Confessio Amantis

or

Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins


John Gower

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Text derived from The Works of John Gower, ed. Prof. G.C. Macauley.

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Last updated Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 14:30.

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Table of Contents

Prologus

Liber Primus

Liber Secundus

Liber Tercius

Liber Quartus

Liber Quintus

Liber Sextus

Liber Septimus.

Liber Octavus

Prologus

Torpor, ebes sensus, scola parua labor minimusque

     Causant quo minimus ipse minora canam:

Qua tamen Engisti lingua canit Insula Bruti

     Anglica Carmente metra iuuante loquar.

Ossibus ergo carens que conterit ossa loquelis

     Absit, et interpres stet procul oro malus.

Of hem that writen ous tofore

The bokes duelle, and we therfore

Ben tawht of that was write tho:

Forthi good is that we also

In oure tyme among ous hiere

Do wryte of newe som matiere,

Essampled of these olde wyse

So that it myhte in such a wyse,

Whan we ben dede and elleswhere,

10Beleve to the worldes eere

In tyme comende after this.

Bot for men sein, and soth it is,

That who that al of wisdom writ

It dulleth ofte a mannes wit

To him that schal it aldai rede,

For thilke cause, if that ye rede,

I wolde go the middel weie

And wryte a bok betwen the tweie,

Somwhat of lust, somewhat of lore,

20That of the lasse or of the more

Som man mai lyke of that I wryte:

And for that fewe men endite

In oure englissh, I thenke make

A bok for Engelondes sake,

The yer sextenthe of kyng Richard.

What schal befalle hierafterward

God wot, for now upon this tyde

Men se the world on every syde

In sondry wyse so diversed,

30That it welnyh stant al reversed,

As forto speke of tyme ago.

The cause whi it changeth so

It needeth nought to specifie,

The thing so open is at ije

That every man it mai beholde:

And natheles be daies olde,

Whan that the bokes weren levere,

Wrytinge was beloved evere

Of hem that weren vertuous;

40For hier in erthe amonges ous,

If noman write hou that it stode,

The pris of hem that weren goode

Scholde, as who seith, a gret partie

Be lost: so for to magnifie

The worthi princes that tho were,

The bokes schewen hiere and there,

Wherof the world ensampled is;

And tho that deden thanne amis

Thurgh tirannie and crualte,

50Right as thei stoden in degre,

So was the wrytinge of here werk.

Thus I, which am a burel clerk,

Purpose forto wryte a bok

After the world that whilom tok

Long tyme in olde daies passed:

Bot for men sein it is now lassed,

In worse plit than it was tho,

I thenke forto touche also

The world which neweth every dai,

60So as I can, so as I mai.

Thogh I seknesse have upon honde

And longe have had, yit woll I fonde

To wryte and do my bisinesse,

That in som part, so as I gesse,

The wyse man mai ben avised.

For this prologe is so assised

That it to wisdom al belongeth:

What wysman that it underfongeth,

He schal drawe into remembrance

70The fortune of this worldes chance,

The which noman in his persone

Mai knowe, bot the god al one.

Whan the prologe is so despended,

This bok schal afterward ben ended

Of love, which doth many a wonder

And many a wys man hath put under.

And in this wyse I thenke trete

Towardes hem that now be grete,

Betwen the vertu and the vice

80Which longeth unto this office.

Bot for my wittes ben to smale

To tellen every man his tale,

This bok, upon amendment

To stonde at his commandement,

With whom myn herte is of accord,

I sende unto myn oghne lord,

Which of Lancastre is Henri named:

The hyhe god him hath proclamed

Ful of knyhthode and alle grace.

90So woll I now this werk embrace

With hol trust and with hol believe;

God grante I mot it wel achieve.

If I schal drawe in to my mynde

The tyme passed, thanne I fynde

The world stod thanne in al his welthe:

Tho was the lif of man in helthe,

Tho was plente, tho was richesse,

Tho was the fortune of prouesse,

Tho was knyhthode in pris be name,

100Wherof the wyde worldes fame

Write in Cronique is yit withholde;

Justice of lawe tho was holde,

The privilege of regalie

Was sauf, and al the baronie

Worschiped was in his astat;

The citees knewen no debat,

The poeple stod in obeissance

Under the reule of governance,

And pes, which ryhtwisnesse keste,

110With charite tho stod in reste:

Of mannes herte the corage

Was schewed thanne in the visage;

The word was lich to the conceite

Withoute semblant of deceite:

Tho was ther unenvied love,

Tho was the vertu sett above

And vice was put under fote.

Now stant the crop under the rote,

The world is changed overal,

120And therof most in special

That love is falle into discord.

And that I take to record

Of every lond for his partie

The comun vois, which mai noght lie;

Noght upon on, bot upon alle

It is that men now clepe and calle,

And sein the regnes ben divided,

In stede of love is hate guided,

The werre wol no pes purchace,

130And lawe hath take hire double face,

So that justice out of the weie

With ryhtwisnesse is gon aweie:

And thus to loke on every halve,

Men sen the sor withoute salve,

Which al the world hath overtake.

Ther is no regne of alle outtake,

For every climat hath his diel

After the tornynge of the whiel,

Which blinde fortune overthroweth;

140Wherof the certain noman knoweth:

The hevene wot what is to done,

Bot we that duelle under the mone

Stonde in this world upon a weer,

And namely bot the pouer

Of hem that ben the worldes guides

With good consail on alle sides

Be kept upriht in such a wyse,

That hate breke noght thassise

Of love, which is al the chief

150To kepe a regne out of meschief.

For alle resoun wolde this,

That unto him which the heved is

The membres buxom scholden bowe,

And he scholde ek her trowthe allowe,

With al his herte and make hem chiere,

For good consail is good to hiere.

Althogh a man be wys himselve,

Yit is the wisdom more of tuelve;

And if thei stoden bothe in on,

160To hope it were thanne anon

That god his grace wolde sende

To make of thilke werre an ende,

Which every day now groweth newe:

And that is gretly forto rewe

In special for Cristes sake,

Which wolde his oghne lif forsake

Among the men to yeve pes.

But now men tellen natheles

That love is fro the world departed,

170So stant the pes unevene parted

With hem that liven now adaies.

Bot forto loke at alle assaies,

To him that wolde resoun seche

After the comun worldes speche

It is to wondre of thilke werre,

In which non wot who hath the werre;

For every lond himself deceyveth

And of desese his part receyveth,

And yet ne take men no kepe.

180Bot thilke lord which al may kepe,

To whom no consail may ben hid,

Upon the world which is betid,

Amende that wherof men pleigne

With trewe hertes and with pleine,

And reconcile love ayeyn,

As he which is king sovereign

Of al the worldes governaunce,

And of his hyhe porveaunce

Afferme pes betwen the londes

190And take her cause into hise hondes,

So that the world may stonde apppesed

And his godhede also be plesed.

To thenke upon the daies olde,

The lif of clerkes to beholde,

Men sein how that thei weren tho

Ensample and reule of alle tho

Whiche of wisdom the vertu soughten.

Unto the god ferst thei besoughten

As to the substaunce of her Scole,

200That thei ne scholden noght befole

Her wit upon none erthly werkes,

Which were ayein thestat of clerkes,

And that thei myhten fle the vice

Which Simon hath in his office,

Wherof he takth the gold in honde.

For thilke tyme I understonde

The Lumbard made non eschange

The bisschopriches forto change,

Ne yet a lettre for to sende

210For dignite ne for Provende,

Or cured or withoute cure.

The cherche keye in aventure

Of armes and of brygantaille

Stod nothing thanne upon bataille;

To fyhte or for to make cheste

It thoghte hem thanne noght honeste;

Bot of simplesce and pacience

Thei maden thanne no defence:

The Court of worldly regalie

220To hem was thanne no baillie;

The vein honour was noght desired,

Which hath the proude herte fyred;

Humilite was tho withholde,

And Pride was a vice holde.

Of holy cherche the largesse

Yaf thanne and dede gret almesse

To povere men that hadden nede:

Thei were ek chaste in word and dede,

Wherof the poeple ensample tok;

230Her lust was al upon the bok,

Or forto preche or forto preie,

To wisse men the ryhte weie

Of suche as stode of trowthe unliered.

Lo, thus was Petres barge stiered

Of hem that thilke tyme were,

And thus cam ferst to mannes Ere

The feith of Crist and alle goode

Thurgh hem that thanne weren goode

And sobre and chaste and large and wyse.

240Bot now men sein is otherwise,

Simon the cause hath undertake,

The worldes swerd on honde is take;

And that is wonder natheles,

Whan Crist him self hath bode pes

And set it in his testament,

How now that holy cherche is went,

Of that here lawe positif

Hath set to make werre and strif

For worldes good, which may noght laste.

250God wot the cause to the laste

Of every right and wrong also;

But whil the lawe is reuled so

That clerkes to the werre entende,

I not how that thei scholde amende

The woful world in othre thinges,

To make pes betwen the kynges

After the lawe of charite,

Which is the propre duete

Belongende unto the presthode.

260Bot as it thenkth to the manhode,

The hevene is ferr, the world is nyh,

And veine gloire is ek so slyh,

Which coveitise hath now withholde,

That thei non other thing beholde,

Bot only that thei myhten winne.

And thus the werres thei beginne,

Wherof the holi cherche is taxed,

That in the point as it is axed

The disme goth to the bataille,

270As thogh Crist myhte noght availe

To don hem riht be other weie.

In to the swerd the cherche keie

Is torned, and the holy bede

Into cursinge, and every stede

Which scholde stonde upon the feith

And to this cause an Ere leyth,

Astoned is of the querele.

That scholde be the worldes hele

Is now, men sein, the pestilence

280Which hath exiled pacience

Fro the clergie in special:

And that is schewed overal,

In eny thing whan thei ben grieved.

Bot if Gregoire be believed,

As it is in the bokes write,

He doth ous somdel forto wite

The cause of thilke prelacie,

Wher god is noght of compaignie:

For every werk as it is founded

290Schal stonde or elles be confounded;

Who that only for Cristes sake

Desireth cure forto take,

And noght for pride of thilke astat,

To bere a name of a prelat,

He schal be resoun do profit

In holy cherche upon the plit

That he hath set his conscience;

Bot in the worldes reverence

Ther ben of suche manie glade,

300Whan thei to thilke astat ben made,

Noght for the merite of the charge,

Bot for thei wolde hemself descharge

Of poverte and become grete;

And thus for Pompe and for beyete

The Scribe and ek the Pharisee

Of Moises upon the See

In the chaiere on hyh ben set;

Wherof the feith is ofte let,

Which is betaken hem to kepe.

310In Cristes cause alday thei slepe,

Bot of the world is noght foryete;

For wel is him that now may gete

Office in Court to ben honoured.

The stronge coffre hath al devoured

Under the keye of avarice

The tresor of the benefice,

Wherof the povere schulden clothe

And ete and drinke and house bothe;

The charite goth al unknowe,

320For thei no grein of Pite sowe:

And slouthe kepeth the libraire

Which longeth to the Saintuaire;

To studie upon the worldes lore

Sufficeth now withoute more;

Delicacie his swete toth

Hath fostred so that it fordoth

Of abstinence al that ther is.

And forto loken over this,

If Ethna brenne in the clergie,

330Al openly to mannes ije

At Avynoun thexperience

Therof hath yove an evidence,

Of that men sen hem so divided.

And yit the cause is noght decided;

Bot it is seid and evere schal,

Betwen tuo Stoles lyth the fal,

Whan that men wenen best to sitte:

In holy cherche of such a slitte

Is for to rewe un to ous alle;

340God grante it mote wel befalle

Towardes him which hath the trowthe.

Bot ofte is sen that mochel slowthe,

Whan men ben drunken of the cuppe,

Doth mochel harm, whan fyr is uppe,

Bot if somwho the flamme stanche;

And so to speke upon this branche,

Which proud Envie hath mad to springe,

Of Scisme, causeth forto bringe

This newe Secte of Lollardie,

350And also many an heresie

Among the clerkes in hemselve.

It were betre dike and delve

And stonde upon the ryhte feith,

Than knowe al that the bible seith

And erre as somme clerkes do.

Upon the hond to were a Schoo

And sette upon the fot a Glove

Acordeth noght to the behove

Of resonable mannes us:

360If men behielden the vertus

That Crist in Erthe taghte here,

Thei scholden noght in such manere,

Among hem that ben holden wise,

The Papacie so desguise

Upon diverse eleccioun,

Which stant after thaffeccioun

Of sondry londes al aboute:

Bot whan god wole, it schal were oute,

For trowthe mot stonde ate laste.

370Bot yet thei argumenten faste

Upon the Pope and his astat,

Wherof thei falle in gret debat;

This clerk seith yee, that other nay,

And thus thei dryve forth the day,

And ech of hem himself amendeth

Of worldes good, bot non entendeth

To that which comun profit were.

Thei sein that god is myhti there,

And schal ordeine what he wile,

380Ther make thei non other skile

Where is the peril of the feith,

Bot every clerk his herte leith

To kepe his world in special,

And of the cause general,

Which unto holy cherche longeth,

Is non of hem that underfongeth

To schapen eny resistence:

And thus the riht hath no defence,

Bot ther I love, ther I holde.

390Lo, thus tobroke is Cristes folde,

Wherof the flock withoute guide

Devoured is on every side,

In lacke of hem that ben unware

Schepherdes, whiche her wit beware

Upon the world in other halve.

The scharpe pricke in stede of salve

Thei usen now, wherof the hele

Thei hurte of that thei scholden hele;

And what Schep that is full of wulle

400Upon his back, thei toose and pulle,

Whil ther is eny thing to pile:

And thogh ther be non other skile

Bot only for thei wolden wynne,

Thei leve noght, whan thei begynne,

Upon her acte to procede,

Which is no good schepherdes dede.

And upon this also men sein,

That fro the leese which is plein

Into the breres thei forcacche

410Her Orf, for that thei wolden lacche

With such duresce, and so bereve

That schal upon the thornes leve

Of wulle, which the brere hath tore;

Wherof the Schep ben al totore

Of that the hierdes make hem lese.

Lo, how thei feignen chalk for chese,

For though thei speke and teche wel,

Thei don hemself therof no del:

For if the wolf come in the weie,

420Her gostly Staf is thanne aweie,

Wherof thei scholde her flock defende;

Bot if the povere Schep offende

In eny thing, thogh it be lyte,

They ben al redy forto smyte;

And thus, how evere that thei tale,

The strokes falle upon the smale,

And upon othre that ben grete

Hem lacketh herte forto bete.

So that under the clerkes lawe

430Men sen the Merel al mysdrawe,

I wol noght seie in general,

For ther ben somme in special

In whom that alle vertu duelleth,

And tho ben, as thapostel telleth,

That god of his eleccioun

Hath cleped to perfeccioun

In the manere as Aaron was:

Thei ben nothing in thilke cas

Of Simon, which the foldes gate

440Hath lete, and goth in othergate,

Bot thei gon in the rihte weie.

Ther ben also somme, as men seie,

That folwen Simon ate hieles,

Whos carte goth upon the whieles

Of coveitise and worldes Pride,

And holy cherche goth beside,

Which scheweth outward a visage

Of that is noght in the corage.

For if men loke in holy cherche,

450Betwen the word and that thei werche

Ther is a full gret difference:

Thei prechen ous in audience

That noman schal his soule empeire,

For al is bot a chirie feire

This worldes good, so as thei telle;

Also thei sein ther is an helle,

Which unto mannes sinne is due,

And bidden ous therfore eschue

That wikkid is, and do the goode.

460Who that here wordes understode,

It thenkth thei wolden do the same;

Bot yet betwen ernest and game

Ful ofte it torneth other wise.

With holy tales thei devise

How meritoire is thilke dede

Of charite, to clothe and fede

The povere folk and forto parte

The worldes good, bot thei departe

Ne thenken noght fro that thei have.

470Also thei sein, good is to save

With penance and with abstinence

Of chastite the continence;

Bot pleinly forto speke of that,

I not how thilke body fat,

Which thei with deynte metes kepe

And leyn it softe forto slepe,

Whan it hath elles al his wille,

With chastite schal stonde stille:

And natheles I can noght seie,

480In aunter if that I misseye.

Touchende of this, how evere it stonde,

I here and wol noght understonde,

For therof have I noght to done:

Bot he that made ferst the Mone,

The hyhe god, of his goodnesse,

If ther be cause, he it redresce.

Bot what as eny man accuse,

This mai reson of trowthe excuse;

The vice of hem that ben ungoode

490Is no reproef unto the goode:

For every man hise oghne werkes

Schal bere, and thus as of the clerkes

The goode men ben to comende,

And alle these othre god amende:

For thei ben to the worldes ije

The Mirour of ensamplerie,

To reulen and to taken hiede

Betwen the men and the godhiede.

Now forto speke of the comune,

500It is to drede of that fortune

Which hath befalle in sondri londes:

Bot often for defalte of bondes

Al sodeinliche, er it be wist,

A Tonne, whanne his lye arist,

Tobrekth and renneth al aboute,

Which elles scholde noght gon oute;

And ek fulofte a litel Skar

Upon a Banke, er men be war,

Let in the Strem, which with gret peine,

510If evere man it schal restreigne.

Wher lawe lacketh, errour groweth,

He is noght wys who that ne troweth,

For it hath proeved ofte er this;

And thus the comun clamour is

In every lond wher poeple dwelleth,

And eche in his compleignte telleth

How that the world is al miswent,

And ther upon his jugement

Yifth every man in sondry wise.

520Bot what man wolde himself avise,

His conscience and noght misuse,

He may wel ate ferste excuse

His god, which evere stant in on:

In him ther is defalte non,

So moste it stonde upon ousselve

Nought only upon ten ne twelve,

Bot plenerliche upon ous alle,

For man is cause of that schal falle.

And natheles yet som men wryte

530And sein that fortune is to wyte,

And som men holde oppinion

That it is constellacion,

Which causeth al that a man doth:

God wot of bothe which is soth.

The world as of his propre kynde

Was evere untrewe, and as the blynde

Improprelich he demeth fame,

He blameth that is noght to blame

And preiseth that is noght to preise:

540Thus whan he schal the thinges peise,

Ther is deceipte in his balance,

And al is that the variance

Of ous, that scholde ous betre avise;

For after that we falle and rise,

The world arist and falth withal,

So that the man is overal

His oghne cause of wel and wo.

That we fortune clepe so

Out of the man himself it groweth;

550And who that other wise troweth,

Behold the poeple of Irael:

For evere whil thei deden wel,

Fortune was hem debonaire,

And whan thei deden the contraire,

Fortune was contrariende.

So that it proeveth wel at ende

Why that the world is wonderfull

And may no while stonde full,

Though that it seme wel besein;

560For every worldes thing is vein,

And evere goth the whiel aboute,

And evere stant a man in doute,

Fortune stant no while stille,

So hath ther noman al his wille.

Als fer as evere a man may knowe,

Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe;

The world stant evere upon debat,

So may be seker non astat,

Now hier now ther, now to now fro,

570Now up now down, this world goth so,

And evere hath don and evere schal:

Wherof I finde in special

A tale writen in the Bible,

Which moste nedes be credible;

And that as in conclusioun

Seith that upon divisioun

Stant, why no worldes thing mai laste,

Til it be drive to the laste.

And fro the ferste regne of alle

580Into this day, hou so befalle,

Of that the regnes be muable

The man himself hath be coupable,

Which of his propre governance

Fortuneth al the worldes chance.

The hyhe almyhti pourveance,

In whos eterne remembrance

Fro ferst was every thing present,

He hath his prophecie sent,

In such a wise as thou schalt hiere,

590To Daniel of this matiere,

Hou that this world schal torne and wende,

Till it be falle to his ende;

Wherof the tale telle I schal,

In which it is betokned al.

As Nabugodonosor slepte,

A swevene him tok, the which he kepte

Til on the morwe he was arise,

For he therof was sore agrise.

To Daniel his drem he tolde,

600And preide him faire that he wolde

Arede what it tokne may;

And seide: “Abedde wher I lay,

Me thoghte I syh upon a Stage

Wher stod a wonder strange ymage.

His hed with al the necke also

Thei were of fin gold bothe tuo;

His brest, his schuldres and his armes

Were al of selver, bot the tharmes,

The wombe and al doun to the kne,

610Of bras thei were upon to se;

The legges were al mad of Stiel,

So were his feet also somdiel,

And somdiel part to hem was take

Of Erthe which men Pottes make;

The fieble meynd was with the stronge,

So myhte it wel noght stonde longe.

And tho me thoghte that I sih

A gret ston from an hull on hyh

Fel doun of sodein aventure

620Upon the feet of this figure,

With which Ston al tobroke was

Gold, Selver, Erthe, Stiel and Bras,

That al was in to pouldre broght,

And so forth torned into noght.”

This was the swevene which he hadde,

That Daniel anon aradde,

And seide him that figure strange

Betokneth how the world schal change

And waxe lasse worth and lasse,

630Til it to noght al overpasse.

The necke and hed, that weren golde,

He seide how that betokne scholde

A worthi world, a noble, a riche,

To which non after schal be liche.

Of Selver that was overforth

Schal ben a world of lasse worth;

And after that the wombe of Bras

Tokne of a werse world it was.

The Stiel which he syh afterward

640A world betokneth more hard:

Bot yet the werste of everydel

Is last, whan that of Erthe and Stiel

He syh the feet departed so,

For that betokneth mochel wo.

Whan that the world divided is,

It moste algate fare amis,

For Erthe which is meynd with Stiel

Togedre may noght laste wiel,

Bot if that on that other waste;

650So mot it nedes faile in haste.

The Ston, which fro the hully Stage

He syh doun falle on that ymage,

And hath it into pouldre broke,

That swevene hath Daniel unloke,

And seide how that is goddes myht,

Which whan men wene most upryht

To stonde, schal hem overcaste.

And that is of this world the laste,

And thanne a newe schal beginne,

660Fro which a man schal nevere twinne;

Or al to peine or al to pes

That world schal lasten endeles.

Lo thus expondeth Daniel

The kynges swevene faire and wel

In Babiloyne the Cite,

Wher that the wiseste of Caldee

Ne cowthen wite what it mente;

Bot he tolde al the hol entente,

As in partie it is befalle.

670Of gold the ferste regne of alle

Was in that kinges time tho,

And laste manye daies so,

Therwhiles that the Monarchie

Of al the world in that partie

To Babiloyne was soubgit;

And hield him stille in such a plit,

Til that the world began diverse:

And that was whan the king of Perse,

Which Cirus hyhte, ayein the pes

680Forth with his Sone Cambises

Of Babiloine al that Empire,

Ryht as thei wolde hemself desire,

Put under in subjeccioun

And tok it in possessioun,

And slayn was Baltazar the king,

Which loste his regne and al his thing.

And thus whan thei it hadde wonne,

The world of Selver was begonne

And that of gold was passed oute:

690And in this wise it goth aboute

In to the Regne of Darius;

And thanne it fell to Perse thus,

That Alisaundre put hem under,

Which wroghte of armes many a wonder,

So that the Monarchie lefte

With Grecs, and here astat uplefte,

And Persiens gon under fote,

So soffre thei that nedes mote.

And tho the world began of Bras,

700And that of selver ended was;

Bot for the time thus it laste,

Til it befell that ate laste

This king, whan that his day was come,

With strengthe of deth was overcome.

And natheles yet er he dyde,

He schop his Regnes to divide

To knyhtes whiche him hadde served,

And after that thei have deserved

Yaf the conquestes that he wan;

710Wherof gret werre tho began

Among hem that the Regnes hadde,

Thurgh proud Envie which hem ladde,

Til it befell ayein hem thus:

The noble Cesar Julius,

Which tho was king of Rome lond,

With gret bataille and with strong hond

Al Grece, Perse and ek Caldee

Wan and put under, so that he

Noght al only of thorient

720Bot al the Marche of thoccident

Governeth under his empire,

As he that was hol lord and Sire,

And hield thurgh his chivalerie

Of al this world the Monarchie,

And was the ferste of that honour

Which tok the name of Emperour.

Wher Rome thanne wolde assaille,

Ther myhte nothing contrevaille,

Bot every contre moste obeie:

730Tho goth the Regne of Bras aweie,

And comen is the world of Stiel,

And stod above upon the whiel.

As Stiel is hardest in his kynde

Above alle othre that men finde

Of Metals, such was Rome tho

The myhtieste, and laste so

Long time amonges the Romeins

Til thei become so vileins,

That the fals Emperour Leo

740With Constantin his Sone also

The patrimoine and the richesse,

Which to Silvestre in pure almesse

The ferste Constantinus lefte,

Fro holy cherche thei berefte.

Bot Adrian, which Pope was,

And syh the meschief of this cas,

Goth in to France forto pleigne,

And preith the grete Charlemeine,

For Cristes sake and Soule hele

750That he wol take the querele

Of holy cherche in his defence.

And Charles for the reverence

Of god the cause hath undertake,

And with his host the weie take

Over the Montz of Lombardie;

Of Rome and al the tirandie

With blodi swerd he overcom,

And the Cite with strengthe nom;

In such a wise and there he wroghte,

760That holy cherche ayein he broghte

Into franchise, and doth restore

The Popes lost, and yaf him more:

And thus whan he his god hath served,

He tok, as he wel hath deserved,

The Diademe and was coroned.

Of Rome and thus was abandoned

Thempire, which cam nevere ayein

Into the hond of no Romein;

Bot a long time it stod so stille

770Under the Frensche kynges wille,

Til that fortune hir whiel so ladde,

That afterward Lombardz it hadde,

Noght be the swerd, bot be soffrance

Of him that tho was kyng of France,

Which Karle Calvus cleped was;

And he resigneth in this cas

Thempire of Rome unto Lowis

His Cousin, which a Lombard is.

And so hit laste into the yeer

780Of Albert and of Berenger;

Bot thanne upon dissencioun

Thei felle, and in divisioun

Among hemself that were grete,

So that thei loste the beyete

Of worschipe and of worldes pes.

Bot in proverbe natheles

Men sein, ful selden is that welthe

Can soffre his oghne astat in helthe;

And that was on the Lombardz sene,

790Such comun strif was hem betwene

Thurgh coveitise and thurgh Envie,

That every man drowh his partie,

Which myhte leden eny route,

Withinne Burgh and ek withoute:

The comun ryht hath no felawe,

So that the governance of lawe

Was lost, and for necessite,

Of that thei stode in such degre

Al only thurgh divisioun,

800Hem nedeth in conclusioun

Of strange londes help beside.

And thus for thei hemself divide

And stonden out of reule unevene,

Of Alemaine Princes sevene

Thei chose in this condicioun,

That upon here eleccioun

Thempire of Rome scholde stonde.

And thus thei lefte it out of honde

For lacke of grace, and it forsoke,

810That Alemans upon hem toke:

And to confermen here astat,

Of that thei founden in debat

Thei token the possessioun

After the composicioun

Among hemself, and therupon

Thei made an Emperour anon,

Whos name as the Cronique telleth

Was Othes; and so forth it duelleth,

Fro thilke day yit unto this

820Thempire of Rome hath ben and is

To thalemans. And in this wise,

As ye tofore have herd divise

How Daniel the swevene expondeth

Of that ymage, on whom he foundeth

The world which after scholde falle,

Come is the laste tokne of alle;

Upon the feet of Erthe and Stiel

So stant this world now everydiel

Departed; which began riht tho,

830Whan Rome was divided so:

And that is forto rewe sore,

For alway siththe more and more

The world empeireth every day.

Wherof the sothe schewe may,

At Rome ferst if we beginne:

The wall and al the Cit withinne

Stant in ruine and in decas,

The feld is wher the Paleis was,

The toun is wast; and overthat,

840If we beholde thilke astat

Which whilom was of the Romeins,

Of knyhthode and of Citezeins,

To peise now with that beforn,

The chaf is take for the corn,

As forto speke of Romes myht:

Unethes stant ther oght upryht

Of worschipe or of worldes good,

As it before tyme stod.

And why the worschipe is aweie,

850If that a man the sothe seie,

The cause hath ben divisioun,

Which moder of confusioun

Is wher sche cometh overal,

Noght only of the temporal

Bot of the spirital also.

The dede proeveth it is so,

And hath do many day er this,

Thurgh venym which that medled is

In holy cherche of erthly thing:

860For Crist himself makth knowleching

That noman may togedre serve

God and the world, bot if he swerve

Froward that on and stonde unstable;

And Cristes word may noght be fable.

The thing so open is at ije,

It nedeth noght to specefie

Or speke oght more in this matiere;

Bot in this wise a man mai lere

Hou that the world is gon aboute,

870The which welnyh is wered oute,

After the forme of that figure

Which Daniel in his scripture

Expondeth, as tofore is told.

Of Bras, of Selver and of Gold

The world is passed and agon,

And now upon his olde ton

It stant of brutel Erthe and Stiel,

The whiche acorden nevere a diel;

So mot it nedes swerve aside

880As thing the which men sen divide.

Thapostel writ unto ous alle

And seith that upon ous is falle

Thende of the world; so may we knowe,

This ymage is nyh overthrowe,

Be which this world was signified,

That whilom was so magnefied,

And now is old and fieble and vil,

Full of meschief and of peril,

And stant divided ek also

890Lich to the feet that were so,

As I tolde of the Statue above.

And this men sen, thurgh lacke of love

Where as the lond divided is,

It mot algate fare amis:

And now to loke on every side,

A man may se the world divide,

The werres ben so general

Among the cristene overal,

That every man now secheth wreche,

900And yet these clerkes alday preche

And sein, good dede may non be

Which stant noght upon charite:

I not hou charite may stonde,

Wher dedly werre is take on honde.

Bot al this wo is cause of man,

The which that wit and reson can,

And that in tokne and in witnesse

That ilke ymage bar liknesse

Of man and of non other beste.

910For ferst unto the mannes heste

Was every creature ordeined,

Bot afterward it was restreigned:

Whan that he fell, thei fellen eke,

Whan he wax sek, thei woxen seke;

For as the man hath passioun

Of seknesse, in comparisoun

So soffren othre creatures.

Lo, ferst the hevenly figures,

The Sonne and Mone eclipsen bothe,

920And ben with mannes senne wrothe;

The purest Eir for Senne alofte

Hath ben and is corrupt fulofte,

Right now the hyhe wyndes blowe,

And anon after thei ben lowe,

Now clowdy and now clier it is:

So may it proeven wel be this,

A mannes Senne is forto hate,

Which makth the welkne to debate.

And forto se the proprete

930Of every thyng in his degree,

Benethe forth among ous hiere

Al stant aliche in this matiere:

The See now ebbeth, now it floweth,

The lond now welketh, now it groweth,

Now be the Trees with leves grene,

Now thei be bare and nothing sene,

Now be the lusti somer floures,

Now be the stormy wynter shoures,

Now be the daies, now the nyhtes,

940So stant ther nothing al upryhtes,

Now it is lyht, now it is derk;

And thus stant al the worldes werk

After the disposicioun

Of man and his condicioun.

Forthi Gregoire in his Moral

Seith that a man in special

The lasse world is properly:

And that he proeveth redely;

For man of Soule resonable

950Is to an Angel resemblable,

And lich to beste he hath fielinge,

And lich to Trees he hath growinge;

The Stones ben and so is he:

Thus of his propre qualite

The man, as telleth the clergie,

Is as a world in his partie,

And whan this litel world mistorneth,

The grete world al overtorneth.

The Lond, the See, the firmament,

960Thei axen alle jugement

Ayein the man and make him werre:

Therwhile himself stant out of herre,

The remenant wol noght acorde:

And in this wise, as I recorde,

The man is cause of alle wo,

Why this world is divided so.

Division, the gospell seith,

On hous upon another leith,

Til that the Regne al overthrowe:

970And thus may every man wel knowe,

Division aboven alle

Is thing which makth the world to falle,

And evere hath do sith it began.

It may ferst proeve upon a man;

The which, for his complexioun

Is mad upon divisioun

Of cold, of hot, of moist, of drye,

He mot be verray kynde dye:

For the contraire of his astat

980Stant evermore in such debat,

Til that o part be overcome,

Ther may no final pes be nome.

Bot other wise, if a man were

Mad al togedre of o matiere

Withouten interrupcioun,

Ther scholde no corrupcioun

Engendre upon that unite:

Bot for ther is diversite

Withinne himself, he may noght laste,

990That he ne deieth ate laste.

Bot in a man yit over this

Full gret divisioun ther is,

Thurgh which that he is evere in strif,

Whil that him lasteth eny lif:

The bodi and the Soule also

Among hem ben divided so,

That what thing that the body hateth

The soule loveth and debateth;

Bot natheles fulofte is sene

1000Of werre which is hem betwene

The fieble hath wonne the victoire.

And who so drawth into memoire

What hath befalle of old and newe,

He may that werre sore rewe,

Which ferst began in Paradis:

For ther was proeved what it is,

And what desese there it wroghte;

For thilke werre tho forth broghte

The vice of alle dedly Sinne,

1010Thurgh which division cam inne

Among the men in erthe hiere,

And was the cause and the matiere

Why god the grete flodes sende,

Of al the world and made an ende

Bot Noe5 with his felaschipe,

Which only weren saulf be Schipe.

And over that thurgh Senne it com

That Nembrot such emprise nom,

Whan he the Tour Babel on heihte

1020Let make, as he that wolde feihte

Ayein the hihe goddes myht,

Wherof divided anon ryht

Was the langage in such entente,

Ther wiste non what other mente,

So that thei myhten noght procede.

And thus it stant of every dede,

Wher Senne takth the cause on honde,

It may upriht noght longe stonde;

For Senne of his condicioun

1030Is moder of divisioun

And tokne whan the world schal faile.

For so seith Crist withoute faile,

That nyh upon the worldes ende

Pes and acord awey schol wende

And alle charite schal cesse,

Among the men and hate encresce;

And whan these toknes ben befalle,

Al sodeinly the Ston schal falle,

As Daniel it hath beknowe,

1040Which al this world schal overthrowe,

And every man schal thanne arise

To Joie or elles to Juise,

Wher that he schal for evere dwelle,

Or straght to hevene or straght to helle.

In hevene is pes and al acord,

Bot helle is full of such descord

That ther may be no loveday:

Forthi good is, whil a man may,

Echon to sette pes with other

1050And loven as his oghne brother;

So may he winne worldes welthe

And afterward his soule helthe.

Bot wolde god that now were on

An other such as Arion,

Which hadde an harpe of such temprure,

And therto of so good mesure

He song, that he the bestes wilde

Made of his note tame and milde,

The Hinde in pes with the Leoun,

1060The Wolf in pes with the Moltoun,

The Hare in pees stod with the Hound;

And every man upon this ground

Which Arion that time herde,

Als wel the lord as the schepherde,

He broghte hem alle in good acord;

So that the comun with the lord,

And lord with the comun also,

He sette in love bothe tuo

And putte awey malencolie.

1070That was a lusti melodie,

Whan every man with other low;

And if ther were such on now,

Which cowthe harpe as he tho dede,

He myhte availe in many a stede

To make pes wher now is hate;

For whan men thenken to debate,

I not what other thing is good.

Bot wher that wisdom waxeth wod,

And reson torneth into rage,

1080So that mesure upon oultrage

Hath set his world, it is to drede;

For that bringth in the comun drede,

Which stant at every mannes Dore:

Bot whan the scharpnesse of the spore

The horse side smit to sore,

It grieveth ofte. And now nomore,

As forto speke of this matiere,

Which non bot only god may stiere.

Explicit Prologus

Incipit Liber Primus

Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem

     Subdit, et vnanimes concitat esse feras:

Huius enim mundi Princeps amor esse videtur,

     Cuius eget diues, pauper et omnis ope.

Sunt in agone pares amor et fortuna, que cecas

     Plebis ad insidias vertit vterque rotas.

Est amor egra salus, vexata quies, pius error,

     Bellica pax, vulnus dulce, suaue malum.

I may noght strecche up to the hevene

Min hand, ne setten al in evene

This world, which evere is in balance:

It stant noght in my sufficance

So grete thinges to compasse,

Bot I mot lete it overpasse

And treten upon othre thinges.

Forthi the Stile of my writinges

Fro this day forth I thenke change

10And speke of thing is noght so strange,

Which every kinde hath upon honde,

And wherupon the world mot stonde,

And hath don sithen it began,

And schal whil ther is any man;

And that is love, of which I mene

To trete, as after schal be sene.

In which ther can noman him reule,

For loves lawe is out of reule,

That of tomoche or of tolite

20Welnyh is every man to wyte,

And natheles ther is noman

In al this world so wys, that can

Of love tempre the mesure,

Bot as it falth in aventure:

For wit ne strengthe may noght helpe,

And he which elles wolde him yelpe

Is rathest throwen under fote,

Ther can no wiht therof do bote.

For yet was nevere such covine,

30That couthe ordeine a medicine

To thing which god in lawe of kinde

Hath set, for ther may noman finde

The rihte salve of such a Sor.

It hath and schal ben everemor

That love is maister wher he wile,

Ther can no lif make other skile;

For wher as evere him lest to sette,

Ther is no myht which him may lette.

Bot what schal fallen ate laste,

40The sothe can no wisdom caste,

Bot as it falleth upon chance;

For if ther evere was balance

Which of fortune stant governed,

I may wel lieve as I am lerned

That love hath that balance on honde,

Which wol no reson understonde.

For love is blind and may noght se,

Forthi may no certeinete

Be set upon his jugement,

50Bot as the whiel aboute went

He yifth his graces undeserved,

And fro that man which hath him served

Fulofte he takth aweye his fees,

As he that pleieth ate Dees,

And therupon what schal befalle

He not, til that the chance falle,

Wher he schal lese or he schal winne.

And thus fulofte men beginne,

That if thei wisten what it mente,

60Thei wolde change al here entente.

And forto proven it is so,

I am miselven on of tho,

Which to this Scole am underfonge.

For it is siththe go noght longe,

As forto speke of this matiere,

I may you telle, if ye woll hiere,

A wonder hap which me befell,

That was to me bothe hard and fell,

Touchende of love and his fortune,

70The which me liketh to comune

And pleinly forto telle it oute.

To hem that ben lovers aboute

Fro point to point I wol declare

And wryten of my woful care,

Mi wofull day, my wofull chance,

That men mowe take remembrance

Of that thei schall hierafter rede:

For in good feith this wolde I rede,

That every man ensample take

80Of wisdom which him is betake,

And that he wot of good aprise

To teche it forth, for such emprise

Is forto preise; and therfore I

Woll wryte and schewe al openly

How love and I togedre mette,

Wherof the world ensample fette

Mai after this, whan I am go,

Of thilke unsely jolif wo,

Whos reule stant out of the weie,

90Nou glad and nou gladnesse aweie,

And yet it may noght be withstonde

For oght that men may understonde.

Upon the point that is befalle

Of love, in which that I am falle,

I thenke telle my matiere:

Now herkne, who that wol it hiere,

Of my fortune how that it ferde.

This enderday, as I forthferde

To walke, as I yow telle may,-

100And that was in the Monthe of Maii,

Whan every brid hath chose his make

And thenkth his merthes forto make

Of love that he hath achieved;

Bot so was I nothing relieved,

For I was further fro my love

Than Erthe is fro the hevene above,

As forto speke of eny sped:

So wiste I me non other red,

Bot as it were a man forfare

110Unto the wode I gan to fare,

Noght forto singe with the briddes,

For whanne I was the wode amiddes,

I fond a swote grene pleine,

And ther I gan my wo compleigne

Wisshinge and wepinge al myn one,

For other merthes made I none.

So hard me was that ilke throwe,

That ofte sithes overthrowe

To grounde I was withoute breth;

120And evere I wisshide after deth,

Whanne I out of my peine awok,

And caste up many a pitous lok

Unto the hevene, and seide thus:

“O thou Cupide, O thou Venus,

Thou god of love and thou goddesse,

Wher is pite? wher is meknesse?

Now doth me pleinly live or dye,

For certes such a maladie

As I now have and longe have hadd,

130It myhte make a wisman madd,

If that it scholde longe endure.

O Venus, queene of loves cure,

Thou lif, thou lust, thou mannes hele,

Behold my cause and my querele,

And yif me som part of thi grace,

So that I may finde in this place

If thou be gracious or non.”

And with that word I sawh anon

The kyng of love and qweene bothe;

140Bot he that kyng with yhen wrothe

His chiere aweiward fro me caste,

And forth he passede ate laste.

Bot natheles er he forth wente

A firy Dart me thoghte he hente

And threw it thurgh myn herte rote:

In him fond I non other bote,

For lenger list him noght to duelle.

Bot sche that is the Source and Welle

Of wel or wo, that schal betide

150To hem that loven, at that tide

Abod, bot forto tellen hiere

Sche cast on me no goodly chiere:

Thus natheles to me sche seide,

“What art thou, Sone?” and I abreide

Riht as a man doth out of slep,

And therof tok sche riht good kep

And bad me nothing ben adrad:

Bot for al that I was noght glad,

For I ne sawh no cause why.

160And eft scheo asketh, what was I:

I seide, “A Caitif that lith hiere:

What wolde ye, my Ladi diere?

Schal I ben hol or elles dye?”

Sche seide, “Tell thi maladie:

What is thi Sor of which thou pleignest?

Ne hyd it noght, for if thou feignest,

I can do the no medicine.”

“Ma dame, I am a man of thyne,

That in thi Court have longe served,

170And aske that I have deserved,

Some wele after my longe wo.”

And sche began to loure tho,

And seide, “Ther is manye of yow

Faitours, and so may be that thow

Art riht such on, and be feintise

Seist that thou hast me do servise.”

And natheles sche wiste wel,

Mi world stod on an other whiel

Withouten eny faiterie:

180Bot algate of my maladie

Sche bad me telle and seie hir trowthe.

“Ma dame, if ye wolde have rowthe,”

Quod I, “than wolde I telle yow.”

“Sey forth,” quod sche, “and tell me how;

Schew me thi seknesse everydiel.”

“Ma dame, that can I do wel,

Be so my lif therto wol laste.”

With that hir lok on me sche caste,

And seide: “In aunter if thou live,

190Mi will is ferst that thou be schrive;

And natheles how that it is

I wot miself, bot for al this

Unto my prest, which comth anon,

I woll thou telle it on and on,

Bothe all thi thoght and al thi werk.

O Genius myn oghne Clerk,

Com forth and hier this mannes schrifte,”

Quod Venus tho; and I uplifte

Min hefd with that, and gan beholde

200The selve Prest, which as sche wolde

Was redy there and sette him doun

To hiere my confessioun.

This worthi Prest, this holy man

To me spekende thus began,

And seide: “Benedicite,

Mi Sone, of the felicite

Of love and ek of all the wo

Thou schalt thee schrive of bothe tuo.

What thou er this for loves sake

210Hast felt, let nothing be forsake,

Tell pleinliche as it is befalle.”

And with that word I gan doun falle

On knees, and with devocioun

And with full gret contricioun

I seide thanne: “Dominus,

Min holi fader Genius,

So as thou hast experience

Of love, for whos reverence

Thou schalt me schriven at this time,

220I prai the let me noght mistime

Mi schrifte, for I am destourbed

In al myn herte, and so contourbed,

That I ne may my wittes gete,

So schal I moche thing foryete:

Bot if thou wolt my schrifte oppose

Fro point to point, thanne I suppose,

Ther schal nothing be left behinde.

Bot now my wittes ben so blinde,

That I ne can miselven teche.”

230Tho he began anon to preche,

And with his wordes debonaire

He seide tome softe and faire:

“Thi schrifte to oppose and hiere,

My Sone, I am assigned hiere

Be Venus the godesse above,

Whos Prest I am touchende of love.

Bot natheles for certein skile

I mot algate and nedes wile

Noght only make my spekynges

240Of love, bot of othre thinges,

That touchen to the cause of vice.

For that belongeth to thoffice

Of Prest, whos ordre that I bere,

So that I wol nothing forbere,

That I the vices on and on

Ne schal thee schewen everychon;

Wherof thou myht take evidence

To reule with thi conscience.

Bot of conclusion final

250Conclude I wol in special

For love, whos servant I am,

And why the cause is that I cam.

So thenke I to don bothe tuo,

Ferst that myn ordre longeth to,

The vices forto telle arewe,

Bot next above alle othre schewe

Of love I wol the propretes,

How that thei stonde be degrees

After the disposicioun

260Of Venus, whos condicioun

I moste folwe, as I am holde.

For I with love am al withholde,

So that the lasse I am to wyte,

Thogh I ne conne bot a lyte

Of othre thinges that ben wise:

I am noght tawht in such a wise;

For it is noght my comun us

To speke of vices and vertus,

Bot al of love and of his lore,

270For Venus bokes of nomore

Me techen nowther text ne glose.

Bot for als moche as I suppose

It sit a prest to be wel thewed,

And schame it is if he be lewed,

Of my Presthode after the forme

I wol thi schrifte so enforme,

That ate leste thou schalt hiere

The vices, and to thi matiere

Of love I schal hem so remene,

280That thou schalt knowe what thei mene.

For what a man schal axe or sein

Touchende of schrifte, it mot be plein,

It nedeth noght to make it queinte,

For trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte:

That I wole axe of the forthi,

My Sone, it schal be so pleinly,

That thou schalt knowe and understonde

The pointz of schrifte how that thei stonde.”

Betwen the lif and deth I herde

290This Prestes tale er I answerde,

And thanne I preide him forto seie

His will, and I it wolde obeie

After the forme of his apprise.

Tho spak he tome in such a wise,

And bad me that I scholde schrive

As touchende of my wittes fyve,

And schape that thei were amended

Of that I hadde hem misdispended.

For tho be proprely the gates,

300Thurgh whiche as to the herte algates

Comth alle thing unto the feire,

Which may the mannes Soule empeire.

And now this matiere is broght inne,

Mi Sone, I thenke ferst beginne

To wite how that thin yhe hath stonde,

The which is, as I understonde,

The moste principal of alle,

Thurgh whom that peril mai befalle.

And forto speke in loves kinde,

310Ful manye suche a man mai finde,

Whiche evere caste aboute here yhe,

To loke if that thei myhte aspie

Fulofte thing which hem ne toucheth,

Bot only that here herte soucheth

In hindringe of an other wiht;

And thus ful many a worthi knyht

And many a lusti lady bothe

Have be fulofte sythe wrothe.

So that an yhe is as a thief

320To love, and doth ful gret meschief;

And also for his oghne part

Fulofte thilke firy Dart

Of love, which that evere brenneth,

Thurgh him into the herte renneth:

And thus a mannes yhe ferst

Himselve grieveth alther werst,

And many a time that he knoweth

Unto his oghne harm it groweth.

Mi Sone, herkne now forthi

330A tale, to be war therby

Thin yhe forto kepe and warde,

So that it passe noght his warde.

Ovide telleth in his bok

Ensample touchende of mislok,

And seith hou whilom ther was on,

A worthi lord, which Acteon

Was hote, and he was cousin nyh

To him that Thebes ferst on hyh

Up sette, which king Cadme hyhte.

340This Acteon, as he wel myhte,

Above alle othre caste his chiere,

And used it fro yer to yere,

With Houndes and with grete Hornes

Among the wodes and the thornes

To make his hunting and his chace:

Where him best thoghte in every place

To finde gamen in his weie,

Ther rod he forto hunte and pleie.

So him befell upon a tide

350On his hunting as he cam ride,

In a Forest al one he was:

He syh upon the grene gras

The faire freisshe floures springe,

He herde among the leves singe

The Throstle with the nyhtingale:

Thus er he wiste into a Dale

He cam, wher was a litel plein,

All round aboute wel besein

With buisshes grene and Cedres hyhe;

360And ther withinne he caste his yhe.

Amidd the plein he syh a welle,

So fair ther myhte noman telle,

In which Diana naked stod

To bathe and pleie hire in the flod

With many a Nimphe, which hire serveth.

Bot he his yhe awey ne swerveth

Fro hire, which was naked al,

And sche was wonder wroth withal,

And him, as sche which was godesse,

370Forschop anon, and the liknesse

Sche made him taken of an Hert,

Which was tofore hise houndes stert,

That ronne besiliche aboute

With many an horn and many a route,

That maden mochel noise and cry:

And ate laste unhappely

This Hert his oghne houndes slowhe

And him for vengance al todrowhe.

Lo now, my Sone, what it is

380A man to caste his yhe amis,

Which Acteon hath dere aboght;

Be war forthi and do it noght.

For ofte, who that hiede toke,

Betre is to winke than to loke.

And forto proven it is so,

Ovide the Poete also

A tale which to this matiere

Acordeth seith, as thou schalt hiere.

In Metamor it telleth thus,

390How that a lord which Phorces

Was hote, hadde dowhtres thre.

Bot upon here nativite

Such was the constellacion,

That out of mannes nacion

Fro kynde thei be so miswent,

That to the liknesse of Serpent

Thei were bore, and so that on

Of hem was cleped Stellibon,

That other soster Suriale,

400The thridde, as telleth in the tale,

Medusa hihte, and natheles

Of comun name Gorgones

In every contre ther aboute,

As Monstres whiche that men doute,

Men clepen hem; and bot on yhe

Among hem thre in pourpartie

Thei hadde, of which thei myhte se,

Now hath it this, now hath it sche;

After that cause and nede it ladde,

410Be throwes ech of hem it hadde.

A wonder thing yet more amis

Ther was, wherof I telle al this:

What man on hem his chiere caste

And hem behield, he was als faste

Out of a man into a Ston

Forschape, and thus ful manyon

Deceived were, of that thei wolde

Misloke, wher that thei ne scholde.

Bot Perses that worthi knyht,

420Whom Pallas of hir grete myht

Halp, and tok him a Schield therto,

And ek the god Mercurie also

Lente him a swerd, he, as it fell,

Beyende Athlans the hihe hell

These Monstres soghte, and there he fond

Diverse men of thilke lond

Thurgh sihte of hem mistorned were,

Stondende as Stones hiere and there.

Bot he, which wisdom and prouesse

430Hadde of the god and the godesse,

The Schield of Pallas gan enbrace,

With which he covereth sauf his face,

Mercuries Swerd and out he drowh,

And so he bar him that he slowh

These dredful Monstres alle thre.

Lo now, my Sone, avise the,

That thou thi sihte noght misuse:

Cast noght thin yhe upon Meduse,

That thou be torned into Ston:

440For so wys man was nevere non,

Bot if he wel his yhe kepe

And take of fol delit no kepe,

That he with lust nys ofte nome,

Thurgh strengthe of love and overcome.

Of mislokynge how it hath ferd,

As I have told, now hast thou herd,

My goode Sone, and tak good hiede.

And overthis yet I thee rede

That thou be war of thin heringe,

450Which to the Herte the tidinge

Of many a vanite hath broght,

To tarie with a mannes thoght.

And natheles good is to hiere

Such thing wherof a man may lere

That to vertu is acordant,

And toward al the remenant

Good is to torne his Ere fro;

For elles, bot a man do so,

Him may fulofte mysbefalle.

460I rede ensample amonges alle,

Wherof to kepe wel an Ere

It oghte pute a man in fere.

A Serpent, which that Aspidis

Is cleped, of his kynde hath this,

That he the Ston noblest of alle,

The which that men Carbuncle calle,

Berth in his hed above on heihte.

For which whan that a man be sleyhte,

The Ston to winne and him to daunte,

470With his carecte him wolde enchaunte,

Anon as he perceiveth that,

He leith doun his on Ere al plat

Unto the ground, and halt it faste,

And ek that other Ere als faste

He stoppeth with his tail so sore,

That he the wordes lasse or more

Of his enchantement ne hiereth;

And in this wise himself he skiereth,

So that he hath the wordes weyved

480And thurgh his Ere is noght deceived.

An othre thing, who that recordeth,

Lich unto this ensample acordeth,

Which in the tale of Troie I finde.

Sirenes of a wonder kynde

Ben Monstres, as the bokes tellen,

And in the grete Se thei duellen:

Of body bothe and of visage

Lik unto wommen of yong age

Up fro the Navele on hih thei be,

490And doun benethe, as men mai se,

Thei bere of fisshes the figure.

And overthis of such nature

Thei ben, that with so swete a stevene

Lik to the melodie of hevene

In wommanysshe vois thei singe,

With notes of so gret likinge,

Of such mesure, of such musike,

Wherof the Schipes thei beswike

That passen be the costes there.

500For whan the Schipmen leie an Ere

Unto the vois, in here avys

Thei wene it be a Paradys,

Which after is to hem an helle.

For reson may noght with hem duelle,

Whan thei tho grete lustes hiere;

Thei conne noght here Schipes stiere,

So besiliche upon the note

Thei herkne, and in such wise assote,

That thei here rihte cours and weie

510Foryete, and to here Ere obeie,

And seilen til it so befalle

That thei into the peril falle,

Where as the Schipes be todrawe,

And thei ben with the Monstres slawe.

Bot fro this peril natheles

With his wisdom king Uluxes

Ascapeth and it overpasseth;

For he tofor the hond compasseth

That noman of his compaignie

520Hath pouer unto that folie

His Ere for no lust to caste;

For he hem stoppede alle faste,

That non of hem mai hiere hem singe.

So whan they comen forth seilinge,

Ther was such governance on honde,

That thei the Monstres have withstonde

And slain of hem a gret partie.

Thus was he sauf with his navie,

This wise king, thurgh governance.

530Wherof, my Sone, in remembrance

Thou myht ensample taken hiere,

As I have told, and what thou hiere

Be wel war, and yif no credence,

Bot if thou se more evidence.

For if thou woldest take kepe

And wisly cowthest warde and kepe

Thin yhe and Ere, as I have spoke,

Than haddest thou the gates stoke

Fro such Sotie as comth to winne

540Thin hertes wit, which is withinne,

Wherof that now thi love excedeth

Mesure, and many a peine bredeth.

Bot if thou cowthest sette in reule

Tho tuo, the thre were eth to reule:

Forthi as of thi wittes five

I wole as now nomore schryve,

Bot only of these ilke tuo.

Tell me therfore if it be so,

Hast thou thin yhen oght misthrowe?

550Mi fader, ye, I am beknowe,

I have hem cast upon Meduse,

Therof I may me noght excuse:

Min herte is growen into Ston,

So that my lady therupon

Hath such a priente of love grave,

That I can noght miselve save.

What seist thou, Sone, as of thin Ere?

Mi fader, I am gultyf there;

For whanne I may my lady hiere,

560Mi wit with that hath lost his Stiere:

I do noght as Uluxes dede,

Bot falle anon upon the stede,

Wher as I se my lady stonde;

And there, I do yow understonde,

I am topulled in my thoght,

So that of reson leveth noght,

Wherof that I me mai defende.

My goode Sone, god thamende:

For as me thenketh be thi speche

570Thi wittes ben riht feer to seche.

As of thin Ere and of thin yhe

I woll nomore specefie,

Bot I woll axen overthis

Of othre thing how that it is.

Mi Sone, as I thee schal enforme,

Ther ben yet of an other forme

Of dedly vices sevene applied,

Wherof the herte is ofte plied

To thing which after schal him grieve.

580The ferste of hem thou schalt believe

Is Pride, which is principal,

And hath with him in special

Ministres five ful diverse,

Of whiche, as I the schal reherse,

The ferste is seid Ypocrisie.

If thou art of his compaignie,

Tell forth, my Sone, and schrif the clene.

I wot noght, fader, what ye mene:

Bot this I wolde you beseche,

590That ye me be som weie teche

What is to ben an ypocrite;

And thanne if I be forto wyte,

I wol beknowen, as it is.

Mi Sone, an ypocrite is this,-

A man which feigneth conscience,

As thogh it were al innocence,

Withoute, and is noght so withinne;

And doth so for he wolde winne

Of his desir the vein astat.

600And whanne he comth anon therat,

He scheweth thanne what he was,

The corn is torned into gras,

That was a Rose is thanne a thorn,

And he that was a Lomb beforn

Is thanne a Wolf, and thus malice

Under the colour of justice

Is hid; and as the poeple telleth,

These ordres witen where he duelleth,

As he that of here conseil is,

610And thilke world which thei er this

Forsoken, he drawth in ayein:

He clotheth richesse, as men sein,

Under the simplesce of poverte,

And doth to seme of gret decerte

Thing which is litel worth withinne:

He seith in open, fy! to Sinne,

And in secre ther is no vice

Of which that he nis a Norrice:

And evere his chiere is sobre and softe,

620And where he goth he blesseth ofte,

Wherof the blinde world he dreccheth.

Bot yet al only he ne streccheth

His reule upon religioun,

Bot next to that condicioun

In suche as clepe hem holy cherche

It scheweth ek how he can werche

Among tho wyde furred hodes,

To geten hem the worldes goodes.

And thei hemself ben thilke same

630That setten most the world in blame,

Bot yet in contraire of her lore

Ther is nothing thei loven more;

So that semende of liht thei werke

The dedes whiche are inward derke.

And thus this double Ypocrisie

With his devolte apparantie

A viser set upon his face,

Wherof toward this worldes grace

He semeth to be riht wel thewed,

640And yit his herte is al beschrewed.

Bot natheles he stant believed,

And hath his pourpos ofte achieved

Of worschipe and of worldes welthe,

And takth it, as who seith, be stelthe

Thurgh coverture of his fallas.

And riht so in semblable cas

This vice hath ek his officers

Among these othre seculers

Of grete men, for of the smale

650As for tacompte he set no tale,

Bot thei that passen the comune

With suche him liketh to comune,

And where he seith he wol socoure

The poeple, there he woll devoure;

For now aday is manyon

Which spekth of Peter and of John

And thenketh Judas in his herte.

Ther schal no worldes good asterte

His hond, and yit he yifth almesse

660And fasteth ofte and hiereth Messe:

With mea culpa, which he seith,

Upon his brest fullofte he leith

His hond, and cast upward his yhe,

As thogh he Cristes face syhe;

So that it seemeth ate syhte,

As he al one alle othre myhte

Rescoue with his holy bede.

Bot yet his herte in other stede

Among hise bedes most devoute

670Goth in the worldes cause aboute,

How that he myhte his warisoun

Encresce. And in comparisoun

Ther ben lovers of such a sort,

That feignen hem an humble port,

And al is bot Ypocrisie,

Which with deceipte and flaterie

Hath many a worthi wif beguiled.

For whanne he hath his tunge affiled,

With softe speche and with lesinge,

680Forth with his fals pitous lokynge,

He wolde make a womman wene

To gon upon the faire grene,

Whan that sche falleth in the Mir.

For if he may have his desir,

How so falle of the remenant,

He halt no word of covenant;

Bot er the time that he spede,

Ther is no sleihte at thilke nede,

Which eny loves faitour mai,

690That he ne put it in assai,

As him belongeth forto done.

The colour of the reyni Mone

With medicine upon his face

He set, and thanne he axeth grace,

As he which hath sieknesse feigned.

Whan his visage is so desteigned,

With yhe upcast on hire he siketh,

And many a contenance he piketh,

To bringen hire in to believe

700Of thing which that he wolde achieve,

Wherof he berth the pale hewe;

And for he wolde seme trewe,

He makth him siek, whan he is heil.

Bot whanne he berth lowest the Seil,

Thanne is he swiftest to beguile

The womman, which that ilke while

Set upon him feith or credence.

Mi Sone, if thou thi conscience

Entamed hast in such a wise,

710In schrifte thou thee myht avise

And telle it me, if it be so.

Min holy fader, certes no.

As forto feigne such sieknesse

It nedeth noght, for this witnesse

I take of god, that my corage

Hath ben mor siek than my visage.

And ek this mai I wel avowe,

So lowe cowthe I nevere bowe

To feigne humilite withoute,

720That me ne leste betre loute

With alle the thoghtes of myn herte;

For that thing schal me nevere asterte,

I speke as to my lady diere,

To make hire eny feigned chiere.

God wot wel there I lye noght,

Mi chiere hath be such as my thoght;

For in good feith, this lieveth wel,

Mi will was betre a thousendel

Than eny chiere that I cowthe.

730Bot, Sire, if I have in my yowthe

Don other wise in other place,

I put me therof in your grace:

For this excusen I ne schal,

That I have elles overal

To love and to his compaignie

Be plein withoute Ypocrisie;

Bot ther is on the which I serve,

Althogh I may no thonk deserve,

To whom yet nevere into this day

740I seide onlyche or ye or nay,

Bot if it so were in my thoght.

As touchende othre seie I noght

That I nam somdel forto wyte

Of that ye clepe an ypocrite.

Mi Sone, it sit wel every wiht

To kepe his word in trowthe upryht

Towardes love in alle wise.

For who that wolde him wel avise

What hath befalle in this matiere,

750He scholde noght with feigned chiere

Deceive Love in no degre.

To love is every herte fre,

Bot in deceipte if that thou feignest

And therupon thi lust atteignest,

That thow hast wonne with thi wyle,

Thogh it thee like for a whyle,

Thou schalt it afterward repente.

And forto prove myn entente,

I finde ensample in a Croniqe

760Of hem that love so beswike.

It fell be olde daies thus,

Whil themperour Tiberius

The Monarchie of Rome ladde,

Ther was a worthi Romein hadde

A wif, and sche Pauline hihte,

Which was to every mannes sihte

Of al the Cite the faireste,

And as men seiden, ek the beste.

It is and hath ben evere yit,

770That so strong is no mannes wit,

Which thurgh beaute ne mai be drawe

To love, and stonde under the lawe

Of thilke bore frele kinde,

Which makth the hertes yhen blinde,

Wher no reson mai be comuned:

And in this wise stod fortuned

This tale, of which I wolde mene;

This wif, which in hire lustes grene

Was fair and freissh and tendre of age,

780Sche may noght lette the corage

Of him that wole on hire assote.

Ther was a Duck, and he was hote

Mundus, which hadde in his baillie

To lede the chivalerie

Of Rome, and was a worthi knyht;

Bot yet he was noght of such myht

The strengthe of love to withstonde,

That he ne was so broght to honde,

That malgre wher he wole or no,

790This yonge wif he loveth so,

That he hath put al his assay

To wynne thing which he ne may

Gete of hire graunt in no manere,

Be yifte of gold ne be preiere.

And whanne he syh that be no mede

Toward hir love he myhte spede,

Be sleyhte feigned thanne he wroghte;

And therupon he him bethoghte

How that ther was in the Cite

800A temple of such auctorite,

To which with gret Devocioun

The noble wommen of the toun

Most comunliche a pelrinage

Gon forto preie thilke ymage

Which the godesse of childinge is,

And cleped was be name Ysis:

And in hire temple thanne were,

To reule and to ministre there

After the lawe which was tho,

810Above alle othre Prestes tuo.

This Duck, which thoghte his love gete,

Upon a day hem tuo to mete

Hath bede, and thei come at his heste;

Wher that thei hadde a riche feste,

And after mete in prive place

This lord, which wolde his thonk pourchace,

To ech of hem yaf thanne a yifte,

And spak so that be weie of schrifte

He drowh hem unto his covine,

820To helpe and schape how he Pauline

After his lust deceive myhte.

And thei here trowthes bothe plyhte,

That thei be nyhte hire scholden wynne

Into the temple, and he therinne

Schal have of hire al his entente:

And thus acorded forth thei wente.

Now lest thurgh which ypocrisie

Ordeigned was the tricherie,

Wherof this ladi was deceived.

830These Prestes hadden wel conceived

That sche was of gret holinesse;

And with a contrefet simplesse,

Which hid was in a fals corage,

Feignende an hevenely message

Thei come and seide unto hir thus:

“Pauline, the god Anubus

Hath sent ous bothe Prestes hiere,

And seith he woll to thee appiere

Be nyhtes time himself alone,

840For love he hath to thi persone:

And therupon he hath ous bede,

That we in Ysis temple a stede

Honestely for thee pourveie,

Wher thou be nyhte, as we thee seie,

Of him schalt take avisioun.

For upon thi condicioun,

The which is chaste and ful of feith,

Such pris, as he ous tolde, he leith,

That he wol stonde of thin acord;

850And forto bere hierof record

He sende ous hider bothe tuo.”

Glad was hire innocence tho

Of suche wordes as sche herde,

With humble chiere and thus answerde,

And seide that the goddes wille

Sche was al redy to fulfille,

That be hire housebondes leve

Sche wolde in Ysis temple at eve

Upon hire goddes grace abide,

860To serven him the nyhtes tide.

The Prestes tho gon hom ayein,

And sche goth to hire sovereign,

Of goddes wille and as it was

Sche tolde him al the pleine cas,

Wherof he was deceived eke,

And bad that sche hire scholde meke

Al hol unto the goddes heste.

And thus sche, which was al honeste

To godward after hire entente,

870At nyht unto the temple wente,

Wher that the false Prestes were;

And thei receiven hire there

With such a tokne of holinesse,

As thogh thei syhen a godesse,

And al withinne in prive place

A softe bedd of large space

Thei hadde mad and encourtined,

Wher sche was afterward engined.

Bot sche, which al honour supposeth,

880The false Prestes thanne opposeth,

And axeth be what observance

Sche myhte most to the plesance

Of godd that nyhtes reule kepe:

And thei hire bidden forto slepe

Liggende upon the bedd alofte,

For so, thei seide, al stille and softe

God Anubus hire wolde awake.

The conseil in this wise take,

The Prestes fro this lady gon;

890And sche, that wiste of guile non,

In the manere as it was seid

To slepe upon the bedd is leid,

In hope that sche scholde achieve

Thing which stod thanne upon bilieve,

Fulfild of alle holinesse.

Bot sche hath failed, as I gesse,

For in a closet faste by

The Duck was hid so prively

That sche him myhte noght perceive;

900And he, that thoghte to deceive,

Hath such arrai upon him nome,

That whanne he wolde unto hir come,

It scholde semen at hire yhe

As thogh sche verrailiche syhe

God Anubus, and in such wise

This ypocrite of his queintise

Awaiteth evere til sche slepte.

And thanne out of his place he crepte

So stille that sche nothing herde,

910And to the bedd stalkende he ferde,

And sodeinly, er sche it wiste,

Beclipt in armes he hire kiste:

Wherof in wommanysshe drede

Sche wok and nyste what to rede;

Bot he with softe wordes milde

Conforteth hire and seith, with childe

He wolde hire make in such a kynde

That al the world schal have in mynde

The worschipe of that ilke Sone;

920For he schal with the goddes wone,

And ben himself a godd also.

With suche wordes and with mo,

The whiche he feigneth in his speche,

This lady wit was al to seche,

As sche which alle trowthe weneth:

Bot he, that alle untrowthe meneth,

With blinde tales so hire ladde,

That all his wille of hire he hadde.

And whan him thoghte it was ynowh,

930Ayein the day he him withdrowh

So prively that sche ne wiste

Wher he becom, bot as him liste

Out of the temple he goth his weie.

And sche began to bidde and preie

Upon the bare ground knelende,

And after that made hire offrende,

And to the Prestes yiftes grete

Sche yaf, and homward be the Strete.

The Duck hire mette and seide thus:

940“The myhti godd which Anubus

Is hote, he save the, Pauline,

For thou art of his discipline

So holy, that no mannes myht

Mai do that he hath do to nyht

Of thing which thou hast evere eschuied.

Bot I his grace have so poursuied,

That I was mad his lieutenant:

Forthi be weie of covenant

Fro this day forth I am al thin,

950And if thee like to be myn,

That stant upon thin oghne wille.”

Sche herde his tale and bar it stille,

And hom sche wente, as it befell,

Into hir chambre, and ther sche fell

Upon hire bedd to wepe and crie,

And seide: “O derke ypocrisie,

Thurgh whos dissimilacion

Of fals ymaginacion

I am thus wickedly deceived!

960Bot that I have it aperceived

I thonke unto the goddes alle;

For thogh it ones be befalle,

It schal nevere eft whil that I live,

And thilke avou to godd I yive.”

And thus wepende sche compleigneth,

Hire faire face and al desteigneth

With wofull teres of hire ije,

So that upon this agonie

Hire housebonde is inne come,

970And syh how sche was overcome

With sorwe, and axeth what hire eileth.

And sche with that hirself beweileth

Welmore than sche dede afore,

And seide, “Helas, wifhode is lore

In me, which whilom was honeste,

I am non other than a beste,

Now I defouled am of tuo.”

And as sche myhte speke tho,

Aschamed with a pitous onde

980Sche tolde unto hir housebonde

The sothe of al the hole tale,

And in hire speche ded and pale

Sche swouneth welnyh to the laste.

And he hire in hise armes faste

Uphield, and ofte swor his oth

That he with hire is nothing wroth,

For wel he wot sche may ther noght:

Bot natheles withinne his thoght

His herte stod in sori plit,

990And seide he wolde of that despit

Be venged, how so evere it falle,

And sende unto hise frendes alle.

And whan thei weren come in fere,

He tolde hem upon this matiere,

And axeth hem what was to done:

And thei avised were sone,

And seide it thoghte hem for the beste

To sette ferst his wif in reste,

And after pleigne to the king

1000Upon the matiere of this thing.

Tho was this wofull wif conforted

Be alle weies and desported,

Til that sche was somdiel amended;

And thus a day or tuo despended,

The thridde day sche goth to pleigne

With many a worthi Citezeine,

And he with many a Citezein.

Whan themperour it herde sein,

And knew the falshed of the vice,

1010He seide he wolde do justice:

And ferst he let the Prestes take,

And for thei scholde it noght forsake,

He put hem into questioun;

Bot thei of the suggestioun

Ne couthen noght a word refuse,

Bot for thei wolde hemself excuse,

The blame upon the Duck thei leide.

Bot therayein the conseil seide

That thei be noght excused so,

1020For he is on and thei ben tuo,

And tuo han more wit then on,

So thilke excusement was non.

And over that was seid hem eke,

That whan men wolden vertu seke,

Men scholde it in the Prestes finde;

Here ordre is of so hyh a kinde,

That thei be Duistres of the weie:

Forthi, if eny man forsueie

Thurgh hem, thei be noght excusable.

1030And thus be lawe resonable

Among the wise jugges there

The Prestes bothe dampned were,

So that the prive tricherie

Hid under fals Ipocrisie

Was thanne al openliche schewed,

That many a man hem hath beschrewed.

And whan the Prestes weren dede,

The temple of thilke horrible dede

Thei thoghten purge, and thilke ymage,

1040Whos cause was the pelrinage,

Thei drowen out and als so faste

Fer into Tibre thei it caste,

Wher the Rivere it hath defied:

And thus the temple purified

Thei have of thilke horrible Sinne,

Which was that time do therinne.

Of this point such was the juise,

Bot of the Duck was other wise:

For he with love was bestad,

1050His dom was noght so harde lad;

For Love put reson aweie

And can noght se the rihte weie.

And be this cause he was respited,

So that the deth him was acquited,

Bot for al that he was exiled,

For he his love hath so beguiled,

That he schal nevere come ayein:

For who that is to trowthe unplein,

He may noght failen of vengance.

1060And ek to take remembrance

Of that Ypocrisie hath wroght

On other half, men scholde noght

To lihtly lieve al that thei hiere,

Bot thanne scholde a wisman stiere

The Schip, whan suche wyndes blowe:

For ferst thogh thei beginne lowe,

At ende thei be noght menable,

Bot al tobreken Mast and Cable,

So that the Schip with sodein blast,

1070Whan men lest wene, is overcast;

As now fulofte a man mai se:

And of old time how it hath be

I finde a gret experience,

Wherof to take an evidence

Good is, and to be war also

Of the peril, er him be wo.

Of hem that ben so derk withinne,

At Troie also if we beginne,

Ipocrisie it hath betraied:

1080For whan the Greks hadde al assaied,

And founde that be no bataille

Ne be no Siege it myhte availe

The toun to winne thurgh prouesse,

This vice feigned of simplesce

Thurgh sleyhte of Calcas and of Crise

It wan be such a maner wise.

An Hors of Bras thei let do forge

Of such entaile, of such a forge,

That in this world was nevere man

1090That such an other werk began.

The crafti werkman Epius

It made, and forto telle thus,

The Greks, that thoghten to beguile

The kyng of Troie, in thilke while

With Anthenor and with Enee,

That were bothe of the Cite

And of the conseil the wiseste,

The richeste and the myhtieste,

In prive place so thei trete

1100With fair beheste and yiftes grete

Of gold, that thei hem have engined;

Togedre and whan thei be covined,

Thei feignen forto make a pes,

And under that yit natheles

Thei schopen the destruccioun

Bothe of the kyng and of the toun.

And thus the false pees was take

Of hem of Grece and undertake,

And therupon thei founde a weie,

1110Wher strengthe myhte noght aweie,

That sleihte scholde helpe thanne;

And of an ynche a large spanne

Be colour of the pees thei made,

And tolden how thei weren glade

Of that thei stoden in acord;

And for it schal ben of record,

Unto the kyng the Gregois seiden,

Be weie of love and this thei preiden,

As thei that wolde his thonk deserve,

1120A Sacrifice unto Minerve,

The pes to kepe in good entente,

Thei mosten offre er that thei wente.

The kyng conseiled in this cas

Be Anthenor and Eneas

Therto hath yoven his assent:

So was the pleine trowthe blent

Thurgh contrefet Ipocrisie

Of that thei scholden sacrifie.

The Greks under the holinesse

1130Anon with alle besinesse

Here Hors of Bras let faire dihte,

Which was to sen a wonder sihte;

For it was trapped of himselve,

And hadde of smale whieles twelve,

Upon the whiche men ynowe

With craft toward the toun it drowe,

And goth glistrende ayein the Sunne.

Tho was ther joie ynowh begunne,

For Troie in gret devocioun

1140Cam also with processioun

Ayein this noble Sacrifise

With gret honour, and in this wise

Unto the gates thei it broghte.

Bot of here entre whan thei soghte,

The gates weren al to smale;

And therupon was many a tale,

Bot for the worschipe of Minerve,

To whom thei comen forto serve,

Thei of the toun, whiche understode

1150That al this thing was do for goode,

For pes, wherof that thei ben glade,

The gates that Neptunus made

A thousend wynter ther tofore,

Thei have anon tobroke and tore;

The stronge walles doun thei bete,

So that in to the large strete

This Hors with gret solempnite

Was broght withinne the Cite,

And offred with gret reverence,

1160Which was to Troie an evidence

Of love and pes for everemo.

The Gregois token leve tho

With al the hole felaschipe,

And forth thei wenten into Schipe

And crossen seil and made hem yare,

Anon as thogh thei wolden fare:

Bot whan the blake wynter nyht

Withoute Mone or Sterre lyht

Bederked hath the water Stronde,

1170Al prively thei gon to londe

Ful armed out of the navie.

Synon, which mad was here aspie

Withinne Troie, as was conspired,

Whan time was a tokne hath fired;

And thei with that here weie holden,

And comen in riht as thei wolden,

Ther as the gate was tobroke.

The pourpos was full take and spoke:

Er eny man may take kepe,

1180Whil that the Cite was aslepe,

Thei slowen al that was withinne,

And token what thei myhten wynne

Of such good as was sufficant,

And brenden up the remenant.

And thus cam out the tricherie,

Which under fals Ypocrisie

Was hid, and thei that wende pees

Tho myhten finde no reles

Of thilke swerd which al devoureth.

1190Fulofte and thus the swete soureth,

Whan it is knowe to the tast:

He spilleth many a word in wast

That schal with such a poeple trete;

For whan he weneth most beyete,

Thanne is he schape most to lese.

And riht so if a womman chese

Upon the wordes that sche hiereth

Som man, whan he most trewe appiereth,

Thanne is he forthest fro the trowthe:

1200Bot yit fulofte, and that is rowthe,

Thei speden that ben most untrewe

And loven every day a newe,

Wherof the lief is after loth

And love hath cause to be wroth.

Bot what man that his lust desireth

Of love, and therupon conspireth

With wordes feigned to deceive,

He schal noght faile to receive

His peine, as it is ofte sene.

1210Forthi, my Sone, as I thee mene,

It sit the wel to taken hiede

That thou eschuie of thi manhiede

Ipocrisie and his semblant,

That thou ne be noght deceivant,

To make a womman to believe

Thing which is noght in thi bilieve:

For in such feint Ipocrisie

Of love is al the tricherie,

Thurgh which love is deceived ofte;

1220For feigned semblant is so softe,

Unethes love may be war.

Forthi, my Sone, as I wel dar,

I charge thee to fle that vice,

That many a womman hath mad nice;

Bot lok thou dele noght withal.

Iwiss, fader, nomor I schal.

Now, Sone, kep that thou hast swore:

For this that thou hast herd before

Is seid the ferste point of Pride:

1230And next upon that other side,

To schryve and speken overthis

Touchende of Pride, yit ther is

The point seconde, I thee behote,

Which Inobedience is hote.

This vice of Inobedience

Ayein the reule of conscience

Al that is humble he desalloweth,

That he toward his god ne boweth

After the lawes of his heste.

1240Noght as a man bot as a beste,

Which goth upon his lustes wilde,

So goth this proude vice unmylde,

That he desdeigneth alle lawe:

He not what is to be felawe,

And serve may he noght for pride;

So is he badde on every side,

And is that selve of whom men speke,

Which wol noght bowe er that he breke.

I not if love him myhte plie,

1250For elles forto justefie

His herte, I not what mihte availe.

Forthi, my Sone, of such entaile

If that thin herte be disposed,

Tell out and let it noght be glosed:

For if that thou unbuxom be

To love, I not in what degree

Thou schalt thi goode world achieve.

Mi fader, ye schul wel believe,

The yonge whelp which is affaited

1260Hath noght his Maister betre awaited,

To couche, whan he seith “Go lowe,”

That I, anon as I may knowe

Mi ladi will, ne bowe more.

Bot other while I grucche sore

Of some thinges that sche doth,

Wherof that I woll telle soth:

For of tuo pointz I am bethoght,

That, thogh I wolde, I myhte noght

Obeie unto my ladi heste;

1270Bot I dar make this beheste,

Save only of that ilke tuo

I am unbuxom of no mo.

Whan ben tho tuo? tell on, quod he.

Mi fader, this is on, that sche

Comandeth me my mowth to close,

And that I scholde hir noght oppose

In love, of which I ofte preche,

Bot plenerliche of such a speche

Forbere, and soffren hire in pes.

1280Bot that ne myhte I natheles

For al this world obeie ywiss;

For whanne I am ther as sche is,

Though sche my tales noght alowe,

Ayein hir will yit mot I bowe,

To seche if that I myhte have grace:

Bot that thing may I noght enbrace

For ought that I can speke or do;

And yit fulofte I speke so,

That sche is wroth and seith, “Be stille.”

1290If I that heste schal fulfille

And therto ben obedient,

Thanne is my cause fully schent,

For specheles may noman spede.

So wot I noght what is to rede;

Bot certes I may noght obeie,

That I ne mot algate seie

Somwhat of that I wolde mene;

For evere it is aliche grene,

The grete love which I have,

1300Wherof I can noght bothe save

My speche and this obedience:

And thus fulofte my silence

I breke, and is the ferste point

Wherof that I am out of point

In this, and yit it is no pride.

Now thanne upon that other side

To telle my desobeissance,

Ful sore it stant to my grevance

And may noght sinke into my wit;

1310For ofte time sche me bit

To leven hire and chese a newe,

And seith, if I the sothe knewe

How ferr I stonde from hir grace,

I scholde love in other place.

Bot therof woll I desobeie;

For also wel sche myhte seie,

“Go tak the Mone ther it sit,”

As bringe that into my wit:

For ther was nevere rooted tre,

1320That stod so faste in his degre,

That I ne stonde more faste

Upon hire love, and mai noght caste

Min herte awey, althogh I wolde.

For god wot, thogh I nevere scholde

Sen hir with yhe after this day,

Yit stant it so that I ne may

Hir love out of my brest remue.

This is a wonder retenue,

That malgre wher sche wole or non

1330Min herte is everemore in on,

So that I can non other chese,

Bot whether that I winne or lese,

I moste hire loven til I deie;

And thus I breke as be that weie

Hire hestes and hir comandinges,

Bot trewliche in non othre thinges.

Forthi, my fader, what is more

Touchende to this ilke lore

I you beseche, after the forme

1340That ye pleinly me wolde enforme,

So that I may myn herte reule

In loves cause after the reule.

Toward this vice of which we trete

Ther ben yit tweie of thilke estrete,

Here name is Murmur and Compleignte:

Ther can noman here chiere peinte,

To sette a glad semblant therinne,

For thogh fortune make hem wynne,

Yit grucchen thei, and if thei lese,

1350Ther is no weie forto chese,

Wherof thei myhten stonde appesed.

So ben thei comunly desesed;

Ther may no welthe ne poverte

Attempren hem to the decerte

Of buxomnesse be no wise:

For ofte time thei despise

The goode fortune as the badde,

As thei no mannes reson hadde,

Thurgh pride, wherof thei be blinde.

1360And ryht of such a maner kinde

Ther be lovers, that thogh thei have

Of love al that thei wolde crave,

Yit wol thei grucche be som weie,

That thei wol noght to love obeie

Upon the trowthe, as thei do scholde;

And if hem lacketh that thei wolde,

Anon thei falle in such a peine,

That evere unbuxomly thei pleigne

Upon fortune, and curse and crie,

1370That thei wol noght here hertes plie

To soffre til it betre falle.

Forthi if thou amonges alle

Hast used this condicioun,

Mi Sone, in thi Confessioun

Now tell me pleinly what thou art.

Mi fader, I beknowe a part,

So as ye tolden hier above

Of Murmur and Compleignte of love,

That for I se no sped comende,

1380Ayein fortune compleignende

I am, as who seith, everemo:

And ek fulofte tyme also,

Whan so is that I se and hiere

Or hevy word or hevy chiere

Of my lady, I grucche anon;

Bot wordes dar I speke non,

Wherof sche myhte be desplesed,

Bot in myn herte I am desesed:

With many a Murmur, god it wot,

1390Thus drinke I in myn oghne swot,

And thogh I make no semblant,

Min herte is al desobeissant;

And in this wise I me confesse

Of that ye clepe unbuxomnesse.

Now telleth what youre conseil is.

Mi Sone, and I thee rede this,

What so befalle of other weie,

That thou to loves heste obeie

Als ferr as thou it myht suffise:

1400For ofte sithe in such a wise

Obedience in love availeth,

Wher al a mannes strengthe faileth;

Wherof, if that the list to wite

In a Cronique as it is write,

A gret ensample thou myht fynde,

Which now is come to my mynde.

Ther was whilom be daies olde

A worthi knyht, and as men tolde

He was Nevoeu to themperour

1410And of his Court a Courteour:

Wifles he was, Florent he hihte,

He was a man that mochel myhte,

Of armes he was desirous,

Chivalerous and amorous,

And for the fame of worldes speche,

Strange aventures forto seche,

He rod the Marches al aboute.

And fell a time, as he was oute,

Fortune, which may every thred

1420Tobreke and knette of mannes sped,

Schop, as this knyht rod in a pas,

That he be strengthe take was,

And to a Castell thei him ladde,

Wher that he fewe frendes hadde:

For so it fell that ilke stounde

That he hath with a dedly wounde

Feihtende his oghne hondes slain

Branchus, which to the Capitain

Was Sone and Heir, wherof ben wrothe

1430The fader and the moder bothe.

That knyht Branchus was of his hond

The worthieste of al his lond,

And fain thei wolden do vengance

Upon Florent, bot remembrance

That thei toke of his worthinesse

Of knyhthod and of gentilesse,

And how he stod of cousinage

To themperour, made hem assuage,

And dorsten noght slen him for fere:

1440In gret desputeisoun thei were

Among hemself, what was the beste.

Ther was a lady, the slyheste

Of alle that men knewe tho,

So old sche myhte unethes go,

And was grantdame unto the dede:

And sche with that began to rede,

And seide how sche wol bringe him inne,

That sche schal him to dethe winne

Al only of his oghne grant,

1450Thurgh strengthe of verray covenant

Withoute blame of eny wiht.

Anon sche sende for this kniht,

And of hire Sone sche alleide

The deth, and thus to him sche seide:

“Florent, how so thou be to wyte

Of Branchus deth, men schal respite

As now to take vengement,

Be so thou stonde in juggement

Upon certein condicioun,

1460That thou unto a questioun

Which I schal axe schalt ansuere;

And over this thou schalt ek swere,

That if thou of the sothe faile,

Ther schal non other thing availe,

That thou ne schalt thi deth receive.

And for men schal thee noght deceive,

That thou therof myht ben avised,

Thou schalt have day and tyme assised

And leve saufly forto wende,

1470Be so that at thi daies ende

Thou come ayein with thin avys.

This knyht, which worthi was and wys,

This lady preith that he may wite,

And have it under Seales write,

What questioun it scholde be

For which he schal in that degree

Stonde of his lif in jeupartie.

With that sche feigneth compaignie,

And seith: “Florent, on love it hongeth

1480Al that to myn axinge longeth:

What alle wommen most desire

This wole I axe, and in thempire

Wher as thou hast most knowlechinge

Tak conseil upon this axinge.”

Florent this thing hath undertake,

The day was set, the time take,

Under his seal he wrot his oth,

In such a wise and forth he goth

Hom to his Emes court ayein;

1490To whom his aventure plein

He tolde, of that him is befalle.

And upon that thei weren alle

The wiseste of the lond asent,

Bot natheles of on assent

Thei myhte noght acorde plat,

On seide this, an othre that.

After the disposicioun

Of naturel complexioun

To som womman it is plesance,

1500That to an other is grevance;

Bot such a thing in special,

Which to hem alle in general

Is most plesant, and most desired

Above alle othre and most conspired,

Such o thing conne thei noght finde

Be Constellacion ne kinde:

And thus Florent withoute cure

Mot stonde upon his aventure,

And is al schape unto the lere,

1510As in defalte of his answere.

This knyht hath levere forto dye

Than breke his trowthe and forto lye

In place ther as he was swore,

And schapth him gon ayein therfore.

Whan time cam he tok his leve,

That lengere wolde he noght beleve,

And preith his Em he be noght wroth,

For that is a point of his oth,

He seith, that noman schal him wreke,

1520Thogh afterward men hiere speke

That he par aventure deie.

And thus he wente forth his weie

Alone as knyht aventurous,

And in his thoght was curious

To wite what was best to do:

And as he rod al one so,

And cam nyh ther he wolde be,

In a forest under a tre

He syh wher sat a creature,

1530A lothly wommannysch figure,

That forto speke of fleisch and bon

So foul yit syh he nevere non.

This knyht behield hir redely,

And as he wolde have passed by,

Sche cleped him and bad abide;

And he his horse heved aside

Tho torneth, and to hire he rod,

And there he hoveth and abod,

To wite what sche wolde mene.

1540And sche began him to bemene,

And seide: “Florent be thi name,

Thou hast on honde such a game,

That bot thou be the betre avised,

Thi deth is schapen and devised,

That al the world ne mai the save,

Bot if that thou my conseil have.”

Florent, whan he this tale herde,

Unto this olde wyht answerde

And of hir conseil he hir preide.

1550And sche ayein to him thus seide:

“Florent, if I for the so schape,

That thou thurgh me thi deth ascape

And take worschipe of thi dede,

What schal I have to my mede?”

“What thing,” quod he, “that thou wolt axe.”

“I bidde nevere a betre taxe,”

Quod sche, “bot ferst, er thou be sped,

Thou schalt me leve such a wedd,

That I wol have thi trowthe in honde

1560That thou schalt be myn housebonde.”

“Nay,” seith Florent, “that may noght be.”

“Ryd thanne forth thi wey,” quod sche,

“And if thou go withoute red,

Thou schalt be sekerliche ded.”

Florent behihte hire good ynowh

Of lond, of rente, of park, of plowh,

Bot al that compteth sche at noght.

Tho fell this knyht in mochel thoght,

Now goth he forth, now comth ayein,

1570He wot noght what is best to sein,

And thoghte, as he rod to and fro,

That chese he mot on of the tuo,

Or forto take hire to his wif

Or elles forto lese his lif.

And thanne he caste his avantage,

That sche was of so gret an age,

That sche mai live bot a while,

And thoghte put hire in an Ile,

Wher that noman hire scholde knowe,

1580Til sche with deth were overthrowe.

And thus this yonge lusti knyht

Unto this olde lothly wiht

Tho seide: “If that non other chance

Mai make my deliverance,

Bot only thilke same speche

Which, as thou seist, thou schalt me teche,

Have hier myn hond, I schal thee wedde.”

And thus his trowthe he leith to wedde.

With that sche frounceth up the browe:

1590“This covenant I wol allowe,”

Sche seith: “if eny other thing

Bot that thou hast of my techyng

Fro deth thi body mai respite,

I woll thee of thi trowthe acquite,

And elles be non other weie.

Now herkne me what I schal seie.

Whan thou art come into the place,

Wher now thei maken gret manace

And upon thi comynge abyde,

1600Thei wole anon the same tide

Oppose thee of thin answere.

I wot thou wolt nothing forbere

Of that thou wenest be thi beste,

And if thou myht so finde reste,

Wel is, for thanne is ther nomore.

And elles this schal be my lore,

That thou schalt seie, upon this Molde

That alle wommen lievest wolde

Be soverein of mannes love:

1610For what womman is so above,

Sche hath, as who seith, al hire wille;

And elles may sche noght fulfille

What thing hir were lievest have.

With this answere thou schalt save

Thiself, and other wise noght.

And whan thou hast thin ende wroght,

Com hier ayein, thou schalt me finde,

And let nothing out of thi minde.”

He goth him forth with hevy chiere,

1620As he that not in what manere

He mai this worldes joie atteigne:

For if he deie, he hath a peine,

And if he live, he mot him binde

To such on which of alle kinde

Of wommen is thunsemlieste:

Thus wot he noght what is the beste:

Bot be him lief or be him loth,

Unto the Castell forth he goth

His full answere forto yive,

1630Or forto deie or forto live.

Forth with his conseil cam the lord,

The thinges stoden of record,

He sende up for the lady sone,

And forth sche cam, that olde Mone.

In presence of the remenant

The strengthe of al the covenant

Tho was reherced openly,

And to Florent sche bad forthi

That he schal tellen his avis,

1640As he that woot what is the pris.

Florent seith al that evere he couthe,

Bot such word cam ther non to mowthe,

That he for yifte or for beheste

Mihte eny wise his deth areste.

And thus he tarieth longe and late,

Til that this lady bad algate

That he schal for the dom final

Yive his answere in special

Of that sche hadde him ferst opposed:

1650And thanne he hath trewly supposed

That he him may of nothing yelpe,

Bot if so be tho wordes helpe,

Whiche as the womman hath him tawht;

Wherof he hath an hope cawht

That he schal ben excused so,

And tolde out plein his wille tho.

And whan that this Matrone herde

The manere how this knyht ansuerde,

Sche seide: “Ha treson, wo thee be,

1660That hast thus told the privite,

Which alle wommen most desire!

I wolde that thou were afire.”

Bot natheles in such a plit

Florent of his answere is quit:

And tho began his sorwe newe,

For he mot gon, or ben untrewe,

To hire which his trowthe hadde.

Bot he, which alle schame dradde,

Goth forth in stede of his penance,

1670And takth the fortune of his chance,

As he that was with trowthe affaited.

This olde wyht him hath awaited

In place wher as he hire lefte:

Florent his wofull heved uplefte

And syh this vecke wher sche sat,

Which was the lothlieste what

That evere man caste on his yhe:

Hire Nase bass, hire browes hyhe,

Hire yhen smale and depe set,

1680Hire chekes ben with teres wet,

And rivelen as an emty skyn

Hangende doun unto the chin,

Hire Lippes schrunken ben for age,

Ther was no grace in the visage,

Hir front was nargh, hir lockes hore,

Sche loketh forth as doth a More,

Hire Necke is schort, hir schuldres courbe,

That myhte a mannes lust destourbe,

Hire body gret and nothing smal,

1690And schortly to descrive hire al,

Sche hath no lith withoute a lak;

Bot lich unto the wollesak

Sche proferth hire unto this knyht,

And bad him, as he hath behyht,

So as sche hath ben his warant,

That he hire holde covenant,

And be the bridel sche him seseth.

Bot godd wot how that sche him pleseth

Of suche wordes as sche spekth:

1700Him thenkth welnyh his herte brekth

For sorwe that he may noght fle,

Bot if he wolde untrewe be.

Loke, how a sek man for his hele

Takth baldemoine with Canele,

And with the Mirre takth the Sucre,

Ryht upon such a maner lucre

Stant Florent, as in this diete:

He drinkth the bitre with the swete,

He medleth sorwe with likynge,

1710And liveth, as who seith, deyinge;

His youthe schal be cast aweie

Upon such on which as the weie

Is old and lothly overal.

Bot nede he mot that nede schal:

He wolde algate his trowthe holde,

As every knyht therto is holde,

What happ so evere him is befalle:

Thogh sche be the fouleste of alle,

Yet to thonour of wommanhiede

1720Him thoghte he scholde taken hiede;

So that for pure gentilesse,

As he hire couthe best adresce,

In ragges, as sche was totore,

He set hire on his hors tofore

And forth he takth his weie softe;

No wonder thogh he siketh ofte.

Bot as an oule fleth be nyhte

Out of alle othre briddes syhte,

Riht so this knyht on daies brode

1730In clos him hield, and schop his rode

On nyhtes time, til the tyde

That he cam there he wolde abide;

And prively withoute noise

He bringth this foule grete Coise

To his Castell in such a wise

That noman myhte hire schappe avise,

Til sche into the chambre cam:

Wher he his prive conseil nam

Of suche men as he most troste,

1740And tolde hem that he nedes moste

This beste wedde to his wif,

For elles hadde he lost his lif.

The prive wommen were asent,

That scholden ben of his assent:

Hire ragges thei anon of drawe,

And, as it was that time lawe,

She hadde bath, sche hadde reste,

And was arraied to the beste.

Bot with no craft of combes brode

1750Thei myhte hire hore lockes schode,

And sche ne wolde noght be schore

For no conseil, and thei therfore,

With such atyr as tho was used,

Ordeinen that it was excused,

And hid so crafteliche aboute,

That noman myhte sen hem oute.

Bot when sche was fulliche arraied

And hire atyr was al assaied,

Tho was sche foulere on to se:

1760Bot yit it may non other be,

Thei were wedded in the nyht;

So wo begon was nevere knyht

As he was thanne of mariage.

And sche began to pleie and rage,

As who seith, I am wel ynowh;

Bot he therof nothing ne lowh,

For sche tok thanne chiere on honde

And clepeth him hire housebonde,

And seith, “My lord, go we to bedde,

1770For I to that entente wedde,

That thou schalt be my worldes blisse:”

And profreth him with that to kisse,

As sche a lusti Lady were.

His body myhte wel be there,

Bot as of thoght and of memoire

His herte was in purgatoire.

Bot yit for strengthe of matrimoine

He myhte make non essoine,

That he ne mot algates plie

1780To gon to bedde of compaignie:

And whan thei were abedde naked,

Withoute slep he was awaked;

He torneth on that other side,

For that he wolde hise yhen hyde

Fro lokynge on that foule wyht.

The chambre was al full of lyht,

The courtins were of cendal thinne,

This newe bryd which lay withinne,

Thogh it be noght with his acord,

1790In armes sche beclipte hire lord,

And preide, as he was torned fro,

He wolde him torne ayeinward tho;

“For now,” sche seith, “we ben bothe on.”

And he lay stille as eny ston,

Bot evere in on sche spak and preide,

And bad him thenke on that he seide,

Whan that he tok hire be the hond.

He herde and understod the bond,

How he was set to his penance,

1800And as it were a man in trance

He torneth him al sodeinly,

And syh a lady lay him by

Of eyhtetiene wynter age,

Which was the faireste of visage

That evere in al this world he syh:

And as he wolde have take hire nyh,

Sche put hire hand and be his leve

Besoghte him that he wolde leve,

And seith that forto wynne or lese

1810He mot on of tuo thinges chese,

Wher he wol have hire such on nyht,

Or elles upon daies lyht,

For he schal noght have bothe tuo.

And he began to sorwe tho,

In many a wise and caste his thoght,

Bot for al that yit cowthe he noght

Devise himself which was the beste.

And sche, that wolde his hertes reste,

Preith that he scholde chese algate,

1820Til ate laste longe and late

He seide: “O ye, my lyves hele,

Sey what you list in my querele,

I not what ansuere I schal yive:

Bot evere whil that I may live,

I wol that ye be my maistresse,

For I can noght miselve gesse

Which is the beste unto my chois.

Thus grante I yow myn hole vois,

Ches for ous bothen, I you preie;

1830And what as evere that ye seie,

Riht as ye wole so wol I.”

“Mi lord,” sche seide, “ grant merci,

For of this word that ye now sein,

That ye have mad me soverein,

Mi destine is overpassed,

That nevere hierafter schal be lassed

Mi beaute, which that I now have,

Til I be take into my grave;

Bot nyht and day as I am now

1840I schal alwey be such to yow.

The kinges dowhter of Cizile

I am, and fell bot siththe awhile,

As I was with my fader late,

That my Stepmoder for an hate,

Which toward me sche hath begonne,

Forschop me, til I hadde wonne

The love and sovereinete

Of what knyht that in his degre

Alle othre passeth of good name:

1850And, as men sein, ye ben the same,

The dede proeveth it is so;

Thus am I youres evermo.”

Tho was plesance and joye ynowh,

Echon with other pleide and lowh;

Thei live longe and wel thei ferde,

And clerkes that this chance herde

Thei writen it in evidence,

To teche how that obedience

Mai wel fortune a man to love

1860And sette him in his lust above,

As it befell unto this knyht.

Forthi, my Sone, if thou do ryht,

Thou schalt unto thi love obeie,

And folwe hir will be alle weie.

Min holy fader, so I wile:

For ye have told me such a skile

Of this ensample now tofore,

That I schal evermo therfore

Hierafterward myn observance

1870To love and to his obeissance

The betre kepe: and over this

Of pride if ther oght elles is,

Wherof that I me schryve schal,

What thing it is in special,

Mi fader, axeth, I you preie.

Now lest, my Sone, and I schal seie:

For yit ther is Surquiderie,

Which stant with Pride of compaignie;

Wherof that thou schalt hiere anon,

1880To knowe if thou have gult or non

Upon the forme as thou schalt hiere:

Now understond wel the matiere.

Surquiderie is thilke vice

Of Pride, which the thridde office

Hath in his Court, and wol noght knowe

The trowthe til it overthrowe.

Upon his fortune and his grace

Comth “Hadde I wist” fulofte aplace;

For he doth al his thing be gesse,

1890And voideth alle sikernesse.

Non other conseil good him siemeth

Bot such as he himselve diemeth;

For in such wise as he compasseth,

His wit al one alle othre passeth;

And is with pride so thurghsoght,

That he alle othre set at noght,

And weneth of himselven so,

That such as he ther be nomo,

So fair, so semly, ne so wis;

1900And thus he wolde bere a pris

Above alle othre, and noght forthi

He seith noght ones “grant mercy”

To godd, which alle grace sendeth,

So that his wittes he despendeth

Upon himself, as thogh ther were

No godd which myhte availe there:

Bot al upon his oghne witt

He stant, til he falle in the pitt

So ferr that he mai noght arise.

1910And riht thus in the same wise

This vice upon the cause of love

So proudly set the herte above,

And doth him pleinly forto wene

That he to loven eny qwene

Hath worthinesse and sufficance;

And so withoute pourveance

Fulofte he heweth up so hihe,

That chippes fallen in his yhe;

And ek ful ofte he weneth this,

1920Ther as he noght beloved is,

To be beloved alther best.

Now, Sone, tell what so thee lest

Of this that I have told thee hier.

Ha, fader, be noght in a wer:

I trowe ther be noman lesse,

Of eny maner worthinesse,

That halt him lasse worth thanne I

To be beloved; and noght forthi

I seie in excusinge of me,

1930To alle men that love is fre.

And certes that mai noman werne;

For love is of himself so derne,

It luteth in a mannes herte:

Bot that ne schal me noght asterte,

To wene forto be worthi

To loven, bot in hir mercy.

Bot, Sire, of that ye wolden mene,

That I scholde otherwise wene

To be beloved thanne I was,

1940I am beknowe as in that cas.

Mi goode Sone, tell me how.

Now lest, and I wol telle yow,

Mi goode fader, how it is.

Fulofte it hath befalle or this

Thurgh hope that was noght certein,

Mi wenynge hath be set in vein

To triste in thing that halp me noght,

Bot onliche of myn oughne thoght.

For as it semeth that a belle

1950Lik to the wordes that men telle

Answerth, riht so ne mor ne lesse,

To yow, my fader, I confesse,

Such will my wit hath overset,

That what so hope me behet,

Ful many a time I wene it soth,

Bot finali no spied it doth.

Thus may I tellen, as I can,

Wenyng beguileth many a man;

So hath it me, riht wel I wot:

1960For if a man wole in a Bot

Which is withoute botme rowe,

He moste nedes overthrowe.

Riht so wenyng hath ferd be me:

For whanne I wende next have be,

As I be my wenynge caste,

Thanne was I furthest ate laste,

And as a foll my bowe unbende,

Whan al was failed that I wende.

Forthi, my fader, as of this,

1970That my wenynge hath gon amis

Touchende to Surquiderie,

Yif me my penance er I die.

Bot if ye wolde in eny forme

Of this matiere a tale enforme,

Which were ayein this vice set,

I scholde fare wel the bet.

Mi Sone, in alle maner wise

Surquiderie is to despise,

Wherof I finde write thus.

1980The proude knyht Capanes

He was of such Surquiderie,

That he thurgh his chivalerie

Upon himself so mochel triste,

That to the goddes him ne liste

In no querele to beseche,

Bot seide it was an ydel speche,

Which caused was of pure drede,

For lack of herte and for no nede.

And upon such presumpcioun

1990He hield this proude opinioun,

Til ate laste upon a dai,

Aboute Thebes wher he lay,

Whan it of Siege was belein,

This knyht, as the Croniqes sein,

In alle mennes sihte there,

Whan he was proudest in his gere,

And thoghte how nothing myhte him dere,

Ful armed with his schield and spere

As he the Cite wolde assaile,

2000Godd tok himselve the bataille

Ayein his Pride, and fro the sky

A firy thonder sodeinly

He sende, and him to pouldre smot.

And thus the Pride which was hot,

Whan he most in his strengthe wende,

Was brent and lost withouten ende:

So that it proeveth wel therfore,

The strengthe of man is sone lore,

Bot if that he it wel governe.

2010And over this a man mai lerne

That ek fulofte time it grieveth,

Whan that a man himself believeth,

As thogh it scholde him wel beseme

That he alle othre men can deme,

And hath foryete his oghne vice.

A tale of hem that ben so nyce,

And feigne hemself to be so wise,

I schal thee telle in such a wise,

Wherof thou schalt ensample take

2020That thou no such thing undertake.

I finde upon Surquiderie,

How that whilom of Hungarie

Be olde daies was a King

Wys and honeste in alle thing:

And so befell upon a dai,

And that was in the Monthe of Maii,

As thilke time it was usance,

This kyng with noble pourveance

Hath for himself his Charr araied,

2030Wher inne he wolde ride amaied

Out of the Cite forto pleie,

With lordes and with gret nobleie

Of lusti folk that were yonge:

Wher some pleide and some songe,

And some gon and some ryde,

And some prike here hors aside

And bridlen hem now in now oute.

The kyng his yhe caste aboute,

Til he was ate laste war

2040And syh comende ayein his char

Two pilegrins of so gret age,

That lich unto a dreie ymage

Thei weren pale and fade hewed,

And as a bussh which is besnewed,

Here berdes weren hore and whyte;

Ther was of kinde bot a lite,

That thei ne semen fulli dede.

Thei comen to the kyng and bede

Som of his good par charite;

2050And he with gret humilite

Out of his Char to grounde lepte,

And hem in bothe hise armes kepte

And keste hem bothe fot and hond

Before the lordes of his lond,

And yaf hem of his good therto:

And whanne he hath this dede do,

He goth into his char ayein.

Tho was Murmur, tho was desdeign,

Tho was compleignte on every side,

2060Thei seiden of here oghne Pride

Eche until othre: “What is this?

Oure king hath do this thing amis,

So to abesse his realte

That every man it myhte se,

And humbled him in such a wise

To hem that were of non emprise.”

Thus was it spoken to and fro

Of hem that were with him tho

Al prively behinde his bak;

2070Bot to himselven noman spak.

The kinges brother in presence

Was thilke time, and gret offence

He tok therof, and was the same

Above alle othre which most blame

Upon his liege lord hath leid,

And hath unto the lordes seid,

Anon as he mai time finde,

Ther schal nothing be left behinde,

That he wol speke unto the king.

2080Now lest what fell upon this thing.

The day was merie and fair ynowh,

Echon with othre pleide and lowh,

And fellen into tales newe,

How that the freisshe floures grewe,

And how the grene leves spronge,

And how that love among the yonge

Began the hertes thanne awake,

And every bridd hath chose hire make:

And thus the Maies day to thende

2090Thei lede, and hom ayein thei wende.

The king was noght so sone come,

That whanne he hadde his chambre nome,

His brother ne was redi there,

And broghte a tale unto his Ere

Of that he dede such a schame

In hindringe of his oghne name,

Whan he himself so wolde drecche,

That to so vil a povere wrecche

Him deigneth schewe such simplesce

2100Ayein thastat of his noblesce:

And seith he schal it nomor use,

And that he mot himself excuse

Toward hise lordes everychon.

The king stod stille as eny ston,

And to his tale an Ere he leide,

And thoghte more than he seide:

Bot natheles to that he herde

Wel cortaisly the king answerde,

And tolde it scholde be amended.

2110And thus whan that her tale is ended,

Al redy was the bord and cloth,

The king unto his Souper goth

Among the lordes to the halle;

And whan thei hadden souped alle,

Thei token leve and forth thei go.

The king bethoghte himselve tho

How he his brother mai chastie,

That he thurgh his Surquiderie

Tok upon honde to despreise

2120Humilite, which is to preise,

And therupon yaf such conseil

Toward his king that was noght heil;

Wherof to be the betre lered,

He thenkth to maken him afered.

It fell so that in thilke dawe

Ther was ordeined be the lawe

A trompe with a sterne breth,

Which cleped was the Trompe of deth:

And in the Court wher the king was

2130A certein man this Trompe of bras

Hath in kepinge, and therof serveth,

That whan a lord his deth deserveth,

He schal this dredful trompe blowe

Tofore his gate, and make it knowe

How that the jugement is yove

Of deth, which schal noght be foryove.

The king, whan it was nyht, anon

This man asente and bad him gon

To trompen at his brother gate;

2140And he, which mot so don algate,

Goth forth and doth the kynges heste.

This lord, which herde of this tempeste

That he tofore his gate blew,

Tho wiste he be the lawe and knew

That he was sikerliche ded:

And as of help he wot no red,

Bot sende for hise frendes alle

And tolde hem how it is befalle.

And thei him axe cause why;

2150Bot he the sothe noght forthi

Ne wiste, and ther was sorwe tho:

For it stod thilke tyme so,

This trompe was of such sentence,

That therayein no resistence

Thei couthe ordeine be no weie,

That he ne mot algate deie,

Bot if so that he may pourchace

To gete his liege lordes grace.

Here wittes therupon thei caste,

2160And ben apointed ate laste.

This lord a worthi ladi hadde

Unto his wif, which also dradde

Hire lordes deth, and children five

Betwen hem two thei hadde alyve,

That weren yonge and tendre of age,

And of stature and of visage

Riht faire and lusty on to se.

Tho casten thei that he and sche

Forth with here children on the morwe,

2170As thei that were full of sorwe,

Al naked bot of smok and scherte,

To tendre with the kynges herte,

His grace scholden go to seche

And pardoun of the deth beseche.

Thus passen thei that wofull nyht,

And erly, whan thei sihe it lyht,

Thei gon hem forth in such a wise

As thou tofore hast herd devise,

Al naked bot here schortes one.

2180Thei wepte and made mochel mone,

Here Her hangende aboute here Eres;

With sobbinge and with sory teres

This lord goth thanne an humble pas,

That whilom proud and noble was;

Wherof the Cite sore afflyhte,

Of hem that sihen thilke syhte:

And natheless al openly

With such wepinge and with such cri

Forth with hise children and his wif

2190He goth to preie for his lif.

Unto the court whan thei be come,

And men therinne have hiede nome,

Ther was no wiht, if he hem syhe,

Fro water mihte kepe his yhe

For sorwe which thei maden tho.

The king supposeth of this wo,

And feigneth as he noght ne wiste;

Bot natheles at his upriste

Men tolden him how that it ferde:

2200And whan that he this wonder herde,

In haste he goth into the halle,

And alle at ones doun thei falle,

If eny pite may be founde.

The king, which seth hem go to grounde,

Hath axed hem what is the fere,

Why thei be so despuiled there.

His brother seide: “Ha lord, mercy!

I wot non other cause why,

Bot only that this nyht ful late

2210The trompe of deth was at my gate

In tokne that I scholde deie;

Thus be we come forto preie

That ye mi worldes deth respite.”

“Ha fol, how thou art forto wyte,”

The king unto his brother seith,

“That thou art of so litel feith,

That only for a trompes soun

Hast gon despuiled thurgh the toun,

Thou and thi wif in such manere

2220Forth with thi children that ben here,

In sihte of alle men aboute,

For that thou seist thou art in doute

Of deth, which stant under the lawe

Of man, and man it mai withdrawe,

So that it mai par chance faile.

Now schalt thou noght forthi mervaile

That I doun fro my Charr alihte,

Whanne I behield tofore my sihte

In hem that were of so grete age

2230Min oghne deth thurgh here ymage,

Which god hath set be lawe of kynde,

Wherof I mai no bote finde:

For wel I wot, such as thei be,

Riht such am I in my degree,

Of fleissh and blod, and so schal deie.

And thus, thogh I that lawe obeie

Of which the kinges ben put under,

It oghte ben wel lasse wonder

Than thou, which art withoute nede

2240For lawe of londe in such a drede,

Which for tacompte is bot a jape,

As thing which thou miht overscape.

Forthi, mi brother, after this

I rede, sithen that so is

That thou canst drede a man so sore,

Dred god with al thin herte more:

For al schal deie and al schal passe,

Als wel a Leoun as an asse,

Als wel a beggere as a lord,

2250Towardes deth in on acord

Thei schullen stonde.” And in this wise

The king hath with hise wordes wise

His brother tawht and al foryive.

Forthi, mi Sone, if thou wolt live

In vertu, thou most vice eschuie,

And with low herte humblesce suie,

So that thou be noght surquidous.

Mi fader, I am amorous,

Wherof I wolde you beseche

2260That ye me som ensample teche,

Which mihte in loves cause stonde.

Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde,

In love and othre thinges alle

If that Surquiderie falle,

It may to him noght wel betide

Which useth thilke vice of Pride,

Which torneth wisdom to wenynge

And Sothfastnesse into lesynge

Thurgh fol ymaginacion.

2270And for thin enformacion,

That thou this vice as I the rede

Eschuie schalt, a tale I rede,

Which fell whilom be daies olde,

So as the clerk Ovide tolde.

Ther was whilom a lordes Sone,

Which of his Pride a nyce wone

Hath cawht, that worthi to his liche,

To sechen al the worldes riche,

Ther was no womman forto love.

2280So hihe he sette himselve above

Of stature and of beaute bothe,

That him thoghte alle wommen lothe:

So was ther no comparisoun

As toward his condicioun.

This yonge lord Narcizus hihte:

No strengthe of love bowe mihte

His herte, which is unaffiled;

Bot ate laste he was beguiled:

For of the goddes pourveance

2290It fell him on a dai par chance,

That he in all his proude fare

Unto the forest gan to fare,

Amonges othre that ther were

To hunte and to desporte him there.

And whanne he cam into the place

Wher that he wolde make his chace,

The houndes weren in a throwe

Uncoupled and the hornes blowe:

The grete hert anon was founde,

2300Which swifte feet sette upon grounde,

And he with spore in horse side

Him hasteth faste forto ride,

Til alle men be left behinde.

And as he rod, under a linde

Beside a roche, as I thee telle,

He syh wher sprong a lusty welle:

The day was wonder hot withalle,

And such a thurst was on him falle,

That he moste owther deie or drinke;

2310And doun he lihte and be the brinke

He teide his Hors unto a braunche,

And leide him lowe forto staunche

His thurst: and as he caste his lok

Into the welle and hiede tok,

He sih the like of his visage,

And wende ther were an ymage

Of such a Nimphe as tho was faie,

Wherof that love his herte assaie

Began, as it was after sene,

2320Of his sotie and made him wene

It were a womman that he syh.

The more he cam the welle nyh,

The nerr cam sche to him ayein;

So wiste he nevere what to sein;

For whanne he wepte, he sih hire wepe,

And whanne he cride, he tok good kepe,

The same word sche cride also:

And thus began the newe wo,

That whilom was to him so strange;

2330Tho made him love an hard eschange,

To sette his herte and to beginne

Thing which he mihte nevere winne.

And evere among he gan to loute,

And preith that sche to him come oute;

And otherwhile he goth a ferr,

And otherwhile he draweth nerr,

And evere he fond hire in o place.

He wepth, he crith, he axeth grace,

There as he mihte gete non;

2340So that ayein a Roche of Ston,

As he that knew non other red,

He smot himself til he was ded.

Wherof the Nimphes of the welles,

And othre that ther weren elles

Unto the wodes belongende,

The body, which was ded ligende,

For pure pite that thei have

Under the grene thei begrave.

And thanne out of his sepulture

2350Ther sprong anon par aventure

Of floures such a wonder syhte,

That men ensample take myhte

Upon the dedes whiche he dede,

As tho was sene in thilke stede;

For in the wynter freysshe and faire

The floures ben, which is contraire

To kynde, and so was the folie

Which fell of his Surquiderie.

Thus he, which love hadde in desdeign,

2360Worste of all othre was besein,

And as he sette his pris most hyhe,

He was lest worth in loves yhe

And most bejaped in his wit:

Wherof the remembrance is yit,

So that thou myht ensample take,

And ek alle othre for his sake.

Mi fader, as touchende of me,

This vice I thenke forto fle,

Which of his wenynge overtroweth;

2370And nameliche of thing which groweth

In loves cause or wel or wo

Yit pryded I me nevere so.

Bot wolde god that grace sende,

That toward me my lady wende

As I towardes hire wene!

Mi love scholde so be sene,

Ther scholde go no pride a place.

Bot I am ferr fro thilke grace,

As forto speke of tyme now;

2380So mot I soffre, and preie yow

That ye wole axe on other side

If ther be eny point of Pride,

Wherof it nedeth to be schrive.

Mi Sone, godd it thee foryive,

If thou have eny thing misdo

Touchende of this, bot overmo

Ther is an other yit of Pride,

Which nevere cowthe hise wordes hide,

That he ne wole himself avaunte;

2390Ther mai nothing his tunge daunte,

That he ne clappeth as a Belle:

Wherof if thou wolt that I telle,

It is behovely forto hiere,

So that thou myht thi tunge stiere,

Toward the world and stonde in grace,

Which lacketh ofte in many place

To him that can noght sitte stille,

Which elles scholde have al his wille.

The vice cleped Avantance

2400With Pride hath take his aqueintance,

So that his oghne pris he lasseth,

When he such mesure overpasseth

That he his oghne Herald is.

That ferst was wel is thanne mis,

That was thankworth is thanne blame,

And thus the worschipe of his name

Thurgh pride of his avantarie

He torneth into vilenie.

I rede how that this proude vice

2410Hath thilke wynd in his office,

Which thurgh the blastes that he bloweth

The mannes fame he overthroweth

Of vertu, which scholde elles springe

Into the worldes knowlechinge;

Bot he fordoth it alto sore.

And riht of such a maner lore

Ther ben lovers: forthi if thow

Art on of hem, tell and sei how.

Whan thou hast taken eny thing

2420Of loves yifte, or Nouche or ring,

Or tok upon thee for the cold

Som goodly word that thee was told,

Or frendly chiere or tokne or lettre,

Wherof thin herte was the bettre,

Or that sche sende the grietinge,

Hast thou for Pride of thi likinge

Mad thin avant wher as the liste?

I wolde, fader, that ye wiste,

Mi conscience lith noght hiere:

2430Yit hadde I nevere such matiere,

Wherof min herte myhte amende,

Noght of so mochel that sche sende

Be mowthe and seide, “Griet him wel:”

And thus for that ther is no diel

Wherof to make myn avant,

It is to reson acordant

That I mai nevere, bot I lye,

Of love make avanterie.

I wot noght what I scholde have do,

2440If that I hadde encheson so,

As ye have seid hier manyon;

Bot I fond cause nevere non:

Bot daunger, which welnyh me slowh,

Therof I cowthe telle ynowh,

And of non other Avantance:

Thus nedeth me no repentance.

Now axeth furthere of my lif,

For hierof am I noght gultif.

Mi Sone, I am wel paid withal;

2450For wite it wel in special

That love of his verrai justice

Above alle othre ayein this vice

At alle times most debateth,

With al his herte and most it hateth.

And ek in alle maner wise

Avantarie is to despise,

As be ensample thou myht wite,

Which I finde in the bokes write.

Of hem that we Lombars now calle

2460Albinus was the ferste of alle

Which bar corone of Lombardie,

And was of gret chivalerie

In werre ayein diverse kinges.

So fell amonges othre thinges,

That he that time a werre hadde

With Gurmond, which the Geptes ladde,

And was a myhti kyng also:

Bot natheles it fell him so,

Albinus slowh him in the feld,

2470Ther halp him nowther swerd ne scheld,

That he ne smot his hed of thanne,

Wherof he tok awey the Panne,

Of which he seide he wolde make

A Cuppe for Gurmoundes sake,

To kepe and drawe into memoire

Of his bataille the victoire.

And thus whan he the feld hath wonne,

The lond anon was overronne

And sesed in his oghne hond,

2480Wher he Gurmondes dowhter fond,

Which Maide Rosemounde hihte,

And was in every mannes sihte

A fair, a freissh, a lusti on.

His herte fell to hire anon,

And such a love on hire he caste,

That he hire weddeth ate laste;

And after that long time in reste

With hire he duelte, and to the beste

Thei love ech other wonder wel.

2490Bot sche which kepth the blinde whel,

Venus, whan thei be most above,

In al the hoteste of here love,

Hire whiel sche torneth, and thei felle

In the manere as I schal telle.

This king, which stod in al his welthe

Of pes, of worschipe and of helthe,

And felte him on no side grieved,

As he that hath his world achieved,

Tho thoghte he wolde a feste make;

2500And that was for his wyves sake,

That sche the lordes ate feste,

That were obeissant to his heste,

Mai knowe: and so forth therupon

He let ordeine, and sende anon

Be lettres and be messagiers,

And warnede alle hise officiers

That every thing be wel arraied:

The grete Stiedes were assaied

For joustinge and for tornement,

2510And many a perled garnement

Embroudred was ayein the dai.

The lordes in here beste arrai

Be comen ate time set,

On jousteth wel, an other bet,

And otherwhile thei torneie,

And thus thei casten care aweie

And token lustes upon honde.

And after, thou schalt understonde,

To mete into the kinges halle

2520Thei come, as thei be beden alle:

And whan thei were set and served,

Thanne after, as it was deserved,

To hem that worthi knyhtes were,

So as thei seten hiere and there,

The pris was yove and spoken oute

Among the heraldz al aboute.

And thus benethe and ek above

Al was of armes and of love,

Wherof abouten ate bordes

2530Men hadde manye sondri wordes,

That of the merthe which thei made

The king himself began to glade

Withinne his herte and tok a pride,

And sih the Cuppe stonde aside,

Which mad was of Gurmoundes hed,

As ye have herd, whan he was ded,

And was with gold and riche Stones

Beset and bounde for the nones,

And stod upon a fot on heihte

2540Of burned gold, and with gret sleihte

Of werkmanschipe it was begrave

Of such werk as it scholde have,

And was policed ek so clene

That no signe of the Skulle is sene,

Bot as it were a Gripes Ey.

The king bad bere his Cuppe awey,

Which stod tofore him on the bord,

And fette thilke. Upon his word

This Skulle is fet and wyn therinne,

2550Wherof he bad his wif beginne:

“Drink with thi fader, Dame,” he seide.

And sche to his biddinge obeide,

And tok the Skulle, and what hire liste

Sche drank, as sche which nothing wiste

What Cuppe it was: and thanne al oute

The kyng in audience aboute

Hath told it was hire fader Skulle,

So that the lordes knowe schulle

Of his bataille a soth witnesse,

2560And made avant thurgh what prouesse

He hath his wyves love wonne,

Which of the Skulle hath so begonne.

Tho was ther mochel Pride alofte,

Thei speken alle, and sche was softe,

Thenkende on thilke unkynde Pride,

Of that hire lord so nyh hire side

Avanteth him that he hath slain

And piked out hire fader brain,

And of the Skulle had mad a Cuppe.

2570Sche soffreth al til thei were uppe,

And tho sche hath seknesse feigned,

And goth to chambre and hath compleigned

Unto a Maide which sche triste,

So that non other wyht it wiste.

This Mayde Glodeside is hote,

To whom this lady hath behote

Of ladischipe al that sche can,

To vengen hire upon this man,

Which dede hire drinke in such a plit

2580Among hem alle for despit

Of hire and of hire fader bothe;

Wherof hire thoghtes ben so wrothe,

Sche seith, that sche schal noght be glad,

Til that sche se him so bestad

That he nomore make avant.

And thus thei felle in covenant,

That thei acorden ate laste,

With suche wiles as thei caste

That thei wol gete of here acord

2590Som orped knyht to sle this lord:

And with this sleihte thei beginne,

How thei Helmege myhten winne,

Which was the kinges Boteler,

A proud a lusti Bacheler,

And Glodeside he loveth hote.

And sche, to make him more assote,

Hire love granteth, and be nyhte

Thei schape how thei togedre myhte

Abedde meete: and don it was

2600This same nyht; and in this cas

The qwene hirself the nyht secounde

Wente in hire stede, and there hath founde

A chambre derk withoute liht,

And goth to bedde to this knyht.

And he, to kepe his observance,

To love doth his obeissance,

And weneth it be Glodeside;

And sche thanne after lay aside,

And axeth him what he hath do,

2610And who sche was sche tolde him tho,

And seide: “Helmege, I am thi qwene,

Now schal thi love wel be sene

Of that thou hast thi wille wroght:

Or it schal sore ben aboght,

Or thou schalt worche as I thee seie.

And if thou wolt be such a weie

Do my plesance and holde it stille,

For evere I schal ben at thi wille,

Bothe I and al myn heritage.”

2620Anon the wylde loves rage,

In which noman him can governe,

Hath mad him that he can noght werne,

Bot fell al hol to hire assent:

And thus the whiel is al miswent,

The which fortune hath upon honde;

For how that evere it after stonde,

Thei schope among hem such a wyle,

The king was ded withinne a whyle.

So slihly cam it noght aboute

2630That thei ne ben descoevered oute,

So that it thoghte hem for the beste

To fle, for there was no reste:

And thus the tresor of the king

Thei trusse and mochel other thing,

And with a certein felaschipe

Thei fledde and wente awey be schipe,

And hielde here rihte cours fro thenne,

Til that thei come to Ravenne,

Wher thei the Dukes helpe soghte.

2640And he, so as thei him besoghte,

A place granteth forto duelle;

Bot after, whan he herde telle

Of the manere how thei have do,

This Duk let schape for hem so,

That of a puison which thei drunke

Thei hadden that thei have beswunke.

And al this made avant of Pride:

Good is therfore a man to hide

His oghne pris, for if he speke,

2650He mai lihtliche his thonk tobreke.

In armes lith non avantance

To him which thenkth his name avance

And be renomed of his dede:

And also who that thenkth to spede

Of love, he mai him noght avaunte;

For what man thilke vice haunte,

His pourpos schal fulofte faile.

In armes he that wol travaile

Or elles loves grace atteigne,

2660His lose tunge he mot restreigne,

Which berth of his honour the keie.

Forthi, my Sone, in alle weie

Tak riht good hiede of this matiere.

I thonke you, my fader diere,

This scole is of a gentil lore;

And if ther be oght elles more

Of Pride, which I schal eschuie,

Now axeth forth, and I wol suie

What thing that ye me wole enforme.

2670Mi Sone, yit in other forme

Ther is a vice of Prides lore,

Which lich an hauk whan he wol sore,

Fleith upon heihte in his delices

After the likynge of his vices,

And wol no mannes resoun knowe,

Till he doun falle and overthrowe.

This vice veine gloire is hote,

Wherof, my Sone, I thee behote

To trete and speke in such a wise,

2680That thou thee myht the betre avise.

The proude vice of veine gloire

Remembreth noght of purgatoire,

Hise worldes joyes ben so grete,

Him thenkth of hevene no beyete;

This lives Pompe is al his pes:

Yit schal he deie natheles,

And therof thenkth he bot a lite,

For al his lust is to delite

In newe thinges, proude and veine,

2690Als ferforth as he mai atteigne.

I trowe, if that he myhte make

His body newe, he wolde take

A newe forme and leve his olde:

For what thing that he mai beholde,

The which to comun us is strange,

Anon his olde guise change

He wole and falle therupon,

Lich unto the Camelion,

Which upon every sondri hewe

2700That he beholt he moste newe

His colour, and thus unavised

Fulofte time he stant desguised.

Mor jolif than the brid in Maii

He makth him evere freissh and gay,

And doth al his array desguise,

So that of him the newe guise

Of lusti folk alle othre take;

And ek he can carolles make,

Rondeal, balade and virelai.

2710And with al this, if that he may

Of love gete him avantage,

Anon he wext of his corage

So overglad, that of his ende

Him thenkth ther is no deth comende:

For he hath thanne at alle tide

Of love such a maner pride,

Him thenkth his joie is endeles.

Now schrif thee, Sone, in godes pes,

And of thi love tell me plein

2720If that thi gloire hath be so vein.

Mi fader, as touchinge of al

I may noght wel ne noght ne schal

Of veine gloire excuse me,

That I ne have for love be

The betre adresced and arraied;

And also I have ofte assaied

Rondeal, balade and virelai

For hire on whom myn herte lai

To make, and also forto peinte

2730Caroles with my wordes qweinte,

To sette my pourpos alofte;

And thus I sang hem forth fulofte

In halle and ek in chambre aboute,

And made merie among the route,

Bot yit ne ferde I noght the bet.

Thus was my gloire in vein beset

Of al the joie that I made;

For whanne I wolde with hire glade,

And of hire love songes make,

2740Sche saide it was noght for hir sake,

And liste noght my songes hiere

Ne witen what the wordes were.

So forto speke of myn arrai,

Yit couthe I nevere be so gay

Ne so wel make a songe of love,

Wherof I myhte ben above

And have encheson to be glad;

Bot rathere I am ofte adrad

For sorwe that sche seith me nay.

2750And natheles I wol noght say,

That I nam glad on other side;

For fame, that can nothing hide,

Alday wol bringe unto myn Ere

Of that men speken hier and there,

How that my ladi berth the pris,

How sche is fair, how sche is wis,

How sche is wommanlich of chiere;

Of al this thing whanne I mai hiere,

What wonder is thogh I be fain?

2760And ek whanne I may hiere sain

Tidinges of my ladi hele,

Althogh I may noght with hir dele,

Yit am I wonder glad of that;

For whanne I wot hire good astat,

As for that time I dar wel swere,

Non other sorwe mai me dere,

Thus am I gladed in this wise.

Bot, fader, of youre lores wise,

Of whiche ye be fully tawht,

2770Now tell me if yow thenketh awht

That I therof am forto wyte.

Of that ther is I thee acquite,

Mi sone, he seide, and for thi goode

I wolde that thou understode:

For I thenke upon this matiere

To telle a tale, as thou schalt hiere,

How that ayein this proude vice

The hihe god of his justice

Is wroth and gret vengance doth.

2780Now herkne a tale that is soth:

Thogh it be noght of loves kinde,

A gret ensample thou schalt finde

This veine gloire forto fle,

Which is so full of vanite.

Ther was a king that mochel myhte,

Which Nabugodonosor hihte,

Of whom that I spak hier tofore.

Yit in the bible his name is bore,

For al the world in Orient

2790Was hol at his comandement:

As thanne of kinges to his liche

Was non so myhty ne so riche;

To his Empire and to his lawes,

As who seith, alle in thilke dawes

Were obeissant and tribut bere,

As thogh he godd of Erthe were.

With strengthe he putte kinges under,

And wroghte of Pride many a wonder;

He was so full of veine gloire,

2800That he ne hadde no memoire

That ther was eny good bot he,

For pride of his prosperite;

Til that the hihe king of kinges,

Which seth and knoweth alle thinges,

Whos yhe mai nothing asterte,-

The privetes of mannes herte

Thei speke and sounen in his Ere

As thogh thei lowde wyndes were,-

He tok vengance upon this pride.

2810Bot for he wolde awhile abide

To loke if he him wolde amende,

To him a foretokne he sende,

And that was in his slep be nyhte.

This proude kyng a wonder syhte

Hadde in his swevene, ther he lay:

Him thoghte, upon a merie day

As he behield the world aboute,

A tree fulgrowe he syh theroute,

Which stod the world amiddes evene,

2820Whos heihte straghte up to the hevene;

The leves weren faire and large,

Of fruit it bar so ripe a charge,

That alle men it myhte fede:

He sih also the bowes spriede

Above al Erthe, in whiche were

The kinde of alle briddes there;

And eke him thoghte he syh also

The kinde of alle bestes go

Under this tre aboute round

2830And fedden hem upon the ground.

As he this wonder stod and syh,

Him thoghte he herde a vois on hih

Criende, and seide aboven alle:

“Hew doun this tree and lett it falle,

The leves let defoule in haste

And do the fruit destruie and waste,

And let of schreden every braunche,

Bot ate Rote let it staunche.

Whan al his Pride is cast to grounde,

2840The rote schal be faste bounde,

And schal no mannes herte bere,

Bot every lust he schal forbere

Of man, and lich an Oxe his mete

Of gras he schal pourchace and ete,

Til that the water of the hevene

Have waisshen him be times sevene,

So that he be thurghknowe ariht

What is the heveneliche myht,

And be mad humble to the wille

2850Of him which al mai save and spille.”

This king out of his swefne abreide,

And he upon the morwe it seide

Unto the clerkes whiche he hadde:

Bot non of hem the sothe aradde,

Was non his swevene cowthe undo.

And it stod thilke time so,

This king hadde in subjeccioun

Judee, and of affeccioun

Above alle othre on Daniel

2860He loveth, for he cowthe wel

Divine that non other cowthe:

To him were alle thinges cowthe,

As he it hadde of goddes grace.

He was before the kinges face

Asent, and bode that he scholde

Upon the point the king of tolde

The fortune of his swevene expounde,

As it scholde afterward be founde.

Whan Daniel this swevene herde,

2870He stod long time er he ansuerde,

And made a wonder hevy chiere.

The king tok hiede of his manere,

And bad him telle that he wiste,

As he to whom he mochel triste,

And seide he wolde noght be wroth.

Bot Daniel was wonder loth,

And seide: “Upon thi fomen alle,

Sire king, thi swevene mote falle;

And natheles touchende of this

2880I wol the tellen how it is,

And what desese is to thee schape:

God wot if thou it schalt ascape.

The hihe tree, which thou hast sein

With lef and fruit so wel besein,

The which stod in the world amiddes,

So that the bestes and the briddes

Governed were of him al one,

Sire king, betokneth thi persone,

Which stant above all erthli thinges.

2890Thus regnen under the the kinges,

And al the poeple unto thee louteth,

And al the world thi pouer doubteth,

So that with vein honour deceived

Thou hast the reverence weyved

Fro him which is thi king above,

That thou for drede ne for love

Wolt nothing knowen of thi godd;

Which now for thee hath mad a rodd,

Thi veine gloire and thi folie

2900With grete peines to chastie.

And of the vois thou herdest speke,

Which bad the bowes forto breke

And hewe and felle doun the tree,

That word belongeth unto thee;

Thi regne schal ben overthrowe,

And thou despuiled for a throwe:

Bot that the Rote scholde stonde,

Be that thou schalt wel understonde,

Ther schal abyden of thi regne

2910A time ayein whan thou schalt regne.

And ek of that thou herdest seie,

To take a mannes herte aweie

And sette there a bestial,

So that he lich an Oxe schal

Pasture, and that he be bereined

Be times sefne and sore peined,

Til that he knowe his goddes mihtes,

Than scholde he stonde ayein uprihtes,-

Al this betokneth thin astat,

2920Which now with god is in debat:

Thi mannes forme schal be lassed,

Til sevene yer ben overpassed,

And in the liknesse of a beste

Of gras schal be thi real feste,

The weder schal upon thee reine.

And understond that al this peine,

Which thou schalt soffre thilke tide,

Is schape al only for thi pride

Of veine gloire, and of the sinne

2930Which thou hast longe stonden inne.

So upon this condicioun

Thi swevene hath exposicioun.

Bot er this thing befalle in dede,

Amende thee, this wolde I rede:

Yif and departe thin almesse,

Do mercy forth with rihtwisnesse,

Besech and prei the hihe grace,

For so thou myht thi pes pourchace

With godd, and stonde in good acord.”

2940Bot Pride is loth to leve his lord,

And wol noght soffre humilite

With him to stonde in no degree;

And whan a schip hath lost his stiere,

Is non so wys that mai him stiere

Ayein the wawes in a rage.

This proude king in his corage

Humilite hath so forlore,

That for no swevene he sih tofore,

Ne yit for al that Daniel

2950Him hath conseiled everydel,

He let it passe out of his mynde,

Thurgh veine gloire, and as the blinde,

He seth no weie, er him be wo.

And fell withinne a time so,

As he in Babiloine wente,

The vanite of Pride him hente;

His herte aros of veine gloire,

So that he drowh into memoire

His lordschipe and his regalie

2960With wordes of Surquiderie.

And whan that he him most avaunteth,

That lord which veine gloire daunteth,

Al sodeinliche, as who seith treis,

Wher that he stod in his Paleis,

He tok him fro the mennes sihte:

Was non of hem so war that mihte

Sette yhe wher that he becom.

And thus was he from his kingdom

Into the wilde Forest drawe,

2970Wher that the myhti goddes lawe

Thurgh his pouer dede him transforme

Fro man into a bestes forme;

And lich an Oxe under the fot

He graseth, as he nedes mot,

To geten him his lives fode.

Tho thoghte him colde grases goode,

That whilom eet the hote spices,

Thus was he torned fro delices:

The wyn which he was wont to drinke

2980He tok thanne of the welles brinke

Or of the pet or of the slowh,

It thoghte him thanne good ynowh:

In stede of chambres wel arraied

He was thanne of a buissh wel paied,

The harde ground he lay upon,

For othre pilwes hath he non;

The stormes and the Reines falle,

The wyndes blowe upon him alle,

He was tormented day and nyht,

2990Such was the hihe goddes myht,

Til sevene yer an ende toke.

Upon himself tho gan he loke;

In stede of mete gras and stres,

In stede of handes longe cles,

In stede of man a bestes lyke

He syh; and thanne he gan to syke

For cloth of gold and for perrie,

Which him was wont to magnefie.

Whan he behield his Cote of heres,

3000He wepte and with fulwoful teres

Up to the hevene he caste his chiere

Wepende, and thoghte in this manere;

Thogh he no wordes myhte winne,

Thus seide his herte and spak withinne:

“O mihti godd, that al hast wroght

And al myht bringe ayein to noght,

Now knowe I wel, bot al of thee,

This world hath no prosperite:

In thin aspect ben alle liche,

3010The povere man and ek the riche,

Withoute thee ther mai no wight,

And thou above alle othre miht.

O mihti lord, toward my vice

Thi merci medle with justice;

And I woll make a covenant,

That of my lif the remenant

I schal it be thi grace amende,

And in thi lawe so despende

That veine gloire I schal eschuie,

3020And bowe unto thin heste and suie

Humilite, and that I vowe.”

And so thenkende he gan doun bowe,

And thogh him lacke vois and speche,

He gan up with his feet areche,

And wailende in his bestly stevene

He made his pleignte unto the hevene.

He kneleth in his wise and braieth,

To seche merci and assaieth

His god, which made him nothing strange,

3030Whan that he sih his pride change.

Anon as he was humble and tame,

He fond toward his god the same,

And in a twinklinge of a lok

His mannes forme ayein he tok,

And was reformed to the regne

In which that he was wont to regne;

So that the Pride of veine gloire

Evere afterward out of memoire

He let it passe. And thus is schewed

3040What is to ben of Pride unthewed

Ayein the hihe goddes lawe,

To whom noman mai be felawe.

Forthi, my Sone, tak good hiede

So forto lede thi manhiede,

That thou ne be noght lich a beste.

Bot if thi lif schal ben honeste,

Thou most humblesce take on honde,

For thanne myht thou siker stonde:

And forto speke it otherwise,

3050A proud man can no love assise;

For thogh a womman wolde him plese,

His Pride can noght ben at ese.

Ther mai noman to mochel blame

A vice which is forto blame;

Forthi men scholde nothing hide

That mihte falle in blame of Pride,

Which is the werste vice of alle:

Wherof, so as it was befalle,

The tale I thenke of a Cronique

3060To telle, if that it mai thee like,

So that thou myht humblesce suie

And ek the vice of Pride eschuie,

Wherof the gloire is fals and vein;

Which god himself hath in desdeign,

That thogh it mounte for a throwe,

It schal doun falle and overthrowe.

A king whilom was yong and wys,

The which sette of his wit gret pris.

Of depe ymaginaciouns

3070And strange interpretaciouns,

Problemes and demandes eke,

His wisdom was to finde and seke;

Wherof he wolde in sondri wise

Opposen hem that weren wise.

Bot non of hem it myhte bere

Upon his word to yeve answere,

Outaken on, which was a knyht;

To him was every thing so liht,

That also sone as he hem herde,

3080The kinges wordes he answerde;

What thing the king him axe wolde,

Therof anon the trowthe he tolde.

The king somdiel hadde an Envie,

And thoghte he wolde his wittes plie

To sette som conclusioun,

Which scholde be confusioun

Unto this knyht, so that the name

And of wisdom the hihe fame

Toward himself he wolde winne.

3090And thus of al his wit withinne

This king began to studie and muse,

What strange matiere he myhte use

The knyhtes wittes to confounde;

And ate laste he hath it founde,

And for the knyht anon he sente,

That he schal telle what he mente.

Upon thre pointz stod the matiere

Of questions, as thou schalt hiere.

The ferste point of alle thre

3100Was this: “What thing in his degre

Of al this world hath nede lest,

And yet men helpe it althermest?”

The secounde is: “What most is worth,

And of costage is lest put forth?”

The thridde is: “Which is of most cost,

And lest is worth and goth to lost?”

The king thes thre demandes axeth,

And to the knyht this lawe he taxeth,

That he schal gon and come ayein

3110The thridde weke, and telle him plein

To every point, what it amonteth.

And if so be that he misconteth,

To make in his answere a faile,

Ther schal non other thing availe,

The king seith, bot he schal be ded

And lese hise goodes and his hed.

The knyht was sori of this thing

And wolde excuse him to the king,

Bot he ne wolde him noght forbere,

3120And thus the knyht of his ansuere

Goth hom to take avisement:

Bot after his entendement

The more he caste his wit aboute,

The more he stant therof in doute.

Tho wiste he wel the kinges herte,

That he the deth ne scholde asterte,

And such a sorwe hath to him take,

That gladschipe he hath al forsake.

He thoghte ferst upon his lif,

3130And after that upon his wif,

Upon his children ek also,

Of whiche he hadde dowhtres tuo;

The yongest of hem hadde of age

Fourtiene yer, and of visage

Sche was riht fair, and of stature

Lich to an hevenely figure,

And of manere and goodli speche,

Thogh men wolde alle Londes seche,

Thei scholden noght have founde hir like.

3140Sche sih hire fader sorwe and sike,

And wiste noght the cause why;

So cam sche to him prively,

And that was where he made his mone

Withinne a Gardin al him one;

Upon hire knes sche gan doun falle

With humble herte and to him calle,

And seide: “O goode fader diere,

Why make ye thus hevy chiere,

And I wot nothing how it is?

3150And wel ye knowen, fader, this,

What aventure that you felle

Ye myhte it saufly to me telle,

For I have ofte herd you seid,

That ye such trust have on me leid,

That to my soster ne my brother,

In al this world ne to non other,

Ye dorste telle a privite

So wel, my fader, as to me.

Forthi, my fader, I you preie,

3160Ne casteth noght that herte aweie,

For I am sche that wolde kepe

Youre honour.” And with that to wepe

Hire yhe mai noght be forbore,

Sche wissheth forto ben unbore,

Er that hire fader so mistriste

To tellen hire of that he wiste:

And evere among merci sche cride,

That he ne scholde his conseil hide

From hire that so wolde him good

3170And was so nyh his fleissh and blod.

So that with wepinge ate laste

His chiere upon his child he caste,

And sorwfulli to that sche preide

He tolde his tale and thus he seide:

“The sorwe, dowhter, which I make

Is noght al only for my sake,

Bot for thee bothe and for you alle:

For such a chance is me befalle,

That I schal er this thridde day

3180Lese al that evere I lese may,

Mi lif and al my good therto:

Therfore it is I sorwe so.”

“What is the cause, helas!” quod sche,

“Mi fader, that ye scholden be

Ded and destruid in such a wise?”

And he began the pointz devise,

Whiche as the king told him be mowthe,

And seid hir pleinly that he cowthe

Ansuere unto no point of this.

3190And sche, that hiereth how it is,

Hire conseil yaf and seide tho:

“Mi fader, sithen it is so,

That ye can se non other weie,

Bot that ye moste nedes deie,

I wolde preie of you a thing:

Let me go with you to the king,

And ye schull make him understonde

How ye, my wittes forto fonde,

Have leid your ansuere upon me;

3200And telleth him, in such degre

Upon my word ye wole abide

To lif or deth, what so betide.

For yit par chaunce I may pourchace

With som good word the kinges grace,

Your lif and ek your good to save;

For ofte schal a womman have

Thing which a man mai noght areche.”

The fader herde his dowhter speche,

And thoghte ther was resoun inne,

3210And sih his oghne lif to winne

He cowthe don himself no cure;

So betre him thoghte in aventure

To put his lif and al his good,

Than in the maner as it stod

His lif in certein forto lese.

And thus thenkende he gan to chese

To do the conseil of this Maide,

And tok the pourpos which sche saide.

The dai was come and forth thei gon,

3220Unto the Court thei come anon,

Wher as the king in juggement

Was set and hath this knyht assent.

Arraied in hire beste wise

This Maiden with hire wordes wise

Hire fader ladde be the hond

Into the place, wher he fond

The king with othre whiche he wolde,

And to the king knelende he tolde

As he enformed was tofore,

3230And preith the king that he therfore

His dowhtres wordes wolde take,

And seith that he wol undertake

Upon hire wordes forto stonde.

Tho was ther gret merveile on honde,

That he, which was so wys a knyht,

His lif upon so yong a wyht

Besette wolde in jeupartie,

And manye it hielden for folie:

Bot ate laste natheles

3240The king comandeth ben in pes,

And to this Maide he caste his chiere,

And seide he wolde hire tale hiere,

He bad hire speke, and sche began:

“Mi liege lord, so as I can,”

Quod sche, “the pointz of whiche I herde,

Thei schul of reson ben ansuerde.

The ferste I understonde is this,

What thing of al the world it is,

Which men most helpe and hath lest nede.

3250Mi liege lord, this wolde I rede:

The Erthe it is, which everemo

With mannes labour is bego;

Als wel in wynter as in Maii

The mannes hond doth what he mai

To helpe it forth and make it riche,

And forthi men it delve and dyche

And eren it with strengthe of plowh,

Wher it hath of himself ynowh,

So that his nede is ate leste.

3260For every man and bridd and beste,

And flour and gras and rote and rinde,

And every thing be weie of kynde

Schal sterve, and Erthe it schal become;

As it was out of Erthe nome,

It schal to therthe torne ayein:

And thus I mai be resoun sein

That Erthe is the most nedeles,

And most men helpe it natheles.

So that, my lord, touchende of this

3270I have ansuerd hou that it is.

That other point I understod,

Which most is worth and most is good,

And costeth lest a man to kepe:

Mi lord, if ye woll take kepe,

I seie it is Humilite,

Thurgh which the hihe trinite

As for decerte of pure love

Unto Marie from above,

Of that he knew hire humble entente,

3280His oghne Sone adoun he sente,

Above alle othre and hire he ches

For that vertu which bodeth pes:

So that I may be resoun calle

Humilite most worth of alle.

And lest it costeth to maintiene,

In al the world as it is sene;

For who that hath humblesce on honde,

He bringth no werres into londe,

For he desireth for the beste

3290To setten every man in reste.

Thus with your hihe reverence

Me thenketh that this evidence

As to this point is sufficant.

And touchende of the remenant,

Which is the thridde of youre axinges,

What leste is worth of alle thinges,

And costeth most, I telle it, Pride;

Which mai noght in the hevene abide,

For Lucifer with hem that felle

3300Bar Pride with him into helle.

Ther was Pride of to gret a cost,

Whan he for Pride hath hevene lost;

And after that in Paradis

Adam for Pride loste his pris:

In Midelerthe and ek also

Pride is the cause of alle wo,

That al the world ne may suffise

To stanche of Pride the reprise:

Pride is the heved of alle Sinne,

3310Which wasteth al and mai noght winne;

Pride is of every mis the pricke,

Pride is the werste of alle wicke,

And costneth most and lest is worth

In place where he hath his forth.

Thus have I seid that I wol seie

Of myn answere, and to you preie,

Mi liege lord, of youre office

That ye such grace and such justice

Ordeigne for mi fader hiere,

3320That after this, whan men it hiere,

The world therof mai speke good.”

The king, which reson understod

And hath al herd how sche hath said,

Was inly glad and so wel paid

That al his wraththe is overgo:

And he began to loke tho

Upon this Maiden in the face,

In which he fond so mochel grace,

That al his pris on hire he leide,

3330In audience and thus he seide:

“Mi faire Maide, wel thee be!

Of thin ansuere and ek of thee

Me liketh wel, and as thou wilt,

Foryive be thi fader gilt.

And if thou were of such lignage,

That thou to me were of parage,

And that thi fader were a Pier,

As he is now a Bachilier,

So seker as I have a lif,

3340Thou scholdest thanne be my wif.

Bot this I seie natheles,

That I wol schape thin encress;

What worldes good that thou wolt crave,

Axe of my yifte and thou schalt have.”

And sche the king with wordes wise

Knelende thonketh in this wise:

“Mi liege lord, god mot you quite!

Mi fader hier hath bot a lite

Of warison, and that he wende

3350Hadde al be lost; bot now amende

He mai wel thurgh your noble grace.”

With that the king riht in his place

Anon forth in that freisshe hete

An Erldom, which thanne of eschete

Was late falle into his hond,

Unto this knyht with rente and lond

Hath yove and with his chartre sesed;

And thus was all the noise appesed.

This Maiden, which sat on hire knes

3360Tofore the king, hise charitees

Comendeth, and seide overmore:

“Mi liege lord, riht now tofore

Ye seide, as it is of record,

That if my fader were a lord

And Pier unto these othre grete,

Ye wolden for noght elles lete,

That I ne scholde be your wif;

And this wot every worthi lif,

A kinges word it mot ben holde.

3370Forthi, my lord, if that ye wolde

So gret a charite fulfille,

God wot it were wel my wille:

For he which was a Bacheler,

Mi fader, is now mad a Pier;

So whenne as evere that I cam,

An Erles dowhter now I am.”

This yonge king, which peised al,

Hire beaute and hir wit withal,

As he that was with love hent,

3380Anon therto yaf his assent.

He myhte noght the maide asterte,

That sche nis ladi of his herte;

So that he tok hire to his wif,

To holde whyl that he hath lif:

And thus the king toward his knyht

Acordeth him, as it is riht.

And over this good is to wite,

In the Cronique as it is write,

This noble king of whom I tolde

3390Of Spaine be tho daies olde

The kingdom hadde in governance,

And as the bok makth remembrance,

Alphonse was his propre name:

The knyht also, if I schal name,

Danz Petro hihte, and as men telle,

His dowhter wyse Peronelle

Was cleped, which was full of grace:

And that was sene in thilke place,

Wher sche hir fader out of teene

3400Hath broght and mad hirself a qweene,

Of that sche hath so wel desclosed

The pointz wherof sche was opposed.

Lo now, my Sone, as thou myht hiere,

Of al this thing to my matiere

Bot on I take, and that is Pride,

To whom no grace mai betide:

In hevene he fell out of his stede,

And Paradis him was forbede,

The goode men in Erthe him hate,

3410So that to helle he mot algate,

Where every vertu schal be weyved

And every vice be received.

Bot Humblesce is al otherwise,

Which most is worth, and no reprise

It takth ayein, bot softe and faire,

If eny thing stond in contraire,

With humble speche it is redresced:

Thus was this yonge Maiden blessed,

The which I spak of now tofore,

3420Hire fader lif sche gat therfore,

And wan with al the kinges love.

Forthi, my Sone, if thou wolt love,

It sit thee wel to leve Pride

And take Humblesce upon thi side;

The more of grace thou schalt gete.

Mi fader, I woll noght foryete

Of this that ye have told me hiere,

And if that eny such manere

Of humble port mai love appaie,

3430Hierafterward I thenke assaie:

Bot now forth over I beseche

That ye more of my schrifte seche.

Mi goode Sone, it schal be do:

Now herkne and ley an Ere to;

For as touchende of Prides fare,

Als ferforth as I can declare

In cause of vice, in cause of love,

That hast thou pleinly herd above,

So that ther is nomor to seie

3440Touchende of that; bot other weie

Touchende Envie I thenke telle,

Which hath the propre kinde of helle,

Withoute cause to misdo

Toward himself and othre also,

Hierafterward as understonde

Thou schalt the spieces, as thei stonde.

Explicit Liber Primus

Incipit Liber Secundus

Inuidie culpa magis est attrita dolore,

     Nam sua mens nullo tempore leta manet:

Quo gaudent alii, dolet ille, nec vnus amicus

     Est, cui de puro comoda velle facit.

Proximitatis honor sua corda veretur, et omnis

     Est sibi leticia sic aliena dolor.

Hoc etenim vicium quam sepe repugnat amanti,

     Non sibi, set reliquis, dum fauet ipsa Venus.

Est amor ex proprio motu fantasticus, et que

     Gaudia fert alius, credit obesse sibi.

Now after Pride the secounde

Ther is, which many a woful stounde

Towardes othre berth aboute

Withinne himself and noght withoute;

For in his thoght he brenneth evere,

Whan that he wot an other levere

Or more vertuous than he,

Which passeth him in his degre;

Therof he takth his maladie:

10That vice is cleped hot Envie.

Forthi, my Sone, if it be so

Thou art or hast ben on of tho,

As forto speke in loves cas,

If evere yit thin herte was

Sek of an other mannes hele?

So god avance my querele,

Mi fader, ye, a thousend sithe:

Whanne I have sen an other blithe

Of love, and hadde a goodly chiere,

20Ethna, which brenneth yer be yere,

Was thanne noght so hot as I

Of thilke Sor which prively

Min hertes thoght withinne brenneth.

The Schip which on the wawes renneth,

And is forstormed and forblowe,

Is noght more peined for a throwe

Than I am thanne, whanne I se

An other which that passeth me

In that fortune of loves yifte.

30Bot, fader, this I telle in schrifte,

That is nowher bot in o place;

For who that lese or finde grace

In other stede, it mai noght grieve:

Bot this ye mai riht wel believe,

Toward mi ladi that I serve,

Thogh that I wiste forto sterve,

Min herte is full of such sotie,

That I myself mai noght chastie.

Whan I the Court se of Cupide

40Aproche unto my ladi side

Of hem that lusti ben and freisshe,-

Thogh it availe hem noght a reisshe,

Bot only that thei ben in speche,-

My sorwe is thanne noght to seche:

Bot whan thei rounen in hire Ere,

Than groweth al my moste fere,

And namly whan thei talen longe;

My sorwes thanne be so stronge

Of that I se hem wel at ese,

50I can noght telle my desese.

Bot, Sire, as of my ladi selve,

Thogh sche have wowers ten or twelve,

For no mistrust I have of hire

Me grieveth noght, for certes, Sire,

I trowe, in al this world to seche,

Nis womman that in dede and speche

Woll betre avise hire what sche doth,

Ne betre, forto seie a soth,

Kepe hire honour ate alle tide,

60And yit get hire a thank beside.

Bot natheles I am beknowe,

That whanne I se at eny throwe,

Or elles if I mai it hiere,

That sche make eny man good chiere,

Thogh I therof have noght to done,

Mi thought wol entermette him sone.

For thogh I be miselve strange,

Envie makth myn herte change,

That I am sorghfully bestad

70Of that I se an other glad

With hire; bot of other alle,

Of love what so mai befalle,

Or that he faile or that he spede,

Therof take I bot litel heede.

Now have I seid, my fader, al

As of this point in special,

Als ferforthli as I have wist.

Now axeth further what you list.

Mi Sone, er I axe eny more,

80I thenke somdiel for thi lore

Telle an ensample of this matiere

Touchende Envie, as thou schalt hiere.

Write in Civile this I finde:

Thogh it be noght the houndes kinde

To ete chaf, yit wol he werne

An Oxe which comth to the berne,

Therof to taken eny fode.

And thus, who that it understode,

It stant of love in many place:

90Who that is out of loves grace

And mai himselven noght availe,

He wolde an other scholde faile;

And if he may put eny lette,

He doth al that he mai to lette.

Wherof I finde, as thou schalt wite,

To this pourpos a tale write.

Ther ben of suche mo than twelve,

That ben noght able as of hemselve

To gete love, and for Envie

100Upon alle othre thei aspie;

And for hem lacketh that thei wolde,

Thei kepte that non other scholde

Touchende of love his cause spede:

Wherof a gret ensample I rede,

Which unto this matiere acordeth,

As Ovide in his bok recordeth,

How Poliphemus whilom wroghte,

Whan that he Galathee besoghte

Of love, which he mai noght lacche.

110That made him forto waite and wacche

Be alle weies how it ferde,

Til ate laste he knew and herde

How that an other hadde leve

To love there as he mot leve,

As forto speke of eny sped:

So that he knew non other red,

Bot forto wayten upon alle,

Til he may se the chance falle

That he hire love myhte grieve,

120Which he himself mai noght achieve.

This Galathee, seith the Poete,

Above alle othre was unmete

Of beaute, that men thanne knewe,

And hadde a lusti love and trewe,

A Bacheler in his degree,

Riht such an other as was sche,

On whom sche hath hire herte set,

So that it myhte noght be let

For yifte ne for no beheste,

130That sche ne was al at his heste.

This yonge knyht Acis was hote,

Which hire ayeinward als so hote

Al only loveth and nomo.

Hierof was Poliphemus wo

Thurgh pure Envie, and evere aspide,

And waiteth upon every side,

Whan he togedre myhte se

This yonge Acis with Galathe.

So longe he waiteth to and fro,

140Til ate laste he fond hem tuo,

In prive place wher thei stode

To speke and have here wordes goode.

The place wher as he hem syh,

It was under a banke nyh

The grete See, and he above

Stod and behield the lusti love

Which ech of hem to other made

With goodly chiere and wordes glade,

That al his herte hath set afyre

150Of pure Envie: and as a fyre

Which fleth out of a myhti bowe,

Aweie he fledde for a throwe,

As he that was for love wod,

Whan that he sih how that it stod.

This Polipheme a Geant was;

And whan he sih the sothe cas,

How Galathee him hath forsake

And Acis to hire love take,

His herte mai it noght forbere

160That he ne roreth lich a Bere;

And as it were a wilde beste,

The whom no reson mihte areste,

He ran Ethna the hell aboute,

Wher nevere yit the fyr was oute,

Fulfild of sorghe and gret desese,

That he syh Acis wel at ese.

Til ate laste he him bethoghte,

As he which al Envie soghte,

And torneth to the banke ayein,

170Wher he with Galathee hath seyn

Acis, whom that he thoghte grieve,

Thogh he himself mai noght relieve.

This Geant with his ruide myht

Part of the banke he schof doun riht,

The which evene upon Acis fell,

So that with fallinge of this hell

This Poliphemus Acis slowh,

Wherof sche made sorwe ynowh.

And as sche fledde fro the londe,

180Neptunus tok hire into honde

And kept hire in so sauf a place

Fro Polipheme and his manace,

That he with al his false Envie

Ne mihte atteigne hir compaignie.

This Galathee of whom I speke,

That of hirself mai noght be wreke,

Withouten eny semblant feigned

Sche hath hire loves deth compleigned,

And with hire sorwe and with hire wo

190Sche hath the goddes moeved so,

That thei of pite and of grace

Have Acis in the same place,

Ther he lai ded, into a welle

Transformed, as the bokes telle,

With freisshe stremes and with cliere,

As he whilom with lusti chiere

Was freissh his love forto qweme.

And with this ruide Polipheme

For his Envie and for his hate

200Thei were wrothe. And thus algate,

Mi Sone, thou myht understonde,

That if thou wolt in grace stonde

With love, thou most leve Envie:

And as thou wolt for thi partie

Toward thi love stonde fre,

So most thou soffre an other be,

What so befalle upon the chaunce:

For it is an unwys vengance,

Which to non other man is lief,

210And is unto himselve grief.

Mi fader, this ensample is good;

Bot how so evere that it stod

With Poliphemes love as tho,

It schal noght stonde with me so,

To worchen eny felonie

In love for no such Envie.

Forthi if ther oght elles be,

Now axeth forth, in what degre

It is, and I me schal confesse

220With schrifte unto youre holinesse.

Mi goode Sone, yit ther is

A vice revers unto this,

Which envious takth his gladnesse

Of that he seth the hevinesse

Of othre men: for his welfare

Is whanne he wot an other care:

Of that an other hath a fall,

He thenkth himself arist withal.

Such is the gladschipe of Envie

230In worldes thing, and in partie

Fulofte times ek also

In loves cause it stant riht so.

If thou, my Sone, hast joie had,

Whan thou an other sihe unglad,

Schrif the therof. Mi fader, yis:

I am beknowe unto you this.

Of these lovers that loven streyte,

And for that point which thei coveite

Ben poursuiantz fro yeer to yere

240In loves Court, whan I may hiere

How that thei clymbe upon the whel,

And whan thei wene al schal be wel,

Thei ben doun throwen ate laste,

Thanne am I fedd of that thei faste,

And lawhe of that I se hem loure;

And thus of that thei brewe soure

I drinke swete, and am wel esed

Of that I wot thei ben desesed.

Bot this which I you telle hiere

250Is only for my lady diere;

That for non other that I knowe

Me reccheth noght who overthrowe,

Ne who that stonde in love upriht:

Bot be he squier, be he knyht,

Which to my ladiward poursuieth,

The more he lest of that he suieth,

The mor me thenketh that I winne,

And am the more glad withinne

Of that I wot him sorwe endure.

260For evere upon such aventure

It is a confort, as men sein,

To him the which is wo besein

To sen an other in his peine,

So that thei bothe mai compleigne.

Wher I miself mai noght availe

To sen an other man travaile,

I am riht glad if he be let;

And thogh I fare noght the bet,

His sorwe is to myn herte a game:

270Whan that I knowe it is the same

Which to mi ladi stant enclined,

And hath his love noght termined,

I am riht joifull in my thoght.

If such Envie grieveth oght,

As I beknowe me coupable,

Ye that be wys and resonable,

Mi fader, telleth youre avis.

Mi Sone, Envie into no pris

Of such a forme, I understonde,

280Ne mihte be no resoun stonde

For this Envie hath such a kinde,

That he wole sette himself behinde

To hindre with an othre wyht,

And gladly lese his oghne riht

To make an other lesen his.

And forto knowe how it so is,

A tale lich to this matiere

I thenke telle, if thou wolt hiere,

To schewe proprely the vice

290Of this Envie and the malice.

Of Jupiter this finde I write,

How whilom that he wolde wite

Upon the pleigntes whiche he herde,

Among the men how that it ferde,

As of here wrong condicion

To do justificacion:

And for that cause doun he sente

An Angel, which about wente,

That he the sothe knowe mai.

300So it befell upon a dai

This Angel, which him scholde enforme,

Was clothed in a mannes forme,

And overtok, I understonde,

Tuo men that wenten over londe,

Thurgh whiche he thoghte to aspie

His cause, and goth in compaignie.

This Angel with hise wordes wise

Opposeth hem in sondri wise,

Now lowde wordes and now softe,

310That mad hem to desputen ofte,

And ech of hem his reson hadde.

And thus with tales he hem ladde

With good examinacioun,

Til he knew the condicioun,

What men thei were bothe tuo;

And sih wel ate laste tho,

That on of hem was coveitous,

And his fela was envious.

And thus, whan he hath knowlechinge,

320Anon he feigneth departinge,

And seide he mot algate wende.

Bot herkne now what fell at ende:

For thanne he made hem understonde

That he was there of goddes sonde,

And seide hem, for the kindeschipe

That thei have don him felaschipe,

He wole hem do som grace ayein,

And bad that on of hem schal sein

What thing him is lievest to crave,

330And he it schal of yifte have;

And over that ek forth withal

He seith that other have schal

The double of that his felaw axeth;

And thus to hem his grace he taxeth.

The coveitous was wonder glad,

And to that other man he bad

And seith that he ferst axe scholde:

For he supposeth that he wolde

Make his axinge of worldes good;

340For thanne he knew wel how it stod,

That he himself be double weyhte

Schal after take, and thus be sleyhte,

Be cause that he wolde winne,

He bad his fela ferst beginne.

This Envious, thogh it be late,

Whan that he syh he mot algate

Make his axinge ferst, he thoghte,

If he worschipe or profit soghte,

It schal be doubled to his fiere:

350That wolde he chese in no manere.

Bot thanne he scheweth what he was

Toward Envie, and in this cas

Unto this Angel thus he seide

And for his yifte this he preide,

To make him blind of his on yhe,

So that his fela nothing syhe.

This word was noght so sone spoke,

That his on yhe anon was loke,

And his felawh forthwith also

360Was blind of bothe his yhen tuo.

Tho was that other glad ynowh,

That on wepte, and that other lowh,

He sette his on yhe at no cost,

Wherof that other two hath lost.

Of thilke ensample which fell tho,

Men tellen now fulofte so,

The world empeireth comunly:

And yit wot non the cause why;

For it acordeth noght to kinde

370Min oghne harm to seche and finde

Of that I schal my brother grieve;

It myhte nevere wel achieve.

What seist thou, Sone, of this folie?

Mi fader, bot I scholde lie,

Upon the point which ye have seid

Yit was myn herte nevere leid,

Bot in the wise as I you tolde.

Bot overmore, if that ye wolde

Oght elles to my schrifte seie

380Touchende Envie, I wolde preie.

Mi Sone, that schal wel be do:

Now herkne and ley thin Ere to.

Touchende as of Envious brod

I wot noght on of alle good;

Bot natheles, suche as thei be,

Yit is ther on, and that is he

Which cleped in Detraccioun.

And to conferme his accioun,

He hath withholde Malebouche,

390Whos tunge neither pyl ne crouche

Mai hyre, so that he pronounce

A plein good word withoute frounce

Awher behinde a mannes bak.

For thogh he preise, he fint som lak,

Which of his tale is ay the laste,

That al the pris schal overcaste:

And thogh ther be no cause why,

Yit wole he jangle noght forthi,

As he which hath the heraldie

400Of hem that usen forto lye.

For as the Netle which up renneth

The freisshe rede Roses brenneth

And makth hem fade and pale of hewe,

Riht so this fals Envious hewe,

In every place wher he duelleth,

With false wordes whiche he telleth

He torneth preisinge into blame

And worschipe into worldes schame.

Of such lesinge as he compasseth,

410Is non so good that he ne passeth

Betwen his teeth and is bacbited,

And thurgh his false tunge endited:

Lich to the Scharnebudes kinde,

Of whos nature this I finde,

That in the hoteste of the dai,

Whan comen is the merie Maii,

He sprat his wynge and up he fleth:

And under al aboute he seth

The faire lusti floures springe,

420Bot therof hath he no likinge;

Bot where he seth of eny beste

The felthe, ther he makth his feste,

And therupon he wole alyhte,

Ther liketh him non other sihte.

Riht so this janglere Envious,

Thogh he a man se vertuous

And full of good condicioun,

Therof makth he no mencioun:

Bot elles, be it noght so lyte,

430Wherof that he mai sette a wyte,

Ther renneth he with open mouth,

Behinde a man and makth it couth.

Bot al the vertu which he can,

That wole he hide of every man,

And openly the vice telle,

As he which of the Scole of helle

Is tawht, and fostred with Envie

Of houshold and of compaignie,

Wher that he hath his propre office

440To sette on every man a vice.

How so his mouth be comely,

His word sit evermore awry

And seith the worste that he may.

And in this wise now a day

In loves Court a man mai hiere

Fulofte pleigne of this matiere,

That many envious tale is stered,

Wher that it mai noght ben ansuered;

Bot yit fulofte it is believed,

450And many a worthi love is grieved

Thurgh bacbitinge of fals Envie.

If thou have mad such janglerie

In loves Court, mi Sone, er this,

Schrif thee therof. Mi fader, yis:

Bot wite ye how? noght openly,

Bot otherwhile prively,

Whan I my diere ladi mete,

And thenke how that I am noght mete

Unto hire hihe worthinesse,

460And ek I se the besinesse

Of al this yonge lusty route,

Whiche alday pressen hire aboute,

And ech of hem his time awaiteth,

And ech of hem his tale affaiteth,

Al to deceive an innocent,

Which woll noght ben of here assent;

And for men sein unknowe unkest,

Hire thombe sche holt in hire fest

So clos withinne hire oghne hond,

470That there winneth noman lond;

Sche lieveth noght al that sche hiereth,

And thus fulofte hirself sche skiereth

And is al war of “hadde I wist”:—

Bot for al that myn herte arist,

Whanne I thes comun lovers se,

That woll noght holden hem to thre,

Bot welnyh loven overal,

Min herte is Envious withal,

And evere I am adrad of guile,

480In aunter if with eny wyle

Thei mihte hire innocence enchaunte.

Forthi my wordes ofte I haunte

Behynden hem, so as I dar,

Wherof my ladi may be war:

I sai what evere comth to mowthe,

And worse I wolde, if that I cowthe;

For whanne I come unto hir speche,

Al that I may enquere and seche

Of such deceipte, I telle it al,

490And ay the werste in special.

So fayn I wolde that sche wiste

How litel thei ben forto triste,

And what thei wolde and what thei mente,

So as thei be of double entente:

Thus toward hem that wicke mene

My wicked word was evere grene.

And natheles, the soth to telle,

In certain if it so befelle

That althertrewest man ybore,

500To chese among a thousend score,

Which were alfulli forto triste,

Mi ladi lovede, and I it wiste,

Yit rathere thanne he scholde spede,

I wolde swiche tales sprede

To my ladi, if that I myhte,

That I scholde al his love unrihte,

And therto wolde I do mi peine.

For certes thogh I scholde feigne,

And telle that was nevere thoght,

510For al this world I myhte noght

To soffre an othre fully winne,

Ther as I am yit to beginne.

For be thei goode, or be thei badde,

I wolde non my ladi hadde;

And that me makth fulofte aspie

And usen wordes of Envie,

Al forto make hem bere a blame.

And that is bot of thilke same,

The whiche unto my ladi drawe,

520For evere on hem I rounge and gknawe

And hindre hem al that evere I mai;

And that is, sothly forto say,

Bot only to my lady selve:

I telle it noght to ten ne tuelve,

Therof I wol me wel avise,

To speke or jangle in eny wise

That toucheth to my ladi name,

The which in ernest and in game

I wolde save into my deth;

530For me were levere lacke breth

Than speken of hire name amis.

Now have ye herd touchende of this,

Mi fader, in confessioun:

And therfor of Detraccioun

In love, of that I have mispoke,

Tel how ye wole it schal be wroke.

I am al redy forto bere

Mi peine, and also to forbere

What thing that ye wol noght allowe;

540For who is bounden, he mot bowe.

So wol I bowe unto youre heste,

For I dar make this beheste,

That I to yow have nothing hid,

Bot told riht as it is betid;

And otherwise of no mispeche,

Mi conscience forto seche,

I can noght of Envie finde,

That I mispoke have oght behinde

Wherof love owhte be mispaid.

550Now have ye herd and I have said;

What wol ye, fader, that I do?

Mi Sone, do nomore so,

Bot evere kep thi tunge stille,

Thou miht the more have of thi wille.

For as thou saist thiselven here,

Thi ladi is of such manere,

So wys, so war in alle thinge,

It nedeth of no bakbitinge

That thou thi ladi mis enforme:

560For whan sche knoweth al the forme,

How that thiself art envious,

Thou schalt noght be so gracious

As thou peraunter scholdest elles.

Ther wol noman drinke of tho welles

Whiche as he wot is puyson inne;

And ofte swich as men beginne

Towardes othre, swich thei finde,

That set hem ofte fer behinde,

Whan that thei wene be before.

570Mi goode Sone, and thou therfore

Bewar and lef thi wicke speche,

Wherof hath fallen ofte wreche

To many a man befor this time.

For who so wole his handes lime,

Thei mosten be the more unclene;

For many a mote schal be sene,

That wolde noght cleve elles there;

And that schold every wys man fere:

For who so wol an other blame,

580He secheth ofte his oghne schame,

Which elles myhte be riht stille.

Forthi if that it be thi wille

To stonde upon amendement,

A tale of gret entendement

I thenke telle for thi sake,

Wherof thou miht ensample take.

A worthi kniht in Cristes lawe

Of grete Rome, as is the sawe,

The Sceptre hadde forto rihte;

590Tiberie Constantin he hihte,

Whos wif was cleped Ytalie:

Bot thei togedre of progenie

No children hadde bot a Maide;

And sche the god so wel apaide,

That al the wide worldes fame

Spak worschipe of hire goode name.

Constance, as the Cronique seith,

Sche hihte, and was so ful of feith,

That the greteste of Barbarie,

600Of hem whiche usen marchandie,

Sche hath converted, as thei come

To hire upon a time in Rome,

To schewen such thing as thei broghte;

Whiche worthili of hem sche boghte,

And over that in such a wise

Sche hath hem with hire wordes wise

Of Cristes feith so full enformed,

That thei therto ben all conformed,

So that baptesme thei receiven

610And alle here false goddes weyven.

Whan thei ben of the feith certein,

Thei gon to Barbarie ayein,

And ther the Souldan for hem sente

And axeth hem to what entente

Thei have here ferste feith forsake.

And thei, whiche hadden undertake

The rihte feith to kepe and holde,

The matiere of here tale tolde

With al the hole circumstance.

620And whan the Souldan of Constance

Upon the point that thei ansuerde

The beaute and the grace herde,

As he which thanne was to wedde,

In alle haste his cause spedde

To sende for the mariage.

And furthermor with good corage

He seith, be so he mai hire have,

That Crist, which cam this world to save,

He woll believe: and this recorded,

630Thei ben on either side acorded,

And therupon to make an ende

The Souldan hise hostages sende

To Rome, of Princes Sones tuelve:

Wherof the fader in himselve

Was glad, and with the Pope avised

Tuo Cardinals he hath assissed

With othre lordes many mo,

That with his doghter scholden go,

To se the Souldan be converted.

640Bot that which nevere was wel herted,

Envie, tho began travaile

In destourbance of this spousaile

So prively that non was war.

The Moder which this Souldan bar

Was thanne alyve, and thoghte this

Unto hirself: “If it so is

Mi Sone him wedde in this manere,

Than have I lost my joies hiere,

For myn astat schal so be lassed.”

650Thenkende thus sche hath compassed

Be sleihte how that sche may beguile

Hire Sone; and fell withinne a while,

Betwen hem two whan that thei were,

Sche feigneth wordes in his Ere,

And in this wise gan to seie:

“Mi Sone, I am be double weie

With al myn herte glad and blithe,

For that miself have ofte sithe

Desired thou wolt, as men seith,

660Receive and take a newe feith,

Which schal be forthringe of thi lif:

And ek so worschipful a wif,

The doughter of an Emperour,

To wedde it schal be gret honour.

Forthi, mi Sone, I you beseche

That I such grace mihte areche,

Whan that my doughter come schal,

That I mai thanne in special,

So as me thenkth it is honeste,

670Be thilke which the ferste feste

Schal make unto hire welcominge.”

The Souldan granteth hire axinge,

And sche therof was glad ynowh:

For under that anon sche drowh

With false wordes that sche spak

Covine of deth behinde his bak.

And therupon hire ordinance

She made so, that whan Constance

Was come forth with the Romeins,

680Of clerkes and of Citezeins,

A riche feste sche hem made:

And most whan that thei weren glade,

With fals covine which sche hadde

Hire clos Envie tho sche spradde,

And alle tho that hadden be

Or in apert or in prive

Of conseil to the mariage,

Sche slowh hem in a sodein rage

Endlong the bord as thei be set,

690So that it myhte noght be let;

Hire oghne Sone was noght quit,

Bot deide upon the same plit.

Bot what the hihe god wol spare

It mai for no peril misfare:

This worthi Maiden which was there

Stod thanne, as who seith, ded for feere,

To se the feste how that it stod,

Which al was torned into blod:

The Dissh forthwith the Coppe and al

700Bebled thei weren overal;

Sche sih hem deie on every side;

No wonder thogh sche wepte and cride

Makende many a wofull mone.

Whan al was slain bot sche al one,

This olde fend, this Sarazine,

Let take anon this Constantine

With al the good sche thider broghte,

And hath ordeined, as sche thoghte,

A nakid Schip withoute stiere,

710In which the good and hire in fiere,

Vitailed full for yeres fyve,

Wher that the wynd it wolde dryve,

Sche putte upon the wawes wilde.

Bot he which alle thing mai schilde,

Thre yer, til that sche cam to londe,

Hire Schip to stiere hath take in honde,

And in Northumberlond aryveth;

And happeth thanne that sche dryveth

Under a Castel with the flod,

720Which upon Humber banke stod

And was the kynges oghne also,

The which Allee was cleped tho,

A Saxon and a worthi knyht,

Bot he believed noght ariht.

Of this Castell was Chastellein

Elda the kinges Chamberlein,

A knyhtly man after his lawe;

And whan he sih upon the wawe

The Schip drivende al one so,

730He bad anon men scholden go

To se what it betokne mai.

This was upon a Somer dai,

The Schip was loked and sche founde;

Elda withinne a litel stounde

It wiste, and with his wif anon

Toward this yonge ladi gon,

Wher that thei founden gret richesse;

Bot sche hire wolde noght confesse,

Whan thei hire axen what sche was.

740And natheles upon the cas

Out of the Schip with gret worschipe

Thei toke hire into felaschipe,

As thei that weren of hir glade:

Bot sche no maner joie made,

Bot sorweth sore of that sche fond

No cristendom in thilke lond;

Bot elles sche hath al hire wille,

And thus with hem sche duelleth stille.

Dame Hermyngheld, which was the wif

750Of Elda, lich hire oghne lif

Constance loveth; and fell so,

Spekende alday betwen hem two,

Thurgh grace of goddes pourveance

This maiden tawhte the creance

Unto this wif so parfitly,

Upon a dai that faste by

In presence of hire housebonde,

Wher thei go walkende on the Stronde,

A blind man, which cam there lad,

760Unto this wif criende he bad,

With bothe hise hondes up and preide

To hire, and in this wise he seide:

“O Hermyngeld, which Cristes feith,

Enformed as Constance seith,

Received hast, yif me my sihte.”

Upon his word hire herte afflihte

Thenkende what was best to done,

Bot natheles sche herde his bone

And seide, “In trust of Cristes lawe,

770Which don was on the crois and slawe,

Thou bysne man, behold and se.”

With that to god upon his kne

Thonkende he tok his sihte anon,

Wherof thei merveile everychon,

Bot Elda wondreth most of alle:

This open thing which is befalle

Concludeth him be such a weie,

That he the feith mot nede obeie.

Now lest what fell upon this thing.

780This Elda forth unto the king

A morwe tok his weie and rod,

And Hermyngeld at home abod

Forth with Constance wel at ese.

Elda, which thoghte his king to plese,

As he that thanne unwedded was,

Of Constance al the pleine cas

Als goodliche as he cowthe tolde.

The king was glad and seide he wolde

Come thider upon such a wise

790That he him mihte of hire avise,

The time apointed forth withal.

This Elda triste in special

Upon a knyht, whom fro childhode

He hadde updrawe into manhode:

To him he tolde al that he thoghte,

Wherof that after him forthoghte;

And natheles at thilke tide

Unto his wif he bad him ride

To make redi alle thing

800Ayein the cominge of the king,

And seith that he himself tofore

Thenkth forto come, and bad therfore

That he him kepe, and told him whanne.

This knyht rod forth his weie thanne;

And soth was that of time passed

He hadde in al his wit compassed

How he Constance myhte winne;

Bot he sih tho no sped therinne,

Wherof his lust began tabate,

810And that was love is thanne hate;

Of hire honour he hadde Envie,

So that upon his tricherie

A lesinge in his herte he caste.

Til he cam home he hieth faste,

And doth his ladi tunderstonde

The Message of hire housebonde:

And therupon the longe dai

Thei setten thinges in arrai,

That al was as it scholde be

820Of every thing in his degree;

And whan it cam into the nyht,

This wif hire hath to bedde dyht,

Wher that this Maiden with hire lay.

This false knyht upon delay

Hath taried til thei were aslepe,

As he that wolde his time kepe

His dedly werkes to fulfille;

And to the bed he stalketh stille,

Wher that he wiste was the wif,

830And in his hond a rasour knif

He bar, with which hire throte he cutte,

And prively the knif he putte

Under that other beddes side,

Wher that Constance lai beside.

Elda cam hom the same nyht,

And stille with a prive lyht,

As he that wolde noght awake

His wif, he hath his weie take

Into the chambre, and ther liggende

840He fond his dede wif bledende,

Wher that Constance faste by

Was falle aslepe; and sodeinly

He cride alowd, and sche awok,

And forth withal sche caste a lok

And sih this ladi blede there,

Wherof swoundende ded for fere

Sche was, and stille as eny Ston

She lay, and Elda therupon

Into the Castell clepeth oute,

850And up sterte every man aboute,

Into the chambre and forth thei wente.

Bot he, which alle untrouthe mente,

This false knyht, among hem alle

Upon this thing which is befalle

Seith that Constance hath don this dede;

And to the bed with that he yede

After the falshed of his speche,

And made him there forto seche,

And fond the knif, wher he it leide,

860And thanne he cride and thanne he seide,

“Lo, seth the knif al blody hiere!

What nedeth more in this matiere

To axe?” And thus hire innocence

He sclaundreth there in audience

With false wordes whiche he feigneth.

Bot yit for al that evere he pleigneth,

Elda no full credence tok:

And happeth that ther lay a bok,

Upon the which, whan he it sih,

870This knyht hath swore and seid on hih,

That alle men it mihte wite,

“Now be this bok, which hier is write,

Constance is gultif, wel I wot.”

With that the hond of hevene him smot

In tokne of that he was forswore,

That he hath bothe hise yhen lore,

Out of his hed the same stounde

Thei sterte, and so thei weren founde.

A vois was herd, whan that they felle,

880Which seide, “O dampned man to helle,

Lo, thus hath god the sclaundre wroke

That thou ayein Constance hast spoke:

Beknow the sothe er that thou dye.”

And he told out his felonie,

And starf forth with his tale anon.

Into the ground, wher alle gon,

This dede lady was begrave:

Elda, which thoghte his honour save,

Al that he mai restreigneth sorwe.

890For the seconde day a morwe

The king cam, as thei were acorded;

And whan it was to him recorded

What god hath wroght upon this chaunce,

He tok it into remembrance

And thoghte more than he seide.

For al his hole herte he leide

Upon Constance, and seide he scholde

For love of hire, if that sche wolde,

Baptesme take and Cristes feith

900Believe, and over that he seith

He wol hire wedde, and upon this

Asseured ech til other is.

And forto make schorte tales,

Ther cam a Bisschop out of Wales

Fro Bangor, and Lucie he hihte,

Which thurgh the grace of god almihte

The king with many an other mo

Hath cristned, and betwen hem tuo

He hath fulfild the mariage.

910Bot for no lust ne for no rage

Sche tolde hem nevere what sche was;

And natheles upon the cas

The king was glad, how so it stod,

For wel he wiste and understod

Sche was a noble creature.

The hihe makere of nature

Hire hath visited in a throwe,

That it was openliche knowe

Sche was with childe be the king,

920Wherof above al other thing

He thonketh god and was riht glad.

And fell that time he was bestad

Upon a werre and moste ride;

And whil he scholde there abide,

He lefte at hom to kepe his wif

Suche as he knew of holi lif,

Elda forth with the Bisschop eke;

And he with pouer goth to seke

Ayein the Scottes forto fonde

930The werre which he tok on honde.

The time set of kinde is come,

This lady hath hire chambre nome,

And of a Sone bore full,

Wherof that sche was joiefull,

Sche was delivered sauf and sone.

The bisshop, as it was to done,

Yaf him baptesme and Moris calleth;

And therupon, as it befalleth,

With lettres writen of record

940Thei sende unto here liege lord,

That kepers weren of the qweene:

And he that scholde go betwene,

The Messager, to Knaresburgh,

Which toun he scholde passe thurgh,

Ridende cam the ferste day.

The kinges Moder there lay,

Whos rihte name was Domilde,

Which after al the cause spilde:

For he, which thonk deserve wolde,

950Unto this ladi goth and tolde

Of his Message al how it ferde.

And sche with feigned joie it herde

And yaf him yiftes largely,

Bot in the nyht al prively

Sche tok the lettres whiche he hadde,

Fro point to point and overradde,

As sche that was thurghout untrewe,

And let do wryten othre newe

In stede of hem, and thus thei spieke:

960“Oure liege lord, we thee beseke

That thou with ous ne be noght wroth,

Though we such thing as is thee loth

Upon oure trowthe certefie.

Thi wif, which is of faierie,

Of such a child delivered is

Fro kinde which stant al amis:

Bot for it scholde noght be seie,

We have it kept out of the weie

For drede of pure worldes schame,

970A povere child and in the name

Of thilke which is so misbore

We toke, and therto we be swore,

That non bot only thou and we

Schal knowen of this privete:

Moris it hatte, and thus men wene

That it was boren of the qweene

And of thin oghne bodi gete.

Bot this thing mai noght be foryete,

That thou ne sende ous word anon

980What is thi wille therupon.”

This lettre, as thou hast herd devise,

Was contrefet in such a wise

That noman scholde it aperceive:

And sche, which thoghte to deceive,

It leith wher sche that other tok.

This Messager, whan he awok,

And wiste nothing how it was,

Aros and rod the grete pas

And tok this lettre to the king.

990And whan he sih this wonder thing,

He makth the Messager no chiere,

Bot natheles in wys manere

He wrote ayein, and yaf hem charge

That thei ne soffre noght at large

His wif to go, bot kepe hire stille,

Til thei have herd mor of his wille.

This Messager was yifteles,

Bot with this lettre natheles,

Or be him lief or be him loth,

1000In alle haste ayein he goth

Be Knaresburgh, and as he wente,

Unto the Moder his entente

Of that he fond toward the king

He tolde; and sche upon this thing

Seith that he scholde abide al nyht

And made him feste and chiere ariht,

Feignende as thogh sche cowthe him thonk.

Bot he with strong wyn which he dronk

Forth with the travail of the day

1010Was drunke, aslepe and while he lay,

Sche hath hise lettres overseie

And formed in an other weie.

Ther was a newe lettre write,

Which seith: “I do you forto wite,

That thurgh the conseil of you tuo

I stonde in point to ben undo,

As he which is a king deposed.

For every man it hath supposed,

How that my wif Constance is faie;

1020And if that I, thei sein, delaie

To put hire out of compaignie,

The worschipe of my Regalie

Is lore; and over this thei telle,

Hire child schal noght among hem duelle,

To cleymen eny heritage.

So can I se non avantage,

Bot al is lost, if sche abide:

Forthi to loke on every side

Toward the meschief as it is,

1030I charge you and bidde this,

That ye the same Schip vitaile,

In which that sche tok arivaile,

Therinne and putteth bothe tuo,

Hireself forthwith hire child also,

And so forth broght unto the depe

Betaketh hire the See to kepe.

Of foure daies time I sette,

That ye this thing no longer lette,

So that your lif be noght forsfet.”

1040And thus this lettre contrefet

The Messager, which was unwar,

Upon the kingeshalve bar,

And where he scholde it hath betake.

Bot whan that thei have hiede take,

And rad that writen is withinne,

So gret a sorwe thei beginne,

As thei here oghne Moder sihen

Brent in a fyr before here yhen:

Ther was wepinge and ther was wo,

1050Bot finaly the thing is do.

Upon the See thei have hire broght,

Bot sche the cause wiste noght,

And thus upon the flod thei wone,

This ladi with hire yonge Sone:

And thanne hire handes to the hevene

Sche strawhte, and with a milde stevene

Knelende upon hire bare kne

Sche seide, “O hihe mageste,

Which sest the point of every trowthe,

1060Tak of thi wofull womman rowthe

And of this child that I schal kepe.”

And with that word sche gan to wepe,

Swounende as ded, and ther sche lay;

Bot he which alle thinges may

Conforteth hire, and ate laste

Sche loketh and hire yhen caste

Upon hire child and seide this:

“Of me no maner charge it is

What sorwe I soffre, bot of thee

1070Me thenkth it is a gret pite,

For if I sterve thou schalt deie:

So mot I nedes be that weie

For Moderhed and for tendresse

With al myn hole besinesse

Ordeigne me for thilke office,

As sche which schal be thi Norrice.”

Thus was sche strengthed forto stonde;

And tho sche tok hire child in honde

And yaf it sowke, and evere among

1080Sche wepte, and otherwhile song

To rocke with hire child aslepe:

And thus hire oghne child to kepe

Sche hath under the goddes cure.

And so fell upon aventure,

Whan thilke yer hath mad his ende,

Hire Schip, so as it moste wende

Thurgh strengthe of wynd which god hath yive,

Estward was into Spaigne drive

Riht faste under a Castell wall,

1090Wher that an hethen Amirall

Was lord, and he a Stieward hadde,

Oon Thelos, which al was badde,

A fals knyht and a renegat.

He goth to loke in what astat

The Schip was come, and there he fond

Forth with a child upon hire hond

This lady, wher sche was al one.

He tok good hiede of the persone,

And sih sche was a worthi wiht,

1100And thoghte he wolde upon the nyht

Demene hire at his oghne wille,

And let hire be therinne stille,

That mo men sih sche noght that dai.

At goddes wille and thus sche lai,

Unknowe what hire schal betide;

And fell so that be nyhtes tide

This knyht withoute felaschipe

Hath take a bot and cam to Schipe,

And thoghte of hire his lust to take,

1110And swor, if sche him daunger make,

That certeinly sche scholde deie.

Sche sih ther was non other weie,

And seide he scholde hire wel conforte,

That he ferst loke out ate porte,

That noman were nyh the stede,

Which myhte knowe what thei dede,

And thanne he mai do what he wolde.

He was riht glad that sche so tolde,

And to the porte anon he ferde:

1120Sche preide god, and he hire herde,

And sodeinliche he was out throwe

And dreynt, and tho began to blowe

A wynd menable fro the lond,

And thus the myhti goddes hond

Hire hath conveied and defended.

And whan thre yer be full despended,

Hire Schip was drive upon a dai,

Wher that a gret Navye lay

Of Schipes, al the world at ones:

1130And as god wolde for the nones,

Hire Schip goth in among hem alle,

And stinte noght, er it be falle

And hath the vessell undergete,

Which Maister was of al the Flete,

Bot there it resteth and abod.

This grete Schip on Anker rod;

The Lord cam forth, and whan he sih

That other ligge abord so nyh,

He wondreth what it myhte be,

1140And bad men to gon in and se.

This ladi tho was crope aside,

As sche that wolde hireselven hide,

For sche ne wiste what thei were:

Thei soghte aboute and founde hir there

And broghten up hire child and hire;

And therupon this lord to spire

Began, fro whenne that sche cam,

And what sche was. Quod sche, “I am

A womman wofully bestad.

1150I hadde a lord, and thus he bad,

That I forth with my litel Sone

Upon the wawes scholden wone,

Bot why the cause was, I not:

Bot he which alle thinges wot

Yit hath, I thonke him, of his miht

Mi child and me so kept upriht,

That we be save bothe tuo.”

This lord hire axeth overmo

How sche believeth, and sche seith,

1160“I lieve and triste in Cristes feith,

Which deide upon the Rode tree.”

“What is thi name?” tho quod he.

“Mi name is Couste,” sche him seide:

Bot forthermor for noght he preide

Of hire astat to knowe plein,

Sche wolde him nothing elles sein

Bot of hir name, which sche feigneth;

Alle othre thinges sche restreigneth,

That a word more sche ne tolde.

1170This lord thanne axeth if sche wolde

With him abide in compaignie,

And seide he cam fro Barbarie

To Romeward, and hom he wente.

Tho sche supposeth what it mente,

And seith sche wolde with him wende

And duelle unto hire lyves ende,

Be so it be to his plesance.

And thus upon here aqueintance

He tolde hire pleinly as it stod,

1180Of Rome how that the gentil blod

In Barbarie was betraied,

And therupon he hath assaied

Be werre, and taken such vengance,

That non of al thilke alliance,

Be whom the tresoun was compassed,

Is from the swerd alyve passed;

Bot of Constance hou it was,

That cowthe he knowe be no cas,

Wher sche becam, so as he seide.

1190Hire Ere unto his word sche leide,

Bot forther made sche no chiere.

And natheles in this matiere

It happeth thilke time so:

This Lord, with whom sche scholde go,

Of Rome was the Senatour,

And of hir fader themperour

His brother doughter hath to wyve,

Which hath hir fader ek alyve,

And was Salustes cleped tho;

1200This wif Heleine hihte also,

To whom Constance was Cousine.

Thus to the sike a medicine

Hath god ordeined of his grace,

That forthwith in the same place

This Senatour his trowthe plihte,

For evere, whil he live mihte,

To kepe in worschipe and in welthe,

Be so that god wol yive hire helthe,

This ladi, which fortune him sende.

1210And thus be Schipe forth sailende

Hire and hir child to Rome he broghte,

And to his wif tho he besoghte

To take hire into compaignie:

And sche, which cowthe of courtesie

Al that a good wif scholde konne,

Was inly glad that sche hath wonne

The felaschip of so good on.

Til tuelve yeres were agon,

This Emperoures dowhter Custe

1220Forth with the dowhter of Saluste

Was kept, bot noman redily

Knew what sche was, and noght forthi

Thei thoghten wel sche hadde be

In hire astat of hih degre,

And every lif hire loveth wel.

Now herke how thilke unstable whel,

Which evere torneth, wente aboute.

The king Allee, whil he was oute,

As thou tofore hast herd this cas,

1230Deceived thurgh his Moder was:

Bot whan that he cam hom ayein,

He axeth of his Chamberlein

And of the Bisschop ek also,

Wher thei the qweene hadden do.

And thei answerde, there he bad,

And have him thilke lettre rad,

Which he hem sende for warant,

And tolde him pleinli as it stant,

And sein, it thoghte hem gret pite

1240To se so worthi on as sche,

With such a child as ther was bore,

So sodeinly to be forlore.

He axeth hem what child that were;

And thei him seiden, that naghere,

In al the world thogh men it soghte,

Was nevere womman that forth broghte

A fairer child than it was on.

And thanne he axede hem anon,

Whi thei ne hadden write so:

1250Thei tolden, so thei hadden do.

He seide, “Nay.” Thei seiden, “Yis.”

The lettre schewed rad it is,

Which thei forsoken everidel.

Tho was it understonde wel

That ther is tresoun in the thing:

The Messager tofore the king

Was broght and sodeinliche opposed;

And he, which nothing hath supposed

Bot alle wel, began to seie

1260That he nagher upon the weie

Abod, bot only in a stede;

And cause why that he so dede

Was, as he wente to and fro,

At Knaresburgh be nyhtes tuo

The kinges Moder made him duelle.

And whan the king it herde telle,

Withinne his herte he wiste als faste

The treson which his Moder caste;

And thoghte he wolde noght abide,

1270Bot forth riht in the same tide

He tok his hors and rod anon.

With him ther riden manion,

To Knaresburgh and forth thei wente,

And lich the fyr which tunder hente,

In such a rage, as seith the bok,

His Moder sodeinliche he tok

And seide unto hir in this wise:

“O beste of helle, in what juise

Hast thou deserved forto deie,

1280That hast so falsly put aweie

With tresoun of thi bacbitinge

The treweste at my knowlechinge

Of wyves and the most honeste?

Bot I wol make this beheste,

I schal be venged er I go.”

And let a fyr do make tho,

And bad men forto caste hire inne:

Bot ferst sche tolde out al the sinne,

And dede hem alle forto wite

1290How sche the lettres hadde write,

Fro point to point as it was wroght.

And tho sche was to dethe broght

And brent tofore hire Sones yhe:

Wherof these othre, whiche it sihe

And herden how the cause stod,

Sein that the juggement is good,

Of that hir Sone hire hath so served;

For sche it hadde wel deserved

Thurgh tresoun of hire false tunge,

1300Which thurgh the lond was after sunge,

Constance and every wiht compleigneth.

Bot he, whom alle wo distreigneth,

This sorghfull king, was so bestad,

That he schal nevermor be glad,

He seith, eftsone forto wedde,

Til that he wiste how that sche spedde,

Which hadde ben his ferste wif:

And thus his yonge unlusti lif

He dryveth forth so as he mai.

1310Til it befell upon a dai,

Whan he hise werres hadde achieved,

And thoghte he wolde be relieved

Of Soule hele upon the feith

Which he hath take, thanne he seith

That he to Rome in pelrinage

Wol go, wher Pope was Pelage,

To take his absolucioun.

And upon this condicioun

He made Edwyn his lieutenant,

1320Which heir to him was apparant,

That he the lond in his absence

Schal reule: and thus be providence

Of alle thinges wel begon

He tok his leve and forth is gon.

Elda, which tho was with him there,

Er thei fulliche at Rome were,

Was sent tofore to pourveie;

And he his guide upon the weie,

In help to ben his herbergour,

1330Hath axed who was Senatour,

That he his name myhte kenne.

Of Capadoce, he seide, Arcenne

He hihte, and was a worthi kniht.

To him goth Elda tho forth riht

And tolde him of his lord tidinge,

And preide that for his comynge

He wolde assigne him herbergage;

And he so dede of good corage.

Whan al is do that was to done,

1340The king himself cam after sone.

This Senatour, whan that he com,

To Couste and to his wif at hom

Hath told how such a king Allee

Of gret array to the Citee

Was come, and Couste upon his tale

With herte clos and colour pale

Aswoune fell, and he merveileth

So sodeinly what thing hire eyleth,

And cawhte hire up, and whan sche wok,

1350Sche syketh with a pitous lok

And feigneth seknesse of the See;

Bot it was for the king Allee,

For joie which fell in hire thoght

That god him hath to toune broght.

This king hath spoke with the Pope

And told al that he cowthe agrope,

What grieveth in his conscience;

And thanne he thoghte in reverence

Of his astat, er that he wente,

1360To make a feste, and thus he sente

Unto the Senatour to come

Upon the morwe and othre some,

To sitte with him at the mete.

This tale hath Couste noght foryete,

Bot to Moris hire Sone tolde

That he upon the morwe scholde

In al that evere he cowthe and mihte

Be present in the kinges sihte,

So that the king him ofte sihe.

1370Moris tofore the kinges yhe

Upon the morwe, wher he sat,

Fulofte stod, and upon that

The king his chiere upon him caste,

And in his face him thoghte als faste

He sih his oghne wif Constance;

For nature as in resemblance

Of face hem liketh so to clothe,

That thei were of a suite bothe.

The king was moeved in his thoght

1380Of that he seth, and knoweth it noght;

This child he loveth kindely,

And yit he wot no cause why.

Bot wel he sih and understod

That he toward Arcenne stod,

And axeth him anon riht there,

If that this child his Sone were.

He seide, “Yee, so I him calle,

And wolde it were so befalle,

Bot it is al in other wise.”

1390And tho began he to devise

How he the childes Moder fond

Upon the See from every lond

Withinne a Schip was stiereles,

And how this ladi helpeles

Forth with hir child he hath forthdrawe.

The king hath understonde his sawe,

The childes name and axeth tho,

And what the Moder hihte also

That he him wolde telle he preide.

1400“Moris this child is hote,” he seide,

“His Moder hatte Couste, and this

I not what maner name it is.”

But Allee wiste wel ynowh,

Wherof somdiel smylende he lowh;

For Couste in Saxoun is to sein

Constance upon the word Romein.

Bot who that cowthe specefie

What tho fell in his fantasie,

And how his wit aboute renneth

1410Upon the love in which he brenneth,

It were a wonder forto hiere:

For he was nouther ther ne hiere,

Bot clene out of himself aweie,

That he not what to thenke or seie,

So fain he wolde it were sche.

Wherof his hertes privete

Began the werre of yee and nay,

The which in such balance lay,

That contenance for a throwe

1420He loste, til he mihte knowe

The sothe: bot in his memoire

The man which lith in purgatoire

Desireth noght the hevene more,

That he ne longeth al so sore

To wite what him schal betide.

And whan the bordes were aside

And every man was rise aboute,

The king hath weyved al the route,

And with the Senatour al one

1430He spak and preide him of a bone,

To se this Couste, wher sche duelleth

At hom with him, so as he telleth.

The Senatour was wel appaied,

This thing no lengere is delaied,

To se this Couste goth the king;

And sche was warned of the thing,

And with Heleine forth sche cam

Ayein the king, and he tho nam

Good hiede, and whan he sih his wif,

1440Anon with al his hertes lif

He cawhte hire in his arm and kiste.

Was nevere wiht that sih ne wiste

A man that more joie made,

Wherof thei weren alle glade

Whiche herde tellen of this chance.

This king tho with his wif Constance,

Which hadde a gret part of his wille,

In Rome for a time stille

Abod and made him wel at ese:

1450Bot so yit cowthe he nevere plese

His wif, that sche him wolde sein

Of hire astat the trowthe plein,

Of what contre that sche was bore,

Ne what sche was, and yit therfore

With al his wit he hath don sieke.

Thus as they lihe abedde and spieke,

Sche preide him and conseileth bothe,

That for the worschipe of hem bothe,

So as hire thoghte it were honeste,

1460He wolde an honourable feste

Make, er he wente, in the Cite,

Wher themperour himself schal be:

He graunteth al that sche him preide.

Bot as men in that time seide,

This Emperour fro thilke day

That ferst his dowhter wente away

He was thanne after nevere glad;

Bot what that eny man him bad

Of grace for his dowhter sake,

1470That grace wolde he noght forsake;

And thus ful gret almesse he dede,

Wherof sche hadde many a bede.

This Emperour out of the toun

Withinne a ten mile enviroun,

Where as it thoghte him for the beste,

Hath sondry places forto reste;

And as fortune wolde tho,

He was duellende at on of tho.

The king Allee forth with thassent

1480Of Couste his wif hath thider sent

Moris his Sone, as he was taght,

To themperour and he goth straght,

And in his fader half besoghte,

As he which his lordschipe soghte,

That of his hihe worthinesse

He wolde do so gret meknesse,

His oghne toun to come and se,

And yive a time in the cite,

So that his fader mihte him gete

1490That he wolde ones with him ete.

This lord hath granted his requeste;

And whan the dai was of the feste,

In worschipe of here Emperour

The king and ek the Senatour

Forth with here wyves bothe tuo,

With many a lord and lady mo,

On horse riden him ayein;

Til it befell, upon a plein

Thei sihen wher he was comende.

1500With that Constance anon preiende

Spak to hir lord that he abyde,

So that sche mai tofore ryde,

To ben upon his bienvenue

The ferste which schal him salue;

And thus after hire lordes graunt

Upon a Mule whyt amblaunt

Forth with a fewe rod this qweene.

Thei wondren what sche wolde mene,

And riden after softe pas;

1510Bot whan this ladi come was

To themperour, in his presence

Sche seide alowd in audience,

“Mi lord, mi fader, wel you be!

And of this time that I se

Youre honour and your goode hele,

Which is the helpe of my querele,

I thonke unto the goddes myht.”

For joie his herte was affliht

Of that sche tolde in remembrance;

1520And whanne he wiste it was Constance,

Was nevere fader half so blithe.

Wepende he keste hire ofte sithe,

So was his herte al overcome;

For thogh his Moder were come

Fro deth to lyve out of the grave,

He mihte nomor wonder have

Than he hath whan that he hire sih.

With that hire oghne lord cam nyh

And is to themperour obeied;

1530Bot whan the fortune is bewreied,

How that Constance is come aboute,

So hard an herte was non oute,

That he for pite tho ne wepte.

Arcennus, which hire fond and kepte,

Was thanne glad of that is falle,

So that with joie among hem alle

Thei riden in at Rome gate.

This Emperour thoghte al to late,

Til that the Pope were come,

1540And of the lordes sende some

To preie him that he wolde haste:

And he cam forth in alle haste,

And whan that he the tale herde,

How wonderly this chance ferde,

He thonketh god of his miracle,

To whos miht mai be non obstacle:

The king a noble feste hem made,

And thus thei weren alle glade.

A parlement, er that thei wente,

1550Thei setten unto this entente,

To puten Rome in full espeir

That Moris was apparant heir

And scholde abide with hem stille,

For such was al the londes wille.

Whan every thing was fulli spoke,

Of sorwe and queint was al the smoke,

Tho tok his leve Allee the king,

And with full many a riche thing,

Which themperour him hadde yive,

1560He goth a glad lif forto live;

For he Constance hath in his hond,

Which was the confort of his lond.

For whan that he cam hom ayein,

Ther is no tunge it mihte sein

What joie was that ilke stounde

Of that he hath his qweene founde,

Which ferst was sent of goddes sonde,

Whan sche was drive upon the Stronde,

Be whom the misbelieve of Sinne

1570Was left, and Cristes feith cam inne

To hem that whilom were blinde.

Bot he which hindreth every kinde

And for no gold mai be forboght,

The deth comende er he be soght,

Tok with this king such aqueintance,

That he with al his retenance

Ne mihte noght defende his lif;

And thus he parteth from his wif,

Which thanne made sorwe ynowh.

1580And therupon hire herte drowh

To leven Engelond for evere

And go wher that sche hadde levere,

To Rome, whenne that sche cam:

And thus of al the lond sche nam

Hir leve, and goth to Rome ayein.

And after that the bokes sein,

She was noght there bot a throwe,

Whan deth of kinde hath overthrowe

Hir worthi fader, which men seide

1590That he betwen hire armes deide.

And afterward the yer suiende

The god hath mad of hire an ende,

And fro this worldes faierie

Hath take hire into compaignie.

Moris hir Sone was corouned,

Which so ferforth was abandouned

To Cristes feith, that men him calle

Moris the cristeneste of alle.

And thus the wel meninge of love

1600Was ate laste set above;

And so as thou hast herd tofore,

The false tunges weren lore,

Whiche upon love wolden lie.

Forthi touchende of this Envie

Which longeth unto bacbitinge,

Be war thou make no lesinge

In hindringe of an other wiht:

And if thou wolt be tawht ariht

What meschief bakbitinge doth

1610Be other weie, a tale soth

Now miht thou hiere next suiende,

Which to this vice is acordende.

In a Cronique, as thou schalt wite,

A gret ensample I finde write,

Which I schal telle upon this thing.

Philippe of Macedoyne kyng

Two Sones hadde be his wif,

Whos fame is yit in Grece rif:

Demetrius the ferste brother

1620Was hote, and Perses that other.

Demetrius men seiden tho

The betre knyht was of the tuo,

To whom the lond was entendant,

As he which heir was apparant

To regne after his fader dai:

Bot that thing which no water mai

Quenche in this world, bot evere brenneth,

Into his brother herte it renneth,

The proude Envie of that he sih

1630His brother scholde clymbe on hih,

And he to him mot thanne obeie:

That may he soffre be no weie.

With strengthe dorst he nothing fonde,

So tok he lesinge upon honde,

Whan he sih time and spak therto.

For it befell that time so,

His fader grete werres hadde

With Rome, whiche he streite ladde

Thurgh mihty hond of his manhode,

1640As he which hath ynowh knihthode,

And ofte hem hadde sore grieved.

Bot er the werre were achieved,

As he was upon ordinance

At hom in Grece, it fell per chance,

Demetrius, which ofte aboute

Ridende was, stod that time oute,

So that this Perse in his absence,

Which bar the tunge of pestilence,

With false wordes whiche he feigneth

1650Upon his oghne brother pleigneth

In privete behinde his bak,

And to his fader thus he spak:

“Mi diere fader, I am holde

Be weie of kinde, as resoun wolde,

That I fro yow schal nothing hide,

Which mihte torne in eny side

Of youre astat into grevance:

Forthi myn hertes obeissance

Towardes you I thenke kepe;

1660For it is good ye take kepe

Upon a thing which is me told.

Mi brother hath ous alle sold

To hem of Rome, and you also;

For thanne they behote him so,

That he with hem schal regne in pes.

Thus hath he cast for his encress

That youre astat schal go to noght;

And this to proeve schal be broght

So ferforth, that I undertake

1670It schal noght wel mow be forsake.”

The king upon this tale ansuerde

And seide, if this thing which he herde

Be soth and mai be broght to prove,

“It schal noght be to his behove,

Which so hath schapen ous the werste,

For he himself schal be the ferste

That schal be ded, if that I mai.”

Thus afterward upon a dai,

Whan that Demetrius was come,

1680Anon his fader hath him nome,

And bad unto his brother Perse

That he his tale schal reherse

Of thilke tresoun which he tolde.

And he, which al untrowthe wolde,

Conseileth that so hih a nede

Be treted wher as it mai spede,

In comun place of juggement.

The king therto yaf his assent,

Demetrius was put in hold,

1690Wherof that Perses was bold.

Thus stod the trowthe under the charge,

And the falshede goth at large,

Which thurgh beheste hath overcome

The greteste of the lordes some,

That privelich of his acord

Thei stonde as witnesse of record:

The jugge was mad favorable:

Thus was the lawe deceivable

So ferforth that the trowthe fond

1700Rescousse non, and thus the lond

Forth with the king deceived were.

The gulteles was dampned there

And deide upon accusement:

Bot such a fals conspirement,

Thogh it be prive for a throwe,

Godd wolde noght it were unknowe;

And that was afterward wel proved

In him which hath the deth controved.

Of that his brother was so slain

1710This Perses was wonder fain,

As he that tho was apparant,

Upon the Regne and expectant;

Wherof he wax so proud and vein,

That he his fader in desdeign

Hath take and set of non acompte,

As he which thoghte him to surmonte;

That wher he was ferst debonaire,

He was tho rebell and contraire,

And noght as heir bot as a king

1720He tok upon him alle thing

Of malice and of tirannie

In contempt of the Regalie,

Livende his fader, and so wroghte,

That whan the fader him bethoghte

And sih to whether side it drowh,

Anon he wiste well ynowh

How Perse after his false tunge

Hath so thenvious belle runge,

That he hath slain his oghne brother.

1730Wherof as thanne he knew non other,

Bot sodeinly the jugge he nom,

Which corrupt sat upon the dom,

In such a wise and hath him pressed,

That he the sothe him hath confessed

Of al that hath be spoke and do.

Mor sori than the king was tho

Was nevere man upon this Molde,

And thoghte in certain that he wolde

Vengance take upon this wrong.

1740Bot thother parti was so strong,

That for the lawe of no statut

Ther mai no riht ben execut;

And upon this division

The lond was torned up so doun:

Wherof his herte is so distraght,

That he for pure sorwe hath caght

The maladie of which nature

Is queint in every creature.

And whan this king was passed thus,

1750This false tunged Perses

The regiment hath underfonge.

Bot ther mai nothing stonde longe

Which is noght upon trowthe grounded;

For god, which alle thing hath bounded

And sih the falshod of his guile,

Hath set him bot a litel while,

That he schal regne upon depos;

For sodeinliche as he aros

So sodeinliche doun he fell.

1760In thilke time it so befell,

This newe king of newe Pride

With strengthe schop him forto ride,

And seide he wolde Rome waste,

Wherof he made a besi haste,

And hath assembled him an host

In al that evere he mihte most:

What man that mihte wepne bere

Of alle he wolde non forbere;

So that it mihte noght be nombred,

1770The folk which after was encombred

Thurgh him, that god wolde overthrowe.

Anon it was at Rome knowe,

The pompe which that Perse ladde;

And the Romeins that time hadde

A Consul, which was cleped thus

Be name, Paul Emilius,

A noble, a worthi kniht withalle;

And he, which chief was of hem alle,

This werre on honde hath undertake.

1780And whanne he scholde his leve take

Of a yong dowhter which was his,

Sche wepte, and he what cause it is

Hire axeth, and sche him ansuerde

That Perse is ded; and he it herde,

And wondreth what sche meene wolde:

And sche upon childhode him tolde

That Perse hir litel hound is ded.

With that he pulleth up his hed

And made riht a glad visage,

1790And seide how that was a presage

Touchende unto that other Perse,

Of that fortune him scholde adverse,

He seith, for such a prenostik

Most of an hound was to him lik:

For as it is an houndes kinde

To berke upon a man behinde,

Riht so behinde his brother bak

With false wordes whiche he spak

He hath do slain, and that is rowthe.

1800“Bot he which hateth alle untrowthe,

The hihe god, it schal redresse;

For so my dowhter prophetesse

Forth with hir litel houndes deth

Betokneth.” And thus forth he geth

Conforted of this evidence,

With the Romeins in his defence

Ayein the Greks that ben comende.

This Perses, as noght seende

This meschief which that him abod,

1810With al his multitude rod,

And prided him upon the thing,

Of that he was become a king,

And how he hadde his regne gete;

Bot he hath al the riht foryete

Which longeth unto governance.

Wherof thurgh goddes ordinance

It fell, upon the wynter tide

That with his host he scholde ride

Over Danubie thilke flod,

1820Which al befrose thanne stod

So harde, that he wende wel

To passe: bot the blinde whiel,

Which torneth ofte er men be war,

Thilke ys which that the horsmen bar

Tobrak, so that a gret partie

Was dreint; of the chivalerie

The rerewarde it tok aweie,

Cam non of hem to londe dreie.

Paulus the worthi kniht Romein

1830Be his aspie it herde sein,

And hasteth him al that he may,

So that upon that other day

He cam wher he this host beheld,

And that was in a large feld,

Wher the Baneres ben desplaied.

He hath anon hise men arraied,

And whan that he was embatailled,

He goth and hath the feld assailed,

And slowh and tok al that he fond;

1840Wherof the Macedoyne lond,

Which thurgh king Alisandre honoured

Long time stod, was tho devoured.

To Perse and al that infortune

Thei wyte, so that the comune

Of al the lond his heir exile;

And he despeired for the while

Desguised in a povere wede

To Rome goth, and ther for nede

The craft which thilke time was,

1850To worche in latoun and in bras,

He lerneth for his sustienance.

Such was the Sones pourveance,

And of his fader it is seid,

In strong prisoun that he was leid

In Albe, wher that he was ded

For hunger and defalte of bred.

The hound was tokne and prophecie

That lich an hound he scholde die,

Which lich was of condicioun,

1860Whan he with his detraccioun

Bark on his brother so behinde.

Lo, what profit a man mai finde,

Which hindre wole an other wiht.

Forthi with al thin hole miht,

Mi Sone, eschuie thilke vice.

Mi fader, elles were I nyce:

For ye therof so wel have spoke,

That it is in myn herte loke

And evere schal: bot of Envie,

1870If ther be more in his baillie

Towardes love, sai me what.

Mi Sone, as guile under the hat

With sleyhtes of a tregetour

Is hidd, Envie of such colour

Hath yit the ferthe deceivant,

The which is cleped Falssemblant,

Wherof the matiere and the forme

Now herkne and I thee schal enforme.

Of Falssemblant if I schal telle,

1880Above alle othre it is the welle

Out of the which deceipte floweth.

Ther is noman so wys that knoweth

Of thilke flod which is the tyde,

Ne how he scholde himselven guide

To take sauf passage there.

And yit the wynd to mannes Ere

Is softe, and as it semeth oute

It makth clier weder al aboute;

Bot thogh it seme, it is noght so.

1890For Falssemblant hath everemo

Of his conseil in compaignie

The derke untrewe Ypocrisie,

Whos word descordeth to his thoght:

Forthi thei ben togedre broght

Of o covine, of on houshold,

As it schal after this be told.

Of Falssemblant it nedeth noght

To telle of olde ensamples oght;

For al dai in experience

1900A man mai se thilke evidence

Of faire wordes whiche he hiereth;

Bot yit the barge Envie stiereth

And halt it evere fro the londe,

Wher Falssemblant with Ore on honde

It roweth, and wol noght arive,

Bot let it on the wawes dryve

In gret tempeste and gret debat,

Wherof that love and his astat

Empeireth. And therfore I rede,

1910Mi Sone, that thou fle and drede

This vice, and what that othre sein,

Let thi Semblant be trewe and plein.

For Falssemblant is thilke vice,

Which nevere was withoute office:

Wher that Envie thenkth to guile,

He schal be for that ilke while

Of prive conseil Messagier.

For whan his semblant is most clier,

Thanne is he most derk in his thoght,

1920Thogh men him se, thei knowe him noght;

Bot as it scheweth in the glas

Thing which therinne nevere was,

So scheweth it in his visage

That nevere was in his corage:

Thus doth he al his thing with sleyhte.

Now ley thi conscience in weyhte,

Mi goode Sone, and schrif the hier,

If thou were evere Custummer

To Falssemblant in eny wise.

1930For ought I can me yit avise,

Mi goode fader, certes no.

If I for love have oght do so,

Now asketh, I wol praie yow:

For elles I wot nevere how

Of Falssemblant that I have gilt.

Mi Sone, and sithen that thou wilt

That I schal axe, gabbe noght,

Bot tell if evere was thi thoght

With Falssemblant and coverture

1940To wite of eny creature

How that he was with love lad;

So were he sori, were he glad,

Whan that thou wistest how it were,

Al that he rounede in thin Ere

Thou toldest forth in other place,

To setten him fro loves grace

Of what womman that thee beste liste,

Ther as noman his conseil wiste

Bot thou, be whom he was deceived

1950Of love, and from his pourpos weyved;

And thoghtest that his destourbance

Thin oghne cause scholde avance,

As who saith, “I am so celee,

Ther mai no mannes privete

Be heled half so wel as myn.”

Art thou, mi Sone, of such engin?

Tell on. Mi goode fader, nay

As for the more part I say;

Bot of somdiel I am beknowe,

1960That I mai stonde in thilke rowe

Amonges hem that Saundres use.

I wol me noght therof excuse,

That I with such colour ne steyne,

Whan I my beste Semblant feigne

To my felawh, til that I wot

Al his conseil bothe cold and hot:

For be that cause I make him chiere,

Til I his love knowe and hiere;

And if so be myn herte soucheth

1970That oght unto my ladi toucheth

Of love that he wol me telle,

Anon I renne unto the welle

And caste water in the fyr,

So that his carte amidd the Myr,

Be that I have his conseil knowe,

Fulofte sithe I overthrowe,

Whan that he weneth best to stonde.

Bot this I do you understonde,

If that a man love elles where,

1980So that my ladi be noght there,

And he me telle, I wole it hide,

Ther schal no word ascape aside,

For with deceipte of no semblant

To him breke I no covenant;

Me liketh noght in other place

To lette noman of his grace,

Ne forto ben inquisitif

To knowe an other mannes lif:

Wher that he love or love noght,

1990That toucheth nothing to my thoght,

Bot al it passeth thurgh myn Ere

Riht as a thing that nevere were,

And is foryete and leid beside.

Bot if it touche on eny side

Mi ladi, as I have er spoken,

Myn Eres ben noght thanne loken;

For certes, whanne that betitt,

My will, myn herte and al my witt

Ben fully set to herkne and spire

2000What eny man wol speke of hire.

Thus have I feigned compaignie

Fulofte, for I wolde aspie

What thing it is that eny man

Telle of mi worthi lady can:

And for tuo causes I do this,

The ferste cause wherof is,-

If that I myhte ofherkne and seke

That eny man of hire mispeke,

I wolde excuse hire so fully,

2010That whan sche wist in inderly,

Min hope scholde be the more

To have hir thank for everemore.

That other cause, I you assure,

Is, why that I be coverture

Have feigned semblant ofte time

To hem that passen alday byme

And ben lovers als wel as I,

For this I weene trewely,

That ther is of hem alle non,

2020That thei ne loven everich on

Mi ladi: for sothliche I lieve

And durste setten it in prieve,

Is non so wys that scholde asterte,

Bot he were lustles in his herte,

Forwhy and he my ladi sihe,

Hir visage and hir goodlych yhe,

Bot he hire lovede, er he wente.

And for that such is myn entente,

That is the cause of myn aspie,

2030Why that I feigne compaignie

And make felawe overal;

For gladly wolde I knowen al

And holde me covert alway,

That I fulofte ye or nay

Ne liste ansuere in eny wise,

Bot feigne semblant as the wise

And herkne tales, til I knowe

Mi ladi lovers al arowe.

And whanne I hiere how thei have wroght,

2040I fare as thogh I herde it noght

And as I no word understode;

Bot that is nothing for here goode:

For lieveth wel, the sothe is this,

That whanne I knowe al how it is,

I wol bot forthren hem a lite,

Bot al the worste I can endite

I telle it to my ladi plat

In forthringe of myn oghne astat,

And hindre hem al that evere I may.

2050Bot for al that yit dar I say,

I finde unto miself no bote,

Althogh myn herte nedes mote

Thurgh strengthe of love al that I hiere

Discovere unto my ladi diere:

For in good feith I have no miht

To hele fro that swete wiht,

If that it touche hire eny thing.

Bot this wot wel the hevene king,

That sithen ferst this world began,

2060Unto non other strange man

Ne feigned I semblant ne chiere,

To wite or axe of his matiere,

Thogh that he lovede ten or tuelve,

Whanne it was noght my ladi selve:

Bot if he wolde axe eny red

Al onlich of his oghne hed,

How he with other love ferde,

His tales with myn Ere I herde,

Bot to myn herte cam it noght

2070Ne sank no deppere in my thoght,

Bot hield conseil, as I was bede,

And tolde it nevere in other stede,

Bot let it passen as it com.

Now, fader, say what is thi dom,

And hou thou wolt that I be peined

For such Semblant as I have feigned.

Mi Sone, if reson be wel peised,

Ther mai no vertu ben unpreised

Ne vice non be set in pris.

2080Forthi, my Sone, if thou be wys,

Do no viser upon thi face,

Which as wol noght thin herte embrace:

For if thou do, withinne a throwe

To othre men it schal be knowe,

So miht thou lihtli falle in blame

And lese a gret part of thi name.

And natheles in this degree

Fulofte time thou myht se

Of suche men that now aday

2090This vice setten in a say:

I speke it for no mannes blame,

Bot forto warne thee the same.

Mi Sone, as I mai hiere talke

In every place where I walke,

I not if it be so or non,

Bot it is manye daies gon

That I ferst herde telle this,

How Falssemblant hath ben and is

Most comunly fro yer to yere

2100With hem that duelle among ous here,

Of suche as we Lombardes calle.

For thei ben the slyeste of alle,

So as men sein in toune aboute,

To feigne and schewe thing withoute

Which is revers to that withinne:

Wherof that thei fulofte winne,

Whan thei be reson scholden lese;

Thei ben the laste and yit thei chese,

And we the ferste, and yit behinde

2110We gon, there as we scholden finde

The profit of oure oghne lond:

Thus gon thei fre withoute bond

To don her profit al at large,

And othre men bere al the charge.

Of Lombardz unto this covine,

Whiche alle londes conne engine,

Mai Falssemblant in special

Be likned, for thei overal,

Wher as they thenken forto duelle,

2120Among hemself, so as thei telle,

Ferst ben enformed forto lere

A craft which cleped is Fa crere:

For if Fa crere come aboute,

Thanne afterward hem stant no doute

To voide with a soubtil hond

The beste goodes of the lond

And bringe chaf and take corn.

Where as Fa crere goth toforn,

In all his weie he fynt no lette;

2130That Dore can non huissher schette

In which him list to take entre:

And thus the conseil most secre

Of every thing Fa crere knoweth,

Which into strange place he bloweth,

Where as he wot it mai most grieve.

And thus Fa crere makth believe,

So that fulofte he hath deceived,

Er that he mai ben aperceived.

Thus is this vice forto drede;

2140For who these olde bokes rede

Of suche ensamples as were ar,

Him oghte be the more war

Of alle tho that feigne chiere,

Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere.

Of Falssemblant which is believed

Ful many a worthi wiht is grieved,

And was long time er we wer bore.

To thee, my Sone, I wol therfore

A tale telle of Falssemblant,

2150Which falseth many a covenant,

And many a fraude of fals conseil

Ther ben hangende upon his Seil:

And that aboghten gulteles

Bothe Deianire and Hercules,

The whiche in gret desese felle

Thurgh Falssemblant, as I schal telle.

Whan Hercules withinne a throwe

Al only hath his herte throwe

Upon this faire Deianire,

2160It fell him on a dai desire,

Upon a Rivere as he stod,

That passe he wolde over the flod

Withoute bot, and with him lede

His love, bot he was in drede

For tendresce of that swete wiht,

For he knew noght the forde ariht.

Ther was a Geant thanne nyh,

Which Nessus hihte, and whanne he sih

This Hercules and Deianyre,

2170Withinne his herte he gan conspire,

As he which thurgh his tricherie

Hath Hercules in gret envie,

Which he bar in his herte loke,

And thanne he thoghte it schal be wroke.

Bot he ne dorste natheles

Ayein this worthi Hercules

Falle in debat as forto feihte;

Bot feigneth Semblant al be sleihte

Of frendschipe and of alle goode,

2180And comth where as thei bothe stode,

And makth hem al the chiere he can,

And seith that as here oghne man

He is al redy forto do

What thing he mai; and it fell so

That thei upon his Semblant triste,

And axen him if that he wiste

What thing hem were best to done,

So that thei mihten sauf and sone

The water passe, he and sche.

2190And whan Nessus the privete

Knew of here herte what it mente,

As he that was of double entente,

He made hem riht a glad visage;

And whanne he herde of the passage

Of him and hire, he thoghte guile,

And feigneth Semblant for a while

To don hem plesance and servise,

Bot he thoghte al an other wise.

This Nessus with hise wordes slyhe

2200Yaf such conseil tofore here yhe

Which semeth outward profitable

And was withinne deceivable.

He bad hem of the Stremes depe

That thei be war and take kepe,

So as thei knowe noght the pas;

Bot forto helpe in such a cas,

He seith himself that for here ese

He wolde, if that it mihte hem plese,

The passage of the water take,

2210And for this ladi undertake

To bere unto that other stronde

And sauf to sette hire up alonde,

And Hercules may thanne also

The weie knowe how he schal go:

And herto thei acorden alle.

Bot what as after schal befalle,

Wel payd was Hercules of this,

And this Geant also glad is,

And tok this ladi up alofte

2220And set hire on his schuldre softe,

And in the flod began to wade,

As he which no grucchinge made,

And bar hire over sauf and sound.

Bot whanne he stod on dreie ground

And Hercules was fer behinde,

He sette his trowthe al out of mynde,

Who so therof be lief or loth,

With Deianyre and forth he goth,

As he that thoghte to dissevere

2230The compaignie of hem for evere.

Whan Hercules therof tok hiede,

Als faste as evere he mihte him spiede

He hyeth after in a throwe;

And hapneth that he hadde a bowe,

The which in alle haste he bende,

As he that wolde an Arwe sende,

Which he tofore hadde envenimed.

He hath so wel his schote timed,

That he him thurgh the bodi smette,

2240And thus the false wiht he lette.

Bot lest now such a felonie:

Whan Nessus wiste he scholde die,

He tok to Deianyre his scherte,

Which with the blod was of his herte

Thurghout desteigned overal,

And tolde how sche it kepe schal

Al prively to this entente,

That if hire lord his herte wente

To love in eny other place,

2250The scherte, he seith, hath such a grace,

That if sche mai so mochel make

That he the scherte upon him take,

He schal alle othre lete in vein

And torne unto hire love ayein.

Who was tho glad bot Deianyre?

Hire thoghte hire herte was afyre

Til it was in hire cofre loke,

So that no word therof was spoke.

The daies gon, the yeres passe,

2260The hertes waxen lasse and lasse

Of hem that ben to love untrewe:

This Hercules with herte newe

His love hath set on Eolen,

And therof spieken alle men.

This Eolen, this faire maide,

Was, as men thilke time saide,

The kinges dowhter of Eurice;

And sche made Hercules so nyce

Upon hir Love and so assote,

2270That he him clotheth in hire cote,

And sche in his was clothed ofte;

And thus fieblesce is set alofte,

And strengthe was put under fote,

Ther can noman therof do bote.

Whan Deianyre hath herd this speche,

Ther was no sorwe forto seche:

Of other helpe wot sche non,

Bot goth unto hire cofre anon;

With wepende yhe and woful herte

2280Sche tok out thilke unhappi scherte,

As sche that wende wel to do,

And broghte hire werk aboute so

That Hercules this scherte on dede,

To such entente as she was bede

Of Nessus, so as I seide er.

Bot therof was sche noght the ner,

As no fortune may be weyved;

With Falssemblant sche was deceived,

That whan sche wende best have wonne,

2290Sche lost al that sche hath begonne.

For thilke scherte unto the bon

His body sette afyre anon,

And cleveth so, it mai noght twinne,

For the venym that was therinne.

And he thanne as a wilde man

Unto the hihe wode he ran,

And as the Clerk Ovide telleth,

The grete tres to grounde he felleth

With strengthe al of his oghne myght,

2300And made an huge fyr upriht,

And lepte himself therinne at ones

And brende him bothe fleissh and bones.

Which thing cam al thurgh Falssemblant,

That false Nessus the Geant

Made unto him and to his wif;

Wherof that he hath lost his lif,

And sche sori for everemo.

Forthi, my Sone, er thee be wo,

I rede, be wel war therfore;

2310For whan so gret a man was lore,

It oghte yive a gret conceipte

To warne alle othre of such deceipte.

Grant mercy, fader, I am war

So fer that I nomore dar

Of Falssemblant take aqueintance;

Bot rathere I wol do penance

That I have feigned chiere er this.

Now axeth forth, what so ther is

Of that belongeth to my schrifte.

2320Mi Sone, yit ther is the fifte

Which is conceived of Envie,

And cleped is Supplantarie,

Thurgh whos compassement and guile

Ful many a man hath lost his while

In love als wel as otherwise,

Hierafter as I schal devise.

The vice of Supplantacioun

With many a fals collacioun,

Which he conspireth al unknowe,

2330Full ofte time hath overthrowe

The worschipe of an other man.

So wel no lif awayte can

Ayein his sleyhte forto caste,

That he his pourpos ate laste

Ne hath, er that it be withset.

Bot most of alle his herte is set

In court upon these grete Offices

Of dignitees and benefices:

Thus goth he with his sleyhte aboute

2340To hindre and schowve an other oute

And stonden with his slyh compas

In stede there an other was;

And so to sette himselven inne,

He reccheth noght, be so he winne,

Of that an other man schal lese,

And thus fulofte chalk for chese

He changeth with ful litel cost,

Wherof an other hath the lost

And he the profit schal receive.

2350For his fortune is to deceive

And forto change upon the whel

His wo with othre mennes wel:

Of that an other man avaleth,

His oghne astat thus up he haleth,

And takth the bridd to his beyete,

Wher othre men the buisshes bete.

Mi Sone, and in the same wise

Ther ben lovers of such emprise,

That schapen hem to be relieved

2360Where it is wrong to ben achieved:

For it is other mannes riht,

Which he hath taken dai and niht

To kepe for his oghne Stor

Toward himself for everemor,

And is his propre be the lawe,

Which thing that axeth no felawe,

If love holde his covenant.

Bot thei that worchen be supplaunt,

Yit wolden thei a man supplaunte,

2370And take a part of thilke plaunte

Which he hath for himselve set:

And so fulofte is al unknet,

That som man weneth be riht fast.

For Supplant with his slyhe cast

Fulofte happneth forto mowe

Thing which an other man hath sowe,

And makth comun of proprete

With sleihte and with soubtilite,

As men mai se fro yer to yere.

2380Thus cleymeth he the bot to stiere,

Of which an other maister is.

Forthi, my Sone, if thou er this

Hast ben of such professioun,

Discovere thi confessioun:

Hast thou supplanted eny man?

For oght that I you telle can,

Min holi fader, as of the dede

I am withouten eny drede

Al gulteles; bot of my thoght

2390Mi conscience excuse I noght.

For were it wrong or were it riht,

Me lakketh nothing bote myht,

That I ne wolde longe er this

Of other mannes love ywiss

Be weie of Supplantacioun

Have mad apropriacioun

And holde that I nevere boghte,

Thogh it an other man forthoghte.

And al this speke I bot of on,

2400For whom I lete alle othre gon;

Bot hire I mai noght overpasse,

That I ne mot alwey compasse,

Me roghte noght be what queintise,

So that I mihte in eny wise

Fro suche that mi ladi serve

Hire herte make forto swerve

Withouten eny part of love.

For be the goddes alle above

I wolde it mihte so befalle,

2410That I al one scholde hem alle

Supplante, and welde hire at mi wille.

And that thing mai I noght fulfille,

Bot if I scholde strengthe make;

And that I dar noght undertake,

Thogh I were as was Alisaundre,

For therof mihte arise sklaundre;

And certes that schal I do nevere,

For in good feith yit hadde I levere

In my simplesce forto die,

2420Than worche such Supplantarie.

Of otherwise I wol noght seie

That if I founde a seker weie,

I wolde as for conclusioun

Worche after Supplantacioun,

So hihe a love forto winne.

Now, fader, if that this be Sinne,

I am al redy to redresce

The gilt of which I me confesse.

Mi goode Sone, as of Supplant

2430Thee thar noght drede tant ne quant,

As for nothing that I have herd,

Bot only that thou hast misferd

Thenkende, and that me liketh noght,

For godd beholt a mannes thoght.

And if thou understode in soth

In loves cause what it doth,

A man to ben a Supplantour,

Thou woldest for thin oghne honour

Be double weie take kepe:

2440Ferst for thin oghne astat to kepe,

To be thiself so wel bethoght

That thou supplanted were noght,

And ek for worschipe of thi name

Towardes othre do the same,

And soffren every man have his.

Bot natheles it was and is,

That in a wayt at alle assaies

Supplant of love in oure daies

The lief fulofte for the levere

2450Forsakth, and so it hath don evere.

Ensample I finde therupon,

At Troie how that Agamenon

Supplantede the worthi knyht

Achilles of that swete wiht,

Which named was Brexei5da;

And also of Crisei5da,

Whom Troilus to love ches,

Supplanted hath Diomedes.

Of Geta and Amphitrion,

2460That whilom weren bothe as on

Of frendschipe and of compaignie,

I rede how that Supplantarie

In love, as it betidde tho,

Beguiled hath on of hem tuo.

For this Geta that I of meene,

To whom the lusti faire Almeene

Assured was be weie of love,

Whan he best wende have ben above

And sikerest of that he hadde,

2470Cupido so the cause ladde,

That whil he was out of the weie,

Amphitrion hire love aweie

Hath take, and in this forme he wroghte.

Be nyhte unto the chambre he soghte,

Wher that sche lay, and with a wyle

He contrefeteth for the whyle

The vois of Gete in such a wise,

That made hire of hire bedd arise,

Wenende that it were he,

2480And let him in, and whan thei be

Togedre abedde in armes faste,

This Geta cam thanne ate laste

Unto the Dore and seide, “Undo.”

And sche ansuerde and bad him go,

And seide how that abedde al warm

Hir lief lay naked in hir arm;

Sche wende that it were soth.

Lo, what Supplant of love doth:

This Geta forth bejaped wente,

2490And yit ne wiste he what it mente;

Amphitrion him hath supplanted

With sleyhte of love and hire enchaunted:

And thus put every man out other,

The Schip of love hath lost his Rother,

So that he can no reson stiere.

And forto speke of this matiere

Touchende love and his Supplant,

A tale which is acordant

Unto thin Ere I thenke enforme.

2500Now herkne, for this is the forme.

Of thilke Cite chief of alle

Which men the noble Rome calle,

Er it was set to Cristes feith,

Ther was, as the Cronique seith,

An Emperour, the which it ladde

In pes, that he no werres hadde:

Ther was nothing desobeissant

Which was to Rome appourtenant,

Bot al was torned into reste.

2510To some it thoghte for the beste,

To some it thoghte nothing so,

And that was only unto tho

Whos herte stod upon knyhthode:

Bot most of alle of his manhode

The worthi Sone of themperour,

Which wolde ben a werreiour,

As he that was chivalerous

Of worldes fame and desirous,

Began his fadre to beseche

2520That he the werres mihte seche,

In strange Marches forto ride.

His fader seide he scholde abide,

And wolde granten him no leve:

Bot he, which wolde noght beleve,

A kniht of his to whom he triste,

So that his fader nothing wiste,

He tok and tolde him his corage,

That he pourposeth a viage.

If that fortune with him stonde,

2530He seide how that he wolde fonde

The grete See to passe unknowe,

And there abyde for a throwe

Upon the werres to travaile.

And to this point withoute faile

This kniht, whan he hath herd his lord,

Is swore, and stant of his acord,

As thei that bothe yonge were;

So that in prive conseil there

Thei ben assented forto wende.

2540And therupon to make an ende,

Tresor ynowh with hem thei token,

And whan the time is best thei loken,

That sodeinliche in a Galeie

Fro Romelond thei wente here weie

And londe upon that other side.

The world fell so that ilke tide,

Which evere hise happes hath diverse,

The grete Soldan thanne of Perse

Ayein the Caliphe of Egipte

2550A werre, which that him beclipte,

Hath in a Marche costeiant.

And he, which was a poursuiant

Worschipe of armes to atteigne,

This Romein, let anon ordeigne,

That he was redi everydel:

And whan he was arraied wel

Of every thing which him belongeth,

Straght unto Kaire his weie he fongeth,

Wher he the Soldan thanne fond,

2560And axeth that withinne his lond

He mihte him for the werre serve,

As he which wolde his thonk deserve.

The Soldan was riht glad with al,

And wel the more in special

Whan that he wiste he was Romein;

Bot what was elles in certein,

That mihte he wite be no weie.

And thus the kniht of whom I seie

Toward the Soldan is beleft,

2570And in the Marches now and eft,

Wher that the dedli werres were,

He wroghte such knihthode there,

That every man spak of him good.

And thilke time so it stod,

This mihti Soldan be his wif

A Dowhter hath, that in this lif

Men seiden ther was non so fair.

Sche scholde ben hir fader hair,

And was of yeres ripe ynowh:

2580Hire beaute many an herte drowh

To bowe unto that ilke lawe

Fro which no lif mai be withdrawe,

And that is love, whos nature

Set lif and deth in aventure

Of hem that knyhthode undertake.

This lusti peine hath overtake

The herte of this Romein so sore,

That to knihthode more and more

Prouesce avanceth his corage.

2590Lich to the Leoun in his rage,

Fro whom that alle bestes fle,

Such was the knyht in his degre:

Wher he was armed in the feld,

Ther dorste non abide his scheld;

Gret pris upon the werre he hadde.

Bot sche which al the chance ladde,

Fortune, schop the Marches so,

That be thassent of bothe tuo,

The Soldan and the Caliphe eke,

2600Bataille upon a dai thei seke,

Which was in such a wise set

That lengere scholde it noght be let.

Thei made hem stronge on every side,

And whan it drowh toward the tide

That the bataille scholde be,

The Soldan in gret privete

A goldring of his dowhter tok,

And made hire swere upon a bok

And ek upon the goddes alle,

2610That if fortune so befalle

In the bataille that he deie,

That sche schal thilke man obeie

And take him to hire housebonde,

Which thilke same Ring to honde

Hire scholde bringe after his deth.

This hath sche swore, and forth he geth

With al the pouer of his lond

Unto the Marche, where he fond

His enemy full embatailled.

2620The Soldan hath the feld assailed:

Thei that ben hardy sone assemblen,

Wherof the dredfull hertes tremblen:

That on sleth, and that other sterveth,

Bot above all his pris deserveth

This knihtly Romein; where he rod,

His dedly swerd noman abod,

Ayein the which was no defence;

Egipte fledde in his presence,

And thei of Perse upon the chace

2630Poursuien: bot I not what grace

Befell, an Arwe out of a bowe

Al sodeinly that ilke throwe

The Soldan smot, and ther he lay:

The chace is left for thilke day,

And he was bore into a tente.

The Soldan sih how that it wente,

And that he scholde algate die;

And to this knyht of Romanie,

As unto him whom he most triste,

2640His Dowhter Ring, that non it wiste,

He tok, and tolde him al the cas,

Upon hire oth what tokne it was

Of that sche scholde ben his wif.

Whan this was seid, the hertes lif

Of this Soldan departeth sone;

And therupon, as was to done,

The dede body wel and faire

Thei carie til thei come at Kaire,

Wher he was worthily begrave.

2650The lordes, whiche as wolden save

The Regne which was desolat,

To bringe it into good astat

A parlement thei sette anon.

Now herkne what fell therupon:

This yonge lord, this worthi kniht

Of Rome, upon the same niht

That thei amorwe trete scholde,

Unto his Bacheler he tolde

His conseil, and the Ring with al

2660He scheweth, thurgh which that he schal,

He seith, the kinges Dowhter wedde,

For so the Ring was leid to wedde,

He tolde, into hir fader hond,

That with what man that sche it fond

Sche scholde him take to hire lord.

And this, he seith, stant of record,

Bot noman wot who hath this Ring.

This Bacheler upon this thing

His Ere and his entente leide,

2670And thoghte more thanne he seide,

And feigneth with a fals visage

That he was glad, bot his corage

Was al set in an other wise.

These olde Philosophres wise

Thei writen upon thilke while,

That he mai best a man beguile

In whom the man hath most credence;

And this befell in evidence

Toward this yonge lord of Rome.

2680His Bacheler, which hadde tome,

Whan that his lord be nihte slepte,

This Ring, the which his maister kepte,

Out of his Pours awey he dede,

And putte an other in the stede.

Amorwe, whan the Court is set,

The yonge ladi was forth fet,

To whom the lordes don homage,

And after that of Mariage

Thei trete and axen of hir wille.

2690Bot sche, which thoghte to fulfille

Hire fader heste in this matiere,

Seide openly, that men mai hiere,

The charge which hire fader bad.

Tho was this Lord of Rome glad

And drowh toward his Pours anon,

Bot al for noght, it was agon:

His Bacheler it hath forthdrawe,

And axeth ther upon the lawe

That sche him holde covenant.

2700The tokne was so sufficant

That it ne mihte be forsake,

And natheles his lord hath take

Querelle ayein his oghne man;

Bot for nothing that evere he can

He mihte as thanne noght ben herd,

So that his cleym is unansuerd,

And he hath of his pourpos failed.

This Bacheler was tho consailed

And wedded, and of thilke Empire

2710He was coroned Lord and Sire,

And al the lond him hath received;

Wherof his lord, which was deceived,

A seknesse er the thridde morwe

Conceived hath of dedly sorwe:

And as he lay upon his deth,

Therwhile him lasteth speche and breth,

He sende for the worthieste

Of al the lond and ek the beste,

And tolde hem al the sothe tho,

2720That he was Sone and Heir also

Of themperour of grete Rome,

And how that thei togedre come,

This kniht and he; riht as it was,

He tolde hem al the pleine cas,

And for that he his conseil tolde,

That other hath al that he wolde,

And he hath failed of his mede:

As for the good he takth non hiede,

He seith, bot only of the love,

2730Of which he wende have ben above.

And therupon be lettre write

He doth his fader forto wite

Of al this matiere as it stod;

And thanne with an hertly mod

Unto the lordes he besoghte

To telle his ladi how he boghte

Hire love, of which an other gladeth;

And with that word his hewe fadeth,

And seide, “A dieu, my ladi swete.”

2740The lif hath lost his kindly hete,

And he lay ded as eny ston;

Wherof was sory manyon,

Bot non of alle so as sche.

This false knyht in his degree

Arested was and put in hold:

For openly whan it was told

Of the tresoun which is befalle,

Thurghout the lond thei seiden alle,

If it be soth that men suppose,

2750His oghne untrowthe him schal depose.

And forto seche an evidence,

With honour and gret reverence,

Wherof they mihten knowe an ende,

To themperour anon thei sende

The lettre which his Sone wrot.

And whan that he the sothe wot,

To telle his sorwe is endeles,

Bot yit in haste natheles

Upon the tale which he herde

2760His Stieward into Perse ferde

With many a worthi Romein eke,

His liege tretour forto seke;

And whan thei thider come were,

This kniht him hath confessed there

How falsly that he hath him bore,

Wherof his worthi lord was lore.

Tho seiden some he scholde deie,

Bot yit thei founden such a weie

That he schal noght be ded in Perse;

2770And thus the skiles ben diverse.

Be cause that he was coroned,

And that the lond was abandoned

To him, althogh it were unriht,

Ther is no peine for him diht;

Bot to this point and to this ende

Thei granten wel that he schal wende

With the Romeins to Rome ayein.

And thus acorded ful and plein,

The qwike body with the dede

2780With leve take forth thei lede,

Wher that Supplant hath his juise.

Wherof that thou thee miht avise

Upon this enformacioun

Touchende of Supplantacioun,

That thou, my Sone, do noght so:

And forto take hiede also

What Supplant doth in other halve,

Ther is noman can finde a salve

Pleinly to helen such a Sor;

2790It hath and schal ben everemor,

Whan Pride is with Envie joint,

He soffreth noman in good point,

Wher that he mai his honour lette.

And therupon if I schal sette

Ensample, in holy cherche I finde

How that Supplant is noght behinde;

God wot if that it now be so:

For in Cronique of time ago

I finde a tale concordable

2800Of Supplant, which that is no fable,

In the manere as I schal telle,

So as whilom the thinges felle.

At Rome, as it hath ofte falle,

The vicair general of alle

Of hem that lieven Cristes feith

His laste day, which non withseith,

Hath schet as to the worldes ije,

Whos name if I schal specefie,

He hihte Pope Nicolas.

2810And thus whan that he passed was,

The Cardinals, that wolden save

The forme of lawe, in the conclave

Gon forto chese a newe Pope,

And after that thei cowthe agrope

Hath ech of hem seid his entente:

Til ate laste thei assente

Upon an holy clerk reclus,

Which full was of gostli vertus;

His pacience and his simplesse

2820Hath set him into hih noblesse.

Thus was he Pope canonized,

With gret honour and intronized,

And upon chance as it is falle,

His name Celestin men calle;

Which notefied was be bulle

To holi cherche and to the fulle

In alle londes magnified.

Bot every worschipe is envied,

And that was thilke time sene:

2830For whan this Pope of whom I meene

Was chose, and othre set beside,

A Cardinal was thilke tide

Which the papat longe hath desired

And therupon gretli conspired;

Bot whan he sih fortune is failed,

For which long time he hath travailed,

That ilke fyr which Ethna brenneth

Thurghout his wofull herte renneth,

Which is resembled to Envie,

2840Wherof Supplant and tricherie

Engendred is; and natheles

He feigneth love, he feigneth pes,

Outward he doth the reverence,

Bot al withinne his conscience

Thurgh fals ymaginacioun

He thoghte Supplantacioun.

And therupon a wonder wyle

He wroghte: for at thilke whyle

It fell so that of his lignage

2850He hadde a clergoun of yong age,

Whom he hath in his chambre affaited.

This Cardinal his time hath waited,

And with his wordes slyhe and queinte,

The whiche he cowthe wysly peinte,

He schop this clerk of which I telle

Toward the Pope forto duelle,

So that withinne his chambre anyht

He lai, and was a prive wyht

Toward the Pope on nyhtes tide.

2860Mai noman fle that schal betide.

This Cardinal, which thoghte guile,

Upon a day whan he hath while

This yonge clerc unto him tok,

And made him swere upon a bok,

And told him what his wille was.

And forth withal a Trompe of bras

He hath him take, and bad him this:

“Thou schalt,” he seide, “whan time is

Awaite, and take riht good kepe,

2870Whan that the Pope is fast aslepe

And that non other man by nyh;

And thanne that thou be so slyh

Thurghout the Trompe into his Ere,

Fro hevene as thogh a vois it were,

To soune of such prolacioun

That he his meditacioun

Therof mai take and understonde,

As thogh it were of goddes sonde.

And in this wise thou schalt seie,

2880That he do thilke astat aweie

Of Pope, in which he stant honoured,

So schal his Soule be socoured

Of thilke worschipe ate laste

In hevene which schal evere laste.”

This clerc, whan he hath herd the forme

How he the Pope scholde enforme,

Tok of the Cardinal his leve,

And goth him hom, til it was Eve,

And prively the trompe he hedde,

2890Til that the Pope was abedde.

And at the Midnyht, whan he knewh

The Pope slepte, thanne he blewh

Withinne his trompe thurgh the wal,

And tolde in what manere he schal

His Papacie leve, and take

His ferste astat: and thus awake

This holi Pope he made thries,

Wherof diverse fantasies

Upon his grete holinesse

2900Withinne his herte he gan impresse.

The Pope ful of innocence

Conceiveth in his conscience

That it is goddes wille he cesse;

Bot in what wise he may relesse

His hihe astat, that wot he noght.

And thus withinne himself bethoght,

He bar it stille in his memoire,

Til he cam to the Consistoire;

And there in presence of hem alle

2910He axeth, if it so befalle

That eny Pope cesse wolde,

How that the lawe it soffre scholde.

Thei seten alle stille and herde,

Was non which to the point ansuerde,

For to what pourpos that it mente

Ther was noman knew his entente,

Bot only he which schop the guile.

This Cardinal the same while

Al openly with wordes pleine

2920Seith, if the Pope wolde ordeigne

That ther be such a lawe wroght,

Than mihte he cesse, and elles noght.

And as he seide, don it was;

The Pope anon upon the cas

Of his Papal Autorite

Hath mad and yove the decre:

And whan that lawe was confermed

In due forme and al affermed,

This innocent, which was deceived,

2930His Papacie anon hath weyved,

Renounced and resigned eke.

That other was nothing to seke,

Bot undernethe such a jape

He hath so for himselve schape,

That how as evere it him beseme,

The Mitre with the Diademe

He hath thurgh Supplantacion:

And in his confirmacion

Upon the fortune of his grace

2940His name is cleped Boneface.

Under the viser of Envie,

Lo, thus was hid the tricherie,

Which hath beguiled manyon.

Bot such conseil ther mai be non,

With treson whan it is conspired,

That it nys lich the Sparke fyred

Up in the Rof, which for a throwe

Lith hidd, til whan the wyndes blowe

It blaseth out on every side.

2950This Bonefas, which can noght hyde

The tricherie of his Supplant,

Hath openly mad his avant

How he the Papacie hath wonne.

Bot thing which is with wrong begonne

Mai nevere stonde wel at ende;

Wher Pride schal the bowe bende,

He schet fulofte out of the weie:

And thus the Pope of whom I seie,

Whan that he stod on hih the whiel,

2960He can noght soffre himself be wel.

Envie, which is loveles,

And Pride, which is laweles,

With such tempeste made him erre,

That charite goth out of herre:

So that upon misgovernance

Ayein Lowyz the king of France

He tok querelle of his oultrage,

And seide he scholde don hommage

Unto the cherche bodily.

2970Bot he, that wiste nothing why

He scholde do so gret servise

After the world in such a wise,

Withstod the wrong of that demande;

For noght the Pope mai comande

The king wol noght the Pope obeie.

This Pope tho be alle weie

That he mai worche of violence

Hath sent the bulle of his sentence

With cursinge and with enterdit.

2980The king upon this wrongful plyt,

To kepe his regne fro servage,

Conseiled was of his Barnage

That miht with miht schal be withstonde.

Thus was the cause take on honde,

And seiden that the Papacie

Thei wolde honoure and magnefie

In al that evere is spirital;

Bot thilke Pride temporal

Of Boneface in his persone,

2990Ayein that ilke wrong al one

Thei wolde stonden in debat:

And thus the man and noght the stat

The Frensche schopen be her miht

To grieve. And fell ther was a kniht,

Sire Guilliam de Langharet,

Which was upon this cause set;

And therupon he tok a route

Of men of Armes and rod oute,

So longe and in a wayt he lay,

3000That he aspide upon a day

The Pope was at Avinoun,

And scholde ryde out of the toun

Unto Pontsorge, the which is

A Castell in Provence of his.

Upon the weie and as he rod,

This kniht, which hoved and abod

Embuisshed upon horse bak,

Al sodeinliche upon him brak

And hath him be the bridel sesed,

3010And seide: “O thou, which hast desesed

The Court of France be thi wrong,

Now schalt thou singe an other song:

Thin enterdit and thi sentence

Ayein thin oghne conscience

Hierafter thou schalt fiele and grope.

We pleigne noght ayein the Pope,

For thilke name is honourable,

Bot thou, which hast be deceivable

And tricherous in al thi werk,

3020Thou Bonefas, thou proude clerk,

Misledere of the Papacie,

Thi false bodi schal abye

And soffre that it hath deserved.”

Lo, thus the Supplantour was served;

For thei him ladden into France

And setten him to his penance

Withinne a tour in harde bondes,

Wher he for hunger bothe hise hondes

Eet of and deide, god wot how:

3030Of whom the wrytinge is yit now

Registred, as a man mai hiere,

Which spekth and seith in this manere:

Thin entre lich the fox was slyh,

Thi regne also with pride on hih

Was lich the Leon in his rage;

Bot ate laste of thi passage

Thi deth was to the houndes like.

Such is the lettre of his Cronique

Proclamed in the Court of Rome,

3040Wherof the wise ensample nome.

And yit, als ferforth as I dar,

I rede alle othre men be war,

And that thei loke wel algate

That non his oghne astat translate

Of holi cherche in no degree

Be fraude ne soubtilite:

For thilke honour which Aaron tok

Schal non receive, as seith the bok,

Bot he be cleped as he was.

3050What I schal thenken in this cas

Of that I hiere now aday,

I not: bot he which can and may,

Be reson bothe and be nature

The help of every mannes cure,

He kepe Simon fro the folde.

For Joachim thilke Abbot tolde

How suche daies scholden falle,

That comunliche in places alle

The Chapmen of such mercerie

3060With fraude and with Supplantarie

So manye scholden beie and selle,

That he ne may for schame telle

So foul a Senne in mannes Ere.

Bot god forbiede that it were

In oure daies that he seith:

For if the Clerc beware his feith

In chapmanhod at such a feire,

The remenant mot nede empeire

Of al that to the world belongeth;

3070For whan that holi cherche wrongeth,

I not what other thing schal rihte.

And natheles at mannes sihte

Envie forto be preferred

Hath conscience so differred,

That noman loketh to the vice

Which is the Moder of malice,

And that is thilke false Envie,

Which causeth many a tricherie;

For wher he may an other se

3080That is mor gracious than he,

It schal noght stonden in his miht

Bot if he hindre such a wiht:

And that is welnyh overal,

This vice is now so general.

Envie thilke unhapp indrowh,

Whan Joab be deceipte slowh

Abner, for drede he scholde be

With king David such as was he.

And thurgh Envie also it fell

3090Of thilke false Achitofell,

For his conseil was noght achieved,

Bot that he sih Cusy believed

With Absolon and him forsake,

He heng himself upon a stake.

Senec witnesseth openly

How that Envie proprely

Is of the Court the comun wenche,

And halt taverne forto schenche

That drink which makth the herte brenne,

3100And doth the wit aboute renne,

Be every weie to compasse

How that he mihte alle othre passe,

As he which thurgh unkindeschipe

Envieth every felaschipe;

So that thou miht wel knowe and se,

Ther is no vice such as he,

Ferst toward godd abhominable,

And to mankinde unprofitable:

And that be wordes bot a fewe

3110I schal be reson prove and schewe.

Envie if that I schal descrive,

He is noght schaply forto wyve

In Erthe among the wommen hiere;

For ther is in him no matiere

Wherof he mihte do plesance.

Ferst for his hevy continance

Of that he semeth evere unglad,

He is noght able to ben had;

And ek he brenneth so withinne,

3120That kinde mai no profit winne,

Wherof he scholde his love plese:

For thilke blod which scholde have ese

To regne among the moiste veines,

Is drye of thilke unkendeli peines

Thurgh whiche Envie is fyred ay.

And thus be reson prove I may

That toward love Envie is noght;

And otherwise if it be soght,

Upon what side as evere it falle,

3130It is the werste vice of alle,

Which of himself hath most malice.

For understond that every vice

Som cause hath, wherof it groweth,

Bot of Envie noman knoweth

Fro whenne he cam bot out of helle.

For thus the wise clerkes telle,

That no spirit bot of malice

Be weie of kinde upon a vice

Is tempted, and be such a weie

3140Envie hath kinde put aweie

And of malice hath his steringe,

Wherof he makth his bakbitinge,

And is himself therof desesed.

So mai ther be no kinde plesed;

For ay the mor that he envieth,

The more ayein himself he plieth.

Thus stant Envie in good espeir

To ben himself the develes heir,

As he which is his nexte liche

3150And forthest fro the heveneriche,

For there mai he nevere wone.

Forthi, my goode diere Sone,

If thou wolt finde a siker weie

To love, put Envie aweie.

Min holy fader, reson wolde

That I this vice eschuie scholde:

Bot yit to strengthe mi corage,

If that ye wolde in avantage

Therof sette a recoverir,

3160It were tome a gret desir,

That I this vice mihte flee.

Nou understond, my Sone, and se,

Ther is phisique for the seke,

And vertus for the vices eke.

Who that the vices wolde eschuie,

He mot be resoun thanne suie

The vertus; for be thilke weie

He mai the vices don aweie,

For thei togedre mai noght duelle:

3170For as the water of a welle

Of fyr abateth the malice,

Riht so vertu fordoth the vice.

Ayein Envie is Charite,

Which is the Moder of Pite,

That makth a mannes herte tendre,

That it mai no malice engendre

In him that is enclin therto.

For his corage is tempred so,

That thogh he mihte himself relieve,

3180Yit wolde he noght an other grieve,

Bot rather forto do plesance

He berth himselven the grevance,

So fain he wolde an other ese.

Wherof, mi Sone, for thin ese

Now herkne a tale which I rede,

And understond it wel, I rede.

Among the bokes of latin

I finde write of Constantin

The worthi Emperour of Rome,

3190Suche infortunes to him come,

Whan he was in his lusti age,

The lepre cawhte in his visage

And so forth overal aboute,

That he ne mihte ryden oute:

So lefte he bothe Schield and spere,

As he that mihte him noght bestere,

And hield him in his chambre clos.

Thurgh al the world the fame aros,

The grete clerkes ben asent

3200And come at his comandement

To trete upon this lordes hele.

So longe thei togedre dele,

That thei upon this medicine

Apointen hem, and determine

That in the maner as it stod

Thei wolde him bathe in childes blod

Withinne sevene wynter age:

For, as thei sein, that scholde assuage

The lepre and al the violence,

3210Which that thei knewe of Accidence

And noght be weie of kinde is falle.

And therto thei acorden alle

As for final conclusioun,

And tolden here opinioun

To themperour: and he anon

His conseil tok, and therupon

With lettres and with seales oute

Thei sende in every lond aboute

The yonge children forto seche,

3220Whos blod, thei seiden, schal be leche

For themperoures maladie.

Ther was ynowh to wepe and crie

Among the Modres, whan thei herde

Hou wofully this cause ferde,

Bot natheles thei moten bowe;

And thus wommen ther come ynowhe

With children soukende on the Tete.

Tho was ther manye teres lete,

Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe,

3230The wommen and the children bothe

Into the Paleis forth be broght

With many a sory hertes thoght

Of hem whiche of here bodi bore

The children hadde, and so forlore

Withinne a while scholden se.

The Modres wepe in here degre,

And manye of hem aswoune falle,

The yonge babes criden alle:

This noyse aros, the lord it herde,

3240And loked out, and how it ferde

He sih, and as who seith abreide

Out of his slep, and thus he seide:

“O thou divine pourveance,

Which every man in the balance

Of kinde hast formed to be liche,

The povere is bore as is the riche

And deieth in the same wise,

Upon the fol, upon the wise

Siknesse and hele entrecomune;

3250Mai non eschuie that fortune

Which kinde hath in hire lawe set;

Hire strengthe and beaute ben beset

To every man aliche fre,

That sche preferreth no degre

As in the disposicioun

Of bodili complexioun:

And ek of Soule resonable

The povere child is bore als able

To vertu as the kinges Sone;

3260For every man his oghne wone

After the lust of his assay

The vice or vertu chese may.

Thus stonden alle men franchised,

Bot in astat thei ben divised;

To some worschipe and richesse,

To some poverte and distresse,

On lordeth and an other serveth;

Bot yit as every man deserveth

The world yifth noght his yiftes hiere.

3270Bot certes he hath gret matiere

To ben of good condicioun,

Which hath in his subjeccioun

The men that ben of his semblance.”

And ek he tok a remembrance

How he that made lawe of kinde

Wolde every man to lawe binde,

And bad a man, such as he wolde

Toward himself, riht such he scholde

Toward an other don also.

3280And thus this worthi lord as tho

Sette in balance his oghne astat

And with himself stod in debat,

And thoghte hou that it was noght good

To se so mochel mannes blod

Be spilt for cause of him alone.

He sih also the grete mone,

Of that the Modres were unglade,

And of the wo the children made,

Wherof that al his herte tendreth,

3290And such pite withinne engendreth,

That him was levere forto chese

His oghne bodi forto lese,

Than se so gret a moerdre wroght

Upon the blod which gulteth noght.

Thus for the pite which he tok

Alle othre leches he forsok,

And put him out of aventure

Al only into goddes cure;

And seith, “Who that woll maister be,

3300He mot be servant to pite.”

So ferforth he was overcome

With charite, that he hath nome

His conseil and hise officers,

And bad unto hise tresorers

That thei his tresour al aboute

Departe among the povere route

Of wommen and of children bothe,

Wherof thei mihte hem fede and clothe

And saufli tornen hom ayein

3310Withoute lost of eny grein.

Thurgh charite thus he despendeth

His good, wherof that he amendeth

The povere poeple, and contrevaileth

The harm, that he hem so travaileth:

And thus the woful nyhtes sorwe

To joie is torned on the morwe;

Al was thonkinge, al was blessinge,

Which erst was wepinge and cursinge;

Thes wommen gon hom glade ynowh,

3320Echon for joie on other lowh,

And preiden for this lordes hele,

Which hath relessed the querele,

And hath his oghne will forsake

In charite for goddes sake.

Bot now hierafter thou schalt hiere

What god hath wroght in this matiere,

As he which doth al equite.

To him that wroghte charite

He was ayeinward charitous,

3330And to pite he was pitous:

For it was nevere knowe yit

That charite goth unaquit.

The nyht, whan he was leid to slepe,

The hihe god, which wolde him kepe,

Seint Peter and seint Poul him sende,

Be whom he wolde his lepre amende.

Thei tuo to him slepende appiere

Fro god, and seide in this manere:

“O Constantin, for thou hast served

3340Pite, thou hast pite deserved:

Forthi thou schalt such pite have

That god thurgh pite woll thee save.

So schalt thou double hele finde,

Ferst for thi bodiliche kinde,

And for thi wofull Soule also,

Thou schalt ben hol of bothe tuo.

And for thou schalt thee noght despeire,

Thi lepre schal nomore empeire

Til thou wolt sende therupon

3350Unto the Mont of Celion,

Wher that Silvestre and his clergie

Togedre duelle in compaignie

For drede of thee, which many day

Hast ben a fo to Cristes lay,

And hast destruid to mochel schame

The prechours of his holy name.

Bot now thou hast somdiel appesed

Thi god, and with good dede plesed,

That thou thi pite hast bewared

3360Upon the blod which thou hast spared.

Forthi to thi salvacion

Thou schalt have enformacioun,

Such as Silvestre schal the teche:

The nedeth of non other leche.”

This Emperour, which al this herde,

“Grant merci lordes,” he ansuerde,

“I wol do so as ye me seie.

Bot of o thing I wolde preie:

What schal I telle unto Silvestre

3370Or of youre name or of youre estre?”

And thei him tolden what thei hihte,

And forth withal out of his sihte

Thei passen up into the hevene.

And he awok out of his swevene,

And clepeth, and men come anon:

He tolde his drem, and therupon

In such a wise as he hem telleth

The Mont wher that Silvestre duelleth

Thei have in alle haste soght,

3380And founde he was and with hem broght

To themperour, which to him tolde

His swevene and elles what he wolde.

And whan Silvestre hath herd the king,

He was riht joiful of this thing,

And him began with al his wit

To techen upon holi writ

Ferst how mankinde was forlore,

And how the hihe god therfore

His Sone sende from above,

3390Which bore was for mannes love,

And after of his oghne chois

He tok his deth upon the crois;

And how in grave he was beloke,

And how that he hath helle broke,

And tok hem out that were him lieve;

And forto make ous full believe

That he was verrai goddes Sone,

Ayein the kinde of mannes wone

Fro dethe he ros the thridde day,

3400And whanne he wolde, as he wel may,

He styh up to his fader evene

With fleissh and blod into the hevene;

And riht so in the same forme

In fleissh and blod he schal reforme,

Whan time comth, the qwike and dede

At thilke woful dai of drede,

Where every man schal take his dom,

Als wel the Maister as the grom.

The mihti kinges retenue

3410That dai may stonde of no value

With worldes strengthe to defende;

For every man mot thanne entende

To stonde upon his oghne dedes

And leve alle othre mennes nedes.

That dai mai no consail availe,

The pledour and the plee schal faile,

The sentence of that ilke day

Mai non appell sette in delay;

Ther mai no gold the Jugge plie,

3420That he ne schal the sothe trie

And setten every man upriht,

Als wel the plowman as the kniht:

The lewed man, the grete clerk

Schal stonde upon his oghne werk,

And such as he is founde tho,

Such schal he be for everemo.

Ther mai no peine be relessed,

Ther mai no joie ben encressed,

Bot endeles, as thei have do,

3430He schal receive on of the tuo.

And thus Silvestre with his sawe

The ground of al the newe lawe

With gret devocion he precheth,

Fro point to point and pleinly techeth

Unto this hethen Emperour;

And seith, the hihe creatour

Hath underfonge his charite,

Of that he wroghte such pite,

Whan he the children hadde on honde.

3440Thus whan this lord hath understonde

Of al this thing how that it ferde,

Unto Silvestre he thanne ansuerde,

With al his hole herte and seith

That he is redi to the feith.

And so the vessel which for blod

Was mad, Silvestre, ther it stod,

With clene water of the welle

In alle haste he let do felle,

And sette Constantin therinne

3450Al naked up unto the chinne.

And in the while it was begunne,

A liht, as thogh it were a Sunne,

Fro hevene into the place com

Wher that he tok his cristendom;

And evere among the holi tales

Lich as thei weren fisshes skales

Ther fellen from him now and eft,

Til that ther was nothing beleft

Of al his grete maladie.

3460For he that wolde him purefie,

The hihe god hath mad him clene,

So that ther lefte nothing sene;

He hath him clensed bothe tuo,

The bodi and the Soule also.

Tho knew this Emperour in dede

That Cristes feith was forto drede,

And sende anon hise lettres oute

And let do crien al aboute,

Up peine of deth that noman weyve

3470That he baptesme ne receive:

After his Moder qweene Heleine

He sende, and so betwen hem tweine

Thei treten, that the Cite all

Was cristned, and sche forth withall.

This Emperour, which hele hath founde,

Withinne Rome anon let founde

Tuo cherches, which he dede make

For Peter and for Poules sake,

Of whom he hadde avisioun;

3480And yaf therto possessioun

Of lordschipe and of worldes good.

Bot how so that his will was good

Toward the Pope and his Franchise,

Yit hath it proved other wise,

To se the worchinge of the dede:

For in Cronique this I rede;

Anon as he hath mad the yifte,

A vois was herd on hih the lifte,

Of which al Rome was adrad,

3490And seith: “To day is venym schad

In holi cherche of temporal,

Which medleth with the spirital.”

And hou it stant of that degree

Yit mai a man the sothe se:

God mai amende it, whan he wile,

I can ther to non other skile.

Bot forto go ther I began,

How charite mai helpe a man

To bothe worldes, I have seid:

3500And if thou have an Ere leid,

Mi Sone, thou miht understonde,

If charite be take on honde,

Ther folweth after mochel grace.

Forthi, if that thou wolt pourchace

How that thou miht Envie flee,

Aqueinte thee with charite,

Which is the vertu sovereine.

Mi fader, I schal do my peine:

For this ensample which ye tolde

3510With al myn herte I have withholde,

So that I schal for everemore

Eschuie Envie wel the more:

And that I have er this misdo,

Yif me my penance er I go.

And over that to mi matiere

Of schrifte, why we sitten hiere

In privete betwen ous tweie,

Now axeth what ther is, I preie.

Mi goode Sone, and for thi lore

3520I woll thee telle what is more,

So that thou schalt the vices knowe:

For whan thei be to thee full knowe,

Thou miht hem wel the betre eschuie.

And for this cause I thenke suie

The forme bothe and the matiere,

As now suiende thou schalt hiere

Which vice stant next after this:

And whan thou wost how that it is,

As thou schalt hiere me devise,

Thow miht thiself the betre avise. 3530

Explicit Liber Secundus

Incipit Liber Tercius

Ira suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis,

     Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet.

Ira malencolicos animos perturbat, vt equo

     Iure sui pondus nulla statera tenet.

Omnibus in causis grauat Ira, set inter amantes,

     Illa magis facili sorte grauamen agit:

Est vbi vir discors leuiterque repugnat amori,

     Sepe loco ludi fletus ad ora venit.

If thou the vices lest to knowe,

Mi Sone, it hath noght ben unknowe,

Fro ferst that men the swerdes grounde,

That ther nis on upon this grounde,

A vice forein fro the lawe,

Wherof that many a good felawe

Hath be distraght be sodein chance;

And yit to kinde no plesance

It doth, bot wher he most achieveth

10His pourpos, most to kinde he grieveth,

As he which out of conscience

Is enemy to pacience:

And is be name on of the Sevene,

Which ofte hath set this world unevene,

And cleped is the cruel Ire,

Whos herte is everemore on fyre

To speke amis and to do bothe,

For his servantz ben evere wrothe.

Mi goode fader, tell me this:

20What thing is Ire? Sone, it is

That in oure englissh Wrathe is hote,

Which hath hise wordes ay so hote,

That all a mannes pacience

Is fyred of the violence.

For he with him hath evere fyve

Servantz that helpen him to stryve:

The ferst of hem Malencolie

Is cleped, which in compaignie

An hundred times in an houre

30Wol as an angri beste loure,

And noman wot the cause why.

Mi Sone, schrif thee now forthi:

Hast thou be Malencolien?

Ye, fader, be seint Julien,

Bot I untrewe wordes use,

I mai me noght therof excuse:

And al makth love, wel I wot,

Of which myn herte is evere hot,

So that I brenne as doth a glede

40For Wrathe that I mai noght spede.

And thus fulofte a day for noght

Save onlich of myn oghne thoght

I am so with miselven wroth,

That how so that the game goth

With othre men, I am noght glad;

Bot I am wel the more unglad,

For that is othre mennes game

It torneth me to pure grame.

Thus am I with miself oppressed

50Of thoght, the which I have impressed,

That al wakende I dreme and meete

That I with hire al one meete

And preie hire of som good ansuere:

Bot for sche wol noght gladly swere,

Sche seith me nay withouten oth;

And thus wexe I withinne wroth,

That outward I am al affraied,

And so distempred and esmaied.

A thousand times on a day

60Ther souneth in myn Eres nay,

The which sche seide me tofore:

Thus be my wittes as forlore;

And namely whan I beginne

To rekne with miself withinne

How many yeres ben agon,

Siththe I have trewly loved on

And nevere tok of other hede,

And evere aliche fer to spede

I am, the more I with hir dele,

70So that myn happ and al myn hele

Me thenkth is ay the leng the ferre,

That bringth my gladschip out of herre,

Wherof my wittes ben empeired,

And I, as who seith, al despeired.

For finaly, whan that I muse

And thenke how sche me wol refuse,

I am with anger so bestad,

For al this world mihte I be glad:

And for the while that it lasteth

80Al up so doun my joie it casteth,

And ay the furthere that I be,

Whan I ne may my ladi se,

The more I am redy to wraththe,

That for the touchinge of a laththe

Or for the torninge of a stree

I wode as doth the wylde Se,

And am so malencolious,

That ther nys servant in myn hous

Ne non of tho that ben aboute,

90That ech of hem ne stant in doute,

And wenen that I scholde rave

For Anger that thei se me have;

And so thei wondre more and lasse,

Til that thei sen it overpasse.

Bot, fader, if it so betide,

That I aproche at eny tide

The place wher my ladi is,

And thanne that hire like ywiss

To speke a goodli word untome,

100For al the gold that is in Rome

Ne cowthe I after that be wroth,

Bot al myn Anger overgoth;

So glad I am of the presence

Of hire, that I all offence

Foryete, as thogh it were noght,

So overgladed is my thoght.

And natheles, the soth to telle,

Ayeinward if it so befelle

That I at thilke time sihe

110On me that sche miscaste hire yhe,

Or that sche liste noght to loke,

And I therof good hiede toke,

Anon into my ferste astat

I torne, and am with al so mat,

That evere it is aliche wicke.

And thus myn hand ayein the pricke

I hurte and have do many day,

And go so forth as I go may,

Fulofte bitinge on my lippe,

120And make unto miself a whippe.

With which in many a chele and hete

Mi wofull herte is so tobete,

That all my wittes ben unsofte

And I am wroth, I not how ofte;

And al it is Malencolie,

Which groweth of the fantasie

Of love, that me wol noght loute:

So bere I forth an angri snoute

Ful manye times in a yer.

130Bot, fader, now ye sitten hier

In loves stede, I yow beseche,

That som ensample ye me teche,

Wherof I mai miself appese.

Mi Sone, for thin hertes ese

I schal fulfille thi preiere,

So that thou miht the betre lere

What mischief that this vice stereth,

Which in his Anger noght forbereth,

Wherof that after him forthenketh,

140Whan he is sobre and that he thenketh

Upon the folie of his dede;

And of this point a tale I rede.

Ther was a king which Eolus

Was hote, and it befell him thus,

That he tuo children hadde faire,

The Sone cleped was Machaire,

The dowhter ek Canace hihte.

Be daie bothe and ek be nyhte,

Whil thei be yonge, of comun wone

150In chambre thei togedre wone,

And as thei scholden pleide hem ofte,

Til thei be growen up alofte

Into the youthe of lusti age,

Whan kinde assaileth the corage

With love and doth him forto bowe,

That he no reson can allowe,

Bot halt the lawes of nature:

For whom that love hath under cure,

As he is blind himself, riht so

160He makth his client blind also.

In such manere as I you telle

As thei al day togedre duelle,

This brother mihte it noght asterte

That he with al his hole herte

His love upon his Soster caste:

And so it fell hem ate laste,

That this Machaire with Canace

Whan thei were in a prive place,

Cupide bad hem ferst to kesse,

170And after sche which is Maistresse

In kinde and techeth every lif

Withoute lawe positif,

Of which sche takth nomaner charge,

Bot kepth hire lawes al at large,

Nature, tok hem into lore

And tawht hem so, that overmore

Sche hath hem in such wise daunted,

That thei were, as who seith, enchaunted.

And as the blinde an other ledeth

180And til thei falle nothing dredeth,

Riht so thei hadde non insihte;

Bot as the bridd which wole alihte

And seth the mete and noght the net,

Which in deceipte of him is set,

This yonge folk no peril sihe,

Bot that was likinge in here yhe,

So that thei felle upon the chance

Where witt hath lore his remembrance.

So longe thei togedre assemble,

190The wombe aros, and sche gan tremble,

And hield hire in hire chambre clos

For drede it scholde be disclos

And come to hire fader Ere:

Wherof the Sone hadde also fere,

And feigneth cause forto ryde;

For longe dorste he noght abyde,

In aunter if men wolde sein

That he his Soster hath forlein:

For yit sche hadde it noght beknowe

200Whos was the child at thilke throwe.

Machaire goth, Canace abit,

The which was noght delivered yit,

Bot riht sone after that sche was.

Now lest and herkne a woful cas.

The sothe, which mai noght ben hid,

Was ate laste knowe and kid

Unto the king, how that it stod.

And whan that he it understod,

Anon into Malencolie,

210As thogh it were a frenesie,

He fell, as he which nothing cowthe

How maistrefull love is in yowthe:

And for he was to love strange,

He wolde noght his herte change

To be benigne and favorable

To love, bot unmerciable

Betwen the wawe of wod and wroth

Into his dowhtres chambre he goth,

And sih the child was late bore,

220Wherof he hath hise othes swore

That sche it schal ful sore abye.

And sche began merci to crie,

Upon hire bare knes and preide,

And to hire fader thus sche seide:

“Ha mercy! fader, thenk I am

Thi child, and of thi blod I cam.

That I misdede yowthe it made,

And in the flodes bad me wade,

Wher that I sih no peril tho:

230Bot now it is befalle so,

Merci, my fader, do no wreche!”

And with that word sche loste speche

And fell doun swounende at his fot,

As sche for sorwe nedes mot.

Bot his horrible crualte

Ther mihte attempre no pite:

Out of hire chambre forth he wente

Al full of wraththe in his entente,

And tok the conseil in his herte

240That sche schal noght the deth asterte,

As he which Malencolien

Of pacience hath no lien,

Wherof the wraththe he mai restreigne.

And in this wilde wode peine,

Whanne al his resoun was untame,

A kniht he clepeth be his name,

And tok him as be weie of sonde

A naked swerd to bere on honde,

And seide him that he scholde go

250And telle unto his dowhter so

In the manere as he him bad,

How sche that scharpe swerdes blad

Receive scholde and do withal

So as sche wot wherto it schal.

Forth in message goth this kniht

Unto this wofull yonge wiht,

This scharpe swerd to hire he tok:

Wherof that al hire bodi qwok,

For wel sche wiste what it mente,

260And that it was to thilke entente

That sche hireselven scholde slee.

And to the kniht sche seide: “Yee,

Now that I wot my fadres wille,

That I schal in this wise spille,

I wole obeie me therto,

And as he wole it schal be do.

Bot now this thing mai be non other,

I wole a lettre unto mi brother,

So as my fieble hand may wryte,

270With al my wofull herte endite.”

Sche tok a Penne on honde tho,

Fro point to point and al the wo,

Als ferforth as hireself it wot,

Unto hire dedly frend sche wrot,

And tolde how that hire fader grace

Sche mihte for nothing pourchace;

And overthat, as thou schalt hiere,

Sche wrot and seide in this manere:

“O thou my sorwe and my gladnesse,

280O thou myn hele and my siknesse,

O my wanhope and al my trust,

O my desese and al my lust,

O thou my wele, o thou my wo,

O thou my frend, o thou my fo,

O thou my love, o thou myn hate,

For thee mot I be ded algate.

Thilke ende may I noght asterte,

And yit with al myn hole herte,

Whil that me lasteth eny breth,

290I wol the love into my deth.

Bot of o thing I schal thee preie,

If that my litel Sone deie,

Let him be beried in my grave

Beside me, so schalt thou have

Upon ous bothe remembrance.

For thus it stant of my grevance;

Now at this time, as thou schalt wite,

With teres and with enke write

This lettre I have in cares colde:

300In my riht hond my Penne I holde,

And in my left the swerd I kepe,

And in my barm ther lith to wepe

Thi child and myn, which sobbeth faste.

Now am I come unto my laste:

Fare wel, for I schal sone deie,

And thenk how I thi love abeie.”

The pomel of the swerd to grounde

Sche sette, and with the point a wounde

Thurghout hire herte anon sche made,

310And forth with that al pale and fade

Sche fell doun ded fro ther sche stod.

The child lay bathende in hire blod

Out rolled fro the moder barm,

And for the blod was hot and warm,

He basketh him aboute thrinne.

Ther was no bote forto winne,

For he, which can no pite knowe,

The king cam in the same throwe,

And sih how that his dowhter dieth

320And how this Babe al blody crieth;

Bot al that mihte him noght suffise,

That he ne bad to do juise

Upon the child, and bere him oute,

And seche in the Forest aboute

Som wilde place, what it were,

To caste him out of honde there,

So that som best him mai devoure,

Where as noman him schal socoure.

Al that he bad was don in dede:

330Ha, who herde evere singe or rede

Of such a thing as that was do?

Bot he which ladde his wraththe so

Hath knowe of love bot a lite;

Bot for al that he was to wyte,

Thurgh his sodein Malencolie

To do so gret a felonie.

Forthi, my Sone, how so it stonde,

Be this cas thou miht understonde

That if thou evere in cause of love

340Schalt deme, and thou be so above

That thou miht lede it at thi wille,

Let nevere thurgh thi Wraththe spille

Which every kinde scholde save.

For it sit every man to have

Reward to love and to his miht,

Ayein whos strengthe mai no wiht:

And siththe an herte is so constreigned,

The reddour oghte be restreigned

To him that mai no bet aweie,

350Whan he mot to nature obeie.

For it is seid thus overal,

That nedes mot that nede schal

Of that a lif doth after kinde,

Wherof he mai no bote finde.

What nature hath set in hir lawe

Ther mai no mannes miht withdrawe,

And who that worcheth therayein,

Fulofte time it hath be sein,

Ther hath befalle gret vengance,

360Wherof I finde a remembrance.

Ovide after the time tho

Tolde an ensample and seide so,

How that whilom Tiresias,

As he walkende goth per cas,

Upon an hih Montaine he sih

Tuo Serpentz in his weie nyh,

And thei, so as nature hem tawhte,

Assembled were, and he tho cawhte

A yerde which he bar on honde,

370And thoghte that he wolde fonde

To letten hem, and smot hem bothe:

Wherof the goddes weren wrothe;

And for he hath destourbed kinde

And was so to nature unkinde,

Unkindeliche he was transformed,

That he which erst a man was formed

Into a womman was forschape.

That was to him an angri jape;

Bot for that he with Angre wroghte,

380Hise Angres angreliche he boghte.

Lo thus, my Sone, Ovide hath write,

Wherof thou miht be reson wite,

More is a man than such a beste:

So mihte it nevere ben honeste

A man to wraththen him to sore

Of that an other doth the lore

Of kinde, in which is no malice,

Bot only that it is a vice:

And thogh a man be resonable,

390Yit after kinde he is menable

To love, wher he wole or non.

Thenk thou, my Sone, therupon

And do Malencolie aweie;

For love hath evere his lust to pleie,

As he which wolde no lif grieve.

Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve;

Al that ye tellen it is skile:

Let every man love as he wile,

Be so it be noght my ladi,

400For I schal noght be wroth therby.

Bot that I wraththe and fare amis,

Al one upon miself it is,

That I with bothe love and kinde

Am so bestad, that I can finde

No weie how I it mai asterte:

Which stant upon myn oghne herte

And toucheth to non other lif,

Save only to that swete wif

For whom, bot if it be amended,

410Mi glade daies ben despended,

That I miself schal noght forbere

The Wraththe which that I now bere,

For therof is non other leche.

Now axeth forth, I yow beseche,

Of Wraththe if ther oght elles is,

Wherof to schryve. Sone, yis.

Of Wraththe the secounde is Cheste,

Which hath the wyndes of tempeste

To kepe, and many a sodein blast

420He bloweth, wherof ben agast

Thei that desiren pes and reste.

He is that ilke ungoodlieste

Which many a lusti love hath twinned;

For he berth evere his mowth unpinned,

So that his lippes ben unloke

And his corage is al tobroke,

That every thing which he can telle,

It springeth up as doth a welle,

Which mai non of his stremes hyde,

430Bot renneth out on every syde.

So buillen up the foule sawes

That Cheste wot of his felawes:

For as a Sive kepeth Ale,

Riht so can Cheste kepe a tale;

Al that he wot he wol desclose,

And speke er eny man oppose.

As a Cite withoute wal,

Wher men mai gon out overal

Withouten eny resistence,

440So with his croked eloquence

He spekth al that he wot withinne:

Wherof men lese mor than winne,

For ofte time of his chidinge

He bringth to house such tidinge,

That makth werre ate beddeshed.

He is the levein of the bred,

Which soureth al the past aboute:

Men oghte wel such on to doute,

For evere his bowe is redi bent,

450And whom he hit I telle him schent,

If he mai perce him with his tunge.

And ek so lowde his belle is runge,

That of the noise and of the soun

Men feeren hem in al the toun

Welmore than thei don of thonder.

For that is cause of more wonder;

For with the wyndes whiche he bloweth

Fulofte sythe he overthroweth

The Cites and the policie,

460That I have herd the poeple crie,

And echon seide in his degre,

“Ha wicke tunge, wo thee be!”

For men sein that the harde bon,

Althogh himselven have non,

A tunge brekth it al to pieces.

He hath so manye sondri spieces

Of vice, that I mai noght wel

Descrive hem be a thousendel:

Bot whan that he to Cheste falleth,

470Ful many a wonder thing befalleth,

For he ne can nothing forbere.

Now tell me, Sone, thin ansuere,

If it hath evere so betidd,

That thou at eny time hast chidd

Toward thi love. Fader, nay:

Such Cheste yit unto this day

Ne made I nevere, god forbede:

For er I sunge such a crede,

I hadde levere to be lewed;

480For thanne were I al beschrewed

And worthi to be put abak

With al the sorwe upon my bak

That eny man ordeigne cowthe.

Bot I spak nevere yit be mowthe

That unto Cheste mihte touche,

And that I durste riht wel vouche

Upon hirself as for witnesse;

For I wot, of hir gentilesse

That sche me wolde wel excuse,

490That I no suche thinges use.

And if it scholde so betide

That I algates moste chide,

It myhte noght be to my love:

For so yit was I nevere above,

For al this wyde world to winne

That I dorste eny word beginne,

Be which sche mihte have ben amoeved

And I of Cheste also reproeved.

Bot rathere, if it mihte hir like,

500The beste wordes wolde I pike

Whiche I cowthe in myn herte chese,

And serve hem forth in stede of chese,

For that is helplich to defie;

And so wolde I my wordes plie,

That mihten Wraththe and Cheste avale

With tellinge of my softe tale.

Thus dar I make a foreward,

That nevere unto my ladiward

Yit spak I word in such a wise,

510Wherof that Cheste scholde arise.

This seie I noght, that I fulofte

Ne have, whanne I spak most softe,

Per cas seid more thanne ynowh;

Bot so wel halt noman the plowh

That he ne balketh otherwhile,

Ne so wel can noman affile

His tunge, that som time in rape

Him mai som liht word overscape,

And yit ne meneth he no Cheste.

520Bot that I have ayein hir heste

Fulofte spoke, I am beknowe;

And how my will is, that ye knowe:

For whan my time comth aboute,

That I dar speke and seie al oute

Mi longe love, of which sche wot

That evere in on aliche hot

Me grieveth, thanne al my desese

I telle, and though it hir desplese,

I speke it forth and noght ne leve:

530And thogh it be beside hire leve,

I hope and trowe natheles

That I do noght ayein the pes;

For thogh I telle hire al my thoght,

Sche wot wel that I chyde noght.

Men mai the hihe god beseche,

And he wol hiere a mannes speche

And be noght wroth of that he seith;

So yifth it me the more feith

And makth me hardi, soth to seie,

540That I dar wel the betre preie

Mi ladi, which a womman is.

For thogh I telle hire that or this

Of love, which me grieveth sore,

Hire oghte noght be wroth the more,

For I withoute noise or cri

Mi pleignte make al buxomly

To puten alle wraththe away.

Thus dar I seie unto this day

Of Cheste in ernest or in game

550Mi ladi schal me nothing blame.

Bot ofte time it hath betidd

That with miselven I have chidd,

That noman couthe betre chide:

And that hath ben at every tide,

Whanne I cam to miself al one;

For thanne I made a prive mone,

And every tale by and by,

Which as I spak to my ladi,

I thenke and peise in my balance

560And drawe into my remembrance;

And thanne, if that I finde a lak

Of eny word that I mispak,

Which was to moche in eny wise,

Anon my wittes I despise

And make a chidinge in myn herte,

That eny word me scholde asterte

Which as I scholde have holden inne.

And so forth after I beginne

And loke if ther was elles oght

570To speke, and I ne spak it noght:

And thanne, if I mai seche and finde

That eny word be left behinde,

Which as I scholde more have spoke,

I wolde upon miself be wroke,

And chyde with miselven so

That al my wit is overgo.

For noman mai his time lore

Recovere, and thus I am therfore

So overwroth in al my thoght,

580That I myself chide al to noght:

Thus for to moche or for to lite

Fulofte I am miself to wyte.

Bot al that mai me noght availe,

With cheste thogh I me travaile:

Bot Oule on Stock and Stock on Oule;

The more that a man defoule,

Men witen wel which hath the werse;

And so to me nys worth a kerse,

Bot torneth on myn oghne hed,

590Thogh I, til that I were ded,

Wolde evere chyde in such a wise

Of love as I to you devise.

Bot, fader, now ye have al herd

In this manere how I have ferd

Of Cheste and of dissencioun,

Yif me youre absolucioun.

Mi Sone, if that thou wistest al,

What Cheste doth in special

To love and to his welwillinge,

600Thou woldest flen his knowlechinge

And lerne to be debonaire.

For who that most can speke faire

Is most acordende unto love:

Fair speche hath ofte brought above

Ful many a man, as it is knowe,

Which elles scholde have be riht lowe

And failed mochel of his wille.

Forthi hold thou thi tunge stille

And let thi witt thi wille areste,

610So that thou falle noght in Cheste,

Which is the source of gret destance:

And tak into thi remembrance

If thou miht gete pacience,

Which is the leche of alle offence,

As tellen ous these olde wise:

For whan noght elles mai suffise

Be strengthe ne be mannes wit,

Than pacience it oversit

And overcomth it ate laste;

620Bot he mai nevere longe laste,

Which wol noght bowe er that he breke.

Tak hiede, Sone, of that I speke.

Mi fader, of your goodli speche

And of the witt which ye me teche

I thonke you with al myn herte:

For that world schal me nevere asterte,

That I ne schal your wordes holde,

Of Pacience as ye me tolde,

Als ferforth as myn herte thenketh;

630And of my wraththe it me forthenketh.

Bot, fader, if ye forth withal

Som good ensample in special

Me wolden telle of som Cronique,

It scholde wel myn herte like

Of pacience forto hiere,

So that I mihte in mi matiere

The more unto my love obeie

And puten mi desese aweie.

Mi Sone, a man to beie him pes

640Behoveth soffre as Socrates

Ensample lefte, which is write:

And for thou schalt the sothe wite,

Of this ensample what I mene,

Althogh it be now litel sene

Among the men thilke evidence,

Yit he was upon pacience

So sett, that he himself assaie

In thing which mihte him most mispaie

Desireth, and a wickid wif

650He weddeth, which in sorwe and strif

Ayein his ese was contraire.

Bot he spak evere softe and faire,

Til it befell, as it is told,

In wynter, whan the dai is cold,

This wif was fro the welle come,

Wher that a pot with water nome

Sche hath, and broghte it into house,

And sih how that hire seli spouse

Was sett and loked on a bok

660Nyh to the fyr, as he which tok

His ese for a man of age.

And sche began the wode rage,

And axeth him what devel he thoghte,

And bar on hond that him ne roghte

What labour that sche toke on honde,

And seith that such an Housebonde

Was to a wif noght worth a Stre.

He seide nowther nay ne ye,

Bot hield him stille and let hire chyde;

670And sche, which mai hirself noght hyde,

Began withinne forto swelle,

And that sche broghte in fro the welle,

The waterpot sche hente alofte

And bad him speke, and he al softe

Sat stille and noght a word ansuerde;

And sche was wroth that he so ferde,

And axeth him if he be ded;

And al the water on his hed

Sche pourede oute and bad awake.

680Bot he, which wolde noght forsake

His Pacience, thanne spak,

And seide how that he fond no lak

In nothing which sche hadde do:

For it was wynter time tho,

And wynter, as be weie of kinde

Which stormy is, as men it finde,

Ferst makth the wyndes forto blowe,

And after that withinne a throwe

He reyneth and the watergates

690Undoth; “and thus my wif algates,

Which is with reson wel besein,

Hath mad me bothe wynd and rein

After the Sesoun of the yer.”

And thanne he sette him nerr the fer,

And as he mihte hise clothes dreide,

That he nomore o word ne seide;

Wherof he gat him somdel reste,

For that him thoghte was the beste.

I not if thilke ensample yit

700Acordeth with a mannes wit,

To soffre as Socrates tho dede:

And if it falle in eny stede

A man to lese so his galle,

Him oghte among the wommen alle

In loves Court be juggement

The name bere of Pacient,

To yive ensample to the goode

Of pacience how that it stode,

That othre men it mihte knowe.

710And, Sone, if thou at eny throwe

Be tempted ayein Pacience,

Tak hiede upon this evidence;

It schal per cas the lasse grieve.

Mi fader, so as I believe,

Of that schal be no maner nede,

For I wol take so good hiede,

That er I falle in such assai,

I thenke eschuie it, if I mai.

Bot if ther be oght elles more

720Wherof I mihte take lore,

I preie you, so as I dar,

Now telleth, that I mai be war,

Som other tale in this matiere.

Sone, it is evere good to lere,

Wherof thou miht thi word restreigne,

Er that thou falle in eny peine.

For who that can no conseil hyde,

He mai noght faile of wo beside,

Which schal befalle er he it wite,

730As I finde in the bokes write.

Yit cam ther nevere good of strif,

To seche in all a mannes lif:

Thogh it beginne on pure game,

Fulofte it torneth into grame

And doth grevance upon som side.

Wherof the grete Clerk Ovide

After the lawe which was tho

Of Jupiter and of Juno

Makth in his bokes mencioun

740How thei felle at dissencioun

In manere as it were a borde,

As thei begunne forto worde

Among hemself in privete:

And that was upon this degree,

Which of the tuo more amorous is,

Or man or wif. And upon this

Thei mihten noght acorde in on,

And toke a jugge therupon,

Which cleped is Tiresias,

750And bede him demen in the cas;

And he withoute avisement

Ayein Juno yaf juggement.

This goddesse upon his ansuere

Was wroth and wolde noght forbere,

Bot tok awey for everemo

The liht fro bothe hise yhen tuo.

Whan Jupiter this harm hath sein,

An other bienfait therayein

He yaf, and such a grace him doth,

760That for he wiste he seide soth,

A Sothseiere he was for evere:

Bot yit that other were levere,

Have had the lokinge of his yhe,

Than of his word the prophecie;

Bot how so that the sothe wente,

Strif was the cause of that he hente

So gret a peine bodily.

Mi Sone, be thou war ther by,

And hold thi tunge stille clos:

770For who that hath his word desclos

Er that he wite what he mene,

He is fulofte nyh his tene

And lest ful many time grace,

Wher that he wolde his thonk pourchace.

And over this, my Sone diere,

Of othre men, if thou miht hiere

In privete what thei have wroght,

Hold conseil and descoevere it noght,

For Cheste can no conseil hele,

780Or be it wo or be it wele:

And tak a tale into thi mynde,

The which of olde ensample I finde.

Phebus, which makth the daies lihte,

A love he hadde, which tho hihte

Cornide, whom aboven alle

He pleseth: bot what schal befalle

Of love ther is noman knoweth,

Bot as fortune hire happes throweth.

So it befell upon a chaunce,

790A yong kniht tok hire aqueintance

And hadde of hire al that he wolde:

Bot a fals bridd, which sche hath holde

And kept in chambre of pure yowthe,

Discoevereth all that evere he cowthe.

This briddes name was as tho

Corvus, the which was thanne also

Welmore whyt than eny Swan,

And he that schrewe al that he can

Of his ladi to Phebus seide;

800And he for wraththe his swerd outbreide,

With which Cornide anon he slowh.

Bot after him was wo ynowh,

And tok a full gret repentance,

Wherof in tokne and remembrance

Of hem whiche usen wicke speche,

Upon this bridd he tok this wreche,

That ther he was snow whyt tofore,

Evere afterward colblak therfore

He was transformed, as it scheweth,

810And many a man yit him beschreweth,

And clepen him into this day

A Raven, be whom yit men mai

Take evidence, whan he crieth,

That som mishapp it signefieth.

Be war therfore and sei the beste,

If thou wolt be thiself in reste,

Mi goode Sone, as I the rede.

For in an other place I rede

Of thilke Nimphe which Laar hihte:

820For sche the privete be nyhte,

How Jupiter lay be Jutorne,

Hath told, god made hire overtorne:

Hire tunge he kutte, and into helle

For evere he sende hir forto duelle,

As sche that was noght worthi hiere

To ben of love a Chamberere,

For sche no conseil cowthe hele.

And suche adaies be now fele

In loves Court, as it is seid,

830That lete here tunges gon unteid.

Mi Sone, be thou non of tho,

To jangle and telle tales so,

And namely that thou ne chyde,

For Cheste can no conseil hide,

For Wraththe seide nevere wel.

Mi fader, soth is everydel

That ye me teche, and I wol holde

The reule to which I am holde,

To fle the Cheste, as ye me bidde,

840For wel is him that nevere chidde.

Now tell me forth if ther be more

As touchende unto Wraththes lore.

Of Wraththe yit ther is an other,

Which is to Cheste his oghne brother,

And is be name cleped Hate,

That soffreth noght withinne his gate

That ther come owther love or pes,

For he wol make no reles

Of no debat which is befalle.

850Now spek, if thou art on of alle,

That with this vice hast ben withholde.

As yit for oght that ye me tolde,

Mi fader, I not what it is.

In good feith, Sone, I trowe yis.

Mi fader, nay, bot ye me lere.

Now lest, my Sone, and thou schalt here.

Hate is a wraththe noght schewende,

Bot of long time gaderende,

And duelleth in the herte loken,

860Til he se time to be wroken;

And thanne he scheweth his tempeste

Mor sodein than the wilde beste,

Which wot nothing what merci is.

Mi Sone, art thou knowende of this?

My goode fader, as I wene,

Now wot I somdel what ye mene;

Bot I dar saufly make an oth,

Mi ladi was me nevere loth.

I wol noght swere natheles

870That I of hate am gulteles;

For whanne I to my ladi plie

Fro dai to dai and merci crie,

And sche no merci on me leith

Bot schorte wordes to me seith,

Thogh I my ladi love algate,

Tho wordes moste I nedes hate;

And wolde thei were al despent,

Or so ferr oute of londe went

That I nevere after scholde hem hiere;

880And yit love I my ladi diere.

Thus is ther Hate, as ye mai se,

Betwen mi ladi word and me;

The word I hate and hire I love,

What so me schal betide of love.

Bot forthere mor I wol me schryve,

That I have hated al my lyve

These janglers, whiche of here Envie

Ben evere redi forto lie;

For with here fals compassement

890Fuloften thei have mad me schent

And hindred me fulofte time,

Whan thei no cause wisten bime,

Bot onliche of here oghne thoght:

And thus fuloften have I boght

The lie, and drank noght of the wyn.

I wolde here happ were such as myn:

For how so that I be now schrive,

To hem ne mai I noght foryive,

Til that I se hem at debat

900With love, and thanne myn astat

Thei mihten be here oghne deme,

And loke how wel it scholde hem qweme

To hindre a man that loveth sore.

And thus I hate hem everemore,

Til love on hem wol don his wreche:

For that schal I alway beseche

Unto the mihti Cupido,

That he so mochel wolde do,

So as he is of love a godd,

910To smyte hem with the same rodd

With which I am of love smite;

So that thei mihten knowe and wite

How hindringe is a wofull peine

To him that love wolde atteigne.

Thus evere on hem I wayte and hope,

Til I mai sen hem lepe a lope,

And halten on the same Sor

Which I do now: for overmor

I wolde thanne do my myht

920So forto stonden in here lyht,

That thei ne scholden finde a weie

To that thei wolde, bot aweie

I wolde hem putte out of the stede

Fro love, riht as thei me dede

With that thei speke of me be mowthe.

So wolde I do, if that I cowthe,

Of hem, and this, so god me save,

Is al the hate that I have,

Toward these janglers everydiel;

930I wolde alle othre ferde wel.

Thus have I, fader, said mi wille;

Say ye now forth, for I am stille.

Mi Sone, of that thou hast me said

I holde me noght fulli paid:

That thou wolt haten eny man,

To that acorden I ne can,

Thogh he have hindred thee tofore.

Bot this I telle thee therfore,

Thou miht upon my beneicoun

940Wel haten the condicioun

Of tho janglers, as thou me toldest,

Bot furthermor, of that thou woldest

Hem hindre in eny other wise,

Such Hate is evere to despise.

Forthi, mi Sone, I wol thee rede,

That thou drawe in be frendlihede

That thou ne miht noght do be hate;

So miht thou gete love algate

And sette thee, my Sone, in reste,

950For thou schalt finde it for the beste.

And over this, so as I dar,

I rede that thou be riht war

Of othre mennes hate aboute,

Which every wysman scholde doute:

For Hate is evere upon await,

And as the fisshere on his bait

Sleth, whan he seth the fisshes faste,

So, whan he seth time ate laste,

That he mai worche an other wo,

960Schal noman tornen him therfro,

That Hate nyle his felonie

Fulfille and feigne compaignie

Yit natheles, for fals Semblant

Is toward him of covenant

Withholde, so that under bothe

The prive wraththe can him clothe,

That he schal seme of gret believe.

Bot war thee wel that thou ne lieve

Al that thou sest tofore thin yhe,

970So as the Gregois whilom syhe:

The bok of Troie who so rede,

Ther mai he finde ensample in dede.

Sone after the destruccioun,

Whan Troie was al bete doun

And slain was Priamus the king,

The Gregois, whiche of al this thing

Ben cause, tornen hom ayein.

Ther mai noman his happ withsein;

It hath be sen and felt fulofte,

980The harde time after the softe:

Be See as thei forth homward wente,

A rage of gret tempeste hem hente;

Juno let bende hire parti bowe,

The Sky wax derk, the wynd gan blowe,

The firy welkne gan to thondre,

As thogh the world scholde al to sondre;

Fro hevene out of the watergates

The reyni Storm fell doun algates

And al here takel made unwelde,

990That noman mihte himself bewelde.

Ther mai men hiere Schipmen crie,

That stode in aunter forto die:

He that behinde sat to stiere

Mai noght the forestempne hiere;

The Schip aros ayein the wawes,

The lodesman hath lost his lawes,

The See bet in on every side:

Thei nysten what fortune abide,

Bot sette hem al in goddes wille,

1000Wher he hem wolde save or spille.

And it fell thilke time thus:

Ther was a king, the which Namplus

Was hote, and he a Sone hadde,

At Troie which the Gregois ladde,

As he that was mad Prince of alle,

Til that fortune let him falle:

His name was Palamades.

Bot thurgh an hate natheles

Of some of hem his deth was cast

1010And he be tresoun overcast.

His fader, whan he herde it telle,

He swor, if evere his time felle,

He wolde him venge, if that he mihte,

And therto his avou behihte:

And thus this king thurgh prive hate

Abod upon await algate,

For he was noght of such emprise

To vengen him in open wise.

The fame, which goth wyde where,

1020Makth knowe how that the Gregois were

Homward with al the felaschipe

Fro Troie upon the See be Schipe.

Namplus, whan he this understod,

And knew the tydes of the flod,

And sih the wynd blew to the lond,

A gret deceipte anon he fond

Of prive hate, as thou schalt hiere,

Wherof I telle al this matiere.

This king the weder gan beholde,

1030And wiste wel thei moten holde

Here cours endlong his marche riht,

And made upon the derke nyht

Of grete Schydes and of blockes

Gret fyr ayein the grete rockes,

To schewe upon the helles hihe,

So that the Flete of Grece it sihe.

And so it fell riht as he thoghte:

This Flete, which an havene soghte,

The bryghte fyres sih a ferr,

1040And thei hem drowen nerr and nerr,

And wende wel and understode

How al that fyr was made for goode,

To schewe wher men scholde aryve,

And thiderward thei hasten blyve.

In Semblant, as men sein, is guile,

And that was proved thilke while;

The Schip, which wende his helpe acroche,

Drof al to pieces on the roche,

And so ther deden ten or twelve;

1050Ther mihte noman helpe himselve,

For ther thei wenden deth ascape,

Withouten help here deth was schape.

Thus thei that comen ferst tofore

Upon the Rockes be forlore,

Bot thurgh the noise and thurgh the cri

These othre were al war therby;

And whan the dai began to rowe,

Tho mihten thei the sothe knowe,

That wher they wenden frendes finde,

1060Thei founden frenschipe al behinde.

The lond was thanne sone weyved,

Wher that thei hadden be deceived,

And toke hem to the hihe See;

Therto thei seiden alle yee,

Fro that dai forth and war thei were

Of that thei hadde assaied there.

Mi Sone, hierof thou miht avise

How fraude stant in many wise

Amonges hem that guile thenke;

1070Ther is no Scrivein with his enke

Which half the fraude wryte can

That stant in such a maner man:

Forthi the wise men ne demen

The thinges after that thei semen,

Bot after that thei knowe and finde.

The Mirour scheweth in his kinde

As he hadde al the world withinne,

And is in soth nothing therinne;

And so farth Hate for a throwe:

1080Til he a man hath overthrowe,

Schal noman knowe be his chere

Which is avant, ne which arere.

Forthi, mi Sone, thenke on this.

Mi fader, so I wole ywiss;

And if ther more of Wraththe be,

Now axeth forth per charite,

As ye be youre bokes knowe,

And I the sothe schal beknowe.

Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde

1090That yit towardes Wraththe stonde

Of dedly vices othre tuo:

And forto telle here names so,

It is Contek and Homicide,

That ben to drede on every side.

Contek, so as the bokes sein,

Folhast hath to his Chamberlein,

Be whos conseil al unavised

Is Pacience most despised,

Til Homicide with hem meete.

1100Fro merci thei ben al unmeete,

And thus ben thei the worste of alle

Of hem whiche unto wraththe falle,

In dede bothe and ek in thoght:

For thei acompte here wraththe at noght,

Bot if ther be schedinge of blod;

And thus lich to a beste wod

Thei knowe noght the god of lif.

Be so thei have or swerd or knif

Here dedly wraththe forto wreke,

1110Of Pite list hem noght to speke;

Non other reson thei ne fonge,

Bot that thei ben of mihtes stronge.

Bot war hem wel in other place,

Where every man behoveth grace,

Bot ther I trowe it schal hem faile,

To whom no merci mihte availe,

Bot wroghten upon tiraundie,

That no pite ne mihte hem plie.

Now tell, my Sone. Fader, what?

1120If thou hast be coupable of that.

Mi fader, nay, Crist me forbiede:

I speke onliche as of the dede,

Of which I nevere was coupable

Withoute cause resonable.

Bot this is noght to mi matiere

Of schrifte, why we sitten hiere;

For we ben sett to schryve of love,

As we begunne ferst above:

And natheles I am beknowe

1130That as touchende of loves throwe,

Whan I my wittes overwende,

Min hertes contek hath non ende,

Bot evere it stant upon debat

To gret desese of myn astat

As for the time that it lasteth.

For whan mi fortune overcasteth

Hire whiel and is to me so strange,

And that I se sche wol noght change,

Than caste I al the world aboute,

1140And thenke hou I at home and oute

Have al my time in vein despended,

And se noght how to ben amended,

Bot rathere forto be empeired,

As he that is welnyh despeired:

For I ne mai no thonk deserve,

And evere I love and evere I serve,

And evere I am aliche nerr.

Thus, for I stonde in such a wer,

I am, as who seith, out of herre;

1150And thus upon miself the werre

I bringe, and putte out alle pes,

That I fulofte in such a res

Am wery of myn oghne lif.

So that of Contek and of strif

I am beknowe and have ansuerd,

As ye, my fader, now have herd.

Min herte is wonderly begon

With conseil, wherof witt is on,

Which hath resoun in compaignie;

1160Ayein the whiche stant partie

Will, which hath hope of his acord,

And thus thei bringen up descord.

Witt and resoun conseilen ofte

That I myn herte scholde softe,

And that I scholde will remue

And put him out of retenue,

Or elles holde him under fote:

For as thei sein, if that he mote

His oghne rewle have upon honde,

1170Ther schal no witt ben understonde.

Of hope also thei tellen this,

That overal, wher that he is,

He set the herte in jeupartie

With wihssinge and with fantasie,

And is noght trewe of that he seith,

So that in him ther is no feith:

Thus with reson and wit avised

Is will and hope aldai despised.

Reson seith that I scholde leve

1180To love, wher ther is no leve

To spede, and will seith therayein

That such an herte is to vilein,

Which dar noght love and til he spede,

Let hope serve at such a nede:

He seith ek, where an herte sit

Al hol governed upon wit,

He hath this lyves lust forlore.

And thus myn herte is al totore

Of such a Contek as thei make:

1190Bot yit I mai noght will forsake,

That he nys Maister of my thoght,

Or that I spede, or spede noght.

Thou dost, my Sone, ayein the riht;

Bot love is of so gret a miht,

His lawe mai noman refuse,

So miht thou thee the betre excuse.

And natheles thou schalt be lerned

That will scholde evere be governed

Of reson more than of kinde,

1200Wherof a tale write I finde.

A Philosophre of which men tolde

Ther was whilom be daies olde,

And Diogenes thanne he hihte.

So old he was that he ne mihte

The world travaile, and for the beste

He schop him forto take his reste,

And duelte at hom in such a wise,

That nyh his hous he let devise

Endlong upon an Axeltre

1210To sette a tonne in such degre,

That he it mihte torne aboute;

Wherof on hed was taken oute,

For he therinne sitte scholde

And torne himself so as he wolde,

To take their and se the hevene

And deme of the planetes sevene,

As he which cowthe mochel what.

And thus fulofte there he sat

To muse in his philosophie

1220Solein withoute compaignie:

So that upon a morwetyde,

As thing which scholde so betyde,

Whan he was set ther as him liste

To loke upon the Sonne ariste,

Wherof the propretes he sih,

It fell ther cam ridende nyh

King Alisandre with a route;

And as he caste his yhe aboute,

He sih this Tonne, and what it mente

1230He wolde wite, and thider sente

A knyht, be whom he mihte it knowe,

And he himself that ilke throwe

Abod, and hoveth there stille.

This kniht after the kinges wille

With spore made his hors to gon

And to the tonne he cam anon,

Wher that he fond a man of Age,

And he him tolde the message,

Such as the king him hadde bede,

1240And axeth why in thilke stede

The Tonne stod, and what it was.

And he, which understod the cas,

Sat stille and spak no word ayein.

The kniht bad speke and seith, “Vilein,

Thou schalt me telle, er that I go;

It is thi king which axeth so.”

“Mi king,” quod he, “that were unriht.”

“What is he thanne?” seith the kniht,

“Is he thi man?” “That seie I noght,”

1250Quod he, “bot this I am bethoght,

Mi mannes man hou that he is.”

“Thou lyest, false cherl, ywiss,”

The kniht him seith, and was riht wroth,

And to the king ayein he goth

And tolde him how this man ansuerde.

The king, whan he this tale herde,

Bad that thei scholden alle abyde,

For he himself wol thider ryde.

And whan he cam tofore the tonne,

1260He hath his tale thus begonne:

“Alheil,” he seith, “what man art thou?”

Quod he, “Such on as thou sest now.”

The king, which hadde wordes wise,

His age wolde noght despise,

Bot seith, “Mi fader, I thee preie

That thou me wolt the cause seie,

How that I am thi mannes man.”

“Sire king,” quod he, “and that I can,

If that thou wolt.” “Yis,” seith the king.

1270Quod he, “This is the sothe thing:

Sith I ferst resoun understod,

And knew what thing was evel and good,

The will which of my bodi moeveth,

Whos werkes that the god reproeveth,

I have restreigned everemore,

As him which stant under the lore

Of reson, whos soubgit he is,

So that he mai noght don amis:

And thus be weie of covenant

1280Will is my man and my servant,

And evere hath ben and evere schal.

And thi will is thi principal,

And hath the lordschipe of thi witt,

So that thou cowthest nevere yit

Take o dai reste of thi labour;

Bot forto ben a conquerour

Of worldes good, which mai noght laste,

Thou hiest evere aliche faste,

Wher thou no reson hast to winne:

1290And thus thi will is cause of Sinne,

And is thi lord, to whom thou servest,

Wherof thou litel thonk deservest.”

The king of that he thus answerde

Was nothing wroth, bot whanne he herde

The hihe wisdom which he seide,

With goodly wordes this he preide,

That he him wolde telle his name.

“I am,” quod he, “that ilke same,

The which men Diogenes calle.”

1300Tho was the king riht glad withalle,

For he hadde often herd tofore

What man he was, so that therfore

He seide, “O wise Diogene,

Now schal thi grete witt be sene;

For thou schalt of my yifte have

What worldes thing that thou wolt crave.”

Quod he, “Thanne hove out of mi Sonne,

And let it schyne into mi Tonne;

For thou benymst me thilke yifte,

1310Which lith noght in thi miht to schifte:

Non other good of thee me nedeth.”

This king, whom every contre dredeth,

Lo, thus he was enformed there:

Wherof, my Sone, thou miht lere

How that thi will schal noght be lieved,

Where it is noght of wit relieved.

And thou hast seid thiself er this

How that thi will thi maister is;

Thurgh which thin hertes thoght withinne

1320Is evere of Contek to beginne,

So that it is gretli to drede

That it non homicide brede.

For love is of a wonder kinde,

And hath hise wittes ofte blinde,

That thei fro mannes reson falle;

Bot whan that it is so befalle

That will schal the corage lede,

In loves cause it is to drede:

Wherof I finde ensample write,

1330Which is behovely forto wite.

I rede a tale, and telleth this:

The Cite which Semiramis

Enclosed hath with wall aboute,

Of worthi folk with many a route

Was enhabited here and there;

Among the whiche tuo ther were

Above alle othre noble and grete,

Dwellende tho withinne a Strete

So nyh togedre, as it was sene,

1340That ther was nothing hem betwene,

Bot wow to wow and wall to wall.

This o lord hadde in special

A Sone, a lusti Bacheler,

In al the toun was non his pier:

That other hadde a dowhter eke,

In al the lond that forto seke

Men wisten non so faire as sche.

And fell so, as it scholde be,

This faire dowhter nyh this Sone

1350As thei togedre thanne wone,

Cupide hath so the thinges schape,

That thei ne mihte his hand ascape,

That he his fyr on hem ne caste:

Wherof her herte he overcaste

To folwe thilke lore and suie

Which nevere man yit miht eschuie;

And that was love, as it is happed,

Which hath here hertes so betrapped,

That thei be alle weies seche

1360How that thei mihten winne a speche,

Here wofull peine forto lisse.

Who loveth wel, it mai noght misse,

And namely whan ther be tuo

Of on acord, how so it go,

Bot if that thei som weie finde;

For love is evere of such a kinde

And hath his folk so wel affaited,

That howso that it be awaited,

Ther mai noman the pourpos lette:

1370And thus betwen hem tuo thei sette

And hole upon a wall to make,

Thurgh which thei have her conseil take

At alle times, whan thei myhte.

This faire Maiden Tisbee hihte,

And he whom that sche loveth hote

Was Piramus be name hote.

So longe here lecoun thei recorden,

Til ate laste thei acorden

Be nihtes time forto wende

1380Al one out fro the tounes ende,

Wher was a welle under a Tree;

And who cam ferst, or sche or he,

He scholde stille there abide.

So it befell the nyhtes tide

This maiden, which desguised was,

Al prively the softe pas

Goth thurgh the large toun unknowe,

Til that sche cam withinne a throwe

Wher that sche liketh forto duelle,

1390At thilke unhappi freisshe welle,

Which was also the Forest nyh.

Wher sche comende a Leoun syh

Into the feld to take his preie,

In haste and sche tho fledde aweie,

So as fortune scholde falle,

For feere and let hire wympel falle

Nyh to the welle upon therbage.

This Leoun in his wilde rage

A beste, which that he fond oute,

1400Hath slain, and with his blodi snoute,

Whan he hath eten what he wolde,

To drynke of thilke stremes colde

Cam to the welle, where he fond

The wympel, which out of hire hond

Was falle, and he it hath todrawe,

Bebled aboute and al forgnawe;

And thanne he strawhte him forto drinke

Upon the freisshe welles brinke,

And after that out of the plein

1410He torneth to the wode ayein.

And Tisbee dorste noght remue,

Bot as a bridd which were in Mue

Withinne a buissh sche kepte hire clos

So stille that sche noght aros;

Unto hirself and pleigneth ay.

And fell, whil that sche there lay,

This Piramus cam after sone

Unto the welle, and be the Mone

He fond hire wimpel blodi there.

1420Cam nevere yit to mannes Ere

Tidinge, ne to mannes sihte

Merveile, which so sore aflihte

A mannes herte, as it tho dede

To him, which in the same stede

With many a wofull compleignynge

Began his handes forto wringe,

As he which demeth sikerly

That sche be ded: and sodeinly

His swerd al nakid out he breide

1430In his folhaste, and thus he seide:

“I am cause of this felonie,

So it is resoun that I die,

As sche is ded be cause of me.”

And with that word upon his kne

He fell, and to the goddes alle

Up to the hevene he gan to calle,

And preide, sithen it was so

That he may noght his love as tho

Have in this world, that of her grace

1440He miht hire have in other place,

For hiere wolde he noght abide,

He seith: bot as it schal betide,

The Pomel of his swerd to grounde

He sette, and thurgh his herte a wounde

He made up to the bare hilte:

And in this wise himself he spilte

With his folhaste and deth he nam;

For sche withinne a while cam,

Wher he lai ded upon his knif.

1450So wofull yit was nevere lif

As Tisbee was, whan sche him sih:

Sche mihte noght o word on hih

Speke oute, for hire herte schette,

That of hir lif no pris sche sette,

Bot ded swounende doun sche fell.

Til after, whanne it so befell

That sche out of hire traunce awok,

With many a wofull pitous lok

Hire yhe alwei among sche caste

1460Upon hir love, and ate laste

Sche cawhte breth and seide thus:

“O thou which cleped art Venus,

Goddesse of love, and thou, Cupide,

Which loves cause hast forto guide,

I wot now wel that ye be blinde,

Of thilke unhapp which I now finde

Only betwen my love and me.

This Piramus, which hiere I se

Bledende, what hath he deserved?

1470For he youre heste hath kept and served,

And was yong and I bothe also:

Helas, why do ye with ous so?

Ye sette oure herte bothe afyre,

And maden ous such thing desire

Wherof that we no skile cowthe;

Bot thus oure freisshe lusti yowthe

Withoute joie is al despended,

Which thing mai nevere ben amended:

For as of me this wol I seie,

1480That me is levere forto deie

Than live after this sorghful day.”

And with this word, where as he lay,

Hire love in armes sche embraseth,

Hire oghne deth and so pourchaseth

That now sche wepte and nou sche kiste,

Til ate laste, er sche it wiste,

So gret a sorwe is to hire falle,

Which overgoth hire wittes alle.

As sche which mihte it noght asterte,

1490The swerdes point ayein hire herte

Sche sette, and fell doun therupon,

Wherof that sche was ded anon:

And thus bothe on o swerd bledende

Thei weren founde ded liggende.

Now thou, mi Sone, hast herd this tale,

Bewar that of thin oghne bale

Thou be noght cause in thi folhaste,

And kep that thou thi witt ne waste

Upon thi thoght in aventure,

1500Wherof thi lyves forfeture

Mai falle: and if thou have so thoght

Er this, tell on and hyde it noght.

Mi fader, upon loves side

Mi conscience I woll noght hyde,

How that for love of pure wo

I have ben ofte moeved so,

That with my wisshes if I myhte,

A thousand times, I yow plyhte,

I hadde storven in a day;

1510And therof I me schryve may,

Though love fully me ne slowh,

Mi will to deie was ynowh,

So am I of my will coupable:

And yit is sche noght merciable,

Which mai me yive lif and hele.

Bot that hir list noght with me dele,

I wot be whos conseil it is,

And him wolde I long time er this,

And yit I wolde and evere schal,

1520Slen and destruie in special.

The gold of nyne kinges londes

Ne scholde him save fro myn hondes,

In my pouer if that he were;

Bot yit him stant of me no fere

For noght that evere I can manace.

He is the hindrere of mi grace,

Til he be ded I mai noght spede;

So mot I nedes taken hiede

And schape how that he were aweie,

1530If I therto mai finde a weie.

Mi Sone, tell me now forthi,

Which is that mortiel enemy

That thou manacest to be ded.

Mi fader, it is such a qwed,

That wher I come, he is tofore,

And doth so, that mi cause is lore.

What is his name? It is Daunger,

Which is mi ladi consailer:

For I was nevere yit so slyh,

1540To come in eny place nyh

Wher as sche was be nyht or day,

That Danger ne was redy ay,

With whom for speche ne for mede

Yit mihte I nevere of love spede;

For evere this I finde soth,

Al that my ladi seith or doth

To me, Daunger schal make an ende,

And that makth al mi world miswende:

And evere I axe his help, bot he

1550Mai wel be cleped sanz pite;

For ay the more I to him bowe,

The lasse he wol my tale alowe.

He hath mi ladi so englued,

Sche wol noght that he be remued;

For evere he hangeth on hire Seil,

And is so prive of conseil,

That evere whanne I have oght bede,

I finde Danger in hire stede

And myn ansuere of him I have;

1560Bot for no merci that I crave,

Of merci nevere a point I hadde.

I finde his ansuere ay so badde,

That werse mihte it nevere be:

And thus betwen Danger and me

Is evere werre til he dye.

Bot mihte I ben of such maistrie,

That I Danger hadde overcome,

With that were al my joie come.

Thus wolde I wonde for no Sinne,

1570Ne yit for al this world to winne;

If that I mihte finde a sleyhte,

To leie al myn astat in weyhte,

I wolde him fro the Court dissevere,

So that he come ayeinward nevere.

Therfore I wisshe and wolde fain

That he were in som wise slain;

For while he stant in thilke place,

Ne gete I noght my ladi grace.

Thus hate I dedly thilke vice,

1580And wolde he stode in non office

In place wher mi ladi is;

For if he do, I wot wel this,

That owther schal he deie or I

Withinne a while; and noght forthi

On my ladi fulofte I muse,

How that sche mai hirself excuse,

If that I deie in such a plit.

Me thenkth sche mihte noght be qwyt

That sche ne were an homicide:

1590And if it scholde so betide,

As god forbiede it scholde be,

Be double weie it is pite.

For I, which al my will and witt

Have yove and served evere yit,

And thanne I scholde in such a wise

In rewardinge of my servise

Be ded, me thenkth it were a rowthe:

And furthermor, to telle trowthe,

Sche, that hath evere be wel named,

1600Were worthi thanne to be blamed

And of reson to ben appeled,

Whan with o word sche mihte have heled

A man, and soffreth him so deie.

Ha, who sawh evere such a weie?

Ha, who sawh evere such destresse?

Withoute pite gentilesse,

Withoute mercy wommanhede,

That wol so quyte a man his mede,

Which evere hath be to love trewe.

1610Mi goode fader, if ye rewe

Upon mi tale, tell me now,

And I wol stinte and herkne yow.

Mi Sone, attempre thi corage

Fro Wraththe, and let thin herte assuage:

For who so wole him underfonge,

He mai his grace abide longe,

Er he of love be received;

And ek also, bot it be weyved,

Ther mihte mochel thing befalle,

1620That scholde make a man to falle

Fro love, that nevere afterward

Ne durste he loke thiderward.

In harde weies men gon softe,

And er thei clymbe avise hem ofte:

Men sen alday that rape reweth;

And who so wicked Ale breweth,

Fulofte he mot the werse drinke:

Betre is to flete than to sincke;

Betre is upon the bridel chiewe

1630Thanne if he felle and overthrewe,

The hors and stikede in the Myr:

To caste water in the fyr

Betre is than brenne up al the hous:

The man which is malicious

And folhastif, fulofte he falleth,

And selden is whan love him calleth.

Forthi betre is to soffre a throwe

Than be to wilde and overthrowe;

Suffrance hath evere be the beste

1640To wissen him that secheth reste:

And thus, if thou wolt love and spede,

Mi Sone, soffre, as I the rede.

What mai the Mous ayein the Cat?

And for this cause I axe that,

Who mai to love make a werre,

That he ne hath himself the werre?

Love axeth pes and evere schal,

And who that fihteth most withal

Schal lest conquere of his emprise:

1650For this thei tellen that ben wise,

Wicke is to stryve and have the werse;

To hasten is noght worth a kerse;

Thing that a man mai noght achieve,

That mai noght wel be don at Eve,

It mot abide til the morwe.

Ne haste noght thin oghne sorwe,

Mi Sone, and tak this in thi witt,

He hath noght lost that wel abitt.

Ensample that it falleth thus,

1660Thou miht wel take of Piramus,

Whan he in haste his swerd outdrowh

And on the point himselve slowh

For love of Tisbee pitously,

For he hire wympel fond blody

And wende a beste hire hadde slain;

Wher as him oghte have be riht fain,

For sche was there al sauf beside:

Bot for he wolde noght abide,

This meschief fell. Forthi be war,

1670Mi Sone, as I the warne dar,

Do thou nothing in such a res,

For suffrance is the welle of Pes.

Thogh thou to loves Court poursuie,

Yit sit it wel that thou eschuie

That thou the Court noght overhaste,

For so miht thou thi time waste;

Bot if thin happ therto be schape,

It mai noght helpe forto rape.

Therfore attempre thi corage;

1680Folhaste doth non avantage,

Bot ofte it set a man behinde

In cause of love, and that I finde

Be olde ensample, as thou schalt hiere,

Touchende of love in this matiere.

A Maiden whilom ther was on,

Which Daphne hihte, and such was non

Of beaute thanne, as it was seid.

Phebus his love hath on hire leid,

And therupon to hire he soghte

1690In his folhaste, and so besoghte,

That sche with him no reste hadde;

For evere upon hire love he gradde,

And sche seide evere unto him nay.

So it befell upon a dai,

Cupide, which hath every chance

Of love under his governance,

Syh Phebus hasten him so sore:

And for he scholde him haste more,

And yit noght speden ate laste,

1700A dart thurghout his herte he caste,

Which was of gold and al afyre,

That made him manyfold desire

Of love more thanne he dede.

To Daphne ek in the same stede

A dart of Led he caste and smot,

Which was al cold and nothing hot.

And thus Phebus in love brenneth,

And in his haste aboute renneth,

To loke if that he mihte winne;

1710Bot he was evere to beginne,

For evere awei fro him sche fledde,

So that he nevere his love spedde.

And forto make him full believe

That no Folhaste mihte achieve

To gete love in such degree,

This Daphne into a lorer tre

Was torned, which is evere grene,

In tokne, as yit it mai be sene,

That sche schal duelle a maiden stille,

1720And Phebus failen of his wille.

Be suche ensamples, as thei stonde,

Mi Sone, thou miht understonde,

To hasten love is thing in vein,

Whan that fortune is therayein.

To take where a man hath leve

Good is, and elles he mot leve;

For whan a mannes happes failen,

Ther is non haste mai availen.

Mi fader, grant merci of this:

1730Bot while I se mi ladi is

No tre, but halt hire oghne forme,

Ther mai me noman so enforme,

To whether part fortune wende,

That I unto mi lyves ende

Ne wol hire serven everemo.

Mi Sone, sithen it is so,

I seie nomor; bot in this cas

Bewar how it with Phebus was.

Noght only upon loves chance,

1740Bot upon every governance

Which falleth unto mannes dede,

Folhaste is evere forto drede,

And that a man good consail take,

Er he his pourpos undertake,

For consail put Folhaste aweie.

Now goode fader, I you preie,

That forto wisse me the more,

Som good ensample upon this lore

Ye wolden telle of that is write,

1750That I the betre mihte wite

How I Folhaste scholde eschuie,

And the wisdom of conseil suie.

Mi Sone, that thou miht enforme

Thi pacience upon the forme

Of old essamples, as thei felle,

Now understond what I schal telle.

Whan noble Troie was belein

And overcome, and hom ayein

The Gregois torned fro the siege,

1760The kinges founde here oghne liege

In manye places, as men seide,

That hem forsoke and desobeide.

Among the whiche fell this cas

To Demephon and Athemas,

That weren kinges bothe tuo,

And bothe weren served so:

Here lieges wolde hem noght receive,

So that thei mote algates weyve

To seche lond in other place,

1770For there founde thei no grace.

Wherof they token hem to rede,

And soghten frendes ate nede,

And ech of hem asseureth other

To helpe as to his oghne brother,

To vengen hem of thilke oultrage

And winne ayein here heritage.

And thus thei ryde aboute faste

To gete hem help, and ate laste

Thei hadden pouer sufficant,

1780And maden thanne a covenant,

That thei ne scholden no lif save,

Ne prest, ne clerc, ne lord, ne knave,

Ne wif, ne child, of that thei finde,

Which berth visage of mannes kinde,

So that no lif schal be socoured,

Bot with the dedly swerd devoured:

In such Folhaste here ordinance

Thei schapen forto do vengance.

Whan this pourpos was wist and knowe

1790Among here host, tho was ther blowe

Of wordes many a speche aboute:

Of yonge men the lusti route

Were of this tale glad ynowh,

Ther was no care for the plowh;

As thei that weren Folhastif,

Thei ben acorded to the strif,

And sein it mai noght be to gret

To vengen hem of such forfet:

Thus seith the wilde unwise tonge

1800Of hem that there weren yonge.

Bot Nestor, which was old and hor,

The salve sih tofore the sor,

As he that was of conseil wys:

So that anon be his avis

Ther was a prive conseil nome.

The lordes ben togedre come;

This Demephon and Athemas

Here pourpos tolden, as it was;

Thei sieten alle stille and herde,

1810Was non bot Nestor hem ansuerde.

He bad hem, if thei wolde winne,

They scholden se, er thei beginne,

Here ende, and sette here ferste entente,

That thei hem after ne repente:

And axeth hem this questioun,

To what final conclusioun

Thei wolde regne Kinges there,

If that no poeple in londe were;

And seith, it were a wonder wierde

1820To sen a king become an hierde,

Wher no lif is bot only beste

Under the liegance of his heste;

For who that is of man no king,

The remenant is as no thing.

He seith ek, if the pourpos holde

To sle the poeple, as thei tuo wolde,

Whan thei it mihte noght restore,

Al Grece it scholde abegge sore,

To se the wilde beste wone

1830Wher whilom duelte a mannes Sone:

And for that cause he bad hem trete,

And stinte of the manaces grete.

Betre is to winne be fair speche,

He seith, than such vengance seche;

For whanne a man is most above,

Him nedeth most to gete him love.

Whan Nestor hath his tale seid,

Ayein him was no word withseid;

It thoghte hem alle he seide wel:

1840And thus fortune hire dedly whiel

Fro werre torneth into pes.

Bot forth thei wenten natheles;

And whan the Contres herde sein

How that here kinges be besein

Of such a pouer as thei ladde,

Was non so bold that hem ne dradde,

And forto seche pes and grith

Thei sende and preide anon forthwith,

So that the kinges ben appesed,

1850And every mannes herte is esed;

Al was foryete and noght recorded.

And thus thei ben togedre acorded;

The kinges were ayein received,

And pes was take and wraththe weived,

And al thurgh conseil which was good

Of him that reson understod.

Be this ensample, Sone, attempre

Thin herte and let no will distempre

Thi wit, and do nothing be myht

1860Which mai be do be love and riht.

Folhaste is cause of mochel wo;

Forthi, mi Sone, do noght so.

And as touchende of Homicide

Which toucheth unto loves side,

Fulofte it falleth unavised

Thurgh will, which is noght wel assised,

Whan wit and reson ben aweie

And that Folhaste is in the weie,

Wherof hath falle gret vengance.

1870Forthi tak into remembrance

To love in such a maner wise

That thou deserve no juise:

For wel I wot, thou miht noght lette,

That thou ne schalt thin herte sette

To love, wher thou wolt or non;

Bot if thi wit be overgon,

So that it torne into malice,

Ther wot noman of thilke vice,

What peril that ther mai befalle:

1880Wherof a tale amonges alle,

Which is gret pite forto hiere,

I thenke forto tellen hiere,

That thou such moerdre miht withstonde,

Whan thou the tale hast understonde.

Of Troie at thilke noble toun,

Whos fame stant yit of renoun

And evere schal to mannes Ere,

The Siege laste longe there,

Er that the Greks it mihten winne,

1890Whil Priamus was king therinne;

Bot of the Greks that lyhe aboute

Agamenon ladde al the route.

This thing is knowen overal,

Bot yit I thenke in special

To my matiere therupon

Telle in what wise Agamenon,

Thurgh chance which mai noght be weived,

Of love untrewe was deceived.

An old sawe is, “Who that is slyh

1900In place where he mai be nyh,

He makth the ferre Lieve loth”:

Of love and thus fulofte it goth.

Ther while Agamenon batailleth

To winne Troie, and it assailleth,

Fro home and was long time ferr,

Egistus drowh his qweene nerr,

And with the leiser which he hadde

This ladi at his wille he ladde:

Climestre was hire rihte name,

1910Sche was therof gretli to blame,

To love there it mai noght laste.

Bot fell to meschief ate laste;

For whan this noble worthi kniht

Fro Troie cam, the ferste nyht

That he at home abedde lay,

Egistus, longe er it was day,

As this Climestre him hadde asent,

And weren bothe of on assent,

Be treson slowh him in his bedd.

1920Bot moerdre, which mai noght ben hedd,

Sprong out to every mannes Ere,

Wherof the lond was full of fere.

Agamenon hath be this qweene

A Sone, and that was after sene;

Bot yit as thanne he was of yowthe,

A babe, which no reson cowthe,

And as godd wolde, it fell him thus.

A worthi kniht Taltabius

This yonge child hath in kepinge,

1930And whan he herde of this tidinge,

Of this treson, of this misdede,

He gan withinne himself to drede,

In aunter if this false Egiste

Upon him come, er he it wiste,

To take and moerdre of his malice

This child, which he hath to norrice:

And for that cause in alle haste

Out of the lond he gan him haste

And to the king of Crete he strawhte

1940And him this yonge lord betawhte,

And preide him for his fader sake

That he this child wolde undertake

And kepe him til he be of Age,

So as he was of his lignage;

And tolde him over al the cas,

How that his fadre moerdred was,

And hou Egistus, as men seide,

Was king, to whom the lond obeide.

And whanne Ydomeneux the king

1950Hath understondinge of this thing,

Which that this kniht him hadde told,

He made sorwe manyfold,

And tok this child into his warde,

And seide he wolde him kepe and warde,

Til that he were of such a myht

To handle a swerd and ben a knyht,

To venge him at his oghne wille.

And thus Horestes duelleth stille,

Such was the childes rihte name,

1960Which after wroghte mochel schame

In vengance of his fader deth.

The time of yeres overgeth,

That he was man of brede and lengthe,

Of wit, of manhod and of strengthe,

A fair persone amonges alle.

And he began to clepe and calle,

As he which come was to manne,

Unto the King of Crete thanne,

Preiende that he wolde him make

1970A kniht and pouer with him take,

For lengere wolde he noght beleve,

He seith, bot preith the king of leve

To gon and cleyme his heritage

And vengen him of thilke oultrage

Which was unto his fader do.

The king assenteth wel therto,

With gret honour and knyht him makth,

And gret pouer to him betakth,

And gan his journe forto caste:

1980So that Horestes ate laste

His leve tok and forth he goth.

As he that was in herte wroth,

His ferste pleinte to bemene,

Unto the Cite of Athene

He goth him forth and was received,

So there was he noght deceived.

The Duc and tho that weren wise

Thei profren hem to his servise;

And he hem thonketh of here profre

1990And seith himself he wol gon offre

Unto the goddes for his sped,

As alle men him yeven red.

So goth he to the temple forth:

Of yiftes that be mochel worth

His sacrifice and his offringe

He made; and after his axinge

He was ansuerd, if that he wolde

His stat recovere, thanne he scholde

Upon his Moder do vengance

2000So cruel, that the remembrance

Therof mihte everemore abide,

As sche that was an homicide

And of hire oghne lord Moerdrice.

Horestes, which of thilke office

Was nothing glad, as thanne he preide

Unto the goddes there and seide

That thei the juggement devise,

How sche schal take the juise.

And therupon he hadde ansuere,

2010That he hire Pappes scholde of tere

Out of hire brest his oghne hondes,

And for ensample of alle londes

With hors sche scholde be todrawe,

Til houndes hadde hire bones gnawe

Withouten eny sepulture:

This was a wofull aventure.

And whan Horestes hath al herd,

How that the goddes have ansuerd,

Forth with the strengthe which he ladde

2020The Duc and his pouer he hadde,

And to a Cite forth thei gon,

The which was cleped Cropheon,

Where as Phoieus was lord and Sire,

Which profreth him withouten hyre

His help and al that he mai do,

As he that was riht glad therto,

To grieve his mortiel enemy:

And tolde hem certein cause why,

How that Egiste in Mariage

2030His dowhter whilom of full Age

Forlai, and afterward forsok,

Whan he Horestes Moder tok.

Men sein, “Old Senne newe schame”:

Thus more and more aros the blame

Ayein Egiste on every side.

Horestes with his host to ride

Began, and Phoieus with hem wente;

I trowe Egiste him schal repente.

Thei riden forth unto Micene,

2040Wher lay Climestre thilke qweene,

The which Horestes moder is:

And whan sche herde telle of this,

The gates weren faste schet,

And thei were of here entre let.

Anon this Cite was withoute

Belein and sieged al aboute,

And evere among thei it assaile,

Fro day to nyht and so travaile,

Til ate laste thei it wonne;

2050Tho was ther sorwe ynowh begonne.

Horestes dede his moder calle

Anon tofore the lordes alle

And ek tofor the poeple also,

To hire and tolde his tale tho,

And seide, “O cruel beste unkinde,

How mihtest thou thin herte finde,

For eny lust of loves drawhte,

That thou acordest to the slawhte

Of him which was thin oghne lord?

2060Thi treson stant of such record,

Thou miht thi werkes noght forsake;

So mot I for mi fader sake

Vengance upon thi bodi do,

As I comanded am therto.

Unkindely for thou hast wroght,

Unkindeliche it schal be boght,

The Sone schal the Moder sle,

For that whilom thou seidest yee

To that thou scholdest nay have seid.”

2070And he with that his hond hath leid

Upon his Moder brest anon,

And rente out fro the bare bon

Hire Pappes bothe and caste aweie

Amiddes in the carte weie,

And after tok the dede cors

And let it drawe awey with hors

Unto the hound and to the raven;

Sche was non other wise graven.

Egistus, which was elles where,

2080Tidinges comen to his Ere

How that Micenes was belein,

Bot what was more herd he noght sein;

With gret manace and mochel bost

He drowh pouer and made an host

And cam in rescousse of the toun.

Bot al the sleyhte of his tresoun

Horestes wiste it be aspie,

And of his men a gret partie

He made in buisshement abide,

2090To waite on him in such a tide

That he ne mihte here hond ascape:

And in this wise as he hath schape

The thing befell, so that Egiste

Was take, er he himself it wiste,

And was forth broght hise hondes bounde,

As whan men han a tretour founde.

And tho that weren with him take,

Whiche of tresoun were overtake,

Togedre in o sentence falle;

2100Bot false Egiste above hem alle

Was demed to diverse peine,

The worste that men cowthe ordeigne,

And so forth after be the lawe

He was unto the gibet drawe,

Where he above alle othre hongeth,

As to a tretour it belongeth.

Tho fame with hire swifte wynges

Aboute flyh and bar tidinges,

And made it cowth in alle londes

2110How that Horestes with hise hondes

Climestre his oghne Moder slowh.

Some sein he dede wel ynowh,

And som men sein he dede amis,

Diverse opinion ther is:

That sche is ded thei speken alle,

Bot pleinli hou it is befalle,

The matiere in so litel throwe

In soth ther mihte noman knowe

Bot thei that weren ate dede:

2120And comunliche in every nede

The worste speche is rathest herd

And lieved, til it be ansuerd.

The kinges and the lordes grete

Begonne Horestes forto threte

To puten him out of his regne:

“He is noght worthi forto regne,

The child which slowh his moder so,”

Thei saide; and therupon also

The lordes of comun assent

2130A time sette of parlement,

And to Athenes king and lord

Togedre come of on accord,

To knowe hou that the sothe was:

So that Horestes in this cas

Thei senden after, and he com.

King Menelay the wordes nom

And axeth him of this matiere:

And he, that alle it mihten hiere,

Ansuerde and tolde his tale alarge,

2140And hou the goddes in his charge

Comanded him in such a wise

His oghne hond to do juise.

And with this tale a Duc aros,

Which was a worthi kniht of los,

His name was Menestes,

And seide unto the lordes thus:

“The wreeche which Horeste dede,

It was thing of the goddes bede,

And nothing of his crualte;

2150And if ther were of mi degree

In al this place such a kniht

That wolde sein it was no riht,

I wole it with my bodi prove.”

And therupon he caste his glove,

And ek this noble Duc alleide

Ful many an other skile, and seide

Sche hadde wel deserved wreche,

Ferst for the cause of Spousebreche,

And after wroghte in such a wise

2160That al the world it oghte agrise,

Whan that sche for so foul a vice

Was of hire oghne lord moerdrice.

Thei seten alle stille and herde,

Bot therto was noman ansuerde,

It thoghte hem alle he seide skile,

Ther is noman withseie it wile;

Whan thei upon the reson musen,

Horestes alle thei excusen:

So that with gret solempnete

2170He was unto his dignete

Received, and coroned king.

And tho befell a wonder thing:

Egiona, whan sche this wiste,

Which was the dowhter of Egiste

And Soster on the moder side

To this Horeste, at thilke tide,

Whan sche herde how hir brother spedde,

For pure sorwe, which hire ledde,

That he ne hadde ben exiled,

2180Sche hath hire oghne lif beguiled

Anon and hyng hireselve tho.

It hath and schal ben everemo,

To moerdre who that wole assente,

He mai noght faille to repente:

This false Egiona was on,

Which forto moerdre Agamenon

Yaf hire acord and hire assent,

So that be goddes juggement,

Thogh that non other man it wolde,

2190Sche tok hire juise as sche scholde;

And as sche to an other wroghte,

Vengance upon hireself sche soghte,

And hath of hire unhappi wit

A moerdre with a moerdre quit.

Such is of moerdre the vengance.

Forthi, mi Sone, in remembrance

Of this ensample tak good hiede:

For who that thenkth his love spiede

With moerdre, he schal with worldes schame

2200Himself and ek his love schame.

Mi fader, of this aventure

Which ye have told, I you assure

Min herte is sory forto hiere,

Bot only for I wolde lere

What is to done, and what to leve.

And over this now be your leve,

That ye me wolden telle I preie,

If ther be lieffull eny weie

Withoute Senne a man to sle.

2210Mi Sone, in sondri wise ye.

What man that is of traiterie,

Of moerdre or elles robberie

Atteint, the jugge schal noght lette,

Bot he schal slen of pure dette,

And doth gret Senne, if that he wonde.

For who that lawe hath upon honde,

And spareth forto do justice

For merci, doth noght his office,

That he his mercy so bewareth,

2220Whan for o schrewe which he spareth

A thousand goode men he grieveth:

With such merci who that believeth

To plese god, he is deceived,

Or elles resoun mot be weyved.

The lawe stod er we were bore,

How that a kinges swerd is bore

In signe that he schal defende

His trewe poeple and make an ende

Of suche as wolden hem devoure.

2230Lo thus, my Sone, to socoure

The lawe and comun riht to winne,

A man mai sle withoute Sinne,

And do therof a gret almesse,

So forto kepe rihtwisnesse.

And over this for his contre

In time of werre a man is fre

Himself, his hous and ek his lond

Defende with his oghne hond,

And slen, if that he mai no bet,

2240After the lawe which is set.

Now, fader, thanne I you beseche

Of hem that dedly werres seche

In worldes cause and scheden blod,

If such an homicide is good.

Mi Sone, upon thi question

The trowthe of myn opinion,

Als ferforth as my wit arecheth

And as the pleine lawe techeth,

I woll thee telle in evidence,

2250To rewle with thi conscience.

The hihe god of his justice

That ilke foule horrible vice

Of homicide he hath forbede,

Be Moi5ses as it was bede.

Whan goddes Sone also was bore,

He sende hise anglis doun therfore,

Whom the Schepherdes herden singe,

Pes to the men of welwillinge

In erthe be among ous here.

2260So forto speke in this matiere

After the lawe of charite,

Ther schal no dedly werre be:

And ek nature it hath defended

And in hir lawe pes comended,

Which is the chief of mannes welthe,

Of mannes lif, of mannes helthe.

Bot dedly werre hath his covine

Of pestilence and of famine,

Of poverte and of alle wo,

2270Wherof this world we blamen so,

Which now the werre hath under fote,

Til god himself therof do bote.

For alle thing which god hath wroght

In Erthe, werre it bringth to noght:

The cherche is brent, the priest is slain,

The wif, the maide is ek forlain,

The lawe is lore and god unserved:

I not what mede he hath deserved

That suche werres ledeth inne.

2280If that he do it forto winne,

Ferst to acompte his grete cost

Forth with the folk that he hath lost,

As to the wordes rekeninge

Ther schal he finde no winnynge;

And if he do it to pourchace

The hevene mede, of such a grace

I can noght speke, and natheles

Crist hath comanded love and pes,

And who that worcheth the revers,

2290I trowe his mede is ful divers.

And sithen thanne that we finde

That werres in here oghne kinde

Ben toward god of no decerte,

And ek thei bringen in poverte

Of worldes good, it is merveile

Among the men what it mai eyle,

That thei a pes ne conne sette.

I trowe Senne be the lette,

And every mede of Senne is deth;

2300So wot I nevere hou that it geth:

Bot we that ben of o believe

Among ousself, this wolde I lieve,

That betre it were pes to chese,

Than so be double weie lese.

I not if that it now so stonde,

Bot this a man mai understonde,

Who that these olde bokes redeth,

That coveitise is on which ledeth,

And broghte ferst the werres inne.

2310At Grece if that I schal beginne,

Ther was it proved hou it stod:

To Perce, which was ful of good,

Thei maden werre in special,

And so thei deden overal,

Wher gret richesse was in londe,

So that thei leften nothing stonde

Unwerred, bot onliche Archade.

For there thei no werres made,

Be cause it was bareigne and povere,

2320Wherof thei mihten noght recovere;

And thus poverte was forbore,

He that noght hadde noght hath lore.

Bot yit it is a wonder thing,

Whan that a riche worthi king,

Or other lord, what so he be,

Wol axe and cleyme proprete

In thing to which he hath no riht,

Bot onliche of his grete miht:

For this mai every man wel wite,

2330That bothe kinde and lawe write

Expressly stonden therayein.

Bot he mot nedes somwhat sein,

Althogh ther be no reson inne,

Which secheth cause forto winne:

For wit that is with will oppressed,

Whan coveitise him hath adressed,

And alle resoun put aweie,

He can wel finde such a weie

To werre, where as evere him liketh,

2340Wherof that he the world entriketh,

That many a man of him compleigneth:

Bot yit alwei som cause he feigneth,

And of his wrongful herte he demeth

That al is wel, what evere him semeth,

Be so that he mai winne ynowh.

For as the trew man to the plowh

Only to the gaignage entendeth,

Riht so the werreiour despendeth

His time and hath no conscience.

2350And in this point for evidence

Of hem that suche werres make,

Thou miht a gret ensample take,

How thei her tirannie excusen

Of that thei wrongfull werres usen,

And how thei stonde of on acord,

The Souldeour forth with the lord,

The povere man forth with the riche,

As of corage thei ben liche,

To make werres and to pile

2360For lucre and for non other skyle:

Wherof a propre tale I rede,

As it whilom befell in dede.

Of him whom al this Erthe dradde,

Whan he the world so overladde

Thurgh werre, as it fortuned is,

King Alisandre, I rede this;

How in a Marche, where he lay,

It fell per chance upon a day

A Rovere of the See was nome,

2370Which many a man hadde overcome

And slain and take here good aweie:

This Pilour, as the bokes seie,

A famous man in sondri stede

Was of the werkes whiche he dede.

This Prisoner tofor the king

Was broght, and there upon this thing

In audience he was accused:

And he his dede hath noght excused,

Bot preith the king to don him riht,

2380And seith, “Sire, if I were of miht,

I have an herte lich to thin;

For if the pouer were myn,

Mi will is most in special

To rifle and geten overal

The large worldes good aboute.

Bot for I lede a povere route

And am, as who seith, at meschief,

The name of Pilour and of thief

I bere; and thou, which routes grete

2390Miht lede and take thi beyete,

And dost riht as I wolde do,

Thi name is nothing cleped so,

Bot thou art named Emperour.

Oure dedes ben of o colour

And in effect of o decerte,

Bot thi richesse and my poverte

Tho ben noght taken evene liche.

And natheles he that is riche

This dai, tomorwe he mai be povere;

2400And in contraire also recovere

A povere man to gret richesse

Men sen: forthi let rihtwisnesse

Be peised evene in the balance.

The king his hardi contienance

Behield, and herde hise wordes wise,

And seide unto him in this wise:

“Thin ansuere I have understonde,

Wherof my will is, that thou stonde

In mi service and stille abide.”

2410And forth withal the same tide

He hath him terme of lif withholde,

The mor and for he schal ben holde,

He made him kniht and yaf him lond,

Which afterward was of his hond

And orped kniht in many a stede,

And gret prouesce of armes dede,

As the Croniqes it recorden.

And in this wise thei acorden,

The whiche of o condicioun

2420Be set upon destruccioun:

Such Capitein such retenue.

Bot forto se to what issue

The thing befalleth ate laste,

It is gret wonder that men caste

Here herte upon such wrong to winne,

Wher no beyete mai ben inne,

And doth desese on every side:

Bot whan reson is put aside

And will governeth the corage,

2430The faucon which that fleth ramage

And soeffreth nothing in the weie,

Wherof that he mai take his preie,

Is noght mor set upon ravine,

Than thilke man which his covine

Hath set in such a maner wise:

For al the world ne mai suffise

To will which is noght resonable.

Wherof ensample concordable

Lich to this point of which I meene,

2440Was upon Alisandre sene,

Which hadde set al his entente,

So as fortune with him wente,

That reson mihte him non governe,

Bot of his will he was so sterne,

That al the world he overran

And what him list he tok and wan.

In Ynde the superiour

Whan that he was ful conquerour,

And hadde his wilful pourpos wonne

2450Of al this Erthe under the Sonne,

This king homward to Macedoine,

Whan that he cam to Babiloine,

And wende most in his Empire,

As he which was hol lord and Sire,

In honour forto be received,

Most sodeinliche he was deceived,

And with strong puison envenimed.

And as he hath the world mistimed

Noght as he scholde with his wit,

2460Noght as he wolde it was aquit.

Thus was he slain that whilom slowh,

And he which riche was ynowh

This dai, tomorwe he hadde noght:

And in such wise as he hath wroght

In destorbance of worldes pes,

His werre he fond thanne endeles,

In which for evere desconfit

He was. Lo now, for what profit

Of werre it helpeth forto ryde,

2470For coveitise and worldes pride

To sle the worldes men aboute,

As bestes whiche gon theroute.

For every lif which reson can

Oghth wel to knowe that a man

Ne scholde thurgh no tirannie

Lich to these othre bestes die,

Til kinde wolde for him sende.

I not hou he it mihte amende,

Which takth awei for everemore

2480The lif that he mai noght restore.

Forthi, mi Sone, in alle weie

Be wel avised, I thee preie,

Of slawhte er that thou be coupable

Withoute cause resonable.

Mi fader, understonde it is,

That ye have seid; bot over this

I prei you tell me nay or yee,

To passe over the grete See

To werre and sle the Sarazin,

2490Is that the lawe? Sone myn,

To preche and soffre for the feith,

That have I herd the gospell seith;

Bot forto slee, that hiere I noght.

Crist with his oghne deth hath boght

Alle othre men, and made hem fre,

In tokne of parfit charite;

And after that he tawhte himselve,

Whan he was ded, these othre tuelve

Of hise Apostles wente aboute

2500The holi feith to prechen oute,

Wherof the deth in sondri place

Thei soffre, and so god of his grace

The feith of Crist hath mad aryse:

Bot if thei wolde in other wise

Be werre have broght in the creance,

It hadde yit stonde in balance.

And that mai proven in the dede;

For what man the Croniqes rede,

Fro ferst that holi cherche hath weyved

2510To preche, and hath the swerd received,

Wherof the werres ben begonne,

A gret partie of that was wonne

To Cristes feith stant now miswent:

Godd do therof amendement,

So as he wot what is the beste.

Bot, Sone, if thou wolt live in reste

Of conscience wel assised,

Er that thou sle, be wel avised:

For man, as tellen ous the clerkes,

2520Hath god above alle ertheli werkes

Ordeined to be principal,

And ek of Soule in special

He is mad lich to the godhiede.

So sit it wel to taken hiede

And forto loke on every side,

Er that thou falle in homicide,

Which Senne is now so general,

That it welnyh stant overal,

In holi cherche and elles where.

2530Bot al the while it stant so there,

The world mot nede fare amis:

For whan the welle of pite is

Thurgh coveitise of worldes good

Defouled with schedinge of blod,

The remenant of folk aboute

Unethe stonden eny doute

To werre ech other and to slee.

So is it all noght worth a Stree,

The charite wherof we prechen,

2540For we do nothing as we techen:

And thus the blinde conscience

Of pes hath lost thilke evidence

Which Crist upon this Erthe tawhte.

Now mai men se moerdre and manslawhte

Lich as it was be daies olde,

Whan men the Sennes boghte and solde.

In Grece afore Cristes feith,

I rede, as the Cronique seith,

Touchende of this matiere thus,

2550In thilke time hou Peles

His oghne brother Phocus slowh;

Bot for he hadde gold ynowh

To yive, his Senne was despensed

With gold, wherof it was compensed:

Achastus, which with Venus was

Hire Priest, assoilede in that cas,

Al were ther no repentance.

And as the bok makth remembrance,

It telleth of Medee also;

2560Of that sche slowh her Sones tuo,

Eges in the same plit

Hath mad hire of hire Senne quit.

The Sone ek of Amphioras,

Whos rihte name Almes was,

His Moder slowh, Eriphile;

Bot Achilo the Priest and he,

So as the bokes it recorden,

For certein Somme of gold acorden

That thilke horrible sinfull dede

2570Assoiled was. And thus for mede

Of worldes good it falleth ofte

That homicide is set alofte

Hiere in this lif; bot after this

Ther schal be knowe how that it is

Of hem that suche thinges werche,

And hou also that holi cherche

Let suche Sennes passe quyte,

And how thei wole hemself aquite

Of dedly werres that thei make.

2580For who that wolde ensample take,

The lawe which is naturel

Be weie of kinde scheweth wel

That homicide in no degree,

Which werreth ayein charite,

Among the men ne scholde duelle.

For after that the bokes telle,

To seche in al this worldesriche,

Men schal noght finde upon his liche

A beste forto take his preie:

2590And sithen kinde hath such a weie,

Thanne is it wonder of a man,

Which kynde hath and resoun can,

That he wol owther more or lasse

His kinde and resoun overpasse,

And sle that is to him semblable.

So is the man noght resonable

Ne kinde, and that is noght honeste,

Whan he is worse than a beste.

Among the bokes whiche I finde

2600Solyns spekth of a wonder kinde,

And seith of fowhles ther is on,

Which hath a face of blod and bon

Lich to a man in resemblance.

And if it falle him so per chance,

As he which is a fowhl of preie,

That he a man finde in his weie,

He wol him slen, if that he mai:

Bot afterward the same dai,

Whan he hath eten al his felle,

2610And that schal be beside a welle,

In which whan he wol drinke take,

Of his visage and seth the make

That he hath slain, anon he thenketh

Of his misdede, and it forthenketh

So gretly, that for pure sorwe

He liveth noght til on the morwe.

Be this ensample it mai well suie

That man schal homicide eschuie,

For evere is merci good to take,

2620Bot if the lawe it hath forsake

And that justice is therayein.

For ofte time I have herd sein

Amonges hem that werres hadden,

That thei som while here cause ladden

Be merci, whan thei mihte have slain,

Wherof that thei were after fain:

And, Sone, if that thou wolt recorde

The vertu of Misericorde,

Thou sihe nevere thilke place,

2630Where it was used, lacke grace.

For every lawe and every kinde

The mannes wit to merci binde;

And namely the worthi knihtes,

Whan that thei stonden most uprihtes

And ben most mihti forto grieve,

Thei scholden thanne most relieve

Him whom thei mihten overthrowe,

As be ensample a man mai knowe.

He mai noght failen of his mede

2640That hath merci: for this I rede,

In a Cronique and finde thus.

Whan Achilles with Telaphus

His Sone toward Troie were,

It fell hem, er thei comen there,

Ayein Theucer the king of Mese

To make werre and forto sese

His lond, as thei that wolden regne

And Theucer pute out of his regne.

And thus the Marches thei assaile,

2650Bot Theucer yaf to hem bataille;

Thei foghte on bothe sides faste,

Bot so it hapneth ate laste,

This worthi Grek, this Achilles,

The king among alle othre ches:

As he that was cruel and fell,

With swerd in honde on him he fell,

And smot him with a dethes wounde,

That he unhorsed fell to grounde.

Achilles upon him alyhte,

2660And wolde anon, as he wel mihte,

Have slain him fullich in the place;

Bot Thelaphus his fader grace

For him besoghte, and for pite

Preith that he wolde lete him be,

And caste his Schield betwen hem tuo.

Achilles axeth him why so,

And Thelaphus his cause tolde,

And seith that he is mochel holde,

For whilom Theucer in a stede

2670Gret grace and socour to him dede,

And seith that he him wolde aquite,

And preith his fader to respite.

Achilles tho withdrowh his hond;

Bot al the pouer of the lond,

Whan that thei sihe here king thus take,

Thei fledde and han the feld forsake:

The Grecs unto the chace falle,

And for the moste part of alle

Of that contre the lordes grete

2680Thei toke, and wonne a gret beyete.

And anon after this victoire

The king, which hadde good memoire,

Upon the grete merci thoghte,

Which Telaphus toward him wroghte,

And in presence of al the lond

He tok him faire be the hond,

And in this wise he gan to seie:

“Mi Sone, I mot be double weie

Love and desire thin encress;

2690Ferst for thi fader Achilles

Whilom ful many dai er this,

Whan that I scholde have fare amis,

Rescousse dede in mi querele

And kepte al myn astat in hele:

How so ther falle now distance

Amonges ous, yit remembrance

I have of merci which he dede

As thanne: and thou now in this stede

Of gentilesce and of franchise

2700Hast do mercy the same wise.

So wol I noght that eny time

Be lost of that thou hast do byme;

For hou so this fortune falle,

Yit stant mi trust aboven alle,

For the mercy which I now finde,

That thou wolt after this be kinde:

And for that such is myn espeir,

As for my Sone and for myn Eir

I thee receive, and al my lond

2710I yive and sese into thin hond.”

And in this wise thei acorde,

The cause was Misericorde:

The lordes dede here obeissance

To Thelaphus, and pourveance

Was mad so that he was coroned:

And thus was merci reguerdoned,

Which he to Theucer dede afore.

Lo, this ensample is mad therfore,

That thou miht take remembrance,

2720Mi Sone; and whan thou sest a chaunce,

Of other mennes passioun

Tak pite and compassioun,

And let nothing to thee be lief,

Which to an other man is grief.

And after this if thou desire

To stonde ayein the vice of Ire,

Consaile thee with Pacience,

And tak into thi conscience

Merci to be thi governour.

2730So schalt thou fiele no rancour,

Wherof thin herte schal debate

With homicide ne with hate

For Cheste or for Malencolie:

Thou schalt be soft in compaignie

Withoute Contek or Folhaste:

For elles miht thou longe waste

Thi time, er that thou have thi wille

Of love; for the weder stille

Men preise, and blame the tempestes.

2740Mi fader, I wol do youre hestes,

And of this point ye have me tawht,

Toward miself the betre sawht

I thenke be, whil that I live.

Bot for als moche as I am schrive

Of Wraththe and al his circumstance,

Yif what you list to my penance,

And asketh forthere of my lif,

If otherwise I be gultif

Of eny thing that toucheth Sinne.

2750Mi Sone, er we departe atwinne,

I schal behinde nothing leve.

Mi goode fader, be your leve

Thanne axeth forth what so you list,

For I have in you such a trist,

As ye that be my Soule hele,

That ye fro me wol nothing hele,

For I schal telle you the trowthe.

Mi Sone, art thou coupable of Slowthe

In eny point which to him longeth?

2760My fader, of tho pointz me longeth

To wite pleinly what thei meene,

So that I mai me schrive cleene.

Now herkne, I schal the pointz devise;

And understond wel myn aprise:

For schrifte stant of no value

To him that wol him noght vertue

To leve of vice the folie:

For word is wynd, bot the maistrie

Is that a man himself defende

2770Of thing which is noght to comende,

Wherof ben fewe now aday.

And natheles, so as I may

Make unto thi memoire knowe,

The pointz of Slowthe thou schalt knowe.

Explicit Liber Tercius

Incipit Liber Quartus

Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum,

     Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis:

Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in cras,

     Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo.

Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido,

     Set Venus in celeri ludit amore viri.

Upon the vices to procede

After the cause of mannes dede,

The ferste point of Slowthe I calle

Lachesce, and is the chief of alle,

And hath this propreliche of kinde,

To leven alle thing behinde.

Of that he mihte do now hier

He tarieth al the longe yer,

And everemore he seith, “Tomorwe”;

10And so he wol his time borwe,

And wissheth after “God me sende,”

That whan he weneth have an ende,

Thanne is he ferthest to beginne.

Thus bringth he many a meschief inne

Unwar, til that he be meschieved,

And may noght thanne be relieved.

And riht so nowther mor ne lesse

It stant of love and of lachesce:

Som time he slowtheth in a day

20That he nevere after gete mai.

Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing,

If thou have eny knowleching,

That thou to love hast don er this,

Tell on. Mi goode fader, yis.

As of lachesce I am beknowe

That I mai stonde upon his rowe,

As I that am clad of his suite:

For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite

To make, and therto sette a day

30To speke unto the swete May,

Lachesce bad abide yit,

And bar on hond it was no wit

Ne time forto speke as tho.

Thus with his tales to and fro

Mi time in tariinge he drowh:

Whan ther was time good ynowh,

He seide, “An other time is bettre;

Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre,

And per cas wryte more plein

40Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein.”

Thus have I lete time slyde

For Slowthe, and kepte noght my tide,

So that lachesce with his vice

Fulofte hath mad my wit so nyce,

That what I thoghte speke or do

With tariinge he hield me so,

Til whanne I wolde and mihte noght.

I not what thing was in my thoght,

Or it was drede, or it was schame;

50Bot evere in ernest and in game

I wot ther is long time passed.

Bot yit is noght the love lassed,

Which I unto mi ladi have;

For thogh my tunge is slowh to crave

At alle time, as I have bede,

Min herte stant evere in o stede

And axeth besiliche grace,

The which I mai noght yit embrace.

And god wot that is malgre myn;

60For this I wot riht wel a fin,

Mi grace comth so selde aboute,

That is the Slowthe of which I doute

Mor than of al the remenant

Which is to love appourtenant.

And thus as touchende of lachesce,

As I have told, I me confesse

To you, mi fader, and beseche

That furthermor ye wol me teche;

And if ther be to this matiere

70Som goodly tale forto liere

How I mai do lachesce aweie,

That ye it wolden telle I preie.

To wisse thee, my Sone, and rede,

Among the tales whiche I rede,

An old ensample therupon

Now herkne, and I wol tellen on.

Ayein Lachesce in loves cas

I finde how whilom Eneas,

Whom Anchises to Sone hadde,

80With gret navie, which he ladde

Fro Troie, aryveth at Cartage,

Wher for a while his herbergage

He tok; and it betidde so,

With hire which was qweene tho

Of the Cite his aqueintance

He wan, whos name in remembrance

Is yit, and Dido sche was hote;

Which loveth Eneas so hote

Upon the wordes whiche he seide,

90That al hire herte on him sche leide

And dede al holi what he wolde.

Bot after that, as it be scholde,

Fro thenne he goth toward Ytaile

Be Schipe, and there his arivaile

Hath take, and schop him forto ryde.

Bot sche, which mai noght longe abide

The hote peine of loves throwe,

Anon withinne a litel throwe

A lettre unto hir kniht hath write,

100And dede him pleinly forto wite,

If he made eny tariinge,

To drecche of his ayeincomynge,

That sche ne mihte him fiele and se,

Sche scholde stonde in such degre

As whilom stod a Swan tofore,

Of that sche hadde hire make lore;

For sorwe a fethere into hire brain

Sche schof and hath hireselve slain;

As king Menander in a lay

110The sothe hath founde, wher sche lay

Sprantlende with hire wynges tweie,

As sche which scholde thanne deie

For love of him which was hire make.

“And so schal I do for thi sake,”

This qweene seide, “wel I wot.”

Lo, to Enee thus sche wrot

With many an other word of pleinte:

Bot he, which hadde hise thoghtes feinte

Towardes love and full of Slowthe,

120His time lette, and that was rowthe:

For sche, which loveth him tofore,

Desireth evere more and more,

And whan sche sih him tarie so,

Hire herte was so full of wo,

That compleignende manyfold

Sche hath hire oghne tale told,

Unto hirself and thus sche spak:

“Ha, who fond evere such a lak

Of Slowthe in eny worthi kniht?

130Now wot I wel my deth is diht

Thurgh him which scholde have be mi lif.”

Bot forto stinten al this strif,

Thus whan sche sih non other bote,

Riht evene unto hire herte rote

A naked swerd anon sche threste,

And thus sche gat hireselve reste

In remembrance of alle slowe.

Wherof, my Sone, thou miht knowe

How tariinge upon the nede

140In loves cause is forto drede;

And that hath Dido sore aboght,

Whos deth schal evere be bethoght.

And overmore if I schal seche

In this matiere an other spieche,

In a Cronique I finde write

A tale which is good to wite.

At Troie whan king Ulixes

Upon the Siege among the pres

Of hem that worthi knihtes were

150Abod long time stille there,

In thilke time a man mai se

How goodli that Penolope,

Which was to him his trewe wif,

Of his lachesce was pleintif;

Wherof to Troie sche him sende

Hire will be lettre, thus spekende:

“Mi worthi love and lord also,

It is and hath ben evere so,

That wher a womman is al one,

160It makth a man in his persone

The more hardi forto wowe,

In hope that sche wolde bowe

To such thing as his wille were,

Whil that hire lord were elleswhere.

And of miself I telle this;

For it so longe passed is,

Sithe ferst than ye fro home wente,

That welnyh every man his wente

To there I am, whil ye ben oute,

170Hath mad, and ech of hem aboute,

Which love can, my love secheth,

With gret preiere and me besecheth:

And some maken gret manace,

That if thei mihten come in place,

Wher that thei mihte here wille have,

Ther is nothing me scholde save,

That thei ne wolde werche thinges;

And some tellen me tidynges

That ye ben ded, and some sein

180That certeinly ye ben besein

To love a newe and leve me.

Bot hou as evere that it be,

I thonke unto the goddes alle,

As yit for oght that is befalle

Mai noman do my chekes rede:

Bot natheles it is to drede,

That Lachesse in continuance

Fortune mihte such a chance,

Which noman after scholde amende.”

190Lo, thus this ladi compleignende

A lettre unto hire lord hath write,

And preyde him that he wolde wite

And thenke hou that sche was al his,

And that he tarie noght in this,

Bot that he wolde his love aquite,

To hire ayeinward and noght wryte,

Bot come himself in alle haste,

That he non other paper waste;

So that he kepe and holde his trowthe

200Withoute lette of eny Slowthe.

Unto hire lord and love liege

To Troie, wher the grete Siege

Was leid, this lettre was conveied.

And he, which wisdom hath pourveied

Of al that to reson belongeth,

With gentil herte it underfongeth:

And whan he hath it overrad,

In part he was riht inly glad,

And ek in part he was desesed:

210Bot love his herte hath so thorghsesed

With pure ymaginacioun,

That for non occupacioun

Which he can take on other side,

He mai noght flitt his herte aside

Fro that his wif him hadde enformed;

Wherof he hath himself conformed

With al the wille of his corage

To schape and take the viage

Homward, what time that he mai:

220So that him thenketh of a day

A thousand yer, til he mai se

The visage of Penolope,

Which he desireth most of alle.

And whan the time is so befalle

That Troie was destruid and brent,

He made non delaiement,

Bot goth him home in alle hihe,

Wher that he fond tofore his yhe

His worthi wif in good astat:

230And thus was cessed the debat

Of love, and Slowthe was excused,

Which doth gret harm, where it is used,

And hindreth many a cause honeste.

For of the grete Clerc Grossteste

I rede how besy that he was

Upon clergie an Hed of bras

To forge, and make it forto telle

Of suche thinges as befelle.

And sevene yeres besinesse

240He leyde, bot for the lachesse

Of half a Minut of an houre,

Fro ferst that he began laboure

He loste all that he hadde do.

And otherwhile it fareth so,

In loves cause who is slow,

That he withoute under the wow

Be nyhte stant fulofte acold,

Which mihte, if that he hadde wold

His time kept, have be withinne.

250Bot Slowthe mai no profit winne,

Bot he mai singe in his karole

How Latewar cam to the Dole,

Wher he no good receive mihte.

And that was proved wel be nyhte

Whilom of the Maidenes fyve,

Whan thilke lord cam forto wyve:

For that here oyle was aweie

To lihte here lampes in his weie,

Here Slowthe broghte it so aboute,

260Fro him that thei ben schet withoute.

Wherof, my Sone, be thou war,

Als ferforth as I telle dar.

For love moste ben awaited:

And if thou be noght wel affaited

In love to eschuie Slowthe,

Mi Sone, forto telle trowthe,

Thou miht noght of thiself ben able

To winne love or make it stable,

All thogh thou mihtest love achieve.

270Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve.

Bot me was nevere assigned place,

Wher yit to geten eny grace,

Ne me was non such time apointed;

For thanne I wolde I were unjoynted

Of every lime that I have,

If I ne scholde kepe and save

Min houre bothe and ek my stede,

If my ladi it hadde bede.

Bot sche is otherwise avised

280Than grante such a time assised;

And natheles of mi lachesse

Ther hath be no defalte I gesse

Of time lost, if that I mihte:

Bot yit hire liketh noght alyhte

Upon no lure which I caste;

For ay the more I crie faste,

The lasse hire liketh forto hiere.

So forto speke of this matiere,

I seche that I mai noght finde,

290I haste and evere I am behinde,

And wot noght what it mai amounte.

Bot, fader, upon myn acompte,

Which ye be sett to examine

Of Schrifte after the discipline,

Sey what your beste conseil is.

Mi Sone, my conseil is this:

Hou so it stonde of time go,

Do forth thi besinesse so,

That no Lachesce in the be founde:

300For Slowthe is mihti to confounde

The spied of every mannes werk.

For many a vice, as seith the clerk,

Ther hongen upon Slowthes lappe

Of suche as make a man mishappe,

To pleigne and telle of hadde I wist.

And therupon if that thee list

To knowe of Slowthes cause more,

In special yit overmore

Ther is a vice full grevable

310To him which is therof coupable,

And stant of alle vertu bare,

Hierafter as I schal declare.

Touchende of Slowthe in his degre,

Ther is yit Pusillamite,

Which is to seie in this langage,

He that hath litel of corage

And dar no mannes werk beginne:

So mai he noght be resoun winne;

For who that noght dar undertake,

320Be riht he schal no profit take.

Bot of this vice the nature

Dar nothing sette in aventure,

Him lacketh bothe word and dede,

Wherof he scholde his cause spede:

He woll no manhed understonde,

For evere he hath drede upon honde:

Al is peril that he schal seie,

Him thenkth the wolf is in the weie,

And of ymaginacioun

330He makth his excusacioun

And feigneth cause of pure drede,

And evere he faileth ate nede,

Til al be spilt that he with deleth.

He hath the sor which noman heleth,

The which is cleped lack of herte;

Thogh every grace aboute him sterte,

He wol noght ones stere his fot;

So that be resoun lese he mot,

That wol noght auntre forto winne.

340And so forth, Sone, if we beginne

To speke of love and his servise,

Ther ben truantz in such a wise,

That lacken herte, whan best were

To speke of love, and riht for fere

Thei wexen doumb and dar noght telle,

Withoute soun as doth the belle,

Which hath no claper forto chyme;

And riht so thei as for the tyme

Ben herteles withoute speche

350Of love, and dar nothing beseche;

And thus thei lese and winne noght.

Forthi, my Sone, if thou art oght

Coupable as touchende of this Slowthe,

Schrif thee therof and tell me trowthe.

Mi fader, I am al beknowe

That I have ben on of tho slowe,

As forto telle in loves cas.

Min herte is yit and evere was,

As thogh the world scholde al tobreke,

360So ferful, that I dar noght speke

Of what pourpos that I have nome,

Whan I toward mi ladi come,

Bot let it passe and overgo.

Mi Sone, do nomore so:

For after that a man poursuieth

To love, so fortune suieth,

Fulofte and yifth hire happi chance

To him which makth continuance

To preie love and to beseche;

370As be ensample I schal thee teche.

I finde hou whilom ther was on,

Whos name was Pymaleon,

Which was a lusti man of yowthe:

The werkes of entaile he cowthe

Above alle othre men as tho;

And thurgh fortune it fell him so,

As he whom love schal travaile,

He made an ymage of entaile

Lich to a womman in semblance

380Of feture and of contienance,

So fair yit nevere was figure.

Riht as a lyves creature

Sche semeth, for of yvor whyt

He hath hire wroght of such delit,

That sche was rody on the cheke

And red on bothe hire lippes eke;

Wherof that he himself beguileth.

For with a goodly lok sche smyleth,

So that thurgh pure impression

390Of his ymaginacion

With al the herte of his corage

His love upon this faire ymage

He sette, and hire of love preide;

Bot sche no word ayeinward seide.

The longe day, what thing he dede,

This ymage in the same stede

Was evere bi, that ate mete

He wolde hire serve and preide hire ete,

And putte unto hire mowth the cuppe;

400And whan the bord was taken uppe,

He hath hire into chambre nome,

And after, whan the nyht was come,

He leide hire in his bed al nakid.

He was forwept, he was forwakid,

He keste hire colde lippes ofte,

And wissheth that thei weren softe,

And ofte he rouneth in hire Ere,

And ofte his arm now hier now there

He leide, as he hir wolde embrace,

410And evere among he axeth grace,

As thogh sche wiste what he mente:

And thus himself he gan tormente

With such desese of loves peine,

That noman mihte him more peine.

Bot how it were, of his penance

He made such continuance

Fro dai to nyht, and preith so longe,

That his preiere is underfonge,

Which Venus of hire grace herde;

420Be nyhte and whan that he worst ferde,

And it lay in his nakede arm,

The colde ymage he fieleth warm

Of fleissh and bon and full of lif.

Lo, thus he wan a lusti wif,

Which obeissant was at his wille;

And if he wolde have holde him stille

And nothing spoke, he scholde have failed:

Bot for he hath his word travailed

And dorste speke, his love he spedde,

430And hadde al that he wolde abedde.

For er thei wente thanne atwo,

A knave child betwen hem two

Thei gete, which was after hote

Paphus, of whom yit hath the note

A certein yle, which Paphos

Men clepe, and of his name it ros.

Be this ensample thou miht finde

That word mai worche above kinde.

Forthi, my Sone, if that thou spare

440To speke, lost is al thi fare,

For Slowthe bringth in alle wo.

And over this to loke also,

The god of love is favorable

To hem that ben of love stable,

And many a wonder hath befalle:

Wherof to speke amonges alle,

If that thee list to taken hede,

Therof a solein tale I rede,

Which I schal telle in remembraunce

450Upon the sort of loves chaunce.

The king Ligdus upon a strif

Spak unto Thelacuse his wif,

Which thanne was with childe grete;

He swor it scholde noght be lete,

That if sche have a dowhter bore,

That it ne scholde be forlore

And slain, wherof sche sory was.

So it befell upon this cas,

Whan sche delivered scholde be,

460Isis be nyhte in privete,

Which of childinge is the goddesse,

Cam forto helpe in that destresse,

Til that this lady was al smal,

And hadde a dowhter forth withal;

Which the goddesse in alle weie

Bad kepe, and that thei scholden seie

It were a Sone: and thus Iphis

Thei namede him, and upon this

The fader was mad so to wene.

470And thus in chambre with the qweene

This Iphis was forthdrawe tho,

And clothed and arraied so

Riht as a kinges Sone scholde.

Til after, as fortune it wolde,

Whan it was of a ten yer age,

Him was betake in mariage

A Duckes dowhter forto wedde,

Which Iante hihte, and ofte abedde

These children leien, sche and sche,

480Whiche of on age bothe be.

So that withinne time of yeeres,

Togedre as thei ben pleiefieres,

Liggende abedde upon a nyht,

Nature, which doth every wiht

Upon hire lawe forto muse,

Constreigneth hem, so that thei use

Thing which to hem was al unknowe;

Wherof Cupide thilke throwe

Tok pite for the grete love,

490And let do sette kinde above,

So that hir lawe mai ben used,

And thei upon here lust excused.

For love hateth nothing more

Than thing which stant ayein the lore

Of that nature in kinde hath sett:

Forthi Cupide hath so besett

His grace upon this aventure,

That he acordant to nature,

Whan that he syh the time best,

500That ech of hem hath other kest,

Transformeth Iphe into a man,

Wherof the kinde love he wan

Of lusti yonge Iante his wif;

And tho thei ladde a merie lif,

Which was to kinde non offence.

And thus to take an evidence,

It semeth love is welwillende

To hem that ben continuende

With besy herte to poursuie

510Thing which that is to love due.

Wherof, my Sone, in this matiere

Thou miht ensample taken hiere,

That with thi grete besinesse

Thou miht atteigne the richesse

Of love, if that ther be no Slowthe.

I dar wel seie be mi trowthe,

Als fer as I my witt can seche,

Mi fader, as for lacke of speche,

Bot so as I me schrof tofore,

520Ther is non other time lore,

Wherof ther mihte ben obstacle

To lette love of his miracle,

Which I beseche day and nyht.

Bot, fader, so as it is riht

In forme of schrifte to beknowe

What thing belongeth to the slowe,

Your faderhode I wolde preie,

If ther be forthere eny weie

Touchende unto this ilke vice.

530Mi Sone, ye, of this office

Ther serveth on in special,

Which lost hath his memorial,

So that he can no wit withholde

In thing which he to kepe is holde,

Wherof fulofte himself he grieveth:

And who that most upon him lieveth,

Whan that hise wittes ben so weyved,

He mai full lihtly be deceived.

To serve Accidie in his office,

540Ther is of Slowthe an other vice,

Which cleped is Foryetelnesse;

That noght mai in his herte impresse

Of vertu which reson hath sett,

So clene his wittes he foryet.

For in the tellinge of his tale

Nomore his herte thanne his male

Hath remembrance of thilke forme,

Wherof he scholde his wit enforme

As thanne, and yit ne wot he why.

550Thus is his pourpos noght forthi

Forlore of that he wolde bidde,

And skarsly if he seith the thridde

To love of that he hadde ment:

Thus many a lovere hath be schent.

Tell on therfore, hast thou be oon

Of hem that Slowthe hath so begon?

Ye, fader, ofte it hath be so,

That whanne I am mi ladi fro

And thenke untoward hire drawe,

560Than cast I many a newe lawe

And al the world torne up so doun,

And so recorde I mi lecoun

And wryte in my memorial

What I to hire telle schal,

Riht al the matiere of mi tale:

Bot al nys worth a note schale;

For whanne I come ther sche is,

I have it al foryete ywiss;

Of that I thoghte forto telle

570I can noght thanne unethes spelle

That I wende altherbest have rad,

So sore I am of hire adrad.

For as a man that sodeinli

A gost behelde, so fare I;

So that for feere I can noght gete

Mi witt, bot I miself foryete,

That I wot nevere what I am,

Ne whider I schal, ne whenne I cam,

Bot muse as he that were amased.

580Lich to the bok in which is rased

The lettre, and mai nothing be rad,

So ben my wittes overlad,

That what as evere I thoghte have spoken,

It is out fro myn herte stoken,

And stonde, as who seith, doumb and def,

That all nys worth an yvy lef,

Of that I wende wel have seid.

And ate laste I make abreid,

Caste up myn hed and loke aboute,

590Riht as a man that were in doute

And wot noght wher he schal become.

Thus am I ofte al overcome,

Ther as I wende best to stonde:

Bot after, whanne I understonde,

And am in other place al one,

I make many a wofull mone

Unto miself, and speke so:

“Ha fol, wher was thin herte tho,

Whan thou thi worthi ladi syhe?

600Were thou afered of hire yhe?

For of hire hand ther is no drede:

So wel I knowe hir wommanhede,

That in hire is nomore oultrage

Than in a child of thre yeer age.

Whi hast thou drede of so good on,

Whom alle vertu hath begon,

That in hire is no violence

Bot goodlihiede and innocence

Withouten spot of eny blame?

610Ha, nyce herte, fy for schame]

Ha, couard herte of love unlered,

Wherof art thou so sore afered,

That thou thi tunge soffrest frese,

And wolt thi goode wordes lese,

Whan thou hast founde time and space?

How scholdest thou deserve grace,

Whan thou thiself darst axe non,

Bot al thou hast foryete anon?”

And thus despute I loves lore,

620Bot help ne finde I noght the more,

Bot stomble upon myn oghne treine

And make an ekinge of my peine.

For evere whan I thenke among

How al is on miself along,

I seie, “O fol of alle foles,

Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles

That wolde sitte and goth to grounde.

It was ne nevere schal be founde,

Betwen foryetelnesse and drede

630That man scholde any cause spede.”

And thus, myn holi fader diere,

Toward miself, as ye mai hiere,

I pleigne of my foryetelnesse;

Bot elles al the besinesse,

That mai be take of mannes thoght,

Min herte takth, and is thorghsoght

To thenken evere upon that swete

Withoute Slowthe, I you behete.

For what so falle, or wel or wo,

640That thoght foryete I neveremo,

Wher so I lawhe or so I loure:

Noght half the Minut of an houre

Ne mihte I lete out of my mende,

Bot if I thoghte upon that hende.

Therof me schal no Slowthe lette,

Til deth out of this world me fette,

Althogh I hadde on such a Ring,

As Moises thurgh his enchanting

Som time in Ethiope made,

650Whan that he Tharbis weddid hade.

Which Ring bar of Oblivion

The name, and that was be resoun

That where it on a finger sat,

Anon his love he so foryat,

As thogh he hadde it nevere knowe:

And so it fell that ilke throwe,

Whan Tharbis hadde it on hire hond,

No knowlechinge of him sche fond,

Bot al was clene out of memoire,

660As men mai rede in his histoire;

And thus he wente quit away,

That nevere after that ilke day

Sche thoghte that ther was such on;

Al was foryete and overgon.

Bot in good feith so mai noght I:

For sche is evere faste by,

So nyh that sche myn herte toucheth,

That for nothing that Slowthe voucheth

I mai foryete hire, lief ne loth;

670For overal, where as sche goth,

Min herte folwith hire aboute.

Thus mai I seie withoute doute,

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

Sche passeth nevere fro my thoght;

Bot whanne I am ther as sche is,

Min herte, as I you saide er this,

Som time of hire is sore adrad,

And som time it is overglad,

Al out of reule and out of space.

680For whan I se hir goodli face

And thenke upon hire hihe pris,

As thogh I were in Paradis,

I am so ravisht of the syhte,

That speke unto hire I ne myhte

As for the time, thogh I wolde:

For I ne mai my wit unfolde

To finde o word of that I mene,

Bot al it is foryete clene;

And thogh I stonde there a myle,

690Al is foryete for the while,

A tunge I have and wordes none.

And thus I stonde and thenke al one

Of thing that helpeth ofte noght;

Bot what I hadde afore thoght

To speke, whanne I come there,

It is foryete, as noght ne were,

And stonde amased and assoted,

That of nothing which I have noted

I can noght thanne a note singe,

700Bot al is out of knowlechinge:

Thus, what for joie and what for drede,

Al is foryeten ate nede.

So that, mi fader, of this Slowthe

I have you said the pleine trowthe;

Ye mai it as you list redresce:

For thus stant my foryetelnesse

And ek my pusillamite.

Sey now forth what you list to me,

For I wol only do be you.

710Mi Sone, I have wel herd how thou

Hast seid, and that thou most amende:

For love his grace wol noght sende

To that man which dar axe non.

For this we knowen everichon,

A mannes thoght withoute speche

God wot, and yit that men beseche

His will is; for withoute bedes

He doth his grace in fewe stedes:

And what man that foryet himselve,

720Among a thousand be noght tuelve,

That wol him take in remembraunce,

Bot lete him falle and take his chaunce.

Forthi pull up a besi herte,

Mi Sone, and let nothing asterte

Of love fro thi besinesse:

For touchinge of foryetelnesse,

Which many a love hath set behinde,

A tale of gret ensample I finde,

Wherof it is pite to wite

730In the manere as it is write.

King Demephon, whan he be Schipe

To Troieward with felaschipe

Sailende goth, upon his weie

It hapneth him at Rodopeie,

As Eolus him hadde blowe,

To londe, and rested for a throwe.

And fell that ilke time thus,

The dowhter of Ligurgius,

Which qweene was of the contre,

740Was sojournende in that Cite

Withinne a Castell nyh the stronde,

Wher Demephon cam up to londe.

Phillis sche hihte, and of yong age

And of stature and of visage

Sche hadde al that hire best besemeth.

Of Demephon riht wel hire qwemeth,

Whan he was come, and made him chiere;

And he, that was of his manere

A lusti knyht, ne myhte asterte

750That he ne sette on hire his herte;

So that withinne a day or tuo

He thoghte, how evere that it go,

He wolde assaie the fortune,

And gan his herte to commune

With goodly wordes in hire Ere;

And forto put hire out of fere,

He swor and hath his trowthe pliht

To be for evere hire oghne knyht.

And thus with hire he stille abod,

760Ther while his Schip on Anker rod,

And hadde ynowh of time and space

To speke of love and seche grace.

This ladi herde al that he seide,

And hou he swor and hou he preide,

Which was as an enchantement

To hire, that was innocent:

As thogh it were trowthe and feith,

Sche lieveth al that evere he seith,

And as hire infortune scholde,

770Sche granteth him al that he wolde.

Thus was he for the time in joie,

Til that he scholde go to Troie;

Bot tho sche made mochel sorwe,

And he his trowthe leith to borwe

To come, if that he live may,

Ayein withinne a Monthe day,

And therupon thei kisten bothe:

Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe,

To Schipe he goth and forth he wente

780To Troie, as was his ferste entente.

The daies gon, the Monthe passeth,

Hire love encresceth and his lasseth,

For him sche lefte slep and mete,

And he his time hath al foryete;

So that this wofull yonge qweene,

Which wot noght what it mihte meene,

A lettre sende and preide him come,

And seith how sche is overcome

With strengthe of love in such a wise,

790That sche noght longe mai suffise

To liven out of his presence;

And putte upon his conscience

The trowthe which he hath behote,

Wherof sche loveth him so hote,

Sche seith, that if he lengere lette

Of such a day as sche him sette,

Sche scholde sterven in his Slowthe,

Which were a schame unto his trowthe.

This lettre is forth upon hire sonde,

800Wherof somdiel confort on honde

Sche tok, as she that wolde abide

And waite upon that ilke tyde

Which sche hath in hire lettre write.

Bot now is pite forto wite,

As he dede erst, so he foryat

His time eftsone and oversat.

Bot sche, which mihte noght do so,

The tyde awayteth everemo,

And caste hire yhe upon the See:

810Somtime nay, somtime yee,

Somtime he cam, somtime noght,

Thus sche desputeth in hire thoght

And wot noght what sche thenke mai;

Bot fastende al the longe day

Sche was into the derke nyht,

And tho sche hath do set up lyht

In a lanterne on hih alofte

Upon a Tour, wher sche goth ofte,

In hope that in his cominge

820He scholde se the liht brenninge,

Wherof he mihte his weies rihte

To come wher sche was be nyhte.

Bot al for noght, sche was deceived,

For Venus hath hire hope weyved,

And schewede hire upon the Sky

How that the day was faste by,

So that withinne a litel throwe

The daies lyht sche mihte knowe.

Tho sche behield the See at large;

830And whan sche sih ther was no barge

Ne Schip, als ferr as sche may kenne,

Doun fro the Tour sche gan to renne

Into an Herber all hire one,

Wher many a wonder woful mone

Sche made, that no lif it wiste,

As sche which all hire joie miste,

That now sche swouneth, now sche pleigneth,

And al hire face sche desteigneth

With teres, whiche, as of a welle

840The stremes, from hire yhen felle;

So as sche mihte and evere in on

Sche clepede upon Demephon,

And seide, “Helas, thou slowe wiht,

Wher was ther evere such a knyht,

That so thurgh his ungentilesce

Of Slowthe and of foryetelnesse

Ayein his trowthe brak his stevene?”

And tho hire yhe up to the hevene

Sche caste, and seide, “O thou unkinde,

850Hier schalt thou thurgh thi Slowthe finde,

If that thee list to come and se,

A ladi ded for love of thee,

So as I schal myselve spille;

Whom, if it hadde be thi wille,

Thou mihtest save wel ynowh.”

With that upon a grene bowh

A Ceinte of Selk, which sche ther hadde,

Sche knette, and so hireself sche ladde,

That sche aboute hire whyte swere

860It dede, and hyng hirselven there.

Wherof the goddes were amoeved,

And Demephon was so reproeved,

That of the goddes providence

Was schape such an evidence

Evere afterward ayein the slowe,

That Phillis in the same throwe

Was schape into a Notetre,

That alle men it mihte se,

And after Phillis Philliberd

870This tre was cleped in the yerd,

And yit for Demephon to schame

Into this dai it berth the name.

This wofull chance how that it ferde

Anon as Demephon it herde,

And every man it hadde in speche,

His sorwe was noght tho to seche;

He gan his Slowthe forto banne,

Bot it was al to late thanne.

Lo thus, my Sone, miht thou wite

880Ayein this vice how it is write;

For noman mai the harmes gesse,

That fallen thurgh foryetelnesse,

Wherof that I thi schrifte have herd.

Bot yit of Slowthe hou it hath ferd

In other wise I thenke oppose,

If thou have gult, as I suppose.

Fulfild of Slowthes essamplaire

Ther is yit on, his Secretaire,

And he is cleped Negligence:

890Which wol noght loke his evidence,

Wherof he mai be war tofore;

Bot whanne he hath his cause lore,

Thanne is he wys after the hond:

Whanne helpe may no maner bond,

Thanne ate ferste wolde he binde:

Thus everemore he stant behinde.

Whanne he the thing mai noght amende,

Thanne is he war, and seith at ende,

“Ha, wolde god I hadde knowe]”

900Wherof bejaped with a mowe

He goth, for whan the grete Stiede

Is stole, thanne he taketh hiede,

And makth the stable dore fast:

Thus evere he pleith an aftercast

Of al that he schal seie or do.

He hath a manere eke also,

Him list noght lerne to be wys,

For he set of no vertu pris

Bot as him liketh for the while;

910So fieleth he fulofte guile,

Whan that he weneth siker stonde.

And thus thou miht wel understonde,

Mi Sone, if thou art such in love,

Thou miht noght come at thin above

Of that thou woldest wel achieve.

Mi holi fader, as I lieve,

I mai wel with sauf conscience

Excuse me of necgligence

Towardes love in alle wise:

920For thogh I be non of the wise,

I am so trewly amerous,

That I am evere curious

Of hem that conne best enforme

To knowe and witen al the forme,

What falleth unto loves craft.

Bot yit ne fond I noght the haft,

Which mihte unto that bladd acorde;

For nevere herde I man recorde

What thing it is that myhte availe

930To winne love withoute faile.

Yit so fer cowthe I nevere finde

Man that be resoun ne be kinde

Me cowthe teche such an art,

That he ne failede of a part;

And as toward myn oghne wit,

Controeve cowthe I nevere yit

To finden eny sikernesse,

That me myhte outher more or lesse

Of love make forto spede:

940For lieveth wel withoute drede,

If that ther were such a weie,

As certeinliche as I schal deie

I hadde it lerned longe ago.

Bot I wot wel ther is non so:

And natheles it may wel be,

I am so rude in my degree

And ek mi wittes ben so dulle,

That I ne mai noght to the fulle

Atteigne to so hih a lore.

950Bot this I dar seie overmore,

Althogh mi wit ne be noght strong,

It is noght on mi will along,

For that is besi nyht and day

To lerne al that he lerne may,

How that I mihte love winne:

Bot yit I am as to beginne

Of that I wolde make an ende,

And for I not how it schal wende,

That is to me mi moste sorwe.

960Bot I dar take god to borwe,

As after min entendement,

Non other wise necgligent

Thanne I yow seie have I noght be:

Forthi per seinte charite

Tell me, mi fader, what you semeth.

In good feith, Sone, wel me qwemeth,

That thou thiself hast thus aquit

Toward this vice, in which no wit

Abide mai, for in an houre

970He lest al that he mai laboure

The longe yer, so that men sein,

What evere he doth it is in vein.

For thurgh the Slowthe of Negligence

Ther was yit nevere such science

Ne vertu, which was bodely,

That nys destruid and lost therby.

Ensample that it hath be so

In boke I finde write also.

Phebus, which is the Sonne hote,

980That schyneth upon Erthe hote

And causeth every lyves helthe,

He hadde a Sone in al his welthe,

Which Pheton hihte, and he desireth

And with his Moder he conspireth,

The which was cleped Clemenee,

For help and conseil, so that he

His fader carte lede myhte

Upon the faire daies brihte.

And for this thing thei bothe preide

990Unto the fader, and he seide

He wolde wel, bot forth withal

Thre pointz he bad in special

Unto his Sone in alle wise,

That he him scholde wel avise

And take it as be weie of lore.

Ferst was, that he his hors to sore

Ne prike, and over that he tolde

That he the renes faste holde;

And also that he be riht war

1000In what manere he lede his charr,

That he mistake noght his gate,

Bot up avisement algate

He scholde bere a siker yhe,

That he to lowe ne to hyhe

His carte dryve at eny throwe,

Wherof that he mihte overthrowe.

And thus be Phebus ordinance

Tok Pheton into governance

The Sonnes carte, which he ladde:

1010Bot he such veine gloire hadde

Of that he was set upon hyh,

That he his oghne astat ne syh

Thurgh negligence and tok non hiede;

So mihte he wel noght longe spede.

For he the hors withoute lawe

The carte let aboute drawe

Wher as hem liketh wantounly,

That ate laste sodeinly,

For he no reson wolde knowe,

1020This fyri carte he drof to lowe,

And fyreth al the world aboute;

Wherof thei weren alle in doubte,

And to the god for helpe criden

Of suche unhappes as betyden.

Phebus, which syh the necgligence,

How Pheton ayein his defence

His charr hath drive out of the weie,

Ordeigneth that he fell aweie

Out of the carte into a flod

1030And dreynte. Lo now, hou it stod

With him that was so necgligent,

That fro the hyhe firmament,

For that he wolde go to lowe,

He was anon doun overthrowe.

In hih astat it is a vice

To go to lowe, and in service

It grieveth forto go to hye,

Wherof a tale in poesie

I finde, how whilom Dedalus,

1040Which hadde a Sone, and Icharus

He hihte, and thogh hem thoghte lothe,

In such prison thei weren bothe

With Minotaurus, that aboute

Thei mihten nawher wenden oute;

So thei begonne forto schape

How thei the prison mihte ascape.

This Dedalus, which fro his yowthe

Was tawht and manye craftes cowthe,

Of fetheres and of othre thinges

1050Hath mad to fle diverse wynges

For him and for his Sone also;

To whom he yaf in charge tho

And bad him thenke therupon,

How that his wynges ben set on

With wex, and if he toke his flyhte

To hyhe, al sodeinliche he mihte

Make it to melte with the Sonne.

And thus thei have her flyht begonne

Out of the prison faire and softe;

1060And whan thei weren bothe alofte,

This Icharus began to monte,

And of the conseil non accompte

He sette, which his fader tawhte,

Til that the Sonne his wynges cawhte,

Wherof it malt, and fro the heihte

Withouten help of eny sleihte

He fell to his destruccion.

And lich to that condicion

Ther fallen ofte times fele

1070For lacke of governance in wele,

Als wel in love as other weie.

Now goode fader, I you preie,

If ther be more in the matiere

Of Slowthe, that I mihte it hiere.

Mi Sone, and for thi diligence,

Which every mannes conscience

Be resoun scholde reule and kepe,

If that thee list to taken kepe,

I wol thee telle, aboven alle

1080In whom no vertu mai befalle,

Which yifth unto the vices reste

And is of slowe the sloweste.

Among these othre of Slowthes kinde,

Which alle labour set behinde,

And hateth alle besinesse,

Ther is yit on, which Ydelnesse

Is cleped, and is the Norrice

In mannes kinde of every vice,

Which secheth eases manyfold.

1090In Wynter doth he noght for cold,

In Somer mai he noght for hete;

So whether that he frese or swete,

Or he be inne, or he be oute,

He wol ben ydel al aboute,

Bot if he pleie oght ate Dees.

For who as evere take fees

And thenkth worschipe to deserve,

Ther is no lord whom he wol serve,

As forto duelle in his servise,

1100Bot if it were in such a wise,

Of that he seth per aventure

That be lordschipe and coverture

He mai the more stonde stille,

And use his ydelnesse at wille.

For he ne wol no travail take

To ryde for his ladi sake,

Bot liveth al upon his wisshes;

And as a cat wolde ete fisshes

Withoute wetinge of his cles,

1110So wolde he do, bot natheles

He faileth ofte of that he wolde.

Mi Sone, if thou of such a molde

Art mad, now tell me plein thi schrifte.

Nay, fader, god I yive a yifte.

That toward love, as be mi wit,

Al ydel was I nevere yit,

Ne nevere schal, whil I mai go.

Now, Sone, tell me thanne so,

What hast thou don of besischipe

1120To love and to the ladischipe

Of hire which thi ladi is?

Mi fader, evere yit er this

In every place, in every stede,

What so mi lady hath me bede,

With al myn herte obedient

I have therto be diligent.

And if so is sche bidde noght,

What thing that thanne into my thoght

Comth ferst of that I mai suffise,

1130I bowe and profre my servise,

Somtime in chambre, somtime in halle,

Riht as I se the times falle.

And whan sche goth to hiere masse,

That time schal noght overpasse,

That I naproche hir ladihede,

In aunter if I mai hire lede

Unto the chapelle and ayein.

Thanne is noght al mi weie in vein,

Somdiel I mai the betre fare,

1140Whan I, that mai noght fiele hir bare,

Mai lede hire clothed in myn arm:

Bot afterward it doth me harm

Of pure ymaginacioun;

For thanne this collacioun

I make unto miselven ofte,

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

How sche is round, hou sche is smal]

Now wolde god I hadde hire al

Withoute danger at mi wille]”

1150And thanne I sike and sitte stille,

Of that I se mi besi thoght

Is torned ydel into noght.

Bot for al that lete I ne mai,

Whanne I se time an other dai,

That I ne do my besinesse

Unto mi ladi worthinesse.

For I therto mi wit afaite

To se the times and awaite

What is to done and what to leve:

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

What thing sche bit me don, I do,

And wher sche bidt me gon, I go,

And whanne hir list to clepe, I come.

Thus hath sche fulliche overcome

Min ydelnesse til I sterve,

So that I mot hire nedes serve,

For as men sein, nede hath no lawe.

Thus mot I nedly to hire drawe,

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

1170Min yhe folweth hire aboute,

What so sche wole so wol I,

Whan sche wol sitte, I knele by,

And whan sche stant, than wol I stonde:

Bot whan sche takth hir werk on honde

Of wevinge or enbrouderie,

Than can I noght bot muse and prie

Upon hir fingres longe and smale,

And now I thenke, and now I tale,

And now I singe, and now I sike,

1180And thus mi contienance I pike.

And if it falle, as for a time

Hir liketh noght abide bime,

Bot besien hire on other thinges,

Than make I othre tariinges

To dreche forth the longe dai,

For me is loth departe away.

And thanne I am so simple of port,

That forto feigne som desport

I pleie with hire litel hound

1190Now on the bedd, now on the ground,

Now with hir briddes in the cage;

For ther is non so litel page,

Ne yit so simple a chamberere,

That I ne make hem alle chere,

Al for thei scholde speke wel:

Thus mow ye sen mi besi whiel,

That goth noght ydeliche aboute.

And if hir list to riden oute

On pelrinage or other stede,

1200I come, thogh I be noght bede,

And take hire in min arm alofte

And sette hire in hire sadel softe,

And so forth lede hire be the bridel,

For that I wolde noght ben ydel.

And if hire list to ride in Char,

And thanne I mai therof be war,

Anon I schape me to ryde

Riht evene be the Chares side;

And as I mai, I speke among,

1210And otherwhile I singe a song,

Which Ovide in his bokes made,

And seide, “O whiche sorwes glade,

O which wofull prosperite

Belongeth to the proprete

Of love, who so wole him serve]

And yit therfro mai noman swerve,

That he ne mot his lawe obeie.”

And thus I ryde forth mi weie,

And am riht besi overal

1220With herte and with mi body al,

As I have said you hier tofore.

My goode fader, tell therfore,

Of Ydelnesse if I have gilt.

Mi Sone, bot thou telle wilt

Oght elles than I mai now hiere,

Thou schalt have no penance hiere.

And natheles a man mai se,

How now adayes that ther be

Ful manye of suche hertes slowe,

1230That wol noght besien hem to knowe

What thing love is, til ate laste,

That he with strengthe hem overcaste,

That malgre hem thei mote obeie

And don al ydelschipe aweie,

To serve wel and besiliche.

Bot, Sone, thou art non of swiche,

For love schal the wel excuse:

Bot otherwise, if thou refuse

To love, thou miht so per cas

1240Ben ydel, as somtime was

A kinges dowhter unavised,

Til that Cupide hire hath chastised:

Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere

Acordant unto this matiere.

Of Armenye, I rede thus,

Ther was a king, which Herupus

Was hote, and he a lusti Maide

To dowhter hadde, and as men saide

Hire name was Rosiphelee;

1250Which tho was of gret renomee,

For sche was bothe wys and fair

And scholde ben hire fader hair.

Bot sche hadde o defalte of Slowthe

Towardes love, and that was rowthe;

For so wel cowde noman seie,

Which mihte sette hire in the weie

Of loves occupacion

Thurgh non ymaginacion;

That scole wolde sche noght knowe.

1260And thus sche was on of the slowe

As of such hertes besinesse,

Til whanne Venus the goddesse,

Which loves court hath forto reule,

Hath broght hire into betre reule,

Forth with Cupide and with his miht:

For thei merveille how such a wiht,

Which tho was in hir lusti age,

Desireth nother Mariage

Ne yit the love of paramours,

1270Which evere hath be the comun cours

Amonges hem that lusti were.

So was it schewed after there:

For he that hihe hertes loweth

With fyri Dartes whiche he throweth,

Cupide, which of love is godd,

In chastisinge hath mad a rodd

To dryve awei hir wantounesse;

So that withinne a while, I gesse,

Sche hadde on such a chance sporned,

1280That al hire mod was overtorned,

Which ferst sche hadde of slow manere:

For thus it fell, as thou schalt hiere.

Whan come was the Monthe of Maii,

Sche wolde walke upon a dai,

And that was er the Sonne Ariste;

Of wommen bot a fewe it wiste,

And forth sche wente prively

Unto the Park was faste by,

Al softe walkende on the gras,

1290Til sche cam ther the Launde was,

Thurgh which ther ran a gret rivere.

It thoghte hir fair, and seide, “Here

I wole abide under the schawe”:

And bad hire wommen to withdrawe,

And ther sche stod al one stille,

To thenke what was in hir wille.

Sche sih the swote floures springe,

Sche herde glade foules singe,

Sche sih the bestes in her kinde,

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

The madle go with the femele;

And so began ther a querele

Betwen love and hir oghne herte,

Fro which sche couthe noght asterte.

And as sche caste hire yhe aboute,

Sche syh clad in o suite a route

Of ladis, wher thei comen ryde

Along under the wodes syde:

On faire amblende hors thei sete,

1310That were al whyte, fatte and grete,

And everichon thei ride on side.

The Sadles were of such a Pride,

With Perle and gold so wel begon,

So riche syh sche nevere non;

In kertles and in Copes riche

Thei weren clothed, alle liche,

Departed evene of whyt and blew;

With alle lustes that sche knew

Thei were enbrouded overal.

1320Here bodies weren long and smal,

The beaute faye upon her face

Non erthly thing it may desface;

Corones on here hed thei beere,

As ech of hem a qweene weere,

That al the gold of Cresus halle

The leste coronal of alle

Ne mihte have boght after the worth:

Thus come thei ridende forth.

The kinges dowhter, which this syh,

1330For pure abaissht drowh hire adryh

And hield hire clos under the bowh,

And let hem passen stille ynowh;

For as hire thoghte in hire avis,

To hem that were of such a pris

Sche was noght worthi axen there,

Fro when they come or what thei were:

Bot levere than this worldes good

Sche wolde have wist hou that it stod,

And putte hire hed alitel oute;

1340And as sche lokede hire aboute,

Sche syh comende under the linde

A womman up an hors behinde.

The hors on which sche rod was blak,

Al lene and galled on the back,

And haltede, as he were encluyed,

Wherof the womman was annuied;

Thus was the hors in sori plit,

Bot for al that a sterre whit

Amiddes in the front he hadde.

1350Hir Sadel ek was wonder badde,

In which the wofull womman sat,

And natheles ther was with that

A riche bridel for the nones

Of gold and preciouse Stones.

Hire cote was somdiel totore;

Aboute hir middel twenty score

Of horse haltres and wel mo

Ther hyngen ate time tho.

Thus whan sche cam the ladi nyh,

1360Than tok sche betre hiede and syh

This womman fair was of visage,

Freyssh, lusti, yong and of tendre age;

And so this ladi, ther sche stod,

Bethoghte hire wel and understod

That this, which com ridende tho,

Tidinges couthe telle of tho,

Which as sche sih tofore ryde,

And putte hir forth and preide abide,

And seide, “Ha, Suster, let me hiere,

1370What ben thei, that now riden hiere,

And ben so richeliche arraied?”

This womman, which com so esmaied,

Ansuerde with ful softe speche,

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

These ar of tho that whilom were

Servantz to love, and trowthe beere,

Ther as thei hadde here herte set.

Fare wel, for I mai noght be let:

Ma Dame, I go to mi servise,

1380So moste I haste in alle wise;

Forthi, ma Dame, yif me leve,

I mai noght longe with you leve.”

“Ha, goode Soster, yit I preie,

Tell me whi ye ben so beseie

And with these haltres thus begon.”

“Ma Dame, whilom I was on

That to mi fader hadde a king;

Bot I was slow, and for no thing

Me liste noght to love obeie,

1390And that I now ful sore abeie.

For I whilom no love hadde,

Min hors is now so fieble and badde,

And al totore is myn arai,

And every yeer this freisshe Maii

These lusti ladis ryde aboute,

And I mot nedes suie here route

In this manere as ye now se,

And trusse here haltres forth with me,

And am bot as here horse knave.

1400Non other office I ne have,

Hem thenkth I am worthi nomore,

For I was slow in loves lore,

Whan I was able forto lere,

And wolde noght the tales hiere

Of hem that couthen love teche.”

“Now tell me thanne, I you beseche,

Wherof that riche bridel serveth.”

With that hire chere awei sche swerveth,

And gan to wepe, and thus sche tolde:

1410“This bridel, which ye nou beholde

So riche upon myn horse hed,-

Ma Dame, afore, er I was ded,

Whan I was in mi lusti lif,

Ther fel into myn herte a strif

Of love, which me overcom,

So that therafter hiede I nom

And thoghte I wolde love a kniht:

That laste wel a fourtenyht,

For it no lengere mihte laste,

1420So nyh my lif was ate laste.

Bot now, allas, to late war

That I ne hadde him loved ar:

For deth cam so in haste bime,

Er I therto hadde eny time,

That it ne mihte ben achieved.

Bot for al that I am relieved,

Of that mi will was good therto,

That love soffreth it be so

That I schal swiche a bridel were.

1430Now have ye herd al myn ansuere:

To godd, ma Dame, I you betake,

And warneth alle for mi sake,

Of love that thei ben noght ydel,

And bidd hem thenke upon mi brydel.”

And with that word al sodeinly

Sche passeth, as it were a Sky,

Al clene out of this ladi sihte:

And tho for fere hire herte afflihte,

And seide to hirself, “Helas]

1440I am riht in the same cas.

Bot if I live after this day,

I schal amende it, if I may.”

And thus homward this lady wente,

And changede al hire ferste entente,

Withinne hire herte and gan to swere

That sche none haltres wolde bere.

Lo, Sone, hier miht thou taken hiede,

How ydelnesse is forto drede,

Namliche of love, as I have write.

1450For thou miht understonde and wite,

Among the gentil nacion

Love is an occupacion,

Which forto kepe hise lustes save

Scholde every gentil herte have:

For as the ladi was chastised,

Riht so the knyht mai ben avised,

Which ydel is and wol noght serve

To love, he mai per cas deserve

A grettere peine than sche hadde,

1460Whan sche aboute with hire ladde

The horse haltres; and forthi

Good is to be wel war therbi.

Bot forto loke aboven alle,

These Maidens, hou so that it falle,

Thei scholden take ensample of this

Which I have told, for soth it is.

Mi ladi Venus, whom I serve,

What womman wole hire thonk deserve,

Sche mai noght thilke love eschuie

1470Of paramours, bot sche mot suie

Cupides lawe; and natheles

Men sen such love sielde in pes,

That it nys evere upon aspie

Of janglinge and of fals Envie,

Fulofte medlid with disese:

Bot thilke love is wel at ese,

Which set is upon mariage;

For that dar schewen the visage

In alle places openly.

1480A gret mervaile it is forthi,

How that a Maiden wolde lette,

That sche hir time ne besette

To haste unto that ilke feste,

Wherof the love is al honeste.

Men mai recovere lost of good,

Bot so wys man yit nevere stod,

Which mai recovere time lore:

So mai a Maiden wel therfore

Ensample take, of that sche strangeth

1490Hir love, and longe er that sche changeth

Hir herte upon hir lustes greene

To mariage, as it is seene.

For thus a yer or tuo or thre

Sche lest, er that sche wedded be,

Whyl sche the charge myhte bere

Of children, whiche the world forbere

Ne mai, bot if it scholde faile.

Bot what Maiden hire esposaile

Wol tarie, whan sche take mai,

1500Sche schal per chance an other dai

Be let, whan that hire lievest were.

Wherof a tale unto hire Ere,

Which is coupable upon this dede,

I thenke telle of that I rede.

Among the Jewes, as men tolde,

Ther was whilom be daies olde

A noble Duck, which Jepte hihte.

And fell, he scholde go to fyhte

Ayein Amon the cruel king:

1510And forto speke upon this thing,

Withinne his herte he made avou

To god and seide, “Ha lord, if thou

Wolt grante unto thi man victoire,

I schal in tokne of thi memoire

The ferste lif that I mai se,

Of man or womman wher it be,

Anon as I come hom ayein,

To thee, which art god sovereign,

Slen in thi name and sacrifie.”

1520And thus with his chivalerie

He goth him forth, wher that he scholde,

And wan al that he winne wolde

And overcam his fomen alle.

Mai noman lette that schal falle.

This Duc a lusti dowhter hadde,

And fame, which the wordes spradde,

Hath broght unto this ladi Ere

How that hire fader hath do there.

Sche waiteth upon his cominge

1530With dansinge and with carolinge,

As sche that wolde be tofore

Al othre, and so sche was therfore

In Masphat at hir fader gate

The ferste; and whan he com therate,

And sih his douhter, he tobreide

Hise clothes and wepende he seide:

“O mihti god among ous hiere,

Nou wot I that in no manere

This worldes joie mai be plein.

1540I hadde al that I coude sein

Ayein mi fomen be thi grace,

So whan I cam toward this place

Ther was non gladdere man than I:

But now, mi lord, al sodeinli

Mi joie is torned into sorwe,

For I mi dowhter schal tomorwe

Tohewe and brenne in thi servise

To loenge of thi sacrifise

Thurgh min avou, so as it is.”

1550The Maiden, whan sche wiste of this,

And sih the sorwe hir fader made,

So as sche mai with wordes glade

Conforteth him, and bad him holde

The covenant which he is holde

Towardes god, as he behihte.

Bot natheles hire herte aflihte

Of that sche sih hire deth comende;

And thanne unto the ground knelende

Tofore hir fader sche is falle,

1560And seith, so as it is befalle

Upon this point that sche schal deie,

Of o thing ferst sche wolde him preie,

That fourty daies of respit

He wolde hir grante upon this plit,

That sche the whyle mai bewepe

Hir maidenhod, which sche to kepe

So longe hath had and noght beset;

Wherof her lusti youthe is let,

That sche no children hath forthdrawe

1570In Mariage after the lawe,

So that the poeple is noght encressed.

Bot that it mihte be relessed,

That sche hir time hath lore so,

Sche wolde be his leve go

With othre Maidens to compleigne,

And afterward unto the peine

Of deth sche wolde come ayein.

The fader herde his douhter sein,

And therupon of on assent

1580The Maidens were anon asent,

That scholden with this Maiden wende.

So forto speke unto this ende,

Thei gon the dounes and the dales

With wepinge and with wofull tales,

And every wyht hire maidenhiede

Compleigneth upon thilke nede,

That sche no children hadde bore,

Wherof sche hath hir youthe lore,

Which nevere sche recovere mai:

1590For so fell that hir laste dai

Was come, in which sche scholde take

Hir deth, which sche may noght forsake.

Lo, thus sche deiede a wofull Maide

For thilke cause which I saide,

As thou hast understonde above.

Mi fader, as toward the Love

Of Maidens forto telle trowthe,

Ye have thilke vice of Slowthe,

Me thenkth, riht wonder wel declared,

1600That ye the wommen have noght spared

Of hem that tarien so behinde.

Bot yit it falleth in my minde,

Toward the men hou that ye spieke

Of hem that wole no travail sieke

In cause of love upon decerte:

To speke in wordes so coverte,

I not what travaill that ye mente.

Mi Sone, and after min entente

I woll thee telle what I thoghte,

1610Hou whilom men here loves boghte

Thurgh gret travaill in strange londes,

Wher that thei wroghten with here hondes

Of armes many a worthi dede,

In sondri place as men mai rede.

That every love of pure kinde

Is ferst forthdrawe, wel I finde:

Bot natheles yit overthis

Decerte doth so that it is

The rather had in mani place.

1620Forthi who secheth loves grace,

Wher that these worthi wommen are,

He mai noght thanne himselve spare

Upon his travail forto serve,

Wherof that he mai thonk deserve,

There as these men of Armes be,

Somtime over the grete Se:

So that be londe and ek be Schipe

He mot travaile for worschipe

And make manye hastyf rodes,

1630Somtime in Prus, somtime in Rodes,

And somtime into Tartarie;

So that these heraldz on him crie,

“Vailant, vailant, lo, wher he goth]”

And thanne he yifth hem gold and cloth,

So that his fame mihte springe,

And to his ladi Ere bringe

Som tidinge of his worthinesse;

So that sche mihte of his prouesce

Of that sche herde men recorde,

1640The betre unto his love acorde

And danger pute out of hire mod,

Whanne alle men recorden good,

And that sche wot wel, for hir sake

That he no travail wol forsake.

Mi Sone, of this travail I meene:

Nou schrif thee, for it schal be sene

If thou art ydel in this cas.

My fader ye, and evere was:

For as me thenketh trewely

1650That every man doth mor than I

As of this point, and if so is

That I have oght so don er this,

It is so litel of acompte,

As who seith, it mai noght amonte

To winne of love his lusti yifte.

For this I telle you in schrifte,

That me were levere hir love winne

Than Kaire and al that is ther inne:

And forto slen the hethen alle,

1660I not what good ther mihte falle,

So mochel blod thogh ther be schad.

This finde I writen, hou Crist bad

That noman other scholde sle.

What scholde I winne over the Se,

If I mi ladi loste at hom?

Bot passe thei the salte fom,

To whom Crist bad thei scholden preche

To al the world and his feith teche:

Bot now thei rucken in here nest

1670And resten as hem liketh best

In all the swetnesse of delices.

Thus thei defenden ous the vices,

And sitte hemselven al amidde;

To slen and feihten thei ous bidde

Hem whom thei scholde, as the bok seith,

Converten unto Cristes feith.

Bot hierof have I gret mervaile,

Hou thei wol bidde me travaile:

A Sarazin if I sle schal,

1680I sle the Soule forth withal,

And that was nevere Cristes lore.

Bot nou ho ther, I seie nomore.

Bot I wol speke upon mi schrifte;

And to Cupide I make a yifte,

That who as evere pris deserve

Of armes, I wol love serve;

And thogh I scholde hem bothe kepe,

Als wel yit wolde I take kepe

Whan it were time to abide,

1690As forto travaile and to ryde:

For how as evere a man laboure,

Cupide appointed hath his houre.

For I have herd it telle also,

Achilles lefte hise armes so

Bothe of himself and of his men

At Troie for Polixenen,

Upon hire love whanne he fell,

That for no chance that befell

Among the Grecs or up or doun,

1700He wolde noght ayein the toun

Ben armed, for the love of hire.

And so me thenketh, lieve Sire,

A man of armes mai him reste

Somtime in hope for the beste,

If he mai finde a weie nerr.

What scholde I thanne go so ferr

In strange londes many a mile

To ryde, and lese at hom therwhile

Mi love? It were a schort beyete

1710To winne chaf and lese whete.

Bot if mi ladi bidde wolde,

That I for hire love scholde

Travaile, me thenkth trewely

I mihte fle thurghout the Sky,

And go thurghout the depe Se,

For al ne sette I at a stre

What thonk that I mihte elles gete.

What helpeth it a man have mete,

Wher drinke lacketh on the bord?

1720What helpeth eny mannes word

To seie hou I travaile faste,

Wher as me faileth ate laste

That thing which I travaile fore?

O in good time were he bore,

That mihte atteigne such a mede.

Bot certes if I mihte spede

With eny maner besinesse

Of worldes travail, thanne I gesse,

Ther scholde me non ydelschipe

1730Departen fro hir ladischipe.

Bot this I se, on daies nou

The blinde god, I wot noght hou,

Cupido, which of love is lord,

He set the thinges in discord,

That thei that lest to love entende

Fulofte he wole hem yive and sende

Most of his grace; and thus I finde

That he that scholde go behinde,

Goth many a time ferr tofore:

1740So wot I noght riht wel therfore,

On whether bord that I schal seile.

Thus can I noght miself conseile,

Bot al I sette on aventure,

And am, as who seith, out of cure

For ought that I can seie or do:

For everemore I finde it so,

The more besinesse I leie,

The more that I knele and preie

With goode wordes and with softe,

1750The more I am refused ofte,

With besinesse and mai noght winne.

And in good feith that is gret Sinne;

For I mai seie, of dede and thoght

That ydel man have I be noght;

For hou as evere I be deslaied,

Yit evermore I have assaied.

Bot thogh my besinesse laste,

Al is bot ydel ate laste,

For whan theffect is ydelnesse,

1760I not what thing is besinesse.

Sei, what availeth al the dede,

Which nothing helpeth ate nede?

For the fortune of every fame

Schal of his ende bere a name.

And thus for oght is yit befalle,

An ydel man I wol me calle

As after myn entendement:

Bot upon youre amendement,

Min holi fader, as you semeth,

1770Mi reson and my cause demeth.

Mi Sone, I have herd thi matiere,

Of that thou hast thee schriven hiere:

And forto speke of ydel fare,

Me semeth that thou tharst noght care,

Bot only that thou miht noght spede.

And therof, Sone, I wol thee rede,

Abyd, and haste noght to faste;

Thi dees ben every dai to caste,

Thou nost what chance schal betyde.

1780Betre is to wayte upon the tyde

Than rowe ayein the stremes stronge:

For thogh so be thee thenketh longe,

Per cas the revolucion

Of hevene and thi condicion

Ne be noght yit of on acord.

Bot I dar make this record

To Venus, whos Prest that I am,

That sithen that I hidir cam

To hiere, as sche me bad, thi lif,

1790Wherof thou elles be gultif,

Thou miht hierof thi conscience

Excuse, and of gret diligence,

Which thou to love hast so despended,

Thou oghtest wel to be comended.

Bot if so be that ther oght faile,

Of that thou slowthest to travaile

In armes forto ben absent,

And for thou makst an argument

Of that thou seidest hiere above,

1800Hou Achilles thurgh strengthe of love

Hise armes lefte for a throwe,

Thou schalt an other tale knowe,

Which is contraire, as thou schalt wite.

For this a man mai finde write,

Whan that knyhthode schal be werred,

Lust mai noght thanne be preferred;

The bedd mot thanne be forsake

And Schield and spere on honde take,

Which thing schal make hem after glade,

1810Whan thei ben worthi knihtes made.

Wherof, so as it comth to honde,

A tale thou schalt understonde,

Hou that a kniht schal armes suie,

And for the while his ese eschuie.

Upon knyhthode I rede thus,

How whilom whan the king Nauplus,

The fader of Palamades,

Cam forto preien Ulixes

With othre Gregois ek also,

1820That he with hem to Troie go,

Wher that the Siege scholde be,

Anon upon Penolope

His wif, whom that he loveth hote,

Thenkende, wolde hem noght behote.

Bot he schop thanne a wonder wyle,

How that he scholde hem best beguile,

So that he mihte duelle stille

At home and welde his love at wille:

Wherof erli the morwe day

1830Out of his bedd, wher that he lay,

Whan he was uppe, he gan to fare

Into the field and loke and stare,

As he which feigneth to be wod:

He tok a plowh, wher that it stod,

Wherinne anon in stede of Oxes

He let do yoken grete foxes,

And with gret salt the lond he siew.

But Nauplus, which the cause kniew,

Ayein the sleihte which he feigneth

1840An other sleihte anon ordeigneth.

And fell that time Ulixes hadde

A chyld to Sone, and Nauplus radde

How men that Sone taken scholde,

And setten him upon the Molde,

Wher that his fader hield the plowh,

In thilke furgh which he tho drowh.

For in such wise he thoghte assaie,

Hou it Ulixes scholde paie,

If that he were wod or non.

1850The knihtes for this child forthgon;

Thelamacus anon was fett,

Tofore the plowh and evene sett,

Wher that his fader scholde dryve.

Bot whan he sih his child, als blyve

He drof the plowh out of the weie,

And Nauplus tho began to seie,

And hath half in a jape cryd:

“O Ulixes, thou art aspyd:

What is al this thou woldest meene?

1860For openliche it is now seene

That thou hast feigned al this thing,

Which is gret schame to a king,

Whan that for lust of eny slowthe

Thou wolt in a querele of trowthe

Of armes thilke honour forsake,

And duelle at hom for loves sake:

For betre it were honour to winne

Than love, which likinge is inne.

Forthi tak worschipe upon honde,

1870And elles thou schalt understonde

These othre worthi kinges alle

Of Grece, which unto thee calle,

Towardes thee wol be riht wrothe,

And grieve thee per chance bothe:

Which schal be tothe double schame

Most for the hindrynge of thi name,

That thou for Slouthe of eny love

Schalt so thi lustes sette above

And leve of armes the knyhthode,

1880Which is the pris of thi manhode

And oghte ferst to be desired.”

Bot he, which hadde his herte fyred

Upon his wif, whan he this herde,

Noght o word therayein ansuerde,

Bot torneth hom halvinge aschamed,

And hath withinne himself so tamed

His herte, that al the sotie

Of love for chivalerie

He lefte, and be him lief or loth,

1890To Troie forth with hem he goth,

That he him mihte noght excuse.

Thus stant it, if a knyht refuse

The lust of armes to travaile,

Ther mai no worldes ese availe,

Bot if worschipe be with al.

And that hath schewed overal;

For it sit wel in alle wise

A kniht to ben of hih emprise

And puten alle drede aweie;

1900For in this wise, I have herd seie,

The worthi king Protheselai

On his passage wher he lai

Towardes Troie thilke Siege,

Sche which was al his oghne liege,

Laodomie his lusti wif,

Which for his love was pensif,

As he which al hire herte hadde,

Upon a thing wherof sche dradde

A lettre, forto make him duelle

1910Fro Troie, sende him, thus to telle,

Hou sche hath axed of the wyse

Touchende of him in such a wise,

That thei have don hire understonde,

Towardes othre hou so it stonde,

The destine it hath so schape

That he schal noght the deth ascape

In cas that he arryve at Troie.

Forthi as to hir worldes joie

With al hire herte sche him preide,

1920And many an other cause alleide,

That he with hire at home abide.

Bot he hath cast hir lettre aside,

As he which tho no maner hiede

Tok of hire wommannysshe drede;

And forth he goth, as noght ne were,

To Troie, and was the ferste there

Which londeth, and tok arryvaile:

For him was levere in the bataille,

He seith, to deien as a knyht,

1930Than forto lyve in al his myht

And be reproeved of his name.

Lo, thus upon the worldes fame

Knyhthode hath evere yit be set,

Which with no couardie is let.

Of king Sal also I finde,

Whan Samuel out of his kinde,

Thurgh that the Phitonesse hath lered,

In Samarie was arered

Long time after that he was ded,

1940The king Sal him axeth red,

If that he schal go fyhte or non.

And Samuel him seide anon,

“The ferste day of the bataille

Thou schalt be slain withoute faile

And Jonathas thi Sone also.”

Bot hou as evere it felle so,

This worthi kniht of his corage

Hath undertake the viage,

And wol noght his knyhthode lette

1950For no peril he couthe sette;

Wherof that bothe his Sone and he

Upon the Montz of Gelboe5

Assemblen with here enemys:

For thei knyhthode of such a pris

Be olde daies thanne hielden,

That thei non other thing behielden.

And thus the fader for worschipe

Forth with his Sone of felaschipe

Thurgh lust of armes weren dede,

1960As men mai in the bible rede;

The whos knyhthode is yit in mende,

And schal be to the worldes ende.

And forto loken overmore,

It hath and schal ben evermore

That of knihthode the prouesse

Is grounded upon hardinesse

Of him that dar wel undertake.

And who that wolde ensample take

Upon the forme of knyhtes lawe,

1970How that Achilles was forthdrawe

With Chiro, which Centaurus hihte,

Of many a wondre hiere he mihte.

For it stod thilke time thus,

That this Chiro, this Centaurus,

Withinne a large wildernesse,

Wher was Leon and Leonesse,

The Lepard and the Tigre also,

With Hert and Hynde, and buck and doo,

Hadde his duellinge, as tho befell,

1980Of Pileon upon the hel,

Wherof was thanne mochel speche.

Ther hath Chiro this Chyld to teche,

What time he was of tuelve yer age;

Wher forto maken his corage

The more hardi be other weie,

In the forest to hunte and pleie

Whan that Achilles walke wolde,

Centaurus bad that he ne scholde

After no beste make his chace,

1990Which wolde flen out of his place,

As buck and doo and hert and hynde,

With whiche he mai no werre finde;

Bot tho that wolden him withstonde,

Ther scholde he with his Dart on honde

Upon the Tigre and the Leon

Pourchace and take his veneison,

As to a kniht is acordant.

And therupon a covenant

This Chiro with Achilles sette,

2000That every day withoute lette

He scholde such a cruel beste

Or slen or wounden ate leste,

So that he mihte a tokne bringe

Of blod upon his hom cominge.

And thus of that Chiro him tawhte

Achilles such an herte cawhte,

That he nomore a Leon dradde,

Whan he his Dart on honde hadde,

Thanne if a Leon were an asse:

2010And that hath mad him forto passe

Alle othre knihtes of his dede,

Whan it cam to the grete nede,

As it was afterward wel knowe.

Lo, thus, my Sone, thou miht knowe

That the corage of hardiesce

Is of knyhthode the prouesce,

Which is to love sufficant

Aboven al the remenant

That unto loves court poursuie.

2020Bot who that wol no Slowthe eschuie,

Upon knihthode and noght travaile,

I not what love him scholde availe;

Bot every labour axeth why

Of som reward, wherof that I

Ensamples couthe telle ynowe

Of hem that toward love drowe

Be olde daies, as thei scholde.

Mi fader, therof hiere I wolde.

Mi Sone, it is wel resonable,

2030In place which is honorable

If that a man his herte sette,

That thanne he for no Slowthe lette

To do what longeth to manhede.

For if thou wolt the bokes rede

Of Lancelot and othre mo,

Ther miht thou sen hou it was tho

Of armes, for thei wolde atteigne

To love, which withoute peine

Mai noght be gete of ydelnesse.

2040And that I take to witnesse

An old Cronique in special,

The which into memorial

Is write, for his loves sake

Hou that a kniht schal undertake.

Ther was a king, which Oe5nes

Was hote, and he under his pes

Hield Calidoyne in his Empire,

And hadde a dowhter Deianire.

Men wiste in thilke time non

2050So fair a wiht as sche was on;

And as sche was a lusti wiht,

Riht so was thanne a noble kniht,

To whom Mercurie fader was.

This kniht the tuo pilers of bras,

The whiche yit a man mai finde,

Sette up in the desert of Ynde;

That was the worthi Hercules,

Whos name schal ben endeles

For the merveilles whiche he wroghte.

2060This Hercules the love soghte

Of Deianire, and of this thing

Unto hir fader, which was king,

He spak touchende of Mariage.

The king knowende his hih lignage,

And dradde also hise mihtes sterne,

To him ne dorste his dowhter werne;

And natheles this he him seide,

How Achelons er he ferst preide

To wedden hire, and in accord

2070Thei stode, as it was of record:

Bot for al that this he him granteth,

That which of hem that other daunteth

In armes, him sche scholde take,

And that the king hath undertake.

This Achelons was a Geant,

A soubtil man, a deceivant,

Which thurgh magique and sorcerie

Couthe al the world of tricherie:

And whan that he this tale herde,

2080Hou upon that the king ansuerde

With Hercules he moste feighte,

He tristeth noght upon his sleighte

Al only, whan it comth to nede,

Bot that which voydeth alle drede

And every noble herte stereth,

The love, that no lif forbereth,

For his ladi, whom he desireth,

With hardiesse his herte fyreth,

And sende him word withoute faile

2090That he wol take the bataille.

Thei setten day, they chosen field,

The knihtes coevered under Schield

Togedre come at time set,

And echon is with other met.

It fell thei foghten bothe afote,

Ther was no ston, ther was no rote,

Which mihte letten hem the weie,

But al was voide and take aweie.

Thei smyten strokes bot a fewe,

2100For Hercules, which wolde schewe

His grete strengthe as for the nones,

He sterte upon him al at ones

And cawhte him in hise armes stronge.

This Geant wot he mai noght longe

Endure under so harde bondes,

And thoghte he wolde out of hise hondes

Be sleyhte in som manere ascape.

And as he couthe himself forschape,

In liknesse of an Eddre he slipte

2110Out of his hond, and forth he skipte;

And efte, as he that feighte wole,

He torneth him into a Bole,

And gan to belwe of such a soun,

As thogh the world scholde al go doun:

The ground he sporneth and he tranceth,

Hise large hornes he avanceth

And caste hem here and there aboute.

Bot he, which stant of him no doute,

Awaiteth wel whan that he cam,

2120And him be bothe hornes nam

And al at ones he him caste

Unto the ground, and hield him faste,

That he ne mihte with no sleighte

Out of his hond gete upon heighte,

Til he was overcome and yolde,

And Hercules hath what he wolde.

The king him granteth to fulfille

His axinge at his oghne wille,

And sche for whom he hadde served,

2130Hire thoghte he hath hire wel deserved.

And thus with gret decerte of Armes

He wan him forto ligge in armes,

As he which hath it dere aboght,

For otherwise scholde he noght.

And overthis if thou wolt hiere

Upon knihthode of this matiere,

Hou love and armes ben aqueinted,

A man mai se bothe write and peinted

So ferforth that Pantasilee,

2140Which was the queene of Feminee,

The love of Hector forto sieke

And for thonour of armes eke,

To Troie cam with Spere and Schield,

And rod hirself into the field

With Maidens armed al a route

In rescouss of the toun aboute,

Which with the Gregois was belein.

Fro Pafagoine and as men sein,

Which stant upon the worldes ende,

2150That time it likede ek to wende

To Philemenis, which was king,

To Troie, and come upon this thing

In helpe of thilke noble toun;

And al was that for the renoun

Of worschipe and of worldes fame,

Of which he wolde bere a name:

And so he dede, and forth withal

He wan of love in special

A fair tribut for everemo.

2160For it fell thilke time so;

Pirrus the Sone of Achilles

This worthi queene among the press

With dedli swerd soghte out and fond,

And slowh hire with his oghne hond;

Wherof this king of Pafagoine

Pantasilee of Amazoine,

Wher sche was queene, with him ladde,

With suche Maidens as sche hadde

Of hem that were left alyve,

2170Forth in his Schip, til thei aryve;

Wher that the body was begrave

With worschipe, and the wommen save.

And for the goodschipe of this dede

Thei granten him a lusti mede,

That every yeer as for truage

To him and to his heritage

Of Maidens faire he schal have thre.

And in this wise spedde he,

Which the fortune of armes soghte,

2180With his travail his ese he boghte;

For otherwise he scholde have failed,

If that he hadde noght travailed.

Eneas ek withinne Ytaile,

Ne hadde he wonne the bataille

And don his miht so besily

Ayein king Turne his enemy,

He hadde noght Lavine wonne;

Bot for he hath him overronne

And gete his pris, he gat hire love.

2190Be these ensamples here above,

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

Thou miht wel se, who that is bold

And dar travaile and undertake

The cause of love, he schal be take

The rathere unto loves grace;

For comunliche in worthi place

The wommen loven worthinesse

Of manhode and of gentilesse,

For the gentils ben most desired.

2200Mi fader, bot I were enspired

Thurgh lore of you, I wot no weie

What gentilesce is forto seie,

Wherof to telle I you beseche.

The ground, Mi Sone, forto seche

Upon this diffinicion,

The worldes constitucion

Hath set the name of gentilesse

Upon the fortune of richesse

Which of long time is falle in age.

2210Thanne is a man of hih lignage

After the forme, as thou miht hiere,

Bot nothing after the matiere.

For who that resoun understonde,

Upon richesse it mai noght stonde,

For that is thing which faileth ofte:

For he that stant to day alofte

And al the world hath in hise wones,

Tomorwe he falleth al at ones

Out of richesse into poverte,

2220So that therof is no decerte,

Which gentilesce makth abide.

And forto loke on other side

Hou that a gentil man is bore,

Adam, which alle was tofore

With Eve his wif, as of hem tuo,

Al was aliche gentil tho;

So that of generacion

To make declaracion,

Ther mai no gentilesce be.

2230For to the reson if we se,

Of mannes berthe the mesure,

It is so comun to nature,

That it yifth every man aliche,

Als wel to povere as to the riche;

For naked thei ben bore bothe,

The lord nomore hath forto clothe

As of himself that ilke throwe,

Than hath the povereste of the rowe.

And whan thei schulle both passe,

2240I not of hem which hath the lasse

Of worldes good, bot as of charge

The lord is more forto charge,

Whan god schal his accompte hiere,

For he hath had hise lustes hiere.

Bot of the bodi, which schal deie,

Althogh ther be diverse weie

To deth, yit is ther bot on ende,

To which that every man schal wende,

Als wel the beggere as the lord,

2250Of o nature, of on acord:

Sche which oure Eldemoder is,

The Erthe, bothe that and this

Receiveth and alich devoureth,

That sche to nouther part favoureth.

So wot I nothing after kinde

Where I mai gentilesse finde.

For lacke of vertu lacketh grace,

Wherof richesse in many place,

Whan men best wene forto stonde,

2260Al sodeinly goth out of honde:

Bot vertu set in the corage,

Ther mai no world be so salvage,

Which mihte it take and don aweie,

Til whanne that the bodi deie;

And thanne he schal be riched so,

That it mai faile neveremo;

So mai that wel be gentilesse,

Which yifth so gret a sikernesse.

For after the condicion

2270Of resonable entencion,

The which out of the Soule groweth

And the vertu fro vice knoweth,

Wherof a man the vice eschuieth,

Withoute Slowthe and vertu suieth,

That is a verrai gentil man,

And nothing elles which he can,

Ne which he hath, ne which he mai.

Bot for al that yit nou aday,

In loves court to taken hiede,

2280The povere vertu schal noght spiede,

Wher that the riche vice woweth;

For sielde it is that love alloweth

The gentil man withoute good,

Thogh his condicion be good.

Bot if a man of bothe tuo

Be riche and vertuous also,

Thanne is he wel the more worth:

Bot yit to putte himselve forth

He moste don his besinesse,

2290For nowther good ne gentilesse

Mai helpen him whiche ydel be.

Bot who that wole in his degre

Travaile so as it belongeth,

It happeth ofte that he fongeth

Worschipe and ese bothe tuo.

For evere yit it hath be so,

That love honeste in sondri weie

Profiteth, for it doth aweie

The vice, and as the bokes sein,

2300It makth curteis of the vilein,

And to the couard hardiesce

It yifth, so that verrai prouesse

Is caused upon loves reule

To him that can manhode reule;

And ek toward the wommanhiede,

Who that therof wol taken hiede,

For thei the betre affaited be

In every thing, as men may se.

For love hath evere hise lustes grene

2310In gentil folk, as it is sene,

Which thing ther mai no kinde areste:

I trowe that ther is no beste,

If he with love scholde aqueinte,

That he ne wolde make it queinte

As for the while that it laste.

And thus I conclude ate laste,

That thei ben ydel, as me semeth,

Whiche unto thing that love demeth

Forslowthen that thei scholden do.

2320And overthis, mi Sone, also

After the vertu moral eke

To speke of love if I schal seke,

Among the holi bokes wise

I finde write in such a wise,

“Who loveth noght is hier as ded”;

For love above alle othre is hed,

Which hath the vertus forto lede,

Of al that unto mannes dede

Belongeth: for of ydelschipe

2330He hateth all the felaschipe.

For Slowthe is evere to despise,

Which in desdeign hath al apprise,

And that acordeth noght to man:

For he that wit and reson kan,

It sit him wel that he travaile

Upon som thing which mihte availe,

For ydelschipe is noght comended,

Bot every lawe it hath defended.

And in ensample therupon

2340The noble wise Salomon,

Which hadde of every thing insihte,

Seith, “As the briddes to the flihte

Ben made, so the man is bore

To labour,” which is noght forbore

To hem that thenken forto thryve.

For we, whiche are now alyve,

Of hem that besi whylom were,

Als wel in Scole as elleswhere,

Mowe every day ensample take,

2350That if it were now to make

Thing which that thei ferst founden oute,

It scholde noght be broght aboute.

Here lyves thanne were longe,

Here wittes grete, here mihtes stronge,

Here hertes ful of besinesse,

Wherof the worldes redinesse

In bodi bothe and in corage

Stant evere upon his avantage.

And forto drawe into memoire

2360Here names bothe and here histoire,

Upon the vertu of her dede

In sondri bokes thou miht rede.

Of every wisdom the parfit

The hyhe god of his spirit

Yaf to the men in Erthe hiere

Upon the forme and the matiere

Of that he wolde make hem wise:

And thus cam in the ferste apprise

Of bokes and of alle goode

2370Thurgh hem that whilom understode

The lore which to hem was yive,

Wherof these othre, that now live,

Ben every day to lerne newe.

Bot er the time that men siewe,

And that the labour forth it broghte,

Ther was no corn, thogh men it soghte,

In non of al the fieldes oute;

And er the wisdom cam aboute

Of hem that ferst the bokes write,

2380This mai wel every wys man wite,

Ther was gret labour ek also.

Thus was non ydel of the tuo,

That on the plogh hath undertake

With labour which the hond hath take,

That other tok to studie and muse,

As he which wolde noght refuse

The labour of hise wittes alle.

And in this wise it is befalle,

Of labour which that thei begunne

2390We be now tawht of that we kunne:

Here besinesse is yit so seene,

That it stant evere alyche greene;

Al be it so the bodi deie,

The name of hem schal nevere aweie.

In the Croniqes as I finde,

Cham, whos labour is yit in minde,

Was he which ferst the lettres fond

And wrot in Hebreu with his hond:

Of naturel Philosophie

2400He fond ferst also the clergie.

Cadmus the lettres of Gregois

Ferst made upon his oghne chois.

Theges of thing which schal befalle,

He was the ferste Augurre of alle:

And Philemon be the visage

Fond to descrive the corage.

Cladyns, Esdras and Sulpices,

Termegis, Pandulf, Frigidilles,

Menander, Ephiloquorus,

2410Solins, Pandas and Josephus

The ferste were of Enditours,

Of old Cronique and ek auctours:

And Heredot in his science

Of metre, of rime and of cadence

The ferste was of which men note.

And of Musique also the note

In mannes vois or softe or scharpe,

That fond Jubal; and of the harpe

The merie soun, which is to like,

2420That fond Poulins forth with phisique.

Zenzis fond ferst the pourtreture,

And Promothes the Sculpture;

After what forme that hem thoghte,

The resemblance anon thei wroghte.

Tubal in Iren and in Stel

Fond ferst the forge and wroghte it wel:

And Jadahel, as seith the bok,

Ferst made Net and fisshes tok:

Of huntynge ek he fond the chace,

2430Which now is knowe in many place:

A tente of cloth with corde and stake

He sette up ferst and dede it make.

Verconius of cokerie

Ferst made the delicacie.

The craft Minerve of wolle fond

And made cloth hire oghne hond;

And Delbora made it of lyn:

Tho wommen were of great engyn.

Bot thing which yifth ous mete and drinke

2440And doth the labourer to swinke

To tile lond and sette vines,

Wherof the cornes and the wynes

Ben sustenance to mankinde,

In olde bokes as I finde,

Saturnus of his oghne wit

Hath founde ferst, and more yit

Of Chapmanhode he fond the weie,

And ek to coigne the moneie

Of sondri metall, as it is,

2450He was the ferste man of this.

Bot hou that metall cam a place

Thurgh mannes wit and goddes grace

The route of Philosophres wise

Controeveden be sondri wise,

Ferst forto gete it out of Myne,

And after forto trie and fyne.

And also with gret diligence

Thei founden thilke experience,

Which cleped is Alconomie,

2460Wherof the Selver multeplie

Thei made and ek the gold also.

And forto telle hou it is so,

Of bodies sevene in special

With foure spiritz joynt withal

Stant the substance of this matiere.

The bodies whiche I speke of hiere

Of the Planetes ben begonne:

The gold is titled to the Sonne,

The mone of Selver hath his part,

2470And Iren that stant upon Mart,

The Led after Satorne groweth,

And Jupiter the Bras bestoweth,

The Coper set is to Venus,

And to his part Mercurius

Hath the quikselver, as it falleth,

The which, after the bok it calleth,

Is ferst of thilke fowre named

Of Spiritz, whiche ben proclamed;

And the spirit which is secounde

2480In Sal Armoniak is founde:

The thridde spirit Sulphur is;

The ferthe suiende after this

Arcennicum be name is hote.

With blowinge and with fyres hote

In these thinges, whiche I seie,

Thei worchen be diverse weie.

For as the philosophre tolde

Of gold and selver, thei ben holde

Tuo principal extremites,

2490To whiche alle othre be degres

Of the metalls ben acordant,

And so thurgh kinde resemblant,

That what man couthe aweie take

The rust, of which thei waxen blake,

And the savour and the hardnesse,

Thei scholden take the liknesse

Of gold or Selver parfitly.

Bot forto worche it sikirly,

Betwen the corps and the spirit,

2500Er that the metall be parfit,

In sevene formes it is set;

Of alle and if that on be let,

The remenant mai noght availe,

Bot otherwise it mai noght faile.

For thei be whom this art was founde

To every point a certain bounde

Ordeignen, that a man mai finde

This craft is wroght be weie of kinde,

So that ther is no fallas inne.

2510Bot what man that this werk beginne,

He mot awaite at every tyde,

So that nothing be left aside,

Ferst of the distillacion,

Forth with the congelacion,

Solucion, descencion,

And kepe in his entencion

The point of sublimacion,

And forth with calcinacion

Of veray approbacion

2520Do that ther be fixacion

With tempred hetes of the fyr,

Til he the parfit Elixir

Of thilke philosophres Ston

Mai gete, of which that many on

Of Philosophres whilom write.

And if thou wolt the names wite

Of thilke Ston with othre tuo,

Whiche as the clerkes maden tho,

So as the bokes it recorden,

2530The kinde of hem I schal recorden.

These olde Philosophres wyse

Be weie of kinde in sondri wise

Thre Stones maden thurgh clergie.

The ferste, if I schal specefie,

Was lapis vegetabilis,

Of which the propre vertu is

To mannes hele forto serve,

As forto kepe and to preserve

The bodi fro siknesses alle,

2540Til deth of kinde upon him falle.

The Ston seconde I thee behote

Is lapis animalis hote,

The whos vertu is propre and cowth

For Ere and yhe and nase and mouth,

Wherof a man mai hiere and se

And smelle and taste in his degre,

And forto fiele and forto go

It helpeth man of bothe tuo:

The wittes fyve he underfongeth

2550To kepe, as it to him belongeth.

The thridde Ston in special

Be name is cleped Minerall,

Which the metalls of every Mine

Attempreth, til that thei ben fyne,

And pureth hem be such a weie,

That al the vice goth aweie

Of rust, of stink and of hardnesse:

And whan thei ben of such clennesse,

This Mineral, so as I finde,

2560Transformeth al the ferste kynde

And makth hem able to conceive

Thurgh his vertu, and to receive

Bothe in substance and in figure

Of gold and selver the nature.

For thei tuo ben thextremetes,

To whiche after the propretes

Hath every metal his desir,

With help and confort of the fyr

Forth with this Ston, as it is seid,

2570Which to the Sonne and Mone is leid;

For to the rede and to the whyte

This Ston hath pouer to profite.

It makth mulptiplicacioun

Of gold, and the fixacioun

It causeth, and of his habit

He doth the werk to be parfit

Of thilke Elixer which men calle

Alconomie, as is befalle

To hem that whilom weren wise.

2580Bot now it stant al otherwise;

Thei speken faste of thilke Ston,

Bot hou to make it, nou wot non

After the sothe experience.

And natheles gret diligence

Thei setten upon thilke dede,

And spille more than thei spede;

For allewey thei finde a lette,

Which bringeth in poverte and dette

To hem that riche were afore:

2590The lost is had, the lucre is lore,

To gete a pound thei spenden fyve;

I not hou such a craft schal thryve

In the manere as it is used:

It were betre be refused

Than forto worchen upon weene

In thing which stant noght as thei weene.

Bot noght forthi, who that it knewe,

The science of himself is trewe

Upon the forme as it was founded,

2600Wherof the names yit ben grounded

Of hem that ferste it founden oute;

And thus the fame goth aboute

To suche as soghten besinesse

Of vertu and of worthinesse.

Of whom if I the names calle,

Hermes was on the ferste of alle,

To whom this art is most applied;

Geber therof was magnefied,

And Ortolan and Morien,

2610Among the whiche is Avicen,

Which fond and wrot a gret partie

The practique of Alconomie;

Whos bokes, pleinli as thei stonde

Upon this craft, fewe understonde;

Bot yit to put hem in assai

Ther ben full manye now aday,

That knowen litel what thei meene.

It is noght on to wite and weene;

In forme of wordes thei it trete,

2620Bot yit they failen of beyete,

For of tomoche or of tolyte

Ther is algate founde a wyte,

So that thei folwe noght the lyne

Of the parfite medicine,

Which grounded is upon nature.

Bot thei that writen the scripture

Of Grek, Arabe and of Caldee,

Thei were of such Auctorite

That thei ferst founden out the weie

2630Of al that thou hast herd me seie;

Wherof the Cronique of her lore

Schal stonde in pris for everemore.

Bot toward oure Marches hiere,

Of the Latins if thou wolt hiere,

Of hem that whilom vertuous

Were and therto laborious,

Carmente made of hire engin

The ferste lettres of Latin,

Of which the tunge Romein cam,

2640Wherof that Aristarchus nam

Forth with Donat and Dindimus

The ferste reule of Scole, as thus,

How that Latin schal be componed

And in what wise it schal be soned,

That every word in his degre

Schal stonde upon congruite.

And thilke time at Rome also

Was Tullius with Cithero,

That writen upon Rethorike,

2650Hou that men schal the wordes pike

After the forme of eloquence,

Which is, men sein, a gret prudence:

And after that out of Hebreu

Jerom, which the langage kneu,

The Bible, in which the lawe is closed,

Into Latin he hath transposed;

And many an other writere ek

Out of Caldee, Arabe and Grek

With gret labour the bokes wise

2660Translateden. And otherwise

The Latins of hemself also

Here studie at thilke time so

With gret travaile of Scole toke

In sondri forme forto boke,

That we mai take here evidences

Upon the lore of the Sciences,

Of craftes bothe and of clergie;

Among the whiche in Poesie

To the lovers Ovide wrot

2670And tawhte, if love be to hot,

In what manere it scholde akiele.

Forthi, mi Sone, if that thou fiele

That love wringe thee to sore,

Behold Ovide and take his lore.

My fader, if thei mihte spede

Mi love, I wolde his bokes rede;

And if thei techen to restreigne

Mi love, it were an ydel peine

To lerne a thing which mai noght be.

2680For lich unto the greene tree,

If that men toke his rote aweie,

Riht so myn herte scholde deie,

If that mi love be withdrawe.

Wherof touchende unto this sawe

There is bot only to poursuie

Mi love, and ydelschipe eschuie.

Mi goode Sone, soth to seie,

If ther be siker eny weie

To love, thou hast seid the beste:

2690For who that wolde have al his reste

And do no travail at the nede,

It is no resoun that he spede

In loves cause forto winne;

For he which dar nothing beginne,

I not what thing he scholde achieve.

Bot overthis thou schalt believe,

So as it sit thee wel to knowe,

That ther ben othre vices slowe,

Whiche unto love don gret lette,

2700If thou thin herte upon hem sette.

Toward the Slowe progenie

Ther is yit on of compaignie,

And he is cleped Sompnolence,

Which doth to Slouthe his reverence,

As he which is his Chamberlein,

That many an hundrid time hath lein

To slepe, whan he scholde wake.

He hath with love trewes take,

That wake who so wake wile,

2710If he mai couche a doun his bile,

He hath al wowed what him list;

That ofte he goth to bedde unkist,

And seith that for no Druerie

He wol noght leve his sluggardie.

For thogh noman it wole allowe,

To slepe levere than to wowe

Is his manere, and thus on nyhtes,

Whan that he seth the lusti knyhtes

Revelen, wher these wommen are,

2720Awey he skulketh as an hare,

And goth to bedde and leith him softe,

And of his Slouthe he dremeth ofte

Hou that he stiketh in the Myr,

And hou he sitteth be the fyr

And claweth on his bare schanckes,

And hou he clymbeth up the banckes

And falleth into Slades depe.

Bot thanne who so toke kepe,

Whanne he is falle in such a drem,

2730Riht as a Schip ayein the Strem,

He routeth with a slepi noise,

And brustleth as a monkes froise,

Whanne it is throwe into the Panne.

And otherwhile sielde whanne

That he mai dreme a lusti swevene,

Him thenkth as thogh he were in hevene

And as the world were holi his:

And thanne he spekth of that and this,

And makth his exposicion

2740After the disposicion

Of that he wolde, and in such wise

He doth to love all his service;

I not what thonk he schal deserve.

Bot, Sone, if thou wolt love serve,

I rede that thou do noght so.

Ha, goode fader, certes no.

I hadde levere be mi trowthe,

Er I were set on such a slouthe

And beere such a slepi snoute,

2750Bothe yhen of myn hed were oute.

For me were betre fulli die,

Thanne I of such a slugardie

Hadde eny name, god me schilde;

For whan mi moder was with childe,

And I lay in hire wombe clos,

I wolde rathere Atropos,

Which is goddesse of alle deth,

Anon as I hadde eny breth,

Me hadde fro mi Moder cast.

2760Bot now I am nothing agast,

I thonke godd; for Lachesis,

Ne Cloto, which hire felawe is,

Me schopen no such destine,

Whan thei at mi nativite

My weerdes setten as thei wolde;

Bot thei me schopen that I scholde

Eschuie of slep the truandise,

So that I hope in such a wise

To love forto ben excused,

2770That I no Sompnolence have used.

For certes, fader Genius,

Yit into nou it hath be thus,

At alle time if it befelle

So that I mihte come and duelle

In place ther my ladi were,

I was noght slow ne slepi there:

For thanne I dar wel undertake,

That whanne hir list on nyhtes wake

In chambre as to carole and daunce,

2780Me thenkth I mai me more avaunce,

If I mai gon upon hir hond,

Thanne if I wonne a kinges lond.

For whanne I mai hire hand beclippe,

With such gladnesse I daunce and skippe,

Me thenkth I touche noght the flor;

The Ro, which renneth on the Mor,

Is thanne noght so lyht as I:

So mow ye witen wel forthi,

That for the time slep I hate.

2790And whanne it falleth othergate,

So that hire like noght to daunce,

Bot on the Dees to caste chaunce

Or axe of love som demande,

Or elles that hir list comaunde

To rede and here of Troilus,

Riht as sche wole or so or thus,

I am al redi to consente.

And if so is that I mai hente

Somtime among a good leisir,

2800So as I dar of mi desir

I telle a part; bot whanne I preie,

Anon sche bidt me go mi weie

And seith it is ferr in the nyht;

And I swere it is even liht.

Bot as it falleth ate laste,

Ther mai no worldes joie laste,

So mot I nedes fro hire wende

And of my wachche make an ende:

And if sche thanne hiede toke,

2810Hou pitousliche on hire I loke,

Whan that I schal my leve take,

Hire oghte of mercy forto slake

Hire daunger, which seith evere nay.

Bot he seith often, “Have good day,”

That loth is forto take his leve:

Therfore, while I mai beleve,

I tarie forth the nyht along,

For it is noght on me along

To slep that I so sone go,

2820Til that I mot algate so;

And thanne I bidde godd hire se,

And so doun knelende on mi kne

I take leve, and if I schal,

I kisse hire, and go forth withal.

And otherwhile, if that I dore,

Er I come fulli to the Dore,

I torne ayein and feigne a thing,

As thogh I hadde lost a Ring

Or somwhat elles, for I wolde

2830Kisse hire eftsones, if I scholde,

Bot selden is that I so spede.

And whanne I se that I mot nede

Departen, I departe, and thanne

With al myn herte I curse and banne

That evere slep was mad for yhe;

For, as me thenkth, I mihte dryhe

Withoute slep to waken evere,

So that I scholde noght dissevere

Fro hire, in whom is al my liht:

2840And thanne I curse also the nyht

With al the will of mi corage,

And seie, “Awey, thou blake ymage,

Which of thi derke cloudy face

Makst al the worldes lyht deface,

And causest unto slep a weie,

Be which I mot nou gon aweie

Out of mi ladi compaignie.

O slepi nyht, I thee defie,

And wolde that thou leye in presse

2850With Proserpine the goddesse

And with Pluto the helle king:

For til I se the daies spring,

I sette slep noght at a risshe.”

And with that word I sike and wisshe,

And seie, “Ha, whi ne were it day?

For yit mi ladi thanne I may

Beholde, thogh I do nomore.”

And efte I thenke forthermore,

To som man hou the niht doth ese,

2860Whan he hath thing that mai him plese

The longe nyhtes be his side,

Where as I faile and go beside.

Bot slep, I not wherof it serveth,

Of which noman his thonk deserveth

To gete him love in eny place,

Bot is an hindrere of his grace

And makth him ded as for a throwe,

Riht as a Stok were overthrowe.

And so, mi fader, in this wise

2870The slepi nyhtes I despise,

And evere amiddes of mi tale

I thenke upon the nyhtingale,

Which slepeth noght be weie of kinde

For love, in bokes as I finde.

Thus ate laste I go to bedde,

And yit min herte lith to wedde

With hire, wher as I cam fro;

Thogh I departe, he wol noght so,

Ther is no lock mai schette him oute,

2880Him nedeth noght to gon aboute,

That perce mai the harde wall;

Thus is he with hire overall,

That be hire lief, or be hire loth,

Into hire bedd myn herte goth,

And softly takth hire in his arm

And fieleth hou that sche is warm,

And wissheth that his body were

To fiele that he fieleth there.

And thus miselven I tormente,

2890Til that the dede slep me hente:

Bot thanne be a thousand score

Welmore than I was tofore

I am tormented in mi slep,

Bot that I dreme is noght of schep;

For I ne thenke noght on wulle,

Bot I am drecched to the fulle

Of love, that I have to kepe,

That nou I lawhe and nou I wepe,

And nou I lese and nou I winne,

2900And nou I ende and nou beginne.

And otherwhile I dreme and mete

That I al one with hire mete

And that Danger is left behinde;

And thanne in slep such joie I finde,

That I ne bede nevere awake.

Bot after, whanne I hiede take,

And schal arise upon the morwe,

Thanne is al torned into sorwe,

Noght for the cause I schal arise,

2910Bot for I mette in such a wise,

And ate laste I am bethoght

That al is vein and helpeth noght:

Bot yit me thenketh be my wille

I wolde have leie and slepe stille,

To meten evere of such a swevene,

For thanne I hadde a slepi hevene.

Mi Sone, and for thou tellest so,

A man mai finde of time ago

That many a swevene hath be certein,

2920Al be it so, that som men sein

That swevenes ben of no credence.

Bot forto schewe in evidence

That thei fulofte sothe thinges

Betokne, I thenke in my wrytinges

To telle a tale therupon,

Which fell be olde daies gon.

This finde I write in Poesie:

Cei5x the king of Trocinie

Hadde Alceone to his wif,

2930Which as hire oghne hertes lif

Him loveth; and he hadde also

A brother, which was cleped tho

Dedalion, and he per cas

Fro kinde of man forschape was

Into a Goshauk of liknesse;

Wherof the king gret hevynesse

Hath take, and thoghte in his corage

To gon upon a pelrinage

Into a strange regioun,

2940Wher he hath his devocioun

To don his sacrifice and preie,

If that he mihte in eny weie

Toward the goddes finde grace

His brother hele to pourchace,

So that he mihte be reformed

Of that he hadde be transformed.

To this pourpos and to this ende

This king is redy forto wende,

As he which wolde go be Schipe;

2950And forto don him felaschipe

His wif unto the See him broghte,

With al hire herte and him besoghte,

That he the time hire wolde sein,

Whan that he thoghte come ayein:

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

And thus in al the haste he may

He tok his leve, and forth he seileth

Wepende, and sche hirself beweileth,

And torneth hom, ther sche cam fro.

2960Bot whan the Monthes were ago,

The whiche he sette of his comynge,

And that sche herde no tydinge,

Ther was no care forto seche:

Wherof the goddes to beseche

Tho sche began in many wise,

And to Juno hire sacrifise

Above alle othre most sche dede,

And for hir lord sche hath so bede

To wite and knowe hou that he ferde,

2970That Juno the goddesse hire herde,

Anon and upon this matiere

Sche bad Yris hir Messagere

To Slepes hous that sche schal wende,

And bidde him that he make an ende

Be swevene and schewen al the cas

Unto this ladi, hou it was.

This Yris, fro the hihe stage

Which undertake hath the Message,

Hire reyny Cope dede upon,

2980The which was wonderli begon

With colours of diverse hewe,

An hundred mo than men it knewe;

The hevene lich into a bowe

Sche bende, and so she cam doun lowe,

The god of Slep wher that sche fond.

And that was in a strange lond,

Which marcheth upon Chymerie:

For ther, as seith the Poesie,

The god of Slep hath mad his hous,

2990Which of entaille is merveilous.

Under an hell ther is a Cave,

Which of the Sonne mai noght have,

So that noman mai knowe ariht

The point betwen the dai and nyht:

Ther is no fyr, ther is no sparke,

Ther is no dore, which mai charke,

Wherof an yhe scholde unschette,

So that inward ther is no lette.

And forto speke of that withoute,

3000Ther stant no gret Tree nyh aboute

Wher on ther myhte crowe or pie

Alihte, forto clepe or crie:

Ther is no cok to crowe day,

Ne beste non which noise may

The hell, bot al aboute round

Ther is growende upon the ground

Popi, which berth the sed of slep,

With othre herbes suche an hep.

A stille water for the nones

3010Rennende upon the smale stones,

Which hihte of Lethes the rivere,

Under that hell in such manere

Ther is, which yifth gret appetit

To slepe. And thus full of delit

Slep hath his hous; and of his couche

Withinne his chambre if I schal touche,

Of hebenus that slepi Tree

The bordes al aboute be,

And for he scholde slepe softe,

3020Upon a fethrebed alofte

He lith with many a pilwe of doun:

The chambre is strowed up and doun

With swevenes many thousendfold.

Thus cam Yris into this hold,

And to the bedd, which is al blak,

Sche goth, and ther with Slep sche spak,

And in the wise as sche was bede

The Message of Juno sche dede.

Fulofte hir wordes sche reherceth,

3030Er sche his slepi Eres perceth;

With mochel wo bot ate laste

His slombrende yhen he upcaste

And seide hir that it schal be do.

Wherof among a thousend tho,

Withinne his hous that slepi were,

In special he ches out there

Thre, whiche scholden do this dede:

The ferste of hem, so as I rede,

Was Morphes, the whos nature

3040Is forto take the figure

Of what persone that him liketh,

Wherof that he fulofte entriketh

The lif which slepe schal be nyhte;

And Ithecus that other hihte,

Which hath the vois of every soun,

The chiere and the condicioun

Of every lif, what so it is:

The thridde suiende after this

Is Panthasas, which may transforme

3050Of every thing the rihte forme,

And change it in an other kinde.

Upon hem thre, so as I finde,

Of swevenes stant al thapparence,

Which otherwhile is evidence

And otherwhile bot a jape.

Bot natheles it is so schape,

That Morphes be nyht al one

Appiereth until Alceone

In liknesse of hir housebonde

3060Al naked ded upon the stronde,

And hou he dreynte in special

These othre tuo it schewen al.

The tempeste of the blake cloude,

The wode See, the wyndes loude,

Al this sche mette, and sih him dyen;

Wherof that sche began to crien,

Slepende abedde ther sche lay,

And with that noise of hire affray

Hir wommen sterten up aboute,

3070Whiche of here ladi were in doute,

And axen hire hou that sche ferde;

And sche, riht as sche syh and herde,

Hir swevene hath told hem everydel.

And thei it halsen alle wel

And sein it is a tokne of goode;

Bot til sche wiste hou that it stode,

Sche hath no confort in hire herte,

Upon the morwe and up sche sterte,

And to the See, wher that sche mette

3080The bodi lay, withoute lette

Sche drowh, and whan that sche cam nyh,

Stark ded, hise harmes sprad, sche syh

Hire lord flietende upon the wawe.

Wherof hire wittes ben withdrawe,

And sche, which tok of deth no kepe,

Anon forth lepte into the depe

And wolde have cawht him in hire arm.

This infortune of double harm

The goddes fro the hevene above

3090Behielde, and for the trowthe of love,

Which in this worthi ladi stod,

Thei have upon the salte flod

Hire dreinte lord and hire also

Fro deth to lyve torned so,

That thei ben schapen into briddes

Swimmende upon the wawe amiddes.

And whan sche sih hire lord livende

In liknesse of a bridd swimmende,

And sche was of the same sort,

3100So as sche mihte do desport,

Upon the joie which sche hadde

Hire wynges bothe abrod sche spradde,

And him, so as sche mai suffise,

Beclipte and keste in such a wise,

As sche was whilom wont to do:

Hire wynges for hire armes tuo

Sche tok, and for hire lippes softe

Hire harde bile, and so fulofte

Sche fondeth in hire briddes forme,

3110If that sche mihte hirself conforme

To do the plesance of a wif,

As sche dede in that other lif:

For thogh sche hadde hir pouer lore,

Hir will stod as it was tofore,

And serveth him so as sche mai.

Wherof into this ilke day

Togedre upon the See thei wone,

Wher many a dowhter and a Sone

Thei bringen forth of briddes kinde;

3120And for men scholden take in mynde

This Alceoun the trewe queene,

Hire briddes yit, as it is seene,

Of Alceoun the name bere.

Lo thus, mi Sone, it mai thee stere

Of swevenes forto take kepe,

For ofte time a man aslepe

Mai se what after schal betide.

Forthi it helpeth at som tyde

A man to slepe, as it belongeth,

3130Bot slowthe no lif underfongeth

Which is to love appourtenant.

Mi fader, upon covenant

I dar wel make this avou,

Of all mi lif that into nou,

Als fer as I can understonde,

Yit tok I nevere Slep on honde,

Whan it was time forto wake;

For thogh myn yhe it wolde take,

Min herte is evere therayein.

3140Bot natheles to speke it plein,

Al this that I have seid you hiere

Of my wakinge, as ye mai hiere,

It toucheth to mi lady swete;

For otherwise, I you behiete,

In strange place whanne I go,

Me list nothing to wake so.

For whan the wommen listen pleie,

And I hir se noght in the weie,

Of whom I scholde merthe take,

3150Me list noght longe forto wake,

Bot if it be for pure schame,

Of that I wolde eschuie a name,

That thei ne scholde have cause non

To seie, “Ha, lo, wher goth such on,

That hath forlore his contenaunce]”

And thus among I singe and daunce,

And feigne lust ther as non is.

For ofte sithe I fiele this;

Of thoght, which in mi herte falleth

3160Whanne it is nyht, myn hed appalleth,

And that is for I se hire noght,

Which is the wakere of mi thoght:

And thus as tymliche as I may,

Fulofte whanne it is brod day,

I take of all these othre leve

And go my weie, and thei beleve,

That sen per cas here loves there;

And I go forth as noght ne were

Unto mi bedd, so that al one

3170I mai ther ligge and sighe and grone

And wisshen al the longe nyht,

Til that I se the daies lyht.

I not if that be Sompnolence,

Bot upon youre conscience,

Min holi fader, demeth ye.

My Sone, I am wel paid with thee,

Of Slep that thou the Sluggardie

Be nyhte in loves compaignie

Eschuied hast, and do thi peine

3180So that thi love thar noght pleine:

For love upon his lust wakende

Is evere, and wolde that non ende

Were of the longe nyhtes set.

Wherof that thou be war the bet,

To telle a tale I am bethoght,

Hou love and Slep acorden noght.

For love who that list to wake

Be nyhte, he mai ensample take

Of Cephalus, whan that he lay

3190With Aurora that swete may

In armes all the longe nyht.

Bot whanne it drogh toward the liht,

That he withinne his herte sih

The dai which was amorwe nyh,

Anon unto the Sonne he preide

For lust of love, and thus he seide:

“O Phebus, which the daies liht

Governest, til that it be nyht,

And gladest every creature

3200After the lawe of thi nature —

Bot natheles ther is a thing,

Which onli to the knouleching

Belongeth as in privete

To love and to his duete,

Which asketh noght to ben apert,

Bot in cilence and in covert

Desireth forto be beschaded:

And thus whan that thi liht is faded

And Vesper scheweth him alofte,

3210And that the nyht is long and softe,

Under the cloudes derke and stille

Thanne hath this thing most of his wille.

Forthi unto thi myhtes hyhe,

As thou which art the daies yhe,

Of love and myht no conseil hyde,

Upon this derke nyhtes tyde

With al myn herte I thee beseche

That I plesance myhte seche

With hire which lith in min armes.

3220Withdrawgh the Banere of thin Armes,

And let thi lyhtes ben unborn,

And in the Signe of Capricorn,

The hous appropred to Satorne,

I preie that thou wolt sojorne,

Wher ben the nihtes derke and longe:

For I mi love have underfonge,

Which lith hier be mi syde naked,

As sche which wolde ben awaked,

And me lest nothing forto slepe.

3230So were it good to take kepe

Nou at this nede of mi preiere,

And that the like forto stiere

Thi fyri Carte, and so ordeigne,

That thou thi swifte hors restreigne

Lowe under Erthe in Occident,

That thei towardes Orient

Be Cercle go the longe weie.

And ek to thee, Diane, I preie,

Which cleped art of thi noblesse

3240The nyhtes Mone and the goddesse,

That thou to me be gracious:

And in Cancro thin oghne hous

Ayein Phebus in opposit

Stond al this time, and of delit

Behold Venus with a glad yhe.

For thanne upon Astronomie

Of due constellacion

Thou makst prolificacion,

And dost that children ben begete:

3250Which grace if that I mihte gete,

With al myn herte I wolde serve

Be nyhte, and thi vigile observe.”

Lo, thus this lusti Cephalus

Preide unto Phebe and to Phebus

The nyht in lengthe forto drawe,

So that he mihte do the lawe

In thilke point of loves heste,

Which cleped is the nyhtes feste,

Withoute Slep of sluggardie;

3260Which Venus out of compaignie

Hath put awey, as thilke same,

Which lustles ferr from alle game

In chambre doth fulofte wo

Abedde, whanne it falleth so

That love scholde ben awaited.

But Slowthe, which is evele affaited,

With Slep hath mad his retenue,

That what thing is to love due,

Of all his dette he paieth non:

3270He wot noght how the nyht is gon

Ne hou the day is come aboute,

Bot onli forto slepe and route

Til hyh midday, that he arise.

Bot Cephalus dede otherwise,

As thou, my Sone, hast herd above.

Mi fader, who that hath his love

Abedde naked be his syde,

And wolde thanne hise yhen hyde

With Slep, I not what man is he:

3280Bot certes as touchende of me,

That fell me nevere yit er this.

Bot otherwhile, whan so is

That I mai cacche Slep on honde

Liggende al one, thanne I fonde

To dreme a merie swevene er day;

And if so falle that I may

Mi thought with such a swevene plese,

Me thenkth I am somdiel in ese,

For I non other confort have.

3290So nedeth noght that I schal crave

The Sonnes Carte forto tarie,

Ne yit the Mone, that sche carie

Hire cours along upon the hevene,

For I am noght the more in evene

Towardes love in no degree:

Bot in mi slep yit thanne I se

Somwhat in swevene of that me liketh,

Which afterward min herte entriketh,

Whan that I finde it otherwise.

3300So wot I noght of what servise

That Slep to mannes ese doth.

Mi Sone, certes thou seist soth,

Bot only that it helpeth kinde

Somtyme, in Phisique as I finde,

Whan it is take be mesure:

Bot he which can no Slep mesure

Upon the reule as it belongeth,

Fulofte of sodein chance he fongeth

Such infortune that him grieveth.

3310Bot who these olde bokes lieveth,

Of Sompnolence hou it is write,

Ther may a man the sothe wite,

If that he wolde ensample take,

That otherwhile is good to wake:

Wherof a tale in Poesie

I thenke forto specefie.

Ovide telleth in his sawes,

How Jupiter be olde dawes

Lay be a Mayde, which Yo

3320Was cleped, wherof that Juno

His wif was wroth, and the goddesse

Of Yo torneth the liknesse

Into a cow, to gon theroute

The large fieldes al aboute

And gete hire mete upon the griene.

And therupon this hyhe queene

Betok hire Argus forto kepe,

For he was selden wont to slepe,

And yit he hadde an hundred yhen,

3330And alle alyche wel thei syhen.

Now herkne hou that he was beguiled.

Mercurie, which was al affiled

This Cow to stele, he cam desguised,

And hadde a Pipe wel devised

Upon the notes of Musiqe,

Wherof he mihte hise Eres like.

And over that he hadde affaited

Hise lusti tales, and awaited

His time; and thus into the field

3340He cam, where Argus he behield

With Yo, which beside him wente.

With that his Pype on honde he hente,

And gan to pipe in his manere

Thing which was slepi forto hiere;

And in his pipinge evere among

He tolde him such a lusti song,

That he the fol hath broght aslepe.

Ther was non yhe mihte kepe

His hed, the which Mercurie of smot,

3350And forth withal anon fot hot

He stal the Cow which Argus kepte,

And al this fell for that he slepte.

Ensample it was to manye mo,

That mochel Slep doth ofte wo,

Whan it is time forto wake:

For if a man this vice take,

In Sompnolence and him delite,

Men scholde upon his Dore wryte

His epitaphe, as on his grave;

3360For he to spille and noght to save

Is schape, as thogh he were ded.

Forthi, mi Sone, hold up thin hed,

And let no Slep thin yhe englue,

Bot whanne it is to resoun due.

Mi fader, as touchende of this,

Riht so as I you tolde it is,

That ofte abedde, whanne I scholde,

I mai noght slepe, thogh I wolde;

For love is evere faste byme,

3370Which takth no hiede of due time.

For whanne I schal myn yhen close,

Anon min herte he wole oppose

And holde his Scole in such a wise,

Til it be day that I arise,

That selde it is whan that I slepe.

And thus fro Sompnolence I kepe

Min yhe: and forthi if ther be

Oght elles more in this degre,

Now axeth forth. Mi Sone, yis:

3380For Slowthe, which as Moder is

The forthdrawere and the Norrice

To man of many a dredful vice,

Hath yit an other laste of alle,

Which many a man hath mad to falle,

Wher that he mihte nevere arise;

Wherof for thou thee schalt avise,

Er thou so with thiself misfare,

What vice it is I wol declare.

Whan Slowthe hath don al that he may

3390To dryve forth the longe day,

Til it be come to the nede,

Thanne ate laste upon the dede

He loketh hou his time is lore,

And is so wo begon therfore,

That he withinne his thoght conceiveth

Tristesce, and so himself deceiveth,

That he wanhope bringeth inne,

Wher is no confort to beginne,

Bot every joie him is deslaied:

3400So that withinne his herte affraied

A thousend time with o breth

Wepende he wissheth after deth,

Whan he fortune fint adverse.

For thanne he wole his hap reherce,

As thogh his world were al forlore,

And seith, “Helas, that I was bore]

Hou schal I live? hou schal I do?

For nou fortune is thus mi fo,

I wot wel god me wol noght helpe.

3410What scholde I thanne of joies yelpe,

Whan ther no bote is of mi care?

So overcast is my welfare,

That I am schapen al to strif.

Helas, that I nere of this lif,

Er I be fulliche overtake]”

And thus he wol his sorwe make,

As god him mihte noght availe:

Bot yit ne wol he noght travaile

To helpe himself at such a nede,

3420Bot slowtheth under such a drede,

Which is affermed in his herte,

Riht as he mihte noght asterte

The worldes wo which he is inne.

Also whan he is falle in Sinne,

Him thenkth he is so ferr coupable,

That god wol noght be merciable

So gret a Sinne to foryive;

And thus he leeveth to be schrive.

And if a man in thilke throwe

3430Wolde him consaile, he wol noght knowe

The sothe, thogh a man it finde:

For Tristesce is of such a kinde,

That forto meintiene his folie,

He hath with him Obstinacie,

Which is withinne of such a Slouthe,

That he forsaketh alle trouthe,

And wole unto no reson bowe;

And yit ne can he noght avowe

His oghne skile bot of hed:

3440Thus dwyneth he, til he be ded,

In hindringe of his oghne astat.

For where a man is obstinat,

Wanhope folweth ate laste,

Which mai noght after longe laste,

Till Slouthe make of him an ende.

Bot god wot whider he schal wende.

Mi Sone, and riht in such manere

Ther be lovers of hevy chiere,

That sorwen mor than it is ned,

3450Whan thei be taried of here sped

And conne noght hemselven rede,

Bot lesen hope forto spede

And stinten love to poursewe;

And thus thei faden hyde and hewe,

And lustles in here hertes waxe.

Hierof it is that I wolde axe,

If thou, mi Sone, art on of tho.

Ha, goode fader, it is so,

Outake a point, I am beknowe;

3460For elles I am overthrowe

In al that evere ye have seid.

Mi sorwe is everemore unteid,

And secheth overal my veines;

Bot forto conseile of mi peines,

I can no bote do therto;

And thus withouten hope I go,

So that mi wittes ben empeired,

And I, as who seith, am despeired

To winne love of thilke swete,

3470Withoute whom, I you behiete,

Min herte, that is so bestad,

Riht inly nevere mai be glad.

For be my trouthe I schal noght lie,

Of pure sorwe, which I drye

For that sche seith sche wol me noght,

With drecchinge of myn oghne thoght

In such a wanhope I am falle,

That I ne can unethes calle,

As forto speke of eny grace,

3480Mi ladi merci to pourchace.

Bot yit I seie noght for this

That al in mi defalte it is;

For I cam nevere yit in stede,

Whan time was, that I my bede

Ne seide, and as I dorste tolde:

Bot nevere fond I that sche wolde,

For oght sche knew of min entente,

To speke a goodly word assente.

And natheles this dar I seie,

3490That if a sinful wolde preie

To god of his foryivenesse

With half so gret a besinesse

As I have do to my ladi,

In lacke of askinge of merci

He scholde nevere come in Helle.

And thus I mai you sothli telle,

Save only that I crie and bidde,

I am in Tristesce al amidde

And fulfild of Desesperance:

3500And therof yif me mi penance,

Min holi fader, as you liketh.

Mi Sone, of that thin herte siketh

With sorwe, miht thou noght amende,

Til love his grace wol thee sende,

For thou thin oghne cause empeirest

What time as thou thiself despeirest.

I not what other thing availeth,

Of hope whan the herte faileth,

For such a Sor is incurable,

3510And ek the goddes ben vengable:

And that a man mai riht wel frede,

These olde bokes who so rede,

Of thing which hath befalle er this:

Now hier of what ensample it is.

Whilom be olde daies fer

Of Mese was the king Theucer,

Which hadde a kniht to Sone, Iphis:

Of love and he so maistred is,

That he hath set al his corage,

3520As to reguard of his lignage,

Upon a Maide of lou astat.

Bot thogh he were a potestat

Of worldes good, he was soubgit

To love, and put in such a plit,

That he excedeth the mesure

Of reson, that himself assure

He can noght; for the more he preide,

The lass love on him sche leide.

He was with love unwys constreigned,

3530And sche with resoun was restreigned:

The lustes of his herte he suieth,

And sche for dred schame eschuieth,

And as sche scholde, tok good hiede

To save and kepe hir wommanhiede.

And thus the thing stod in debat

Betwen his lust and hire astat:

He yaf, he sende, he spak be mouthe,

Bot yit for oght that evere he couthe

Unto his sped he fond no weie,

3540So that he caste his hope aweie,

Withinne his herte and gan despeire

Fro dai to dai, and so empeire,

That he hath lost al his delit

Of lust, of Slep, of Appetit,

That he thurgh strengthe of love lasseth

His wit, and resoun overpasseth.

As he which of his lif ne rowhte,

His deth upon himself he sowhte,

So that be nyhte his weie he nam,

3550Ther wiste non wher he becam;

The nyht was derk, ther schon no Mone,

Tofore the gates he cam sone,

Wher that this yonge Maiden was

And with this wofull word, “Helas!”

Hise dedli pleintes he began

So stille that ther was noman

It herde, and thanne he seide thus:

“O thou Cupide, o thou Venus,

Fortuned be whos ordinaunce

3560Of love is every mannes chaunce,

Ye knowen al min hole herte,

That I ne mai your hond asterte;

On you is evere that I crie,

And yit you deigneth noght to plie,

Ne toward me youre Ere encline.

Thus for I se no medicine

To make an ende of mi querele,

My deth schal be in stede of hele.

  Ha, thou mi wofull ladi diere,

3570Which duellest with thi fader hiere

And slepest in thi bedd at ese,

Thou wost nothing of my desese.

Hou thou and I be now unmete.

Ha lord, what swevene schalt thou mete,

What dremes hast thou nou on honde?

Thou slepest there, and I hier stonde.

Thogh I no deth to the deserve,

Hier schal I for thi love sterve,

Hier schal a kinges Sone dye

3580For love and for no felonie;

Wher thou therof have joie or sorwe,

Hier schalt thou se me ded tomorwe.

O herte hard aboven alle,

This deth, which schal to me befalle

For that thou wolt noght do me grace,

Yit schal be told in many a place,

Hou I am ded for love and trouthe

In thi defalte and in thi slouthe:

Thi Daunger schal to manye mo

3590Ensample be for everemo,

Whan thei my wofull deth recorde.”

And with that word he tok a Corde,

With which upon the gate tre

He hyng himself, that was pite.

  The morwe cam, the nyht is gon,

Men comen out and syhe anon

Wher that this yonge lord was ded:

Ther was an hous withoute red,

For noman knew the cause why;

3600Ther was wepinge and ther was cry.

This Maiden, whan that sche it herde,

And sih this thing hou it misferde,

Anon sche wiste what it mente,

And al the cause hou it wente

To al the world sche tolde it oute,

And preith to hem that were aboute

To take of hire the vengance,

For sche was cause of thilke chaunce,

Why that this kinges Sone is split.

3610Sche takth upon hirself the gilt,

And is al redi to the peine

Which eny man hir wole ordeigne:

And bot if eny other wolde,

Sche seith that sche hirselve scholde

Do wreche with hire oghne hond,

Thurghout the world in every lond

That every lif therof schal speke,

Hou sche hirself i scholde wreke.

Sche wepth, sche crith, sche swouneth ofte,

3620Sche caste hire yhen up alofte

And seide among ful pitously:

“A godd, thou wost wel it am I,

For whom Iphis is thus besein:

Ordeine so, that men mai sein

A thousend wynter after this,

Hou such a Maiden dede amis,

And as I dede, do to me:

For I ne dede no pite

To him, which for mi love is lore,

3630Do no pite to me therfore.”

And with this word sche fell to grounde

Aswoune, and ther sche lay a stounde.

The goddes, whiche hir pleigntes herde

And syhe hou wofully sche ferde,

Hire lif thei toke awey anon,

And schopen hire into a Ston

After the forme of hire ymage

Of bodi bothe and of visage.

And for the merveile of this thing

3640Unto the place cam the king

And ek the queene and manye mo;

And whan thei wisten it was so,

As I have told it heir above,

Hou that Iphis was ded for love,

Of that he hadde be refused,

Thei hielden alle men excused

And wondren upon the vengance.

And forto kepe in remembrance,

This faire ymage mayden liche

3650With compaignie noble and riche

With torche and gret sollempnite.

To Salamyne the Cite

Thei lede, and carie forth withal

The dede corps, and sein it schal

Beside thilke ymage have

His sepulture and be begrave:

This corps and this ymage thus

Into the Cite to Venus,

Wher that goddesse hire temple hadde,

3660Togedre bothe tuo thei ladde.

This ilke ymage as for miracle

Was set upon an hyh pinacle,

That alle men it mihte knowe,

And under tht thei maden lowe

A tumbe riche for the nones

Of marbre and ek of jaspre stones,

Wherin this Iphis was beloken,

That evermor it schal be spoken.

And for men schal the sothe wite,

3670Thei have here epitaphe write,

As thing which scholde abide stable:

The lettres graven in a table

Of marbre were and seiden this:

“Hier lith, which slowh himself, Iphis,

For love of Araxarathen:

And in ensample of tho wommen,

That soffren men to deie so,

Hire forme a man mai sen also,

Hou it is torned fleissh and bon

3680Into the figure of a Ston:

He was to neysshe and sche to hard.

Be war forthi hierafterward;

Ye men and wommen bothe tuo,

Ensampleth you of that was tho:

  Lo thus, mi Sone, as I thee seie,

It grieveth be diverse weie

In desepeir a man to falle,

Which is the laste branche of alle

Of Slouthe, as thou hast herd devise.

3690Wherof that thou thiself avise

Good is, er that thou be deceived,

Wher that the grace of hope is weyved.

  Mi fader, hou so that it stonde,

Now have I pleinly understonde

Of Slouthes court the proprete,

Wherof touchende in my degre

For evere I thenke to be war.

Bot overthis, so as I dar,

With al min herte I you beseche,

3700That ye me wolde enforme and teche

What ther is more of youre aprise

In love als wel as otherwise,

So that I mai me clene schryve.

  Mi Sone, whyl thou art alyve

And hast also thi fulle mynde,

Among the vices whiche I finde

Ther is yit on such of the sevene,

Which al this world hath set unevene

And causeth manye thinges wronge,

3710Where he the cause hath underfonge:

Wherof hierafter thou schalt hiere

The forme bothe and the matiere.

Explicit Liber Quartus.

Incipit Liber Quintus

Obstat auaricia nature legibus, et que

     Largus amor poscit, striccius illa vetat.

Omne quod est nimium viciosum dicitur aurum,

     Vellera sicut oues, seruat auarus opes.

Non decet vt soli seruabitur es, set amori

     Debet homo solam solus habere suam.

Ferst whan the hyhe god began

This world, and that the kinde of man

Was falle into no gret encress,

For worldes good tho was no press,

Bot al was set to the comune.

Thei spieken thanne of no fortune

Or forto lese or forto winne,

Til Avarice broghte it inne;

And that was whan the world was woxe

10Of man, of hors, of Schep, of Oxe,

And that men knewen the moneie.

Tho wente pes out of the weie

And werre cam on every side,

Which alle love leide aside

And of comun his propre made,

So that in stede of schovele and spade

The scharpe swerd was take on honde;

And in this wise it cam to londe,

Wherof men maden dyches depe

20And hyhe walles forto kepe

The gold which Avarice encloseth.

Bot al to lytel him supposeth,

Thogh he mihte al the world pourchace;

For what thing that he may embrace

Of gold, of catel or of lond,

He let it nevere out of his hond,

Bot get him more and halt it faste,

As thogh the world scholde evere laste.

So is he lych unto the helle;

30For as these olde bokes telle,

What comth therinne, lasse or more,

It schal departe neveremore:

Thus whanne he hath his cofre loken,

It schal noght after ben unstoken,

Bot whanne him list to have a syhte

Of gold, hou that it schyneth brihte,

That he ther on mai loke and muse;

For otherwise he dar noght use

To take his part, or lasse or more.

40So is he povere, and everemore

Him lacketh that he hath ynowh:

An Oxe draweth in the plowh,

Of that himself hath no profit;

A Schep riht in the same plit

His wolle berth, bot on a day

An other takth the flees away:

Thus hath he, that he noght ne hath,

For he therof his part ne tath.

To seie hou such a man hath good,

50Who so that reson understod,

It is impropreliche seid,

For good hath him and halt him teid,

That he ne gladeth noght withal,

Bot is unto his good a thral,

And as soubgit thus serveth he,

Wher that he scholde maister be:

Such is the kinde of thaverous.

Mi Sone, as thou art amerous,

Tell if thou farst of love so.

60Mi fader, as it semeth, no;

That averous yit nevere I was,

So as ye setten me the cas:

For as ye tolden here above,

In full possession of love

Yit was I nevere hier tofore,

So that me thenketh wel therfore,

I mai excuse wel my dede.

Bot of mi will withoute drede,

If I that tresor mihte gete,

70It scholde nevere be foryete,

That I ne wolde it faste holde,

Til god of love himselve wolde

That deth ous scholde part atuo.

For lieveth wel, I love hire so,

That evene with min oghne lif,

If I that swete lusti wif

Mihte ones welden at my wille,

For evere I wolde hire holde stille:

And in this wise, taketh kepe,

80If I hire hadde, I wolde hire kepe,

And yit no friday wolde I faste,

Thogh I hire kepte and hielde faste.

Fy on the bagges in the kiste!

I hadde ynogh, if I hire kiste.

For certes, if sche were myn,

I hadde hir levere than a Myn

Of Gold; for al this worldesriche

Ne mihte make me so riche

As sche, that is so inly good.

90I sette noght of other good;

For mihte I gete such a thing,

I hadde a tresor for a king;

And thogh I wolde it faste holde,

I were thanne wel beholde.

Bot I mot pipe nou with lasse,

And suffre that it overpasse,

Noght with mi will, for thus I wolde

Ben averous, if that I scholde.

Bot, fader, I you herde seie

100Hou thaverous hath yit som weie,

Wherof he mai be glad; for he

Mai whanne him list his tresor se,

And grope and fiele it al aboute,

Bot I fulofte am schet theroute,

Ther as my worthi tresor is.

So is mi lif lich unto this,

That ye me tolden hier tofore,

Hou that an Oxe his yock hath bore

For thing that scholde him noght availe:

110And in this wise I me travaile;

For who that evere hath the welfare,

I wot wel that I have the care,

For I am hadd and noght ne have,

And am, as who seith, loves knave.

Nou demeth in youre oghne thoght,

If this be Avarice or noght.

Mi Sone, I have of thee no wonder,

Thogh thou to serve be put under

With love, which to kinde acordeth:

120Bot, so as every bok recordeth,

It is to kinde no plesance

That man above his sustienance

Unto the gold schal serve and bowe,

For that mai no reson avowe.

Bot Avarice natheles,

If he mai geten his encress

Of gold, that wole he serve and kepe,

For he takth of noght elles kepe,

Bot forto fille hise bagges large;

130And al is to him bot a charge,

For he ne parteth noght withal,

Bot kepth it, as a servant schal:

And thus, thogh that he multeplie

His gold, withoute tresorie

He is, for man is noght amended

With gold, bot if it be despended

To mannes us; wherof I rede

A tale, and tak therof good hiede,

Of that befell be olde tyde,

140As telleth ous the clerk Ovide.

Bachus, which is the god of wyn,

Acordant unto his divin

A Prest, the which Cillenus hihte,

He hadde, and fell so that be nyhte

This Prest was drunke and goth astraied,

Wherof the men were evele apaied

In Frigelond, where as he wente.

Bot ate laste a cherl him hente

With strengthe of other felaschipe,

150So that upon his drunkeschipe

Thei bounden him with chenes faste,

And forth thei ladde him als so faste

Unto the king, which hihte Myde.

Bot he, that wolde his vice hyde,

This courteis king, tok of him hiede,

And bad that men him scholde lede

Into a chambre forto kepe,

Til he of leisir hadde slepe.

And tho this Prest was sone unbounde,

160And up a couche fro the grounde

To slepe he was leid softe ynowh;

And whanne he wok, the king him drowh

To his presence and dede him chiere,

So that this Prest in such manere,

Whil that him liketh, there he duelleth:

And al this he to Bachus telleth,

Whan that he cam to him ayein.

And whan that Bachus herde sein

How Mide hath don his courtesie,

170Him thenkth it were a vilenie,

Bot he rewarde him for his dede,

So as he mihte of his godhiede.

Unto this king this god appiereth

And clepeth, and that other hiereth:

This god to Mide thonketh faire

Of that he was so debonaire

Toward his Prest, and bad him seie:

What thing it were he wolde preie,

He scholde it have, of worldes good.

180This king was glad, and stille stod,

And was of his axinge in doute,

And al the world he caste aboute,

What thing was best for his astat,

And with himself stod in debat

Upon thre pointz, the whiche I finde

Ben lievest unto mannes kinde.

The ferste of hem it is delit,

The tuo ben worschipe and profit.

And thanne he thoghte, “If that I crave

190Delit, thogh I delit mai have,

Delit schal passen in myn age:

That is no siker avantage,

For every joie bodily

Schal ende in wo: delit forthi

Wol I noght chese. And if worschipe

I axe and of the world lordschipe,

That is an occupacion

Of proud ymaginacion,

Which makth an herte vein withinne;

200Ther is no certain forto winne,

For lord and knave al is o weie,

Whan thei be bore and whan thei deie.

And if I profit axe wolde,

I not in what manere I scholde

Of worldes good have sikernesse;

For every thief upon richesse

Awaiteth forto robbe and stele:

Such good is cause of harmes fele.

And also, thogh a man at ones

210Of al the world withinne his wones

The tresor myhte have everydel,

Yit hadde he bot o mannes del

Toward himself, so as I thinke,

Of clothinge and of mete and drinke,

For more, outake vanite,

Ther hath no lord in his degre.”

And thus upon the pointz diverse

Diverseliche he gan reherce

What point him thoghte for the beste;

220Bot pleinly forto gete him reste

He can so siker weie caste.

And natheles yit ate laste

He fell upon the coveitise

Of gold; and thanne in sondri wise

He thoghte, as I have seid tofore,

Hou tresor mai be sone lore,

And hadde an inly gret desir

Touchende of such recoverir,

Hou that he mihte his cause availe

230To gete him gold withoute faile.

Withinne his herte and thus he preiseth

The gold, and seith hou that it peiseth

Above al other metall most:

“The gold,” he seith, “may lede an host

To make werre ayein a King;

The gold put under alle thing,

And set it whan him list above;

The gold can make of hate love

And werre of pes and ryht of wrong,

240And long to schort and schort to long;

Withoute gold mai be no feste,

Gold is the lord of man and beste,

And mai hem bothe beie and selle;

So that a man mai sothly telle

That al the world to gold obeieth.”

Forthi this king to Bachus preieth

To grante him gold, bot he excedeth

Mesure more than him nedeth.

Men tellen that the maladie

250Which cleped is ydropesie

Resembled is unto this vice

Be weie of kinde of Avarice:

The more ydropesie drinketh,

The more him thursteth, for him thinketh

That he mai nevere drinke his fille;

So that ther mai nothing fulfille

The lustes of his appetit:

And riht in such a maner plit

Stant Avarice and evere stod;

260The more he hath of worldes good,

The more he wolde it kepe streyte,

And evere mor and mor coveite.

And riht in such condicioun

Withoute good discrecioun

This king with avarice is smite,

That al the world it myhte wite:

For he to Bachus thanne preide,

That wherupon his hond he leide,

It scholde thurgh his touche anon

270Become gold, and therupon

This god him granteth as he bad.

Tho was this king of Frige glad,

And forto put it in assai

With al the haste that he mai,

He toucheth that, he toucheth this,

And in his hond al gold it is,

The Ston, the Tree, the Lef, the gras,

The flour, the fruit, al gold it was.

Thus toucheth he, whil he mai laste

280To go, bot hunger ate laste

Him tok, so that he moste nede

Be weie of kinde his hunger fede.

The cloth was leid, the bord was set,

And al was forth tofore him fet,

His disch, his coppe, his drinke, his mete;

Bot whanne he wolde or drinke or ete,

Anon as it his mouth cam nyh,

It was al gold, and thanne he syh

Of Avarice the folie.

290And he with that began to crie,

And preide Bachus to foryive

His gilt, and soffre him forto live

And be such as he was tofore,

So that he were not forlore.

This god, which herde of his grevance,

Tok rowthe upon his repentance,

And bad him go forth redily

Unto a flod was faste by,

Which Paceole thanne hyhte,

300In which as clene as evere he myhte

He scholde him waisshen overal,

And seide him thanne that he schal

Recovere his ferste astat ayein.

This king, riht as he herde sein,

Into the flod goth fro the lond,

And wissh him bothe fot and hond,

And so forth al the remenant,

As him was set in covenant:

And thanne he syh merveilles strange,

310The flod his colour gan to change,

The gravel with the smale Stones

To gold thei torne bothe at ones,

And he was quit of that he hadde,

And thus fortune his chance ladde.

And whan he sih his touche aweie,

He goth him hom the rihte weie

And liveth forth as he dede er,

And putte al Avarice afer,

And the richesse of gold despiseth,

320And seith that mete and cloth sufficeth.

Thus hath this king experience

Hou foles don the reverence

To gold, which of his oghne kinde

Is lasse worth than is the rinde

To sustienance of mannes fode;

And thanne he made lawes goode

And al his thing sette upon skile:

He bad his poeple forto tile

Here lond, and live under the lawe,

330And that thei scholde also forthdrawe

Bestaile, and seche non encress

Of gold, which is the breche of pes.

For this a man mai finde write,

Tofor the time, er gold was smite

In Coign, that men the florin knewe,

Ther was welnyh noman untrewe;

Tho was ther nouther schield ne spere

Ne dedly wepne forto bere;

Tho was the toun withoute wal,

340Which nou is closed overal;

Tho was ther no brocage in londe,

Which nou takth every cause on honde:

So mai men knowe, hou the florin

Was moder ferst of malengin

And bringere inne of alle werre,

Wherof this world stant out of herre

Thurgh the conseil of Avarice,

Which of his oghne propre vice

Is as the helle wonderfull;

350For it mai neveremor be full,

That what as evere comth therinne,

Awey ne may it nevere winne.

Bot Sone myn, do thou noght so,

Let al such Avarice go,

And tak thi part of that thou hast:

I bidde noght that thou do wast,

Bot hold largesce in his mesure;

And if thou se a creature,

Which thurgh poverte is falle in nede,

360Yif him som good, for this I rede

To him that wol noght yiven here,

What peine he schal have elleswhere.

Ther is a peine amonges alle

Benethe in helle, which men calle

The wofull peine of Tantaly,

Of which I schal thee redely

Devise hou men therinne stonde.

In helle, thou schalt understonde,

Ther is a flod of thilke office,

370Which serveth al for Avarice:

What man that stonde schal therinne,

He stant up evene unto the chinne;

Above his hed also ther hongeth

A fruyt, which to that peine longeth,

And that fruit toucheth evere in on

His overlippe: and therupon

Swich thurst and hunger him assaileth,

That nevere his appetit ne faileth.

Bot whanne he wolde his hunger fede,

380The fruit withdrawth him ate nede,

And thogh he heve his hed on hyh,

The fruit is evere aliche nyh,

So is the hunger wel the more:

And also, thogh him thurste sore

And to the water bowe a doun,

The flod in such condicioun

Avaleth, that his drinke areche

He mai noght. Lo nou, which a wreche,

That mete and drinke is him so couth,

390And yit ther comth non in his mouth!

Lich to the peines of this flod

Stant Avarice in worldes good:

He hath ynowh and yit him nedeth,

For his skarsnesse it him forbiedeth,

And evere his hunger after more

Travaileth him aliche sore,

So is he peined overal.

Forthi thi goodes forth withal,

Mi Sone, loke thou despende,

400Wherof thou myht thiself amende

Bothe hier and ek in other place.

And also if thou wolt pourchace

To be beloved, thou most use

Largesce, for if thou refuse

To yive for thi loves sake,

It is no reson that thou take

Of love that thou woldest crave.

Forthi, if thou wolt grace have,

Be gracious and do largesse,

410Of Avarice and the seknesse

Eschuie above alle other thing,

And tak ensample of Mide king

And of the flod of helle also,

Where is ynowh of alle wo.

And thogh ther were no matiere

Bot only that we finden hiere,

Men oghten Avarice eschuie;

For what man thilke vice suie,

He get himself bot litel reste.

420For hou so that the body reste,

The herte upon the gold travaileth,

Whom many a nyhtes drede assaileth;

For thogh he ligge abedde naked,

His herte is everemore awaked,

And dremeth, as he lith to slepe,

How besi that he is to kepe

His tresor, that no thief it stele.

Thus hath he bot a woful wele.

And riht so in the same wise,

430If thou thiself wolt wel avise,

Ther be lovers of suche ynowe,

That wole unto no reson bowe.

If so be that thei come above,

Whan thei ben maistres of here love,

And that thei scholden be most glad,

With love thei ben most bestad,

So fain thei wolde it holden al.

Here herte, here yhe is overal,

And wenen every man be thief,

440To stele awey that hem is lief;

Thus thurgh here oghne fantasie

Thei fallen into Jelousie.

Thanne hath the Schip tobroke his cable,

With every wynd and is muable.

Mi fader, for that ye nou telle,

I have herd ofte time telle

Of Jelousie, bot what it is

Yit understod I nevere er this:

Wherfore I wolde you beseche,

450That ye me wolde enforme and teche

What maner thing it mihte be.

Mi Sone, that is hard to me:

Bot natheles, as I have herd,

Now herkne and thou schalt ben ansuerd.

Among the men lacke of manhode

In Mariage upon wifhode

Makth that a man himself deceiveth,

Wherof it is that he conceiveth

That ilke unsely maladie,

460The which is cleped Jelousie:

Of which if I the proprete

Schal telle after the nycete,

So as it worcheth on a man,

A Fievere it is cotidian,

Which every day wol come aboute,

Wher so a man be inne or oute.

At hom if that a man wol wone,

This Fievere is thanne of comun wone

Most grevous in a mannes yhe:

470For thanne he makth him tote and pryhe,

Wher so as evere his love go;

Sche schal noght with hir litel too

Misteppe, bot he se it al.

His yhe is walkende overal;

Wher that sche singe or that sche dance,

He seth the leste contienance,

If sche loke on a man aside

Or with him roune at eny tyde,

Or that sche lawghe, or that sche loure,

480His yhe is ther at every houre.

And whanne it draweth to the nyht,

If sche thanne is withoute lyht,

Anon is al the game schent;

For thanne he set his parlement

To speke it whan he comth to bedde,

And seith, “If I were now to wedde,

I wolde neveremore have wif.”

And so he torneth into strif

The lust of loves duete,

490And al upon diversete.

If sche be freissh and wel araied,

He seith hir baner is displaied

To clepe in gestes fro the weie:

And if sche be noght wel beseie,

And that hir list noght to be gladd,

He berth an hond that sche is madd

And loveth noght hire housebonde;

He seith he mai wel understonde,

That if sche wolde his compaignie,

500Sche scholde thanne afore his ije

Schewe al the plesir that sche mihte.

So that be daie ne be nyhte

Sche not what thing is for the beste,

Bot liveth out of alle reste;

For what as evere him liste sein,

Sche dar noght speke a word ayein,

Bot wepth and holt hire lippes clos.

Sche mai wel wryte, “Sanz repos,”

The wif which is to such on maried.

510Of alle wommen be he waried,

For with this Fievere of Jalousie

His echedaies fantasie

Of sorghe is evere aliche grene,

So that ther is no love sene,

Whil that him list at hom abyde.

And whan so is he wol out ryde,

Thanne hath he redi his aspie

Abidinge in hir compaignie,

A janglere, an evel mouthed oon,

520That sche ne mai nowhider gon,

Ne speke a word, ne ones loke,

That he ne wol it wende and croke

And torne after his oghne entente,

Thogh sche nothing bot honour mente.

Whan that the lord comth hom ayein,

The janglere moste somwhat sein;

So what withoute and what withinne,

This Fievere is evere to beginne,

For where he comth he can noght ende,

530Til deth of him have mad an ende.

For thogh so be that he ne hiere

Ne se ne wite in no manere

Bot al honour and wommanhiede,

Therof the Jelous takth non hiede,

Bot as a man to love unkinde,

He cast his staf, as doth the blinde,

And fint defaulte where is non;

As who so dremeth on a Ston

Hou he is leid, and groneth ofte,

540Whan he lith on his pilwes softe.

So is ther noght bot strif and cheste;

Whan love scholde make his feste,

It is gret thing if he hir kisse:

Thus hath sche lost the nyhtes blisse,

For at such time he gruccheth evere

And berth on hond ther is a levere,

And that sche wolde an other were

In stede of him abedde there;

And with tho wordes and with mo

550Of Jelousie, he torneth fro

And lith upon his other side,

And sche with that drawth hire aside,

And ther sche wepeth al the nyht.

Ha, to what peine sche is dyht,

That in hire youthe hath so beset

The bond which mai noght ben unknet!

I wot the time is ofte cursed,

That evere was the gold unpursed,

The which was leid upon the bok,

560Whan that alle othre sche forsok

For love of him; bot al to late

Sche pleigneth, for as thanne algate

Sche mot forbere and to him bowe,

Thogh he ne wole it noght allowe.

For man is lord of thilke feire,

So mai the womman bot empeire,

If sche speke oght ayein his wille;

And thus sche berth hir peine stille.

Bot if this Fievere a womman take,

570Sche schal be wel mor harde schake;

For thogh sche bothe se and hiere,

And finde that ther is matiere,

Sche dar bot to hirselve pleine,

And thus sche suffreth double peine.

Lo thus, mi Sone, as I have write,

Thou miht of Jelousie wite

His fievere and his condicion,

Which is full of suspecion.

Bot wherof that this fievere groweth,

580Who so these olde bokes troweth,

Ther mai he finden hou it is:

For thei ous teche and telle this,

Hou that this fievere of Jelousie

Somdel it groweth of sotie

Of love, and somdiel of untrust.

For as a sek man lest his lust,

And whan he may no savour gete,

He hateth thanne his oughne mete,

Riht so this fieverous maladie,

590Which caused is of fantasie,

Makth the Jelous in fieble plit

To lese of love his appetit

Thurgh feigned enformacion

Of his ymaginacion.

Bot finali to taken hiede,

Men mai wel make a liklihiede

Betwen him which is averous

Of gold and him that is jelous

Of love, for in on degre

600Thei stonde bothe, as semeth me.

That oon wolde have his bagges stille,

And noght departen with his wille,

And dar noght for the thieves slepe,

So fain he wolde his tresor kepe;

That other mai noght wel be glad,

For he is evere more adrad

Of these lovers that gon aboute,

In aunter if thei putte him oute.

So have thei bothe litel joye

610As wel of love as of monoie.

Now hast thou, Sone, at my techinge

Of Jelousie a knowlechinge,

That thou myht understonde this,

Fro whenne he comth and what he is,

And ek to whom that he is lik.

Be war forthi thou be noght sik

Of thilke fievere as I have spoke,

For it wol in himself be wroke.

For love hateth nothing more,

620As men mai finde be the lore

Of hem that whilom were wise,

Hou that thei spieke in many wise.

Mi fader, soth is that ye sein.

Bot forto loke therayein,

Befor this time hou it is falle,

Wherof ther mihte ensample falle

To suche men as be jelous

In what manere it is grevous,

Riht fain I wolde ensample hiere.

630My goode Sone, at thi preiere

Of suche ensamples as I finde,

So as thei comen nou to mynde

Upon this point, of time gon

I thenke forto tellen on.

Ovide wrot of manye thinges,

Among the whiche in his wrytinges

He tolde a tale in Poesie,

Which toucheth unto Jelousie,

Upon a certein cas of love.

640Among the goddes alle above

It fell at thilke time thus:

The god of fyr, which Vulcanus

Is hote, and hath a craft forthwith

Assigned, forto be the Smith

Of Jupiter, and his figure

Bothe of visage and of stature

Is lothly and malgracious,

Bot yit he hath withinne his hous

As for the likynge of his lif

650The faire Venus to his wif.

Bot Mars, which of batailles is

The god, an yhe hadde unto this:

As he which was chivalerous,

It fell him to ben amerous,

And thoghte it was a gret pite

To se so lusti on as sche

Be coupled with so lourde a wiht:

So that his peine day and nyht

He dede, if he hire winne myhte;

660And sche, which hadde a good insihte

Toward so noble a knyhtli lord,

In love fell of his acord.

Ther lacketh noght bot time and place,

That he nys siker of hire grace:

Bot whan tuo hertes falle in on,

So wys await was nevere non,

That at som time thei ne mete;

And thus this faire lusti swete

With Mars hath ofte compaignie.

670Bot thilke unkynde Jelousie,

Which everemor the herte opposeth,

Makth Vulcanus that he supposeth

That it is noght wel overal,

And to himself he seide, he schal

Aspie betre, if that he may;

And so it fell upon a day,

That he this thing so slyhli ledde,

He fond hem bothe tuo abedde

Al warm, echon with other naked.

680And he with craft al redy maked

Of stronge chenes hath hem bounde,

As he togedre hem hadde founde,

And lefte hem bothe ligge so,

And gan to clepe and crie tho

Unto the goddes al aboute;

And thei assembled in a route

Come alle at ones forto se.

Bot none amendes hadde he,

Bot was rebuked hiere and there

690Of hem that loves frendes were;

And seiden that he was to blame,

For if ther fell him eny schame,

It was thurgh his misgovernance:

And thus he loste contienance,

This god, and let his cause falle;

And thei to skorne him lowhen alle,

And losen Mars out of hise bondes.

Wherof these erthli housebondes

For evere myhte ensample take,

700If such a chaunce hem overtake:

For Vulcanus his wif bewreide,

The blame upon himself he leide,

Wherof his schame was the more;

Which oghte forto ben a lore

For every man that liveth hiere,

To reulen him in this matiere.

Thogh such an happ of love asterte,

Yit scholde he noght apointe his herte

With Jelousie of that is wroght,

710Bot feigne, as thogh he wiste it noght:

For if he lete it overpasse,

The sclaundre schal be wel the lasse,

And he the more in ese stonde.

For this thou myht wel understonde,

That where a man schal nedes lese,

The leste harm is forto chese.

Bot Jelousie of his untrist

Makth that full many an harm arist,

Which elles scholde noght arise;

720And if a man him wolde avise

Of that befell to Vulcanus,

Him oghte of reson thenke thus,

That sithe a god therof was schamed,

Wel scholde an erthli man be blamed

To take upon him such a vice.

Forthi, my Sone, in thin office

Be war that thou be noght jelous,

Which ofte time hath schent the hous.

Mi fader, this ensample is hard,

730Hou such thing to the heveneward

Among the goddes myhte falle:

For ther is bot o god of alle,

Which is the lord of hevene and helle.

Bot if it like you to telle

Hou suche goddes come aplace,

Ye mihten mochel thonk pourchace,

For I schal be wel tawht withal.

Mi Sone, it is thus overal

With hem that stonden misbelieved,

740That suche goddes ben believed:

In sondri place sondri wise

Amonges hem whiche are unwise

Ther is betaken of credence;

Wherof that I the difference

In the manere as it is write

Schal do the pleinly forto wite.

Er Crist was bore among ous hiere,

Of the believes that tho were

In foure formes thus it was.

750Thei of Caldee as in this cas

Hadde a believe be hemselve,

Which stod upon the signes tuelve,

Forth ek with the Planetes sevene,

Whiche as thei sihe upon the hevene.

Of sondri constellacion

In here ymaginacion

With sondri kerf and pourtreture

Thei made of goddes the figure.

In thelementz and ek also

760Thei hadden a believe tho;

And al was that unresonable:

For thelementz ben servicable

To man, and ofte of Accidence,

As men mai se thexperience,

Thei ben corrupt be sondri weie;

So mai no mannes reson seie

That thei ben god in eny wise.

And ek, if men hem wel avise,

The Sonne and Mone eclipse bothe,

770That be hem lieve or be hem lothe,

Thei soffre; and what thing is passible

To ben a god is impossible.

These elementz ben creatures,

So ben these hevenly figures,

Wherof mai wel be justefied

That thei mai noght be deified:

And who that takth awey thonour

Which due is to the creatour,

And yifth it to the creature,

780He doth to gret a forsfaiture.

Bot of Caldee natheles

Upon this feith, thogh it be les,

Thei holde affermed the creance;

So that of helle the penance,

As folk which stant out of believe,

They schull receive, as we believe.

Of the Caldeus lo in this wise

Stant the believe out of assisse:

Bot in Egipte worst of alle

790The feith is fals, hou so it falle;

For thei diverse bestes there

Honoure, as thogh thei goddes were:

And natheles yit forth withal

Thre goddes most in special

Thei have, forth with a goddesse,

In whom is al here sikernesse.

Tho goddes be yit cleped thus,

Orus, Typhon and Isirus:

Thei were brethren alle thre,

800And the goddesse in hir degre

Here Soster was and Ysis hyhte,

Whom Isirus forlai be nyhte

And hield hire after as his wif.

So it befell that upon strif

Typhon hath Isre his brother slain,

Which hadde a child to Sone Orayn,

And he his fader deth to herte

So tok, that it mai noght asterte

That he Typhon after ne slowh,

810Whan he was ripe of age ynowh.

Bot yit thegipcienes trowe

For al this errour, which thei knowe,

That these brethren ben of myht

To sette and kepe Egipte upriht,

And overthrowe, if that hem like.

Bot Ysis, as seith the Cronique,

Fro Grece into Egipte cam,

And sche thanne upon honde nam

To teche hem forto sowe and eere,

820Which noman knew tofore there.

And whan thegipcienes syhe

The fieldes fulle afore here yhe,

And that the lond began to greine,

Which whilom hadde be bareigne,-

For therthe bar after the kinde

His due charge — this I finde,

That sche of berthe the goddesse

Is cleped, so that in destresse

The wommen there upon childinge

830To hire clepe, and here offringe

Thei beren, whan that thei ben lyhte.

Lo, hou Egipte al out of syhte

Fro resoun stant in misbelieve

For lacke of lore, as I believe.

Among the Greks, out of the weie

As thei that reson putte aweie,

Ther was, as the Cronique seith,

Of misbelieve an other feith,

That thei here goddes and goddesses,

840As who seith, token al to gesses

Of suche as weren full of vice,

To whom thei made here sacrifice.

The hihe god, so as thei seide,

To whom thei most worschipe leide,

Saturnus hihte, and king of Crete

He hadde be; bot of his sete

He was put doun, as he which stod

In frenesie, and was so wod,

That fro his wif, which Rea hihte,

850Hise oghne children he to plihte,

And eet hem of his comun wone.

Bot Jupiter, which was his Sone

And of full age, his fader bond

And kutte of with his oghne hond

Hise genitals, whiche als so faste

Into the depe See he caste;

Wherof the Greks afferme and seie,

Thus whan thei were caste aweie,

Cam Venus forth be weie of kinde.

860And of Saturne also I finde

How afterward into an yle

This Jupiter him dede exile,

Wher that he stod in gret meschief.

Lo, which a god thei maden chief!

And sithen that such on was he,

Which stod most hihe in his degre

Among the goddes, thou miht knowe,

These othre, that ben more lowe,

Ben litel worth, as it is founde.

870For Jupiter was the secounde,

Which Juno hadde unto his wif;

And yit a lechour al his lif

He was, and in avouterie

He wroghte many a tricherie;

And for he was so full of vices,

Thei cleped him god of delices:

Of whom, if thou wolt more wite,

Ovide the Poete hath write.

Bot yit here Sterres bothe tuo,

880Saturne and Jupiter also,

Thei have, althogh thei be to blame,

Attitled to here oghne name.

Mars was an other in that lawe,

The which in Dace was forthdrawe,

Of whom the clerk Vegecius

Wrot in his bok, and tolde thus,

Hou he into Ytaile cam,

And such fortune ther he nam

That he a Maiden hath oppressed,

890Which in hire ordre was professed,

As sche which was the Prioresse

In Vestes temple the goddesse,

So was sche wel the mor to blame.

Dame Ylia this ladi name

Men clepe, and ek sche was also

The kinges dowhter that was tho,

Which Mynitor be name hihte.

So that ayein the lawes ryhte

Mars thilke time upon hire that

900Remus and Romulus begat,

Whiche after, whan thei come in Age,

Of knihthode and of vassellage

Ytaile al hol thei overcome

And foundeden the grete Rome;

In Armes and of such emprise

Thei weren, that in thilke wise

Here fader Mars for the mervaile

The god was cleped of bataille.

Thei were his children bothe tuo,

910Thurgh hem he tok his name so,

Ther was non other cause why:

And yit a Sterre upon the Sky

He hath unto his name applied,

In which that he is signified.

An other god thei hadden eke,

To whom for conseil thei beseke,

The which was brother to Venus,

Appollo men him clepe thus.

He was an Hunte upon the helles,

920Ther was with him no vertu elles,

Wherof that enye bokes karpe,

Bot only that he couthe harpe;

Which whanne he walked over londe,

Fulofte time he tok on honde,

To gete him with his sustienance,

For lacke of other pourveance.

And otherwhile of his falshede

He feignede him to conne arede

Of thing which after scholde falle;

930Wherof among hise sleyhtes alle

He hath the lewed folk deceived,

So that the betre he was received.

Lo now, thurgh what creacion

He hath deificacion,

And cleped is the god of wit

To suche as be the foles yit.

An other god, to whom thei soghte,

Mercurie hihte, and him ne roghte

What thing he stal, ne whom he slowh.

940Of Sorcerie he couthe ynowh,

That whanne he wolde himself transforme,

Fulofte time he tok the forme

Of womman and his oghne lefte;

So dede he wel the more thefte.

A gret spekere in alle thinges

He was also, and of lesinges

An Auctour, that men wiste non

An other such as he was on.

And yit thei maden of this thief

950A god, which was unto hem lief,

And clepede him in tho believes

The god of Marchantz and of thieves.

Bot yit a sterre upon the hevene

He hath of the planetes sevene.

But Vulcanus, of whom I spak,

He hadde a courbe upon the bak,

And therto he was hepehalt:

Of whom thou understonde schalt,

He was a schrewe in al his youthe,

960And he non other vertu couthe

Of craft to helpe himselve with,

Bot only that he was a Smith

With Jupiter, which in his forge

Diverse thinges made him forge;

So wot I noght for what desir

Thei clepen him the god of fyr.

King of Cizile Ypolitus

A Sone hadde, and Eolus

He hihte, and of his fader grant

970He hield be weie of covenant

The governance of every yle

Which was longende unto Cizile,

Of hem that fro the lond forein

Leie open to the wynd al plein.

And fro thilke iles to the londe

Fulofte cam the wynd to honde:

After the name of him forthi

The wyndes cleped Eoli

Tho were, and he the god of wynd.

980Lo nou, hou this believe is blynd!

The king of Crete Jupiter,

The same which I spak of er,

Unto his brother, which Neptune

Was hote, it list him to comune

Part of his good, so that be Schipe

He mad him strong of the lordschipe

Of al the See in tho parties;

Wher that he wroghte his tyrannyes,

And the strange yles al aboute

990He wan, that every man hath doute

Upon his marche forto saile;

For he anon hem wolde assaile

And robbe what thing that thei ladden,

His sauf conduit bot if thei hadden.

Wherof the comun vois aros

In every lond, that such a los

He cawhte, al nere it worth a stre,

That he was cleped of the See

The god be name, and yit he is

1000With hem that so believe amis.

This Neptune ek was thilke also,

Which was the ferste foundour tho

Of noble Troie, and he forthi

Was wel the more lete by.

The loresman of the Schepherdes,

And ek of hem that ben netherdes,

Was of Archade and hihte Pan:

Of whom hath spoke many a man;

For in the wode of Nonarcigne,

1010Enclosed with the tres of Pigne,

And on the Mont of Parasie

He hadde of bestes the baillie,

And ek benethe in the valleie,

Wher thilke rivere, as men seie,

Which Ladon hihte, made his cours,

He was the chief of governours

Of hem that kepten tame bestes,

Wherof thei maken yit the festes

In the Cite Stinfalides.

1020And forth withal yit natheles

He tawhte men the forthdrawinge

Of bestaile, and ek the makinge

Of Oxen, and of hors the same,

Hou men hem scholde ryde and tame:

Of foules ek, so as we finde,

Ful many a soubtiel craft of kinde

He fond, which noman knew tofore.

Men dede him worschipe ek therfore,

That he the ferste in thilke lond

1030Was which the melodie fond

Of Riedes, whan thei weren ripe,

With double pipes forto pipe;

Therof he yaf the ferste lore,

Til afterward men couthe more.

To every craft for mannes helpe

He hadde a redi wit to helpe

Thurgh naturel experience:

And thus the nyce reverence

Of foles, whan that he was ded,

1040The fot hath torned to the hed,

And clepen him god of nature,

For so thei maden his figure.

An other god, so as thei fiele,

Which Jupiter upon Samele

Begat in his avouterie,

Whom, forto hide his lecherie,

That non therof schal take kepe,

In a Montaigne forto kepe,

Which Dyon hihte and was in Ynde,

1050He sende, in bokes as I finde:

And he be name Bachus hihte,

Which afterward, whan that he mihte,

A wastour was, and al his rente

In wyn and bordel he despente.

Bot yit, al were he wonder badde,

Among the Greks a name he hadde;

Thei cleped him the god of wyn,

And thus a glotoun was dyvyn.

Ther was yit Esculapius

1060A godd in thilke time as thus.

His craft stod upon Surgerie,

Bot for the lust of lecherie,

That he to Daires dowhter drowh,

It felle that Jupiter him slowh:

And yit thei made him noght forthi

A god, and was no cause why.

In Rome he was long time also

A god among the Romeins tho;

For, as he seide, of his presence

1070Ther was destruid a pestilence,

Whan thei to thyle of Delphos wente,

And that Appollo with hem sente

This Esculapius his Sone,

Among the Romeins forto wone.

And there he duelte for a while,

Til afterward into that yle,

Fro whenne he cam, ayein he torneth,

Where al his lyf that he sojorneth

Among the Greks, til that he deide.

1080And thei upon him thanne leide

His name, and god of medicine

He hatte after that ilke line.

An other god of Hercules

Thei made, which was natheles

A man, bot that he was so strong,

In al this world that brod and long

So myhti was noman as he.

Merveiles tuelve in his degre,

As it was couth in sondri londes,

1090He dede with hise oghne hondes

Ayein geantz and Monstres bothe,

The whiche horrible were and lothe,

Bot he with strengthe hem overcam:

Wherof so gret a pris he nam,

That thei him clepe amonges alle

The god of strengthe, and to him calle.

And yit ther is no reson inne,

For he a man was full of sinne,

Which proved was upon his ende,

1100For in a rage himself he brende;

And such a cruel mannes dede

Acordeth nothing with godhede.

Thei hadde of goddes yit an other,

Which Pluto hihte, and was the brother

Of Jupiter, and he fro youthe

With every word which cam to mouthe,

Of eny thing whan he was wroth,

He wolde swere his commun oth,

Be Lethen and be Flegeton,

1110Be Cochitum and Acheron,

The whiche, after the bokes telle,

Ben the chief flodes of the helle:

Be Segne and Stige he swor also,

That ben the depe Pettes tuo

Of helle the most principal.

Pluto these othes overal

Swor of his commun custummance,

Til it befell upon a chance,

That he for Jupiteres sake

1120Unto the goddes let do make

A sacrifice, and for that dede

On of the pettes for his mede

In helle, of which I spak of er,

Was granted him; and thus he ther

Upon the fortune of this thing

The name tok of helle king.

Lo, these goddes and wel mo

Among the Greks thei hadden tho,

And of goddesses manyon,

1130Whos names thou schalt hiere anon,

And in what wise thei deceiven

The foles whiche here feith receiven.

So as Saturne is soverein

Of false goddes, as thei sein,

So is Sibeles of goddesses

The Moder, whom withoute gesses

The folk Payene honoure and serve,

As thei the whiche hire lawe observe.

Bot forto knowen upon this

1140Fro when sche cam and what sche is,

Bethincia the contre hihte,

Wher sche cam ferst to mannes sihte;

And after was Saturnes wif,

Be whom thre children in hire lif

Sche bar, and thei were cleped tho

Juno, Neptunus and Pluto,

The whiche of nyce fantasie

The poeple wolde deifie.

And for hire children were so,

1150Sibeles thanne was also

Mad a goddesse, and thei hire calle

The moder of the goddes alle.

So was that name bore forth,

And yit the cause is litel worth.

A vois unto Saturne tolde

Hou that his oghne Sone him scholde

Out of his regne putte aweie;

And he be cause of thilke weie,

That him was schape such a fate,

1160Sibele his wif began to hate

And ek hire progenie bothe.

And thus, whil that thei were wrothe,

Be Philerem upon a dai

In his avouterie he lai,

On whom he Jupiter begat;

And thilke child was after that

Which wroghte al that was prophecied,

As it tofore is specefied:

So that whan Jupiter of Crete

1170Was king, a wif unto him mete

The Dowhter of Sibele he tok,

And that was Juno, seith the bok.

Of his deificacion

After the false oppinion,

That have I told, so as thei meene;

And for this Juno was the queene

Of Jupiter and Soster eke,

The foles unto hire sieke,

And sein that sche is the goddesse

1180Of Regnes bothe and of richesse:

And ek sche, as thei understonde,

The water Nimphes hath in honde

To leden at hire oghne heste;

And whan hir list the Sky tempeste,

The reinbowe is hir Messager.

Lo, which a misbelieve is hier!

That sche goddesse is of the Sky

I wot non other cause why.

An other goddesse is Minerve,

1190To whom the Greks obeie and serve:

And sche was nyh the grete lay

Of Triton founde, wher sche lay

A child forcast, bot what sche was

Ther knew noman the sothe cas.

Bot in Aufrique sche was leid

In the manere as I have seid,

And caried fro that ilke place

Into an Yle fer in Trace,

The which Palene thanne hihte,

1200Wher a Norrice hir kepte and dihte.

And after, for sche was so wys

That sche fond ferst in hire avis

The cloth makinge of wolle and lyn,

Men seiden that sche was divin,

And the goddesse of Sapience

Thei clepen hire in that credence.

Of the goddesse which Pallas

Is cleped sondri speche was.

On seith hire fader was Pallant,

1210Which in his time was geant,

A cruel man, a bataillous:

An other seith hou in his hous

Sche was the cause why he deide.

And of this Pallas some ek seide

That sche was Martes wif; and so

Among the men that weren tho

Of misbelieve in the riote

The goddesse of batailles hote

She was, and yit sche berth the name.

1220Now loke, hou they be forto blame.

Saturnus after his exil

Fro Crete cam in gret peril

Into the londes of Ytaile,

And ther he dede gret mervaile,

Wherof his name duelleth yit.

For he fond of his oghne wit

The ferste craft of plowh tilinge,

Of Eringe and of corn sowinge,

And how men scholden sette vines

1230And of the grapes make wynes;

Al this he tawhte, and it fell so,

His wif, the which cam with him tho,

Was cleped Cereres be name,

And for sche tawhte also the same,

And was his wif that ilke throwe,

As it was to the poeple knowe,

Thei made of Ceres a goddesse,

In whom here tilthe yit thei blesse,

And sein that Tricolonius

1240Hire Sone goth amonges ous

And makth the corn good chep or dere,

Riht as hire list fro yer to yeere;

So that this wif be cause of this

Goddesse of Cornes cleped is.

King Jupiter, which his likinge

Whilom fulfelde in alle thinge,

So priveliche aboute he ladde

His lust, that he his wille hadde

Of Latona, and on hire that

1250Diane his dowhter he begat

Unknowen of his wif Juno.

And afterward sche knew it so,

That Latona for drede fledde

Into an Ile, wher sche hedde

Hire wombe, which of childe aros.

Thilke yle cleped was Delos;

In which Diana was forthbroght,

And kept so that hire lacketh noght.

And after, whan sche was of Age,

1260Sche tok non hiede of mariage,

Bot out of mannes compaignie

Sche tok hire al to venerie

In forest and in wildernesse

For ther was al hire besinesse

Be daie and ek be nyhtes tyde

With arwes brode under the side

And bowe in honde, of which sche slowh

And tok al that hir liste ynowh

Of bestes whiche ben chacable:

1270Wherof the Cronique of this fable

Seith that the gentils most of alle

Worschipen hire and to hire calle,

And the goddesse of hihe helles,

Of grene trees, of freisshe welles,

They clepen hire in that believe,

Which that no reson mai achieve.

Proserpina, which dowhter was

Of Cereres, befell this cas:

Whil sche was duellinge in Cizile,

1280Hire moder in that ilke while

Upon hire blessinge and hire heste

Bad that sche scholde ben honeste,

And lerne forto weve and spinne,

And duelle at hom and kepe hire inne.

Bot sche caste al that lore aweie,

And as sche wente hir out to pleie,

To gadre floures in a pleine,

And that was under the monteine

Of Ethna, fell the same tyde

1290That Pluto cam that weie ryde,

And sodeinly, er sche was war,

He tok hire up into his char.

And as thei riden in the field,

Hire grete beaute he behield,

Which was so plesant in his ije,

That forto holde in compainie

He weddeth hire and hield hire so

To ben his wif for everemo.

And as thou hast tofore herd telle

1300Hou he was cleped god of helle,

So is sche cleped the goddesse

Be cause of him, ne mor ne lesse.

Lo, thus, mi Sone, as I thee tolde,

The Greks whilom be daies olde

Here goddes hadde in sondri wise,

And thurgh the lore of here aprise

The Romeins hielden ek the same.

And in the worschipe of here name

To every godd in special

1310Thei made a temple forth withal,

And ech of hem his yeeres dai

Attitled hadde; and of arai

The temples weren thanne ordeigned,

And ek the poeple was constreigned

To come and don here sacrifice;

The Prestes ek in here office

Solempne maden thilke festes.

And thus the Greks lich to the bestes

The men in stede of god honoure,

1320Whiche mihten noght hemself socoure,

Whil that thei were alyve hiere.

And over this, as thou schalt hiere,

The Greks fulfild of fantasie

Sein ek that of the helles hihe

The goddes ben in special,

Bot of here name in general

Thei hoten alle Satiri.

Ther ben of Nimphes proprely

In the believe of hem also:

1330Oreades thei seiden tho

Attitled ben to the monteines;

And for the wodes in demeynes

To kepe, tho ben Driades;

Of freisshe welles Naiades;

And of the Nimphes of the See

I finde a tale in proprete,

Hou Dorus whilom king of Grece,

Which hadde of infortune a piece,-

His wif forth with hire dowhtres alle,

1340So as the happes scholden falle,

With many a gentil womman there

Dreint in the salte See thei were:

Wherof the Greks that time seiden,

And such a name upon hem leiden,

Nerei5des that thei ben hote,

The Nimphes whiche that thei note

To regne upon the stremes salte.

Lo now, if this believe halte!

Bot of the Nimphes as thei telle,

1350In every place wher thei duelle

Thei ben al redi obeissant

As damoiselles entendant

To the goddesses, whos servise

Thei mote obeie in alle wise;

Wherof the Greks to hem beseke

With tho that ben goddesses eke,

And have in hem a gret credence.

And yit withoute experience

Salve only of illusion,

1360Which was to hem dampnacion,

For men also that were dede

Thei hadden goddes, as I rede,

And tho be name Manes hihten,

To whom ful gret honour thei dihten,

So as the Grekes lawe seith,

Which was ayein the rihte feith.

Thus have I told a gret partie;

Bot al the hole progenie

Of goddes in that ilke time

1370To long it were forto rime.

Bot yit of that which thou hast herd,

Of misbelieve hou it hath ferd,

Ther is a gret diversite.

Mi fader, riht so thenketh me.

Bot yit o thing I you beseche,

Which stant in alle mennes speche,

The godd and the goddesse of love,

Of whom ye nothing hier above

Have told, ne spoken of her fare,

1380That ye me wolden now declare

Hou thei ferst comen to that name.

Mi Sone, I have it left for schame,

Be cause I am here oghne Prest;

Bot for thei stonden nyh thi brest

Upon the schrifte of thi matiere,

Thou schalt of hem the sothe hiere:

And understond nou wel the cas.

Venus Saturnes dowhter was,

Which alle danger putte aweie

1390Of love, and fond to lust a weie;

So that of hire in sondri place

Diverse men felle into grace,

And such a lusti lif sche ladde,

That sche diverse children hadde,

Nou on be this, nou on be that.

Of hire it was that Mars beyat

A child, which cleped was Armene;

Of hire also cam Andragene,

To whom Mercurie fader was:

1400Anchises begat Eneas

Of hire also, and Ericon

Biten begat, and therupon,

Whan that sche sih ther was non other,

Be Jupiter hire oghne brother

Sche lay, and he begat Cupide.

And thilke Sone upon a tyde,

Whan he was come unto his Age,

He hadde a wonder fair visage,

And fond his Moder amourous,

1410And he was also lecherous:

So whan thei weren bothe al one,

As he which yhen hadde none

To se reson, his Moder kiste;

And sche also, that nothing wiste

Bot that which unto lust belongeth,

To ben hire love him underfongeth.

Thus was he blind, and sche unwys:

Bot natheles this cause it is,

Why Cupide is the god of love,

1420For he his moder dorste love.

And sche, which thoghte hire lustes fonde,

Diverse loves tok in honde,

Wel mo thanne I the tolde hiere:

And for sche wolde hirselve skiere,

Sche made comun that desport,

And sette a lawe of such a port,

That every womman mihte take

What man hire liste, and noght forsake

To ben als comun as sche wolde.

1430Sche was the ferste also which tolde

That wommen scholde here bodi selle;

Semiramis, so as men telle,

Of Venus kepte thilke aprise,

And so dede in the same wise

Of Rome faire Neabole,

Which liste hire bodi to rigole;

Sche was to every man felawe,

And hild the lust of thilke lawe,

Which Venus of hirself began;

1440Wherof that sche the name wan,

Why men hire clepen the goddesse

Of love and ek of gentilesse,

Of worldes lust and of plesance.

Se nou the foule mescreance

Of Greks in thilke time tho,

Whan Venus tok hire name so.

Ther was no cause under the Mone

Of which thei hadden tho to done,

Of wel or wo wher so it was,

1450That thei ne token in that cas

A god to helpe or a goddesse.

Wherof, to take mi witnesse,

The king of Bragmans Dindimus

Wrot unto Alisandre thus:

In blaminge of the Grekes feith

And of the misbelieve, he seith

How thei for every membre hadden

A sondri god, to whom thei spradden

Here armes, and of help besoghten.

1460Minerve for the hed thei soghten,

For sche was wys, and of a man

The wit and reson which he can

Is in the celles of the brayn,

Wherof thei made hire soverain.

Mercurie, which was in his dawes

A gret spekere of false lawes,

On him the kepinge of the tunge

Thei leide, whan thei spieke or sunge.

For Bachus was a glotoun eke,

1470Him for the throte thei beseke,

That he it wolde waisshen ofte

With swote drinkes and with softe.

The god of schuldres and of armes

Was Hercules; for he in armes

The myhtieste was to fihte,

To him tho Limes they behihte.

The god whom that thei clepen Mart

The brest to kepe hath for his part,

Forth with the herte, in his ymage

1480That he adresce the corage.

And of the galle the goddesse,

For sche was full of hastifesse

Of wraththe and liht to grieve also,

Thei made and seide it was Juno.

Cupide, which the brond afyre

Bar in his hond, he was the Sire

Of the Stomak, which builleth evere,

Wherof the lustes ben the levere.

To the goddesse Cereres,

1490Which of the corn yaf hire encress

Upon the feith that tho was take,

The wombes cure was betake;

And Venus thurgh the Lecherie,

For which that thei hire deifie,

Sche kept al doun the remenant

To thilke office appourtenant.

Thus was dispers in sondri wise

The misbelieve, as I devise,

With many an ymage of entaile,

1500Of suche as myhte hem noght availe;

For thei withoute lyves chiere

Unmyhti ben to se or hiere

Or speke or do or elles fiele;

And yit the foles to hem knele,

Which is here oghne handes werk.

Ha lord, hou this believe is derk,

And fer fro resonable wit!

And natheles thei don it yit:

That was to day a ragged tre,

1510To morwe upon his majeste

Stant in the temple wel besein.

How myhte a mannes resoun sein

That such a Stock mai helpe or grieve?

Bot thei that ben of such believe

And unto suche goddes calle,

It schal to hem riht so befalle,

And failen ate moste nede.

Bot if thee list to taken hiede

And of the ferste ymage wite,

1520Petornius therof hath write

And ek Nigargorus also;

And thei afferme and write so,

That Promothes was tofore

And fond the ferste craft therfore,

And Cirophanes, as thei telle,

Thurgh conseil which was take in helle,

In remembrance of his lignage

Let setten up the ferste ymage.

Of Cirophanes seith the bok,

1530That he for sorwe, which he tok

Of that he sih his Sone ded,

Of confort knew non other red,

Bot let do make in remembrance

A faire ymage of his semblance

And sette it in the market place,

Which openly tofore his face

Stod every dai to don him ese.

And thei that thanne wolden plese

The fader, scholden it obeie,

1540Whan that they comen thilke weie.

And of Ninus king of Assire

I rede hou that in his empire

He was next after the secounde

Of hem that ferst ymages founde.

For he riht in semblable cas

Of Belus, which his fader was

Fro Nembroth in the rihte line,

Let make of gold and Stones fine

A precious ymage riche

1550After his fader evene liche;

And therupon a lawe he sette,

That every man of pure dette

With sacrifice and with truage

Honoure scholde thilke ymage:

So that withinne time it fell,

Of Belus cam the name of Bel,

Of Bel cam Belzebub, and so

The misbelieve wente tho.

The thridde ymage next to this

1560Was, whan the king of Grece Apis

Was ded, thei maden a figure

In resemblance of his stature.

Of this king Apis seith the bok

That Serapis his name tok,

In whom thurgh long continuance

Of misbelieve a gret creance

Thei hadden, and the reverence

Of Sacrifice and of encence

To him thei made: and as thei telle,

1570Among the wondres that befelle,

Whan Alisandre fro Candace

Cam ridende, in a wilde place

Undur an hull a Cave he fond;

And Candalus, which in that lond

Was bore, and was Candaces Sone,

Him tolde hou that of commun wone

The goddes were in thilke cave.

And he, that wolde assaie and have

A knowlechinge if it be soth,

1580Liht of his hors and in he goth,

And fond therinne that he soghte:

For thurgh the fendes sleihte him thoghte,

Amonges othre goddes mo

That Serapis spak to him tho,

Whom he sih there in gret arrai.

And thus the fend fro dai to dai

The worschipe of ydolatrie

Drowh forth upon the fantasie

Of hem that weren thanne blinde

1590And couthen noght the trouthe finde.

Thus hast thou herd in what degre

Of Grece, Egipte and of Caldee

The misbelieves whilom stode;

And hou so that thei be noght goode

Ne trewe, yit thei sprungen oute,

Wherof the wyde world aboute

His part of misbelieve tok.

Til so befell, as seith the bok,

That god a poeple for himselve

1600Hath chose of the lignages tuelve,

Wherof the sothe redely,

As it is write in Genesi,

I thenke telle in such a wise

That it schal be to thin apprise.

After the flod, fro which Noe5

Was sauf, the world in his degre

Was mad, as who seith, newe ayein,

Of flour, of fruit, of gras, of grein,

Of beste, of bridd and of mankinde,

1610Which evere hath be to god unkinde:

For noght withstondende al the fare,

Of that this world was mad so bare

And afterward it was restored,

Among the men was nothing mored

Towardes god of good lyvynge,

Bot al was torned to likinge

After the fleissh, so that foryete

Was he which yaf hem lif and mete,

Of hevene and Erthe creatour.

1620And thus cam forth the grete errour,

That thei the hihe god ne knewe,

Bot maden othre goddes newe,

As thou hast herd me seid tofore:

Ther was noman that time bore,

That he ne hadde after his chois

A god, to whom he yaf his vois.

Wherof the misbelieve cam

Into the time of Habraham:

Bot he fond out the rihte weie,

1630Hou only that men scholde obeie

The hihe god, which weldeth al,

And evere hath don and evere schal,

In hevene, in Erthe and ek in helle;

Ther is no tunge his miht mai telle.

This Patriarch to his lignage

Forbad, that thei to non ymage

Encline scholde in none wise,

Bot here offrende and sacrifise

With al the hole hertes love

1640Unto the mihti god above

Thei scholden yive and to no mo:

And thus in thilke time tho

Began the Secte upon this Erthe,

Which of believes was the ferthe.

Of rihtwisnesse it was conceived,

So moste it nedes be received

Of him that alle riht is inne,

The hihe god, which wolde winne

A poeple unto his oghne feith.

1650On Habraham the ground he leith,

And made him forto multeplie

Into so gret a progenie,

That thei Egipte al overspradde.

Bot Pharao with wrong hem ladde

In servitute ayein the pes,

Til god let sende Moi5ses

To make the deliverance;

And for his poeple gret vengance

He tok, which is to hiere a wonder.

1660The king was slain, the lond put under,

God bad the rede See divide,

Which stod upriht on either side

And yaf unto his poeple a weie,

That thei on fote it passe dreie

And gon so forth into desert:

Wher forto kepe hem in covert,

The daies, whan the Sonne brente,

A large cloude hem overwente,

And forto wissen hem be nyhte,

1670A firy Piler hem alyhte.

And whan that thei for hunger pleigne,

The myhti god began to reyne

Manna fro hevene doun to grounde,

Wherof that ech of hem hath founde

His fode, such riht as him liste;

And for thei scholde upon him triste,

Riht as who sette a tonne abroche,

He percede the harde roche,

And sprong out water al at wille,

1680That man and beste hath drunke his fille:

And afterward he yaf the lawe

To Moi5ses, that hem withdrawe

Thei scholden noght fro that he bad.

And in this wise thei be lad,

Til thei toke in possession

The londes of promission,

Wher that Caleph and Josue5

The Marches upon such degre

Departen, after the lignage

1690That ech of hem as Heritage

His porpartie hath underfonge.

And thus stod this believe longe,

Which of prophetes was governed;

And thei hadde ek the poeple lerned

Of gret honour that scholde hem falle;

Bot ate moste nede of alle

Thei faileden, whan Crist was bore.

Bot hou that thei here feith have bore,

It nedeth noght to tellen al,

1700The matiere is so general:

Whan Lucifer was best in hevene

And oghte moste have stonde in evene,

Towardes god he tok debat;

And for that he was obstinat,

And wolde noght to trouthe encline,

He fell for evere into ruine:

And Adam ek in Paradis,

Whan he stod most in al his pris

After thastat of Innocence,

1710Ayein the god brak his defence

And fell out of his place aweie:

And riht be such a maner weie

The Jwes in here beste plit,

Whan that thei scholden most parfit

Have stonde upon the prophecie,

Tho fellen thei to most folie,

And him which was fro hevene come,

And of a Maide his fleissh hath nome,

And was among hem bore and fedd,

1720As men that wolden noght be spedd

Of goddes Sone, with o vois

Thei hinge and slowhe upon the crois.

Wherof the parfit of here lawe

Fro thanne forth hem was withdrawe,

So that thei stonde of no merit,

Bot in truage as folk soubgit

Withoute proprete of place

Thei liven out of goddes grace,

Dispers in alle londes oute.

1730And thus the feith is come aboute,

That whilom in the Jewes stod,

Which is noght parfihtliche good.

To speke as it is nou befalle,

Ther is a feith aboven alle,

In which the trouthe is comprehended,

Wherof that we ben alle amended.

The hihe almyhti majeste,

Of rihtwisnesse and of pite,

The Sinne which that Adam wroghte,

1740Whan he sih time, ayein he boghte,

And sende his Sone fro the hevene

To sette mannes Soule in evene,

Which thanne was so sore falle

Upon the point which was befalle,

That he ne mihte himself arise.

Gregoire seith in his aprise,

It helpeth noght a man be bore,

If goddes Sone were unbore;

For thanne thurgh the ferste Sinne,

1750Which Adam whilom broghte ous inne,

Ther scholden alle men be lost;

Bot Crist restoreth thilke lost,

And boghte it with his fleissh and blod.

And if we thenken hou it stod

Of thilke rancoun which he payde,

As seint Gregoire it wrot and sayde,

Al was behovely to the man:

For that wherof his wo began

Was after cause of al his welthe,

1760Whan he which is the welle of helthe,

The hihe creatour of lif,

Upon the nede of such a strif

So wolde for his creature

Take on himself the forsfaiture

And soffre for the mannes sake.

Thus mai no reson wel forsake

That thilke Senne original

Ne was the cause in special

Of mannes worschipe ate laste,

1770Which schal withouten ende laste.

For be that cause the godhede

Assembled was to the manhede

In the virgine, where he nom

Oure fleissh and verai man becom

Of bodely fraternite;

Wherof the man in his degre

Stant more worth, as I have told,

Than he stod erst be manyfold,

Thurgh baptesme of the newe lawe,

1780Of which Crist lord is and felawe.

And thus the hihe goddes myht,

Which was in the virgine alyht,

The mannes Soule hath reconsiled,

Which hadde longe ben exiled.

So stant the feith upon believe,

Withoute which mai non achieve

To gete him Paradis ayein:

Bot this believe is so certein,

So full of grace and of vertu,

1790That what man clepeth to Jhesu

In clene lif forthwith good dede,

He mai noght faile of hevene mede,

Which taken hath the rihte feith;

For elles, as the gospel seith,

Salvacion ther mai be non.

And forto preche therupon

Crist bad to hise Apostles alle,

The whos pouer as nou is falle

On ous that ben of holi cherche,

1800If we the goode dedes werche;

For feith only sufficeth noght,

Bot if good dede also be wroght.

Now were it good that thou forthi,

Which thurgh baptesme proprely

Art unto Cristes feith professed,

Be war that thou be noght oppressed

With Anticristes lollardie.

For as the Jwes prophecie

Was set of god for avantage,

1810Riht so this newe tapinage

Of lollardie goth aboute

To sette Cristes feith in doute.

The seintz that weren ous tofore,

Be whom the feith was ferst upbore,

That holi cherche stod relieved,

Thei oghten betre be believed

Than these, whiche that men knowe

Noght holy, thogh thei feigne and blowe

Here lollardie in mennes Ere.

1820Bot if thou wolt live out of fere,

Such newe lore, I rede, eschuie,

And hold forth riht the weie and suie,

As thine Ancestres dede er this:

So schalt thou noght believe amis.

Crist wroghte ferst and after tawhte,

So that the dede his word arawhte;

He yaf ensample in his persone,

And we the wordes have al one,

Lich to the Tree with leves grene,

1830Upon the which no fruit is sene.

The Priest Thoas, which of Minerve

The temple hadde forto serve,

And the Palladion of Troie

Kepte under keie, for monoie,

Of Anthenor which he hath nome,

Hath soffred Anthenor to come

And the Palladion to stele,

Wherof the worschipe and the wele

Of the Troiens was overthrowe.

1840Bot Thoas at the same throwe,

Whan Anthenor this Juel tok,

Wynkende caste awei his lok

For a deceipte and for a wyle:

As he that scholde himself beguile,

He hidde his yhen fro the sihte,

And wende wel that he so mihte

Excuse his false conscience.

I wot noght if thilke evidence

Nou at this time in here estatz

1850Excuse mihte the Prelatz,

Knowende hou that the feith discresceth

And alle moral vertu cesseth,

Wherof that thei the keies bere,

Bot yit hem liketh noght to stere

Here gostliche yhe forto se

The world in his adversite;

Thei wol no labour undertake

To kepe that hem is betake.

Crist deide himselve for the feith,

1860Bot nou our feerfull prelat seith,

“The lif is suete,” and that he kepeth,

So that the feith unholpe slepeth,

And thei unto here ese entenden

And in here lust her lif despenden,

And every man do what him list.

Thus stant this world fulfild of Mist,

That noman seth the rihte weie:

The wardes of the cherche keie

Thurgh mishandlinge ben myswreynt,

1870The worldes wawe hath welnyh dreynt

The Schip which Peter hath to stiere,

The forme is kept, bot the matiere

Transformed is in other wise.

Bot if thei weren gostli wise,

And that the Prelatz weren goode,

As thei be olde daies stode,

It were thanne litel nede

Among the men to taken hiede

Of that thei hieren Pseudo telle,

1880Which nou is come forto duelle,

To sowe cokkel with the corn,

So that the tilthe is nyh forlorn,

Which Crist sew ferst his oghne hond.

Nou stant the cockel in the lond,

Wher stod whilom the goode grein,

For the Prelatz nou, as men sein,

Forslowthen that thei scholden tile.

And that I trowe be the skile,

Whan ther is lacke in hem above,

1890The poeple is stranged to the love

Of trouthe, in cause of ignorance;

For wher ther is no pourveance

Of liht, men erren in the derke.

Bot if the Prelatz wolden werke

Upon the feith which thei ous teche,

Men scholden noght here weie seche

Withoute liht, as now is used:

Men se the charge aldai refused,

Which holi cherche hath undertake.

1900Bot who that wolde ensample take,

Gregoire upon his Omelie

Ayein the Slouthe of Prelacie

Compleigneth him, and thus he seith:

“Whan Peter, fader of the feith,

At domesdai schal with him bringe

Judeam, which thurgh his prechinge

He wan, and Andrew with Achaie

Schal come his dette forto paie,

And Thomas ek with his beyete

1910Of Ynde, and Poul the routes grete

Of sondri londes schal presente,

And we fulfild of lond and rente,

Which of this world we holden hiere,

With voide handes schul appiere,

Touchende oure cure spirital,

Which is our charge in special,

I not what thing it mai amonte

Upon thilke ende of oure accompte,

Wher Crist himself is Auditour,

1920Which takth non hiede of vein honour.”

Thoffice of the Chancellerie

Or of the kinges Tresorie

Ne for the writ ne for the taille

To warant mai noght thanne availe;

The world, which nou so wel we trowe,

Schal make ous thanne bot a mowe:

So passe we withoute mede,

That we non otherwise spede,

Bot as we rede that he spedde,

1930The which his lordes besant hedde

And therupon gat non encress.

Bot at this time natheles,

What other man his thonk deserve,

The world so lusti is to serve,

That we with him ben all acorded,

And that is wist and wel recorded

Thurghout this Erthe in alle londes

Let knyhtes winne with here hondes,

For oure tunge schal be stille

1940And stonde upon the fleisshes wille.

It were a travail forto preche

The feith of Crist, as forto teche

The folk Paiene, it wol noght be;

Bot every Prelat holde his See

With al such ese as he mai gete

Of lusti drinke and lusti mete,

Wherof the bodi fat and full

Is unto gostli labour dull

And slowh to handle thilke plowh.

1950Bot elles we ben swifte ynowh

Toward the worldes Avarice;

And that is as a sacrifice,

Which, after that thapostel seith,

Is openly ayein the feith

Unto thidoles yove and granted:

Bot natheles it is nou haunted,

And vertu changed into vice,

So that largesce is Avarice,

In whos chapitre now we trete.

1960Mi fader, this matiere is bete

So fer, that evere whil I live

I schal the betre hede yive

Unto miself be many weie:

Bot over this nou wolde I preie

To wite what the branches are

Of Avarice, and hou thei fare

Als wel in love as otherwise.

Mi Sone, and I thee schal devise

In such a manere as thei stonde,

1970So that thou schalt hem understonde.

Dame Avarice is noght soleine,

Which is of gold the Capiteine;

Bot of hir Court in sondri wise

After the Scole of hire aprise

Sche hath of Servantz manyon,

Wherof that Covoitise is on;

Which goth the large world aboute,

To seche thavantages oute,

Wher that he mai the profit winne

1980To Avarice, and bringth it inne.

That on hald and that other draweth,

Ther is no day which hem bedaweth,

No mor the Sonne than the Mone,

Whan ther is eny thing to done,

And namely with Covoitise;

For he stant out of al assisse

Of resonable mannes fare.

Wher he pourposeth him to fare

Upon his lucre and his beyete,

1990The smale path, the large Strete,

The furlong and the longe Mile,

Al is bot on for thilke while:

And for that he is such on holde,

Dame Avarice him hath withholde,

As he which is the principal

Outward, for he is overal

A pourveour and an aspie.

For riht as of an hungri Pie

The storve bestes ben awaited,

2000Riht so is Covoitise afaited

To loke where he mai pourchace,

For be his wille he wolde embrace

Al that this wyde world beclippeth;

Bot evere he somwhat overhippeth,

That he ne mai noght al fulfille

The lustes of his gredi wille.

Bot where it falleth in a lond,

That Covoitise in myhti hond

Is set, it is ful hard to fiede;

2010For thanne he takth non other hiede,

Bot that he mai pourchace and gete,

His conscience hath al foryete,

And not what thing it mai amonte

That he schal afterward acompte.

Bote as the Luce in his degre

Of tho that lasse ben than he

The fisshes griedeli devoureth,

So that no water hem socoureth,

Riht so no lawe mai rescowe

2020Fro him that wol no riht allowe;

For wher that such on is of myht,

His will schal stonde in stede of riht.

Thus be the men destruid fulofte,

Til that the grete god alofte

Ayein so gret a covoitise

Redresce it in his oghne wise:

And in ensample of alle tho

I finde a tale write so,

The which, for it is good to liere,

2030Hierafterward thou schalt it hiere.

Whan Rome stod in noble plit,

Virgile, which was tho parfit,

A Mirour made of his clergie

And sette it in the tounes ije

Of marbre on a piler withoute;

That thei be thritty Mile aboute

Be daie and ek also be nyhte

In that Mirour beholde myhte

Here enemys, if eny were,

2040With al here ordinance there,

Which thei ayein the Cite caste:

So that, whil thilke Mirour laste,

Ther was no lond which mihte achieve

With werre Rome forto grieve;

Wherof was gret envie tho.

And fell that ilke time so,

That Rome hadde werres stronge

Ayein Cartage, and stoden longe

The tuo Cites upon debat.

2050Cartage sih the stronge astat

Of Rome in thilke Mirour stonde,

And thoghte al prively to fonde

To overthrowe it be som wyle.

And Hanybal was thilke while

The Prince and ledere of Cartage,

Which hadde set al his corage

Upon knihthod in such a wise,

That he be worthi and be wise

And be non othre was conseiled,

2060Wherof the world is yit merveiled

Of the maistries that he wroghte

Upon the marches whiche he soghte.

And fell in thilke time also,

The king of Puile, which was tho,

Thoghte ayein Rome to rebelle,

And thus was take the querele,

Hou to destruie this Mirour.

Of Rome tho was Emperour

Crassus, which was so coveitous,

2070That he was evere desirous

Of gold to gete the pilage;

Wherof that Puile and ek Cartage

With Philosophres wise and grete

Begunne of this matiere trete,

And ate laste in this degre

Ther weren Philosophres thre,

To do this thing whiche undertoke,

And therupon thei with hem toke

A gret tresor of gold in cophres,

2080To Rome and thus these philisophres

Togedre in compainie wente,

Bot noman wiste what thei mente.

Whan thei to Rome come were,

So prively thei duelte there,

As thei that thoghten to deceive:

Was non that mihte of hem perceive,

Til thei in sondri stedes have

Here gold under the ground begrave

In tuo tresors, that to beholde

2090Thei scholden seme as thei were olde.

And so forth thanne upon a day

Al openly in good arai

To themperour thei hem presente,

And tolden it was here entente

To duellen under his servise.

And he hem axeth in what wise;

And thei him tolde in such a plit,

That ech of hem hadde a spirit,

The which slepende a nyht appiereth

2100And hem be sondri dremes lereth

After the world that hath betid.

Under the ground if oght be hid

Of old tresor at eny throwe,

They schull it in here swevenes knowe;

And upon this condicioun,

Thei sein, what gold under the toun

Of Rome is hid, thei wole it finde,

Ther scholde noght be left behinde,

Be so that he the halvendel

2110Hem grante, and he assenteth wel;

And thus cam sleighte forto duelle

With Covoitise, as I thee telle.

This Emperour bad redily

That thei be logged faste by

Where he his oghne body lay;

And whan it was amorwe day,

That on of hem seith that he mette

Wher he a goldhord scholde fette:

Wherof this Emperour was glad,

2120And therupon anon he bad

His Mynours forto go and myne,

And he himself of that covine

Goth forth withal, and at his hond

The tresor redi there he fond,

Where as thei seide it scholde be;

And who was thanne glad bot he?

Upon that other dai secounde

Thei have an other goldhord founde,

Which the seconde maister tok

2130Upon his swevene and undertok.

And thus the sothe experience

To themperour yaf such credence,

That al his trist and al his feith

So sikerliche on hem he leith,

Of that he fond him so relieved,

That thei ben parfitli believed,

As thogh thei were goddes thre.

Nou herkne the soutilete.

The thridde maister scholde mete,

2140Which, as thei seiden, was unmete

Above hem alle, and couthe most;

And he withoute noise or bost

Al priveli, so as he wolde,

Upon the morwe his swevene tolde

To themperour riht in his Ere,

And seide him that he wiste where

A tresor was so plentivous

Of gold and ek so precious

Of jeueals and of riche stones,

2150That unto alle hise hors at ones

It were a charge sufficant.

This lord upon this covenant

Was glad, and axeth where it was.

The maister seide, under the glas,

And tolde him eke, as for the Myn

He wolde ordeigne such engin,

That thei the werk schull undersette

With Tymber, that withoute lette

Men mai the tresor saufli delve,

2160So that the Mirour be himselve

Withoute empeirement schal stonde:

And this the maister upon honde

Hath undertake in alle weie.

This lord, which hadde his wit aweie

And was with Covoitise blent,

Anon therto yaf his assent;

And thus they myne forth withal,

The timber set up overal,

Wherof the Piler stod upriht;

2170Til it befell upon a nyht

These clerkes, whan thei were war

Hou that the timber only bar

The Piler, wher the Mirour stod,-

Here sleihte noman understod,-

Thei go be nyhte unto the Myne

With pich, with soulphre and with rosine,

And whan the Cite was a slepe,

A wylde fyr into the depe

They caste among the timberwerk,

2180And so forth, whil the nyht was derk,

Desguised in a povere arai

Thei passeden the toun er dai.

And whan thei come upon an hell,

Thei sihen how the Mirour fell,

Wherof thei maden joie ynowh,

And ech of hem with other lowh,

And seiden, “Lo, what coveitise

Mai do with hem that be noght wise!”

And that was proved afterward,

2190For every lond, to Romeward

Which hadde be soubgit tofore,

Whan this Mirour was so forlore

And thei the wonder herde seie,

Anon begunne desobeie

With werres upon every side;

And thus hath Rome lost his pride

And was defouled overal.

For this I finde of Hanybal,

That he of Romeins in a dai,

2200Whan he hem fond out of arai,

So gret a multitude slowh,

That of goldringes, whiche he drowh

Of gentil handes that ben dede,

Buisshelles fulle thre, I rede,

He felde, and made a bregge also,

That he mihte over Tibre go

Upon the corps that dede were

Of the Romeins, whiche he slowh there.

Bot now to speke of the juise,

2210The which after the covoitise

Was take upon this Emperour,

For he destruide the Mirour;

It is a wonder forto hiere.

The Romeins maden a chaiere

And sette here Emperour therinne,

And seiden, for he wolde winne

Of gold the superfluite,

Of gold he scholde such plente

Receive, til he seide Ho:

2220And with gold, which thei hadden tho

Buillende hot withinne a panne,

Into his Mouth thei poure thanne.

And thus the thurst of gold was queynt,

With gold which hadde ben atteignt.

Wherof, mi Sone, thou miht hiere,

Whan Covoitise hath lost the stiere

Of resonable governance,

Ther falleth ofte gret vengance.

For ther mai be no worse thing

2230Than Covoitise aboute a king:

If it in his persone be,

It doth the more adversite;

And if it in his conseil stonde,

It bringth alday meschief to honde

Of commun harm; and if it growe

Withinne his court, it wol be knowe,

For thanne schal the king be piled.

The man which hath hise londes tiled,

Awaiteth noght more redily

2240The Hervest, than thei gredily

Ne maken thanne warde and wacche,

Wher thei the profit mihten cacche:

And yit fulofte it falleth so,

As men mai sen among hem tho,

That he which most coveiteth faste

Hath lest avantage ate laste.

For whan fortune is therayein,

Thogh he coveite, it is in vein;

The happes be noght alle liche,

2250On is mad povere, an other riche,

The court to some doth profit,

And some ben evere in o plit;

And yit thei bothe aliche sore

Coveite, bot fortune is more

Unto that o part favorable.

And thogh it be noght resonable,

This thing a man mai sen alday,

Wherof that I thee telle may

A fair ensample in remembrance,

2260Hou every man mot take his chance

Or of richesse or of poverte.

Hou so it stonde of the decerte,

Hier is noght every thing aquit,

For ofte a man mai se this yit,

That who best doth, lest thonk schal have;

It helpeth noght the world to crave,

Which out of reule and of mesure

Hath evere stonde in aventure

Als wel in Court as elles where:

2270And hou in olde daies there

It stod, so as the thinges felle,

I thenke a tale forto telle.

In a Cronique this I rede.

Aboute a king, as moste nede,

Ther was of knyhtes and squiers

Gret route, and ek of Officers:

Some of long time him hadden served,

And thoghten that thei have deserved

Avancement, and gon withoute;

2280And some also ben of the route

That comen bot a while agon,

And thei avanced were anon.

These olde men upon this thing,

So as thei dorste, ayein the king

Among hemself compleignen ofte:

Bot ther is nothing seid so softe,

That it ne comth out ate laste;

The king it wiste, and als so faste,

As he which was of hih Prudence,

2290He schop therfore an evidence

Of hem that pleignen in that cas,

To knowe in whos defalte it was.

And al withinne his oghne entente,

That noman wiste what it mente,

Anon he let tuo cofres make

Of o semblance and of o make,

So lich that no lif thilke throwe

That on mai fro that other knowe:

Thei were into his chambre broght,

2300Bot noman wot why thei be wroght,

And natheles the king hath bede

That thei be set in prive stede.

As he that was of wisdom slih,

Whan he therto his time sih,

Al prively, that non it wiste,

Hise oghne hondes that o kiste

Of fin gold and of fin perrie,

The which out of his tresorie

Was take, anon he felde full;

2310That other cofre of straw and mull

With Stones meind he felde also.

Thus be thei fulle bothe tuo,

So that erliche upon a day

He bad withinne, ther he lay,

Ther scholde be tofore his bed

A bord upset and faire spred;

And thanne he let the cofres fette,

Upon the bord and dede hem sette.

He knew the names wel of tho,

2320The whiche ayein him grucche so,

Bothe of his chambre and of his halle,

Anon and sende for hem alle,

And seide to hem in this wise:

“Ther schal noman his happ despise;

I wot wel ye have longe served,

And god wot what ye have deserved:

Bot if it is along on me

Of that ye unavanced be,

Or elles it be long on you,

2330The sothe schal be proved nou,

To stoppe with youre evele word.

Lo hier tuo cofres on the bord:

Ches which you list of bothe tuo;

And witeth wel that on of tho

Is with tresor so full begon,

That if ye happe therupon,

Ye schull be riche men for evere.

Now ches and tak which you is levere:

Bot be wel war, er that ye take;

2340For of that on I undertake

Ther is no maner good therinne,

Wherof ye mihten profit winne.

Now goth togedre of on assent

And taketh youre avisement,

For bot I you this dai avance,

It stant upon youre oghne chance

Al only in defalte of grace:

So schal be schewed in this place

Upon you alle wel afyn,

2350That no defalte schal be myn.”

Thei knelen alle and with o vois

The king thei thonken of this chois:

And after that thei up arise,

And gon aside and hem avise,

And ate laste thei acorde;

Wherof her tale to recorde,

To what issue thei be falle,

A kniht schal speke for hem alle.

He kneleth doun unto the king,

2360And seith that thei upon this thing,

Or forto winne or forto lese,

Ben alle avised forto chese.

Tho tok this kniht a yerde on honde,

And goth there as the cofres stonde,

And with assent of everichon

He leith his yerde upon that on,

And seith the king hou thilke same

Thei chese in reguerdoun be name,

And preith him that thei mote it have.

2370The king, which wolde his honour save,

Whan he hath herd the commun vois,

Hath granted hem here oghne chois

And tok hem therupon the keie.

Bot for he wolde it were seie

What good thei have, as thei suppose,

He bad anon the cofre unclose,

Which was fulfild with straw and stones:

Thus be thei served al at ones.

This king thanne in the same stede

2380Anon that other cofre undede,

Where as thei sihen gret richesse,

Wel more than thei couthen gesse.

“Lo,” seith the king, “nou mai ye se

That ther is no defalte in me;

Forthi miself I wole aquyte,

And bereth ye youre oghne wyte

Of that fortune hath you refused.”

Thus was this wise king excused,

And thei lefte of here evele speche

2390And mercy of here king beseche.

Somdiel to this matiere lik

I finde a tale, hou Frederik,

Of Rome that time Emperour,

Herde, as he wente, a gret clamour

Of tuo beggers upon the weie.

That on of hem began to seie,

“Ha lord, wel mai the man be riche

Whom that a king list forto riche.”

That other saide nothing so,

2400Bot, “He is riche and wel bego,

To whom that god wole sende wele.”

And thus thei maden wordes fele,

Wherof this lord hath hiede nome,

And dede hem bothe forto come

To the Paleis, wher he schal ete,

And bad ordeine for here mete

Tuo Pastes, whiche he let do make.

A capoun in that on was bake,

And in that other forto winne

2410Of florins al that mai withinne

He let do pute a gret richesse;

And evene aliche, as man mai gesse,

Outward thei were bothe tuo.

This begger was comanded tho,

He that which hield him to the king,

That he ferst chese upon this thing:

He sih hem, bot he felte hem noght,

So that upon his oghne thoght

He ches the Capoun and forsok

2420That other, which his fela tok.

Bot whanne he wiste hou that it ferde,

He seide alowd, that men it herde,

“Nou have I certeinly conceived

That he mai lihtly be deceived,

That tristeth unto mannes helpe;

Bot wel is him whom god wol helpe,

For he stant on the siker side,

Which elles scholde go beside:

I se my fela wel recovere,

2430And I mot duelle stille povere.”

Thus spak this begger his entente,

And povere he cam and povere he wente;

Of that he hath richesse soght,

His infortune it wolde noght.

So mai it schewe in sondri wise,

Betwen fortune and covoitise

The chance is cast upon a Dee;

Bot yit fulofte a man mai se

Ynowe of suche natheles,

2440Whiche evere pute hemself in press

To gete hem good, and yit thei faile.

And forto speke of this entaile

Touchende of love in thi matiere,

Mi goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,

That riht as it with tho men stod

Of infortune of worldes good,

As thou hast herd me telle above,

Riht so fulofte it stant be love:

Thogh thou coveite it everemore,

2450Thou schalt noght have o diel the more,

Bot only that which thee is schape,

The remenant is bot a jape.

And natheles ynowe of tho

Ther ben, that nou coveiten so,

That where as thei a womman se,

Ye ten or tuelve thogh ther be,

The love is nou so unavised,

That wher the beaute stant assised,

The mannes herte anon is there,

2460And rouneth tales in hire Ere,

And seith hou that he loveth streite,

And thus he set him to coveite,

An hundred thogh he sihe aday.

So wolde he more thanne he may;

Bot for the grete covoitise

Of sotie and of fol emprise

In ech of hem he fint somwhat

That pleseth him, or this or that;

Som on, for sche is whit of skin,

2470Som on, for sche is noble of kin,

Som on, for sche hath rodi chieke,

Som on, for that sche semeth mieke,

Som on, for sche hath yhen greie,

Som on, for sche can lawhe and pleie,

Som on, for sche is long and smal,

Som on, for sche is lyte and tall,

Som on, for sche is pale and bleche,

Som on, for sche is softe of speche,

Som on, for that sche is camused,

2480Som on, for sche hath noght ben used,

Som on, for sche can daunce and singe;

So that som thing to his likinge

He fint, and thogh nomore he fiele,

Bot that sche hath a litel hiele,

It is ynow that he therfore

Hire love, and thus an hundred score,

Whil thei be newe, he wolde he hadde;

Whom he forsakth, sche schal be badde.

The blinde man no colour demeth,

2490But al is on, riht as him semeth;

So hath his lust no juggement,

Whom covoitise of love blent.

Him thenkth that to his covoitise

Hou al the world ne mai suffise,

For be his wille he wolde have alle,

If that it mihte so befalle:

Thus is he commun as the Strete,

I sette noght of his beyete.

Mi Sone, hast thou such covoitise?

2500Nai, fader, such love I despise,

And whil I live schal don evere,

For in good feith yit hadde I levere,

Than to coveite in such a weie,

To ben for evere til I deie

As povere as Job, and loveles,

Outaken on, for haveles

His thonkes is noman alyve.

For that a man scholde al unthryve

Ther oghte no wisman coveite,

2510The lawe was noght set so streite:

Forthi miself withal to save,

Such on ther is I wolde have,

And non of al these othre mo.

Mi Sone, of that thou woldest so,

I am noght wroth, bot over this

I wol thee tellen hou it is.

For ther be men, whiche otherwise,

Riht only for the covoitise

Of that thei sen a womman riche,

2520Ther wol thei al here love affiche;

Noght for the beaute of hire face,

Ne yit for vertu ne for grace,

Which sche hath elles riht ynowh,

Bot for the Park and for the plowh,

And other thing which therto longeth:

For in non other wise hem longeth

To love, bot thei profit finde;

And if the profit be behinde,

Here love is evere lesse and lesse,

2530For after that sche hath richesse,

Her love is of proporcion.

If thou hast such condicion,

Mi Sone, tell riht as it is.

Min holi fader, nay ywiss,

Condicion such have I non.

For trewli, fader, I love oon

So wel with al myn hertes thoght,

That certes, thogh sche hadde noght,

And were as povere as Medea,

2540Which was exiled for Creusa,

I wolde hir noght the lasse love;

Ne thogh sche were at hire above,

As was the riche qwen Candace,

Which to deserve love and grace

To Alisandre, that was king,

Yaf many a worthi riche thing,

Or elles as Pantasilee,

Which was the quen of Feminee,

And gret richesse with hir nam,

2550Whan sche for love of Hector cam

To Troie in rescousse of the toun,-

I am of such condicion,

That thogh mi ladi of hirselve

Were also riche as suche tuelve,

I couthe noght, thogh it wer so,

No betre love hir than I do.

For I love in so plein a wise,

That forto speke of coveitise,

As for poverte or for richesse

2560Mi love is nouther mor ne lesse.

For in good feith I trowe this,

So coveitous noman ther is,

Forwhy and he mi ladi sihe,

That he thurgh lokinge of his yhe

Ne scholde have such a strok withinne,

That for no gold he mihte winne

He scholde noght hire love asterte,

Bot if he lefte there his herte;

Be so it were such a man,

2570That couthe Skile of a womman.

For ther be men so ruide some,

Whan thei among the wommen come,

Thei gon under proteccioun,

That love and his affeccioun

Ne schal noght take hem be the slieve;

For thei ben out of that believe,

Hem lusteth of no ladi chiere,

Bot evere thenken there and hiere

Wher that here gold is in the cofre,

2580And wol non other love profre:

Bot who so wot what love amounteth

And be resoun trewliche acompteth,

Than mai he knowe and taken hiede

That al the lust of wommanhiede,

Which mai ben in a ladi face,

Mi ladi hath, and ek of grace

If men schull yiven hire a pris,

Thei mai wel seie hou sche is wys

And sobre and simple of contenance,

2590And al that to good governance

Belongeth of a worthi wiht

Sche hath pleinli: for thilke nyht

That sche was bore, as for the nones

Nature sette in hire at ones

Beaute with bounte so besein,

That I mai wel afferme and sein,

I sawh yit nevere creature

Of comlihied and of feture

In eny kinges regioun

2600Be lich hire in comparisoun:

And therto, as I have you told,

Yit hath sche more a thousendfold

Of bounte, and schortli to telle,

Sche is the pure hed and welle

And Mirour and ensample of goode.

Who so hir vertus understode,

Me thenkth it oughte ynow suffise

Withouten other covoitise

To love such on and to serve,

2610Which with hire chiere can deserve

To be beloved betre ywiss

Than sche per cas that richest is

And hath of gold a Milion.

Such hath be myn opinion

And evere schal: bot natheles

I seie noght sche is haveles,

That sche nys riche and wel at ese,

And hath ynow wherwith to plese

Of worldes good whom that hire liste;

2620Bot o thing wolde I wel ye wiste,

That nevere for no worldes good

Min herte untoward hire stod,

Bot only riht for pure love;

That wot the hihe god above.

Nou, fader, what seie ye therto?

Mi Sone, I seie it is wel do.

For tak of this riht good believe,

What man that wole himself relieve

To love in eny other wise,

2630He schal wel finde his coveitise

Schal sore grieve him ate laste,

For such a love mai noght laste.

Bot nou, men sein, in oure daies

Men maken bot a fewe assaies,

Bot if the cause be richesse;

Forthi the love is wel the lesse.

And who that wolde ensamples telle,

Be olde daies as thei felle,

Than mihte a man wel understonde

2640Such love mai noght longe stonde.

Now herkne, Sone, and thou schalt hiere

A gret ensample of this matiere.

To trete upon the cas of love,

So as we tolden hiere above,

I finde write a wonder thing.

Of Puile whilom was a king,

A man of hih complexioun

And yong, bot his affeccioun

After the nature of his age

2650Was yit noght falle in his corage

The lust of wommen forto knowe.

So it betidde upon a throwe

This lord fell into gret seknesse:

Phisique hath don the besinesse

Of sondri cures manyon

To make him hol; and therupon

A worthi maister which ther was

Yaf him conseil upon this cas,

That if he wolde have parfit hele,

2660He scholde with a womman dele,

A freissh, a yong, a lusti wiht,

To don him compaignie a nyht:

For thanne he seide him redily,

That he schal be al hol therby,

And otherwise he kneu no cure.

This king, which stod in aventure

Of lif and deth, for medicine

Assented was, and of covine

His Steward, whom he tristeth wel,

2670He tok, and tolde him everydel,

Hou that this maister hadde seid:

And therupon he hath him preid

And charged upon his ligance,

That he do make porveance

Of such on as be covenable

For his plesance and delitable;

And bad him, hou that evere it stod,

That he schal spare for no good,

For his will is riht wel to paie.

2680The Steward seide he wolde assaie:

Bot nou hierafter thou schalt wite,

As I finde in the bokes write,

What coveitise in love doth.

This Steward, forto telle soth,

Amonges al the men alyve

A lusti ladi hath to wyve,

Which natheles for gold he tok

And noght for love, as seith the bok.

A riche Marchant of the lond

2690Hir fader was, and hire fond

So worthily, and such richesse

Of worldes good and such largesse

With hire he yaf in mariage,

That only for thilke avantage

Of good this Steward hath hire take,

For lucre and noght for loves sake,

And that was afterward wel seene;

Nou herkne what it wolde meene.

This Steward in his oghne herte

2700Sih that his lord mai noght asterte

His maladie, bot he have

A lusti womman him to save,

And thoghte he wolde yive ynowh

Of his tresor; wherof he drowh

Gret coveitise into his mynde,

And sette his honour fer behynde.

Thus he, whom gold hath overset,

Was trapped in his oghne net;

The gold hath mad hise wittes lame,

2710So that sechende his oghne schame

He rouneth in the kinges Ere,

And seide him that he wiste where

A gentile and a lusti on

Tho was, and thider wolde he gon:

Bot he mot yive yiftes grete;

For bot it be thurgh grete beyete

Of gold, he seith, he schal noght spede.

The king him bad upon the nede

That take an hundred pound he scholde,

2720And yive it where that he wolde,

Be so it were in worthi place:

And thus to stonde in loves grace

This king his gold hath abandouned.

And whan this tale was full rouned,

The Steward tok the gold and wente,

Withinne his herte and many a wente

Of coveitise thanne he caste,

Wherof a pourpos ate laste

Ayein love and ayein his riht

2730He tok, and seide hou thilke nyht

His wif schal ligge be the king;

And goth thenkende upon this thing

Toward his In, til he cam hom

Into the chambre, and thanne he nom

His wif, and tolde hire al the cas.

And sche, which red for schame was,

With bothe hire handes hath him preid

Knelende and in this wise seid,

That sche to reson and to skile

2740In what thing that he bidde wile

Is redy forto don his heste,

Bot this thing were noght honeste,

That he for gold hire scholde selle.

And he tho with hise wordes felle

Forth with his gastly contienance

Seith that sche schal don obeissance

And folwe his will in every place;

And thus thurgh strengthe of his manace

Hir innocence is overlad,

2750Wherof sche was so sore adrad

That sche his will mot nede obeie.

And therupon was schape a weie,

That he his oghne wif be nyhte

Hath out of alle mennes sihte

So prively that non it wiste

Broght to the king, which as him liste

Mai do with hire what he wolde.

For whan sche was ther as sche scholde,

With him abedde under the cloth,

2760The Steward tok his leve and goth

Into a chambre faste by;

Bot hou he slep, that wot noght I,

For he sih cause of jelousie.

Bot he, which hath the compainie

Of such a lusti on as sche,

Him thoghte that of his degre

Ther was noman so wel at ese:

Sche doth al that sche mai to plese,

So that his herte al hol sche hadde;

2770And thus this king his joie ladde,

Til it was nyh upon the day.

The Steward thanne wher sche lay

Cam to the bedd, and in his wise

Hath bede that sche scholde arise.

The king seith, “Nay, sche schal noght go.”

His Steward seide ayein, “Noght so;

For sche mot gon er it be knowe,

And so I swor at thilke throwe,

Whan I hire fette to you hiere.”

2780The king his tale wol noght hiere,

And seith hou that he hath hire boght,

Forthi sche schal departe noght,

Til he the brighte dai beholde.

And cawhte hire in hise armes folde,

As he which liste forto pleie,

And bad his Steward gon his weie,

And so he dede ayein his wille.

And thus his wif abedde stille

Lay with the king the longe nyht,

2790Til that it was hih Sonne lyht;

Bot who sche was he knew nothing.

Tho cam the Steward to the king

And preide him that withoute schame

In savinge of hire goode name

He myhte leden hom ayein

This lady, and hath told him plein

Hou that it was his oghne wif.

The king his Ere unto this strif

Hath leid, and whan that he it herde,

2800Welnyh out of his wit he ferde,

And seide, “Ha, caitif most of alle,

Wher was it evere er this befalle,

That eny cokard in this wise

Betok his wif for coveitise?

Thou hast bothe hire and me beguiled

And ek thin oghne astat reviled,

Wherof that buxom unto thee

Hierafter schal sche nevere be.

For this avou to god I make,

2810After this day if I thee take,

Thou schalt ben honged and todrawe.

Nou loke anon thou be withdrawe,

So that I se thee neveremore.”

This Steward thanne dradde him sore,

With al the haste that he mai

And fledde awei that same dai,

And was exiled out of londe.

Lo, there a nyce housebonde,

Which thus hath lost his wif for evere!

2820Bot natheles sche hadde a levere;

The king hire weddeth and honoureth,

Wherof hire name sche socoureth,

Which erst was lost thurgh coveitise

Of him, that ladde hire other wise,

And hath himself also forlore.

Mi Sone, be thou war therfore,

Wher thou schalt love in eny place,

That thou no covoitise embrace,

The which is noght of loves kinde.

2830Bot for al that a man mai finde

Nou in this time of thilke rage

Ful gret desese in mariage,

Whan venym melleth with the Sucre

And mariage is mad for lucre,

Or for the lust or for the hele:

What man that schal with outher dele,

He mai noght faile to repente.

Mi fader, such is myn entente:

Bot natheles good is to have,

2840For good mai ofte time save

The love which scholde elles spille.

Bot god, which wot myn hertes wille,

I dar wel take to witnesse,

Yit was I nevere for richesse

Beset with mariage non;

For al myn herte is upon on

So frely, that in the persone

Stant al my worldes joie al one:

I axe nouther Park ne Plowh,

2850If I hire hadde, it were ynowh,

Hir love scholde me suffise

Withouten other coveitise.

Lo now, mi fader, as of this,

Touchende of me riht as it is,

Mi schrifte I am beknowe plein;

And if ye wole oght elles sein,

Of covoitise if ther be more

In love, agropeth out the sore.

Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde

2860Hou Coveitise hath yit on honde

In special tuo conseilours,

That ben also hise procurours.

The ferst of hem is Falswitnesse,

Which evere is redi to witnesse

What thing his maister wol him hote:

Perjurie is the secounde hote,

Which spareth noght to swere an oth,

Thogh it be fals and god be wroth.

That on schal falswitnesse bere,

2870That other schal the thing forswere,

Whan he is charged on the bok.

So what with hepe and what with crok

Thei make here maister ofte winne

And wol noght knowe what is sinne

For coveitise, and thus, men sain,

Thei maken many a fals bargain.

Ther mai no trewe querele arise

In thilke queste and thilke assise,

Where as thei tuo the poeple enforme;

2880For thei kepe evere o maner forme,

That upon gold here conscience

Thei founde, and take here evidence;

And thus with falswitnesse and othes

Thei winne hem mete and drinke and clothes.

Riht so ther be, who that hem knewe,

Of thes lovers ful many untrewe:

Nou mai a womman finde ynowe,

That ech of hem, whan he schal wowe,

Anon he wole his hand doun lein

2890Upon a bok, and swere and sein

That he wole feith and trouthe bere;

And thus he profreth him to swere

To serven evere til he die,

And al is verai tricherie.

For whan the sothe himselven trieth,

The more he swerth, the more he lieth;

Whan he his feith makth althermest,

Than mai a womman truste him lest;

For til he mai his will achieve,

2900He is no lengere forto lieve.

Thus is the trouthe of love exiled,

And many a good womman beguiled.

And ek to speke of Falswitnesse,

There be nou many suche, I gesse,

That lich unto the provisours

Thei make here prive procurours,

To telle hou ther is such a man,

Which is worthi to love and can

Al that a good man scholde kunne;

2910So that with lesinge is begunne

The cause in which thei wole procede,

And also siker as the crede

Thei make of that thei knowen fals.

And thus fulofte aboute the hals

Love is of false men embraced;

Bot love which is so pourchaced

Comth afterward to litel pris.

Forthi, mi Sone, if thou be wis,

Nou thou hast herd this evidence,

2920Thou miht thin oghne conscience

Oppose, if thou hast ben such on.

Nai, god wot, fader I am non,

Ne nevere was; for as men seith,

Whan that a man schal make his feith,

His herte and tunge moste acorde;

For if so be that thei discorde,

Thanne is he fals and elles noght:

And I dar seie, as of my thoght,

In love it is noght descordable

2930Unto mi word, bot acordable.

And in this wise, fader, I

Mai riht wel swere and salvely,

That I mi ladi love wel,

For that acordeth everydel.

It nedeth noght to mi sothsawe

That I witnesse scholde drawe,

Into this dai for nevere yit

Ne mihte it sinke into mi wit,

That I my conseil scholde seie

2940To eny wiht, or me bewreie

To sechen help in such manere,

Bot only of mi ladi diere.

And thogh a thousend men it wiste,

That I hire love, and thanne hem liste

With me to swere and to witnesse,

Yit were that no falswitnesse;

For I dar on this trouthe duelle,

I love hire mor than I can telle.

Thus am I, fader, gulteles,

2950As ye have herd, and natheles

In youre dom I put it al.

Mi Sone, wite in special,

It schal noght comunliche faile,

Al thogh it for a time availe

That Falswitnesse his cause spede,

Upon the point of his falshiede

It schal wel afterward be kid;

Wherof, so as it is betid,

Ensample of suche thinges blinde

2960In a Cronique write I finde.

The Goddesse of the See Thetis,

Sche hadde a Sone, and his name is

Achilles, whom to kepe and warde,

Whil he was yong, as into warde

Sche thoghte him salfly to betake,

As sche which dradde for his sake

Of that was seid in prophecie,

That he at Troie scholde die,

Whan that the Cite was belein.

2970Forthi, so as the bokes sein,

Sche caste hire wit in sondri wise,

Hou sche him mihte so desguise

That noman scholde his bodi knowe:

And so befell that ilke throwe,

Whil that sche thoghte upon this dede,

Ther was a king, which Lichomede

Was hote, and he was wel begon

With faire dowhtres manyon,

And duelte fer out in an yle.

2980Nou schalt thou hiere a wonder wyle:

This queene, which the moder was

Of Achilles, upon this cas

Hire Sone, as he a Maiden were,

Let clothen in the same gere

Which longeth unto wommanhiede:

And he was yong and tok non hiede,

Bot soffreth al that sche him dede.

Wherof sche hath hire wommen bede

And charged be here othes alle,

2990Hou so it afterward befalle,

That thei discovere noght this thing,

Bot feigne and make a knowleching,

Upon the conseil which was nome,

In every place wher thei come

To telle and to witnesse this,

Hou he here ladi dowhter is.

And riht in such a maner wise

Sche bad thei scholde hire don servise,

So that Achilles underfongeth

3000As to a yong ladi belongeth

Honour, servise and reverence.

For Thetis with gret diligence

Him hath so tawht and so afaited,

That, hou so that it were awaited,

With sobre and goodli contenance

He scholde his wommanhiede avance,

That non the sothe knowe myhte,

Bot that in every mannes syhte

He scholde seme a pure Maide.

3010And in such wise as sche him saide,

Achilles, which that ilke while

Was yong, upon himself to smyle

Began, whan he was so besein.

And thus, after the bokes sein,

With frette of Perle upon his hed,

Al freissh betwen the whyt and red,

As he which tho was tendre of Age,

Stod the colour in his visage,

That forto loke upon his cheke

3020And sen his childly manere eke,

He was a womman to beholde.

And thanne his moder to him tolde,

That sche him hadde so begon

Be cause that sche thoghte gon

To Lichomede at thilke tyde,

Wher that sche seide he scholde abyde

Among hise dowhtres forto duelle.

Achilles herde his moder telle,

And wiste noght the cause why;

3030And natheles ful buxomly

He was redy to that sche bad,

Wherof his moder was riht glad,

To Lichomede and forth thei wente.

And whan the king knew hire entente,

And sih this yonge dowhter there,

And that it cam unto his Ere

Of such record, of such witnesse,

He hadde riht a gret gladnesse

Of that he bothe syh and herde,

3040As he that wot noght hou it ferde

Upon the conseil of the nede.

Bot for al that king Lichomede

Hath toward him this dowhter take,

And for Thetis his moder sake

He put hire into compainie

To duelle with Dei5damie,

His oghne dowhter, the eldeste,

The faireste and the comelieste

Of alle hise doghtres whiche he hadde.

3050Lo, thus Thetis the cause ladde,

And lefte there Achilles feigned,

As he which hath himself restreigned

In al that evere he mai and can

Out of the manere of a man,

And tok his wommannysshe chiere,

Wherof unto his beddefere

Dei5damie he hath be nyhte.

Wher kinde wole himselve rihte,

After the Philosophres sein,

3060Ther mai no wiht be therayein:

And that was thilke time seene.

The longe nyhtes hem betuene

Nature, which mai noght forbere,

Hath mad hem bothe forto stere:

Thei kessen ferst, and overmore

The hihe weie of loves lore

Thei gon, and al was don in dede,

Wherof lost is the maydenhede;

And that was afterward wel knowe.

3070For it befell that ilke throwe

At Troie, wher the Siege lay

Upon the cause of Menelay

And of his queene dame Heleine,

The Gregois hadden mochel peine

Alday to fihte and to assaile.

Bot for thei mihten noght availe

So noble a Cite forto winne,

A prive conseil thei beginne,

In sondri wise wher thei trete;

3080And ate laste among the grete

Thei fellen unto this acord,

That Prothes, of his record

Which was an Astronomien

And ek a gret Magicien,

Scholde of his calculacion

Seche after constellacion,

Hou thei the Cite mihten gete:

And he, which hadde noght foryete

Of that belongeth to a clerk,

3090His studie sette upon this werk.

So longe his wit aboute he caste,

Til that he fond out ate laste,

Bot if they hadden Achilles

Here werre schal ben endeles.

And over that he tolde hem plein

In what manere he was besein,

And in what place he schal be founde;

So that withinne a litel stounde

Ulixes forth with Diomede

3100Upon this point to Lichomede

Agamenon togedre sente.

Bot Ulixes, er he forth wente,

Which was on of the moste wise,

Ordeigned hath in such a wise,

That he the moste riche aray,

Wherof a womman mai be gay,

With him hath take manyfold,

And overmore, as it is told,

An harneis for a lusti kniht,

3110Which burned was as Selver bryht,

Of swerd, of plate and ek of maile,

As thogh he scholde to bataille,

He tok also with him be Schipe.

And thus togedre in felaschipe

Forth gon this Diomede and he

In hope til thei mihten se

The place where Achilles is.

The wynd stod thanne noght amis,

Bot evene topseilcole it blew,

3120Til Ulixes the Marche knew,

Wher Lichomede his Regne hadde.

The Stieresman so wel hem ladde,

That thei ben comen sauf to londe,

Wher thei gon out upon the stronde

Into the Burgh, wher that thei founde

The king, and he which hath facounde,

Ulixes, dede the message.

Bot the conseil of his corage,

Why that he cam, he tolde noght,

3130Bot undernethe he was bethoght

In what manere he mihte aspie

Achilles fro Dei5damie

And fro these othre that ther were,

Full many a lusti ladi there.

Thei pleide hem there a day or tuo,

And as it was fortuned so,

It fell that time in such a wise,

To Bachus that a sacrifise

Thes yonge ladys scholden make;

3140And for the strange mennes sake,

That comen fro the Siege of Troie,

Thei maden wel the more joie.

Ther was Revel, ther was daunsinge,

And every lif which coude singe

Of lusti wommen in the route

A freissh carole hath sunge aboute;

Bot for al this yit natheles

The Greks unknowe of Achilles

So weren, that in no degre

3150Thei couden wite which was he,

Ne be his vois, ne be his pas.

Ulixes thanne upon this cas

A thing of hih Prudence hath wroght:

For thilke aray, which he hath broght

To yive among the wommen there,

He let do fetten al the gere

Forth with a knihtes harneis eke,-

In al a contre forto seke

Men scholden noght a fairer se,-

3160And every thing in his degre

Endlong upon a bord he leide.

To Lichomede and thanne he preide

That every ladi chese scholde

What thing of alle that sche wolde,

And take it as be weie of yifte;

For thei hemself it scholde schifte,

He seide, after here oghne wille.

Achilles thanne stod noght stille:

Whan he the bryhte helm behield,

3170The swerd, the hauberk and the Schield,

His herte fell therto anon;

Of all that othre wolde he non,

The knihtes gere he underfongeth,

And thilke aray which that belongeth

Unto the wommen he forsok.

And in this wise, as seith the bok,

Thei knowen thanne which he was:

For he goth forth the grete pas

Into the chambre where he lay;

3180Anon, and made no delay,

He armeth him in knyhtli wise,

That bettre can noman devise,

And as fortune scholde falle,

He cam so forth tofore hem alle,

As he which tho was glad ynowh.

But Lichomede nothing lowh,

Whan that he syh hou that it ferde,

For thanne he wiste wel and herde,

His dowhter hadde be forlein;

3190Bot that he was so oversein,

The wonder overgoth his wit.

For in Cronique is write yit

Thing which schal nevere be foryete,

Hou that Achilles hath begete

Pirrus upon Dei5damie,

Wherof cam out the tricherie

Of Falswitnesse, whan thei saide

Hou that Achilles was a Maide.

Bot that was nothing sene tho,

3200For he is to the Siege go

Forth with Ulixe and Diomede.

Lo, thus was proved in the dede

And fulli spoke at thilke while:

If o womman an other guile,

Wher is ther eny sikernesse?

Whan Thetis, which was the goddesse,

Dei5damie hath so bejaped,

I not hou it schal ben ascaped

With tho wommen whos innocence

3210Is nou alday thurgh such credence

Deceived ofte, as it is seene,

With men that such untrouthe meene.

For thei ben slyhe in such a wise,

That thei be sleihte and be queintise

Of Falswitnesse bringen inne

That doth hem ofte forto winne,

Wher thei ben noght worthi therto.

Forthi, my Sone, do noght so.

Mi fader, as of Falswitnesse

3220The trouthe and the matiere expresse,

Touchende of love hou it hath ferd,

As ye have told, I have wel herd.

Bot for ye seiden otherwise,

Hou thilke vice of Covoitise

Hath yit Perjurie of his acord,

If that you list of som record

To telle an other tale also

In loves cause of time ago,

What thing it is to be forswore,

3230I wolde preie you therfore,

Wherof I mihte ensample take.

Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake

Touchende of this I schall fulfille

Thin axinge at thin oghne wille,

And the matiere I schal declare,

Hou the wommen deceived are,

Whan thei so tendre herte bere,

Of that thei hieren men so swere;

Bot whan it comth unto thassay,

3240Thei finde it fals an other day:

As Jason dede to Medee,

Which stant yet of Auctorite

In tokne and in memorial;

Wherof the tale in special

Is in the bok of Troie write,

Which I schal do thee forto wite.

In Grece whilom was a king,

Of whom the fame and knowleching

Beleveth yit, and Peles

3250He hihte; bot it fell him thus,

That his fortune hir whiel so ladde

That he no child his oghne hadde

To regnen after his decess.

He hadde a brother natheles,

Whos rihte name was Eson,

And he the worthi kniht Jason

Begat, the which in every lond

Alle othre passede of his hond

In Armes, so that he the beste

3260Was named and the worthieste,

He soghte worschipe overal.

Nou herkne, and I thee telle schal

An aventure that he soghte,

Which afterward ful dere he boghte.

Ther was an yle, which Colchos

Was cleped, and therof aros

Gret speche in every lond aboute,

That such merveile was non oute

In al the wyde world nawhere,

3270As tho was in that yle there.

Ther was a Schiep, as it was told,

The which his flees bar al of gold,

And so the goddes hadde it set,

That it ne mihte awei be fet

Be pouer of no worldes wiht:

And yit ful many a worthi kniht

It hadde assaied, as thei dorste,

And evere it fell hem to the worste.

Bot he, that wolde it noght forsake,

3280Bot of his knyhthod undertake

To do what thing therto belongeth,

This worthi Jason, sore alongeth

To se the strange regiouns

And knowe the condiciouns

Of othre Marches, where he wente;

And for that cause his hole entente

He sette Colchos forto seche,

And therupon he made a speche

To Peles his Em the king.

3290And he wel paid was of that thing;

And schop anon for his passage,

And suche as were of his lignage,

With othre knihtes whiche he ches,

With him he tok, and Hercules,

Which full was of chivalerie,

With Jason wente in compaignie;

And that was in the Monthe of Maii,

Whan colde stormes were away.

The wynd was good, the Schip was yare,

3300Thei tok here leve, and forth thei fare

Toward Colchos: bot on the weie

What hem befell is long to seie;

Hou Lamedon the king of Troie,

Which oghte wel have mad hem joie.

Whan thei to reste a while him preide,

Out of his lond he hem congeide;

And so fell the dissencion,

Which after was destruccion

Of that Cite, as men mai hiere:

3310Bot that is noght to mi matiere.

Bot thus this worthi folk Gregeis

Fro that king, which was noght curteis,

And fro his lond with Sail updrawe

Thei wente hem forth, and many a sawe

Thei made and many a gret manace,

Til ate laste into that place

Which as thei soghte thei aryve,

And striken Sail, and forth as blyve

Thei sente unto the king and tolden

3320Who weren ther and what thei wolden.

Oe5tes, which was thanne king,

Whan that he herde this tyding

Of Jason, which was comen there,

And of these othre, what thei were,

He thoghte don hem gret worschipe:

For thei anon come out of Schipe,

And strawht unto the king thei wente,

And be the hond Jason he hente,

And that was ate paleis gate,

3330So fer the king cam on his gate

Toward Jason to don him chiere;

And he, whom lacketh no manere,

Whan he the king sih in presence,

Yaf him ayein such reverence

As to a kinges stat belongeth.

And thus the king him underfongeth,

And Jason in his arm he cawhte,

And forth into the halle he strawhte,

And ther they siete and spieke of thinges,

3340And Jason tolde him tho tidinges,

Why he was come, and faire him preide

To haste his time, and the kyng seide,

“Jason, thou art a worthi kniht,

Bot it lith in no mannes myht

To don that thou art come fore:

Ther hath be many a kniht forlore

Of that thei wolden it assaie.”

Bot Jason wolde him noght esmaie,

And seide, “Of every worldes cure

3350Fortune stant in aventure,

Per aunter wel, per aunter wo:

Bot hou as evere that it go,

It schal be with myn hond assaied.”

The king tho hield him noght wel paied,

For he the Grekes sore dredde,

In aunter, if Jason ne spedde,

He mihte therof bere a blame;

For tho was al the worldes fame

In Grece, as forto speke of Armes.

3360Forthi he dredde him of his harmes,

And gan to preche him and to preie;

Bot Jason wolde noght obeie,

Bot seide he wolde his porpos holde

For ought that eny man him tolde.

The king, whan he thes wordes herde,

And sih hou that this kniht ansuerde,

Yit for he wolde make him glad,

After Medea gon he bad,

Which was his dowhter, and sche cam.

3370And Jason, which good hiede nam,

Whan he hire sih, ayein hire goth;

And sche, which was him nothing loth,

Welcomede him into that lond,

And softe tok him be the hond,

And doun thei seten bothe same.

Sche hadde herd spoke of his name

And of his grete worthinesse;

Forthi sche gan hir yhe impresse

Upon his face and his stature,

3380And thoghte hou nevere creature

Was so wel farende as was he.

And Jason riht in such degre

Ne mihte noght withholde his lok,

Bot so good hiede on hire he tok,

That him ne thoghte under the hevene

Of beaute sawh he nevere hir evene,

With al that fell to wommanhiede.

Thus ech of other token hiede,

Thogh ther no word was of record;

3390Here hertes bothe of on acord

Ben set to love, bot as tho

Ther mihten be no wordes mo.

The king made him gret joie and feste,

To alle his men he yaf an heste,

So as thei wolde his thonk deserve,

That thei scholde alle Jason serve,

Whil that he wolde there duelle.

And thus the dai, schortly to telle,

With manye merthes thei despente,

3400Til nyht was come, and tho thei wente,

Echon of other tok his leve,

Whan thei no lengere myhten leve.

I not hou Jason that nyht slep,

Bot wel I wot that of the Schep,

For which he cam into that yle,

He thoghte bot a litel whyle;

Al was Medea that he thoghte,

So that in many a wise he soghte

His witt wakende er it was day,

3410Som time yee, som time nay,

Som time thus, som time so,

As he was stered to and fro

Of love, and ek of his conqueste

As he was holde of his beheste.

And thus he ros up be the morwe

And tok himself seint John to borwe,

And seide he wolde ferst beginne

At love, and after forto winne

The flees of gold, for which he com,

3420And thus to him good herte he nom.

Medea riht the same wise,

Til dai cam that sche moste arise,

Lay and bethoughte hire al the nyht,

Hou sche that noble worthi kniht

Be eny weie mihte wedde:

And wel sche wiste, if he ne spedde

Of thing which he hadde undertake,

Sche mihte hirself no porpos take;

For if he deide of his bataile,

3430Sche moste thanne algate faile

To geten him, whan he were ded.

Thus sche began to sette red

And torne aboute hir wittes alle,

To loke hou that it mihte falle

That sche with him hadde a leisir

To speke and telle of hir desir.

And so it fell that same day

That Jason with that suete may

Togedre sete and hadden space

3440To speke, and he besoughte hir grace.

And sche his tale goodli herde,

And afterward sche him ansuerde

And seide, “Jason, as thou wilt,

Thou miht be sauf, thou miht be spilt;

For wite wel that nevere man,

Bot if he couthe that I can,

Ne mihte that fortune achieve

For which thou comst: bot as I lieve,

If thou wolt holde covenant

3450To love, of al the remenant

I schal thi lif and honour save,

That thou the flees of gold schalt have.”

He seide, “Al at youre oghne wille,

Ma dame, I schal treuly fulfille

Youre heste, whil mi lif mai laste.”

Thus longe he preide, and ate laste

Sche granteth, and behihte him this,

That whan nyht comth and it time is,

Sche wolde him sende certeinly

3460Such on that scholde him prively

Al one into hire chambre bringe.

He thonketh hire of that tidinge,

For of that grace him is begonne

Him thenkth alle othre thinges wonne.

The dai made ende and lost his lyht,

And comen was the derke nyht,

Which al the daies yhe blente.

Jason tok leve and forth he wente,

And whan he cam out of the pres,

3470He tok to conseil Hercules,

And tolde him hou it was betid,

And preide it scholde wel ben hid,

And that he wolde loke aboute,

Therwhiles that he schal ben oute.

Thus as he stod and hiede nam,

A Mayden fro Medea cam

And to hir chambre Jason ledde,

Wher that he fond redi to bedde

The faireste and the wiseste eke;

3480And sche with simple chiere and meke,

Whan sche him sih, wax al aschamed.

Tho was here tale newe entamed;

For sikernesse of Mariage

Sche fette forth a riche ymage,

Which was figure of Jupiter,

And Jason swor and seide ther,

That also wiss god scholde him helpe,

That if Medea dede him helpe,

That he his pourpos myhte winne,

3490Thei scholde nevere parte atwinne,

Bot evere whil him lasteth lif,

He wolde hire holde for his wif.

And with that word thei kisten bothe;

And for thei scholden hem unclothe,

Ther cam a Maide, and in hir wise

Sche dede hem bothe full servise,

Til that thei were in bedde naked:

I wot that nyht was wel bewaked,

Thei hadden bothe what thei wolde.

3500And thanne of leisir sche him tolde,

And gan fro point to point enforme

Of his bataile and al the forme,

Which as he scholde finde there,

Whan he to thyle come were.

Sche seide, at entre of the pas

Hou Mars, which god of Armes was,

Hath set tuo Oxen sterne and stoute,

That caste fyr and flamme aboute

Bothe at the mouth and ate nase,

3510So that thei setten al on blase

What thing that passeth hem betwene:

And forthermore upon the grene

Ther goth the flees of gold to kepe

A Serpent, which mai nevere slepe.

Thus who that evere scholde it winne,

The fyr to stoppe he mot beginne,

Which that the fierce bestes caste,

And daunte he mot hem ate laste,

So that he mai hem yoke and dryve;

3520And therupon he mot as blyve

The Serpent with such strengthe assaile,

That he mai slen him be bataile;

Of which he mot the teth outdrawe,

As it belongeth to that lawe,

And thanne he mot tho Oxen yoke,

Til thei have with a plowh tobroke

A furgh of lond, in which arowe

The teth of thaddre he moste sowe,

And therof schule arise knihtes

3530Wel armed up at alle rihtes.

Of hem is noght to taken hiede,

For ech of hem in hastihiede

Schal other slen with dethes wounde:

And thus whan thei ben leid to grounde,

Than mot he to the goddes preie,

And go so forth and take his preie.

Bot if he faile in eny wise

Of that ye hiere me devise,

Ther mai be set non other weie,

3540That he ne moste algates deie.

“Nou have I told the peril al:

I woll you tellen forth withal,”

Quod Medea to Jason tho,

“That ye schul knowen er ye go,

Ayein the venym and the fyr

What schal ben the recoverir.

Bot, Sire, for it is nyh day,

Ariseth up, so that I may

Delivere you what thing I have,

3550That mai youre lif and honour save.”

Thei weren bothe loth to rise,

Bot for thei weren bothe wise,

Up thei arisen ate laste:

Jason his clothes on him caste

And made him redi riht anon,

And sche hir scherte dede upon

And caste on hire a mantel clos,

Withoute more and thanne aros.

Tho tok sche forth a riche Tye

3560Mad al of gold and of Perrie,

Out of the which sche nam a Ring,

The Ston was worth al other thing.

Sche seide, whil he wolde it were,

Ther myhte no peril him dere,

In water mai it noght be dreynt,

Wher as it comth the fyr is queynt,

It daunteth ek the cruel beste,

Ther may no qued that man areste,

Wher so he be on See or lond,

3570Which hath that ring upon his hond:

And over that sche gan to sein,

That if a man wol ben unsein,

Withinne his hond hold clos the Ston,

And he mai invisible gon.

The Ring to Jason sche betauhte,

And so forth after sche him tauhte

What sacrifise he scholde make;

And gan out of hire cofre take

Him thoughte an hevenely figure,

3580Which al be charme and be conjure

Was wroght, and ek it was thurgh write

With names, which he scholde wite,

As sche him tauhte tho to rede;

And bad him, as he wolde spede,

Withoute reste of eny while,

Whan he were londed in that yle,

He scholde make his sacrifise

And rede his carecte in the wise

As sche him tauhte, on knes doun bent,

3590Thre sithes toward orient;

For so scholde he the goddes plese

And winne himselven mochel ese.

And whanne he hadde it thries rad,

To opne a buiste sche him bad,

Which sche ther tok him in present,

And was full of such oignement,

That ther was fyr ne venym non

That scholde fastnen him upon,

Whan that he were enoynt withal.

3600Forthi sche tauhte him hou he schal

Enoignte his armes al aboute,

And for he scholde nothing doute,

Sche tok him thanne a maner glu,

The which was of so gret vertu,

That where a man it wolde caste,

It scholde binde anon so faste

That noman mihte it don aweie.

And that sche bad be alle weie

He scholde into the mouthes throwen

3610Of tho tweie Oxen that fyr blowen,

Therof to stoppen the malice;

The glu schal serve of that office.

And over that hir oignement,

Hir Ring and hir enchantement

Ayein the Serpent scholde him were,

Til he him sle with swerd or spere:

And thanne he may saufliche ynowh

His Oxen yoke into the plowh

And the teth sowe in such a wise,

3620Til he the knyhtes se arise,

And ech of other doun be leid

In such manere as I have seid.

Lo, thus Medea for Jason

Ordeigneth, and preith therupon

That he nothing foryete scholde,

And ek sche preith him that he wolde,

Whan he hath alle his Armes don,

To grounde knele and thonke anon

The goddes, and so forth be ese

3630The flees of gold he scholde sese.

And whanne he hadde it sesed so,

That thanne he were sone ago

Withouten eny tariynge.

Whan this was seid, into wepinge

Sche fell, as sche that was thurgh nome

With love, and so fer overcome,

That al hir world on him sche sette.

Bot whan sche sih ther was no lette,

That he mot nedes parte hire fro,

3640Sche tok him in hire armes tuo,

An hundred time and gan him kisse,

And seide, “O, al mi worldes blisse,

Mi trust, mi lust, mi lif, min hele,

To be thin helpe in this querele

I preie unto the goddes alle.”

And with that word sche gan doun falle

On swoune, and he hire uppe nam,

And forth with that the Maiden cam,

And thei to bedde anon hir broghte,

3650And thanne Jason hire besoghte,

And to hire seide in this manere:

“Mi worthi lusti ladi dere,

Conforteth you, for be my trouthe

It schal noght fallen in mi slouthe

That I ne wol thurghout fulfille

Youre hestes at youre oghne wille.

And yit I hope to you bringe

Withinne a while such tidinge,

The which schal make ous bothe game.”

3660Bot for he wolde kepe hir name,

Whan that he wiste it was nyh dai,

He seide, “A dieu, mi swete mai.”

And forth with him he nam his gere,

Which as sche hadde take him there,

And strauht unto his chambre he wente,

And goth to bedde and slep him hente,

And lay, that noman him awok,

For Hercules hiede of him tok,

Til it was undren hih and more.

3670And thanne he gan to sighe sore

And sodeinliche abreide of slep;

And thei that token of him kep,

His chamberleins, be sone there,

And maden redi al his gere,

And he aros and to the king

He wente, and seide hou to that thing

For which he cam he wolde go.

The king therof was wonder wo,

And for he wolde him fain withdrawe,

3680He tolde him many a dredful sawe,

Bot Jason wolde it noght recorde,

And ate laste thei acorde.

Whan that he wolde noght abide,

A Bot was redy ate tyde,

In which this worthi kniht of Grece

Ful armed up at every piece,

To his bataile which belongeth,

Tok ore on honde and sore him longeth,

Til he the water passed were.

3690Whan he cam to that yle there,

He set him on his knes doun strauht,

And his carecte, as he was tawht,

He radde, and made his sacrifise,

And siththe enoignte him in that wise,

As Medea him hadde bede;

And thanne aros up fro that stede,

And with the glu the fyr he queynte,

And anon after he atteinte

The grete Serpent and him slowh.

3700Bot erst he hadde sorwe ynowh,

For that Serpent made him travaile

So harde and sore of his bataile,

That nou he stod and nou he fell:

For longe time it so befell,

That with his swerd ne with his spere

He mihte noght that Serpent dere.

He was so scherded al aboute,

It hield all eggetol withoute,

He was so ruide and hard of skin,

3710Ther mihte nothing go therin;

Venym and fyr togedre he caste,

That he Jason so sore ablaste,

That if ne were his oignement,

His Ring and his enchantement,

Which Medea tok him tofore,

He hadde with that worm be lore;

Bot of vertu which therof cam

Jason the Dragon overcam.

And he anon the teth outdrouh,

3720And sette his Oxen in a plouh,

With which he brak a piece of lond

And sieu hem with his oghne hond.

Tho mihte he gret merveile se:

Of every toth in his degre

Sprong up a kniht with spere and schield,

Of whiche anon riht in the field

Echon slow other; and with that

Jason Medea noght foryat,

On bothe his knes he gan doun falle,

3730And yaf thonk to the goddes alle.

The Flees he tok and goth to Bote,

The Sonne schyneth bryhte and hote,

The Flees of gold schon forth withal,

The water glistreth overal.

Medea wepte and sigheth ofte,

And stod upon a Tour alofte:

Al prively withinne hirselve,

Ther herde it nouther ten ne tuelve,

Sche preide, and seide, “O, god him spede,

3740The kniht which hath mi maidenhiede!”

And ay sche loketh toward thyle.

Bot whan sche sih withinne a while

The Flees glistrende ayein the Sonne,

Sche saide, “Ha, lord, now al is wonne,

Mi kniht the field hath overcome:

Nou wolde god he were come;

Ha lord, that he ne were alonde!”

Bot I dar take this on honde,

If that sche hadde wynges tuo,

3750Sche wolde have flowe unto him tho

Strawht ther he was into the Bot.

The dai was clier, the Sonne hot,

The Gregeis weren in gret doute,

The whyle that here lord was oute:

Thei wisten noght what scholde tyde,

Bot waiten evere upon the tyde,

To se what ende scholde falle.

Ther stoden ek the nobles alle

Forth with the comun of the toun;

3760And as thei loken up and doun,

Thei weren war withinne a throwe,

Wher cam the bot, which thei wel knowe,

And sihe hou Jason broghte his preie.

And tho thei gonnen alle seie,

And criden alle with o stevene,

“Ha, wher was evere under the hevene

So noble a knyht as Jason is?”

And welnyh alle seiden this,

That Jason was a faie kniht,

3770For it was nevere of mannes miht

The Flees of gold so forto winne;

And thus to talen thei beginne.

With that the king com forth anon,

And sih the Flees, hou that it schon;

And whan Jason cam to the lond,

The king himselve tok his hond

And kist him, and gret joie him made.

The Gregeis weren wonder glade,

And of that thing riht merie hem thoghte,

3780And forth with hem the Flees thei broghte,

And ech on other gan to leyhe;

Bot wel was him that mihte neyhe,

To se therof the proprete.

And thus thei passen the cite

And gon unto the Paleis straght.

Medea, which foryat him naght,

Was redy there, and seide anon,

“Welcome, O worthi kniht Jason.”

Sche wolde have kist him wonder fayn,

3790Bot schame tornede hire agayn;

It was noght the manere as tho,

Forthi sche dorste noght do so.

Sche tok hire leve, and Jason wente

Into his chambre, and sche him sente

Hire Maide to sen hou he ferde;

The which whan that sche sih and herde,

Hou that he hadde faren oute

And that it stod wel al aboute,

Sche tolde hire ladi what sche wiste,

3800And sche for joie hire Maide kiste.

The bathes weren thanne araied,

With herbes tempred and assaied,

And Jason was unarmed sone

And dede as it befell to done:

Into his bath he wente anon

And wyssh him clene as eny bon;

He tok a sopp, and oute he cam,

And on his beste aray he nam,

And kempde his hed, whan he was clad,

3810And goth him forth al merie and glad

Riht strawht into the kinges halle.

The king cam with his knihtes alle

And maden him glad welcominge;

And he hem tolde the tidinge

Of this and that, hou it befell,

Whan that he wan the schepes fell.

Medea, whan sche was asent,

Com sone to that parlement,

And whan sche mihte Jason se,

3820Was non so glad of alle as sche.

Ther was no joie forto seche,

Of him mad every man a speche,

Som man seide on, som man seide other;

Bot thogh he were goddes brother

And mihte make fyr and thonder,

Ther mihte be nomore wonder

Than was of him in that cite.

Echon tauhte other, “This is he,

Which hath in his pouer withinne

3830That al the world ne mihte winne:

Lo, hier the beste of alle goode.”

Thus saiden thei that there stode,

And ek that walkede up and doun,

Bothe of the Court and of the toun.

The time of Souper cam anon,

Thei wisshen and therto thei gon,

Medea was with Jason set:

Tho was ther many a deynte fet

And set tofore hem on the bord,

3840Bot non so likinge as the word

Which was ther spoke among hem tuo,

So as thei dorste speke tho.

Bot thogh thei hadden litel space,

Yit thei acorden in that place

Hou Jason scholde come at nyht,

Whan every torche and every liht

Were oute, and thanne of other thinges

Thei spieke aloud for supposinges

Of hem that stoden there aboute:

3850For love is everemore in doute,

If that it be wisly governed

Of hem that ben of love lerned.

Whan al was don, that dissh and cuppe

And cloth and bord and al was uppe,

Thei waken whil hem lest to wake,

And after that thei leve take

And gon to bedde forto reste.

And whan him thoghte for the beste,

That every man was faste aslepe,

3860Jason, that wolde his time kepe,

Goth forth stalkende al prively

Unto the chambre, and redely

Ther was a Maide, which him kepte.

Medea wok and nothing slepte,

Bot natheles sche was abedde,

And he with alle haste him spedde

And made him naked and al warm.

Anon he tok hire in his arm:

What nede is forto speke of ese?

3870Hem list ech other forto plese,

So that thei hadden joie ynow:

And tho thei setten whanne and how

That sche with him awey schal stele.

With wordes suche and othre fele

Whan al was treted to an ende,

Jason tok leve and gan forth wende

Unto his oughne chambre in pes;

Ther wiste it non bot Hercules.

He slepte and ros whan it was time,

3880And whanne it fell towardes prime,

He tok to him suche as he triste

In secre, that non other wiste,

And told hem of his conseil there,

And seide that his wille were

That thei to Schipe hadde alle thinge

So priveliche in thevenynge,

That noman mihte here dede aspie

Bot tho that were of compaignie:

For he woll go withoute leve,

3890And lengere woll he noght beleve;

Bot he ne wolde at thilke throwe

The king or queene scholde it knowe.

Thei saide, “Al this schal wel be do:”

And Jason truste wel therto.

Medea in the mene while,

Which thoghte hir fader to beguile,

The Tresor which hir fader hadde

With hire al priveli sche ladde,

And with Jason at time set

3900Awey sche stal and fond no let,

And straght sche goth hire unto schipe

Of Grece with that felaschipe,

And thei anon drowe up the Seil.

And al that nyht this was conseil,

Bot erly, whan the Sonne schon,

Men syhe hou that thei were agon,

And come unto the king and tolde:

And he the sothe knowe wolde,

And axeth where his dowhter was.

3910Ther was no word bot Out, Allas!

Sche was ago. The moder wepte,

The fader as a wod man lepte,

And gan the time forto warie,

And swor his oth he wol noght tarie,

That with Caliphe and with galeie

The same cours, the same weie,

Which Jason tok, he wolde take,

If that he mihte him overtake.

To this thei seiden alle yee:

3920Anon thei weren ate See,

And alle, as who seith, at a word

Thei gon withinne schipes bord,

The Sail goth up, and forth thei strauhte.

Bot non espleit therof thei cauhte,

And so thei tornen hom ayein,

For al that labour was in vein.

Jason to Grece with his preie

Goth thurgh the See the rihte weie:

Whan he ther com and men it tolde,

3930Thei maden joie yonge and olde.

Eson, whan that he wiste of this,

Hou that his Sone comen is,

And hath achieved that he soughte

And hom with him Medea broughte,

In al the wyde world was non

So glad a man as he was on.

Togedre ben these lovers tho,

Til that thei hadden sones tuo,

Wherof thei weren bothe glade,

3940And olde Eson gret joie made

To sen thencress of his lignage;

For he was of so gret an Age,

That men awaiten every day,

Whan that he scholde gon away.

Jason, which sih his fader old,

Upon Medea made him bold,

Of art magique, which sche couthe,

And preith hire that his fader youthe

Sche wolde make ayeinward newe:

3950And sche, that was toward him trewe,

Behihte him that sche wolde it do,

Whan that sche time sawh therto.

Bot what sche dede in that matiere

It is a wonder thing to hiere,

Bot yit for the novellerie

I thenke tellen a partie.

Thus it befell upon a nyht,

Whan ther was noght bot sterreliht,

Sche was vanyssht riht as hir liste,

3960That no wyht bot hirself it wiste,

And that was ate mydnyht tyde.

The world was stille on every side;

With open hed and fot al bare,

Hir her tosprad sche gan to fare,

Upon hir clothes gert sche was,

Al specheles and on the gras

Sche glod forth as an Addre doth:

Non otherwise sche ne goth,

Til sche cam to the freisshe flod,

3970And there a while sche withstod.

Thries sche torned hire aboute,

And thries ek sche gan doun loute

And in the flod sche wette hir her,

And thries on the water ther

Sche gaspeth with a drecchinge onde,

And tho sche tok hir speche on honde.

Ferst sche began to clepe and calle

Upward unto the sterres alle,

To Wynd, to Air, to See, to lond

3980Sche preide, and ek hield up hir hond

To Echates, and gan to crie,

Which is goddesse of Sorcerie.

Sche seide, “Helpeth at this nede,

And as ye maden me to spede,

Whan Jason cam the Flees to seche,

So help me nou, I you beseche.”

With that sche loketh and was war,

Doun fro the Sky ther cam a char,

The which Dragouns aboute drowe:

3990And tho sche gan hir hed doun bowe,

And up sche styh, and faire and wel

Sche drof forth bothe char and whel

Above in thair among the Skyes.

The lond of Crete and tho parties

Sche soughte, and faste gan hire hye,

And there upon the hulles hyhe

Of Othrin and Olimpe also,

And ek of othre hulles mo,

Sche fond and gadreth herbes suote,

4000Sche pulleth up som be the rote,

And manye with a knyf sche scherth,

And alle into hir char sche berth.

Thus whan sche hath the hulles sought,

The flodes ther foryat sche nought,

Eridian and Amphrisos,

Peneie and ek Sperchei5dos,

To hem sche wente and ther sche nom

Bothe of the water and the fom,

The sond and ek the smale stones,

4010Whiche as sche ches out for the nones,

And of the rede See a part,

That was behovelich to hire art,

Sche tok, and after that aboute

Sche soughte sondri sedes oute

In feldes and in many greves,

And ek a part sche tok of leves:

Bot thing which mihte hire most availe

Sche fond in Crete and in Thessaile.

In daies and in nyhtes Nyne,

4020With gret travaile and with gret pyne,

Sche was pourveid of every piece,

And torneth homward into Grece.

Before the gates of Eson

Hir char sche let awai to gon,

And tok out ferst that was therinne;

For tho sche thoghte to beginne

Such thing as semeth impossible,

And made hirselven invisible,

As sche that was with Air enclosed

4030And mihte of noman be desclosed.

Sche tok up turves of the lond

Withoute helpe of mannes hond,

Al heled with the grene gras,

Of which an Alter mad ther was

Unto Echates the goddesse

Of art magique and the maistresse,

And eft an other to Juvente,

As sche which dede hir hole entente.

Tho tok sche fieldwode and verveyne,

4040Of herbes ben noght betre tueine,

Of which anon withoute let

These alters ben aboute set:

Tuo sondri puttes faste by

Sche made, and with that hastely

A wether which was blak sche slouh,

And out therof the blod sche drouh

And dede into the pettes tuo;

Warm melk sche putte also therto

With hony meynd: and in such wise

4050Sche gan to make hir sacrifice,

And cride and preide forth withal

To Pluto the god infernal,

And to the queene Proserpine.

And so sche soghte out al the line

Of hem that longen to that craft,

Behinde was no name laft,

And preide hem alle, as sche wel couthe,

To grante Eson his ferste youthe.

This olde Eson broght forth was tho,

4060Awei sche bad alle othre go

Upon peril that mihte falle;

And with that word thei wenten alle,

And leften there hem tuo al one.

And tho sche gan to gaspe and gone,

And made signes manyon,

And seide hir wordes therupon;

So that with spellinge of hir charmes

Sche tok Eson in bothe hire armes,

And made him forto slepe faste,

4070And him upon hire herbes caste.

The blake wether tho sche tok,

And hiewh the fleissh, as doth a cok;

On either alter part sche leide,

And with the charmes that sche seide

A fyr doun fro the Sky alyhte

And made it forto brenne lyhte.

Bot whan Medea sawh it brenne,

Anon sche gan to sterte and renne

The fyri aulters al aboute:

4080Ther was no beste which goth oute

More wylde than sche semeth ther:

Aboute hir schuldres hyng hir her,

As thogh sche were oute of hir mynde

And torned in an other kynde.

Tho lay ther certein wode cleft,

Of which the pieces nou and eft

Sche made hem in the pettes wete,

And put hem in the fyri hete,

And tok the brond with al the blase,

4090And thries sche began to rase

Aboute Eson, ther as he slepte;

And eft with water, which sche kepte,

Sche made a cercle aboute him thries,

And eft with fyr of sulphre twyes:

Ful many an other thing sche dede,

Which is noght writen in this stede.

Bot tho sche ran so up and doun,

Sche made many a wonder soun,

Somtime lich unto the cock,

4100Somtime unto the Laverock,

Somtime kacleth as a Hen,

Somtime spekth as don the men:

And riht so as hir jargoun strangeth,

In sondri wise hir forme changeth,

Sche semeth faie and no womman;

For with the craftes that sche can

Sche was, as who seith, a goddesse,

And what hir liste, more or lesse,

Sche dede, in bokes as we finde,

4110That passeth over manneskinde.

Bot who that wole of wondres hiere,

What thing sche wroghte in this matiere,

To make an ende of that sche gan,

Such merveile herde nevere man.

Apointed in the newe Mone,

Whan it was time forto done,

Sche sette a caldron on the fyr,

In which was al the hole atir,

Wheron the medicine stod,

4120Of jus, of water and of blod,

And let it buile in such a plit,

Til that sche sawh the spume whyt;

And tho sche caste in rynde and rote,

And sed and flour that was for bote,

With many an herbe and many a ston,

Wherof sche hath ther many on:

And ek Cimpheius the Serpent

To hire hath alle his scales lent,

Chelidre hire yaf his addres skin,

4130And sche to builen caste hem in;

A part ek of the horned Oule,

The which men hiere on nyhtes houle;

And of a Raven, which was told

Of nyne hundred wynter old,

Sche tok the hed with al the bile;

And as the medicine it wile,

Sche tok therafter the bouele

Of the Seewolf, and for the hele

Of Eson, with a thousand mo

4140Of thinges that sche hadde tho,

In that Caldroun togedre as blyve

Sche putte, and tok thanne of Olyve

A drie branche hem with to stere,

The which anon gan floure and bere

And waxe al freissh and grene ayein.

Whan sche this vertu hadde sein,

Sche let the leste drope of alle

Upon the bare flor doun falle;

Anon ther sprong up flour and gras,

4150Where as the drope falle was,

And wox anon al medwe grene,

So that it mihte wel be sene.

Medea thanne knew and wiste

Hir medicine is forto triste,

And goth to Eson ther he lay,

And tok a swerd was of assay,

With which a wounde upon his side

Sche made, that therout mai slyde

The blod withinne, which was old

4160And sek and trouble and fieble and cold.

And tho sche tok unto his us

Of herbes al the beste jus,

And poured it into his wounde;

That made his veynes fulle and sounde:

And tho sche made his wounde clos,

And tok his hond, and up he ros;

And tho sche yaf him drinke a drauhte,

Of which his youthe ayein he cauhte,

His hed, his herte and his visage

4170Lich unto twenty wynter Age;

Hise hore heres were away,

And lich unto the freisshe Maii,

Whan passed ben the colde shoures,

Riht so recovereth he his floures.

Lo, what mihte eny man devise,

A womman schewe in eny wise

Mor hertly love in every stede,

Than Medea to Jason dede?

Ferst sche made him the flees to winne,

4180And after that fro kiththe and kinne

With gret tresor with him sche stal,

And to his fader forth withal

His Elde hath torned into youthe,

Which thing non other womman couthe:

Bot hou it was to hire aquit,

The remembrance duelleth yit.

King Peles his Em was ded,

Jason bar corone on his hed,

Medea hath fulfild his wille:

4190Bot whanne he scholde of riht fulfille

The trouthe, which to hire afore

He hadde in thyle of Colchos swore,

Tho was Medea most deceived.

For he an other hath received,

Which dowhter was to king Creon,

Creusa sche hihte, and thus Jason,

As he that was to love untrewe,

Medea lefte and tok a newe.

Bot that was after sone aboght:

4200Medea with hire art hath wroght

Of cloth of gold a mantel riche,

Which semeth worth a kingesriche,

And that was unto Creusa sent

In name of yifte and of present,

For Sosterhode hem was betuene;

And whan that yonge freisshe queene

That mantel lappeth hire aboute,

Anon therof the fyr sprong oute

And brente hir bothe fleissh and bon.

4210Tho cam Medea to Jason

With bothe his Sones on hire hond,

And seide, “O thou of every lond

The moste untrewe creature,

Lo, this schal be thi forfeture.”

With that sche bothe his Sones slouh

Before his yhe, and he outdrouh

His swerd and wold have slayn hir tho,

Bot farewel, sche was ago

Unto Pallas the Court above,

4220Wher as sche pleigneth upon love,

As sche that was with that goddesse,

And he was left in gret destresse.

Thus miht thou se what sorwe it doth

To swere an oth which is noght soth,

In loves cause namely.

Mi Sone, be wel war forthi,

And kep that thou be noght forswore:

For this, which I have told tofore,

Ovide telleth everydel.

4230Mi fader, I may lieve it wel,

For I have herde it ofte seie

Hou Jason tok the flees aweie

Fro Colchos, bot yit herde I noght

Be whom it was ferst thider broght.

And for it were good to hiere,

If that you liste at mi preiere

To telle, I wolde you beseche.

Mi Sone, who that wole it seche,

In bokes he mai finde it write;

4240And natheles, if thou wolt wite,

In the manere as thou hast preid

I schal the telle hou it is seid.

The fame of thilke schepes fell,

Which in Colchos, as it befell,

Was al of gold, schal nevere deie;

Wherof I thenke for to seie

Hou it cam ferst into that yle.

Ther was a king in thilke whyle

Towardes Grece, and Athemas

4250The Cronique of his name was;

And hadde a wif, which Philen hihte,

Be whom, so as fortune it dihte,

He hadde of children yonge tuo.

Frixus the ferste was of tho,

A knave child, riht fair withalle;

A dowhter ek, the which men calle

Hellen, he hadde be this wif.

Bot for ther mai no mannes lif

Endure upon this Erthe hiere,

4260This worthi queene, as thou miht hiere,

Er that the children were of age,

Tok of hire ende the passage,

With gret worschipe and was begrave.

What thing it liketh god to have

It is gret reson to ben his;

Forthi this king, so as it is,

With gret suffrance it underfongeth:

And afterward, as him belongeth,

Whan it was time forto wedde,

4270A newe wif he tok to bedde,

Which Yno hihte and was a Mayde,

And ek the dowhter, as men saide,

Of Cadme, which a king also

Was holde in thilke daies tho.

Whan Yno was the kinges make,

Sche caste hou that sche mihte make

These children to here fader lothe,

And schope a wyle ayein hem bothe,

Which to the king was al unknowe.

4280A yeer or tuo sche let do sowe

The lond with sode whete aboute,

Wherof no corn mai springen oute;

And thus be sleyhte and be covine

Aros the derthe and the famine

Thurghout the lond in such a wise,

So that the king a sacrifise

Upon the point of this destresse

To Ceres, which is the goddesse

Of corn, hath schape him forto yive,

4290To loke if it mai be foryive,

The meschief which was in his lond.

Bot sche, which knew tofor the hond

The circumstance of al this thing,

Ayein the cominge of the king

Into the temple, hath schape so,

Of hire acord that alle tho

Whiche of the temple prestes were

Have seid and full declared there

Unto the king, bot if so be

4300That he delivere the contre

Of Frixus and of Hellen bothe,

With whom the goddes ben so wrothe,

That whil tho children ben therinne,

Such tilthe schal noman beginne,

Wherof to gete him eny corn.

Thus was it seid, thus was it sworn

Of all the Prestes that ther are;

And sche which causeth al this fare

Seid ek therto what that sche wolde,

4310And every man thanne after tolde

So as the queene hem hadde preid.

The king, which hath his Ere leid,

And lieveth al that evere he herde,

Unto here tale thus ansuerde,

And seith that levere him is to chese

Hise children bothe forto lese,

Than him and al the remenant

Of hem whiche are aportenant

Unto the lond which he schal kepe:

4320And bad his wif to take kepe

In what manere is best to done,

That thei delivered weren sone

Out of this world. And sche anon

Tuo men ordeigneth forto gon;

Bot ferst sche made hem forto swere

That thei the children scholden bere

Unto the See, that non it knowe,

And hem therinne bothe throwe.

The children to the See ben lad,

4330Wher in the wise as Yno bad

These men be redy forto do.

Bot the goddesse which Juno

Is hote, appiereth in the stede,

And hath unto the men forbede

That thei the children noght ne sle;

Bot bad hem loke into the See

And taken hiede of that thei sihen.

Ther swam a Schep tofore here yhen,

Whos flees of burned gold was al;

4340And this goddesse forth withal

Comandeth that withoute lette

Thei scholde anon these children sette

Above upon this Schepes bak;

And al was do, riht as sche spak,

Wherof the men gon hom ayein.

And fell so, as the bokes sein,

Hellen the yonge Mayden tho,

Which of the See was wo bego,

For pure drede hire herte hath lore,

4350That fro the Schep, which hath hire bore,

As sche that was swounende feint,

Sche fell, and hath hirselve dreint;

With Frixus and this Schep forth swam,

Til he to thyle of Colchos cam,

Where Juno the goddesse he fond,

Which tok the Schep unto the lond,

And sette it there in such a wise

As thou tofore hast herd devise,

Wherof cam after al the wo,

4360Why Jason was forswore so

Unto Medee, as it is spoke.

Mi fader, who that hath tobroke

His trouthe, as ye have told above,

He is noght worthi forto love

Ne be beloved, as me semeth:

Bot every newe love quemeth

To him which newefongel is.

And natheles nou after this,

If that you list to taken hiede

4370Upon mi Schrifte to procede,

In loves cause ayein the vice

Of covoitise and Avarice

What ther is more I wolde wite.

Mi Sone, this I finde write,

Ther is yit on of thilke brood,

Which only for the worldes good,

To make a Tresor of Moneie,

Put alle conscience aweie:

Wherof in thi confession

4380The name and the condicion

I schal hierafterward declare,

Which makth on riche, an other bare.

Upon the bench sittende on hih

With Avarice Usure I sih,

Full clothed of his oghne suite,

Which after gold makth chace and suite

With his brocours, that renne aboute

Lich unto racches in a route.

Such lucre is non above grounde,

4390Which is noght of tho racches founde;

For wher thei se beyete sterte,

That schal hem in no wise asterte,

Bot thei it dryve into the net

Of lucre, which Usure hath set.

Usure with the riche duelleth,

To al that evere he beith and selleth

He hath ordeined of his sleyhte

Mesure double and double weyhte:

Outward he selleth be the lasse,

4400And with the more he makth his tasse,

Wherof his hous is full withinne.

He reccheth noght, be so he winne,

Though that ther lese ten or tuelve:

His love is al toward himselve

And to non other, bot he se

That he mai winne suche thre;

For wher he schal oght yive or lene,

He wol ayeinward take a bene,

Ther he hath lent the smale pese.

4410And riht so ther ben manye of these

Lovers, that thogh thei love a lyte,

That scarsly wolde it weie a myte,

Yit wolde thei have a pound again,

As doth Usure in his bargain.

Bot certes such usure unliche,

It falleth more unto the riche,

Als wel of love as of beyete,

Than unto hem that be noght grete,

And, as who seith, ben simple and povere;

4420For sielden is whan thei recovere,

Bot if it be thurgh gret decerte.

And natheles men se poverte

With porsuite and continuance

Fulofte make a gret chevance

And take of love his avantage,

Forth with the help of his brocage,

That maken seme wher is noght.

And thus fulofte is love boght

For litel what, and mochel take,

4430With false weyhtes that thei make.

Nou, Sone, of that I seide above

Thou wost what Usure is of love:

Tell me forthi what so thou wilt,

If thou therof hast eny gilt.

Mi fader, nay, for ought I hiere.

For of tho pointz ye tolden hiere

I wol you be mi trouthe assure,

Mi weyhte of love and mi mesure

Hath be mor large and mor certein

4440Than evere I tok of love ayein:

For so yit couthe I nevere of sleyhte,

To take ayein be double weyhte

Of love mor than I have yive.

For als so wiss mot I be schrive

And have remission of Sinne,

As so yit couthe I nevere winne,

Ne yit so mochel, soth to sein,

That evere I mihte have half ayein

Of so full love as I have lent:

4450And if myn happ were so wel went,

That for the hole I mihte have half,

Me thenkth I were a goddeshalf.

For where Usure wole have double,

Mi conscience is noght so trouble,

I biede nevere as to my del

Bot of the hole an halvendel;

That is non excess, as me thenketh.

Bot natheles it me forthenketh;

For wel I wot that wol noght be,

4460For every day the betre I se

That hou so evere I yive or lene

Mi love in place ther I mene,

For oght that evere I axe or crave,

I can nothing ayeinward have.

Bot yit for that I wol noght lete,

What so befalle of mi beyete,

That I ne schal hire yive and lene

Mi love and al mi thoght so clene,

That toward me schal noght beleve.

4470And if sche of hire goode leve

Rewarde wol me noght again,

I wot the laste of my bargain

Schal stonde upon so gret a lost,

That I mai neveremor the cost

Recovere in this world til I die.

So that touchende of this partie

I mai me wel excuse and schal;

And forto speke forth withal,

If eny brocour for me wente,

4480That point cam nevere in myn entente:

So that the more me merveilleth,

What thing it is mi ladi eilleth,

That al myn herte and al my time

Sche hath, and doth no betre bime.

I have herd seid that thoght is fre,

And natheles in privete

To you, mi fader, that ben hiere

Min hole schrifte forto hiere,

I dar min herte wel desclose.

4490Touchende usure, as I suppose,

Which as ye telle in love is used,

Mi ladi mai noght ben excused;

That for o lokinge of hire ye5

Min hole herte til I dye

With al that evere I may and can

Sche hath me wonne to hire man:

Wherof, me thenkth, good reson wolde

That sche somdel rewarde scholde,

And yive a part, ther sche hath al.

4500I not what falle hierafter schal,

Bot into nou yit dar I sein,

Hire liste nevere yive ayein

A goodli word in such a wise,

Wherof min hope mihte arise,

Mi grete love to compense.

I not hou sche hire conscience

Excuse wole of this usure;

Be large weyhte and gret mesure

Sche hath mi love, and I have noght

4510Of that which I have diere boght,

And with myn herte I have it paid;

Bot al that is asyde laid,

And I go loveles aboute.

Hire oghte stonde if ful gret doute,

Til sche redresce such a sinne,

That sche wole al mi love winne

And yifth me noght to live by:

Noght als so moche as “grant mercy”

Hir list to seie, of which I mihte

4520Som of mi grete peine allyhte.

Bot of this point, lo, thus I fare

As he that paith for his chaffare,

And beith it diere, and yit hath non,

So mot he nedes povere gon:

Thus beie I diere and have no love,

That I ne mai noght come above

To winne of love non encress.

Bot I me wole natheles

Touchende usure of love aquite;

4530And if mi ladi be to wyte,

I preie to god such grace hir sende

That sche be time it mot amende.

Mi Sone, of that thou hast ansuerd

Touchende Usure I have al herd,

Hou thou of love hast wonne smale:

Bot that thou tellest in thi tale

And thi ladi therof accusest,

Me thenkth tho wordes thou misusest.

For be thin oghne knowlechinge

4540Thou seist hou sche for o lokinge

Thin hole herte fro the tok:

Sche mai be such, that hire o lok

Is worth thin herte manyfold;

So hast thou wel thin herte sold,

Whan thou hast that is more worth.

And ek of that thou tellest forth,

Hou that hire weyhte of love unevene

Is unto thin, under the hevene

Stod nevere in evene that balance

4550Which stant in loves governance.

Such is the statut of his lawe,

That thogh thi love more drawe

And peise in the balance more,

Thou miht noght axe ayein therfore

Of duete, bot al of grace.

For love is lord in every place,

Ther mai no lawe him justefie

Be reddour ne be compaignie,

That he ne wole after his wille

4560Whom that him liketh spede or spille.

To love a man mai wel beginne,

Bot whether he schal lese or winne,

That wot noman til ate laste:

Forthi coveite noght to faste,

Mi Sone, bot abyd thin ende,

Per cas al mai to goode wende.

Bot that thou hast me told and said,

Of o thing I am riht wel paid,

That thou be sleyhte ne be guile

4570Of no brocour hast otherwhile

Engined love, for such dede

Is sore venged, as I rede.

Brocours of love that deceiven,

No wonder is thogh thei receiven

After the wrong that thei decerven;

For whom as evere that thei serven

And do plesance for a whyle,

Yit ate laste here oghne guile

Upon here oghne hed descendeth,

4580Which god of his vengance sendeth,

As be ensample of time go

A man mai finde it hath be so.

It fell somtime, as it was sene,

The hihe goddesse and the queene

Juno tho hadde in compainie

A Maiden full of tricherie;

For sche was evere in on acord

With Jupiter, that was hire lord,

To gete him othre loves newe,

4590Thurgh such brocage and was untrewe

Al otherwise than him nedeth.

Bot sche, which of no schame dredeth,

With queinte wordes and with slyhe

Blente in such wise hir lady yhe,

As sche to whom that Juno triste,

So that therof sche nothing wiste.

Bot so prive mai be nothing,

That it ne comth to knowleching;

Thing don upon the derke nyht

4600Is after knowe on daies liht:

So it befell, that ate laste

Al that this slyhe maiden caste

Was overcast and overthrowe.

For as the sothe mot be knowe,

To Juno was don understonde

In what manere hir housebonde

With fals brocage hath take usure

Of love mor than his mesure,

Whan he tok othre than his wif,

4610Wherof this mayden was gultif,

Which hadde ben of his assent.

And thus was al the game schent;

She soffreth him, as sche mot nede,

Bot the brocour of his misdede,

Sche which hir conseil yaf therto,

On hire is the vengance do:

For Juno with hire wordes hote,

This Maiden, which Eccho was hote,

Reproveth and seith in this wise:

4620“O traiteresse, of which servise

Hast thou thin oghne ladi served!

Thou hast gret peine wel deserved,

That thou canst maken it so queinte,

Thi slyhe wordes forto peinte

Towardes me, that am thi queene,

Wherof thou madest me to wene

That myn housbonde trewe were,

Whan that he loveth elleswhere,

Al be it so him nedeth noght.

4630Bot upon thee it schal be boght,

Which art prive to tho doinges,

And me fulofte of thi lesinges

Deceived hast: nou is the day

That I thi while aquite may;

And for thou hast to me conceled

That my lord hath with othre deled,

I schal thee sette in such a kende,

That evere unto the worldes ende

Al that thou hierest thou schalt telle,

4640And clappe it out as doth a belle.”

And with that word sche was forschape,

Ther may no vois hire mouth ascape,

What man that in the wodes crieth,

Withoute faile Eccho replieth,

And what word that him list to sein,

The same word sche seith ayein.

Thus sche, which whilom hadde leve

To duelle in chambre, mot beleve

In wodes and on helles bothe,

4650For such brocage as wyves lothe,

Which doth here lordes hertes change

And love in other place strange.

Forthi, if evere it so befalle,

That thou, mi Sone, amonges alle

Be wedded man, hold that thou hast,

For thanne al other love is wast.

O wif schal wel to thee suffise,

And thanne, if thou for covoitise

Of love woldest axe more,

4660Thou scholdest don ayein the lore

Of alle hem that trewe be.

Mi fader, as in this degre

My conscience is noght accused;

For I no such brocage have used,

Wherof that lust of love is wonne.

Forthi spek forth, as ye begonne,

Of Avarice upon mi schrifte.

Mi Sone, I schal the branches schifte

Be ordre so as thei ben set,

4670On whom no good is wel beset.

Blinde Avarice of his lignage

For conseil and for cousinage,

To be withholde ayein largesse,

Hath on, whos name is seid Skarsnesse,

The which is kepere of his hous,

And is so thurghout averous,

That he no good let out of honde;

Thogh god himself it wolde fonde,

Of yifte scholde he nothing have;

4680And if a man it wolde crave,

He moste thanne faile nede,

Wher god himselve mai noght spede.

And thus Skarsnesse in every place

Be reson mai no thonk porchace,

And natheles in his degree

Above all othre most prive

With Avarice stant he this.

For he governeth that ther is

In ech astat of his office

4690After the reule of thilke vice;

He takth, he kepth, he halt, he bint,

That lihtere is to fle the flint

Than gete of him in hard or neisshe

Only the value of a reysshe

Of good in helpinge of an other,

Noght thogh it were his oghne brother.

For in the cas of yifte and lone

Stant every man for him al one,

Him thenkth of his unkindeschipe

4700That him nedeth no felaschipe:

Be so the bagge and he acorden,

Him reccheth noght what men recorden

Of him, or it be evel or good.

For al his trust is on his good,

So that al one he falleth ofte,

Whan he best weneth stonde alofte,

Als wel in love as other wise;

For love is evere of som reprise

To him that wole his love holde.

4710Forthi, mi Sone, as thou art holde,

Touchende of this tell me thi schrifte:

Hast thou be scars or large of yifte

Unto thi love, whom thou servest?

For after that thou wel deservest

Of yifte, thou miht be the bet;

For that good holde I wel beset,

For why thou miht the betre fare;

Thanne is no wisdom forto spare.

For thus men sein, in every nede

4720He was wys that ferst made mede;

For where as mede mai noght spede,

I not what helpeth other dede:

Fulofte he faileth of his game

That wol with ydel hand reclame

His hauk, as many a nyce doth.

Forthi, mi Sone, tell me soth

And sei the trouthe, if thou hast be

Unto thy love or skars or fre.

Mi fader, it hath stonde thus,

4730That if the tresor of Cresus

And al the gold Octovien,

Forth with the richesse Yndien

Of Perles and of riche stones,

Were al togedre myn at ones,

I sette it at nomore acompte

Than wolde a bare straw amonte,

To yive it hire al in a day,

Be so that to that suete may

I myhte like or more or lesse.

4740And thus be cause of my scarsnesse

Ye mai wel understonde and lieve

That I schal noght the worse achieve

The pourpos which is in my thoght.

Bot yit I yaf hir nevere noght,

Ne therto dorste a profre make;

For wel I wot sche wol noght take,

And yive wol sche noght also,

Sche is eschu of bothe tuo.

And this I trowe be the skile

4750Towardes me, for sche ne wile

That I have eny cause of hope,

Noght also mochel as a drope.

Bot toward othre, as I mai se,

Sche takth and yifth in such degre,

That as be weie of frendlihiede

Sche can so kepe hir wommanhiede,

That every man spekth of hir wel.

Bot sche wole take of me no del,

And yit sche wot wel that I wolde

4760Yive and do bothe what I scholde

To plesen hire in al my myht:

Be reson this wot every wyht,

For that mai be no weie asterte,

Ther sche is maister of the herte,

Sche mot be maister of the good.

For god wot wel that al my mod

And al min herte and al mi thoght

And al mi good, whil I have oght,

Als freliche as god hath it yive,

4770It schal ben hires, while I live,

Riht as hir list hirself commande.

So that it nedeth no demande,

To axe of me if I be scars

To love, for as to tho pars

I wole ansuere and seie no.

Mi Sone, that is riht wel do.

For often times of scarsnesse

It hath be sen, that for the lesse

Is lost the more, as thou schalt hiere

4780A tale lich to this matiere.

Skarsnesse and love acorden nevere,

For every thing is wel the levere,

Whan that a man hath boght it diere:

And forto speke in this matiere,

For sparinge of a litel cost

Fulofte time a man hath lost

The large cote for the hod.

What man that scars is of his good

And wol noght yive, he schal noght take:

4790With yifte a man mai undertake

The hihe god to plese and queme,

With yifte a man the world mai deme;

For every creature bore,

If thou him yive, is glad therfore,

And every gladschipe, as I finde,

Is confort unto loves kinde

And causeth ofte a man to spede.

So was he wys that ferst yaf mede,

For mede kepeth love in house;

4800Bot wher the men ben coveitouse

And sparen forto yive a part,

Thei knowe noght Cupides art:

For his fortune and his aprise

Desdeigneth alle coveitise

And hateth alle nygardie.

And forto loke of this partie,

A soth ensample, hou it is so,

I finde write of Babio;

Which hadde a love at his menage,

4810Ther was non fairere of hire age,

And hihte Viola be name;

Which full of youthe and ful of game

Was of hirself, and large and fre,

Bot such an other chinche as he

Men wisten noght in al the lond,

And hadde affaited to his hond

His servant, the which Spodius

Was hote. And in this wise thus

The worldes good of sufficance

4820Was had, bot likinge and plesance,

Of that belongeth to richesse

Of love, stod in gret destresse;

So that this yonge lusty wyht

Of thing which fell to loves riht

Was evele served overal,

That sche was wo bego withal,

Til that Cupide and Venus eke

A medicine for the seke

Ordeigne wolden in this cas.

4830So as fortune thanne was,

Of love upon the destine

It fell, riht as it scholde be,

A freissh, a fre, a frendly man

That noght of Avarice can,

Which Croceus be name hihte,

Toward this swete caste his sihte,

And ther sche was cam in presence.

Sche sih him large of his despence,

And amorous and glad of chiere,

4840So that hir liketh wel to hiere

The goodly wordes whiche he seide;

And therupon of love he preide,

Of love was al that he mente,

To love and for sche scholde assente,

He yaf hire yiftes evere among.

Bot for men sein that mede is strong,

It was wel seene at thilke tyde;

For as it scholde of ryht betyde,

This Viola largesce hath take

4850And the nygard sche hath forsake:

Of Babio sche wol no more,

For he was grucchende everemore,

Ther was with him non other fare

Bot forto prinche and forto spare,

Of worldes muk to gete encress.

So goth the wrecche loveles,

Bejaped for his Skarcete,

And he that large was and fre

And sette his herte to despende,

4860This Croceus, the bowe bende,

Which Venus tok him forto holde,

And schotte als ofte as evere he wolde.

Lo, thus departeth love his lawe,

That what man wol noght be felawe

To yive and spende, as I thee telle,

He is noght worthi forto duelle

In loves court to be relieved.

Forthi, my Sone, if I be lieved,

Thou schalt be large of thi despence.

4870Mi fader, in mi conscience

If ther be eny thing amis,

I wol amende it after this,

Toward mi love namely.

Mi Sone, wel and redely

Thou seist, so that wel paid withal

I am, and forthere if I schal

Unto thi schrifte specefie

Of Avarices progenie

What vice suieth after this,

4880Thou schalt have wonder hou it is,

Among the folk in eny regne

That such a vice myhte regne,

Which is comun at alle assaies,

As men mai finde nou adaies.

The vice lik unto the fend,

Which nevere yit was mannes frend,

And cleped is Unkindeschipe,

Of covine and of felaschipe

With Avarice he is withholde.

4890Him thenkth he scholde noght ben holde

Unto the moder which him bar;

Of him mai nevere man be war,

He wol noght knowe the merite,

For that he wolde it noght aquite;

Which in this world is mochel used,

And fewe ben therof excused.

To telle of him is endeles,

Bot this I seie natheles,

Wher as this vice comth to londe,

4900Ther takth noman his thonk on honde;

Thogh he with alle his myhtes serve,

He schal of him no thonk deserve.

He takth what eny man wol yive,

Bot whil he hath o day to live,

He wol nothing rewarde ayein;

He gruccheth forto yive o grein,

Wher he hath take a berne full.

That makth a kinde herte dull,

To sette his trust in such frendschipe,

4910Ther as he fint no kindeschipe;

And forto speke wordes pleine,

Thus hiere I many a man compleigne,

That nou on daies thou schalt finde

At nede fewe frendes kinde;

What thou hast don for hem tofore,

It is foryete, as it were lore.

The bokes speken of this vice,

And telle hou god of his justice,

Be weie of kinde and ek nature

4920And every lifissh creature,

The lawe also, who that it kan,

Thei dampnen an unkinde man.

It is al on to seie unkinde

As thing which don is ayein kinde,

For it with kinde nevere stod

A man to yelden evel for good.

For who that wolde taken hede,

A beste is glad of a good dede,

And loveth thilke creature

4930After the lawe of his nature

Which doth him ese. And forto se

Of this matiere Auctorite,

Fulofte time it hath befalle;

Wherof a tale amonges alle,

Which is of olde ensamplerie,

I thenke forto specefie.

To speke of an unkinde man,

I finde hou whilom Adrian,

Of Rome which a gret lord was,

4940Upon a day as he per cas

To wode in his huntinge wente,

It hapneth at a soudein wente,

After his chace as he poursuieth,

Thurgh happ, the which noman eschuieth,

He fell unwar into a pet,

Wher that it mihte noght be let.

The pet was dep and he fell lowe,

That of his men non myhte knowe

Wher he becam, for non was nyh,

4950Which of his fall the meschief syh.

And thus al one ther he lay

Clepende and criende al the day

For socour and deliverance,

Til ayein Eve it fell per chance,

A while er it began to nyhte,

A povere man, which Bardus hihte,

Cam forth walkende with his asse,

And hadde gadred him a tasse

Of grene stickes and of dreie

4960To selle, who that wolde hem beie,

As he which hadde no liflode,

Bot whanne he myhte such a lode

To toune with his Asse carie.

And as it fell him forto tarie

That ilke time nyh the pet,

And hath the trusse faste knet,

He herde a vois, which cride dimme,

And he his Ere to the brimme

Hath leid, and herde it was a man,

4970Which seide, “Ha, help hier Adrian,

And I wol yiven half mi good.”

The povere man this understod,

As he that wolde gladly winne,

And to this lord which was withinne

He spak and seide, “If I thee save,

What sikernesse schal I have

Of covenant, that afterward

Thou wolt me yive such reward

As thou behihtest nou tofore?”

4980That other hath his othes swore

Be hevene and be the goddes alle,

If that it myhte so befalle

That he out of the pet him broghte,

Of all the goodes whiche he oghte

He schal have evene halvendel.

This Bardus seide he wolde wel;

And with this word his Asse anon

He let untrusse, and therupon

Doun goth the corde into the pet,

4990To which he hath at ende knet

A staf, wherby, he seide, he wolde

That Adrian him scholde holde.

Bot it was tho per chance falle,

Into that pet was also falle

An Ape, which at thilke throwe,

Whan that the corde cam doun lowe,

Al sodeinli therto he skipte

And it in bothe hise armes clipte.

And Bardus with his Asse anon

5000Him hath updrawe, and he is gon.

But whan he sih it was an Ape,

He wende al hadde ben a jape

Of faierie, and sore him dradde:

And Adrian eftsone gradde

For help, and cride and preide faste,

And he eftsone his corde caste;

Bot whan it cam unto the grounde,

A gret Serpent it hath bewounde,

The which Bardus anon up drouh.

5010And thanne him thoghte wel ynouh,

It was fantosme, bot yit he herde

The vois, and he therto ansuerde,

“What wiht art thou in goddes name?”

“I am,” quod Adrian, “the same,

Whos good thou schalt have evene half.”

Quod Bardus, “Thanne a goddes half

The thridde time assaie I schal”:

And caste his corde forth withal

Into the pet, and whan it cam

5020To him, this lord of Rome it nam,

And therupon him hath adresced,

And with his hand fulofte blessed,

And thanne he bad to Bardus hale.

And he, which understod his tale,

Betwen him and his Asse al softe

Hath drawe and set him up alofte

Withouten harm al esely.

He seith noght ones “grant merci,”

Bot strauhte him forth to the cite,

5030And let this povere Bardus be.

And natheles this simple man

His covenant, so as he can,

Hath axed; and that other seide,

If so be that he him umbreide

Of oght that hath be speke or do,

It schal ben venged on him so,

That him were betre to be ded.

And he can tho non other red,

But on his asse ayein he caste

5040His trusse, and hieth homward faste:

And whan that he cam hom to bedde,

He tolde his wif hou that he spedde.

Bot finaly to speke oght more

Unto this lord he dradde him sore,

So that a word ne dorste he sein:

And thus upon the morwe ayein,

In the manere as I recorde,

Forth with his Asse and with his corde

To gadre wode, as he dede er,

5050He goth; and whan that he cam ner

Unto the place where he wolde,

He hath his Ape anon beholde,

Which hadde gadred al aboute

Of stickes hiere and there a route,

And leide hem redy to his hond,

Wherof he made his trosse and bond;

Fro dai to dai and in this wise

This Ape profreth his servise,

So that he hadde of wode ynouh.

5060Upon a time and as he drouh

Toward the wode, he sih besyde

The grete gastli Serpent glyde,

Til that sche cam in his presence,

And in hir kinde a reverence

Sche hath him do, and forth withal

A Ston mor briht than a cristall

Out of hir mouth tofore his weie

Sche let doun falle, and wente aweie,

For that he schal noght ben adrad.

5070Tho was this povere Bardus glad,

Thonkende god, and to the Ston

He goth an takth it up anon,

And hath gret wonder in his wit

Hou that the beste him hath aquit,

Wher that the mannes Sone hath failed,

For whom he hadde most travailed.

Bot al he putte in goddes hond,

And torneth hom, and what he fond

Unto his wif he hath it schewed;

5080And thei, that weren bothe lewed,

Acorden that he scholde it selle.

And he no lengere wolde duelle,

Bot forth anon upon the tale

The Ston he profreth to the sale;

And riht as he himself it sette,

The jueler anon forth fette

The gold and made his paiement,

Therof was no delaiement.

Thus whan this Ston was boght and sold,

5090Homward with joie manyfold

This Bardus goth; and whan he cam

Hom to his hous and that he nam

His gold out of his Purs, withinne

He fond his Ston also therinne,

Wherof for joie his herte pleide,

Unto his wif and thus he seide,

“Lo, hier my gold, lo, hier mi Ston!”

His wif hath wonder therupon,

And axeth him hou that mai be.

5100“Nou be mi trouthe I not,” quod he,

“Bot I dar swere upon a bok,

That to my Marchant I it tok,

And he it hadde whan I wente:

So knowe I noght to what entente

It is nou hier, bot it be grace.

Forthi tomorwe in other place

I wole it fonde forto selle,

And if it wol noght with him duelle,

Bot crepe into mi purs ayein,

5110Than dar I saufly swere and sein,

It is the vertu of the Ston.”

The morwe cam, and he is gon

To seche aboute in other stede

His Ston to selle, and he so dede,

And lefte it with his chapman there.

Bot whan that he cam elleswhere,

In presence of his wif at hom,

Out of his Purs and that he nom

His gold, he fond his Ston withal:

5120And thus it fell him overal,

Where he it solde in sondri place,

Such was the fortune and the grace.

Bot so wel may nothing ben hidd,

That it nys ate laste kidd:

This fame goth aboute Rome

So ferforth, that the wordes come

To themperour Justinian;

And he let sende for the man,

And axede him hou that it was.

5130And Bardus tolde him al the cas,

Hou that the worm and ek the beste,

Althogh thei maden no beheste,

His travail hadden wel aquit;

Bot he which hadde a mannes wit,

And made his covenant be mouthe

And swor therto al that he couthe

To parte and yiven half his good,

Hath nou foryete hou that it stod,

As he which wol no trouthe holde.

5140This Emperour al that he tolde

Hath herd, and thilke unkindenesse

He seide he wolde himself redresse.

And thus in court of juggement

This Adrian was thanne assent,

And the querele in audience

Declared was in the presence

Of themperour and many mo;

Wherof was mochel speche tho

And gret wondringe among the press.

5150Bot ate laste natheles

For the partie which hath pleigned

The lawe hath diemed and ordeigned

Be hem that were avised wel,

That he schal have the halvendel

Thurghout of Adrianes good.

And thus of thilke unkinde blod

Stant the memoire into this day,

Wherof that every wysman may

Ensamplen him, and take in mynde

5160What schame it is to ben unkinde;

Ayein the which reson debateth,

And every creature it hateth.

Forthi, mi Sone, in thin office

I rede fle that ilke vice.

For riht as the Cronique seith

Of Adrian, hou he his feith

Foryat for worldes covoitise,

Fulofte in such a maner wise

Of lovers nou a man mai se

5170Full manye that unkinde be:

For wel behote and evele laste

That is here lif; for ate laste,

Whan that thei have here wille do,

Here love is after sone ago.

What seist thou, Sone, to this cas?

Mi fader, I wol seie Helas,

That evere such a man was bore,

Which whan he hath his trouthe suore

And hath of love what he wolde,

5180That he at eny time scholde

Evere after in his herte finde

To falsen and to ben unkinde.

Bot, fader, as touchende of me,

I mai noght stonde in that degre;

For I tok nevere of love why,

That I ne mai wel go therby

And do my profit elles where,

For eny sped I finde there.

I dar wel thenken al aboute,

5190Bot I ne dar noght speke it oute;

And if I dorste, I wolde pleigne,

That sche for whom I soffre peine

And love hir evere aliche hote,

That nouther yive ne behote

In rewardinge of mi servise

It list hire in no maner wise.

I wol noght say that sche is kinde,

And forto sai sche is unkinde,

That dar I noght; bot god above,

5200Which demeth every herte of love,

He wot that on myn oghne side

Schal non unkindeschipe abide:

If it schal with mi ladi duelle,

Therof dar I nomore telle.

Nou, goode fader, as it is,

Tell me what thenketh you of this.

Mi Sone, of that unkindeschipe,

The which toward thi ladischipe

Thou pleignest, for sche wol thee noght,

5210Thou art to blamen of that thoght.

For it mai be that thi desir,

Thogh it brenne evere as doth the fyr,

Per cas to hire honour missit,

Or elles time com noght yit,

Which standt upon thi destine:

Forthi, mi Sone, I rede thee,

Thenk wel, what evere the befalle;

For noman hath his lustes alle.

Bot as thou toldest me before

5220That thou to love art noght forswore,

And hast don non unkindenesse,

Thou miht therof thi grace blesse:

And lef noght that continuance;

For ther mai be no such grevance

To love, as is unkindeschipe.

Wherof to kepe thi worschipe,

So as these olde bokes tale,

I schal thee telle a redi tale:

Nou herkne and be wel war therby,

5230For I wol telle it openly.

Mynos, as telleth the Poete,

The which whilom was king of Crete,

A Sone hadde and Androchee

He hihte: and so befell that he

Unto Athenes forto lere

Was send, and so he bar him there,

For that he was of hih lignage,

Such pride he tok in his corage,

That he foryeten hath the Scoles,

5240And in riote among the foles

He dede manye thinges wronge;

And useth thilke lif so longe,

Til ate laste of that he wroghte

He fond the meschief which he soghte,

Wherof it fell that he was slain.

His fader, which it herde sain,

Was wroth, and al that evere he mihte,

Of men of Armes he him dighte

A strong pouer, and forth he wente

5250Unto Athenys, where he brente

The pleine contre al aboute:

The Cites stode of him in doute,

As thei that no defence hadde

Ayein the pouer which he ladde.

Eges, which was there king,

His conseil tok upon this thing,

For he was thanne in the Cite:

So that of pes into tretee

Betwen Mynos and Eges

5260Thei felle, and ben acorded thus;

That king Mynos fro yer to yeere

Receive schal, as thou schalt here,

Out of Athenys for truage

Of men that were of myhti Age

Persones nyne, of whiche he schal

His wille don in special

For vengance of his Sones deth.

Non other grace ther ne geth,

Bot forto take the juise;

5270And that was don in such a wise,

Which stod upon a wonder cas.

For thilke time so it was,

Wherof that men yit rede and singe,

King Mynos hadde in his kepinge

A cruel Monstre, as seith the geste:

For he was half man and half beste,

And Minotaurus he was hote,

Which was begete in a riote

Upon Pasiphe, his oghne wif,

5280Whil he was oute upon the strif

Of thilke grete Siege at Troie.

Bot sche, which lost hath alle joie,

Whan that sche syh this Monstre bore,

Bad men ordeigne anon therfore:

And fell that ilke time thus,

Ther was a Clerk, on Dedalus,

Which hadde ben of hire assent

Of that hir world was so miswent;

And he made of his oghne wit,

5290Wherof the remembrance is yit,

For Minotaure such an hous,

Which was so strange and merveilous,

That what man that withinne wente,

Ther was so many a sondri wente,

That he ne scholde noght come oute,

But gon amased al aboute.

And in this hous to loke and warde

Was Minotaurus put in warde,

That what lif that therinne cam,

5300Or man or beste, he overcam

And slow, and fedde him therupon;

And in this wise many on

Out of Athenys for truage

Devoured weren in that rage.

For every yeer thei schope hem so,

Thei of Athenys, er thei go

Toward that ilke wofull chance,

As it was set in ordinance,

Upon fortune here lot thei caste;

5310Til that Theses ate laste,

Which was the kinges Sone there,

Amonges othre that ther were

In thilke yeer, as it befell,

The lot upon his chance fell.

He was a worthi kniht withalle;

And whan he sih this chance falle,

He ferde as thogh he tok non hiede,

Bot al that evere he mihte spiede,

With him and with his felaschipe

5320Forth into Crete he goth be Schipe;

Wher that the king Mynos he soghte,

And profreth all that he him oghte

Upon the point of here acord.

This sterne king, this cruel lord

Tok every day on of the Nyne,

And put him to the discipline

Of Minotaure, to be devoured;

Bot Theses was so favoured,

That he was kept til ate laste.

5330And in the meene while he caste

What thing him were best to do:

And fell that Adriagne tho,

Which was the dowhter of Mynos,

And hadde herd the worthi los

Of Theses and of his myht,

And syh he was a lusti kniht,

Hire hole herte on him sche leide,

And he also of love hir preide,

So ferforth that thei were al on.

5340And sche ordeigneth thanne anon

In what manere he scholde him save,

And schop so that sche dede him have

A clue of thred, of which withinne

Ferst ate dore he schal beginne

With him to take that on ende,

That whan he wolde ayeinward wende,

He mihte go the same weie.

And over this, so as I seie,

Of pich sche tok him a pelote,

5350The which he scholde into the throte

Of Minotaure caste rihte:

Such wepne also for him sche dighte,

That he be reson mai noght faile

To make an ende of his bataile;

For sche him tawhte in sondri wise,

Til he was knowe of thilke emprise,

Hou he this beste schulde quelle.

And thus, schort tale forto telle,

So as this Maide him hadde tawht,

5360Theses with this Monstre fawht,

Smot of his hed, the which he nam,

And be the thred, so as he cam,

He goth ayein, til he were oute.

Tho was gret wonder al aboute:

Mynos the tribut hath relessed,

And so was al the werre cessed

Betwen Athene and hem of Crete.

Bot now to speke of thilke suete,

Whos beaute was withoute wane,

5370This faire Maiden Adriane,

Whan that sche sih Theses sound,

Was nevere yit upon the ground

A gladder wyht that sche was tho.

Theses duelte a dai or tuo

Wher that Mynos gret chiere him dede:

Theses in a prive stede

Hath with this Maiden spoke and rouned,

That sche to him was abandouned

In al that evere that sche couthe,

5380So that of thilke lusty youthe

Al prively betwen hem tweie

The ferste flour he tok aweie.

For he so faire tho behihte

That evere, whil he live mihte,

He scholde hire take for his wif,

And as his oghne hertes lif

He scholde hire love and trouthe bere;

And sche, which mihte noght forbere,

So sore loveth him ayein,

5390That what as evere he wolde sein

With al hire herte sche believeth.

And thus his pourpos he achieveth,

So that assured of his trouthe

With him sche wente, and that was routhe.

Fedra hire yonger Soster eke,

A lusti Maide, a sobre, a meke,

Fulfild of alle curtesie,

For Sosterhode and compainie

Of love, which was hem betuene,

5400To sen hire Soster mad a queene,

Hire fader lefte and forth sche wente

With him, which al his ferste entente

Foryat withinne a litel throwe,

So that it was al overthrowe,

Whan sche best wende it scholde stonde.

The Schip was blowe fro the londe,

Wherin that thei seilende were;

This Adriagne hath mochel fere

Of that the wynd so loude bleu,

5410As sche which of the See ne kneu,

And preide forto reste a whyle.

And so fell that upon an yle,

Which Chyo hihte, thei ben drive,

Where he to hire his leve hath yive

That sche schal londe and take hire reste.

Bot that was nothing for the beste:

For whan sche was to londe broght,

Sche, which that time thoghte noght

Bot alle trouthe, and tok no kepe,

5420Hath leid hire softe forto slepe,

As sche which longe hath ben forwacched;

Bot certes sche was evele macched

And fer from alle loves kinde;

For more than the beste unkinde

Theses, which no trouthe kepte,

Whil that this yonge ladi slepte,

Fulfild of his unkindeschipe

Hath al foryete the goodschipe

Which Adriane him hadde do,

5430And bad unto the Schipmen tho

Hale up the seil and noght abyde,

And forth he goth the same tyde

Toward Athene, and hire alonde

He lefte, which lay nyh the stronde

Slepende, til that sche awok.

Bot whan that sche cast up hire lok

Toward the stronde and sih no wyht,

Hire herte was so sore aflyht,

That sche ne wiste what to thinke,

5440Bot drouh hire to the water brinke,

Wher sche behield the See at large.

Sche sih no Schip, sche sih no barge

Als ferforth as sche mihte kenne:

“Ha lord,” sche seide, “which a Senne,

As al the world schal after hiere,

Upon this woful womman hiere

This worthi kniht hath don and wroght!

I wende I hadde his love boght,

And so deserved ate nede,

5450Whan that he stod upon his drede,

And ek the love he me behihte.

It is gret wonder hou he mihte

Towardes me nou ben unkinde,

And so to lete out of his mynde

Thing which he seide his oghne mouth.

Bot after this whan it is couth

And drawe into the worldes fame,

It schal ben hindringe of his name:

For wel he wot and so wot I,

5460He yaf his trouthe bodily,

That he myn honour scholde kepe.”

And with that word sche gan to wepe,

And sorweth more than ynouh:

Hire faire tresces sche todrouh,

And with hirself tok such a strif,

That sche betwen the deth and lif

Swounende lay fulofte among.

And al was this on him along,

Which was to love unkinde so,

5470Wherof the wrong schal everemo

Stonde in Cronique of remembrance.

And ek it asketh a vengance

To ben unkinde in loves cas,

So as Theses thanne was,

Al thogh he were a noble kniht;

For he the lawe of loves riht

Forfeted hath in alle weie,

That Adriagne he putte aweie,

Which was a gret unkinde dede:

5480And after this, so as I rede,

Fedra, the which hir Soster is,

He tok in stede of hire, and this

Fel afterward to mochel teene.

For thilke vice of which I meene,

Unkindeschipe, where it falleth,

The trouthe of mannes herte it palleth,

That he can no good dede aquite:

So mai he stonde of no merite

Towardes god, and ek also

5490Men clepen him the worldes fo;

For he nomore than the fend

Unto non other man is frend,

Bot al toward himself al one.

Forthi, mi Sone, in thi persone

This vice above all othre fle.

Mi fader, as ye techen me,

I thenke don in this matiere.

Bot over this nou wolde I hiere,

Wherof I schal me schryve more.

5500Mi goode Sone, and for thi lore,

After the reule of coveitise

I schal the proprete devise

Of every vice by and by.

Nou herkne and be wel war therby.

In the lignage of Avarice,

Mi Sone, yit ther is a vice,

His rihte name it is Ravine,

Which hath a route of his covine.

Ravine among the maistres duelleth,

5510And with his servantz, as men telleth,

Extorcion is nou withholde:

Ravine of othre mennes folde

Makth his larder and paieth noght;

For wher as evere it mai be soght,

In his hous ther schal nothing lacke,

And that fulofte abyth the packe

Of povere men that duelle aboute.

Thus stant the comun poeple in doute,

Which can do non amendement;

5520For whanne him faileth paiement,

Ravine makth non other skile,

Bot takth be strengthe what he wile.

So ben ther in the same wise

Lovers, as I thee schal devise,

That whan noght elles mai availe,

Anon with strengthe thei assaile

And gete of love the sesine,

Whan thei se time, be Ravine.

Forthi, mi Sone, schrif thee hier,

5530If thou hast ben a Raviner

Of love. Certes, fader, no:

For I mi ladi love so,

That thogh I were as was Pompeie,

That al the world me wolde obeie,

Or elles such as Alisandre,

I wolde noght do such a sklaundre;

It is no good man, which so doth.

In good feith, Sone, thou seist soth:

For he that wole of pourveance

5540Be such a weie his lust avance,

He schal it after sore abie,

Bot if these olde ensamples lie.

Nou, goode fader, tell me on,

So as ye cunne manyon,

Touchende of love in this matiere.

Nou list, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere,

So as it hath befalle er this,

In loves cause hou that it is

A man to take be Ravine

5550The preie which is femeline.

Ther was a real noble king,

And riche of alle worldes thing,

Which of his propre enheritance

Athenes hadde in governance,

And who so thenke therupon,

His name was king Pandion.

Tuo douhtres hadde he be his wif,

The whiche he lovede as his lif;

The ferste douhter Progne hihte,

5560And the secounde, as sche wel mihte,

Was cleped faire Philomene,

To whom fell after mochel tene.

The fader of his pourveance

His doughter Progne wolde avance,

And yaf hire unto mariage

A worthi king of hih lignage,

A noble kniht eke of his hond,

So was he kid in every lond,

Of Trace he hihte Teres;

5570The clerk Ovide telleth thus.

This Teres his wif hom ladde,

A lusti lif with hire he hadde;

Til it befell upon a tyde,

This Progne, as sche lay him besyde,

Bethoughte hir hou it mihte be

That sche hir Soster myhte se,

And to hir lord hir will sche seide,

With goodly wordes and him preide

That sche to hire mihte go:

5580And if it liked him noght so,

That thanne he wolde himselve wende,

Or elles be som other sende,

Which mihte hire diere Soster griete,

And schape hou that thei mihten miete.

Hir lord anon to that he herde

Yaf his acord, and thus ansuerde:

“I wole,” he seide, “for thi sake

The weie after thi Soster take

Miself, and bringe hire, if I may.”

5590And sche with that, there as he lay,

Began him in hire armes clippe,

And kist him with hir softe lippe,

And seide, “Sire, grant mercy.”

And he sone after was redy,

And tok his leve forto go;

In sori time dede he so.

This Teres goth forth to Schipe

With him and with his felaschipe;

Be See the rihte cours he nam,

5600Into the contre til he cam,

Wher Philomene was duellinge,

And of hir Soster the tidinge

He tolde, and tho thei weren glade,

And mochel joie of him thei made.

The fader and the moder bothe

To leve here douhter weren lothe,

Bot if thei weren in presence;

And natheles at reverence

Of him, that wolde himself travaile,

5610Thei wolden noght he scholde faile

Of that he preide, and yive hire leve:

And sche, that wolde noght beleve,

In alle haste made hire yare

Toward hir Soster forto fare,

With Teres and forth sche wente.

And he with al his hole entente,

Whan sche was fro hir frendes go,

Assoteth of hire love so,

His yhe myhte he noght withholde,

5620That he ne moste on hir beholde;

And with the sihte he gan desire,

And sette his oghne herte on fyre;

And fyr, whan it to tow aprocheth,

To him anon the strengthe acrocheth,

Til with his hete it be devoured,

The tow ne mai noght be socoured.

And so that tirant raviner,

Whan that sche was in his pouer,

And he therto sawh time and place,

5630As he that lost hath alle grace,

Foryat he was a wedded man,

And in a rage on hire he ran,

Riht as a wolf which takth his preie.

And sche began to crie and preie,

“O fader, o mi moder diere,

Nou help!” Bot thei ne mihte it hiere,

And sche was of to litel myht

Defense ayein so ruide a knyht

To make, whanne he was so wod

5640That he no reson understod,

Bot hield hire under in such wise,

That sche ne myhte noght arise,

Bot lay oppressed and desesed,

As if a goshauk hadde sesed

A brid, which dorste noght for fere

Remue: and thus this tirant there

Beraft hire such thing as men sein

Mai neveremor be yolde ayein,

And that was the virginite:

5650Of such Ravine it was pite.

Bot whan sche to hirselven com,

And of hir meschief hiede nom,

And knew hou that sche was no maide,

With wofull herte thus sche saide,

“O thou of alle men the worste,

Wher was ther evere man that dorste

Do such a dede as thou hast do?

That dai schal falle, I hope so,

That I schal telle out al mi fille,

5660And with mi speche I schal fulfille

The wyde world in brede and lengthe.

That thou hast do to me be strengthe,

If I among the poeple duelle,

Unto the poeple I schal it telle;

And if I be withinne wall

Of Stones closed, thanne I schal

Unto the Stones clepe and crie,

And tellen hem thi felonie;

And if I to the wodes wende,

5670Ther schal I tellen tale and ende,

And crie it to the briddes oute,

That thei schul hiere it al aboute.

For I so loude it schal reherce,

That my vois schal the hevene perce,

That it schal soune in goddes Ere.

Ha, false man, where is thi fere?

O mor cruel than eny beste,

Hou hast thou holden thi beheste

Which thou unto my Soster madest?

5680O thou, which alle love ungladest,

And art ensample of alle untrewe,

Nou wolde god mi Soster knewe,

Of thin untrouthe, hou that it stod!”

And he than as a Lyon wod

With hise unhappi handes stronge

Hire cauhte be the tresses longe,

With whiche he bond ther bothe hire armes,

That was a fieble dede of armes,

And to the grounde anon hire caste,

5690And out he clippeth also faste

Hire tunge with a peire scheres.

So what with blod and what with teres

Out of hire yhe and of hir mouth,

He made hire faire face uncouth:

Sche lay swounende unto the deth,

Ther was unethes eny breth;

Bot yit whan he hire tunge refte,

A litel part therof belefte,

Bot sche with al no word mai soune,

5700Bot chitre and as a brid jargoune.

And natheles that wode hound

Hir bodi hent up fro the ground,

And sente hir there as be his wille

Sche scholde abyde in prison stille

For everemo: bot nou tak hiede

What after fell of this misdede.

Whanne al this meschief was befalle,

This Teres, that foule him falle,

Unto his contre hom he tyh;

5710And whan he com his paleis nyh,

His wif al redi there him kepte.

Whan he hir sih, anon he wepte,

And that he dede for deceite,

For sche began to axe him streite,

“Wher is mi Soster?” And he seide

That sche was ded; and Progne abreide,

As sche that was a wofull wif,

And stod betuen hire deth and lif,

Of that sche herde such tidinge:

5720Bot for sche sih hire lord wepinge,

She wende noght bot alle trouthe,

And hadde wel the more routhe.

The Perles weren tho forsake

To hire, and blake clothes take;

As sche that was gentil and kinde,

In worschipe of hir Sostres mynde

Sche made a riche enterement,

For sche fond non amendement

To syghen or to sobbe more:

5730So was ther guile under the gore.

Nou leve we this king and queene,

And torne ayein to Philomene,

As I began to tellen erst.

Whan sche cam into prison ferst,

It thoghte a kinges douhter strange

To maken so soudein a change

Fro welthe unto so grete a wo;

And sche began to thenke tho,

Thogh sche be mouthe nothing preide,

5740Withinne hir herte thus sche seide:

“O thou, almyhty Jupiter,

That hihe sist and lokest fer,

Thou soffrest many a wrong doinge,

And yit it is noght thi willinge.

To thee ther mai nothing ben hid,

Thou wost hou it is me betid:

I wolde I hadde noght be bore,

For thanne I hadde noght forlore

Mi speche and mi virginite.

5750Bot, goode lord, al is in thee,

Whan thou therof wolt do vengance

And schape mi deliverance.”

And evere among this ladi wepte,

And thoghte that sche nevere kepte

To ben a worldes womman more,

And that sche wissheth everemore.

Bot ofte unto hir Soster diere

Hire herte spekth in this manere,

And seide, “Ha, Soster, if ye knewe

5760Of myn astat, ye wolde rewe,

I trowe, and my deliverance

Ye wolde schape, and do vengance

On him that is so fals a man:

And natheles, so as I can,

I wol you sende som tokninge,

Wherof ye schul have knowlechinge

Of thing I wot, that schal you lothe,

The which you toucheth and me bothe.”

And tho withinne a whyle als tyt

5770Sche waf a cloth of Selk al whyt

With lettres and ymagerie,

In which was al the felonie,

Which Teres to hire hath do;

And lappede it togedre tho

And sette hir signet therupon

And sende it unto Progne anon.

The messager which forth it bar,

What it amonteth is noght war;

And natheles to Progne he goth

5780And prively takth hire the cloth,

And wente ayein riht as he cam,

The court of him non hiede nam.

Whan Progne of Philomene herde,

Sche wolde knowe hou that it ferde,

And opneth that the man hath broght,

And wot therby what hath be wroght

And what meschief ther is befalle.

In swoune tho sche gan doun falle,

And efte aros and gan to stonde,

5790And eft sche takth the cloth on honde,

Behield the lettres and thymages;

Bot ate laste, “Of suche oultrages,”

Sche seith, “wepinge is noght the bote:”

And swerth, if that sche live mote,

It schal be venged otherwise.

And with that sche gan hire avise

Hou ferst sche mihte unto hire winne

Hir Soster, that noman withinne,

Bot only thei that were suore,

5800It scholde knowe, and schop therfore

That Teres nothing it wiste;

And yit riht as hirselven liste,

Hir Soster was delivered sone

Out of prison, and be the mone

To Progne sche was broght be nyhte.

Whan ech of other hadde a sihte,

In chambre, ther thei were al one,

Thei maden many a pitous mone;

Bot Progne most of sorwe made,

5810Which sihe hir Soster pale and fade

And specheles and deshonoured,

Of that sche hadde be defloured;

And ek upon hir lord sche thoghte,

Of that he so untreuly wroghte

And hadde his espousaile broke.

Sche makth a vou it schal be wroke,

And with that word sche kneleth doun

Wepinge in gret devocioun:

Unto Cupide and to Venus

5820Sche preide, and seide thanne thus:

“O ye, to whom nothing asterte

Of love mai, for every herte

Ye knowe, as ye that ben above

The god and the goddesse of love;

Ye witen wel that evere yit

With al mi will and al my wit,

Sith ferst ye schopen me to wedde,

That I lay with mi lord abedde,

I have be trewe in mi degre,

5830And evere thoghte forto be,

And nevere love in other place,

Bot al only the king of Trace,

Which is mi lord and I his wif.

Bot nou allas this wofull strif!

That I him thus ayeinward finde

The most untrewe and most unkinde

That evere in ladi armes lay.

And wel I wot that he ne may

Amende his wrong, it is so gret;

5840For he to lytel of me let,

Whan he myn oughne Soster tok,

And me that am his wif forsok.”

Lo, thus to Venus and Cupide

Sche preide, and furthermor sche cride

Unto Appollo the hiheste,

And seide, “O myghti god of reste,

Thou do vengance of this debat.

Mi Soster and al hire astat

Thou wost, and hou sche hath forlore

5850Hir maidenhod, and I therfore

In al the world schal bere a blame

Of that mi Soster hath a schame,

That Teres to hire I sente:

And wel thou wost that myn entente

Was al for worschipe and for goode.

O lord, that yifst the lives fode

To every wyht, I prei thee hiere

Thes wofull Sostres that ben hiere,

And let ous noght to the ben lothe;

5860We ben thin oghne wommen bothe.”

Thus pleigneth Progne and axeth wreche,

And thogh hire Soster lacke speche,

To him that alle thinges wot

Hire sorwe is noght the lasse hot:

Bot he that thanne had herd hem tuo,

Him oughte have sorwed everemo

For sorwe which was hem betuene.

With signes pleigneth Philomene,

And Progne seith, “It schal be wreke,

5870That al the world therof schal speke.”

And Progne tho seknesse feigneth,

Wherof unto hir lord sche pleigneth,

And preith sche moste hire chambres kepe,

And as hir liketh wake and slepe.

And he hire granteth to be so;

And thus togedre ben thei tuo,

That wolde him bot a litel good.

Nou herk hierafter hou it stod

Of wofull auntres that befelle:

5880Thes Sostres, that ben bothe felle —

And that was noght on hem along,

Bot onliche on the grete wrong

Which Teres hem hadde do,-

Thei schopen forto venge hem tho.

This Teres be Progne his wif

A Sone hath, which as his lif

He loveth, and Ithis he hihte:

His moder wiste wel sche mihte

Do Teres no more grief

5890Than sle this child, which was so lief.

Thus sche, that was, as who seith, mad

Of wo, which hath hir overlad,

Withoute insihte of moderhede

Foryat pite and loste drede,

And in hir chambre prively

This child withouten noise or cry

Sche slou, and hieu him al to pieces:

And after with diverse spieces

The fleissh, whan it was so toheewe,

5900Sche takth, and makth therof a sewe,

With which the fader at his mete

Was served, til he hadde him ete;

That he ne wiste hou that it stod,

Bot thus his oughne fleissh and blod

Himself devoureth ayein kinde,

As he that was tofore unkinde.

And thanne, er that he were arise,

For that he scholde ben agrise,

To schewen him the child was ded,

5910This Philomene tok the hed

Betwen tuo disshes, and al wrothe

Tho comen forth the Sostres bothe,

And setten it upon the bord.

And Progne tho began the word,

And seide, “O werste of alle wicke,

Of conscience whom no pricke

Mai stere, lo, what thou hast do!

Lo, hier ben nou we Sostres tuo;

O Raviner, lo hier thi preie,

5920With whom so falsliche on the weie

Thou hast thi tirannye wroght.

Lo, nou it is somdel aboght,

And bet it schal, for of thi dede

The world schal evere singe and rede

In remembrance of thi defame:

For thou to love hast do such schame,

That it schal nevere be foryete.”

With that he sterte up fro the mete,

And schof the bord unto the flor,

5930And cauhte a swerd anon and suor

That thei scholde of his handes dye.

And thei unto the goddes crie

Begunne with so loude a stevene,

That thei were herd unto the hevene;

And in a twinclinge of an yhe

The goddes, that the meschief syhe,

Here formes changen alle thre.

Echon of hem in his degre

Was torned into briddes kinde;

5940Diverseliche, as men mai finde,

After thastat that thei were inne,

Here formes were set atwinne.

And as it telleth in the tale,

The ferst into a nyhtingale

Was schape, and that was Philomene,

Which in the wynter is noght sene,

For thanne ben the leves falle

And naked ben the buisshes alle.

For after that sche was a brid,

5950Hir will was evere to ben hid,

And forto duelle in prive place,

That noman scholde sen hir face

For schame, which mai noght be lassed,

Of thing that was tofore passed,

Whan that sche loste hir maidenhiede:

For evere upon hir wommanhiede,

Thogh that the goddes wolde hire change,

Sche thenkth, and is the more strange,

And halt hir clos the wyntres day.

5960Bot whan the wynter goth away,

And that Nature the goddesse

Wole of hir oughne fre largesse

With herbes and with floures bothe

The feldes and the medwes clothe,

And ek the wodes and the greves

Ben heled al with grene leves,

So that a brid hire hyde mai,

Betwen Averil and March and Maii,

Sche that the wynter hield hir clos,

5970For pure schame and noght aros,

Whan that sche seth the bowes thikke,

And that ther is no bare sticke,

Bot al is hid with leves grene,

To wode comth this Philomene

And makth hir ferste yeres flyht;

Wher as sche singeth day and nyht,

And in hir song al openly

Sche makth hir pleignte and seith, “O why,

O why ne were I yit a maide?”

5980For so these olde wise saide,

Which understoden what sche mente,

Hire notes ben of such entente.

And ek thei seide hou in hir song

Sche makth gret joie and merthe among,

And seith, “Ha, nou I am a brid,

Ha, nou mi face mai ben hid:

Thogh I have lost mi Maidenhede,

Schal noman se my chekes rede.”

Thus medleth sche with joie wo

5990And with hir sorwe merthe also,

So that of loves maladie

Sche makth diverse melodie,

And seith love is a wofull blisse,

A wisdom which can noman wisse,

A lusti fievere, a wounde softe:

This note sche reherceth ofte

To hem whiche understonde hir tale.

Nou have I of this nyhtingale,

Which erst was cleped Philomene,

6000Told al that evere I wolde mene,

Bothe of hir forme and of hir note,

Wherof men mai the storie note.

And of hir Soster Progne I finde,

Hou sche was torned out of kinde

Into a Swalwe swift of winge,

Which ek in wynter lith swounynge,

Ther as sche mai nothing be sene:

Bot whan the world is woxe grene

And comen is the Somertide,

6010Than fleth sche forth and ginth to chide,

And chitreth out in hir langage

What falshod is in mariage,

And telleth in a maner speche

Of Teres the Spousebreche.

Sche wol noght in the wodes duelle,

For sche wolde openliche telle;

And ek for that sche was a spouse,

Among the folk sche comth to house,

To do thes wyves understonde

6020The falshod of hire housebonde,

That thei of hem be war also,

For ther ben manye untrewe of tho.

Thus ben the Sostres briddes bothe,

And ben toward the men so lothe,

That thei ne wole of pure schame

Unto no mannes hand be tame;

For evere it duelleth in here mynde

Of that thei founde a man unkinde,

And that was false Teres.

6030If such on be amonges ous

I not, bot his condicion

Men sein in every region

Withinne toune and ek withoute

Nou regneth comunliche aboute.

And natheles in remembrance

I wol declare what vengance

The goddes hadden him ordeined,

Of that the Sostres hadden pleigned:

For anon after he was changed

6040And from his oghne kinde stranged,

A lappewincke mad he was,

And thus he hoppeth on the gras,

And on his hed ther stant upriht

A creste in tokne he was a kniht;

And yit unto this dai men seith,

A lappewincke hath lore his feith

And is the brid falseste of alle.

Bewar, mi Sone, er thee so falle;

For if thou be of such covine,

6050To gete of love be Ravine

Thi lust, it mai thee falle thus,

As it befell of Teres.

Mi fader, goddes forebode!

Me were levere be fortrode

With wilde hors and be todrawe,

Er I ayein love and his lawe

Dede eny thing or loude or stille,

Which were noght mi ladi wille.

Men sein that every love hath drede;

6060So folweth it that I hire drede,

For I hire love, and who so dredeth,

To plese his love and serve him nedeth.

Thus mai ye knowen be this skile

That no Ravine don I wile

Ayein hir will be such a weie;

Bot while I live, I wol obeie

Abidinge on hire courtesie,

If eny merci wolde hir plie.

Forthi, mi fader, as of this

6070I wot noght I have don amis:

Bot furthermore I you beseche,

Som other point that ye me teche,

And axeth forth, if ther be auht,

That I mai be the betre tauht.

Whan Covoitise in povere astat

Stant with himself upon debat

Thurgh lacke of his misgovernance,

That he unto his sustienance

Ne can non other weie finde

6080To gete him good, thanne as the blinde,

Which seth noght what schal after falle,

That ilke vice which men calle

Of Robberie, he takth on honde;

Wherof be water and be londe

Of thing which othre men beswinke

He get him cloth and mete and drinke.

Him reccheth noght what he beginne,

Thurgh thefte so that he mai winne:

Forthi to maken his pourchas

6090He lith awaitende on the pas,

And what thing that he seth ther passe,

He takth his part, or more or lasse,

If it be worthi to be take.

He can the packes wel ransake,

So prively berth non aboute

His gold, that he ne fint it oute,

Or other juel, what it be;

He takth it as his proprete.

In wodes and in feldes eke

6100Thus Robberie goth to seke,

Wher as he mai his pourpos finde.

And riht so in the same kinde,

My goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,

To speke of love in the matiere

And make a verrai resemblance,

Riht as a thief makth his chevance

And robbeth mennes good aboute

In wode and field, wher he goth oute,

So be ther of these lovers some,

6110In wylde stedes wher thei come

And finden there a womman able,

And therto place covenable,

Withoute leve, er that thei fare,

Thei take a part of that chaffare:

Yee, though sche were a Scheperdesse,

Yit wol the lord of wantounesse

Assaie, althogh sche be unmete,

For other mennes good is swete.

Bot therof wot nothing the wif

6120At hom, which loveth as hir lif

Hir lord, and sitt alday wisshinge

After hir lordes hom comynge:

Bot whan that he comth hom at eve,

Anon he makth his wif beleve,

For sche noght elles scholde knowe:

He telth hire hou his hunte hath blowe,

And hou his houndes have wel runne,

And hou ther schon a merye Sunne,

And hou his haukes flowen wel;

6130Bot he wol telle her nevere a diel

Hou he to love untrewe was,

Of that he robbede in the pas,

And tok his lust under the schawe

Ayein love and ayein his lawe.

Which thing, mi Sone, I thee forbede,

For it is an ungoodly dede.

For who that takth be Robberie

His love, he mai noght justefie

His cause, and so fulofte sithe

6140For ones that he hath be blithe

He schal ben after sory thries.

Ensample of suche Robberies

I finde write, as thou schalt hiere,

Acordende unto this matiere.

I rede hou whilom was a Maide,

The faireste, as Ovide saide,

Which was in hire time tho;

And sche was of the chambre also

Of Pallas, which is the goddesse

6150And wif to Marte, of whom prouesse

Is yove to these worthi knihtes.

For he is of so grete mihtes,

That he governeth the bataille;

Withouten him may noght availe

The stronge hond, bot he it helpe;

Ther mai no knyht of armes yelpe,

Bot he feihte under his banere.

Bot nou to speke of mi matiere,

This faire, freisshe, lusti mai,

6160Al one as sche wente on a dai

Upon the stronde forto pleie,

Ther cam Neptunus in the weie,

Which hath the See in governance;

And in his herte such plesance

He tok, whan he this Maide sih,

That al his herte aros on hih,

For he so sodeinliche unwar

Behield the beaute that sche bar.

And caste anon withinne his herte

6170That sche him schal no weie asterte,

Bot if he take in avantage

Fro thilke maide som pilage,

Noght of the broches ne the Ringes,

Bot of some othre smale thinges

He thoghte parte, er that sche wente;

And hire in bothe hise armes hente,

And putte his hond toward the cofre,

Wher forto robbe he made a profre,

That lusti tresor forto stele,

6180Which passeth othre goodes fele

And cleped is the maidenhede,

Which is the flour of wommanhede.

This Maiden, which Cornix be name

Was hote, dredende alle schame,

Sih that sche mihte noght debate,

And wel sche wiste he wolde algate

Fulfille his lust of Robberie,

Anon began to wepe and crie,

And seide, “O Pallas, noble queene,

6190Scheu nou thi myht and let be sene,

To kepe and save myn honour:

Help, that I lese noght mi flour,

Which nou under thi keie is loke.”

That word was noght so sone spoke,

Whan Pallas schop recoverir

After the will and the desir

Of hire, which a Maiden was,

And sodeinliche upon this cas

Out of hire wommanisshe kinde

6200Into a briddes like I finde

Sche was transformed forth withal,

So that Neptunus nothing stal

Of such thing as he wolde have stole.

With fetheres blake as eny cole

Out of hise armes in a throwe

Sche flih before his yhe a Crowe;

Which was to hire a more delit,

To kepe hire maidenhede whit

Under the wede of fethers blake,

6210In Perles whyte than forsake

That no lif mai restore ayein.

Bot thus Neptune his herte in vein

Hath upon Robberie sett;

The bridd is flowe and he was let,

The faire Maide him hath ascaped,

Wherof for evere he was bejaped

And scorned of that he hath lore.

Mi Sone, be thou war therfore

That thou no maidenhode stele,

6220Wherof men sen deseses fele

Aldai befalle in sondri wise;

So as I schal thee yit devise

An other tale therupon,

Which fell be olde daies gon.

King Lichaon upon his wif

A dowhter hadde, a goodly lif,

A clene Maide of worthi fame,

Calistona whos rihte name

Was cleped, and of many a lord

6230Sche was besoght, bot hire acord

To love myhte noman winne,

As sche which hath no lust therinne;

Bot swor withinne hir herte and saide

That sche wolde evere ben a Maide.

Wherof to kepe hireself in pes,

With suche as Amadriades

Were cleped, wodemaydes, tho,

And with the Nimphes ek also

Upon the spring of freisshe welles

6240Sche schop to duelle and nagher elles.

And thus cam this Calistona

Into the wode of Tegea,

Wher sche virginite behihte

Unto Diane, and therto plihte

Her trouthe upon the bowes grene,

To kepe hir maidenhode clene.

Which afterward upon a day

Was priveliche stole away;

For Jupiter thurgh his queintise

6250From hire it tok in such a wise,

That sodeinliche forth withal

Hire wombe aros and sche toswal,

So that it mihte noght ben hidd.

And therupon it is betidd,

Diane, which it herde telle,

In prive place unto a welle

With Nimphes al a compainie

Was come, and in a ragerie

Sche seide that sche bathe wolde,

6260And bad that every maide scholde

With hire al naked bathe also.

And tho began the prive wo,

Calistona wax red for schame;

Bot thei that knewe noght the game,

To whom no such thing was befalle,

Anon thei made hem naked alle,

As thei that nothing wolden hyde:

Bot sche withdrouh hire evere asyde,

And natheles into the flod,

6270Wher that Diane hirselve stod,

Sche thoghte come unaperceived.

Bot therof sche was al deceived;

For whan sche cam a litel nyh,

And that Diane hire wombe syh,

Sche seide, “Awey, thou foule beste,

For thin astat is noght honeste

This chaste water forto touche;

For thou hast take such a touche,

Which nevere mai ben hol ayein.”

6280And thus goth sche which was forlein

With schame, and fro the Nimphes fledde,

Til whanne that nature hire spedde,

That of a Sone, which Archas

Was named, sche delivered was.

And tho Juno, which was the wif

Of Jupiter, wroth and hastif,

In pourpos forto do vengance

Cam forth upon this ilke chance,

And to Calistona sche spak,

6290And sette upon hir many a lak,

And seide, “Ha, nou thou art atake,

That thou thi werk myht noght forsake.

Ha, thou ungoodlich ypocrite,

Hou thou art gretly forto wyte!

Bot nou thou schalt ful sore abie

That ilke stelthe and micherie,

Which thou hast bothe take and do;

Wherof thi fader Lichao

Schal noght be glad, whan he it wot,

6300Of that his dowhter was so hot,

That sche hath broke hire chaste avou.

Bot I thee schal chastise nou;

Thi grete beaute schal be torned,

Thurgh which that thou hast be mistorned,

Thi large frount, thin yhen greie,

I schal hem change in other weie,

And al the feture of thi face

In such a wise I schal deface,

That every man thee schal forbere.”

6310With that the liknesse of a bere

Sche tok and was forschape anon.

Withinne a time and therupon

Befell that with a bowe on honde,

To hunte and gamen forto fonde,

Into that wode goth to pleie

Hir Sone Archas, and in his weie

It hapneth that this bere cam.

And whan that sche good hiede nam,

Wher that he stod under the bowh,

6320Sche kneu him wel and to him drouh;

For thogh sche hadde hire forme lore,

The love was noght lost therfore

Which kinde hath set under his lawe.

Whan sche under the wodesschawe

Hire child behield, sche was so glad,

That sche with bothe hire armes sprad,

As thogh sche were in wommanhiede,

Toward him cam, and tok non hiede

Of that he bar a bowe bent.

6330And he with that an Arwe hath hent

And gan to teise it in his bowe,

As he that can non other knowe,

Bot that it was a beste wylde.

Bot Jupiter, which wolde schylde

The Moder and the Sone also,

Ordeineth for hem bothe so,

That thei for evere were save.

Bot thus, mi Sone, thou myht have

Ensample, hou that it is to fle

6340To robbe the virginite

Of a yong innocent aweie:

And overthis be other weie,

In olde bokes as I rede,

Such Robberie is forto drede,

And nameliche of thilke good

Which every womman that is good

Desireth forto kepe and holde,

As whilom was be daies olde.

For if thou se mi tale wel

6350Of that was tho, thou miht somdiel

Of old ensample taken hiede,

Hou that the flour of maidenhiede

Was thilke time holde in pris.

And so it was, and so it is,

And so it schal for evere stonde:

And for thou schalt it understonde,

Nou herkne a tale next suiende,

Hou maidenhod is to commende.

Of Rome among the gestes olde

6360I finde hou that Valerie tolde

That what man tho was Emperour

Of Rome, he scholde don honour

To the virgine, and in the weie,

Wher he hire mette, he scholde obeie

In worschipe of virginite,

Which tho was of gret dignite.

Noght onliche of the wommen tho,

Bot of the chaste men also

It was commended overal:

6370And forto speke in special

Touchende of men, ensample I finde,

Phyryns, which was of mannes kinde

Above alle othre the faireste

Of Rome and ek the comelieste,

That wel was hire which him mihte

Beholde and have of him a sihte.

Thus was he tempted ofte sore;

Bot for he wolde be nomore

Among the wommen so coveited,

6380The beaute of his face streited

He hath, and threste out bothe hise yhen,

That alle wommen whiche him syhen

Thanne afterward, of him ne roghte:

And thus his maidehiede he boghte.

So mai I prove wel forthi,

Above alle othre under the Sky,

Who that the vertus wolde peise,

Virginite is forto preise,

Which, as thapocalips recordeth,

6390To Crist in hevene best acordeth.

So mai it schewe wel therfore,

As I have told it hier tofore,

In hevene and ek in Erthe also

It is accept to bothe tuo.

And if I schal more over this

Declare what this vertu is,

I finde write upon this thing

Of Valentinian the king

And Emperour be thilke daies,

6400A worthi knyht at alle assaies,

Hou he withoute Mariage

Was of an hundred wynter Age,

And hadde ben a worthi kniht

Bothe of his lawe and of his myht.

Bot whan men wolde his dedes peise

And his knyhthode of Armes preise,

Of that he dede with his hondes,

Whan he the kinges and the londes

To his subjeccion put under,

6410Of al that pris hath he no wonder,

For he it sette of non acompte,

And seide al that may noght amonte

Ayeins o point which he hath nome,

That he his fleissh hath overcome:

He was a virgine, as he seide;

On that bataille his pris he leide.

Lo nou, my Sone, avise thee.

Yee, fader, al this wel mai be,

Bot if alle othre dede so,

6420The world of men were sone go:

And in the lawe a man mai finde,

Hou god to man be weie of kinde

Hath set the world to multeplie;

And who that wol him justefie,

It is ynouh to do the lawe.

And natheles youre goode sawe

Is good to kepe, who so may,

I wol noght therayein seie nay.

Mi Sone, take it as I seie;

6430If maidenhod be take aweie

Withoute lawes ordinance,

It mai noght failen of vengance.

And if thou wolt the sothe wite,

Behold a tale which is write,

Hou that the King Agamenon,

Whan he the Cite of Lesbon

Hath wonne, a Maiden ther he fond,

Which was the faireste of the Lond

In thilke time that men wiste.

6440He tok of hire what him liste

Of thing which was most precious,

Wherof that sche was dangerous.

This faire Maiden cleped is

Criseide, douhter of Crisis,

Which was that time in special

Of thilke temple principal,

Wher Phebus hadde his sacrifice,

So was it wel the more vice.

Agamenon was thanne in weie

6450To Troieward, and tok aweie

This Maiden, which he with him ladde,

So grete a lust in hire he hadde.

Bot Phebus, which hath gret desdeign

Of that his Maiden was forlein,

Anon as he to Troie cam,

Vengance upon this dede he nam

And sende a comun pestilence.

Thei soghten thanne here evidence

And maden calculacion,

6460To knowe in what condicion

This deth cam in so sodeinly;

And ate laste redyly

The cause and ek the man thei founde:

And forth withal the same stounde

Agamenon opposed was,

Which hath beknowen al the cas

Of the folie which he wroghte.

And therupon mercy thei soghte

Toward the god in sondri wise

6470With preiere and with sacrifise,

The Maide and hom ayein thei sende,

And yive hire good ynouh to spende

For evere whil sche scholde live:

And thus the Senne was foryive

And al the pestilence cessed.

Lo, what it is to ben encressed

Of love which is evele wonne.

It were betre noght begonne

Than take a thing withoute leve,

6480Which thou most after nedes leve,

And yit have malgre forth withal.

Forthi to robben overal

In loves cause if thou beginne,

I not what ese thou schalt winne.

Mi Sone, be wel war of this,

For thus of Robberie it is.

Mi fader, youre ensamplerie

In loves cause of Robberie

I have it riht wel understonde.

6490Bot overthis, hou so it stonde,

Yit wolde I wite of youre aprise

What thing is more of Covoitise.

With Covoitise yit I finde

A Servant of the same kinde,

Which Stelthe is hote, and Mecherie

With him is evere in compainie.

Of whom if I schal telle soth,

He stalketh as a Pocok doth,

And takth his preie so covert,

6500That noman wot it in apert.

For whan he wot the lord from home,

Than wol he stalke aboute and rome;

And what thing he fint in his weie,

Whan that he seth the men aweie,

He stelth it and goth forth withal,

That therof noman knowe schal.

And ek fulofte he goth a nyht

Withoute Mone or sterreliht,

And with his craft the dore unpiketh,

6510And takth therinne what him liketh:

And if the dore be so schet,

That he be of his entre let,

He wole in ate wyndou crepe,

And whil the lord is faste aslepe,

He stelth what thing as him best list,

And goth his weie er it be wist.

Fulofte also be lyhte of day

Yit wole he stele and make assay;

Under the cote his hond he put,

6520Til he the mannes Purs have cut,

And rifleth that he fint therinne.

And thus he auntreth him to winne,

And berth an horn and noght ne bloweth,

For noman of his conseil knoweth;

What he mai gete of his Michinge,

It is al bile under the winge.

And as an hound that goth to folde

And hath ther taken what he wolde,

His mouth upon the gras he wypeth,

6530And so with feigned chiere him slypeth,

That what as evere of schep he strangle,

Ther is noman therof schal jangle,

As forto knowen who it dede;

Riht so doth Stelthe in every stede,

Where as him list his preie take.

He can so wel his cause make

And so wel feigne and so wel glose,

That ther ne schal noman suppose,

Bot that he were an innocent,

6540And thus a mannes yhe he blent:

So that this craft I mai remene

Withouten help of eny mene.

Ther be lovers of that degre,

Which al here lust in privete,

As who seith, geten al be Stelthe,

And ofte atteignen to gret welthe

As for the time that it lasteth.

For love awaiteth evere and casteth

Hou he mai stele and cacche his preie,

6550Whan he therto mai finde a weie:

For be it nyht or be it day,

He takth his part, whan that he may,

And if he mai nomore do,

Yit wol he stele a cuss or tuo.

Mi Sone, what seist thou therto?

Tell if thou dedest evere so.

Mi fader, hou? Mi Sone, thus,-

If thou hast stolen eny cuss

Or other thing which therto longeth,

6560For noman suche thieves hongeth:

Tell on forthi and sei the trouthe.

Mi fader, nay, and that is routhe,

For be mi will I am a thief;

Bot sche that is to me most lief,

Yit dorste I nevere in privete

Noght ones take hire be the kne,

To stele of hire or this or that,

And if I dorste, I wot wel what:

And natheles, bot if I lie,

6570Be Stelthe ne be Robberie

Of love, which fell in mi thoght,

To hire dede I nevere noght.

Bot as men sein, wher herte is failed,

Ther schal no castell ben assailed;

Bot thogh I hadde hertes ten,

And were als strong as alle men,

If I be noght myn oghne man

And dar noght usen that I can,

I mai miselve noght recovere.

6580Thogh I be nevere man so povere,

I bere an herte and hire it is,

So that me faileth wit in this,

Hou that I scholde of myn acord

The servant lede ayein the lord:

For if mi fot wolde awher go,

Or that min hand wolde elles do,

Whan that myn herte is therayein,

The remenant is al in vein.

And thus me lacketh alle wele,

6590And yit ne dar I nothing stele

Of thing which longeth unto love:

And ek it is so hyh above,

I mai noght wel therto areche,

Bot if so be at time of speche,

Ful selde if thanne I stele may

A word or tuo and go my way.

Betwen hire hih astat and me

Comparison ther mai non be,

So that I fiele and wel I wot,

6600Al is to hevy and to hot

To sette on hond withoute leve:

And thus I mot algate leve

To stele that I mai noght take,

And in this wise I mot forsake

To ben a thief ayein mi wille

Of thing which I mai noght fulfille.

For that Serpent which nevere slepte

The flees of gold so wel ne kepte

In Colchos, as the tale is told,

6610That mi ladi a thousendfold

Nys betre yemed and bewaked,

Wher sche be clothed or be naked.

To kepe hir bodi nyht and day,

Sche hath a wardein redi ay,

Which is so wonderful a wyht,

That him ne mai no mannes myht

With swerd ne with no wepne daunte,

Ne with no sleihte of charme enchaunte,

Wherof he mihte be mad tame,

6620And Danger is his rihte name;

Which under lock and under keie,

That noman mai it stele aweie,

Hath al the Tresor underfonge

That unto love mai belonge.

The leste lokinge of hire yhe

Mai noght be stole, if he it syhe;

And who so gruccheth for so lyte,

He wolde sone sette a wyte

On him that wolde stele more.

6630And that me grieveth wonder sore,

For this proverbe is evere newe,

That stronge lokes maken trewe

Of hem that wolden stele and pyke:

For so wel can ther noman slyke

Be him ne be non other mene,

To whom Danger wol yive or lene

Of that tresor he hath to kepe.

So thogh I wolde stalke and crepe,

And wayte on eve and ek on morwe,

6640Of Danger schal I nothing borwe,

And stele I wot wel may I noght:

And thus I am riht wel bethoght,

Whil Danger stant in his office,

Of Stelthe, which ye clepe a vice,

I schal be gultif neveremo.

Therfore I wolde he were ago

So fer that I nevere of him herde,

Hou so that afterward it ferde:

For thanne I mihte yit per cas

6650Of love make som pourchas

Be Stelthe or be som other weie,

That nou fro me stant fer aweie.

Bot, fader, as ye tolde above,

Hou Stelthe goth a nyht for love,

I mai noght wel that point forsake,

That ofte times I ne wake

On nyhtes, whan that othre slepe;

Bot hou, I prei you taketh kepe.

Whan I am loged in such wise

6660That I be nyhte mai arise,

At som wyndowe and loken oute

And se the housinge al aboute,

So that I mai the chambre knowe

In which mi ladi, as I trowe,

Lyth in hir bed and slepeth softe,

Thanne is myn herte a thief fulofte:

For there I stonde to beholde

The longe nyhtes that ben colde,

And thenke on hire that lyth there.

6670And thanne I wisshe that I were

Als wys as was Nectanabus

Or elles as was Prothes,

That couthen bothe of nigromaunce

In what liknesse, in what semblaunce,

Riht as hem liste, hemself transforme:

For if I were of such a forme,

I seie thanne I wolde fle

Into the chambre forto se

If eny grace wolde falle,

6680So that I mihte under the palle

Som thing of love pyke and stele.

And thus I thenke thoghtes fele,

And thogh therof nothing be soth,

Yit ese as for a time it doth:

Bot ate laste whanne I finde

That I am falle into my mynde,

And se that I have stonde longe

And have no profit underfonge,

Than stalke I to mi bedd withinne.

6690And this is al that evere I winne

Of love, whanne I walke on nyht:

Mi will is good, bot of mi myht

Me lacketh bothe and of mi grace;

For what so that mi thoght embrace,

Yit have I noght the betre ferd.

Mi fader, lo, nou have ye herd

What I be Stelthe of love have do,

And hou mi will hath be therto:

If I be worthi to penance

6700I put it on your ordinance.

Mi Sone, of Stelthe I the behiete,

Thogh it be for a time swete,

At ende it doth bot litel good,

As be ensample hou that it stod

Whilom, I mai thee telle nou.

I preie you, fader, sei me hou.

Mi Sone, of him which goth be daie

Be weie of Stelthe to assaie,

In loves cause and takth his preie,

6710Ovide seide as I schal seie,

And in his Methamor he tolde

A tale, which is good to holde.

The Poete upon this matiere

Of Stelthe wrot in this manere.

Venus, which hath this lawe in honde

Of thing which mai noght be withstonde,

As sche which the tresor to warde

Of love hath withinne hir warde,

Phebum to love hath so constreigned,

6720That he withoute reste is peined

With al his herte to coveite

A Maiden, which was warded streyte

Withinne chambre and kept so clos,

That selden was whan sche desclos

Goth with hir moder forto pleie.

Leuchotoe, so as men seie,

This Maiden hihte, and Orchamus

Hir fader was; and befell thus.

This doughter, that was kept so deere,

6730And hadde be fro yer to yeere

Under hir moder discipline

A clene Maide and a Virgine,

Upon the whos nativite

Of comelihiede and of beaute

Nature hath set al that sche may,

That lich unto the fresshe Maii,

Which othre monthes of the yeer

Surmonteth, so withoute pier

Was of this Maiden the feture.

6740Wherof Phebus out of mesure

Hire loveth, and on every syde

Awaiteth, if so mai betyde,

That he thurgh eny sleihte myhte

Hire lusti maidenhod unrihte,

The which were al his worldes welthe.

And thus lurkende upon his stelthe

In his await so longe he lai,

Til it befell upon a dai,

That he thurghout hir chambre wall

6750Cam in al sodeinliche, and stall

That thing which was to him so lief.

Bot wo the while, he was a thief!

For Venus, which was enemie

Of thilke loves micherie,

Discovereth al the pleine cas

To Clymene, which thanne was

Toward Phebus his concubine.

And sche to lette the covine

Of thilke love, dedli wroth

6760To pleigne upon this Maide goth,

And tolde hire fader hou it stod;

Wherof for sorwe welnyh wod

Unto hire moder thus he saide:

“Lo, what it is to kepe a Maide!

To Phebus dar I nothing speke,

Bot upon hire I schal be wreke,

So that these Maidens after this

Mow take ensample, what it is

To soffre her maidenhed be stole,

6770Wherof that sche the deth schal thole.”

And bad with that do make a pet,

Wherinne he hath his douhter set,

As he that wol no pite have,

So that sche was al quik begrave

And deide anon in his presence.

Bot Phebus, for the reverence

Of that sche hadde be his love,

Hath wroght thurgh his pouer above,

That sche sprong up out of the molde

6780Into a flour was named golde,

Which stant governed of the Sonne.

And thus whan love is evele wonne,

Fulofte it comth to repentaile.

Mi fader, that is no mervaile,

Whan that the conseil is bewreid.

Bot ofte time love hath pleid

And stole many a prive game,

Which nevere yit cam into blame,

Whan that the thinges weren hidde.

6790Bot in youre tale, as it betidde,

Venus discoverede al the cas,

And ek also brod dai it was,

Whan Phebus such a Stelthe wroghte,

Wherof the Maide in blame he broghte,

That afterward sche was so lore.

Bot for ye seiden nou tofore

Hou stelthe of love goth be nyhte,

And doth hise thinges out of syhte,

Therof me liste also to hiere

6800A tale lich to the matiere,

Wherof I myhte ensample take.

Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake,

So as it fell be daies olde,

And so as the Poete it tolde,

Upon the nyhtes micherie

Nou herkne a tale of Poesie.

The myhtieste of alle men

Whan Hercules with Eolen,

Which was the love of his corage,

6810Togedre upon a Pelrinage

Towardes Rome scholden go,

It fell hem be the weie so,

That thei upon a dai a Cave

Withinne a roche founden have,

Which was real and glorious

And of Entaile curious,

Be name and Thophis it was hote.

The Sonne schon tho wonder hote,

As it was in the Somer tyde;

6820This Hercules, which be his syde

Hath Eolen his love there,

Whan thei at thilke cave were,

He seide it thoghte him for the beste

That sche hire for the hete reste

Al thilke day and thilke nyht;

And sche, that was a lusti wyht,

It liketh hire al that he seide:

And thus thei duelle there and pleide

The longe dai. And so befell,

6830This Cave was under the hell

Of Tymolus, which was begrowe

With vines, and at thilke throwe

Faunus with Saba the goddesse,

Be whom the large wildernesse

In thilke time stod governed,

Weere in a place, as I am lerned,

Nyh by, which Bachus wode hihte.

This Faunus tok a gret insihte

Of Eolen, that was so nyh;

6840For whan that he hire beaute syh,

Out of his wit he was assoted,

And in his herte it hath so noted,

That he forsok the Nimphes alle,

And seide he wolde, hou so it falle,

Assaie an other forto winne;

So that his hertes thoght withinne

He sette and caste hou that he myhte

Of love pyke awey be nyhte

That he be daie in other wise

6850To stele mihte noght suffise:

And therupon his time he waiteth.

Nou tak good hiede hou love afaiteth

Him which withal is overcome.

Faire Eolen, whan sche was come

With Hercules into the Cave,

Sche seide him that sche wolde have

Hise clothes of and hires bothe,

That ech of hem scholde other clothe.

And al was do riht as sche bad,

6860He hath hire in hise clothes clad

And caste on hire his gulion,

Which of the Skyn of a Leoun

Was mad, as he upon the weie

It slouh, and overthis to pleie

Sche tok his grete Mace also

And knet it at hir gerdil tho.

So was sche lich the man arraied,

And Hercules thanne hath assaied

To clothen him in hire array:

6870And thus thei jape forth the dai,

Til that her Souper redy were.

And whan thei hadden souped there,

Thei schopen hem to gon to reste;

And as it thoghte hem for the beste,

Thei bede, as for that ilke nyht,

Tuo sondri beddes to be dyht,

For thei togedre ligge nolde,

Be cause that thei offre wolde

Upon the morwe here sacrifice.

6880The servantz deden here office

And sondri beddes made anon,

Wherin that thei to reste gon

Ech be himself in sondri place.

Faire Eole hath set the Mace

Beside hire beddes hed above,

And with the clothes of hire love

Sche helede al hire bed aboute;

And he, which hadde of nothing doute,

Hire wympel wond aboute his cheke,

6890Hire kertell and hire mantel eke

Abrod upon his bed he spredde.

And thus thei slepen bothe abedde;

And what of travail, what of wyn,

The servantz lich to drunke Swyn

Begunne forto route faste.

This Faunus, which his Stelthe caste,

Was thanne come to the Cave,

And fond thei weren alle save

Withoute noise, and in he wente.

6900The derke nyht his sihte blente,

And yit it happeth him to go

Where Eolen abedde tho

Was leid al one for to slepe;

Bot for he wolde take kepe

Whos bed it was, he made assai,

And of the Leoun, where it lay,

The Cote he fond, and ek he fieleth

The Mace, and thanne his herte kieleth,

That there dorste he noght abyde,

6910Bot stalketh upon every side

And soghte aboute with his hond,

That other bedd til that he fond,

Wher lai bewympled a visage.

Tho was he glad in his corage,

For he hir kertell fond also

And ek hir mantell bothe tuo

Bespred upon the bed alofte.

He made him naked thanne, and softe

Into the bedd unwar he crepte,

6920Wher Hercules that time slepte,

And wende wel it were sche;

And thus in stede of Eole

Anon he profreth him to love.

But he, which felte a man above,

This Hercules, him threw to grounde

So sore, that thei have him founde

Liggende there upon the morwe;

And tho was noght a litel sorwe,

That Faunus of himselve made,

6930Bot elles thei were alle glade

And lowhen him to scorne aboute:

Saba with Nimphis al a route

Cam doun to loke hou that he ferde,

And whan that thei the sothe herde,

He was bejaped overal.

Mi Sone, be thou war withal

To seche suche mecheries,

Bot if thou have the betre aspies,

In aunter if the so betyde

6940As Faunus dede thilke tyde,

Wherof thou miht be schamed so.

Min holi fader, certes no.

Bot if I hadde riht good leve,

Such mecherie I thenke leve:

Mi feinte herte wol noght serve;

For malgre wolde I noght deserve

In thilke place wher I love.

Bot for ye tolden hier above

Of Covoitise and his pilage,

6950If ther be more of that lignage,

Which toucheth to mi schrifte, I preie

That ye therof me wolde seie,

So that I mai the vice eschuie.

Mi Sone, if I be order suie

The vices, as thei stonde arowe,

Of Covoitise thou schalt knowe

Ther is yit on, which is the laste;

In whom ther mai no vertu laste,

For he with god himself debateth,

6960Wherof that al the hevene him hateth.

The hihe god, which alle goode

Pourveied hath for mannes fode

Of clothes and of mete and drinke,

Bad Adam that he scholde swinke

To geten him his sustienance:

And ek he sette an ordinance

Upon the lawe of Moi5ses,

That though a man be haveles,

Yit schal he noght be thefte stele.

6970Bot nou adaies ther ben fele,

That wol no labour undertake,

Bot what thei mai be Stelthe take

Thei holde it sikerliche wonne.

And thus the lawe is overronne,

Which god hath set, and namely

With hem that so untrewely

The goodes robbe of holi cherche.

The thefte which thei thanne werche

Be name is cleped Sacrilegge,

6980Ayein the whom I thenke alegge.

Of his condicion to telle,

Which rifleth bothe bok and belle,

So forth with al the remenant

To goddes hous appourtenant,

Wher that he scholde bidde his bede,

He doth his thefte in holi stede,

And takth what thing he fint therinne:

For whan he seth that he mai winne,

He wondeth for no cursednesse,

6990That he ne brekth the holinesse

And doth to god no reverence;

For he hath lost his conscience,

That though the Prest therfore curse,

He seith he fareth noght the wurse.

And forto speke it otherwise,

What man that lasseth the franchise

And takth of holi cherche his preie,

I not what bedes he schal preie.

Whan he fro god, which hath yive al,

7000The Pourpartie in special,

Which unto Crist himself is due,

Benymth, he mai noght wel eschue

The peine comende afterward;

For he hath mad his foreward

With Sacrilegge forto duelle,

Which hath his heritage in helle.

And if we rede of tholde lawe,

I finde write, in thilke dawe

Of Princes hou ther weren thre

7010Coupable sore in this degre.

That on of hem was cleped thus,

The proude king Antiochus;

That other Nabuzardan hihte,

Which of his crualte behyhte

The temple to destruie and waste,

And so he dede in alle haste;

The thridde, which was after schamed,

Was Nabugodonosor named,

And he Jerusalem putte under,

7020Of Sacrilegge and many a wonder

There in the holi temple he wroghte,

Which Baltazar his heir aboghte,

Whan Mane, Techel, Phares write

Was on the wal, as thou miht wite,

So as the bible it hath declared.

Bot for al that it is noght spared

Yit nou aday, that men ne pile,

And maken argument and skile

To Sacrilegge as it belongeth,

7030For what man that ther after longeth,

He takth non hiede what he doth.

And riht so, forto telle soth,

In loves cause if I schal trete,

Ther ben of suche smale and grete:

If thei no leisir fynden elles,

Thei wol noght wonden for the belles,

Ne thogh thei sen the Prest at masse;

That wol thei leten overpasse.

If that thei finde here love there,

7040Thei stonde and tellen in hire Ere,

And axe of god non other grace,

Whyl thei ben in that holi place;

Bot er thei gon som avantage

Ther wol thei have, and som pilage

Of goodli word or of beheste,

Or elles thei take ate leste

Out of hir hand or ring or glove,

So nyh the weder thei wol love,

As who seith sche schal noght foryete,

7050Nou I this tokne of hire have gete:

Thus halwe thei the hihe feste.

Such thefte mai no cherche areste,

For al is leveful that hem liketh,

To whom that elles it misliketh.

And ek riht in the selve kinde

In grete Cites men mai finde

This lusti folk, that make it gay,

And waite upon the haliday:

In cherches and in Menstres eke

7060Thei gon the wommen forto seke,

And wher that such on goth aboute,

Tofore the faireste of the route,

Wher as thei sitten alle arewe,

Ther wol he most his bodi schewe,

His croket kembd and theron set

A Nouche with a chapelet,

Or elles on of grene leves,

Which late com out of the greves,

Al for he scholde seme freissh.

7070And thus he loketh on the fleissh,

Riht as an hauk which hath a sihte

Upon the foul, ther he schal lihte;

And as he were of faierie,

He scheweth him tofore here yhe

In holi place wher thei sitte,

Al forto make here hertes flitte.

His yhe nawher wole abyde,

Bot loke and prie on every syde

On hire and hire, as him best lyketh:

7080And otherwhile among he syketh;

Thenkth on of hem, “That was for me,”

And so ther thenken tuo or thre,

And yit he loveth non of alle,

Bot wher as evere his chance falle.

And natheles to seie a soth,

The cause why that he so doth

Is forto stele an herte or tuo,

Out of the cherche er that he go:

And as I seide it hier above,

7090Al is that Sacrilege of love;

For wel mai be he stelth away

That he nevere after yelde may.

Tell me forthi, my Sone, anon,

Hast thou do Sacrilege, or non,

As I have said in this manere?

Mi fader, as of this matiere

I wole you tellen redely

What I have do; bot trewely

I mai excuse min entente,

7100That nevere I yit to cherche wente

In such manere as ye me schryve,

For no womman that is on lyve.

The cause why I have it laft

Mai be for I unto that craft

Am nothing able so to stele,

Thogh ther be wommen noght so fele.

Bot yit wol I noght seie this,

Whan I am ther mi ladi is,

In whom lith holly mi querele,

7110And sche to cherche or to chapele

Wol go to matins or to messe,-

That time I waite wel and gesse,

To cherche I come and there I stonde,

And thogh I take a bok on honde,

Mi contienance is on the bok,

Bot toward hire is al my lok;

And if so falle that I preie

Unto mi god, and somwhat seie

Of Paternoster or of Crede,

7120Al is for that I wolde spede,

So that mi bede in holi cherche

Ther mihte som miracle werche

Mi ladi herte forto chaunge,

Which evere hath be to me so strange.

So that al mi devocion

And al mi contemplacion

With al min herte and mi corage

Is only set on hire ymage;

And evere I waite upon the tyde.

7130If sche loke eny thing asyde,

That I me mai of hire avise,

Anon I am with covoitise

So smite, that me were lief

To ben in holi cherche a thief;

Bot noght to stele a vestement,

For that is nothing mi talent,

Bot I wold stele, if that I mihte,

A glad word or a goodly syhte;

And evere mi service I profre,

7140And namly whan sche wol gon offre,

For thanne I lede hire, if I may,

For somwhat wolde I stele away.

Whan I beclippe hire on the wast,

Yit ate leste I stele a tast,

And otherwhile “grant mercy”

Sche seith, and so winne I therby

A lusti touch, a good word eke,

Bot al the remenant to seke

Is fro mi pourpos wonder ferr.

7150So mai I seie, as I seide er,

In holy cherche if that I wowe,

My conscience it wolde allowe,

Be so that up amendement

I mihte gete assignement

Wher forto spede in other place:

Such Sacrilege I holde a grace.

And thus, mi fader, soth to seie,

In cherche riht as in the weie,

If I mihte oght of love take,

7160Such hansell have I noght forsake.

Bot finali I me confesse,

Ther is in me non holinesse,

Whil I hire se in eny stede;

And yit, for oght that evere I dede,

No Sacrilege of hire I tok,

Bot if it were of word or lok,

Or elles if that I hir fredde,

Whan I toward offringe hir ledde,

Take therof what I take may,

7170For elles bere I noght away:

For thogh I wolde oght elles have,

Alle othre thinges ben so save

And kept with such a privilege,

That I mai do no Sacrilege.

God wot mi wille natheles,

Thogh I mot nedes kepe pes

And malgre myn so let it passe,

Mi will therto is noght the lasse,

If I mihte other wise aweie.

7180Forthi, mi fader, I you preie,

Tell what you thenketh therupon,

If I therof have gult or non.

Thi will, mi Sone, is forto blame,

The remenant is bot a game,

That I have herd the telle as yit.

Bot tak this lore into thi wit,

That alle thing hath time and stede,

The cherche serveth for the bede,

The chambre is of an other speche.

7190Bot if thou wistest of the wreche,

Hou Sacrilege it hath aboght,

Thou woldest betre ben bethoght;

And for thou schalt the more amende,

A tale I wole on the despende.

To alle men, as who seith, knowe

It is, and in the world thurgh blowe,

Hou that of Troie Lamedon

To Hercules and to Jasoun,

Whan toward Colchos out of Grece

7200Be See sailende upon a piece

Of lond of Troie reste preide,-

Bot he hem wrathfulli congeide:

And for thei founde him so vilein,

Whan thei come into Grece ayein,

With pouer that thei gete myhte

Towardes Troie thei hem dyhte,

And ther thei token such vengance,

Wherof stant yit the remembrance;

For thei destruide king and al,

7210And leften bot the brente wal.

The Grecs of Troiens many slowe

And prisoners thei toke ynowe,

Among the whiche ther was on,

The kinges doughter Lamedon,

Esiona, that faire thing,

Which unto Thelamon the king

Be Hercules and be thassent

Of al the hole parlement

Was at his wille yove and granted.

7220And thus hath Grece Troie danted,

And hom thei torne in such manere:

Bot after this nou schalt thou hiere

The cause why this tale I telle,

Upon the chances that befelle.

King Lamedon, which deide thus,

He hadde a Sone, on Priamus,

Which was noght thilke time at hom:

Bot whan he herde of this, he com,

And fond hou the Cite was falle,

7230Which he began anon to walle

And made ther a cite newe,

That thei whiche othre londes knewe

Tho seiden, that of lym and Ston

In al the world so fair was non.

And on that o side of the toun

The king let maken Ylioun,

That hihe Tour, that stronge place,

Which was adrad of no manace

Of quarel nor of non engin;

7240And thogh men wolde make a Myn,

No mannes craft it mihte aproche,

For it was sett upon a roche.

The walles of the toun aboute,

Hem stod of al the world no doute,

And after the proporcion

Sex gates weren of the toun

Of such a forme, of such entaile,

That hem to se was gret mervaile:

The diches weren brode and depe,

7250A fewe men it mihte kepe

From al the world, as semeth tho,

Bot if the goddes weren fo.

Gret presse unto that cite drouh,

So that ther was of poeple ynouh,

Of Burgeis that therinne duellen;

Ther mai no mannes tunge tellen

Hou that cite was riche of good.

Whan al was mad and al wel stod,

King Priamus tho him bethoghte

7260What thei of Grece whilom wroghte,

And what was of her swerd devoured,

And hou his Soster deshonoured

With Thelamon awey was lad:

And so thenkende he wax unglad,

And sette anon a parlement,

To which the lordes were assent.

In many a wise ther was spoke,

Hou that thei mihten ben awroke,

Bot ate laste natheles

7270Thei seiden alle, “Acord and pes.”

To setten either part in reste

It thoghte hem thanne for the beste

With resonable amendement;

And thus was Anthenor forth sent

To axe Esionam ayein

And witen what thei wolden sein.

So passeth he the See be barge

To Grece forto seie his charge,

The which he seide redely

7280Unto the lordes by and by:

Bot where he spak in Grece aboute,

He herde noght bot wordes stoute,

And nameliche of Thelamon;

The maiden wolde he noght forgon,

He seide, for no maner thing,

And bad him gon hom to his king,

For there gat he non amende

For oght he couthe do or sende.

This Anthenor ayein goth hom

7290Unto his king, and whan he com,

He tolde in Grece of that he herde,

And hou that Thelamon ansuerde,

And hou thei were at here above,

That thei wol nouther pes ne love,

Bot every man schal don his beste.

Bot for men sein that nyht hath reste,

The king bethoghte him al that nyht,

And erli, whan the dai was lyht,

He tok conseil of this matiere;

7300And thei acorde in this manere,

That he withouten eny lette

A certein time scholde sette

Of Parlement to ben avised:

And in the wise it was devised,

Of parlement he sette a day,

And that was in the Monthe of Maii.

This Priamus hadde in his yhte

A wif, and Hecuba sche hyhte,

Be whom that time ek hadde he

7310Of Sones fyve, and douhtres thre

Besiden hem, and thritty mo,

And weren knyhtes alle tho,

Bot noght upon his wif begete,

Bot elles where he myhte hem gete

Of wommen whiche he hadde knowe;

Such was the world at thilke throwe:

So that he was of children riche,

As therof was noman his liche.

Of Parlement the dai was come,

7320Ther ben the lordes alle and some;

Tho was pronounced and pourposed,

And al the cause hem was desclosed,

Hou Anthenor in Grece ferde.

Thei seten alle stille and herde,

And tho spak every man aboute:

Ther was alegged many a doute,

And many a proud word spoke also;

Bot for the moste part as tho

Thei wisten noght what was the beste,

7330Or forto werre or forto reste.

Bot he that was withoute fere,

Hector, among the lordes there

His tale tolde in such a wise,

And seide, “Lordes, ye ben wise,

Ye knowen this als wel as I,

Above all othre most worthi

Stant nou in Grece the manhode

Of worthinesse and of knihthode;

For who so wole it wel agrope,

7340To hem belongeth al Europe,

Which is the thridde parti evene

Of al the world under the hevene;

And we be bot of folk a fewe.

So were it reson forto schewe

The peril, er we falle thrinne:

Betre is to leve, than beginne

Thing which as mai noght ben achieved;

He is noght wys that fint him grieved,

And doth so that his grief be more;

7350For who that loketh al tofore

And wol noght se what is behinde,

He mai fulofte hise harmes finde:

Wicke is to stryve and have the worse.

We have encheson forto corse,

This wot I wel, and forto hate

The Greks; bot er that we debate

With hem that ben of such a myht,

It is ful good that every wiht

Be of himself riht wel bethoght.

7360Bot as for me this seie I noght;

For while that mi lif wol stonde,

If that ye taken werre on honde,

Falle it to beste or to the werste,

I schal miselven be the ferste

To grieven hem, what evere I may.

I wol noght ones seie nay

To thing which that youre conseil demeth,

For unto me wel more it quemeth

The werre certes than the pes;

7370Bot this I seie natheles,

As me belongeth forto seie.

Nou schape ye the beste weie.”

Whan Hector hath seid his avis,

Next after him tho spak Paris,

Which was his brother, and alleide

What him best thoghte, and thus he seide:

“Strong thing it is to soffre wrong,

And suffre schame is more strong,

Bot we have suffred bothe tuo;

7380And for al that yit have we do

What so we mihte to reforme

The pes, whan we in such a forme

Sente Anthenor, as ye wel knowe.

And thei here grete wordes blowe

Upon her wrongful dedes eke;

And who that wole himself noght meke

To pes, and list no reson take,

Men sein reson him wol forsake:

For in the multitude of men

7390Is noght the strengthe, for with ten

It hath be sen in trew querele

Ayein an hundred false dele,

And had the betre of goddes grace.

This hath befalle in many place;

And if it like unto you alle,

I wolde assaie, hou so it falle,

Oure enemis if I mai grieve;

For I have cawht a gret believe

Upon a point I wol declare.

7400This ender day, as I gan fare

To hunte unto the grete hert,

Which was tofore myn houndes stert,

And every man went on his syde

Him to poursuie, and I to ryde

Began the chace, and soth to seie,

Withinne a while out of mi weie

I rod, and nyste where I was.

And slep me cauhte, and on the gras

Beside a welle I lay me doun

7410To slepe, and in a visioun

To me the god Mercurie cam;

Goddesses thre with him he nam,

Minerve, Venus and Juno,

And in his hond an Appel tho

He hield of gold with lettres write:

And this he dede me to wite,

Hou that thei putt hem upon me,

That to the faireste of hem thre

Of gold that Appel scholde I yive.

7420With ech of hem tho was I schrive,

And echon faire me behihte;

Bot Venus seide, if that sche mihte

That Appel of mi yifte gete,

Sche wolde it neveremor foryete,

And seide hou that in Grece lond

Sche wolde bringe unto myn hond

Of al this Erthe the faireste;

So that me thoghte it for the beste,

To hire and yaf that Appel tho.

7430Thus hope I wel, if that I go,

That sche for me wol so ordeine,

That thei matiere forto pleigne

Schul have, er that I come ayein.

Nou have ye herd that I wol sein:

Sey ye what stant in youre avis.”

And every man tho seide his,

And sundri causes thei recorde,

Bot ate laste thei acorde

That Paris schal to Grece wende,

7440And thus the parlement tok ende.

Cassandra, whan sche herde of this,

The which to Paris Soster is,

Anon sche gan to wepe and weile,

And seide, “Allas, what mai ous eile?

Fortune with hire blinde whiel

Ne wol noght lete ous stonde wel:

For this I dar wel undertake,

That if Paris his weie take,

As it is seid that he schal do,

7450We ben for evere thanne undo.”

This, which Cassandre thanne hihte,

In al the world as it berth sihte,

In bokes as men finde write,

Is that Sibille of whom ye wite,

That alle men yit clepen sage.

Whan that sche wiste of this viage,

Hou Paris schal to Grece fare,

No womman mihte worse fare

Ne sorwe more than sche dede;

7460And riht so in the same stede

Ferde Helenus, which was hir brother,

Of prophecie and such an other:

And al was holde bot a jape,

So that the pourpos which was schape,

Or were hem lief or were hem loth,

Was holde, and into Grece goth

This Paris with his retenance.

And as it fell upon his chance,

Of Grece he londeth in an yle,

7470And him was told the same whyle

Of folk which he began to freyne,

Tho was in thyle queene Heleyne,

And ek of contres there aboute

Of ladis many a lusti route,

With mochel worthi poeple also.

And why thei comen theder tho,

The cause stod in such a wise,-

For worschipe and for sacrifise

That thei to Venus wolden make,

7480As thei tofore hadde undertake,

Some of good will, some of beheste,

For thanne was hire hihe feste

Withinne a temple which was there.

Whan Paris wiste what thei were,

Anon he schop his ordinance

To gon and don his obeissance

To Venus on hire holi day,

And dede upon his beste aray.

With gret richesse he him behongeth,

7490As it to such a lord belongeth,

He was noght armed natheles,

Bot as it were in lond of pes,

And thus he goth forth out of Schipe

And takth with him his felaschipe:

In such manere as I you seie

Unto the temple he hield his weie.

Tydinge, which goth overal

To grete and smale, forth withal

Com to the queenes Ere and tolde

7500Hou Paris com, and that he wolde

Do sacrifise to Venus:

And whan sche herde telle thus,

Sche thoghte, hou that it evere be,

That sche wole him abyde and se.

Forth comth Paris with glad visage

Into the temple on pelrinage,

Wher unto Venus the goddesse

He yifth and offreth gret richesse,

And preith hir that he preie wolde.

7510And thanne aside he gan beholde,

And sih wher that this ladi stod;

And he forth in his freisshe mod

Goth ther sche was and made her chiere,

As he wel couthe in his manere,

That of his wordes such plesance

Sche tok, that al hire aqueintance,

Als ferforth as the herte lay,

He stal er that he wente away.

So goth he forth and tok his leve,

7520And thoghte, anon as it was eve,

He wolde don his Sacrilegge,

That many a man it scholde abegge.

Whan he to Schipe ayein was come,

To him he hath his conseil nome,

And al devised the matiere

In such a wise as thou schalt hiere.

Withinne nyht al prively

His men he warneth by and by,

That thei be redy armed sone

7530For certein thing which was to done:

And thei anon ben redi alle,

And ech on other gan to calle,

And went hem out upon the stronde

And tok a pourpos ther alonde

Of what thing that thei wolden do,

Toward the temple and forth thei go.

So fell it, of devocion

Heleine in contemplacion

With many an other worthi wiht

7540Was in the temple and wok al nyht,

To bidde and preie unto thymage

Of Venus, as was thanne usage;

So that Paris riht as him liste

Into the temple, er thei it wiste,

Com with his men al sodeinly,

And alle at ones sette ascry

In hem whiche in the temple were,

For tho was mochel poeple there;

Bot of defense was no bote,

7550So soffren thei that soffre mote.

Paris unto the queene wente,

And hire in bothe hise armes hente

With him and with his felaschipe,

And forth thei bere hire unto Schipe.

Up goth the Seil and forth thei wente,

And such a wynd fortune hem sente,

Til thei the havene of Troie cauhte;

Where out of Schipe anon thei strauhte

And gon hem forth toward the toun,

7560The which cam with processioun

Ayein Paris to sen his preie.

And every man began to seie

To Paris and his felaschipe

Al that thei couthen of worschipe;

Was non so litel man in Troie,

That he ne made merthe and joie

Of that Paris hath wonne Heleine.

Bot al that merthe is sorwe and peine

To Helenus and to Cassaundre;

7570For thei it token schame and sklaundre

And lost of al the comun grace,

That Paris out of holi place

Be Stelthe hath take a mannes wif,

Wherof that he schal lese his lif

And many a worthi man therto,

And al the Cite be fordo,

Which nevere schal be mad ayein.

And so it fell, riht as thei sein,

The Sacrilege which he wroghte

7580Was cause why the Gregois soughte

Unto the toun and it beleie,

And wolden nevere parte aweie,

Til what be sleihte and what be strengthe

Thei hadde it wonne in brede and lengthe,

And brent and slayn that was withinne.

Now se, mi Sone, which a sinne

Is Sacrilege in holy stede:

Be war therfore and bidd thi bede,

And do nothing in holy cherche,

7590Bot that thou miht be reson werche.

And ek tak hiede of Achilles,

Whan he unto his love ches

Polixena, that was also

In holi temple of Appollo,

Which was the cause why he dyde

And al his lust was leyd asyde.

And Troilus upon Criseide

Also his ferste love leide

In holi place, and hou it ferde,

7600As who seith, al the world it herde;

Forsake he was for Diomede,

Such was of love his laste mede.

Forthi, mi Sone, I wolde rede,

Be this ensample as thou myht rede,

Sech elles, wher thou wolt, thi grace,

And war the wel in holi place

What thou to love do or speke,

In aunter if it so be wreke

As thou hast herd me told before.

7610And tak good hiede also therfore

Upon what forme, of Avarice

Mor than of eny other vice,

I have divided in parties

The branches, whiche of compainies

Thurghout the world in general

Ben nou the leders overal,

Of Covoitise and of Perjure,

Of fals brocage and of Usure,

Of Skarsnesse and Unkindeschipe,

7620Which nevere drouh to felaschipe,

Of Robberie and privi Stelthe,

Which don is for the worldes welthe,

Of Ravine and of Sacrilegge,

Which makth the conscience agregge;

Althogh it mai richesse atteigne,

It floureth, bot it schal noght greine

Unto the fruit of rihtwisnesse.

Bot who that wolde do largesse

Upon the reule as it is yive,

7630So myhte a man in trouthe live

Toward his god, and ek also

Toward the world, for bothe tuo

Largesse awaiteth as belongeth,

To neither part that he ne wrongeth;

He kepth himself, he kepth his frendes,

So stant he sauf to bothe hise endes,

That he excedeth no mesure,

So wel he can himself mesure:

Wherof, mi Sone, thou schalt wite,

7640So as the Philosophre hath write.

Betwen the tuo extremites

Of vice stant the propretes

Of vertu, and to prove it so

Tak Avarice and tak also

The vice of Prodegalite;

Betwen hem Liberalite,

Which is the vertu of Largesse,

Stant and governeth his noblesse.

For tho tuo vices in discord

7650Stonde evere, as I finde of record;

So that betwen here tuo debat

Largesse reuleth his astat.

For in such wise as Avarice,

As I tofore have told the vice,

Thurgh streit holdinge and thurgh skarsnesse

Stant in contraire to Largesse,

Riht so stant Prodegalite

Revers, bot noght in such degre.

For so as Avarice spareth,

7660And forto kepe his tresor careth,

That other al his oghne and more

Ayein the wise mannes lore

Yifth and despendeth hiere and there,

So that him reccheth nevere where.

While he mai borwe, he wol despende,

Til ate laste he seith, “I wende”;

Bot that is spoken al to late,

For thanne is poverte ate gate

And takth him evene be the slieve,

7670For erst wol he no wisdom lieve.

And riht as Avarice is Sinne,

That wolde his tresor kepe and winne,

Riht so is Prodegalite:

Bot of Largesse in his degre,

Which evene stant betwen the tuo,

The hihe god and man also

The vertu ech of hem commendeth.

For he himselven ferst amendeth,

That overal his name spredeth,

7680And to alle othre, where it nedeth,

He yifth his good in such a wise,

That he makth many a man arise,

Which elles scholde falle lowe.

Largesce mai noght ben unknowe;

For what lond that he regneth inne,

It mai noght faile forto winne

Thurgh his decerte love and grace,

Wher it schal faile in other place.

And thus betwen tomoche and lyte

7690Largesce, which is noght to wyte,

Halt evere forth the middel weie:

Bot who that torne wole aweie

Fro that to Prodegalite,

Anon he lest the proprete

Of vertu and goth to the vice;

For in such wise as Avarice

Lest for scarsnesse his goode name,

Riht so that other is to blame,

Which thurgh his wast mesure excedeth,

7700For noman wot what harm that bredeth.

Bot mochel joie ther betydeth,

Wher that largesse an herte guydeth:

For his mesure is so governed,

That he to bothe partz is lerned,

To god and to the world also,

He doth reson to bothe tuo.

The povere folk of his almesse

Relieved ben in the destresse

Of thurst, of hunger and of cold;

7710The yifte of him was nevere sold,

Bot frely yive, and natheles

The myhti god of his encress

Rewardeth him of double grace;

The hevene he doth him to pourchace

And yifth him ek the worldes good:

And thus the Cote for the hod

Largesse takth, and yit no Sinne

He doth, hou so that evere he winne.

What man hath hors men yive him hors,

7720And who non hath of him no fors,

For he mai thanne on fote go;

The world hath evere stonde so.

Bot forto loken of the tweie,

A man to go the siker weie,

Betre is to yive than to take:

With yifte a man mai frendes make,

Bot who that takth or gret or smal,

He takth a charge forth withal,

And stant noght fre til it be quit.

7730So forto deme in mannes wit,

It helpeth more a man to have

His oghne good, than forto crave

Of othre men and make him bounde,

Wher elles he mai stonde unbounde.

Senec conseileth in this wise,

And seith, “Bot, if thi good suffise

Unto the liking of thi wille,

Withdrawh thi lust and hold the stille,

And be to thi good sufficant.”

7740For that thing is appourtenant

To trouthe and causeth to be fre

After the reule of charite,

Which ferst beginneth of himselve.

For if thou richest othre tuelve,

Wherof thou schalt thiself be povere,

I not what thonk thou miht recovere.

Whil that a man hath good to yive,

With grete routes he mai live

And hath his frendes overal,

7750And everich of him telle schal.

Therwhile he hath his fulle packe,

Thei seie, “A good felawe is Jacke”;

Bot whanne it faileth ate laste,

Anon his pris thei overcaste,

For thanne is ther non other lawe

Bot, “Jacke was a good felawe.”

Whan thei him povere and nedy se,

Thei lete him passe and farwel he;

Al that he wende of compainie

7760Is thanne torned to folie.

Bot nou to speke in other kinde

Of love, a man mai suche finde,

That wher thei come in every route

Thei caste and waste her love aboute,

Til al here time is overgon,

And thanne have thei love non:

For who that loveth overal,

It is no reson that he schal

Of love have eny proprete.

7770Forthi, mi Sone, avise thee

If thou of love hast be to large,

For such a man is noght to charge:

And if it so be that thou hast

Despended al thi time in wast

And set thi love in sondri place,

Though thou the substance of thi grace

Lese ate laste, it is no wonder;

For he that put himselven under,

As who seith, comun overal,

7780He lest the love special

Of eny on, if sche be wys;

For love schal noght bere his pris

Be reson, whanne it passeth on.

So have I sen ful many on,

That were of love wel at ese,

Whiche after felle in gret desese

Thurgh wast of love, that thei spente

In sondri places wher thei wente.

Riht so, mi Sone, I axe of thee

7790If thou with Prodegalite

Hast hier and ther thi love wasted.

Mi fader, nay; bot I have tasted

In many a place as I have go,

And yit love I nevere on of tho,

Bot forto drive forth the dai.

For lieveth wel, myn herte is ay

Withoute mo for everemore

Al upon on, for I nomore

Desire bot hire love al one:

7800So make I many a prive mone,

For wel I fiele I have despended

Mi longe love and noght amended

Mi sped, for oght I finde yit.

If this be wast to youre wit

Of love, and Prodegalite,

Nou, goode fader, demeth ye:

Bot of o thing I wol me schryve,

That I schal for no love thryve,

Bot if hirself me wol relieve.

7810Mi Sone, that I mai wel lieve:

And natheles me semeth so,

For oght that thou hast yit misdo

Of time which thou hast despended,

It mai with grace ben amended.

For thing which mai be worth the cost

Per chaunce is nouther wast ne lost;

For what thing stant on aventure,

That can no worldes creature

Telle in certein hou it schal wende,

7820Til he therof mai sen an ende.

So that I not as yit therfore

If thou, mi Sone, hast wonne or lore:

For ofte time, as it is sene,

Whan Somer hath lost al his grene

And is with Wynter wast and bare,

That him is left nothing to spare,

Al is recovered in a throwe;

The colde wyndes overblowe,

And still be the scharpe schoures,

7830And soudeinliche ayein his floures

The Somer hapneth and is riche:

And so per cas thi graces liche,

Mi Sone, thogh thou be nou povere

Of love, yit thou miht recovere.

  Mi fader, certes grant merci:

Ye have me tawht so redeli,

That evere whil I live schal

The betre I mai be war withal

Of thing which ye have seid er this.

7840Bot overmore hou that it is,

Toward mi schrifte as it belongeth,

To wite of othre pointz me longeth;

Wherof that ye me wolden teche

With al myn herte I you beseche.

Explicit Liber Quintus.

Incipit Liber Sextus

Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem

     Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo

Hec agit, ut corpus anime contraria spirat,

     Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer.

Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur,

     Potibus ebrietas conviciata ruit.

Mersa sopore labis, que Bachus inebriat hospes,

     Indignata Venus oscula raro premit.

The grete Senne original,

Which every man in general

Upon his berthe hath envenymed,

In Paradis it was mystymed:

Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,

His swete morscel was to hot,

Which dedly made the mankinde.

And in the bokes as I finde,

This vice, which so out of rule

10Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule;

Of which the branches ben so grete,

That of hem alle I wol noght trete,

Bot only as touchende of tuo

I thenke speke and of no mo;

Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,

Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.

Ful many a wonder doth this vice,

He can make of a wisman nyce,

And of a fool, that him schal seme

20That he can al the lawe deme,

And yiven every juggement

Which longeth to the firmament

Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;

And thus he makth a gret clerk sone

Of him that is a lewed man.

Ther is nothing which he ne can,

Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,

He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,

He is a noble man of armes,

30And yit no strengthe is in his armes:

Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,

With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,

And al is changed his astat,

And wext anon so fieble and mat,

That he mai nouther go ne come,

Bot al togedre him is benome

The pouer bothe of hond and fot,

So that algate abide he mot.

And alle hise wittes he foryet,

40The which is to him such a let,

That he wot nevere what he doth,

Ne which is fals, ne which is soth,

Ne which is dai, ne which is nyht,

And for the time he knowth no wyht,

That he ne wot so moche as this,

What maner thing himselven is,

Or he be man, or he be beste.

That holde I riht a sori feste,

Whan he that reson understod

50So soudeinliche is woxe wod,

Or elles lich the dede man,

Which nouther go ne speke can.

Thus ofte he is to bedde broght,

Bot where he lith yit wot he noght,

Til he arise upon the morwe;

And thanne he seith, “O, which a sorwe

It is a man be drinkeles!”

So that halfdrunke in such a res

With dreie mouth he sterte him uppe,

60And seith, “Nou baillez a the cuppe.”

That made him lese his wit at eve

Is thanne a morwe al his beleve;

The cuppe is al that evere him pleseth,

And also that him most deseseth;

It is the cuppe whom he serveth,

Which alle cares fro him kerveth

And alle bales to him bringeth:

In joie he wepth, in sorwe he singeth,

For Dronkeschipe is so divers,

70It may no whyle stonde in vers.

He drinkth the wyn, bot ate laste

The wyn drynkth him and bint him faste,

And leith him drunke be the wal,

As him which is his bonde thral

And al in his subjeccion.

And lich to such condicion,

As forto speke it other wise,

It falleth that the moste wise

Ben otherwhile of love adoted,

80And so bewhaped and assoted,

Of drunke men that nevere yit

Was non, which half so loste his wit

Of drinke, as thei of such thing do

Which cleped is the jolif wo;

And waxen of here oghne thoght

So drunke, that thei knowe noght

What reson is, or more or lesse.

Such is the kinde of that sieknesse,

And that is noght for lacke of brain,

90Bot love is of so gret a main,

That where he takth an herte on honde,

Ther mai nothing his miht withstonde:

The wise Salomon was nome,

And stronge Sampson overcome,

The knihtli David him ne mihte

Rescoue, that he with the sihte

Of Bersabee ne was bestad,

Virgile also was overlad,

And Aristotle was put under.

100Forthi, mi Sone, it is no wonder

If thou be drunke of love among,

Which is above alle othre strong:

And if so is that thou so be,

Tell me thi Schrifte in privite;

It is no schame of such a thew

A yong man to be dronkelew.

Of such Phisique I can a part,

And as me semeth be that art,

Thou scholdest be Phisonomie

110Be schapen to that maladie

Of lovedrunke, and that is routhe.

Ha, holi fader, al is trouthe

That ye me telle: I am beknowe

That I with love am so bethrowe,

And al myn herte is so thurgh sunke,

That I am verrailiche drunke,

And yit I mai bothe speke and go.

Bot I am overcome so,

And torned fro miself so clene,

120That ofte I wot noght what I mene;

So that excusen I ne mai

Min herte, fro the ferste day

That I cam to mi ladi kiththe,

I was yit sobre nevere siththe.

Wher I hire se or se hire noght,

With musinge of min oghne thoght,

Of love, which min herte assaileth,

So drunke I am, that mi wit faileth

And al mi brain is overtorned,

130And mi manere so mistorned,

That I foryete al that I can

And stonde lich a mased man;

That ofte, whanne I scholde pleie,

It makth me drawe out of the weie

In soulein place be miselve,

As doth a labourer to delve,

Which can no gentil mannes chere;

Or elles as a lewed Frere,

Whan he is put to his penance,

140Riht so lese I mi contienance.

And if it nedes to betyde,

That I in compainie abyde,

Wher as I moste daunce and singe

The hovedance and carolinge,

Or forto go the newefot,

I mai noght wel heve up mi fot,

If that sche be noght in the weie;

For thanne is al mi merthe aweie,

And waxe anon of thoght so full,

150Wherof mi limes ben so dull,

I mai unethes gon the pas.

For thus it is and evere was,

Whanne I on suche thoghtes muse,

The lust and merthe that men use,

Whan I se noght mi ladi byme,

Al is foryete for the time

So ferforth that mi wittes changen

And alle lustes fro me strangen,

That thei seie alle trewely,

160And swere, that it am noght I.

For as the man which ofte drinketh,

With win that in his stomac sinketh

Wext drunke and witles for a throwe,

Riht so mi lust is overthrowe,

And of myn oghne thoght so mat

I wexe, that to myn astat

Ther is no lime wol me serve,

Bot as a drunke man I swerve,

And suffre such a Passion,

170That men have gret compassion,

And everich be himself merveilleth

What thing it is that me so eilleth.

Such is the manere of mi wo

Which time that I am hire fro,

Til eft ayein that I hire se.

Bot thanne it were a nycete

To telle you hou that I fare:

For whanne I mai upon hire stare,

Hire wommanhede, hire gentilesse,

180Myn herte is full of such gladnesse,

That overpasseth so mi wit,

That I wot nevere where it sit,

Bot am so drunken of that sihte,

Me thenkth that for the time I mihte

Riht sterte thurgh the hole wall;

And thanne I mai wel, if I schal,

Bothe singe and daunce and lepe aboute,

And holde forth the lusti route.

Bot natheles it falleth so

190Fulofte, that I fro hire go

Ne mai, bot as it were a stake,

I stonde avisement to take

And loke upon hire faire face;

That for the while out of the place

For al the world ne myhte I wende.

Such lust comth thanne unto mi mende,

So that withoute mete or drinke,

Of lusti thoughtes whiche I thinke

Me thenkth I mihte stonden evere;

200And so it were to me levere

Than such a sihte forto leve,

If that sche wolde yif me leve

To have so mochel of mi wille.

And thus thenkende I stonde stille

Withoute blenchinge of myn yhe,

Riht as me thoghte that I syhe

Of Paradis the moste joie:

And so therwhile I me rejoie,

Into myn herte a gret desir,

210The which is hotere than the fyr,

Al soudeinliche upon me renneth,

That al mi thoght withinne brenneth,

And am so ferforth overcome,

That I not where I am become;

So that among the hetes stronge

In stede of drinke I underfonge

A thoght so swete in mi corage,

That nevere Pyment ne vernage

Was half so swete forto drinke.

220For as I wolde, thanne I thinke

As thogh I were at myn above,

For so thurgh drunke I am of love,

That al that mi sotye demeth

Is soth, as thanne it to me semeth.

And whyle I mai tho thoghtes kepe,

Me thenkth as thogh I were aslepe

And that I were in goddes barm;

Bot whanne I se myn oghne harm,

And that I soudeinliche awake

230Out of my thought, and hiede take

Hou that the sothe stant in dede,

Thanne is mi sekernesse in drede

And joie torned into wo,

So that the hete is al ago

Of such sotie as I was inne.

And thanne ayeinward I beginne

To take of love a newe thorst,

The which me grieveth altherworst,

For thanne comth the blanche fievere,

240With chele and makth me so to chievere,

And so it coldeth at myn herte,

That wonder is hou I asterte,

In such a point that I ne deie:

For certes ther was nevere keie

Ne frosen ys upon the wal

More inly cold that I am al.

And thus soffre I the hote chele,

Which passeth othre peines fele;

In cold I brenne and frese in hete:

250And thanne I drinke a biter swete

With dreie lippe and yhen wete.

Lo, thus I tempre mi diete,

And take a drauhte of such reles,

That al mi wit is herteles,

And al myn herte, ther it sit,

Is, as who seith, withoute wit;

So that to prove it be reson

In makinge of comparison

Ther mai no difference be

260Betwen a drunke man and me.

Bot al the worste of everychon

Is evere that I thurste in on;

The more that myn herte drinketh,

The more I may; so that me thinketh,

My thurst schal nevere ben aqueint.

God schilde that I be noght dreint

Of such a superfluite:

For wel I fiele in mi degre

That al mi wit is overcast,

270Wherof I am the more agast,

That in defaulte of ladischipe

Per chance in such a drunkeschipe

I mai be ded er I be war.

For certes, fader, this I dar

Beknowe and in mi schrifte telle:

Bot I a drauhte have of that welle,

In which mi deth is and mi lif,

Mi joie is torned into strif,

That sobre schal I nevere worthe,

280Bot as a drunke man forworthe;

So that in londe where I fare

The lust is lore of mi welfare,

As he that mai no bote finde.

Bot this me thenkth a wonder kinde,

As I am drunke of that I drinke,

So am I ek for falte of drinke;

Of which I finde no reles:

Bot if I myhte natheles

Of such a drinke as I coveite,

290So as me liste, have o receite,

I scholde assobre and fare wel.

Bot so fortune upon hire whiel

On hih me deigneth noght to sette,

For everemore I finde a lette:

The boteler is noght mi frend,

Which hath the keie be the bend;

I mai wel wisshe and that is wast,

For wel I wot, so freissh a tast,

Bot if mi grace be the more,

300I schal assaie neveremore.

Thus am I drunke of that I se,

For tastinge is defended me,

And I can noght miselven stanche:

So that, mi fader, of this branche

I am gultif, to telle trouthe.

Mi Sone, that me thenketh routhe;

For lovedrunke is the meschief

Above alle othre the most chief,

If he no lusti thoght assaie,

310Which mai his sori thurst allaie:

As for the time yit it lisseth

To him which other joie misseth.

Forthi, mi Sone, aboven alle

Thenk wel, hou so it the befalle,

And kep thi wittes that thou hast,

And let hem noght be drunke in wast:

Bot natheles ther is no wyht

That mai withstonde loves miht.

Bot why the cause is, as I finde,

320Of that ther is diverse kinde

Of lovedrunke, why men pleigneth

After the court which al ordeigneth,

I wol the tellen the manere;

Nou lest, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere.

For the fortune of every chance

After the goddes pourveance

To man it groweth from above,

So that the sped of every love

Is schape there, er it befalle.

330For Jupiter aboven alle,

Which is of goddes soverein,

Hath in his celier, as men sein,

Tuo tonnes fulle of love drinke,

That maken many an herte sinke

And many an herte also to flete,

Or of the soure or of the swete.

That on is full of such piment,

Which passeth all entendement

Of mannes witt, if he it taste,

340And makth a jolif herte in haste:

That other biter as the galle,

Which makth a mannes herte palle,

Whos drunkeschipe is a sieknesse

Thurgh fielinge of the biternesse.

Cupide is boteler of bothe,

Which to the lieve and to the lothe

Yifth of the swete and of the soure,

That some lawhe, and some loure.

Bot for so moche as he blind is,

350Fulofte time he goth amis

And takth the badde for the goode,

Which hindreth many a mannes fode

Withoute cause, and forthreth eke.

So be ther some of love seke,

Whiche oghte of reson to ben hole,

And some comen to the dole

In happ and as hemselve leste

Drinke undeserved of the beste.

And thus this blinde Boteler

360Yifth of the trouble in stede of cler

And ek the cler in stede of trouble:

Lo, hou he can the hertes trouble,

And makth men drunke al upon chaunce

Withoute lawe of governance.

If he drawe of the swete tonne,

Thanne is the sorwe al overronne

Of lovedrunke, and schalt noght greven

So to be drunken every even,

For al is thanne bot a game.

370Bot whanne it is noght of the same,

And he the biter tonne draweth,

Such drunkeschipe an herte gnaweth

And fiebleth al a mannes thoght,

That betre him were have drunke noght

And al his bred have eten dreie;

For thanne he lest his lusti weie

With drunkeschipe, and wot noght whider

To go, the weies ben so slider,

In which he mai per cas so falle,

380That he schal breke his wittes alle.

And in this wise men be drunke

After the drink that thei have drunke:

Bot alle drinken noght alike,

For som schal singe and som schal syke,

So that it me nothing merveilleth,

Mi Sone, of love that thee eilleth;

For wel I knowe be thi tale,

That thou hast drunken of the duale,

Which biter is, til god the sende

390Such grace that thou miht amende.

Bot, Sone, thou schalt bidde and preie

In such a wise as I schal seie,

That thou the lusti welle atteigne

Thi wofull thurstes to restreigne

Of love, and taste the swetnesse;

As Bachus dede in his distresse,

Whan bodiliche thurst him hente

In strange londes where he wente.

This Bachus Sone of Jupiter

400Was hote, and as he wente fer

Be his fadres assignement

To make a werre in Orient,

And gret pouer with him he ladde,

So that the heiere hond he hadde

And victoire of his enemys,

And torneth homward with his pris,

In such a contre which was dreie

A meschief fell upon the weie.

As he rod with his compainie

410Nyh to the strondes of Lubie,

Ther myhte thei no drinke finde

Of water nor of other kinde,

So that himself and al his host

Were of defalte of drinke almost

Destruid, and thanne Bachus preide

To Jupiter, and thus he seide:

“O hihe fader, that sest al,

To whom is reson that I schal

Beseche and preie in every nede,

420Behold, mi fader, and tak hiede

This wofull thurst that we ben inne

To staunche, and grante ous forto winne,

And sauf unto the contre fare,

Wher that oure lusti loves are

Waitende upon oure hom cominge.”

And with the vois of his preiynge,

Which herd was to the goddes hihe,

He syh anon tofore his yhe

A wether, which the ground hath sporned;

430And wher he hath it overtorned,

Ther sprang a welle freissh and cler,

Wherof his oghne boteler

After the lustes of his wille

Was every man to drinke his fille.

And for this ilke grete grace

Bachus upon the same place

A riche temple let arere,

Which evere scholde stonde there

To thursti men in remembrance.

440Forthi, mi Sone, after this chance

It sit thee wel to taken hiede

So forto preie upon thi nede,

As Bachus preide for the welle;

And thenk, as thou hast herd me telle,

Hou grace he gradde and grace he hadde.

He was no fol that ferst so radde,

For selden get a domb man lond:

Tak that proverbe, and understond

That wordes ben of vertu grete.

450Forthi to speke thou ne lete,

And axe and prei erli and late

Thi thurst to quenche, and thenk algate,

The boteler which berth the keie

Is blind, as thou hast herd me seie;

And if it mihte so betyde,

That he upon the blinde side

Per cas the swete tonne arauhte,

Than schalt thou have a lusti drauhte

And waxe of lovedrunke sobre.

460And thus I rede thou assobre

Thin herte in hope of such a grace;

For drunkeschipe in every place,

To whether side that it torne,

Doth harm and makth a man to sporne

And ofte falle in such a wise,

Wher he per cas mai noght arise.

And forto loke in evidence

Upon the sothe experience,

So as it hath befalle er this,

470In every mannes mouth it is

Hou Tristram was of love drunke

With Bele Ysolde, whan thei drunke

The drink which Brangwein hem betok,

Er that king Marc his Eem hire tok

To wyve, as it was after knowe.

And ek, mi Sone, if thou wolt knowe,

As it hath fallen overmore

In loves cause, and what is more

Of drunkeschipe forto drede,

480As it whilom befell in dede,

Wherof thou miht the betre eschuie

Of drunke men that thou ne suie

The compaignie in no manere,

A gret ensample thou schalt hiere.

This finde I write in Poesie

Of thilke faire Ipotacie,

Of whos beaute ther as sche was

Spak every man, — and fell per cas,

That Pirotos so him spedde,

490That he to wyve hire scholde wedde,

Wherof that he gret joie made.

And for he wolde his love glade,

Ayein the day of mariage

Be mouthe bothe and be message

Hise frendes to the feste he preide,

With gret worschipe and, as men seide,

He hath this yonge ladi spoused.

And whan that thei were alle housed,

And set and served ate mete,

500Ther was no wyn which mai be gete,

That ther ne was plente ynouh:

Bot Bachus thilke tonne drouh,

Wherof be weie of drunkeschipe

The greteste of the felaschipe

Were oute of reson overtake;

And Venus, which hath also take

The cause most in special,

Hath yove hem drinke forth withal

Of thilke cuppe which exciteth

510The lust wherinne a man deliteth:

And thus be double weie drunke,

Of lust that ilke fyri funke

Hath mad hem, as who seith, halfwode,

That thei no reson understode,

Ne to non other thing thei syhen,

Bot hire, which tofore here yhen

Was wedded thilke same day,

That freisshe wif, that lusti May,

On hire it was al that thei thoghten.

520And so ferforth here lustes soghten,

That thei the whiche named were

Centauri, ate feste there

Of on assent, of an acord

This yonge wif malgre hire lord

In such a rage awei forth ladden,

As thei whiche non insihte hadden

Bot only to her drunke fare,

Which many a man hath mad misfare

In love als wel as other weie.

530Wherof, if I schal more seie

Upon the nature of the vice,

Of custume and of exercice

The mannes grace hou it fordoth,

A tale, which was whilom soth,

Of fooles that so drunken were,

I schal reherce unto thine Ere.

I rede in a Cronique thus

Of Galba and of Vitellus,

The whiche of Spaigne bothe were

540The greteste of alle othre there,

And bothe of o condicion

After the disposicion

Of glotonie and drunkeschipe.

That was a sori felaschipe:

For this thou miht wel understonde,

That man mai wel noght longe stonde

Which is wyndrunke of comun us;

For he hath lore the vertus,

Wherof reson him scholde clothe;

550And that was seene upon hem bothe.

Men sein ther is non evidence,

Wherof to knowe a difference

Betwen the drunken and the wode,

For thei be nevere nouther goode;

For wher that wyn doth wit aweie,

Wisdom hath lost the rihte weie,

That he no maner vice dredeth;

Nomore than a blind man thredeth

His nedle be the Sonnes lyht,

560Nomore is reson thanne of myht,

Whan he with drunkeschipe is blent.

And in this point thei weren schent,

This Galba bothe and ek Vitelle,

Upon the cause as I schal telle,

Wherof good is to taken hiede.

For thei tuo thurgh her drunkenhiede

Of witles excitacioun

Oppressede al the nacion

Of Spaigne; for of fool usance,

570Which don was of continuance

Of hem, whiche alday drunken were,

Ther was no wif ne maiden there,

What so thei were, or faire or foule,

Whom thei ne token to defoule,

Wherof the lond was often wo:

And ek in othre thinges mo

Thei wroghten many a sondri wrong.

Bot hou so that the dai be long,

The derke nyht comth ate laste:

580God wolde noght thei scholden laste,

And schop the lawe in such a wise,

That thei thurgh dom to the juise

Be dampned forto be forlore.

Bot thei, that hadden ben tofore

Enclin to alle drunkenesse,-

Here ende thanne bar witnesse;

For thei in hope to assuage

The peine of deth, upon the rage

That thei the lasse scholden fiele,

590Of wyn let fille full a Miele,

And dronken til so was befalle

That thei her strengthes losten alle

Withouten wit of eny brain;

And thus thei ben halfdede slain,

That hem ne grieveth bot a lyte.

Mi Sone, if thou be forto wyte

In eny point which I have seid,

Wherof thi wittes ben unteid,

I rede clepe hem hom ayein.

600I schal do, fader, as ye sein,

Als ferforth as I mai suffise:

Bot wel I wot that in no wise

The drunkeschipe of love aweie

I mai remue be no weie,

It stant noght upon my fortune.

Bot if you liste to comune

Of the seconde Glotonie,

Which cleped is Delicacie,

Wherof ye spieken hier tofore,

610Beseche I wolde you therfore.

Mi Sone, as of that ilke vice,

Which of alle othre is the Norrice,

And stant upon the retenue

Of Venus, so as it is due,

The proprete hou that it fareth

The bok hierafter nou declareth.

Of this chapitre in which we trete

There is yit on of such diete,

To which no povere mai atteigne;

620For al is Past of paindemeine

And sondri wyn and sondri drinke,

Wherof that he wole ete and drinke:

Hise cokes ben for him affaited,

So that his body is awaited,

That him schal lacke no delit,

Als ferforth as his appetit

Sufficeth to the metes hote.

Wherof this lusti vice is hote

Of Gule the Delicacie,

630Which al the hole progenie

Of lusti folk hath undertake

To feede, whil that he mai take

Richesses wherof to be founde:

Of Abstinence he wot no bounde,

To what profit it scholde serve.

And yit phisique of his conserve

Makth many a restauracioun

Unto his recreacioun,

Which wolde be to Venus lief.

640Thus for the point of his relief

The coc which schal his mete arraie,

Bot he the betre his mouth assaie,

His lordes thonk schal ofte lese,

Er he be served to the chese:

For ther mai lacke noght so lyte,

That he ne fint anon a wyte;

For bot his lust be fully served,

Ther hath no wiht his thonk deserved.

And yit for mannes sustenance,

650To kepe and holde in governance,

To him that wole his hele gete

Is non so good as comun mete:

For who that loketh on the bokes,

It seith, confeccion of cokes,

A man him scholde wel avise

Hou he it toke and in what wise.

For who that useth that he knoweth,

Ful selden seknesse on him groweth,

And who that useth metes strange,

660Though his nature empeire and change

It is no wonder, lieve Sone,

Whan that he doth ayein his wone;

For in Phisique this I finde,

Usage is the seconde kinde.

And riht so changeth his astat

He that of love is delicat:

For though he hadde to his hond

The beste wif of al the lond,

Or the faireste love of alle,

670Yit wolde his herte on othre falle

And thenke hem mor delicious

Than he hath in his oghne hous:

Men sein it is nou ofte so;

Avise hem wel, thei that so do.

And forto speke in other weie,

Fulofte time I have herd seie,

That he which hath no love achieved,

Him thenkth that he is noght relieved,

Thogh that his ladi make him chiere,

680So as sche mai in good manere

Hir honour and hir name save,

Bot he the surplus mihte have.

Nothing withstondende hire astat,

Of love more delicat

He set hire chiere at no delit,

Bot he have al his appetit.

Mi Sone, if it be with thee so,

Tell me. Myn holi fader, no:

For delicat in such a wise

690Of love, as ye to me devise,

Ne was I nevere yit gultif;

For if I hadde such a wif

As ye speke of, what scholde I more?

For thanne I wolde neveremore

For lust of eny wommanhiede

Myn herte upon non other fiede:

And if I dede, it were a wast.

Bot al withoute such repast

Of lust, as ye me tolde above,

700Of wif, or yit of other love,

I faste, and mai no fode gete;

So that for lacke of deinte mete,

Of which an herte mai be fedd,

I go fastende to my bedd.

Bot myhte I geten, as ye tolde,

So mochel that mi ladi wolde

Me fede with hir glad semblant,

Though me lacke al the remenant,

Yit scholde I somdel ben abeched

710And for the time wel refreched.

Bot certes, fader, sche ne doth;

For in good feith, to telle soth,

I trowe, thogh I scholde sterve,

Sche wolde noght hire yhe swerve,

Min herte with o goodly lok

To fede, and thus for such a cok

I mai go fastinge everemo:

Bot if so is that eny wo

Mai fede a mannes herte wel,

720Therof I have at every meel

Of plente more than ynowh;

Bot that is of himself so towh,

Mi stomac mai it noght defie.

Lo, such is the delicacie

Of love, which myn herte fedeth;

Thus have I lacke of that me nedeth.

Bot for al this yit natheles

I seie noght I am gylteles,

That I somdel am delicat:

730For elles were I fulli mat,

Bot if that I som lusti stounde

Of confort and of ese founde,

To take of love som repast;

For thogh I with the fulle tast

The lust of love mai noght fiele,

Min hunger otherwise I kiele

Of smale lustes whiche I pike,

And for a time yit thei like;

If that ye wisten what I mene.

740Nou, goode Sone, schrif thee clene

Of suche deyntes as ben goode,

Wherof thou takst thin hertes fode.

Mi fader, I you schal reherce,

Hou that mi fodes ben diverse,

So as thei fallen in degre.

O fiedinge is of that I se,

An other is of that I here,

The thridde, as I schal tellen here,

It groweth of min oghne thoght:

750And elles scholde I live noght;

For whom that failleth fode of herte,

He mai noght wel the deth asterte.

Of sihte is al mi ferste fode,

Thurgh which myn yhe of alle goode

Hath that to him is acordant,

A lusti fode sufficant.

Whan that I go toward the place

Wher I schal se my ladi face,

Min yhe, which is loth to faste,

760Beginth to hungre anon so faste,

That him thenkth of on houre thre,

Til I ther come and he hire se:

And thanne after his appetit

He takth a fode of such delit,

That him non other deynte nedeth.

Of sondri sihtes he him fedeth:

He seth hire face of such colour,

That freisshere is than eny flour,

He seth hire front is large and plein

770Withoute fronce of eny grein,

He seth hire yhen lich an hevene,

He seth hire nase strauht and evene,

He seth hire rode upon the cheke,

He seth hire rede lippes eke,

Hire chyn acordeth to the face,

Al that he seth is full of grace,

He seth hire necke round and clene,

Therinne mai no bon be sene,

He seth hire handes faire and whyte;

780For al this thing withoute wyte

He mai se naked ate leste,

So is it wel the more feste

And wel the mor Delicacie

Unto the fiedinge of myn yhe.

He seth hire schapthe forth withal,

Hire bodi round, hire middel smal,

So wel begon with good array,

Which passeth al the lust of Maii,

Whan he is most with softe schoures

790Ful clothed in his lusti floures.

With suche sihtes by and by

Min yhe is fed; bot finaly,

Whan he the port and the manere

Seth of hire wommanysshe chere,

Than hath he such delice on honde,

Him thenkth he mihte stille stonde,

And that he hath ful sufficance

Of liflode and of sustienance

As to his part for everemo.

800And if it thoghte alle othre so,

Fro thenne wolde he nevere wende,

Bot there unto the worldes ende

He wolde abyde, if that he mihte,

And fieden him upon the syhte.

For thogh I mihte stonden ay

Into the time of domesday

And loke upon hire evere in on,

Yit whanne I scholde fro hire gon,

Min yhe wolde, as thogh he faste,

810Ben hungerstorven al so faste,

Til efte ayein that he hire syhe.

Such is the nature of myn yhe:

Ther is no lust so deintefull,

Of which a man schal noght be full,

Of that the stomac underfongeth,

Bot evere in on myn yhe longeth:

For loke hou that a goshauk tireth,

Riht so doth he, whan that he pireth

And toteth on hire wommanhiede;

820For he mai nevere fulli fiede

His lust, bot evere aliche sore

Him hungreth, so that he the more

Desireth to be fed algate:

And thus myn yhe is mad the gate,

Thurgh which the deyntes of my thoght

Of lust ben to myn herte broght.

Riht as myn yhe with his lok

Is to myn herte a lusti coc

Of loves fode delicat,

830Riht so myn Ere in his astat,

Wher as myn yhe mai noght serve,

Can wel myn hertes thonk deserve

And fieden him fro day to day

With suche deyntes as he may.

For thus it is, that overal,

Wher as I come in special,

I mai hiere of mi ladi pris;

I hiere on seith that sche is wys,

An other seith that sche is good,

840And som men sein, of worthi blod

That sche is come, and is also

So fair, that nawher is non so;

And som men preise hire goodli chiere:

Thus every thing that I mai hiere,

Which souneth to mi ladi goode,

Is to myn Ere a lusti foode.

And ek min Ere hath over this

A deynte feste, whan so is

That I mai hiere hirselve speke;

850For thanne anon mi faste I breke

On suche wordes as sche seith,

That full of trouthe and full of feith

Thei ben, and of so good desport,

That to myn Ere gret confort

Thei don, as thei that ben delices.

For al the metes and the spices,

That eny Lombard couthe make,

Ne be so lusti forto take

Ne so ferforth restauratif,

860I seie as for myn oghne lif,

As ben the wordes of hire mouth:

For as the wyndes of the South

Ben most of alle debonaire,

So whan hir list to speke faire,

The vertu of hire goodly speche

Is verraily myn hertes leche.

And if it so befalle among,

That sche carole upon a song,

Whan I it hiere I am so fedd,

870That I am fro miself so ledd,

As thogh I were in paradis;

For certes, as to myn avis,

Whan I here of hir vois the stevene,

Me thenkth it is a blisse of hevene.

And ek in other wise also

Fulofte time it falleth so,

Min Ere with a good pitance

Is fedd of redinge of romance

Of Ydoine and of Amadas,

880That whilom weren in mi cas,

And eke of othre many a score,

That loveden longe er I was bore.

For whan I of here loves rede,

Min Ere with the tale I fede;

And with the lust of here histoire

Somtime I drawe into memoire

Hou sorwe mai noght evere laste;

And so comth hope in ate laste,

Whan I non other fode knowe.

890And that endureth bot a throwe,

Riht as it were a cherie feste;

Bot forto compten ate leste,

As for the while yit it eseth

And somdel of myn herte appeseth:

For what thing to myn Ere spreedeth,

Which is plesant, somdel it feedeth

With wordes suche as he mai gete

Mi lust, in stede of other mete.

Lo thus, mi fader, as I seie,

900Of lust the which myn yhe hath seie,

And ek of that myn Ere hath herd,

Fulofte I have the betre ferd.

And tho tuo bringen in the thridde,

The which hath in myn herte amidde

His place take, to arraie

The lusti fode, which assaie

I mot; and nameliche on nyhtes,

Whan that me lacketh alle sihtes,

And that myn heringe is aweie,

910Thanne is he redy in the weie

Mi reresouper forto make,

Of which myn hertes fode I take.

This lusti cokes name is hote

Thoght, which hath evere hise pottes hote

Of love buillende on the fyr

With fantasie and with desir,

Of whiche er this fulofte he fedde

Min herte, whanne I was abedde;

And thanne he set upon my bord

920Bothe every syhte and every word

Of lust, which I have herd or sein.

Bot yit is noght mi feste al plein,

Bot al of woldes and of wisshes,

Therof have I my fulle disshes,

Bot as of fielinge and of tast,

Yit mihte I nevere have o repast.

And thus, as I have seid aforn,

I licke hony on the thorn,

And as who seith, upon the bridel

930I chiewe, so that al is ydel

As in effect the fode I have.

Bot as a man that wolde him save,

Whan he is seck, be medicine,

Riht so of love the famine

I fonde in al that evere I mai

To fiede and dryve forth the day,

Til I mai have the grete feste,

Which al myn hunger myhte areste.

Lo suche ben mi lustes thre;

940Of that I thenke and hiere and se

I take of love my fiedinge

Withoute tastinge or fielinge:

And as the Plover doth of Eir

I live, and am in good espeir

That for no such delicacie

I trowe I do no glotonie.

And natheles to youre avis,

Min holi fader, that be wis,

I recomande myn astat

950Of that I have be delicat.

Mi Sone, I understonde wel

That thou hast told hier everydel,

And as me thenketh be thi tale,

It ben delices wonder smale,

Wherof thou takst thi loves fode.

Bot, Sone, if that thou understode

What is to ben delicious,

Thou woldest noght be curious

Upon the lust of thin astat

960To ben to sore delicat,

Wherof that thou reson excede:

For in the bokes thou myht rede,

If mannes wisdom schal be suied,

It oghte wel to ben eschuied

In love als wel as other weie;

For, as these holi bokes seie,

The bodely delices alle

In every point, hou so thei falle,

Unto the Soule don grievance.

970And forto take in remembrance,

A tale acordant unto this,

Which of gret understondinge is

To mannes soule resonable,

I thenke telle, and is no fable.

Of Cristes word, who wole it rede,

Hou that this vice is forto drede

In thevangile it telleth plein,

Which mot algate be certein,

For Crist himself it berth witnesse.

980And thogh the clerk and the clergesse

In latin tunge it rede and singe,

Yit for the more knoulechinge

Of trouthe, which is good to wite,

I schal declare as it is write

In Engleissh, for thus it began.

Crist seith: “Ther was a riche man,

A mihti lord of gret astat,

And he was ek so delicat

Of his clothing, that everyday

990Of pourpre and bisse he made him gay,

And eet and drank therto his fille

After the lustes of his wille,

As he which al stod in delice

And tok non hiede of thilke vice.

And as it scholde so betyde,

A povere lazre upon a tyde

Cam to the gate and axed mete:

Bot there mihte he nothing gete

His dedly hunger forto stanche;

1000For he, which hadde his fulle panche

Of alle lustes ate bord,

Ne deigneth noght to speke a word,

Onliche a Crumme forto yive,

Wherof the povere myhte live

Upon the yifte of his almesse.

Thus lai this povere in gret destresse

Acold and hungred ate gate,

Fro which he mihte go no gate,

So was he wofulli besein.

1010And as these holi bokes sein,

The houndes comen fro the halle,

Wher that this sike man was falle,

And as he lay ther forto die,

The woundes of his maladie

Thei licken forto don him ese.

Bot he was full of such desese,

That he mai noght the deth eschape;

Bot as it was that time schape,

The Soule fro the bodi passeth,

1020And he whom nothing overpasseth,

The hihe god, up to the hevene

Him tok, wher he hath set him evene

In Habrahammes barm on hyh,

Wher he the hevene joie syh

And hadde al that he have wolde.

And fell, as it befalle scholde,

This riche man the same throwe

With soudein deth was overthrowe,

And forth withouten eny wente

1030Into the helle straght he wente;

The fend into the fyr him drouh,

Wher that he hadde peine ynouh

Of flamme which that evere brenneth.

And as his yhe aboute renneth,

Toward the hevene he cast his lok,

Wher that he syh and hiede tok

Hou Lazar set was in his Se

Als ferr as evere he mihte se

With Habraham; and thanne he preide

1040Unto the Patriarch and seide:

“Send Lazar doun fro thilke Sete,

And do that he his finger wete

In water, so that he mai droppe

Upon my tunge, forto stoppe

The grete hete in which I brenne.”

Bot Habraham answerde thenne

And seide to him in this wise:

“Mi Sone, thou thee miht avise

And take into thi remembrance,

1050Hou Lazar hadde gret penance,

Whyl he was in that other lif,

Bot thou in al thi lust jolif

The bodily delices soghtest:

Forthi, so as thou thanne wroghtest,

Nou schalt thou take thi reward

Of dedly peine hierafterward

In helle, which schal evere laste;

And this Lazar nou ate laste

The worldes peine is overronne,

1060In hevene and hath his lif begonne

Of joie, which is endeles.

Bot that thou preidest natheles,

That I schal Lazar to the sende

With water on his finger ende,

Thin hote tunge forto kiele,

Thou schalt no such graces fiele;

For to that foule place of Sinne,

For evere in which thou schalt ben inne,

Comth non out of this place thider,

1070Ne non of you mai comen hider;

Thus be yee parted nou atuo.”

The riche ayeinward cride tho:

“O Habraham, sithe it so is,

That Lazar mai noght do me this

Which I have axed in this place,

I wolde preie an other grace.

For I have yit of brethren fyve,

That with mi fader ben alyve

Togedre duellende in on hous;

1080To whom, as thou art gracious,

I preie that thou woldest sende

Lazar, so that he mihte wende

To warne hem hou the world is went,

That afterward thei be noght schent

Of suche peines as I drye.

Lo, this I preie and this I crie,

Now I may noght miself amende.”

The Patriarch anon suiende

To his preiere ansuerde nay;

1090And seide him hou that everyday

His brethren mihten knowe and hiere

Of Moi5ses on Erthe hiere

And of prophetes othre mo,

What hem was best. And he seith no;

Bot if ther mihte a man aryse

Fro deth to lyve in such a wise,

To tellen hem hou that it were,

He seide hou thanne of pure fere

Thei scholden wel be war therby.

1100Quod Habraham: “Nay sikerly;

For if thei nou wol noght obeie

To suche as techen hem the weie,

And alday preche and alday telle

Hou that it stant of hevene and helle,

Thei wol noght thanne taken hiede,

Thogh it befelle so in dede

That eny ded man were arered,

To ben of him no betre lered

Than of an other man alyve.”

1110If thou, mi Sone, canst descryve

This tale, as Crist himself it tolde,

Thou schalt have cause to beholde,

To se so gret an evidence,

Wherof the sothe experience

Hath schewed openliche at ije,

That bodili delicacie

Of him which yeveth non almesse

Schal after falle in gret destresse.

And that was sene upon the riche:

1120For he ne wolde unto his liche

A Crumme yiven of his bred,

Thanne afterward, whan he was ded,

A drope of water him was werned.

Thus mai a mannes wit be lerned

Of hem that so delices taken;

Whan thei with deth ben overtaken,

That erst was swete is thanne sour.

Bot he that is a governour

Of worldes good, if he be wys,

1130Withinne his herte he set no pris

Of al the world, and yit he useth

The good, that he nothing refuseth,

As he which lord is of the thinges.

The Nouches and the riche ringes,

The cloth of gold and the Perrie

He takth, and yit delicacie

He leveth, thogh he were al this.

The beste mete that ther is

He ett, and drinkth the beste drinke;

1140Bot hou that evere he ete or drinke,

Delicacie he put aweie,

As he which goth the rihte weie

Noght only forto fiede and clothe

His bodi, bot his soule bothe.

Bot thei that taken otherwise

Here lustes, ben none of the wise;

And that whilom was schewed eke,

If thou these olde bokes seke,

Als wel be reson as be kinde,

1150Of olde ensample as men mai finde.

What man that wolde him wel avise,

Delicacie is to despise,

Whan kinde acordeth noght withal;

Wherof ensample in special

Of Nero whilom mai be told,

Which ayein kinde manyfold

Hise lustes tok, til ate laste

That god him wolde al overcaste;

Of whom the Cronique is so plein,

1160Me list nomore of him to sein.

And natheles for glotonie

Of bodili Delicacie,

To knowe his stomak hou it ferde,

Of that noman tofore herde,

Which he withinne himself bethoghte,

A wonder soubtil thing he wroghte.

Thre men upon eleccioun

Of age and of complexioun

Lich to himself be alle weie

1170He tok towardes him to pleie,

And ete and drinke als wel as he.

Therof was no diversite;

For every day whan that thei eete,

Tofore his oghne bord thei seete,

And of such mete as he was served,

Althogh thei hadde it noght deserved,

Thei token service of the same.

Bot afterward al thilke game

Was into wofull ernest torned;

1180For whan thei weren thus sojorned,

Withinne a time at after mete

Nero, which hadde noght foryete

The lustes of his frele astat,

As he which al was delicat,

To knowe thilke experience,

The men let come in his presence:

And to that on the same tyde,

A courser that he scholde ryde

Into the feld, anon he bad;

1190Wherof this man was wonder glad,

And goth to prike and prance aboute.

That other, whil that he was oute,

He leide upon his bedd to slepe:

The thridde, which he wolde kepe

Withinne his chambre, faire and softe

He goth now doun nou up fulofte,

Walkende a pass, that he ne slepte,

Til he which on the courser lepte

Was come fro the field ayein.

1200Nero thanne, as the bokes sein,

These men doth taken alle thre

And slouh hem, for he wolde se

The whos stomak was best defied:

And whanne he hath the sothe tryed,

He fond that he which goth the pass

Defyed best of alle was,

Which afterward he usede ay.

And thus what thing unto his pay

Was most plesant, he lefte non:

1210With every lust he was begon,

Wherof the bodi myhte glade,

For he non abstinence made;

Bot most above alle erthli thinges

Of wommen unto the likinges

Nero sette al his hole herte,

For that lust scholde him noght asterte.

Whan that the thurst of love him cawhte,

Wher that him list he tok a drauhte,

He spareth nouther wif ne maide,

1220That such an other, as men saide,

In al this world was nevere yit.

He was so drunke in al his wit

Thurgh sondri lustes whiche he tok,

That evere, whil ther is a bok,

Of Nero men schul rede and singe

Unto the worldes knowlechinge,

Mi goode Sone, as thou hast herd.

For evere yit it hath so ferd,

Delicacie in loves cas

1230Withoute reson is and was;

For wher that love his herte set,

Him thenkth it myhte be no bet;

And thogh it be noght fulli mete,

The lust of love is evere swete.

Lo, thus togedre of felaschipe

Delicacie and drunkeschipe,

Wherof reson stant out of herre,

Have mad full many a wisman erre

In loves cause most of alle:

1240For thanne hou so that evere it falle,

Wit can no reson understonde,

Bot let the governance stonde

To Will, which thanne wext so wylde,

That he can noght himselve schylde

Fro no peril, bot out of feere

The weie he secheth hiere and there,

Him recheth noght upon what syde:

For oftetime he goth beside,

And doth such thing withoute drede,

1250Wherof him oghte wel to drede.

Bot whan that love assoteth sore,

It passeth alle mennes lore;

What lust it is that he ordeigneth,

Ther is no mannes miht restreigneth,

And of the godd takth he non hiede:

Bot laweles withoute drede,

His pourpos for he wolde achieve

Ayeins the pointz of the believe,

He tempteth hevene and erthe and helle,

1260Hierafterward as I schall telle.

Who dar do thing which love ne dar?

To love is every lawe unwar,

Bot to the lawes of his heste

The fissch, the foul, the man, the beste

Of al the worldes kinde louteth.

For love is he which nothing douteth:

In mannes herte where he sit,

He compteth noght toward his wit

The wo nomore than the wele,

1270No mor the hete than the chele,

No mor the wete than the dreie,

No mor to live than to deie,

So that tofore ne behinde

He seth nothing, bot as the blinde

Withoute insyhte of his corage

He doth merveilles in his rage.

To what thing that he wole him drawe,

Ther is no god, ther is no lawe,

Of whom that he takth eny hiede;

1280Bot as Baiard the blinde stede,

Til he falle in the dich amidde,

He goth ther noman wole him bidde;

He stant so ferforth out of reule,

Ther is no wit that mai him reule.

And thus to telle of him in soth,

Ful many a wonder thing he doth,

That were betre to be laft,

Among the whiche is wicchecraft,

That som men clepen Sorcerie,

1290Which forto winne his druerie

With many a circumstance he useth,

Ther is no point which he refuseth.

The craft which that Saturnus fond,

To make prickes in the Sond,

That Geomance cleped is,

Fulofte he useth it amis;

And of the flod his Ydromance,

And of the fyr the Piromance,

With questions echon of tho

1300He tempteth ofte, and ek also

Ae5remance in juggement

To love he bringth of his assent:

For these craftes, as I finde,

A man mai do be weie of kinde,

Be so it be to good entente.

Bot he goth al an other wente;

For rathere er he scholde faile,

With Nigromance he wole assaile

To make his incantacioun

1310With hot subfumigacioun.

Thilke art which Spatula is hote,

And used is of comun rote

Among Paiens, with that craft ek

Of which is Auctor Thosz the Grek,

He worcheth on and on be rowe:

Razel is noght to him unknowe,

Ne Salomones Candarie,

His Ydeac, his Eutonye;

The figure and the bok withal

1320Of Balamuz, and of Ghenbal

The Seal, and therupon thymage

Of Thebith, for his avantage

He takth, and somwhat of Gibiere,

Which helplich is to this matiere.

Babilla with hire Sones sevene,

Which hath renonced to the hevene,

With Cernes bothe square and rounde,

He traceth ofte upon the grounde,

Makende his invocacioun;

1330And for full enformacioun

The Scole which Honorius

Wrot, he poursuieth: and lo, thus

Magique he useth forto winne

His love, and spareth for no Sinne.

And over that of his Sotie,

Riht as he secheth Sorcerie

Of hem that ben Magiciens,

Riht so of the Naturiens

Upon the Sterres from above

1340His weie he secheth unto love,

Als fer as he hem understondeth.

In many a sondry wise he fondeth:

He makth ymage, he makth sculpture,

He makth writinge, he makth figure,

He makth his calculacions,

He makth his demonstracions;

His houres of Astronomie

He kepeth as for that partie

Which longeth to thinspeccion

1350Of love and his affeccion;

He wolde into the helle seche

The devel himselve to beseche,

If that he wiste forto spede,

To gete of love his lusti mede:

Wher that he hath his herte set,

He bede nevere fare bet

Ne wite of other hevene more.

Mi Sone, if thou of such a lore

Hast ben er this, I red thee leve.

1360Min holi fader, be youre leve

Of al that ye have spoken hiere

Which toucheth unto this matiere,

To telle soth riht as I wene,

I wot noght o word what ye mene.

I wol noght seie, if that I couthe,

That I nolde in mi lusti youthe

Benethe in helle and ek above

To winne with mi ladi love

Don al that evere that I mihte;

1370For therof have I non insihte

Wher afterward that I become,

To that I wonne and overcome

Hire love, which I most coveite.

Mi Sone, that goth wonder streite:

For this I mai wel telle soth,

Ther is noman the which so doth,

For al the craft that he can caste,

That he nabeith it ate laste.

For often he that wol beguile

1380Is guiled with the same guile,

And thus the guilour is beguiled;

As I finde in a bok compiled

To this matiere an old histoire,

The which comth nou to mi memoire,

And is of gret essamplerie

Ayein the vice of Sorcerie,

Wherof non ende mai be good.

Bot hou whilom therof it stod,

A tale which is good to knowe

1390To thee, mi Sone, I schal beknowe.

Among hem whiche at Troie were,

Uluxes ate Siege there

Was on be name in special;

Of whom yit the memorial

Abit, for whyl ther is a mouth,

For evere his name schal be couth.

He was a worthi knyht and king

And clerk knowende of every thing;

He was a gret rethorien,

1400He was a gret magicien;

Of Tullius the rethorique,

Of king Zorastes the magique,

Of Tholome thastronomie,

Of Plato the Philosophie,

Of Daniel the slepi dremes,

Of Neptune ek the water stremes,

Of Salomon and the proverbes,

Of Macer al the strengthe of herbes,

And the Phisique of Ypocras,

1410And lich unto Pictagoras

Of Surgerie he knew the cures.

Bot somwhat of his aventures,

Which schal to mi matiere acorde,

To thee, mi Sone, I wol recorde.

This king, of which thou hast herd sein,

Fro Troie as he goth hom ayein

Be Schipe, he fond the See divers,

With many a wyndi storm revers.

Bot he thurgh wisdom that he schapeth

1420Ful many a gret peril ascapeth,

Of whiche I thenke tellen on,

Hou that malgre the nedle and ston

Wynddrive he was al soudeinly

Upon the strondes of Cilly,

Wher that he moste abyde a whyle.

Tuo queenes weren in that yle

Calipsa named and Circes;

And whan they herde hou Uluxes

Is londed ther upon the ryve,

1430For him thei senden als so blive.

With him suche as he wolde he nam

And to the court to hem he cam.

Thes queenes were as tuo goddesses

Of Art magique Sorceresses,

That what lord comth to that rivage,

Thei make him love in such a rage

And upon hem assote so,

That thei wol have, er that he go,

Al that he hath of worldes good.

1440Uluxes wel this understod,

Thei couthe moche, he couthe more;

Thei schape and caste ayein him sore

And wroghte many a soutil wyle,

Bot yit thei mihte him noght beguile.

Bot of the men of his navie

Thei tuo forschope a gret partie,

Mai non of hem withstonde here hestes;

Som part thei schopen into bestes,

Som part thei schopen into foules,

1450To beres, tigres, Apes, oules,

Or elles be som other weie;

Ther myhte hem nothing desobeie,

Such craft thei hadde above kinde.

Bot that Art couthe thei noght finde,

Of which Uluxes was deceived,

That he ne hath hem alle weyved,

And broght hem into such a rote,

That upon him thei bothe assote;

And thurgh the science of his art

1460He tok of hem so wel his part,

That he begat Circes with childe.

He kepte him sobre and made hem wilde,

He sette himselve so above,

That with here good and with here love,

Who that therof be lief or loth,

Al quit into his Schip he goth.

Circes toswolle bothe sides

He lefte, and waiteth on the tydes,

And straght thurghout the salte fom

1470He takth his cours and comth him hom,

Where as he fond Penolope;

A betre wif ther mai non be,

And yit ther ben ynowhe of goode.

Bot who hir goodschipe understode

Fro ferst that sche wifhode tok,

Hou many loves sche forsok

And hou sche bar hire al aboute,

Ther whiles that hire lord was oute,

He mihte make a gret avant

1480Amonges al the remenant

That sche was on of al the beste.

Wel myhte he sette his herte in reste,

This king, whan he hir fond in hele;

For as he couthe in wisdom dele,

So couthe sche in wommanhiede:

And whan sche syh withoute drede

Hire lord upon his oghne ground,

That he was come sauf and sound,

In al this world ne mihte be

1490A gladdere womman than was sche.

The fame, which mai noght ben hidd,

Thurghout the lond is sone kidd,

Here king is come hom ayein:

Ther mai noman the fulle sein,

Hou that thei weren alle glade,

So mochel joie of him thei made.

The presens every day be newed,

He was with yiftes al besnewed;

The poeple was of him so glad,

1500That thogh non other man hem bad,

Taillage upon hemself thei sette,

And as it were of pure dette

Thei yeve here goodes to the king:

This was a glad hom welcomyng.

Thus hath Uluxes what he wolde,

His wif was such as sche be scholde,

His poeple was to him sougit,

Him lacketh nothing of delit.

Bot fortune is of such a sleyhte,

1510That whan a man is most on heyhte,

Sche makth him rathest forto falle:

Ther wot noman what schal befalle,

The happes over mannes hed

Ben honged with a tendre thred.

That proved was on Uluxes;

For whan he was most in his pes,

Fortune gan to make him werre

And sette his welthe al out of herre.

Upon a dai as he was merie,

1520As thogh ther mihte him nothing derie,

Whan nyht was come, he goth to bedde,

With slep and bothe his yhen fedde.

And while he slepte, he mette a swevene:

Him thoghte he syh a stature evene,

Which brihtere than the sonne schon;

A man it semeth was it non,

Bot yit it was as in figure

Most lich to mannyssh creature,

Bot as of beaute hevenelich

1530It was most to an Angel lich:

And thus betwen angel and man

Beholden it this king began,

And such a lust tok of the sihte,

That fain he wolde, if that he mihte,

The forme of that figure embrace;

And goth him forth toward the place,

Wher he sih that ymage tho,

And takth it in his Armes tuo,

And it embraceth him ayein

1540And to the king thus gan it sein:

“Uluxes, understond wel this,

The tokne of oure aqueintance is

Hierafterward to mochel tene:

The love that is ous betuene,

Of that we nou such joie make,

That on of ous the deth schal take,

Whan time comth of destine;

It may non other wise be.”

Uluxes tho began to preie

1550That this figure wolde him seie

What wyht he is that seith him so.

This wyht upon a spere tho

A pensel which was wel begon,

Embrouded, scheweth him anon:

Thre fisshes alle of o colour

In manere as it were a tour

Upon the pensel were wroght.

Uluxes kneu this tokne noght,

And preith to wite in som partie

1560What thing it myhte signefie,

“A signe it is,” the wyht ansuerde,

“Of an Empire:” and forth he ferde

Al sodeinly, whan he that seide.

Uluxes out of slep abreide,

And that was riht ayein the day,

That lengere slepen he ne may.

Men sein, a man hath knowleching

Save of himself of alle thing;

His oghne chance noman knoweth,

1570Bot as fortune it on him throweth:

Was nevere yit so wys a clerk,

Which mihte knowe al goddes werk,

Ne the secret which god hath set

Ayein a man mai noght be let.

Uluxes, thogh that he be wys,

With al his wit in his avis,

The mor that he his swevene acompteth,

The lasse he wot what it amonteth:

For al his calculacion,

1580He seth no demonstracion

Al pleinly forto knowe an ende;

Bot natheles hou so it wende,

He dradde him of his oghne Sone.

That makth him wel the more astone,

And schop therfore anon withal,

So that withinne castel wall

Thelamachum his Sone he schette,

And upon him strong warde he sette.

The sothe furthere he ne knew,

1590Til that fortune him overthreu;

Bot natheles for sikernesse,

Wher that he mihte wite and gesse

A place strengest in his lond,

Ther let he make of lym and sond

A strengthe where he wolde duelle;

Was nevere man yit herde telle

Of such an other as it was.

And forto strengthe him in that cas,

Of al his lond the sekereste

1600Of servantz and the worthieste,

To kepen him withinne warde,

He sette his bodi forto warde;

And made such an ordinance,

For love ne for aqueintance,

That were it erly, were it late,

Thei scholde lete in ate gate

No maner man, what so betydde,

Bot if so were himself it bidde.

Bot al that myhte him noght availe,

1610For whom fortune wole assaile,

Ther mai be non such resistence,

Which mihte make a man defence;

Al that schal be mot falle algate.

This Circes, which I spak of late,

On whom Uluxes hath begete

A child, thogh he it have foryete,

Whan time com, as it was wone,

Sche was delivered of a Sone,

Which cleped is Thelogonus.

1620This child, whan he was bore thus,

Aboute his moder to ful age,

That he can reson and langage,

In good astat was drawe forth:

And whan he was so mochel worth

To stonden in a mannes stede,

Circes his moder hath him bede

That he schal to his fader go,

And tolde him al togedre tho

What man he was that him begat.

1630And whan Thelogonus of that

Was war and hath ful knowleching

Hou that his fader was a king,

He preith his moder faire this,

To go wher that his fader is;

And sche him granteth that he schal,

And made him redi forth withal.

It was that time such usance,

That every man the conoiscance

Of his contre bar in his hond,

1640Whan he wente into strange lond;

And thus was every man therfore

Wel knowe, wher that he was bore:

For espiaile and mistrowinges

They dede thanne suche thinges,

That every man mai other knowe.

So it befell that ilke throwe

Thelogonus as in this cas;

Of his contre the signe was

Thre fisshes, whiche he scholde bere

1650Upon the penon of a spere:

And whan that he was thus arraied

And hath his harneis al assaied,

That he was redy everydel,

His moder bad him farewel,

And seide him that he scholde swithe

His fader griete a thousand sithe.

Thelogonus his moder kiste

And tok his leve, and wher he wiste

His fader was, the weie nam,

1660Til he unto Nachaie cam,

Which of that lond the chief Cite

Was cleped, and ther axeth he

Wher was the king and hou he ferde.

And whan that he the sothe herde,

Wher that the king Uluxes was,

Al one upon his hors gret pas

He rod him forth, and in his hond

He bar the signal of his lond

With fisshes thre, as I have told;

1670And thus he wente unto that hold,

Wher that his oghne fader duelleth.

The cause why he comth he telleth

Unto the kepers of the gate,

And wolde have comen in therate,

Bot schortli thei him seide nay:

And he als faire as evere he may

Besoghte and tolde hem ofte this,

Hou that the king his fader is;

Bot they with proude wordes grete

1680Begunne to manace and threte,

Bot he go fro the gate faste,

Thei wolde him take and sette faste.

Fro wordes unto strokes thus

Thei felle, and so Thelogonus

Was sore hurt and welnyh ded;

Bot with his scharpe speres hed

He makth defence, hou so it falle,

And wan the gate upon hem alle,

And hath slain of the beste fyve;

1690And thei ascriden als so blyve

Thurghout the castell al aboute.

On every syde men come oute,

Wherof the kinges herte afflihte,

And he with al the haste he mihte

A spere cauhte and out he goth,

As he that was nyh wod for wroth.

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