Confessio Amantis, by John Gower

Incipit Liber Septimus.

Omnibus in causis sapiens doctrina salutem

     Consequitur, nec habet quis nisi doctus opem.

Naturam superat doctrina, viro quod et ortus

     Ingenii docilis non dedit, ipsa dabit.

Non ita discretus hominum per climata regnat,

     Quin magis ut sapiat, indiget ipse schole.

I Genius the prest of love,

Mi Sone, as thou hast preid above

That I the Scole schal declare

Of Aristotle and ek the fare

Of Alisandre, hou he was tauht,

I am somdel therof destrauht;

For it is noght to the matiere

Of love, why we sitten hiere

To schryve, so as Venus bad.

10Bot natheles, for it is glad,

So as thou seist, for thin aprise

To hiere of suche thinges wise,

Wherof thou myht the time lisse,

So as I can, I schal the wisse:

For wisdom is at every throwe

Above alle other thing to knowe

In loves cause and elleswhere.

Forthi, my Sone, unto thin Ere,

Though it be noght in the registre

20Of Venus, yit of that Calistre

And Aristotle whylom write

To Alisandre, thou schalt wite.

Bot for the lores ben diverse,

I thenke ferst to the reherce

The nature of Philosophie,

Which Aristotle of his clergie,

Wys and expert in the sciences,

Declareth thilke intelligences,

As of thre pointz in principal.

30Wherof the ferste in special

Is Theorique, which is grounded

On him which al the world hath founded,

Which comprehendeth al the lore.

And forto loken overmore,

Next of sciences the seconde

Is Rethorique, whos faconde

Above alle othre is eloquent:

To telle a tale in juggement

So wel can noman speke as he.

40The laste science of the thre

It is Practique, whos office

The vertu tryeth fro the vice,

And techeth upon goode thewes

To fle the compaignie of schrewes,

Which stant in disposicion

Of mannes free eleccion.

Practique enformeth ek the reule,

Hou that a worthi king schal reule

His Realme bothe in werre and pes.

50Lo, thus danz Aristotiles

These thre sciences hath divided

And the nature also decided,

Wherof that ech of hem schal serve.

The ferste, which is the conserve

And kepere of the remnant,

As that which is most sufficant

And chief of the Philosophie,

If I therof schal specefie

So as the Philosophre tolde,

60Nou herkne, and kep that thou it holde.

Of Theorique principal

The Philosophre in special

The propretees hath determined,

As thilke which is enlumined

Of wisdom and of hih prudence

Above alle othre in his science:

And stant departed upon thre,

The ferste of which in his degre

Is cleped in Philosophie

70The science of Theologie,

That other named is Phisique,

The thridde is seid Mathematique.

Theologie is that science

Which unto man yifth evidence

Of thing which is noght bodely,

Wherof men knowe redely

The hihe almyhti Trinite,

Which is o god in unite

Withouten ende and beginnynge

80And creatour of alle thinge,

Of hevene, of erthe and ek of helle.

Wherof, as olde bokes telle,

The Philosophre in his resoun

Wrot upon this conclusioun,

And of his wrytinge in a clause

He clepeth god the ferste cause,

Which of himself is thilke good,

Withoute whom nothing is good,

Of which that every creature

90Hath his beinge and his nature.

After the beinge of the thinges

Ther ben thre formes of beinges:

Thing which began and ende schal,

That thing is cleped temporal;

Ther is also be other weie

Thing which began and schal noght deie.

As Soules, that ben spiritiel,

Here beinge is perpetuel:

Bot ther is on above the Sonne,

100Whos time nevere was begonne,

And endeles schal evere be;

That is the god, whos mageste

Alle othre thinges schal governe,

And his beinge is sempiterne.

The god, to whom that al honour

Belongeth, he is creatour,

And othre ben hise creatures:

The god commandeth the natures

That thei to him obeien alle;

110Withouten him, what so befalle,

Her myht is non, and he mai al:

The god was evere and evere schal,

And thei begonne of his assent;

The times alle be present

To god, to hem and alle unknowe,

Bot what him liketh that thei knowe:

Thus bothe an angel and a man,

The whiche of al that god began

Be chief, obeien goddes myht,

120And he stant endeles upriht.

To this science ben prive

The clerkes of divinite,

The whiche unto the poeple prechen

The feith of holi cherche and techen,

Which in som cas upon believe

Stant more than thei conne prieve

Be weie of Argument sensible:

Bot natheles it is credible,

And doth a man gret meede have,

130To him that thenkth himself to save.

Theologie in such a wise

Of hih science and hih aprise

Above alle othre stant unlike,

And is the ferste of Theorique.

Phisique is after the secounde,

Thurgh which the Philosophre hath founde

To techen sondri knowlechinges

Upon the bodiliche thinges.

Of man, of beste, of herbe, of ston,

140Of fissch, of foughl, of everychon

That ben of bodely substance,

The nature and the circumstance

Thurgh this science it is ful soght,

Which vaileth and which vaileth noght.

The thridde point of Theorique,

Which cleped is Mathematique,

Devided is in sondri wise

And stant upon diverse aprise.

The ferste of whiche is Arsmetique,

150And the secounde is seid Musique,

The thridde is ek Geometrie,

Also the ferthe Astronomie.

Of Arsmetique the matiere

Is that of which a man mai liere

What Algorisme in nombre amonteth,

Whan that the wise man acompteth

After the formel proprete

Of Algorismes Abece:

Be which multiplicacioun

160Is mad and diminucioun

Of sommes be thexperience

Of this Art and of this science.

The seconde of Mathematique,

Which is the science of Musique,

That techeth upon Armonie

A man to make melodie

Be vois and soun of instrument

Thurgh notes of acordement,

The whiche men pronounce alofte,

170Nou scharpe notes and nou softe,

Nou hihe notes and nou lowe,

As be the gamme a man mai knowe,

Which techeth the prolacion

Of note and the condicion.

Mathematique of his science

Hath yit the thridde intelligence

Full of wisdom and of clergie

And cleped is Geometrie,

Thurgh which a man hath thilke sleyhte,

180Of lengthe, of brede, of depthe, of heyhte

To knowe the proporcion

Be verrai calculacion

Of this science: and in this wise

These olde Philosophres wise,

Of al this worldes erthe round,

Hou large, hou thikke was the ground,

Controeveden thexperience;

The cercle and the circumference

Of every thing unto the hevene

190Thei setten point and mesure evene.

Mathematique above therthe

Of hyh science hath yit the ferthe,

Which spekth upon Astronomie

And techeth of the sterres hihe,

Beginnynge upward fro the mone.

Bot ferst, as it was forto done,

This Aristotle in other thing

Unto this worthi yonge king

The kinde of every element

200Which stant under the firmament,

Hou it is mad and in what wise,

Fro point to point he gan devise.

Tofore the creacion

Of eny worldes stacion,

Of hevene, of erthe, or eke of helle,

So as these olde bokes telle,

As soun tofore the song is set

And yit thei ben togedre knet,

Riht so the hihe pourveance

210Tho hadde under his ordinance

A gret substance, a gret matiere,

Of which he wolde in his manere

These othre thinges make and forme.

For yit withouten eny forme

Was that matiere universal,

Which hihte Ylem in special.

Of Ylem, as I am enformed,

These elementz ben mad and formed,

Of Ylem elementz they hote

220After the Scole of Aristote,

Of whiche if more I schal reherce,

Foure elementz ther ben diverse.

The ferste of hem men erthe calle,

Which is the lowest of hem alle,

And in his forme is schape round,

Substancial, strong, sadd and sound,

As that which mad is sufficant

To bere up al the remenant.

For as the point in a compas

230Stant evene amiddes, riht so was

This erthe set and schal abyde,

That it may swerve to no side,

And hath his centre after the lawe

Of kinde, and to that centre drawe

Desireth every worldes thing,

If ther ne were no lettyng.

Above therthe kepth his bounde

The water, which is the secounde

Of elementz, and al withoute

240It environeth therthe aboute.

Bot as it scheweth, noght forthi

This soubtil water myhtely,

Thogh it be of himselve softe,

The strengthe of therthe perceth ofte;

For riht as veines ben of blod

In man, riht so the water flod

Therthe of his cours makth ful of veines,

Als wel the helles as the pleines.

And that a man may sen at ije,

250For wher the hulles ben most hyhe,

Ther mai men welle stremes finde:

So proveth it be weie of kinde

The water heyher than the lond.

And over this nou understond,

Air is the thridde of elementz,

Of whos kinde his aspirementz

Takth every lifissh creature,

The which schal upon erthe endure:

For as the fissh, if it be dreie,

260Mot in defaute of water deie,

Riht so withouten Air on lyve

No man ne beste myhte thryve,

The which is mad of fleissh and bon;

There is outake of alle non.

This Air in Periferies thre

Divided is of such degre,

Benethe is on and on amidde,

To whiche above is set the thridde:

And upon the divisions

270There ben diverse impressions

Of moist and ek of drye also,

Whiche of the Sonne bothe tuo

Ben drawe and haled upon hy,

And maken cloudes in the Sky,

As schewed is at mannes sihte;

Wherof be day and ek be nyhte

After the times of the yer

Among ous upon Erthe her

In sondri wise thinges falle.

280The ferste Periferie of alle

Engendreth Myst and overmore

The dewes and the Frostes hore,

After thilke intersticion

In which thei take impression.

Fro the seconde, as bokes sein,

The moiste dropes of the reyn

Descenden into Middilerthe,

And tempreth it to sed and Erthe,

And doth to springe grass and flour.

290And ofte also the grete schour

Out of such place it mai be take,

That it the forme schal forsake

Of reyn, and into snow be torned;

And ek it mai be so sojorned

In sondri places up alofte,

That into hail it torneth ofte.

The thridde of thair after the lawe

Thurgh such matiere as up is drawe

Of dreie thing, as it is ofte,

300Among the cloudes upon lofte,

And is so clos, it may noght oute,-

Thanne is it chased sore aboute,

Til it to fyr and leyt be falle,

And thanne it brekth the cloudes alle,

The whiche of so gret noyse craken,

That thei the feerful thonder maken.

The thonderstrok smit er it leyte,

And yit men sen the fyr and leyte,

The thonderstrok er that men hiere:

310So mai it wel be proeved hiere

In thing which schewed is fro feer,

A mannes yhe is there nerr

Thanne is the soun to mannes Ere.

And natheles it is gret feere

Bothe of the strok and of the fyr,

Of which is no recoverir

In place wher that thei descende,

Bot if god wolde his grace sende.

And forto speken over this,

320In this partie of thair it is

That men fulofte sen be nyhte

The fyr in sondri forme alyhte.

Somtime the fyrdrake it semeth,

And so the lewed poeple it demeth;

Somtime it semeth as it were

A Sterre, which that glydeth there:

Bot it is nouther of the tuo,

The Philosophre telleth so,

And seith that of impressions

330Thurgh diverse exalacions

Upon the cause and the matiere

Men sen diverse forme appiere

Of fyr, the which hath sondri name.

Assub, he seith, is thilke same,

The which in sondry place is founde,

Whanne it is falle doun to grounde,

So as the fyr it hath aneled,

Lich unto slym which is congeled.

Of exalacion I finde

340Fyr kinled of the fame kinde,

Bot it is of an other forme;

Wherof, if that I schal conforme

The figure unto that it is,

These olde clerkes tellen this,

That it is lik a Got skippende,

And for that it is such semende,

It hatte Capra saliens.

And ek these Astronomiens

An other fyr also, be nyhte

350Which scheweth him to mannes syhte,

Thei clepen Eges, the which brenneth

Lik to the corrant fyr that renneth

Upon a corde, as thou hast sein,

Whan it with poudre is so besein

Of Sulphre and othre thinges mo.

Ther is an other fyr also,

Which semeth to a mannes yhe

Be nyhtes time as thogh ther flyhe

A dragon brennende in the Sky,

360And that is cleped proprely

Daaly, wherof men sein fulofte,

“Lo, wher the fyri drake alofte

Fleth up in thair!” and so thei demen.

Bot why the fyres suche semen

Of sondri formes to beholde,

The wise Philosophre tolde,

So as tofore it hath ben herd.

Lo thus, my Sone, hou it hath ferd:

Of Air the due proprete

370In sondri wise thou myht se,

And hou under the firmament

It is ek the thridde element,

Which environeth bothe tuo,

The water and the lond also.

And forto tellen overthis

Of elementz which the ferthe is,

That is the fyr in his degre,

Which environeth thother thre

And is withoute moist al drye.

380Bot lest nou what seith the clergie;

For upon hem that I have seid

The creatour hath set and leid

The kinde and the complexion

Of alle mennes nacion.

Foure elementz sondri ther be,

Lich unto whiche of that degre

Among the men ther ben also

Complexions foure and nomo,

Wherof the Philosophre treteth,

390That he nothing behinde leteth,

And seith hou that thei ben diverse,

So as I schal to thee reherse.

He which natureth every kinde,

The myhti god, so as I finde,

Of man, which is his creature,

Hath so devided the nature,

That non til other wel acordeth:

And be the cause it so discordeth,

The lif which fieleth the seknesse

400Mai stonde upon no sekernesse.

Of therthe, which is cold and drye,

The kinde of man Malencolie

Is cleped, and that is the ferste,

The most ungoodlich and the werste;

For unto loves werk on nyht

Him lacketh bothe will and myht:

No wonder is, in lusty place

Of love though he lese grace.

What man hath that complexion,

410Full of ymaginacion

Of dredes and of wrathful thoghtes,

He fret himselven al to noghtes.

The water, which is moyste and cold,

Makth fleume, which is manyfold

Foryetel, slou and wery sone

Of every thing which is to done:

He is of kinde sufficant

To holde love his covenant,

Bot that him lacketh appetit,

420Which longeth unto such delit.

What man that takth his kinde of thair,

He schal be lyht, he schal be fair,

For his complexion is blood.

Of alle ther is non so good,

For he hath bothe will and myht

To plese and paie love his riht:

Wher as he hath love undertake,

Wrong is if that he be forsake.

The fyr of his condicion

430Appropreth the complexion

Which in a man is Colre hote,

Whos propretes ben dreie and hote:

It makth a man ben enginous

And swift of fote and ek irous;

Of contek and folhastifnesse

He hath a riht gret besinesse,

To thenke of love and litel may:

Though he behote wel a day,

On nyht whan that he wole assaie,

440He may ful evele his dette paie.

After the kinde of thelement,

Thus stant a mannes kinde went,

As touchende his complexion,

Upon sondri division

Of dreie, of moiste, of chele, of hete,

And ech of hem his oghne sete

Appropred hath withinne a man.

And ferst to telle as I began,

The Splen is to Malencolie

450Assigned for herbergerie:

The moiste fleume with his cold

Hath in the lunges for his hold

Ordeined him a propre stede,

To duelle ther as he is bede:

To the Sanguin complexion

Nature of hire inspeccion

A propre hous hath in the livere

For his duellinge mad delivere:

The dreie Colre with his hete

460Be weie of kinde his propre sete

Hath in the galle, wher he duelleth,

So as the Philosophre telleth.

Nou over this is forto wite,

As it is in Phisique write

Of livere, of lunge, of galle, of splen,

Thei alle unto the herte ben

Servantz, and ech in his office

Entendeth to don him service,

As he which is chief lord above.

470The livere makth him forto love,

The lunge yifth him weie of speche,

The galle serveth to do wreche,

The Splen doth him to lawhe and pleie,

Whan al unclennesse is aweie:

Lo, thus hath ech of hem his dede.

And to sustienen hem and fede

In time of recreacion,

Nature hath in creacion

The Stomach for a comun Coc

480Ordeined, so as seith the boc.

The Stomach coc is for the halle,

And builleth mete for hem alle,

To make hem myghty forto serve

The herte, that he schal noght sterve:

For as a king in his Empire

Above alle othre is lord and Sire,

So is the herte principal,

To whom reson in special

Is yove as for the governance.

490And thus nature his pourveance

Hath mad for man to liven hiere;

Bot god, which hath the Soule diere,

Hath formed it in other wise.

That can noman pleinli devise;

Bot as the clerkes ous enforme,

That lich to god it hath a forme,

Thurgh which figure and which liknesse

The Soule hath many an hyh noblesse

Appropred to his oghne kinde.

500Bot ofte hir wittes be mad blinde

Al onliche of this ilke point,

That hir abydinge is conjoint

Forth with the bodi forto duelle:

That on desireth toward helle,

That other upward to the hevene;

So schul thei nevere stonde in evene,

Bot if the fleissh be overcome

And that the Soule have holi nome

The governance, and that is selde,

510Whil that the fleissh him mai bewelde.

Al erthli thing which god began

Was only mad to serve man;

Bot he the Soule al only made

Himselven forto serve and glade.

Alle othre bestes that men finde

Thei serve unto here oghne kinde,

Bot to reson the Soule serveth;

Wherof the man his thonk deserveth

And get him with hise werkes goode

520The perdurable lyves foode.

Of what matiere it schal be told,

A tale lyketh manyfold

The betre, if it be spoke plein:

Thus thinke I forto torne ayein

And telle plenerly therfore

Of therthe, wherof nou tofore

I spak, and of the water eke,

So as these olde clerkes spieke,

And sette proprely the bounde

530After the forme of Mappemounde,

Thurgh which the ground be pourparties

Departed is in thre parties,

That is Asie, Aufrique, Europe,

The whiche under the hevene cope,

Als ferr as streccheth eny ground,

Begripeth al this Erthe round.

Bot after that the hihe wrieche

The water weies let out seche

And overgo the helles hye,

540Which every kinde made dye

That upon Middelerthe stod,

Outake Noe5 and his blod,

His Sones and his doughtres thre,

Thei were sauf and so was he;-

Here names who that rede rihte,

Sem, Cam, Japhet the brethren hihte;-

And whanne thilke almyhty hond

Withdrouh the water fro the lond,

And al the rage was aweie,

550And Erthe was the mannes weie,

The Sones thre, of whiche I tolde,

Riht after that hemselve wolde,

This world departe thei begonne.

Asie, which lay to the Sonne

Upon the Marche of orient,

Was graunted be comun assent

To Sem, which was the Sone eldeste;

For that partie was the beste

And double as moche as othre tuo.

560And was that time bounded so;

Wher as the flod which men Nil calleth

Departeth fro his cours and falleth

Into the See Alexandrine,

Ther takth Asie ferst seisine

Toward the West, and over this

Of Canahim wher the flod is

Into the grete See rennende,

Fro that into the worldes ende

Estward, Asie it is algates,

570Til that men come unto the gates

Of Paradis, and there ho.

And schortly for to speke it so,

Of Orient in general

Withinne his bounde Asie hath al.

And thanne upon that other syde

Westward, as it fell thilke tyde,

The brother which was hote Cham

Upon his part Aufrique nam.

Japhet Europe tho tok he,

580Thus parten thei the world on thre.

Bot yit ther ben of londes fele

In occident as for the chele,

In orient as for the hete,

Which of the poeple be forlete

As lond desert that is unable,

For it mai noght ben habitable.

The water eke hath sondri bounde,

After the lond wher it is founde,

And takth his name of thilke londes

590Wher that it renneth on the strondes:

Bot thilke See which hath no wane

Is cleped the gret Occeane,

Out of the which arise and come

The hyhe flodes alle and some;

Is non so litel welle spring,

Which ther ne takth his beginnyng,

And lich a man that haleth breth

Be weie of kinde, so it geth

Out of the See and in ayein,

600The water, as the bokes sein.

Of Elementz the propretes

Hou that they stonden be degres,

As I have told, nou myht thou hiere,

Mi goode Sone, al the matiere

Of Erthe, of water, Air and fyr.

And for thou saist that thi desir

Is forto witen overmore

The forme of Aristotles lore,

He seith in his entendement,

610That yit ther is an Element

Above the foure, and is the fifte,

Set of the hihe goddes yifte,

The which that Orbis cleped is.

And therupon he telleth this,

That as the schelle hol and sound

Encloseth al aboute round

What thing withinne an Ey belongeth,

Riht so this Orbis underfongeth

These elementz alle everychon,

620Which I have spoke of on and on.

Bot overthis nou tak good hiede,

Mi Sone, for I wol procede

To speke upon Mathematique,

Which grounded is on Theorique.

The science of Astronomie

I thinke forto specefie,

Withoute which, to telle plein,

Alle othre science is in vein

Toward the scole of erthli thinges:

630For as an Egle with his winges

Fleth above alle that men finde,

So doth this science in his kinde.

Benethe upon this Erthe hiere

Of alle thinges the matiere,

As tellen ous thei that ben lerned,

Of thing above it stant governed,

That is to sein of the Planetes.

The cheles bothe and ek the hetes,

The chances of the world also,

640That we fortune clepen so,

Among the mennes nacion

Al is thurgh constellacion,

Wherof that som man hath the wele,

And som man hath deseses fele

In love als wel as othre thinges;

The stat of realmes and of kinges

In time of pes, in time of werre

It is conceived of the Sterre:

And thus seith the naturien

650Which is an Astronomien.

Bot the divin seith otherwise,

That if men weren goode and wise

And plesant unto the godhede,

Thei scholden noght the sterres drede;

For o man, if him wel befalle,

Is more worth than ben thei alle

Towardes him that weldeth al.

Bot yit the lawe original,

Which he hath set in the natures,

660Mot worchen in the creatures,

That therof mai be non obstacle,

Bot if it stonde upon miracle

Thurgh preiere of som holy man.

And forthi, so as I began

To speke upon Astronomie,

As it is write in the clergie,

To telle hou the planetes fare,

Som part I thenke to declare,

Mi Sone, unto thin Audience.

670Astronomie is the science

Of wisdom and of hih connynge,

Which makth a man have knowlechinge

Of Sterres in the firmament,

Figure, cercle and moevement

Of ech of hem in sondri place,

And what betwen hem is of space,

Hou so thei moeve or stonde faste,

Al this it telleth to the laste.

Assembled with Astronomie

680Is ek that ilke Astrologie

The which in juggementz acompteth

Theffect, what every sterre amonteth,

And hou thei causen many a wonder

To tho climatz that stonde hem under.

And forto telle it more plein,

These olde philosphres sein

That Orbis, which I spak of err,

Is that which we fro therthe a ferr

Beholde, and firmament it calle,

690In which the sterres stonden alle,

Among the whiche in special

Planetes sefne principal

Ther ben, that mannes sihte demeth,

Bot thorizonte, as to ous semeth.

And also ther ben signes tuelve,

Whiche have her cercles be hemselve

Compassed in the zodiaque,

In which thei have here places take.

And as thei stonden in degre,

700Here cercles more or lasse be,

Mad after the proporcion

Of therthe, whos condicion

Is set to be the foundement

To sustiene up the firmament.

And be this skile a man mai knowe,

The more that thei stonden lowe,

The more ben the cercles lasse;

That causeth why that some passe

Here due cours tofore an other.

710Bot nou, mi lieve dere brother,

As thou desirest forto wite

What I finde in the bokes write,

To telle of the planetes sevene,

Hou that thei stonde upon the hevene

And in what point that thei ben inne,

Tak hiede, for I wol beginne,

So as the Philosophre tauhte

To Alisandre and it betauhte,

Wherof that he was fulli tawht

720Of wisdom, which was him betawht.

Benethe alle othre stant the Mone,

The which hath with the See to done:

Of flodes hihe and ebbes lowe

Upon his change it schal be knowe;

And every fissh which hath a schelle

Mot in his governance duelle,

To wexe and wane in his degre,

As be the Mone a man mai se;

And al that stant upon the grounde

730Of his moisture it mot be founde.

Alle othre sterres, as men finde,

Be schynende of here oghne kinde

Outake only the monelyht,

Which is noght of himselve bright,

Bot as he takth it of the Sonne.

And yit he hath noght al fulwonne

His lyht, that he nys somdiel derk;

Bot what the lette is of that werk

In Almageste it telleth this:

740The Mones cercle so lowe is,

Wherof the Sonne out of his stage

Ne seth him noght with full visage,

For he is with the ground beschaded,

So that the Mone is somdiel faded

And may noght fully schyne cler.

Bot what man under his pouer

Is bore, he schal his places change

And seche manye londes strange:

And as of this condicion

750The Mones disposicion

Upon the lond of Alemaigne

Is set, and ek upon Bretaigne,

Which nou is cleped Engelond;

For thei travaile in every lond.

Of the Planetes the secounde

Above the Mone hath take his bounde,

Mercurie, and his nature is this,

That under him who that bore is,

In boke he schal be studious

760And in wrytinge curious,

And slouh and lustles to travaile

In thing which elles myhte availe:

He loveth ese, he loveth reste,

So is he noght the worthieste;

Bot yit with somdiel besinesse

His herte is set upon richesse.

And as in this condicion,

Theffect and disposicion

Of this Planete and of his chance

770Is most in Burgoigne and in France.

Next to Mercurie, as wol befalle,

Stant that Planete which men calle

Venus, whos constellacion

Governeth al the nacion

Of lovers, wher thei spiede or non,

Of whiche I trowe thou be on:

Bot whiderward thin happes wende,

Schal this planete schewe at ende,

As it hath do to many mo,

780To some wel, to some wo.

And natheles of this Planete

The moste part is softe and swete;

For who that therof takth his berthe,

He schal desire joie and merthe,

Gentil, courteis and debonaire,

To speke his wordes softe and faire,

Such schal he be be weie of kinde,

And overal wher he may finde

Plesance of love, his herte boweth

790With al his myht and there he woweth.

He is so ferforth Amourous,

He not what thing is vicious

Touchende love, for that lawe

Ther mai no maner man withdrawe,

The which venerien is bore

Be weie of kinde, and therefore

Venus of love the goddesse

Is cleped: bot of wantounesse

The climat of hir lecherie

800Is most commun in Lombardie.

Next unto this Planete of love

The brighte Sonne stant above,

Which is the hindrere of the nyht

And forthrere of the daies lyht,

As he which is the worldes ije,

Thurgh whom the lusti compaignie

Of foules be the morwe singe,

The freisshe floures sprede and springe,

The hihe tre the ground beschadeth,

810And every mannes herte gladeth.

And for it is the hed Planete,

Hou that he sitteth in his sete,

Of what richesse, of what nobleie,

These bokes telle, and thus thei seie.

Of gold glistrende Spoke and whiel

The Sonne his carte hath faire and wiel,

In which he sitt, and is coroned

With brighte stones environed;

Of whiche if that I speke schal,

820Ther be tofore in special

Set in the front of his corone

Thre Stones, whiche no persone

Hath upon Erthe, and the ferste is

Be name cleped Licuchis;

That othre tuo be cleped thus,

Astrices and Ceramius.

In his corone also behinde,

Be olde bokes as I finde,

Ther ben of worthi Stones thre

830Set ech of hem in his degre:

Wherof a Cristall is that on,

Which that corone is set upon;

The seconde is an Adamant;

The thridde is noble and avenant,

Which cleped is Ydriades.

And over this yit natheles

Upon the sydes of the werk,

After the wrytinge of the clerk,

Ther sitten fyve Stones mo:

840The smaragdine is on of tho,

Jaspis and Elitropius

And Dendides and Jacinctus.

Lo, thus the corone is beset,

Wherof it schyneth wel the bet;

And in such wise his liht to sprede

Sit with his Diademe on hede

The Sonne schynende in his carte.

And forto lede him swithe and smarte

After the bryhte daies lawe,

850Ther ben ordeined forto drawe

Foure hors his Char and him withal,

Wherof the names telle I schal:

Erithes the ferste is hote,

The which is red and schyneth hote,

The seconde Acteos the bryhte,

Lampes the thridde coursier hihte,

And Philoges is the ferthe,

That bringen lyht unto this erthe,

And gon so swift upon the hevene,

860In foure and twenty houres evene

The carte with the bryhte Sonne

Thei drawe, so that overronne

Thei have under the cercles hihe

Al Middelerthe in such an hye.

And thus the Sonne is overal

The chief Planete imperial,

Above him and benethe him thre:

And thus betwen hem regneth he,

As he that hath the middel place

870Among the Sevene, and of his face

Be glade alle erthly creatures,

And taken after the natures

Here ese and recreacion.

And in his constellacion

Who that is bore in special,

Of good will and of liberal

He schal be founde in alle place,

And also stonde in mochel grace

Toward the lordes forto serve

880And gret profit and thonk deserve.

And over that it causeth yit

A man to be soubtil of wit

To worche in gold, and to be wys

In every thing which is of pris.

Bot forto speken in what cost

Of al this erthe he regneth most

As for wisdom, it is in Grece,

Wher is apropred thilke spiece.

Mars the Planete bataillous

890Next to the Sonne glorious

Above stant, and doth mervailes

Upon the fortune of batailes.

The conquerours be daies olde

Were unto this planete holde:

Bot who that his nativite

Hath take upon the proprete

Of Martes disposicioun

Be weie of constellacioun,

He schal be fiers and folhastif

900And desirous of werre and strif.

Bot forto telle redely

In what climat most comunly

That this planete hath his effect,

Seid is that he hath his aspect

Upon the holi lond so cast,

That there is no pes stedefast.

Above Mars upon the hevene,

The sexte Planete of the sevene,

Stant Jupiter the delicat,

910Which causeth pes and no debat.

For he is cleped that Planete

Which of his kinde softe and swete

Attempreth al that to him longeth;

And whom this planete underfongeth

To stonde upon his regiment,

He schal be meke and pacient

And fortunat to Marchandie

And lusti to delicacie

In every thing which he schal do.

920This Jupiter is cause also

Of the science of lyhte werkes,

And in this wise tellen clerkes

He is the Planete of delices.

Bot in Egipte of his offices

He regneth most in special:

For ther be lustes overal

Of al that to this lif befalleth;

For ther no stormy weder falleth,

Which myhte grieve man or beste,

930And ek the lond is so honeste

That it is plentevous and plein,

Ther is non ydel ground in vein;

And upon such felicite

Stant Jupiter in his degre.

The heyeste and aboven alle

Stant that planete which men calle

Saturnus, whos complexion

Is cold, and his condicion

Causeth malice and crualte

940To him the whos nativite

Is set under his governance.

For alle hise werkes ben grevance

And enemy to mannes hele,

In what degre that he schal dele.

His climat is in Orient,

Wher that he is most violent.

Of the Planetes by and by,

Hou that thei stonde upon the Sky,

Fro point to point as thou myht hiere,

950Was Alisandre mad to liere.

Bot overthis touchende his lore,

Of thing that thei him tawhte more

Upon the scoles of clergie

Now herkne the Philosophie.

He which departeth dai fro nyht,

That on derk and that other lyht,

Of sevene daies made a weke,

A Monthe of foure wekes eke

He hath ordeigned in his lawe,

960Of Monthes tuelve and ek forthdrawe

He hath also the longe yeer.

And as he sette of his pouer

Acordant to the daies sevene

Planetes Sevene upon the hevene,

As thou tofore hast herd devise,

To speke riht in such a wise,

To every Monthe be himselve

Upon the hevene of Signes tuelve

He hath after his Ordinal

970Assigned on in special,

Wherof, so as I schal rehersen,

The tydes of the yer diversen.

Bot pleinly forto make it knowe

Hou that the Signes sitte arowe,

Ech after other be degre

In substance and in proprete

The zodiaque comprehendeth

Withinne his cercle, as it appendeth.

The ferste of whiche natheles

980Be name is cleped Aries,

Which lich a wether of stature

Resembled is in his figure.

And as it seith in Almageste,

Of Sterres tuelve upon this beste

Ben set, wherof in his degre

The wombe hath tuo, the heved hath thre,

The Tail hath sevene, and in this wise,

As thou myht hiere me divise,

Stant Aries, which hot and drye

990Is of himself, and in partie

He is the receipte and the hous

Of myhty Mars the bataillous.

And overmore ek, as I finde,

The creatour of alle kinde

Upon this Signe ferst began

The world, whan that he made man.

And of this constellacioun

The verray operacioun

Availeth, if a man therinne

1000The pourpos of his werk beginne;

For thanne he hath of proprete

Good sped and gret felicite.

The tuelve Monthes of the yeer

Attitled under the pouer

Of these tuelve Signes stonde;

Wherof that thou schalt understonde

This Aries on of the tuelve

Hath March attitled for himselve,

Whan every bridd schal chese his make,

1010And every neddre and every Snake

And every Reptil which mai moeve,

His myht assaieth forto proeve,

To crepen out ayein the Sonne,

Whan Ver his Seson hath begonne.

Taurus the seconde after this

Of Signes, which figured is

Unto a Bole, is dreie and cold;

And as it is in bokes told,

He is the hous appourtienant

1020To Venus, somdiel descordant.

This Bole is ek with sterres set,

Thurgh whiche he hath hise hornes knet

Unto the tail of Aries,

So is he noght ther sterreles.

Upon his brest ek eyhtetiene

He hath, and ek, as it is sene,

Upon his tail stonde othre tuo.

His Monthe assigned ek also

Is Averil, which of his schoures

1030Ministreth weie unto the floures.

The thridde signe is Gemini,

Which is figured redely

Lich to tuo twinnes of mankinde,

That naked stonde; and as I finde,

Thei be with Sterres wel bego:

The heved hath part of thilke tuo

That schyne upon the boles tail,

So be thei bothe of o parail;

But on the wombe of Gemini

1040Ben fyve sterres noght forthi,

And ek upon the feet be tweie,

So as these olde bokes seie,

That wise Tholomes wrot.

His propre Monthe wel I wot

Assigned is the lusti Maii,

Whanne every brid upon his lay

Among the griene leves singeth,

And love of his pointure stingeth

After the lawes of nature

1050The youthe of every creature.

Cancer after the reule and space

Of Signes halt the ferthe place.

Like to the crabbe he hath semblance,

And hath unto his retienance

Sextiene sterres, wherof ten,

So as these olde wise men

Descrive, he berth on him tofore,

And in the middel tuo be bore,

And foure he hath upon his ende.

1060Thus goth he sterred in his kende,

And of himself is moiste and cold,

And is the propre hous and hold

Which appartieneth to the Mone,

And doth what longeth him to done.

The Monthe of Juin unto this Signe

Thou schalt after the reule assigne.

The fifte Signe is Leo hote,

Whos kinde is schape dreie and hote,

In whom the Sonne hath herbergage.

1070And the semblance of his ymage

Is a leoun, which in baillie

Of sterres hath his pourpartie:

The foure, which as Cancer hath

Upon his ende, Leo tath

Upon his heved, and thanne nest

He hath ek foure upon his brest,

And on upon his tail behinde,

In olde bokes as we finde.

His propre Monthe is Juyl be name,

1080In which men pleien many a game.

After Leo Virgo the nexte

Of Signes cleped is the sexte,

Wherof the figure is a Maide;

And as the Philosophre saide,

Sche is the welthe and the risinge,

The lust, the joie and the likinge

Unto Mercurie: and soth to seie

Sche is with sterres wel beseie,

Wherof Leo hath lent hire on,

1090Which sit on hih hir heved upon,

Hire wombe hath fyve, hir feet also

Have other fyve: and overmo

Touchende as of complexion,

Be kindly disposicion

Of dreie and cold this Maiden is.

And forto tellen over this

Hir Monthe, thou schalt understonde,

Whan every feld hath corn in honde

And many a man his bak hath plied,

1100Unto this Signe is Augst applied.

After Virgo to reknen evene

Libra sit in the nombre of sevene,

Which hath figure and resemblance

Unto a man which a balance

Berth in his hond as forto weie:

In boke and as it mai be seie,

Diverse sterres to him longeth,

Wherof on hevede he underfongeth

Ferst thre, and ek his wombe hath tuo,

1110And doun benethe eighte othre mo.

This Signe is hot and moiste bothe,

The whiche thinges be noght lothe

Unto Venus, so that alofte

Sche resteth in his hous fulofte,

And ek Saturnus often hyed

Is in this Signe and magnefied.

His propre Monthe is seid Septembre,

Which yifth men cause to remembre,

If eny Sor be left behinde

1120Of thing which grieve mai to kinde.

Among the Signes upon heighte

The Signe which is nombred eighte

Is Scorpio, which as feloun

Figured is a Scorpioun.

Bot for al that yit natheles

Is Scorpio noght sterreles;

For Libra granteth him his ende

Of eighte sterres, wher he wende,

The whiche upon his heved assised

1130He berth, and ek ther ben divised

Upon his wombe sterres thre,

And eighte upon his tail hath he.

Which of his kinde is moiste and cold

And unbehovely manyfold;

He harmeth Venus and empeireth,

Bot Mars unto his hous repeireth,

Bot war whan thei togedre duellen.

His propre Monthe is, as men tellen,

Octobre, which bringth the kalende

1140Of wynter, that comth next suiende.

The nynthe Signe in nombre also,

Which folweth after Scorpio,

Is cleped Sagittarius,

The whos figure is marked thus,

A Monstre with a bowe on honde:

On whom that sondri sterres stonde,

Thilke eighte of whiche I spak tofore,

The whiche upon the tail ben bore

Of Scorpio, the heved al faire

1150Bespreden of the Sagittaire;

And eighte of othre stonden evene

Upon his wombe, and othre sevene

Ther stonde upon his tail behinde.

And he is hot and dreie of kinde:

To Jupiter his hous is fre,

Bot to Mercurie in his degre,

For thei ben noght of on assent,

He worcheth gret empeirement.

This Signe hath of his proprete

1160A Monthe, which of duete

After the sesoun that befalleth

The Plowed Oxe in wynter stalleth;

And fyr into the halle he bringeth,

And thilke drinke of which men singeth,

He torneth must into the wyn;

Thanne is the larder of the swyn;

That is Novembre which I meene,

Whan that the lef hath lost his greene.

The tenthe Signe dreie and cold,

1170The which is Capricornus told,

Unto a Got hath resemblance:

For whos love and whos aqueintance

Withinne hise houses to sojorne

It liketh wel unto Satorne,

Bot to the Mone it liketh noght,

For no profit is there wroght.

This Signe as of his proprete

Upon his heved hath sterres thre,

And ek upon his wombe tuo,

1180And tweie upon his tail also.

Decembre after the yeeres forme,

So as the bokes ous enforme,

With daies schorte and nyhtes longe

This ilke Signe hath underfonge.

Of tho that sitte upon the hevene

Of Signes in the nombre ellevene

Aquarius hath take his place,

And stant wel in Satornes grace,

Which duelleth in his herbergage,

1190Bot to the Sonne he doth oultrage.

This Signe is verraily resembled

Lich to a man which halt assembled

In eyther hand a water spoute,

Wherof the stremes rennen oute.

He is of kinde moiste and hot,

And he that of the sterres wot

Seith that he hath of sterres tuo

Upon his heved, and ben of tho

That Capricorn hath on his ende;

1200And as the bokes maken mende,

That Tholomes made himselve,

He hath ek on his wombe tuelve,

And tweie upon his ende stonde.

Thou schalt also this understonde,

The frosti colde Janever,

Whan comen is the newe yeer,

That Janus with his double face

In his chaiere hath take his place

And loketh upon bothe sides,

1210Somdiel toward the wynter tydes,

Somdiel toward the yeer suiende,

That is the Monthe belongende

Unto this Signe, and of his dole

He yifth the ferste Primerole.

The tuelfthe, which is last of alle

Of Signes, Piscis men it calle,

The which, as telleth the scripture,

Berth of tuo fisshes the figure.

So is he cold and moiste of kinde,

1220And ek with sterres, as I finde,

Beset in sondri wise, as thus:

Tuo of his ende Aquarius

Hath lent unto his heved, and tuo

This Signe hath of his oghne also

Upon his wombe, and over this

Upon his ende also ther is

A nombre of twenty sterres bryghte,

Which is to sen a wonder sighte.

Toward this Signe into his hous

1230Comth Jupiter the glorious,

And Venus ek with him acordeth

To duellen, as the bok recordeth.

The Monthe unto this Signe ordeined

Is Februer, which is bereined,

And with londflodes in his rage

At Fordes letteth the passage.

Nou hast thou herd the proprete

Of Signes, bot in his degre

Albumazar yit over this

1240Seith, so as therthe parted is

In foure, riht so ben divised

The Signes tuelve and stonde assised,

That ech of hem for his partie

Hath his climat to justefie.

Wherof the ferste regiment

Toward the part of Orient

From Antioche and that contre

Governed is of Signes thre,

That is Cancer, Virgo, Leo:

1250And toward Occident also

From Armenie, as I am lerned,

Of Capricorn it stant governed,

Of Pisces and Aquarius:

And after hem I finde thus,

Southward from Alisandre forth

Tho Signes whiche most ben worth

In governance of that doaire,

Libra thei ben and Sagittaire

With Scorpio, which is conjoint

1260With hem to stonde upon that point:

Constantinople the Cite,

So as the bokes tellen me,

The laste of this division

Stant untoward Septemtrion,

Wher as be weie of pourveance

Hath Aries the governance

Forth with Taurus and Gemini.

Thus ben the Signes propreli

Divided, as it is reherced,

1270Wherof the londes ben diversed.

Lo thus, mi Sone, as thou myht hiere,

Was Alisandre mad to liere

Of hem that weren for his lore.

But nou to loken overmore,

Of othre sterres hou thei fare

I thenke hierafter to declare,

So as king Alisandre in youthe

Of him that suche thinges couthe

Enformed was tofore his yhe

1280Be nyhte upon the sterres hihe.

Upon sondri creacion

Stant sondri operacion,

Som worcheth this, som worcheth that;

The fyr is hot in his astat

And brenneth what he mai atteigne,

The water mai the fyr restreigne,

The which is cold and moist also.

Of other thing it farth riht so

Upon this erthe among ous here;

1290And forto speke in this manere,

Upon the hevene, as men mai finde,

The sterres ben of sondri kinde

And worchen manye sondri thinges

To ous, that ben here underlinges.

Among the whiche forth withal

Nectanabus in special,

Which was an Astronomien

And ek a gret Magicien,

And undertake hath thilke emprise

1300To Alisandre in his aprise

As of Magique naturel

To knowe, enformeth him somdel

Of certein sterres what thei mene;

Of whiche, he seith, ther ben fiftene,

And sondrily to everich on

A gras belongeth and a Ston,

Wherof men worchen many a wonder

To sette thing bothe up and under.

To telle riht as he began,

1310The ferste sterre Aldeboran,

The cliereste and the moste of alle,

Be rihte name men it calle;

Which lich is of condicion

To Mars, and of complexion

To Venus, and hath therupon

Carbunculum his propre Ston:

His herbe is Anabulla named,

Which is of gret vertu proclamed.

The seconde is noght vertules;

1320Clota or elles Pliades

It hatte, and of the mones kinde

He is, and also this I finde,

He takth of Mars complexion:

And lich to such condicion

His Ston appropred is Cristall,

And ek his herbe in special

The vertuous Fenele it is.

The thridde, which comth after this,

Is hote Algol the clere rede,

1330Which of Satorne, as I may rede,

His kinde takth, and ek of Jove

Complexion to his behove.

His propre Ston is Dyamant,

Which is to him most acordant;

His herbe, which is him betake,

Is hote Eleborum the blake.

So as it falleth upon lot,

The ferthe sterre is Alhaiot,

Which in the wise as I seide er

1340Of Satorne and of Jupiter

Hath take his kinde; and therupon

The Saphir is his propre Ston,

Marrubium his herbe also,

The whiche acorden bothe tuo.

And Canis maior in his like

The fifte sterre is of Magique,

The whos kinde is venerien,

As seith this Astronomien.

His propre Ston is seid Berille,

1350Bot forto worche and to fulfille

Thing which to this science falleth,

Ther is an herbe which men calleth

Saveine, and that behoveth nede

To him that wole his pourpos spede.

The sexte suiende after this

Be name Canis minor is;

The which sterre is Mercurial

Be weie of kinde, and forth withal,

As it is writen in the carte,

1360Complexion he takth of Marte.

His Ston and herbe, as seith the Scole,

Ben Achates and Primerole.

The sefnthe sterre in special

Of this science is Arial,

Which sondri nature underfongeth.

The Ston which propre unto him longeth,

Gorgonza proprely it hihte:

His herbe also, which he schal rihte

Upon the worchinge as I mene,

1370Is Celidoine freissh and grene.

Sterre Ala Corvi upon heihte

Hath take his place in nombre of eighte,

Which of his kinde mot parforne

The will of Marte and of Satorne:

To whom Lapacia the grete

Is herbe, bot of no beyete;

His Ston is Honochinus hote,

Thurgh which men worchen gret riote.

The nynthe sterre faire and wel

1380Be name is hote Alaezel,

Which takth his propre kinde thus

Bothe of Mercurie and of Venus.

His Ston is the grene Amyraude,

To whom is yoven many a laude:

Salge is his herbe appourtenant

Aboven al the rememant.

The tenthe sterre is Almareth,

Which upon lif and upon deth

Thurgh kinde of Jupiter and Mart

1390He doth what longeth to his part.

His Ston is Jaspe, and of Planteine

He hath his herbe sovereine.

The sterre ellefthe is Venenas,

The whos nature is as it was

Take of Venus and of the Mone,

In thing which he hath forto done.

Of Adamant is that perrie

In which he worcheth his maistrie;

Thilke herbe also which him befalleth,

1400Cicorea the bok it calleth.

Alpheta in the nombre sit,

And is the twelfthe sterre yit;

Of Scorpio which is governed,

And takth his kinde, as I am lerned;

And hath his vertu in the Ston

Which cleped is Topazion:

His herbe propre is Rosmarine,

Which schapen is for his covine.

Of these sterres, whiche I mene,

1410Cor Scorpionis is thritiene;

The whos nature Mart and Jove

Have yoven unto his behove.

His herbe is Aristologie,

Which folweth his Astronomie:

The Ston which that this sterre alloweth,

Is Sardis, which unto him boweth.

The sterre which stant next the laste,

Nature on him this name caste

And clepeth him Botercadent;

1420Which of his kinde obedient

Is to Mercurie and to Venus.

His Ston is seid Crisolitus,

His herbe is cleped Satureie,

So as these olde bokes seie.

Bot nou the laste sterre of alle

The tail of Scorpio men calle,

Which to Mercurie and to Satorne

Be weie of kinde mot retorne

After the preparacion

1430Of due constellacion.

The Calcedoine unto him longeth,

Which for his Ston he underfongeth;

Of Majorane his herbe is grounded.

Thus have I seid hou thei be founded,

Of every sterre in special,

Which hath his herbe and Ston withal,

As Hermes in his bokes olde

Witnesse berth of that I tolde.

The science of Astronomie,

1440Which principal is of clergie

To dieme betwen wo and wel

In thinges that be naturel,

Thei hadde a gret travail on honde

That made it ferst ben understonde;

And thei also which overmore

Here studie sette upon this lore,

Thei weren gracious and wys

And worthi forto bere a pris.

And whom it liketh forto wite

1450Of hem that this science write,

On of the ferste which it wrot

After Noe5, it was Nembrot,

To his disciple Ychonithon

And made a bok forth therupon

The which Megaster cleped was.

An other Auctor in this cas

Is Arachel, the which men note;

His bok is Abbategnyh hote.

Danz Tholome is noght the leste,

1460Which makth the bok of Almageste;

And Alfraganus doth the same,

Whos bok is Chatemuz be name.

Gebuz and Alpetragus eke

Of Planisperie, which men seke,

The bokes made: and over this

Ful many a worthi clerc ther is,

That writen upon this clergie

The bokes of Altemetrie,

Planemetrie and ek also,

1470Whiche as belongen bothe tuo,

So as thei ben naturiens,

Unto these Astronomiens.

Men sein that Habraham was on;

Bot whether that he wrot or non,

That finde I noght; and Moi5ses

Ek was an other: bot Hermes

Above alle othre in this science

He hadde a gret experience;

Thurgh him was many a sterre assised,

1480Whos bokes yit ben auctorized.

I mai noght knowen alle tho

That writen in the time tho

Of this science; bot I finde,

Of jugement be weie of kinde

That in o point thei alle acorden:

Of sterres whiche thei recorden

That men mai sen upon the hevene,

Ther ben a thousend sterres evene

And tuo and twenty, to the syhte

1490Whiche aren of hemself so bryhte,

That men mai dieme what thei be,

The nature and the proprete.

Nou hast thou herd, in which a wise

These noble Philosophres wise

Enformeden this yonge king,

And made him have a knowleching

Of thing which ferst to the partie

Belongeth of Philosophie,

Which Theorique cleped is,

1500As thou tofore hast herd er this.

Bot nou to speke of the secounde,

Which Aristotle hath also founde,

And techeth hou to speke faire,

Which is a thing full necessaire

To contrepeise the balance,

Wher lacketh other sufficance.

Above alle erthli creatures

The hihe makere of natures

The word to man hath yove alone,

1510So that the speche of his persone,

Or forto lese or forto winne,

The hertes thoght which is withinne

Mai schewe, what it wolde mene;

And that is noghwhere elles sene

Of kinde with non other beste.

So scholde he be the more honeste,

To whom god yaf so gret a yifte,

And loke wel that he ne schifte

Hise wordes to no wicked us;

1520For word the techer of vertus

Is cleped in Philosophie.

Wherof touchende this partie,

Is Rethorique the science

Appropred to the reverence

Of wordes that ben resonable:

And for this art schal be vailable

With goodli wordes forto like,

It hath Gramaire, it hath Logiqe,

That serven bothe unto the speche.

1530Gramaire ferste hath forto teche

To speke upon congruite:

Logique hath eke in his degre

Betwen the trouthe and the falshode

The pleine wordes forto schode,

So that nothing schal go beside,

That he the riht ne schal decide.

Wherof full many a gret debat

Reformed is to good astat,

And pes sustiened up alofte

1540With esy wordes and with softe,

Wher strengthe scholde lete it falle.

The Philosophre amonges alle

Forthi commendeth this science,

Which hath the reule of eloquence.

In Ston and gras vertu ther is,

Bot yit the bokes tellen this,

That word above alle erthli thinges

Is vertuous in his doinges,

Wher so it be to evele or goode.

1550For if the wordes semen goode

And ben wel spoke at mannes Ere,

Whan that ther is no trouthe there,

Thei don fulofte gret deceipte;

For whan the word to the conceipte

Descordeth in so double a wise,

Such Rethorique is to despise

In every place, and forto drede.

For of Uluxes thus I rede,

As in the bok of Troie is founde,

1560His eloquence and his facounde

Of goodly wordes whiche he tolde,

Hath mad that Anthenor him solde

The toun, which he with tresoun wan.

Word hath beguiled many a man;

With word the wilde beste is daunted,

With word the Serpent is enchaunted,

Of word among the men of Armes

Ben woundes heeled with the charmes,

Wher lacketh other medicine;

1570Word hath under his discipline

Of Sorcerie the karectes.

The wordes ben of sondri sectes,

Of evele and eke of goode also;

The wordes maken frend of fo,

And fo of frend, and pes of werre,

And werre of pes, and out of herre

The word this worldes cause entriketh,

And reconsileth whan him liketh.

The word under the coupe of hevene

1580Set every thing or odde or evene;

With word the hihe god is plesed,

With word the wordes ben appesed,

The softe word the loude stilleth;

Wher lacketh good, the word fulfilleth,

To make amendes for the wrong;

Whan wordes medlen with the song,

It doth plesance wel the more.

Bot forto loke upon the lore

Hou Tullius his Rethorique

1590Componeth, ther a man mai pike

Hou that he schal hise wordes sette,

Hou he schal lose, hou he schal knette,

And in what wise he schal pronounce

His tale plein withoute frounce.

Wherof ensample if thou wolt seche,

Tak hiede and red whilom the speche

Of Julius and Cithero,

Which consul was of Rome tho,

Of Catoun eke and of Cillene,

1600Behold the wordes hem betwene,

Whan the tresoun of Cateline

Descoevered was, and the covine

Of hem that were of his assent

Was knowe and spoke in parlement,

And axed hou and in what wise

Men scholde don hem to juise.

Cillenus ferst his tale tolde,

To trouthe and as he was beholde,

The comun profit forto save,

1610He seide hou tresoun scholde have

A cruel deth; and thus thei spieke,

The Consul bothe and Catoun eke,

And seiden that for such a wrong

Ther mai no peine be to strong.

Bot Julius with wordes wise

His tale tolde al otherwise,

As he which wolde her deth respite,

And fondeth hou he mihte excite

The jugges thurgh his eloquence

1620Fro deth to torne the sentence

And sette here hertes to pite.

Nou tolden thei, nou tolde he;

Thei spieken plein after the lawe,

Bot he the wordes of his sawe

Coloureth in an other weie

Spekende, and thus betwen the tweie,

To trete upon this juggement,

Made ech of hem his Argument.

Wherof the tales forto hiere,

1630Ther mai a man the Scole liere

Of Rethoriqes eloquences,

Which is the secounde of sciences

Touchende to Philosophie;

Wherof a man schal justifie

Hise wordes in disputeisoun,

And knette upon conclusioun

His Argument in such a forme,

Which mai the pleine trouthe enforme

And the soubtil cautele abate,

1640Which every trewman schal debate.

The ferste, which is Theorique,

And the secounde Rethorique,

Sciences of Philosophie,

I have hem told as in partie,

So as the Philosophre it tolde

To Alisandre: and nou I wolde

Telle of the thridde what it is,

The which Practique cleped is.

Practique stant upon thre thinges

1650Toward the governance of kinges;

Wherof the ferst Etique is named,

The whos science stant proclamed

To teche of vertu thilke reule,

Hou that a king himself schal reule

Of his moral condicion

With worthi disposicion

Of good livinge in his persone,

Which is the chief of his corone.

It makth a king also to lerne

1660Hou he his bodi schal governe,

Hou he schal wake, hou he schal slepe,

Hou that he schal his hele kepe

In mete, in drinke, in clothinge eke:

Ther is no wisdom forto seke

As for the reule of his persone,

The which that this science al one

Ne techeth as be weie of kinde,

That ther is nothing left behinde.

That other point which to Practique

1670Belongeth is Iconomique,

Which techeth thilke honestete

Thurgh which a king in his degre

His wif and child schal reule and guie,

So forth with al the companie

Which in his houshold schal abyde,

And his astat on every syde

In such manere forto lede,

That he his houshold ne mislede.

Practique hath yit the thridde aprise,

1680Which techeth hou and in what wise

Thurgh hih pourveied ordinance

A king schal sette in governance

His Realme, and that is Policie,

Which longeth unto Regalie

In time of werre, in time of pes,

To worschipe and to good encress

Of clerk, of kniht and of Marchant,

And so forth of the remenant

Of al the comun poeple aboute,

1690Withinne Burgh and ek withoute,

Of hem that ben Artificiers,

Whiche usen craftes and mestiers,

Whos Art is cleped Mechanique.

And though thei ben noght alle like,

Yit natheles, hou so it falle,

O lawe mot governe hem alle,

Or that thei lese or that thei winne,

After thastat that thei ben inne.

Lo, thus this worthi yonge king

1700Was fulli tauht of every thing,

Which mihte yive entendement

Of good reule and good regiment

To such a worthi Prince as he.

Bot of verray necessite

The Philosophre him hath betake

Fyf pointz, whiche he hath undertake

To kepe and holde in observance,

As for the worthi governance

Which longeth to his Regalie,

1710After the reule of Policie.

To every man behoveth lore,

Bot to noman belongeth more

Than to a king, which hath to lede

The poeple; for of his kinghede

He mai hem bothe save and spille.

And for it stant upon his wille,

It sit him wel to ben avised,

And the vertus whiche are assissed

Unto a kinges Regiment,

1720To take in his entendement:

Wherof to tellen, as thei stonde,

Hierafterward nou woll I fonde.

Among the vertus on is chief,

And that is trouthe, which is lief

To god and ek to man also.

And for it hath ben evere so,

Tawhte Aristotle, as he wel couthe,

To Alisandre, hou in his youthe

He scholde of trouthe thilke grace

1730With al his hole herte embrace,

So that his word be trewe and plein,

Toward the world and so certein

That in him be no double speche:

For if men scholde trouthe seche

And founde it noght withinne a king,

It were an unsittende thing.

The word is tokne of that withinne,

Ther schal a worthi king beginne

To kepe his tunge and to be trewe,

1740So schal his pris ben evere newe.

Avise him every man tofore,

And be wel war, er he be swore,

For afterward it is to late,

If that he wole his word debate.

For as a king in special

Above alle othre is principal

Of his pouer, so scholde he be

Most vertuous in his degre;

And that mai wel be signefied

1750Be his corone and specified.

The gold betokneth excellence,

That men schull don him reverence

As to here liege soverein.

The Stones, as the bokes sein,

Commended ben in treble wise:

Ferst thei ben harde, and thilke assisse

Betokneth in a king Constance,

So that ther schal no variance

Be founde in his condicion;

1760And also be descripcion

The vertu which is in the stones

A verrai Signe is for the nones

Of that a king schal ben honeste

And holde trewly his beheste

Of thing which longeth to kinghede:

The bryhte colour, as I rede,

Which in the stones is schynende,

Is in figure betoknende

The Cronique of this worldes fame,

1770Which stant upon his goode name.

The cercle which is round aboute

Is tokne of al the lond withoute,

Which stant under his Gerarchie,

That he it schal wel kepe and guye.

And for that trouthe, hou so it falle,

Is the vertu soverein of alle,

That longeth unto regiment,

A tale, which is evident

Of trouthe in comendacioun,

1780Toward thin enformacion,

Mi Sone, hierafter thou schalt hiere

Of a Cronique in this matiere.

As the Cronique it doth reherce,

A Soldan whilom was of Perce,

Which Daires hihte, and Ytaspis

His fader was; and soth it is

That thurgh wisdom and hih prudence

Mor than for eny reverence

Of his lignage as be descente

1790The regne of thilke empire he hente:

And as he was himselve wys,

The wisemen he hield in pris

And soghte hem oute on every side,

That toward him thei scholde abide.

Among the whiche thre ther were

That most service unto him bere,

As thei which in his chambre lyhen

And al his conseil herde and syhen.

Here names ben of strange note,

1800Arpaghes was the ferste hote,

And Manachaz was the secounde,

Zorobabel, as it is founde

In the Cronique, was the thridde.

This Soldan, what so him betidde,

To hem he triste most of alle,

Wherof the cas is so befalle:

This lord, which hath conceiptes depe,

Upon a nyht whan he hath slepe,

As he which hath his wit desposed,

1810Touchende a point hem hath opposed.

The kinges question was this;

Of thinges thre which strengest is,

The wyn, the womman or the king:

And that thei scholde upon this thing

Of here ansuere avised be,

He yaf hem fulli daies thre,

And hath behote hem be his feith

That who the beste reson seith,

He schal receive a worthi mede.

1820Upon this thing thei token hiede

And stoden in desputeison,

That be diverse opinion

Of Argumentz that thei have holde

Arpaghes ferst his tale tolde,

And seide hou that the strengthe of kinges

Is myhtiest of alle thinges.

For king hath pouer over man,

And man is he which reson can,

As he which is of his nature

1830The moste noble creature

Of alle tho that god hath wroght:

And be that skile it semeth noght,

He seith, that eny erthly thing

Mai be so myhty as a king.

A king mai spille, a king mai save,

A king mai make of lord a knave

And of a knave a lord also:

The pouer of a king stant so,

That he the lawes overpasseth;

1840What he wol make lasse, he lasseth,

What he wol make more, he moreth;

And as the gentil faucon soreth,

He fleth, that noman him reclameth;

Bot he al one alle othre tameth,

And stant himself of lawe fre.

Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he,

So as his reson can argue,

Is strengest and of most value.

Bot Manachaz seide otherwise,

1850That wyn is of the more emprise;

And that he scheweth be this weie.

The wyn fulofte takth aweie

The reson fro the mannes herte;

The wyn can make a krepel sterte,

And a delivere man unwelde;

It makth a blind man to behelde,

And a bryht yhed seme derk;

It makth a lewed man a clerk,

And fro the clerkes the clergie

1860It takth aweie, and couardie

It torneth into hardiesse;

Of Avarice it makth largesse.

The wyn makth ek the goode blod,

In which the Soule which is good

Hath chosen hire a resting place,

Whil that the lif hir wole embrace.

And be this skile Manachas

Ansuered hath upon this cas,

And seith that wyn be weie of kinde

1870Is thing which mai the hertes binde

Wel more than the regalie.

Zorobabel for his partie

Seide, as him thoghte for the beste,

That wommen ben the myhtieste.

The king and the vinour also

Of wommen comen bothe tuo;

And ek he seide hou that manhede

Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede

Of love, wher he wole or non,

1880Obeie schal; and therupon,

To schewe of wommen the maistrie,

A tale which he syh with yhe

As for ensample he tolde this,-

Hou Apemen, of Besazis

Which dowhter was, in the paleis

Sittende upon his hihe deis,

Whan he was hotest in his ire

Toward the grete of his empire,

Cirus the king tirant sche tok,

1890And only with hire goodly lok

Sche made him debonaire and meke,

And be the chyn and be the cheke

Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste,

That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste,

And doth with him what evere hir liketh;

Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh,

And whan sche gladeth, he is glad:

And thus this king was overlad

With hire which his lemman was.

1900Among the men is no solas,

If that ther be no womman there;

For bot if that the wommen were,

This worldes joie were aweie:

Thurgh hem men finden out the weie

To knihthode and to worldes fame;

Thei make a man to drede schame,

And honour forto be desired:

Thurgh the beaute of hem is fyred

The Dart of which Cupide throweth,

1910Wherof the jolif peine groweth,

Which al the world hath under fote.

A womman is the mannes bote,

His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel;

And this thing mai be schewed wel,

Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde,

For in ensample this I finde.

Whan that the duk Ametus lay

Sek in his bedd, that every day

Men waiten whan he scholde deie,

1920Alceste his wif goth forto preie,

As sche which wolde thonk deserve,

With Sacrifice unto Minerve,

To wite ansuere of the goddesse

Hou that hir lord of his seknesse,

Wherof he was so wo besein,

Recovere myhte his hele ayein.

Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide,

Til ate laste a vois hir seide,

That if sche wolde for his sake

1930The maladie soffre and take,

And deie hirself, he scholde live.

Of this ansuere Alceste hath yive

Unto Minerve gret thonkinge,

So that hir deth and his livinge

Sche ches with al hire hole entente,

And thus acorded hom sche wente.

Into the chambre and whan sche cam,

Hire housebonde anon sche nam

In bothe hire Armes and him kiste,

1940And spak unto him what hire liste;

And therupon withinne a throwe

This goode wif was overthrowe

And deide, and he was hool in haste.

So mai a man be reson taste,

Hou next after the god above

The trouthe of wommen and the love,

In whom that alle grace is founde,

Is myhtiest upon this grounde

And most behovely manyfold.

1950Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told

The tale of his opinion:

Bot for final conclusion

What strengest is of erthli thinges,

The wyn, the wommen or the kinges,

He seith that trouthe above hem alle

Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle.

The trouthe, hou so it evere come,

Mai for nothing ben overcome;

It mai wel soffre for a throwe,

1960Bot ate laste it schal be knowe.

The proverbe is, who that is trewe,

Him schal his while nevere rewe:

For hou so that the cause wende,

The trouthe is schameles ate ende,

Bot what thing that is troutheles,

It mai noght wel be schameles,

And schame hindreth every wyht:

So proveth it, ther is no myht

Withoute trouthe in no degre.

1970And thus for trouthe of his decre

Zorobabel was most commended,

Wherof the question was ended,

And he resceived hath his mede

For trouthe, which to mannes nede

Is most behoveliche overal.

Forthi was trouthe in special

The ferste point in observance

Betake unto the governance

Of Alisandre, as it is seid:

1980For therupon the ground is leid

Of every kinges regiment,

As thing which most convenient

Is forto sette a king in evene

Bothe in this world and ek in hevene.

Next after trouthe the secounde,

In Policie as it is founde,

Which serveth to the worldes fame

In worschipe of a kinges name,

Largesse it is, whos privilegge

1990Ther mai non Avarice abregge.

The worldes good was ferst comune,

Bot afterward upon fortune

Was thilke comun profit cessed:

For whan the poeple stod encresced

And the lignages woxen grete,

Anon for singulier beyete

Drouh every man to his partie;

Wherof cam in the ferste envie

With gret debat and werres stronge,

2000And laste among the men so longe,

Til noman wiste who was who,

Ne which was frend ne which was fo.

Til ate laste in every lond

Withinne hemself the poeple fond

That it was good to make a king,

Which mihte appesen al this thing

And yive riht to the lignages

In partinge of here heritages

And ek of al here other good;

2010And thus above hem alle stod

The king upon his Regalie,

As he which hath to justifie

The worldes good fro covoitise.

So sit it wel in alle wise

A king betwen the more and lesse

To sette his herte upon largesse

Toward himself and ek also

Toward his poeple; and if noght so,

That is to sein, if that he be

2020Toward himselven large and fre

And of his poeple take and pile,

Largesse be no weie of skile

It mai be seid, bot Avarice,

Which in a king is a gret vice.

A king behoveth ek to fle

The vice of Prodegalite,

That he mesure in his expence

So kepe, that of indigence

He mai be sauf: for who that nedeth,

2030In al his werk the worse he spedeth.

As Aristotle upon Chaldee

Ensample of gret Auctorite

Unto king Alisandre tauhte

Of thilke folk that were unsauhte

Toward here king for his pilage:

Wherof he bad, in his corage

That he unto thre pointz entende,

Wher that he wolde his good despende.

Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod,

2040That al were of his oghne good

The yiftes whiche he wolde yive;

So myhte he wel the betre live:

And ek he moste taken hiede

If ther be cause of eny nede,

Which oghte forto be defended,

Er that his goodes be despended:

He mot ek, as it is befalle,

Amonges othre thinges alle

Se the decertes of his men;

2050And after that thei ben of ken

And of astat and of merite,

He schal hem largeliche aquite,

Or for the werre, or for the pes,

That non honour falle in descres,

Which mihte torne into defame,

Bot that he kepe his goode name,

So that he be noght holde unkinde.

For in Cronique a tale I finde,

Which spekth somdiel of this matiere,

2060Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere.

In Rome, to poursuie his riht,

Ther was a worthi povere kniht,

Which cam al one forto sein

His cause, when the court was plein,

Wher Julius was in presence.

And for him lacketh of despence,

Ther was with him non advocat

To make ple for his astat.

Bot thogh him lacke forto plede,

2070Him lacketh nothing of manhede;

He wiste wel his pours was povere,

Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere,

And openly poverte alleide,

To themperour and thus he seide:

“O Julius, lord of the lawe,

Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe

For lacke of gold: do thin office

After the lawes of justice:

Help that I hadde conseil hiere

2080Upon the trouthe of mi matiere.”

And Julius with that anon

Assigned him a worthi on,

Bot he himself no word ne spak.

This kniht was wroth and fond a lak

In themperour, and seide thus:

“O thou unkinde Julius,

Whan thou in thi bataille were

Up in Aufrique, and I was there,

Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede

2090And putte noman in my stede,

Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde:

Bot hier I finde thee so badde,

That thee ne liste speke o word

Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord

To yive a florin me to helpe.

Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe

Fro this dai forth of thi largesse,

Whan such a gret unkindenesse

Is founde in such a lord as thou?”

2100This Julius knew wel ynou

That al was soth which he him tolde;

And for he wolde noght ben holde

Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde,

And as it were of goddes sonde,

He yaf him good ynouh to spende

For evere into his lives ende.

And thus scholde every worthi king

Take of his knihtes knowleching,

Whan that he syh thei hadden nede,

2110For every service axeth mede:

Bot othre, which have noght deserved

Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served,

A king schal noght deserve grace,

Thogh he be large in such a place.

It sit wel every king to have

Discrecion, whan men him crave,

So that he mai his yifte wite:

Wherof I finde a tale write,

Hou Cinichus a povere kniht

2120A Somme which was over myht

Preide of his king Antigonus.

The king ansuerde to him thus,

And seide hou such a yifte passeth

His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth,

And axeth bot a litel peny,

If that the king wol yive him eny.

The king ansuerde, it was to smal

For him, which was a lord real;

To yive a man so litel thing

2130It were unworschipe in a king.

Be this ensample a king mai lere

That forto yive is in manere:

For if a king his tresor lasseth

Withoute honour and thonkles passeth,

Whan he himself wol so beguile,

I not who schal compleigne his while,

Ne who be rihte him schal relieve.

Bot natheles this I believe,

To helpe with his oghne lond

2140Behoveth every man his hond

To sette upon necessite;

And ek his kinges realte

Mot every liege man conforte,

With good and bodi to supporte,

Whan thei se cause resonable:

For who that is noght entendable

To holde upriht his kinges name,

Him oghte forto be to blame.

Of Policie and overmore

2150To speke in this matiere more,

So as the Philosophre tolde,

A king after the reule is holde

To modifie and to adresce

Hise yiftes upon such largesce

That he mesure noght excede:

For if a king falle into nede,

It causeth ofte sondri thinges

Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges.

What man wol noght himself mesure,

2160Men sen fulofte that mesure

Him hath forsake: and so doth he

That useth Prodegalite,

Which is the moder of poverte,

Wherof the londes ben deserte;

And namely whan thilke vice

Aboute a king stant in office

And hath withholde of his partie

The covoitouse flaterie,

Which many a worthi king deceiveth,

2170Er he the fallas aperceiveth

Of hem that serven to the glose.

For thei that cunnen plese and glose,

Ben, as men tellen, the norrices

Unto the fostringe of the vices,

Wherof fulofte natheles

A king is blamed gulteles.

A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere,

Spak to a king of this matiere,

And seide him wel hou that flatours

2180Coupable were of thre errours.

On was toward the goddes hihe,

That weren wrothe of that thei sihe

The meschief which befalle scholde

Of that the false flatour tolde.

Toward the king an other was,

Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas

Of feigned wordes make him wene

That blak is whyt and blew is grene

Touchende of his condicion:

2190For whanne he doth extorcion

With manye an other vice mo,

Men schal noght finden on of tho

To groucche or speke therayein,

Bot holden up his oil and sein

That al is wel, what evere he doth;

And thus of fals thei maken soth,

So that here kinges yhe is blent

And wot not hou the world is went.

The thridde errour is harm comune,

2200With which the poeple mot commune

Of wronges that thei bringen inne:

And thus thei worchen treble sinne,

That ben flatours aboute a king.

Ther myhte be no worse thing

Aboute a kinges regalie,

Thanne is the vice of flaterie.

And natheles it hath ben used,

That it was nevere yit refused

As forto speke in court real;

2210For there it is most special,

And mai noght longe be forbore.

Bot whan this vice of hem is bore,

That scholden the vertus forthbringe,

And trouthe is torned to lesinge,

It is, as who seith, ayein kinde,

Wherof an old ensample I finde.

Among these othre tales wise

Of Philosophres, in this wise

I rede, how whilom tuo ther were,

2220And to the Scole forto lere

Unto Athenes fro Cartage

Here frendes, whan thei were of Age,

Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe,

Til thei such lore have underfonge,

That in here time thei surmonte

Alle othre men, that to acompte

Of hem was tho the grete fame.

The ferste of hem his rihte name

Was Diogenes thanne hote,

2230In whom was founde no riote:

His felaw Arisippus hyhte,

Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte.

Bot ate laste, soth to sein,

Thei bothe tornen hom ayein

Unto Cartage and scole lete.

This Diogenes no beyete

Of worldes good or lasse or more

Ne soghte for his longe lore,

Bot tok him only forto duelle

2240At hom; and as the bokes telle,

His hous was nyh to the rivere

Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere.

Ther duelleth he to take his reste,

So as it thoghte him for the beste,

To studie in his Philosophie,

As he which wolde so defie

The worldes pompe on every syde.

Bot Arisippe his bok aside

Hath leid, and to the court he wente,

2250Wher many a wyle and many a wente

With flaterie and wordes softe

He caste, and hath compassed ofte

Hou he his Prince myhte plese;

And in this wise he gat him ese

Of vein honour and worldes good.

The londes reule upon him stod,

The king of him was wonder glad,

And all was do, what thing he bad,

Bothe in the court and ek withoute.

2260With flaterie he broghte aboute

His pourpos of the worldes werk,

Which was ayein the stat of clerk,

So that Philosophie he lefte

And to richesse himself uplefte:

Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille.

Bot Diogenes duelte stille

A home and loked on his bok:

He soghte noght the worldes crok

For vein honour ne for richesse,

2270Bot all his hertes besinesse

He sette to be vertuous;

And thus withinne his oghne hous

He liveth to the sufficance

Of his havinge. And fell per chance,

This Diogene upon a day,

And that was in the Monthe of May,

Whan that these herbes ben holsome,

He walketh forto gadre some

In his gardin, of whiche his joutes

2280He thoghte have, and thus aboutes

Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh,

He satte him thanne doun and pyketh,

And wyssh his herbes in the flod

Upon the which his gardin stod,

Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er.

And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther,

Cam Arisippes be the strete

With manye hors and routes grete,

And straght unto the bregge he rod.

2290Wher that he hoved and abod;

For as he caste his yhe nyh,

His felaw Diogene he syh,

And what he dede he syh also,

Wherof he seide to him so:

“O Diogene, god thee spede.

It were certes litel nede

To sitte there and wortes pyke,

If thou thi Prince couthest lyke,

So as I can in my degre.”

2300“O Arisippe,” ayein quod he,

“If that thou couthist, so as I,

Thi wortes pyke, trewely

It were als litel nede or lasse,

That thou so worldly wolt compasse

With flaterie forto serve,

Wherof thou thenkest to deserve

Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace

Hou thou myht stonden in his grace,

For getinge of a litel good.

2310If thou wolt take into thi mod

Reson, thou myht be reson deeme

That so thi prince forto queeme

Is noght to reson acordant,

Bot it is gretly descordant

Unto the Scoles of Athene.”

Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene

Ayein the clerkes flaterie.

Bot yit men sen thessamplerie

Of Arisippe is wel received,

2320And thilke of Diogene is weyved.

Office in court and gold in cofre

Is nou, men sein, the philosophre

Which hath the worschipe in the halle;

Bot flaterie passeth alle

In chambre, whom the court avanceth;

For upon thilke lot it chanceth

To be beloved nou aday.

I not if it be ye or nay,

Bot as the comun vois it telleth;

2330Bot wher that flaterie duelleth

In eny lond under the Sonne,

Ther is ful many a thing begonne

Which were betre to be left;

That hath be schewed nou and eft.

Bot if a Prince wolde him reule

Of the Romeins after the reule,

In thilke time as it was used,

This vice scholde be refused,

Wherof the Princes ben assoted.

2340Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted,

Ther may a Prince wel conceive,

That he schal noght himself deceive,

Of that he hiereth wordes pleine;

For him thar noght be reson pleigne,

That warned is er him be wo.

And that was fully proeved tho,

Whan Rome was the worldes chief,

The Sothseiere tho was lief,

Which wolde noght the trouthe spare,

2350Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare

To Themperour hise sothes tolde,

As in Cronique is yit withholde,

Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere

Acordende unto this matiere.

To se this olde ensamplerie,

That whilom was no flaterie

Toward the Princes wel I finde;

Wherof so as it comth to mynde,

Mi Sone, a tale unto thin Ere,

2360Whil that the worthi princes were

At Rome, I thenke forto tellen.

For whan the chances so befellen

That eny Emperour as tho

Victoire hadde upon his fo,

And so forth cam to Rome ayein,

Of treble honour he was certein,

Wherof that he was magnefied.

The ferste, as it is specefied,

Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde,

2370The Charr in which he scholde ryde

Foure whyte Stiedes scholden drawe;

Of Jupiter be thilke lawe

The Cote he scholde were also;

Hise prisoners ek scholden go

Endlong the Charr on eyther hond,

And alle the nobles of the lond

Tofore and after with him come

Ridende and broghten him to Rome,

In thonk of his chivalerie

2380And for non other flaterie.

And that was schewed forth withal;

Wher he sat in his Charr real,

Beside him was a Ribald set,

Which hadde hise wordes so beset,

To themperour in al his gloire

He seide, “Tak into memoire,

For al this pompe and al this pride

Let no justice gon aside,

Bot know thiself, what so befalle.

2390For men sen ofte time falle

Thing which men wende siker stonde:

Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde,

Fortune mai noght stonde alway;

The whiel per chance an other day

Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe;

Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe.”

With these wordes and with mo

This Ribald, which sat with him tho,

To Themperour his tale tolde:

2400And overmor what evere he wolde,

Or were it evel or were it good,

So pleinly as the trouthe stod,

He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute;

And so myhte every man aboute

The day of that solempnete

His tale telle als wel as he

To Themperour al openly.

And al was this the cause why;

That whil he stod in that noblesse,

2410He scholde his vanite represse

With suche wordes as he herde.

Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde

Toward so hih a worthi lord:

For this I finde ek of record,

Which the Cronique hath auctorized.

What Emperour was entronized,

The ferste day of his corone,

Wher he was in his real Throne

And hield his feste in the paleis

2420Sittende upon his hihe deis

With al the lust that mai be gete,

Whan he was gladdest at his mete,

And every menstral hadde pleid,

And every Disour hadde seid

What most was plesant to his Ere,

Than ate laste comen there

Hise Macons, for thei scholden crave

Wher that he wolde be begrave,

And of what Ston his sepulture

2430Thei scholden make, and what sculpture

He wolde ordeine therupon.

Tho was ther flaterie non

The worthi princes to bejape;

The thing was other wise schape

With good conseil; and otherwise

Thei were hemselven thanne wise,

And understoden wel and knewen.

Whan suche softe wyndes blewen

Of flaterie into here Ere,

2440Thei setten noght here hertes there;

Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned,

The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned

Of hem that weren so discrete.

So tok the flatour no beyete

Of him that was his prince tho:

And forto proven it is so,

A tale which befell in dede

In a Cronique of Rome I rede.

Cesar upon his real throne

2450Wher that he sat in his persone

And was hyest in al his pris,

A man, which wolde make him wys,

Fell doun knelende in his presence,

And dede him such a reverence,

As thogh the hihe god it were:

Men hadden gret mervaille there

Of the worschipe which he dede.

This man aros fro thilke stede,

And forth with al the same tyde

2460He goth him up and be his side

He set him doun as pier and pier,

And seide, “If thou that sittest hier

Art god, which alle thinges myht,

Thanne have I do worshipe ariht

As to the god; and other wise,

If thou be noght of thilke assisse,

Bot art a man such as am I,

Than mai I sitte faste by,

For we be bothen of o kinde.”

2470Cesar ansuerde and seide, “O blinde,

Thou art a fol, it is wel sene

Upon thiself: for if thou wene

I be a god, thou dost amys

To sitte wher thou sest god is;

And if I be a man, also

Thou hast a gret folie do,

Whan thou to such on as schal deie

The worschipe of thi god aweie

Hast yoven so unworthely.

2480Thus mai I prove redely,

Thou art noght wys.” And thei that herde

Hou wysly that the king ansuerde,

It was to hem a newe lore;

Wherof thei dradden him the more,

And broghten nothing to his Ere,

Bot if it trouthe and reson were.

So be ther manye, in such a wise

That feignen wordes to be wise,

And al is verray flaterie

2490To him which can it wel aspie.

The kinde flatour can noght love

Bot forto bringe himself above;

For hou that evere his maister fare,

So that himself stonde out of care,

Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte

Deceived ben with wordes softe

The kinges that ben innocent.

Wherof as for chastiement

The wise Philosophre seide,

2500What king that so his tresor leide

Upon such folk, he hath the lesse,

And yit ne doth he no largesse,

Bot harmeth with his oghne hond

Himself and ek his oghne lond,

And that be many a sondri weie.

Wherof if that a man schal seie,

As forto speke in general,

Wher such thing falleth overal

That eny king himself misreule,

2510The Philosophre upon his reule

In special a cause sette,

Which is and evere hath be the lette

In governance aboute a king

Upon the meschief of the thing,

And that, he seith, is Flaterie.

Wherof tofore as in partie

What vice it is I have declared;

For who that hath his wit bewared

Upon a flatour to believe,

2520Whan that he weneth best achieve

His goode world, it is most fro.

And forto proeven it is so

Ensamples ther ben manyon,

Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on,

It is behovely forto hiere

What whilom fell in this matiere.

Among the kinges in the bible

I finde a tale, and is credible,

Of him that whilom Achab hihte,

2530Which hadde al Irahel to rihte;

Bot who that couthe glose softe

And flatre, suche he sette alofte

In gret astat and made hem riche;

Bot thei that spieken wordes liche

To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere,

For hem was non astat to bere,

The court of suche tok non hiede.

Til ate laste upon a nede,

That Benedab king of Surie

2540Of Irahel a gret partie,

Which Ramoth Galaath was hote,

Hath sesed; and of that riote

He tok conseil in sondri wise,

Bot noght of hem that weren wise.

And natheles upon this cas

To strengthen him, for Josaphas,

Which thanne was king of Judee,

He sende forto come, as he

Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance

2550Was next to him of aqueintance;

For Joram Sone of Josaphath

Achabbes dowhter wedded hath,

Which hihte faire Godelie.

And thus cam into Samarie

King Josaphat, and he fond there

The king Achab: and whan thei were

Togedre spekende of this thing,

This Josaphat seith to the king,

Hou that he wolde gladly hiere

2560Som trew prophete in this matiere,

That he his conseil myhte yive

To what point that it schal be drive.

And in that time so befell,

Ther was such on in Irahel,

Which sette him al to flaterie,

And he was cleped Sedechie;

And after him Achab hath sent:

And he at his comandement

Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte

2570He hath upon his heved on heyhte

Tuo large hornes set of bras,

As he which al a flatour was,

And goth rampende as a leoun

And caste hise hornes up and doun,

And bad men ben of good espeir,

For as the hornes percen their,

He seith, withoute resistence,

So wiste he wel of his science

That Benedab is desconfit.

2580Whan Sedechie upon this plit

Hath told this tale to his lord,

Anon ther were of his acord

Prophetes false manye mo

To bere up oil, and alle tho

Affermen that which he hath told,

Wherof the king Achab was bold

And yaf hem yiftes al aboute.

But Josaphat was in gret doute,

And hield fantosme al that he herde,

2590Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde,

If ther were eny other man,

The which of prophecie can,

To hiere him speke er that thei gon.

Quod Achab thanne, “Ther is on,

A brothell, which Micheas hihte;

Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte,

For he hath longe in prison lein.

Him liketh nevere yit to sein

A goodly word to mi plesance;

2600And natheles at thin instance

He schal come oute, and thanne he may

Seie as he seide many day;

For yit he seide nevere wel.”

Tho Josaphat began somdel

To gladen him in hope of trouthe,

And bad withouten eny slouthe

That men him scholden fette anon.

And thei that weren for him gon,

Whan that thei comen wher he was,

2610Thei tolden unto Micheas

The manere hou that Sedechie

Declared hath his prophecie;

And therupon thei preie him faire

That he wol seie no contraire,

Wherof the king mai be desplesed,

For so schal every man ben esed,

And he mai helpe himselve also.

Micheas upon trouthe tho

His herte sette, and to hem seith,

2620Al that belongeth to his feith

And of non other feigned thing,

That wol he telle unto his king,

Als fer as god hath yove him grace.

Thus cam this prophete into place

Wher he the kinges wille herde;

And he therto anon ansuerde,

And seide unto him in this wise:

“Mi liege lord, for mi servise,

Which trewe hath stonden evere yit,

2630Thou hast me with prisone aquit;

Bot for al that I schal noght glose

Of trouthe als fer as I suppose;

And as touchende of this bataille,

Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile.

For if it like thee to hiere,

As I am tauht in that matiere,

Thou miht it understonde sone;

Bot what is afterward to done

Avise thee, for this I sih.

2640I was tofor the throne on hih,

Wher al the world me thoghte stod,

And there I herde and understod

The vois of god with wordes cliere

Axende, and seide in this manere:

“In what thing mai I best beguile

The king Achab?” And for a while

Upon this point thei spieken faste.

Tho seide a spirit ate laste,

“I undertake this emprise.”

2650And god him axeth in what wise.

“I schal,” quod he, “deceive and lye

With flaterende prophecie

In suche mouthes as he lieveth.”

And he which alle thing achieveth

Bad him go forth and don riht so.

And over this I sih also

The noble peple of Irahel

Dispers as Schep upon an hell,

Withoute a kepere unarraied:

2660And as thei wente aboute astraied,

I herde a vois unto hem sein,

“Goth hom into your hous ayein,

Til I for you have betre ordeigned.”

Quod Sedechie, “Thou hast feigned

This tale in angringe of the king.”

And in a wraththe upon this thing

He smot Michee upon the cheke;

The king him hath rebuked eke,

And every man upon him cride:

2670Thus was he schent on every side,

Ayein and into prison lad,

For so the king himselve bad.

The trouthe myhte noght ben herd;

Bot afterward as it hath ferd,

The dede proveth his entente:

Achab to the bataille wente,

Wher Benedab for al his Scheld

Him slouh, so that upon the feld

His poeple goth aboute astray.

2680Bot god, which alle thinges may,

So doth that thei no meschief have;

Here king was ded and thei ben save,

And hom ayein in goddes pes

Thei wente, and al was founde les

That Sedechie hath seid tofore.

So sit it wel a king therfore

To loven hem that trouthe mene;

For ate laste it wol be sene

That flaterie is nothing worth.

2690Bot nou to mi matiere forth,

As forto speken overmore

After the Philosophres lore,

The thridde point of Policie

I thenke forto specifie.

What is a lond wher men ben none?

What ben the men whiche are al one

Withoute a kinges governance?

What is a king in his ligance,

Wher that ther is no lawe in londe?

2700What is to take lawe on honde,

Bot if the jugges weren trewe?

These olde worldes with the newe

Who that wol take in evidence,

Ther mai he se thexperience,

What thing it is to kepe lawe,

Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe

And rihtwisnesse stant commended,

Wherof the regnes ben amended.

For wher the lawe mai comune

2710The lordes forth with the commune,

Ech hath his propre duete;

And ek the kinges realte

Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth,

To his astat as it belongeth,

Which of his hihe worthinesse

Hath to governe rihtwisnesse,

As he which schal the lawe guide.

And natheles upon som side

His pouer stant above the lawe,

2720To yive bothe and to withdrawe

The forfet of a mannes lif;

But thinges whiche are excessif

Ayein the lawe, he schal noght do

For love ne for hate also.

The myhtes of a king ben grete,

Bot yit a worthi king schal lete

Of wrong to don, al that he myhte;

For he which schal the poeple ryhte,

It sit wel to his regalie

2730That he himself ferst justefie

Towardes god in his degre:

For his astat is elles fre

Toward alle othre in his persone,

Save only to the god al one,

Which wol himself a king chastise,

Wher that non other mai suffise.

So were it good to taken hiede

That ferst a king his oghne dede

Betwen the vertu and the vice

2740Redresce, and thanne of his justice

So sette in evene the balance

Towardes othre in governance,

That to the povere and to the riche

Hise lawes myhten stonde liche,

He schal excepte no persone.

Bot for he mai noght al him one

In sondri places do justice,

He schal of his real office

With wys consideracion

2750Ordeigne his deputacion

Of suche jugges as ben lerned,

So that his poeple be governed

Be hem that trewe ben and wise.

For if the lawe of covoitise

Be set upon a jugges hond,

Wo is the poeple of thilke lond,

For wrong mai noght himselven hyde:

Bot elles on that other side,

If lawe stonde with the riht,

2760The poeple is glad and stant upriht.

Wher as the lawe is resonable,

The comun poeple stant menable,

And if the lawe torne amis,

The poeple also mistorned is.

And in ensample of this matiere

Of Maximin a man mai hiere,

Of Rome which was Emperour,

That whanne he made a governour

Be weie of substitucion

2770Of Province or of region,

He wolde ferst enquere his name,

And let it openly proclame

What man he were, or evel or good.

And upon that his name stod

Enclin to vertu or to vice,

So wolde he sette him in office,

Or elles putte him al aweie.

Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie,

Which fond no let of covoitise:

2780The world stod than upon the wise,

As be ensample thou myht rede;

And hold it in thi mynde, I rede.

In a Cronique I finde thus,

Hou that Gayus Fabricius,

Which whilom was Consul of Rome,

Be whom the lawes yede and come,

Whan the Sampnites to him broghte

A somme of gold, and him besoghte

To don hem favour in the lawe,

2790Toward the gold he gan him drawe,

Wherof in alle mennes lok

A part up in his hond he tok,

Which to his mouth in alle haste

He putte, it forto smelle and taste,

And to his yhe and to his Ere,

Bot he ne fond no confort there:

And thanne he gan it to despise,

And tolde unto hem in this wise:

“I not what is with gold to thryve,

2800Whan non of all my wittes fyve

Fynt savour ne delit therinne.

So is it bot a nyce Sinne

Of gold to ben to covoitous;

Bot he is riche and glorious,

Which hath in his subjeccion

Tho men whiche in possession

Ben riche of gold, and be this skile;

For he mai aldai whan he wile,

Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe,

2810Justice don upon hem bothe.”

Lo, thus he seide, and with that word

He threw tofore hem on the bord

The gold out of his hond anon,

And seide hem that he wolde non:

So that he kepte his liberte

To do justice and equite,

Withoute lucre of such richesse.

Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse;

For it was thilke times used,

2820That every jugge was refused

Which was noght frend to comun riht;

Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht

For trouthe only to do justice

Preferred were in thilke office

To deme and jugge commun lawe:

Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe.

To sette a lawe and kepe it noght

Ther is no comun profit soght;

Bot above alle natheles

2830The lawe, which is mad for pes,

Is good to kepe for the beste,

For that set alle men in reste.

The rihtful Emperour Conrade

To kepe pes such lawe made,

That non withinne the cite

In destorbance of unite

Dorste ones moeven a matiere.

For in his time, as thou myht hiere,

What point that was for lawe set

2840It scholde for no gold be let,

To what persone that it were.

And this broghte in the comun fere,

Why every man the lawe dradde,

For ther was non which favour hadde.

So as these olde bokes sein,

I finde write hou a Romein,

Which Consul was of the Pretoire,

Whos name was Carmidotoire,

He sette a lawe for the pes,

2850That non, bot he be wepneles,

Schal come into the conseil hous,

And elles as malicious

He schal ben of the lawe ded.

To that statut and to that red

Acorden alle it schal be so,

For certein cause which was tho:

Nou lest what fell therafter sone.

This Consul hadde forto done,

And was into the feldes ride;

2860And thei him hadden longe abide,

That lordes of the conseil were,

And for him sende, and he cam there

With swerd begert, and hath foryete,

Til he was in the conseil sete.

Was non of hem that made speche,

Til he himself it wolde seche,

And fond out the defalte himselve;

And thanne he seide unto the tuelve,

Whiche of the Senat weren wise,

2870“I have deserved the juise,

In haste that it were do.”

And thei him seiden alle no;

For wel thei wiste it was no vice,

Whan he ne thoghte no malice,

Bot onliche of a litel slouthe:

And thus thei leften as for routhe

To do justice upon his gilt,

For that he scholde noght be spilt.

And whanne he sih the maner hou

2880Thei wolde him save, he made avou

With manfull herte, and thus he seide,

That Rome scholde nevere abreide

His heires, whan he were of dawe,

That here Ancestre brak the lawe.

Forthi, er that thei weren war,

Forth with the same swerd he bar

The statut of his lawe he kepte,

So that al Rome his deth bewepte.

In other place also I rede,

2890Wher that a jugge his oghne dede

Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke,

The king it hath himselven wroke.

The grete king which Cambises

Was hote, a jugge laweles

He fond, and into remembrance

He dede upon him such vengance:

Out of his skyn he was beflain

Al quyk, and in that wise slain,

So that his skyn was schape al meete,

2900And nayled on the same seete

Wher that his Sone scholde sitte.

Avise him, if he wolde flitte

The lawe for the coveitise,

Ther sih he redi his juise.

Thus in defalte of other jugge

The king mot otherwhile jugge,

To holden up the rihte lawe.

And forto speke of tholde dawe,

To take ensample of that was tho,

2910I finde a tale write also,

Hou that a worthi prince is holde

The lawes of his lond to holde,

Ferst for the hihe goddes sake,

And ek for that him is betake

The poeple forto guide and lede,

Which is the charge of his kinghede.

In a Cronique I rede thus

Of the rihtful Ligurgius,

Which of Athenis Prince was,

2920Hou he the lawe in every cas,

Wherof he scholde his poeple reule,

Hath set upon so good a reule,

In al this world that cite non

Of lawe was so wel begon

Forth with the trouthe of governance.

Ther was among hem no distance,

Bot every man hath his encress;

Ther was withoute werre pes,

Withoute envie love stod;

2930Richesse upon the comun good

And noght upon the singuler

Ordeigned was, and the pouer

Of hem that weren in astat

Was sauf: wherof upon debat

Ther stod nothing, so that in reste

Mihte every man his herte reste.

And whan this noble rihtful king

Sih hou it ferde of al this thing,

Wherof the poeple stod in ese,

2940He, which for evere wolde plese

The hihe god, whos thonk he soghte,

A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte,

And schop if that it myhte be,

Hou that his lawe in the cite

Mihte afterward for evere laste.

And therupon his wit he caste

What thing him were best to feigne,

That he his pourpos myhte atteigne.

A Parlement and thus he sette,

2950His wisdom wher that he besette

In audience of grete and smale,

And in this wise he tolde his tale:

“God wot, and so ye witen alle,

Hierafterward hou so it falle,

Yit into now my will hath be

To do justice and equite

In forthringe of comun profit;

Such hath ben evere my delit.

Bot of o thing I am beknowe,

2960The which mi will is that ye knowe:

The lawe which I tok on honde,

Was altogedre of goddes sonde

And nothing of myn oghne wit;

So mot it nede endure yit,

And schal do lengere, if ye wile.

For I wol telle you the skile;

The god Mercurius and no man

He hath me tawht al that I can

Of suche lawes as I made,

2970Wherof that ye ben alle glade;

It was the god and nothing I,

Which dede al this, and nou forthi

He hath comanded of his grace

That I schal come into a place

Which is forein out in an yle,

Wher I mot tarie for a while,

With him to speke, as he hath bede.

For as he seith, in thilke stede

He schal me suche thinges telle,

2980That evere, whyl the world schal duelle,

Athenis schal the betre fare.

Bot ferst, er that I thider fare,

For that I wolde that mi lawe

Amonges you ne be withdrawe

Ther whyles that I schal ben oute,

Forthi to setten out of doute

Bothe you and me, this wol I preie,

That ye me wolde assure and seie

With such an oth as I wol take,

2990That ech of you schal undertake

Mi lawes forto kepe and holde.”

Thei seiden alle that thei wolde,

And therupon thei swore here oth,

That fro the time that he goth,

Til he to hem be come ayein,

Thei scholde hise lawes wel and plein

In every point kepe and fulfille.

Thus hath Ligurgius his wille,

And tok his leve and forth he wente.

3000Bot lest nou wel to what entente

Of rihtwisnesse he dede so:

For after that he was ago,

He schop him nevere to be founde;

So that Athenis, which was bounde,

Nevere after scholde be relessed,

Ne thilke goode lawe cessed,

Which was for comun profit set.

And in this wise he hath it knet;

He, which the comun profit soghte,

3010The king, his oghne astat ne roghte;

To do profit to the comune,

He tok of exil the fortune,

And lefte of Prince thilke office

Only for love and for justice,

Thurgh which he thoghte, if that he myhte,

For evere after his deth to rihte

The cite which was him betake.

Wherof men oghte ensample take

The goode lawes to avance

3020With hem which under governance

The lawes have forto kepe;

For who that wolde take kepe

Of hem that ferst the lawes founde,

Als fer as lasteth eny bounde

Of lond, here names yit ben knowe:

And if it like thee to knowe

Some of here names hou thei stonde,

Nou herkne and thou schalt understonde.

Of every bienfet the merite

3030The god himself it wol aquite;

And ek fulofte it falleth so,

The world it wole aquite also,

Bot that mai noght ben evene liche:

The god he yifth the heveneriche,

The world yifth only bot a name,

Which stant upon the goode fame

Of hem that don the goode dede.

And in this wise double mede

Resceiven thei that don wel hiere;

3040Wherof if that thee list to hiere

After the fame as it is blowe,

Ther myht thou wel the sothe knowe,

Hou thilke honeste besinesse

Of hem that ferst for rihtwisnesse

Among the men the lawes made,

Mai nevere upon this erthe fade.

For evere, whil ther is a tunge,

Here name schal be rad and sunge

And holde in the Cronique write;

3050So that the men it scholden wite,

To speke good, as thei wel oghten,

Of hem that ferst the lawes soghten

In forthringe of the worldes pes.

Unto thebreus was Moi5ses

The ferste, and to thegipciens

Mercurius, and to Troiens

Ferst was Neuma Pompilius,

To Athenes Ligurgius

Yaf ferst the lawe, and to Gregois

3060Forones hath thilke vois,

And Romulus to the Romeins.

For suche men that ben vileins

The lawe in such a wise ordeigneth,

That what man to the lawe pleigneth,

Be so the jugge stonde upriht,

He schal be served of his riht.

And so ferforth it is befalle

That lawe is come among ous alle:

God lieve it mote wel ben holde,

3070As every king therto is holde;

For thing which is of kinges set,

With kinges oghte it noght be let.

What king of lawe takth no kepe,

Be lawe he mai no regne kepe.

Do lawe awey, what is a king?

Wher is the riht of eny thing,

If that ther be no lawe in londe?

This oghte a king wel understonde,

As he which is to lawe swore,

3080That if the lawe be forbore

Withouten execucioun,

If makth a lond torne up so doun,

Which is unto the king a sclandre.

Forthi unto king Alisandre

The wise Philosophre bad,

That he himselve ferst be lad

Of lawe, and forth thanne overal

So do justice in general,

That al the wyde lond aboute

3090The justice of his lawe doute,

And thanne schal he stonde in reste.

For therto lawe is on the beste

Above alle other erthly thing,

To make a liege drede his king.

Bot hou a king schal gete him love

Toward the hihe god above,

And ek among the men in erthe,

This nexte point, which is the ferthe

Of Aristotles lore, it techeth:

3100Wherof who that the Scole secheth,

What Policie that it is

The bok reherceth after this.

It nedeth noght that I delate

The pris which preised is algate,

And hath ben evere and evere schal,

Wherof to speke in special,

It is the vertu of Pite,

Thurgh which the hihe mageste

Was stered, whan his Sone alyhte,

3110And in pite the world to rihte

Tok of the Maide fleissh and blod.

Pite was cause of thilke good,

Wherof that we ben alle save:

Wel oghte a man Pite to have

And the vertu to sette in pris,

Whan he himself which is al wys

Hath schewed why it schal be preised.

Pite may noght be conterpeised

Of tirannie with no peis;

3120For Pite makth a king courteis

Bothe in his word and in his dede.

It sit wel every liege drede

His king and to his heste obeie,

And riht so be the same weie

It sit a king to be pitous

Toward his poeple and gracious

Upon the reule of governance,

So that he worche no vengance,

Which mai be cleped crualte.

3130Justice which doth equite

Is dredfull, for he noman spareth;

Bot in the lond wher Pite fareth

The king mai nevere faile of love,

For Pite thurgh the grace above,

So as the Philosphre affermeth,

His regne in good astat confermeth.

Thus seide whilom Constantin:

“What Emperour that is enclin

To Pite forto be servant,

3140Of al the worldes remenant

He is worthi to ben a lord.”

In olde bokes of record

This finde I write of essamplaire:

Troian the worthi debonaire,

Be whom that Rome stod governed,

Upon a time as he was lerned

Of that he was to familier,

He seide unto that conseiller,

That forto ben an Emperour

3150His will was noght for vein honour,

Ne yit for reddour of justice;

Bot if he myhte in his office

Hise lordes and his poeple plese,

Him thoghte it were a grettere ese

With love here hertes to him drawe,

Than with the drede of eny lawe.

For whan a thing is do for doute,

Fulofte it comth the worse aboute;

Bot wher a king is Pietous,

3160He is the more gracious,

That mochel thrift him schal betyde,

Which elles scholde torne aside.

Of Pite forto speke plein,

Which is with mercy wel besein,

Fulofte he wole himselve peine

To kepe an other fro the peine:

For Charite the moder is

Of Pite, which nothing amis

Can soffre, if he it mai amende.

3170It sit to every man livende

To be Pitous, bot non so wel

As to a king, which on the whiel

Fortune hath set aboven alle:

For in a king, if so befalle

That his Pite be ferme and stable,

To al the lond it is vailable

Only thurgh grace of his persone;

For the Pite of him al one

Mai al the large realme save.

3180So sit it wel a king to have

Pite; for this Valeire tolde,

And seide hou that be daies olde

Codrus, which was in his degre

King of Athenis the cite,

A werre he hadde ayein Dorrence:

And forto take his evidence

What schal befalle of the bataille,

He thoghte he wolde him ferst consaille

With Appollo, in whom he triste;

3190Thurgh whos ansuere this he wiste,

Of tuo pointz that he myhte chese,

Or that he wolde his body lese

And in bataille himselve deie,

Or elles the seconde weie,

To sen his poeple desconfit.

Bot he, which Pite hath parfit

Upon the point of his believe,

The poeple thoghte to relieve,

And ches himselve to be ded.

3200Wher is nou such an other hed,

Which wolde for the lemes dye?

And natheles in som partie

It oghte a kinges herte stere,

That he hise liege men forbere.

And ek toward hise enemis

Fulofte he may deserve pris,

To take of Pite remembrance,

Wher that he myhte do vengance:

For whanne a king hath the victoire,

3210And thanne he drawe into memoire

To do Pite in stede of wreche,

He mai noght faile of thilke speche

Wherof arist the worldes fame,

To yive a Prince a worthi name.

I rede hou whilom that Pompeie,

To whom that Rome moste obeie,

A werre hadde in jeupartie

Ayein the king of Ermenie,

Which of long time him hadde grieved.

3220Bot ate laste it was achieved

That he this king desconfit hadde,

And forth with him to Rome ladde

As Prisoner, wher many a day

In sori plit and povere he lay,

The corone of his heved deposed,

Withinne walles faste enclosed;

And with ful gret humilite

He soffreth his adversite.

Pompeie sih his pacience

3230And tok pite with conscience,

So that upon his hihe deis

Tofore al Rome in his Paleis,

As he that wolde upon him rewe,

Let yive him his corone newe

And his astat al full and plein

Restoreth of his regne ayein,

And seide it was more goodly thing

To make than undon a king,

To him which pouer hadde of bothe.

3240Thus thei, that weren longe wrothe,

Acorden hem to final pes;

And yit justice natheles

Was kept and in nothing offended;

Wherof Pompeie was comended.

Ther mai no king himself excuse,

Bot if justice he kepe and use,

Which for teschuie crualte

He mot attempre with Pite.

Of crualte the felonie

3250Engendred is of tirannie,

Ayein the whos condicion

God is himself the champion,

Whos strengthe mai noman withstonde.

For evere yit it hath so stonde,

That god a tirant overladde;

Bot wher Pite the regne ladde,

Ther mihte no fortune laste

Which was grevous, bot ate laste

The god himself it hath redresced.

3260Pite is thilke vertu blessed

Which nevere let his Maister falle;

Bot crualte, thogh it so falle

That it mai regne for a throwe,

God wole it schal ben overthrowe:

Wherof ensamples ben ynowhe

Of hem that thilke merel drowhe.

Of crualte I rede thus:

Whan the tirant Leoncius

Was to thempire of Rome arrived,

3270Fro which he hath with strengthe prived

The pietous Justinian,

As he which was a cruel man,

His nase of and his lippes bothe

He kutte, for he wolde him lothe

Unto the poeple and make unable.

Bot he which is al merciable,

The hihe god, ordeigneth so,

That he withinne a time also,

Whan he was strengest in his ire,

3280Was schoven out of his empire.

Tiberius the pouer hadde,

And Rome after his will he ladde,

And for Leonce in such a wise

Ordeigneth, that he tok juise

Of nase and lippes bothe tuo,

For that he dede an other so,

Which more worthi was than he.

Lo, which a fall hath crualte,

And Pite was set up ayein:

3290For after that the bokes sein,

Therbellis king of Bulgarie

With helpe of his chivalerie

Justinian hath unprisoned

And to thempire ayein coroned.

In a Cronique I finde also

Of Siculus, which was ek so

A cruel king lich the tempeste,

The whom no Pite myhte areste,-

He was the ferste, as bokes seie,

3300Upon the See which fond Galeie

And let hem make for the werre,-

As he which al was out of herre

Fro Pite and misericorde;

For therto couthe he noght acorde,

Bot whom he myhte slen, he slouh,

And therof was he glad ynouh.

He hadde of conseil manyon,

Among the whiche ther was on,

Be name which Berillus hihte;

3310And he bethoghte him hou he myhte

Unto the tirant do likinge,

And of his oghne ymaginynge

Let forge and make a Bole of bras,

And on the side cast ther was

A Dore, wher a man mai inne,

Whan he his peine schal beginne

Thurgh fyr, which that men putten under.

And al this dede he for a wonder,

That whanne a man for peine cride,

3320The Bole of bras, which gapeth wyde,

It scholde seme as thogh it were

A belwinge in a mannes Ere,

And noght the criinge of a man.

Bot he which alle sleihtes can,

The devel, that lith in helle fast,

Him that this caste hath overcast,

That for a trespas which he dede

He was putt in the same stede,

And was himself the ferste of alle

3330Which was into that peine falle

That he for othre men ordeigneth;

Ther was noman which him compleigneth.

Of tirannie and crualte

Be this ensample a king mai se,

Himself and ek his conseil bothe,

Hou thei ben to mankinde lothe

And to the god abhominable.

Ensamples that ben concordable

I finde of othre Princes mo,

3340As thou schalt hiere, of time go.

The grete tirant Dionys,

Which mannes lif sette of no pris,

Unto his hors fulofte he yaf

The men in stede of corn and chaf,

So that the hors of thilke stod

Devoureden the mennes blod;

Til fortune ate laste cam,

That Hercules him overcam,

And he riht in the same wise

3350Of this tirant tok the juise:

As he til othre men hath do,

The same deth he deide also,

That no Pite him hath socoured,

Til he was of hise hors devoured.

Of Lichaon also I finde

Hou he ayein the lawe of kinde

Hise hostes slouh, and into mete

He made her bodies to ben ete

With othre men withinne his hous.

3360Bot Jupiter the glorious,

Which was commoeved of this thing,

Vengance upon this cruel king

So tok, that he fro mannes forme

Into a wolf him let transforme:

And thus the crualte was kidd,

Which of long time he hadde hidd;

A wolf he was thanne openly,

The whos nature prively

He hadde in his condicion.

3370And unto this conclusioun,

That tirannie is to despise,

I finde ensample in sondri wise,

And nameliche of hem fulofte,

The whom fortune hath set alofte

Upon the werres forto winne.

Bot hou so that the wrong beginne

Of tirannie, it mai noght laste,

Bot such as thei don ate laste

To othre men, such on hem falleth;

3380For ayein suche Pite calleth

Vengance to the god above.

For who that hath no tender love

In savinge of a mannes lif,

He schal be founde so gultif,

That whanne he wolde mercy crave

In time of nede, he schal non have.

Of the natures this I finde,

The fierce Leon in his kinde,

Which goth rampende after his preie,

3390If he a man finde in his weie,

He wole him slen, if he withstonde.

Bot if the man coude understonde

To falle anon before his face

In signe of mercy and of grace,

The Leon schal of his nature

Restreigne his ire in such mesure,

As thogh it were a beste tamed,

And torne awey halfvinge aschamed,

That he the man schal nothing grieve.

3400Hou scholde than a Prince achieve

The worldes grace, if that he wolde

Destruie a man whanne he is yolde

And stant upon his mercy al?

Bot forto speke in special,

Ther have be suche and yit ther be

Tirantz, whos hertes no pite

Mai to no point of mercy plie,

That thei upon her tirannie

Ne gladen hem the men to sle;

3410And as the rages of the See

Ben unpitous in the tempeste,

Riht so mai no Pite areste

Of crualte the gret oultrage,

Which the tirant in his corage

Engendred hath: wherof I finde

A tale, which comth nou to mynde.

I rede in olde bokes thus:

Ther was a Duk, which Spertachus

Men clepe, and was a werreiour,

3420A cruel man, a conquerour

With strong pouer the which he ladde.

For this condicion he hadde,

That where him hapneth the victoire,

His lust and al his moste gloire

Was forto sle and noght to save:

Of rancoun wolde he no good have

For savinge of a mannes lif,

Bot al goth to the swerd and knyf,

So lief him was the mannes blod.

3430And natheles yit thus it stod,

So as fortune aboute wente,

He fell riht heir as be descente

To Perse, and was coroned king.

And whan the worschipe of this thing

Was falle, and he was king of Perse,

If that thei weren ferst diverse,

The tirannies whiche he wroghte,

A thousendfold welmore he soghte

Thanne afterward to do malice.

3440The god vengance ayein the vice

Hath schape: for upon a tyde,

Whan he was heihest in his Pride,

In his rancour and in his hete

Ayein the queene of Marsagete,

Which Thameris that time hihte,

He made werre al that he myhte:

And sche, which wolde hir lond defende,

Hir oghne Sone ayein him sende,

Which the defence hath undertake.

3450Bot he desconfit was and take;

And whan this king him hadde in honde,

He wol no mercy understonde,

Bot dede him slen in his presence.

The tidinge of this violence

Whan it cam to the moder Ere,

Sche sende anon ay wydewhere

To suche frendes as sche hadde,

A gret pouer til that sche ladde.

In sondri wise and tho sche caste

3460Hou sche this king mai overcaste;

And ate laste acorded was,

That in the danger of a pass,

Thurgh which this tirant scholde passe,

Sche schop his pouer to compasse

With strengthe of men be such a weie

That he schal noght eschape aweie.

And whan sche hadde thus ordeigned,

Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned,

For feere as thogh sche wolde flee

3470Out of hir lond: and whan that he

Hath herd hou that this ladi fledde,

So faste after the chace he spedde,

That he was founde out of array.

For it betidde upon a day,

Into the pas whanne he was falle,

Thembuisschementz tobrieken alle

And him beclipte on every side,

That fle ne myhte he noght aside:

So that ther weren dede and take

3480Tuo hundred thousend for his sake,

That weren with him of his host.

And thus was leid the grete bost

Of him and of his tirannie:

It halp no mercy forto crie

To him which whilom dede non;

For he unto the queene anon

Was broght, and whan that sche him sih,

This word sche spak and seide on hih:

“O man, which out of mannes kinde

3490Reson of man hast left behinde

And lived worse than a beste,

Whom Pite myhte noght areste,

The mannes blod to schede and spille

Thou haddest nevere yit thi fille.

Bot nou the laste time is come,

That thi malice is overcome:

As thou til othre men hast do,

Nou schal be do to thee riht so.”

Tho bad this ladi that men scholde

3500A vessel bringe, in which sche wolde

Se the vengance of his juise,

Which sche began anon devise;

And tok the Princes whiche he ladde,

Be whom his chief conseil he hadde,

And whil hem lasteth eny breth,

Sche made hem blede to the deth

Into the vessel wher it stod:

And whan it was fulfild of blod,

Sche caste this tirant therinne,

3510And seide him, “Lo, thus myht thou wynne

The lustes of thin appetit.

In blod was whilom thi delit,

Nou schalt thou drinken al thi fille.”

And thus onliche of goddes wille,

He which that wolde himselve strange

To Pite, fond mercy so strange,

That he withoute grace is lore.

So may it schewe wel therfore

That crualte hath no good ende;

3520Bot Pite, hou so that it wende,

Makth that the god is merciable,

If ther be cause resonable

Why that a king schal be pitous.

Bot elles, if he be doubtous

To slen in cause of rihtwisnesse,

It mai be said no Pitousnesse,

Bot it is Pusillamite,

Which every Prince scholde flee.

For if Pite mesure excede,

3530Kinghode may noght wel procede

To do justice upon the riht:

For it belongeth to a knyht

Als gladly forto fihte as reste,

To sette his liege poeple in reste,

Whan that the werre upon hem falleth;

For thanne he mote, as it befalleth,

Of his knyhthode as a Leon

Be to the poeple a champioun

Withouten eny Pite feigned.

3540For if manhode be restreigned,

Or be it pes or be it werre,

Justice goth al out of herre,

So that knyhthode is set behinde.

Of Aristotles lore I finde,

A king schal make good visage,

That noman knowe of his corage

Bot al honour and worthinesse:

For if a king schal upon gesse

Withoute verrai cause drede,

3550He mai be lich to that I rede;

And thogh that it be lich a fable,

Thensample is good and resonable.

As it be olde daies fell,

I rede whilom that an hell

Up in the londes of Archade

A wonder dredful noise made;

For so it fell that ilke day,

This hell on his childinge lay,

And whan the throwes on him come,

3560His noise lich the day of dome

Was ferfull in a mannes thoght

Of thing which that thei sihe noght,

Bot wel thei herden al aboute

The noise, of which thei were in doute,

As thei that wenden to be lore

Of thing which thanne was unbore.

The nerr this hell was upon chance

To taken his deliverance,

The more unbuxomliche he cride;

3570And every man was fledd aside,

For drede and lefte his oghne hous:

And ate laste it was a Mous,

The which was bore and to norrice

Betake; and tho thei hield hem nyce,

For thei withoute cause dradde.

Thus if a king his herte ladde

With every thing that he schal hiere,

Fulofte he scholde change his chiere

And upon fantasie drede,

3580Whan that ther is no cause of drede.

Orace to his Prince tolde,

That him were levere that he wolde

Upon knihthode Achillem suie

In time of werre, thanne eschuie,

So as Tersites dede at Troie.

Achilles al his hole joie

Sette upon Armes forto fihte;

Tersites soghte al that he myhte

Unarmed forto stonde in reste:

3590Bot of the tuo it was the beste

That Achilles upon the nede

Hath do, wherof his knyhtlihiede

Is yit comended overal.

King Salomon in special

Seith, as ther is a time of pes,

So is a time natheles

Of werre, in which a Prince algate

Schal for the comun riht debate

And for his oghne worschipe eke.

3600Bot it behoveth noght to seke

Only the werre for worschipe,

Bot to the riht of his lordschipe,

Which he is holde to defende,

Mote every worthi Prince entende.

Betwen the simplesce of Pite

And the folhaste of crualte,

Wher stant the verray hardiesce,

Ther mote a king his herte adresce,

Whanne it is time to forsake,

3610And whan time is also to take

The dedly werres upon honde,

That he schal for no drede wonde,

If rihtwisnesse be withal.

For god is myhty overal

To forthren every mannes trowthe,

Bot it be thurgh his oghne slowthe;

And namely the kinges nede

It mai noght faile forto spede,

For he stant one for hem alle;

3620So mote it wel the betre falle

And wel the more god favoureth,

Whan he the comun riht socoureth.

And forto se the sothe in dede,

Behold the bible and thou myht rede

Of grete ensamples manyon,

Wherof that I wol tellen on.

Upon a time as it befell,

Ayein Judee and Irahel

Whan sondri kinges come were

3630In pourpos to destruie there

The poeple which god kepte tho,-

And stod in thilke daies so,

That Gedeon, which scholde lede

The goddes folk, tok him to rede,

And sende in al the lond aboute,

Til he assembled hath a route

With thritti thousend of defence,

To fihte and make resistence

Ayein the whiche hem wolde assaille:

3640And natheles that o bataille

Of thre that weren enemys

Was double mor than was al his;

Wherof that Gedeon him dradde,

That he so litel poeple hadde.

Bot he which alle thing mai helpe,

Wher that ther lacketh mannes helpe,

To Gedeon his Angel sente,

And bad, er that he forther wente,

Al openly that he do crie

3650That every man in his partie

Which wolde after his oghne wille

In his delice abide stille

At hom in eny maner wise,

For pourchas or for covoitise,

For lust of love or lacke of herte,

He scholde noght aboute sterte,

Bot holde him stille at hom in pes:

Wherof upon the morwe he les

Wel twenty thousend men and mo,

3660The whiche after the cri ben go.

Thus was with him bot only left

The thridde part, and yit god eft

His Angel sende and seide this

To Gedeon: “If it so is

That I thin help schal undertake,

Thou schalt yit lasse poeple take,

Be whom mi will is that thou spede.

Forthi tomorwe tak good hiede,

Unto the flod whan ye be come,

3670What man that hath the water nome

Up in his hond and lapeth so,

To thi part ches out alle tho;

And him which wery is to swinke,

Upon his wombe and lith to drinke,

Forsak and put hem alle aweie.

For I am myhti alle weie,

Wher as me list myn help to schewe

In goode men, thogh thei ben fewe.”

This Gedeon awaiteth wel,

3680Upon the morwe and everydel,

As god him bad, riht so he dede.

And thus ther leften in that stede

With him thre hundred and nomo,

The remenant was al ago:

Wherof that Gedeon merveileth,

And therupon with god conseileth,

Pleignende as ferforth as he dar.

And god, which wolde he were war

That he schal spede upon his riht,

3690Hath bede him go the same nyht

And take a man with him, to hiere

What schal be spoke in his matere

Among the hethen enemis;

So mai he be the more wys,

What afterward him schal befalle.

This Gedeon amonges alle

Phara, to whom he triste most,

Be nyhte tok toward thilke host,

Which logged was in a valleie,

3700To hiere what thei wolden seie;

Upon his fot and as he ferde,

Tuo Sarazins spekende he herde.

Quod on, “Ared mi swevene ariht,

Which I mette in mi slep to nyht.

Me thoghte I sih a barli cake,

Which fro the Hull his weie hath take,

And cam rollende doun at ones;

And as it were for the nones,

Forth in his cours so as it ran,

3710The kinges tente of Madian,

Of Amalech, of Amoreie,

Of Amon and of Jebuseie,

And many an other tente mo

With gret noise, as me thoghte tho,

It threw to grounde and overcaste,

And al this host so sore agaste

That I awok for pure drede.”

“This swevene can I wel arede,”

Quod thother Sarazin anon:

3720“The barli cake is Gedeon,

Which fro the hell doun sodeinly

Schal come and sette such ascry

Upon the kinges and ous bothe,

That it schal to ous alle lothe:

For in such drede he schal ous bringe,

That if we hadden flyht of wynge,

The weie on fote in desespeir

We scholden leve and flen in their,

For ther schal nothing him withstonde.”

3730Whan Gedeon hath understonde

This tale, he thonketh god of al,

And priveliche ayein he stal,

So that no lif him hath perceived.

And thanne he hath fulli conceived

That he schal spede; and therupon

The nyht suiende he schop to gon

This multitude to assaile.

Nou schalt thou hiere a gret mervaile,

With what voisdie that he wroghte.

3740The litel poeple which he broghte,

Was non of hem that he ne hath

A pot of erthe, in which he tath

A lyht brennende in a kressette,

And ech of hem ek a trompette

Bar in his other hond beside;

And thus upon the nyhtes tyde

Duk Gedeon, whan it was derk,

Ordeineth him unto his werk,

And parteth thanne his folk in thre,

3750And chargeth hem that thei ne fle,

And tawhte hem hou they scholde ascrie

Alle in o vois per compaignie,

And what word ek thei scholden speke,

And hou thei scholde here pottes breke

Echon with other, whan thei herde

That he himselve ferst so ferde;

For whan thei come into the stede,

He bad hem do riht as he dede.

And thus stalkende forth a pas

3760This noble Duk, whan time was,

His pot tobrak and loude ascride,

And tho thei breke on every side.

The trompe was noght forto seke;

He blew, and so thei blewen eke

With such a noise among hem alle,

As thogh the hevene scholde falle.

The hull unto here vois ansuerde,

This host in the valleie it herde,

And sih hou that the hell alyhte;

3770So what of hieringe and of sihte,

Thei cawhten such a sodein feere,

That non of hem belefte there:

The tentes hole thei forsoke,

That thei non other good ne toke,

Bot only with here bodi bare

Thei fledde, as doth the wylde Hare.

And evere upon the hull thei blewe,

Til that thei sihe time, and knewe

That thei be fled upon the rage;

3780And whan thei wiste here avantage,

Thei felle anon unto the chace.

Thus myht thou sen hou goddes grace

Unto the goode men availeth;

But elles ofte time it faileth

To suche as be noght wel disposed.

This tale nedeth noght be glosed,

For it is openliche schewed

That god to hem that ben wel thewed

Hath yove and granted the victoire:

3790So that thensample of this histoire

Is good for every king to holde;

Ferst in himself that he beholde

If he be good of his livinge,

And that the folk which he schal bringe

Be good also, for thanne he may

Be glad of many a merie day,

In what as evere he hath to done.

For he which sit above the Mone

And alle thing mai spille and spede,

3800In every cause, in every nede

His goode king so wel adresceth,

That alle his fomen he represseth,

So that ther mai noman him dere;

And als so wel he can forbere,

And soffre a wickid king to falle

In hondes of his fomen alle.

Nou forthermore if I schal sein

Of my matiere, and torne ayein

To speke of justice and Pite

3810After the reule of realte,

This mai a king wel understonde,

Knihthode mot ben take on honde,

Whan that it stant upon the nede:

He schal no rihtful cause drede,

Nomore of werre thanne of pes,

If he wol stonde blameles;

For such a cause a king mai have

That betre him is to sle than save,

Wherof thou myht ensample finde.

3820The hihe makere of mankinde

Be Samuel to Sal bad,

That he schal nothing ben adrad

Ayein king Agag forto fihte;

For this the godhede him behihte,

That Agag schal ben overcome:

And whan it is so ferforth come,

That Sal hath him desconfit,

The god bad make no respit,

That he ne scholde him slen anon.

3830Bot Sal let it overgon

And dede noght the goddes heste:

For Agag made gret beheste

Of rancoun which he wolde yive,

King Sal soffreth him to live

And feigneth pite forth withal.

Bot he which seth and knoweth al,

The hihe god, of that he feigneth

To Samuel upon him pleigneth,

And sende him word, for that he lefte

3840Of Agag that he ne berefte

The lif, he schal noght only dye

Himself, bot fro his regalie

He schal be put for everemo,

Noght he, bot ek his heir also,

That it schal nevere come ayein.

Thus myht thou se the sothe plein,

That of tomoche and of tolyte

Upon the Princes stant the wyte.

Bot evere it was a kinges riht

3850To do the dedes of a knyht;

For in the handes of a king

The deth and lif is al o thing

After the lawes of justice.

To slen it is a dedly vice,

Bot if a man the deth deserve;

And if a king the lif preserve

Of him which oghte forto dye,

He suieth noght thensamplerie

Which in the bible is evident:

3860Hou David in his testament,

Whan he no lengere myhte live,

Unto his Sone in charge hath yive

That he Joab schal slen algate;

And whan David was gon his gate,

The yonge wise Salomon

His fader heste dede anon,

And slouh Joab in such a wise,

That thei that herden the juise

Evere after dradden him the more,

3870And god was ek wel paid therfore,

That he so wolde his herte plye

The lawes forto justefie.

And yit he kepte forth withal

Pite, so as a Prince schal,

That he no tirannie wroghte;

He fond the wisdom which he soghte,

And was so rihtful natheles,

That al his lif he stod in pes,

That he no dedly werres hadde,

3880For every man his wisdom dradde.

And as he was himselve wys,

Riht so the worthi men of pris

He hath of his conseil withholde;

For that is every Prince holde,

To make of suche his retenue

Whiche wise ben, and to remue

The foles: for ther is nothing

Which mai be betre aboute a king,

Than conseil, which is the substance

3890Of all a kinges governance.

In Salomon a man mai see

What thing of most necessite

Unto a worthi king belongeth.

Whan he his kingdom underfongeth,

God bad him chese what he wolde,

And seide him that he have scholde

What he wolde axe, as of o thing.

And he, which was a newe king,

Forth therupon his bone preide

3900To god, and in this wise he seide:

“O king, be whom that I schal regne,

Yif me wisdom, that I my regne,

Forth with thi poeple which I have,

To thin honour mai kepe and save.”

Whan Salomon his bone hath taxed,

The god of that which he hath axed

Was riht wel paid, and granteth sone

Noght al only that he his bone

Schal have of that, bot of richesse,

3910Of hele, of pes, of hih noblesse,

Forth with wisdom at his axinges,

Which stant above alle othre thinges.

Bot what king wole his regne save,

Ferst him behoveth forto have

After the god and his believe

Such conseil which is to believe,

Fulfild of trouthe and rihtwisnesse:

Bot above alle in his noblesse

Betwen the reddour and pite

3920A king schal do such equite

And sette the balance in evene,

So that the hihe god in hevene

And al the poeple of his nobleie

Loange unto his name seie.

For most above all erthli good,

Wher that a king himself is good

It helpeth, for in other weie

If so be that a king forsueie,

Fulofte er this it hath be sein,

3930The comun poeple is overlein

And hath the kinges Senne aboght,

Al thogh the poeple agulte noght.

Of that the king his god misserveth,

The poeple takth that he descerveth

Hier in this world, bot elleswhere

I not hou it schal stonde there.

Forthi good is a king to triste

Ferst to himself, as he ne wiste

Non other help bot god alone;

3940So schal the reule of his persone

Withinne himself thurgh providence

Ben of the betre conscience.

And forto finde ensample of this,

A tale I rede, and soth it is.

In a Cronique it telleth thus:

The king of Rome Lucius

Withinne his chambre upon a nyht

The Steward of his hous, a knyht,

Forth with his Chamberlein also,

3950To conseil hadde bothe tuo,

And stoden be the Chiminee

Togedre spekende alle thre.

And happeth that the kinges fol

Sat be the fyr upon a stol,

As he that with his babil pleide,

Bot yit he herde al that thei seide,

And therof token thei non hiede.

The king hem axeth what to rede

Of such matiere as cam to mouthe,

3960And thei him tolden as thei couthe.

Whan al was spoke of that thei mente,

The king with al his hole entente

Thanne ate laste hem axeth this,

What king men tellen that he is:

Among the folk touchende his name,

Or be it pris, or be it blame,

Riht after that thei herden sein,

He bad hem forto telle it plein,

That thei no point of soth forbere,

3970Be thilke feith that thei him bere.

The Steward ferst upon this thing

Yaf his ansuere unto the king

And thoghte glose in this matiere,

And seide, als fer as he can hiere,

His name is good and honourable:

Thus was the Stieward favorable,

That he the trouthe plein ne tolde.

The king thanne axeth, as he scholde,

The Chamberlein of his avis.

3980And he, that was soubtil and wys,

And somdiel thoghte upon his feith,

Him tolde hou al the poeple seith

That if his conseil were trewe,

Thei wiste thanne wel and knewe

That of himself he scholde be

A worthi king in his degre:

And thus the conseil he accuseth

In partie, and the king excuseth.

The fol, which herde of al the cas

3990That time, as goddes wille was,

Sih that thei seiden noght ynowh,

And hem to skorne bothe lowh,

And to the king he seide tho:

“Sire king, if that it were so,

Of wisdom in thin oghne mod

That thou thiselven were good,

Thi conseil scholde noght be badde.”

The king therof merveille hadde,

Whan that a fol so wisly spak,

4000And of himself fond out the lack

Withinne his oghne conscience:

And thus the foles evidence,

Which was of goddes grace enspired,

Makth that good conseil was desired.

He putte awey the vicious

And tok to him the vertuous;

The wrongful lawes ben amended,

The londes good is wel despended,

The poeple was nomore oppressed,

4010And thus stod every thing redressed.

For where a king is propre wys,

And hath suche as himselven is

Of his conseil, it mai noght faile

That every thing ne schal availe:

The vices thanne gon aweie,

And every vertu holt his weie;

Wherof the hihe god is plesed,

And al the londes folk is esed.

For if the comun poeple crie,

4020And thanne a king list noght to plie

To hiere what the clamour wolde,

And otherwise thanne he scholde

Desdeigneth forto don hem grace,

It hath be sen in many place,

Ther hath befalle gret contraire;

And that I finde of ensamplaire.

After the deth of Salomon,

Whan thilke wise king was gon,

And Roboas in his persone

4030Receive scholde the corone,

The poeple upon a Parlement

Avised were of on assent,

And alle unto the king thei preiden,

With comun vois and thus thei seiden:

“Oure liege lord, we thee beseche

That thou receive oure humble speche

And grante ous that which reson wile,

Or of thi grace or of thi skile.

Thi fader, whil he was alyve

4040And myhte bothe grante and pryve,

Upon the werkes whiche he hadde

The comun poeple streite ladde:

Whan he the temple made newe,

Thing which men nevere afore knewe

He broghte up thanne of his taillage,

And al was under the visage

Of werkes whiche he made tho.

Bot nou it is befalle so,

That al is mad, riht as he seide,

4050And he was riche whan he deide;

So that it is no maner nede,

If thou therof wolt taken hiede,

To pilen of the poeple more,

Which long time hath be grieved sore.

And in this wise as we thee seie,

With tendre herte we thee preie

That thou relesse thilke dette,

Which upon ous thi fader sette.

And if thee like to don so,

4060We ben thi men for everemo,

To gon and comen at thin heste.”

The king, which herde this requeste,

Seith that he wole ben avised,

And hath therof a time assised;

And in the while as he him thoghte

Upon this thing, conseil he soghte.

And ferst the wise knyhtes olde,

To whom that he his tale tolde,

Conseilen him in this manere;

4070That he with love and with glad chiere

Foryive and grante al that is axed

Of that his fader hadde taxed;

For so he mai his regne achieve

With thing which schal him litel grieve.

The king hem herde and overpasseth,

And with these othre his wit compasseth,

That yonge were and nothing wise.

And thei these olde men despise,

And seiden: “Sire, it schal be schame

4080For evere unto thi worthi name,

If thou ne kepe noght the riht,

Whil thou art in thi yonge myht,

Which that thin olde fader gat.

Bot seie unto the poeple plat,

That whil thou livest in thi lond,

The leste finger of thin hond

It schal be strengere overal

Than was thi fadres bodi al.

And this also schal be thi tale,

4090If he hem smot with roddes smale,

With Scorpions thou schalt hem smyte;

And wher thi fader tok a lyte,

Thou thenkst to take mochel more.

Thus schalt thou make hem drede sore

The grete herte of thi corage,

So forto holde hem in servage.

This yonge king him hath conformed

To don as he was last enformed,

Which was to him his undoinge:

4100For whan it cam to the spekinge,

He hath the yonge conseil holde,

That he the same wordes tolde

Of al the poeple in audience;

And whan thei herden the sentence

Of his malice and the manace,

Anon tofore his oghne face

Thei have him oultreli refused

And with ful gret reproef accused.

So thei begunne forto rave,

4110That he was fain himself to save;

For as the wilde wode rage

Of wyndes makth the See salvage,

And that was calm bringth into wawe,

So for defalte of grace and lawe

This poeple is stered al at ones

And forth thei gon out of hise wones;

So that of the lignages tuelve

Tuo tribes only be hemselve

With him abiden and nomo:

4120So were thei for everemo

Of no retorn withoute espeir

Departed fro the rihtfull heir.

Al Irahel with comun vois

A king upon here oghne chois

Among hemself anon thei make,

And have here yonge lord forsake;

A povere knyht Jeroboas

Thei toke, and lefte Roboas,

Which rihtfull heir was be descente.

4130Lo, thus the yonge cause wente:

For that the conseil was noght good,

The regne fro the rihtfull blod

Evere afterward divided was.

So mai it proven be this cas

That yong conseil, which is to warm,

Er men be war doth ofte harm.

Old age for the conseil serveth,

And lusti youthe his thonk deserveth

Upon the travail which he doth;

4140And bothe, forto seie a soth,

Be sondri cause forto have,

If that he wole his regne save,

A king behoveth every day.

That on can and that other mai,

Be so the king hem bothe reule,

For elles al goth out of reule.

And upon this matiere also

A question betwen the tuo

Thus writen in a bok I fond;

4150Wher it be betre for the lond

A king himselve to be wys,

And so to bere his oghne pris,

And that his consail be noght good,

Or other wise if it so stod,

A king if he be vicious

And his conseil be vertuous.

It is ansuerd in such a wise,

That betre it is that thei be wise

Be whom that the conseil schal gon,

4160For thei be manye, and he is on;

And rathere schal an one man

With fals conseil, for oght he can,

From his wisdom be mad to falle,

Thanne he al one scholde hem alle

Fro vices into vertu change,

For that is wel the more strange.

Forthi the lond mai wel be glad,

Whos king with good conseil is lad,

Which set him unto rihtwisnesse,

4170So that his hihe worthinesse

Betwen the reddour and Pite

Doth mercy forth with equite.

A king is holden overal

To Pite, bot in special

To hem wher he is most beholde;

Thei scholde his Pite most beholde

That ben the Lieges of his lond,

For thei ben evere under his hond

After the goddes ordinaunce

4180To stonde upon his governance.

Of themperour Anthonius

I finde hou that he seide thus,

That levere him were forto save

Oon of his lieges than to have

Of enemis a thousend dede.

And this he lernede, as I rede,

Of Cipio, which hadde be

Consul of Rome. And thus to se

Diverse ensamples hou thei stonde,

4190A king which hath the charge on honde

The comun poeple to governe,

If that he wole, he mai wel lerne.

Is non so good to the plesance

Of god, as is good governance;

And every governance is due

To Pite: thus I mai argue

That Pite is the foundement

Of every kinges regiment,

If it be medled with justice.

4200Thei tuo remuen alle vice,

And ben of vertu most vailable

To make a kinges regne stable.

Lo, thus the foure pointz tofore,

In governance as thei ben bore,

Of trouthe ferst and of largesse,

Of Pite forth with rihtwisnesse,

I have hem told; and over this

The fifte point, so as it is

Set of the reule of Policie,

4210Wherof a king schal modefie

The fleisschly lustes of nature,

Nou thenk I telle of such mesure,

That bothe kinde schal be served

And ek the lawe of god observed.

The Madle is mad for the the femele,

Bot where as on desireth fele,

That nedeth noght be weie of kinde:

For whan a man mai redy finde

His oghne wif, what scholde he seche

4220In strange places to beseche

To borwe an other mannes plouh,

Whan he hath geere good ynouh

Affaited at his oghne heste,

And is to him wel more honeste

Than other thing which is unknowe?

Forthi scholde every good man knowe

And thenke, hou that in mariage

His trouthe pliht lith in morgage,

Which if he breke, it is falshode,

4230And that descordeth to manhode,

And namely toward the grete,

Wherof the bokes alle trete;

So as the Philosophre techeth

To Alisandre, and him betecheth

The lore hou that he schal mesure

His bodi, so that no mesure

Of fleisshly lust he scholde excede.

And thus forth if I schal procede,

The fifte point, as I seide er,

4240Is chastete, which sielde wher

Comth nou adaies into place;

And natheles, bot it be grace

Above alle othre in special,

Is non that chaste mai ben all.

Bot yit a kinges hihe astat,

Which of his ordre as a prelat

Schal ben enoignt and seintefied,

He mot be more magnefied

For dignete of his corone,

4250Than scholde an other low persone,

Which is noght of so hih emprise.

Therfore a Prince him scholde avise,

Er that he felle in such riote,

And namely that he nassote

To change for the wommanhede

The worthinesse of his manhede.

Of Aristotle I have wel rad,

Hou he to Alisandre bad,

That forto gladen his corage

4260He schal beholde the visage

Of wommen, whan that thei ben faire.

Bot yit he set an essamplaire,

His bodi so to guide and reule,

That he ne passe noght the reule,

Wherof that he himself beguile.

For in the womman is no guile

Of that a man himself bewhapeth;

Whan he his oghne wit bejapeth,

I can the wommen wel excuse:

4270Bot what man wole upon hem muse

After the fool impression

Of his ymaginacioun,

Withinne himself the fyr he bloweth,

Wherof the womman nothing knoweth,

So mai sche nothing be to wyte.

For if a man himself excite

To drenche, and wol it noght forbere,

The water schal no blame bere.

What mai the gold, thogh men coveite?

4280If that a man wol love streite,

The womman hath him nothing bounde;

If he his oghne herte wounde,

Sche mai noght lette the folie;

And thogh so felle of compainie

That he myht eny thing pourchace,

Yit makth a man the ferste chace,

The womman fleth and he poursuieth:

So that be weie of skile it suieth,

The man is cause, hou so befalle,

4290That he fulofte sithe is falle

Wher that he mai noght wel aryse.

And natheles ful manye wise

Befoled have hemself er this,

As nou adaies yit it is

Among the men and evere was,

The stronge is fieblest in this cas.

It sit a man be weie of kinde

To love, bot it is noght kinde

A man for love his wit to lese:

4300For if the Monthe of Juil schal frese

And that Decembre schal ben hot,

The yeer mistorneth, wel I wot.

To sen a man fro his astat

Thurgh his sotie effeminat,

And leve that a man schal do,

It is as Hose above the Scho,

To man which oghte noght ben used.

Bot yit the world hath ofte accused

Ful grete Princes of this dede,

4310Hou thei for love hemself mislede,

Wherof manhode stod behinde,

Of olde ensamples as I finde.

These olde gestes tellen thus,

That whilom Sardana Pallus,

Which hield al hol in his empire

The grete kingdom of Assire,

Was thurgh the slouthe of his corage

Falle into thilke fyri rage

Of love, which the men assoteth,

4320Wherof himself he so rioteth,

And wax so ferforth wommannyssh,

That ayein kinde, as if a fissh

Abide wolde upon the lond,

In wommen such a lust he fond,

That he duelte evere in chambre stille,

And only wroghte after the wille

Of wommen, so as he was bede,

That selden whanne in other stede

If that he wolde wenden oute,

4330To sen hou that it stod aboute.

Bot ther he keste and there he pleide,

Thei tawhten him a Las to breide,

And weve a Pours, and to enfile

A Perle: and fell that ilke while,

On Barbarus the Prince of Mede

Sih hou this king in wommanhede

Was falle fro chivalerie,

And gat him help and compaignie,

And wroghte so, that ate laste

4340This king out of his regne he caste,

Which was undon for everemo:

And yit men speken of him so,

That it is schame forto hiere.

Forthi to love is in manere.

King David hadde many a love,

Bot natheles alwey above

Knyhthode he kepte in such a wise,

That for no fleisshli covoitise

Of lust to ligge in ladi armes

4350He lefte noght the lust of armes.

For where a Prince hise lustes suieth,

That he the werre noght poursuieth,

Whan it is time to ben armed,

His contre stant fulofte harmed,

Whan thenemis ben woxe bolde,

That thei defence non beholde.

Ful many a lond hath so be lore,

As men mai rede of time afore

Of hem that so here eses soghten,

4360Which after thei full diere aboghten.

To mochel ese is nothing worth,

For that set every vice forth

And every vertu put abak,

Wherof priss torneth into lak,

As in Cronique I mai reherse:

Which telleth hou the king of Perse,

That Cirus hihte, a werre hadde

Ayein a poeple which he dradde,

Of a contre which Liddos hihte;

4370Bot yit for oght that he do mihte

As in bataille upon the werre,

He hadde of hem alwey the werre.

And whan he sih and wiste it wel,

That he be strengthe wan no del,

Thanne ate laste he caste a wyle

This worthi poeple to beguile,

And tok with hem a feigned pes,

Which scholde lasten endeles,

So as he seide in wordes wise,

4380Bot he thoghte al in other wise.

For it betidd upon the cas,

Whan that this poeple in reste was,

Thei token eses manyfold;

And worldes ese, as it is told,

Be weie of kinde is the norrice

Of every lust which toucheth vice.

Thus whan thei were in lustes falle,

The werres ben foryeten alle;

Was non which wolde the worschipe

4390Of Armes, bot in idelschipe

Thei putten besinesse aweie

And token hem to daunce and pleie;

Bot most above alle othre thinges

Thei token hem to the likinges

Of fleysshly lust, that chastete

Received was in no degre,

Bot every man doth what him liste.

And whan the king of Perse it wiste,

That thei unto folie entenden,

4400With his pouer, whan thei lest wenden,

Mor sodeinly than doth the thunder

He cam, for evere and put hem under.

And thus hath lecherie lore

The lond, which hadde be tofore

The beste of hem that were tho.

And in the bible I finde also

A tale lich unto this thing,

Hou Amalech the paien king,

Whan that he myhte be no weie

4410Defende his lond and putte aweie

The worthi poeple of Irael,

This Sarazin, as it befell,

Thurgh the conseil of Balaam

A route of faire wommen nam,

That lusti were and yonge of Age,

And bad hem gon to the lignage

Of these Hebreus: and forth thei wente

With yhen greye and browes bente

And wel arraied everych on;

4420And whan thei come were anon

Among thebreus, was non insihte,

Bot cacche who that cacche myhte,

And ech of hem hise lustes soghte,

Whiche after thei full diere boghte.

For grace anon began to faile,

That whan thei comen to bataille

Thanne afterward, in sori plit

Thei were take and disconfit,

So that withinne a litel throwe

4430The myht of hem was overthrowe,

That whilom were wont to stonde.

Til Phinees the cause on honde

Hath take, this vengance laste,

Bot thanne it cessede ate laste,

For god was paid of that he dede:

For wher he fond upon a stede

A couple which misferde so,

Thurghout he smot hem bothe tuo,

And let hem ligge in mennes yhe;

4440Wherof alle othre whiche hem sihe

Ensamplede hem upon the dede,

And preiden unto the godhiede

Here olde Sennes to amende:

And he, which wolde his mercy sende,

Restorede hem to newe grace.

Thus mai it schewe in sondri place,

Of chastete hou the clennesse

Acordeth to the worthinesse

Of men of Armes overal;

4450Bot most of alle in special

This vertu to a king belongeth,

For upon his fortune it hongeth

Of that his lond schal spede or spille.

Forthi bot if a king his wille

Fro lustes of his fleissh restreigne,

Ayein himself he makth a treigne,

Into the which if that he slyde,

Him were betre go besyde.

For every man mai understonde,

4460Hou for a time that it stonde,

It is a sori lust to lyke,

Whos ende makth a man to syke

And torneth joies into sorwe.

The brihte Sonne be the morwe

Beschyneth noght the derke nyht,

The lusti youthe of mannes myht,

In Age bot it stonde wel,

Mistorneth al the laste whiel.

That every worthi Prince is holde

4470Withinne himself himself beholde,

To se the stat of his persone,

And thenke hou ther be joies none

Upon this Erthe mad to laste,

And hou the fleissh schal ate laste

The lustes of this lif forsake,

Him oghte a gret ensample take

Of Salomon, whos appetit

Was holy set upon delit,

To take of wommen the plesance:

4480So that upon his ignorance

The wyde world merveileth yit,

That he, which alle mennes wit

In thilke time hath overpassed,

With fleisshly lustes was so tassed,

That he which ladde under the lawe

The poeple of god, himself withdrawe

He hath fro god in such a wise,

That he worschipe and sacrifise

For sondri love in sondri stede

4490Unto the false goddes dede.

This was the wise ecclesiaste,

The fame of whom schal evere laste,

That he the myhti god forsok,

Ayein the lawe whanne he tok

His wyves and his concubines

Of hem that weren Sarazines,

For whiche he dede ydolatrie.

For this I rede of his sotie:

Sche of Sidoyne so him ladde,

4500That he knelende his armes spradde

To Astrathen with gret humblesse,

Which of hire lond was the goddesse:

And sche that was a Moabite

So ferforth made him to delite

Thurgh lust, which al his wit devoureth,

That he Chamos hire god honoureth.

An other Amonyte also

With love him hath assoted so,

Hire god Moloch that with encense

4510He sacreth, and doth reverence

In such a wise as sche him bad.

Thus was the wiseste overlad

With blinde lustes whiche he soghte;

Bot he it afterward aboghte.

For Achias Selonites,

Which was prophete, er his decess,

Whil he was in hise lustes alle,

Betokneth what schal after falle.

For on a day, whan that he mette

4520Jeroboam the knyht, he grette

And bad him that he scholde abyde,

To hiere what him schal betyde.

And forth withal Achias caste

His mantell of, and also faste

He kut it into pieces twelve,

Wherof tuo partz toward himselve

He kepte, and al the remenant,

As god hath set his covenant,

He tok unto Jeroboas,

4530Of Nabal which the Sone was,

And of the kinges court a knyht:

And seide him, “Such is goddes myht,

As thou hast sen departed hiere

Mi mantell, riht in such manere

After the deth of Salomon

God hath ordeigned therupon,

This regne thanne he schal divide:

Which time thou schalt ek abide,

And upon that division

4540The regne as in proporcion

As thou hast of mi mantell take,

Thou schalt receive, I undertake.

And thus the Sone schal abie

The lustes and the lecherie

Of him which nou his fader is.”

So forto taken hiede of this,

It sit a king wel to be chaste,

For elles he mai lihtly waste

Himself and ek his regne bothe,

4550And that oghte every king to lothe.

O, which a Senne violent,

Wherof so wys a king was schent,

That the vengance in his persone

Was noght ynouh to take al one,

Bot afterward, whan he was passed,

It hath his heritage lassed,

As I more openli tofore

The tale tolde. And thus therfore

The Philosophre upon this thing

4560Writ and conseileth to a king,

That he the surfet of luxure

Schal tempre and reule of such mesure,

Which be to kinde sufficant

And ek to reson acordant,

So that the lustes ignorance

Be cause of no misgovernance,

Thurgh which that he be overthrowe,

As he that wol no reson knowe.

For bot a mannes wit be swerved,

4570Whan kinde is dueliche served,

It oghte of reson to suffise;

For if it falle him otherwise,

He mai tho lustes sore drede.

For of Anthonie thus I rede,

Which of Severus was the Sone,

That he his lif of comun wone

Yaf holy unto thilke vice,

And ofte time he was so nyce,

Wherof nature hire hath compleigned

4580Unto the god, which hath desdeigned

The werkes whiche Antonie wroghte

Of lust, whiche he ful sore aboghte:

For god his forfet hath so wroke

That in Cronique it is yit spoke.

Bot forto take remembrance

Of special misgovernance

Thurgh covoitise and injustice

Forth with the remenant of vice,

And nameliche of lecherie,

4590I finde write a gret partie

Withinne a tale, as thou schalt hiere,

Which is thensample of this matiere.

So as these olde gestes sein,

The proude tirannyssh Romein

Tarquinus, which was thanne king

And wroghte many a wrongful thing,

Of Sones hadde manyon,

Among the whiche Arrons was on,

Lich to his fader of maneres;

4600So that withinne a fewe yeres

With tresoun and with tirannie

Thei wonne of lond a gret partie,

And token hiede of no justice,

Which due was to here office

Upon the reule of governance;

Bot al that evere was plesance

Unto the fleisshes lust thei toke.

And fell so, that thei undertoke

A werre, which was noght achieved,

4610Bot ofte time it hadde hem grieved,

Ayein a folk which thanne hihte

The Gabiens: and al be nyhte

This Arrons, whan he was at hom

In Rome, a prive place he nom

Withinne a chambre, and bet himselve

And made him woundes ten or tuelve

Upon the bak, as it was sene;

And so forth with hise hurtes grene

In al the haste that he may

4620He rod, and cam that other day

Unto Gabie the Cite,

And in he wente: and whan that he

Was knowe, anon the gates schette,

The lordes alle upon him sette

With drawe swerdes upon honde.

This Arrons wolde hem noght withstonde,

Bot seide, “I am hier at your wille,

Als lief it is that ye me spille,

As if myn oghne fader dede.”

4630And forthwith in the same stede

He preide hem that thei wolde se,

And schewede hem in what degre

His fader and hise brethren bothe,

Whiche, as he seide, weren wrothe,

Him hadde beten and reviled,

For evere and out of Rome exiled.

And thus he made hem to believe,

And seide, if that he myhte achieve

His pourpos, it schal wel be yolde,

4640Be so that thei him helpe wolde.

Whan that the lordes hadde sein

Hou wofully he was besein,

Thei token Pite of his grief;

Bot yit it was hem wonder lief

That Rome him hadde exiled so.

These Gabiens be conseil tho

Upon the goddes made him swere,

That he to hem schal trouthe bere

And strengthen hem with al his myht;

4650And thei also him have behiht

To helpen him in his querele.

Thei schopen thanne for his hele

That he was bathed and enoignt,

Til that he was in lusti point;

And what he wolde thanne he hadde,

That he al hol the cite ladde

Riht as he wolde himself divise.

And thanne he thoghte him in what wise

He myhte his tirannie schewe;

4660And to his conseil tok a schrewe,

Whom to his fader forth he sente

In his message, and he tho wente,

And preide his fader forto seie

Be his avis, and finde a weie,

Hou they the cite myhten winne,

Whil that he stod so wel therinne.

And whan the messager was come

To Rome, and hath in conseil nome

The king, it fell per chance so

4670That thei were in a gardin tho,

This messager forth with the king.

And whanne he hadde told the thing

In what manere that it stod,

And that Tarquinus understod

Be the message hou that it ferde,

Anon he tok in honde a yerde,

And in the gardin as thei gon,

The lilie croppes on and on,

Wher that thei weren sprongen oute,

4680He smot of, as thei stode aboute,

And seide unto the messager:

“Lo, this thing, which I do nou hier,

Schal ben in stede of thin ansuere;

And in this wise as I me bere,

Thou schalt unto mi Sone telle.”

And he no lengere wolde duelle,

Bot tok his leve and goth withal

Unto his lord, and told him al,

Hou that his fader hadde do.

4690Whan Arrons herde him telle so,

Anon he wiste what it mente,

And therto sette al his entente,

Til he thurgh fraude and tricherie

The Princes hefdes of Gabie

Hath smiten of, and al was wonne:

His fader cam tofore the Sonne

Into the toun with the Romeins,

And tok and slowh the citezeins

Withoute reson or pite,

4700That he ne spareth no degre.

And for the sped of this conqueste

He let do make a riche feste

With a sollempne Sacrifise

In Phebus temple; and in this wise

Whan the Romeins assembled were,

In presence of hem alle there,

Upon thalter whan al was diht

And that the fyres were alyht,

From under thalter sodeinly

4710An hidous Serpent openly

Cam out and hath devoured al

The Sacrifice, and ek withal

The fyres queynt, and forth anon,

So as he cam, so is he gon

Into the depe ground ayein.

And every man began to sein,

“Ha lord, what mai this signefie?”

And therupon thei preie and crie

To Phebus, that thei mihten knowe

4720The cause: and he the same throwe

With gastly vois, that alle it herde,

The Romeins in this wise ansuerde,

And seide hou for the wikkidnesse

Of Pride and of unrihtwisnesse,

That Tarquin and his Sone hath do,

The Sacrifice is wasted so,

Which myhte noght ben acceptable

Upon such Senne abhominable.

And over that yit he hem wisseth,

4730And seith that which of hem ferst kisseth

His moder, he schal take wrieche

Upon the wrong: and of that speche

Thei ben withinne here hertes glade,

Thogh thei outward no semblant made.

Ther was a knyht which Brutus hihte,

And he with al the haste he myhte

To grounde fell and therthe kiste,

Bot non of hem the cause wiste,

Bot wenden that he hadde sporned

4740Per chance, and so was overtorned.

Bot Brutus al an other mente;

For he knew wel in his entente

Hou therthe of every mannes kinde

Is Moder: bot thei weren blinde,

And sihen noght so fer as he.

Bot whan thei leften the Cite

And comen hom to Rome ayein,

Thanne every man which was Romein

And moder hath, to hire he bende

4750And keste, and ech of hem thus wende

To be the ferste upon the chance,

Of Tarquin forto do vengance,

So as thei herden Phebus sein.

Bot every time hath his certein,

So moste it nedes thanne abide,

Til afterward upon a tyde

Tarquinus made unskilfully

A werre, which was fasteby

Ayein a toun with walles stronge

4760Which Ardea was cleped longe,

And caste a Siege theraboute,

That ther mai noman passen oute.

So it befell upon a nyht,

Arrons, which hadde his souper diht,

A part of the chivalerie

With him to soupe in compaignie

Hath bede: and whan thei comen were

And seten at the souper there,

Among here othre wordes glade

4770Arrons a gret spekinge made,

Who hadde tho the beste wif

Of Rome: and ther began a strif,

For Arrons seith he hath the beste.

So jangle thei withoute reste,

Til ate laste on Collatin,

A worthi knyht, and was cousin

To Arrons, seide him in this wise:

“It is,” quod he, “of non emprise

To speke a word, bot of the dede,

4780Therof it is to taken hiede.

Anon forthi this same tyde

Lep on thin hors and let ous ryde:

So mai we knowe bothe tuo

Unwarli what oure wyves do,

And that schal be a trewe assay.”

This Arrons seith noght ones nay:

On horse bak anon thei lepte

In such manere, and nothing slepte,

Ridende forth til that thei come

4790Al prively withinne Rome;

In strange place and doun thei lihte,

And take a chambre, and out of sihte

Thei be desguised for a throwe,

So that no lif hem scholde knowe.

And to the paleis ferst thei soghte,

To se what thing this ladi wroghte

Of which Arrons made his avant:

And thei hire sihe of glad semblant,

Al full of merthes and of bordes;

4800Bot among alle hire othre wordes

Sche spak noght of hire housebonde.

And whan thei hadde al understonde

Of thilke place what hem liste,

Thei gon hem forth, that non it wiste,

Beside thilke gate of bras,

Collacea which cleped was,

Wher Collatin hath his duellinge.

Ther founden thei at hom sittinge

Lucrece his wif, al environed

4810With wommen, whiche are abandoned

To werche, and sche wroghte ek withal,

And bad hem haste, and seith, “It schal

Be for mi housebondes were,

Which with his swerd and with his spere

Lith at the Siege in gret desese.

And if it scholde him noght displese,

Nou wolde god I hadde him hiere;

For certes til that I mai hiere

Som good tidinge of his astat,

4820Min herte is evere upon debat.

For so as alle men witnesse,

He is of such an hardiesse,

That he can noght himselve spare,

And that is al my moste care,

Whan thei the walles schulle assaile.

Bot if mi wisshes myhte availe,

I wolde it were a groundles pet,

Be so the Siege were unknet,

And I myn housebonde sihe.”

4830With that the water in hire yhe

Aros, that sche ne myhte it stoppe,

And as men sen the dew bedroppe

The leves and the floures eke,

Riht so upon hire whyte cheke

The wofull salte teres felle.

Whan Collatin hath herd hire telle

The menynge of hire trewe herte,

Anon with that to hire he sterte,

And seide, “Lo, mi goode diere,

4840Nou is he come to you hiere,

That ye most loven, as ye sein.”

And sche with goodly chiere ayein

Beclipte him in hire armes smale,

And the colour, which erst was pale,

To Beaute thanne was restored,

So that it myhte noght be mored.

The kinges Sone, which was nyh,

And of this lady herde and syh

The thinges as thei ben befalle,

4850The resoun of hise wittes alle

Hath lost; for love upon his part

Cam thanne, and of his fyri dart

With such a wounde him hath thurghsmite,

That he mot nedes fiele and wite

Of thilke blinde maladie,

To which no cure of Surgerie

Can helpe. Bot yit natheles

At thilke time he hield his pes,

That he no contienance made,

4860Bot openly with wordes glade,

So as he couthe in his manere,

He spak and made frendly chiere,

Til it was time forto go.

And Collatin with him also

His leve tok, so that be nyhte

With al the haste that thei myhte

Thei riden to the Siege ayein.

Bot Arrons was so wo besein

With thoghtes whiche upon him runne,

4870That he al be the brode Sunne

To bedde goth, noght forto reste,

Bot forto thenke upon the beste

And the faireste forth withal,

That evere he syh or evere schal,

So as him thoghte in his corage,

Where he pourtreieth hire ymage:

Ferst the fetures of hir face,

In which nature hadde alle grace

Of wommanly beaute beset,

4880So that it myhte noght be bet;

And hou hir yelwe her was tresced

And hire atir so wel adresced,

And hou sche spak, and hou sche wroghte,

And hou sche wepte, al this he thoghte,

That he foryeten hath no del,

Bot al it liketh him so wel,

That in the word nor in the dede

Hire lacketh noght of wommanhiede.

And thus this tirannysshe knyht

4890Was soupled, bot noght half ariht,

For he non other hiede tok,

Bot that he myhte be som crok,

Althogh it were ayein hire wille,

The lustes of his fleissh fulfille;

Which love was noght resonable,

For where honour is remuable,

It oghte wel to ben avised.

Bot he, which hath his lust assised

With melled love and tirannie,

4900Hath founde upon his tricherie

A weie which he thenkth to holde,

And seith, “Fortune unto the bolde

Is favorable forto helpe.”

And thus withinne himself to yelpe,

As he which was a wylde man,

Upon his treson he began:

And up he sterte, and forth he wente

On horsebak, bot his entente

Ther knew no wiht, and thus he nam

4910The nexte weie, til he cam

Unto Collacea the gate

Of Rome, and it was somdiel late,

Riht evene upon the Sonne set,

As he which hadde schape his net

Hire innocence to betrappe.

And as it scholde tho mishappe,

Als priveliche as evere he myhte

He rod, and of his hors alyhte

Tofore Collatines In,

4920And al frendliche he goth him in,

As he that was cousin of house.

And sche, which is the goode spouse,

Lucrece, whan that sche him sih,

With goodli chiere drowh him nyh,

As sche which al honour supposeth,

And him, so as sche dar, opposeth

Hou it stod of hire housebonde.

And he tho dede hire understonde

With tales feigned in his wise,

4930Riht as he wolde himself devise,

Wherof he myhte hire herte glade,

That sche the betre chiere made,

Whan sche the glade wordes herde,

Hou that hire housebonde ferde.

And thus the trouthe was deceived

With slih tresoun, which was received

To hire which mente alle goode;

For as the festes thanne stode,

His Souper was ryht wel arraied.

4940Bot yit he hath no word assaied

To speke of love in no degre;

Bot with covert subtilite

His frendly speches he affaiteth,

And as the Tigre his time awaiteth

In hope forto cacche his preie.

Whan that the bordes were aweie

And thei have souped in the halle,

He seith that slep is on him falle,

And preith he moste go to bedde;

4950And sche with alle haste spedde,

So as hire thoghte it was to done,

That every thing was redi sone.

Sche broghte him to his chambre tho

And tok hire leve, and forth is go

Into hire oghne chambre by,

As sche that wende certeinly

Have had a frend, and hadde a fo,

Wherof fell after mochel wo.

This tirant, thogh he lyhe softe,

4960Out of his bed aros fulofte,

And goth aboute, and leide his Ere

To herkne, til that alle were

To bedde gon and slepten faste.

And thanne upon himself he caste

A mantell, and his swerd al naked

He tok in honde; and sche unwaked

Abedde lay, but what sche mette,

God wot; for he the Dore unschette

So prively that non it herde,

4970The softe pas and forth he ferde

Unto the bed wher that sche slepte,

Al sodeinliche and in he crepte,

And hire in bothe his Armes tok.

With that this worthi wif awok,

Which thurgh tendresce of wommanhiede

Hire vois hath lost for pure drede,

That o word speke sche ne dar:

And ek he bad hir to be war,

For if sche made noise or cry,

4980He seide, his swerd lay faste by

To slen hire and hire folk aboute.

And thus he broghte hire herte in doute,

That lich a Lomb whanne it is sesed

In wolves mouth, so was desesed

Lucrece, which he naked fond:

Wherof sche swounede in his hond,

And, as who seith, lay ded oppressed.

And he, which al him hadde adresced

To lust, tok thanne what him liste,

4990And goth his wey, that non it wiste,

Into his oghne chambre ayein,

And clepede up his chamberlein,

And made him redi forto ryde.

And thus this lecherouse pride

To horse lepte and forth he rod;

And sche, which in hire bed abod,

Whan that sche wiste he was agon,

Sche clepede after liht anon

And up aros long er the day,

5000And caste awey hire freissh aray,

As sche which hath the world forsake,

And tok upon the clothes blake:

And evere upon continuinge,

Riht as men sen a welle springe,

With yhen fulle of wofull teres,

Hire her hangende aboute hire Eres,

Sche wepte, and noman wiste why.

Bot yit among full pitously

Sche preide that thei nolden drecche

5010Hire housebonde forto fecche

Forth with hire fader ek also.

Thus be thei comen bothe tuo,

And Brutus cam with Collatin,

Which to Lucrece was cousin,

And in thei wenten alle thre

To chambre, wher thei myhten se

The wofulleste upon this Molde,

Which wepte as sche to water scholde.

The chambre Dore anon was stoke,

5020Er thei have oght unto hire spoke;

Thei sihe hire clothes al desguised,

And hou sche hath hirself despised,

Hire her hangende unkemd aboute,

Bot natheles sche gan to loute

And knele unto hire housebonde;

And he, which fain wolde understonde

The cause why sche ferde so,

With softe wordes axeth tho,

“What mai you be, mi goode swete?”

5030And sche, which thoghte hirself unmete

And the lest worth of wommen alle,

Hire wofull chiere let doun falle

For schame and couthe unnethes loke.

And thei therof good hiede toke,

And preiden hire in alle weie

That sche ne spare forto seie

Unto hir frendes what hire eileth,

Why sche so sore hirself beweileth,

And what the sothe wolde mene.

5040And sche, which hath hire sorwes grene,

Hire wo to telle thanne assaieth,

Bot tendre schame hire word delaieth,

That sondri times as sche minte

To speke, upon the point sche stinte.

And thei hire bidden evere in on

To telle forth, and therupon,

Whan that sche sih sche moste nede,

Hire tale betwen schame and drede

Sche tolde, noght withoute peine.

5050And he, which wolde hire wo restreigne,

Hire housebonde, a sory man,

Conforteth hire al that he can,

And swor, and ek hire fader bothe,

That thei with hire be noght wrothe

Of that is don ayein hire wille;

And preiden hire to be stille,

For thei to hire have al foryive.

Bot sche, which thoghte noght to live,

Of hem wol no foryivenesse,

5060And seide, of thilke wickednesse

Which was unto hire bodi wroght,

Al were it so sche myhte it noght,

Nevere afterward the world ne schal

Reproeven hire; and forth withal,

Er eny man therof be war,

A naked swerd, the which sche bar

Withinne hire Mantel priveli,

Betwen hire hondes sodeinly

Sche tok, and thurgh hire herte it throng,

5070And fell to grounde, and evere among,

Whan that sche fell, so as sche myhte,

Hire clothes with hire hand sche rihte,

That noman dounward fro the kne

Scholde eny thing of hire se:

Thus lay this wif honestely,

Althogh sche deide wofully.

Tho was no sorwe forto seke:

Hire housebonde, hire fader eke

Aswoune upon the bodi felle;

5080Ther mai no mannes tunge telle

In which anguisshe that thei were.

Bot Brutus, which was with hem there,

Toward himself his herte kepte,

And to Lucrece anon he lepte,

The blodi swerd and pulleth oute,

And swor the goddes al aboute

That he therof schal do vengance.

And sche tho made a contienance,

Hire dedlich yhe and ate laste

5090In thonkinge as it were up caste,

And so behield him in the wise,

Whil sche to loke mai suffise.

And Brutus with a manlich herte

Hire housebonde hath mad up sterte

Forth with hire fader ek also

In alle haste, and seide hem tho

That thei anon withoute lette

A Beere for the body fette;

Lucrece and therupon bledende

5100He leide, and so forth out criende

He goth into the Market place

Of Rome: and in a litel space

Thurgh cry the cite was assembled,

And every mannes herte is trembled,

Whan thei the sothe herde of the cas.

And therupon the conseil was

Take of the grete and of the smale,

And Brutus tolde hem al the tale;

And thus cam into remembrance

5110Of Senne the continuance,

Which Arrons hadde do tofore,

And ek, long time er he was bore,

Of that his fadre hadde do

The wrong cam into place tho;

So that the comun clamour tolde

The newe schame of Sennes olde.

And al the toun began to crie,

“Awey, awey the tirannie

Of lecherie and covoitise!”

5120And ate laste in such a wise

The fader in the same while

Forth with his Sone thei exile,

And taken betre governance.

Bot yit an other remembrance

That rihtwisnesse and lecherie

Acorden noght in compaignie

With him that hath the lawe on honde,

That mai a man wel understonde,

As be a tale thou shalt wite,

5130Of olde ensample as it is write.

At Rome whan that Apius,

Whos other name is Claudius,

Was governour of the cite,

Ther fell a wonder thing to se

Touchende a gentil Maide, as thus,

Whom Livius Virginius

Begeten hadde upon his wif:

Men seiden that so fair a lif

As sche was noght in al the toun.

5140This fame, which goth up and doun,

To Claudius cam in his Ere,

Wherof his thoght anon was there,

Which al his herte hath set afyre,

That he began the flour desire

Which longeth unto maydenhede,

And sende, if that he myhte spede

The blinde lustes of his wille.

Bot that thing mai he noght fulfille,

For sche stod upon Mariage;

5150A worthi kniht of gret lignage,

Ilicius which thanne hihte,

Acorded in hire fader sihte

Was, that he scholde his douhter wedde.

Bot er the cause fully spedde,

Hire fader, which in Romanie

The ledinge of chivalerie

In governance hath undertake,

Upon a werre which was take

Goth out with al the strengthe he hadde

5160Of men of Armes whiche he ladde:

So was the mariage left,

And stod upon acord til eft.

The king, which herde telle of this,

Hou that this Maide ordeigned is

To Mariage, thoghte an other.

And hadde thilke time a brother,

Which Marchus Claudius was hote,

And was a man of such riote

Riht as the king himselve was:

5170Thei tuo togedre upon this cas

In conseil founden out this weie,

That Marchus Claudius schal seie

Hou sche be weie of covenant

To his service appourtenant

Was hol, and to non other man;

And therupon he seith he can

In every point witnesse take,

So that sche schal it noght forsake.

Whan that thei hadden schape so,

5180After the lawe which was tho,

Whil that hir fader was absent,

Sche was somouned and assent

To come in presence of the king

And stonde in ansuere of this thing.

Hire frendes wisten alle wel

That it was falshed everydel,

And comen to the king and seiden,

Upon the comun lawe and preiden,

So as this noble worthi knyht

5190Hir fader for the comun riht

In thilke time, as was befalle,

Lai for the profit of hem alle

Upon the wylde feldes armed,

That he ne scholde noght ben harmed

Ne schamed, whil that he were oute;

And thus thei preiden al aboute.

For al the clamour that he herde,

The king upon his lust ansuerde,

And yaf hem only daies tuo

5200Of respit; for he wende tho,

That in so schorte a time appiere

Hire fader mihte in no manere.

Bot as therof he was deceived;

For Livius hadde al conceived

The pourpos of the king tofore,

So that to Rome ayein therfore

In alle haste he cam ridende,

And lefte upon the field liggende

His host, til that he come ayein.

5210And thus this worthi capitein

Appiereth redi at his day,

Wher al that evere reson may

Be lawe in audience he doth,

So that his dowhter upon soth

Of that Marchus hire hadde accused

He hath tofore the court excused.

The king, which sih his pourpos faile,

And that no sleihte mihte availe,

Encombred of his lustes blinde

5220The lawe torneth out of kinde,

And half in wraththe as thogh it were,

In presence of hem alle there

Deceived of concupiscence

Yaf for his brother the sentence,

And bad him that he scholde sese

This Maide and make him wel at ese;

Bot al withinne his oghne entente

He wiste hou that the cause wente,

Of that his brother hath the wyte

5230He was himselven forto wyte.

Bot thus this maiden hadde wrong,

Which was upon the king along,

Bot ayein him was non Appel,

And that the fader wiste wel:

Wherof upon the tirannie,

That for the lust of Lecherie

His douhter scholde be deceived,

And that Ilicius was weyved

Untrewly fro the Mariage,

5240Riht as a Leon in his rage,

Which of no drede set acompte

And not what pite scholde amounte,

A naked swerd he pulleth oute,

The which amonges al the route

He threste thurgh his dowhter side,

And al alowd this word he cride:

“Lo, take hire ther, thou wrongfull king,

For me is levere upon this thing

To be the fader of a Maide,

5250Thogh sche be ded, that if men saide

That in hir lif sche were schamed

And I therof were evele named.”

Tho bad the king men scholde areste

His bodi, bot of thilke heste,

Lich to the chaced wylde bor,

The houndes whan he fieleth sor,

Tothroweth and goth forth his weie,

In such a wise forto seie

This worthi kniht with swerd on honde

5260His weie made, and thei him wonde,

That non of hem his strokes kepte;

And thus upon his hors he lepte,

And with his swerd droppende of blod,

The which withinne his douhter stod,

He cam ther as the pouer was

Of Rome, and tolde hem al the cas,

And seide hem that thei myhten liere

Upon the wrong of his matiere,

That betre it were to redresce

5270At hom the grete unrihtwisnesse,

Than forto werre in strange place

And lese at hom here oghne grace.

For thus stant every mannes lif

In jeupartie for his wif

Or for his dowhter, if thei be

Passende an other of beaute.

Of this merveile which thei sihe

So apparant tofore here yhe,

Of that the king him hath misbore,

5280Here othes thei have alle swore

That thei wol stonde be the riht.

And thus of on acord upriht

To Rome at ones hom ayein

Thei torne, and schortly forto sein,

This tirannye cam to mouthe,

And every man seith what he couthe,

So that the prive tricherie,

Which set was upon lecherie,

Cam openly to mannes Ere;

5290And that broghte in the comun feere,

That every man the peril dradde

Of him that so hem overladde.

Forthi, er that it worse falle,

Thurgh comun conseil of hem alle

Thei have here wrongfull king deposed,

And hem in whom it was supposed

The conseil stod of his ledinge

Be lawe unto the dom thei bringe,

Wher thei receiven the penance

5300That longeth to such governance.

And thus thunchaste was chastised,

Wherof thei myhte ben avised

That scholden afterward governe,

And be this evidence lerne,

Hou it is good a king eschuie

The lust of vice and vertu suie.

To make an ende in this partie,

Which toucheth to the Policie

Of Chastite in special,

5310As for conclusion final

That every lust is to eschue

Be gret ensample I mai argue:

Hou in Rages a toun of Mede

Ther was a Mayde, and as I rede,

Sarra sche hihte, and Raguel

Hir fader was; and so befell,

Of bodi bothe and of visage

Was non so fair of the lignage,

To seche among hem alle, as sche;

5320Wherof the riche of the cite,

Of lusti folk that couden love,

Assoted were upon hire love,

And asken hire forto wedde.

On was which ate laste spedde,

Bot that was more for likinge,

To have his lust, than for weddinge,

As he withinne his herte caste,

Which him repenteth ate laste.

For so it fell the ferste nyht,

5330That whanne he was to bedde dyht,

As he which nothing god besecheth

Bot al only hise lustes secheth,

Abedde er he was fully warm

And wolde have take hire in his Arm,

Asmod, which was a fend of helle,

And serveth, as the bokes telle,

To tempte a man of such a wise,

Was redy there, and thilke emprise,

Which he hath set upon delit,

5340He vengeth thanne in such a plit,

That he his necke hathe writhe atuo.

This yonge wif was sory tho,

Which wiste nothing what it mente;

And natheles yit thus it wente

Noght only of this ferste man,

Bot after, riht as he began,

Sexe othre of hire housebondes

Asmod hath take into hise bondes,

So that thei alle abedde deiden,

5350Whan thei her hand toward hir leiden,

Noght for the lawe of Mariage,

Bot for that ilke fyri rage

In which that thei the lawe excede:

For who that wolde taken hiede

What after fell in this matiere,

Ther mihte he wel the sothe hiere.

Whan sche was wedded to Thobie,

And Raphael in compainie

Hath tawht him hou to ben honeste,

5360Asmod wan noght at thilke feste,

And yit Thobie his wille hadde;

For he his lust so goodly ladde,

That bothe lawe and kinde is served,

Wherof he hath himself preserved,

That he fell noght in the sentence.

O which an open evidence

Of this ensample a man mai se,

That whan likinge in the degre

Of Mariage mai forsueie,

5370Wel oghte him thanne in other weie

Of lust to be the betre avised.

For god the lawes hath assissed

Als wel to reson as to kinde,

Bot he the bestes wolde binde

Only to lawes of nature,

Bot to the mannes creature

God yaf him reson forth withal,

Wherof that he nature schal

Upon the causes modefie,

5380That he schal do no lecherie,

And yit he schal hise lustes have.

So ben the lawes bothe save

And every thing put out of sclandre;

As whilom to king Alisandre

The wise Philosophre tawhte,

Whan he his ferste lore cawhte,

Noght only upon chastete,

Bot upon alle honestete;

Wherof a king himself mai taste,

5390Hou trewe, hou large, hou joust, hou chaste

Him oghte of reson forto be,

Forth with the vertu of Pite,

Thurgh which he mai gret thonk deserve

Toward his godd, that he preserve

Him and his poeple in alle welthe

Of pes, richesse, honour and helthe

Hier in this world and elles eke.

Mi Sone, as we tofore spieke

In schrifte, so as thou me seidest,

5400And for thin ese, as thou me preidest,

Thi love throghes forto lisse,

That I thee wolde telle and wisse

The forme of Aristotles lore,

I have it seid, and somdiel more

Of othre ensamples, to assaie

If I thi peines myhte allaie

Thurgh eny thing that I can seie.

Do wey, mi fader, I you preie:

Of that ye have unto me told

5410I thonke you a thousendfold.

The tales sounen in myn Ere,

Bot yit min herte is elleswhere,

I mai miselve noght restreigne,

That I nam evere in loves peine:

Such lore couthe I nevere gete,

Which myhte make me foryete

O point, bot if so were I slepte,

That I my tydes ay ne kepte

To thenke of love and of his lawe;

5420That herte can I noght withdrawe.

Forthi, my goode fader diere,

Lef al and speke of my matiere

Touchende of love, as we begonne:

If that ther be oght overronne

Or oght foryete or left behinde

Which falleth unto loves kinde,

Wherof it nedeth to be schrive,

Nou axeth, so that whil I live

I myhte amende that is mys.

5430Mi goode diere Sone, yis.

Thi schrifte forto make plein,

Ther is yit more forto sein

Of love which is unavised.

Bot for thou schalt be wel avised

Unto thi schrifte as it belongeth,

A point which upon love hongeth

And is the laste of alle tho,

I wol thee telle, and thanne ho.

Explicit Liber Septimus.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/gower/john/amantis/book7.html

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