Incipit Liber Octavus
Que favet ad vicium vetus hec modo regula confert,
Nec novus e contra qui docet ordo placet.
Cecus amor dudum nondum sua lumina cepit,
Quo Venus impositum devia fallit iter.
The myhti god, which unbegunne
Stant of himself and hath begunne
Alle othre thinges at his wille,
The hevene him liste to fulfille
Of alle joie, where as he
Sit inthronized in his See,
And hath hise Angles him to serve,
Suche as him liketh to preserve,
So that thei mowe noght forsueie:
Bot Lucifer he putte aweie,
With al the route apostazied
Of hem that ben to him allied,
Whiche out of hevene into the helle
From Angles into fendes felle;
Wher that ther is no joie of lyht,
Bot more derk than eny nyht
The peine schal ben endeles;
And yit of fyres natheles
Ther is plente, bot thei ben blake,
Wherof no syhte mai be take.
Thus whan the thinges ben befalle,
That Luciferes court was falle
Wher dedly Pride hem hath conveied,
Anon forthwith it was pourveied
Thurgh him which alle thinges may;
He made Adam the sexte day
In Paradis, and to his make
Him liketh Eve also to make,
And bad hem cresce and multiplie.
For of the mannes Progenie,
Which of the womman schal be bore,
The nombre of Angles which was lore,
Whan thei out fro the blisse felle,
He thoghte to restore, and felle
In hevene thilke holy place
Which stod tho voide upon his grace.
Bot as it is wel wiste and knowe,
Adam and Eve bot a throwe,
So as it scholde of hem betyde,
In Paradis at thilke tyde
Ne duelten, and the cause why,
Write in the bok of Genesi,
As who seith, alle men have herd,
Hou Raphael the fyri swerd
In honde tok and drof hem oute,
To gete here lyves fode aboute
Upon this wofull Erthe hiere.
Metodre seith to this matiere,
As he be revelacion
It hadde upon avision,
Hou that Adam and Eve also
Virgines comen bothe tuo
Into the world and were aschamed,
Til that nature hem hath reclamed
To love, and tauht hem thilke lore,
That ferst thei keste, and overmore
Thei don that is to kinde due,
Wherof thei hadden fair issue.
A Sone was the ferste of alle,
And Chain be name thei him calle;
Abel was after the secounde,
And in the geste as it is founde,
Nature so the cause ladde,
Tuo douhtres ek Dame Eve hadde,
The ferste cleped Calmana
Was, and that other Delbora.
Thus was mankinde to beginne;
Forthi that time it was no Sinne
The Soster forto take hire brother,
Whan that ther was of chois non other:
To Chain was Calmana betake,
And Delboram hath Abel take,
In whom was gete natheles
Of worldes folk the ferste encres.
Men sein that nede hath no lawe,
And so it was be thilke dawe
And laste into the Secounde Age,
Til that the grete water rage,
Of Noeh which was seid the flod,
The world, which thanne in Senne stod,
Hath dreint, outake lyves Eyhte.
Tho was mankinde of litel weyhte;
Sem, Cham, Japhet, of these thre,
That ben the Sones of Noe,
The world of mannes nacion
Was tho restored newe ayein
So ferforth, as the bokes sein,
That of hem thre and here issue
Ther was so large a retenue,
Of naciouns seventy and tuo;
In sondri place ech on of tho
The wyde world have enhabited.
Bot as nature hem hath excited,
Thei token thanne litel hiede,
The brother of the Sosterhiede
To wedde wyves, til it cam
Into the time of Habraham.
Whan the thridde Age was begunne,
The nede tho was overrunne,
For ther was poeple ynouh in londe:
Thanne ate ferste it cam to honde,
That Sosterhode of mariage
Was torned into cousinage,
So that after the rihte lyne
The Cousin weddeth the cousine.
For Habraham, er that he deide,
This charge upon his servant leide,
To him and in this wise spak,
That he his Sone Isaac
Do wedde for no worldes good,
Bot only to his oghne blod:
Wherof this Servant, as he bad,
Whan he was ded, his Sone hath lad
To Bathuel, wher he Rebecke
Hath wedded with the whyte necke;
For sche, he wiste wel and syh,
Was to the child cousine nyh.
And thus as Habraham hath tawht,
Whan Isaac was god betawht,
His Sone Jacob dede also,
And of Laban the dowhtres tuo,
Which was his Em, he tok to wyve,
And gat upon hem in his lyve,
Of hire ferst which hihte Lie,
Sex Sones of his Progenie,
And of Rachel tuo Sones eke:
The remenant was forto seke,
That is to sein of foure mo,
Wherof he gat on Bala tuo,
And of Zelpha he hadde ek tweie.
And these tuelve, as I thee seie,
Thurgh providence of god himselve
Ben seid the Patriarkes tuelve;
Of whom, as afterward befell,
The tribes tuelve of Irahel
Engendred were, and ben the same
That of Hebreus tho hadden name,
Which of Sibrede in alliance
For evere kepten thilke usance
Most comunly, til Crist was bore.
Bot afterward it was forbore
Amonges ous that ben baptized;
For of the lawe canonized
The Pope hath bede to the men,
That non schal wedden of his ken
Ne the seconde ne the thridde.
Bot thogh that holy cherche it bidde,
So to restreigne Mariage,
Ther ben yit upon loves Rage
Full manye of suche nou aday
That taken wher thei take may.
For love, which is unbesein
Of alle reson, as men sein,
Thurgh sotie and thurgh nycete,
Of his voluptuosite
He spareth no condicion
Of ken ne yit religion,
Bot as a cock among the Hennes,
Or as a Stalon in the Fennes,
Which goth amonges al the Stod,
Riht so can he nomore good,
Bot takth what thing comth next to honde.
Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde,
That such delit is forto blame.
Forthi if thou hast be the same
To love in eny such manere,
Tell forth therof and schrif thee hiere.
Mi fader, nay, god wot the sothe,
Mi feire is noght of such a bothe,
So wylde a man yit was I nevere,
That of mi ken or lief or levere
Me liste love in such a wise:
And ek I not for what emprise
I scholde assote upon a Nonne,
For thogh I hadde hir love wonne,
It myhte into no pris amonte,
So therof sette I non acompte.
Ye mai wel axe of this and that,
Bot sothli forto telle plat,
In al this world ther is bot on
The which myn herte hath overgon;
I am toward alle othre fre.
Full wel, mi Sone, nou I see
Thi word stant evere upon o place,
Bot yit therof thou hast a grace,
That thou thee myht so wel excuse
Of love such as som men use,
So as I spak of now tofore.
For al such time of love is lore,
And lich unto the bitterswete;
For thogh it thenke a man ferst swete,
He schal wel fielen ate laste
That it is sour and may noght laste.
For as a morsell envenimed,
So hath such love his lust mistimed,
And grete ensamples manyon
A man mai finde therupon.
At Rome ferst if we beginne,
Ther schal I finde hou of this sinne
An Emperour was forto blame,
Gayus Caligula be name,
Which of his oghne Sostres thre
Berefte the virginite:
And whanne he hadde hem so forlein,
As he the which was al vilein,
He dede hem out of londe exile.
Bot afterward withinne a while
God hath beraft him in his ire
His lif and ek his large empire:
And thus for likinge of a throwe
For evere his lust was overthrowe.
Of this sotie also I finde,
Amon his Soster ayein kinde,
Which hihte Thamar, he forlay;
Bot he that lust an other day
Aboghte, whan that Absolon
His oghne brother therupon,
Of that he hadde his Soster schent,
Tok of that Senne vengement
And slowh him with his oghne hond:
And thus thunkinde unkinde fond.
And forto se more of this thing,
The bible makth a knowleching,
Wherof thou miht take evidence
Upon the sothe experience.
Whan Lothes wif was overgon
And schape into the salte Ston,
As it is spoke into this day,
Be bothe hise dowhtres thanne he lay,
With childe and made hem bothe grete,
Til that nature hem wolde lete,
And so the cause aboute ladde
That ech of hem a Sone hadde,
Moab the ferste, and the seconde
Amon, of whiche, as it is founde,
Cam afterward to gret encres
Tuo nacions: and natheles,
For that the stockes were ungoode,
The branches mihten noght be goode;
For of the false Moabites
Forth with the strengthe of Amonites,
Of that thei weren ferst misgete,
The poeple of god was ofte upsete
In Irahel and in Judee,
As in the bible a man mai se.
Lo thus, my Sone, as I thee seie,
Thou miht thiselve be beseie
Of that thou hast of othre herd:
For evere yit it hath so ferd,
Of loves lust if so befalle
That it in other place falle
Than it is of the lawe set,
He which his love hath so beset
Mote afterward repente him sore.
And every man is othres lore;
Of that befell in time er this
The present time which now is
May ben enformed hou it stod,
And take that him thenketh good,
And leve that which is noght so.
Bot forto loke of time go,
Hou lust of love excedeth lawe,
It oghte forto be withdrawe;
For every man it scholde drede,
And nameliche in his Sibrede,
Which torneth ofte to vengance:
Wherof a tale in remembrance,
Which is a long process to hiere,
I thenke forto tellen hiere.
Of a Cronique in daies gon,
The which is cleped Pantheon,
In loves cause I rede thus,
Hou that the grete Antiochus,
Of whom that Antioche tok
His ferste name, as seith the bok,
Was coupled to a noble queene,
And hadde a dowhter hem betwene:
Bot such fortune cam to honde,
That deth, which no king mai withstonde,
Bot every lif it mote obeie,
This worthi queene tok aweie.
The king, which made mochel mone,
Tho stod, as who seith, al him one
Withoute wif, bot natheles
His doghter, which was piereles
Of beaute, duelte aboute him stille.
Bot whanne a man hath welthe at wille,
The fleissh is frele and falleth ofte,
And that this maide tendre and softe,
Which in hire fadres chambres duelte,
Withinne a time wiste and felte:
For likinge and concupiscence
Withoute insihte of conscience
The fader so with lustes blente,
That he caste al his hole entente
His oghne doghter forto spille.
This king hath leisir at his wille
With strengthe, and whanne he time sih,
This yonge maiden he forlih:
And sche was tendre and full of drede,
Sche couthe noght hir Maidenhede
Defende, and thus sche hath forlore
The flour which she hath longe bore.
It helpeth noght althogh sche wepe,
For thei that scholde hir bodi kepe
Of wommen were absent as thanne;
And thus this maiden goth to manne,
The wylde fader thus devoureth
His oghne fleissh, which non socoureth,
And that was cause of mochel care.
Bot after this unkinde fare
Out of the chambre goth the king,
And sche lay stille, and of this thing,
Withinne hirself such sorghe made,
Ther was no wiht that mihte hir glade,
For feere of thilke horrible vice.
With that cam inne the Norrice
Which fro childhode hire hadde kept,
And axeth if sche hadde slept,
And why hire chiere was unglad.
Bot sche, which hath ben overlad
Of that sche myhte noght be wreke,
For schame couthe unethes speke;
And natheles mercy sche preide
With wepende yhe and thus sche seide:
'Helas, mi Soster, waileway,
That evere I sih this ilke day!
Thing which mi bodi ferst begat
Into this world, onliche that
Mi worldes worschipe hath bereft.'
With that sche swouneth now and eft,
And evere wissheth after deth,
So that welnyh hire lacketh breth.
That other, which hire wordes herde,
In confortinge of hire ansuerde,
To lette hire fadres fol desir
Sche wiste no recoverir:
Whan thing is do, ther is no bote,
So suffren thei that suffre mote;
Ther was non other which it wiste.
Thus hath this king al that him liste
Of his likinge and his plesance,
And laste in such continuance,
And such delit he tok therinne,
Him thoghte that it was no Sinne;
And sche dorste him nothing withseie.
Bot fame, which goth every weie,
To sondry regnes al aboute
The grete beaute telleth oute
Of such a maide of hih parage:
So that for love of mariage
The worthi Princes come and sende,
As thei the whiche al honour wende,
And knewe nothing hou it stod.
The fader, whanne he understod,
That thei his dowhter thus besoghte,
With al his wit he caste and thoghte
Hou that he myhte finde a lette;
And such a Statut thanne he sette,
And in this wise his lawe he taxeth,
That what man that his doghter axeth,
Bot if he couthe his question
Assoile upon suggestion
Of certein thinges that befelle,
The whiche he wolde unto him telle,
He scholde in certein lese his hed.
And thus ther weren manye ded,
Here hevedes stondende on the gate,
Till ate laste longe and late,
For lacke of ansuere in the wise,
The remenant that weren wise
Eschuieden to make assay.
Til it befell upon a day
Appolinus the Prince of Tyr,
Which hath to love a gret desir,
As he which in his hihe mod
Was likende of his hote blod,
A yong, a freissh, a lusti knyht,
As he lai musende on a nyht
Of the tidinges whiche he herde,
He thoghte assaie hou that it ferde.
He was with worthi compainie
Arraied, and with good navie
To schipe he goth, the wynd him dryveth,
And seileth, til that he arryveth:
Sauf in the port of Antioche
He londeth, and goth to aproche
The kinges Court and his presence.
Of every naturel science,
Which eny clerk him couthe teche,
He couthe ynowh, and in his speche
Of wordes he was eloquent;
And whanne he sih the king present,
He preith he moste his dowhter have.
The king ayein began to crave,
And tolde him the condicion,
Hou ferst unto his question
He mote ansuere and faile noght,
Or with his heved it schal be boght:
And he him axeth what it was.
The king declareth him the cas
With sturne lok and sturdi chiere,
To him and seide in this manere:
'With felonie I am upbore,
I ete and have it noght forbore
Mi modres fleissh, whos housebonde
Mi fader forto seche I fonde,
Which is the Sone ek of my wif.
Hierof I am inquisitif;
And who that can mi tale save,
Al quyt he schal my doghter have;
Of his ansuere and if he faile,
He schal be ded withoute faile.
Forthi my Sone,' quod the king,
'Be wel avised of this thing,
Which hath thi lif in jeupartie.'
Appolinus for his partie,
Whan he this question hath herd,
Unto the king he hath ansuerd
And hath rehersed on and on
The pointz, and seide therupon:
'The question which thou hast spoke,
If thou wolt that it be unloke,
It toucheth al the privete
Betwen thin oghne child and thee,
And stant al hol upon you tuo.'
The king was wonder sory tho,
And thoghte, if that he seide it oute,
Than were he schamed al aboute.
With slihe wordes and with felle
He seith, 'Mi Sone, I schal thee telle,
Though that thou be of litel wit,
It is no gret merveile as yit,
Thin age mai it noght suffise:
Bot loke wel thou noght despise
Thin oghne lif, for of my grace
Of thretty daies fulle a space
I grante thee, to ben avised.'
And thus with leve and time assised
This yonge Prince forth he wente,
And understod wel what it mente,
Withinne his herte as he was lered,
That forto maken him afered
The king his time hath so deslaied.
Wherof he dradde and was esmaied,
Of treson that he deie scholde,
For he the king his sothe tolde;
And sodeinly the nyhtes tyde,
That more wolde he noght abide,
Al prively his barge he hente
And hom ayein to Tyr he wente:
And in his oghne wit he seide
For drede, if he the king bewreide,
He knew so wel the kinges herte,
That deth ne scholde he noght asterte,
The king him wolde so poursuie.
Bot he, that wolde his deth eschuie,
And knew al this tofor the hond,
Forsake he thoghte his oghne lond,
That there wolde he noght abyde;
For wel he knew that on som syde
This tirant of his felonie
Be som manere of tricherie
To grieve his bodi wol noght leve.
Forthi withoute take leve,
Als priveliche as evere he myhte,
He goth him to the See be nyhte
In Schipes that be whete laden:
Here takel redy tho thei maden
And hale up Seil and forth thei fare.
Bot forto tellen of the care
That thei of Tyr begonne tho,
Whan that thei wiste he was ago,
It is a Pite forto hiere.
They losten lust, they losten chiere,
Thei toke upon hem such penaunce,
Ther was no song, ther was no daunce,
Bot every merthe and melodie
To hem was thanne a maladie;
For unlust of that aventure
Ther was noman which tok tonsure,
In doelful clothes thei hem clothe,
The bathes and the Stwes bothe
Thei schetten in be every weie;
There was no lif which leste pleie
Ne take of eny joie kepe,
Bot for here liege lord to wepe;
And every wyht seide as he couthe,
'Helas, the lusti flour of youthe,
Our Prince, oure heved, our governour,
Thurgh whom we stoden in honour,
Withoute the comun assent
Thus sodeinliche is fro ous went!'
Such was the clamour of hem alle.
Bot se we now what is befalle
Upon the ferste tale plein,
And torne we therto ayein.
Antiochus the grete Sire,
Which full of rancour and of ire
His herte berth, so as ye herde,
Of that this Prince of Tyr ansuerde,
He hadde a feloun bacheler,
Which was his prive consailer,
And Taliart be name he hihte:
The king a strong puison him dihte
Withinne a buiste and gold therto,
In alle haste and bad him go
Strawht unto Tyr, and for no cost
Ne spare he, til he hadde lost
The Prince which he wolde spille.
And whan the king hath seid his wille,
This Taliart in a Galeie
With alle haste he tok his weie:
The wynd was good, he saileth blyve,
Til he tok lond upon the ryve
Of Tyr, and forth with al anon
Into the Burgh he gan to gon,
And tok his In and bod a throwe.
Bot for he wolde noght be knowe,
Desguised thanne he goth him oute;
He sih the wepinge al aboute,
And axeth what the cause was,
And thei him tolden al the cas,
How sodeinli the Prince is go.
And whan he sih that it was so,
And that his labour was in vein,
Anon he torneth hom ayein,
And to the king, whan he cam nyh,
He tolde of that he herde and syh,
Hou that the Prince of Tyr is fled,
So was he come ayein unsped.
The king was sori for a while,
Bot whan he sih that with no wyle
He myhte achieve his crualte,
He stinte his wraththe and let him be.
Bot over this now forto telle
Of aventures that befelle
Unto this Prince of whom I tolde,
He hath his rihte cours forth holde
Be Ston and nedle, til he cam
To Tharse, and there his lond he nam.
A Burgeis riche of gold and fee
Was thilke time in that cite,
Which cleped was Strangulio,
His wif was Dionise also:
This yonge Prince, as seith the bok,
With hem his herbergage tok;
And it befell that Cite so
Before time and thanne also,
Thurgh strong famyne which hem ladde
Was non that eny whete hadde.
Appolinus, whan that he herde
The meschief, hou the cite ferde,
Al freliche of his oghne yifte
His whete, among hem forto schifte,
The which be Schipe he hadde broght,
He yaf, and tok of hem riht noght.
Bot sithen ferst this world began,
Was nevere yit to such a man
Mor joie mad than thei him made:
For thei were alle of him so glade,
That thei for evere in remembrance
Made a figure in resemblance
Of him, and in the comun place
Thei sette him up, so that his face
Mihte every maner man beholde,
So as the cite was beholde;
It was of latoun overgilt:
Thus hath he noght his yifte spilt.
Upon a time with his route
This lord to pleie goth him oute,
And in his weie of Tyr he mette
A man, the which on knees him grette,
And Hellican be name he hihte,
Which preide his lord to have insihte
Upon himself, and seide him thus,
Hou that the grete Antiochus
Awaiteth if he mihte him spille.
That other thoghte and hield him stille,
And thonked him of his warnynge,
And bad him telle no tidinge,
Whan he to Tyr cam hom ayein,
That he in Tharse him hadde sein.
Fortune hath evere be muable
And mai no while stonde stable:
For now it hiheth, now it loweth,
Now stant upriht, now overthroweth,
Now full of blisse and now of bale,
As in the tellinge of mi tale
Hierafterward a man mai liere,
Which is gret routhe forto hiere.
This lord, which wolde don his beste,
Withinne himself hath litel reste,
And thoghte he wolde his place change
And seche a contre more strange.
Of Tharsiens his leve anon
He tok, and is to Schipe gon:
His cours he nam with Seil updrawe,
Where as fortune doth the lawe,
And scheweth, as I schal reherse,
How sche was to this lord diverse,
The which upon the See sche ferketh.
The wynd aros, the weder derketh,
It blew and made such tempeste,
Non ancher mai the schip areste,
Which hath tobroken al his gere;
The Schipmen stode in such a feere,
Was non that myhte himself bestere,
Bot evere awaite upon the lere,
Whan that thei scholde drenche at ones.
Ther was ynowh withinne wones
Of wepinge and of sorghe tho;
This yonge king makth mochel wo
So forto se the Schip travaile:
Bot al that myhte him noght availe;
The mast tobrak, the Seil torof,
The Schip upon the wawes drof,
Til that thei sihe a londes cooste.
Tho made avou the leste and moste,
Be so thei myhten come alonde;
Bot he which hath the See on honde,
Neptunus, wolde noght acorde,
Bot altobroke cable and corde,
Er thei to londe myhte aproche,
The Schip toclef upon a roche,
And al goth doun into the depe.
Bot he that alle thing mai kepe
Unto this lord was merciable,
And broghte him sauf upon a table,
Which to the lond him hath upbore;
The remenant was al forlore,
Wherof he made mochel mone.
Thus was this yonge lord him one,
Al naked in a povere plit:
His colour, which whilom was whyt,
Was thanne of water fade and pale,
And ek he was so sore acale
That he wiste of himself no bote,
It halp him nothing forto mote
To gete ayein that he hath lore.
Bot sche which hath his deth forbore,
Fortune, thogh sche wol noght yelpe,
Al sodeinly hath sent him helpe,
Whanne him thoghte alle grace aweie;
Ther cam a Fisshere in the weie,
And sih a man ther naked stonde,
And whan that he hath understonde
The cause, he hath of him gret routhe,
And onliche of his povere trouthe
Of suche clothes as he hadde
With gret Pite this lord he cladde.
And he him thonketh as he scholde,
And seith him that it schal be yolde,
If evere he gete his stat ayein,
And preide that he wolde him sein
If nyh were eny toun for him.
He seide, 'Yee, Pentapolim,
Wher bothe king and queene duellen.'
Whanne he this tale herde tellen,
He gladeth him and gan beseche
That he the weie him wolde teche:
And he him taghte; and forth he wente
And preide god with good entente
To sende him joie after his sorwe.
It was noght passed yit Midmorwe,
Whan thiderward his weie he nam,
Wher sone upon the Non he cam.
He eet such as he myhte gete,
And forth anon, whan he hadde ete,
He goth to se the toun aboute,
And cam ther as he fond a route
Of yonge lusti men withalle;
And as it scholde tho befalle,
That day was set of such assisse,
That thei scholde in the londes guise,
As he herde of the poeple seie,
Here comun game thanne pleie;
And crid was that thei scholden come
Unto the gamen alle and some
Of hem that ben delivere and wyhte,
To do such maistrie as thei myhte.
Thei made hem naked as thei scholde,
For so that ilke game wolde,
As it was tho custume and us,
Amonges hem was no refus:
The flour of al the toun was there
And of the court also ther were,
And that was in a large place
Riht evene afore the kinges face,
Which Artestrathes thanne hihte.
The pley was pleid riht in his sihte,
And who most worthi was of dede
Receive he scholde a certein mede
And in the cite bere a pris.
Appolinus, which war and wys
Of every game couthe an ende,
He thoghte assaie, hou so it wende,
And fell among hem into game:
And there he wan him such a name,
So as the king himself acompteth
That he alle othre men surmonteth,
And bar the pris above hem alle.
The king bad that into his halle
At Souper time he schal be broght;
And he cam thanne and lefte it noght,
Withoute compaignie al one:
Was non so semlich of persone,
Of visage and of limes bothe,
If that he hadde what to clothe.
At Soupertime natheles
The king amiddes al the pres
Let clepe him up among hem alle,
And bad his Mareschall of halle
To setten him in such degre
That he upon him myhte se.
The king was sone set and served,
And he, which hath his pris deserved
After the kinges oghne word,
Was mad beginne a Middel bord,
That bothe king and queene him sihe.
He sat and caste aboute his yhe
And sih the lordes in astat,
And with himself wax in debat
Thenkende what he hadde lore,
And such a sorwe he tok therfore,
That he sat evere stille and thoghte,
As he which of no mete roghte.
The king behield his hevynesse,
And of his grete gentillesse
His doghter, which was fair and good
And ate bord before him stod,
As it was thilke time usage,
He bad to gon on his message
And fonde forto make him glad.
And sche dede as hire fader bad,
And goth to him the softe pas
And axeth whenne and what he was,
And preith he scholde his thoghtes leve.
He seith, 'Ma Dame, be your leve
Mi name is hote Appolinus,
And of mi richesse it is thus,
Upon the See I have it lore.
The contre wher as I was bore,
Wher that my lond is and mi rente,
I lefte at Tyr, whan that I wente:
The worschipe of this worldes aghte,
Unto the god ther I betaghte.'
And thus togedre as thei tuo speeke,
The teres runne be his cheeke.
The king, which therof tok good kepe,
Hath gret Pite to sen him wepe,
And for his doghter sende ayein,
And preide hir faire and gan to sein
That sche no lengere wolde drecche,
Bot that sche wolde anon forth fecche
Hire harpe and don al that sche can
To glade with that sory man.
And sche to don hir fader heste
Hir harpe fette, and in the feste
Upon a Chaier which thei fette
Hirself next to this man sche sette:
With harpe bothe and ek with mouthe
To him sche dede al that sche couthe
To make him chiere, and evere he siketh,
And sche him axeth hou him liketh.
'Ma dame, certes wel,' he seide,
'Bot if ye the mesure pleide
Which, if you list, I schal you liere,
It were a glad thing forto hiere.'
'Ha, lieve sire,' tho quod sche,
'Now tak the harpe and let me se
Of what mesure that ye mene.'
Tho preith the king, tho preith the queene,
Forth with the lordes alle arewe,
That he som merthe wolde schewe;
He takth the Harpe and in his wise
He tempreth, and of such assise
Singende he harpeth forth withal,
That as a vois celestial
Hem thoghte it souneth in here Ere,
As thogh that he an Angel were.
Thei gladen of his melodie,
Bot most of alle the compainie
The kinges doghter, which it herde,
And thoghte ek hou that he ansuerde,
Whan that he was of hire opposed,
Withinne hir herte hath wel supposed
That he is of gret gentilesse.
Hise dedes ben therof witnesse
Forth with the wisdom of his lore;
It nedeth noght to seche more,
He myhte noght have such manere,
Of gentil blod bot if he were.
Whanne he hath harped al his fille,
The kinges heste to fulfille,
Awey goth dissh, awey goth cuppe,
Doun goth the bord, the cloth was uppe,
Thei risen and gon out of halle.
The king his chamberlein let calle,
And bad that he be alle weie
A chambre for this man pourveie,
Which nyh his oghne chambre be.
'It schal be do, mi lord,' quod he.
Appolinus of whom I mene
Tho tok his leve of king and queene
And of the worthi Maide also,
Which preide unto hir fader tho,
That sche myhte of that yonge man
Of tho sciences whiche he can
His lore have; and in this wise
The king hir granteth his aprise,
So that himself therto assente.
Thus was acorded er thei wente,
That he with al that evere he may
This yonge faire freisshe May
Of that he couthe scholde enforme;
And full assented in this forme
Thei token leve as for that nyht.
And whanne it was amorwe lyht,
Unto this yonge man of Tyr
Of clothes and of good atir
With gold and Selver to despende
This worthi yonge lady sende:
And thus sche made him wel at ese,
And he with al that he can plese
Hire serveth wel and faire ayein.
He tawhte hir til sche was certein
Of Harpe, of Citole and of Rote,
With many a tun and many a note
Upon Musique, upon mesure,
And of hire Harpe the temprure
He tawhte hire ek, as he wel couthe.
Bot as men sein that frele is youthe,
With leisir and continuance
This Mayde fell upon a chance,
That love hath mad him a querele
Ayein hire youthe freissh and frele,
That malgre wher sche wole or noght,
Sche mot with al hire hertes thoght
To love and to his lawe obeie;
And that sche schal ful sore abeie.
For sche wot nevere what it is,
Bot evere among sche fieleth this:
Thenkende upon this man of Tyr,
Hire herte is hot as eny fyr,
And otherwhile it is acale;
Now is sche red, nou is sche pale
Riht after the condicion
Of hire ymaginacion;
Bot evere among hire thoghtes alle,
Sche thoghte, what so mai befalle,
Or that sche lawhe, or that sche wepe,
Sche wolde hire goode name kepe
For feere of wommanysshe schame.
Bot what in ernest and in game,
Sche stant for love in such a plit,
That sche hath lost al appetit
Of mete, of drinke, of nyhtes reste,
As sche that not what is the beste;
Bot forto thenken al hir fille
Sche hield hire ofte times stille
Withinne hir chambre, and goth noght oute:
The king was of hire lif in doute,
Which wiste nothing what it mente.
Bot fell a time, as he out wente
To walke, of Princes Sones thre
Ther come and felle to his kne;
And ech of hem in sondri wise
Besoghte and profreth his servise,
So that he myhte his doghter have.
The king, which wolde his honour save,
Seith sche is siek, and of that speche
Tho was no time to beseche;
Bot ech of hem do make a bille
He bad, and wryte his oghne wille,
His name, his fader and his good;
And whan sche wiste hou that it stod,
And hadde here billes oversein,
Thei scholden have ansuere ayein.
Of this conseil thei weren glad,
And writen as the king hem bad,
And every man his oghne bok
Into the kinges hond betok,
And he it to his dowhter sende,
And preide hir forto make an ende
And wryte ayein hire oghne hond,
Riht as sche in hire herte fond.
The billes weren wel received,
Bot sche hath alle here loves weyved,
And thoghte tho was time and space
To put hire in hir fader grace,
And wrot ayein and thus sche saide:
'The schame which is in a Maide
With speche dar noght ben unloke,
Bot in writinge it mai be spoke;
So wryte I to you, fader, thus:
Bot if I have Appolinus,
Of al this world, what so betyde,
I wol non other man abide.
And certes if I of him faile,
I wot riht wel withoute faile
Ye schull for me be dowhterles.'
This lettre cam, and ther was press
Tofore the king, ther as he stod;
And whan that he it understod,
He yaf hem ansuer by and by,
Bot that was do so prively,
That non of othres conseil wiste.
Thei toke her leve, and wher hem liste
Thei wente forth upon here weie.
The king ne wolde noght bewreie
The conseil for no maner hihe,
Bot soffreth til he time sihe:
And whan that he to chambre is come,
He hath unto his conseil nome
This man of Tyr, and let him se
The lettre and al the privete,
The which his dowhter to him sente:
And he his kne to grounde bente
And thonketh him and hire also,
And er thei wenten thanne atuo,
With good herte and with good corage
Of full Love and full mariage
The king and he ben hol acorded.
And after, whanne it was recorded
Unto the dowhter hou it stod,
The yifte of al this worldes good
Ne scholde have mad hir half so blythe:
And forth withal the king als swithe,
For he wol have hire good assent,
Hath for the queene hir moder sent.
The queene is come, and whan sche herde
Of this matiere hou that it ferde,
Sche syh debat, sche syh desese,
Bot if sche wolde hir dowhter plese,
And is therto assented full.
Which is a dede wonderfull,
For noman knew the sothe cas
Bot he himself, what man he was;
And natheles, so as hem thoghte,
Hise dedes to the sothe wroghte
That he was come of gentil blod:
Him lacketh noght bot worldes good,
And as therof is no despeir,
For sche schal ben hire fader heir,
And he was able to governe.
Thus wol thei noght the love werne
Of him and hire in none wise,
Bot ther acorded thei divise
The day and time of Mariage.
Wher love is lord of the corage,
Him thenketh longe er that he spede;
Bot ate laste unto the dede
The time is come, and in her wise
With gret offrende and sacrifise
Thei wedde and make a riche feste,
And every thing which was honeste
Withinnen house and ek withoute
It was so don, that al aboute
Of gret worschipe, of gret noblesse
Ther cride many a man largesse
Unto the lordes hihe and loude;
The knyhtes that ben yonge and proude,
Thei jouste ferst and after daunce.
The day is go, the nyhtes chaunce
Hath derked al the bryhte Sonne;
This lord, which hath his love wonne,
Is go to bedde with his wif,
Wher as thei ladde a lusti lif,
And that was after somdel sene,
For as thei pleiden hem betwene,
Thei gete a child betwen hem tuo,
To whom fell after mochel wo.
Now have I told of the spousailes.
Bot forto speke of the mervailes
Whiche afterward to hem befelle,
It is a wonder forto telle.
It fell adai thei riden oute,
The king and queene and al the route,
To pleien hem upon the stronde,
Wher as thei sen toward the londe
A Schip sailende of gret array.
To knowe what it mene may,
Til it be come thei abide;
Than sen thei stonde on every side,
Endlong the schipes bord to schewe,
Of Penonceals a riche rewe.
Thei axen when the ship is come:
Fro Tyr, anon ansuerde some,
And over this thei seiden more
The cause why thei comen fore
Was forto seche and forto finde
Appolinus, which was of kinde
Her liege lord: and he appiereth,
And of the tale which he hiereth
He was riht glad; for thei him tolde,
That for vengance, as god it wolde,
Antiochus, as men mai wite,
With thondre and lyhthnynge is forsmite;
His doghter hath the same chaunce,
So be thei bothe in o balance.
'Forthi, oure liege lord, we seie
In name of al the lond, and preie,
That left al other thing to done,
It like you to come sone
And se youre oghne liege men
With othre that ben of youre ken,
That live in longinge and desir
Til ye be come ayein to Tyr.'
This tale after the king it hadde
Pentapolim al overspradde,
Ther was no joie forto seche;
For every man it hadde in speche
And seiden alle of on acord,
'A worthi king schal ben oure lord:
That thoghte ous ferst an hevinesse
Is schape ous now to gret gladnesse.'
Thus goth the tidinge overal.
Bot nede he mot, that nede schal:
Appolinus his leve tok,
To god and al the lond betok
With al the poeple long and brod,
That he no lenger there abod.
The king and queene sorwe made,
Bot yit somdiel thei weren glade
Of such thing as thei herden tho:
And thus betwen the wel and wo
To schip he goth, his wif with childe,
The which was evere meke and mylde
And wolde noght departe him fro,
Such love was betwen hem tuo.
Lichorida for hire office
Was take, which was a Norrice,
To wende with this yonge wif,
To whom was schape a woful lif.
Withinne a time, as it betidde,
Whan thei were in the See amidde,
Out of the North they sihe a cloude;
The storm aros, the wyndes loude
Thei blewen many a dredful blast,
The welkne was al overcast,
The derke nyht the Sonne hath under,
Ther was a gret tempeste of thunder:
The Mone and ek the Sterres bothe
In blake cloudes thei hem clothe,
Wherof here brihte lok thei hyde.
This yonge ladi wepte and cride,
To whom no confort myhte availe;
Of childe sche began travaile,
Wher sche lay in a Caban clos:
Hire woful lord fro hire aros,
And that was longe er eny morwe,
So that in anguisse and in sorwe
Sche was delivered al be nyhte
And ded in every mannes syhte;
Bot natheles for al this wo
A maide child was bore tho.
Appolinus whan he this knew,
For sorwe a swoune he overthrew,
That noman wiste in him no lif.
And whanne he wok, he seide, 'Ha, wif,
Mi lust, mi joie, my desir,
Mi welthe and my recoverir,
Why schal I live, and thou schalt dye?
Ha, thou fortune, I thee deffie,
Nou hast thou do to me thi werste.
Ha, herte, why ne wolt thou berste,
That forth with hire I myhte passe?
Mi peines weren wel the lasse.'
In such wepinge and in such cry
His dede wif, which lay him by,
A thousend sithes he hire kiste;
Was nevere man that sih ne wiste
A sorwe unto his sorwe lich;
For evere among upon the lich
He fell swounende, as he that soghte
His oghne deth, which he besoghte
Unto the goddes alle above
With many a pitous word of love;
Bot suche wordes as tho were
Yit herde nevere mannes Ere,
Bot only thilke whiche he seide.
The Maister Schipman cam and preide
With othre suche as be therinne,
And sein that he mai nothing winne
Ayein the deth, bot thei him rede,
He be wel war and tak hiede,
The See be weie of his nature
Receive mai no creature
Withinne himself as forto holde,
The which is ded: forthi thei wolde,
As thei conseilen al aboute,
The dede body casten oute.
For betre it is, thei seiden alle,
That it of hire so befalle,
Than if thei scholden alle spille.
The king, which understod here wille
And knew here conseil that was trewe,
Began ayein his sorwe newe
With pitous herte, and thus to seie:
'It is al reson that ye preie.
I am,' quod he, 'bot on al one,
So wolde I noght for mi persone
Ther felle such adversite.
Bot whan it mai no betre be,
Doth thanne thus upon my word,
Let make a cofre strong of bord,
That it be ferm with led and pich.'
Anon was mad a cofre sich,
Al redy broght unto his hond;
And whanne he sih and redy fond
This cofre mad and wel enclowed,
The dede bodi was besowed
In cloth of gold and leid therinne.
And for he wolde unto hire winne
Upon som cooste a Sepulture,
Under hire heved in aventure
Of gold he leide Sommes grete
And of jeueals a strong beyete
Forth with a lettre, and seide thus:
'I, king of Tyr Appollinus,
Do alle maner men to wite,
That hiere and se this lettre write,
That helpeles withoute red
Hier lith a kinges doghter ded:
And who that happeth hir to finde,
For charite tak in his mynde,
And do so that sche be begrave
With this tresor, which he schal have.'
Thus whan the lettre was full spoke,
Thei haue anon the cofre stoke,
And bounden it with yren faste,
That it may with the wawes laste,
And stoppen it be such a weie,
That it schal be withinne dreie,
So that no water myhte it grieve.
And thus in hope and good believe
Of that the corps schal wel aryve,
Thei caste it over bord als blyve.
The Schip forth on the wawes wente;
The prince hath changed his entente,
And seith he wol noght come at Tyr
As thanne, bot al his desir
Is ferst to seilen unto Tharse.
The wyndy Storm began to skarse,
The Sonne arist, the weder cliereth,
The Schipman which behinde stiereth,
Whan that he sih the wyndes saghte,
Towardes Tharse his cours he straghte.
Bot now to mi matiere ayein,
To telle as olde bokes sein,
This dede corps of which ye knowe
With wynd and water was forthrowe
Now hier, now ther, til ate laste
At Ephesim the See upcaste
The cofre and al that was therinne.
Of gret merveile now beginne
Mai hiere who that sitteth stille;
That god wol save mai noght spille.
Riht as the corps was throwe alonde,
Ther cam walkende upon the stronde
A worthi clerc, a Surgien,
And ek a gret Phisicien,
Of al that lond the wisest on,
Which hihte Maister Cerymon;
Ther were of his disciples some.
This Maister to the Cofre is come,
He peiseth ther was somwhat in,
And bad hem bere it to his In,
And goth himselve forth withal.
Al that schal falle, falle schal;
Thei comen hom and tarie noght;
This Cofre is into chambre broght,
Which that thei finde faste stoke,
Bot thei with craft it have unloke.
Thei loken in, where as thei founde
A bodi ded, which was bewounde
In cloth of gold, as I seide er,
The tresor ek thei founden ther
Forth with the lettre, which thei rede.
And tho thei token betre hiede;
Unsowed was the bodi sone,
And he, which knew what is to done,
This noble clerk, with alle haste
Began the veines forto taste,
And sih hire Age was of youthe,
And with the craftes whiche he couthe
He soghte and fond a signe of lif.
With that this worthi kinges wif
Honestely thei token oute,
And maden fyres al aboute;
Thei leide hire on a couche softe,
And with a scheete warmed ofte
Hire colde brest began to hete,
Hire herte also to flacke and bete.
This Maister hath hire every joignt
With certein oile and balsme enoignt,
And putte a liquour in hire mouth,
Which is to fewe clerkes couth,
So that sche coevereth ate laste;
And ferst hire yhen up sche caste,
And whan sche more of strengthe cawhte,
Hire Armes bothe forth sche strawhte,
Hield up hire hond and pitously
Sche spak and seide, 'Ha, wher am I?
Where is my lord, what world is this?'
As sche that wot noght hou it is.
Bot Cerymon the worthi leche
Ansuerde anon upon hire speche
And seith, 'Ma dame, yee ben hiere,
Where yee be sauf, as yee schal hiere
Hierafterward; forthi as nou
Mi conseil is, conforteth you:
For trusteth wel withoute faile,
Ther is nothing which schal you faile,
That oghte of reson to be do.'
Thus passen thei a day or tuo;
Thei speke of noght as for an ende,
Til sche began somdiel amende,
And wiste hireselven what sche mente.
Tho forto knowe hire hol entente,
This Maister axeth al the cas,
Hou sche cam there and what sche was.
'Hou I cam hiere wot I noght,'
Quod sche, 'bot wel I am bethoght
Of othre thinges al aboute':
Fro point to point and tolde him oute
Als ferforthli as sche it wiste.
And he hire tolde hou in a kiste
The See hire threw upon the lond,
And what tresor with hire he fond,
Which was al redy at hire wille,
As he that schop him to fulfille
With al his myht what thing he scholde.
Sche thonketh him that he so wolde,
And al hire herte sche discloseth,
And seith him wel that sche supposeth
Hire lord be dreint, hir child also;
So sih sche noght bot alle wo.
Wherof as to the world nomore
Ne wol sche torne, and preith therfore
That in som temple of the Cite,
To kepe and holde hir chastete,
Sche mihte among the wommen duelle.
Whan he this tale hir herde telle,
He was riht glad, and made hire knowen
That he a dowhter of his owen
Hath, which he wol unto hir yive
To serve, whil thei bothe live,
In stede of that which sche hath lost;
Al only at his oghne cost
Sche schal be rendred forth with hire.
She seith, 'Grant mercy, lieve sire,
God quite it you, ther I ne may.'
And thus thei drive forth the day,
Til time com that sche was hol;
And tho thei take her conseil hol,
To schape upon good ordinance
And make a worthi pourveance
Ayein the day whan thei be veiled.
And thus, whan that thei be conseiled,
In blake clothes thei hem clothe,
This lady and the dowhter bothe,
And yolde hem to religion.
The feste and the profession
After the reule of that degre
Was mad with gret solempnete,
Where as Diane is seintefied;
Thus stant this lady justefied
In ordre wher sche thenkth to duelle.
Bot now ayeinward forto telle
In what plit that hire lord stod inne:
He seileth, til that he may winne
The havene of Tharse, as I seide er;
And whanne he was aryved ther,
And it was thurgh the Cite knowe,
Men myhte se withinne a throwe,
As who seith, al the toun at ones,
That come ayein him for the nones,
To yiven him the reverence,
So glad thei were of his presence:
And thogh he were in his corage
Desesed, yit with glad visage
He made hem chiere, and to his In,
Wher he whilom sojourned in,
He goth him straght and was resceived.
And whan the presse of poeple is weived,
He takth his hoste unto him tho,
And seith, 'Mi frend Strangulio,
Lo, thus and thus it is befalle,
And thou thiself art on of alle,
Forth with thi wif, whiche I most triste.
Forthi, if it you bothe liste,
My doghter Thaise be youre leve
I thenke schal with you beleve
As for a time; and thus I preie,
That sche be kept be alle weie,
And whan sche hath of age more,
That sche be set to bokes lore.
And this avou to god I make,
That I schal nevere for hir sake
Mi berd for no likinge schave,
Til it befalle that I have
In covenable time of age
Beset hire unto mariage.'
Thus thei acorde, and al is wel,
And forto resten him somdel,
As for a while he ther sojorneth,
And thanne he takth his leve and torneth
To Schipe, and goth him hom to Tyr,
Wher every man with gret desir
Awaiteth upon his comynge.
Bot whan the Schip com in seilinge,
And thei perceiven it is he,
Was nevere yit in no cite
Such joie mad as thei tho made;
His herte also began to glade
Of that he sih the poeple glad.
Lo, thus fortune his hap hath lad;
In sondri wise he was travailed,
Bot hou so evere he be assailed,
His latere ende schal be good.
And forto speke hou that it stod
Of Thaise his doghter, wher sche duelleth,
In Tharse, as the Cronique telleth,
Sche was wel kept, sche was wel loked,
Sche was wel tawht, sche was wel boked,
So wel sche spedde hir in hire youthe
That sche of every wisdom couthe,
That forto seche in every lond
So wys an other noman fond,
Ne so wel tawht at mannes yhe.
Bot wo worthe evere fals envie!
For it befell that time so,
A dowhter hath Strangulio,
The which was cleped Philotenne:
Bot fame, which wole evere renne,
Cam al day to hir moder Ere,
And seith, wher evere hir doghter were
With Thayse set in eny place,
The comun vois, the comun grace
Was al upon that other Maide,
And of hir doghter noman saide.
Who wroth but Dionise thanne?
Hire thoghte a thousend yer til whanne
Sche myhte ben of Thaise wreke
Of that sche herde folk so speke.
And fell that ilke same tyde,
That ded was trewe Lychoride,
Which hadde be servant to Thaise,
So that sche was the worse at aise,
For sche hath thanne no servise
Bot only thurgh this Dionise,
Which was hire dedlich Anemie
Thurgh pure treson and envie.
Sche, that of alle sorwe can,
Tho spak unto hire bondeman,
Which cleped was Theophilus,
And made him swere in conseil thus,
That he such time as sche him sette
Schal come Thaise forto fette,
And lede hire oute of alle sihte,
Wher as noman hire helpe myhte,
Upon the Stronde nyh the See,
And there he schal this maiden sle.
This cherles herte is in a traunce,
As he which drad him of vengance
Whan time comth an other day;
Bot yit dorste he noght seie nay,
Bot swor and seide he schal fulfille
Hire hestes at hire oghne wille.
The treson and the time is schape,
So fell it that this cherles knape
Hath lad this maiden ther he wolde
Upon the Stronde, and what sche scholde
Sche was adrad; and he out breide
A rusti swerd and to hir seide,
'Thou schalt be ded.' 'Helas!' quod sche,
'Why schal I so?' 'Lo thus,' quod he,
'Mi ladi Dionise hath bede,
Thou schalt be moerdred in this stede.'
This Maiden tho for feere schryhte,
And for the love of god almyhte
Sche preith that for a litel stounde
Sche myhte knele upon the grounde,
Toward the hevene forto crave,
Hire wofull Soule if sche mai save:
And with this noise and with this cry,
Out of a barge faste by,
Which hidd was ther on Scomerfare,
Men sterten out and weren ware
Of this feloun,and he to go,
And sche began to crie tho,
'Ha, mercy, help for goddes sake!
Into the barge thei hire take,
As thieves scholde, and forth thei wente.
Upon the See the wynd hem hente,
And malgre wher thei wolde or non,
Tofor the weder forth thei gon,
Ther halp no Seil, ther halp non Ore,
Forstormed and forblowen sore
In gret peril so forth thei dryve,
Til ate laste thei aryve
At Mitelene the Cite.
In havene sauf and whan thei be,
The Maister Schipman made him boun,
And goth him out into the toun,
And profreth Thaise forto selle.
On Leonin it herde telle,
Which Maister of the bordel was,
And bad him gon a redy pas
To fetten hire, and forth he wente,
And Thaise out of his barge he hente,
And to this bordeller hir solde.
And he, that be hire body wolde
Take avantage, let do crye,
That what man wolde his lecherie
Attempte upon hire maidenhede,
Lei doun the gold and he schal spede.
And thus whan he hath crid it oute
In syhte of al the poeple aboute,
He ladde hire to the bordel tho.
No wonder is thogh sche be wo:
Clos in a chambre be hireselve,
Ech after other ten or tuelve
Of yonge men to hire in wente;
Bot such a grace god hire sente,
That for the sorwe which sche made
Was non of hem which pouer hade
To don hire eny vileinie.
This Leonin let evere aspie,
And waiteth after gret beyete;
Bot al for noght, sche was forlete,
That mo men wolde ther noght come.
Whan he therof hath hiede nome,
And knew that sche was yit a maide,
Unto his oghne man he saide,
That he with strengthe ayein hire leve
Tho scholde hir maidenhod bereve.
This man goth in, bot so it ferde,
Whan he hire wofull pleintes herde
And he therof hath take kepe,
Him liste betre forto wepe
Than don oght elles to the game.
And thus sche kepte hirself fro schame,
And kneleth doun to therthe and preide
Unto this man, and thus sche seide:
'If so be that thi maister wolde
That I his gold encresce scholde,
It mai noght falle be this weie:
Bot soffre me to go mi weie
Out of this hous wher I am inne,
And I schal make him forto winne
In som place elles of the toun,
Be so it be religioun,
Wher that honeste wommen duelle.
And thus thou myht thi maister telle,
That whanne I have a chambre there,
Let him do crie ay wyde where,
What lord that hath his doghter diere,
And is in will that sche schal liere
Of such a Scole that is trewe,
I schal hire teche of thinges newe,
Which as non other womman can
In al this lond.' And tho this man
Hire tale hath herd, he goth ayein,
And tolde unto his maister plein
That sche hath seid; and therupon,
Whan than he sih beyete non
At the bordel be cause of hire,
He bad his man to gon and spire
A place wher sche myhte abyde,
That he mai winne upon som side
Be that sche can: bot ate leste
Thus was sche sauf fro this tempeste.
He hath hire fro the bordel take,
Bot that was noght for goddes sake,
Bot for the lucre, as sche him tolde.
Now comen tho that comen wolde
Of wommen in her lusty youthe,
To hiere and se what thing sche couthe:
Sche can the wisdom of a clerk,
Sche can of every lusti werk
Which to a gentil womman longeth,
And some of hem sche underfongeth
To the Citole and to the Harpe,
And whom it liketh forto carpe
Proverbes and demandes slyhe,
An other such thei nevere syhe,
Which that science so wel tawhte:
Wherof sche grete yiftes cawhte,
That sche to Leonin hath wonne;
And thus hire name is so begonne
Of sondri thinges that sche techeth,
That al the lond unto hir secheth
Of yonge wommen forto liere.
Nou lete we this maiden hiere,
And speke of Dionise ayein
And of Theophile the vilein,
Of whiche I spak of nou tofore.
Whan Thaise scholde have be forlore,
This false cherl to his lady
Whan he cam hom, al prively
He seith, 'Ma Dame, slain I have
This maide Thaise, and is begrave
In prive place, as ye me biede.
Forthi, ma dame, taketh hiede
And kep conseil, hou so it stonde.'
This fend, which this hath understonde,
Was glad, and weneth it be soth:
Now herkne, hierafter hou sche doth.
Sche wepth, sche sorweth, sche compleigneth,
And of sieknesse which sche feigneth
Sche seith that Taise sodeinly
Be nyhte is ded, 'as sche and I
Togedre lyhen nyh my lord.'
Sche was a womman of record,
And al is lieved that sche seith;
And forto yive a more feith,
Hire housebonde and ek sche bothe
In blake clothes thei hem clothe,
And made a gret enterrement;
And for the poeple schal be blent,
Of Thaise as for the remembrance,
After the real olde usance
A tumbe of latoun noble and riche
With an ymage unto hir liche
Liggende above therupon
Thei made and sette it up anon.
Hire Epitaffe of good assisse
Was write aboute, and in this wise
It spak: 'O yee that this beholde,
Lo, hier lith sche, the which was holde
The faireste and the flour of alle,
Whos name Thaisis men calle.
The king of Tyr Appolinus
Hire fader was: now lith sche thus.
Fourtiene yer sche was of Age,
Whan deth hir tok to his viage.'
Thus was this false treson hidd,
Which afterward was wyde kidd,
As be the tale a man schal hiere.
Bot forto clare mi matiere,
To Tyr I thenke torne ayein,
And telle as the Croniqes sein.
Whan that the king was comen hom,
And hath left in the salte fom
His wif, which he mai noght foryete,
For he som confort wolde gete,
He let somoune a parlement,
To which the lordes were asent;
And of the time he hath ben oute,
He seth the thinges al aboute,
And told hem ek hou he hath fare,
Whil he was out of londe fare;
And preide hem alle to abyde,
For he wolde at the same tyde
Do schape for his wyves mynde,
As he that wol noght ben unkinde.
Solempne was that ilke office,
And riche was the sacrifice,
The feste reali was holde:
And therto was he wel beholde;
For such a wif as he hadde on
In thilke daies was ther non.
Whan this was do, thanne he him thoghte
Upon his doghter, and besoghte
Suche of his lordes as he wolde,
That thei with him to Tharse scholde,
To fette his doghter Taise there:
And thei anon al redy were,
To schip they gon and forth thei wente,
Til thei the havene of Tharse hente.
They londe and faile of that thei seche
Be coverture and sleyhte of speche:
This false man Strangulio,
And Dionise his wif also,
That he the betre trowe myhte,
Thei ladden him to have a sihte
Wher that hir tombe was arraied.
The lasse yit he was mispaied,
And natheles, so as he dorste,
He curseth and seith al the worste
Unto fortune, as to the blinde,
Which can no seker weie finde;
For sche him neweth evere among,
And medleth sorwe with his song.
Bot sithe it mai no betre be,
He thonketh god and forth goth he
Seilende toward Tyr ayein.
Bot sodeinly the wynd and reyn
Begonne upon the See debate,
So that he soffre mot algate
The lawe which Neptune ordeigneth;
Wherof fulofte time he pleigneth,
And hield him wel the more esmaied
Of that he hath tofore assaied.
So that for pure sorwe and care,
Of that he seth his world so fare,
The reste he lefte of his Caban,
That for the conseil of noman
Ayein therinne he nolde come,
Bot hath benethe his place nome,
Wher he wepende al one lay,
Ther as he sih no lyht of day.
And thus tofor the wynd thei dryve,
Til longe and late thei aryve
With gret distresce, as it was sene,
Upon this toun of Mitelene,
Which was a noble cite tho.
And hapneth thilke time so,
The lordes bothe and the comune
The hihe festes of Neptune
Upon the stronde at the rivage,
As it was custumme and usage,
Sollempneliche thei besihe.
Whan thei this strange vessel syhe
Come in, and hath his Seil avaled,
The toun therof hath spoke and taled.
The lord which of the cite was,
Whos name is Athenagoras,
Was there, and seide he wolde se
What Schip it is, and who thei be
That ben therinne: and after sone,
Whan that he sih it was to done,
His barge was for him arraied,
And he goth forth and hath assaied.
He fond the Schip of gret Array,
Bot what thing it amonte may,
He seth thei maden hevy chiere,
Bot wel him thenkth be the manere
That thei be worthi men of blod,
And axeth of hem hou it stod;
And thei him tellen al the cas,
Hou that here lord fordrive was,
And what a sorwe that he made,
Of which ther mai noman him glade.
He preith that he here lord mai se,
Bot thei him tolde it mai noght be,
For he lith in so derk a place,
That ther may no wiht sen his face:
Bot for al that, thogh hem be loth,
He fond the ladre and doun he goth,
And to him spak, bot non ansuere
Ayein of him ne mihte he bere
For oght that he can don or sein;
And thus he goth him up ayein.
Tho was ther spoke in many wise
Amonges hem that weren wise,
Now this, now that, bot ate laste
The wisdom of the toun this caste,
That yonge Taise were asent.
For if ther be amendement
To glade with this woful king,
Sche can so moche of every thing,
That sche schal gladen him anon.
A Messager for hire is gon,
And sche cam with hire Harpe on honde,
And seide hem that sche wolde fonde
Be alle weies that sche can,
To glade with this sory man.
Bot what he was sche wiste noght,
Bot al the Schip hire hath besoght
That sche hire wit on him despende,
In aunter if he myhte amende,
And sein it schal be wel aquit.
Whan sche hath understonden it,
Sche goth hir doun, ther as he lay,
Wher that sche harpeth many a lay
And lich an Angel sang withal;
Bot he nomore than the wal
Tok hiede of eny thing he herde.
And whan sche sih that he so ferde,
Sche falleth with him into wordes,
And telleth him of sondri bordes,
And axeth him demandes strange,
Wherof sche made his herte change,
And to hire speche his Ere he leide
And hath merveile of that sche seide.
For in proverbe and in probleme
Sche spak, and bad he scholde deme
In many soubtil question:
Bot he for no suggestioun
Which toward him sche couthe stere,
He wolde noght o word ansuere,
Bot as a madd man ate laste
His heved wepende awey he caste,
And half in wraththe he bad hire go.
Bot yit sche wolde noght do so,
And in the derke forth sche goth,
Til sche him toucheth, and he wroth,
And after hire with his hond
He smot: and thus whan sche him fond
Desesed, courtaisly sche saide,
'Avoi, mi lord, I am a Maide;
And if ye wiste what I am,
And out of what lignage I cam,
Ye wolde noght be so salvage.'
With that he sobreth his corage
And put awey his hevy chiere.
Bot of hem tuo a man mai liere
What is to be so sibb of blod:
Non wiste of other hou it stod,
And yit the fader ate laste
His herte upon this maide caste,
That he hire loveth kindely,
And yit he wiste nevere why.
Bot al was knowe er that thei wente;
For god, which wot here hol entente,
Here hertes bothe anon descloseth.
This king unto this maide opposeth,
And axeth ferst what was hire name,
And wher sche lerned al this game,
And of what ken that sche was come.
And sche, that hath hise wordes nome,
Ansuerth and seith, 'My name is Thaise,
That was som time wel at aise:
In Tharse I was forthdrawe and fed,
Ther lerned I, til I was sped,
Of that I can. Mi fader eke
I not wher that I scholde him seke;
He was a king, men tolde me:
Mi Moder dreint was in the See.'
Fro point to point al sche him tolde,
That sche hath longe in herte holde,
And nevere dorste make hir mone
Bot only to this lord al one,
To whom hire herte can noght hele,
Torne it to wo, torne it to wele,
Torne it to good, torne it to harm.
And he tho toke hire in his arm,
Bot such a joie as he tho made
Was nevere sen; thus be thei glade,
That sory hadden be toforn.
Fro this day forth fortune hath sworn
To sette him upward on the whiel;
So goth the world, now wo, now wel:
This king hath founde newe grace,
So that out of his derke place
He goth him up into the liht,
And with him cam that swete wiht,
His doghter Thaise, and forth anon
Thei bothe into the Caban gon
Which was ordeigned for the king,
And ther he dede of al his thing,
And was arraied realy.
And out he cam al openly,
Wher Athenagoras he fond,
The which was lord of al the lond:
He preith the king to come and se
His castell bothe and his cite,
And thus thei gon forth alle in fiere,
This king, this lord, this maiden diere.
This lord tho made hem riche feste
With every thing which was honeste,
To plese with this worthi king,
Ther lacketh him no maner thing:
Bot yit for al his noble array
Wifles he was into that day,
As he that yit was of yong Age;
So fell ther into his corage
The lusti wo, the glade peine
Of love, which noman restreigne
Yit nevere myhte as nou tofore.
This lord thenkth al his world forlore,
Bot if the king wol don him grace;
He waiteth time, he waiteth place,
Him thoghte his herte wol tobreke,
Til he mai to this maide speke
And to hir fader ek also
For mariage: and it fell so,
That al was do riht as he thoghte,
His pourpos to an ende he broghte,
Sche weddeth him as for hire lord;
Thus be thei alle of on acord.
Whan al was do riht as thei wolde,
The king unto his Sone tolde
Of Tharse thilke traiterie,
And seide hou in his compaignie
His doghter and himselven eke
Schull go vengance forto seke.
The Schipes were redy sone,
And whan thei sihe it was to done,
Withoute lette of eny wente
With Seil updrawe forth thei wente
Towardes Tharse upon the tyde.
Bot he that wot what schal betide,
The hihe god, which wolde him kepe,
Whan that this king was faste aslepe,
Be nyhtes time he hath him bede
To seile into an other stede:
To Ephesim he bad him drawe,
And as it was that time lawe,
He schal do there his sacrifise;
And ek he bad in alle wise
That in the temple amonges alle
His fortune, as it is befalle,
Touchende his doghter and his wif
He schal beknowe upon his lif.
The king of this Avisioun
Hath gret ymaginacioun,
What thing it signefie may;
And natheles, whan it was day,
He bad caste Ancher and abod;
And whil that he on Ancher rod,
The wynd, which was tofore strange,
Upon the point began to change,
And torneth thider as it scholde.
Tho knew he wel that god it wolde,
And bad the Maister make him yare,
Tofor the wynd for he wol fare
To Ephesim, and so he dede.
And whanne he cam unto the stede
Where as he scholde londe, he londeth
With al the haste he may, and fondeth
To schapen him be such a wise,
That he may be the morwe arise
And don after the mandement
Of him which hath him thider sent.
And in the wise that he thoghte,
Upon the morwe so he wroghte;
His doghter and his Sone he nom,
And forth unto the temple he com
With a gret route in compaignie,
Hise yiftes forto sacrifie.
The citezeins tho herden seie
Of such a king that cam to preie
Unto Diane the godesse,
And left al other besinesse,
Thei comen thider forto se
The king and the solempnete.
With worthi knyhtes environed
The king himself hath abandoned
Into the temple in good entente.
The dore is up, and he in wente,
Wher as with gret devocioun
Of holi contemplacioun
Withinne his herte he made his schrifte;
And after that a riche yifte
He offreth with gret reverence,
And there in open Audience
Of hem that stoden thanne aboute,
He tolde hem and declareth oute
His hap, such as him is befalle,
Ther was nothing foryete of alle.
His wif, as it was goddes grace,
Which was professed in the place,
As sche that was Abbesse there,
Unto his tale hath leid hire Ere:
Sche knew the vois and the visage,
For pure joie as in a rage
Sche strawhte unto him al at ones,
And fell aswoune upon the stones,
Wherof the temple flor was paved.
Sche was anon with water laved,
Til sche cam to hirself ayein,
And thanne sche began to sein:
'Ha, blessed be the hihe sonde,
That I mai se myn housebonde,
That whilom he and I were on!'
The king with that knew hire anon,
And tok hire in his Arm and kiste;
And al the toun thus sone it wiste.
Tho was ther joie manyfold,
For every man this tale hath told
As for miracle, and were glade,
Bot nevere man such joie made
As doth the king, which hath his wif.
And whan men herde hou that hir lif
Was saved, and be whom it was,
Thei wondren alle of such a cas:
Thurgh al the Lond aros the speche
Of Maister Cerymon the leche
And of the cure which he dede.
The king himself tho hath him bede,
And ek this queene forth with him,
That he the toun of Ephesim
Wol leve and go wher as thei be,
For nevere man of his degre
Hath do to hem so mochel good;
And he his profit understod,
And granteth with hem forto wende.
And thus thei maden there an ende,
And token leve and gon to Schipe
With al the hole felaschipe.
This king, which nou hath his desir,
Seith he wol holde his cours to Tyr.
Thei hadden wynd at wille tho,
With topseilcole and forth they go,
And striken nevere, til thei come
To Tyr, where as thei havene nome,
And londen hem with mochel blisse.
Tho was ther many a mowth to kisse,
Echon welcometh other hom,
Bot whan the queen to londe com,
And Thaise hir doghter be hir side,
The joie which was thilke tyde
Ther mai no mannes tunge telle:
Thei seiden alle, 'Hier comth the welle
Of alle wommannysshe grace.'
The king hath take his real place,
The queene is into chambre go:
Ther was gret feste arraied tho;
Whan time was, thei gon to mete,
Alle olde sorwes ben foryete,
And gladen hem with joies newe:
The descoloured pale hewe
Is now become a rody cheke,
Ther was no merthe forto seke,
Bot every man hath that he wolde.
The king, as he wel couthe and scholde,
Makth to his poeple riht good chiere;
And after sone, as thou schalt hiere,
A parlement he hath sommoned,
Wher he his doghter hath coroned
Forth with the lord of Mitelene,
That on is king, that other queene:
And thus the fadres ordinance
This lond hath set in governance,
And seide thanne he wolde wende
To Tharse, forto make an ende
Of that his doghter was betraied.
Therof were alle men wel paied,
And seide hou it was forto done:
The Schipes weren redi sone,
And strong pouer with him he tok;
Up to the Sky he caste his lok,
And syh the wynd was covenable.
Thei hale up Ancher with the cable,
The Seil on hih, the Stiere in honde,
And seilen, til thei come alonde
At Tharse nyh to the cite;
And whan thei wisten it was he,
The toun hath don him reverence.
He telleth hem the violence,
Which the tretour Strangulio
And Dionise him hadde do
Touchende his dowhter, as yee herde;
And whan thei wiste hou that it ferde,
As he which pes and love soghte,
Unto the toun this he besoghte,
To don him riht in juggement.
Anon thei were bothe asent
With strengthe of men, and comen sone,
And as hem thoghte it was to done,
Atteint thei were be the lawe
And diemed forto honge and drawe,
And brent and with the wynd toblowe,
That al the world it myhte knowe:
And upon this condicion
The dom in execucion
Was put anon withoute faile.
And every man hath gret mervaile,
Which herde tellen of this chance,
And thonketh goddes pourveance,
Which doth mercy forth with justice.
Slain is the moerdrer and moerdrice
Thurgh verray trowthe of rihtwisnesse,
And thurgh mercy sauf is simplesse
Of hire whom mercy preserveth;
Thus hath he wel that wel deserveth.
Whan al this thing is don and ended,
This king, which loved was and frended,
A lettre hath, which cam to him
Be Schipe fro Pentapolim,
Be which the lond hath to him write,
That he wolde understonde and wite
Hou in good mynde and in good pes
Ded is the king Artestrates,
Wherof thei alle of on acord
Him preiden, as here liege lord,
That he the lettre wel conceive
And come his regne to receive,
Which god hath yove him and fortune;
And thus besoghte the commune
Forth with the grete lordes alle.
This king sih how it was befalle,
Fro Tharse and in prosperite
He tok his leve of that Cite
And goth him into Schipe ayein:
The wynd was good, the See was plein,
Hem nedeth noght a Riff to slake,
Til thei Pentapolim have take.
The lond, which herde of that tidinge,
Was wonder glad of his cominge;
He resteth him a day or tuo
And tok his conseil to him tho,
And sette a time of Parlement,
Wher al the lond of on assent
Forth with his wif hath him corouned,
Wher alle goode him was fuisouned.
Lo, what it is to be wel grounded:
For he hath ferst his love founded
Honesteliche as forto wedde,
Honesteliche his love he spedde
And hadde children with his wif,
And as him liste he ladde his lif;
And in ensample his lif was write,
That alle lovers myhten wite
How ate laste it schal be sene
Of love what thei wolden mene.
For se now on that other side,
Antiochus with al his Pride,
Which sette his love unkindely,
His ende he hadde al sodeinly,
Set ayein kinde upon vengance,
And for his lust hath his penance.
Lo thus, mi Sone, myht thou liere
What is to love in good manere,
And what to love in other wise:
The mede arist of the servise;
Fortune, thogh sche be noght stable,
Yit at som time is favorable
To hem that ben of love trewe.
Bot certes it is forto rewe
To se love ayein kinde falle,
For that makth sore a man to falle,
As thou myht of tofore rede.
Forthi, my Sone, I wolde rede
To lete al other love aweie,
Bot if it be thurgh such a weie
As love and reson wolde acorde.
For elles, if that thou descorde,
And take lust as doth a beste,
Thi love mai noght ben honeste;
For be no skile that I finde
Such lust is noght of loves kinde.
Mi fader, hou so that it stonde,
Youre tale is herd and understonde,
As thing which worthi is to hiere,
Of gret ensample and gret matiere,
Wherof, my fader, god you quyte.
Bot in this point miself aquite
I mai riht wel, that nevere yit
I was assoted in my wit,
Bot only in that worthi place
Wher alle lust and alle grace
Is set, if that danger ne were.
Bot that is al my moste fere:
I not what ye fortune acompte,
Bot what thing danger mai amonte
I wot wel, for I have assaied;
For whan myn herte is best arraied
And I have al my wit thurghsoght
Of love to beseche hire oght,
For al that evere I skile may,
I am concluded with a nay:
That o sillable hath overthrowe
A thousend wordes on a rowe
Of suche as I best speke can;
Thus am I bot a lewed man.
Bot, fader, for ye ben a clerk
Of love, and this matiere is derk,
And I can evere leng the lasse,
Bot yit I mai noght let it passe,
Youre hole conseil I beseche,
That ye me be som weie teche
What is my beste, as for an ende.
Mi Sone, unto the trouthe wende
Now wol I for the love of thee,
And lete alle othre truffles be.
The more that the nede is hyh,
The more it nedeth to be slyh
To him which hath the nede on honde.
I have wel herd and understonde,
Mi Sone, al that thou hast me seid,
And ek of that thou hast me preid,
Nou at this time that I schal
As for conclusioun final
Conseile upon thi nede sette:
So thenke I finaly to knette
This cause, where it is tobroke,
And make an ende of that is spoke.
For I behihte thee that yifte
Ferst whan thou come under my schrifte,
That thogh I toward Venus were,
Yit spak I suche wordes there,
That for the Presthod which I have,
Min ordre and min astat to save,
I seide I wolde of myn office
To vertu more than to vice
Encline, and teche thee mi lore.
Forthi to speken overmore
Of love, which thee mai availe,
Tak love where it mai noght faile:
For as of this which thou art inne,
Be that thou seist it is a Sinne,
And Sinne mai no pris deserve,
Withoute pris and who schal serve,
I not what profit myhte availe.
Thus folweth it, if thou travaile,
Wher thou no profit hast ne pris,
Thou art toward thiself unwis:
And sett thou myhtest lust atteigne,
Of every lust thende is a peine,
And every peine is good to fle;
So it is wonder thing to se,
Why such a thing schal be desired.
The more that a Stock is fyred,
The rathere into Aisshe it torneth;
The fot which in the weie sporneth
Fulofte his heved hath overthrowe;
Thus love is blind and can noght knowe
Wher that he goth, til he be falle:
Forthi, bot if it so befalle
With good conseil that he be lad,
Him oghte forto ben adrad.
For conseil passeth alle thing
To him which thenkth to ben a king;
And every man for his partie
A kingdom hath to justefie,
That is to sein his oghne dom.
If he misreule that kingdom,
He lest himself, and that is more
Than if he loste Schip and Ore
And al the worldes good withal:
For what man that in special
Hath noght himself, he hath noght elles,
Nomor the perles than the schelles;
Al is to him of o value:
Thogh he hadde at his retenue
The wyde world ryht as he wolde,
Whan he his herte hath noght withholde
Toward himself, al is in vein.
And thus, my Sone, I wolde sein,
As I seide er, that thou aryse,
Er that thou falle in such a wise
That thou ne myht thiself rekevere;
For love, which that blind was evere,
Makth alle his servantz blinde also.
My Sone, and if thou have be so,
Yit is it time to withdrawe,
And set thin herte under that lawe,
The which of reson is governed
And noght of will. And to be lerned,
Ensamples thou hast many on
Of now and ek of time gon,
That every lust is bot a while;
And who that wole himself beguile,
He may the rathere be deceived.
Mi Sone, now thou hast conceived
Somwhat of that I wolde mene;
Hierafterward it schal be sene
If that thou lieve upon mi lore;
For I can do to thee nomore
Bot teche thee the rihte weie:
Now ches if thou wolt live or deie.
Mi fader, so as I have herd
Your tale, bot it were ansuerd,
I were mochel forto blame.
Mi wo to you is bot a game,
That fielen noght of that I fiele;
The fielinge of a mannes Hiele
Mai noght be likned to the Herte:
I mai noght, thogh I wolde, asterte,
And ye be fre from al the peine
Of love, wherof I me pleigne.
It is riht esi to comaunde;
The hert which fre goth on the launde
Not of an Oxe what him eileth;
It falleth ofte a man merveileth
Of that he seth an other fare,
Bot if he knewe himself the fare,
And felt it as it is in soth,
He scholde don riht as he doth,
Or elles werse in his degre:
For wel I wot, and so do ye,
That love hath evere yit ben used,
So mot I nedes ben excused.
Bot, fader, if ye wolde thus
Unto Cupide and to Venus
Be frendlich toward mi querele,
So that myn herte were in hele
Of love which is in mi briest,
I wot wel thanne a betre Prest
Was nevere mad to my behove.
Bot al the whiles that I hove
In noncertein betwen the tuo,
And not if I to wel or wo
Schal torne, that is al my drede,
So that I not what is to rede.
Bot for final conclusion
I thenke a Supplicacion
With pleine wordes and expresse
Wryte unto Venus the goddesse,
The which I preie you to bere
And bringe ayein a good ansuere.
Tho was betwen mi Prest and me
Debat and gret perplexete:
Mi resoun understod him wel,
And knew it was sothe everydel
That he hath seid, bot noght forthi
Mi will hath nothing set therby.
For techinge of so wis a port
Is unto love of no desport;
Yit myhte nevere man beholde
Reson, wher love was withholde,
Thei be noght of o governance.
And thus we fellen in distance,
Mi Prest and I, bot I spak faire,
And thurgh mi wordes debonaire
Thanne ate laste we acorden,
So that he seith he wol recorden
To speke and stonde upon mi syde
To Venus bothe and to Cupide;
And bad me wryte what I wolde,
And seith me trewly that he scholde
Mi lettre bere unto the queene.
And I sat doun upon the grene
Fulfilt of loves fantasie,
And with the teres of myn ije
In stede of enke I gan to wryte
The wordes whiche I wolde endite
Unto Cupide and to Venus,
And in mi lettre I seide thus.
The wofull peine of loves maladie,
Ayein the which mai no phisique availe,
Min herte hath so bewhaped with sotie,
That wher so that I reste or I travaile,
I finde it evere redy to assaile
Mi resoun, which that can him noght defende:
Thus seche I help, wherof I mihte amende.
Ferst to Nature if that I me compleigne,
Ther finde I hou that every creature
Som time ayer hath love in his demeine,
So that the litel wrenne in his mesure
Hath yit of kinde a love under his cure;
And I bot on desire, of which I misse:
And thus, bot I, hath every kinde his blisse.
The resoun of my wit it overpasseth,
Of that Nature techeth me the weie
To love, and yit no certein sche compasseth
Hou I schal spede, and thus betwen the tweie
I stonde, and not if I schal live or deie.
For thogh reson ayein my will debate,
I mai noght fle, that I ne love algate.
Upon miself is thilke tale come,
Hou whilom Pan, which is the god of kinde,
With love wrastlede and was overcome:
For evere I wrastle and evere I am behinde,
That I no strengthe in al min herte finde,
Wherof that I mai stonden eny throwe;
So fer mi wit with love is overthrowe.
Whom nedeth help, he mot his helpe crave,
Or helpeles he schal his nede spille:
Pleinly thurghsoght my wittes alle I have,
Bot non of hem can helpe after mi wille;
And als so wel I mihte sitte stille,
As preie unto mi lady eny helpe:
Thus wot I noght wherof miself to helpe.
Unto the grete Jove and if I bidde,
To do me grace of thilke swete tunne,
Which under keie in his celier amidde
Lith couched, that fortune is overrunne,
Bot of the bitter cuppe I have begunne,
I not hou ofte, and thus finde I no game;
For evere I axe and evere it is the same.
I se the world stonde evere upon eschange,
Nou wyndes loude, and nou the weder softe;
I mai sen ek the grete mone change,
And thing which nou is lowe is eft alofte;
The dredfull werres into pes fulofte
Thei torne; and evere is Danger in o place,
Which wol noght change his will to do me grace.
Bot upon this the grete clerc Ovide,
Of love whan he makth his remembrance,
He seith ther is the blinde god Cupide,
The which hath love under his governance,
And in his hond with many a fyri lance
He woundeth ofte, ther he wol noght hele;
And that somdiel is cause of mi querele.
Ovide ek seith that love to parforne
Stant in the hond of Venus the goddesse,
Bot whan sche takth hir conseil with Satorne,
Ther is no grace, and in that time, I gesse,
Began mi love, of which myn hevynesse
Is now and evere schal, bot if I spede:
So wot I noght miself what is to rede.
Forthi to you, Cupide and Venus bothe,
With al myn hertes obeissance I preie,
If ye were ate ferste time wrothe,
Whan I began to love, as I you seie,
Nou stynt, and do thilke infortune aweie,
So that Danger, which stant of retenue
With my ladi, his place mai remue.
O thou Cupide, god of loves lawe,
That with thi Dart brennende hast set afyre
Min herte, do that wounde be withdrawe,
Or yif me Salve such as I desire:
For Service in thi Court withouten hyre
To me, which evere yit have kept thin heste,
Mai nevere be to loves lawe honeste.
O thou, gentile Venus, loves queene,
Withoute gult thou dost on me thi wreche;
Thou wost my peine is evere aliche grene
For love, and yit I mai it noght areche:
This wold I for my laste word beseche,
That thou mi love aquite as I deserve,
Or elles do me pleinly forto sterve.
Whanne I this Supplicacioun
With good deliberacioun,
In such a wise as ye nou wite,
Hadde after min entente write
Unto Cupide and to Venus,
This Prest which hihte Genius
It tok on honde to presente,
On my message and forth he wente
To Venus, forto wite hire wille.
And I bod in the place stille,
And was there bot a litel while,
Noght full the montance of a Mile,
Whan I behield and sodeinly
I sih wher Venus stod me by.
So as I myhte, under a tre
To grounde I fell upon mi kne,
And preide hire forto do me grace:
Sche caste hire chiere upon mi face,
And as it were halvinge a game
Sche axeth me what is mi name.
'Ma dame,' I seide, 'John Gower.'
'Now John,' quod sche, 'in my pouer
Thou most as of thi love stonde;
For I thi bille have understonde,
In which to Cupide and to me
Somdiel thou hast compleigned thee,
And somdiel to Nature also.
Bot that schal stonde among you tuo,
For therof have I noght to done;
For Nature is under the Mone
Maistresse of every lives kinde,
Bot if so be that sche mai finde
Som holy man that wol withdrawe
His kindly lust ayein hir lawe;
Bot sielde whanne it falleth so,
For fewe men ther ben of tho,
Bot of these othre ynowe be,
Whiche of here oghne nycete
Ayein Nature and hire office
Deliten hem in sondri vice,
Wherof that sche fulofte hath pleigned,
And ek my Court it hath desdeigned
And evere schal; for it receiveth
Non such that kinde so deceiveth.
For al onliche of gentil love
Mi court stant alle courtz above
And takth noght into retenue
Bot thing which is to kinde due,
For elles it schal be refused.
Wherof I holde thee excused,
For it is manye daies gon,
That thou amonges hem were on
Which of my court hast ben withholde;
So that the more I am beholde
Of thi desese to commune,
And to remue that fortune,
Which manye daies hath the grieved.
Bot if my conseil mai be lieved,
Thou schalt ben esed er thou go
Of thilke unsely jolif wo,
Wherof thou seist thin herte is fyred:
Bot as of that thou hast desired
After the sentence of thi bille,
Thou most therof don at my wille,
And I therof me wole avise.
For be thou hol, it schal suffise:
Mi medicine is noght to sieke
For thee and for suche olde sieke,
Noght al per chance as ye it wolden,
Bot so as ye be reson scholden,
Acordant unto loves kinde.
For in the plit which I thee finde,
So as mi court it hath awarded,
Thou schalt be duely rewarded;
And if thou woldest more crave,
It is no riht that thou it have.'
Venus, which stant withoute lawe
In noncertein, bot as men drawe
Of Rageman upon the chance,
Sche leith no peis in the balance,
Bot as hir lyketh forto weie;
The trewe man fulofte aweie
Sche put, which hath hir grace bede,
And set an untrewe in his stede.
Lo, thus blindly the world sche diemeth
In loves cause, as tome siemeth:
I not what othre men wol sein,
Bot I algate am so besein,
And stonde as on amonges alle
Which am out of hir grace falle:
It nedeth take no witnesse,
For sche which seid is the goddesse,
To whether part of love it wende,
Hath sett me for a final ende
The point wherto that I schal holde.
For whan sche hath me wel beholde,
Halvynge of scorn, sche seide thus:
'Thou wost wel that I am Venus,
Which al only my lustes seche;
And wel I wot, thogh thou beseche
Mi love, lustes ben ther none,
Whiche I mai take in thi persone;
For loves lust and lockes hore
In chambre acorden neveremore,
And thogh thou feigne a yong corage,
It scheweth wel be the visage
That olde grisel is no fole:
There ben fulmanye yeres stole
With thee and with suche othre mo,
That outward feignen youthe so
And ben withinne of pore assay.
Min herte wolde and I ne may
Is noght beloved nou adayes;
Er thou make eny suche assaies
To love, and faile upon the fet,
Betre is to make a beau retret;
For thogh thou myhtest love atteigne,
Yit were it bot an ydel peine,
Whan that thou art noght sufficant
To holde love his covenant.
Forthi tak hom thin herte ayein,
That thou travaile noght in vein,
Wherof my Court may be deceived.
I wot and have it wel conceived,
Hou that thi will is good ynowh;
Bot mor behoveth to the plowh,
Wherof the lacketh, as I trowe:
So sitte it wel that thou beknowe
Thi fieble astat, er thou beginne
Thing wher thou miht non ende winne.
What bargain scholde a man assaie,
Whan that him lacketh forto paie?
Mi Sone, if thou be wel bethoght,
This toucheth thee; foryet it noght:
The thing is torned into was;
That which was whilom grene gras,
Is welked hey at time now.
Forthi mi conseil is that thou
Remembre wel hou thou art old.'
Whan Venus hath hir tale told,
And I bethoght was al aboute,
Tho wiste I wel withoute doute,
That ther was no recoverir;
And as a man the blase of fyr
With water quencheth, so ferd I;
A cold me cawhte sodeinly,
For sorwe that myn herte made
Mi dedly face pale and fade
Becam, and swoune I fell to grounde.
And as I lay the same stounde,
Ne fully quik ne fully ded,
Me thoghte I sih tofor myn hed
Cupide with his bowe bent,
And lich unto a Parlement,
Which were ordeigned for the nones,
With him cam al the world at ones
Of gentil folk that whilom were
Lovers, I sih hem alle there
Forth with Cupide in sondri routes.
Min yhe and as I caste aboutes,
To knowe among hem who was who,
I sih wher lusty Youthe tho,
As he which was a Capitein,
Tofore alle othre upon the plein
Stod with his route wel begon,
Here hevedes kempt, and therupon
Garlandes noght of o colour,
Some of the lef, some of the flour,
And some of grete Perles were;
The newe guise of Beawme there,
With sondri thinges wel devised,
I sih, wherof thei ben queintised.
It was al lust that thei with ferde,
Ther was no song that I ne herde,
Which unto love was touchende;
Of Pan and al that was likende
As in Pipinge of melodie
Was herd in thilke compaignie
So lowde, that on every side
It thoghte as al the hevene cride
In such acord and such a soun
Of bombard and of clarion
With Cornemuse and Schallemele,
That it was half a mannes hele
So glad a noise forto hiere.
And as me thoghte, in this manere
Al freissh I syh hem springe and dance,
And do to love her entendance
After the lust of youthes heste.
Ther was ynowh of joie and feste,
For evere among thei laghe and pleie,
And putten care out of the weie,
That he with hem ne sat ne stod.
And overthis I understod,
So as myn Ere it myhte areche,
The moste matiere of her speche
Was al of knyhthod and of Armes,
And what it is to ligge in armes
With love, whanne it is achieved.
Ther was Tristram, which was believed
With bele Ysolde, and Lancelot
Stod with Gunnore, and Galahot
With his ladi, and as me thoghte,
I syh wher Jason with him broghte
His love, which that Creusa hihte,
And Hercules, which mochel myhte,
Was ther berende his grete Mace,
And most of alle in thilke place
He peyneth him to make chiere
With Eolen, which was him diere.
Theses, thogh he were untrewe
To love, as alle wommen knewe,
Yit was he there natheles
With Phedra, whom to love he ches:
Of Grece ek ther was Thelamon,
Which fro the king Lamenedon
At Troie his doghter refte aweie,
Eseonen, as for his preie,
Which take was whan Jason cam
Fro Colchos, and the Cite nam
In vengance of the ferste hate;
That made hem after to debate,
Whan Priamus the newe toun
Hath mad. And in avisioun
Me thoghte that I sih also
Ector forth with his brethren tuo;
Himself stod with Pantaselee,
And next to him I myhte se,
Wher Paris stod with faire Eleine,
Which was his joie sovereine;
And Troilus stod with Criseide,
Bot evere among, althogh he pleide,
Be semblant he was hevy chiered,
For Diomede, as him was liered,
Cleymeth to ben his parconner.
And thus full many a bacheler,
A thousend mo than I can sein,
With Yowthe I sih ther wel besein
Forth with here loves glade and blithe.
And some I sih whiche ofte sithe
Compleignen hem in other wise;
Among the whiche I syh Narcise
And Piramus, that sory were.
The worthy Grek also was there,
Achilles, which for love deide:
Agamenon ek, as men seide,
And Menelay the king also
I syh, with many an other mo,
Which hadden be fortuned sore
In loves cause. And overmore
Of wommen in the same cas,
With hem I sih wher Dido was,
Forsake which was with Enee;
And Phillis ek I myhte see,
Whom Demephon deceived hadde;
And Adriagne hir sorwe ladde,
For Theses hir Soster tok
And hire unkindely forsok.
I sih ther ek among the press
Compleignende upon Hercules
His ferste love Deyanire,
Which sette him afterward afyre:
Medea was there ek and pleigneth
Upon Jason, for that he feigneth,
Withoute cause and tok a newe;
Sche seide, 'Fy on alle untrewe!'
I sih there ek Deijdamie,
Which hadde lost the compaignie
Of Achilles, whan Diomede
To Troie him fette upon the nede.
Among these othre upon the grene
I syh also the wofull queene
Cleopatras, which in a Cave
With Serpentz hath hirself begrave
Alquik, and so sche was totore,
For sorwe of that sche hadde lore
Antonye, which hir love hath be:
And forth with hire I sih Tisbee,
Which on the scharpe swerdes point
For love deide in sory point;
And as myn Ere it myhte knowe,
Sche seide, 'Wo worthe alle slowe!'
The pleignte of Progne and Philomene
Ther herde I what it wolde mene,
How Teres of his untrouthe
Undede hem bothe, and that was routhe;
And next to hem I sih Canace,
Which for Machaire hir fader grace
Hath lost, and deide in wofull plit.
And as I sih in my spirit,
Me thoghte amonges othre thus
The doghter of king Priamus,
Polixena, whom Pirrus slowh,
Was there and made sorwe ynowh,
As sche which deide gulteles
For love, and yit was loveles.
And forto take the desport,
I sih there some of other port,
And that was Circes and Calipse,
That cowthen do the Mone eclipse,
Of men and change the liknesses,
Of Artmagique Sorceresses;
Thei hielde in honde manyon,
To love wher thei wolde or non.
Bot above alle that ther were
Of wommen I sih foure there,
Whos name I herde most comended:
Be hem the Court stod al amended;
For wher thei comen in presence,
Men deden hem the reverence,
As thogh they hadden be goddesses,
Of al this world or Emperesses.
And as me thoghte, an Ere I leide,
And herde hou that these othre seide,
'Lo, these ben the foure wyves,
Whos feith was proeved in her lyves:
For in essample of alle goode
With Mariage so thei stode,
That fame, which no gret thing hydeth,
Yit in Cronique of hem abydeth.'
Penolope that on was hote,
Whom many a knyht hath loved hote,
Whil that hire lord Ulixes lay
Full many a yer and many a day
Upon the grete Siege of Troie:
Bot sche, which hath no worldes joie
Bot only of hire housebonde,
Whil that hir lord was out of londe,
So wel hath kept hir wommanhiede,
That al the world therof tok hiede,
And nameliche of hem in Grece.
That other womman was Lucrece,
Wif to the Romain Collatin;
And sche constreigned of Tarquin
To thing which was ayein hir wille,
Sche wolde noght hirselven stille,
Bot deide only for drede of schame
In keping of hire goode name,
As sche which was on of the beste.
The thridde wif was hote Alceste,
Which whanne Ametus scholde dye
Upon his grete maladye,
Sche preide unto the goddes so,
That sche receyveth al the wo
And deide hirself to yive him lif:
Lo, if this were a noble wif.
The ferthe wif which I ther sih,
I herde of hem that were nyh
Hou sche was cleped Alcione,
Which to Seyix hir lord al one
And to nomo hire body kepte;
And whan sche sih him dreynt, sche lepte
Into the wawes where he swam,
And there a Sefoul sche becam,
And with hire wenges him bespradde
For love which to him sche hadde.
Lo, these foure were tho
Whiche I sih, as me thoghte tho,
Among the grete compaignie
Which Love hadde forto guye:
Bot Youthe, which in special
Of Loves Court was Mareschal,
So besy was upon his lay,
That he non hiede where I lay
Hath take. And thanne, as I behield,
Me thoghte I sih upon the field,
Where Elde cam a softe pas
Toward Venus, ther as sche was.
With him gret compaignie he ladde,
Bot noght so manye as Youthe hadde:
The moste part were of gret Age,
And that was sene in the visage,
And noght forthi, so as thei myhte,
Thei made hem yongly to the sihte:
Bot yit herde I no pipe there
To make noise in mannes Ere,
Bot the Musette I myhte knowe,
For olde men which souneth lowe,
With Harpe and Lute and with Citole.
The hovedance and the Carole,
In such a wise as love hath bede,
A softe pas thei dance and trede;
And with the wommen otherwhile
With sobre chier among thei smyle,
For laghtre was ther non on hyh.
And natheles full wel I syh
That thei the more queinte it made
For love, in whom thei weren glade.
And there me thoghte I myhte se
The king David with Bersabee,
And Salomon was noght withoute;
Passende an hundred on a route
Of wyves and of Concubines,
Juesses bothe and Sarazines,
To him I sih alle entendant:
I not if he was sufficant,
Bot natheles for al his wit
He was attached with that writ
Which love with his hond enseleth,
Fro whom non erthly man appeleth.
And overthis, as for a wonder,
With his leon which he put under,
With Dalida Sampson I knew,
Whos love his strengthe al overthrew.
I syh there Aristotle also,
Whom that the queene of Grece so
Hath bridled, that in thilke time
Sche made him such a Silogime,
That he foryat al his logique;
Ther was non art of his Practique,
Thurgh which it mihte ben excluded
That he ne was fully concluded
To love, and dede his obeissance.
And ek Virgile of aqueintance
I sih, wher he the Maiden preide,
Which was the doghter, as men seide,
Of themperour whilom of Rome;
Sortes and Plato with him come,
So dede Ovide the Poete.
I thoghte thanne how love is swete,
Which hath so wise men reclamed,
And was miself the lasse aschamed,
Or forto lese or forto winne
In the meschief that I was inne:
And thus I lay in hope of grace.
And whan thei comen to the place
Wher Venus stod and I was falle,
These olde men with o vois alle
To Venus preiden for my sake.
And sche, that myhte noght forsake
So gret a clamour as was there,
Let Pite come into hire Ere;
And forth withal unto Cupide
Sche preith that he upon his side
Me wolde thurgh his grace sende
Som confort, that I myhte amende,
Upon the cas which is befalle.
And thus for me thei preiden alle
Of hem that weren olde aboute,
And ek some of the yonge route,
Of gentilesse and pure trouthe
I herde hem telle it was gret routhe,
That I withouten help so ferde.
And thus me thoghte I lay and herde.
Cupido, which may hurte and hele
In loves cause, as for myn hele
Upon the point which him was preid
Cam with Venus, wher I was leid
Swounende upon the grene gras.
And, as me thoghte , anon ther was
On every side so gret presse,
That every lif began to presse,
I wot noght wel hou many score,
Suche as I spak of now tofore,
Lovers, that comen to beholde,
Bot most of hem that weren olde:
Thei stoden there at thilke tyde,
To se what ende schal betyde
Upon the cure of my sotie.
Tho myhte I hiere gret partie
Spekende, and ech his oghne avis
Hath told, on that, an other this:
Bot among alle this I herde,
Thei weren wo that I so ferde,
And seiden that for no riote
An old man scholde noght assote;
For as thei tolden redely,
Ther is in him no cause why,
Bot if he wolde himself benyce;
So were he wel the more nyce.
And thus desputen some of tho,
And some seiden nothing so,
Bot that the wylde loves rage
In mannes lif forberth non Age;
Whil ther is oyle forto fyre,
The lampe is lyhtly set afyre,
And is fulhard er it be queynt,
Bot only if it be som seint,
Which god preserveth of his grace.
And thus me thoghte, in sondri place
Of hem that walken up and doun
Ther was diverse opinioun:
And for a while so it laste,
Til that Cupide to the laste,
Forth with his moder full avised,
Hath determined and devised
Unto what point he wol descende.
And al this time I was liggende
Upon the ground tofore his yhen,
And thei that my desese syhen
Supposen noght I scholde live;
Bot he, which wolde thanne yive
His grace, so as it mai be,
This blinde god which mai noght se,
Hath groped til that he me fond;
And as he pitte forth his hond
Upon my body, wher I lay,
Me thoghte a fyri Lancegay,
Which whilom thurgh myn herte he caste,
He pulleth oute, and also faste
As this was do, Cupide nam
His weie, I not where he becam,
And so dede al the remenant
Which unto him was entendant,
Of hem that in Avision
I hadde a revelacion,
So as I tolde now tofore.
Bot Venus wente noght therfore,
Ne Genius, whiche thilke time
Abiden bothe faste byme.
And sche which mai the hertes bynde
In loves cause and ek unbinde,
Er I out of mi trance aros,
Venus, which hield a boiste clos,
And wolde noght I scholde deie,
Tok out mor cold than eny keie
An oignement, and in such point
Sche hath my wounded herte enoignt,
My temples and my Reins also.
And forth withal sche tok me tho
A wonder Mirour forto holde,
In which sche bad me to beholde
And taken hiede of that I syhe;
Wherinne anon myn hertes yhe
I caste, and sih my colour fade,
Myn yhen dymme and al unglade,
Mi chiekes thinne, and al my face
With Elde I myhte se deface,
So riveled and so wo besein,
That ther was nothing full ne plein,
I syh also myn heres hore.
Mi will was tho to se nomore
Outwith, for ther was no plesance;
And thanne into my remembrance
I drowh myn olde daies passed,
And as reson it hath compassed,
I made a liknesse of miselve
Unto the sondri Monthes twelve,
Wherof the yeer in his astat
Is mad, and stant upon debat,
That lich til other non acordeth.
For who the times wel recordeth,
And thanne at Marche if he beginne,
Whan that the lusti yeer comth inne,
Til Augst be passed and Septembre,
The myhty youthe he may remembre
In which the yeer hath his deduit
Of gras, of lef, of flour, of fruit,
Of corn and of the wyny grape.
And afterward the time is schape
To frost, to Snow, to Wind, to Rein,
Til eft that Mars be come ayein:
The Wynter wol no Somer knowe,
The grene lef is overthrowe,
The clothed erthe is thanne bare,
Despuiled is the Somerfare,
That erst was hete is thanne chele.
And thus thenkende thoghtes fele,
I was out of mi swoune affraied,
Wherof I sih my wittes straied,
And gan to clepe hem hom ayein.
And whan Resoun it herde sein
That loves rage was aweie,
He cam to me the rihte weie,
And hath remued the sotie
Of thilke unwise fantasie,
Wherof that I was wont to pleigne,
So that of thilke fyri peine
I was mad sobre and hol ynowh.
Venus behield me than and lowh,
And axeth, as it were in game,
What love was. And I for schame
Ne wiste what I scholde ansuere;
And natheles I gan to swere
That be my trouthe I knew him noght;
So ferr it was out of mi thoght,
Riht as it hadde nevere be.
'Mi goode Sone,' tho quod sche,
'Now at this time I lieve it wel,
So goth the fortune of my whiel;
Forthi mi conseil is thou leve.'
'Ma dame,' I seide, 'be your leve,
Ye witen wel, and so wot I,
That I am unbehovely
Your Court fro this day forth to serve:
And for I may no thonk deserve,
And also for I am refused,
I preie you to ben excused.
And natheles as for the laste,
Whil that my wittes with me laste,
Touchende mi confession
I axe an absolucion
Of Genius, er that I go.'
The Prest anon was redy tho,
And seide, 'Sone, as of thi schrifte
Thou hast ful pardoun and foryifte;
Foryet it thou, and so wol I.'
'Min holi fader, grant mercy,'
Quod I to him, and to the queene
I fell on knes upon the grene,
And tok my leve forto wende.
Bot sche, that wolde make an ende,
As therto which I was most able,
A Peire of Bedes blak as Sable
Sche tok and heng my necke aboute;
Upon the gaudes al withoute
Was write of gold, Por reposer.
'Lo,' thus sche seide, 'John Gower,
Now thou art ate laste cast,
This have I for thin ese cast,
That thou nomore of love sieche.
Bot my will is that thou besieche
And preie hierafter for the pes,
And that thou make a plein reles
To love, which takth litel hiede
Of olde men upon the nede,
Whan that the lustes ben aweie:
Forthi to thee nys bot o weie,
In which let reson be thi guide;
For he may sone himself misguide,
That seth noght the peril tofore.
Mi Sone, be wel war therfore,
And kep the sentence of my lore
And tarie thou mi Court nomore,
Bot go ther vertu moral duelleth,
Wher ben thi bokes, as men telleth,
Whiche of long time thou hast write.
For this I do thee wel to wite,
If thou thin hele wolt pourchace,
Thou miht noght make suite and chace,
Wher that the game is nought pernable;
It were a thing unresonable,
A man to be so overseie.
Forthi tak hiede of that I seie;
For in the lawe of my comune
We be noght schape to comune,
Thiself and I, nevere after this.
Now have y seid al that ther is
Of love as for thi final ende:
Adieu, for y mot fro the wende.'
And with that word al sodeinly,
Enclosid in a sterred sky,
Venus, which is the qweene of love,
Was take in to hire place above,
More wiste y nought wher sche becam.
And thus my leve of hire y nam,
And forth with al the same tide
Hire prest, which wolde nought abide,
Or be me lief or be me loth,
Out of my sighte forth he goth,
And y was left with outen helpe.
So wiste I nought wher of to yelpe,
Bot only that y hadde lore
My time, and was sori ther fore.
And thus bewhapid in my thought,
Whan al was turnyd in to nought,
I stod amasid for a while,
And in my self y gan to smyle
Thenkende uppon the bedis blake,
And how they weren me betake,
For that y schulde bidde and preie.
And whanne y sigh non othre weie
Bot only that y was refusid,
Unto the lif which y hadde usid
I thoughte nevere torne ayein:
And in this wise, soth to seyn,
Homward a softe pas y wente,
Wher that with al myn hol entente
Uppon the point that y am schryve
I thenke bidde whil y live.
He which withinne daies sevene
This large world forth with the hevene
Of his eternal providence
Hath mad, and thilke intelligence
In mannys soule resonable
Hath schape to be perdurable,
Wherof the man of his feture
Above alle erthli creature
Aftir the soule is immortal,
To thilke lord in special,
As he which is of alle thinges
The creatour, and of the kynges
Hath the fortunes uppon honde,
His grace and mercy forto fonde
Uppon my bare knes y preie,
That he this lond in siker weie
Wol sette uppon good governance.
For if men takyn remembrance
What is to live in unite,
Ther ys no staat in his degree
That noughte to desire pes,
With outen which, it is no les,
To seche and loke in to the laste,
Ther may no worldes joye laste.
Ferst forto loke the Clergie,
Hem oughte wel to justefie
Thing which belongith to here cure,
As forto praie and to procure
Oure pes toward the hevene above,
And ek to sette reste and love
Among ous on this erthe hiere.
For if they wroughte in this manere
Aftir the reule of charite,
I hope that men schuldyn se
This lond amende. And ovyr this,
To seche and loke how that it is
Touchende of the chevalerie,
Which forto loke, in som partie
Is worthi forto be comendid,
And in som part to ben amendid,
That of here large retenue
The lond is ful of maintenue,
Which causith that the comune right
In fewe contrees stant upright.
Extorcioun, contekt, ravine
Withholde ben of that covyne,
Aldai men hierin gret compleignte
Of the desease, of the constreignte,
Wher of the poeple is sore oppressid:
God graunte it mote be redressid.
For of knyghthode thordre wolde
That thei defende and kepe scholde
The comun right and the fraunchise
Of holy cherche in alle wise,
So that no wikke man it dere,
And ther fore servith scheld and spere:
Bot for it goth now other weie,
Oure grace goth the more aweie.
And forto lokyn ovyrmore,
Wher of the poeple pleigneth sore,
Toward the lawis of oure lond,
Men sein that trouthe hath broke his bond
And with brocage is goon aweie,
So that no man can se the weie
Wher forto fynde rightwisnesse.
And if men sechin sikernesse
Uppon the lucre of marchandie,
Compassement and tricherie
Of singuler profit to wynne,
Men seyn, is cause of mochil synne,
And namely of divisioun,
Which many a noble worthi toun
Fro welthe and fro prosperite
Hath brought to gret adversite.
So were it good to ben al on,
For mechil grace ther uppon
Unto the Citees schulde falle,
Which myghte availle to ous alle,
If these astatz amendid were,
So that the vertus stodyn there
And that the vices were aweie:
Me thenkth y dorste thanne seie,
This londis grace schulde arise.
Bot yit to loke in othre wise,
Ther is a stat, as ye schul hiere,
Above alle othre on erthe hiere,
Which hath the lond in his balance:
To him belongith the leiance
Of Clerk, of knyght, of man of lawe;
Undir his hond al is forth drawe
The marchant and the laborer;
So stant it al in his power
Or forto spille or forto save.
Bot though that he such power have,
And that his myghtes ben so large,
He hath hem nought withouten charge,
To which that every kyng ys swore:
So were it good that he ther fore
First un to rightwisnesse entende,
Wherof that he hym self amende
Toward his god and leve vice,
Which is the chief of his office;
And aftir al the remenant
He schal uppon his covenant
Governe and lede in such a wise,
So that ther be no tirandise,
Wherof that he his poeple grieve,
Or ellis may he nought achieve
That longith to his regalie.
For if a kyng wol justifie
His lond and hem that beth withynne,
First at hym self he mot begynne,
To kepe and reule his owne astat,
That in hym self be no debat
Toward his god: for othre wise
Ther may non erthly kyng suffise
Of his kyngdom the folk to lede,
Bot he the kyng of hevene drede.
For what kyng sett hym uppon pride
And takth his lust on every side
And wil nought go the righte weie,
Though god his grace caste aweie
No wondir is, for ate laste
He schal wel wite it mai nought laste,
The pompe which he secheth here.
Bot what kyng that with humble chere
Aftir the lawe of god eschuieth
The vices, and the vertus suieth,
His grace schal be suffisant
To governe al the remenant
Which longith to his duite;
So that in his prosperite
The poeple schal nought ben oppressid,
Wherof his name schal be blessid,
For evere and be memorial.
And now to speke as in final,
Touchende that y undirtok
In englesch forto make a book
Which stant betwene ernest and game,
I have it maad as thilke same
Which axe forto ben excusid,
And that my bok be nought refusid
Of lered men, whan thei it se,
For lak of curiosite:
For thilke scole of eloquence
Belongith nought to my science,
Uppon the forme of rethoriqe
My wordis forto peinte and pike,
As Tullius som tyme wrot.
Bot this y knowe and this y wot,
That y have do my trewe peyne
With rude wordis and with pleyne,
In al that evere y couthe and myghte,
This bok to write as y behighte,
So as siknesse it soffre wolde;
And also for my daies olde,
That y am feble and impotent,
I wot nought how the world ys went.
So preye y to my lordis alle
Now in myn age, how so befalle,
That y mot stonden in here grace:
For though me lacke to purchace
Here worthi thonk as by decerte,
Yit the symplesse of my poverte
Desireth forto do plesance
To hem undir whos governance
I hope siker to abide.
But now uppon my laste tide
That y this book have maad and write,
My muse doth me forto wite,
And seith it schal be for my beste
Fro this day forth to take reste,
That y nomore of love make,
Which many an herte hath overtake,
And ovyrturnyd as the blynde
Fro reson in to lawe of kynde;
Wher as the wisdom goth aweie
And can nought se the ryhte weie
How to governe his oghne estat,
Bot everydai stant in debat
Withinne him self, and can nought leve.
And thus forthy my final leve
I take now for evere more,
Withoute makynge any more,
Of love and of his dedly hele,
Which no phisicien can hele.
For his nature is so divers,
That it hath evere som travers
Or of to moche or of to lite,
That pleinly mai noman delite,
Bot if him faile or that or this.
Bot thilke love which that is
Withinne a mannes herte affermed,
And stant of charite confermed,
Such love is goodly forto have,
Such love mai the bodi save,
Such love mai the soule amende,
The hyhe god such love ous sende
Forthwith the remenant of grace;
So that above in thilke place
Wher resteth love and alle pes,
Oure joie mai ben endeles.
Explicit iste liber, qui transeat, obsecro liber,
Vt sine liuore vigeat lectoris in ore.
Qui sedet in scannis celi det vt ista lohannis
Perpetuis annis stet pagina grata Britannis,
Derbeie Comiti, recolunt quem laude periti,
Vade liber purus, sub eo requiesce futurus.
Incipit Liber Octavus