, Bodleian Library (Shirley's).—X. XIV. XVIII.

Ad.—Addit. 16165, British Museum.—VII. XX. XXIII.

Add.—Addit. 22139, British Museum.—XIII. XIV. XV. XIX.

Ar.—Arch. Selden B. 24, Bodleian Library.—IV. V. XIII. XVIII.

Arch.—Arch. Selden B. 10, Bodleian Library.—X. XIII.

At.—Addit. 10340, British Museum.—XIII.

B.—Bodley 638 (Oxford).—I. II. III. V. VII. X. XXII.

Bannatyne MS. 1568, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.—XV.

Bedford MS. (Bedford Library).—I.

C.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ff. 5. 30.—I.

Corpus.—Corpus Chr. Coll., Oxford, 203.—XIII.

Ct.—Cotton, Cleopatra D. 7; Brit. Mus.—XIII. XIV. XV. XXI.

Cx.—Caxton's editions; see above (p. 27).—V. VII. X. XIII. XIV. XVI. (part); XIX.

D.—Digby 181, Bodleian Library.—V. VII.

E.—Ellesmere MS. (also has the Cant. Tales).—XIII.

ed. 1561.—Stowe's edition, 1561.—VI. VIII. XX. XXI., &c.

F.—Fairfax 16, Bodleian Library.—I. II. III. IV. V. VII. X. XIII. (two copies); XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII.

Ff.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ff. 1. 6.—II. V. VII. (part); XVIII. XIX.

Gg.[236]—Cambridge Univ. Library, Gg. 4. 27.—I. V. XIII. XVI.

Gl.—Glasgow, Hunterian Museum, Q. 2. 25.—I.

H.—Harleian 2251, Brit. Mus.—I. X. XIV. XIX. [50]

Ha.—Harleian 7578, Brit. Mus.—I. II. XIV. XV. XX. XXI.

Harl.—Harleian 7333, Brit. Mus.—IV. V. VII. XIII. XIV. XV. XIX. XXII.

Harleian 78, Brit. Mus. (Shirley's). See Sh. below.

Harleian 372, Brit. Mus.—VII.

Hat.—Hatton 73, Bodleian Library.—XIII. XV.

Hh.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Hh. 4. 12.—V (part); IX.

I.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ii. 3. 21.—IX. X.

Jo.—St. John's College, Cambridge, G. 21.—I.

Ju.—Julian Notary's edition (see p. 28).—IV. XVII. XVIII.

Kk.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Kk. 1. 5.—XIII.

L.—Laud 740, Bodleian Library.—I.

Lansdowne 699, Brit. Mus.—X. XIII.

Laud.—Laud 416, Bodleian Library.—V (part).

Lt.—Longleat MS. 258 (Marquis of Bath).—II. IV. V. VII.

O.—St. John's College, Oxford (no. lvii.); fol. 22, bk.—V.

P.—Pepys 2006, Magd. Coll., Cambridge.—I. (two copies); IV. V. VII (part); X. XI. XIII. XVI. XVIII. (two copies); XIX.

Ph.—Phillipps 9053 (Cheltenham).—II. VI. VII. (part); XIX.

Phil.—Phillipps 8299 (Cheltenham).—XIII.

R.—Rawlinson Poet. 163, Bodleian Library.—XII.

Sh.—Shirley's MS. Harl. 78, Brit. Mus.—II. VI.

Sion College MS. (Shirley's).—I.

T.—Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 3. 20.—IV. VII (part); VIII. X. XIII. (two copies); XIV. XV. XVIII.

Th.—W. Thynne's edition, 1532.—III. XV. XVII., &c.

Tn.—Tanner 346, Bodleian Library.—II. III. IV. V. VII. XVIII.

Trin.—Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 3. 19.—II. V.

Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 14. 51.—XIV. XV.

Conversely, I here give a list of the Poems in the present volume, shewing from which MSS. each one is derived. I mention first the MSS. of most importance. I also note the number of lines in each piece.

I. A. B. C. (184 lines).—C. Jo. Gl. L. Gg. F.; other copies in H. P.[237] Bedford. Ha. Sion. B.[238]

II. Pite (119).—Tn. F. B. Sh. Ff. Trin.; also Ha. Lt. Ph.

III. Duchess (1334).—F. Tn. B. Th.

IV. Mars (298).—F. Tn. Ju. Harl. T. Ar.; also P.[237] Lt. [51]

V. Parl. Foules (699).—F. Gg. Trin. Cx. Harl. O. Ff. Tn. D.; also Ar. B. Lt. P.; Hh. (365 lines); Laud (142 lines).

VI. Compleint to his Lady (133).—Ph. Sh.; ed. 1561.

VII. Anelida (357).—Harl. F. Tn. D. Cx.; also B. Lt. Ad.; Harl. 372; partly in T. Ff. P. Ph.

VIII. Lines to Adam (7).—T.; ed. 1561.

IX. Former Age (64).—I. Hh.

X. Fortune (79).—I. A. T. F. B. H.; also P. Cx.; Arch.; Lansd. 699.

XI. Merciless Beaute (39).—P.

XII. To Rosemounde (24).—R.

XIII. Truth (28).—At. Gg. E. Ct. T.[239]; also Arch. Harl. Hat. P. F.[240] Add. Cx.; Ar. Kk. Corpus; Lansd. 699; Phil.

XIV. Gentilesse (21).—A. T. Harl. Ct. Ha. Add. Cx; also H. and Trinity.

XV. Lak of Stedfastnesse (28).—Harl. T. Ct. F. Add.; also Th. Ha.; Hat., Trinity, and Bannatyne.

XVI. To Scogan (49).—Gg. F. P.; also Cx. (21 lines).

XVII. To Bukton (32).—F. Th.; also Ju.

XVIII. Venus (82).—T. A. Tn. F. Ff.; also Ar. Ju. P.[241]

XIX. Purse (26).—F. Harl. Ff. P. Add.; also H. Cx. Ph.

XX. Proverbs (8).—F. Ha. Ad.; ed. 1561.

XXI. Against Women Unconstaunt (21).—Ct. F. Ha.; ed. 1561.

XXII. An Amorous Complaint (91).—Harl. F. B.

XXIII. Balade of Complaint (21).—Ad.

§ 15. Remarks on some of the MSS.

Some of these MSS. deserve a few special remarks.

Shirley's MSS. are—A. Ad. H. Harl. Sh. Sion, and T.

MSS. in Scottish spelling are—Ar. Bannatyne. Kk.; L. shews Northern tendencies.

MSS. at Oxford.

F. (Fairfax 16) is a valuable MS.; not only does it contain as many as sixteen of these Minor Poems, but it is a fairly written MS. of the fifteenth century. The spelling does not very materially [52]differ from that of such an excellent MS. as the Ellesmere MS. of the Canterbury Tales, excepting in the fact that a great number of final e's are added in wrong places, and are dropped where they are required. This is a matter that can be to a large extent rectified, and I have endeavoured to do so, taking it in many instances as the standard text. Next to this misuse of final e's, which is merely due to the fact that it was written out at a time when the true use of them was already lost, its most remarkable characteristic is the scribe's excessive love of the letter y in place of i; he writes hyt ys instead of hit is, and the like. In a great number of instances I have restored i, where the vowel is short. When the text of the Fairfax MS. is thus restored, it is by no means a bad one. It also contains fair copies of many poems by Hoccleve and Lydgate, such as the former's Letter of Cupide[242], and the latter's Complaint of the Black Knight, Temple of Glass, and Balade against Women's Doubleness, being the very piece which is introduced into Stowe's edition, and is numbered 45 above (see p. 33). We are also enabled, by comparing this MS. with MS. Harl. 7578, to solve another riddle, viz. why it is that Chaucer's Proverbs, as printed in Morris's and Bell's editions, are followed by two 7-line stanzas which have nothing whatever to do with them. In MS. Harl. 7578 these two stanzas immediately follow, and MS. F. immediately precede Chaucer's Proverbs, and therefore were near enough to them to give an excuse for throwing them in together. However, both these stanzas are by Lydgate, and are mere fragments[243]. The former of them, beginning 'The worlde so wide, thaire so remuable,' really belongs to a poem of 18 stanzas, printed in Halliwell's edition of Lydgate's Minor Poems (Percy Soc.), p. 193. The latter of them, beginning 'The more I goo, the ferther I am behinde,' belongs to a poem of 11 stanzas, printed in the same, p. 74. Perhaps this will serve as a hint to future editors of Chaucer, from whose works it is high time to exclude poems known to be by some other hand.

In this MS. there is also a curious and rather long poem upon the game of chess; the board is called the cheker, and the pieces are the kyng, the quene or the fers (described on fol. 294), the rokys (duo [53]Roci), the knyghtys, the Awfyns (duo alfini), and the povnys (pedini). This is interesting in connection with the Book of the Duchess; see note to l. 654 of that poem. The author tells us how 'he plaid at the chesse,' and 'was mated of a Ferse.'

B. (Bodley 638) is very closely related to MS. F.; in the case of some of the poems, both must have been drawn from a common source. MS. B. is not a mere copy of F., for it sometimes has the correct reading where F. is wrong; as, e.g. in the case of the reading Bret in the House of Fame, l. 1208. It contains seven of these Minor Poems, as well as The boke of Cupide god of loue (Cuckoo and Nightingale), Hoccleve's Lettre of Cupide god of loue, Lydgate's Temple of Glass (oddly called Temple of Bras (!), a mistake which occurs in MS. F. also), his Ordre of Folys, printed in Halliwell's Minor Poems of Lydgate, p. 164, and his Complaint of the Black Knight, imperfect at the beginning.

A. (Shirley's MS. Ashmole 59) is remarkable for containing a large number of pieces by Lydgate, most of which are marked as his. It corroborates the statement in MS. F. that he wrote the Balade against Women's Doubleness. It contains the whole of Scogan's poem in which Chaucer's Gentilesse is quoted: see the complete print of it, from this MS., in the Chaucer Society's publications.

Another poem in this MS. requires a few words. At the back of leaf 38 is a poem entitled 'The Cronycle made by Chaucier,' with a second title to this effect:—'Here nowe folowe the names of the nyene worshipfullest Ladyes that in alle cronycles and storyal bokes haue beo founden of trouthe of constaunce and vertuous or reproched (sic) womanhode by Chaucier.' The poem consists of nine stanzas of eight lines (in the ordinary heroic metre), and is printed in Furnivall's Odd Text of Chaucer's Minor Poems, Part I. It would be a gross libel to ascribe this poem to Chaucer, as it is very poor, and contains execrable rimes (such as prysoun, bycome; apply-e, pyte; thee, dy-e). But we may easily see that the title is likely to give rise to a misconception. It does not really mean that the poem itself is by Chaucer, but that it gives a brief epitome of the 'Cronicle made by Chaucier' of 'the nyene worshipfullest Ladyes.' And, in fact, it does this. Each stanza briefly describes one of the nine women celebrated in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. It is sufficient to add that the author makes a ludicrous mistake, which is quite enough to acquit Chaucer of having had any hand in this wholly [54]valueless production; for he actually addresses 'quene Alceste' as sorrowing for 'Seyse her husbande.' Seyse is Chaucer's Ceyx, and Alceste is the author's comic substitution for Alcyone; see Book of the Duchess, l. 220. This is not a fault of the scribe; for Alceste rimes with byheste, whereas Alcione does not. I much suspect that Shirley wrote this poem himself. His verses, in MS. Addit. 16165, are very poor.

Tn. (Tanner 346) is a fair MS. of the 15th century, and contains, besides six of the Minor Poems, the Legend of Good Women, Hoccleve's Letter of Cupid (called litera Cupidinis dei Amoris directa subditis suis Amatoribus), the Cuckoo and Nightingale (called the god of loue), Lydgate's Temple of Glas and Black Knight, &c. One of them is the Ballad no. 32 discussed above (p. 40). At fol. 73 is a poem in thirteen 8-line stanzas, beginning 'As ofte as syghes ben in herte trewe.' One stanza begins with these lines:—

'As ofte tymes as Penelapye

Renewed her werk in the raduore,' &c.

I quote this for the sake of the extremely rare Chaucerian word spelt radevore in the Legend of Good Women. The same line occurs in another copy of the same poem in MS. Ff., fol. 12, back.

Ar. (Arch. Seld. B. 24) is a Scottish MS., apparently written in 1472, and contains, amongst other things, the unique copy of the Kingis Quair, by James I. of Scotland. This is the MS. wherein the scribe attributes pieces to Chaucer quite recklessly: see p. 47. It is also the authority for the pieces called Prosperity and Leaulte vault Richesse. Here, once more, we find the Letter of Cupid and the Cuckoo and Nightingale; it is remarkable how often these poems occur in the same MS. It also contains Troilus and the Legend of Good Women.

D. (Digby 181) contains, besides two of the Minor Poems, an imperfect copy of Troilus; also the Letter of Cupid and Complaint of the Black Knight. At fol. 52 is a piece entitled 'Here Bochas repreuyth hem that yeue hasti credence to euery reporte or tale'; and it begins—'All-though so be in euery maner age'; in nineteen 7-line stanzas. This is doubtless a part of chapter 13 of Book I. of Lydgate's Fall of Princes.

R. (Rawlinson, Poet. 163) contains a copy of Chaucer's Troilus, followed by the Balade to Rosemounde. Both pieces are marked 'Tregentyll' or 'Tregentil' to the left hand, and 'Chaucer' to the right. [55]

§ 16. Cambridge MSS.

Ff. (Ff. 1. 6) contains, besides five of the Minor Poems, many other pieces. One is a copy of Pyramus and Thisbe, being part of the Legend of Good Women. There are four extracts from various parts of Gower's Confessio Amantis; the Cuckoo and Nightingale and Letter of Cupid; the Romance of Sir Degrevaunt; La Belle Dame sans Merci. Some pieces from this MS. are printed in Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 23, 169, 202; and two more, called The Parliament of Love and The Seven Deadly Sins, are printed in Political, Religious, and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall (E. E. T. S.), pp. 48, 215. We also find here a copy of Lydgate's Ballad of Good Counsail, printed in the old editions of Chaucer (piece no. 40; see above, p. 33).

Gg. (Gg. 4. 27) is the MS. which contains so excellent a copy of the Canterbury Tales, printed as the 'Cambridge MS.' in the Chaucer Society's publications. Four leaves are lost at the beginning. On leaf 5 is Chaucer's A. B. C.; on leaf 7, back, the Envoy to Scogan; and on leaf 8, back, Chaucer's Truth, entitled Balade de bone conseyl. This is followed by a rather pretty poem, in 15 8-line stanzas, which is interesting as quoting from Chaucer's Parliament of Foules. Examples are: 'Qui bien ayme tard oublye' (l. 32; cf. P. F. 679): 'The fesaunt, scornere of the cok Be nihter-tyme in frostis colde' (ll. 49, 50; cf. P. F. 357); 'Than spak the frosty feldefare' (l. 89; cf. P. F. 364). Line 41 runs—'Robert redbrest and the wrenne'; which throws some light on the etymology of robin. This valuable MS. also contains Troilus and the Legend of Good Women, with the unique earlier form of the Prologue; The Parlement of Foules; and Lydgate's Temple of Glas. At fol. 467 is a Supplicacio amantis, a long piece of no great value, but the first four lines give pretty clear evidence that the author was well acquainted with Chaucer's Anelida, and aspired to imitate it.

'Redresse of sorweful, O Cytherea,

That with the stremys of thy plesaunt hete

Gladist the cuntreis of al Cirrea,

Wher thou hast chosyn thy paleys and thy sete.'

It seems to be a continuation of the Temple of Glas, and is probably Lydgate's own.

Hh. (Camb. Univ. Lib. Hh. 4. 12) contains much of Lydgate, and is fully described in the Catalogue.

P. (Pepys 2006) consists of 391 pages, and contains Lydgate's [56]Complaint of the Black Knight, and Temple of Glass, part of the Legend of Good Women, the A. B. C., House of Fame, Mars and Venus (two copies), Fortune, Parlement of Foules, The Legend of the Three Kings of Cologne, The War between Caesar and Pompey, a Translation of parts of Cato, the Tale of Melibeus and Parson's Tale, Anelida, Envoy to Scogan, A. B. C. (again), Purse, Truth, and Merciless Beauty.

Trin. (Trin. Coll. Camb. R. 3. 19) not only contains two of the Minor Poems, but a large number of other pieces, including the Legend of Good Women and many of Lydgate's Poems. In particular, it is the source of most of Stowe's additions to Chaucer: I may mention The Craft of Lovers, dated 1448 in the MS. (fol. 156), but 1348 in Stowe; the Ten Commandments of Love, Nine Ladies worthy, Virelai (fol. 160), Balade beginning In the seson of Feuerer (fol. 160), Goddesses and Paris (fol. 161, back), A balade plesaunte (fol. 205), O Mossie Quince (fol. 205), Balade beginning Loke well aboute (fol. 207); and The Court of Love; see the pieces numbered 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59, (p. 33). The piece numbered 41 also occurs here, at the end of the Parliament of Foules, and is headed 'Verba translatoris.' One poem, by G. Ashby, is dated 1463, and I suppose most of the pieces are in a handwriting of a later date, not far from 1500. It is clear that Stowe had no better reason for inserting pieces in his edition of Chaucer than their occurrence in this MS. to which he had access. If he had had access to any other MS. of the same character, the additions in his book would have been different, and The Court of Love would never have been 'Chaucer's.' Yet this is the sort of evidence which some accept as being quite sufficient to prove that Chaucer learnt the language of a century after his own date, in order to qualify himself for writing that poem.

§ 17. London MSS.

Ad. (MS. Addit. 16165). One of Shirley's MSS., marked with his name in large letters. It contains a copy of Chaucer's Boethius; Trevisa's translation of the gospel of Nichodemus; the Maistre of the game (on hunting); the Compleint of the Black Knight and the Dreme of a Lover, both by Lydgate. The latter is the same poem, I suppose, as The Temple of Glas. It is here we learn from Shirley that the Complaint of the Black Knight is Lydgate's. Not only is it headed, on some pages, as 'The complaynte of a knight made by [57]Lidegate,' but on fol. 3 he refers to the same poem, speaking of it as being a complaint—

'al in balade[244],

That daun Iohan of Bury made,

Lydgate the Munk clothed in blakke.'

Here also we find two separate fragments of Anelida[245]; the two stanzas mentioned above (p. 52, l. 20), called by Shirley 'two verses made in wyse of balade by Halsham, Esquyer'; Chaucer's Proverbs; the poem no. 45 above (p. 33), attributed in this MS. to Lydgate; &c. At fol. 256, back, is the Balade of compleynte printed in this volume as poem no. XXIII.

Add. (MS. Addit. 22139). This is a fine folio MS., containing Gower's Confessio Amantis. At fol. 138 are Chaucer's Purse, Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastnesse, and Truth.

At. (MS. Addit. 10340). Contains Chaucer's Boethius (foll. 1-40); also Truth, with the unique envoy, and the description of the 'Persone,' from the Canterbury Tales, on fol. 41, recto[246].

Ct. (MS. Cotton, Cleopatra, D. 7). The Chaucer poems are all on leaves 188, 189. They are all ballads, viz. Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastness, Truth, and Against Women Unconstaunt. All four are in the same hand; and we may remark that the last of the four is thus, in a manner, linked with the rest; see p. 58, l. 5, p. 26, l. 29.

H. (MS. Harl. 2251). Shirley's MS. contains a large number of pieces, chiefly by Lydgate. Also Chaucer's Prioresses Tale, Fortune (fol. 46), Gentilesse (fol. 48, back), A. B. C. (fol. 49), and Purse (fol. 271). The Craft of Lovers also occurs, and is dated 1459 in this copy. Poem no. 56 (p. 34) also occurs here, and is marked as Lydgate's. We also see from this MS. that the first four stanzas of no. 52 (p. 33) form part of a poem on the Fall of Man, in which Truth, Mercy, Righteousness, and Peace are introduced as allegorical personages. The four stanzas form part of Mercy's plea, and this is why the word mercy occurs ten times. At fol. 153, back (formerly 158, back), we actually find a copy of Henry Scogan's poem in which Chaucer's Gentilesse is not quoted, the requisite stanzas being entirely omitted. At fol. 249, back, Lydgate quotes the line 'this world is a thurghfare ful of woo,' and [58]says it is from Chaucer's 'tragedyes.' It is from the Knightes Tale, l. 1989 (A 2847).

Ha. (Harl. 7578). Contains Lydgate's Proverbs; Chaucer's Pite (fol. 13, back), Gentilesse and Lak of Stedfastnesse (fol. 17), immediately followed by the Balade against Women unconstaunt, precisely in the place where we should expect to find it; also Chaucer's Proverbs, immediately followed by the wholly unconnected stanzas discussed above; p. 52, l. 20. At fol. 20, back, are six stanzas of Chaucer's A. B. C.

Harl. (MS. Harl. 7333). This is a fine folio MS., and contains numerous pieces. At fol. 37, recto, begins a copy of the Canterbury Tales, with a short prose Proem by Shirley; this page has been reproduced in facsimile for the Chaucer Society. At fol. 129, back, begins the Parliament of Foules, at the end of which is the stanza which appears as poem no. 41 in Stowe's edition (see p. 33). Then follow the Broche of Thebes, i. e. the Complaint of Mars, and Anelida. It also contains some of the Gesta Romanorum and of Hoccleve's De Regimine Principum. But the most remarkable thing in this MS. is the occurrence, at fol. 136, of a poem hitherto (as I believe) unprinted, yet obviously (in my opinion) written by Chaucer; see no. XXII. in the present volume. Other copies occur in F. and B.

Sh. (MS. Harl. 78; one of Shirley's MSS.). At fol. 80 begins the Complaint to Pity; on fol. 82 the last stanza of this poem is immediately followed by the poem here printed as no. VI; the only mark of separation is a star-like mark placed upon the line which is drawn to separate one stanza from another. At the end of fol. 83, back, l. 123 of the poem occurs at the bottom of the page, and fol. 84 is gone; so that the last stanza of 10 lines and the ascription to Chaucer in the colophon do not appear in this MS.

MS. Harl. 372. This MS. contains many poems by Lydgate. Also a copy of Anelida; followed by La Belle Dame sans mercy, 'translatid out of Frenche by Sir Richard Ros,' &c.

MS. Lansdowne 699. This MS. contains numerous poems by Lydgate, such as Guy of Warwick, the Dance of Macabre, the Horse, Sheep, and Goose, &c.; and copies of Chaucer's Fortune and Truth.

§ 18. I.  A. B. C.

This piece was first printed in Speght's edition of 1602, with this title: 'Chaucer's A. B. C. called La Priere de Nostre Dame: made, [59]as some say, at the Request of Blanch, Duchesse of Lancaster, as a praier for her priuat vse, being a woman in her religion very deuout.' This is probably a mere guess, founded on the fact that Chaucer wrote the Book of the Duchess. It cannot be literally true, because it is not strictly 'made,' or composed, but only translated. Still, it is just possible that it was translated for her pleasure (rather than use); and if so, must have been written between 1359 and 1369. A probable date is about 1366. In any case, it may well stand first in chronological order, being a translation just of that unambitious character which requires no great experience. Indeed, the translation shews one mark of want of skill; each stanza begins by following the original for a line or two, after which the stanza is completed rather according to the requirements of rime than with an endeavour to render the original at all closely. There are no less than thirteen MS. copies of it; and its genuineness is attested both by Lydgate and Shirley.[247] The latter marks it with Chaucer's name in the Sion College MS. Lydgate's testimony is curious, and requires a few words of explanation.

Guillaume De Deguilleville, a Cistercian monk in the royal abbey of Chalis[248], in the year 1330 or 1331[249], wrote a poem entitled Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine. Of this there are two extant English translations, one in prose and one in verse, the latter being attributed to Lydgate. Of the prose translation[250] four copies exist, viz. in the MSS. which I call C., Gl., Jo., and L. In all of these, Chaucer's A. B. C. is inserted, in order to give a verse rendering of a similar prayer in verse in the original. Of Lydgate's verse translation there is a copy in MS. Cotton, Vitell. C. xiii. (see foll. 255, 256); and when he comes to the place where the verse prayer occurs in his original, he says that, instead of translating the prayer himself, he will quote Chaucer's translation, observing:—

'My mayster Chaucer, in hys tyme,

Affter the Frenchs he dyde yt ryme.'

Curiously enough, he does not do so; a blank space was left in the MS. [60]for the scribe to copy it out, but it was never filled in[251]. However, it places the genuineness of the poem beyond doubt; and the internal evidence confirms it; though it was probably, as was said, quite an early work.

In order to illustrate the poem fully, I print beneath it the French original, which I copy from the print of it in Furnivall's One-text Print of Chaucer's Minor Poems, Part I. p. 84.

It is taken from Guillaume De Deguilleville's Pèlerinage de l'Ame, Part I, Le Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine. Edited from the MS. 1645, Fonds Français, in the National Library, Paris (A), and collated with the MSS. 1649 (B), 376 (C), and 377 (D), in the same collection, by Paul Meyer. I omit, however, the collations; the reader only wants a good text.

Chaucer did not translate the last two stanzas. I therefore give them here.

'Ethiques[252] s'avoie leü,

Tout recordé et tout sceü,

Et après riens n'en ouvrasse


Du tout seroie deceü.

Aussi con cil qui est cheü,

En sa rois et en sa nasse.

Vierge, m'ame je claim lasse,

Quar en toy priant se lasse

Et si ne fait point son deü.

Pou vault chose que je amasse;

Ma priere n'est que quasse

S'a bien je ne sui esmeü.

'Contre[253] moy doubt que ne prie


Ou que en vain merci ne crie.

Je te promet amandement;

Et pour ce que je ne nie

Ma promesse, je t'en lie

L'ame de moy en gaigement;

Puis si te pri finablement

Que quant sera mon finement

Tu ne me defailles mie:

Pour moy soies au jugement

Afin que hereditablement


J'aie pardurable vie. Amen.'

MS. C. affords, on the whole, the best text, and is therefore followed, all variations from it being duly noted in the footnotes, [61]except (occasionally) when i is put for y, or y for i. The scribes are very capricious in the use of these letters, using them indifferently; but it is best to use i when the vowel is short (as a general rule), and y when it is long. Thus, it is is better than yt ys, and wyse than wise, in order to shew that the vowel is long in the latter case. I also use y at the end of a word, as usual; as in lady, my. When the spelling of the MS. is thus slightly amended, it gives a fair text, which can easily be read with the old and true pronunciation.

We may roughly divide the better MSS. into two sets, thus: (a) C. Gl. L. Jo.; (b) F. B. Gg. The rest I have not collated. See Koch, in Anglia, iv. b. 100.

The metre of this poem is worthy of notice. Chaucer uses it again, in the Former Age (IX), Lenvoy to Bukton (XVII), and in the Monkes Tale. More complex examples of it, with repeated rimes, are seen in the Balade to Rosemounde (XII), Fortune (X), and Venus (XVIII). See also the two stanzas on p. 47.

§ 19. II. The Compleynt Unto Pite.

The word compleynt answers to the O. F. complaint, sb. masc., as distinguished from O. F. complainte, sb. fem., and was the technical name, as it were, for a love-poem of a mournful tone, usually addressed to the unpitying loved one. See Godefroy's Old French Dictionary[254]. Dr. Furnivall's account of this poem begins as follows: 'In seventeen 7-line stanzas: 1 of Proem, 7 of Story, and 9 of Complaint, arranged in three Terns [sets of three] of stanzas; first printed by Thynne in 1532.... The poem looks not easy to construe; but it is clearly a Complaint to Pity, as 5 MSS. read, and not of Pity, as Shirley reads in MS. Harl. 78. This Pity once lived in the heart of the loved-one of the poet.... But in his mistress's heart dwells also Pity's rival, Cruelty; and when the poet, after waiting many years[255], seeks to declare his love, even before he can do so, he finds that Pity for him is dead in his mistress's heart, Cruelty has prevailed, and deprived him of her.' His theory is, that this poem is Chaucer's earliest original work, and relates to his own feelings of hopeless love; also, that Chaucer was not married till 1374, when he married his namesake Philippa Chaucer[256]. If [62]this be so, a probable conjectural date for this poem is about 1367. I have remarked, in the note to l. 14, that the allegory of the poem is somewhat confused; and this implies a certain want of skill and clearness, which makes the supposition of its being an early work the more probable[257]. It is extremely difficult to determine to what extent the sentiments are artificial. If a French poem of a similar character should one day be found, it would not be very surprising. Meanwhile, it is worth observing that the notion of personifying Pity is taken from Chaucer's favourite author Statius; see the Thebaid, bk. xi. 458-496, and compare the context, ll. 1-457. It is this which enables us to explain the word Herenus in l. 92, which is an error for Herines, the form used by Chaucer to denote the Erinnyes or Furies[258]. The Erinnyes are mentioned in Statius, Theb. xi. 345 (cf. ll. 58, 60, 383); and Statius leads up to the point of the story where it is an even chance whether there will be peace or war. The Furies urge on the combatants to war; and at this crisis, the only power who can overrule them is Pietas, personified by Statius for this express purpose (ll. 458, 465, 466). The struggle between Pity and Cruelty in Chaucer's poem is parallel to the struggle between Pietas and the fury Tisiphone as told in Statius. Pity is called Herines quene, or queen of the Furies, because she alone is supposed to be able to control them. See my notes to ll. 57, 64, and 92.

The poem is extant in nine MSS. It is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MS. 'Sh.,' and the internal evidence confirms this. There is a fairly good copy in MS. F., on which my edition of it is based. There is, further, an excellent critical edition of this poem by Prof. Ten Brink, in Essays on Chaucer, Part II, p. 170 (Chaucer Soc.); this I carefully consulted after making my own copy, and I found that the differences were very slight. The least valuable MSS. seem to be Ff., Ph., and Lt. Omitting these, the MSS. may be divided into three sets, viz. A, Ba, and Bb, the two last going back to a common source B. These are: (A.)—Sh. Ha.; (Ba.)—F. B.; (Bb.)—Tn. Trin. See Koch, in Anglia, iv. b. 96.

In this poem we have the earliest example, in English, of the famous 7-line stanza. [63]

§ 20. III. The Book of the Duchesse.

Here we are on firm ground. The genuineness of this poem has never been doubted. It is agreed that the word Whyte in l. 948, which is given as the name of the lady lately dead, is a translation of Blanche, and that the reference is to the wife of the Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt), who died Sept. 12, 1369, at the age of twenty-nine, her husband being then of the same age. As the poem would naturally be written soon after this event, the date must be near the end of 1369. In fact, John of Gaunt married again in 1372, whereas he is represented in the poem as being inconsolable. Chaucer's own testimony, in the Legend of Good Women, l. 418, is that he made 'the deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse'; and again, in the Introduction to the Man of Law's Prologue, l. 57, that 'In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcion.' In 1369, Chaucer was already twenty-nine years of age (taking the year of his birth to be 1340, not 1328), which is rather past the period of youth; and the fact that he thus mentions 'Ceys and Alcion' as if it were the name of an independent poem, renders it almost certain that such was once the case. He clearly thought it too good to be lost, and so took the opportunity of inserting it in a more ambitious effort. The original 'Ceys and Alcion' evidently ended at l. 220; where it began, we cannot say, for the poem was doubtless revised and somewhat altered. Ll. 215, 216 hint that a part of it was suppressed. The two subjects were easily connected, the sorrow of Alcyone for the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband being the counterpart of the sorrow of the duke for the loss of his wife. The poem of 'Ceys and Alcion' shews Chaucer under the influence of Ovid, just as part of his Complaint to Pity was suggested by Statius; but in the later part of the poem of the Book of the Duchesse we see him strongly influenced by French authors, chiefly Guillaume de Machault and the authors of Le Roman de la Rose. His familiarity with the latter poem (as pointed out in the notes) is such as to prove that he had already been previously employed in making his translation of that extremely lengthy work, and possibly quotes lines from his own translation[259]. [64]

The relationship between the MSS. and Thynne's edition has been investigated by Koch, in Anglia, vol. iv. Anzeiger, p. 95, and by Max Lange, in his excellent dissertation entitled Untersuchungen über Chaucer's Boke of the Duchesse, Halle, 1883. They both agree in representing the scheme of relationship so as to give the following result:

α —— brace β —— Thynne.
γ —— brace Tanner MS.
δ —— brace Fairfax MS.
Bodley MS.

Here α represents a lost original MS., and β and γ are lost MSS. derived from it. Thynne follows β; whilst γ is followed by the Tanner MS. and a lost MS. δ. The Fairfax and Bodley MSS., which are much alike, are copies of δ. The MS. γ had lost a leaf, containing ll. 31-96; hence the same omission occurs in the three MSS. derived from it. However, a much later hand has filled in the gap in MS. F, though it remains blank in the other two MSS. On the whole, the authorities for this poem are almost unusually poor; I have, in general, followed MS. F, but have carefully amended it where the other copies seemed to give a better result. Lange gives a useful set of 'Konjecturen,' many of which I have adopted. I have also adopted, thankfully, some suggestions made by Koch and Ten Brink; others I decline, with thanks.

This poem is written in the common metre of four accents, which was already in use before Chaucer's time, as in the poem of Havelok the Dane, Robert of Brunne's Handling Synne, Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, &c. Chaucer only used it once afterwards, viz. in his House of Fame. It is the metre employed also in his translation (as far as we have it) of the French Roman de la Rose.

§ 21. IV. The Compleynt of Mars.

Lydgate tells us that this poem is Chaucer's, referring to it as containing the story of 'the broche which that Vulcanus At Thebes wrought,' &c. Internal evidence clearly shews that it was written by the author of the Treatise on the Astrolabie. In MS. Harl. 7333, Shirley gives it the title 'The broche of Thebes, as of the love of Mars and Venus.' Bale oddly refers to this poem as De Vulcani veru, but broche is here an ornament, not a spit. With the exception of two lines and a half (ll. 13-15), the whole poem is supposed to be sung by a bird, and upon St. Valentine's day. Such a contrivance [65]shews a certain lack of skill, and is an indication of a comparatively early date. The poem begins in the ordinary 7-line stanza, rimed a b a b b c c; but the Complaint itself is in 9-line stanzas, rimed a a b a a b b c c, and exhibits a considerable advance in rhythmical skill. This stanza, unique in Chaucer, was copied by Douglas (Palace of Honour, part 3), and by Sir D. Lyndesay (Prol. to Testament of Papyngo).

At the end of the copy of this poem in MS. T., Shirley appends the following note:—'Thus eondethe here this complaint, whiche some men sayne was made by [i. e. with respect to] my lady of York, doughter to the kyng of Spaygne, and my lord huntingdon, some tyme Duc of Excestre.' This tradition may be correct, but the intrigue between them was discreditable enough, and would have been better passed over in silence than celebrated in a poem, in which Mars and Venus fitly represent them. In the heading to the poem in the same MS., Shirley tells us further, that it was written to please John of Gaunt. The heading is:—'Loo, yee louers, gladethe and comfortethe you of thallyance etrayted[260] bytwene the hardy and furyous Mars the god of armes and Venus the double [i. e. fickle] goddesse of loue; made by Geffrey Chaucier, at the comandement of the renommed and excellent Prynce my lord the Duc Iohn of Lancastre.' The lady was John of Gaunt's sister-in-law. John of Gaunt married, as his second wife, in 1372, Constance, elder daughter of Pedro, king of Castile; whilst his brother Edmund, afterwards duke of York, married Isabel, her sister. In Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 154, we read that this Isabel, 'having been somewhat wanton in her younger years, at length became a hearty penitent; and departing this life in 1394, was buried in the Friers Preachers at Langele,' i. e. King's Langley in Hertfordshire; cf. Chauncy's Hertfordshire, p. 455; Camden's Anglica, p. 350. It is possible that Chaucer addressed his Envoy to the Complaint of Venus to the same lady, as he calls her 'Princess.'

Mars is, accordingly, intended to represent John Holande, half-brother to Richard II, Earl of Huntingdon, and afterwards Duke of Exeter. He actually married John of Gaunt's daughter, Elizabeth, whose mother was the Blaunche celebrated in the Book of the Duchess.

If this tradition be true, the date of the poem must be not very many years after 1372, when the Princess Isabel came to England. [66]We may date it, conjecturally, about 1374. See further in Furnivall's Trial Forewords, pp. 78-90. I may add that an attempt has been made to solve the problem of the date of this poem by astronomy (see Anglia, ix. 582). It is said that Mars and Venus were in conjunction on April 14, 1379. This is not wholly satisfactory; for Chaucer seems to refer to the 12th of April as the time of conjunction. If we accept this result, then the year was 1379. The date 1373-9 is near enough.

The poem is remarkable for its astronomical allusions, which are fully explained in the notes. The story of Mars and Venus was doubtless taken from Ovid, Metam. iv. 170-189. The story of the brooch of Thebes is from Statius, ii. 265, &c.; see note to l. 245.

I shall here add a guess of mine which possibly throws some light on Chaucer's reason for referring to the brooch of Thebes. It is somewhat curious that the Princess Isabel, in a will made twelve years before her death, and dated Dec. 6, 1382, left, amongst other legacies, 'to the Duke of Lancaster, a Tablet of Jasper which the King of Armonie gave her'; see Furnivall's Trial Forewords, p. 82. Here Armonie means, of course, Armenia; but it is also suggestive of Harmonia, the name of the first owner of the brooch of Thebes. It seems just possible that the brooch of Thebes was intended to refer to this tablet of jasper, which was doubtless of considerable value and may have been talked about as being a curiosity.

MSS. F. Tn. and Lt. are much alike; the rest vary. I follow F. mainly, in constructing the text.

§ 22. V. The Parlement of Foules.

This poem is undoubtedly genuine; both Chaucer and Lydgate mention it. It is remarkable as being the first of the Minor Poems which exhibits the influence upon Chaucer of Italian literature, and was therefore probably written somewhat later than the Complaint of Mars. It is also the first of the Minor Poems in which touches of true humour occur; see ll. 498-500, 508, 514-6, 563-575, 589-616. Dr. Furnivall (Trial Forewords, p. 53) notes that the MSS. fall into two principal groups; in the first he places Gg., Trin., Cx., Harl., O., the former part of Ff., (part of) Ar., and the fragments in Hh. and Laud 416; in the second he places F., Tn., D., and the latter part of Ff. Lt. also belongs to the second group. See further [67]in Anglia, vol. iv. Anzeiger, p. 97. The whole poem, except the Roundel in ll. 680-692, is in Chaucer's favourite 7-line stanza, often called the ballad-stanza, or simply balade in the MSS.

The poem itself may be roughly divided into four parts. The first part, ll. 1-84, is mainly occupied with an epitome of the general contents of Cicero's Somnium Scipionis. The second part, ll. 85-175, shews several instances of the influence of Dante, though the stanza containing ll. 99-105 is translated from Claudian. The third part, ll. 176-294, is almost wholly translated or imitated from Boccaccio's Teseide. And the fourth part, ll. 295 to the end, is occupied with the real subject of the poem, the main idea being taken, as Chaucer himself tells us, from Alanus de Insulis. The passages relating to the Somnium Scipionis are duly pointed out in the notes; and so are the references to Dante and Claudian. The history of the third and fourth parts requires further explanation.

We have already seen that Chaucer himself tells us, in the Prol. to the Legend, 420, that he made—'al the love of Palamon and Arcyte Of Thebes, thogh the story is knowen lyte.' (N.B. This does not mean that Chaucer's version of the story was 'little known,' but that Boccaccio speaks of the story as being little known—'che Latino autor non par ne dica'; see note to Anelida, l. 8.) Now, in the first note on Anelida and Arcite, it is explained how this story of Palamon and Arcite was necessarily translated, more or less closely, from Boccaccio's Teseide, and was doubtless written in the 7-line stanza; also that fragments of it are preserved to us (1) in sixteen stanzas of the Parliament of Foules, (2) in the first ten stanzas of Anelida, and (3) in three stanzas of Troilus. At a later period, the whole poem was re-written in a different metre, and now forms the Knightes Tale. The sixteen stanzas here referred to begin at l. 183 (the previous stanza being also imitated from a different part of the Teseide, bk. xi. st. 24), and end at l. 294. Chaucer has somewhat altered the order; see note to l. 183. I here quote, from Furnivall's Trial Forewords, pp. 60-66, a translation by Mr. W. M. Rossetti, of Boccaccio's Teseide, bk. vii. stanzas 51-66; and I give, beneath it, the Italian text, from an edition published at Milan in 1819. This passage can be compared with Chaucer's imitation of it at the reader's leisure.

I note, beforehand, that, in the first line of this translation, the word whom refers to Vaghezza, i. e. Grace, Allurement; whilst she is the prayer of Palemo, personified. [68]

Tes. vii. stanzas 51-60; cf. Parl. Foules, ll. 183-259.

'With whom going forward, she saw that [i. e. Mount Cithaeron]

In every view suave and charming;

In guise of a garden bosky and beautiful,

And greenest, full of plants,

Of fresh grass, and every new flower;

And therein rose fountains living and clear;

And, among the other plants it abounded in,

Myrtle seemed to her more than other.

Colla quale oltre andando vide quello

Per ogni vista soave ed ameno,

A guisa d'un giardin fronzuto e bello

E di piante verdissimo ripieno,

D'erbetta fresca e d'ogni fior novello;

E fonti vive e chiare vi surgieno,

E in fra l'altre piante, onde abbondava,

Mortine più che altro le sembrava.

P. F. 190.

'Here she heard amid the branches sweetly

Birds singing of almost all kinds:

Upon which [branches] also in like wise

She saw them with delight making their nests.

Next among the fresh shadows quickly

She saw rabbits go hither and thither,

And timid deer and fawns,

And many other dearest little beasts.

Quivi sentì pe' rami dolcemente

Quasi d'ogni maniera ucce' cantare,

Sopra de' quali ancor similemente

Gli vide con diletto i nidi a fare:

Poscia fra l'ombre fresche prestamente

Vidi conigli in qua e in là andare,

E timidenti cervi e cavrioli,

E molti altri carissimi bestiuoli.

P. F. 197.

'In like wise here every instrument

She seemed to hear, and delightful chaunt:

Wherefore passing with pace not slow,

And looking about, somewhat within herself suspended

At the lofty place and beautiful adornment

She saw it replete in almost every corner


With spiritlings which, flying here and there,

Went to their bourne. Which she looking at,

Similemente quivi ogni stromento

Le parve udire e dilettoso canto;

Onde passando con passo non lento,

E rimirando, in sè sospesa alquanto

Dell' alto loco e del bell' ornamento;

Ripieno il vide quasi in ogni canto

Di spirite', che qua e là volando

Gieno a lor posta; a' quali essa guardando,

P. F. 211.

'Among the bushes beside a fountain

Saw Cupid forging arrows—

He having the bow set down by his feet;

Which [arrows when] selected his daughter Voluptas

Tempered in the waves. And settled down

With them was Ease [Ozio, Otium]; whom she saw

That he, with Memory, steeled his darts

With the steel that she [Voluptas] first tempered.

Tra gli albuscelli ad una fonta allato

Vide Cupido a fabbricar saette,

Avendo egli a' suoi piè l'arco posato,

Le qua' sua figlia Voluttade elette

Nell' onde temperava, ed assettato

Con lor s'era Ozio, il quale ella vedette,

Che con Memoria l'aste sue ferrava

De' ferri ch' ella prima temperava.

P. F. 218.

'And then she saw in that pass Grace [Leggiadria],

With Adorning [Adornezza] and Affability,

And the wholly estrayed Courtesy;

And she saw the Arts that have power

To make others perforce do folly,

In their aspect much disfigured.

The Vain Delight of our form

She saw standing alone with Gentilesse.

E poi vide in quel passo Leggiadria

Con Adornezza ed Affabilitate,

E la ismarrita in tutto Cortesia,

E vide l'Arti ch' hanno potestate

Di fare altrui a forza far follia,

Nel loro aspetto molto isfigurate:

Delia immagine nostra il van Diletto

Con Gentilezza vide star soletto.

P. F. 225.

'Then she saw Beauty pass her by,

Without any ornament, gazing on herself;

And with her she saw Attraction [Piacevolezza] go,—

She [the prayer] commending to herself both one and other.

With them she saw standing Youth,

Lively and adorned, making great feast:


And on the other side she saw madcap Audacity

Going along with Glozings and Pimps.

Poi vide appresso a sè passar Bellezza

Sanz' ornamento alcun sè riguardando,

E vide gir con lei Piacevolezza,

E l'una e l'altra seco commendando,

Vide con loro starsi Giovinezza

Destra ed adorna, molto festeggiando:

E d'altra parte vide il folle Ardire

Con Lusinghe e Ruffiani insieme gire.

P. F. 232.

'In mid the place, on lofty columns,

She saw a temple of copper; round which

She saw youths dancing and women—

This one of them beautiful, and that one in fine raiment,

Ungirdled, barefoot, only in their hair and gowns,

Who spent the day in this alone.

Then over the temple she saw doves hover

And settle and coo.

In mezzo il loco sur alte colonne

Di rame vide un tempio, al qual d'intorno

Danzanti giovinetti vide e donne,

Qual d'esse bella, e qual d'abito adorno,

Iscinte, iscalze, in capei soli e'n gonne,

Che in questo solo disponeano il giorno:

Poi sopra il tempio vide volitare

E posarsi colombe e mormorare.

P. F. 239.

'And near to the entry of the temple

She saw that there sat quietly

My lady Peace, who a curtain

Moved lightly before the door.

Next her, very subdued in aspect,

Sat Patience discreetly,

Pallid in look; and on all sides

Around her she saw artful Promises.

E all'entrata del tempio vicina

Vide che si sedava pianamente

Monna Pace, la quale una cortina

Movea innanzi alla porta lievemente;

Appresso a lei in vista assai tapina

Pacienza sedea discretamente;

Pallida nell' aspetto, e d'ogni parte

Intorno a lei vide Promesse ad arte.

P. F. 246.

'Then entering the temple, of Sighs

She felt there an earthquake, which whirled

All fiery with hot desires.

This lit up all the altars


With new flames born of pangs;

Each of which dripped with tears

Produced by a woman cruel and fell

Whom she there saw, called Jealousy

Poi dentro al tempio entrata, di sospiri

Vi senti un terremoto, che girava

Focoso tutto di caldi disiri:

Questi gli altari tutti alluminava

Di nuove fiamme nate di martiri,

De' qua' ciascun di lagrime grondava,

Mosse da una donna cruda e ria,

Che vide lì, chiamata Gelosia:

P. F. 253.

'And in that [temple] she saw Priapus hold

The highest place—in habit just such as

Whoever would at night see him

Could [do] when, braying, the animal

Dullest of all awoke Vesta, who to his mind

Was not a little—towards whom he in like guise

Went: and likewise throughout the great temple

She saw many garlands of diverse flowers.'

Ed in quel vide Priapo tenere

Più sommo loco, in abito tal quale

Chiunque il volle la notte vedere

Potè, quando ragghiando l'animale

Più pigro destò Vesta, che in calere

Non poco gli era, in vêr di cui cotale

Andava; e simil per lo tempio grande

Di fior diversi assai vide grillande.

Tes. vii. 61, 62; cf. P. F. 281-294.
P. F. 281.

'Here many bows of the Chorus of Diana

She saw hung up and broken; among which was

That of Callisto, become the Arctic

Bear. The apples were there of haughty

Atalanta, who was sovereign in racing;

And also the arms of that other proud one

Who brought forth Parthenopaeus,

Grandson to the Calydonian King Oeneus.

Quivi molti archi a' Cori di Diana

Vide appiccati e rotti, in tra quali era

Quel di Callisto fatta tramontana

Orsa; le pome v'eran della fiera

Atalanta che 'n correr fu sovrana;

Ed ancor l'armi di quell' altra altiera

Che partorì il bel Partenopeo

Nipote al calidonio Re Eneo.

P. F. 288.

'She saw there histories painted all about;

Among which with finer work

Of the spouse of Ninus she there

Saw all the doings distinguished; and at foot of the mulberry-tree

Pyramus and Thisbe, and the mulberries already distained;

And she saw among these the great Hercules

In the lap of Iole, and woeful Biblis

Going piteous, soliciting Caunus.'

Videvi storie per tutto dipinte,

In tra le qua' con più alto lavoro

Della sposa di Nino ivi distinte

L'opere tutte vide; e a piè del moro

Piramo e Tisbe, e già le gelse tinte:

E'l grand' Ercole vide tra costoro

In grembo a Jole, e Bibli dolorosa

Andar pregando Cauno pietosa.

Tes. vii. 63-66; cf. P. F. 260-280.
P. F. 260.

'But, as she saw not Venus, it was told her

(Nor knew she by whom)—"In secreter

Part of the temple stays she delighting.

If thou wantest her, through that door quietly

Enter." Wherefore she, without further demur,

Meek of manner as she was,

Approached thither to enter within,

And do the embassy to her committed.

Ma non vedendo Vener, le fu detto,

Nè conobbe da cui: 'In più sagreta

Parte del tempio stassi ella a diletto:

Se tu la vuoi, per quella porta, cheta

Te n'entra': ond' essa, sanza altro rispetto,

In abito qual era mansueta,

Là si appressò per entrar dentro ad essa,

E l'ambasciata fare a lei commessa.

P. F. 261.

'But there she, at her first coming,

Found Riches guarding the portal—

Who seemed to her much to be reverenced:

And, being by her allowed to enter there,

The place was dark to her at first going.

But afterwards, by staying, a little light


She gained there; and saw her lying naked

On a great bed very fair to see.

Ma essa lì nel primo suo venire

Trovò Richezza la porta guardare;

La qual le parve assai da riverire;

E lasciata da lei quiv'entro entrare,

Oscuro le fu il loco al primo gire;

Ma poca luce poscia nello stare

Lì prese, e vide lei nuda giacere

Sopra un gran letto assai bella a vedere.

P. F. 267.

'But she had hair of gold, and shining

Round her head without any tress.

Her face was such that most people

Have in comparison no beauty at all.

The arms, breast, and outstanding apples,

Were all seen; and every other part with a

Texture so thin was covered

That it shewed forth almost as [if] naked.

Ma avie d'oro i crini e rilucenti

Intorno al capo sanza treccia alcuna:

Il suo viso era tal che le più genti

Hanno a rispetto bellezza nissuna:

Le braccia, il petto e le poma eminenti

Si vedien tutte, e ogni altra parte d'una

Testa tanto sottil si ricopria,

Che quasimente nuda comparia.

P. F. 274.

'The neck was fragrant with full a thousand odours.

At one of her sides Bacchus was seated,

At the other Ceres with her savours.

And she in her hands held the apple,

Delighting herself, which, to her sisters

Preferred, she won in the Idean vale.

And, having seen all this, she [the prayer] made her request,

Which was conceded without denial.'

Olíva il collo ben di mille odori:

Dall' un de' lati Bacco le sedea,

Dall' altro Ceres cogli suoi savori:

Ed essa il pomo per le man tenea,

Sè dilettando, il quale alle sorori

Prelata vinse nella valle Idea:

E tutto ciò veduto posse il prego,

Il qual fu conceduto senza niego.

At l. 298 we are introduced to a queen, who in l. 303 is said to be the noble goddess Nature. The general idea is taken from Aleyn's Pleynt of Kynde (l. 316), i. e. from the Planctus Naturae of Alanus de Insulis; see note to l. 298 of the poem. I here quote the most essential passage from the Anglo-Latin Satirical Poets, ed. T. Wright, ii. 437. It describes the garment worn by the goddess Nature, on which various birds were represented. The phrase animalium [74]concilium may have suggested the name given by Chaucer to our poem. But see the remark on p. 75, l. 21.

'Haec autem [vestis] nimis subtilizata, subterfugiens oculorum indaginem, ad tantam materiae tenuitatem advenerat, ut ejus aerisque eandem crederes esse naturam, in qua, prout oculis pictura imaginabatur, animalium celebratur concilium. Illic aquila, primo juvenem, secundo senem, induens, tertio iterum reciprocata priorem, in Adonidem revertebatur a Nestore. Illic ancipiter (sic), civitatis praefectus aeriae, violenta tyrannide a subditis redditus exposcebat. Illic milvus, venatoris induens personam, venatione furtiva larvam gerebat ancipitris. Illic falco in ardeam bellum excitabat civile, non tamen aequali lance divisum. Non enim illud pugnae debet appellatione censeri, ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum. Illic struthio, vita seculari postposita, vitam solitariam agens, quasi heremita factus, desertarum solitudines incolebat. Illic olor, sui funeris praeco, mellitae citherizationis organo vitae prophetabat apocopam. Illic in pavone tantum pulcritudinis compluit Natura thesaurum, ut eam postea crederes mendicasse. Illic phoenix, in se mortuus, redivivus in alio, quodam Naturae miraculo, se sua morte a mortuis suscitabat. Illic avis concordiae (ciconia) prolem decimando Naturae persolvebat tributum. Illic passeres in atomum pygmeae humilitatis relegati degebant, grus ex opposito in giganteae quantitatis evadebat excessum.

'Illic phasianus, natalis insulae perpessus angustias, principum futurus deliciae, nostros evolabat in orbes. Illic gallus, tanquam vulgaris astrologus, suae vocis horologio horarum loquebatur discrimina. Illic gallus silvestris, privatioris galli deridens desidiam, peregre proficiscens, nemorales peragrabat provincias. Illic bubo, propheta miseriae, psalmodias funereae lamentationis praecinebat. Illic noctua tantae deformitatis sterquilinio sordescebat, ut in ejus formatione Naturam crederes fuisse somnolentam. Illic cornix, ventura prognosticans, nugatorio concitabatur garritu. Illic pica, dubio picturata colore, curam logices perennebat insomnem. Illic monedula, latrocinio laudabili reculas thesaurizans, innatae avaritiae argumenta monstrabat. Illic columba, dulci malo inebriata Diones, laborabat Cypridis in palaestra. Illic corvus, zelotypiae abhorrens dedecus, suos foetus non sua esse pignora fatebatur, usque dum comperto nigri argumento coloris, hoc quasi secum disputans comprobat. Illic perdix nunc aeriae potestatis insultus, nunc venatorum sophismata, nunc canum latratus propheticos abhorrebat. Illic anas cum ansere, sub eodem jure vivendi, hiemabat in patria fluviali. Illic turtur, suo viduata consorte, amorem epilogare dedignans, in altero bigamiae refutabat solatia. Illic psittacus cum sui gutturis incude vocis monetam fabricabat humanae. Illic coturnicem, figurae draconis ignorantem fallaciam, imaginariae vocis decipiebant sophismata. Illic picus, propriae architectus domunculae, sui rostri dolabro clausulam fabricabat in ilice. Illic curruca, novercam exuens, materno pietatis ubere alienam cuculi prolem adoptabat in filium; quae tamen capitali praemiata stipendio, privignum agnoscens, filium ignorabat. Illic hirundo, a sua peregrinatione reversa, sub trabe nidi lutabat hospitium. Illic philomena, deflorationis querelam reintegrans, harmoniaca tympanizans dulcedine, puritatis dedecus excusabat. Illic alauda, quasi nobilis citharista, non studii artificio, sed Naturae magisterio, musicae praedocta scientiam, citharam praesentabat in ore.... Haec animalia, quamvis illic quasi allegorice viverent, ibi tamen esse videbantur ad litteram.'

As to the date of this poem, Ten Brink (Studien, p. 127) shews that it must have been written later than 1373; and further, that it [75]was probably written earlier than Troilus, which seems to have been finished in 1383. It may therefore have been written in 1382, in which case it may very well refer to the betrothal (in 1381) of King Richard II to Queen Anne of Bohemia. See, on this subject, Dr. Koch's discussion of the question in Essays on Chaucer, p. 407, published by the Chaucer Society. Prof. Ward (who follows Koch) in his Life of Chaucer, p. 86, says:—'Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the great Emperor Charles IV., and sister of King Wenceslas, had been successively betrothed to a Bavarian prince and to a Margrave of Meissen, before—after negotiations which, according to Froissart, lasted a year[261]—her hand was given to young King Richard II. of England. This sufficiently explains the general scope of the Assembly of Fowls, an allegorical poem written on or about St. Valentine's Day, 1381[262]—eleven months or nearly a year after which date the marriage took place[263].'

I here note that Lydgate's Flour of Curtesie is a palpable imitation of the Parliament of Foules; so also is the earlier part of his Complaint of the Black Knight.

On the other hand, it is interesting to find, in the Poésies de Marie de France, ed. Roquefort, Paris, 1820, that Fable 22 (vol. i. p. 130) is entitled:—'Li parlemens des Oiseax por faire Roi.' In this fable, the Birds reject the Cuckoo, and choose the Eagle as king.

§ 23. VI. A Compleint to his Lady.

We may fairly say that this poem is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley, since in MS. Harl. 78 it is copied out by him as if it were a continuation of the Complaint to Pity, and the pages are, throughout, headed with the words—'The Balade of Pytee. By Chauciers.' Stowe implies that he had seen more than one MS. copy of this poem, and says that 'these verses were compiled by Geffray Chauser,' for which he may have found authority in the MSS.[264] Moreover, the [76]internal evidence settles the matter. It is evident that we have here a succession of metrical experiments, the last of which exhibits a ten-line stanza resembling the nine-line stanza of his Anelida; in fact, we here have that Complaint in a crude form, which was afterwards elaborated; see the references, in the Notes, to the corresponding passages in that poem. But a very great and unique interest is attached to lines 16 to 43. For here we have the sole example, in English literature of that period, of the use of terza rima, obviously copied from Dante; and Chaucer was the only writer who then had a real acquaintance with that author. I know of no other example of the use of this metre before the time of Lord Surrey and Sir Thomas Wiat, when Englishmen once more sought acquaintance with Italian poetry. Consequently, we have here the pleasure of seeing how Chaucer handled Dante's metre; and the two fragments here preserved shew that he might have handled it quite successfully if he had persevered in doing so.

It is to be regretted that Shirley's spelling is so indifferent; he was rather an amateur than a professional scribe. Some of his peculiarities may be noticed, as they occur not only here, but also in the two last pieces, nos. XXII. and XXIII. He constantly adds a final e in the wrong place, producing such forms fallethe, howe, frome, and the like, and drops it where it is necessary, as in hert (for herte). He is fond of eo for ee or long e, as in beo, neodethe. He writes ellas for allas; also e in place of the prefix y-, as in eknytte for y-knit. This last peculiarity is extremely uncommon. I have removed the odd effect which these vagaries produce, and I adopt the ordinary spelling of MSS. that resemble in type the Ellesmere MS. of the Canterbury Tales.

This piece exhibits three distinct metres, viz. the 7-line stanza, terza rima, and the 10-line stanza. Of the last, which is extremely rare, we have here the earliest example. Lines 56 and 59 are lost, and some others are imperfect.

§ 24. VII. Anelida and Arcite.

The genuineness of this poem is obvious enough, and is vouched for both by Lydgate and Shirley, as shewn above. It is further [77]discussed in the Notes. I may add that Lydgate incidentally refers to it in his Complaint of the Black Knight, l. 379:—'Of Thebes eke the false Arcite.' Much later allusions are the following:—

'There was also Annelida the queene,

Upon Arcite how sore she did complaine';

Assembly of Ladies, l. 465.

...... 'and the weimenting

Of her Annelida, true as turtle-dove

To Arcite fals.'

Court of Love, l. 233.

The first three stanzas are from Boccaccio's Teseide, as shewn in the Notes; so also are stanzas 8, 9, and 10. Stanzas 4-7 are partly from Statius. The origin of ll. 71-210 is at present unknown. It is difficult to date this poem, but it must be placed after 1373, because of its quotations from the Teseide, or rather from Chaucer's own Palamon and Arcite. The mention of 'the quene of Ermony' in l. 72 suggests that Chaucer's thoughts may have been turned towards Armenia by the curious fact that, in 1384, the King of Armenia came to England about Christmas time, stayed two months, and was hospitably entertained by King Richard at Eltham; see Fabyan's Chronicles, ed. Ellis, p. 532. At an earlier time, viz. in 1362, Walsingham says that some knights of Armenia appeared at a tournament in Smithfield. In the Transactions of the Cambridge Philological Society, May 13, 1886, there is a short paper by Prof. Cowell, from which we learn that Mr. Bradshaw believed the name of Anelida to be identical 'with Anáhita (Ἀναΐτις), the ancient goddess of Persia and Armenia.... He supposed that Chaucer got the name Anelida from a misreading of the name Anaetidem or Anaetida in some Latin MS., the t being mistaken for l.' We must remember that Creseide represents a Greek accusative form Χρυσηΐδα, of which the gen. Χρυσηΐδος occurs in Homer, Il. i. 111; and perhaps the form Dalida (for Dalilah) in the Septuagint is also due to association with Greek accusatives in -ιδα. The genitive Anaetidos occurs in Pliny, xxxiii. 4; in Holland's translation of Pliny, ii. 470, she appears as 'the goddesse Diana syrnamed Anaitis.' It may be as well to explain to those who are unaccustomed to MSS. of the fourteenth century, that it was then usual to write e in place of ae or æ, so that the name would usually be written, in the accusative case, Anetida. This suggests that Anelida should be spelt with but one n; and such is the practice of all the better MSS. [78]

It remains to be added that one source of the part of the poem called the Complaint (ll. 211-350) is the piece printed in this volume as no. VI. That piece is, in fact, a kind of exercise in metrical experiments, and exhibits specimens of a 10-line stanza, resembling the nine-line stanza of this Complaint. Chaucer seems to have elaborated this into a longer Complaint, with additional varieties in the metre; and then to have written the preceding story by way of introduction. One line (vi. 50) is repeated without alteration (vii. 237); another (vi. 35) is only altered in the first and last words (vii. 222). Other resemblances are pointed out in the Notes.

It is also worth while to notice how the character of the speaking falcon in the second part of the Squire's Tale is precisely that of Anelida. The parallel lines are pointed out in the Notes. The principal MSS. may be thus grouped: Aa.—F. B. Ab.—Tn. D. Lt. B.—Harl. Cx. Here A and B are two groups, of which the former is subdivided into Aa and Ab. See Koch, in Anglia, iv. b. 102.

§ 25. VIII. Chaucer's Wordes unto Adam.

This is evidently a genuine poem, written by the author of the translation of Boethius and of the story of Troilus.

§ 26. IX. The Former Age.

First printed in 1866, in Morris's Chaucer, from a transcript made by Mr. Bradshaw, who pointed out its genuineness. It is ascribed to Chaucer in both MSS., and belongs, in fact, to his translation of Boethius, though probably written at a later date. In MS. I. the poem is headed:—'Chawcer vp-on this fyfte metur of the second book.' In MS. Hh., the colophon is: 'Finit Etas prima: Chaucers.' Dr. Koch thinks that the five poems here numbered IX. X. XIII-XV. 'form a cyclus, as it were, being free transcriptions of different passages in Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae.' There is, in fact, a probability that these were all written at about the same period, and that rather a late one, some years after the prose translation of Boethius had been completed; and a probable date for this completion is somewhere about 1380.

Both MS. copies are from the same source, as both of them omit the same line, viz. l. 56; which I have had to supply by conjecture. Neither of the MSS. are well spelt, nor are they very [79]satisfactory. The mistake in riming l. 47 with l. 43 instead of l. 45 may very well have been due to an oversight on the part of the poet himself. But the poem is a beautiful one, and admirably expressed; and its inclusion among the Minor Poems is a considerable gain.

Dr. Furnivall has printed the Latin text of Boethius, lib. ii. met. 5, from MS. I., as well as Chaucer's prose version of the same, for the sake of comparison with the text of the poem. The likeness hardly extends beyond the first four stanzas. I here transcribe that part of the prose version which is parallel to the poem, omitting a few sentences which do not appear there at all; for the complete text, see vol. ii.

'Blisful was the first age of men. They helden hem apayed with the metes that the trewe feldes broughten furthe. They ne distroyede nor deceivede not hem-self with outrage. They weren wont lightly to slaken hir hunger at even with acornes of okes. [Stanza 2.] They ne coude nat medly[265] the yifte of Bachus to the clere hony; that is to seyn, they coude make no piment nor clarree. [Stanza 3.] ... they coude nat deyen whyte fleeses[266] of Serien contree with the blode of a maner shelfisshe that men finden in Tyrie, with whiche blode men deyen purpur. [Stanza 6.] They slepen hoolsum slepes upon the gras, and dronken of the renninge wateres [cf. l. 8]; and layen under the shadwes of the heye pyn-trees. [Stanza 3, continued.] Ne no gest ne no straungere ne carf yit the heye see with ores or with shippes; ne they ne hadde seyn yit none newe strondes, to leden marchaundyse in-to dyverse contrees. Tho weren the cruel clariouns ful hust[267] and ful stille.... [Stanza 4.] For wherto or whiche woodnesse of enemys wolde first moeven armes, whan they seyen cruel woundes, ne none medes[268] be of blood y-shad[269]?... Allas! what was he that first dalf[270] up the gobetes[271] or the weightes of gold covered under erthe, and the precious stones that wolden han ben hid? He dalf up precious perils; ... for the preciousnesse of swiche thinge, hath many man ben in peril.'

The metre is the same as that of the ABC.

§ 27. X. Fortune.

Attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MSS. A. and T.; also marked as Chaucer's in MSS. F. and I. In MS. I., this poem and [80]the preceding are actually introduced into Chaucer's translation of Boethius, between the fifth metre and the sixth prose of the second book, as has been already said. The metre is the same as that of the ABC and The Former Age, but the same rimes run through three stanzas. The Envoy forms a 7-line stanza, but has only two rimes; the formula is ababbab. For further remarks, see the Notes.

§ 28. XI. Merciles Beaute.

The unique copy of this poem is in MS. P[272]. It is the last poem in the MS., and is in excellent company, as it immediately follows several other of Chaucer's genuine poems[273]. This is probably why Bp. Percy attributed it to Chaucer, who himself tells us that he wrote 'balades, roundels, virelayes.' It is significant that Mätzner, in his Altenglische Sprachproben, i. 347, chose this poem alone as a specimen of the Minor Poems. It is, in fact, most happily expressed, and the internal evidence places its authenticity beyond question. The three roundels express three 'movements,' in the poet's usual manner; and his mastery of metre is shewn in the use of the same rime in -en-e in the first and third roundels, requiring no less than ten different words for the purpose; whilst in the second roundel the corresponding lines end in -eyn-e, producing much the same effect, if (as is probable) the old sounds of e and ey were not very different. We at once recognise the Chaucerian phrases I do no fors (see Cant. Ta. D 1234, 1512), and I counte him not a bene (see Troil. v. 363).

Very characteristic is the use of the dissyllabic word sen-e (l. 10), which is an adjective, and means 'manifest,' from the A. S. geséne, (gesýne), and not the past participle, which is y-seen. Chaucer rimes it with clen-e (Prol. to C. T. 134), and with gren-e (Kn. Tale, A 2298). The phrase though he sterve for the peyne (l. 23) reminds us of for to dyen in the peyne (Kn. Ta. A 1133).

But the most curious thing about this poem is the incidental testimony of Lydgate, in his Ballade in Commendacion of our Ladie; [81]see poem no. 26 above, discussed at p. 38. I here quote st. 22 in full, from ed. 1561, fol. 330:

'Where might I loue euer better beset

Then in this Lilie, likyng to beholde?

That lace of loue, the bonde so well thou knit,

That I maie see thee, or myne harte colde,

And or I passe out of my daies olde,

Tofore [thee] syngyng euermore vtterly—

Your iyen twoo woll slea me sodainly.'

I ought to add that this poem is the only one which I have admitted into the set of Minor Poems (nos. I-XX) with incomplete external evidence. If it is not Chaucer's, it is by some one who contrived to surpass him in his own style. And this is sufficient excuse for its appearance here.

Moreover, Lydgate's testimony is external evidence, in a high degree. Even the allusion in l. 27 to the Roman de la Rose points in the same direction; and so does Chaucer's statement that he wrote roundels. Excepting that in the Parl. of Foules, ll. 680-692, and the three here given, no roundels of his have ever been found[274].

§ 29. XII. To Rosemounde.

This poem was discovered by me in the Bodleian Library on the 2nd of April, 1891. It is written on a fly-leaf at the end of MS. Rawlinson Poet. 163, which also contains a copy of Chaucer's Troilus. At the end of the 'Troilus' is the colophon: 'Here endith the book of Troylus and of Cresseyde.' This colophon is preceded by 'Tregentyll,' and followed by 'Chaucer.' On the next leaf (no. 114) is the Balade, without any title, at the foot of which is 'Tregentil'——'Chaucer,' the two names being written at a considerable distance apart. I believe 'Tregentil' to represent the name of the scribe[275]. In any case, 'Chaucer' represents the name of the author. It is a happy specimen of his humour. [82]

§ 30. XIII. Truth.

This famous poem is attributed to Chaucer in MS. F., also (thrice) by Shirley, who in one of the copies in MS. T. (in which it occurs twice) calls it a 'Balade that Chaucier made on his deeth-bedde'; which is probably a mere bad guess[276]. The MSS. may be divided into two groups; the four best are in the first group, viz. At., E., Gg., Ct., and the rest (mostly) in the second group. Those of the first group have the readings Tempest (8), Know thy contree (19), and Hold the hye wey (20); whilst the rest have, in the same places, Peyne (8), Look up on hy (19), and Weyve thy lust (20). It is remarkable that the Envoy occurs in MS. At. only. It may have been suppressed owing to a misunderstanding of the word vache (cow), the true sense of which is a little obscure. The reference is to Boethius, bk. v. met. 5, where it is explained that quadrupeds look down upon the earth, whilst man alone looks up towards heaven; cf. lok up in l. 19 of the poem. The sense is therefore, that we should cease to look down, and learn to look up like true men; 'only the linage of man,' says Chaucer, in his translation of Boethius, 'heveth heyeste his heye heved[277] ... this figure amonesteth[278] thee, that axest the hevene with thy righte visage, and hast areysed thy fore-heved to beren up a-heigh thy corage, so that thy thoght ne be nat y-hevied[279] ne put lowe under fote.'

§ 31. XIV. Gentilesse.

It is curious that this Balade not only occurs as an independent poem, as in MSS. T., Harl., Ct., and others, but is also quoted bodily in a poem by Henry Scogan in MS. A. It is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MSS. T. and Harl.; and still more satisfactory is the account given of it by Scogan. The title of Scogan's poem is:—'A moral balade made by Henry Scogan squyer. Here folowethe nexst a moral balade to my lorde the Prince, to my lord of Clarence, to my lord of Bedford, and to my lorde of Gloucestre; by Henry Scogan, at a souper of feorthe merchande (sic) in the vyntre in London, at the hous of Lowys Iohan.' It is printed in all the [83]old editions of Chaucer; see poem no. 33, p. 32. Scogan tells us that he was 'fader,' i. e. tutor, to the four sons of Henry IV. above-mentioned[280]. His ballad is in twenty-one 8-line stanzas, and he inserts Chaucer's Gentilesse, distinguished by being in 7-line stanzas, between the 13th and 14th stanzas of his own work. He refers to Chaucer in the 9th stanza thus (in MS. A.):—

'My maistre Chaucier, God his soule have,

That in his langage was so curyous,

He saide that the fader, nowe dede and grave,

Beqwathe no-thing his vertue with his hous

Un-to his sone.'

This is a reference to ll. 16, 17 of Chaucer's poem. Again, in his 13th stanza, he says:—

'By auncetrye thus may yee no-thing clayme,

As that my maistre Chaucier dothe expresse,

But temporell thing, that man may hurte and mayme;

Thane is gode stocke of vertuous noblesse;

And, sithe that he is lord of blessednesse

That made us alle, and for mankynde that dyed,

Folowe his vertue with full besynesse;

And of this thinge herke howe my maistre seyde.'

He here refers to lines 15-17, and lines 1-4 of Chaucer's poem; and then proceeds to quote it in full. Having done so, he adds:—

'Loo, here this noble poete of Brettayne

Howe hyely he, in vertuouse sentence,

The losse [MS. lesse] in youthe of vertue can compleyne.'

Scogan's advice is all good; and, though he accuses himself of having misspent his youth, this may very well mean no more than such an expression means in the mouth of a good man. He is doubtless the very person to whom Chaucer's 'Lenvoy a Scogan' was addressed, and Chaucer (l. 21) there gives him an excellent character for wisdom of speech. Accordingly, he is not to be confused with the Thomas Scogan or Scogin to whom is attributed an idle book called 'Scoggins Iests,' which were said to have been 'gathered' by Andrew Boord or Borde, author of the Introduction of Knowledge[281]. When [84]Shakespeare, in 2 Hen. IV. iii. 2. 33, says that Sir John Falstaff broke Scogan's head, he was no doubt thinking of the supposed author of the jest-book, and may have been led, by observation of the name in a black-letter edition of Chaucer, to suppose that he lived in the time of Henry IV. This was quite enough for his purpose, though it is probable that the jester lived in the time of Edward IV.; see Tyrwhitt's note on the Envoy to Scogan. On the other hand, we find Ben Jonson taking his ideas about Scogan solely from Henry Scogan's poem and Chaucer's Envoy, without any reference to the jester. See his Masque of the Fortunate Isles, in which Scogan is first described and afterwards introduced. The description tells us nothing more than we know already.

As for Lewis John (p. 82), Tyrwhitt says he was a Welshman, 'who was naturalised by Act of Parliament, 2 Hen. V., and who was concerned with Thomas Chaucer in the execution of the office of chief butler; Rot. Parl. 2 Hen. V. n. 18.'

Caxton's printed edition of this poem seems to follow a better source than any of the MSS.

§ 32. XV. Lak of Stedfastnesse.

Attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MSS. Harl. and T., and sent to King Richard at Windsor, according to the same authority. The general idea of it is from Boethius; see the Notes. Shirley refers it to the last years of Richard II., say 1397-9. We find something very like it in Piers Plowman, C. iv. 203-210, where Richard is told that bribery and wicked connivance at extortion have almost brought it about—

'That no lond loveth the, and yut leest thyn owene.'

In any case, the date can hardly vary between wider limits than between 1393 and 1399. Richard held a tournament at Windsor in 1399[282], which was but thinly attended; 'the greater part of the knights and squires of England were disgusted with the king.'

Of this poem, MS. Ct. seems to give the best text. [85]

§ 33. XVI. Lenvoy a Scogan.

This piece is attributed to Chaucer in all three MSS., viz. F., P., and Gg.; and is obviously genuine. The probable date of it is towards the end of 1393; see the Notes.

For some account of Scogan, see above (p. 83).

§ 34. XVII. Lenvoy a Bukton.

This piece is certainly genuine. In MS. F., the title is—'Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton.' In Julian Notary's edition it is—'Here foloweth the counceyll of Chaucer touching Maryag, &c. whiche was sente te (sic) Bucketon, &c.' In all the other early printed editions it is inserted without any title immediately after the Book of the Duchess.

The poem is one of Chaucer's latest productions, and may safely be dated about the end of the year 1396. This appears from the reference, in l. 23, to the great misfortune it would be to any Englishmen 'to be take in Fryse,' i. e. to be taken prisoner in Friesland. There is but one occasion on which this reference could have had any point, viz. during or just after the expedition of William of Hainault to Friesland, as narrated by Froissart in his Chronicles, bk. iv. capp. 78, 79. He tells that William of Hainault applied to Richard II. for assistance, who sent him 'some men-at-arms and two hundred archers, under the command of three English lords[283].' The expedition set out in August, 1396, and stayed in Friesland about five weeks, till the beginning of October, when 'the weather began to be very cold and to rain almost daily.' The great danger of being taken prisoner in Friesland was because the Frieslanders fought so desperately that they were seldom taken prisoners themselves. Then 'the Frieslanders offered their prisoners in exchange, man for man; but, when their enemies had none to give in return, they put them to death.' Besides this, the prisoners had to endure all the miseries of a bad and cold season, in an inclement climate. Hence the propriety of Chaucer's allusion fully appears. From l. 8, we learn that Chaucer was now a widower; for the word eft means 'again.' His wife is presumed to have died in the latter part of 1387. We should also observe the allusion to the Wife of Bath's Tale in l. 29. [86]

§ 35. XVIII. The Compleynt of Venus.

This poem is usually printed as if it formed part of the Complaint of Mars; but it is really distinct. It is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley both in MS. T. and in MS. A. It is not original, but translated from the French, as appears from l. 82. Shirley tells us that the author of the French poem was Sir Otes de Graunson, a worthy knight of Savoy. He is mentioned as receiving from King Richard the grant of an annuity of 126l. 13s. 4d. on 17 Nov. 1393; see Furnivall's Trial Forewords, p. 123. The association of this poem with the Complaint of Mars renders it probable that the Venus of this poem is the same as the Venus of the other, i. e. the Princess Isabel of Spain, and Duchess of York. This fits well with the word Princess at the beginning of the Envoy; and as she died in 1394, whilst Chaucer, on the other hand, complains of his advancing years, we must date the poem about 1393, i. e. just about the time when Graunson received his annuity. Chaucer, if born about 1340, was not really more than 53, but we must remember that, in those days, men often aged quickly. John of Gaunt, who is represented by Shakespeare as a very old man, only lived to the age of 59; and the Black Prince died quite worn out, at the age of 46. Compare the notes to ll. 73, 76, 79, and 82.

Much new light has lately been thrown upon this poem by Dr. A. Piaget, who contributed an article to Romania, tome xix., on 'Oton de Granson et ses Poésies,' in 1890. The author succeeded in discovering a large number of Granson's poems, including, to our great gain, the three Balades of which Chaucer's 'Compleynt of Venus' is a translation. I am thus enabled to give the original French beneath the English version, for the sake of comparison.

He has also given us an interesting account of Granson himself, for which I must refer my readers to his article. It appears that Froissart mentions Granson at least four times (twice in bk. i. c. 303, A.D. 1372, once in c. 305, and once in c. 331, A.D. 1379), as fighting on the side of the English; see Johnes' translation. He was in Savoy from 1389 to 1391; but, in the latter year, was accused of being concerned in the death of Amadeus VII., count of Savoy, in consequence of which he returned to England, and in 1393 his estates in Savoy were confiscated. It was on this occasion that Richard II. assigned to him the pension above mentioned. With the hope of clearing himself from the serious charge laid against him, [87]Granson fought a judicial duel, at Bourg-en-Bresse, on Aug. 7, 1397, in which, however, he was slain.

Now that we have the original before us, we can see clearly, as Dr. Piaget says, that Chaucer has certainly not translated the original Balades 'word for word' throughout. He does so sometimes, as in ll. 27, 28, 30, 31, in which the closeness of the translation is marvellous; but, usually, he paraphrases the original to a considerable extent. In the first Balade, he has even altered the general motive; in the original, Granson sings the praises of his lady; in Chaucer, it is a lady who praises the worthiness of her lover.

It also becomes probable that the title 'The Compleynt of Venus,' which seems to have been suggested by Shirley, is by no means a fitting one. It is not suitable for Venus, unless the 'Venus' be a mortal; neither is it a continuous 'Compleynt,' being simply a linking together of three separate and distinct Balades.

It is clear to me that, when Chaucer added his Envoy, he made the difficulties of following the original 'word by word' and of preserving the original metre his excuse; and that what really troubled him was the difficulty of adapting the French, especially Balade I., so as to be acceptable to the 'Princess' who enjoined him to translate these Balades. In particular, he evidently aimed at giving them a sort of connection, so that one should follow the other naturally; which accounts for the changes in the first of them. It is significant, perhaps, that the allusion to 'youth' (F. jeunesce) in l. 70 is entirely dropped.

On the whole, I think we may still accept the theory that this poem was written at the request (practically, the command) of Isabel, duchess of York, the probable 'Venus' of the 'Compleynt of Mars.' Chaucer seems to have thrown the three Balades together, linking them so as to express a lady's constancy in love, and choosing such language as he deemed would be most acceptable to the princess. He then ingeniously, and not without some humour, protests that any apparent alterations are due to his own dulness and the difficulties of translating 'word for word,' and of preserving the rimes.

In l. 31, the F. text shews us that we must read Pleyne, not Pleye (as in the MSS.). This was pointed out by Mr. Paget Toynbee.

§ 36. XIX. The Compleint to his Purse.

Attributed to Chaucer by Shirley, in MS. Harl. 7333; by Caxton; by the scribes of MSS. F., P., and Ff.; and by early editors. I do [88]not know on what grounds Speght removed Chaucer's name, and substituted that of T. Occleve; there seems to be no authority for this change. I think it highly probable that the poem itself is older than the Envoy; see note to l. 17. In any case, the Envoy is almost certainly Chaucer's latest extant composition.

§ 37. XX. Proverbs.

Attributed to Chaucer in MSS. F. and Ha.; see further in the Notes. From the nature of the case, we cannot assign any probable date to this composition. Yet it was, perhaps, written after, rather than before, the Tale of Melibeus.

§ 38. XXI. Against Women Unconstaunt.

For the genuineness of this Balade, we have chiefly the internal evidence to trust to; but this seems to me to be sufficiently strong. The Balade is perfect in construction, having but three rimes (-esse, -ace, -ene), and a refrain. The 'mood' of it strongly resembles that of Lak of Stedfastnesse; the lines run with perfect smoothness, and the rimes are all Chaucerian. It is difficult to suppose that Lydgate, or even Hoccleve, who was a better metrician, could have produced so good an imitation of Chaucer's style. But we are not without strong external evidence; for the general idea of the poem, and what is more important, the whole of the refrain, are taken from Chaucer's favourite author Machault (ed. Tarbé, p. 56); whose refrain is—'En lieu de bleu, Damë, vous vestez vert.' Again, the poem is only found in company with other poems by Chaucer. Such collocation frequently means nothing, but those who actually consult[284] MSS. Ct. and Ha. will see how close is its association with the Chaucerian poems in those MSS. I have said that it occurs in MSS. F., Ct., and Ha. Now in MS. Ct. we find, on the back of fol. 188 and on fol. 189, just four poems in the same hand. These are (1) Gentilesse; (2) Lak of Stedfastnesse; (3) Truth; and (4) Against Women Unconstaunt. As three of these are admittedly genuine, there is evidence that the fourth is the same. We may also notice that, in this MS., the poems on Lak of Stedfastnesse and Against Women Unconstaunt are not far apart. On searching [89]MS. Ha. (Harl. 7578), I again found three of these poems in company, viz. (1) Gentilesse; (2) Lak of Stedfastnesse; and (3) Against Women Unconstaunt; the last being, in my view, precisely in its right place. (This copy of the poem was unknown to me in 1887.)

§ 39. XXII. An Amorous Complaint.

Whilst searching through the various MSS. containing Minor Poems by Chaucer in the British Museum, my attention was arrested by this piece, which, as far as I know, has never before been printed. It is in Shirley's handwriting, but he does not claim it for Chaucer. However, the internal evidence seems to me irresistible; the melody is Chaucer's, and his peculiar touches appear in it over and over again. There is, moreover, in the last stanza, a direct reference to the Parliament of Foules[285].

I cannot explain the oracular notice of time in the heading; even if we alter May to day, it contradicts l. 85, which mentions 'seint Valentines day.' The heading is—'And next folowyng begynnith an amerowse compleynte made at wyndesore in the laste May tofore Nouembre' (sic). The date is inexplicable[286]; but the mention of locality is interesting. Chaucer became a 'valet of the king's chamber' in 1367, and must frequently have been at Windsor, where the institution of the Order of the Garter was annually celebrated on St. George's Day (April 23). Some of the parallelisms in expression between the present poem and other passages in Chaucer's Works are pointed out in the Notes.

This Complaint should be compared with the complaint uttered by Dorigen in the Cant. Tales, F. 1311-1325, which is little else than the same thing in a compressed form. There is also much resemblance to the 'complaints' in Troilus; see the references in the Notes.

Since first printing the text in 1888, I found that it is precisely the same poem as one extant in MSS. F. and B., with the title 'Complaynt Damours.' I had noticed the latter some time previously, and had made a note that it ought to be closely examined; but unfortunately I forgot to do so, or I should have seen at once [90]that it had strong claims to being considered genuine. These claims are considerably strengthened by the fact of the appearance of the poem in these two Chaucerian MSS., the former of which contains no less than sixteen, and the latter seven of the Minor Poems, besides the Legend and the Hous of Fame.

In reprinting the text in the present volume, I take occasion to give all the more important results of a collation of the text with these MSS. In most places, their readings are inferior to those in the text; but in other places they suggest corrections.

In MS. F. the fourth stanza is mutilated; the latter half of lines 24-28 is missing.

In B., below the word Explicit, another and later hand has scrawled 'be me Humfrey Flemyng.' 'Be me' merely means—'this signature is mine.' It is a mere scribble, and does not necessarily relate to the poem at all.

The readings of F. and B. do not help us much; for the text in Harl., on the whole, is better.

It is not at all improbable that a better copy of this poem may yet be found.

§ 40. XXIII. Balade of Compleynt.

This poem, which has not been printed before, as far as I am aware, occurs in Shirley's MS. Addit. 16165, at fol. 256, back. It is merely headed 'Balade of compleynte,' without any note of its being Chaucer's. But I had not read more than four lines of it before I at once recognised the well-known melodious flow which Chaucer's imitators (except sometimes Hoccleve) so seldom succeed in reproducing. And when I had only finished reading the first stanza, I decided at once to copy it out, not doubting that it would fulfil all the usual tests of metre, rime, and language; which it certainly does. It is far more correct in wording than the preceding poem, and does not require that we should either omit or supply a single word. But in l. 20 the last word should surely be dere rather than here; and the last word in l. 11 is indistinct. I read it as reewe afterwards altered to newe; and newe makes very good sense. I may notice that Shirley's n's are very peculiar: the first upstroke is very long, commencing below the line; and this peculiarity renders the reading tolerably certain. Some lines resemble lines in no. VI., as is pointed out in the Notes. Altogether, it is a beautiful poem, and its recovery is a clear gain. [91]

§ 41. Concluding Remarks.

I regret that this Introduction has run to so great a length; but it was incumbent on me to shew reasons for the rejection or acceptance of the very large number of pieces which have hitherto been included in editions of Chaucer's Works. I have now only to add that I have, of course, been greatly indebted to the works of others; so much so indeed that I can hardly particularise them. I must, however, mention very gratefully the names of Dr. Furnivall, Professor Ten Brink, Dr. Koch, Dr. Willert, Max Lange, Rambeau, and various contributors to the publications of the Chaucer Society; and though I have consulted for myself such books as Le Roman de la Rose, the Teseide, the Thebaid of Statius, the poems of Machault, and a great many more, and have inserted in the Notes a large number of references which I discovered, or re-discovered, for myself, I beg leave distinctly to disclaim any merit, not doubting that most of what I have said may very likely have been said by others, and said better. Want of leisure renders it impossible for me to give to others their due meed of recognition in many instances; for I have often found it less troublesome to consult original authorities for myself than to hunt up what others have said relative to the passage under consideration.

I have relegated Poems no. XXI., XXII., and XXIII. to an Appendix, because they are not expressly attributed to Chaucer in the MSS. Such evidence has its value, but it is possible to make too much of it; and I agree with Dr. Koch, that, despite the MSS., the genuineness of no XX. is doubtful; for the rime of compas with embrace is suspicious. It is constantly the case that poems, well known to be Chaucer's, are not marked as his in the MS. copies; and we must really depend upon a prolonged and intelligent study of the internal evidence. This is why I admit poems nos. XXI-XXIII into the collection; and I hope it will be conceded that I am free from recklessness in this matter. Certainly my methods differ from those of John Stowe, and I believe them to be more worthy of respect.




Many men seyn that in sweveninges

Ther nis but fables and lesinges;

But men may somme swevenes seen,

Which hardely ne false been,


But afterward ben apparaunte.

This may I drawe to waraunte

An authour, that hight Macrobes,

That halt not dremes false ne lees,

But undoth us the avisioun


That whylom mette king Cipioun.

And who-so sayth, or weneth it be

A Iape, or elles [a] nycetee

To wene that dremes after falle,

Let who-so liste a fool me calle.


Maintes gens dient que en songes

N'a se fables non et mençonges;

Mais l'en puet tiex songes songier

Qui ne sunt mie mençongier;

Ains sunt après bien apparant.

Si en puis bien trere à garant

Ung acteur qui ot non Macrobes,

Qui ne tint pas songes à lobes;

Ainçois escrist la vision


Qui avint au roi Cipion.

Quiconques cuide ne qui die

Que soit folor ou musardie

De croire que songes aviengne,

Qui ce voldra, pour fol m'en tiengne;


For this trowe I, and say for me,

That dremes signifiaunce be

Of good and harme to many wightes,

That dremen in her slepe a-nightes

Ful many thinges covertly,


That fallen after al openly.

The Dream.

Within my twenty yere of age,

Whan that Love taketh his corage

Of yonge folk, I wente sone

To bedde, as I was wont to done,


And fast I sleep; and in sleping,

Me mette swiche a swevening,

That lykede me wonders wel;

But in that sweven is never a del

That it nis afterward befalle,


Right as this dreem wol telle us alle.

Now this dreem wol I ryme aright,

To make your hertes gaye and light;

For Love it prayeth, and also

Commaundeth me that it be so


And if ther any aske me,

Whether that it be he or she,

How [that] this book [the] which is here

Shal hote, that I rede you here;

Car endroit moi ai-je fiance

Que songe soit senefiance

Des biens as gens et des anuiz,

Car li plusors songent de nuitz

Maintes choses couvertement


Que l'en voit puis apertement.

Où vintiesme an de mon aage,

Où point qu'Amors prend le paage

Des jones gens, couchiez estoie

Une nuit, si cum je souloie,

Et me dormoie moult forment,

Si vi ung songe en mon dormant,

Qui moult fut biax, et moult me plot,

Mès onques riens où songe n'ot

Qui avenu trestout ne soit,


Si cum li songes recontoit.

Or veil cel songe rimaier,

Por vos cuers plus fere esgaier,

Qu'Amors le me prie et commande;

Et se nus ne nule demande

Comment ge voil que cilz Rommanz

Soit apelez, que ge commanz:


It is the Romance of the Rose,


In which al the art of love I close.

The mater fair is of to make;

God graunte in gree that she it take

For whom that it begonnen is!

And that is she that hath, y-wis,


So mochel prys; and ther-to she

So worthy is biloved be,

That she wel oughte of prys and right,

Be cleped Rose of every wight.

That it was May me thoughte tho,


It is fyve yere or more ago;

That it was May, thus dremed me,

In tyme of love and Iolitee,

That al thing ginneth waxen gay,

For ther is neither busk nor hay


In May, that it nil shrouded been,

And it with newe leves wreen.

These wodes eek recoveren grene,

That drye in winter been to sene;

And the erthe wexeth proud withalle,


For swote dewes that on it falle,

And [al] the pore estat forget

In which that winter hadde it set,

Ce est li Rommanz de la Rose,

Où l'art d'Amors est tote enclose.

La matire en est bone et noeve:


Or doint Diez qu'en gré le reçoeve

Cele por qui ge l'ai empris.

C'est cele qui tant a de pris,

Et tant est digne d'estre amée,

Qu'el doit estre Rose clamée.

Avis m'iere qu'il estoit mains,

Il a jà bien cincq ans, au mains,

En Mai estoie, ce songoie,

El tems amoreus plain de joie,

El tens où tote riens s'esgaie,


Que l'en ne voit boisson ne haie

Qui en Mai parer ne se voille,

Et covrir de novele foille;

Li bois recovrent lor verdure,

Qui sunt sec tant cum yver dure,

La terre méisme s'orgoille

Por la rousée qui la moille,

Et oblie la poverté

Où ele a tot l'yver esté.


And than bicometh the ground so proud

That it wol have a newe shroud,


And maketh so queynt his robe and fayr

That it hath hewes an hundred payr

Of gras and floures, inde and pers,

And many hewes ful dyvers:

That is the robe I mene, y-wis,


Through which the ground to preisen is.

The briddes, that han left hir song,

Whyl they han suffred cold so strong

In wedres grille, and derk to sighte,

Ben in May, for the sonne brighte,


So glade, that they shewe in singing,

That in hir herte is swich lyking,

That they mote singen and be light.

Than doth the nightingale hir might

To make noyse, and singen blythe.


Than is blisful, many a sythe,

The chelaundre and the papingay.

Than yonge folk entenden ay

For to ben gay and amorous,

The tyme is than so savorous.


Hard is his herte that loveth nought

In May, whan al this mirth is wrought;

Lors devient la terre si gobe,


Qu'ele volt avoir novele robe;

Si scet si cointe robe faire,

Que de colors i a cent paire,

D'erbes, de flors indes et perses,

Et de maintes colors diverses.

C'est la robe que ge devise,

Por quoi la terre miex se prise.

Li oisel, qui se sunt téu

Tant cum il ont le froit éu,

Et le tens divers et frarin,


Sunt en Mai, por le tens serin,

Si lié qu'il monstrent en chantant

Qu'en lor cuer a de joie tant,

Qu'il lor estuet chanter par force.

Li rossignos lores s'efforce

De chanter et de faire noise;

Lors s'esvertue, et lors s'envoise

Li papegaus et la kalandre:

Lors estuet jones gens entendre

A estre gais et amoreus


Por le tens bel et doucereus.

Moult a dur cuer qui en Mai n'aime,


Whan he may on these braunches here

The smale briddes singen clere

Hir blisful swete song pitous;


And in this sesoun delytous,

Whan love affrayeth alle thing,

Me thoughte a-night, in my sleping,

Right in my bed, ful redily,

That it was by the morowe erly,


And up I roos, and gan me clothe;

Anoon I wissh myn hondes bothe;

A sylvre nedle forth I drogh

Out of an aguiler queynt y-nogh,

And gan this nedle threde anon;


For out of toun me list to gon

The sowne of briddes for to here,

That on thise busshes singen clere.

And in the swete sesoun that leef is,

With a threde basting my slevis,


Aloon I wente in my playing,

The smale foules song harkning;

That peyned hem ful many a payre

To singe on bowes blosmed fayre.

Iolif and gay, ful of gladnesse,

Quant il ot chanter sus la raime

As oisiaus les dous chans piteus.

En iceli tens déliteus,

Que tote riens d'amer s'effroie,

Sonjai une nuit que j'estoie,

Ce m'iert avis en mon dormant,

Qu'il estoit matin durement;

De mon lit tantost me levai,


Chauçai moi et mes mains lavai.

Lors trais une aguille d'argent

D'un aguiller mignot et gent,

Si pris l'aguille à enfiler.

Hors de vile oi talent d'aler,

Por oïr des oisiaus les sons

Qui chantoient par ces boissons.

En icele saison novele,

Cousant mes manches à videle,

M'en alai tot seus esbatant,


Et les oiselés escoutant,

Qui de chanter moult s'engoissoient

Par ces vergiers qui florissoient.

Jolis, gais et plains de léesce,


Toward a river I gan me dresse,

That I herde renne faste by;

For fairer playing non saugh I

Than playen me by that riveer,

For from an hille that stood ther neer,


Cam doun the streem ful stif and bold.

Cleer was the water, and as cold

As any welle is, sooth to seyne;

And somdel lasse it was than Seine,

But it was straighter wel away.


And never saugh I, er that day,

The water that so wel lyked me;

And wonder glad was I to see

That lusty place, and that riveer;

And with that water that ran so cleer


My face I wissh. Tho saugh I wel

The botme paved everydel

With gravel, ful of stones shene.

The medewe softe, swote, and grene,

Beet right on the water-syde.


Ful cleer was than the morow-tyde,

And ful attempre, out of drede.

Tho gan I walke through the mede,

Dounward ay in my pleying,

Vers une riviere m'adresce.

Que j'oi près d'ilecques bruire;

Car ne me soi aillors déduire

Plus bel que sus cele riviere.

D'ung tertre qui près d'iluec iere

Descendoit l'iaue grant et roide,


Clere, bruiant, et aussi froide

Comme puiz, ou comme fontaine,

Et estoit poi mendre de Saine,

Mès qu'ele iere plus espanduë.

Onques mès n'avoie véuë

Cele iaue qui si bien coroit:

Moult m'abelissoit et séoit

A regarder le leu plaisant.

De l'iaue clere et reluisant

Mon vis rafreschi et lavé.


Si vi tot covert et pavé

Le fons de l'iaue de gravele;

La praérie grant et bele

Très au pié de l'iaue batoit.

Clere et serie et bele estoit

La matinée et atrempeé;

Lors m'en alai parmi la prée

Contre val l'iaue esbanoiant,


The river-syde costeying.


And whan I had a whyle goon,

The Garden.

I saugh a Gardin right anoon,

Ful long and brood, and everydel

Enclos it was, and walled wel,

With hye walles enbatailled,


Portrayed without, and wel entailled

With many riche portraitures;

And bothe images and peyntures

Gan I biholde bisily.

And I wol telle you, redily,


Of thilke images the semblaunce,

As fer as I have remembraunce.


A-midde saugh I Hate stonde,

That for hir wrathe, ire, and onde,

Semed to been a moveresse,


An angry wight, a chideresse;

And ful of gyle, and fel corage,

By semblaunt was that ilke image.

And she was no-thing wel arrayed,

But lyk a wood womman afrayed;


Y-frounced foule was hir visage,

And grenning for dispitous rage;

Hir nose snorted up for tene.

Tot le rivage costoiant.

Quant j'oi ung poi avant alé,


Si vi ung vergier grant et lé,

Tot clos d'ung haut mur bataillié,

Portrait defors et entaillié

A maintes riches escritures.

Les ymages et les paintures

Ai moult volentiers remiré:

Si vous conteré et diré

De ces ymages la semblance,

Si cum moi vient à remembrance.




Ens où milieu je vi Haïne


Qui de corrous et d'ataïne

Sembloit bien estre moverresse,

Et correceuse et tencerresse,

Et plaine de grant cuvertage

Estoit par semblant cele ymage.

Si n'estoit pas bien atornée,

Ains sembloit estre forcenée,

Rechignie avoit et froncié

Le vis, et le nés secorcié.


Ful hidous was she for to sene,

Ful foul and rusty was she, this.


Hir heed y-writhen was, y-wis,

Ful grimly with a greet towayle.


An image of another entayle,

A lift half, was hir faste by;

Hir name above hir heed saugh I,


And she was called Felonye.


Another image, that Vilanye

Y-cleped was, saugh I and fond

Upon the walle on hir right hond.

Vilanye was lyk somdel


That other image; and, trusteth wel,

She semed a wikked creature.

By countenaunce, in portrayture,

She semed be ful despitous,

And eek ful proud and outrageous.


Wel coude he peynte, I undertake,

That swiche image coude make.

Ful foul and cherlish semed she,

And eek vilaynous for to be,

And litel coude of norture,


To worshipe any creature.

Par grant hideur fu soutilliée,


Et si estoit entortillée

Hideusement d'une toaille.



Une autre ymage d'autel taille

A senestre vi delez lui;

Son non desus sa teste lui;

Apellée estoit Felonnie.


Une ymage qui Vilonie

Avoit non, revi devers destre,

Qui estoit auques d'autel estre

Cum ces deus et d'autel féture;


Bien sembloit male créature,

Et despiteuse et orguilleuse,

Et mesdisant et ramponeuse.

Moult sot bien paindre et bien portraire

Cil qui tiex ymages sot faire:

Car bien sembloit chose vilaine,

De dolor et de despit plaine;

Et fame qui petit séust

D'honorer ceus qu'ele déust.


And next was peynted Coveityse,

That eggeth folk, in many gyse,

To take and yeve right nought ageyn,

And grete tresours up to leyn.


And that is she that for usure

Leneth to many a creature

The lasse for the more winning,

So coveitous is her brenning.

And that is she, for penyes fele,


That techeth for to robbe and stele

These theves, and these smale harlotes;

And that is routhe, for by hir throtes

Ful many oon hangeth at the laste.

She maketh folk compasse and caste


To taken other folkes thing,

Through robberie, or miscounting.

And that is she that maketh trechoures;

And she [that] maketh false pledoures,

That with hir termes and hir domes


Doon maydens, children, and eek gromes

Hir heritage to forgo.

Ful croked were hir hondes two;

For Coveityse is ever wood


Après fu painte Coveitise:


C'est cele qui les gens atise

De prendre et de noient donner,

Et les grans avoirs aüner.

C'est cele qui fait à usure

Prester mains por la grant ardure

D'avoir conquerre et assembler.

C'est cele qui semont d'embler

Les larrons et les ribaudiaus;

Si est grans pechiés et grans diaus

Qu'en la fin en estuet mains pendre.


C'est cele qui fait l'autrui prendre,

Rober, tolir et bareter,

Et bescochier et mesconter;

C'est cele qui les trichéors

Fait tous et les faus pledéors,

Qui maintes fois par lor faveles

Ont as valés et as puceles

Lor droites herites toluës.

Recorbillies et croçües

Avoit les mains icele ymage;


Ce fu drois: car toz jors esrage

Coveitise de l'autrui prendre.


To grypen other folkes good.


Coveityse, for hir winning,

Ful leef hath other mennes thing.


Another image set saugh I

Next Coveityse faste by,

And she was cleped Avarice.


Ful foul in peynting was that vice;

Ful sad and caytif was she eek,

And al-so grene as any leek.

So yvel hewed was hir colour,

Hir semed have lived in langour.


She was lyk thing for hungre deed,

That ladde hir lyf only by breed

Kneden with eisel strong and egre;

And therto she was lene and megre.

And she was clad ful povrely,


Al in an old torn courtepy,

As she were al with dogges torn;

And bothe bihinde and eek biforn

Clouted was she beggarly.

A mantel heng hir faste by,


Upon a perche, weyke and smalle;

A burnet cote heng therwithalle,

Furred with no menivere,

Coveitise ne set entendre

A riens qu'à l'autrui acrochier;

Coveitise à l'autrui trop chier.


Une autre ymage y ot assise

Coste à coste de Coveitise,

Avarice estoit apelée:

Lede estoit et sale et foulée

Cele ymage, et megre et chetive,


Et aussi vert cum une cive.

Tant par estoit descolorée

Qu'el sembloit estre enlangorée;

Chose sembloit morte de fain,

Qui ne vesquit fors que de pain

Petri à lessu fort et aigre;

Et avec ce qu'ele iere maigre,

Iert-ele povrement vestuë,

Cote avoit viés et desrumpuë,

Comme s'el fust as chiens remese;


Povre iert moult la cote et esrese,

Et plaine de viés palestiaus.

Delez li pendoit ung mantiaus

A une perche moult greslete,

Et une cote de brunete;

Où mantiau n'ot pas penne vaire,


But with a furre rough of here,

Of lambe-skinnes hevy and blake;


It was ful old, I undertake.

For Avarice to clothe hir wel

Ne hasteth hir, never a del;

For certeynly it were hir loth

To weren ofte that ilke cloth;


And if it were forwered, she

Wolde have ful greet necessitee

Of clothing, er she boughte hir newe,

Al were it bad of wolle and hewe.

This Avarice held in hir hande


A purs, that heng [doun] by a bande;

And that she hidde and bond so stronge,

Men must abyde wonder longe

Out of that purs er ther come ought,

For that ne cometh not in hir thought;


It was not, certein, hir entente

That fro that purs a peny wente.


And by that image, nygh y-nough,

Was peynt Envye, that never lough,

Nor never wel in herte ferde


But-if she outher saugh or herde

Mes moult viés et de povre afaire,

D'agniaus noirs velus et pesans.

Bien avoit la robe vingt ans;

Mès Avarice du vestir


Se sot moult à tart aatir:

Car sachiés que moult li pesast

Se cele robe point usast;

Car s'el fust usée et mauvese,

Avarice éust grant mesese

De noeve robe et grant disete,

Avant qu'ele éust autre fete.

Avarice en sa main tenoit

Une borse qu'el reponnoit,

Et la nooit si durement,


Que demorast moult longuement

Ainçois qu'el en péust riens traire,

Mès el n'avoit de ce que faire.

El n'aloit pas à ce béant

Que de la borse ostat néant.


Après refu portrete Envie,

Qui ne rist oncques en sa vie,

N'oncques de riens ne s'esjoï,

S'ele ne vit, ou s'el n'oï


Som greet mischaunce, or greet disese.

No-thing may so moch hir plese

As mischef and misaventure;

Or whan she seeth discomfiture


Upon any worthy man falle,

Than lyketh hir [ful] wel withalle.

She is ful glad in hir corage,

If she see any greet linage

Be brought to nought in shamful wyse.


And if a man in honour ryse,

Or by his witte, or by prowesse,

Of that hath she gret hevinesse;

For, trusteth wel, she goth nigh wood

Whan any chaunce happeth good.


Envye is of swich crueltee,

That feith ne trouthe holdeth she

To freend ne felawe, bad or good.

Ne she hath kin noon of hir blood,

That she nis ful hir enemy;


She nolde, I dar seyn hardely,

Hir owne fader ferde wel.

And sore abyeth she everydel

Hir malice, and hir maltalent:

Aucun grant domage retrere.


Nule riens ne li puet tant plere

Cum mefet et mesaventure;

Quant el voit grant desconfiture

Sor aucun prodomme chéoir,

Ice li plest moult à véoir.

Ele est trop lie en son corage

Quant el voit aucun grant lignage

Dechéoir et aler à honte;

Et quant aucuns à honor monte

Par son sens ou par sa proéce,


C'est la chose qui plus la bléce.

Car sachiés que moult la convient

Estre irée quant biens avient.

Envie est de tel cruauté,

Qu'ele ne porte léauté

A compaignon, ne à compaigne;

N'ele n'a parent, tant li tiengne,

A cui el ne soit anemie:

Car certes el ne vorroit mie

Que biens venist, neis à son pere.


Mès bien sachiés qu'ele compere

Sa malice trop ledement:


For she is in so greet turment


And hath such [wo], whan folk doth good,

That nigh she melteth for pure wood;

Hir herte kerveth and to-breketh

That god the peple wel awreketh.

Envye, y-wis, shal never lette


Som blame upon the folk to sette.

I trowe that if Envye, y-wis,

Knewe the beste man that is

On this syde or biyond the see,

Yit somwhat lakken him wolde she.


And if he were so hende and wys,

That she ne mighte al abate his prys,

Yit wolde she blame his worthinesse,

Or by hir wordes make it lesse.



I saugh Envye, in that peynting,


Hadde a wonderful loking;

For she ne loked but awry,

Or overthwart, al baggingly.

And she hadde [eek] a foul usage;

She mighte loke in no visage


Of man or womman forth-right pleyn,

But shette oon yë for disdeyn;

Car ele est en si grant torment,

Et a tel duel quant gens bien font,

Par ung petit qu'ele ne font.

Ses felons cuers l'art et detrenche,

Qui de li Diex et la gent venche.

Envie ne fine nule hore

D'aucun blasme as gens metre sore;

Je cuit que s'ele cognoissoit


Tot le plus prodome qui soit

Ne deçà mer, ne delà mer,

Si le vorroit-ele blasmer;

Et s'il iere si bien apris

Qu'el ne péust de tot son pris

Rien abatre ne deprisier,

Si vorroit-ele apetisier

Sa proéce au mains, et s'onor

Par parole faire menor.

Lors vi qu'Envie en la painture


Avoit trop lede esgardéure;

Ele ne regardast noient

Fors de travers en borgnoiant;

Ele avoit ung mauvès usage,

Qu'ele ne pooit où visage

Regarder reins de plain en plaing,

Ains clooit ung oel par desdaing,


So for envye brenned she

Whan she mighte any man [y]-see,

That fair, or worthy were, or wys,


Or elles stood in folkes prys.


Sorowe was peynted next Envye

Upon that walle of masonrye.

But wel was seen in hir colour

That she hadde lived in langour;


Hir semed have the Iaunyce.

Nought half so pale was Avaryce,

Nor no-thing lyk, [as] of lenesse;

For sorowe, thought, and greet distresse,

That she hadde suffred day and night


Made hir ful yelwe, and no-thing bright,

Ful fade, pale, and megre also.

Was never wight yit half so wo

As that hir semed for to be,

Nor so fulfilled of ire as she.


I trowe that no wight mighte hir plese,

Nor do that thing that mighte hir ese;

Nor she ne wolde hir sorowe slake,

Nor comfort noon unto hir take;

Qu'ele fondoit d'ire et ardoit,

Quant aucuns qu'ele regardoit,

Estoit ou preus, ou biaus, ou gens,


Ou amés, ou loés de gens.


Delez Envie auques près iere

Tristece painte en la maisiere;

Mès bien paroit à sa color

Qu'ele avoit au cuer grant dolor,

Et sembloit avoir la jaunice.

Si n'i feïst riens Avarice

Ne de paleur, ne de mégrece,

Car li soucis et la destrece,

Et la pesance et les ennuis


Qu'el soffroit de jors et de nuis,

L'avoient moult fete jaunir,

Et megre et pale devenir.

Oncques mès nus en tel martire

Ne fu, ne n'ot ausinc grant ire

Cum il sembloit que ele éust:

Je cuit que nus ne li séust

Faire riens qui li péust plaire:

N'el ne se vosist pas retraire,

Ne réconforter à nul fuer


Du duel qu'ele avoit à son cuer.


So depe was hir wo bigonnen,


And eek hir herte in angre ronnen,

A sorowful thing wel semed she.

Nor she hadde no-thing slowe be

For to forcracchen al hir face,

And for to rende in many place


Hir clothes, and for to tere hir swire,

As she that was fulfilled of ire;

And al to-torn lay eek hir here

Aboute hir shuldres, here and there,

As she that hadde it al to-rent


For angre and for maltalent.

And eek I telle you certeynly

How that she weep ful tenderly.

In world nis wight so hard of herte

That hadde seen hir sorowes smerte,


That nolde have had of hir pitee,

So wo-bigoon a thing was she.

She al to-dasshte hir-self for wo,

And smoot togider her handes two.

To sorwe was she ful ententyf,


That woful recchelees caityf;

Hir roughte litel of pleying,

Or of clipping or [of] kissing;

For who-so sorweful is in herte

Trop avoit son cuer correcié,

Et son duel parfont commencié.

Moult sembloit bien qu'el fust dolente,

Qu'ele n'avoit mie esté lente

D'esgratiner tote sa chiere;

N'ele n'avoit pas sa robe chiere,

Ains l'ot en mains leus descirée

Cum cele qui moult iert irée.

Si cheveul tuit destrecié furent,


Et espandu par son col jurent,

Que les avoit trestous desrous

De maltalent et de corrous.

Et sachiés bien veritelment

Qu'ele ploroit profondément:

Nus, tant fust durs, ne la véist,

A cui grant pitié n'en préist,

Qu'el se desrompoit et batoit,

Et ses poins ensemble hurtoit.

Moult iert à duel fere ententive


La dolereuse, la chetive;

Il ne li tenoit d'envoisier,

Ne d'acoler, ne de baisier:

Car cil qui a le cuer dolent,


Him liste not to pleye ne sterte,


Nor for to daunsen, ne to singe,

Ne may his herte in temper bringe

To make Ioye on even or morowe;

For Ioye is contraire unto sorowe.


Elde was peynted after this,


That shorter was a foot, ywis,

Than she was wont in her yonghede.

Unnethe hir-self she mighte fede;

So feble and eek so old was she

That faded was al hir beautee.


Ful salowe was waxen hir colour,

Hir heed for-hoor was, whyt as flour.

Y-wis, gret qualm ne were it noon,

Ne sinne, although hir lyf were gon.

Al woxen was hir body unwelde,


And drye, and dwyned al for elde.

A foul forwelked thing was she

That whylom round and softe had be.

Hir eres shoken fast withalle,

As from her heed they wolde falle.


Hir face frounced and forpyned,

And bothe hir hondes lorn, fordwyned.

Sachiés de voir, il n'a talent

De dancier, ne de karoler,

Ne nus ne se porroit moller

Qui duel éust, à joie faire,

Car duel et joie sont contraire.


Après fu Viellece portraite,


Qui estoit bien ung pié retraite

De tele cum el soloit estre;

A paine se pooit-el pestre,

Tant estoit vielle et radotée.

Bien estoit si biauté gastée,

Et moult ert lede devenuë.

Toute sa teste estoit chenuë,

Et blanche cum s'el fust florie.

Ce ne fut mie grant morie

S'ele morust, ne grans pechiés,


Car tous ses cors estoit sechiés

De viellece et anoiantis:

Moult estoit jà ses vis fletris,

Qui jadis fut soef et plains;

Mès or est tous de fronces plains,

Les oreilles avoit mossues,

Et trestotes les dents perdues,

Si qu'ele n'en avoit neis une.

Tant par estoit de grant viellune,


So old she was that she ne wente

A foot, but it were by potente.


The Tyme, that passeth night and day,


And restelees travayleth ay,

And steleth from us so prively,

That to us seemeth sikerly

That it in oon point dwelleth ever,

And certes, it ne resteth never,


But goth so faste, and passeth ay,

That ther nis man that thinke may

What tyme that now present is:

Asketh at these clerkes this;

For [er] men thinke it redily,


Three tymes been y-passed by.

The tyme, that may not soiourne,

But goth, and never may retourne,

As water that doun renneth ay,

But never drope retourne may;


Ther may no-thing as tyme endure,

Metal, nor erthely creature;

For alle thing it fret and shal:

The tyme eek, that chaungeth al,

And al doth waxe and fostred be,


And alle thing distroyeth he:

Qu'el n'alast mie la montance


De quatre toises sans potance.

Li tens qui s'en va nuit et jor,

Sans repos prendre et sans sejor,

Et qui de nous se part et emble

Si celéement, qu'il nous semble

Qu'il s'arreste adés en ung point,

Et il ne s'i arreste point,

Ains ne fine de trepasser,

Que nus ne puet néis penser

Quex tens ce est qui est présens;


Sel' demandés as clers lisans,

Ainçois que l'en l'éust pensé,

Seroit-il jà trois tens passé.

Li tens qui ne puet sejourner,

Ains vait tous jors sans retorner,

Cum l'iaue qui s'avale toute,

N'il n'en retorne arriere goute:

Li tens vers qui noient ne dure,

Ne fer ne chose tant soit dure,

Car il gaste tout et menjue;


Li tens qui tote chose mue,

Qui tout fait croistre et tout norist,

Et qui tout use et tout porrist;


The tyme, that eldeth our auncessours

And eldeth kinges and emperours,

And that us alle shal overcomen

Er that deeth us shal have nomen:


The tyme, that hath al in welde

To elden folk, had maad hir elde

So inly, that, to my witing,

She mighte helpe hir-self no-thing,

But turned ageyn unto childhede;


She had no-thing hir-self to lede,

Ne wit ne pith in[with] hir holde

More than a child of two yeer olde.

But natheles, I trowe that she

Was fair sumtyme, and fresh to see,


Whan she was in hir rightful age:

But she was past al that passage

And was a doted thing bicomen.

A furred cope on had she nomen;

Wel had she clad hir-self and warm,


For cold mighte elles doon hir harm.

These olde folk have alwey colde,

Hir kinde is swiche, whan they ben olde.




Another thing was doon ther write,

That semede lyk an ipocrite,

Li tens qui enviellist nos peres,

Et viellist roys et emperieres,

Et qui tous nous enviellira,

Ou mort nous desavancera;

Li tens qui toute a la baillie

Des gens viellir, l'avoit viellie

Si durement, qu'au mien cuidier


El ne se pooit mès aidier,

Ains retornoit jà en enfance,

Car certes el n'avoit poissance,

Ce cuit-je, ne force, ne sens

Ne plus c'un enfés de deus ans.

Ne porquant, au mien escient,

Ele avoit esté sage et gent,

Quant ele iert en son droit aage;

Mais ge cuit qu'el n'iere mès sage,

Ains iert trestote rassotée.


Si ot d'une chape forrée

Moult bien, si cum je me recors,

Abrié et vestu son corps:

Bien fu vestue et chaudement,

Car el éust froit autrement.

Les vielles gens ont tost froidure;

Bien savés que c'est lor nature.


Une ymage ot emprès escrite,

Qui sembloit bien estre ypocrite;


And it was cleped Pope-holy.

That ilke is she that prively

Ne spareth never a wikked dede,

Whan men of hir taken non hede;

And maketh hir outward precious,


With pale visage and pitous,

And semeth a simple creature;

But ther nis no misaventure

That she ne thenketh in hir corage.

Ful lyk to hir was that image,


That maked was lyk hir semblaunce.

She was ful simple of countenaunce,

And she was clothed and eek shod,

As she were, for the love of god,

Yolden to religioun,


Swich semed hir devocioun.

A sauter held she faste in honde,

And bisily she gan to fonde

To make many a feynt prayere

To god, and to his seyntes dere.


Ne she was gay, fresh, ne Iolyf,

But semed be ful ententyf

To gode werkes, and to faire,

And therto she had on an haire.

Ne certes, she was fat no-thing,

Papelardie ert apelée.


C'est cele qui en recelée,

Quant nus ne s'en puet prendre garde,

De nul mal faire ne se tarde.

El fait dehors le marmiteus,

Si a le vis simple et piteus,

Et semble sainte créature;

Mais sous ciel n'a male aventure

Qu'ele ne pense en son corage.

Moult la ressembloit bien l'ymage

Qui faite fu à sa semblance,


Qu'el fu de simple contenance;

Et si fu chaucie et vestue

Tout ainsinc cum fame rendue.

En sa main ung sautier tenoit,

Et sachiés que moult se penoit

De faire à Dieu prieres faintes,

Et d'appeler et sains et saintes.

El ne fu gaie, ne jolive,

Ains fu par semblant ententive

Du tout à bonnes ovres faire;


Et si avoit vestu la haire.

Et sachiés que n'iere pas grasse,


But semed wery for fasting;

Of colour pale and deed was she.

From hir the gate [shal] werned be

Of paradys, that blisful place;

For swich folk maketh lene hir face,


As Crist seith in his evangyle,

To gete hem prys in toun a whyle;

And for a litel glorie veine

They lesen god and eek his reine.


And alderlast of everichoon,


Was peynted Povert al aloon,

That not a peny hadde in wolde,

Al-though [that] she hir clothes solde,

And though she shulde anhonged be;

For naked as a worm was she.


And if the weder stormy were,

For colde she shulde have deyed there.

She nadde on but a streit old sak,

And many a clout on it ther stak;

This was hir cote and hir mantel,


No more was there, never a del,

To clothe her with; I undertake,

Gret leyser hadde she to quake.

De jeuner sembloit estre lasse,

S'avoit la color pale et morte.

A li et as siens ert la porte

Dévéée de Paradis;

Car icel gent si font lor vis

Amegrir, ce dit l'Evangile,

Por avoir loz parmi la ville,

Et por un poi de gloire vaine


Qui lor toldra Dieu et son raine.


Portraite fu au darrenier

Povreté, qui ung seul denier

N'éust pas, s'el se déust pendre,

Tant séust bien sa robe vendre;

Qu'ele iere nuë comme vers:

Se li tens fust ung poi divers,

Je cuit qu'ele acorast de froit,

Qu'el n'avoit c'ung vié sac estroit

Tout plain de mavès palestiaus;


Ce iert sa robe et ses mantiaus.

El n'avoit plus que afubler,

Grant loisir avoit de trembler.


And she was put, that I of talke,

Fer fro these other, up in an halke;


There lurked and there coured she,

For povre thing, wher-so it be,

Is shamfast, and despysed ay.

Acursed may wel be that day,

That povre man conceyved is;


For god wot, al to selde, y-wis,

Is any povre man wel fed,

Or wel arayed or y-cled,

Or wel biloved, in swich wyse

In honour that he may aryse.


Alle these thinges, wel avysed,

As I have you er this devysed,

With gold and asure over alle

Depeynted were upon the walle.

Squar was the wal, and high somdel;


Enclosed, and y-barred wel,

In stede of hegge, was that gardin;

Com never shepherde therin.

Into that gardyn, wel [y-]wrought,

Who-so that me coude have brought,


By laddre, or elles by degree,

It wolde wel have lyked me.

Des autres fu un poi loignet;

Cum chien honteus en ung coignet

Se cropoit et s'atapissoit,

Car povre chose, où qu'ele soit,

Est adès boutée et despite.

L'eure soit ore la maudite,

Que povres homs fu concéus!


Qu'il ne sera jà bien péus,

Ne bien vestus, ne bien chauciés,

Néis amés, ne essauciés.

Ces ymages bien avisé,

Qui, si comme j'ai devisé,

Furent à or et à asur

De toutes pars paintes où mur.

Haut fu li mur et tous quarrés,

Si en fu bien clos et barrés,

En leu de haies, uns vergiers,


Où onc n'avoit entré bergiers.

Cis vergiers en trop bel leu sist:

Qui dedens mener me vousist

Ou par échiele ou par degré,

Je l'en séusse moult bon gré;


For swich solace, swich Ioye, and play,

I trowe that never man ne say,

As in that place delitous.


The gardin was not daungerous

To herberwe briddes many oon.

So riche a yerd was never noon

Of briddes songe, and braunches grene.

Therin were briddes mo, I wene,


Than been in alle the rewme of Fraunce.

Ful blisful was the accordaunce

Of swete and pitous songe they made,

For al this world it oughte glade.

And I my-self so mery ferde,


Whan I hir blisful songes herde,

That for an hundred pound nolde I,—

If that the passage openly

Hadde been unto me free—

That I nolde entren for to see


Thassemblee, god [it kepe and were!]—

Of briddes, whiche therinne were,

That songen, through hir mery throtes,

Daunces of love, and mery notes.

Whan I thus herde foules singe,


I fel faste in a weymentinge,

Car tel joie ne tel déduit

Ne vit nus hons, si cum ge cuit,

Cum il avoit en ce vergier:

Car li leus d'oisiaus herbergier

N'estoit ne dangereux ne chiches.


Onc mès ne fu nus leus si riches

D'arbres, ne d'oisillons chantans:

Qu'il i avoit d'oisiaus trois tans

Qu'en tout le remanant de France.

Moult estoit bele l'acordance

De lor piteus chant à oïr:

Tous li mons s'en dust esjoïr.

Je endroit moi m'en esjoï

Si durement, quant les oï,

Que n'en préisse pas cent livres,


Se li passages fust delivres,

Que ge n'entrasse ens et véisse

L'assemblée (que Diex garisse!)

Des oisiaus qui léens estoient,

Qui envoisiement chantoient

Les dances d'amors et les notes

Plesans, cortoises et mignotes.

Quant j'oï les oisiaus chanter,

Forment me pris à dementer


By which art, or by what engyn

I mighte come in that gardyn;

But way I couthe finde noon

Into that gardin for to goon.


Ne nought wiste I if that ther were

Eyther hole or place [o]-where,

By which I mighte have entree;

Ne ther was noon to teche me;

For I was al aloon, y-wis,


Ful wo and anguissous of this.

Til atte laste bithoughte I me,

That by no weye ne mighte it be;

That ther nas laddre or wey to passe,

Or hole, into so fair a place.


Tho gan I go a ful gret pas

Envyroning even in compas

The closing of the square wal,

Til that I fond a wiket smal

So shet, that I ne mighte in goon,


And other entree was ther noon.

The Door.

Upon this dore I gan to smyte,

That was [so] fetys and so lyte;

For other wey coude I not seke.

Ful long I shoof, and knokked eke,

Par quel art ne par quel engin


Je porroie entrer où jardin;

Mès ge ne poi onques trouver

Leu par où g'i péusse entrer.

Et sachiés que ge ne savoie

S'il i avoït partuis ne voie,

Ne leu par où l'en i entrast,

Ne hons nés qui le me monstrast

N'iert illec, que g'iere tot seus,

Moult destroit et moult angoisseus;

Tant qu'au darrenier me sovint


C'oncques à nul jor ce n'avint

Qu'en si biau vergier n'éust huis,

Ou eschiele ou aucun partuis.

Lors m'en alai grant aléure

Açaignant la compasséure

Et la cloison du mur quarré,

Tant que ung guichet bien barré

Trovai petitet et estroit;

Par autre leu l'en n'i entroit.

A l'uis commençai à ferir,


Autre entrée n'i soi querir.

Assez i feri et boutai,

Et par maintes fois escoutai


And stood ful long and of[t] herkning

If that I herde a wight coming;

Til that the dore of thilke entree


A mayden curteys opened me.

Hir heer was as yelowe of hewe


As any basin scoured newe.

Hir flesh [as] tendre as is a chike,

With bente browes, smothe and slike;

And by mesure large were

The opening of hir yën clere.


Hir nose of good proporcioun,

Hir yën greye as a faucoun,

With swete breeth and wel savoured.

Hir face whyt and wel coloured,

With litel mouth, and round to see;


A clove chin eek hadde she.

Hir nekke was of good fasoun

In lengthe and gretnesse, by resoun,

Withoute bleyne, scabbe, or royne.

Fro Ierusalem unto Burgoyne


Ther nis a fairer nekke, y-wis,

To fele how smothe and softe it is.

Hir throte, al-so whyt of hewe

As snow on braunche snowed newe.

Se j'orroie venir nulle arme.

Le guichet, qui estoit de charme,

M'ovrit une noble pucele

Qui moult estoit et gente et bele.

Cheveus ot blons cum uns bacins,

La char plus tendre qu'uns pocins,

Front reluisant, sorcis votis.


Son entr'oil ne fu pas petis,

Ains iert assez grans par mesure;

Le nés ot bien fait à droiture,

Les yex ot plus vairs c'uns faucons,

Por faire envie à ces bricons.

Douce alene ot et savorée,

La face blanche et colorée,

La bouche petite et grocete,

S'ot où menton une fossete.

Le col fu de bonne moison,


Gros assez et lons par raison,

Si n'i ot bube ne malen.

N'avoit jusqu'en Jherusalen

Fame qui plus biau col portast,

Polis iert et soef au tast.

La gorgete ot autresi blanche

Cum est la noif desus la branche


Of body ful wel wrought was she


Men neded not, in no cuntree,

A fairer body for to seke.

And of fyn orfrays had she eke

A chapelet: so semly oon

Ne wered never mayde upon;....


And faire above that chapelet

A rose gerland had she set.

She hadde [in honde] a gay mirour,

And with a riche gold tressour

Hir heed was tressed queyntely;


Hir sleves sewed fetisly.

And for to kepe hir hondes faire

Of gloves whyte she hadde a paire.

And she hadde on a cote of grene

Of cloth of Gaunt; withouten wene,


Wel semed by hir apparayle

She was not wont to greet travayle.

For whan she kempt was fetisly,

And wel arayed and richely,

Thanne had she doon al hir Iournee;


For mery and wel bigoon was she.

Quant il a freschement negié.

Le cors ot bien fait et dougié,

L'en ne séust en nule terre


Nul plus bel cors de fame querre.

D'orfrois ot un chapel mignot;

Onques nule pucele n'ot

Plus cointe ne plus desguisié,

Ne l'aroie adroit devisié

En trestous les jors de ma vie.

Robe avoit moult bien entaillie;

Ung chapel de roses tout frais

Ot dessus le chapel d'orfrais:

En sa main tint ung miroër,


Si ot d'ung riche treçoër

Son chief trecié moult richement,

Bien et bel et estroitement

Ot ambdeus cousues ses manches;

Et por garder que ses mains blanches

Ne halaissent, ot uns blans gans.

Cote ot d'ung riche vert de gans,

Cousue à lignel tout entour.

Il paroit bien à son atour

Qu'ele iere poi embesoignie.


Quant ele s'iere bien pignie,

Et bien parée et atornée,

Ele avoit faite sa jornée.


She ladde a lusty lyf in May,

She hadde no thought, by night ne day,

Of no-thing, but it were oonly

To graythe hit wel and uncouthly.


Whan that this dore hadde opened me

This mayden, semely for to see,

I thanked hir as I best mighte,

And axede hir how that she highte,

And what she was, I axede eke.


And she to me was nought unmeke,

Ne of hir answer daungerous,

But faire answerde, and seide thus:—

Lo, sir, my name is Ydelnesse;

So clepe men me, more and lesse.


Ful mighty and ful riche am I,

And that of oon thing, namely;

For I entende to no-thing

But to my Ioye, and my pleying,

And for to kembe and tresse me.


Aqueynted am I, and privee

With Mirthe, lord of this gardyn,

That fro the lande of Alexandryn

Made the trees be hider fet,

That in this gardin been y-set.

Moult avoit bon tems et bon May,

Qu'el n'avoït soussi ne esmay

De nule riens, fors solement

De soi atorner noblement.

Quant ainsinc m'ot l'uis deffermé

La pucele au cors acesmé,

Je l'en merciai doucement,


Et si li demandai comment

Ele avoit non, et qui ele iere.

Ele ne fu pas envers moi fiere,

Ne de respondre desdaigneuse:

Je me fais apeler Oiseuse,'

Dist-ele, 'à tous mes congnoissans;

Si sui riche fame et poissans.

S'ai d'une chose moult bon tens,

Car à nule riens je ne pens

Qu'à moi joer et solacier,


Et mon chief pignier et trecier:

Quant sui pignée et atornée,

Adonc est fete ma jornée.

Privée sui moult et acointe

De Déduit le mignot, le cointe;

C'est cil cui est cest biax jardins,

Qui de la terre as Sarradins

Fist çà ces arbres aporter,

Qu'il fist par ce vergier planter.


And whan the trees were woxen on highte,

This wal, that slant here in thy sighte,

Dide Mirthe enclosen al aboute;

And these images, al withoute,

He dide hem bothe entaile and peynte,


That neither ben Iolyf ne queynte,

But they ben ful of sorowe and wo,

As thou hast seen a whyle ago.

'And ofte tyme, him to solace,

Sir Mirthe cometh into this place,


And eek with him cometh his meynee,

That liven in lust and Iolitee.

And now is Mirthe therin, to here

The briddes, how they singen clere,

The mavis and the nightingale,


And other Ioly briddes smale.

And thus he walketh to solace

Him and his folk; for swetter place

To pleyen in he may not finde,

Although he soughte oon in-til Inde.


The alther-fairest folk to see

That in this world may founde be

Hath Mirthe with him in his route,

That folowen him alwayes aboute.'

Quant li arbres furent créu,


Le mur que vous avez véu,

Fist lors Deduit tout entor faire,

Et si fist au dehors portraire

Les ymages qui i sunt paintes,

Que ne sunt mignotes ne cointes;

Ains sunt dolereuses et tristes,

Si cum vous orendroit véistes.

Maintes fois por esbanoier

Se vient en cest leu umbroier

Déduit et les gens qui le sivent,


Qui en joie et en solas vivent.

Encores est léens, sans doute,

Déduit orendroit qui escoute

A chanter gais rossignolés,

Mauvis et autres oiselés.

Il s'esbat iluec et solace

O ses gens, car plus bele place

Ne plus biau leu por soi joer

Ne porroit-il mie trover;

Les plus beles gens, ce sachiés,


Que vous jamès nul leu truissiés,

Si sunt li compaignon Déduit

Qu'il maine avec li et conduit.'


When Ydelnesse had told al this,


And I hadde herkned wel, y-wis,

Than seide I to dame Ydelnesse,

Now al-so wisly god me blesse,

Sith Mirthe, that is so fair and free,

Is in this yerde with his meynee,


Fro thilke assemblee, if I may,

Shal no man werne me to-day,

That I this night ne mote it see.

For, wel wene I, ther with him be

A fair and Ioly companye


Fulfilled of alle curtesye.'

And forth, withoute wordes mo,

In at the wiket wente I tho,

That Ydelnesse hadde opened me,

Into that gardin fair to see.


And whan I was [ther]in, y-wis,

The Garden.

Myn herte was ful glad of this.

For wel wende I ful sikerly

Have been in paradys erth[e]ly;

So fair it was, that, trusteth wel,


It semed a place espirituel.

For certes, as at my devys,

Ther is no place in paradys

So good in for to dwelle or be

As in that Gardin, thoughte me;

Quant Oiseuse m'ot ce conté,

Et j'oi moult bien tout escouté,

Je li dis lores: 'Dame Oiseuse,

Jà de ce ne soyés douteuse,

Puis que Déduit li biaus, li gens

Est orendroit avec ses gens

En cest vergier, ceste assemblée


Ne m'iert pas, se je puis, emblée,

Que ne la voie encore ennuit;

Véoir la m'estuet, car ge cuit

Que bele est cele compaignie,

Et cortoise et bien enseignie.'

Lors m'en entrai, ne dis puis mot,

Par l'uis que Oiseuse overt m'ot,

Où vergier; et quant je fui ens

Je fui liés et baus et joiens.

Et sachiés que je cuidai estre


Por voir en Paradis terrestre,

Tant estoit li leu delitables,

Qu'il sembloit estre esperitables:

Car si cum il m'iert lors avis,

Ne féist en nul Paradis

Si bon estre, cum il faisoit

Où vergier qui tant me plaisoit.


For there was many a brid singing,

Throughout the yerde al thringing.

In many places were nightingales,

Alpes, finches, and wodewales,

That in her swete song delyten


In thilke place as they habyten.

Ther mighte men see many flokkes

Of turtles and [of] laverokkes.

Chalaundres fele saw I there,

That wery, nigh forsongen were.


And thrustles, terins, and mavys,

That songen for to winne hem prys,

And eek to sormounte in hir song

These other briddes hem among.

By note made fair servyse


These briddes, that I you devyse;

They songe hir song as faire and wel

As angels doon espirituel.

And, trusteth wel, whan I hem herde,

Full lustily and wel I ferde;


For never yit swich melodye

Was herd of man that mighte dye.

D'oisiaus chantans avoit assés

Par tout le vergier amassés;

En ung leu avoit rossigniaus,


En l'autre gais et estorniaus;

Si r'avoit aillors grans escoles

De roietiaus et torteroles,

De chardonnereaus, d'arondeles,

D'aloes et de lardereles;

Calendres i ot amassées

En ung autre leu, qui lassées

De chanter furent à envis:

Melles y avoit et mauvis

Qui baoient à sormonter


Ces autres oisiaus par chanter.

Il r'avoit aillors papegaus,

Et mains oisiaus qui par ces gaus

Et par ces bois où il habitent,

En lor biau chanter se délitent.

Trop parfesoient bel servise

Cil oisel que je vous devise;

Il chantoient ung chant itel

Cum s'il fussent esperitel.

De voir sachiés, quant les oï,


Moult durement m'en esjoï:

Que mès si douce mélodie

Ne fu d'omme mortel oïe.


Swich swete song was hem among,

That me thoughte it no briddes song,

But it was wonder lyk to be


Song of mermaydens of the see;

That, for her singing is so clere,

Though we mermaydens clepe hem here

In English, as in our usaunce,

Men clepen hem sereyns in Fraunce.


Ententif weren for to singe

These briddes, that nought unkunninge

Were of hir craft, and apprentys,

But of [hir] song sotyl and wys.

And certes, whan I herde hir song,


And saw the grene place among,

In herte I wex so wonder gay,

That I was never erst, er that day,

So Iolyf, nor so wel bigo,

Ne mery in herte, as I was tho.


And than wiste I, and saw ful wel,

That Ydelnesse me served wel,

That me putte in swich Iolitee.

Hir freend wel oughte I for to be,

Sith she the dore of that gardyn


Hadde opened, and me leten in.

Tant estoit cil chans dous et biaus,

Qu'il ne sombloit pas chans d'oisiaus,

Ains le péust l'en aesmer

A chant de seraines de mer,

Qui par lor vois, qu'eles ont saines

Et series, ont non seraines.



A chanter furent ententis


Li oisillon qui aprenti

Ne furent pas ne non sachant;

Et sachiés quant j'oï lor chant,

Et je vi le leu verdaier,

Je me pris moult à esgaier;

Que n'avoie encor esté onques

Si jolif cum je fui adonques;

Por la grant délitableté

Fui plains de grant jolieté.

Et lores soi-je bien et vi


Que Oiseuse m'ot bien servi,

Qui m'avoit en tel déduit mis:

Bien déusse estre ses amis,

Quant ele m'avoit deffermé

Le guichet du vergier ramé.


From hennesforth how that I wroughte,

I shal you tellen, as me thoughte.

First, whereof Mirthe served there,

And eek what folk ther with him were,


Withoute fable I wol descryve.

And of that gardin eek as blyve

I wol you tellen after this.

The faire fasoun al, y-wis,

That wel [y-]wrought was for the nones,


I may not telle you al at ones:

But as I may and can, I shal

By ordre tellen you it al.

Ful fair servyse and eek ful swete

These briddes maden as they sete.


Layes of love, ful wel sowning

They songen in hir Iargoning;

Summe highe and summe eek lowe songe

Upon the braunches grene y-spronge.

The sweetnesse of hir melodye


Made al myn herte in reverdye.

And whan that I hadde herd, I trowe,

These briddes singing on a rowe,

Than mighte I not withholde me

That I ne wente in for to see

Dès ore si cum je sauré,

Vous conterai comment j'ovré.

Primes de quoi Déduit servoit,

Et quel compaignie il avoit

Sans longue fable vous veil dire,


Et du vergier tretout à tire

La façon vous redirai puis.

Tout ensemble dire ne puis,

Mès tout vous conteré par ordre,

Que l'en n'i sache que remordre.



Grant servise et dous et plaisant

Aloient cil oisel faisant;

Lais d'amors et sonnés cortois

Chantoit chascun en son patois,

Li uns en haut, li autre en bas;


De lor chant n'estoit mie gas.

La douçor et la mélodie

Me mist où cuer grant reverdie;

Mès quant j'oi escouté ung poi

Les oisiaus, tenir ne me poi

Que dant Déduit véoir n'alasse;

Car à savoir moult desirasse


Sir Mirthe; for my desiring

Was him to seen, over alle thing,

His countenaunce and his manere:

That sighte was to me ful dere.

Tho wente I forth on my right hond


Doun by a litel path I fond

Of mentes ful, and fenel grene;

And faste by, withoute wene,

Sir Mirthe.

Sir Mirthe I fond; and right anoon

Unto sir Mirthe gan I goon,


Ther-as he was, him to solace.

And with him, in that lusty place,

So fair folk and so fresh hadde he,

That whan I saw, I wondred me

Fro whennes swich folk mighte come,


So faire they weren, alle and some;

For they were lyk, as to my sighte,

To angels, that ben fethered brighte.

This folk, of which I telle you so,

Upon a carole wenten tho.


A lady caroled hem, that highte


Gladnes, [the] blisful and the lighte;

Wel coude she singe and lustily,

Non half so wel and semely,

And make in song swich refreininge,


It sat hir wonder wel to singe.

Son contenement et son estre.




Lors m'en alai tout droit à destre,

Par une petitete sente


Plaine de fenoil et de mente;

Mès auques près trové Déduit,

Car maintenant en ung réduit

M'en entré où Déduit estoit.

Déduit ilueques s'esbatoit;

S'avoit si bele gent o soi,

Que quant je les vi, je ne soi

Dont si tres beles gens pooient

Estre venu; car il sembloient

Tout por voir anges empennés,


Si beles gens ne vit homs nés.


Ceste gent dont je vous parole,

S'estoient pris à la carole,

Et une dame lor chantoit,

Qui Léesce apelée estoit:

Bien sot chanter et plesamment,

Ne nule plus avenaument,

Ne plus bel ses refrains ne fist,

A chanter merveilles li sist;


Hir vois ful cleer was and ful swete.

She was nought rude ne unmete,

But couthe y-now of swich doing

As longeth unto caroling:


For she was wont in every place

To singen first, folk to solace;

For singing most she gaf hir to;

No craft had she so leef to do.

Tho mightest thou caroles seen,


And folk [ther] daunce and mery been,

And make many a fair tourning

Upon the grene gras springing.

Ther mightest thou see these floutours,

Minstrales, and eek Iogelours,


That wel to singe dide hir peyne.

Somme songe songes of Loreyne;

For in Loreyne hir notes be

Ful swetter than in this contree.

Ther was many a timbestere,


And saylours, that I dar wel swere

Couthe hir craft ful parfitly.

The timbres up ful sotilly

They caste, and henten [hem] ful ofte

Upon a finger faire and softe,

Qu'ele avoit la vois clere et saine;


Et si n'estoit mie vilaine;

Ains se savoit bien desbrisier,

Ferir du pié et renvoisier.

Ele estoit adès coustumiere

De chanter en tous leus premiere:

Car chanter estoit li mestiers

Qu'ele faisoit plus volentiers.

Lors véissiés carole aler,

Et gens mignotement baler,

Et faire mainte bele tresche,


Et maint biau tor sor l'erbe fresche.

Là véissiés fléutéors,

Menesterez et jougléors;

Si chantent li uns rotruenges,

Li autres notes Loherenges,

Por ce qu'en set en Loheregne

Plus cointes notes qu'en nul regne.

Assez i ot tableterresses

Ilec entor, et tymberresses

Qui moult savoient bien joer,


Et ne finoient de ruer

Le tymbre en haut, si recuilloient

Sor ung doi, c'onques n'i failloient.


That they [ne] fayled never-mo.

Ful fetis damiselles two,

Right yonge, and fulle of semlihede,

In kirtles, and non other wede,

And faire tressed every tresse,


Hadde Mirthe doon, for his noblesse,

Amidde the carole for to daunce;

But her-of lyth no remembraunce,

How that they daunced queyntely.

That oon wolde come al prively


Agayn that other: and whan they were

Togidre almost, they threwe y-fere

Hir mouthes so, that through hir play

It semed as they kiste alway;

To dauncen wel coude they the gyse;


What shulde I more to you devyse?

Ne bede I never thennes go,

Whyles that I saw hem daunce so.

Upon the carole wonder faste,

I gan biholde; til atte laste


A lady gan me for to espye,


And she was cleped Curtesye,

The worshipful, the debonaire;

I pray god ever falle hir faire!

Deus damoiseles moult mignotes,

Qui estoient en pures cotes,

Et trecies à une tresce,

Faisoient Déduit par noblesce

Enmi la karole baler;

Mès de ce ne fait à parler

Comme el baloient cointement.


L'une venoit tout belement

Contre l'autre; et quant el estoient

Près à près, si s'entregetoient

Les bouches, qu'il vous fust avis

Que s'entrebaisassent où vis:

Bien se savoient desbrisier.

Ne vous en sai que devisier;

Mès à nul jor ne me quéisse

Remuer, tant que ge véisse

Ceste gent ainsine efforcier


De caroler et de dancier.

La karole tout en estant

Regardai iluec jusqu'à tant

C'une dame bien enseignie

Me tresvit: ce fu Cortoisie

La vaillant et la debonnaire,

Que Diex deffende de contraire.


Ful curteisly she called me,


'What do ye there, beau sire?' quod she,

Come [neer], and if it lyke yow

To dauncen, daunceth with us now.'

And I, withoute tarying,

Wente into the caroling.


I was abasshed never a del,

But it me lykede right wel,

That Curtesye me cleped so,

And bad me on the daunce go.

For if I hadde durst, certeyn


I wolde have caroled right fayn,

As man that was to daunce blythe.

Than gan I loken ofte sythe

The shap, the bodies, and the cheres,

The countenaunce and the maneres


Of alle the folk that daunced there,

And I shal telle what they were.


Ful fair was Mirthe, ful long and high;

A fairer man I never sigh.

As round as appel was his face,


Ful rody and whyt in every place.

Fetys he was and wel beseye,

With metely mouth and yën greye;

Cortoisie lors m'apela:

Biaus amis, que faites-vous là?'

Fait Cortoisie, 'ça venez,


Et avecque nous vous prenez

A la karole, s'il vous plest.'

Sans demorance et sans arrest

A la karole me sui pris,

Si n'en fui pas trop entrepris,

Et sachiés que moult m'agréa

Quant Cortoisie m'en pria,

Et me dist que je karolasse;

Car de karoler, se j'osasse,

Estoie envieus et sorpris.


A regarder lores me pris

Les cors, les façons et les chieres,

Les semblances et les manieres

Des gens qui ilec karoloient:

Si vous dirai quex il estoient.

Déduit fu biaus et lons et drois,

Jamés en terre ne venrois

Où vous truissiés nul plus bel homme:

La face avoit cum une pomme,

Vermoille et blanche tout entour,


Cointes fu et de bel atour.


His nose by mesure wrought ful right;

Crisp was his heer, and eek ful bright.


His shuldres of a large brede,

And smalish in the girdilstede.

He semed lyk a portreiture,

So noble he was of his stature,

So fair, so Ioly, and so fetys,


With limes wrought at poynt devys,

Deliver, smert, and of gret might;

Ne sawe thou never man so light.

Of berde unnethe hadde he no-thing,

For it was in the firste spring.


Ful yong he was, and mery of thought,

And in samyt, with briddes wrought,

And with gold beten fetisly,

His body was clad ful richely.

Wrought was his robe in straunge gyse,


And al to-slitered for queyntyse

In many a place, lowe and hye.

And shod he was with greet maistrye,

With shoon decoped, and with laas.

By druerye, and by solas,


His leef a rosen chapelet

Had maad, and on his heed it set.

Les yex ot vairs, la bouche gente,

Et le nez fait par grant entente;

Cheveus ot blons, recercelés,

Par espaules fu auques lés,

Et gresles parmi la ceinture:

Il resembloit une painture,

Tant ere biaus et acesmés,

Et de tous membres bien formés.

Remuans fu, et preus, et vistes,


Plus legier homme ne véistes;

Si n'avoit barbe, ne grenon,

Se petiz peus folages non,

Car il ert jones damoisiaus.

D'un samit portret à oysiaus,

Qui ere tout à or batus,

Fu ses cors richement vestus.

Moult iert sa robe desguisée,

Et fu moult riche et encisée,

Et décopée par cointise;


Chauciés refu par grant mestrise

D'uns solers décopés à las;

Par druerie et par solas

Li ot s'amie fet chapel

De roses qui moult li sist bel.


And wite ye who was his leef?


Dame Gladnes ther was him so leef,

That singeth so wel with glad corage,


That from she was twelve yeer of age,

She of hir love graunt him made.

Sir Mirthe hir by the finger hadde

[In] daunsing, and she him also;

Gret love was atwixe hem two.


Bothe were they faire and brighte of hewe;

She semede lyk a rose newe

Of colour, and hir flesh so tendre,

That with a brere smale and slendre

Men mighte it cleve, I dar wel sayn.


Hir forheed, frounceles al playn.

Bente were hir browes two,

Hir yën greye, and gladde also,

That laughede ay in hir semblaunt,

First or the mouth, by covenaunt.


I not what of hir nose descryve;

So fair hath no womman alyve....

Hir heer was yelowe, and cleer shyning,

I wot no lady so lyking.

Savés-vous qui estoit s'amie?

Léesce qui nel' haoit mie,

L'envoisie, la bien chantans,

Qui dès lors qu'el n'ot que sept ans

De s'amor li donna l'otroi;


Déduit la tint parmi le doi

A la karole, et ele lui,

Bien s'entr'amoient ambedui:

Car il iert biaus, et ele bele,

Bien resembloit rose novele

De sa color. S'ot la char tendre,

Qu'en la li péust toute fendre

A une petitete ronce.

Le front ot blanc, poli, sans fronce,

Les sorcis bruns et enarchiés,


Les yex gros et si envoisiés,

Qu'il rioient tousjors avant

Que la bouchete par convant.

Je ne vous sai du nés que dire,

L'en nel' féist pas miex de cire.

Ele ot la bouche petitete,

Et por baisier son ami, preste;

Le chief ot blons et reluisant.

Que vous iroie-je disant?

Bele fu et bien atornée;


D'ung fil d'or ere galonnée,

S'ot ung chapel d'orfrois tout nuef;

Je qu'en oi véu vint et nuef,


Of orfrays fresh was hir gerland;


I, whiche seen have a thousand,

Saugh never, y-wis, no gerlond yit,

So wel [y]-wrought of silk as it.

And in an over-gilt samyt

Clad she was, by gret delyt,


Of which hir leef a robe werde,

The myrier she in herte ferde.


And next hir wente, on hir other syde,

The god of Love, that can devyde

Love, as him lyketh it [to] be.


But he can cherles daunten, he,

And maken folkes pryde fallen.

And he can wel these lordes thrallen,

And ladies putte at lowe degree,

Whan he may hem to proude see.


This God of Love of his fasoun

Was lyk no knave, ne quistroun;

His beautee gretly was to pryse.

But of his robe to devyse

I drede encombred for to be.


For nought y-clad in silk was he,

But al in floures and flourettes,

Y-painted al with amorettes;

A nul jor mès véu n'avoie

Chapel si bien ouvré de soie.

D'un samit qui ert tous dorés

Fu ses cors richement parés,

De quoi son ami avoit robe,

Si en estoit assés plus gobe.



A li se tint de l'autre part


Li Diex d'Amors, cil qui départ

Amoretes à sa devise.

C'est cil qui les amans justise,

Et qui abat l'orguel des gens,

Et si fait des seignors sergens,

Et des dames refait bajesses,

Quant il les trove trop engresses.

Li Diex d'Amors, de la façon,

Ne resembloit mie garçon:

De beaulté fist moult à prisier,


Mes de sa robe devisier

Criens durement qu'encombré soie.

Il n'avoit pas robe de soie,

Ains avoit robe de floretes,

Fete par fines amoretes


And with losenges and scochouns,

With briddes, libardes, and lyouns,


And other beestes wrought ful wel.

His garnement was everydel

Y-portreyd and y-wrought with floures,

By dyvers medling of coloures.

Floures ther were of many gyse


Y-set by compas in assyse;

Ther lakked no flour, to my dome,

Ne nought so muche as flour of brome,

Ne violete, ne eck pervenke,

Ne flour non, that man can on thenke,


And many a rose-leef ful long

Was entermedled ther-among:

And also on his heed was set

Of roses rede a chapelet.

But nightingales, a ful gret route,


That flyen over his heed aboute,

The leves felden as they flyen;

And he was al with briddes wryen,

With popiniay, with nightingale,

With chalaundre, and with wodewale,


With finch, with lark, and with archaungel.

He semede as he were an aungel

A losenges, à escuciaus,

A oiselés, à lionciaus,

Et à bestes et à liépars;

Fu la robe de toutes pars

Portraite, et ovrée de flors


Par diverseté de colors.

Flors i avoit de maintes guises

Qui furent par grant sens assises;

Nulle flor en esté ne nest

Qui n'i soit, neis flor de genest,

Ne violete, ne parvanche,

Ne fleur inde, jaune ne blanche;

Si ot par leus entremeslées

Foilles de roses grans et lées.

Il ot où chief ung chapelet


De roses; mès rossignolet

Qui entor son chief voletoient,

Les foilles jus en abatoient:

Car il iert tout covers d'oisiaus,

De papegaus, de rossignaus,

De calandres et de mesanges;

Il sembloit que ce fust uns anges


That doun were comen fro hevene clere.

Love hadde with him a bachelere,

That he made alweyes with him be;


Swete-Loking cleped was he.


This bachelere stood biholding

The daunce, and in his honde holding

Turke bowes two hadde he.

That oon of hem was of a tree


That bereth a fruyt of savour wikke;

Ful croked was that foule stikke,

And knotty here and there also,

And blak as bery, or any slo.

That other bowe was of a plante


Withoute wem, I dar warante,

Ful even, and by proporcioun

Tretys and long, of good fasoun.

And it was peynted wel and thwiten,

And over-al diapred and writen


With ladies and with bacheleres,

Ful lightsom and [ful] glad of cheres.

These bowes two held Swete-Loking,

That semed lyk no gadeling.

And ten brode arowes held he there,


Of which five in his right hond were.

Qui fust tantost venus du ciau.

Amors avoit ung jovenciau

Qu'il faisoit estre iluec delés;


Douz-Regard estoit apelés.

Ici bachelers regardoit

Les caroles, et si gardoit

Au Diex d'Amors deux ars turquois.

Li uns des ars si fu d'un bois

Dont li fruit iert mal savorés;

Tous plains de nouz et bocerés

Fu li ars dessous et dessore,

Et si estoit plus noirs que mores.

Li autres ars fu d'un plançon


Longuet et de gente façon;

Si fu bien fait et bien dolés,

Et si fu moult bien pipelés.

Dames i ot de tous sens pointes,

Et valés envoisiés et cointes.

Ices deux ars tint Dous-Regars

Qui ne sembloit mie estre gars,

Avec dix des floiches son mestre.

Il en tint cinq en sa main destre;


But they were shaven wel and dight,

Nokked and fethered a-right;

And al they were with gold bigoon,

And stronge poynted everichoon,


And sharpe for to kerven weel.

But iren was ther noon ne steel;

For al was gold, men mighte it see,

Out-take the fetheres and the tree.



The swiftest of these arowes fyve


Out of a bowe for to dryve,

And best [y]-fethered for to flee,


And fairest eek, was cleped Beautee.

That other arowe, that hurteth lesse,


Was cleped, as I trowe, Simplesse.


The thridde cleped was Fraunchyse,


That fethered was, in noble wyse,

With valour and with curtesye.


The fourthe was cleped Companye

That hevy for to sheten is;


But who-so sheteth right, y-wis,

May therwith doon gret harm and wo.

The fifte of these, and laste also,

Mès moult orent ices cinq floiches


Les penons bien fais, et les coiches:

Si furent toutes à or pointes,

Fors et tranchans orent les pointes,

Et aguës por bien percier,

Et si n'i ot fer ne acier;

Onc n'i ot riens qui d'or ne fust,

Fors que les penons et le fust:

Car el furent encarrelées

De sajetes d'or barbelées.

La meillore et la plus isnele


De ces floiches, et la plus bele,

Et cele où li meillor penon

Furent entés, Biautes ot non.

Une d'eles qui le mains blece,

Ot non, ce m'est avis, Simplece.

Une autre en i ot apelée

Franchise; cele iert empenée

De Valor et de Cortoisie.

La quarte avoit non Compaignie:

En cele ot moult pesant sajete.


Ele n'iert pas d'aler loing preste;

Mès qui de près en vosist traire,

Il en péust assez mal faire.


Fair-Semblaunt men that arowe calle,


The leeste grevous of hem alle;


Yit can it make a ful gret wounde,

But he may hope his sores sounde,

That hurt is with that arowe, y-wis;

His wo the bet bistowed is.

For he may soner have gladnesse,


His langour oughte be the lesse.

Fyve arowes were of other gyse,

That been ful foule to devyse;

For shaft and ende, sooth to telle,

Were al-so blak as feend in helle.

Pryde. 975

The first of hem is called Pryde;

That other arowe next him bisyde,


It was [y]-cleped Vilanye;

That arowe was as with felonye

Envenimed, and with spitous blame.

Shame. 980

The thridde of hem was cleped Shame.


The fourthe, Wanhope cleped is,


The fifte, the Newe-Thought, y-wis.


These arowes that I speke of here,

Were alle fyve of oon manere,


And alle were they resemblable.

To hem was wel sitting and able

La quinte avoit non Biau-Semblant,

Ce fut toute la mains grévant.

Ne porquant el fait moult grant plaie;

Mès cis atent bonne menaie,

Qui de cele floiche est plaiés,

Ses maus en est mielx emplaiés;

Car il puet tost santé atendre,


S'en doit estre sa dolor mendre.

Cinq floiches i ot d'autre guise,

Qui furent lédes à devise:

Li fust estoient et li fer

Plus noirs que déables d'enfer.

La premiere avoit non Orguex,

L'autre qui ne valoit pas miex,

Fu apelée Vilenie;

Icele fu de felonie

Toute tainte et envenimée.


La tierce fu Honte clamée,

Et la quarte Desesperance:

Novel-Penser fu sans doutance

Apelée la darreniere.

Ces cinq floiches d'une maniere

Furent, et moult bien resemblables;

Moult par lor estoit convenables


The foule croked bowe hidous,

That knotty was, and al roynous.

That bowe semede wel to shete


These arowes fyve, that been unmete,

Contrarie to that other fyve.

But though I telle not as blyve

Of hir power, ne of hir might,

Her-after shal I tellen right


The sothe, and eek signifiaunce,

As fer as I have remembraunce:

Al shall be seid, I undertake,

Er of this boke an ende I make.

Now come I to my tale ageyn.


But alderfirst, I wol you seyn

The fasoun and the countenaunces

Of al the folk that on the daunce is.

The God of Love, Iolyf and light,

Ladde on his honde a lady bright,


Of high prys, and of greet degree.


This lady called was Beautee,

[As was] an arowe, of which I tolde.

Ful wel [y]-thewed was she holde;

Ne she was derk ne broun, but bright,


And cleer as [is] the mone-light,

Li uns des arcs qui fu hideus,

Et plains de neus, et eschardeus;

Il devoit bien tiex floiches traire,


Car el erent force et contraire

As autres cinq floiches sans doute.

Mès ne diré pas ore toute

Lor forces, ne lor poestés.

Bien vous sera la verités

Contée, et la sénefiance

Nel'metré mie en obliance;

Ains vous dirai que tout ce monte,

Ainçois que je fine mon conte.

Or revendrai à ma parole:


Des nobles gens de la karole

M'estuet dire les contenances,

Et les façons et les semblances.

Li Diex d'Amors se fu bien pris

A une dame de haut pris,

Et delez lui iert ajoustés:

Icele dame ot non Biautés,

Ainsinc cum une des cinq fleches.

En li ot maintes bonnes teches:

El ne fu oscure, ne brune,


Ains fu clere comme la lune,


Ageyn whom alle the sterres semen

But smale candels, as we demen.

Hir flesh was tendre as dewe of flour,

Hir chere was simple as byrde in bour;


As whyt as lilie or rose in rys,

Hir face gentil and tretys.

Fetys she was, and smal to see;

No windred browes hadde she,

Ne popped hir, for it neded nought


To windre hir, or to peynte hir ought.

Hir tresses yelowe, and longe straughten,

Unto hir heles doun they raughten:

Hir nose, hir mouth, and eye and cheke

Wel wrought, and al the remenaunt eke.


A ful gret savour and a swote

Me thinketh in myn herte rote,

As helpe me god, whan I remembre

Of the fasoun of every membre!

In world is noon so fair a wight;


For yong she was, and hewed bright,

[Wys], plesaunt, and fetys withalle,

Gente, and in hir middel smalle.


Bisyde Beaute yede Richesse,

An high lady of greet noblesse,

Envers qui les autres estoiles

Resemblent petites chandoiles.

Tendre ot la char comme rousée,

Simple fu cum une espousée,

Et blanche comme flor de lis;

Si ot le vis cler et alis,

Et fu greslete et alignie;

Ne fu fardée ne guignie:

Car el n'avoit mie mestier


De soi tifer ne d'afetier.

Les cheveus ot blons et si lons

Qu'il li batoient as talons;

Nez ot bien fait, et yelx et bouche.

Moult grant douçor au cuer me touche,

Si m'aïst Diex, quant il me membre

De la façon de chascun membre

Qu'il n'ot si bele fame où monde.

Briément el fu jonete et blonde,

Sade, plaisant, aperte et cointe,


Grassete et grele, gente et jointe.



Près de Biauté se tint Richece,

Une dame de grant hautece,


And greet of prys in every place.

But who-so durste to hir trespace,

Or til hir folk, in worde or dede,

He were ful hardy, out of drede;

For bothe she helpe and hindre may:


And that is nought of yisterday

That riche folk have ful gret might

To helpe, and eek to greve a wight.

The beste and grettest of valour

Diden Richesse ful gret honour,


And besy weren hir to serve;

For that they wolde hir love deserve,

They cleped hir 'Lady,' grete and smalle;

This wyde world hir dredeth alle;

This world is al in hir daungere.


Hir court hath many a losengere,

And many a traytour envious,

That been ful besy and curious

For to dispreisen, and to blame

That best deserven love and name.


Bifore the folk, hem to bigylen,

These losengeres hem preyse, and smylen,

And thus the world with word anoynten;

But afterward they [prikke] and poynten

De grant pris et de grant affaire.

Qui à li ne as siens meffaire

Osast riens par fais, ou par dis,

Il fust moult fiers et moult hardis;

Qu'ele puet moult nuire et aidier.

Ce n'est mie ne d'ui ne d'ier

Que riches gens out grant poissance


De faire ou aïde, ou grévance.

Tuit li greignor et li menor

Portoient à Richece honor:

Tuit baoient à li servir,

Por l'amor de li deservir;

Chascuns sa dame la clamoit,

Car tous li mondes la cremoit;

Tous li mons iert en son dangier.

En sa cort ot maint losengier,

Maint traïtor, maint envieus:


Ce sunt cil qui sunt curieus

De desprisier et de blasmer

Tous ceus qui font miex à amer.

Par devant, por eus losengier,

Loent les gens li losengier;

Tout le monde par parole oignent,

Mès lor losenges les gens poignent


The folk right to the bare boon,


Bihinde her bak whan they ben goon,

And foule abate the folkes prys.

Ful many a worthy man and wys,

An hundred, have [they] don to dye,

These losengeres, through flaterye;


And maketh folk ful straunge be,

Ther-as hem oughte be prive.

Wel yvel mote they thryve and thee,

And yvel aryved mote they be,

These losengeres, ful of envye!


No good man loveth hir companye.

Richesse a robe of purpre on hadde,

Ne trowe not that I lye or madde;

For in this world is noon it liche,

Ne by a thousand deel so riche,


Ne noon so fair; for it ful wel

With orfrays leyd was everydel,

And portrayed in the ribaninges

Of dukes stories, and of kinges.

And with a bend of gold tasseled,


And knoppes fyne of gold ameled.

Aboute hir nekke of gentil entaile

Was shet the riche chevesaile,

Par derriere dusques as os,

Qu'il abaissent des bons les los,

Et desloent les aloés,


Et si loent les desloés.

Maint prodommes ont encusés,

Et de lor honnor reculés

Li losengier par lor losenges;

Car il font ceus des cors estranges

Qui déussent estre privés:

Mal puissent-il estre arivés

Icil losengier plain d'envie!

Car nus prodons n'aime lor vie.

Richece ot une porpre robe,


Ice ne tenés mie à lobe,

Que je vous di bien et afiche

Qu'il n'ot si bele, ne si riche

Où monde, ne si envoisie.

La porpre fu toute orfroisie;

Si ot portraites à orfrois

Estoires de dus et de rois.

Si estoit au col bien orlée

D'une bende d'or néélée

Moult richement, sachiés sans faille.


Si i avoit tretout à taille


In which ther was ful gret plentee

Of stones clere and bright to see.


Rychesse a girdel hadde upon,

The bokel of it was of a stoon

Of vertu greet, and mochel of might;

For who-so bar the stoon so bright,

Of venim [thurte] him no-thing doute,


While he the stoon hadde him aboute.

That stoon was greetly for to love,

And til a riche mannes bihove

Worth al the gold in Rome and Fryse.

The mourdaunt, wrought in noble wyse,


Was of a stoon ful precious,

That was so fyn and vertuous,

That hool a man it coude make

Of palasye, and of tooth-ake.

And yit the stoon hadde suche a grace,


That he was siker in every place,

Al thilke day, not blind to been,

That fasting mighte that stoon seen.

The barres were of gold ful fyne,

Upon a tissu of satyne,


Ful hevy, greet, and no-thing light,

In everich was a besaunt-wight.

Upon the tresses of Richesse

Was set a cercle, for noblesse,

De riches pierres grant plenté

Qui moult rendoient grant clarté.

Richece ot ung moult riche ceint

Par desus cele porpre ceint;

La boucle d'une pierre fu

Qui ot grant force et grant vertu:

Car cis qui sor soi la portoit,

Nes uns venins ne redotoit:

Nus nel pooit envenimer,


Moult faisoit la pierre à aimer.

Ele vausist à ung prodomme

Miex que trestous li ors de Romme.

D'une pierre fu li mordens,

Qui garissoit du mal des dens;

Et si avoit ung tel éur,

Que cis pooit estre asséur

Tretous les jors de sa véue,

Qui à géun l'avoit véue.

Li clou furent d'or esmeré,


Qui erent el tissu doré;

Si estoient gros et pesant,

En chascun ot bien ung besant.

Richece ot sus ses treces sores

Ung cercle d'or; onques encores


Of brend gold, that ful lighte shoon;


So fair, trowe I, was never noon.

But he were cunning, for the nones,

That coude devysen alle the stones

That in that cercle shewen clere;

It is a wonder thing to here.


For no man coude preyse or gesse

Of hem the valewe or richesse.

Rubyes there were, saphyres, iagounces,

And emeraudes, more than two ounces.

But al bifore, ful sotilly,


A fyn carboucle set saugh I.

The stoon so cleer was and so bright,

That, al-so sone as it was night,

Men mighte seen to go, for nede,

A myle or two, in lengthe and brede.


Swich light [tho] sprang out of the stoon,

That Richesse wonder brighte shoon,

Bothe hir heed, and al hir face,

And eke aboute hir al the place.

Dame Richesse on hir hond gan lede


A yong man ful of semelihede,

That she best loved of any thing;

His lust was muche in housholding.

Ne fu si biaus véus, ce cuit,

Car il fu tout d'or fin recuit;

Mès cis seroit bons devisierres

Qui vous sauroit toutes les pierres,

Qui i estoient, devisier,


Car l'en ne porroit pas prisier

L'avoir que les pierres valoient,

Qui en l'or assises estoient.

Rubis i ot, saphirs, jagonces,

Esmeraudes plus de dix onces.

Mais devant ot, par grant mestrise,

Une escharboucle où cercle assise,

Et la pierre si clere estoit,

Que maintenant qu'il anuitoit,

L'en s'en véist bien au besoing


Conduire d'une liue loing.

Tel clarté de la pierre yssoit,

Que Richece en resplendissoit

Durement le vis et la face,

Et entor li toute la place.

Richece tint parmi la main

Ung valet de grant biauté plain,

Qui fu ses amis veritiez.

C'est uns hons qui en biaus ostiez


In clothing was he ful fetys,

And lovede wel have hors of prys.


He wende to have reproved be

Of thefte or mordre, if that he

Hadde in his stable an hakeney.

And therfore he desyred ay

To been aqueynted with Richesse;


For al his purpos, as I gesse,

Was for to make greet dispense,

Withoute werning or defence.

And Richesse mighte it wel sustene,

And hir dispenses wel mayntene,


And him alwey swich plentee sende

Of gold and silver for to spende

Withoute lakking or daungere,

As it were poured in a garnere.


And after on the daunce wente


Largesse, that sette al hir entente

For to be honourable and free;

Of Alexandres kin was she;

Hir moste Ioye was, y-wis,

Whan that she yaf, and seide, 'have this.'


Not Avarice, the foule caytyf,

Was half to grype so ententyf,

Maintenir moult se délitoit.


Cis se chauçoit bien et vestoit,

Si avoit les chevaus de pris;

Cis cuidast bien estre repris

Ou de murtre, ou de larrecin,

S'en s'estable éust ung roucin.

Por ce amoit-il moult l'acointance

De Richece et la bien-voillance,

Qu'il avoit tous jors en porpens

De demener les grans despens,

Et el les pooit bien soffrir,


Et tous ses despens maintenir;

El li donnoit autant deniers

Cum s'el les puisast en greniers.

Après refu Largece assise,

Qui fu bien duite et bien aprise

De faire honor, et de despendre:

El fu du linage Alexandre;

Si n'avoit-el joie de rien

Cum quant el pooit dire, 'tien.'

Neis Avarice la chétive


N'ert pas si à prendre ententive


As Largesse is to yeve and spende.

And god y-nough alwey hir sende,

So that the more she yaf awey,


The more, y-wis, she hadde alwey.

Gret loos hath Largesse, and gret prys;

For bothe wys folk and unwys

Were hoolly to hir baundon brought,

So wel with yiftes hath she wrought.


And if she hadde an enemy,

I trowe, that she coude craftily

Make him ful sone hir freend to be,

So large of yift and free was she;

Therfore she stood in love and grace


Of riche and povre in every place.

A ful gret fool is he, y-wis,

That bothe riche and nigard is.

A lord may have no maner vice

That greveth more than avarice.


For nigard never with strengthe of hond

May winne him greet lordship or lond.

For freendes al to fewe hath he

To doon his wil perfourmed be.

And who-so wol have freendes here,


He may not holde his tresour dere.

For by ensample I telle this,

Right as an adamaunt, y-wis,

Cum Largece ere de donner;

Et Diex li fesoit foisonner

Ses biens si qu'ele ne savoit

Tant donner, cum el plus avoit.

Moult a Largece pris et los;

Ele a les sages et les fos

Outréement à son bandon,

Car ele savoit fere biau don;

S'ainsinc fust qu'aucuns la haïst,


Si cuit-ge que de ceus féist

Ses amis par son biau servise;

Et por ce ot-ele à devise

L'amor des povres et des riches.

Moult est fos haus homs qui est chiches!

Haus homs ne puet avoir nul vice,

Qui tant li griet cum avarice:

Car hons avers ne puet conquerre

Ne seignorie ne grant terre;

Car il n'a pas d'amis plenté,


Dont il face sa volenté.

Mès qui amis vodra avoir

Si n'ait mie chier son avoir,

Ains par biaus dons amis acquiere:

Car tout en autretel maniere


Can drawen to him sotilly

The yren, that is leyd therby,


So draweth folkes hertes, y-wis,

Silver and gold that yeven is.

Largesse hadde on a robe fresshe

Of riche purpur Sarsinesshe.

Wel fourmed was hir face and clere,


And opened had she hir colere;

For she right there hadde in present

Unto a lady maad present

Of a gold broche, ful wel wrought.

And certes, it missat hir nought;


For through hir smokke, wrought with silk,

The flesh was seen, as whyt as milk.

Largesse, that worthy was and wys,

Held by the honde a knight of prys,

Was sib to Arthour of Bretaigne.


And that was he that bar the enseigne

Of worship, and the gonfanoun.

And yit he is of swich renoun,

That men of him seye faire thinges

Bifore barouns, erles, and kinges.


This knight was comen al newely

Fro tourneyinge faste by;

Cum la pierre de l'aïment

Trait à soi le fer soutilment,

Ainsinc atrait les cuers des gens

Li ors qu'en donne et li argens.

Largece ot robe toute fresche


D'une porpre Sarrazinesche;

S'ot le vis bel et bien formé;

Mès el ot son col deffermé,

Qu'el avoit iluec en présent

A une dame fet présent,

N'avoit gueres, de son fermal,

Et ce ne li séoit pas mal,

Que sa cheveçaille iert overte,

Et sa gorge si descoverte,

Que parmi outre la chemise


Li blanchoioit sa char alise.

Largece la vaillant, la sage,

Tint ung chevalier du linage

Au bon roy Artus de Bretaigne;

Ce fu cil qui porta l'enseigne

De Valor et le gonfanon.

Encor est-il de tel renom,

Que l'en conte de li les contes

Et devant rois et devant contes.

Cil chevalier novelement


Fu venus d'ung tornoiement,


Ther hadde he doon gret chivalrye

Through his vertu and his maistrye;

And for the love of his lemman


[Had] cast doun many a doughty man.



And next him daunced dame Fraunchyse,


Arrayed in ful noble gyse.

She was not broun ne dun of hewe,

But whyt as snowe y-fallen newe.


Hir nose was wrought at poynt devys,

For it was gentil and tretys;

With eyen gladde, and browes bente;

Hir heer doun to hir heles wente.

And she was simple as dowve on tree,


Ful debonaire of herte was she.

She durste never seyn ne do

But that [thing] that hir longed to.

And if a man were in distresse,

And for hir love in hevinesse,


Hir herte wolde have ful greet pitee,

She was so amiable and free.

For were a man for hir bistad,

She wolde ben right sore adrad

That she dide over greet outrage,


But she him holpe his harm to aswage;

Où il ot faite por s'amie

Mainte jouste et mainte envaïe,

Et percié maint escu bouclé,

Maint hiaume i avoit desserclé,

Et maint chevalier abatu,

Et pris par force et par vertu.

Après tous ceus se tint Franchise,

Qui ne fu ne brune ne bise,

Ains ere blanche comme nois;


Et si n'ot pas nés d'Orlenois,

Ainçois l'avoit lonc et traitis,

Iex vairs rians, sorcis votis:

S'ot les chevous et blons, et lons,

Et fu simple comme uns coulons.

Le cuer ot dous et debonnaire:

Ele n'osast dire ne faire

A nuli riens qu'el ne déust;

Et s'ele ung homme cognéust

Qui fust destrois por s'amitié,


Tantost éust de li pitié,

Qu'ele ot le cuer si pitéable,

Et si dous et si amiable,

Que se nus por li mal traisist,

S'el ne li aidast, el crainsist

Qu'el féïst trop grant vilonnie.

Vestue ot une sorquanie,


Hir thoughte it elles a vilanye.

And she hadde on a sukkenye,

That not of hempen herdes was;

So fair was noon in alle Arras.


Lord, it was rideled fetysly!

Ther nas nat oo poynt, trewely,

That it nas in his right assyse.

Ful wel y-clothed was Fraunchyse;

For ther is no cloth sitteth bet


On damiselle, than doth roket.

A womman wel more fetys is

In roket than in cote, y-wis.

The whyte roket, rideled faire,

Bitokened, that ful debonaire


And swete was she that it bere.

By hir daunced a bachelere;

I can not telle you what he highte,

But fair he was, and of good highte,

Al hadde he be, I sey no more,


The lordes sone of Windesore.


And next that daunced Curtesye,

That preised was of lowe and hye,

For neither proud ne fool was she.

She for to daunce called me,

Qui ne fu mie de borras:

N'ot si bele jusqu'à Arras;

Car el fu si coillie et jointe,


Qu'il n'i ot une seule pointe

Qui à son droit ne fust assise.

Moult fu bien vestue Franchise;

Car nule robe n'est si bele

Que sorquanie à damoisele.

Fame est plus cointe et plus mignote

En sorquanie que en cote:

La sorquanie qui fu blanche,

Senefioit que douce et franche

Estoit cele qui la vestoit.




Uns bachelers jones s'estoit

Pris à Franchise lez à lez,

Ne soi comment ert apelé,

Mès biaus estoit, se il fust ores

Fiex au seignor de Gundesores.

Après se tenoit Courtoisie,

Qui moult estoit de tous prisie,

Si n'ere orguilleuse ne fole.

C'est cele qui à la karole


(I pray god yeve hir right good grace!)

Whan I com first into the place.

She was not nyce, ne outrageous,

But wys and war, and vertuous,

Of faire speche, and faire answere;


Was never wight misseid of here;

She bar no rancour to no wight.

Cleer broun she was, and therto bright

Of face, of body avenaunt;

I wot no lady so plesaunt.


She were worthy for to bene

An emperesse or crouned quene.



And by hir wente a knight dauncing

That worthy was and wel speking,

And ful wel coude he doon honour.


The knight was fair and stif in stour,

And in armure a semely man,

And wel biloved of his lemman.


Fair Ydelnesse than saugh I,

That alwey was me faste by.


Of hir have I, withouten fayle,

Told yow the shap and apparayle

For (as I seide) lo, that was she

That dide me so greet bountee,

La soe merci m'apela


Ains que nule, quant je vins là.

El ne fu ne nice, n'umbrage,

Mès sages auques sans outrage,

De biaus respons et de biaus dis,

Onc nus ne fu par li laidis,

Ne ne porta nului rancune.

El fu clere comme la lune

Est avers les autres estoiles

Qui ne resemblent que chandoiles.

Faitisse estoit et avenant,


Je ne sai fame plus plaisant.

Ele ere entoutes cors bien digne

D'estre emperieris, ou roïne.

A li se tint uns chevaliers

Acointables et biaus parliers,

Qui sot bien faire honor as gens.

Li chevaliers fu biaus et gens,

Et as armes bien acesmés,

Et de s'amie bien amés.

La bele Oiseuse vint après,


Qui se tint de moi assés près.

De cele vous ai dit sans faille

Toute la façon et la taille;

Jà plus ne vous en iert conté,

Car c'est cele qui la bonté


That she the gate of the gardin


Undide, and leet me passen in.


And after daunced, as I gesse,

[Youthe], fulfild of lustinesse,

That nas not yit twelve yeer of age,

With herte wilde, and thought volage;


Nyce she was, but she ne mente

Noon harm ne slight in hir entente,

But only lust and Iolitee.

For yonge folk, wel witen ye,

Have litel thought but on hir play.


Hir lemman was bisyde alway,

In swich a gyse, that he hir kiste

At alle tymes that him liste,

That al the daunce mighte it see;

They make no force of privetee;


For who spak of hem yvel or wel,

They were ashamed never-a-del,

But men mighte seen hem kisse there,

As it two yonge douves were.

For yong was thilke bachelere,


Of beaute wot I noon his pere;

And he was right of swich an age

As Youthe his leef, and swich corage.

The lusty folk thus daunced there,

And also other that with hem were,

Me fist si grant qu'ele m'ovri

Le guichet del vergier flori.

Après se tint mien esciant,

Jonesce, au vis cler et luisant,

Qui n'avoit encores passés,


Si cum je cuit, douze ans d'assés.

Nicete fu, si ne pensoit

Nul mal, ne nul engin qui soit;

Mès moult iert envoisie et gaie,

Car jone chose ne s'esmaie

Fors de joer, bien le savés.

Ses amis iert de li privés

En tel guise, qu'il la besoit

Toutes les fois que li plesoit,

Voians tous ceus de la karole:


Car qui d'aus deus tenist parole,

Il n'en fussent jà vergondeus,

Ains les véissiés entre aus deus

Baisier comme deus columbiaus.

Le valés fu jones et biaus,

Si estoit bien d'autel aage

Cum s'amie, et d'autel corage.



Ainsi karoloient ilecques,

Ceste gens, et autres avecques,


That weren alle of hir meynee;

Ful hende folk, and wys, and free,

And folk of fair port, trewely,

Ther weren alle comunly.

Whan I hadde seen the countenaunces


Of hem that ladden thus these daunces,

Than hadde I wil to goon and see

The gardin that so lyked me,

And loken on these faire loreres,

On pyn-trees, cedres, and oliveres.


The daunces than y-ended were;

For many of hem that daunced there

Were with hir loves went awey

Under the trees to have hir pley.

A, lord! they lived lustily!


A gret fool were he, sikerly,

That nolde, his thankes, swich lyf lede!

For this dar I seyn, out of drede,

That who-so mighte so wel fare,

For better lyf [thurte] him not care;


For ther nis so good paradys

As have a love at his devys.

Out of that place wente I tho,

And in that gardin gan I go,

Qui estoient de lor mesnies,


Franches gens et bien enseignies,

Et gens de bel afetement

Estoient tuit communément.

Quant j'oi véues les semblances

De ceus qui menoient les dances,

J'oi lors talent que le vergier

Alasse véoir et cerchier,

Et remirer ces biaus moriers,

Ces pins, ces codres, ces loriers.

Les karoles jà remanoient,


Car tuit li plusors s'en aloient

O lor amies umbroier

Sous ces arbres por dosnoier.

Diex, cum menoient bonne vie!

Fox est qui n'a de tel envie;

Qui autel vie avoir porroit,

De mieudre bien se sofferroit,

Qu'il n'est nul greignor paradis

Qu'avoir amie à son devis.



D'ilecques me parti atant,


Si m'en alai seus esbatant


Pleying along ful merily.


The God of Love ful hastely

Unto him Swete-Loking clepte,

No lenger wolde he that he kepte

His bowe of golde, that shoon so bright.

He [bad] him [bende it] anon-right;


And he ful sone [it] sette on ende,

And at a braid he gan it bende,

And took him of his arowes fyve,

Ful sharpe and redy for to dryve.

Now god that sit in magestee


Fro deedly woundes kepe me,

If so be that he [wol] me shete;

For if I with his arowe mete,

It [wol me greven] sore, y-wis!

But I, that no-thing wiste of this,


Wente up and doun ful many a wey,

And he me folwed faste alwey;

But no-wher wolde I reste me,

Til I hadde al the [yerde in] be.

The gardin was, by mesuring,


Right even and squar in compassing;

It was as long as it was large.

The Trees.

Of fruyt hadde every tree his charge,

Par le vergier de çà en là;

Et li Diex d'Amors apela

Tretout maintenant Dous-Regart:

N'a or plus cure qu'il li gart

Son arc: donques sans plus atendre

L'arc li a commandé à tendre,

Et cis gaires n'i atendi,

Tout maintenant l'arc li tendi,

Si li bailla et cinq sajetes


Fors et poissans, d'aler loing prestes.

Li Diex d'Amors tantost de loing

Me prist à suivir, l'arc où poing.

Or me gart Diex de mortel plaie!

Se il fait tant que à moi traie,

Il me grevera moult forment.

Je qui de ce ne soi noient,

Vois par la vergier à délivre,

Et cil pensa bien de moi sivre;

Mès en nul leu ne m'arresté,


Devant que j'oi par tout esté.

Li vergiers par compasséure

Si fu de droite quarréure,

S'ot de lonc autant cum de large;

Nus arbres qui soit qui fruit charge,


But it were any hidous tree

Of which ther were two or three.


Ther were, and that wot I ful wel,

Of pomgarnettes a ful gret del;

That is a fruyt ful wel to lyke,

Namely to folk whan they ben syke.

And trees ther were, greet foisoun,


That baren notes in hir sesoun,

Such as men notemigges calle,

That swote of savour been withalle.

And alemandres greet plentee,

Figes, and many a date-tree


Ther weren, if men hadde nede,

Through the gardin in length and brede.

Ther was eek wexing many a spyce,

As clow-gelofre, and licoryce,

Gingere, and greyn de paradys,


Canelle, and setewale of prys,

And many a spyce delitable,

To eten whan men ryse fro table.

And many hoomly trees ther were,

That peches, coynes, and apples bere,


Medlers, ploumes, peres, chesteynes,

Cheryse, of whiche many on fayn is,

Se n'est aucuns arbres hideus,

Dont il n'i ait ou ung, ou deus

Où vergier, ou plus, s'il avient.

Pomiers i ot, bien m'en sovient,

Qui chargoient pomes grenades,


C'est uns fruis moult bons à malades;

De noiers i ot grant foison,

Qui chargoient en la saison

Itel fruit cum sunt nois mugades,

Qui ne sunt ameres, ne fades;

Alemandiers y ot planté,

Et si ot où vergier planté

Maint figuier, et maint biau datier;

Si trovast qu'en éust mestier,

Où vergier mainte bone espice,


Cloz de girofle et requelice,

Graine de paradis novele,

Citoal, anis, et canele,

Et mainte espice délitable,

Que bon mengier fait après table.

Où vergier ot arbres domesches,

Qui chargoient et coins et pesches,

Chataignes, nois, pommes et poires,

Nefles, prunes blanches et noires,


Notes, aleys, and bolas,

That for to seen it was solas;

With many high lorer and pyn


Was renged clene al that gardyn;

With cipres, and with oliveres,

Of which that nigh no plente here is.

Ther were elmes grete and stronge,

Maples, asshe, ook, asp, planes longe,


Fyn ew, popler, and lindes faire,

And othere trees ful many a payre.

What sholde I telle you more of it?

Ther were so many treës yit,

That I sholde al encombred be


Er I had rekened every tree.

These trees were set, that I devyse,

Oon from another, in assyse,

Five fadome or sixe, I trowe so,

But they were hye and grete also:


And for to kepe out wel the sonne,

The croppes were so thikke y-ronne,

And every braunch in other knet,

And ful of grene leves set,

That sonne mighte noon descende,


Lest [it] the tendre grasses shende.

Cerises fresches vermeilletes,


Cormes, alies et noisetes;

De haus loriers et de haus pins

Refu tous pueplés li jardin,

Et d'oliviers et de ciprés,

Dont il n'a gaires ici prés;

Ormes y ot branchus et gros,

Et avec ce charmes et fos,

Codres droites, trembles et chesnes,

Erables haus, sapins et fresnes.

Que vous iroie-je notant?


De divers arbres i ot tant,

Que moult en seroie encombrés,

Ains que les éusse nombrés.

Sachiés por voir, li arbres furent

Si loing à loing cum estre durent.

Li ung fu loing de l'autre assis

Plus de cinq toises, ou de sis:

Mès li rain furent lonc et haut,

Et por le leu garder de chaut,

Furent si espés par deseure,


Que li solaus en nesune eure

Ne pooit à terre descendre,

Ne faire mal à l'erbe tendre.


Ther mighte men does and roes y-see,

And of squirels ful greet plentee,

From bough to bough alwey leping.

Conies ther were also playing,


That comen out of hir claperes

Of sondry colours and maneres,

And maden many a turneying

Upon the fresshe gras springing.

The Welles.

In places saw I WELLES there,


In whiche ther no frogges were,

And fair in shadwe was every welle;

But I ne can the nombre telle

Of stremes smale, that by devys

Mirthe had don come through condys,


Of which the water, in renning,

Gan make a noyse ful lyking.

About the brinkes of thise welles,

And by the stremes over-al elles

Sprang up the gras, as thikke y-set


And softe as any veluët,

On which men mighte his lemman leye,

As on a fetherbed, to pleye,

For therthe was ful softe and swete.

Through moisture of the welle wete

Où vergier ot daims et chevrions,

Et moult grant plenté d'escoirions,

Qui par ces arbres gravissoient;

Connins i avoit qui issoient

Toute jor hors de lor tesnieres,

Et en plus de trente manieres

Aloient entr'eus tornoiant


Sor l'erbe fresche verdoiant.

Il ot par leus cleres fontaines,

Sans barbelotes et sans raines,

Cui li arbres fesoient umbre;

Mès n'en sai pas dire le numbre.

Par petis tuiaus que Déduis

Y ot fet fere, et par conduis

S'en aloit l'iaue aval, fesant

Une noise douce et plesant.

Entor les ruissiaus et les rives


Des fontaines cleres et vives,

Poignoit l'erbe freschete et drue;

Ausinc y poïst-l'en sa drue

Couchier comme sur une coite,

Car la terre estoit douce et moite

Por la fontaine, et i venoit

Tant d'erbe cum il convenoit.


Sprang up the sote grene gras,

As fair, as thikke, as mister was.

But muche amended it the place,

That therthe was of swich a grace

That it of floures had plente,


That both in somer and winter be.

Ther sprang the violete al newe,

And fresshe pervinke, riche of hewe,

And floures yelowe, whyte, and rede;

Swich plentee grew ther never in mede.


Ful gay was al the ground, and queynt,

And poudred, as men had it peynt,

With many a fresh and sondry flour,

That casten up ful good savour.

I wol not longe holde you in fable


Of al this gardin delitable.

I moot my tonge stinten nede,

For I ne may, withouten drede,

Naught tellen you the beautee al,

Ne half the bountee therewithal.


I wente on right honde and on left

Aboute the place; it was not left,

Til I hadde al the [yerde in] been,

In the estres that men mighte seen.

Mès moult embelissoit l'afaire

Li leus qui ere de tel aire,

Qu'il i avoit tous jours plenté


De flors et yver et esté.

Violete y avoit trop bele,

Et parvenche fresche et novele;

Flors y ot blanches et vermeilles,

De jaunes en i ot merveilles.

Trop par estoit la terre cointe,

Qu'ele ere piolée et pointe

De flors de diverses colors,

Dont moult sunt bonnes les odors.



Ne vous tenrai jà longue fable


Du leu plesant et délitable;

Orendroit m'en convenra taire,

Que ge ne porroie retraire

Du vergier toute la biauté,

Ne la grant délitableté.

Tant fui à destre et à senestre,

Que j'oi tout l'afere et tout l'estre

Du vergier cerchié et véu;

Et li Diex d'Amors m'a séu


And thus whyle I wente in my pley,


The God of Love me folowed ay,

Right as an hunter can abyde

The beste, til he seeth his tyde

To shete, at good mes, to the dere,

Whan that him nedeth go no nere.


And so befil, I rested me

Besyde a welle, under a tree,

Which tree in Fraunce men calle a pyn.

But, sith the tyme of king Pepyn,

Ne grew ther tree in mannes sighte


So fair, ne so wel woxe in highte;

In al that yerde so high was noon.

And springing in a marble-stoon

Had nature set, the sothe to telle,

Under that pyn-tree a welle.


And on the border, al withoute,

Was writen, in the stone aboute,

Lettres smale, that seyden thus,

Here starf the faire Narcisus.'


Narcisus was a bachelere,


That Love had caught in his daungere,

And in his net gan him so streyne,

And dide him so to wepe and pleyne,

That nede him muste his lyf forgo.

For a fair lady, hight Echo,

Endementiers en agaitant,


Cum li venieres qui atant

Que la beste en bel leu se mete

Por lessier aler la sajete.



En ung trop biau leu arrivé,

Au darrenier, où je trouvé

Une fontaine sous ung pin;

Mais puis Karles le fils Pepin,

Ne fu ausinc biau pin véus,

Et si estoit si haut créus,

Qu'où vergier n'ot nul si bel arbre.


Dedens une pierre de marbre

Ot nature par grant mestrise

Sous le pin la fontaine assise:

Si ot dedens la pierre escrites

Où bort amont letres petites

Qui disoient: 'ici desus

Se mori li biaus Narcisus.'

Narcisus fu uns damoisiaus

Que Amors tint en ses roisiaus,

Et tant le sot Amors destraindre,


Et tant le fist plorer et plaindre,

Que li estuet à rendre l'ame:

Car Equo, une haute dame,


Him loved over any creature,

And gan for him swich peyne endure,

That on a tyme she him tolde,

That, if he hir loven nolde,

That hir behoved nedes dye,


Ther lay non other remedye.

But natheles, for his beautee,

So fiers and daungerous was he,

That he nolde graunten hir asking,

For weping, ne for fair praying.


And whan she herde him werne hir so,

She hadde in herte so gret wo,

And took it in so gret dispyt,

That she, withoute more respyt,

Was deed anoon. But, er she deyde,


Ful pitously to god she preyde,

That proude-herted Narcisus,

That was in love so daungerous,

Mighte on a day ben hampred so

For love, and been so hoot for wo,


That never he mighte Ioye atteyne;

Than shulde he fele in every veyne

What sorowe trewe lovers maken,

That been so vilaynsly forsaken.

L'avoit amé plus que riens née.

El fu par lui si mal menée

Qu'ele li dist qu'il li donroit

S'amor, ou ele se morroit.

Mès cis fu por sa grant biauté

Plains de desdaing et de fierté,

Si ne la li volt otroier,


Ne por chuer, ne por proier.

Quant ele s'oï escondire,

Si en ot tel duel et tel ire,

Et le tint en si grant despit,

Que morte en fu sans lonc respit;

Mès ainçois qu'ele se morist,

Ele pria Diex et requist

Que Narcisus au cuer ferasche,

Qu'ele ot trové d'amors si flasche,

Fust asproiés encore ung jor,


Et eschaufés d'autel amor

Dont il ne péust joie atendre;

Si porroit savoir et entendre

Quel duel ont li loial amant

Que l'en refuse si vilment.


This prayer was but resonable,


Therefor god held it ferme and stable:

For Narcisus, shortly to telle,

By aventure com to that welle

To reste him in that shadowing

A day, whan he com fro hunting.


This Narcisus had suffred paynes

For renning alday in the playnes,

And was for thurst in greet distresse

Of hete, and of his werinesse

That hadde his breeth almost binomen.


Whan he was to that welle y-comen,

That shadwed was with braunches grene,

He thoughte of thilke water shene

To drinke and fresshe him wel withalle;

And doun on knees he gan to falle,


And forth his heed and nekke out-straughte

To drinken of that welle a draughte

And in the water anoon was sene

His nose, his mouth, his yën shene,

And he ther-of was al abasshed;


His owne shadowe had him bitrasshed.

For wel wende he the forme see

Of a child of greet beautee.

Cele proiere fu resnable,

Et por ce la fist Diex estable,

Que Narcisus, par aventure,

A la fontaine clere et pure

Se vint sous le pin umbroier,


Ung jour qu'il venoit d'archoier,

Et avoit soffert grant travail

De corre et amont et aval,

Tant qu'il ot soif por l'aspreté

Du chault, et por la lasseté

Qui li ot tolue l'alaine.

Et quant il vint à la fontaine

Que li pins de ses rains covroit,

Il se pensa que il bevroit:

Sus la fontaine, tout adens


Se mist lors por boivre dedans.

Si vit en l'iaue clere et nete

Son vis, son nés et sa bouchete,

Et cis maintenant s'esbahi;

Car ses umbres l'ot si trahi,

Que cuida véoir la figure

D'ung enfant bel à desmesure.


Wel couthe Love him wreke tho

Of daunger and of pryde also,


That Narcisus somtyme him bere.

He quitte him wel his guerdon there;

For he so musede in the welle,

That, shortly al the sothe to telle,

He lovede his owne shadowe so,


That atte laste he starf for wo.

For whan he saugh that he his wille

Mighte in no maner wey fulfille,

And that he was so faste caught

That he him couthe comfort naught,


He loste his wit right in that place,

And deyde within a litel space.

And thus his warisoun he took

For the lady that he forsook.



Ladyes, I preye ensample taketh,


Ye that ayeins your love mistaketh:

For if hir deeth be yow to wyte,

God can ful wel your whyle quyte.

Whan that this lettre, of whiche I telle,

Had taught me that it was the welle


Of Narcisus in his beautee,

I gan anoon withdrawe me,

Lors se sot bien Amors vengier

Du grant orguel et du dangier

Que Narcisus li ot mené.


Lors li fu bien guerredoné,

Qu'il musa tant à la fontaine,

Qu'il ama son umbre demaine,

Si en fu mors à la parclose.

Ce est la somme de la chose:

Car quant il vit qu'il ne porroit

Acomplir ce qu'il desirroit,

Et qu'il i fu si pris par sort,

Qu'il n'en pooit avoir confort

En nule guise, n'en nul sens,


Il perdi d'ire tout le sens,

Et fu mors en poi de termine.

Ainsinc si ot de la meschine

Qu'il avoit d'amors escondite,

Son guerredon et sa merite.

Dames, cest exemple aprenés,

Qui vers vos amis mesprenés;

Car se vous les lessiés morir,

Diex le vous sara bien merir.

Quant li escris m'ot fait savoir


Que ce estoit tretout por voir

La fontaine au biau Narcisus,

Je m'en trais lors ung poi en sus,


Whan it fel in my remembraunce,

That him bitidde swich mischaunce.

But at the laste than thoughte I,


That scatheles, ful sikerly,

The Welle.

I mighte unto The Welle go.

Wherof shulde I abasshen so?

Unto the welle than wente I me,

And doun I louted for to see


The clere water in the stoon,

And eek the gravel, which that shoon

Down in the botme, as silver fyn;

For of the welle, this is the fyn,

In world is noon so cleer of hewe.


The water is ever fresh and newe

That welmeth up with wawes brighte

The mountance of two finger highte.

Abouten it is gras springing,

For moiste so thikke and wel lyking,


That it ne may in winter dye,

No more than may the see be drye.



Down at the botme set saw I

Two cristal stones craftely

In thilke fresshe and faire welle.


But o thing soothly dar I telle,

Que dedens n'osai regarder,

Ains commençai à coarder,

Quant de Narcisus me sovint,

Cui malement en mesavint;

Mès ge me pensai qu'asséur,

Sans paor de mavés éur,

A la fontaine aler pooie,


Por folie m'en esmaioie.

De la fontaine m'apressai,

Quant ge fui près, si m'abessai

Por véoir l'iaue qui coroit,

Et la gravele qui paroit

Au fons plus clere qu'argens fins,

De la fontaine c'est la fins.

En tout le monde n'ot si bele,

L'iaue est tousdis fresche et novele,

Qui nuit et jor sourt à grans ondes


Par deux doiz creuses et parfondes.

Tout entour point l'erbe menue,

Qui vient por l'iaue espesse et drue,

Et en iver ne puet morir

Ne que l'iaue ne puet tarir.

Où fons de la fontaine aval

Avoit deux pierres de cristal

Qu'à grande entente remirai,

Et une chose vous dirai,


That ye wol holde a greet mervayle

Whan it is told, withouten fayle.

For whan the sonne, cleer in sighte,

Cast in that welle his bemes brighte,


And that the heet descended is,

Than taketh the cristal stoon, y-wis,

Agayn the sonne an hundred hewes,

Blewe, yelowe, and rede, that fresh and newe is.

Yit hath the merveilous cristal


Swich strengthe, that the place overal,

Bothe fowl and tree, and leves grene,

And al the yerd in it is sene.

And for to doon you understonde,

To make ensample wol I fonde;


Right as a mirour openly

Sheweth al thing that stant therby,

As wel the colour as the figure,

Withouten any coverture;

Right so the cristal stoon, shyning,


Withouten any disceyving,

The estres of the yerde accuseth

To him that in the water museth;

For ever, in which half that he be,

He may wel half the gardin see;

Qu'à merveilles, ce cuit, tenrés


Tout maintenant que vous l'orrés.

Quant li solaus qui tout aguete,

Ses rais en la fontaine giete,

Et la clartés aval descent,

Lors perent colors plus de cent

Où cristal, qui por le soleil

Devient ynde, jaune et vermeil:

Si ot le cristal merveilleus

Itel force que tous li leus,

Arbres et flors et quanqu'aorne


Li vergiers, i pert tout aorne;

Et por faire la chose entendre,

Un essample vous veil aprendre.

Ainsinc cum li miréors montre

Les choses qui li sunt encontre,

Et y voit-l'en sans coverture

Et lor color, et lor figure;

Tretout ausinc vous dis por voir,

Que li cristal, sans décevoir,

Tout l'estre du vergier accusent


A ceus qui dedens l'iaue musent:

Car tous jours quelque part qu'il soient,

L'une moitié du vergier voient;


And if he turne, he may right wel

Seen the remenaunt everydel.

For ther is noon so litel thing

So hid, ne closed with shitting,

That it ne is sene, as though it were


Peynted in the cristal there.

This is the mirour perilous,

In which the proude Narcisus

Saw al his face fair and bright,

That made him sith to lye upright.


For who-so loke in that mirour,

Ther may no-thing ben his socour

That he ne shal ther seen som thing

That shal him lede into [loving].

Ful many a worthy man hath it


Y-blent; for folk of grettest wit

Ben sone caught here and awayted;

Withouten respyt been they bayted.

Heer comth to folk of-newe rage,

Heer chaungeth many wight corage;


Heer lyth no reed ne wit therto;

For Venus sone, daun Cupido,

Hath sowen there of love the seed,

That help ne lyth ther noon, ne reed,

Et s'il se tornent maintenant,

Pueent véoir le remenant.

Si n'i a si petite chose,

Tant reposte, ne tant enclose,

Dont démonstrance n'i soit faite,

Cum s'ele iert es cristaus portraite.

C'est li miréoirs périlleus,


Où Narcisus li orguilleus

Mira sa face et ses yex vers,

Dont il jut puis mors tout envers.

Qui en cel miréor se mire,

Ne puet avoir garant de mire,

Que tel chose à ses yex ne voie,

Qui d'amer l'a tost mis en voie.

Maint vaillant homme a mis à glaive

Cis miréors, car li plus saive,

Li plus preus, li miex afetié


I sunt tost pris et aguetié.

Ci sourt as gens novele rage,

Ici se changent li corage;

Ci n'a mestier sens, ne mesure,

Ci est d'amer volenté pure;

Ci ne se set conseiller nus;

Car Cupido, li fils Venus,


So cercleth it the welle aboute.


His ginnes hath he set withoute

Right for to cacche in his panteres

These damoysels and bacheleres.

Love wil noon other bridde cacche,

Though he sette either net or lacche.


And for the seed that heer was sowen,

This welle is cleped, as wel is knowen,

The Welle of Love, of verray right,

Of which ther hath ful many a wight

Spoke in bokes dyversely.


But they shulle never so verily

Descripcioun of the welle here,

Ne eek the sothe of this matere,

As ye shulle, whan I have undo

The craft that hir bilongeth to.


Alway me lyked for to dwelle,

To seen the cristal in the welle,

That shewed me ful openly

A thousand thinges faste by.

But I may saye, in sory houre


Stood I to loken or to poure;

For sithen [have] I sore syked,

That mirour hath me now entryked.

Sema ici d'Amors la graine

Qui toute a çainte la fontaine;

Et fist ses las environ tendre,


Et ses engins i mist por prendre

Damoiseles et Damoisiaus;

Qu'Amors ne velt autres oisiaus.

Por la graine qui fu semée,

Fu cele fontaine clamée

La Fontaine d'Amors par droit,

Dont plusors ont en maint endroit

Parlé, en romans et en livre;

Mais jamès n'orrez miex descrivre

La verité de la matere,


Cum ge la vous vodré retrere.



Adès me plot à demorer

A la fontaine, et remirer

Les deus cristaus qui me monstroient

Mil choses qui ilec estoient.

Mès de fort hore m'i miré:

Las! tant en ai puis souspiré!

Cis miréors m'a decéu;

Se j'éusse avant cognéu


But hadde I first knowen in my wit

The vertue and [the] strengthe of it,


I nolde not have mused there;

Me hadde bet ben elles-where;

For in the snare I fel anoon,

That hath bitraisshed many oon.

In thilke mirour saw I tho,


Among a thousand thinges mo,

The Roser.

A ROSER charged ful of roses,

That with an hegge aboute enclos is.

Tho had I swich lust and envye,

That, for Parys ne for Pavye,


Nolde I have left to goon and see

Ther grettest hepe of roses be.

Whan I was with this rage hent,

That caught hath many a man and shent,

Toward the roser gan I go.


And whan I was not fer therfro,

The savour of the roses swote

Me smoot right to the herte rote,

As I hadde al embawmed [be.]

And if I ne hadde endouted me


To have ben hated or assailed,

My thankes, wolde I not have failed

Quex sa force ert et sa vertu,


Ne m'i fusse jà embatu:

Car meintenant où las chaï

Qui meint homme ont pris et traï.



Où miroer entre mil choses,

Choisi rosiers chargiés de roses,

Qui estoient en ung détor

D'une haie clos tout entor:

Adont m'en prist si grant envie,

Que ne laissasse por Pavie,

Ne por Paris, que ge n'alasse


Là où ge vi la greignor masse.

Quant cele rage m'ot si pris,

Dont maint ont esté entrepris,

Vers les rosiers tantost me très;

Et sachiés que quant g'en fui près,

L'oudor des roses savorées

M'entra ens jusques es corées,

Que por noient fusse embasmés:

Se assailli ou mesamés


To pulle a rose of al that route

To beren in myn honde aboute,

And smellen to it wher I wente;


But ever I dredde me to repente,

And lest it greved or for-thoughte

The lord that thilke gardyn wroughte.

Of roses were ther gret woon,

So faire wexe never in roon.


Of knoppes clos, some saw I there,

And some wel beter woxen were;

And some ther been of other moysoun,

That drowe nigh to hir sesoun,

And spedde hem faste for to sprede;


I love wel swiche roses rede;

For brode roses, and open also,

Ben passed in a day or two;

But knoppes wilen fresshe be

Two dayes atte leest, or three.


The knoppes gretly lyked me,

For fairer may ther no man see.

Who-so mighte haven oon of alle,

It oughte him been ful leef withalle.

Mighte I [a] gerlond of hem geten,


For no richesse I wolde it leten.

Ne cremisse estre, g'en cuillisse,


Au mains une que ge tenisse

En ma main, por l'odor sentir;

Mès paor oi du repentir:

Car il en péust de legier

Peser au seignor du vergier.

Des roses i ot grans monciaus,

Si beles ne vit homs sous ciaus;

Boutons i ot petit et clos,

Et tiex qui sunt ung poi plus gros.

Si en i ot d'autre moison


Qui se traient à lor soison,

Et s'aprestoient d'espanir,

Et cil ne font pas à haïr.

Les roses overtes et lées

Sunt en ung jor toutes alées;

Mès li bouton durent trois frois

A tout le mains deux jors ou trois.

Icil bouton forment me plurent,

Oncques plus bel nul leu ne crurent.

Qui en porroit ung acroichier,


Il le devroit avoir moult chier;

S'ung chapel en péusse avoir,

Je n'en préisse nul avoir.

The Knoppe.

Among THE KNOPPES I chees oon

So fair, that of the remenaunt noon

Ne preyse I half so wel as it,

Whan I avyse it in my wit.


For it so wel was enlumyned

With colour reed, as wel [y]-fyned

As nature couthe it make faire.

And it had leves wel foure paire,

That Kinde had set through his knowing


Aboute the rede rose springing.

The stalke was as risshe right,

And theron stood the knoppe upright,

That it ne bowed upon no syde.

The swote smelle sprong so wyde


That it dide al the place aboute—

Entre ces boutons en eslui

Ung si très-bel, qu'envers celui

Nus des autres riens ne prisié,

Puis que ge l'oi bien avisié:

Car une color l'enlumine,

Qui est si vermeille et si fine,

Com Nature la pot plus faire.


Des foilles i ot quatre paire

Que Nature par grant mestire

I ot assises tire à tire.

La coe ot droite comme jons,

Et par dessus siet li boutons,

Si qu'il ne cline, ne ne pent.

L'odor de lui entor s'espent;

La soatime qui en ist


Toute la place replenist.

G. = Glasgow MS.; Th. = Thynne's ed. (1532).

1-44. Lost in G.; from Th. 3. Th. some sweuen; but the pl. is required. 4. Th. that false ne bene. 5. Th. apparaunt. 6. Th. warraunt. 12. Th. els; om. a. 13, 14. Th. fal, cal; fole.

23. Th. folke; went. 25. Th. slepte. 26. Th. suche. 27. Th. lyked; wele. 28. Th. dele. 29. Th. afterwarde befal. 30. Th. dreme; tel; al. 31. Th. Nowe; dreme. 35. Th. there. 37. Th. Howe; om. that and the. 38. Th. hatte; read hote.

39. Ed. 1550, Romaunte. 40. Th. arte. 42. Th. graunt me in; omit me. 45. Here begins G. 46. Th. to be; G. torn. 47. Th. G. ought. 49. G. Th. thought. 55. G. Th. bene. 56. G. Th. wrene. 59. G. erth. G. Th. proude. 61. G. Th. forgette. 62. G. Th. had; sette.

66. G. Th. had. 69-72. Imperfect in G. 72. G. so; Th. ful. 73. Th. grylle; G. gryl. 73, 74. G. Th. sight, bright. 76. Th. herte; G. hertis. G. sich. 80. G. om. a. 81. G. om. the. 82. Th. yonge; G. yong. 84. Th. sauorous; G. sauerous. 85. Th. his herte; G. the hert.

89. G. blesful; Th. blysful. 91. G. affraieth; Th. affirmeth. G. Th. al. 96. G. wisshe; hondis. 97. Th. nedyl. G. droughe; Th. drowe. 98. Th. aguyler; G. Aguler. G. ynoughe; Th. ynowe. 101. Th. sowne; G. song. 102. Th. on; G. in. Both buskes. 103. G. om. the. G. swete; Th. lefe. 107. Th. That; G. They. G. om. a. 109. Th. Iolyfe; G. Ioly.

110. Both gan I. 111. G. herd; fast. 113. Both ryuere. 114. Both nere. 117-120. Imperfect in G. 121. Perhaps om. that. 123, 4. G. Th. ryuere, clere. 126. Th. botome ypaued. 132. G. walk thorough.

138. G. Th. Enclosed was; see l. 1652. 139. Th. hye; G. high. 142. G. the ymages and the peyntures; Th. the ymages and peyntures. 146. G. haue in; Th. om. in. 147. Th. Amydde; G. Amyd. 149. Both mynoresse; French, moverresse. 154. Both wode. 155. G. om. Y-.

160. Th. ywrithen; G. writhen. 163. G. om. faste. 165, 6. Both Felony, Vil(l)any. 167. Th. Ycleped; G. Clepid. Both fonde. 168. G. wal; Th. wall. Both honde. 174. Both outragious. 176. Th. suche an ymage.

184. G. gret tresouris; Th. gret treasours. G. leyne; Th. layne. 185. G. om. she. 188. Th. couetous; G. coueitise. 189. G. om. she. Th. for; G. that. 196. Both myscoueiting. 198. Both om. that. 203. Both wode.

204. Both gode. 208. Both fast. 212. Th. any; G. ony. 214. Both semed to haue. 219. G. porely; Th. poorely. 220. Both courtpy. 224. Th. mantel; G. mantyl. Both fast.

234. Th. ilke; G. ilk. 239. Th. helde; G. hilde. 240. Both om. doun. 241, 2. Th. stronge, longe; G. strong, long. 245, 6. Both entent, went. 248. Both peynted. 249, 250. Both in hir herte. G. farede, herede; Th. ferde, herde.

255. Perhaps read On ... to falle. 256. Both om. ful. 259. Th. shamful; G. shynful. 261. Both or by his prowesse. 264. Th. chaunce; G. chaunge. 266. G. trouth. 271. G. farede; Th. fared. 273. Both male talent; see 330.

275. G. hath; Th. hate. I supply wo. 276. Read melt'th or melt. 277. Both so (for to-). 278. Th. people; G. puple. 282. Both best. 291. G. Th. awrie. 292. G. -thart; Th. -twharte, misprint for -thwart. 293. I supply eek. G. om. a foul. 296. G. hir eien; Th. her one eye.

298. Both se. 299. So Th.; G. fairer or worthier. 303. G. seyn; Th. sene. 305. Both to haue; read hav-ë. Th. iaundice. 307. I supply as. 310. Th. yelowe; G. yolare.

324. Both rent. 333-380. Lost in G; from Th. 334. Th. had sene. 340. Th. rechelesse. 341. Th. rought. 342. I supply of.

344. Th. luste; play. 349. Th. contrarie. 352. Th. might. 356. Th. for hore.

367, 368. Th. went, potent. 370. Th. restlesse. 379. Supply er (Kaluza). 381. G. begins again. 382. Both may neuer. 387. Both frette. Th. shal; G. shalle. 388. Th. al; G. alle. 389. Th. al; G. alle. 390. Both al.

398. Both myght. 401. Both witte; pithe; in. 404. Both faire. 408. Th. cappe.

421. Th. symple; G. semely. 435. G. ne fresh; Th. om. ne. 436. Both to be.

442. Both ay (giving no sense); read shal. 444. Both grace (for face). 446. G. om. hem. 448. G. om. eek. 452. I supply that. 455. G. wedir; Th. wether. 456. G. deyd; Th. dyed. 462. Both had.

466. G. pouer. 467. G. shamefast; dispised. 471. G. ony pouere; fedde. Th. yfedde. 472. G. cledde; Th. ycledde. 478. Th. were; G. newe. 479. Both Square. 480. Th. ybarred; G. barred. 483. Both wrought. 485. G. laddris; Th. ladders; read laddre; see 523.

489. Both As was in. 492. G. yeer; Th. yere; read yerd; see 656. 494. Th. Therin; G. Therynne. 498. Both ought. 501. Th. hundred; G. hundreth. Both wolde (by confusion). 503. Both be. 505. Both kepe it fro care; a false rime. 506. Both ware; a false spelling. 510. Both weymentyng.

512. Both into. 516. Both where; read o-where. 517. Both myght. 520. Both For; read Ful. G. angwishis; see F. text. 532. I supply 1st so.

535. G. and of herknyng; Th. al herkenyng. 536. G. ony; Th. any; read a. 537. G. om. the. 540. G. ony; Th. any. 541. I supply 1st as. 542. Both bent. 546. Both as is a; omit is or a. 558. G. snawe; Th. snowe. G. snawed; Th. snowed.

560. G. neded; Th. neden. 564. Some lines lost? 567. I supply in honde. 568. Th. tressour; G. tresour; (cf. Gawain, 1739). 569. Both queyntly; see l. 783. 570. Both fetously; see l. 577.

583. Both but if; om. if. 586. Both may; see l. 538. 587, 588. Both myght, hyght. 592. G. answeride; Th. answerde. 603. G. hidre be; Th. hyther be. Both fette. 604. G. sette; Th. ysette.

605. Both hight. 606. Both sight. 617. Th. therin; G. therynne. 623. Th. playen in; G. pleyn ynne.

631. Th. Than; G. Thanne. 645, 653. Th. in; G. Inne. 654. Both thought.

655. Th. byrde; G. bridde; read brid. 660. Both places (badly). 661. Both might. 668. Both That (for These). 673. Th. whan; G. that. Th. herde; G. herd. 676. Both myght.

684. Both clepe. 688. Th. But; G. For. Both om. hir. 699. Th. gardyn; G. gardyne. 700. G. inne; Th. in.

701. G. hens-; wrought. 702. Both thought. 709. Both wrought. 716. Th. her; G. their. Th. iargonyng; G. yarkonyng. 718. Th. ispronge; G. spronge. 720. Th. reuelrye; G. reuerye; see French. 724. Th. in; G. inne.

728. Both sight (wrongly). 732. Th. faste; G. fast. Both without. 739. Th. whence; G. whenne. Both might. 741, 2. Both sight, bright. 743. Th. These; G. This. 745. Both hyght. 746. Both blisfull. Th. and lyght; G. and the light; see 797. 749. Both add couthe before make.

760. I supply ther. 761. Both made (for make). 770. Th. saylours; G. saillouris. 773. Both, hente; I supply hem.

776. G. damysels; Th. damosels. 782. Both lieth. 783. Both queyntly; see l. 569. 791. Both bode; read bede; see note. 798. Both pray to God.

801. I supply neer. 806. Both it to me liked. 811. Both right blythe; om. right. 812. Th. Than; G. Thanne. 819. Th. appel; G. appille.

834. Both first. 836. Both samette. 837. Both beten ful; om. ful. 844. Both drury. 845. Th. rosen; G. rosyn.

848. Both gladnesse. 859. G. seye; Th. sey (for sayn). 860. G. pleye; Th. pley (for pleyn). 861. Both Bent. 863. Both laugheden. 865. Both I wot not what of hir nose I shal descryve (eleven syllables). 866. Two lines lost.

869. Th. orfrayes. 870. Th. whiche; G. which. Th. sene; G. seyen. 873. Th. samyte; G. samet. 875, 6. Th. werde, ferde; G. werede, ferede. Both ins. hir bef. herte. 877. Th. on; G. in. 879. Both Love, and as hym likith it be. 887. Th. prise; G. preyse. 890. Th. ycladde; G. clad. 891. G. and in; Th. om. in. 892. From Th.; G. om.

893. Th. losenges; G. losynges. 897. Th. Ypurtrayed; G. Portreied. Th. ywrought; G. wrought. 900. Th. Yset; G. Sett. 902. Th. moche; G. mych. 903, 4. Both peruynke, thynke. 906. G. -melled; Th. -medled; see l. 898.

923. Both Turke bowes two, full wel deuysed had he (too long). 928. Th. any; G. ony. 929, 930. Th. plante, warante; G. plant, warant. Both Without. 932. G. Treitys; Th. Trectes. Both ins. ful after of. 933. G. twythen; Th. thwitten (printed twhitten). 936. I supply ful. 939. Th. helde; G. hilde.

942. Th. aryght; G. right. 944. G. peynted (!). 945. Th. sharpe; G. sharp. Th. wele; G. welle. 946. Th. stele; G. steelle. 948. Th. Out take; G. Outake. 953. G. lasse; Th. lesse. 958. Th. companye; G. compaigny. 959. Both shoten; see l. 989. 960. For right read nigh (K.).

964. Both leest. 969. Th. soner; G. sonner. 970. Th. Hys; G. Hir. Th. ought be; G. ought to be. 973. Both for to telle. 984. Both on; read of (K.).

991. Both And contrarye. 998. Th. booke; G. book. 1007. G. Th. And; read As was; F. Ainsinc cum. 1010. I supply is.

1015. For As read And (K.). 1017. Both smale. 1018. Both wyntred; see l. 1020. 1026. Both thought; read thinketh (K.). 1031. Both Sore (!); read Wys (?). 1034. Both And hight (!).

1037. Both in werk (!). 1043. G. and the; Th. om. the. 1045. Th. weren; G. were. 1058. Th. But; G. And. Th. prill; G. prile; prob. error for prike, or prikke.

1062. Th. and wyse; G. ywys. 1063. G. haue do; Th. and ydon. 1065. Th. And maketh; G. Haue maad. 1066. G. om. as. Both ought. 1068. Th. aryued; G. achyued. 1071. G. purpur; Th. purple. 1073. Th. it; G. hir. 1080. Th. amyled; Speght, ameled; G. enameled. 1082. G. shete; Th. shette.

1089. Both durst (!); read thurte or thurfte. 1092. Th. mannes; G. man. 1098. G. om. of. Both tothe. 1101. Th. thylke; G. thilk. 1102. Both myght.

1109. Both light. 1111. Th. he; G. she. 1112. Both deuyse. 1116. Th. the; G. that. 1117. Both ragounces (!). 1125. Morris supplies tho. 1132. G. mych.

1134. Th. loued wel to haue; G. loued to haue well. 1137. Th. an; G. ony. 1139. Th. ben; G. be. 1141. Th. Was; G. And. 1142. Th. or defence; G. of diffense. 1144. Th. dispences; G. dispence. 1146. Th. for to spende; G. for to dispende; see 1157. 1147. Th. lackynge; G. lakke. 1150. Th. sette; G. settith.

1162. G. om. wys. 1166. Th. craftely; G. tristely. 1172. Th. nygarde; G. nygart. 1176. G. om. him. 1178. Th. wyl; G. wille. 1182. Th. adamant; G. adamaund.

1187. Th. fresshe; G. fresh. 1188. G. sarlynysh; Th. Sarlynyssche. 1199. Both sibbe. Th. Arthour; G. Artour. Th. Breteigne; G. Britaigne. 1200. Th. enseigne; G, ensaigne. 1201. Both gousfaucoun. 1205. Both newly. 1206. Th. tourneyeng; G. tourneryng.

1207. Th. There; G. The. 1210. Both He caste. 1214. Th. yfallen; G. falle. 1219. Th. on; G. of. 1221. Both durst. 1227, 8. Both bistadde, adradde. 1230. Th. taswage.

1233. Th. hempe; G. hempe ne (for hempene). 1235. G. ridled; Th. ryddeled. 1236. G. om. nat. Both a; read oo. 1238. Th. yclothed; G. clothed. 1243; see 1235. 1244. Both Bitokeneth. 1247, 8. Both hight.

1255. Th. om. right. 1259. G. and of; Th. om. of. 1261. G. om. 1st no. 1263. G. wenaunt (!). 1265. G. om. were. 1274. Both fast. 1275. Both without.

1282. Both And she; read Youthe; see 1302. 1288. Th. yonge; G. yong. Th. wel; G. wole. 1303. Both that; read thus; see 1310.

1307. Both faire; truly (truely). 1308. Both were. 1313. G. loreyes; Th. Laurelles. 1315. Th. ended; G. eended (=y-ended?). 1323. Both myght. 1324. Both durst (for thurte). 1326. Both As to haue.

1332. Both she (for 2nd he). 1334. Both hadde (for bad); bent; om. it. 1335. I supply it. Both an (for on). 1339. Both sittith. 1340. Both he kepe me; (om. he). 1341. G. hadde me shette; Th. had me shete. 1342. G. mette; Th. mete. 1343. Both had me greued. 1348. Both hadde in all the gardyn be.

1359. G. of gret; Th. om. of. 1360. Th. nuttes. 1363. Both almandres. 1365. Th. weren; G. wexen. 1366. Read Throughout the yerd? 1369. Th. Gyngere; G. Gyngevre. Both Parys (!). 1375. Th. plommes. Th. chesteynis; G. chesteyns. 1376. G. Cherys; Th. Cheryse. G. which.

1379. Th. laurer; G. lorey (!). 1381. G. olyuers; Th. olyueris. 1384. Both oke. 1386-1482. Lost in G. 1397, 8. Th. knytte, sytte; see Parl. Fo. 628. 1399. Th. myght there noon. 1400. I supply it.

1403. Th. bowe; Speght, bough (twice). 1404. Th. Connes. 1405, 6. Th. clapers, maners. 1411, 2. Th. wel, tel. 1413, 4. Th. deuyse, condyse 1423. Th. the erthe; see 1428. 1424. Th. wel.

1425. Th. Spronge; see l. 1419. 1428. Th. suche. 1429. Th. hath. 1431. Th. vyolet. 1440. Th. dilectable. 1445, 6. Th. lefte. 1447. Th. garden; read yerde in (K.); cf. 1366 (note). 1448. Th. efters (!).

1452. Th. beest. 1453. Th. shoten; read shete. 1453. Th. goodmesse; see 3462. 1456. Th. Besydes. 1474. Th. that hight; (om. that).

1482. Th. feirs. 1483. G. begins again. 1485. G. om. hir. 1486. Th. hert. 1488. Th. without. 1489. Th. deyde; G. dide. 1495. Both might to; I omit to. 1496. Th. Than; G. And that. Th. shulde he; G. he shulde. 1498. G. velaynesly; Th. vilaynously.

1500. Th. ferme; G. forme. 1503. G. resten; Th. rest. G. that; Th. the. 1508. G. heet; Th. herte (for heete). 1510. Both wel. Th. y-comen; G. comen. 1515. G. he straught; Th. out-straught. 1516. Both draught. 1517, 8. G. seen, sheen; Th. sene, shene. 1520. Th. had; G. was.

1527. Both musede so. 1528. Th. om. al. 1534: Both comforte.

1550. G. scathles; Th. scathlesse. 1552. Th. abasshen; G. abaisshen. 1553. From Th.; not in G. 1561, 2. Both bright, hight. 1563. Both Aboute.

1573, 4. Both sight, bright. 1581. Both foule. 1583. Both you to; I omit to. 1585. Both mirrour. 1586. G. stondith; Th. stondeth. 1591. Both entrees. 1593, 4. Both ye (for he).

1601, 1605. Both mirrour. 1604. So Th.; G. swithe to ligge. 1605. Th. loke; G. loketh. 1608. Both laughyng (!); read loving. 1609. G. om. a. 1610. Th. Y-blent; G. Blent. 1617. Th. sowen; G. sowne.

1621, 2. Both panters, bachelers. 1638. G. fast; Th. faste. 1641. I supply have. Both sighed (for syked). 1642, 9. Both mirrour.

1644. Th. vertue; G. vertues. I supply the. Both strengthes; read strengthe. 1646. Both had. 1648. G. bitrisshed; Th. bytresshed. 1649. Th. thylke; G. thilk. 1652. Th. enclos; G. enclosid. 1655. G. att (for and). 1663. Th. G. me; read be (F. fusse). 1666. So Th.; G. Me thankis. G. wole; Th. wol; read wolde.

1668. Both bere. 1671, 2. Both -thought, wrought. 1673. Both ther were; both wone. 1674. Th. ware; G. waxe; both Rone. 1679. Th. faste; G. fast. 1683. G. wille; Th. wyl. Th. fresshe; G. fresh. 1687. Both myght haue. 1688. G. lief; Th. lefe. 1689. I supply a.

1694. G. it in; Th. om. it. 1695. G. enlomyned. 1698. Both hath; om. wel? 1700. Both roses. 1701. Th. rysshe; G. rish. 1705. Th. dyed (for dide; wrongly). 1705, 6. A false rime; l. 1705 is incomplete in sense, as the sentence has no verb. Here the genuine portion ends. L. 1706 is by another hand.


Whan I had smelled the savour swote,

No wille hadde I fro thens yit go,

But somdel neer it wente I tho,

To take it; but myn hond, for drede,


Ne dorste I to the rose bede,

For thistels sharpe, of many maneres,

Netles, thornes, and hoked breres;

[Ful] muche they distourbled me,

For sore I dradde to harmed be.


The God of Love, with bowe bent,

That al day set hadde his talent

To pursuen and to spyen me,

Was stonding by a fige-tree.


And whan he sawe how that I


Had chosen so ententifly

The botoun, more unto my pay

Than any other that I say,

He took an arowe ful sharply whet,

And in his bowe whan it was set,


He streight up to his ere drough

The stronge bowe, that was so tough,

And shet at me so wonder smerte,

That through myn eye unto myn herte

The takel smoot, and depe it wente.


And ther-with-al such cold me hente,

That, under clothes warme and softe,

Sith that day I have chevered ofte.

Whan I was hurt thus in [that] stounde,

I fel doun plat unto the grounde.


Myn herte failed and feynted ay,

And long tyme [ther] a-swone I lay.

But whan I com out of swoning,

And hadde wit, and my feling,

I was al maat, and wende ful wel


Of blood have loren a ful gret del.

But certes, the arowe that in me stood

Of me ne drew no drope of blood,

For-why I found my wounde al dreye.

Than took I with myn hondis tweye


The arowe, and ful fast out it plight,

And in the pulling sore I sight.

So at the last the shaft of tree

I drough out, with the fethers three.

But yet the hoked heed, y-wis,


The whiche Beautee callid is,

Gan so depe in myn herte passe,

That I it mighte nought arace;

But in myn herte stille it stood,

Al bledde I not a drope of blood.


I was bothe anguissous and trouble

For the peril that I saw double;

I niste what to seye or do,

Ne gete a leche my woundis to;

For neithir thurgh gras ne rote,


Ne hadde I help of hope ne bote.

But to the botoun ever-mo

Myn herte drew; for al my wo,

My thought was in non other thing.

For hadde it been in my keping,


It wolde have brought my lyf agayn.

For certeinly, I dar wel seyn,

The sight only, and the savour,

Alegged muche of my langour.

Than gan I for to drawe me


Toward the botoun fair to see;

And Love hadde gete him, in [a] throwe,

Another arowe into his bowe,

And for to shete gan him dresse;

The arowis name was Simplesse.


And whan that Love gan nyghe me nere,

He drow it up, withouten were,


And shet at me with al his might,

So that this arowe anon-right

Thourghout [myn] eigh, as it was founde,


Into myn herte hath maad a wounde.

Thanne I anoon dide al my crafte

For to drawen out the shafte,

And ther-with-al I sighed eft.

But in myn herte the heed was left,


Which ay encresid my desyre,

Unto the botoun drawe nere;

And ever, mo that me was wo,

The more desyr hadde I to go

Unto the roser, where that grew


The fresshe botoun so bright of hewe.

Betir me were have leten be;

But it bihoved nedes me

To don right as myn herte bad.

For ever the body must be lad


Aftir the herte; in wele and wo,

Of force togidre they must go.

But never this archer wolde fyne

To shete at me with alle his pyne,

And for to make me to him mete.


The thridde arowe he gan to shete,

Whan best his tyme he mighte espye,

The which was named Curtesye;

Into myn herte it dide avale.

A-swone I fel, bothe deed and pale;


Long tyme I lay, and stired nought,

Til I abraid out of my thought.

And faste than I avysed me

To drawen out the shafte of tree;

But ever the heed was left bihinde


For ought I couthe pulle or winde.

So sore it stikid whan I was hit,

That by no craft I might it flit;

But anguissous and ful of thought,

I felte such wo, my wounde ay wrought,


That somoned me alway to go

Toward the rose, that plesed me so;

But I ne durste in no manere,

Bicause the archer was so nere.

For evermore gladly, as I rede,


Brent child of fyr hath muche drede.

And, certis yit, for al my peyne,

Though that I sigh yit arwis reyne,

And grounde quarels sharpe of stele,

Ne for no payne that I might fele,


Yit might I not my-silf withholde

The faire roser to biholde;

For Love me yaf sich hardement

For to fulfille his comaundement.

Upon my feet I roos up than


Feble, as a forwoundid man;

And forth to gon [my] might I sette,

And for the archer nolde I lette.

Toward the roser fast I drow;

But thornes sharpe mo than y-now


Ther were, and also thistels thikke,

And breres, brimme for to prikke,

That I ne mighte gete grace

The rowe thornes for to passe,

To sene the roses fresshe of hewe.


I must abide, though it me rewe,

The hegge aboute so thikke was,

That closid the roses in compas.


But o thing lyked me right wele;

I was so nygh, I mighte fele


Of the botoun the swote odour,

And also see the fresshe colour;

And that right gretly lyked me,

That I so neer it mighte see.

Sich Ioye anoon therof hadde I,


That I forgat my malady.

To sene [it] hadde I sich delyt,

Of sorwe and angre I was al quit,

And of my woundes that I had thar;

For no-thing lyken me might mar


Than dwellen by the roser ay,

And thennes never to passe away.

But whan a whyle I had be thar,

The God of Love, which al to-shar

Myn herte with his arwis kene,


Caste him to yeve me woundis grene.

He shet at me ful hastily

An arwe named Company,

The whiche takel is ful able

To make these ladies merciable.


Than I anoon gan chaungen hewe

For grevaunce of my wounde newe,

That I agayn fel in swoning,

And sighed sore in compleyning.

Sore I compleyned that my sore


On me gan greven more and more.

I had non hope of allegeaunce;

So nigh I drow to desperaunce,

I rought of dethe ne of lyf,

Whither that love wolde me dryf.


If me a martir wolde he make,

I might his power nought forsake.

And whyl for anger thus I wook,

The God of Love an arowe took;

Ful sharp it was and [ful] pugnaunt,


And it was callid Fair-Semblaunt,

The which in no wys wol consente,

That any lover him repente

To serve his love with herte and alle,

For any peril that may bifalle.


But though this arwe was kene grounde

As any rasour that is founde,

To cutte and kerve, at the poynt,

The God of Love it hadde anoynt

With a precious oynement,


Somdel to yeve aleggement

Upon the woundes that he had

Through the body in my herte maad,

To helpe hir sores, and to cure,

And that they may the bet endure.


But yit this arwe, withoute more,

Made in myn herte a large sore,

That in ful gret peyne I abood.

But ay the oynement wente abrood;

Throughout my woundes large and wyde


It spredde aboute in every syde;

Through whos vertu and whos might

Myn herte Ioyful was and light.

I had ben deed and al to-shent

But for the precious oynement.


The shaft I drow out of the arwe,

Roking for wo right wondir narwe;


But the heed, which made me smerte,

Lefte bihinde in myn herte

With other foure, I dar wel say,


That never wol be take away;

But the oynement halp me wele.

And yit sich sorwe dide I fele,

That al-day I chaunged hewe,

Of my woundes fresshe and newe,


As men might see in my visage.

The arwis were so fulle of rage,

So variaunt of diversitee,

That men in everich mighte see

Bothe gret anoy and eek swetnesse,


And Ioye meynt with bittirnesse.

Now were they esy, now were they wood,

In hem I felte bothe harm and good;

Now sore without aleggement,

Now softening with oynement;


It softned here, and prikked there,

Thus ese and anger togider were.

The God of Love deliverly

Com lepand to me hastily,

And seide to me, in gret rape,


'Yeld thee, for thou may not escape!

May no defence availe thee here;

Therfore I rede mak no daungere.

If thou wolt yelde thee hastily,

Thou shalt [the] rather have mercy.


He is a fool in sikernesse,

That with daunger or stoutnesse

Rebellith ther that he shulde plese;

In such folye is litel ese.

Be meek, wher thou must nedis bowe;


To stryve ageyn is nought thy prowe.

Come at ones, and have y-do,

For I wol that it be so.

Than yeld thee here debonairly.'

And I answerid ful humbly,


'Gladly, sir; at your bidding,

I wol me yelde in alle thing.

To your servyse I wol me take;

For god defende that I shulde make

Ageyn your bidding resistence;


I wol not doon so gret offence;

For if I dide, it were no skile.

Ye may do with me what ye wile,

Save or spille, and also sloo;

Fro you in no wyse may I go.


My lyf, my deth, is in your honde,

I may not laste out of your bonde.

Pleyn at your list I yelde me,

Hoping in herte, that sumtyme ye

Comfort and ese shulle me sende;


Or ellis shortly, this is the ende,

Withouten helthe I moot ay dure,

But-if ye take me to your cure.

Comfort or helthe how shuld I have,

Sith ye me hurte, but ye me save?


The helthe of lovers moot be founde

Wher-as they token firste hir wounde.

And if ye list of me to make

Your prisoner, I wol it take

Of herte and wil, fully at gree.


Hoolly and pleyn I yelde me,

Withoute feyning or feyntyse,

To be governed by your empryse.

Of you I here so much prys,

I wol ben hool at your devys


For to fulfille your lyking

And repente for no-thing,

Hoping to have yit in som tyde

Mercy, of that [that] I abyde.'

And with that covenaunt yeld I me,


Anoon doun kneling upon my knee,

Profering for to kisse his feet;

But for no-thing he wolde me lete,

And seide, 'I love thee bothe and preyse,

Sen that thyn answer doth me ese,


For thou answerid so curteisly.

For now I wot wel uttirly,

That thou art gentil, by thy speche.

For though a man fer wolde seche,

He shulde not finden, in certeyn,


No sich answer of no vileyn;

For sich a word ne mighte nought

Isse out of a vilayns thought.

Thou shalt not lesen of thy speche,

For [to] thy helping wol I eche,


And eek encresen that I may.

But first I wol that thou obay

Fully, for thyn avauntage,

Anon to do me here homage.

And sithen kisse thou shalt my mouth,


Which to no vilayn was never couth

For to aproche it, ne for to touche;

For sauf of cherlis I ne vouche

That they shulle never neigh it nere.

For curteys, and of fair manere,


Wel taught, and ful of gentilnesse

He muste ben, that shal me kisse,

And also of ful high fraunchyse,

That shal atteyne to that empryse.

And first of o thing warne I thee,


That peyne and gret adversitee

He mot endure, and eek travaile,

That shal me serve, withoute faile.

But ther-ageyns, thee to comforte,

And with thy servise to desporte,


Thou mayst ful glad and Ioyful be

So good a maister to have as me,

And lord of so high renoun.

I bere of Love the gonfanoun,

Of Curtesye the banere;


For I am of the silf manere,

Gentil, curteys, meek and free;

That who [so] ever ententif be

Me to honoure, doute, and serve,

And also that he him observe


Fro trespas and fro vilanye,

And him governe in curtesye

With wil and with entencioun;

For whan he first in my prisoun

Is caught, than muste he uttirly,


Fro thennes-forth ful bisily,

Caste him gentil for to be,

If he desyre helpe of me.'

Anoon withouten more delay,

Withouten daunger or affray,


I bicom his man anoon,

And gave him thankes many a oon,

And kneled doun with hondis Ioynt,

And made it in my port ful queynt;

The Ioye wente to myn herte rote.


Whan I had kissed his mouth so swote,

I had sich mirthe and sich lyking,

It cured me of languisshing.

He askid of me than hostages:—

I have,' he seide, 'taken fele homages


Of oon and other, where I have been

Disceyved ofte, withouten wene.

These felouns, fulle of falsitee,

Have many sythes bigyled me,

And through falshede hir lust acheved,


Wherof I repente and am agreved.

And I hem gete in my daungere,

Hir falshed shulie they bye ful dere.

But for I love thee, I seye thee pleyn,

I wol of thee be more certeyn;


For thee so sore I wol now binde,

That thou away ne shalt not winde

For to denyen the covenaunt,

Or doon that is not avenaunt.

That thou were fals it were gret reuthe,


Sith thou semest so ful of treuthe.'

'Sire, if thee list to undirstande,

I merveile thee asking this demande.

For-why or wherfore shulde ye

Ostages or borwis aske of me,


Or any other sikirnesse,

Sith ye wote, in sothfastnesse,

That ye have me surprysed so,

And hool myn herte taken me fro,

That it wol do for me no-thing


But-if it be at your bidding?

Myn herte is yours, and myn right nought,

As it bihoveth, in dede and thought,

Redy in alle to worche your wille,

Whether so [it] turne to good or ille.


So sore it lustith you to plese,

No man therof may you disseise.

Ye have theron set sich Iustise,

That it is werreyd in many wise.

And if ye doute it nolde obeye,


Ye may therof do make a keye,

And holde it with you for ostage.'

Now certis, this is noon outrage,'

Quoth Love, 'and fully I accord;

For of the body he is ful lord


That hath the herte in his tresor;

Outrage it were to asken more.'

Than of his aumener he drough

A litel keye, fetys y-nough,

Which was of gold polisshed clere,


And seide to me, 'With this keye here

Thyn herte to me now wol I shette;

For al my Iowellis loke and knette

I binde under this litel keye,

That no wight may carye aweye;


This keye is ful of gret poeste.'

With which anoon he touchid me

Undir the syde ful softely,

That he myn herte sodeynly

Without [al] anoy had spered,


That yit right nought it hath me dered.

Whan he had doon his wil al-out,

And I had put him out of dout,

Sire,' I seide, 'I have right gret wille

Your lust and plesaunce to fulfille.


Loke ye my servise take at gree,

By thilke feith ye owe to me.

I seye nought for recreaundyse,

For I nought doute of your servyse.


But the servaunt traveileth in vayne,


That for to serven doth his payne

Unto that lord, which in no wyse

Can him no thank for his servyse.'

Love seide, 'Dismaye thee nought,

Sin thou for sucour hast me sought,


In thank thy servise wol I take,

And high of degree I wol thee make,

If wikkidnesse ne hindre thee;

But, as I hope, it shal nought be.

To worship no wight by aventure


May come, but-if he peyne endure.

Abyde and suffre thy distresse;

That hurtith now, it shal be lesse;

I wot my-silf what may thee save,

What medicyne thou woldist have.


And if thy trouthe to me thou kepe,

I shal unto thyn helping eke,

To cure thy woundes and make hem clene,

Wher-so they be olde or grene;

Thou shalt be holpen, at wordis fewe.


For certeynly thou shalt wel shewe

Wher that thou servest with good wille,

For to complisshen and fulfille

My comaundementis, day and night,

Whiche I to lovers yeve of right.'


'Ah, sire, for goddis love,' seide I,

Er ye passe hens, ententifly

Your comaundementis to me ye say,

And I shal kepe hem, if I may;

For hem to kepen is al my thought.


And if so be I wot hem nought,

Than may I [sinne] unwitingly.

Wherfore I pray you enterely,

With al myn herte, me to lere,

That I trespasse in no manere.'


The god of love than chargid me

Anoon, as ye shal here and see,

Word by word, by right empryse,

So as the Romance shal devyse.

The maister lesith his tyme to lere,


Whan the disciple wol not here.

It is but veyn on him to swinke,

That on his lerning wol not thinke.

Who-so lust love, let him entende,

For now the Romance ginneth amende.


Now is good to here, in fay,

If any be that can it say,

And poynte it as the resoun is

Set; for other-gate, y-wis,

It shal nought wel in alle thing


Be brought to good undirstonding:

For a reder that poyntith ille

A good sentence may ofte spille.

The book is good at the ending,

Maad of newe and lusty thing;


For who-so wol the ending here,

The crafte of love he shal now lere,

If that he wol so long abyde,

Til I this Romance may unhyde,

And undo the signifiaunce


Of this dreme into Romaunce.

The sothfastnesse that now is hid,

Without coverture shal be kid,


Whan I undon have this dreming,

Wherin no word is of lesing.


'Vilany, at the biginning,

I wol,' sayd Love, 'over alle thing,

Thou leve, if thou wolt [not] be

Fals, and trespasse ageynes me.

I curse and blame generally


Alle hem that loven vilany;

For vilany makith vilayn,

And by his dedis a cherle is seyn.

Thise vilayns arn without pitee,

Frendshipe, love, and al bounte.


I nil receyve to my servyse

Hem that ben vilayns of empryse.

'But undirstonde in thyn entent,

That this is not myn entendement,

To clepe no wight in no ages


Only gentil for his linages.

But who-so [that] is vertuous,

And in his port nought outrageous,

Whan sich oon thou seest thee biforn,

Though he be not gentil born,


Thou mayst wel seyn, this is a soth,

That he is gentil, bicause he doth

As longeth to a gentilman;

Of hem non other deme I can.

For certeynly, withouten drede,


A cherl is demed by his dede,

Of hye or lowe, as ye may see,

Or of what kinrede that he be.

Ne say nought, for noon yvel wille,

Thing that is to holden stille;


It is no worship to misseye.

Thou mayst ensample take of Keye,

That was somtyme, for misseying,

Hated bothe of olde and ying;

As fer as Gaweyn, the worthy,


Was preysed for his curtesy,

Keye was hated, for he was fel,

Of word dispitous and cruel.

Wherfore be wyse and aqueyntable,

Goodly of word, and resonable


Bothe to lesse and eek to mar.

And whan thou comest ther men ar,

Loke that thou have in custom ay

First to salue hem, if thou may:

And if it falle, that of hem som


Salue thee first, be not dom,

But quyte him curteisly anoon

Without abiding, er they goon.

'For no-thing eek thy tunge applye

To speke wordis of ribaudye.


To vilayn speche in no degree

Lat never thy lippe unbounden be.

For I nought holde him, in good feith,

Curteys, that foule wordis seith.

And alle wimmen serve and preyse,


And to thy power hir honour reyse.

And if that any missayere

Dispyse wimmen, that thou mayst here,

Blame him, and bidde him holde him stille.

And set thy might and al thy wille


Wimmen and ladies for to plese,

And to do thing that may hem ese,

That they ever speke good of thee,

For so thou mayst best preysed be.

'Loke fro pryde thou kepe thee wele;


For thou mayst bothe perceyve and fele,


That pryde is bothe foly and sinne;

And he that pryde hath, him withinne,

Ne may his herte, in no wyse,

Meken ne souplen to servyse.


For pryde is founde, in every part,

Contrarie unto Loves art.

And he that loveth trewely

Shulde him contene Iolily,

Withouten pryde in sondry wyse,


And him disgysen in queyntyse.

For queynt array, withouten drede,

Is no-thing proud, who takith hede;

For fresh array, as men may see,

Withouten pryde may ofte be.


'Mayntene thy-silf aftir thy rent,

Of robe and eek of garnement;

For many sythe fair clothing

A man amendith in mich thing.

And loke alwey that they be shape,


What garnement that thou shalt make,

Of him that can [hem] beste do,

With al that perteyneth therto.

Poyntis and sleves be wel sittand,

Right and streight upon the hand.


Of shoon and botes, newe and faire,

Loke at the leest thou have a paire;

And that they sitte so fetisly,

That these rude may uttirly

Merveyle, sith that they sitte so pleyn,


How they come on or of ageyn.

Were streite gloves, with aumenere

Of silk; and alwey with good chere

Thou yeve, if thou have richesse;

And if thou have nought, spend the lesse.


Alwey be mery, if thou may,

But waste not thy good alway.

Have hat of floures fresh as May,

Chapelet of roses of Whitsonday;

For sich array ne cost but lyte.


Thyn hondis wasshe, thy teeth make whyte,

And let no filthe upon thee be.

Thy nailes blak if thou mayst see,

Voide it awey deliverly,

And kembe thyn heed right Iolily.


[Fard] not thy visage in no wyse,

For that of love is not thempryse;

For love doth haten, as I finde,

A beaute that cometh not of kinde.

Alwey in herte I rede thee


Glad and mery for to be,

And be as Ioyful as thou can;

Love hath no Ioye of sorowful man.

That yvel is ful of curtesye

That [lauhwith] in his maladye;


For ever of love the siknesse

Is meynd with swete and bitternesse.

The sore of love is merveilous;

For now the lover [is] Ioyous,

Now can he pleyne, now can he grone,


Now can he singen, now maken mone.

To-day he pleyneth for hevinesse,

To-morowe he pleyeth for Iolynesse.


The lyf of love is ful contrarie,

Which stoundemele can ofte varie.


But if thou canst [som] mirthis make,

That men in gree wole gladly take,

Do it goodly, I comaunde thee;

For men sholde, wher-so-ever they be,

Do thing that hem [best] sitting is,


For therof cometh good loos and pris.

Wher-of that thou be vertuous,

Ne be not straunge ne daungerous.

For if that thou good rider be,

Prike gladly, that men may se.


In armes also if thou conne,

Pursue, til thou a name hast wonne.

And if thy voice be fair and clere,

Thou shalt maken no gret daungere

Whan to singe they goodly preye;


It is thy worship for to obeye.

Also to you it longith ay

To harpe and giterne, daunce and play;

For if he can wel foote and daunce,

It may him greetly do avaunce.


Among eek, for thy lady sake,

Songes and complayntes that thou make;

For that wol meve [hem] in hir herte,

Whan they reden of thy smerte.

Loke that no man for scarce thee holde,


For that may greve thee manyfolde.

Resoun wol that a lover be

In his yiftes more large and free

Than cherles that been not of loving.

For who ther-of can any thing,


He shal be leef ay for to yeve,

In [Loves] lore who so wolde leve;

For he that, through a sodeyn sight,

Or for a kissing, anon-right

Yaf hool his herte in wille and thought,


And to him-silf kepith right nought,

Aftir [swich yift], is good resoun,

He yeve his good in abandoun.

'Now wol I shortly here reherce,

Of that [that] I have seid in verse,


Al the sentence by and by,

In wordis fewe compendiously,

That thou the bet mayst on hem thinke,

Whether-so it be thou wake or winke;

For [that] the wordis litel greve


A man to kepe, whanne it is breve.

'Who-so with Love wol goon or ryde

He mot be curteys, and void of pryde,

Mery and fulle of Iolite,

And of largesse alosed be.


'First I Ioyne thee, here in penaunce,

That ever, withoute repentaunce,

Thou set thy thought in thy loving,

To laste withoute repenting;

And thenke upon thy mirthis swete,


That shal folowe aftir whan ye mete.


'And for thou trewe to love shalt be,

I wol, and [eek] comaunde thee,

That in oo place thou sette, al hool,

Thyn herte, withouten halfen dool,


For trecherie, [in] sikernesse;

For I lovede never doublenesse.

To many his herte that wol depart,

Everiche shal have but litel part.

But of him drede I me right nought,


That in oo place settith his thought.

Therfore in oo place it sette,

And lat it never thennes flette.

For if thou yevest it in lening,

I holde it but a wrecchid thing:


Therfore yeve it hool and quyte,

And thou shalt have the more merite.

If it be lent, than aftir soon,

The bountee and the thank is doon;

But, in love, free yeven thing


Requyrith a gret guerdoning.

Yeve it in yift al quit fully,

And make thy yift debonairly;

For men that yift [wol] holde more dere

That yeven is with gladsome chere.


That yift nought to preisen is

That man yeveth, maugre his.

Whan thou hast yeven thyn herte, as I

Have seid thee here [al] openly,

Than aventures shulle thee falle,


Which harde and hevy been withalle.

For ofte whan thou bithenkist thee

Of thy loving, wher-so thou be,

Fro folk thou must depart in hy,

That noon perceyve thy malady,


But hyde thyn harm thou must alone,

And go forth sole, and make thy mone.

Thou shalt no whyl be in oo stat,

But whylom cold and whylom hat;

Now reed as rose, now yelowe and fade.


Such sorowe, I trowe, thou never hade;

Cotidien, ne [yit] quarteyne,

It is nat so ful of peyne.

For ofte tymes it shal falle

In love, among thy peynes alle,


That thou thy-self, al hoolly,

Foryeten shalt so utterly,

That many tymes thou shalt be

Stille as an image of tree,

Dom as a stoon, without stering


Of foot or hond, without speking.

Than, sone after al thy peyne,

To memorie shalt thou come ageyn,

As man abasshed wondre sore,

And after sighen more and more.


For wit thou wel, withouten wene,

In swich astat ful oft have been

That have the yvel of love assayd,

Wher-through thou art so dismayd.

'After, a thought shal take thee so,


That thy love is to fer thee fro:

Thou shalt say, "God, what may this be,

That I ne may my lady see?

Myne herte aloon is to her go,

And I abyde al sole in wo,


Departed fro myn owne thought,

And with myne eyen see right nought.

'"Alas, myn eyen sende I ne may,

My careful herte to convay!

Myn hertes gyde but they be,


I praise no-thing what ever they see.

Shul they abyde thanne? nay;

But goon visyte without delay

That myn herte desyreth so.

For certeynly, but-if they go,


A fool my-self I may wel holde,

Whan I ne see what myn herte wolde.

Wherfore I wol gon her to seen,

Or esed shal I never been,

But I have som tokening."


Then gost thou forth without dwelling;

But ofte thou faylest of thy desyre,

Er thou mayst come hir any nere,

And wastest in vayn thy passage.

Than fallest thou in a newe rage;


For want of sight thou ginnest morne,

And homward pensif dost retorne.

In greet mischeef than shall thou be,

For than agayn shal come to thee

Sighes and pleyntes, with newe wo,


That no icching prikketh so.

Who wot it nought, he may go lere

Of hem that byen love so dere.

'No-thing thyn herte appesen may,

That oft thou wolt goon and assay,


If thou mayst seen, by aventure,

Thy lyves joy, thyn hertis cure;

So that, by grace if thou might

Atteyne of hir to have a sight,

Than shall thou doon non other dede


But with that sight thyn eyen fede.

That faire fresh whan thou mayst see,

Thyn herte shal so ravisshed be,

That never thou woldest, thy thankis, lete,

Ne remove, for to see that swete.


The more thou seest in sothfastnesse,

The more thou coveytest of that swetnesse;

The more thyn herte brenneth in fyr,

The more thyn herte is in desyr.

For who considreth every del,


It may be lykned wondir wel,

The peyne of love, unto a fere;

For ever [the] more thou neighest nere

Thought, or who-so that it be,

For verray sothe I telle it thee,


The hatter ever shal thou brenne,

As experience shal thee kenne.

Wher-so [thou] comest in any cost,

Who is next fyr, he brenneth most.

And yit forsothe, for al thyn hete,


Though thou for love swelte and swete,

Ne for no-thing thou felen may,

Thou shalt not willen to passe away.

And though thou go, yet must thee nede

Thenke al-day on hir fairhede,


Whom thou bihelde with so good wille;

And holde thysilf bigyled ille,

That thou ne haddest non hardement

To shewe hir ought of thyn entent.

Thyn herte ful sore thou wolt dispyse,


And eek repreve of cowardyse,

That thou, so dulle in every thing,

Were dom for drede, without speking.

Thou shalt eek thenke thou didest foly,

That thou were hir so faste by,


And durst not auntre thee to say

Som-thing, er thou cam away;

For thou haddist no more wonne,

To speke of hir whan thou bigonne:

But yif she wolde, for thy sake,


In armes goodly thee have take,

It shulde have be more worth to thee

Than of tresour greet plentee.

'Thus shalt thou morne and eek compleyn,

And gete enchesoun to goon ageyn


Unto thy walk, or to thy place,

Where thou biheld hir fleshly face.

And never, for fals suspeccioun,

Thou woldest finde occasioun

For to gon unto hir hous.


So art thou thanne desirous

A sight of hir for to have,

If thou thine honour mightest save,

Or any erand mightist make

Thider, for thy loves sake;


Ful fayn thou woldist, but for drede

Thou gost not, lest that men take hede.

Wherfore I rede, in thy going,

And also in thyn ageyn-coming,

Thou be wel war that men ne wit;


Feyne thee other cause than it

To go that weye, or faste by;

To hele wel is no folye.

And if so be it happe thee

That thou thy love ther mayst see,


In siker wyse thou hir salewe,

Wherwith thy colour wol transmewe,

And eke thy blood shal al to-quake,

Thyn hewe eek chaungen for hir sake.

But word and wit, with chere ful pale,


Shul wante for to telle thy tale.

And if thou mayst so fer-forth winne,

That thou [thy] resoun durst biginne,

And woldist seyn three thingis or mo,

Thou shalt ful scarsly seyn the two.


Though thou bithenke thee never so wel,

Thou shalt foryete yit somdel,

But-if thou dele with trecherye.

For fals lovers mowe al folye

Seyn, what hem lust, withouten drede,


They be so double in hir falshede;

For they in herte cunne thenke a thing

And seyn another, in hir speking.

And whan thy speche is endid al,

Right thus to thee it shal bifal;


If any word than come to minde,

That thou to seye hast left bihinde,

Than thou shalt brenne in greet martyr;

For thou shalt brenne as any fyr.

This is the stryf and eke the affray,


And the batail that lastith ay.

This bargeyn ende may never take,

But-if that she thy pees wil make.

'And whan the night is comen, anon

A thousand angres shal come upon.


To bedde as fast thou wolt thee dight,

Where thou shalt have but smal delyt;

For whan thou wenest for to slepe,

So ful of peyne shalt thou crepe,

Sterte in thy bedde aboute ful wyde,


And turne ful ofte on every syde;

Now dounward groffe, and now upright,

And walowe in wo the longe night,

Thyne armis shalt thou sprede a-brede,

As man in werre were forwerreyd.


Than shal thee come a remembraunce

Of hir shape and hir semblaunce,

Wherto non other may be pere.

And wite thou wel, withoute were,

That thee shal [seme], somtyme that night,


That thou hast hir, that is so bright,

Naked bitwene thyn armes there,

Al sothfastnesse as though it were.

Thou shalt make castels than in Spayne,

And dreme of Ioye, al but in vayne,


And thee delyten of right nought,

Whyl thou so slomrest in that thought,

That is so swete and delitable,

The which, in soth, nis but a fable,

For it ne shal no whyle laste.


Than shalt thou sighe and wepe faste,

And say, "Dere god, what thing is this?

My dreme is turned al amis,

Which was ful swete and apparent,

But now I wake, it is al shent!


Now yede this mery thought away!

Twenty tymes upon a day

I wolde this thought wolde come ageyn,

For it alleggith wel my peyn.

It makith me ful of Ioyful thought,


It sleeth me, that it lastith noght.

A, lord! why nil ye me socoure,

The Ioye, I trowe, that I langoure?

The deth I wolde me shulde slo

Whyl I lye in hir armes two.


Myn harm is hard, withouten wene,

My greet unese ful ofte I mene.

But wolde Love do so I might

Have fully Ioye of hir so bright,

My peyne were quit me richely.


Allas, to greet a thing aske I!

It is but foly, and wrong wening,

To aske so outrageous a thing.

And who-so askith folily,

He moot be warned hastily;


And I ne wot what I may say,

I am so fer out of the way;

For I wolde have ful gret lyking

And ful gret Ioye of lasse thing.


For wolde she, of hir gentilnesse,


Withouten more, me onis kesse,

It were to me a greet guerdoun,

Relees of al my passioun.

But it is hard to come therto;

Al is but foly that I do,


So high I have myn herte set,

Where I may no comfort get.

I noot wher I sey wel or nought;

But this I wot wel in my thought,

That it were bet of hir aloon,


For to stinte my wo and moon,

A loke on [me] y-cast goodly,

[Than] for to have, al utterly,

Of another al hool the pley.

A! lord! wher I shal byde the day


That ever she shal my lady be?

He is ful cured that may hir see.

A! god! whan shal the dawning spring?

To ly thus is an angry thing;

I have no Ioye thus here to ly


Whan that my love is not me by.

A man to lyen hath gret disese,

Which may not slepe ne reste in ese.

I wolde it dawed, and were now day,

And that the night were went away;


For were it day, I wolde upryse.

A! slowe sonne, shew thyn enpryse!

Speed thee to sprede thy bemis bright,

And chace the derknesse of the night,

To putte away the stoundes stronge,


Which in me lasten al to longe."

'The night shalt thou contene so,

Withoute rest, in peyne and wo;

If ever thou knewe of love distresse,

Thou shalt mowe lerne in that siknesse.


And thus enduring shalt thou ly,

And ryse on morwe up erly

Out of thy bedde, and harneys thee

Er ever dawning thou mayst see.

Al privily than shalt thou goon,


What [weder] it be, thy-silf aloon,

For reyn, or hayl, for snow, for slete,

Thider she dwellith that is so swete,

The which may falle aslepe be,

And thenkith but litel upon thee.


Than shalt thou goon, ful foule aferd;

Loke if the gate be unsperd,

And waite without in wo and peyn,

Ful yvel a-cold in winde and reyn.

Than shal thou go the dore bifore,


If thou maist fynde any score,

Or hole, or reft, what ever it were;

Than shalt thou stoupe, and lay to ere,

If they within a-slepe be;

I mene, alle save thy lady free.


Whom waking if thou mayst aspye,

Go put thy-silf in Iupartye,

To aske grace, and thee bimene,

That she may wite, withouten wene,

That thou [a]night no rest hast had,


So sore for hir thou were bistad.

Wommen wel ought pite to take

Of hem that sorwen for hir sake.

And loke, for love of that relyke,

That thou thenke non other lyke,


For [whom] thou hast so greet annoy,

Shal kisse thee er thou go away,

And hold that in ful gret deyntee.

And, for that no man shal thee see

Bifore the hous, ne in the way,


Loke thou be goon ageyn er day.

Suche coming, and such going,

Such hevinesse, and such walking,

Makith lovers, withouten wene,

Under hir clothes pale and lene,


For Love leveth colour ne cleernesse;

Who loveth trewe hath no fatnesse.

Thou shalt wel by thy-selfe see

That thou must nedis assayed be.

For men that shape hem other wey


Falsly her ladies to bitray,

It is no wonder though they be fat;

With false othes hir loves they gat;

For oft I see suche losengeours

Fatter than abbatis or priours.


'Yet with o thing I thee charge,

That is to seye, that thou be large

Unto the mayd that hir doth serve,

So best hir thank thou shalt deserve.

Yeve hir yiftes, and get hir grace,


For so thou may [hir] thank purchace,

That she thee worthy holde and free,

Thy lady, and alle that may thee see.

Also hir servauntes worshipe ay,

And plese as muche as thou may;


Gret good through hem may come to thee,

Bicause with hir they been prive.

They shal hir telle how they thee fand

Curteis and wys, and wel doand,

And she shal preyse [thee] wel the mare.


Loke out of londe thou be not fare;

And if such cause thou have, that thee

Bihoveth to gon out of contree,

Leve hool thyn herte in hostage,

Til thou ageyn make thy passage.


Thenk long to see the swete thing

That hath thyn herte in hir keping.

'Now have I told thee, in what wyse

A lover shal do me servyse.

Do it than, if thou wolt have


The mede that thou aftir crave.'

Whan Love al this had boden me,

I seide him:—'Sire, how may it be

That lovers may in such manere

Endure the peyne ye have seid here?


I merveyle me wonder faste,

How any man may live or laste

In such peyne, and such brenning,

In sorwe and thought, and such sighing,

Ay unrelesed wo to make,


Whether so it be they slepe or wake.

In such annoy continuely,

As helpe me god, this merveile I,


How man, but he were maad of stele,

Might live a month, such peynes to fele.'


The God of Love than seide me,

Freend, by the feith I owe to thee,

May no man have good, but he it by.

A man loveth more tendirly

The thing that he hath bought most dere.


For wite thou wel, withouten were,

In thank that thing is taken more,

For which a man hath suffred sore.

Certis, no wo ne may atteyne

Unto the sore of loves peyne.


Non yvel therto ne may amounte,

No more than a man [may] counte

The dropes that of the water be.

For drye as wel the grete see

Thou mightist, as the harmes telle


Of hem that with Love dwelle

In servyse; for peyne hem sleeth,

And that ech man wolde flee the deeth,

And trowe they shulde never escape,

Nere that hope couthe hem make


Glad as man in prisoun set,

And may not geten for to et

But barly-breed, and watir pure,

And lyeth in vermin and in ordure;

With alle this, yit can he live,


Good hope such comfort hath him yive,

Which maketh wene that he shal be

Delivered and come to liberte;

In fortune is [his] fulle trust.

Though he lye in strawe or dust,


In hope is al his susteyning.

And so for lovers, in hir wening,

Whiche Love hath shit in his prisoun;

Good-Hope is hir salvacioun.

Good-Hope, how sore that they smerte,


Yeveth hem bothe wille and herte

To profre hir body to martyre;

For Hope so sore doth hem desyre

To suffre ech harm that men devyse,

For Ioye that aftir shal aryse.


Hope, in desire [to] cacche victorie;

In Hope, of love is al the glorie,

For Hope is al that love may yive;

Nere Hope, ther shulde no lover live.

Blessid be Hope, which with desyre


Avaunceth lovers in such manere.

Good-Hope is curteis for to plese,

To kepe lovers from al disese.

Hope kepith his lond, and wol abyde,

For any peril that may betyde;


For Hope to lovers, as most cheef,

Doth hem enduren al mischeef;

Hope is her help, whan mister is.

And I shal yeve thee eek, y-wis,

Three other thingis, that greet solas


Doth to hem that be in my las.

'The firste good that may be founde,

To hem that in my lace be bounde,

Is Swete-Thought, for to recorde

Thing wherwith thou canst accorde


Best in thyn herte, wher she be;

Thought in absence is good to thee.

Whan any lover doth compleyne,

And liveth in distresse and peyne,

Than Swete-Thought shal come, as blyve,


Awey his angre for to dryve.

It makith lovers have remembraunce

Of comfort, and of high plesaunce,

That Hope hath hight him for to winne.

For Thought anoon than shal biginne,


As fer, god wot, as he can finde,

To make a mirrour of his minde;

For to biholde he wol not lette.

Hir person he shal afore him sette,

Hir laughing eyen, persaunt and clere,


Hir shape, hir fourme, hir goodly chere,

Hir mouth that is so gracious,

So swete, and eek so saverous;

Of alle hir fetures he shal take heede,

His eyen with alle hir limes fede.


'Thus Swete-Thenking shal aswage

The peyne of lovers, and hir rage.

Thy Ioye shal double, withoute gesse,

Whan thou thenkist on hir semlinesse,

Or of hir laughing, or of hir chere,


That to thee made thy lady dere.

This comfort wol I that thou take;

And if the next thou wolt forsake

Which is not lesse saverous,

Thou shuldist been to daungerous.


'The secounde shal be Swete-Speche,

That hath to many oon be leche,

To bringe hem out of wo and were,

And helpe many a bachilere;

And many a lady sent socoure,


That have loved par-amour,

Through speking, whan they mighten here

Of hir lovers, to hem so dere.

To [hem] it voidith al hir smerte,

The which is closed in hir herte.


In herte it makith hem glad and light,

Speche, whan they mowe have sight.

And therfore now it cometh to minde,

In olde dawes, as I finde,

That clerkis writen that hir knewe


Ther was a lady fresh of hewe,

Which of hir love made a song

On him for to remembre among,

In which she seide, "Whan that I here

Speken of him that is so dere,


To me it voidith al [my] smerte,

Y-wis, he sit so nere myn herte.

To speke of him, at eve or morwe,

It cureth me of al my sorwe.

To me is noon so high plesaunce


As of his persone daliaunce."

She wist ful wel that Swete-Speking

Comfortith in ful muche thing.

Hir love she had ful wel assayed,

Of him she was ful wel apayed;


To speke of him hir Ioye was set.

Therfore I rede thee that thou get

A felowe that can wel concele

And kepe thy counsel, and wel hele,

To whom go shewe hoolly thyn herte,


Bothe wele and wo, Ioye and smerte:

To gete comfort to him thou go,

And privily, bitween yow two,

Ye shal speke of that goodly thing,

That hath thyn herte in hir keping;


Of hir beaute and hir semblaunce,

And of hir goodly countenaunce.

Of al thy state thou shalt him sey,

And aske him counseil how thou may

Do any thing that may hir plese;


For it to thee shal do gret ese,

That he may wite thou trust him so,

Bothe of thy wele and of thy wo.

And if his herte to love be set,

His companye is muche the bet,


For resoun wol, he shewe to thee

Al uttirly his privite;

And what she is he loveth so,

To thee pleynly he shal undo,

Withoute drede of any shame,


Bothe telle hir renoun and hir name.

Than shal he forther, ferre and nere,

And namely to thy lady dere,

In siker wyse; ye, every other

Shal helpen as his owne brother,


In trouthe withoute doublenesse,

And kepen cloos in sikernesse.

For it is noble thing, in fay,

To have a man thou darst say

Thy prive counsel every del;


For that wol comfort thee right wel,

And thou shall holde thee wel apayed,

Whan such a freend thou hast assayed.

'The thridde good of greet comfort

That yeveth to lovers most disport,


Comith of sight and biholding,

That clepid is Swete-Loking,

The whiche may noon ese do,

Whan thou art fer thy lady fro;

Wherfore thou prese alwey to be


In place, where thou mayst hir se.

For it is thing most amerous,

Most delitable and saverous,

For to aswage a mannes sorowe,

To sene his lady by the morowe.


For it is a ful noble thing

Whan thyn eyen have meting

With that relyke precious,

Wherof they be so desirous.

But al day after, soth it is,


They have no drede to faren amis,

They dreden neither wind ne reyn,

Ne [yit] non other maner peyn.

For whan thyn eyen were thus in blis,

Yit of hir curtesye, y-wis,


Aloon they can not have hir Ioye,

But to the herte they [it] convoye;

Part of hir blis to him [they] sende,

Of al this harm to make an ende.


The eye is a good messangere,


Which can to the herte in such manere

Tidyngis sende, that [he] hath seen,

To voide him of his peynes cleen.

Wherof the herte reioyseth so

That a gret party of his wo


Is voided, and put awey to flight.

Right as the derknesse of the night

Is chased with clerenesse of the mone,

Right so is al his wo ful sone

Devoided clene, whan that the sight


Biholden may that fresshe wight

That the herte desyreth so,

That al his derknesse is ago;

For than the herte is al at ese,

Whan they seen that [that] may hem plese.


'Now have I thee declared alout,

Of that thou were in drede and dout;

For I have told thee feithfully

What thee may curen utterly,

And alle lovers that wole be


Feithful, and ful of stabilite.

Good-Hope alwey kepe by thy syde,

And Swete-Thought make eek abyde,

Swete-Loking and Swete-Speche;

Of alle thyn harmes they shal be leche.


Of every thou shalt have greet plesaunce;

If thou canst byde in sufferaunce,

And serve wel without feyntyse,

Thou shalt be quit of thyn empryse,

With more guerdoun, if that thou live;


But al this tyme this I thee yive.'

The God of Love whan al the day

Had taught me, as ye have herd say,

And enfourmed compendiously,

He vanished awey al sodeynly,


And I alone lefte, al sole,

So ful of compleynt and of dole,

For I saw no man ther me by.

My woundes me greved wondirly;

Me for to curen no-thing I knew,


Save the botoun bright of hew,

Wheron was set hoolly my thought;

Of other comfort knew I nought,

But it were through the God of Love;

I knew nat elles to my bihove


That might me ese or comfort gete,

But-if he wolde him entermete.

The roser was, withoute doute,

Closed with an hegge withoute,

As ye to-forn have herd me seyn;


And fast I bisied, and wolde fayn

Have passed the haye, if I might

Have geten in by any slight

Unto the botoun so fair to see.

But ever I dradde blamed to be,


If men wolde have suspeccioun

That I wolde of entencioun


Have stole the roses that ther were;

Therfore to entre I was in fere.

But at the last, as I bithought


Whether I sholde passe or nought,

I saw come with a gladde chere

To me, a lusty bachelere,

Of good stature, and of good hight,

And Bialacoil forsothe he hight.


Sone he was to Curtesy,

And he me graunted ful gladly

The passage of the outer hay,

And seide:—'Sir, how that ye may

Passe, if [it] your wille be,


The fresshe roser for to see,

And ye the swete savour fele.

Your warrant may [I be] right wele;

So thou thee kepe fro folye,

Shal no man do thee vilanye.


If I may helpe you in ought,

I shal not feyne, dredeth nought;

For I am bounde to your servyse,

Fully devoide of feyntyse.'

Than unto Bialacoil saide I,


'I thank you, sir, ful hertely,

And your biheest [I] take at gree,

That ye so goodly prefer me;

To you it cometh of greet fraunchyse,

That ye me prefer your servyse.'


Than aftir, ful deliverly,

Through the breres anoon wente I,

Wherof encombred was the hay.

I was wel plesed, the soth to say,

To see the botoun fair and swote,


So fresshe spronge out of the rote.

And Bialacoil me served wel,

Whan I so nygh me mighte fele

Of the botoun the swete odour,

And so lusty hewed of colour.


But than a cherl (foule him bityde!)

Bisyde the roses gan him hyde,

To kepe the roses of that roser,

Of whom the name was Daunger.

This cherl was hid there in the greves,


Covered with grasse and with leves,

To spye and take whom that he fond

Unto that roser putte an hond.

He was not sole, for ther was mo;

For with him were other two


Of wikkid maners, and yvel fame.

That oon was clepid, by his name,

Wikked-Tonge, god yeve him sorwe!

For neither at eve, ne at morwe,

He can of no man [no] good speke;


On many a Iust man doth he wreke.

Ther was a womman eek, that hight

Shame, that, who can reken right,

Trespas was hir fadir name,

Hir moder Resoun; and thus was Shame


[On lyve] brought of these ilk two.

And yit had Trespas never ado


With Resoun, ne never ley hir by,

He was so hidous and ugly,

I mene, this that Trespas hight;


But Resoun conceyveth, of a sight,

Shame, of that I spak aforn.

And whan that Shame was thus born,

It was ordeyned, that Chastitee

Shulde of the roser lady be,


Which, of the botouns more and las,

With sondry folk assailed was,

That she ne wiste what to do.

For Venus hir assailith so,

That night and day from hir she stal


Botouns and roses over-al.

To Resoun than prayeth Chastitee,

Whom Venus flemed over the see,

That she hir doughter wolde hir lene,

To kepe the roser fresh and grene.


Anoon Resoun to Chastitee

Is fully assented that it be,

And grauntid hir, at hir request,

That Shame, bicause she is honest,

Shal keper of the roser be.


And thus to kepe it ther were three,

That noon shulde hardy be ne bold

(Were he yong, or were he old)

Ageyn hir wille awey to bere

Botouns ne roses, that ther were.


I had wel sped, had I not been

Awayted with these three, and seen.

For Bialacoil, that was so fair,

So gracious and debonair,

Quitte him to me ful curteisly,


And, me to plese, bad that I

Shuld drawe me to the botoun nere;

Prese in, to touche the rosere

Which bar the roses, he yaf me leve;

This graunt ne might but litel greve.


And for he saw it lyked me,

Right nygh the botoun pullede he

A leef al grene, and yaf me that,

The which ful nygh the botoun sat;

I made [me] of that leef ful queynt.


And whan I felte I was aqueynt

With Bialacoil, and so prive,

I wende al at my wille had be.

Than wex I hardy for to tel

To Bialacoil how me bifel


Of Love, that took and wounded me,

And seide: 'Sir, so mote I thee,

I may no loye have in no wyse,

Upon no syde, but it ryse;

For sithe (if I shal not feyne)


In herte I have had so gret peyne,

So gret annoy, and such affray,

That I ne wot what I shal say;

I drede your wrath to disserve.

Lever me were, that knyves kerve


My body shulde in pecis smalle,

Than in any wyse it shulde falle


That ye wratthed shulde been with me.'

Sey boldely thy wille,' quod he,

I nil be wroth, if that I may,


For nought that thou shalt to me say.'

Thanne seide I, 'Sir, not you displese

To knowen of my greet unese,

In which only love hath me brought;

For peynes greet, disese and thought,


Fro day to day he doth me drye;

Supposeth not, sir, that I lye.

In me fyve woundes dide he make,

The sore of whiche shal never slake

But ye the botoun graunte me,


Which is most passaunt of beautee,

My lyf, my deth, and my martyre,

And tresour that I most desyre.'

Than Bialacoil, affrayed all,

Seyde, 'Sir, it may not fall;


That ye desire, it may not ryse.

What? wolde ye shende me in this wyse?

A mochel foole than I were,

If I suffrid you awey to bere

The fresh botoun, so fair of sight.


For it were neither skile ne right

Of the roser ye broke the rind,

Or take the rose aforn his kind;

Ye ar not courteys to aske it.

Lat it stil on the roser sit,


And growe til it amended be,

And parfitly come to beaute.

I nolde not that it pulled wer

Fro the roser that it ber,

To me it is so leef and dere.'


With that sterte out anoon Daungere,

Out of the place where he was hid.

His malice in his chere was kid;

Ful greet he was, and blak of hewe,

Sturdy and hidous, who-so him knewe;


Like sharp urchouns his here was growe,

His eyes rede as the fire-glow;

His nose frounced ful kirked stood,

He com criand as he were wood,

And seide, 'Bialacoil, tel me why


Thou bringest hider so boldly

Him that so nygh [is] the roser?

Thou worchist in a wrong maner;

He thenkith to dishonour thee,

Thou art wel worthy to have maugree


To late him of the roser wit;

Who serveth a feloun is yvel quit.

Thou woldist have doon greet bountee,

And he with shame wolde quyte thee.

Flee hennes, felowe! I rede thee go!


It wanteth litel I wol thee slo;

For Bialacoil ne knew thee nought,

Whan thee to serve he sette his thought;

For thou wolt shame him, if thou might,

Bothe ageyn resoun and right.


I wol no more in thee affye,

That comest so slyghly for tespye;

For it preveth wonder wel,

Thy slight and tresoun every del.'

I durst no more ther make abode,


For the cherl, he was so wode;

So gan he threten and manace,

And thurgh the haye he did me chace.

For feer of him I tremblid and quook,

So cherlishly his heed he shook;


And seide, if eft he might me take,

I shulde not from his hondis scape.

Than Bialacoil is fled and mate,

And I al sole, disconsolate,

Was left aloon in peyne and thought;


For shame, to deth I was nygh brought.

Than thought I on myn high foly,

How that my body, utterly,

Was yeve to peyne and to martyre;

And therto hadde I so gret yre,


That I ne durst the hayes passe;

There was non hope, there was no grace.

I trowe never man wiste of peyne,

But he were laced in Loves cheyne;

Ne no man [wot], and sooth it is,


But-if he love, what anger is.

Love holdith his heest to me right wele,

Whan peyne he seide I shulde fele.

Non herte may thenke, ne tunge seyne,

A quarter of my wo and peyne.


I might not with the anger laste;

Myn herte in poynt was for to braste,

Whan I thought on the rose, that so

Was through Daunger cast me froo.

A long whyl stood I in that state,


Til that me saugh so mad and mate

The lady of the highe ward,

Which from hir tour lokid thiderward.

Resoun men clepe that lady,

Which from hir tour deliverly


Come doun to me withouten more.

But she was neither yong, ne hore,

Ne high ne low, ne fat ne lene,

But best, as it were in a mene.

Hir eyen two were cleer and light


As any candel that brenneth bright;

And on hir heed she hadde a crown.

Hir semede wel an high persoun;

For rounde enviroun, hir crownet

Was ful of riche stonis fret.


Hir goodly semblaunt, by devys,

I trowe were maad in paradys;

Nature had never such a grace,

To forge a werk of such compace.

For certeyn, but the letter lye,


God him-silf, that is so high,

Made hir aftir his image,

And yaf hir sith sich avauntage,

That she hath might and seignorye

To kepe men from al folye;


Who-so wole trowe hir lore,

Ne may offenden nevermore.

And whyl I stood thus derk and pale,

Resoun bigan to me hir tale;


She seide: 'Al hayl, my swete frend!


Foly and childhood wol thee shend,

Which thee have put in greet affray;

Thou hast bought dere the tyme of May,

That made thyn herte mery to be.

In yvel tyme thou wentist to see


The gardin, wherof Ydilnesse

Bar the keye, and was maistresse

Whan thou yedest in the daunce

With hir, and haddest aqueyntaunce:

Hir aqueyntaunce is perilous,


First softe, and aftir[ward] noyous;

She hath [thee] trasshed, withoute ween;

The God of Love had thee not seen,

Ne hadde Ydilnesse thee conveyed

In the verger where Mirthe him pleyed.


If Foly have supprised thee,

Do so that it recovered be;

And be wel war to take no more

Counsel, that greveth aftir sore;

He is wys that wol himsilf chastyse.


And though a young man in any wyse

Trespace among, and do foly,

Lat him not tarye, but hastily

Lat him amende what so be mis.

And eek I counseile thee, y-wis,


The God of Love hoolly foryet,

That hath thee in sich peyne set,

And thee in herte tormented so.

I can nat seen how thou mayst go

Other weyes to garisoun;


For Daunger, that is so feloun,

Felly purposith thee to werrey,

Which is ful cruel, the soth to sey.

'And yit of Daunger cometh no blame,

In reward of my doughter Shame,


Which hath the roses in hir warde,

As she that may be no musarde.

And Wikked-Tunge is with these two,

That suffrith no man thider go;

For er a thing be do, he shal,


Where that he cometh, over-al,

In fourty places, if it be sought,

Seye thing that never was doon ne wrought;

So moche tresoun is in his male,

Of falsnesse for to [feyne] a tale.


Thou delest with angry folk, y-wis;

Wherfor to thee [it] bettir is

From these folk awey to fare,

For they wol make thee live in care.

This is the yvel that Love they calle,


Wherin ther is but foly alle,

For love is foly everydel;

Who loveth, in no wyse may do wel,

Ne sette his thought on no good werk.

His scole he lesith, if he be clerk;


Of other craft eek if he be,

He shal not thryve therin; for he

In love shal have more passioun

Than monke, hermyte, or chanoun.

The peyne is hard, out of mesure,


The Ioye may eek no whyl endure;


And in the possessioun

Is muche tribulacioun;

The Ioye it is so short-lasting,

And but in happe is the geting;


For I see ther many in travaille,

That atte laste foule fayle.

I was no-thing thy counseler,

Whan thou were maad the homager

Of God of Love to hastily;


Ther was no wisdom, but foly.

Thyn herte was Ioly, but not sage,

Whan thou were brought in sich a rage,

To yelde thee so redily,

And to Love, of his gret maistry.


'I rede thee Love awey to dryve,

That makith thee recche not of thy lyve.

The foly more fro day to day

Shal growe, but thou it putte away.

Take with thy teeth the bridel faste,


To daunte thyn herte; and eek thee caste,

If that thou mayst, to gete defence

For to redresse thy first offence.

Who-so his herte alwey wol leve,

Shal finde among that shal him greve'


Whan I hir herd thus me chastyse,

I answerd in ful angry wyse.

I prayed hir cessen of hir speche,

Outher to chastyse me or teche,

To bidde me my thought refreyne,


Which Love hath caught in his demeyne:—

What? wene ye Love wol consent,

That me assailith with bowe bent,

To draw myn herte out of his honde,

Which is so quikly in his bonde?


That ye counsayle, may never be;

For whan he first arested me,

He took myn herte so hool him til,

That it is no-thing at my wil;

He [taughte] it so him for to obey,


That he it sparred with a key.

I pray yow lat me be al stille.

For ye may wel, if that ye wille,

Your wordis waste in idilnesse;

For utterly, withouten gesse,


Al that ye seyn is but in veyne.

Me were lever dye in the peyne,

Than Love to me-ward shulde arette

Falsheed, or tresoun on me sette.

I wol me gete prys or blame,


And love trewe, to save my name;

Who me chastysith, I him hate.'

With that word Resoun wente hir gate,

Whan she saugh for no sermoning

She might me fro my foly bring.


Than dismayed, I lefte al sool,

Forwery, forwandred as a fool,

For I ne knew no chevisaunce.

Than fel into my remembraunce,

How Love bade me to purveye


A felowe, to whom I mighte seye

My counsel and my privete,

For that shulde muche availe me.

With that bithought I me, that I

Hadde a felowe faste by,


Trewe and siker, curteys, and hend,

And he was called by name a Freend;

A trewer felowe was no-wher noon.

In haste to him I wente anoon,

And to him al my wo I tolde,


Fro him right nought I wold withholde.

I tolde him al withoute were,

And made my compleynt on Daungere,

How for to see he was hidous,

And to-me-ward contrarious;


The whiche through his cruelte

Was in poynt to have meygned me;

With Bialacoil whan he me sey

Within the gardyn walke and pley,

Fro me he made him for to go,


And I bilefte aloon in wo;

I durst no lenger with him speke,

For Daunger seide he wolde be wreke,

Whan that he sawe how I wente

The fresshe botoun for to hente,


If I were hardy to come neer

Bitwene the hay and the roser.

This Freend, whan he wiste of my thought,

He discomforted me right nought,

But seide, 'Felowe, be not so mad,


Ne so abaysshed nor bistad.

My-silf I knowe ful wel Daungere,

And how he is feers of his chere,

At prime temps, Love to manace;

Ful ofte I have ben in his caas.


A feloun first though that he be,

Aftir thou shalt him souple see.

Of long passed I knew him wele;

Ungoodly first though men him fele,

He wol meek aftir, in his bering,


Been, for service and obeysshing.

I shal thee telle what thou shalt do.—

Mekely I rede thou go him to,

Of herte pray him specialy

Of thy trespace to have mercy,


And hote him wel, [him] here to plese,

That thou shalt nevermore him displese.

Who can best serve of flatery,

Shal plese Daunger most uttirly.'

My Freend hath seid to me so wel,


That he me esid hath somdel,

And eek allegged of my torment;

For through him had I hardement

Agayn to Daunger for to go,

To preve if I might meke him so.


To Daunger cam I, al ashamed,

The which aforn me hadde blamed,

Desyring for to pese my wo;

But over hegge durst I not go,

For he forbad me the passage.


I fond him cruel in his rage,

And in his hond a gret burdoun.

To him I knelid lowe adoun,

Ful meke of port, and simple of chere,

And seide, 'Sir, I am comen here


Only to aske of you mercy.

That greveth me, [sir], ful gretly

That ever my lyf I wratthed you,

But for to amende I am come now,


With al my might, bothe loude and stille,


To doon right at your owne wille;

For Love made me for to do

That I have trespassed hidirto;

Fro whom I ne may withdrawe myn herte;

Yit shal I never, for Ioy ne smerte,


What so bifalle, good or ille,

Offende more ageyn your wille.

Lever I have endure disese

Than do that shulde you displese.

'I you require and pray, that ye


Of me have mercy and pitee,

To stinte your yre that greveth so,

That I wol swere for evermo

To be redressid at your lyking,

If I trespasse in any thing;


Save that I pray thee graunte me

A thing that may nat warned be,

That I may love, al only;

Non other thing of you aske I.

I shal doon elles wel, y-wis,


If of your grace ye graunte me this.

And ye [ne] may not letten me,

For wel wot ye that love is free,

And I shal loven, [sith] that I wil,

Who-ever lyke it wel or il;


And yit ne wold I, for al Fraunce,

Do thing to do you displesaunce.'

Than Daunger fil in his entent

For to foryeve his maltalent;

But al his wratthe yit at laste


He hath relesed, I preyde so faste:

Shortly he seide, 'Thy request

Is not to mochel dishonest;

Ne I wol not werne it thee,

For yit no-thing engreveth me.


For though thou love thus evermore,

To me is neither softe ne sore.

Love wher thee list; what recchith me,

So [thou] fer fro my roses be?

Trust not on me, for noon assay,


In any tyme to passe the hay.'

Thus hath he graunted my prayere.

Than wente I forth, withouten were,

Unto my Freend, and tolde him al,

Which was right Ioyful of my tale.


He seide, 'Now goth wel thyn affaire,

He shal to thee be debonaire.

Though he aforn was dispitous,

He shal heeraftir be gracious.

If he were touchid on som good veyne,


He shuld yit rewen on thy peyne.

Suffire, I rede, and no boost make,

Til thou at good mes mayst him take.

By suffraunce, and [by] wordis softe,

A man may overcomen ofte


Him that aforn he hadde in drede,

In bookis sothly as I rede.'

Thus hath my Freend with gret comfort

Avaunced me with high disport,

Which wolde me good as mich as I.


And thanne anoon ful sodeynly


I took my leve, and streight I went

Unto the hay; for gret talent

I had to seen the fresh botoun,

Wherin lay my salvacioun;


And Daunger took kepe, if that I

Kepe him covenaunt trewly.

So sore I dradde his manasing,

I durst not breke[n] his bidding;

For, lest that I were of him shent,


I brak not his comaundement,

For to purchase his good wil.

It was [hard] for to come ther-til,

His mercy was to fer bihinde;

I wepte, for I ne might it finde.


I compleyned and sighed sore,

And languisshed evermore,

For I durst not over go

Unto the rose I loved so.

Thurghout my deming outerly,


[Than] had he knowlege certeinly,

[That] Love me ladde in sich a wyse,

That in me ther was no feyntyse,

Falsheed, ne no trecherye.

And yit he, ful of vilanye,


Of disdeyne, and cruelte,

On me ne wolde have pite,

His cruel wil for to refreyne,

Though I wepe alwey, and compleyne.

And while I was in this torment,


Were come of grace, by god sent,

Fraunchyse, and with hir Pite

Fulfild the botoun of bountee.

They go to Daunger anon-right

To forther me with al hir might,


And helpe in worde and in dede,

For wel they saugh that it was nede.

First, of hir grace, dame Fraunchyse

Hath taken [word] of this empryse:

She seide, 'Daunger, gret wrong ye do


To worche this man so muche wo,

Or pynen him so angerly;

It is to you gret vilany.

I can not see why, ne how,

That he hath trespassed ageyn you,


Save that he loveth; wherfore ye shulde

The more in cherete of him holde.

The force of love makith him do this;

Who wolde him blame he dide amis?

He leseth more than ye may do;


His peyne is hard, ye may see, lo!

And Love in no wyse wolde consente

That [he] have power to repente;

For though that quik ye wolde him sloo,

Fro Love his herte may not go.


Now, swete sir, is it your ese

Him for to angre or disese?

Allas, what may it you avaunce

To doon to him so greet grevaunce?

What worship is it agayn him take,


Or on your man a werre make,

Sith he so lowly every wyse

Is redy, as ye lust devyse?


If Love hath caught him in his lace,

You for tobeye in every caas,


And been your suget at your wille,

Shulde ye therfore willen him ille?

Ye shulde him spare more, al-out,

Than him that is bothe proud and stout.

Curtesye wol that ye socour


Hem that ben meke undir your cure.

His herte is hard, that wole not meke,

Whan men of mekenesse him biseke.'

'That is certeyn,' seide Pite;

We see ofte that humilitee


Bothe ire, and also felonye

Venquissheth, and also melancolye;

To stonde forth in such duresse,

This crueltee and wikkednesse.

Wherfore I pray you, sir Daungere,


For to mayntene no lenger here

Such cruel werre agayn your man,

As hoolly youres as ever he can;

Nor that ye worchen no more wo

On this caytif that languisshith so,


Which wol no more to you trespasse,

But put him hoolly in your grace.

His offense ne was but lyte;

The God of Love it was to wyte,

That he your thral so gretly is,


And if ye harm him, ye doon amis;

For he hath had ful hard penaunce,

Sith that ye refte him thaqueyntaunce

Of Bialacoil, his moste Ioye,

Which alle his peynes might acoye.


He was biforn anoyed sore,

But than ye doubled him wel more;

For he of blis hath ben ful bare,

Sith Bialacoil was fro him fare.

Love hath to him do greet distresse,


He hath no nede of more duresse.

Voideth from him your ire, I rede;

Ye may not winnen in this dede.

Makith Bialacoil repeire ageyn,

And haveth pite upon his peyn;


For Fraunchise wol, and I, Pite,

That merciful to him ye be;

And sith that she and I accorde,

Have upon him misericorde;

For I you pray, and eek moneste,


Nought to refusen our requeste;

For he is hard and fel of thought,

That for us two wol do right nought.'

Daunger ne might no more endure,

He meked him unto mesure.


'I wol in no wyse,' seith Daungere,

Denye that ye have asked here;

It were to greet uncurtesye.

I wol ye have the companye

Of Bialacoil, as ye devyse;


I wol him letten in no wyse.'

To Bialacoil than wente in hy

Fraunchyse, and seide ful curteisly:—

Ye have to longe be deignous

Unto this lover, and daungerous,


Fro him to withdrawe your presence,

Which hath do to him grete offence,

That ye not wolde upon him see;

Wherfore a sorowful man is he.

Shape ye to paye him, and to plese,


Of my love if ye wol have ese.

Fulfil his wil, sith that ye knowe

Daunger is daunted and brought lowe

Thurgh help of me and of Pite;

You [thar] no more afered be.'


'I shal do right as ye wil,'

Saith Bialacoil, 'for it is skil,

Sith Daunger wol that it so be.'

Than Fraunchise hath him sent to me.

Bialacoil at the biginning


Salued me in his coming.

No straungenes was in him seen,

No more than he ne had wrathed been.

As faire semblaunt than shewed he me,

And goodly, as aforn did he;


And by the honde, withouten doute,

Within the haye, right al aboute

He ladde me, with right good chere,

Al environ the vergere,

That Daunger had me chased fro.


Now have I leve over-al to go;

Now am I raised, at my devys,

Fro helle unto paradys.

Thus Bialacoil, of gentilnesse,

With alle his peyne and besinesse,


Hath shewed me, only of grace,

The estres of the swote place.

I saw the rose, whan I was nigh,

Was gretter woxen, and more high,

Fresh, rody, and fair of hewe,


Of colour ever yliche newe.

And whan I had it longe seen,

I saugh that through the leves grene

The rose spredde to spanishing;

To sene it was a goodly thing.


But it ne was so spred on brede,

That men within might knowe the sede;

For it covert was and [en]close

Bothe with the leves and with the rose.

The stalk was even and grene upright,


It was theron a goodly sight;

And wel the better, withouten wene,

For the seed was not [y]-sene.

Ful faire it spradde, [god it] blesse!

For suche another, as I gesse,


Aforn ne was, ne more vermayle.

I was abawed for merveyle,

For ever, the fairer that it was,

The more I am bounden in Loves laas.

Longe I abood there, soth to saye,


Til Bialacoil I gan to praye,

Whan that I saw him in no wyse

To me warnen his servyse,

That he me wolde graunte a thing,

Which to remembre is wel sitting;


This is to sayne, that of his grace

He wolde me yeve leyser and space

To me that was so desirous

To have a kissing precious

Of the goodly freshe rose,


That swetely smelleth in my nose;

For if it you displesed nought,

I wolde gladly, as I have sought,

Have a cos therof freely

Of your yeft; for certainly


I wol non have but by your leve,

So loth me were you for to greve.'

He sayde, 'Frend, so god me spede,

Of Chastite I have suche drede,

Thou shuldest not warned be for me,


But I dar not, for Chastite.

Agayn hir dar I not misdo,

For alwey biddeth she me so

To yeve no lover leve to kisse;

For who therto may winnen, y-wis,


He of the surplus of the pray

May live in hope to get som day.

For who so kissing may attayne,

Of loves peyne hath, soth to sayne,

The beste and most avenaunt,


And ernest of the remenaunt.'

Of his answere I syghed sore;

I durst assaye him tho no more,

I had such drede to greve him ay.

A man shulde not to muche assaye


To chafe his frend out of mesure,

Nor put his lyf in aventure;

For no man at the firste stroke

Ne may nat felle doun an oke;

Nor of the reisins have the wyne,


Til grapes rype and wel afyne

Be sore empressid, I you ensure,

And drawen out of the pressure.

But I, forpeyned wonder stronge,

[Thought] that I abood right longe


Aftir the kis, in peyne and wo,

Sith I to kis desyred so:

Til that, [rewing] on my distresse,

Ther [to me] Venus the goddesse,

Which ay werreyeth Chastite,


Came of hir grace, to socoure me,

Whos might is knowe fer and wyde,

For she is modir of Cupyde,

The God of Love, blinde as stoon,

That helpith lovers many oon.


This lady brought in hir right hond

Of brenning fyr a blasing brond;

Wherof the flawme and hote fyr

Hath many a lady in desyr

Of love brought, and sore het,


And in hir servise hir hertes set.

This lady was of good entayle,

Right wondirful of apparayle;

By hir atyre so bright and shene,

Men might perceyve wel, and seen,


She was not of religioun.

Nor I nil make mencioun

Nor of [hir] robe, nor of tresour,

Of broche, [nor] of hir riche attour;


Ne of hir girdil aboute hir syde,


For that I nil not long abyde.

But knowith wel, that certeynly

She was arayed richely.

Devoyd of pryde certeyn she was;

To Bialacoil she wente a pas,


And to him shortly, in a clause,

She seide: 'Sir, what is the cause

Ye been of port so daungerous

Unto this lover, and deynous,

To graunte him no-thing but a kis?


To werne it him ye doon amis;

Sith wel ye wote, how that he

Is Loves servaunt, as ye may see,

And hath beaute, wher-through [he] is

Worthy of love to have the blis.


How he is semely, biholde and see,

How he is fair, how he is free,

How he is swote and debonair,

Of age yong, lusty, and fair.

Ther is no lady so hauteyne,


Duchesse, countesse, ne chasteleyne,

That I nolde holde hir ungoodly

For to refuse him outerly.

His breeth is also good and swete,

And eke his lippis rody, and mete


Only to pleyen, and to kisse.

Graunte him a kis, of gentilnesse!

His teeth arn also whyte and clene;

Me thinkith wrong, withouten wene,

If ye now werne him, trustith me,


To graunte that a kis have he;

The lasse [to] helpe him that ye haste,

The more tyme shul ye waste.'

Whan the flawme of the verry brond,

That Venus brought in hir right hond,


Had Bialacoil with hete smete,

Anoon he bad, withouten lette,

Graunte to me the rose kisse.

Than of my peyne I gan to lisse,

And to the rose anoon wente I,


And kissid it ful feithfully.

Thar no man aske if I was blythe,

Whan the savour soft and lythe

Strook to myn herte withoute more,

And me alegged of my sore,


So was I ful of Ioye and blisse.

It is fair sich a flour to kisse,

It was so swote and saverous.

I might not be so anguisshous,

That I mote glad and Ioly be,


Whan that I remembre me.

Yit ever among, sothly to seyn,

I suffre noye and moche peyn.

The see may never be so stil,

That with a litel winde it [nil]


Overwhelme and turne also,

As it were wood, in wawis go.

Aftir the calm the trouble sone

Mot folowe, and chaunge as the mone.

Right so farith Love, that selde in oon


Holdith his anker; for right anoon

Whan they in ese wene best to live,

They been with tempest al fordrive.


Who serveth Love, can telle of wo;

The stoundemele Ioye mot overgo.


Now he hurteth, and now he cureth,

For selde in oo poynt Love endureth.

Now is it right me to procede,

How Shame gan medle and take hede,

Thurgh whom felle angres I have had;


And how the stronge wal was maad,

And the castell of brede and lengthe,

That God of Love wan with his strengthe.

Al this in romance wil I sette,

And for no-thing ne wil I lette,


So that it lyking to hir be,

That is the flour of beaute;

For she may best my labour quyte,

That I for hir love shal endyte.

Wikkid-Tunge, that the covyne


Of every lover can devyne

Worst, and addith more somdel,

(For Wikkid-Tunge seith never wel),

To me-ward bar he right gret hate,

Espying me erly and late,


Til he hath seen the grete chere

Of Bialacoil and me y-fere.

He mighte not his tunge withstonde

Worse to reporte than he fonde,

He was so ful of cursed rage;


It sat him wel of his linage,

For him an Irish womman bar.

His tunge was fyled sharp, and squar,

Poignaunt and right kerving,

And wonder bitter in speking.


For whan that he me gan espye,

He swoor, afferming sikirly,

Bitwene Bialacoil and me

Was yvel aquayntaunce and privee.

He spak therof so folily,


That he awakid Ielousy;

Which, al afrayed in his rysing,

Whan that he herde [him] Iangling,

He ran anoon, as he were wood,

To Bialacoil ther that he stood;


Which hadde lever in this caas

Have been at Reynes or Amyas;

For foot-hoot, in his felonye

To him thus seide Ielousye:—

Why hast thou been so necligent,


To kepen, whan I was absent,

This verger here left in thy ward?

To me thou haddist no reward,

To truste (to thy confusioun)

Him thus, to whom suspeccioun


I have right greet, for it is nede;

It is wel shewed by the dede.

Greet faute in thee now have I founde;

By god, anoon thou shalt be bounde,

And faste loken in a tour,


Withoute refuyt or socour.

For Shame to long hath be thee fro;

Over sone she was agoo.

Whan thou hast lost bothe drede and fere,

It semed wel she was not here.


She was [not] bisy, in no wyse,

To kepe thee and [to] chastyse,

And for to helpen Chastitee

To kepe the roser, as thinkith me.

For than this boy-knave so boldely


Ne sholde not have be hardy,


[Ne] in this verger had such game,

Which now me turneth to gret shame.'

Bialacoil nist what to sey;

Ful fayn he wolde have fled awey,


For fere han hid, nere that he

Al sodeynly took him with me.

And whan I saugh he hadde so,

This Ielousye, take us two,

I was astoned, and knew no rede,


But fledde awey for verrey drede.

Than Shame cam forth ful simply;

She wende have trespaced ful gretly;

Humble of hir port, and made it simple,

Wering a vayle in stede of wimple,


As nonnis doon in hir abbey.

Bicause hir herte was in affray,

She gan to speke, within a throwe,

To Ielousye, right wonder lowe.

First of his grace she bisought,


And seide:—'Sire, ne leveth nought

Wikkid-Tunge, that fals espye,

Which is so glad to feyne and lye.

He hath you maad, thurgh flatering,

On Bialacoil a fals lesing.


His falsnesse is not now anew,

It is to long that he him knew.

This is not the firste day;

For Wikkid-Tunge hath custom ay

Yongé folkis to bewreye,


And false lesinges on hem leye.

'Yit nevertheles I see among,

That the loigne it is so longe

Of Bialacoil, hertis to lure,

In Loves servise for to endure,


Drawing suche folk him to,

That he had no-thing with to do;

But in sothnesse I trowe nought,

That Bialacoil hadde ever in thought

To do trespace or vilanye;


But, for his modir Curtesye

Hath taught him ever [for] to be

Good of aqueyntaunce and privee;

For he loveth non hevinesse,

But mirthe and pley, and al gladnesse;


He hateth alle [trecherous],

Soleyn folk and envious;

For [wel] ye witen how that he

Wol ever glad and Ioyful be

Honestly with folk to pley.


I have be negligent, in good fey,

To chastise him; therfore now I

Of herte crye you here mercy,

That I have been so recheles

To tamen him, withouten lees.


Of my foly I me repente;

Now wol I hool sette myn entente

To kepe, bothe [loude] and stille,

Bialacoil to do your wille.'

'Shame, Shame,' seyde Ielousy,


'To be bitrasshed gret drede have I.

Lecherye hath clombe so hye,

That almost blered is myn ye;

No wonder is, if that drede have I.

Over-al regnith Lechery,


Whos might [yit] growith night and day.

Bothe in cloistre and in abbey

Chastite is werreyed over-al.

Therfore I wol with siker wal


Close bothe roses and roser.


I have to longe in this maner

Left hem unclosid wilfully;

Wherfore I am right inwardly

Sorowful and repente me.

But now they shal no lenger be


Unclosid; and yit I drede sore,

I shal repente ferthermore,

For the game goth al amis.

Counsel I [mot take] newe, y-wis.

I have to longe tristed thee,


But now it shal no lenger be;

For he may best, in every cost,

Disceyve, that men tristen most.

I see wel that I am nygh shent,

But-if I sette my ful entent


Remedye to purveye.

Therfore close I shal the weye

Fro hem that wol the rose espye,

And come to wayte me vilanye,

For, in good feith and in trouthe,


I wol not lette, for no slouthe,

To live the more in sikirnesse,

[To] make anoon a forteresse,

[To enclose] the roses of good savour.

In middis shal I make a tour


To putte Bialacoil in prisoun,

For ever I drede me of tresoun.

I trowe I shal him kepe so,

That he shal have no might to go

Aboute to make companye


To hem that thenke of vilanye;

Ne to no such as hath ben here

Aforn, and founde in him good chere,

Which han assailed him to shende,

And with hir trowandyse to blende.


A fool is eyth [for] to bigyle;

But may I lyve a litel while,

He shal forthenke his fair semblaunt.'

And with that word cam Drede avaunt,

Which was abasshed, and in gret fere,


Whan he wiste Ielousye was there.

He was for drede in such affray,

That not a word durste he say,

But quaking stood ful stille aloon,

Til Ielousye his wey was goon,


Save Shame, that him not forsook;

Bothe Drede and she ful sore quook;

[Til] that at laste Drede abreyde,

And to his cosin Shame seyde:

Shame,' he seide, 'in sothfastnesse,


To me it is gret hevinesse,

That the noyse so fer is go,

And the sclaundre of us two.

But sith that it is [so] bifalle,

We may it not ageyn [do] calle,


Whan onis sprongen is a fame.

For many a yeer withouten blame

We han been, and many a day;

For many an April and many a May

We han [y]-passed, not [a]shamed,


Til Ielousye hath us blamed

Of mistrust and suspecioun

Causeles, withouten enchesoun.

Go we to Daunger hastily,

And late us shewe him openly,


That he hath not aright [y]-wrought,

Whan that he sette nought his thought

To kepe better the purpryse;

In his doing he is not wyse.

He hath to us [y]-do gret wrong,


That hath suffred now so long

Bialacoil to have his wille,

Alle his lustes to fulfille.

He must amende it utterly,

Or ellis shal he vilaynsly


Exyled be out of this londe;

For he the werre may not withstonde

Of Ielousye, nor the greef,

Sith Bialacoil is at mischeef.'

To Daunger, Shame and Drede anoon


The righte wey ben [bothe a]-goon.

The cherl they founden hem aforn

Ligging undir an hawethorn.

Undir his heed no pilowe was,

But in the stede a trusse of gras.


He slombred, and a nappe he took,

Til Shame pitously him shook,

And greet manace on him gan make.

Why slepist thou whan thou shulde wake?'

Quod Shame; 'thou dost us vilanye!


Who tristith thee, he doth folye,

To kepe roses or botouns,

Whan they ben faire in hir sesouns.

Thou art woxe to familiere

Where thou shulde be straunge of chere,


Stout of thy port, redy to greve.

Thou dost gret foly for to leve

Bialacoil here-in, to calle

The yonder man to shenden us alle.

Though that thou slepe, we may here


Of Ielousie gret noyse here.

Art thou now late? ryse up [in hy],

And stoppe sone and deliverly

Alle the gappis of the hay;

Do no favour, I thee pray.


It fallith no-thing to thy name

Make fair semblaunt, where thou maist blame.

'If Bialacoil be swete and free,

Dogged and fel thou shuldist be;

Froward and outrageous, y-wis;


A cherl chaungeth that curteis is.

This have I herd ofte in seying,

That man [ne] may, for no daunting,

Make a sperhauke of a bosarde.

Alle men wole holde thee for musarde,


That debonair have founden thee,

It sit thee nought curteis to be;

To do men plesaunce or servyse,

In thee it is recreaundyse.

Let thy werkis, fer and nere,


Be lyke thy name, which is Daungere.'

Than, al abawid in shewing,

Anoon spak Dreed, right thus seying,

And seide, 'Daunger, I drede me

That thou ne wolt [not] bisy be


To kepe that thou hast to kepe;

Whan thou shuldist wake, thou art aslepe.


Thou shalt be greved certeynly,

If thee aspye Ielousy,

Or if he finde thee in blame.


He hath to-day assailed Shame,

And chased awey, with gret manace,

Bialacoil out of this place,

And swereth shortly that he shal

Enclose him in a sturdy wal;


And al is for thy wikkednesse,

For that thee faileth straungenesse.

Thyn herte, I trowe, be failed al;

Thou shalt repente in special,

If Ielousye the sothe knewe;


Thou shalt forthenke, and sore rewe.'

With that the cherl his clubbe gan shake,

Frouning his eyen gan to make,

And hidous chere; as man in rage,

For ire he brente in his visage.


Whan that he herde him blamed so,

He seide, 'Out of my wit I go;

To be discomfit I have gret wrong.

Certis, I have now lived to long,

Sith I may not this closer kepe;


Al quik I wolde be dolven depe,

If any man shal more repeire

Into this garden, for foule or faire.

Myn herte for ire goth a-fere,

That I lete any entre here.


I have do foly, now I see,

But now it shal amended bee.

Who settith foot here any more,

Truly, he shal repente it sore;

For no man mo into this place


Of me to entre shal have grace.

Lever I hadde, with swerdis tweyne,

Thurgh-out myn herte, in every veyne

Perced to be, with many a wounde,

Than slouthe shulde in me be founde.


From hennesforth, by night or day,

I shal defende it, if I may,

Withouten any excepcioun

Of ech maner condicioun;

And if I any man it graunte,


Holdeth me for recreaunte.'

Than Daunger on his feet gan stonde,

And hente a burdoun in his honde.

Wroth in his ire, ne lefte he nought,

But thurgh the verger he hath sought.


If he might finde hole or trace,

Wher-thurgh that men mot forth-by pace,

Or any gappe, he dide it close,

That no man mighte touche a rose

Of the roser al aboute;


He shitteth every man withoute.

Thus day by day Daunger is wers,

More wondirful and more divers,

And feller eek than ever he was;

For him ful oft I singe 'allas!'


For I ne may nought, thurgh his ire,

Recover that I most desire.

Myn herte, allas, wol brest a-two,

For Bialacoil I wratthed so.

For certeynly, in every membre


I quake, whan I me remembre

Of the botoun, which [that] I wolde

Fulle ofte a day seen and biholde.


And whan I thenke upon the kisse,

And how muche Ioye and blisse


I hadde thurgh the savour swete,

For wante of it I grone and grete.

Me thenkith I fele yit in my nose

The swete savour of the rose.

And now I woot that I mot go


So fer the fresshe floures fro,

To me ful welcome were the deeth;

Absens therof, allas, me sleeth!

For whylom with this rose, allas,

I touched nose, mouth, and face;


But now the deeth I must abyde.

But Love consente, another tyde,

That onis I touche may and kisse,

I trowe my peyne shal never lisse.

Theron is al my coveityse,


Which brent myn herte in many wyse.

Now shal repaire agayn sighinge,

Long wacche on nightis, and no slepinge;

Thought in wisshing, torment, and wo,

With many a turning to and fro,


That half my peyne I can not telle.

For I am fallen into helle

From paradys and welthe, the more

My turment greveth; more and more

Anoyeth now the bittirnesse,


That I toforn have felt swetnesse.

And Wikkid-Tunge, thurgh his falshede,

Causeth al my wo and drede.

On me he leyeth a pitous charge,

Bicause his tunge was to large.


Now it is tyme, shortly that I

Telle you som-thing of Ielousy,

That was in gret suspecioun.

Aboute him lefte he no masoun,

That stoon coude leye, ne querrour;


He hired hem to make a tour.

And first, the roses for to kepe,

Aboute hem made he a diche depe,

Right wondir large, and also brood;

Upon the whiche also stood


Of squared stoon a sturdy wal,

Which on a cragge was founded al,

And right gret thikkenesse eek it bar.

Abouten, it was founded squar,

An hundred fadome on every syde,


It was al liche longe and wyde.

Lest any tyme it were assayled,

Ful wel aboute it was batayled;

And rounde enviroun eek were set

Ful many a riche and fair touret.


At every corner of this wal

Was set a tour ful principal;

And everich hadde, withoute fable,

A porte-colys defensable

To kepe of enemies, and to greve,


That there hir force wolde preve.

And eek amidde this purpryse

Was maad a tour of gret maistryse;

A fairer saugh no man with sight,

Large and wyde, and of gret might.


They [ne] dredde noon assaut

Of ginne, gunne, nor skaffaut.

[For] the temprure of the mortere

Was maad of licour wonder dere;

Of quikke lyme persant and egre,


The which was tempred with vinegre.


The stoon was hard [as] ademant,

Wherof they made the foundement.

The tour was rounde, maad in compas;

In al this world no richer was,


Ne better ordeigned therwithal.

Aboute the tour was maad a wal,

So that, bitwixt that and the tour,

Rosers were set of swete savour,

With many roses that they bere.


And eek within the castel were

Springoldes, gunnes, bows, archers;

And eek above, atte corners,

Men seyn over the walle stonde

Grete engynes, [whiche] were nigh honde;


And in the kernels, here and there,

Of arblasters gret plentee were.

Noon armure might hir stroke withstonde,

It were foly to prece to honde.

Without the diche were listes made,


With walles batayled large and brade,

For men and hors shulde not atteyne

To neigh the diche over the pleyne.

Thus Ielousye hath enviroun

Set aboute his garnisoun


With walles rounde, and diche depe,

Only the roser for to kepe.

And Daunger [eek], erly and late

The keyes kepte of the utter gate,

The which openeth toward the eest.


And he hadde with him atte leest

Thritty servauntes, echon by name.

That other gate kepte Shame,

Which openede, as it was couth,

Toward the parte of the south.


Sergeauntes assigned were hir to

Ful many, hir wille for to do.

Than Drede hadde in hir baillye

The keping of the conestablerye,

Toward the north, I undirstonde,


That opened upon the left honde,

The which for no-thing may be sure,

But-if she do [hir] bisy cure

Erly on morowe and also late,

Strongly to shette and barre the gate.


Of every thing that she may see

Drede is aferd, wher-so she be;

For with a puff of litel winde

Drede is astonied in hir minde.

Therfore, for stelinge of the rose,


I rede hir nought the yate unclose.

A foulis flight wol make hir flee,

And eek a shadowe, if she it see.

Thanne Wikked-Tunge, ful of envye,

With soudiours of Normandye,


As he that causeth al the bate,

Was keper of the fourthe gate,

And also to the tother three

He went ful ofte, for to see.

Whan his lot was to wake a-night,


His instrumentis wolde he dight,

For to blowe and make soun,

Ofter than he hath enchesoun;

And walken oft upon the wal,

Corners and wikettis over-al


Ful narwe serchen and espye;

Though he nought fond, yit wolde he lye.

Discordaunt ever fro armonye,

And distoned from melodye,

Controve he wolde, and foule fayle,


With hornpypes of Cornewayle.

In floytes made he discordaunce,

And in his musik, with mischaunce,

He wolde seyn, with notes newe,

That he [ne] fond no womman trewe,


Ne that he saugh never, in his lyf,

Unto hir husbonde a trewe wyf;

Ne noon so ful of honestee,

That she nil laughe and mery be

Whan that she hereth, or may espye,


A man speken of lecherye.

Everich of hem hath somme vyce;

Oon is dishonest, another is nyce;

If oon be ful of vilanye,

Another hath a likerous ye;


If oon be ful of wantonesse,

Another is a chideresse.

Thus Wikked-Tunge (god yeve him shame!)

Can putte hem everichone in blame

Withoute desert and causeles;


He lyeth, though they been giltles.

I have pite to seen the sorwe,

That waketh bothe eve and morwe,

To innocents doth such grevaunce;

I pray god yeve him evel chaunce,


That he ever so bisy is

Of any womman to seyn amis!

Eek Ielousye god confounde,

That hath [y]-maad a tour so rounde,

And made aboute a garisoun


To sette Bialacoil in prisoun;

The which is shet there in the tour,

Ful longe to holde there soiour,

There for to liven in penaunce.

And for to do him more grevaunce,


[Ther] hath ordeyned Ielousye

An olde vekke, for to espye

The maner of his governaunce;

The whiche devel, in hir enfaunce,

Had lerned [muche] of Loves art,


And of his pleyes took hir part;

She was [expert] in his servyse.

She knew ech wrenche and every gyse

Of love, and every [loveres] wyle,

It was [the] harder hir to gyle.


Of Bialacoil she took ay hede,

That ever he liveth in wo and drede.

He kepte him coy and eek privee,

Lest in him she hadde see

Any foly countenaunce,


For she knew al the olde daunce.

And aftir this, whan Ielousye

Had Bialacoil in his baillye,

And shette him up that was so free,

For seure of him he wolde be,


He trusteth sore in his castel;

The stronge werk him lyketh wel.

He dradde nat that no glotouns

Shulde stele his roses or botouns.

The roses weren assured alle,


Defenced with the stronge walle.

Now Ielousye ful wel may be

Of drede devoid, in libertee,


Whether that he slepe or wake;

For of his roses may noon be take.


But I, allas, now morne shal;

Bicause I was without the wal,

Ful moche dole and mone I made.

Who hadde wist what wo I hadde,

I trowe he wolde have had pitee.


Love to deere had sold to me

The good that of his love hadde I.

I [wende a bought] it al queyntly;

But now, thurgh doubling of my peyn,

I see he wolde it selle ageyn,


And me a newe bargeyn lere,

The which al-out the more is dere,

For the solace that I have lorn,

Than I hadde it never aforn.

Certayn I am ful lyk, indeed,


To him that cast in erthe his seed;

And hath Ioie of the newe spring,

Whan it greneth in the ginning,

And is also fair and fresh of flour,

Lusty to seen, swote of odour;


But er he it in sheves shere,

May falle a weder that shal it dere,

And maken it to fade and falle,

The stalk, the greyn, and floures alle;

That to the tilier is fordone


The hope that he hadde to sone.

I drede, certeyn, that so fare I;

For hope and travaile sikerly

Ben me biraft al with a storm;

The floure nil seden of my corn.


For Love hath so avaunced me,

Whan I bigan my privitee

To Bialacoil al for to telle,

Whom I ne fond froward ne felle,

But took a-gree al hool my play.


But Love is of so hard assay,

That al at onis he reved me,

Whan I wend best aboven have be.

It is of Love, as of Fortune,

That chaungeth ofte, and nil contune;


Which whylom wol on folke smyle,

And gloumbe on hem another whyle;

Now freend, now foo, [thou] shalt hir fele,

For [in] a twinkling tourneth hir wheel.

She can wrythe hir heed awey,


This is the concours of hir pley;

She can areyse that doth morne,

And whirle adown, and overturne

Who sittith hieghst, [al] as hir list;

A fool is he that wol hir trist.


For it [am] I that am com doun

Thurgh change and revolucioun!

Sith Bialacoil mot fro me twinne,

Shet in the prisoun yond withinne,

His absence at myn herte I fele;


For al my Ioye and al myn hele

Was in him and in the rose,

That but yon [wal], which him doth close,

Open, that I may him see,

Love nil not that I cured be


Of the peynes that I endure,

Nor of my cruel aventure.

A, Bialacoil, myn owne dere!

Though thou be now a prisonere,


Kepe atte leste thyn herte to me,


And suffre not that it daunted be;

Ne lat not Ielousye, in his rage,

Putten thyn herte in no servage.

Although he chastice thee withoute,

And make thy body unto him loute,


Have herte as hard as dyamaunt,

Stedefast, and nought pliaunt;

In prisoun though thy body be,

At large kepe thyn herte free.

A trewe herte wol not plye


For no manace that it may drye.

If Ielousye doth thee payne,

Quyte him his whyle thus agayne,

To venge thee, atte leest in thought,

If other way thou mayest nought;


And in this wyse sotilly

Worche, and winne the maistry.

But yit I am in gret affray

Lest thou do not as I say;

I drede thou canst me greet maugree,


That thou emprisoned art for me;

But that [is] not for my trespas,

For thurgh me never discovered was

Yit thing that oughte be secree.

Wel more anoy [ther] is in me,


Than is in thee, of this mischaunce;

For I endure more hard penaunce

Than any [man] can seyn or thinke,

That for the sorwe almost I sinke.

Whan I remembre me of my wo,


Ful nygh out of my wit I go.

Inward myn herte I fele blede,

For comfortles the deeth I drede.

Ow I not wel to have distresse,

Whan false, thurgh hir wikkednesse,


And traitours, that arn envyous,

To noyen me be so coragious?

A, Bialacoil! ful wel I see,

That they hem shape to disceyve thee,

To make thee buxom to hir lawe,


And with hir corde thee to drawe

Wher-so hem lust, right at hir wil;

I drede they have thee brought thertil.

Withoute comfort, thought me sleeth;

This game wol bringe me to my deeth.


For if your gode wille I lese,

I mote be deed; I may not chese.

And if that thou foryete me,

Myn herte shal never in lyking be;

Nor elles-where finde solace,


If I be put out of your grace,

As it shal never been, I hope;

Than shulde I fallen in wanhope.

[Here, at l. 4070 of the French text, ends the work of G. de Lorris; and begins the work of Jean de Meun.]

Allas, in wanhope?—nay, pardee!

For I wol never dispeired be.


If Hope me faile, than am I

Ungracious and unworthy;

In Hope I wol comforted be,

For Love, whan he bitaught hir me,


Seide, that Hope, wher-so I go,


Shulde ay be relees to my wo.

But what and she my balis bete,

And be to me curteis and swete?

She is in no-thing ful certeyn.

Lovers she put in ful gret peyn,


And makith hem with wo to dele.

Hir fair biheest disceyveth fele,

For she wol bihote, sikirly,

And failen aftir outrely.

A! that is a ful noyous thing!


For many a lover, in loving,

Hangeth upon hir, and trusteth fast,

Whiche lese hir travel at the last.

Of thing to comen she woot right nought;

Therfore, if it be wysly sought,


Hir counseille, foly is to take.

For many tymes, whan she wol make

A ful good silogisme, I drede

That aftirward ther shal in dede

Folwe an evel conclusioun;


This put me in confusioun.

For many tymes I have it seen,

That many have bigyled been,

For trust that they have set in Hope,

Which fel hem aftirward a-slope.


But natheles yit, gladly she wolde,

That he, that wol him with hir holde,

Hadde alle tymes [his] purpos clere,

Withoute deceyte, or any were.

That she desireth sikirly;


Whan I hir blamed, I did foly.

But what avayleth hir good wille,

Whan she ne may staunche my stounde ille?

That helpith litel, that she may do,

Outake biheest unto my wo.


And heeste certeyn, in no wyse,

Withoute yift, is not to pryse.

Whan heest and deed a-sundir varie,

They doon [me have] a gret contrarie.

Thus am I possed up and doun


With dool, thought, and confusioun;

Of my disese ther is no noumbre.

Daunger and Shame me encumbre,

Drede also, and Ielousye,

And Wikked-Tunge, ful of envye,


Of whiche the sharpe and cruel ire

Ful oft me put in gret martire.

They han my Ioye fully let,

Sith Bialacoil they have bishet

Fro me in prisoun wikkidly,


Whom I love so entierly,

That it wol my bane be,

But I the soner may him see.

And yit moreover, wurst of alle,

Ther is set to kepe, foule hir bifalle!


A rimpled vekke, fer ronne in age,

Frowning and yelowe in hir visage,

Which in awayte lyth day and night,

That noon of hem may have a sight.

Now moot my sorwe enforced be;


Ful soth it is, that Love yaf me


Three wonder yiftes of his grace,

Which I have lorn now in this place,

Sith they ne may, withoute drede

Helpen but litel, who taketh hede.


For here availeth no Swete-Thought,

And Swete-Speche helpith right nought.

The thridde was called Swete-Loking,

That now is lorn, without lesing.

[The] yiftes were fair, but not forthy


They helpe me but simply,

But Bialacoil [may] loosed be,

To gon at large and to be free.

For him my lyf lyth al in dout,

But-if he come the rather out.


Allas! I trowe it wol not been!

For how shuld I evermore him seen?

He may not out, and that is wrong,

Bicause the tour is so strong.

How shulde he out? by whos prowesse,


Out of so strong a forteresse?

By me, certeyn, it nil be do;

God woot, I have no wit therto!

But wel I woot I was in rage,

Whan I to Love dide homage.


Who was in cause, in sothfastnesse,

But hir-silf, dame Idelnesse,

Which me conveyed, thurgh fair prayere,

To entre into that fair vergere?

She was to blame me to leve,


The which now doth me sore greve.

A foolis word is nought to trowe,

Ne worth an appel for to lowe;

Men shulde him snibbe bittirly,

At pryme temps of his foly.


I was a fool, and she me leved,

Thurgh whom I am right nought releved.

She accomplisshed al my wil,

That now me greveth wondir il.

Resoun me seide what shulde falle.


A fool my-silf I may wel calle,

That love asyde I had not leyde,

And trowed that dame Resoun seyde.

Resoun had bothe skile and right.

Whan she me blamed, with al hir might,


To medle of love, that hath me shent;

But certeyn now I wol repent.

'And shulde I repent? Nay, parde!

A fals traitour than shulde I be.

The develles engins wolde me take,


If I my [lorde] wolde forsake,

Or Bialacoil falsly bitraye.

Shulde I at mischeef hate him? nay,

Sith he now, for his curtesye,

Is in prisoun of Ielousye.


Curtesye certeyn dide he me,

So muche, it may not yolden be,

Whan he the hay passen me lete,

To kisse the rose, faire and swete;

Shulde I therfore cunne him maugree?


Nay, certeynly, it shal not be;

For Love shal never, [if god wil],

Here of me, thurgh word or wil,


Offence or complaynt, more or lesse,

Neither of Hope nor Idilnesse;


For certis, it were wrong that I

Hated hem for hir curtesye.

Ther is not ellis, but suffre and thinke,

And waken whan I shulde winke;

Abyde in hope, til Love, thurgh chaunce,


Sende me socour or allegeaunce,

Expectant ay til I may mete

To geten mercy of that swete.

'Whylom I thinke how Love to me

Seyde he wolde taken atte gree


My servise, if unpacience

Caused me to doon offence.

He seyde, "In thank I shal it take,

And high maister eek thee make,

If wikkednesse ne reve it thee;


But sone, I trowe, that shal not be."

These were his wordis by and by;

It semed he loved me trewly.

Now is ther not but serve him wele,

If that I thinke his thank to fele.


My good, myn harm, lyth hool in me;

In Love may no defaute be;

For trewe Love ne failid never man.

Sothly, the faute mot nedis than

(As God forbede!) be founde in me,


And how it cometh, I can not see.

Now lat it goon as it may go;

Whether Love wol socoure me or slo,

He may do hool on me his wil.

I am so sore bounde him til,


From his servyse I may not fleen;

For lyf and deth, withouten wene,

Is in his hand; I may not chese;

He may me do bothe winne and lese.

And sith so sore he doth me greve,


Yit, if my lust he wolde acheve

To Bialacoil goodly to be,

I yeve no force what felle on me.

For though I dye, as I mot nede,

I praye Love, of his goodlihede,


To Bialacoil do gentilnesse,

For whom I live in such distresse,

That I mote deyen for penaunce.

But first, withoute repentaunce,

I wol me confesse in good entent,


And make in haste my testament,

As lovers doon that felen smerte:—

To Bialacoil leve I myn herte

Al hool, withoute departing,

Or doublenesse of repenting.'

Coment Raisoun vient a L'amant.


Thus as I made my passage

In compleynt, and in cruel rage,

And I not wher to finde a leche

That couthe unto myn helping eche,

Sodeynly agayn comen doun


Out of hir tour I saugh Resoun,

Discrete and wys, and ful plesaunt,

And of hir porte ful avenaunt.

The righte wey she took to me,

Which stood in greet perplexite,


That was posshed in every side,

That I nist where I might abyde,

Til she, demurely sad of chere,

Seide to me as she com nere:—


'Myn owne freend, art thou yit greved?


How is this quarel yit acheved

Of Loves syde? Anoon me telle;

Hast thou not yit of love thy fille?

Art thou not wery of thy servyse

That thee hath [pyned] in sich wyse?


What Ioye hast thou in thy loving?

Is it swete or bitter thing?

Canst thou yit chese, lat me see,

What best thy socour mighte be?

'Thou servest a ful noble lord,


That maketh thee thral for thy reward,

Which ay renewith thy turment,

With foly so he hath thee blent.

Thou felle in mischeef thilke day,

Whan thou didest, the sothe to say,


Obeysaunce and eek homage;

Thou wroughtest no-thing as the sage.

Whan thou bicam his liege man,

Thou didist a gret foly than;

Thou wistest not what fel therto,


With what lord thou haddist to do.

If thou haddist him wel knowe,

Thou haddist nought be brought so lowe;

For if thou wistest what it were,

Thou noldist serve him half a yeer,


Not a weke, nor half a day,

Ne yit an hour withoute delay,

Ne never [han] loved paramours,

His lordship is so ful of shoures.

Knowest him ought?'

L'Amaunt. 'Ye, dame, parde!'

Raisoun. 'Nay, nay.'

L'Amaunt. 'Yes, I.'


Raisoun. 'Wherof, lat see?'

L'Amaunt. 'Of that he seyde I shulde be

Glad to have sich lord as he,

And maister of sich seignory.'

Raisoun. 'Knowist him no more?'

L'Amaunt. 'Nay, certis, I,


Save that he yaf me rewles there,

And wente his wey, I niste where,

And I abood bounde in balaunce.'

Raisoun. 'Lo, there a noble conisaunce!

But I wil that thou knowe him now


Ginning and ende, sith that thou

Art so anguisshous and mate,

Disfigured out of astate;

Ther may no wrecche have more of wo,

Ne caitif noon enduren so.


It were to every man sitting

Of his lord have knowleching.

For if thou knewe him, out of dout,

Lightly thou shulde escapen out

Of the prisoun that marreth thee.'


L'Amaunt. 'Ye, dame! sith my lord is he,

And I his man, maad with myn honde,

I wolde right fayn undirstonde

To knowen of what kinde he be,

If any wolde enferme me.'


Raisoun. 'I wolde,' seid Resoun, 'thee lere,

Sith thou to lerne hast sich desire,


And shewe thee, withouten fable,

A thing that is not demonstrable.

Thou shalt [here lerne] without science,


And knowe, withoute experience,

The thing that may not knowen be,

Ne wist ne shewid in no degree.

Thou mayst the sothe of it not witen,

Though in thee it were writen.


Thou shalt not knowe therof more

Whyle thou art reuled by his lore;

But unto him that love wol flee,

The knotte may unclosed be,

Which hath to thee, as it is founde,


So long be knet and not unbounde.

Now sette wel thyn entencioun,

To here of love discripcioun.

'Love, it is an hateful pees,

A free acquitaunce, without relees,


[A trouthe], fret full of falshede,

A sikernesse, al set in drede;

In herte is a dispeiring hope,

And fulle of hope, it is wanhope;

Wyse woodnesse, and wood resoun,


A swete peril, in to droune,

An hevy birthen, light to bere,

A wikked wawe awey to were.

It is Caribdis perilous,

Disagreable and gracious.


It is discordaunce that can accorde,

And accordaunce to discorde.

It is cunning withoute science,

Wisdom withoute sapience,

Wit withoute discrecioun,


Havoir, withoute possessioun.

It is sike hele and hool siknesse,

A thrust drowned [in] dronkenesse,

An helthe ful of maladye,

And charitee ful of envye,


An [hunger] ful of habundaunce,

And a gredy suffisaunce;

Delyt right ful of hevinesse,

And drerihed ful of gladnesse;

Bitter swetnesse and swete errour,


Right evel savoured good savour;

Sinne that pardoun hath withinne,

And pardoun spotted without [with] sinne;

A peyne also it is, Ioyous,

And felonye right pitous;


Also pley that selde is stable,

And stedefast [stat], right mevable;

A strengthe, weyked to stonde upright,

And feblenesse, ful of might;

Wit unavysed, sage folye,


And Ioye ful of turmentrye;

A laughter it is, weping ay,

Rest, that traveyleth night and day;

Also a swete helle it is,

And a sorowful Paradys;


A plesaunt gayl and esy prisoun,

And, ful of froste, somer sesoun;


Pryme temps, ful of frostes whyte,

And May, devoide of al delyte,

With seer braunches, blossoms ungrene;


And newe fruyt, fillid with winter tene.

It is a slowe, may not forbere

Ragges, ribaned with gold, to were;

For al-so wel wol love be set

Under ragges as riche rochet;


And eek as wel be amourettes

In mourning blak, as bright burnettes.

For noon is of so mochel prys,

Ne no man founden [is] so wys,

Ne noon so high is of parage,


Ne no man founde of wit so sage,

No man so hardy ne so wight,

Ne no man of so mochel might,

Noon so fulfilled of bounte,

[But] he with love may daunted be.


Al the world holdith this way;

Love makith alle to goon miswey,

But it be they of yvel lyf,

Whom Genius cursith, man and wyf,

That wrongly werke ageyn nature.


Noon suche I love, ne have no cure

Of suche as Loves servaunts been,

And wol not by my counsel fleen.

For I ne preyse that loving,

Wher-thurgh man, at the laste ending,


Shal calle hem wrecchis fulle of wo,

Love greveth hem and shendith so.

But if thou wolt wel Love eschewe,

For to escape out of his mewe,

And make al hool thy sorwe to slake,


No bettir counsel mayst thou take,

Than thinke to fleen wel, y-wis;

May nought helpe elles; for wite thou this:—

If thou flee it, it shal flee thee;

Folowe it, and folowen shal it thee.'


L'Amaunt. Whan I hadde herd al Resoun seyn,

Which hadde spilt hir speche in veyn:

Dame,' seyde I, 'I dar wel sey

Of this avaunt me wel I may

That from your scole so deviaunt


I am, that never the more avaunt

Right nought am I, thurgh your doctryne;

I dulle under your disciplyne;

I wot no more than [I] wist [er],

To me so contrarie and so fer


Is every thing that ye me lere;

And yit I can it al parcuere.

Myn herte foryetith therof right nought,

It is so writen in my thought;

And depe graven it is so tendir


That al by herte I can it rendre,

And rede it over comunely;

But to my-silf lewedist am I.

'But sith ye love discreven so,

And lakke and preise it, bothe two,


Defyneth it into this letter,

That I may thenke on it the better;

For I herde never [diffyne it ere],

And wilfully I wolde it lere.'

Raisoun. 'If love be serched wel and sought,


It is a sykenesse of the thought


Annexed and knet bitwixe tweyne,

[Which] male and female, with oo cheyne,

So frely byndith, that they nil twinne,

Whether so therof they lese or winne.


The roote springith, thurgh hoot brenning,

Into disordinat desiring

For to kissen and enbrace,

And at her lust them to solace.

Of other thing love recchith nought,


But setteth hir herte and al hir thought

More for delectacioun

Than any procreacioun

Of other fruyt by engendring;

Which love to god is not plesing;


For of hir body fruyt to get

They yeve no force, they are so set

Upon delyt, to pley in-fere.

And somme have also this manere,

To feynen hem for love seke;


Sich love I preise not at a leke.

For paramours they do but feyne;

To love truly they disdeyne.

They falsen ladies traitoursly,

And sweren hem othes utterly,


With many a lesing, and many a fable,

And al they finden deceyvable.

And, whan they her lust han geten,

The hoote ernes they al foryeten.

Wimmen, the harm they byen ful sore;


But men this thenken evermore,

That lasse harm is, so mote I thee,

Disceyve them, than disceyved be;

And namely, wher they ne may

Finde non other mene wey.


For I wot wel, in sothfastnesse,

That [who] doth now his bisynesse

With any womman for to dele,

For any lust that he may fele,

But-if it be for engendrure,


He doth trespasse, I you ensure.

For he shulde setten al his wil

To geten a likly thing him til,

And to sustene[n], if he might,

And kepe forth, by kindes right,


His owne lyknesse and semblable,

For bicause al is corumpable,

And faile shulde successioun,

Ne were ther generacioun

Our sectis strene for to save.


Whan fader or moder arn in grave,

Hir children shulde, whan they ben deede,

Ful diligent ben, in hir steede,

To use that werke on such a wyse,

That oon may thurgh another ryse.


Therfore set Kinde therin delyt,

For men therin shulde hem delyte,

And of that dede be not erke,

But ofte sythes haunt that werke.

For noon wolde drawe therof a draught


Ne were delyt, which hath him caught.

This hadde sotil dame Nature;

For noon goth right, I thee ensure,

Ne hath entent hool ne parfyt;

For hir desir is for delyt,


The which fortened crece and eke

The pley of love for-ofte seke,

And thralle hem-silf, they be so nyce,

Unto the prince of every vyce.

For of ech sinne it is the rote,


Unlefulle lust, though it be sote,

And of al yvel the racyne,

As Tullius can determyne,

Which in his tyme was ful sage,

In a boke he made of Age,


Wher that more he preyseth Elde,

Though he be croked and unwelde,

And more of commendacioun,

Than Youthe in his discripcioun.

For Youthe set bothe man and wyf


In al perel of soule and lyf;

And perel is, but men have grace,

The [tyme] of youthe for to pace,

Withoute any deth or distresse,

It is so ful of wildenesse;


So ofte it doth shame or damage

To him or to his linage.

It ledith man now up, now doun,

In mochel dissolucioun,

And makith him love yvel company,


And lede his lyf disrewlily,

And halt him payed with noon estate.

Within him-silf is such debate,

He chaungith purpos and entent,

And yalt [him] into som covent,


To liven aftir her empryse,

And lesith fredom and fraunchyse,

That Nature in him hadde set,

The which ageyn he may not get,

If he there make his mansioun


For to abyde professioun.

Though for a tyme his herte absente,

It may not fayle, he shal repente,

And eke abyde thilke day

To leve his abit, and goon his way,


And lesith his worship and his name,

And dar not come ageyn for shame;

But al his lyf he doth so mourne,

Bicause he dar not hoom retourne.

Fredom of kinde so lost hath he


That never may recured be,

But-if that god him graunte grace

That he may, er he hennes pace,

Conteyne undir obedience

Thurgh the vertu of pacience.


For Youthe set man in al folye,

In unthrift and in ribaudye,

In leccherye, and in outrage,

So ofte it chaungith of corage.

Youthe ginneth ofte sich bargeyn,


That may not ende withouten peyn.

In gret perel is set youth-hede,

Delyt so doth his bridil lede.

Delyt thus hangith, drede thee nought,

Bothe mannis body and his thought,


Only thurgh Youthe, his chamberere,

That to don yvel is customere,

And of nought elles taketh hede

But only folkes for to lede

Into disporte and wildenesse,


So is [she] froward from sadnesse.

'But Elde drawith hem therfro;

Who wot it nought, he may wel go


[Demand] of hem that now arn olde,

That whylom Youthe hadde in holde,


Which yit remembre of tendir age,

How it hem brought in many a rage,

And many a foly therin wrought.

But now that Elde hath hem thurghsought,

They repente hem of her folye,


That Youthe hem putte in Iupardye,

In perel and in muche wo,

And made hem ofte amis to do,

And suen yvel companye,

Riot and avouterye.


'But Elde [can] ageyn restreyne

From suche foly, and refreyne,

And set men, by hir ordinaunce,

In good reule and in governaunce.

But yvel she spendith hir servyse,


For no man wol hir love, ne pryse;

She is hated, this wot I wele.

Hir acqueyntaunce wolde no man fele,

Ne han of Elde companye,

Men hate to be of hir alye.


For no man wolde bicomen olde,

Ne dye, whan he is yong and bolde.

And Elde merveilith right gretly,

Whan they remembre hem inwardly

Of many a perelous empryse,


Whiche that they wrought in sondry wyse,

How ever they might, withoute blame,

Escape awey withoute shame,

In youthe, withoute[n] damage

Or repreef of her linage,


Losse of membre, sheding of blode,

Perel of deth, or losse of good.

'Wost thou nought where Youthe abit,

That men so preisen in her wit?

With Delyt she halt soiour,


For bothe they dwellen in oo tour.

As longe as Youthe is in sesoun,

They dwellen in oon mansioun.

Delyt of Youthe wol have servyse

To do what so he wol devyse;


And Youthe is redy evermore

For to obey, for smerte of sore,

Unto Delyt, and him to yive

Hir servise, whyl that she may live.

'Where Elde abit, I wol thee telle


Shortly, and no whyle dwelle,

For thider bihoveth thee to go.

If Deth in youthe thee not slo,

Of this journey thou maist not faile.

With hir Labour and Travaile


Logged been, with Sorwe and Wo,

That never out of hir courte go.

Peyne and Distresse, Syknesse and Ire,

And Malencoly, that angry sire,

Ben of hir paleys senatours;


Groning and Grucching, hir herbergeours,

The day and night, hir to turment,

With cruel Deth they hir present,

And tellen hir, erliche and late,

That Deth stant armed at hir gate.


Than bringe they to hir remembraunce

The foly dedis of hir infaunce,

Which causen hir to mourne in wo

That Youthe hath hir bigiled so,

Which sodeynly awey is hasted.


She wepeth the tyme that she hath wasted,

Compleyning of the preterit,

And the present, that not abit,

And of hir olde vanitee,

That, but aforn hir she may see


In the future som socour,

To leggen hir of hir dolour,

To graunt hir tyme of repentaunce,

For hir sinnes to do penaunce,

And at the laste so hir governe


To winne the Ioy that is eterne,

Fro which go bakward Youthe [hir] made,

In vanitee to droune and wade.

For present tyme abidith nought,

It is more swift than any thought;


So litel whyle it doth endure

That ther nis compte ne mesure.

'But how that ever the game go,

Who list [have] Ioye and mirth also

Of love, be it he or she,


High or lowe, who[so] it be,

In fruyt they shulde hem delyte;

Her part they may not elles quyte,

To save hem-silf in honestee.

And yit ful many oon I see


Of wimmen, sothly for to seyne,

That [ay] desire and wolde fayne

The pley of love, they be so wilde,

And not coveite to go with childe.

And if with child they be perchaunce,


They wole it holde a gret mischaunce;

But what-som-ever wo they fele,

They wol not pleyne, but concele;

But-if it be any fool or nyce,

In whom that shame hath no Iustyce.


For to delyt echon they drawe,

That haunte this werk, bothe high and lawe,

Save sich that ar[e]n worth right nought,

That for money wol be bought.

Such love I preise in no wyse,


Whan it is given for coveitise.

I preise no womman, though [she] be wood,

That yeveth hir-silf for any good.

For litel shulde a man telle

Of hir, that wol hir body selle,


Be she mayde, be she wyf,

That quik wol selle hir, by hir lyf.

How faire chere that ever she make,

He is a wrecche, I undirtake,

That loveth such one, for swete or sour,


Though she him calle hir paramour,

And laugheth on him, and makith him feeste.

For certeynly no suche [a] beeste

To be loved is not worthy,

Or bere the name of druery.


Noon shulde hir please, but he were wood,

That wol dispoile him of his good.

Yit nevertheles, I wol not sey

[But] she, for solace and for pley,

May a Iewel or other thing


Take of her loves free yeving;


But that she aske it in no wyse,

For drede of shame of coveityse.

And she of hirs may him, certeyn,

Withoute sclaundre, yeven ageyn,


And ioyne her hertes togidre so

In love, and take and yeve also.

Trowe not that I wolde hem twinne,

Whan in her love ther is no sinne;

I wol that they togedre go,


And doon al that they han ado,

As curteis shulde and debonaire,

And in her love beren hem faire,

Withoute vyce, bothe he and she;

So that alwey, in honestee,


Fro foly love [they] kepe hem clere

That brenneth hertis with his fere;

And that her love, in any wyse,

Be devoid of coveityse.

Good love shulde engendrid be


Of trewe herte, iust, and secree,

And not of such as sette her thought

To have her lust, and ellis nought,

So are they caught in Loves lace,

Truly, for bodily solace.


Fleshly delyt is so present

With thee, that sette al thyn entent,

Withoute more (what shulde I glose?)

For to gete and have the Rose;

Which makith thee so mate and wood


That thou desirest noon other good.

But thou art not an inche the nerre,

But ever abydest in sorwe and werre,

As in thy face it is sene;

It makith thee bothe pale and lene;


Thy might, thy vertu goth away.

A sory gest, in goode fay,

Thou [herberedest than] in thyn inne,

The God of Love whan thou let inne!

Wherfore I rede, thou shette him out,


Or he shal greve thee, out of doute;

For to thy profit it wol turne,

If he nomore with thee soiourne.

In gret mischeef and sorwe sonken

Ben hertis, that of love arn dronken,


As thou peraventure knowen shal,

Whan thou hast lost [thy] tyme al,

And spent [thy youthe] in ydilnesse,

In waste, and woful lustinesse;

If thou maist live the tyme to see


Of love for to delivered be,

Thy tyme thou shall biwepe sore

The whiche never thou maist restore.

(For tyme lost, as men may see,

For no-thing may recured be).


And if thou scape yit, atte laste,

Fro Love, that hath thee so faste

Knit and bounden in his lace,

Certeyn, I holde it but a grace.

For many oon, as it is seyn,


Have lost, and spent also in veyn,

In his servyse, withoute socour,

Body and soule, good, and tresour,

Wit, and strengthe, and eek richesse,

Of which they hadde never redresse.'


Thus taught and preched hath Resoun,

But Love spilte hir sermoun,

That was so imped in my thought,

That hir doctrine I sette at nought.

And yit ne seide she never a dele,


That I ne understode it wele,

Word by word, the mater al.

But unto Love I was so thral,

Which callith over-al his pray,

He chasith so my thought [alway],


And holdith myn herte undir his sele,

As trust and trew as any stele;

So that no devocioun

Ne hadde I in the sermoun

Of dame Resoun, ne of hir rede;


It toke no soiour in myn hede.

For alle yede out at oon ere

That in that other she dide lere;

Fully on me she lost hir lore,

Hir speche me greved wondir sore.


[Than] unto hir for ire I seide,

For anger, as I dide abraide:

Dame, and is it your wille algate,

That I not love, but that I hate

Alle men, as ye me teche?


For if I do aftir your speche,

Sith that ye seyn love is not good,

Than must I nedis say with mood,

If I it leve, in hatrede ay

Liven, and voide love away


From me, [and been] a sinful wrecche,

Hated of all that [love that] tecche.

I may not go noon other gate,

For either must I love or hate.

And if I hate men of-newe


More than love, it wol me rewe,

As by your preching semeth me,

For Love no-thing ne preisith thee.

Ye yeve good counseil, sikirly,

That prechith me al-day, that I


Shulde not Loves lore alowe;

He were a fool, wolde you not trowe!

In speche also ye han me taught

Another love, that knowen is naught,

Which I have herd you not repreve,


To love ech other; by your leve,

If ye wolde diffyne it me,

I wolde gladly here, to see,

At the leest, if I may lere

Of sondry loves the manere.'


Raison. 'Certis, freend, a fool art thou

Whan that thou no-thing wolt allowe

That I [thee] for thy profit say.

Yit wol I sey thee more, in fay;

For I am redy, at the leste,


To accomplisshe thy requeste,

But I not wher it wol avayle;

In veyne, perauntre, I shal travayle.

Love ther is in sondry wyse,

As I shal thee here devyse.


For som love leful is and good;

I mene not that which makith thee wood,

And bringith thee in many a fit,

And ravisshith fro thee al thy wit,

It is so merveilous and queynt;


With such love be no more aqueynt.


Comment Raisoun diffinist Amistie.

'Love of Frendshipe also ther is,

Which makith no man doon amis,

Of wille knit bitwixe two,

That wol not breke for wele ne wo;


Which long is lykly to contune,

Whan wille and goodis ben in comune;

Grounded by goddis ordinaunce,

Hool, withoute discordaunce;

With hem holding comuntee


Of al her goode in charitee,

That ther be noon excepcioun

Thurgh chaunging of entencioun;

That ech helpe other at hir neede,

And wysly hele bothe word and dede;


Trewe of mening, devoid of slouthe,

For wit is nought withoute trouthe;

So that the ton dar al his thought

Seyn to his freend, and spare nought,

As to him-silf, without dreding


To be discovered by wreying.

For glad is that coniunccioun,

Whan ther is noon suspecioun

[Ne lak in hem], whom they wolde prove

That trew and parfit weren in love.


For no man may be amiable,

But-if he be so ferme and stable,

That fortune chaunge him not, ne blinde,

But that his freend alwey him finde,

Bothe pore and riche, in oon [e]state.


For if his freend, thurgh any gate,

Wol compleyne of his povertee,

He shulde not byde so long, til he

Of his helping him requere;

For good deed, done [but] thurgh prayere,


Is sold, and bought to dere, y-wis,

To hert that of gret valour is.

For hert fulfilled of gentilnesse

Can yvel demene his distresse.

And man that worthy is of name


To asken often hath gret shame.

A good man brenneth in his thought

For shame, whan he axeth ought.

He hath gret thought, and dredith ay

For his disese, whan he shal pray


His freend, lest that he warned be,

Til that he preve his stabiltee.

But whan that he hath founden oon

That trusty is and trew as stone,

And [hath] assayed him at al,


And found him stedefast as a wal,

And of his freendship be certeyne,

He shal him shewe bothe Ioye and peyne,

And al that [he] dar thinke or sey,

Withoute shame, as he wel may.


For how shulde he ashamed be

Of sich oon as I tolde thee?

For whan he woot his secree thought,

The thridde shal knowe ther-of right nought;


For tweyn in nombre is bet than three


In every counsel and secree.

Repreve he dredeth never a del,

Who that biset his wordis wel;

For every wys man, out of drede,

Can kepe his tunge til he see nede;


And fooles can not holde hir tunge;

A fooles belle is sone runge.

Yit shal a trewe freend do more

To helpe his felowe of his sore,

And socoure him, whan he hath nede,


In al that he may doon in dede;

And gladder [be] that he him plesith

Than [is] his felowe that he esith.

And if he do not his requeste,

He shal as mochel him moleste


As his felow, for that he

May not fulfille his voluntee

[As] fully as he hath requered.

If bothe the hertis Love hath fered,

Joy and wo they shul depart,


And take evenly ech his part.

Half his anoy he shal have ay,

And comfort [him] what that he may;

And of his blisse parte shal he,

If love wol departed be.


'And whilom of this [amitee]

Spak Tullius in a ditee;

["A man] shulde maken his request

Unto his freend, that is honest;

And he goodly shulde it fulfille,


But it the more were out of skile,

And otherwise not graunt therto,

Except only in [cases] two:

If men his freend to deth wolde dryve,

Lat him be bisy to save his lyve.


Also if men wolen him assayle,

Of his wurship to make him faile,

And hindren him of his renoun,

Lat him, with ful entencioun,

His dever doon in ech degree


That his freend ne shamed be,

In this two [cases] with his might,

Taking no kepe to skile nor right,

As ferre as love may him excuse;

This oughte no man to refuse."


This love that I have told to thee

Is no-thing contrarie to me;

This wol I that thou folowe wel,

And leve the tother everydel.

This love to vertu al attendith,


The tothir fooles blent and shendith.

'Another love also there is,

That is contrarie unto this,

Which desyre is so constreyned

That [it] is but wille feyned;


Awey fro trouthe it doth so varie,

That to good love it is contrarie;

For it maymeth, in many wyse,

Syke hertis with coveityse;

Al in winning and in profyt


Sich love settith his delyt.

This love so hangeth in balaunce

That, if it lese his hope, perchaunce,

Of lucre, that he is set upon,

It wol faile, and quenche anon;


For no man may be amorous,

Ne in his living vertuous,

But-[if] he love more, in mood,

Men for hem-silf than for hir good.


For love that profit doth abyde


Is fals, and bit not in no tyde.

[This] love cometh of dame Fortune,

That litel whyle wol contune;

For it shal chaungen wonder sone,

And take eclips right as the mone,


Whan she is from us [y]-let

Thurgh erthe, that bitwixe is set

The sonne and hir, as it may falle,

Be it in party, or in alle;

The shadowe maketh her bemis merke,


And hir hornes to shewe derke,

That part where she hath lost hir lyght

Of Phebus fully, and the sight;

Til, whan the shadowe is overpast,

She is enlumined ageyn as faste,


Thurgh brightnesse of the sonne bemes

That yeveth to hir ageyn hir lemes.

That love is right of sich nature;

Now is [it] fair, and now obscure.

Now bright, now clipsy of manere,


And whylom dim, and whylom clere.

As sone as Poverte ginneth take,

With mantel and [with] wedis blake

[It] hidith of Love the light awey,

That into night it turneth day;


It may not see Richesse shyne

Til the blakke shadowes fyne.

For, whan Richesse shyneth bright,

Love recovereth ageyn his light;

And whan it failith, he wol flit,


And as she [groweth, so groweth] it.

'Of this love, here what I sey:—

The riche men are loved ay,

And namely tho that sparand bene,

That wol not wasshe hir hertes clene


Of the filthe, nor of the vyce

Of gredy brenning avaryce.

The riche man ful fond is, y-wis,

That weneth that he loved is.

If that his herte it undirstood,


It is not he, it is his good;

He may wel witen in his thought,

His good is loved, and he right nought.

For if he be a nigard eke,

Men wole not sette by him a leke,


But haten him; this is the soth.

Lo, what profit his catel doth!

Of every man that may him see,

It geteth him nought but enmitee.

But he amende him of that vyce,


And knowe him-silf, he is not wys.

'Certis, he shulde ay freendly be,

To gete him love also ben free,

Or ellis he is not wyse ne sage

No more than is a gote ramage.


That he not loveth, his dede proveth,

Whan he his richesse so wel loveth,

That he wol hyde it ay and spare,

His pore freendis seen forfare;

To kepe [it ay is] his purpose,


Til for drede his eyen close,

And til a wikked deth him take;

Him hadde lever asondre shake,

And late his limes a sondre ryve,

Than leve his richesse in his lyve.


He thenkith parte it with no man;

Certayn, no love is in him than.

How shulde love within him be,

Whan in his herte is no pite?

That he trespasseth, wel I wat,


For ech man knowith his estat;

For wel him oughte be reproved

That loveth nought, ne is not loved.

'But sith we arn to Fortune comen,

And [han] our sermoun of hir nomen,


A wondir wil I telle thee now,

Thou herdist never sich oon, I trow.

I not wher thou me leven shal,

Though sothfastnesse it be [in] al,

As it is writen, and is sooth,


That unto men more profit doth

The froward Fortune and contraire,

Than the swote and debonaire:

And if thee thinke it is doutable,

It is thurgh argument provable.


For the debonaire and softe

Falsith and bigylith ofte;

For liche a moder she can cherishe

And milken as doth a norys;

And of hir goode to hem deles,


And yeveth hem part of her loweles,

With grete richesse and dignitee;

And hem she hoteth stabilitee

In a state that is not stable,

But chaunging ay and variable;


And fedith hem with glorie veyne,

And worldly blisse noncerteyne.

Whan she hem settith on hir whele,

Than wene they to be right wele,

And in so stable state withalle,


That never they wene for to falle.

And whan they set so highe be,

They wene to have in certeintee

Of hertly frendis [so] gret noumbre,

That no-thing mighte her stat encombre;


They truste hem so on every syde,

Wening with hem they wolde abyde

In every perel and mischaunce,

Withoute chaunge or variaunce,

Bothe of catel and of good;


And also for to spende hir blood

And alle hir membris for to spille,

Only to fulfille hir wille.

They maken it hole in many wyse,

And hoten hem hir ful servyse,


How sore that it do hem smerte,

Into hir very naked sherte!

Herte and al, so hole they yeve,

For the tyme that they may live,

So that, with her flaterye,


They maken foolis glorifye

Of hir wordis [greet] speking,

And han [there]-of a reioysing,

And trowe hem as the Evangyle;

And it is al falsheed and gyle,


As they shal afterwardes see,

Whan they arn falle in povertee,

And been of good and catel bare;

Than shulde they seen who freendis ware.

For of an hundred, certeynly,


Nor of a thousand ful scarsly,

Ne shal they fynde unnethis oon,

Whan povertee is comen upon.

For [this] Fortune that I of telle,

With men whan hir lust to dwelle,


Makith hem to lese hir conisaunce,

And nourishith hem in ignoraunce.

'But froward Fortune and perverse,

Whan high estatis she doth reverse,

And maketh hem to tumble doun


Of hir whele, with sodeyn tourn,

And from hir richesse doth hem flee,

And plongeth hem in povertee,

As a stepmoder envyous,

And leyeth a plastre dolorous


Unto her hertis, wounded egre,

Which is not tempred with vinegre,

But with poverte and indigence,

For to shewe, by experience,

That she is Fortune verely


In whom no man shulde affy,

Nor in hir yeftis have fiaunce,

She is so ful of variaunce.

Thus can she maken high and lowe,

Whan they from richesse ar[e]n throwe,


Fully to knowen, withouten were,

Freend of effect, and freend of chere;

And which in love weren trew and stable,

And whiche also weren variable,

After Fortune, hir goddesse,


In poverte, outher in richesse;

For al [she] yeveth, out of drede,

Unhappe bereveth it in dede;

For Infortune lat not oon

Of freendis, whan Fortune is goon;


I mene tho freendis that wol flee

Anoon as entreth povertee.

And yit they wol not leve hem so,

But in ech place where they go

They calle hem "wrecche," scorne and blame,


And of hir mishappe hem diffame,

And, namely, siche as in richesse

Pretendith most of stablenesse,

Whan that they sawe him set onlofte,

And weren of him socoured ofte,


And most y-holpe in al hir nede:

But now they take no maner hede,

But seyn, in voice of flaterye,

That now apperith hir folye,

Over-al where-so they fare,


And singe, "Go, farewel feldefare."

Alle suche freendis I beshrewe,

For of [the] trewe ther be to fewe;

But sothfast freendis, what so bityde,

In every fortune wolen abyde;


They han hir hertis in suche noblesse

That they nil love for no richesse;

Nor, for that Fortune may hem sende,

They wolen hem socoure and defende;

And chaunge for softe ne for sore,


For who is freend, loveth evermore.

Though men drawe swerd his freend to slo,

He may not hewe hir love a-two.


But, in [the] case that I shal sey,

For pride and ire lese it he may,


And for reprove by nycetee,

And discovering of privitee,

With tonge wounding, as feloun,

Thurgh venemous detraccioun.

Frend in this case wol gon his way,


For no-thing greve him more ne may;

And for nought ellis wol he flee,

If that he love in stabilitee.

And certeyn, he is wel bigoon

Among a thousand that fyndith oon.


For ther may be no richesse,

Ageyns frendship, of worthinesse;

For it ne may so high atteigne

As may the valoure, sooth to seyne,

Of him that loveth trew and wel;


Frendship is more than is catel.

For freend in court ay better is

Than peny in [his] purs, certis;

And Fortune, mishapping,

Whan upon men she is [falling],


Thurgh misturning of hir chaunce,

And casteth hem oute of balaunce,

She makith, thurgh hir adversitee,

Men ful cleerly for to see

Him that is freend in existence


From him that is by apparence.

For Infortune makith anoon

To knowe thy freendis fro thy foon,

By experience, right as it is;

The which is more to preyse, y-wis,


Than [is] miche richesse and tresour;

For more [doth] profit and valour

Poverte, and such adversitee,

Bifore than doth prosperitee;

For the toon yeveth conisaunce,


And the tother ignoraunce.

'And thus in poverte is in dede

Trouthe declared fro falsehede;

For feynte frendis it wol declare,

And trewe also, what wey they fare.


For whan he was in his richesse,

These freendis, ful of doublenesse,

Offrid him in many wyse

Hert and body, and servyse.

What wolde he than ha [yeve] to ha bought


To knowen openly her thought,

That he now hath so clerly seen?

The lasse bigyled he sholde have been

And he hadde than perceyved it,

But richesse nold not late him wit.


Wel more avauntage doth him than,

Sith that it makith him a wys man,

The greet mischeef that he [receyveth],

Than doth richesse that him deceyveth.

Richesse riche ne makith nought


Him that on tresour set his thought;

For richesse stont in suffisaunce

And no-thing in habundaunce;

For suffisaunce al-only

Makith men to live richely.


For he that hath [but] miches tweyne,

Ne [more] value in his demeigne,

Liveth more at ese, and more is riche,

Than doth he that is [so] chiche,


And in his bern hath, soth to seyn,


An hundred [muwis] of whete greyn,

Though he be chapman or marchaunt,

And have of golde many besaunt.

For in the geting he hath such wo,

And in the keping drede also,


And set evermore his bisynesse

For to encrese, and not to lesse,

For to augment and multiply.

And though on hepis [it] lye him by,

Yit never shal make his richesse


Asseth unto his gredinesse.

But the povre that recchith nought,

Save of his lyflode, in his thought,

Which that he getith with his travaile,

He dredith nought that it shal faile,


Though he have lytel worldis good,

Mete and drinke, and esy food,

Upon his travel and living,

And also suffisaunt clothing.

Or if in syknesse that he falle,


And lothe mete and drink withalle,

Though he have nought, his mete to by,

He shal bithinke him hastely,

To putte him out of al daunger,

That he of mete hath no mister;


Or that he may with litel eke

Be founden, whyl that he is seke;

Or that men shul him bere in hast,

To live, til his syknesse be past,

To somme maysondewe bisyde;


He cast nought what shal him bityde.

He thenkith nought that ever he shal

Into any syknesse falle.

'And though it falle, as it may be,

That al betyme spare shal he


As mochel as shal to him suffyce,

Whyl he is syke in any wyse,

He doth [it], for that he wol be

Content with his povertee

Withoute nede of any man.


So miche in litel have he can,

He is apayed with his fortune;

And for he nil be importune

Unto no wight, ne onerous,

Nor of hir goodes coveitous;


Therfore he spareth, it may wel been,

His pore estat for to sustene.

'Or if him lust not for to spare,

But suffrith forth, as nought ne ware,

Atte last it hapneth, as it may,


Right unto his laste day,

And taketh the world as it wolde be;

For ever in herte thenkith he,

The soner that [the] deeth him slo,

To paradys the soner go


He shal, there for to live in blisse,

Where that he shal no good misse.

Thider he hopith god shal him sende

Aftir his wrecchid lyves ende.

Pictagoras himsilf reherses,


In a book that the Golden verses


Is clepid, for the nobilitee

Of the honourable ditee:—

"Than, whan thou gost thy body fro,

Free in the eir thou shalt up go,


And leven al humanitee,

And purely live in deitee."—

He is a fool, withouten were,

That trowith have his countre here.

"In erthe is not our countree,"


That may these clerkis seyn and see

In Boece of Consolacioun,

Where it is maked mencioun

Of our countree pleyn at the eye,

By teching of philosophye,


Where lewid men might lere wit,

Who-so that wolde translaten it.

If he be sich that can wel live

Aftir his rente may him yive,

And not desyreth more to have,


That may fro povertee him save:

A wys man seide, as we may seen,

Is no man wrecched, but he it wene,

Be he king, knight, or ribaud.

And many a ribaud is mery and baud,


That swinkith, and berith, bothe day and night,

Many a burthen of gret might,

The whiche doth him lasse offense,

For he suffrith in pacience.

They laugh and daunce, trippe and singe,


And ley not up for her living,

But in the tavern al dispendith

The winning that god hem sendith.

Than goth he, fardels for to bere,

With as good chere as he dide ere;


To swinke and traveile he not feynith,

For for to robben he disdeynith;

But right anoon, aftir his swinke,

He goth to tavern for to drinke.

Alle these ar riche in abundaunce,


That can thus have suffisaunce

Wel more than can an usurere,

As god wel knowith, withoute were.

For an usurer, so god me see,

Shal never for richesse riche bee,


But evermore pore and indigent,

Scarce, and gredy in his entent.

'For soth it is, whom it displese,

Ther may no marchaunt live at ese,

His herte in sich a were is set,


That it quik brenneth [more] to get,

Ne never shal [enough have] geten;

Though he have gold in gerners yeten,

For to be nedy he dredith sore.

Wherfore to geten more and more


He set his herte and his desire;

So hote he brennith in the fire

Of coveitise, that makith him wood

To purchase other mennes good.

He undirfongith a gret peyne,


That undirtakith to drinke up Seyne;

For the more he drinkith, ay

The more he leveth, the soth to say.

[This is the] thurst of fals geting,

That last ever in coveiting,


And the anguisshe and distresse

With the fire of gredinesse.


She fighteth with him ay, and stryveth,

That his herte asondre ryveth;

Such gredinesse him assaylith,


That whan he most hath, most he faylith.

Phisiciens and advocates

Gon right by the same yates;

They selle hir science for winning,

And haunte hir crafte for greet geting.


Hir winning is of such swetnesse,

That if a man falle in sikenesse,

They are ful glad, for hir encrese;

For by hir wille, withoute lees,

Everiche man shulde be seke,


And though they dye, they set not a leke.

After, whan they the gold have take,

Ful litel care for hem they make.

They wolde that fourty were seke at onis,

Ye, two hundred, in flesh and bonis,


And yit two thousand, as I gesse,

For to encresen her richesse.

They wol not worchen, in no wyse,

But for lucre and coveityse;

For fysyk ginneth first by fy,


The fysycien also sothely;

And sithen it goth fro fy to sy;

To truste on hem, it is foly;

For they nil, in no maner gree,

Do right nought for charitee.


'Eke in the same secte are set

Alle tho that prechen for to get

Worshipes, honour, and richesse.

Her hertis arn in greet distresse,

That folk [ne] live not holily.


But aboven al, specialy,

Sich as prechen [for] veynglorie,

And toward god have no memorie,

But forth as ypocrites trace,

And to her soules deth purchace,


And outward [shewen] holynesse,

Though they be fulle of cursidnesse.

Not liche to the apostles twelve,

They deceyve other and hem-selve;

Bigyled is the gyler than.


For preching of a cursed man,

Though [it] to other may profyte,

Himsilf availeth not a myte;

For oft good predicacioun

Cometh of evel entencioun.


To him not vailith his preching,

Al helpe he other with his teching;

For where they good ensaumple take,

There is he with veynglorie shake.

'But lat us leven these prechoures,


And speke of hem that in her toures

Hepe up her gold, and faste shette,

And sore theron her herte sette.

They neither love god, ne drede;

They kepe more than it is nede,


And in her bagges sore it binde,

Out of the sonne, and of the winde;

They putte up more than nede ware,

Whan they seen pore folk forfare,

For hunger dye, and for cold quake;


God can wel vengeaunce therof take.

[Thre] gret mischeves hem assailith,

And thus in gadring ay travaylith;


With moche peyne they winne richesse;

And drede hem holdith in distresse,


To kepe that they gadre faste;

With sorwe they leve it at the laste;

With sorwe they bothe dye and live,

That to richesse her hertis yive,

And in defaute of love it is,


As it shewith ful wel, y-wis.

For if these gredy, the sothe to seyn,

Loveden, and were loved ageyn,

And good love regned over-alle,

Such wikkidnesse ne shulde falle;


But he shulde yeve that most good had

To hem that weren in nede bistad,

And live withoute fals usure,

For charitee ful clene and pure.

If they hem yeve to goodnesse,


Defending hem from ydelnesse,

In al this world than pore noon

We shulde finde, I trowe, not oon.

But chaunged is this world unstable;

For love is over-al vendable.


We see that no man loveth now

But for winning and for prow;

And love is thralled in servage

Whan it is sold for avauntage;

Yit wommen wol hir bodies selle;


Suche soules goth to the devel of helle.'

[Here ends l. 5170 of the F. text. A great gap follows. The next line answers to l. 10717 of the same.]

1711. Th. thystels; G. thesteles. 1713. Ful] Both For. Th. moche; G. mych.

1721. G. botheum; Th. bothum; read botoun. 1727. Th. shotte. 1728. G. me nye (!) 1732. Both Sithen; Th. chyuered. 1733. I supply that. 1736. I supply ther; F. iluec. 1743. Th. drey; G. drie. 1749. Th. yet; G. atte. 1750. Th. whiche; G. which it. 1757. G. to do; Th. do. 1758. Both two (!). 1761. Both bothum. 1766. Both certis euenly. 1771. a] Both his.

1779. I supply myn. 1786. Both bothom; so in 1790. 1791. Both were to haue. 1797, 8. Th. fyne, pyne; G. feyne, peyne. 1806. Th. of; G. on. 1808. Both drawe. 1811. Th. stycked; G. stikith. 1814. felte] both lefte (!).

1845. Both bothom. 1848. Both mighte it. 1851. Both sene I hadde. 1853, 4. Both thore, more; see l. 1857. 1856. G. thens; Th. thence. 1860. G. Castith; Th. Casteth. 1863. G. which. 1873. Th. dethe; G. deth. 1874. G. Whader; Th. Whether. 1879. I supply ful. 1892. So Th.; G. (in late hand) That he hadde the body hole made. 1895. Both without.

Transpose 1913, 4? 1922. Th. hem; G. hym. 1924. Both softyng; see 1925. 1925. Both prikkith. 1929. Th. iape. 1933. Th. hastely; G. hastly. 1934. I supply the. 1946. Both al. 1965. Both loue (!). 1971. Both Without.

1982. G. om. me. 1984. Th. Sens. 1994. Supply to; see 2126. 1999. Th. sythe; G. sith; read sithen. 2002. For of read to? 2006. G. must. Both kysse. 2012. Both without. 2018. Both gonfenoun. 2022. I supply so. 2030. G. thens; Th. thence. 2033. Both without. 2038. Perhaps quoynt. 2044. Perhaps tan (for taken).

2046. Both Disteyned (F. deceus). 2049. Both ins. her after through. 2066. G. wole; Th. wot (F. savez). 2067. Both susprised. 2068. Perhaps tan (for taken). 2074. I supply it. 2076. G. disese; Th. desese (F. dessaisir). 2085. Th. tresore; G. tresour. 2099. I supply al. 2105. Th. at; G. atte.

2109. Om. But? 2116. Read gree? 2132. G. compleysshen; Th. accomplysshen. 2141. I supply sinne. 2142. Th. entierly. 2150. G. Whanne that; Th. Whan. 2154. Both bigynneth to amende. 2167. Th. he; G. ye.

2176. G. say; Th. saye. 2178. G. ageyns; Th. ayenst. 2183. G. withouten; Th. without. 2185. G. resseyue; Th. receyue. Both vnto (for to). 2191. I supply that. 2195. Both in (for a). 2208. G. yong; Th. yonge. 2215. G. more; Th. mare. 2218. Th. hem; G. him. 2219, 20. Both somme, domme. 2224. Th. rybaudye; G. rebaudrye. 2234. Th. sette; G. om.

2247. Both trewly. 2249, 2251, 2254. Both Without. 2261. I supply hem; both best. 2264. G. streght. Both on (for upon). 2268. G. ruyde; Th. rude (F. cil vilain). 2271. G. streit. Th. aumere; G. awmere; see 2087. 2278. Th. Whit-; G. wis-. 2279. Both costneth (F. couste). 2285. Both Farce. 2294. G. knowith (!); so Th. 2302. Both pleyneth (!).

2305. I supply som. 2309. I supply best. 2316. Th. tyl; G. to. 2318. G. om. no. 2327. Both meuen. 2336. Both londes; read Loues. 2341. G. this swiffte (so Th.; F. si riche don). Both it is; om. it. 2344, 9. I supply that. 2347. Both better. 2355. G. that heere; Th. om. that.

2362. I supply eek. 2365. Both and (for in). 2367, 8. Both departe, parte. 2371, 2. So Th.; G. sitte, flitte. 2383. I supply wol. 2384. G. om. is. 2388. I supply al. 2395-2442. Not in G.; from Th. 2401. I supply yit. 2403, 4. Th. fal, al. 2405. Th. holy. 2413. As] Th. A.

2427. Th. sene (F. envoier). 2432. Th. gone and visyten. 2437, 8. Th. sene, bene. 2443. G. begins again. 2446. Both thou dost; om. thou. 2454. For wolt read nilt? 2466. Om. of? 2472. I supply the. 2473. For Thought read That swete? 2477. I supply thou.

2492. Both domme. 2494, 2521. Th. faste; G. fast. 2499. G. yitt; Th. yet (for yif). 2532. I supply thy; F. ta raison. Th. durste; G. derst. 2541. a] Th. o.

2550. Th. batell; G. batelle. 2563, 4. Th. a-brede, forwerede; G. abrode, forweriede; see 3251. 2569. seme] Both se. 2576. Th. slombrest. 2578. G. om. a.

2610. Th. Withouten; G. Without. Th. kesse; G. kysse. 2617. Both I wote not; read I noot. 2619. Both better. 2621. Both on hir I caste. 2622. Both That (for Than). 2628. Both liggen. 2649. Th. shalt; G. shalle. 2650. Both whider (!). 2655, 6. Th. aferde, vnsperde; G. afeerd, unspered. 2660. Th. shore. 2664. Th. thy; G. the. 2668. Both without. 2669. Both om. a.

2675. Th. whan; G. whanne; read wham or whom; F. De qui tu ne pues avoir aise. 2676. Corrupt; F. Au departir la porte baise. Th. awey; G. away. 2683. Th. ins. any (G. ony) bef. wene. 2687. Th. selfe; G. silf. 2688. Th. assayed; G. assaid. 2690. Both for to (for to). 2693. Th. ofte; G. of. 2697. Th. dothe; G. doith. 2700. I supply hir. 2709, 2710. Both more, fore; read mare, fare. I supply thee. 2712. Perhaps omit to. 2729. Th. Aye; G. A-yee.

2746. I supply may. 2748. Th. great; G. greet. 2752. For that read yet? 2755, 6. Th. sete, ete; G. sett, ete. 2760. Both yeue. 2763. I supply his. Th. trust; G. trist. 2774. Both aftirward. 2775. I supply to. 2777. Both yeue. 2786. Both endure. 2789, 90. Th. solace, lace. G. Doith. 2791. Both first.

2796. G. Thenkyng; Th. Thynkyng; see 2804. 2798. Both and in peyne. 2801. Both ins. to bef. have. 2824. Both not ben; F. tu seroies. 2831. Both myght. 2833. Both me (for hem); see 2845. 2845. I supply my; see 2833. 2846. G. sittith; Th. sytteth. 2854. Th. him; G. hem. Th. apayde; G. apaied; see l. 2891.

2895. G. and of; Th. om. of. 2897. G. which. 2912. I supply yit. 2916. I supply it. Th. conuoye G. conueye. 2917. they] Both thou.

2921, 2. Both sene, clene; supply he. 2934. I supply that. 2935. Both declared thee. 2946. Th. sufferaunce; G. suffraunce. 2950. Both yeue. 2954. Th. vanysshed; G. vanyshide. 2960, 2973. Both bothom; read botoun. 2970. G. bisiede; Th. besyed. 2971. Th. haye; G. hay.

2981. Th. gladde; G. glad. 2984. F. Bel-Acueil. 2987. G. outter; Th. vtter. 2990. Th. fresshe; G. fresh. 2992. Both warrans; I supply I be; F. Ge vous i puis bien garantir. 3000. Th. hertely; G. hertly. 3001. I supply I. 3009, 3013. Both bothom; read botoun. 3010. Th: fresshe; G. fresh. Th. spronge; G. sprange. 3012. Both myght. 3020. Th. grasse; G. gras. 3029. I insert no. 3035. Both Brought; I supply On lyve (i. e. to life). Th. ylke; G. ilk.

3038. Th. so vgly; G. so oughlye; om. so. 3045. Both bothoms; read botouns. Th. las; G. lasse. 3046. Th. sondrie; G. sondre. 3047. Th. wyste; G. wist. 3050, 3064. Both Bothoms. 3052. Both Venus hath flemed. 3058. G. om. is. 3071, 6, 8. Both bothom. 3079. I supply me; F. me fis. 3083. G. waxe; Th. wext.

3109. Both bothom. 3115. Both arise; read ryse. 3125. Both And late (lette) it growe. 3127, 8. Both were, bere. 3136. G. om. Th. His eyes reed sparclyng as the fyre-glowe (too long); F. S'ot les yex rouges comme feus. 3037. Both kirked. 3150. I] G. it; Th. he; F. ge. 3154. Th. agayne; G. ageyns.

3164. Th. he; G. it. 3179. I supply wot. 3186. Th. brast; G. barste. 3188. G. That was; Th. m. That. Th. through; G. thurgh. 3191. Th. highe; G. high. 3195. Both without. 3201. on] G. in (!). 3207. Both For nature; I omit For. 3209. Both but if the. 3213. Th. seignorie; G. seignurie.

3219,20. G. freende, sheende; Th. frende, shende. 3221. Th. the; G. ye. 3227. G. didest (!). 3228. Th. had; G. hadde; read haddest. 3230. I supply ward. 3231,2. Both wene, sene; I supply thee. 3248. G. om. nat. 3251. Th. werrey; G. werye. 3264. Both seyne; feyne seems better. 3266. I supply it. 3274. Both he be a; I omit a. 3279. G. om. of.

3282. Th. moche; G. mych. 3292. G. arrage (!). 3301. After gete, Th. ins. the, and G. thee. 3315. Th. counsayle; G. counsele. 3320. Both thought; read taughte. 3331. Both Who that; I omit that. 3337. Both cherisaunce; F. chevissance. 3340. Both myght. 3344. Both fast.

3350. Both witholde. 3355. Th. whiche; G. which. 3356. G. om. have. Th. meymed. 3364. Th. fresshe; G. fresh. Both bothom. 3372. Th. fiers. 3379. Th. meke; G. make. 3385. I supply him. 3399. Th. forbode; G. fobede; read forbad. 3406. I supply sir. 3408. Both amenden.

3414. G. om. I. 3418. G. you shulde. 3429. G. doon elles welle; Th. done al wel; F. Toutes vos autres volentes Ferai. 3433. Th. suche; G. sichen; F. puis-qu'il me siet. 3447. Both where that the; I omit that. 3448. I supply thou; F. tu. 3454. Th. tale; G. talle. 3455. Th. affayre; G. affere. 3462. Both good mes (sic); F. en bon point; see l. 1453. 3464. Both -come. 3468. G. om. me.

3473. Both bothom. 3482. Morris supplies hard. 3490. Both That he had. 3491. G. Thanne; Th. Than; read That; F. Qu'Amors. 3498. G. Thou; Th. Tho. Both and me (for and). 3502. Both bothom. 3508. I supply word. 3510. Th. moche; G. mych. 3522. Both ye (for he); F. Que il. 3525. Both it is.

3534. G. to beye; Th. to bey. 3548. Both This; F. C'est; This = This is. 3552. Th. he; G. ye. 3554. Both Vpon (for On). 3560. Read mis (for amis). 3563. Th. moste; G. most. 3590. G. lette; Th. let. 3591. Th. hye; G. high.

3595-3690. Not in G.; from Th. 3599, 3600. Th. please, ease. 3604. Th. dare (for thar), wrongly. Th. aferde. 3615. Th. without. 3619. Th. hadde. 3620. Th. leaue. 3622. Th. hel. 3626. Th. eftres. 3633. Th. spannysshinge. 3641. Th. without. 3642. Th. sene. 3643. Th. the god of blesse; F. Diex la beneie. 3646. Th. marueyle.

3656. Th. leysar. 3660. Th. That so swetely. 3663. Th. cosse. 3667. Th. sayd. 3670, 1. Th. dare. 3674. Th. ywisse. 3676. Th. lyfe; read live. 3679. Th. best. 3687. Th. first. 3688. Th. fel downe. 3690. Th. grapes be ripe; om. be. 3691. G. begins again. 3694. Both Though. 3697. Both rennyng (for rewing). 3698. Both come (absurdly); see l. 3700; read to me. 3699. Th. werryeth; G. werieth; F. guerroie. 3707. Th. flame. 3709. Both hette. 3710. G. herte is; Th. hert is; read hertis = hertes. Both sette. 3716. G. nelle; Th. nyl. 3718. Both neithir (for nor).

3723. G. pruyde. 3730. Th. warne; G. worne. 3742. G. outterly; Th. vtterly. 3745. Both pleyne (playne). 3746. Both -nysse. 3748. G. thenkith. 3749. Th. warne; G. worne. 3751. Both ye helpe; read to helpe. 3755. Th. with his hete. 3756. Both ins. me after bad. 3757. G. Grauntede; Th. Graunt. 3761. Thar] Th. There nede. 3763. Both Stroke. 3774. G. it wille; Th. at wyl. 3779. Th. selde; G. yelde.

3790. G. strong; Th. stronge. 3803, 3811. Both bare. 3805. G. gret; Th. great. 3807. Both myght. 3808. G. report. 3812. Both square. 3832. Th. regarde. 3834. Th. thus; G. this. 3845. I supply not. 3846. I supply to. 3848. G. thenkith.

3852. I supply Ne. Both verge; see 3234. G. hadde; Th. had. 3862. Th. wende; G. wente. 3864. Th. vayle; G. bayle. Th. stede; G. stide. 3877. Both first. 3880. G. fals. Both lye. 3885. G. such. 3889. G. vylonye. 3891. M. supplies for. 3895. Both trechours. 3897. I supply wel. 3902. Both herte I crye. 3907. Both lowe. 3912. G. yhe; Th. eye. 3915. I supply yit. 3917. Th. werreyed; G. werried.

3928. Th. Counsayle. Both must; read mot, and supply take. 3942. Both Do; read To. Both fortresse; F. forteresce. 3943. Both Thanne (Than) close; F. Qui les Roses clorra entor. 3954. Th. blende; G. blynde. 3955. I supply for. 3967. I supply Til. Both last. 3971. Both ferre. 3973. I supply so. 3974. I supply do. 3977. Th. haue. 3979. Both shamed. 3982. G. withoute; Th. without.

3985, 6. G. om. he. 3994. Th. vilanously; G. vilaynesly. 4000. Both right. I supply bothe a-. 4009, 4016. G. doist. 4011. Both bothoms. 4015. Both Stoute, porte. 4021. G. an high; Th. an hye; read in hy. 4026. Both To make. 4036. Both sittith (-eth). 4044. I supply not.

4059. Th. sothe; G. sooth. G. knowe. 4063. as] G. a. 4065. G. om. he. 4072. G. gardyne. 4073. a-fere, i. e. on fire. 4089. Both put it after I. 4096. Both me (for men). 4098. Both myght. 4110. Th. quake; C. quoke. 4111. Both bothom. I supply that.

4114. Th. moche; G. mych. 4120. Th. fresshe; G. fresh. 4158. G. Aboute; Th. About. 4159. G. fademe. 4175. M. supplies ne. 4177. Supply For (F. Car). Both temprure.

4181. Both of; read as. 4188. Both Roses; read Rosers; F. rosiers. 4191. G. and bows; Th. bowes and. 4194. whiche] Both who. 4207. I supply eek. 4208. G. om. kepte. 4220. Th. lefte; G. lyft. 4222. M. supplies hir. 4142. Th. Ofter; G. Ofte.

4246. G. wole. 4254. M. supplies ne. 4264. Th. eye; G. ighe. 4269. Th. deserte; G. disseit. 4272. Both walketh (!). 4283. Both lyue. 4285. Both Which (for Ther); giving no sense. 4288. Th. whiche; G. which. 4289. I supply muche. 4291. Both except. 4293. I supply loveres. 4294. I supply the. 4308. Both bothoms.

4314. G. om. of. 4322. Both wente aboute (a = have). 4337. Both make. 4339. G. tiliers; Th. tyllers. 4344. Th. nyl; G. nel. 4352. Both wente; aboven to haue. 4355. Th. folke; G. folk. 4356. G. glowmbe; Th. glombe. 4357. M. supplies thou. 4358. I supply in. Th. tourneth; G. tourne. 4361. Th. areyse; G. arise. 4363. Th. hyest. Both but; read al. Both lust. 4364. Both trust. 4365. am] Both is. 4366. Both charge. 4372. wal] G. wole; Th. wol.

4394. Both maist. 4401. I supply is. 4403. Both ought. 4404. I supply ther. 4407. I supply man. 4413. Both Owe. 4414. Th. false; G. fals 4425. Both good. 4432. Both falle.

4440. G. reles; Th. relees. 4441. G. baalis; Th. bales. 4448. Th. vtterly. 4452. Th. traueyle. 4460. Th. put; G. putte. 4465. Th. nathelesse; G. neuertheles; after which G. has yit (Th. yet). 4467. Both her (for his). 4472. G. no; Th. ne. 4476. Both preise; read pryse. 4477. Th. a-sondre; G. asundry. 4478. I supply me have; F. Avoir me lest tant de contraires. 4483. G. Dre (!). 4486. G. putte. 4492. G. sonner. 4495. Both ferre.

4509. I supply The. 4510. Both symply; read simpilly? 4511. I supply may. 4513, 4. Th. dout, out; G. doute, oute. 4528. G. verger. 4537. G. Sheo. 4541. G. assayde; G. om. not. 4549. Th. engyns; G. engynnes. 4550. Both Loue; read lorde. 4556. Th. moche that it; G. mych that. 4557. Both lete = leet. 4561. Both yeue good wille; F. se Diex plaist.

4567, 4573, 4584. G. thenke. 4574. Both take. G. att; Th. at. 4587. Om. ne? 4614. G. om. Or. 4615. Rubrie in both. 4617. For not read nist? 4621. G. wijs. 4623. Both right. 4628. Th. came; G. come.

4634. Both the. I insert pyned. Th. suche. 4638. Both myght. 4647. Both liege. 4657. G. I lovede; Th. I loued; read han loved. 4659. (ends at parde); misnumbered 4660 in M. Th. Ye; G. Yhe. 4660. Th. Yes; G. Yhis. 4667. misnumbered 4670 in M. 4672. G. a state. 4680. G. Yhe. 4683. Both knowe. 4684. G. ony.

4689. I supply here lerne; both withouten. 4690. Both withouten. 4700. G. knette; Th. knytte. 4705. Both And through the; read A trouthe. Both frette. 4709. G. vode (for wood); Th. voyde. 4710. G. perelle. 4712. Th. weare. 4713. G. karibdous; Th. Carybdes; F. Caribdis. 4721. Th. lyke; G. like; read sike. Th. sickenesse; G. sekenesse. 4722. G. trust; Th. truste; (thrust = thirst). Both and (for in). 4723. Both And. G. helth. 4725. Both And. G. anger; Th. angre (!). 4728. Both dreried. 4731. Both Sen. 4732. Supply with. 4736. Supply stat; F. Estat trop fers et trop muable.

4755. Both by (for be). 4758. M supplies is. 4762. G. mychel; see 4757. 4764. Both That; read But. 4771, 2. Both bene, flene. 4793. I supply I. Both euer; read er. 4796. Both al by partuere. 4799. Both greven. 4802. Th. lewdest. 4804. Th. lacke; G. lak. 4807. Both diffyned here.

4811. G. kned; Th. knedde. Both bitwixt. 4812. Both With. 4813. Both frely that; I omit that. G. nylle. 4823. Both engendrure; see 6114. 4830. G. om. at. 4834. Both swerne. 4837. Both han her lust. 4839. Th. om. they. 4846. who] Both what. 4856. G. omits; from Th. 4858. Both their; read ther. 4865. Both sette. 4873. G. parfight; T. parfyte.

4875. Th. crease. 4878. Th. vyce; G. wise. 4882. Th. Tullyus; G. Tulius. 4889. Both sette. 4892. G. perell; Th. parel; read tyme. Th. youthe; G. yougth. 4904. Both yalte. I supply him. 4921. Both But that if. 4926. G. om. in. 4931. Th. youth-hede; G. youthede. 4933. thus] Both this. 4935. Both youthes chambre (chambere); read Youthe his chamberere; F. Par Ionesce sa chamberiere. 4936. G. custommere. 4940. Supply she.

4943. Both And mo of (!). 4945. Both remembreth. 4948. Both him; read hem. 4950. Th. ieopardye. 4951. Th. moche; G. mych. 4954. G. avoutrie; Th. avoutrye. 4955. can] Both gan. 4956. Th. suche; G. sich. 4960. Both neither preise. 4996. Th. courte; G. court. 5000. Th. herbegeours; G. herbeiours. 5004. Th. stondeth; G. stondith.

5010. Both weped. 5021. Both he (for hir). 5028. Both list to loue. 5030. Supply so. 5036. Supply ay. 5050. Both gouen. 5051. Both so; read she (or sho). 5059. Both loued. 5062. Th. suche; G. such; I supply a. 5064. Th. Drury; G. drurie. 5068. But] Both That; cf. 4764.

5085. they] Both to. 5099. G. om. thee. 5107. G. herberest hem; Th. herborest. 5111. G. profiȝt. 5116. thy] Both the; F. ton. 5117. Both by thought; F. ta Ionesce. 5124. Th. recouered.

5144. alway] G. ay; Th. aye. 5155. Both That; F. Lors. 5162. (say = assay?) 5165. I supply and been. 5166. I supply love that. 5168. Th. eyther; G. other. 5187. I supply thee.

5223. I supply Ne ... hem. 5229. Both oo state; read oon estate; see 5400. 5234, 49, 53. Supply but, hath, he.

5259. Th. in; G. of. 5261. G. dreded. 5271, 72, 82, 5314, 27. Supply be, is, him, it, if. 5277, 8. Supply As. Th. requyred, fyred. Perhaps om. the. 5283. his] Both this. 5285. Both vnyte. 5286. Th. Tullius; G. Tulius. 5287. A man] Both And. 5292. Th. causes; G. cause; see 5301, 5523. 5301. G. caas; Th. case. 5304. Both ought. 5325. G. amerous.

5330. Th. bydeth; G. bit. 5331, 48, 52, 53. Supply This, it, with, It. 5335. Both he; read she; see 5337, 5341. 5345. Both Thurgh the; I omit the. 5356. Th. blacke; G. blak. 5360. Both greueth so greueth. 5367. Th. fonde; G. fonned. 5375. Both sothe. 5376. Th. his; G. this. 5379. Both him silf (selfe) of. 5389. Both kepen ay his; see 5387. 5390. Th. eyne; G. iyen. 5393. G. alle hise lymes; Th. al his lymmes; I omit alle.

5399. Th. wate; G. wote. 5400, 1. Both estate; ought to be. 5403. Th. sithe; G. se. 5404. Both hath. 5408. in] G. it; Th. om. 5419, 20, 25, 27, 36. Both hym (!); F. les. 5425. G. glorie and veyne. 5431. Both high. 5433. so] Both to. 5446. G. om. very. 5451. I supply greet. 5452. Th. chere (for there); G. cheer (!). 5455. G. aftirward; Th. afterwarde. 5463. Both thus.

5465. Th. hem; G. men. 5470. Th. Of; G. Or with. 5478. Read She sheweth, by experience. 5485. Both without. 5486. Both affect; see note. 5489. Th. goddesse; G. goddes. 5491. Both For al that yeueth here out of drede. 5493. Th. lette; G. late. 5503. Th. they; G. the. 5505. Th. yholpe; G. I hope. 5510. G. feldfare. 5512. I supply the.

5523, 42, 85, 86, 88. Supply the, his, but, more, so. 5544. Both fablyng; F. cheans. 5546. Both caste. 5555. Both in; read is. 5556. Both depe (for doþ). 5569. Th. haue you to haue; G. ha yow to ha. 5577. Both perceyueth.

5590. G. mavis; Th. mauys. 5597. G. aument. 5598. it] Both that. 5611, 38. G. not; Th. nat. 5612. G. hastly. 5617. Both berne. 5627, 43. Supply it, the. 5633. Th. wyght; G. witte. G. honerous. 5640. Th. laste; G. last. 5641. Both take. 5649. G. Pictigoras; Th. Pythagoras.

5661. G. Boice. 5668. Both rent; yeue. 5675. G. wynkith (!). 5683. G. fardeles. 5685. G. feyntith. 5686. G. disdeyntith. 5699. Both where; F. guerre. 5700. I supply more; F. plus. 5701. Both shal thogh he hath geten (!). 5713. Both Thus is thurst.

5727. G. ther; Th. her (=hir). 5734. G. Yhe. 5740. G. phicicien; read fysycien. 5741. G. fy; Th. fye (for sy); see note. 5742. G. om. it. 5749, 51. Supply ne, for. 5755. Both shewing. 5761. Supply it, wh. follows Himself in 5762. 5763. Both ofte. 5771. G. fast. 5781. Both The; F. Trois.

5783. G. mych. 5788. Both vnto. 5791. Th. these; G. this. 5793. G. goode.


Whan Love had told hem his entente,

The baronage to councel wente;

In many sentences they fille,

And dyversly they seide hir wille:


But aftir discord they accorded,

And hir accord to Love recorded.

Sir,' seiden they, 'we been at oon,

By even accord of everichoon,

Out-take Richesse al-only,


That sworen hath ful hauteynly,

That she the castel nil assaile,

Ne smyte a stroke in this bataile,

With dart, ne mace, spere, ne knyf,

For man that speketh or bereth the lyf,


And blameth your empryse, y-wis,

And from our hoost departed is,

(At leeste wey, as in this plyte,)

So hath she this man in dispyte;

For she seith he ne loved hir never,


And therfor she wol hate him ever.

For he wol gadre no tresore,

He hath hir wrath for evermore.

He agilte hir never in other caas,

Lo, here al hoolly his trespas!


She seith wel, that this other day

He asked hir leve to goon the way

That is clepid To-moche-Yeving,

And spak ful faire in his praying;

But whan he prayde hir, pore was he,


Therfore she warned him the entree.

Ne yit is he not thriven so

That he hath geten a peny or two,


That quitly is his owne in hold.

Thus hath Richesse us alle told;


And whan Richesse us this recorded,

Withouten hir we been accorded.

'And we finde in our accordaunce,

That False-Semblant and Abstinaunce,

With alle the folk of hir bataile,


Shulle at the hinder gate assayle,

That Wikkid-Tunge hath in keping,

With his Normans, fulle of langling.

And with hem Curtesie and Largesse,

That shulle shewe hir hardinesse


To the olde wyf that [kepeth] so harde

Fair-Welcoming within her warde.

Than shal Delyte and Wel-Helinge

Fonde Shame adoun to bringe;

With al hir hoost, erly and late,


They shulle assailen [thilke] gate.

Agaynes Drede shal Hardinesse

Assayle, and also Sikernesse,

With al the folk of hir leding,

That never wist what was fleing.


'Fraunchyse shal fighte, and eek Pitee,

With Daunger ful of crueltee.

Thus is your hoost ordeyned wel;

Doun shal the castel every del,

If everiche do his entente,


So that Venus be presente,

Your modir, ful of vassalage,

That can y-nough of such usage;

Withouten hir may no wight spede

This werk, neither for word ne dede.


Therfore is good ye for hir sende,

For thurgh hir may this werk amende.'

Amour. 'Lordinges, my modir, the goddesse,

That is my lady, and my maistresse,

Nis not [at] al at my willing,


Ne doth not al my desyring.

Yit can she som-tyme doon labour,

Whan that hir lust, in my socour,

[Al my nedis] for to acheve,

But now I thenke hir not to greve.


My modir is she, and of childhede

I bothe worshipe hir, and eek drede;

For who that dredith sire ne dame

Shal it abye in body or name.

And, natheles, yit cunne we


Sende aftir hir, if nede be;

And were she nigh, she comen wolde,

I trowe that no-thing might hir holde.

'My modir is of greet prowesse;

She hath tan many a forteresse,


That cost hath many a pound er this,

Ther I nas not present, y-wis;

And yit men seide it was my dede;

But I come never in that stede;

Ne me ne lykith, so mote I thee,


Such toures take withoute me.

For-why me thenketh that, in no wyse,

It may ben cleped but marchandise.

'Go bye a courser, blak or whyte,

And pay therfor; than art thou quyte.


The marchaunt oweth thee right nought,

Ne thou him, whan thou [hast] it bought.

I wol not selling clepe yeving,

For selling axeth no guerdoning;

Here lyth no thank, ne no meryte,


That oon goth from that other al quyte.

But this selling is not semblable;

For, whan his hors is in the stable,

He may it selle ageyn, pardee,

And winne on it, such hap may be;


Al may the man not lese, y-wis,

For at the leest the skin is his.

Or elles, if it so bityde

That he wol kepe his hors to ryde,

Yit is he lord ay of his hors.


But thilke chaffare is wel wors,

There Venus entremeteth nought;

For who-so such chaffare hath bought,

He shal not worchen so wysly,

That he ne shal lese al outerly


Bothe his money and his chaffare;

But the seller of the ware

The prys and profit have shal.

Certeyn, the byer shal lese al;

For he ne can so dere it bye


To have lordship and ful maistrye,

Ne have power to make letting

Neither for yift ne for preching,

That of his chaffare, maugre his,

Another shal have as moche, y-wis,


If he wol yeve as moche as he,

Of what contrey so that he be;

Or for right nought, so happe may,

If he can flater hir to hir pay.

Ben than suche marchaunts wyse?


No, but fooles in every wyse,

Whan they bye such thing wilfully,

Ther-as they lese her good [fully].

But natheles, this dar I saye,

My modir is not wont to paye,


For she is neither so fool ne nyce,

To entremete hir of sich vyce.

But truste wel, he shal paye al,

That repente of his bargeyn shal,

Whan Poverte put him in distresse,


Al were he scoler to Richesse,

That is for me in gret yerning,

Whan she assenteth to my willing.

'But, [by] my modir seint Venus,

And by hir fader Saturnus,


That hir engendrid by his lyf,

But not upon his weddid wyf!

Yit wol I more unto you swere,

To make this thing the seurere;

Now by that feith, and that leautee


I owe to alle my brethren free,

Of which ther nis wight under heven

That can her fadris names neven,

So dyvers and so many ther be

That with my modir have be privee!


Yit wolde I swere, for sikirnesse,

The pole of helle to my witnesse,

Now drinke I not this yeer clarree,

If that I lye, or forsworn be!

(For of the goddes the usage is,


That who-so him forswereth amis,

Shal that yeer drinke no clarree).

Now have I sworn y-nough, pardee;

If I forswere me, than am I lorn,

But I wol never be forsworn.


Sith Richesse hath me failed here,

She shal abye that trespas dere,

At leeste wey, but [she] hir arme

With swerd, or sparth, or gisarme.

For certes, sith she loveth not me,


Fro thilke tyme that she may see

The castel and the tour to-shake,

In sory tyme she shal awake.

If I may grype a riche man,

I shal so pulle him, if I can,


That he shal, in a fewe stoundes,

Lese alle his markes and his poundes.

I shal him make his pens outslinge,

But-[if] they in his gerner springe;

Our maydens shal eek plukke him so,


That him shal neden fetheres mo,

And make him selle his lond to spende,

But he the bet cunne him defende.

'Pore men han maad hir lord of me;

Although they not so mighty be,


That they may fede me in delyt,

I wol not have hem in despyt.

No good man hateth hem, as I gesse,

For chinche and feloun is Richesse,

That so can chase hem and dispyse,


And hem defoule in sondry wyse.

They loven ful bet, so god me spede,

Than doth the riche, chinchy grede,

And been, in good feith, more stable

And trewer, and more serviable;


And therfore it suffysith me

Hir goode herte, and hir leautee.

They han on me set al hir thought,

And therfore I forgete hem nought.

I wolde hem bringe in greet noblesse,


If that I were god of Richesse,

As I am god of Love, sothly,

Such routhe upon hir pleynt have I.

Therfore I must his socour be,

That peyneth him to serven me;


For if he deyde for love of this,

Than semeth in me no love ther is.'

'Sir,' seide they, 'sooth is, every del,

That ye reherce, and we wot wel

Thilk oth to holde is resonable;


For it is good and covenable,

That ye on riche men han sworn.

For, sir, this wot we wel biforn;

If riche men doon you homage,

That is as fooles doon outrage;


But ye shul not forsworen be,

Ne let therfore to drinke clarree,

Or piment maked fresh and newe.

Ladyes shulle hem such pepir brewe,

If that they falle into hir laas,


That they for we mowe seyn "Allas!"

Ladyes shuln ever so curteis be,

That they shal quyte your oth al free.

Ne seketh never other vicaire,

For they shal speke with hem so faire


That ye shal holde you payed ful wel,

Though ye you medle never a del.

Lat ladies worche with hir thinges,

They shal hem telle so fele tydinges,

And moeve hem eke so many requestis


By flatery, that not honest is,

And therto yeve hem such thankinges,

What with kissing, and with talkinges,

That certes, if they trowed be,

Shal never leve hem loud ne fee


That it nil as the moeble fare,

Of which they first delivered are.

Now may ye telle us al your wille,

And we your hestes shal fulfille.

'But Fals-Semblant dar not, for drede


Of you, sir, medle him of this dede,

For he seith that ye been his fo;

He not, if ye wol worche him wo.

Wherfore we pray you alle, beausire,

That ye forgive him now your ire,


And that he may dwelle, as your man,

With Abstinence, his dere lemman;

This our accord and our wil now.'

'Parfay,' seide Love, 'I graunte it yow;

I wol wel holde him for my man;


Now lat him come:' and he forth ran.

Fals-Semblant,' quod Love, 'in this wyse

I take thee here to my servyse,

That thou our freendis helpe alway,

And hindre hem neithir night ne day,


But do thy might hem to releve,

And eek our enemies that thou greve.

Thyn be this might, I graunt it thee,

My king of harlotes shalt thou be;

We wol that thou have such honour.


Certeyn, thou art a fals traitour,

And eek a theef; sith thou were born,

A thousand tyme thou art forsworn.

But, natheles, in our hering,

To putte our folk out of douting,


I bid thee teche hem, wostow how?

By somme general signe now,

In what place thou shalt founden be,

If that men had mister of thee;

And how men shal thee best espye,


For thee to knowe is greet maistrye;

Tel in what place is thyn haunting.'

F. Sem. 'Sir, I have fele dyvers woning,

That I kepe not rehersed be,

So that ye wolde respyten me.


For if that I telle you the sothe,

I may have harm and shame bothe.

If that my felowes wisten it,

My tales shulden me be quit;

For certeyn, they wolde hate me,


If ever I knewe hir cruelte;

For they wolde over-al holde hem stille

Of trouthe that is ageyn hir wille;

Suche tales kepen they not here.

I might eftsone bye it ful dere,


If I seide of hem any thing,

That ought displeseth to hir hering.


For what word that hem prikke or byteth,

In that word noon of hem delyteth,

Al were it gospel, the evangyle,


That wolde reprove hem of hir gyle,

For they are cruel and hauteyn.

And this thing wot I wel, certeyn,

If I speke ought to peire hir loos,

Your court shal not so wel be cloos,


That they ne shal wite it atte last.

Of good men am I nought agast,

For they wol taken on hem nothing,

Whan that they knowe al my mening;

But he that wol it on him take,


He wol himself suspecious make,

That he his lyf let covertly,

In Gyle and in Ipocrisy,

That me engendred and yaf fostring.'

'They made a ful good engendring,'


Quod Love, 'for who-so soothly telle,

They engendred the devel of helle!

'But nedely, how-so-ever it be,'

Quod Love, 'I wol and charge thee,

To telle anoon thy woning-places,


Hering ech wight that in this place is:

And what lyf that thou livest also,

Hyde it no lenger now; wherto?

Thou most discover al thy wurching,

How thou servest, and of what thing,


Though that thou shuldest for thy soth-sawe

Ben al to-beten and to-drawe;

And yit art thou not wont, pardee.

But natheles, though thou beten be,

Thou shalt not be the first, that so


Hath for soth-sawe suffred wo.'

F. Sem. 'Sir, sith that it may lyken you,

Though that I shulde be slayn right now,

I shal don your comaundement,

For therto have I gret talent.'


Withouten wordes mo, right than,

Fals-Semblant his sermon bigan,

And seide hem thus in audience:—

Barouns, tak hede of my sentence!

That wight that list to have knowing


Of Fals-Semblant, ful of flatering,

He must in worldly folk him seke,

And, certes, in the cloistres eke;

I wone no-where but in hem tweye;

But not lyk even, sooth to seye;


Shortly, I wol herberwe me

There I hope best to hulstred be;

And certeynly, sikerest hyding

Is undirneth humblest clothing.

'Religious folk ben ful covert;


Seculer folk ben more appert.

But natheles, I wol not blame

Religious folk, ne hem diffame,

In what habit that ever they go:

Religioun humble, and trewe also,


Wol I not blame, ne dispyse,

But I nil love it, in no wyse.

I mene of fals religious,

That stoute ben, and malicious;

That wolen in an abit go,


And setten not hir herte therto.

'Religious folk ben al pitous;

Thou shalt not seen oon dispitous.

They loven no pryde, ne no stryf,

But humbly they wol lede hir lyf;


With swich folk wol I never be.

And if I dwelle, I feyne me


I may wel in her abit go;

But me were lever my nekke atwo,

Than lete a purpose that I take,


What covenaunt that ever I make.

I dwelle with hem that proude be,

And fulle of wyles and subtelte;

That worship of this world coveyten,

And grete nedes cunne espleyten;


And goon and gadren greet pitaunces,

And purchace hem the acqueyntaunces

Of men that mighty lyf may leden;

And feyne hem pore, and hem-self feden

With gode morcels delicious,


And drinken good wyn precious,

And preche us povert and distresse,

And fisshen hem-self greet richesse

With wyly nettis that they caste:

It wol come foul out at the laste.


They ben fro clene religioun went;

They make the world an argument

That hath a foul conclusioun.

"I have a robe of religioun,

Than am I al religious:"


This argument is al roignous;

It is not worth a croked brere;

Habit ne maketh monk ne frere,

But clene lyf and devocioun

Maketh gode men of religioun.


Nathelesse, ther can noon answere,

How high that ever his heed he shere

With rasour whetted never so kene,

That Gyle in braunches cut thrittene;

Ther can no wight distincte it so,


That he dar sey a word therto.

'But what herberwe that ever I take,

Or what semblant that ever I make,

I mene but gyle, and folowe that;

For right no mo than Gibbe our cat


[Fro myce and rattes went his wyle],

Ne entende I [not] but to begyle;

Ne no wight may, by my clothing,

Wite with what folk is my dwelling;

Ne by my wordis yet, pardee,


So softe and so plesaunt they be.

Bihold the dedis that I do;

But thou be blind, thou oughtest so;

For, varie hir wordis fro hir dede,

They thenke on gyle, withouten drede,


What maner clothing that they were,

Or what estat that ever they bere,

Lered or lewd, lord or lady,

Knight, squier, burgeis, or bayly.'

Right thus whyl Fals-Semblant sermoneth,


Eftsones Love him aresoneth,

And brak his tale in the speking

As though he had him told lesing;

And seide: 'What, devel, is that I here?

What folk hast thou us nempned here?


May men finde religioun

In worldly habitacioun?'


F. Sem. 'Ye, sir; it foloweth not that they

Shulde lede a wikked lyf, parfey,

Ne not therfore her soules lese,


That hem to worldly clothes chese;

For, certis, it were gret pitee.

Men may in seculer clothes see

Florisshen holy religioun.

Ful many a seynt in feeld and toun,


With many a virgin glorious,

Devout, and ful religious,

Had deyed, that comun clothe ay beren,

Yit seyntes never-the-les they weren.

I coude reken you many a ten;


Ye, wel nigh alle these holy wimmen,

That men in chirchis herie and seke,

Bothe maydens, and these wyves eke,

That baren many a fair child here,

Wered alwey clothis seculere,


And in the same dyden they,

That seyntes weren, and been alwey.

The eleven thousand maydens dere,

That beren in heven hir ciergis clere,

Of which men rede in chirche, and singe,


Were take in seculer clothing,

Whan they resseyved martirdom,

And wonnen heven unto her hoom.

Good herte makith the gode thought;

The clothing yeveth ne reveth nought.


The gode thought and the worching,

That maketh religioun flowring,

Ther lyth the good religioun

Aftir the right entencioun.

'Who-so toke a wethers skin,


And wrapped a gredy wolf therin,

For he shulde go with lambis whyte,

Wenest thou not he wolde hem byte?

Yis! never-the-las, as he were wood,

He wolde hem wery, and drinke the blood;


And wel the rather hem disceyve,

For, sith they coude not perceyve

His treget and his crueltee,

They wolde him folowe, al wolde he flee.

'If ther be wolves of sich hewe


Amonges these apostlis newe,

Thou, holy chirche, thou mayst be wayled!

Sith that thy citee is assayled

Thourgh knightis of thyn owne table,

God wot thy lordship is doutable!


If they enforce [hem] it to winne,

That shulde defende it fro withinne,

Who might defence ayens hem make?

Withouten stroke it mot be take

Of trepeget or mangonel;


Without displaying of pensel.

And if god nil don it socour,

But lat [hem] renne in this colour,

Thou moost thyn heestis laten be.

Than is ther nought, but yelde thee,


Or yeve hem tribute, doutelees,

And holde it of hem to have pees:


But gretter harm bityde thee,

That they al maister of it be.

Wel conne they scorne thee withal;


By day stuffen they the wal,

And al the night they mynen there.

Nay, thou most planten elleswhere

Thyn impes, if thou wolt fruyt have;

Abyd not there thy-self to save.


'But now pees! here I turne ageyn;

I wol no more of this thing seyn,

If I may passen me herby;

I mighte maken you wery.

But I wol heten you alway


To helpe your freendis what I may,

So they wollen my company;

For they be shent al-outerly

But-if so falle, that I be

Oft with hem, and they with me.


And eek my lemman mot they serve,

Or they shul not my love deserve.

Forsothe, I am a fals traitour;

God iugged me for a theef trichour;

Forsworn I am, but wel nygh non


Wot of my gyle, til it be don.

'Thourgh me hath many oon deth resseyved,

That my treget never aperceyved;

And yit resseyveth, and shal resseyve,

That my falsnesse never aperceyve:


But who-so doth, if he wys be,

Him is right good be war of me.

But so sligh is the [deceyving

That to hard is the] aperceyving.

For Protheus, that coude him chaunge


In every shap, hoomly and straunge,

Coude never sich gyle ne tresoun

As I; for I com never in toun

Ther-as I mighte knowen be,

Though men me bothe might here and see.


Ful wel I can my clothis chaunge,

Take oon, and make another straunge.

Now am I knight, now chasteleyn;

Now prelat, and now chapeleyn;

Now prest, now clerk, and now forstere;


Now am I maister, now scolere;

Now monk, now chanoun, now baily;

What-ever mister man am I.

Now am I prince, now am I page,

And can by herte every langage.


Som-tyme am I hoor and old;

Now am I yong, [and] stout, and bold;

Now am I Robert, now Robyn;

Now frere Menour, now Iacobyn;

And with me folweth my loteby,


To don me solas and company,

That hight dame Abstinence-Streyned,

In many a queynt array [y]-feyned.

Right as it cometh to hir lyking,

I fulfille al hir desiring.


Somtyme a wommans cloth take I;

Now am I mayde, now lady.

Somtyme I am religious;

Now lyk an anker in an hous.

Somtyme am I prioresse,


And now a nonne, and now abbesse;


And go thurgh alle regiouns,

Seking alle religiouns.

But to what ordre that I am sworn,

I take the strawe, and lete the corn;


To [blynde] folk [ther] I enhabite,

I axe no-more but hir abite.

What wol ye more? in every wyse,

Right as me list, I me disgyse.

Wel can I bere me under weed;


Unlyk is my word to my deed.

Thus make I in my trappis falle,

Thurgh my pryvileges, alle

That ben in Cristendom alyve.

I may assoile, and I may shryve,


That no prelat may lette me,

Al folk, wher-ever they founde be:

I noot no prelat may don so,

But it the pope be, and no mo,

That made thilk establisshing.


Now is not this a propre thing?

But, were my sleightis aperceyved,

[Ne shulde I more been receyved]

As I was wont; and wostow why?

For I dide hem a tregetry;


But therof yeve I litel tale,

I have the silver and the male;

So have I preched and eek shriven,

So have I take, so have [me] yiven,

Thurgh hir foly, husbond and wyf,


That I lede right a Ioly lyf,

Thurgh simplesse of the prelacye;

They know not al my tregetrye.

'But for as moche as man and wyf

Shuld shewe hir paroche-prest hir lyf


Ones a yeer, as seith the book,

Er any wight his housel took,

Than have I pryvilegis large,

That may of moche thing discharge;

For he may seye right thus, pardee:—


"Sir Preest, in shrift I telle it thee,

That he, to whom that I am shriven,

Hath me assoiled, and me yiven

Penaunce soothly, for my sinne,

Which that I fond me gilty inne;


Ne I ne have never entencioun

To make double confessioun,

Ne reherce eft my shrift to thee;

O shrift is right y-nough to me.

This oughte thee suffyce wel,


Ne be not rebel never-a-del;

For certis, though thou haddest it sworn,

I wot no prest ne prelat born

That may to shrift eft me constreyne.

And if they don, I wol me pleyne;


For I wot where to pleyne wel.

Thou shall not streyne me a del,

Ne enforce me, ne [yit] me trouble,

To make my confessioun double.

Ne I have none affeccioun


To have double absolucioun.

The firste is right y-nough to me;

This latter assoiling quyte I thee.


I am unbounde; what mayst thou finde

More of my sinnes me to unbinde?


For he, that might hath in his hond,

Of alle my sinnes me unbond.

And if thou wolt me thus constreyne,

That me mot nedis on thee pleyne,

There shal no Iugge imperial,


Ne bisshop, ne official,

Don Iugement on me; for I

Shal gon and pleyne me openly

Unto my shrift-fadir newe,

(That hight not Frere Wolf untrewe!)


And he shal chevise him for me,

For I trowe he can hampre thee.

But, lord! he wolde be wrooth withalle,

If men him wolde Frere Wolf calle!

For he wolde have no pacience,


But don al cruel vengeaunce!

He wolde his might don at the leest,

[Ne] no-thing spare for goddis heest.

And, god so wis be my socour,

But thou yeve me my Saviour


At Ester, whan it lyketh me,

Withoute presing more on thee,

I wol forth, and to him goon,

And he shal housel me anoon,

For I am out of thy grucching;


I kepe not dele with thee nothing."

Thus may he shryve him, that forsaketh

His paroche-prest, and to me taketh.

And if the prest wol him refuse,

I am ful redy him to accuse,


And him punisshe and hampre so,

That he his chirche shal forgo.

'But who-so hath in his feling

The consequence of such shryving,

Shal seen that prest may never have might


To knowe the conscience aright

Of him that is under his cure.

And this ageyns holy scripture,

That biddeth every herde honeste

Have verry knowing of his beste.


But pore folk that goon by strete,

That have no gold, ne sommes grete,

Hem wolde I lete to her prelates,

Or lete hir prestis knowe hir states,

For to me right nought yeve they.'

Amour. 'And why is it?'


F. Sem. 'For they ne may.

They ben so bare, I take no keep;

But I wol have the fatte sheep;—

Lat parish prestis have the lene,

I yeve not of hir harm a bene!


And if that prelats grucchen it,

That oughten wroth be in hir wit,

To lese her fatte bestes so,

I shal yeve hem a stroke or two,

That they shal lesen with [the] force,


Ye, bothe hir mytre and hir croce.

Thus Iape I hem, and have do longe,

My priveleges been so stronge.'


Fals-Semblant wolde have stinted here,

But Love ne made him no such chere


That he was wery of his sawe;

But for to make him glad and fawe,

He seide:—'Tel on more specialy,

How that thou servest untrewly.

Tel forth, and shame thee never a del;


For as thyn abit shewith wel,

Thou [semest] an holy heremyte.'

F. Sem. 'Soth is, but I am an ypocryte.'

Amour. 'Thou gost and prechest povertee?'

F. Sem. 'Ye, sir; but richesse hath poustee.'


Amour. 'Thou prechest abstinence also?'

F. Sem. 'Sir, I wol fillen, so mote I go,

My paunche of gode mete and wyne,

As shulde a maister of divyne;

For how that I me pover feyne,


Yit alle pore folk I disdeyne.

'I love bet the acqueyntaunce

Ten tymes, of the king of Fraunce,

Than of pore man of mylde mode,

Though that his soule be also gode.


For whan I see beggers quaking,

Naked on mixens al stinking,

For hungre crye, and eek for care,

I entremete not of hir fare.

They been so pore, and ful of pyne,


They might not ones yeve me dyne,

For they have no-thing but hir lyf;

What shulde he yeve that likketh his knyf?

It is but foly to entremete,

To seke in houndes nest fat mete.


Let bere hem to the spitel anoon,

But, for me, comfort gete they noon.

But a riche sike usurere

Wolde I visyte and drawe nere;

Him wol I comforte and rehete,


For I hope of his gold to gete.

And if that wikked deth him have,

I wol go with him to his grave.

And if ther any reprove me,

Why that I lete the pore be,


Wostow how I [mot] ascape?

I sey, and swerë him ful rape,

That riche men han more tecches

Of sinne, than han pore wrecches,

And han of counseil more mister;


And therfore I wol drawe hem ner.

But as gret hurt, it may so be,

Hath soule in right gret poverte,

As soul in gret richesse, forsothe,

Al-be-it that they hurten bothe.


For richesse and mendicitees

Ben cleped two extremitees;

The mene is cleped suffisaunce,

Ther lyth of vertu the aboundaunce.

For Salamon, ful wel I woot,


In his Parables us wroot,


As it is knowe of many a wight,

In his [thrittethe] chapitre right:

"God, thou me kepe, for thy poustee,

Fro richesse and mendicitee;


For if a riche man him dresse

To thenke to moche on [his] richesse,

His herte on that so fer is set,

That he his creatour foryet;

And him, that [begging] wol ay greve,


How shulde I by his word him leve?

Unnethe that he nis a micher,

Forsworn, or elles [god is] lyer."

Thus seith Salamones sawes;

Ne we finde writen in no lawes,


And namely in our Cristen lay—

(Who seith "ye," I dar sey "nay")—

That Crist, ne his apostlis dere,

Whyl that they walkede in erthe here,

Were never seen her bred begging,


For they nolde beggen for nothing.

And right thus were men wont to teche;

And in this wyse wolde it preche

The maistres of divinitee

Somtyme in Paris the citee.


'And if men wolde ther-geyn appose

The naked text, and lete the glose,

It mighte sone assoiled be;

For men may wel the sothe see,

That, parde, they mighte axe a thing


Pleynly forth, without begging.

For they weren goddis herdis dere,

And cure of soules hadden here,

They nolde no-thing begge hir fode;

For aftir Crist was don on rode,


With [hir] propre hondis they wrought,

And with travel, and elles nought,

They wonnen al hir sustenaunce,

And liveden forth in hir penaunce,

And the remenaunt [yeve] awey


To other pore folk alwey.

They neither bilden tour ne halle,

But [leye] in houses smale withalle.

A mighty man, that can and may,

Shulde with his honde and body alway


Winne him his food in laboring,

If he ne have rent or sich a thing,

Although he be religious,

And god to serven curious.

Thus mote he don, or do trespas,


But-if it be in certeyn cas,

That I can reherce, if mister be,

Right wel, whan the tyme I see.

'Seke the book of Seynt Austin,

Be it in paper or perchemin,


There-as he writ of these worchinges,

Thou shalt seen that non excusinges

A parfit man ne shulde seke

By wordis, ne by dedis eke,

Although he be religious,


And god to serven curious,

That he ne shal, so mote I go,

With propre hondis and body also,


Gete his food in laboring,

If he ne have propretee of thing.


Yit shulde he selle al his substaunce,

And with his swink have sustenaunce,

If he be parfit in bountee.

Thus han tho bookes tolde me:

For he that wol gon ydilly,


And useth it ay besily

To haunten other mennes table,

He is a trechour, ful of fable;

Ne he ne may, by gode resoun,

Excuse him by his orisoun.


For men bihoveth, in som gyse,

Som-tyme [leven] goddes servyse

To gon and purchasen her nede.

Men mote eten, that is no drede,

And slepe, and eek do other thing;


So longe may they leve praying.

So may they eek hir prayer blinne,

While that they werke, hir mete to winne.

Seynt Austin wol therto accorde,

In thilke book that I recorde.


Justinian eek, that made lawes,

Hath thus forboden, by olde dawes,

"No man, up peyne to be deed,

Mighty of body, to begge his breed,

If he may swinke, it for to gete;


Men shulde him rather mayme or bete,

Or doon of him apert Iustice,

Than suffren him in such malice."

They don not wel, so mote I go,

That taken such almesse so,


But if they have som privelege,

That of the peyne hem wol allege.

But how that is, can I not see,

But-if the prince disseyved be;

Ne I ne wene not, sikerly,


That they may have it rightfully.

But I wol not determyne

Of princes power, ne defyne,

Ne by my word comprende, y-wis,

If it so fer may strecche in this.


I wol not entremete a del;

But I trowe that the book seith wel,

Who that taketh almesses, that be

Dewe to folk that men may see

Lame, feble, wery, and bare,


Pore, or in such maner care,

(That conne winne hem nevermo,

For they have no power therto),

He eteth his owne dampning,

But-if he lye, that made al thing.


And if ye such a truaunt finde,

Chastise him wel, if ye be kinde.

But they wolde hate you, percas,

And, if ye fillen in hir laas,

They wolde eftsones do you scathe,


If that they mighte, late or rathe;

For they be not ful pacient,

That han the world thus foule blent.

And witeth wel, [wher] that god bad

The good man selle al that he had,


And folowe him, and to pore it yive,

He wolde not therfore that he live

To serven him in mendience,

For it was never his sentence;

But he bad wirken whan that nede is,


And folwe him in goode dedis.


Seynt Poule, that loved al holy chirche,

He bade thapostles for to wirche,

And winnen hir lyflode in that wyse,

And hem defended truaundyse,


And seide, "Wirketh with your honden;"

Thus shulde the thing be undirstonden.

He nolde, y-wis, bidde hem begging,

Ne sellen gospel, ne preching,

Lest they berafte, with hir asking,


Folk of hir catel or of hir thing.

For in this world is many a man

That yeveth his good, for he ne can

Werne it for shame, or elles he

Wolde of the asker delivered be;


And, for he him encombreth so,

He yeveth him good to late him go:

But it can him no-thing profyte,

They lese the yift and the meryte.

The goode folk, that Poule to preched,


Profred him ofte, whan he hem teched,

Som of hir good in charite;

But therof right no-thing took he;

But of his hondwerk wolde he gete

Clothes to wryen him, and his mete."


Amour. 'Tel me than how a man may liven,

That al his good to pore hath yiven,

And wol but only bidde his bedis,

And never with honde laboure his nedis:

May he do so?'

F. Sem. 'Ye, sir.'

Amour. 'And how?'


F. Sem. 'Sir, I wol gladly telle yow:—

Seynt Austin seith, a man may be

In houses that han propretee,

As templers and hospitelers,

And as these chanouns regulers,


Or whyte monkes, or these blake—

(I wole no mo ensamplis make)—

And take therof his sustening,

For therinne lyth no begging;

But other-weyes not, y-wis,


[If] Austin gabbeth not of this.

And yit ful many a monk laboureth,

That god in holy chirche honoureth;

For whan hir swinking is agoon,

They rede and singe in chirche anoon.


'And for ther hath ben greet discord,

As many a wight may bere record,

Upon the estate of mendience,

I wol shortly, in your presence,

Telle how a man may begge at nede,


That hath not wherwith him to fede,

Maugre his felones Iangelinges,

For sothfastnesse wol non hidinges;

And yit, percas, I may abey,

That I to yow sothly thus sey.


'Lo, here the caas especial:

If a man be so bestial

That he of no craft hath science,

And nought desyreth ignorence,

Than may he go a-begging yerne,


Til he som maner craft can lerne,


Thurgh which, withoute truaunding,

He may in trouthe have his living.

Or if he may don no labour,

For elde, or syknesse, or langour,


Or for his tendre age also,

Than may he yit a-begging go.

'Or if he have, peraventure,

Thurgh usage of his noriture,

Lived over deliciously,


Than oughten good folk comunly

Han of his mischeef som pitee,

And suffren him also, that he

May gon aboute and begge his breed,

That he be not for hungur deed.


Or if he have of craft cunning,

And strengthe also, and desiring

To wirken, as he hadde what,

But he finde neither this ne that,

Than may he begge, til that he


Have geten his necessitee.

'Or if his winning be so lyte,

That his labour wol not acquyte

Sufficiantly al his living,

Yit may he go his breed begging;


Fro dore to dore he may go trace,

Til he the remenaunt may purchace.

Or if a man wolde undirtake

Any empryse for to make,

In the rescous of our lay,


And it defenden as he may,

Be it with armes or lettrure,

Or other covenable cure,

If it be so he pore be,

Than may he begge, til that he


May finde in trouthe for to swinke,

And gete him clothes, mete, and drinke.

Swinke he with hondis corporel,

And not with hondis espirituel.

'In al thise caas, and in semblables,


If that ther ben mo resonables,

He may begge, as I telle you here,

And elles nought, in no manere;

As William Seynt Amour wolde preche,

And ofte wolde dispute and teche


Of this matere alle openly

At Paris ful solempnely.

And al-so god my soule blesse,

As he had, in this stedfastnesse,

The accord of the universitee,


And of the puple, as semeth me.

'No good man oughte it to refuse,

Ne oughte him therof to excuse,

Be wrooth or blythe who-so be;

For I wol speke, and telle it thee,


Al shulde I dye, and be put doun,

As was seynt Poul, in derk prisoun;

Or be exiled in this caas

With wrong, as maister William was,

That my moder Ypocrisye


Banisshed for hir greet envye.

'My moder flemed him, Seynt Amour:

This noble dide such labour

To susteyne ever the loyaltee,

That he to moche agilte me.


He made a book, and leet it wryte,

Wherin his lyf he dide al wryte,

And wolde ich reneyed begging,

And lived by my traveyling,


If I ne had rent ne other good.


What? wened he that I were wood?

For labour might me never plese,

I have more wil to been at ese;

And have wel lever, sooth to sey,

Bifore the puple patre and prey,


And wrye me in my foxerye

Under a cope of papelardye.'

Quod Love, 'What devel is this I here?

What wordis tellest thou me here?'

F. Sem. 'What, sir?'

Amour. 'Falsnesse, that apert is;

Than dredist thou not god?'


F. Sem. 'No, certis:

For selde in greet thing shal he spede

In this world, that god wol drede.

For folk that hem to vertu yiven,

And truly on her owne liven,


And hem in goodnesse ay contene,

On hem is litel thrift y-sene;

Such folk drinken gret misese;

That lyf [ne] may me never plese.

But see what gold han usurers,


And silver eek in [hir] garners,

Taylagiers, and these monyours,

Bailifs, bedels, provost, countours;

These liven wel nygh by ravyne;

The smale puple hem mote enclyne,


And they as wolves wol hem eten.

Upon the pore folk they geten

Ful moche of that they spende or kepe;

Nis none of hem that he nil strepe,

And wryen him-self wel atte fulle;


Withoute scalding they hem pulle.

The stronge the feble overgoth;

But I, that were my simple cloth,

Robbe bothe robbed and robbours,

And gyle gyled and gylours.


By my treget, I gadre and threste

The greet tresour into my cheste,

That lyth with me so faste bounde.

Myn highe paleys do I founde,

And my delytes I fulfille


With wyne at feestes at my wille,

And tables fulle of entremees;

I wol no lyf, but ese and pees,

And winne gold to spende also.

For whan the grete bagge is go,


It cometh right with my Iapes.

Make I not wel tumble myn apes?

To winne is alwey myn entent;

My purchas is better than my rent;

For though I shulde beten be,


Over-al I entremete me;

Withoute me may no wight dure.

I walke soules for to cure.

Of al the worlde cure have I

In brede and lengthe; boldely


I wol bothe preche and eek counceilen;

With hondis wille I not traveilen,

For of the pope I have the bulle;

I ne holde not my wittes dulle.

I wol not stinten, in my lyve,


These emperouris for to shryve,

Or kyngis, dukis, and lordis grete;

But pore folk al quyte I lete.

I love no such shryving, pardee,

But it for other cause be.


I rekke not of pore men,

Hir astate is not worth an hen.

Where fyndest thou a swinker of labour

Have me unto his confessour?

But emperesses, and duchesses,


Thise quenes, and eek [thise] countesses,

Thise abbesses, and eek Bigyns,

These grete ladyes palasyns,

These Ioly knightes, and baillyves,

Thise nonnes, and thise burgeis wyves,


That riche been, and eek plesing,

And thise maidens welfaring,

Wher-so they clad or naked be,

Uncounceiled goth ther noon fro me.

And, for her soules savetee,


At lord and lady, and hir meynee,

I axe, whan they hem to me shryve,

The propretee of al hir lyve,

And make hem trowe, bothe meest and leest,

Hir paroch-prest nis but a beest


Ayens me and my company,

That shrewis been as greet as I;

For whiche I wol not hyde in hold

No privetee that me is told,

That I by word or signe, y-wis,


[Nil] make hem knowe what it is,

And they wolen also tellen me;

They hele fro me no privitee.

And for to make yow hem perceyven,

That usen folk thus to disceyven,


I wol you seyn, withouten drede,

What men may in the gospel rede

Of Seynt Mathew, the gospelere,

That seith, as I shal you sey here.

'Upon the chaire of Moyses—


Thus is it glosed, douteles:

That is the olde testament,

For therby is the chaire ment—

Sitte Scribes and Pharisen;—

That is to seyn, the cursid men


Whiche that we ypocritis calle—

Doth that they preche, I rede you alle,

But doth not as they don a del,

That been not wery to seye wel,

But to do wel, no wille have they;


And they wolde binde on folk alwey,

That ben to [be] begyled able,

Burdens that ben importable;

On folkes shuldres thinges they couchen

That they nil with her fingres touchen.'

Amour. 'And why wol they not touche it?'


F. Sem. 'Why?

For hem ne list not, sikirly;

For sadde burdens that men taken

Make folkes shuldres aken.

And if they do ought that good be,


That is for folk it shulde see:

Her burdens larger maken they,

And make hir hemmes wyde alwey,

And loven setes at the table,

The firste and most honourable;


And for to han the first chaieris

In synagoges, to hem ful dere is;

And willen that folk hem loute and grete,

Whan that they passen thurgh the strete,


And wolen be cleped "Maister" also.


But they ne shulde not willen so;

The gospel is ther-ageyns, I gesse:

That sheweth wel hir wikkidnesse.

'Another custom use we:—

Of hem that wol ayens us be,


We hate hem deedly everichoon,

And we wol werrey hem, as oon.

Him that oon hatith, hate we alle,

And coniecte how to doon him falle.

And if we seen him winne honour,


Richesse or preys, thurgh his valour,

Provende, rent, or dignitee,

Ful fast, y-wis, compassen we

By what ladder he is clomben so;

And for to maken him doun to go,


With traisoun we wole him defame,

And doon him lese his gode name.

Thus from his ladder we him take,

And thus his freendis foes we make;

But word ne wite shal he noon,


Til alle his freendis been his foon.

For if we dide it openly,

We might have blame redily;

For hadde he wist of our malyce,

He hadde him kept, but he were nyce.


'Another is this, that, if so falle

That ther be oon among us alle

That doth a good turn, out of drede,

We seyn it is our alder dede.

Ye, sikerly, though he it feyned,


Or that him list, or that him deyned

A man thurgh him avaunced be;

Therof alle parceners be we,

And tellen folk, wher-so we go,

That man thurgh us is sprongen so.


And for to have of men preysing,

We purchace, thurgh our flatering,

Of riche men, of gret poustee,

Lettres, to witnesse our bountee;

So that man weneth, that may us see,


That alle vertu in us be.

And alwey pore we us feyne;

But how so that we begge or pleyne,

We ben the folk, without lesing,

That al thing have without having.


Thus be we dred of the puple, y-wis.

And gladly my purpos is this:—

I dele with no wight, but he

Have gold and tresour gret plentee;

Hir acqueyntaunce wel love I;


This is moche my desyr, shortly.

I entremete me of brocages,

I make pees and mariages,

I am gladly executour,

And many tymes procuratour;


I am somtyme messager;

That falleth not to my mister.

And many tymes I make enquestes;

For me that office not honest is;

To dele with other mennes thing,


That is to me a gret lyking.

And if that ye have ought to do

In place that I repeire to,

I shal it speden thurgh my wit,

As sone as ye have told me it.


So that ye serve me to pay,

My servyse shal be your alway.

But who-so wol chastyse me,

Anoon my love lost hath he;

For I love no man in no gyse,


That wol me repreve or chastyse;


But I wolde al folk undirtake,

And of no wight no teching take;

For I, that other folk chastye,

Wol not be taught fro my folye.


'I love noon hermitage more;

Alle desertes, and holtes hore,

And grete wodes everichoon,

I lete hem to the Baptist Iohan.

I quethe him quyte, and him relesse


Of Egipt al the wildirnesse;

To fer were alle my mansiouns

Fro alle citees and goode tounes.

My paleis and myn hous make I

There men may renne in openly,


And sey that I the world forsake.

But al amidde I bilde and make

My hous, and swimme and pley therinne

Bet than a fish doth with his finne.

'Of Antecristes men am I,


Of whiche that Crist seith openly,

They have abit of holinesse,

And liven in such wikkednesse.

Outward, lambren semen we,

Fulle of goodnesse and of pitee,


And inward we, withouten fable,

Ben gredy wolves ravisable.

We enviroune bothe londe and see;

With al the world werreyen we;

We wol ordeyne of alle thing,


Of folkes good, and her living.

'If ther be castel or citee

Wherin that any bougerons be,

Although that they of Milayne were,

For ther-of ben they blamed there:


Or if a wight, out of mesure,

Wolde lene his gold, and take usure,

For that he is so coveitous:

Or if he be to leccherous,

Or [thefe, or] haunte simonye;


Or provost, ful of trecherye,

Or prelat, living Iolily,

Or prest that halt his quene him by;

Or olde hores hostilers,

Or other bawdes or bordillers,


Or elles blamed of any vyce,

Of whiche men shulden doon Iustyce:

By alle the seyntes that we pray,

But they defende hem with lamprey,

With luce, with elis, with samons,


With tendre gees, and with capons,

With tartes, or with cheses fat,

With deynte flawnes, brode and flat,

With caleweys, or with pullaille,

With coninges, or with fyn vitaille,


That we, undir our clothes wyde,

Maken thurgh our golet glyde:

Or but he wol do come in haste

Roo-venisoun, [y]-bake in paste:

Whether so that he loure or groine,


He shal have of a corde a loigne,

With whiche men shal him binde and lede,

To brenne him for his sinful dede,

That men shulle here him crye and rore

A myle-wey aboute, and more.


Or elles he shal in prisoun dye,

But-if he wol [our] frendship bye,

Or smerten that that he hath do,

More than his gilt amounteth to.

But, and he couthe thurgh his sleight


Do maken up a tour of height,

Nought roughte I whether of stone or tree,

Or erthe, or turves though it be,

Though it were of no vounde stone,

Wrought with squyre and scantilone,


So that the tour were stuffed wel

With alle richesse temporel;

And thanne, that he wolde updresse

Engyns, bothe more and lesse,

To caste at us, by every syde—


To bere his goode name wyde—

Such sleightes [as] I shal yow nevene,

Barelles of wyne, by sixe or sevene,

Or gold in sakkes gret plente,

He shulde sone delivered be.


And if he have noon sich pitaunces,

Late him study in equipolences,

And lete lyes and fallaces,

If that he wolde deserve our graces;

Or we shal bere him such witnesse


Of sinne, and of his wrecchidnesse,

And doon his loos so wyde renne,

That al quik we shulde him brenne,

Or elles yeve him suche penaunce,

That is wel wors than the pitaunce.


'For thou shalt never, for nothing,

Con knowen aright by her clothing

The traitours fulle of trecherye,

But thou her werkis can aspye.

And ne hadde the good keping be


Whylom of the universitee,

That kepeth the key of Cristendome,

[They] had been turmented, alle and some.

Suche been the stinking [fals] prophetis;

Nis non of hem, that good prophete is;


For they, thurgh wikked entencioun,

The yeer of the incarnacioun

A thousand and two hundred yeer,

Fyve and fifty, ferther ne ner,

Broughten a book, with sory grace,


To yeven ensample in comune place,

That seide thus, though it were fable:—

"This is the Gospel Perdurable,

That fro the Holy Goost is sent."

Wel were it worth to ben [y]-brent.


Entitled was in such manere

This book, of which I telle here.

Ther nas no wight in al Parys,

Biforn Our Lady, at parvys,

That [he] ne mighte bye the book,


To copy, if him talent took.

Ther might he see, by greet tresoun,

Ful many fais comparisoun:—


"As moche as, thurgh his grete might,

Be it of hete, or of light,


The sunne sourmounteth the mone,

That troubler is, and chaungeth sone,

And the note-kernel the shelle—

(I scorne nat that I yow telle)—

Right so, withouten any gyle,


Sourmounteth this noble Evangyle

The word of any evangelist."

And to her title they token Christ;

And many such comparisoun,

Of which I make no mencioun,


Might men in that boke finde,

Who-so coude of hem have minde.

'The universitee, that tho was aslepe,

Gan for to braide, and taken kepe;

And at the noys the heed up-caste,


Ne never sithen slepte it faste,

But up it sterte, and armes took

Ayens this fals horrible book,

Al redy bateil for to make,

And to the Iuge the book to take.


But they that broughten the book there

Hente it anoon awey, for fere;

They nolde shewe it more a del,

But thenne it kepte, and kepen wil,

Til such a tyme that they may see


That they so stronge woxen be,

That no wight may hem wel withstonde;

For by that book they durst not stonde.

Away they gonne it for to bere,

For they ne durste not answere


By exposicioun ne glose

To that that clerkis wole appose

Ayens the cursednesse, y-wis,

That in that boke writen is.

Now wot I not, ne I can not see


What maner ende that there shal be

Of al this [boke] that they hyde;

But yit algate they shal abyde

Til that they may it bet defende;

This trowe I best, wol be hir ende.


'Thus Antecrist abyden we,

For we ben alle of his meynee;

And what man that wol not be so,

Right sone he shal his lyf forgo.

We wol a puple on him areyse,


And thurgh our gyle doon him seise,

And him on sharpe speris ryve,

Or other-weyes bringe him fro lyve,

But-if that he wol folowe, y-wis,

That in our boke writen is.


Thus moche wol our book signifye,

That whyl [that] Peter hath maistrye,

May never lohan shewe wel his might.

'Now have I you declared right

The mening of the bark and rinde


That makith the entenciouns blinde.

But now at erst I wol biginne

To expowne you the pith withinne:—


[And first, by Peter, as I wene,

The Pope himself we wolden mene]


And [eek] the seculers comprehende,

That Cristes lawe wol defende,

And shulde it kepen and mayntenen

Ayeines hem that al sustenen,

And falsly to the puple techen.


[And] Iohan bitokeneth hem [that] prechen,

That ther nis lawe covenable

But thilke Gospel Perdurable,

That fro the Holy Gost was sent

To turne folk that been miswent.


The strengthe of Iohan they undirstonde

The grace in which, they seye, they stonde,

That doth the sinful folk converte,

And hem to Iesus Crist reverte.

'Ful many another horriblete


May men in that boke see,

That ben comaunded, douteles,

Ayens the lawe of Rome expres;

And alle with Antecrist they holden,

As men may in the book biholden.


And than comaunden they to sleen

Alle tho that with Peter been;

But they shal nevere have that might,

And, god toforn, for stryf to fight,

That they ne shal y-nough [men] finde


That Peters lawe shal have in minde,

And ever holde, and so mayntene,

That at the last it shal be sene

That they shal alle come therto,

For ought that they can speke or do.


And thilke lawe shal not stonde,

That they by Iohan have undirstonde;

But, maugre hem, it shal adoun,

And been brought to confusioun.

But I wol stinte of this matere,


For it is wonder long to here;

But hadde that ilke book endured,

Of better estate I were ensured;

And freendis have I yit, pardee,

That han me set in greet degree.


'Of all this world is emperour

Gyle my fader, the trechour,

And emperesse my moder is,

Maugre the Holy Gost, y-wis.

Our mighty linage and our route


Regneth in every regne aboute;

And wel is worth we [maistres] be,

For al this world governe we,

And can the folk so wel disceyve,

That noon our gyle can perceyve;


And though they doon, they dar not saye;

The sothe dar no wight biwreye.

But he in Cristis wrath him ledeth,

That more than Crist my bretheren dredeth.

He nis no ful good champioun,


That dredith such similacioun;

Nor that for peyne wole refusen

Us to correcten and accusen.

He wol not entremete by right,

Ne have god in his eye-sight,


And therfore god shal him punyce;

But me ne rekketh of no vyce,

Sithen men us loven comunably,

And holden us for so worthy,

That we may folk repreve echoon,


And we nil have repref of noon.

Whom shulden folk worshipen so

But us, that stinten never mo

To patren whyl that folk us see,

Though it not so bihinde hem be?


'And where is more wood folye,

Than to enhaunce chivalrye,

And love noble men and gay,

That Ioly clothis weren alway?

If they be sich folk as they semen,


So clene, as men her clothis demen,

And that her wordis folowe her dede,

It is gret pite, out of drede,

For they wol be noon ypocritis!

Of hem, me thinketh [it] gret spiteis;


I can not love hem on no syde.

But Beggers with these hodes wyde,

With sleighe and pale faces lene,

And greye clothis not ful clene,

But fretted ful of tatarwagges,


And highe shoes, knopped with dagges,

That frouncen lyke a quaile-pype,

Or botes riveling as a gype;

To such folk as I you devyse

Shuld princes and these lordes wyse


Take alle her londes and her thinges,

Bothe werre and pees, in governinges;

To such folk shulde a prince him yive,

That wolde his lyf in honour live.

And if they be not as they seme,


That serven thus the world to queme,

There wolde I dwelle, to disceyve

The folk, for they shal not perceyve.

'But I ne speke in no such wyse,

That men shulde humble abit dispyse,


So that no pryde ther-under be.

No man shulde hate, as thinketh me,

The pore man in sich clothing.

But god ne preiseth him no-thing,

That seith he hath the world forsake,


And hath to worldly glorie him take,

And wol of siche delyces use;

Who may that Begger wel excuse?

That papelard, that him yeldeth so,

And wol to worldly ese go,


And seith that he the world hath left,

And gredily it grypeth eft,

He is the hound, shame is to seyn,

That to his casting goth ageyn.

'But unto you dar I not lye:


But mighte I felen or aspye,

That ye perceyved it no-thing,

Ye shulden have a stark lesing

Right in your hond thus, to biginne,

I nolde it lette for no sinne.'


The god lough at the wonder tho,

And every wight gan laughe also,

And seide:—'Lo here a man aright

For to be trusty to every wight!'

'Fals Semblant,' quod Love, 'sey to me,


Sith I thus have avaunced thee,


That in my court is thy dwelling,

And of ribaudes shall be my king,

Wolt thou wel holden my forwardis?'

F. Sem. 'Ye, sir, from hennes forewardis;


Hadde never your fader herebiforn

Servaunt so trewe, sith he was born.'

Amour. 'That is ayeines al nature.'

F. Sem. 'Sir, put you in that aventure;

For though ye borowes take of me,


The sikerer shal ye never be

For ostages, ne sikirnesse,

Or chartres, for to bere witnesse.

I take your-self to record here,

That men ne may, in no manere,


Teren the wolf out of his hyde,

Til he be [flayn], bak and syde,

Though men him bete and al defyle;

What? wene ye that I wole bigyle?

For I am clothed mekely,


Ther-under is al my trechery;

Myn herte chaungeth never the mo

For noon abit, in which I go.

Though I have chere of simplenesse,

I am not weary of shrewednesse.


My lemman, Streyned-Abstinence,

Hath mister of my purveaunce;

She hadde ful longe ago be deed,

Nere my councel and my reed;

Lete hir allone, and you and me.'


And Love answerde, 'I truste thee

Withoute borowe, for I wol noon.'

And Fals-Semblant, the theef, anoon,

Right in that ilke same place,

That hadde of tresoun al his face


Right blak withinne, and whyt withoute,

Thanketh him, gan on his knees loute.

Than was ther nought, but 'Every man

Now to assaut, that sailen can,'

Quod Love, 'and that ful hardily.'


Than armed they hem communly

Of sich armour as to hem fel.

Whan they were armed, fers and fel,

They wente hem forth, alle in a route,

And set the castel al aboute;


They wil nought away, for no drede,

Til it so be that they ben dede,

Or til they have the castel take.

And foure batels they gan make,

And parted hem in foure anoon,


And toke her way, and forth they goon,

The foure gates for to assaile,

Of whiche the kepers wol not faile;

For they ben neither syke ne dede,

But hardy folk, and stronge in dede.


Now wole I seyn the countenaunce

Of Fals-Semblant, and Abstinaunce,

That ben to Wikkid-Tonge went.

But first they helde her parlement,

Whether it to done were


To maken hem be knowen there,

Or elles walken forth disgysed.

But at the laste they devysed,


That they wold goon in tapinage,

As it were in a pilgrimage,


Lyk good and holy folk unfeyned.

And Dame Abstinence-Streyned

Took on a robe of camelyne,

And gan hir graithe as a Begyne.

A large coverchief of threde


She wrapped al aboute hir hede,

But she forgat not hir sautere;

A peire of bedis eek she here

Upon a lace, al of whyt threde,

On which that she hir bedes bede;


But she ne boughte hem never a del,

For they were geven her, I wot wel,

God wot, of a ful holy frere,

That seide he was hir fader dere,

To whom she hadde ofter went


Than any frere of his covent.

And he visyted hir also,

And many a sermoun seide hir to;

He nolde lette, for man on lyve,

That he ne wolde hir ofte shryve.


And with so gret devocion

They maden her confession,

That they had ofte, for the nones,

Two hedes in one hood at ones.

Of fair shape I devyse h