Confessio Amantis, by John Gower

Incipit Liber Quartus

Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum,

     Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis:

Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in cras,

     Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo.

Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido,

     Set Venus in celeri ludit amore viri.

Upon the vices to procede

After the cause of mannes dede,

The ferste point of Slowthe I calle

Lachesce, and is the chief of alle,

And hath this propreliche of kinde,

To leven alle thing behinde.

Of that he mihte do now hier

He tarieth al the longe yer,

And everemore he seith, “Tomorwe”;

10And so he wol his time borwe,

And wissheth after “God me sende,”

That whan he weneth have an ende,

Thanne is he ferthest to beginne.

Thus bringth he many a meschief inne

Unwar, til that he be meschieved,

And may noght thanne be relieved.

And riht so nowther mor ne lesse

It stant of love and of lachesce:

Som time he slowtheth in a day

20That he nevere after gete mai.

Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing,

If thou have eny knowleching,

That thou to love hast don er this,

Tell on. Mi goode fader, yis.

As of lachesce I am beknowe

That I mai stonde upon his rowe,

As I that am clad of his suite:

For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite

To make, and therto sette a day

30To speke unto the swete May,

Lachesce bad abide yit,

And bar on hond it was no wit

Ne time forto speke as tho.

Thus with his tales to and fro

Mi time in tariinge he drowh:

Whan ther was time good ynowh,

He seide, “An other time is bettre;

Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre,

And per cas wryte more plein

40Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein.”

Thus have I lete time slyde

For Slowthe, and kepte noght my tide,

So that lachesce with his vice

Fulofte hath mad my wit so nyce,

That what I thoghte speke or do

With tariinge he hield me so,

Til whanne I wolde and mihte noght.

I not what thing was in my thoght,

Or it was drede, or it was schame;

50Bot evere in ernest and in game

I wot ther is long time passed.

Bot yit is noght the love lassed,

Which I unto mi ladi have;

For thogh my tunge is slowh to crave

At alle time, as I have bede,

Min herte stant evere in o stede

And axeth besiliche grace,

The which I mai noght yit embrace.

And god wot that is malgre myn;

60For this I wot riht wel a fin,

Mi grace comth so selde aboute,

That is the Slowthe of which I doute

Mor than of al the remenant

Which is to love appourtenant.

And thus as touchende of lachesce,

As I have told, I me confesse

To you, mi fader, and beseche

That furthermor ye wol me teche;

And if ther be to this matiere

70Som goodly tale forto liere

How I mai do lachesce aweie,

That ye it wolden telle I preie.

To wisse thee, my Sone, and rede,

Among the tales whiche I rede,

An old ensample therupon

Now herkne, and I wol tellen on.

Ayein Lachesce in loves cas

I finde how whilom Eneas,

Whom Anchises to Sone hadde,

80With gret navie, which he ladde

Fro Troie, aryveth at Cartage,

Wher for a while his herbergage

He tok; and it betidde so,

With hire which was qweene tho

Of the Cite his aqueintance

He wan, whos name in remembrance

Is yit, and Dido sche was hote;

Which loveth Eneas so hote

Upon the wordes whiche he seide,

90That al hire herte on him sche leide

And dede al holi what he wolde.

Bot after that, as it be scholde,

Fro thenne he goth toward Ytaile

Be Schipe, and there his arivaile

Hath take, and schop him forto ryde.

Bot sche, which mai noght longe abide

The hote peine of loves throwe,

Anon withinne a litel throwe

A lettre unto hir kniht hath write,

100And dede him pleinly forto wite,

If he made eny tariinge,

To drecche of his ayeincomynge,

That sche ne mihte him fiele and se,

Sche scholde stonde in such degre

As whilom stod a Swan tofore,

Of that sche hadde hire make lore;

For sorwe a fethere into hire brain

Sche schof and hath hireselve slain;

As king Menander in a lay

110The sothe hath founde, wher sche lay

Sprantlende with hire wynges tweie,

As sche which scholde thanne deie

For love of him which was hire make.

“And so schal I do for thi sake,”

This qweene seide, “wel I wot.”

Lo, to Enee thus sche wrot

With many an other word of pleinte:

Bot he, which hadde hise thoghtes feinte

Towardes love and full of Slowthe,

120His time lette, and that was rowthe:

For sche, which loveth him tofore,

Desireth evere more and more,

And whan sche sih him tarie so,

Hire herte was so full of wo,

That compleignende manyfold

Sche hath hire oghne tale told,

Unto hirself and thus sche spak:

“Ha, who fond evere such a lak

Of Slowthe in eny worthi kniht?

130Now wot I wel my deth is diht

Thurgh him which scholde have be mi lif.”

Bot forto stinten al this strif,

Thus whan sche sih non other bote,

Riht evene unto hire herte rote

A naked swerd anon sche threste,

And thus sche gat hireselve reste

In remembrance of alle slowe.

Wherof, my Sone, thou miht knowe

How tariinge upon the nede

140In loves cause is forto drede;

And that hath Dido sore aboght,

Whos deth schal evere be bethoght.

And overmore if I schal seche

In this matiere an other spieche,

In a Cronique I finde write

A tale which is good to wite.

At Troie whan king Ulixes

Upon the Siege among the pres

Of hem that worthi knihtes were

150Abod long time stille there,

In thilke time a man mai se

How goodli that Penolope,

Which was to him his trewe wif,

Of his lachesce was pleintif;

Wherof to Troie sche him sende

Hire will be lettre, thus spekende:

“Mi worthi love and lord also,

It is and hath ben evere so,

That wher a womman is al one,

160It makth a man in his persone

The more hardi forto wowe,

In hope that sche wolde bowe

To such thing as his wille were,

Whil that hire lord were elleswhere.

And of miself I telle this;

For it so longe passed is,

Sithe ferst than ye fro home wente,

That welnyh every man his wente

To there I am, whil ye ben oute,

170Hath mad, and ech of hem aboute,

Which love can, my love secheth,

With gret preiere and me besecheth:

And some maken gret manace,

That if thei mihten come in place,

Wher that thei mihte here wille have,

Ther is nothing me scholde save,

That thei ne wolde werche thinges;

And some tellen me tidynges

That ye ben ded, and some sein

180That certeinly ye ben besein

To love a newe and leve me.

Bot hou as evere that it be,

I thonke unto the goddes alle,

As yit for oght that is befalle

Mai noman do my chekes rede:

Bot natheles it is to drede,

That Lachesse in continuance

Fortune mihte such a chance,

Which noman after scholde amende.”

190Lo, thus this ladi compleignende

A lettre unto hire lord hath write,

And preyde him that he wolde wite

And thenke hou that sche was al his,

And that he tarie noght in this,

Bot that he wolde his love aquite,

To hire ayeinward and noght wryte,

Bot come himself in alle haste,

That he non other paper waste;

So that he kepe and holde his trowthe

200Withoute lette of eny Slowthe.

Unto hire lord and love liege

To Troie, wher the grete Siege

Was leid, this lettre was conveied.

And he, which wisdom hath pourveied

Of al that to reson belongeth,

With gentil herte it underfongeth:

And whan he hath it overrad,

In part he was riht inly glad,

And ek in part he was desesed:

210Bot love his herte hath so thorghsesed

With pure ymaginacioun,

That for non occupacioun

Which he can take on other side,

He mai noght flitt his herte aside

Fro that his wif him hadde enformed;

Wherof he hath himself conformed

With al the wille of his corage

To schape and take the viage

Homward, what time that he mai:

220So that him thenketh of a day

A thousand yer, til he mai se

The visage of Penolope,

Which he desireth most of alle.

And whan the time is so befalle

That Troie was destruid and brent,

He made non delaiement,

Bot goth him home in alle hihe,

Wher that he fond tofore his yhe

His worthi wif in good astat:

230And thus was cessed the debat

Of love, and Slowthe was excused,

Which doth gret harm, where it is used,

And hindreth many a cause honeste.

For of the grete Clerc Grossteste

I rede how besy that he was

Upon clergie an Hed of bras

To forge, and make it forto telle

Of suche thinges as befelle.

And sevene yeres besinesse

240He leyde, bot for the lachesse

Of half a Minut of an houre,

Fro ferst that he began laboure

He loste all that he hadde do.

And otherwhile it fareth so,

In loves cause who is slow,

That he withoute under the wow

Be nyhte stant fulofte acold,

Which mihte, if that he hadde wold

His time kept, have be withinne.

250Bot Slowthe mai no profit winne,

Bot he mai singe in his karole

How Latewar cam to the Dole,

Wher he no good receive mihte.

And that was proved wel be nyhte

Whilom of the Maidenes fyve,

Whan thilke lord cam forto wyve:

For that here oyle was aweie

To lihte here lampes in his weie,

Here Slowthe broghte it so aboute,

260Fro him that thei ben schet withoute.

Wherof, my Sone, be thou war,

Als ferforth as I telle dar.

For love moste ben awaited:

And if thou be noght wel affaited

In love to eschuie Slowthe,

Mi Sone, forto telle trowthe,

Thou miht noght of thiself ben able

To winne love or make it stable,

All thogh thou mihtest love achieve.

270Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve.

Bot me was nevere assigned place,

Wher yit to geten eny grace,

Ne me was non such time apointed;

For thanne I wolde I were unjoynted

Of every lime that I have,

If I ne scholde kepe and save

Min houre bothe and ek my stede,

If my ladi it hadde bede.

Bot sche is otherwise avised

280Than grante such a time assised;

And natheles of mi lachesse

Ther hath be no defalte I gesse

Of time lost, if that I mihte:

Bot yit hire liketh noght alyhte

Upon no lure which I caste;

For ay the more I crie faste,

The lasse hire liketh forto hiere.

So forto speke of this matiere,

I seche that I mai noght finde,

290I haste and evere I am behinde,

And wot noght what it mai amounte.

Bot, fader, upon myn acompte,

Which ye be sett to examine

Of Schrifte after the discipline,

Sey what your beste conseil is.

Mi Sone, my conseil is this:

Hou so it stonde of time go,

Do forth thi besinesse so,

That no Lachesce in the be founde:

300For Slowthe is mihti to confounde

The spied of every mannes werk.

For many a vice, as seith the clerk,

Ther hongen upon Slowthes lappe

Of suche as make a man mishappe,

To pleigne and telle of hadde I wist.

And therupon if that thee list

To knowe of Slowthes cause more,

In special yit overmore

Ther is a vice full grevable

310To him which is therof coupable,

And stant of alle vertu bare,

Hierafter as I schal declare.

Touchende of Slowthe in his degre,

Ther is yit Pusillamite,

Which is to seie in this langage,

He that hath litel of corage

And dar no mannes werk beginne:

So mai he noght be resoun winne;

For who that noght dar undertake,

320Be riht he schal no profit take.

Bot of this vice the nature

Dar nothing sette in aventure,

Him lacketh bothe word and dede,

Wherof he scholde his cause spede:

He woll no manhed understonde,

For evere he hath drede upon honde:

Al is peril that he schal seie,

Him thenkth the wolf is in the weie,

And of ymaginacioun

330He makth his excusacioun

And feigneth cause of pure drede,

And evere he faileth ate nede,

Til al be spilt that he with deleth.

He hath the sor which noman heleth,

The which is cleped lack of herte;

Thogh every grace aboute him sterte,

He wol noght ones stere his fot;

So that be resoun lese he mot,

That wol noght auntre forto winne.

340And so forth, Sone, if we beginne

To speke of love and his servise,

Ther ben truantz in such a wise,

That lacken herte, whan best were

To speke of love, and riht for fere

Thei wexen doumb and dar noght telle,

Withoute soun as doth the belle,

Which hath no claper forto chyme;

And riht so thei as for the tyme

Ben herteles withoute speche

350Of love, and dar nothing beseche;

And thus thei lese and winne noght.

Forthi, my Sone, if thou art oght

Coupable as touchende of this Slowthe,

Schrif thee therof and tell me trowthe.

Mi fader, I am al beknowe

That I have ben on of tho slowe,

As forto telle in loves cas.

Min herte is yit and evere was,

As thogh the world scholde al tobreke,

360So ferful, that I dar noght speke

Of what pourpos that I have nome,

Whan I toward mi ladi come,

Bot let it passe and overgo.

Mi Sone, do nomore so:

For after that a man poursuieth

To love, so fortune suieth,

Fulofte and yifth hire happi chance

To him which makth continuance

To preie love and to beseche;

370As be ensample I schal thee teche.

I finde hou whilom ther was on,

Whos name was Pymaleon,

Which was a lusti man of yowthe:

The werkes of entaile he cowthe

Above alle othre men as tho;

And thurgh fortune it fell him so,

As he whom love schal travaile,

He made an ymage of entaile

Lich to a womman in semblance

380Of feture and of contienance,

So fair yit nevere was figure.

Riht as a lyves creature

Sche semeth, for of yvor whyt

He hath hire wroght of such delit,

That sche was rody on the cheke

And red on bothe hire lippes eke;

Wherof that he himself beguileth.

For with a goodly lok sche smyleth,

So that thurgh pure impression

390Of his ymaginacion

With al the herte of his corage

His love upon this faire ymage

He sette, and hire of love preide;

Bot sche no word ayeinward seide.

The longe day, what thing he dede,

This ymage in the same stede

Was evere bi, that ate mete

He wolde hire serve and preide hire ete,

And putte unto hire mowth the cuppe;

400And whan the bord was taken uppe,

He hath hire into chambre nome,

And after, whan the nyht was come,

He leide hire in his bed al nakid.

He was forwept, he was forwakid,

He keste hire colde lippes ofte,

And wissheth that thei weren softe,

And ofte he rouneth in hire Ere,

And ofte his arm now hier now there

He leide, as he hir wolde embrace,

410And evere among he axeth grace,

As thogh sche wiste what he mente:

And thus himself he gan tormente

With such desese of loves peine,

That noman mihte him more peine.

Bot how it were, of his penance

He made such continuance

Fro dai to nyht, and preith so longe,

That his preiere is underfonge,

Which Venus of hire grace herde;

420Be nyhte and whan that he worst ferde,

And it lay in his nakede arm,

The colde ymage he fieleth warm

Of fleissh and bon and full of lif.

Lo, thus he wan a lusti wif,

Which obeissant was at his wille;

And if he wolde have holde him stille

And nothing spoke, he scholde have failed:

Bot for he hath his word travailed

And dorste speke, his love he spedde,

430And hadde al that he wolde abedde.

For er thei wente thanne atwo,

A knave child betwen hem two

Thei gete, which was after hote

Paphus, of whom yit hath the note

A certein yle, which Paphos

Men clepe, and of his name it ros.

Be this ensample thou miht finde

That word mai worche above kinde.

Forthi, my Sone, if that thou spare

440To speke, lost is al thi fare,

For Slowthe bringth in alle wo.

And over this to loke also,

The god of love is favorable

To hem that ben of love stable,

And many a wonder hath befalle:

Wherof to speke amonges alle,

If that thee list to taken hede,

Therof a solein tale I rede,

Which I schal telle in remembraunce

450Upon the sort of loves chaunce.

The king Ligdus upon a strif

Spak unto Thelacuse his wif,

Which thanne was with childe grete;

He swor it scholde noght be lete,

That if sche have a dowhter bore,

That it ne scholde be forlore

And slain, wherof sche sory was.

So it befell upon this cas,

Whan sche delivered scholde be,

460Isis be nyhte in privete,

Which of childinge is the goddesse,

Cam forto helpe in that destresse,

Til that this lady was al smal,

And hadde a dowhter forth withal;

Which the goddesse in alle weie

Bad kepe, and that thei scholden seie

It were a Sone: and thus Iphis

Thei namede him, and upon this

The fader was mad so to wene.

470And thus in chambre with the qweene

This Iphis was forthdrawe tho,

And clothed and arraied so

Riht as a kinges Sone scholde.

Til after, as fortune it wolde,

Whan it was of a ten yer age,

Him was betake in mariage

A Duckes dowhter forto wedde,

Which Iante hihte, and ofte abedde

These children leien, sche and sche,

480Whiche of on age bothe be.

So that withinne time of yeeres,

Togedre as thei ben pleiefieres,

Liggende abedde upon a nyht,

Nature, which doth every wiht

Upon hire lawe forto muse,

Constreigneth hem, so that thei use

Thing which to hem was al unknowe;

Wherof Cupide thilke throwe

Tok pite for the grete love,

490And let do sette kinde above,

So that hir lawe mai ben used,

And thei upon here lust excused.

For love hateth nothing more

Than thing which stant ayein the lore

Of that nature in kinde hath sett:

Forthi Cupide hath so besett

His grace upon this aventure,

That he acordant to nature,

Whan that he syh the time best,

500That ech of hem hath other kest,

Transformeth Iphe into a man,

Wherof the kinde love he wan

Of lusti yonge Iante his wif;

And tho thei ladde a merie lif,

Which was to kinde non offence.

And thus to take an evidence,

It semeth love is welwillende

To hem that ben continuende

With besy herte to poursuie

510Thing which that is to love due.

Wherof, my Sone, in this matiere

Thou miht ensample taken hiere,

That with thi grete besinesse

Thou miht atteigne the richesse

Of love, if that ther be no Slowthe.

I dar wel seie be mi trowthe,

Als fer as I my witt can seche,

Mi fader, as for lacke of speche,

Bot so as I me schrof tofore,

520Ther is non other time lore,

Wherof ther mihte ben obstacle

To lette love of his miracle,

Which I beseche day and nyht.

Bot, fader, so as it is riht

In forme of schrifte to beknowe

What thing belongeth to the slowe,

Your faderhode I wolde preie,

If ther be forthere eny weie

Touchende unto this ilke vice.

530Mi Sone, ye, of this office

Ther serveth on in special,

Which lost hath his memorial,

So that he can no wit withholde

In thing which he to kepe is holde,

Wherof fulofte himself he grieveth:

And who that most upon him lieveth,

Whan that hise wittes ben so weyved,

He mai full lihtly be deceived.

To serve Accidie in his office,

540Ther is of Slowthe an other vice,

Which cleped is Foryetelnesse;

That noght mai in his herte impresse

Of vertu which reson hath sett,

So clene his wittes he foryet.

For in the tellinge of his tale

Nomore his herte thanne his male

Hath remembrance of thilke forme,

Wherof he scholde his wit enforme

As thanne, and yit ne wot he why.

550Thus is his pourpos noght forthi

Forlore of that he wolde bidde,

And skarsly if he seith the thridde

To love of that he hadde ment:

Thus many a lovere hath be schent.

Tell on therfore, hast thou be oon

Of hem that Slowthe hath so begon?

Ye, fader, ofte it hath be so,

That whanne I am mi ladi fro

And thenke untoward hire drawe,

560Than cast I many a newe lawe

And al the world torne up so doun,

And so recorde I mi lecoun

And wryte in my memorial

What I to hire telle schal,

Riht al the matiere of mi tale:

Bot al nys worth a note schale;

For whanne I come ther sche is,

I have it al foryete ywiss;

Of that I thoghte forto telle

570I can noght thanne unethes spelle

That I wende altherbest have rad,

So sore I am of hire adrad.

For as a man that sodeinli

A gost behelde, so fare I;

So that for feere I can noght gete

Mi witt, bot I miself foryete,

That I wot nevere what I am,

Ne whider I schal, ne whenne I cam,

Bot muse as he that were amased.

580Lich to the bok in which is rased

The lettre, and mai nothing be rad,

So ben my wittes overlad,

That what as evere I thoghte have spoken,

It is out fro myn herte stoken,

And stonde, as who seith, doumb and def,

That all nys worth an yvy lef,

Of that I wende wel have seid.

And ate laste I make abreid,

Caste up myn hed and loke aboute,

590Riht as a man that were in doute

And wot noght wher he schal become.

Thus am I ofte al overcome,

Ther as I wende best to stonde:

Bot after, whanne I understonde,

And am in other place al one,

I make many a wofull mone

Unto miself, and speke so:

“Ha fol, wher was thin herte tho,

Whan thou thi worthi ladi syhe?

600Were thou afered of hire yhe?

For of hire hand ther is no drede:

So wel I knowe hir wommanhede,

That in hire is nomore oultrage

Than in a child of thre yeer age.

Whi hast thou drede of so good on,

Whom alle vertu hath begon,

That in hire is no violence

Bot goodlihiede and innocence

Withouten spot of eny blame?

610Ha, nyce herte, fy for schame]

Ha, couard herte of love unlered,

Wherof art thou so sore afered,

That thou thi tunge soffrest frese,

And wolt thi goode wordes lese,

Whan thou hast founde time and space?

How scholdest thou deserve grace,

Whan thou thiself darst axe non,

Bot al thou hast foryete anon?”

And thus despute I loves lore,

620Bot help ne finde I noght the more,

Bot stomble upon myn oghne treine

And make an ekinge of my peine.

For evere whan I thenke among

How al is on miself along,

I seie, “O fol of alle foles,

Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles

That wolde sitte and goth to grounde.

It was ne nevere schal be founde,

Betwen foryetelnesse and drede

630That man scholde any cause spede.”

And thus, myn holi fader diere,

Toward miself, as ye mai hiere,

I pleigne of my foryetelnesse;

Bot elles al the besinesse,

That mai be take of mannes thoght,

Min herte takth, and is thorghsoght

To thenken evere upon that swete

Withoute Slowthe, I you behete.

For what so falle, or wel or wo,

640That thoght foryete I neveremo,

Wher so I lawhe or so I loure:

Noght half the Minut of an houre

Ne mihte I lete out of my mende,

Bot if I thoghte upon that hende.

Therof me schal no Slowthe lette,

Til deth out of this world me fette,

Althogh I hadde on such a Ring,

As Moises thurgh his enchanting

Som time in Ethiope made,

650Whan that he Tharbis weddid hade.

Which Ring bar of Oblivion

The name, and that was be resoun

That where it on a finger sat,

Anon his love he so foryat,

As thogh he hadde it nevere knowe:

And so it fell that ilke throwe,

Whan Tharbis hadde it on hire hond,

No knowlechinge of him sche fond,

Bot al was clene out of memoire,

660As men mai rede in his histoire;

And thus he wente quit away,

That nevere after that ilke day

Sche thoghte that ther was such on;

Al was foryete and overgon.

Bot in good feith so mai noght I:

For sche is evere faste by,

So nyh that sche myn herte toucheth,

That for nothing that Slowthe voucheth

I mai foryete hire, lief ne loth;

670For overal, where as sche goth,

Min herte folwith hire aboute.

Thus mai I seie withoute doute,

For bet, for wers, for oght, for noght,

Sche passeth nevere fro my thoght;

Bot whanne I am ther as sche is,

Min herte, as I you saide er this,

Som time of hire is sore adrad,

And som time it is overglad,

Al out of reule and out of space.

680For whan I se hir goodli face

And thenke upon hire hihe pris,

As thogh I were in Paradis,

I am so ravisht of the syhte,

That speke unto hire I ne myhte

As for the time, thogh I wolde:

For I ne mai my wit unfolde

To finde o word of that I mene,

Bot al it is foryete clene;

And thogh I stonde there a myle,

690Al is foryete for the while,

A tunge I have and wordes none.

And thus I stonde and thenke al one

Of thing that helpeth ofte noght;

Bot what I hadde afore thoght

To speke, whanne I come there,

It is foryete, as noght ne were,

And stonde amased and assoted,

That of nothing which I have noted

I can noght thanne a note singe,

700Bot al is out of knowlechinge:

Thus, what for joie and what for drede,

Al is foryeten ate nede.

So that, mi fader, of this Slowthe

I have you said the pleine trowthe;

Ye mai it as you list redresce:

For thus stant my foryetelnesse

And ek my pusillamite.

Sey now forth what you list to me,

For I wol only do be you.

710Mi Sone, I have wel herd how thou

Hast seid, and that thou most amende:

For love his grace wol noght sende

To that man which dar axe non.

For this we knowen everichon,

A mannes thoght withoute speche

God wot, and yit that men beseche

His will is; for withoute bedes

He doth his grace in fewe stedes:

And what man that foryet himselve,

720Among a thousand be noght tuelve,

That wol him take in remembraunce,

Bot lete him falle and take his chaunce.

Forthi pull up a besi herte,

Mi Sone, and let nothing asterte

Of love fro thi besinesse:

For touchinge of foryetelnesse,

Which many a love hath set behinde,

A tale of gret ensample I finde,

Wherof it is pite to wite

730In the manere as it is write.

King Demephon, whan he be Schipe

To Troieward with felaschipe

Sailende goth, upon his weie

It hapneth him at Rodopeie,

As Eolus him hadde blowe,

To londe, and rested for a throwe.

And fell that ilke time thus,

The dowhter of Ligurgius,

Which qweene was of the contre,

740Was sojournende in that Cite

Withinne a Castell nyh the stronde,

Wher Demephon cam up to londe.

Phillis sche hihte, and of yong age

And of stature and of visage

Sche hadde al that hire best besemeth.

Of Demephon riht wel hire qwemeth,

Whan he was come, and made him chiere;

And he, that was of his manere

A lusti knyht, ne myhte asterte

750That he ne sette on hire his herte;

So that withinne a day or tuo

He thoghte, how evere that it go,

He wolde assaie the fortune,

And gan his herte to commune

With goodly wordes in hire Ere;

And forto put hire out of fere,

He swor and hath his trowthe pliht

To be for evere hire oghne knyht.

And thus with hire he stille abod,

760Ther while his Schip on Anker rod,

And hadde ynowh of time and space

To speke of love and seche grace.

This ladi herde al that he seide,

And hou he swor and hou he preide,

Which was as an enchantement

To hire, that was innocent:

As thogh it were trowthe and feith,

Sche lieveth al that evere he seith,

And as hire infortune scholde,

770Sche granteth him al that he wolde.

Thus was he for the time in joie,

Til that he scholde go to Troie;

Bot tho sche made mochel sorwe,

And he his trowthe leith to borwe

To come, if that he live may,

Ayein withinne a Monthe day,

And therupon thei kisten bothe:

Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe,

To Schipe he goth and forth he wente

780To Troie, as was his ferste entente.

The daies gon, the Monthe passeth,

Hire love encresceth and his lasseth,

For him sche lefte slep and mete,

And he his time hath al foryete;

So that this wofull yonge qweene,

Which wot noght what it mihte meene,

A lettre sende and preide him come,

And seith how sche is overcome

With strengthe of love in such a wise,

790That sche noght longe mai suffise

To liven out of his presence;

And putte upon his conscience

The trowthe which he hath behote,

Wherof sche loveth him so hote,

Sche seith, that if he lengere lette

Of such a day as sche him sette,

Sche scholde sterven in his Slowthe,

Which were a schame unto his trowthe.

This lettre is forth upon hire sonde,

800Wherof somdiel confort on honde

Sche tok, as she that wolde abide

And waite upon that ilke tyde

Which sche hath in hire lettre write.

Bot now is pite forto wite,

As he dede erst, so he foryat

His time eftsone and oversat.

Bot sche, which mihte noght do so,

The tyde awayteth everemo,

And caste hire yhe upon the See:

810Somtime nay, somtime yee,

Somtime he cam, somtime noght,

Thus sche desputeth in hire thoght

And wot noght what sche thenke mai;

Bot fastende al the longe day

Sche was into the derke nyht,

And tho sche hath do set up lyht

In a lanterne on hih alofte

Upon a Tour, wher sche goth ofte,

In hope that in his cominge

820He scholde se the liht brenninge,

Wherof he mihte his weies rihte

To come wher sche was be nyhte.

Bot al for noght, sche was deceived,

For Venus hath hire hope weyved,

And schewede hire upon the Sky

How that the day was faste by,

So that withinne a litel throwe

The daies lyht sche mihte knowe.

Tho sche behield the See at large;

830And whan sche sih ther was no barge

Ne Schip, als ferr as sche may kenne,

Doun fro the Tour sche gan to renne

Into an Herber all hire one,

Wher many a wonder woful mone

Sche made, that no lif it wiste,

As sche which all hire joie miste,

That now sche swouneth, now sche pleigneth,

And al hire face sche desteigneth

With teres, whiche, as of a welle

840The stremes, from hire yhen felle;

So as sche mihte and evere in on

Sche clepede upon Demephon,

And seide, “Helas, thou slowe wiht,

Wher was ther evere such a knyht,

That so thurgh his ungentilesce

Of Slowthe and of foryetelnesse

Ayein his trowthe brak his stevene?”

And tho hire yhe up to the hevene

Sche caste, and seide, “O thou unkinde,

850Hier schalt thou thurgh thi Slowthe finde,

If that thee list to come and se,

A ladi ded for love of thee,

So as I schal myselve spille;

Whom, if it hadde be thi wille,

Thou mihtest save wel ynowh.”

With that upon a grene bowh

A Ceinte of Selk, which sche ther hadde,

Sche knette, and so hireself sche ladde,

That sche aboute hire whyte swere

860It dede, and hyng hirselven there.

Wherof the goddes were amoeved,

And Demephon was so reproeved,

That of the goddes providence

Was schape such an evidence

Evere afterward ayein the slowe,

That Phillis in the same throwe

Was schape into a Notetre,

That alle men it mihte se,

And after Phillis Philliberd

870This tre was cleped in the yerd,

And yit for Demephon to schame

Into this dai it berth the name.

This wofull chance how that it ferde

Anon as Demephon it herde,

And every man it hadde in speche,

His sorwe was noght tho to seche;

He gan his Slowthe forto banne,

Bot it was al to late thanne.

Lo thus, my Sone, miht thou wite

880Ayein this vice how it is write;

For noman mai the harmes gesse,

That fallen thurgh foryetelnesse,

Wherof that I thi schrifte have herd.

Bot yit of Slowthe hou it hath ferd

In other wise I thenke oppose,

If thou have gult, as I suppose.

Fulfild of Slowthes essamplaire

Ther is yit on, his Secretaire,

And he is cleped Negligence:

890Which wol noght loke his evidence,

Wherof he mai be war tofore;

Bot whanne he hath his cause lore,

Thanne is he wys after the hond:

Whanne helpe may no maner bond,

Thanne ate ferste wolde he binde:

Thus everemore he stant behinde.

Whanne he the thing mai noght amende,

Thanne is he war, and seith at ende,

“Ha, wolde god I hadde knowe]”

900Wherof bejaped with a mowe

He goth, for whan the grete Stiede

Is stole, thanne he taketh hiede,

And makth the stable dore fast:

Thus evere he pleith an aftercast

Of al that he schal seie or do.

He hath a manere eke also,

Him list noght lerne to be wys,

For he set of no vertu pris

Bot as him liketh for the while;

910So fieleth he fulofte guile,

Whan that he weneth siker stonde.

And thus thou miht wel understonde,

Mi Sone, if thou art such in love,

Thou miht noght come at thin above

Of that thou woldest wel achieve.

Mi holi fader, as I lieve,

I mai wel with sauf conscience

Excuse me of necgligence

Towardes love in alle wise:

920For thogh I be non of the wise,

I am so trewly amerous,

That I am evere curious

Of hem that conne best enforme

To knowe and witen al the forme,

What falleth unto loves craft.

Bot yit ne fond I noght the haft,

Which mihte unto that bladd acorde;

For nevere herde I man recorde

What thing it is that myhte availe

930To winne love withoute faile.

Yit so fer cowthe I nevere finde

Man that be resoun ne be kinde

Me cowthe teche such an art,

That he ne failede of a part;

And as toward myn oghne wit,

Controeve cowthe I nevere yit

To finden eny sikernesse,

That me myhte outher more or lesse

Of love make forto spede:

940For lieveth wel withoute drede,

If that ther were such a weie,

As certeinliche as I schal deie

I hadde it lerned longe ago.

Bot I wot wel ther is non so:

And natheles it may wel be,

I am so rude in my degree

And ek mi wittes ben so dulle,

That I ne mai noght to the fulle

Atteigne to so hih a lore.

950Bot this I dar seie overmore,

Althogh mi wit ne be noght strong,

It is noght on mi will along,

For that is besi nyht and day

To lerne al that he lerne may,

How that I mihte love winne:

Bot yit I am as to beginne

Of that I wolde make an ende,

And for I not how it schal wende,

That is to me mi moste sorwe.

960Bot I dar take god to borwe,

As after min entendement,

Non other wise necgligent

Thanne I yow seie have I noght be:

Forthi per seinte charite

Tell me, mi fader, what you semeth.

In good feith, Sone, wel me qwemeth,

That thou thiself hast thus aquit

Toward this vice, in which no wit

Abide mai, for in an houre

970He lest al that he mai laboure

The longe yer, so that men sein,

What evere he doth it is in vein.

For thurgh the Slowthe of Negligence

Ther was yit nevere such science

Ne vertu, which was bodely,

That nys destruid and lost therby.

Ensample that it hath be so

In boke I finde write also.

Phebus, which is the Sonne hote,

980That schyneth upon Erthe hote

And causeth every lyves helthe,

He hadde a Sone in al his welthe,

Which Pheton hihte, and he desireth

And with his Moder he conspireth,

The which was cleped Clemenee,

For help and conseil, so that he

His fader carte lede myhte

Upon the faire daies brihte.

And for this thing thei bothe preide

990Unto the fader, and he seide

He wolde wel, bot forth withal

Thre pointz he bad in special

Unto his Sone in alle wise,

That he him scholde wel avise

And take it as be weie of lore.

Ferst was, that he his hors to sore

Ne prike, and over that he tolde

That he the renes faste holde;

And also that he be riht war

1000In what manere he lede his charr,

That he mistake noght his gate,

Bot up avisement algate

He scholde bere a siker yhe,

That he to lowe ne to hyhe

His carte dryve at eny throwe,

Wherof that he mihte overthrowe.

And thus be Phebus ordinance

Tok Pheton into governance

The Sonnes carte, which he ladde:

1010Bot he such veine gloire hadde

Of that he was set upon hyh,

That he his oghne astat ne syh

Thurgh negligence and tok non hiede;

So mihte he wel noght longe spede.

For he the hors withoute lawe

The carte let aboute drawe

Wher as hem liketh wantounly,

That ate laste sodeinly,

For he no reson wolde knowe,

1020This fyri carte he drof to lowe,

And fyreth al the world aboute;

Wherof thei weren alle in doubte,

And to the god for helpe criden

Of suche unhappes as betyden.

Phebus, which syh the necgligence,

How Pheton ayein his defence

His charr hath drive out of the weie,

Ordeigneth that he fell aweie

Out of the carte into a flod

1030And dreynte. Lo now, hou it stod

With him that was so necgligent,

That fro the hyhe firmament,

For that he wolde go to lowe,

He was anon doun overthrowe.

In hih astat it is a vice

To go to lowe, and in service

It grieveth forto go to hye,

Wherof a tale in poesie

I finde, how whilom Dedalus,

1040Which hadde a Sone, and Icharus

He hihte, and thogh hem thoghte lothe,

In such prison thei weren bothe

With Minotaurus, that aboute

Thei mihten nawher wenden oute;

So thei begonne forto schape

How thei the prison mihte ascape.

This Dedalus, which fro his yowthe

Was tawht and manye craftes cowthe,

Of fetheres and of othre thinges

1050Hath mad to fle diverse wynges

For him and for his Sone also;

To whom he yaf in charge tho

And bad him thenke therupon,

How that his wynges ben set on

With wex, and if he toke his flyhte

To hyhe, al sodeinliche he mihte

Make it to melte with the Sonne.

And thus thei have her flyht begonne

Out of the prison faire and softe;

1060And whan thei weren bothe alofte,

This Icharus began to monte,

And of the conseil non accompte

He sette, which his fader tawhte,

Til that the Sonne his wynges cawhte,

Wherof it malt, and fro the heihte

Withouten help of eny sleihte

He fell to his destruccion.

And lich to that condicion

Ther fallen ofte times fele

1070For lacke of governance in wele,

Als wel in love as other weie.

Now goode fader, I you preie,

If ther be more in the matiere

Of Slowthe, that I mihte it hiere.

Mi Sone, and for thi diligence,

Which every mannes conscience

Be resoun scholde reule and kepe,

If that thee list to taken kepe,

I wol thee telle, aboven alle

1080In whom no vertu mai befalle,

Which yifth unto the vices reste

And is of slowe the sloweste.

Among these othre of Slowthes kinde,

Which alle labour set behinde,

And hateth alle besinesse,

Ther is yit on, which Ydelnesse

Is cleped, and is the Norrice

In mannes kinde of every vice,

Which secheth eases manyfold.

1090In Wynter doth he noght for cold,

In Somer mai he noght for hete;

So whether that he frese or swete,

Or he be inne, or he be oute,

He wol ben ydel al aboute,

Bot if he pleie oght ate Dees.

For who as evere take fees

And thenkth worschipe to deserve,

Ther is no lord whom he wol serve,

As forto duelle in his servise,

1100Bot if it were in such a wise,

Of that he seth per aventure

That be lordschipe and coverture

He mai the more stonde stille,

And use his ydelnesse at wille.

For he ne wol no travail take

To ryde for his ladi sake,

Bot liveth al upon his wisshes;

And as a cat wolde ete fisshes

Withoute wetinge of his cles,

1110So wolde he do, bot natheles

He faileth ofte of that he wolde.

Mi Sone, if thou of such a molde

Art mad, now tell me plein thi schrifte.

Nay, fader, god I yive a yifte.

That toward love, as be mi wit,

Al ydel was I nevere yit,

Ne nevere schal, whil I mai go.

Now, Sone, tell me thanne so,

What hast thou don of besischipe

1120To love and to the ladischipe

Of hire which thi ladi is?

Mi fader, evere yit er this

In every place, in every stede,

What so mi lady hath me bede,

With al myn herte obedient

I have therto be diligent.

And if so is sche bidde noght,

What thing that thanne into my thoght

Comth ferst of that I mai suffise,

1130I bowe and profre my servise,

Somtime in chambre, somtime in halle,

Riht as I se the times falle.

And whan sche goth to hiere masse,

That time schal noght overpasse,

That I naproche hir ladihede,

In aunter if I mai hire lede

Unto the chapelle and ayein.

Thanne is noght al mi weie in vein,

Somdiel I mai the betre fare,

1140Whan I, that mai noght fiele hir bare,

Mai lede hire clothed in myn arm:

Bot afterward it doth me harm

Of pure ymaginacioun;

For thanne this collacioun

I make unto miselven ofte,

And seie, “Ha lord, hou sche is softe,

How sche is round, hou sche is smal]

Now wolde god I hadde hire al

Withoute danger at mi wille]”

1150And thanne I sike and sitte stille,

Of that I se mi besi thoght

Is torned ydel into noght.

Bot for al that lete I ne mai,

Whanne I se time an other dai,

That I ne do my besinesse

Unto mi ladi worthinesse.

For I therto mi wit afaite

To se the times and awaite

What is to done and what to leve:

1160And so, whan time is, be hir leve,

What thing sche bit me don, I do,

And wher sche bidt me gon, I go,

And whanne hir list to clepe, I come.

Thus hath sche fulliche overcome

Min ydelnesse til I sterve,

So that I mot hire nedes serve,

For as men sein, nede hath no lawe.

Thus mot I nedly to hire drawe,

I serve, I bowe, I loke, I loute,

1170Min yhe folweth hire aboute,

What so sche wole so wol I,

Whan sche wol sitte, I knele by,

And whan sche stant, than wol I stonde:

Bot whan sche takth hir werk on honde

Of wevinge or enbrouderie,

Than can I noght bot muse and prie

Upon hir fingres longe and smale,

And now I thenke, and now I tale,

And now I singe, and now I sike,

1180And thus mi contienance I pike.

And if it falle, as for a time

Hir liketh noght abide bime,

Bot besien hire on other thinges,

Than make I othre tariinges

To dreche forth the longe dai,

For me is loth departe away.

And thanne I am so simple of port,

That forto feigne som desport

I pleie with hire litel hound

1190Now on the bedd, now on the ground,

Now with hir briddes in the cage;

For ther is non so litel page,

Ne yit so simple a chamberere,

That I ne make hem alle chere,

Al for thei scholde speke wel:

Thus mow ye sen mi besi whiel,

That goth noght ydeliche aboute.

And if hir list to riden oute

On pelrinage or other stede,

1200I come, thogh I be noght bede,

And take hire in min arm alofte

And sette hire in hire sadel softe,

And so forth lede hire be the bridel,

For that I wolde noght ben ydel.

And if hire list to ride in Char,

And thanne I mai therof be war,

Anon I schape me to ryde

Riht evene be the Chares side;

And as I mai, I speke among,

1210And otherwhile I singe a song,

Which Ovide in his bokes made,

And seide, “O whiche sorwes glade,

O which wofull prosperite

Belongeth to the proprete

Of love, who so wole him serve]

And yit therfro mai noman swerve,

That he ne mot his lawe obeie.”

And thus I ryde forth mi weie,

And am riht besi overal

1220With herte and with mi body al,

As I have said you hier tofore.

My goode fader, tell therfore,

Of Ydelnesse if I have gilt.

Mi Sone, bot thou telle wilt

Oght elles than I mai now hiere,

Thou schalt have no penance hiere.

And natheles a man mai se,

How now adayes that ther be

Ful manye of suche hertes slowe,

1230That wol noght besien hem to knowe

What thing love is, til ate laste,

That he with strengthe hem overcaste,

That malgre hem thei mote obeie

And don al ydelschipe aweie,

To serve wel and besiliche.

Bot, Sone, thou art non of swiche,

For love schal the wel excuse:

Bot otherwise, if thou refuse

To love, thou miht so per cas

1240Ben ydel, as somtime was

A kinges dowhter unavised,

Til that Cupide hire hath chastised:

Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere

Acordant unto this matiere.

Of Armenye, I rede thus,

Ther was a king, which Herupus

Was hote, and he a lusti Maide

To dowhter hadde, and as men saide

Hire name was Rosiphelee;

1250Which tho was of gret renomee,

For sche was bothe wys and fair

And scholde ben hire fader hair.

Bot sche hadde o defalte of Slowthe

Towardes love, and that was rowthe;

For so wel cowde noman seie,

Which mihte sette hire in the weie

Of loves occupacion

Thurgh non ymaginacion;

That scole wolde sche noght knowe.

1260And thus sche was on of the slowe

As of such hertes besinesse,

Til whanne Venus the goddesse,

Which loves court hath forto reule,

Hath broght hire into betre reule,

Forth with Cupide and with his miht:

For thei merveille how such a wiht,

Which tho was in hir lusti age,

Desireth nother Mariage

Ne yit the love of paramours,

1270Which evere hath be the comun cours

Amonges hem that lusti were.

So was it schewed after there:

For he that hihe hertes loweth

With fyri Dartes whiche he throweth,

Cupide, which of love is godd,

In chastisinge hath mad a rodd

To dryve awei hir wantounesse;

So that withinne a while, I gesse,

Sche hadde on such a chance sporned,

1280That al hire mod was overtorned,

Which ferst sche hadde of slow manere:

For thus it fell, as thou schalt hiere.

Whan come was the Monthe of Maii,

Sche wolde walke upon a dai,

And that was er the Sonne Ariste;

Of wommen bot a fewe it wiste,

And forth sche wente prively

Unto the Park was faste by,

Al softe walkende on the gras,

1290Til sche cam ther the Launde was,

Thurgh which ther ran a gret rivere.

It thoghte hir fair, and seide, “Here

I wole abide under the schawe”:

And bad hire wommen to withdrawe,

And ther sche stod al one stille,

To thenke what was in hir wille.

Sche sih the swote floures springe,

Sche herde glade foules singe,

Sche sih the bestes in her kinde,

1300The buck, the do, the hert, the hinde,

The madle go with the femele;

And so began ther a querele

Betwen love and hir oghne herte,

Fro which sche couthe noght asterte.

And as sche caste hire yhe aboute,

Sche syh clad in o suite a route

Of ladis, wher thei comen ryde

Along under the wodes syde:

On faire amblende hors thei sete,

1310That were al whyte, fatte and grete,

And everichon thei ride on side.

The Sadles were of such a Pride,

With Perle and gold so wel begon,

So riche syh sche nevere non;

In kertles and in Copes riche

Thei weren clothed, alle liche,

Departed evene of whyt and blew;

With alle lustes that sche knew

Thei were enbrouded overal.

1320Here bodies weren long and smal,

The beaute faye upon her face

Non erthly thing it may desface;

Corones on here hed thei beere,

As ech of hem a qweene weere,

That al the gold of Cresus halle

The leste coronal of alle

Ne mihte have boght after the worth:

Thus come thei ridende forth.

The kinges dowhter, which this syh,

1330For pure abaissht drowh hire adryh

And hield hire clos under the bowh,

And let hem passen stille ynowh;

For as hire thoghte in hire avis,

To hem that were of such a pris

Sche was noght worthi axen there,

Fro when they come or what thei were:

Bot levere than this worldes good

Sche wolde have wist hou that it stod,

And putte hire hed alitel oute;

1340And as sche lokede hire aboute,

Sche syh comende under the linde

A womman up an hors behinde.

The hors on which sche rod was blak,

Al lene and galled on the back,

And haltede, as he were encluyed,

Wherof the womman was annuied;

Thus was the hors in sori plit,

Bot for al that a sterre whit

Amiddes in the front he hadde.

1350Hir Sadel ek was wonder badde,

In which the wofull womman sat,

And natheles ther was with that

A riche bridel for the nones

Of gold and preciouse Stones.

Hire cote was somdiel totore;

Aboute hir middel twenty score

Of horse haltres and wel mo

Ther hyngen ate time tho.

Thus whan sche cam the ladi nyh,

1360Than tok sche betre hiede and syh

This womman fair was of visage,

Freyssh, lusti, yong and of tendre age;

And so this ladi, ther sche stod,

Bethoghte hire wel and understod

That this, which com ridende tho,

Tidinges couthe telle of tho,

Which as sche sih tofore ryde,

And putte hir forth and preide abide,

And seide, “Ha, Suster, let me hiere,

1370What ben thei, that now riden hiere,

And ben so richeliche arraied?”

This womman, which com so esmaied,

Ansuerde with ful softe speche,

And seith, “Ma Dame, I schal you teche.

These ar of tho that whilom were

Servantz to love, and trowthe beere,

Ther as thei hadde here herte set.

Fare wel, for I mai noght be let:

Ma Dame, I go to mi servise,

1380So moste I haste in alle wise;

Forthi, ma Dame, yif me leve,

I mai noght longe with you leve.”

“Ha, goode Soster, yit I preie,

Tell me whi ye ben so beseie

And with these haltres thus begon.”

“Ma Dame, whilom I was on

That to mi fader hadde a king;

Bot I was slow, and for no thing

Me liste noght to love obeie,

1390And that I now ful sore abeie.

For I whilom no love hadde,

Min hors is now so fieble and badde,

And al totore is myn arai,

And every yeer this freisshe Maii

These lusti ladis ryde aboute,

And I mot nedes suie here route

In this manere as ye now se,

And trusse here haltres forth with me,

And am bot as here horse knave.

1400Non other office I ne have,

Hem thenkth I am worthi nomore,

For I was slow in loves lore,

Whan I was able forto lere,

And wolde noght the tales hiere

Of hem that couthen love teche.”

“Now tell me thanne, I you beseche,

Wherof that riche bridel serveth.”

With that hire chere awei sche swerveth,

And gan to wepe, and thus sche tolde:

1410“This bridel, which ye nou beholde

So riche upon myn horse hed,-

Ma Dame, afore, er I was ded,

Whan I was in mi lusti lif,

Ther fel into myn herte a strif

Of love, which me overcom,

So that therafter hiede I nom

And thoghte I wolde love a kniht:

That laste wel a fourtenyht,

For it no lengere mihte laste,

1420So nyh my lif was ate laste.

Bot now, allas, to late war

That I ne hadde him loved ar:

For deth cam so in haste bime,

Er I therto hadde eny time,

That it ne mihte ben achieved.

Bot for al that I am relieved,

Of that mi will was good therto,

That love soffreth it be so

That I schal swiche a bridel were.

1430Now have ye herd al myn ansuere:

To godd, ma Dame, I you betake,

And warneth alle for mi sake,

Of love that thei ben noght ydel,

And bidd hem thenke upon mi brydel.”

And with that word al sodeinly

Sche passeth, as it were a Sky,

Al clene out of this ladi sihte:

And tho for fere hire herte afflihte,

And seide to hirself, “Helas]

1440I am riht in the same cas.

Bot if I live after this day,

I schal amende it, if I may.”

And thus homward this lady wente,

And changede al hire ferste entente,

Withinne hire herte and gan to swere

That sche none haltres wolde bere.

Lo, Sone, hier miht thou taken hiede,

How ydelnesse is forto drede,

Namliche of love, as I have write.

1450For thou miht understonde and wite,

Among the gentil nacion

Love is an occupacion,

Which forto kepe hise lustes save

Scholde every gentil herte have:

For as the ladi was chastised,

Riht so the knyht mai ben avised,

Which ydel is and wol noght serve

To love, he mai per cas deserve

A grettere peine than sche hadde,

1460Whan sche aboute with hire ladde

The horse haltres; and forthi

Good is to be wel war therbi.

Bot forto loke aboven alle,

These Maidens, hou so that it falle,

Thei scholden take ensample of this

Which I have told, for soth it is.

Mi ladi Venus, whom I serve,

What womman wole hire thonk deserve,

Sche mai noght thilke love eschuie

1470Of paramours, bot sche mot suie

Cupides lawe; and natheles

Men sen such love sielde in pes,

That it nys evere upon aspie

Of janglinge and of fals Envie,

Fulofte medlid with disese:

Bot thilke love is wel at ese,

Which set is upon mariage;

For that dar schewen the visage

In alle places openly.

1480A gret mervaile it is forthi,

How that a Maiden wolde lette,

That sche hir time ne besette

To haste unto that ilke feste,

Wherof the love is al honeste.

Men mai recovere lost of good,

Bot so wys man yit nevere stod,

Which mai recovere time lore:

So mai a Maiden wel therfore

Ensample take, of that sche strangeth

1490Hir love, and longe er that sche changeth

Hir herte upon hir lustes greene

To mariage, as it is seene.

For thus a yer or tuo or thre

Sche lest, er that sche wedded be,

Whyl sche the charge myhte bere

Of children, whiche the world forbere

Ne mai, bot if it scholde faile.

Bot what Maiden hire esposaile

Wol tarie, whan sche take mai,

1500Sche schal per chance an other dai

Be let, whan that hire lievest were.

Wherof a tale unto hire Ere,

Which is coupable upon this dede,

I thenke telle of that I rede.

Among the Jewes, as men tolde,

Ther was whilom be daies olde

A noble Duck, which Jepte hihte.

And fell, he scholde go to fyhte

Ayein Amon the cruel king:

1510And forto speke upon this thing,

Withinne his herte he made avou

To god and seide, “Ha lord, if thou

Wolt grante unto thi man victoire,

I schal in tokne of thi memoire

The ferste lif that I mai se,

Of man or womman wher it be,

Anon as I come hom ayein,

To thee, which art god sovereign,

Slen in thi name and sacrifie.”

1520And thus with his chivalerie

He goth him forth, wher that he scholde,

And wan al that he winne wolde

And overcam his fomen alle.

Mai noman lette that schal falle.

This Duc a lusti dowhter hadde,

And fame, which the wordes spradde,

Hath broght unto this ladi Ere

How that hire fader hath do there.

Sche waiteth upon his cominge

1530With dansinge and with carolinge,

As sche that wolde be tofore

Al othre, and so sche was therfore

In Masphat at hir fader gate

The ferste; and whan he com therate,

And sih his douhter, he tobreide

Hise clothes and wepende he seide:

“O mihti god among ous hiere,

Nou wot I that in no manere

This worldes joie mai be plein.

1540I hadde al that I coude sein

Ayein mi fomen be thi grace,

So whan I cam toward this place

Ther was non gladdere man than I:

But now, mi lord, al sodeinli

Mi joie is torned into sorwe,

For I mi dowhter schal tomorwe

Tohewe and brenne in thi servise

To loenge of thi sacrifise

Thurgh min avou, so as it is.”

1550The Maiden, whan sche wiste of this,

And sih the sorwe hir fader made,

So as sche mai with wordes glade

Conforteth him, and bad him holde

The covenant which he is holde

Towardes god, as he behihte.

Bot natheles hire herte aflihte

Of that sche sih hire deth comende;

And thanne unto the ground knelende

Tofore hir fader sche is falle,

1560And seith, so as it is befalle

Upon this point that sche schal deie,

Of o thing ferst sche wolde him preie,

That fourty daies of respit

He wolde hir grante upon this plit,

That sche the whyle mai bewepe

Hir maidenhod, which sche to kepe

So longe hath had and noght beset;

Wherof her lusti youthe is let,

That sche no children hath forthdrawe

1570In Mariage after the lawe,

So that the poeple is noght encressed.

Bot that it mihte be relessed,

That sche hir time hath lore so,

Sche wolde be his leve go

With othre Maidens to compleigne,

And afterward unto the peine

Of deth sche wolde come ayein.

The fader herde his douhter sein,

And therupon of on assent

1580The Maidens were anon asent,

That scholden with this Maiden wende.

So forto speke unto this ende,

Thei gon the dounes and the dales

With wepinge and with wofull tales,

And every wyht hire maidenhiede

Compleigneth upon thilke nede,

That sche no children hadde bore,

Wherof sche hath hir youthe lore,

Which nevere sche recovere mai:

1590For so fell that hir laste dai

Was come, in which sche scholde take

Hir deth, which sche may noght forsake.

Lo, thus sche deiede a wofull Maide

For thilke cause which I saide,

As thou hast understonde above.

Mi fader, as toward the Love

Of Maidens forto telle trowthe,

Ye have thilke vice of Slowthe,

Me thenkth, riht wonder wel declared,

1600That ye the wommen have noght spared

Of hem that tarien so behinde.

Bot yit it falleth in my minde,

Toward the men hou that ye spieke

Of hem that wole no travail sieke

In cause of love upon decerte:

To speke in wordes so coverte,

I not what travaill that ye mente.

Mi Sone, and after min entente

I woll thee telle what I thoghte,

1610Hou whilom men here loves boghte

Thurgh gret travaill in strange londes,

Wher that thei wroghten with here hondes

Of armes many a worthi dede,

In sondri place as men mai rede.

That every love of pure kinde

Is ferst forthdrawe, wel I finde:

Bot natheles yit overthis

Decerte doth so that it is

The rather had in mani place.

1620Forthi who secheth loves grace,

Wher that these worthi wommen are,

He mai noght thanne himselve spare

Upon his travail forto serve,

Wherof that he mai thonk deserve,

There as these men of Armes be,

Somtime over the grete Se:

So that be londe and ek be Schipe

He mot travaile for worschipe

And make manye hastyf rodes,

1630Somtime in Prus, somtime in Rodes,

And somtime into Tartarie;

So that these heraldz on him crie,

“Vailant, vailant, lo, wher he goth]”

And thanne he yifth hem gold and cloth,

So that his fame mihte springe,

And to his ladi Ere bringe

Som tidinge of his worthinesse;

So that sche mihte of his prouesce

Of that sche herde men recorde,

1640The betre unto his love acorde

And danger pute out of hire mod,

Whanne alle men recorden good,

And that sche wot wel, for hir sake

That he no travail wol forsake.

Mi Sone, of this travail I meene:

Nou schrif thee, for it schal be sene

If thou art ydel in this cas.

My fader ye, and evere was:

For as me thenketh trewely

1650That every man doth mor than I

As of this point, and if so is

That I have oght so don er this,

It is so litel of acompte,

As who seith, it mai noght amonte

To winne of love his lusti yifte.

For this I telle you in schrifte,

That me were levere hir love winne

Than Kaire and al that is ther inne:

And forto slen the hethen alle,

1660I not what good ther mihte falle,

So mochel blod thogh ther be schad.

This finde I writen, hou Crist bad

That noman other scholde sle.

What scholde I winne over the Se,

If I mi ladi loste at hom?

Bot passe thei the salte fom,

To whom Crist bad thei scholden preche

To al the world and his feith teche:

Bot now thei rucken in here nest

1670And resten as hem liketh best

In all the swetnesse of delices.

Thus thei defenden ous the vices,

And sitte hemselven al amidde;

To slen and feihten thei ous bidde

Hem whom thei scholde, as the bok seith,

Converten unto Cristes feith.

Bot hierof have I gret mervaile,

Hou thei wol bidde me travaile:

A Sarazin if I sle schal,

1680I sle the Soule forth withal,

And that was nevere Cristes lore.

Bot nou ho ther, I seie nomore.

Bot I wol speke upon mi schrifte;

And to Cupide I make a yifte,

That who as evere pris deserve

Of armes, I wol love serve;

And thogh I scholde hem bothe kepe,

Als wel yit wolde I take kepe

Whan it were time to abide,

1690As forto travaile and to ryde:

For how as evere a man laboure,

Cupide appointed hath his houre.

For I have herd it telle also,

Achilles lefte hise armes so

Bothe of himself and of his men

At Troie for Polixenen,

Upon hire love whanne he fell,

That for no chance that befell

Among the Grecs or up or doun,

1700He wolde noght ayein the toun

Ben armed, for the love of hire.

And so me thenketh, lieve Sire,

A man of armes mai him reste

Somtime in hope for the beste,

If he mai finde a weie nerr.

What scholde I thanne go so ferr

In strange londes many a mile

To ryde, and lese at hom therwhile

Mi love? It were a schort beyete

1710To winne chaf and lese whete.

Bot if mi ladi bidde wolde,

That I for hire love scholde

Travaile, me thenkth trewely

I mihte fle thurghout the Sky,

And go thurghout the depe Se,

For al ne sette I at a stre

What thonk that I mihte elles gete.

What helpeth it a man have mete,

Wher drinke lacketh on the bord?

1720What helpeth eny mannes word

To seie hou I travaile faste,

Wher as me faileth ate laste

That thing which I travaile fore?

O in good time were he bore,

That mihte atteigne such a mede.

Bot certes if I mihte spede

With eny maner besinesse

Of worldes travail, thanne I gesse,

Ther scholde me non ydelschipe

1730Departen fro hir ladischipe.

Bot this I se, on daies nou

The blinde god, I wot noght hou,

Cupido, which of love is lord,

He set the thinges in discord,

That thei that lest to love entende

Fulofte he wole hem yive and sende

Most of his grace; and thus I finde

That he that scholde go behinde,

Goth many a time ferr tofore:

1740So wot I noght riht wel therfore,

On whether bord that I schal seile.

Thus can I noght miself conseile,

Bot al I sette on aventure,

And am, as who seith, out of cure

For ought that I can seie or do:

For everemore I finde it so,

The more besinesse I leie,

The more that I knele and preie

With goode wordes and with softe,

1750The more I am refused ofte,

With besinesse and mai noght winne.

And in good feith that is gret Sinne;

For I mai seie, of dede and thoght

That ydel man have I be noght;

For hou as evere I be deslaied,

Yit evermore I have assaied.

Bot thogh my besinesse laste,

Al is bot ydel ate laste,

For whan theffect is ydelnesse,

1760I not what thing is besinesse.

Sei, what availeth al the dede,

Which nothing helpeth ate nede?

For the fortune of every fame

Schal of his ende bere a name.

And thus for oght is yit befalle,

An ydel man I wol me calle

As after myn entendement:

Bot upon youre amendement,

Min holi fader, as you semeth,

1770Mi reson and my cause demeth.

Mi Sone, I have herd thi matiere,

Of that thou hast thee schriven hiere:

And forto speke of ydel fare,

Me semeth that thou tharst noght care,

Bot only that thou miht noght spede.

And therof, Sone, I wol thee rede,

Abyd, and haste noght to faste;

Thi dees ben every dai to caste,

Thou nost what chance schal betyde.

1780Betre is to wayte upon the tyde

Than rowe ayein the stremes stronge:

For thogh so be thee thenketh longe,

Per cas the revolucion

Of hevene and thi condicion

Ne be noght yit of on acord.

Bot I dar make this record

To Venus, whos Prest that I am,

That sithen that I hidir cam

To hiere, as sche me bad, thi lif,

1790Wherof thou elles be gultif,

Thou miht hierof thi conscience

Excuse, and of gret diligence,

Which thou to love hast so despended,

Thou oghtest wel to be comended.

Bot if so be that ther oght faile,

Of that thou slowthest to travaile

In armes forto ben absent,

And for thou makst an argument

Of that thou seidest hiere above,

1800Hou Achilles thurgh strengthe of love

Hise armes lefte for a throwe,

Thou schalt an other tale knowe,

Which is contraire, as thou schalt wite.

For this a man mai finde write,

Whan that knyhthode schal be werred,

Lust mai noght thanne be preferred;

The bedd mot thanne be forsake

And Schield and spere on honde take,

Which thing schal make hem after glade,

1810Whan thei ben worthi knihtes made.

Wherof, so as it comth to honde,

A tale thou schalt understonde,

Hou that a kniht schal armes suie,

And for the while his ese eschuie.

Upon knyhthode I rede thus,

How whilom whan the king Nauplus,

The fader of Palamades,

Cam forto preien Ulixes

With othre Gregois ek also,

1820That he with hem to Troie go,

Wher that the Siege scholde be,

Anon upon Penolope

His wif, whom that he loveth hote,

Thenkende, wolde hem noght behote.

Bot he schop thanne a wonder wyle,

How that he scholde hem best beguile,

So that he mihte duelle stille

At home and welde his love at wille:

Wherof erli the morwe day

1830Out of his bedd, wher that he lay,

Whan he was uppe, he gan to fare

Into the field and loke and stare,

As he which feigneth to be wod:

He tok a plowh, wher that it stod,

Wherinne anon in stede of Oxes

He let do yoken grete foxes,

And with gret salt the lond he siew.

But Nauplus, which the cause kniew,

Ayein the sleihte which he feigneth

1840An other sleihte anon ordeigneth.

And fell that time Ulixes hadde

A chyld to Sone, and Nauplus radde

How men that Sone taken scholde,

And setten him upon the Molde,

Wher that his fader hield the plowh,

In thilke furgh which he tho drowh.

For in such wise he thoghte assaie,

Hou it Ulixes scholde paie,

If that he were wod or non.

1850The knihtes for this child forthgon;

Thelamacus anon was fett,

Tofore the plowh and evene sett,

Wher that his fader scholde dryve.

Bot whan he sih his child, als blyve

He drof the plowh out of the weie,

And Nauplus tho began to seie,

And hath half in a jape cryd:

“O Ulixes, thou art aspyd:

What is al this thou woldest meene?

1860For openliche it is now seene

That thou hast feigned al this thing,

Which is gret schame to a king,

Whan that for lust of eny slowthe

Thou wolt in a querele of trowthe

Of armes thilke honour forsake,

And duelle at hom for loves sake:

For betre it were honour to winne

Than love, which likinge is inne.

Forthi tak worschipe upon honde,

1870And elles thou schalt understonde

These othre worthi kinges alle

Of Grece, which unto thee calle,

Towardes thee wol be riht wrothe,

And grieve thee per chance bothe:

Which schal be tothe double schame

Most for the hindrynge of thi name,

That thou for Slouthe of eny love

Schalt so thi lustes sette above

And leve of armes the knyhthode,

1880Which is the pris of thi manhode

And oghte ferst to be desired.”

Bot he, which hadde his herte fyred

Upon his wif, whan he this herde,

Noght o word therayein ansuerde,

Bot torneth hom halvinge aschamed,

And hath withinne himself so tamed

His herte, that al the sotie

Of love for chivalerie

He lefte, and be him lief or loth,

1890To Troie forth with hem he goth,

That he him mihte noght excuse.

Thus stant it, if a knyht refuse

The lust of armes to travaile,

Ther mai no worldes ese availe,

Bot if worschipe be with al.

And that hath schewed overal;

For it sit wel in alle wise

A kniht to ben of hih emprise

And puten alle drede aweie;

1900For in this wise, I have herd seie,

The worthi king Protheselai

On his passage wher he lai

Towardes Troie thilke Siege,

Sche which was al his oghne liege,

Laodomie his lusti wif,

Which for his love was pensif,

As he which al hire herte hadde,

Upon a thing wherof sche dradde

A lettre, forto make him duelle

1910Fro Troie, sende him, thus to telle,

Hou sche hath axed of the wyse

Touchende of him in such a wise,

That thei have don hire understonde,

Towardes othre hou so it stonde,

The destine it hath so schape

That he schal noght the deth ascape

In cas that he arryve at Troie.

Forthi as to hir worldes joie

With al hire herte sche him preide,

1920And many an other cause alleide,

That he with hire at home abide.

Bot he hath cast hir lettre aside,

As he which tho no maner hiede

Tok of hire wommannysshe drede;

And forth he goth, as noght ne were,

To Troie, and was the ferste there

Which londeth, and tok arryvaile:

For him was levere in the bataille,

He seith, to deien as a knyht,

1930Than forto lyve in al his myht

And be reproeved of his name.

Lo, thus upon the worldes fame

Knyhthode hath evere yit be set,

Which with no couardie is let.

Of king Sal also I finde,

Whan Samuel out of his kinde,

Thurgh that the Phitonesse hath lered,

In Samarie was arered

Long time after that he was ded,

1940The king Sal him axeth red,

If that he schal go fyhte or non.

And Samuel him seide anon,

“The ferste day of the bataille

Thou schalt be slain withoute faile

And Jonathas thi Sone also.”

Bot hou as evere it felle so,

This worthi kniht of his corage

Hath undertake the viage,

And wol noght his knyhthode lette

1950For no peril he couthe sette;

Wherof that bothe his Sone and he

Upon the Montz of Gelboe5

Assemblen with here enemys:

For thei knyhthode of such a pris

Be olde daies thanne hielden,

That thei non other thing behielden.

And thus the fader for worschipe

Forth with his Sone of felaschipe

Thurgh lust of armes weren dede,

1960As men mai in the bible rede;

The whos knyhthode is yit in mende,

And schal be to the worldes ende.

And forto loken overmore,

It hath and schal ben evermore

That of knihthode the prouesse

Is grounded upon hardinesse

Of him that dar wel undertake.

And who that wolde ensample take

Upon the forme of knyhtes lawe,

1970How that Achilles was forthdrawe

With Chiro, which Centaurus hihte,

Of many a wondre hiere he mihte.

For it stod thilke time thus,

That this Chiro, this Centaurus,

Withinne a large wildernesse,

Wher was Leon and Leonesse,

The Lepard and the Tigre also,

With Hert and Hynde, and buck and doo,

Hadde his duellinge, as tho befell,

1980Of Pileon upon the hel,

Wherof was thanne mochel speche.

Ther hath Chiro this Chyld to teche,

What time he was of tuelve yer age;

Wher forto maken his corage

The more hardi be other weie,

In the forest to hunte and pleie

Whan that Achilles walke wolde,

Centaurus bad that he ne scholde

After no beste make his chace,

1990Which wolde flen out of his place,

As buck and doo and hert and hynde,

With whiche he mai no werre finde;

Bot tho that wolden him withstonde,

Ther scholde he with his Dart on honde

Upon the Tigre and the Leon

Pourchace and take his veneison,

As to a kniht is acordant.

And therupon a covenant

This Chiro with Achilles sette,

2000That every day withoute lette

He scholde such a cruel beste

Or slen or wounden ate leste,

So that he mihte a tokne bringe

Of blod upon his hom cominge.

And thus of that Chiro him tawhte

Achilles such an herte cawhte,

That he nomore a Leon dradde,

Whan he his Dart on honde hadde,

Thanne if a Leon were an asse:

2010And that hath mad him forto passe

Alle othre knihtes of his dede,

Whan it cam to the grete nede,

As it was afterward wel knowe.

Lo, thus, my Sone, thou miht knowe

That the corage of hardiesce

Is of knyhthode the prouesce,

Which is to love sufficant

Aboven al the remenant

That unto loves court poursuie.

2020Bot who that wol no Slowthe eschuie,

Upon knihthode and noght travaile,

I not what love him scholde availe;

Bot every labour axeth why

Of som reward, wherof that I

Ensamples couthe telle ynowe

Of hem that toward love drowe

Be olde daies, as thei scholde.

Mi fader, therof hiere I wolde.

Mi Sone, it is wel resonable,

2030In place which is honorable

If that a man his herte sette,

That thanne he for no Slowthe lette

To do what longeth to manhede.

For if thou wolt the bokes rede

Of Lancelot and othre mo,

Ther miht thou sen hou it was tho

Of armes, for thei wolde atteigne

To love, which withoute peine

Mai noght be gete of ydelnesse.

2040And that I take to witnesse

An old Cronique in special,

The which into memorial

Is write, for his loves sake

Hou that a kniht schal undertake.

Ther was a king, which Oe5nes

Was hote, and he under his pes

Hield Calidoyne in his Empire,

And hadde a dowhter Deianire.

Men wiste in thilke time non

2050So fair a wiht as sche was on;

And as sche was a lusti wiht,

Riht so was thanne a noble kniht,

To whom Mercurie fader was.

This kniht the tuo pilers of bras,

The whiche yit a man mai finde,

Sette up in the desert of Ynde;

That was the worthi Hercules,

Whos name schal ben endeles

For the merveilles whiche he wroghte.

2060This Hercules the love soghte

Of Deianire, and of this thing

Unto hir fader, which was king,

He spak touchende of Mariage.

The king knowende his hih lignage,

And dradde also hise mihtes sterne,

To him ne dorste his dowhter werne;

And natheles this he him seide,

How Achelons er he ferst preide

To wedden hire, and in accord

2070Thei stode, as it was of record:

Bot for al that this he him granteth,

That which of hem that other daunteth

In armes, him sche scholde take,

And that the king hath undertake.

This Achelons was a Geant,

A soubtil man, a deceivant,

Which thurgh magique and sorcerie

Couthe al the world of tricherie:

And whan that he this tale herde,

2080Hou upon that the king ansuerde

With Hercules he moste feighte,

He tristeth noght upon his sleighte

Al only, whan it comth to nede,

Bot that which voydeth alle drede

And every noble herte stereth,

The love, that no lif forbereth,

For his ladi, whom he desireth,

With hardiesse his herte fyreth,

And sende him word withoute faile

2090That he wol take the bataille.

Thei setten day, they chosen field,

The knihtes coevered under Schield

Togedre come at time set,

And echon is with other met.

It fell thei foghten bothe afote,

Ther was no ston, ther was no rote,

Which mihte letten hem the weie,

But al was voide and take aweie.

Thei smyten strokes bot a fewe,

2100For Hercules, which wolde schewe

His grete strengthe as for the nones,

He sterte upon him al at ones

And cawhte him in hise armes stronge.

This Geant wot he mai noght longe

Endure under so harde bondes,

And thoghte he wolde out of hise hondes

Be sleyhte in som manere ascape.

And as he couthe himself forschape,

In liknesse of an Eddre he slipte

2110Out of his hond, and forth he skipte;

And efte, as he that feighte wole,

He torneth him into a Bole,

And gan to belwe of such a soun,

As thogh the world scholde al go doun:

The ground he sporneth and he tranceth,

Hise large hornes he avanceth

And caste hem here and there aboute.

Bot he, which stant of him no doute,

Awaiteth wel whan that he cam,

2120And him be bothe hornes nam

And al at ones he him caste

Unto the ground, and hield him faste,

That he ne mihte with no sleighte

Out of his hond gete upon heighte,

Til he was overcome and yolde,

And Hercules hath what he wolde.

The king him granteth to fulfille

His axinge at his oghne wille,

And sche for whom he hadde served,

2130Hire thoghte he hath hire wel deserved.

And thus with gret decerte of Armes

He wan him forto ligge in armes,

As he which hath it dere aboght,

For otherwise scholde he noght.

And overthis if thou wolt hiere

Upon knihthode of this matiere,

Hou love and armes ben aqueinted,

A man mai se bothe write and peinted

So ferforth that Pantasilee,

2140Which was the queene of Feminee,

The love of Hector forto sieke

And for thonour of armes eke,

To Troie cam with Spere and Schield,

And rod hirself into the field

With Maidens armed al a route

In rescouss of the toun aboute,

Which with the Gregois was belein.

Fro Pafagoine and as men sein,

Which stant upon the worldes ende,

2150That time it likede ek to wende

To Philemenis, which was king,

To Troie, and come upon this thing

In helpe of thilke noble toun;

And al was that for the renoun

Of worschipe and of worldes fame,

Of which he wolde bere a name:

And so he dede, and forth withal

He wan of love in special

A fair tribut for everemo.

2160For it fell thilke time so;

Pirrus the Sone of Achilles

This worthi queene among the press

With dedli swerd soghte out and fond,

And slowh hire with his oghne hond;

Wherof this king of Pafagoine

Pantasilee of Amazoine,

Wher sche was queene, with him ladde,

With suche Maidens as sche hadde

Of hem that were left alyve,

2170Forth in his Schip, til thei aryve;

Wher that the body was begrave

With worschipe, and the wommen save.

And for the goodschipe of this dede

Thei granten him a lusti mede,

That every yeer as for truage

To him and to his heritage

Of Maidens faire he schal have thre.

And in this wise spedde he,

Which the fortune of armes soghte,

2180With his travail his ese he boghte;

For otherwise he scholde have failed,

If that he hadde noght travailed.

Eneas ek withinne Ytaile,

Ne hadde he wonne the bataille

And don his miht so besily

Ayein king Turne his enemy,

He hadde noght Lavine wonne;

Bot for he hath him overronne

And gete his pris, he gat hire love.

2190Be these ensamples here above,

Lo, now, mi Sone, as I have told,

Thou miht wel se, who that is bold

And dar travaile and undertake

The cause of love, he schal be take

The rathere unto loves grace;

For comunliche in worthi place

The wommen loven worthinesse

Of manhode and of gentilesse,

For the gentils ben most desired.

2200Mi fader, bot I were enspired

Thurgh lore of you, I wot no weie

What gentilesce is forto seie,

Wherof to telle I you beseche.

The ground, Mi Sone, forto seche

Upon this diffinicion,

The worldes constitucion

Hath set the name of gentilesse

Upon the fortune of richesse

Which of long time is falle in age.

2210Thanne is a man of hih lignage

After the forme, as thou miht hiere,

Bot nothing after the matiere.

For who that resoun understonde,

Upon richesse it mai noght stonde,

For that is thing which faileth ofte:

For he that stant to day alofte

And al the world hath in hise wones,

Tomorwe he falleth al at ones

Out of richesse into poverte,

2220So that therof is no decerte,

Which gentilesce makth abide.

And forto loke on other side

Hou that a gentil man is bore,

Adam, which alle was tofore

With Eve his wif, as of hem tuo,

Al was aliche gentil tho;

So that of generacion

To make declaracion,

Ther mai no gentilesce be.

2230For to the reson if we se,

Of mannes berthe the mesure,

It is so comun to nature,

That it yifth every man aliche,

Als wel to povere as to the riche;

For naked thei ben bore bothe,

The lord nomore hath forto clothe

As of himself that ilke throwe,

Than hath the povereste of the rowe.

And whan thei schulle both passe,

2240I not of hem which hath the lasse

Of worldes good, bot as of charge

The lord is more forto charge,

Whan god schal his accompte hiere,

For he hath had hise lustes hiere.

Bot of the bodi, which schal deie,

Althogh ther be diverse weie

To deth, yit is ther bot on ende,

To which that every man schal wende,

Als wel the beggere as the lord,

2250Of o nature, of on acord:

Sche which oure Eldemoder is,

The Erthe, bothe that and this

Receiveth and alich devoureth,

That sche to nouther part favoureth.

So wot I nothing after kinde

Where I mai gentilesse finde.

For lacke of vertu lacketh grace,

Wherof richesse in many place,

Whan men best wene forto stonde,

2260Al sodeinly goth out of honde:

Bot vertu set in the corage,

Ther mai no world be so salvage,

Which mihte it take and don aweie,

Til whanne that the bodi deie;

And thanne he schal be riched so,

That it mai faile neveremo;

So mai that wel be gentilesse,

Which yifth so gret a sikernesse.

For after the condicion

2270Of resonable entencion,

The which out of the Soule groweth

And the vertu fro vice knoweth,

Wherof a man the vice eschuieth,

Withoute Slowthe and vertu suieth,

That is a verrai gentil man,

And nothing elles which he can,

Ne which he hath, ne which he mai.

Bot for al that yit nou aday,

In loves court to taken hiede,

2280The povere vertu schal noght spiede,

Wher that the riche vice woweth;

For sielde it is that love alloweth

The gentil man withoute good,

Thogh his condicion be good.

Bot if a man of bothe tuo

Be riche and vertuous also,

Thanne is he wel the more worth:

Bot yit to putte himselve forth

He moste don his besinesse,

2290For nowther good ne gentilesse

Mai helpen him whiche ydel be.

Bot who that wole in his degre

Travaile so as it belongeth,

It happeth ofte that he fongeth

Worschipe and ese bothe tuo.

For evere yit it hath be so,

That love honeste in sondri weie

Profiteth, for it doth aweie

The vice, and as the bokes sein,

2300It makth curteis of the vilein,

And to the couard hardiesce

It yifth, so that verrai prouesse

Is caused upon loves reule

To him that can manhode reule;

And ek toward the wommanhiede,

Who that therof wol taken hiede,

For thei the betre affaited be

In every thing, as men may se.

For love hath evere hise lustes grene

2310In gentil folk, as it is sene,

Which thing ther mai no kinde areste:

I trowe that ther is no beste,

If he with love scholde aqueinte,

That he ne wolde make it queinte

As for the while that it laste.

And thus I conclude ate laste,

That thei ben ydel, as me semeth,

Whiche unto thing that love demeth

Forslowthen that thei scholden do.

2320And overthis, mi Sone, also

After the vertu moral eke

To speke of love if I schal seke,

Among the holi bokes wise

I finde write in such a wise,

“Who loveth noght is hier as ded”;

For love above alle othre is hed,

Which hath the vertus forto lede,

Of al that unto mannes dede

Belongeth: for of ydelschipe

2330He hateth all the felaschipe.

For Slowthe is evere to despise,

Which in desdeign hath al apprise,

And that acordeth noght to man:

For he that wit and reson kan,

It sit him wel that he travaile

Upon som thing which mihte availe,

For ydelschipe is noght comended,

Bot every lawe it hath defended.

And in ensample therupon

2340The noble wise Salomon,

Which hadde of every thing insihte,

Seith, “As the briddes to the flihte

Ben made, so the man is bore

To labour,” which is noght forbore

To hem that thenken forto thryve.

For we, whiche are now alyve,

Of hem that besi whylom were,

Als wel in Scole as elleswhere,

Mowe every day ensample take,

2350That if it were now to make

Thing which that thei ferst founden oute,

It scholde noght be broght aboute.

Here lyves thanne were longe,

Here wittes grete, here mihtes stronge,

Here hertes ful of besinesse,

Wherof the worldes redinesse

In bodi bothe and in corage

Stant evere upon his avantage.

And forto drawe into memoire

2360Here names bothe and here histoire,

Upon the vertu of her dede

In sondri bokes thou miht rede.

Of every wisdom the parfit

The hyhe god of his spirit

Yaf to the men in Erthe hiere

Upon the forme and the matiere

Of that he wolde make hem wise:

And thus cam in the ferste apprise

Of bokes and of alle goode

2370Thurgh hem that whilom understode

The lore which to hem was yive,

Wherof these othre, that now live,

Ben every day to lerne newe.

Bot er the time that men siewe,

And that the labour forth it broghte,

Ther was no corn, thogh men it soghte,

In non of al the fieldes oute;

And er the wisdom cam aboute

Of hem that ferst the bokes write,

2380This mai wel every wys man wite,

Ther was gret labour ek also.

Thus was non ydel of the tuo,

That on the plogh hath undertake

With labour which the hond hath take,

That other tok to studie and muse,

As he which wolde noght refuse

The labour of hise wittes alle.

And in this wise it is befalle,

Of labour which that thei begunne

2390We be now tawht of that we kunne:

Here besinesse is yit so seene,

That it stant evere alyche greene;

Al be it so the bodi deie,

The name of hem schal nevere aweie.

In the Croniqes as I finde,

Cham, whos labour is yit in minde,

Was he which ferst the lettres fond

And wrot in Hebreu with his hond:

Of naturel Philosophie

2400He fond ferst also the clergie.

Cadmus the lettres of Gregois

Ferst made upon his oghne chois.

Theges of thing which schal befalle,

He was the ferste Augurre of alle:

And Philemon be the visage

Fond to descrive the corage.

Cladyns, Esdras and Sulpices,

Termegis, Pandulf, Frigidilles,

Menander, Ephiloquorus,

2410Solins, Pandas and Josephus

The ferste were of Enditours,

Of old Cronique and ek auctours:

And Heredot in his science

Of metre, of rime and of cadence

The ferste was of which men note.

And of Musique also the note

In mannes vois or softe or scharpe,

That fond Jubal; and of the harpe

The merie soun, which is to like,

2420That fond Poulins forth with phisique.

Zenzis fond ferst the pourtreture,

And Promothes the Sculpture;

After what forme that hem thoghte,

The resemblance anon thei wroghte.

Tubal in Iren and in Stel

Fond ferst the forge and wroghte it wel:

And Jadahel, as seith the bok,

Ferst made Net and fisshes tok:

Of huntynge ek he fond the chace,

2430Which now is knowe in many place:

A tente of cloth with corde and stake

He sette up ferst and dede it make.

Verconius of cokerie

Ferst made the delicacie.

The craft Minerve of wolle fond

And made cloth hire oghne hond;

And Delbora made it of lyn:

Tho wommen were of great engyn.

Bot thing which yifth ous mete and drinke

2440And doth the labourer to swinke

To tile lond and sette vines,

Wherof the cornes and the wynes

Ben sustenance to mankinde,

In olde bokes as I finde,

Saturnus of his oghne wit

Hath founde ferst, and more yit

Of Chapmanhode he fond the weie,

And ek to coigne the moneie

Of sondri metall, as it is,

2450He was the ferste man of this.

Bot hou that metall cam a place

Thurgh mannes wit and goddes grace

The route of Philosophres wise

Controeveden be sondri wise,

Ferst forto gete it out of Myne,

And after forto trie and fyne.

And also with gret diligence

Thei founden thilke experience,

Which cleped is Alconomie,

2460Wherof the Selver multeplie

Thei made and ek the gold also.

And forto telle hou it is so,

Of bodies sevene in special

With foure spiritz joynt withal

Stant the substance of this matiere.

The bodies whiche I speke of hiere

Of the Planetes ben begonne:

The gold is titled to the Sonne,

The mone of Selver hath his part,

2470And Iren that stant upon Mart,

The Led after Satorne groweth,

And Jupiter the Bras bestoweth,

The Coper set is to Venus,

And to his part Mercurius

Hath the quikselver, as it falleth,

The which, after the bok it calleth,

Is ferst of thilke fowre named

Of Spiritz, whiche ben proclamed;

And the spirit which is secounde

2480In Sal Armoniak is founde:

The thridde spirit Sulphur is;

The ferthe suiende after this

Arcennicum be name is hote.

With blowinge and with fyres hote

In these thinges, whiche I seie,

Thei worchen be diverse weie.

For as the philosophre tolde

Of gold and selver, thei ben holde

Tuo principal extremites,

2490To whiche alle othre be degres

Of the metalls ben acordant,

And so thurgh kinde resemblant,

That what man couthe aweie take

The rust, of which thei waxen blake,

And the savour and the hardnesse,

Thei scholden take the liknesse

Of gold or Selver parfitly.

Bot forto worche it sikirly,

Betwen the corps and the spirit,

2500Er that the metall be parfit,

In sevene formes it is set;

Of alle and if that on be let,

The remenant mai noght availe,

Bot otherwise it mai noght faile.

For thei be whom this art was founde

To every point a certain bounde

Ordeignen, that a man mai finde

This craft is wroght be weie of kinde,

So that ther is no fallas inne.

2510Bot what man that this werk beginne,

He mot awaite at every tyde,

So that nothing be left aside,

Ferst of the distillacion,

Forth with the congelacion,

Solucion, descencion,

And kepe in his entencion

The point of sublimacion,

And forth with calcinacion

Of veray approbacion

2520Do that ther be fixacion

With tempred hetes of the fyr,

Til he the parfit Elixir

Of thilke philosophres Ston

Mai gete, of which that many on

Of Philosophres whilom write.

And if thou wolt the names wite

Of thilke Ston with othre tuo,

Whiche as the clerkes maden tho,

So as the bokes it recorden,

2530The kinde of hem I schal recorden.

These olde Philosophres wyse

Be weie of kinde in sondri wise

Thre Stones maden thurgh clergie.

The ferste, if I schal specefie,

Was lapis vegetabilis,

Of which the propre vertu is

To mannes hele forto serve,

As forto kepe and to preserve

The bodi fro siknesses alle,

2540Til deth of kinde upon him falle.

The Ston seconde I thee behote

Is lapis animalis hote,

The whos vertu is propre and cowth

For Ere and yhe and nase and mouth,

Wherof a man mai hiere and se

And smelle and taste in his degre,

And forto fiele and forto go

It helpeth man of bothe tuo:

The wittes fyve he underfongeth

2550To kepe, as it to him belongeth.

The thridde Ston in special

Be name is cleped Minerall,

Which the metalls of every Mine

Attempreth, til that thei ben fyne,

And pureth hem be such a weie,

That al the vice goth aweie

Of rust, of stink and of hardnesse:

And whan thei ben of such clennesse,

This Mineral, so as I finde,

2560Transformeth al the ferste kynde

And makth hem able to conceive

Thurgh his vertu, and to receive

Bothe in substance and in figure

Of gold and selver the nature.

For thei tuo ben thextremetes,

To whiche after the propretes

Hath every metal his desir,

With help and confort of the fyr

Forth with this Ston, as it is seid,

2570Which to the Sonne and Mone is leid;

For to the rede and to the whyte

This Ston hath pouer to profite.

It makth mulptiplicacioun

Of gold, and the fixacioun

It causeth, and of his habit

He doth the werk to be parfit

Of thilke Elixer which men calle

Alconomie, as is befalle

To hem that whilom weren wise.

2580Bot now it stant al otherwise;

Thei speken faste of thilke Ston,

Bot hou to make it, nou wot non

After the sothe experience.

And natheles gret diligence

Thei setten upon thilke dede,

And spille more than thei spede;

For allewey thei finde a lette,

Which bringeth in poverte and dette

To hem that riche were afore:

2590The lost is had, the lucre is lore,

To gete a pound thei spenden fyve;

I not hou such a craft schal thryve

In the manere as it is used:

It were betre be refused

Than forto worchen upon weene

In thing which stant noght as thei weene.

Bot noght forthi, who that it knewe,

The science of himself is trewe

Upon the forme as it was founded,

2600Wherof the names yit ben grounded

Of hem that ferste it founden oute;

And thus the fame goth aboute

To suche as soghten besinesse

Of vertu and of worthinesse.

Of whom if I the names calle,

Hermes was on the ferste of alle,

To whom this art is most applied;

Geber therof was magnefied,

And Ortolan and Morien,

2610Among the whiche is Avicen,

Which fond and wrot a gret partie

The practique of Alconomie;

Whos bokes, pleinli as thei stonde

Upon this craft, fewe understonde;

Bot yit to put hem in assai

Ther ben full manye now aday,

That knowen litel what thei meene.

It is noght on to wite and weene;

In forme of wordes thei it trete,

2620Bot yit they failen of beyete,

For of tomoche or of tolyte

Ther is algate founde a wyte,

So that thei folwe noght the lyne

Of the parfite medicine,

Which grounded is upon nature.

Bot thei that writen the scripture

Of Grek, Arabe and of Caldee,

Thei were of such Auctorite

That thei ferst founden out the weie

2630Of al that thou hast herd me seie;

Wherof the Cronique of her lore

Schal stonde in pris for everemore.

Bot toward oure Marches hiere,

Of the Latins if thou wolt hiere,

Of hem that whilom vertuous

Were and therto laborious,

Carmente made of hire engin

The ferste lettres of Latin,

Of which the tunge Romein cam,

2640Wherof that Aristarchus nam

Forth with Donat and Dindimus

The ferste reule of Scole, as thus,

How that Latin schal be componed

And in what wise it schal be soned,

That every word in his degre

Schal stonde upon congruite.

And thilke time at Rome also

Was Tullius with Cithero,

That writen upon Rethorike,

2650Hou that men schal the wordes pike

After the forme of eloquence,

Which is, men sein, a gret prudence:

And after that out of Hebreu

Jerom, which the langage kneu,

The Bible, in which the lawe is closed,

Into Latin he hath transposed;

And many an other writere ek

Out of Caldee, Arabe and Grek

With gret labour the bokes wise

2660Translateden. And otherwise

The Latins of hemself also

Here studie at thilke time so

With gret travaile of Scole toke

In sondri forme forto boke,

That we mai take here evidences

Upon the lore of the Sciences,

Of craftes bothe and of clergie;

Among the whiche in Poesie

To the lovers Ovide wrot

2670And tawhte, if love be to hot,

In what manere it scholde akiele.

Forthi, mi Sone, if that thou fiele

That love wringe thee to sore,

Behold Ovide and take his lore.

My fader, if thei mihte spede

Mi love, I wolde his bokes rede;

And if thei techen to restreigne

Mi love, it were an ydel peine

To lerne a thing which mai noght be.

2680For lich unto the greene tree,

If that men toke his rote aweie,

Riht so myn herte scholde deie,

If that mi love be withdrawe.

Wherof touchende unto this sawe

There is bot only to poursuie

Mi love, and ydelschipe eschuie.

Mi goode Sone, soth to seie,

If ther be siker eny weie

To love, thou hast seid the beste:

2690For who that wolde have al his reste

And do no travail at the nede,

It is no resoun that he spede

In loves cause forto winne;

For he which dar nothing beginne,

I not what thing he scholde achieve.

Bot overthis thou schalt believe,

So as it sit thee wel to knowe,

That ther ben othre vices slowe,

Whiche unto love don gret lette,

2700If thou thin herte upon hem sette.

Toward the Slowe progenie

Ther is yit on of compaignie,

And he is cleped Sompnolence,

Which doth to Slouthe his reverence,

As he which is his Chamberlein,

That many an hundrid time hath lein

To slepe, whan he scholde wake.

He hath with love trewes take,

That wake who so wake wile,

2710If he mai couche a doun his bile,

He hath al wowed what him list;

That ofte he goth to bedde unkist,

And seith that for no Druerie

He wol noght leve his sluggardie.

For thogh noman it wole allowe,

To slepe levere than to wowe

Is his manere, and thus on nyhtes,

Whan that he seth the lusti knyhtes

Revelen, wher these wommen are,

2720Awey he skulketh as an hare,

And goth to bedde and leith him softe,

And of his Slouthe he dremeth ofte

Hou that he stiketh in the Myr,

And hou he sitteth be the fyr

And claweth on his bare schanckes,

And hou he clymbeth up the banckes

And falleth into Slades depe.

Bot thanne who so toke kepe,

Whanne he is falle in such a drem,

2730Riht as a Schip ayein the Strem,

He routeth with a slepi noise,

And brustleth as a monkes froise,

Whanne it is throwe into the Panne.

And otherwhile sielde whanne

That he mai dreme a lusti swevene,

Him thenkth as thogh he were in hevene

And as the world were holi his:

And thanne he spekth of that and this,

And makth his exposicion

2740After the disposicion

Of that he wolde, and in such wise

He doth to love all his service;

I not what thonk he schal deserve.

Bot, Sone, if thou wolt love serve,

I rede that thou do noght so.

Ha, goode fader, certes no.

I hadde levere be mi trowthe,

Er I were set on such a slouthe

And beere such a slepi snoute,

2750Bothe yhen of myn hed were oute.

For me were betre fulli die,

Thanne I of such a slugardie

Hadde eny name, god me schilde;

For whan mi moder was with childe,

And I lay in hire wombe clos,

I wolde rathere Atropos,

Which is goddesse of alle deth,

Anon as I hadde eny breth,

Me hadde fro mi Moder cast.

2760Bot now I am nothing agast,

I thonke godd; for Lachesis,

Ne Cloto, which hire felawe is,

Me schopen no such destine,

Whan thei at mi nativite

My weerdes setten as thei wolde;

Bot thei me schopen that I scholde

Eschuie of slep the truandise,

So that I hope in such a wise

To love forto ben excused,

2770That I no Sompnolence have used.

For certes, fader Genius,

Yit into nou it hath be thus,

At alle time if it befelle

So that I mihte come and duelle

In place ther my ladi were,

I was noght slow ne slepi there:

For thanne I dar wel undertake,

That whanne hir list on nyhtes wake

In chambre as to carole and daunce,

2780Me thenkth I mai me more avaunce,

If I mai gon upon hir hond,

Thanne if I wonne a kinges lond.

For whanne I mai hire hand beclippe,

With such gladnesse I daunce and skippe,

Me thenkth I touche noght the flor;

The Ro, which renneth on the Mor,

Is thanne noght so lyht as I:

So mow ye witen wel forthi,

That for the time slep I hate.

2790And whanne it falleth othergate,

So that hire like noght to daunce,

Bot on the Dees to caste chaunce

Or axe of love som demande,

Or elles that hir list comaunde

To rede and here of Troilus,

Riht as sche wole or so or thus,

I am al redi to consente.

And if so is that I mai hente

Somtime among a good leisir,

2800So as I dar of mi desir

I telle a part; bot whanne I preie,

Anon sche bidt me go mi weie

And seith it is ferr in the nyht;

And I swere it is even liht.

Bot as it falleth ate laste,

Ther mai no worldes joie laste,

So mot I nedes fro hire wende

And of my wachche make an ende:

And if sche thanne hiede toke,

2810Hou pitousliche on hire I loke,

Whan that I schal my leve take,

Hire oghte of mercy forto slake

Hire daunger, which seith evere nay.

Bot he seith often, “Have good day,”

That loth is forto take his leve:

Therfore, while I mai beleve,

I tarie forth the nyht along,

For it is noght on me along

To slep that I so sone go,

2820Til that I mot algate so;

And thanne I bidde godd hire se,

And so doun knelende on mi kne

I take leve, and if I schal,

I kisse hire, and go forth withal.

And otherwhile, if that I dore,

Er I come fulli to the Dore,

I torne ayein and feigne a thing,

As thogh I hadde lost a Ring

Or somwhat elles, for I wolde

2830Kisse hire eftsones, if I scholde,

Bot selden is that I so spede.

And whanne I se that I mot nede

Departen, I departe, and thanne

With al myn herte I curse and banne

That evere slep was mad for yhe;

For, as me thenkth, I mihte dryhe

Withoute slep to waken evere,

So that I scholde noght dissevere

Fro hire, in whom is al my liht:

2840And thanne I curse also the nyht

With al the will of mi corage,

And seie, “Awey, thou blake ymage,

Which of thi derke cloudy face

Makst al the worldes lyht deface,

And causest unto slep a weie,

Be which I mot nou gon aweie

Out of mi ladi compaignie.

O slepi nyht, I thee defie,

And wolde that thou leye in presse

2850With Proserpine the goddesse

And with Pluto the helle king:

For til I se the daies spring,

I sette slep noght at a risshe.”

And with that word I sike and wisshe,

And seie, “Ha, whi ne were it day?

For yit mi ladi thanne I may

Beholde, thogh I do nomore.”

And efte I thenke forthermore,

To som man hou the niht doth ese,

2860Whan he hath thing that mai him plese

The longe nyhtes be his side,

Where as I faile and go beside.

Bot slep, I not wherof it serveth,

Of which noman his thonk deserveth

To gete him love in eny place,

Bot is an hindrere of his grace

And makth him ded as for a throwe,

Riht as a Stok were overthrowe.

And so, mi fader, in this wise

2870The slepi nyhtes I despise,

And evere amiddes of mi tale

I thenke upon the nyhtingale,

Which slepeth noght be weie of kinde

For love, in bokes as I finde.

Thus ate laste I go to bedde,

And yit min herte lith to wedde

With hire, wher as I cam fro;

Thogh I departe, he wol noght so,

Ther is no lock mai schette him oute,

2880Him nedeth noght to gon aboute,

That perce mai the harde wall;

Thus is he with hire overall,

That be hire lief, or be hire loth,

Into hire bedd myn herte goth,

And softly takth hire in his arm

And fieleth hou that sche is warm,

And wissheth that his body were

To fiele that he fieleth there.

And thus miselven I tormente,

2890Til that the dede slep me hente:

Bot thanne be a thousand score

Welmore than I was tofore

I am tormented in mi slep,

Bot that I dreme is noght of schep;

For I ne thenke noght on wulle,

Bot I am drecched to the fulle

Of love, that I have to kepe,

That nou I lawhe and nou I wepe,

And nou I lese and nou I winne,

2900And nou I ende and nou beginne.

And otherwhile I dreme and mete

That I al one with hire mete

And that Danger is left behinde;

And thanne in slep such joie I finde,

That I ne bede nevere awake.

Bot after, whanne I hiede take,

And schal arise upon the morwe,

Thanne is al torned into sorwe,

Noght for the cause I schal arise,

2910Bot for I mette in such a wise,

And ate laste I am bethoght

That al is vein and helpeth noght:

Bot yit me thenketh be my wille

I wolde have leie and slepe stille,

To meten evere of such a swevene,

For thanne I hadde a slepi hevene.

Mi Sone, and for thou tellest so,

A man mai finde of time ago

That many a swevene hath be certein,

2920Al be it so, that som men sein

That swevenes ben of no credence.

Bot forto schewe in evidence

That thei fulofte sothe thinges

Betokne, I thenke in my wrytinges

To telle a tale therupon,

Which fell be olde daies gon.

This finde I write in Poesie:

Cei5x the king of Trocinie

Hadde Alceone to his wif,

2930Which as hire oghne hertes lif

Him loveth; and he hadde also

A brother, which was cleped tho

Dedalion, and he per cas

Fro kinde of man forschape was

Into a Goshauk of liknesse;

Wherof the king gret hevynesse

Hath take, and thoghte in his corage

To gon upon a pelrinage

Into a strange regioun,

2940Wher he hath his devocioun

To don his sacrifice and preie,

If that he mihte in eny weie

Toward the goddes finde grace

His brother hele to pourchace,

So that he mihte be reformed

Of that he hadde be transformed.

To this pourpos and to this ende

This king is redy forto wende,

As he which wolde go be Schipe;

2950And forto don him felaschipe

His wif unto the See him broghte,

With al hire herte and him besoghte,

That he the time hire wolde sein,

Whan that he thoghte come ayein:

“Withinne,” he seith, “tuo Monthe day.”

And thus in al the haste he may

He tok his leve, and forth he seileth

Wepende, and sche hirself beweileth,

And torneth hom, ther sche cam fro.

2960Bot whan the Monthes were ago,

The whiche he sette of his comynge,

And that sche herde no tydinge,

Ther was no care forto seche:

Wherof the goddes to beseche

Tho sche began in many wise,

And to Juno hire sacrifise

Above alle othre most sche dede,

And for hir lord sche hath so bede

To wite and knowe hou that he ferde,

2970That Juno the goddesse hire herde,

Anon and upon this matiere

Sche bad Yris hir Messagere

To Slepes hous that sche schal wende,

And bidde him that he make an ende

Be swevene and schewen al the cas

Unto this ladi, hou it was.

This Yris, fro the hihe stage

Which undertake hath the Message,

Hire reyny Cope dede upon,

2980The which was wonderli begon

With colours of diverse hewe,

An hundred mo than men it knewe;

The hevene lich into a bowe

Sche bende, and so she cam doun lowe,

The god of Slep wher that sche fond.

And that was in a strange lond,

Which marcheth upon Chymerie:

For ther, as seith the Poesie,

The god of Slep hath mad his hous,

2990Which of entaille is merveilous.

Under an hell ther is a Cave,

Which of the Sonne mai noght have,

So that noman mai knowe ariht

The point betwen the dai and nyht:

Ther is no fyr, ther is no sparke,

Ther is no dore, which mai charke,

Wherof an yhe scholde unschette,

So that inward ther is no lette.

And forto speke of that withoute,

3000Ther stant no gret Tree nyh aboute

Wher on ther myhte crowe or pie

Alihte, forto clepe or crie:

Ther is no cok to crowe day,

Ne beste non which noise may

The hell, bot al aboute round

Ther is growende upon the ground

Popi, which berth the sed of slep,

With othre herbes suche an hep.

A stille water for the nones

3010Rennende upon the smale stones,

Which hihte of Lethes the rivere,

Under that hell in such manere

Ther is, which yifth gret appetit

To slepe. And thus full of delit

Slep hath his hous; and of his couche

Withinne his chambre if I schal touche,

Of hebenus that slepi Tree

The bordes al aboute be,

And for he scholde slepe softe,

3020Upon a fethrebed alofte

He lith with many a pilwe of doun:

The chambre is strowed up and doun

With swevenes many thousendfold.

Thus cam Yris into this hold,

And to the bedd, which is al blak,

Sche goth, and ther with Slep sche spak,

And in the wise as sche was bede

The Message of Juno sche dede.

Fulofte hir wordes sche reherceth,

3030Er sche his slepi Eres perceth;

With mochel wo bot ate laste

His slombrende yhen he upcaste

And seide hir that it schal be do.

Wherof among a thousend tho,

Withinne his hous that slepi were,

In special he ches out there

Thre, whiche scholden do this dede:

The ferste of hem, so as I rede,

Was Morphes, the whos nature

3040Is forto take the figure

Of what persone that him liketh,

Wherof that he fulofte entriketh

The lif which slepe schal be nyhte;

And Ithecus that other hihte,

Which hath the vois of every soun,

The chiere and the condicioun

Of every lif, what so it is:

The thridde suiende after this

Is Panthasas, which may transforme

3050Of every thing the rihte forme,

And change it in an other kinde.

Upon hem thre, so as I finde,

Of swevenes stant al thapparence,

Which otherwhile is evidence

And otherwhile bot a jape.

Bot natheles it is so schape,

That Morphes be nyht al one

Appiereth until Alceone

In liknesse of hir housebonde

3060Al naked ded upon the stronde,

And hou he dreynte in special

These othre tuo it schewen al.

The tempeste of the blake cloude,

The wode See, the wyndes loude,

Al this sche mette, and sih him dyen;

Wherof that sche began to crien,

Slepende abedde ther sche lay,

And with that noise of hire affray

Hir wommen sterten up aboute,

3070Whiche of here ladi were in doute,

And axen hire hou that sche ferde;

And sche, riht as sche syh and herde,

Hir swevene hath told hem everydel.

And thei it halsen alle wel

And sein it is a tokne of goode;

Bot til sche wiste hou that it stode,

Sche hath no confort in hire herte,

Upon the morwe and up sche sterte,

And to the See, wher that sche mette

3080The bodi lay, withoute lette

Sche drowh, and whan that sche cam nyh,

Stark ded, hise harmes sprad, sche syh

Hire lord flietende upon the wawe.

Wherof hire wittes ben withdrawe,

And sche, which tok of deth no kepe,

Anon forth lepte into the depe

And wolde have cawht him in hire arm.

This infortune of double harm

The goddes fro the hevene above

3090Behielde, and for the trowthe of love,

Which in this worthi ladi stod,

Thei have upon the salte flod

Hire dreinte lord and hire also

Fro deth to lyve torned so,

That thei ben schapen into briddes

Swimmende upon the wawe amiddes.

And whan sche sih hire lord livende

In liknesse of a bridd swimmende,

And sche was of the same sort,

3100So as sche mihte do desport,

Upon the joie which sche hadde

Hire wynges bothe abrod sche spradde,

And him, so as sche mai suffise,

Beclipte and keste in such a wise,

As sche was whilom wont to do:

Hire wynges for hire armes tuo

Sche tok, and for hire lippes softe

Hire harde bile, and so fulofte

Sche fondeth in hire briddes forme,

3110If that sche mihte hirself conforme

To do the plesance of a wif,

As sche dede in that other lif:

For thogh sche hadde hir pouer lore,

Hir will stod as it was tofore,

And serveth him so as sche mai.

Wherof into this ilke day

Togedre upon the See thei wone,

Wher many a dowhter and a Sone

Thei bringen forth of briddes kinde;

3120And for men scholden take in mynde

This Alceoun the trewe queene,

Hire briddes yit, as it is seene,

Of Alceoun the name bere.

Lo thus, mi Sone, it mai thee stere

Of swevenes forto take kepe,

For ofte time a man aslepe

Mai se what after schal betide.

Forthi it helpeth at som tyde

A man to slepe, as it belongeth,

3130Bot slowthe no lif underfongeth

Which is to love appourtenant.

Mi fader, upon covenant

I dar wel make this avou,

Of all mi lif that into nou,

Als fer as I can understonde,

Yit tok I nevere Slep on honde,

Whan it was time forto wake;

For thogh myn yhe it wolde take,

Min herte is evere therayein.

3140Bot natheles to speke it plein,

Al this that I have seid you hiere

Of my wakinge, as ye mai hiere,

It toucheth to mi lady swete;

For otherwise, I you behiete,

In strange place whanne I go,

Me list nothing to wake so.

For whan the wommen listen pleie,

And I hir se noght in the weie,

Of whom I scholde merthe take,

3150Me list noght longe forto wake,

Bot if it be for pure schame,

Of that I wolde eschuie a name,

That thei ne scholde have cause non

To seie, “Ha, lo, wher goth such on,

That hath forlore his contenaunce]”

And thus among I singe and daunce,

And feigne lust ther as non is.

For ofte sithe I fiele this;

Of thoght, which in mi herte falleth

3160Whanne it is nyht, myn hed appalleth,

And that is for I se hire noght,

Which is the wakere of mi thoght:

And thus as tymliche as I may,

Fulofte whanne it is brod day,

I take of all these othre leve

And go my weie, and thei beleve,

That sen per cas here loves there;

And I go forth as noght ne were

Unto mi bedd, so that al one

3170I mai ther ligge and sighe and grone

And wisshen al the longe nyht,

Til that I se the daies lyht.

I not if that be Sompnolence,

Bot upon youre conscience,

Min holi fader, demeth ye.

My Sone, I am wel paid with thee,

Of Slep that thou the Sluggardie

Be nyhte in loves compaignie

Eschuied hast, and do thi peine

3180So that thi love thar noght pleine:

For love upon his lust wakende

Is evere, and wolde that non ende

Were of the longe nyhtes set.

Wherof that thou be war the bet,

To telle a tale I am bethoght,

Hou love and Slep acorden noght.

For love who that list to wake

Be nyhte, he mai ensample take

Of Cephalus, whan that he lay

3190With Aurora that swete may

In armes all the longe nyht.

Bot whanne it drogh toward the liht,

That he withinne his herte sih

The dai which was amorwe nyh,

Anon unto the Sonne he preide

For lust of love, and thus he seide:

“O Phebus, which the daies liht

Governest, til that it be nyht,

And gladest every creature

3200After the lawe of thi nature —

Bot natheles ther is a thing,

Which onli to the knouleching

Belongeth as in privete

To love and to his duete,

Which asketh noght to ben apert,

Bot in cilence and in covert

Desireth forto be beschaded:

And thus whan that thi liht is faded

And Vesper scheweth him alofte,

3210And that the nyht is long and softe,

Under the cloudes derke and stille

Thanne hath this thing most of his wille.

Forthi unto thi myhtes hyhe,

As thou which art the daies yhe,

Of love and myht no conseil hyde,

Upon this derke nyhtes tyde

With al myn herte I thee beseche

That I plesance myhte seche

With hire which lith in min armes.

3220Withdrawgh the Banere of thin Armes,

And let thi lyhtes ben unborn,

And in the Signe of Capricorn,

The hous appropred to Satorne,

I preie that thou wolt sojorne,

Wher ben the nihtes derke and longe:

For I mi love have underfonge,

Which lith hier be mi syde naked,

As sche which wolde ben awaked,

And me lest nothing forto slepe.

3230So were it good to take kepe

Nou at this nede of mi preiere,

And that the like forto stiere

Thi fyri Carte, and so ordeigne,

That thou thi swifte hors restreigne

Lowe under Erthe in Occident,

That thei towardes Orient

Be Cercle go the longe weie.

And ek to thee, Diane, I preie,

Which cleped art of thi noblesse

3240The nyhtes Mone and the goddesse,

That thou to me be gracious:

And in Cancro thin oghne hous

Ayein Phebus in opposit

Stond al this time, and of delit

Behold Venus with a glad yhe.

For thanne upon Astronomie

Of due constellacion

Thou makst prolificacion,

And dost that children ben begete:

3250Which grace if that I mihte gete,

With al myn herte I wolde serve

Be nyhte, and thi vigile observe.”

Lo, thus this lusti Cephalus

Preide unto Phebe and to Phebus

The nyht in lengthe forto drawe,

So that he mihte do the lawe

In thilke point of loves heste,

Which cleped is the nyhtes feste,

Withoute Slep of sluggardie;

3260Which Venus out of compaignie

Hath put awey, as thilke same,

Which lustles ferr from alle game

In chambre doth fulofte wo

Abedde, whanne it falleth so

That love scholde ben awaited.

But Slowthe, which is evele affaited,

With Slep hath mad his retenue,

That what thing is to love due,

Of all his dette he paieth non:

3270He wot noght how the nyht is gon

Ne hou the day is come aboute,

Bot onli forto slepe and route

Til hyh midday, that he arise.

Bot Cephalus dede otherwise,

As thou, my Sone, hast herd above.

Mi fader, who that hath his love

Abedde naked be his syde,

And wolde thanne hise yhen hyde

With Slep, I not what man is he:

3280Bot certes as touchende of me,

That fell me nevere yit er this.

Bot otherwhile, whan so is

That I mai cacche Slep on honde

Liggende al one, thanne I fonde

To dreme a merie swevene er day;

And if so falle that I may

Mi thought with such a swevene plese,

Me thenkth I am somdiel in ese,

For I non other confort have.

3290So nedeth noght that I schal crave

The Sonnes Carte forto tarie,

Ne yit the Mone, that sche carie

Hire cours along upon the hevene,

For I am noght the more in evene

Towardes love in no degree:

Bot in mi slep yit thanne I se

Somwhat in swevene of that me liketh,

Which afterward min herte entriketh,

Whan that I finde it otherwise.

3300So wot I noght of what servise

That Slep to mannes ese doth.

Mi Sone, certes thou seist soth,

Bot only that it helpeth kinde

Somtyme, in Phisique as I finde,

Whan it is take be mesure:

Bot he which can no Slep mesure

Upon the reule as it belongeth,

Fulofte of sodein chance he fongeth

Such infortune that him grieveth.

3310Bot who these olde bokes lieveth,

Of Sompnolence hou it is write,

Ther may a man the sothe wite,

If that he wolde ensample take,

That otherwhile is good to wake:

Wherof a tale in Poesie

I thenke forto specefie.

Ovide telleth in his sawes,

How Jupiter be olde dawes

Lay be a Mayde, which Yo

3320Was cleped, wherof that Juno

His wif was wroth, and the goddesse

Of Yo torneth the liknesse

Into a cow, to gon theroute

The large fieldes al aboute

And gete hire mete upon the griene.

And therupon this hyhe queene

Betok hire Argus forto kepe,

For he was selden wont to slepe,

And yit he hadde an hundred yhen,

3330And alle alyche wel thei syhen.

Now herkne hou that he was beguiled.

Mercurie, which was al affiled

This Cow to stele, he cam desguised,

And hadde a Pipe wel devised

Upon the notes of Musiqe,

Wherof he mihte hise Eres like.

And over that he hadde affaited

Hise lusti tales, and awaited

His time; and thus into the field

3340He cam, where Argus he behield

With Yo, which beside him wente.

With that his Pype on honde he hente,

And gan to pipe in his manere

Thing which was slepi forto hiere;

And in his pipinge evere among

He tolde him such a lusti song,

That he the fol hath broght aslepe.

Ther was non yhe mihte kepe

His hed, the which Mercurie of smot,

3350And forth withal anon fot hot

He stal the Cow which Argus kepte,

And al this fell for that he slepte.

Ensample it was to manye mo,

That mochel Slep doth ofte wo,

Whan it is time forto wake:

For if a man this vice take,

In Sompnolence and him delite,

Men scholde upon his Dore wryte

His epitaphe, as on his grave;

3360For he to spille and noght to save

Is schape, as thogh he were ded.

Forthi, mi Sone, hold up thin hed,

And let no Slep thin yhe englue,

Bot whanne it is to resoun due.

Mi fader, as touchende of this,

Riht so as I you tolde it is,

That ofte abedde, whanne I scholde,

I mai noght slepe, thogh I wolde;

For love is evere faste byme,

3370Which takth no hiede of due time.

For whanne I schal myn yhen close,

Anon min herte he wole oppose

And holde his Scole in such a wise,

Til it be day that I arise,

That selde it is whan that I slepe.

And thus fro Sompnolence I kepe

Min yhe: and forthi if ther be

Oght elles more in this degre,

Now axeth forth. Mi Sone, yis:

3380For Slowthe, which as Moder is

The forthdrawere and the Norrice

To man of many a dredful vice,

Hath yit an other laste of alle,

Which many a man hath mad to falle,

Wher that he mihte nevere arise;

Wherof for thou thee schalt avise,

Er thou so with thiself misfare,

What vice it is I wol declare.

Whan Slowthe hath don al that he may

3390To dryve forth the longe day,

Til it be come to the nede,

Thanne ate laste upon the dede

He loketh hou his time is lore,

And is so wo begon therfore,

That he withinne his thoght conceiveth

Tristesce, and so himself deceiveth,

That he wanhope bringeth inne,

Wher is no confort to beginne,

Bot every joie him is deslaied:

3400So that withinne his herte affraied

A thousend time with o breth

Wepende he wissheth after deth,

Whan he fortune fint adverse.

For thanne he wole his hap reherce,

As thogh his world were al forlore,

And seith, “Helas, that I was bore]

Hou schal I live? hou schal I do?

For nou fortune is thus mi fo,

I wot wel god me wol noght helpe.

3410What scholde I thanne of joies yelpe,

Whan ther no bote is of mi care?

So overcast is my welfare,

That I am schapen al to strif.

Helas, that I nere of this lif,

Er I be fulliche overtake]”

And thus he wol his sorwe make,

As god him mihte noght availe:

Bot yit ne wol he noght travaile

To helpe himself at such a nede,

3420Bot slowtheth under such a drede,

Which is affermed in his herte,

Riht as he mihte noght asterte

The worldes wo which he is inne.

Also whan he is falle in Sinne,

Him thenkth he is so ferr coupable,

That god wol noght be merciable

So gret a Sinne to foryive;

And thus he leeveth to be schrive.

And if a man in thilke throwe

3430Wolde him consaile, he wol noght knowe

The sothe, thogh a man it finde:

For Tristesce is of such a kinde,

That forto meintiene his folie,

He hath with him Obstinacie,

Which is withinne of such a Slouthe,

That he forsaketh alle trouthe,

And wole unto no reson bowe;

And yit ne can he noght avowe

His oghne skile bot of hed:

3440Thus dwyneth he, til he be ded,

In hindringe of his oghne astat.

For where a man is obstinat,

Wanhope folweth ate laste,

Which mai noght after longe laste,

Till Slouthe make of him an ende.

Bot god wot whider he schal wende.

Mi Sone, and riht in such manere

Ther be lovers of hevy chiere,

That sorwen mor than it is ned,

3450Whan thei be taried of here sped

And conne noght hemselven rede,

Bot lesen hope forto spede

And stinten love to poursewe;

And thus thei faden hyde and hewe,

And lustles in here hertes waxe.

Hierof it is that I wolde axe,

If thou, mi Sone, art on of tho.

Ha, goode fader, it is so,

Outake a point, I am beknowe;

3460For elles I am overthrowe

In al that evere ye have seid.

Mi sorwe is everemore unteid,

And secheth overal my veines;

Bot forto conseile of mi peines,

I can no bote do therto;

And thus withouten hope I go,

So that mi wittes ben empeired,

And I, as who seith, am despeired

To winne love of thilke swete,

3470Withoute whom, I you behiete,

Min herte, that is so bestad,

Riht inly nevere mai be glad.

For be my trouthe I schal noght lie,

Of pure sorwe, which I drye

For that sche seith sche wol me noght,

With drecchinge of myn oghne thoght

In such a wanhope I am falle,

That I ne can unethes calle,

As forto speke of eny grace,

3480Mi ladi merci to pourchace.

Bot yit I seie noght for this

That al in mi defalte it is;

For I cam nevere yit in stede,

Whan time was, that I my bede

Ne seide, and as I dorste tolde:

Bot nevere fond I that sche wolde,

For oght sche knew of min entente,

To speke a goodly word assente.

And natheles this dar I seie,

3490That if a sinful wolde preie

To god of his foryivenesse

With half so gret a besinesse

As I have do to my ladi,

In lacke of askinge of merci

He scholde nevere come in Helle.

And thus I mai you sothli telle,

Save only that I crie and bidde,

I am in Tristesce al amidde

And fulfild of Desesperance:

3500And therof yif me mi penance,

Min holi fader, as you liketh.

Mi Sone, of that thin herte siketh

With sorwe, miht thou noght amende,

Til love his grace wol thee sende,

For thou thin oghne cause empeirest

What time as thou thiself despeirest.

I not what other thing availeth,

Of hope whan the herte faileth,

For such a Sor is incurable,

3510And ek the goddes ben vengable:

And that a man mai riht wel frede,

These olde bokes who so rede,

Of thing which hath befalle er this:

Now hier of what ensample it is.

Whilom be olde daies fer

Of Mese was the king Theucer,

Which hadde a kniht to Sone, Iphis:

Of love and he so maistred is,

That he hath set al his corage,

3520As to reguard of his lignage,

Upon a Maide of lou astat.

Bot thogh he were a potestat

Of worldes good, he was soubgit

To love, and put in such a plit,

That he excedeth the mesure

Of reson, that himself assure

He can noght; for the more he preide,

The lass love on him sche leide.

He was with love unwys constreigned,

3530And sche with resoun was restreigned:

The lustes of his herte he suieth,

And sche for dred schame eschuieth,

And as sche scholde, tok good hiede

To save and kepe hir wommanhiede.

And thus the thing stod in debat

Betwen his lust and hire astat:

He yaf, he sende, he spak be mouthe,

Bot yit for oght that evere he couthe

Unto his sped he fond no weie,

3540So that he caste his hope aweie,

Withinne his herte and gan despeire

Fro dai to dai, and so empeire,

That he hath lost al his delit

Of lust, of Slep, of Appetit,

That he thurgh strengthe of love lasseth

His wit, and resoun overpasseth.

As he which of his lif ne rowhte,

His deth upon himself he sowhte,

So that be nyhte his weie he nam,

3550Ther wiste non wher he becam;

The nyht was derk, ther schon no Mone,

Tofore the gates he cam sone,

Wher that this yonge Maiden was

And with this wofull word, “Helas!”

Hise dedli pleintes he began

So stille that ther was noman

It herde, and thanne he seide thus:

“O thou Cupide, o thou Venus,

Fortuned be whos ordinaunce

3560Of love is every mannes chaunce,

Ye knowen al min hole herte,

That I ne mai your hond asterte;

On you is evere that I crie,

And yit you deigneth noght to plie,

Ne toward me youre Ere encline.

Thus for I se no medicine

To make an ende of mi querele,

My deth schal be in stede of hele.

  Ha, thou mi wofull ladi diere,

3570Which duellest with thi fader hiere

And slepest in thi bedd at ese,

Thou wost nothing of my desese.

Hou thou and I be now unmete.

Ha lord, what swevene schalt thou mete,

What dremes hast thou nou on honde?

Thou slepest there, and I hier stonde.

Thogh I no deth to the deserve,

Hier schal I for thi love sterve,

Hier schal a kinges Sone dye

3580For love and for no felonie;

Wher thou therof have joie or sorwe,

Hier schalt thou se me ded tomorwe.

O herte hard aboven alle,

This deth, which schal to me befalle

For that thou wolt noght do me grace,

Yit schal be told in many a place,

Hou I am ded for love and trouthe

In thi defalte and in thi slouthe:

Thi Daunger schal to manye mo

3590Ensample be for everemo,

Whan thei my wofull deth recorde.”

And with that word he tok a Corde,

With which upon the gate tre

He hyng himself, that was pite.

  The morwe cam, the nyht is gon,

Men comen out and syhe anon

Wher that this yonge lord was ded:

Ther was an hous withoute red,

For noman knew the cause why;

3600Ther was wepinge and ther was cry.

This Maiden, whan that sche it herde,

And sih this thing hou it misferde,

Anon sche wiste what it mente,

And al the cause hou it wente

To al the world sche tolde it oute,

And preith to hem that were aboute

To take of hire the vengance,

For sche was cause of thilke chaunce,

Why that this kinges Sone is split.

3610Sche takth upon hirself the gilt,

And is al redi to the peine

Which eny man hir wole ordeigne:

And bot if eny other wolde,

Sche seith that sche hirselve scholde

Do wreche with hire oghne hond,

Thurghout the world in every lond

That every lif therof schal speke,

Hou sche hirself i scholde wreke.

Sche wepth, sche crith, sche swouneth ofte,

3620Sche caste hire yhen up alofte

And seide among ful pitously:

“A godd, thou wost wel it am I,

For whom Iphis is thus besein:

Ordeine so, that men mai sein

A thousend wynter after this,

Hou such a Maiden dede amis,

And as I dede, do to me:

For I ne dede no pite

To him, which for mi love is lore,

3630Do no pite to me therfore.”

And with this word sche fell to grounde

Aswoune, and ther sche lay a stounde.

The goddes, whiche hir pleigntes herde

And syhe hou wofully sche ferde,

Hire lif thei toke awey anon,

And schopen hire into a Ston

After the forme of hire ymage

Of bodi bothe and of visage.

And for the merveile of this thing

3640Unto the place cam the king

And ek the queene and manye mo;

And whan thei wisten it was so,

As I have told it heir above,

Hou that Iphis was ded for love,

Of that he hadde be refused,

Thei hielden alle men excused

And wondren upon the vengance.

And forto kepe in remembrance,

This faire ymage mayden liche

3650With compaignie noble and riche

With torche and gret sollempnite.

To Salamyne the Cite

Thei lede, and carie forth withal

The dede corps, and sein it schal

Beside thilke ymage have

His sepulture and be begrave:

This corps and this ymage thus

Into the Cite to Venus,

Wher that goddesse hire temple hadde,

3660Togedre bothe tuo thei ladde.

This ilke ymage as for miracle

Was set upon an hyh pinacle,

That alle men it mihte knowe,

And under tht thei maden lowe

A tumbe riche for the nones

Of marbre and ek of jaspre stones,

Wherin this Iphis was beloken,

That evermor it schal be spoken.

And for men schal the sothe wite,

3670Thei have here epitaphe write,

As thing which scholde abide stable:

The lettres graven in a table

Of marbre were and seiden this:

“Hier lith, which slowh himself, Iphis,

For love of Araxarathen:

And in ensample of tho wommen,

That soffren men to deie so,

Hire forme a man mai sen also,

Hou it is torned fleissh and bon

3680Into the figure of a Ston:

He was to neysshe and sche to hard.

Be war forthi hierafterward;

Ye men and wommen bothe tuo,

Ensampleth you of that was tho:

  Lo thus, mi Sone, as I thee seie,

It grieveth be diverse weie

In desepeir a man to falle,

Which is the laste branche of alle

Of Slouthe, as thou hast herd devise.

3690Wherof that thou thiself avise

Good is, er that thou be deceived,

Wher that the grace of hope is weyved.

  Mi fader, hou so that it stonde,

Now have I pleinly understonde

Of Slouthes court the proprete,

Wherof touchende in my degre

For evere I thenke to be war.

Bot overthis, so as I dar,

With al min herte I you beseche,

3700That ye me wolde enforme and teche

What ther is more of youre aprise

In love als wel as otherwise,

So that I mai me clene schryve.

  Mi Sone, whyl thou art alyve

And hast also thi fulle mynde,

Among the vices whiche I finde

Ther is yit on such of the sevene,

Which al this world hath set unevene

And causeth manye thinges wronge,

3710Where he the cause hath underfonge:

Wherof hierafter thou schalt hiere

The forme bothe and the matiere.

Explicit Liber Quartus.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/gower/john/amantis/book4.html

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37