Confessio Amantis, by John Gower

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

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54