Incipit Liber Tercius
Ira suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis,
Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet.
Ira malencolicos animos perturbat, vt equo
Iure sui pondus nulla statera tenet.
Omnibus in causis grauat Ira, set inter amantes,
Illa magis facili sorte grauamen agit:
Est vbi vir discors leuiterque repugnat amori,
Sepe loco ludi fletus ad ora venit.
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If thou the vices lest to knowe,
Mi Sone, it hath noght ben unknowe,
Fro ferst that men the swerdes grounde,
That ther nis on upon this grounde,
A vice forein fro the lawe,
Wherof that many a good felawe
Hath be distraght be sodein chance;
And yit to kinde no plesance
It doth, bot wher he most achieveth
His pourpos, most to kinde he grieveth,
As he which out of conscience
Is enemy to pacience:
And is be name on of the Sevene,
Which ofte hath set this world unevene,
And cleped is the cruel Ire,
Whos herte is everemore on fyre
To speke amis and to do bothe,
For his servantz ben evere wrothe.
Mi goode fader, tell me this:
What thing is Ire? Sone, it is
That in oure englissh Wrathe is hote,
Which hath hise wordes ay so hote,
That all a mannes pacience
Is fyred of the violence.
For he with him hath evere fyve
Servantz that helpen him to stryve:
The ferst of hem Malencolie
Is cleped, which in compaignie
An hundred times in an houre
Wol as an angri beste loure,
And noman wot the cause why.
Mi Sone, schrif thee now forthi:
Hast thou be Malencolien?
Ye, fader, be seint Julien,
Bot I untrewe wordes use,
I mai me noght therof excuse:
And al makth love, wel I wot,
Of which myn herte is evere hot,
So that I brenne as doth a glede
For Wrathe that I mai noght spede.
And thus fulofte a day for noght
Save onlich of myn oghne thoght
I am so with miselven wroth,
That how so that the game goth
With othre men, I am noght glad;
Bot I am wel the more unglad,
For that is othre mennes game
It torneth me to pure grame.
Thus am I with miself oppressed
Of thoght, the which I have impressed,
That al wakende I dreme and meete
That I with hire al one meete
And preie hire of som good ansuere:
Bot for sche wol noght gladly swere,
Sche seith me nay withouten oth;
And thus wexe I withinne wroth,
That outward I am al affraied,
And so distempred and esmaied.
A thousand times on a day
Ther souneth in myn Eres nay,
The which sche seide me tofore:
Thus be my wittes as forlore;
And namely whan I beginne
To rekne with miself withinne
How many yeres ben agon,
Siththe I have trewly loved on
And nevere tok of other hede,
And evere aliche fer to spede
I am, the more I with hir dele,
So that myn happ and al myn hele
Me thenkth is ay the leng the ferre,
That bringth my gladschip out of herre,
Wherof my wittes ben empeired,
And I, as who seith, al despeired.
For finaly, whan that I muse
And thenke how sche me wol refuse,
I am with anger so bestad,
For al this world mihte I be glad:
And for the while that it lasteth
Al up so doun my joie it casteth,
And ay the furthere that I be,
Whan I ne may my ladi se,
The more I am redy to wraththe,
That for the touchinge of a laththe
Or for the torninge of a stree
I wode as doth the wylde Se,
And am so malencolious,
That ther nys servant in myn hous
Ne non of tho that ben aboute,
That ech of hem ne stant in doute,
And wenen that I scholde rave
For Anger that thei se me have;
And so thei wondre more and lasse,
Til that thei sen it overpasse.
Bot, fader, if it so betide,
That I aproche at eny tide
The place wher my ladi is,
And thanne that hire like ywiss
To speke a goodli word untome,
For al the gold that is in Rome
Ne cowthe I after that be wroth,
Bot al myn Anger overgoth;
So glad I am of the presence
Of hire, that I all offence
Foryete, as thogh it were noght,
So overgladed is my thoght.
And natheles, the soth to telle,
Ayeinward if it so befelle
That I at thilke time sihe
On me that sche miscaste hire yhe,
Or that sche liste noght to loke,
And I therof good hiede toke,
Anon into my ferste astat
I torne, and am with al so mat,
That evere it is aliche wicke.
And thus myn hand ayein the pricke
I hurte and have do many day,
And go so forth as I go may,
Fulofte bitinge on my lippe,
And make unto miself a whippe.
With which in many a chele and hete
Mi wofull herte is so tobete,
That all my wittes ben unsofte
And I am wroth, I not how ofte;
And al it is Malencolie,
Which groweth of the fantasie
Of love, that me wol noght loute:
So bere I forth an angri snoute
Ful manye times in a yer.
Bot, fader, now ye sitten hier
In loves stede, I yow beseche,
That som ensample ye me teche,
Wherof I mai miself appese.
Mi Sone, for thin hertes ese
I schal fulfille thi preiere,
So that thou miht the betre lere
What mischief that this vice stereth,
Which in his Anger noght forbereth,
Wherof that after him forthenketh,
Whan he is sobre and that he thenketh
Upon the folie of his dede;
And of this point a tale I rede.
Ther was a king which Eolus
Was hote, and it befell him thus,
That he tuo children hadde faire,
The Sone cleped was Machaire,
The dowhter ek Canace hihte.
Be daie bothe and ek be nyhte,
Whil thei be yonge, of comun wone
In chambre thei togedre wone,
And as thei scholden pleide hem ofte,
Til thei be growen up alofte
Into the youthe of lusti age,
Whan kinde assaileth the corage
With love and doth him forto bowe,
That he no reson can allowe,
Bot halt the lawes of nature:
For whom that love hath under cure,
As he is blind himself, riht so
He makth his client blind also.
In such manere as I you telle
As thei al day togedre duelle,
This brother mihte it noght asterte
That he with al his hole herte
His love upon his Soster caste:
And so it fell hem ate laste,
That this Machaire with Canace
Whan thei were in a prive place,
Cupide bad hem ferst to kesse,
And after sche which is Maistresse
In kinde and techeth every lif
Withoute lawe positif,
Of which sche takth nomaner charge,
Bot kepth hire lawes al at large,
Nature, tok hem into lore
And tawht hem so, that overmore
Sche hath hem in such wise daunted,
That thei were, as who seith, enchaunted.
And as the blinde an other ledeth
And til thei falle nothing dredeth,
Riht so thei hadde non insihte;
Bot as the bridd which wole alihte
And seth the mete and noght the net,
Which in deceipte of him is set,
This yonge folk no peril sihe,
Bot that was likinge in here yhe,
So that thei felle upon the chance
Where witt hath lore his remembrance.
So longe thei togedre assemble,
The wombe aros, and sche gan tremble,
And hield hire in hire chambre clos
For drede it scholde be disclos
And come to hire fader Ere:
Wherof the Sone hadde also fere,
And feigneth cause forto ryde;
For longe dorste he noght abyde,
In aunter if men wolde sein
That he his Soster hath forlein:
For yit sche hadde it noght beknowe
Whos was the child at thilke throwe.
Machaire goth, Canace abit,
The which was noght delivered yit,
Bot riht sone after that sche was.
Now lest and herkne a woful cas.
The sothe, which mai noght ben hid,
Was ate laste knowe and kid
Unto the king, how that it stod.
And whan that he it understod,
Anon into Malencolie,
As thogh it were a frenesie,
He fell, as he which nothing cowthe
How maistrefull love is in yowthe:
And for he was to love strange,
He wolde noght his herte change
To be benigne and favorable
To love, bot unmerciable
Betwen the wawe of wod and wroth
Into his dowhtres chambre he goth,
And sih the child was late bore,
Wherof he hath hise othes swore
That sche it schal ful sore abye.
And sche began merci to crie,
Upon hire bare knes and preide,
And to hire fader thus sche seide:
'Ha mercy! fader, thenk I am
Thi child, and of thi blod I cam.
That I misdede yowthe it made,
And in the flodes bad me wade,
Wher that I sih no peril tho:
Bot now it is befalle so,
Merci, my fader, do no wreche!'
And with that word sche loste speche
And fell doun swounende at his fot,
As sche for sorwe nedes mot.
Bot his horrible crualte
Ther mihte attempre no pite:
Out of hire chambre forth he wente
Al full of wraththe in his entente,
And tok the conseil in his herte
That sche schal noght the deth asterte,
As he which Malencolien
Of pacience hath no lien,
Wherof the wraththe he mai restreigne.
And in this wilde wode peine,
Whanne al his resoun was untame,
A kniht he clepeth be his name,
And tok him as be weie of sonde
A naked swerd to bere on honde,
And seide him that he scholde go
And telle unto his dowhter so
In the manere as he him bad,
How sche that scharpe swerdes blad
Receive scholde and do withal
So as sche wot wherto it schal.
Forth in message goth this kniht
Unto this wofull yonge wiht,
This scharpe swerd to hire he tok:
Wherof that al hire bodi qwok,
For wel sche wiste what it mente,
And that it was to thilke entente
That sche hireselven scholde slee.
And to the kniht sche seide: 'Yee,
Now that I wot my fadres wille,
That I schal in this wise spille,
I wole obeie me therto,
And as he wole it schal be do.
Bot now this thing mai be non other,
I wole a lettre unto mi brother,
So as my fieble hand may wryte,
With al my wofull herte endite.'
Sche tok a Penne on honde tho,
Fro point to point and al the wo,
Als ferforth as hireself it wot,
Unto hire dedly frend sche wrot,
And tolde how that hire fader grace
Sche mihte for nothing pourchace;
And overthat, as thou schalt hiere,
Sche wrot and seide in this manere:
'O thou my sorwe and my gladnesse,
O thou myn hele and my siknesse,
O my wanhope and al my trust,
O my desese and al my lust,
O thou my wele, o thou my wo,
O thou my frend, o thou my fo,
O thou my love, o thou myn hate,
For thee mot I be ded algate.
Thilke ende may I noght asterte,
And yit with al myn hole herte,
Whil that me lasteth eny breth,
I wol the love into my deth.
Bot of o thing I schal thee preie,
If that my litel Sone deie,
Let him be beried in my grave
Beside me, so schalt thou have
Upon ous bothe remembrance.
For thus it stant of my grevance;
Now at this time, as thou schalt wite,
With teres and with enke write
This lettre I have in cares colde:
In my riht hond my Penne I holde,
And in my left the swerd I kepe,
And in my barm ther lith to wepe
Thi child and myn, which sobbeth faste.
Now am I come unto my laste:
Fare wel, for I schal sone deie,
And thenk how I thi love abeie.'
The pomel of the swerd to grounde
Sche sette, and with the point a wounde
Thurghout hire herte anon sche made,
And forth with that al pale and fade
Sche fell doun ded fro ther sche stod.
The child lay bathende in hire blod
Out rolled fro the moder barm,
And for the blod was hot and warm,
He basketh him aboute thrinne.
Ther was no bote forto winne,
For he, which can no pite knowe,
The king cam in the same throwe,
And sih how that his dowhter dieth
And how this Babe al blody crieth;
Bot al that mihte him noght suffise,
That he ne bad to do juise
Upon the child, and bere him oute,
And seche in the Forest aboute
Som wilde place, what it were,
To caste him out of honde there,
So that som best him mai devoure,
Where as noman him schal socoure.
Al that he bad was don in dede:
Ha, who herde evere singe or rede
Of such a thing as that was do?
Bot he which ladde his wraththe so
Hath knowe of love bot a lite;
Bot for al that he was to wyte,
Thurgh his sodein Malencolie
To do so gret a felonie.
Forthi, my Sone, how so it stonde,
Be this cas thou miht understonde
That if thou evere in cause of love
Schalt deme, and thou be so above
That thou miht lede it at thi wille,
Let nevere thurgh thi Wraththe spille
Which every kinde scholde save.
For it sit every man to have
Reward to love and to his miht,
Ayein whos strengthe mai no wiht:
And siththe an herte is so constreigned,
The reddour oghte be restreigned
To him that mai no bet aweie,
Whan he mot to nature obeie.
For it is seid thus overal,
That nedes mot that nede schal
Of that a lif doth after kinde,
Wherof he mai no bote finde.
What nature hath set in hir lawe
Ther mai no mannes miht withdrawe,
And who that worcheth therayein,
Fulofte time it hath be sein,
Ther hath befalle gret vengance,
Wherof I finde a remembrance.
Ovide after the time tho
Tolde an ensample and seide so,
How that whilom Tiresias,
As he walkende goth per cas,
Upon an hih Montaine he sih
Tuo Serpentz in his weie nyh,
And thei, so as nature hem tawhte,
Assembled were, and he tho cawhte
A yerde which he bar on honde,
And thoghte that he wolde fonde
To letten hem, and smot hem bothe:
Wherof the goddes weren wrothe;
And for he hath destourbed kinde
And was so to nature unkinde,
Unkindeliche he was transformed,
That he which erst a man was formed
Into a womman was forschape.
That was to him an angri jape;
Bot for that he with Angre wroghte,
Hise Angres angreliche he boghte.
Lo thus, my Sone, Ovide hath write,
Wherof thou miht be reson wite,
More is a man than such a beste:
So mihte it nevere ben honeste
A man to wraththen him to sore
Of that an other doth the lore
Of kinde, in which is no malice,
Bot only that it is a vice:
And thogh a man be resonable,
Yit after kinde he is menable
To love, wher he wole or non.
Thenk thou, my Sone, therupon
And do Malencolie aweie;
For love hath evere his lust to pleie,
As he which wolde no lif grieve.
Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve;
Al that ye tellen it is skile:
Let every man love as he wile,
Be so it be noght my ladi,
For I schal noght be wroth therby.
Bot that I wraththe and fare amis,
Al one upon miself it is,
That I with bothe love and kinde
Am so bestad, that I can finde
No weie how I it mai asterte:
Which stant upon myn oghne herte
And toucheth to non other lif,
Save only to that swete wif
For whom, bot if it be amended,
Mi glade daies ben despended,
That I miself schal noght forbere
The Wraththe which that I now bere,
For therof is non other leche.
Now axeth forth, I yow beseche,
Of Wraththe if ther oght elles is,
Wherof to schryve. Sone, yis.
Of Wraththe the secounde is Cheste,
Which hath the wyndes of tempeste
To kepe, and many a sodein blast
He bloweth, wherof ben agast
Thei that desiren pes and reste.
He is that ilke ungoodlieste
Which many a lusti love hath twinned;
For he berth evere his mowth unpinned,
So that his lippes ben unloke
And his corage is al tobroke,
That every thing which he can telle,
It springeth up as doth a welle,
Which mai non of his stremes hyde,
Bot renneth out on every syde.
So buillen up the foule sawes
That Cheste wot of his felawes:
For as a Sive kepeth Ale,
Riht so can Cheste kepe a tale;
Al that he wot he wol desclose,
And speke er eny man oppose.
As a Cite withoute wal,
Wher men mai gon out overal
Withouten eny resistence,
So with his croked eloquence
He spekth al that he wot withinne:
Wherof men lese mor than winne,
For ofte time of his chidinge
He bringth to house such tidinge,
That makth werre ate beddeshed.
He is the levein of the bred,
Which soureth al the past aboute:
Men oghte wel such on to doute,
For evere his bowe is redi bent,
And whom he hit I telle him schent,
If he mai perce him with his tunge.
And ek so lowde his belle is runge,
That of the noise and of the soun
Men feeren hem in al the toun
Welmore than thei don of thonder.
For that is cause of more wonder;
For with the wyndes whiche he bloweth
Fulofte sythe he overthroweth
The Cites and the policie,
That I have herd the poeple crie,
And echon seide in his degre,
'Ha wicke tunge, wo thee be!'
For men sein that the harde bon,
Althogh himselven have non,
A tunge brekth it al to pieces.
He hath so manye sondri spieces
Of vice, that I mai noght wel
Descrive hem be a thousendel:
Bot whan that he to Cheste falleth,
Ful many a wonder thing befalleth,
For he ne can nothing forbere.
Now tell me, Sone, thin ansuere,
If it hath evere so betidd,
That thou at eny time hast chidd
Toward thi love. Fader, nay:
Such Cheste yit unto this day
Ne made I nevere, god forbede:
For er I sunge such a crede,
I hadde levere to be lewed;
For thanne were I al beschrewed
And worthi to be put abak
With al the sorwe upon my bak
That eny man ordeigne cowthe.
Bot I spak nevere yit be mowthe
That unto Cheste mihte touche,
And that I durste riht wel vouche
Upon hirself as for witnesse;
For I wot, of hir gentilesse
That sche me wolde wel excuse,
That I no suche thinges use.
And if it scholde so betide
That I algates moste chide,
It myhte noght be to my love:
For so yit was I nevere above,
For al this wyde world to winne
That I dorste eny word beginne,
Be which sche mihte have ben amoeved
And I of Cheste also reproeved.
Bot rathere, if it mihte hir like,
The beste wordes wolde I pike
Whiche I cowthe in myn herte chese,
And serve hem forth in stede of chese,
For that is helplich to defie;
And so wolde I my wordes plie,
That mihten Wraththe and Cheste avale
With tellinge of my softe tale.
Thus dar I make a foreward,
That nevere unto my ladiward
Yit spak I word in such a wise,
Wherof that Cheste scholde arise.
This seie I noght, that I fulofte
Ne have, whanne I spak most softe,
Per cas seid more thanne ynowh;
Bot so wel halt noman the plowh
That he ne balketh otherwhile,
Ne so wel can noman affile
His tunge, that som time in rape
Him mai som liht word overscape,
And yit ne meneth he no Cheste.
Bot that I have ayein hir heste
Fulofte spoke, I am beknowe;
And how my will is, that ye knowe:
For whan my time comth aboute,
That I dar speke and seie al oute
Mi longe love, of which sche wot
That evere in on aliche hot
Me grieveth, thanne al my desese
I telle, and though it hir desplese,
I speke it forth and noght ne leve:
And thogh it be beside hire leve,
I hope and trowe natheles
That I do noght ayein the pes;
For thogh I telle hire al my thoght,
Sche wot wel that I chyde noght.
Men mai the hihe god beseche,
And he wol hiere a mannes speche
And be noght wroth of that he seith;
So yifth it me the more feith
And makth me hardi, soth to seie,
That I dar wel the betre preie
Mi ladi, which a womman is.
For thogh I telle hire that or this
Of love, which me grieveth sore,
Hire oghte noght be wroth the more,
For I withoute noise or cri
Mi pleignte make al buxomly
To puten alle wraththe away.
Thus dar I seie unto this day
Of Cheste in ernest or in game
Mi ladi schal me nothing blame.
Bot ofte time it hath betidd
That with miselven I have chidd,
That noman couthe betre chide:
And that hath ben at every tide,
Whanne I cam to miself al one;
For thanne I made a prive mone,
And every tale by and by,
Which as I spak to my ladi,
I thenke and peise in my balance
And drawe into my remembrance;
And thanne, if that I finde a lak
Of eny word that I mispak,
Which was to moche in eny wise,
Anon my wittes I despise
And make a chidinge in myn herte,
That eny word me scholde asterte
Which as I scholde have holden inne.
And so forth after I beginne
And loke if ther was elles oght
To speke, and I ne spak it noght:
And thanne, if I mai seche and finde
That eny word be left behinde,
Which as I scholde more have spoke,
I wolde upon miself be wroke,
And chyde with miselven so
That al my wit is overgo.
For noman mai his time lore
Recovere, and thus I am therfore
So overwroth in al my thoght,
That I myself chide al to noght:
Thus for to moche or for to lite
Fulofte I am miself to wyte.
Bot al that mai me noght availe,
With cheste thogh I me travaile:
Bot Oule on Stock and Stock on Oule;
The more that a man defoule,
Men witen wel which hath the werse;
And so to me nys worth a kerse,
Bot torneth on myn oghne hed,
Thogh I, til that I were ded,
Wolde evere chyde in such a wise
Of love as I to you devise.
Bot, fader, now ye have al herd
In this manere how I have ferd
Of Cheste and of dissencioun,
Yif me youre absolucioun.
Mi Sone, if that thou wistest al,
What Cheste doth in special
To love and to his welwillinge,
Thou woldest flen his knowlechinge
And lerne to be debonaire.
For who that most can speke faire
Is most acordende unto love:
Fair speche hath ofte brought above
Ful many a man, as it is knowe,
Which elles scholde have be riht lowe
And failed mochel of his wille.
Forthi hold thou thi tunge stille
And let thi witt thi wille areste,
So that thou falle noght in Cheste,
Which is the source of gret destance:
And tak into thi remembrance
If thou miht gete pacience,
Which is the leche of alle offence,
As tellen ous these olde wise:
For whan noght elles mai suffise
Be strengthe ne be mannes wit,
Than pacience it oversit
And overcomth it ate laste;
Bot he mai nevere longe laste,
Which wol noght bowe er that he breke.
Tak hiede, Sone, of that I speke.
Mi fader, of your goodli speche
And of the witt which ye me teche
I thonke you with al myn herte:
For that world schal me nevere asterte,
That I ne schal your wordes holde,
Of Pacience as ye me tolde,
Als ferforth as myn herte thenketh;
And of my wraththe it me forthenketh.
Bot, fader, if ye forth withal
Som good ensample in special
Me wolden telle of som Cronique,
It scholde wel myn herte like
Of pacience forto hiere,
So that I mihte in mi matiere
The more unto my love obeie
And puten mi desese aweie.
Mi Sone, a man to beie him pes
Behoveth soffre as Socrates
Ensample lefte, which is write:
And for thou schalt the sothe wite,
Of this ensample what I mene,
Althogh it be now litel sene
Among the men thilke evidence,
Yit he was upon pacience
So sett, that he himself assaie
In thing which mihte him most mispaie
Desireth, and a wickid wif
He weddeth, which in sorwe and strif
Ayein his ese was contraire.
Bot he spak evere softe and faire,
Til it befell, as it is told,
In wynter, whan the dai is cold,
This wif was fro the welle come,
Wher that a pot with water nome
Sche hath, and broghte it into house,
And sih how that hire seli spouse
Was sett and loked on a bok
Nyh to the fyr, as he which tok
His ese for a man of age.
And sche began the wode rage,
And axeth him what devel he thoghte,
And bar on hond that him ne roghte
What labour that sche toke on honde,
And seith that such an Housebonde
Was to a wif noght worth a Stre.
He seide nowther nay ne ye,
Bot hield him stille and let hire chyde;
And sche, which mai hirself noght hyde,
Began withinne forto swelle,
And that sche broghte in fro the welle,
The waterpot sche hente alofte
And bad him speke, and he al softe
Sat stille and noght a word ansuerde;
And sche was wroth that he so ferde,
And axeth him if he be ded;
And al the water on his hed
Sche pourede oute and bad awake.
Bot he, which wolde noght forsake
His Pacience, thanne spak,
And seide how that he fond no lak
In nothing which sche hadde do:
For it was wynter time tho,
And wynter, as be weie of kinde
Which stormy is, as men it finde,
Ferst makth the wyndes forto blowe,
And after that withinne a throwe
He reyneth and the watergates
Undoth; 'and thus my wif algates,
Which is with reson wel besein,
Hath mad me bothe wynd and rein
After the Sesoun of the yer.'
And thanne he sette him nerr the fer,
And as he mihte hise clothes dreide,
That he nomore o word ne seide;
Wherof he gat him somdel reste,
For that him thoghte was the beste.
I not if thilke ensample yit
Acordeth with a mannes wit,
To soffre as Socrates tho dede:
And if it falle in eny stede
A man to lese so his galle,
Him oghte among the wommen alle
In loves Court be juggement
The name bere of Pacient,
To yive ensample to the goode
Of pacience how that it stode,
That othre men it mihte knowe.
And, Sone, if thou at eny throwe
Be tempted ayein Pacience,
Tak hiede upon this evidence;
It schal per cas the lasse grieve.
Mi fader, so as I believe,
Of that schal be no maner nede,
For I wol take so good hiede,
That er I falle in such assai,
I thenke eschuie it, if I mai.
Bot if ther be oght elles more
Wherof I mihte take lore,
I preie you, so as I dar,
Now telleth, that I mai be war,
Som other tale in this matiere.
Sone, it is evere good to lere,
Wherof thou miht thi word restreigne,
Er that thou falle in eny peine.
For who that can no conseil hyde,
He mai noght faile of wo beside,
Which schal befalle er he it wite,
As I finde in the bokes write.
Yit cam ther nevere good of strif,
To seche in all a mannes lif:
Thogh it beginne on pure game,
Fulofte it torneth into grame
And doth grevance upon som side.
Wherof the grete Clerk Ovide
After the lawe which was tho
Of Jupiter and of Juno
Makth in his bokes mencioun
How thei felle at dissencioun
In manere as it were a borde,
As thei begunne forto worde
Among hemself in privete:
And that was upon this degree,
Which of the tuo more amorous is,
Or man or wif. And upon this
Thei mihten noght acorde in on,
And toke a jugge therupon,
Which cleped is Tiresias,
And bede him demen in the cas;
And he withoute avisement
Ayein Juno yaf juggement.
This goddesse upon his ansuere
Was wroth and wolde noght forbere,
Bot tok awey for everemo
The liht fro bothe hise yhen tuo.
Whan Jupiter this harm hath sein,
An other bienfait therayein
He yaf, and such a grace him doth,
That for he wiste he seide soth,
A Sothseiere he was for evere:
Bot yit that other were levere,
Have had the lokinge of his yhe,
Than of his word the prophecie;
Bot how so that the sothe wente,
Strif was the cause of that he hente
So gret a peine bodily.
Mi Sone, be thou war ther by,
And hold thi tunge stille clos:
For who that hath his word desclos
Er that he wite what he mene,
He is fulofte nyh his tene
And lest ful many time grace,
Wher that he wolde his thonk pourchace.
And over this, my Sone diere,
Of othre men, if thou miht hiere
In privete what thei have wroght,
Hold conseil and descoevere it noght,
For Cheste can no conseil hele,
Or be it wo or be it wele:
And tak a tale into thi mynde,
The which of olde ensample I finde.
Phebus, which makth the daies lihte,
A love he hadde, which tho hihte
Cornide, whom aboven alle
He pleseth: bot what schal befalle
Of love ther is noman knoweth,
Bot as fortune hire happes throweth.
So it befell upon a chaunce,
A yong kniht tok hire aqueintance
And hadde of hire al that he wolde:
Bot a fals bridd, which sche hath holde
And kept in chambre of pure yowthe,
Discoevereth all that evere he cowthe.
This briddes name was as tho
Corvus, the which was thanne also
Welmore whyt than eny Swan,
And he that schrewe al that he can
Of his ladi to Phebus seide;
And he for wraththe his swerd outbreide,
With which Cornide anon he slowh.
Bot after him was wo ynowh,
And tok a full gret repentance,
Wherof in tokne and remembrance
Of hem whiche usen wicke speche,
Upon this bridd he tok this wreche,
That ther he was snow whyt tofore,
Evere afterward colblak therfore
He was transformed, as it scheweth,
And many a man yit him beschreweth,
And clepen him into this day
A Raven, be whom yit men mai
Take evidence, whan he crieth,
That som mishapp it signefieth.
Be war therfore and sei the beste,
If thou wolt be thiself in reste,
Mi goode Sone, as I the rede.
For in an other place I rede
Of thilke Nimphe which Laar hihte:
For sche the privete be nyhte,
How Jupiter lay be Jutorne,
Hath told, god made hire overtorne:
Hire tunge he kutte, and into helle
For evere he sende hir forto duelle,
As sche that was noght worthi hiere
To ben of love a Chamberere,
For sche no conseil cowthe hele.
And suche adaies be now fele
In loves Court, as it is seid,
That lete here tunges gon unteid.
Mi Sone, be thou non of tho,
To jangle and telle tales so,
And namely that thou ne chyde,
For Cheste can no conseil hide,
For Wraththe seide nevere wel.
Mi fader, soth is everydel
That ye me teche, and I wol holde
The reule to which I am holde,
To fle the Cheste, as ye me bidde,
For wel is him that nevere chidde.
Now tell me forth if ther be more
As touchende unto Wraththes lore.
Of Wraththe yit ther is an other,
Which is to Cheste his oghne brother,
And is be name cleped Hate,
That soffreth noght withinne his gate
That ther come owther love or pes,
For he wol make no reles
Of no debat which is befalle.
Now spek, if thou art on of alle,
That with this vice hast ben withholde.
As yit for oght that ye me tolde,
Mi fader, I not what it is.
In good feith, Sone, I trowe yis.
Mi fader, nay, bot ye me lere.
Now lest, my Sone, and thou schalt here.
Hate is a wraththe noght schewende,
Bot of long time gaderende,
And duelleth in the herte loken,
Til he se time to be wroken;
And thanne he scheweth his tempeste
Mor sodein than the wilde beste,
Which wot nothing what merci is.
Mi Sone, art thou knowende of this?
My goode fader, as I wene,
Now wot I somdel what ye mene;
Bot I dar saufly make an oth,
Mi ladi was me nevere loth.
I wol noght swere natheles
That I of hate am gulteles;
For whanne I to my ladi plie
Fro dai to dai and merci crie,
And sche no merci on me leith
Bot schorte wordes to me seith,
Thogh I my ladi love algate,
Tho wordes moste I nedes hate;
And wolde thei were al despent,
Or so ferr oute of londe went
That I nevere after scholde hem hiere;
And yit love I my ladi diere.
Thus is ther Hate, as ye mai se,
Betwen mi ladi word and me;
The word I hate and hire I love,
What so me schal betide of love.
Bot forthere mor I wol me schryve,
That I have hated al my lyve
These janglers, whiche of here Envie
Ben evere redi forto lie;
For with here fals compassement
Fuloften thei have mad me schent
And hindred me fulofte time,
Whan thei no cause wisten bime,
Bot onliche of here oghne thoght:
And thus fuloften have I boght
The lie, and drank noght of the wyn.
I wolde here happ were such as myn:
For how so that I be now schrive,
To hem ne mai I noght foryive,
Til that I se hem at debat
With love, and thanne myn astat
Thei mihten be here oghne deme,
And loke how wel it scholde hem qweme
To hindre a man that loveth sore.
And thus I hate hem everemore,
Til love on hem wol don his wreche:
For that schal I alway beseche
Unto the mihti Cupido,
That he so mochel wolde do,
So as he is of love a godd,
To smyte hem with the same rodd
With which I am of love smite;
So that thei mihten knowe and wite
How hindringe is a wofull peine
To him that love wolde atteigne.
Thus evere on hem I wayte and hope,
Til I mai sen hem lepe a lope,
And halten on the same Sor
Which I do now: for overmor
I wolde thanne do my myht
So forto stonden in here lyht,
That thei ne scholden finde a weie
To that thei wolde, bot aweie
I wolde hem putte out of the stede
Fro love, riht as thei me dede
With that thei speke of me be mowthe.
So wolde I do, if that I cowthe,
Of hem, and this, so god me save,
Is al the hate that I have,
Toward these janglers everydiel;
I wolde alle othre ferde wel.
Thus have I, fader, said mi wille;
Say ye now forth, for I am stille.
Mi Sone, of that thou hast me said
I holde me noght fulli paid:
That thou wolt haten eny man,
To that acorden I ne can,
Thogh he have hindred thee tofore.
Bot this I telle thee therfore,
Thou miht upon my beneicoun
Wel haten the condicioun
Of tho janglers, as thou me toldest,
Bot furthermor, of that thou woldest
Hem hindre in eny other wise,
Such Hate is evere to despise.
Forthi, mi Sone, I wol thee rede,
That thou drawe in be frendlihede
That thou ne miht noght do be hate;
So miht thou gete love algate
And sette thee, my Sone, in reste,
For thou schalt finde it for the beste.
And over this, so as I dar,
I rede that thou be riht war
Of othre mennes hate aboute,
Which every wysman scholde doute:
For Hate is evere upon await,
And as the fisshere on his bait
Sleth, whan he seth the fisshes faste,
So, whan he seth time ate laste,
That he mai worche an other wo,
Schal noman tornen him therfro,
That Hate nyle his felonie
Fulfille and feigne compaignie
Yit natheles, for fals Semblant
Is toward him of covenant
Withholde, so that under bothe
The prive wraththe can him clothe,
That he schal seme of gret believe.
Bot war thee wel that thou ne lieve
Al that thou sest tofore thin yhe,
So as the Gregois whilom syhe:
The bok of Troie who so rede,
Ther mai he finde ensample in dede.
Sone after the destruccioun,
Whan Troie was al bete doun
And slain was Priamus the king,
The Gregois, whiche of al this thing
Ben cause, tornen hom ayein.
Ther mai noman his happ withsein;
It hath be sen and felt fulofte,
The harde time after the softe:
Be See as thei forth homward wente,
A rage of gret tempeste hem hente;
Juno let bende hire parti bowe,
The Sky wax derk, the wynd gan blowe,
The firy welkne gan to thondre,
As thogh the world scholde al to sondre;
Fro hevene out of the watergates
The reyni Storm fell doun algates
And al here takel made unwelde,
That noman mihte himself bewelde.
Ther mai men hiere Schipmen crie,
That stode in aunter forto die:
He that behinde sat to stiere
Mai noght the forestempne hiere;
The Schip aros ayein the wawes,
The lodesman hath lost his lawes,
The See bet in on every side:
Thei nysten what fortune abide,
Bot sette hem al in goddes wille,
Wher he hem wolde save or spille.
And it fell thilke time thus:
Ther was a king, the which Namplus
Was hote, and he a Sone hadde,
At Troie which the Gregois ladde,
As he that was mad Prince of alle,
Til that fortune let him falle:
His name was Palamades.
Bot thurgh an hate natheles
Of some of hem his deth was cast
And he be tresoun overcast.
His fader, whan he herde it telle,
He swor, if evere his time felle,
He wolde him venge, if that he mihte,
And therto his avou behihte:
And thus this king thurgh prive hate
Abod upon await algate,
For he was noght of such emprise
To vengen him in open wise.
The fame, which goth wyde where,
Makth knowe how that the Gregois were
Homward with al the felaschipe
Fro Troie upon the See be Schipe.
Namplus, whan he this understod,
And knew the tydes of the flod,
And sih the wynd blew to the lond,
A gret deceipte anon he fond
Of prive hate, as thou schalt hiere,
Wherof I telle al this matiere.
This king the weder gan beholde,
And wiste wel thei moten holde
Here cours endlong his marche riht,
And made upon the derke nyht
Of grete Schydes and of blockes
Gret fyr ayein the grete rockes,
To schewe upon the helles hihe,
So that the Flete of Grece it sihe.
And so it fell riht as he thoghte:
This Flete, which an havene soghte,
The bryghte fyres sih a ferr,
And thei hem drowen nerr and nerr,
And wende wel and understode
How al that fyr was made for goode,
To schewe wher men scholde aryve,
And thiderward thei hasten blyve.
In Semblant, as men sein, is guile,
And that was proved thilke while;
The Schip, which wende his helpe acroche,
Drof al to pieces on the roche,
And so ther deden ten or twelve;
Ther mihte noman helpe himselve,
For ther thei wenden deth ascape,
Withouten help here deth was schape.
Thus thei that comen ferst tofore
Upon the Rockes be forlore,
Bot thurgh the noise and thurgh the cri
These othre were al war therby;
And whan the dai began to rowe,
Tho mihten thei the sothe knowe,
That wher they wenden frendes finde,
Thei founden frenschipe al behinde.
The lond was thanne sone weyved,
Wher that thei hadden be deceived,
And toke hem to the hihe See;
Therto thei seiden alle yee,
Fro that dai forth and war thei were
Of that thei hadde assaied there.
Mi Sone, hierof thou miht avise
How fraude stant in many wise
Amonges hem that guile thenke;
Ther is no Scrivein with his enke
Which half the fraude wryte can
That stant in such a maner man:
Forthi the wise men ne demen
The thinges after that thei semen,
Bot after that thei knowe and finde.
The Mirour scheweth in his kinde
As he hadde al the world withinne,
And is in soth nothing therinne;
And so farth Hate for a throwe:
Til he a man hath overthrowe,
Schal noman knowe be his chere
Which is avant, ne which arere.
Forthi, mi Sone, thenke on this.
Mi fader, so I wole ywiss;
And if ther more of Wraththe be,
Now axeth forth per charite,
As ye be youre bokes knowe,
And I the sothe schal beknowe.
Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde
That yit towardes Wraththe stonde
Of dedly vices othre tuo:
And forto telle here names so,
It is Contek and Homicide,
That ben to drede on every side.
Contek, so as the bokes sein,
Folhast hath to his Chamberlein,
Be whos conseil al unavised
Is Pacience most despised,
Til Homicide with hem meete.
Fro merci thei ben al unmeete,
And thus ben thei the worste of alle
Of hem whiche unto wraththe falle,
In dede bothe and ek in thoght:
For thei acompte here wraththe at noght,
Bot if ther be schedinge of blod;
And thus lich to a beste wod
Thei knowe noght the god of lif.
Be so thei have or swerd or knif
Here dedly wraththe forto wreke,
Of Pite list hem noght to speke;
Non other reson thei ne fonge,
Bot that thei ben of mihtes stronge.
Bot war hem wel in other place,
Where every man behoveth grace,
Bot ther I trowe it schal hem faile,
To whom no merci mihte availe,
Bot wroghten upon tiraundie,
That no pite ne mihte hem plie.
Now tell, my Sone. Fader, what?
If thou hast be coupable of that.
Mi fader, nay, Crist me forbiede:
I speke onliche as of the dede,
Of which I nevere was coupable
Withoute cause resonable.
Bot this is noght to mi matiere
Of schrifte, why we sitten hiere;
For we ben sett to schryve of love,
As we begunne ferst above:
And natheles I am beknowe
That as touchende of loves throwe,
Whan I my wittes overwende,
Min hertes contek hath non ende,
Bot evere it stant upon debat
To gret desese of myn astat
As for the time that it lasteth.
For whan mi fortune overcasteth
Hire whiel and is to me so strange,
And that I se sche wol noght change,
Than caste I al the world aboute,
And thenke hou I at home and oute
Have al my time in vein despended,
And se noght how to ben amended,
Bot rathere forto be empeired,
As he that is welnyh despeired:
For I ne mai no thonk deserve,
And evere I love and evere I serve,
And evere I am aliche nerr.
Thus, for I stonde in such a wer,
I am, as who seith, out of herre;
And thus upon miself the werre
I bringe, and putte out alle pes,
That I fulofte in such a res
Am wery of myn oghne lif.
So that of Contek and of strif
I am beknowe and have ansuerd,
As ye, my fader, now have herd.
Min herte is wonderly begon
With conseil, wherof witt is on,
Which hath resoun in compaignie;
Ayein the whiche stant partie
Will, which hath hope of his acord,
And thus thei bringen up descord.
Witt and resoun conseilen ofte
That I myn herte scholde softe,
And that I scholde will remue
And put him out of retenue,
Or elles holde him under fote:
For as thei sein, if that he mote
His oghne rewle have upon honde,
Ther schal no witt ben understonde.
Of hope also thei tellen this,
That overal, wher that he is,
He set the herte in jeupartie
With wihssinge and with fantasie,
And is noght trewe of that he seith,
So that in him ther is no feith:
Thus with reson and wit avised
Is will and hope aldai despised.
Reson seith that I scholde leve
To love, wher ther is no leve
To spede, and will seith therayein
That such an herte is to vilein,
Which dar noght love and til he spede,
Let hope serve at such a nede:
He seith ek, where an herte sit
Al hol governed upon wit,
He hath this lyves lust forlore.
And thus myn herte is al totore
Of such a Contek as thei make:
Bot yit I mai noght will forsake,
That he nys Maister of my thoght,
Or that I spede, or spede noght.
Thou dost, my Sone, ayein the riht;
Bot love is of so gret a miht,
His lawe mai noman refuse,
So miht thou thee the betre excuse.
And natheles thou schalt be lerned
That will scholde evere be governed
Of reson more than of kinde,
Wherof a tale write I finde.
A Philosophre of which men tolde
Ther was whilom be daies olde,
And Diogenes thanne he hihte.
So old he was that he ne mihte
The world travaile, and for the beste
He schop him forto take his reste,
And duelte at hom in such a wise,
That nyh his hous he let devise
Endlong upon an Axeltre
To sette a tonne in such degre,
That he it mihte torne aboute;
Wherof on hed was taken oute,
For he therinne sitte scholde
And torne himself so as he wolde,
To take their and se the hevene
And deme of the planetes sevene,
As he which cowthe mochel what.
And thus fulofte there he sat
To muse in his philosophie
Solein withoute compaignie:
So that upon a morwetyde,
As thing which scholde so betyde,
Whan he was set ther as him liste
To loke upon the Sonne ariste,
Wherof the propretes he sih,
It fell ther cam ridende nyh
King Alisandre with a route;
And as he caste his yhe aboute,
He sih this Tonne, and what it mente
He wolde wite, and thider sente
A knyht, be whom he mihte it knowe,
And he himself that ilke throwe
Abod, and hoveth there stille.
This kniht after the kinges wille
With spore made his hors to gon
And to the tonne he cam anon,
Wher that he fond a man of Age,
And he him tolde the message,
Such as the king him hadde bede,
And axeth why in thilke stede
The Tonne stod, and what it was.
And he, which understod the cas,
Sat stille and spak no word ayein.
The kniht bad speke and seith, 'Vilein,
Thou schalt me telle, er that I go;
It is thi king which axeth so.'
'Mi king,' quod he, 'that were unriht.'
'What is he thanne?' seith the kniht,
'Is he thi man?' 'That seie I noght,'
Quod he, 'bot this I am bethoght,
Mi mannes man hou that he is.'
'Thou lyest, false cherl, ywiss,'
The kniht him seith, and was riht wroth,
And to the king ayein he goth
And tolde him how this man ansuerde.
The king, whan he this tale herde,
Bad that thei scholden alle abyde,
For he himself wol thider ryde.
And whan he cam tofore the tonne,
He hath his tale thus begonne:
'Alheil,' he seith, 'what man art thou?'
Quod he, 'Such on as thou sest now.'
The king, which hadde wordes wise,
His age wolde noght despise,
Bot seith, 'Mi fader, I thee preie
That thou me wolt the cause seie,
How that I am thi mannes man.'
'Sire king,' quod he, 'and that I can,
If that thou wolt.' 'Yis,' seith the king.
Quod he, 'This is the sothe thing:
Sith I ferst resoun understod,
And knew what thing was evel and good,
The will which of my bodi moeveth,
Whos werkes that the god reproeveth,
I have restreigned everemore,
As him which stant under the lore
Of reson, whos soubgit he is,
So that he mai noght don amis:
And thus be weie of covenant
Will is my man and my servant,
And evere hath ben and evere schal.
And thi will is thi principal,
And hath the lordschipe of thi witt,
So that thou cowthest nevere yit
Take o dai reste of thi labour;
Bot forto ben a conquerour
Of worldes good, which mai noght laste,
Thou hiest evere aliche faste,
Wher thou no reson hast to winne:
And thus thi will is cause of Sinne,
And is thi lord, to whom thou servest,
Wherof thou litel thonk deservest.'
The king of that he thus answerde
Was nothing wroth, bot whanne he herde
The hihe wisdom which he seide,
With goodly wordes this he preide,
That he him wolde telle his name.
'I am,' quod he, 'that ilke same,
The which men Diogenes calle.'
Tho was the king riht glad withalle,
For he hadde often herd tofore
What man he was, so that therfore
He seide, 'O wise Diogene,
Now schal thi grete witt be sene;
For thou schalt of my yifte have
What worldes thing that thou wolt crave.'
Quod he, 'Thanne hove out of mi Sonne,
And let it schyne into mi Tonne;
For thou benymst me thilke yifte,
Which lith noght in thi miht to schifte:
Non other good of thee me nedeth.'
This king, whom every contre dredeth,
Lo, thus he was enformed there:
Wherof, my Sone, thou miht lere
How that thi will schal noght be lieved,
Where it is noght of wit relieved.
And thou hast seid thiself er this
How that thi will thi maister is;
Thurgh which thin hertes thoght withinne
Is evere of Contek to beginne,
So that it is gretli to drede
That it non homicide brede.
For love is of a wonder kinde,
And hath hise wittes ofte blinde,
That thei fro mannes reson falle;
Bot whan that it is so befalle
That will schal the corage lede,
In loves cause it is to drede:
Wherof I finde ensample write,
Which is behovely forto wite.
I rede a tale, and telleth this:
The Cite which Semiramis
Enclosed hath with wall aboute,
Of worthi folk with many a route
Was enhabited here and there;
Among the whiche tuo ther were
Above alle othre noble and grete,
Dwellende tho withinne a Strete
So nyh togedre, as it was sene,
That ther was nothing hem betwene,
Bot wow to wow and wall to wall.
This o lord hadde in special
A Sone, a lusti Bacheler,
In al the toun was non his pier:
That other hadde a dowhter eke,
In al the lond that forto seke
Men wisten non so faire as sche.
And fell so, as it scholde be,
This faire dowhter nyh this Sone
As thei togedre thanne wone,
Cupide hath so the thinges schape,
That thei ne mihte his hand ascape,
That he his fyr on hem ne caste:
Wherof her herte he overcaste
To folwe thilke lore and suie
Which nevere man yit miht eschuie;
And that was love, as it is happed,
Which hath here hertes so betrapped,
That thei be alle weies seche
How that thei mihten winne a speche,
Here wofull peine forto lisse.
Who loveth wel, it mai noght misse,
And namely whan ther be tuo
Of on acord, how so it go,
Bot if that thei som weie finde;
For love is evere of such a kinde
And hath his folk so wel affaited,
That howso that it be awaited,
Ther mai noman the pourpos lette:
And thus betwen hem tuo thei sette
And hole upon a wall to make,
Thurgh which thei have her conseil take
At alle times, whan thei myhte.
This faire Maiden Tisbee hihte,
And he whom that sche loveth hote
Was Piramus be name hote.
So longe here lecoun thei recorden,
Til ate laste thei acorden
Be nihtes time forto wende
Al one out fro the tounes ende,
Wher was a welle under a Tree;
And who cam ferst, or sche or he,
He scholde stille there abide.
So it befell the nyhtes tide
This maiden, which desguised was,
Al prively the softe pas
Goth thurgh the large toun unknowe,
Til that sche cam withinne a throwe
Wher that sche liketh forto duelle,
At thilke unhappi freisshe welle,
Which was also the Forest nyh.
Wher sche comende a Leoun syh
Into the feld to take his preie,
In haste and sche tho fledde aweie,
So as fortune scholde falle,
For feere and let hire wympel falle
Nyh to the welle upon therbage.
This Leoun in his wilde rage
A beste, which that he fond oute,
Hath slain, and with his blodi snoute,
Whan he hath eten what he wolde,
To drynke of thilke stremes colde
Cam to the welle, where he fond
The wympel, which out of hire hond
Was falle, and he it hath todrawe,
Bebled aboute and al forgnawe;
And thanne he strawhte him forto drinke
Upon the freisshe welles brinke,
And after that out of the plein
He torneth to the wode ayein.
And Tisbee dorste noght remue,
Bot as a bridd which were in Mue
Withinne a buissh sche kepte hire clos
So stille that sche noght aros;
Unto hirself and pleigneth ay.
And fell, whil that sche there lay,
This Piramus cam after sone
Unto the welle, and be the Mone
He fond hire wimpel blodi there.
Cam nevere yit to mannes Ere
Tidinge, ne to mannes sihte
Merveile, which so sore aflihte
A mannes herte, as it tho dede
To him, which in the same stede
With many a wofull compleignynge
Began his handes forto wringe,
As he which demeth sikerly
That sche be ded: and sodeinly
His swerd al nakid out he breide
In his folhaste, and thus he seide:
'I am cause of this felonie,
So it is resoun that I die,
As sche is ded be cause of me.'
And with that word upon his kne
He fell, and to the goddes alle
Up to the hevene he gan to calle,
And preide, sithen it was so
That he may noght his love as tho
Have in this world, that of her grace
He miht hire have in other place,
For hiere wolde he noght abide,
He seith: bot as it schal betide,
The Pomel of his swerd to grounde
He sette, and thurgh his herte a wounde
He made up to the bare hilte:
And in this wise himself he spilte
With his folhaste and deth he nam;
For sche withinne a while cam,
Wher he lai ded upon his knif.
So wofull yit was nevere lif
As Tisbee was, whan sche him sih:
Sche mihte noght o word on hih
Speke oute, for hire herte schette,
That of hir lif no pris sche sette,
Bot ded swounende doun sche fell.
Til after, whanne it so befell
That sche out of hire traunce awok,
With many a wofull pitous lok
Hire yhe alwei among sche caste
Upon hir love, and ate laste
Sche cawhte breth and seide thus:
'O thou which cleped art Venus,
Goddesse of love, and thou, Cupide,
Which loves cause hast forto guide,
I wot now wel that ye be blinde,
Of thilke unhapp which I now finde
Only betwen my love and me.
This Piramus, which hiere I se
Bledende, what hath he deserved?
For he youre heste hath kept and served,
And was yong and I bothe also:
Helas, why do ye with ous so?
Ye sette oure herte bothe afyre,
And maden ous such thing desire
Wherof that we no skile cowthe;
Bot thus oure freisshe lusti yowthe
Withoute joie is al despended,
Which thing mai nevere ben amended:
For as of me this wol I seie,
That me is levere forto deie
Than live after this sorghful day.'
And with this word, where as he lay,
Hire love in armes sche embraseth,
Hire oghne deth and so pourchaseth
That now sche wepte and nou sche kiste,
Til ate laste, er sche it wiste,
So gret a sorwe is to hire falle,
Which overgoth hire wittes alle.
As sche which mihte it noght asterte,
The swerdes point ayein hire herte
Sche sette, and fell doun therupon,
Wherof that sche was ded anon:
And thus bothe on o swerd bledende
Thei weren founde ded liggende.
Now thou, mi Sone, hast herd this tale,
Bewar that of thin oghne bale
Thou be noght cause in thi folhaste,
And kep that thou thi witt ne waste
Upon thi thoght in aventure,
Wherof thi lyves forfeture
Mai falle: and if thou have so thoght
Er this, tell on and hyde it noght.
Mi fader, upon loves side
Mi conscience I woll noght hyde,
How that for love of pure wo
I have ben ofte moeved so,
That with my wisshes if I myhte,
A thousand times, I yow plyhte,
I hadde storven in a day;
And therof I me schryve may,
Though love fully me ne slowh,
Mi will to deie was ynowh,
So am I of my will coupable:
And yit is sche noght merciable,
Which mai me yive lif and hele.
Bot that hir list noght with me dele,
I wot be whos conseil it is,
And him wolde I long time er this,
And yit I wolde and evere schal,
Slen and destruie in special.
The gold of nyne kinges londes
Ne scholde him save fro myn hondes,
In my pouer if that he were;
Bot yit him stant of me no fere
For noght that evere I can manace.
He is the hindrere of mi grace,
Til he be ded I mai noght spede;
So mot I nedes taken hiede
And schape how that he were aweie,
If I therto mai finde a weie.
Mi Sone, tell me now forthi,
Which is that mortiel enemy
That thou manacest to be ded.
Mi fader, it is such a qwed,
That wher I come, he is tofore,
And doth so, that mi cause is lore.
What is his name? It is Daunger,
Which is mi ladi consailer:
For I was nevere yit so slyh,
To come in eny place nyh
Wher as sche was be nyht or day,
That Danger ne was redy ay,
With whom for speche ne for mede
Yit mihte I nevere of love spede;
For evere this I finde soth,
Al that my ladi seith or doth
To me, Daunger schal make an ende,
And that makth al mi world miswende:
And evere I axe his help, bot he
Mai wel be cleped sanz pite;
For ay the more I to him bowe,
The lasse he wol my tale alowe.
He hath mi ladi so englued,
Sche wol noght that he be remued;
For evere he hangeth on hire Seil,
And is so prive of conseil,
That evere whanne I have oght bede,
I finde Danger in hire stede
And myn ansuere of him I have;
Bot for no merci that I crave,
Of merci nevere a point I hadde.
I finde his ansuere ay so badde,
That werse mihte it nevere be:
And thus betwen Danger and me
Is evere werre til he dye.
Bot mihte I ben of such maistrie,
That I Danger hadde overcome,
With that were al my joie come.
Thus wolde I wonde for no Sinne,
Ne yit for al this world to winne;
If that I mihte finde a sleyhte,
To leie al myn astat in weyhte,
I wolde him fro the Court dissevere,
So that he come ayeinward nevere.
Therfore I wisshe and wolde fain
That he were in som wise slain;
For while he stant in thilke place,
Ne gete I noght my ladi grace.
Thus hate I dedly thilke vice,
And wolde he stode in non office
In place wher mi ladi is;
For if he do, I wot wel this,
That owther schal he deie or I
Withinne a while; and noght forthi
On my ladi fulofte I muse,
How that sche mai hirself excuse,
If that I deie in such a plit.
Me thenkth sche mihte noght be qwyt
That sche ne were an homicide:
And if it scholde so betide,
As god forbiede it scholde be,
Be double weie it is pite.
For I, which al my will and witt
Have yove and served evere yit,
And thanne I scholde in such a wise
In rewardinge of my servise
Be ded, me thenkth it were a rowthe:
And furthermor, to telle trowthe,
Sche, that hath evere be wel named,
Were worthi thanne to be blamed
And of reson to ben appeled,
Whan with o word sche mihte have heled
A man, and soffreth him so deie.
Ha, who sawh evere such a weie?
Ha, who sawh evere such destresse?
Withoute pite gentilesse,
Withoute mercy wommanhede,
That wol so quyte a man his mede,
Which evere hath be to love trewe.
Mi goode fader, if ye rewe
Upon mi tale, tell me now,
And I wol stinte and herkne yow.
Mi Sone, attempre thi corage
Fro Wraththe, and let thin herte assuage:
For who so wole him underfonge,
He mai his grace abide longe,
Er he of love be received;
And ek also, bot it be weyved,
Ther mihte mochel thing befalle,
That scholde make a man to falle
Fro love, that nevere afterward
Ne durste he loke thiderward.
In harde weies men gon softe,
And er thei clymbe avise hem ofte:
Men sen alday that rape reweth;
And who so wicked Ale breweth,
Fulofte he mot the werse drinke:
Betre is to flete than to sincke;
Betre is upon the bridel chiewe
Thanne if he felle and overthrewe,
The hors and stikede in the Myr:
To caste water in the fyr
Betre is than brenne up al the hous:
The man which is malicious
And folhastif, fulofte he falleth,
And selden is whan love him calleth.
Forthi betre is to soffre a throwe
Than be to wilde and overthrowe;
Suffrance hath evere be the beste
To wissen him that secheth reste:
And thus, if thou wolt love and spede,
Mi Sone, soffre, as I the rede.
What mai the Mous ayein the Cat?
And for this cause I axe that,
Who mai to love make a werre,
That he ne hath himself the werre?
Love axeth pes and evere schal,
And who that fihteth most withal
Schal lest conquere of his emprise:
For this thei tellen that ben wise,
Wicke is to stryve and have the werse;
To hasten is noght worth a kerse;
Thing that a man mai noght achieve,
That mai noght wel be don at Eve,
It mot abide til the morwe.
Ne haste noght thin oghne sorwe,
Mi Sone, and tak this in thi witt,
He hath noght lost that wel abitt.
Ensample that it falleth thus,
Thou miht wel take of Piramus,
Whan he in haste his swerd outdrowh
And on the point himselve slowh
For love of Tisbee pitously,
For he hire wympel fond blody
And wende a beste hire hadde slain;
Wher as him oghte have be riht fain,
For sche was there al sauf beside:
Bot for he wolde noght abide,
This meschief fell. Forthi be war,
Mi Sone, as I the warne dar,
Do thou nothing in such a res,
For suffrance is the welle of Pes.
Thogh thou to loves Court poursuie,
Yit sit it wel that thou eschuie
That thou the Court noght overhaste,
For so miht thou thi time waste;
Bot if thin happ therto be schape,
It mai noght helpe forto rape.
Therfore attempre thi corage;
Folhaste doth non avantage,
Bot ofte it set a man behinde
In cause of love, and that I finde
Be olde ensample, as thou schalt hiere,
Touchende of love in this matiere.
A Maiden whilom ther was on,
Which Daphne hihte, and such was non
Of beaute thanne, as it was seid.
Phebus his love hath on hire leid,
And therupon to hire he soghte
In his folhaste, and so besoghte,
That sche with him no reste hadde;
For evere upon hire love he gradde,
And sche seide evere unto him nay.
So it befell upon a dai,
Cupide, which hath every chance
Of love under his governance,
Syh Phebus hasten him so sore:
And for he scholde him haste more,
And yit noght speden ate laste,
A dart thurghout his herte he caste,
Which was of gold and al afyre,
That made him manyfold desire
Of love more thanne he dede.
To Daphne ek in the same stede
A dart of Led he caste and smot,
Which was al cold and nothing hot.
And thus Phebus in love brenneth,
And in his haste aboute renneth,
To loke if that he mihte winne;
Bot he was evere to beginne,
For evere awei fro him sche fledde,
So that he nevere his love spedde.
And forto make him full believe
That no Folhaste mihte achieve
To gete love in such degree,
This Daphne into a lorer tre
Was torned, which is evere grene,
In tokne, as yit it mai be sene,
That sche schal duelle a maiden stille,
And Phebus failen of his wille.
Be suche ensamples, as thei stonde,
Mi Sone, thou miht understonde,
To hasten love is thing in vein,
Whan that fortune is therayein.
To take where a man hath leve
Good is, and elles he mot leve;
For whan a mannes happes failen,
Ther is non haste mai availen.
Mi fader, grant merci of this:
Bot while I se mi ladi is
No tre, but halt hire oghne forme,
Ther mai me noman so enforme,
To whether part fortune wende,
That I unto mi lyves ende
Ne wol hire serven everemo.
Mi Sone, sithen it is so,
I seie nomor; bot in this cas
Bewar how it with Phebus was.
Noght only upon loves chance,
Bot upon every governance
Which falleth unto mannes dede,
Folhaste is evere forto drede,
And that a man good consail take,
Er he his pourpos undertake,
For consail put Folhaste aweie.
Now goode fader, I you preie,
That forto wisse me the more,
Som good ensample upon this lore
Ye wolden telle of that is write,
That I the betre mihte wite
How I Folhaste scholde eschuie,
And the wisdom of conseil suie.
Mi Sone, that thou miht enforme
Thi pacience upon the forme
Of old essamples, as thei felle,
Now understond what I schal telle.
Whan noble Troie was belein
And overcome, and hom ayein
The Gregois torned fro the siege,
The kinges founde here oghne liege
In manye places, as men seide,
That hem forsoke and desobeide.
Among the whiche fell this cas
To Demephon and Athemas,
That weren kinges bothe tuo,
And bothe weren served so:
Here lieges wolde hem noght receive,
So that thei mote algates weyve
To seche lond in other place,
For there founde thei no grace.
Wherof they token hem to rede,
And soghten frendes ate nede,
And ech of hem asseureth other
To helpe as to his oghne brother,
To vengen hem of thilke oultrage
And winne ayein here heritage.
And thus thei ryde aboute faste
To gete hem help, and ate laste
Thei hadden pouer sufficant,
And maden thanne a covenant,
That thei ne scholden no lif save,
Ne prest, ne clerc, ne lord, ne knave,
Ne wif, ne child, of that thei finde,
Which berth visage of mannes kinde,
So that no lif schal be socoured,
Bot with the dedly swerd devoured:
In such Folhaste here ordinance
Thei schapen forto do vengance.
Whan this pourpos was wist and knowe
Among here host, tho was ther blowe
Of wordes many a speche aboute:
Of yonge men the lusti route
Were of this tale glad ynowh,
Ther was no care for the plowh;
As thei that weren Folhastif,
Thei ben acorded to the strif,
And sein it mai noght be to gret
To vengen hem of such forfet:
Thus seith the wilde unwise tonge
Of hem that there weren yonge.
Bot Nestor, which was old and hor,
The salve sih tofore the sor,
As he that was of conseil wys:
So that anon be his avis
Ther was a prive conseil nome.
The lordes ben togedre come;
This Demephon and Athemas
Here pourpos tolden, as it was;
Thei sieten alle stille and herde,
Was non bot Nestor hem ansuerde.
He bad hem, if thei wolde winne,
They scholden se, er thei beginne,
Here ende, and sette here ferste entente,
That thei hem after ne repente:
And axeth hem this questioun,
To what final conclusioun
Thei wolde regne Kinges there,
If that no poeple in londe were;
And seith, it were a wonder wierde
To sen a king become an hierde,
Wher no lif is bot only beste
Under the liegance of his heste;
For who that is of man no king,
The remenant is as no thing.
He seith ek, if the pourpos holde
To sle the poeple, as thei tuo wolde,
Whan thei it mihte noght restore,
Al Grece it scholde abegge sore,
To se the wilde beste wone
Wher whilom duelte a mannes Sone:
And for that cause he bad hem trete,
And stinte of the manaces grete.
Betre is to winne be fair speche,
He seith, than such vengance seche;
For whanne a man is most above,
Him nedeth most to gete him love.
Whan Nestor hath his tale seid,
Ayein him was no word withseid;
It thoghte hem alle he seide wel:
And thus fortune hire dedly whiel
Fro werre torneth into pes.
Bot forth thei wenten natheles;
And whan the Contres herde sein
How that here kinges be besein
Of such a pouer as thei ladde,
Was non so bold that hem ne dradde,
And forto seche pes and grith
Thei sende and preide anon forthwith,
So that the kinges ben appesed,
And every mannes herte is esed;
Al was foryete and noght recorded.
And thus thei ben togedre acorded;
The kinges were ayein received,
And pes was take and wraththe weived,
And al thurgh conseil which was good
Of him that reson understod.
Be this ensample, Sone, attempre
Thin herte and let no will distempre
Thi wit, and do nothing be myht
Which mai be do be love and riht.
Folhaste is cause of mochel wo;
Forthi, mi Sone, do noght so.
And as touchende of Homicide
Which toucheth unto loves side,
Fulofte it falleth unavised
Thurgh will, which is noght wel assised,
Whan wit and reson ben aweie
And that Folhaste is in the weie,
Wherof hath falle gret vengance.
Forthi tak into remembrance
To love in such a maner wise
That thou deserve no juise:
For wel I wot, thou miht noght lette,
That thou ne schalt thin herte sette
To love, wher thou wolt or non;
Bot if thi wit be overgon,
So that it torne into malice,
Ther wot noman of thilke vice,
What peril that ther mai befalle:
Wherof a tale amonges alle,
Which is gret pite forto hiere,
I thenke forto tellen hiere,
That thou such moerdre miht withstonde,
Whan thou the tale hast understonde.
Of Troie at thilke noble toun,
Whos fame stant yit of renoun
And evere schal to mannes Ere,
The Siege laste longe there,
Er that the Greks it mihten winne,
Whil Priamus was king therinne;
Bot of the Greks that lyhe aboute
Agamenon ladde al the route.
This thing is knowen overal,
Bot yit I thenke in special
To my matiere therupon
Telle in what wise Agamenon,
Thurgh chance which mai noght be weived,
Of love untrewe was deceived.
An old sawe is, 'Who that is slyh
In place where he mai be nyh,
He makth the ferre Lieve loth':
Of love and thus fulofte it goth.
Ther while Agamenon batailleth
To winne Troie, and it assailleth,
Fro home and was long time ferr,
Egistus drowh his qweene nerr,
And with the leiser which he hadde
This ladi at his wille he ladde:
Climestre was hire rihte name,
Sche was therof gretli to blame,
To love there it mai noght laste.
Bot fell to meschief ate laste;
For whan this noble worthi kniht
Fro Troie cam, the ferste nyht
That he at home abedde lay,
Egistus, longe er it was day,
As this Climestre him hadde asent,
And weren bothe of on assent,
Be treson slowh him in his bedd.
Bot moerdre, which mai noght ben hedd,
Sprong out to every mannes Ere,
Wherof the lond was full of fere.
Agamenon hath be this qweene
A Sone, and that was after sene;
Bot yit as thanne he was of yowthe,
A babe, which no reson cowthe,
And as godd wolde, it fell him thus.
A worthi kniht Taltabius
This yonge child hath in kepinge,
And whan he herde of this tidinge,
Of this treson, of this misdede,
He gan withinne himself to drede,
In aunter if this false Egiste
Upon him come, er he it wiste,
To take and moerdre of his malice
This child, which he hath to norrice:
And for that cause in alle haste
Out of the lond he gan him haste
And to the king of Crete he strawhte
And him this yonge lord betawhte,
And preide him for his fader sake
That he this child wolde undertake
And kepe him til he be of Age,
So as he was of his lignage;
And tolde him over al the cas,
How that his fadre moerdred was,
And hou Egistus, as men seide,
Was king, to whom the lond obeide.
And whanne Ydomeneux the king
Hath understondinge of this thing,
Which that this kniht him hadde told,
He made sorwe manyfold,
And tok this child into his warde,
And seide he wolde him kepe and warde,
Til that he were of such a myht
To handle a swerd and ben a knyht,
To venge him at his oghne wille.
And thus Horestes duelleth stille,
Such was the childes rihte name,
Which after wroghte mochel schame
In vengance of his fader deth.
The time of yeres overgeth,
That he was man of brede and lengthe,
Of wit, of manhod and of strengthe,
A fair persone amonges alle.
And he began to clepe and calle,
As he which come was to manne,
Unto the King of Crete thanne,
Preiende that he wolde him make
A kniht and pouer with him take,
For lengere wolde he noght beleve,
He seith, bot preith the king of leve
To gon and cleyme his heritage
And vengen him of thilke oultrage
Which was unto his fader do.
The king assenteth wel therto,
With gret honour and knyht him makth,
And gret pouer to him betakth,
And gan his journe forto caste:
So that Horestes ate laste
His leve tok and forth he goth.
As he that was in herte wroth,
His ferste pleinte to bemene,
Unto the Cite of Athene
He goth him forth and was received,
So there was he noght deceived.
The Duc and tho that weren wise
Thei profren hem to his servise;
And he hem thonketh of here profre
And seith himself he wol gon offre
Unto the goddes for his sped,
As alle men him yeven red.
So goth he to the temple forth:
Of yiftes that be mochel worth
His sacrifice and his offringe
He made; and after his axinge
He was ansuerd, if that he wolde
His stat recovere, thanne he scholde
Upon his Moder do vengance
So cruel, that the remembrance
Therof mihte everemore abide,
As sche that was an homicide
And of hire oghne lord Moerdrice.
Horestes, which of thilke office
Was nothing glad, as thanne he preide
Unto the goddes there and seide
That thei the juggement devise,
How sche schal take the juise.
And therupon he hadde ansuere,
That he hire Pappes scholde of tere
Out of hire brest his oghne hondes,
And for ensample of alle londes
With hors sche scholde be todrawe,
Til houndes hadde hire bones gnawe
Withouten eny sepulture:
This was a wofull aventure.
And whan Horestes hath al herd,
How that the goddes have ansuerd,
Forth with the strengthe which he ladde
The Duc and his pouer he hadde,
And to a Cite forth thei gon,
The which was cleped Cropheon,
Where as Phoieus was lord and Sire,
Which profreth him withouten hyre
His help and al that he mai do,
As he that was riht glad therto,
To grieve his mortiel enemy:
And tolde hem certein cause why,
How that Egiste in Mariage
His dowhter whilom of full Age
Forlai, and afterward forsok,
Whan he Horestes Moder tok.
Men sein, 'Old Senne newe schame':
Thus more and more aros the blame
Ayein Egiste on every side.
Horestes with his host to ride
Began, and Phoieus with hem wente;
I trowe Egiste him schal repente.
Thei riden forth unto Micene,
Wher lay Climestre thilke qweene,
The which Horestes moder is:
And whan sche herde telle of this,
The gates weren faste schet,
And thei were of here entre let.
Anon this Cite was withoute
Belein and sieged al aboute,
And evere among thei it assaile,
Fro day to nyht and so travaile,
Til ate laste thei it wonne;
Tho was ther sorwe ynowh begonne.
Horestes dede his moder calle
Anon tofore the lordes alle
And ek tofor the poeple also,
To hire and tolde his tale tho,
And seide, 'O cruel beste unkinde,
How mihtest thou thin herte finde,
For eny lust of loves drawhte,
That thou acordest to the slawhte
Of him which was thin oghne lord?
Thi treson stant of such record,
Thou miht thi werkes noght forsake;
So mot I for mi fader sake
Vengance upon thi bodi do,
As I comanded am therto.
Unkindely for thou hast wroght,
Unkindeliche it schal be boght,
The Sone schal the Moder sle,
For that whilom thou seidest yee
To that thou scholdest nay have seid.'
And he with that his hond hath leid
Upon his Moder brest anon,
And rente out fro the bare bon
Hire Pappes bothe and caste aweie
Amiddes in the carte weie,
And after tok the dede cors
And let it drawe awey with hors
Unto the hound and to the raven;
Sche was non other wise graven.
Egistus, which was elles where,
Tidinges comen to his Ere
How that Micenes was belein,
Bot what was more herd he noght sein;
With gret manace and mochel bost
He drowh pouer and made an host
And cam in rescousse of the toun.
Bot al the sleyhte of his tresoun
Horestes wiste it be aspie,
And of his men a gret partie
He made in buisshement abide,
To waite on him in such a tide
That he ne mihte here hond ascape:
And in this wise as he hath schape
The thing befell, so that Egiste
Was take, er he himself it wiste,
And was forth broght hise hondes bounde,
As whan men han a tretour founde.
And tho that weren with him take,
Whiche of tresoun were overtake,
Togedre in o sentence falle;
Bot false Egiste above hem alle
Was demed to diverse peine,
The worste that men cowthe ordeigne,
And so forth after be the lawe
He was unto the gibet drawe,
Where he above alle othre hongeth,
As to a tretour it belongeth.
Tho fame with hire swifte wynges
Aboute flyh and bar tidinges,
And made it cowth in alle londes
How that Horestes with hise hondes
Climestre his oghne Moder slowh.
Some sein he dede wel ynowh,
And som men sein he dede amis,
Diverse opinion ther is:
That sche is ded thei speken alle,
Bot pleinli hou it is befalle,
The matiere in so litel throwe
In soth ther mihte noman knowe
Bot thei that weren ate dede:
And comunliche in every nede
The worste speche is rathest herd
And lieved, til it be ansuerd.
The kinges and the lordes grete
Begonne Horestes forto threte
To puten him out of his regne:
'He is noght worthi forto regne,
The child which slowh his moder so,'
Thei saide; and therupon also
The lordes of comun assent
A time sette of parlement,
And to Athenes king and lord
Togedre come of on accord,
To knowe hou that the sothe was:
So that Horestes in this cas
Thei senden after, and he com.
King Menelay the wordes nom
And axeth him of this matiere:
And he, that alle it mihten hiere,
Ansuerde and tolde his tale alarge,
And hou the goddes in his charge
Comanded him in such a wise
His oghne hond to do juise.
And with this tale a Duc aros,
Which was a worthi kniht of los,
His name was Menestes,
And seide unto the lordes thus:
'The wreeche which Horeste dede,
It was thing of the goddes bede,
And nothing of his crualte;
And if ther were of mi degree
In al this place such a kniht
That wolde sein it was no riht,
I wole it with my bodi prove.'
And therupon he caste his glove,
And ek this noble Duc alleide
Ful many an other skile, and seide
Sche hadde wel deserved wreche,
Ferst for the cause of Spousebreche,
And after wroghte in such a wise
That al the world it oghte agrise,
Whan that sche for so foul a vice
Was of hire oghne lord moerdrice.
Thei seten alle stille and herde,
Bot therto was noman ansuerde,
It thoghte hem alle he seide skile,
Ther is noman withseie it wile;
Whan thei upon the reson musen,
Horestes alle thei excusen:
So that with gret solempnete
He was unto his dignete
Received, and coroned king.
And tho befell a wonder thing:
Egiona, whan sche this wiste,
Which was the dowhter of Egiste
And Soster on the moder side
To this Horeste, at thilke tide,
Whan sche herde how hir brother spedde,
For pure sorwe, which hire ledde,
That he ne hadde ben exiled,
Sche hath hire oghne lif beguiled
Anon and hyng hireselve tho.
It hath and schal ben everemo,
To moerdre who that wole assente,
He mai noght faille to repente:
This false Egiona was on,
Which forto moerdre Agamenon
Yaf hire acord and hire assent,
So that be goddes juggement,
Thogh that non other man it wolde,
Sche tok hire juise as sche scholde;
And as sche to an other wroghte,
Vengance upon hireself sche soghte,
And hath of hire unhappi wit
A moerdre with a moerdre quit.
Such is of moerdre the vengance.
Forthi, mi Sone, in remembrance
Of this ensample tak good hiede:
For who that thenkth his love spiede
With moerdre, he schal with worldes schame
Himself and ek his love schame.
Mi fader, of this aventure
Which ye have told, I you assure
Min herte is sory forto hiere,
Bot only for I wolde lere
What is to done, and what to leve.
And over this now be your leve,
That ye me wolden telle I preie,
If ther be lieffull eny weie
Withoute Senne a man to sle.
Mi Sone, in sondri wise ye.
What man that is of traiterie,
Of moerdre or elles robberie
Atteint, the jugge schal noght lette,
Bot he schal slen of pure dette,
And doth gret Senne, if that he wonde.
For who that lawe hath upon honde,
And spareth forto do justice
For merci, doth noght his office,
That he his mercy so bewareth,
Whan for o schrewe which he spareth
A thousand goode men he grieveth:
With such merci who that believeth
To plese god, he is deceived,
Or elles resoun mot be weyved.
The lawe stod er we were bore,
How that a kinges swerd is bore
In signe that he schal defende
His trewe poeple and make an ende
Of suche as wolden hem devoure.
Lo thus, my Sone, to socoure
The lawe and comun riht to winne,
A man mai sle withoute Sinne,
And do therof a gret almesse,
So forto kepe rihtwisnesse.
And over this for his contre
In time of werre a man is fre
Himself, his hous and ek his lond
Defende with his oghne hond,
And slen, if that he mai no bet,
After the lawe which is set.
Now, fader, thanne I you beseche
Of hem that dedly werres seche
In worldes cause and scheden blod,
If such an homicide is good.
Mi Sone, upon thi question
The trowthe of myn opinion,
Als ferforth as my wit arecheth
And as the pleine lawe techeth,
I woll thee telle in evidence,
To rewle with thi conscience.
The hihe god of his justice
That ilke foule horrible vice
Of homicide he hath forbede,
Be Moises as it was bede.
Whan goddes Sone also was bore,
He sende hise anglis doun therfore,
Whom the Schepherdes herden singe,
Pes to the men of welwillinge
In erthe be among ous here.
So forto speke in this matiere
After the lawe of charite,
Ther schal no dedly werre be:
And ek nature it hath defended
And in hir lawe pes comended,
Which is the chief of mannes welthe,
Of mannes lif, of mannes helthe.
Bot dedly werre hath his covine
Of pestilence and of famine,
Of poverte and of alle wo,
Wherof this world we blamen so,
Which now the werre hath under fote,
Til god himself therof do bote.
For alle thing which god hath wroght
In Erthe, werre it bringth to noght:
The cherche is brent, the priest is slain,
The wif, the maide is ek forlain,
The lawe is lore and god unserved:
I not what mede he hath deserved
That suche werres ledeth inne.
If that he do it forto winne,
Ferst to acompte his grete cost
Forth with the folk that he hath lost,
As to the wordes rekeninge
Ther schal he finde no winnynge;
And if he do it to pourchace
The hevene mede, of such a grace
I can noght speke, and natheles
Crist hath comanded love and pes,
And who that worcheth the revers,
I trowe his mede is ful divers.
And sithen thanne that we finde
That werres in here oghne kinde
Ben toward god of no decerte,
And ek thei bringen in poverte
Of worldes good, it is merveile
Among the men what it mai eyle,
That thei a pes ne conne sette.
I trowe Senne be the lette,
And every mede of Senne is deth;
So wot I nevere hou that it geth:
Bot we that ben of o believe
Among ousself, this wolde I lieve,
That betre it were pes to chese,
Than so be double weie lese.
I not if that it now so stonde,
Bot this a man mai understonde,
Who that these olde bokes redeth,
That coveitise is on which ledeth,
And broghte ferst the werres inne.
At Grece if that I schal beginne,
Ther was it proved hou it stod:
To Perce, which was ful of good,
Thei maden werre in special,
And so thei deden overal,
Wher gret richesse was in londe,
So that thei leften nothing stonde
Unwerred, bot onliche Archade.
For there thei no werres made,
Be cause it was bareigne and povere,
Wherof thei mihten noght recovere;
And thus poverte was forbore,
He that noght hadde noght hath lore.
Bot yit it is a wonder thing,
Whan that a riche worthi king,
Or other lord, what so he be,
Wol axe and cleyme proprete
In thing to which he hath no riht,
Bot onliche of his grete miht:
For this mai every man wel wite,
That bothe kinde and lawe write
Expressly stonden therayein.
Bot he mot nedes somwhat sein,
Althogh ther be no reson inne,
Which secheth cause forto winne:
For wit that is with will oppressed,
Whan coveitise him hath adressed,
And alle resoun put aweie,
He can wel finde such a weie
To werre, where as evere him liketh,
Wherof that he the world entriketh,
That many a man of him compleigneth:
Bot yit alwei som cause he feigneth,
And of his wrongful herte he demeth
That al is wel, what evere him semeth,
Be so that he mai winne ynowh.
For as the trew man to the plowh
Only to the gaignage entendeth,
Riht so the werreiour despendeth
His time and hath no conscience.
And in this point for evidence
Of hem that suche werres make,
Thou miht a gret ensample take,
How thei her tirannie excusen
Of that thei wrongfull werres usen,
And how thei stonde of on acord,
The Souldeour forth with the lord,
The povere man forth with the riche,
As of corage thei ben liche,
To make werres and to pile
For lucre and for non other skyle:
Wherof a propre tale I rede,
As it whilom befell in dede.
Of him whom al this Erthe dradde,
Whan he the world so overladde
Thurgh werre, as it fortuned is,
King Alisandre, I rede this;
How in a Marche, where he lay,
It fell per chance upon a day
A Rovere of the See was nome,
Which many a man hadde overcome
And slain and take here good aweie:
This Pilour, as the bokes seie,
A famous man in sondri stede
Was of the werkes whiche he dede.
This Prisoner tofor the king
Was broght, and there upon this thing
In audience he was accused:
And he his dede hath noght excused,
Bot preith the king to don him riht,
And seith, 'Sire, if I were of miht,
I have an herte lich to thin;
For if the pouer were myn,
Mi will is most in special
To rifle and geten overal
The large worldes good aboute.
Bot for I lede a povere route
And am, as who seith, at meschief,
The name of Pilour and of thief
I bere; and thou, which routes grete
Miht lede and take thi beyete,
And dost riht as I wolde do,
Thi name is nothing cleped so,
Bot thou art named Emperour.
Oure dedes ben of o colour
And in effect of o decerte,
Bot thi richesse and my poverte
Tho ben noght taken evene liche.
And natheles he that is riche
This dai, tomorwe he mai be povere;
And in contraire also recovere
A povere man to gret richesse
Men sen: forthi let rihtwisnesse
Be peised evene in the balance.
The king his hardi contienance
Behield, and herde hise wordes wise,
And seide unto him in this wise:
'Thin ansuere I have understonde,
Wherof my will is, that thou stonde
In mi service and stille abide.'
And forth withal the same tide
He hath him terme of lif withholde,
The mor and for he schal ben holde,
He made him kniht and yaf him lond,
Which afterward was of his hond
And orped kniht in many a stede,
And gret prouesce of armes dede,
As the Croniqes it recorden.
And in this wise thei acorden,
The whiche of o condicioun
Be set upon destruccioun:
Such Capitein such retenue.
Bot forto se to what issue
The thing befalleth ate laste,
It is gret wonder that men caste
Here herte upon such wrong to winne,
Wher no beyete mai ben inne,
And doth desese on every side:
Bot whan reson is put aside
And will governeth the corage,
The faucon which that fleth ramage
And soeffreth nothing in the weie,
Wherof that he mai take his preie,
Is noght mor set upon ravine,
Than thilke man which his covine
Hath set in such a maner wise:
For al the world ne mai suffise
To will which is noght resonable.
Wherof ensample concordable
Lich to this point of which I meene,
Was upon Alisandre sene,
Which hadde set al his entente,
So as fortune with him wente,
That reson mihte him non governe,
Bot of his will he was so sterne,
That al the world he overran
And what him list he tok and wan.
In Ynde the superiour
Whan that he was ful conquerour,
And hadde his wilful pourpos wonne
Of al this Erthe under the Sonne,
This king homward to Macedoine,
Whan that he cam to Babiloine,
And wende most in his Empire,
As he which was hol lord and Sire,
In honour forto be received,
Most sodeinliche he was deceived,
And with strong puison envenimed.
And as he hath the world mistimed
Noght as he scholde with his wit,
Noght as he wolde it was aquit.
Thus was he slain that whilom slowh,
And he which riche was ynowh
This dai, tomorwe he hadde noght:
And in such wise as he hath wroght
In destorbance of worldes pes,
His werre he fond thanne endeles,
In which for evere desconfit
He was. Lo now, for what profit
Of werre it helpeth forto ryde,
For coveitise and worldes pride
To sle the worldes men aboute,
As bestes whiche gon theroute.
For every lif which reson can
Oghth wel to knowe that a man
Ne scholde thurgh no tirannie
Lich to these othre bestes die,
Til kinde wolde for him sende.
I not hou he it mihte amende,
Which takth awei for everemore
The lif that he mai noght restore.
Forthi, mi Sone, in alle weie
Be wel avised, I thee preie,
Of slawhte er that thou be coupable
Withoute cause resonable.
Mi fader, understonde it is,
That ye have seid; bot over this
I prei you tell me nay or yee,
To passe over the grete See
To werre and sle the Sarazin,
Is that the lawe? Sone myn,
To preche and soffre for the feith,
That have I herd the gospell seith;
Bot forto slee, that hiere I noght.
Crist with his oghne deth hath boght
Alle othre men, and made hem fre,
In tokne of parfit charite;
And after that he tawhte himselve,
Whan he was ded, these othre tuelve
Of hise Apostles wente aboute
The holi feith to prechen oute,
Wherof the deth in sondri place
Thei soffre, and so god of his grace
The feith of Crist hath mad aryse:
Bot if thei wolde in other wise
Be werre have broght in the creance,
It hadde yit stonde in balance.
And that mai proven in the dede;
For what man the Croniqes rede,
Fro ferst that holi cherche hath weyved
To preche, and hath the swerd received,
Wherof the werres ben begonne,
A gret partie of that was wonne
To Cristes feith stant now miswent:
Godd do therof amendement,
So as he wot what is the beste.
Bot, Sone, if thou wolt live in reste
Of conscience wel assised,
Er that thou sle, be wel avised:
For man, as tellen ous the clerkes,
Hath god above alle ertheli werkes
Ordeined to be principal,
And ek of Soule in special
He is mad lich to the godhiede.
So sit it wel to taken hiede
And forto loke on every side,
Er that thou falle in homicide,
Which Senne is now so general,
That it welnyh stant overal,
In holi cherche and elles where.
Bot al the while it stant so there,
The world mot nede fare amis:
For whan the welle of pite is
Thurgh coveitise of worldes good
Defouled with schedinge of blod,
The remenant of folk aboute
Unethe stonden eny doute
To werre ech other and to slee.
So is it all noght worth a Stree,
The charite wherof we prechen,
For we do nothing as we techen:
And thus the blinde conscience
Of pes hath lost thilke evidence
Which Crist upon this Erthe tawhte.
Now mai men se moerdre and manslawhte
Lich as it was be daies olde,
Whan men the Sennes boghte and solde.
In Grece afore Cristes feith,
I rede, as the Cronique seith,
Touchende of this matiere thus,
In thilke time hou Peles
His oghne brother Phocus slowh;
Bot for he hadde gold ynowh
To yive, his Senne was despensed
With gold, wherof it was compensed:
Achastus, which with Venus was
Hire Priest, assoilede in that cas,
Al were ther no repentance.
And as the bok makth remembrance,
It telleth of Medee also;
Of that sche slowh her Sones tuo,
Eges in the same plit
Hath mad hire of hire Senne quit.
The Sone ek of Amphioras,
Whos rihte name Almes was,
His Moder slowh, Eriphile;
Bot Achilo the Priest and he,
So as the bokes it recorden,
For certein Somme of gold acorden
That thilke horrible sinfull dede
Assoiled was. And thus for mede
Of worldes good it falleth ofte
That homicide is set alofte
Hiere in this lif; bot after this
Ther schal be knowe how that it is
Of hem that suche thinges werche,
And hou also that holi cherche
Let suche Sennes passe quyte,
And how thei wole hemself aquite
Of dedly werres that thei make.
For who that wolde ensample take,
The lawe which is naturel
Be weie of kinde scheweth wel
That homicide in no degree,
Which werreth ayein charite,
Among the men ne scholde duelle.
For after that the bokes telle,
To seche in al this worldesriche,
Men schal noght finde upon his liche
A beste forto take his preie:
And sithen kinde hath such a weie,
Thanne is it wonder of a man,
Which kynde hath and resoun can,
That he wol owther more or lasse
His kinde and resoun overpasse,
And sle that is to him semblable.
So is the man noght resonable
Ne kinde, and that is noght honeste,
Whan he is worse than a beste.
Among the bokes whiche I finde
Solyns spekth of a wonder kinde,
And seith of fowhles ther is on,
Which hath a face of blod and bon
Lich to a man in resemblance.
And if it falle him so per chance,
As he which is a fowhl of preie,
That he a man finde in his weie,
He wol him slen, if that he mai:
Bot afterward the same dai,
Whan he hath eten al his felle,
And that schal be beside a welle,
In which whan he wol drinke take,
Of his visage and seth the make
That he hath slain, anon he thenketh
Of his misdede, and it forthenketh
So gretly, that for pure sorwe
He liveth noght til on the morwe.
Be this ensample it mai well suie
That man schal homicide eschuie,
For evere is merci good to take,
Bot if the lawe it hath forsake
And that justice is therayein.
For ofte time I have herd sein
Amonges hem that werres hadden,
That thei som while here cause ladden
Be merci, whan thei mihte have slain,
Wherof that thei were after fain:
And, Sone, if that thou wolt recorde
The vertu of Misericorde,
Thou sihe nevere thilke place,
Where it was used, lacke grace.
For every lawe and every kinde
The mannes wit to merci binde;
And namely the worthi knihtes,
Whan that thei stonden most uprihtes
And ben most mihti forto grieve,
Thei scholden thanne most relieve
Him whom thei mihten overthrowe,
As be ensample a man mai knowe.
He mai noght failen of his mede
That hath merci: for this I rede,
In a Cronique and finde thus.
Whan Achilles with Telaphus
His Sone toward Troie were,
It fell hem, er thei comen there,
Ayein Theucer the king of Mese
To make werre and forto sese
His lond, as thei that wolden regne
And Theucer pute out of his regne.
And thus the Marches thei assaile,
Bot Theucer yaf to hem bataille;
Thei foghte on bothe sides faste,
Bot so it hapneth ate laste,
This worthi Grek, this Achilles,
The king among alle othre ches:
As he that was cruel and fell,
With swerd in honde on him he fell,
And smot him with a dethes wounde,
That he unhorsed fell to grounde.
Achilles upon him alyhte,
And wolde anon, as he wel mihte,
Have slain him fullich in the place;
Bot Thelaphus his fader grace
For him besoghte, and for pite
Preith that he wolde lete him be,
And caste his Schield betwen hem tuo.
Achilles axeth him why so,
And Thelaphus his cause tolde,
And seith that he is mochel holde,
For whilom Theucer in a stede
Gret grace and socour to him dede,
And seith that he him wolde aquite,
And preith his fader to respite.
Achilles tho withdrowh his hond;
Bot al the pouer of the lond,
Whan that thei sihe here king thus take,
Thei fledde and han the feld forsake:
The Grecs unto the chace falle,
And for the moste part of alle
Of that contre the lordes grete
Thei toke, and wonne a gret beyete.
And anon after this victoire
The king, which hadde good memoire,
Upon the grete merci thoghte,
Which Telaphus toward him wroghte,
And in presence of al the lond
He tok him faire be the hond,
And in this wise he gan to seie:
'Mi Sone, I mot be double weie
Love and desire thin encress;
Ferst for thi fader Achilles
Whilom ful many dai er this,
Whan that I scholde have fare amis,
Rescousse dede in mi querele
And kepte al myn astat in hele:
How so ther falle now distance
Amonges ous, yit remembrance
I have of merci which he dede
As thanne: and thou now in this stede
Of gentilesce and of franchise
Hast do mercy the same wise.
So wol I noght that eny time
Be lost of that thou hast do byme;
For hou so this fortune falle,
Yit stant mi trust aboven alle,
For the mercy which I now finde,
That thou wolt after this be kinde:
And for that such is myn espeir,
As for my Sone and for myn Eir
I thee receive, and al my lond
I yive and sese into thin hond.'
And in this wise thei acorde,
The cause was Misericorde:
The lordes dede here obeissance
To Thelaphus, and pourveance
Was mad so that he was coroned:
And thus was merci reguerdoned,
Which he to Theucer dede afore.
Lo, this ensample is mad therfore,
That thou miht take remembrance,
Mi Sone; and whan thou sest a chaunce,
Of other mennes passioun
Tak pite and compassioun,
And let nothing to thee be lief,
Which to an other man is grief.
And after this if thou desire
To stonde ayein the vice of Ire,
Consaile thee with Pacience,
And tak into thi conscience
Merci to be thi governour.
So schalt thou fiele no rancour,
Wherof thin herte schal debate
With homicide ne with hate
For Cheste or for Malencolie:
Thou schalt be soft in compaignie
Withoute Contek or Folhaste:
For elles miht thou longe waste
Thi time, er that thou have thi wille
Of love; for the weder stille
Men preise, and blame the tempestes.
Mi fader, I wol do youre hestes,
And of this point ye have me tawht,
Toward miself the betre sawht
I thenke be, whil that I live.
Bot for als moche as I am schrive
Of Wraththe and al his circumstance,
Yif what you list to my penance,
And asketh forthere of my lif,
If otherwise I be gultif
Of eny thing that toucheth Sinne.
Mi Sone, er we departe atwinne,
I schal behinde nothing leve.
Mi goode fader, be your leve
Thanne axeth forth what so you list,
For I have in you such a trist,
As ye that be my Soule hele,
That ye fro me wol nothing hele,
For I schal telle you the trowthe.
Mi Sone, art thou coupable of Slowthe
In eny point which to him longeth?
My fader, of tho pointz me longeth
To wite pleinly what thei meene,
So that I mai me schrive cleene.
Now herkne, I schal the pointz devise;
And understond wel myn aprise:
For schrifte stant of no value
To him that wol him noght vertue
To leve of vice the folie:
For word is wynd, bot the maistrie
Is that a man himself defende
Of thing which is noght to comende,
Wherof ben fewe now aday.
And natheles, so as I may
Make unto thi memoire knowe,
The pointz of Slowthe thou schalt knowe.
Incipit Liber Tercius