Incipit Liber Sextus
Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem
Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo
Hec agit, ut corpus anime contraria spirat,
Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer.
Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur,
Potibus ebrietas conviciata ruit.
Mersa sopore labis, que Bachus inebriat hospes,
Indignata Venus oscula raro premit.
The grete Senne original,
Which every man in general
Upon his berthe hath envenymed,
In Paradis it was mystymed:
Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,
His swete morscel was to hot,
Which dedly made the mankinde.
And in the bokes as I finde,
This vice, which so out of rule
10Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule;
Of which the branches ben so grete,
That of hem alle I wol noght trete,
Bot only as touchende of tuo
I thenke speke and of no mo;
Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,
Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.
Ful many a wonder doth this vice,
He can make of a wisman nyce,
And of a fool, that him schal seme
20That he can al the lawe deme,
And yiven every juggement
Which longeth to the firmament
Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;
And thus he makth a gret clerk sone
Of him that is a lewed man.
Ther is nothing which he ne can,
Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,
He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,
He is a noble man of armes,
30And yit no strengthe is in his armes:
Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,
With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,
And al is changed his astat,
And wext anon so fieble and mat,
That he mai nouther go ne come,
Bot al togedre him is benome
The pouer bothe of hond and fot,
So that algate abide he mot.
And alle hise wittes he foryet,
40The which is to him such a let,
That he wot nevere what he doth,
Ne which is fals, ne which is soth,
Ne which is dai, ne which is nyht,
And for the time he knowth no wyht,
That he ne wot so moche as this,
What maner thing himselven is,
Or he be man, or he be beste.
That holde I riht a sori feste,
Whan he that reson understod
50So soudeinliche is woxe wod,
Or elles lich the dede man,
Which nouther go ne speke can.
Thus ofte he is to bedde broght,
Bot where he lith yit wot he noght,
Til he arise upon the morwe;
And thanne he seith, “O, which a sorwe
It is a man be drinkeles!”
So that halfdrunke in such a res
With dreie mouth he sterte him uppe,
60And seith, “Nou baillez a the cuppe.”
That made him lese his wit at eve
Is thanne a morwe al his beleve;
The cuppe is al that evere him pleseth,
And also that him most deseseth;
It is the cuppe whom he serveth,
Which alle cares fro him kerveth
And alle bales to him bringeth:
In joie he wepth, in sorwe he singeth,
For Dronkeschipe is so divers,
70It may no whyle stonde in vers.
He drinkth the wyn, bot ate laste
The wyn drynkth him and bint him faste,
And leith him drunke be the wal,
As him which is his bonde thral
And al in his subjeccion.
And lich to such condicion,
As forto speke it other wise,
It falleth that the moste wise
Ben otherwhile of love adoted,
80And so bewhaped and assoted,
Of drunke men that nevere yit
Was non, which half so loste his wit
Of drinke, as thei of such thing do
Which cleped is the jolif wo;
And waxen of here oghne thoght
So drunke, that thei knowe noght
What reson is, or more or lesse.
Such is the kinde of that sieknesse,
And that is noght for lacke of brain,
90Bot love is of so gret a main,
That where he takth an herte on honde,
Ther mai nothing his miht withstonde:
The wise Salomon was nome,
And stronge Sampson overcome,
The knihtli David him ne mihte
Rescoue, that he with the sihte
Of Bersabee ne was bestad,
Virgile also was overlad,
And Aristotle was put under.
100Forthi, mi Sone, it is no wonder
If thou be drunke of love among,
Which is above alle othre strong:
And if so is that thou so be,
Tell me thi Schrifte in privite;
It is no schame of such a thew
A yong man to be dronkelew.
Of such Phisique I can a part,
And as me semeth be that art,
Thou scholdest be Phisonomie
110Be schapen to that maladie
Of lovedrunke, and that is routhe.
Ha, holi fader, al is trouthe
That ye me telle: I am beknowe
That I with love am so bethrowe,
And al myn herte is so thurgh sunke,
That I am verrailiche drunke,
And yit I mai bothe speke and go.
Bot I am overcome so,
And torned fro miself so clene,
120That ofte I wot noght what I mene;
So that excusen I ne mai
Min herte, fro the ferste day
That I cam to mi ladi kiththe,
I was yit sobre nevere siththe.
Wher I hire se or se hire noght,
With musinge of min oghne thoght,
Of love, which min herte assaileth,
So drunke I am, that mi wit faileth
And al mi brain is overtorned,
130And mi manere so mistorned,
That I foryete al that I can
And stonde lich a mased man;
That ofte, whanne I scholde pleie,
It makth me drawe out of the weie
In soulein place be miselve,
As doth a labourer to delve,
Which can no gentil mannes chere;
Or elles as a lewed Frere,
Whan he is put to his penance,
140Riht so lese I mi contienance.
And if it nedes to betyde,
That I in compainie abyde,
Wher as I moste daunce and singe
The hovedance and carolinge,
Or forto go the newefot,
I mai noght wel heve up mi fot,
If that sche be noght in the weie;
For thanne is al mi merthe aweie,
And waxe anon of thoght so full,
150Wherof mi limes ben so dull,
I mai unethes gon the pas.
For thus it is and evere was,
Whanne I on suche thoghtes muse,
The lust and merthe that men use,
Whan I se noght mi ladi byme,
Al is foryete for the time
So ferforth that mi wittes changen
And alle lustes fro me strangen,
That thei seie alle trewely,
160And swere, that it am noght I.
For as the man which ofte drinketh,
With win that in his stomac sinketh
Wext drunke and witles for a throwe,
Riht so mi lust is overthrowe,
And of myn oghne thoght so mat
I wexe, that to myn astat
Ther is no lime wol me serve,
Bot as a drunke man I swerve,
And suffre such a Passion,
170That men have gret compassion,
And everich be himself merveilleth
What thing it is that me so eilleth.
Such is the manere of mi wo
Which time that I am hire fro,
Til eft ayein that I hire se.
Bot thanne it were a nycete
To telle you hou that I fare:
For whanne I mai upon hire stare,
Hire wommanhede, hire gentilesse,
180Myn herte is full of such gladnesse,
That overpasseth so mi wit,
That I wot nevere where it sit,
Bot am so drunken of that sihte,
Me thenkth that for the time I mihte
Riht sterte thurgh the hole wall;
And thanne I mai wel, if I schal,
Bothe singe and daunce and lepe aboute,
And holde forth the lusti route.
Bot natheles it falleth so
190Fulofte, that I fro hire go
Ne mai, bot as it were a stake,
I stonde avisement to take
And loke upon hire faire face;
That for the while out of the place
For al the world ne myhte I wende.
Such lust comth thanne unto mi mende,
So that withoute mete or drinke,
Of lusti thoughtes whiche I thinke
Me thenkth I mihte stonden evere;
200And so it were to me levere
Than such a sihte forto leve,
If that sche wolde yif me leve
To have so mochel of mi wille.
And thus thenkende I stonde stille
Withoute blenchinge of myn yhe,
Riht as me thoghte that I syhe
Of Paradis the moste joie:
And so therwhile I me rejoie,
Into myn herte a gret desir,
210The which is hotere than the fyr,
Al soudeinliche upon me renneth,
That al mi thoght withinne brenneth,
And am so ferforth overcome,
That I not where I am become;
So that among the hetes stronge
In stede of drinke I underfonge
A thoght so swete in mi corage,
That nevere Pyment ne vernage
Was half so swete forto drinke.
220For as I wolde, thanne I thinke
As thogh I were at myn above,
For so thurgh drunke I am of love,
That al that mi sotye demeth
Is soth, as thanne it to me semeth.
And whyle I mai tho thoghtes kepe,
Me thenkth as thogh I were aslepe
And that I were in goddes barm;
Bot whanne I se myn oghne harm,
And that I soudeinliche awake
230Out of my thought, and hiede take
Hou that the sothe stant in dede,
Thanne is mi sekernesse in drede
And joie torned into wo,
So that the hete is al ago
Of such sotie as I was inne.
And thanne ayeinward I beginne
To take of love a newe thorst,
The which me grieveth altherworst,
For thanne comth the blanche fievere,
240With chele and makth me so to chievere,
And so it coldeth at myn herte,
That wonder is hou I asterte,
In such a point that I ne deie:
For certes ther was nevere keie
Ne frosen ys upon the wal
More inly cold that I am al.
And thus soffre I the hote chele,
Which passeth othre peines fele;
In cold I brenne and frese in hete:
250And thanne I drinke a biter swete
With dreie lippe and yhen wete.
Lo, thus I tempre mi diete,
And take a drauhte of such reles,
That al mi wit is herteles,
And al myn herte, ther it sit,
Is, as who seith, withoute wit;
So that to prove it be reson
In makinge of comparison
Ther mai no difference be
260Betwen a drunke man and me.
Bot al the worste of everychon
Is evere that I thurste in on;
The more that myn herte drinketh,
The more I may; so that me thinketh,
My thurst schal nevere ben aqueint.
God schilde that I be noght dreint
Of such a superfluite:
For wel I fiele in mi degre
That al mi wit is overcast,
270Wherof I am the more agast,
That in defaulte of ladischipe
Per chance in such a drunkeschipe
I mai be ded er I be war.
For certes, fader, this I dar
Beknowe and in mi schrifte telle:
Bot I a drauhte have of that welle,
In which mi deth is and mi lif,
Mi joie is torned into strif,
That sobre schal I nevere worthe,
280Bot as a drunke man forworthe;
So that in londe where I fare
The lust is lore of mi welfare,
As he that mai no bote finde.
Bot this me thenkth a wonder kinde,
As I am drunke of that I drinke,
So am I ek for falte of drinke;
Of which I finde no reles:
Bot if I myhte natheles
Of such a drinke as I coveite,
290So as me liste, have o receite,
I scholde assobre and fare wel.
Bot so fortune upon hire whiel
On hih me deigneth noght to sette,
For everemore I finde a lette:
The boteler is noght mi frend,
Which hath the keie be the bend;
I mai wel wisshe and that is wast,
For wel I wot, so freissh a tast,
Bot if mi grace be the more,
300I schal assaie neveremore.
Thus am I drunke of that I se,
For tastinge is defended me,
And I can noght miselven stanche:
So that, mi fader, of this branche
I am gultif, to telle trouthe.
Mi Sone, that me thenketh routhe;
For lovedrunke is the meschief
Above alle othre the most chief,
If he no lusti thoght assaie,
310Which mai his sori thurst allaie:
As for the time yit it lisseth
To him which other joie misseth.
Forthi, mi Sone, aboven alle
Thenk wel, hou so it the befalle,
And kep thi wittes that thou hast,
And let hem noght be drunke in wast:
Bot natheles ther is no wyht
That mai withstonde loves miht.
Bot why the cause is, as I finde,
320Of that ther is diverse kinde
Of lovedrunke, why men pleigneth
After the court which al ordeigneth,
I wol the tellen the manere;
Nou lest, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere.
For the fortune of every chance
After the goddes pourveance
To man it groweth from above,
So that the sped of every love
Is schape there, er it befalle.
330For Jupiter aboven alle,
Which is of goddes soverein,
Hath in his celier, as men sein,
Tuo tonnes fulle of love drinke,
That maken many an herte sinke
And many an herte also to flete,
Or of the soure or of the swete.
That on is full of such piment,
Which passeth all entendement
Of mannes witt, if he it taste,
340And makth a jolif herte in haste:
That other biter as the galle,
Which makth a mannes herte palle,
Whos drunkeschipe is a sieknesse
Thurgh fielinge of the biternesse.
Cupide is boteler of bothe,
Which to the lieve and to the lothe
Yifth of the swete and of the soure,
That some lawhe, and some loure.
Bot for so moche as he blind is,
350Fulofte time he goth amis
And takth the badde for the goode,
Which hindreth many a mannes fode
Withoute cause, and forthreth eke.
So be ther some of love seke,
Whiche oghte of reson to ben hole,
And some comen to the dole
In happ and as hemselve leste
Drinke undeserved of the beste.
And thus this blinde Boteler
360Yifth of the trouble in stede of cler
And ek the cler in stede of trouble:
Lo, hou he can the hertes trouble,
And makth men drunke al upon chaunce
Withoute lawe of governance.
If he drawe of the swete tonne,
Thanne is the sorwe al overronne
Of lovedrunke, and schalt noght greven
So to be drunken every even,
For al is thanne bot a game.
370Bot whanne it is noght of the same,
And he the biter tonne draweth,
Such drunkeschipe an herte gnaweth
And fiebleth al a mannes thoght,
That betre him were have drunke noght
And al his bred have eten dreie;
For thanne he lest his lusti weie
With drunkeschipe, and wot noght whider
To go, the weies ben so slider,
In which he mai per cas so falle,
380That he schal breke his wittes alle.
And in this wise men be drunke
After the drink that thei have drunke:
Bot alle drinken noght alike,
For som schal singe and som schal syke,
So that it me nothing merveilleth,
Mi Sone, of love that thee eilleth;
For wel I knowe be thi tale,
That thou hast drunken of the duale,
Which biter is, til god the sende
390Such grace that thou miht amende.
Bot, Sone, thou schalt bidde and preie
In such a wise as I schal seie,
That thou the lusti welle atteigne
Thi wofull thurstes to restreigne
Of love, and taste the swetnesse;
As Bachus dede in his distresse,
Whan bodiliche thurst him hente
In strange londes where he wente.
This Bachus Sone of Jupiter
400Was hote, and as he wente fer
Be his fadres assignement
To make a werre in Orient,
And gret pouer with him he ladde,
So that the heiere hond he hadde
And victoire of his enemys,
And torneth homward with his pris,
In such a contre which was dreie
A meschief fell upon the weie.
As he rod with his compainie
410Nyh to the strondes of Lubie,
Ther myhte thei no drinke finde
Of water nor of other kinde,
So that himself and al his host
Were of defalte of drinke almost
Destruid, and thanne Bachus preide
To Jupiter, and thus he seide:
“O hihe fader, that sest al,
To whom is reson that I schal
Beseche and preie in every nede,
420Behold, mi fader, and tak hiede
This wofull thurst that we ben inne
To staunche, and grante ous forto winne,
And sauf unto the contre fare,
Wher that oure lusti loves are
Waitende upon oure hom cominge.”
And with the vois of his preiynge,
Which herd was to the goddes hihe,
He syh anon tofore his yhe
A wether, which the ground hath sporned;
430And wher he hath it overtorned,
Ther sprang a welle freissh and cler,
Wherof his oghne boteler
After the lustes of his wille
Was every man to drinke his fille.
And for this ilke grete grace
Bachus upon the same place
A riche temple let arere,
Which evere scholde stonde there
To thursti men in remembrance.
440Forthi, mi Sone, after this chance
It sit thee wel to taken hiede
So forto preie upon thi nede,
As Bachus preide for the welle;
And thenk, as thou hast herd me telle,
Hou grace he gradde and grace he hadde.
He was no fol that ferst so radde,
For selden get a domb man lond:
Tak that proverbe, and understond
That wordes ben of vertu grete.
450Forthi to speke thou ne lete,
And axe and prei erli and late
Thi thurst to quenche, and thenk algate,
The boteler which berth the keie
Is blind, as thou hast herd me seie;
And if it mihte so betyde,
That he upon the blinde side
Per cas the swete tonne arauhte,
Than schalt thou have a lusti drauhte
And waxe of lovedrunke sobre.
460And thus I rede thou assobre
Thin herte in hope of such a grace;
For drunkeschipe in every place,
To whether side that it torne,
Doth harm and makth a man to sporne
And ofte falle in such a wise,
Wher he per cas mai noght arise.
And forto loke in evidence
Upon the sothe experience,
So as it hath befalle er this,
470In every mannes mouth it is
Hou Tristram was of love drunke
With Bele Ysolde, whan thei drunke
The drink which Brangwein hem betok,
Er that king Marc his Eem hire tok
To wyve, as it was after knowe.
And ek, mi Sone, if thou wolt knowe,
As it hath fallen overmore
In loves cause, and what is more
Of drunkeschipe forto drede,
480As it whilom befell in dede,
Wherof thou miht the betre eschuie
Of drunke men that thou ne suie
The compaignie in no manere,
A gret ensample thou schalt hiere.
This finde I write in Poesie
Of thilke faire Ipotacie,
Of whos beaute ther as sche was
Spak every man, — and fell per cas,
That Pirotos so him spedde,
490That he to wyve hire scholde wedde,
Wherof that he gret joie made.
And for he wolde his love glade,
Ayein the day of mariage
Be mouthe bothe and be message
Hise frendes to the feste he preide,
With gret worschipe and, as men seide,
He hath this yonge ladi spoused.
And whan that thei were alle housed,
And set and served ate mete,
500Ther was no wyn which mai be gete,
That ther ne was plente ynouh:
Bot Bachus thilke tonne drouh,
Wherof be weie of drunkeschipe
The greteste of the felaschipe
Were oute of reson overtake;
And Venus, which hath also take
The cause most in special,
Hath yove hem drinke forth withal
Of thilke cuppe which exciteth
510The lust wherinne a man deliteth:
And thus be double weie drunke,
Of lust that ilke fyri funke
Hath mad hem, as who seith, halfwode,
That thei no reson understode,
Ne to non other thing thei syhen,
Bot hire, which tofore here yhen
Was wedded thilke same day,
That freisshe wif, that lusti May,
On hire it was al that thei thoghten.
520And so ferforth here lustes soghten,
That thei the whiche named were
Centauri, ate feste there
Of on assent, of an acord
This yonge wif malgre hire lord
In such a rage awei forth ladden,
As thei whiche non insihte hadden
Bot only to her drunke fare,
Which many a man hath mad misfare
In love als wel as other weie.
530Wherof, if I schal more seie
Upon the nature of the vice,
Of custume and of exercice
The mannes grace hou it fordoth,
A tale, which was whilom soth,
Of fooles that so drunken were,
I schal reherce unto thine Ere.
I rede in a Cronique thus
Of Galba and of Vitellus,
The whiche of Spaigne bothe were
540The greteste of alle othre there,
And bothe of o condicion
After the disposicion
Of glotonie and drunkeschipe.
That was a sori felaschipe:
For this thou miht wel understonde,
That man mai wel noght longe stonde
Which is wyndrunke of comun us;
For he hath lore the vertus,
Wherof reson him scholde clothe;
550And that was seene upon hem bothe.
Men sein ther is non evidence,
Wherof to knowe a difference
Betwen the drunken and the wode,
For thei be nevere nouther goode;
For wher that wyn doth wit aweie,
Wisdom hath lost the rihte weie,
That he no maner vice dredeth;
Nomore than a blind man thredeth
His nedle be the Sonnes lyht,
560Nomore is reson thanne of myht,
Whan he with drunkeschipe is blent.
And in this point thei weren schent,
This Galba bothe and ek Vitelle,
Upon the cause as I schal telle,
Wherof good is to taken hiede.
For thei tuo thurgh her drunkenhiede
Of witles excitacioun
Oppressede al the nacion
Of Spaigne; for of fool usance,
570Which don was of continuance
Of hem, whiche alday drunken were,
Ther was no wif ne maiden there,
What so thei were, or faire or foule,
Whom thei ne token to defoule,
Wherof the lond was often wo:
And ek in othre thinges mo
Thei wroghten many a sondri wrong.
Bot hou so that the dai be long,
The derke nyht comth ate laste:
580God wolde noght thei scholden laste,
And schop the lawe in such a wise,
That thei thurgh dom to the juise
Be dampned forto be forlore.
Bot thei, that hadden ben tofore
Enclin to alle drunkenesse,-
Here ende thanne bar witnesse;
For thei in hope to assuage
The peine of deth, upon the rage
That thei the lasse scholden fiele,
590Of wyn let fille full a Miele,
And dronken til so was befalle
That thei her strengthes losten alle
Withouten wit of eny brain;
And thus thei ben halfdede slain,
That hem ne grieveth bot a lyte.
Mi Sone, if thou be forto wyte
In eny point which I have seid,
Wherof thi wittes ben unteid,
I rede clepe hem hom ayein.
600I schal do, fader, as ye sein,
Als ferforth as I mai suffise:
Bot wel I wot that in no wise
The drunkeschipe of love aweie
I mai remue be no weie,
It stant noght upon my fortune.
Bot if you liste to comune
Of the seconde Glotonie,
Which cleped is Delicacie,
Wherof ye spieken hier tofore,
610Beseche I wolde you therfore.
Mi Sone, as of that ilke vice,
Which of alle othre is the Norrice,
And stant upon the retenue
Of Venus, so as it is due,
The proprete hou that it fareth
The bok hierafter nou declareth.
Of this chapitre in which we trete
There is yit on of such diete,
To which no povere mai atteigne;
620For al is Past of paindemeine
And sondri wyn and sondri drinke,
Wherof that he wole ete and drinke:
Hise cokes ben for him affaited,
So that his body is awaited,
That him schal lacke no delit,
Als ferforth as his appetit
Sufficeth to the metes hote.
Wherof this lusti vice is hote
Of Gule the Delicacie,
630Which al the hole progenie
Of lusti folk hath undertake
To feede, whil that he mai take
Richesses wherof to be founde:
Of Abstinence he wot no bounde,
To what profit it scholde serve.
And yit phisique of his conserve
Makth many a restauracioun
Unto his recreacioun,
Which wolde be to Venus lief.
640Thus for the point of his relief
The coc which schal his mete arraie,
Bot he the betre his mouth assaie,
His lordes thonk schal ofte lese,
Er he be served to the chese:
For ther mai lacke noght so lyte,
That he ne fint anon a wyte;
For bot his lust be fully served,
Ther hath no wiht his thonk deserved.
And yit for mannes sustenance,
650To kepe and holde in governance,
To him that wole his hele gete
Is non so good as comun mete:
For who that loketh on the bokes,
It seith, confeccion of cokes,
A man him scholde wel avise
Hou he it toke and in what wise.
For who that useth that he knoweth,
Ful selden seknesse on him groweth,
And who that useth metes strange,
660Though his nature empeire and change
It is no wonder, lieve Sone,
Whan that he doth ayein his wone;
For in Phisique this I finde,
Usage is the seconde kinde.
And riht so changeth his astat
He that of love is delicat:
For though he hadde to his hond
The beste wif of al the lond,
Or the faireste love of alle,
670Yit wolde his herte on othre falle
And thenke hem mor delicious
Than he hath in his oghne hous:
Men sein it is nou ofte so;
Avise hem wel, thei that so do.
And forto speke in other weie,
Fulofte time I have herd seie,
That he which hath no love achieved,
Him thenkth that he is noght relieved,
Thogh that his ladi make him chiere,
680So as sche mai in good manere
Hir honour and hir name save,
Bot he the surplus mihte have.
Nothing withstondende hire astat,
Of love more delicat
He set hire chiere at no delit,
Bot he have al his appetit.
Mi Sone, if it be with thee so,
Tell me. Myn holi fader, no:
For delicat in such a wise
690Of love, as ye to me devise,
Ne was I nevere yit gultif;
For if I hadde such a wif
As ye speke of, what scholde I more?
For thanne I wolde neveremore
For lust of eny wommanhiede
Myn herte upon non other fiede:
And if I dede, it were a wast.
Bot al withoute such repast
Of lust, as ye me tolde above,
700Of wif, or yit of other love,
I faste, and mai no fode gete;
So that for lacke of deinte mete,
Of which an herte mai be fedd,
I go fastende to my bedd.
Bot myhte I geten, as ye tolde,
So mochel that mi ladi wolde
Me fede with hir glad semblant,
Though me lacke al the remenant,
Yit scholde I somdel ben abeched
710And for the time wel refreched.
Bot certes, fader, sche ne doth;
For in good feith, to telle soth,
I trowe, thogh I scholde sterve,
Sche wolde noght hire yhe swerve,
Min herte with o goodly lok
To fede, and thus for such a cok
I mai go fastinge everemo:
Bot if so is that eny wo
Mai fede a mannes herte wel,
720Therof I have at every meel
Of plente more than ynowh;
Bot that is of himself so towh,
Mi stomac mai it noght defie.
Lo, such is the delicacie
Of love, which myn herte fedeth;
Thus have I lacke of that me nedeth.
Bot for al this yit natheles
I seie noght I am gylteles,
That I somdel am delicat:
730For elles were I fulli mat,
Bot if that I som lusti stounde
Of confort and of ese founde,
To take of love som repast;
For thogh I with the fulle tast
The lust of love mai noght fiele,
Min hunger otherwise I kiele
Of smale lustes whiche I pike,
And for a time yit thei like;
If that ye wisten what I mene.
740Nou, goode Sone, schrif thee clene
Of suche deyntes as ben goode,
Wherof thou takst thin hertes fode.
Mi fader, I you schal reherce,
Hou that mi fodes ben diverse,
So as thei fallen in degre.
O fiedinge is of that I se,
An other is of that I here,
The thridde, as I schal tellen here,
It groweth of min oghne thoght:
750And elles scholde I live noght;
For whom that failleth fode of herte,
He mai noght wel the deth asterte.
Of sihte is al mi ferste fode,
Thurgh which myn yhe of alle goode
Hath that to him is acordant,
A lusti fode sufficant.
Whan that I go toward the place
Wher I schal se my ladi face,
Min yhe, which is loth to faste,
760Beginth to hungre anon so faste,
That him thenkth of on houre thre,
Til I ther come and he hire se:
And thanne after his appetit
He takth a fode of such delit,
That him non other deynte nedeth.
Of sondri sihtes he him fedeth:
He seth hire face of such colour,
That freisshere is than eny flour,
He seth hire front is large and plein
770Withoute fronce of eny grein,
He seth hire yhen lich an hevene,
He seth hire nase strauht and evene,
He seth hire rode upon the cheke,
He seth hire rede lippes eke,
Hire chyn acordeth to the face,
Al that he seth is full of grace,
He seth hire necke round and clene,
Therinne mai no bon be sene,
He seth hire handes faire and whyte;
780For al this thing withoute wyte
He mai se naked ate leste,
So is it wel the more feste
And wel the mor Delicacie
Unto the fiedinge of myn yhe.
He seth hire schapthe forth withal,
Hire bodi round, hire middel smal,
So wel begon with good array,
Which passeth al the lust of Maii,
Whan he is most with softe schoures
790Ful clothed in his lusti floures.
With suche sihtes by and by
Min yhe is fed; bot finaly,
Whan he the port and the manere
Seth of hire wommanysshe chere,
Than hath he such delice on honde,
Him thenkth he mihte stille stonde,
And that he hath ful sufficance
Of liflode and of sustienance
As to his part for everemo.
800And if it thoghte alle othre so,
Fro thenne wolde he nevere wende,
Bot there unto the worldes ende
He wolde abyde, if that he mihte,
And fieden him upon the syhte.
For thogh I mihte stonden ay
Into the time of domesday
And loke upon hire evere in on,
Yit whanne I scholde fro hire gon,
Min yhe wolde, as thogh he faste,
810Ben hungerstorven al so faste,
Til efte ayein that he hire syhe.
Such is the nature of myn yhe:
Ther is no lust so deintefull,
Of which a man schal noght be full,
Of that the stomac underfongeth,
Bot evere in on myn yhe longeth:
For loke hou that a goshauk tireth,
Riht so doth he, whan that he pireth
And toteth on hire wommanhiede;
820For he mai nevere fulli fiede
His lust, bot evere aliche sore
Him hungreth, so that he the more
Desireth to be fed algate:
And thus myn yhe is mad the gate,
Thurgh which the deyntes of my thoght
Of lust ben to myn herte broght.
Riht as myn yhe with his lok
Is to myn herte a lusti coc
Of loves fode delicat,
830Riht so myn Ere in his astat,
Wher as myn yhe mai noght serve,
Can wel myn hertes thonk deserve
And fieden him fro day to day
With suche deyntes as he may.
For thus it is, that overal,
Wher as I come in special,
I mai hiere of mi ladi pris;
I hiere on seith that sche is wys,
An other seith that sche is good,
840And som men sein, of worthi blod
That sche is come, and is also
So fair, that nawher is non so;
And som men preise hire goodli chiere:
Thus every thing that I mai hiere,
Which souneth to mi ladi goode,
Is to myn Ere a lusti foode.
And ek min Ere hath over this
A deynte feste, whan so is
That I mai hiere hirselve speke;
850For thanne anon mi faste I breke
On suche wordes as sche seith,
That full of trouthe and full of feith
Thei ben, and of so good desport,
That to myn Ere gret confort
Thei don, as thei that ben delices.
For al the metes and the spices,
That eny Lombard couthe make,
Ne be so lusti forto take
Ne so ferforth restauratif,
860I seie as for myn oghne lif,
As ben the wordes of hire mouth:
For as the wyndes of the South
Ben most of alle debonaire,
So whan hir list to speke faire,
The vertu of hire goodly speche
Is verraily myn hertes leche.
And if it so befalle among,
That sche carole upon a song,
Whan I it hiere I am so fedd,
870That I am fro miself so ledd,
As thogh I were in paradis;
For certes, as to myn avis,
Whan I here of hir vois the stevene,
Me thenkth it is a blisse of hevene.
And ek in other wise also
Fulofte time it falleth so,
Min Ere with a good pitance
Is fedd of redinge of romance
Of Ydoine and of Amadas,
880That whilom weren in mi cas,
And eke of othre many a score,
That loveden longe er I was bore.
For whan I of here loves rede,
Min Ere with the tale I fede;
And with the lust of here histoire
Somtime I drawe into memoire
Hou sorwe mai noght evere laste;
And so comth hope in ate laste,
Whan I non other fode knowe.
890And that endureth bot a throwe,
Riht as it were a cherie feste;
Bot forto compten ate leste,
As for the while yit it eseth
And somdel of myn herte appeseth:
For what thing to myn Ere spreedeth,
Which is plesant, somdel it feedeth
With wordes suche as he mai gete
Mi lust, in stede of other mete.
Lo thus, mi fader, as I seie,
900Of lust the which myn yhe hath seie,
And ek of that myn Ere hath herd,
Fulofte I have the betre ferd.
And tho tuo bringen in the thridde,
The which hath in myn herte amidde
His place take, to arraie
The lusti fode, which assaie
I mot; and nameliche on nyhtes,
Whan that me lacketh alle sihtes,
And that myn heringe is aweie,
910Thanne is he redy in the weie
Mi reresouper forto make,
Of which myn hertes fode I take.
This lusti cokes name is hote
Thoght, which hath evere hise pottes hote
Of love buillende on the fyr
With fantasie and with desir,
Of whiche er this fulofte he fedde
Min herte, whanne I was abedde;
And thanne he set upon my bord
920Bothe every syhte and every word
Of lust, which I have herd or sein.
Bot yit is noght mi feste al plein,
Bot al of woldes and of wisshes,
Therof have I my fulle disshes,
Bot as of fielinge and of tast,
Yit mihte I nevere have o repast.
And thus, as I have seid aforn,
I licke hony on the thorn,
And as who seith, upon the bridel
930I chiewe, so that al is ydel
As in effect the fode I have.
Bot as a man that wolde him save,
Whan he is seck, be medicine,
Riht so of love the famine
I fonde in al that evere I mai
To fiede and dryve forth the day,
Til I mai have the grete feste,
Which al myn hunger myhte areste.
Lo suche ben mi lustes thre;
940Of that I thenke and hiere and se
I take of love my fiedinge
Withoute tastinge or fielinge:
And as the Plover doth of Eir
I live, and am in good espeir
That for no such delicacie
I trowe I do no glotonie.
And natheles to youre avis,
Min holi fader, that be wis,
I recomande myn astat
950Of that I have be delicat.
Mi Sone, I understonde wel
That thou hast told hier everydel,
And as me thenketh be thi tale,
It ben delices wonder smale,
Wherof thou takst thi loves fode.
Bot, Sone, if that thou understode
What is to ben delicious,
Thou woldest noght be curious
Upon the lust of thin astat
960To ben to sore delicat,
Wherof that thou reson excede:
For in the bokes thou myht rede,
If mannes wisdom schal be suied,
It oghte wel to ben eschuied
In love als wel as other weie;
For, as these holi bokes seie,
The bodely delices alle
In every point, hou so thei falle,
Unto the Soule don grievance.
970And forto take in remembrance,
A tale acordant unto this,
Which of gret understondinge is
To mannes soule resonable,
I thenke telle, and is no fable.
Of Cristes word, who wole it rede,
Hou that this vice is forto drede
In thevangile it telleth plein,
Which mot algate be certein,
For Crist himself it berth witnesse.
980And thogh the clerk and the clergesse
In latin tunge it rede and singe,
Yit for the more knoulechinge
Of trouthe, which is good to wite,
I schal declare as it is write
In Engleissh, for thus it began.
Crist seith: “Ther was a riche man,
A mihti lord of gret astat,
And he was ek so delicat
Of his clothing, that everyday
990Of pourpre and bisse he made him gay,
And eet and drank therto his fille
After the lustes of his wille,
As he which al stod in delice
And tok non hiede of thilke vice.
And as it scholde so betyde,
A povere lazre upon a tyde
Cam to the gate and axed mete:
Bot there mihte he nothing gete
His dedly hunger forto stanche;
1000For he, which hadde his fulle panche
Of alle lustes ate bord,
Ne deigneth noght to speke a word,
Onliche a Crumme forto yive,
Wherof the povere myhte live
Upon the yifte of his almesse.
Thus lai this povere in gret destresse
Acold and hungred ate gate,
Fro which he mihte go no gate,
So was he wofulli besein.
1010And as these holi bokes sein,
The houndes comen fro the halle,
Wher that this sike man was falle,
And as he lay ther forto die,
The woundes of his maladie
Thei licken forto don him ese.
Bot he was full of such desese,
That he mai noght the deth eschape;
Bot as it was that time schape,
The Soule fro the bodi passeth,
1020And he whom nothing overpasseth,
The hihe god, up to the hevene
Him tok, wher he hath set him evene
In Habrahammes barm on hyh,
Wher he the hevene joie syh
And hadde al that he have wolde.
And fell, as it befalle scholde,
This riche man the same throwe
With soudein deth was overthrowe,
And forth withouten eny wente
1030Into the helle straght he wente;
The fend into the fyr him drouh,
Wher that he hadde peine ynouh
Of flamme which that evere brenneth.
And as his yhe aboute renneth,
Toward the hevene he cast his lok,
Wher that he syh and hiede tok
Hou Lazar set was in his Se
Als ferr as evere he mihte se
With Habraham; and thanne he preide
1040Unto the Patriarch and seide:
“Send Lazar doun fro thilke Sete,
And do that he his finger wete
In water, so that he mai droppe
Upon my tunge, forto stoppe
The grete hete in which I brenne.”
Bot Habraham answerde thenne
And seide to him in this wise:
“Mi Sone, thou thee miht avise
And take into thi remembrance,
1050Hou Lazar hadde gret penance,
Whyl he was in that other lif,
Bot thou in al thi lust jolif
The bodily delices soghtest:
Forthi, so as thou thanne wroghtest,
Nou schalt thou take thi reward
Of dedly peine hierafterward
In helle, which schal evere laste;
And this Lazar nou ate laste
The worldes peine is overronne,
1060In hevene and hath his lif begonne
Of joie, which is endeles.
Bot that thou preidest natheles,
That I schal Lazar to the sende
With water on his finger ende,
Thin hote tunge forto kiele,
Thou schalt no such graces fiele;
For to that foule place of Sinne,
For evere in which thou schalt ben inne,
Comth non out of this place thider,
1070Ne non of you mai comen hider;
Thus be yee parted nou atuo.”
The riche ayeinward cride tho:
“O Habraham, sithe it so is,
That Lazar mai noght do me this
Which I have axed in this place,
I wolde preie an other grace.
For I have yit of brethren fyve,
That with mi fader ben alyve
Togedre duellende in on hous;
1080To whom, as thou art gracious,
I preie that thou woldest sende
Lazar, so that he mihte wende
To warne hem hou the world is went,
That afterward thei be noght schent
Of suche peines as I drye.
Lo, this I preie and this I crie,
Now I may noght miself amende.”
The Patriarch anon suiende
To his preiere ansuerde nay;
1090And seide him hou that everyday
His brethren mihten knowe and hiere
Of Moi5ses on Erthe hiere
And of prophetes othre mo,
What hem was best. And he seith no;
Bot if ther mihte a man aryse
Fro deth to lyve in such a wise,
To tellen hem hou that it were,
He seide hou thanne of pure fere
Thei scholden wel be war therby.
1100Quod Habraham: “Nay sikerly;
For if thei nou wol noght obeie
To suche as techen hem the weie,
And alday preche and alday telle
Hou that it stant of hevene and helle,
Thei wol noght thanne taken hiede,
Thogh it befelle so in dede
That eny ded man were arered,
To ben of him no betre lered
Than of an other man alyve.”
1110If thou, mi Sone, canst descryve
This tale, as Crist himself it tolde,
Thou schalt have cause to beholde,
To se so gret an evidence,
Wherof the sothe experience
Hath schewed openliche at ije,
That bodili delicacie
Of him which yeveth non almesse
Schal after falle in gret destresse.
And that was sene upon the riche:
1120For he ne wolde unto his liche
A Crumme yiven of his bred,
Thanne afterward, whan he was ded,
A drope of water him was werned.
Thus mai a mannes wit be lerned
Of hem that so delices taken;
Whan thei with deth ben overtaken,
That erst was swete is thanne sour.
Bot he that is a governour
Of worldes good, if he be wys,
1130Withinne his herte he set no pris
Of al the world, and yit he useth
The good, that he nothing refuseth,
As he which lord is of the thinges.
The Nouches and the riche ringes,
The cloth of gold and the Perrie
He takth, and yit delicacie
He leveth, thogh he were al this.
The beste mete that ther is
He ett, and drinkth the beste drinke;
1140Bot hou that evere he ete or drinke,
Delicacie he put aweie,
As he which goth the rihte weie
Noght only forto fiede and clothe
His bodi, bot his soule bothe.
Bot thei that taken otherwise
Here lustes, ben none of the wise;
And that whilom was schewed eke,
If thou these olde bokes seke,
Als wel be reson as be kinde,
1150Of olde ensample as men mai finde.
What man that wolde him wel avise,
Delicacie is to despise,
Whan kinde acordeth noght withal;
Wherof ensample in special
Of Nero whilom mai be told,
Which ayein kinde manyfold
Hise lustes tok, til ate laste
That god him wolde al overcaste;
Of whom the Cronique is so plein,
1160Me list nomore of him to sein.
And natheles for glotonie
Of bodili Delicacie,
To knowe his stomak hou it ferde,
Of that noman tofore herde,
Which he withinne himself bethoghte,
A wonder soubtil thing he wroghte.
Thre men upon eleccioun
Of age and of complexioun
Lich to himself be alle weie
1170He tok towardes him to pleie,
And ete and drinke als wel as he.
Therof was no diversite;
For every day whan that thei eete,
Tofore his oghne bord thei seete,
And of such mete as he was served,
Althogh thei hadde it noght deserved,
Thei token service of the same.
Bot afterward al thilke game
Was into wofull ernest torned;
1180For whan thei weren thus sojorned,
Withinne a time at after mete
Nero, which hadde noght foryete
The lustes of his frele astat,
As he which al was delicat,
To knowe thilke experience,
The men let come in his presence:
And to that on the same tyde,
A courser that he scholde ryde
Into the feld, anon he bad;
1190Wherof this man was wonder glad,
And goth to prike and prance aboute.
That other, whil that he was oute,
He leide upon his bedd to slepe:
The thridde, which he wolde kepe
Withinne his chambre, faire and softe
He goth now doun nou up fulofte,
Walkende a pass, that he ne slepte,
Til he which on the courser lepte
Was come fro the field ayein.
1200Nero thanne, as the bokes sein,
These men doth taken alle thre
And slouh hem, for he wolde se
The whos stomak was best defied:
And whanne he hath the sothe tryed,
He fond that he which goth the pass
Defyed best of alle was,
Which afterward he usede ay.
And thus what thing unto his pay
Was most plesant, he lefte non:
1210With every lust he was begon,
Wherof the bodi myhte glade,
For he non abstinence made;
Bot most above alle erthli thinges
Of wommen unto the likinges
Nero sette al his hole herte,
For that lust scholde him noght asterte.
Whan that the thurst of love him cawhte,
Wher that him list he tok a drauhte,
He spareth nouther wif ne maide,
1220That such an other, as men saide,
In al this world was nevere yit.
He was so drunke in al his wit
Thurgh sondri lustes whiche he tok,
That evere, whil ther is a bok,
Of Nero men schul rede and singe
Unto the worldes knowlechinge,
Mi goode Sone, as thou hast herd.
For evere yit it hath so ferd,
Delicacie in loves cas
1230Withoute reson is and was;
For wher that love his herte set,
Him thenkth it myhte be no bet;
And thogh it be noght fulli mete,
The lust of love is evere swete.
Lo, thus togedre of felaschipe
Delicacie and drunkeschipe,
Wherof reson stant out of herre,
Have mad full many a wisman erre
In loves cause most of alle:
1240For thanne hou so that evere it falle,
Wit can no reson understonde,
Bot let the governance stonde
To Will, which thanne wext so wylde,
That he can noght himselve schylde
Fro no peril, bot out of feere
The weie he secheth hiere and there,
Him recheth noght upon what syde:
For oftetime he goth beside,
And doth such thing withoute drede,
1250Wherof him oghte wel to drede.
Bot whan that love assoteth sore,
It passeth alle mennes lore;
What lust it is that he ordeigneth,
Ther is no mannes miht restreigneth,
And of the godd takth he non hiede:
Bot laweles withoute drede,
His pourpos for he wolde achieve
Ayeins the pointz of the believe,
He tempteth hevene and erthe and helle,
1260Hierafterward as I schall telle.
Who dar do thing which love ne dar?
To love is every lawe unwar,
Bot to the lawes of his heste
The fissch, the foul, the man, the beste
Of al the worldes kinde louteth.
For love is he which nothing douteth:
In mannes herte where he sit,
He compteth noght toward his wit
The wo nomore than the wele,
1270No mor the hete than the chele,
No mor the wete than the dreie,
No mor to live than to deie,
So that tofore ne behinde
He seth nothing, bot as the blinde
Withoute insyhte of his corage
He doth merveilles in his rage.
To what thing that he wole him drawe,
Ther is no god, ther is no lawe,
Of whom that he takth eny hiede;
1280Bot as Baiard the blinde stede,
Til he falle in the dich amidde,
He goth ther noman wole him bidde;
He stant so ferforth out of reule,
Ther is no wit that mai him reule.
And thus to telle of him in soth,
Ful many a wonder thing he doth,
That were betre to be laft,
Among the whiche is wicchecraft,
That som men clepen Sorcerie,
1290Which forto winne his druerie
With many a circumstance he useth,
Ther is no point which he refuseth.
The craft which that Saturnus fond,
To make prickes in the Sond,
That Geomance cleped is,
Fulofte he useth it amis;
And of the flod his Ydromance,
And of the fyr the Piromance,
With questions echon of tho
1300He tempteth ofte, and ek also
Ae5remance in juggement
To love he bringth of his assent:
For these craftes, as I finde,
A man mai do be weie of kinde,
Be so it be to good entente.
Bot he goth al an other wente;
For rathere er he scholde faile,
With Nigromance he wole assaile
To make his incantacioun
1310With hot subfumigacioun.
Thilke art which Spatula is hote,
And used is of comun rote
Among Paiens, with that craft ek
Of which is Auctor Thosz the Grek,
He worcheth on and on be rowe:
Razel is noght to him unknowe,
Ne Salomones Candarie,
His Ydeac, his Eutonye;
The figure and the bok withal
1320Of Balamuz, and of Ghenbal
The Seal, and therupon thymage
Of Thebith, for his avantage
He takth, and somwhat of Gibiere,
Which helplich is to this matiere.
Babilla with hire Sones sevene,
Which hath renonced to the hevene,
With Cernes bothe square and rounde,
He traceth ofte upon the grounde,
Makende his invocacioun;
1330And for full enformacioun
The Scole which Honorius
Wrot, he poursuieth: and lo, thus
Magique he useth forto winne
His love, and spareth for no Sinne.
And over that of his Sotie,
Riht as he secheth Sorcerie
Of hem that ben Magiciens,
Riht so of the Naturiens
Upon the Sterres from above
1340His weie he secheth unto love,
Als fer as he hem understondeth.
In many a sondry wise he fondeth:
He makth ymage, he makth sculpture,
He makth writinge, he makth figure,
He makth his calculacions,
He makth his demonstracions;
His houres of Astronomie
He kepeth as for that partie
Which longeth to thinspeccion
1350Of love and his affeccion;
He wolde into the helle seche
The devel himselve to beseche,
If that he wiste forto spede,
To gete of love his lusti mede:
Wher that he hath his herte set,
He bede nevere fare bet
Ne wite of other hevene more.
Mi Sone, if thou of such a lore
Hast ben er this, I red thee leve.
1360Min holi fader, be youre leve
Of al that ye have spoken hiere
Which toucheth unto this matiere,
To telle soth riht as I wene,
I wot noght o word what ye mene.
I wol noght seie, if that I couthe,
That I nolde in mi lusti youthe
Benethe in helle and ek above
To winne with mi ladi love
Don al that evere that I mihte;
1370For therof have I non insihte
Wher afterward that I become,
To that I wonne and overcome
Hire love, which I most coveite.
Mi Sone, that goth wonder streite:
For this I mai wel telle soth,
Ther is noman the which so doth,
For al the craft that he can caste,
That he nabeith it ate laste.
For often he that wol beguile
1380Is guiled with the same guile,
And thus the guilour is beguiled;
As I finde in a bok compiled
To this matiere an old histoire,
The which comth nou to mi memoire,
And is of gret essamplerie
Ayein the vice of Sorcerie,
Wherof non ende mai be good.
Bot hou whilom therof it stod,
A tale which is good to knowe
1390To thee, mi Sone, I schal beknowe.
Among hem whiche at Troie were,
Uluxes ate Siege there
Was on be name in special;
Of whom yit the memorial
Abit, for whyl ther is a mouth,
For evere his name schal be couth.
He was a worthi knyht and king
And clerk knowende of every thing;
He was a gret rethorien,
1400He was a gret magicien;
Of Tullius the rethorique,
Of king Zorastes the magique,
Of Tholome thastronomie,
Of Plato the Philosophie,
Of Daniel the slepi dremes,
Of Neptune ek the water stremes,
Of Salomon and the proverbes,
Of Macer al the strengthe of herbes,
And the Phisique of Ypocras,
1410And lich unto Pictagoras
Of Surgerie he knew the cures.
Bot somwhat of his aventures,
Which schal to mi matiere acorde,
To thee, mi Sone, I wol recorde.
This king, of which thou hast herd sein,
Fro Troie as he goth hom ayein
Be Schipe, he fond the See divers,
With many a wyndi storm revers.
Bot he thurgh wisdom that he schapeth
1420Ful many a gret peril ascapeth,
Of whiche I thenke tellen on,
Hou that malgre the nedle and ston
Wynddrive he was al soudeinly
Upon the strondes of Cilly,
Wher that he moste abyde a whyle.
Tuo queenes weren in that yle
Calipsa named and Circes;
And whan they herde hou Uluxes
Is londed ther upon the ryve,
1430For him thei senden als so blive.
With him suche as he wolde he nam
And to the court to hem he cam.
Thes queenes were as tuo goddesses
Of Art magique Sorceresses,
That what lord comth to that rivage,
Thei make him love in such a rage
And upon hem assote so,
That thei wol have, er that he go,
Al that he hath of worldes good.
1440Uluxes wel this understod,
Thei couthe moche, he couthe more;
Thei schape and caste ayein him sore
And wroghte many a soutil wyle,
Bot yit thei mihte him noght beguile.
Bot of the men of his navie
Thei tuo forschope a gret partie,
Mai non of hem withstonde here hestes;
Som part thei schopen into bestes,
Som part thei schopen into foules,
1450To beres, tigres, Apes, oules,
Or elles be som other weie;
Ther myhte hem nothing desobeie,
Such craft thei hadde above kinde.
Bot that Art couthe thei noght finde,
Of which Uluxes was deceived,
That he ne hath hem alle weyved,
And broght hem into such a rote,
That upon him thei bothe assote;
And thurgh the science of his art
1460He tok of hem so wel his part,
That he begat Circes with childe.
He kepte him sobre and made hem wilde,
He sette himselve so above,
That with here good and with here love,
Who that therof be lief or loth,
Al quit into his Schip he goth.
Circes toswolle bothe sides
He lefte, and waiteth on the tydes,
And straght thurghout the salte fom
1470He takth his cours and comth him hom,
Where as he fond Penolope;
A betre wif ther mai non be,
And yit ther ben ynowhe of goode.
Bot who hir goodschipe understode
Fro ferst that sche wifhode tok,
Hou many loves sche forsok
And hou sche bar hire al aboute,
Ther whiles that hire lord was oute,
He mihte make a gret avant
1480Amonges al the remenant
That sche was on of al the beste.
Wel myhte he sette his herte in reste,
This king, whan he hir fond in hele;
For as he couthe in wisdom dele,
So couthe sche in wommanhiede:
And whan sche syh withoute drede
Hire lord upon his oghne ground,
That he was come sauf and sound,
In al this world ne mihte be
1490A gladdere womman than was sche.
The fame, which mai noght ben hidd,
Thurghout the lond is sone kidd,
Here king is come hom ayein:
Ther mai noman the fulle sein,
Hou that thei weren alle glade,
So mochel joie of him thei made.
The presens every day be newed,
He was with yiftes al besnewed;
The poeple was of him so glad,
1500That thogh non other man hem bad,
Taillage upon hemself thei sette,
And as it were of pure dette
Thei yeve here goodes to the king:
This was a glad hom welcomyng.
Thus hath Uluxes what he wolde,
His wif was such as sche be scholde,
His poeple was to him sougit,
Him lacketh nothing of delit.
Bot fortune is of such a sleyhte,
1510That whan a man is most on heyhte,
Sche makth him rathest forto falle:
Ther wot noman what schal befalle,
The happes over mannes hed
Ben honged with a tendre thred.
That proved was on Uluxes;
For whan he was most in his pes,
Fortune gan to make him werre
And sette his welthe al out of herre.
Upon a dai as he was merie,
1520As thogh ther mihte him nothing derie,
Whan nyht was come, he goth to bedde,
With slep and bothe his yhen fedde.
And while he slepte, he mette a swevene:
Him thoghte he syh a stature evene,
Which brihtere than the sonne schon;
A man it semeth was it non,
Bot yit it was as in figure
Most lich to mannyssh creature,
Bot as of beaute hevenelich
1530It was most to an Angel lich:
And thus betwen angel and man
Beholden it this king began,
And such a lust tok of the sihte,
That fain he wolde, if that he mihte,
The forme of that figure embrace;
And goth him forth toward the place,
Wher he sih that ymage tho,
And takth it in his Armes tuo,
And it embraceth him ayein
1540And to the king thus gan it sein:
“Uluxes, understond wel this,
The tokne of oure aqueintance is
Hierafterward to mochel tene:
The love that is ous betuene,
Of that we nou such joie make,
That on of ous the deth schal take,
Whan time comth of destine;
It may non other wise be.”
Uluxes tho began to preie
1550That this figure wolde him seie
What wyht he is that seith him so.
This wyht upon a spere tho
A pensel which was wel begon,
Embrouded, scheweth him anon:
Thre fisshes alle of o colour
In manere as it were a tour
Upon the pensel were wroght.
Uluxes kneu this tokne noght,
And preith to wite in som partie
1560What thing it myhte signefie,
“A signe it is,” the wyht ansuerde,
“Of an Empire:” and forth he ferde
Al sodeinly, whan he that seide.
Uluxes out of slep abreide,
And that was riht ayein the day,
That lengere slepen he ne may.
Men sein, a man hath knowleching
Save of himself of alle thing;
His oghne chance noman knoweth,
1570Bot as fortune it on him throweth:
Was nevere yit so wys a clerk,
Which mihte knowe al goddes werk,
Ne the secret which god hath set
Ayein a man mai noght be let.
Uluxes, thogh that he be wys,
With al his wit in his avis,
The mor that he his swevene acompteth,
The lasse he wot what it amonteth:
For al his calculacion,
1580He seth no demonstracion
Al pleinly forto knowe an ende;
Bot natheles hou so it wende,
He dradde him of his oghne Sone.
That makth him wel the more astone,
And schop therfore anon withal,
So that withinne castel wall
Thelamachum his Sone he schette,
And upon him strong warde he sette.
The sothe furthere he ne knew,
1590Til that fortune him overthreu;
Bot natheles for sikernesse,
Wher that he mihte wite and gesse
A place strengest in his lond,
Ther let he make of lym and sond
A strengthe where he wolde duelle;
Was nevere man yit herde telle
Of such an other as it was.
And forto strengthe him in that cas,
Of al his lond the sekereste
1600Of servantz and the worthieste,
To kepen him withinne warde,
He sette his bodi forto warde;
And made such an ordinance,
For love ne for aqueintance,
That were it erly, were it late,
Thei scholde lete in ate gate
No maner man, what so betydde,
Bot if so were himself it bidde.
Bot al that myhte him noght availe,
1610For whom fortune wole assaile,
Ther mai be non such resistence,
Which mihte make a man defence;
Al that schal be mot falle algate.
This Circes, which I spak of late,
On whom Uluxes hath begete
A child, thogh he it have foryete,
Whan time com, as it was wone,
Sche was delivered of a Sone,
Which cleped is Thelogonus.
1620This child, whan he was bore thus,
Aboute his moder to ful age,
That he can reson and langage,
In good astat was drawe forth:
And whan he was so mochel worth
To stonden in a mannes stede,
Circes his moder hath him bede
That he schal to his fader go,
And tolde him al togedre tho
What man he was that him begat.
1630And whan Thelogonus of that
Was war and hath ful knowleching
Hou that his fader was a king,
He preith his moder faire this,
To go wher that his fader is;
And sche him granteth that he schal,
And made him redi forth withal.
It was that time such usance,
That every man the conoiscance
Of his contre bar in his hond,
1640Whan he wente into strange lond;
And thus was every man therfore
Wel knowe, wher that he was bore:
For espiaile and mistrowinges
They dede thanne suche thinges,
That every man mai other knowe.
So it befell that ilke throwe
Thelogonus as in this cas;
Of his contre the signe was
Thre fisshes, whiche he scholde bere
1650Upon the penon of a spere:
And whan that he was thus arraied
And hath his harneis al assaied,
That he was redy everydel,
His moder bad him farewel,
And seide him that he scholde swithe
His fader griete a thousand sithe.
Thelogonus his moder kiste
And tok his leve, and wher he wiste
His fader was, the weie nam,
1660Til he unto Nachaie cam,
Which of that lond the chief Cite
Was cleped, and ther axeth he
Wher was the king and hou he ferde.
And whan that he the sothe herde,
Wher that the king Uluxes was,
Al one upon his hors gret pas
He rod him forth, and in his hond
He bar the signal of his lond
With fisshes thre, as I have told;
1670And thus he wente unto that hold,
Wher that his oghne fader duelleth.
The cause why he comth he telleth
Unto the kepers of the gate,
And wolde have comen in therate,
Bot schortli thei him seide nay:
And he als faire as evere he may
Besoghte and tolde hem ofte this,
Hou that the king his fader is;
Bot they with proude wordes grete
1680Begunne to manace and threte,
Bot he go fro the gate faste,
Thei wolde him take and sette faste.
Fro wordes unto strokes thus
Thei felle, and so Thelogonus
Was sore hurt and welnyh ded;
Bot with his scharpe speres hed
He makth defence, hou so it falle,
And wan the gate upon hem alle,
And hath slain of the beste fyve;
1690And thei ascriden als so blyve
Thurghout the castell al aboute.
On every syde men come oute,
Wherof the kinges herte afflihte,
And he with al the haste he mihte
A spere cauhte and out he goth,
As he that was nyh wod for wroth.
He sih the gates ful of blod,
Thelogonus and wher he stod
He sih also, bot he ne knew
1700What man it was, and to him threw
His Spere, and he sterte out asyde.
Bot destine, which schal betide,
Befell that ilke time so,
Thelogonus knew nothing tho
What man it was that to him caste,
And while his oghne spere laste,
With al the signe therupon
He caste unto the king anon,
And smot him with a dedly wounde.
1710Uluxes fell anon to grounde;
Tho every man, “The king! the king!”
Began to crie, and of this thing
Thelogonus, which sih the cas,
On knes he fell and seide, “Helas!
I have min oghne fader slain:
Nou wolde I deie wonder fain,
Nou sle me who that evere wile,
For certes it is right good skile.”
He crith, he wepth, he seith therfore,
1720“Helas, that evere was I bore,
That this unhappi destine
So wofulli comth in be me!”
This king, which yit hath lif ynouh,
His herte ayein to him he drouh,
And to that vois an Ere he leide
And understod al that he seide,
And gan to speke, and seide on hih,
“Bring me this man.” And whan he sih
Thelogonus, his thoght he sette
1730Upon the swevene which he mette,
And axeth that he myhte se
His spere, on which the fisshes thre
He sih upon a pensel wroght.
Tho wiste he wel it faileth noght,
And badd him that he telle scholde
Fro whenne he cam and what he wolde.
Thelogonus in sorghe and wo
So as he mihte tolde tho
Unto Uluxes al the cas,
1740Hou that Circes his moder was,
And so forth seide him everydel,
Hou that his moder gret him wel,
And in what wise sche him sente.
Tho wiste Uluxes what it mente,
And tok him in hise Armes softe,
And al bledende he kest him ofte,
And seide, “Sone, whil I live,
This infortune I thee foryive.”
After his other Sone in haste
1750He sende, and he began him haste
And cam unto his fader tyt.
Bot whan he sih him in such plit,
He wolde have ronne upon that other
Anon, and slain his oghne brother,
Ne hadde be that Uluxes
Betwen hem made acord and pes,
And to his heir Thelamachus
He bad that he Thelogonus
With al his pouer scholde kepe,
1760Til he were of his woundes depe
Al hol, and thanne he scholde him yive
Lond wher upon he mihte live.
Thelamachus, whan he this herde,
Unto his fader he ansuerde
And seide he wolde don his wille.
So duelle thei togedre stille,
These brethren, and the fader sterveth.
Lo, wherof Sorcerie serveth.
Thurgh Sorcerie his lust he wan,
1770Thurgh Sorcerie his wo began,
Thurgh Sorcerie his love he ches,
Thurgh Sorcerie his lif he les;
The child was gete in Sorcerie,
The which dede al this felonie:
Thing which was ayein kynde wroght
Unkindeliche it was aboght;
The child his oghne fader slowh,
That was unkindeschipe ynowh.
Forthi tak hiede hou that it is,
1780So forto winne love amis,
Which endeth al his joie in wo:
For of this Art I finde also,
That hath be do for loves sake,
Wherof thou miht ensample take,
A gret Cronique imperial,
Which evere into memorial
Among the men, hou so it wende,
Schal duelle to the worldes ende.
The hihe creatour of thinges,
1790Which is the king of alle kinges,
Ful many a wonder worldes chance
Let slyden under his suffrance;
Ther wot noman the cause why,
Bot he the which is almyhty.
And that was proved whilom thus,
Whan that the king Nectanabus,
Which hadde Egipte forto lede,-
Bot for he sih tofor the dede
Thurgh magique of his Sorcerie,
1800Wherof he couthe a gret partie,
Hise enemys to him comende,
Fro whom he mihte him noght defende,
Out of his oghne lond he fledde;
And in the wise as he him dredde
It fell, for al his wicchecraft,
So that Egipte him was beraft,
And he desguised fledde aweie
Be schipe, and hield the rihte weie
To Macedoine, wher that he
1810Aryveth ate chief Cite.
Thre yomen of his chambre there
Al only forto serve him were,
The whiche he trusteth wonder wel,
For thei were trewe as eny stiel;
And hapneth that thei with him ladde
Part of the beste good he hadde.
Thei take logginge in the toun
After the disposicion
Wher as him thoghte best to duelle:
1820He axeth thanne and herde telle
Hou that the king was oute go.
Upon a werre he hadde tho;
But in that Cite thanne was
The queene, which Olimpias
Was hote, and with sollempnete
The feste of hir nativite,
As it befell, was thanne holde;
And for hire list to be beholde
And preised of the poeple aboute,
1830Sche schop hir forto riden oute
At after mete al openly.
Anon were alle men redy,
And that was in the monthe of Maii,
This lusti queene in good arrai
Was set upon a Mule whyt:
To sen it was a gret delit
The joie that the cite made;
With freisshe thinges and with glade
The noble toun was al behonged,
1840And every wiht was sore alonged
To se this lusti ladi ryde.
Ther was gret merthe on alle syde;
Wher as sche passeth be the strete,
Ther was ful many a tymber bete
And many a maide carolende:
And thus thurghout the toun pleiende
This queene unto a pleine rod,
Wher that sche hoved and abod
To se diverse game pleie,
1850The lusti folk jouste and tourneie;
And so forth every other man,
Which pleie couthe, his pley began,
To plese with this noble queene.
Nectanabus cam to the grene
Amonges othre and drouh him nyh.
Bot whan that he this ladi sih
And of hir beaute hiede tok,
He couthe noght withdrawe his lok
To se noght elles in the field,
1860Bot stod and only hire behield.
Of his clothinge and of his gere
He was unlich alle othre there,
So that it hapneth ate laste,
The queene on him hire yhe caste,
And knew that he was strange anon:
Bot he behield hire evere in on
Withoute blenchinge of his chere.
Sche tok good hiede of his manere,
And wondreth why he dede so,
1870And bad men scholde for him go.
He cam and dede hire reverence,
And sche him axeth in cilence
For whenne he cam and what he wolde.
And he with sobre wordes tolde,
And seith, “Ma dame, a clerk I am,
To you and in message I cam,
The which I mai noght tellen hiere;
Bot if it liketh you to hiere,
It mot be seid al prively,
1880Wher non schal be bot ye and I.”
Thus for the time he tok his leve.
The dai goth forth til it was eve,
That every man mot lete his werk;
And sche thoghte evere upon this clerk,
What thing it is he wolde mene:
And in this wise abod the queene,
And passeth over thilke nyht,
Til it was on the morwe liht.
Sche sende for him, and he com,
1890With him his Astellabre he nom,
Which was of fin gold precious
With pointz and cercles merveilous;
And ek the hevenely figures
Wroght in a bok ful of peintures
He tok this ladi forto schewe,
And tolde of ech of hem be rewe
The cours and the condicion.
And sche with gret affeccion
Sat stille and herde what he wolde:
1900And thus whan he sih time, he tolde,
And feigneth with hise wordes wise
A tale, and seith in such a wise:
“Ma dame, bot a while ago,
Wher I was in Egipte tho,
And radde in scole of this science,
It fell into mi conscience
That I unto the temple wente,
And ther with al myn hole entente
As I mi sacrifice dede,
1910On of the goddes hath me bede
That I you warne prively,
So that ye make you redy,
And that ye be nothing agast;
For he such love hath to you cast,
That ye schul ben his oghne diere,
And he schal be your beddefiere,
Til ye conceive and be with childe.”
And with that word sche wax al mylde,
And somdel red becam for schame,
1920And axeth him that goddes name,
Which so wol don hire compainie.
And he seide, “Amos of Lubie.”
And sche seith, “That mai I noght lieve,
Bot if I sihe a betre prieve.”
“Ma dame,” quod Nectanabus,
“In tokne that it schal be thus,
This nyht for enformacion
Ye schul have an avision:
That Amos schal to you appiere,
1930To schewe and teche in what manere
The thing schal afterward befalle.
Ye oghten wel above alle
To make joie of such a lord;
For whan ye ben of on acord,
He schal a Sone of you begete,
Which with his swerd schal winne and gete
The wyde world in lengthe and brede;
Alle erthli kinges schull him drede,
And in such wise, I you behote,
1940The god of erthe he schal be hote.”
“If this be soth,” tho quod the queene,
“This nyht, thou seist, it schal be sene.
And if it falle into mi grace,
Of god Amos, that I pourchace
To take of him so gret worschipe,
I wol do thee such ladischipe,
Wherof thou schalt for everemo
Be riche.” And he hir thonketh tho,
And tok his leve and forth he wente.
1950Sche wiste litel what he mente,
For it was guile and Sorcerie,
Al that sche tok for Prophecie.
Nectanabus thurghout the day,
Whan he cam hom wher as he lay,
His chambre be himselve tok,
And overtorneth many a bok,
And thurgh the craft of Artemage
Of wex he forgeth an ymage.
He loketh his equacions
1960And ek the constellacions,
He loketh the conjunccions,
He loketh the recepcions,
His signe, his houre, his ascendent,
And drawth fortune of his assent:
The name of queene Olimpias
In thilke ymage write was
Amiddes in the front above.
And thus to winne his lust of love
Nectanabus this werk hath diht;
1970And whan it cam withinne nyht,
That every wyht is falle aslepe,
He thoghte he wolde his time kepe,
As he which hath his houre apointed.
And thanne ferst he hath enoignted
With sondri herbes that figure,
And therupon he gan conjure,
So that thurgh his enchantement
This ladi, which was innocent
And wiste nothing of this guile,
1980Mette, as sche slepte thilke while,
Hou fro the hevene cam a lyht,
Which al hir chambre made lyht;
And as sche loketh to and fro,
Sche sih, hir thoghte, a dragoun tho,
Whos scherdes schynen as the Sonne,
And hath his softe pas begonne
With al the chiere that he may
Toward the bedd ther as sche lay,
Til he cam to the beddes side.
1990And sche lai stille and nothing cride,
For he dede alle his thinges faire
And was courteis and debonaire:
And as he stod hire fasteby,
His forme he changeth sodeinly,
And the figure of man he nom,
To hire and into bedde he com,
And such thing there of love he wroghte,
Wherof, so as hire thanne thoghte,
Thurgh likinge of this god Amos
2000With childe anon hire wombe aros,
And sche was wonder glad withal.
Nectanabus, which causeth al
Of this metrede the substance,
Whan he sih time, his nigromance
He stinte and nothing more seide
Of his carecte, and sche abreide
Out of hir slep, and lieveth wel
That it is soth thanne everydel
Of that this clerk hire hadde told,
2010And was the gladdere manyfold
In hope of such a glad metrede,
Which after schal befalle in dede.
Sche longeth sore after the dai,
That sche hir swevene telle mai
To this guilour in privete,
Which kneu it als so wel as sche:
And natheles on morwe sone
Sche lefte alle other thing to done,
And for him sende, and al the cas
2020Sche tolde him pleinly as it was,
And seide hou thanne wel sche wiste
That sche his wordes mihte triste,
For sche fond hire Avisioun
Riht after the condicion
Which he hire hadde told tofore;
And preide him hertely therfore
That he hire holde covenant
So forth of al the remenant,
That sche may thurgh his ordinance
2030Toward the god do such plesance,
That sche wakende myhte him kepe
In such wise as sche mette aslepe.
And he, that couthe of guile ynouh,
Whan he this herde, of joie he louh,
And seith, “Ma dame, it schal be do.
Bot this I warne you therto:
This nyht, whan that he comth to pleie,
That ther be no lif in the weie
Bot I, that schal at his likinge
2040Ordeine so for his cominge,
That ye ne schull noght of him faile.
For this, ma dame, I you consaile,
That ye it kepe so prive,
That no wiht elles bot we thre
Have knowlechinge hou that it is;
For elles mihte it fare amis,
If ye dede oght that scholde him grieve.”
And thus he makth hire to believe,
And feigneth under guile feith:
2050Bot natheles al that he seith
Sche troweth; and ayein the nyht
Sche hath withinne hire chambre dyht,
Wher as this guilour faste by
Upon this god schal prively
Awaite, as he makth hire to wene:
And thus this noble gentil queene,
Whan sche most trusteth, was deceived.
The nyht com, and the chambre is weyved,
Nectanabus hath take his place,
2060And whan he sih the time and space,
Thurgh the deceipte of his magique
He putte him out of mannes like,
And of a dragoun tok the forme,
As he which wolde him al conforme
To that sche sih in swevene er this;
And thus to chambre come he is.
The queene lay abedde and sih,
And hopeth evere, as he com nyh,
That he god of Lubye were,
2070So hath sche wel the lasse fere.
Bot for he wolde hire more assure,
Yit eft he changeth his figure,
And of a wether the liknesse
He tok, in signe of his noblesse
With large hornes for the nones:
Of fin gold and of riche stones
A corone on his hed he bar,
And soudeinly, er sche was war,
As he which alle guile can,
2080His forme he torneth into man,
And cam to bedde, and sche lai stille,
Wher as sche soffreth al his wille,
As sche which wende noght misdo.
Bot natheles it hapneth so,
Althogh sche were in part deceived,
Yit for al that sche hath conceived
The worthieste of alle kiththe,
Which evere was tofore or siththe
Of conqueste and chivalerie;
2090So that thurgh guile and Sorcerie
Ther was that noble knyht begunne,
Which al the world hath after wunne.
Thus fell the thing which falle scholde,
Nectanabus hath that he wolde;
With guile he hath his love sped,
With guile he cam into the bed,
With guile he goth him out ayein:
He was a schrewed chamberlein,
So to beguile a worthi queene,
2100And that on him was after seene.
Bot natheles the thing is do;
This false god was sone go,
With his deceipte and hield him clos,
Til morwe cam, that he aros.
And tho, whan time and leisir was,
The queene tolde him al the cas,
As sche that guile non supposeth;
And of tuo pointz sche him opposeth.
On was, if that this god nomore
2110Wol come ayein, and overmore,
Hou sche schal stonden in acord
With king Philippe hire oghne lord,
Whan he comth hom and seth hire grone.
“Ma dame,” he seith, “let me alone:
As for the god I undertake
That whan it liketh you to take
His compaignie at eny throwe,
If I a day tofore it knowe,
He schal be with you on the nyht;
2120And he is wel of such a myht
To kepe you from alle blame.
Forthi conforte you, ma dame,
Ther schal non other cause be.”
Thus tok he leve and forth goth he,
And tho began he forto muse
Hou he the queene mihte excuse
Toward the king of that is falle;
And fond a craft amonges alle,
Thurgh which he hath a See foul daunted,
2130With his magique and so enchaunted,
That he flyh forth, whan it was nyht,
Unto the kinges tente riht,
Wher that he lay amidde his host:
And whanne he was aslepe most,
With that the See foul to him broghte
And othre charmes, whiche he wroghte
At hom withinne his chambre stille,
The king he torneth at his wille,
And makth him forto dreme and se
2140The dragoun and the privete
Which was betuen him and the queene.
And over that he made him wene
In swevene, hou that the god Amos,
Whan he up fro the queene aros,
Tok forth a ring, wherinne a ston
Was set, and grave therupon
A Sonne, in which, whan he cam nyh,
A leoun with a swerd he sih;
And with that priente, as he tho mette,
2150Upon the queenes wombe he sette
A Seal, and goth him forth his weie.
With that the swevene wente aweie,
And tho began the king awake
And sigheth for his wyves sake,
Wher as he lay withinne his tente,
And hath gret wonder what it mente.
With that he hasteth him to ryse
Anon, and sende after the wise,
Among the whiche ther was on,
2160A clerc, his name is Amphion:
Whan he the kinges swevene herde,
What it betokneth he ansuerde,
And seith, “So siker as the lif,
A god hath leie be thi wif,
And gete a Sone, which schal winne
The world and al that is withinne.
As leon is the king of bestes,
So schal the world obeie his hestes,
Which with his swerd schal al be wonne,
2170Als ferr as schyneth eny Sonne.”
The king was doubtif of this dom;
Bot natheles, whan that he com
Ayein into his oghne lond,
His wif with childe gret he fond.
He mihte noght himselve stiere,
That he ne made hire hevy chiere;
Bot he which couthe of alle sorwe,
Nectanabus, upon the morwe
Thurgh the deceipte and nigromance
2180Tok of a dragoun the semblance,
And wher the king sat in his halle,
Com in rampende among hem alle
With such a noise and such a rore,
That thei agast were also sore
As thogh thei scholde deie anon.
And natheles he grieveth non,
Bot goth toward the deyss on hih;
And whan he cam the queene nyh,
He stinte his noise, and in his wise
2190To hire he profreth his servise,
And leith his hed upon hire barm;
And sche with goodly chiere hire arm
Aboute his necke ayeinward leide,
And thus the queene with him pleide
In sihte of alle men aboute.
And ate laste he gan to loute
And obeissance unto hire make,
As he that wolde his leve take;
And sodeinly his lothly forme
2200Into an Egle he gan transforme,
And flyh and sette him on a raile;
Wherof the king hath gret mervaile,
For there he pruneth him and piketh,
As doth an hauk whan him wel liketh,
And after that himself he schok,
Wherof that al the halle quok,
As it a terremote were;
Thei seiden alle, god was there:
In such a res and forth he flyh.
2210The king, which al this wonder syh,
Whan he cam to his chambre alone,
Unto the queene he made his mone
And of foryivenesse hir preide;
For thanne he knew wel, as he seide,
Sche was with childe with a godd.
Thus was the king withoute rodd
Chastised, and the queene excused
Of that sche hadde ben accused.
And for the gretere evidence,
2220Yit after that in the presence
Of king Philipp and othre mo,
Whan thei ride in the fieldes tho,
A Phesant cam before here yhe,
The which anon as thei hire syhe,
Fleende let an ey doun falle,
And it tobrak tofore hem alle:
And as thei token therof kepe,
Thei syhe out of the schelle crepe
A litel Serpent on the ground,
2230Which rampeth al aboute round,
And in ayein it wolde have wonne,
Bot for the brennynge of the Sonne
It mihte noght, and so it deide.
And therupon the clerkes seide,
“As the Serpent, whan it was oute,
Went enviroun the schelle aboute
And mihte noght torne in ayein,
So schal it fallen in certein:
This child the world schal environe,
2240And above alle the corone
Him schal befalle, and in yong Age
He schal desire in his corage,
Whan al the world is in his hond,
To torn ayein into the lond
Wher he was bore, and in his weie
Homward he schal with puison deie.”
The king, which al this sih and herde,
Fro that dai forth, hou so it ferde,
His jalousie hath al foryete.
2250Bot he which hath the child begete,
Nectanabus, in privete
The time of his nativite
Upon the constellacioun
Awaiteth, and relacion
Makth to the queene hou sche schal do,
And every houre apointeth so,
That no mynut therof was lore.
So that in due time is bore
This child, and forth with therupon
2260Ther felle wondres many on
Of terremote universiel:
The Sonne tok colour of stiel
And loste his lyht, the wyndes blewe,
And manye strengthes overthrewe;
The See his propre kinde changeth,
And al the world his forme strangeth;
The thonder with his fyri levene
So cruel was upon the hevene,
That every erthli creature
2270Tho thoghte his lif in aventure.
The tempeste ate laste cesseth,
The child is kept, his age encresseth,
And Alisandre his name is hote,
To whom Calistre and Aristote
To techen him Philosophie
Entenden, and Astronomie,
With othre thinges whiche he couthe
Also, to teche him in his youthe
Nectanabus tok upon honde.
2280Bot every man mai understonde,
Of Sorcerie hou that it wende,
It wole himselve prove at ende,
And namely forto beguile
A lady, which withoute guile
Supposeth trouthe al that sche hiereth:
Bot often he that evele stiereth
His Schip is dreynt therinne amidde;
And in this cas riht so betidde.
Nectanabus upon a nyht,
2290Whan it was fair and sterre lyht,
This yonge lord ladde up on hih
Above a tour, wher as he sih
Thee sterres such as he acompteth,
And seith what ech of hem amonteth,
As thogh he knewe of alle thing;
Bot yit hath he no knowleching
What schal unto himself befalle.
Whan he hath told his wordes alle,
This yonge lord thanne him opposeth,
2300And axeth if that he supposeth
What deth he schal himselve deie.
He seith, “Or fortune is aweie
And every sterre hath lost his wone,
Or elles of myn oghne Sone
I schal be slain, I mai noght fle.”
Thoghte Alisandre in privete,
“Hierof this olde dotard lieth”:
And er that other oght aspieth,
Al sodeinliche his olde bones
2310He schof over the wal at ones,
And seith him, “Ly doun there apart:
Wherof nou serveth al thin art?
Thou knewe alle othre mennes chance
And of thiself hast ignorance:
That thou hast seid amonges alle
Of thi persone, is noght befalle.”
Nectanabus, which hath his deth,
Yit while him lasteth lif and breth,
To Alisandre he spak and seide
2320That he with wrong blame on him leide
Fro point to point and al the cas
He tolde, hou he his Sone was.
Tho he, which sory was ynowh,
Out of the dich his fader drouh,
And tolde his moder hou it ferde
In conseil; and whan sche it herde
And kneu the toknes whiche he tolde,
Sche nyste what sche seie scholde,
Bot stod abayssht as for the while
2330Of his magique and al the guile.
Sche thoghte hou that sche was deceived,
That sche hath of a man conceived,
And wende a god it hadde be.
Bot natheles in such degre,
So as sche mihte hire honour save,
Sche schop the body was begrave.
And thus Nectanabus aboghte
The Sorcerie which he wroghte:
Thogh he upon the creatures
2340Thurgh his carectes and figures
The maistrie and the pouer hadde,
His creatour to noght him ladde,
Ayein whos lawe his craft he useth,
Whan he for lust his god refuseth,
And tok him to the dieules craft.
Lo, what profit him is belaft:
That thing thurgh which he wende have stonde,
Ferst him exilede out of londe
Which was his oghne, and from a king
2350Made him to ben an underling;
And siththen to deceive a queene,
That torneth him to mochel teene;
Thurgh lust of love he gat him hate,
That ende couthe he noght abate.
His olde sleyhtes whiche he caste,
Yonge Alisaundre hem overcaste,
His fader, which him misbegat,
He slouh, a gret mishap was that;
Bot for o mis an other mys
2360Was yolde, and so fulofte it is;
Nectanabus his craft miswente,
So it misfell him er he wente.
I not what helpeth that clergie
Which makth a man to do folie,
And nameliche of nigromance,
Which stant upon the mescreance.
And forto se more evidence,
Zorastes, which thexperience
Of Art magique ferst forth drouh,
2370Anon as he was bore, he louh,
Which tokne was of wo suinge:
For of his oghne controvinge
He fond magique and tauhte it forth;
Bot al that was him litel worth,
For of Surrie a worthi king
Him slou, and that was his endyng.
Bot yit thurgh him this craft is used,
And he thurgh al the world accused,
For it schal nevere wel achieve
2380That stant noght riht with the believe:
Bot lich to wolle is evele sponne,
Who lest himself hath litel wonne,
An ende proveth every thing.
Sal, which was of Juys king,
Up peine of deth forbad this art,
And yit he tok therof his part.
The Phitonesse in Samarie
Yaf him conseil be Sorcerie,
Which after fell to mochel sorwe,
2390For he was slain upon the morwe.
To conne moche thing it helpeth,
Bot of to mochel noman yelpeth:
So forto loke on every side,
Magique mai noght wel betyde.
Forthi, my Sone, I wolde rede
That thou of these ensamples drede,
That for no lust of erthli love
Thou seche so to come above,
Wherof as in the worldes wonder
2400Thou schalt for evere be put under.
Mi goode fader, grant mercy,
For evere I schal be war therby:
Of love what me so befalle,
Such Sorcerie aboven alle
Fro this dai forth I schal eschuie,
That so ne wol I noght poursuie
Mi lust of love forto seche.
Bot this I wolde you beseche,
Beside that me stant of love,
2410As I you herde speke above
Hou Alisandre was betawht
To Aristotle, and so wel tawht
Of al that to a king belongeth,
Wherof min herte sore longeth
To wite what it wolde mene.
For be reson I wolde wene
That if I herde of thinges strange,
Yit for a time it scholde change
Mi peine, and lisse me somdiel.
2420Mi goode Sone, thou seist wel.
For wisdom, hou that evere it stonde,
To him that can it understonde
Doth gret profit in sondri wise;
Bot touchende of so hih aprise,
Which is noght unto Venus knowe,
I mai it noght miselve knowe,
Which of hir court am al forthdrawe
And can nothing bot of hir lawe.
Bot natheles to knowe more
2430Als wel as thou me longeth sore;
And for it helpeth to comune,
Al ben thei noght to me comune,
The scoles of Philosophie,
Yit thenke I forto specefie,
In boke as it is comprehended,
Wherof thou mihtest ben amended.
For thogh I be noght al cunnynge
Upon the forme of this wrytynge,
Som part therof yit have I herd,
In this matiere hou it hath ferd. 2440
Explicit Liber Sextus
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:08