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Confessio Amantis

Part 12 out of 17

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For oght he couthe do or sende.
This Anthenor ayein goth hom
Unto his king, and whan he com, 7290
He tolde in Grece of that he herde,
And hou that Thelamon ansuerde,
And hou thei were at here above,
That thei wol nouther pes ne love,
Bot every man schal don his beste.
Bot for men sein that nyht hath reste,
The king bethoghte him al that nyht,
And erli, whan the dai was lyht,
He tok conseil of this matiere;
And thei acorde in this manere, 7300
That he withouten eny lette
A certein time scholde sette
Of Parlement to ben avised:
And in the wise it was devised,
Of parlement he sette a day,
And that was in the Monthe of Maii.
This Priamus hadde in his yhte
A wif, and Hecuba sche hyhte,
Be whom that time ek hadde he
Of Sones fyve, and douhtres thre 7310
Besiden hem, and thritty mo,
And weren knyhtes alle tho,
Bot noght upon his wif begete,
Bot elles where he myhte hem gete
Of wommen whiche he hadde knowe;
Such was the world at thilke throwe:
So that he was of children riche,
As therof was noman his liche.
Of Parlement the dai was come,
Ther ben the lordes alle and some; 7320
Tho was pronounced and pourposed,
And al the cause hem was desclosed,
Hou Anthenor in Grece ferde.
Thei seten alle stille and herde,
And tho spak every man aboute:
Ther was alegged many a doute,
And many a proud word spoke also;
Bot for the moste part as tho
Thei wisten noght what was the beste,
Or forto werre or forto reste. 7330
Bot he that was withoute fere,
Hector, among the lordes there
His tale tolde in such a wise,
And seide, "Lordes, ye ben wise,
Ye knowen this als wel as I,
Above all othre most worthi
Stant nou in Grece the manhode
Of worthinesse and of knihthode;
For who so wole it wel agrope,
To hem belongeth al Europe, 7340
Which is the thridde parti evene
Of al the world under the hevene;
And we be bot of folk a fewe.
So were it reson forto schewe
The peril, er we falle thrinne:
Betre is to leve, than beginne
Thing which as mai noght ben achieved;
He is noght wys that fint him grieved,
And doth so that his grief be more;
For who that loketh al tofore 7350
And wol noght se what is behinde,
He mai fulofte hise harmes finde:
Wicke is to stryve and have the worse.
We have encheson forto corse,
This wot I wel, and forto hate
The Greks; bot er that we debate
With hem that ben of such a myht,
It is ful good that every wiht
Be of himself riht wel bethoght.
Bot as for me this seie I noght; 7360
For while that mi lif wol stonde,
If that ye taken werre on honde,
Falle it to beste or to the werste,
I schal miselven be the ferste
To grieven hem, what evere I may.
I wol noght ones seie nay
To thing which that youre conseil demeth,
For unto me wel more it quemeth
The werre certes than the pes;
Bot this I seie natheles, 7370
As me belongeth forto seie.
Nou schape ye the beste weie."
Whan Hector hath seid his avis,
Next after him tho spak Paris,
Which was his brother, and alleide
What him best thoghte, and thus he seide:
"Strong thing it is to soffre wrong,
And suffre schame is more strong,
Bot we have suffred bothe tuo;
And for al that yit have we do 7380
What so we mihte to reforme
The pes, whan we in such a forme
Sente Anthenor, as ye wel knowe.
And thei here grete wordes blowe
Upon her wrongful dedes eke;
And who that wole himself noght meke
To pes, and list no reson take,
Men sein reson him wol forsake:
For in the multitude of men
Is noght the strengthe, for with ten 7390
It hath be sen in trew querele
Ayein an hundred false dele,
And had the betre of goddes grace.
This hath befalle in many place;
And if it like unto you alle,
I wolde assaie, hou so it falle,
Oure enemis if I mai grieve;
For I have cawht a gret believe
Upon a point I wol declare.
This ender day, as I gan fare 7400
To hunte unto the grete hert,
Which was tofore myn houndes stert,
And every man went on his syde
Him to poursuie, and I to ryde
Began the chace, and soth to seie,
Withinne a while out of mi weie
I rod, and nyste where I was.
And slep me cauhte, and on the gras
Beside a welle I lay me doun
To slepe, and in a visioun 7410
To me the god Mercurie cam;
Goddesses thre with him he nam,
Minerve, Venus and Juno,
And in his hond an Appel tho
He hield of gold with lettres write:
And this he dede me to wite,
Hou that thei putt hem upon me,
That to the faireste of hem thre
Of gold that Appel scholde I yive.
With ech of hem tho was I schrive, 7420
And echon faire me behihte;
Bot Venus seide, if that sche mihte
That Appel of mi yifte gete,
Sche wolde it neveremor foryete,
And seide hou that in Grece lond
Sche wolde bringe unto myn hond
Of al this Erthe the faireste;
So that me thoghte it for the beste,
To hire and yaf that Appel tho.
Thus hope I wel, if that I go, 7430
That sche for me wol so ordeine,
That thei matiere forto pleigne
Schul have, er that I come ayein.
Nou have ye herd that I wol sein:
Sey ye what stant in youre avis."
And every man tho seide his,
And sundri causes thei recorde,
Bot ate laste thei acorde
That Paris schal to Grece wende,
And thus the parlement tok ende. 7440
Cassandra, whan sche herde of this,
The which to Paris Soster is,
Anon sche gan to wepe and weile,
And seide, "Allas, what mai ous eile?
Fortune with hire blinde whiel
Ne wol noght lete ous stonde wel:
For this I dar wel undertake,
That if Paris his weie take,
As it is seid that he schal do,
We ben for evere thanne undo." 7450
This, which Cassandre thanne hihte,
In al the world as it berth sihte,
In bokes as men finde write,
Is that Sibille of whom ye wite,
That alle men yit clepen sage.
Whan that sche wiste of this viage,
Hou Paris schal to Grece fare,
No womman mihte worse fare
Ne sorwe more than sche dede;
And riht so in the same stede 7460
Ferde Helenus, which was hir brother,
Of prophecie and such an other:
And al was holde bot a jape,
So that the pourpos which was schape,
Or were hem lief or were hem loth,
Was holde, and into Grece goth
This Paris with his retenance.
And as it fell upon his chance,
Of Grece he londeth in an yle,
And him was told the same whyle 7470
Of folk which he began to freyne,
Tho was in thyle queene Heleyne,
And ek of contres there aboute
Of ladis many a lusti route,
With mochel worthi poeple also.
And why thei comen theder tho,
The cause stod in such a wise,-
For worschipe and for sacrifise
That thei to Venus wolden make,
As thei tofore hadde undertake, 7480
Some of good will, some of beheste,
For thanne was hire hihe feste
Withinne a temple which was there.
Whan Paris wiste what thei were,
Anon he schop his ordinance
To gon and don his obeissance
To Venus on hire holi day,
And dede upon his beste aray.
With gret richesse he him behongeth,
As it to such a lord belongeth, 7490
He was noght armed natheles,
Bot as it were in lond of pes,
And thus he goth forth out of Schipe
And takth with him his felaschipe:
In such manere as I you seie
Unto the temple he hield his weie.
Tydinge, which goth overal
To grete and smale, forth withal
Com to the queenes Ere and tolde
Hou Paris com, and that he wolde 7500
Do sacrifise to Venus:
And whan sche herde telle thus,
Sche thoghte, hou that it evere be,
That sche wole him abyde and se.
Forth comth Paris with glad visage
Into the temple on pelrinage,
Wher unto Venus the goddesse
He yifth and offreth gret richesse,
And preith hir that he preie wolde.
And thanne aside he gan beholde, 7510
And sih wher that this ladi stod;
And he forth in his freisshe mod
Goth ther sche was and made her chiere,
As he wel couthe in his manere,
That of his wordes such plesance
Sche tok, that al hire aqueintance,
Als ferforth as the herte lay,
He stal er that he wente away.
So goth he forth and tok his leve,
And thoghte, anon as it was eve, 7520
He wolde don his Sacrilegge,
That many a man it scholde abegge.
Whan he to Schipe ayein was come,
To him he hath his conseil nome,
And al devised the matiere
In such a wise as thou schalt hiere.
Withinne nyht al prively
His men he warneth by and by,
That thei be redy armed sone
For certein thing which was to done: 7530
And thei anon ben redi alle,
And ech on other gan to calle,
And went hem out upon the stronde
And tok a pourpos ther alonde
Of what thing that thei wolden do,
Toward the temple and forth thei go.
So fell it, of devocion
Heleine in contemplacion
With many an other worthi wiht
Was in the temple and wok al nyht, 7540
To bidde and preie unto thymage
Of Venus, as was thanne usage;
So that Paris riht as him liste
Into the temple, er thei it wiste,
Com with his men al sodeinly,
And alle at ones sette ascry
In hem whiche in the temple were,
For tho was mochel poeple there;
Bot of defense was no bote,
So soffren thei that soffre mote. 7550
Paris unto the queene wente,
And hire in bothe hise armes hente
With him and with his felaschipe,
And forth thei bere hire unto Schipe.
Up goth the Seil and forth thei wente,
And such a wynd fortune hem sente,
Til thei the havene of Troie cauhte;
Where out of Schipe anon thei strauhte
And gon hem forth toward the toun,
The which cam with processioun 7560
Ayein Paris to sen his preie.
And every man began to seie
To Paris and his felaschipe
Al that thei couthen of worschipe;
Was non so litel man in Troie,
That he ne made merthe and joie
Of that Paris hath wonne Heleine.
Bot al that merthe is sorwe and peine
To Helenus and to Cassaundre;
For thei it token schame and sklaundre 7570
And lost of al the comun grace,
That Paris out of holi place
Be Stelthe hath take a mannes wif,
Wherof that he schal lese his lif
And many a worthi man therto,
And al the Cite be fordo,
Which nevere schal be mad ayein.
And so it fell, riht as thei sein,
The Sacrilege which he wroghte
Was cause why the Gregois soughte 7580
Unto the toun and it beleie,
And wolden nevere parte aweie,
Til what be sleihte and what be strengthe
Thei hadde it wonne in brede and lengthe,
And brent and slayn that was withinne.
Now se, mi Sone, which a sinne
Is Sacrilege in holy stede:
Be war therfore and bidd thi bede,
And do nothing in holy cherche,
Bot that thou miht be reson werche. 7590
And ek tak hiede of Achilles,
Whan he unto his love ches
Polixena, that was also
In holi temple of Appollo,
Which was the cause why he dyde
And al his lust was leyd asyde.
And Troilus upon Criseide
Also his ferste love leide
In holi place, and hou it ferde,
As who seith, al the world it herde; 7600
Forsake he was for Diomede,
Such was of love his laste mede.
Forthi, mi Sone, I wolde rede,
Be this ensample as thou myht rede,
Sech elles, wher thou wolt, thi grace,
And war the wel in holi place
What thou to love do or speke,
In aunter if it so be wreke
As thou hast herd me told before.
And tak good hiede also therfore 7610
Upon what forme, of Avarice
Mor than of eny other vice,
I have divided in parties
The branches, whiche of compainies
Thurghout the world in general
Ben nou the leders overal,
Of Covoitise and of Perjure,
Of fals brocage and of Usure,
Of Skarsnesse and Unkindeschipe,
Which nevere drouh to felaschipe, 7620
Of Robberie and privi Stelthe,
Which don is for the worldes welthe,
Of Ravine and of Sacrilegge,
Which makth the conscience agregge;
Althogh it mai richesse atteigne,
It floureth, bot it schal noght greine
Unto the fruit of rihtwisnesse.
Bot who that wolde do largesse
Upon the reule as it is yive,
So myhte a man in trouthe live 7630
Toward his god, and ek also
Toward the world, for bothe tuo
Largesse awaiteth as belongeth,
To neither part that he ne wrongeth;
He kepth himself, he kepth his frendes,
So stant he sauf to bothe hise endes,
That he excedeth no mesure,
So wel he can himself mesure:
Wherof, mi Sone, thou schalt wite,
So as the Philosophre hath write. 7640
Betwen the tuo extremites
Of vice stant the propretes
Of vertu, and to prove it so
Tak Avarice and tak also
The vice of Prodegalite;
Betwen hem Liberalite,
Which is the vertu of Largesse,
Stant and governeth his noblesse.
For tho tuo vices in discord
Stonde evere, as I finde of record; 7650
So that betwen here tuo debat
Largesse reuleth his astat.
For in such wise as Avarice,
As I tofore have told the vice,
Thurgh streit holdinge and thurgh skarsnesse
Stant in contraire to Largesse,
Riht so stant Prodegalite
Revers, bot noght in such degre.
For so as Avarice spareth,
And forto kepe his tresor careth, 7660
That other al his oghne and more
Ayein the wise mannes lore
Yifth and despendeth hiere and there,
So that him reccheth nevere where.
While he mai borwe, he wol despende,
Til ate laste he seith, "I wende";
Bot that is spoken al to late,
For thanne is poverte ate gate
And takth him evene be the slieve,
For erst wol he no wisdom lieve. 7670
And riht as Avarice is Sinne,
That wolde his tresor kepe and winne,
Riht so is Prodegalite:
Bot of Largesse in his degre,
Which evene stant betwen the tuo,
The hihe god and man also
The vertu ech of hem commendeth.
For he himselven ferst amendeth,
That overal his name spredeth,
And to alle othre, where it nedeth, 7680
He yifth his good in such a wise,
That he makth many a man arise,
Which elles scholde falle lowe.
Largesce mai noght ben unknowe;
For what lond that he regneth inne,
It mai noght faile forto winne
Thurgh his decerte love and grace,
Wher it schal faile in other place.
And thus betwen tomoche and lyte
Largesce, which is noght to wyte, 7690
Halt evere forth the middel weie:
Bot who that torne wole aweie
Fro that to Prodegalite,
Anon he lest the proprete
Of vertu and goth to the vice;
For in such wise as Avarice
Lest for scarsnesse his goode name,
Riht so that other is to blame,
Which thurgh his wast mesure excedeth,
For noman wot what harm that bredeth. 7700
Bot mochel joie ther betydeth,
Wher that largesse an herte guydeth:
For his mesure is so governed,
That he to bothe partz is lerned,
To god and to the world also,
He doth reson to bothe tuo.
The povere folk of his almesse
Relieved ben in the destresse
Of thurst, of hunger and of cold;
The yifte of him was nevere sold, 7710
Bot frely yive, and natheles
The myhti god of his encress
Rewardeth him of double grace;
The hevene he doth him to pourchace
And yifth him ek the worldes good:
And thus the Cote for the hod
Largesse takth, and yit no Sinne
He doth, hou so that evere he winne.
What man hath hors men yive him hors,
And who non hath of him no fors, 7720
For he mai thanne on fote go;
The world hath evere stonde so.
Bot forto loken of the tweie,
A man to go the siker weie,
Betre is to yive than to take:
With yifte a man mai frendes make,
Bot who that takth or gret or smal,
He takth a charge forth withal,
And stant noght fre til it be quit.
So forto deme in mannes wit, 7730
It helpeth more a man to have
His oghne good, than forto crave
Of othre men and make him bounde,
Wher elles he mai stonde unbounde.
Senec conseileth in this wise,
And seith, "Bot, if thi good suffise
Unto the liking of thi wille,
Withdrawh thi lust and hold the stille,
And be to thi good sufficant."
For that thing is appourtenant 7740
To trouthe and causeth to be fre
After the reule of charite,
Which ferst beginneth of himselve.
For if thou richest othre tuelve,
Wherof thou schalt thiself be povere,
I not what thonk thou miht recovere.
Whil that a man hath good to yive,
With grete routes he mai live
And hath his frendes overal,
And everich of him telle schal. 7750
Therwhile he hath his fulle packe,
Thei seie, "A good felawe is Jacke";
Bot whanne it faileth ate laste,
Anon his pris thei overcaste,
For thanne is ther non other lawe
Bot, "Jacke was a good felawe."
Whan thei him povere and nedy se,
Thei lete him passe and farwel he;
Al that he wende of compainie
Is thanne torned to folie. 7760
Bot nou to speke in other kinde
Of love, a man mai suche finde,
That wher thei come in every route
Thei caste and waste her love aboute,
Til al here time is overgon,
And thanne have thei love non:
For who that loveth overal,
It is no reson that he schal
Of love have eny proprete.
Forthi, mi Sone, avise thee 7770
If thou of love hast be to large,
For such a man is noght to charge:
And if it so be that thou hast
Despended al thi time in wast
And set thi love in sondri place,
Though thou the substance of thi grace
Lese ate laste, it is no wonder;
For he that put himselven under,
As who seith, comun overal,
He lest the love special 7780
Of eny on, if sche be wys;
For love schal noght bere his pris
Be reson, whanne it passeth on.
So have I sen ful many on,
That were of love wel at ese,
Whiche after felle in gret desese
Thurgh wast of love, that thei spente
In sondri places wher thei wente.
Riht so, mi Sone, I axe of thee
If thou with Prodegalite 7790
Hast hier and ther thi love wasted.
Mi fader, nay; bot I have tasted
In many a place as I have go,
And yit love I nevere on of tho,
Bot forto drive forth the dai.
For lieveth wel, myn herte is ay
Withoute mo for everemore
Al upon on, for I nomore
Desire bot hire love al one:
So make I many a prive mone, 7800
For wel I fiele I have despended
Mi longe love and noght amended
Mi sped, for oght I finde yit.
If this be wast to youre wit
Of love, and Prodegalite,
Nou, goode fader, demeth ye:
Bot of o thing I wol me schryve,
That I schal for no love thryve,
Bot if hirself me wol relieve.
Mi Sone, that I mai wel lieve: 7810
And natheles me semeth so,
For oght that thou hast yit misdo
Of time which thou hast despended,
It mai with grace ben amended.
For thing which mai be worth the cost
Per chaunce is nouther wast ne lost;
For what thing stant on aventure,
That can no worldes creature
Telle in certein hou it schal wende,
Til he therof mai sen an ende. 7820
So that I not as yit therfore
If thou, mi Sone, hast wonne or lore:
For ofte time, as it is sene,
Whan Somer hath lost al his grene
And is with Wynter wast and bare,
That him is left nothing to spare,
Al is recovered in a throwe;
The colde wyndes overblowe,
And still be the scharpe schoures,
And soudeinliche ayein his floures 7830
The Somer hapneth and is riche:
And so per cas thi graces liche,
Mi Sone, thogh thou be nou povere
Of love, yit thou miht recovere.
Mi fader, certes grant merci:
Ye have me tawht so redeli,
That evere whil I live schal
The betre I mai be war withal
Of thing which ye have seid er this.
Bot overmore hou that it is, 7840
Toward mi schrifte as it belongeth,
To wite of othre pointz me longeth;
Wherof that ye me wolden teche
With al myn herte I you beseche.

Explicit Liber Quintus.

Incipit Liber Sextus

Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem
Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo
Hec agit, ut corpus anime contraria spirat,
Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer.
Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur,
Potibus ebrietas conviciata ruit.
Mersa sopore labis, que Bachus inebriat hospes,
Indignata Venus oscula raro premit.

The grete Senne original,
Which every man in general
Upon his berthe hath envenymed,
In Paradis it was mystymed:
Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,
His swete morscel was to hot,
Which dedly made the mankinde.
And in the bokes as I finde,
This vice, which so out of rule
Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule; 10
Of which the branches ben so grete,
That of hem alle I wol noght trete,
Bot only as touchende of tuo
I thenke speke and of no mo;
Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,
Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.
Ful many a wonder doth this vice,
He can make of a wisman nyce,
And of a fool, that him schal seme
That he can al the lawe deme, 20
And yiven every juggement
Which longeth to the firmament
Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;
And thus he makth a gret clerk sone
Of him that is a lewed man.
Ther is nothing which he ne can,
Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,
He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,
He is a noble man of armes,
And yit no strengthe is in his armes: 30
Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,
With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,
And al is changed his astat,
And wext anon so fieble and mat,
That he mai nouther go ne come,
Bot al togedre him is benome
The pouer bothe of hond and fot,
So that algate abide he mot.
And alle hise wittes he foryet,
The which is to him such a let, 40
That he wot nevere what he doth,
Ne which is fals, ne which is soth,
Ne which is dai, ne which is nyht,
And for the time he knowth no wyht,
That he ne wot so moche as this,
What maner thing himselven is,
Or he be man, or he be beste.
That holde I riht a sori feste,
Whan he that reson understod
So soudeinliche is woxe wod, 50
Or elles lich the dede man,
Which nouther go ne speke can.
Thus ofte he is to bedde broght,
Bot where he lith yit wot he noght,
Til he arise upon the morwe;
And thanne he seith, "O, which a sorwe
It is a man be drinkeles!"
So that halfdrunke in such a res
With dreie mouth he sterte him uppe,
And seith, "Nou baillez a the cuppe." 60
That made him lese his wit at eve
Is thanne a morwe al his beleve;
The cuppe is al that evere him pleseth,
And also that him most deseseth;
It is the cuppe whom he serveth,
Which alle cares fro him kerveth
And alle bales to him bringeth:
In joie he wepth, in sorwe he singeth,
For Dronkeschipe is so divers,
It may no whyle stonde in vers. 70
He drinkth the wyn, bot ate laste
The wyn drynkth him and bint him faste,
And leith him drunke be the wal,
As him which is his bonde thral
And al in his subjeccion.
And lich to such condicion,
As forto speke it other wise,
It falleth that the moste wise
Ben otherwhile of love adoted,
And so bewhaped and assoted, 80
Of drunke men that nevere yit
Was non, which half so loste his wit
Of drinke, as thei of such thing do
Which cleped is the jolif wo;
And waxen of here oghne thoght
So drunke, that thei knowe noght
What reson is, or more or lesse.
Such is the kinde of that sieknesse,
And that is noght for lacke of brain,
Bot love is of so gret a main, 90
That where he takth an herte on honde,
Ther mai nothing his miht withstonde:
The wise Salomon was nome,
And stronge Sampson overcome,
The knihtli David him ne mihte
Rescoue, that he with the sihte
Of Bersabee ne was bestad,
Virgile also was overlad,
And Aristotle was put under.
Forthi, mi Sone, it is no wonder 100
If thou be drunke of love among,
Which is above alle othre strong:
And if so is that thou so be,
Tell me thi Schrifte in privite;
It is no schame of such a thew
A yong man to be dronkelew.
Of such Phisique I can a part,
And as me semeth be that art,
Thou scholdest be Phisonomie
Be schapen to that maladie 110
Of lovedrunke, and that is routhe.
Ha, holi fader, al is trouthe
That ye me telle: I am beknowe
That I with love am so bethrowe,
And al myn herte is so thurgh sunke,
That I am verrailiche drunke,
And yit I mai bothe speke and go.
Bot I am overcome so,
And torned fro miself so clene,
That ofte I wot noght what I mene; 120
So that excusen I ne mai
Min herte, fro the ferste day
That I cam to mi ladi kiththe,
I was yit sobre nevere siththe.
Wher I hire se or se hire noght,
With musinge of min oghne thoght,
Of love, which min herte assaileth,
So drunke I am, that mi wit faileth
And al mi brain is overtorned,
And mi manere so mistorned, 130
That I foryete al that I can
And stonde lich a mased man;
That ofte, whanne I scholde pleie,
It makth me drawe out of the weie
In soulein place be miselve,
As doth a labourer to delve,
Which can no gentil mannes chere;
Or elles as a lewed Frere,
Whan he is put to his penance,
Riht so lese I mi contienance. 140
And if it nedes to betyde,
That I in compainie abyde,
Wher as I moste daunce and singe
The hovedance and carolinge,
Or forto go the newefot,
I mai noght wel heve up mi fot,
If that sche be noght in the weie;
For thanne is al mi merthe aweie,
And waxe anon of thoght so full,
Wherof mi limes ben so dull, 150
I mai unethes gon the pas.
For thus it is and evere was,
Whanne I on suche thoghtes muse,
The lust and merthe that men use,
Whan I se noght mi ladi byme,
Al is foryete for the time
So ferforth that mi wittes changen
And alle lustes fro me strangen,
That thei seie alle trewely,
And swere, that it am noght I. 160
For as the man which ofte drinketh,
With win that in his stomac sinketh
Wext drunke and witles for a throwe,
Riht so mi lust is overthrowe,
And of myn oghne thoght so mat
I wexe, that to myn astat
Ther is no lime wol me serve,
Bot as a drunke man I swerve,
And suffre such a Passion,
That men have gret compassion, 170
And everich be himself merveilleth
What thing it is that me so eilleth.
Such is the manere of mi wo
Which time that I am hire fro,
Til eft ayein that I hire se.
Bot thanne it were a nycete
To telle you hou that I fare:
For whanne I mai upon hire stare,
Hire wommanhede, hire gentilesse,
Myn herte is full of such gladnesse, 180
That overpasseth so mi wit,
That I wot nevere where it sit,
Bot am so drunken of that sihte,
Me thenkth that for the time I mihte
Riht sterte thurgh the hole wall;
And thanne I mai wel, if I schal,
Bothe singe and daunce and lepe aboute,
And holde forth the lusti route.
Bot natheles it falleth so
Fulofte, that I fro hire go 190
Ne mai, bot as it were a stake,
I stonde avisement to take
And loke upon hire faire face;
That for the while out of the place
For al the world ne myhte I wende.
Such lust comth thanne unto mi mende,
So that withoute mete or drinke,
Of lusti thoughtes whiche I thinke
Me thenkth I mihte stonden evere;
And so it were to me levere 200
Than such a sihte forto leve,
If that sche wolde yif me leve
To have so mochel of mi wille.
And thus thenkende I stonde stille
Withoute blenchinge of myn yhe,
Riht as me thoghte that I syhe
Of Paradis the moste joie:
And so therwhile I me rejoie,
Into myn herte a gret desir,
The which is hotere than the fyr, 210
Al soudeinliche upon me renneth,
That al mi thoght withinne brenneth,
And am so ferforth overcome,
That I not where I am become;
So that among the hetes stronge
In stede of drinke I underfonge
A thoght so swete in mi corage,
That nevere Pyment ne vernage
Was half so swete forto drinke.
For as I wolde, thanne I thinke 220
As thogh I were at myn above,
For so thurgh drunke I am of love,
That al that mi sotye demeth
Is soth, as thanne it to me semeth.
And whyle I mai tho thoghtes kepe,
Me thenkth as thogh I were aslepe
And that I were in goddes barm;
Bot whanne I se myn oghne harm,
And that I soudeinliche awake
Out of my thought, and hiede take 230
Hou that the sothe stant in dede,
Thanne is mi sekernesse in drede
And joie torned into wo,
So that the hete is al ago
Of such sotie as I was inne.
And thanne ayeinward I beginne
To take of love a newe thorst,
The which me grieveth altherworst,
For thanne comth the blanche fievere,
With chele and makth me so to chievere, 240
And so it coldeth at myn herte,
That wonder is hou I asterte,
In such a point that I ne deie:
For certes ther was nevere keie
Ne frosen ys upon the wal
More inly cold that I am al.
And thus soffre I the hote chele,
Which passeth othre peines fele;
In cold I brenne and frese in hete:
And thanne I drinke a biter swete 250
With dreie lippe and yhen wete.
Lo, thus I tempre mi diete,
And take a drauhte of such reles,
That al mi wit is herteles,
And al myn herte, ther it sit,
Is, as who seith, withoute wit;
So that to prove it be reson
In makinge of comparison
Ther mai no difference be
Betwen a drunke man and me. 260
Bot al the worste of everychon
Is evere that I thurste in on;
The more that myn herte drinketh,
The more I may; so that me thinketh,
My thurst schal nevere ben aqueint.
God schilde that I be noght dreint
Of such a superfluite:
For wel I fiele in mi degre
That al mi wit is overcast,
Wherof I am the more agast, 270
That in defaulte of ladischipe
Per chance in such a drunkeschipe
I mai be ded er I be war.
For certes, fader, this I dar
Beknowe and in mi schrifte telle:
Bot I a drauhte have of that welle,
In which mi deth is and mi lif,
Mi joie is torned into strif,
That sobre schal I nevere worthe,
Bot as a drunke man forworthe; 280
So that in londe where I fare
The lust is lore of mi welfare,
As he that mai no bote finde.
Bot this me thenkth a wonder kinde,
As I am drunke of that I drinke,
So am I ek for falte of drinke;
Of which I finde no reles:
Bot if I myhte natheles
Of such a drinke as I coveite,
So as me liste, have o receite, 290
I scholde assobre and fare wel.
Bot so fortune upon hire whiel
On hih me deigneth noght to sette,
For everemore I finde a lette:
The boteler is noght mi frend,
Which hath the keie be the bend;
I mai wel wisshe and that is wast,
For wel I wot, so freissh a tast,
Bot if mi grace be the more,
I schal assaie neveremore. 300
Thus am I drunke of that I se,
For tastinge is defended me,
And I can noght miselven stanche:
So that, mi fader, of this branche
I am gultif, to telle trouthe.
Mi Sone, that me thenketh routhe;
For lovedrunke is the meschief
Above alle othre the most chief,
If he no lusti thoght assaie,
Which mai his sori thurst allaie: 310
As for the time yit it lisseth
To him which other joie misseth.
Forthi, mi Sone, aboven alle
Thenk wel, hou so it the befalle,
And kep thi wittes that thou hast,
And let hem noght be drunke in wast:
Bot natheles ther is no wyht
That mai withstonde loves miht.
Bot why the cause is, as I finde,
Of that ther is diverse kinde 320
Of lovedrunke, why men pleigneth
After the court which al ordeigneth,
I wol the tellen the manere;
Nou lest, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere.
For the fortune of every chance
After the goddes pourveance
To man it groweth from above,
So that the sped of every love
Is schape there, er it befalle.
For Jupiter aboven alle, 330
Which is of goddes soverein,
Hath in his celier, as men sein,
Tuo tonnes fulle of love drinke,
That maken many an herte sinke
And many an herte also to flete,
Or of the soure or of the swete.
That on is full of such piment,
Which passeth all entendement
Of mannes witt, if he it taste,
And makth a jolif herte in haste: 340
That other biter as the galle,
Which makth a mannes herte palle,
Whos drunkeschipe is a sieknesse
Thurgh fielinge of the biternesse.
Cupide is boteler of bothe,
Which to the lieve and to the lothe
Yifth of the swete and of the soure,
That some lawhe, and some loure.
Bot for so moche as he blind is,
Fulofte time he goth amis 350
And takth the badde for the goode,
Which hindreth many a mannes fode
Withoute cause, and forthreth eke.
So be ther some of love seke,
Whiche oghte of reson to ben hole,
And some comen to the dole
In happ and as hemselve leste
Drinke undeserved of the beste.
And thus this blinde Boteler
Yifth of the trouble in stede of cler 360
And ek the cler in stede of trouble:
Lo, hou he can the hertes trouble,
And makth men drunke al upon chaunce
Withoute lawe of governance.
If he drawe of the swete tonne,
Thanne is the sorwe al overronne
Of lovedrunke, and schalt noght greven
So to be drunken every even,
For al is thanne bot a game.
Bot whanne it is noght of the same, 370
And he the biter tonne draweth,
Such drunkeschipe an herte gnaweth
And fiebleth al a mannes thoght,
That betre him were have drunke noght
And al his bred have eten dreie;
For thanne he lest his lusti weie
With drunkeschipe, and wot noght whider
To go, the weies ben so slider,
In which he mai per cas so falle,
That he schal breke his wittes alle. 380
And in this wise men be drunke
After the drink that thei have drunke:
Bot alle drinken noght alike,
For som schal singe and som schal syke,
So that it me nothing merveilleth,
Mi Sone, of love that thee eilleth;
For wel I knowe be thi tale,
That thou hast drunken of the duale,
Which biter is, til god the sende
Such grace that thou miht amende. 390
Bot, Sone, thou schalt bidde and preie
In such a wise as I schal seie,
That thou the lusti welle atteigne
Thi wofull thurstes to restreigne
Of love, and taste the swetnesse;
As Bachus dede in his distresse,
Whan bodiliche thurst him hente
In strange londes where he wente.
This Bachus Sone of Jupiter
Was hote, and as he wente fer 400
Be his fadres assignement
To make a werre in Orient,
And gret pouer with him he ladde,
So that the heiere hond he hadde
And victoire of his enemys,
And torneth homward with his pris,
In such a contre which was dreie
A meschief fell upon the weie.
As he rod with his compainie
Nyh to the strondes of Lubie, 410
Ther myhte thei no drinke finde
Of water nor of other kinde,
So that himself and al his host
Were of defalte of drinke almost
Destruid, and thanne Bachus preide
To Jupiter, and thus he seide:
"O hihe fader, that sest al,
To whom is reson that I schal
Beseche and preie in every nede,
Behold, mi fader, and tak hiede 420
This wofull thurst that we ben inne
To staunche, and grante ous forto winne,
And sauf unto the contre fare,
Wher that oure lusti loves are
Waitende upon oure hom cominge."
And with the vois of his preiynge,
Which herd was to the goddes hihe,
He syh anon tofore his yhe
A wether, which the ground hath sporned;
And wher he hath it overtorned, 430
Ther sprang a welle freissh and cler,
Wherof his oghne boteler
After the lustes of his wille
Was every man to drinke his fille.
And for this ilke grete grace
Bachus upon the same place
A riche temple let arere,
Which evere scholde stonde there
To thursti men in remembrance.
Forthi, mi Sone, after this chance 440
It sit thee wel to taken hiede
So forto preie upon thi nede,
As Bachus preide for the welle;
And thenk, as thou hast herd me telle,
Hou grace he gradde and grace he hadde.
He was no fol that ferst so radde,
For selden get a domb man lond:
Tak that proverbe, and understond
That wordes ben of vertu grete.
Forthi to speke thou ne lete, 450
And axe and prei erli and late
Thi thurst to quenche, and thenk algate,
The boteler which berth the keie
Is blind, as thou hast herd me seie;
And if it mihte so betyde,
That he upon the blinde side
Per cas the swete tonne arauhte,
Than schalt thou have a lusti drauhte
And waxe of lovedrunke sobre.
And thus I rede thou assobre 460
Thin herte in hope of such a grace;
For drunkeschipe in every place,
To whether side that it torne,
Doth harm and makth a man to sporne
And ofte falle in such a wise,
Wher he per cas mai noght arise.
And forto loke in evidence
Upon the sothe experience,
So as it hath befalle er this,
In every mannes mouth it is 470
Hou Tristram was of love drunke
With Bele Ysolde, whan thei drunke
The drink which Brangwein hem betok,
Er that king Marc his Eem hire tok
To wyve, as it was after knowe.
And ek, mi Sone, if thou wolt knowe,
As it hath fallen overmore
In loves cause, and what is more
Of drunkeschipe forto drede,
As it whilom befell in dede, 480
Wherof thou miht the betre eschuie
Of drunke men that thou ne suie
The compaignie in no manere,
A gret ensample thou schalt hiere.
This finde I write in Poesie
Of thilke faire Ipotacie,
Of whos beaute ther as sche was
Spak every man, - and fell per cas,
That Pirotos so him spedde,
That he to wyve hire scholde wedde, 490
Wherof that he gret joie made.
And for he wolde his love glade,
Ayein the day of mariage
Be mouthe bothe and be message
Hise frendes to the feste he preide,
With gret worschipe and, as men seide,
He hath this yonge ladi spoused.
And whan that thei were alle housed,
And set and served ate mete,
Ther was no wyn which mai be gete, 500
That ther ne was plente ynouh:
Bot Bachus thilke tonne drouh,
Wherof be weie of drunkeschipe
The greteste of the felaschipe
Were oute of reson overtake;
And Venus, which hath also take
The cause most in special,
Hath yove hem drinke forth withal
Of thilke cuppe which exciteth
The lust wherinne a man deliteth: 510
And thus be double weie drunke,
Of lust that ilke fyri funke
Hath mad hem, as who seith, halfwode,
That thei no reson understode,
Ne to non other thing thei syhen,
Bot hire, which tofore here yhen
Was wedded thilke same day,
That freisshe wif, that lusti May,
On hire it was al that thei thoghten.
And so ferforth here lustes soghten, 520
That thei the whiche named were
Centauri, ate feste there
Of on assent, of an acord
This yonge wif malgre hire lord
In such a rage awei forth ladden,
As thei whiche non insihte hadden
Bot only to her drunke fare,
Which many a man hath mad misfare
In love als wel as other weie.
Wherof, if I schal more seie 530
Upon the nature of the vice,
Of custume and of exercice
The mannes grace hou it fordoth,
A tale, which was whilom soth,
Of fooles that so drunken were,
I schal reherce unto thine Ere.
I rede in a Cronique thus
Of Galba and of Vitellus,
The whiche of Spaigne bothe were
The greteste of alle othre there, 540
And bothe of o condicion
After the disposicion
Of glotonie and drunkeschipe.
That was a sori felaschipe:
For this thou miht wel understonde,
That man mai wel noght longe stonde
Which is wyndrunke of comun us;
For he hath lore the vertus,
Wherof reson him scholde clothe;
And that was seene upon hem bothe. 550
Men sein ther is non evidence,
Wherof to knowe a difference
Betwen the drunken and the wode,
For thei be nevere nouther goode;
For wher that wyn doth wit aweie,
Wisdom hath lost the rihte weie,
That he no maner vice dredeth;
Nomore than a blind man thredeth
His nedle be the Sonnes lyht,
Nomore is reson thanne of myht, 560
Whan he with drunkeschipe is blent.
And in this point thei weren schent,
This Galba bothe and ek Vitelle,
Upon the cause as I schal telle,
Wherof good is to taken hiede.
For thei tuo thurgh her drunkenhiede
Of witles excitacioun
Oppressede al the nacion
Of Spaigne; for of fool usance,
Which don was of continuance 570
Of hem, whiche alday drunken were,
Ther was no wif ne maiden there,
What so thei were, or faire or foule,
Whom thei ne token to defoule,
Wherof the lond was often wo:
And ek in othre thinges mo
Thei wroghten many a sondri wrong.
Bot hou so that the dai be long,
The derke nyht comth ate laste:
God wolde noght thei scholden laste, 580
And schop the lawe in such a wise,
That thei thurgh dom to the juise
Be dampned forto be forlore.
Bot thei, that hadden ben tofore
Enclin to alle drunkenesse,-
Here ende thanne bar witnesse;
For thei in hope to assuage
The peine of deth, upon the rage
That thei the lasse scholden fiele,
Of wyn let fille full a Miele, 590
And dronken til so was befalle
That thei her strengthes losten alle
Withouten wit of eny brain;
And thus thei ben halfdede slain,
That hem ne grieveth bot a lyte.
Mi Sone, if thou be forto wyte
In eny point which I have seid,
Wherof thi wittes ben unteid,
I rede clepe hem hom ayein.
I schal do, fader, as ye sein, 600
Als ferforth as I mai suffise:
Bot wel I wot that in no wise
The drunkeschipe of love aweie
I mai remue be no weie,
It stant noght upon my fortune.
Bot if you liste to comune
Of the seconde Glotonie,
Which cleped is Delicacie,
Wherof ye spieken hier tofore,
Beseche I wolde you therfore. 610
Mi Sone, as of that ilke vice,
Which of alle othre is the Norrice,
And stant upon the retenue
Of Venus, so as it is due,
The proprete hou that it fareth
The bok hierafter nou declareth.
Of this chapitre in which we trete
There is yit on of such diete,
To which no povere mai atteigne;
For al is Past of paindemeine 620
And sondri wyn and sondri drinke,
Wherof that he wole ete and drinke:
Hise cokes ben for him affaited,
So that his body is awaited,
That him schal lacke no delit,
Als ferforth as his appetit
Sufficeth to the metes hote.
Wherof this lusti vice is hote
Of Gule the Delicacie,
Which al the hole progenie 630
Of lusti folk hath undertake
To feede, whil that he mai take
Richesses wherof to be founde:
Of Abstinence he wot no bounde,
To what profit it scholde serve.
And yit phisique of his conserve
Makth many a restauracioun
Unto his recreacioun,
Which wolde be to Venus lief.
Thus for the point of his relief 640
The coc which schal his mete arraie,
Bot he the betre his mouth assaie,
His lordes thonk schal ofte lese,
Er he be served to the chese:
For ther mai lacke noght so lyte,
That he ne fint anon a wyte;
For bot his lust be fully served,
Ther hath no wiht his thonk deserved.
And yit for mannes sustenance,
To kepe and holde in governance, 650
To him that wole his hele gete
Is non so good as comun mete:
For who that loketh on the bokes,
It seith, confeccion of cokes,
A man him scholde wel avise
Hou he it toke and in what wise.
For who that useth that he knoweth,
Ful selden seknesse on him groweth,
And who that useth metes strange,
Though his nature empeire and change 660
It is no wonder, lieve Sone,
Whan that he doth ayein his wone;
For in Phisique this I finde,
Usage is the seconde kinde.
And riht so changeth his astat
He that of love is delicat:
For though he hadde to his hond
The beste wif of al the lond,
Or the faireste love of alle,
Yit wolde his herte on othre falle 670
And thenke hem mor delicious
Than he hath in his oghne hous:
Men sein it is nou ofte so;
Avise hem wel, thei that so do.
And forto speke in other weie,
Fulofte time I have herd seie,
That he which hath no love achieved,
Him thenkth that he is noght relieved,
Thogh that his ladi make him chiere,
So as sche mai in good manere 680
Hir honour and hir name save,
Bot he the surplus mihte have.
Nothing withstondende hire astat,
Of love more delicat
He set hire chiere at no delit,
Bot he have al his appetit.
Mi Sone, if it be with thee so,
Tell me. Myn holi fader, no:
For delicat in such a wise
Of love, as ye to me devise, 690
Ne was I nevere yit gultif;
For if I hadde such a wif
As ye speke of, what scholde I more?
For thanne I wolde neveremore
For lust of eny wommanhiede
Myn herte upon non other fiede:
And if I dede, it were a wast.
Bot al withoute such repast
Of lust, as ye me tolde above,
Of wif, or yit of other love, 700
I faste, and mai no fode gete;
So that for lacke of deinte mete,
Of which an herte mai be fedd,
I go fastende to my bedd.
Bot myhte I geten, as ye tolde,
So mochel that mi ladi wolde
Me fede with hir glad semblant,
Though me lacke al the remenant,
Yit scholde I somdel ben abeched
And for the time wel refreched. 710
Bot certes, fader, sche ne doth;
For in good feith, to telle soth,
I trowe, thogh I scholde sterve,
Sche wolde noght hire yhe swerve,
Min herte with o goodly lok
To fede, and thus for such a cok
I mai go fastinge everemo:
Bot if so is that eny wo
Mai fede a mannes herte wel,
Therof I have at every meel 720
Of plente more than ynowh;
Bot that is of himself so towh,
Mi stomac mai it noght defie.
Lo, such is the delicacie
Of love, which myn herte fedeth;
Thus have I lacke of that me nedeth.
Bot for al this yit natheles
I seie noght I am gylteles,
That I somdel am delicat:
For elles were I fulli mat, 730
Bot if that I som lusti stounde
Of confort and of ese founde,
To take of love som repast;
For thogh I with the fulle tast
The lust of love mai noght fiele,
Min hunger otherwise I kiele
Of smale lustes whiche I pike,
And for a time yit thei like;
If that ye wisten what I mene.
Nou, goode Sone, schrif thee clene 740
Of suche deyntes as ben goode,
Wherof thou takst thin hertes fode.
Mi fader, I you schal reherce,
Hou that mi fodes ben diverse,
So as thei fallen in degre.
O fiedinge is of that I se,
An other is of that I here,
The thridde, as I schal tellen here,
It groweth of min oghne thoght:
And elles scholde I live noght; 750
For whom that failleth fode of herte,
He mai noght wel the deth asterte.
Of sihte is al mi ferste fode,
Thurgh which myn yhe of alle goode
Hath that to him is acordant,
A lusti fode sufficant.
Whan that I go toward the place
Wher I schal se my ladi face,
Min yhe, which is loth to faste,
Beginth to hungre anon so faste, 760
That him thenkth of on houre thre,
Til I ther come and he hire se:
And thanne after his appetit
He takth a fode of such delit,
That him non other deynte nedeth.
Of sondri sihtes he him fedeth:
He seth hire face of such colour,
That freisshere is than eny flour,
He seth hire front is large and plein
Withoute fronce of eny grein, 770
He seth hire yhen lich an hevene,
He seth hire nase strauht and evene,
He seth hire rode upon the cheke,
He seth hire rede lippes eke,
Hire chyn acordeth to the face,
Al that he seth is full of grace,
He seth hire necke round and clene,
Therinne mai no bon be sene,
He seth hire handes faire and whyte;
For al this thing withoute wyte 780
He mai se naked ate leste,
So is it wel the more feste
And wel the mor Delicacie
Unto the fiedinge of myn yhe.
He seth hire schapthe forth withal,
Hire bodi round, hire middel smal,
So wel begon with good array,
Which passeth al the lust of Maii,
Whan he is most with softe schoures
Ful clothed in his lusti floures. 790
With suche sihtes by and by
Min yhe is fed; bot finaly,
Whan he the port and the manere
Seth of hire wommanysshe chere,
Than hath he such delice on honde,
Him thenkth he mihte stille stonde,
And that he hath ful sufficance
Of liflode and of sustienance
As to his part for everemo.
And if it thoghte alle othre so, 800
Fro thenne wolde he nevere wende,
Bot there unto the worldes ende
He wolde abyde, if that he mihte,
And fieden him upon the syhte.
For thogh I mihte stonden ay
Into the time of domesday
And loke upon hire evere in on,
Yit whanne I scholde fro hire gon,
Min yhe wolde, as thogh he faste,
Ben hungerstorven al so faste, 810
Til efte ayein that he hire syhe.
Such is the nature of myn yhe:
Ther is no lust so deintefull,
Of which a man schal noght be full,
Of that the stomac underfongeth,
Bot evere in on myn yhe longeth:
For loke hou that a goshauk tireth,
Riht so doth he, whan that he pireth
And toteth on hire wommanhiede;
For he mai nevere fulli fiede 820
His lust, bot evere aliche sore
Him hungreth, so that he the more
Desireth to be fed algate:
And thus myn yhe is mad the gate,
Thurgh which the deyntes of my thoght
Of lust ben to myn herte broght.
Riht as myn yhe with his lok
Is to myn herte a lusti coc
Of loves fode delicat,
Riht so myn Ere in his astat, 830
Wher as myn yhe mai noght serve,
Can wel myn hertes thonk deserve
And fieden him fro day to day
With suche deyntes as he may.
For thus it is, that overal,
Wher as I come in special,
I mai hiere of mi ladi pris;
I hiere on seith that sche is wys,
An other seith that sche is good,
And som men sein, of worthi blod 840
That sche is come, and is also
So fair, that nawher is non so;
And som men preise hire goodli chiere:
Thus every thing that I mai hiere,
Which souneth to mi ladi goode,
Is to myn Ere a lusti foode.
And ek min Ere hath over this
A deynte feste, whan so is
That I mai hiere hirselve speke;
For thanne anon mi faste I breke 850
On suche wordes as sche seith,
That full of trouthe and full of feith
Thei ben, and of so good desport,
That to myn Ere gret confort
Thei don, as thei that ben delices.
For al the metes and the spices,
That eny Lombard couthe make,
Ne be so lusti forto take
Ne so ferforth restauratif,
I seie as for myn oghne lif, 860
As ben the wordes of hire mouth:
For as the wyndes of the South
Ben most of alle debonaire,
So whan hir list to speke faire,
The vertu of hire goodly speche
Is verraily myn hertes leche.
And if it so befalle among,
That sche carole upon a song,
Whan I it hiere I am so fedd,
That I am fro miself so ledd, 870
As thogh I were in paradis;
For certes, as to myn avis,
Whan I here of hir vois the stevene,
Me thenkth it is a blisse of hevene.
And ek in other wise also
Fulofte time it falleth so,
Min Ere with a good pitance
Is fedd of redinge of romance
Of Ydoine and of Amadas,
That whilom weren in mi cas, 880
And eke of othre many a score,
That loveden longe er I was bore.
For whan I of here loves rede,
Min Ere with the tale I fede;
And with the lust of here histoire
Somtime I drawe into memoire
Hou sorwe mai noght evere laste;
And so comth hope in ate laste,
Whan I non other fode knowe.
And that endureth bot a throwe, 890
Riht as it were a cherie feste;
Bot forto compten ate leste,
As for the while yit it eseth
And somdel of myn herte appeseth:
For what thing to myn Ere spreedeth,
Which is plesant, somdel it feedeth
With wordes suche as he mai gete
Mi lust, in stede of other mete.
Lo thus, mi fader, as I seie,
Of lust the which myn yhe hath seie, 900
And ek of that myn Ere hath herd,
Fulofte I have the betre ferd.
And tho tuo bringen in the thridde,
The which hath in myn herte amidde
His place take, to arraie
The lusti fode, which assaie
I mot; and nameliche on nyhtes,
Whan that me lacketh alle sihtes,
And that myn heringe is aweie,
Thanne is he redy in the weie 910
Mi reresouper forto make,
Of which myn hertes fode I take.
This lusti cokes name is hote
Thoght, which hath evere hise pottes hote
Of love buillende on the fyr
With fantasie and with desir,
Of whiche er this fulofte he fedde
Min herte, whanne I was abedde;
And thanne he set upon my bord
Bothe every syhte and every word 920
Of lust, which I have herd or sein.
Bot yit is noght mi feste al plein,
Bot al of woldes and of wisshes,
Therof have I my fulle disshes,
Bot as of fielinge and of tast,
Yit mihte I nevere have o repast.
And thus, as I have seid aforn,
I licke hony on the thorn,
And as who seith, upon the bridel
I chiewe, so that al is ydel 930
As in effect the fode I have.
Bot as a man that wolde him save,
Whan he is seck, be medicine,
Riht so of love the famine
I fonde in al that evere I mai
To fiede and dryve forth the day,
Til I mai have the grete feste,
Which al myn hunger myhte areste.
Lo suche ben mi lustes thre;
Of that I thenke and hiere and se 940
I take of love my fiedinge
Withoute tastinge or fielinge:
And as the Plover doth of Eir
I live, and am in good espeir
That for no such delicacie
I trowe I do no glotonie.
And natheles to youre avis,
Min holi fader, that be wis,
I recomande myn astat
Of that I have be delicat. 950
Mi Sone, I understonde wel
That thou hast told hier everydel,
And as me thenketh be thi tale,
It ben delices wonder smale,
Wherof thou takst thi loves fode.
Bot, Sone, if that thou understode
What is to ben delicious,
Thou woldest noght be curious
Upon the lust of thin astat
To ben to sore delicat, 960
Wherof that thou reson excede:
For in the bokes thou myht rede,
If mannes wisdom schal be suied,
It oghte wel to ben eschuied
In love als wel as other weie;
For, as these holi bokes seie,
The bodely delices alle
In every point, hou so thei falle,
Unto the Soule don grievance.
And forto take in remembrance, 970
A tale acordant unto this,
Which of gret understondinge is
To mannes soule resonable,
I thenke telle, and is no fable.
Of Cristes word, who wole it rede,
Hou that this vice is forto drede
In thevangile it telleth plein,
Which mot algate be certein,
For Crist himself it berth witnesse.
And thogh the clerk and the clergesse 980
In latin tunge it rede and singe,
Yit for the more knoulechinge
Of trouthe, which is good to wite,
I schal declare as it is write
In Engleissh, for thus it began.
Crist seith: "Ther was a riche man,
A mihti lord of gret astat,
And he was ek so delicat
Of his clothing, that everyday
Of pourpre and bisse he made him gay, 990
And eet and drank therto his fille
After the lustes of his wille,
As he which al stod in delice
And tok non hiede of thilke vice.
And as it scholde so betyde,
A povere lazre upon a tyde
Cam to the gate and axed mete:
Bot there mihte he nothing gete
His dedly hunger forto stanche;
For he, which hadde his fulle panche 1000
Of alle lustes ate bord,
Ne deigneth noght to speke a word,
Onliche a Crumme forto yive,
Wherof the povere myhte live
Upon the yifte of his almesse.
Thus lai this povere in gret destresse
Acold and hungred ate gate,
Fro which he mihte go no gate,
So was he wofulli besein.
And as these holi bokes sein, 1010
The houndes comen fro the halle,
Wher that this sike man was falle,
And as he lay ther forto die,
The woundes of his maladie
Thei licken forto don him ese.
Bot he was full of such desese,
That he mai noght the deth eschape;
Bot as it was that time schape,
The Soule fro the bodi passeth,
And he whom nothing overpasseth, 1020
The hihe god, up to the hevene
Him tok, wher he hath set him evene
In Habrahammes barm on hyh,
Wher he the hevene joie syh
And hadde al that he have wolde.
And fell, as it befalle scholde,
This riche man the same throwe
With soudein deth was overthrowe,
And forth withouten eny wente
Into the helle straght he wente; 1030
The fend into the fyr him drouh,
Wher that he hadde peine ynouh
Of flamme which that evere brenneth.
And as his yhe aboute renneth,
Toward the hevene he cast his lok,
Wher that he syh and hiede tok
Hou Lazar set was in his Se
Als ferr as evere he mihte se
With Habraham; and thanne he preide
Unto the Patriarch and seide: 1040
"Send Lazar doun fro thilke Sete,
And do that he his finger wete
In water, so that he mai droppe
Upon my tunge, forto stoppe
The grete hete in which I brenne."
Bot Habraham answerde thenne
And seide to him in this wise:
"Mi Sone, thou thee miht avise
And take into thi remembrance,
Hou Lazar hadde gret penance, 1050
Whyl he was in that other lif,
Bot thou in al thi lust jolif
The bodily delices soghtest:
Forthi, so as thou thanne wroghtest,
Nou schalt thou take thi reward
Of dedly peine hierafterward
In helle, which schal evere laste;
And this Lazar nou ate laste
The worldes peine is overronne,
In hevene and hath his lif begonne 1060
Of joie, which is endeles.
Bot that thou preidest natheles,
That I schal Lazar to the sende
With water on his finger ende,
Thin hote tunge forto kiele,
Thou schalt no such graces fiele;
For to that foule place of Sinne,
For evere in which thou schalt ben inne,
Comth non out of this place thider,
Ne non of you mai comen hider; 1070
Thus be yee parted nou atuo."
The riche ayeinward cride tho:
"O Habraham, sithe it so is,
That Lazar mai noght do me this
Which I have axed in this place,
I wolde preie an other grace.
For I have yit of brethren fyve,
That with mi fader ben alyve
Togedre duellende in on hous;
To whom, as thou art gracious, 1080
I preie that thou woldest sende
Lazar, so that he mihte wende
To warne hem hou the world is went,
That afterward thei be noght schent
Of suche peines as I drye.
Lo, this I preie and this I crie,
Now I may noght miself amende."
The Patriarch anon suiende
To his preiere ansuerde nay;
And seide him hou that everyday 1090
His brethren mihten knowe and hiere
Of Moi5ses on Erthe hiere
And of prophetes othre mo,
What hem was best. And he seith no;
Bot if ther mihte a man aryse
Fro deth to lyve in such a wise,
To tellen hem hou that it were,
He seide hou thanne of pure fere
Thei scholden wel be war therby.
Quod Habraham: "Nay sikerly; 1100
For if thei nou wol noght obeie
To suche as techen hem the weie,
And alday preche and alday telle
Hou that it stant of hevene and helle,
Thei wol noght thanne taken hiede,
Thogh it befelle so in dede
That eny ded man were arered,
To ben of him no betre lered
Than of an other man alyve."
If thou, mi Sone, canst descryve 1110
This tale, as Crist himself it tolde,
Thou schalt have cause to beholde,
To se so gret an evidence,
Wherof the sothe experience
Hath schewed openliche at ije,
That bodili delicacie
Of him which yeveth non almesse
Schal after falle in gret destresse.
And that was sene upon the riche:
For he ne wolde unto his liche 1120
A Crumme yiven of his bred,
Thanne afterward, whan he was ded,
A drope of water him was werned.
Thus mai a mannes wit be lerned
Of hem that so delices taken;
Whan thei with deth ben overtaken,
That erst was swete is thanne sour.
Bot he that is a governour
Of worldes good, if he be wys,
Withinne his herte he set no pris 1130
Of al the world, and yit he useth
The good, that he nothing refuseth,
As he which lord is of the thinges.
The Nouches and the riche ringes,
The cloth of gold and the Perrie
He takth, and yit delicacie
He leveth, thogh he were al this.
The beste mete that ther is
He ett, and drinkth the beste drinke;
Bot hou that evere he ete or drinke, 1140
Delicacie he put aweie,
As he which goth the rihte weie
Noght only forto fiede and clothe
His bodi, bot his soule bothe.
Bot thei that taken otherwise
Here lustes, ben none of the wise;
And that whilom was schewed eke,
If thou these olde bokes seke,
Als wel be reson as be kinde,
Of olde ensample as men mai finde. 1150
What man that wolde him wel avise,
Delicacie is to despise,
Whan kinde acordeth noght withal;
Wherof ensample in special
Of Nero whilom mai be told,
Which ayein kinde manyfold
Hise lustes tok, til ate laste
That god him wolde al overcaste;
Of whom the Cronique is so plein,
Me list nomore of him to sein. 1160
And natheles for glotonie
Of bodili Delicacie,
To knowe his stomak hou it ferde,
Of that noman tofore herde,
Which he withinne himself bethoghte,
A wonder soubtil thing he wroghte.
Thre men upon eleccioun
Of age and of complexioun
Lich to himself be alle weie
He tok towardes him to pleie, 1170
And ete and drinke als wel as he.
Therof was no diversite;
For every day whan that thei eete,
Tofore his oghne bord thei seete,
And of such mete as he was served,
Althogh thei hadde it noght deserved,
Thei token service of the same.
Bot afterward al thilke game
Was into wofull ernest torned;
For whan thei weren thus sojorned, 1180
Withinne a time at after mete
Nero, which hadde noght foryete
The lustes of his frele astat,
As he which al was delicat,
To knowe thilke experience,
The men let come in his presence:
And to that on the same tyde,
A courser that he scholde ryde
Into the feld, anon he bad;
Wherof this man was wonder glad, 1190
And goth to prike and prance aboute.
That other, whil that he was oute,
He leide upon his bedd to slepe:
The thridde, which he wolde kepe
Withinne his chambre, faire and softe
He goth now doun nou up fulofte,
Walkende a pass, that he ne slepte,
Til he which on the courser lepte
Was come fro the field ayein.
Nero thanne, as the bokes sein, 1200
These men doth taken alle thre
And slouh hem, for he wolde se
The whos stomak was best defied:
And whanne he hath the sothe tryed,
He fond that he which goth the pass
Defyed best of alle was,
Which afterward he usede ay.
And thus what thing unto his pay
Was most plesant, he lefte non:
With every lust he was begon, 1210
Wherof the bodi myhte glade,
For he non abstinence made;
Bot most above alle erthli thinges
Of wommen unto the likinges
Nero sette al his hole herte,
For that lust scholde him noght asterte.
Whan that the thurst of love him cawhte,
Wher that him list he tok a drauhte,
He spareth nouther wif ne maide,
That such an other, as men saide, 1220
In al this world was nevere yit.
He was so drunke in al his wit
Thurgh sondri lustes whiche he tok,
That evere, whil ther is a bok,
Of Nero men schul rede and singe
Unto the worldes knowlechinge,
Mi goode Sone, as thou hast herd.
For evere yit it hath so ferd,
Delicacie in loves cas
Withoute reson is and was; 1230
For wher that love his herte set,
Him thenkth it myhte be no bet;
And thogh it be noght fulli mete,
The lust of love is evere swete.
Lo, thus togedre of felaschipe
Delicacie and drunkeschipe,
Wherof reson stant out of herre,
Have mad full many a wisman erre
In loves cause most of alle:
For thanne hou so that evere it falle, 1240
Wit can no reson understonde,
Bot let the governance stonde
To Will, which thanne wext so wylde,
That he can noght himselve schylde
Fro no peril, bot out of feere
The weie he secheth hiere and there,
Him recheth noght upon what syde:
For oftetime he goth beside,
And doth such thing withoute drede,
Wherof him oghte wel to drede. 1250
Bot whan that love assoteth sore,
It passeth alle mennes lore;
What lust it is that he ordeigneth,
Ther is no mannes miht restreigneth,
And of the godd takth he non hiede:
Bot laweles withoute drede,
His pourpos for he wolde achieve
Ayeins the pointz of the believe,
He tempteth hevene and erthe and helle,
Hierafterward as I schall telle. 1260
Who dar do thing which love ne dar?
To love is every lawe unwar,
Bot to the lawes of his heste
The fissch, the foul, the man, the beste
Of al the worldes kinde louteth.
For love is he which nothing douteth:
In mannes herte where he sit,
He compteth noght toward his wit
The wo nomore than the wele,
No mor the hete than the chele, 1270
No mor the wete than the dreie,
No mor to live than to deie,
So that tofore ne behinde
He seth nothing, bot as the blinde
Withoute insyhte of his corage
He doth merveilles in his rage.
To what thing that he wole him drawe,
Ther is no god, ther is no lawe,
Of whom that he takth eny hiede;
Bot as Baiard the blinde stede, 1280
Til he falle in the dich amidde,
He goth ther noman wole him bidde;
He stant so ferforth out of reule,
Ther is no wit that mai him reule.
And thus to telle of him in soth,
Ful many a wonder thing he doth,
That were betre to be laft,
Among the whiche is wicchecraft,
That som men clepen Sorcerie,
Which forto winne his druerie 1290
With many a circumstance he useth,
Ther is no point which he refuseth.
The craft which that Saturnus fond,
To make prickes in the Sond,
That Geomance cleped is,
Fulofte he useth it amis;
And of the flod his Ydromance,
And of the fyr the Piromance,
With questions echon of tho
He tempteth ofte, and ek also 1300
Ae5remance in juggement
To love he bringth of his assent:
For these craftes, as I finde,
A man mai do be weie of kinde,
Be so it be to good entente.
Bot he goth al an other wente;
For rathere er he scholde faile,
With Nigromance he wole assaile
To make his incantacioun
With hot subfumigacioun. 1310
Thilke art which Spatula is hote,
And used is of comun rote
Among Paiens, with that craft ek
Of which is Auctor Thosz the Grek,
He worcheth on and on be rowe:
Razel is noght to him unknowe,
Ne Salomones Candarie,
His Ydeac, his Eutonye;
The figure and the bok withal
Of Balamuz, and of Ghenbal 1320
The Seal, and therupon thymage
Of Thebith, for his avantage
He takth, and somwhat of Gibiere,
Which helplich is to this matiere.
Babilla with hire Sones sevene,
Which hath renonced to the hevene,
With Cernes bothe square and rounde,
He traceth ofte upon the grounde,
Makende his invocacioun;
And for full enformacioun 1330
The Scole which Honorius
Wrot, he poursuieth: and lo, thus
Magique he useth forto winne
His love, and spareth for no Sinne.
And over that of his Sotie,
Riht as he secheth Sorcerie
Of hem that ben Magiciens,
Riht so of the Naturiens
Upon the Sterres from above
His weie he secheth unto love, 1340
Als fer as he hem understondeth.
In many a sondry wise he fondeth:
He makth ymage, he makth sculpture,
He makth writinge, he makth figure,
He makth his calculacions,
He makth his demonstracions;
His houres of Astronomie
He kepeth as for that partie
Which longeth to thinspeccion
Of love and his affeccion; 1350
He wolde into the helle seche
The devel himselve to beseche,
If that he wiste forto spede,
To gete of love his lusti mede:
Wher that he hath his herte set,
He bede nevere fare bet
Ne wite of other hevene more.
Mi Sone, if thou of such a lore
Hast ben er this, I red thee leve.
Min holi fader, be youre leve 1360
Of al that ye have spoken hiere
Which toucheth unto this matiere,
To telle soth riht as I wene,
I wot noght o word what ye mene.
I wol noght seie, if that I couthe,
That I nolde in mi lusti youthe
Benethe in helle and ek above
To winne with mi ladi love
Don al that evere that I mihte;
For therof have I non insihte 1370
Wher afterward that I become,
To that I wonne and overcome
Hire love, which I most coveite.
Mi Sone, that goth wonder streite:
For this I mai wel telle soth,
Ther is noman the which so doth,
For al the craft that he can caste,
That he nabeith it ate laste.
For often he that wol beguile
Is guiled with the same guile, 1380
And thus the guilour is beguiled;
As I finde in a bok compiled
To this matiere an old histoire,
The which comth nou to mi memoire,
And is of gret essamplerie
Ayein the vice of Sorcerie,
Wherof non ende mai be good.
Bot hou whilom therof it stod,
A tale which is good to knowe
To thee, mi Sone, I schal beknowe. 1390
Among hem whiche at Troie were,
Uluxes ate Siege there
Was on be name in special;
Of whom yit the memorial
Abit, for whyl ther is a mouth,
For evere his name schal be couth.
He was a worthi knyht and king
And clerk knowende of every thing;
He was a gret rethorien,
He was a gret magicien; 1400
Of Tullius the rethorique,
Of king Zorastes the magique,
Of Tholome thastronomie,
Of Plato the Philosophie,
Of Daniel the slepi dremes,
Of Neptune ek the water stremes,
Of Salomon and the proverbes,
Of Macer al the strengthe of herbes,
And the Phisique of Ypocras,
And lich unto Pictagoras 1410
Of Surgerie he knew the cures.
Bot somwhat of his aventures,
Which schal to mi matiere acorde,
To thee, mi Sone, I wol recorde.
This king, of which thou hast herd sein,

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