Project Gutenberg's Chaucer's Works, Volume 2 (of 7), by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Title: Chaucer's Works, Volume 2 (of 7)
       Boethius and Troilus

Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

Editor: Walter Skeat

Release Date: February 5, 2014 [EBook #44833]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Keith Edkins and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's note: A Glossary including words from the two texts in this volume is included in Skeat's Volume VI, available from Project Gutenberg here.

MS. Corp. Chr. Coll., Cambridge. Troil. iv. 575-588








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


* *


'Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee befalle

Boece or Troilus to wryten newe,

Under thy lokkes thou most have the scalle,

But after my making thou wryte trewe.'

Chaucers Wordes unto Adam.









Introduction to Boethius.1. Date of the Work. 2. Boethius. 3. The Consolation of Philosophy; and fate of its author. 4. Jean de Meun. 5. References by Boethius to current events. 6. Cassiodorus. 7. Form of the Treatise. 8. Brief sketch of its general contents. 9. Early translations. 10. Translation by lfred. 11. MS. copy, with A.S. glosses. 12. Chaucer's translation mentioned. 13. Walton's verse translation. 14. Specimen of the same. 15. His translation of Book ii. met. 5. 16. M. E. prose translation; and others. 17. Chaucer's translation and le Roman de la Rose. 18. Chaucer's scholarship. 19. Chaucer's prose. 20. Some of his mistakes. 21. Other variations considered. 22. Imitations of Boethius in Chaucer's works. 23. Comparison with 'Boece' of other works by Chaucer. 24. Chronology of Chaucer's works, as illustrated by 'Boece.' 25. The Manuscripts. 26. The Printed Editions. 27. The Present Edition vii
Introduction to Troilus.1. Date of the Work. 2. Sources of the Work; Boccaccio's Filostrato. 3, 4. Other sources. 5. Chaucer's share in it. 6. Vagueness of reference to sources. 7. Medieval note-books. 8. Lollius. 9. Guido delle Colonne. 10. 'Trophee.' 11, 12. The same continued. 13-17. Passages from Guido. 18, 19. Dares, Dictys, and Benit de Ste-More. 20. The names; Troilus, &c. 21. Roman de la Rose. 22. Gest Historiale. 23. Lydgate's Siege of Troye. 24. Henrysoun's Testament of Criseyde. 25. The MSS. 26. The Editions. 27. The Present Edition. 28. Deficient lines. 29. Proverbs. 30. Kinaston's Latin translation. 31. Sidnam's translation xlix
Boethius de Consolatione Philosophie 1
Book I. 1
Book II. 23
Book III. 51
Book IV. 92
Book V. 126

Troilus and Criseyde

Book I. 153
Book II. 189
Book III. 244
Book IV. 302
Book V. 357
Notes to Boethius 419
Notes to Troilus 461


1. Date of the Work.

In my introductory remarks to the Legend of Good Women, I refer to the close connection that is easily seen to subsist between Chaucer's translation of Boethius and his Troilus and Criseyde. All critics seem now to agree in placing these two works in close conjunction, and in making the prose work somewhat the earlier of the two; though it is not at all unlikely that, for a short time, both works were in hand together. It is also clear that they were completed before the author commenced the House of Fame, the date of which is, almost certainly, about 1383-4. Dr. Koch, in his Essay on the Chronology of Chaucer's Writings, proposes to date 'Boethius' about 1377-8, and 'Troilus' about 1380-1. It is sufficient to be able to infer, as we can with tolerable certainty, that these two works belong to the period between 1377 and 1383. And we may also feel sure that the well-known lines to Adam, beginning—

'Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee befalle

Boece or Troilus to wryten newe'—

were composed at the time when the fair copy of Troilus had just been finished, and may be dated, without fear of mistake, in 1381-3. It is not likely that we shall be able to determine these dates within closer limits; nor is it at all necessary that we should be able to do so. A few further remarks upon this subject are given below.

2. Boethius.

Before proceeding to remark upon Chaucer's translation of Boethius, or (as he calls him) Boece, it is necessary to say a few words as to the original work, and its author.

Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius, the most {viii}learned philosopher of his time, was born at Rome about A. D. 480, and was put to death A. D. 524. In his youth, he had the advantage of a liberal training, and enjoyed the rare privilege of being able to read the Greek philosophers in their own tongue. In the particular treatise which here most concerns us, his Greek quotations are mostly taken from Plato, and there are a few references to Aristotle, Homer, and to the Andromache of Euripides. His extant works shew that he was well acquainted with geometry, mechanics, astronomy, and music, as well as with logic and theology; and it is an interesting fact that an illustration of the way in which waves of sound are propagated through the air, introduced by Chaucer into his House of Fame, ll. 788-822, is almost certainly derived from the treatise of Boethius De Musica, as pointed out in the note upon that passage. At any rate, there is an unequivocal reference to 'the felinge' of Boece 'in musik' in the Nonnes Preestes Tale, B 4484.

3. The most important part of his political life was passed in the service of the celebrated Theodoric the Goth, who, after the defeat and death of Odoacer, A. D. 493, had made himself undisputed master of Italy, and had fixed the seat of his government in Ravenna. The usual account, that Boethius was twice married, is now discredited, there being no clear evidence with respect to Elpis, the name assigned to his supposed first wife; but it is certain that he married Rusticiana, the daughter of the patrician Symmachus, a man of great influence and probity, and much respected, who had been consul under Odoacer in 485. Boethius had the singular felicity of seeing his two sons, Boethius and Symmachus, raised to the consular dignity on the same day, in 522. After many years spent in indefatigable study and great public usefulness, he fell under the suspicion of Theodoric; and, notwithstanding an indignant denial of his supposed crimes, was hurried away to Pavia, where he was imprisoned in a tower, and denied the means of justifying his conduct. The rest must be told in the eloquent words of Gibbon[1].

'While Boethius, oppressed with fetters, expected each moment the sentence or the stroke of death, he composed in the tower of Pavia the "Consolation of Philosophy"; a golden volume, not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully, but which claims {ix}incomparable merit from the barbarism of the times and the situation of the author. The celestial guide[2], whom he had so long invoked at Rome and at Athens, now condescended to illumine his dungeon, to revive his courage, and to pour into his wounds her salutary balm. She taught him to compare his long prosperity and his recent distress, and to conceive new hopes from the inconstancy of fortune[3]. Reason had informed him of the precarious condition of her gifts; experience had satisfied him of their real value[4]; he had enjoyed them without guilt; he might resign them without a sigh, and calmly disdain the impotent malice of his enemies, who had left him happiness, since they had left him virtue[5]. From the earth, Boethius ascended to heaven in search of the SUPREME GOOD[6], explored the metaphysical labyrinth of chance and destiny[7], of prescience and freewill, of time and eternity, and generously attempted to reconcile the perfect attributes of the Deity with the apparent disorders of his moral and physical government[8]. Such topics of consolation, so obvious, so vague, or so abstruse, are ineffectual to subdue the feelings of human nature. Yet the sense of misfortune may be diverted by the labour of thought; and the sage who could artfully combine, in the same work, the various riches of philosophy, poetry, and eloquence, must already have possessed the intrepid calmness which he affected to seek. Suspense, the worst of evils, was at length determined by the ministers of death, who executed, and perhaps exceeded, the inhuman mandate of Theodoric. A strong cord was fastened round the head of Boethius, and forcibly tightened till his eyes almost started from their sockets; and some mercy may be discovered in the milder torture of beating him with clubs till he expired. But his genius survived to diffuse a ray of knowledge over the darkest ages of the Latin world; the writings of the philosopher were translated by the most glorious of the English Kings, and the third emperor of the name of Otho removed to a more honourable tomb the bones of a catholic saint, who, from his Arian persecutors, had acquired the honours of martyrdom and the fame of miracles. In the last hours of Boethius, he derived some comfort from the {x}safety of his two sons, of his wife, and of his father-in-law, the venerable Symmachus. But the grief of Symmachus was indiscreet, and perhaps disrespectful; he had presumed to lament, he might dare to revenge, the death of an injured friend. He was dragged in chains from Rome to the palace of Ravenna; and the suspicions of Theodoric could only be appeased by the blood of an innocent and aged senator.'

This deed of injustice brought small profit to its perpetrator; for we read that Theodoric's own death took place shortly afterwards; and that, on his death-bed, 'he expressed in broken murmurs to his physician Elpidius, his deep repentance for the murders of Boethius and Symmachus.'

4. For further details, I beg leave to refer the reader to the essay on 'Boethius' by H. F. Stewart, published by W. Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, in 1891. We are chiefly concerned here with the 'Consolation of Philosophy,' a work which enjoyed great popularity in the middle ages, and first influenced Chaucer indirectly, through the use of it made by Jean de Meun in the poem entitled Le Roman de la Rose, as well as directly, at a later period, through his own translation of it. Indeed, I have little doubt that Chaucer's attention was drawn to it when, somewhat early in life, he first perused with diligence that remarkable poem; and that it was from the following passage that he probably drew the inference that it might be well for him to translate the whole work:—

'Ce puet l'en bien des clers enquerre

Qui Boce de Confort lisent,

Et les sentences qui l gisent,

Dont grans biens as gens laiz feroit

Qui bien le lor translateroit' (ll. 5052-6).

I.e. in modern English:—'This can be easily ascertained from the learned men who read Boece on the Consolation of Philosophy, and the opinions which are found therein; as to which, any one who would well translate it for them would confer much benefit on the unlearned folk':—a pretty strong hint[9]!


5. The chief events in the life of Boethius which are referred to in the present treatise are duly pointed out in the notes; and it may be well to bear in mind that, as to some of these, nothing further is known beyond what the author himself tells us. Most of the personal references occur in Book i. Prose 4, Book ii. Prose 3, and in Book iii. Prose 4. In the first of these passages, Boethius recalls the manner in which he withstood one Conigastus, because he oppressed the poor (l. 40); and how he defeated the iniquities of Triguilla, 'provost' (prpositus) of the royal household (l. 43). He takes credit for defending the people of Campania against a particularly obnoxious fiscal measure instituted by Theodoric, which was called 'coemption' (coemptio); (l. 59.) This Mr. Stewart describes as 'a fiscal measure which allowed the state to buy provisions for the army at something under market-price—which threatened to ruin the province.' He tells us that he rescued Decius Paulinus, who had been consul in 498, from the rapacity of the officers of the royal palace (l. 68); and that, in order to save Decius Albinus, who had been consul in 493, from wrongful punishment, he ran the risk of incurring the hate of the informer Cyprian (l. 75). In these ways, he had rendered himself odious to the court-party, whom he had declined to bribe (l. 79). His accusers were Basilius, who had been expelled from the king's service, and was impelled to accuse him by pressure of debt (l. 81); and Opilio and Gaudentius, who had been sentenced to exile by royal decree for their numberless frauds and crimes, but had escaped the sentence by taking sanctuary. 'And when,' as he tells us, 'the king discovered this evasion, he gave orders that, unless they quitted Ravenna by a given day, they should be branded on the forehead with a hot iron and driven out of the city. Nevertheless on that very day the information laid against me by these men was admitted' (ll. 89-94). He next alludes to some forged letters (l. 123), by means of which he had been accused of 'hoping for the freedom of Rome,' (which was of course interpreted to mean that he wished to deliver Rome from the tyranny of Theodoric). He then boldly declares that if he had had the opportunity of confronting his accusers, he would have answered in the words of Canius, when accused by Caligula of having been privy to a conspiracy against him—'If I had known it, thou shouldst never have known it' (ll. 126-135). This, by the way, was rather an {xii}imprudent expression, and probably told against him when his case was considered by Theodoric.

He further refers to an incident that took place at Verona (l. 153), when the king, eager for a general slaughter of his enemies, endeavoured to extend to the whole body of the senate the charge of treason, of which Albinus had been accused; on which occasion, at great personal risk, Boethius had defended the senate against so sweeping an accusation.

In Book ii. Prose 3, he refers to his former state of happiness and good fortune (l. 26), when he was blessed with rich and influential parents-in-law, with a beloved wife, and with two noble sons; in particular (l. 35), he speaks with justifiable pride of the day when his sons were both elected consuls together, and when, sitting in the Circus between them, he won general praise for his wit and eloquence.

In Book iii. Prose 4, he declaims against Decoratus, with whom he refused to be associated in office, on account of his infamous character.

6. The chief source of further information about these circumstances is a collection of letters (Vari Epistol) by Cassiodorus, a statesman who enjoyed the full confidence of Theodoric, and collected various state-papers under his direction. These tell us, in some measure, what can be said on the other side. Here Cyprian and his brother Opilio are spoken of with respect and honour; and the only Decoratus whose name appears is spoken of as a young man of great promise, who had won the king's sincere esteem. But when all has been said, the reader will most likely be inclined to think that, in cases of conflicting evidence, he would rather take the word of the noble Boethius than that of any of his opponents.

7. The treatise 'De Consolatione Philosophi' is written in the form of a discourse between himself and the personification of Philosophy, who appears to him in his prison, and endeavours to soothe and console him in his time of trial. It is divided (as in this volume) into five Books; and each Book is subdivided into chapters, entitled Metres and Proses, because, in the original, the alternate chapters are written in a metrical form, the metres employed being of various kinds. Thus Metre 1 of Book I is written in alternate hexameters and pentameters; while Metre 7 consists of very short lines, each consisting of a single dactyl and {xiii}spondee. The Proses contain the main arguments; the Metres serve for embellishment and recreation.

In some MSS. of Chaucer's translation, a few words of the original are quoted at the beginning of each Prose and Metre, and are duly printed in this edition, in a corrected form.

8. A very brief sketch of the general contents of the volume may be of some service.

Book I. Boethius deplores his misfortunes (met. 1). Philosophy appears to him in a female form (pr. 2), and condoles with him in song (met. 2); after which she addresses him, telling him that she is willing to share his misfortunes (pr. 3). Boethius pours out his complaints, and vindicates his past conduct (pr. 4). Philosophy reminds him that he seeks a heavenly country (pr. 5). The world is not governed by chance (pr. 6). The book concludes with a lay of hope (met. 7).

Book II. Philosophy enlarges on the wiles of Fortune (pr. 1), and addresses him in Fortune's name, asserting that her mutability is natural and to be expected (pr. 2). Adversity is transient (pr. 3), and Boethius has still much to be thankful for (pr. 4). Riches only bring anxieties, and cannot confer happiness (pr. 5); they were unknown in the Golden Age (met. 5). Neither does happiness consist in honours and power (pr. 6). The power of Nero only taught him cruelty (met. 6). Fame is but vanity (pr. 7), and is ended by death (met. 7). Adversity is beneficial (pr. 8). All things are bound together by the chain of Love (met. 8).

Book III. Boethius begins to receive comfort (pr. 1). Philosophy discourses on the search for the Supreme Good (summum bonum; pr. 2). The laws of nature are immutable (met. 2). All men are engaged in the pursuit of happiness (pr. 3). Dignities properly appertain to virtue (pr. 4). Power cannot drive away care (pr. 5). Glory is deceptive, and the only true nobility is that of character (pr. 6). Happiness does not consist in corporeal pleasures (pr. 7); nor in bodily strength or beauty (pr. 8). Worldly bliss is insufficient and false; and in seeking true felicity, we must invoke God's aid (pr. 9). Boethius sings a hymn to the Creator (met. 9); and acknowledges that God alone is the Supreme Good (p. 10). The unity of soul and body is necessary to existence, and the love of life is instinctive (pr. 11). Error is dispersed by the light of Truth (met. 11). God governs the world, and is all-sufficient, whilst evil has no true existence (pr. 12). The book ends with the story of Orpheus (met. 12).

Book IV. This book opens with a discussion of the existence of evil, and the system of rewards and punishments (pr. 1). Boethius describes the flight of Imagination through the planetary spheres till it reaches heaven itself (met. 1). The good are strong, but the wicked are powerless, having no real existence (pr. 2). Tyrants are chastised by their own passions (met. 2). Virtue secures reward; but the wicked lose even their human nature, and become as mere beasts (pr. 3). Consider the enchantments of Circe, though these merely affected the outward form (met. 4). The wicked are thrice wretched; they will to do evil, they can do evil, and they actually do it. Virtue is its own reward; so that the wicked should excite our pity (pr. 4). Here follows {xiv}a poem on the folly of war (met. 4). Boethius inquires why the good suffer (pr. 5). Philosophy reminds him that the motions of the stars are inexplicable to one who does not understand astronomy (met. 5). She explains the difference between Providence and Destiny (pr. 6). In all nature we see concord, due to controlling Love (met. 6). All fortune is good; for punishment is beneficial (pr. 7). The labours of Hercules afford us an example of endurance (met. 7).

Book V. Boethius asks questions concerning Chance (pr. 1). An example from the courses of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates (met. 1). Boethius asks questions concerning Free-will (pr. 2). God, who sees all things, is the true Sun (met. 2). Boethius is puzzled by the consideration of God's Predestination and man's Free-will (pr. 3). Men are too eager to inquire into the unknown (met. 3). Philosophy replies to Boethius on the subjects of Predestination, Necessity, and the nature of true Knowledge (pr. 4); on the impressions received by the mind (met. 4); and on the powers of Sense and Imagination (pr. 5). Beasts look downward to the earth, but man is upright, and looks up to heaven (met. 5). This world is not eternal, but only God is such; whose prescience is not subject to necessity, nor altered by human intentions. He upholds the good, and condemns the wicked; therefore be constant in eschewing vice, and devote all thy powers to the love of virtue (pr. 6).

9. It is unnecessary to enlarge here upon the importance of this treatise, and its influence upon medieval literature. Mr. Stewart, in the work already referred to, has an excellent chapter 'On Some Ancient Translations' of it. The number of translations that still exist, in various languages, sufficiently testify to its extraordinary popularity in the middle ages. Copies of it are found, for example, in Old High German by Notker, and in later German by Peter of Kastl; in Anglo-French by Simun de Fraisne; in continental French by Jean de Meun[10], Pierre de Paris, Jehan de Cis, Frere Renaut de Louhans, and by two anonymous authors; in Italian, by Alberto della Piagentina and several others; in Greek, by Maximus Planudes; and in Spanish, by Fra Antonio Ginebreda; besides various versions in later times. But the most interesting, to us, are those in English, which are somewhat numerous, and are worthy of some special notice. I shall here dismiss, as improbable and unnecessary, a suggestion sometimes made, that Chaucer may have consulted some French version in the hope of obtaining assistance from it; there is no sure trace of anything of the kind, and the internal evidence is, in my opinion, decisively against it.

10. The earliest English translation is that by king lfred, which is particularly interesting from the fact that the royal author {xv}frequently deviates from his original, and introduces various notes, explanations, and allusions of his own. The opening chapter, for example, is really a preface, giving a brief account of Theodoric and of the circumstances which led to the imprisonment of Boethius. This work exists only in two MSS., neither being of early date, viz. MS. Cotton, Otho A VI, and MS. Bodley NE. C. 3. 11. It has been thrice edited; by Rawlinson, in 1698; by J. S. Cardale, in 1829; and by S. Fox, in 1864. The last of these includes a modern English translation, and forms one of the volumes of Bohn's Antiquarian Library; so that it is a cheap and accessible work. Moreover, it contains an alliterative verse translation of most of the Metres contained in Boethius (excluding the Proses), which is also attributed to lfred in a brief metrical preface; but whether this ascription is to be relied upon, or not, is a difficult question, which has hardly as yet been decided. A summary of the arguments, for and against lfred's authorship, will be found in Wlker's Grundriss zur Geschichte der angelschsischen Litteratur, pp. 421-435.

11. I may here mention that there is a manuscript copy of this work by Boethius, in the original Latin, in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, No. 214, which contains a considerable number of Anglo-Saxon glosses. A description of this MS., by Prof. J. W. Bright and myself, is printed in the American Journal of Philology, vol. v, no. 4.

12. The next English translation, in point of date, is Chaucer's; concerning which I have more to say below.

13. In the year 1410, we meet with a verse translation of the whole treatise, ascribed by Warton (Hist. E. Poetry, 20, ed. 1871, iii. 39) to John Walton, Capellanus, or John the Chaplain, a canon of Oseney. 'In the British Museum,' says Warton, 'there is a correct MS. on parchment[11] of Walton's translation of Boethius; and the margin is filled throughout with the Latin text, written by Chaundler above mentioned [i. e. Thomas Chaundler, among other preferments dean of the king's chapel and of Hereford Cathedral, chancellor of Wells, and successively warden of Wykeham's two colleges at Winchester and Oxford.] There is another less elegant MS. in the same collection[12]. But at the end is this {xvi}note:—'Explicit liber Boecij de Consolatione Philosophie de Latino in Anglicum translatus A.D. 1410, per Capellanum Ioannem. This is the beginning of the prologue:—"In suffisaunce of cunnyng and witte[13]." And of the translation:—"Alas, I wrecch, that whilom was in welth." I have seen a third copy in the library of Lincoln cathedral[14], and a fourth in Baliol college[15]. This is the translation of Boethius printed in the monastery of Tavistock in 1525[16], and in octave stanzas. This translation was made at the request of Elizabeth Berkeley.'

Todd, in his Illustrations of Gower and Chaucer, p. xxxi, mentions another MS. 'in the possession of Mr. G. Nicol, his Majesty's bookseller,' in which the above translation is differently attributed in the colophon, which ends thus: 'translatus anno domini millesimo ccccxo. per Capellanum Iohannem Tebaud, alius Watyrbeche.' This can hardly be correct[17].

I may here note that this verse translation has two separate Prologues. One Prologue gives a short account of Boethius and his times, and is extant in MS. Gg. iv. 18 in the Cambridge University Library. An extract from the other is quoted below. MS. E Museo 53, in the Bodleian Library, contains both of them.

14. As to the work itself, Metre 1 of Book i. and Metre 5 of the same are printed entire in Wlker's Altenglisches Lesebuch, ii. 56-9. In one of the metrical prologues to the whole work the following passage occurs, which I copy from MS. Royal 18 A xiii:—

'I have herd spek and sumwhat haue y-seyne,

Of diuerse men[18], that wounder subtyllye,

{xvii}In metir sum, and sum in pros pleyne,

This book translated haue[19] suffishantlye

In-to[20] Englissh tong, word for word, wel nye[21];

Bot I most vse the wittes that I haue;

Thogh I may noght do so, yit noght-for-thye,

With helpe of god, the sentence schall I saue.

To Chaucer, that is floure of rethoryk

In Englisshe tong, and excellent poete,

This wot I wel, no-thing may I do lyk,

Thogh so that I of makynge entyrmete:

And Gower, that so craftily doth trete,

As in his book, of moralitee,

Thogh I to theym in makyng am vnmete,

Ȝit most I schewe it forth, that is in me.'

This is an early tribute to the excellence of Chaucer and Gower as poets.

15. When we examine Walton's translation a little more closely, it soon becomes apparent that he has largely availed himself of Chaucer's prose translation, which he evidently kept before him as a model of language. For example, in Bk. ii. met. 5, l. 16, Chaucer has the expression:—'tho weren the cruel clariouns ful hust and ful stille.' This reappears in one of Walton's lines in the form:—'Tho was ful huscht the cruel clarioun.' This is poetry made easy, no doubt.

In order to exhibit this a little more fully, I here transcribe the whole of Walton's translation of this metre, which may be compared with Chaucer's rendering at pp. 40, 41 below. I print in italics all the words which are common to the two versions, so as to shew this curious result, viz. that Walton was here more indebted to Chaucer, than Chaucer, when writing his poem of 'The Former Age,' was to himself. The MS. followed is the Royal MS. mentioned above (p. xvi).

Boethius: Book II: Meter V.

A verse translation by John Walton.

Full wonder blisseful was that rather age,

When mortal men couthe holde hem-selven[22] payed

{xviii}To fede hem-selve[23] with-oute suche outerage,

With mete that trewe feeldes[24] have arrayed;

With acorne[s] thaire hunger was alayed,

And so thei couthe sese thaire talent;

Thei had[den] yit no queynt[e] craft assayed,

As clarry for to make ne pyment[25].

To de[y]en purpure couthe thei noght be-thynke,

The white flees, with venym Tyryen;

The rennyng ryver yaf hem lusty drynke,

And holsom sleep the[y] took vpon the grene.

The pynes, that so full of braunches been,

That was thaire hous, to kepe[n] vnder schade.

The see[26] to kerve no schippes were there seen;

Ther was no man that marchaundise made.

They liked not to sailen vp and doun,

But kepe hem-selven[27] where thei weren bred;

Tho was ful huscht the cruel clarioun,

For eger hate ther was no blood I-sched,

Ne therwith was non armour yet be-bled;

For in that tyme who durst have be so wood

Suche bitter woundes that he nold have dred,

With-outen rward, for to lese his blood.

I wold oure tyme myght turne certanly,

And wise[28] maneres alwey with vs dwelle;

But love of hauyng brenneth feruently,

More fersere than the verray fuyre of helle.

Allas! who was that man that wold him melle

With[29] gold and gemmes that were kevered thus[30],

That first began to myne; I can not telle,

But that he fond a perel[31] precious.

16. MS. Auct. F. 3. 5, in the Bodleian Library, contains a prose translation, different from Chaucer's. After this, the next translation seems to be one by George Colvile; the title is thus given by Lowndes: 'Boetius de Consolatione Philosophi, translated by George Coluile, alias Coldewel. London: by John Cawoode; 1556. 4to.' This work was dedicated to Queen Mary, and reprinted in 1561; and again, without date.


There is an unprinted translation, in hexameters and other metres, in the British Museum (MS. Addit. 11401), by Bracegirdle, temp. Elizabeth. See Warton, ed. Hazlitt, iii. 39, note 6.

Lowndes next mentions a translation by J. T., printed at London in 1609, 12mo.

A translation 'Anglo-Latine expressus per S. E. M.' was printed at London in quarto, in 1654, according to Hazlitt's Hand-book to Popular Literature.

Next, a translation into English verse by H. Conningesbye, in 1664, 12mo.

The next is thus described: 'Of the Consolation of Philosophy, made English and illustrated with Notes by the Right Hon. Richard (Graham) Lord Viscount Preston. London; 1695, 8vo. Second edition, corrected; London; 1712, 8vo.'

A translation by W. Causton was printed in London in 1730; 8vo.

A translation by the Rev. Philip Ridpath, printed in London in 1785, 8vo., is described by Lowndes as 'an excellent translation with very useful notes, and a life of Boethius, drawn up with great accuracy and fidelity.'

A translation by R. Duncan was printed at Edinburgh in 1789, 8vo.; and an anonymous translation, described by Lowndes as 'a pitiful performance,' was printed in London in 1792, 8vo.

In a list of works which the Early English Text Society proposes shortly to print, we are told that 'Miss Pemberton has sent to press her edition of the fragments of Queen Elizabeth's Englishings (in the Record Office) from Boethius, Plutarch, &c.'

17. I now return to the consideration of Chaucer's translation, as printed in the present volume.

I do not think the question as to the probable date of its composition need detain us long. It is so obviously connected with 'Troilus' and the 'House of Fame,' which it probably did not long precede, that we can hardly be wrong in dating it, as said above, about 1377-1380; or, in round numbers, about 1380 or a little earlier. I quite agree with Mr. Stewart (Essay, p. 226), that, 'it is surely most reasonable to connect its composition with those poems which contain the greatest number of recollections and imitations of his original;' and I see no reason for ascribing it, with Professor Morley (English Writers, v. 144), to Chaucer's {xx}youth. Even Mr. Stewart is so incautious as to suggest that Chaucer's 'acquaintance with the works of the Roman philosopher ... would seem to date from about the year 1369, when he wrote the Deth of Blaunche.' When we ask for some tangible evidence of this statement, we are simply referred to the following passages in that poem, viz. the mention of 'Tityus (588); of Fortune the debonaire (623); Fortune the monster (627); Fortune's capriciousness and her rolling wheel (634, 642); Tantalus (708); the mind compared to a clean parchment (778); and Alcibiades (1055-6);' see Essay, p. 267. In every one of these instances, I believe the inference to be fallacious, and that Chaucer got all these illustrations, at second hand, from Le Roman de la Rose. As a matter of fact, they are all to be found there; and I find, on reference, that I have, in most instances, already given the parallel passages in my notes. However, to make the matter clearer, I repeat them here.

Book Duch. 588. Cf. Comment li juisier Ticius
Book Duch. 588. Cf. S'efforcent ostoir de mangier;
Book Duch. 588. Cf. Rom. Rom. Rose, 19506.
Book Duch. 588. Cf. Si cum tu fez, las Sisifus, &c.;
Book Duch. 588. Cf. Rom. R. R. 19499.

Book Duch. 623. The dispitouse debonaire,
Book Duch. 623. That scorneth many a creature.

I cannot give the exact reference, because Jean de Meun's description of the various moods of Fortune extends to a portentous length. Chaucer reproduces the general impression which a perusal of the poem leaves on the mind. However, take ll. 4860-62 of Le Roman:—

Que miex vaut asses et profite

Fortune perverse et contraire

Que la mole et la debonnaire.

Surely 'debonaire' in Chaucer is rather French than Latin. And see debonaire in the E. version of the Romaunt, l. 5412.

Book Duch. 627. She is the monstres heed y-wryen,
Book Duch. 627. As filth over y-strawed with floures.

Book Duch. 627. Si di, par ma parole ovrir,
Book Duch. 627. Qui vodroit un femier covrir
Book Duch. 627. De dras de soie ou de floretes; R. R. 8995.

As the second of the above lines from the Book of the Duchesse is obviously taken from Le Roman, it is probable that the first is {xxi}also; but it is a hard task to discover the particular word monstre in this vast poem. However, I find it, in l. 4917, with reference to Fortune; and her wheel is not far off, six lines above.

B. D. 634, 642. Fortune's capriciousness is treated of by Jean de Meun at intolerable length, ll. 4863-8492; and elsewhere. As to her wheel, it is continually rolling through his verses; see ll. 4911, 5366, 5870, 5925, 6172, 6434, 6648, 6880, &c.

B. D. 708. Cf. Et de fain avec Tentalus; R. R. 19482.

B. D. 778. Not from Le Roman, nor from Boethius, but from Machault's Remde de Fortune, as pointed out by M. Sandras long ago; see my note.

B. D. 1055-6. Cf. Car le cors Alcipiades
B. D. 1055-6. Cf. Qui de biaut avoit ads ...
B. D. 1055-6. Cf. Ainsinc le raconte Boece; R. R. 8981.

See my note on the line; and note the spelling of Alcipiades with a p, as in the English MSS.

We thus see that all these passages (except l. 778) are really taken from Le Roman, not to mention many more, already pointed out by Dr. Kppel (Anglia, xiv. 238). And, this being so, we may safely conclude that they were not taken from Boethius directly. Hence we may further infer that, in all probability, Chaucer, in 1369, was not very familiar with Boethius in the Latin original. And this accounts at once for the fact that he seldom quotes Boethius at first hand, perhaps not at all, in any of his earlier poems, such as the Complaint unto Pite, the Complaint of Mars, or Anelida and Arcite, or the Lyf of St. Cecilie. I see no reason for supposing that he had closely studied Boethius before (let us say) 1375; though it is extremely probable, as was said above, that Jean de Meun inspired him with the idea of reading it, to see whether it was really worth translating, as the French poet said it was.

18. When we come to consider the style and manner in which Chaucer has executed his self-imposed task, we must first of all make some allowance for the difference between the scholarship of his age and of our own. One great difference is obvious, though constantly lost sight of, viz. that the teaching in those days was almost entirely oral, and that the student had to depend upon his {xxii}memory to an extent which would now be regarded by many as extremely inconvenient. Suppose that, in reading Boethius, Chaucer comes across the phrase 'ueluti quidam clauus atque gubernaculum' (Bk. iii. pr. 12, note to l. 55), and does not remember the sense of clauus; what is to be done? It is quite certain, though this again is frequently lost sight of, that he had no access to a convenient and well-arranged Latin Dictionary, but only to such imperfect glossaries as were then in use. Almost the only resource, unless he had at hand a friend more learned than himself, was to guess. He guesses accordingly; and, taking clauus to mean much the same thing as clauis, puts down in his translation: 'and he is as a keye and a stere.' Some mistakes of this character were almost inevitable; and it must not greatly surprise us to be told, that the 'inaccuracy and infelicity' of Chaucer's translation 'is not that of an inexperienced Latin scholar, but rather of one who was no Latin scholar at all,' as Mr. Stewart says in his Essay, p. 226. It is useful to bear this in mind, because a similar lack of accuracy is characteristic of Chaucer's other works also; and we must not always infer that emendation is necessary, when we find in his text some curious error.

19. The next passage in Mr. Stewart's Essay so well expresses the state of the case, that I do not hesitate to quote it at length. 'Given (he says) a man who is sufficiently conversant with a language to read it fluently without paying too much heed to the precise value of participle and preposition, who has the wit and the sagacity to grasp the meaning of his author, but not the intimate knowledge of his style and manner necessary to a right appreciation of either, and—especially if he set himself to write in an uncongenial and unfamiliar form—he will assuredly produce just such a result as Chaucer has done.

'We must now glance (he adds) at the literary style of the translation. As Ten Brink has observed, we can here see as clearly as in any work of the middle ages what a high cultivation is requisite for the production of a good prose. Verse, and not prose, is the natural vehicle for the expression of every language in its infancy, and it is certainly not in prose that Chaucer's genius shews to best advantage. The restrictions of metre were indeed to him as silken fetters, while the freedom of prose only served to embarrass him; just as a bird that has been born and bred in captivity, whose traditions are all domestic, finds itself at a sad loss when it escapes {xxiii}from its cage and has to fall back on its own resources for sustenance. In reading "Boece," we have often as it were to pause and look on while Chaucer has a desperate wrestle with a tough sentence; but though now he may appear to be down, with a victorious knee upon him, next moment he is on his feet again, disclaiming defeat in a gloss which makes us doubt whether his adversary had so much the best of it after all. But such strenuous endeavour, even when it is crowned with success, is strange in a writer one of whose chief charms is the delightful ease, the complete absence of effort, with which he says his best things. It is only necessary to compare the passages in Boethius in the prose version with the same when they reappear in the poems, to realise how much better they look in their verse dress. Let the reader take Troilus' soliloquy on Freewill and Predestination (Bk. iv. ll. 958-1078), and read it side by side with the corresponding passage in "Boece" (Bk. v. proses 2 and 3), and he cannot fail to feel the superiority of the former to the latter. With what clearness and precision does the argument unfold itself, how close is the reasoning, how vigorous and yet graceful is the language! It is to be regretted that Chaucer did not do for all the Metra of the "Consolation" what he did for the fifth of the second book. A solitary gem like "The Former Age" makes us long for a whole set[32]. Sometimes, whether unconsciously or of set purpose, it is difficult to decide, his prose slips into verse:—

It lyketh me to shewe, by subtil song,

With slakke and dlitble soun of strenges (Bk. iii. met. 2. 1).

Whan Fortune, with a proud right hand (Bk. ii. met. 1. 1)[33].'

The reader should also consult Ten Brink's History of English Literature, Book iv. sect. 7. I here give a useful extract.


'This version is complete, and faithful in all essential points. Chaucer had no other purpose than to disclose, if possible wholly, the meaning of this famous work to his contemporaries; and notwithstanding many errors in single points, he has fairly well succeeded in reproducing the sense of the original. He often employs for this purpose periphrastic turns, and for the explanation of difficult passages, poetical figures, mythological and historical allusions; and he even incorporates a number of notes in his text. His version thus becomes somewhat diffuse, and, in the undeveloped state of prose composition so characteristic of that age, often quite unwieldy. But there is no lack of warmth, and even of a certain colouring....

'The language of the translation shews many a peculiarity; viz. numerous Latinisms, and even Roman idioms in synthesis, inflexion, or syntax, which are either wholly absent or at least found very rarely in Chaucer's poems. The labour of this translation proved a school for the poet, from which his powers of speech came forth not only more elevated but more self-reliant; and above all, with a greater aptitude to express thoughts of a deeper nature.'

20. Most of the instances in which Chaucer's rendering is inaccurate, unhappy, or insufficient are pointed out in the notes. I here collect some examples, many of which have already been remarked upon by Dr. Morris and Mr. Stewart.

i. met. 1. 3. rendinge Muses: 'lacerae Camenae.'

i. "et. 1. 20. unagreable dwellinges[34]: 'ingratas moras.'

i. pr. 1. 49. til it be at the laste: 'usque in exitium;' (but see the note).

i. pr. 3. 2. I took hevene: 'hausi caelum.'

i. met. 4. 5. hete: 'aestum;' (see the note). So again, in met. 7. 3.

i. pr. 4. 83. for nede of foreine moneye: 'alienae aeris necessitate.'

i. pr. 4. 93. lykned: 'astrui;' (see the note).

i. met. 5. 9. cometh eft ayein hir used cours: 'Solitas iterum mutet habenas;' (see the note).

ii. pr. 1. 22. entree: 'adyto;' (see the note).


ii. pr. 1. 45. use hir maneres: 'utere moribus.'

ii. pr. 5. 10. to hem that despenden it: 'effundendo.'

ii. "r. 5. 11. to thilke folk that mokeren it: 'coaceruando.'

ii. "r. 5. 90. subgit: 'sepositis;' (see the note).

ii. met. 6. 21. the gloss is wrong; (see the note).

ii. met. 7. 20. cruel day: 'sera dies;' (see the note).

iii. pr. 2. 57. birefte awey: 'adferre.' Here MS. C. has afferre, and Chaucer seems to have resolved this into ab-ferre.

iii. pr. 3. 48. foreyne: 'forenses.'

iii. pr. 4. 42. many maner dignitees of consules: 'multiplici consulatu.'

iii. pr. 4. 64. of usaunces: 'utentium.'

iii. pr. 8. 11. anoyously: 'obnoxius;' (see the note).

iii. "r. 8. 29. of a beest that highte lynx: 'Lynceis;' (see the note).

iii. pr. 9. 16. Wenest thou that he, that hath nede of power, that him ne lakketh no-thing? 'An tu arbitraris quod nihilo indigeat egere potentia?' On this Mr. Stewart remarks that 'it is easy to see that indigeat and egere have changed places.' To me, it is not quite easy; for the senses of the M.E. nede and lakken are very slippery. Suppose we make them change places, and read:—'Wenest thou that he, that hath lak of power, that him ne nedeth no-thing?' This may be better, but it is not wholly satisfactory.

iii. pr.9. 39-41. that he ... yif him nedeth = whether he needeth. A very clumsy passage; see the Latin quoted in the note.

iii. pr. 10. 165. the soverein fyn and the cause: 'summa, cardo, atque caussa.'

iii. pr. 12. 55, 67. a keye: 'clauus;' and again, 'clauo.'

iii. p". 12. 55, 74. a yok of misdrawinges: 'detrectantium iugum.'

iii. p". 12. 55, 75. the savinge of obedient thinges: 'obtemperantium salus.'

iii. pr. 12. 136. the whiche proeves drawen to hem-self hir feith and hir acord, everich of hem of other: 'altero ex altero fidem trahente ... probationibus.' (Not well expressed.)

iii. met. 12. 5. the wodes, moveable, to rennen; and had maked the riveres, &c.: 'Siluas currere, mobiles Amnes,' &c.

iii. met. 17-19. Obscure and involved.

iv. pr. 1. 22. of wikkede felounes: 'facinorum.'

iv. pr. 2. 97. Iugement: 'indicium' (misread as iudicium).


iv. met. 7. 15. empty: 'immani;' (misread as inani).

v. pr. 1. 3. ful digne by auctoritee: 'auctoritate dignissima.'

v. p". 1. 34. prince: 'principio.'

v. p". 1. 57. the abregginge of fortuit hap: 'fortuiti caussae compendii.'

v. pr. 4. 30. by grace of position (or possessioun): 'positionis gratia.'

v. pr. 4. 56. right as we trowen: 'quasi uero credamus.'

v. met. 5. 6. by moist fleeinge: 'liquido uolatu.'

21. In the case of a few supposed errors, as pointed out by Mr. Stewart, there remains something to be said on the other side. I note the following instances.

i. pr. 6. 28. Lat. 'uelut hiante ualli robore.' Here Mr. Stewart quotes the reading of MS. A., viz. 'so as the strengthe of the paleys schynyng is open.' But the English text in that MS. is corrupt. The correct reading is 'palis chyning;' where palis means palisade, and translates ualli; and chyning is open means is gaping open, and translates hiante.

ii. pr. 5. 16. Lat. 'largiendi usu.' The translation has: 'by usage of large yevinge of him that hath yeven it.' I fail to see much amiss; for the usual sense of large in M. E. is liberal, bounteous, lavish. Of course we must not substitute the modern sense without justification.

ii. pr. 5. 35. 'of the laste beautee' translates Lat. 'postremae pulcritudinis.' For this, see my note on p. 431.

ii. pr. 7. 38. Lat. 'tum commercii insolentia.' Chaucer has: 'what for defaute of unusage and entrecomuninge of marchaundise.' There is not much amiss; but MS. A. omits the word and after unusage, which of course makes nonsense of the passage.

ii. met. 8. 6. Lat. 'Ut fluctus auidum mare Certo fine coerceat.' Chaucer has: 'that the see, greedy to flowen, constreyned with a certein ende hise floodes.' Mr. Stewart understands 'greedy to flowen' to refer to 'fluctus auidum.' It seems to me that this was merely Chaucer's first idea of the passage, and that he afterwards meant 'hise floodes' to translate 'fluctus,' but forgot to strike out 'to flowen.' I do not defend the translation.

iii. pr. 11. 86. Lat. 'sede;' Eng. 'sete.' This is quite right. Mr. Stewart quotes the Eng. version as having 'feete,' but this is only a corrupt reading, though found in the best MS. Any one {xxvii}who is acquainted with M. E. MSS. will easily guess that 'feete' is merely mis-copied from 'ſeete,' with a long s; and, indeed, sete is the reading of the black-letter editions. There is a blunder here, certainly; only it is not the author's, but due to the scribes.

iv. pr. 6. 176. Lat. 'quidam me quoque excellentior:' Eng. 'a philosophre, the more excellent by me.' The M. E. use of by is ambiguous; it frequently means 'in comparison with.'

v. met. 5. 14. Lat. 'male dissipis:' Eng. 'wexest yvel out of thy wit.' In this case, wexest out of thy wit translates dissipis; and yvel, which is here an adverb, translates male.

Of course we must also make allowances for the variations in Chaucer's Latin MS. from the usually received text. Here we are much assisted by MS. C., which, as explained below, appears to contain a copy of the very text which he consulted, and helps to settle several doubtful points. To take two examples. In Book ii. met. 5. 17, Chaucer has 'ne hadde nat deyed yit armures,' where the usual Lat. text has 'tinxerat arua.' But many MSS. have arma; and, of these, MS. C. is one.

Once more, in Book ii. met. 2. 11, Chaucer has 'sheweth other gapinges,' where the usual Lat. text has 'Altos pandit hiatus.' But some MSS. have Alios; and, of these, MS. C. is one.

22. After all, the chief point of interest about Chaucer's translation of Boethius is the influence that this labour exercised upon his later work, owing to the close familiarity with the text which he thus acquired. I have shewn that we must not expect to find such influence upon his earliest writings; and that, in the case of the Book of the Duchesse, it affected him at second hand, through Jean de Meun. But in other poems, viz. Troilus, the House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, some of the Balades, and in the Canterbury Tales, the influence of Boethius is frequently observable; and we may usually suppose such influence to have been direct and immediate; nevertheless, we should always keep an eye on Le Roman de la Rose, for Jean de Meun was, in like manner, influenced in no slight degree by the same work. I have often taken an opportunity of pointing out, in my Notes to Chaucer, passages of this character; and I find that Mr. Stewart, with praiseworthy diligence, has endeavoured to give (in Appendix B, following his Essay, at p. 260) 'An Index of Passages in Chaucer which seem to have been {xxviii}suggested by the De Consolatione Philosophiae.' Very useful, in connection with this subject, is the list of passages in which Chaucer seems to have been indebted to Le Roman de la Rose, as given by Dr. E. Kppel in Anglia, vol. xiv. 238-265. Another most useful help is the comparison between Troilus and Boccaccio's Filostrato, by Mr. W. M. Rossetti; which sometimes proves, beyond all doubt, that a passage which may seem to be due to Boethius, is really taken from the Italian poet. As this seems to be the right place for exhibiting the results thus obtained, I proceed to give them, and gladly express my thanks to the above-named authors for the opportunity thus afforded.

23. Comparison with 'Boece' of other works by Chaucer.

Troilus and Criseyde: Book I.

365.[35] a mirour.—Cf. B. v. met. 4. 8.

638. sweetnesse, &c.—B. iii. met. 1. 4.

730. What? slombrestow as in a lytargye?—See B. i. pr. 2. 14.

731. an asse to the harpe.—B. i. pr. 4. 2.

786. Ticius.—B. iii. met. 12. 29.

837. Fortune is my fo.—B. i. pr. 4. 8.

838-9. May of hir cruel wheel the harm withstonde.—B. ii. pr. 1. 80-82.

840. she pleyeth.—B. ii. met. 1. 10; pr. 2. 36.

841. than blamestow Fortune.—B. ii. pr. 2. 14.

846-7. That, as hir Ioyes moten overgoon,
846-7. So mote hir sorwes passen everichoon.—B. ii. pr. 3. 52-4.

848-9. For if hir wheel stinte any-thing to torne,
848-9. Than cessed she Fortune anoon to be.
 B. ii. pr. 1. 82-4.

850. Now, sith hir wheel by no wey may soiorne, &c.—B. ii. pr. 2. 59.

857. For who-so list have helping of his leche.—B. i. pr. 4. 3.

1065-71. For every wight that hath an hous to founde.—B. iv. pr. 6. 57-60.


Troilus: Book II.

*42.[36] Forthy men seyn, ech contree hath his lawes.—B. ii. pr. 7. 49-51. (This case is doubtful. Chaucer's phrase—men seyn—shews that he is quoting a common proverb. 'Ase fele thedes, as fele thewes, quoth Hendyng.' 'Tant de gens, tant de guises.'—Ray. So many countries, so many customs.—Hazlitt).

526. O god, that at thy disposicioun
526. Ledest the fyn, by Iuste purveyaunce,
526. Of every wight. B. iv. pr. 6. 149-151.

766-7. And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte
766-7. Which over-sprat the sonne as for a space.
 B. i. met. 3. 8-10.

Troilus: Book III.

617.[37] But O, Fortune, executrice of wierdes,
617. O influences of thise hevenes hye!
617. Soth is, that, under god, ye ben our hierdes.
 B. iv. pr. 6. 60-71.

624. The bente mone with hir hornes pale.—B. i. met. 5. 6.

813. O god—quod she—so worldly selinesse ...
813. Y-medled is with many a bitternesse.—B. ii. pr. 4. 86, 87.

816. Ful anguisshous than is, god woot—quod she—
816. Condicioun of veyn prosperitee.
 B. ii. pr. 4. 56.

820-833.—B. ii. pr. 4. 109-117.

*836. Ther is no verray wele in this world here.
 B. ii. pr. 4. 130.

1219. And now swetnesse semeth more swete.—B. iii. met. 1. 4.

1261. Benigne Love, thou holy bond of thinges.—B. ii. met. 8. 9-11.

1625-8. For of Fortunes sharp adversitee, &c.—B. ii. pr. 4. 4-7.

1691-2. Feicitee.—B. iii. pr. 2. 55.

1744-68. Love, that of erthe and see hath governaunce, &c.
 B. ii. met. 8. 9-11; 15, 16; 3-8; 11-14; 17, 18.


Troilus: Book IV.

*1-7. (Fortune's changes, her wheel, and her scorn).—B. ii. pr. 1. 12; met. 1. 1, 5-10; pr. ii. 37. (But note, that ll. 1-3 are really due to the Filostrato, Bk. iii. st. 94; and ll. 6, 7 are copied from Le Roman de la Rose, 8076-9).

200. cloud of errour.—B. iii. met. 11. 7.

391. Ne trust no wight to finden in Fortune
391. Ay propretee; hir yeftes ben comune.
 B. ii. pr. 2. 7-9; 61-2.

*481-2. (Repeated from Book III. 1625-8. But, this time, it is copied from the Filostrato, Bk. iv. st. 56).

503. For sely is that deeth, soth for to seyne,
503. That, oft y-cleped, comth and endeth peyne.
 B. i. met. 1. 12-14.

*835. And alle worldly blisse, as thinketh me,
*835. The ende of blisse ay sorwe it occupyeth.
 B. ii. pr. 4. 90.

(A very doubtful instance; for l. 836 is precisely the same as Prov. xiv. 13. The word occupyeth is decisive; see my note to Cant. Ta. B 421).

958; 963-6. (Predestination).—B. v. pr. 2. 30-34.

974-1078. (Necessity and Free Will).—B. v. pr. 3. 7-19; 21-71.

*1587.  ... thenk that lord is he
*1587. Of Fortune ay, that nought wol of hir recche;
*1587. And she ne daunteth no wight but a wrecche.
 B. ii. pr. 4. 98-101.

(But note that l. 1589 really translates two lines in the Filostrato, Bk. iv. st. 154).

Troilus: Book V.

278. And Phebus with his rosy carte.—B. ii. met. 3. 1, 2.

763. Felicitee clepe I my suffisaunce.—B. iii. pr. 2. 6-8.

*1541-4. Fortune, whiche that permutacioun
*1541-4. Of thinges hath, as it is hir committed
*1541-4. Through purveyaunce and disposicioun
*1541-4. Of heighe Iove. B. iv. pr. 6. 75-77.

*1809. (The allusion here to the 'seventh spere' has but a remote reference to Boethius (iv. met. 1. 16-19); for this stanza 259 is translated from Boccaccio's Teseide, Bk. xi. st. 1).


It thus appears that, for this poem, Chaucer made use of B. i. met. 1, pr. 2, met. 3, pr. 4, met. 5; ii. pr. 1, met. 1, pr. 2, pr. 3, met. 3, pr. 4, pr. 7, met. 8; iii. met. 1, pr. 2, met. 2, pr. 3, met. 11, 12; iv. pr. 6; v. pr. 2, pr. 3.

The House of Fame.

*535 (Book ii. 27). Foudre. (This allusion to the thunderbolt is copied from Machault, as shewn in my note; but Machault probably took it from Boeth. i. met. 4. 8; and it is curious that Chaucer has tour, not toun).

730-746 (Book ii. 222-238).—Compare B. iii. pr. 11; esp. 98-111. (Also Le Roman de la Rose, 16957-69; Dante, Purg. xviii. 28).

972-8 (Book ii. 464-70).—B. iv. met. 1. 1-5.

1368-1375 (Book iii. 278-285).—Compare B. i. pr. 1. 8-12.

*1545-8 (Book iii. 455-8).—Compare B. i. pr. 5. 43, 44. (The likeness is very slight).

1920 (Book iii. 830). An hous, that domus Dedali, That Laborintus cleped is.—B. iii. pr. 12. 118.

Legend of Good Women.

195 (p. 78). tonne.—B. ii. pr. 2. 53-5.

*2228-30. (Philomela, 1-3).—B. iii. met. 9. 8-10. (Doubtful; for the same is in Le Roman de la Rose, 16931-6, which is taken from Boethius. And Kppel remarks that the word Eternally answers to nothing in the Latin text, whilst it corresponds to the French Tous jors en pardurablet).


III. Book of the Duchesse.

The quotations from Boethius are all taken at second-hand. See above, pp. xx, xxi.

V. Parlement of Foules.

*380. That hoot, cold, hevy, light, [and] moist and dreye, &c.—B. iii. pr. 11. 98-103.

(Practically, a chance resemblance; these lines are really from Alanus, De Planctu Natur; see the note).

599. ... as oules doon by light;
599. The day hem blent, ful wel they see by night.
 B. iv. pr. 4. 132-3.


IX. The Former Age.

Partly from B. ii. met. 5; see the notes.

X. Fortune.

1-4. Compare B. ii. met. 1. 5-7.

10-12. Compare B. ii. pr. 8. 22-25.

13. Compare B. ii. pr. 4. 98-101.

*17. Socrates.—B. i. pr. 3. 20. (But really from Le Roman de la Rose, 5871-4).

25. No man is wrecched, but himself it wene.—B. ii. pr. 4. 79, 80; cf. pr. 2. 1-10.

29-30. Cf. B. ii. pr. 2. 17, 18.

31. Cf. B. ii. pr. 2. 59, 60.

33, 34. Cf. B. ii. pr. 8. 25-28.

38. Yit halt thyn ancre.—B. ii. pr. 4. 40.

43, 44. Cf. B. ii. pr. 1. 69-72, and 78-80.

45, 46. Cf. B. ii. pr. 2. 60-62; and 37.

50-52. Cf. B. ii. pr. 8. 25-28.

57-64. Cf. B. ii. pr. 2. 11-18.

65-68. Cf. B. iv. pr. 6. 42-46.

68. Ye blinde bestes.—B. iii. pr. 3. 1.

71. Thy laste day.—B. ii. pr. 3. 60, 61.

XIII. Truth.

2. Cf. B. ii. pr. 5. 56, 57.

3. For hord hath hate.—B. ii. pr. 5. 11.

3. and climbing tikelnesse.—B. iii. pr. 8. 10, 11.

7. And trouthe shal delivere. Cf. B. iii. met. 11. 7-9; 15-20.

8. Tempest thee noght.—B. ii. pr. 4. 50.

9. hir that turneth as a bal.—B. ii. pr. 2. 37.

15. That thee is sent, receyve in buxumnesse.—B. ii. pr. 1. 66-68.

17, 19. Her nis non hoom. Cf. B. i. pr. 5. 11-15.

18. Forth, beste.—B. iii. pr. 3. 1.

19. Know thy contree, lok up.—B. v. met. 5. 14, 15.

XIV. Gentilesse.

For the general idea, see B. iii. pr. 6. 24-38; met. 6. 2, and 6-10. With l. 5 compare B. iii. pr. 4. 25.


XV. Lak of Stedfastnesse.

For the general idea, cf. B. ii. met. 8.

Canterbury Tales: Group A.

Prologue. 337-8. Pleyn delyt, &c.—B. iii. pr. 2. 55.

741-2. The wordes mote be cosin to the dede.—B. iii. pr. 12. 152.

Knightes Tale. 925. Thanked be Fortune, and hir false wheel.—B. ii. pr. 2. 37-39.

1164. Who shal yeve a lover any lawe?—B. iii, met. 12. 37.

*1251-4. Cf. B. iv. pr. 6. 147-151.

1255, 1256. Cf. B. iii. pr. 2. 19; ii. pr. 5. 122.

1262. A dronke man, &c.—B. iii. pr. 2. 61.

1266. We seke faste after felicitee,
1266. But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
 B. iii. pr. 2. 59, 60; met. 8. 1.

1303-12. O cruel goddes, that governe, &c.—B. i. met. 5. 22-26; iv. pr. 1. 19-26.

*1946. The riche Cresus. Cf. B. ii. pr. 2. 44. (But cf. Monkes Ta. B. 3917, and notes.)

2987-2993[38]. The firste moevere, &c.—B. ii. met. 8. 6-11. (But see also the Teseide, Bk. ix. st. 51.)

2994-9, 3003-4.—B. iv. pr. 6. 29-35.

3005-3010.—B. iii. pr. 10. 18-22.

3011-5.—B. iv. pr. 6.

Group B.

Man of Lawes Tale. 295-299. O firste moeving cruel firmament. Cf. B. i. met. 5. 1-3; iii. pr. 8. 22; pr. 12. 145-147; iv. met. 1. 6.

481-3. Doth thing for certein ende that ful derk is.—B. iv. pr. 6. 114-117, and 152-154.

813-6. O mighty god, if that it be thy wille.—B. i. met. 5. 22-30; iv. pr. 1. 19-26.

N.B. The stanzas 421-7, and 925-931, are not from Boethius, but from Pope Innocent; see notes.

The Tale of Melibeus. The suggested parallels between this {xxxiv}Tale and Boece are only three; the first is marked by Mr. Stewart as doubtful, the third follows Albertano of Brescia word for word; and the second is too general a statement. It is best to say that no certain instance can be given[39].

The Monk's Prologue. 3163. Tragedie.—B. ii. pr. 2. 51.

The Monkes Tale: Hercules. 3285-3300.—B. iv. met. 7. 20-42. (But see Sources of the Tales, 48; vol. iii. p. 430.)

*3329. Ful wys is he that can him-selven knowe. Cf. B. ii. pr. 4. 98-101.

3434. For what man that hath freendes thurgh fortune,
3434. Mishap wol make hem enemys, I gesse.
 B. iii. pr. 5. 48-50.

3537. But ay fortune hath in hir hony galle.—B. ii. pr. 4. 86-7.

3587. Thus can fortune hir wheel governe and gye.—B. ii. pr. 2. 37-39.

*3636. Thy false wheel my wo al may I wyte.—B. ii. pr. 1. 7-10.

3653. Nero. See B. ii. met. 6; esp. 5-16.

3914. Julius Cesar. No man ne truste upon hir favour longe. B. ii. pr. 1. 48-53.

3921. Cresus.—B. ii. pr. 2. 44-46.

3951. Tragedie.—B. ii. pr. 2. 51-2. (See 3163 above.)

3956. And covere hir brighte face with a cloude.—B. ii. pr. 1. 42.

Nonne Preestes Tale. 4190. That us governeth alle as in comune.—B. ii. pr. 2. 61.

4424. But what that god forwoot mot nedes be.—B. v. pr. 3. 7-10.

4433. Whether that godes worthy forwiting, &c.—B. v. pr. 3. 5-15; 27-39; pr. 4. 25-34; &c.

Group D.

*100. Wyf of Bath. He hath not every vessel al of gold.—B. iv. pr. 1. 30-33. (But cf. 2 Tim. ii. 20.)

170. Another tonne.—B. ii. pr. 2. 53.


1109-1116. 'Gentilesse.'—B. iii. pr. 6. 24-38; met. 6. 6, 7.

1140. Caucasus.—B. ii. pr. 7. 43.

1142. Yit wol the fyr as faire lye and brenne.—B. iii. pr. 4. 47.

1170. That he is gentil that doth gentil dedis.—B. iii. met. 6. 7-10.

1187. He that coveyteth is a povre wight.—B. iii. pr. 5. 20-32.

1203. Povert a spectacle is, as thinketh me.—B. ii. pr. 8. 23-25, 31-33.

The Freres Tale. 1483. For som-tyme we ben goddes instruments.—B. iv. pr. 6. 62-71.

The Somnours Tale. 1968. Lo, ech thing that is oned in him-selve, &c.—B. iii. pr. 11. 37-40.

Group E.

The Clerkes Tale. Mr. Stewart refers ll. 810-2 to Boethius, but these lines translate Petrarch's sentence—'Nulla homini perpetua sors est.' Also ll. 1155-1158, 1161; but these lines translate Petrarch's sentence—'Probat tamen et spe nos, multis ac grauibus flagellis exerceri sinit, non ut animum nostrum sciat, quem sciuit antequam crearemur ... abund ergo constantibus uiris ascripserim, quisquis is fuerit, qui pro Deo suo sine murmure patiatur.' I find no hint that Chaucer was directly influenced by Boethius, while writing this Tale.

The Marchantes Tale. Mr. Stewart refers ll. 1311-4 to Boethius, but they are more likely from Albertanus Brixiensis, Liber de Amore dei, fol. 30 a (as shewn by Dr. Kppel):—'Et merito uxor est diligenda, qui donum est Dei,' followed by a quotation from Prov. xix. 14.

1582. a mirour—B. v. met. 4. 8.

1784. O famulier foo.—B. iii. pr. 5. 50.

1849. The slakke skin.—B. i. met. 1. 12.

1967-9. Were it by destinee or aventure, &c.—B. iv. pr. 6. 62-71.

2021. felicitee Stant in delyt.—B. iii. pr. 2. 55.

2062. O monstre, &c.—B. ii. pr. 1. 10-14.

Group F.

The Squieres Tale. *258. As sore wondren somme on cause of thonder. Cf. B. iv. met. 5. 6. (Somewhat doubtful.)


608. Alle thing, repeiring to his kinde.—B. iii. met. 2. 27-29.

611. As briddes doon that men in cages fede.—B. iii. met. 2. 15-22.

The Frankeleins Tale. 865. Eterne god, that thurgh thy purveyaunce, &c.—B. i. met. 5. 22, 23; iii. met. 9. 1; cf. iii. pr. 9. 147, 148.

879. Which mankinde is so fair part of thy werk.—B. i. met. 5. 38.

886. Al is for the beste.—B. iv. pr. 6. 194-196.

1031. God and governour, &c.—B. i. met. 6. 10-14.

Group G.

The Seconde Nonnes Tale. I think it certain that this early Tale is quite independent of Boethius. L. 114, instanced by Mr. Stewart, is from 'Ysidorus'; see my note.

The Canouns Yemannes Tale. *958. We fayle of that which that we wolden have.—B. iii. pr. 9. 89-91. (Very doubtful.)

Group H.

The Maunciples Tale. 160.

ther may no man embrace

As to destreyne a thing, which that nature

Hath naturelly set in a creature.—B. iii. met. 2. 1-5.

163. Tak any brid, &c.—B. iii. met. 2. 15-22.

Group I.

The Persones Tale. *212. A shadwe hath the lyknesse of the thing of which it is shadwe, but shadwe is nat the same thing of which it is shadwe.—B. v. pr. 4. 45, 46. (Doubtful.)

*471. Who-so prydeth him in the goodes of fortune, he is a ful greet fool; for som-tyme is a man a greet lord by the morwe, that is a caitif and a wrecche er it be night.—B. ii. met. 3. 16-18. (I think this is doubtful, and mark it as such.)

472. Som-tyme the delyces of a man is cause of the grevous maladye thurgh which he dyeth.—B. iii. pr. 7. 3-5.

24. It is worth while to see what light is thrown upon the chronology of the Canterbury Tales by comparison with Boethius.

In the first place, we may remark that, of the Tales mentioned above, there is nothing to shew that The Seconde Nonnes Tale, the Clerkes Tale, or even the Tale of Melibeus, really refer to {xxxvii}any passages in Boethius. They may, in fact, have been written before that translation was made. In the instance of the Second Nonnes Tale, this was certainly the case; and it is not unlikely that the same is true with respect to the others.

But the following Tales (as revised) seem to be later than 'Boece,' viz. The Knightes Tale, The Man of Lawes Tale, and The Monkes Tale; whilst it is quite certain that the following Tales were amongst the latest written, viz. the Nonne Preestes Tale, the three tales in Group D (Wyf, Frere, Somnour), the Marchantes Tale, the Squieres Tale, the Frankeleins Tale, the Canouns Yemannes Tale, and the Maunciples Tale; all of which are in the heroic couplet, and later than 1385.

The case of the Knightes Tale is especially interesting; for the numerous references in it to Boece, and the verbal resemblances between it and Troilus shew that either the original Palamoun and Arcite was written just after those works, or else (which is more likely) it was revised, and became the Knight's Tale, nearly at that time. The connection between Palamon and Arcite, Anelida, and the Parlement of Foules, and the introduction of three stanzas from the Teseide near the end of Troilus, render the former supposition unlikely; whilst at the same time we are confirmed in the impression that the (revised) Knightes Tale succeeded Boece and Troilus at no long interval, and was, in fact, the first of the Canterbury Tales that was written expressly for the purpose of being inserted in that collection, viz. about 1385-6.

25. The Manuscripts.

I have now to explain the sources of the present edition.

1. MS. C. = MS. Camb. Ii. 3. 21. This MS., in the Cambridge University Library, is certainly the best; and has therefore been taken as the basis of the text. The English portion of it was printed by Dr. Furnivall for the Chaucer Society in 1886; and I have usually relied upon this very useful edition[40]. It is a fine folio MS., wholly occupied with Boethius (De Consolatione Philosophiae), and comments upon it.


It is divided into two distinct parts, which have been bound up together. The latter portion consists of a lengthy commentary upon Boethius, at the end of which we find the title, viz.—'Exposicio preclara quam Iohannes Theutonicus prescripsit et finiuit Anno domini MoCCCvj viij ydus Iunii;' i.e. An Excellent Commentary, written by Johannes Teutonicus, and finished June 6, 1306. This vast commentary occupies 118 folios, in double columns.

The former part of the volume concerns us more nearly. I take it to be, for all practical purposes, the authentic copy. For it presents the following peculiarities. It contains the whole of the Latin text, as well as Chaucer's English version; and it is surprising to find that these are written in alternate chapters. Thus the volume begins with the Latin text of Metre 1, at the close of which there follows immediately, on the same page, Chaucer's translation of Metre 1. Next comes Prose 1 in Latin, followed by Prose 1 in English; and so throughout.

Again, if we examine the Latin text, there seems reason to suppose that it fairly represents the very recension which Chaucer used. It abounds with side-notes and glosses, all in Latin; and the glosses correspond to those in Chaucer's version. Thus, to take an example, the following lines occur near the end of Bk. iii. met. 11:—

'Nam cur rogati sponte recte[41] censetis

Ni mersus alto uiueret fomes corde.'

Over rogati is written the gloss i. interrogato.

Over censetis is written i. iudicatis.

Over Ni is i. nisi; over mersus alto is i. latenter conditos; over uiueret is i. vigeret; and over fomes is i. radix veritatis.

Besides these glosses, there is here the following side-note:—'Nisi radix veritatis latenter conditus vigeret in abscondito mentis, homo non iudicaret recta quacunque ordinata interrogata.'


When we turn to Chaucer's version, we find that he first gives a translation of the two verses, thus:—

'For wherefor elles demen ye of your owne wil the rightes, whan ye ben axed, but-yif so were that the norisshinge of resoun ne livede y-plounged in the depthe of your herte?'

After this he adds, by way of comment:—'This is to seyn, how sholden men demen the sooth of anything that were axed, yif ther nere a rote of soothfastnesse that were y-plounged and hid in naturel principles, the whiche soothfastnesse lived with-in the deepnesse of the thought.'

It is obvious that he has here reproduced the general sense of the Latin side-note above quoted. The chief thing which is missing in the Latin is the expression 'in naturel principles.' But we have only to look to a passage a little higher up, and we find the line—

'Suis retrusum possidere thesauris.'

Over the word retrusum is written i. absconditum; and over thesauris is i. naturalibus policiis et principiis naturaliter inditis. Out of these we have only to pick the words absconditum naturalibus ... principiis, and we at once obtain the missing phrase—'hid in naturel principles.'

Or, to take another striking example. Bk. iv. met. 7 begins, in the MS., with the lines:

'Bella bis quinis operatus annis

Vltor attrides frigie ruinis,

Fratris amissos thalamos piauit.'

At the beginning, just above these, is written a note: 'Istud metrum est de tribus exemplis: de agamenone (sic); secundum de vlixe; tertium, de hercule.'

The glosses are these; over quinis is i. decim; over attrides is agamenon (sic); over Fratris is s. menelai; and over piauit is i. vlcissendo (sic) purgauit: troia enim erat metropolis Frigie.

If we turn to Chaucer's version, in which I print the additions to the text in italics, we find that it runs thus:—

'The wreker Attrides, that is to seyn, Agamenon, that wroughte and continuede the batailes by ten yeer, recovered and purgede in wrekinge, by the destruccioun of Troye, the loste chaumbres of {xl}mariage of his brother; this is to seyn, that he, Agamenon, wan ayein Eleyne, that was Menelaus wyf his brother.'

We see how this was made up. Not a little curious are the spellings Attrides and Agamenon[42], as occurring both in the Latin part of this MS. and in Chaucer's version. Again, Chaucer has ten, corresponding to the gloss decim, not to the textual phrase bis quinis. His explanation of piauit by recovered and purgede in wrekinge is clearly due to the gloss ulciscendo purgauit. His substitution of Troye for Frigie is due to the gloss: troia enim erat metropolis Frigie. And even the name Menelaus his brother answers to Fratris, s. menelai. And all that is left, as being absolutely his own, are the words and continuede, recovered, and wan ayein Eleyne. We soon discover that, in a hundred instances, he renders a single Latin verb or substantive by two English verbs or substantives, by way of making the sense clearer; which accounts for his introduction of the verbs continuede and recovered; and this consideration reduces Chaucer's additional contribution to a mention of the name of Eleyne, which was of course extremely familiar to him.

Similarly, we find in this MS. the original of the gloss explaining coempcioun (p. 11); of the 'Glose' on p. 15; of the 'Glosa' on p. 26; and of most of the notes which, at first sight, look like additions by Chaucer himself[43].

The result is that, in all difficulties, the first authority to be consulted is the Latin text in this particular MS.; for we are easily led to conclude that it was intentionally designed to preserve both Chaucer's translation and the original text. It does not follow that it is always perfect; for it can only be a copy of the Latin, and the scribe may err. In writing recte for recta (see note on p. xxxviii), he has certainly committed an error by a slip of the pen. The same mistake has been observed to occur in another MS., viz. Codex Gothanus I.


The only drawback is this. The MS. is so crowded with glosses and side-notes, many of them closely written in small characters, that it is almost impossible to consult them all. I have therefore contented myself with resorting to them for information in difficult passages only. For further remarks on this subject, I must refer the reader to the Notes.

Lastly, I may observe that the design of preserving in this MS. all the apparatus referring to Chaucer's Boethius, is made the more apparent by the curious fact that, in this MS. only, the two poems by Chaucer that are closely related to Boethius, viz. The Former Age, and Fortune, are actually inserted into the very body of it, immediately after Bk. ii. met. 5. This place was of course chosen because The Former Age is, to some extent, a verse translation of that metre; and Fortune was added because, being founded upon scraps from several chapters, it had no definite claim to any specific place of its own.

In this MS., the English text, like the Latin one, has a few imperfections. One imperfection appears in certain peculiarities of spelling. The scribe seems to have had some habits of pronunciation that betoken a greater familiarity with Anglo-French than with English. The awkward position of the guttural sound of gh in neighebour seems to have been too much for him; hence he substituted ssh (= sh-sh) for gh, and gives us the spelling neysshebour (Bk. ii. pr. 3. 24, foot-note; pr. 7. 57, foot-note.) Nevertheless, it is the best MS. and has most authority. For further remarks, see the account of the present edition, on pp. xlvi-xlviii.

2. MS. Camb. Ii. 1. 38. This MS. also belongs to the Cambridge University Library, and was written early in the fifteenth century. It contains 8 complete quires of 8 leaves, and 1 incomplete quire of 6 leaves, making 70 leaves in all. The English version appears alone, and occupies 68 leaves, and part of leaf 69 recto; leaf 69, verso, and leaf 70, are blank. The last words are:—'e eyen of e Iuge at seeth and demeth alle thinges. Explicit liber boecij, &c.' Other treatises, in Latin, are bound up with it, but are unrelated. The readings of this MS. agree very closely with those of Ii. 3. 21, and of our text. Thus, in Met. i. l. 9, it has the reading wyerdes, with the gloss s. fata, as in Ii. 3. 21. (The scribe at first wrote wyerldes, but the l is marked for expunction.) In l. 12, it has emptid, whereas the Addit. MS. has emty; and in l. 16 it has nayteth, whereas the Addit. MS. wrongly {xlii}has naieth. On account of its close agreement with the text, I have made but little use of it.

It is worth notice that this MS. (like Harl. 2421) frequently has correct readings in cases where even the MS. above described exhibits some blunder. A few such instances are given in the notes. For example, it has the reading wrythith in Bk. i. met. 4. 7, where MS. C. has the absurd word writith, and MS. A. has wircheth. In the very next line, it has thonder-leit, and it is highly probable that leit is the real word, and light an ignorant substitution; for leit (answering to A.S. lēget, līget) is the right M.E. word for 'lightning'; see the examples in Stratmann. So again, in Bk. ii. met. 3. 13, it reads ouer-whelueth, like the black-letter editions; whilst MS. C. turns whelueth into welueeth, and MS. A. gives the spelling whelweth. In Bk. ii. pr. 6. 63, it correctly retains I after may, though MSS. C. and A. both omit it. In Bk. ii. pr. 8. 17, it has wyndy, not wyndynge; and I shew (in the note at p. 434) that windy is, after all, the correct reading, since the Lat. text has uentosam. In Bk. iii. met. 3. 1, it resembles the printed editions in the insertion of the words or a goter after river. In Bk. iv. pr. 3. 47, 48, it preserves the missing words: peyne, he ne douteth nat at he nys entecchid and defouled with. In Bk. iv. met. 6. 24, it has the right reading, viz. brethith. Finally, it usually retains the word whylom in places where the MS. next described substitutes the word somtyme. If any difficulty in the text raises future discussion, it is clear that this MS. should be consulted.

3. MS. A. = MS. Addit. 10340, in the British Museum. This is the MS. printed at length by Dr. Morris for the Early English Text Society, and denoted by the letter 'A.' in my foot-notes. As it is so accessible, I need say but little. It is less correct than MS. Ii. 3. 21 in many readings, and the spelling, on the whole, is not so good. The omissions in it are also more numerous, but it occasionally preserves a passage which the Cambridge MS. omits. It is also imperfect, as it omits Prose 8 and Metre 8 of Bk. ii., and Prose 1 of Bk. iii. It has been collated throughout, though I have usually refrained from quoting such readings from it as are evidently inferior or wrong. I notice one peculiarity in particular, viz. that it almost invariably substitutes the word somtyme for the whylom found in other copies; and whylom, in this treatise, is a rather common word. Dr. Morris's account of the MS. is here copied.


'The Additional MS. is written by a scribe who was unacquainted with the force of the final -e. Thus he adds it to the preterites of strong verbs, which do not require it; he omits it in the preterites of weak verbs where it is wanted, and attaches it to passive participles of weak verbs, where it is superfluous. The scribe of the Cambridge MS. is careful to preserve the final -e where it is a sign (1) of the definite declension of the adjective; (2) of the plural adjective; (3) of the infinitive mood; (4) of the preterite of weak verbs; (5) of present participles; (6) of the 2nd pers. pret. indic. of strong verbs; (7) of adverbs; (8) of an older vowel-ending.

'The Addit. MS. has frequently thilk (singular and plural) and -nes (in wrechednes, &c.), when the Camb. MS. has thilke (as usual in the Canterbury Tales) and -nesse.'

The copy of Boethius is contained on foll. 3-40. On fol. 41, recto, is a copy of Chaucer's Truth, and the description of the 'Persone,' extracted from the Prologue to the Cant. Tales. The other side of the leaf is blank. This is, in fact, the MS. which I denote by 'At.,' as described in the Introduction to the 'Minor Poems' in vol. i. p. 57.

4. MS. Addit. 16165, in the British Museum. This is one of Shirley's MSS., being that which I denote by 'Ad.,' and have described in the Introduction to the 'Minor Poems' in vol. i. p. 56. I believe this MS. to be of less value than MS. A. (above), and have therefore not collated it; for even A. is not a very good authority.

5. MS. Harl. 2421. The Harleian Catalogue describes it thus: 'Torq. Sever. Boetius: his 5 Books of the Comfort of Philosophy. Translated into English. On vellum, 152 leaves. XV century.'

A small quarto MS. of the middle of the fifteenth century. The first Prose of Bk. i. begins (like MS. A.) with the words: 'In e mene while at y stil recorded ese inges;' &c. Hence are derived the readings marked 'H.' in Morris's edition, pp. 62-64. It rightly reads writheth, wyndy, bretheth (see p. xlii).

6. The celebrated Hengwrt MS. of the Canterbury Tales (denoted by 'Hn.' in the foot-notes to that poem) contains a part of Chaucer's Boethius. See the Second Report of the Historical MSS. Commission, p. 106.

7. There is also a copy in a MS. belonging to the Cathedral Library at Salisbury. It was discovered by Dr. Wlker in 1875; {xliv}see the Academy for Oct. 5, 1875. Bk. i. met. 1 was printed, from this MS., by Dr. Wlker in Anglia, ii. 373. It resembles MS. A.

8. In the Phillipps collection, MS. no. 9472 is described as 'Boetius' Boke of Comfort,' and is said to be of the fifteenth century. I do not know its real contents.

26. The Printed Editions.

Caxton. Chaucer's Boethius was first printed by Caxton, without date; but probably before 1479. See the description in The Biography and Typography of W. Caxton, by W. Blades; second edition, 1882; p. 213. A complete collation of this text with MS. A., as printed by Morris, was printed by L. Kellner, of Vienna, in Englische Studien, vol. xiv, pp. 1-53; of which I have gladly availed myself. The text agrees very closely indeed with that printed by Thynne in 1532, and resembles MS. C. rather than MS. A.

Perhaps it is necessary to remark that the readings of MS. C., as given in Kellner's collation, are sometimes incorrect, because MS. C. had not at that time been printed, and the readings of that MS. were only known to him from the foot-notes in Morris's edition, which are not exhaustive, but only record the more important variations. There is a curious but natural error, for example, in his note on l. 1002 of Morris's edition (Bk. ii. met. 3. 14, p. 32, l. 1), where MS. C. has ȝeelde (= zeelde). The word is missing in MS. A., but Morris supplied it from C. to complete the text. Hence the foot-note has: '[ȝeelde]—from C.'; meaning that A. omits ȝeelde, which is supplied from C. This Kellner took to mean that A. has ȝeelde, and C. has from. However, the readings of A. and of Caxton are given with all possible care and minuteness; and now that C. is also in type, the slight inevitable errors are easily put right. This excellent piece of work has saved me much trouble.

It turns out that Caxton's text is of great value. He followed a MS. (now lost) which is, in some places, even more correct than MS. C. The following readings are of great importance, as they correct MSS. C. and A. (I denote Caxton's edition by the symbol Cx.)

Bk. i. met. 4. 7. Cx. writheth. (Cf. p. xlii. above, l. 6.)


Bk. i. met. 4. 8. Cx. thonder leyte[44].

Bk. i. met. 5. 26. Cx. punisheth.

Bk. i. met. 5. 28. Cx. on the nekkes.

Bk. i. pr. 6. 54. Cx. funden (but read founden).

Bk. i. pr. 6. 65. Cx. norissing. (Perhaps better than norisshinges, as in the MSS.; for the Lat. text has the sing. fomitem.) Cf. Bk. iii. met. 11. 27.

Bk. ii. pr. 3. 59. Cx. seeld (better selde). It is clear that yelde in MS. A. arose from a reading ȝelde, which really meant zelde, the Southern form of selde. See below.

Bk. ii. met. 3. 14. Cx. selde (correctly). And so again in Bk. ii. pr. 6. 15.

Bk. ii. pr. 6. 63. Cx. may I most. (MSS. C. A. omit I.)

Bk. ii. pr. 8. 17. Cx. wyndy (which is right; see note, p. 434).

Bk. iii. pr. 1. 26. Cx. thyne (better thyn, as in Thynne).

Bk. iii. pr. 10. 10. Cx. denyed (or read deneyed).

Bk. iii. pr. 10. 51. Cx. that the fader. (MSS. that this prince.) Caxton's translation is closer; Lat. text, patrem.

Bk. iii. pr. 11. 116. Cx. slepen.

Bk. iii. pr. 11. 152. Cx. maistow (Thynne has mayst thou) MS. C. omits thou; and MS. A. is defective.

Bk. iii. pr. 12. 143. Cx. Parmenides.

Bk. iv. pr. 6. 52. Cx. be cleped.

Bk. iv. pr. 6. 188, 189. Cx. and some dispyse that they mowe not here (misprint for bere). MSS. C. and A. omit this clause.

Bk. v. pr. 1. 9, 10. Cx. assoilen to the the dette (where the former the = thee).

Bk. v. pr. 3. 142. Cx. impetren.

In a few places, Caxton's text is somewhat fuller than that of the MSS. Thus in Bk. ii. pr. 3. 8, Cx. has: thei ben herd and sowne in eeres thei, &c. However, the Lat. text has merely: 'cum audiuntur.' And again, only 9 lines lower (l. 17), Cx. inserts and ajuste after moeve; but the Lat. text has merely: 'admouebo.' In some cases, it is closer to the Latin text; as, e. g. in Bk. i. met. 3. 9, where Cx. has kaue (Lat. antro), whereas MSS. C. and A. have the pl. kaues. In Bk. i. pr. 3. 41, where C. has the E. form Sorans, Cx. preserves the Latin form Soranos.


It thus appears that a collation with Caxton's text is of considerable service.

Thynne. Thynne's edition of Chaucer, printed in 1532, contains Boethius. I suspect that Thynne simply reprinted Caxton's text, without consulting any other authority; for it is hard to detect any difference, except that his spellings are somewhat less archaic. Hence this text, by a lucky accident, is an extremely good one, and I have constantly referred to it in all cases of difficulty. Readings from this edition are marked in the foot-notes with the symbol 'Ed.'

The later black-letter copies are mere reprints of Thynne's text, each being, as usual, a little worse than its predecessor, owing to the introduction of misprints and later forms. I have consulted the editions of 1550 (undated) and 1561. Perhaps the most readable edition is that by Chalmers, in vol. i. of his British Poets, as it is in Roman type. It closely resembles the edition of 1561, and is therefore not very correct.

27. The Present Edition.

The present edition is, practically, the first in which the preparation of the text has received adequate attention. Caxton's edition probably represents a single MS., though a very good one; and all the black-letter editions merely reproduce the same text, with various new errors. Dr. Morris's edition was unfortunately founded on an inferior MS., as he discovered before the printing of it was completed. Dr. Furnivall's text reproduces the excellent MS. C., but collation was rightly refrained from, as his object was to give the exact spellings of the MS. for the benefit of students. Hence there are several passages, in both of these editions, which do not afford the best sense; in a few places, they are less correct than the black-letter editions. It is also a considerable drawback to the reader, that they reproduce, of course intentionally and fully, the troublesome and obscure punctuation-marks of the MSS.

Finding the ground thus clear, I have taken occasion to introduce the following improvements. The text is founded on MS. C., certainly the best extant authority, which it follows, on the whole, very closely. At the same time, it has been carefully collated throughout with the text of MS. A., and (what is even {xlvii}more important) with the texts printed by Caxton and Thynne and with the original Latin text (1) as given in the edition by Obbarius (Jena 1843)[45] and (2) as existing in MS. C. The latter usually gives the exact readings of the MS. used by Chaucer himself. By taking these precautions, I have introduced a considerable number of necessary corrections, so that we now possess a very close approximation to the original text as it left Chaucer's hands. In all cases where emendations are made, the various readings are given in the foot-notes, where 'C.' and 'A.' refer to the two chief MSS., and 'Ed.' refers to Thynne's first edition (1532). But I have intentionally refrained from crowding these foot-notes with inferior readings which are certainly false. Some readings from the excellent MS. Ii. 1. 38 are given in the Notes; I now wish that I had collated it throughout. I have introduced modern punctuation. As I am here entirely responsible, the reader is at liberty to alter it, provided that he is justified in so doing by the Latin text.

Wherever Chaucer has introduced explanatory words and phrases which are not in the Latin text, I have printed them in italics; as in lines 6, 7, and 18 on page 1. However, these words and phrases are seldom original; they are usually translated or adapted from some of the Latin glosses and notes with which MS. C. abounds; as explained above, at p. xxxviii.

I have also adopted an entirely new system of numbering. In Dr. Morris's edition, every line of the printed text is numbered consecutively, from 1 up to 5219, which is the last line of the treatise. In Dr. Furnivall's print of MS. C., a new numbering begins on every page, from 1 to 32, 33, 34, or 35. Both these methods are entirely useless for general reference. The right method of reference is Tyrwhitt's, viz. to treat every chapter separately. Thus a reference to 'Bk. 1. met. 2' serves for every edition; but I have further taken occasion to number the lines of every chapter, for greater convenience. Thus the word acountinge occurs in Bk. i. met. 2. 10: and even in referring to a black-letter edition, the number 10 is of some use, since it shews that the word occurs very nearly in the middle of the {xlviii}Metre. The usual method of referring to editions by the page is an extremely poor and inconvenient makeshift; and it is really nearly time that editors should learn this elementary lesson. Unfortunately, some difficulty will always remain as to the numbering of the lines of prose works, because the length of each line is indefinite. The longest chapter, Bk. iv. pr. 6, here extends to 258 lines; the shortest, Bk. iii. met. 3, has less than 7 lines.

I have also corrected the spelling of MS. C. in a large number of places, but within very narrow limits. The use of the final e in that MS. is exceedingly correct, and has almost always been followed, except where notice to the contrary is given in the notes. My corrections are chiefly limited to the substitution of in for yn, and of i for short y, in such words as bygynnen, for which I write biginnen; the substitution of y for long i, as in whylom, when the MS. has whilom; the use of v for the MS. symbol u (where necessary); the substitution of sch or ssh for ss, when the sound intended is double sh; and the substitution of e and o for ee and oo where the vowels are obviously long by their position in the word. I also substitute -eth and -ed for the variable -eth or -ith, and -ed, -id, or -yd of the MS. Such changes render the text more uniformly phonetic, and much more readable, without really interfering with the evidence. Changes of a bolder character are duly noted.

The introduction of these slight improvements will not really trouble the reader. The trouble has been the editor's; for I found that the only satisfactory way of producing a really good text was to rewrite the whole of it. It seemed worth while to have a useful critical edition of 'Boethius' for general reference, because of the considerable use which Chaucer himself made of his translation when writing many of his later poems.

The Notes are all new, in the sense that no annotated edition of Chaucer's text has hitherto appeared. But many of them are, necessarily, copied or adapted from the notes to the Latin text in the editions by Vallinus and Valpy.



1. Date of the Work. The probable date is about 1380-2, and can hardly have been earlier than 1379 or later than 1383. No doubt it was in hand for a considerable time. It certainly followed close upon the translation of Boethius; see p. vii above.

2. Sources of the Work. The chief authority followed by Chaucer is Boccaccio's poem named Il Filostrato, in 9 Parts or Books of very variable length, and composed in ottava rima, or stanzas containing eight lines each. I have used the copy in the Opere Volgari di G. Boccaccio; Firenze, 1832.

Owing to the patient labours of Mr. W. M. Rossetti, who has collated the Filostrato with the Troilus line by line, and published the results of his work for the Chaucer Society in 1875, we are able to tell the precise extent to which Chaucer is indebted to Boccaccio for this story. The Filostrato contains 5704 lines; and the Troilus 8239 lines[46], if we do not reckon in the 12 Latin lines printed below, at p. 404. Hence we obtain the following result.

Total of lines in Troilus 8239
Adapted from the Filostrato
(2730 lines, condensed into) 2583
Balance due to Chaucer 5656

In other words, Chaucer's debt to Boccaccio amounts to less than one-third of the whole poem; and there remains more than two-thirds of it to be accounted for from other sources. But {l}even after all deductions have been made for passages borrowed from other authors, very nearly two-thirds remain for which Chaucer is solely responsible. As in the case of the Knightes Tale, close investigation shews that Chaucer is, after all, less indebted to Boccaccio than might seem, upon a hasty comparison, to be the case.

As it was found impracticable to give Mr. Rossetti's results in full, I have drawn up lists of parallel passages in a somewhat rough way, which are given in the Notes, at the beginning of every Book; see pp. 461, 467, 474, 484, 494. These lists are sufficiently accurate to enable the reader, in general, to discover the passages which are in no way due to the Filostrato.

3. I have taken occasion, at the same time, to note other passages for which Chaucer is indebted to some other authors. Of these we may particularly note the following. In Book I, lines 400-420 are translated from Petrarch's 88th Sonnet, which is quoted at length at p. 464. In Book III, lines 813-833, 1625-9, and 1744-1768 are all from the second Book of Boethius (Prose 4, 86-120 and 4-10, and Metre 8). In Book IV, lines 974-1078 are from Boethius, Book V. In Book V, lines 1-14 and 1807-27 are from various parts of Boccaccio's Teseide; and a part of the last stanza is from Dante. On account of such borrowings, we may subtract about 220 lines more from Chaucer's 'balance'; which still leaves due to him nearly 5436 lines.

4. Of course it will be readily understood that, in the case of these 5436 lines, numerous short quotations and allusions occur, most of which are pointed out in the notes. Thus, in Book II, lines 402-3 are from Ovid, Art. Amat. ii. 118; lines 716-8 are from Le Roman de la Rose[47]; and so on. No particular notice need be taken of this, as similar hints are utilised in other poems by Chaucer; and, indeed, by all other poets. But there is one particular case of borrowing, of considerable importance, which will be considered below, in 9 (p. liii).

5. It is, however, necessary to observe here that, in taking his story from Boccaccio, Chaucer has so altered and adapted it as to make it peculiarly his own; precisely as he has done in the case of the Knightes Tale. Sometimes he translates very closely and even neatly, and sometimes he takes a mere hint from a long {li}passage. He expands or condenses his material at pleasure; and even, in some cases, transposes the order of it. It is quite clear that he gave himself a free hand.

The most important point is that he did not accept the characters of the three chief actors, Troilus, Criseyde, and Pandarus, as pourtrayed by Boccaccio; he did not even accept all the incidents which gave occasion for their behaviour. Pandarus is no longer the cousin of Criseyde, a young and dashing gallant, but her middle-aged uncle, with blunted perceptions of what is moral and noble. In fact, Chaucer's Pandarus is a thorough and perfect study of character, drawn with a dramatic skill not inferior to that of Shakespeare, and worthy of the author of the immortal Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. I must leave the fuller consideration of these points to others; it is hardly necessary to repeat, at full length, the Prefatory Remarks by Mr. Rossetti, whilst at the same time, if I begin to quote from them, I shall hardly know where to stop. See also Ten Brink's English Literature, and Morley's English Writers, vol. v.

6. It has been observed that, whilst Chaucer carefully read and made very good use of two of Boccaccio's works, viz. Il Filostrato and Il Teseide, he nowhere mentions Boccaccio by name; and this has occasioned some surprise. But we must not apply modern ideas to explain medieval facts, as is so frequently done. When we consider how often MSS. of works by known authors have no author's name attached to them, it becomes likely that Chaucer obtained manuscript copies of these works unmarked by the author's name; and though he must doubtless have been aware of it, there was no cogent reason why he should declare himself indebted to one in whom Englishmen were, as yet, quite uninterested. Even when he refers to Petrarch in the Clerk's Prologue (E 27-35), he has to explain who he was, and to inform readers of his recent death. In those days, there was much laxity in the mode of citing authors.

7. It will help us to understand matters more clearly, if we further observe the haphazard manner in which quotations were often made. We know, for example, that no book was more accessible than the Vulgate version of the Bible; yet it is quite common to find the most curious mistakes made in reference to it. The author of Piers Plowman (B. text, iii. 93-95) attributes to Solomon a passage which he quotes from Job, and {lii}(B. vii. 123) to St. Luke, a passage from St. Matthew; and again (B. vi. 240) to St. Matthew, a passage from St. Luke. Chaucer makes many mistakes of a like nature; I will only cite here his reference to Solomon (Cant. Tales, A 4330), as the author of a passage in Ecclesiasticus. Even in modern dictionaries we find passages cited from 'Dryden' or 'Bacon' at large, without further remark; as if the verification of a reference were of slight consequence. This may help to explain to us the curious allusion to Zanzis as being the author of a passage which Chaucer must have known was from his favourite Ovid (see note to Troil. iv. 414), whilst he was, at the same time, well aware that Zanzis was not a poet, but a painter (Cant. Tales, C 16); however, in this case we have probably to do with a piece of our author's delicious banter, since he adds that Pandarus was speaking 'for the nonce.'

There is another point about medieval quotations which must by no means be missed. They were frequently made, not from the authors themselves, but from manuscript note-books which contained hundreds of choice passages, from all sorts of authors, collected by diligent compilers. Thus it was, I strongly suspect, that Albertano of Brescia was enabled to pour out such quantities of quotations as those which Chaucer copied from him in his Tale of Melibeus. Thus it was that borrowers of such note-books often trusted to their strong memories for the words of a quotation, yet forgot or mistook the author's name; as was readily done when a dozen such names occurred on every page. A MS. of this character is before me now. It contains many subjects in alphabetical order. Under Fortitudo are given 17 quotations which more or less relate to it, from Ambrose, Gregory, Chrysostom, and the rest, all in less than a single page. And thus it was, without doubt, that Chaucer made acquaintance with the three scraps of Horace which I shall presently consider. It is obvious that Chaucer never saw Horace's works in the complete state; if he had done so, he would have found a writer after his own heart, and he would have quoted him even more freely than he has quoted Ovid. 'Chaucer on Horace' would have been delightful indeed; but this treat was denied, both to him and to us.

8. The first and second scraps from Horace are hackneyed quotations. 'Multa renascentur' occurs in Troil. ii. 22 (see note, {liii}p. 468); and 'Humano capiti' in Troil. ii. 1041 (note, p. 472). In the third case (p. 464), there is no reason why we should hesitate to accept the theory, suggested by Dr. G. Latham (Athenum, Oct. 3, 1868) and by Professor Ten Brink independently, that the well-known line (Epist. I, 2. 1)—

'Troiani belli scriptorem, maxime Lolli,'

was misunderstood by Chaucer (or by some one else who misled him) as implying that Lollius was the name of a writer on the Trojan war. Those who are best acquainted with the ways of medieval literature will least hesitate to adopt this view. It is notorious that first lines of a poem are frequently quoted apart from their context, and repeated as if they were complete; and, however amazing such a blunder may seem to us now, there is really nothing very extraordinary about it.

We should also notice that Lollius was to Chaucer a mere name, which he used, in his usual manner, as a sort of convenient embellishment; for he is inconsistent in his use of it. In Book i. 394, 'myn autour called Lollius' really means Petrarch; whereas in Book v. 1653, though the reference is to the Filostrato, Bk. viii. st. 8, Chaucer probably meant no more than that Lollius was an author whom the Italian poet might have followed[48]. Cf. my note to the House of Fame, 1468, where the name occurs for the third time. We may also notice that, in Book iii. 1325, Chaucer bears testimony to the 'excellence' of his 'auctor.' The statement, in Book ii. 14, that he took the story 'out of Latin' is less helpful than it appears to be; for 'Latin' may mean either Latin or Italian.

9. I have spoken ( 4) of 'a particular case of borrowing,' which I now propose to consider more particularly. The discovery that Chaucer mainly drew his materials from Boccaccio seems to have satisfied most enquirers; and hence it has come to pass that one of Chaucer's sources has been little regarded, though it is really of some importance. I refer to the Historia Troiana of Guido delle Colonne[49], or, as Chaucer rightly {liv}calls him, Guido de Columpnis, i.e. Columnis (House of Fame, 1469). Chaucer's obligations to this author have been insufficiently explored.

When, in 1889, in printing the Legend of Good Women with an accuracy never before attempted, I restored the MS. reading Guido for the Ouyde of all previous editions in l. 1396, a clue was thus obtained to a new source for some of Chaucer's work. It was thus made clear that the Legend of Hypsipyle and Medea was primarily derived from this source; and further, that it was from Guido that Chaucer derived his use of Ilioun to mean the citadel of Troy (Leg. of Good Women, 936, and note). In the Nonne Prestes Tale, B 4331, as was pointed out by Tyrwhitt long ago, the dream of Andromache is taken from Guido. And I find in Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer, ii. 315, the significant but insufficient remark, that 'it was in Guido da (sic) Colonna's work that Chaucer found the martial deeds of Troilus recounted in full, the slaughter he wrought, and the terror he inspired.' Hence we naturally come to the question, what incidents in Troilus are expressly due to Guido?

10. Before answering this question, it will be best to consider the famous crux, as to the meaning of the word Trophee.

When Lydgate is speaking of his master's Troilus, viz. in his Prologue to the Falls of Princes, st. 3, he says that Chaucer

'made a translacion

Of a boke which called is Trophe

In Lumbarde tong,' &c.

No book or author is now known by that name; and, as Chaucer was in this case much indebted to Boccaccio, critics have jumped to the conclusion that Trophee means either Boccaccio or the Filostrato; and this conclusion has been supported by arguments so hopeless as to need no repetition. But it is most likely that Lydgate, who does not seem to have known any Italian[50], spoke somewhat casually; and, as Chaucer was to some extent indebted to Guido, he may possibly have meant Guido.

So far, I have merely stated a supposition which is, in itself, possible; but I shall now adduce what I believe to be reasonable and solid proof of it.


We have yet another mention of Trophee, viz. in Chaucer himself! In the Monkes Tale, B 3307, he says of Hercules—

'At bothe the worldes endes, seith Trophee,

In stede of boundes, he a piler sette.'

Whence, we may ask, is this taken? My answer is, from Guido.

11. If we examine the sources of the story of Hercules in the Monkes Tale, we see that all the supposed facts except the one mentioned in the two lines above quoted are taken from Boethius and Ovid (see the Notes). Now the next most obvious source of information was Guido's work, since the very first Book has a good deal about Hercules, and the Legend of Hypsipyle clearly shews us that Chaucer was aware of this. And, although neither Ovid (in Met. ix.) nor Boethius has any allusion to the Pillars of Hercules, they are expressly mentioned by Guido. In the English translation called the Gest Historiale of the Destruction of Troy, ed. Panton and Donaldson (which I call, for brevity, the alliterative Troy-book), l. 308, we read:—

'But the wonders that he wroght in this world here

In yche cuntr ben knowen under Criste evyn.

Tow pyllers he pight in a place lowe

Vppon Gades groundes, that he gotton had.'

And again, further on, the Latin text has:—'Locus ille, in quo predicte Herculis columpne sunt affixe, dicitur Saracenica lingua Saphy.' To which is added, that Alexander afterwards came to the same spot.

When Lydgate, in translating Guido, comes to this passage, he says:—

'And of the pyllers that at Gades he set,

Which Alexsaundre, of Macedone the kyng,

That was so worthy here in his lyuynge,

Rood in his conquest, as Guydo list to write,

With all his hoost proudely to visyte ...

And these boundes named be of all

Of Hercules, for he hymselfe theim set

As for his markes, all other for to lette

Ferther to passe, as Guydo maketh mynde'; &c.

Siege of Troye, ed. 1555, fol. B6.

We can now easily see that, when Lydgate speaks of the book 'which called is Trophe in Lumbarde tong,' he is simply copying the name of the book from Chaucer, though he seems also to have heard some rumour of its being so called in Italy.


12. Why this particular book was so called, we have no means of knowing[51]; but this does not invalidate the fact here pointed out. Of course the Latin side-note in some of the MSS. of the Monkes Tale, which explains 'Trophee' as referring to 'ille vates Chaldeorum Tropheus,' must be due to some mistake, even if it emanated (as is possible) from Chaucer himself. It is probable that, when the former part of the Monkes Tale was written, Chaucer did not know much about Guido's work; for the account of Hercules occurs in the very first chapter. Perhaps he confused the name of Tropheus with that of Trogus, i.e. Pompeius Trogus the historian, whose work is one of the authorities for the history of the Assyrian monarchy.

13. It remains for me to point out some of the passages in Troilus which are clearly due to Guido, and are not found in Boccaccio at all.

Book I. 145-7:—

'But the Troyane gestes, as they felle,

In Omer, or in Dares, or in Dyte,

Who-so that can, may rede hem as they wryte.'

The reference here is simply to Guido's history, whence, and not at first hand, both Chaucer and his readers could easily get the required information. Guido constantly refers to these authors; and, although he speaks disrespectfully of Homer[52], he professes to put great faith in Dares and Dytes, whose names he frequently cites as being those of his best authorities[53].

With the description of Troilus in ll. 1072-1085, it is interesting to compare the words of Guido, in Book VIII. 'Troilus vero, licet multum fuit corpore magnus, magis fuit tamen corde magnanimus; animosus multum, set multam habuit in sua {lvii}animositate temperiem; dilectus plurimum a puellis cum ipse aliqualem seruando modestiam delectaretur in illis. In viribus et strenuitate bellandi uel fuit alius Hector uel secundus ab ipso. In toto eciam regno Troie iuuenis nullus fuit tantis viribus nec tanta audacia gloriosus[54].' The latter part of this description should be compared with Book II. 157-161, where the very phrase 'Ector the secounde' is used; see also ll. 181-189.

14. Book II. 618. 'The yate ... Of Dardanus.' The six gates of Troy are named in Guido, Book IV, 'Quarum vna Dardanides, secunda Tymbrea, tercia Helyas, quarta Chetas, quinta Troiana, vltima Anthenorides vocabantur.'

'The furst and the fairest fourmet was Dardan.'

Allit. Troy-book, l. 1557.

Lydgate keeps the form 'Dardanydes'; cap. xi. fol. F 5.

15. Book IV. 204. 'For he was after traytour to the toun.' The treason of Antenor is told by Guido at great length; see 'Boke xxviii' of the allit. Troy-book, p. 364; Lydgate, Siege of Troye, Y 6, back. Cf. Dictys Cretensis, lib. iv. c. 22.

Book IV. 1397, &c. 'For al Apollo and his clerkish lawes,' &c. Guido gives rather a long account of the manner in which Criseyde upbraided her father Chalcas at their meeting. Chaucer says nothing about this matter in Book V. 193, but he here introduces an account of the same speech, telling us that Creseyde intended to make it! I quote from Book XIX. 'Sane deceperunt te Apollinis friuola responsa, a quo dicis te suscepisse mandatum vt tu paternas Lares desereres, et tuos in tanta acerbitate Penates[55] sic tuis specialiter hostibus adhereres. Sane non fuit ille deus Apollo, set, puto, fuit comitiua infernalium Furiarum a quibus responsa talia recepisti.' Cf. allit. Troy-book, 8103-40; and observe that Lydgate, in his Siege of Troye, R 3, back, omits the speech of Criseyde to her father, on the ground that it is given in Chaucer. Yet such is not the case, unless we allow the present passage to stand for it. In Book V. 194, Chaucer (following Boccaccio) expressly says that she was mute!

Book IV. 1695-1701. This last stanza is not in Boccaccio; but the general sense of it is in Guido, Book XIX, where the interview ends thus:—'Set diei Aurora quasi superueniente {lviii}uicina, Troilus a Brisaida in multis anxietatibus et doloribus discessit; et ea relicta ad sui palacii menia properauit.' Lydgate, at this point, refers us to Chaucer; Siege of Troye, fol. R 2, back. The allit. Troy-book actually does the same; l. 8054.

16. Book V. 92-189. These fourteen stanzas are not in Boccaccio. The corresponding passage in Guido (Book XIX) is as follows:—

'Troilus et Troiani redeunt, Grecis eam recipientibus in suo commeatu. Inter quos dum esset Diomedes, et illam Diomedes inspexit, statim in ardore veneris exarsit et eam vehementi desiderio concupiuit, qui collateralis associando Brisaidam cum insimul equitarent, sui ardoris flammam continere non valens Brisaide reuelat sui estuantis cordis amorem; quam in multis affectuosis verbis et blandiciis necnon et promissionibus reuera magnificis allicere satis humiliter est rogatus. Set Brisaida in primis monitis, vt mulierum moris est, suum prestare recusauit assensum; nec tamen passa est quin post multa Diomedis verba, ipsum nolens a spe sua deicere verbis similibus dixit ei: "Amoris tui oblaciones ad presens nec repudio nec admitto, cum cor meum non sit ad presens ita dispositum quod tibi possim aliter respondere."'

Book V. 799-805[56]. The description of Diomede in Boccaccio (Fil. VI. 33) is merely as follows:—

'Egli era grande e bel della persona,

Giovane fresco e piacevole assai,

E forte e fier siccome si ragiona,

E parlante quant'altro Greco mai,

E ad amor la natura aveva prona.'

The account in Guido (Book VIII) is as follows:—'Diomedes vero multa fuit proceritate, distensus amplo pectore, robustis scapulis, aspectu ferox; in promissis fallax; in armis strenuus; victorie cupidus; timendus a multis, cum multum esset iniuriosus; sermonibus sibi nimis impaciens, cum molestus seruientibus nimis esset; libidinosus quidem multum, et qui multas traxit angustias ob feruorem amoris.' Cf. allit. Troy-book, ll. 3794-3803; Lydgate, Siege of Troye, fol. K 1, back.

Book V. 810. To gon y-tressed, &c. Perhaps suggested by {lix}the remark in Guido (Book XIX) that Cressid's hair was unbound in her hour of deepest sorrow:—'aureos crines suos a lege ligaminis absolutos a lactea sui capitis cute diuellit.' Cf. IV. 736.

Book V. 827-840. Troilus is not described by Boccaccio. Guido's description of him has already been quoted above; see remarks on Book I. 1072; pp. lvi, lvii.

Book V. 1002-4. The parallel passage in Guido has already been quoted, viz.: 'Amoris tui oblaciones ad presens nec repudio nec admitto.' See remarks on l. 92; p. lviii.

Book V. 1013. Obviously from Guido; the passage follows soon after that last quoted. 'Associauit [Diomedes] eam vsquequo Brisaida recipere in sui patris tentoria se debebat. Et ea perueniente ibidem, ipse eam ab equo descendentem promptus adiuit, et vnam de cirothecis[57], quam Brisaida gerebat in manu, ab ea nullo percipiente furtiue subtraxit. Set cum ipsa sola presensit, placitum furtum dissimulauit amantis.'

For this incident of the glove, cf. allit. Troy-book, l. 8092.

Book V. 1023-1099. This passage is not in Boccaccio. Several hints for it seem to have been taken from Guido, Book XIX, whence I quote the following.

'Nondum dies illa ad horas declinauerat vespertinas, cum iam suas Brisaida recentes mutauerat voluntates,' &c.. 'Et iam nobilis Troili amor ceperat in sua mente tepescere, et sic repente subito facta volubilis se in omnibus variauit. Quid est ergo quod dicitur de constancia mulierum,' &c.

'Tunc ilico Diomedes superuenit . . qui repente in Troilum irruit, ipsum ab equo prosternit, ab eo auferens equum suum, quem per suum nuncium specialem ad Brisaidam in exennium[58] destinauit, mandans nuncio suo predicto vt Brisaide nunciet equum ipsum eius fuisse dilecti . . . . Brisaida vero equum Troili recepit hilariter, et ipsi nuncio refert hec verba: "Dic secure domino tuo quod ilium odio habere non possum, qui me tanta puritate cordis affectat . . . . [Diomedes] Brisaidam accedit, et eam suplex hortatur vt sibi consenciat in multitudine lacrimarum. Set illa, que multum vigebat sagacitatis astucia, Diomedem sagacibus machinacionibus differre procurat, ut ipsum afflictum amoris incendio magis affligat, et eius amoris {lx}vehemenciam in maioris augmentum ardoris extollat. Vnde Diomedi suum amorem non negat, etiam nec promittit."'

In l. 1039, read he, i. e. Diomede; see my note on the line, at p. 499.

In l. 1037, the story means the Historia Troiana; and in l. 1044, in the stories elles-where means 'elsewhere in the same History.' The passage (in Book XXV) is as follows:—

'Troilus autem tunc amorem Brisaide Diomedi obprobriosis verbis improperat; set Greci Diomedem ... abstraxerunt' ...

'Interim Brisaida contra patris sui voluntatem videre Diomedem in lecto suo iacentem ex vulnere sibi facto frequenter accedit, et licet sciuisset illum a Troilo dudum dilecto suo sic vulneratum, multa tamen in mente sua reuoluit; et dum diligenter attendit de se iungenda cum Troilo nullam sibi superesse fiduciam, totum suum animum, tanquam varia et mutabilis, sicut est proprium mulierum, in Diomedis declinat amorem.'

Cf. Troy-book, ll. 9942-59; Lydgate, Siege of Troye, fol. U 4.

Book V. 1558-60. The treacherous slaughter of Hector by Achilles is in Guido, near the end of Book XXV. See my note to l. 1558, at p. 503.

Book V. 1771. 'Read Dares.' This merely means that Guido cites Dares as his authority for the mighty deeds of Troilus. In Book XXV, I find:—'Scripsit enim Dares, quod illo die mille milites interfecit [Troilus] ex Grecis'; cf. l. 1802 below. So in the allit. Troy-book, ll. 9877-9:—

'As Dares of his dedis duly me tellus,

A thowsaund thro knightes throng he to dethe,

That day with his dynttes, of the derffe Grekes.'

So Lydgate, Siege of Troye, fol. U 3, back:—

'And, as Dares wryteth specyally,

A thousand knightes this Troyan champyowne

That day hath slayne, rydyng vp and downe,

As myne auctour Guydo lyst endyte;

Saue after hym, I can no ferther wryte.'

I. e. he only knew of Dares through the medium of Guido. In fact, Dares (capp. 29, 31, 32) has 'multos,' not 'mille.'

Book V. 1849-1855. The introduction of this stanza is quite irrelevant, unless we remember that, in Guido, the story of Troy is completely mixed up with invectives against idolatry. In Book X, there is a detailed account of the heathen gods, the {lxi}worship of which is attributed to the instigation of fiends. See the long account in the allit. Troy-book, ll. 4257-4531, concluding with the revelation by Apollo to Calchas of the coming fall of Troy. Cf. Lydgate, Siege of Troye, fol. K 6. Of course, this notion of the interference of the gods in the affairs of the Greeks and Trojans is ultimately due to Homer.

17. With regard to the statement in Guido, that Achilles slew Hector treacherously, we must remember how much turns upon this assertion. His object was to glorify the Trojans, the supposed ancestors of the Roman race, and to depreciate the Greeks. The following passage from Guido, Book XXV, is too characteristic to be omitted. 'Set o Homere, qui in libris tuis Achillem tot laudibus, tot preconiis extulisti, que probabilis racio te induxit, vt Achillem tantis probitatis meritis vel titulis exultasses?' Such was the general opinion about Homer in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

18. This is not the place for a full consideration of the further question, as to the sources of information whence Boccaccio and Guido respectively drew their stories. Nor is it profitable to search the supposed works of Dares and Dictys for the passages to which Chaucer appears to refer; since he merely knew those authors by name, owing to Guido's frequent appeals to them. Nevertheless, it is interesting to find that Guido was quite as innocent as were Chaucer and Lydgate of any knowledge of Dares and Dictys at first hand. He acquired his great reputation in the simplest possible way, by stealing the whole of his 'History' bodily, from a French romance by Benot de Sainte-More, entitled Le Roman de Troie, which has been well edited and discussed by Mons. A. Joly. Mons. Joly has shewn that the Roman de Troie first appeared between the years 1175 and 1185; and that Guido's Historia Troiana is little more than an adaptation of it, which was completed in the year 1287, without any acknowledgment as to its true source.

Benot frequently cites Dares (or Daires), and at the end of his poem, ll. 30095-6, says:—

'Ce que dist Daires et Dithis

I avons si retreit et mis.'

In his Hist. of Eng. Literature (E. version, ii. 113), Ten Brink remarks that, whilst Chaucer prefers to follow Guido rather than {lxii}Benot in his Legend of Good Women, he 'does the exact opposite to what he did in Troilus.' For this assertion I can find but little proof. It is hard to find anything in Benot's lengthy Romance which he may not have taken, much more easily, from Guido. There are, however, just a few such points in Book V. 1037-1078. Thus, in l. 1038, Criseyde gives Diomede Troilus' horse; cf. Benot, l. 15046—'lo cheval Vos presterai.' L. 1043 is from the same, ll. 15102-4:—

'La destre manche de son braz

Bone et fresche de ciclaton

Li done en leu de gonfanon.'

Ll. 1051-7 answer to the same, beginning at l. 20233; and l. 1074 is from the same, l. 20308:—'Dex donge bien Troylus!' I doubt if there is much more.

For some further account of the works ascribed to Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis, both duly edited among the 'Delphin Classics,' I must refer the reader to Smith's Classical Dictionary.

19. The whole question of the various early romances that relate to Troy is well considered in a work entitled 'Testi Inediti di Storia Trojana, preceduti da uno studio sulla Leggenda Trojana in Italia, per Egidio Gorra; Torino, 1887'; where various authorities are cited, and specimens of several texts are given. At p. 136 are given the very lines of Benot's Roman (ll. 795-6) where Guido found a reference to the columns of Hercules:—

'Et les bonnes ilec ficha

Ou Alixandre les trova.'

This hint he has somewhat elaborated, probably because he took a personal interest in 'columns,' on account of their reference to his own name—'delle Colonne.' I believe that the notion of Alexander finding Hercules' Pillars is due to a rather large blunder in geography. Hercules set up his pillars 'at the end of the world,' viz. at the straits of Gibraltar, whereas Alexander set up his at another 'end of the world,' viz. at the furthest point of India which he succeeded in reaching. So says his Romance; see Alexander and Dindimus, ed. Skeat, l. 1137; Wars of Alexander, l. 5063. The setting up of pillars as boundary-marks seems to have been common; cf. Vergil, n. xi. 262. Among the points noticed by Gorra, I may mention the following:—

1. Some account (p. 7) of the Ephemeris Belli Troiani by {lxiii}Dictys Cretensis, who, it was pretended, accompanied Idomeneus to the Trojan war. Achilles is depicted in dark colours; he is treacherous towards Agamemnon; falls in love with the Trojan princess, Polyxena; and slays Hector by a stratagem. It appears to have been a work of invention, resting upon no Greek original.

2. Some account (p. 17) of the Historia de Excidio Troiae of Dares Phrygius, a work which (as was pretended) was discovered by Cornelius Nepos. This also, in the opinion of most critics, was an original work. At p. 115, there is a comparison of the lists of Greek leaders and the number of their ships (cf. Homer, Il. ii.) as given by Dares, Benot, and Guido.

3. At p. 123, there is an enumeration of points in which Guido varies from Benot.

4. At p. 152, is an account of some Italian prose versions of the story of Troy. Such are: La Istorietta Trojana, with extracts from it at p. 371; a romance by Binduccio dello Scelto, with extracts relating to 'Troilo e Briseida' at p. 404; a version of Guido by Mazzeo Bellebuoni, with extracts relating to 'Paride ed Elena' at p. 443; an anonymous version, with extracts relating to 'Giasone e Medea' at p. 458; a version in the Venetian dialect, with extracts relating to 'Ettore ed Ercole' at p. 481; another anonymous version, with extracts at p. 493; and La 'Fiorita' of Armannino, Giudice da Bologna, with extracts at p. 532.

5. At p. 265, is an account of Italian poetical versions, viz. Enfances Hector, Poema d'Achille, Il Trojano di Domenico da Montechiello, Il Trojano a stampa (i.e. a printed edition of Il Trojano), and L'Intelligenza. At p. 336, Boccaccio's Filostrato is discussed; followed by a brief notice of an anonymous poem, also in ottava rima, called Il cantare di Insidoria. It appears that Boccaccio followed some recension of the French text of Benot, but much of the work is his own invention. In particular, he created the character of Pandaro, who resembles a Neapolitan courtier of his own period.

The most interesting of the extracts given by Gorra are those from Binduccio dello Scelto; at p. 411, we have the incident of Diomede possessing himself of Briseida's glove, followed by the interview between Briseida and her father Calcas. At p. 413, Diomede overthrows Troilus, takes his horse from him and sends it to Briseida, who receives it graciously; and at p. 417, Briseida gives Diomede her sleeve as a love-token, {lxiv}after which a 'jousting' takes place between Diomede and Troilus, in which the former is badly wounded.

For further remarks, we are referred, in particular, to H. Dunger's Dictys-Septimius: ber die ursprngliche Abfassung und die Quellen der Ephemeris belli Troiani; Dresden, 1878 (Programm des Vitzthumschen Gymnasiums); to another essay by the same author on Die Sage vom trojanischen Kriege, Leipzig, 1869; to Koerting's Dictys und Dares, &c., Halle, 1874; to A. Joly's Benot de Sainte-More et le Roman de Troie, Paris, 1871; and to an article by C. Wagener on Dares Phrygius, in Philologus, vol. xxxviii. The student may also consult E. Meybrinck, Die Auffassung der Antike bei Jacques Millet, Guido de Columna, und Benot de Ste-More, printed in Ausgaben und Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete fr Romanischen Philologie, Marburg, 1886; where the author concludes that Millet was the originator of the story in France. Also W. Greif, Die mittelalterlichen Bearbeitungen der Trojanersage; Marburg, 1886.

20. A few words may be said as to the names of the characters. Troilus is only once mentioned in Homer, where he is said to be one of the sons of Priam, who were slain in battle, Iliad, xxiv. 257; so that his story is of medieval invention, except as to the circumstance of his slayer being Achilles, as stated by Vergil, n. i. 474, 475; cf. Horace, Carm. ii. 9. 16. Pandarus occurs as the name of two distinct personages; (1) a Lycian archer, who wounded Menelaus; see Homer, Il. iv. 88, Vergil, n. 5. 496; and (2) a companion of neas, slain by Turnus; see Vergil, n. ix. 672, xi. 396. Diomede is a well-known hero in the Iliad, but his love-story is of late invention. The heroine of Benot's poem is Briseida, of whom Dares (c. 13) has merely the following brief account: 'Briseidam formosam, alta statura, candidam, capillo flauo et molli, superciliis junctis[59], oculis venustis, corpore aequali, blandam, affabilem, uerecundam, animo simplici, piam'; but he records nothing more about her. The name is simply copied from Homer's Βρισηΐδα, Il. i. 184, the accusative being taken (as often) as a new nominative case; this Briseis was the captive assigned to Achilles. But Boccaccio substitutes for this the form Griseida, taken from the accusative of Homer's Chryseis, mentioned just two lines above, Il. i. 182. For this {lxv}Italian form Chaucer substituted Criseyde, a trisyllabic form, with the ey pronounced as the ey in prey. He probably was led to this correction by observing the form Chryseida in his favourite author, Ovid; see Remed. Amoris, 469. Calchas, in Homer, Il. i. 69, is a Grecian priest; but in the later story he becomes a Trojan soothsayer, who, foreseeing the destruction of Troy, secedes to the Greek side, and is looked upon as a traitor. Cf. Vergil, n. ii. 176; Ovid, Art. Amat. ii. 737.

21. In Anglia, xiv. 241, there is a useful comparison, by Dr. E. Kppel, of the parallel passages in Troilus and the French Roman de la Rose, ed. Mon, Paris, 1814, which I shall denote by 'R.' These are mostly pointed out in the Notes. Kppel's list is as follows:—

Troilus. I. 635 (cf. III. 328).—Rom. Rose, 8041. 637.—R. 21819. 747.—R. 7595. 810.—R. 21145. 969—R. 12964.

II. 167.—R. 5684. 193.—R. 8757. 716.—R. 5765. 754.—R. 6676. 784 (cf. III. 1035).—R. 12844. 1564.—R. 18498.

III. 294.—R. 7085. 328; see I. 635. 1035; see II. 784. 1634.—R. 8301.

IV. 7.—R. 8076. 519.—R. 6406. 1398.—R. 6941.

V. 365.—R. 18709.

Some of the resemblances are but slight; but others are obvious. The numbers refer to the beginning of a passage; sometimes the really coincident lines are found a little further on.

The parallel passages common to Troilus and Boethius are noted above, pp. xxviii-xxx.

An excellent and exhaustive treatise on the Language of Chaucer's Troilus, by Prof. Kitteredge, is now (1893) being printed for the Chaucer Society. A Ryme-Index to the same, compiled by myself, has been published for the same society, dated 1891.

22. I have frequently alluded above to the alliterative 'Troy-book,' or 'Gest Historiale,' edited for the Early English Text Society, in 1869-74, by Panton and Donaldson. This is useful for reference, as being a tolerably close translation of Guido, although a little imperfect, owing to the loss of some leaves and some slight omissions (probably) on the part of the scribe. It is divided into 36 Books, which agree, very nearly, with the Books into which the original text is divided. The most important passages for comparison with Troilus are lines 3922-34 {lxvi}(description of Troilus); 3794-3803 (Diomede); 7268-89 (fight between Troilus and Diomede); 7886-7905 (Briseida and her dismissal from Troy); 8026-8181 (sorrow of Troilus and Briseida, her departure, and the interviews between Briseida and Diomede, and between her and Calchas her father); 8296-8317 (Diomede captures Troilus' horse, and presents it to Briseida); 8643-60 (death of Hector); 9671-7, 9864-82, 9926-9 (deeds of Troilus); 9942-59 (Briseida visits the wounded Diomede); 10055-85, 10252-10311 (deeds of Troilus, and his death); 10312-62 (reproof of Homer for his false statements).

At l. 8053, we have this remarkable allusion; speaking of Briseida and Troilus, the translator says:—

'Who-so wilnes to wit of thaire wo fir [futher],

Turne hym to Troilus, and talke[60] there ynoughe!'

I.e. whoever wishes to know more about their wo, let him turn to Troilus, and there find enough. This is a clear allusion to Chaucer's work by its name, and helps to date the translation as being later than 1380 or 1382. And, as the translator makes no allusion to Lydgate's translation of Guido, the date of which is 1412-20, we see that he probably wrote between 1382 and 1420[61]; so that the date 'about 1400,' adopted in the New Eng. Dictionary (s. v. Bercelet, &c.) cannot be far wrong[62].

23. Another useful book, frequently mentioned above, is Lydgate's Siege of Troye[61], of which I possess a copy printed in 1555. This contains several allusions to Chaucer's Troilus, and more than one passage in praise of Chaucer's poetical powers, two of which are quoted in Mr. Rossetti's remarks on MS. Harl. 3943 (Chaucer Soc. 1875), pp. x, xi. These passages are not very helpful, though it is curious to observe that he speaks of Chaucer not only as 'my maister Chaucer,' but as 'noble Galfride, chefe Poete of Brytaine,' and 'my maister Galfride.' The most notable passages occur in cap. xv, fol. K 2; cap. xxv, fol. R 2, back; and near the end, fol. Ee 2. Lydgate's translation is much more free {lxvii}than the preceding one, and he frequently interpolates long passages, besides borrowing a large number of poetical expressions from his 'maister.'

24. Finally, I must not omit to mention the remarkable poem by Robert Henrysoun, called the Testament and Complaint of Criseyde, which forms a sequel to Chaucer's story. Thynne actually printed this, in his edition of 1532, as one of Chaucer's poems, immediately after Troilus; and all the black-letter editions follow suit. Yet the 9th and 10th stanzas contain these words, according to the edition of 1532:—

'Of his distresse me nedeth nat reherse;

For worthy Chaucer, in that same boke,

In goodly termes, and in ioly verse,

Compyled hath his cares, who wyl loke.

To breke my slepe, another queare I toke,

In whiche I founde the fatal desteny

Of fayre Creseyde, whiche ended wretchedly.

Who wot if al that Chaucer wrate was trewe?

Nor I wotte nat if this narration

Be authorysed, or forged of the newe

Of some poete by his inuention,

Made to reporte the lamentation

And woful ende of this lusty Creseyde,

And what distresse she was in or she deyde.'

25. The Manuscripts.

1. MS. Cl.—The Campsall MS., on vellum, written before 1413; prepared for Henry, Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V, as shewn by his arms on leaf 2. The poem occupies leaves 2-120; each page usually contains five stanzas. Two pages have been reproduced by the autotype process for the Chaucer Society; viz. leaf 1, recto, containing stanzas 1-5, and leaf 42, verso, containing stanzas 249-251 of Book II, and stanza 1 of Book III. This is a beautifully written MS., and one of the best; but it is disappointing to find that it might easily have been much better. The scribe had a still better copy before him, which he has frequently treated with supreme carelessness; but it is some consolation to find that his mistakes are so obvious that they can easily be corrected. Thus, in Book I, l. 27, he writes dorst for dorste, though it ruins the grammar and the metre; in l. 31, he actually has hym for hem, to the destruction of the sense; in l. 69, he has {lxviii}high (!) for highte; and so on. It therefore requires careful control. In particular, the scribe gives many examples of the fault of 'anticipation,' i.e. the fault whereby the mind, swifter than the pen, has induced him to write down letters that belong to a later syllable or word, or to omit one or more letters. Thus in Book I. l. 80, he omits u in pryuely, writing pryely; in l. 126, he omits and before hoom; in l. 198, he omits lewede; in l. 275, he omits gan; &c. But the faults of 'anticipation' appear most clearly in such startling forms as addermost for aldermost, I. 248, where the former d is due to the one that is coming; assent for absent, IV. 1642, for a like reason; estal for estat, because the next word is royal, I. 432; yn for yng, because the next word is myn, I. 683; nat for nas, because the next word is not, I. 738; seynt for seyn, because the next word is that, V. 369; shad for shal, because the next word is drede, V. 385; liten for litel, because weten follows, IV. 198; make for may, because the line ends with wake, III. 341; fleld for feld, II. 195. Sometimes, however, the scribe's mind reverts to something already written, so that we find Delphebus for Delphicus, because Phebus precedes, I. 70; bothen for bothe, because deden precedes, I. 82; falles for fallen, after unhappes, II. 456; daunder for daunger, III. 1321; tolle for tolde, III 802; &c. Downright blunders are not uncommon; as incocent for innocent (where again the former c is due to the latter), II. 1723; agarst for agast, III. 737; right for rit, V. 60. We even find startling variations in the reading, as in III. 1408:—

'Reson wil not that I speke of shep,

For it accordeth nough[t] to my matere.'

Certainly, shep (sheep) is irrelevant enough; however, Chaucer refers to sleep. And again, the line in II. 1554, which should run—

As for to bidde a wood man for to renne

appears in the startling form—

As for to bydde a womman for to renne.

As all the variations of 'Cl.' from the correct text are given in the foot-notes, it is not necessary to say more about these peculiarities. I must add, however, that, as in Boethius, I have silently corrected yn to in in such words as thing; besides altering ee and oo to e and o in open syllables, writing v for u, and the like. See above.

The Campsall MS., now in the possession of Mr. Bacon Frank, {lxix}has been printed in full, as written, for the Chaucer Society; and I have relied upon the accuracy of this well-edited print.

2. MS. Cp.—MS. No. 61 in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, described in Nasmith's Catalogue, p. 40, as 'a parchment book in folio neatly written, and ornamented with a frontispiece richly illuminated, containing Chaucer's Troilus, in four [error for five] books.' It is a fine folio MS., 12 inches by 8. This MS., noticed by Warton, has not as yet been printed, though the Chaucer Society have undertaken to print it, upon my recommendation. It contains many pages that are left wholly or partially blank, obviously meant to be supplied with illuminations; which shews that it was written for some wealthy person. On the left margin, near the 83rd stanza of Book IV, is a note of ownership, in a hand of the fifteenth century—'neuer foryeteth: Anne neuyll.' This probably refers to Anne Neville, wife of Humphrey, duke of Buckingham (who was killed at Northampton in 1460), and daughter of Ralph Neville, earl of Westmoreland, and of Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt. That is, she was John of Gaunt's granddaughter; and it seems reasonable to infer that the MS. was actually written for one of John of Gaunt's family. This probability is a very interesting one, when we consider how much Chaucer owed to John of Gaunt's favour and protection.

The MS. is slightly deficient, owing to the omission of a few stanzas; but not much is missing. It is of a type closely resembling the preceding, and gives excellent readings. I have therefore taken the opportunity of founding the text upon a close collation of Cl. and Cp., taking Cl. as the foundation, but correcting it by Cp. throughout, without specifying more than the rejected reading of Cl. in passages where these MSS. differ. In this way the numerous absurdities of Cl. (as noted above) have been easily corrected, and the resulting text is a great improvement upon all that have hitherto appeared. In a few places, as shewn by the foot-notes, the readings of other MSS. have been preferred.

3. MS. H.—MS. Harl. 2280, in the British Museum. An excellent MS., very closely related to both the preceding. Printed in full for the Chaucer Society, and collated throughout in the present edition. It was taken as the basis of the text in Morris's Aldine edition, which in many passages closely resembles the present text. It is certainly the third best MS. One leaf is missing (Bk. V. 1345-1428; twelve stanzas).


4. MS. Cm.—MS. Gg. 4. 27, in the Cambridge University Library; the same MS. as that denoted by 'Cm.' in the foot-notes to the Canterbury Tales, and by 'C.' in the foot-notes to the Legend of Good Women. A remarkable MS., printed in full for the Chaucer Society. It exhibits a different type of text from that found in Cl., Cp., and H. The most noteworthy differences are as follows. In Bk. ii. 734, 5, this MS. has quite a different couplet, viz.:

Men louyn women our al is toun aboute;

Be ey e wers? whi, nay, with-outyn doute.

Bk. ii. 792 runs thus:—

How ofte tyme may men rede and se.

Bk. iv. 309-15 (stanza 45) runs thus:—

What shulde ye don but, for myn disconfort,

Stondyn for nought, and wepyn out youre ye?

Syn sche is queynt that wont was yow disport[63],

In vayn from this forth have I seyn twye;

For[64] medycyn youre vertu is a-weye;

O crewel eyen, sythyn that youre dispyt

Was al to sen Crisseydes eyen bryght.

Bk. iv. 638 runs thus:—

Pandare answerde, of that be as be may.

After Bk. iv. 735, MS. Cm. introduces the following stanza, which, in the present text, appears a little later (ll. 750-6) in a slightly altered form.

The salte teris from hyre eyȝyn tweyn

Out ran, as schour of aprille, ful swythe;

Hyre white brest sche bet, and for the peyne,

Aftyr the deth cryede a thousent sithe,

Syn he that wonyt was hir wo for to lythe,

Sche mot forgon; for which disauenture

Sche held hire-selue a for-lost creature.

Bk. iv. 806-33 (four stanzas) are omitted; so also are the 18 stanzas referring to Free-Will, viz. Bk. iv. 953-1078. Bk. v. 230-1 runs thus:—

To whom for eueremor myn herte is holde:

And thus he pleynyd, and ferthere-more he tolde.

We cannot believe that Bk. iv. 309-15, as here given, can be {lxxi}genuine[65]; but it seems possible that some of the other readings may be so. The stanza, Bk. iv. 750-6, as here given, seems to represent the first draft of these lines, which were afterwards altered to the form in which they appear in the text, whilst at the same time the stanza was shifted down. However, this is mere speculation; and it must be confessed that, in many places, this MS. is strangely corrupted. Several stanzas have only six lines instead of seven, and readings occur which set all ideas of rime at defiance. Thus, in I. 1260, paste (riming with caste) appears as passede; in I. 1253, ryde (riming with aspyde) appears as rydende; in III. 351, hayes (riming with May is) appears as halis; &c.

Yet the MS. is worth collating, as it gives, occasionally, some excellent readings. For example, in Bk. i. 143, it preserves the word here, which other MSS. wrongly omit; and, in the very next line, rightly has to longe dwelle, not to longe to dwelle.

The MS. has been, at some time, shamefully maltreated by some one who has cut out several leaves, no doubt for the sake of their illuminated initials. Hence the following passages do not appear: I. 1-70; I. 1037—II. 84; III. 1-56; III. 1807—IV. 112; IV. 1667—V. 35; V. 1702—end (together with a piece at the beginning of the Canterbury Tales).

5. MS. H2.—Harleian MS. 3943, in the British Museum. Printed in full for the Chaucer Society in 1875, together with a most valuable line by line collation with Boccaccio's Filostrato, by Wm. Michael Rossetti. Referred to in Prof. Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer, i. 398, as 'much the worst that has been printed,' where his object is to depreciate its authority. Yet it is well worth a careful study, and it must be particularly borne in mind that it consists of two parts, written at different dates, and of different value. In Bell's Chaucer, we read of it:—'Unfortunately it is imperfect. The first few leaves, and the whole of the latter part of the poem, appear to have been destroyed, and the deficiency supplied by a later copyist.' The late hand occurs in I. 1-70, 498-567, III. 1429-1638, IV. 197—end, and Book V.; and thus occupies a large portion of the MS. Moreover, two leaves are lost after leaf 59, comprising III. 1289-1428; these are supplied in Dr. Furnivall's edition from Harl. 1239, which {lxxii}accounts for the extraordinary disorder in which these stanzas are arranged. The MS. also omits III. 1744-1771, and some other stanzas occasionally.

This is one of those curious MSS. which, although presenting innumerable corrupt readings (the worst being Commodious for Commeveden in III. 17), nevertheless have some points of contact with an excellent source. All editors must have observed a few such cases. Thus, in II. 615, it happily restores the right reading latis, where the ordinary reading gates is ludicrously wrong. In III. 49, it supplies the missing word gladnes. In V. 8, it has 'The Auricomus tressed Phebus hie on lofte,' instead of 'The golden tressed'; and this reading, though false, lets us into the secret of the origin of this epithet, viz. that it translates the Latin auricomus; see note to the line. In the very next line, V. 9, it preserves the correct reading bemes shene[66], riming with grene, quene, where other MSS. have bemes clere, a reminiscence of the opening line of Book III. Hence I have carefully collated this MS., and all readings of value are given in the Notes. See, e. g. III. 28, 49, 136, 551, 1268, 1703, &c.

6. MS. Harl. 1239 (B. M.). 'It is an oblong folio, written from the beginning in a small, clear character, which ceases at an earlier place [III. 231] than the change occurs in MS. 3943 [IV. 197], leaving the remainder comparatively useless as an authority.'—Bell. Dr. Furnivall has printed the passages in III. 1289-1428, and III. 1744-1771, from this MS. to supply the gaps in H 2 (see above); we thus see that it transposes several of the stanzas, and is but a poor authority.

7. MS. Harl. 2392 (B. M.). A late MS. on paper, not very correct; once the property of Sir H. Spelman. As an example of a strange reading, observe 'O mortal Gower,' in V. 1856. Still, it has the correct reading sheene in V. 9; and in III. 49, supplies the rare reading gladnesse, which is necessary to the sense.

This MS. has a large number of notes and glosses. Some are of small interest, but others are of value, and doubtless {lxxiii}proceeded from the author himself, as they furnish useful references and explanations. I here notice the best of them.

II. 8. 'Cleo: domina eloquencie.' This view of Clio explains the context.

II. 784. Side-note: 'nota mendacium.' A remarkable comment.

II. 1238-9. 'Leuis impressio, leuis recessio.' Clearly, a proverb.

III. 933. 'Dulcarnon: i. fuga miserorum.' This proves that Chaucer confused the 47th proposition of Euclid with the 5th; see note.

III. 1177. 'Beati misericordes'; from Matt. v. 7.

III. 1183. 'Petite et accipi[e]tis'; a remarkable comment.

III. 1415. 'Gallus vulgaris astrologus; Alanus, de Planctu Nature'; see note.

III. 1417. 'Lucifera: Stella matutina.'

III. 1466. 'Aurora: amica solis'; shewing the confusion of Tithonus with Titan.

IV. 22. 'Herine (sic), furie infernales; unde Lucanus, me pronuba duxit Herinis.' This proves that Chaucer really took the name from Lucan, Phars. viii. 90, q. v.

IV. 32. 'Sol in Leone'; i. e. the sun was in Leo; see note.

IV. 600. 'Audaces fortuna iuuat'; error for 'Audentes'; see note.

IV. 790. 'Vmbra subit terras,' &c.; Ovid, Met. xi. 61.

IV. 836. 'Extrema gaudii luctus'; see note.

IV. 1138. 'Flet tamen, et tepide,' &c.; Ovid, Met. x. 500.

IV. 1504. 'Non est bonum perdere substantiam propter accidens.'

IV. 1540. 'Styx, puteus infernalis.' Chaucer's mistake.

V. 8. 'The gold-tressed Phebus,' glossed 'Auricomus Sol'; which is from Valerius Flaccus; see note.

V. 319. Reference to Ovid's Metamorphoses; see note.

V. 655. 'Latona, i. luna'; shewing that 'Latona' is mis-written for 'Lucina.' Cf. IV. 1591.

V. 664. Reference to Ovid, Metam. ii. See note.

V. 1039. For 'she,' MS. has 'he,' correctly (see note); side-note, 'Nota, de donis c. d.', i. e. of Criseyde to Diomede.

V. 1107. 'Laurigerus'; see note.

V. 1110. 'Nisus,' glossed 'rex'; 'douhter,' glossed 'alauda'; see note.


V. 1548. 'Parodye: duracio'; see note.

V. 1550. 'Vnbodye: decorporare.'

There are many more such glosses, of lesser interest.

8. MS. Harl. 4912 (B. M.). On vellum; rather large pages, with wide margins; five stanzas on the page. Imperfect; ends at IV. 686. A poor copy. In III. 49, it retains the rare reading 'gladnes,' but miswritten as 'glanes.'

9. MS. Addit. 12044 (B. M.). On vellum; five stanzas to the page. Last leaf gone; ends at V. 1820. Not a good copy. In III. 17, it has 'Comeued hem,' an obvious error for 'Comeueden,' which is the true reading. In V. 8, it has 'golden dressed,' error for 'golden tressed.' Note this correct form 'golden'; for it is miswritten as 'gold' or 'golde' in nearly all other copies.

The next four are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

10. Arch. Seld. B. 24 is the Scottish MS., dated 1472, described in the Introduction to the Minor Poems, where it is denoted by 'Ar.,' and fully collated throughout the Legend of Good Women, where it appears in the foot-notes as 'A.' It seems to be the best of the Oxford MSS., and has some good readings. In III. 17, it has 'Commeued tham' for Commeueden,' which is near enough for a MS. that so freely drops inflexions; and the line ends with 'and amoreux tham made.' In III. 49, it correctly preserves 'gladness.'

11. MS. Rawlinson, Poet. 163. Not a very good copy. It omits the Prologue to Book III. At the end is the colophon:—

'Tregentyll brace Heer endith the book of
Troylus and of Cresseyde
brace Chaucer.'

I take 'Tregentyll' to be the scribe's name[67]. Besides the 'Troilus,' the MS. contains, on a fly-leaf, the unique copy of the Balade to Rosemounde, beneath which is written (as in the former case) 'tregentil' to the left of the page, and 'chaucer' to the right; connected by a thin stroke. See my 'Twelve Facsimiles of Old English MSS.'; Plate XII.

12. MS. Arch. Seld. supra 56. Small quarto, 8 inches by 5, on paper; vellum binding; writing clear. A poor copy. The grammar shews a Northern dialect.


13. MS. Digby 181. Incomplete; nearly half being lost. It ends at III. 532—'A certayn houre in which she come sholde.' A poor copy, closely allied to the preceding. Thus, in III. 17, both have moreux for amoreux; in III. 2, both have Adornes; in III. 6, both absurdly have Off (Of) for O; and so on.

14. MS. L. 1, in St. John's College, Cambridge. A fair MS., perhaps earlier than 1450. Subjoined to the Troilus is a sixteenth century copy of the Testament of Creseide. Quarto; on vellum; 10 inches by 6; in 10 sheets of 12 leaves each. Leaf g 12 is cut out, and g 11 is blank, but nothing seems to be lost. It frequently agrees with Cp., as in I. 5, fro ye; 21, be this; 36, desespeyred; 45, fair ladys so; 70, Delphicus; 308, kan thus. In I. 272, it correctly has: percede; in 337, nouncerteyne. In II. 734, it agrees with H.; 735 runs—'And whan hem list no lenger, lat hem leue'; a good line. In II. 894, it has 'mosten axe,' the very reading which I give; and in II. 968, stalkes.

15. MS. Phillipps 8252; the same MS. as that described in my preface to the C. text of Piers the Plowman, p. xix, where it is numbered XXVIII.

16. A MS. in the Library of Durham Cathedral, marked V. ii. 13. A single stanza of Troilus, viz. I. 631-7, occurs in MS. R. 3. 20, in Trinity College Library, Cambridge; and three stanzas, viz. III. 302-322, in MS. Ff. 1. 6, leaf 150, in the Cambridge University Library; all printed in Odd Texts of Chaucer's Minor Poems, ed. F. J. Furnivall, Chaucer Society, 1880, pp. x-xii. In 1887, Dr. Stephens found two vellum strips in the cover of a book, containing fragments of a MS. of Troilus (Book V. 1443-1498); see Appendix to the Report of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, May 24, 1887; pp. 331-5.

The MSS. fall, as far as I can tell, into two main families. The larger family is that which resembles Cl., Cp., and H. Of the smaller, Cm. may be taken as the type. The description of Cm. shews some of the chief variations. Observe that many MSS. omit I. 890-6; in the John's MS., it is inserted in a much later hand. The stanza is obviously genuine.

26. The Editions. 'Troilus' was first printed by Caxton, about 1484; but without printer's name, place, or date. See the description in Blades' Life of Caxton, p. 297. There is no title-page. Each page contains five stanzas. Two copies are in the British Museum; one at St. John's College, Oxford; and one (till {lxxvi}lately) was at Althorp. The second edition is by Wynkyn de Worde, in 1517. The third, by Pynson, in 1526. These three editions present Troilus as a separate work. After this, it was included in Thynne's edition of 1532, and in all the subsequent editions of Chaucer's Works.

Of these, the only editions accessible to me have been Thynne's (1532), of which there is a copy in the Cambridge University Library; also the editions of 1550 (or thereabouts) and 1561, of both of which I possess copies.

Thynne's edition was printed from so good a MS. as to render it an excellent authority. In a few places, I fear he has altered the text for the worse, and his errors have been carefully followed and preserved by succeeding editors. Thus he is responsible for altering io (= jo) into go, III. 33; for creating the remarkable 'ghost-word' gofysshe, III. 584; and a few similar curiosities. But I found it worth while to collate it throughout; and readings from it are marked 'Ed.' The later black-letter copies are mere reproductions of it.

27. The Present Edition. The present edition has the great advantage of being founded upon Cl. and Cp., neither of which have been previously made use of, though they are the two best. Bell's text is founded upon the Harleian MSS. numbered 1239, 2280, and 3943, in separate fragments; hence the text is neither uniform nor very good. Morris's text is much better, being founded upon H. (closely related to Cl. and Cp.), with a few corrections from other unnamed sources.

Thanks to the prints provided by the Chaucer Society, I have been able to produce a text which, I trust, leaves but little to be desired. I point out some of the passages which now appear in a correct form for the first time, as may be seen by comparison with the editions by Morris and Bell, which I denote by M. and B.

I. 136; derre, dearer; M. B. dere (no rime). 285. meninge, i. e. intention; and so in l. 289; M. B. mevynge. 388. M. B. insert a semicolon after arten. 465. fownes (see note); M. B. fantasye (line too long). 470 felle, fell, pl. adj.; M. B. fille, i. e. fell (verb). 590. no comfort; M. comfort; B. eny comfort. 786. Ticius (see note); M. Syciphus; B. Siciphus. 896. Thee oughte; M. To oght (no sense); B. The oght (will not scan). 1026. See note; put as a question in M. B.; B. even inserts not before to done. 1050. me asterte; M. may sterte; B. me stert (better).


II. 41. seyde, i. e. if that they seyde; M. B. seyinge (will not scan). 138. were (would there be); M. B. is. 180. wight; M. B. knyght (but see l. 177). 808. looth; M. B. leve. 834. Ye; M. B. The. 1596. For for; M. B. For.

III. 17. Comeveden (see note); M. Comeneden; B. Commodious. him; M. B. hem. 33. io (= jo); M. B. go. 49. M. B. omit gladnes. 572. Yow thurfte; M. Thow thruste; B. Yow durst. 584. goosish; M. goofish; B. gofisshe. 674. M. Thei voide [present], dronke [past], and traveres drawe [present] anon; B. They voyded, and drunk, and travars drew anone. Really, dronke and drawe are both past participles; see note. 725. Cipris; M. Cyphes; B. Ciphis. 1231. Bitrent and wryth, i. e. winds about and wreathes itself; M. Bytrent and writhe is; B. Bitrent and writhen is. Wryth is short for writheth; not a pp. 1453. bore, i. e. hole; M. boure; B. bowre. 1764. to-hepe, i. e. together; M. B. to kepe.

IV. 538. kyth; M. B. right (no sense). 696. thing is; M. B. thynges is. 818. martyre; M. B. matere (neither sense nor rime).

V. 49. helpen; M. B. holpen. 469. howve; M. B. howen. 583. in my; M. B. omit my. 927. wight; M. B. with. 1208. trustinge; M. B. trusten (against grammar). 1266. bet; M. B. beste. 1335, 6. wyte The teres, i. e. blame the tears; M. B. wite With teres. 1386. Commeve; M. Com in to; B. Can meven. 1467. She; M. B. So. 1791. pace; M. B. space (see note).

It is curious to find that such remarkable words as commeveden, io, voidee, goosish, to-hepe, appear in no Chaucerian glossary; they are only found in the MSS., being ignored in the editions.

A large number of lines are now, for the first time, spelt with forms that comply with grammar and enable the lines to be scanned. For example, M. and B. actually give wente and wonte in V. 546, instead of went and wont; knotles for knotteles in V. 769, &c.

I have also, for the first time, numbered the lines and stanzas correctly. In M., Books III. and IV. are both misnumbered, causing much trouble in reference. Dr. Furnivall's print of the Campsall MS. omits I. 890-6; and his print of MS. Harl. 3943 counts in the Latin lines here printed at p. 404.

28. It is worth notice that Troilus contains about fifty lines {lxxviii}in which the first foot consists of a single syllable. Examples in Book I are:—

That | the hot-e fyr of lov' him brende: 490.

Lov' | ayeins the which who-so defendeth: 603.

Twen | ty winter that his lady wiste: 811.

Wer' | it for my suster, al thy sorwe: 860.

Next | the foule netle, rough and thikke: 948.

Now | Pandar', I can no mor-e seye: 1051.

Al | derfirst his purpos for to winne: 1069.

So also II. 369, 677, 934, 1034, 1623 (and probably 1687); III. 412, 526, 662, 855 (perhaps 1552), 1570; IV. 176, 601, 716, 842, 1328, 1676; V. 67 (perhaps 311), 334, 402, 802, 823, 825, 831, 880, 887, 949, 950, 1083, 1094, 1151, 1379, 1446, 1454, 1468, 1524.

It thus appears that deficient lines of this character are by no means confined to the poems in 'heroic verse,' but occur in stanzas as well. Compare the Parlement of Foules, 445, 569.

29. Proverbs. Troilus contains a considerable number of proverbs and proverbial phrases or similes. See, e. g., I. 257, 300, 631, 638, 694, 708, 731, 740, 946-952, 960, 964, 1002, 1024; II. 343, 398, 403, 585, 784, 804, 807, 861, 867, 1022, 1030, 1041, 1238, 1245, 1332, 1335, 1380, 1387, 1553, 1745; III. 35, 198, 294, 308, 329, 405, 526, 711, 764, 775, 859, 861, 931, 1625, 1633; IV. 184, 415, 421, 460, 588, 595, 622, 728, 836, 1098, 1105, 1374, 1456, 1584; V. 484, 505, 784, 899, 971, 1174, 1265, 1433.

30. A translation of the first two books of Troilus into Latin verse, by Sir Francis Kinaston, was printed at Oxford in 1635. The volume also contains a few notes, but I do not find in them anything of value. The author tries to reproduce the English stanza, as thus:—

'Dolorem Troili duplicem narrare,

Qui Priami Regis Trojae fuit gnatus,

Vt primm illi contigit amare,

Vt miser, felix, et infortunatus

Erat, decessum ante sum conatus.

Tisiphone, fer opem recensere

Hos versus, qui, dum scribo, visi flere.'

For myself, I prefer the English.

31. Hazlitt's Handbook to Popular Literature records the following title:—'A Paraphrase vpon the 3 first bookes of Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida. Translated into modern English ... by J[onathan] S[idnam]. About 1630. Folio; 70 leaves; in 7-line stanzas.'




P. 8, Book I, met. 4, l. 8. For thonder-light a better reading is thonder-leit; see p. xliii, and the note (p. 422).

P. 10; foot-notes, l. 10. Read: C. vnplitable; A. inplitable.

P. 26, Book II, met. 1, l. 11. For proeueth read proeveth.

P. 29, Book II, pr. 3, l. 3. Delete the comma after wherwith.

P. 48, Book II, pr. 7, l. 86. For thas read that.

P. 50, Book II, pr. 8, l. 17. For windinge read windy. See pp. xlii, 434.

P. 58, Book III, pr. 3, l. 68. For all read al.

P. 62, l. 4. Counted as l. 10; it is really l. 9.

P. 63, Book III, pr. 5, l. 41. For of read of (in italics).

P. 74, Book III, pr. 10, l. 6. For has read hast.

P. 111. The side-number 215 is one line too high.

P. 122, Book IV, met. 6, l. 24. Delete the square brackets; see pp. xlii, xliii.

P. 124, Book IV, pr. 7, l. 61. MS. C. has confirme; and MS. A. has conferme. But the right reading must be conforme; for the Latin text has conformandae.


P. 159, Book I, 204. For cast read caste.

P. 160, Book I, 217. The alternative reading is better; see note, p. 463.

P. 160, Book I, 239. For yet read yit (for the rhyme).

P. 162, Book I, 284. For neuer read never.

P. 163, Book, I, 309. For Troylus read Troilus.

P. 163, Book I, 310. For thyng read thing.

P. 165, Book I, 401. Alter ! to ?

P. 166, Book I, 406. For thurst read thurste.

P. 166, Book I, 420. For deye read dye (for the rhyme).

P. 171, Book I, 570. For euery read every.

P. 172, Book I, 621. For Troylus read Troilus (as elsewhere).

P. 173, Book I, 626. Delete the comma after 'fare.'

P. 174, Book I, 656. For y read I.

P. 174, Book I, 657. Insert ' at the beginning.


P. 181, Book I, 879. For the read thee.

P. 192, Book II, 113. Delete ' at the end.

P. 194, Book II, 170. Insert ' at the beginning.

P. 205, Book II, 529. For penaunc read penaunce.

P. 208, Book II, 628. For swych read swich.

P. 229, Book II, 1294. Insert ' at the beginning.

P. 234, Book II, 1461. For streyt read streght, as in MS. H.

P. 260, Book III, 522. Delete the comma after laft.

P. 260, Book III, 535. For made read mad or maad.

P. 261, Book III, 558. For lengere read lenger.

P. 264, Book III, 662. For thondre read thonder.

P. 271, Book III, 885. For ringe read ring.

P. 282, Book III, 1219. For sweet read swete.

P. 312, Book IV, 318. For to the peyne read to my peyne.

P. 390, Book V, 1039. For she read he. Cf. note, p. 499; and p. lx, l. 3.

P. 431, note to Prose 5, 35; l. 3. Delete for which I find no authority. (In fact, postremo is the reading given by Peiper, from one MS. only; most MSS. have postremae, the reading given by Obbarius, who does not recognise the reading postremo).

P. 463. Note to I, 217. Add—So too in Barbour's Bruce, i. 582: 'Bot oft failyeis the fulis thocht.'

P. 479, last line; and p. 480, first line. For represents the Pers. and Arab. dū’lkarnayn, lit. two-horned; from Pers. , two, and karn, horn—read represents the Arab, zū’lkarnayn, lit. two-horned; from Arab. , lord of, hence, possessing, and the dual form of karn, horn.

Notes to I. 948, 951; II. 36, 1335; III. 1219. Dr. Kppel has shewn (in Archiv fr das Studium der neueren Sprachen, xc. 150, that Chaucer here quotes from Alanus de Insulis, Liber Parabolarum (as printed in Migne, Cursus Patrologicus, vol. ccx). The passages are:—

Fragrantes uicina rosas urtica perurit (col. 582).

Post noctem sperare diem, post nubila solem;

Post lacrimas risus laetitiamque potes (583).

Mille uiae ducunt homines per saecula Romam (591).

De nuce fit corylus, de glande fit ardua quercus (583).

Dulcius haerescunt humano mella palato,

Si malus hoc ipsum mordeat ante sapor (592).

P. 498, Note to V, 806. Add—L. 813 is due to Dares; see p. lxiv, note.

P. 499, Note to V, 1039, l. 6. For the rest is Chaucer's addition read the statement that she gave it to Diomede is due to Benot; see p. lxii. Again, just below, read The incidents of the 'broche' and 'pensel' are also due to the same; see p. lxii.




Metre I.

Carmina qui quondam studio florente peregi.

Allas! I, weping, am constreined to biginnen vers of sorowful

matere, that whylom in florisching studie made delitable ditees.

For lo! rendinge Muses of poetes endyten to me thinges to be

writen; and drery vers of wrecchednesse weten my face with


verray teres. At the leeste, no drede ne mighte overcomen tho

Muses, that they ne weren felawes, and folweden my wey, that is

to seyn, whan I was exyled; they that weren glorie of my youthe,

whylom weleful and grene, comforten now the sorowful werdes of

me, olde man. For elde is comen unwarly upon me, hasted by


the harmes that I have, and sorow hath comaunded his age to be

in me. Heres hore ben shad overtymeliche upon myn heved,

and the slake skin trembleth upon myn empted body. Thilke

deeth of men is weleful that ne cometh not in yeres that ben

swete, but cometh to wrecches, often y-cleped.


Allas! allas! with how deef an ere deeth, cruel, torneth awey

fro wrecches, and naiteth to closen wepinge eyen! Whyl Fortune,

unfeithful, favorede me with lighte goodes, the sorowful houre,

that is to seyn, the deeth, hadde almost dreynt myn heved. But

{2}now, for Fortune cloudy hath chaunged hir deceyvable chere to


me-ward, myn unpitous lyf draweth a-long unagreable dwellinges

in me. O ye, my frendes, what or wherto avauntede ye me to

ben weleful? for he that hath fallen stood nat in stedefast


C. = MS. Ii. 3. 21, Cambridge; A. = MS. Addit. 10340 (Brit. Mus.). The text follows C. mainly. Ed. = Printed edition (1532), quoted occasionally.

1, 2. Imperfect in C. 6. C. foleweden; A. folweden. 8. C. sorful; A. sorouful. // C. wierdes, glossed fata; A. werdes. 11. C. arn; A. ben. 12. C. of; A. upon. // C. emptyd; A. emty. 16. C. nayteth; A. Ed. naieth. 17. A. glosses lighte by sc. temporels. // C. sorwful; A. sorouful. 19. C. deceyuable; A. disceyuable. 20. C. vnpietous; A. vnpitouse. 22. C. stidefast; A. stedfast.

Prose I.

Hec dum mecum tacitus ipse reputarem.

Whyle that I stille recordede thise thinges with my-self, and

markede my weeply compleynte with office of pointel, I saw,

stondinge aboven the heighte of myn heved, a woman of ful greet

reverence by semblaunt, hir eyen brenninge and cleer-seinge over


the comune might of men; with a lyfly colour, and with swich

vigour and strengthe that it ne mighte nat ben empted; al were it

so that she was ful of so greet age, that men ne wolde nat trowen,

in no manere, that she were of oure elde. The stature of hir was

of a doutous Iugement; for som-tyme she constreinede and shronk


hir-selven lyk to the comune mesure of men, and sum-tyme it

semede that she touchede the hevene with the heighte of hir

heved; and whan she heef hir heved hyer, she percede the

selve hevene, so that the sighte of men looking was in ydel. Hir

clothes weren maked of right delye thredes and subtil crafte, of


perdurable matere; the whiche clothes she hadde woven with hir

owene hondes, as I knew wel after by hir-self, declaringe and

shewinge to me the beautee; the whiche clothes a derknesse of a

forleten and dispysed elde hadde dusked and derked, as it is wont

to derken bi-smokede images.


In the nethereste hem or bordure of thise clothes men redden,

y-woven in, a Grekissh P, that signifyeth the lyf Actif; and aboven

{3}that lettre, in the heyeste bordure, a Grekissh T, that signifyeth

the lyf Contemplatif. And bi-twixen these two lettres ther weren

seyn degrees, nobly y-wroght in manere of laddres; by whiche


degrees men mighten climben fro the nethereste lettre to the

uppereste. Natheles, handes of some men hadde corven that cloth

by violence and by strengthe; and everiche man of hem hadde

born awey swiche peces as he mighte geten. And forsothe, this

forseide woman bar smale bokes in hir right hand, and in hir left


hand she bar a ceptre.

And whan she say thise poetical Muses aprochen aboute my

bed, and endytinge wordes to my wepinges, she was a litel

amoved, and glowede with cruel eyen. 'Who,' quod she, 'hath

suffred aprochen to this syke man thise comune strompetes of


swich a place that men clepen the theatre? The whiche nat

only ne asswagen nat hise sorwes with none remedies, but they

wolden feden and norisshen hem with swete venim. Forsothe,

thise ben tho that with thornes and prikkinges of talents or

affecciouns, whiche that ne ben no-thing fructefyinge nor


profitable, destroyen the corn plentevous of fruites of resoun;

for they holden the hertes of men in usage, but they ne delivere

nat folk fro maladye. But if ye Muses hadden withdrawen fro

me, with your flateryes, any uncunninge and unprofitable man, as

men ben wont to finde comunly amonges the poeple, I wolde


wene suffre the lasse grevously; for-why, in swiche an unprofitable

man, myn ententes ne weren no-thing endamaged. But ye withdrawen

me this man, that hath be norisshed in the studies or

scoles of Eleaticis and of Achademicis in Grece. But goth now

rather awey, ye mermaidenes, whiche that ben swete til it be at


the laste, and suffreth this man to be cured and heled by myne

Muses,' that is to seyn, by noteful sciences.

And thus this companye of Muses y-blamed casten wrothly the

{4}chere dounward to the erthe; and, shewinge by reednesse hir

shame, they passeden sorowfully the threshfold.


And I, of whom the sighte, plounged in teres, was derked so

that I ne mighte not knowen what that womman was, of so

imperial auctoritee, I wex al abaisshed and astoned, and caste my

sighte doun to the erthe, and bigan stille for to abyde what she

wolde don afterward. Tho com she ner, and sette hir doun up-on


the uttereste corner of my bed; and she, biholdinge my chere,

that was cast to the erthe, hevy and grevous of wepinge, compleinede,

with thise wordes that I shal seyen, the perturbacioun

of my thought.

Pr. I. 1. C. While that; A. In the mene while that. 2. C. sawh; A. sawe. 3. C. heyhte; A. heyȝt. // C. gret; A. greet. 5. C. myht; A. myȝt. 6. C. vygor; A. vigoure. // C. myhte; A. myȝt. // C. emted; A. emptid. 7. C. gret; A. greet (and so often). 9. C. dowtows; A. doutous (and so ow for ou often). 10. C. lyk; A. lyche. 11. C. heyhte; A. heyȝte (and so elsewhere). 12. C. hef; A. heued; Ed. houe. 14. C. riht (and so h for gh often). 16. C. knewh; A. knewe. 17. C. dirknesse; A. derkenes. 19. Both dyrken. // C. the smokede; A. bysmoked. 21. A. in swiche; C. om. swiche. C. glosses P by practik. // C. syngnifieth; A. signifieth. 22. C. glosses T by theorik. // C. singnifieth; A. signifieth. 23. C. by-twixen; A. by-twene. 24. C. nobely; A. nobly. 25. C. clymbyn (and so -yn for -en constantly). // C. Ed. nethereste; A. nethemast. 26. C. Ed. vppereste; A. ouermast 31. C. say; A. sauȝ. 33. C. amoued; A. ameued. // C. cruwel; A. cruel. 34. C. sike; A. seek. // C. the; A. thise (Lat. has). 37. C. noryssyn; A. norysche. // C. hym; A. hem. 39. C. fructefiynge; A. frutefiyng. 40. C. corn; A. cornes (Lat. segetem). 41. C. om. the. // C. om. ne. 42. C. maledye; A. maladye. 44. C. poeple; A. peple. 45. C. greuosly; A. greuously (and so often os for ous in C.). 48. C. schooles; A. scoles. 53. C. downward; A. adounward. // C. om. and. // C. rednesse; A. redenesse. 54. C. sorwfully. // C. thresshfold; A. threschefolde. 55. C. dyrked; A. derked. 57. C. wax; A. wex. // C. cast; A. caste. 58. C. down to; A. adoune in-to. 59. C. ner; A. nere. 61. C. compleyde; A. compleinede. 63. C. thowht; A. thouȝt.

Metre II.

Heu quam precipiti mersa profundo.

'Allas! how the thought of man, dreint in over-throwinge

deepnesse, dulleth, and forleteth his propre cleernesse, mintinge

to goon in-to foreine derknesses, as ofte as his anoyous bisinesse

wexeth with-oute mesure, that is driven to and fro with worldly


windes! This man, that whylom was free, to whom the hevene

was open and knowen, and was wont to goon in heveneliche

pathes, and saugh the lightnesse of the rede sonne, and saugh the

sterres of the colde mone, and whiche sterre in hevene useth

wandering recourses, y-flit by dyverse speres—this man, overcomer,


hadde comprehended al this by noumbre of acountinge in

astronomye. And over this, he was wont to seken the causes

whennes the souning windes moeven and bisien the smothe water

of the see; and what spirit torneth the stable hevene; and why

the sterre aryseth out of the rede eest, to fallen in the westrene


wawes; and what atempreth the lusty houres of the firste somer

sesoun, that highteth and apparaileth the erthe with rosene flowres;

and who maketh that plentevouse autompne, in fulle yeres, fleteth

with hevy grapes. And eek this man was wont to telle the

{5}dyverse causes of nature that weren y-hidde. Allas! now lyeth


he empted of light of his thought; and his nekke is pressed with

hevy cheynes; and bereth his chere enclyned adoun for the grete

weighte, and is constreined to looken on the fool erthe!

Me. II. 3. C. dyrk-; A. derk-. 4. C. wordely; A. worldly (Lat. terrenis). 5. C. Ed. whilom; A. sumtyme. 7. C. lythnesse; A. lyȝtnesse. 10. C. comprendyd; A. Ed. comprehendid. 11. C. seken; A. seche. 14. C. est; A. eest. 15. C. fyrst; A. fyrste. 17. A. that; C. the. // C. autompne; A. autumpne. 19. C. I-hydde; A. yhidde. // C. lith; A. lieth. 20. A. emptid; C. emted. 22. C. the fool; Ed. the fole; A. foule (Lat. stolidam).

Prose II.

Set medicine, inquit, tempus est.

But tyme is now,' quod she, 'of medicine more than of

compleinte.' Forsothe than she, entendinge to me-ward with alle

the lookinge of hir eyen, seide:—'Art nat thou he,' quod she,

'that whylom y-norisshed with my milk, and fostered with myne


metes, were escaped and comen to corage of a parfit man?

Certes, I yaf thee swiche armures that, yif thou thy-self ne

haddest first cast hem a-wey, they shulden han defended thee

in sikernesse that may nat ben over-comen. Knowest thou me

nat? Why art thou stille? Is it for shame or for astoninge?


It were me lever that it were for shame; but it semeth me that

astoninge hath oppressed thee.' And whan she say me nat only

stille, but with-outen office of tunge and al doumb, she leide hir

hand softely upon my brest, and seide: 'Here nis no peril,' quod

she; 'he is fallen into a litargie, whiche that is a comune sykenes


to hertes that ben deceived. He hath a litel foryeten him-self,

but certes he shal lightly remembren him-self, yif so be that he

hath knowen me or now; and that he may so don, I wil wypen a

litel his eyen, that ben derked by the cloude of mortal thinges.'

Thise wordes seide she, and with the lappe of hir garment, y-plyted


in a frounce, she dryede myn eyen, that weren fulle of the wawes

of my wepinges.

Pr. II. 4. C. Ed. whilom; A. sumtyme. // C. noryssed; A. I-norschide. 5. C. escaped; A. ascaped. 8. C. Knowestow; A. Knowest thou. 9. C. artow; A. art thou. // C. it is; A. Ed. is it. // C. asthonynge (but astonynge below). 14. C. litarge; A. litargie. // C. sykenesse; A. sekenes. 15. C. desseyued; A. desceiued. 16. C. remenbren; A. remembren.

Metre III.

Tunc me discussa liquerunt nocte tenebre.

Thus, whan that night was discussed and chased a-wey,

derknesses forleften me, and to myn eyen repeirede ayein hir

{6}firste strengthe. And, right by ensaumple as the sonne is hid

whan the sterres ben clustred (that is to seyn, whan sterres ben


covered with cloudes) by a swifte winde that highte Chorus, and

that the firmament stant derked by wete ploungy cloudes, and

that the sterres nat apperen up-on hevene, so that the night

semeth sprad up-on erthe: yif thanne the wind that highte Borias,

y-sent out of the caves of the contree of Trace, beteth this night


(that is to seyn, chaseth it a-wey), and descovereth the closed day:

than shyneth Phebus y-shaken with sodein light, and smyteth

with his bemes in mervelinge eyen.

Me. III. 1. C. descussed; A. discussed. 2. C. dirk-; A. derk-. // C. om. ayein. 3. C. fyrst; A. firste. 5. C. heyhte; A. hyȝt. 6. C. dirked; A. derked. 8. C. hyhte; A. hyȝt.

Prose III.

Haud aliter tristicie nebulis dissolutis.

Right so, and non other wyse, the cloudes of sorwe dissolved

and don a-wey, I took hevene, and receivede minde to knowen the

face of my fysicien; so that I sette myn eyen on hir, and fastnede

my lookinge. I beholde my norice Philosophie, in whos houses


I hadde conversed and haunted fro my youthe; and I seide thus.

'O thou maistresse of alle vertues, descended from the soverein

sete, why artow comen in-to this solitarie place of myn exil?

Artow comen for thou art maked coupable with me of false



'O,' quod she, 'my norry, sholde I forsaken thee now, and

sholde I nat parten with thee, by comune travaile, the charge

that thou hast suffred for envie of my name? Certes, it nere

not leveful ne sittinge thing to Philosophie, to leten with-outen

companye the wey of him that is innocent. Sholde I thanne


redoute my blame, and agrysen as though ther were bifallen a

newe thing? quasi diceret, non. For trowestow that Philosophie

be now alderfirst assailed in perils by folk of wikkede maneres?

Have I nat striven with ful greet stryf, in olde tyme, bifore the

age of my Plato, ayeines the foolhardinesse of folye? And eek,


the same Plato livinge, his maister Socrates deservede victorie of

{7}unrightful deeth in my presence. The heritage of which Socrates—the

heritage is to seyn the doctrine of the whiche Socrates in his

opinioun of Felicitee, that I clepe welefulnesse—whan that the

poeple of Epicuriens and Stoiciens and many othre enforceden


hem to go ravisshe everich man for his part—that is to seyn,

that everich of hem wolde drawen to the defence of his opinioun the

wordes of Socrates—they, as in partie of hir preye, to-drowen me,

cryinge and debatinge ther-ayeins, and corven and to-renten my

clothes that I hadde woven with myn handes; and with tho


cloutes that they hadden araced out of my clothes they wenten

awey, weninge that I hadde gon with hem everydel.

In whiche Epicuriens and Stoiciens, for as moche as ther semede

some traces or steppes of myn habite, the folye of men, weninge

tho Epicuriens and Stoiciens my famuleres, perverted (sc. persequendo)


some through the errour of the wikkede or uncunninge

multitude of hem. This is to seyn that, for they semede philosophres,

they weren pursued to the deeth and slayn. So yif thou hast nat

knowen the exilinge of Anaxogore, ne the enpoysoninge of

Socrates, ne the tourments of Zeno, for they weren straungeres:


yit mightestow han knowen the Senecciens and the Canios and

the Sorans, of whiche folk the renoun is neither over-olde ne

unsolempne The whiche men, no-thing elles ne broughte hem to

the deeth but only for they weren enfourmed of myne maneres,

and semeden most unlyke to the studies of wikkede folk. And


forthy thou oughtest nat to wondren though that I, in the bittre

see of this lyf, be fordriven with tempestes blowinge aboute, in

the whiche tempestes this is my most purpos, that is to seyn, to

displesen to wikkede men. Of whiche shrewes, al be the ost

never so greet, it is to dispyse; for it nis governed with no leder


of resoun, but it is ravisshed only by fletinge errour folyly and

lightly. And if they som-tyme, makinge an ost ayeins us, assaile

us as strenger, our leder draweth to-gidere hise richesses in-to his

tour, and they ben ententif aboute sarpulers or sachels unprofitable

{8}for to taken. But we that ben heye aboven, siker fro alle


tumulte and wode noise, warnestored and enclosed in swich a

palis, whider as that chateringe or anoyinge folye ne may nat

atayne, we scorne swiche ravineres and henteres of fouleste


Pr. III. 3. C. fesissien; A. fyciscien; Ed. phisycien. // C. fastnede; A. festned. 4. Lat. respicio. 6. C. vertuus; A. vertues. 7. C. artow; A. art thou. 13. A. om. thing. 14. C. compaygnie; A. compaignie. 16. C. trowestow; A. trowest thou. 20. C. desseruede; A. deserued. 21. C. eritage; A. heritage. 25. C. rauysse; A. rauische. 26. C. deffence; A. defence. 30. C. arraced; A. arased. 31. C. om. I. 33. C. or; A. and. 34. A. familers. 36. A. om. that. 38. C. om. 1st of. 40. C. myhtestow; A. myȝtest thou. // C. Senecciens; A. Senectiens; Ed. Senecas. 43. C. enformyd; A. vnfourmed. 44. C. vnlyk; A. vnlyke. 48. C. oost, glossed i. acies. 50. C. rauyssed; A. rauysched. // C. folyly, i. sine consilio. 52. A. hys rycchesse. 53. C. sarpuleris; A. sarpulers. 55. C. tumolte; A. tumulte. // A. stored. 56. C. palis; A. palays (Lat. uallo). // C. om. that. // C. anoyenge; A. anoying. 57 C. atayne; A. attayne. // C. schorne; A. scorne.

Metre IV.

Quisquis composito serenus euo.

Who-so it be that is cleer of vertu, sad, and wel ordinat of

livinge, that hath put under foot the proude werdes and looketh

upright up-on either fortune, he may holde his chere undiscomfited.

The rage ne the manaces of the see, commoevinge or


chasinge upward hete fro the botme, ne shal not moeve that

man; ne the unstable mountaigne that highte Vesevus, that

wrytheth out through his brokene chiminees smokinge fyres. Ne

the wey of thonder-light, that is wont to smyten heye toures, ne

shal nat moeve that man. Wher-to thanne, o wrecches, drede ye


tirauntes that ben wode and felonous with-oute any strengthe?

Hope after no-thing, ne drede nat; and so shaltow desarmen

the ire of thilke unmighty tiraunt. But who-so that, quakinge,

dredeth or desireth thing that nis nat stable of his right, that

man that so doth hath cast awey his sheld and is remoeved fro


his place, and enlaceth him in the cheyne with the which he may

ben drawen.

Me. IV. 2. C. leuynge; A. lyuyng. // Both wierdes; C. has the gloss fata. 3. C. may his cheere holde vndescounfited; A. may holde hys chiere vndiscomfited. 4. C. manesses; A. manace (Lat. minae). 5. hete (Lat. aestum). 6. C. hihte; A. hyȝt. 7. Ed. writheth; C. writith; A. wircheth (Lat. torquet). // A. chemineys. 9. C. Whar-; A. Wher-. 10. C. felonos; A. felownes. 11. C. deseruien; A. desarmen; Ed. disarmen. 14. C. remwed; A. remoeued. 15. A. om. the before which.

Prose IV.

Sentisne, inquit, hec.

'Felestow,' quod she, 'thise thinges, and entren they aught in

thy corage? Artow lyke an asse to the harpe? Why wepestow,

{9}why spillestow teres? Yif thou abydest after help of thy leche,

thee bihoveth discovere thy wounde.'


Tho I, that hadde gadered strengthe in my corage, answerede

and seide: 'And nedeth it yit,' quod I, 'of rehersinge or of

amonicioun; and sheweth it nat y-nough by him-self the sharpnesse

of Fortune, that wexeth wood ayeins me? Ne moeveth it

nat thee to seen the face or the manere of this place (i. prisoun)?


Is this the librarie whiche that thou haddest chosen for a right

certein sete to thee in myn hous, ther-as thou desputedest ofte

with me of the sciences of thinges touchinge divinitee and touchinge

mankinde? Was thanne myn habite swich as it is now?

Was than my face or my chere swiche as now (quasi diceret, non),


whan I soughte with thee secrets of nature, whan thou enformedest

my maneres and the resoun of alle my lyf to the ensaumple of

the ordre of hevene? Is nat this the guerdoun that I referre to

thee, to whom I have be obeisaunt? Certes, thou confermedest,

by the mouth of Plato, this sentence, that is to seyn, that comune


thinges or comunalitees weren blisful, yif they that hadden studied

al fully to wisdom governeden thilke thinges, or elles yif it so

bifille that the governoures of comunalitees studieden to geten


Thou seidest eek, by the mouth of the same Plato, that it was


a necessarie cause, wyse men to taken and desire the governaunce

of comune thinges, for that the governements of citees, y-left

in the handes of felonous tormentours citizenes, ne sholde nat

bringe in pestilence and destruccioun to gode folk. And therfor

I, folwinge thilke auctoritee (sc. Platonis), desired to putten forth


in execucioun and in acte of comune administracioun thilke

thinges that I hadde lerned of thee among my secree resting-whyles.

Thou, and god that putte thee in the thoughtes of wyse

folk, ben knowinge with me, that no-thing ne broughte me to

{10}maistrie or dignitee, but the comune studie of alle goodnesse.


And ther-of comth it that bi-twixen wikked folk and me han ben

grevous discordes, that ne mighten ben relesed by preyeres; for

this libertee hath the freedom of conscience, that the wratthe of

more mighty folk hath alwey ben despysed of me for savacioun of



How ofte have I resisted and withstonde thilke man that highte

Conigaste, that made alwey assautes ayeins the prospre fortunes of

pore feble folk? How ofte eek have I put of or cast out him,

Trigwille, provost of the kinges hous, bothe of the wronges that he

hadde bigunne to don, and eek fully performed? How ofte have


I covered and defended by the auctoritee of me, put ayeins perils—

that is to seyn, put myn auctoritee in peril for—the wrecched

pore folk, that the covetyse of straungeres unpunished tourmenteden

alwey with miseyses and grevaunces out of noumbre? Never man

ne drow me yit fro right to wronge. Whan I say the fortunes and


the richesses of the poeple of the provinces ben harmed or

amenused, outher by privee ravynes or by comune tributes or

cariages, as sory was I as they that suffreden the harm.

Glossa. Whan that Theodoric, the king of Gothes, in a dere

yere, hadde hise gerneres ful of corn, and comaundede that no man


ne sholde byen no corn til his corn were sold, and that at a grevous

dere prys, Boece withstood that ordinaunce, and over-com it, knowinge

al this the king him-self.

Textus. Whan it was in the soure hungry tyme, ther was

establisshed or cryed grevous and inplitable coempcioun, that men


sayen wel it sholde greetly turmenten and endamagen al the

province of Campaigne, I took stryf ayeins the provost of the pretorie

for comune profit. And, the king knowinge of it, I overcom

it, so that the coempcioun ne was not axed ne took effect.

{11}[Glossa.] Coempcioun, that is to seyn, comune achat or bying


to-gidere, that were establisshed up-on the poeple by swiche a manere

imposicioun, as who-so boughte a busshel corn, he moste yeve the king

the fifte part.

[Textus.] Paulin, a counseiller of Rome, the richesses of the

whiche Paulin the houndes of the palays, that is to seyn, the officeres,


wolden han devoured by hope and covetise, yit drow I him out of

the Iowes (sc. faucibus) of hem that gapeden. And for as moche

as the peyne of the accusacioun aiuged biforn ne sholde nat

sodeinly henten ne punisshen wrongfully Albin, a counseiller of

Rome, I putte me ayeins the hates and indignaciouns of the


accusor Ciprian. Is it nat thanne y-nough y-seyn, that I have

purchased grete discordes ayeins my-self? But I oughte be the

more assured ayeins alle othre folk (s. Romayns), that for the love

of rightwisnesse I ne reserved never no-thing to my-self to hem-ward

of the kinges halle, sc. officers, by the whiche I were the more


siker. But thorugh tho same accusers accusinge, I am condempned.

Of the noumbir of the whiche accusers oon Basilius,

that whylom was chased out of the kinges service, is now compelled

in accusinge of my name, for nede of foreine moneye.

Also Opilion and Gaudencius han accused me, al be it so that the


Iustice regal hadde whylom demed hem bothe to go in-to exil for

hir trecheryes and fraudes withoute noumbir. To whiche Iugement

they nolden nat obeye, but defendeden hem by the sikernesse

of holy houses, that is to seyn, fledden into seintuaries; and

whan this was aperceived to the king, he comaundede, that but


they voidede the citee of Ravenne by certein day assigned, that

men sholde merken hem on the forheved with an hoot yren and

chasen hem out of the toune. Now what thing, semeth thee,

mighte ben lykned to this crueltee? For certes, thilke same day

{12}was received the accusinge of my name by thilke same accusers.


What may ben seid her-to? (quasi diceret, nichil). Hath my

studie and my cunninge deserved thus; or elles the forseide dampnacioun

of me, made that hem rightful accusers or no? (quasi

diceret, non). Was not Fortune ashamed of this? Certes, al

hadde nat Fortune ben ashamed that innocence was accused, yit


oughte she han had shame of the filthe of myne accusours.

But, axestow in somme, of what gilt I am accused, men seyn

that I wolde save the companye of the senatours. And desirest

thou to heren in what manere? I am accused that I sholde han

destourbed the accuser to beren lettres, by whiche he sholde han


maked the senatoures gilty ayeins the kinges real maiestee. O

maistresse, what demestow of this? Shal I forsake this blame,

that I ne be no shame to thee? (quasi diceret, non). Certes, I have

wold it, that is to seyn, the savacioun of the senat, ne I shal never

leten to wilne it, and that I confesse and am aknowe; but the


entente of the accuser to be destourbed shal cese. For shal I

clepe it thanne a felonie or a sinne that I have desired the

savacioun of the ordre of the senat? (quasi diceret, dubito quid).

And certes yit hadde thilke same senat don by me, thorugh hir

decrets and hir Iugements, as though it were a sinne or a felonie;


that is to seyn, to wilne the savacioun of hem (sc. senatus). But

folye, that lyeth alwey to him-self, may not chaunge the merite

of thinges. Ne I trowe nat, by the Iugement of Socrates, that

it were leveful to me to hyde the sothe, ne assente to lesinges.

But certes, how so ever it be of this, I putte it to gessen or


preisen to the Iugement of thee and of wyse folk. Of whiche

thing al the ordinaunce and the sothe, for as moche as folk that

ben to comen after our dayes shullen knowen it, I have put it

in scripture and in remembraunce. For touching the lettres falsly

maked, by whiche lettres I am accused to han hoped the fredom


of Rome, what aperteneth me to speke ther-of? Of whiche

lettres the fraude hadde ben shewed apertly, yif I hadde had

libertee for to han used and ben at the confessioun of myne

{13}accusours, the whiche thing in alle nedes hath greet strengthe.

For what other fredom may men hopen? Certes, I wolde that


som other fredom mighte ben hoped. I wolde thanne han

answered by the wordes of a man that highte Canius; for whan

he was accused by Gaius Cesar, Germeynes sone, that he

(Canius) was knowinge and consentinge of a coniuracioun

y-maked ayeins him (sc. Gaius), this Canius answerede thus:


"Yif I hadde wist it, thou haddest nat wist it." In which thing

sorwe hath nat so dulled my wit, that I pleyne only that shrewede

folk aparailen felonies ayeins vertu; but I wondre greetly how

that they may performe thinges that they hadde hoped for to

don. For-why, to wilne shrewednesse, that comth peraventure


of oure defaute; but it is lyk a monstre and a mervaille, how

that, in the present sighte of god, may ben acheved and performed

swiche thinges as every felonous man hath conceived in his

thought ayeins innocents. For which thing oon of thy famileres

nat unskilfully axed thus: "Yif god is, whennes comen wikkede


thinges? And yif god ne is, whennes comen gode thinges?"

But al hadde it ben leveful that felonous folk, that now desiren

the blood and the deeth of alle gode men and eek of alle the

senat, han wilned to gon destroyen me, whom they han seyen

alwey batailen and defenden gode men and eek al the senat,


yit had I nat desserved of the faderes, that is to seyn, of the

senatoures, that they sholden wilne my destruccioun.

Thou remembrest wel, as I gesse, that whan I wolde doon or

seyen any thing, thou thyself, alwey present, rewledest me. At

the city of Verone, whan that the king, gredy of comune slaughter,


caste him to transporten up al the ordre of the senat the gilt of

his real maiestee, of the whiche gilt that Albin was accused, with

how gret sikernesse of peril to me defendede I al the senat!

Thou wost wel that I seye sooth, ne I ne avauntede me never

in preysinge of my-self. For alwey, whan any wight receiveth


precious renoun in avauntinge him-self of his werkes, he amenuseth

the secree of his conscience. But now thou mayst wel seen to

{14}what ende I am comen for myne innocence; I receive peyne

of fals felonye for guerdon of verray vertu. And what open

confessioun of felonye hadde ever Iuges so acordaunt in crueltee,


that is to seyn, as myn accusinge hath, that either errour of mannes

wit or elles condicioun of Fortune, that is uncertein to alle mortal

folk, ne submittede some of hem, that is to seyn, that it ne enclynede

som Iuge to han pitee or compassioun? For al-thogh I hadde ben

accused that I wolde brenne holy houses, and strangle preestes


with wikkede swerde, or that I hadde greythed deeth to al gode

men, algates the sentence sholde han punisshed me, present,

confessed, or convict. But now I am remewed fro the citee of

Rome almost fyve hundred thousand pas, I am with-oute defence

dampned to proscripcioun and to the deeth, for the studie and


bountees that I have doon to the senat. But O, wel ben they

worthy of merite (as who seith, nay), ther mighte never yit non

of hem be convict of swiche a blame as myne is! Of whiche

trespas, myne accusours sayen ful wel the dignitee; the whiche

dignitee, for they wolden derken it with medeling of som felonye,


they baren me on hand, and lyeden, that I hadde polut and

defouled my conscience with sacrilege, for coveitise of dignitee.

And certes, thou thy-self, that are plaunted in me, chacedest

out of the sege of my corage al coveitise of mortal thinges; ne

sacrilege hadde no leve to han a place in me biforn thyne eyen.


For thou droppedest every day in myne eres and in my thought

thilke comaundement of Pictagoras, that is to seyn, men shal

serve to godde, and not to goddes. Ne it was nat convenient,

ne no nede, to taken help of the foulest spirites; I, that thou

hast ordeined and set in swiche excellence that thou makedest


me lyk to god. And over this, the right clene secree chaumbre

of myne hous, that is to seyn, my wyf, and the companye of

myn honest freendes, and my wyves fader, as wel holy as worthy

{15}to ben reverenced thorugh his owne dedes, defenden me from

alle suspecioun of swich blame. But O malice! For they that


accusen me taken of thee, Philosophie, feith of so gret blame!

For they trowen that I have had affinitee to malefice or enchauntement,

by-cause that I am replenisshed and fulfilled with thy

techinges, and enformed of thy maneres. And thus it suffiseth

not only, that thy reverence ne availe me not, but-yif that thou,


of thy free wille, rather be blemished with myn offencioun. But

certes, to the harmes that I have, ther bitydeth yit this

encrees of harm, that the gessinge and the Iugement of moche

folk ne looken no-thing to the desertes of thinges, but only

to the aventure of fortune; and iugen that only swiche thinges


ben purveyed of god, whiche that temporel welefulnesse commendeth.

Glose. As thus: that, yif a wight have prosperitee, he is a

good man and worthy to han that prosperitee; and who-so hath

adversitee, he is a wikked man, and god hath forsake him, and


he is worthy to han that adversitee. This is the opinioun of some


And ther-of comth that good gessinge, first of alle thing, forsaketh

wrecches: certes, it greveth me to thinke right now the

dyverse sentences that the poeple seith of me. And thus moche


I seye, that the laste charge of contrarious fortune is this: that,

whan that any blame is leyd upon a caitif, men wenen that he

hath deserved that he suffreth. And I, that am put awey fro

gode men, and despoiled of dignitees, and defouled of my name

by gessinge, have suffred torment for my gode dedes. Certes,


me semeth that I see the felonous covines of wikked men

habounden in Ioye and in gladnesse. And I see that every

lorel shapeth him to finde out newe fraudes for to accuse gode

folk. And I see that gode men beth overthrowen for drede

of my peril; and every luxurious tourmentour dar doon alle


felonye unpunisshed and ben excited therto by yiftes; and

innocents ne ben not only despoiled of sikernesse but of defence;

and therfore me list to cryen to god in this wyse:—


Pr. IV. 1. C. Felistow; A. Felest thou. 2. A. Art thou. // C. wepistow; A. wepest thou. 3. A. spillest thou. 9. C. sen; A. seen. 11. A. sege (for sete). 12. So A.; C. deuynyte. // C. om. 2nd touchinge. 13. C. om. it is. 14. C. om. quasi ... non. 17. After this, C. has nonne; A. has ironice. // C. gerdouns; A. gerdoun (Lat. praemia). 18. C. conformedest (Lat. sanxisti); see note. 19. C. Mowht; A. mouthe. 20. A. comunabletes. 22. A. studieden in grete wisdomes. 25. C. whise; A. wyse. 26. A. of comune citees (Lat. urbium). 27. C. citesenes; A. citizenis. 29. A. folowynge. // C. autorite; A. auctoritee. 30. C. excussioun(!); A. execusioun. 32. C. whise; A. wise. 33. A. knowen; C. has the gloss concij (= conscii). 34. C. dignete; A. dignite. // C. om. the. 36. So A.; C. descordes. // Above preyeres, C. has i. est inexorabiles. 37. A. om. 2nd the. 38. C. sauacioun; A. saluacioun. 40. C. recisted. // C. hyhte; A. hyȝt. 41. C. Ed. prospere; A. propre. 42. A. poure. // C. fookk; A. folke. 45. C. deffended; A. defended. // C. autorite; A. auctorite. 47. C. vnpunyssed; A. -nysched. 49. C. ne drowh; A. drowe. 50. A. rychesse. // C. om. 2nd the. 51. A. eyther (for outher). // C. pryuey; A. priue. // C. Raueynes; A. rauynes. 54. C. yer; A. yere. 55. C. A. solde. 58. C. sowre; A. soure (Lat. acerbae famis tempore). 59. A. establissed; C. estabelissed. // C. vnplitable; A. inplitable (Lat. inexplicabilis). 61. Ed. Campayne; C. A. Compaygne. 64. The gloss (Coempcioun ... part) is misplaced in both MSS., so as to precede Whan it was (58). 65. C. estabelissed. // A. om. the. 66. C. imposiscioun. // C. bossel; A. busshel. 68. So A.; C. consoler (!). // A. rychesse. 69. C. palysse; A. palays. 70. C. drowh; A. drowe. 71. sc. faucibus from A. 73. C. punisse; A. punischen. // C. conseyler. 75. A. yseyne. 77. A. asseured. 78. After no-thing, C. adds i. affinite. 79. C. om. 2nd the. 81. A. om. 2nd the. 82, 85. C. whilom; A. somtyme. 84. C. caudencius (wrongly). 88. C. sentuarye; A. seyntuaries. 89. C. om. was. 90. C. assingned; A. assigned. 91. C. me (= men); A. men. // C. marke; A. merken. 92. A. om. the. // C. om. thee. 93. C. crwelte. 94. C. resseyued. 98. C. asshamyd; A. asshamed. 99. C. whas. 101. A. axest thou. 102. C. desires. 104. C. destorbed; A. distourbed. 106. C. maysteresse; A. meistresse. A. demest thou. 109. C. om. that. 109. C. I am; A. Ed. om. I. 110. C. destorbed. 111. A. a felonie than. 114. C. and (for or). 119. C. A. put. 120. C. whise. 122. C. shellen; A. schollen (better shullen). 123. A. om. 2nd in. C. thowchinge. 125. C. om. Of whiche lettres. 129. C. om. what. // C. hoepen. 133. C. om. Canius. 136. C. sorw. 137. C. felonies; A. folies (Lat. scelerata). // A. vertues (wrongly). 138. C. han; A. had (better hadde). 139. C. om. to. 148. C. gon and; A. Ed. om. and. 151. C. willene; A. wilne. 153. C. rwledest. 154. C. om. 1st the. 155. C. transpor(!). C. vp; A. vp on. 157. C. deffendede. 158. A. om. 2nd ne. 159. C. resseyueth; A. resceiueth. 162. C. resseyue; A. receiue. 163. A. in (for for). // Both gerdoun; Ed. gwerdone. 164. C. crwelte. 171. C. punyssed; A. punysched. 172. A. conuict; C. conuict. // So A.; C. remwed. 173. C. paas. 176. C. merite; A. mercye; (gloss in C. ironice; O meritos). 179. C. dirken. 180. C. an; A. on. 181. C. sacrilege; glossed sorcerie. 183. C. alle; A. al. 185. C. om. 2nd in. 187. in margin of C.; Homo debet seruire deo et non diis. // C. om. was. // A. no couenaunt (Lat. Nec conueniebat). 188. A. spirites; C. spirite (Lat. spirituum). 189. C. and; A. or. 190. C. chaumbyr; A. chaumbre. 191. C. compaygnye; A. compaignie. 193. C. deffenden. // C. from; A. of. 195. C. the philosophre; A. the philosophie (Lat. te). 196. A. enchauntementz. 198. C. thechinges. 207. A. Glosa. 208. C. who; A. who so. 217. C. desserued. 218. C. of (1); A. from. 223. C. beth; A. ben. 225. C. vnpunnysshed; A. vnpunissed. 227. C. wise; A. manere; Ed. maner.

Metre V.

O stelliferi conditor orbis.

O thou maker of the whele that bereth the sterres, which that

art y-fastned to thy perdurable chayer, and tornest the hevene

with a ravisshing sweigh, and constreinest the sterres to suffren

thy lawe; so that the mone som-tyme shyning with hir ful hornes,


meting with alle the bemes of the sonne hir brother, hydeth the

sterres that ben lesse; and somtyme, whan the mone, pale with

hir derke hornes, approcheth the sonne, leseth hir lightes; and

that the eve-sterre Hesperus, whiche that in the firste tyme of

the night bringeth forth hir colde arysinges, cometh eft ayein


hir used cours, and is pale by the morwe at the rysing of the

sonne, and is thanne cleped Lucifer. Thou restreinest the day

by shorter dwelling, in the tyme of colde winter that maketh

the leves to falle. Thou dividest the swifte tydes of the night,

whan the hote somer is comen. Thy might atempreth the


variaunts sesons of the yere; so that Zephirus the deboneir

wind bringeth ayein, in the first somer sesoun, the leves that

the wind that highte Boreas hath reft awey in autumpne, that

is to seyn, in the laste ende of somer; and the sedes that the

sterre that highte Arcturus saw, ben waxen heye cornes whan the


sterre Sirius eschaufeth hem. Ther nis no-thing unbounde from

his olde lawe, ne forleteth the werke of his propre estat.

O thou governour, governinge alle thinges by certein ende, why

refusestow only to governe the werkes of men by dewe manere?

Why suffrest thou that slydinge fortune torneth so grete entrechaunginges


of thinges, so that anoyous peyne, that sholde dewely

punisshe felouns, punissheth innocents? And folk of wikkede

maneres sitten in heye chayres, and anoyinge folk treden, and

{17}that unrightfully, on the nekkes of holy men? And vertu cler-shyninge

naturelly is hid in derke derkenesses, and the rightful


man bereth the blame and the peyne of the feloun. Ne forsweringe

ne the fraude, covered and kembd with a fals colour,

ne anoyeth nat to shrewes; the whiche shrewes, whan hem list

to usen hir strengthe, they reioysen hem to putten under hem

the sovereyne kinges, whiche that poeple with-outen noumbre



O thou, what so ever thou be that knittest alle bondes of

thinges, loke on thise wrecchede erthes; we men that ben nat

a foule party, but a fayr party of so grete a werk, we ben

tormented in this see of fortune. Thou governour, withdraw


and restreyne the ravisshinge flodes, and fastne and ferme thise

erthes stable with thilke bonde, with whiche thou governest the

hevene that is so large.'

Me. V. 1. C. whel; A. whele. 3. C. Rauessyng; A. rauyssyng. // C. sweyh; A. sweigh; Ed. sweygh. 4. C. wyt (for with). 6. A. lasse. // C. wan (for whan). 9. C. est; A. eft (Lat. iterum). // A. aȝeynes. 10. C. om. the after at. 13. C. falle; A. to falle. // C. swift; A. swifte. 14. C. wan (for whan). 15. C. sesoun (wrongly); A. sesons. 17. C. hihte; A. hyȝt. // C. borias. 19. C. hihte; A. hyȝt. // C. sawgh; A. saw. // C. hyye; A. hey. // C. wan. 20. C. eschaufed; A. eschaufeth; (Lat. urat). // C. fram. 21. C. the werke; A. hym. 23. C. refowsestow; A. refusest thou. // C. dwwe; A. dewe. 24. C. suffres. // C. so; A. to. // A. vtter; (for entre-). 25. C. dwwelly; A. duelly. 26. C. punysshe; A. punissitȝ. 27. C. heere; A. heiȝe (Lat. celsos). // C. chayres; A. chaiers. 28. C. oon (read on); A. in. 29. A. clere and shynyng (Lat. clara). 30. A. Ne the forsweryng. 32. C. weche (for whiche). // C. wan (for whan). 34. C. weche. // C. nowmbyr; A. noumbre. 38. C. om. a bef. werk. 39. C. this; A. the. // C. withdrawh. 40. C. restryne; A. restreyne. // C. thei (for the). // C. rauesynge; A. rauyssinge. 41. C. by whiche; A. with whiche (better?)

Prose V.

Hic ubi continuato dolore delatraui.

Whan I hadde, with a continuel sorwe, sobbed or borken out

thise thinges, she with hir chere pesible, and no-thing amoeved

with my compleintes, seide thus: 'Whan I say thee,' quod she,

'sorweful and wepinge, I wiste anon that thou were a wrecche


and exiled; but I wiste never how fer thyne exile was, yif thy

tale ne hadde shewed it to me. But certes, al be thou fer fro thy

contree, thou nart nat put out of it; but thou hast failed of thy

weye and gon amis. And yif thou hast lever for to wene that

thou be put out of thy contree, than hast thou put out thy-self


rather than any other wight hath. For no wight but thy-self ne

mighte never han don that to thee. For yif thou remembre of

what contree thou art born, it nis nat governed by emperours, ne

{18}by governement of multitude, as weren the contrees of hem of

Athenes; but oo lord and oo king, and that is god, that is lord of


thy contree, whiche that reioyseth him of the dwelling of hise

citezenes, and nat for to putte hem in exil; of the whiche lorde

it is a soverayne fredom to be governed by the brydel of him and

obeye to his Iustice. Hastow foryeten thilke right olde lawe of thy

citee, in the whiche citee it is ordeined and establisshed, that for


what wight that hath lever founden ther-in his sete or his hous than

elles-wher, he may nat be exiled by no right from that place? For

who-so that is contened in-with the palis and the clos of thilke citee,

ther nis no drede that he may deserve to ben exiled. But who-so

that leteth the wil for to enhabite there, he forleteth also to deserve


to ben citezein of thilke citee. So that I sey, that the face of this

place ne moveth me nat so mochel as thyne owne face. Ne I

axe nat rather the walles of thy librarie, aparayled and wrought

with yvory and with glas, than after the sete of thy thought. In

whiche I putte nat whylom bokes, but I putte that that maketh


bokes worthy of prys or precious, that is to seyn, the sentence of

my bokes. And certeinly of thy desertes, bistowed in comune

good, thou hast seid sooth, but after the multitude of thy gode

dedes, thou hast seid fewe; and of the honestee or of the falsnesse

of thinges that ben aposed ayeins thee, thou hast remembred


thinges that ben knowen to alle folk. And of the felonyes and

fraudes of thyne accusours, it semeth thee have y-touched it forsothe

rightfully and shortly, al mighten tho same thinges betere

and more plentivousely ben couth in the mouthe of the poeple

that knoweth al this.


Thou hast eek blamed gretly and compleined of the wrongful

dede of the senat. And thou hast sorwed for my blame, and thou

hast wopen for the damage of thy renoun that is apayred; and thy

{19}laste sorwe eschaufede ayeins fortune, and compleinest that guerdouns

ne ben nat evenliche yolden to the desertes of folk. And


in the latere ende of thy wode Muse, thou preyedest that thilke

pees that governeth the hevene sholde governe the erthe. But

for that manye tribulaciouns of affecciouns han assailed thee, and

sorwe and ire and wepinge to-drawen thee dyversely; as thou art

now feble of thought, mightier remedies ne shullen nat yit touchen


thee, for whiche we wol usen somdel lighter medicines: so that

thilke passiouns that ben woxen harde in swellinge, by perturbaciouns

flowing in-to thy thought, mowen wexen esy and softe,

to receiven the strengthe of a more mighty and more egre

medicine, by an esier touchinge.

Pr. V. 1. C. om. a. // C. borken (= barked); A. broken (Lat. delatraui). 2. A. peisible. 4. C. soruful; A. sorweful. // C. wrechche; A. wrecche. 6. C. nadde; A. ne hadde. // A. to me; C. om. to. 8. C. wey; A. weye. 11. C. remenbre; A. remembre. 13. C. om. hem of. 16. C. cytesenis; A. citezenis. C. put; A. putte. 17. C. brydul; A. bridel. 18. C. hasthow; A. hast thou. 19. C. weche. 20. C. whyht; A. wyȝt. 21. C. wer; A. where. 22. C. contyned; A. contened. // C. palys; A. paleis (Lat. uallo). 23. C. desserue. 25. C. cytesein; A. Citezein. // C. face, glossed i. manere (Lat. facies). 26. C. moueth; A. amoeueth. 27. A. Ne I ne axe. // C. wrowht; A. wrouȝt. 29. C. put; A. putte (twice). // C. whilom; A. somtyme. 30. C. presyous. 32. C. seyde; A. seid. 33. A. vnhonestee (wrongly). 34. A. Ed. opposed. // C. remenbryd. 36. C. Acusours. // C. I-twoched (for I-towched); A. I-touched. 38: C. mowhth; A. mouthe. 42. A. wepen. 43. C. A. gerdouns; Ed. guerdons. 44. C. om. nat. 45. C. latere; A. lattre. // C. glosses wode by s. seuientis. 52. A. perturbacioun folowyng (wrongly).

Metre VI.

Cum Phebi radiis graue
Cancri sidus inestuat.

Whan that the hevy sterre of the Cancre eschaufeth by the

bemes of Phebus, that is to seyn, whan that Phebus the sonne is

in the signe of the Cancre, who-so yeveth thanne largely hise sedes

to the feldes that refusen to receiven hem, lat him gon, bigyled of


trust that he hadde to his corn, to acorns of okes. Yif thou wolt

gadre violettes, ne go thou not to the purpur wode whan the feld,

chirkinge, agryseth of colde by the felnesse of the winde that highte

Aquilon. Yif thou desirest or wolt usen grapes, ne seke thou nat,

with a glotonous hond, to streyne and presse the stalkes of the


vine in the ferst somer sesoun; for Bachus, the god of wyne, hath

rather yeven hise yiftes to autumpne, the later ende of somer.

God tokneth and assigneth the tymes, ablinge hem to hir

propres offices; ne he ne suffreth nat the stoundes whiche that

him-self hath devyded and constreyned to ben y-medled to-gidere.


And forthy he that forleteth certein ordinaunce of doinge by over-throwinge

wey, he ne hath no glade issue or ende of his werkes.

Me. VI. 1. C. cankyr; A. Ed. cancre. 2. C. beemes; A. beme (Lat. radiis). 3. C. cankyr; A. Ed. Cancre. 4. C. feeldes. // C. Reseyue; A. receiuen. // C. glosses hem by s. corn. 5. C. Accornes of Okes; A. acorns or okes. // C. wolt; A. wilt. 6. C. gadery; A. gadre. // C. feeld; A. felde. 7. C. felnesses; A. felnesse. // C. hyhte; A. hyȝt. 9. C. stryne; A. streyne. 11. C. later; A. latter. 13. C. propres; A. propre. 16. C. issw; A. issue.


Prose VI.

Primum igitur paterisne me pauculis rogacionibus.

First woltow suffre me to touche and assaye the estat of thy

thought by a fewe demaundes, so that I may understonde what

be the manere of thy curacioun?'

'Axe me,' quod I, 'at thy wille, what thou wolt, and I shal



Tho seide she thus: 'Whether wenestow,' quod she, 'that

this world be governed by foolish happes and fortunous, or

elles that ther be in it any governement of resoun?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'I ne trowe nat in no manere, that so


certein thinges sholde be moeved by fortunous fortune; but I

wot wel that god, maker and mayster, is governour of his werk.

Ne never nas yit day that mighte putte me out of the sothnesse

of that sentence.'

'So is it,' quod she; 'for the same thing songe thou a litel


her-biforn, and biweyledest and biweptest, that only men weren

put out of the cure of god. For of alle other thinges thou

ne doutedest nat that they nere governed by resoun. But owh!

(i. pape!) I wondre gretly, certes, why that thou art syk, sin

that thou art put in so holsom a sentence. But lat us seken


depper; I coniecte that ther lakketh I not nere what. But

sey me this: sin that thou ne doutest nat that this world be

governed by god, with whiche governailes takestow hede that

it is governed?'

'Unnethe,' quod I, 'knowe I the sentence of thy questioun;


so that I ne may nat yit answeren to thy demaundes.'

'I nas nat deceived,' quod she, 'that ther ne faileth somwhat,

by whiche the maladye of thy perturbacioun is crept into

thy thought, so as the strengthe of the palis chyning is open.

{21}But sey me this: remembrest thou what is the ende of thinges,


and whider that the entencioun of alle kinde tendeth?'

'I have herd it told som-tyme,' quod I; 'but drerinesse hath

dulled my memorie.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'thou wost wel whennes that alle thinges

ben comen and procedeth?'


'I wot wel,' quod I, and answerede, that 'god is beginning

of al.'

'And how may this be,' quod she, 'that, sin thou knowest

the beginning of thinges, that thou ne knowest nat what is the

ende of thinges? But swiche ben the customes of perturbaciouns,


and this power they han, that they may moeve a

man out of his place, that is to seyn, fro the stablenes and perfeccioun

of his knowinge; but, certes, they may nat al arace

him, ne aliene him in al. But I wolde that thou woldest

answere to this: remembrestow that thou art a man?'


'Why sholde I nat remembre that?' quod I.

'Maystow nat telle me thanne,' quod she, 'what thing is a man?'

'Axestow me nat,' quod I, 'whether that I be a resonable

mortal beest? I woot wel, and I confesse wel that I am it.'

'Wistestow never yit that thou were any other thing?' quod



'No,' quod I.

'Now woot I,' quod she, 'other cause of thy maladye, and

that right grete. Thou hast left for to knowen thy-self, what

thou art; thorugh whiche I have pleynly founden the cause of


thy maladye, or elles the entree of recoveringe of thyn hele.

For-why, for thou art confounded with foryeting of thy-self, for-thy

sorwestow that thou art exiled of thy propre goodes. And

for thou ne wost what is the ende of thinges, for-thy demestow

that felonous and wikked men ben mighty and weleful. And


{22}for thou hast foryeten by whiche governements the world is

governed, for-thy wenestow that thise mutaciouns of fortune

fleten with-oute governour. Thise ben grete causes not only

to maladye, but, certes, grete causes to deeth. But I thanke

the auctor and the maker of hele, that nature hath not al


forleten thee. I have grete norisshinges of thyn hele, and that

is, the sothe sentence of governaunce of the worlde; that thou

bilevest that the governinge of it nis nat subiect ne underput

to the folie of thise happes aventurous, but to the resoun of

god. And ther-for doute thee no-thing; for of this litel spark


thyn hete of lyf shal shyne.

But for as moche as it is nat tyme yit of faster remedies, and

the nature of thoughtes deceived is this, that as ofte as they

casten awey sothe opiniouns, they clothen hem in false opiniouns,

of which false opiniouns the derkenesse of perturbacioun wexeth


up, that confoundeth the verray insighte: and that derkenesse

shal I assaye som-what to maken thinne and wayk by lighte

and meneliche remedies; so that, after that the derkenesse of

deceivinge desiringes is don awey, thou mowe knowe the shyninge

of verray light.

Pr. VI. 1. C. woltow; A. wolt thou. // C. estat; A. stat. 6. C. wheyther. // C. weenesthow; A. wenest thou. 8. A. ins. wenest thou after elles. 9. A. om. 2nd I. 11. C. his; A. this (Lat. suo). 12. C. put; A. putte. 14. C. lytul; A. lytel. 17. C. dowtedest, A. doutest. // C. owh; A. how; Ed. ough. 18. C. syk; A. seek. 19. C. sin that; A. sithen. // A. in-to (for in). 20. A. om. nere. 21. C. syn; A. sithen. 22. A. takest thou. 23. C. om. it. 25. C. om. nat. // A. demaunde (Lat. inquisita). 26. C. desseyued. 27. C. of thi; A. om. thi. 28. C. palys chynyng; A. paleys schynyng (Lat. hiante ualli robore). 29. C. remenbres. // A. adds thi bef. thinges; and om. and. 30. C. entensyn. 34. A. proceded. 35. A. is the. 37. C. syn; A. sithen. 39. A. endyng. 42. C. arrace; A. arace. 44. C. Remenbresthow; A. remembrest thou. 45. C. remenbre. 46. C. Maysthow; A. Maiste thou. // C. thinge. 47. C. Axestow me nat; A. Axest not me. // C. wheither. // A. om. I after that. 48. A. best mortel. 49. C. Wystesthow; A. Wistest thou. 54. C. fwonde; A. knowen. 56. C. confwndyd. 57. C. sorwistow; A. sorwest thou. 58. C. domesthow; A. demest. 59. A. om. And. 60. C. ast foryeeten. // C. gouernement; A. gouernementz (Lat. gubernaculis). 61. A. wenest thou. 63. C. thi deth; A. (rightly) om. thi. 64. C. alle; A. al. 65. A. ins. and before I have. 67. A. subgit. // C. -putte; A. -put. 68. C. Auentros; A. auenturouses; Ed. auenturous. // C. om. to. 69. C. lytul; A. litel. 70. A. heet. 71. C. meche (= moche). 72. C. desseyued; A. disseiued. 74. C. dirkenesse; A. derknesse. // C. perturba (!). // C. wexit. 78. C. A. desseyuynge.

Metre VII.

Nubibus atris.

The sterres, covered with blake cloudes, ne mowen yeten

a-doun no light. Yif the trouble wind that hight Auster, turning

and walwinge the see, medleth the hete, that is to seyn,

the boyling up from the botme; the wawes, that whylom weren


clere as glas and lyke to the faire clere dayes, withstande anon

the sightes of men by the filthe and ordure that is resolved.

And the fletinge streem, that royleth doun dyversly fro heye

{23}mountaignes, is arested and resisted ofte tyme by the encountringe

of a stoon that is departed and fallen from som roche.


And for-thy, yif thou wolt loken and demen sooth with cleer

light, and holden the wey with a right path, weyve thou Ioye,

dryf fro thee drede, fleme thou hope, ne lat no sorwe aproche;

that is to seyn, lat non of thise four passiouns over-comen thee

or blende thee. For cloudy and derke is thilke thought, and


bounde with brydles, where-as thise thinges regnen.'

Me. VII. 1. C. Ed. yeten; A. geten. 2. C. A. wynde. 4. C. Ed. whilom; A. somtyme. 5. C. lyk; A. lyke. // C. cleere dayes and brihte; A. bryȝt dayes. // C. withstand; A. withstant. 7. C. hy; A. heyȝe. 9. C. fram. 14. C. A. dirke. 15. C. were (for where). // C. reygnen; A. regnen.

Explicit Liber Primus.


Prose I.

Postea paulisper conticuit.

After this she stinte a litel; and, after that she hadde gadered

by atempre stillenesse myn attencioun, she seide thus: (As who

mighte seyn thus: After thise thinges she stinte a litel; and whan

she aperceived by atempre stillenesse that I was ententif to herkene


hir, she bigan to speke in this wyse): 'Yif I,' quod she, 'have

understonden and knowen outrely the causes and the habit of

thy maladye, thou languissest and art defeted for desyr and

talent of thy rather fortune. She, that ilke Fortune only, that

is chaunged, as thou feynest, to thee-ward, hath perverted the


cleernesse and the estat of thy corage. I understonde the

fele-folde colours and deceites of thilke merveilous monstre

Fortune, and how she useth ful flateringe familaritee with hem

that she enforceth to bigyle; so longe, til that she confounde

with unsufferable sorwe hem that she hath left in despeyr unpurveyed.


And yif thou remembrest wel the kinde, the maneres,

{24}and the desert of thilke Fortune, thou shalt wel knowe that,

as in hir, thou never ne haddest ne hast y-lost any fair thing.

But, as I trowe, I shal nat gretly travailen to do thee remembren

on thise thinges. For thou were wont to hurtelen and despysen


hir, with manly wordes, whan she was blaundissinge and present,

and pursewedest hir with sentences that were drawen out of myn

entree, that is to seyn, out of myn informacioun. But no sodein

mutacioun ne bitydeth nat with-oute a manere chaunginge of

corages; and so is it befallen that thou art a litel departed


fro the pees of thy thought.

But now is tyme that thou drinke and ataste some softe and

delitable thinges; so that, whan they ben entred with-in thee,

it mowe maken wey to strengere drinkes of medicynes. Com

now forth therfore the suasioun of swetenesse rethorien, whiche


that goth only the right wey, whyl she forsaketh nat myne estatuts.

And with Rhetorice com forth Musice, a damisel of our hous,

that singeth now lighter moedes or prolaciouns, now hevyer.

What eyleth thee, man? What is it that hath cast thee in-to

morninge and in-to wepinge? I trowe that thou hast seyn


som newe thing and uncouth. Thou wenest that Fortune be

chaunged ayein thee; but thou wenest wrong, yif thou that

wene. Alwey tho ben hir maneres; she hath rather kept, as

to thee-ward, hir propre stablenesse in the chaunginge of hir-self.


Right swich was she whan she flatered thee, and deceived

thee with unleveful lykinges of fals welefulnesse. Thou

hast now knowen and ataynt the doutous or double visage of

thilke blinde goddesse Fortune. She, that yit covereth hir and

wimpleth hir to other folk, hath shewed hir every-del to thee.

Yif thou aprovest hir and thenkest that she is good, use hir


maneres and pleyne thee nat. And yif thou agrysest hir false

trecherye, despyse and cast awey hir that pleyeth so harmfully;

{25}for she, that is now cause of so muche sorwe to thee, sholde

ben cause to thee of pees and of Ioye. She hath forsaken

thee, forsothe; the whiche that never man may ben siker that


she ne shal forsake him.

Glose. But natheles, some bokes han the text thus: For sothe,

she hath forsaken thee, ne ther nis no man siker that she ne

hath nat forsaken.

Holdestow than thilke welefulnesse precious to thee that shal


passen? And is present Fortune dereworthe to thee, which that

nis nat feithful for to dwelle; and, whan she goth awey, that

she bringeth a wight in sorwe? For sin she may nat ben withholden

at a mannes wille, she maketh him a wrecche whan she

departeth fro him. What other thing is flittinge Fortune but a


maner shewinge of wrecchednesse that is to comen? Ne it ne

suffyseth nat only to loken on thinge that is present biforn the

eyen of a man. But wisdom loketh and amesureth the ende

of thinges; and the same chaunginge from oon in-to an-other,

that is to seyn, from adversitee in-to prosperitee, maketh that the


manaces of Fortune ne ben nat for to dreden, ne the flateringes

of hir to ben desired. Thus, at the laste, it bihoveth thee to

suffren with evene wille in pacience al that is don in-with the

floor of Fortune, that is to seyn, in this world, sin thou hast

ones put thy nekke under the yok of hir. For yif thou wolt


wryten a lawe of wendinge and of dwellinge to Fortune, whiche

that thou hast chosen frely to ben thy lady, artow nat wrongful

in that, and makest Fortune wroth and aspere by thyn inpatience,

and yit thou mayst nat chaunge hir?

Yif thou committest and bitakest thy sailes to the winde, thou


shall be shoven, not thider that thou woldest, but whider that the

wind shoveth thee. Yif thou castest thy sedes in-to the feldes,

thou sholdest han in minde that the yeres ben, amonges, other-whyle

plentevous and other-whyle bareyne. Thou hast bitaken

thy-self to the governaunce of Fortune, and for-thy it bihoveth


{26}thee to ben obeisaunt to the maneres of thy lady. Enforcest

thou thee to aresten or withholden the swiftnesse and the sweigh

of hir turninge whele? O thou fool of alle mortal fooles, if

Fortune bigan to dwelle stable, she cesede thanne to ben


Pr. I. 1. C. lytul; A. litel; (and so below). // A. she; C. I (wrongly). 2. C. atencioun. 4. C. aperseyuyd; A. aperceiued. 5. C. here; A. hire. // C. whise. 6. A. vtterly. 7. C. maledye. // A. talent and desijr. 9. C. changed; A. chaunged. 10. A. astat. 11. C. feelefold; A. felefolde. // A. colour. // C. meruayles; A. merueillous. 14. C. onsufferabele; A. vnsuffreable. // C. dyspeyr; A. despeir. 15. C. remenbrest. 16. A. om. that. 17. C. thinge. 18. C. remenbre; A. remembren. 19. C. on; A. of. // C. hurtelyn; A. hurtlen. 20. C. wan. // C. om. was. 21. C. purswedest; A. pursewedest. 24. A. departed a litel. 26. C. ataast; A. atast. 29. C. suacyoun; A. suasioun. 30. C. estatutes; A. estatutz. 31. A. damoisel. 32. C. A. moedes (Lat. modos). // C. probasyons; A. prolaciouns. 36. C. weenes. 38. C. stabylnesse; A. stablenes. // C. ins. standeth bef. in. // C. chaunnynge. 40. C. desseyued; A. desseiued. // C. vnlefful; A. vnleueful. 42. C. coueryht. 43. C. hat (for hath). 44. C. thinkest; A. thenkest. // C. god; A. goode. 48. A. to the cause. 53. C. forsake; A. forsaken. 54. C. holdestow; A. holdest thou. // C. presyes; A. preciouse. 56. C. feythfulle; A. feithful. 57. C. whitholden. 62. A. om. a. // A. mesureth. 63. C. fram. 64. C. in-to; A. to. 65. C. manesses; A. manaces. 67. C. wit. 68. C. syn; A. sythen. 69. C. welt; A. wilt; Ed. wolt. 71. C. artow; A. art thou. 75. C. thedyr; A. thider. // C. whedyr. 76. C. A. wynde. // C. in-to; A. in. // C. feeldes. 77. A. om. amonges. 78. C. barayne. 81. C. sweyȝ; A. sweyes (Lat. impetum). 82. C. wheel; A. whele.

Metre I.

Hec cum superba uerterit uices dextra.

Whan Fortune with a proud right hand hath torned hir

chaunginge stoundes, she fareth lyk the maneres of the boilinge

Eurype. Glosa. Eurype is an arm of the see that ebbeth and

floweth; and som-tyme the streem is on o syde, and som-tyme on


the other. Text. She, cruel Fortune, casteth adoun kinges

that whylom weren y-drad; and she, deceivable, enhaunseth up

the humble chere of him that is discomfited. Ne she neither

hereth ne rekketh of wrecchede wepinges; and she is so hard

that she laugheth and scorneth the wepinges of hem, the whiche


she hath maked wepe with hir free wille. Thus she pleyeth,

and thus she proeueth hir strengthes; and sheweth a greet wonder

to alle hir servauntes, yif that a wight is seyn weleful, and over-throwe

in an houre.

Me. I. 3. C. A. Eurippe (twice); Ed. Eurype. 5. C. the; A. that. 6. C. whilom; A. somtyme. // C. enhanseth; A. enhaunseth. 7. C. vmble; A. humble. // C. descounfited; A. discomfited. // C. Ne; A. and. 9. C. lyssheth; A. lauȝeth; Ed. laugheth (Lat. ridet.) 11. A. preueth. // A. strengthe (Lat. uires). // C. A. grete. 12. C. whiht; A. wyȝt.

Prose II.

Vellem autem pauca tecum.

Certes, I wolde pleten with thee a fewe thinges, usinge the

wordes of Fortune; tak hede now thy-self, yif that she axeth

right. "O thou man, wher-fore makest thou me gilty by thyne

every-dayes pleyninges? What wrong have I don thee? What


goodes have I bireft thee that weren thyne? Stryf or plete

with me, bifore what Iuge that thou wolt, of the possessioun

of richesses or of dignitees. And yif thou mayst shewen me

{27}that ever any mortal man hath received any of tho thinges to

ben hise in propre, than wol I graunte frely that alle thilke


thinges weren thyne whiche that thou axest. Whan that nature

broughte thee forth out of thy moder wombe, I receyved thee

naked and nedy of alle thinges, and I norisshede thee with my

richesses, and was redy and ententif through my favour to

susteyne thee; and that maketh thee now inpacient ayeins me;


and I envirounde thee with alle the aboundance and shyninge

of alle goodes that ben in my right. Now it lyketh me to

with-drawen my hand; thou hast had grace as he that hath

used of foreine goodes: thou hast no right to pleyne thee, as

though thou haddest outrely for-lorn alle thy thinges. Why


pleynest thou thanne? I have done thee no wrong. Richesses,

honours, and swiche other thinges ben of my right. My servauntes

knowen me for hir lady; they comen with me, and departen

whan I wende. I dar wel affermen hardily, that yif tho thinges,

of which thou pleynest that thou hast forlorn, hadde ben thyne,


thou ne haddest not lorn hem. Shal I thanne only ben defended

to usen my right?

Certes, it is leveful to the hevene to make clere dayes, and,

after that, to coveren tho same dayes with derke nightes. The

yeer hath eek leve to apparailen the visage of the erthe, now


with floures and now with fruit, and to confounden hem som-tyme

with reynes and with coldes. The see hath eek his right

to ben som-tyme calme and blaundishing with smothe water,

and som-tyme to ben horrible with wawes and with tempestes.

But the covetise of men, that may nat ben stanched, shal it


binde me to ben stedefast, sin that stedefastnesse is uncouth

to my maneres? Swich is my strengthe, and this pley I pleye

continuely. I torne the whirlinge wheel with the torning cercle;

I am glad to chaungen the lowest to the heyest, and the heyest

to the lowest. Worth up, if thou wolt, so it be by this lawe,


{28}that thou ne holde nat that I do thee wronge thogh thou

descende adoun, whan the resoun of my pley axeth it.

Wistest thou nat how Cresus, the king of Lydiens, of whiche

king Cyrus was ful sore agast a litel biforn, that this rewliche

Cresus was caught of Cyrus and lad to the fyr to ben brent,


but that a rayn descendede doun fro hevene that rescowede

him? And is it out of thy minde how that Paulus, consul of

Rome, whan he hadde taken the king of Perciens, weep pitously

for the captivitee of the self kinge? What other thing biwailen

the cryinges of tragedies but only the dedes of Fortune, that


with an unwar stroke overtorneth realmes of grete nobley?

Glose. Tragedie is to seyn, a ditee of a prosperitee for a tyme,

that endeth in wrecchednesse.

Lernedest nat thou in Greke, whan thou were yonge, that

in the entree, or in the celere, of Iupiter, ther ben couched two


tonnes; that on is ful of good, that other is ful of harm? What

right hast thou to pleyne, yif thou hast taken more plentevously

of the goode syde, that is to seyn, of my richesses and prosperites;

and what eek if I ne be nat al departed fro thee? What eek

yif my mutabilitee yiveth thee rightful cause of hope to han yit


beter thinges? Natheles dismaye thee nat in thy thought; and

thou that art put in the comune realme of alle, ne desyre nat to

liven by thyn only propre right.

Pr. II. 3. C. makes; A. makest. 4. A. wronges (Lat. iniuriam). 5. C. pleten; A. plete (Lat. contende). 8. C. reseyued. // C. tho; A. these. 9. C. thykke; A. thilke. 11. C. browht; A. brouȝt. // C. resseyued. 12. A. al thing. // C. noryssede; A. norysshed. 13. C. fauor; A. fauour. 19. A. vtterly lorn. 20. C. pleynes. 25. C. I shal; A. Shal I. // C. deffendyd. 28. C. coeueryn; A. keuere (better coveren). // C. dirk; A. derke. 29. C. apayrelyn; A. apparaile. 30. C. frut; A. fruyt. 32. C. kalm; A. calme. // C. blawndyssynge; A. blaundyshing. 33. C. om. 2nd with. 35. C. stidefast; A. stedfast. So stide(sted-)fastnesse. 41. C. dessende. // A. doun. // A. om. the. 42. C. wistesthow; A. Wost thou (Lat. Nesciebas). // A. om. the. 44. C. kawth; A. cauȝt. 45. C. dessendede; A. descended. 48. C. kapteuite; A. captiuitee. // C. thinge; A. thinges. 49. C. cryenges; A. criinges. 50. A. the realmes; C. om. the. // C. noblye; A. nobley. 54. A. seler. // C. cowched; A. couched (Lat. iacere). 56. C. hasthow. 57. A. rycchesse. 58. A. om. be and al. 59. C. yeueth; A. ȝiueth. 60. A. desmaye. 61. A. om. the.

Metre II.

Si quantas rapidis flatibus incitus.

Though Plentee, that is goddesse of richesses, hielde adoun

with ful horn, and withdraweth nat hir hand, as many richesses

as the see torneth upward sandes whan it is moeved with

ravisshinge blastes, or elles as many richesses as ther shynen


brighte sterres on hevene on the sterry nightes; yit, for al

{29}that, mankinde nolde not cese to wepe wrecchede pleyntes.

And al be it so that god receyveth gladly hir preyers, and

yiveth them (as fool-large) moche gold, and aparaileth coveitous

men with noble or clere honours: yit semeth hem haven y-geten


no-thing, but alwey hir cruel ravyne, devouringe al that they

han geten, sheweth other gapinges; that is to seyn, gapen and

desyren yit after mo richesses. What brydles mighten withholden,

to any certein ende, the desordenee covetise of men, whan,

ever the rather that it fleteth in large yiftes, the more ay brenneth


in hem the thurst of havinge? Certes he that, quakinge and

dredful, weneth him-selven nedy, he ne liveth never-more riche."

Me. II. 1. A. rycche. // Both hielde; Ed. hylde. 2. A. recches(!). 4. C. rauyssynge. // A. rycches. 5. A. nyȝt (Lat. noctibus). 6. C. plentes; A. pleyntes. 7. C. resseyueth. // C. preyres; A. prayers. 8. C. A. yeueth. // A. ful (for fool). 9. A. folk (for men). 10. C. thinge; A. thing. // C. crewel. 12. A. rycchesse. 15. A. threst. 16. C. leueth; A. lyueth. // A. -mo.

Prose III.

Hiis igitur si pro se tecum Fortuna loqueretur.

Therfor, yif that Fortune spake with thee for hir-self in this

manere, for-sothe thou ne haddest nat what thou mightest answere.

And, if thou hast any-thing wherwith, thou mayest rightfully defenden

thy compleint, it behoveth thee to shewen it; and I wol


yeven thee space to tellen it.'

'Certeynly,' quod I thanne, 'thise beth faire thinges, and

enointed with hony swetenesse of rethorike and musike; and

only whyl they ben herd they ben delicious. But to wrecches is

a depper felinge of harm; this is to seyn, that wrecches felen the


harmes that they suffren more grevously than the remedies or the

delites of thise wordes mowen gladen or comforten hem; so that,

whan thise thinges stinten for to soune in eres, the sorwe that is

inset greveth the thought.'

'Right so is it,' quod she. 'For thise ne ben yit none remedies


of thy maladye; but they ben a maner norisshinges of thy sorwe,

yit rebel ayein thy curacioun. For whan that tyme is, I shal

moeve swiche thinges that percen hem-self depe. But natheles,

that thou shalt not wilne to leten thy-self a wrecche, hast thou

{30}foryeten the noumber and the manere of thy welefulnesse? I


holde me stille, how that the soverayne men of the citee token

thee in cure and kepinge, whan thou were orphelin of fader and

moder, and were chosen in affinitee of princes of the citee; and

thou bigunne rather to be leef and dere than forto ben a neighbour;

the whiche thing is the most precious kinde of any propinquitee


or alyaunce that may ben. Who is it that ne seide tho

that thou were right weleful, with so grete a nobleye of thy fadres-in-lawe,

and with the chastitee of thy wyf, and with the oportunitee

and noblesse of thy masculin children, that is to seyn, thy sones?

And over al this—me list to passen the comune thinges—how


thou haddest in thy youthe dignitees that weren werned to olde

men. But it delyteth me to comen now to the singuler uphepinge

of thy welefulnesse. Yif any fruit of mortal thinges may han any

weighte or prys of welefulnesse, mightest thou ever foryeten, for

any charge of harm that mighte bifalle, the remembraunce of


thilke day that thou saye thy two sones maked conseileres, and

y-lad to-gedere fro thyn house under so greet assemblee of

senatoures and under the blythenesse of poeple; and whan thou

saye hem set in the court in here chayeres of dignitees? Thou,

rethorien or pronouncere of kinges preysinges, deservedest glorie


of wit and of eloquence, whan thou, sittinge bitwene thy two sones,

conseileres, in the place that highte Circo, fulfuldest the abydinge

of the multitude of poeple that was sprad abouten thee, with so large

preysinge and laude, as men singen in victories. Tho yave thou

wordes to Fortune, as I trowe, that is to seyn, tho feffedest thou


Fortune with glosinge wordes and deceivedest hir, whan she acoyede

thee and norisshede thee as hir owne delyces. Thou bere away of

Fortune a yifte, that is to seyn, swiche guerdoun, that she never yaf

to privee man. Wilt thou therfor leye a rekeninge with Fortune?

{31}She hath now twinkled first upon thee with a wikkede eye. Yif


thou considere the noumbre and the manere of thy blisses and

of thy sorwes, thou mayst nat forsaken that thou art yit blisful.

For if thou therfor wenest thy-self nat weleful, for thinges that

tho semeden ioyful ben passed, ther nis nat why thou sholdest wene

thy-self a wrecche; for thinges that semen now sorye passen also.


Art thou now comen first, a sodein gest, in-to the shadwe or

tabernacle of this lyf; or trowest thou that any stedefastnesse be

in mannes thinges, whan ofte a swift houre dissolveth the same

man; that is to seyn, whan the soule departeth fro the body? For,

al-though that selde is ther any feith that fortunous thinges wolen


dwellen, yit natheles the laste day of a mannes lyf is a manere

deeth to Fortune, and also to thilke that hath dwelt. And therfor,

what, wenestow, thar [thee] recche, yif thou forlete hir in deyinge,

or elles that she, Fortune, forlete thee in fleeinge awey?

Pr. III. 2. A. om. nat. 4. A. tellen (for defenden). 6. C. bet (for beth); A. ben. 8. C. delysyos; A. deliciouse. 15. C. maledye. // C. noryssynges; A. norissinges. // C. sorwes; A. sorwe (Lat. doloris). 17. C. swych; A. swiche. 20. C. souerane; A. souerayn. 23. C. begunne; A. bygunne. 24. C. neysshebour; A. neyȝbour. // C. presyous. 26. A. om. tho that. // A. nere (for were). // C. fadyris. 27. C. castete; A. chastite. 29. C. lyste; A. lyst. // C. the; A. of. 30. A. thought (for youthe); Ed. youthe. 32. C. wel-; A. wele-. // C. frute; A. fruyt. 36. C. A semble; A. Ed. assemble. 37. C. peeple; A. poeple. 39. C. des-; A. de-. 40. C. bitwyen; A. bytwix; Ed. bytwene. 41. C. hihte; A. hyȝt. // C. A. Ed. all insert and before fulfuldest; I omit it, because it obscures the sense. 42. A. om. the and so. 44. C. to; A. of. 45. So Ed.; C. A. desseiuedest. 46. C. noryssede; A. norsshed; Ed. norisshed. // A. hast had (for bere away). // C. bar. 47. C. A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdon. 48. C. lye; A. leye; Ed. laye (Lat. ponere). 49. C. om. a. 50. C. blysse (wrongly); A. Ed. blisses. 51. C. art; A. Ed. nart. // C. blysse-; A. blys-. 53. C. the; A. tho (Lat. tunc). 57. C. dyssoluede; A. Ed. dissolueth. 59. C. al that thowgh; A. Ed. although that. // Ed. selde; C. ȝelde (= zelde); A. yelde (= ȝelde); Lat. rara. // C. fortune; A. Ed. fortunous. 62: C. weenestow; A. wenest thou. // C. dar; A. thar. // I supply thee. // C. recke; A. recche.

Metre III.

Cum polo Phebus roseis quadrigis.

Whan Phebus, the sonne, biginneth to spreden his cleernesse

with rosene chariettes, thanne the sterre, y-dimmed, paleth hir

whyte cheres, by the flambes of the sonne that overcometh the

sterre-light. This is to seyn, whan the sonne is risen, the dey-sterre


wexeth pale, and leseth hir light for the grete brightnesse of the


Whan the wode wexeth rody of rosene floures, in the first somer

sesoun, thorugh the brethe of the winde Zephirus that wexeth

warm, yif the cloudy wind Auster blowe felliche, than goth awey


the fairenesse of thornes.

Ofte the see is cleer and calm withoute moevinge flodes; and

ofte the horrible wind Aquilon moeveth boilinge tempestes and

over-whelveth the see.

{32}Yif the forme of this worlde is so selde stable, and yif it turneth


by so many entrechaunginges, wolt thou thanne trusten in the

tomblinge fortunes of men? Wolt thou trowen on flittinge goodes?

It is certein and establisshed by lawe perdurable, that no-thing that

is engendred nis stedefast ne stable.'

Me. III. 1. C. hyr; A. Ed. his. 2. C. palyt. 3. A. flamus. 7. C. rosyn; A. rosene. 9. C. A. wynde. 10. C. thornesse. 11. C. floedes. 13. Ed. -whelueth; C. -welueeth; A. -whelweth. 14. Ed. selde; C. ȝeelde (= zeelde); A. om. (Lat. rara). 15. C. wolthow; A. Ed. wilt thou. 16. C. towmblynge; Ed. tomblyng; A. trublynge (Lat. caducis). // C. wolthow; A. Ed. wilt thou. // C. Ed. on; A. in. // C. flettynge; A. flittyng. 17. C. is it; A. It is. // C. A. establyssed; Ed. establysshed. // C. thinge; A. thing. 18. C. estable; A. stable.

Prose IV.

Tunc ego, uera, inquam, commemoras.

Thanne seide I thus: 'O norice of alle vertues, thou seist ful

sooth; ne I ne may nat forsake the right swifte cours of my

prosperitee; that is to seyn, that prosperitee ne be comen to me

wonder swiftly and sone. But this is a thing that greetly smerteth


me whan it remembreth me. For in alle adversitee of fortune,

the most unsely kinde of contrarious fortune is to han ben


'But that thou,' quod she, 'abyest thus the torment of thy

false opinioun, that mayst thou nat rightfully blamen ne aretten


to thinges: as who seith, for thou hast yit many habundaunces of


Text. For al be it so that the ydel name of aventurous

welefulnesse moeveth thee now, it is leveful that thou rekne with

me of how manye grete thinges thou hast yit plentee. And


therfor, yif that thilke thing that thou haddest for most precious

in al thy richesse of fortune be kept to thee yit, by the grace of

god, unwemmed and undefouled, mayst thou thanne pleyne

rightfully upon the meschef of Fortune, sin thou hast yit thy

beste thinges? Certes, yit liveth in good point thilke precious


honour of mankinde, Symacus, thy wyves fader, which that is

a man maked alle of sapience and of vertu; the whiche man

thou woldest byen redely with the prys of thyn owne lyf. He

biwayleth the wronges that men don to thee, and nat for him-self;

{33}for he liveth in sikernesse of any sentences put ayeins him. And


yit liveth thy wyf, that is atempre of wit, and passinge other

wimmen in clennesse of chastetee; and for I wol closen shortely

hir bountees, she is lyk to hir fader. I telle thee wel, that she

liveth looth of this lyf, and kepeth to thee only hir goost; and is

al maat and overcomen by wepinge and sorwe for desyr of thee,


in the whiche thing only I moot graunten that thy welefulnesse is

amenused. What shal I seyn eek of thy two sones, conseilours,

of whiche, as of children of hir age, ther shyneth the lyknesse of

the wit of hir fader or of hir elder fader? And sin the sovereyn

cure of alle mortel folk is to saven hir owen lyves, O how weleful


art thou, yif thou knowe thy goodes! For yit ben ther

thinges dwelled to thee-ward, that no man douteth that they ne

ben more dereworthe to thee than thyn owen lyf. And for-thy

drye thy teres, for yit nis nat everich fortune al hateful to thee-ward,

ne over greet tempest hath nat yit fallen upon thee, whan


that thyn ancres cleven faste, that neither wolen suffren the

counfort of this tyme present ne the hope of tyme cominge to

passen ne to faylen.'

'And I preye,' quod I, 'that faste moten they halden; for

whyles that they halden, how-so-ever that thinges ben, I shal wel


fleten forth and escapen; but thou mayst wel seen how grete

aparayles and aray that me lakketh, that ben passed away fro


'I have som-what avaunsed and forthered thee,' quod she, 'yif

that thou anoye nat or forthinke nat of al thy fortune: as who


seith, I have som-what comforted thee, so that thou tempest thee nat

thus with al thy fortune, sin thou hast yit thy beste thinges. But

I may nat suffren thy delices, that pleynest so wepinge and

anguissous, for that ther lakketh som-what to thy welefulnesse.

For what man is so sad or of so parfit welefulnesse, that he ne


stryveth and pleyneth on som halve ayen the qualitee of his

estat? For-why ful anguissous thing is the condicioun of mannes

goodes; for either it cometh nat al-togider to a wight, or elles it

{34}last nat perpetuel. For sum man hath grete richesses, but he is

ashamed of his ungentel linage; and som is renowned of noblesse


of kinrede, but he is enclosed in so grete anguisshe of nede

of thinges, that him were lever that he were unknowe. And

som man haboundeth both in richesse and noblesse, but yit he

bewaileth his chaste lyf, for he ne hath no wyf. And som man is

wel and selily y-maried, but he hath no children, and norissheth


his richesses to the eyres of strange folkes. And som man is

gladed with children, but he wepeth ful sory for the trespas of

his sone or of his doughter. And for this ther ne acordeth no

wight lightly to the condicioun of his fortune; for alwey to every

man ther is in som-what that, unassayed, he ne wot nat; or elles


he dredeth that he hath assayed. And adde this also, that every

weleful man hath a ful delicat felinge; so that, but-yif alle thinges

bifalle at his owne wil, for he is impacient, or is nat used to han

non adversitee, anon he is throwen adoun for every litel thing.

And ful litel thinges ben tho that withdrawen the somme or the


perfeccioun of blisfulnesse fro hem that ben most fortunat. How

many men, trowest thou, wolden demen hem-self to ben almost in

hevene, yif they mighten atayne to the leest party of the remnaunt

of thy fortune? This same place that thou clepest exil, is

contree to hem that enhabiten heer, and forthy nothing [is]


wrecched but whan thou wenest it: as who seith, thou thy-self, ne

no wight elles, nis a wrecche, but whan he weneth him-self a wrecche

by reputacioun of his corage. And ayeinward, alle fortune is blisful

to a man by the agreabletee or by the egalitee of him that

suffreth it.


What man is that, that is so weleful, that nolde changen his

estat whan he hath lost pacience? The swetnesse of mannes

welefulnesse is sprayned with many biternesses; the whiche welefulnesse,

al-though it seme swete and ioyful to hem that useth it,

yit may it nat ben with-holden that it ne goth away whan it wole.


{35}Thanne is it wel sene, how wrecched is the blisfulnesse of mortal

thinges, that neither it dureth perpetuel with hem that every

fortune receiven agreablely or egaly, ne it delyteth nat in al to

hem that ben anguissous. O ye mortal folk, what seke ye thanne

blisfulnesse out of your-self, whiche that is put in your-self?


Errour and folye confoundeth yow.

I shal shewe thee shortely the poynt of sovereyne blisfulnesse.

Is ther any-thing more precious to thee than thy-self? Thou

wolt answere, "nay." Thanne, yif it so be that thou art mighty

over thy-self, that is to seyn, by tranquillitee of thy sowle, than hast


thou thing in thy power that thou noldest never lesen, ne Fortune

ne may nat beneme it thee. And that thou mayst knowe that

blisfulnesse ne may nat standen in thinges that ben fortunous

and temporel, now understonde and gader it to-gidere thus:

Yif blisfulnesse be the sovereyn good of nature that liveth by


resoun, ne thilke thing nis nat sovereyn good that may be taken

awey in any wyse, (for more worthy thing and more digne is

thilke thing that may nat ben taken awey); than sheweth it wel,

that the unstablenesse of fortune may nat atayne to receiven

verray blisfulnesse. And yit more-over: what man that this


toumbling welefulnesse ledeth, either he woot that it is chaungeable,

or elles he woot it nat. And yif he woot it nat, what blisful

fortune may ther be in the blindnesse of ignorance? And yif he

woot that it is chaungeable, he moot alwey ben adrad that he ne

lese that thing that he ne doubteth nat but that he may lesen it;


as who seith, he mot ben alwey agast, lest he lese that he wot wel he

may lese it. For which, the continuel dreed that he hath ne

suffreth him nat to ben weleful. Or yif he lese it, he weneth to

be dispysed and forleten. Certes eek, that is a ful litel good that

is born with evene herte whan it is lost; that is to seyn, that men


do no more fors of the lost than of the havinge. And for as moche

as thou thy-self art he, to whom it hath ben shewed and proved

by ful manye demonstraciouns, as I wot wel, that the sowles of

men ne mowe nat deyen in no wyse; and eek sin it is cleer and

certein, that fortunous welefulnesse endeth by the deeth of the


{36}body; it may nat ben douted that, yif that deeth may take awey

blisfulnesse, that alle the kinde of mortal thinges ne descendeth

in-to wrecchednesse by the ende of the deeth. And sin we knowen

wel, that many a man hath sought the fruit of blisfulnesse nat

only with suffringe of deeth, but eek with suffringe of peynes and


tormentes; how mighte than this present lyf maken men blisful,

sin that, whan thilke selve lyf is ended, it ne maketh folk no


Pr. IV. 1. C. vertuus; A. vertues. 4. C. om. a. 6. C. vnȝely (= vnzely); A. Ed. vnsely. 8. A. abaist (!). // C. tormentz; A. tourment (Lat. supplicium). 10. C. -daunce; A. Ed. -daunces. 13. C. leefful; A. leueful. 15. C. thinge; A. thing. 19. C. leueth; A. lyueth. 21. C. om. 2nd of. 24. C. leueth; A. liueth. 29. C. maad; A. maat; Ed. mate. 30. C. thinge; A. thing. 31. C. amenyssed; A. Ed. amenused. 32. C. lyke-; A. lyk-. 33. A. Ed. eldefadir. 35. A. But (for For). 36. So C. Ed.; A. dwellyng. // A. -wardes. 40. A. cliue. 42. A. fallen. 43. A. holden. 44. C. A. halden. 45. C. mayste. 49. A. forthenke. 52. C. delites (?); A. Ed. delices (Lat. delicias). 55. C. Ed. and; A. or. 57. A. om. nat. 58. A. lasteth. // A. perpetuely. // A. rycchesse. 59. A. renomed. 60. anguisshe of] A. angre for. 63. Ed. chaste; C. caste; A. chast. 64. C. zelyly; A. Ed. selily. // C. hat. // C. noriseth; A. norissheth. 66. C. A. sory; Ed. sore. 69. A. is in mest som-what. 71. A. wel (for ful). 72. Ed. is; C. A. om. 77. A. remenaunt. 79. I supply is; Lat. nihil est miserum. 80. C. ho; A. who. 81. A. no (for a). 83. C. egreablete; A. agreablete. 86. C. what (!); A. whan. // C. lost; A. lorn. 87. C. sprayngd (!); A. y-spranid; Ed. spraynte. // C. beter-; A. bitter-. // C. weche. 89. C. wan. // C. woole; A. wol. 92. C. resseyuen; A. receyuen. 100, 106. C. thinge; A. thing. 101. A. bynyme. 102. A. om. ne. 107. C. take; A. taken. 108. C. resseyuen; A. receyue. 110. A. om. it. 115. C. list; A. lest. 116. A. om. it. 118. A. forleten hit. 120. C. A. lost; Ed. losse. // C. meche (for moche). 126. C. dessendeth; A. descendith. 128. C. frut; A. fruit.

Metre IV.

Quisquis uolet perennem Cautus ponere sedem.

What maner man, stable and war, that wole founden him

a perdurable sete, and ne wole nat ben cast down with the loude

blastes of the wind Eurus; and wole despyse the see, manasinge

with flodes; lat him eschewen to bilde on the cop of the mountaigne


or in the moiste sandes. For the felle wind Auster

tormenteth the cop of the mountaigne with all his strengthes;

and the lause sandes refusen to beren the hevy wighte.

And forthy, if thou wolt fleen the perilous aventure, that is to

seyn, of the worlde; have minde certeinly to ficchen thyn hous of


a merye site in a lowe stoon. For al-though the wind, troubling

the see, thondre with over-throwinges, thou that art put in quiete,

and weleful by strengthe of thy palis, shalt leden a cleer age,

scorninge the woodnesses and the ires of the eyr.

Me. IV. 1. C. waar. 7. Ed. lose; A. lowe see(!); (Lat. solutae). // A. weyȝte. 10. C. lowh; A. Ed. lowe. 12. C. A. palys (Lat. ualli).

Prose V.

Set cum rationum iam in te.

But for as moche as the norisshinges of my resouns descenden

now in-to thee, I trowe it were tyme to usen a litel strenger

medicynes. Now understond heer, al were it so that the yiftes of

Fortune ne were nat brutel ne transitorie, what is ther in hem


{37}that may be thyn in any tyme, or elles that it nis foul, yif that it

be considered and loked perfitly? Richesses, ben they precious

by the nature of hem-self, or elles by the nature of thee? What is

most worth of richesses? Is it nat gold or might of moneye

assembled? Certes, thilke gold and thilke moneye shyneth and


yeveth betere renoun to hem that despenden it thanne to thilke

folk that mokeren it; for avarice maketh alwey mokereres to ben

hated, and largesse maketh folk cleer of renoun. For sin that

swich thing as is transferred fram o man to another ne may nat

dwellen with no man; certes, thanne is thilke moneye precious


whan it is translated into other folk and stenteth to ben had, by

usage of large yevinge of him that hath yeven it. And also: yif

that al the moneye that is over-al in the worlde were gadered

toward o man, it sholde maken alle other men to ben nedy as of that.

And certes a voys al hool, that is to seyn, with-oute amenusinge,


fulfilleth to-gidere the hering of moche folk; but certes, youre

richesses ne mowen nat passen in-to moche folke with-oute

amenusinge. And whan they ben apassed, nedes they maken

hem pore that for-gon the richesses.

O! streite and nedy clepe I this richesse, sin that many folk


ne may nat han it al, ne al may it nat comen to o man with-outen

povertee of alle other folk! And the shyninge of gemmes, that

I clepe precious stones, draweth it nat the eyen of folk to hem-ward,

that is to seyn, for the beautee? But certes, yif ther were

beautee or bountee in the shyninge of stones, thilke cleernesse is


of the stones hem-self, and nat of men; for whiche I wondre

gretly that men mervailen on swiche thinges. For-why, what

thing is it, that yif it wanteth moeving and Ioynture of sowle and

body, that by right mighte semen a fair creature to him that hath

a sowle of resoun? For al be it so that gemmes drawen to hem-self


a litel of the laste beautee of the world, through the entente of

hir creatour and through the distinccioun of hem-self; yit, for as

mochel as they ben put under youre excellence, they ne han nat

{38}deserved by no wey that ye sholden mervailen on hem. And

the beautee of feldes, delyteth it nat mochel un-to yow?'


Boece. 'Why sholde it nat delyten us, sin that it is a right fair

porcioun of the right faire werke, that is to seyn, of this world?

And right so ben we gladed som-tyme of the face of the see

whan it is cleer; and also mervailen we on the hevene and on the

sterres, and on the sonne and on the mone.'


Philosophye. 'Aperteneth,' quod she, 'any of thilke thinges to

thee? Why darst thou glorifyen thee in the shyninge of any

swiche thinges? Art thou distingwed and embelised by the

springinge floures of the first somer sesoun, or swelleth thy

plentee in the fruites of somer? Why art thou ravisshed with


ydel Ioyes? Why embracest thou straunge goodes as they weren

thyne? Fortune ne shal never maken that swiche thinges ben

thyne, that nature of thinges hath maked foreine fro thee. Sooth

is that, with-outen doute, the frutes of the erthe owen to ben to

the norissinge of bestes. And yif thou wolt fulfille thy nede after


that it suffyseth to nature, than is it no nede that thou seke after

the superfluitee of fortune. For with ful fewe things and with ful

litel thinges nature halt hir apayed; and yif thou wolt achoken

the fulfillinge of nature with superfluitees, certes, thilke thinges

that thou wolt thresten or pouren in-to nature shullen ben unioyful


to thee, or elles anoyous. Wenest thou eek that it be a fair

thing to shyne with dyverse clothinge? Of whiche clothinge yif

the beautee be agreeable to loken up-on, I wol mervailen on the

nature of the matere of thilke clothes, or elles on the werkman

that wroughte hem. But also a long route of meynee, maketh


that a blisful man? The whiche servants, yif they ben vicious of

condiciouns, it is a great charge and a distruccioun to the hous,

and a greet enemy to the lord him-self. And yif they ben goode

men, how shal straunge or foreine goodnesse ben put in the

noumbre of thy richesse? So that, by all these forseide thinges,


it is clearly y-shewed, that never oon of thilke thinges that thou

acountedest for thyne goodes nas nat thy good. In the whiche

{39}thinges, yif ther be no beautee to ben desyred, why sholdest thou

ben sory yif thou lese hem, or why sholdest thou reioysen thee

to holden hem? For yif they ben faire of hir owne kinde, what


aperteneth that to thee? For al so wel sholden they han ben

faire by hem-selve, though they weren departed fram alle thyne

richesses. Forwhy faire ne precious ne weren they nat, for that

they comen among thy richesses; but, for they semeden faire and

precious, ther-for thou haddest lever rekne hem amonges thy



But what desirest thou of Fortune with so grete a noise, and

with so grete a fare? I trowe thou seke to dryve awey nede with

habundaunce of thinges; but certes, it torneth to you al in the

contrarie. Forwhy certes, it nedeth of ful manye helpinges to


kepen the diversitee of precious ostelments. And sooth it is,

that of manye thinges han they nede that manye thinges han; and

ayeinward, of litel nedeth hem that mesuren hir fille after the nede

of kinde, and nat after the outrage of coveityse. Is it thanne so,

that ye men ne han no proper good y-set in you, for which


ye moten seken outward youre goodes in foreine and subgit

thinges? So is thanne the condicioun of thinges torned up-so-down,

that a man, that is a devyne beest by merite of his resoun,

thinketh that him-self nis neither faire ne noble, but-yif it be

thorugh possessioun of ostelments that ne han no sowles. And


certes, al other thinges ben apayed of hir owne beautee; but ye

men, that ben semblable to god by your resonable thought,

desiren to aparailen your excellent kinde of the lowest thinges;

ne ye understonden nat how greet a wrong ye don to your

creatour. For he wolde that mankinde were most worthy and


noble of any othre erthely thinges; and ye threste adoun your

dignitees benethe the lowest thinges. For yif that al the good of

every thinge be more precious than is thilke thing whos that

the good is: sin ye demen that the fouleste thinges ben youre

goodes, thanne submitten ye and putten your-selven under tho


fouleste thinges by your estimacioun; and certes, this tydeth nat

with-oute youre desertes. For certes, swiche is the condicioun of

alle mankinde, that only whan it hath knowinge of it-selve, than

{40}passeth it in noblesse alle other thinges; and whan it forleteth the

knowinge of it-self, than is it brought binethen alle beestes. For-why


al other livinge beestes han of kinde to knowe nat hem-self;

but whan that men leten the knowinge of hemself, it cometh hem

of vice. But how brode sheweth the errour and the folye of yow

men, that wenen that any thing may ben aparailed with straunge

aparailements! But for sothe that may nat ben doon. For yif


a wight shyneth with thinges that ben put to him, as thus, if

thilke thinges shynen with which a man is aparailed, certes, thilke

thinges ben comended and preysed with which he is aparailed;

but natheles, the thing that is covered and wrapped under that

dwelleth in his filthe.


And I denye that thilke thing be good that anoyeth him that

hath it. Gabbe I of this?. Thou wolt seye "nay." Certes,

richesses han anoyed ful ofte hem that han tho richesses; sin that

every wikked shrewe, (and for his wikkednesse the more gredy

after other folkes richesses, wher-so ever it be in any place, be it


gold or precious stones), weneth him only most worthy that hath

hem. Thou thanne, that so bisy dredest now the swerd and now

the spere, yif thou haddest entred in the path of this lyf a voide

wayferinge man, than woldest thou singe beforn the theef; as

who seith, a pore man, that berth no richesse on him by the weye,


may boldely singe biforn theves, for he hath nat wherof to ben

robbed. O precious and right cleer is the blisfulnesse of mortal

richesses, that, whan thou hast geten it, than hast thou lorn thy


Pr. V. 1. C. A. noryssinges; Ed. norisshynges. // C. dess-; A. desc-. 6. A. Richesse. 8. A. worthi. // A. rycchesse. // C. om. it. 15. C. stenteth; A. stynteth. 19. A. al hool; Ed. al hole; C. om.; (Lat. tota). 21. A. rycchesse. 24. A. thise rycchesses. 25. A. om. 1st ne. 27. A. in-to. 28. C. beautes; A. Ed. beaute. // C. But; A. For. 29. A. om. the. 31. C. gretely; A. gretly. 32. C. Ioyngture; A. ioynture. 33. C. myht; A. myȝt. 35. C. last; A. laste. 36. C. om. and. 38. C. A. desserued. // A. shullen. 41. C. ryhte; A ryȝt. 46. C. darsthow; A. darst thou. 47. C. Arthow; A. Art thou. 49. A. om. the. // C. fructes; A. fruytes. // C. arthow. // C. rauyssed; A. rauyshed. 52. A. om. hath. // A. Syche (!). 53. A. on (for 2nd to). 59. C. shollen; A. shullen. 60. C. anoyos; A. anoies; Ed. anoyous. 64. C. wrowht; A. wrouȝt. 70. oon] A. none. 71. A. accoumptedest. 75. A. as (for al-so). 77, 78, 80. A. rycchesse. 90. A. outwardes. 98. A. ne ye ne, &c. 100. A. Ed. erthely; C. wordly. 103. C. tho; A. the. // C. A. foulest. 104. A. summytten. // C. the; A. tho. 106. A. desert. 110. A. om. livinge. // C. hym-; A. hem-. 111. C. om. that. 119. So A.; C. felthe. 122. A. rycchesse (thrice). // C. tho; A. the. 125. C. A. Ed. and weneth; but and must be omitted (see Latin text). // C. hat. 126. A. om. 2nd now. 128. A. wayfaryng. 132. A. rycchesse.

Metre V.

Felix nimium prior etas.

Blisful was the first age of men! They helden hem apayed

with the metes that the trewe feldes broughten forth. They

ne distroyede nor deceivede nat hem-self with outrage. They

{41}weren wont lightly to slaken hir hunger at even with acornes


of okes. They ne coude nat medly the yifte of Bachus to the

cleer hony; that is to seyn, they coude make no piment nor clarree;

ne they coude nat medle the brighte fleeses of the contree of

Seriens with the venim of Tyrie; this is to seyn, they coude nat

deyen whyte fleeses of Serien contree with the blode of a maner


shelfisshe that men finden in Tyrie, with whiche blood men deyen

purpur. They slepen hoolsom slepes up-on the gras, and

dronken of the renninge wateres; and layen under the shadwes

of the heye pyn-trees. Ne no gest ne 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 and ful stille,

ne blood y-shad by egre hate ne hadde nat deyed yit armures.

For wher-to or which woodnesse of enemys wolde first moeven

armes, whan they seyen cruel woundes, ne none medes be of


blood y-shad?

I wolde that oure tymes sholde torne ayein to the olde

maneres! But the anguissous love of havinge brenneth in folk

more cruely than the fyr of the mountaigne Ethna, that ay brenneth.

Allas! what was he that first dalf up the gobetes or the weightes


of gold covered under erthe, and the precious stones that wolden

han ben hid? He dalf up precious perils. That is to seyn, that

he that hem first up dalf, he dalf up a precious peril; for-why for

the preciousnesse of swiche thinge, hath many man ben in peril.

Me. V. 2. Ed. feldes; C. feeldes; A. erthes. 3. C. desseyuyd; A. desceyued. 4. C. accornes; A. acornes. 6. C. nor; Ed. or; A. of. 7. C. fleezes; A. flies; Ed. fleces. 8. A. siriens (Lat. Serum). 9. C. flezes; A. flies; Ed. fleces. // C. syryen; A. sirien; Ed. Syrien. 10. C. shylle-; A. Ed. shel-. 13. A. om. 3rd ne. // C. karue; A. karf; Ed. carfe. 16. C. crwel (and so again below). // C. Ed. hust; A. whist. 17. A. y-shed. // A. armurers (!). 18. C. wer to. 19. C. say; A. seien. 22. C. angwissos; A. anguissous. 23. C. om. 2nd the. // A. Ed. of Ethna; C. om. of. // A. euer (for ay). 27. C. om. 2nd he. 28. A. om. thinge. // A. ben; C. be.

Prose VI.

Quid autem de dignitatibus.

But what shal I seye of dignitees and of powers, the whiche

ye men, that neither knowen verray dignitee ne verray power,

areysen hem as heye as the hevene? The whiche dignitees and

{42}powers, yif they comen to any wikked man, they don as grete


damages and destrucciouns as doth the flaumbe of the mountaigne

Ethna, whan the flaumbe walweth up; ne no deluge ne doth so

cruel harmes. Certes, thee remembreth wel, as I trowe, that

thilke dignitee that men clepen the imperie of consulers, the

whiche that whylom was biginninge of fredom, youre eldres


coveiteden to han don away that dignitee, for the pryde of the

consulers. And right for the same pryde your eldres, biforn that

tyme, hadden don awey, out of the citee of Rome, the kinges

name; that is to seyn, they nolde han no lenger no king. But

now, yif so be that dignitees and powers be yeven to goode men,


the whiche thing is ful selde, what agreable thing is ther in tho

dignitees or powers but only the goodnesse of folkes that usen

hem? And therfor it is thus, that honour ne comth nat to vertu

for cause of dignitee, but ayeinward honour comth to dignitee for

cause of vertu. But whiche is thilke youre dereworthe power,


that is so cleer and so requerable? O ye ertheliche bestes,

considere ye nat over which thinge that it semeth that ye han

power? Now yif thou saye a mous amonges other mys, that

chalaunged to him-self-ward right and power over alle other mys,

how greet scorn woldest thou han of it! Glosa. So fareth it by


men; the body hath power over the body. For yif thou loke wel

up-on the body of a wight, what thing shall thou finde more

freele than is mankinde; the whiche men wel ofte ben slayn with

bytinge of smale flyes, or elles with the entringe of crepinge

wormes in-to the privetees of mannes body? But wher shal man


finden any man that may exercen or haunten any right up-on

another man, but only up-on his body, or elles up-on thinges

that ben lowere than the body, the whiche I clepe fortunous

possessiouns? Mayst thou ever have any comaundement over

a free corage? Mayst thou remuen fro the estat of his propre


reste a thought that is clyvinge to-gidere in him-self by stedefast

{43}resoun? As whylom a tyraunt wende to confounde a free man

of corage, and wende to constreyne him by torment, to maken

him discoveren and acusen folk that wisten of a coniuracioun,

which I clepe a confederacie, that was cast ayeins this tyraunt;


but this free man boot of his owne tonge and caste it in the

visage of thilke wode tyraunt; so that the torments that this

tyraunt wende to han maked matere of crueltee, this wyse man

maked it matere of vertu.

But what thing is it that a man may don to another man, that


he ne may receyven the same thing of othre folk in him-self:

or thus, what may a man don to folk, that folk ne may don him the

same? I have herd told of Busirides, that was wont to sleen his

gestes that herberweden in his hous; and he was sleyn him-self

of Ercules that was his gest. Regulus hadde taken in bataile


many men of Affrike and cast hem in-to feteres; but sone after

he moste yeve his handes to ben bounde with the cheynes of

hem that he hadde whylom overcomen. Wenest thou thanne

that he be mighty, that hath no power to don a thing, that othre

ne may don in him that he doth in othre? And yit more-over,


yif it so were that thise dignitees or poweres hadden any propre

or natural goodnesse in hem-self, never nolden they comen to

shrewes. For contrarious thinges ne ben nat wont to ben

y-felawshiped to-gidere. Nature refuseth that contrarious thinges

ben y-ioigned. And so, as I am in certein that right wikked folk


han dignitees ofte tyme, than sheweth it wel that dignitees and

powers ne ben nat goode of hir owne kinde; sin that they suffren

hem-self to cleven or ioinen hem to shrewes. And certes, the

same thing may I most digneliche iugen and seyn of alle the

yiftes of fortune that most plentevously comen to shrewes; of


the whiche yiftes, I trowe that it oughte ben considered, that no

man douteth that he nis strong in whom he seeth strengthe; and

in whom that swiftnesse is, sooth it is that he is swift. Also

musike maketh musiciens, and phisike maketh phisiciens, and

rethorike rethoriens. For-why the nature of every thing maketh


his propretee, ne it is nat entremedled with the effects of the

{44}contrarious thinges; and, as of wil, it chaseth out thinges that

ben to it contrarie. But certes, richesse may not restreyne

avarice unstaunched; ne power ne maketh nat a man mighty

over him-self, whiche that vicious lustes holden destreyned with


cheynes that ne mowen nat be unbounden. And dignitees that

ben yeven to shrewede folk nat only ne maketh hem nat digne,

but it sheweth rather al openly that they ben unworthy and

undigne. And why is it thus? Certes, for ye han Ioye to clepen

thinges with false names that beren hem alle in the contrarie;


the whiche names ben ful ofte reproeved by the effecte of the

same thinges; so that thise ilke richesses ne oughten nat by

right to ben cleped richesses; ne swich power ne oughte nat

ben cleped power; ne swich dignitee ne oughte nat ben cleped



And at the laste, I may conclude the same thing of alle the

yiftes of Fortune, in which ther nis nothing to ben desired, ne

that hath in him-self naturel bountee, as it is ful wel y-sene. For

neither they ne ioignen hem nat alwey to goode men, ne maken

hem alwey goode to whom that they ben y-ioigned.

Pr. VI. 1. A. seyne. 2. A. om. ye. 5. C. flawmbe; A. flamme (twice). 6. A. ins. wit (!) bef. walweth. 7. C. crwel. // C. remenbryth. 8. A. thilke; C. thikke. // A. emperie; C. Imperiye. 11. A. conseilers. 13. A. kyng; C. kynge. 15. Ed. selde; C. A. zelde. // C. A. Ed. thinges; read thing (Lat. quid placet). 19. A. om. thilke. 22. C. musȝ; A. myse; Ed. myce. 23. C. mysȝ; A. myse; Ed. myce. 26. C. shalthow. 27. A. mannes kynde. // A. whiche ben ful ofte slayn. 29. A. mennes bodyes. 33. C. Maysthow. 34. C. Maysthow remwen. 35. A. cleuyng. // C. stidefast; A. stedfast. 40. Ed. caste; C. A. cast. 42. C. crwelte. 45. C. resseyuen; A. receyue. 48. A. herburghden. 52. C. om. he. // C. whylom; A. somtyme. // C. weenesthow. 53. C. thinge; A. thing. 54. A. om. 1st in. // A. to (for 2nd in). 63. Ed. I (after may); C. A. omit. 67. C. om. it. 68. So A.; C. musuciens, phisissiens. 70. A. effectis; C. effect. // A. om. the. 72. C. A. to it ben. 73. A. om. 2nd ne. 81, 82. A. rycchesse (twice). 82, 83. A. whiche (for swich; twice). 87. C. I-seene; A. sene.

Metre VI.

Nouimus quantas dederit ruinas.

We han wel knowen how many grete harmes and destrucciouns

weren don by the emperor Nero. He leet brenne the citee of

Rome, and made sleen the senatoures. And he, cruel, whylom

slew his brother; and he was maked moist with the blood of


his moder; that is to seyn, he leet sleen and slitten the body of

his moder, to seen wher he was conceived; and he loked on every

halve up-on her colde dede body, ne no tere ne wette his face, but

he was so hard-herted that he mighte ben domes-man or Iuge of

hir dede beautee. And natheles, yit governede this Nero by


ceptre alle the poeples that Phebus the sonne may seen, cominge

{45}from his outereste arysinge til he hyde his bemes under the

wawes; that is to seyn, he governed alle the poeples by ceptre imperial

that the sonne goth aboute, from est to west. And eek this

Nero governed by ceptre alle the poeples that ben under the


colde sterres that highten "septem triones"; this is to seyn, he

governede alle the poeples that ben under the party of the north.

And eek Nero governed alle the poeples that the violent wind

Nothus scorkleth, and baketh the brenning sandes by his drye

hete; that is to seyn, alle the poeples in the south. But yit ne


mighte nat al his hye power torne the woodnesse of this wikked

Nero. Allas! it is a grevous fortune, as ofte as wikked swerd

is ioigned to cruel venim; that is to seyn, venimous crueltee to


Me. VI. 2. C. let; A. letee (!). 3. C. crwel. // C. whylom; A. somtyme. 5. C. lette (wrongly); A. let. 6. C. conseyued; A. conceiued. 7. A. half. // C. wecte; A. wette. 9. A. ȝitte neuertheles. 11. A. hidde. 12. C. sceptre; A. ceptre. 15. C. vii. tyryones (sic); A. the seuene triones; Ed. the Septentrions. 16. A. parties. 18. C. Ed. scorklith; A. scorchith. 19-21. A. om. But yit ... Nero; Ed. retains it, omitting hye. // For Allas ... it is, A. has—But ne how greuous fortune is; C. om. a bef. greuous, but Ed. retains it. C. repeats it is. 22. C. crwel; crwelte.

Prose VII.

Tum ego, scis, inquam.

Thanne seyde I thus: 'Thou wost wel thy-self that the coveitise

of mortal thinges ne hadde never lordshipe of me; but

I have wel desired matere of thinges to done, as who seith, I

desire to han matere of governaunce over comunalitees, for vertu,


stille, ne sholde nat elden;' that is to seyn, that [him] leste that,

or he wex olde, his vertu, that lay now ful stille, ne should nat

perisshe unexercised in governaunce of comune; for which men

mighten speken or wryten of his goode governement.

Philosophye. 'For sothe,' quod she, 'and that is a thing that


may drawen to governaunce swiche hertes as ben worthy and

noble of hir nature; but natheles, it may nat drawen or tollen

swiche hertes as ben y-brought to the fulle perfeccioun of vertu,

that is to seyn, coveitise of glorie and renoun to han wel administred

the comune thinges or don gode desertes to profit of the


comune. For see now and considere, how litel and how voide of

alle prys is thilke glorie. Certein thing is, as thou hast lerned by

{46}the demonstracioun of astronomye, that al the environinge of the

erthe aboute ne halt nat but the resoun of a prikke at regard of the

greetnesse of hevene; that is to seyn, that yif ther were maked


comparisoun of the erthe to the greetnesse of hevene, men wolden

iugen in al, that the erthe ne helde no space. Of the whiche litel

regioun of this worlde, the ferthe partye is enhabited with livinge

bestes that we knowen, as thou thyself hast y-lerned by Tholomee

that proveth it. And yif thou haddest with-drawen and abated in


thy thought fro thilke ferthe partye as moche space as the see and

the mareys contenen and over-goon, and as moche space as the

regioun of droughte over-streccheth, that is to seyn, sandes and

desertes, wel unnethe sholde ther dwellen a right streit place to

the habitacioun of men. And ye thanne, that ben environed and


closed with-in the leste prikke of thilke prikke, thinken ye to

manifesten your renoun and don youre name to ben born forth?

But your glorie, that is so narwe and so streite y-throngen in-to so

litel boundes, how mochel coveiteth it in largesse and in greet

doinge? And also sette this there-to: that many a nacioun,


dyverse of tonge and of maneres and eek of resoun of hir livinge,

ben enhabited in the clos of thilke litel habitacle; to the whiche

naciouns, what for difficultee of weyes and what for dyversitee of

langages, and what for defaute of unusage and entrecomuninge of

marchaundise, nat only the names of singuler men ne may nat


strecchen, but eek the fame of citees ne may nat strecchen. At

the laste, certes, in the tyme of Marcus Tullius, as him-self writ in

his book, that the renoun of the comune of Rome ne hadde nat

yit passed ne cloumben over the mountaigne that highte Caucasus;

and yit was, thilke tyme, Rome wel waxen and greetly redouted of


the Parthes and eek of other folk enhabitinge aboute. Seestow

nat thanne how streit and how compressed is thilke glorie that ye

travailen aboute to shewe and to multiplye? May thanne the

glorie of a singuler Romaine strecchen thider as the fame of the

{47}name of Rome may nat climben ne passen? And eek, seestow nat


that the maneres of dyverse folk and eek hir lawes ben discordaunt

among hem-self; so that thilke thing that som men

iugen worthy of preysinge, other folk iugen that it is worthy of

torment? And ther-of comth it that, though a man delyte him in

preysinge of his renoun, he may nat in no wyse bringen forth ne


spreden his name to many maner poeples. There-for every man

oughte to ben apayed of his glorie that is publisshed among his

owne neighbours; and thilke noble renoun shal ben restreyned

within the boundes of o manere folke. But how many a man,

that was ful noble in his tyme, hath the wrecched and nedy


foryetinge of wryteres put out of minde and don awey! Al be

it so that, certes, thilke wrytinges profiten litel; the whiche

wrytinges long and derk elde doth awey, bothe hem and eek hir

autours. But ye men semen to geten yow a perdurabletee, whan

ye thenken that, in tyme to-cominge, your fame shal lasten. But


natheles, yif thou wolt maken comparisoun to the endeles spaces

of eternitee, what thing hast thou by whiche thou mayst reioysen

thee of long lastinge of thy name? For yif ther were maked comparisoun

of the abydinge of a moment to ten thousand winter,

for as mochel as bothe the spaces ben ended, yit hath the


moment som porcioun of it, al-though it litel be. But natheles,

thilke selve noumbre of yeres, and eek as many yeres as

ther-to may be multiplyed, ne may nat, certes, ben comparisoned

to the perdurabletee that is endeles; for of thinges that han ende

may be maked comparisoun, but of thinges that ben with-outen


ende, to thinges that han ende, may be maked no comparisoun.

And forthy is it that, al-though renoun, of as long tyme as ever

thee list to thinken, were thought to the regard of eternitee, that

is unstaunchable and infinit, it ne sholde nat only semen litel, but

pleynliche right naught. But ye men, certes, ne conne don


nothing a-right, but-yif it be for the audience of poeple and for

ydel rumours; and ye forsaken the grete worthinesse of conscience

{48}and of vertu, and ye seken your guerdouns of the smale wordes of

straunge folk.

Have now heer and understonde, in the lightnesse of swich


pryde and veine glorie, how a man scornede festivaly and merily

swich vanitee. Whylom ther was a man that hadde assayed

with stryvinge wordes another man, the whiche, nat for usage of

verray vertu but for proud veine glorie, had taken up-on him

falsly the name of a philosophre. This rather man. that I spak


of thoughte he wolde assaye, wher he, thilke, were a philosophre

or no; that is to seyn, yif that he wolde han suffred lightly in

pacience the wronges that weren don un-to him. This feynede

philosophre took pacience a litel whyle, and, whan he hadde

received wordes of outrage, he, as in stryvinge ayein and reioysinge


of him-self, seyde at the laste right thus: "understondest

thou nat that I am a philosophre?" That other man answerde

ayein ful bytingly, and seyde: "I hadde wel understonden it, yif

thou haddest holden thy tonge stille." But what is it to thise

noble worthy men (for, certes, of swiche folke speke I) that seken


glorie with vertu? What is it?' quod she; 'what atteyneth fame

to swiche folk, whan the body is resolved by the deeth at the

laste? For yif it so be that men dyen in al, that is to seyn, body

and sowle, the whiche thing our resoun defendeth us to bileven,

thanne is ther no glorie in no wyse. For what sholde thilke glorie


ben, whan he, of whom thilke glorie is seyd to be, nis right naught

in no wyse? And yif the sowle, whiche that hath in it-self science

of goode werkes, unbounden fro the prison of the erthe, wendeth

frely to the hevene, despyseth it nat thanne alle erthely occupacioun;

and, being in hevene, reioyseth that it is exempt fro alle


erthely thinges? As who seith, thanne rekketh the sowle of no

glorie of renoun of this world.

Pr. VII. 4. A. desired. 5. I supply him (to make sense). // Ed. leste; C. A. list. 6. A. wex; C. wax. 7. C. perise; A. perisshe. // Ed. vnexercysed; C. A. vnexcercised. 17. A. om. 1st the. // C. om. of. 21. A. that erthe helde. 26. A. and mareys. // C. spaces (for space). 28. C. vel; A. wel. 32. C. narwh; A. narwe. 36. A. cloos. 37. C. deficulte; A. difficulte. // C. deficulte (repeated); A. Ed. diuersite. 38. A. om. and after vnusage. 39. Ed. synguler; C. A. syngler. // A. om. nat (bef. 1st strecchen). 41. C. marchus; A. Marcus. // Ed. Tullius; C. A. Tulius. // C. writ; A. writeth. 43. C. om. yit. // A. hyȝt. 44. C. thikke; A. thilk. // A. wexen. 45. C. sestow; A. Sest thou. 48. Ed. synguler; C. singler; A. singlere. // A. strecchen; C. strechchen. 49. C. seysthow; A. sest thou; Ed. seest thou. 51. C. thinge; A. thing. 56. A. paied. // Ed. publysshed; C. publyssed; A. puplissed. 57. A. neyȝbores; Ed. neyghbours; C. nesshebours. 59. A. nedy and wrecched. 63. A. autours; Ed. auctours; C. actorros (!). // A. Ed. ye men semen; C. yow men semeth. 64. A. thenke; C. thinken. // A. comyng (om. to-). 65. A. space (Lat. spatia). 69. C. A. Ed. insert for bef. yit (wrongly). 70. A. it a litel. 73. C. -durablyte; A. -durablete. // A. eenles (for endeles). 74, 75. A. om. but of ... comparisoun. 77. A. by (for 2nd to). 82. C. A. gerdouns; Ed. guerdones. 84. A. whiche (for swich). 89. A. speke. 90. C. weere he; A. where he; Ed. wheder he. 91. A. om. that. 94. C. resseyuyd; A. receiued. 95. C. vnderstondow. 97. A. om. it. 98. C. glosses it by s. fama. 102. A. om. it. 103. C. deffendeth; A. defendith. 105. A. for (for whan). 107. C. glosses erthe by i. corporis. 108. C. glosses it by i. anima. 110, 111. A. om. As who ... this world.

Metre VII.

Quicunque solam mente praecipiti petit.

Who-so that, with overthrowinge thought, only seketh glorie of

fame, and weneth that it be sovereyn good: lat him loken up-on

{49}the brode shewinge contrees of hevene, and up-on the streite site

of this erthe; and he shal ben ashamed of the encrees of his


name, that may nat fulfille the litel compas of the erthe. O!

what coveiten proude folk to liften up hir nekkes in ydel in the

dedly yok of this worlde? For al-though that renoun y-sprad,

passinge to ferne poeples, goth by dyverse tonges; and al-though

that grete houses or kinredes shynen with clere titles of honours;


yit, natheles, deeth despyseth alle heye glorie of fame: and deeth

wrappeth to-gidere the heye hevedes and the lowe, and maketh

egal and evene the heyeste to the loweste. Wher wonen now the

bones of trewe Fabricius? What is now Brutus, or stierne

Catoun? The thinne fame, yit lastinge, of hir ydel names, is


marked with a fewe lettres; but al-though that we han knowen

the faire wordes of the fames of hem, it is nat yeven to knowe

hem that ben dede and consumpte. Liggeth thanne stille, al

outrely unknowable; ne fame ne maketh yow nat knowe. And

yif ye wene to liven the longer for winde of your mortal name,


whan o cruel day shal ravisshe yow, thanne is the seconde deeth

dwellinge un-to yow.' Glose. The first deeth he clepeth heer the

departinge of the body and the sowle; and the seconde deeth he

clepeth, as heer, the stintinge of the renoun of fame.

3. C. cyte (for site); A. sete (error for site; Lat. situm). 6. A. liften vpon hire nekkes in ydel and dedely. 7. A. om. that. 9. A. om. that. // C. cler; A. clere. 13. A. stiern; Ed. sterne. 17. A. Ed. consumpt. 18. A. vtterly. 21. Ed. to (for un-to); A. in. // A. Ed. the; C. om. (after heer).

Prose VIII.

Set ne me inexorabile contra fortunam.

'But for as mochel as thou shalt nat wenen', quod she, 'that I

bere untretable bataile ayeins fortune, yit som-tyme it bifalleth that

she, deceyvable, deserveth to han right good thank of men; and

that is, whan she hir-self opneth, and whan she descovereth hir


frount, and sheweth hir maneres. Peraventure yit understondest

thou nat that I shal seye. It is a wonder that I desire to telle,

and forthy unnethe may I unpleyten my sentence with wordes; for

I deme that contrarious Fortune profiteth more to men than

{50}Fortune debonaire. For alwey, whan Fortune semeth debonaire,


than she lyeth falsly in bihetinge the hope of welefulnesse; but

forsothe contrarious Fortune is alwey soothfast, whan she sheweth

hir-self unstable thorugh hir chaunginge. The amiable Fortune

deceyveth folk; the contrarie Fortune techeth. The amiable

Fortune bindeth with the beautee of false goodes the hertes of


folk that usen hem; the contrarie Fortune unbindeth hem by the

knowinge of freele welefulnesse. The amiable Fortune mayst

thou seen alwey windinge and flowinge, and ever misknowinge of

hir-self; the contrarie Fortune is atempre and restreyned, and wys

thorugh exercise of hir adversitee. At the laste, amiable Fortune


with hir flateringes draweth miswandringe men fro the sovereyne

good; the contrarious Fortune ledeth ofte folk ayein to soothfast

goodes, and haleth hem ayein as with an hooke. Wenest thou

thanne that thou oughtest to leten this a litel thing, that this aspre

and horrible Fortune hath discovered to thee the thoughtes of thy


trewe freendes? For-why this ilke Fortune hath departed and uncovered

to thee bothe the certein visages and eek the doutous

visages of thy felawes. Whan she departed awey fro thee, she

took awey hir freendes, and lafte thee thyne freendes. Now whan

thou were riche and weleful, as thee semede, with how mochel


woldest thou han bought the fulle knowinge of this, that is to seyn,

the knowinge of thy verray freendes? Now pleyne thee nat thanne

of richesse y-lorn, sin thou hast founden the moste precious kinde

of richesses, that is to seyn, thy verray freendes.

Pr. VIII. A. omits to end of bk. iii. pr. 1. 3. C. desseyuable. // C. desserueth. 7. So C.; Ed. vnplyten. 13. C. desseyueth. 17. C. maysthow. 30. C. woldesthow.

Metre VIII.

Quod mundus stabili fide.

That the world with stable feith varieth acordable chaunginges;

that the contrarious qualitee of elements holden among hem-self

aliaunce perdurable; that Phebus the sonne with his goldene

chariet bringeth forth the rosene day; that the mone hath commaundement


over the nightes, which nightes Hesperus the eve-sterre

hath brought; that the see, greedy to flowen, constreyneth

with a certein ende hise flodes, so that it is nat leveful to strecche

hise brode termes or boundes up-on the erthes, that is to seyn, to

{51}covere al the erthe:—al this acordaunce of thinges is bounden with


Love, that governeth erthe and see, and hath also commaundements

to the hevenes. And yif this Love slakede the brydeles,

alle thinges that now loven hem to-gederes wolden maken a bataile

continuely, and stryven to fordoon the fasoun of this worlde, the

whiche they now leden in acordable feith by faire moevinges.


This Love halt to-gideres poeples ioigned with an holy bond, and

knitteth sacrement of mariages of chaste loves; and Love endyteth

lawes to trewe felawes. O! weleful were mankinde, yif thilke

Love that governeth hevene governed youre corages!'

Me. VIII. 6. C. hat. 7. C. lueful; Ed. leful. 8. erthes; Lat. terris.

Explicit Liber secundus.


Prose I.

Iam cantum illa finierat.

By this she hadde ended hir song, whan the sweetnesse of hir

ditee hadde thorugh-perced me that was desirous of herkninge,

and I astoned hadde yit streighte myn eres, that is to seyn, to

herkne the bet what she wolde seye; so that a litel here-after I


seyde thus: 'O thou that art sovereyn comfort of anguissous

corages, so thou hast remounted and norisshed me with the

weighte of thy sentences and with delyt of thy singinge; so that

I trowe nat now that I be unparigal to the strokes of Fortune:

as who seyth, I dar wel now suffren al the assautes of Fortune, and


wel defende me fro hir. And tho remedies whiche that thou

seydest her-biforn weren right sharpe, nat only that I am nat

a-grisen of hem now, but I, desirous of heringe, axe gretely to

heren the remedies.'

Than seyde she thus: 'That felede I ful wel,' quod she, 'whan


that thou, ententif and stille, ravisshedest my wordes; and I

abood til that thou haddest swich habite of thy thought as thou

{52}hast now; or elles til that I my-self hadde maked to thee the

same habit, which that is a more verray thing. And certes, the

remenaunt of thinges that ben yit to seye ben swiche, that first


whan men tasten hem they ben bytinge, but whan they ben

receyved withinne a wight, than ben they swete. But for thou

seyst that thou art so desirous to herkne hem, with how gret

brenninge woldest thou glowen, yif thou wistest whider I wol

leden thee!'


'Whider is that?' quod I.

'To thilke verray welefulnesse,' quod she, 'of whiche thyn herte

dremeth; but for as moche as thy sighte is ocupied and distorbed

by imaginacioun of erthely thinges, thou mayst nat yit seen thilke

selve welefulnesse.'


'Do,' quod I, 'and shewe me what is thilke verray welefulnesse,

I preye thee, with-oute taryinge.'

'That wole I gladly don,' quod she, 'for the cause of thee;

but I wol first marken thee by wordes and I wol enforcen me to

enformen thee thilke false cause of blisfulnesse that thou more


knowest; so that, whan thou hast fully bi-holden thilke false

goodes, and torned thyn eyen to that other syde, thou mowe knowe

the cleernesse of verray blisfulnesse.

Pr. I. 3. C. streyhte; Ed. streyght. 5. C angwissos. 7. C. weyhte; Ed. weight. // C. sentenses; Ed. sentences. 8. C. vnparygal; Ed. vnperegall. 10. C. deffende; Ed. defende. 11. C. hir-; Ed. here-. 12. C. desiros; Ed. desyrous. 17. C. Ed. had. 21. C. resseyued. 22. C. wit; Ed. with. 23. C. woldesthow; Ed. woldest thou. 26. C. thynge (!); Ed. thyn; Lat. tuus. 28. C. herthely; Ed. erthly. 31. C. tarynge; Ed. taryeng; Lat. cunctatione. 33. C. the (for thee); Ed. om.

Metre I.

Qui serere ingenuum uolet agrum.

Who-so wole sowe a feeld plentivous, lat him first delivere it fro

thornes, and kerve asunder with his hook the busshes and the

fern, so that the corn may comen hevy of eres and of greynes.

Hony is the more swete, yif mouthes han first tasted savoures that


ben wikkid. The sterres shynen more agreably whan the wind

Nothus leteth his ploungy blastes; and after that Lucifer the

day-sterre hath chased awey the derke night, the day the fairere

ledeth the rosene hors of the sonne. And right so thou, bi-holdinge

{53}first the false goodes, bigin to with-drawen thy nekke


fro the yok of erthely affecciouns; and after-ward the verray goodes

shollen entren in-to thy corage.'

Me. I. 1. A. of (for fro). 2. A. bushes; Ed. busshes; C. bosses. 3. C. heres; A. eres. 5. A. wikke. // C. agreablely. 7. C. dirke; A. derke. 8. A. om. And. 10. C. verre; A. verrey.

Prose II.

Tunc defixo paullulum uisu.

Tho fastnede she a litel the sighte of hir eyen, and with-drow

hir right as it were in-to the streite sete of hir thought; and bigan

to speke right thus: 'Alle the cures,' quod she, 'of mortal folk,

whiche that travaylen hem in many maner studies, goon certes by


diverse weyes, but natheles they enforcen hem alle to comen only

to oon ende of blisfulnesse. And blisfulnesse is swiche a good,

that who-so that hath geten it, he ne may, over that, no-thing

more desyre. And this thing is forsothe the sovereyn good that

conteyneth in him-self alle maner goodes; to the whiche good yif


ther failede any thing, it mighte nat ben cleped sovereyn good:

for thanne were ther som good, out of this ilke sovereyn good, that

mighte ben desired. Now is it cleer and certein thanne, that

blisfulnesse is a parfit estat by the congregacioun of alle goodes;

the whiche blisfulnesse, as I have seyd, alle mortal folk enforcen


hem to geten by diverse weyes. For-why the coveitise of verray

good is naturelly y-plaunted in the hertes of men; but the miswandringe

errour mis-ledeth hem in-to false goodes. Of the

whiche men, som of hem wenen that sovereyn good be to liven

with-oute nede of any thing, and travaylen hem to be haboundaunt


of richesses. And som other men demen that sovereyn good be,

for to ben right digne of reverence; and enforcen hem to ben

reverenced among hir neighbours by the honours that they han

y-geten. And some folk ther ben that holden, that right heigh

power be sovereyn good, and enforcen hem for to regnen, or elles


to ioignen hem to hem that regnen. And it semeth to some other

folk, that noblesse of renoun be the sovereyn good; and hasten

{54}hem to geten glorious name by the arts of werre and of pees.

And many folk mesuren and gessen that sovereyn good be Ioye

and gladnesse, and wenen that it be right blisful thing to ploungen


hem in voluptuous delyt. And ther ben folk that entrechaungen

the causes and the endes of thise forseyde goodes, as they that

desiren richesses to han power and delytes; or elles they desiren

power for to han moneye, or for cause of renoun. In thise thinges,

and in swiche othre thinges, is torned alle the entencioun of


desiringes and of werkes of men; as thus: noblesse and favour

of people, whiche that yeveth to men, as it semeth hem, a maner

cleernesse of renoun; and wyf and children, that men desiren for

cause of delyt and of merinesse. But forsothe, frendes ne sholden

nat be rekned a-mong the godes of fortune, but of vertu; for it is


a ful holy maner thing. Alle thise othre thinges, forsothe, ben

taken for cause of power or elles for cause of delyt.

Certes, now am I redy to referren the goodes of the body to

thise forseide thinges aboven; for it semeth that strengthe and

gretnesse of body yeven power and worthinesse, and that beautee


and swiftnesse yeven noblesses and glorie of renoun; and hele of

body semeth yeven delyt. In alle thise thinges it semeth only

that blisfulnesse is desired. For-why thilke thing that every man

desireth most over alle thinges, he demeth that it be the sovereyn

good; but I have defyned that blisfulnesse is the sovereyn good;


for which every wight demeth, that thilke estat that he desireth

over alle thinges, that it be blisfulnesse.

Now hast thou thanne biforn thyn eyen almest al the purposed

forme of the welefulnesse of man-kinde, that is to seyn, richesses,

honours, power, and glorie, and delyts. The whiche delyt only


considerede Epicurus, and iuged and establisshed that delyt is

the sovereyn good; for as moche as alle othre thinges, as him

thoughte, bi-refte awey Ioye and mirthe fram the herte. But I

retorne ayein to the studies of men, of whiche men the corage

alwey reherseth and seketh the sovereyn good, al be it so that


it be with a derked memorie; but he not by whiche path, right

{55}as a dronken man not nat by whiche path he may retorne him to

his hous. Semeth it thanne that folk folyen and erren that

enforcen hem to have nede of nothing? Certes, ther nis non other

thing that may so wel performe blisfulnesse, as an estat plentivous


of alle goodes, that ne hath nede of non other thing, but that is

suffisaunt of himself unto him-self. And folyen swiche folk thanne,

that wenen that thilke thing that is right good, that it be eek right

worthy of honour and of reverence? Certes, nay. For that thing

nis neither foul ne worthy to ben despised, that wel neigh al the


entencioun of mortal folk travaylen for to geten it. And power,

oughte nat that eek to ben rekened amonges goodes? What

elles? For it is nat to wene that thilke thing, that is most worthy

of alle thinges, be feble and with-oute strengthe. And cleernesse

of renoun, oughte that to ben despised? Certes, ther may no


man forsake, that al thing that is right excellent and noble, that it ne

semeth to ben right cleer and renomed. For certes, it nedeth nat

to seye, that blisfulnesse be [nat] anguissous ne drery, ne subgit to

grevaunces ne to sorwes, sin that in right litel thinges folk seken

to have and to usen that may delyten hem. Certes, thise ben


the thinges that men wolen and desiren to geten. And for this

cause desiren they richesses, dignitees, regnes, glorie, and delices.

For therby wenen they to han suffisaunce, honour, power, renoun,

and gladnesse. Than is it good, that men seken thus by so many

diverse studies. In whiche desyr it may lightly ben shewed how


gret is the strengthe of nature; for how so that men han diverse

sentences and discordinge, algates men acorden alle in lovinge the

ende of good.

Pr. II. 2. C. cyte; A. sete; Lat. sedem. 5. C. enforsen; A. enforced; Ed. enforcen. 6. A. om. And blisfulnesse. 10. A. om. cleped. 14. C. enforsen; A. enforcen. 18. A. is (for be). 20. C. ben; A. be. 22. C. nesshebors; A. neyghbours. 23. A. halden. // C. heyh; A. heyȝe; Ed. hye. 24: A. to b (for be). 28. C. by (for be); A. Ed. be. 29. A. om. thing. 32. A. rycchesse. 35. A. om. 1st of. // C. fauor; A. fauour. 36. A. om. to men and hem. 38. A. shollen. 39. A. Ed. the; C. tho. 45. C. sweft-; A. swifte-. 49. C. deffyned; A. Ed. diffined. 52. A. om. thy eyen; C. thy (for thyn); Ed. thyn. // A. almost. 55. A. om. and bef. iuged. // C. A. establyssed; Ed. establysshed. 59. A. ins. of after good (wrongly). 60. C. dirkyd; A. derke; Ed. dyrked. // A. om. but he ... path. // C. paath (twice). 62. C. foleyen; A. folyen. 65. C. A. ins. it bef. is; Ed. om. 66. C. A. foleyen; Ed. folyen. 69. C. wel neyh; Ed. wel nygh; A. om. // C. alle; A. Ed. al. 77. I supply nat. // C. angwyssos. // C. subgyd; A. subgit. 81. A. rycches. 86. C. allegates; A. algates. // A. lyuynge (!).

Metre II.

Quantas rerum flectat habenas.

It lyketh me to shewe, by subtil song, with slakke and delitable

soun of strenges, how that Nature, mighty, enclineth and flitteth

the governements of thinges, and by whiche lawes she, purveyable,

kepeth the grete world; and how she, bindinge, restreyneth alle


thinges by a bonde that may nat ben unbounde. Al be it so that

{56}the lyouns of the contre of Pene beren the faire chaynes, and

taken metes of the handes of folk that yeven it hem, and dreden

hir sturdy maystres of whiche they ben wont to suffren betinges:

yif that hir horrible mouthes ben be-bled, that is to seyn, of bestes


devoured, hir corage of time passed, that hath ben ydel and rested,

repeyreth ayein; and they roren grevously and remembren on hir

nature, and slaken hir nekkes fram hir chaynes unbounde; and

hir mayster, first to-torn with blody tooth, assayeth the wode

wrathes of hem; this is to seyn, they freten hir mayster. And the


iangelinge brid that singeth on the heye braunches, that is to seyn,

in the wode, and after is enclosed in a streyt cage: al-though that

the pleyinge bisinesse of men yeveth hem honiede drinkes and

large metes with swete studie, yit natheles, yif thilke brid, skippinge

out of hir streyte cage, seeth the agreables shadewes of the


wodes, she defouleth with hir feet hir metes y-shad, and seketh

mourninge only the wode; and twitereth, desiringe the wode, with

hir swete vois. The yerde of a tree, that is haled a-doun by

mighty strengthe, boweth redily the crop a-doun: but yif that the

hand of him that it bente lat it gon ayein, anon the crop loketh


up-right to hevene. The sonne Phebus, that falleth at even in

the westrene wawes, retorneth ayein eftsones his carte, by privee

path, ther-as it is wont aryse. Alle thinges seken ayein to hir

propre cours, and alle thinges reioysen hem of hir retorninge ayein

to hir nature. Ne non ordinaunce nis bitaken to thinges, but that


that hath ioyned the endinge to the beginninge, and hath maked

the cours of it-self stable, that it chaungeth nat from his propre


Me. II. 3. A. om. the. 8. A. om. betinges. 9. C. horyble. 11. A. that (for 1st and). 13. A. to-teren. 15. A. Iangland. // A. this (for 2nd that). 16. A. inclosed. // C. streyht; A. streit. 17. C. pleynynge; A. pleiyng; Lat. ludens. 19. A. Ed. agreable. 24. C. bent; A. bente. 27. A. in-to (for to). 30. C. hat; A. hath.

Prose III.

Vos quoque, o terrena animalia.

Certes also ye men, that ben ertheliche beestes, dremen alwey

youre beginninge, al-though it be with a thinne imaginacioun;

and by a maner thoughte, al be it nat cleerly ne parfitly, ye loken

fram a-fer to thilke verray fyn of blisfulnesse; and ther-fore naturel


{57}entencioun ledeth you to thilke verray good, but many maner

errours mis-torneth you ther-fro. Consider now yif that by thilke

thinges, by whiche a man weneth to geten him blisfulnesse, yif

that he may comen to thilke ende that he weneth to come by

nature. For yif that moneye or honours, or thise other forseyde


thinges bringen to men swich a thing that no good ne fayle hem

ne semeth fayle, certes than wole I graunte that they ben maked

blisful by thilke thinges that they han geten. But yif so be that

thilke thinges ne mowen nat performen that they bi-heten, and

that ther be defaute of manye goodes, sheweth it nat thanne


cleerly that fals beautee of blisfulnesse is knowen and ateint in

thilke thinges? First and forward thou thy-self, that haddest

habundaunces of richesses nat long agon, I axe yif that, in the

habundaunce of alle thilke richesses, thou were never anguissous

or sory in thy corage of any wrong or grevaunce that bi-tidde thee


on any syde?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'it ne remembreth me nat that evere I was

so free of my thought that I ne was alwey in anguissh of


'And was nat that,' quod she, 'for that thee lakked som-what


that thou noldest nat han lakked, or elles thou haddest that thou

noldest nat han had?'

'Right so is it,' quod I.

'Thanne desiredest thou the presence of that oon and the

absence of that other?'


'I graunte wel,' quod I.

'Forsothe,' quod she, 'than nedeth ther som-what that every

man desireth?'

'Ye, ther nedeth,' quod I.

'Certes,' quod she, 'and he that hath lakke or nede of aught


nis nat in every wey suffisaunt to himself?'

'No,' quod I.

'And thou,' quod she, 'in al the plentee of thy richesses haddest

thilke lakke of suffisaunse?'

'What elles?' quod I.


'Thanne may nat richesses maken that a man nis nedy, ne that

he be suffisaunt to him-self; and that was it that they bi-highten,

{58}as it semeth. And eek certes I trowe, that this be gretly to

considere, that moneye ne hath nat in his owne kinde that it

ne may ben bi-nomen of hem that han it, maugre hem?'


'I bi-knowe it wel,' quod I.

'Why sholdest thou nat bi-knowen it,' quod she, 'whan every

day the strenger folk bi-nemen it fro the febler, maugre hem?

For whennes comen elles alle thise foreyne compleyntes or

quereles of pletinges, but for that men axen ayein here moneye


that hath ben bi-nomen hem by force or by gyle, and alwey

maugre hem?'

'Right so is it,' quod I.

'Than,' quod she, 'hath a man nede to seken him foreyne

helpe by whiche he may defende his moneye?'


'Who may sey nay?' quod I.

'Certes,' quod she; 'and him nedede non help, yif he ne hadde

no moneye that he mighte lese?'

'That is douteles,' quod I.

'Than is this thinge torned in-to the contrarye,' quod she.


'For richesses, that men wenen sholde make suffisaunce, they

maken a man rather han nede of foreyne help! Which is

the manere or the gyse,' quod she, 'that richesse may dryve awey

nede? Riche folk, may they neither han hunger ne thurst?

Thise riche men, may they fele no cold on hir limes on winter?


But thou wolt answeren, that riche men han y-now wher-with they

may staunchen hir hunger, slaken hir thurst, and don a-wey cold.

In this wyse may nede be counforted by richesses; but certes,

nede ne may nat all outrely ben don a-wey. For though this nede,

that is alwey gapinge and gredy, be fulfild with richesses, and axe


any thing, yit dwelleth thanne a nede that mighte be fulfild. I

holde me stille, and telle nat how that litel thing suffiseth to

nature; but certes to avarice y-nough ne suffiseth no-thing. For

sin that richesses ne may nat al don awey nede, but richesses

maken nede, what may it thanne be, that ye wenen that richesses


mowen yeven you suffisaunce?

Pr. III. 2. A. om. youre biginninge. 15. C. ataynt; A. a-teint. 24. A. that (for And). // A. om. nat that ... for. // A. thou lakkedest; Ed. the lacked. 34. A. a wyȝt (for aught). 35. C. suffysaunte; A. suffisaunt. 37, 40. A. rycchesse. 46. C. sholdesthow. 47. A. bynymen. // C. febelere; A. febler. 50. C. om. hem. 54. C. deffende. 56. A. nedith. 60. A. rycchesse. 63. A. threst. 64. C. the; A. thei. 65. A. y-nouȝ. 66. A. threst. 68. C. om. nat. // C. vtrely; A. outerly. 69, 70. C. fulfyd; A. fulfilled (twice). 72. C. aueryce; A. auarice. 73. C. rychesse (1st time only); A. rychesse (twice). // C. alwey; A. awey.


Metre III.

Quamvis fluente diues auri gurgite.

Al were it so that a riche coveytous man hadde a river fletinge

al of gold, yit sholde it never staunchen his coveitise; and though

he hadde his nekke y-charged with precious stones of the rede

see, and though he do ere his feldes plentivous with an hundred


oxen, never ne shal his bytinge bisinesse for-leten him whyl he

liveth, ne the lighte richesses ne sholle nat beren him companye

whan he is ded.

Me. III. 1. A. om. 2nd a. 2. A. couetise. 4. A. erye. // C. feeldes. 6. C. leuith; A. lyueth. // C. shol; A. shal. // C. A. compaignie.

Prose IV.

Set dignitates.

But dignitees, to whom they ben comen, maken they him

honorable and reverent? Han they nat so gret strengthe, that

they may putte vertues in the hertes of folk that usen the lordshipes

of hem? Or elles may they don a-wey the vyces? Certes, they


ne be nat wont to don awey wikkednesse, but they ben wont

rather to shewen wikkednesse. And ther-of comth it that I have

right grete desdeyn, that dignitees ben yeven ofte to wikked

men; for which thing Catullus cleped a consul of Rome, that

highte Nonius, "postum" or "boch"; as who seyth, he cleped him


a congregacioun of vyces in his brest, as a postum is ful of corupcioun,

al were this Nonius set in a chayre of dignitee. Seest thou nat

thanne how gret vilenye dignitees don to wikked men? Certes,

unworthinesse of wikked men sholde be the lasse y-sene, yif they

nere renomed of none honours. Certes, thou thyself ne mightest


nat ben brought with as manye perils as thou mightest suffren

that thou woldest beren the magistrat with Decorat; that is to

seyn, that for no peril that mighte befallen thee by offence of the king

{60}Theodorike, thou noldest nat be felawe in governaunce with Decorat;

whan thou saye that he hadde wikked corage of a likerous shrewe


and of an accuser. Ne I ne may nat, for swiche honours, iugen

hem worthy of reverence, that I deme and holde unworthy to han

thilke same honours. Now yif thou saye a man that were fulfild

of wisdom, certes, thou ne mightest nat deme that he were unworthy

to the honour, or elles to the wisdom of which he is


fulfild?'—'No,' quod I.—'Certes, dignitees,' quod she, 'apertienen

proprely to vertu; and vertu transporteth dignitee anon to

thilke man to which she hir-self is conioigned. And for as moche

as honours of poeple ne may nat maken folk digne of honour, it

is wel seyn cleerly that they ne han no propre beautee of dignitee.


And yit men oughten taken more heed in this. For yif it so be

that a wikked wight be so mochel the foulere and the more out-cast,

that he is despysed of most folk, so as dignitee ne may nat

maken shrewes digne of reverence, the which shrewes dignitee

sheweth to moche folk, thanne maketh dignitee shrewes rather so


moche more despysed than preysed; and forsothe nat unpunisshed:

that is for to seyn, that shrewes revengen hem ayeinward

up-on dignitees; for they yilden ayein to dignitees as gret guerdoun,

whan they bi-spotten and defoulen dignitees with hir

vilenye. And for as mochel as thou mowe knowe that thilke


verray reverence ne may nat comen by thise shadewy transitorie

dignitees, undirstond now thus: yif that a man hadde used and

had many maner dignitees of consules, and were comen peraventure

amonge straunge naciouns, sholde thilke honour maken

him worshipful and redouted of straunge folk? Certes, yif that


honour of poeple were a naturel yift to dignitees, it ne mighte

never cesen nowher amonges no maner folk to don his office,

{61}right as fyr in every contree ne stinteth nat to eschaufen and to

ben hoot. But for as moche as for to ben holden honourable or

reverent ne cometh nat to folk of hir propre strengthe of nature,


but only of the false opinioun of folk, that is to seyn, that wenen

that dignitees maken folk digne of honour; anon therfore whan

that they comen ther-as folk ne knowen nat thilke dignitees, hir

honours vanisshen awey, and that anon. But that is amonges

straunge folk, mayst thou seyn; but amonges hem ther they


weren born, ne duren nat thilke dignitees alwey? Certes, the

dignitee of the provostrie of Rome was whylom a gret power;

now is it nothing but an ydel name, and the rente of the senatorie

a gret charge. And yif a wight whylom hadde the office to taken

hede to the vitailes of the poeple, as of corn and other thinges, he


was holden amonges grete; but what thing is now more out-cast

thanne thilke provostrie? And, as I have seyd a litel her-biforn,

that thilke thing that hath no propre beautee of him-self receiveth

som-tyme prys and shyninge, and som-tyme leseth it by the

opinioun of usaunces. Now yif that dignitees thanne ne mowen


nat maken folk digne of reverence, and yif that dignitees wexen

foule of hir wille by the filthe of shrewes, and yif that dignitees

lesen hir shyninge by chaunginge of tymes, and yif they wexen

foule by estimacioun of poeple: what is it that they han in hem-self

of beautee that oughte ben desired? as who seyth, non;


thanne ne mowen they yeven no beautee of dignitee to non other.

Pr. IV. 2. C. honorable, glossed ironice. 3. C. lordshippys; A. lordshipes. 5. A. om. ne. // A. wikkednesses (twice); Lat. nequitiam. 6. C. om. to bef. shewen. 7. C. desdaign; A. desdeyne. 9. C. nomyus; A. nonius. // Ed. postome. 11. C. nomyus. // C. om. a. // C. Sesthow. 12. C. fylonye; A. vylenye; Ed. vylonies; Lat. dedecus. 16. C. Ed. the; A. thi. // A. magistrat; C. magestrat. 17. A. by the offence; C. by offense; Ed. by offence. 19. Ed. saw. // C. lykoros; A. likerous. 22. Ed. sawe. 25. A. Ed. quod she; C. om. 29. C. they, glossed, s. honurs. 30. A. more; C. mor. // C. om. it. 30-5. A. For if it so be that he that is most out-cast that most folk dispisen. or as dignite ne may nat maken shrewes worthi of no reuerences. than maketh dignites shrewes more dispised than preised. the whiche shrewes dignit (sic) scheweth to moche folk. and forsothe not vnpunissed; Ed. for if a wight be in so muche the more outcast, that he is dispysed of moste folke, so as dignyte ne may not maken shrewes worthy of no reuerence, than maketh dignite shrewes rather dispysed than praysed, the whiche shrewes dignite sheweth to moche folk. And forsothe not vnpunisshed. 38. C. A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdons. // C. by-spetten; A. byspotten; Lat. commaculant. 40. C. thyse shadwye; A. the shadewy. 41. A. this (for thus). 47. A. enchaufen. 50. C. om. that bef. wenen. 53. C. vanesshen; A. vanissen. 54. C. maysthow. // A. but; C. Ed. ne. 56, 58. C. whylom; A. som-tyme (twice). 57. C. om. the bef. senatorie. 59. A. and what other; Ed. and of other. 62. C. resseyueth; A. resceyueth. 66. C. felthe; A. filthe. // C. om. that after yif (3rd time only). 70. C. dignete.

Metre IV.

Quamvis se, Tyrio superbus ostro.

Al be it so that the proude Nero, with alle his wode luxurie,

kembde him and aparailede him with faire purpres of Tirie,

and with whyte perles, algates yit throf he hateful to alle folk:

this is to seyn, that al was he behated of alle folk. Yit this


wikked Nero hadde gret lordship, and yaf whylom to the

{62}reverents senatours the unworshipful setes of dignitees. Unworshipful

setes he clepeth here, for that Nero, that was so wikked, yaf

tho dignitees. Who-so wolde thanne resonably wenen, that blisfulnesse


were in swiche honours as ben yeven by vicious shrewes?

Me. IV. 2. A. kembed; apparailed. 5. C. lorshippe; A. lordship. // C. Ed. whylom; A. som-tyme. 6. C. reuerentz; Ed. reuerent; A. dredeful; Lat. uerendis. 8. A. tho; C. Ed. the. // A. om. so. 10. C. vysios; A. vicious.

Prose V.

An vero regna regumque familiaritas.

But regnes and familiaritees of kinges, may they maken a

man to ben mighty? How elles, whan hir blisfulnesse dureth

perpetuely? But certes, the olde age of tyme passed, and eek

of present tyme now, is ful of ensaumples how that kinges ben


chaunged in-to wrecchednesse out of hir welefulnesse. O! a

noble thing and a cleer thing is power, that is nat founden

mighty to kepen it-self! And yif that power of reaumes be

auctour and maker of blisfulnesse, yif thilke power lakketh on

any syde, amenuseth it nat thilke blisfulnesse and bringeth in


wrecchednesse? But yit, al be it so that the reaumes of mankinde

strecchen brode, yit mot ther nede ben moche folk, over

whiche that every king ne hath no lordshipe ne comaundement.

And certes, up-on thilke syde that power faileth, which that

maketh folk blisful, right on that same syde noun-power entreth


under-nethe, that maketh hem wrecches; in this manere thanne

moten kinges han more porcioun of wrecchednesse than of

welefulnesse. A tyraunt, that was king of Sisile, that hadde

assayed the peril of his estat, shewede by similitude the dredes

of reaumes by gastnesse of a swerd that heng over the heved


of his familier. What thing is thanne this power, that may nat

don awey the bytinges of bisinesse, ne eschewe the prikkes of

drede? And certes, yit wolden they liven in sikernesse, but

they may nat; and yit they glorifye hem in hir power. Holdest

thou thanne that thilke man be mighty, that thou seest that


he wolde don that he may nat don? And holdest thou thanne

him a mighty man, that hath envirownede his sydes with men

{63}of armes or seriaunts, and dredeth more hem that he maketh

agast than they dreden him, and that is put in the handes of

his servaunts for he sholde seme mighty? But of familieres


or servaunts of kinges what sholde I telle thee anything, sin

that I myself have shewed thee that reaumes hem-self ben

ful of gret feblesse? The whiche familieres, certes, the ryal

power of kinges, in hool estat and in estat abated, ful ofte

throweth adown. Nero constreynede Senek, his familier and


his mayster, to chesen on what deeth he wolde deyen. Antonius

comaundede that knightes slowen with hir swerdes Papinian

his familier, which Papinian hadde ben longe tyme ful mighty

amonges hem of the court. And yit, certes, they wolden bothe

han renounced hir power; of whiche two Senek enforcede him


to yeven to Nero his richesses, and also to han gon in-to

solitarie exil. But whan the grete weighte, that is to seyn, of

lordes power or of fortune, draweth hem that shullen falle,

neither of hem ne mighte do that he wolde. What thing is

thanne thilke power, that though men han it, yit they ben agast;


and whanne thou woldest han it, thou nart nat siker; and

yif thou woldest forleten it, thou mayst nat eschuen it? But

whether swiche men ben frendes at nede, as ben conseyled by

fortune and nat by vertu? Certes, swiche folk as weleful

fortune maketh freendes, contrarious fortune maketh hem


enemys. And what pestilence is more mighty for to anoye a

wight than a familier enemy?

Pr. V. 3. C. perpetualy; A. perpetuely. 7. A. realmes. 8. C. auctor; A. auctour. 10. A. realmes (om. the). 11. C. node (for nede). 12. C. lorshipe. 14. C. A. nounpower. 19. A. realmes. 20. C. famyler. 23. A. yit; C. yif. 24. C. seyst; A. seest; Lat. uideas. 27. A. seruauntes. // A. om. hem. 31. A. realmes. 32. A. feblenesse. // A. real; Ed. royal. 34. C. hyr famyler (sic); A. his familier. 37. C. famyler; A. familier. // C. that hadde; A. om. that. 41. C. solutarie; A. solitarie. 42. C. sholen; Ed. shullen; A. sholden; Lat. ruituros. 44. C. yit; Ed. yet; A. that. 47. C. wheyther.

Metre V.

Qui se uolet esse potentem.

Who-so wol be mighty, he mot daunten his cruel corage,

ne putte nat his nekke, overcomen, under the foule reynes of

lecherye. For al-be-it so that thy lordshipe strecche so fer,

that the contree of Inde quaketh at thy comaundements or at


thy lawes, and that the last ile in the see, that hight Tyle,

{64}be thral to thee, yit, yif thou mayst nat putten awey thy foule

derke desyrs, and dryven out fro thee wrecched complaintes,


certes, it nis no power that thou hast.

Me. V. 1. C. wole; Ed. wol; A. wolde. 4. C. thath (!). // A. contre Inde. // A. comaundement. 5. A. leest (for last); Lat. ultima.

Prose VI.

Gloria uero quam fallax saepe.

But glorie, how deceivable and how foul is it ofte! For

which thing nat unskilfully a tragedien, that is to seyn, a maker

of ditees that highten tragedies, cryde and seide: "O glorie,

glorie," quod he, "thou art nothing elles to thousandes of folkes


but a greet sweller of eres!" For manye han had ful greet

renoun by the false opinioun of the poeple, and what thing

may ben thought fouler than swiche preysinge? For thilke folk

that ben preysed falsly, they moten nedes han shame of hir

preysinges. And yif that folk han geten hem thonk or preysinge


by hir desertes, what thing hath thilke prys eched or

encresed to the conscience of wyse folk, that mesuren hir good,

nat by the rumour of the poeple, but by the soothfastnesse of

conscience? And yif it seme a fair thing, a man to han

encresed and spred his name, than folweth it that it is demed


to ben a foul thing, yif it ne be y-sprad and encresed. But,

as I seyde a litel her-biforn that, sin ther mot nedes ben many

folk, to whiche folk the renoun of a man ne may nat comen,

it befalleth that he, that thou wenest be glorious and renomed,

semeth in the nexte partie of the erthes to ben with-oute glorie


and with-oute renoun.

And certes, amonges thise thinges I ne trowe nat that the

prys and grace of the poeple nis neither worthy to ben

remembred, ne cometh of wyse Iugement, ne is ferme perdurably.

But now, of this name of gentilesse, what man is it


that ne may wel seen how veyn and how flittinge a thing it

is? For yif the name of gentilesse be referred to renoun and

cleernesse of linage, thanne is gentil name but a foreine thing,

that is to seyn, to hem that glorifyen hem of hir linage. For it

semeth that gentilesse be a maner preysinge that comth of the


{65}deserte of ancestres. And yif preysinge maketh gentilesse,

thanne moten they nedes be gentil that ben preysed. For

which thing it folweth, that yif thou ne have no gentilesse of

thy-self, that is to seyn, preyse that comth of thy deserte, foreine

gentilesse ne maketh thee nat gentil. But certes, yif ther be


any good in gentilesse, I trowe it be al-only this, that it semeth

as that a maner necessitee be imposed to gentil men, for that

they ne sholden nat outrayen or forliven fro the virtues of hir

noble kinrede.

Pr. VI. 4. A. Ed. he; C. she (!). 6. A. om. the bef. poeple. 9. C. of (for or). 15. A. ne encresed. 19. A. parties of the erthe; Lat. parte terrarum. 23. C. remenbred. 24, 26, 29. C. gentellesse; A. gentilesse. 26. C. refferred. 30. A. decert; Ed. desertes. 32. A. folweth; C. folueth. 36. C. inposed.

Metre VI.

Omne hominum genus in terris.

Al the linage of men that ben in erthe ben of semblable

birthe. On allone is fader of thinges. On allone ministreth

alle thinges. He yaf to the sonne hise bemes; he yaf to the

mone hir hornes. He yaf the men to the erthe; he yaf the


sterres to the hevene. He encloseth with membres the soules

that comen fro his hye sete. Thanne comen alle mortal folk

of noble sede; why noisen ye or bosten of youre eldres? For

yif thou loke your biginninge, and god your auctor and your

maker, thanne nis ther no forlived wight, but-yif he norisshe


his corage un-to vyces, and forlete his propre burthe.

Me. VI. 4. A. Ed. hir hornes; C. hyse hornes. 5. C. menbrys. 8. Ed. ye loke; Lat. spectes. // A. thy (for 1st your); Lat. uestra.

Prose VII.

Quid autem de corporis uoluptatibus.

But what shal I seye of delices of body, of whiche delices the

desiringes ben ful of anguissh, and the fulfillinges of hem ben ful

of penaunce? How greet syknesse and how grete sorwes unsufferable,

right as a maner fruit of wikkednesse, ben thilke delices


wont to bringen to the bodies of folk that usen hem! Of whiche

delices I not what Ioye may ben had of hir moevinge. But this

wot I wel, that who-so-ever wole remembren him of hise luxures,

he shal wel understonde that the issues of delices ben sorwful

{66}and sorye. And yif thilke delices mowen maken folk blisful,


than by the same cause moten thise bestes ben cleped blisful;

of whiche bestes al the entencioun hasteth to fulfille hir bodily

Iolitee. And the gladnesse of wyf and children were an honest

thing, but it hath ben seyd that it is over muchel ayeins kinde,

that children han ben founden tormentours to hir fadres, I not


how manye: of whiche children how bytinge is every condicioun,

it nedeth nat to tellen it thee, that hast or this tyme assayed

it, and art yit now anguissous. In this approve I the sentence

of my disciple Euripidis, that seyde, that "he that hath no

children is weleful by infortune."

Pr. VII. 12. A. om. an. 15. A. Ed. euery; C. euere. 18. Ed. Euripidis; C. Eurydyppys; A. Euridippus; Lat. Euripidis (gen.).

Metre VII.

Habet omnis hoc uoluptas.

Every delyt hath this, that it anguissheth hem with prikkes

that usen it. It resembleth to thise flyinge flyes that we clepen

been, that, after that he hath shad hise agreable honies, he fleeth

awey, and stingeth the hertes, of hem that ben y-smite, with


bytinge overlonge holdinge.

Me. VII. 1. C. A. anguisseth. 3. C. om. 2nd that. // A. the bee (for he).

Prose VIII.

Nihil igitur dubium est.

Now is it no doute thanne that thise weyes ne ben a maner

misledinges to blisfulnesse, ne that they ne mowe nat leden

folk thider as they biheten to leden hem. But with how grete

harmes thise forseyde weyes ben enlaced, I shal shewe thee


shortly. For-why yif thou enforcest thee to asemble moneye,

thou most bireven him his moneye that hath it. And yif

thou wolt shynen with dignitees, thou most bisechen and

supplien hem that yeven tho dignitees. And yif thou coveitest

by honour to gon biforn other folk, thou shalt defoule thy-self


thorugh humblesse of axinge. Yif thou desirest power, thou

shalt by awaytes of thy subgits anoyously ben cast under manye

{67}periles. Axest thou glorie? Thou shalt ben so destrat by aspre

thinges that thou shalt forgoon sikernesse. And yif thou wolt

leden thy lyf in delices, every wight shal despisen thee and


forleten thee, as thou that art thral to thing that is right foul

and brotel; that is to seyn, servaunt to thy body. Now is it

thanne wel seen, how litel and how brotel possessioun they

coveiten, that putten the goodes of the body aboven hir owne

resoun. For mayst thou sormounten thise olifaunts in gretnesse


or weight of body? Or mayst thou ben stronger than the bole?

Mayst thou ben swifter than the tygre? Bihold the spaces and

the stablenesse and the swifte cours of the hevene, and stint

som-tyme to wondren on foule thinges; the which hevene, certes,

nis nat rather for thise thinges to ben wondred up-on, than for


the resoun by which it is governed. But the shyning of thy

forme, that is to seyn, the beautee of thy body, how swiftly passinge

is it, and how transitorie; certes, it is more flittinge than the

mutabilitee of flowers of the somer-sesoun. For so Aristotle

telleth, that yif that men hadden eyen of a beest that highte


lynx, so that the lokinge of folk mighte percen thorugh the

thinges that with-stonden it, who-so loked thanne in the entrailes

of the body of Alcibiades, that was ful fayr in the superfice

with-oute, it shold seme right foul. And forthy, yif thou semest

fayr, thy nature maketh nat that, but the desceivaunce of the


feblesse of the eyen that loken. But preyse the goodes of the

body as mochel as ever thee list; so that thou knowe algates

that, what-so it be, that is to seyn, of the goodes of thy body,

which that thou wondrest up-on, may ben destroyed or dissolved

by the hete of a fevere of three dayes. Of alle whiche forseyde


thinges I may reducen this shortly in a somme, that thise worldly

goodes, whiche that ne mowen nat yeven that they biheten, ne

ben nat parfit by the congregacioun of alle goodes; that they

ne ben nat weyes ne pathes that bringen men to blisfulnesse,

ne maken men to ben blisful.

Pr. VIII. 9. C. shal. 10. A. by (for thorugh). 11. C. be (for by). // A. vndir many; C. Ed. vndyr by many; Lat. periculis subiacebis. 12. C. A. destrat; Ed. distracte. 16. C. brwtel (for brotel; 1st time). 19. A. mayst thou; C. maysthow. 20. C. weyhty (!). 32. C. in superfyce (om. the). 34. A. desceiuaunce of the; Ed. disceyuaunce of; C. deceyuable or (!). 37. A. the goodes of thi; Ed. the goodes of the; C. godes of the. 40. A. Ed. a somme; C. om. a. // C. wordly. 42. C. ne ne ben. // A. Ed. by the; C. om. the. 43. C. man (for men; 1st time).


Metre VIII.

Eheu! quae miseros tramite deuios.

Allas! which folye and which ignoraunce misledeth wandringe

wrecches fro the path of verray goode!

Certes, ye ne seken no gold in grene trees, ne ye ne gaderen

nat precious stones in the vynes, ne ye ne hyden nat your


ginnes in the hye mountaignes to cacchen fish of whiche ye

may maken riche festes. And yif yow lyketh to hunte to roes,

ye ne gon nat to the fordes of the water that highte Tyrene.

And over this, men knowen wel the crykes and the cavernes

of the see y-hid in the flodes, and knowen eek which water


is most plentivous of whyte perles, and knowen which water

haboundeth most of rede purpre, that is to seyn, of a maner

shelle-fish with which men dyen purpre; and knowen which

strondes habounden most with tendre fisshes, or of sharpe fisshes

that highten echines. But folk suffren hem-self to ben so blinde,


that hem ne reccheth nat to knowe where thilke goodes ben

y-hid whiche that they coveiten, but ploungen hem in erthe

and seken there thilke good that sormounteth the hevene that

bereth the sterres. What preyere may I maken that be digne

to the nyce thoughtes of men? But I preye that they coveiten


richesse and honours, so that, whan they han geten tho false

goodes with greet travaile, that ther-by they mowe knowen the

verray goodes.

Me. VIII. 4. A. om. nat. 5. C. hyye mountaygnes; A. heyȝe mountaignes. // C. kachche; A. kachen; Ed. catchen (= cacchen). 6. C. honte; A. Ed. hunte. // C. rooes; Ed. roes; A. roos. 8. A. crikes; Ed. crekes; C. brykes; Lat. recessus. 9. A. Ed. in the; C. om. the. 14. Ed. Echines; C. A. echynnys. 15. C. rechcheth; A. recchith. // C. weere (for where).

Prose IX.

Hactenus mendacis formam.

It suffyseth that I have shewed hider-to the forme of false

welefulnesse, so that, yif thou loke now cleerly, the order of

myn entencioun requireth from hennes-forth to shewen thee the

verray welefulnesse.'


{69}'For sothe,' quod I, 'I see wel now that suffisaunce may nat

comen by richesses, ne power by reames, ne reverence by

dignitees, ne gentilesse by glorie, ne Ioye by delices.'

'And hast thou wel knowen the causes,' quod she, 'why it is?'

'Certes, me semeth,' quod I, 'that I see hem right as though


it were thorugh a litel clifte; but me were levere knowen hem

more openly of thee.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'the resoun is al redy. For thilke thing

that simply is o thing, with-outen any devisioun, the errour

and folye of mankinde departeth and devydeth it, and misledeth


it and transporteth from verray and parfit good to goodes that

ben false and unparfit. But sey me this. Wenest thou that

he, that hath nede of power, that him ne lakketh no-thing?'

'Nay,' quod I.

'Certes,' quod she, 'thou seyst a-right. For yif so be that


ther is a thing, that in any partye be febler of power, certes,

as in that, it mot nedes ben nedy of foreine help.'

'Right so is it,' quod I.

'Suffisaunce and power ben thanne of o kinde?'

'So semeth it,' quod I.


'And demest thou,' quod she, 'that a thing that is of this

manere, that is to seyn, suffisaunt and mighty, oughte ben

despysed, or elles that it be right digne of reverence aboven

alle thinges?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'it nis no doute, that it is right worthy to


ben reverenced.'

'Lat us,' quod she, 'adden thanne reverence to suffisaunce

and to power, so that we demen that thise three thinges ben

al o thing.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'lat us adden it, yif we wolen graunten the



'What demest thou thanne?' quod she; 'is that a derk thing

and nat noble, that is suffisaunt, reverent, and mighty, or elles that

it is right noble and right cleer by celebritee of renoun? Consider

thanne,' quod she, 'as we han graunted her-biforn, that he that


{70}ne hath nede of no-thing, and is most mighty and most digne

of honour, yif him nedeth any cleernesse of renoun, which

cleernesse he mighte nat graunten of him-self, so that, for lakke

of thilke cleernesse, he mighte seme the febeler on any syde

or the more out-cast?' Glose. This is to seyn, nay; for who-so


that is suffisaunt, mighty, and reverent, cleernesse of renoun folweth

of the forseyde thinges; he hath it al redy of his suffisaunce.

Boece. 'I may nat,' quod I, 'denye it; but I mot graunte

as it is, that this thing be right celebrable by cleernesse of renoun

and noblesse.'


'Thanne folweth it,' quod she, 'that we adden cleernesse of

renoun to the three forseyde thinges, so that ther ne be amonges

hem no difference?'

'This is a consequence,' quod I.

'This thing thanne,' quod she, 'that ne hath nede of no


foreine thing, and that may don alle thinges by hise strengthes,

and that is noble and honourable, nis nat that a mery thing

and a Ioyful?'

'But whennes,' quod I, 'that any sorwe mighte comen to this

thing that is swiche, certes, I may nat thinke.'


'Thanne moten we graunte,' quod she, 'that this thing be

ful of gladnesse, yif the forseyde thinges ben sothe; and certes,

also mote we graunten that suffisaunce, power, noblesse, reverence,

and gladnesse ben only dyverse by names, but hir substaunce

hath no diversitee.'


'It mot needly been so,' quod I.

'Thilke thing thanne,' quod she, 'that is oon and simple

in his nature, the wikkednesse of men departeth it and devydeth

it; and whan they enforcen hem to geten partye of a thing

that ne hath no part, they ne geten hem neither thilke partye that


nis non, ne the thing al hool that they ne desire nat.'

'In which manere?' quod I.

'Thilke man,' quod she, 'that secheth richesses to fleen

povertee, he ne travaileth him nat for to gete power; for he

hath levere ben derk and vyl; and eek withdraweth from


him-self many naturel delyts, for he nolde lese the moneye that

{71}he hath assembled. But certes, in this manere he ne geteth

him nat suffisaunce that power forleteth, and that molestie

prikketh, and that filthe maketh out-cast, and that derkenesse

hydeth. And certes, he that desireth only power, he wasteth


and scatereth richesse, and despyseth delyts, and eek honour

that is with-oute power, ne he ne preyseth glorie no-thing.

Certes, thus seest thou wel, that manye thinges faylen to him;

for he hath som-tyme defaute of many necessitees, and many

anguisshes byten him; and whan he ne may nat don tho defautes


a-wey, he forleteth to ben mighty, and that is the thing that

he most desireth. And right thus may I maken semblable

resouns of honours, and of glorie, and of delyts. For so as

every of thise forseyde thinges is the same that thise other

thinges ben, that is to seyn, al oon thing, who-so that ever


seketh to geten that oon of thise, and nat that other, he ne

geteth nat that he desireth.'

Boece. 'What seyst thou thanne, yif that a man coveiteth

to geten alle thise thinges to-gider?'

Philosophie. 'Certes,' quod she, 'I wolde seye, that he wolde


geten him sovereyn blisfulnesse; but that shal he nat finde in

tho thinges that I have shewed, that ne mowen nat yeven that

they beheten.'

'Certes, no,' quod I.

'Thanne,' quod she, 'ne sholden men nat by no wey seken


blisfulnesse in swiche thinges as men wene that they ne mowen

yeven but o thing senglely of alle that men seken.'

'I graunte wel,' quod I; 'ne no sother thing ne may ben


'Now hast thou thanne,' quod she, 'the forme and the causes


of false welefulnesse. Now torne and flitte the eyen of thy

thought; for ther shalt thou sen anon thilke verray blisfulnesse

that I have bihight thee.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'it is cleer and open, thogh it were to

a blinde man; and that shewedest thou me ful wel a litel her-biforn,


whan thou enforcedest thee to shewe me the causes

{72}of the false blisfulnesse. For but-yif I be bigyled, thanne

is thilke the verray blisfulnesse parfit, that parfitly maketh a

man suffisaunt, mighty, honourable, noble, and ful of gladnesse.

And, for thou shalt wel knowe that I have wel understonden


thise thinges with-in my herte, I knowe wel that thilke blisfulnesse,

that may verrayly yeven oon of the forseyde thinges, sin

they ben al oon, I knowe, douteles, that thilke thing is the

fulle blisfulnesse.'

Philosophie. 'O my norie,' quod she, 'by this opinioun I


seye that thou art blisful, yif thou putte this ther-to that I

shal seyn.'

'What is that?' quod I.

'Trowest thou that ther be any thing in thise erthely mortal

toumbling thinges that may bringen this estat?'


'Certes,' quod I, 'I trowe it naught; and thou hast shewed

me wel that over thilke good ther nis no-thing more to ben


'Thise thinges thanne,' quod she, 'that is to sey, erthely

suffisaunce and power and swiche thinges, either they semen


lykenesses of verray good, or elles it semeth that they yeve to

mortal folk a maner of goodes that ne ben nat parfit; but thilke

good that is verray and parfit, that may they nat yeven.'

'I acorde me wel,' quod I.

'Thanne,' quod she, 'for as mochel as thou hast knowen


which is thilke verray blisfulnesse, and eek whiche thilke thinges

ben that lyen falsly blisfulnesse, that is to seyn, that by deceite

semen verray goodes, now behoveth thee to knowe whennes and

where thou mowe seke thilke verray blisfulnesse.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'that desire I greetly, and have abiden longe


tyme to herknen it.'

'But for as moche,' quod she, 'as it lyketh to my disciple

Plato, in his book of "in Timeo," that in right litel thinges men

sholden bisechen the help of god, what iugest thou that be now

to done, so that we may deserve to finde the sete of thilke


verray good?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'I deme that we shollen clepen the fader

{73}of alle goodes; for with-outen him nis ther no-thing founden


'Thou seyst a-right,' quod she; and bigan anon to singen


right thus:—

Pr. IX. 5. A. om. sothe and 2nd I. 6. A. richesse. // A. Ed. realmes. 8. A. hast thou; C.hasthow. // A. cause; Lat. caussas. 16. A. inparfit. // C. Wenesthow. 20. A. fieble; C. Ed. febler; Lat. imbecillioris ualentiae. 21. C. mot; Ed. mote; A. most. 25. C. demesthow. 29. A. nis (twice). 36. C. demesthow. // Ed. derke; C. dyrk; A. dirke. 38. A. of (for by). 53. A. And this (for This). // C. consequens; Ed. consequence; A. consequente or consequence. 54. C. hat (for hath). // A. no nede. 58. Ed. whence; A. wenest (!); Lat. unde. 72. A. rychesse. 74. Ed. derke; C. dyrk; A. dirk. 75. C. delices (or delites); A. delitz; Ed. delytes. 77. Ed. molestie; C. A. moleste; Lat. molestia. 78. A. derknesse; C. dyrkenesse. 80. C. schatereth. // C. delytz; A. delices (or delites). 83. C. Ed. defaute; A. faute. 84. Ed. anguysshes; A. anguysses; C. angwyssos. 86. A. semblable; C. semlable. 90. C. oothre. 92. C. seysthow. 101. C. A. senglely. 104. C. hasthow. 106. C. shalthow. 109. A. om. ful wel. 115. C. Ed. that thilke; A. om. that. 118. A. the fulle of (wrongly). 119. C. norye; A. nurry. 130. A. likenesse; Lat. imagines. 141. A. disciple; C. dissipule. 142. C. in tymeo; A. in thimeo; Lat. uti in Timaeo Platoni. 143. C. byshechen. // A. om. now.

Metre IX.

O qui perpetua mundum ratione gubernas.

'O thou fader, creator of hevene and of erthes, that governest

this world by perdurable resoun, that comaundest the tymes to

gon from sin that age hadde beginninge; thou that dwellest

thy-self ay stedefast and stable, and yevest alle othre thinges


to ben moeved; ne foreine causes necesseden thee never to

compoune werk of floteringe matere, but only the forme of

soverein good y-set with-in thee with-oute envye, that moevede

thee freely. Thou that art alder-fayrest, beringe the faire world

in thy thought, formedest this world to the lyknesse semblable


of that faire world in thy thought. Thou drawest al thing of

thy soverein ensaumpler, and comaundest that this world,

parfitliche y-maked, have freely and absolut his parfit parties.

Thou bindest the elements by noumbres proporcionables, that

the colde thinges mowen acorden with the hote thinges, and


the drye thinges with the moiste thinges; that the fyr, that

is purest, ne flee nat over hye, ne that the hevinesse ne drawe

nat adoun over-lowe the erthes that ben plounged in the wateres.

Thou knittest to-gider the mene sowle of treble kinde, moevinge

alle thinges, and devydest it by membres acordinge; and whan


it is thus devyded, it hath asembled a moevinge in-to two

roundes; it goth to torne ayein to him-self, and envirouneth a

ful deep thought, and torneth the hevene by semblable image.

Thou by evene-lyke causes enhansest the sowles and the lasse

lyves, and, ablinge hem heye by lighte cartes, thou sowest hem


in-to hevene and in-to erthe; and whan they ben converted to

{74}thee by thy benigne lawe, thou makest hem retorne ayein to

thee by ayein-ledinge fyr.

O fader, yive thou to the thought to styen up in-to thy streite

sete, and graunte him to enviroune the welle of good; and, the


lighte y-founde, graunte him to fichen the clere sightes of his

corage in thee. And scater thou and to-breke thou the weightes

and the cloudes of erthely hevinesse, and shyne thou by thy

brightnesse. For thou art cleernesse; thou art peysible reste

to debonaire folk; thou thy-self art biginninge, berer, leder, path,


and terme; to loke on thee, that is our ende.

Me. IX. 3. A. for to gon. // C. from sin that; A. from tyme that; Ed. syth that. 7. A. om. thee after with-in. 10. A. alle thinges. 11. A. comaundedist. 12. C. om. and absolut. 13. A. Ed. proporcionables; C. porcionables. 16. A. fleye (for flee). // A. Ed. drawe; C. drawen. 18. C. glosses sowle by anima mundi. 19. C. menbres. 20. C. in to two; A. in two; Ed. in to. 22. C. tornet; A. tournith. 24. C. Ed. sowest; A. sewest. 26. A. Ed. benigne; C. bygynnynge (!). 28. A. thi thouȝt (wrongly); C. has the gloss: s. boecii. // A. thi streite; Ed. thy strayte; C. the streite. 29. A. om. him. // C. enuerowne; A. enuiroune. 31. A. om. 2nd thou. 33. A. om. reste. 34. C. paath. 35. A. om. that.

Prose X.

Quoniam igitur quae sit imperfecti.

For as moche thanne as thou hast seyn, which is the forme

of good that nis nat parfit, and which is the forme of good that

is parfit, now trowe I that it were good to shewe in what this

perfeccioun of blisfulnesse is set. And in this thing, I trowe


that we sholden first enquere for to witen, yif that any swiche

maner good as thilke good that thou has diffinisshed a litel

heer-biforn, that is to seyn, soverein good, may ben founde in the

nature of thinges; for that veyn imaginacioun of thought ne

deceyve us nat, and putte us out of the sothfastnesse of thilke


thing that is summitted unto us. But it may nat ben deneyed

that thilke good ne is, and that it nis right as welle of alle

goodes. For al thing that is cleped inparfit is proeved inparfit

by the amenusinge of perfeccioun or of thing that is parfit.

And ther-of comth it, that in every thing general, yif that men


sen any-thing that is inparfit, certes, in thilke general ther mot

ben som-thing that is parfit; for yif so be that perfeccioun is

don awey, men may nat thinke ne seye fro whennes thilke

thing is that is cleped inparfit. For the nature of thinges ne

took nat hir beginninge of thinges amenused and inparfit, but


{75}it procedeth of thinges that ben al hoole and absolut, and

descendeth so doun in-to outterest thinges, and in-to thinges

empty and with-outen frut. But, as I have y-shewed a litel

her-biforn, that yif ther be a blisfulnesse that be freele and

veyn and inparfit, ther may no man doute that ther nis som


blisfulnesse that is sad, stedefast, and parfit.'

Boece. 'This is concluded,' quod I, 'fermely and sothfastly.'

Philosophie. 'But considere also,' quod she, 'in wham this

blisfulnesse enhabiteth. The comune acordaunce and conceite

of the corages of men proeveth and graunteth, that god, prince


of alle thinges, is good. For, so as nothing ne may ben thought

bettre than god, it may nat ben douted thanne that he, that

nothing nis bettre, that he nis good. Certes, resoun sheweth

that god is so good, that it proveth by verray force that parfit

good is in him. For yif god ne is swich, he ne may nat ben


prince of alle thinges; for certes som-thing possessing in it-self

parfit good, sholde ben more worthy than god, and it sholde

semen that thilke thing were first, and elder than god. For

we han shewed apertly that alle thinges that ben parfit ben

first or thinges that ben unparfit; and for-thy, for as moche as


that my resoun or my proces ne go nat a-wey with-oute an

ende, we owen to graunten that the soverein god is right ful

of soverein parfit good. And we han establisshed that the

soverein good is verray blisfulnesse: thanne mot it nedes be,

that verray blisfulnesse is set in soverein god.'


'This take I wel,' quod I, 'ne this ne may nat ben withseid

in no manere.'

'But I preye,' quod she, 'see now how thou mayst proeven,

holily and with-oute corupcioun, this that I have seyd, that the

soverein god is right ful of soverein good.'


'In which manere?' quod I.

'Wenest thou aught,' quod she, 'that this prince of alle

thinges have y-take thilke soverein good any-wher out of him-self,

of which soverein good men proveth that he is ful, right

as thou mightest thinken that god, that hath blisfulnesse in


{76}him-self, and thilke blisfulnesse that is in him, weren dyvers in

substaunce? For yif thou wene that god have received thilke

good out of him-self, thou mayst wene that he that yaf thilke

good to god be more worthy than is god. But I am bi-knowen

and confesse, and that right dignely, that god is right worthy


aboven alle thinges; and, yif so be that this good be in him

by nature, but that it is dyvers fro him by weninge resoun,

sin we speke of god prince of alle thinges: feigne who-so

feigne may, who was he that hath conioigned thise dyverse

thinges to-gider? And eek, at the laste, see wel that a thing


that is dyvers from any thing, that thilke thing nis nat that

same thing fro which it is understonden to ben dyvers. Thanne

folweth it, that thilke thing that by his nature is dyvers fro

soverein good, that that thing nis nat soverein good; but certes,

that were a felonous corsednesse to thinken that of him that


nothing nis more worth. For alwey, of alle thinges, the nature

of hem ne may nat ben bettre than his biginning; for which

I may concluden, by right verray resoun, that thilke that is

biginning of alle thinges, thilke same thing is soverein good

in his substaunce.'


Boece. 'Thou hast seyd rightfully,' quod I.

Philosophie. 'But we han graunted,' quod she, 'that the

soverein good is blisfulnesse.'

'And that is sooth,' quod I.

'Thanne,' quod she, 'moten we nedes graunten and confessen


that thilke same soverein good be god.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'I ne may nat denye ne withstonde the

resouns purposed; and I see wel that it folweth by strengthe

of the premisses.'

'Loke now,' quod she, 'yif this be proved yit more fermely


thus: that ther ne mowen nat ben two soverein goodes that

ben dyverse amonge hem-self. For certes, the goodes that

ben dyverse amonges hem-self, that oon nis nat that that other

is; thanne ne [may] neither of hem ben parfit, so as either of

hem lakketh to other. But that that nis nat parfit, men may


{77}seen apertly that it nis nat soverein. The thinges, thanne, that

ben sovereinly goode, ne mowen by no wey ben dyverse. But

I have wel concluded that blisfulnesse and god ben the soverein

good; for whiche it mot nedes ben, that soverein blisfulnesse

is soverein divinitee.'


'Nothing,' quod I, 'nis more soothfast than this, ne more

ferme by resoun; ne a more worthy thing than god may nat

ben concluded.'

'Up-on thise thinges thanne,' quod she, 'right as thise geometriens,

whan they han shewed hir proposiciouns, ben wont


to bringen in thinges that they clepen porismes, or declaraciouns

of forseide thinges, right so wole I yeve thee heer as a corollarie,

or a mede of coroune. For-why, for as moche as by the getinge

of blisfulnesse men ben maked blisful, and blisfulnesse is

divinitee: thanne is it manifest and open, that by the getinge


of divinitee men ben maked blisful. Right as by the getinge

of Iustice [they ben maked iust], and by the getinge of sapience

they ben maked wyse: right so, nedes, by the semblable resoun,

whan they han geten divinitee, they ben maked goddes. Thanne

is every blisful man god; but certes, by nature, ther nis but


o god; but, by the participacioun of divinitee, ther ne let ne

desturbeth nothing that ther ne ben manye goddes.'

'This is,' quod I, 'a fair thing and a precious, clepe it as

thou wolt; be it porisme or corollarie,' or mede of coroune or



'Certes,' quod she, 'nothing nis fayrer than is the thing that

by resoun sholde ben added to thise forseide thinges.'

'What thing?' quod I.

'So,' quod she, 'as it semeth that blisfulnesse conteneth many

thinges, it were for to witen whether that alle thise thinges maken


or conioignen as a maner body of blisfulnesse, by dyversitee of

parties or of membres; or elles, yif that any of alle thilke thinges

be swich that it acomplisshe by him-self the substaunce of

blisfulnesse, so that alle thise othre thinges ben referred and

brought to blisfulnesse,' that is to seyn, as to the cheef of hem.


'I wolde,' quod I, 'that thou makedest me cleerly to understonde

{78}what thou seyst, and that thou recordedest me the forseyde


'Have I nat iuged,' quod she, 'that blisfulnesse is good?'

'Yis, forsothe,' quod I; 'and that soverein good.'


'Adde thanne,' quod she, 'thilke good, that is maked blisfulnesse,

to alle the forseide thinges; for thilke same blisfulnesse

that is demed to ben soverein suffisaunce, thilke selve is soverein

power, soverein reverence, soverein cleernesse or noblesse, and

soverein delyt. Conclusio. What seyst thou thanne of alle thise


thinges, that is to seyn, suffisaunce, power, and this othre thinges;

ben they thanne as membres of blisfulnesse, or ben they referred

and brought to soverein good, right as alle thinges that ben brought

to the chief of hem?'

'I understonde wel;' quod I, 'what thou purposest to seke;


but I desire for to herkne that thou shewe it me.'

'Tak now thus the discrecioun of this questioun,' quod she.

'Yif alle thise thinges,' quod she, 'weren membres to felicitee,

than weren they dyverse that oon from that other; and swich is

the nature of parties or of membres, that dyverse membres compounen


a body.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'it hath wel ben shewed heer-biforn, that alle

thise thinges ben alle o thing.'

'Thanne ben they none membres,' quod she; 'for elles it

sholde seme that blisfulnesse were conioigned al of on membre


allone; but that is a thing that may nat be don.'

'This thing,' quod I, 'nis nat doutous; but I abyde to herknen

the remnaunt of thy questioun.'

'This is open and cleer,' quod she, 'that alle othre thinges ben

referred and brought to good. For therefore is suffisaunce requered,


for it is demed to ben good; and forthy is power requered,

for men trowen also that it be good; and this same thing mowen

we thinken and coniecten of reverence, and of noblesse, and of

delyt. Thanne is soverein good the somme and the cause of al

that aughte ben desired; for-why thilke thing that with-holdeth


no good in it-self, ne semblaunce of good, it ne may nat wel in

no manere be desired ne requered. And the contrarie: for

thogh that thinges by hir nature ne ben nat goode, algates, yif

{79}men wene that ben goode, yit ben they desired as though that

they weren verrayliche goode. And therfor is it that men oughten


to wene by right, that bountee be the soverein fyn, and the cause

of alle the thinges that ben to requeren. But certes, thilke that

is cause for which men requeren any thing, it semeth that thilke

same thing be most desired. As thus: yif that a wight wolde

ryden for cause of hele, he ne desireth nat so mochel the moevinge


to ryden, as the effect of his hele. Now thanne, sin that

alle thinges ben requered for the grace of good, they ne ben nat

desired of alle folk more thanne the same good. But we han

graunted that blisfulnesse is that thing, for whiche that alle thise

othre thinges ben desired; thanne is it thus: that, certes, only


blisfulnesse is requered and desired. By whiche thing it sheweth

cleerly, that of good and of blisfulnesse is al oon and the same


'I see nat,' quod I, 'wherfore that men mighten discorden in



'And we han shewed that god and verray blisfulnesse is al oo


'That is sooth,' quod I.

'Thanne mowen we conclude sikerly, that the substaunce of


god is set in thilke same good, and in non other place.

Pr. X. 6. A. diffinissed; C. dyffynnyssed; Ed. diffynished. 10. After us, A. ins. this is to seyne (needlessly). // C. A. denoyed (error for deneyed); Ed. denyed. 12. A. al; C. alle. 14. C. ther-of; A. Ed. her-of. // C. comht (for comth). 20. C. absolut, i. laws. 21. C. dessendeth. 28. C. conseite; A. conceite. 31. A. om. he that. 32. A. is bettre. 35. C. Ed. it-self; A. hym self. 36. A. om. it. 39. A. inperfit. 40. C. as that; A. om. that. // A. Ed. proces; C. processes. 41. owen] A. ouȝt. 44. A. om. that ... is. 50. A. om. In which ... I. 51. C. Wenesthow awht. 56. A. receyued; C. resseyud. 58. A. goode (for worthy). 61. A. it is; C. is is (sic). // fro him] A. om. him. 63. A. om. hath. 70. A. Ed. nis; C. is. 73. A. om. soverein. 84. A. om. yit. 86, 87. A. om. For certes ... hem-self. // C. othre. 88. A. om. ne. // C. A. Ed. mowen; read may. 90. A. Ed. nis; C. is. 106. I supply they ben maked iust; Lat. iusti. 110. C. by thy (wrongly); A. Ed. by the. 119. A. witen; C. whyten. // C. wheyther that; A. om. that. // A. thise; C. this. 120. A. Ed. by; C. be. 121. C. or of; A. om. of. 122. Ed. accomplysshe; C. acomplyse; A. acomplise. 126. A. recordest. 134. C. om. thise. 141. Ed. discrecion; A. discressioun; C. descressioun. 143. C. swhych. 157. C. coniecten; A. coneiten; Lat. coniectare. 159. C. awht; A. auȝt. 161. A. requered; C. required. 171. A. requered; C. required. 176. C. of good; A. om. of; Lat. boni.

Metre X.

Huc omnes pariter uenite capti.

O cometh alle to-gider now, ye that ben y-caught and y-bounde

with wikkede cheynes, by the deceivable delyt of erthely thinges

enhabitinge in your thought! Heer shal ben the reste of your

labours, heer is the havene stable in peysible quiete; this allone


is the open refut to wrecches. Glosa. This is to seyn, that ye

that ben combred and deceived with worldely affecciouns, cometh now

to this soverein good, that is god, that is refut to hem that wolen

comen to him. Textus. Alle the thinges that the river Tagus

yeveth yow with his goldene gravailes, or elles alle the thinges


that the river Hermus yeveth with his rede brinke, or that Indus

yeveth, that is next the hote party of the world, that medleth the

{80}grene stones with the whyte, ne sholde nat cleeren the lookinge

of your thought, but hyden rather your blinde corages with-in hir

derknesse. Al that lyketh yow heer, and excyteth and moeveth


your thoughtes, the erthe hath norisshed it in hise lowe caves.

But the shyninge, by whiche the hevene is governed and whennes

he hath his strengthe, that eschueth the derke overthrowinge of

the sowle; and who-so may knowen thilke light of blisfulnesse,

he shal wel seyn, that the whyte bemes of the sonne ne ben nat



Me. X. 3. A. Ed. Here; C. He. 6. A. deceyued; C. desseyued. 10. A. Ed. Hermus; C. Herynus (!). 12. C. grene stones, i. smaragdes; with the whyte, i. margaretes. 14. Ed. derkenesse; C. dyrknesse. 16. A. by the whiche. 17. C. eschueth; A. chaseth; Lat. uitat. // A. derke; C. dyrke.

Prose XI.

Assentior, inquam.

Boece. 'I assente me,' quod I; 'for alle thise thinges ben

strongly bounden with right ferme resouns.'

Philosophie. 'How mochel wilt thou preysen it,' quod she,

'yif that thou knowe what thilke good is?'


'I wol preyse it,' quod I, 'by prys with-outen ende, yif it shal

bityde me to knowe also to-gider god that is good.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'that shal I do thee by verray resoun, yif

that tho thinges that I have concluded a litel her-biforn dwellen

only in hir first graunting.'


'They dwellen graunted to thee,' quod I; this is to seyn, as

who seith: I graunte thy forseide conclusiouns.

'Have I nat shewed thee,' quod she, 'that the thinges that ben

requered of many folkes ne ben nat verray goodes ne parfite, for

they ben dyverse that oon fro that othre; and so as ech of hem


is lakkinge to other, they ne han no power to bringen a good that

is ful and absolut? But thanne at erst ben they verray good,

whanne they ben gadered to-gider alle in-to o forme and in-to oon

wirkinge, so that thilke thing that is suffisaunce, thilke same be

power, and reverence, and noblesse, and mirthe; and forsothe,


but-yif alle thise thinges ben alle oon same thing, they ne han nat

wherby that they mowen ben put in the noumber of thinges that

oughten ben requered or desired.'

{81}'It is shewed,' quod I; 'ne her-of may ther no man douten.'

'The thinges thanne,' quod she, 'that ne ben no goodes


whanne they ben dyverse, and whan they beginnen to ben alle

oon thing thanne ben they goodes, ne comth it hem nat thanne

by the getinge of unitee, that they ben maked goodes?'

'So it semeth,' quod I.

'But al thing that is good,' quod she, 'grauntest thou that it be


good by the participacioun of good, or no?'

'I graunte it,' quod I.

'Thanne most thou graunten,' quod she, 'by semblable resoun,

that oon and good be oo same thing. For of thinges, of whiche

that the effect nis nat naturelly diverse, nedes the substance mot


be oo same thing.'

'I ne may nat denye that,' quod I.

'Hast thou nat knowen wel,' quod she, 'that al thing that is

hath so longe his dwellinge and his substaunce as longe as it is

oon; but whan it forleteth to ben oon, it mot nedes dyen and


corumpe to-gider?'

'In which manere?' quod I.

'Right as in bestes,' quod she, 'whan the sowle and the body

ben conioigned in oon and dwellen to-gider, it is cleped a beest.

And whan hir unitee is destroyed by the disseveraunce of that oon


from that other, than sheweth it wel that it is a ded thing, and

that it nis no lenger no beest. And the body of a wight, whyl

it dwelleth in oo forme by coniunccioun of membres, it is

wel seyn that it is a figure of man-kinde. And yif the parties

of the body ben so devyded and dissevered, that oon fro that


other, that they destroyen unitee, the body forleteth to ben that

it was biforn. And, who-so wolde renne in the same manere by

alle thinges, he sholde seen that, with-oute doute, every thing is

in his substaunce as longe as it is oon; and whan it forleteth to

ben oon, it dyeth and perissheth.'


'Whan I considere,' quod I, 'manye thinges, I see non other.'

'Is ther any-thing thanne,' quod she, 'that, in as moche as it

{82}liveth naturelly, that forleteth the talent or appetyt of his beinge,

and desireth to come to deeth and to corupcioun?'

'Yif I considere,' quod I, 'the beestes that han any maner


nature of wilninge and of nillinge, I ne finde no beest, but-yif

it be constreined fro with-oute forth, that forleteth or

despyseth the entencioun to liven and to duren, or that wole,

his thankes, hasten him to dyen. For every beest travaileth him

to deffende and kepe the savacioun of his lyf, and eschueth deeth


and destruccioun.

But certes, I doute me of herbes and of trees, that is to

seyn, that I am in a doute of swiche thinges as herbes or trees, that

ne han no felinge sowles, ne no naturel wirkinges servinge to

appetytes as bestes han, whether they han appetyt to dwellen


and to duren.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'ne ther-of thar thee nat doute. Now

loke up-on thise herbes and thise trees; they wexen first in

swiche places as ben covenable to hem, in whiche places they

ne mowen nat sone dyen ne dryen, as longe as hir nature may


deffenden hem. For som of hem waxen in feeldes, and som

in mountaignes, and othre waxen in mareys, and othre cleven

on roches, and somme waxen plentivous in sondes; and yif

that any wight enforce him to beren hem in-to othre places,

they wexen drye. For nature yeveth to every thing that that


is convenient to him, and travaileth that they ne dye nat, as

longe as they han power to dwellen and to liven. What woltow

seyn of this, that they drawen alle hir norisshinges by hir rotes,

right as they hadden hir mouthes y-plounged with-in the erthes,

and sheden by hir maryes hir wode and hir bark? And what


woltow seyn of this, that thilke thing that is right softe, as the

marye is, that is alwey hid in the sete, al with-inne, and that

is defended fro with-oute by the stedefastnesse of wode; and

that the uttereste bark is put ayeins the destemperaunce of

the hevene, as a defendour mighty to suffren harm? And thus,


{83}certes, maystow wel seen how greet is the diligence of nature;

for alle thinges renovelen and puplisshen hem with seed y-multiplyed;

ne ther nis no man that ne wot wel that they ne

ben right as a foundement and edifice, for to duren nat only

for a tyme, but right as for to duren perdurably by generacioun.


And the thinges eek that men wenen ne haven none sowles,

ne desire they nat ech of hem by semblable resoun to kepen

that is hirs, that is to seyn, that is acordinge to hir nature in

conservacioun of hir beinge and enduringe? For wher-for elles

bereth lightnesse the flaumbes up, and the weighte presseth


the erthe a-doun, but for as moche as thilke places and thilke

moevinges ben covenable to everich of hem? And forsothe

every thing kepeth thilke that is acordinge and propre to him,

right as thinges that ben contraries and enemys corompen hem.

And yit the harde thinges, as stones, clyven and holden hir


parties to-gider right faste and harde, and deffenden hem in

withstondinge that they ne departe nat lightly a-twinne. And

the thinges that ben softe and fletinge, as is water and eyr,

they departen lightly, and yeven place to hem that breken or

devyden hem; but natheles, they retornen sone ayein in-to


the same thinges fro whennes they ben arraced. But fyr fleeth

and refuseth al devisioun. Ne I ne trete nat heer now of

wilful moevinges of the sowle that is knowinge, but of the

naturel entencioun of thinges, as thus: right as we swolwe the

mete that we receiven and ne thinke nat on it, and as we


drawen our breeth in slepinge that we wite it nat whyle we

slepen. For certes, in the beestes, the love of hir livinges ne

of hir beinges ne comth nat of the wilninges of the sowle, but

of the biginninges of nature. For certes, thorugh constreininge

causes, wil desireth and embraceth ful ofte tyme the deeth


that nature dredeth; that is to seyn as thus: that a man may

ben constreyned so, by som cause, that his wil desireth and

taketh the deeth which that nature hateth and dredeth ful sore.

And somtyme we seeth the contrarye, as thus: that the wil

{84}of a wight destorbeth and constreyneth that that nature desireth


and requereth al-wey, that is to seyn, the werk of generacioun,

by the whiche generacioun only dwelleth and is sustened the

long durabletee of mortal thinges.

And thus this charitee and this love, that every thing hath

to him-self, ne comth nat of the moevinge of the sowle, but


of the entencioun of nature. For the purviaunce of god hath

yeven to thinges that ben creat of him this, that is a ful

gret cause to liven and to duren; for which they desiren

naturelly hir lyf as longe as ever they mowen. For which

thou mayst nat drede, by no manere, that alle the thinges


that ben anywhere, that they ne requeren naturelly the ferme

stablenesse of perdurable dwellinge, and eek the eschuinge of


Boece. 'Now confesse I wel,' quod I, 'that I see now wel

certeinly, with-oute doutes, the thinges that whylom semeden


uncertain to me.'

'But,' quod she, 'thilke thing that desireth to be and to

dwellen perdurably, he desireth to ben oon; for yif that that

oon were destroyed, certes, beinge ne shulde ther non dwellen

to no wight.'


'That is sooth,' quod I.

'Thanne,' quod she, 'desiren alle thinges oon?'

'I assente,' quod I.

'And I have shewed,' quod she, 'that thilke same oon is

thilke that is good?'


'Ye, for sothe,' quod I.

'Alle thinges thanne,' quod she, 'requiren good; and thilke

good thanne mayst thou descryven right thus: good is thilke

thing that every wight desireth.'

'Ther ne may be thought,' quod I, 'no more verray thing.


For either alle thinges ben referred and brought to nought,

and floteren with-oute governour, despoiled of oon as of hir

propre heved; or elles, yif ther be any thing to which that

alle thinges tenden and hyen, that thing moste ben the soverein

good of alle goodes.'


Thanne seyde she thus: 'O my nory,' quod she, 'I have

{85}gret gladnesse of thee; for thou hast ficched in thyn herte

the middel soothfastnesse, that is to seyn, the prikke; but this

thing hath ben descovered to thee, in that thou seydest that

thou wistest nat a litel her-biforn.'


'What was that?' quod I.

'That thou ne wistest nat,' quod she, 'which was the ende

of thinges; and certes, that is the thing that every wight

desireth; and for as mochel as we han gadered and comprehended

that good is thilke thing that is desired of alle, thanne


moten we nedes confessen, that good is the fyn of alle thinges.

Pr. XI. 3. C. wylthow. 5. C. preys; A. Ed. price. 6. A. Ed. bytyde; C. betydde. 7. C. om. that. // A. Ed. resoun; C. resouns; Lat. ratione. 17. C. in on; A. in to oon; Ed. in to one. 23. C. om. ther. 29. C. grauntisthow. 32. Ed. muste thou; C. mosthow; A. mayst thou. // Ed. semblable; A. sembleable; C. semlable. 37. C. Hasthow. 43. A. conioigned; C. conioigne. 44. A. disseueraunce; C. desseueraunce; after which C. A. om. of, which Ed. retains. 51. A. Ed. who so; C. who. 54. Ed. perissheth; C. periseth; A. perissith. 60. C. wylnynge; A. Ed. willynge. 62. A. om. the entencioun. 64. C. om. and bef. eschueth. 68. A. soule. 69. A. Ed. appetite; C. apetid. 76. Ed. mareys; A. mareis; C. marys. // A. has here lost a leaf, from and othre to past end of Met. xi. 84. C. maryes, i. medulle. 86. Ed. seete; C. feete (!); Lat. sede. 87. Ed. is; C. is is (sic). // C. stidefastnesse. 88. C. om. the bef. destemperaunce; Ed. has it. 91. C. pupllisen; Ed. publysshen. 94. Ed. perdurably; C. perdurablely. 103. Ed. corrumpen. 106. Ed. om. nat lightly ... departen. // C. a twyne. 110. Ed. araced. // Ed. fleeth and; C. and (om. fleeth); Lat. refugit. 112. Ed. wylful; C. weleful; Lat. uoluntariis. 114. Ed. receyuen; C. resseyuen. 116. Ed. slepen; C. slepyt. 127. Ed. durabylite. 142. Ed. perdurablye; C. perdurablely. 152. Ed. thou; C. om. // Ed. discryuen. 161. C. fichched; Ed. fyxed. 163. Ed. discouered. 165. Ed. is that (for was that).

Metre XI.

Quisquis profunda mente uestigat uerum.

Who-so that seketh sooth by a deep thoght, and coveiteth

nat to ben deceived by no mis-weyes, lat him rollen and trenden

with-inne him-self the light of his inward sighte; and lat him

gadere ayein, enclyninge in-to a compas, the longe moevinges


of his thoughtes; and lat him techen his corage that he hath

enclosed and hid in his tresors, al that he compasseth or seketh

fro with-oute. And thanne thilke thinge, that the blake cloude

of errour whylom hadde y-covered, shal lighten more cleerly

thanne Phebus him-self ne shyneth.


Glosa. Who-so wole seken the deep grounde of sooth in his

thought, and wol nat be deceived by false proposiciouns that goon

amis fro the trouthe, lat him wel examine and rolle with-inne him-self

the nature and the propretees of the thing; and lat him yit

eftsones examine and rollen his thoughtes by good deliberacioun, or


that he deme; and lat him techen his sowle that it hath, by natural

principles kindeliche y-hid with-in it-self, alle the trouthe the whiche

he imagineth to ben in thinges with-oute. And thanne alle the

derknesse of his misknowinge shal seme more evidently to sighte of

his understondinge thanne the sonne ne semeth to sighte



For certes the body, bringinge the weighte of foryetinge, ne

{86}hath nat chased out of your thoughte al the cleernesse of your

knowinge; for certeinly the seed of sooth haldeth and clyveth

with-in your corage, and it is awaked and excyted by the winde


and by the blastes of doctrine. For wherfor elles demen ye of

your owne wil the rightes, whan ye ben axed, but-yif so were that

the norisshinge of resoun ne livede y-plounged in the depthe of

your herte? this is to seyn, how sholden men demen the sooth of

any thing that were axed, yif ther nere a rote of soothfastnesse that


were y-plounged and hid in naturel principles, the whiche soothfastnesse

lived with-in the deepnesse of the thought. And yif so be

that the Muse and the doctrine of Plato singeth sooth, al that

every wight lerneth, he ne doth no-thing elles thanne but

recordeth, as men recorden thinges that ben foryeten.'

Me. XI. 2. Ed. om. nat. // Ed. treaten (for trenden). 18. Ed. derknesse; C. dyrknesse. // Ed. seme; C. seen (but note semeth below). 24. Ed. wyndes. 26. Ed. asked. 27. Ed. norisshyng; C. noryssynges; Lat. fomes. 29. Ed. asked. 30. Ed. naturel; C. the nature (sic).

Prose XII.

Tum ego, Platoni, inquam.

Thanne seide I thus: 'I acorde me gretly to Plato, for thou

remembrest and recordest me thise thinges yit the secounde

tyme; that is to seyn, first whan I loste my memorie by the

contagious coniunccioun of the body with the sowle; and


eftsones afterward, whan I loste it, confounded by the charge and

by the burdene of my sorwe.'

And thanne seide she thus: 'yif thou loke,' quod she, 'first

the thinges that thou hast graunted, it ne shal nat ben right fer

that thou ne shalt remembren thilke thing that thou seydest that


thou nistest nat.'

'What thing?' quod I.

'By whiche governement,' quod she, 'that this world is


'Me remembreth it wel,' quod I; 'and I confesse wel that I


ne wiste it naught. But al-be-it so that I see now from a-fer

what thou purposest, algates, I desire yit to herkene it of thee

more pleynly.'

'Thou ne wendest nat,' quod she, 'a litel her-biforn, that men

sholden doute that this world nis governed by god.'


{87}'Certes,' quod I, 'ne yit ne doute I it naught, ne I nel never

wene that it were to doute; as who seith, but I wot wel that god

governeth this world; and I shal shortly answeren thee by what

resouns I am brought to this. This world,' quod I, 'of so manye

dyverse and contrarious parties, ne mighte never han ben


assembled in o forme, but-yif ther nere oon that conioignede so

manye dyverse thinges; and the same dyversitee of hir natures,

that so discorden that oon fro that other, moste departen and

unioignen the thinges that ben conioigned, yif ther ne were oon

that contenede that he hath conioined and y-bounde. Ne the


certein ordre of nature ne sholde nat bringe forth so ordenee

moevinges, by places, by tymes, by doinges, by spaces, by

qualitees, yif ther ne were oon that were ay stedefast dwellinge,

that ordeynede and disponede thise dyversitees of moevinges.

And thilke thing, what-so-ever it be, by which that alle thinges


ben y-maked and y-lad, I clepe him "god"; that is a word that

is used to alle folk.'

Thanne seyde she: 'sin thou felest thus thise thinges,' quod

she, 'I trowe that I have litel more to done that thou, mighty of

welefulnesse, hool and sounde, ne see eftsones thy contree.


But lat us loken the thinges that we han purposed her-biforn.

Have I nat noumbred and seyd,' quod she, 'that suffisaunce is in

blisfulnesse, and we han acorded that god is thilke same blisfulnesse?'

'Yis, forsothe,' quod I.


'And that, to governe this world,' quod she, 'ne shal he never

han nede of non help fro with-oute? For elles, yif he hadde

nede of any help, he ne sholde nat have no ful suffisaunce?'

'Yis, thus it mot nedes be,' quod I.

'Thanne ordeineth he by him-self al-one alle thinges?' quod she.


'That may nat be deneyed,' quod I.

'And I have shewed that god is the same good?'

'It remembreth me wel,' quod I.

'Thanne ordeineth he alle thinges by thilke good,' quod she;

'sin he, which that we han acorded to be good, governeth alle


{88}thinges by him-self; and he is as a keye and a stere by which

that the edifice of this world is y-kept stable and with-oute


'I acorde me greetly,' quod I; 'and I aperceivede a litel her-biforn

that thou woldest seye thus; al-be-it so that it were by


a thinne suspecioun.'

'I trowe it wel,' quod she; 'for, as I trowe, thou ledest now

more ententifly thyne eyen to loken the verray goodes. But

natheles the thing that I shal telle thee yit ne sheweth nat lasse to



'What is that?' quod I.

'So as men trowen,' quod she, 'and that rightfully, that god

governeth alle thinges by the keye of his goodnesse, and alle thise

same thinges, as I have taught thee, hasten hem by naturel

entencioun to comen to good: ther may no man douten that they


ne be governed voluntariely, and that they ne converten hem of

hir owne wil to the wil of hir ordenour, as they that ben acordinge

and enclyninge to hir governour and hir king.'

'It mot nedes be so,' quod I; 'for the reaume ne sholde nat

semen blisful yif ther were a yok of misdrawinges in dyverse


parties; ne the savinge of obedient thinges ne sholde nat be.'

'Thanne is ther nothing,' quod she, 'that kepeth his nature,

that enforceth him to goon ayein god?'

'No,' quod I.

'And yif that any-thing enforcede him to with-stonde god,


mighte it availen at the laste ayeins him, that we han graunted to

ben almighty by the right of blisfulnesse?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'al-outrely it ne mighte nat availen him.'

'Thanne is ther no-thing,' quod she, 'that either wole or may

with-stonden to this soverein good?'


'I trowe nat,' quod I.

'Thanne is thilke the soverein good,' quod she, 'that alle

thinges governeth strongly, and ordeyneth hem softely.'

Thanne seyde I thus: 'I delyte me,' quod I, 'nat only in the

endes or in the somme of the resouns that thou hast concluded


and proeved, but thilke wordes that thou usest delyten me moche

more; so, at the laste, fooles that sumtyme renden grete thinges

{89}oughten ben ashamed of hem-self;' that is to seyn, that we fooles

that reprehenden wikkedly the thinges that touchen goddes governaunce,

we oughten ben ashamed of our-self: as I, that seyde that


god refuseth only the werkes of men, and ne entremeteth nat of


'Thou hast wel herd,' quod she, 'the fables of the poetes,

how the giaunts assaileden the hevene with the goddes; but forsothe,

the debonair force of god deposede hem, as it was worthy;


that is to seyn, destroyede the giaunts, as it was worthy. But wilt

thou that we ioignen to-gider thilke same resouns? For per-aventure,

of swich coniuncioun may sterten up som fair sparkle

of sooth.'

'Do,' quod I, 'as thee liste.'


'Wenest thou,' quod she, 'that god ne be almighty? No man

is in doute of it.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'no wight ne douteth it, yif he be in his


'But he,' quod she, 'that is almighty, ther nis nothing that he


ne may?'

'That is sooth,' quod I.

'May god don yvel?' quod she.

'Nay, forsothe,' quod I.

'Thanne is yvel nothing,' quod she, 'sin that he ne may nat


don yvel that may don alle thinges.'

'Scornest thou me?' quod I; 'or elles pleyest thou or deceivest

thou me, that hast so woven me with thy resouns the hous of

Dedalus, so entrelaced that it is unable to be unlaced; thou that

other-whyle entrest ther thou issest, and other-whyle issest ther


thou entrest, ne foldest thou nat to-gider, by replicacioun of

wordes, a maner wonderful cercle or environinge of the simplicitee

devyne? For certes, a litel her-biforn, whan thou bigunne at

blisfulnesse, thou seydest that it is soverein good; and seydest

that it is set in soverein god; and seydest that god him-self


is soverein good; and that god is the fulle blisfulnesse; for which

{90}thou yave me as a covenable yift, that is to seyn, that no wight

nis blisful but-yif he be god also ther-with. And seidest eek,

that the forme of good is the substaunce of god and of blisfulnesse;

and seidest, that thilke same oon is thilke same good, that is


requered and desired of alle the kinde of thinges. And thou

proevedest, in disputinge, that god governeth all the thinges of

the world by the governements of bountee, and seydest, that alle

thinges wolen obeyen to him; and seydest, that the nature of yvel

nis no-thing. And thise thinges ne shewedest thou nat with none


resouns y-taken fro with-oute, but by proeves in cercles and hoomlich

knowen; the whiche proeves drawen to hem-self hir feith and

hir acord, everich of hem of other.'

Thanne seyde she thus: 'I ne scorne thee nat, ne pleye, ne

deceive thee; but I have shewed thee the thing that is grettest


over alle thinges by the yift of god, that we whylom preyeden.

For this is the forme of the devyne substaunce, that is swich that

it ne slydeth nat in-to outterest foreine thinges, ne ne receiveth

no straunge thinges in him; but right as Parmenides seyde in

Greek of thilke devyne substaunce; he seyde thus: that "thilke


devyne substaunce torneth the world and the moevable cercle of

thinges, whyl thilke devyne substaunce kepeth it-self with-oute

moevinge;" that is to seyn, that it ne moeveth never-mo, and yit it

moeveth alle othre thinges. But natheles, yif I have stired resouns

that ne ben nat taken fro with-oute the compas of thing of which


we treten, but resouns that ben bistowed with-in that compas,

ther nis nat why that thou sholdest merveilen; sin thou hast

lerned by the sentence of Plato, that "nedes the wordes moten

be cosines to the thinges of which they speken."

Pr. XII. 2. A. begins again with the seconde tyme. 4. A. coniunccioun; C. coniuncsioun. 12. C. wordyl (for world). 19. C. world nis; Ed. A. worlde is. 26. A. om. dyverse. 27. A. discordeden. 30. C. ordene; A. ordinee. 31. A. Ed. spaces; C. splaces (!). 32. C. stidefast; A. stedfast. 35. Ed. ymaked; C. A. maked. 40. A. han; C. ha (for hā). 47. A. om. no. 50. C. denoyed (for deneyed); A. Ed. denied. 55. A. Ed. om. as; Lat. ueluti. // C. A. stiere (better stere). 57. A. corumpynge. 63. A. natheles; C. natles. 82. C. hem; A. Ed. hym. 84. A. this; C. Ed. his. 93. C. reprehendnen. 96. A. hem; C. Ed. it. 99. C. desposede; A. Ed. disposed; read deposed; Lat. deposuit. 100. A. wilt; Ed. wylte; C. wil. 105. C. Ed. be; A. is. // A. Ed. No man; C. non. 107. A. Ed. if he; C. yif it. 110. A. may do. 116. C. scornesthow ... pleyesthow ... desseyuesthow. 118. Ed. Dedalus; C. dydalus; A. didalus. 119. C. A. issest; Ed. issuest. 120. C. fooldesthow. 125. C. fulle the; A. the ful; Lat. plenam beatitudinem. 127. Ed. god (Deus); C. A. good. 132. A. bountee; C. bowonte. 139. C. A. desseyue. 142. C. resseiueth. 143. C. aparmanides; Ed. Permenides; A. parmaynws; Lat. Parmenides. 148. C. Ed. styred; A. stered.

Metre XII.

Felix, qui potuit boni.

Blisful is that man that may seen the clere welle of good; blisful

is he that may unbinden him fro the bondes of the hevy erthe.

{91}The poete of Trace, Orpheus, that whylom hadde right greet sorwe

for the deeth of his wyf, after that he hadde maked, by his weeply


songes, the wodes, moevable, to rennen; and hadde maked the

riveres to stonden stille; and hadde maked the hertes and the

hindes to ioignen, dredeles, hir sydes to cruel lyouns, for to herknen

his songe; and hadde maked that the hare was nat agast of the

hounde, which that was plesed by his songe: so, whan the moste


ardaunt love of his wif brende the entrailes of his brest, ne the

songes that hadden overcomen alle thinges ne mighten nat

asswagen hir lord Orpheus, he pleynede him of the hevene goddes

that weren cruel to him; he wente him to the houses of helle.

And there he temprede hise blaundisshinge songes by resowninge


strenges, and spak and song in wepinge al that ever he hadde

received and laved out of the noble welles of his moder Calliope

the goddesse; and he song with as mochel as he mighte of wepinge,

and with as moche as love, that doublede his sorwe, mighte

yeve him and techen him; and he commoevede the helle, and


requerede and bisoughte by swete preyere the lordes of sowles

in helle, of relesinge; that is to seyn, to yilden him his wyf.

Cerberus, the porter of helle, with his three hevedes, was caught

and al abayst for the newe song; and the three goddesses, Furies,

and vengeresses of felonyes, that tormenten and agasten the sowles


by anoy, woxen sorwful and sory, and wepen teres for pitee.

Tho ne was nat the heved of Ixion y-tormented by the overthrowinge

wheel; and Tantalus, that was destroyed by the woodnesse

of longe thurst, despyseth the flodes to drinke; the fowl that

highte voltor, that eteth the stomak or the giser of Tityus, is so


fulfild of his song that it nil eten ne tyren no more. At the laste

the lord and Iuge of sowles was moeved to misericordes and

cryde, "we ben overcomen," quod he; "yive we to Orpheus his

wyf to bere him companye; he hath wel y-bought hir by his song

and his ditee; but we wol putte a lawe in this, and covenaunt in


{92}the yifte: that is to seyn, that, til he be out of helle, yif he loke

behinde him, that his wyf shal comen ayein unto us."

But what is he that may yive a lawe to loveres? Love is

a gretter lawe and a strenger to him-self than any lawe that men

may yeven. Allas! whan Orpheus and his wyf weren almest at the


termes of the night, that is to seyn, at the laste boundes of helle,

Orpheus lokede abakward on Eurydice his wyf, and loste hir, and

was deed.

This fable aperteineth to yow alle, who-so-ever desireth or

seketh to lede his thought in-to the soverein day, that is to seyn,


to cleernesse of soverein good. For who-so that ever be so overcomen

that he ficche his eyen into the putte of helle, that is to

seyn, who-so sette his thoughtes in erthely thinges, al that ever he

hath drawen of the noble good celestial, he leseth it whan he

loketh the helles,' that is to seyn, in-to lowe thinges of the erthe.

Me. XII. 2. A. bonde; Lat. uincula. // A. Ed. om. 2nd the. 4. C. wepply; A. Ed. wepely. 7. A. cruel; C. cruwel. 10. A. Ed. ardaunt; C. ardent. 12. C. goodes; A. godes (om. hevene); Lat. superos. 14. C. blaundyssynge; A. blaundissyng. 15. C. soonge; A. song (twice). 16. C. resseyued; A. resceyued. // C. calyope; A. calliope. 17. A. as mychel as he myȝt; C. om. he. 19. C. thechen; after techen him, A. adds in his seke herte (not in Lat.) 23. Ed. Furyes; C. A. furijs. 27. C. tatalus (for tātalus). 28. A. thrust. 29. Ed. Tityus; C. A. ticius; Lat. Tityi. 33. A. his faire song; Lat. carmine. 38. A. gretter; C. gret; Lat. maior. 41. C. A. Erudice; Ed. Euridice; Lat. Eurydicen. 43. C. apartienyth; A. apperteineth. 45. C. god; A. goode. 46. C. fychche. 47. C. om. his after sette. 49. A. to (for in-to). // C. om. the bef. erthe.

Explicit Liber tercius.


Prose I.

Hec cum Philosophia, dignitate uultus.

Whan Philosophye hadde songen softely and delitably the

forseide thinges, kepinge the dignitee of hir chere and the

weighte of hir wordes, I thanne, that ne hadde nat al-outerly

foryeten the wepinge and the mourninge that was set in myn


herte, forbrak the entencioun of hir that entendede yit to seyn

some othre thinges. 'O,' quod I, 'thou that art gyderesse of

verrey light; the thinges that thou hast seid me hider-to ben so

clere to me and so shewinge by the devyne lookinge of hem, and

by thy resouns, that they ne mowen ben overcomen. And


thilke thinges that thou toldest me, al-be-it so that I hadde

whylom foryeten hem, for the sorwe of the wrong that hath ben

{93}don to me, yit natheles they ne weren nat al-outrely unknowen to

me. But this same is, namely, a right greet cause of my sorwe,

so as the governour of thinges is good, yif that yveles mowen ben


by any weyes; or elles yif that yveles passen with-oute punisshinge.

The whiche thing only, how worthy it is to ben wondred

up-on, thou considerest it wel thy-self certeinly. But yit to this

thing ther is yit another thing y-ioigned, more to ben wondred

up-on. For felonye is emperesse, and floureth ful of richesses;


and vertu nis nat al-only with-oute medes, but it is cast under and

fortroden under the feet of felonous folk; and it abyeth the

torments in stede of wikkede felounes. Of alle whiche thinges

ther nis no wight that may merveylen y-nough, ne compleine,

that swiche thinges ben doon in the regne of god, that alle thinges


woot and alle thinges may, and ne wole nat but only gode


Thanne seyde she thus: 'Certes,' quod she, 'that were a greet

merveyle, and an enbasshinge with-outen ende, and wel more

horrible than alle monstres, yif it were as thou wenest; that is to


seyn, that in the right ordenee hous of so mochel a fader and an

ordenour of meynee, that the vesseles that ben foule and vyle

sholden ben honoured and heried, and the precious vesseles

sholden ben defouled and vyle; but it nis nat so. For yif tho

thinges that I have concluded a litel her-biforn ben kept hole


and unraced, thou shalt wel knowe by the autoritee of god, of the

whos regne I speke, that certes the gode folk ben alwey mighty,

and shrewes ben alwey out-cast and feble; ne the vyces ne ben

never-mo with-oute peyne, ne the vertues ne ben nat with-oute

mede; and that blisfulnesses comen alwey to goode folk, and


infortune comth alwey to wikked folk. And thou shalt wel

knowe many thinges of this kinde, that shollen cesen thy pleintes,

and strengthen thee with stedefast sadnesse. And for thou hast

seyn the forme of the verray blisfulnesse by me, that have

whylom shewed it thee, and thou hast knowen in whom blisfulnesse


{94}is y-set, alle thinges y-treted that I trowe ben necessarie to

putten forth, I shal shewe thee the wey that shal bringen thee

ayein un-to thyn hous. And I shal ficchen fetheres in thy thought,

by whiche it may arysen in heighte, so that, alle tribulacioun

y-don awey, thou, by my gydinge and by my path and by my


sledes, shalt mowe retorne hool and sound in-to thy contree.

Pr. I. 6. A. om. some. // A. Se (for O); Lat. o. // C. om. that. 7. A. om. me. 9. A. Ed. thy; C. the. 14. C. so as; Ed. so that as; A. that so as. 19. C. imperisse; A. emperisse; Ed. emperesse. // A. rycchesse. 20. A. vertues (badly). 22. Ed. stede; C. stide; A. sted. 25. C. good; A. goode. 28. A. enbaissynge; Ed. abasshyng. 29. C. horible. // C. al; A. alle. 31. A. Ed. vyle; C. vyl (twice). 32. C. he heryed (mistake for heryed). 33. C. tho; A. Ed. the. 35. Ed. vnaraced. 37. A. yuel (for out-cast). 42. C. strengthyn; A. stedfast (!). // C. stidfast; A. stedfast. 45. C. I tretyd; A. I treted; Ed. treated; Lat. decursis omnibus. 48. C. areysen. 50. C. sledys; A. Ed. sledes. // C. shal (for shalt).

Metre I.

Sunt etenim pennae uolucres mihi.

I have, forsothe, swifte fetheres that surmounten the heighte of

hevene. Whan the swifte thought hath clothed it-self in tho

fetheres, it despyseth the hateful erthes, and surmounteth the

roundnesse of the grete ayr; and it seeth the cloudes behinde his


bak; and passeth the heighte of the region of the fyr, that

eschaufeth by the swifte moevinge of the firmament, til that he

areyseth him in-to the houses that beren the sterres, and ioyneth

his weyes with the sonne Phebus, and felawshipeth the wey of

the olde colde Saturnus; and he y-maked a knight of the clere


sterre; that is to seyn, that the thought is maked goddes knight by

the sekinge of trouthe to comen to the verray knowleche of god.

And thilke thoght renneth by the cercle of the sterres, in alle

places ther-as the shyninge night is peinted; that is to seyn, the

night that is cloudeles; for on nightes that ben cloudeles it semeth as


the hevene were peinted with dyverse images of sterres. And

whanne he hath y-doon ther y-nough, he shal forleten the laste

hevene, and he shal pressen and wenden on the bak of the

swifte firmament, and he shal ben maked parfit of the worshipful

light of god. Ther halt the lord of kinges the ceptre of his


might, and atempreth the governements of the world, and the

{95}shyninge Iuge of thinges, stable in him-self, governeth the swifte

cart or wayn, that is to seyn, the circuler moevinge of the sonne.

And yif thy wey ledeth thee ayein so that thou be brought thider,

thanne wolt thou seye now that that is the contree that thou


requerest, of which thou ne haddest no minde: "but now it

remembreth me wel, heer was I born, heer wol I fastne my

degree, heer wole I dwelle." But yif thee lyketh thanne to loken

on the derknesse of the erthe that thou hast forleten, thanne

shalt thou seen that thise felonous tyraunts, that the wrecchede


peple dredeth, now shollen ben exyled fro thilke fayre contree.'

Me. I. 1. C. swife (for swifte). 4. A. heyȝenesse (for roundnesse); Lat. globum. // A. hir (for his). 6. A. til that she areisith hir in-til ... hir weyes. 9. C. saturnis; A. saturnus. // A. she (for he). 10. A. soule (for thought); twice. 12. C. alle; A. alle the; Ed. al the. 13. Ed. ypaynted; A. depeynted. 16. A. And whan the soule hath gon ynouȝ she shal forleten the last poynt of the heuene, and she. 17. A. Ed. wenden; C. wyndyn. 18. A. she (for he). 18, 19. C. Ed. worshipful lyht; A. dredefulle clerenesse. // A. haldeth. 20. A. this; for the (2). 22. A. om. or wayn. 25. C. requerest; Ed. requirest; A. requeredest. 27. A. lyke (for lyketh). 28. C. dyrknesses; A. derkenesse; Lat. noctem.

Prose II.

Tum ego, Papae, inquam.

Than seyde I thus: 'owh! I wondre me that thou bihetest me

so grete thinges; ne I ne doute nat that thou ne mayst wel

performe that thou bihetest. But I preye thee only this, that

thou ne tarye nat to telle me thilke thinges that thou hast



'First,' quod she, 'thou most nedes knowen, that goode folk

ben alwey stronge and mighty, and the shrewes ben feble and

desert and naked of alle strengthes. And of thise thinges, certes,

everich of hem is declared and shewed by other. For so as


good and yvel ben two contraries, yif so be that good be stedefast,

than sheweth the feblesse of yvel al openly; and yif thou

knowe cleerly the frelenesse of yvel, the stedefastnesse of good is

knowen. But for as moche as the fey of my sentence shal be the

more ferme and haboundaunt, I will gon by that oo wey and by


that other; and I wole conferme the thinges that ben purposed,

now on this syde and now on that syde. Two thinges ther ben

in whiche the effect of alle the dedes of mankinde standeth, that

is to seyn, wil and power; and yif that oon of thise two fayleth,

ther nis nothing that may be don. For yif that wil lakketh, ther


{96}nis no wight that undertaketh to don that he wol nat don; and

yif power fayleth, the wil nis but in ydel and stant for naught.

And ther-of cometh it, that yif thou see a wight that wolde geten

that he may nat geten, thou mayst nat douten that power ne

fayleth him to haven that he wolde.'


'This is open and cleer,' quod I; 'ne it may nat ben deneyed

in no manere.'

'And yif thou see a wight,' quod she, 'that hath doon that he

wolde doon, thou nilt nat douten that he ne hath had power to

don it?'


'No,' quod I.

'And in that that every wight may, in that men may holden

him mighty; as who seyth, in so moche as man is mighty to don a

thing, in so mochel men halt him mighty; and in that that he ne

may, in that men demen him to be feble.'


'I confesse it wel,' quod I.

'Remembreth thee,' quod she, 'that I have gadered and

shewed by forseyde resouns that al the entencioun of the wil of

mankinde, which that is lad by dyverse studies, hasteth to

comen to blisfulnesse?'


'It remembreth me wel,' quod I, 'that it hath ben shewed.'

'And recordeth thee nat thanne,' quod she, 'that blisfulnesse

is thilke same good that men requeren; so that, whan that

blisfulnesse is requered of alle, that good also is requered and

desired of alle?'


'It ne recordeth me nat,' quod I; 'for I have it gretly alwey

ficched in my memorie.'

'Alle folk thanne,' quod she, 'goode and eek badde, enforcen

hem with-oute difference of entencioun to comen to good?'

'This is a verray consequence,' quod I.


'And certein is,' quod she, 'that by the getinge of good ben

men y-maked goode?'

'This is certein,' quod I.

'Thanne geten goode men that they desiren?'

'So semeth it,' quod I.


{97}'But wikkede folk,' quod she, 'yif they geten the good that

they desiren, they ne mowe nat be wikkede?'

'So is it,' quod I.

'Thanne, so as that oon and that other,' quod she, 'desiren

good; and the goode folk geten good, and nat the wikke folk;


thanne nis it no doute that the goode folk ne ben mighty and

the wikkede folk ben feble?'

'Who-so that ever,' quod I, 'douteth of this, he ne may nat

considere the nature of thinges ne the consequence of resouns.'

And over this quod she, 'yif that ther be two thinges that


han oo same purpose by kinde, and that oon of hem pursueth

and parformeth thilke same thing by naturel office, and that

other ne may nat doon thilke naturel office, but folweth, by other

manere thanne is convenable to nature, him that acomplissheth

his purpos kindely, and yit he ne acomplissheth nat his owne


purpos: whether of thise two demestow for more mighty?'

'Yif that I coniecte,' quod I, 'that thou wolt seye, algates yit

I desire to herkne it more pleynly of thee.'

'Thou wilt nat thanne deneye,' quod she, 'that the moevement

of goinge nis in men by kinde?'


'No, forsothe,' quod I.

'Ne thou ne doutest nat,' quod she, 'that thilke naturel office

of goinge ne be the office of feet?'

'I ne doute it nat,' quod I.

'Thanne,' quod she, 'yif that a wight be mighty to moeve and


goth upon his feet, and another, to whom thilke naturel office of

feet lakketh, enforceth him to gon crepinge up-on his handes:

whiche of thise two oughte to ben holden the more mighty by


'Knit forth the remenaunt,' quod I; 'for no wight ne douteth


that he that may gon by naturel office of feet ne be more mighty

than he that ne may nat.'

'But the soverein good,' quod she, 'that is eveneliche purposed

to the gode folk and to badde, the gode folk seken it by naturel

office of vertues, and the shrewes enforcen hem to geten it by


{98}dyverse coveityse of erthely thinges, which that nis no naturel office

to geten thilke same soverein good. Trowestow that it be any

other wyse?'

'Nay,' quod I; 'for the consequence is open and shewinge of

thinges that I have graunted; that nedes gode folk moten ben


mighty, and shrewes feeble and unmighty.'

'Thou rennest a-right biforn me,' quod she, 'and this is the

Iugement; that is to seyn, I iuge of thee right as thise leches ben

wont to hopen of syke folk, whan they aperceyven that nature is

redressed and withstondeth to the maladye. But, for I see thee


now al redy to the understondinge, I shal shewe thee more thikke

and continuel resouns. For loke now how greetly sheweth the

feblesse and infirmitee of wikkede folk, that ne mowen nat comen

to that hir naturel entencioun ledeth hem, and yit almost thilke

naturel entencioun constreineth hem. And what were to demen


thanne of shrewes, yif thilke naturel help hadde forleten hem, the

which naturel help of intencioun goth awey biforn hem, and is so

greet that unnethe it may ben overcome? Consider thanne how

greet defaute of power and how greet feblesse ther is in wikkede

felonous folk; as who seyth, the gretter thing that is coveited and


the desire nat acomplisshed, of the lasse might is he that coveiteth it

and may nat acomplisshe. And forthy Philosophie seyth thus by

soverein good: Ne shrewes ne requeren nat lighte medes ne veyne

games, whiche they ne may folwen ne holden; but they failen of

thilke somme and of the heighte of thinges, that is to seyn, soverein


good; ne thise wrecches ne comen nat to the effect of soverein

good, the which they enforcen hem only to geten, by nightes and

by dayes; in the getinge of which good the strengthe of good folk

is ful wel y-sene. For right so as thou mightest demen him mighty

of goinge, that gooth on his feet til he mighte come to thilke


place, fro the whiche place ther ne laye no wey forther to ben

gon; right so most thou nedes demen him for right mighty, that

geteth and ateyneth to the ende of alle thinges that ben to desire,

biyonde the whiche ende ther nis nothing to desire. Of the

which power of good folk men may conclude, that the wikked


{99}men semen to be bareine and naked of alle strengthe. For-why

forleten they vertues and folwen vyces? Nis it nat for that they

ne knowen nat the goodes? But what thing is more feble and

more caitif thanne is the blindnesse of ignoraunce? Or elles they

knowen ful wel whiche thinges that they oughten folwe, but


lecherye and coveityse overthroweth hem mistorned; and certes,

so doth distemperaunce to feble men, that ne mowen nat wrastlen

ayeins the vyces. Ne knowen they nat thanne wel that they

forleten the good wilfully, and tornen hem wilfully to vyces? And

in this wyse they ne forleten nat only to ben mighty, but they


forleten al-outrely in any wyse for to ben. For they that forleten

the comune fyn of alle thinges that ben, they forleten also therwith-al

for to ben.

And per-aventure it sholde semen to som folk that this were

a merveile to seyen: that shrewes, whiche that contienen the more


partye of men, ne ben nat ne han no beinge; but natheles, it is so,

and thus stant this thing. For they that ben shrewes, I deneye

nat that they ben shrewes; but I deneye, and seye simplely and

pleinly, that they ne ben nat, ne han no beinge. For right as

thou mightest seyen of the carayne of a man, that it were a deed


man, but thou ne mightest nat simplely callen it a man; so graunte

I wel forsothe, that vicious folk ben wikked, but I ne may nat

graunten absolutly and simplely that they ben. For thilke thing

that with-holdeth ordre and kepeth nature, thilke thing is and

hath beinge; but what thing that faileth of that, that is to seyn,


that he forleteth naturel ordre, he forleteth thilke thing that is set

in his nature. But thou wolt seyn, that shrewes mowen. Certes,

that ne deneye I nat; but certes, hir power ne descendeth nat of

strengthe, but of feblesse. For they mowen don wikkednesses;

the whiche they ne mighte nat don, yif they mighten dwellen in


the forme and in the doinge of good folk. And thilke power

sheweth ful evidently that they ne mowen right naught. For so

as I have gadered and proeved a litel her-biforn, that yvel is

naught; and so as shrewes mowen only but shrewednesses, this

conclusioun is al cleer, that shrewes ne mowen right naught, ne


han no power.

{100}And for as moche as thou understonde which is the strengthe

of this power of shrewes, I have definisshed a litel her-biforn, that

nothing is so mighty as soverein good.'

'That is sooth,' quod I.


'And thilke same soverein good may don non yvel?'

'Certes, no,' quod I.

'Is ther any wight thanne,' quod she, 'that weneth that men

mowen doon alle thinges?'

'No man,' quod I, 'but-yif he be out of his witte.'


'But, certes, shrewes mowen don yvel,' quod she.

'Ye, wolde god,' quod I, 'that they mighten don non!'

'Thanne,' quod she, 'so as he that is mighty to doon only but

goode thinges may don alle thinges; and they that ben mighty to

don yvele thinges ne mowen nat alle thinges: thanne is it open


thing and manifest, that they that mowen don yvel ben of lasse

power. And yit, to proeve this conclusioun, ther helpeth me this,

that I have y-shewed her-biforn, that alle power is to be noumbred

among thinges that men oughten requere. And I have shewed

that alle thinges, that oughten ben desired, ben referred to good,


right as to a maner heighte of hir nature. But for to mowen don

yvel and felonye ne may nat ben referred to good. Thanne nis

nat yvel of the noumbir of thinges that oughte ben desired. But

alle power oughte ben desired and requered. Than is it open and

cleer that the power ne the mowinge of shrewes nis no power; and


of alle thise thinges it sheweth wel, that the goode folke ben certeinly

mighty, and the shrewes douteles ben unmighty. And it is

cleer and open that thilke opinioun of Plato is verray and sooth, that

seith, that only wyse men may doon that they desiren; and

shrewes mowen haunten that hem lyketh, but that they desiren,


that is to seyn, to comen to sovereign good, they ne han no power

to acomplisshen that. For shrewes don that hem list, whan, by

tho thinges in which they delyten, they wenen to ateine to thilke

good that they desiren; but they ne geten ne ateinen nat ther-to,

for vyces ne comen nat to blisfulnesse.

Pr. II. 1. C. owh; Ed. O; A. om.; Lat. Papae. 8. C. dishert; A. desert; Ed. deserte; Lat. desertos. // All strengthes; Lat. uiribus. 10. C. stidefast; A. stedfast. 12. C. stidefastnesse; A. stedfastnesse. 13. C. A. fey; Ed. faythe. 19. C. lakkit; A. lakketh. 25. C. denoyed. 28. C. om. he bef. ne. 33. C. halt; A. halden; Ed. holde. // A. Ed. that that; C. that. 42. A. whan that; C. Ed. om. that. 45. C. It ne ... nat; A. It recordeth me wel; Lat. Minim ... recordor. 48. C. defference; A. Ed. difference. 63. A. resoun; Lat. rationum. 67. C. by (for but; by mistake). 68. Ed. accomplyssheth; A. acomplisith; C. a-complesseth (twice). 70. A. demest thou. 73. C. denoye (for deneye); A. Ed. denye. // A. moeuementz; Lat. motum. 88. C. good folk (1st time); goode folk (2nd time). 91. A. trowest thou. 92. A. wyse; C. whise. 99. C. maledie; A. maladie. 104. C. om. hem after constreineth. 109. A. the gretter thinges that ben. 110. C. acomplised; A. accomplissed; Ed. accomplysshed. 112. C. veyn; A. veyne. 120. A. lay. 122. C. desired (for desire, by mistake). 135. A. wise; C. whise. 141. C. denoye (for deneye); A. denye (thrice). 142. C. sympeli (1st time). 149. C. Ed. what; A. that. 151. C. shrewen (by mistake). 152. A. descendeth; C. dessendit (sic). 158. A. shrewednesse; Lat. mala. 160. A. to han (for ne han no). 162. C. diffinissed; A. diffinised; Ed. defynisshed; Lat. definiuimus. 169. A. but yif; Ed. but if; C. but. 186. A. om. ben. 188. A. om. doon. 192. C. the; A. Ed. tho. 194. C. om. to.


Metre II.

Quos uides sedere celsos.

Who-so that the covertoures of hir veyne aparailes mighte strepen

of thise proude kinges, that thou seest sitten on heigh in hir

chaires gliteringe in shyninge purpre, envirouned with sorwful

armures, manasinge with cruel mouth, blowinge by woodnesse of


herte, he shulde seen thanne that thilke lordes beren with-inne hir

corages ful streite cheines. For lecherye tormenteth hem in that

oon syde with gredy venims; and troublable ire, that araiseth in

him the flodes of troublinges, tormenteth up-on that other syde

hir thought; or sorwe halt hem wery and y-caught; or slydinge


and deceivinge hope tormenteth hem. And therfore, sen thou

seest oon heed, that is to seyn, oon tyraunt, beren so manye

tyrannyes, thanne ne doth thilke tyraunt nat that he desireth, sin

he is cast doun with so manye wikkede lordes; that is to seyn, with

so manye vyces, that han so wikkedly lordshipes over him.

Me. II. 1. Ed. vayne; C. A. veyn. 2. A. Ed. in; C. on. 3. Ed. chayres; C. (miswritten) charyes; A. chayeres. 4. A. manasyng; C. manassinge. 8. A. troublynges; C. trwblynges. 9. C. hym (for hem). 12. C. Ed. tyrannyes; A. tyrauntis. 14. A. wicked (for wikkedly).

Prose III.

Videsne igitur quanto in coeno.

Seestow nat thanne in how grete filthe thise shrewes ben

y-wrapped, and with which cleernesse thise good folk shynen? In

this sheweth it wel, that to goode folk ne lakketh never-mo hir

medes, ne shrewes lakken never-mo torments. For of alle thinges


that ben y-doon, thilke thing, for which any-thing is don, it semeth

as by right that thilke thing be the mede of that; as thus: yif

a man renneth in the stadie, or in the forlong, for the corone,

thanne lyth the mede in the corone for which he renneth. And

I have shewed that blisfulnesse is thilke same good for which


that alle thinges ben doon. Thanne is thilke same good purposed

to the workes of mankinde right as a comune mede; which

{102}mede ne may ben dissevered fro good folk. For no wight as by

right, fro thennes-forth that him lakketh goodnesse, ne shal ben

cleped good. For which thing, folk of goode maneres, hir medes


ne forsaken hem never-mo. For al-be-it so that shrewes wexen

as wode as hem list ayeins goode folk, yit never-the-lesse the

corone of wyse men shal nat fallen ne faden. For foreine shrewednesse

ne binimeth nat fro the corages of goode folk hir propre

honour. But yif that any wight reioyse him of goodnesse that he


hadde take fro with-oute (as who seith, yif that any wight hadde

his goodnesse of any other man than of him-self), certes, he that yaf

him thilke goodnesse, or elles som other wight, mighte binime it

him. But for as moche as to every wight his owne propre bountee

yeveth him his mede, thanne at erst shal he failen of mede whan


he forleteth to ben good. And at the laste, so as alle medes ben

requered for men wenen that they ben goode, who is he that

wolde deme, that he that is right mighty of good were part-les of

mede? And of what mede shal he be guerdoned? Certes, of

right faire mede and right grete aboven alle medes. Remembre


thee of thilke noble corolarie that I yaf thee a litel her-biforn;

and gader it to-gider in this manere:—so as good him-self is

blisfulnesse, thanne is it cleer and certein, that alle good folk ben

maked blisful for they ben goode; and thilke folk that ben blisful,

it acordeth and is covenable to ben goddes. Thanne is the mede


of goode folk swich that no day shal enpeiren it, ne no wikkednesse

ne shal derken it, ne power of no wight ne shal nat amenusen it,

that is to seyn, to ben maked goddes.

And sin it is thus, that goode men ne failen never-mo of hir mede,

certes, no wys man ne may doute of undepartable peyne of the


shrewes; that is to seyn, that the peyne of shrewes ne departeth nat

from hem-self never-mo. For so as goode and yvel, and peyne and

medes ben contrarye, it mot nedes ben, that right as we seen

bityden in guerdoun of goode, that also mot the peyne of yvel

answery, by the contrarye party, to shrewes. Now thanne, so as


{103}bountee and prowesse ben the mede to goode folk, al-so is

shrewednesse it-self torment to shrewes. Thanne, who-so that

ever is entecched and defouled with peyne, he ne douteth nat,

that he is entecched and defouled with yvel. Yif shrewes thanne

wolen preysen hem-self, may it semen to hem that they ben with-outen


party of torment, sin they ben swiche that the uttereste

wikkednesse (that is to seyn, wikkede thewes, which that is the

uttereste and the worste kinde of shrewednesse) ne defouleth ne

enteccheth nat hem only, but infecteth and envenimeth hem

gretly? And also look on shrewes, that ben the contrarie party


of goode men, how greet peyne felawshipeth and folweth hem!

For thou hast lerned a litel her-biforn, that al thing that is and

hath beinge is oon, and thilke same oon is good; thanne is this

the consequence, that it semeth wel, that al that is and hath beinge

is good; this is to seyn, as who seyth, that beinge and unitee and


goodnesse is al oon. And in this manere it folweth thanne, that al

thing that faileth to ben good, it stinteth for to be and for to han

any beinge; wherfore it is, that shrewes stinten for to ben that

they weren. But thilke other forme of mankinde, that is to seyn,

the forme of the body with-oute, sheweth yit that thise shrewes


weren whylom men; wher-for, whan they ben perverted and

torned in-to malice, certes, than han they forlorn the nature of

mankinde. But so as only bountee and prowesse may enhaunsen

every man over other men; thanne mot it nedes be that shrewes,

which that shrewednesse hath cast out of the condicioun of mankinde,


ben put under the merite and the desert of men. Thanne

bitydeth it, that yif thou seest a wight that be transformed into

vyces, thou ne mayst nat wene that he be a man.

For yif he be ardaunt in avaryce, and that he be a ravinour by

violence of foreine richesse, thou shalt seyn that he is lyke to the


wolf. And yif he be felonous and with-oute reste, and exercyse

his tonge to chydinges, thou shalt lykne him to the hound. And

{104}yif he be a prevey awaitour y-hid, and reioyseth him to ravisshe

by wyles, thou shalt seyn him lyke to the fox-whelpes. And yif he

be distempre and quaketh for ire, men shal wene that he bereth


the corage of a lyoun. And yif he be dredful and fleinge, and

dredeth thinges that ne oughten nat to ben dred, men shal holden

him lyk to the hert. And yif he be slow and astoned and lache, he

liveth as an asse. And yif he be light and unstedefast of corage, and

chaungeth ay his studies, he is lykned to briddes. And if he be


plounged in foule and unclene luxuries, he is with-holden in the

foule delyces of the foule sowe. Thanne folweth it, that he that forleteth

bountee and prowesse, he forleteth to ben a man; sin he may

nat passen in-to the condicioun of god, he is torned in-to a beest.

Pr. III. 1. A. Seest thou. 16. A. les; C. leese (error for lesse). 17. C. faaden. 25. A. laste; C. last. 27. A. wolde; C. Ed. nolde; Lat. quis ... iudicet. 27, 28. A. Ed. of mede; C. of the mede. // C. A. gerdoned; Ed. reguerdoned. 30. C. yat (miswritten for yaf). 31. C. good him-self; A. Ed. god him-self; Lat. ipsum bonum. // C. his (error for is); after him-self. 36. A. endirken (for derken). 38. A. medes. 43. C. gerdown; A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdone. 44. A. Ed. answere. // A. Ed. by the; C. om. the. 45. A. medes; Lat. praemium. 47. C. entechched. // Both MSS. om. peyne ... defouled with; but Ed. has: payne, he ne douteth not, that he is entetched and defouled with; Lat. quisquis afficitur poena, malo se affectum esse non dubitat. 50. A. om. uttereste ... which that is the. 52. C. vtteriste (1st time); owttereste (2nd time). 55. C. folueth. 56. C. alle; A. al. 58. C. alle; A. al (twice). 67. A. Ed. so as; C. om. as. // C. enhawsen (for enhawnsen). 73. A. rauynour; Ed. rauenour; C. rauaynour. 75. A. Ed. a wolf. // C. excersise. 77. A. rauysshe; C. rauysse. 78. A. Ed. wyles; C. whiles; Lat. fraudibus. 81. C. dredd. 82. A. Ed. slowe; C. slowh. 83. C. vnstidefast.

Metre III.

Vela Neritii dulcis.

Eurus the wind aryvede the sailes of Ulixes, duk of the contree

of Narice, and his wandringe shippes by the see, in-to the ile

ther-as Circes, the faire goddesse, doughter of the sonne,

dwelleth; that medleth to hir newe gestes drinkes that ben


touched and maked with enchauntements. And after that hir

hand, mighty over the herbes, hadde chaunged hir gestes in-to

dyverse maneres; that oon of hem, is covered his face with forme

of a boor; that other is chaunged in-to a lyoun of the contree of

Marmorike, and his nayles and his teeth wexen; that other of


hem is neweliche chaunged in-to a wolf, and howleth whan he

wolde wepe; that other goth debonairely in the hous as a tygre

of Inde.

But al-be-it so that the godhed of Mercurie, that is cleped the

brid of Arcadie, hath had mercy of the duke Ulixes, biseged with


dyverse yveles, and hath unbounden him fro the pestilence of

his ostesse, algates the roweres and the marineres hadden by this

y-drawen in-to hir mouthes and dronken the wikkede drinkes.

{105}They that weren woxen swyn hadden by this y-chaunged hir

mete of breed, for to eten akornes of okes. Non of hir limes ne


dwelleth with hem hole, but they han lost the voice and the

body; only hir thought dwelleth with hem stable, that wepeth

and biweileth the monstruous chaunginge that they suffren. O

overlight hand (as who seyth, O! feble and light is the hand of

Circes the enchaunteresse, that chaungeth the bodyes of folkes in-to


bestes, to regard and to comparisoun of mutacioun that is maked by

vyces); ne the herbes of Circes ne ben nat mighty. For al-be-it

so that they may chaungen the limes of the body, algates yit

they may nat chaunge the hertes; for with-inne is y-hid the

strengthe and vigor of men, in the secree tour of hir hertes; that


is to seyn, the strengthe of resoun. But thilke venims of vyces to-drawen

a man to hem more mightily than the venim of Circes;

for vyces ben so cruel that they percen and thorugh-passen the

corage with-inne; and, thogh they ne anoye nat the body, yit

vyces wooden to destroye men by wounde of thought.'

Me. III. 1. C. A. Ed. wynde. 2. C. A. Ed. Narice; Lat. Neritii. 3. C. Ed. Circes; A. Circe. 8. C. boer; A. boor. 9. C. A. Ed. Marmorike; Lat. Marmaricus leo. 14. A. Arcadie; C. Ed. Archadie; Lat. Arcadis alitis. 15. A. Ed. vnbounden; C. vnbounded. // A. pestilence; C. pestelence. 16. A. oosteresse (!). 18. A. Ed. woxen; C. wexen. 19. C. akkornes; A. acorns. // C. lemes; A. lymes; Ed. lymmes. 20. A. Ed. hoole; C. hool.

Prose IV.

Tum ego, Fateor, inquam.

Than seyde I thus: 'I confesse and am a-knowe it,' quod I;

'ne I ne see nat that men may sayn, as by right, that shrewes ne

ben chaunged in-to bestes by the qualitee of hir soules, al-be-it so

that they kepen yit the forme of the body of mankinde. But I


nolde nat of shrewes, of which the thought cruel woodeth al-wey

in-to destruccioun of goode men, that it were leveful to hem to

don that.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'ne is nis nat leveful to hem, as I shal wel

shewe thee in covenable place; but natheles, yif so were that thilke


that men wenen be leveful to shrewes were binomen hem, so that

they ne mighte nat anoyen or doon harm to goode men, certes, a

greet partye of the peyne to shrewes sholde ben allegged and

releved. For al-be-it so that this ne seme nat credible thing,

per-aventure, to some folk, yit moot it nedes be, that shrewes ben


{106}more wrecches and unsely whan they may doon and performe

that they coveiten, than yif they mighte nat complisshen that they

coveiten. For yif so be that it be wrecchednesse to wilne to don

yvel, than is more wrecchednesse to mowen don yvel; with-oute

whiche mowinge the wrecched wil sholde languisshe with-oute


effect. Than, sin that everiche of thise thinges hath his

wrecchednesse, that is to seyn, wil to don yvel and mowinge to don

yvel, it moot nedes be that they ben constreyned by three

unselinesses, that wolen and mowen and performen felonyes and



'I acorde me,' quod I; 'but I desire gretly that shrewes

losten sone thilke unselinesse, that is to seyn, that shrewes weren

despoyled of mowinge to don yvel.'

'So shullen they,' quod she, 'soner, per-aventure, than thou

woldest; or soner than they hem-self wene to lakken mowinge to


don yvel. For ther nis no-thing so late in so shorte boundes of

this lyf, that is long to abyde, nameliche, to a corage inmortel;

of whiche shrewes the grete hope, and the hye compassinges of

shrewednesses, is ofte destroyed by a sodeyn ende, or they ben

war; and that thing estableth to shrewes the ende of hir


shrewednesse. For yif that shrewednesse maketh wrecches, than

mot he nedes ben most wrecched that lengest is a shrewe; the

whiche wikked shrewes wolde I demen aldermost unsely and caitifs,

yif that hir shrewednesse ne were finisshed, at the leste wey, by

the outtereste deeth. For yif I have concluded sooth of the unselinesse


of shrewednesse, than sheweth it cleerly that thilke

wrecchednesse is with-outen ende, the whiche is certein to ben


'Certes,' quod I, 'this conclusioun is hard and wonderful to

graunte; but I knowe wel that it acordeth moche to the thinges


that I have graunted her-biforn.'

'Thou hast,' quod she, 'the right estimacioun of this; but

who-so-ever wene that it be a hard thing to acorde him to a

conclusioun, it is right that he shewe that some of the premisses

ben false; or elles he moot shewe that the collacioun of proposiciouns


{107}nis nat speedful to a necessarie conclusioun. And yif it

be nat so, but that the premisses ben y-graunted, ther is not why

he sholde blame the argument.

For this thing that I shal telle thee now ne shal nat seme lasse

wonderful; but of the thinges that ben taken also it is necessarie;'


as who seyth, it folweth of that which that is purposed biforn.

'What is that?' quod I.

'Certes,' quod she, 'that is, that thise wikked shrewes ben

more blisful, or elles lasse wrecches, that abyen the torments that

they han deserved, than yif no peyne of Iustice ne chastysede


hem. Ne this ne seye I nat now, for that any man mighte

thenke, that the maners of shrewes ben coriged and chastysed by

veniaunce, and that they ben brought to the right wey by the

drede of the torment, ne for that they yeven to other folk

ensaumple to fleen fro vyces; but I understande yit in another


manere, that shrewes ben more unsely whan they ne ben nat

punisshed, al-be-it so that ther ne be had no resoun or lawe of

correccioun, ne non ensaumple of lokinge.'

'And what manere shal that ben,' quod I, 'other than hath be

told her-biforn?'


'Have we nat thanne graunted,' quod she, 'that goode folk

ben blisful, and shrewes ben wrecches?'

'Yis,' quod I.

'Thanne,' quod she, 'yif that any good were added to the

wrecchednesse of any wight, nis he nat more weleful than he that


ne hath no medlinge of good in his solitarie wrecchednesse?'

'So semeth it,' quod I.

'And what seystow thanne,' quod she, 'of thilke wrecche that

lakketh alle goodes, so that no good nis medled in his wrecchednesse,

and yit, over al his wikkednesse for which he is a wrecche, that


ther be yit another yvel anexed and knit to him, shal nat men

demen him more unsely than thilke wrecche of whiche the unselinesse

is releved by the participacioun of som good?'

'Why sholde he nat?' quod I.

'Thanne, certes,' quod she, 'han shrewes, whan they ben


punisshed, som-what of good anexed to hir wrecchednesse, that is

{108}to seyn, the same peyne that they suffren, which that is good by

the resoun of Iustice; and whan thilke same shrewes ascapen

with-oute torment, than han they som-what more of yvel yit over

the wikkednesse that they han don, that is to seyn, defaute of


peyne; which defaute of peyne, thou hast graunted, is yvel for

the deserte of felonye.' 'I ne may nat denye it,' quod I. 'Moche

more thanne,' quod she, 'ben shrewes unsely, whan they ben

wrongfully delivered fro peyne, than whan they ben punisshed by

rightful veniaunce. But this is open thing and cleer, that it is


right that shrewes ben punisshed, and it is wikkednesse and

wrong that they escapen unpunisshed.'

'Who mighte deneye that?' quod I.

'But,' quod she, 'may any man denye that al that is right nis

good; and also the contrarie, that al that is wrong is wikke?'


'Certes,' quod I, 'these thinges ben clere y-nough; and that

we han concluded a litel her-biforn. But I praye thee that thou

telle me, yif thou acordest to leten no torment to sowles, after that

the body is ended by the deeth;' this is to seyn, understandestow

aught that sowles han any torment after the deeth of the body?


'Certes,' quod she, 'ye; and that right greet; of which sowles,'

quod she, 'I trowe that some ben tormented by asprenesse of

peyne; and some sowles, I trowe, ben exercised by a purginge

mekenesse. But my conseil nis nat to determinye of thise peynes.

But I have travailed and told yit hiderto, for thou sholdest knowe


that the mowinge of shrewes, which mowinge thee semeth to ben

unworthy, nis no mowinge: and eek of shrewes, of which thou

pleinedest that they ne were nat punisshed, that thou woldest

seen that they ne weren never-mo with-outen the torments of hir

wikkednesse: and of the licence of the mowinge to don yvel,


that thou preydest that it mighte sone ben ended, and that thou

woldest fayn lernen that it ne sholde nat longe dure: and that

shrewes ben more unsely yif they were of lenger duringe, and

most unsely yif they weren perdurable. And after this, I have

shewed thee that more unsely ben shrewes, whan they escapen


with-oute hir rightful peyne, than whan they ben punisshed by

rightful veniaunce. And of this sentence folweth it, that thanne

{109}ben shrewes constreined at the laste with most grevous torment,

whan men wene that they ne be nat punisshed.'

'Whan I consider thy resouns,' quod I, 'I ne trowe nat that


men seyn any-thing more verayly. And yif I torne ayein to the

studies of men, who is he to whom it sholde seme that he ne

sholde nat only leven thise thinges, but eek gladly herkne


'Certes,' quod she, 'so it is; but men may nat. For they han


hir eyen so wont to the derknesse of erthely thinges, that they ne

may nat liften hem up to the light of cleer sothfastnesse; but

they ben lyke to briddes, of which the night lightneth hir lokinge,

and the day blindeth hem. For whan men loken nat the ordre of

thinges, but hir lustes and talents, they wene that either the leve


or the mowinge to don wikkednesse, or elles the scapinge with-oute

peyne, be weleful. But consider the Iugement of the

perdurable lawe. For yif thou conferme thy corage to the beste

thinges, thou ne hast no nede of no Iuge to yeven thee prys or

mede; for thou hast ioyned thy-self to the most excellent thing.


And yif thou have enclyned thy studies to the wikked thinges, ne

seek no foreyne wreker out of thy-self; for thou thy-self hast

thrist thy-self in-to wikke thinges: right as thou mightest loken by

dyverse tymes the foule erthe and the hevene, and that alle other

thinges stinten fro with-oute, so that thou nere neither in hevene


ne in erthe, ne saye no-thing more; than it sholde semen to

thee, as by only resoun of lokinge, that thou were now in the

sterres and now in the erthe. But the poeple ne loketh nat on

thise thinges. What thanne? Shal we thanne aprochen us to

hem that I have shewed that they ben lyk to bestes? And what


woltow seyn of this: yif that a man hadde al forlorn his sighte

and hadde foryeten that he ever saugh, and wende that no-thing

ne faylede him of perfeccioun of mankinde, now we that mighten

seen the same thinges, wolde we nat wene that he were blinde?

Ne also ne acordeth nat the poeple to that I shal seyn, the which


thing is sustened by a stronge foundement of resouns, that is to

{110}seyn, that more unsely ben they that don wrong to othre folk

than they that the wrong suffren.'

'I wolde heren thilke same resouns,' quod I.

'Denyestow,' quod she, 'that alle shrewes ne ben worthy to


han torment?'

'Nay,' quod I.

'But,' quod she, 'I am certein, by many resouns, that shrewes

ben unsely.'

'It acordeth,' quod I.


'Thanne ne doutestow nat,' quod she, 'that thilke folk that ben

worthy of torment, that they ne ben wrecches?'

'It acordeth wel,' quod I.

'Yif thou were thanne,' quod she, 'y-set a Iuge or a knower of

thinges, whether, trowestow, that men sholden tormenten him


that hath don the wrong, or elles him that hath suffred the


'I ne doute nat,' quod I, 'that I nolde don suffisaunt satisfaccioun

to him that hadde suffred the wrong by the sorwe of him

that hadde don the wrong.'


'Thanne semeth it,' quod she, 'that the doere of wrong is

more wrecche than he that suffred wrong?'

'That folweth wel,' quod I.

'Than,' quod she, 'by these causes and by othre causes that

ben enforced by the same rote, filthe or sinne, by the propre


nature of it, maketh men wrecches; and it sheweth wel, that the

wrong that men don nis nat the wrecchednesse of him that

receyveth the wrong, but the wrecchednesse of him that doth the

wrong. But certes,' quod she, 'thise oratours or advocats don al

the contrarye; for they enforcen hem to commoeve the Iuges to


han pitee of hem that han suffred and receyved the thinges that

ben grevous and aspre, and yit men sholden more rightfully han

pitee of hem that don the grevaunces and the wronges; the

whiche shrewes, it were a more covenable thing, that the

accusours or advocats, nat wroth but pitous and debonair, ledden


{111}tho shrewes that han don wrong to the Iugement, right as men

leden syke folk to the leche, for that they sholde seken out the

maladyes of sinne by torment. And by this covenaunt, either the

entente of deffendours or advocats sholde faylen and cesen in al,

or elles, yif the office of advocats wolde bettre profiten to men,


it sholde ben torned in-to the habite of accusacioun; that is to

seyn, they sholden accuse shrewes, and nat excuse hem. And eek

the shrewes hem-self, yif hit were leveful to hem to seen at any

clifte the vertu that they han forleten, and sawen that they

sholden putten adoun the filthes of hir vyces, by the torments of


peynes, they ne oughte nat, right for the recompensacioun for to

geten hem bountee and prowesse which that they han lost,

demen ne holden that thilke peynes weren torments to hem; and

eek they wolden refuse the attendaunce of hir advocats, and

taken hem-self to hir Iuges and to hir accusors. For which it


bitydeth that, as to the wyse folk, ther nis no place y-leten to

hate; that is to seyn, that ne hate hath no place amonges wyse men.

For no wight nil haten goode men, but-yif he were over-mochel a

fool; and for to haten shrewes, it nis no resoun. For right so as

languissinge is maladye of body, right so ben vyces and sinne


maladye of corage. And so as we ne deme nat, that they that ben

syke of hir body ben worthy to ben hated, but rather worthy of

pitee: wel more worthy, nat to ben hated, but for to ben had in

pitee, ben they of whiche the thoughtes ben constreined by


felonous wikkednesse, that is more cruel than any languissinge of


Pr. IV. 1. A. om. it. 3. C. ne ben; A. ne ben nat; Ed. ben. 10. C. to; A. for. 16. A. om. than yif ... coveiten. 19. C. languesse. 22. A. thre; C. the; Lat. triplici. 26. Ed. vnselynesse; C. A. vnselynysses; Lat. hoc infortunio. 29. A. to lakken ... yvel; C. Ed. omit. 30. A. Ed. so short; C. the shorte; Lat. tam breuibus. 38. A. yfinissed. 49. A. colasioun; Ed. collacyon; C. collacions; Lat. collationem. 58. A. byen (for abyen). 59. A. chastied. 61. A. thenk; C. thinke. // C. A. Ed. coriged. 64. A. yitte; Ed. yet; C. yif. 66. Ed. punysshed; C. A. punyssed. 67. C. correcsioun. 78. C. lakked; A. lakketh. 80. A. knyt; C. knytte. 96. A. escapin. 99. A. nis wicked. 101. A. a litel; C. alyter. 103. A. dedid (for ended). 108. A. this peyne; Lat. de his. 109. C. yit; Ed. yet; A. it. 110. C. mowynge, i. myght. 113. A. seen; C. seyn; uideres. 116. C. dure; A. endure. 120. A. om. hir. 124. A. resouns; C. resoun; rationes. 135. A. escaping; C. schapynge (for scapynge). 138. C. of no; A. to no. 142. A. threst the. 143. C. puts the foule erthe before by dyverse tymes. 145. A. om. nere neither ... erthe; Ed. were in neyther (om. in hevene ... erthe). 147. A. Ed. on; C. in. 149. A. to the bestes. 150. A. wilt thou. 153. A. thing; eadem. 155. C. om. is. 159. A. Deniest thou. 165. A. dowtest thou. 168. C. Ed. om. quod she. 169. C. om. whether. // A. trowest thou. 172. C. om. suffisaunt. 176. C. that (for than). // A. that hath suffred the wrong. 179. C. wrongly ins. of bef. enforced. // A. ins. that bef. filthe. 182, 3. C. om. but the ... wrong. 198. A. Ed. sawen; C. sawh. 199. C. felthes. 209. A. languissing; C. langwissynges. // C. maledye; A. maladie.

Metre IV.

Quid tantos iuuat excitare motus.

What delyteth you to excyten so grete moevinges of hateredes,

and to hasten and bisien the fatal disposicioun of your deeth with

your propre handes? that is to seyn, by batailes or by contek. For

yif ye axen the deeth, it hasteth him of his owne wil; ne deeth


ne tarieth nat his swifte hors. And the men that the serpent and

the lyoun and the tygre and the bere and the boor seken to sleen

with hir teeth, yit thilke same men seken to sleen everich of hem

{112}other with swerd. Lo! for hir maneres ben dyverse and descordaunt,

they moeven unrightful ostes and cruel batailes, and wilnen


to perisshe by entrechaunginge of dartes. But the resoun of

crueltee nis nat y-nough rightful.

Wiltow thanne yelden a covenable guerdoun to the desertes of

men? Love rightfully goode folk, and have pitee on shrewes.'

Me. IV. 1. A. deliteth it yow. // A. moewynges; C. moeuynge; motus. 5. hors is plural; Lat. equos. // A. serpentz. 6. A. lyouns. 8. A. discordaunt. 10. Ed. perysshe; A. perisse; C. perise. A. Ed. -chaungynge; C. -chaungynges. 12. C. A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdon.

Prose V.

Hic ego uideo inquam.

'Thus see I wel,' quod I, 'either what blisfulnesse or elles

what unselinesse is establisshed in the desertes of goode men and

of shrewes. But in this ilke fortune of poeple I see somwhat of

good and somwhat of yvel. For no wyse man hath lever ben


exyled, poore and nedy, and nameles, than for to dwellen in his

citee and flouren of richesses, and be redoutable by honour, and

strong of power. For in this wyse more cleerly and more witnesfully

is the office of wyse men y-treted, whan the blisfulnesse and

the poustee of governours is, as it were, y-shad amonges poeples


that be neighebours and subgits; sin that, namely, prisoun, lawe,

and thise othre torments of laweful peynes ben rather owed to

felonous citezeins, for the whiche felonous citezeins tho peynes

ben establisshed, than for good folk. Thanne I mervaile me

greetly,' quod I, 'why that the thinges ben so mis entrechaunged,


that torments of felonyes pressen and confounden goode folk, and

shrewes ravisshen medes of vertu, and ben in honours and in

gret estats. And I desyre eek for to witen of thee, what semeth

thee to ben the resoun of this so wrongful a conclusioun? For I

wolde wondre wel the lasse, yif I trowede that al thise thinges


weren medled by fortunous happe; but now hepeth and encreseth

myn astonyinge god, governour of thinges, that, so as god

yeveth ofte tymes to gode men godes and mirthes, and to shrewes

yveles and aspre thinges: and yeveth ayeinward to gode folk hardnesses,

and to shrewes he graunteth hem hir wil and that they


{113}desyren: what difference thanne may ther be bitwixen that that

god doth, and the happe of fortune, yif men ne knowe nat the

cause why that it is?'

'Ne it nis no mervaile,' quod she, 'though that men wenen that

ther be somewhat folissh and confuse, whan the resoun of the


ordre is unknowe. But al-though that thou ne knowe nat the

cause of so greet a disposicioun, natheles, for as moche as god,

the gode governour, atempreth and governeth the world, ne doute

thee nat that alle thinges ben doon a-right.

Pr. V. 4. C. hath leuere; A. hath nat leuer; Ed. had not leuer. 8. A. Ed. witnes-; C. witnesse-. 10. A. neyȝbours; C. nesshebors. 17. A. witen; C. weten. 21. C. A. astonyenge. 25. C. defference. 28. C. Ne it nis; A. it nis. 33. C. ben; A. ne ben.

Metre V.

Si quis Arcturi sidera nescit.

Who-so that ne knowe nat the sterres of Arcture, y-torned neigh

to the soverein contree or point, that is to seyn, y-torned neigh to

the soverein pool of the firmament, and wot nat why the sterre

Bootes passeth or gadereth his weynes, and drencheth his late


flambes in the see, and why that Bootes the sterre unfoldeth his

over-swifte arysinges, thanne shal he wondren of the lawe of the

heye eyr.

And eek, yif that he ne knowe nat why that the hornes of the fulle

mone wexen pale and infect by the boundes of the derke night;


and how the mone, derk and confuse, discovereth the sterres that

she hadde y-covered by hir clere visage. The comune errour

moeveth folk, and maketh wery hir basins of bras by thikke

strokes; that is to seyn, that ther is a maner of poeple that highte

Coribantes, that wenen that, whan the mone is in the eclipse, that it


be enchaunted; and therfore, for to rescowe the mone, they beten hir

basins with thikke strokes.

Ne no man ne wondreth whan the blastes of the wind Chorus

beten the strondes of the see by quakinge flodes; ne no man ne

wondreth whan the weighte of the snowe, y-harded by the colde,


is resolved by the brenninge hete of Phebus the sonne; for heer

seen men redely the causes.

{114}But the causes y-hid, that is to seyn, in hevene, troublen the

brestes of men; the moevable poeple is astoned of alle thinges

that comen selde and sodeinly in our age. But yif the troubly


errour of our ignoraunce departede fro us, so that we wisten the

causes why that swiche thinges bi-tyden, certes, they sholden cese

to seme wondres.'

Me. V. 1. Ed. Arcture; C. Arctour; A. aritour. 4. Ed. Bootes; C. A. boetes (twice). 9. A. Ed. by the; C. by. 11. A. Ed. had; C. hadde. 12. C. basynnes (1st time); basyns (2nd). 14. Ed. Coribantes; C. A. coribandes. 17. A. Ed. blastes; C. blases. 18. A. Ed. man ne; C. manne. 19. A. Ed. the snowe; C. sonwh (sic; om. the).

Prose VI.

Ita est, inquam.

'Thus is it,' quod I. 'But so as thou hast yeven or bi-hight

me to unwrappen the hid causes of thinges, and to discovere me

the resouns covered with derknesses, I prey thee that thou devyse

and iuge me of this matere, and that thou do me to understonden


it; for this miracle or this wonder troubleth me right gretly.'

And thanne she, a litel what smylinge, seyde: 'thou clepest

me,' quod she, 'to telle thing that is grettest of alle thinges that

mowen ben axed, and to the whiche questioun unnethes is ther

aught y-nough to laven it; as who seyth, unnethes is ther suffisauntly


anything to answere parfitly to thy questioun. For the

matere of it is swich, that whan o doute is determined and cut

awey, ther wexen other doutes with-oute number; right as the

hevedes wexen of Ydre, the serpent that Ercules slowh. Ne ther

ne were no manere ne non ende, but-yif that a wight constreinede


tho doutes by a right lyfly and quik fyr of thought; that is to

seyn, by vigour and strengthe of wit. For in this manere men

weren wont to maken questions of the simplicitee of the purviaunce

of god, and of the order of destinee, and of sodein

happe, and of the knowinge and predestinacioun divyne, and of


the libertee of free wille; the whiche thinges thou thy-self

aperceyvest wel, of what weight they ben. But for as mochel

as the knowinge of thise thinges is a maner porcioun of the

medicine of thee, al-be-it so that I have litel tyme to don it,

yit natheles I wol enforcen me to shewe somwhat of it. But


al-thogh the norisshinges of ditee of musike delyteth thee, thou

most suffren and forberen a litel of thilke delyte, whyle that

I weve to thee resouns y-knit by ordre.'

{115}'As it lyketh to thee,' quod I, 'so do.' Tho spak she right as

by another biginninge, and seyde thus. 'The engendringe of


alle thinges,' quod she, 'and alle the progressiouns of muable

nature, and al that moeveth in any manere, taketh his causes, his

ordre, and his formes, of the stablenesse of the divyne thoght;

and thilke divyne thought, that is y-set and put in the tour, that

is to seyn, in the heighte, of the simplicitee of god, stablissheth


many maner gyses to thinges that ben to done; the whiche

maner, whan that men loken it in thilke pure clennesse of the

divyne intelligence, it is y-cleped purviaunce; but whan thilke

maner is referred by men to thinges that it moveth and disponeth,

thanne of olde men it was cleped destinee. The whiche thinges,


yif that any wight loketh wel in his thought the strengthe of that

oon and of that other, he shal lightly mowen seen, that thise two

thinges ben dyverse. For purviaunce is thilke divyne reson that

is establisshed in the soverein prince of thinges; the whiche purviaunce

disponeth alle thinges. But destinee is the disposicioun


and ordinaunce clyvinge to moevable thinges, by the whiche

disposicioun the purviaunce knitteth alle thinges in hir ordres;

for purviaunce embraceth alle thinges to-hepe, al-thogh that they

ben dyverse, and al-thogh they ben infinite; but destinee departeth

and ordeineth alle thinges singulerly, and divyded in


moevinges, in places, in formes, in tymes, as thus: lat the

unfoldinge of temporel ordinaunce, assembled and ooned in the

lokinge of the divyne thought, be cleped purviaunce; and thilke

same assemblinge and ooninge, divyded and unfolden by tymes,

lat that ben called destinee. And al-be-it so that thise thinges


ben dyverse, yit natheles hangeth that oon on that other; for-why

the order destinal procedeth of the simplicitee of purviaunce.

For right as a werkman, that aperceyveth in his thoght the forme

of the thing that he wol make, and moeveth the effect of the

werk, and ledeth that he hadde loked biforn in his thoght simply


and presently, by temporel ordinaunce: certes, right so god

disponeth in his purviaunce, singulerly and stably, the thinges

that ben to done, but he aministreth in many maneres and in

{116}dyverse tymes, by destinee, thilke same thinges that he hath



Thanne, whether that destinee be exercysed outher by some

divyne spirits, servaunts to the divyne purviaunce, or elles by

som sowle, or elles by alle nature servinge to god, or elles by the

celestial moevinges of sterres, or elles by the vertu of angeles, or

elles by the dyverse subtilitee of develes, or elles by any of hem,


or elles by hem alle, the destinal ordinaunce is y-woven and

acomplisshed. Certes, it is open thing, that the purviaunce is

an unmoevable and simple forme of thinges to done; and the

moveable bond and the temporel ordinaunce of thinges, whiche

that the divyne simplicitee of purviaunce hath ordeyned to done,


that is destinee. For which it is, that alle thinges that ben put

under destinee ben, certes, subgits to purviaunce, to whiche purviaunce

destinee itself is subgit and under. But some thinges

ben put under purviaunce, that surmounten the ordinaunce of

destinee; and tho ben thilke that stably ben y-ficched negh to the


firste godhed: they surmounten the ordre of destinal moevabletee.

For right as of cercles that tornen a-boute a same centre or a-boute

a poynt, thilke cercle that is innerest or most with-inne ioyneth to

the simplesse of the middel, and is, as it were, a centre or a poynt

to that other cercles that tornen a-bouten him; and thilke that is


outterest, compassed by larger envyronninge, is unfolden by

larger spaces, in so moche as it is forthest fro the middel simplicitee

of the poynt; and yif ther be any-thing that knitteth and

felawshippeth him-self to thilke middel poynt, it is constreined

in-to simplicitee, that is to seyn, in-to unmoevabletee, and it ceseth


to be shad and to fleten dyversely: right so, by semblable resoun,

thilke thing that departeth forthest fro the first thoght of god, it is

unfolden and summitted to gretter bondes of destinee: and in so

moche is the thing more free and laus fro destinee, as it axeth and

holdeth him ner to thilke centre of thinges, that is to seyn, god.


And yif the thing clyveth to the stedefastnesse of the thoght of god,

and be with-oute moevinge, certes, it sormounteth the necessitee of

{117}destinee. Thanne right swich comparisoun as it is of skilinge to

understondinge, and of thing that is engendred to thing that is, and

of tyme to eternitee, and of the cercle to the centre, right so is the


ordre of moevable destinee to the stable simplicitee of purviaunce.

Thilke ordinaunce moeveth the hevene and the sterres, and

atempreth the elements to-gider amonges hem-self, and transformeth

hem by entrechaungeable mutacioun; and thilke same

ordre neweth ayein alle thinges growinge and fallinge a-doun, by


semblable progressiouns of sedes and of sexes, that is to seyn,

male and femele. And this ilke ordre constreineth the fortunes and

the dedes of men by a bond of causes, nat able to ben unbounde;

the whiche destinal causes, whan they passen out fro the biginninges

of the unmoevable purviaunce, it mot nedes be that they


ne be nat mutable. And thus ben the thinges ful wel y-governed,

yif that the simplicitee dwellinge in the divyne thoght sheweth

forth the ordre of causes, unable to ben y-bowed; and this ordre

constreineth by his propre stabletee the moevable thinges, or elles

they sholden fleten folily. For which it is, that alle thinges semen


to ben confus and trouble to us men, for we ne mowen nat considere

thilke ordinaunce; natheles, the propre maner of every

thinge, dressinge hem to goode, disponeth hem alle.

For ther nis no-thing don for cause of yvel; ne thilke thing

that is don by wikkede folk nis nat don for yvel. The whiche


shrewes, as I have shewed ful plentivously, seken good, but

wikked errour mistorneth hem, ne the ordre cominge fro the

poynt of soverein good ne declyneth nat fro his biginninge. But

thou mayst seyn, what unreste may ben a worse confusioun than

that gode men han somtyme adversitee and somtyme prosperitee,


and shrewes also now han thinges that they desiren, and now

thinges that they haten? Whether men liven now in swich

hoolnesse of thoght, (as who seyth, ben men now so wyse), that

swiche folk as they demen to ben gode folk or shrewes, that

it moste nedes ben that folk ben swiche as they wenen? But in


this manere the domes of men discorden, that thilke men that

some folk demen worthy of mede, other folk demen hem worthy of

torment. But lat us graunte, I pose that som man may wel demen

or knowen the gode folk and the badde; may he thanne knowen

{118}and seen thilke innereste atempraunce of corages, as it hath ben


wont to be seyd of bodies; as who seyth, may a man speken and

determinen of atempraunces in corages, as men were wont to demen or

speken of complexiouns and atempraunces of bodies? Ne it ne is nat

an unlyk miracle, to hem that ne knowen it nat, (as who seith, but it

is lyke a merveil or a miracle to hem that ne knowen it nat), why that


swete thinges ben covenable to some bodies that ben hole, and to

some bodies bittere thinges ben covenable; and also, why that

some syke folk ben holpen with lighte medicynes, and some folk

ben holpen with sharpe medicynes. But natheles, the leche that

knoweth the manere and the atempraunce of hele and of maladye,


ne merveileth of it no-thing. But what other thing semeth hele

of corages but bountee and prowesse? And what other thing

semeth maladye of corages but vyces? Who is elles kepere of

good or dryver awey of yvel, but god, governour and lecher of

thoughtes? The whiche god, whan he hath biholden from the


heye tour of his purveaunce, he knoweth what is covenable to

every wight, and leneth hem that he wot that is covenable to hem.

Lo, her-of comth and her-of is don this noble miracle of the ordre

destinal, whan god, that al knoweth, doth swiche thing, of which

thing that unknowinge folk ben astoned. But for to constreine,


as who seyth, but for to comprehende and telle a fewe thinges of the

divyne deepnesse, the whiche that mannes resoun may understonde,

thilke man that thou wenest to ben right Iuste and right

kepinge of equitee, the contrarie of that semeth to the divyne

purveaunce, that al wot. And Lucan, my familer, telleth that


"the victorious cause lykede to the goddes, and the cause over-comen

lykede to Catoun." Thanne, what-so-ever thou mayst seen

that is don in this werld unhoped or unwened, certes, it is the

right ordre of thinges; but, as to thy wikkede opinioun, it is a

confusioun. But I suppose that som man be so wel y-thewed,


that the divyne Iugement and the Iugement of mankinde acorden

hem to-gider of him; but he is so unstedefast of corage, that, yif

any adversitee come to him, he wol forleten, par-aventure, to

continue innocence, by the whiche he ne may nat with-holden

fortune. Thanne the wyse dispensacioun of god spareth him, the


{119}whiche man adversitee mighte enpeyren; for that god wol nat

suffren him to travaile, to whom that travaile nis nat covenable.

Another man is parfit in alle vertues, and is an holy man, and

negh to god, so that the purviaunce of god wolde demen, that

it were a felonye that he were touched with any adversitees; so


that he wol nat suffre that swich a man be moeved with any

bodily maladye. But so as seyde a philosophre, the more excellent

by me: he seyde in Grek, that "vertues han edified the body

of the holy man." And ofte tyme it bitydeth, that the somme of

thinges that ben to done is taken to governe to gode folk, for that


the malice haboundaunt of shrewes sholde ben abated. And god

yeveth and departeth to othre folk prosperitees and adversitees

y-medled to-hepe, after the qualitee of hir corages, and remordeth

som folk by adversitee, for they ne sholde nat wexen proude by

longe welefulnesse. And other folk he suffreth to ben travailed


with harde thinges, for that they sholden confermen the vertues

of corage by the usage and exercitacioun of pacience. And

other folk dreden more than they oughten [that] whiche they

mighten wel beren; and somme dispyse that they mowe nat

beren; and thilke folk god ledeth in-to experience of himself by


aspre and sorwful thinges. And many othre folk han bought

honourable renoun of this world by the prys of glorious deeth.

And som men, that ne mowen nat ben overcomen by torments,

have yeven ensaumple to othre folk, that vertu may nat ben overcomen

by adversitees; and of alle thinges ther nis no doute, that


they ne ben don rightfully and ordenely, to the profit of hem to

whom we seen thise thinges bityde. For certes, that adversitee

comth somtyme to shrewes, and somtyme that that they desiren,

it comth of thise forseide causes. And of sorwful thinges that

bityden to shrewes, certes, no man ne wondreth; for alle men


wenen that they han wel deserved it, and that they ben of

wikkede merite; of whiche shrewes the torment somtyme agasteth

othre to don felonyes, and somtyme it amendeth hem that suffren

the torments. And the prosperitee that is yeven to shrewes

{120}sheweth a greet argument to gode folk, what thing they sholde


demen of thilke welefulnesse, the whiche prosperitee men seen

ofte serven to shrewes. In the which thing I trowe that god

dispenseth; for, per-aventure, the nature of som man is so overthrowinge

to yvel, and so uncovenable, that the nedy povertee of

his houshold mighte rather egren him to don felonyes. And to


the maladye of him god putteth remedie, to yeven him richesses.

And som other man biholdeth his conscience defouled with sinnes,

and maketh comparisoun of his fortune and of him-self; and

dredeth, per-aventure, that his blisfulnesse, of which the usage is

Ioyeful to him, that the lesinge of thilke blisfulnesse ne be nat


sorwful to him; and therfor he wol chaunge his maneres, and, for

he dredeth to lese his fortune, he forleteth his wikkednesse. To

othre folk is welefulnesse y-yeven unworthily, the whiche overthroweth

hem in-to distruccioun that they han deserved. And to

som othre folk is yeven power to punisshen, for that it shal be


cause of continuacioun and exercysinge to gode folk and cause of

torment to shrewes. For so as ther nis non alyaunce by-twixe

gode folk and shrewes, ne shrewes ne mowen nat acorden amonges

hem-self. And why nat? For shrewes discorden of hem-self by

hir vyces, the whiche vyces al to-renden hir consciences; and don


ofte tyme thinges, the whiche thinges, whan they han don hem,

they demen that tho thinges ne sholden nat han ben don. For

which thing thilke soverein purveaunce hath maked ofte tyme fair

miracle; so that shrewes han maked shrewes to ben gode men.

For whan that som shrewes seen that they suffren wrongfully


felonyes of othre shrewes, they wexen eschaufed in-to hate of hem

that anoyeden hem, and retornen to the frut of vertu, whan they

studien to ben unlyk to hem that they han hated. Certes, only

this is the divyne might, to the whiche might yveles ben thanne

gode, whan it useth tho yveles covenably, and draweth out the


effect of any gode; as who seyth, that yvel is good only to the might

of god, for the might of god ordeyneth thilke yvel to good.

For oon ordre embraseth alle thinges, so that what wight that

departeth fro the resoun of thilke ordre which that is assigned to

{121}him, algates yit he slydeth in-to another ordre, so that no-thing


nis leveful to folye in the reame of the divyne purviaunce; as who

seyth, nothing nis with-outen ordinaunce in the reame of the divyne

purviaunce; sin that the right stronge god governeth alle thinges

in this world. For it nis nat leveful to man to comprehenden by

wit, ne unfolden by word, alle the subtil ordinaunces and disposiciouns


of the divyne entente. For only it oughte suffise to

han loked, that god him-self, maker of alle natures, ordeineth and

dresseth alle thinges to gode; whyl that he hasteth to with-holden

the thinges that he hath maked in-to his semblaunce, that is to

seyn, for to with-holden thinges in-to good, for he him-self is good,


he chaseth out al yvel fro the boundes of his comunalitee by the

ordre of necessitee destinable. For which it folweth, that yif thou

loke the purviaunce ordeininge the thinges that men wenen ben

outrageous or haboundant in erthes, thou ne shalt nat seen in no

place no-thing of yvel. But I see now that thou art charged with


the weighte of the questioun, and wery with the lengthe of my

resoun; and that thou abydest som sweetnesse of songe. Tak

thanne this draught; and whan thou art wel refresshed and refect,

thou shal be more stedefast to stye in-to heyere questiouns.

Pr. VI. 4. A. Ed. do; C. don. 5. C. meracle. 6. A. om. what. 13. A. Ed. Hercules. C. slowh; A. Ed. slough. 21. C. wyht. 22, 3. A. to the medicine to the. 25. C. norysynges. 27. C. A. weue; glossed contexo. 28. A. Tho; C. So. 30. A. progressiouns; C. progressioun; progressus. 48. C. Ed. infynyte; A. with-outen fyn. 49. C. dyuydyd; A. Ed. diuideth; distributa. 50. After tymes A. ins. departith (om. as). // C. lat; Ed. Let; A. so that. 52. Ed. be cleaped; C. A. is (see 54). 55. A. Ed. on; C. of. 57. C. om. a. 59. C. symplely. 60. C. Ed. ordinaunce; A. thouȝt. 61. C. stablely. 64. C. desponed. 65. C. weyther. C. destyn (miswritten). 67. C. A. sowle; glossed anima mundi. 68. C. om. the bef. vertu. 71. C. acomplyssed; A. accomplissed. 79. C. stablely. A. yficched; C. y-fechched; Ed. fyxed. 80. Ed. mouablyte; A. moeuablite. 81. A. Ed. om. of. 85. A. Ed. larger; C. a large. 86. C. Ed. fertherest; A. forthest. 91. C. A. fyrthest (see 86). 93. A. lovs; Ed. loce. 96. C. necissite. 103. C. mutasioun. 105. A. Ed. progressiouns; C. progressioun; Lat. progressus. 106. A. female. 107. A. unbounden; glossed indissolubili. 137. After bodies, A. has 'quasi non.' 139. C. om. 2nd a. 142, 3. A. om. and some ... medicynes. 148. A. leecher. 159. A. familier. 160. Ed. victoriouse; C. A. victories; uictricem. 164. C. sopose. 166. C. om. so. 176. bodily] A. manere. // A. om. the more ... by me; me quoque excellentior. A. has: the aduersites comen nat, he seide in grec, there that vertues. 186. C. corages (animi). // C. excercitacion. 187. All the (for that.) 188, 9. Ed. and some ... not beare; C. A. om. 191. C. of the; A. Ed. of. 195. A. ordeinly. 202. C. Ed. felonies; A. folies. 210. A. puttith; C. pittyth. // A. rychesse. 213. A. his; C. is. 219. C. A. punyssen; Ed. punysshen. 220. C. excercisynge. 222. A. Ed. accorden; C. acordy. 228. After maked A. ins. oftyme (not in Lat.). 232. C. om. studien. 235. A. by (for to). 238. C. assyngned. 240. A. realme (twice). 243. A. to no man. 247. C. wyl; A. while. 253. Ed. outragyous; C. outraious; A. om. 255. C. the lengthe; A. Ed. om. the. 257. A. refet. 258. C. stydefast.

Metre VI.

Si uis celsi iura tonantis.

If thou, wys, wilt demen in thy pure thought the rightes or the

lawes of the heye thonderer, that is to seyn, of god, loke thou and

bihold the heightes of the soverein hevene. There kepen the

sterres, by rightful alliaunce of thinges, hir olde pees. The sonne,


y-moeved by his rody fyr, ne distorbeth nat the colde cercle of

the mone. Ne the sterre y-cleped "the Bere," that enclyneth his

ravisshinge courses abouten the soverein heighte of the worlde, ne

the same sterre Ursa nis never-mo wasshen in the depe westrene

see, ne coveiteth nat to deyen his flaumbes in the see of the occian,


al-thogh he see othre sterres y-plounged in the see. And Hesperus

{122}the sterre bodeth and telleth alwey the late nightes; and Lucifer

the sterre bringeth ayein the clere day.

And thus maketh Love entrechaungeable the perdurable courses;

and thus is discordable bataile y-put out of the contree of the


sterres. This acordaunce atempreth by evenelyk maneres the

elements, that the moiste thinges, stryvinge with the drye thinges,

yeven place by stoundes; and the colde thinges ioynen hem by

feyth to the hote thinges; and that the lighte fyr aryseth in-to

heighte; and the hevy erthes avalen by hir weightes. By thise


same causes the floury yeer yildeth swote smelles in the firste

somer-sesoun warminge; and the hote somer dryeth the cornes;

and autumpne comth ayein, hevy of apples; and the fletinge reyn

bideweth the winter. This atempraunce norissheth and bringeth

forth al thing that [bretheth] lyf in this world; and thilke same


atempraunce, ravisshinge, hydeth and binimeth, and drencheth

under the laste deeth, alle thinges y-born.

Amonges thise thinges sitteth the heye maker, king and lord,

welle and biginninge, lawe and wys Iuge, to don equitee; and

governeth and enclyneth the brydles of thinges. And tho thinges


that he stereth to gon by moevinge, he withdraweth and aresteth;

and affermeth the moevable or wandringe thinges. For yif that

he ne clepede ayein the right goinge of thinges, and yif that he ne

constreinede hem nat eft-sones in-to roundnesses enclynede, the

thinges that ben now continued by stable ordinaunce, they sholden


departen from hir welle, that is to seyn, from hir biginninge, and

faylen, that is to seyn, torne in-to nought.

This is the comune Love to alle thinges; and alle thinges axen

to ben holden by the fyn of good. For elles ne mighten they nat

lasten, yif they ne come nat eft-sones ayein, by Love retorned, to


the cause that hath yeven hem beinge, that is to seyn, to god.

Me. VI. 1. A. om. wys; Lat. sollers. 3. C. the souereyn; A. om. the. 5. C. clerke (!); for cercle. 7. C. cours (meatus); see 13. 9. A. dyȝen; C. deeyn, glossed tingere; Ed. deyen. 10. A. in-to (for in). 16. A. striuen nat with the drye thinges, but yiuen. 24. A. al; C. alle. // A. bredith; C. Ed. bereth; read bretheth (spirat). 31. C. om. the. 35. A. bygynnynge; C. bygynge.

Prose VII.

Iamne igitur uides.

Seestow nat thanne what thing folweth alle the thinges that I

have seyd?' Boece. 'What thing?' quod I.

{123}'Certes,' quod she, 'al-outrely, that alle fortune is good.'

'And how may that be?' quod I.


'Now understand,' quod she, 'so as alle fortune, whether so it

be Ioyeful fortune or aspre fortune, is yeven either by cause of

guerdoning or elles of exercysinge of good folk, or elles by cause

to punisshen or elles chastysen shrewes; thanne is alle fortune

good, the whiche fortune is certein that it be either rightful or


elles profitable.'

'Forsothe, this is a ful verray resoun,' quod I; 'and yif I consider

the purviaunce and the destinee that thou taughtest me a

litel her-biforn, this sentence is sustened by stedefast resouns.

But yif it lyke unto thee, lat us noumbren hem amonges thilke


thinges, of whiche thou seydest a litel her-biforn, that they ne were

nat able to ben wened to the poeple.' 'Why so?' quod she.

'For that the comune word of men,' quod I, 'misuseth this

maner speche of fortune, and seyn ofte tymes that the fortune of

som wight is wikkede.'


'Wiltow thanne,' quod she, 'that I aproche a litel to the wordes

of the poeple, so that it seme nat to hem that I be overmoche departed

as fro the usage of mankinde?'

'As thou wolt,' quod I.

'Demestow nat,' quod she, 'that al thing that profiteth is good?'


'Yis,' quod I.

'And certes, thilke thing that exercyseth or corigeth, profiteth?'

'I confesse it wel,' quod I.

'Thanne is it good?' quod she.

'Why nat?' quod I.


'But this is the fortune,' quod she, 'of hem that either ben put

in vertu and batailen ayeins aspre thinges, or elles of hem that

eschuen and declynen fro vyces and taken the wey of vertu.'

'This ne may I nat denye,' quod I.

'But what seystow of the mery fortune that is yeven to good


folk in guerdoun? Demeth aught the poeple that it is wikked?'

'Nay, forsothe,' quod I; 'but they demen, as it sooth is, that it

is right good.'

{124}'And what seystow of that other fortune,' quod she, 'that,

al-thogh that it be aspre, and restreineth the shrewes by rightful


torment, weneth aught the poeple that it be good?'

'Nay,' quod I, 'but the poeple demeth that it is most wrecched

of alle thinges that may ben thought.'

'War now, and loke wel,' quod she, 'lest that we, in folwinge

the opinioun of the poeple, have confessed and concluded thing


that is unable to be wened to the poeple.

'What is that?' quod I.

'Certes,' quod she, 'it folweth or comth of thinges that ben

graunted, that alle fortune, what-so-ever it be, of hem that ben

either in possessioun of vertu, or in the encres of vertu, or elles in


the purchasinge of vertu, that thilke fortune is good; and that alle

fortune is right wikkede to hem that dwellen in shrewednesse;' as

who seyth, and thus weneth nat the poeple.

'That is sooth,' quod I, 'al-be-it so that no man dar confesse it

ne biknowen it.'


'Why so?' quod she; 'for right as the stronge man ne semeth

nat to abaissen or disdaignen as ofte tyme as he hereth the noise

of the bataile, ne also it ne semeth nat, to the wyse man, to beren

it grevously, as ofte as he is lad in-to the stryf of fortune. For

bothe to that oon man and eek to that other thilke difficultee is


the matere; to that oon man, of encres of his glorious renoun,

and to that other man, to confirme his sapience, that is to seyn, to

the asprenesse of his estat. For therfore is it called "vertu," for

that it susteneth and enforseth, by hise strengthes, that it nis nat

overcomen by adversitees. Ne certes, thou that art put in the


encres or in the heighte of vertu, ne hast nat comen to fleten with

delices, and for to welken in bodily luste; thou sowest or plauntest

a ful egre bataile in thy corage ayeins every fortune: for that the

sorwful fortune ne confounde thee nat, ne that the merye fortune

ne corumpe thee nat, occupye the mene by stedefast strengthes.


For al that ever is under the mene, or elles al that overpasseth the

mene, despyseth welefulnesse (as who seyth, it is vicious), and ne

hath no mede of his travaile. For it is set in your hand (as who

seyth, it lyth in your power) what fortune yow is levest, that is to

{125}seyn, good or yvel. For alle fortune that semeth sharp or aspre,


yif it ne exercyse nat the gode folk ne chastyseth the wikked folk, it


Pr. VII. 1. A. Sest thou; C. Sestow. 5, 6. A. om. alle ... aspre. 7. Ed. guerdonyng; C. A. gerdonynge. // C. excersisinge. 16. A. ywened. 20. A. proche. 24. A. Demest thou; Ed. Wenest thou. A. al; C. alle. 26. C. excersiseth. C. corigit; A. corigith; Ed. corrygeth. 34. A. seist thou. 35. Ed. guerdon; C. A. gerdoun. C. Ed. demeth; A. deuinith; decernit. A. poeples; uulgus. 38. A. seist thou. 41. C. Ed. is; A. be. 49. A. om. or in ... vertu. 55. C. the stronge; A. no strong. 56. Ed. abasshen; A. abassen. 66. A. welken; Ed. walken; C. wellen; emarcescere. 69. A. Ed. corrumpe. C. Ocupye; A. Occupy. C. stydefast. 75. C. excersyse. 76. C. punysseth; A. punisseth.

Metre VII.

Bella bis quinis operatus annis.

The wreker Attrides, that is to seyn, Agamenon, that wroughte

and continuede the batailes by ten yeer, recovered and purgede

in wrekinge, by the destruccioun of Troye, the loste chaumbres of

mariage of his brother; this is to seyn, that he, Agamenon, wan


ayein Eleyne, that was Menelaus wyf his brother. In the mene

whyle that thilke Agamenon desirede to yeven sayles to the

Grekissh navye, and boughte ayein the windes by blood, he unclothede

him of pitee of fader; and the sory preest yiveth in

sacrifyinge the wrecched cuttinge of throte of the doughter; that


is to seyn, that Agamenon let cutten the throte of his doughter by the

preest, to maken allyaunce with his goddes, and for to han winde

with whiche he mighte wenden to Troye.

Itacus, that is to seyn, Ulixes, biwepte his felawes y-lorn, the

whiche felawes the ferse Poliphemus, ligginge in his grete cave,


hadde freten and dreynt in his empty wombe. But natheles

Poliphemus, wood for his blinde visage, yald to Ulixes Ioye by

his sorwful teres; this is to seyn, that Ulixes smoot out the eye of

Poliphemus that stood in his forehed, for which Ulixes hadde Ioye,

whan he say Poliphemus wepinge and blinde.


Hercules is celebrable for his harde travailes; he dauntede the

proude Centaures, half hors, half man; and he birafte the dispoylinge

fro the cruel lyoun, that is to seyn, he slowh the lyoun and

rafte him his skin. He smoot the briddes that highten Arpyes

with certein arwes. He ravisshede apples fro the wakinge dragoun,


and his hand was the more hevy for the goldene metal.

He drow Cerberus, the hound of helle, by his treble cheyne. He,

overcomer, as it is seyd, hath put an unmeke lord foddre to his

cruel hors; this is to seyn, that Hercules slowh Diomedes, and made

his hors to freten him. And he, Hercules, slowh Ydra the serpent,


{126}and brende the venim. And Achelous the flood, defouled in his

forhed, dreynte his shamefast visage in his strondes; this is to

seyn, that Achelous coude transfigure him-self in-to dyverse lyknesses;

and, as he faught with Hercules, at the laste he tornede him in-to a

bole; and Hercules brak of oon of his hornes, and he, for shame,


hidde him in his river. And he, Hercules, caste adoun Antheus

the gyaunt in the strondes of Libie; and Cacus apaysede the

wratthes of Evander; this is to seyn, that Hercules slowh the

monstre Cacus, and apaysede with that deeth the wratthe of

Evander. And the bristlede boor markede with scomes the


shuldres of Hercules, the whiche shuldres the heye cercle of

hevene sholde thriste. And the laste of his labours was, that he

sustened the hevene up-on his nekke unbowed; and he deservede

eft-sones the hevene, to ben the prys of his laste travaile.

Goth now thanne, ye stronge men, ther-as the heye wey of the


grete ensaumple ledeth yow. O nyce men, why nake ye youre

bakkes? As who seyth: O ye slowe and delicat men, why flee ye

adversitees, and ne fighten nat ayeins hem by vertu, to winnen the

mede of the hevene? For the erthe, overcomen, yeveth the sterres';

this is to seyn, that, whan that erthely lust is overcomen, a man is


maked worthy to the hevene.

Me. VII. 4. A. Ed. om. he. 8. A. pite as fader. 16. A. yeld. 22. A. slouȝ. 23. Ed. Arpyes; C. A. arpiis; glossed—in the palude of lyrne. 26. C. drowh; A. drouȝ. 28. C. slowgh; A. slouȝ (thrice). 28, 31, 37, 49. C. this (for this is). 29. A. etyn (for freten). 30. C. achelows (1st time); achelous (2nd); A. achelaus (twice). 34. C. he, glossed achelous; A. achelaus (om. he). 39. Ed. vomes (for scomes). 40. A. Ed. cercle; C. clerke (!). 48. A. mede of the. // A. Ed. the sterres; C. om. the.


Prose I.

Dixerat, orationisque cursum.

She hadde seyd, and torned the cours of hir resoun to some

othre thinges to ben treted and to ben y-sped. Thanne seyde I,

'Certes, rightful is thyn amonestinge and ful digne by auctoritee.

But that thou seidest whylom, that the questioun of the divyne


purviaunce is enlaced with many other questiouns, I understonde

wel and proeve it by the same thing. But I axe yif that thou

wenest that hap be any thing in any weys; and, yif thou wenest

that hap be anything, what is it?'

Thanne quod she, 'I haste me to yilden and assoilen to thee


{127}the dette of my bihest, and to shewen and opnen the wey, by

which wey thou mayst come ayein to thy contree. But al-be-it

so that the thinges which that thou axest ben right profitable to

knowe, yit ben they diverse somwhat fro the path of my purpos;

and it is to douten that thou ne be maked wery by mis-weyes, so


that thou ne mayst nat suffyce to mesuren the right wey.'

'Ne doute thee ther-of nothing,' quod I. 'For, for to knowen

thilke thinges to-gedere, in the whiche thinges I delyte me greetly,

that shal ben to me in stede of reste; sin it is nat to douten of

the thinges folwinge, whan every syde of thy disputacioun shal han


be stedefast to me by undoutous feith.'

Thanne seyde she, 'That manere wol I don thee'; and bigan

to speken right thus. 'Certes,' quod she, 'yif any wight diffinisshe

hap in this manere, that is to seyn, that "hap is bitydinge

y-brought forth by foolish moevinge and by no knettinge of


causes," I conferme that hap nis right naught in no wyse; and I

deme al-outrely that hap nis, ne dwelleth but a voice, as who seith,

but an ydel word, with-outen any significacioun of thing submitted

to that vois. For what place mighte ben left, or dwellinge,

to folye and to disordenaunce, sin that god ledeth and constreineth


alle thinges by ordre? For this sentence is verray and

sooth, that "nothing ne hath his beinge of naught"; to the

whiche sentence none of thise olde folk ne withseyde never; al-be-it

so that they ne understoden ne meneden it naught by god,

prince and beginnere of werkinge, but they casten [it] as a manere


foundement of subiect material, that is to seyn, of the nature of

alle resoun. And yif that any thing is woxen or comen of no

causes, than shal it seme that thilke thing is comen or woxen of

naught; but yif this ne may nat ben don, thanne is it nat possible,

that hap be any swich thing as I have diffinisshed a litel heer-biforn.'


'How shal it thanne be?' quod I. 'Nis ther thanne no-thing

that by right may be cleped either "hap" or elles "aventure of

fortune"; or is ther aught, al-be-it so that it is hid fro the peple,

to which these wordes ben covenable?'

{128}'Myn Aristotulis,' quod she, 'in the book of his Phisik, diffinissheth


this thing by short resoun, and neigh to the sothe.'

'In which manere?' quod I.

'As ofte,' quod she, 'as men doon any thing for grace of any

other thing, and an-other thing than thilke thing that men

entenden to don bitydeth by some causes, it is cleped "hap."


Right as a man dalf the erthe by cause of tilyinge of the feeld,

and founde ther a gobet of gold bidolven, thanne wenen folk that

it is bifalle by fortunous bitydinge. But, for sothe, it nis nat of

naught, for it hath his propre causes; of whiche causes the cours

unforeseyn and unwar semeth to han maked hap. For yif the


tilyere of the feld ne dolve nat in the erthe, and yif the hyder of

the gold ne hadde hid the gold in thilke place, the gold ne hadde

nat been founde. Thise ben thanne the causes of the abregginge

of fortuit hap, the which abregginge of fortuit hap comth of causes

encountringe and flowinge to-gidere to hem-self, and nat by the


entencioun of the doer. For neither the hyder of the gold ne the

delver of the feeld ne understoden nat that the gold sholde han

ben founde; but, as I sayde, it bitidde and ran to-gidere that he

dalf ther-as that other hadde hid the gold. Now may I thus

diffinisshe "hap." Hap is an unwar bitydinge of causes assembled


in thinges that ben don for som other thing. But thilke ordre,

procedinge by an uneschuable bindinge to-gidere, which that

descendeth fro the welle of purviaunce that ordeineth alle thinges

in hir places and in hir tymes, maketh that the causes rennen and

assemblen to-gidere.

Pr. I. 1. C. by cours (wrongly); A. Ed. the cours. 4. C. whilom; A. som tyme. // the (2)] C. thy. 8. A. any (for any thing). // C. it is; A. Ed. is it. 9. C. Ed. to the; A. the to the; Cax. to the the (= to thee the). 13. C. and yit; A. Ed. om. and. 19. A. disputisoun. 19, 20. C. han be; Ed. haue ben; A. be. 22, 23. C. deffenysshe; but diffinysshed in 39. // C. glosses bitydinge by i. euentum. 24. A. knyttyng. 31. A. om. the. 33. C. -stondyn; A. -stoden. // C. meneden or meueden; A. moeueden (not in the Latin text). 34. I supply it. 35. A. om. the. 38. C. om. yif (Lat. quod si). 43. C. convenable. 50. C. to tylyinge; A. of tylienge. 52. A. fallen. 53. C. of nawht (de nihilo); A. for nauȝt. 55. C. of the feld (agri); A. in the erthe. // C. in the erthe (humum); A. in the felde. 57. A. abreggynge; C. abriggynge (but abreggynge 2nd time). 58. A. fortune (!), for fortuit; twice. 66. A. vneschewable.

Metre I.

Rupis Achemenie scopulis, ubi uersa sequentum.

Tigris and Eufrates resolven and springen of oo welle, in the

cragges of the roche of the contree of Achemenie, ther-as the

fleinge bataile ficcheth hir dartes, retorned in the brestes of hem

that folwen hem. And sone after tho same riveres, Tigris and


{129}Eufrates, unioinen and departen hir wateres. And yif they comen

to-gideres, and ben assembled and cleped to-gidere into o cours,

thanne moten thilke thinges fleten to-gidere which that the water

of the entrechaunginge flood bringeth. The shippes and the

stokkes arraced with the flood moten assemblen; and the wateres


y-medled wrappeth or implyeth many fortunel happes or maneres;

the whiche wandringe happes, natheles, thilke declyninge lownesse

of the erthe and the flowinge ordre of the slydinge water governeth.

Right so Fortune, that semeth as that it fleteth with slaked or

ungovernede brydles, it suffereth brydles, that is to seyn, to be


governed, and passeth by thilke lawe, that is to seyn, by thilke

divyne ordenaunce.'

Me. I. 1. A. om. and after Tigris. 3. A. om. bataile. 8. C. entrechaungynge, glossed i. alterni. 10. A. fortuned. 11. C. declynynge, glossed decliuitas. 13. A. om. that (2). 15. thilke] A. the.

Prose II.

Animaduerto, inquam.

'This understonde I wel,' quod I, 'and I acorde wel that it is

right as thou seyst. But I axe yif ther be any libertee of free wil

in this ordre of causes that clyven thus to-gidere in hem-self; or

elles I wolde witen yif that the destinal cheyne constreineth the


movinges of the corages of men?'

'Yis,' quod she; 'ther is libertee of free wil. Ne ther ne was

nevere no nature of resoun that it ne hadde libertee of free wil.

For every thing that may naturely usen resoun, it hath doom by

which it decerneth and demeth every thing; thanne knoweth it,


by it-self, thinges that ben to fleen and thinges that ben to desiren.

And thilke thing that any wight demeth to ben desired, that axeth

or desireth he; and fleeth thilke thing that he troweth ben to

fleen. Wherfore in alle thinges that resoun is, in hem also is

libertee of willinge and of nillinge. But I ne ordeyne nat, as who


seyth, I ne graunte nat, that this libertee be evene-lyk in alle

thinges. Forwhy in the sovereines devynes substaunces, that is

to seyn, in spirits, Iugement is more cleer, and wil nat y-corumped,

{130}and might redy to speden thinges that ben desired. But the

soules of men moten nedes be more free whan they loken hem in


the speculacioun or lokinge of the devyne thought, and lasse free

whan they slyden in-to the bodies; and yit lasse free whan they

ben gadered to-gidere and comprehended in erthely membres.

But the laste servage is whan that they ben yeven to vyces, and

han y-falle from the possessioun of hir propre resoun. For after


that they han cast awey hir eyen fro the light of the sovereyn

soothfastnesse to lowe thinges and derke, anon they derken by

the cloude of ignoraunce and ben troubled by felonous talents; to

the whiche talents whan they aprochen and asenten, they hepen

and encresen the servage which they han ioyned to hem-self; and


in this manere they ben caitifs fro hir propre libertee. The whiche

thinges, nathelesse, the lokinge of the devyne purviaunce seeth,

that alle thinges biholdeth and seeth fro eterne, and ordeineth

hem everich in hir merites as they ben predestinat: and it is seyd

in Greek, that "alle thinges he seeth and alle thinges he hereth."

Pr. II. 1. A. Ed. quod I; C. om. // C. Ed. acorde me; A. acorde wel. 2. C. of; A. or (wrongly); Lat. arbitrii. 3. C. hym; A. Ed. hem. 5. C. mouynges (motus); A. moeueuynge (!). 12. A. om. thilke. // C. to ben fleen; A. ben to fleen; Ed. be to flyen. 16. C. dyuynes; A. deuynes (as often in C). 17. C. wil nat I-coromped (uoluntas incorrupta); A. wil nat be corumped (wrongly). 18. C. myht (potestas); A. hath myȝt. 27. C. clowdes; A. Ed. cloude (nube). 27, 8. Ed. A. to the; C. om. the. 31. A. purueaunce. 34. The last clause, in the original, is in Greek.

Metre II.

Puro clarum lumine Phebum.

Homer with the hony mouth, that is to seyn, Homer with the

swete ditees, singeth, that the sonne is cleer by pure light; natheles

yit ne may it nat, by the infirme light of his bemes, breken or

percen the inwarde entrailes of the erthe, or elles of the see. So


ne seeth nat god, maker of the grete world: to him, that loketh

alle thinges from an heigh, ne withstondeth nat no thinges by

hevinesse of erthe; ne the night ne withstondeth nat to him by

the blake cloudes. Thilke god seeth, in oo strok of thought, alle

thinges that ben, or weren, or sholle comen; and thilke god, for


he loketh and seeth alle thinges alone, thou mayst seyn that he is

the verray sonne.'

Me. II. 3. A. inferme. 6. C. om. nat. 7. C. heuynesse (mole); A. heuynesses. 8. C. strokk, glossed i. ictu.


Prose III.

Tum ego, en, inquam.

Thanne seyde I, 'now am I confounded by a more hard doute

than I was.'

'What doute is that?' quod she. 'For certes, I coniecte now

by whiche thinges thou art troubled.'


'It semeth,' quod I, 'to repugnen and to contrarien greetly,

that god knoweth biforn alle thinges, and that ther is any freedom

of libertee. For yif so be that god loketh alle thinges biforn, ne

god ne may nat ben desseived in no manere, than mot it nedes

been, that alle thinges bityden the whiche that the purviaunce of


god hath seyn biforn to comen. For which, yif that god

knoweth biforn nat only the werkes of men, but also hir conseiles

and hir willes, thanne ne shal ther be no libertee of arbitre; ne,

certes, ther ne may be noon other dede, ne no wil, but thilke

which that the divyne purviaunce, that may nat ben desseived,


hath feled biforn. For yif that they mighten wrythen awey in

othre manere than they ben purveyed, than sholde ther be no

stedefast prescience of thing to comen, but rather an uncertein

opinioun; the whiche thing to trowen of god, I deme it felonye

and unleveful. Ne I ne proeve nat thilke same resoun, as who


seyth, I ne alowe nat, or I ne preyse nat, thilke same resoun, by

which that som men wenen that they mowen assoilen and

unknitten the knotte of this questioun. For, certes, they seyn

that thing nis nat to comen for that the purviaunce of god hath

seyn it biforn that is to comen, but rather the contrarye, and that


is this: that, for that the thing is to comen, therfore ne may it

nat ben hid fro the purviaunce of god; and in this manere this

necessitee slydeth ayein in-to the contrarye partye: ne it ne

bihoveth nat, nedes, that thinges bityden that ben purvyed, but

it bihoveth, nedes, that thinges that ben to comen ben y-porveyed:


but as it were y-travailed, as who seyth, that thilke answere

procedeth right as thogh men travaileden, or weren bisy to enqueren,

the whiche thing is cause of the whiche thing:—as, whether the

{132}prescience is cause of the necessitee of thinges to comen, or elles

that the necessitee of thinges to comen is cause of the purviaunce.


But I ne enforce me nat now to shewen it, that the bitydinge of

thinges y-wist biforn is necessarie, how so or in what manere

that the ordre of causes hath it-self; al-thogh that it ne seme nat

that the prescience bringe in necessitee of bitydinge to thinges to

comen. For certes, yif that any wight sitteth, it bihoveth by


necessitee that the opinioun be sooth of him that coniecteth that

he sitteth; and ayeinward also is it of the contrarye: yif the

opinioun be sooth of any wight for that he sitteth, it bihoveth by

necessitee that he sitte. Thanne is heer necessitee in that oon

and in that other: for in that oon is necessitee of sittinge, and,


certes, in that other is necessitee of sooth. But therfore ne

sitteth nat a wight, for that the opinioun of the sittinge is sooth;

but the opinioun is rather sooth, for that a wight sitteth biforn.

And thus, al-thogh that the cause of the sooth cometh of that

other syde (as who seyth, that al-thogh the cause of sooth comth


of the sitting, and nat of the trewe opinioun), algates yit is ther

comune necessitee in that oon and in that other. Thus sheweth

it, that I may make semblable skiles of the purviaunce of god

and of thinges to comen. For althogh that, for that thinges ben

to comen, ther-fore ben they purveyed, nat, certes, for that they


ben purveyed, ther-fore ne bityde they nat. Yit natheles,

bihoveth it by necessitee, that either the thinges to comen ben

y-purveyed of god, or elles that the thinges that ben purveyed of

god bityden. And this thing only suffiseth y-nough to destroyen

the freedom of oure arbitre, that is to seyn, of oure free wil. But


now, certes, sheweth it wel, how fer fro the sothe and how up-so-doun

is this thing that we seyn, that the bitydinge of temporel

thinges is cause of the eterne prescience. But for to wenen that

god purvyeth the thinges to comen for they ben to comen, what

other thing is it but for to wene that thilke thinges that bitidden


whylom ben causes of thilke soverein purvyaunce that is in god?

And her-to I adde yit this thing: that, right as whan that I wot

{133}that a thing is, it bihoveth by necessitee that thilke selve thing be;

and eek, whan I have knowe that any thing shal bityden, so

byhoveth it by necessitee that thilke thing bityde:—so folweth it


thanne, that the bitydinge of the thing y-wist biforn ne may nat

ben eschued. And at the laste, yif that any wight wene a thing

to ben other weyes thanne it is, it is nat only unscience, but it is

deceivable opinioun ful diverse and fer fro the sothe of science.

Wherfore, yif any thing be so to comen, that the bitydinge of hit


ne be nat certein ne necessarie, who may weten biforn that thilke

thing is to comen? For right as science ne may nat ben medled

with falsnesse (as who seyth, that yif I wot a thing, it ne may nat

be false that I ne wot it), right so thilke thing that is conceived by

science ne may nat ben non other weys than as it is conceived.


For that is the cause why that science wanteth lesing (as who

seyth, why that witinge ne receiveth nat lesinge of that it wot); for

it bihoveth, by necessitee, that every thing be right as science

comprehendeth it to be. What shal I thanne seyn? In whiche

manere knoweth god biforn the thinges to comen, yif they ne be


nat certein? For yif that he deme that they ben to comen

uneschewably, and so may be that it is possible that they ne

shollen nat comen, god is deceived. But nat only to trowen that

god is deceived, but for to speke it with mouth, it is a felonous

sinne. But yif that god wot that, right so as thinges ben to


comen, so shullen they comen—so that he wite egaly, as who

seyth, indifferently, that thinges mowen ben doon or elles nat

y-doon—what is thilke prescience that ne comprehendeth no

certein thing ne stable? Or elles what difference is ther bitwixe

the prescience and thilke Iape-worthy divyninge of Tiresie the


divynour, that seyde: "Al that I seye," quod he, "either it shal be,

or elles it ne shal nat be?" Or elles how mochel is worth the

devyne prescience more than the opinioun of mankinde, yif so be

that it demeth the thinges uncertein, as men doon; of the whiche

domes of men the bitydinge nis nat certein? But yif so be that


non uncertein thing ne may ben in him that is right certein welle

{134}of alle thinges, thanne is the bitydinge certein of thilke thinges

whiche he hath wist biforn fermely to comen. For which it

folweth, that the freedom of the conseiles and of the werkes of

mankind nis non, sin that the thoght of god, that seeth alle


thinges without errour of falsnesse, bindeth and constreineth

hem to a bitydinge by necessitee. And yif this thing be ones

y-graunted and received, that is to seyn, that ther nis no free wille,

than sheweth it wel, how greet destruccioun and how grete

damages ther folwen of thinges of mankinde. For in ydel ben


ther thanne purposed and bihight medes to gode folk, and peynes

to badde folk, sin that no moevinge of free corage voluntarie ne

hath nat deserved hem, that is to seyn, neither mede ne peyne; and

it sholde seme thanne, that thilke thing is alderworst, which that

is now demed for aldermost iust and most rightful, that is to seyn,


that shrewes ben punisshed, or elles that gode folk ben y-gerdoned:

the whiche folk, sin that hir propre wil ne sent hem nat to that oon

ne to that other, that is to seyn, neither to gode ne to harm, but constreineth

hem certein necessitee of thinges to comen: thanne ne

shollen ther nevere ben, ne nevere weren, vyce ne vertu, but it


sholde rather ben confusioun of alle desertes medled with-outen

discrecioun. And yit ther folweth an-other inconvenient, of the

whiche ther ne may ben thoght no more felonous ne more wikke;

and that is this: that, so as the ordre of thinges is y-led and

comth of the purviaunce of god, ne that no-thing nis leveful to


the conseiles of mankinde (as who seyth, that men han no power to

doon no-thing, ne wilne no-thing), than folweth it, that oure vyces

ben referred to the maker of alle good (as who seyth, than folweth

it, that god oughte han the blame of oure vyces, sin he constreineth us

by necessitee to doon vyces). Thanne is ther no resoun to hopen in


god, ne for to preyen to god; for what sholde any wight hopen to

god, or why sholde he preyen to god, sin that the ordenaunce of

destinee, which that ne may nat ben inclyned, knitteth and streineth

alle thinges that men may desiren? Thanne sholde ther be doon

awey thilke only allyaunce bitwixen god and men, that is to seyn,


{135}to hopen and to preyen. But by the prys of rightwisnesse and of

verray mekenesse we deserven the gerdoun of the divyne grace,

which that is inestimable, that is to seyn, that it is so greet, that it

ne may nat ben ful y-preysed. And this is only the manere, that is

to seyn, hope and preyeres, for which it semeth that men mowen


speke with god, and by resoun of supplicacioun be conioined to

thilke cleernesse, that nis nat aproched no rather or that men

beseken it and impetren it. And yif men wene nat that hope ne

preyeres ne han no strengthes, by the necessitee of thinges to

comen y-received, what thing is ther thanne by whiche we mowen


ben conioined and clyven to thilke soverein prince of thinges?

For which it bihoveth, by necessitee, that the linage of mankinde,

as thou songe a litel her-biforn, be departed and unioined from

his welle, and failen of his biginninge, that is to seyn, god.

Pr. III. 9. A. purueaunce. 14. A. om. that (1). 18. C. of; A. on. 24. C. om. it. // C. but; glossed s. aiunt. 25. C. om. is (1). // A. that therfore. 28. A. om. nat. // A. ypurueid. 28, 9. A. om. but it bihoveth ... y-porveyed. 32. A. whiche thinges (for 2nd the whiche thing). // C. weyther. 34. C. puruyaunce; glossed s. prouidencie. 35. C. it; glossed illud. 38. A. of thinges. 48, 9. A. om. the sooth cometh ... cause of. 53. C. Ed. that for that; A. for that that. 58. A. bitiden by necessite; C. has the gloss—s. by necessite. 60. A. om. certes. 60, 1. C. vp so down; glossed prepostere. 62. A. is the cause. 63. A. om. the. 64, 5. A. bitiden som-tyme. 71. C. at the laste; glossed i. postremo. 74. A. so that the. 75. A. om. biforn. 79. A. om. nat. // C. as it is; A. it is be. 82. A. om. be. 85. C. he; glossed s. deus. // C. they; glossed s. thynges. 86. C. vneschwably; glossed i. memorabiliter (!) 87. C. A. desseyued (twice). 92. A. don. 94. C. Iape worthi; glossed i. ridiculo. 100. A. om. ne. 102. C. he; glossed s. deus. // C. fermely; glossed i. firmiter. 106. A. om. this. 107. C. resseyuyd; A. receyued. 108. C. destruccyoun; glossed i. occasus. 110. C. Meedes to; A. medes of. 113. A. alther-worste. 114. A. alther-moste. 116. C. hir; A. the. // A. om. ne before sent. 120. C. dissertes; A. desertes. 121. For of the, read than; see note. 122. A. ne (for no). 128. A. om. us. 129. A. to han hopen. 135. A. preis. 136. C. desseruyn; A. deserue. 139. A. om. men. 142. Ed. impetren; C. impetrent (!); A. emprenten. // A. om. nat. // A. om. hope. 143. C. om. no. 144. C. I-resseyuyd (glossed i. graunted); A. y-resceiued. 147. C. thou; glossed s. philosophie. // C. her by-forn, libro 4o metro sexto [line 35].

Metre III.

Quenam discors federa rerum.

What discordable cause hath to-rent and unioined the bindinge,

or the alliaunce, of thinges, that is to seyn, the coniunccioun of god

and man? Whiche god hath establisshed so greet bataile bitwixen

thise two soothfast or verray thinges, that is to seyn,


bitwixen the purviaunce of god and free wil, that they ben singuler

and devyded, ne that they ne wolen nat be medeled ne coupled

to-gidere? But ther nis no discord to the verray thinges, but they

clyven, certein, alwey to hem-self. But the thought of man, confounded

and overthrowen by the dirke membres of the body, ne


may nat, by fyr of his derked looking, that is to seyn, by the vigour

of his insighte, whyl the soule is in the body, knowe the thinne

subtil knittinges of thinges. But wherfore enchaufeth it so, by so

{136}greet love, to finden thilke notes of sooth y-covered; that is to

seyn, wherfore enchaufeth the thoght of man by so greet desyr to


knowen thilke notificacions that ben y-hid under the covertoures of

sooth? Wot it aught thilke thing that it, anguissous, desireth to

knowe? As who seith, nay; for no man travaileth for to witen

thinges that he wot. And therfore the texte seith thus: but who

travaileth to witen thinges y-knowe? And yif that he ne knoweth


hem nat, what seketh thilke blinde thoght? What is he that

desireth any thing of which he wot right naught? As who seith,

who so desireth any thing, nedes, somwhat he knoweth of it; or

elles, he ne coude nat desire it. Or who may folwen thinges that ne

ben nat y-wist? And thogh that he seke tho thinges, wher shal he


finde hem? What wight, that is al unconninge and ignoraunt,

may knowen the forme that is y-founde? But whan the soule

biholdeth and seeth the heye thoght, that is to seyn, god, than

knoweth it to-gidere the somme and the singularitees, that is to

seyn, the principles and everich by him-self.


But now, whyl the soule is hid in the cloude and in the derkenesse

of the membres of the body, it ne hath nat al for-yeten

it-self, but it with-holdeth the somme of thinges, and leseth the

singularitees. Thanne, who-so that seeketh soothnesse, he nis in

neither nother habite; for he noot nat al, ne he ne hath nat al


foryeten: but yit him remembreth the somme of thinges that he

with-holdeth, and axeth conseil, and retreteth deepliche thinges

y-seyn biforn, that is to seyn, the grete somme in his minde: so that

he mowe adden the parties that he hath for-yeten to thilke that he

hath with-holden.'

Me. III. 1. C. vnioygnyd, glossed s. ne se compaciantur similiter. 2. C. coniuncciouns; A. coniunccioun. 3. C. man, quasi dicat, nullus. // C. which that god; A. Ed. whiche god (quis Deus). 6. C. deuydyd, quasi dicat, non est ita. 7. A. om. the. // C. thinges, s. prudencia et liberum arbitrium. 8. A. cleuen. 10. A. dirk. 12. C. it, s. anima. 13. A. note (Lat. notas). 16. C. it, s. anima. 18. After thus, A. adds—Si enim anima ignorat istas subtiles connexiones, responde, vnde est quod desiderat scire cum nil ignotum possit desiderare; but both C. and Ed. omit this. 21. wot] C. not. // C. nawht, quasi dicat, non. 24. A. om. that. 26. C. yfownde, quasi dicat, nullus. 29. A. Ed. principles; C. principulis. 34. A. nouthir habit. 36. C. retretith, i. retractat; A. tretith.

Prose IV.

Tum illa: Vetus, inquit, hec est.

Thanne seide she: 'this is,' quod she, 'the olde question of

the purviaunce of god; and Marcus Tullius, whan he devyded the

divynaciouns, that is to seyn, in his book that he wroot of divynaciouns,

he moevede gretly this questioun; and thou thy-self has y-sought


{137}it mochel, and outrely, and longe; but yit ne hath it nat ben

determined ne y-sped fermely and diligently of any of yow. And

the cause of this derkenesse and of this difficultee is, for that the

moevinge of the resoun of mankinde ne may nat moeven to (that

is to seyn, applyen or ioinen to) the simplicitee of the devyne


prescience; the whiche simplicitee of the devyne prescience, yif

that men mighten thinken it in any maner, that is to seyn, that yif

men mighten thinken and comprehenden the thinges as god seeth

hem, thanne ne sholde ther dwellen outrely no doute: the whiche

resoun and cause of difficultee I shal assaye at the laste to shewe


and to speden, whan I have first y-spended and answered to tho

resouns by which thou art y-moeved. For I axe why thou wenest

that thilke resouns of hem that assoilen this questioun ne ben

nat speedful y-nough ne sufficient: the whiche solucioun, or the

whiche resoun, for that it demeth that the prescience nis nat cause


of necessitee to thinges to comen, than ne weneth it nat that

freedom of wil be destorbed or y-let by prescience. For ne

drawestow nat arguments from elles-where of the necessitee of

thinges to-comen (as who seith, any other wey than thus) but that

thilke thinges that the prescience wot biforn ne mowen nat unbityde?


That is to seyn, that they moten bityde. But thanne, yif

that prescience ne putteth no necessitee to thinges to comen, as

thou thy-self hast confessed it and biknowen a litel her-biforn, what

cause or what is it (as who seith, ther may no cause be) by which

that the endes voluntarie of thinges mighten be constreined to


certein bitydinge? For by grace of positioun, so that thou mowe

the betere understonde this that folweth, I pose, per impossibile,

that ther be no prescience. Thanne axe I,' quod she, 'in as

mochel as apertieneth to that, sholden thanne thinges that comen

of free wil ben constreined to bityden by necessitee?'


Boece. 'Nay,' quod I.

'Thanne ayeinward,' quod she, 'I suppose that ther be prescience,

but that it ne putteth no necessitee to thinges; thanne

trowe I, that thilke selve freedom of wil shal dwellen al hool and

{138}absolut and unbounden. But thou wolt seyn that, al-be-it so that


prescience nis nat cause of the necessitee of bitydinge to thinges

to comen, algates yit it is a signe that the thinges ben to bityden

by necessitee. By this manere thanne, al-thogh the prescience

ne hadde never y-ben, yit algate or at the leeste weye it is certein

thing, that the endes and bitydinges of thinges to comen sholden


ben necessarie. For every signe sheweth and signifyeth only what

the thing is, but it ne maketh nat the thing that it signifyeth. For

which it bihoveth first to shewen, that no-thing ne bitydeth that it

ne bitydeth by necessitee, so that it may appere that the prescience

is signe of this necessitee; or elles, yif ther nere no necessitee,


certes, thilke prescience ne mighte nat be signe of thing that nis

nat. But certes, it is now certein that the proeve of this,

y-sustened by stidefast resoun, ne shal nat ben lad ne proeved by

signes ne by arguments y-taken fro with-oute, but by causes

covenable and necessarie. But thou mayst seyn, how may it be


that the thinges ne bityden nat that ben y-purveyed to comen?

But, certes, right as we trowen that tho thinges which that the

purviance wot biforn to comen ne ben nat to bityden; but that

ne sholden we nat demen; but rather, al-thogh that they shal

bityden, yit ne have they no necessitee of hir kinde to bityden.


And this maystow lightly aperceiven by this that I shal seyn. For

we seen many thinges whan they ben don biforn oure eyen, right

as men seen the cartere worken in the torninge or atempringe or

adressinge of hise cartes or charietes. And by this manere (as

who seith, maystow understonde) of alle othere workmen. Is ther


thanne any necessitee, as who seith, in oure lokinge, that constreineth

or compelleth any of thilke thinges to ben don so?'

Boece. 'Nay,' quod I; 'for in ydel and in veyn were al the

effect of craft, yif that alle thinges weren moeved by constreininge;'

that is to seyn, by constreininge of oure eyen or of oure sight.


Philosophie. 'The thinges thanne,' quod she, 'that, whan men

doon hem, ne han no necessitee that men doon hem, eek tho

{139}same thinges, first or they ben doon, they ben to comen with-oute

necessitee. For-why ther ben somme thinges to bityden, of which

the endes and the bitydinges of hem ben absolut and quit of alle


necessitee. For certes, I ne trowe nat that any man wolde seyn

this: that tho thinges that men doon now, that they ne weren to

bityden first or they weren y-doon; and thilke same thinges,

al-thogh that men had y-wist hem biforn, yit they han free

bitydinges. For right as science of thinges present ne bringeth in


no necessitee to thinges that men doon, right so the prescience of

thinges to comen ne bringeth in no necessitee to thinges to

bityden. But thou mayst seyn, that of thilke same it is y-douted,

as whether that of thilke thinges that ne han non issues and

bitydinges necessaries, yif ther-of may ben any prescience; for


certes, they semen to discorden. For thou wenest that, yif that

thinges ben y-seyn biforn, that necessitee folweth hem; and yif

necessitee faileth hem, they ne mighten nat ben wist biforn, and

that no-thing ne may ben comprehended by science but certein;

and yif tho thinges that ne han no certein bitydinges ben purveyed


as certein, it sholde ben dirknesse of opinioun, nat soothfastnesse

of science. And thou wenest that it be diverse fro the hoolnesse

of science that any man sholde deme a thing to ben other-weys

thanne it is it-self. And the cause of this erroure is, that of alle

the thinges that every wight hath y-knowe, they wenen that tho


thinges been y-knowe al-oonly by the strengthe and by the nature

of the thinges that ben y-wist or y-knowe; and it is al the

contrarie. For al that ever is y-knowe, it is rather comprehended

and knowen, nat after his strengthe and his nature, but after the

facultee, that is to seyn, the power and the nature, of hem that


knowen. And, for that this thing shal mowen shewen by a short

ensaumple: the same roundnesse of a body, other-weys the sighte

of the eye knoweth it, and other-weyes the touchinge. The

lokinge, by castinge of his bemes, waiteth and seeth from afer al

the body to-gidere, with-oute moevinge of it-self; but the touchinge


clyveth and conioineth to the rounde body, and moeveth aboute

{140}the environinge, and comprehendeth by parties the roundnesse.

And the man him-self, other-weys wit biholdeth him, and

other-weys imaginacioun, and other-weys resoun, and other-weys

intelligence. For the wit comprehendeth withoute-forth the


figure of the body of the man that is establissed in the

matere subiect; but the imaginacioun comprehendeth only the

figure withoute the matere. Resoun surmounteth imaginacioun,

and comprehendeth by universal lokinge the comune spece that

is in the singuler peces. But the eye of intelligence is heyere; for


it surmounteth the environinge of the universitee, and looketh,

over that, by pure subtilitee of thoght, thilke same simple forme

of man that is perdurably in the divyne thoght. In whiche this

oughte greetly to ben considered, that the heyeste strengthe to

comprehenden thinges enbraseth and contieneth the lowere


strengthe; but the lowere strengthe ne aryseth nat in no manere

to heyere strengthe. For wit ne may no-thing comprehende out

of matere, ne the imaginacioun ne loketh nat the universels

speces, ne resoun taketh nat the simple forme so as intelligence

taketh it; but intelligence, that looketh al aboven, whan it hath


comprehended the forme, it knoweth and demeth alle the thinges

that ben under that forme. But she knoweth hem in thilke manere

in the whiche it comprehendeth thilke same simple forme that

ne may never ben knowen to none of that other; that is to seyn,

to none of tho three forseide thinges of the sowle. For it knoweth


the universitee of resoun, and the figure of the imaginacioun,

and the sensible material conceived by wit; ne it ne useth nat nor

of resoun ne of imaginacioun ne of wit withoute-forth; but it

biholdeth alle thinges, so as I shal seye, by a strok of thought

formely, withoute discours or collacioun. Certes resoun, whan it


looketh any-thing universel, it ne useth nat of imaginacioun, nor

of witte, and algates yit it comprehendeth the thinges imaginable

and sensible; for resoun is she that diffinisseth the universel of hir

conseyte right thus:—man is a resonable two-foted beest. And

{141}how so that this knowinge is universel, yet nis ther no wight that


ne woot wel that a man is a thing imaginable and sensible; and

this same considereth wel resoun; but that nis nat by imaginacioun

nor by wit, but it looketh it by a resonable concepcioun. Also

imaginacioun, al-be-it so that it taketh of wit the beginninges to

seen and to formen the figures, algates, al-thogh that wit ne were


nat present, yit it environeth and comprehendeth alle thinges

sensible; nat by resoun sensible of deminge, but by resoun

imaginatif. Seestow nat thanne that alle the thinges, in knowinge,

usen more of hir facultee or of hir power than they doon of the

facultee or power of thinges that ben y-knowe? Ne that nis nat


wrong; for so as every Iugement is the dede or doinge of him

that demeth, it bihoveth that every wight performe the werk and

his entencioun, nat of foreine power, but of his propre power.

Pr. IV. 2. C. deuynede; Ed. deuyded; A. deuided; distribuit. 7. C. dirknesse; A. derkenesse. // A. om. 2nd of this. 11, 12. A. om. mighten thinken it ... yif men. 15. A. om. y-spended and. // C. the; A. tho. 22. A. drawest thou. 24. A. thinge. // A. om. ne. 28. A. om. or what. 29. C. A. gloss endes by exitus. 30. Ed. posycion (Lat. positionis); C. A. possessioun; and C. glosses For ... possessioun by uerbi gratia. 31. A. inpossibile; C. per impossibile (as a gloss). 37. Ed. it; C. is. 44. C. endes, i. exitus. // A. and the (for and). 46. C. thing is, i. se eius significatum. // C. maketh, glossed causat. 47, 48. A. om. that it ne bitydeth. 48, 49. C. om. so that ... necessitee. 51. A. preue. 52. A. stedfast. // A. proued. 57. C. but that; A. om. that. 58. A. om. that. 60. A. maist thou. 62. A. and in attempryng or in adressyng. 63. A. chariottes. 64. A. mayst thou. 65. A. om. that. 66. C. om. thilke. // C. so, quasi dicat, non. 70. A. thise thingus. 80, 81. A. om. that men doon ... to thinges. 83. C. Ed. issues; A. endes; C. addsi. exitus. 87, 88. C. and yif (wrongly); A. Ed. and that. 91-93. A. om. And thou ... is it-self here, but inserts the same in a wrong place (131 below). 99. A. om. 2nd the. 100. A. Ed. that; C. om. // Ed. thing; C. A. om. 103. C. after; A. afer; Ed. a-ferre. 105. C. body, glossed orbis; A. body, glossed orbi (Lat. orbi). 109. A. fro with-outen furthe. 111. C. comprehendeth, vel iudicat. 111, 2. A. om. comprehendeth ... imaginacioun. 113. C. Ed. by; A. by an. // C. A. (gloss) speciem. 120, 121. A. om. but the ... strengthe. // A. Ed. For; C. om. 124. A. Ed. it; C. om. // A. but the. // A. Ed. that; C. om. 126. C. she; glossed intelligence. // C. Ed. in; A. vndir. 131. Here A. wrongly inserts a clause omitted above (91-93). 136. A. om. it. // A. comprendith. 139. A. om. is. 140. A. om. a thing. 142. A. om. a. 147. A. Sest thou. 148. A. of faculte or of power. 149. A. Ed. no (for nat). 150. A. or the.

Metre IV.

Quondam porticus attulit.

The Porche, that is to seyn, a gate of the town of Athenes ther-as

philosophres hadden hir congregacioun to desputen, thilke Porche

broughte som-tyme olde men, ful derke in hir sentences, that is to

seyn, philosophres that highten Stoiciens, that wenden that images


and sensibilitees, that is to seyn, sensible imaginaciouns, or elles

imaginaciouns of sensible thinges, weren empreinted in-to sowles

fro bodies withoute-forth; as who seith, that thilke Stoiciens wenden

that the sowle hadde ben naked of it-self, as a mirour or a clene

parchemin, so that alle figures mosten first comen fro thinges fro


withoute-forth in-to sowles, and ben empreinted in-to sowles: Text:

right as we ben wont som-tyme, by a swifte pointel, to ficchen

lettres empreinted in the smothenesse or in the pleinnesse of the

table of wex or in parchemin that ne hath no figure ne note in it.

Glose. But now argueth Boece ayeins that opinioun, and seith


thus: But yif the thryvinge sowle ne unpleyteth no-thing, that is

to seyn, ne doth no-thing, by his propre moevinges, but suffreth and

lyth subgit to tho figures and to tho notes of bodies withoute-forth,

{142}and yildeth images ydel and veyn in the manere of a mirour,

whennes thryveth thanne or whennes comth thilke knowinge in


our sowle, that discerneth and biholdeth alle thinges? And

whennes is thilke strengthe that biholdeth the singuler thinges;

or whennes is the strengthe that devydeth thinges y-knowe; and

thilke strengthe that gadereth to-gidere the thinges devyded; and

the strengthe that cheseth his entrechaunged wey? For som-tyme


it heveth up the heved, that is to seyn, that it heveth up the entencioun

to right heye thinges; and som-tyme it descendeth in-to

right lowe thinges. And whan it retorneth in-to him-self, it reproeveth

and destroyeth the false thinges by the trewe thinges.

Certes, this strengthe is cause more efficient, and mochel


more mighty to seen and to knowe thinges, than thilke cause that

suffreth and receiveth the notes and the figures impressed in

maner of matere. Algates the passioun, that is to seyn, the

suffraunce or the wit, in the quike body, goth biforn, excitinge and

moevinge the strengthes of the thought. Right so as whan that


cleernesse smyteth the eyen and moeveth hem to seen, or right so

as vois or soun hurteleth to the eres and commoeveth hem to

herkne, than is the strengthe of the thought y-moeved and

excited, and clepeth forth, to semblable moevinges, the speces

that it halt with-inne it-self; and addeth tho speces to the notes


and to the thinges withoute-forth, and medleth the images of

thinges withoute-forth to tho formes y-hidde with-inne him-self.

Me. IV. 3. C. dirke; A. Ed. derke. 5. A. om. and. 9. A. om. first. 10. A. inprentid; C. apreyntyd (but emprientyd just below, and enpreynted above). 12. A. emprentid. 13. A. om. 2nd. ne. 14. A. Ed. that; C. the. 15. A. vnplitith. 17. A. subgit; Ed. subiecte; C. om. // A. the (for tho); twice. 20. A. Ed. discernith; C. decerneth. 26. C. heye thinges, i. principijs. // C. dessendith; A. discendith. 27. C. lowe thynges, s. conclusiones. // A. repreuith. 29. C. strengthe, s. anima. 31. C. resseyuyth; A. resceyueth; Ed. receyueth. // C. A. inpressed; Ed. impressed. 36. A. hurtlith. 38. C. Ed. to; A. the (Lat. Ad). 40. A. medeleth. 41. A. to the forme.

Prose V.

Quod si in corporibus sentiendis.

But what yif that in bodies to ben feled, that is to seyn, in the

takinge of knowelechinge of bodily thinges, and al-be-it so that the

qualitees of bodies, that ben obiecte fro withoute-forth, moeven

and entalenten the instruments of the wittes; and al-be-it so that


the passioun of the body, that is to seyn, the wit or the suffraunce,

goth to-forn the strengthe of the workinge corage, the which

{143}passioun or suffraunce clepeth forth the dede of the thoght in him-self,

and moeveth and exciteth in this mene whyle the formes that

resten withinne-forth; and yif that, in sensible bodies, as I have


seyd, our corage nis nat y-taught or empreinted by passioun to

knowe thise thinges, but demeth and knoweth, of his owne strengthe,

the passioun or suffraunce subiect to the body: moche more

thanne tho thinges that ben absolut and quite fro alle talents

or affecciouns of bodies, as god or his aungeles, ne folwen nat in


discerninge thinges obiect fro withoute-forth, but they accomplisshen

and speden the dede of hir thoght. By this resoun

thanne ther comen many maner knowinges to dyverse and

differinge substaunces. For the wit of the body, the whiche

wit is naked and despoiled of alle other knowinges, thilke wit


comth to beestes that ne mowen nat moeven hem-self her and

ther, as oystres and muscules, and other swiche shelle-fish of the

see, that clyven and ben norisshed to roches. But the imaginacioun

comth to remuable beestes, that semen to han talent to

fleen or to desiren any thing. But resoun is al-only to the linage


of mankinde, right as intelligence is only [to] the devyne nature:

of which it folweth, that thilke knowinge is more worth than thise

othre, sin it knoweth by his propre nature nat only his subiect, as

who seith, it ne knoweth nat al-only that apertieneth properly to his

knowinge, but it knoweth the subiects of alle other knowinges.


But how shal it thanne be, yif that wit and imaginacioun stryven

ayein resoninge, and seyn, that of thilke universel thing that

resoun weneth to seen, that it nis right naught? For wit and

imaginacioun seyn that that, that is sensible or imaginable, it ne

may nat be universel. Thanne is either the Iugement of resoun


sooth, ne that ther nis nothing sensible; or elles, for that resoun

wot wel that many thinges ben subiect to wit and to imaginacioun,

thanne is the concepcioun of resoun veyn and false, which that

loketh and comprehendeth that that is sensible and singuler as

universel. And yif that resoun wolde answeren ayein to thise


two, that is to seyn, to witte and to imaginacioun, and seyn, that

soothly she hir-self, that is to seyn, resoun, loketh and comprehendeth,

{144}by resoun of universalitee, bothe that that is sensible

and that that is imaginable; and that thilke two, that is to seyn,

wit and imaginacioun, ne mowen nat strecchen ne enhansen hem-self


to the knowinge of universalitee, for that the knowinge of

hem ne may exceden ne surmounte the bodily figures: certes, of

the knowinge of thinges, men oughten rather yeven credence to

the more stedefast and to the more parfit Iugement. In this

maner stryvinge thanne, we that han strengthe of resoninge and


of imagininge and of wit, that is to seyn, by resoun and by imaginacioun

and by wit, we sholde rather preyse the cause of resoun; as

who seith, than the cause of wit and of imaginacioun.

Semblable thing is it, that the resoun of mankinde ne weneth

nat that the devyne intelligence bi-holdeth or knoweth thinges to


comen, but right as the resoun of mankinde knoweth hem. For

thou arguest and seyst thus: that yif it ne seme nat to men that

some thinges han certein and necessarie bitydinges, they ne

mowen nat ben wist biforn certeinly to bityden. And thanne

nis ther no prescience of thilke thinges; and yif we trowe that


prescience be in thise thinges, thanne is ther no-thing that it ne

bitydeth by necessitee. But certes, yif we mighten han the Iugement

of the devyne thoght, as we ben parsoneres of resoun, right

so as we han demed that it behoveth that imaginacioun and wit

be binethe resoun, right so wolde we demen that it were rightful


thing, that mannes resoun oughte to submitten it-self and to ben

binethe the divyne thoght. For which, yif that we mowen, as

who seith, that, yif that we mowen, I counseyle, that we enhanse us

in-to the heighte of thilke sovereyn intelligence; for ther shal

resoun wel seen that, that it ne may nat biholden in it-self. And


certes that is this, in what maner the prescience of god seeth alle

thinges certeins and diffinisshed, al-thogh they ne han no certein

issues or bitydinges; ne this is non opinioun, but it is rather the

simplicitee of the sovereyn science, that nis nat enclosed nor

y-shet within none boundes.

Pr. V. 1. A. om. yif (Lat. Quod si). 5. C. A. witte; Ed. wytte. // A. om. or the. 6, 7. A. om. goth ... suffraunce. 10. A. enprentid; C. emprienpted. 20, 1. A. here ne there. // A. muscles. 25. I supply to. 26, 7. C. thise oothre; A. is other. 29. A. subgitz. 31. Ed. vnyuersal thynge; A. vniuersel thinges; C. vniuersels thinges (Lat. uniuersale). 35. C. soth; Ed. sothe; A. om. // C. sensible, quod absurdum est. 41. C. seyn; A. seyn that. 44. C. enhansen; A. enhaunsen. 45. Ed. the knowing; A. knowynge; C. knowy (Lat. cognitionem). 46. A. figure. 48. C. stidefast; A. stedfast. 51. C. and we; A. Ed. om. and. 52. C. Ed. and of; A. or. 56. A. Ed. ne; C. om. 58. A. om. And. 59. A. om. ther. 61. C. bideth (!). 62. C. parsoneres; A. parsoners; Ed. parteners. 63. A. om. 1st that. 65. A. summitten. 66. C. yif that; Ed. if; A. that yif. 71. C. diffinysshed; A. difinissed. 72. A. Ed. is; C. nis.


Metre V.

Quam uariis terris animalia permeant figuris.

The beestes passen by the erthes by ful diverse figures. For

som of hem han hir bodies straught and crepen in the dust, and

drawen after hem a tras or a foruh y-continued; that is to seyn, as

nadres or snakes. And other beestes, by the wandringe lightnesse


of hir winges, beten the windes, and over-swimmen the spaces of

the longe eyr by moist fleeinge. And other beestes gladen hem-self

to diggen hir tras or hir steppes in the erthe with hir goings

or with hir feet, and to goon either by the grene feldes, or elles to

walken under the wodes. And al-be-it so that thou seest that


they alle discorden by diverse formes, algates hir faces, enclined,

hevieth hir dulle wittes. Only the linage of man heveth heyeste

his heye heved, and stondeth light with his up-right body, and

biholdeth the erthes under him. And, but-yif thou, erthely man,

wexest yvel out of thy wit, this figure amonesteth 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 ne put lowe under fote, sin that thy body is so heye


Me. V. 3. C. traas; A. trais; Ed. trace. // C. forwh; A. forghe; Ed. forough. // A. Ed. continued. 4. A. addres; Ed. nedders. // A. om. the. 7. C. A. traas. // A. goynge (Lat. gressibus). 8. C. feeldes. // A. om. elles. 10. A. om. faces. // A. enclini[n]g. 13. A. erthe (Lat. terras). // A. om. And. 16. A. on heye.

Prose VI.

Quoniam igitur, uti paullo ante.

Therfor thanne, as I have shewed a litel her-biforn, that al

thing that is y-wist nis nat knowen by his nature propre, but by

the nature of hem that comprehenden it, lat us loke now, in as

mochel as it is leveful to us, as who seith, lat us loke now as we


mowen, which that the estat is of the devyne substaunce; so that

we mowen eek knowen what his science is. The commune Iugement

of alle creatures resonables thanne is this: that god is eterne.

Lat us considere thanne what is eternitee; for certes that shal

shewen us to-gidere the devyne nature and the devyne science.


Eternitee, thanne, is parfit possessioun and al-togidere of lyf

{146}interminable; and that sheweth more cleerly by the comparisoun

or the collacioun of temporel thinges. For al thing that liveth in

tyme it is present, and procedeth fro preterits in-to futures, that is

to seyn, fro tyme passed in-to tyme cominge; ne ther nis no-thing


establisshed in tyme that may enbracen to-gider al the space of

his lyf. For certes, yit ne hath it taken the tyme of to-morwe, and

it hath lost the tyme of yisterday. And certes, in the lyf of this

day, ye ne liven no more but right as in the moevable and

transitorie moment. Thanne thilke thing that suffreth temporel


condicioun, al-thogh that it never bigan to be, ne thogh it never

cese for to be, as Aristotle demed of the world, and al-thogh that

the lyf of it be strecched with infinitee of tyme, yit algates nis

it no swich thing that men mighten trowen by right that it is

eterne. For al-thogh that it comprehende and embrace the space


of lyf infinit, yit algates ne embraceth it nat the space of the lyf

al-togider; for it ne hath nat the futures that ne ben nat yit, ne it

ne hath no lenger the preterits that ben y-doon or y-passed. But

thilke thing thanne, that hath and comprehendeth to-gider al the

plentee of the lyf interminable, to whom ther ne faileth naught of


the future, and to whom ther nis naught of the preterit escaped

nor y-passed, thilke same is y-witnessed and y-proeved by right to

be eterne. And it bihoveth by necessitee that thilke thing be

al-wey present to him-self, and compotent; as who seith, al-wey

present to him-self, and so mighty that al be right at his plesaunce;


and that he have al present the infinitee of the moevable tyme.

Wher-for som men trowen wrongfully that, whan they heren that

it semede to Plato that this world ne hadde never beginninge

of tyme, ne that it never shal han failinge, they wenen in this

maner that this world be maked coeterne with his maker; as who


seith, they wene that this world and god ben maked togider eterne,

and that is a wrongful weninge. For other thing is it to ben y-lad

by lyf interminable, as Plato graunted to the world, and other

thing is it to embrace to-gider al the present of the lyf interminable,

the whiche thing it is cleer and manifest that it is propre to the


devyne thoght.

{147}Ne it ne sholde nat semen to us, that god is elder thanne

thinges that ben y-maked by quantitee of tyme, but rather by

the propretee of his simple nature. For this ilke infinit moevinge

of temporel thinges folweth this presentarie estat of lyf unmoevable;


and so as it ne may nat countrefeten it ne feynen it ne be evenlyke

to it for the inmoevabletee, that is to seyn, that is in the

eternitee of god, it faileth and falleth in-to moevinge fro the simplicitee

of the presence of god, and disencreseth in-to the infinit

quantitee of future and of preterit: and so as it ne may nat han


to-gider al the plentee of the lyf, algates yit, for as moche as it

ne ceseth never for to ben in som maner, it semeth som-del to us,

that it folweth and resembleth thilke thing that it ne may nat

atayne to ne fulfillen, and bindeth it-self to som maner presence

of this litel and swifte moment: the which presence of this litel


and swifte moment, for that it bereth a maner image or lyknesse

of the ay-dwellinge presence of god, it graunteth, to swiche maner

thinges as it bitydeth to, that it semeth hem as thise thinges han

y-ben, and ben.

And, for that the presence of swich litel moment ne may nat


dwelle, ther-for it ravisshed and took the infinit wey of tyme, that

is to seyn, by successioun; and by this maner is it y-doon, for that

it sholde continue the lyf in goinge, of the whiche lyf it ne mighte

nat enbrace the plentee in dwellinge. And for-thy, yif we wollen

putten worthy names to thinges, and folwen Plato, lat us seye


thanne soothly, that god is eterne, and the world is perpetuel.

Thanne, sin that every Iugement knoweth and comprehendeth by

his owne nature thinges that ben subiect un-to him, ther is soothly

to god, al-weys, an eterne and presentarie estat; and the science

of him, that over-passeth al temporel moevement, dwelleth in the


simplicitee of his presence, and embraceth and considereth alle

the infinit spaces of tymes, preterits and futures, and loketh, in

his simple knowinge, alle thinges of preterit right as they weren

y-doon presently right now. Yif thou wolt thanne thenken and

avyse the prescience, by which it knoweth alle thinges, thou ne


shal nat demen it as prescience of thinges to comen, but thou

shalt demen it more rightfully that it is science of presence or of

{148}instaunce, that never ne faileth. For which it nis nat y-cleped

"previdence," but it sholde rather ben cleped "purviaunce," that

is establisshed ful fer fro right lowe thinges, and biholdeth from


a-fer alle thinges, right as it were fro the heye heighte of thinges.

Why axestow thanne, or why desputestow thanne, that thilke

thinges ben doon by necessitee whiche that ben y-seyn and

knowen by the devyne sighte, sin that, forsothe, men ne maken

nat thilke thinges necessarie which that they seen ben y-doon in


hir sighte? For addeth thy biholdinge any necessitee to thilke

thinges that thou biholdest presente?'

'Nay,' quod I.

Philosophie. 'Certes, thanne, if men mighte maken any digne

comparisoun or collacioun of the presence devyne and of the


presence of mankinde, right so as ye seen some thinges in this

temporel present, right so seeth god alle thinges by his eterne

present. Wher-fore this devyne prescience ne chaungeth nat the

nature ne the propretee of thinges, but biholdeth swiche thinges

present to him-ward as they shullen bityde to yow-ward in tyme


to comen. Ne it confoundeth nat the Iugement of thinges; but

by o sighte of his thought, he knoweth the thinges to comen, as

wel necessarie as nat necessarie. Right so as whan ye seen

to-gider a man walken on the erthe and the sonne arysen in

the hevene, al-be-it so that ye seen and biholden that oon and


that other to-gider, yit natheles ye demen and discernen that that

oon is voluntarie and that other necessarie. Right so thanne the

devyne lookinge, biholdinge alle thinges under him, ne troubleth

nat the qualitee of thinges that ben certeinly present to him-ward;

but, as to the condicioun of tyme, forsothe, they ben future. For


which it folweth, that this nis noon opinioun, but rather a stedefast

knowinge, y-strengthed by soothnesse, that, whanne that god

knoweth anything to be, he ne unwot nat that thilke thing wanteth

necessitee to be; this is to seyn, that, whan that god knoweth any

thing to bityde, he wot wel that it ne hath no necessitee to bityde.


And yif thou seyst heer, that thilke thing that god seeth to

bityde, it ne may nat unbityde (as who seith, it mot bityde), and

{149}thilke thing that ne may nat unbityde it mot bityde by necessitee,

and that thou streyne me by this name of necessitee: certes,

I wol wel confessen and biknowe a thing of ful sad trouthe, but


unnethe shal ther any wight mowe seen it or come ther-to, but-yif

that he be biholder of the devyne thoght. For I wol answeren

thee thus: that thilke thing that is future, whan it is referred

to the devyne knowinge, thanne is it necessarie; but certes, whan it

is understonden in his owne kinde, men seen it is outrely free,


and absolut fro alle necessitee.

For certes, ther ben two maneres of necessitee. That oon

necessitee is simple, as thus: that it bihoveth by necessitee, that

alle men be mortal or deedly. Another necessitee is conditionel,

as thus: yif thou wost that a man walketh, it bihoveth by necessitee


that he walke. Thilke thing thanne that any wight hath y-knowe

to be, it ne may ben non other weyes thanne he knoweth it to be.

But this condicioun ne draweth nat with hir thilke necessitee

simple. For certes, this necessitee conditionel, the propre nature

of it ne maketh it nat, but the adieccioun of the condicioun


maketh it. For no necessitee ne constreyneth a man to gon,

that goth by his propre wil; al-be-it so that, whan he goth,

that it is necessarie that he goth. Right on this same maner

thanne, yif that the purviaunce of god seeth any thing present,

than mot thilke thing ben by necessitee, al-thogh that it ne have


no necessitee of his owne nature. But certes, the futures that

bityden by freedom of arbitre, god seeth hem alle to-gider present.

Thise thinges thanne, yif they ben referred to the devyne sighte,

thanne ben they maked necessarie by the condicioun of the

devyne knowinge. But certes, yif thilke thinges be considered


by hem-self, they ben absolut of necessitee, and ne forleten nat ne

cesen nat of the libertee of hir owne nature. Thanne, certes,

with-oute doute, alle the thinges shollen ben doon which that

god wot biforn that they ben to comen. But som of hem comen

and bityden of free arbitre or of free wille, that, al-be-it so that


they bityden, yit algates ne lese they nat hir propre nature in

beinge; by the which first, or that they weren y-doon, they

hadden power nat to han bitid.'

Boece. 'What is this to seyn thanne,' quod I, 'that thinges ne

{150}ben nat necessarie by hir propre nature, so as they comen in alle


maneres in the lyknesse of necessitee by the condicioun of the

devyne science?'

Philosophie. 'This is the difference,' quod she; 'that tho

thinges that I purposede thee a litel heer-biforn, that is to seyn,

the sonne arysinge and the man walkinge, that, ther-whyles that


thilke thinges been y-doon, they ne mighte nat ben undoon;

natheles, that oon of hem, or it was y-doon, it bihoved by necessitee

that it was y-doon, but nat that other. Right so is it

here, that the thinges that god hath present, with-oute doute they

shollen been. But som of hem descendeth of the nature of


thinges, as the sonne arysinge; and som descendeth of the power

of the doeres, as the man walkinge. Thanne seide I no wrong,

that yif these thinges ben referred to the devyne knowinge, thanne

ben they necessarie; and yif they ben considered by hem-self,

thanne ben they absolut fro the bond of necessitee. Right so as


alle thinges that apereth or sheweth to the wittes, yif thou referre

it to resoun, it is universel; and yif thou referre it or loke it

to it-self, than is it singuler. But now, yif thou seyst thus, that

yif it be in my power to chaunge my purpos, than shal I voide the

purviaunce of god, whan that, peraventure, I shal han chaunged


the thinges that he knoweth biforn, thanne shal I answere thee

thus. Certes, thou mayst wel chaunge thy purpos; but, for as

mochel as the present soothnesse of the devyne purviaunce biholdeth

that thou mayst chaunge thy purpos, and whether thou

wolt chaunge it or no, and whiderward that thou torne it, thou ne


mayst nat eschuen the devyne prescience; right as thou ne mayst

nat fleen the sighte of the presente eye, al-though that thou torne

thy-self by thy free wil in-to dyverse acciouns. But thou mayst

seyn ayein: "How shal it thanne be? Shal nat the devyne

science be chaunged by my disposicioun, whan that I wol o thing


now, and now another? And thilke prescience, ne semeth it nat

to entrechaunge stoundes of knowinge;"' as who seith, ne shal it

nat seme to us, that the devyne prescience entrechaungeth hise dyverse

stoundes of knowinge, so that it knowe sum-tyme o thing and sum-tyme

the contrarie of that thing?


{151}'No, forsothe,' quod I.

Philosophie. 'For the devyne sighte renneth to-forn and seeth alle

futures, and clepeth hem ayein, and retorneth hem to the presence

of his propre knowinge; ne he ne entrechaungeth nat, so as thou

wenest, the stoundes of forknowinge, as now this, now that; but


he ay-dwellinge comth biforn, and embraceth at o strook alle thy

mutaciouns. And this presence to comprehenden and to seen

alle thinges, god ne hath nat taken it of the bitydinge of thinges

to come, but of his propre simplicitee. And her-by is assoiled

thilke thing that thou puttest a litel her-biforn, that is to seyn,


that it is unworthy thing to seyn, that our futures yeven cause of

the science of god. For certes, this strengthe of the devyne

science, which that embraceth alle thinges by his presentarie

knowinge, establissheth maner to alle thinges, and it ne oweth

naught to latter thinges; and sin that these thinges ben thus,


that is to seyn, sin that necessitee nis nat in thinges by the devyne

prescience, than is ther freedom of arbitre, that dwelleth hool and

unwemmed to mortal men. Ne the lawes ne purposen nat

wikkedly medes and peynes to the willinges of men that ben

unbounden and quite of alle necessitee. And god, biholder and


for-witer of alle thinges, dwelleth above; and the present eternitee

of his sighte renneth alwey with the dyverse qualitee of oure

dedes, despensinge and ordeyninge medes to goode men, and

torments to wikked men. Ne in ydel ne in veyn ne ben ther nat

put in god hope and preyeres, that ne mowen nat ben unspeedful


ne with-oute effect, whan they ben rightful.

Withstond thanne and eschue thou vyces; worshipe and love

thou virtues; areys thy corage to rightful hopes; yilde thou

humble preyeres a-heigh. Gret necessitee of prowesse and vertu

is encharged and commaunded to yow, yif ye nil nat dissimulen;


sin that ye worken and doon, that is to seyn, your dedes or your

workes, biforn the eyen of the Iuge that seeth and demeth alle

thinges.' To whom be glorye and worshipe by infinit tymes. Amen.

Pr. VI. 1, 2. C. alle thinges; A. Ed. al thing (Lat. omne). 6. A. om. eek. 12. A. om. the. // C. alle; A. al. 16. A. the morwe. 17. A. that (for the tyme). 18. A. this (for the). 20. A. om. it. 22. C. strechched. 25. A. braceth. 30. C. preterite; A. preterit. 31. C. I-witnesshed; A. ywitnessed. // C. and; A. or. 34. A. plesaunce; C. pleasaunce. 35. A. infinit. 41. A. it (for that). 43. A. embracen. 49. A. of the lijf. 53. A. om. the. // C. in-to; A. to. 58. A. presence; C. presensse. 64. A. om. that. 65. A. om. it. // C. Infynyte; A. infinit. 73. A. alwey to god. 78. C. thinken; A. thenke. 81. A. om. it. 83. A. prouidence; C. puruydence (glossed prouidentia); but see note. 86. A. disputest thou. 88. A. yknowen. 101. C. o; Ed. one; A. of (!); Lat. unoque. 104. A. om. the. 106. A. om. the. 110. C. stidefast; A. stedfast. 116. A. bitide; C. bide (miswritten; 2nd time). 120. A. om. mowe. 124. A. om. is. 134. A. nauȝt (for nat). 135, 6. A. om. gon that. 141. A. presentz. 142. A. om. yif. 143. C. by; A. to (Lat. per). 149. A. om. 1st free. 150. C. in; A. ne (wrongly). 161. A. byhoued; Ed. behoueth; C. houyd (!). 169. A. om. as. 170. Ed. apereth; C. apiereth; A. appiereth. 178. C. wheyther; A. whethir. 179. A. om. ne. 186. A. knowynges (Lat. noscendi). 189. Ed. of that thing; C. A. om. 190. Ed. quod she (for quod I; wrongly). 193. A. om. so. 194. A. om. as. 203. A. awith nat. 205, 6. C. om. that is ... prescience; Ed. and A. have it. 213. C. torment; A. tourmentz (supplicia). 214. A. nat; Ed. not; C. ne. 216. C. withston (sic). 218. A. an heyȝe. 222. C. To whom be goye (sic) and worshipe bi Infynyt tymes. AMEN; which A. Ed. (perhaps rightly) omit.




1. The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen,

That was the king Priamus sone of Troye,

In lovinge, how his aventures fellen

Fro wo to wele, and after out of Ioye,


My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye.

Thesiphone, thou help me for tendyte

Thise woful vers, that wepen as I wryte!

2. To thee clepe I, thou goddesse of torment,

Thou cruel Furie, sorwing ever in peyne;


Help me, that am the sorwful instrument

That helpeth lovers, as I can, to pleyne!

For wel sit it, the sothe for to seyne,

A woful wight to han a drery fere,

And, to a sorwful tale, a sory chere.


3. For I, that god of Loves servaunts serve,

Ne dar to Love, for myn unlyklinesse,

Preyen for speed, al sholde I therfor sterve,

So fer am I fro his help in derknesse;

But nathelees, if this may doon gladnesse


To any lover, and his cause avayle,

Have he my thank, and myn be this travayle!

{154}4. But ye loveres, that bathen in gladnesse,

If any drope of pitee in yow be,

Remembreth yow on passed hevinesse


That ye han felt, and on the adversitee

Of othere folk, and thenketh how that ye

Han felt that Love dorste yow displese;

Or ye han wonne him with to greet an ese.

5. And preyeth for hem that ben in the cas


Of Troilus, as ye may after here,

That love hem bringe in hevene to solas,

And eek for me preyeth to god so dere,

That I have might to shewe, in som manere,

Swich peyne and wo as Loves folk endure,


In Troilus unsely aventure.

6. And biddeth eek for hem that been despeyred

In love, that never nil recovered be,

And eek for hem that falsly been apeyred

Thorugh wikked tonges, be it he or she;


Thus biddeth god, for his benignitee,

To graunte hem sone out of this world to pace,

That been despeyred out of Loves grace.

7. And biddeth eek for hem that been at ese,

That god hem graunte ay good perseveraunce,


And sende hem might hir ladies so to plese,

That it to Love be worship and plesaunce.

For so hope I my soule best avaunce,

To preye for hem that Loves servaunts be,

And wryte hir wo, and live in charitee.


8. And for to have of hem compassioun

As though I were hir owene brother dere.

Now herkeneth with a gode entencioun,

For now wol I gon streight to my matere,

In whiche ye may the double sorwes here


Of Troilus, in loving of Criseyde,

And how that she forsook him er she deyde.

{155}9. It is wel wist, how that the Grekes stronge

In armes with a thousand shippes wente

To Troyewardes, and the citee longe


Assegeden neigh ten yeer er they stente,

And, in diverse wyse and oon entente,

The ravisshing to wreken of Eleyne,

By Paris doon, they wroughten al hir peyne.

10. Now fil it so, that in the toun ther was


Dwellinge a lord of greet auctoritee,

A gret devyn that cleped was Calkas,

That in science so expert was, that he

Knew wel that Troye sholde destroyed be,

By answere of his god, that highte thus,


Daun Phebus or Apollo Delphicus.

11. So whan this Calkas knew by calculinge,

And eek by answere of this Appollo,

That Grekes sholden swich a peple bringe,

Thorugh which that Troye moste been for-do,


He caste anoon out of the toun to go;

For wel wiste he, by sort, that Troye sholde

Destroyed been, ye, wolde who-so nolde.

12. For which, for to departen softely

Took purpos ful this forknowinge wyse,


And to the Grekes ost ful prively

He stal anoon; and they, in curteys wyse,

Him deden bothe worship and servyse,

In trust that he hath conning hem to rede

In every peril which that is to drede.


13. The noyse up roos, whan it was first aspyed,

Thorugh al the toun, and generally was spoken,

That Calkas traytor fled was, and allyed

With hem of Grece; and casten to ben wroken

On him that falsly hadde his feith so broken;


{156}And seyden, he and al his kin at ones

Ben worthy for to brennen, fel and bones.

14. Now hadde Calkas left, in this meschaunce,

Al unwist of this false and wikked dede,

His doughter, which that was in gret penaunce,


For of hir lyf she was ful sore in drede,

As she that niste what was best to rede;

For bothe a widowe was she, and allone

Of any freend, to whom she dorste hir mone.

15. Criseyde was this lady name a-right;


As to my dome, in al Troyes citee

Nas noon so fair, for passing every wight

So aungellyk was hir natyf beautee,

That lyk a thing inmortal semed she,

As doth an hevenish parfit creature,


That doun were sent in scorning of nature.

16. This lady, which that al-day herde at ere

Hir fadres shame, his falsnesse and tresoun,

Wel nigh out of hir wit for sorwe and fere,

In widewes habit large of samit broun,


On knees she fil biforn Ector a-doun;

With pitous voys, and tendrely wepinge,

His mercy bad, hir-selven excusinge.

17. Now was this Ector pitous of nature,

And saw that she was sorwfully bigoon,


And that she was so fair a creature;

Of his goodnesse he gladed hir anoon,

And seyde, 'lat your fadres treson goon

Forth with mischaunce, and ye your-self, in Ioye,

Dwelleth with us, whyl you good list, in Troye.


18. And al thonour that men may doon yow have,

As ferforth as your fader dwelled here,

Ye shul han, and your body shal men save,

As fer as I may ought enquere or here.'

And she him thonked with ful humble chere,


{157}And ofter wolde, and it hadde ben his wille,

And took hir leve, and hoom, and held hir stille.

19. And in hir hous she abood with swich meynee

As to hir honour nede was to holde;

And whyl she was dwellinge in that citee,


Kepte hir estat, and bothe of yonge and olde

Ful wel beloved, and wel men of hir tolde.

But whether that she children hadde or noon,

I rede it nought; therfore I lete it goon.

20. The thinges fellen, as they doon of werre,


Bitwixen hem of Troye and Grekes ofte;

For som day boughten they of Troye it derre,

And eft the Grekes founden no thing softe

The folk of Troye; and thus fortune on-lofte,

And under eft, gan hem to wheelen bothe


After hir cours, ay whyl they were wrothe.

21. But how this toun com to destruccioun

Ne falleth nought to purpos me to telle;

For it were here a long disgressioun

Fro my matere, and yow to longe dwelle.


But the Troyane gestes, as they felle,

In Omer, or in Dares, or in Dyte,

Who-so that can, may rede hem as they wryte.

22. But though that Grekes hem of Troye shetten,

And hir citee bisegede al a-boute,


Hir olde usage wolde they not letten,

As for to honoure hir goddes ful devoute;

But aldermost in honour, out of doute,

They hadde a relik hight Palladion,

That was hir trist a-boven everichon.


{158}23. And so bifel, whan comen was the tyme

Of Aperil, whan clothed is the mede

With newe grene, of lusty Ver the pryme,

And swote smellen floures whyte and rede,

In sondry wyses shewed, as I rede,


The folk of Troye hir observaunces olde,

Palladiones feste for to holde.

24. And to the temple, in al hir beste wyse,

In general, ther wente many a wight,

To herknen of Palladion the servyse;


And namely, so many a lusty knight,

So many a lady fresh and mayden bright,

Ful wel arayed, bothe moste and leste,

Ye, bothe for the seson and the feste.

25. Among thise othere folk was Criseyda,


In widewes habite blak; but nathelees,

Right as our firste lettre is now an A,

In beautee first so stood she, makelees;

Hir godly looking gladede al the prees.

Nas never seyn thing to ben preysed derre,


Nor under cloude blak so bright a sterre

26. As was Criseyde, as folk seyde everichoon

That hir bihelden in hir blake wede;

And yet she stood ful lowe and stille alloon,

Bihinden othere folk, in litel brede,


And neigh the dore, ay under shames drede,

Simple of a-tyr, and debonaire of chere,

With ful assured loking and manere.

27. This Troilus, as he was wont to gyde

{159}His yonge knightes, ladde hem up and doun


In thilke large temple on every syde,

Biholding ay the ladyes of the toun,

Now here, now there, for no devocioun

Hadde he to noon, to reven him his reste,

But gan to preyse and lakken whom him leste.


28. And in his walk ful fast he gan to wayten

If knight or squyer of his companye

Gan for to syke, or lete his eyen bayten

On any woman that he coude aspye;

He wolde smyle, and holden it folye,


And seye him thus, 'god wot, she slepeth softe

For love of thee, whan thou tornest ful ofte!

29. 'I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge,

Ye lovers, and your lewede observaunces,

And which a labour folk han in winninge


Of love, and, in the keping, which doutaunces;

And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces;

O verrey foles! nyce and blinde be ye;

Ther nis not oon can war by other be.'

30. And with that word he gan cast up the browe,


Ascaunces, 'lo! is this nought wysly spoken?'

At which the god of love gan loken rowe

Right for despyt, and shoop for to ben wroken;

He kidde anoon his bowe nas not broken;

For sodeynly he hit him at the fulle;


And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle.

31. O blinde world, O blinde entencioun!

How ofte falleth al theffect contraire

Of surquidrye and foul presumpcioun;

For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire.


This Troilus is clomben on the staire,

{160}And litel weneth that he moot descenden.

But al-day falleth thing that foles ne wenden.

32. As proude Bayard ginneth for to skippe

Out of the wey, so priketh him his corn,


Til he a lash have of the longe whippe,

Than thenketh he, 'though I praunce al biforn

First in the trays, ful fat and newe shorn,

Yet am I but an hors, and horses lawe

I moot endure, and with my feres drawe.'


33. So ferde it by this fers and proude knight;

Though he a worthy kinges sone were,

And wende no-thing hadde had swiche might

Ayens his wil that sholde his herte stere,

Yet with a look his herte wex a-fere,


That he, that now was most in pryde above,

Wex sodeynly most subget un-to love.

34. For-thy ensample taketh of this man,

Ye wyse, proude, and worthy folkes alle,

To scornen Love, which that so sone can


The freedom of your hertes to him thralle;

For ever it was, and ever it shal bifalle,

That Love is he that alle thing may binde;

For may no man for-do the lawe of kinde.

35. That this be sooth, hath preved and doth yet;


For this trowe I ye knowen, alle or some,

Men reden not that folk han gretter wit

Than they that han be most with love y-nome;

And strengest folk ben therwith overcome,

The worthiest and grettest of degree;


This was, and is, and yet men shal it see.

36. And trewelich it sit wel to be so;

{161}For alderwysest han ther-with ben plesed;

And they that han ben aldermost in wo,

With love han ben conforted most and esed;


And ofte it hath the cruel herte apesed,

And worthy folk maad worthier of name,

And causeth most to dreden vyce and shame.

37. Now sith it may not goodly be withstonde,

And is a thing so vertuous in kinde,


Refuseth not to Love for to be bonde,

Sin, as him-selven list, he may yow binde.

The yerde is bet that bowen wole and winde

Than that that brest; and therfor I yow rede

To folwen him that so wel can yow lede.


38. But for to tellen forth in special

As of this kinges sone of which I tolde,

And leten other thing collateral,

Of him thenke I my tale for to holde,

Bothe of his Ioye, and of his cares colde;


And al his werk, as touching this matere,

For I it gan, I wil ther-to refere.

39. With-inne the temple he wente him forth pleyinge,

This Troilus, of every wight aboute,

On this lady and now on that lokinge,


Wher-so she were of toune, or of with-oute:

And up-on cas bifel, that thorugh a route

His eye perced, and so depe it wente,

Til on Criseyde it smoot, and ther it stente.

40. And sodeynly he wex ther-with astoned,


And gan hire bet biholde in thrifty wyse:

'O mercy, god!' thoughte he, 'wher hastow woned,

That art so fair and goodly to devyse?'

{162}Ther-with his herte gan to sprede and ryse,

And softe sighed, lest men mighte him here,


And caughte a-yein his firste pleyinge chere.

41. She nas not with the leste of hir stature,

But alle hir limes so wel answeringe

Weren to womanhode, that creature

Was neuer lasse mannish in seminge.


And eek the pure wyse of here meninge

Shewede wel, that men might in hir gesse

Honour, estat, and wommanly noblesse.

42. To Troilus right wonder wel with-alle

Gan for to lyke hir mening and hir chere,


Which somdel deynous was, for she leet falle

Hir look a lite a-side, in swich manere,

Ascaunces, 'what! may I not stonden here?'

And after that hir loking gan she lighte,

That never thoughte him seen so good a sighte.


43. And of hir look in him ther gan to quiken

So greet desir, and swich affeccioun,

That in his hertes botme gan to stiken

Of hir his fixe and depe impressioun:

And though he erst hadde poured up and doun,


He was tho glad his hornes in to shrinke;

Unnethes wiste he how to loke or winke.

44. Lo, he that leet him-selven so konninge,

And scorned hem that loves peynes dryen,

Was ful unwar that love hadde his dwellinge


With-inne the subtile stremes of hir yn;

That sodeynly him thoughte he felte dyen,

Right with hir look, the spirit in his herte;

Blessed be love, that thus can folk converte!

{163}45. She, this in blak, lykinge to Troylus,


Over alle thyng he stood for to biholde;

Ne his desir, ne wherfor he stood thus,

He neither chere made, ne worde tolde;

But from a-fer, his maner for to holde,

On other thing his look som-tyme he caste,


And eft on hir, whyl that servyse laste.

46. And after this, not fulliche al awhaped,

Out of the temple al esiliche he wente,

Repentinge him that he hadde ever y-iaped

Of loves folk, lest fully the descente


Of scorn fille on him-self; but, what he mente,

Lest it were wist on any maner syde,

His wo he gan dissimulen and hyde.

47. Whan he was fro the temple thus departed,

He streyght anoon un-to his paleys torneth,


Right with hir look thurgh-shoten and thurgh-darted,

Al feyneth he in lust that he soiorneth;

And al his chere and speche also he borneth;

And ay, of loves servants every whyle,

Him-self to wrye, at hem he gan to smyle.


48. And seyde, 'lord, so ye live al in lest,

Ye loveres! for the conningest of yow,

That serveth most ententiflich and best,

Him tit as often harm ther-of as prow;

Your hyre is quit ayein, ye, god wot how!


Nought wel for wel, but scorn for good servyse;

In feith, your ordre is ruled in good wyse!

49. In noun-certeyn ben alle your observaunces,

But it a sely fewe poyntes be;

Ne no-thing asketh so grete attendaunces


{164}As doth your lay, and that knowe alle ye;

But that is not the worste, as mote I thee;

But, tolde I yow the worste poynt, I leve,

Al seyde I sooth, ye wolden at me greve!

50. But tak this, that ye loveres ofte eschuwe,


Or elles doon of good entencioun,

Ful ofte thy lady wole it misconstrue,

And deme it harm in hir opinioun;

And yet if she, for other enchesoun,

Be wrooth, than shalt thou han a groyn anoon:


Lord! wel is him that may be of yow oon!'

51. But for al this, whan that he say his tyme,

He held his pees, non other bote him gayned;

For love bigan his fetheres so to lyme,

That wel unnethe un-to his folk he feyned


That othere besye nedes him destrayned;

For wo was him, that what to doon he niste,

But bad his folk to goon wher that hem liste.

52. And whan that he in chaumbre was allone,

He doun up-on his beddes feet him sette,


And first he gan to syke, and eft to grone,

And thoughte ay on hir so, with-outen lette,

That, as he sat and wook, his spirit mette

That he hir saw a temple, and al the wyse

Right of hir loke, and gan it newe avyse.


53. Thus gan he make a mirour of his minde,

In which he saugh al hoolly hir figure;

And that he wel coude in his herte finde,

It was to him a right good aventure

To love swich oon, and if he dide his cure


To serven hir, yet mighte he falle in grace,

Or elles, for oon of hir servaunts pace.

54. Imagininge that travaille nor grame

{165}Ne mighte, for so goodly oon, be lorn

As she, ne him for his desir ne shame,


Al were it wist, but in prys and up-born

Of alle lovers wel more than biforn;

Thus argumented he in his ginninge,

Ful unavysed of his wo cominge.

55. Thus took he purpos loves craft to suwe,


And thoughte he wolde werken prively,

First, to hyden his desir in muwe

From every wight y-born, al-outrely,

But he mighte ought recovered be therby;

Remembring him, that love to wyde y-blowe


Yelt bittre fruyt, though swete seed be sowe.

56. And over al this, yet muchel more he thoughte

What for to speke, and what to holden inne,

And what to arten hir to love he soughte,

And on a song anoon-right to biginne,


And gan loude on his sorwe for to winne;

For with good hope he gan fully assente

Criseyde for to love, and nought repente.

57. And of his song nought only the sentence,

As writ myn autour called Lollius,


But pleynly, save our tonges difference,

I dar wel sayn, in al that Troilus

Seyde in his song; lo! every word right thus

As I shal seyn; and who-so list it here,

Lo! next this vers, he may it finden here.

Cantus Troili.


58. 'If no love is, O god, what fele I so?

And if love is, what thing and whiche is he!

{166}If love be good, from whennes comth my wo?

If it be wikke, a wonder thinketh me,

Whenne every torment and adversitee


That cometh of him, may to me savory thinke;

For ay thurst I, the more that I it drinke.

59. And if that at myn owene lust I brenne,

Fro whennes cometh my wailing and my pleynte?

If harme agree me, wher-to pleyne I thenne?


I noot, ne why unwery that I feynte.

O quike deeth, o swete harm so queynte,

How may of thee in me swich quantitee,

But-if that I consente that it be?

60. And if that I consente, I wrongfully


Compleyne, y-wis; thus possed to and fro,

Al sterelees with-inne a boot am I

A-mid the see, by-twixen windes two,

That in contrarie stonden ever-mo.

Allas! what is this wonder maladye?


For hete of cold, for cold of hete, I deye.'

61. And to the god of love thus seyde he

With pitous voys, 'O lord, now youres is

My spirit, which that oughte youres be.

Yow thanke I, lord, that han me brought to this;


But whether goddesse or womman, y-wis,

She be, I noot, which that ye do me serve;

But as hir man I wole ay live and sterve.

62. Ye stonden in hire eyen mightily,

As in a place un-to your vertu digne;


Wherfore, lord, if my servyse or I

{167}May lyke yow, so beth to me benigne;

For myn estat royal here I resigne

In-to hir hond, and with ful humble chere

Bicome hir man, as to my lady dere.'


63. In him ne deyned sparen blood royal

The fyr of love, wher-fro god me blesse,

Ne him forbar in no degree, for al

His vertu or his excellent prowesse;

But held him as his thral lowe in distresse,


And brende him so in sondry wyse ay newe,

That sixty tyme a day he loste his hewe.

64. So muche, day by day, his owene thought,

For lust to hir, gan quiken and encrese,

That every other charge he sette at nought;


For-thy ful ofte, his hote fyr to cese,

To seen hir goodly look he gan to prese;

For ther-by to ben esed wel he wende,

And ay the ner he was, the more he brende.

65. For ay the ner the fyr, the hotter is,


This, trowe I, knoweth al this companye.

But were he fer or neer, I dar seye this,

By night or day, for wysdom or folye,

His herte, which that is his brestes y,

Was ay on hir, that fairer was to sene


Than ever was Eleyne or Polixene.

66. Eek of the day ther passed nought an houre

That to him-self a thousand tyme he seyde,

'Good goodly, to whom serve I and laboure,

As I best can, now wolde god, Criseyde,


Ye wolden on me rewe er that I deyde!

My dere herte, allas! myn hele and hewe

And lyf is lost, but ye wole on me rewe.'

{168}67. Alle othere dredes weren from him fledde,

Bothe of the assege and his savacioun;


Ne in him desyr noon othere fownes bredde

But arguments to this conclusioun,

That she on him wolde han compassioun,

And he to be hir man, whyl he may dure;

Lo, here his lyf, and from the deeth his cure!


68. The sharpe shoures felle of armes preve,

That Ector or his othere bretheren diden,

Ne made him only ther-fore ones meve;

And yet was he, wher-so men wente or riden,

Founde oon the best, and lengest tyme abiden


Ther peril was, and dide eek such travayle

In armes, that to thenke it was mervayle.

69. But for non hate he to the Grekes hadde,

Ne also for the rescous of the toun,

Ne made him thus in armes for to madde,


But only, lo, for this conclusioun,

To lyken hir the bet for his renoun;

Fro day to day in armes so he spedde,

That alle the Grekes as the deeth him dredde.

70. And fro this forth tho refte him love his sleep,


And made his mete his foo; and eek his sorwe

Gan multiplye, that, who-so toke keep,

It shewed in his hewe, bothe eve and morwe;

Therfor a title he gan him for to borwe

Of other syknesse, lest of him men wende


That the hote fyr of love him brende.

71. And seyde, he hadde a fever and ferde amis;

But how it was, certayn, can I not seye,

If that his lady understood not this,

Or feyned hir she niste, oon of the tweye;


But wel I rede that, by no maner weye,

{169}Ne semed it [as] that she of him roughte,

Nor of his peyne, or what-so-ever he thoughte.

72. But than fel to this Troylus such wo,

That he was wel neigh wood; for ay his drede


Was this, that she som wight had loved so,

That never of him she wolde have taken hede;

For whiche him thoughte he felte his herte blede.

Ne of his wo ne dorste he not biginne

To tellen it, for al this world to winne.


73. But whanne he hadde a space fro his care,

Thus to him-self ful ofte he gan to pleyne;

He sayde, 'O fool, now art thou in the snare,

That whilom Iapedest at loves peyne;

Now artow hent, now gnaw thyn owene cheyne;


Thou were ay wont eche lovere reprehende

Of thing fro which thou canst thee nat defende.

74. What wole now every lover seyn of thee,

If this be wist, but ever in thyn absence

Laughen in scorn, and seyn, "lo, ther gooth he,


That is the man of so gret sapience,

That held us loveres leest in reverence!

Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce

Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce!

75. But, O thou woful Troilus, god wolde,


Sin thow most loven thurgh thy destinee,

That thow beset were on swich oon that sholde

Knowe al thy wo, al lakkede hir pitee:

But al so cold in love, towardes thee,

Thy lady is, as frost in winter mone,


And thou fordoon, as snow in fyr is sone."

76. God wolde I were aryved in the port

{170}Of deeth, to which my sorwe wil me lede!

A, lord, to me it were a greet comfort;

Then were I quit of languisshing in drede.


For by myn hidde sorwe y-blowe on brede

I shal bi-Iaped been a thousand tyme

More than that fool of whos folye men ryme.

77. But now help god, and ye, swete, for whom

I pleyne, y-caught, ye, never wight so faste!


O mercy, dere herte, and help me from

The deeth, for I, whyl that my lyf may laste,

More than my-self wol love yow to my laste.

And with som freendly look gladeth me, swete,

Though never more thing ye me bi-hete!'


78. This wordes and ful manye an-other to

He spak, and called ever in his compleynte

Hir name, for to tellen hir his wo,

Til neigh that he in salte teres dreynte.

Al was for nought, she herde nought his pleynte;


And whan that he bithoughte on that folye,

A thousand fold his wo gan multiplye.

79. Bi-wayling in his chambre thus allone,

A freend of his, that called was Pandare,

Com ones in unwar, and herde him grone,


And sey his freend in swich distresse and care:

'Allas!' quod he, 'who causeth al this fare?

O mercy, god! what unhap may this mene?

Han now thus sone Grekes maad yow lene?

80. Or hastow som remors of conscience,


And art now falle in som devocioun,

And waylest for thy sinne and thyn offence,

And hast for ferde caught attricioun?

God save hem that bi-seged han our toun,

{171}And so can leye our Iolyte on presse,


And bring our lusty folk to holinesse!'

81. These wordes seyde he for the nones alle,

That with swich thing he mighte him angry maken,

And with an angre don his sorwe falle,

As for the tyme, and his corage awaken;


But wel he wiste, as fer as tonges spaken,

Ther nas a man of gretter hardinesse

Than he, ne more desired worthinesse.

82. 'What cas,' quod Troilus, 'or what aventure

Hath gyded thee to see my languisshinge,


That am refus of euery creature?

But for the love of god, at my preyinge,

Go henne a-way, for certes, my deyinge

Wol thee disese, and I mot nedes deye;

Ther-for go wey, ther is no more to seye.


83. But if thou wene I be thus syk for drede,

It is not so, and ther-for scorne nought;

Ther is a-nother thing I take of hede

Wel more than ought the Grekes han y-wrought,

Which cause is of my deeth, for sorwe and thought.


But though that I now telle thee it ne leste,

Be thou nought wrooth, I hyde it for the beste.'

84. This Pandare, that neigh malt for wo and routhe,

Ful often seyde, 'allas! what may this be?

Now freend,' quod he, 'if ever love or trouthe


Hath been, or is, bi-twixen thee and me,

Ne do thou never swiche a crueltee

To hyde fro thy freend so greet a care;

Wostow nought wel that it am I, Pandare?

85. I wole parten with thee al thy peyne,


If it be so I do thee no comfort,

{172}As it is freendes right, sooth for to seyne,

To entreparten wo, as glad desport.

I have, and shal, for trewe or fals report,

In wrong and right y-loved thee al my lyve;


Hyd not thy wo fro me, but telle it blyve.'

86. Than gan this sorwful Troilus to syke,

And seyde him thus, 'god leve it be my beste

To telle it thee; for, sith it may thee lyke,

Yet wole I telle it, though myn herte breste;


And wel wot I thou mayst do me no reste.

But lest thow deme I truste not to thee,

Now herkne, freend, for thus it stant with me.

87. Love, a-yeins the which who-so defendeth

Him-selven most, him alder-lest avayleth,


With desespeir so sorwfully me offendeth,

That streyght un-to the deeth myn herte sayleth.

Ther-to desyr so brenningly me assaylleth,

That to ben slayn it were a gretter Ioye

To me than king of Grece been and Troye!


88. Suffiseth this, my fulle freend Pandare,

That I have seyd, for now wostow my wo;

And for the love of god, my colde care

So hyd it wel, I telle it never to mo;

For harmes mighte folwen, mo than two,


If it were wist; but be thou in gladnesse,

And lat me sterve, unknowe, of my distresse.'

89. 'How hastow thus unkindely and longe

Hid this fro me, thou fool?' quod Pandarus;

'Paraunter thou might after swich oon longe,


That myn avys anoon may helpen us.'

'This were a wonder thing,' quod Troylus,

'Thou coudest never in love thy-selven wisse;

How devel maystow bringen me to blisse?'

{173}90. 'Ye, Troilus, now herke,' quod Pandare,


'Though I be nyce; it happeth ofte so,

That oon that exces doth ful yvele fare,

By good counseyl can kepe his freend ther-fro.

I have my-self eek seyn a blind man go

Ther-as he fel that coude loke wyde;


A fool may eek a wys man ofte gyde.

91. A whetston is no kerving instrument,

And yet it maketh sharpe kerving-tolis.

And ther thow woost that I have ought miswent,

Eschewe thou that, for swich thing to thee scole is;


Thus ofte wyse men ben war by folis.

If thou do so, thy wit is wel biwared;

By his contrarie is every thing declared.

92. For how might ever sweetnesse have be knowe

To him that never tasted bitternesse?


Ne no man may be inly glad, I trowe,

That never was in sorwe or som distresse;

Eek whyt by blak, by shame eek worthinesse,

Ech set by other, more for other semeth;

As men may see; and so the wyse it demeth.


93. Sith thus of two contraries is a lore,

I, that have in love so ofte assayed

Grevaunces, oughte conne, and wel the more

Counsayllen thee of that thou art amayed.

Eek thee ne oughte nat ben yvel apayed,


Though I desyre with thee for to bere

Thyn hevy charge; it shal the lasse dere.

94. I woot wel that it fareth thus by me

As to thy brother Parys an herdesse,

Which that y-cleped was Onone,


{174}Wrot in a compleynt of hir hevinesse:

Ye say the lettre that she wroot, y gesse?'

Nay, never yet, y-wis,' quod Troilus.

'Now,' quod Pandare, 'herkneth; it was thus.—

95. "Phebus, that first fond art of medicyne,"


Quod she, "and coude in every wightes care

Remede and reed, by herbes he knew fyne,

Yet to him-self his conninge was ful bare;

For love hadde him so bounden in a snare,

Al for the doughter of the kinge Admete,


That al his craft ne coude his sorwe bete."—

96. Right so fare I, unhappily for me;

I love oon best, and that me smerteth sore;

And yet, paraunter, can I rede thee,

And not my-self; repreve me no more.


I have no cause, I woot wel, for to sore

As doth an hauk that listeth for to pleye,

But to thyn help yet somwhat can I seye.

97. And of o thing right siker maystow be,

That certayn, for to deyen in the peyne,


That I shal never-mo discoveren thee;

Ne, by my trouthe, I kepe nat restreyne

Thee fro thy love, thogh that it were Eleyne,

That is thy brotheres wyf, if ich it wiste;

Be what she be, and love hir as thee liste.


98. Therfore, as freend fullich in me assure,

And tel me plat what is thyn enchesoun,

And final cause of wo that ye endure;

{175}For douteth no-thing, myn entencioun

Nis nought to yow of reprehencioun,


To speke as now, for no wight may bireve

A man to love, til that him list to leve.

99. And witeth wel, that bothe two ben vyces,

Mistrusten alle, or elles alle leve;

But wel I woot, the mene of it no vyce is,


For for to trusten sum wight is a preve

Of trouthe, and for-thy wolde I fayn remeve

Thy wrong conceyte, and do thee som wight triste,

Thy wo to telle; and tel me, if thee liste.

100. The wyse seyth, "wo him that is allone,


For, and he falle, he hath noon help to ryse;"

And sith thou hast a felawe, tel thy mone;

For this nis not, certeyn, the nexte wyse

To winnen love, as techen us the wyse,

To walwe and wepe as Niobe the quene,


Whos teres yet in marbel been y-sene.

101. Lat be thy weping and thy drerinesse,

And lat us lissen wo with other speche;

So may thy woful tyme seme lesse.

Delyte not in wo thy wo to seche,


As doon thise foles that hir sorwes eche

With sorwe, whan they han misaventure,

And listen nought to seche hem other cure.

102. Men seyn, "to wrecche is consolacioun

To have an-other felawe in his peyne;"


That oughte wel ben our opinioun,

For, bothe thou and I, of love we pleyne;

So ful of sorwe am I, soth for to seyne,

That certeynly no more harde grace

May sitte on me, for-why ther is no space.


{176}103. If god wole thou art not agast of me,

Lest I wolde of thy lady thee bigyle,

Thow wost thy-self whom that I love, pardee,

As I best can, gon sithen longe whyle.

And sith thou wost I do it for no wyle,


And sith I am he that thou tristest most,

Tel me sumwhat, sin al my wo thou wost.'

104. Yet Troilus, for al this, no word seyde,

But longe he lay as stille as he ded were;

And after this with sykinge he abreyde,


And to Pandarus voys he lente his ere,

And up his eyen caste he, that in fere

Was Pandarus, lest that in frenesye

He sholde falle, or elles sone dye:

105. And cryde 'a-wake' ful wonderly and sharpe;


'What? slombrestow as in a lytargye?

Or artow lyk an asse to the harpe,

That hereth soun, whan men the strenges plye,

But in his minde of that no melodye

May sinken, him to glade, for that he


So dul is of his bestialitee?'

106. And with that Pandare of his wordes stente;

But Troilus yet him no word answerde,

For-why to telle nas not his entente

To never no man, for whom that he so ferde.


For it is seyd, 'man maketh ofte a yerde

With which the maker is him-self y-beten

In sondry maner,' as thise wyse treten,

107. And namely, in his counseyl tellinge

That toucheth love that oughte be secree;


For of him-self it wolde y-nough out-springe,

{177}But-if that it the bet governed be.

Eek som-tyme it is craft to seme flee

Fro thing which in effect men hunte faste;

Al this gan Troilus in his herte caste.


108. But nathelees, whan he had herd him crye

'Awake!' he gan to syke wonder sore,

And seyde, 'freend, though that I stille lye,

I am not deef; now pees, and cry no more;

For I have herd thy wordes and thy lore;


But suffre me my mischef to biwayle,

For thy proverbes may me nought avayle.

109. Nor other cure canstow noon for me.

Eek I nil not be cured, I wol deye;

What knowe I of the quene Niobe?


Lat be thyne olde ensaumples, I thee preye.'

'No,' quod tho Pandarus, 'therfore I seye,

Swich is delyt of foles to biwepe

Hir wo, but seken bote they ne kepe.

110. Now knowe I that ther reson in thee fayleth.


But tel me, if I wiste what she were

For whom that thee al this misaunter ayleth?

Dorstestow that I tolde hir in hir ere

Thy wo, sith thou darst not thy-self for fere,

And hir bisoughte on thee to han som routhe?'


'Why, nay,' quod he, 'by god and by my trouthe!'

111. 'What? not as bisily,' quod Pandarus,

'As though myn owene lyf lay on this nede?'

'No, certes, brother,' quod this Troilus.

'And why?'—'For that thou sholdest never spede.'


'Wostow that wel?'—'Ye, that is out of drede,'

Quod Troilus, 'for al that ever ye conne,

She nil to noon swich wrecche as I be wonne.'

{178}112. Quod Pandarus, 'allas! what may this be,

That thou despeyred art thus causelees?


What? liveth not thy lady? benedicite!

How wostow so that thou art gracelees?

Swich yvel is not alwey botelees.

Why, put not impossible thus thy cure,

Sin thing to come is ofte in aventure.


113. I graunte wel that thou endurest wo

As sharp as doth he, Ticius, in helle,

Whos stomak foules tyren ever-mo

That highte volturis, as bokes telle.

But I may not endure that thou dwelle


In so unskilful an opinioun

That of thy wo is no curacioun.

114. But ones niltow, for thy coward herte,

And for thyn ire and folish wilfulnesse,

For wantrust, tellen of thy sorwes smerte,


Ne to thyn owene help do bisinesse

As muche as speke a resoun more or lesse,

But lyest as he that list of no-thing recche.

What womman coude love swich a wrecche?

115. What may she demen other of thy deeth,


If thou thus deye, and she not why it is,

But that for fere is yolden up thy breeth,

For Grekes han biseged us, y-wis?

Lord, which a thank than shaltow han of this!

Thus wol she seyn, and al the toun at ones,


"The wrecche is deed, the devel have his bones!"

116. Thou mayst allone here wepe and crye and knele;

But, love a woman that she woot it nought,

{179}And she wol quyte that thou shalt not fele;

Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is un-sought.


What! many a man hath love ful dere y-bought

Twenty winter that his lady wiste,

That never yet his lady mouth he kiste.

117. What? shulde he therfor fallen in despeyr,

Or be recreaunt for his owene tene,


Or sleen him-self, al be his lady fayr?

Nay, nay, but ever in oon be fresh and grene

To serve and love his dere hertes quene,

And thenke it is a guerdoun hir to serve

A thousand-fold more than he can deserve.'


118. And of that word took hede Troilus,

And thoughte anoon what folye he was inne,

And how that sooth him seyde Pandarus,

That for to sleen him-self mighte he not winne,

But bothe doon unmanhod and a sinne,


And of his deeth his lady nought to wyte;

For of his wo, god woot, she knew ful lyte.

119. And with that thought he gan ful sore syke,

And seyde, 'allas! what is me best to do?'

To whom Pandare answerde, 'if thee lyke,


The best is that thou telle me thy wo;

And have my trouthe, but thou it finde so,

I be thy bote, or that it be ful longe,

To peces do me drawe, and sithen honge!'

120. 'Ye, so thou seyst,' quod Troilus tho, 'allas!


But, god wot, it is not the rather so;

Ful hard were it to helpen in this cas,

For wel finde I that Fortune is my fo,

Ne alle the men that ryden conne or go

{180}May of hir cruel wheel the harm withstonde;


For, as hir list, she pleyeth with free and bonde.'

121. Quod Pandarus, 'than blamestow Fortune

For thou art wrooth, ye, now at erst I see;

Wostow nat wel that Fortune is commune

To every maner wight in som degree?


And yet thou hast this comfort, lo, pardee!

That, as hir Ioyes moten over-goon,

So mote hir sorwes passen everichoon.

122. For if hir wheel stinte any-thing to torne,

Than cessed she Fortune anoon to be:


Now, sith hir wheel by no wey may soiorne,

What wostow if hir mutabilitee

Right as thy-selven list, wol doon by thee,

Or that she be not fer fro thyn helpinge?

Paraunter, thou hast cause for to singe!


123. And therfor wostow what I thee beseche?

Lat be thy wo and turning to the grounde;

For who-so list have helping of his leche,

To him bihoveth first unwrye his wounde.

To Cerberus in helle ay be I bounde,


Were it for my suster, al thy sorwe,

By my wil, she sholde al be thyn to-morwe.

124. Loke up, I seye, and tel me what she is

Anoon, that I may goon aboute thy nede;

Knowe ich hir ought? for my love, tel me this;


Than wolde I hopen rather for to spede.'

Tho gan the veyne of Troilus to blede,

For he was hit, and wex al reed for shame;

'A ha!' quod Pandare, 'here biginneth game!'

125. And with that word he gan him for to shake,


And seyde, 'theef, thou shalt hir name telle.'

{181}But tho gan sely Troilus for to quake

As though men sholde han lad him in-to helle,

And seyde, 'allas! of al my wo the welle,

Than is my swete fo called Criseyde!'


And wel nigh with the word for fere he deyde.

126. And whan that Pandare herde hir name nevene,

Lord, he was glad, and seyde, 'freend so dere,

Now fare a-right, for Ioves name in hevene,

Love hath biset the wel, be of good chere;


For of good name and wysdom and manere

She hath y-nough, and eek of gentilesse;

If she be fayr, thow wost thy-self, I gesse.

127. Ne I never saw a more bountevous

Of hir estat, ne a gladder, ne of speche


A freendlier, ne a more gracious

For to do wel, ne lasse hadde nede to seche

What for to doon; and al this bet to eche,

In honour, to as fer as she may strecche,

A kinges herte semeth by hires a wrecche.


128. And for-thy loke of good comfort thou be;

For certeinly, the firste poynt is this

Of noble corage and wel ordeyn,

A man to have pees with him-self, y-wis;

So oughtest thou, for nought but good it is


To loven wel, and in a worthy place;

Thee oughte not to clepe it hap, but grace.

129. And also thenk, and ther-with glade thee,

That sith thy lady vertuous is al,

So folweth it that ther is som pitee


Amonges alle thise othere in general;

And for-thy see that thou, in special,

{182}Requere nought that is ayein hir name;

For vertue streccheth not him-self to shame.

130. But wel is me that ever I was born,


That thou biset art in so good a place;

For by my trouthe, in love I dorste have sworn,

Thee sholde never han tid thus fayr a grace;

And wostow why? for thou were wont to chace

At love in scorn, and for despyt him calle


"Seynt Idiot, lord of thise foles alle."

131. How often hastow maad thy nyce Iapes,

And seyd, that loves servants everichone

Of nycetee ben verray goddes apes;

And some wolde monche hir mete alone,


Ligging a-bedde, and make hem for to grone;

And som, thou seydest, hadde a blaunche fevere,

And preydest god he sholde never kevere!

132. And some of hem toke on hem, for the colde,

More than y-nough, so seydestow ful ofte;


And some han feyned ofte tyme, and tolde

How that they wake, whan they slepen softe;

And thus they wolde han brought hem-self a-lofte,

And nathelees were under at the laste;

Thus seydestow, and Iapedest ful faste.


133. Yet seydestow, that, for the more part,

These loveres wolden speke in general,

And thoughten that it was a siker art,

For fayling, for to assayen over-al.

Now may I iape of thee, if that I shal!


But nathelees, though that I sholde deye,

That thou art noon of tho, that dorste I seye.

{183}134. Now beet thy brest, and sey to god of love,

"Thy grace, lord! for now I me repente

If I mis spak, for now my-self I love:"


Thus sey with al thyn herte in good entente.'

Quod Troilus, 'a! lord! I me consente,

And pray to thee my Iapes thou foryive,

And I shal never-more whyl I live.'

135. 'Thow seyst wel,' quod Pandare, 'and now I hope


That thou the goddes wraththe hast al apesed;

And sithen thou hast wepen many a drope,

And seyd swich thing wher-with thy god is plesed,

Now wolde never god but thou were esed;

And think wel, she of whom rist al thy wo


Here-after may thy comfort been al-so.

136. For thilke ground, that bereth the wedes wikke,

Bereth eek thise holsom herbes, as ful ofte

Next the foule netle, rough and thikke,

The rose waxeth swote and smothe and softe;


And next the valey is the hil a-lofte;

And next the derke night the glade morwe;

And also Ioye is next the fyn of sorwe.

137. Now loke that atempre be thy brydel,

And, for the beste, ay suffre to the tyde,


Or elles al our labour is on ydel;

He hasteth wel that wysly can abyde;

Be diligent, and trewe, and ay wel hyde.

Be lusty, free, persevere in thy servyse,

And al is wel, if thou werke in this wyse.


138. But he that parted is in every place

Is no-wher hool, as writen clerkes wyse;

{184}What wonder is, though swich oon have no grace?

Eek wostow how it fareth of som servyse?

As plaunte a tre or herbe, in sondry wyse,


And on the morwe pulle it up as blyve,

No wonder is, though it may never thryve.

139. And sith that god of love hath thee bistowed

In place digne un-to thy worthinesse,

Stond faste, for to good port hastow rowed;


And of thy-self, for any hevinesse,

Hope alwey wel; for, but-if drerinesse

Or over-haste our bothe labour shende,

I hope of this to maken a good ende.

140. And wostow why I am the lasse a-fered


Of this matere with my nece trete?

For this have I herd seyd of wyse y-lered,

"Was never man ne woman yet bigete

That was unapt to suffren loves hete

Celestial, or elles love of kinde;"


For-thy som grace I hope in hir to finde.

141. And for to speke of hir in special,

Hir beautee to bithinken and hir youthe,

It sit hir nought to be celestial

As yet, though that hir liste bothe and couthe;


But trewely, it sete hir wel right nouthe

A worthy knight to loven and cheryce,

And but she do, I holde it for a vyce.

142. Wherfore I am, and wol be, ay redy

To peyne me to do yow this servyse;


For bothe yow to plese thus hope I

Her-afterward; for ye beth bothe wyse,

And conne it counseyl kepe in swich a wyse,

{185}That no man shal the wyser of it be;

And so we may be gladed alle three.


143. And, by my trouthe, I have right now of thee

A good conceyt in my wit, as I gesse,

And what it is, I wol now that thou see.

I thenke, sith that love, of his goodnesse,

Hath thee converted out of wikkednesse,


That thou shalt be the beste post, I leve,

Of al his lay, and most his foos to-greve.

144. Ensample why, see now these wyse clerkes,

That erren aldermost a-yein a lawe,

And ben converted from hir wikked werkes


Thorugh grace of god, that list hem to him drawe,

Than arn they folk that han most god in awe,

And strengest-feythed been, I understonde,

And conne an errour alder-best withstonde.'

145. Whan Troilus had herd Pandare assented


To been his help in loving of Criseyde,

Wex of his wo, as who seyth, untormented,

But hotter wex his love, and thus he seyde,

With sobre chere, al-though his herte pleyde,

'Now blisful Venus helpe, er that I sterve,


Of thee, Pandare, I may som thank deserve.

146. But, dere frend, how shal myn wo ben lesse

Til this be doon? and goode, eek tel me this,

How wiltow seyn of me and my destresse?

Lest she be wrooth, this drede I most, y-wis,


Or nil not here or trowen how it is.

Al this drede I, and eek for the manere

Of thee, hir eem, she nil no swich thing here.'

147. Quod Pandarus, 'thou hast a ful gret care

Lest that the cherl may falle out of the mone!


{186}Why, lord! I hate of thee thy nyce fare!

Why, entremete of that thou hast to done!

For goddes love, I bidde thee a bone,

So lat me alone, and it shal be thy beste.'—

'Why, freend,' quod he, 'now do right as thee leste.


148. But herke, Pandare, o word, for I nolde

That thou in me wendest so greet folye,

That to my lady I desiren sholde

That toucheth harm or any vilenye;

For dredelees, me were lever dye


Than she of me ought elles understode

But that, that mighte sounen in-to gode.'

149. Tho lough this Pandare, and anoon answerde,

'And I thy borw? fy! no wight dooth but so;

I roughte nought though that she stode and herde


How that thou seyst; but fare-wel, I wol go.

A-dieu! be glad! god spede us bothe two!

Yif me this labour and this besinesse,

And of my speed be thyn al that swetnesse.'

150. Tho Troilus gan doun on knees to falle,


And Pandare in his armes hente faste,

And seyde, 'now, fy on the Grekes alle!

Yet, pardee, god shal helpe us at the laste;

And dredelees, if that my lyf may laste,

And god to-forn, lo, som of hem shal smerte;


And yet me athinketh that this avaunt me asterte!

151. Now, Pandare, I can no more seye,

But thou wys, thou wost, thou mayst, thou art al!

My lyf, my deeth, hool in thyn honde I leye;

Help now,' quod he. 'Yis, by my trouthe, I shal.'


'God yelde thee, freend, and this in special,'

{187}Quod Troilus, 'that thou me recomaunde

To hir that to the deeth me may comaunde.'

152. This Pandarus tho, desirous to serve

His fulle freend, than seyde in this manere,


'Far-wel, and thenk I wol thy thank deserve;

Have here my trouthe, and that thou shalt wel here.'—

And wente his wey, thenking on this matere,

And how he best mighte hir beseche of grace,

And finde a tyme ther-to, and a place.


153. For every wight that hath an hous to founde

Ne renneth nought the werk for to biginne

With rakel hond, but he wol byde a stounde,

And sende his hertes lyne out fro with-inne

Alderfirst his purpos for to winne.


Al this Pandare in his herte thoughte,

And caste his werk ful wysly, or he wroughte.

154. But Troilus lay tho no lenger doun,

But up anoon up-on his stede bay,

And in the feld he pleyde tho leoun;


Wo was that Greek that with him mette that day.

And in the toun his maner tho forth ay

So goodly was, and gat him so in grace,

That ech him lovede that loked on his face.

155. For he bicom the frendlyeste wight,


The gentileste, and eek the moste free,

The thriftieste and oon the beste knight,

That in his tyme was, or mighte be.

Dede were his Iapes and his crueltee,

His heighe port and his manere estraunge,


And ech of tho gan for a vertu chaunge.

156. Now lat us stinte of Troilus a stounde,

That fareth lyk a man that hurt is sore,

{188}And is somdel of akinge of his wounde

Y-lissed wel, but heled no del more:


And, as an esy pacient, the lore

Abit of him that gooth aboute his cure;

And thus he dryveth forth his aventure.

Explicit Liber Primus.

[Go to Book II]

The MSS. are:—Cl. (= Campsall MS.), and Cp. (= Corp. Chr. Camb. 61), taken as the basis of the text; H. (= Harl. 2280); H2. (= Harl. 3943); Cm. (= Cambridge MS. Gg. 4. 27); Ed. (= printed edition, 1532).

1-70. Lost in Cm. and H2. (where it is supplied in late hand). 5. Cl. Cp. froye; H. fro ye. 6. Cl. helpe; Cp. H. help. 7. Cp. thise; Cl. H. this. 15. Cl. seruauntz. 18. Cl. om. I; H. I am; Cp. Ed. am I. 20. Cl. H. Vn-to; Cp. Ed. To. 21. Cl. be his; Cp. be this; H. by this. 23. Cl. ony; Cp. Hl. any (often). 24. Cp. Hl. Remembreth; Cl. Remembre. 26. Cl. other fok; Cp. othere folk. 27. Cl. dorst; Cp. H. dorste. 31. Cp. H. Ed. hem; Cl. him. 36, 42. Cl. Cp. desespeyred; H. despeyred; Ed. dispeyred. 41. Cp. To; Cl. H. So. 44. Cl. H. goode; Cp. Ed. good. 45. Cp. ladies so; Cl. loues for; H. loueres for. 48. Cl. seruauntz. 58. Cl. went; Cp. H. wente. 62. Cl. raueshyng; Cp. rauysshynge. 69. Cl. high (!); Cp. highte; H. hyghte. 70. Cl. Delphebus; Cp. H. Ed. Delphicus. 71. Cl. whanne; Cp. whan. 76. Cl. wyst; H. west; Cm. woste; Cp. wiste. 79. Cl. forknowyng; Cp. H. Cm. for-knowynge. 80. Cl. pryely (!); Cp. H. pryuely; Cm. preuili. 82. Cl. H. bothen; Cp. Cm. bothe. 87. Cl. Cp. H. ins. fals bef. fled; H2. Ed. om. 90. Cl. onys. 96. Cl. H. nyst; Cm. nyste. 98. Cl. dorst make; Cp. dorste; H. dorst; Cm. durste. 99. Cp. a-; rest al. 101. Cl. H. faire; Cp. Cm. fair. 102. Cl. angelyk; Cp. aungelik. 112. Cl. Cm. selue; Cp. H. seluen. 126. Cl. om. 2nd and. // H. hoom; Cm. hom; Cl. home. 128. to] Cp. H. til. 129. Cl. dwelled; Cp. H. Cm. Ed. was dwellynge. 130. Cl. Kept; Cp. Kepte. // Cl. yong; H. Cp. yonge. 132. Cl. hadde children; rest children hadde. 133. Cm. lete; Cl. late; H. latt. 137. Cp. H. Cm. eft; Ed. efte; Cl. ofte. 139. H. Ed. vnder; H2. vndur; Cl. wonder (wrongly). // H. H2. eft; Ed. efte; Cl. ofte. // H. whielen (better wheelen); Cp. whilen; H2. whilyn; Ed. whelmen; Cl. weylen; Cm. weyle. 143. Cm. here; rest om. 144. Cm. dwelle; rest to dwelle (badly). // Cl. Troiane; H2. troianys; rest troyan. 146. H2. homere; rest Omer. // Cl. of (for 1st or). 155. Cl. come; rest comen (comyn). 158. Cl. swoot; Cp. H. swote; Cm. swete. 161. Cl. H. H2. Palladions; Cm. Palasdionis (for Palladionis). 162. Cl. H. wrongly ins. goodly before beste. Cp. Cm. beste; rest best. 163. H. Cm. wente; rest went. 164. Cl. Cm. herkenen; Cp. herknen. 167. Cl. bothe meene meste; H. Cp. bothe most meyne; Cm. bothe meste; Ed. bothe most. 168. Cl. and for the; Cp. H. Cm. Ed. om. for. 171. H. furste; Cl. Cm. first. 172. Cl. stode; Cp. stood. 174. Cl. yet thing seyn; H. at seyn thing; Cm. yit seyen yng; H2. seyn thing (best). // Cl. presed; H. Cp. preysed. 175. H. Cm. Cp. cloude; Cl. cloud. 176, 178. Cl. euerichone, allone. 192. Cp. baiten; Cl. beyten. 196. H. Cm. Cp. ful; Cl. om. 198. Cm. lewede; H2. lewde; Ed. leude; Cl. H. om. 199. H. Cm. Cp. Ed. which a labour; Cl. swych labour as. 202. Cl. loues; rest fooles (folis). 206. Cl. to loken; rest om. to. 208. Cp. He kidde; Cl. And kyd. 209. Cp. Ful; rest For. 211. Cl. blynd; Cp. blynde (twice). 213. Cl. Suriquidrie. 216. Cm. mot; Ed. mote; Cp. moot; Cl. moste; H. schall. 217. So Cl.; rest But alday fayleth thing that fooles wenden. 220. Cl. long; H. Cp. longe. 224. Cl. felawes; rest feres. 225. Cl. proud; H. Cm. Cp. proude. 227. Cp. swiche; Cl. swich. 228. Cl. dere; rest stere. 229. Cl. hert (see l. 228). Cl. H. wax; Cp. Cm. wex. 231. Cl. H. Wax; Cm. Wex. 234. scornen] Cp. seruen. 240. Cl. H. Cp. Cm. or; H2. Ed. and. 244. Cl. of; rest in. 246. Cp. Cm. wel; Cl. H. wele. 248. Cl. addermost (!). 252. Cp. H. H2. causeth; Cl. causen. 261. Cl. H. Cm. om. As (H2. Ed. have it). 262. Cl. letten; Cp. H. Cm. leten; H2. Ed. leuen. 264. Cl. Cm. Ioyes; rest Ioye. 266. H. refeere. 267. Cl. went; Cp. H. Cm. wente. // Cl. pleynge. 268. H. Cm. Cp. Ed. of; Cl. and. 272. H. percede; Ed. perced; Cl. Cp. procede (!). 274. Cl. wax; H. Cm. wex. 275. Cl. om. gan. 278. Cp. herte; Cl. hert. 280. Cl. pleynge. 286. Cm. Schewede; Cl. H. Shewed. 294. H. Cp. Cm. thoughte; Cl. thought. 294. Cl. fair; rest good. 301. Cp. H. wiste; Cl. wyst. 305. All eyen (eyȝen). 306. Cp. Ed. he felte; H. he felt; Cl. that he sholde; Cm. for to. 307. Cl. om. his. 308. Cl. Blyssyd; Cp. H. Blissed; Cm. Ed. Blessed; see 436. // Cl. Cp. kan thus; H. Ed. thus kan. 310. Cl. al; H. Cm. alle. // Cl. om. for. 312. Cl. ne made. // Cp. H. worde; Cl. word. 315. Cl. Ed. the seruise; rest om. the. 321. Cp. H. Cm. Lest; Cl. Lyst. 324. Cp. H. torneth; Cl. Cm. turneth. 327. Cl. H2. speche and cher; rest chere and speche. 329. H. Ed. wrie; Cl. wre; Cp. wrey. 330. Cl. lyst; Cp. lest; H. leste. 337. Cl. I; rest In. // Cl. noun-; H. non-; H2. Ed. no; Cp. Cm. veyn (for noun). 341. Cp. H. mote; Cl. Cm. mot. 351. Cl. H. om. that. 354. Cp. vn-til. 356. Cp. doon; H. don; Cl. Cm. done. 357. Cl. hym; rest hem. 360. Cl. om. eft. 361. Cl. ony lette; rest om. ony. 363. Cl. a; H2. in the; rest and. 369. H. dydde; Ed. dyd; rest dede. 371. Cl. seruauntz. 374. Cp. Cm. ne (2nd); Cl. H. no. 379. Cl. H. toke; Cp. took. 381. H. Cp. hiden; Cl. hide. 385. Cp. ȝeldeth. // Cl. om. seed. 386. Cp. H. muchel; Cl. muche. 387. Cl. For what (for What for). // Cl. speken; rest speke (spek). 394. Cp. H. Cm. myn; Cl. my. 395. Cp. H. tonges; Cm. tungis; Cl. tonge. // Cl. deference (!). 398. Cl. om. so. // Cl. it to; rest om. to. // Cl. hire; rest here. 399. Heading; so Cp. H.; Cm. Cantus; Ed. The song of Troylus. 400. Cl. om. no. 401. whiche] Cl. what. 402. H. Cp. whennes comth; Cm. whennys comyt; Cl. whens cometh. 403. Cl. thenketh. 405. Cl. me so goodly; rest to me sauory. 406. Cm. H2. om. it. 408. Cl. walyng. 409. Cl. thanne. 411. Cp. Cm. harm; Cl. H. harme. 412. Cl. om. thee. // Cp. swich; Cl. H. swiche. 413. Cp. H. Cm. be; rest so be. 416. Cm. stereles; H. stierlees; Cl. sterles; Cp. sterlees. 417. Cp. bitwixen; H. betwexen; Cm. be-twexe; Cl. by-twen. 423. Cp. oughte; Cm. auȝte; Cl. aught. // H. yours; Cp. youres; Cl. youre; see l. 422. 427. Cl. leue; Cp. H. Cm. lyue. 430. Cl. my lord; rest om. my. 432. estat] Cl. estal. 435. Cl. deynede; Cp. H. Cm. deyned. 436. After love, Cl. ins. e, and H. ins. ye. // H2. blesse; Cl. blysse; Cp. H. blisse; Cm. blys. 439. held] Cl. hold. 440. Cm. brende; Cl. brend. 444. Cp. Cm. sette; Cl. H. sett. 446. H. preesse. 453. Cp. H. Cm. herte; Cl. hert. // All eye (eyȝe). 454. Cl. fairest; rest fairer. 457. Cl. tymes; see 531. 460. H2. deyd; Cp. Ed. deyde; Cl. Cm. deyede; H. dyede. 462. rewe] Cl. rew. 463. dredes] Cl. dredres. // Cp. H. Ed. fledde; rest fled. 464. Cp. thassege. // savacioun] Cl. saluacioun. 465. Ne in] Cm. Cp. Nyn. // Cl. doon; rest non (none). // Cl. H. Ed. fownes; Cm. founys. 470. Cl. shoures sharpe. // Cm. felle; Ed. fel; Cl. H. fille. 471. Cl. and; rest or. 475. Cl. trauayl. 483. H2. al; rest om.; read alle. 486. H. toke; Cl. took. 487. Cp. H. eue; Cl. euen. 490. So all. 491. H. Cm. ferde; Cl. ferd. 496. H2. as; rest that; read as that. 498. H. than; Cl. Cm. thanne. // Cm. fel to; Cl. Cp. felt. 500. Cl. H. hadde; Cm. hade; Ed. om. 502. Cp. H. Ed. whiche; Cl. such. // Cl. thought; felt. 503. Cl. dorst; Cp. dorste. 511. Cp. H. nat; Cm. not; Cl. nought. 516. H. leest; Cl. lest. 517. Cp. H. om. be. 518. Cm. febly; Cl. febely; H. fiebly. 520. H. Cp. Ed. louen; Cm. loue; Cl. leue. 528. Cl. om. a. 530. Cp. H. hidde; Ed. hyd; Cl. Cm. hed. 534. Cl. yet; rest ye. 536. Cp. H. Cm. may; Cl. wole. 544. Cl. H. herd; Cm. Cp. herde. 545. Cm. thoughte; Cl. H. bithought. 546. Cl. multeplie. 549. Cl. onys. // H. herde; Cl. herd. 554. Cl. om. som. 555. H. Cm. Cp. falle; Cl. fallen. 557. H. ferde; Cl. Cm. ferd. 563. Cm. H2. sorwe; Ed. sorowe; Cp. H. wo to; Cl. wo. 567. Cl. Cm. desirede. 569. Cp. H. Ed. sen me. 572. H. henne; Cm. hene; Cl. hens; Cp. hennes. 573. Cl. dishese. 578. Cl. Cm. wrought; H. y-wrogth; Cp. H2. Ed. yet wrought. 580. Cp. H. Ed. leste; Cl. Cm. lest. 581. Cl. Ne be; rest om. Ne. 582. Cl. sorwe; rest wo. 586. H. swiche; Cp. Cm. swich; Cl. such. 589. Cl. Cm. yn; H. Cp. i. 596. Cp. H. Cm. sorwful Troilus; Cl. Troilus sorwfully. 600. Cl. don. 601. Cp. Cm. truste; H. tryste; Cl. trust. 602. Cm. herkene; Cl. H. herke. // Cm. frend; Cl. H. frende. 606. Cp. H. sailleth; Cm. saylyth; Ed. sayleth; Cl. ffayleth. 607. Cl. brennynly. 612. Cm. colde; Cl. H. cold. 613. Cl. telle; rest tolde. 622. Cl. Cm. thyn; Cp. H. thi. 626. Cm. exces; Cl. Cm. excesse; Ed. axes. 630. Cl. ofte a wys man; Ed. H. Cp. a wys man ofte. 631. Ed. whetston; Cl. Cp. H. wheston; Cm. weston. 633. Cl. out; Cm. ouȝt; H. Cp. aught. 637. Cl. eche; rest his. 643. Cp. H. Ech; Cl. Cm. Eche. 647. Cl. ought; but see l. 649. 650. Cp. Though; H. Thoughe; Cl. Cm. Thow. // Cl. desir; H. Ed. desire; Cp. desyre. 653. Cp. herdesse; Cl. H. Cm. hierdesse. 654. H. Oonone. 658. Cl. No (for Now). // Cl. herkene; Cp. herkne; H. herken; Cm. herkenyt; Ed. herkeneth. 659. Cl. medecyne. 661. Cp. H. Ed. herbes; Cl. erbess. // Cl. Cp. H. she; rest he. 663. Cp. H. bounden; Cm. boundyn; Cl. bounde. 664. Ed. Admete; rest Amete. 665. Cl. koude al; rest om. al. 667. Cl. H. oone; Cm. on. 674. Cm. deyen; Cl. deye; Cp. H. dyen. 675. Cp. H. Ed. mo; Cl. Cm. more. 677. H2. thogh; Cm. ow; Cl. they; Cp. H. theigh. // thogh that] Ed. although. 680. Cl. as a; rest om. a. 681. Cl. Cp. Cm. telle; rest tel. 682. H2. Ed. final; Cl. finally; Cp. finaly; H. fynali; Cm. finially (!). 683. Cl. yn (for yng). 685. Cl. wygh (!). 687. H. witeth; Cl. Cm. weteth. 689. Cl. wot I. 690. H. Cm. For for; Ed. As for; Cl. For. 693. H. Cm. Cp. Ed. tel me; Cl. telle me. // Cl. Cm. thou; Cp. H. the. 694. Cl. Thise; rest The. 697. Cl. yn certeyn; rest om. yn. // Cl. next. 700. Cl. terys. 703. Cl. this; Cp. H. thy. 704. Cl. forto; rest to. 707. Cl. sechen; rest seche hem. 710. Cp. owghte; Cm. auȝte; Cl. H. ought. 716. Cp. Cm. wolde; Cl. wold; H. wol. 720. Cl. sithen; Cp. H. sith; Ed. sythe; H2. seyst. // Cp. H. Cm. Ed. that; Cl. yn whom. 723. H. Cp. Cm. lay as; Cl. om. as. 730. All lytargye (litargye). 734. H. Cp. synken; Cm. synkyn; Cl. synk yn. 737. H. Cp. answerde; Cl. answerede. 738. Cp. H. nas; Cl. nat (!); rest was. 739. Cl. om. no. 741. Cp. H. ybeten; Cm. I-bete; Cl. beten. 742. Cm. maner; Cp. H. manere; Cl. maneres. // H. Cp. ise; Cl. is. 743. H. tellynge; Cl. Cm. tellyng. 744. Cl. ought; H. ougthte (sic). 745. Cp. Ed. ynough outsprynge; Cm. Inow outsprynge; Cl. not ought sprynge. 764. Cp. H. Cm. ther; rest om. 765. H. tel; Cl. Cm. telle. // Cl. wyst; Cp. H. Cm. Ed. wiste. 767. Cm. told hyre; Ed. H2. tolde it; Cp. H. tolde; Cl. telle. 769. Cp. by-soughte; Cl. H. bysought. 777. Cl. nyl not; rest om. not. // Cp. H. noon; Cm. non; Cl. no. // Cl. om. as I. 779. Cl. desespered; Cm. dispeyred; Cp. dispeired; H. despired. 780. Cp. bendiste; H. bendistee. 786. Cm. Cp. Ed. he; Cl. H2. the; H. om. // Ticius] Cm. which is; Ed. Tesiphus; H2. Siciphus. 787. Cl. foughles. 788. Cl. H. volturis; H2. vulturus; Ed. vultures; Cm. wulturnus (!). 793. Cl. folessh. 796. Cp. H. muche; Cl. Cm. meche. // Cl. lasse. 797. Ed. H2. lyest; Cp. list; H. liste; Cl. lyk. // H2. lyst; Cl. H. lest; Cm. leste. 798. Cl. wolde (for coude). 799. Cp. H. demen; Cm. demyn; Cl. deme. 803. H. Cm. thank; Cl. thonk. // Cl. then; Cp. than. 812. he] Cl. yet. 814. Cp. recreant; Cl. H. recreaunte. // Cl. H2. of; rest for. 815. Cl. feyr. 817. H. Cp. Ed. serue; Cl. seruen. 818. Cl. thenk. 819. Cp. Cm. fold; Cl. H. folde. 820. Cl. Cp. H. om. And. 821. Cl. ought. 822. Cl. hym soth. 824. Cl. Cp. H2. om. a. 826. woot she knew] Cl. knoweth (!). 830. Cl. Cp. H. ins. al bef. thy. 833. Cl. Cp. H. pieces. 837. Cm. wel; Cl. H. wele. 839. Cm. whel; Cl. H. whiel. 842. Cp. H. ȝe; Cm. ȝa; Cl. om. 846, 7. Cm. -gon, -on; Cl. H. -gone, -one. 848, 850. Cl. H. whiel; Cm. whelys (whel). 851. if] Cl. of (!). 855. what] Cl. whan. 858. Cm. onwrye; Ed. vnwrie; Cl. H. vnwre. 862, 864. Cm. tel; Cl. H. telle. 863. Cp. thy; H. i; Cl. Cm. in. 865. Cp. hopen; Cl. H. hopen the; Cm. Ed. hope. 867. H. Cm. wex; Cl. wax. 871. Cl. bigan; Cp. H. Cm. gan. 883. H2. Ne y; H. Ny (= Ne y); Cl. Cm. om. I. 885. Cl. frendliour. // H2. ne a; Cl. H. na (= ne a); see l. 884. 886. Cp. om. 2nd to. 889. Cl. H. hires; Ed. hers. 890-896. Cl. Cp. H. Cm. omit; from Ed. and H2.; also in Jo. and Harl. 2392. 891. Ed. first; H2. ferst; read firste. 892. Ed. H2. wele. // Ed. ordayne the (with the added; ordeyn is trisyllabic). 894. H2. om. nought but (!). 895. H2. wele; Ed. wel. 896. H2. oght; Ed. ought; read oughte. 902. H. Cp. nought; Cl. not. 907. Cp. H. Cm. han; Cl. a. // thus] Cl. so. 908. Ed. wont; Cp. H. wonte; Cl. woned. 911. H. Cp. often; Cl. Cm. ofte. 914. H2. monche; Ed. monch; Cl. mucche; H. muche. 915. Cl. om. make. 917. Cp. H. preydest; Cl. preyedest. 918. Cl. som. 921. H. slepten. 922. Cl. wolden. 925. Ed. H. Cp. Yet; Cm. Yit; Cl. Ye. // Cl. om. that. 927. Ed. H. Cp. thoughten; Cm. thouȝtyn; Cl. thought. // Cl. Ed. om. that. 928. Cl. to assayn; H. Cp. tassayen. 931. H. noon; Cp. non; Cl. none. 932. H. Cp. sey; Cl. seye. 935. H. Cp. herte; Cl. hert. 937. Cp. H. for-ȝiue; Cl. Cm. for-yeue. 938. Cp. liue; Cl. Cm. leue. 939. Ed. H2. Pandare; Cl. H. Pandarus. 941. Cl. sithen that; Cp. H. sithen. // H. wepen; Cm. wepyn; Cl. wopen. 945. H. Cm. ben; Cl. be. 947. as] Cl. al; H2. and. 950, 1. Cl. nexst. // Cl. Cp. H2. derk; rest derke. 952. the—of] Cl. after. 955. Cp. al; Cl. H. alle. 958. Cp. thy; Cl. Cm. yn. 959. Cp. werke; Cl. werk. 960. Cm. H2. partyd; rest departed. 962. Cp. H. Cm. though swich; Cl. that such. 963. of] Cl. on. 966. H. though; Cl. Cm. thow. // may] Cl. mowe. 969. Cp. Cm. faste; rest fast. 972. Cm. bothis. 973. Cp. H. Ed. maken; Cl. Cm. make. 980. Cl. Cp. Cm. om. to. 982. Cp. H. Ed. bethynken; Cl. byynke. 984. As] Cl. And. 985. Cp. Cm. trewely; Cl. H. trewly. H. Cp. sate; Cl. Cm. sat; (read sete). 986. H. Cp. louen; Cl. Cm. loue. 993. Cl. of it the wiser. 995. And] Cl. For. 997. it] Cl. that. 1002. now] Cl. ye. // Cl. Cp. H. wyse; rest grete. 1003. a] Cl. the. 1006. most god] Cm. god most. 1009. Cl. Whanne. 1017. MSS. telle; Ed. tel; see l. 681. 1020. Cp. H. here; Cl. heren. 1024. may] // Cl. wole. 1028. Cp. malone. 1033. Cp. H. Ed. any; Cl. Cm. ony. 1034. Cp. H. Ed. dredeles; rest dredles. 1036. Cp. myghte; Cl. H. myght. 1039. H. Cp. roughte; Cl. rought. 1042. H. Cm. Yif; Cp. Yef; Cl. Yeue. 1044-1092. Lost in Cm. 1044. Tho] Cl. But. // on] Cl. on his. 1045. H. Cp. Ed. hente; Cl. hent. 1048. Cp. H. dredelees; Cl. dredles. 1050. H. mathynketh; Ed. me athinketh; Cl. me ofthynketh; Cp. mathenketh. // Ed. masterte; Cp. me sterte. 1051. So all. 1052. Accent thou. 1059. Cp. H. than; Cl. thenne. 1067. Cp. H. wol; Cl. wole. 1068. Cp. H. sende; Cl. send. 1069. So all. 1074. Cl. lyoun. 1075. Wo] Cl. Who (!) // that (2)] H. a. 1079. Cp. bicom; Cl. by come. 1080. All most; read moste. 1084. H. hieghe; Cl. heigh. 1086. Cp. H. lat; Cl. late. 1092. H2. Ed. driueth; Cl. drieth; Cp. H. dryeth.



Incipit prohemium Secundi Libri.

1. Out of these blake wawes for to sayle,

O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere;

For in this see the boot hath swich travayle,

Of my conning that unnethe I it stere:


This see clepe I the tempestous matere

Of desespeyr that Troilus was inne:

But now of hope the calendes biginne.

2. O lady myn, that called art Cleo,

Thou be my speed fro this forth, and my muse,


To ryme wel this book, til I have do;

Me nedeth here noon other art to use.

For-why to every lovere I me excuse,

That of no sentement I this endyte,

But out of Latin in my tonge it wryte.


3. Wherfore I nil have neither thank ne blame

Of al this werk, but pray yow mekely,

Disblameth me, if any word be lame,

For as myn auctor seyde, so seye I.

Eek though I speke of love unfelingly,


No wonder is, for it no-thing of newe is;

A blind man can nat Iuggen wel in hewis.

4. Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge

With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho

That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge


Us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so,

And spedde as wel in love as men now do;

{190}Eek for to winne love in sondry ages,

In sondry londes, sondry ben usages.

5. And for-thy if it happe in any wyse,


That here be any lovere in this place

That herkeneth, as the story wol devyse,

How Troilus com to his lady grace,

And thenketh, so nolde I nat love purchace,

Or wondreth on his speche and his doinge,


I noot; but it is me no wonderinge;

6. For every wight which that to Rome went,

Halt nat o path, or alwey o manere;

Eek in some lond were al the gamen shent,

If that they ferde in love as men don here,


As thus, in open doing or in chere,

In visitinge, in forme, or seyde hir sawes;

For-thy men seyn, ech contree hath his lawes.

7. Eek scarsly been ther in this place three

That han in love seyd lyk and doon in al;


For to thy purpos this may lyken thee,

And thee right nought, yet al is seyd or shal;

Eek som men grave in tree, som in stoon wal,

As it bitit; but sin I have begonne,

Myn auctor shal I folwen, if I conne.

Explicit prohemium Secundi Libri.

Incipit Liber Secundus.


8. In May, that moder is of monthes glade,

That fresshe floures, blewe, and whyte, and rede,

Ben quike agayn, that winter dede made,

And ful of bawme is fletinge every mede;

Whan Phebus doth his brighte bemes sprede


Right in the whyte Bole, it so bitidde

As I shal singe, on Mayes day the thridde,

{191}9. That Pandarus, for al his wyse speche,

Felte eek his part of loves shottes kene,

That, coude he never so wel of loving preche,


It made his hewe a-day ful ofte grene;

So shoop it, that him fil that day a tene

In love, for which in wo to bedde he wente,

And made, er it was day, ful many a wente.

10. The swalwe Proign, with a sorwful lay,


Whan morwe com, gan make hir weymentinge,

Why she forshapen was; and ever lay

Pandare a-bedde, half in a slomeringe,

Til she so neigh him made hir chiteringe

How Tereus gan forth hir suster take,


That with the noyse of hir he gan a-wake;

11. And gan to calle, and dresse him up to ryse,

Remembringe him his erand was to done

From Troilus, and eek his greet empryse;

And caste and knew in good plyt was the mone


To doon viage, and took his wey ful sone

Un-to his neces paleys ther bi-syde;

Now Ianus, god of entree, thou him gyde!

12. Whan he was come un-to his neces place,

'Wher is my lady?' to hir folk seyde he;


And they him tolde; and he forth in gan pace,

And fond, two othere ladyes sete and she

With-inne a paved parlour; and they three

Herden a mayden reden hem the geste

Of the Sege of Thebes, whyl hem leste.


13. Quod Pandarus, 'ma dame, god yow see,

With al your book and al the companye!'

'Ey, uncle myn, welcome y-wis,' quod she,

And up she roos, and by the hond in hye

She took him faste, and seyde, 'this night thrye,


{192}To goode mote it turne, of yow I mette!'

And with that word she doun on bench him sette.

14. 'Ye, nece, ye shal fare wel the bet,

If god wole, al this yeer,' quod Pandarus;

'But I am sory that I have yow let


To herknen of your book ye preysen thus;

For goddes love, what seith it? tel it us.

Is it of love? O, som good ye me lere!'

'Uncle,' quod she, 'your maistresse is not here!'

15. With that they gonnen laughe, and tho she seyde,


'This romaunce is of Thebes, that we rede;

And we han herd how that king Laius deyde

Thurgh Edippus his sone, and al that dede;

And here we stenten at these lettres rede,

How the bisshop, as the book can telle,


Amphiorax, fil thurgh the ground to helle.'

16. Quod Pandarus, 'al this knowe I my-selve,

And al the assege of Thebes and the care;

For her-of been ther maked bokes twelve:—

But lat be this, and tel me how ye fare;


Do wey your barbe, and shew your face bare;

Do wey your book, rys up, and lat us daunce,

And lat us don to May som observaunce.'

17. 'A! god forbede!' quod she, 'be ye mad?'

Is that a widewes lyf, so god you save?


By god, ye maken me right sore a-drad,

Ye ben so wilde, it semeth as ye rave!

It sete me wel bet ay in a cave

To bidde, and rede on holy seyntes lyves:

Lat maydens gon to daunce, and yonge wyves.'


{193}18. 'As ever thryve I,' quod this Pandarus,

'Yet coude I telle a thing to doon you pleye.'

'Now uncle dere,' quod she, 'tel it us

For goddes love; is than the assege aweye?

I am of Grekes so ferd that I deye.'


'Nay, nay,' quod he, 'as ever mote I thryve!

It is a thing wel bet than swiche fyve.'

19. 'Ye, holy god!' quod she, 'what thing is that?

What? bet than swiche fyve? ey, nay, y-wis!

For al this world ne can I reden what


It sholde been; som Iape, I trowe, is this;

And but your-selven telle us what it is,

My wit is for to arede it al to lene;

As help me god, I noot nat what ye mene.'

20. 'And I your borow, ne never shal, for me,


This thing be told to yow, as mote I thryve!'

'And why so, uncle myn? why so?' quod she.

'By god,' quod he, 'that wole I telle as blyve;

For prouder womman were ther noon on-lyve,

And ye it wiste, in al the toun of Troye;


I iape nought, as ever have I Ioye!'

21. Tho gan she wondren more than biforn

A thousand fold, and doun hir eyen caste;

For never, sith the tyme that she was born,

To knowe thing desired she so faste;


And with a syk she seyde him at the laste,

'Now, uncle myn, I nil yow nought displese,

Nor axen more, that may do yow disese.'

22. So after this, with many wordes glade,

And freendly tales, and with mery chere,


Of this and that they pleyde, and gunnen wade

In many an unkouth glad and deep matere,

{194}As freendes doon, whan they ben met y-fere;

Til she gan axen him how Ector ferde,

That was the tounes wal and Grekes yerde.


23. 'Ful wel, I thanke it god,' quod Pandarus,

'Save in his arm he hath a litel wounde;

And eek his fresshe brother Troilus,

The wyse worthy Ector the secounde,

In whom that every vertu list abounde,


As alle trouthe and alle gentillesse,

Wysdom, honour, fredom, and worthinesse.'

24. 'In good feith, eem,' quod she, 'that lyketh me;

They faren wel, god save hem bothe two!

For trewely I holde it greet deyntee


A kinges sone in armes wel to do,

And been of good condiciouns ther-to;

For greet power and moral vertu here

Is selde y-seye in o persone y-fere.'

25. 'In good feith, that is sooth,' quod Pandarus;


But, by my trouthe, the king hath sones tweye,

That is to mene, Ector and Troilus,

That certainly, though that I sholde deye,

They been as voyde of vyces, dar I seye,

As any men that liveth under the sonne,


Hir might is wyde y-knowe, and what they conne.

26. Of Ector nedeth it nought for to telle;

In al this world ther nis a bettre knight

Than he, that is of worthinesse welle;

And he wel more vertu hath than might.


This knoweth many a wys and worthy wight.

The same prys of Troilus I seye,

God help me so, I knowe not swiche tweye.'

27. 'By god,' quod she, 'of Ector that is sooth;

Of Troilus the same thing trowe I;


For dredelees, men tellen that he dooth

{195}In armes day by day so worthily,

And bereth him here at hoom so gentilly

To every wight, that al the prys hath he

Of hem that me were levest preysed be.'


28. 'Ye sey right sooth, y-wis,' quod Pandarus;

'For yesterday, who-so hadde with him been,

He might have wondred up-on Troilus;

For never yet so thikke a swarm of been

Ne fleigh, as Grekes fro him gonne fleen;


And thorugh the feld, in every wightes ere,

Ther nas no cry but "Troilus is there!"

29. Now here, now there, he hunted hem so faste,

Ther nas but Grekes blood; and Troilus,

Now hem he hurte, and hem alle doun he caste;


Ay where he wente it was arayed thus:

He was hir deeth, and sheld and lyf for us;

That as that day ther dorste noon with-stonde,

Whyl that he held his blody swerd in honde.

30. Therto he is the freendlieste man


Of grete estat, that ever I saw my lyve;

And wher him list, best felawshipe can

To suche as him thinketh able for to thryve.'

And with that word tho Pandarus, as blyve,

He took his leve, and seyde, 'I wol go henne:'


'Nay, blame have I, myn uncle,' quod she thenne.

31. 'What eyleth yow to be thus wery sone,

And namelich of wommen? wol ye so?

Nay, sitteth down; by god, I have to done

With yow, to speke of wisdom er ye go.'


And every wight that was a-boute hem tho,

That herde that, gan fer a-wey to stonde,

Whyl they two hadde al that hem liste in honde.

{196}32. Whan that hir tale al brought was to an ende

Of hire estat and of hir governaunce,


Quod Pandarus, 'now is it tyme I wende;

But yet, I seye, aryseth, lat us daunce,

And cast your widwes habit to mischaunce:

What list yow thus your-self to disfigure,

Sith yow is tid thus fair an aventure?'


33. 'A! wel bithought! for love of god,' quod she,

'Shal I not witen what ye mene of this?'

'No, this thing axeth layser,' tho quod he,

'And eek me wolde muche greve, y-wis,

If I it tolde, and ye it toke amis.


Yet were it bet my tonge for to stille

Than seye a sooth that were ayeins your wille.

34. For, nece, by the goddesse Minerve,

And Iuppiter, that maketh the thonder ringe,

And by the blisful Venus that I serve,


Ye been the womman in this world livinge,

With-oute paramours, to my witinge,

That I best love, and lothest am to greve,

And that ye witen wel your-self, I leve.'

35. 'Y-wis, myn uncle,' quod she, 'grant mercy;


Your freendship have I founden ever yit;

I am to no man holden trewely

So muche as yow, and have so litel quit;

And, with the grace of god, emforth my wit,

As in my gilt I shal you never offende;


And if I have er this, I wol amende.

36. But, for the love of god, I yow beseche,

As ye ben he that I most love and triste,

Lat be to me your fremde maner speche,

{197}And sey to me, your nece, what yow liste:'


And with that word hir uncle anoon hir kiste,

And seyde, 'gladly, leve nece dere,

Tak it for good that I shal seye yow here.'

37. With that she gan hir eyen doun to caste,

And Pandarus to coghe gan a lyte,


And seyde, 'nece, alwey, lo! to the laste,

How-so it be that som men hem delyte

With subtil art hir tales for to endyte,

Yet for al that, in hir entencioun,

Hir tale is al for som conclusioun.


38. And sithen thende is every tales strengthe,

And this matere is so bihovely,

What sholde I peynte or drawen it on lengthe

To yow, that been my freend so feithfully?'

And with that word he gan right inwardly


Biholden hir, and loken on hir face,

And seyde, 'on suche a mirour goode grace!'

39. Than thoughte he thus, 'if I my tale endyte

Ought hard, or make a proces any whyle,

She shal no savour han ther-in but lyte,


And trowe I wolde hir in my wil bigyle.

For tendre wittes wenen al be wyle

Ther-as they can nat pleynly understonde;

For-thy hir wit to serven wol I fonde'—

40. And loked on hir in a besy wyse,


And she was war that he byheld hir so,

And seyde, 'lord! so faste ye me avyse!

Sey ye me never er now? what sey ye, no?'

'Yes, yes,' quod he, 'and bet wole er I go;

But, by my trouthe, I thoughte now if ye


Be fortunat, for now men shal it see.

41. For to every wight som goodly aventure

Som tyme is shape, if he it can receyven;

{198}And if that he wol take of it no cure,

Whan that it cometh, but wilfully it weyven,


Lo, neither cas nor fortune him deceyven,

But right his verray slouthe and wrecchednesse;

And swich a wight is for to blame, I gesse.

42. Good aventure, O bele nece, have ye

Ful lightly founden, and ye conne it take;


And, for the love of god, and eek of me,

Cacche it anoon, lest aventure slake.

What sholde I lenger proces of it make?

Yif me your hond, for in this world is noon,

If that you list, a wight so wel begoon.


43. And sith I speke of good entencioun,

As I to yow have told wel here-biforn,

And love as wel your honour and renoun

As creature in al this world y-born;

By alle the othes that I have yow sworn,


And ye be wrooth therfore, or wene I lye,

Ne shal I never seen yow eft with y.

44. Beth nought agast, ne quaketh nat; wher-to?

Ne chaungeth nat for fere so your hewe;

For hardely, the werste of this is do;


And though my tale as now be to yow newe,

Yet trist alwey, ye shal me finde trewe;

And were it thing that me thoughte unsittinge,

To yow nolde I no swiche tales bringe.'

45. 'Now, my good eem, for goddes love, I preye,'


Quod she, 'com of, and tel me what it is;

For bothe I am agast what ye wol seye,

And eek me longeth it to wite, y-wis.

For whether it be wel or be amis,

Sey on, lat me not in this fere dwelle:'


'So wol I doon, now herkneth, I shal telle:

{199}46. Now, nece myn, the kinges dere sone,

The goode, wyse, worthy, fresshe, and free,

Which alwey for to do wel is his wone,

The noble Troilus, so loveth thee,


That, bot ye helpe, it wol his bane be.

Lo, here is al, what sholde I more seye?

Doth what yow list, to make him live or deye.

47. But if ye lete him deye, I wol sterve;

Have her my trouthe, nece, I nil not lyen;


Al sholde I with this knyf my throte kerve'—

With that the teres braste out of his yn,

And seyde, 'if that ye doon us bothe dyen,

Thus giltelees, than have ye fisshed faire;

What mende ye, though that we bothe apeyre?


48. Allas! he which that is my lord so dere,

That trewe man, that noble gentil knight,

That nought desireth but your freendly chere,

I see him deye, ther he goth up-right,

And hasteth him, with al his fulle might,


For to be slayn, if fortune wol assente;

Allas! that god yow swich a beautee sente!

49. If it be so that ye so cruel be,

That of his deeth yow liste nought to recche,

That is so trewe and worthy, as ye see,


No more than of a Iapere or a wrecche,

If ye be swich, your beautee may not strecche

To make amendes of so cruel a dede;

Avysement is good bifore the nede.

50. Wo worth the faire gemme vertulees!


Wo worth that herbe also that dooth no bote!

Wo worth that beautee that is routhelees!

Wo worth that wight that tret ech under fote!

And ye, that been of beautee crop and rote,

{200}If therwith-al in you ther be no routhe,


Than is it harm ye liven, by my trouthe!

51. And also thenk wel, that this is no gaude;

For me were lever, thou and I and he

Were hanged, than I sholde been his baude,

As heyghe, as men mighte on us alle y-see:


I am thyn eem, the shame were to me,

As wel as thee, if that I sholde assente,

Thorugh myn abet, that he thyn honour shente.

52. Now understond, for I yow nought requere,

To binde yow to him thorugh no beheste,


But only that ye make him bettre chere

Than ye han doon er this, and more feste,

So that his lyf be saved, at the leste:

This al and som, and playnly our entente;

God helpe me so, I never other mente.


53. Lo, this request is not but skile, y-wis,

Ne doute of reson, pardee, is ther noon.

I sette the worste that ye dredden this,

Men wolden wondren seen him come or goon:

Ther-ayeins answere I thus a-noon,


That every wight, but he be fool of kinde,

Wol deme it love of freendship in his minde.

54. What? who wol deme, though he see a man

To temple go, that he the images eteth?

Thenk eek how wel and wysly that he can


Governe him-self, that he no-thing foryeteth,

That, wher he cometh, he prys and thank him geteth;

And eek ther-to, he shal come here so selde,

What fors were it though al the toun behelde?

55. Swich love of freendes regneth al this toun;


And wrye yow in that mantel ever-mo;

{201}And, god so wis be my savacioun,

As I have seyd, your beste is to do so.

But alwey, goode nece, to stinte his wo,

So lat your daunger sucred ben a lyte,


That of his deeth ye be nought for to wyte.'

56. Criseyde, which that herde him in this wyse,

Thoughte, 'I shal fele what he meneth, y-wis.'

'Now, eem,' quod she, 'what wolde ye devyse,

What is your reed I sholde doon of this?'


'That is wel seyd,' quod he, 'certayn, best is

That ye him love ayein for his lovinge,

As love for love is skilful guerdoninge.

57. Thenk eek, how elde wasteth every houre

In eche of yow a party of beautee;


And therfore, er that age thee devoure,

Go love, for, olde, ther wol no wight of thee.

Lat this proverbe a lore un-to yow be;

"To late y-war, quod Beautee, whan it paste;"

And elde daunteth daunger at the laste.


58. The kinges fool is woned to cryen loude,

Whan that him thinketh a womman bereth hir hy,

"So longe mote ye live, and alle proude,

Til crowes feet be growe under your y,

And sende yow thanne a mirour in to pry


In whiche ye may see your face a-morwe!"

Nece, I bidde wisshe yow no more sorwe.'

59. With this he stente, and caste adoun the heed,

And she bigan to breste a-wepe anoon.

And seyde, 'allas, for wo! why nere I deed?


{202}For of this world the feith is al agoon!

Allas! what sholden straunge to me doon,

When he, that for my beste freend I wende,

Ret me to love, and sholde it me defende?

60. Allas! I wolde han trusted, doutelees,


That if that I, thurgh my disaventure,

Had loved other him or Achilles,

Ector, or any mannes creature,

Ye nolde han had no mercy ne mesure

On me, but alwey had me in repreve;


This false world, allas! who may it leve?

61. What? is this al the Ioye and al the feste?

Is this your reed, is this my blisful cas?

Is this the verray mede of your beheste?

Is al this peynted proces seyd, allas!


Right for this fyn? O lady myn, Pallas!

Thou in this dredful cas for me purveye;

For so astonied am I that I deye!'

62. With that she gan ful sorwfully to syke;

'A! may it be no bet?' quod Pandarus;


'By god, I shal no-more com here this wyke,

And god to-forn, that am mistrusted thus;

I see ful wel that ye sette lyte of us,

Or of our deeth! Allas! I woful wrecche!

Mighte he yet live, of me is nought to recche.


63. O cruel god, O dispitouse Marte,

O Furies three of helle, on yow I crye!

So lat me never out of this hous departe,

If that I mente harm or vilanye!

But sith I see my lord mot nedes dye,


And I with him, here I me shryve, and seye

That wikkedly ye doon us bothe deye.

{203}64. But sith it lyketh yow that I be deed,

By Neptunus, that god is of the see,

Fro this forth shal I never eten breed


Til I myn owene herte blood may see;

For certayn, I wole deye as sone as he'—

And up he sterte, and on his wey he raughte,

Til she agayn him by the lappe caughte.

65. Criseyde, which that wel neigh starf for fere,


So as she was the ferfulleste wight

That mighte be, and herde eek with hir ere,

And saw the sorwful ernest of the knight,

And in his preyere eek saw noon unright,

And for the harm that mighte eek fallen more,


She gan to rewe, and dradde hir wonder sore;

66. And thoughte thus, 'unhappes fallen thikke

Alday for love, and in swich maner cas,

As men ben cruel in hem-self and wikke;

And if this man slee here him-self, allas!


In my presence, it wol be no solas.

What men wolde of hit deme I can nat seye;

It nedeth me ful sleyly for to pleye.'

67. And with a sorwful syk she seyde thrye,

'A! lord! what me is tid a sory chaunce!


For myn estat now lyth in Iupartye,

And eek myn emes lyf lyth in balaunce;

But nathelees, with goddes governaunce,

I shal so doon, myn honour shal I kepe,

And eek his lyf;' and stinte for to wepe.


68. 'Of harmes two, the lesse is for to chese;

Yet have I lever maken him good chere

In honour, than myn emes lyf to lese;

Ye seyn, ye no-thing elles me requere?'

'No, wis,' quod he, 'myn owene nece dere.'


{204}'Now wel,' quod she, 'and I wol doon my peyne;

I shal myn herte ayeins my lust constreyne,

69. But that I nil not holden him in honde,

Ne love a man, ne can I not, ne may

Ayeins my wil; but elles wol I fonde,


Myn honour sauf, plese him fro day to day;

Ther-to nolde I nought ones have seyd nay,

But that I dredde, as in my fantasye;

But cesse cause, ay cesseth maladye.

70. And here I make a protestacioun,


That in this proces if ye depper go,

That certaynly, for no savacioun

Of yow, though that ye sterve bothe two,

Though al the world on o day be my fo,

Ne shal I never on him han other routhe.'—


'I graunte wel,' quod Pandare, 'by my trouthe.

71. But may I truste wel ther-to,' quod he,

'That, of this thing that ye han hight me here,

Ye wol it holden trewly un-to me?'

'Ye, doutelees,' quod she, 'myn uncle dere.'


'Ne that I shal han cause in this matere,'

Quod he, 'to pleyne, or after yow to preche?'

'Why, no, pardee; what nedeth more speche?'

72. Tho fillen they in othere tales glade,

Til at the laste, 'O good eem,' quod she tho,


'For love of god, which that us bothe made,

Tel me how first ye wisten of his wo:

Wot noon of hit but ye?' He seyde, 'no.'

'Can he wel speke of love?' quod she, 'I preye,

Tel me, for I the bet me shal purveye.'


73. Tho Pandarus a litel gan to smyle,

And seyde, 'by my trouthe, I shal yow telle.

{205}This other day, nought gon ful longe whyle,

In-with the paleys-gardyn, by a welle,

Gan he and I wel half a day to dwelle,


Right for to speken of an ordenaunce,

How we the Grekes mighte disavaunce.

74. Sone after that bigonne we to lepe,

And casten with our dartes to and fro,

Til at the laste he seyde, he wolde slepe,


And on the gres a-doun he leyde him tho;

And I after gan rome to and fro

Til that I herde, as that I welk allone,

How he bigan ful wofully to grone.

75. Tho gan I stalke him softely bihinde,


And sikerly, the sothe for to seyne,

As I can clepe ayein now to my minde,

Right thus to Love he gan him for to pleyne;

He seyde, "lord! have routhe up-on my peyne,

Al have I been rebel in myn entente;


Now, mea culpa, lord! I me repente.

76. O god, that at thy disposicioun

Ledest the fyn, by Iuste purveyaunce,

Of every wight, my lowe confessioun

Accepte in gree, and send me swich penaunce


As lyketh thee, but from desesperaunce,

That may my goost departe awey fro thee,

Thou be my sheld, for thy benignitee.

77. For certes, lord, so sore hath she me wounded

That stod in blak, with loking of hir yn,


That to myn hertes botme it is y-sounded,

Thorugh which I woot that I mot nedes dyen;

This is the worste, I dar me not bi-wryen;

And wel the hotter been the gledes rede,

That men hem wryen with asshen pale and dede."


{206}78. With that he smoot his heed adoun anoon,

And gan to motre, I noot what, trewely.

And I with that gan stille awey to goon,

And leet ther-of as no-thing wist hadde I,

And come ayein anoon and stood him by,


And seyde, "a-wake, ye slepen al to longe;

It semeth nat that love dooth yow longe,

79. That slepen so that no man may yow wake.

Who sey ever or this so dul a man?"

"Ye, freend," quod he, "do ye your hedes ake


For love, and lat me liven as I can."

But though that he for wo was pale and wan,

Yet made he tho as fresh a contenaunce,

As though he shulde have led the newe daunce.

80. This passed forth, til now, this other day,


It fel that I com roming al allone

Into his chaumbre, and fond how that he lay

Up-on his bed; but man so sore grone

Ne herde I never, and what that was his mone,

Ne wiste I nought; for, as I was cominge,


Al sodeynly he lefte his compleyninge.

81. Of which I took somwhat suspecioun,

And neer I com, and fond he wepte sore;

And god so wis be my savacioun,

As never of thing hadde I no routhe more.


For neither with engyn, ne with no lore,

Unethes mighte I fro the deeth him kepe;

That yet fele I myn herte for him wepe.

82. And god wot, never, sith that I was born,

Was I so bisy no man for to preche,


Ne never was to wight so depe y-sworn,

Or he me tolde who mighte been his leche.

But now to yow rehersen al his speche,

{207}Or alle his woful wordes for to soune,

Ne bid me not, but ye wol see me swowne.


83. But for to save his lyf, and elles nought,

And to non harm of yow, thus am I driven;

And for the love of god that us hath wrought,

Swich chere him dooth, that he and I may liven.

Now have I plat to yow myn herte schriven;


And sin ye woot that myn entente is clene,

Tak hede ther-of, for I non yvel mene.

84. And right good thrift, I pray to god, have ye,

That han swich oon y-caught with-oute net;

And be ye wys, as ye ben fair to see,


Wel in the ring than is the ruby set.

Ther were never two so wel y-met,

Whan ye ben his al hool, as he is youre:

Ther mighty god yet graunte us see that houre!'

85. 'Nay, therof spak I not, a, ha!' quod she,


'As helpe me god, ye shenden every deel!'

'O mercy, dere nece,' anoon quod he,

'What-so I spak, I mente nought but weel,

By Mars the god, that helmed is of steel;

Now beth nought wrooth, my blood, my nece dere.'


'Now wel,' quod she, 'foryeven be it here!'

86. With this he took his leve, and hoom he wente;

And lord, how he was glad and wel bigoon!

Criseyde aroos, no lenger she ne stente,

But straught in-to hir closet wente anoon,


And sette here doun as stille as any stoon,

And every word gan up and doun to winde,

That he hadde seyd, as it com hir to minde;

87. And wex somdel astonied in hir thought,

Right for the newe cas; but whan that she


{208}Was ful avysed, tho fond she right nought

Of peril, why she oughte afered be.

For man may love, of possibilitee,

A womman so, his herte may to-breste,

And she nought love ayein, but-if hir leste.


88. But as she sat allone and thoughte thus,

Thascry aroos at skarmish al with-oute,

And men cryde in the strete, 'see, Troilus

Hath right now put to flight the Grekes route!'

With that gan al hir meynee for to shoute,


'A! go we see, caste up the latis wyde;

For thurgh this strete he moot to palays ryde;

89. For other wey is fro the yate noon

Of Dardanus, ther open is the cheyne.'

With that com he and al his folk anoon


An esy pas rydinge, in routes tweyne,

Right as his happy day was, sooth to seyne,

For which, men say, may nought disturbed be

That shal bityden of necessitee.

90. This Troilus sat on his baye stede,


Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,

And wounded was his hors, and gan to blede,

On whiche he rood a pas, ful softely;

But swych a knightly sighte, trewely,

As was on him, was nought, with-outen faile,


To loke on Mars, that god is of batayle.

91. So lyk a man of armes and a knight

He was to seen, fulfild of heigh prowesse;

For bothe he hadde a body and a might

To doon that thing, as wel as hardinesse;


And eek to seen him in his gere him dresse,

So fresh, so yong, so weldy semed he,

It was an heven up-on him for to see.

{209}92. His helm to-hewen was in twenty places,

That by a tissew heng, his bak bihinde,


His sheld to-dasshed was with swerdes and maces,

In which men mighte many an arwe finde

That thirled hadde horn and nerf and rinde;

And ay the peple cryde, 'here cometh our Ioye,

And, next his brother, holdere up of Troye!'


93. For which he wex a litel reed for shame,

Whan he the peple up-on him herde cryen,

That to biholde it was a noble game,

How sobreliche he caste doun his yn.

Cryseyda gan al his chere aspyen,


And leet so softe it in hir herte sinke,

That to hir-self she seyde, 'who yaf me drinke?'

94. For of hir owene thought she wex al reed,

Remembringe hir right thus, 'lo, this is he

Which that myn uncle swereth he moot be deed,


But I on him have mercy and pitee;'

And with that thought, for pure a-shamed, she

Gan in hir heed to pulle, and that as faste,

Whyl he and al the peple for-by paste,

95. And gan to caste and rollen up and doun


With-inne hir thought his excellent prowesse,

And his estat, and also his renoun,

His wit, his shap, and eek his gentillesse;

But most hir favour was, for his distresse

Was al for hir, and thoughte it was a routhe


To sleen swich oon, if that he mente trouthe.

96. Now mighte som envyous Iangle thus,

'This was a sodeyn love, how mighte it be

That she so lightly lovede Troilus

Right for the firste sighte; ye, pardee?'


Now who-so seyth so, mote he never thee!

{210}For every thing, a ginning hath it nede

Er al be wrought, with-outen any drede.

97. For I sey nought that she so sodeynly

Yaf him hir love, but that she gan enclyne


To lyke him first, and I have told yow why;

And after that, his manhod and his pyne

Made love with-inne hir for to myne,

For which, by proces and by good servyse,

He gat hir love, and in no sodeyn wyse.


98. And also blisful Venus, wel arayed,

Sat in hir seventhe hous of hevene tho,

Disposed wel, and with aspectes payed,

To helpen sely Troilus of his wo.

And, sooth to seyn, she nas nat al a fo


To Troilus in his nativitee;

God woot that wel the soner spedde he.

99. Now lat us stinte of Troilus a throwe,

That rydeth forth, and lat us tourne faste

Un-to Criseyde, that heng hir heed ful lowe,


Ther-as she sat allone, and gan to caste

Wher-on she wolde apoynte hir at the laste,

If it so were hir eem ne wolde cesse,

For Troilus, up-on hir for to presse.

100. And, lord! so she gan in hir thought argue


In this matere of which I have yow told,

And what to doon best were, and what eschue,

That plyted she ful ofte in many fold.

Now was hir herte warm, now was it cold,

And what she thoughte somwhat shal I wryte,


As to myn auctor listeth for to endyte.

101. She thoughte wel, that Troilus persone

She knew by sighte and eek his gentillesse,

{211}And thus she seyde, 'al were it nought to done,

To graunte him love, yet, for his worthinesse,


It were honour, with pley and with gladnesse,

In honestee, with swich a lord to dele,

For myn estat, and also for his hele.

102. Eek, wel wot I my kinges sone is he;

And sith he hath to see me swich delyt,


If I wolde utterly his sighte flee,

Paraunter he mighte have me in dispyt,

Thurgh which I mighte stonde in worse plyt;

Now were I wys, me hate to purchace,

With-outen nede, ther I may stonde in grace?


103. In every thing, I woot, ther lyth mesure.

For though a man forbede dronkenesse,

He nought for-bet that every creature

Be drinkelees for alwey, as I gesse;

Eek sith I woot for me is his distresse,


I ne oughte not for that thing him despyse,

Sith it is so, he meneth in good wyse.

104. And eek I knowe, of longe tyme agoon,

His thewes goode, and that he is not nyce.

Ne avauntour, seyth men, certein, is he noon;


To wys is he to do so gret a vyce;

Ne als I nel him never so cheryce,

That he may make avaunt, by Iuste cause;

He shal me never binde in swiche a clause.

105. Now set a cas, the hardest is, y-wis,


Men mighten deme that he loveth me:

What dishonour were it un-to me, this?

May I him lette of that? why nay, pardee!

I knowe also, and alday here and see,

{212}Men loven wommen al this toun aboute;


Be they the wers? why, nay, with-outen doute.

106. I thenk eek how he able is for to have

Of al this noble toun the thriftieste,

To been his love, so she hir honour save;

For out and out he is the worthieste,


Save only Ector, which that is the beste.

And yet his lyf al lyth now in my cure,

But swich is love, and eek myn aventure.

107. Ne me to love, a wonder is it nought;

For wel wot I my-self, so god me spede,


Al wolde I that noon wist of this thought,

I am oon the fayreste, out of drede,

And goodlieste, who-so taketh hede;

And so men seyn in al the toun of Troye.

What wonder is it though he of me have Ioye?


108. I am myn owene woman, wel at ese,

I thank it god, as after myn estat;

Right yong, and stonde unteyd in lusty lese,

With-outen Ialousye or swich debat;

Shal noon housbonde seyn to me "chekmat!"


For either they ben ful of Ialousye,

Or maisterful, or loven novelrye.

109. What shal I doon? to what fyn live I thus?

Shal I nat loven, in cas if that me leste?

What, par dieux! I am nought religious!


And though that I myn herte sette at reste

Upon this knight, that is the worthieste,

{213}And kepe alwey myn honour and my name,

By alle right, it may do me no shame.'

110. But right as whan the sonne shyneth brighte,


In March, that chaungeth ofte tyme his face,

And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte

Which over-sprat the sonne as for a space,

A cloudy thought gan thorugh hir soule pace,

That over-spradde hir brighte thoughtes alle,


So that for fere almost she gan to falle.

111. That thought was this, 'allas! sin I am free,

Sholde I now love, and putte in Iupartye

My sikernesse, and thrallen libertee?

Allas! how dorste I thenken that folye?


May I nought wel in other folk aspye

Hir dredful Ioye, hir constreynt, and hir peyne?

Ther loveth noon, that she nath why to pleyne.

112. For love is yet the moste stormy lyf,

Right of him-self, that ever was bigonne;


For ever som mistrust, or nyce stryf,

Ther is in love, som cloud is over the sonne:

Ther-to we wrecched wommen no-thing conne,

Whan us is wo, but wepe and sitte and thinke;

Our wreche is this, our owene wo to drinke.


113. Also these wikked tonges been so prest

To speke us harm, eek men be so untrewe,

That, right anoon as cessed is hir lest,

So cesseth love, and forth to love a newe:

But harm y-doon, is doon, who-so it rewe.


For though these men for love hem first to-rende,

Ful sharp biginning breketh ofte at ende.

114. How ofte tyme hath it y-knowen be,

The treson, that to womman hath be do?

{214}To what fyn is swich love, I can nat see,


Or wher bicomth it, whan it is ago;

Ther is no wight that woot, I trowe so,

Wher it bycomth; lo, no wight on it sporneth;

That erst was no-thing, in-to nought it torneth.

115. How bisy, if I love, eek moste I be


To plesen hem that Iangle of love, and demen,

And coye hem, that they sey non harm of me?

For though ther be no cause, yet hem semen

Al be for harm that folk hir freendes quemen;

And who may stoppen every wikked tonge,


Or soun of belles whyl that they be ronge?'

116. And after that, hir thought bigan to clere,

And seyde, 'he which that no-thing under-taketh,

No-thing ne acheveth, be him looth or dere.'

And with an other thought hir herte quaketh;


Than slepeth hope, and after dreed awaketh;

Now hoot, now cold; but thus, bi-twixen tweye,

She rist hir up, and went hir for to pleye.

117. Adoun the steyre anoon-right tho she wente

In-to the gardin, with hir neces three,


And up and doun ther made many a wente,

Flexippe, she, Tharbe, and Antigone,

To pleyen, that it Ioye was to see;

And othere of hir wommen, a gret route,

Hir folwede in the gardin al aboute.


118. This yerd was large, and rayled alle the aleyes,

And shadwed wel with blosmy bowes grene,

And benched newe, and sonded alle the weyes,

In which she walketh arm in arm bi-twene;

Til at the laste Antigone the shene


Gan on a Troian song to singe clere,

That it an heven was hir voys to here.—

{215}119. She seyde, 'O love, to whom I have and shal

Ben humble subgit, trewe in myn entente,

As I best can, to yow, lord, yeve ich al


For ever-more, myn hertes lust to rente.

For never yet thy grace no wight sente

So blisful cause as me, my lyf to lede

In alle Ioye and seurtee, out of drede.

120. Ye, blisful god, han me so wel beset


In love, y-wis, that al that bereth lyf

Imaginen ne cowde how to ben bet;

For, lord, with-outen Ialousye or stryf,

I love oon which that is most ententyf

To serven wel, unwery or unfeyned,


That ever was, and leest with harm distreyned.

121. As he that is the welle of worthinesse,

Of trouthe ground, mirour of goodliheed,

Of wit Appollo, stoon of sikernesse,

Of vertu rote, of lust findere and heed,


Thurgh which is alle sorwe fro me deed,

Y-wis, I love him best, so doth he me;

Now good thrift have he, wher-so that he be!

122. Whom sholde I thanke but yow, god of love,

Of al this blisse, in which to bathe I ginne?


And thanked be ye, lord, for that I love!

This is the righte lyf that I am inne,

To flemen alle manere vyce and sinne:

This doth me so to vertu for to entende,

That day by day I in my wil amende.


123. And who-so seyth that for to love is vyce,

Or thraldom, though he fele in it distressse,

He outher is envyous, or right nyce,

Or is unmighty, for his shrewednesse,

To loven; for swich maner folk, I gesse,


{216}Defamen love, as no-thing of him knowe;

They speken, but they bente never his bowe.

124. What is the sonne wers, of kinde righte,

Though that a man, for feblesse of his yn,

May nought endure on it to see for brighte?


Or love the wers, though wrecches on it cryen?

No wele is worth, that may no sorwe dryen.

And for-thy, who that hath an heed of verre,

Fro cast of stones war him in the werre!

125. But I with al myn herte and al my might,


As I have seyd, wol love, un-to my laste,

My dere herte, and al myn owene knight,

In which myn herte growen is so faste,

And his in me, that it shal ever laste.

Al dredde I first to love him to biginne,


Now woot I wel, ther is no peril inne.'

126. And of hir song right with that word she stente,

And therwith-al, 'now, nece,' quod Criseyde,

'Who made this song with so good entente?'

Antigone answerde anoon, and seyde,


'Ma dame, y-wis, the goodlieste mayde

Of greet estat in al the toun of Troye;

And let hir lyf in most honour and Ioye.'

127. 'Forsothe, so it semeth by hir song,'

Quod tho Criseyde, and gan ther-with to syke,


And seyde, 'lord, is there swich blisse among

These lovers, as they conne faire endyte?'

'Ye, wis,' quod fresh Antigone the whyte,

'For alle the folk that han or been on lyve

Ne conne wel the blisse of love discryve.


128. But wene ye that every wrecche woot

The parfit blisse of love? why, nay, y-wis;

{217}They wenen al be love, if oon be hoot;

Do wey, do wey, they woot no-thing of this!

Men mosten axe at seyntes if it is


Aught fair in hevene; why? for they conne telle;

And axen fendes, is it foul in helle.'

129. Criseyde un-to that purpos nought answerde,

But seyde, 'y-wis, it wol be night as faste.'

But every word which that she of hir herde,


She gan to prenten in hir herte faste;

And ay gan love hir lasse for to agaste

Than it dide erst, and sinken in hir herte,

That she wex somwhat able to converte.

130. The dayes honour, and the hevenes y,


The nightes fo, al this clepe I the sonne,

Gan westren faste, and dounward for to wrye,

As he that hadde his dayes cours y-ronne;

And whyte thinges wexen dimme and donne

For lak of light, and sterres for to appere,


That she and al hir folk in wente y-fere.

131. So whan it lyked hir to goon to reste,

And voyded weren they that voyden oughte,

She seyde, that to slepe wel hir leste.

Hir wommen sone til hir bed hir broughte.


Whan al was hust, than lay she stille, and thoughte

Of al this thing the manere and the wyse.

Reherce it nedeth nought, for ye ben wyse.

132. A nightingale, upon a cedre grene,

Under the chambre-wal ther as she lay,


Ful loude sang ayein the mone shene,

Paraunter, in his briddes wyse, a lay

Of love, that made hir herte fresh and gay.

That herkned she so longe in good entente,

Til at the laste the dede sleep hir hente.


{218}133. And, as she sleep, anoon-right tho hir mette,

How that an egle, fethered whyt as boon,

Under hir brest his longe clawes sette,

And out hir herte he rente, and that a-noon,

And dide his herte in-to hir brest to goon,


Of which she nought agroos ne no-thing smerte,

And forth he fleigh, with herte left for herte.

134. Now lat hir slepe, and we our tales holde

Of Troilus, that is to paleys riden,

Fro the scarmuch, of the whiche I tolde,


And in his chambre sit, and hath abiden

Til two or three of his messages yeden

For Pandarus, and soughten him ful faste,

Til they him founde, and broughte him at the laste.

135. This Pandarus com leping in at ones


And seide thus, 'who hath ben wel y-bete

To-day with swerdes, and with slinge-stones,

But Troilus, that hath caught him an hete?'

And gan to Iape, and seyde, 'lord, so ye swete!

But rys, and lat us soupe and go to reste;'


And he answerde him, 'do we as thee leste.'

136. With al the haste goodly that they mighte,

They spedde hem fro the souper un-to bedde;

And every wight out at the dore him dighte,

And wher him list upon his wey he spedde;


But Troilus, that thoughte his herte bledde

For wo, til that he herde som tydinge,

He seyde, 'freend, shal I now wepe or singe?'

137. Quod Pandarus, 'ly stille, and lat me slepe,

And don thyn hood, thy nedes spedde be;


{219}And chese, if thou wolt singe or daunce or lepe;

At shorte wordes, thow shall trowe me.—

Sire, my nece wol do wel by thee,

And love thee best, by god and by my trouthe,

But lak of pursuit make it in thy slouthe.


138. For thus ferforth I have thy work bigonne,

Fro day to day, til this day, by the morwe,

Hir love of freendship have I to thee wonne,

And also hath she leyd hir feyth to borwe.

Algate a foot is hameled of thy sorwe.'


What sholde I lenger sermon of it holde?

As ye han herd bifore, al he him tolde.

139. But right as floures, thorugh the colde of night

Y-closed, stoupen on hir stalkes lowe,

Redressen hem a-yein the sonne bright,


And spreden on hir kinde cours by rowe;

Right so gan tho his eyen up to throwe

This Troilus, and seyde, 'O Venus dere,

Thy might, thy grace, y-heried be it here!'

140. And to Pandare he held up bothe his hondes,


And seyde, 'lord, al thyn be that I have;

For I am hool, al brosten been my bondes;

A thousand Troians who so that me yave,

Eche after other, god so wis me save,

Ne mighte me so gladen; lo, myn herte,


It spredeth so for Ioye, it wol to-sterte!

141. But lord, how shal I doon, how shal I liven?

Whan shal I next my dere herte see?

How shal this longe tyme a-wey be driven,

Til that thou be ayein at hir fro me?


Thou mayst answere, "a-byd, a-byd," but he

That hangeth by the nekke, sooth to seyne,

In grete disese abydeth for the peyne.'

{220}142. 'Al esily, now, for the love of Marte,'

Quod Pandarus, 'for every thing hath tyme;


So longe abyd til that the night departe;

For al so siker as thow lyst here by me,

And god toforn, I wol be there at pryme,

And for thy werk somwhat as I shal seye,

Or on som other wight this charge leye.


143. For pardee, god wot, I have ever yit

Ben redy thee to serve, and to this night

Have I nought fayned, but emforth my wit

Don al thy lust, and shal with al my might.

Do now as I shal seye, and fare a-right;


And if thou nilt, wyte al thy-self thy care,

On me is nought along thyn yvel fare.

144. I woot wel that thow wyser art than I

A thousand fold, but if I were as thou,

God helpe me so, as I wolde outrely,


Right of myn owene hond, wryte hir right now

A lettre, in which I wolde hir tellen how

I ferde amis, and hir beseche of routhe;

Now help thy-self, and leve it not for slouthe.

145. And I my-self shal ther-with to hir goon;


And whan thou wost that I am with hir there,

Worth thou up-on a courser right anoon,

Ye, hardily, right in thy beste gere,

And ryd forth by the place, as nought ne were,

And thou shalt finde us, if I may, sittinge


At som windowe, in-to the strete lokinge.

146. And if thee list, than maystow us saluwe,

And up-on me mak thy contenaunce;

But, by thy lyf, be war and faste eschuwe

To tarien ought, god shilde us fro mischaunce!


{221}Ryd forth thy wey, and hold thy governaunce;

And we shal speke of thee som-what, I trowe,

Whan thou art goon, to do thyne eres glowe!

147. Touching thy lettre, thou art wys y-nough,

I woot thow nilt it digneliche endyte;


As make it with thise argumentes tough;

Ne scrivenish or craftily thou it wryte;

Beblotte it with thy teres eek a lyte;

And if thou wryte a goodly word al softe,

Though it be good, reherce it not to ofte.


148. For though the beste harpour upon lyve

Wolde on the beste souned Ioly harpe

That ever was, with alle his fingres fyve,

Touche ay o streng, or ay o werbul harpe,

Were his nayles poynted never so sharpe,


It shulde maken every wight to dulle,

To here his glee, and of his strokes fulle.

149. Ne Iompre eek no discordaunt thing y-fere,

As thus, to usen termes of phisyk;

In loves termes, hold of thy matere


The forme alwey, and do that it be lyk;

For if a peyntour wolde peynte a pyk

With asses feet, and hede it as an ape,

It cordeth nought; so nere it but a Iape.'

150. This counseyl lyked wel to Troilus;


But, as a dreedful lover, he seyde this:—

'Allas, my dere brother Pandarus,

I am ashamed for to wryte, y-wis,

Lest of myn innocence I seyde a-mis,

Or that she nolde it for despyt receyve;


Thanne were I deed, ther mighte it no-thing weyve.'

{222}151. To that Pandare answerde, 'if thee lest,

Do that I seye, and lat me therwith goon;

For by that lord that formed est and west,

I hope of it to bringe answere anoon


Right of hir hond, and if that thou nilt noon,

Lat be; and sory mote he been his lyve,

Ayeins thy lust that helpeth thee to thryve.'

152. Quod Troilus, 'Depardieux, I assente;

Sin that thee list, I will aryse and wryte;


And blisful god preye ich, with good entente,

The vyage, and the lettre I shal endyte,

So spede it; and thou, Minerva, the whyte,

Yif thou me wit my lettre to devyse:'

And sette him doun, and wroot right in this wyse.—


153. First he gan hir his righte lady calle,

His hertes lyf, his lust, his sorwes leche,

His blisse, and eek this othere termes alle,

That in swich cas these loveres alle seche;

And in ful humble wyse, as in his speche,


He gan him recomaunde un-to hir grace;

To telle al how, it axeth muchel space.

154. And after this, ful lowly he hir prayde

To be nought wrooth, though he, of his folye,

So hardy was to hir to wryte, and seyde,


That love it made, or elles moste he dye,

And pitously gan mercy for to crye;

And after that he seyde, and ley ful loude,

Him-self was litel worth, and lesse he coude;

155. And that she sholde han his conning excused,


That litel was, and eek he dredde hir so,

And his unworthinesse he ay acused;

{223}And after that, than gan he telle his wo;

But that was endeles, with-outen ho;

And seyde, he wolde in trouthe alwey him holde;—


And radde it over, and gan the lettre folde.

156. And with his salte teres gan he bathe

The ruby in his signet, and it sette

Upon the wex deliverliche and rathe;

Ther-with a thousand tymes, er he lette,


He kiste tho the lettre that he shette,

And seyde, 'lettre, a blisful destenee

Thee shapen is, my lady shal thee see.'

157. This Pandare took the lettre, and that by tyme

A-morwe, and to his neces paleys sterte,


And faste he swoor, that it was passed pryme,

And gan to Iape, and seyde, 'y-wis, myn herte,

So fresh it is, al-though it sore smerte,

I may not slepe never a Mayes morwe;

I have a Ioly wo, a lusty sorwe.'


158. Criseyde, whan that she hir uncle herde,

With dreedful herte, and desirous to here

The cause of his cominge, thus answerde,

'Now by your feyth, myn uncle,' quod she, 'dere,

What maner windes gydeth yow now here?


Tel us your Ioly wo and your penaunce,

How ferforth be ye put in loves daunce.'

159. 'By god,' quod he, 'I hoppe alwey bihinde!'

And she to-laugh, it thoughte hir herte breste.

Quod Pandarus, 'loke alwey that ye finde


Game in myn hood, but herkneth, if yow leste;

Ther is right now come in-to toune a geste,

A Greek espye, and telleth newe thinges,

For which come I to telle yow tydinges.

{224}160. Into the gardin go we, and we shal here,


Al prevely, of this a long sermoun.'

With that they wenten arm in arm y-fere

In-to the gardin from the chaumbre doun.

And whan that he so fer was that the soun

Of that he speke, no man here mighte,


He seyde hir thus, and out the lettre plighte,

161. 'Lo, he that is al hoolly youres free

Him recomaundeth lowly to your grace,

And sent to you this lettre here by me;

Avyseth you on it, whan ye han space,


And of som goodly answere yow purchace;

Or, helpe me god, so pleynly for to seyne,

He may not longe liven for his peyne.'

162. Ful dredfully tho gan she stonde stille,

And took it nought, but al hir humble chere


Gan for to chaunge, and seyde, 'scrit ne bille,

For love of god, that toucheth swich matere,

Ne bring me noon; and also, uncle dere,

To myn estat have more reward, I preye,

Than to his lust; what sholde I more seye?


163. And loketh now if this be resonable,

And letteth nought, for favour ne for slouthe,

To seyn a sooth; now were it covenable

To myn estat, by god, and by your trouthe,

To taken it, or to han of him routhe,


In harming of my-self or in repreve?

Ber it a-yein, for him that ye on leve!'

164. This Pandarus gan on hir for to stare,

And seyde, 'now is this the grettest wonder

That ever I sey! lat be this nyce fare!


To deethe mote I smiten be with thonder,

If, for the citee which that stondeth yonder,

{225}Wolde I a lettre un-to yow bringe or take

To harm of yow; what list yow thus it make?

165. But thus ye faren, wel neigh alle and some,


That he that most desireth yow to serve,

Of him ye recche leest wher he bicome,

And whether that he live or elles sterve.

But for al that that ever I may deserve,

Refuse it nought,' quod he, and hente hir faste,


And in hir bosom the lettre doun he thraste,

166. And seyde hir, 'now cast it away anoon,

That folk may seen and gauren on us tweye.'

Quod she, 'I can abyde til they be goon,'

And gan to smyle, and seyde him, 'eem, I preye,


Swich answere as yow list your-self purveye,

For trewely I nil no lettre wryte.'

'No? than wol I,' quod he, 'so ye endyte.'

167. Therwith she lough, and seyde, 'go we dyne.'

And he gan at him-self to iape faste,


And seyde, 'nece, I have so greet a pyne

For love, that every other day I faste'—

And gan his beste Iapes forth to caste;

And made hir so to laughe at his folye,

That she for laughter wende for to dye.


168. And whan that she was comen in-to halle,

'Now, eem,' quod she, 'we wol go dyne anoon;'

And gan some of hir women to hir calle,

And streyght in-to hir chaumbre gan she goon;

But of hir besinesses, this was oon


A-monges othere thinges, out of drede,

Ful prively this lettre for to rede;

169. Avysed word by word in every lyne,

And fond no lak, she thoughte he coude good;

{226}And up it putte, and went hir in to dyne.


And Pandarus, that in a study stood,

Er he was war, she took him by the hood,

And seyde, 'ye were caught er that ye wiste;'

'I vouche sauf,' quod he, 'do what yow liste.'

170. Tho wesshen they, and sette hem doun and ete;


And after noon ful sleyly Pandarus

Gan drawe him to the window next the strete,

And seyde, 'nece, who hath arayed thus

The yonder hous, that stant afor-yeyn us?'

'Which hous?' quod she, and gan for to biholde,


And knew it wel, and whos it was him tolde,

171. And fillen forth in speche of thinges smale,

And seten in the window bothe tweye.

Whan Pandarus saw tyme un-to his tale,

And saw wel that hir folk were alle aweye,


'Now, nece myn, tel on,' quod he, 'I seye,

How lyketh yow the lettre that ye woot?

Can he ther-on? for, by my trouthe, I noot.'

172. Therwith al rosy hewed tho wex she,

And gan to humme, and seyde, 'so I trowe.'


'Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,' quod he;

'My-self to medes wol the lettre sowe,'

And held his hondes up, and sat on knowe,

'Now, goode nece, be it never so lyte,

Yif me the labour, it to sowe and plyte.'


173. 'Ye, for I can so wryte,' quod she tho;

'And eek I noot what I sholde to him seye.'

'Nay, nece,' quod Pandare, 'sey not so;

Yet at the leste thanketh him, I preye,

Of his good wil, and doth him not to deye.


Now for the love of me, my nece dere,

Refuseth not at this tyme my preyere.'

{227}174. 'Depar-dieux,' quod she, 'god leve al be wel!

God helpe me so, this is the firste lettre

That ever I wroot, ye, al or any del.'


And in-to a closet, for to avyse hir bettre,

She wente allone, and gan hir herte unfettre

Out of disdaynes prison but a lyte;

And sette hir doun, and gan a lettre wryte,

175. Of which to telle in short is myn entente


Theffect, as fer as I can understonde:—

She thonked him of al that he wel mente

Towardes hir, but holden him in honde

She nolde nought, ne make hir-selven bonde

In love, but as his suster, him to plese,


She wolde fayn, to doon his herte an ese.

176. She shette it, and to Pandarus gan goon,

There as he sat and loked in-to strete,

And doun she sette hir by him on a stoon

Of Iaspre, up-on a quisshin gold y-bete,


And seyde, 'as wisly helpe me god the grete,

I never dide a thing with more peyne

Than wryte this, to which ye me constreyne;'

177. And took it him: he thonked hir and seyde,

'God woot, of thing ful ofte looth bigonne


Cometh ende good; and nece myn, Criseyde,

That ye to him of hard now ben y-wonne

Oughte he be glad, by god and yonder sonne!

For-why men seyth, "impressiounes lighte

Ful lightly been ay redy to the flighte."


178. But ye han pleyed tyraunt neigh to longe,

And hard was it your herte for to grave;

Now stint, that ye no longer on it honge,

Al wolde ye the forme of daunger save.

{228}But hasteth yow to doon him Ioye have;


For trusteth wel, to longe y-doon hardnesse

Causeth despyt ful often, for distresse.'

179. And right as they declamed this matere,

Lo, Troilus, right at the stretes ende,

Com ryding with his tenthe some y-fere,


Al softely, and thiderward gan bende

Ther-as they sete, as was his wey to wende

To paleys-ward; and Pandare him aspyde,

And seyde, 'nece, y-see who cometh here ryde!

180. O flee not in, he seeth us, I suppose;


Lest he may thinke that ye him eschuwe.'

'Nay, nay,' quod she, and wex as reed as rose.

With that he gan hir humbly to saluwe,

With dreedful chere, and ofte his hewes muwe;

And up his look debonairly he caste,


And bekked on Pandare, and forth he paste.

181. God woot if he sat on his hors a-right,

Or goodly was beseyn, that ilke day!

God woot wher he was lyk a manly knight!

What sholde I drecche, or telle of his aray?


Criseyde, which that alle these thinges say,

To telle in short, hir lyked al y-fere,

His persone, his aray, his look, his chere,

182. His goodly manere and his gentillesse,

So wel, that never, sith that she was born,


Ne hadde she swich routhe of his distresse;

And how-so she hath hard ben her-biforn,

To god hope I, she hath now caught a thorn.

She shal not pulle it out this nexte wyke;

God sende mo swich thornes on to pyke!


{229}183. Pandare, which that stood hir faste by,

Felte iren hoot, and he bigan to smyte,

And seyde, 'nece, I pray yow hertely,

Tel me that I shal axen yow a lyte.

A womman, that were of his deeth to wyte,


With-outen his gilt, but for hir lakked routhe,

Were it wel doon?' Quod she, 'nay, by my trouthe!'

184. 'God helpe me so,' quod he, 'ye sey me sooth.

Ye felen wel your-self that I not lye;

Lo, yond he rit!' Quod she, 'ye, so he dooth.'


'Wel,' quod Pandare, 'as I have told yow thrye,

Lat be your nyce shame and your folye,

And spek with him in esing of his herte;

Lat nycetee not do yow bothe smerte.'

185. But ther-on was to heven and to done;


Considered al thing, it may not be;

And why, for shame; and it were eek to sone

To graunten him so greet a libertee.

'For playnly hir entente,' as seyde she,

Was for to love him unwist, if she mighte,


And guerdon him with no-thing but with sighte.'

186. But Pandarus thoughte, 'it shal not be so,

If that I may; this nyce opinioun

Shal not be holden fully yeres two.'

What sholde I make of this a long sermoun?


He moste assente on that conclusioun

As for the tyme; and whan that it was eve,

And al was wel, he roos and took his leve.

187. And on his wey ful faste homward he spedde,

And right for Ioye he felte his herte daunce;


And Troilus he fond alone a-bedde,

That lay as dooth these loveres, in a traunce,

Bitwixen hope and derk desesperaunce.

{230}But Pandarus, right at his in-cominge,

He song, as who seyth, 'lo! sumwhat I bringe.'


188. And seyde, 'who is in his bed so sone

Y-buried thus?' 'It am I, freend,' quod he.

'Who, Troilus? nay helpe me so the mone,'

Quod Pandarus, 'thou shalt aryse and see

A charme that was sent right now to thee,


The which can helen thee of thyn accesse,

If thou do forth-with al thy besinesse.'

189. 'Ye, through the might of god!' quod Troilus.

And Pandarus gan him the lettre take,

And seyde, 'pardee, god hath holpen us;


Have here a light, and loke on al this blake.'

But ofte gan the herte glade and quake

Of Troilus, whyl that he gan it rede,

So as the wordes yave him hope or drede.

190. But fynally, he took al for the beste


That she him wroot, for sumwhat he biheld

On which, him thoughte, he mighte his herte reste,

Al covered she the wordes under sheld.

Thus to the more worthy part he held,

That, what for hope and Pandarus biheste,


His grete wo for-yede he at the leste.

191. But as we may alday our-selven see,

Through more wode or col, the more fyr;

Right so encrees of hope, of what it be,

Therwith ful ofte encreseth eek desyr;


Or, as an ook cometh of a litel spyr,

So through this lettre, which that she him sente,

Encresen gan desyr, of which he brente.

192. Wherfore I seye alwey, that day and night

This Troilus gan to desiren more


{231}Than he dide erst, thurgh hope, and dide his might

To pressen on, as by Pandarus lore,

And wryten to hir of his sorwes sore

Fro day to day; he leet it not refreyde,

That by Pandare he wroot somwhat or seyde;


193. And dide also his othere observaunces

That to a lovere longeth in this cas;

And, after that these dees turnede on chaunces,

So was he outher glad or seyde 'allas!'

And held after his gestes ay his pas;


And aftir swiche answeres as he hadde,

So were his dayes sory outher gladde.

194. But to Pandare alwey was his recours,

And pitously gan ay til him to pleyne,

And him bisoughte of rede and som socours;


And Pandarus, that sey his wode peyne,

Wex wel neigh deed for routhe, sooth to seyne,

And bisily with al his herte caste

Som of his wo to sleen, and that as faste;

195. And seyde, 'lord, and freend, and brother dere,


God woot that thy disese dooth me wo.

But woltow stinten al this woful chere,

And, by my trouthe, or it be dayes two,

And god to-forn, yet shal I shape it so,

That thou shalt come in-to a certayn place,


Ther-as thou mayst thy-self hir preye of grace.

196. And certainly, I noot if thou it wost,

But tho that been expert in love it seye,

It is oon of the thinges that furthereth most,

A man to have a leyser for to preye,


And siker place his wo for to biwreye;

For in good herte it moot som routhe impresse,

To here and see the giltles in distresse.

{232}197. Paraunter thenkestow: though it be so

That kinde wolde doon hir to biginne


To han a maner routhe up-on my wo,

Seyth Daunger, "Nay, thou shalt me never winne;

So reuleth hir hir hertes goost with-inne,

That, though she bende, yet she stant on rote;

What in effect is this un-to my bote?"


198. Thenk here-ayeins, whan that the sturdy ook,

On which men hakketh ofte, for the nones,

Receyved hath the happy falling strook,

The grete sweigh doth it come al at ones,

As doon these rokkes or these milne-stones.


For swifter cours cometh thing that is of wighte,

Whan it descendeth, than don thinges lighte.

199. And reed that boweth doun for every blast,

Ful lightly, cesse wind, it wol aryse;

But so nil not an ook whan it is cast;


It nedeth me nought thee longe to forbyse.

Men shal reioysen of a greet empryse

Acheved wel, and stant with-outen doute,

Al han men been the lenger ther-aboute.

200. But, Troilus, yet tel me, if thee lest,


A thing now which that I shal axen thee;

Which is thy brother that thou lovest best

As in thy verray hertes privetee?'

'Y-wis, my brother Deiphebus,' quod he.

'Now,' quod Pandare, 'er houres twyes twelve,


He shal thee ese, unwist of it him-selve.

201. Now lat me allone, and werken as I may,'

Quod he; and to Deiphebus wente he tho

Which hadde his lord and grete freend ben ay;

Save Troilus, no man he lovede so.


To telle in short, with-outen wordes mo,

{233}Quod Pandarus, 'I pray yow that ye be

Freend to a cause which that toucheth me.'

202. 'Yis, pardee,' quod Deiphebus, 'wel thow wost,

In al that ever I may, and god to-fore,


Al nere it but for man I love most,

My brother Troilus; but sey wherfore

It is; for sith that day that I was bore,

I nas, ne never-mo to been I thinke,

Ayeins a thing that mighte thee for-thinke.'


203. Pandare gan him thonke, and to him seyde,

'Lo, sire, I have a lady in this toun,

That is my nece, and called is Criseyde,

Which som men wolden doon oppressioun,

And wrongfully have hir possessioun:


Wherfor I of your lordship yow biseche

To been our freend, with-oute more speche.'

204. Deiphebus him answerde, 'O, is not this,

That thow spekest of to me thus straungely,

Crisyda, my freend?' He seyde, 'Yis.'


'Than nedeth,' quod Deiphebus hardely,

'Na-more to speke, for trusteth wel, that I

Wol be hir champioun with spore and yerde;

I roughte nought though alle hir foos it herde.

205. But tel me, thou that woost al this matere,


How I might best avaylen? now lat see.'

Quod Pandarus, 'if ye, my lord so dere,

Wolden as now don this honour to me,

To prayen hir to-morwe, lo, that she

Com un-to yow hir pleyntes to devyse,


Hir adversaries wolde of hit agryse.

206. And if I more dorste preye as now,

And chargen yow to have so greet travayle,

To han som of your bretheren here with yow,

That mighten to hir cause bet avayle,


{234}Than, woot I wel, she mighte never fayle

For to be holpen, what at your instaunce,

What with hir othere freendes governaunce.'

207. Deiphebus, which that comen was, of kinde,

To al honour and bountee to consente,


Answerde, 'it shal be doon; and I can finde

Yet gretter help to this in myn entente.

What wolt thow seyn, if I for Eleyne sente

To speke of this? I trowe it be the beste;

For she may leden Paris as hir leste.


208. Of Ector, which that is my lord, my brother,

It nedeth nought to preye him freend to be;

For I have herd him, o tyme and eek other,

Speke of Criseyde swich honour, that he

May seyn no bet, swich hap to him hath she.


It nedeth nought his helpes for to crave;

He shal be swich, right as we wole him have.

209. Spek thou thy-self also to Troilus

On my bihalve, and pray him with us dyne.'

'Sire, al this shal be doon,' quod Pandarus;


And took his leve, and never gan to fyne,

But to his neces hous, as streyt as lyne,

He com; and fond hir fro the mete aryse;

And sette him doun, and spak right in this wyse.

210. He seyde, 'O veray god, so have I ronne!


Lo, nece myn, see ye nought how I swete?

I noot whether ye the more thank me conne.

Be ye nought war how that fals Poliphete

Is now aboute eft-sones for to plete,

And bringe on yow advocacys newe?'


'I? no,' quod she, and chaunged al hir hewe.

211. 'What is he more aboute, me to drecche

And doon me wrong? what shal I do, allas?

Yet of him-self no-thing ne wolde I recche,

Nere it for Antenor and Eneas,


{235}That been his freendes in swich maner cas;

But, for the love of god, myn uncle dere,

No fors of that, lat him have al y-fere;

212. With-outen that, I have ynough for us.'

'Nay,' quod Pandare, 'it shal no-thing be so.


For I have been right now at Deiphebus,

And Ector, and myne othere lordes mo,

And shortly maked eche of hem his fo;

That, by my thrift, he shal it never winne

For ought he can, whan that so he biginne.'


213. And as they casten what was best to done,

Deiphebus, of his owene curtasye,

Com hir to preye, in his propre persone,

To holde him on the morwe companye

At diner, which she nolde not denye,


But goodly gan to his preyere obeye.

He thonked hir, and wente up-on his weye.

214. Whanne this was doon, this Pandare up a-noon,

To telle in short, and forth gan for to wende

To Troilus, as stille as any stoon,


And al this thing he tolde him, word and ende;

And how that he Deiphebus gan to blende;

And seyde him, 'now is tyme, if that thou conne,

To bere thee wel to-morwe, and al is wonne.

215. Now spek, now prey, now pitously compleyne;


Lat not for nyce shame, or drede, or slouthe;

Som-tyme a man mot telle his owene peyne;

Bileve it, and she shal han on thee routhe;

Thou shalt be saved by thy feyth, in trouthe.

But wel wot I, thou art now in a drede;


And what it is, I leye, I can arede.

216. Thow thinkest now, "how sholde I doon al this?

For by my cheres mosten folk aspye,

{236}That for hir love is that I fare a-mis;

Yet hadde I lever unwist for sorwe dye."


Now thenk not so, for thou dost greet folye.

For right now have I founden o manere

Of sleighte, for to coveren al thy chere.

217. Thow shall gon over night, and that as blyve,

Un-to Deiphebus hous, as thee to pleye,


Thy maladye a-wey the bet to dryve,

For-why thou semest syk, soth for to seye.

Sone after that, doun in thy bed thee leye,

And sey, thow mayst no lenger up endure,

And lye right there, and byde thyn aventure.


218. Sey that thy fever is wont thee for to take

The same tyme, and lasten til a-morwe;

And lat see now how wel thou canst it make,

For, par-dee, syk is he that is in sorwe.

Go now, farewel! and, Venus here to borwe,


I hope, and thou this purpos holde ferme,

Thy grace she shal fully ther conferme.'

219. Quod Troilus, 'y-wis, thou nedelees

Counseylest me, that sykliche I me feyne!

For I am syk in ernest, doutelees,


So that wel neigh I sterve for the peyne.'

Quod Pandarus, 'thou shalt the bettre pleyne,

And hast the lasse nede to countrefete;

For him men demen hoot that men seen swete.

220. Lo, holde thee at thy triste cloos, and I


Shal wel the deer un-to thy bowe dryve.'

Therwith he took his leve al softely,

And Troilus to paleys wente blyve.

So glad ne was he never in al his lyve;

And to Pandarus reed gan al assente,


And to Deiphebus hous at night he wente.

{237}221. What nedeth yow to tellen al the chere

That Deiphebus un-to his brother made,

Or his accesse, or his syklych manere,

How men gan him with clothes for to lade,


Whan he was leyd, and how men wolde him glade?

But al for nought, he held forth ay the wyse

That ye han herd Pandare er this devyse.

222. But certeyn is, er Troilus him leyde,

Deiphebus had him prayed, over night,


To been a freend and helping to Criseyde.

God woot, that he it grauntede anon-right,

To been hir fulle freend with al his might.

But swich a nede was to preye him thenne,

As for to bidde a wood man for to renne.


223. The morwen com, and neighen gan the tyme

Of meel-tyd, that the faire quene Eleyne

Shoop hir to been, an houre after the pryme,

With Deiphebus, to whom she nolde feyne;

But as his suster, hoomly, sooth to seyne,


She com to diner in hir playn entente.

But god and Pandare wiste al what this mente.

224. Come eek Criseyde, al innocent of this,

Antigone, hir sister Tarbe also;

But flee we now prolixitee best is,


For love of god, and lat us faste go

Right to the effect, with-oute tales mo,

Why al this folk assembled in this place;

And lat us of hir saluinges pace.

225. Gret honour dide hem Deiphebus, certeyn,


And fedde hem wel with al that mighte lyke.

But ever-more, 'allas!' was his refreyn,

'My goode brother Troilus, the syke,

Lyth yet'—and therwith-al he gan to syke;

{238}And after that, he peyned him to glade


Hem as he mighte, and chere good he made.

226. Compleyned eek Eleyne of his syknesse

So feithfully, that pitee was to here,

And every wight gan waxen for accesse

A leche anoon, and seyde, 'in this manere


Men curen folk; this charme I wol yow lere.'

But there sat oon, al list hir nought to teche,

That thoughte, best coude I yet been his leche.

227. After compleynt, him gonnen they to preyse,

As folk don yet, whan som wight hath bigonne


To preyse a man, and up with prys him reyse

A thousand fold yet hyer than the sonne:—

'He is, he can, that fewe lordes conne.'

And Pandarus, of that they wolde afferme,

He not for-gat hir preysing to conferme.


228. Herde al this thing Criseyde wel y-nough,

And every word gan for to notifye;

For which with sobre chere hir herte lough;

For who is that ne wolde hir glorifye,

To mowen swich a knight don live or dye?


But al passe I, lest ye to longe dwelle;

For for o fyn is al that ever I telle.

229. The tyme com, fro diner for to ryse,

And, as hem oughte, arisen everychoon,

And gonne a while of this and that devyse.


But Pandarus brak al this speche anoon,

And seyde to Deiphebus, 'wole ye goon,

If your wille be, as I yow preyde,

To speke here of the nedes of Criseyde?'

230. Eleyne, which that by the hond hir held,


Took first the tale, and seyde, 'go we blyve;'

{239}And goodly on Criseyde she biheld,

And seyde, 'Ioves lat him never thryve,

That dooth yow harm, and bringe him sone of lyve!

And yeve me sorwe, but he shal it rewe,


If that I may, and alle folk be trewe.'

231. 'Tel thou thy neces cas,' quod Deiphebus

To Pandarus, 'for thou canst best it telle.'—

'My lordes and my ladyes, it stant thus;

What sholde I lenger,' quod he, 'do yow dwelle?'


He rong hem out a proces lyk a belle,

Up-on hir fo, that highte Poliphete,

So hynous, that men mighte on it spete.

232. Answerde of this ech worse of hem than other,

And Poliphete they gonnen thus to warien,


'An-honged be swich oon, were he my brother;

And so he shal, for it ne may not varien.'

What sholde I lenger in this tale tarien?

Pleynly, alle at ones, they hir highten,

To been hir helpe in al that ever they mighten.


233. Spak than Eleyne, and seyde, 'Pandarus,

Woot ought my lord, my brother, this matere,

I mene, Ector? or woot it Troilus?'

He seyde, 'ye, but wole ye now me here?

Me thinketh this, sith Troilus is here,


It were good, if that ye wolde assente,

She tolde hir-self him al this, er she wente.

234. For he wole have the more hir grief at herte,

By cause, lo, that she a lady is;

And, by your leve, I wol but right in sterte,


And do yow wite, and that anoon, y-wis,

If that he slepe, or wole ought here of this.'

And in he lepte, and seyde him in his ere,

'God have thy soule, y-brought have I thy bere!'

{240}235. To smylen of this gan tho Troilus,


And Pandarus, with-oute rekeninge,

Out wente anoon to Eleyne and Deiphebus,

And seyde hem, 'so there be no taryinge,

Ne more pres, he wol wel that ye bringe

Crisyda, my lady, that is here;


And as he may enduren, he wole here.

236. But wel ye woot, the chaumbre is but lyte,

And fewe folk may lightly make it warm;

Now loketh ye, (for I wol have no wyte,

To bringe in prees that mighte doon him harm


Or him disesen, for my bettre arm),

Wher it be bet she byde til eft-sones;

Now loketh ye, that knowen what to doon is.

237. I sey for me, best is, as I can knowe,

That no wight in ne wente but ye tweye,


But it were I, for I can, in a throwe,

Reherce hir cas, unlyk that she can seye;

And after this, she may him ones preye

To ben good lord, in short, and take hir leve;

This may not muchel of his ese him reve.


238. And eek, for she is straunge, he wol forbere

His ese, which that him thar nought for yow;

Eek other thing, that toucheth not to here,

He wol me telle, I woot it wel right now,

That secret is, and for the tounes prow.'


And they, that no-thing knewe of this entente,

With-oute more, to Troilus in they wente.

239. Eleyne in al hir goodly softe wyse,

Gan him saluwe, and womanly to pleye,

And seyde, 'ywis, ye moste alweyes aryse!


Now fayre brother, beth al hool, I preye!'

And gan hir arm right over his sholder leye,

{241}And him with al hir wit to recomforte;

As she best coude, she gan him to disporte.

240. So after this quod she, 'we yow biseke,


My dere brother, Deiphebus, and I,

For love of god, and so doth Pandare eke,

To been good lord and freend, right hertely,

Un-to Criseyde, which that certeinly

Receyveth wrong, as woot wel here Pandare,


That can hir cas wel bet than I declare.'

241. This Pandarus gan newe his tunge affyle,

And al hir cas reherce, and that anoon;

Whan it was seyd, sone after, in a whyle,

Quod Troilus, 'as sone as I may goon,


I wol right fayn with al my might ben oon,

Have god my trouthe, hir cause to sustene.'

'Good thrift have ye,' quod Eleyne the quene.

242. Quod Pandarus, 'and it your wille be,

That she may take hir leve, er that she go?'


'Or elles god for-bede,' tho quod he,

'If that she vouche sauf for to do so.'

And with that word quod Troilus, 'ye two,

Deiphebus, and my suster leef and dere,

To yow have I to speke of o matere,


243. To been avysed by your reed the bettre':—

And fond, as hap was, at his beddes heed,

The copie of a tretis and a lettre,

That Ector hadde him sent to axen reed,

If swich a man was worthy to ben deed,


Woot I nought who; but in a grisly wyse

He preyede hem anoon on it avyse.

244. Deiphebus gan this lettre to unfolde

In ernest greet; so dide Eleyne the quene;

{242}And rominge outward, fast it gan biholde,


Downward a steyre, in-to an herber grene.

This ilke thing they redden hem bi-twene;

And largely, the mountaunce of an houre,

They gonne on it to reden and to poure.

245. Now lat hem rede, and turne we anoon


To Pandarus, that gan ful faste prye

That al was wel, and out he gan to goon

In-to the grete chambre, and that in hye,

And seyde, 'god save al this companye!

Com, nece myn; my lady quene Eleyne


Abydeth yow, and eek my lordes tweyne.

246. Rys, take with yow your nece Antigone,

Or whom yow list, or no fors, hardily;

The lasse prees, the bet; com forth with me,

And loke that ye thonke humblely


Hem alle three, and, whan ye may goodly

Your tyme y-see, taketh of hem your leve,

Lest we to longe his restes him bireve.'

247. Al innocent of Pandarus entente,

Quod tho Criseyde, 'go we, uncle dere';


And arm in arm inward with him she wente,

Avysed wel hir wordes and hir chere;

And Pandarus, in ernestful manere,

Seyde, 'alle folk, for goddes love, I preye,

Stinteth right here, and softely yow pleye.


248. Aviseth yow what folk ben here with-inne,

And in what plyt oon is, god him amende!

And inward thus ful softely biginne;

Nece, I coniure and heighly yow defende,

On his half, which that sowle us alle sende,


And in the vertue of corounes tweyne,

Slee nought this man, that hath for yow this peyne!

{243}249. Fy on the devel! thenk which oon he is,

And in what plyt he lyth; com of anoon;

Thenk al swich taried tyd, but lost it nis!


That wol ye bothe seyn, whan ye ben oon.

Secoundelich, ther yet devyneth noon

Up-on yow two; com of now, if ye conne;

Whyl folk is blent, lo, al the tyme is wonne!

250. In titering, and pursuite, and delayes,


The folk devyne at wagginge of a stree;

And though ye wolde han after merye dayes,

Than dar ye nought, and why? for she, and she

Spak swich a word; thus loked he, and he;

Lest tyme I loste, I dar not with yow dele;


Com of therfore, and bringeth him to hele.'

251. But now to yow, ye lovers that ben here,

Was Troilus nought in a cankedort,

That lay, and mighte whispringe of hem here,

And thoughte, 'O lord, right now renneth my sort


Fully to dye, or han anoon comfort';

And was the firste tyme he shulde hir preye

Of love; O mighty god, what shal he seye?

Explicit Secundus Liber.

[Go to Book III]

Rubric. So Cp. H. 1-84. Lost in Cm. 4. Ed. connyng; H. coniynge(!); Cl. H2. comynge; Cp. cōmyng. 6. Cp. desespeir; H. desespeyre; Cl. desper. 8. H2. Clyo; rest Cleo. 11. Cl. H2. om. other. 15. Cl. nel. 17. H. Desblameth. 21. can nat] Cl. ne kan. 25. H. Ed. thynketh; Cl. Cp. thenketh. 37. Cl. al o; rest om.. al. 38. H. Ed. gamen; rest game. 39. Cl. om. that. 40. Ed. open; rest opyn. 41. H2. seying; rest seyde. 42. Cl. seyth. 46. H2. to me; rest thee. 49. H. Cp. folwen; Cl. folwe. 55. Cl. so it. 58. H2. shottis; Ed. shottes; Cl. H. shotes. 59. Cl. om. of loving. 61. fil] Cl. felt(!). 64. H. Proignee. 68. Cl. hym so neigh. // Cl. Cp. cheterynge; H. H2. chiteringe. 69. H2. Ed. Thereus (for Tereus); Cl. Cp. Tireux; H. Tryeux. 73. his] Cl. e. 75. Cl. tok weye soone. 79. Cl. vn-to. 80. Cl. in forth. 81. Cl. sette; Cp. H. sete; H2. sate. 84. So all. 86. Cl. Cp. H. faire book; rest om. faire. 90. H. Cm. goode; Cl. good. H. Cm. mote; Cl. mot. 94. Cl. om. that. 95. H. herknen; rest herken (herkyn). 97. Cp. H. o; Cm. Ed. or; Cl. om. H2. Is it of love, some good ye may me lere. 99. Cl. om. tho. 101. Cl. that the; rest om. the. 102. All Edippus. 104. So all. 107. Cp. H. Ed. thassege. Cl. al the care; rest om. al. 110. barbe] Cm. wimpil. 113. Cl. A; Ed. Eighe; rest I. 115. So Cp. Cl. H. Ed.; Cm. H2. Ye makyn me be iouys sore adradde (a-drad). 116. as] Cl. that. 117. H. H2. sate; Cp. satte; rest sat; read sete. Cl. H. om. a. 120. Cl. I thriue; om. this. 123. Cp. H. Ed. thassege; Cm. H2. the sege. 124. Cp. fered. 126. So Cp. H. H2. Ed.; Cm. better (for wel bet); Cl. corrupt; see l. 128. 128. Ed. eighe (better ey); Cl. Cp. H. Cm. I. 131. Cl. om. vs. 134. H2. borow; Cm. borw; Cp. H. borugh; Ed. borowe; Cl. bourgh. 138. Cl. were; rest is. 141. wondren] Cl. Iape. 155. Cp. H. Ed. it; rest om. 159. H2. Ed. euery; Cl. H. al; Cp. alle. 160. H2. In; rest As (usually with al). 164. Cl. trewly; Cp. H. trewelich; Cm. trewely. 176. Cm. nought; H2. no thing (om. for); rest no more. 177. H. Cm. ther; Cl. ner. 179. Cp. H. Cm. than; Cl. that. 185. H. Cp. dredelees; Cl. Cm. dredles. 188. Cm. al the; Cl. Cp. H. alle; rest al. 194. Cl. Cm. gonne fro him. 195. Cl. fleld (for feld). 201. Cl. lyf and sheld; Cp. H. Ed. sheld and lif; H2. sheld of lyf; Cm. schild and spere. 202. as] Cl. al. 204. H. Cm. freendlyeste; Cl. frendlyest. 206. Cl. felawship; H. felaweschipe. 207. Cl. thenketh. 212. Cl. womman; H2. woman; rest wommen. 215. Cl. two; Cm. to; rest tho. 216. Cm. Ed. herde; rest herd. 217. they two] Cl. that they. 220. Cm. H2. it; rest om. 221. Cl. Cm. H2. and lat. 223. Cl. yow-; rest your-. 224. Cl. it; rest is. // fair] Cp. gladde; Cm. H2. Ed. glad. 226. witen] Cl. wete. 227. Cl. om. this and tho. 238. Cl. Cm. wete; Cp. H. Ed. weten; H2. wite. // your] Cl. yow. 239. Cl. Cp. H. om. myn. 247. Cl. Cm. truste. 248. Cl. om. to me. // Cp. H. frende (error for fremde); H2. frend; Ed. fremed; Cl. Cm. frendly. 250. Cl. here he keste; rest om. he. 255. Cl. lo alwey. 259. Cl. tales (!). 260. H. sithen; Cp. Cm. sithe; Cl. sith. // Cl. Cm. H2. the ende. // Cl. ins. of after is. 262. H2. Ed. peynt; Cm. pente; rest poynte. 265. Cl. loke. 266. Cp. H. goode; rest good. 269. Cl. litel (!). 276. Cl. om. faste. // Cp. H. mauise. 279. Cm. thoughte; Cl. Cp. thought. 284. that] Cl. than. // Cl. weylen (!). 287. Cl. om. a. 289. and] Cl. if. 291. H. it slake; rest om. it. 296. Cl. toforn; rest biforn. 299. Cl. to yow; rest om. to. // Cl. H. Ed. sworne; rest sworn. 300. or] Cl. and. 301. All eye (eighe). 303. chaungeth] Cl. quaketh (!). 308. Cl. nolde; rest wolde. 309. Cl. H. Cp. om. my. 315. Cl. shal yow; rest om. yow. 317. H. Cm. goode; Cl. Cp. good. 323. Cl. thow; rest ye. // H2. lete; Cl. Cp. Cm. late; H. lat. 324. Cl. nel. // Cl. H. lye. 325. Cl. myn owene; rest my (myn). 326. All eyen (eighen). 328. Cl. giltles; H. Cm. gilteles. 329. mende] H2. wyn. 338. H. Cm. liste; Ed. lysteth; Cl. lyst. 349. If] Cl. And. 350. Cl. that ye; rest om. that. 351. this] Cm. H2. it; H. om. 359. Cl. behest. 368. Cl. to se; Cp. H. sen. 369. H2. a-yens; Ed. ayenst; H. ayeyn; Cm. ayen. 370. fool] Cl. fel (for fol). 371. Cl. frenship. 372. Cl. om. //What. 374. Cl. om. wel and. 380. Ed. wrie; Cm. wri; Cl. Cp. wre; H. were (!); H2. couere. 381. Cp. H. Cm. Ed. sauacioun; rest saluacioun. 383. Cm. H2. Ed. put alwey after nece. // Cm. goode; rest good. 384. Ed. H2. sugred. 385. Cp. Cm. for; Ed. al; Cl. H. om. 386. Cl. herd. 387. meneth] H. Cm. mene. 388. Cl. wole. 389. sholde] Cl. shal. 395. Cl. H2. om. that. 401. Read think'th, ber'th (Cl. thenketh; Cp. H. berth). // Cl. Cp. H. heighe; Ed. Cm. hye. 403. Cl. ben growen; Cp. H. be growe; Ed. growe; Cm. hem waxen; H2. be wox. // All eye (eighe, ey, eyen). 405. H. H2. whiche; Cl. Cm. which; Cp. Ed. which that. 406. Cm. H2. om. Nece. // Cm. I bidde with (!); H2. I kepe than wisshe; (read Nec' I bidd' wissh). 411. Cl. Cp. Ed. straunge; H. H2. straunge folk; Cm. straunge men. 413. Cp. H2. Ret; Ed. Rate; Cm. Redith; Cl. Bet (!); H. Let (!). 414. H. tristed. 421. this] Cl. that. 423. Cl. behest. 429. Cl. Ay; Cm. O; Ed. Ne; rest A. 435. H. dispitouse; Cm. dispituse; rest dispitous (despitous). 438. Cl. ins. ony (Cp. H. any, H2. eny) before vilanye. // Cl. vylonye. 446. Cl. certaynly. 448. Cl. hym agayn. 456. Cl. falles (sic). 460. Cl. wyl; Cp. H. wol. 461. Cl. of hit wold. 466. lyth] Cp. H. is. 468. Cl. don so. 474. Cl. H2. y-wis; rest wis. 480. Cm. H2. plese; rest plesen. 482. Cp. Ed. dredde; rest drede. 483. H. Ed. Cp. cesse; Cm. sese; (see l. 1388); Cl. cesseth. 486. H. Cm. Ed. sauacioun; rest saluacioun. 490. Cp. Ed. H2. Pandare; rest Pandarus. 491. Cp. H. truste; Cm. troste; rest trust. 494. Cp. Cm. doutelees; Cl. doutles. 496. Cm. Cp. after; H. efter; rest ofter (!). 500. love of god] Cl. Cp. H. his love. 505. a litel gan to] Cl. bygan for to. 507. Cl. go. // Cp. H. Ed. longe; rest long. 516. Cm. Ed. after; Cl. Cp. H. ther-after. 519. Cl. softly hym. 523. upon] Cl. on. 534. All eyen (eighen). 535. Cl. om. botme. 536. Cl. Cp. Cm. deyen. 537. Cp. Cm. Ed. bywreyen; Cl. H2. bywryen; H. wryen. 539. hem] Cl. hym. // asshen] Cl. asshe. 540. Cl. adown his hed. 541. Cp. H. Cm. trewely; rest trewly. 542. Cl. puts awey after I. 543. Cp. leet; H. lete; Cl. Cm. let. 549. Cl. ye do. 554. Cl. passede. 555. Cp. com; Cm. cam; rest come. 556. his] Cl. a. 562. Cp. com; rest come. 563. Cl. saluacioun. 564. Cl. ne hadde I routhe. 567. Cp. H. Cm. Ed. herte; rest hert. 570. Cl. puts was after depe. 574. see] Cl. do. // Cl. H. swone. 576. Cl. dreuen. 577. Cl. hath vs. 588. Cp. H. houre; Cl. Cm. oure. 589. Ed. H2. a ha; H. ha a; Cm. Cp. ha ha; Cl. om. 590, 592, 593. Cl. del, wele, stel. 595. Cm. Cp. Ed. wel; H2. wele; Cl. H. wole I. 597. Cm. H2. Ed. Ye; rest And. // Cl. Cp. H. H2. om. how. 602. Cp. com; H2. cam; Ed. came; rest come. 603. Cm. wex; H2. wax; Ed. woxe; rest was. 611. Ed. Thascrye; Cm. The acry (sic); H2. In the skye (!); Cl. Cp. H. Ascry. 612. MSS. cryede, cried, criedyn. 615. H2. latis; rest yates. 616. this] Cl. that. 617. Cm. from; Ed. H2. fro; Cl. Cp. H. to. 618. Cl. Gardanus; H2. Cardanus; Cm. dardannis; rest Dardanus. // open] Cl. Cm. vp on. 624. Cl. H. Thus. Cp. Ed. baye; Cm. bayȝe; rest bay. 628. Cp. H. Cm. sighte; rest sight. 636. weldy] Cm. worthi. 642. Cl. thrilled. 643. Cp. cryde; Cl. cryede. 644. Cl. nexst. 648. All eyen, eighen. 650. Cl. Ed. it so softe. 651. Cl. seluen. 658. for] Cl. Ed. forth. 659. Cl. casten. 662. Cl. om. his bef. shap. 666. Read envous. 669. All syght (wrongly). 670. thee] Cp. H. y-the. 677. H2. ins. hert (error for herte) bef. for. 681. Cl. seuenethe. 686. Cm. sonere; Ed. sooner; rest sonner. 694. Cl. she yn thought gan to. 696. Ed. don; H2. do; rest done. 697, 8. Cl. folde, colde. 700. Cp. H. Ed. tendite. 701. Cl. thought; see l. 699. 702. his] Cl. Cm. Ed. by. 710. H. sighte; rest sight. 713. H. No (for Now). // wys] H2. a fole. 718. Cl. drynklees; Cm. Cp. drynkeles. 719. Cl. Ek for me sith I wot. // Cl. al his; rest om. al. 720. Cp. Cm. aughte; rest ought, aught. 722. Cl. om. And. // Cl. Cm. long. 723. he] Cl. she (!). 724. Cl. Ne auaunter; Ed. No vauntour; Cp. H. Nauauntour. 725. vyce] Cl. nyse. 726. Cl. cherishe; rest cherice. 729. y-wis] Cl. wys. 733. H. Ed. alway. 734. wommen] Cl. a woman. // Cl. H. Cp. al bysyde hire leue; Cm. our al this town aboute; Ed. H2. al this towne aboute. 735. So Cm. H2. Ed.; Cl. H. Cp. // And whanne hem leste no more lat hem byleue. 736. Cl. Ed. H2. om. for. 737. Cl. Cp. H. this ilke; rest om. ilke. // Cl. thryftiest (also worthiest in l. 739, and best in l. 740). 745. Cm. H2. no man; rest noon (none). 746. Cm. Cp. H. fayreste; rest fairest. 747. Cp. H. goodlieste; rest goodliest. 752. Ed. H. vnteyd; Cp. vnteyde; Cm. onteyed; rest vntyd. 753. Cl. H2. With-out. 757. Cl. om. 2nd I. 758. Cp. Ed. leste; rest lyst (liste). 759. H. Cp. nought; rest not. 763. Cp. alle; rest al. 764. H. brighte; rest bright. 765. H. Cm. March; rest Marche. 766. All flight. 772. H. Cm. putte; rest put. 777. Cm. why; rest (except H2) weye (wey). // H2. Ther lovith none with-out bothe care and peyn (wrongly). 778. Cm. moste; Cl. meste. 781. Cp. Cm. the; rest that. 787. Cp. H. Ed. cessed; Cl. Cm. sesed. 791. Cl. at the; rest om. the. 792. Cp. H. y-knowen; Cl. knowe. // Cm. H2. Ed. tyme may men rede and se. 795. Cl. Cm. go; Cp. H. ago. 797. All bycometh; see l. 795. 800. Cl. Cp. H. dremen; rest demen (deme). 801. Cl. H. om. that. 804. Cp. H. Ed. stoppen; rest stoppe. 804, 5. Cl. tungen (!), rungen. // whyl] Cl. whanne. 814, 9. Cl. gardeyn. 819. Cm. folwede; Cl. folweden. 820. yerd] // Cl. gardeyn. 821. Cl. shadwede (om. wel). // Cl. bowes blosmy and grene. 830. Cl. herte. 833. Cp. H. alle; rest al; see 763. Cl. surete; H. Cm. H2. seurte. 834. Cp. H2. Ye; rest The. 838. Cl. om. that. 840. Cp. H. leest; Cl. Ed. H2. lest. 843. Of wit] Cl. With (!). // Cl. H. secrenesse (!). 844. lust] Cl. luf (!). 845. Cl. Cm. al; rest alle. 847. Cl. om. so. 851. Cm. ryghte; rest right. 857. Cf. l. 666. 860. Ed. H2. him; rest it; see 861. 862, 4. H. righte, bryghte; rest right, bryght. 863. Cl. Cp. feblesse; rest fieblenesse (febilnesse). // All eyen (eighen). 867. who] Cl. he (for ho). 872. Cl. H2. is growen. 876. Cl. stynte; H2. stynt. 882. Cp. H. Cm. let; rest led. 884. See note. 894. Cl. Cp. H. moste; Cm. miste; Ed. mote; H2. must. // at] Cl. of. 896. H2. axe; Ed. aske; Cl. H. Cp. axen; Cm. axith. // Cl. ful (for foul). 903. Cp. Cm. wex; Cl. was; rest wax. 904. Cl. heighe; Cp. H. heye; rest eye; read y. 909. H. Cp. for tapere. 910. Cl. om. al. // in] Cm. H2. hom. 916. Cl. alle. 919. Under] Cl. Vp-on. 923. Cl. Cm. Ed. herkened; Cp. H. herkned. 924. Til] Cl. That. 934. H. scarmich; H2. Ed. scarmysshe. 936. yeden] Cm. ridyn. 937. Cl. sought. 938. Cp. H. Cm. laste; rest last. 939. Ed. came; rest come. 941. Cl. Cp. H2. slyng; H. sleynge (for slynge); Ed. slonge; Cm. slynging of. 942. Cl. now an; rest om. now. 943. Ed. Cm. om. so. 945. H. Ed. answerde; Cl. answered. 947. Cp. H. Ed. the; H2. her; rest om. 950. Cl. Cp. H. Ed. om. that. 953. Cl. vs; rest me. 954. don] Cm. Ed. do on. // Cl. H2. sped; rest spedde. 955. Cl. om. And. 956. Cp. H. Cm. Ed. shorte; rest short. 957. So all. 959. lak] Cl. lat (!). // Cl. om. thy. 967. Cl. of the; rest om. the. 968. Ed. stalkes; H2. stalkys; Cm. stalke; rest stalk. 973. Cl. y-hered. 974. Cp. H2. Pandare; rest Pandarus. 976. Cl. bonden; Cm. woundis (!). 979. Cl. myght; Cp. H. Cm. myghte. 982. Cl. Whanne; nexst. 983. Cl. ben y-dreuen. 987. Cl. dishese. 995. Cp. H. Cm. yit; rest yet. 999. fare] Cl. do. 1001. along] Cl. y-long. 1002. Cl. om. wel. 1003. as] Cl. a. 1005. Cl. Cp. H. om. // Right. 1006. Cp. H. Ed. tellen; rest telle. 1009. Cl. myn-. // Cl. wil; Cp. H. wol; rest shal. 1011. Cl. Cm. om. thou. 1012. right] Cm. and that; Cl. om. 1015. All strete. 1016. H. leste; Cm. lyste; Cl. lyke; rest list. 1017. make] Cp. H. Ed. make thou; H2. thow make. 1022. Whan] Cl. Than. 1023. Cl. that thow; rest om. that. 1025. Cp. H. Ed. tough; Cl. towh; rest tow. 1026. Cm. om. it. 1030. Cm. Cp. Ed. beste; rest best. 1031. H. Cm. Cp. Ed. beste; rest best. // Cl. sounded. 1033. H2. werble; Ed. warble; H. warbul; Cm. warbele. 1035. Cp. H. maken; rest make. 1037. Cm. iumpere; Ed. iombre. 1039. of] Cl. vp. 1043. nere] Cl. Ed. were. 1044. H2. to; rest vn-to. 1049. Cl. Cm. om. it. 1051. H. Cm. answerde; Cl. answered. // Cp H. leste; Cm. Ed. lest; rest lyst. 1053. that lord] Cl. hym. 1055. Cl. Cp. H. om. Right. 1060. Cl. I pray; Cm. preye I; rest prey ich. 1063. Cp. H. Cm. Yif; Cl. Yef. 1064. Cp. H. sette; Cl. Ed. set; Cm. sat. 1065. Cl. om. hir. // Cm. ryghte; rest right. 1066. Cl. lece. 1068. Cl. alle these loueres. 1071. Cp. H. muchel; Cl. muche. 1072. Cl. H2. om. this. // Cl. louely; Ed. H2. lowly; rest lowely. 1077. Cp. H. leigh; H2. Ed. lyed. 1079. Cl. wold (for sholde). 1086. Cl. salty; Cp. Cm. Ed. salte; rest salt. 1090. H. Cm. Cp. Ed. kiste; Cl. cussed. 1093. Cl. Cm. Pandarus. 1095. it] Cl. is (!). 1097. Cp. Ed. H. sore; Cl. so. 1107. Cp. H. Cm. hoppe; rest hope. 1108. Cl. Ed. laughe; H. laugh; H2. lagh; Cm. law. // H. breste; rest brest. 1109. Ed. alway that ye; Cm. that ye alwey; rest om. that. 1111. come] Cl. y-come. 1112. Cl. griek; Cp. greek; rest greke. 1113. Cm. H2. come I; Cl. I am come; Cp. H. Ed. I come. // Cl. Cp. H. Ed. ins. newe after yow. 1116. Cl. wente. 1119. Cl. they spoke; H. Ed. he spake (read speke); Cp. he spak; Cm. H2. his wordis. 1123. Cp. Ed. sente; rest sent. // H2. to; rest om. 1130. Ed. scripte. 1131. swich] Cl. this. 1137. Cm. H. seyn; Cl. sey. 1145. Cm. H2. Ed. dethe; rest deth. // smiten be] Cl. be smet. 1148. Cl. H2. to; rest it (better). 1149. Cp. H. neigh; Cl. nyh. // Cp. Cm. alle; Cl. H. al. 1154. Cl. hent. 1155. H2. doun the lettre cast; perhaps read doun the lettre thraste. 1156. Cl. or noon (for anoon). 1157. Cl. gaueren; rest gauren. 1159. Cl. Cm. om. him. 1160. your] Cl. yow. 1161. Cl. Ed. wol. 1162. Cl. thanne wole. 1172. Cl. som; rest some. 1174. Cp. Ed. besynesses; rest besynesse. 1181. Cl. Cp. H. om. him. 1182. Cl. H. H2. om. that. 1186. Cl. wyndowe nexst. 1188. Cl. aforn-yeyn; Cp. aforȝeyn; Ed. aforyene; H. aforyeynes; H2. aforyens; Cm. aforn. 1193. vn-to] Cl. Cm. to. 1194. Cl. Cp. H. weren. // Cl. H2. om. alle. 1198. Cl. Cm. om. tho. // Cp. H. Cm. wex; Cl. wax. 1202. Cl. honde. // Cm. fel; H2. fil; rest sat. 1214. Cl. wrote; ony. 1215. in-to] H2. in. 1217. Cm. disdainys; Ed. disdaynes; Cp. desdaynes; Cl. H. disdayns; H2. disdeynous. 1223. Cl. wolde. // Ed. Cp. seluen; H. selfen; rest self. 1225. Cp. fayn; Cl. H. fayne; Cm. ay fayn. // Cm. om. to. 1227. Cp. Ed. in-to; Cl. in-to a; rest in-to the. 1229. Cp. quysshyn; Cm. quysschyn; H. Ed. quysshen; Cl. quysshon; H2. cusshyn. 1238. All impressions. 1245. Cp. H. y-doon; Ed. ydone; rest don. 1247. they] Cl. he. 1250. Cl. softly: thederwardes. 1252. Cl. paylays; H. payleysse; rest paleys. // Ed. H2. Pandare; rest Pandarus. 1254. Cp. seeth; H. seth; Ed. sethe; Cl. seyth; Cm. sey. 1256. Cp. H. Cm. wex; Cl. wax. // Cl. as the rose; rest om. the. 1260. Cl. om. he. 1270. Cl. a routhe; rest om. a. 1273. Cp. Cm. nexte; Cl. nexst. 1278. Cl. H. Telle; rest Tel. 1284. Cp. Ed. H. yonde; Cl. H2. yend; Cm. yondir. // Cl. ritt; Cp. Cm. rit; Ed. rydeth; H. ride. // Cl. om. ye. 1298. Cp. H. Ed. holden; rest holde (hold). 1309. Ed. lo; rest om. 1313. Cl. Cp. ryse; Ed. vp ryse; rest aryse. 1317. Cl. Cp. thorugh. 1320. H2. and se thes lettres blake. 1323. yave] Cl. yaf; Cm. yeue. 1329. H. Cp. Ed. biheste; rest byhest. 1332. Ed. Through; Cl. Cp. Thorugh; H. Thorw; H2. The. // or] Cl. and. 1336. Cl. Cp. H. thorugh. 1347. Ed. dyce. 1349. Cl. gistes; H2. gyltes; Cp. gostes; rest gestes. 1350. And] Cp. H. H2. As. 1352. Cl. Cm. Pandarus; rest Pandare. 1354. Cl. Cm. red. 1355. Cp. H. woode; Cm. Ed. wode; Cl. wod; H2. wood. 1360. Cl. dishese. 1368. Cp. H. Ed. om. that. 1374. Ed. her don. // Cm. H2. Ed. for to; Cl. H. om. for. 1379. What] Cl. That. 1383. Cl. Cp. H. Cm. ins. to bef. come. // come] Cm. falle; H2. than fal. 1384. doon] Cl. doth. // Cp. H. Ed. milne; Cm. melle; Cl. H2. myl. 1387. Cp. reed; Cl. H. ried. 1388. Cl. wold. 1394. H. Ed. tel; Cl. telle. // Cp. H. Ed. lest; Cl. lyste; rest lyst. 1401. Cp. lat malone. 1409. Cl. to-forn. 1413. nas] Cl. na. 1418. doon] Cl. do. 1423. thus] Cl. so. 1427. spore] H. H2. Cm. spere. 1428. Cp. Cm. roughte; rest rought (roght). 1429. Cl. H. Cm. telle. 1436. Cl. Cp. H. yow as; rest om. yow. 1452. and eek] Cl. ek and. 1460. gan to] Cl. wolde he. 1465. Cl. om. myn. 1466. Cl. H2. put me before the. 1467. Cl. H. om. ye. // H2. that; rest om. 1473. Cp. H. ne wolde; Cm. yit wolde; rest wolde. 1482. Cp. Ed. maked; H. makes (for maked); rest made (mad). 1484. Ed. H2. so that; Cl. Cp. H. that so; Cm. so euere. 1489. nolde] Cl. H. wolde. 1490. goodly] Cl. good. 1495. So all. 1504. thou] Cl. yow. // Ed. H2. a; rest om. 1509. Yet] Cl. That. 1513. Cm. Ed. belyue; H2. as blyue; rest blyue. 1517. Cm. Ed. Sone; Cl. So; Cp. H. And. 1526. Cp. H. Ed. fully ther; H2. fully the; Cl. there fully; Cm. the fulli. 1527. thou] Cl. Cm. H2. now. 1532. Cl. H. Cm. om. the. 1536. Cl. om. al. 1554. wood man] Cl. womman. 1556. Cp. meel-tide; Ed. mealtyde; Cl. meltid; H. meelited (!); Cm. mele. 1557. Shoop] Cl. H. Shapt; Cp. Shapte. 1558. Cl. nold not; H2. wold not; rest nolde. 1559. sooth] Cl. for. 1561. Cp. Ed. Cm. al what; Cl. H. what al. 1582. Cp. H. Cm. thoughte; rest thought. // coude] Cl. cowede. 1585. Cl. Cp. H. Ed. om. up. 1588. they] Cl. he. 1591. Cl. om. for. 1594. don] H2. to; Cl. om. 1595. lest] Cl. Cp. H. lyst. 1596. H. glosses For for by quia propter. 1598. arisen] Cl. aryse; H2. thei risyn. 1602. H2. If it; rest om. it. 1604. Cl. H. Ed. whiche. 1605. Took] Cl. To(!). 1607. Cm. H2. Iouis. 1611. thou] Cl. yow; H. how. 1615. Cl. Cm. om. out. 1618. Answerde] Cl. Answere. 1621. it] Cl. he. 1628. Cl. om. me. 1629. thinketh] Cl. thenketh. // H. sith; rest sith that. 1635. Cl. om. do. Cp. H. H2. wyte; Cl. Ed. wete. 1638. thy] Cl. the. 1641. So all. 1647. Cl. lightly may. 1648, 1652. loketh] Cl. loke. 1649. Cl. H. om. him. 1650. Cl. dishesen. 1652. Cp. H. Ed. knowen; Cl. Cm. knoweth. 1659. H. muchel; Cl. mechel. 1661. him] Cl. he. 1662. toucheth] Cl. toucher(!). 1665, 6. Cp. H. entente, wente; rest entent, went. 1667. Cl. goode softly. 1670. Cl. fare. 1673. Cp. H. H2. Ed. to; rest om. 1674. Cp. Ed. biseke; H. bisike; rest byseche. 1680. than] Cl. that. 1686. Cl. Cm. susteyne. 1687. Ed. Now good thrift. 1690. Cm. H2. Or; rest O. // Cl. Cm. for-bede; rest for-bede it. // Cl. H2. om. tho. 1691. Cp. H. sauf; Cl. Cm. saf. 1697. Cl. tretes. 1703. Cl. Cm. dede. 1708. Cp. H. Ed. gonne; Cl. gon; Cm. gan. // Cl. rede. 1719. Cl. humbely; Cp. H. humblely; Cm. vmbely; rest humbly. 1722. his—bireve] Cl. of his reste hym reue. 1723. Cl. Incocent (!). 1730. Cl. Avise. 1734. Cl. by halue; Cm. halue; rest half. // Cl. vs alle sowle; H2. vs soule hath; Cp. Cm. Ed. soule us alle; H. same (for soule) vs al. 1739. Cl. Thenk that; rest om. that. 1741. Cl. Secundelich; Cm. Secundeli; Cp. Secoundely; H. Secoundly; rest Secondly. 1746. Cl. wolden; Cm. woldyn. 1749. Ed. H2. Lest; rest Las (!). // Ed. H2. be lost; Cp. I loste; rest I lost. 1752. H2. kankerdorte; rest kankedort, cankedort. 1757. Cl. Cm. I; rest he.



Incipit Prohemium Tercii Libri.


1. O Blisful light, of whiche the bemes clere

Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire!

O sonnes leef, O Ioves doughter dere,

Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,


In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire!

O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,

Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse!

2. In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see

Is felt thy might, if that I wel descerne;


As man, brid, best, fish, herbe and grene tree

Thee fele in tymes with vapour eterne.

God loveth, and to love wol nought werne;

And in this world no lyves creature,

With-outen love, is worth, or may endure.


3. Ye Ioves first to thilke effectes glade,

Thorugh which that thinges liven alle and be,

Comeveden, and amorous him made

On mortal thing, and as yow list, ay ye

Yeve him in love ese or adversitee;


And in a thousand formes doun him sente

For love in erthe, and whom yow liste, he hente.

4. Ye fierse Mars apeysen of his ire,

And, as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;

{245}Algates, hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,


They dreden shame, and vices they resigne;

Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,

And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth;

The Ioyes that he hath, your might him sendeth.

5. Ye holden regne and hous in unitee;


Ye soothfast cause of frendship been also;

Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee

Of thinges which that folk on wondren so,

Whan they can not construe how it may io,

She loveth him, or why he loveth here;


As why this fish, and nought that, cometh to were.

6. Ye folk a lawe han set in universe,

And this knowe I by hem that loveres be,

That who-so stryveth with yow hath the werse:

Now, lady bright, for thy benignitee,


At reverence of hem that serven thee,

Whos clerk I am, so techeth me devyse

Som Ioye of that is felt in thy servyse.

7. Ye in my naked herte sentement

Inhelde, and do me shewe of thy swetnesse.—


Caliope, thy vois be now present,

For now is nede; sestow not my destresse,

How I mot telle anon-right the gladnesse

Of Troilus, to Venus heryinge?

To which gladnes, who nede hath, god him bringe!

Explicit prohemium Tercii Libri.

Incipit Liber Tercius.


8. Lay al this mene whyle Troilus,

Recordinge his lessoun in this manere,

'Ma fey!' thought he, 'thus wole I seye and thus;

Thus wole I pleyne un-to my lady dere;

That word is good, and this shal be my chere;


{246}This nil I not foryeten in no wyse.'

God leve him werken as he gan devyse.

9. And lord, so that his herte gan to quappe,

Heringe hir come, and shorte for to syke!

And Pandarus, that ladde hir by the lappe,


Com ner, and gan in at the curtin pyke,

And seyde, 'god do bote on alle syke!