Incipit Liber Septimus.
Omnibus in causis sapiens doctrina salutem
Consequitur, nec habet quis nisi doctus opem.
Naturam superat doctrina, viro quod et ortus
Ingenii docilis non dedit, ipsa dabit.
Non ita discretus hominum per climata regnat,
Quin magis ut sapiat, indiget ipse schole.
I Genius the prest of love,
Mi Sone, as thou hast preid above
That I the Scole schal declare
Of Aristotle and ek the fare
Of Alisandre, hou he was tauht,
I am somdel therof destrauht;
For it is noght to the matiere
Of love, why we sitten hiere
To schryve, so as Venus bad.
10Bot natheles, for it is glad,
So as thou seist, for thin aprise
To hiere of suche thinges wise,
Wherof thou myht the time lisse,
So as I can, I schal the wisse:
For wisdom is at every throwe
Above alle other thing to knowe
In loves cause and elleswhere.
Forthi, my Sone, unto thin Ere,
Though it be noght in the registre
20Of Venus, yit of that Calistre
And Aristotle whylom write
To Alisandre, thou schalt wite.
Bot for the lores ben diverse,
I thenke ferst to the reherce
The nature of Philosophie,
Which Aristotle of his clergie,
Wys and expert in the sciences,
Declareth thilke intelligences,
As of thre pointz in principal.
30Wherof the ferste in special
Is Theorique, which is grounded
On him which al the world hath founded,
Which comprehendeth al the lore.
And forto loken overmore,
Next of sciences the seconde
Is Rethorique, whos faconde
Above alle othre is eloquent:
To telle a tale in juggement
So wel can noman speke as he.
40The laste science of the thre
It is Practique, whos office
The vertu tryeth fro the vice,
And techeth upon goode thewes
To fle the compaignie of schrewes,
Which stant in disposicion
Of mannes free eleccion.
Practique enformeth ek the reule,
Hou that a worthi king schal reule
His Realme bothe in werre and pes.
50Lo, thus danz Aristotiles
These thre sciences hath divided
And the nature also decided,
Wherof that ech of hem schal serve.
The ferste, which is the conserve
And kepere of the remnant,
As that which is most sufficant
And chief of the Philosophie,
If I therof schal specefie
So as the Philosophre tolde,
60Nou herkne, and kep that thou it holde.
Of Theorique principal
The Philosophre in special
The propretees hath determined,
As thilke which is enlumined
Of wisdom and of hih prudence
Above alle othre in his science:
And stant departed upon thre,
The ferste of which in his degre
Is cleped in Philosophie
70The science of Theologie,
That other named is Phisique,
The thridde is seid Mathematique.
Theologie is that science
Which unto man yifth evidence
Of thing which is noght bodely,
Wherof men knowe redely
The hihe almyhti Trinite,
Which is o god in unite
Withouten ende and beginnynge
80And creatour of alle thinge,
Of hevene, of erthe and ek of helle.
Wherof, as olde bokes telle,
The Philosophre in his resoun
Wrot upon this conclusioun,
And of his wrytinge in a clause
He clepeth god the ferste cause,
Which of himself is thilke good,
Withoute whom nothing is good,
Of which that every creature
90Hath his beinge and his nature.
After the beinge of the thinges
Ther ben thre formes of beinges:
Thing which began and ende schal,
That thing is cleped temporal;
Ther is also be other weie
Thing which began and schal noght deie.
As Soules, that ben spiritiel,
Here beinge is perpetuel:
Bot ther is on above the Sonne,
100Whos time nevere was begonne,
And endeles schal evere be;
That is the god, whos mageste
Alle othre thinges schal governe,
And his beinge is sempiterne.
The god, to whom that al honour
Belongeth, he is creatour,
And othre ben hise creatures:
The god commandeth the natures
That thei to him obeien alle;
110Withouten him, what so befalle,
Her myht is non, and he mai al:
The god was evere and evere schal,
And thei begonne of his assent;
The times alle be present
To god, to hem and alle unknowe,
Bot what him liketh that thei knowe:
Thus bothe an angel and a man,
The whiche of al that god began
Be chief, obeien goddes myht,
120And he stant endeles upriht.
To this science ben prive
The clerkes of divinite,
The whiche unto the poeple prechen
The feith of holi cherche and techen,
Which in som cas upon believe
Stant more than thei conne prieve
Be weie of Argument sensible:
Bot natheles it is credible,
And doth a man gret meede have,
130To him that thenkth himself to save.
Theologie in such a wise
Of hih science and hih aprise
Above alle othre stant unlike,
And is the ferste of Theorique.
Phisique is after the secounde,
Thurgh which the Philosophre hath founde
To techen sondri knowlechinges
Upon the bodiliche thinges.
Of man, of beste, of herbe, of ston,
140Of fissch, of foughl, of everychon
That ben of bodely substance,
The nature and the circumstance
Thurgh this science it is ful soght,
Which vaileth and which vaileth noght.
The thridde point of Theorique,
Which cleped is Mathematique,
Devided is in sondri wise
And stant upon diverse aprise.
The ferste of whiche is Arsmetique,
150And the secounde is seid Musique,
The thridde is ek Geometrie,
Also the ferthe Astronomie.
Of Arsmetique the matiere
Is that of which a man mai liere
What Algorisme in nombre amonteth,
Whan that the wise man acompteth
After the formel proprete
Of Algorismes Abece:
Be which multiplicacioun
160Is mad and diminucioun
Of sommes be thexperience
Of this Art and of this science.
The seconde of Mathematique,
Which is the science of Musique,
That techeth upon Armonie
A man to make melodie
Be vois and soun of instrument
Thurgh notes of acordement,
The whiche men pronounce alofte,
170Nou scharpe notes and nou softe,
Nou hihe notes and nou lowe,
As be the gamme a man mai knowe,
Which techeth the prolacion
Of note and the condicion.
Mathematique of his science
Hath yit the thridde intelligence
Full of wisdom and of clergie
And cleped is Geometrie,
Thurgh which a man hath thilke sleyhte,
180Of lengthe, of brede, of depthe, of heyhte
To knowe the proporcion
Be verrai calculacion
Of this science: and in this wise
These olde Philosophres wise,
Of al this worldes erthe round,
Hou large, hou thikke was the ground,
The cercle and the circumference
Of every thing unto the hevene
190Thei setten point and mesure evene.
Mathematique above therthe
Of hyh science hath yit the ferthe,
Which spekth upon Astronomie
And techeth of the sterres hihe,
Beginnynge upward fro the mone.
Bot ferst, as it was forto done,
This Aristotle in other thing
Unto this worthi yonge king
The kinde of every element
200Which stant under the firmament,
Hou it is mad and in what wise,
Fro point to point he gan devise.
Tofore the creacion
Of eny worldes stacion,
Of hevene, of erthe, or eke of helle,
So as these olde bokes telle,
As soun tofore the song is set
And yit thei ben togedre knet,
Riht so the hihe pourveance
210Tho hadde under his ordinance
A gret substance, a gret matiere,
Of which he wolde in his manere
These othre thinges make and forme.
For yit withouten eny forme
Was that matiere universal,
Which hihte Ylem in special.
Of Ylem, as I am enformed,
These elementz ben mad and formed,
Of Ylem elementz they hote
220After the Scole of Aristote,
Of whiche if more I schal reherce,
Foure elementz ther ben diverse.
The ferste of hem men erthe calle,
Which is the lowest of hem alle,
And in his forme is schape round,
Substancial, strong, sadd and sound,
As that which mad is sufficant
To bere up al the remenant.
For as the point in a compas
230Stant evene amiddes, riht so was
This erthe set and schal abyde,
That it may swerve to no side,
And hath his centre after the lawe
Of kinde, and to that centre drawe
Desireth every worldes thing,
If ther ne were no lettyng.
Above therthe kepth his bounde
The water, which is the secounde
Of elementz, and al withoute
240It environeth therthe aboute.
Bot as it scheweth, noght forthi
This soubtil water myhtely,
Thogh it be of himselve softe,
The strengthe of therthe perceth ofte;
For riht as veines ben of blod
In man, riht so the water flod
Therthe of his cours makth ful of veines,
Als wel the helles as the pleines.
And that a man may sen at ije,
250For wher the hulles ben most hyhe,
Ther mai men welle stremes finde:
So proveth it be weie of kinde
The water heyher than the lond.
And over this nou understond,
Air is the thridde of elementz,
Of whos kinde his aspirementz
Takth every lifissh creature,
The which schal upon erthe endure:
For as the fissh, if it be dreie,
260Mot in defaute of water deie,
Riht so withouten Air on lyve
No man ne beste myhte thryve,
The which is mad of fleissh and bon;
There is outake of alle non.
This Air in Periferies thre
Divided is of such degre,
Benethe is on and on amidde,
To whiche above is set the thridde:
And upon the divisions
270There ben diverse impressions
Of moist and ek of drye also,
Whiche of the Sonne bothe tuo
Ben drawe and haled upon hy,
And maken cloudes in the Sky,
As schewed is at mannes sihte;
Wherof be day and ek be nyhte
After the times of the yer
Among ous upon Erthe her
In sondri wise thinges falle.
280The ferste Periferie of alle
Engendreth Myst and overmore
The dewes and the Frostes hore,
After thilke intersticion
In which thei take impression.
Fro the seconde, as bokes sein,
The moiste dropes of the reyn
Descenden into Middilerthe,
And tempreth it to sed and Erthe,
And doth to springe grass and flour.
290And ofte also the grete schour
Out of such place it mai be take,
That it the forme schal forsake
Of reyn, and into snow be torned;
And ek it mai be so sojorned
In sondri places up alofte,
That into hail it torneth ofte.
The thridde of thair after the lawe
Thurgh such matiere as up is drawe
Of dreie thing, as it is ofte,
300Among the cloudes upon lofte,
And is so clos, it may noght oute,-
Thanne is it chased sore aboute,
Til it to fyr and leyt be falle,
And thanne it brekth the cloudes alle,
The whiche of so gret noyse craken,
That thei the feerful thonder maken.
The thonderstrok smit er it leyte,
And yit men sen the fyr and leyte,
The thonderstrok er that men hiere:
310So mai it wel be proeved hiere
In thing which schewed is fro feer,
A mannes yhe is there nerr
Thanne is the soun to mannes Ere.
And natheles it is gret feere
Bothe of the strok and of the fyr,
Of which is no recoverir
In place wher that thei descende,
Bot if god wolde his grace sende.
And forto speken over this,
320In this partie of thair it is
That men fulofte sen be nyhte
The fyr in sondri forme alyhte.
Somtime the fyrdrake it semeth,
And so the lewed poeple it demeth;
Somtime it semeth as it were
A Sterre, which that glydeth there:
Bot it is nouther of the tuo,
The Philosophre telleth so,
And seith that of impressions
330Thurgh diverse exalacions
Upon the cause and the matiere
Men sen diverse forme appiere
Of fyr, the which hath sondri name.
Assub, he seith, is thilke same,
The which in sondry place is founde,
Whanne it is falle doun to grounde,
So as the fyr it hath aneled,
Lich unto slym which is congeled.
Of exalacion I finde
340Fyr kinled of the fame kinde,
Bot it is of an other forme;
Wherof, if that I schal conforme
The figure unto that it is,
These olde clerkes tellen this,
That it is lik a Got skippende,
And for that it is such semende,
It hatte Capra saliens.
And ek these Astronomiens
An other fyr also, be nyhte
350Which scheweth him to mannes syhte,
Thei clepen Eges, the which brenneth
Lik to the corrant fyr that renneth
Upon a corde, as thou hast sein,
Whan it with poudre is so besein
Of Sulphre and othre thinges mo.
Ther is an other fyr also,
Which semeth to a mannes yhe
Be nyhtes time as thogh ther flyhe
A dragon brennende in the Sky,
360And that is cleped proprely
Daaly, wherof men sein fulofte,
“Lo, wher the fyri drake alofte
Fleth up in thair!” and so thei demen.
Bot why the fyres suche semen
Of sondri formes to beholde,
The wise Philosophre tolde,
So as tofore it hath ben herd.
Lo thus, my Sone, hou it hath ferd:
Of Air the due proprete
370In sondri wise thou myht se,
And hou under the firmament
It is ek the thridde element,
Which environeth bothe tuo,
The water and the lond also.
And forto tellen overthis
Of elementz which the ferthe is,
That is the fyr in his degre,
Which environeth thother thre
And is withoute moist al drye.
380Bot lest nou what seith the clergie;
For upon hem that I have seid
The creatour hath set and leid
The kinde and the complexion
Of alle mennes nacion.
Foure elementz sondri ther be,
Lich unto whiche of that degre
Among the men ther ben also
Complexions foure and nomo,
Wherof the Philosophre treteth,
390That he nothing behinde leteth,
And seith hou that thei ben diverse,
So as I schal to thee reherse.
He which natureth every kinde,
The myhti god, so as I finde,
Of man, which is his creature,
Hath so devided the nature,
That non til other wel acordeth:
And be the cause it so discordeth,
The lif which fieleth the seknesse
400Mai stonde upon no sekernesse.
Of therthe, which is cold and drye,
The kinde of man Malencolie
Is cleped, and that is the ferste,
The most ungoodlich and the werste;
For unto loves werk on nyht
Him lacketh bothe will and myht:
No wonder is, in lusty place
Of love though he lese grace.
What man hath that complexion,
410Full of ymaginacion
Of dredes and of wrathful thoghtes,
He fret himselven al to noghtes.
The water, which is moyste and cold,
Makth fleume, which is manyfold
Foryetel, slou and wery sone
Of every thing which is to done:
He is of kinde sufficant
To holde love his covenant,
Bot that him lacketh appetit,
420Which longeth unto such delit.
What man that takth his kinde of thair,
He schal be lyht, he schal be fair,
For his complexion is blood.
Of alle ther is non so good,
For he hath bothe will and myht
To plese and paie love his riht:
Wher as he hath love undertake,
Wrong is if that he be forsake.
The fyr of his condicion
430Appropreth the complexion
Which in a man is Colre hote,
Whos propretes ben dreie and hote:
It makth a man ben enginous
And swift of fote and ek irous;
Of contek and folhastifnesse
He hath a riht gret besinesse,
To thenke of love and litel may:
Though he behote wel a day,
On nyht whan that he wole assaie,
440He may ful evele his dette paie.
After the kinde of thelement,
Thus stant a mannes kinde went,
As touchende his complexion,
Upon sondri division
Of dreie, of moiste, of chele, of hete,
And ech of hem his oghne sete
Appropred hath withinne a man.
And ferst to telle as I began,
The Splen is to Malencolie
450Assigned for herbergerie:
The moiste fleume with his cold
Hath in the lunges for his hold
Ordeined him a propre stede,
To duelle ther as he is bede:
To the Sanguin complexion
Nature of hire inspeccion
A propre hous hath in the livere
For his duellinge mad delivere:
The dreie Colre with his hete
460Be weie of kinde his propre sete
Hath in the galle, wher he duelleth,
So as the Philosophre telleth.
Nou over this is forto wite,
As it is in Phisique write
Of livere, of lunge, of galle, of splen,
Thei alle unto the herte ben
Servantz, and ech in his office
Entendeth to don him service,
As he which is chief lord above.
470The livere makth him forto love,
The lunge yifth him weie of speche,
The galle serveth to do wreche,
The Splen doth him to lawhe and pleie,
Whan al unclennesse is aweie:
Lo, thus hath ech of hem his dede.
And to sustienen hem and fede
In time of recreacion,
Nature hath in creacion
The Stomach for a comun Coc
480Ordeined, so as seith the boc.
The Stomach coc is for the halle,
And builleth mete for hem alle,
To make hem myghty forto serve
The herte, that he schal noght sterve:
For as a king in his Empire
Above alle othre is lord and Sire,
So is the herte principal,
To whom reson in special
Is yove as for the governance.
490And thus nature his pourveance
Hath mad for man to liven hiere;
Bot god, which hath the Soule diere,
Hath formed it in other wise.
That can noman pleinli devise;
Bot as the clerkes ous enforme,
That lich to god it hath a forme,
Thurgh which figure and which liknesse
The Soule hath many an hyh noblesse
Appropred to his oghne kinde.
500Bot ofte hir wittes be mad blinde
Al onliche of this ilke point,
That hir abydinge is conjoint
Forth with the bodi forto duelle:
That on desireth toward helle,
That other upward to the hevene;
So schul thei nevere stonde in evene,
Bot if the fleissh be overcome
And that the Soule have holi nome
The governance, and that is selde,
510Whil that the fleissh him mai bewelde.
Al erthli thing which god began
Was only mad to serve man;
Bot he the Soule al only made
Himselven forto serve and glade.
Alle othre bestes that men finde
Thei serve unto here oghne kinde,
Bot to reson the Soule serveth;
Wherof the man his thonk deserveth
And get him with hise werkes goode
520The perdurable lyves foode.
Of what matiere it schal be told,
A tale lyketh manyfold
The betre, if it be spoke plein:
Thus thinke I forto torne ayein
And telle plenerly therfore
Of therthe, wherof nou tofore
I spak, and of the water eke,
So as these olde clerkes spieke,
And sette proprely the bounde
530After the forme of Mappemounde,
Thurgh which the ground be pourparties
Departed is in thre parties,
That is Asie, Aufrique, Europe,
The whiche under the hevene cope,
Als ferr as streccheth eny ground,
Begripeth al this Erthe round.
Bot after that the hihe wrieche
The water weies let out seche
And overgo the helles hye,
540Which every kinde made dye
That upon Middelerthe stod,
Outake Noe5 and his blod,
His Sones and his doughtres thre,
Thei were sauf and so was he;-
Here names who that rede rihte,
Sem, Cam, Japhet the brethren hihte;-
And whanne thilke almyhty hond
Withdrouh the water fro the lond,
And al the rage was aweie,
550And Erthe was the mannes weie,
The Sones thre, of whiche I tolde,
Riht after that hemselve wolde,
This world departe thei begonne.
Asie, which lay to the Sonne
Upon the Marche of orient,
Was graunted be comun assent
To Sem, which was the Sone eldeste;
For that partie was the beste
And double as moche as othre tuo.
560And was that time bounded so;
Wher as the flod which men Nil calleth
Departeth fro his cours and falleth
Into the See Alexandrine,
Ther takth Asie ferst seisine
Toward the West, and over this
Of Canahim wher the flod is
Into the grete See rennende,
Fro that into the worldes ende
Estward, Asie it is algates,
570Til that men come unto the gates
Of Paradis, and there ho.
And schortly for to speke it so,
Of Orient in general
Withinne his bounde Asie hath al.
And thanne upon that other syde
Westward, as it fell thilke tyde,
The brother which was hote Cham
Upon his part Aufrique nam.
Japhet Europe tho tok he,
580Thus parten thei the world on thre.
Bot yit ther ben of londes fele
In occident as for the chele,
In orient as for the hete,
Which of the poeple be forlete
As lond desert that is unable,
For it mai noght ben habitable.
The water eke hath sondri bounde,
After the lond wher it is founde,
And takth his name of thilke londes
590Wher that it renneth on the strondes:
Bot thilke See which hath no wane
Is cleped the gret Occeane,
Out of the which arise and come
The hyhe flodes alle and some;
Is non so litel welle spring,
Which ther ne takth his beginnyng,
And lich a man that haleth breth
Be weie of kinde, so it geth
Out of the See and in ayein,
600The water, as the bokes sein.
Of Elementz the propretes
Hou that they stonden be degres,
As I have told, nou myht thou hiere,
Mi goode Sone, al the matiere
Of Erthe, of water, Air and fyr.
And for thou saist that thi desir
Is forto witen overmore
The forme of Aristotles lore,
He seith in his entendement,
610That yit ther is an Element
Above the foure, and is the fifte,
Set of the hihe goddes yifte,
The which that Orbis cleped is.
And therupon he telleth this,
That as the schelle hol and sound
Encloseth al aboute round
What thing withinne an Ey belongeth,
Riht so this Orbis underfongeth
These elementz alle everychon,
620Which I have spoke of on and on.
Bot overthis nou tak good hiede,
Mi Sone, for I wol procede
To speke upon Mathematique,
Which grounded is on Theorique.
The science of Astronomie
I thinke forto specefie,
Withoute which, to telle plein,
Alle othre science is in vein
Toward the scole of erthli thinges:
630For as an Egle with his winges
Fleth above alle that men finde,
So doth this science in his kinde.
Benethe upon this Erthe hiere
Of alle thinges the matiere,
As tellen ous thei that ben lerned,
Of thing above it stant governed,
That is to sein of the Planetes.
The cheles bothe and ek the hetes,
The chances of the world also,
640That we fortune clepen so,
Among the mennes nacion
Al is thurgh constellacion,
Wherof that som man hath the wele,
And som man hath deseses fele
In love als wel as othre thinges;
The stat of realmes and of kinges
In time of pes, in time of werre
It is conceived of the Sterre:
And thus seith the naturien
650Which is an Astronomien.
Bot the divin seith otherwise,
That if men weren goode and wise
And plesant unto the godhede,
Thei scholden noght the sterres drede;
For o man, if him wel befalle,
Is more worth than ben thei alle
Towardes him that weldeth al.
Bot yit the lawe original,
Which he hath set in the natures,
660Mot worchen in the creatures,
That therof mai be non obstacle,
Bot if it stonde upon miracle
Thurgh preiere of som holy man.
And forthi, so as I began
To speke upon Astronomie,
As it is write in the clergie,
To telle hou the planetes fare,
Som part I thenke to declare,
Mi Sone, unto thin Audience.
670Astronomie is the science
Of wisdom and of hih connynge,
Which makth a man have knowlechinge
Of Sterres in the firmament,
Figure, cercle and moevement
Of ech of hem in sondri place,
And what betwen hem is of space,
Hou so thei moeve or stonde faste,
Al this it telleth to the laste.
Assembled with Astronomie
680Is ek that ilke Astrologie
The which in juggementz acompteth
Theffect, what every sterre amonteth,
And hou thei causen many a wonder
To tho climatz that stonde hem under.
And forto telle it more plein,
These olde philosphres sein
That Orbis, which I spak of err,
Is that which we fro therthe a ferr
Beholde, and firmament it calle,
690In which the sterres stonden alle,
Among the whiche in special
Planetes sefne principal
Ther ben, that mannes sihte demeth,
Bot thorizonte, as to ous semeth.
And also ther ben signes tuelve,
Whiche have her cercles be hemselve
Compassed in the zodiaque,
In which thei have here places take.
And as thei stonden in degre,
700Here cercles more or lasse be,
Mad after the proporcion
Of therthe, whos condicion
Is set to be the foundement
To sustiene up the firmament.
And be this skile a man mai knowe,
The more that thei stonden lowe,
The more ben the cercles lasse;
That causeth why that some passe
Here due cours tofore an other.
710Bot nou, mi lieve dere brother,
As thou desirest forto wite
What I finde in the bokes write,
To telle of the planetes sevene,
Hou that thei stonde upon the hevene
And in what point that thei ben inne,
Tak hiede, for I wol beginne,
So as the Philosophre tauhte
To Alisandre and it betauhte,
Wherof that he was fulli tawht
720Of wisdom, which was him betawht.
Benethe alle othre stant the Mone,
The which hath with the See to done:
Of flodes hihe and ebbes lowe
Upon his change it schal be knowe;
And every fissh which hath a schelle
Mot in his governance duelle,
To wexe and wane in his degre,
As be the Mone a man mai se;
And al that stant upon the grounde
730Of his moisture it mot be founde.
Alle othre sterres, as men finde,
Be schynende of here oghne kinde
Outake only the monelyht,
Which is noght of himselve bright,
Bot as he takth it of the Sonne.
And yit he hath noght al fulwonne
His lyht, that he nys somdiel derk;
Bot what the lette is of that werk
In Almageste it telleth this:
740The Mones cercle so lowe is,
Wherof the Sonne out of his stage
Ne seth him noght with full visage,
For he is with the ground beschaded,
So that the Mone is somdiel faded
And may noght fully schyne cler.
Bot what man under his pouer
Is bore, he schal his places change
And seche manye londes strange:
And as of this condicion
750The Mones disposicion
Upon the lond of Alemaigne
Is set, and ek upon Bretaigne,
Which nou is cleped Engelond;
For thei travaile in every lond.
Of the Planetes the secounde
Above the Mone hath take his bounde,
Mercurie, and his nature is this,
That under him who that bore is,
In boke he schal be studious
760And in wrytinge curious,
And slouh and lustles to travaile
In thing which elles myhte availe:
He loveth ese, he loveth reste,
So is he noght the worthieste;
Bot yit with somdiel besinesse
His herte is set upon richesse.
And as in this condicion,
Theffect and disposicion
Of this Planete and of his chance
770Is most in Burgoigne and in France.
Next to Mercurie, as wol befalle,
Stant that Planete which men calle
Venus, whos constellacion
Governeth al the nacion
Of lovers, wher thei spiede or non,
Of whiche I trowe thou be on:
Bot whiderward thin happes wende,
Schal this planete schewe at ende,
As it hath do to many mo,
780To some wel, to some wo.
And natheles of this Planete
The moste part is softe and swete;
For who that therof takth his berthe,
He schal desire joie and merthe,
Gentil, courteis and debonaire,
To speke his wordes softe and faire,
Such schal he be be weie of kinde,
And overal wher he may finde
Plesance of love, his herte boweth
790With al his myht and there he woweth.
He is so ferforth Amourous,
He not what thing is vicious
Touchende love, for that lawe
Ther mai no maner man withdrawe,
The which venerien is bore
Be weie of kinde, and therefore
Venus of love the goddesse
Is cleped: bot of wantounesse
The climat of hir lecherie
800Is most commun in Lombardie.
Next unto this Planete of love
The brighte Sonne stant above,
Which is the hindrere of the nyht
And forthrere of the daies lyht,
As he which is the worldes ije,
Thurgh whom the lusti compaignie
Of foules be the morwe singe,
The freisshe floures sprede and springe,
The hihe tre the ground beschadeth,
810And every mannes herte gladeth.
And for it is the hed Planete,
Hou that he sitteth in his sete,
Of what richesse, of what nobleie,
These bokes telle, and thus thei seie.
Of gold glistrende Spoke and whiel
The Sonne his carte hath faire and wiel,
In which he sitt, and is coroned
With brighte stones environed;
Of whiche if that I speke schal,
820Ther be tofore in special
Set in the front of his corone
Thre Stones, whiche no persone
Hath upon Erthe, and the ferste is
Be name cleped Licuchis;
That othre tuo be cleped thus,
Astrices and Ceramius.
In his corone also behinde,
Be olde bokes as I finde,
Ther ben of worthi Stones thre
830Set ech of hem in his degre:
Wherof a Cristall is that on,
Which that corone is set upon;
The seconde is an Adamant;
The thridde is noble and avenant,
Which cleped is Ydriades.
And over this yit natheles
Upon the sydes of the werk,
After the wrytinge of the clerk,
Ther sitten fyve Stones mo:
840The smaragdine is on of tho,
Jaspis and Elitropius
And Dendides and Jacinctus.
Lo, thus the corone is beset,
Wherof it schyneth wel the bet;
And in such wise his liht to sprede
Sit with his Diademe on hede
The Sonne schynende in his carte.
And forto lede him swithe and smarte
After the bryhte daies lawe,
850Ther ben ordeined forto drawe
Foure hors his Char and him withal,
Wherof the names telle I schal:
Erithes the ferste is hote,
The which is red and schyneth hote,
The seconde Acteos the bryhte,
Lampes the thridde coursier hihte,
And Philoges is the ferthe,
That bringen lyht unto this erthe,
And gon so swift upon the hevene,
860In foure and twenty houres evene
The carte with the bryhte Sonne
Thei drawe, so that overronne
Thei have under the cercles hihe
Al Middelerthe in such an hye.
And thus the Sonne is overal
The chief Planete imperial,
Above him and benethe him thre:
And thus betwen hem regneth he,
As he that hath the middel place
870Among the Sevene, and of his face
Be glade alle erthly creatures,
And taken after the natures
Here ese and recreacion.
And in his constellacion
Who that is bore in special,
Of good will and of liberal
He schal be founde in alle place,
And also stonde in mochel grace
Toward the lordes forto serve
880And gret profit and thonk deserve.
And over that it causeth yit
A man to be soubtil of wit
To worche in gold, and to be wys
In every thing which is of pris.
Bot forto speken in what cost
Of al this erthe he regneth most
As for wisdom, it is in Grece,
Wher is apropred thilke spiece.
Mars the Planete bataillous
890Next to the Sonne glorious
Above stant, and doth mervailes
Upon the fortune of batailes.
The conquerours be daies olde
Were unto this planete holde:
Bot who that his nativite
Hath take upon the proprete
Of Martes disposicioun
Be weie of constellacioun,
He schal be fiers and folhastif
900And desirous of werre and strif.
Bot forto telle redely
In what climat most comunly
That this planete hath his effect,
Seid is that he hath his aspect
Upon the holi lond so cast,
That there is no pes stedefast.
Above Mars upon the hevene,
The sexte Planete of the sevene,
Stant Jupiter the delicat,
910Which causeth pes and no debat.
For he is cleped that Planete
Which of his kinde softe and swete
Attempreth al that to him longeth;
And whom this planete underfongeth
To stonde upon his regiment,
He schal be meke and pacient
And fortunat to Marchandie
And lusti to delicacie
In every thing which he schal do.
920This Jupiter is cause also
Of the science of lyhte werkes,
And in this wise tellen clerkes
He is the Planete of delices.
Bot in Egipte of his offices
He regneth most in special:
For ther be lustes overal
Of al that to this lif befalleth;
For ther no stormy weder falleth,
Which myhte grieve man or beste,
930And ek the lond is so honeste
That it is plentevous and plein,
Ther is non ydel ground in vein;
And upon such felicite
Stant Jupiter in his degre.
The heyeste and aboven alle
Stant that planete which men calle
Saturnus, whos complexion
Is cold, and his condicion
Causeth malice and crualte
940To him the whos nativite
Is set under his governance.
For alle hise werkes ben grevance
And enemy to mannes hele,
In what degre that he schal dele.
His climat is in Orient,
Wher that he is most violent.
Of the Planetes by and by,
Hou that thei stonde upon the Sky,
Fro point to point as thou myht hiere,
950Was Alisandre mad to liere.
Bot overthis touchende his lore,
Of thing that thei him tawhte more
Upon the scoles of clergie
Now herkne the Philosophie.
He which departeth dai fro nyht,
That on derk and that other lyht,
Of sevene daies made a weke,
A Monthe of foure wekes eke
He hath ordeigned in his lawe,
960Of Monthes tuelve and ek forthdrawe
He hath also the longe yeer.
And as he sette of his pouer
Acordant to the daies sevene
Planetes Sevene upon the hevene,
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
To speke riht in such a wise,
To every Monthe be himselve
Upon the hevene of Signes tuelve
He hath after his Ordinal
970Assigned on in special,
Wherof, so as I schal rehersen,
The tydes of the yer diversen.
Bot pleinly forto make it knowe
Hou that the Signes sitte arowe,
Ech after other be degre
In substance and in proprete
The zodiaque comprehendeth
Withinne his cercle, as it appendeth.
The ferste of whiche natheles
980Be name is cleped Aries,
Which lich a wether of stature
Resembled is in his figure.
And as it seith in Almageste,
Of Sterres tuelve upon this beste
Ben set, wherof in his degre
The wombe hath tuo, the heved hath thre,
The Tail hath sevene, and in this wise,
As thou myht hiere me divise,
Stant Aries, which hot and drye
990Is of himself, and in partie
He is the receipte and the hous
Of myhty Mars the bataillous.
And overmore ek, as I finde,
The creatour of alle kinde
Upon this Signe ferst began
The world, whan that he made man.
And of this constellacioun
The verray operacioun
Availeth, if a man therinne
1000The pourpos of his werk beginne;
For thanne he hath of proprete
Good sped and gret felicite.
The tuelve Monthes of the yeer
Attitled under the pouer
Of these tuelve Signes stonde;
Wherof that thou schalt understonde
This Aries on of the tuelve
Hath March attitled for himselve,
Whan every bridd schal chese his make,
1010And every neddre and every Snake
And every Reptil which mai moeve,
His myht assaieth forto proeve,
To crepen out ayein the Sonne,
Whan Ver his Seson hath begonne.
Taurus the seconde after this
Of Signes, which figured is
Unto a Bole, is dreie and cold;
And as it is in bokes told,
He is the hous appourtienant
1020To Venus, somdiel descordant.
This Bole is ek with sterres set,
Thurgh whiche he hath hise hornes knet
Unto the tail of Aries,
So is he noght ther sterreles.
Upon his brest ek eyhtetiene
He hath, and ek, as it is sene,
Upon his tail stonde othre tuo.
His Monthe assigned ek also
Is Averil, which of his schoures
1030Ministreth weie unto the floures.
The thridde signe is Gemini,
Which is figured redely
Lich to tuo twinnes of mankinde,
That naked stonde; and as I finde,
Thei be with Sterres wel bego:
The heved hath part of thilke tuo
That schyne upon the boles tail,
So be thei bothe of o parail;
But on the wombe of Gemini
1040Ben fyve sterres noght forthi,
And ek upon the feet be tweie,
So as these olde bokes seie,
That wise Tholomes wrot.
His propre Monthe wel I wot
Assigned is the lusti Maii,
Whanne every brid upon his lay
Among the griene leves singeth,
And love of his pointure stingeth
After the lawes of nature
1050The youthe of every creature.
Cancer after the reule and space
Of Signes halt the ferthe place.
Like to the crabbe he hath semblance,
And hath unto his retienance
Sextiene sterres, wherof ten,
So as these olde wise men
Descrive, he berth on him tofore,
And in the middel tuo be bore,
And foure he hath upon his ende.
1060Thus goth he sterred in his kende,
And of himself is moiste and cold,
And is the propre hous and hold
Which appartieneth to the Mone,
And doth what longeth him to done.
The Monthe of Juin unto this Signe
Thou schalt after the reule assigne.
The fifte Signe is Leo hote,
Whos kinde is schape dreie and hote,
In whom the Sonne hath herbergage.
1070And the semblance of his ymage
Is a leoun, which in baillie
Of sterres hath his pourpartie:
The foure, which as Cancer hath
Upon his ende, Leo tath
Upon his heved, and thanne nest
He hath ek foure upon his brest,
And on upon his tail behinde,
In olde bokes as we finde.
His propre Monthe is Juyl be name,
1080In which men pleien many a game.
After Leo Virgo the nexte
Of Signes cleped is the sexte,
Wherof the figure is a Maide;
And as the Philosophre saide,
Sche is the welthe and the risinge,
The lust, the joie and the likinge
Unto Mercurie: and soth to seie
Sche is with sterres wel beseie,
Wherof Leo hath lent hire on,
1090Which sit on hih hir heved upon,
Hire wombe hath fyve, hir feet also
Have other fyve: and overmo
Touchende as of complexion,
Be kindly disposicion
Of dreie and cold this Maiden is.
And forto tellen over this
Hir Monthe, thou schalt understonde,
Whan every feld hath corn in honde
And many a man his bak hath plied,
1100Unto this Signe is Augst applied.
After Virgo to reknen evene
Libra sit in the nombre of sevene,
Which hath figure and resemblance
Unto a man which a balance
Berth in his hond as forto weie:
In boke and as it mai be seie,
Diverse sterres to him longeth,
Wherof on hevede he underfongeth
Ferst thre, and ek his wombe hath tuo,
1110And doun benethe eighte othre mo.
This Signe is hot and moiste bothe,
The whiche thinges be noght lothe
Unto Venus, so that alofte
Sche resteth in his hous fulofte,
And ek Saturnus often hyed
Is in this Signe and magnefied.
His propre Monthe is seid Septembre,
Which yifth men cause to remembre,
If eny Sor be left behinde
1120Of thing which grieve mai to kinde.
Among the Signes upon heighte
The Signe which is nombred eighte
Is Scorpio, which as feloun
Figured is a Scorpioun.
Bot for al that yit natheles
Is Scorpio noght sterreles;
For Libra granteth him his ende
Of eighte sterres, wher he wende,
The whiche upon his heved assised
1130He berth, and ek ther ben divised
Upon his wombe sterres thre,
And eighte upon his tail hath he.
Which of his kinde is moiste and cold
And unbehovely manyfold;
He harmeth Venus and empeireth,
Bot Mars unto his hous repeireth,
Bot war whan thei togedre duellen.
His propre Monthe is, as men tellen,
Octobre, which bringth the kalende
1140Of wynter, that comth next suiende.
The nynthe Signe in nombre also,
Which folweth after Scorpio,
Is cleped Sagittarius,
The whos figure is marked thus,
A Monstre with a bowe on honde:
On whom that sondri sterres stonde,
Thilke eighte of whiche I spak tofore,
The whiche upon the tail ben bore
Of Scorpio, the heved al faire
1150Bespreden of the Sagittaire;
And eighte of othre stonden evene
Upon his wombe, and othre sevene
Ther stonde upon his tail behinde.
And he is hot and dreie of kinde:
To Jupiter his hous is fre,
Bot to Mercurie in his degre,
For thei ben noght of on assent,
He worcheth gret empeirement.
This Signe hath of his proprete
1160A Monthe, which of duete
After the sesoun that befalleth
The Plowed Oxe in wynter stalleth;
And fyr into the halle he bringeth,
And thilke drinke of which men singeth,
He torneth must into the wyn;
Thanne is the larder of the swyn;
That is Novembre which I meene,
Whan that the lef hath lost his greene.
The tenthe Signe dreie and cold,
1170The which is Capricornus told,
Unto a Got hath resemblance:
For whos love and whos aqueintance
Withinne hise houses to sojorne
It liketh wel unto Satorne,
Bot to the Mone it liketh noght,
For no profit is there wroght.
This Signe as of his proprete
Upon his heved hath sterres thre,
And ek upon his wombe tuo,
1180And tweie upon his tail also.
Decembre after the yeeres forme,
So as the bokes ous enforme,
With daies schorte and nyhtes longe
This ilke Signe hath underfonge.
Of tho that sitte upon the hevene
Of Signes in the nombre ellevene
Aquarius hath take his place,
And stant wel in Satornes grace,
Which duelleth in his herbergage,
1190Bot to the Sonne he doth oultrage.
This Signe is verraily resembled
Lich to a man which halt assembled
In eyther hand a water spoute,
Wherof the stremes rennen oute.
He is of kinde moiste and hot,
And he that of the sterres wot
Seith that he hath of sterres tuo
Upon his heved, and ben of tho
That Capricorn hath on his ende;
1200And as the bokes maken mende,
That Tholomes made himselve,
He hath ek on his wombe tuelve,
And tweie upon his ende stonde.
Thou schalt also this understonde,
The frosti colde Janever,
Whan comen is the newe yeer,
That Janus with his double face
In his chaiere hath take his place
And loketh upon bothe sides,
1210Somdiel toward the wynter tydes,
Somdiel toward the yeer suiende,
That is the Monthe belongende
Unto this Signe, and of his dole
He yifth the ferste Primerole.
The tuelfthe, which is last of alle
Of Signes, Piscis men it calle,
The which, as telleth the scripture,
Berth of tuo fisshes the figure.
So is he cold and moiste of kinde,
1220And ek with sterres, as I finde,
Beset in sondri wise, as thus:
Tuo of his ende Aquarius
Hath lent unto his heved, and tuo
This Signe hath of his oghne also
Upon his wombe, and over this
Upon his ende also ther is
A nombre of twenty sterres bryghte,
Which is to sen a wonder sighte.
Toward this Signe into his hous
1230Comth Jupiter the glorious,
And Venus ek with him acordeth
To duellen, as the bok recordeth.
The Monthe unto this Signe ordeined
Is Februer, which is bereined,
And with londflodes in his rage
At Fordes letteth the passage.
Nou hast thou herd the proprete
Of Signes, bot in his degre
Albumazar yit over this
1240Seith, so as therthe parted is
In foure, riht so ben divised
The Signes tuelve and stonde assised,
That ech of hem for his partie
Hath his climat to justefie.
Wherof the ferste regiment
Toward the part of Orient
From Antioche and that contre
Governed is of Signes thre,
That is Cancer, Virgo, Leo:
1250And toward Occident also
From Armenie, as I am lerned,
Of Capricorn it stant governed,
Of Pisces and Aquarius:
And after hem I finde thus,
Southward from Alisandre forth
Tho Signes whiche most ben worth
In governance of that doaire,
Libra thei ben and Sagittaire
With Scorpio, which is conjoint
1260With hem to stonde upon that point:
Constantinople the Cite,
So as the bokes tellen me,
The laste of this division
Stant untoward Septemtrion,
Wher as be weie of pourveance
Hath Aries the governance
Forth with Taurus and Gemini.
Thus ben the Signes propreli
Divided, as it is reherced,
1270Wherof the londes ben diversed.
Lo thus, mi Sone, as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere
Of hem that weren for his lore.
But nou to loken overmore,
Of othre sterres hou thei fare
I thenke hierafter to declare,
So as king Alisandre in youthe
Of him that suche thinges couthe
Enformed was tofore his yhe
1280Be nyhte upon the sterres hihe.
Upon sondri creacion
Stant sondri operacion,
Som worcheth this, som worcheth that;
The fyr is hot in his astat
And brenneth what he mai atteigne,
The water mai the fyr restreigne,
The which is cold and moist also.
Of other thing it farth riht so
Upon this erthe among ous here;
1290And forto speke in this manere,
Upon the hevene, as men mai finde,
The sterres ben of sondri kinde
And worchen manye sondri thinges
To ous, that ben here underlinges.
Among the whiche forth withal
Nectanabus in special,
Which was an Astronomien
And ek a gret Magicien,
And undertake hath thilke emprise
1300To Alisandre in his aprise
As of Magique naturel
To knowe, enformeth him somdel
Of certein sterres what thei mene;
Of whiche, he seith, ther ben fiftene,
And sondrily to everich on
A gras belongeth and a Ston,
Wherof men worchen many a wonder
To sette thing bothe up and under.
To telle riht as he began,
1310The ferste sterre Aldeboran,
The cliereste and the moste of alle,
Be rihte name men it calle;
Which lich is of condicion
To Mars, and of complexion
To Venus, and hath therupon
Carbunculum his propre Ston:
His herbe is Anabulla named,
Which is of gret vertu proclamed.
The seconde is noght vertules;
1320Clota or elles Pliades
It hatte, and of the mones kinde
He is, and also this I finde,
He takth of Mars complexion:
And lich to such condicion
His Ston appropred is Cristall,
And ek his herbe in special
The vertuous Fenele it is.
The thridde, which comth after this,
Is hote Algol the clere rede,
1330Which of Satorne, as I may rede,
His kinde takth, and ek of Jove
Complexion to his behove.
His propre Ston is Dyamant,
Which is to him most acordant;
His herbe, which is him betake,
Is hote Eleborum the blake.
So as it falleth upon lot,
The ferthe sterre is Alhaiot,
Which in the wise as I seide er
1340Of Satorne and of Jupiter
Hath take his kinde; and therupon
The Saphir is his propre Ston,
Marrubium his herbe also,
The whiche acorden bothe tuo.
And Canis maior in his like
The fifte sterre is of Magique,
The whos kinde is venerien,
As seith this Astronomien.
His propre Ston is seid Berille,
1350Bot forto worche and to fulfille
Thing which to this science falleth,
Ther is an herbe which men calleth
Saveine, and that behoveth nede
To him that wole his pourpos spede.
The sexte suiende after this
Be name Canis minor is;
The which sterre is Mercurial
Be weie of kinde, and forth withal,
As it is writen in the carte,
1360Complexion he takth of Marte.
His Ston and herbe, as seith the Scole,
Ben Achates and Primerole.
The sefnthe sterre in special
Of this science is Arial,
Which sondri nature underfongeth.
The Ston which propre unto him longeth,
Gorgonza proprely it hihte:
His herbe also, which he schal rihte
Upon the worchinge as I mene,
1370Is Celidoine freissh and grene.
Sterre Ala Corvi upon heihte
Hath take his place in nombre of eighte,
Which of his kinde mot parforne
The will of Marte and of Satorne:
To whom Lapacia the grete
Is herbe, bot of no beyete;
His Ston is Honochinus hote,
Thurgh which men worchen gret riote.
The nynthe sterre faire and wel
1380Be name is hote Alaezel,
Which takth his propre kinde thus
Bothe of Mercurie and of Venus.
His Ston is the grene Amyraude,
To whom is yoven many a laude:
Salge is his herbe appourtenant
Aboven al the rememant.
The tenthe sterre is Almareth,
Which upon lif and upon deth
Thurgh kinde of Jupiter and Mart
1390He doth what longeth to his part.
His Ston is Jaspe, and of Planteine
He hath his herbe sovereine.
The sterre ellefthe is Venenas,
The whos nature is as it was
Take of Venus and of the Mone,
In thing which he hath forto done.
Of Adamant is that perrie
In which he worcheth his maistrie;
Thilke herbe also which him befalleth,
1400Cicorea the bok it calleth.
Alpheta in the nombre sit,
And is the twelfthe sterre yit;
Of Scorpio which is governed,
And takth his kinde, as I am lerned;
And hath his vertu in the Ston
Which cleped is Topazion:
His herbe propre is Rosmarine,
Which schapen is for his covine.
Of these sterres, whiche I mene,
1410Cor Scorpionis is thritiene;
The whos nature Mart and Jove
Have yoven unto his behove.
His herbe is Aristologie,
Which folweth his Astronomie:
The Ston which that this sterre alloweth,
Is Sardis, which unto him boweth.
The sterre which stant next the laste,
Nature on him this name caste
And clepeth him Botercadent;
1420Which of his kinde obedient
Is to Mercurie and to Venus.
His Ston is seid Crisolitus,
His herbe is cleped Satureie,
So as these olde bokes seie.
Bot nou the laste sterre of alle
The tail of Scorpio men calle,
Which to Mercurie and to Satorne
Be weie of kinde mot retorne
After the preparacion
1430Of due constellacion.
The Calcedoine unto him longeth,
Which for his Ston he underfongeth;
Of Majorane his herbe is grounded.
Thus have I seid hou thei be founded,
Of every sterre in special,
Which hath his herbe and Ston withal,
As Hermes in his bokes olde
Witnesse berth of that I tolde.
The science of Astronomie,
1440Which principal is of clergie
To dieme betwen wo and wel
In thinges that be naturel,
Thei hadde a gret travail on honde
That made it ferst ben understonde;
And thei also which overmore
Here studie sette upon this lore,
Thei weren gracious and wys
And worthi forto bere a pris.
And whom it liketh forto wite
1450Of hem that this science write,
On of the ferste which it wrot
After Noe5, it was Nembrot,
To his disciple Ychonithon
And made a bok forth therupon
The which Megaster cleped was.
An other Auctor in this cas
Is Arachel, the which men note;
His bok is Abbategnyh hote.
Danz Tholome is noght the leste,
1460Which makth the bok of Almageste;
And Alfraganus doth the same,
Whos bok is Chatemuz be name.
Gebuz and Alpetragus eke
Of Planisperie, which men seke,
The bokes made: and over this
Ful many a worthi clerc ther is,
That writen upon this clergie
The bokes of Altemetrie,
Planemetrie and ek also,
1470Whiche as belongen bothe tuo,
So as thei ben naturiens,
Unto these Astronomiens.
Men sein that Habraham was on;
Bot whether that he wrot or non,
That finde I noght; and Moi5ses
Ek was an other: bot Hermes
Above alle othre in this science
He hadde a gret experience;
Thurgh him was many a sterre assised,
1480Whos bokes yit ben auctorized.
I mai noght knowen alle tho
That writen in the time tho
Of this science; bot I finde,
Of jugement be weie of kinde
That in o point thei alle acorden:
Of sterres whiche thei recorden
That men mai sen upon the hevene,
Ther ben a thousend sterres evene
And tuo and twenty, to the syhte
1490Whiche aren of hemself so bryhte,
That men mai dieme what thei be,
The nature and the proprete.
Nou hast thou herd, in which a wise
These noble Philosophres wise
Enformeden this yonge king,
And made him have a knowleching
Of thing which ferst to the partie
Belongeth of Philosophie,
Which Theorique cleped is,
1500As thou tofore hast herd er this.
Bot nou to speke of the secounde,
Which Aristotle hath also founde,
And techeth hou to speke faire,
Which is a thing full necessaire
To contrepeise the balance,
Wher lacketh other sufficance.
Above alle erthli creatures
The hihe makere of natures
The word to man hath yove alone,
1510So that the speche of his persone,
Or forto lese or forto winne,
The hertes thoght which is withinne
Mai schewe, what it wolde mene;
And that is noghwhere elles sene
Of kinde with non other beste.
So scholde he be the more honeste,
To whom god yaf so gret a yifte,
And loke wel that he ne schifte
Hise wordes to no wicked us;
1520For word the techer of vertus
Is cleped in Philosophie.
Wherof touchende this partie,
Is Rethorique the science
Appropred to the reverence
Of wordes that ben resonable:
And for this art schal be vailable
With goodli wordes forto like,
It hath Gramaire, it hath Logiqe,
That serven bothe unto the speche.
1530Gramaire ferste hath forto teche
To speke upon congruite:
Logique hath eke in his degre
Betwen the trouthe and the falshode
The pleine wordes forto schode,
So that nothing schal go beside,
That he the riht ne schal decide.
Wherof full many a gret debat
Reformed is to good astat,
And pes sustiened up alofte
1540With esy wordes and with softe,
Wher strengthe scholde lete it falle.
The Philosophre amonges alle
Forthi commendeth this science,
Which hath the reule of eloquence.
In Ston and gras vertu ther is,
Bot yit the bokes tellen this,
That word above alle erthli thinges
Is vertuous in his doinges,
Wher so it be to evele or goode.
1550For if the wordes semen goode
And ben wel spoke at mannes Ere,
Whan that ther is no trouthe there,
Thei don fulofte gret deceipte;
For whan the word to the conceipte
Descordeth in so double a wise,
Such Rethorique is to despise
In every place, and forto drede.
For of Uluxes thus I rede,
As in the bok of Troie is founde,
1560His eloquence and his facounde
Of goodly wordes whiche he tolde,
Hath mad that Anthenor him solde
The toun, which he with tresoun wan.
Word hath beguiled many a man;
With word the wilde beste is daunted,
With word the Serpent is enchaunted,
Of word among the men of Armes
Ben woundes heeled with the charmes,
Wher lacketh other medicine;
1570Word hath under his discipline
Of Sorcerie the karectes.
The wordes ben of sondri sectes,
Of evele and eke of goode also;
The wordes maken frend of fo,
And fo of frend, and pes of werre,
And werre of pes, and out of herre
The word this worldes cause entriketh,
And reconsileth whan him liketh.
The word under the coupe of hevene
1580Set every thing or odde or evene;
With word the hihe god is plesed,
With word the wordes ben appesed,
The softe word the loude stilleth;
Wher lacketh good, the word fulfilleth,
To make amendes for the wrong;
Whan wordes medlen with the song,
It doth plesance wel the more.
Bot forto loke upon the lore
Hou Tullius his Rethorique
1590Componeth, ther a man mai pike
Hou that he schal hise wordes sette,
Hou he schal lose, hou he schal knette,
And in what wise he schal pronounce
His tale plein withoute frounce.
Wherof ensample if thou wolt seche,
Tak hiede and red whilom the speche
Of Julius and Cithero,
Which consul was of Rome tho,
Of Catoun eke and of Cillene,
1600Behold the wordes hem betwene,
Whan the tresoun of Cateline
Descoevered was, and the covine
Of hem that were of his assent
Was knowe and spoke in parlement,
And axed hou and in what wise
Men scholde don hem to juise.
Cillenus ferst his tale tolde,
To trouthe and as he was beholde,
The comun profit forto save,
1610He seide hou tresoun scholde have
A cruel deth; and thus thei spieke,
The Consul bothe and Catoun eke,
And seiden that for such a wrong
Ther mai no peine be to strong.
Bot Julius with wordes wise
His tale tolde al otherwise,
As he which wolde her deth respite,
And fondeth hou he mihte excite
The jugges thurgh his eloquence
1620Fro deth to torne the sentence
And sette here hertes to pite.
Nou tolden thei, nou tolde he;
Thei spieken plein after the lawe,
Bot he the wordes of his sawe
Coloureth in an other weie
Spekende, and thus betwen the tweie,
To trete upon this juggement,
Made ech of hem his Argument.
Wherof the tales forto hiere,
1630Ther mai a man the Scole liere
Of Rethoriqes eloquences,
Which is the secounde of sciences
Touchende to Philosophie;
Wherof a man schal justifie
Hise wordes in disputeisoun,
And knette upon conclusioun
His Argument in such a forme,
Which mai the pleine trouthe enforme
And the soubtil cautele abate,
1640Which every trewman schal debate.
The ferste, which is Theorique,
And the secounde Rethorique,
Sciences of Philosophie,
I have hem told as in partie,
So as the Philosophre it tolde
To Alisandre: and nou I wolde
Telle of the thridde what it is,
The which Practique cleped is.
Practique stant upon thre thinges
1650Toward the governance of kinges;
Wherof the ferst Etique is named,
The whos science stant proclamed
To teche of vertu thilke reule,
Hou that a king himself schal reule
Of his moral condicion
With worthi disposicion
Of good livinge in his persone,
Which is the chief of his corone.
It makth a king also to lerne
1660Hou he his bodi schal governe,
Hou he schal wake, hou he schal slepe,
Hou that he schal his hele kepe
In mete, in drinke, in clothinge eke:
Ther is no wisdom forto seke
As for the reule of his persone,
The which that this science al one
Ne techeth as be weie of kinde,
That ther is nothing left behinde.
That other point which to Practique
1670Belongeth is Iconomique,
Which techeth thilke honestete
Thurgh which a king in his degre
His wif and child schal reule and guie,
So forth with al the companie
Which in his houshold schal abyde,
And his astat on every syde
In such manere forto lede,
That he his houshold ne mislede.
Practique hath yit the thridde aprise,
1680Which techeth hou and in what wise
Thurgh hih pourveied ordinance
A king schal sette in governance
His Realme, and that is Policie,
Which longeth unto Regalie
In time of werre, in time of pes,
To worschipe and to good encress
Of clerk, of kniht and of Marchant,
And so forth of the remenant
Of al the comun poeple aboute,
1690Withinne Burgh and ek withoute,
Of hem that ben Artificiers,
Whiche usen craftes and mestiers,
Whos Art is cleped Mechanique.
And though thei ben noght alle like,
Yit natheles, hou so it falle,
O lawe mot governe hem alle,
Or that thei lese or that thei winne,
After thastat that thei ben inne.
Lo, thus this worthi yonge king
1700Was fulli tauht of every thing,
Which mihte yive entendement
Of good reule and good regiment
To such a worthi Prince as he.
Bot of verray necessite
The Philosophre him hath betake
Fyf pointz, whiche he hath undertake
To kepe and holde in observance,
As for the worthi governance
Which longeth to his Regalie,
1710After the reule of Policie.
To every man behoveth lore,
Bot to noman belongeth more
Than to a king, which hath to lede
The poeple; for of his kinghede
He mai hem bothe save and spille.
And for it stant upon his wille,
It sit him wel to ben avised,
And the vertus whiche are assissed
Unto a kinges Regiment,
1720To take in his entendement:
Wherof to tellen, as thei stonde,
Hierafterward nou woll I fonde.
Among the vertus on is chief,
And that is trouthe, which is lief
To god and ek to man also.
And for it hath ben evere so,
Tawhte Aristotle, as he wel couthe,
To Alisandre, hou in his youthe
He scholde of trouthe thilke grace
1730With al his hole herte embrace,
So that his word be trewe and plein,
Toward the world and so certein
That in him be no double speche:
For if men scholde trouthe seche
And founde it noght withinne a king,
It were an unsittende thing.
The word is tokne of that withinne,
Ther schal a worthi king beginne
To kepe his tunge and to be trewe,
1740So schal his pris ben evere newe.
Avise him every man tofore,
And be wel war, er he be swore,
For afterward it is to late,
If that he wole his word debate.
For as a king in special
Above alle othre is principal
Of his pouer, so scholde he be
Most vertuous in his degre;
And that mai wel be signefied
1750Be his corone and specified.
The gold betokneth excellence,
That men schull don him reverence
As to here liege soverein.
The Stones, as the bokes sein,
Commended ben in treble wise:
Ferst thei ben harde, and thilke assisse
Betokneth in a king Constance,
So that ther schal no variance
Be founde in his condicion;
1760And also be descripcion
The vertu which is in the stones
A verrai Signe is for the nones
Of that a king schal ben honeste
And holde trewly his beheste
Of thing which longeth to kinghede:
The bryhte colour, as I rede,
Which in the stones is schynende,
Is in figure betoknende
The Cronique of this worldes fame,
1770Which stant upon his goode name.
The cercle which is round aboute
Is tokne of al the lond withoute,
Which stant under his Gerarchie,
That he it schal wel kepe and guye.
And for that trouthe, hou so it falle,
Is the vertu soverein of alle,
That longeth unto regiment,
A tale, which is evident
Of trouthe in comendacioun,
1780Toward thin enformacion,
Mi Sone, hierafter thou schalt hiere
Of a Cronique in this matiere.
As the Cronique it doth reherce,
A Soldan whilom was of Perce,
Which Daires hihte, and Ytaspis
His fader was; and soth it is
That thurgh wisdom and hih prudence
Mor than for eny reverence
Of his lignage as be descente
1790The regne of thilke empire he hente:
And as he was himselve wys,
The wisemen he hield in pris
And soghte hem oute on every side,
That toward him thei scholde abide.
Among the whiche thre ther were
That most service unto him bere,
As thei which in his chambre lyhen
And al his conseil herde and syhen.
Here names ben of strange note,
1800Arpaghes was the ferste hote,
And Manachaz was the secounde,
Zorobabel, as it is founde
In the Cronique, was the thridde.
This Soldan, what so him betidde,
To hem he triste most of alle,
Wherof the cas is so befalle:
This lord, which hath conceiptes depe,
Upon a nyht whan he hath slepe,
As he which hath his wit desposed,
1810Touchende a point hem hath opposed.
The kinges question was this;
Of thinges thre which strengest is,
The wyn, the womman or the king:
And that thei scholde upon this thing
Of here ansuere avised be,
He yaf hem fulli daies thre,
And hath behote hem be his feith
That who the beste reson seith,
He schal receive a worthi mede.
1820Upon this thing thei token hiede
And stoden in desputeison,
That be diverse opinion
Of Argumentz that thei have holde
Arpaghes ferst his tale tolde,
And seide hou that the strengthe of kinges
Is myhtiest of alle thinges.
For king hath pouer over man,
And man is he which reson can,
As he which is of his nature
1830The moste noble creature
Of alle tho that god hath wroght:
And be that skile it semeth noght,
He seith, that eny erthly thing
Mai be so myhty as a king.
A king mai spille, a king mai save,
A king mai make of lord a knave
And of a knave a lord also:
The pouer of a king stant so,
That he the lawes overpasseth;
1840What he wol make lasse, he lasseth,
What he wol make more, he moreth;
And as the gentil faucon soreth,
He fleth, that noman him reclameth;
Bot he al one alle othre tameth,
And stant himself of lawe fre.
Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he,
So as his reson can argue,
Is strengest and of most value.
Bot Manachaz seide otherwise,
1850That wyn is of the more emprise;
And that he scheweth be this weie.
The wyn fulofte takth aweie
The reson fro the mannes herte;
The wyn can make a krepel sterte,
And a delivere man unwelde;
It makth a blind man to behelde,
And a bryht yhed seme derk;
It makth a lewed man a clerk,
And fro the clerkes the clergie
1860It takth aweie, and couardie
It torneth into hardiesse;
Of Avarice it makth largesse.
The wyn makth ek the goode blod,
In which the Soule which is good
Hath chosen hire a resting place,
Whil that the lif hir wole embrace.
And be this skile Manachas
Ansuered hath upon this cas,
And seith that wyn be weie of kinde
1870Is thing which mai the hertes binde
Wel more than the regalie.
Zorobabel for his partie
Seide, as him thoghte for the beste,
That wommen ben the myhtieste.
The king and the vinour also
Of wommen comen bothe tuo;
And ek he seide hou that manhede
Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede
Of love, wher he wole or non,
1880Obeie schal; and therupon,
To schewe of wommen the maistrie,
A tale which he syh with yhe
As for ensample he tolde this,-
Hou Apemen, of Besazis
Which dowhter was, in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis,
Whan he was hotest in his ire
Toward the grete of his empire,
Cirus the king tirant sche tok,
1890And only with hire goodly lok
Sche made him debonaire and meke,
And be the chyn and be the cheke
Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste,
That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste,
And doth with him what evere hir liketh;
Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh,
And whan sche gladeth, he is glad:
And thus this king was overlad
With hire which his lemman was.
1900Among the men is no solas,
If that ther be no womman there;
For bot if that the wommen were,
This worldes joie were aweie:
Thurgh hem men finden out the weie
To knihthode and to worldes fame;
Thei make a man to drede schame,
And honour forto be desired:
Thurgh the beaute of hem is fyred
The Dart of which Cupide throweth,
1910Wherof the jolif peine groweth,
Which al the world hath under fote.
A womman is the mannes bote,
His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel;
And this thing mai be schewed wel,
Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde,
For in ensample this I finde.
Whan that the duk Ametus lay
Sek in his bedd, that every day
Men waiten whan he scholde deie,
1920Alceste his wif goth forto preie,
As sche which wolde thonk deserve,
With Sacrifice unto Minerve,
To wite ansuere of the goddesse
Hou that hir lord of his seknesse,
Wherof he was so wo besein,
Recovere myhte his hele ayein.
Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide,
Til ate laste a vois hir seide,
That if sche wolde for his sake
1930The maladie soffre and take,
And deie hirself, he scholde live.
Of this ansuere Alceste hath yive
Unto Minerve gret thonkinge,
So that hir deth and his livinge
Sche ches with al hire hole entente,
And thus acorded hom sche wente.
Into the chambre and whan sche cam,
Hire housebonde anon sche nam
In bothe hire Armes and him kiste,
1940And spak unto him what hire liste;
And therupon withinne a throwe
This goode wif was overthrowe
And deide, and he was hool in haste.
So mai a man be reson taste,
Hou next after the god above
The trouthe of wommen and the love,
In whom that alle grace is founde,
Is myhtiest upon this grounde
And most behovely manyfold.
1950Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told
The tale of his opinion:
Bot for final conclusion
What strengest is of erthli thinges,
The wyn, the wommen or the kinges,
He seith that trouthe above hem alle
Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle.
The trouthe, hou so it evere come,
Mai for nothing ben overcome;
It mai wel soffre for a throwe,
1960Bot ate laste it schal be knowe.
The proverbe is, who that is trewe,
Him schal his while nevere rewe:
For hou so that the cause wende,
The trouthe is schameles ate ende,
Bot what thing that is troutheles,
It mai noght wel be schameles,
And schame hindreth every wyht:
So proveth it, ther is no myht
Withoute trouthe in no degre.
1970And thus for trouthe of his decre
Zorobabel was most commended,
Wherof the question was ended,
And he resceived hath his mede
For trouthe, which to mannes nede
Is most behoveliche overal.
Forthi was trouthe in special
The ferste point in observance
Betake unto the governance
Of Alisandre, as it is seid:
1980For therupon the ground is leid
Of every kinges regiment,
As thing which most convenient
Is forto sette a king in evene
Bothe in this world and ek in hevene.
Next after trouthe the secounde,
In Policie as it is founde,
Which serveth to the worldes fame
In worschipe of a kinges name,
Largesse it is, whos privilegge
1990Ther mai non Avarice abregge.
The worldes good was ferst comune,
Bot afterward upon fortune
Was thilke comun profit cessed:
For whan the poeple stod encresced
And the lignages woxen grete,
Anon for singulier beyete
Drouh every man to his partie;
Wherof cam in the ferste envie
With gret debat and werres stronge,
2000And laste among the men so longe,
Til noman wiste who was who,
Ne which was frend ne which was fo.
Til ate laste in every lond
Withinne hemself the poeple fond
That it was good to make a king,
Which mihte appesen al this thing
And yive riht to the lignages
In partinge of here heritages
And ek of al here other good;
2010And thus above hem alle stod
The king upon his Regalie,
As he which hath to justifie
The worldes good fro covoitise.
So sit it wel in alle wise
A king betwen the more and lesse
To sette his herte upon largesse
Toward himself and ek also
Toward his poeple; and if noght so,
That is to sein, if that he be
2020Toward himselven large and fre
And of his poeple take and pile,
Largesse be no weie of skile
It mai be seid, bot Avarice,
Which in a king is a gret vice.
A king behoveth ek to fle
The vice of Prodegalite,
That he mesure in his expence
So kepe, that of indigence
He mai be sauf: for who that nedeth,
2030In al his werk the worse he spedeth.
As Aristotle upon Chaldee
Ensample of gret Auctorite
Unto king Alisandre tauhte
Of thilke folk that were unsauhte
Toward here king for his pilage:
Wherof he bad, in his corage
That he unto thre pointz entende,
Wher that he wolde his good despende.
Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod,
2040That al were of his oghne good
The yiftes whiche he wolde yive;
So myhte he wel the betre live:
And ek he moste taken hiede
If ther be cause of eny nede,
Which oghte forto be defended,
Er that his goodes be despended:
He mot ek, as it is befalle,
Amonges othre thinges alle
Se the decertes of his men;
2050And after that thei ben of ken
And of astat and of merite,
He schal hem largeliche aquite,
Or for the werre, or for the pes,
That non honour falle in descres,
Which mihte torne into defame,
Bot that he kepe his goode name,
So that he be noght holde unkinde.
For in Cronique a tale I finde,
Which spekth somdiel of this matiere,
2060Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere.
In Rome, to poursuie his riht,
Ther was a worthi povere kniht,
Which cam al one forto sein
His cause, when the court was plein,
Wher Julius was in presence.
And for him lacketh of despence,
Ther was with him non advocat
To make ple for his astat.
Bot thogh him lacke forto plede,
2070Him lacketh nothing of manhede;
He wiste wel his pours was povere,
Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere,
And openly poverte alleide,
To themperour and thus he seide:
“O Julius, lord of the lawe,
Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe
For lacke of gold: do thin office
After the lawes of justice:
Help that I hadde conseil hiere
2080Upon the trouthe of mi matiere.”
And Julius with that anon
Assigned him a worthi on,
Bot he himself no word ne spak.
This kniht was wroth and fond a lak
In themperour, and seide thus:
“O thou unkinde Julius,
Whan thou in thi bataille were
Up in Aufrique, and I was there,
Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede
2090And putte noman in my stede,
Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde:
Bot hier I finde thee so badde,
That thee ne liste speke o word
Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord
To yive a florin me to helpe.
Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe
Fro this dai forth of thi largesse,
Whan such a gret unkindenesse
Is founde in such a lord as thou?”
2100This Julius knew wel ynou
That al was soth which he him tolde;
And for he wolde noght ben holde
Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde,
And as it were of goddes sonde,
He yaf him good ynouh to spende
For evere into his lives ende.
And thus scholde every worthi king
Take of his knihtes knowleching,
Whan that he syh thei hadden nede,
2110For every service axeth mede:
Bot othre, which have noght deserved
Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served,
A king schal noght deserve grace,
Thogh he be large in such a place.
It sit wel every king to have
Discrecion, whan men him crave,
So that he mai his yifte wite:
Wherof I finde a tale write,
Hou Cinichus a povere kniht
2120A Somme which was over myht
Preide of his king Antigonus.
The king ansuerde to him thus,
And seide hou such a yifte passeth
His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth,
And axeth bot a litel peny,
If that the king wol yive him eny.
The king ansuerde, it was to smal
For him, which was a lord real;
To yive a man so litel thing
2130It were unworschipe in a king.
Be this ensample a king mai lere
That forto yive is in manere:
For if a king his tresor lasseth
Withoute honour and thonkles passeth,
Whan he himself wol so beguile,
I not who schal compleigne his while,
Ne who be rihte him schal relieve.
Bot natheles this I believe,
To helpe with his oghne lond
2140Behoveth every man his hond
To sette upon necessite;
And ek his kinges realte
Mot every liege man conforte,
With good and bodi to supporte,
Whan thei se cause resonable:
For who that is noght entendable
To holde upriht his kinges name,
Him oghte forto be to blame.
Of Policie and overmore
2150To speke in this matiere more,
So as the Philosophre tolde,
A king after the reule is holde
To modifie and to adresce
Hise yiftes upon such largesce
That he mesure noght excede:
For if a king falle into nede,
It causeth ofte sondri thinges
Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges.
What man wol noght himself mesure,
2160Men sen fulofte that mesure
Him hath forsake: and so doth he
That useth Prodegalite,
Which is the moder of poverte,
Wherof the londes ben deserte;
And namely whan thilke vice
Aboute a king stant in office
And hath withholde of his partie
The covoitouse flaterie,
Which many a worthi king deceiveth,
2170Er he the fallas aperceiveth
Of hem that serven to the glose.
For thei that cunnen plese and glose,
Ben, as men tellen, the norrices
Unto the fostringe of the vices,
Wherof fulofte natheles
A king is blamed gulteles.
A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere,
Spak to a king of this matiere,
And seide him wel hou that flatours
2180Coupable were of thre errours.
On was toward the goddes hihe,
That weren wrothe of that thei sihe
The meschief which befalle scholde
Of that the false flatour tolde.
Toward the king an other was,
Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas
Of feigned wordes make him wene
That blak is whyt and blew is grene
Touchende of his condicion:
2190For whanne he doth extorcion
With manye an other vice mo,
Men schal noght finden on of tho
To groucche or speke therayein,
Bot holden up his oil and sein
That al is wel, what evere he doth;
And thus of fals thei maken soth,
So that here kinges yhe is blent
And wot not hou the world is went.
The thridde errour is harm comune,
2200With which the poeple mot commune
Of wronges that thei bringen inne:
And thus thei worchen treble sinne,
That ben flatours aboute a king.
Ther myhte be no worse thing
Aboute a kinges regalie,
Thanne is the vice of flaterie.
And natheles it hath ben used,
That it was nevere yit refused
As forto speke in court real;
2210For there it is most special,
And mai noght longe be forbore.
Bot whan this vice of hem is bore,
That scholden the vertus forthbringe,
And trouthe is torned to lesinge,
It is, as who seith, ayein kinde,
Wherof an old ensample I finde.
Among these othre tales wise
Of Philosophres, in this wise
I rede, how whilom tuo ther were,
2220And to the Scole forto lere
Unto Athenes fro Cartage
Here frendes, whan thei were of Age,
Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe,
Til thei such lore have underfonge,
That in here time thei surmonte
Alle othre men, that to acompte
Of hem was tho the grete fame.
The ferste of hem his rihte name
Was Diogenes thanne hote,
2230In whom was founde no riote:
His felaw Arisippus hyhte,
Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte.
Bot ate laste, soth to sein,
Thei bothe tornen hom ayein
Unto Cartage and scole lete.
This Diogenes no beyete
Of worldes good or lasse or more
Ne soghte for his longe lore,
Bot tok him only forto duelle
2240At hom; and as the bokes telle,
His hous was nyh to the rivere
Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere.
Ther duelleth he to take his reste,
So as it thoghte him for the beste,
To studie in his Philosophie,
As he which wolde so defie
The worldes pompe on every syde.
Bot Arisippe his bok aside
Hath leid, and to the court he wente,
2250Wher many a wyle and many a wente
With flaterie and wordes softe
He caste, and hath compassed ofte
Hou he his Prince myhte plese;
And in this wise he gat him ese
Of vein honour and worldes good.
The londes reule upon him stod,
The king of him was wonder glad,
And all was do, what thing he bad,
Bothe in the court and ek withoute.
2260With flaterie he broghte aboute
His pourpos of the worldes werk,
Which was ayein the stat of clerk,
So that Philosophie he lefte
And to richesse himself uplefte:
Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille.
Bot Diogenes duelte stille
A home and loked on his bok:
He soghte noght the worldes crok
For vein honour ne for richesse,
2270Bot all his hertes besinesse
He sette to be vertuous;
And thus withinne his oghne hous
He liveth to the sufficance
Of his havinge. And fell per chance,
This Diogene upon a day,
And that was in the Monthe of May,
Whan that these herbes ben holsome,
He walketh forto gadre some
In his gardin, of whiche his joutes
2280He thoghte have, and thus aboutes
Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh,
He satte him thanne doun and pyketh,
And wyssh his herbes in the flod
Upon the which his gardin stod,
Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er.
And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther,
Cam Arisippes be the strete
With manye hors and routes grete,
And straght unto the bregge he rod.
2290Wher that he hoved and abod;
For as he caste his yhe nyh,
His felaw Diogene he syh,
And what he dede he syh also,
Wherof he seide to him so:
“O Diogene, god thee spede.
It were certes litel nede
To sitte there and wortes pyke,
If thou thi Prince couthest lyke,
So as I can in my degre.”
2300“O Arisippe,” ayein quod he,
“If that thou couthist, so as I,
Thi wortes pyke, trewely
It were als litel nede or lasse,
That thou so worldly wolt compasse
With flaterie forto serve,
Wherof thou thenkest to deserve
Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace
Hou thou myht stonden in his grace,
For getinge of a litel good.
2310If thou wolt take into thi mod
Reson, thou myht be reson deeme
That so thi prince forto queeme
Is noght to reson acordant,
Bot it is gretly descordant
Unto the Scoles of Athene.”
Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene
Ayein the clerkes flaterie.
Bot yit men sen thessamplerie
Of Arisippe is wel received,
2320And thilke of Diogene is weyved.
Office in court and gold in cofre
Is nou, men sein, the philosophre
Which hath the worschipe in the halle;
Bot flaterie passeth alle
In chambre, whom the court avanceth;
For upon thilke lot it chanceth
To be beloved nou aday.
I not if it be ye or nay,
Bot as the comun vois it telleth;
2330Bot wher that flaterie duelleth
In eny lond under the Sonne,
Ther is ful many a thing begonne
Which were betre to be left;
That hath be schewed nou and eft.
Bot if a Prince wolde him reule
Of the Romeins after the reule,
In thilke time as it was used,
This vice scholde be refused,
Wherof the Princes ben assoted.
2340Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted,
Ther may a Prince wel conceive,
That he schal noght himself deceive,
Of that he hiereth wordes pleine;
For him thar noght be reson pleigne,
That warned is er him be wo.
And that was fully proeved tho,
Whan Rome was the worldes chief,
The Sothseiere tho was lief,
Which wolde noght the trouthe spare,
2350Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare
To Themperour hise sothes tolde,
As in Cronique is yit withholde,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere
Acordende unto this matiere.
To se this olde ensamplerie,
That whilom was no flaterie
Toward the Princes wel I finde;
Wherof so as it comth to mynde,
Mi Sone, a tale unto thin Ere,
2360Whil that the worthi princes were
At Rome, I thenke forto tellen.
For whan the chances so befellen
That eny Emperour as tho
Victoire hadde upon his fo,
And so forth cam to Rome ayein,
Of treble honour he was certein,
Wherof that he was magnefied.
The ferste, as it is specefied,
Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde,
2370The Charr in which he scholde ryde
Foure whyte Stiedes scholden drawe;
Of Jupiter be thilke lawe
The Cote he scholde were also;
Hise prisoners ek scholden go
Endlong the Charr on eyther hond,
And alle the nobles of the lond
Tofore and after with him come
Ridende and broghten him to Rome,
In thonk of his chivalerie
2380And for non other flaterie.
And that was schewed forth withal;
Wher he sat in his Charr real,
Beside him was a Ribald set,
Which hadde hise wordes so beset,
To themperour in al his gloire
He seide, “Tak into memoire,
For al this pompe and al this pride
Let no justice gon aside,
Bot know thiself, what so befalle.
2390For men sen ofte time falle
Thing which men wende siker stonde:
Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde,
Fortune mai noght stonde alway;
The whiel per chance an other day
Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe;
Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe.”
With these wordes and with mo
This Ribald, which sat with him tho,
To Themperour his tale tolde:
2400And overmor what evere he wolde,
Or were it evel or were it good,
So pleinly as the trouthe stod,
He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute;
And so myhte every man aboute
The day of that solempnete
His tale telle als wel as he
To Themperour al openly.
And al was this the cause why;
That whil he stod in that noblesse,
2410He scholde his vanite represse
With suche wordes as he herde.
Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde
Toward so hih a worthi lord:
For this I finde ek of record,
Which the Cronique hath auctorized.
What Emperour was entronized,
The ferste day of his corone,
Wher he was in his real Throne
And hield his feste in the paleis
2420Sittende upon his hihe deis
With al the lust that mai be gete,
Whan he was gladdest at his mete,
And every menstral hadde pleid,
And every Disour hadde seid
What most was plesant to his Ere,
Than ate laste comen there
Hise Macons, for thei scholden crave
Wher that he wolde be begrave,
And of what Ston his sepulture
2430Thei scholden make, and what sculpture
He wolde ordeine therupon.
Tho was ther flaterie non
The worthi princes to bejape;
The thing was other wise schape
With good conseil; and otherwise
Thei were hemselven thanne wise,
And understoden wel and knewen.
Whan suche softe wyndes blewen
Of flaterie into here Ere,
2440Thei setten noght here hertes there;
Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned,
The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned
Of hem that weren so discrete.
So tok the flatour no beyete
Of him that was his prince tho:
And forto proven it is so,
A tale which befell in dede
In a Cronique of Rome I rede.
Cesar upon his real throne
2450Wher that he sat in his persone
And was hyest in al his pris,
A man, which wolde make him wys,
Fell doun knelende in his presence,
And dede him such a reverence,
As thogh the hihe god it were:
Men hadden gret mervaille there
Of the worschipe which he dede.
This man aros fro thilke stede,
And forth with al the same tyde
2460He goth him up and be his side
He set him doun as pier and pier,
And seide, “If thou that sittest hier
Art god, which alle thinges myht,
Thanne have I do worshipe ariht
As to the god; and other wise,
If thou be noght of thilke assisse,
Bot art a man such as am I,
Than mai I sitte faste by,
For we be bothen of o kinde.”
2470Cesar ansuerde and seide, “O blinde,
Thou art a fol, it is wel sene
Upon thiself: for if thou wene
I be a god, thou dost amys
To sitte wher thou sest god is;
And if I be a man, also
Thou hast a gret folie do,
Whan thou to such on as schal deie
The worschipe of thi god aweie
Hast yoven so unworthely.
2480Thus mai I prove redely,
Thou art noght wys.” And thei that herde
Hou wysly that the king ansuerde,
It was to hem a newe lore;
Wherof thei dradden him the more,
And broghten nothing to his Ere,
Bot if it trouthe and reson were.
So be ther manye, in such a wise
That feignen wordes to be wise,
And al is verray flaterie
2490To him which can it wel aspie.
The kinde flatour can noght love
Bot forto bringe himself above;
For hou that evere his maister fare,
So that himself stonde out of care,
Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte
Deceived ben with wordes softe
The kinges that ben innocent.
Wherof as for chastiement
The wise Philosophre seide,
2500What king that so his tresor leide
Upon such folk, he hath the lesse,
And yit ne doth he no largesse,
Bot harmeth with his oghne hond
Himself and ek his oghne lond,
And that be many a sondri weie.
Wherof if that a man schal seie,
As forto speke in general,
Wher such thing falleth overal
That eny king himself misreule,
2510The Philosophre upon his reule
In special a cause sette,
Which is and evere hath be the lette
In governance aboute a king
Upon the meschief of the thing,
And that, he seith, is Flaterie.
Wherof tofore as in partie
What vice it is I have declared;
For who that hath his wit bewared
Upon a flatour to believe,
2520Whan that he weneth best achieve
His goode world, it is most fro.
And forto proeven it is so
Ensamples ther ben manyon,
Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on,
It is behovely forto hiere
What whilom fell in this matiere.
Among the kinges in the bible
I finde a tale, and is credible,
Of him that whilom Achab hihte,
2530Which hadde al Irahel to rihte;
Bot who that couthe glose softe
And flatre, suche he sette alofte
In gret astat and made hem riche;
Bot thei that spieken wordes liche
To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere,
For hem was non astat to bere,
The court of suche tok non hiede.
Til ate laste upon a nede,
That Benedab king of Surie
2540Of Irahel a gret partie,
Which Ramoth Galaath was hote,
Hath sesed; and of that riote
He tok conseil in sondri wise,
Bot noght of hem that weren wise.
And natheles upon this cas
To strengthen him, for Josaphas,
Which thanne was king of Judee,
He sende forto come, as he
Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance
2550Was next to him of aqueintance;
For Joram Sone of Josaphath
Achabbes dowhter wedded hath,
Which hihte faire Godelie.
And thus cam into Samarie
King Josaphat, and he fond there
The king Achab: and whan thei were
Togedre spekende of this thing,
This Josaphat seith to the king,
Hou that he wolde gladly hiere
2560Som trew prophete in this matiere,
That he his conseil myhte yive
To what point that it schal be drive.
And in that time so befell,
Ther was such on in Irahel,
Which sette him al to flaterie,
And he was cleped Sedechie;
And after him Achab hath sent:
And he at his comandement
Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte
2570He hath upon his heved on heyhte
Tuo large hornes set of bras,
As he which al a flatour was,
And goth rampende as a leoun
And caste hise hornes up and doun,
And bad men ben of good espeir,
For as the hornes percen their,
He seith, withoute resistence,
So wiste he wel of his science
That Benedab is desconfit.
2580Whan Sedechie upon this plit
Hath told this tale to his lord,
Anon ther were of his acord
Prophetes false manye mo
To bere up oil, and alle tho
Affermen that which he hath told,
Wherof the king Achab was bold
And yaf hem yiftes al aboute.
But Josaphat was in gret doute,
And hield fantosme al that he herde,
2590Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde,
If ther were eny other man,
The which of prophecie can,
To hiere him speke er that thei gon.
Quod Achab thanne, “Ther is on,
A brothell, which Micheas hihte;
Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte,
For he hath longe in prison lein.
Him liketh nevere yit to sein
A goodly word to mi plesance;
2600And natheles at thin instance
He schal come oute, and thanne he may
Seie as he seide many day;
For yit he seide nevere wel.”
Tho Josaphat began somdel
To gladen him in hope of trouthe,
And bad withouten eny slouthe
That men him scholden fette anon.
And thei that weren for him gon,
Whan that thei comen wher he was,
2610Thei tolden unto Micheas
The manere hou that Sedechie
Declared hath his prophecie;
And therupon thei preie him faire
That he wol seie no contraire,
Wherof the king mai be desplesed,
For so schal every man ben esed,
And he mai helpe himselve also.
Micheas upon trouthe tho
His herte sette, and to hem seith,
2620Al that belongeth to his feith
And of non other feigned thing,
That wol he telle unto his king,
Als fer as god hath yove him grace.
Thus cam this prophete into place
Wher he the kinges wille herde;
And he therto anon ansuerde,
And seide unto him in this wise:
“Mi liege lord, for mi servise,
Which trewe hath stonden evere yit,
2630Thou hast me with prisone aquit;
Bot for al that I schal noght glose
Of trouthe als fer as I suppose;
And as touchende of this bataille,
Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile.
For if it like thee to hiere,
As I am tauht in that matiere,
Thou miht it understonde sone;
Bot what is afterward to done
Avise thee, for this I sih.
2640I was tofor the throne on hih,
Wher al the world me thoghte stod,
And there I herde and understod
The vois of god with wordes cliere
Axende, and seide in this manere:
“In what thing mai I best beguile
The king Achab?” And for a while
Upon this point thei spieken faste.
Tho seide a spirit ate laste,
“I undertake this emprise.”
2650And god him axeth in what wise.
“I schal,” quod he, “deceive and lye
With flaterende prophecie
In suche mouthes as he lieveth.”
And he which alle thing achieveth
Bad him go forth and don riht so.
And over this I sih also
The noble peple of Irahel
Dispers as Schep upon an hell,
Withoute a kepere unarraied:
2660And as thei wente aboute astraied,
I herde a vois unto hem sein,
“Goth hom into your hous ayein,
Til I for you have betre ordeigned.”
Quod Sedechie, “Thou hast feigned
This tale in angringe of the king.”
And in a wraththe upon this thing
He smot Michee upon the cheke;
The king him hath rebuked eke,
And every man upon him cride:
2670Thus was he schent on every side,
Ayein and into prison lad,
For so the king himselve bad.
The trouthe myhte noght ben herd;
Bot afterward as it hath ferd,
The dede proveth his entente:
Achab to the bataille wente,
Wher Benedab for al his Scheld
Him slouh, so that upon the feld
His poeple goth aboute astray.
2680Bot god, which alle thinges may,
So doth that thei no meschief have;
Here king was ded and thei ben save,
And hom ayein in goddes pes
Thei wente, and al was founde les
That Sedechie hath seid tofore.
So sit it wel a king therfore
To loven hem that trouthe mene;
For ate laste it wol be sene
That flaterie is nothing worth.
2690Bot nou to mi matiere forth,
As forto speken overmore
After the Philosophres lore,
The thridde point of Policie
I thenke forto specifie.
What is a lond wher men ben none?
What ben the men whiche are al one
Withoute a kinges governance?
What is a king in his ligance,
Wher that ther is no lawe in londe?
2700What is to take lawe on honde,
Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
These olde worldes with the newe
Who that wol take in evidence,
Ther mai he se thexperience,
What thing it is to kepe lawe,
Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe
And rihtwisnesse stant commended,
Wherof the regnes ben amended.
For wher the lawe mai comune
2710The lordes forth with the commune,
Ech hath his propre duete;
And ek the kinges realte
Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth,
To his astat as it belongeth,
Which of his hihe worthinesse
Hath to governe rihtwisnesse,
As he which schal the lawe guide.
And natheles upon som side
His pouer stant above the lawe,
2720To yive bothe and to withdrawe
The forfet of a mannes lif;
But thinges whiche are excessif
Ayein the lawe, he schal noght do
For love ne for hate also.
The myhtes of a king ben grete,
Bot yit a worthi king schal lete
Of wrong to don, al that he myhte;
For he which schal the poeple ryhte,
It sit wel to his regalie
2730That he himself ferst justefie
Towardes god in his degre:
For his astat is elles fre
Toward alle othre in his persone,
Save only to the god al one,
Which wol himself a king chastise,
Wher that non other mai suffise.
So were it good to taken hiede
That ferst a king his oghne dede
Betwen the vertu and the vice
2740Redresce, and thanne of his justice
So sette in evene the balance
Towardes othre in governance,
That to the povere and to the riche
Hise lawes myhten stonde liche,
He schal excepte no persone.
Bot for he mai noght al him one
In sondri places do justice,
He schal of his real office
With wys consideracion
2750Ordeigne his deputacion
Of suche jugges as ben lerned,
So that his poeple be governed
Be hem that trewe ben and wise.
For if the lawe of covoitise
Be set upon a jugges hond,
Wo is the poeple of thilke lond,
For wrong mai noght himselven hyde:
Bot elles on that other side,
If lawe stonde with the riht,
2760The poeple is glad and stant upriht.
Wher as the lawe is resonable,
The comun poeple stant menable,
And if the lawe torne amis,
The poeple also mistorned is.
And in ensample of this matiere
Of Maximin a man mai hiere,
Of Rome which was Emperour,
That whanne he made a governour
Be weie of substitucion
2770Of Province or of region,
He wolde ferst enquere his name,
And let it openly proclame
What man he were, or evel or good.
And upon that his name stod
Enclin to vertu or to vice,
So wolde he sette him in office,
Or elles putte him al aweie.
Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie,
Which fond no let of covoitise:
2780The world stod than upon the wise,
As be ensample thou myht rede;
And hold it in thi mynde, I rede.
In a Cronique I finde thus,
Hou that Gayus Fabricius,
Which whilom was Consul of Rome,
Be whom the lawes yede and come,
Whan the Sampnites to him broghte
A somme of gold, and him besoghte
To don hem favour in the lawe,
2790Toward the gold he gan him drawe,
Wherof in alle mennes lok
A part up in his hond he tok,
Which to his mouth in alle haste
He putte, it forto smelle and taste,
And to his yhe and to his Ere,
Bot he ne fond no confort there:
And thanne he gan it to despise,
And tolde unto hem in this wise:
“I not what is with gold to thryve,
2800Whan non of all my wittes fyve
Fynt savour ne delit therinne.
So is it bot a nyce Sinne
Of gold to ben to covoitous;
Bot he is riche and glorious,
Which hath in his subjeccion
Tho men whiche in possession
Ben riche of gold, and be this skile;
For he mai aldai whan he wile,
Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe,
2810Justice don upon hem bothe.”
Lo, thus he seide, and with that word
He threw tofore hem on the bord
The gold out of his hond anon,
And seide hem that he wolde non:
So that he kepte his liberte
To do justice and equite,
Withoute lucre of such richesse.
Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse;
For it was thilke times used,
2820That every jugge was refused
Which was noght frend to comun riht;
Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht
For trouthe only to do justice
Preferred were in thilke office
To deme and jugge commun lawe:
Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe.
To sette a lawe and kepe it noght
Ther is no comun profit soght;
Bot above alle natheles
2830The lawe, which is mad for pes,
Is good to kepe for the beste,
For that set alle men in reste.
The rihtful Emperour Conrade
To kepe pes such lawe made,
That non withinne the cite
In destorbance of unite
Dorste ones moeven a matiere.
For in his time, as thou myht hiere,
What point that was for lawe set
2840It scholde for no gold be let,
To what persone that it were.
And this broghte in the comun fere,
Why every man the lawe dradde,
For ther was non which favour hadde.
So as these olde bokes sein,
I finde write hou a Romein,
Which Consul was of the Pretoire,
Whos name was Carmidotoire,
He sette a lawe for the pes,
2850That non, bot he be wepneles,
Schal come into the conseil hous,
And elles as malicious
He schal ben of the lawe ded.
To that statut and to that red
Acorden alle it schal be so,
For certein cause which was tho:
Nou lest what fell therafter sone.
This Consul hadde forto done,
And was into the feldes ride;
2860And thei him hadden longe abide,
That lordes of the conseil were,
And for him sende, and he cam there
With swerd begert, and hath foryete,
Til he was in the conseil sete.
Was non of hem that made speche,
Til he himself it wolde seche,
And fond out the defalte himselve;
And thanne he seide unto the tuelve,
Whiche of the Senat weren wise,
2870“I have deserved the juise,
In haste that it were do.”
And thei him seiden alle no;
For wel thei wiste it was no vice,
Whan he ne thoghte no malice,
Bot onliche of a litel slouthe:
And thus thei leften as for routhe
To do justice upon his gilt,
For that he scholde noght be spilt.
And whanne he sih the maner hou
2880Thei wolde him save, he made avou
With manfull herte, and thus he seide,
That Rome scholde nevere abreide
His heires, whan he were of dawe,
That here Ancestre brak the lawe.
Forthi, er that thei weren war,
Forth with the same swerd he bar
The statut of his lawe he kepte,
So that al Rome his deth bewepte.
In other place also I rede,
2890Wher that a jugge his oghne dede
Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke,
The king it hath himselven wroke.
The grete king which Cambises
Was hote, a jugge laweles
He fond, and into remembrance
He dede upon him such vengance:
Out of his skyn he was beflain
Al quyk, and in that wise slain,
So that his skyn was schape al meete,
2900And nayled on the same seete
Wher that his Sone scholde sitte.
Avise him, if he wolde flitte
The lawe for the coveitise,
Ther sih he redi his juise.
Thus in defalte of other jugge
The king mot otherwhile jugge,
To holden up the rihte lawe.
And forto speke of tholde dawe,
To take ensample of that was tho,
2910I finde a tale write also,
Hou that a worthi prince is holde
The lawes of his lond to holde,
Ferst for the hihe goddes sake,
And ek for that him is betake
The poeple forto guide and lede,
Which is the charge of his kinghede.
In a Cronique I rede thus
Of the rihtful Ligurgius,
Which of Athenis Prince was,
2920Hou he the lawe in every cas,
Wherof he scholde his poeple reule,
Hath set upon so good a reule,
In al this world that cite non
Of lawe was so wel begon
Forth with the trouthe of governance.
Ther was among hem no distance,
Bot every man hath his encress;
Ther was withoute werre pes,
Withoute envie love stod;
2930Richesse upon the comun good
And noght upon the singuler
Ordeigned was, and the pouer
Of hem that weren in astat
Was sauf: wherof upon debat
Ther stod nothing, so that in reste
Mihte every man his herte reste.
And whan this noble rihtful king
Sih hou it ferde of al this thing,
Wherof the poeple stod in ese,
2940He, which for evere wolde plese
The hihe god, whos thonk he soghte,
A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte,
And schop if that it myhte be,
Hou that his lawe in the cite
Mihte afterward for evere laste.
And therupon his wit he caste
What thing him were best to feigne,
That he his pourpos myhte atteigne.
A Parlement and thus he sette,
2950His wisdom wher that he besette
In audience of grete and smale,
And in this wise he tolde his tale:
“God wot, and so ye witen alle,
Hierafterward hou so it falle,
Yit into now my will hath be
To do justice and equite
In forthringe of comun profit;
Such hath ben evere my delit.
Bot of o thing I am beknowe,
2960The which mi will is that ye knowe:
The lawe which I tok on honde,
Was altogedre of goddes sonde
And nothing of myn oghne wit;
So mot it nede endure yit,
And schal do lengere, if ye wile.
For I wol telle you the skile;
The god Mercurius and no man
He hath me tawht al that I can
Of suche lawes as I made,
2970Wherof that ye ben alle glade;
It was the god and nothing I,
Which dede al this, and nou forthi
He hath comanded of his grace
That I schal come into a place
Which is forein out in an yle,
Wher I mot tarie for a while,
With him to speke, as he hath bede.
For as he seith, in thilke stede
He schal me suche thinges telle,
2980That evere, whyl the world schal duelle,
Athenis schal the betre fare.
Bot ferst, er that I thider fare,
For that I wolde that mi lawe
Amonges you ne be withdrawe
Ther whyles that I schal ben oute,
Forthi to setten out of doute
Bothe you and me, this wol I preie,
That ye me wolde assure and seie
With such an oth as I wol take,
2990That ech of you schal undertake
Mi lawes forto kepe and holde.”
Thei seiden alle that thei wolde,
And therupon thei swore here oth,
That fro the time that he goth,
Til he to hem be come ayein,
Thei scholde hise lawes wel and plein
In every point kepe and fulfille.
Thus hath Ligurgius his wille,
And tok his leve and forth he wente.
3000Bot lest nou wel to what entente
Of rihtwisnesse he dede so:
For after that he was ago,
He schop him nevere to be founde;
So that Athenis, which was bounde,
Nevere after scholde be relessed,
Ne thilke goode lawe cessed,
Which was for comun profit set.
And in this wise he hath it knet;
He, which the comun profit soghte,
3010The king, his oghne astat ne roghte;
To do profit to the comune,
He tok of exil the fortune,
And lefte of Prince thilke office
Only for love and for justice,
Thurgh which he thoghte, if that he myhte,
For evere after his deth to rihte
The cite which was him betake.
Wherof men oghte ensample take
The goode lawes to avance
3020With hem which under governance
The lawes have forto kepe;
For who that wolde take kepe
Of hem that ferst the lawes founde,
Als fer as lasteth eny bounde
Of lond, here names yit ben knowe:
And if it like thee to knowe
Some of here names hou thei stonde,
Nou herkne and thou schalt understonde.
Of every bienfet the merite
3030The god himself it wol aquite;
And ek fulofte it falleth so,
The world it wole aquite also,
Bot that mai noght ben evene liche:
The god he yifth the heveneriche,
The world yifth only bot a name,
Which stant upon the goode fame
Of hem that don the goode dede.
And in this wise double mede
Resceiven thei that don wel hiere;
3040Wherof if that thee list to hiere
After the fame as it is blowe,
Ther myht thou wel the sothe knowe,
Hou thilke honeste besinesse
Of hem that ferst for rihtwisnesse
Among the men the lawes made,
Mai nevere upon this erthe fade.
For evere, whil ther is a tunge,
Here name schal be rad and sunge
And holde in the Cronique write;
3050So that the men it scholden wite,
To speke good, as thei wel oghten,
Of hem that ferst the lawes soghten
In forthringe of the worldes pes.
Unto thebreus was Moi5ses
The ferste, and to thegipciens
Mercurius, and to Troiens
Ferst was Neuma Pompilius,
To Athenes Ligurgius
Yaf ferst the lawe, and to Gregois
3060Forones hath thilke vois,
And Romulus to the Romeins.
For suche men that ben vileins
The lawe in such a wise ordeigneth,
That what man to the lawe pleigneth,
Be so the jugge stonde upriht,
He schal be served of his riht.
And so ferforth it is befalle
That lawe is come among ous alle:
God lieve it mote wel ben holde,
3070As every king therto is holde;
For thing which is of kinges set,
With kinges oghte it noght be let.
What king of lawe takth no kepe,
Be lawe he mai no regne kepe.
Do lawe awey, what is a king?
Wher is the riht of eny thing,
If that ther be no lawe in londe?
This oghte a king wel understonde,
As he which is to lawe swore,
3080That if the lawe be forbore
If makth a lond torne up so doun,
Which is unto the king a sclandre.
Forthi unto king Alisandre
The wise Philosophre bad,
That he himselve ferst be lad
Of lawe, and forth thanne overal
So do justice in general,
That al the wyde lond aboute
3090The justice of his lawe doute,
And thanne schal he stonde in reste.
For therto lawe is on the beste
Above alle other erthly thing,
To make a liege drede his king.
Bot hou a king schal gete him love
Toward the hihe god above,
And ek among the men in erthe,
This nexte point, which is the ferthe
Of Aristotles lore, it techeth:
3100Wherof who that the Scole secheth,
What Policie that it is
The bok reherceth after this.
It nedeth noght that I delate
The pris which preised is algate,
And hath ben evere and evere schal,
Wherof to speke in special,
It is the vertu of Pite,
Thurgh which the hihe mageste
Was stered, whan his Sone alyhte,
3110And in pite the world to rihte
Tok of the Maide fleissh and blod.
Pite was cause of thilke good,
Wherof that we ben alle save:
Wel oghte a man Pite to have
And the vertu to sette in pris,
Whan he himself which is al wys
Hath schewed why it schal be preised.
Pite may noght be conterpeised
Of tirannie with no peis;
3120For Pite makth a king courteis
Bothe in his word and in his dede.
It sit wel every liege drede
His king and to his heste obeie,
And riht so be the same weie
It sit a king to be pitous
Toward his poeple and gracious
Upon the reule of governance,
So that he worche no vengance,
Which mai be cleped crualte.
3130Justice which doth equite
Is dredfull, for he noman spareth;
Bot in the lond wher Pite fareth
The king mai nevere faile of love,
For Pite thurgh the grace above,
So as the Philosphre affermeth,
His regne in good astat confermeth.
Thus seide whilom Constantin:
“What Emperour that is enclin
To Pite forto be servant,
3140Of al the worldes remenant
He is worthi to ben a lord.”
In olde bokes of record
This finde I write of essamplaire:
Troian the worthi debonaire,
Be whom that Rome stod governed,
Upon a time as he was lerned
Of that he was to familier,
He seide unto that conseiller,
That forto ben an Emperour
3150His will was noght for vein honour,
Ne yit for reddour of justice;
Bot if he myhte in his office
Hise lordes and his poeple plese,
Him thoghte it were a grettere ese
With love here hertes to him drawe,
Than with the drede of eny lawe.
For whan a thing is do for doute,
Fulofte it comth the worse aboute;
Bot wher a king is Pietous,
3160He is the more gracious,
That mochel thrift him schal betyde,
Which elles scholde torne aside.
Of Pite forto speke plein,
Which is with mercy wel besein,
Fulofte he wole himselve peine
To kepe an other fro the peine:
For Charite the moder is
Of Pite, which nothing amis
Can soffre, if he it mai amende.
3170It sit to every man livende
To be Pitous, bot non so wel
As to a king, which on the whiel
Fortune hath set aboven alle:
For in a king, if so befalle
That his Pite be ferme and stable,
To al the lond it is vailable
Only thurgh grace of his persone;
For the Pite of him al one
Mai al the large realme save.
3180So sit it wel a king to have
Pite; for this Valeire tolde,
And seide hou that be daies olde
Codrus, which was in his degre
King of Athenis the cite,
A werre he hadde ayein Dorrence:
And forto take his evidence
What schal befalle of the bataille,
He thoghte he wolde him ferst consaille
With Appollo, in whom he triste;
3190Thurgh whos ansuere this he wiste,
Of tuo pointz that he myhte chese,
Or that he wolde his body lese
And in bataille himselve deie,
Or elles the seconde weie,
To sen his poeple desconfit.
Bot he, which Pite hath parfit
Upon the point of his believe,
The poeple thoghte to relieve,
And ches himselve to be ded.
3200Wher is nou such an other hed,
Which wolde for the lemes dye?
And natheles in som partie
It oghte a kinges herte stere,
That he hise liege men forbere.
And ek toward hise enemis
Fulofte he may deserve pris,
To take of Pite remembrance,
Wher that he myhte do vengance:
For whanne a king hath the victoire,
3210And thanne he drawe into memoire
To do Pite in stede of wreche,
He mai noght faile of thilke speche
Wherof arist the worldes fame,
To yive a Prince a worthi name.
I rede hou whilom that Pompeie,
To whom that Rome moste obeie,
A werre hadde in jeupartie
Ayein the king of Ermenie,
Which of long time him hadde grieved.
3220Bot ate laste it was achieved
That he this king desconfit hadde,
And forth with him to Rome ladde
As Prisoner, wher many a day
In sori plit and povere he lay,
The corone of his heved deposed,
Withinne walles faste enclosed;
And with ful gret humilite
He soffreth his adversite.
Pompeie sih his pacience
3230And tok pite with conscience,
So that upon his hihe deis
Tofore al Rome in his Paleis,
As he that wolde upon him rewe,
Let yive him his corone newe
And his astat al full and plein
Restoreth of his regne ayein,
And seide it was more goodly thing
To make than undon a king,
To him which pouer hadde of bothe.
3240Thus thei, that weren longe wrothe,
Acorden hem to final pes;
And yit justice natheles
Was kept and in nothing offended;
Wherof Pompeie was comended.
Ther mai no king himself excuse,
Bot if justice he kepe and use,
Which for teschuie crualte
He mot attempre with Pite.
Of crualte the felonie
3250Engendred is of tirannie,
Ayein the whos condicion
God is himself the champion,
Whos strengthe mai noman withstonde.
For evere yit it hath so stonde,
That god a tirant overladde;
Bot wher Pite the regne ladde,
Ther mihte no fortune laste
Which was grevous, bot ate laste
The god himself it hath redresced.
3260Pite is thilke vertu blessed
Which nevere let his Maister falle;
Bot crualte, thogh it so falle
That it mai regne for a throwe,
God wole it schal ben overthrowe:
Wherof ensamples ben ynowhe
Of hem that thilke merel drowhe.
Of crualte I rede thus:
Whan the tirant Leoncius
Was to thempire of Rome arrived,
3270Fro which he hath with strengthe prived
The pietous Justinian,
As he which was a cruel man,
His nase of and his lippes bothe
He kutte, for he wolde him lothe
Unto the poeple and make unable.
Bot he which is al merciable,
The hihe god, ordeigneth so,
That he withinne a time also,
Whan he was strengest in his ire,
3280Was schoven out of his empire.
Tiberius the pouer hadde,
And Rome after his will he ladde,
And for Leonce in such a wise
Ordeigneth, that he tok juise
Of nase and lippes bothe tuo,
For that he dede an other so,
Which more worthi was than he.
Lo, which a fall hath crualte,
And Pite was set up ayein:
3290For after that the bokes sein,
Therbellis king of Bulgarie
With helpe of his chivalerie
Justinian hath unprisoned
And to thempire ayein coroned.
In a Cronique I finde also
Of Siculus, which was ek so
A cruel king lich the tempeste,
The whom no Pite myhte areste,-
He was the ferste, as bokes seie,
3300Upon the See which fond Galeie
And let hem make for the werre,-
As he which al was out of herre
Fro Pite and misericorde;
For therto couthe he noght acorde,
Bot whom he myhte slen, he slouh,
And therof was he glad ynouh.
He hadde of conseil manyon,
Among the whiche ther was on,
Be name which Berillus hihte;
3310And he bethoghte him hou he myhte
Unto the tirant do likinge,
And of his oghne ymaginynge
Let forge and make a Bole of bras,
And on the side cast ther was
A Dore, wher a man mai inne,
Whan he his peine schal beginne
Thurgh fyr, which that men putten under.
And al this dede he for a wonder,
That whanne a man for peine cride,
3320The Bole of bras, which gapeth wyde,
It scholde seme as thogh it were
A belwinge in a mannes Ere,
And noght the criinge of a man.
Bot he which alle sleihtes can,
The devel, that lith in helle fast,
Him that this caste hath overcast,
That for a trespas which he dede
He was putt in the same stede,
And was himself the ferste of alle
3330Which was into that peine falle
That he for othre men ordeigneth;
Ther was noman which him compleigneth.
Of tirannie and crualte
Be this ensample a king mai se,
Himself and ek his conseil bothe,
Hou thei ben to mankinde lothe
And to the god abhominable.
Ensamples that ben concordable
I finde of othre Princes mo,
3340As thou schalt hiere, of time go.
The grete tirant Dionys,
Which mannes lif sette of no pris,
Unto his hors fulofte he yaf
The men in stede of corn and chaf,
So that the hors of thilke stod
Devoureden the mennes blod;
Til fortune ate laste cam,
That Hercules him overcam,
And he riht in the same wise
3350Of this tirant tok the juise:
As he til othre men hath do,
The same deth he deide also,
That no Pite him hath socoured,
Til he was of hise hors devoured.
Of Lichaon also I finde
Hou he ayein the lawe of kinde
Hise hostes slouh, and into mete
He made her bodies to ben ete
With othre men withinne his hous.
3360Bot Jupiter the glorious,
Which was commoeved of this thing,
Vengance upon this cruel king
So tok, that he fro mannes forme
Into a wolf him let transforme:
And thus the crualte was kidd,
Which of long time he hadde hidd;
A wolf he was thanne openly,
The whos nature prively
He hadde in his condicion.
3370And unto this conclusioun,
That tirannie is to despise,
I finde ensample in sondri wise,
And nameliche of hem fulofte,
The whom fortune hath set alofte
Upon the werres forto winne.
Bot hou so that the wrong beginne
Of tirannie, it mai noght laste,
Bot such as thei don ate laste
To othre men, such on hem falleth;
3380For ayein suche Pite calleth
Vengance to the god above.
For who that hath no tender love
In savinge of a mannes lif,
He schal be founde so gultif,
That whanne he wolde mercy crave
In time of nede, he schal non have.
Of the natures this I finde,
The fierce Leon in his kinde,
Which goth rampende after his preie,
3390If he a man finde in his weie,
He wole him slen, if he withstonde.
Bot if the man coude understonde
To falle anon before his face
In signe of mercy and of grace,
The Leon schal of his nature
Restreigne his ire in such mesure,
As thogh it were a beste tamed,
And torne awey halfvinge aschamed,
That he the man schal nothing grieve.
3400Hou scholde than a Prince achieve
The worldes grace, if that he wolde
Destruie a man whanne he is yolde
And stant upon his mercy al?
Bot forto speke in special,
Ther have be suche and yit ther be
Tirantz, whos hertes no pite
Mai to no point of mercy plie,
That thei upon her tirannie
Ne gladen hem the men to sle;
3410And as the rages of the See
Ben unpitous in the tempeste,
Riht so mai no Pite areste
Of crualte the gret oultrage,
Which the tirant in his corage
Engendred hath: wherof I finde
A tale, which comth nou to mynde.
I rede in olde bokes thus:
Ther was a Duk, which Spertachus
Men clepe, and was a werreiour,
3420A cruel man, a conquerour
With strong pouer the which he ladde.
For this condicion he hadde,
That where him hapneth the victoire,
His lust and al his moste gloire
Was forto sle and noght to save:
Of rancoun wolde he no good have
For savinge of a mannes lif,
Bot al goth to the swerd and knyf,
So lief him was the mannes blod.
3430And natheles yit thus it stod,
So as fortune aboute wente,
He fell riht heir as be descente
To Perse, and was coroned king.
And whan the worschipe of this thing
Was falle, and he was king of Perse,
If that thei weren ferst diverse,
The tirannies whiche he wroghte,
A thousendfold welmore he soghte
Thanne afterward to do malice.
3440The god vengance ayein the vice
Hath schape: for upon a tyde,
Whan he was heihest in his Pride,
In his rancour and in his hete
Ayein the queene of Marsagete,
Which Thameris that time hihte,
He made werre al that he myhte:
And sche, which wolde hir lond defende,
Hir oghne Sone ayein him sende,
Which the defence hath undertake.
3450Bot he desconfit was and take;
And whan this king him hadde in honde,
He wol no mercy understonde,
Bot dede him slen in his presence.
The tidinge of this violence
Whan it cam to the moder Ere,
Sche sende anon ay wydewhere
To suche frendes as sche hadde,
A gret pouer til that sche ladde.
In sondri wise and tho sche caste
3460Hou sche this king mai overcaste;
And ate laste acorded was,
That in the danger of a pass,
Thurgh which this tirant scholde passe,
Sche schop his pouer to compasse
With strengthe of men be such a weie
That he schal noght eschape aweie.
And whan sche hadde thus ordeigned,
Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned,
For feere as thogh sche wolde flee
3470Out of hir lond: and whan that he
Hath herd hou that this ladi fledde,
So faste after the chace he spedde,
That he was founde out of array.
For it betidde upon a day,
Into the pas whanne he was falle,
Thembuisschementz tobrieken alle
And him beclipte on every side,
That fle ne myhte he noght aside:
So that ther weren dede and take
3480Tuo hundred thousend for his sake,
That weren with him of his host.
And thus was leid the grete bost
Of him and of his tirannie:
It halp no mercy forto crie
To him which whilom dede non;
For he unto the queene anon
Was broght, and whan that sche him sih,
This word sche spak and seide on hih:
“O man, which out of mannes kinde
3490Reson of man hast left behinde
And lived worse than a beste,
Whom Pite myhte noght areste,
The mannes blod to schede and spille
Thou haddest nevere yit thi fille.
Bot nou the laste time is come,
That thi malice is overcome:
As thou til othre men hast do,
Nou schal be do to thee riht so.”
Tho bad this ladi that men scholde
3500A vessel bringe, in which sche wolde
Se the vengance of his juise,
Which sche began anon devise;
And tok the Princes whiche he ladde,
Be whom his chief conseil he hadde,
And whil hem lasteth eny breth,
Sche made hem blede to the deth
Into the vessel wher it stod:
And whan it was fulfild of blod,
Sche caste this tirant therinne,
3510And seide him, “Lo, thus myht thou wynne
The lustes of thin appetit.
In blod was whilom thi delit,
Nou schalt thou drinken al thi fille.”
And thus onliche of goddes wille,
He which that wolde himselve strange
To Pite, fond mercy so strange,
That he withoute grace is lore.
So may it schewe wel therfore
That crualte hath no good ende;
3520Bot Pite, hou so that it wende,
Makth that the god is merciable,
If ther be cause resonable
Why that a king schal be pitous.
Bot elles, if he be doubtous
To slen in cause of rihtwisnesse,
It mai be said no Pitousnesse,
Bot it is Pusillamite,
Which every Prince scholde flee.
For if Pite mesure excede,
3530Kinghode may noght wel procede
To do justice upon the riht:
For it belongeth to a knyht
Als gladly forto fihte as reste,
To sette his liege poeple in reste,
Whan that the werre upon hem falleth;
For thanne he mote, as it befalleth,
Of his knyhthode as a Leon
Be to the poeple a champioun
Withouten eny Pite feigned.
3540For if manhode be restreigned,
Or be it pes or be it werre,
Justice goth al out of herre,
So that knyhthode is set behinde.
Of Aristotles lore I finde,
A king schal make good visage,
That noman knowe of his corage
Bot al honour and worthinesse:
For if a king schal upon gesse
Withoute verrai cause drede,
3550He mai be lich to that I rede;
And thogh that it be lich a fable,
Thensample is good and resonable.
As it be olde daies fell,
I rede whilom that an hell
Up in the londes of Archade
A wonder dredful noise made;
For so it fell that ilke day,
This hell on his childinge lay,
And whan the throwes on him come,
3560His noise lich the day of dome
Was ferfull in a mannes thoght
Of thing which that thei sihe noght,
Bot wel thei herden al aboute
The noise, of which thei were in doute,
As thei that wenden to be lore
Of thing which thanne was unbore.
The nerr this hell was upon chance
To taken his deliverance,
The more unbuxomliche he cride;
3570And every man was fledd aside,
For drede and lefte his oghne hous:
And ate laste it was a Mous,
The which was bore and to norrice
Betake; and tho thei hield hem nyce,
For thei withoute cause dradde.
Thus if a king his herte ladde
With every thing that he schal hiere,
Fulofte he scholde change his chiere
And upon fantasie drede,
3580Whan that ther is no cause of drede.
Orace to his Prince tolde,
That him were levere that he wolde
Upon knihthode Achillem suie
In time of werre, thanne eschuie,
So as Tersites dede at Troie.
Achilles al his hole joie
Sette upon Armes forto fihte;
Tersites soghte al that he myhte
Unarmed forto stonde in reste:
3590Bot of the tuo it was the beste
That Achilles upon the nede
Hath do, wherof his knyhtlihiede
Is yit comended overal.
King Salomon in special
Seith, as ther is a time of pes,
So is a time natheles
Of werre, in which a Prince algate
Schal for the comun riht debate
And for his oghne worschipe eke.
3600Bot it behoveth noght to seke
Only the werre for worschipe,
Bot to the riht of his lordschipe,
Which he is holde to defende,
Mote every worthi Prince entende.
Betwen the simplesce of Pite
And the folhaste of crualte,
Wher stant the verray hardiesce,
Ther mote a king his herte adresce,
Whanne it is time to forsake,
3610And whan time is also to take
The dedly werres upon honde,
That he schal for no drede wonde,
If rihtwisnesse be withal.
For god is myhty overal
To forthren every mannes trowthe,
Bot it be thurgh his oghne slowthe;
And namely the kinges nede
It mai noght faile forto spede,
For he stant one for hem alle;
3620So mote it wel the betre falle
And wel the more god favoureth,
Whan he the comun riht socoureth.
And forto se the sothe in dede,
Behold the bible and thou myht rede
Of grete ensamples manyon,
Wherof that I wol tellen on.
Upon a time as it befell,
Ayein Judee and Irahel
Whan sondri kinges come were
3630In pourpos to destruie there
The poeple which god kepte tho,-
And stod in thilke daies so,
That Gedeon, which scholde lede
The goddes folk, tok him to rede,
And sende in al the lond aboute,
Til he assembled hath a route
With thritti thousend of defence,
To fihte and make resistence
Ayein the whiche hem wolde assaille:
3640And natheles that o bataille
Of thre that weren enemys
Was double mor than was al his;
Wherof that Gedeon him dradde,
That he so litel poeple hadde.
Bot he which alle thing mai helpe,
Wher that ther lacketh mannes helpe,
To Gedeon his Angel sente,
And bad, er that he forther wente,
Al openly that he do crie
3650That every man in his partie
Which wolde after his oghne wille
In his delice abide stille
At hom in eny maner wise,
For pourchas or for covoitise,
For lust of love or lacke of herte,
He scholde noght aboute sterte,
Bot holde him stille at hom in pes:
Wherof upon the morwe he les
Wel twenty thousend men and mo,
3660The whiche after the cri ben go.
Thus was with him bot only left
The thridde part, and yit god eft
His Angel sende and seide this
To Gedeon: “If it so is
That I thin help schal undertake,
Thou schalt yit lasse poeple take,
Be whom mi will is that thou spede.
Forthi tomorwe tak good hiede,
Unto the flod whan ye be come,
3670What man that hath the water nome
Up in his hond and lapeth so,
To thi part ches out alle tho;
And him which wery is to swinke,
Upon his wombe and lith to drinke,
Forsak and put hem alle aweie.
For I am myhti alle weie,
Wher as me list myn help to schewe
In goode men, thogh thei ben fewe.”
This Gedeon awaiteth wel,
3680Upon the morwe and everydel,
As god him bad, riht so he dede.
And thus ther leften in that stede
With him thre hundred and nomo,
The remenant was al ago:
Wherof that Gedeon merveileth,
And therupon with god conseileth,
Pleignende as ferforth as he dar.
And god, which wolde he were war
That he schal spede upon his riht,
3690Hath bede him go the same nyht
And take a man with him, to hiere
What schal be spoke in his matere
Among the hethen enemis;
So mai he be the more wys,
What afterward him schal befalle.
This Gedeon amonges alle
Phara, to whom he triste most,
Be nyhte tok toward thilke host,
Which logged was in a valleie,
3700To hiere what thei wolden seie;
Upon his fot and as he ferde,
Tuo Sarazins spekende he herde.
Quod on, “Ared mi swevene ariht,
Which I mette in mi slep to nyht.
Me thoghte I sih a barli cake,
Which fro the Hull his weie hath take,
And cam rollende doun at ones;
And as it were for the nones,
Forth in his cours so as it ran,
3710The kinges tente of Madian,
Of Amalech, of Amoreie,
Of Amon and of Jebuseie,
And many an other tente mo
With gret noise, as me thoghte tho,
It threw to grounde and overcaste,
And al this host so sore agaste
That I awok for pure drede.”
“This swevene can I wel arede,”
Quod thother Sarazin anon:
3720“The barli cake is Gedeon,
Which fro the hell doun sodeinly
Schal come and sette such ascry
Upon the kinges and ous bothe,
That it schal to ous alle lothe:
For in such drede he schal ous bringe,
That if we hadden flyht of wynge,
The weie on fote in desespeir
We scholden leve and flen in their,
For ther schal nothing him withstonde.”
3730Whan Gedeon hath understonde
This tale, he thonketh god of al,
And priveliche ayein he stal,
So that no lif him hath perceived.
And thanne he hath fulli conceived
That he schal spede; and therupon
The nyht suiende he schop to gon
This multitude to assaile.
Nou schalt thou hiere a gret mervaile,
With what voisdie that he wroghte.
3740The litel poeple which he broghte,
Was non of hem that he ne hath
A pot of erthe, in which he tath
A lyht brennende in a kressette,
And ech of hem ek a trompette
Bar in his other hond beside;
And thus upon the nyhtes tyde
Duk Gedeon, whan it was derk,
Ordeineth him unto his werk,
And parteth thanne his folk in thre,
3750And chargeth hem that thei ne fle,
And tawhte hem hou they scholde ascrie
Alle in o vois per compaignie,
And what word ek thei scholden speke,
And hou thei scholde here pottes breke
Echon with other, whan thei herde
That he himselve ferst so ferde;
For whan thei come into the stede,
He bad hem do riht as he dede.
And thus stalkende forth a pas
3760This noble Duk, whan time was,
His pot tobrak and loude ascride,
And tho thei breke on every side.
The trompe was noght forto seke;
He blew, and so thei blewen eke
With such a noise among hem alle,
As thogh the hevene scholde falle.
The hull unto here vois ansuerde,
This host in the valleie it herde,
And sih hou that the hell alyhte;
3770So what of hieringe and of sihte,
Thei cawhten such a sodein feere,
That non of hem belefte there:
The tentes hole thei forsoke,
That thei non other good ne toke,
Bot only with here bodi bare
Thei fledde, as doth the wylde Hare.
And evere upon the hull thei blewe,
Til that thei sihe time, and knewe
That thei be fled upon the rage;
3780And whan thei wiste here avantage,
Thei felle anon unto the chace.
Thus myht thou sen hou goddes grace
Unto the goode men availeth;
But elles ofte time it faileth
To suche as be noght wel disposed.
This tale nedeth noght be glosed,
For it is openliche schewed
That god to hem that ben wel thewed
Hath yove and granted the victoire:
3790So that thensample of this histoire
Is good for every king to holde;
Ferst in himself that he beholde
If he be good of his livinge,
And that the folk which he schal bringe
Be good also, for thanne he may
Be glad of many a merie day,
In what as evere he hath to done.
For he which sit above the Mone
And alle thing mai spille and spede,
3800In every cause, in every nede
His goode king so wel adresceth,
That alle his fomen he represseth,
So that ther mai noman him dere;
And als so wel he can forbere,
And soffre a wickid king to falle
In hondes of his fomen alle.
Nou forthermore if I schal sein
Of my matiere, and torne ayein
To speke of justice and Pite
3810After the reule of realte,
This mai a king wel understonde,
Knihthode mot ben take on honde,
Whan that it stant upon the nede:
He schal no rihtful cause drede,
Nomore of werre thanne of pes,
If he wol stonde blameles;
For such a cause a king mai have
That betre him is to sle than save,
Wherof thou myht ensample finde.
3820The hihe makere of mankinde
Be Samuel to Sal bad,
That he schal nothing ben adrad
Ayein king Agag forto fihte;
For this the godhede him behihte,
That Agag schal ben overcome:
And whan it is so ferforth come,
That Sal hath him desconfit,
The god bad make no respit,
That he ne scholde him slen anon.
3830Bot Sal let it overgon
And dede noght the goddes heste:
For Agag made gret beheste
Of rancoun which he wolde yive,
King Sal soffreth him to live
And feigneth pite forth withal.
Bot he which seth and knoweth al,
The hihe god, of that he feigneth
To Samuel upon him pleigneth,
And sende him word, for that he lefte
3840Of Agag that he ne berefte
The lif, he schal noght only dye
Himself, bot fro his regalie
He schal be put for everemo,
Noght he, bot ek his heir also,
That it schal nevere come ayein.
Thus myht thou se the sothe plein,
That of tomoche and of tolyte
Upon the Princes stant the wyte.
Bot evere it was a kinges riht
3850To do the dedes of a knyht;
For in the handes of a king
The deth and lif is al o thing
After the lawes of justice.
To slen it is a dedly vice,
Bot if a man the deth deserve;
And if a king the lif preserve
Of him which oghte forto dye,
He suieth noght thensamplerie
Which in the bible is evident:
3860Hou David in his testament,
Whan he no lengere myhte live,
Unto his Sone in charge hath yive
That he Joab schal slen algate;
And whan David was gon his gate,
The yonge wise Salomon
His fader heste dede anon,
And slouh Joab in such a wise,
That thei that herden the juise
Evere after dradden him the more,
3870And god was ek wel paid therfore,
That he so wolde his herte plye
The lawes forto justefie.
And yit he kepte forth withal
Pite, so as a Prince schal,
That he no tirannie wroghte;
He fond the wisdom which he soghte,
And was so rihtful natheles,
That al his lif he stod in pes,
That he no dedly werres hadde,
3880For every man his wisdom dradde.
And as he was himselve wys,
Riht so the worthi men of pris
He hath of his conseil withholde;
For that is every Prince holde,
To make of suche his retenue
Whiche wise ben, and to remue
The foles: for ther is nothing
Which mai be betre aboute a king,
Than conseil, which is the substance
3890Of all a kinges governance.
In Salomon a man mai see
What thing of most necessite
Unto a worthi king belongeth.
Whan he his kingdom underfongeth,
God bad him chese what he wolde,
And seide him that he have scholde
What he wolde axe, as of o thing.
And he, which was a newe king,
Forth therupon his bone preide
3900To god, and in this wise he seide:
“O king, be whom that I schal regne,
Yif me wisdom, that I my regne,
Forth with thi poeple which I have,
To thin honour mai kepe and save.”
Whan Salomon his bone hath taxed,
The god of that which he hath axed
Was riht wel paid, and granteth sone
Noght al only that he his bone
Schal have of that, bot of richesse,
3910Of hele, of pes, of hih noblesse,
Forth with wisdom at his axinges,
Which stant above alle othre thinges.
Bot what king wole his regne save,
Ferst him behoveth forto have
After the god and his believe
Such conseil which is to believe,
Fulfild of trouthe and rihtwisnesse:
Bot above alle in his noblesse
Betwen the reddour and pite
3920A king schal do such equite
And sette the balance in evene,
So that the hihe god in hevene
And al the poeple of his nobleie
Loange unto his name seie.
For most above all erthli good,
Wher that a king himself is good
It helpeth, for in other weie
If so be that a king forsueie,
Fulofte er this it hath be sein,
3930The comun poeple is overlein
And hath the kinges Senne aboght,
Al thogh the poeple agulte noght.
Of that the king his god misserveth,
The poeple takth that he descerveth
Hier in this world, bot elleswhere
I not hou it schal stonde there.
Forthi good is a king to triste
Ferst to himself, as he ne wiste
Non other help bot god alone;
3940So schal the reule of his persone
Withinne himself thurgh providence
Ben of the betre conscience.
And forto finde ensample of this,
A tale I rede, and soth it is.
In a Cronique it telleth thus:
The king of Rome Lucius
Withinne his chambre upon a nyht
The Steward of his hous, a knyht,
Forth with his Chamberlein also,
3950To conseil hadde bothe tuo,
And stoden be the Chiminee
Togedre spekende alle thre.
And happeth that the kinges fol
Sat be the fyr upon a stol,
As he that with his babil pleide,
Bot yit he herde al that thei seide,
And therof token thei non hiede.
The king hem axeth what to rede
Of such matiere as cam to mouthe,
3960And thei him tolden as thei couthe.
Whan al was spoke of that thei mente,
The king with al his hole entente
Thanne ate laste hem axeth this,
What king men tellen that he is:
Among the folk touchende his name,
Or be it pris, or be it blame,
Riht after that thei herden sein,
He bad hem forto telle it plein,
That thei no point of soth forbere,
3970Be thilke feith that thei him bere.
The Steward ferst upon this thing
Yaf his ansuere unto the king
And thoghte glose in this matiere,
And seide, als fer as he can hiere,
His name is good and honourable:
Thus was the Stieward favorable,
That he the trouthe plein ne tolde.
The king thanne axeth, as he scholde,
The Chamberlein of his avis.
3980And he, that was soubtil and wys,
And somdiel thoghte upon his feith,
Him tolde hou al the poeple seith
That if his conseil were trewe,
Thei wiste thanne wel and knewe
That of himself he scholde be
A worthi king in his degre:
And thus the conseil he accuseth
In partie, and the king excuseth.
The fol, which herde of al the cas
3990That time, as goddes wille was,
Sih that thei seiden noght ynowh,
And hem to skorne bothe lowh,
And to the king he seide tho:
“Sire king, if that it were so,
Of wisdom in thin oghne mod
That thou thiselven were good,
Thi conseil scholde noght be badde.”
The king therof merveille hadde,
Whan that a fol so wisly spak,
4000And of himself fond out the lack
Withinne his oghne conscience:
And thus the foles evidence,
Which was of goddes grace enspired,
Makth that good conseil was desired.
He putte awey the vicious
And tok to him the vertuous;
The wrongful lawes ben amended,
The londes good is wel despended,
The poeple was nomore oppressed,
4010And thus stod every thing redressed.
For where a king is propre wys,
And hath suche as himselven is
Of his conseil, it mai noght faile
That every thing ne schal availe:
The vices thanne gon aweie,
And every vertu holt his weie;
Wherof the hihe god is plesed,
And al the londes folk is esed.
For if the comun poeple crie,
4020And thanne a king list noght to plie
To hiere what the clamour wolde,
And otherwise thanne he scholde
Desdeigneth forto don hem grace,
It hath be sen in many place,
Ther hath befalle gret contraire;
And that I finde of ensamplaire.
After the deth of Salomon,
Whan thilke wise king was gon,
And Roboas in his persone
4030Receive scholde the corone,
The poeple upon a Parlement
Avised were of on assent,
And alle unto the king thei preiden,
With comun vois and thus thei seiden:
“Oure liege lord, we thee beseche
That thou receive oure humble speche
And grante ous that which reson wile,
Or of thi grace or of thi skile.
Thi fader, whil he was alyve
4040And myhte bothe grante and pryve,
Upon the werkes whiche he hadde
The comun poeple streite ladde:
Whan he the temple made newe,
Thing which men nevere afore knewe
He broghte up thanne of his taillage,
And al was under the visage
Of werkes whiche he made tho.
Bot nou it is befalle so,
That al is mad, riht as he seide,
4050And he was riche whan he deide;
So that it is no maner nede,
If thou therof wolt taken hiede,
To pilen of the poeple more,
Which long time hath be grieved sore.
And in this wise as we thee seie,
With tendre herte we thee preie
That thou relesse thilke dette,
Which upon ous thi fader sette.
And if thee like to don so,
4060We ben thi men for everemo,
To gon and comen at thin heste.”
The king, which herde this requeste,
Seith that he wole ben avised,
And hath therof a time assised;
And in the while as he him thoghte
Upon this thing, conseil he soghte.
And ferst the wise knyhtes olde,
To whom that he his tale tolde,
Conseilen him in this manere;
4070That he with love and with glad chiere
Foryive and grante al that is axed
Of that his fader hadde taxed;
For so he mai his regne achieve
With thing which schal him litel grieve.
The king hem herde and overpasseth,
And with these othre his wit compasseth,
That yonge were and nothing wise.
And thei these olde men despise,
And seiden: “Sire, it schal be schame
4080For evere unto thi worthi name,
If thou ne kepe noght the riht,
Whil thou art in thi yonge myht,
Which that thin olde fader gat.
Bot seie unto the poeple plat,
That whil thou livest in thi lond,
The leste finger of thin hond
It schal be strengere overal
Than was thi fadres bodi al.
And this also schal be thi tale,
4090If he hem smot with roddes smale,
With Scorpions thou schalt hem smyte;
And wher thi fader tok a lyte,
Thou thenkst to take mochel more.
Thus schalt thou make hem drede sore
The grete herte of thi corage,
So forto holde hem in servage.
This yonge king him hath conformed
To don as he was last enformed,
Which was to him his undoinge:
4100For whan it cam to the spekinge,
He hath the yonge conseil holde,
That he the same wordes tolde
Of al the poeple in audience;
And whan thei herden the sentence
Of his malice and the manace,
Anon tofore his oghne face
Thei have him oultreli refused
And with ful gret reproef accused.
So thei begunne forto rave,
4110That he was fain himself to save;
For as the wilde wode rage
Of wyndes makth the See salvage,
And that was calm bringth into wawe,
So for defalte of grace and lawe
This poeple is stered al at ones
And forth thei gon out of hise wones;
So that of the lignages tuelve
Tuo tribes only be hemselve
With him abiden and nomo:
4120So were thei for everemo
Of no retorn withoute espeir
Departed fro the rihtfull heir.
Al Irahel with comun vois
A king upon here oghne chois
Among hemself anon thei make,
And have here yonge lord forsake;
A povere knyht Jeroboas
Thei toke, and lefte Roboas,
Which rihtfull heir was be descente.
4130Lo, thus the yonge cause wente:
For that the conseil was noght good,
The regne fro the rihtfull blod
Evere afterward divided was.
So mai it proven be this cas
That yong conseil, which is to warm,
Er men be war doth ofte harm.
Old age for the conseil serveth,
And lusti youthe his thonk deserveth
Upon the travail which he doth;
4140And bothe, forto seie a soth,
Be sondri cause forto have,
If that he wole his regne save,
A king behoveth every day.
That on can and that other mai,
Be so the king hem bothe reule,
For elles al goth out of reule.
And upon this matiere also
A question betwen the tuo
Thus writen in a bok I fond;
4150Wher it be betre for the lond
A king himselve to be wys,
And so to bere his oghne pris,
And that his consail be noght good,
Or other wise if it so stod,
A king if he be vicious
And his conseil be vertuous.
It is ansuerd in such a wise,
That betre it is that thei be wise
Be whom that the conseil schal gon,
4160For thei be manye, and he is on;
And rathere schal an one man
With fals conseil, for oght he can,
From his wisdom be mad to falle,
Thanne he al one scholde hem alle
Fro vices into vertu change,
For that is wel the more strange.
Forthi the lond mai wel be glad,
Whos king with good conseil is lad,
Which set him unto rihtwisnesse,
4170So that his hihe worthinesse
Betwen the reddour and Pite
Doth mercy forth with equite.
A king is holden overal
To Pite, bot in special
To hem wher he is most beholde;
Thei scholde his Pite most beholde
That ben the Lieges of his lond,
For thei ben evere under his hond
After the goddes ordinaunce
4180To stonde upon his governance.
Of themperour Anthonius
I finde hou that he seide thus,
That levere him were forto save
Oon of his lieges than to have
Of enemis a thousend dede.
And this he lernede, as I rede,
Of Cipio, which hadde be
Consul of Rome. And thus to se
Diverse ensamples hou thei stonde,
4190A king which hath the charge on honde
The comun poeple to governe,
If that he wole, he mai wel lerne.
Is non so good to the plesance
Of god, as is good governance;
And every governance is due
To Pite: thus I mai argue
That Pite is the foundement
Of every kinges regiment,
If it be medled with justice.
4200Thei tuo remuen alle vice,
And ben of vertu most vailable
To make a kinges regne stable.
Lo, thus the foure pointz tofore,
In governance as thei ben bore,
Of trouthe ferst and of largesse,
Of Pite forth with rihtwisnesse,
I have hem told; and over this
The fifte point, so as it is
Set of the reule of Policie,
4210Wherof a king schal modefie
The fleisschly lustes of nature,
Nou thenk I telle of such mesure,
That bothe kinde schal be served
And ek the lawe of god observed.
The Madle is mad for the the femele,
Bot where as on desireth fele,
That nedeth noght be weie of kinde:
For whan a man mai redy finde
His oghne wif, what scholde he seche
4220In strange places to beseche
To borwe an other mannes plouh,
Whan he hath geere good ynouh
Affaited at his oghne heste,
And is to him wel more honeste
Than other thing which is unknowe?
Forthi scholde every good man knowe
And thenke, hou that in mariage
His trouthe pliht lith in morgage,
Which if he breke, it is falshode,
4230And that descordeth to manhode,
And namely toward the grete,
Wherof the bokes alle trete;
So as the Philosophre techeth
To Alisandre, and him betecheth
The lore hou that he schal mesure
His bodi, so that no mesure
Of fleisshly lust he scholde excede.
And thus forth if I schal procede,
The fifte point, as I seide er,
4240Is chastete, which sielde wher
Comth nou adaies into place;
And natheles, bot it be grace
Above alle othre in special,
Is non that chaste mai ben all.
Bot yit a kinges hihe astat,
Which of his ordre as a prelat
Schal ben enoignt and seintefied,
He mot be more magnefied
For dignete of his corone,
4250Than scholde an other low persone,
Which is noght of so hih emprise.
Therfore a Prince him scholde avise,
Er that he felle in such riote,
And namely that he nassote
To change for the wommanhede
The worthinesse of his manhede.
Of Aristotle I have wel rad,
Hou he to Alisandre bad,
That forto gladen his corage
4260He schal beholde the visage
Of wommen, whan that thei ben faire.
Bot yit he set an essamplaire,
His bodi so to guide and reule,
That he ne passe noght the reule,
Wherof that he himself beguile.
For in the womman is no guile
Of that a man himself bewhapeth;
Whan he his oghne wit bejapeth,
I can the wommen wel excuse:
4270Bot what man wole upon hem muse
After the fool impression
Of his ymaginacioun,
Withinne himself the fyr he bloweth,
Wherof the womman nothing knoweth,
So mai sche nothing be to wyte.
For if a man himself excite
To drenche, and wol it noght forbere,
The water schal no blame bere.
What mai the gold, thogh men coveite?
4280If that a man wol love streite,
The womman hath him nothing bounde;
If he his oghne herte wounde,
Sche mai noght lette the folie;
And thogh so felle of compainie
That he myht eny thing pourchace,
Yit makth a man the ferste chace,
The womman fleth and he poursuieth:
So that be weie of skile it suieth,
The man is cause, hou so befalle,
4290That he fulofte sithe is falle
Wher that he mai noght wel aryse.
And natheles ful manye wise
Befoled have hemself er this,
As nou adaies yit it is
Among the men and evere was,
The stronge is fieblest in this cas.
It sit a man be weie of kinde
To love, bot it is noght kinde
A man for love his wit to lese:
4300For if the Monthe of Juil schal frese
And that Decembre schal ben hot,
The yeer mistorneth, wel I wot.
To sen a man fro his astat
Thurgh his sotie effeminat,
And leve that a man schal do,
It is as Hose above the Scho,
To man which oghte noght ben used.
Bot yit the world hath ofte accused
Ful grete Princes of this dede,
4310Hou thei for love hemself mislede,
Wherof manhode stod behinde,
Of olde ensamples as I finde.
These olde gestes tellen thus,
That whilom Sardana Pallus,
Which hield al hol in his empire
The grete kingdom of Assire,
Was thurgh the slouthe of his corage
Falle into thilke fyri rage
Of love, which the men assoteth,
4320Wherof himself he so rioteth,
And wax so ferforth wommannyssh,
That ayein kinde, as if a fissh
Abide wolde upon the lond,
In wommen such a lust he fond,
That he duelte evere in chambre stille,
And only wroghte after the wille
Of wommen, so as he was bede,
That selden whanne in other stede
If that he wolde wenden oute,
4330To sen hou that it stod aboute.
Bot ther he keste and there he pleide,
Thei tawhten him a Las to breide,
And weve a Pours, and to enfile
A Perle: and fell that ilke while,
On Barbarus the Prince of Mede
Sih hou this king in wommanhede
Was falle fro chivalerie,
And gat him help and compaignie,
And wroghte so, that ate laste
4340This king out of his regne he caste,
Which was undon for everemo:
And yit men speken of him so,
That it is schame forto hiere.
Forthi to love is in manere.
King David hadde many a love,
Bot natheles alwey above
Knyhthode he kepte in such a wise,
That for no fleisshli covoitise
Of lust to ligge in ladi armes
4350He lefte noght the lust of armes.
For where a Prince hise lustes suieth,
That he the werre noght poursuieth,
Whan it is time to ben armed,
His contre stant fulofte harmed,
Whan thenemis ben woxe bolde,
That thei defence non beholde.
Ful many a lond hath so be lore,
As men mai rede of time afore
Of hem that so here eses soghten,
4360Which after thei full diere aboghten.
To mochel ese is nothing worth,
For that set every vice forth
And every vertu put abak,
Wherof priss torneth into lak,
As in Cronique I mai reherse:
Which telleth hou the king of Perse,
That Cirus hihte, a werre hadde
Ayein a poeple which he dradde,
Of a contre which Liddos hihte;
4370Bot yit for oght that he do mihte
As in bataille upon the werre,
He hadde of hem alwey the werre.
And whan he sih and wiste it wel,
That he be strengthe wan no del,
Thanne ate laste he caste a wyle
This worthi poeple to beguile,
And tok with hem a feigned pes,
Which scholde lasten endeles,
So as he seide in wordes wise,
4380Bot he thoghte al in other wise.
For it betidd upon the cas,
Whan that this poeple in reste was,
Thei token eses manyfold;
And worldes ese, as it is told,
Be weie of kinde is the norrice
Of every lust which toucheth vice.
Thus whan thei were in lustes falle,
The werres ben foryeten alle;
Was non which wolde the worschipe
4390Of Armes, bot in idelschipe
Thei putten besinesse aweie
And token hem to daunce and pleie;
Bot most above alle othre thinges
Thei token hem to the likinges
Of fleysshly lust, that chastete
Received was in no degre,
Bot every man doth what him liste.
And whan the king of Perse it wiste,
That thei unto folie entenden,
4400With his pouer, whan thei lest wenden,
Mor sodeinly than doth the thunder
He cam, for evere and put hem under.
And thus hath lecherie lore
The lond, which hadde be tofore
The beste of hem that were tho.
And in the bible I finde also
A tale lich unto this thing,
Hou Amalech the paien king,
Whan that he myhte be no weie
4410Defende his lond and putte aweie
The worthi poeple of Irael,
This Sarazin, as it befell,
Thurgh the conseil of Balaam
A route of faire wommen nam,
That lusti were and yonge of Age,
And bad hem gon to the lignage
Of these Hebreus: and forth thei wente
With yhen greye and browes bente
And wel arraied everych on;
4420And whan thei come were anon
Among thebreus, was non insihte,
Bot cacche who that cacche myhte,
And ech of hem hise lustes soghte,
Whiche after thei full diere boghte.
For grace anon began to faile,
That whan thei comen to bataille
Thanne afterward, in sori plit
Thei were take and disconfit,
So that withinne a litel throwe
4430The myht of hem was overthrowe,
That whilom were wont to stonde.
Til Phinees the cause on honde
Hath take, this vengance laste,
Bot thanne it cessede ate laste,
For god was paid of that he dede:
For wher he fond upon a stede
A couple which misferde so,
Thurghout he smot hem bothe tuo,
And let hem ligge in mennes yhe;
4440Wherof alle othre whiche hem sihe
Ensamplede hem upon the dede,
And preiden unto the godhiede
Here olde Sennes to amende:
And he, which wolde his mercy sende,
Restorede hem to newe grace.
Thus mai it schewe in sondri place,
Of chastete hou the clennesse
Acordeth to the worthinesse
Of men of Armes overal;
4450Bot most of alle in special
This vertu to a king belongeth,
For upon his fortune it hongeth
Of that his lond schal spede or spille.
Forthi bot if a king his wille
Fro lustes of his fleissh restreigne,
Ayein himself he makth a treigne,
Into the which if that he slyde,
Him were betre go besyde.
For every man mai understonde,
4460Hou for a time that it stonde,
It is a sori lust to lyke,
Whos ende makth a man to syke
And torneth joies into sorwe.
The brihte Sonne be the morwe
Beschyneth noght the derke nyht,
The lusti youthe of mannes myht,
In Age bot it stonde wel,
Mistorneth al the laste whiel.
That every worthi Prince is holde
4470Withinne himself himself beholde,
To se the stat of his persone,
And thenke hou ther be joies none
Upon this Erthe mad to laste,
And hou the fleissh schal ate laste
The lustes of this lif forsake,
Him oghte a gret ensample take
Of Salomon, whos appetit
Was holy set upon delit,
To take of wommen the plesance:
4480So that upon his ignorance
The wyde world merveileth yit,
That he, which alle mennes wit
In thilke time hath overpassed,
With fleisshly lustes was so tassed,
That he which ladde under the lawe
The poeple of god, himself withdrawe
He hath fro god in such a wise,
That he worschipe and sacrifise
For sondri love in sondri stede
4490Unto the false goddes dede.
This was the wise ecclesiaste,
The fame of whom schal evere laste,
That he the myhti god forsok,
Ayein the lawe whanne he tok
His wyves and his concubines
Of hem that weren Sarazines,
For whiche he dede ydolatrie.
For this I rede of his sotie:
Sche of Sidoyne so him ladde,
4500That he knelende his armes spradde
To Astrathen with gret humblesse,
Which of hire lond was the goddesse:
And sche that was a Moabite
So ferforth made him to delite
Thurgh lust, which al his wit devoureth,
That he Chamos hire god honoureth.
An other Amonyte also
With love him hath assoted so,
Hire god Moloch that with encense
4510He sacreth, and doth reverence
In such a wise as sche him bad.
Thus was the wiseste overlad
With blinde lustes whiche he soghte;
Bot he it afterward aboghte.
For Achias Selonites,
Which was prophete, er his decess,
Whil he was in hise lustes alle,
Betokneth what schal after falle.
For on a day, whan that he mette
4520Jeroboam the knyht, he grette
And bad him that he scholde abyde,
To hiere what him schal betyde.
And forth withal Achias caste
His mantell of, and also faste
He kut it into pieces twelve,
Wherof tuo partz toward himselve
He kepte, and al the remenant,
As god hath set his covenant,
He tok unto Jeroboas,
4530Of Nabal which the Sone was,
And of the kinges court a knyht:
And seide him, “Such is goddes myht,
As thou hast sen departed hiere
Mi mantell, riht in such manere
After the deth of Salomon
God hath ordeigned therupon,
This regne thanne he schal divide:
Which time thou schalt ek abide,
And upon that division
4540The regne as in proporcion
As thou hast of mi mantell take,
Thou schalt receive, I undertake.
And thus the Sone schal abie
The lustes and the lecherie
Of him which nou his fader is.”
So forto taken hiede of this,
It sit a king wel to be chaste,
For elles he mai lihtly waste
Himself and ek his regne bothe,
4550And that oghte every king to lothe.
O, which a Senne violent,
Wherof so wys a king was schent,
That the vengance in his persone
Was noght ynouh to take al one,
Bot afterward, whan he was passed,
It hath his heritage lassed,
As I more openli tofore
The tale tolde. And thus therfore
The Philosophre upon this thing
4560Writ and conseileth to a king,
That he the surfet of luxure
Schal tempre and reule of such mesure,
Which be to kinde sufficant
And ek to reson acordant,
So that the lustes ignorance
Be cause of no misgovernance,
Thurgh which that he be overthrowe,
As he that wol no reson knowe.
For bot a mannes wit be swerved,
4570Whan kinde is dueliche served,
It oghte of reson to suffise;
For if it falle him otherwise,
He mai tho lustes sore drede.
For of Anthonie thus I rede,
Which of Severus was the Sone,
That he his lif of comun wone
Yaf holy unto thilke vice,
And ofte time he was so nyce,
Wherof nature hire hath compleigned
4580Unto the god, which hath desdeigned
The werkes whiche Antonie wroghte
Of lust, whiche he ful sore aboghte:
For god his forfet hath so wroke
That in Cronique it is yit spoke.
Bot forto take remembrance
Of special misgovernance
Thurgh covoitise and injustice
Forth with the remenant of vice,
And nameliche of lecherie,
4590I finde write a gret partie
Withinne a tale, as thou schalt hiere,
Which is thensample of this matiere.
So as these olde gestes sein,
The proude tirannyssh Romein
Tarquinus, which was thanne king
And wroghte many a wrongful thing,
Of Sones hadde manyon,
Among the whiche Arrons was on,
Lich to his fader of maneres;
4600So that withinne a fewe yeres
With tresoun and with tirannie
Thei wonne of lond a gret partie,
And token hiede of no justice,
Which due was to here office
Upon the reule of governance;
Bot al that evere was plesance
Unto the fleisshes lust thei toke.
And fell so, that thei undertoke
A werre, which was noght achieved,
4610Bot ofte time it hadde hem grieved,
Ayein a folk which thanne hihte
The Gabiens: and al be nyhte
This Arrons, whan he was at hom
In Rome, a prive place he nom
Withinne a chambre, and bet himselve
And made him woundes ten or tuelve
Upon the bak, as it was sene;
And so forth with hise hurtes grene
In al the haste that he may
4620He rod, and cam that other day
Unto Gabie the Cite,
And in he wente: and whan that he
Was knowe, anon the gates schette,
The lordes alle upon him sette
With drawe swerdes upon honde.
This Arrons wolde hem noght withstonde,
Bot seide, “I am hier at your wille,
Als lief it is that ye me spille,
As if myn oghne fader dede.”
4630And forthwith in the same stede
He preide hem that thei wolde se,
And schewede hem in what degre
His fader and hise brethren bothe,
Whiche, as he seide, weren wrothe,
Him hadde beten and reviled,
For evere and out of Rome exiled.
And thus he made hem to believe,
And seide, if that he myhte achieve
His pourpos, it schal wel be yolde,
4640Be so that thei him helpe wolde.
Whan that the lordes hadde sein
Hou wofully he was besein,
Thei token Pite of his grief;
Bot yit it was hem wonder lief
That Rome him hadde exiled so.
These Gabiens be conseil tho
Upon the goddes made him swere,
That he to hem schal trouthe bere
And strengthen hem with al his myht;
4650And thei also him have behiht
To helpen him in his querele.
Thei schopen thanne for his hele
That he was bathed and enoignt,
Til that he was in lusti point;
And what he wolde thanne he hadde,
That he al hol the cite ladde
Riht as he wolde himself divise.
And thanne he thoghte him in what wise
He myhte his tirannie schewe;
4660And to his conseil tok a schrewe,
Whom to his fader forth he sente
In his message, and he tho wente,
And preide his fader forto seie
Be his avis, and finde a weie,
Hou they the cite myhten winne,
Whil that he stod so wel therinne.
And whan the messager was come
To Rome, and hath in conseil nome
The king, it fell per chance so
4670That thei were in a gardin tho,
This messager forth with the king.
And whanne he hadde told the thing
In what manere that it stod,
And that Tarquinus understod
Be the message hou that it ferde,
Anon he tok in honde a yerde,
And in the gardin as thei gon,
The lilie croppes on and on,
Wher that thei weren sprongen oute,
4680He smot of, as thei stode aboute,
And seide unto the messager:
“Lo, this thing, which I do nou hier,
Schal ben in stede of thin ansuere;
And in this wise as I me bere,
Thou schalt unto mi Sone telle.”
And he no lengere wolde duelle,
Bot tok his leve and goth withal
Unto his lord, and told him al,
Hou that his fader hadde do.
4690Whan Arrons herde him telle so,
Anon he wiste what it mente,
And therto sette al his entente,
Til he thurgh fraude and tricherie
The Princes hefdes of Gabie
Hath smiten of, and al was wonne:
His fader cam tofore the Sonne
Into the toun with the Romeins,
And tok and slowh the citezeins
Withoute reson or pite,
4700That he ne spareth no degre.
And for the sped of this conqueste
He let do make a riche feste
With a sollempne Sacrifise
In Phebus temple; and in this wise
Whan the Romeins assembled were,
In presence of hem alle there,
Upon thalter whan al was diht
And that the fyres were alyht,
From under thalter sodeinly
4710An hidous Serpent openly
Cam out and hath devoured al
The Sacrifice, and ek withal
The fyres queynt, and forth anon,
So as he cam, so is he gon
Into the depe ground ayein.
And every man began to sein,
“Ha lord, what mai this signefie?”
And therupon thei preie and crie
To Phebus, that thei mihten knowe
4720The cause: and he the same throwe
With gastly vois, that alle it herde,
The Romeins in this wise ansuerde,
And seide hou for the wikkidnesse
Of Pride and of unrihtwisnesse,
That Tarquin and his Sone hath do,
The Sacrifice is wasted so,
Which myhte noght ben acceptable
Upon such Senne abhominable.
And over that yit he hem wisseth,
4730And seith that which of hem ferst kisseth
His moder, he schal take wrieche
Upon the wrong: and of that speche
Thei ben withinne here hertes glade,
Thogh thei outward no semblant made.
Ther was a knyht which Brutus hihte,
And he with al the haste he myhte
To grounde fell and therthe kiste,
Bot non of hem the cause wiste,
Bot wenden that he hadde sporned
4740Per chance, and so was overtorned.
Bot Brutus al an other mente;
For he knew wel in his entente
Hou therthe of every mannes kinde
Is Moder: bot thei weren blinde,
And sihen noght so fer as he.
Bot whan thei leften the Cite
And comen hom to Rome ayein,
Thanne every man which was Romein
And moder hath, to hire he bende
4750And keste, and ech of hem thus wende
To be the ferste upon the chance,
Of Tarquin forto do vengance,
So as thei herden Phebus sein.
Bot every time hath his certein,
So moste it nedes thanne abide,
Til afterward upon a tyde
Tarquinus made unskilfully
A werre, which was fasteby
Ayein a toun with walles stronge
4760Which Ardea was cleped longe,
And caste a Siege theraboute,
That ther mai noman passen oute.
So it befell upon a nyht,
Arrons, which hadde his souper diht,
A part of the chivalerie
With him to soupe in compaignie
Hath bede: and whan thei comen were
And seten at the souper there,
Among here othre wordes glade
4770Arrons a gret spekinge made,
Who hadde tho the beste wif
Of Rome: and ther began a strif,
For Arrons seith he hath the beste.
So jangle thei withoute reste,
Til ate laste on Collatin,
A worthi knyht, and was cousin
To Arrons, seide him in this wise:
“It is,” quod he, “of non emprise
To speke a word, bot of the dede,
4780Therof it is to taken hiede.
Anon forthi this same tyde
Lep on thin hors and let ous ryde:
So mai we knowe bothe tuo
Unwarli what oure wyves do,
And that schal be a trewe assay.”
This Arrons seith noght ones nay:
On horse bak anon thei lepte
In such manere, and nothing slepte,
Ridende forth til that thei come
4790Al prively withinne Rome;
In strange place and doun thei lihte,
And take a chambre, and out of sihte
Thei be desguised for a throwe,
So that no lif hem scholde knowe.
And to the paleis ferst thei soghte,
To se what thing this ladi wroghte
Of which Arrons made his avant:
And thei hire sihe of glad semblant,
Al full of merthes and of bordes;
4800Bot among alle hire othre wordes
Sche spak noght of hire housebonde.
And whan thei hadde al understonde
Of thilke place what hem liste,
Thei gon hem forth, that non it wiste,
Beside thilke gate of bras,
Collacea which cleped was,
Wher Collatin hath his duellinge.
Ther founden thei at hom sittinge
Lucrece his wif, al environed
4810With wommen, whiche are abandoned
To werche, and sche wroghte ek withal,
And bad hem haste, and seith, “It schal
Be for mi housebondes were,
Which with his swerd and with his spere
Lith at the Siege in gret desese.
And if it scholde him noght displese,
Nou wolde god I hadde him hiere;
For certes til that I mai hiere
Som good tidinge of his astat,
4820Min herte is evere upon debat.
For so as alle men witnesse,
He is of such an hardiesse,
That he can noght himselve spare,
And that is al my moste care,
Whan thei the walles schulle assaile.
Bot if mi wisshes myhte availe,
I wolde it were a groundles pet,
Be so the Siege were unknet,
And I myn housebonde sihe.”
4830With that the water in hire yhe
Aros, that sche ne myhte it stoppe,
And as men sen the dew bedroppe
The leves and the floures eke,
Riht so upon hire whyte cheke
The wofull salte teres felle.
Whan Collatin hath herd hire telle
The menynge of hire trewe herte,
Anon with that to hire he sterte,
And seide, “Lo, mi goode diere,
4840Nou is he come to you hiere,
That ye most loven, as ye sein.”
And sche with goodly chiere ayein
Beclipte him in hire armes smale,
And the colour, which erst was pale,
To Beaute thanne was restored,
So that it myhte noght be mored.
The kinges Sone, which was nyh,
And of this lady herde and syh
The thinges as thei ben befalle,
4850The resoun of hise wittes alle
Hath lost; for love upon his part
Cam thanne, and of his fyri dart
With such a wounde him hath thurghsmite,
That he mot nedes fiele and wite
Of thilke blinde maladie,
To which no cure of Surgerie
Can helpe. Bot yit natheles
At thilke time he hield his pes,
That he no contienance made,
4860Bot openly with wordes glade,
So as he couthe in his manere,
He spak and made frendly chiere,
Til it was time forto go.
And Collatin with him also
His leve tok, so that be nyhte
With al the haste that thei myhte
Thei riden to the Siege ayein.
Bot Arrons was so wo besein
With thoghtes whiche upon him runne,
4870That he al be the brode Sunne
To bedde goth, noght forto reste,
Bot forto thenke upon the beste
And the faireste forth withal,
That evere he syh or evere schal,
So as him thoghte in his corage,
Where he pourtreieth hire ymage:
Ferst the fetures of hir face,
In which nature hadde alle grace
Of wommanly beaute beset,
4880So that it myhte noght be bet;
And hou hir yelwe her was tresced
And hire atir so wel adresced,
And hou sche spak, and hou sche wroghte,
And hou sche wepte, al this he thoghte,
That he foryeten hath no del,
Bot al it liketh him so wel,
That in the word nor in the dede
Hire lacketh noght of wommanhiede.
And thus this tirannysshe knyht
4890Was soupled, bot noght half ariht,
For he non other hiede tok,
Bot that he myhte be som crok,
Althogh it were ayein hire wille,
The lustes of his fleissh fulfille;
Which love was noght resonable,
For where honour is remuable,
It oghte wel to ben avised.
Bot he, which hath his lust assised
With melled love and tirannie,
4900Hath founde upon his tricherie
A weie which he thenkth to holde,
And seith, “Fortune unto the bolde
Is favorable forto helpe.”
And thus withinne himself to yelpe,
As he which was a wylde man,
Upon his treson he began:
And up he sterte, and forth he wente
On horsebak, bot his entente
Ther knew no wiht, and thus he nam
4910The nexte weie, til he cam
Unto Collacea the gate
Of Rome, and it was somdiel late,
Riht evene upon the Sonne set,
As he which hadde schape his net
Hire innocence to betrappe.
And as it scholde tho mishappe,
Als priveliche as evere he myhte
He rod, and of his hors alyhte
Tofore Collatines In,
4920And al frendliche he goth him in,
As he that was cousin of house.
And sche, which is the goode spouse,
Lucrece, whan that sche him sih,
With goodli chiere drowh him nyh,
As sche which al honour supposeth,
And him, so as sche dar, opposeth
Hou it stod of hire housebonde.
And he tho dede hire understonde
With tales feigned in his wise,
4930Riht as he wolde himself devise,
Wherof he myhte hire herte glade,
That sche the betre chiere made,
Whan sche the glade wordes herde,
Hou that hire housebonde ferde.
And thus the trouthe was deceived
With slih tresoun, which was received
To hire which mente alle goode;
For as the festes thanne stode,
His Souper was ryht wel arraied.
4940Bot yit he hath no word assaied
To speke of love in no degre;
Bot with covert subtilite
His frendly speches he affaiteth,
And as the Tigre his time awaiteth
In hope forto cacche his preie.
Whan that the bordes were aweie
And thei have souped in the halle,
He seith that slep is on him falle,
And preith he moste go to bedde;
4950And sche with alle haste spedde,
So as hire thoghte it was to done,
That every thing was redi sone.
Sche broghte him to his chambre tho
And tok hire leve, and forth is go
Into hire oghne chambre by,
As sche that wende certeinly
Have had a frend, and hadde a fo,
Wherof fell after mochel wo.
This tirant, thogh he lyhe softe,
4960Out of his bed aros fulofte,
And goth aboute, and leide his Ere
To herkne, til that alle were
To bedde gon and slepten faste.
And thanne upon himself he caste
A mantell, and his swerd al naked
He tok in honde; and sche unwaked
Abedde lay, but what sche mette,
God wot; for he the Dore unschette
So prively that non it herde,
4970The softe pas and forth he ferde
Unto the bed wher that sche slepte,
Al sodeinliche and in he crepte,
And hire in bothe his Armes tok.
With that this worthi wif awok,
Which thurgh tendresce of wommanhiede
Hire vois hath lost for pure drede,
That o word speke sche ne dar:
And ek he bad hir to be war,
For if sche made noise or cry,
4980He seide, his swerd lay faste by
To slen hire and hire folk aboute.
And thus he broghte hire herte in doute,
That lich a Lomb whanne it is sesed
In wolves mouth, so was desesed
Lucrece, which he naked fond:
Wherof sche swounede in his hond,
And, as who seith, lay ded oppressed.
And he, which al him hadde adresced
To lust, tok thanne what him liste,
4990And goth his wey, that non it wiste,
Into his oghne chambre ayein,
And clepede up his chamberlein,
And made him redi forto ryde.
And thus this lecherouse pride
To horse lepte and forth he rod;
And sche, which in hire bed abod,
Whan that sche wiste he was agon,
Sche clepede after liht anon
And up aros long er the day,
5000And caste awey hire freissh aray,
As sche which hath the world forsake,
And tok upon the clothes blake:
And evere upon continuinge,
Riht as men sen a welle springe,
With yhen fulle of wofull teres,
Hire her hangende aboute hire Eres,
Sche wepte, and noman wiste why.
Bot yit among full pitously
Sche preide that thei nolden drecche
5010Hire housebonde forto fecche
Forth with hire fader ek also.
Thus be thei comen bothe tuo,
And Brutus cam with Collatin,
Which to Lucrece was cousin,
And in thei wenten alle thre
To chambre, wher thei myhten se
The wofulleste upon this Molde,
Which wepte as sche to water scholde.
The chambre Dore anon was stoke,
5020Er thei have oght unto hire spoke;
Thei sihe hire clothes al desguised,
And hou sche hath hirself despised,
Hire her hangende unkemd aboute,
Bot natheles sche gan to loute
And knele unto hire housebonde;
And he, which fain wolde understonde
The cause why sche ferde so,
With softe wordes axeth tho,
“What mai you be, mi goode swete?”
5030And sche, which thoghte hirself unmete
And the lest worth of wommen alle,
Hire wofull chiere let doun falle
For schame and couthe unnethes loke.
And thei therof good hiede toke,
And preiden hire in alle weie
That sche ne spare forto seie
Unto hir frendes what hire eileth,
Why sche so sore hirself beweileth,
And what the sothe wolde mene.
5040And sche, which hath hire sorwes grene,
Hire wo to telle thanne assaieth,
Bot tendre schame hire word delaieth,
That sondri times as sche minte
To speke, upon the point sche stinte.
And thei hire bidden evere in on
To telle forth, and therupon,
Whan that sche sih sche moste nede,
Hire tale betwen schame and drede
Sche tolde, noght withoute peine.
5050And he, which wolde hire wo restreigne,
Hire housebonde, a sory man,
Conforteth hire al that he can,
And swor, and ek hire fader bothe,
That thei with hire be noght wrothe
Of that is don ayein hire wille;
And preiden hire to be stille,
For thei to hire have al foryive.
Bot sche, which thoghte noght to live,
Of hem wol no foryivenesse,
5060And seide, of thilke wickednesse
Which was unto hire bodi wroght,
Al were it so sche myhte it noght,
Nevere afterward the world ne schal
Reproeven hire; and forth withal,
Er eny man therof be war,
A naked swerd, the which sche bar
Withinne hire Mantel priveli,
Betwen hire hondes sodeinly
Sche tok, and thurgh hire herte it throng,
5070And fell to grounde, and evere among,
Whan that sche fell, so as sche myhte,
Hire clothes with hire hand sche rihte,
That noman dounward fro the kne
Scholde eny thing of hire se:
Thus lay this wif honestely,
Althogh sche deide wofully.
Tho was no sorwe forto seke:
Hire housebonde, hire fader eke
Aswoune upon the bodi felle;
5080Ther mai no mannes tunge telle
In which anguisshe that thei were.
Bot Brutus, which was with hem there,
Toward himself his herte kepte,
And to Lucrece anon he lepte,
The blodi swerd and pulleth oute,
And swor the goddes al aboute
That he therof schal do vengance.
And sche tho made a contienance,
Hire dedlich yhe and ate laste
5090In thonkinge as it were up caste,
And so behield him in the wise,
Whil sche to loke mai suffise.
And Brutus with a manlich herte
Hire housebonde hath mad up sterte
Forth with hire fader ek also
In alle haste, and seide hem tho
That thei anon withoute lette
A Beere for the body fette;
Lucrece and therupon bledende
5100He leide, and so forth out criende
He goth into the Market place
Of Rome: and in a litel space
Thurgh cry the cite was assembled,
And every mannes herte is trembled,
Whan thei the sothe herde of the cas.
And therupon the conseil was
Take of the grete and of the smale,
And Brutus tolde hem al the tale;
And thus cam into remembrance
5110Of Senne the continuance,
Which Arrons hadde do tofore,
And ek, long time er he was bore,
Of that his fadre hadde do
The wrong cam into place tho;
So that the comun clamour tolde
The newe schame of Sennes olde.
And al the toun began to crie,
“Awey, awey the tirannie
Of lecherie and covoitise!”
5120And ate laste in such a wise
The fader in the same while
Forth with his Sone thei exile,
And taken betre governance.
Bot yit an other remembrance
That rihtwisnesse and lecherie
Acorden noght in compaignie
With him that hath the lawe on honde,
That mai a man wel understonde,
As be a tale thou shalt wite,
5130Of olde ensample as it is write.
At Rome whan that Apius,
Whos other name is Claudius,
Was governour of the cite,
Ther fell a wonder thing to se
Touchende a gentil Maide, as thus,
Whom Livius Virginius
Begeten hadde upon his wif:
Men seiden that so fair a lif
As sche was noght in al the toun.
5140This fame, which goth up and doun,
To Claudius cam in his Ere,
Wherof his thoght anon was there,
Which al his herte hath set afyre,
That he began the flour desire
Which longeth unto maydenhede,
And sende, if that he myhte spede
The blinde lustes of his wille.
Bot that thing mai he noght fulfille,
For sche stod upon Mariage;
5150A worthi kniht of gret lignage,
Ilicius which thanne hihte,
Acorded in hire fader sihte
Was, that he scholde his douhter wedde.
Bot er the cause fully spedde,
Hire fader, which in Romanie
The ledinge of chivalerie
In governance hath undertake,
Upon a werre which was take
Goth out with al the strengthe he hadde
5160Of men of Armes whiche he ladde:
So was the mariage left,
And stod upon acord til eft.
The king, which herde telle of this,
Hou that this Maide ordeigned is
To Mariage, thoghte an other.
And hadde thilke time a brother,
Which Marchus Claudius was hote,
And was a man of such riote
Riht as the king himselve was:
5170Thei tuo togedre upon this cas
In conseil founden out this weie,
That Marchus Claudius schal seie
Hou sche be weie of covenant
To his service appourtenant
Was hol, and to non other man;
And therupon he seith he can
In every point witnesse take,
So that sche schal it noght forsake.
Whan that thei hadden schape so,
5180After the lawe which was tho,
Whil that hir fader was absent,
Sche was somouned and assent
To come in presence of the king
And stonde in ansuere of this thing.
Hire frendes wisten alle wel
That it was falshed everydel,
And comen to the king and seiden,
Upon the comun lawe and preiden,
So as this noble worthi knyht
5190Hir fader for the comun riht
In thilke time, as was befalle,
Lai for the profit of hem alle
Upon the wylde feldes armed,
That he ne scholde noght ben harmed
Ne schamed, whil that he were oute;
And thus thei preiden al aboute.
For al the clamour that he herde,
The king upon his lust ansuerde,
And yaf hem only daies tuo
5200Of respit; for he wende tho,
That in so schorte a time appiere
Hire fader mihte in no manere.
Bot as therof he was deceived;
For Livius hadde al conceived
The pourpos of the king tofore,
So that to Rome ayein therfore
In alle haste he cam ridende,
And lefte upon the field liggende
His host, til that he come ayein.
5210And thus this worthi capitein
Appiereth redi at his day,
Wher al that evere reson may
Be lawe in audience he doth,
So that his dowhter upon soth
Of that Marchus hire hadde accused
He hath tofore the court excused.
The king, which sih his pourpos faile,
And that no sleihte mihte availe,
Encombred of his lustes blinde
5220The lawe torneth out of kinde,
And half in wraththe as thogh it were,
In presence of hem alle there
Deceived of concupiscence
Yaf for his brother the sentence,
And bad him that he scholde sese
This Maide and make him wel at ese;
Bot al withinne his oghne entente
He wiste hou that the cause wente,
Of that his brother hath the wyte
5230He was himselven forto wyte.
Bot thus this maiden hadde wrong,
Which was upon the king along,
Bot ayein him was non Appel,
And that the fader wiste wel:
Wherof upon the tirannie,
That for the lust of Lecherie
His douhter scholde be deceived,
And that Ilicius was weyved
Untrewly fro the Mariage,
5240Riht as a Leon in his rage,
Which of no drede set acompte
And not what pite scholde amounte,
A naked swerd he pulleth oute,
The which amonges al the route
He threste thurgh his dowhter side,
And al alowd this word he cride:
“Lo, take hire ther, thou wrongfull king,
For me is levere upon this thing
To be the fader of a Maide,
5250Thogh sche be ded, that if men saide
That in hir lif sche were schamed
And I therof were evele named.”
Tho bad the king men scholde areste
His bodi, bot of thilke heste,
Lich to the chaced wylde bor,
The houndes whan he fieleth sor,
Tothroweth and goth forth his weie,
In such a wise forto seie
This worthi kniht with swerd on honde
5260His weie made, and thei him wonde,
That non of hem his strokes kepte;
And thus upon his hors he lepte,
And with his swerd droppende of blod,
The which withinne his douhter stod,
He cam ther as the pouer was
Of Rome, and tolde hem al the cas,
And seide hem that thei myhten liere
Upon the wrong of his matiere,
That betre it were to redresce
5270At hom the grete unrihtwisnesse,
Than forto werre in strange place
And lese at hom here oghne grace.
For thus stant every mannes lif
In jeupartie for his wif
Or for his dowhter, if thei be
Passende an other of beaute.
Of this merveile which thei sihe
So apparant tofore here yhe,
Of that the king him hath misbore,
5280Here othes thei have alle swore
That thei wol stonde be the riht.
And thus of on acord upriht
To Rome at ones hom ayein
Thei torne, and schortly forto sein,
This tirannye cam to mouthe,
And every man seith what he couthe,
So that the prive tricherie,
Which set was upon lecherie,
Cam openly to mannes Ere;
5290And that broghte in the comun feere,
That every man the peril dradde
Of him that so hem overladde.
Forthi, er that it worse falle,
Thurgh comun conseil of hem alle
Thei have here wrongfull king deposed,
And hem in whom it was supposed
The conseil stod of his ledinge
Be lawe unto the dom thei bringe,
Wher thei receiven the penance
5300That longeth to such governance.
And thus thunchaste was chastised,
Wherof thei myhte ben avised
That scholden afterward governe,
And be this evidence lerne,
Hou it is good a king eschuie
The lust of vice and vertu suie.
To make an ende in this partie,
Which toucheth to the Policie
Of Chastite in special,
5310As for conclusion final
That every lust is to eschue
Be gret ensample I mai argue:
Hou in Rages a toun of Mede
Ther was a Mayde, and as I rede,
Sarra sche hihte, and Raguel
Hir fader was; and so befell,
Of bodi bothe and of visage
Was non so fair of the lignage,
To seche among hem alle, as sche;
5320Wherof the riche of the cite,
Of lusti folk that couden love,
Assoted were upon hire love,
And asken hire forto wedde.
On was which ate laste spedde,
Bot that was more for likinge,
To have his lust, than for weddinge,
As he withinne his herte caste,
Which him repenteth ate laste.
For so it fell the ferste nyht,
5330That whanne he was to bedde dyht,
As he which nothing god besecheth
Bot al only hise lustes secheth,
Abedde er he was fully warm
And wolde have take hire in his Arm,
Asmod, which was a fend of helle,
And serveth, as the bokes telle,
To tempte a man of such a wise,
Was redy there, and thilke emprise,
Which he hath set upon delit,
5340He vengeth thanne in such a plit,
That he his necke hathe writhe atuo.
This yonge wif was sory tho,
Which wiste nothing what it mente;
And natheles yit thus it wente
Noght only of this ferste man,
Bot after, riht as he began,
Sexe othre of hire housebondes
Asmod hath take into hise bondes,
So that thei alle abedde deiden,
5350Whan thei her hand toward hir leiden,
Noght for the lawe of Mariage,
Bot for that ilke fyri rage
In which that thei the lawe excede:
For who that wolde taken hiede
What after fell in this matiere,
Ther mihte he wel the sothe hiere.
Whan sche was wedded to Thobie,
And Raphael in compainie
Hath tawht him hou to ben honeste,
5360Asmod wan noght at thilke feste,
And yit Thobie his wille hadde;
For he his lust so goodly ladde,
That bothe lawe and kinde is served,
Wherof he hath himself preserved,
That he fell noght in the sentence.
O which an open evidence
Of this ensample a man mai se,
That whan likinge in the degre
Of Mariage mai forsueie,
5370Wel oghte him thanne in other weie
Of lust to be the betre avised.
For god the lawes hath assissed
Als wel to reson as to kinde,
Bot he the bestes wolde binde
Only to lawes of nature,
Bot to the mannes creature
God yaf him reson forth withal,
Wherof that he nature schal
Upon the causes modefie,
5380That he schal do no lecherie,
And yit he schal hise lustes have.
So ben the lawes bothe save
And every thing put out of sclandre;
As whilom to king Alisandre
The wise Philosophre tawhte,
Whan he his ferste lore cawhte,
Noght only upon chastete,
Bot upon alle honestete;
Wherof a king himself mai taste,
5390Hou trewe, hou large, hou joust, hou chaste
Him oghte of reson forto be,
Forth with the vertu of Pite,
Thurgh which he mai gret thonk deserve
Toward his godd, that he preserve
Him and his poeple in alle welthe
Of pes, richesse, honour and helthe
Hier in this world and elles eke.
Mi Sone, as we tofore spieke
In schrifte, so as thou me seidest,
5400And for thin ese, as thou me preidest,
Thi love throghes forto lisse,
That I thee wolde telle and wisse
The forme of Aristotles lore,
I have it seid, and somdiel more
Of othre ensamples, to assaie
If I thi peines myhte allaie
Thurgh eny thing that I can seie.
Do wey, mi fader, I you preie:
Of that ye have unto me told
5410I thonke you a thousendfold.
The tales sounen in myn Ere,
Bot yit min herte is elleswhere,
I mai miselve noght restreigne,
That I nam evere in loves peine:
Such lore couthe I nevere gete,
Which myhte make me foryete
O point, bot if so were I slepte,
That I my tydes ay ne kepte
To thenke of love and of his lawe;
5420That herte can I noght withdrawe.
Forthi, my goode fader diere,
Lef al and speke of my matiere
Touchende of love, as we begonne:
If that ther be oght overronne
Or oght foryete or left behinde
Which falleth unto loves kinde,
Wherof it nedeth to be schrive,
Nou axeth, so that whil I live
I myhte amende that is mys.
5430Mi goode diere Sone, yis.
Thi schrifte forto make plein,
Ther is yit more forto sein
Of love which is unavised.
Bot for thou schalt be wel avised
Unto thi schrifte as it belongeth,
A point which upon love hongeth
And is the laste of alle tho,
I wol thee telle, and thanne ho.
Explicit Liber Septimus.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54