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Confessio Amantis

Part 11 out of 17

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Of that hir world was so miswent;
And he made of his oghne wit,
Wherof the remembrance is yit, 5290
For Minotaure such an hous,
Which was so strange and merveilous,
That what man that withinne wente,
Ther was so many a sondri wente,
That he ne scholde noght come oute,
But gon amased al aboute.
And in this hous to loke and warde
Was Minotaurus put in warde,
That what lif that therinne cam,
Or man or beste, he overcam 5300
And slow, and fedde him therupon;
And in this wise many on
Out of Athenys for truage
Devoured weren in that rage.
For every yeer thei schope hem so,
Thei of Athenys, er thei go
Toward that ilke wofull chance,
As it was set in ordinance,
Upon fortune here lot thei caste;
Til that Theses ate laste, 5310
Which was the kinges Sone there,
Amonges othre that ther were
In thilke yeer, as it befell,
The lot upon his chance fell.
He was a worthi kniht withalle;
And whan he sih this chance falle,
He ferde as thogh he tok non hiede,
Bot al that evere he mihte spiede,
With him and with his felaschipe
Forth into Crete he goth be Schipe; 5320
Wher that the king Mynos he soghte,
And profreth all that he him oghte
Upon the point of here acord.
This sterne king, this cruel lord
Tok every day on of the Nyne,
And put him to the discipline
Of Minotaure, to be devoured;
Bot Theses was so favoured,
That he was kept til ate laste.
And in the meene while he caste 5330
What thing him were best to do:
And fell that Adriagne tho,
Which was the dowhter of Mynos,
And hadde herd the worthi los
Of Theses and of his myht,
And syh he was a lusti kniht,
Hire hole herte on him sche leide,
And he also of love hir preide,
So ferforth that thei were al on.
And sche ordeigneth thanne anon 5340
In what manere he scholde him save,
And schop so that sche dede him have
A clue of thred, of which withinne
Ferst ate dore he schal beginne
With him to take that on ende,
That whan he wolde ayeinward wende,
He mihte go the same weie.
And over this, so as I seie,
Of pich sche tok him a pelote,
The which he scholde into the throte 5350
Of Minotaure caste rihte:
Such wepne also for him sche dighte,
That he be reson mai noght faile
To make an ende of his bataile;
For sche him tawhte in sondri wise,
Til he was knowe of thilke emprise,
Hou he this beste schulde quelle.
And thus, schort tale forto telle,
So as this Maide him hadde tawht,
Theses with this Monstre fawht, 5360
Smot of his hed, the which he nam,
And be the thred, so as he cam,
He goth ayein, til he were oute.
Tho was gret wonder al aboute:
Mynos the tribut hath relessed,
And so was al the werre cessed
Betwen Athene and hem of Crete.
Bot now to speke of thilke suete,
Whos beaute was withoute wane,
This faire Maiden Adriane, 5370
Whan that sche sih Theses sound,
Was nevere yit upon the ground
A gladder wyht that sche was tho.
Theses duelte a dai or tuo
Wher that Mynos gret chiere him dede:
Theses in a prive stede
Hath with this Maiden spoke and rouned,
That sche to him was abandouned
In al that evere that sche couthe,
So that of thilke lusty youthe 5380
Al prively betwen hem tweie
The ferste flour he tok aweie.
For he so faire tho behihte
That evere, whil he live mihte,
He scholde hire take for his wif,
And as his oghne hertes lif
He scholde hire love and trouthe bere;
And sche, which mihte noght forbere,
So sore loveth him ayein,
That what as evere he wolde sein 5390
With al hire herte sche believeth.
And thus his pourpos he achieveth,
So that assured of his trouthe
With him sche wente, and that was routhe.
Fedra hire yonger Soster eke,
A lusti Maide, a sobre, a meke,
Fulfild of alle curtesie,
For Sosterhode and compainie
Of love, which was hem betuene,
To sen hire Soster mad a queene, 5400
Hire fader lefte and forth sche wente
With him, which al his ferste entente
Foryat withinne a litel throwe,
So that it was al overthrowe,
Whan sche best wende it scholde stonde.
The Schip was blowe fro the londe,
Wherin that thei seilende were;
This Adriagne hath mochel fere
Of that the wynd so loude bleu,
As sche which of the See ne kneu, 5410
And preide forto reste a whyle.
And so fell that upon an yle,
Which Chyo hihte, thei ben drive,
Where he to hire his leve hath yive
That sche schal londe and take hire reste.
Bot that was nothing for the beste:
For whan sche was to londe broght,
Sche, which that time thoghte noght
Bot alle trouthe, and tok no kepe,
Hath leid hire softe forto slepe, 5420
As sche which longe hath ben forwacched;
Bot certes sche was evele macched
And fer from alle loves kinde;
For more than the beste unkinde
Theses, which no trouthe kepte,
Whil that this yonge ladi slepte,
Fulfild of his unkindeschipe
Hath al foryete the goodschipe
Which Adriane him hadde do,
And bad unto the Schipmen tho 5430
Hale up the seil and noght abyde,
And forth he goth the same tyde
Toward Athene, and hire alonde
He lefte, which lay nyh the stronde
Slepende, til that sche awok.
Bot whan that sche cast up hire lok
Toward the stronde and sih no wyht,
Hire herte was so sore aflyht,
That sche ne wiste what to thinke,
Bot drouh hire to the water brinke, 5440
Wher sche behield the See at large.
Sche sih no Schip, sche sih no barge
Als ferforth as sche mihte kenne:
"Ha lord," sche seide, "which a Senne,
As al the world schal after hiere,
Upon this woful womman hiere
This worthi kniht hath don and wroght!
I wende I hadde his love boght,
And so deserved ate nede,
Whan that he stod upon his drede, 5450
And ek the love he me behihte.
It is gret wonder hou he mihte
Towardes me nou ben unkinde,
And so to lete out of his mynde
Thing which he seide his oghne mouth.
Bot after this whan it is couth
And drawe into the worldes fame,
It schal ben hindringe of his name:
For wel he wot and so wot I,
He yaf his trouthe bodily, 5460
That he myn honour scholde kepe."
And with that word sche gan to wepe,
And sorweth more than ynouh:
Hire faire tresces sche todrouh,
And with hirself tok such a strif,
That sche betwen the deth and lif
Swounende lay fulofte among.
And al was this on him along,
Which was to love unkinde so,
Wherof the wrong schal everemo 5470
Stonde in Cronique of remembrance.
And ek it asketh a vengance
To ben unkinde in loves cas,
So as Theses thanne was,
Al thogh he were a noble kniht;
For he the lawe of loves riht
Forfeted hath in alle weie,
That Adriagne he putte aweie,
Which was a gret unkinde dede:
And after this, so as I rede, 5480
Fedra, the which hir Soster is,
He tok in stede of hire, and this
Fel afterward to mochel teene.
For thilke vice of which I meene,
Unkindeschipe, where it falleth,
The trouthe of mannes herte it palleth,
That he can no good dede aquite:
So mai he stonde of no merite
Towardes god, and ek also
Men clepen him the worldes fo; 5490
For he nomore than the fend
Unto non other man is frend,
Bot al toward himself al one.
Forthi, mi Sone, in thi persone
This vice above all othre fle.
Mi fader, as ye techen me,
I thenke don in this matiere.
Bot over this nou wolde I hiere,
Wherof I schal me schryve more.
Mi goode Sone, and for thi lore, 5500
After the reule of coveitise
I schal the proprete devise
Of every vice by and by.
Nou herkne and be wel war therby.
In the lignage of Avarice,
Mi Sone, yit ther is a vice,
His rihte name it is Ravine,
Which hath a route of his covine.
Ravine among the maistres duelleth,
And with his servantz, as men telleth, 5510
Extorcion is nou withholde:
Ravine of othre mennes folde
Makth his larder and paieth noght;
For wher as evere it mai be soght,
In his hous ther schal nothing lacke,
And that fulofte abyth the packe
Of povere men that duelle aboute.
Thus stant the comun poeple in doute,
Which can do non amendement;
For whanne him faileth paiement, 5520
Ravine makth non other skile,
Bot takth be strengthe what he wile.
So ben ther in the same wise
Lovers, as I thee schal devise,
That whan noght elles mai availe,
Anon with strengthe thei assaile
And gete of love the sesine,
Whan thei se time, be Ravine.
Forthi, mi Sone, schrif thee hier,
If thou hast ben a Raviner 5530
Of love. Certes, fader, no:
For I mi ladi love so,
That thogh I were as was Pompeie,
That al the world me wolde obeie,
Or elles such as Alisandre,
I wolde noght do such a sklaundre;
It is no good man, which so doth.
In good feith, Sone, thou seist soth:
For he that wole of pourveance
Be such a weie his lust avance, 5540
He schal it after sore abie,
Bot if these olde ensamples lie.
Nou, goode fader, tell me on,
So as ye cunne manyon,
Touchende of love in this matiere.
Nou list, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere,
So as it hath befalle er this,
In loves cause hou that it is
A man to take be Ravine
The preie which is femeline. 5550
Ther was a real noble king,
And riche of alle worldes thing,
Which of his propre enheritance
Athenes hadde in governance,
And who so thenke therupon,
His name was king Pandion.
Tuo douhtres hadde he be his wif,
The whiche he lovede as his lif;
The ferste douhter Progne hihte,
And the secounde, as sche wel mihte, 5560
Was cleped faire Philomene,
To whom fell after mochel tene.
The fader of his pourveance
His doughter Progne wolde avance,
And yaf hire unto mariage
A worthi king of hih lignage,
A noble kniht eke of his hond,
So was he kid in every lond,
Of Trace he hihte Teres;
The clerk Ovide telleth thus. 5570
This Teres his wif hom ladde,
A lusti lif with hire he hadde;
Til it befell upon a tyde,
This Progne, as sche lay him besyde,
Bethoughte hir hou it mihte be
That sche hir Soster myhte se,
And to hir lord hir will sche seide,
With goodly wordes and him preide
That sche to hire mihte go:
And if it liked him noght so, 5580
That thanne he wolde himselve wende,
Or elles be som other sende,
Which mihte hire diere Soster griete,
And schape hou that thei mihten miete.
Hir lord anon to that he herde
Yaf his acord, and thus ansuerde:
"I wole," he seide, "for thi sake
The weie after thi Soster take
Miself, and bringe hire, if I may."
And sche with that, there as he lay, 5590
Began him in hire armes clippe,
And kist him with hir softe lippe,
And seide, "Sire, grant mercy."
And he sone after was redy,
And tok his leve forto go;
In sori time dede he so.
This Teres goth forth to Schipe
With him and with his felaschipe;
Be See the rihte cours he nam,
Into the contre til he cam, 5600
Wher Philomene was duellinge,
And of hir Soster the tidinge
He tolde, and tho thei weren glade,
And mochel joie of him thei made.
The fader and the moder bothe
To leve here douhter weren lothe,
Bot if thei weren in presence;
And natheles at reverence
Of him, that wolde himself travaile,
Thei wolden noght he scholde faile 5610
Of that he preide, and yive hire leve:
And sche, that wolde noght beleve,
In alle haste made hire yare
Toward hir Soster forto fare,
With Teres and forth sche wente.
And he with al his hole entente,
Whan sche was fro hir frendes go,
Assoteth of hire love so,
His yhe myhte he noght withholde,
That he ne moste on hir beholde; 5620
And with the sihte he gan desire,
And sette his oghne herte on fyre;
And fyr, whan it to tow aprocheth,
To him anon the strengthe acrocheth,
Til with his hete it be devoured,
The tow ne mai noght be socoured.
And so that tirant raviner,
Whan that sche was in his pouer,
And he therto sawh time and place,
As he that lost hath alle grace, 5630
Foryat he was a wedded man,
And in a rage on hire he ran,
Riht as a wolf which takth his preie.
And sche began to crie and preie,
"O fader, o mi moder diere,
Nou help!" Bot thei ne mihte it hiere,
And sche was of to litel myht
Defense ayein so ruide a knyht
To make, whanne he was so wod
That he no reson understod, 5640
Bot hield hire under in such wise,
That sche ne myhte noght arise,
Bot lay oppressed and desesed,
As if a goshauk hadde sesed
A brid, which dorste noght for fere
Remue: and thus this tirant there
Beraft hire such thing as men sein
Mai neveremor be yolde ayein,
And that was the virginite:
Of such Ravine it was pite. 5650
Bot whan sche to hirselven com,
And of hir meschief hiede nom,
And knew hou that sche was no maide,
With wofull herte thus sche saide,
"O thou of alle men the worste,
Wher was ther evere man that dorste
Do such a dede as thou hast do?
That dai schal falle, I hope so,
That I schal telle out al mi fille,
And with mi speche I schal fulfille 5660
The wyde world in brede and lengthe.
That thou hast do to me be strengthe,
If I among the poeple duelle,
Unto the poeple I schal it telle;
And if I be withinne wall
Of Stones closed, thanne I schal
Unto the Stones clepe and crie,
And tellen hem thi felonie;
And if I to the wodes wende,
Ther schal I tellen tale and ende, 5670
And crie it to the briddes oute,
That thei schul hiere it al aboute.
For I so loude it schal reherce,
That my vois schal the hevene perce,
That it schal soune in goddes Ere.
Ha, false man, where is thi fere?
O mor cruel than eny beste,
Hou hast thou holden thi beheste
Which thou unto my Soster madest?
O thou, which alle love ungladest, 5680
And art ensample of alle untrewe,
Nou wolde god mi Soster knewe,
Of thin untrouthe, hou that it stod!"
And he than as a Lyon wod
With hise unhappi handes stronge
Hire cauhte be the tresses longe,
With whiche he bond ther bothe hire armes,
That was a fieble dede of armes,
And to the grounde anon hire caste,
And out he clippeth also faste 5690
Hire tunge with a peire scheres.
So what with blod and what with teres
Out of hire yhe and of hir mouth,
He made hire faire face uncouth:
Sche lay swounende unto the deth,
Ther was unethes eny breth;
Bot yit whan he hire tunge refte,
A litel part therof belefte,
Bot sche with al no word mai soune,
Bot chitre and as a brid jargoune. 5700
And natheles that wode hound
Hir bodi hent up fro the ground,
And sente hir there as be his wille
Sche scholde abyde in prison stille
For everemo: bot nou tak hiede
What after fell of this misdede.
Whanne al this meschief was befalle,
This Teres, that foule him falle,
Unto his contre hom he tyh;
And whan he com his paleis nyh, 5710
His wif al redi there him kepte.
Whan he hir sih, anon he wepte,
And that he dede for deceite,
For sche began to axe him streite,
"Wher is mi Soster?" And he seide
That sche was ded; and Progne abreide,
As sche that was a wofull wif,
And stod betuen hire deth and lif,
Of that sche herde such tidinge:
Bot for sche sih hire lord wepinge, 5720
She wende noght bot alle trouthe,
And hadde wel the more routhe.
The Perles weren tho forsake
To hire, and blake clothes take;
As sche that was gentil and kinde,
In worschipe of hir Sostres mynde
Sche made a riche enterement,
For sche fond non amendement
To syghen or to sobbe more:
So was ther guile under the gore. 5730
Nou leve we this king and queene,
And torne ayein to Philomene,
As I began to tellen erst.
Whan sche cam into prison ferst,
It thoghte a kinges douhter strange
To maken so soudein a change
Fro welthe unto so grete a wo;
And sche began to thenke tho,
Thogh sche be mouthe nothing preide,
Withinne hir herte thus sche seide: 5740
"O thou, almyhty Jupiter,
That hihe sist and lokest fer,
Thou soffrest many a wrong doinge,
And yit it is noght thi willinge.
To thee ther mai nothing ben hid,
Thou wost hou it is me betid:
I wolde I hadde noght be bore,
For thanne I hadde noght forlore
Mi speche and mi virginite.
Bot, goode lord, al is in thee, 5750
Whan thou therof wolt do vengance
And schape mi deliverance."
And evere among this ladi wepte,
And thoghte that sche nevere kepte
To ben a worldes womman more,
And that sche wissheth everemore.
Bot ofte unto hir Soster diere
Hire herte spekth in this manere,
And seide, "Ha, Soster, if ye knewe
Of myn astat, ye wolde rewe, 5760
I trowe, and my deliverance
Ye wolde schape, and do vengance
On him that is so fals a man:
And natheles, so as I can,
I wol you sende som tokninge,
Wherof ye schul have knowlechinge
Of thing I wot, that schal you lothe,
The which you toucheth and me bothe."
And tho withinne a whyle als tyt
Sche waf a cloth of Selk al whyt 5770
With lettres and ymagerie,
In which was al the felonie,
Which Teres to hire hath do;
And lappede it togedre tho
And sette hir signet therupon
And sende it unto Progne anon.
The messager which forth it bar,
What it amonteth is noght war;
And natheles to Progne he goth
And prively takth hire the cloth, 5780
And wente ayein riht as he cam,
The court of him non hiede nam.
Whan Progne of Philomene herde,
Sche wolde knowe hou that it ferde,
And opneth that the man hath broght,
And wot therby what hath be wroght
And what meschief ther is befalle.
In swoune tho sche gan doun falle,
And efte aros and gan to stonde,
And eft sche takth the cloth on honde, 5790
Behield the lettres and thymages;
Bot ate laste, "Of suche oultrages,"
Sche seith, "wepinge is noght the bote:"
And swerth, if that sche live mote,
It schal be venged otherwise.
And with that sche gan hire avise
Hou ferst sche mihte unto hire winne
Hir Soster, that noman withinne,
Bot only thei that were suore,
It scholde knowe, and schop therfore 5800
That Teres nothing it wiste;
And yit riht as hirselven liste,
Hir Soster was delivered sone
Out of prison, and be the mone
To Progne sche was broght be nyhte.
Whan ech of other hadde a sihte,
In chambre, ther thei were al one,
Thei maden many a pitous mone;
Bot Progne most of sorwe made,
Which sihe hir Soster pale and fade 5810
And specheles and deshonoured,
Of that sche hadde be defloured;
And ek upon hir lord sche thoghte,
Of that he so untreuly wroghte
And hadde his espousaile broke.
Sche makth a vou it schal be wroke,
And with that word sche kneleth doun
Wepinge in gret devocioun:
Unto Cupide and to Venus
Sche preide, and seide thanne thus: 5820
"O ye, to whom nothing asterte
Of love mai, for every herte
Ye knowe, as ye that ben above
The god and the goddesse of love;
Ye witen wel that evere yit
With al mi will and al my wit,
Sith ferst ye schopen me to wedde,
That I lay with mi lord abedde,
I have be trewe in mi degre,
And evere thoghte forto be, 5830
And nevere love in other place,
Bot al only the king of Trace,
Which is mi lord and I his wif.
Bot nou allas this wofull strif!
That I him thus ayeinward finde
The most untrewe and most unkinde
That evere in ladi armes lay.
And wel I wot that he ne may
Amende his wrong, it is so gret;
For he to lytel of me let, 5840
Whan he myn oughne Soster tok,
And me that am his wif forsok."
Lo, thus to Venus and Cupide
Sche preide, and furthermor sche cride
Unto Appollo the hiheste,
And seide, "O myghti god of reste,
Thou do vengance of this debat.
Mi Soster and al hire astat
Thou wost, and hou sche hath forlore
Hir maidenhod, and I therfore 5850
In al the world schal bere a blame
Of that mi Soster hath a schame,
That Teres to hire I sente:
And wel thou wost that myn entente
Was al for worschipe and for goode.
O lord, that yifst the lives fode
To every wyht, I prei thee hiere
Thes wofull Sostres that ben hiere,
And let ous noght to the ben lothe;
We ben thin oghne wommen bothe." 5860
Thus pleigneth Progne and axeth wreche,
And thogh hire Soster lacke speche,
To him that alle thinges wot
Hire sorwe is noght the lasse hot:
Bot he that thanne had herd hem tuo,
Him oughte have sorwed everemo
For sorwe which was hem betuene.
With signes pleigneth Philomene,
And Progne seith, "It schal be wreke,
That al the world therof schal speke." 5870
And Progne tho seknesse feigneth,
Wherof unto hir lord sche pleigneth,
And preith sche moste hire chambres kepe,
And as hir liketh wake and slepe.
And he hire granteth to be so;
And thus togedre ben thei tuo,
That wolde him bot a litel good.
Nou herk hierafter hou it stod
Of wofull auntres that befelle:
Thes Sostres, that ben bothe felle,- 5880
And that was noght on hem along,
Bot onliche on the grete wrong
Which Teres hem hadde do,-
Thei schopen forto venge hem tho.
This Teres be Progne his wif
A Sone hath, which as his lif
He loveth, and Ithis he hihte:
His moder wiste wel sche mihte
Do Teres no more grief
Than sle this child, which was so lief. 5890
Thus sche, that was, as who seith, mad
Of wo, which hath hir overlad,
Withoute insihte of moderhede
Foryat pite and loste drede,
And in hir chambre prively
This child withouten noise or cry
Sche slou, and hieu him al to pieces:
And after with diverse spieces
The fleissh, whan it was so toheewe,
Sche takth, and makth therof a sewe, 5900
With which the fader at his mete
Was served, til he hadde him ete;
That he ne wiste hou that it stod,
Bot thus his oughne fleissh and blod
Himself devoureth ayein kinde,
As he that was tofore unkinde.
And thanne, er that he were arise,
For that he scholde ben agrise,
To schewen him the child was ded,
This Philomene tok the hed 5910
Betwen tuo disshes, and al wrothe
Tho comen forth the Sostres bothe,
And setten it upon the bord.
And Progne tho began the word,
And seide, "O werste of alle wicke,
Of conscience whom no pricke
Mai stere, lo, what thou hast do!
Lo, hier ben nou we Sostres tuo;
O Raviner, lo hier thi preie,
With whom so falsliche on the weie 5920
Thou hast thi tirannye wroght.
Lo, nou it is somdel aboght,
And bet it schal, for of thi dede
The world schal evere singe and rede
In remembrance of thi defame:
For thou to love hast do such schame,
That it schal nevere be foryete."
With that he sterte up fro the mete,
And schof the bord unto the flor,
And cauhte a swerd anon and suor 5930
That thei scholde of his handes dye.
And thei unto the goddes crie
Begunne with so loude a stevene,
That thei were herd unto the hevene;
And in a twinclinge of an yhe
The goddes, that the meschief syhe,
Here formes changen alle thre.
Echon of hem in his degre
Was torned into briddes kinde;
Diverseliche, as men mai finde, 5940
After thastat that thei were inne,
Here formes were set atwinne.
And as it telleth in the tale,
The ferst into a nyhtingale
Was schape, and that was Philomene,
Which in the wynter is noght sene,
For thanne ben the leves falle
And naked ben the buisshes alle.
For after that sche was a brid,
Hir will was evere to ben hid, 5950
And forto duelle in prive place,
That noman scholde sen hir face
For schame, which mai noght be lassed,
Of thing that was tofore passed,
Whan that sche loste hir maidenhiede:
For evere upon hir wommanhiede,
Thogh that the goddes wolde hire change,
Sche thenkth, and is the more strange,
And halt hir clos the wyntres day.
Bot whan the wynter goth away, 5960
And that Nature the goddesse
Wole of hir oughne fre largesse
With herbes and with floures bothe
The feldes and the medwes clothe,
And ek the wodes and the greves
Ben heled al with grene leves,
So that a brid hire hyde mai,
Betwen Averil and March and Maii,
Sche that the wynter hield hir clos,
For pure schame and noght aros, 5970
Whan that sche seth the bowes thikke,
And that ther is no bare sticke,
Bot al is hid with leves grene,
To wode comth this Philomene
And makth hir ferste yeres flyht;
Wher as sche singeth day and nyht,
And in hir song al openly
Sche makth hir pleignte and seith, "O why,
O why ne were I yit a maide?"
For so these olde wise saide, 5980
Which understoden what sche mente,
Hire notes ben of such entente.
And ek thei seide hou in hir song
Sche makth gret joie and merthe among,
And seith, "Ha, nou I am a brid,
Ha, nou mi face mai ben hid:
Thogh I have lost mi Maidenhede,
Schal noman se my chekes rede."
Thus medleth sche with joie wo
And with hir sorwe merthe also, 5990
So that of loves maladie
Sche makth diverse melodie,
And seith love is a wofull blisse,
A wisdom which can noman wisse,
A lusti fievere, a wounde softe:
This note sche reherceth ofte
To hem whiche understonde hir tale.
Nou have I of this nyhtingale,
Which erst was cleped Philomene,
Told al that evere I wolde mene, 6000
Bothe of hir forme and of hir note,
Wherof men mai the storie note.
And of hir Soster Progne I finde,
Hou sche was torned out of kinde
Into a Swalwe swift of winge,
Which ek in wynter lith swounynge,
Ther as sche mai nothing be sene:
Bot whan the world is woxe grene
And comen is the Somertide,
Than fleth sche forth and ginth to chide, 6010
And chitreth out in hir langage
What falshod is in mariage,
And telleth in a maner speche
Of Teres the Spousebreche.
Sche wol noght in the wodes duelle,
For sche wolde openliche telle;
And ek for that sche was a spouse,
Among the folk sche comth to house,
To do thes wyves understonde
The falshod of hire housebonde, 6020
That thei of hem be war also,
For ther ben manye untrewe of tho.
Thus ben the Sostres briddes bothe,
And ben toward the men so lothe,
That thei ne wole of pure schame
Unto no mannes hand be tame;
For evere it duelleth in here mynde
Of that thei founde a man unkinde,
And that was false Teres.
If such on be amonges ous 6030
I not, bot his condicion
Men sein in every region
Withinne toune and ek withoute
Nou regneth comunliche aboute.
And natheles in remembrance
I wol declare what vengance
The goddes hadden him ordeined,
Of that the Sostres hadden pleigned:
For anon after he was changed
And from his oghne kinde stranged, 6040
A lappewincke mad he was,
And thus he hoppeth on the gras,
And on his hed ther stant upriht
A creste in tokne he was a kniht;
And yit unto this dai men seith,
A lappewincke hath lore his feith
And is the brid falseste of alle.
Bewar, mi Sone, er thee so falle;
For if thou be of such covine,
To gete of love be Ravine 6050
Thi lust, it mai thee falle thus,
As it befell of Teres.
Mi fader, goddes forebode!
Me were levere be fortrode
With wilde hors and be todrawe,
Er I ayein love and his lawe
Dede eny thing or loude or stille,
Which were noght mi ladi wille.
Men sein that every love hath drede;
So folweth it that I hire drede, 6060
For I hire love, and who so dredeth,
To plese his love and serve him nedeth.
Thus mai ye knowen be this skile
That no Ravine don I wile
Ayein hir will be such a weie;
Bot while I live, I wol obeie
Abidinge on hire courtesie,
If eny merci wolde hir plie.
Forthi, mi fader, as of this
I wot noght I have don amis: 6070
Bot furthermore I you beseche,
Som other point that ye me teche,
And axeth forth, if ther be auht,
That I mai be the betre tauht.
Whan Covoitise in povere astat
Stant with himself upon debat
Thurgh lacke of his misgovernance,
That he unto his sustienance
Ne can non other weie finde
To gete him good, thanne as the blinde, 6080
Which seth noght what schal after falle,
That ilke vice which men calle
Of Robberie, he takth on honde;
Wherof be water and be londe
Of thing which othre men beswinke
He get him cloth and mete and drinke.
Him reccheth noght what he beginne,
Thurgh thefte so that he mai winne:
Forthi to maken his pourchas
He lith awaitende on the pas, 6090
And what thing that he seth ther passe,
He takth his part, or more or lasse,
If it be worthi to be take.
He can the packes wel ransake,
So prively berth non aboute
His gold, that he ne fint it oute,
Or other juel, what it be;
He takth it as his proprete.
In wodes and in feldes eke
Thus Robberie goth to seke, 6100
Wher as he mai his pourpos finde.
And riht so in the same kinde,
My goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,
To speke of love in the matiere
And make a verrai resemblance,
Riht as a thief makth his chevance
And robbeth mennes good aboute
In wode and field, wher he goth oute,
So be ther of these lovers some,
In wylde stedes wher thei come 6110
And finden there a womman able,
And therto place covenable,
Withoute leve, er that thei fare,
Thei take a part of that chaffare:
Yee, though sche were a Scheperdesse,
Yit wol the lord of wantounesse
Assaie, althogh sche be unmete,
For other mennes good is swete.
Bot therof wot nothing the wif
At hom, which loveth as hir lif 6120
Hir lord, and sitt alday wisshinge
After hir lordes hom comynge:
Bot whan that he comth hom at eve,
Anon he makth his wif beleve,
For sche noght elles scholde knowe:
He telth hire hou his hunte hath blowe,
And hou his houndes have wel runne,
And hou ther schon a merye Sunne,
And hou his haukes flowen wel;
Bot he wol telle her nevere a diel 6130
Hou he to love untrewe was,
Of that he robbede in the pas,
And tok his lust under the schawe
Ayein love and ayein his lawe.
Which thing, mi Sone, I thee forbede,
For it is an ungoodly dede.
For who that takth be Robberie
His love, he mai noght justefie
His cause, and so fulofte sithe
For ones that he hath be blithe 6140
He schal ben after sory thries.
Ensample of suche Robberies
I finde write, as thou schalt hiere,
Acordende unto this matiere.
I rede hou whilom was a Maide,
The faireste, as Ovide saide,
Which was in hire time tho;
And sche was of the chambre also
Of Pallas, which is the goddesse
And wif to Marte, of whom prouesse 6150
Is yove to these worthi knihtes.
For he is of so grete mihtes,
That he governeth the bataille;
Withouten him may noght availe
The stronge hond, bot he it helpe;
Ther mai no knyht of armes yelpe,
Bot he feihte under his banere.
Bot nou to speke of mi matiere,
This faire, freisshe, lusti mai,
Al one as sche wente on a dai 6160
Upon the stronde forto pleie,
Ther cam Neptunus in the weie,
Which hath the See in governance;
And in his herte such plesance
He tok, whan he this Maide sih,
That al his herte aros on hih,
For he so sodeinliche unwar
Behield the beaute that sche bar.
And caste anon withinne his herte
That sche him schal no weie asterte, 6170
Bot if he take in avantage
Fro thilke maide som pilage,
Noght of the broches ne the Ringes,
Bot of some othre smale thinges
He thoghte parte, er that sche wente;
And hire in bothe hise armes hente,
And putte his hond toward the cofre,
Wher forto robbe he made a profre,
That lusti tresor forto stele,
Which passeth othre goodes fele 6180
And cleped is the maidenhede,
Which is the flour of wommanhede.
This Maiden, which Cornix be name
Was hote, dredende alle schame,
Sih that sche mihte noght debate,
And wel sche wiste he wolde algate
Fulfille his lust of Robberie,
Anon began to wepe and crie,
And seide, "O Pallas, noble queene,
Scheu nou thi myht and let be sene, 6190
To kepe and save myn honour:
Help, that I lese noght mi flour,
Which nou under thi keie is loke."
That word was noght so sone spoke,
Whan Pallas schop recoverir
After the will and the desir
Of hire, which a Maiden was,
And sodeinliche upon this cas
Out of hire wommanisshe kinde
Into a briddes like I finde 6200
Sche was transformed forth withal,
So that Neptunus nothing stal
Of such thing as he wolde have stole.
With fetheres blake as eny cole
Out of hise armes in a throwe
Sche flih before his yhe a Crowe;
Which was to hire a more delit,
To kepe hire maidenhede whit
Under the wede of fethers blake,
In Perles whyte than forsake 6210
That no lif mai restore ayein.
Bot thus Neptune his herte in vein
Hath upon Robberie sett;
The bridd is flowe and he was let,
The faire Maide him hath ascaped,
Wherof for evere he was bejaped
And scorned of that he hath lore.
Mi Sone, be thou war therfore
That thou no maidenhode stele,
Wherof men sen deseses fele 6220
Aldai befalle in sondri wise;
So as I schal thee yit devise
An other tale therupon,
Which fell be olde daies gon.
King Lichaon upon his wif
A dowhter hadde, a goodly lif,
A clene Maide of worthi fame,
Calistona whos rihte name
Was cleped, and of many a lord
Sche was besoght, bot hire acord 6230
To love myhte noman winne,
As sche which hath no lust therinne;
Bot swor withinne hir herte and saide
That sche wolde evere ben a Maide.
Wherof to kepe hireself in pes,
With suche as Amadriades
Were cleped, wodemaydes, tho,
And with the Nimphes ek also
Upon the spring of freisshe welles
Sche schop to duelle and nagher elles. 6240
And thus cam this Calistona
Into the wode of Tegea,
Wher sche virginite behihte
Unto Diane, and therto plihte
Her trouthe upon the bowes grene,
To kepe hir maidenhode clene.
Which afterward upon a day
Was priveliche stole away;
For Jupiter thurgh his queintise
From hire it tok in such a wise, 6250
That sodeinliche forth withal
Hire wombe aros and sche toswal,
So that it mihte noght ben hidd.
And therupon it is betidd,
Diane, which it herde telle,
In prive place unto a welle
With Nimphes al a compainie
Was come, and in a ragerie
Sche seide that sche bathe wolde,
And bad that every maide scholde 6260
With hire al naked bathe also.
And tho began the prive wo,
Calistona wax red for schame;
Bot thei that knewe noght the game,
To whom no such thing was befalle,
Anon thei made hem naked alle,
As thei that nothing wolden hyde:
Bot sche withdrouh hire evere asyde,
And natheles into the flod,
Wher that Diane hirselve stod, 6270
Sche thoghte come unaperceived.
Bot therof sche was al deceived;
For whan sche cam a litel nyh,
And that Diane hire wombe syh,
Sche seide, "Awey, thou foule beste,
For thin astat is noght honeste
This chaste water forto touche;
For thou hast take such a touche,
Which nevere mai ben hol ayein."
And thus goth sche which was forlein 6280
With schame, and fro the Nimphes fledde,
Til whanne that nature hire spedde,
That of a Sone, which Archas
Was named, sche delivered was.
And tho Juno, which was the wif
Of Jupiter, wroth and hastif,
In pourpos forto do vengance
Cam forth upon this ilke chance,
And to Calistona sche spak,
And sette upon hir many a lak, 6290
And seide, "Ha, nou thou art atake,
That thou thi werk myht noght forsake.
Ha, thou ungoodlich ypocrite,
Hou thou art gretly forto wyte!
Bot nou thou schalt ful sore abie
That ilke stelthe and micherie,
Which thou hast bothe take and do;
Wherof thi fader Lichao
Schal noght be glad, whan he it wot,
Of that his dowhter was so hot, 6300
That sche hath broke hire chaste avou.
Bot I thee schal chastise nou;
Thi grete beaute schal be torned,
Thurgh which that thou hast be mistorned,
Thi large frount, thin yhen greie,
I schal hem change in other weie,
And al the feture of thi face
In such a wise I schal deface,
That every man thee schal forbere."
With that the liknesse of a bere 6310
Sche tok and was forschape anon.
Withinne a time and therupon
Befell that with a bowe on honde,
To hunte and gamen forto fonde,
Into that wode goth to pleie
Hir Sone Archas, and in his weie
It hapneth that this bere cam.
And whan that sche good hiede nam,
Wher that he stod under the bowh,
Sche kneu him wel and to him drouh; 6320
For thogh sche hadde hire forme lore,
The love was noght lost therfore
Which kinde hath set under his lawe.
Whan sche under the wodesschawe
Hire child behield, sche was so glad,
That sche with bothe hire armes sprad,
As thogh sche were in wommanhiede,
Toward him cam, and tok non hiede
Of that he bar a bowe bent.
And he with that an Arwe hath hent 6330
And gan to teise it in his bowe,
As he that can non other knowe,
Bot that it was a beste wylde.
Bot Jupiter, which wolde schylde
The Moder and the Sone also,
Ordeineth for hem bothe so,
That thei for evere were save.
Bot thus, mi Sone, thou myht have
Ensample, hou that it is to fle
To robbe the virginite 6340
Of a yong innocent aweie:
And overthis be other weie,
In olde bokes as I rede,
Such Robberie is forto drede,
And nameliche of thilke good
Which every womman that is good
Desireth forto kepe and holde,
As whilom was be daies olde.
For if thou se mi tale wel
Of that was tho, thou miht somdiel 6350
Of old ensample taken hiede,
Hou that the flour of maidenhiede
Was thilke time holde in pris.
And so it was, and so it is,
And so it schal for evere stonde:
And for thou schalt it understonde,
Nou herkne a tale next suiende,
Hou maidenhod is to commende.
Of Rome among the gestes olde
I finde hou that Valerie tolde 6360
That what man tho was Emperour
Of Rome, he scholde don honour
To the virgine, and in the weie,
Wher he hire mette, he scholde obeie
In worschipe of virginite,
Which tho was of gret dignite.
Noght onliche of the wommen tho,
Bot of the chaste men also
It was commended overal:
And forto speke in special 6370
Touchende of men, ensample I finde,
Phyryns, which was of mannes kinde
Above alle othre the faireste
Of Rome and ek the comelieste,
That wel was hire which him mihte
Beholde and have of him a sihte.
Thus was he tempted ofte sore;
Bot for he wolde be nomore
Among the wommen so coveited,
The beaute of his face streited 6380
He hath, and threste out bothe hise yhen,
That alle wommen whiche him syhen
Thanne afterward, of him ne roghte:
And thus his maidehiede he boghte.
So mai I prove wel forthi,
Above alle othre under the Sky,
Who that the vertus wolde peise,
Virginite is forto preise,
Which, as thapocalips recordeth,
To Crist in hevene best acordeth. 6390
So mai it schewe wel therfore,
As I have told it hier tofore,
In hevene and ek in Erthe also
It is accept to bothe tuo.
And if I schal more over this
Declare what this vertu is,
I finde write upon this thing
Of Valentinian the king
And Emperour be thilke daies,
A worthi knyht at alle assaies, 6400
Hou he withoute Mariage
Was of an hundred wynter Age,
And hadde ben a worthi kniht
Bothe of his lawe and of his myht.
Bot whan men wolde his dedes peise
And his knyhthode of Armes preise,
Of that he dede with his hondes,
Whan he the kinges and the londes
To his subjeccion put under,
Of al that pris hath he no wonder, 6410
For he it sette of non acompte,
And seide al that may noght amonte
Ayeins o point which he hath nome,
That he his fleissh hath overcome:
He was a virgine, as he seide;
On that bataille his pris he leide.
Lo nou, my Sone, avise thee.
Yee, fader, al this wel mai be,
Bot if alle othre dede so,
The world of men were sone go: 6420
And in the lawe a man mai finde,
Hou god to man be weie of kinde
Hath set the world to multeplie;
And who that wol him justefie,
It is ynouh to do the lawe.
And natheles youre goode sawe
Is good to kepe, who so may,
I wol noght therayein seie nay.
Mi Sone, take it as I seie;
If maidenhod be take aweie 6430
Withoute lawes ordinance,
It mai noght failen of vengance.
And if thou wolt the sothe wite,
Behold a tale which is write,
Hou that the King Agamenon,
Whan he the Cite of Lesbon
Hath wonne, a Maiden ther he fond,
Which was the faireste of the Lond
In thilke time that men wiste.
He tok of hire what him liste 6440
Of thing which was most precious,
Wherof that sche was dangerous.
This faire Maiden cleped is
Criseide, douhter of Crisis,
Which was that time in special
Of thilke temple principal,
Wher Phebus hadde his sacrifice,
So was it wel the more vice.
Agamenon was thanne in weie
To Troieward, and tok aweie 6450
This Maiden, which he with him ladde,
So grete a lust in hire he hadde.
Bot Phebus, which hath gret desdeign
Of that his Maiden was forlein,
Anon as he to Troie cam,
Vengance upon this dede he nam
And sende a comun pestilence.
Thei soghten thanne here evidence
And maden calculacion,
To knowe in what condicion 6460
This deth cam in so sodeinly;
And ate laste redyly
The cause and ek the man thei founde:
And forth withal the same stounde
Agamenon opposed was,
Which hath beknowen al the cas
Of the folie which he wroghte.
And therupon mercy thei soghte
Toward the god in sondri wise
With preiere and with sacrifise, 6470
The Maide and hom ayein thei sende,
And yive hire good ynouh to spende
For evere whil sche scholde live:
And thus the Senne was foryive
And al the pestilence cessed.
Lo, what it is to ben encressed
Of love which is evele wonne.
It were betre noght begonne
Than take a thing withoute leve,
Which thou most after nedes leve, 6480
And yit have malgre forth withal.
Forthi to robben overal
In loves cause if thou beginne,
I not what ese thou schalt winne.
Mi Sone, be wel war of this,
For thus of Robberie it is.
Mi fader, youre ensamplerie
In loves cause of Robberie
I have it riht wel understonde.
Bot overthis, hou so it stonde, 6490
Yit wolde I wite of youre aprise
What thing is more of Covoitise.
With Covoitise yit I finde
A Servant of the same kinde,
Which Stelthe is hote, and Mecherie
With him is evere in compainie.
Of whom if I schal telle soth,
He stalketh as a Pocok doth,
And takth his preie so covert,
That noman wot it in apert. 6500
For whan he wot the lord from home,
Than wol he stalke aboute and rome;
And what thing he fint in his weie,
Whan that he seth the men aweie,
He stelth it and goth forth withal,
That therof noman knowe schal.
And ek fulofte he goth a nyht
Withoute Mone or sterreliht,
And with his craft the dore unpiketh,
And takth therinne what him liketh: 6510
And if the dore be so schet,
That he be of his entre let,
He wole in ate wyndou crepe,
And whil the lord is faste aslepe,
He stelth what thing as him best list,
And goth his weie er it be wist.
Fulofte also be lyhte of day
Yit wole he stele and make assay;
Under the cote his hond he put,
Til he the mannes Purs have cut, 6520
And rifleth that he fint therinne.
And thus he auntreth him to winne,
And berth an horn and noght ne bloweth,
For noman of his conseil knoweth;
What he mai gete of his Michinge,
It is al bile under the winge.
And as an hound that goth to folde
And hath ther taken what he wolde,
His mouth upon the gras he wypeth,
And so with feigned chiere him slypeth, 6530
That what as evere of schep he strangle,
Ther is noman therof schal jangle,
As forto knowen who it dede;
Riht so doth Stelthe in every stede,
Where as him list his preie take.
He can so wel his cause make
And so wel feigne and so wel glose,
That ther ne schal noman suppose,
Bot that he were an innocent,
And thus a mannes yhe he blent: 6540
So that this craft I mai remene
Withouten help of eny mene.
Ther be lovers of that degre,
Which al here lust in privete,
As who seith, geten al be Stelthe,
And ofte atteignen to gret welthe
As for the time that it lasteth.
For love awaiteth evere and casteth
Hou he mai stele and cacche his preie,
Whan he therto mai finde a weie: 6550
For be it nyht or be it day,
He takth his part, whan that he may,
And if he mai nomore do,
Yit wol he stele a cuss or tuo.
Mi Sone, what seist thou therto?
Tell if thou dedest evere so.
Mi fader, hou? Mi Sone, thus,-
If thou hast stolen eny cuss
Or other thing which therto longeth,
For noman suche thieves hongeth: 6560
Tell on forthi and sei the trouthe.
Mi fader, nay, and that is routhe,
For be mi will I am a thief;
Bot sche that is to me most lief,
Yit dorste I nevere in privete
Noght ones take hire be the kne,
To stele of hire or this or that,
And if I dorste, I wot wel what:
And natheles, bot if I lie,
Be Stelthe ne be Robberie 6570
Of love, which fell in mi thoght,
To hire dede I nevere noght.
Bot as men sein, wher herte is failed,
Ther schal no castell ben assailed;
Bot thogh I hadde hertes ten,
And were als strong as alle men,
If I be noght myn oghne man
And dar noght usen that I can,
I mai miselve noght recovere.
Thogh I be nevere man so povere, 6580
I bere an herte and hire it is,
So that me faileth wit in this,
Hou that I scholde of myn acord
The servant lede ayein the lord:
For if mi fot wolde awher go,
Or that min hand wolde elles do,
Whan that myn herte is therayein,
The remenant is al in vein.
And thus me lacketh alle wele,
And yit ne dar I nothing stele 6590
Of thing which longeth unto love:
And ek it is so hyh above,
I mai noght wel therto areche,
Bot if so be at time of speche,
Ful selde if thanne I stele may
A word or tuo and go my way.
Betwen hire hih astat and me
Comparison ther mai non be,
So that I fiele and wel I wot,
Al is to hevy and to hot 6600
To sette on hond withoute leve:
And thus I mot algate leve
To stele that I mai noght take,
And in this wise I mot forsake
To ben a thief ayein mi wille
Of thing which I mai noght fulfille.
For that Serpent which nevere slepte
The flees of gold so wel ne kepte
In Colchos, as the tale is told,
That mi ladi a thousendfold 6610
Nys betre yemed and bewaked,
Wher sche be clothed or be naked.
To kepe hir bodi nyht and day,
Sche hath a wardein redi ay,
Which is so wonderful a wyht,
That him ne mai no mannes myht
With swerd ne with no wepne daunte,
Ne with no sleihte of charme enchaunte,
Wherof he mihte be mad tame,
And Danger is his rihte name; 6620
Which under lock and under keie,
That noman mai it stele aweie,
Hath al the Tresor underfonge
That unto love mai belonge.
The leste lokinge of hire yhe
Mai noght be stole, if he it syhe;
And who so gruccheth for so lyte,
He wolde sone sette a wyte
On him that wolde stele more.
And that me grieveth wonder sore, 6630
For this proverbe is evere newe,
That stronge lokes maken trewe
Of hem that wolden stele and pyke:
For so wel can ther noman slyke
Be him ne be non other mene,
To whom Danger wol yive or lene
Of that tresor he hath to kepe.
So thogh I wolde stalke and crepe,
And wayte on eve and ek on morwe,
Of Danger schal I nothing borwe, 6640
And stele I wot wel may I noght:
And thus I am riht wel bethoght,
Whil Danger stant in his office,
Of Stelthe, which ye clepe a vice,
I schal be gultif neveremo.
Therfore I wolde he were ago
So fer that I nevere of him herde,
Hou so that afterward it ferde:
For thanne I mihte yit per cas
Of love make som pourchas 6650
Be Stelthe or be som other weie,
That nou fro me stant fer aweie.
Bot, fader, as ye tolde above,
Hou Stelthe goth a nyht for love,
I mai noght wel that point forsake,
That ofte times I ne wake
On nyhtes, whan that othre slepe;
Bot hou, I prei you taketh kepe.
Whan I am loged in such wise
That I be nyhte mai arise, 6660
At som wyndowe and loken oute
And se the housinge al aboute,
So that I mai the chambre knowe
In which mi ladi, as I trowe,
Lyth in hir bed and slepeth softe,
Thanne is myn herte a thief fulofte:
For there I stonde to beholde
The longe nyhtes that ben colde,
And thenke on hire that lyth there.
And thanne I wisshe that I were 6670
Als wys as was Nectanabus
Or elles as was Prothes,
That couthen bothe of nigromaunce
In what liknesse, in what semblaunce,
Riht as hem liste, hemself transforme:
For if I were of such a forme,
I seie thanne I wolde fle
Into the chambre forto se
If eny grace wolde falle,
So that I mihte under the palle 6680
Som thing of love pyke and stele.
And thus I thenke thoghtes fele,
And thogh therof nothing be soth,
Yit ese as for a time it doth:
Bot ate laste whanne I finde
That I am falle into my mynde,
And se that I have stonde longe
And have no profit underfonge,
Than stalke I to mi bedd withinne.
And this is al that evere I winne 6690
Of love, whanne I walke on nyht:
Mi will is good, bot of mi myht
Me lacketh bothe and of mi grace;
For what so that mi thoght embrace,
Yit have I noght the betre ferd.
Mi fader, lo, nou have ye herd
What I be Stelthe of love have do,
And hou mi will hath be therto:
If I be worthi to penance
I put it on your ordinance. 6700
Mi Sone, of Stelthe I the behiete,
Thogh it be for a time swete,
At ende it doth bot litel good,
As be ensample hou that it stod
Whilom, I mai thee telle nou.
I preie you, fader, sei me hou.
Mi Sone, of him which goth be daie
Be weie of Stelthe to assaie,
In loves cause and takth his preie,
Ovide seide as I schal seie, 6710
And in his Methamor he tolde
A tale, which is good to holde.
The Poete upon this matiere
Of Stelthe wrot in this manere.
Venus, which hath this lawe in honde
Of thing which mai noght be withstonde,
As sche which the tresor to warde
Of love hath withinne hir warde,
Phebum to love hath so constreigned,
That he withoute reste is peined 6720
With al his herte to coveite
A Maiden, which was warded streyte
Withinne chambre and kept so clos,
That selden was whan sche desclos
Goth with hir moder forto pleie.
Leuchotoe, so as men seie,
This Maiden hihte, and Orchamus
Hir fader was; and befell thus.
This doughter, that was kept so deere,
And hadde be fro yer to yeere 6730
Under hir moder discipline
A clene Maide and a Virgine,
Upon the whos nativite
Of comelihiede and of beaute
Nature hath set al that sche may,
That lich unto the fresshe Maii,
Which othre monthes of the yeer
Surmonteth, so withoute pier
Was of this Maiden the feture.
Wherof Phebus out of mesure 6740
Hire loveth, and on every syde
Awaiteth, if so mai betyde,
That he thurgh eny sleihte myhte
Hire lusti maidenhod unrihte,
The which were al his worldes welthe.
And thus lurkende upon his stelthe
In his await so longe he lai,
Til it befell upon a dai,
That he thurghout hir chambre wall
Cam in al sodeinliche, and stall 6750
That thing which was to him so lief.
Bot wo the while, he was a thief!
For Venus, which was enemie
Of thilke loves micherie,
Discovereth al the pleine cas
To Clymene, which thanne was
Toward Phebus his concubine.
And sche to lette the covine
Of thilke love, dedli wroth
To pleigne upon this Maide goth, 6760
And tolde hire fader hou it stod;
Wherof for sorwe welnyh wod
Unto hire moder thus he saide:
"Lo, what it is to kepe a Maide!
To Phebus dar I nothing speke,
Bot upon hire I schal be wreke,
So that these Maidens after this
Mow take ensample, what it is
To soffre her maidenhed be stole,
Wherof that sche the deth schal thole." 6770
And bad with that do make a pet,
Wherinne he hath his douhter set,
As he that wol no pite have,
So that sche was al quik begrave
And deide anon in his presence.
Bot Phebus, for the reverence
Of that sche hadde be his love,
Hath wroght thurgh his pouer above,
That sche sprong up out of the molde
Into a flour was named golde, 6780
Which stant governed of the Sonne.
And thus whan love is evele wonne,
Fulofte it comth to repentaile.
Mi fader, that is no mervaile,
Whan that the conseil is bewreid.
Bot ofte time love hath pleid
And stole many a prive game,
Which nevere yit cam into blame,
Whan that the thinges weren hidde.
Bot in youre tale, as it betidde, 6790
Venus discoverede al the cas,
And ek also brod dai it was,
Whan Phebus such a Stelthe wroghte,
Wherof the Maide in blame he broghte,
That afterward sche was so lore.
Bot for ye seiden nou tofore
Hou stelthe of love goth be nyhte,
And doth hise thinges out of syhte,
Therof me liste also to hiere
A tale lich to the matiere, 6800
Wherof I myhte ensample take.
Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake,
So as it fell be daies olde,
And so as the Poete it tolde,
Upon the nyhtes micherie
Nou herkne a tale of Poesie.
The myhtieste of alle men
Whan Hercules with Eolen,
Which was the love of his corage,
Togedre upon a Pelrinage 6810
Towardes Rome scholden go,
It fell hem be the weie so,
That thei upon a dai a Cave
Withinne a roche founden have,
Which was real and glorious
And of Entaile curious,
Be name and Thophis it was hote.
The Sonne schon tho wonder hote,
As it was in the Somer tyde;
This Hercules, which be his syde 6820
Hath Eolen his love there,
Whan thei at thilke cave were,
He seide it thoghte him for the beste
That sche hire for the hete reste
Al thilke day and thilke nyht;
And sche, that was a lusti wyht,
It liketh hire al that he seide:
And thus thei duelle there and pleide
The longe dai. And so befell,
This Cave was under the hell 6830
Of Tymolus, which was begrowe
With vines, and at thilke throwe
Faunus with Saba the goddesse,
Be whom the large wildernesse
In thilke time stod governed,
Weere in a place, as I am lerned,
Nyh by, which Bachus wode hihte.
This Faunus tok a gret insihte
Of Eolen, that was so nyh;
For whan that he hire beaute syh, 6840
Out of his wit he was assoted,
And in his herte it hath so noted,
That he forsok the Nimphes alle,
And seide he wolde, hou so it falle,
Assaie an other forto winne;
So that his hertes thoght withinne
He sette and caste hou that he myhte
Of love pyke awey be nyhte
That he be daie in other wise
To stele mihte noght suffise: 6850
And therupon his time he waiteth.
Nou tak good hiede hou love afaiteth
Him which withal is overcome.
Faire Eolen, whan sche was come
With Hercules into the Cave,
Sche seide him that sche wolde have
Hise clothes of and hires bothe,
That ech of hem scholde other clothe.
And al was do riht as sche bad,
He hath hire in hise clothes clad 6860
And caste on hire his gulion,
Which of the Skyn of a Leoun
Was mad, as he upon the weie
It slouh, and overthis to pleie
Sche tok his grete Mace also
And knet it at hir gerdil tho.
So was sche lich the man arraied,
And Hercules thanne hath assaied
To clothen him in hire array:
And thus thei jape forth the dai, 6870
Til that her Souper redy were.
And whan thei hadden souped there,
Thei schopen hem to gon to reste;
And as it thoghte hem for the beste,
Thei bede, as for that ilke nyht,
Tuo sondri beddes to be dyht,
For thei togedre ligge nolde,
Be cause that thei offre wolde
Upon the morwe here sacrifice.
The servantz deden here office 6880
And sondri beddes made anon,
Wherin that thei to reste gon
Ech be himself in sondri place.
Faire Eole hath set the Mace
Beside hire beddes hed above,
And with the clothes of hire love
Sche helede al hire bed aboute;
And he, which hadde of nothing doute,
Hire wympel wond aboute his cheke,
Hire kertell and hire mantel eke 6890
Abrod upon his bed he spredde.
And thus thei slepen bothe abedde;
And what of travail, what of wyn,
The servantz lich to drunke Swyn
Begunne forto route faste.
This Faunus, which his Stelthe caste,
Was thanne come to the Cave,
And fond thei weren alle save
Withoute noise, and in he wente.
The derke nyht his sihte blente, 6900
And yit it happeth him to go
Where Eolen abedde tho
Was leid al one for to slepe;
Bot for he wolde take kepe
Whos bed it was, he made assai,
And of the Leoun, where it lay,
The Cote he fond, and ek he fieleth
The Mace, and thanne his herte kieleth,
That there dorste he noght abyde,
Bot stalketh upon every side 6910
And soghte aboute with his hond,
That other bedd til that he fond,
Wher lai bewympled a visage.
Tho was he glad in his corage,
For he hir kertell fond also
And ek hir mantell bothe tuo
Bespred upon the bed alofte.
He made him naked thanne, and softe
Into the bedd unwar he crepte,
Wher Hercules that time slepte, 6920
And wende wel it were sche;
And thus in stede of Eole
Anon he profreth him to love.
But he, which felte a man above,
This Hercules, him threw to grounde
So sore, that thei have him founde
Liggende there upon the morwe;
And tho was noght a litel sorwe,
That Faunus of himselve made,
Bot elles thei were alle glade 6930
And lowhen him to scorne aboute:
Saba with Nimphis al a route
Cam doun to loke hou that he ferde,
And whan that thei the sothe herde,
He was bejaped overal.
Mi Sone, be thou war withal
To seche suche mecheries,
Bot if thou have the betre aspies,
In aunter if the so betyde
As Faunus dede thilke tyde, 6940
Wherof thou miht be schamed so.
Min holi fader, certes no.
Bot if I hadde riht good leve,
Such mecherie I thenke leve:
Mi feinte herte wol noght serve;
For malgre wolde I noght deserve
In thilke place wher I love.
Bot for ye tolden hier above
Of Covoitise and his pilage,
If ther be more of that lignage, 6950
Which toucheth to mi schrifte, I preie
That ye therof me wolde seie,
So that I mai the vice eschuie.
Mi Sone, if I be order suie
The vices, as thei stonde arowe,
Of Covoitise thou schalt knowe
Ther is yit on, which is the laste;
In whom ther mai no vertu laste,
For he with god himself debateth,
Wherof that al the hevene him hateth. 6960
The hihe god, which alle goode
Pourveied hath for mannes fode
Of clothes and of mete and drinke,
Bad Adam that he scholde swinke
To geten him his sustienance:
And ek he sette an ordinance
Upon the lawe of Moi5ses,
That though a man be haveles,
Yit schal he noght be thefte stele.
Bot nou adaies ther ben fele, 6970
That wol no labour undertake,
Bot what thei mai be Stelthe take
Thei holde it sikerliche wonne.
And thus the lawe is overronne,
Which god hath set, and namely
With hem that so untrewely
The goodes robbe of holi cherche.
The thefte which thei thanne werche
Be name is cleped Sacrilegge,
Ayein the whom I thenke alegge. 6980
Of his condicion to telle,
Which rifleth bothe bok and belle,
So forth with al the remenant
To goddes hous appourtenant,
Wher that he scholde bidde his bede,
He doth his thefte in holi stede,
And takth what thing he fint therinne:
For whan he seth that he mai winne,
He wondeth for no cursednesse,
That he ne brekth the holinesse 6990
And doth to god no reverence;
For he hath lost his conscience,
That though the Prest therfore curse,
He seith he fareth noght the wurse.
And forto speke it otherwise,
What man that lasseth the franchise
And takth of holi cherche his preie,
I not what bedes he schal preie.
Whan he fro god, which hath yive al,
The Pourpartie in special, 7000
Which unto Crist himself is due,
Benymth, he mai noght wel eschue
The peine comende afterward;
For he hath mad his foreward
With Sacrilegge forto duelle,
Which hath his heritage in helle.
And if we rede of tholde lawe,
I finde write, in thilke dawe
Of Princes hou ther weren thre
Coupable sore in this degre. 7010
That on of hem was cleped thus,
The proude king Antiochus;
That other Nabuzardan hihte,
Which of his crualte behyhte
The temple to destruie and waste,
And so he dede in alle haste;
The thridde, which was after schamed,
Was Nabugodonosor named,
And he Jerusalem putte under,
Of Sacrilegge and many a wonder 7020
There in the holi temple he wroghte,
Which Baltazar his heir aboghte,
Whan Mane, Techel, Phares write
Was on the wal, as thou miht wite,
So as the bible it hath declared.
Bot for al that it is noght spared
Yit nou aday, that men ne pile,
And maken argument and skile
To Sacrilegge as it belongeth,
For what man that ther after longeth, 7030
He takth non hiede what he doth.
And riht so, forto telle soth,
In loves cause if I schal trete,
Ther ben of suche smale and grete:
If thei no leisir fynden elles,
Thei wol noght wonden for the belles,
Ne thogh thei sen the Prest at masse;
That wol thei leten overpasse.
If that thei finde here love there,
Thei stonde and tellen in hire Ere, 7040
And axe of god non other grace,
Whyl thei ben in that holi place;
Bot er thei gon som avantage
Ther wol thei have, and som pilage
Of goodli word or of beheste,
Or elles thei take ate leste
Out of hir hand or ring or glove,
So nyh the weder thei wol love,
As who seith sche schal noght foryete,
Nou I this tokne of hire have gete: 7050
Thus halwe thei the hihe feste.
Such thefte mai no cherche areste,
For al is leveful that hem liketh,
To whom that elles it misliketh.
And ek riht in the selve kinde
In grete Cites men mai finde
This lusti folk, that make it gay,
And waite upon the haliday:
In cherches and in Menstres eke
Thei gon the wommen forto seke, 7060
And wher that such on goth aboute,
Tofore the faireste of the route,
Wher as thei sitten alle arewe,
Ther wol he most his bodi schewe,
His croket kembd and theron set
A Nouche with a chapelet,
Or elles on of grene leves,
Which late com out of the greves,
Al for he scholde seme freissh.
And thus he loketh on the fleissh, 7070
Riht as an hauk which hath a sihte
Upon the foul, ther he schal lihte;
And as he were of faierie,
He scheweth him tofore here yhe
In holi place wher thei sitte,
Al forto make here hertes flitte.
His yhe nawher wole abyde,
Bot loke and prie on every syde
On hire and hire, as him best lyketh:
And otherwhile among he syketh; 7080
Thenkth on of hem, "That was for me,"
And so ther thenken tuo or thre,
And yit he loveth non of alle,
Bot wher as evere his chance falle.
And natheles to seie a soth,
The cause why that he so doth
Is forto stele an herte or tuo,
Out of the cherche er that he go:
And as I seide it hier above,
Al is that Sacrilege of love; 7090
For wel mai be he stelth away
That he nevere after yelde may.
Tell me forthi, my Sone, anon,
Hast thou do Sacrilege, or non,
As I have said in this manere?
Mi fader, as of this matiere
I wole you tellen redely
What I have do; bot trewely
I mai excuse min entente,
That nevere I yit to cherche wente 7100
In such manere as ye me schryve,
For no womman that is on lyve.
The cause why I have it laft
Mai be for I unto that craft
Am nothing able so to stele,
Thogh ther be wommen noght so fele.
Bot yit wol I noght seie this,
Whan I am ther mi ladi is,
In whom lith holly mi querele,
And sche to cherche or to chapele 7110
Wol go to matins or to messe,-
That time I waite wel and gesse,
To cherche I come and there I stonde,
And thogh I take a bok on honde,
Mi contienance is on the bok,
Bot toward hire is al my lok;
And if so falle that I preie
Unto mi god, and somwhat seie
Of Paternoster or of Crede,
Al is for that I wolde spede, 7120
So that mi bede in holi cherche
Ther mihte som miracle werche
Mi ladi herte forto chaunge,
Which evere hath be to me so strange.
So that al mi devocion
And al mi contemplacion
With al min herte and mi corage
Is only set on hire ymage;
And evere I waite upon the tyde.
If sche loke eny thing asyde, 7130
That I me mai of hire avise,
Anon I am with covoitise
So smite, that me were lief
To ben in holi cherche a thief;
Bot noght to stele a vestement,
For that is nothing mi talent,
Bot I wold stele, if that I mihte,
A glad word or a goodly syhte;
And evere mi service I profre,
And namly whan sche wol gon offre, 7140
For thanne I lede hire, if I may,
For somwhat wolde I stele away.
Whan I beclippe hire on the wast,
Yit ate leste I stele a tast,
And otherwhile "grant mercy"
Sche seith, and so winne I therby
A lusti touch, a good word eke,
Bot al the remenant to seke
Is fro mi pourpos wonder ferr.
So mai I seie, as I seide er, 7150
In holy cherche if that I wowe,
My conscience it wolde allowe,
Be so that up amendement
I mihte gete assignement
Wher forto spede in other place:
Such Sacrilege I holde a grace.
And thus, mi fader, soth to seie,
In cherche riht as in the weie,
If I mihte oght of love take,
Such hansell have I noght forsake. 7160
Bot finali I me confesse,
Ther is in me non holinesse,
Whil I hire se in eny stede;
And yit, for oght that evere I dede,
No Sacrilege of hire I tok,
Bot if it were of word or lok,
Or elles if that I hir fredde,
Whan I toward offringe hir ledde,
Take therof what I take may,
For elles bere I noght away: 7170
For thogh I wolde oght elles have,
Alle othre thinges ben so save
And kept with such a privilege,
That I mai do no Sacrilege.
God wot mi wille natheles,
Thogh I mot nedes kepe pes
And malgre myn so let it passe,
Mi will therto is noght the lasse,
If I mihte other wise aweie.
Forthi, mi fader, I you preie, 7180
Tell what you thenketh therupon,
If I therof have gult or non.
Thi will, mi Sone, is forto blame,
The remenant is bot a game,
That I have herd the telle as yit.
Bot tak this lore into thi wit,
That alle thing hath time and stede,
The cherche serveth for the bede,
The chambre is of an other speche.
Bot if thou wistest of the wreche, 7190
Hou Sacrilege it hath aboght,
Thou woldest betre ben bethoght;
And for thou schalt the more amende,
A tale I wole on the despende.
To alle men, as who seith, knowe
It is, and in the world thurgh blowe,
Hou that of Troie Lamedon
To Hercules and to Jasoun,
Whan toward Colchos out of Grece
Be See sailende upon a piece 7200
Of lond of Troie reste preide,-
Bot he hem wrathfulli congeide:
And for thei founde him so vilein,
Whan thei come into Grece ayein,
With pouer that thei gete myhte
Towardes Troie thei hem dyhte,
And ther thei token such vengance,
Wherof stant yit the remembrance;
For thei destruide king and al,
And leften bot the brente wal. 7210
The Grecs of Troiens many slowe
And prisoners thei toke ynowe,
Among the whiche ther was on,
The kinges doughter Lamedon,
Esiona, that faire thing,
Which unto Thelamon the king
Be Hercules and be thassent
Of al the hole parlement
Was at his wille yove and granted.
And thus hath Grece Troie danted, 7220
And hom thei torne in such manere:
Bot after this nou schalt thou hiere
The cause why this tale I telle,
Upon the chances that befelle.
King Lamedon, which deide thus,
He hadde a Sone, on Priamus,
Which was noght thilke time at hom:
Bot whan he herde of this, he com,
And fond hou the Cite was falle,
Which he began anon to walle 7230
And made ther a cite newe,
That thei whiche othre londes knewe
Tho seiden, that of lym and Ston
In al the world so fair was non.
And on that o side of the toun
The king let maken Ylioun,
That hihe Tour, that stronge place,
Which was adrad of no manace
Of quarel nor of non engin;
And thogh men wolde make a Myn, 7240
No mannes craft it mihte aproche,
For it was sett upon a roche.
The walles of the toun aboute,
Hem stod of al the world no doute,
And after the proporcion
Sex gates weren of the toun
Of such a forme, of such entaile,
That hem to se was gret mervaile:
The diches weren brode and depe,
A fewe men it mihte kepe 7250
From al the world, as semeth tho,
Bot if the goddes weren fo.
Gret presse unto that cite drouh,
So that ther was of poeple ynouh,
Of Burgeis that therinne duellen;
Ther mai no mannes tunge tellen
Hou that cite was riche of good.
Whan al was mad and al wel stod,
King Priamus tho him bethoghte
What thei of Grece whilom wroghte, 7260
And what was of her swerd devoured,
And hou his Soster deshonoured
With Thelamon awey was lad:
And so thenkende he wax unglad,
And sette anon a parlement,
To which the lordes were assent.
In many a wise ther was spoke,
Hou that thei mihten ben awroke,
Bot ate laste natheles
Thei seiden alle, "Acord and pes." 7270
To setten either part in reste
It thoghte hem thanne for the beste
With resonable amendement;
And thus was Anthenor forth sent
To axe Esionam ayein
And witen what thei wolden sein.
So passeth he the See be barge
To Grece forto seie his charge,
The which he seide redely
Unto the lordes by and by: 7280
Bot where he spak in Grece aboute,
He herde noght bot wordes stoute,
And nameliche of Thelamon;
The maiden wolde he noght forgon,
He seide, for no maner thing,
And bad him gon hom to his king,
For there gat he non amende

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