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Confessio Amantis

Part 7 out of 17

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Wherof thei weren alle in doubte,
And to the god for helpe criden
Of suche unhappes as betyden.
Phebus, which syh the necgligence,
How Pheton ayein his defence
His charr hath drive out of the weie,
Ordeigneth that he fell aweie
Out of the carte into a flod
And dreynte. Lo now, hou it stod 1030
With him that was so necgligent,
That fro the hyhe firmament,
For that he wolde go to lowe,
He was anon doun overthrowe.
In hih astat it is a vice
To go to lowe, and in service
It grieveth forto go to hye,
Wherof a tale in poesie
I finde, how whilom Dedalus,
Which hadde a Sone, and Icharus 1040
He hihte, and thogh hem thoghte lothe,
In such prison thei weren bothe
With Minotaurus, that aboute
Thei mihten nawher wenden oute;
So thei begonne forto schape
How thei the prison mihte ascape.
This Dedalus, which fro his yowthe
Was tawht and manye craftes cowthe,
Of fetheres and of othre thinges
Hath mad to fle diverse wynges 1050
For him and for his Sone also;
To whom he yaf in charge tho
And bad him thenke therupon,
How that his wynges ben set on
With wex, and if he toke his flyhte
To hyhe, al sodeinliche he mihte
Make it to melte with the Sonne.
And thus thei have her flyht begonne
Out of the prison faire and softe;
And whan thei weren bothe alofte, 1060
This Icharus began to monte,
And of the conseil non accompte
He sette, which his fader tawhte,
Til that the Sonne his wynges cawhte,
Wherof it malt, and fro the heihte
Withouten help of eny sleihte
He fell to his destruccion.
And lich to that condicion
Ther fallen ofte times fele
For lacke of governance in wele, 1070
Als wel in love as other weie.
Now goode fader, I you preie,
If ther be more in the matiere
Of Slowthe, that I mihte it hiere.
Mi Sone, and for thi diligence,
Which every mannes conscience
Be resoun scholde reule and kepe,
If that thee list to taken kepe,
I wol thee telle, aboven alle
In whom no vertu mai befalle, 1080
Which yifth unto the vices reste
And is of slowe the sloweste.
Among these othre of Slowthes kinde,
Which alle labour set behinde,
And hateth alle besinesse,
Ther is yit on, which Ydelnesse
Is cleped, and is the Norrice
In mannes kinde of every vice,
Which secheth eases manyfold.
In Wynter doth he noght for cold, 1090
In Somer mai he noght for hete;
So whether that he frese or swete,
Or he be inne, or he be oute,
He wol ben ydel al aboute,
Bot if he pleie oght ate Dees.
For who as evere take fees
And thenkth worschipe to deserve,
Ther is no lord whom he wol serve,
As forto duelle in his servise,
Bot if it were in such a wise, 1100
Of that he seth per aventure
That be lordschipe and coverture
He mai the more stonde stille,
And use his ydelnesse at wille.
For he ne wol no travail take
To ryde for his ladi sake,
Bot liveth al upon his wisshes;
And as a cat wolde ete fisshes
Withoute wetinge of his cles,
So wolde he do, bot natheles 1110
He faileth ofte of that he wolde.
Mi Sone, if thou of such a molde
Art mad, now tell me plein thi schrifte.
Nay, fader, god I yive a yifte.
That toward love, as be mi wit,
Al ydel was I nevere yit,
Ne nevere schal, whil I mai go.
Now, Sone, tell me thanne so,
What hast thou don of besischipe
To love and to the ladischipe 1120
Of hire which thi ladi is?
Mi fader, evere yit er this
In every place, in every stede,
What so mi lady hath me bede,
With al myn herte obedient
I have therto be diligent.
And if so is sche bidde noght,
What thing that thanne into my thoght
Comth ferst of that I mai suffise,
I bowe and profre my servise, 1130
Somtime in chambre, somtime in halle,
Riht as I se the times falle.
And whan sche goth to hiere masse,
That time schal noght overpasse,
That I naproche hir ladihede,
In aunter if I mai hire lede
Unto the chapelle and ayein.
Thanne is noght al mi weie in vein,
Somdiel I mai the betre fare,
Whan I, that mai noght fiele hir bare, 1140
Mai lede hire clothed in myn arm:
Bot afterward it doth me harm
Of pure ymaginacioun;
For thanne this collacioun
I make unto miselven ofte,
And seie, "Ha lord, hou sche is softe,
How sche is round, hou sche is smal]
Now wolde god I hadde hire al
Withoute danger at mi wille]"
And thanne I sike and sitte stille, 1150
Of that I se mi besi thoght
Is torned ydel into noght.
Bot for al that lete I ne mai,
Whanne I se time an other dai,
That I ne do my besinesse
Unto mi ladi worthinesse.
For I therto mi wit afaite
To se the times and awaite
What is to done and what to leve:
And so, whan time is, be hir leve, 1160
What thing sche bit me don, I do,
And wher sche bidt me gon, I go,
And whanne hir list to clepe, I come.
Thus hath sche fulliche overcome
Min ydelnesse til I sterve,
So that I mot hire nedes serve,
For as men sein, nede hath no lawe.
Thus mot I nedly to hire drawe,
I serve, I bowe, I loke, I loute,
Min yhe folweth hire aboute, 1170
What so sche wole so wol I,
Whan sche wol sitte, I knele by,
And whan sche stant, than wol I stonde:
Bot whan sche takth hir werk on honde
Of wevinge or enbrouderie,
Than can I noght bot muse and prie
Upon hir fingres longe and smale,
And now I thenke, and now I tale,
And now I singe, and now I sike,
And thus mi contienance I pike. 1180
And if it falle, as for a time
Hir liketh noght abide bime,
Bot besien hire on other thinges,
Than make I othre tariinges
To dreche forth the longe dai,
For me is loth departe away.
And thanne I am so simple of port,
That forto feigne som desport
I pleie with hire litel hound
Now on the bedd, now on the ground, 1190
Now with hir briddes in the cage;
For ther is non so litel page,
Ne yit so simple a chamberere,
That I ne make hem alle chere,
Al for thei scholde speke wel:
Thus mow ye sen mi besi whiel,
That goth noght ydeliche aboute.
And if hir list to riden oute
On pelrinage or other stede,
I come, thogh I be noght bede, 1200
And take hire in min arm alofte
And sette hire in hire sadel softe,
And so forth lede hire be the bridel,
For that I wolde noght ben ydel.
And if hire list to ride in Char,
And thanne I mai therof be war,
Anon I schape me to ryde
Riht evene be the Chares side;
And as I mai, I speke among,
And otherwhile I singe a song, 1210
Which Ovide in his bokes made,
And seide, "O whiche sorwes glade,
O which wofull prosperite
Belongeth to the proprete
Of love, who so wole him serve]
And yit therfro mai noman swerve,
That he ne mot his lawe obeie."
And thus I ryde forth mi weie,
And am riht besi overal
With herte and with mi body al, 1220
As I have said you hier tofore.
My goode fader, tell therfore,
Of Ydelnesse if I have gilt.
Mi Sone, bot thou telle wilt
Oght elles than I mai now hiere,
Thou schalt have no penance hiere.
And natheles a man mai se,
How now adayes that ther be
Ful manye of suche hertes slowe,
That wol noght besien hem to knowe 1230
What thing love is, til ate laste,
That he with strengthe hem overcaste,
That malgre hem thei mote obeie
And don al ydelschipe aweie,
To serve wel and besiliche.
Bot, Sone, thou art non of swiche,
For love schal the wel excuse:
Bot otherwise, if thou refuse
To love, thou miht so per cas
Ben ydel, as somtime was 1240
A kinges dowhter unavised,
Til that Cupide hire hath chastised:
Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere
Acordant unto this matiere.
Of Armenye, I rede thus,
Ther was a king, which Herupus
Was hote, and he a lusti Maide
To dowhter hadde, and as men saide
Hire name was Rosiphelee;
Which tho was of gret renomee, 1250
For sche was bothe wys and fair
And scholde ben hire fader hair.
Bot sche hadde o defalte of Slowthe
Towardes love, and that was rowthe;
For so wel cowde noman seie,
Which mihte sette hire in the weie
Of loves occupacion
Thurgh non ymaginacion;
That scole wolde sche noght knowe.
And thus sche was on of the slowe 1260
As of such hertes besinesse,
Til whanne Venus the goddesse,
Which loves court hath forto reule,
Hath broght hire into betre reule,
Forth with Cupide and with his miht:
For thei merveille how such a wiht,
Which tho was in hir lusti age,
Desireth nother Mariage
Ne yit the love of paramours,
Which evere hath be the comun cours 1270
Amonges hem that lusti were.
So was it schewed after there:
For he that hihe hertes loweth
With fyri Dartes whiche he throweth,
Cupide, which of love is godd,
In chastisinge hath mad a rodd
To dryve awei hir wantounesse;
So that withinne a while, I gesse,
Sche hadde on such a chance sporned,
That al hire mod was overtorned, 1280
Which ferst sche hadde of slow manere:
For thus it fell, as thou schalt hiere.
Whan come was the Monthe of Maii,
Sche wolde walke upon a dai,
And that was er the Sonne Ariste;
Of wommen bot a fewe it wiste,
And forth sche wente prively
Unto the Park was faste by,
Al softe walkende on the gras,
Til sche cam ther the Launde was, 1290
Thurgh which ther ran a gret rivere.
It thoghte hir fair, and seide, "Here
I wole abide under the schawe":
And bad hire wommen to withdrawe,
And ther sche stod al one stille,
To thenke what was in hir wille.
Sche sih the swote floures springe,
Sche herde glade foules singe,
Sche sih the bestes in her kinde,
The buck, the do, the hert, the hinde, 1300
The madle go with the femele;
And so began ther a querele
Betwen love and hir oghne herte,
Fro which sche couthe noght asterte.
And as sche caste hire yhe aboute,
Sche syh clad in o suite a route
Of ladis, wher thei comen ryde
Along under the wodes syde:
On faire amblende hors thei sete,
That were al whyte, fatte and grete, 1310
And everichon thei ride on side.
The Sadles were of such a Pride,
With Perle and gold so wel begon,
So riche syh sche nevere non;
In kertles and in Copes riche
Thei weren clothed, alle liche,
Departed evene of whyt and blew;
With alle lustes that sche knew
Thei were enbrouded overal.
Here bodies weren long and smal, 1320
The beaute faye upon her face
Non erthly thing it may desface;
Corones on here hed thei beere,
As ech of hem a qweene weere,
That al the gold of Cresus halle
The leste coronal of alle
Ne mihte have boght after the worth:
Thus come thei ridende forth.
The kinges dowhter, which this syh,
For pure abaissht drowh hire adryh 1330
And hield hire clos under the bowh,
And let hem passen stille ynowh;
For as hire thoghte in hire avis,
To hem that were of such a pris
Sche was noght worthi axen there,
Fro when they come or what thei were:
Bot levere than this worldes good
Sche wolde have wist hou that it stod,
And putte hire hed alitel oute;
And as sche lokede hire aboute, 1340
Sche syh comende under the linde
A womman up an hors behinde.
The hors on which sche rod was blak,
Al lene and galled on the back,
And haltede, as he were encluyed,
Wherof the womman was annuied;
Thus was the hors in sori plit,
Bot for al that a sterre whit
Amiddes in the front he hadde.
Hir Sadel ek was wonder badde, 1350
In which the wofull womman sat,
And natheles ther was with that
A riche bridel for the nones
Of gold and preciouse Stones.
Hire cote was somdiel totore;
Aboute hir middel twenty score
Of horse haltres and wel mo
Ther hyngen ate time tho.
Thus whan sche cam the ladi nyh,
Than tok sche betre hiede and syh 1360
This womman fair was of visage,
Freyssh, lusti, yong and of tendre age;
And so this ladi, ther sche stod,
Bethoghte hire wel and understod
That this, which com ridende tho,
Tidinges couthe telle of tho,
Which as sche sih tofore ryde,
And putte hir forth and preide abide,
And seide, "Ha, Suster, let me hiere,
What ben thei, that now riden hiere, 1370
And ben so richeliche arraied?"
This womman, which com so esmaied,
Ansuerde with ful softe speche,
And seith, "Ma Dame, I schal you teche.
These ar of tho that whilom were
Servantz to love, and trowthe beere,
Ther as thei hadde here herte set.
Fare wel, for I mai noght be let:
Ma Dame, I go to mi servise,
So moste I haste in alle wise; 1380
Forthi, ma Dame, yif me leve,
I mai noght longe with you leve."
"Ha, goode Soster, yit I preie,
Tell me whi ye ben so beseie
And with these haltres thus begon."
"Ma Dame, whilom I was on
That to mi fader hadde a king;
Bot I was slow, and for no thing
Me liste noght to love obeie,
And that I now ful sore abeie. 1390
For I whilom no love hadde,
Min hors is now so fieble and badde,
And al totore is myn arai,
And every yeer this freisshe Maii
These lusti ladis ryde aboute,
And I mot nedes suie here route
In this manere as ye now se,
And trusse here haltres forth with me,
And am bot as here horse knave.
Non other office I ne have, 1400
Hem thenkth I am worthi nomore,
For I was slow in loves lore,
Whan I was able forto lere,
And wolde noght the tales hiere
Of hem that couthen love teche."
"Now tell me thanne, I you beseche,
Wherof that riche bridel serveth."
With that hire chere awei sche swerveth,
And gan to wepe, and thus sche tolde:
"This bridel, which ye nou beholde 1410
So riche upon myn horse hed,-
Ma Dame, afore, er I was ded,
Whan I was in mi lusti lif,
Ther fel into myn herte a strif
Of love, which me overcom,
So that therafter hiede I nom
And thoghte I wolde love a kniht:
That laste wel a fourtenyht,
For it no lengere mihte laste,
So nyh my lif was ate laste. 1420
Bot now, allas, to late war
That I ne hadde him loved ar:
For deth cam so in haste bime,
Er I therto hadde eny time,
That it ne mihte ben achieved.
Bot for al that I am relieved,
Of that mi will was good therto,
That love soffreth it be so
That I schal swiche a bridel were.
Now have ye herd al myn ansuere: 1430
To godd, ma Dame, I you betake,
And warneth alle for mi sake,
Of love that thei ben noght ydel,
And bidd hem thenke upon mi brydel."
And with that word al sodeinly
Sche passeth, as it were a Sky,
Al clene out of this ladi sihte:
And tho for fere hire herte afflihte,
And seide to hirself, "Helas]
I am riht in the same cas. 1440
Bot if I live after this day,
I schal amende it, if I may."
And thus homward this lady wente,
And changede al hire ferste entente,
Withinne hire herte and gan to swere
That sche none haltres wolde bere.
Lo, Sone, hier miht thou taken hiede,
How ydelnesse is forto drede,
Namliche of love, as I have write.
For thou miht understonde and wite, 1450
Among the gentil nacion
Love is an occupacion,
Which forto kepe hise lustes save
Scholde every gentil herte have:
For as the ladi was chastised,
Riht so the knyht mai ben avised,
Which ydel is and wol noght serve
To love, he mai per cas deserve
A grettere peine than sche hadde,
Whan sche aboute with hire ladde 1460
The horse haltres; and forthi
Good is to be wel war therbi.
Bot forto loke aboven alle,
These Maidens, hou so that it falle,
Thei scholden take ensample of this
Which I have told, for soth it is.
Mi ladi Venus, whom I serve,
What womman wole hire thonk deserve,
Sche mai noght thilke love eschuie
Of paramours, bot sche mot suie 1470
Cupides lawe; and natheles
Men sen such love sielde in pes,
That it nys evere upon aspie
Of janglinge and of fals Envie,
Fulofte medlid with disese:
Bot thilke love is wel at ese,
Which set is upon mariage;
For that dar schewen the visage
In alle places openly.
A gret mervaile it is forthi, 1480
How that a Maiden wolde lette,
That sche hir time ne besette
To haste unto that ilke feste,
Wherof the love is al honeste.
Men mai recovere lost of good,
Bot so wys man yit nevere stod,
Which mai recovere time lore:
So mai a Maiden wel therfore
Ensample take, of that sche strangeth
Hir love, and longe er that sche changeth 1490
Hir herte upon hir lustes greene
To mariage, as it is seene.
For thus a yer or tuo or thre
Sche lest, er that sche wedded be,
Whyl sche the charge myhte bere
Of children, whiche the world forbere
Ne mai, bot if it scholde faile.
Bot what Maiden hire esposaile
Wol tarie, whan sche take mai,
Sche schal per chance an other dai 1500
Be let, whan that hire lievest were.
Wherof a tale unto hire Ere,
Which is coupable upon this dede,
I thenke telle of that I rede.
Among the Jewes, as men tolde,
Ther was whilom be daies olde
A noble Duck, which Jepte hihte.
And fell, he scholde go to fyhte
Ayein Amon the cruel king:
And forto speke upon this thing, 1510
Withinne his herte he made avou
To god and seide, "Ha lord, if thou
Wolt grante unto thi man victoire,
I schal in tokne of thi memoire
The ferste lif that I mai se,
Of man or womman wher it be,
Anon as I come hom ayein,
To thee, which art god sovereign,
Slen in thi name and sacrifie."
And thus with his chivalerie 1520
He goth him forth, wher that he scholde,
And wan al that he winne wolde
And overcam his fomen alle.
Mai noman lette that schal falle.
This Duc a lusti dowhter hadde,
And fame, which the wordes spradde,
Hath broght unto this ladi Ere
How that hire fader hath do there.
Sche waiteth upon his cominge
With dansinge and with carolinge, 1530
As sche that wolde be tofore
Al othre, and so sche was therfore
In Masphat at hir fader gate
The ferste; and whan he com therate,
And sih his douhter, he tobreide
Hise clothes and wepende he seide:
"O mihti god among ous hiere,
Nou wot I that in no manere
This worldes joie mai be plein.
I hadde al that I coude sein 1540
Ayein mi fomen be thi grace,
So whan I cam toward this place
Ther was non gladdere man than I:
But now, mi lord, al sodeinli
Mi joie is torned into sorwe,
For I mi dowhter schal tomorwe
Tohewe and brenne in thi servise
To loenge of thi sacrifise
Thurgh min avou, so as it is."
The Maiden, whan sche wiste of this, 1550
And sih the sorwe hir fader made,
So as sche mai with wordes glade
Conforteth him, and bad him holde
The covenant which he is holde
Towardes god, as he behihte.
Bot natheles hire herte aflihte
Of that sche sih hire deth comende;
And thanne unto the ground knelende
Tofore hir fader sche is falle,
And seith, so as it is befalle 1560
Upon this point that sche schal deie,
Of o thing ferst sche wolde him preie,
That fourty daies of respit
He wolde hir grante upon this plit,
That sche the whyle mai bewepe
Hir maidenhod, which sche to kepe
So longe hath had and noght beset;
Wherof her lusti youthe is let,
That sche no children hath forthdrawe
In Mariage after the lawe, 1570
So that the poeple is noght encressed.
Bot that it mihte be relessed,
That sche hir time hath lore so,
Sche wolde be his leve go
With othre Maidens to compleigne,
And afterward unto the peine
Of deth sche wolde come ayein.
The fader herde his douhter sein,
And therupon of on assent
The Maidens were anon asent, 1580
That scholden with this Maiden wende.
So forto speke unto this ende,
Thei gon the dounes and the dales
With wepinge and with wofull tales,
And every wyht hire maidenhiede
Compleigneth upon thilke nede,
That sche no children hadde bore,
Wherof sche hath hir youthe lore,
Which nevere sche recovere mai:
For so fell that hir laste dai 1590
Was come, in which sche scholde take
Hir deth, which sche may noght forsake.
Lo, thus sche deiede a wofull Maide
For thilke cause which I saide,
As thou hast understonde above.
Mi fader, as toward the Love
Of Maidens forto telle trowthe,
Ye have thilke vice of Slowthe,
Me thenkth, riht wonder wel declared,
That ye the wommen have noght spared 1600
Of hem that tarien so behinde.
Bot yit it falleth in my minde,
Toward the men hou that ye spieke
Of hem that wole no travail sieke
In cause of love upon decerte:
To speke in wordes so coverte,
I not what travaill that ye mente.
Mi Sone, and after min entente
I woll thee telle what I thoghte,
Hou whilom men here loves boghte 1610
Thurgh gret travaill in strange londes,
Wher that thei wroghten with here hondes
Of armes many a worthi dede,
In sondri place as men mai rede.
That every love of pure kinde
Is ferst forthdrawe, wel I finde:
Bot natheles yit overthis
Decerte doth so that it is
The rather had in mani place.
Forthi who secheth loves grace, 1620
Wher that these worthi wommen are,
He mai noght thanne himselve spare
Upon his travail forto serve,
Wherof that he mai thonk deserve,
There as these men of Armes be,
Somtime over the grete Se:
So that be londe and ek be Schipe
He mot travaile for worschipe
And make manye hastyf rodes,
Somtime in Prus, somtime in Rodes, 1630
And somtime into Tartarie;
So that these heraldz on him crie,
"Vailant, vailant, lo, wher he goth]"
And thanne he yifth hem gold and cloth,
So that his fame mihte springe,
And to his ladi Ere bringe
Som tidinge of his worthinesse;
So that sche mihte of his prouesce
Of that sche herde men recorde,
The betre unto his love acorde 1640
And danger pute out of hire mod,
Whanne alle men recorden good,
And that sche wot wel, for hir sake
That he no travail wol forsake.
Mi Sone, of this travail I meene:
Nou schrif thee, for it schal be sene
If thou art ydel in this cas.
My fader ye, and evere was:
For as me thenketh trewely
That every man doth mor than I 1650
As of this point, and if so is
That I have oght so don er this,
It is so litel of acompte,
As who seith, it mai noght amonte
To winne of love his lusti yifte.
For this I telle you in schrifte,
That me were levere hir love winne
Than Kaire and al that is ther inne:
And forto slen the hethen alle,
I not what good ther mihte falle, 1660
So mochel blod thogh ther be schad.
This finde I writen, hou Crist bad
That noman other scholde sle.
What scholde I winne over the Se,
If I mi ladi loste at hom?
Bot passe thei the salte fom,
To whom Crist bad thei scholden preche
To al the world and his feith teche:
Bot now thei rucken in here nest
And resten as hem liketh best 1670
In all the swetnesse of delices.
Thus thei defenden ous the vices,
And sitte hemselven al amidde;
To slen and feihten thei ous bidde
Hem whom thei scholde, as the bok seith,
Converten unto Cristes feith.
Bot hierof have I gret mervaile,
Hou thei wol bidde me travaile:
A Sarazin if I sle schal,
I sle the Soule forth withal, 1680
And that was nevere Cristes lore.
Bot nou ho ther, I seie nomore.
Bot I wol speke upon mi schrifte;
And to Cupide I make a yifte,
That who as evere pris deserve
Of armes, I wol love serve;
And thogh I scholde hem bothe kepe,
Als wel yit wolde I take kepe
Whan it were time to abide,
As forto travaile and to ryde: 1690
For how as evere a man laboure,
Cupide appointed hath his houre.
For I have herd it telle also,
Achilles lefte hise armes so
Bothe of himself and of his men
At Troie for Polixenen,
Upon hire love whanne he fell,
That for no chance that befell
Among the Grecs or up or doun,
He wolde noght ayein the toun 1700
Ben armed, for the love of hire.
And so me thenketh, lieve Sire,
A man of armes mai him reste
Somtime in hope for the beste,
If he mai finde a weie nerr.
What scholde I thanne go so ferr
In strange londes many a mile
To ryde, and lese at hom therwhile
Mi love? It were a schort beyete
To winne chaf and lese whete. 1710
Bot if mi ladi bidde wolde,
That I for hire love scholde
Travaile, me thenkth trewely
I mihte fle thurghout the Sky,
And go thurghout the depe Se,
For al ne sette I at a stre
What thonk that I mihte elles gete.
What helpeth it a man have mete,
Wher drinke lacketh on the bord?
What helpeth eny mannes word 1720
To seie hou I travaile faste,
Wher as me faileth ate laste
That thing which I travaile fore?
O in good time were he bore,
That mihte atteigne such a mede.
Bot certes if I mihte spede
With eny maner besinesse
Of worldes travail, thanne I gesse,
Ther scholde me non ydelschipe
Departen fro hir ladischipe. 1730
Bot this I se, on daies nou
The blinde god, I wot noght hou,
Cupido, which of love is lord,
He set the thinges in discord,
That thei that lest to love entende
Fulofte he wole hem yive and sende
Most of his grace; and thus I finde
That he that scholde go behinde,
Goth many a time ferr tofore:
So wot I noght riht wel therfore, 1740
On whether bord that I schal seile.
Thus can I noght miself conseile,
Bot al I sette on aventure,
And am, as who seith, out of cure
For ought that I can seie or do:
For everemore I finde it so,
The more besinesse I leie,
The more that I knele and preie
With goode wordes and with softe,
The more I am refused ofte, 1750
With besinesse and mai noght winne.
And in good feith that is gret Sinne;
For I mai seie, of dede and thoght
That ydel man have I be noght;
For hou as evere I be deslaied,
Yit evermore I have assaied.
Bot thogh my besinesse laste,
Al is bot ydel ate laste,
For whan theffect is ydelnesse,
I not what thing is besinesse. 1760
Sei, what availeth al the dede,
Which nothing helpeth ate nede?
For the fortune of every fame
Schal of his ende bere a name.
And thus for oght is yit befalle,
An ydel man I wol me calle
As after myn entendement:
Bot upon youre amendement,
Min holi fader, as you semeth,
Mi reson and my cause demeth. 1770
Mi Sone, I have herd thi matiere,
Of that thou hast thee schriven hiere:
And forto speke of ydel fare,
Me semeth that thou tharst noght care,
Bot only that thou miht noght spede.
And therof, Sone, I wol thee rede,
Abyd, and haste noght to faste;
Thi dees ben every dai to caste,
Thou nost what chance schal betyde.
Betre is to wayte upon the tyde 1780
Than rowe ayein the stremes stronge:
For thogh so be thee thenketh longe,
Per cas the revolucion
Of hevene and thi condicion
Ne be noght yit of on acord.
Bot I dar make this record
To Venus, whos Prest that I am,
That sithen that I hidir cam
To hiere, as sche me bad, thi lif,
Wherof thou elles be gultif, 1790
Thou miht hierof thi conscience
Excuse, and of gret diligence,
Which thou to love hast so despended,
Thou oghtest wel to be comended.
Bot if so be that ther oght faile,
Of that thou slowthest to travaile
In armes forto ben absent,
And for thou makst an argument
Of that thou seidest hiere above,
Hou Achilles thurgh strengthe of love 1800
Hise armes lefte for a throwe,
Thou schalt an other tale knowe,
Which is contraire, as thou schalt wite.
For this a man mai finde write,
Whan that knyhthode schal be werred,
Lust mai noght thanne be preferred;
The bedd mot thanne be forsake
And Schield and spere on honde take,
Which thing schal make hem after glade,
Whan thei ben worthi knihtes made. 1810
Wherof, so as it comth to honde,
A tale thou schalt understonde,
Hou that a kniht schal armes suie,
And for the while his ese eschuie.
Upon knyhthode I rede thus,
How whilom whan the king Nauplus,
The fader of Palamades,
Cam forto preien Ulixes
With othre Gregois ek also,
That he with hem to Troie go, 1820
Wher that the Siege scholde be,
Anon upon Penolope
His wif, whom that he loveth hote,
Thenkende, wolde hem noght behote.
Bot he schop thanne a wonder wyle,
How that he scholde hem best beguile,
So that he mihte duelle stille
At home and welde his love at wille:
Wherof erli the morwe day
Out of his bedd, wher that he lay, 1830
Whan he was uppe, he gan to fare
Into the field and loke and stare,
As he which feigneth to be wod:
He tok a plowh, wher that it stod,
Wherinne anon in stede of Oxes
He let do yoken grete foxes,
And with gret salt the lond he siew.
But Nauplus, which the cause kniew,
Ayein the sleihte which he feigneth
An other sleihte anon ordeigneth. 1840
And fell that time Ulixes hadde
A chyld to Sone, and Nauplus radde
How men that Sone taken scholde,
And setten him upon the Molde,
Wher that his fader hield the plowh,
In thilke furgh which he tho drowh.
For in such wise he thoghte assaie,
Hou it Ulixes scholde paie,
If that he were wod or non.
The knihtes for this child forthgon; 1850
Thelamacus anon was fett,
Tofore the plowh and evene sett,
Wher that his fader scholde dryve.
Bot whan he sih his child, als blyve
He drof the plowh out of the weie,
And Nauplus tho began to seie,
And hath half in a jape cryd:
"O Ulixes, thou art aspyd:
What is al this thou woldest meene?
For openliche it is now seene 1860
That thou hast feigned al this thing,
Which is gret schame to a king,
Whan that for lust of eny slowthe
Thou wolt in a querele of trowthe
Of armes thilke honour forsake,
And duelle at hom for loves sake:
For betre it were honour to winne
Than love, which likinge is inne.
Forthi tak worschipe upon honde,
And elles thou schalt understonde 1870
These othre worthi kinges alle
Of Grece, which unto thee calle,
Towardes thee wol be riht wrothe,
And grieve thee per chance bothe:
Which schal be tothe double schame
Most for the hindrynge of thi name,
That thou for Slouthe of eny love
Schalt so thi lustes sette above
And leve of armes the knyhthode,
Which is the pris of thi manhode 1880
And oghte ferst to be desired."
Bot he, which hadde his herte fyred
Upon his wif, whan he this herde,
Noght o word therayein ansuerde,
Bot torneth hom halvinge aschamed,
And hath withinne himself so tamed
His herte, that al the sotie
Of love for chivalerie
He lefte, and be him lief or loth,
To Troie forth with hem he goth, 1890
That he him mihte noght excuse.
Thus stant it, if a knyht refuse
The lust of armes to travaile,
Ther mai no worldes ese availe,
Bot if worschipe be with al.
And that hath schewed overal;
For it sit wel in alle wise
A kniht to ben of hih emprise
And puten alle drede aweie;
For in this wise, I have herd seie, 1900
The worthi king Protheselai
On his passage wher he lai
Towardes Troie thilke Siege,
Sche which was al his oghne liege,
Laodomie his lusti wif,
Which for his love was pensif,
As he which al hire herte hadde,
Upon a thing wherof sche dradde
A lettre, forto make him duelle
Fro Troie, sende him, thus to telle, 1910
Hou sche hath axed of the wyse
Touchende of him in such a wise,
That thei have don hire understonde,
Towardes othre hou so it stonde,
The destine it hath so schape
That he schal noght the deth ascape
In cas that he arryve at Troie.
Forthi as to hir worldes joie
With al hire herte sche him preide,
And many an other cause alleide, 1920
That he with hire at home abide.
Bot he hath cast hir lettre aside,
As he which tho no maner hiede
Tok of hire wommannysshe drede;
And forth he goth, as noght ne were,
To Troie, and was the ferste there
Which londeth, and tok arryvaile:
For him was levere in the bataille,
He seith, to deien as a knyht,
Than forto lyve in al his myht 1930
And be reproeved of his name.
Lo, thus upon the worldes fame
Knyhthode hath evere yit be set,
Which with no couardie is let.
Of king Sal also I finde,
Whan Samuel out of his kinde,
Thurgh that the Phitonesse hath lered,
In Samarie was arered
Long time after that he was ded,
The king Sal him axeth red, 1940
If that he schal go fyhte or non.
And Samuel him seide anon,
"The ferste day of the bataille
Thou schalt be slain withoute faile
And Jonathas thi Sone also."
Bot hou as evere it felle so,
This worthi kniht of his corage
Hath undertake the viage,
And wol noght his knyhthode lette
For no peril he couthe sette; 1950
Wherof that bothe his Sone and he
Upon the Montz of Gelboe5
Assemblen with here enemys:
For thei knyhthode of such a pris
Be olde daies thanne hielden,
That thei non other thing behielden.
And thus the fader for worschipe
Forth with his Sone of felaschipe
Thurgh lust of armes weren dede,
As men mai in the bible rede; 1960
The whos knyhthode is yit in mende,
And schal be to the worldes ende.
And forto loken overmore,
It hath and schal ben evermore
That of knihthode the prouesse
Is grounded upon hardinesse
Of him that dar wel undertake.
And who that wolde ensample take
Upon the forme of knyhtes lawe,
How that Achilles was forthdrawe 1970
With Chiro, which Centaurus hihte,
Of many a wondre hiere he mihte.
For it stod thilke time thus,
That this Chiro, this Centaurus,
Withinne a large wildernesse,
Wher was Leon and Leonesse,
The Lepard and the Tigre also,
With Hert and Hynde, and buck and doo,
Hadde his duellinge, as tho befell,
Of Pileon upon the hel, 1980
Wherof was thanne mochel speche.
Ther hath Chiro this Chyld to teche,
What time he was of tuelve yer age;
Wher forto maken his corage
The more hardi be other weie,
In the forest to hunte and pleie
Whan that Achilles walke wolde,
Centaurus bad that he ne scholde
After no beste make his chace,
Which wolde flen out of his place, 1990
As buck and doo and hert and hynde,
With whiche he mai no werre finde;
Bot tho that wolden him withstonde,
Ther scholde he with his Dart on honde
Upon the Tigre and the Leon
Pourchace and take his veneison,
As to a kniht is acordant.
And therupon a covenant
This Chiro with Achilles sette,
That every day withoute lette 2000
He scholde such a cruel beste
Or slen or wounden ate leste,
So that he mihte a tokne bringe
Of blod upon his hom cominge.
And thus of that Chiro him tawhte
Achilles such an herte cawhte,
That he nomore a Leon dradde,
Whan he his Dart on honde hadde,
Thanne if a Leon were an asse:
And that hath mad him forto passe 2010
Alle othre knihtes of his dede,
Whan it cam to the grete nede,
As it was afterward wel knowe.
Lo, thus, my Sone, thou miht knowe
That the corage of hardiesce
Is of knyhthode the prouesce,
Which is to love sufficant
Aboven al the remenant
That unto loves court poursuie.
Bot who that wol no Slowthe eschuie, 2020
Upon knihthode and noght travaile,
I not what love him scholde availe;
Bot every labour axeth why
Of som reward, wherof that I
Ensamples couthe telle ynowe
Of hem that toward love drowe
Be olde daies, as thei scholde.
Mi fader, therof hiere I wolde.
Mi Sone, it is wel resonable,
In place which is honorable 2030
If that a man his herte sette,
That thanne he for no Slowthe lette
To do what longeth to manhede.
For if thou wolt the bokes rede
Of Lancelot and othre mo,
Ther miht thou sen hou it was tho
Of armes, for thei wolde atteigne
To love, which withoute peine
Mai noght be gete of ydelnesse.
And that I take to witnesse 2040
An old Cronique in special,
The which into memorial
Is write, for his loves sake
Hou that a kniht schal undertake.
Ther was a king, which Oe5nes
Was hote, and he under his pes
Hield Calidoyne in his Empire,
And hadde a dowhter Deianire.
Men wiste in thilke time non
So fair a wiht as sche was on; 2050
And as sche was a lusti wiht,
Riht so was thanne a noble kniht,
To whom Mercurie fader was.
This kniht the tuo pilers of bras,
The whiche yit a man mai finde,
Sette up in the desert of Ynde;
That was the worthi Hercules,
Whos name schal ben endeles
For the merveilles whiche he wroghte.
This Hercules the love soghte 2060
Of Deianire, and of this thing
Unto hir fader, which was king,
He spak touchende of Mariage.
The king knowende his hih lignage,
And dradde also hise mihtes sterne,
To him ne dorste his dowhter werne;
And natheles this he him seide,
How Achelons er he ferst preide
To wedden hire, and in accord
Thei stode, as it was of record: 2070
Bot for al that this he him granteth,
That which of hem that other daunteth
In armes, him sche scholde take,
And that the king hath undertake.
This Achelons was a Geant,
A soubtil man, a deceivant,
Which thurgh magique and sorcerie
Couthe al the world of tricherie:
And whan that he this tale herde,
Hou upon that the king ansuerde 2080
With Hercules he moste feighte,
He tristeth noght upon his sleighte
Al only, whan it comth to nede,
Bot that which voydeth alle drede
And every noble herte stereth,
The love, that no lif forbereth,
For his ladi, whom he desireth,
With hardiesse his herte fyreth,
And sende him word withoute faile
That he wol take the bataille. 2090
Thei setten day, they chosen field,
The knihtes coevered under Schield
Togedre come at time set,
And echon is with other met.
It fell thei foghten bothe afote,
Ther was no ston, ther was no rote,
Which mihte letten hem the weie,
But al was voide and take aweie.
Thei smyten strokes bot a fewe,
For Hercules, which wolde schewe 2100
His grete strengthe as for the nones,
He sterte upon him al at ones
And cawhte him in hise armes stronge.
This Geant wot he mai noght longe
Endure under so harde bondes,
And thoghte he wolde out of hise hondes
Be sleyhte in som manere ascape.
And as he couthe himself forschape,
In liknesse of an Eddre he slipte
Out of his hond, and forth he skipte; 2110
And efte, as he that feighte wole,
He torneth him into a Bole,
And gan to belwe of such a soun,
As thogh the world scholde al go doun:
The ground he sporneth and he tranceth,
Hise large hornes he avanceth
And caste hem here and there aboute.
Bot he, which stant of him no doute,
Awaiteth wel whan that he cam,
And him be bothe hornes nam 2120
And al at ones he him caste
Unto the ground, and hield him faste,
That he ne mihte with no sleighte
Out of his hond gete upon heighte,
Til he was overcome and yolde,
And Hercules hath what he wolde.
The king him granteth to fulfille
His axinge at his oghne wille,
And sche for whom he hadde served,
Hire thoghte he hath hire wel deserved. 2130
And thus with gret decerte of Armes
He wan him forto ligge in armes,
As he which hath it dere aboght,
For otherwise scholde he noght.
And overthis if thou wolt hiere
Upon knihthode of this matiere,
Hou love and armes ben aqueinted,
A man mai se bothe write and peinted
So ferforth that Pantasilee,
Which was the queene of Feminee, 2140
The love of Hector forto sieke
And for thonour of armes eke,
To Troie cam with Spere and Schield,
And rod hirself into the field
With Maidens armed al a route
In rescouss of the toun aboute,
Which with the Gregois was belein.
Fro Pafagoine and as men sein,
Which stant upon the worldes ende,
That time it likede ek to wende 2150
To Philemenis, which was king,
To Troie, and come upon this thing
In helpe of thilke noble toun;
And al was that for the renoun
Of worschipe and of worldes fame,
Of which he wolde bere a name:
And so he dede, and forth withal
He wan of love in special
A fair tribut for everemo.
For it fell thilke time so; 2160
Pirrus the Sone of Achilles
This worthi queene among the press
With dedli swerd soghte out and fond,
And slowh hire with his oghne hond;
Wherof this king of Pafagoine
Pantasilee of Amazoine,
Wher sche was queene, with him ladde,
With suche Maidens as sche hadde
Of hem that were left alyve,
Forth in his Schip, til thei aryve; 2170
Wher that the body was begrave
With worschipe, and the wommen save.
And for the goodschipe of this dede
Thei granten him a lusti mede,
That every yeer as for truage
To him and to his heritage
Of Maidens faire he schal have thre.
And in this wise spedde he,
Which the fortune of armes soghte,
With his travail his ese he boghte; 2180
For otherwise he scholde have failed,
If that he hadde noght travailed.
Eneas ek withinne Ytaile,
Ne hadde he wonne the bataille
And don his miht so besily
Ayein king Turne his enemy,
He hadde noght Lavine wonne;
Bot for he hath him overronne
And gete his pris, he gat hire love.
Be these ensamples here above, 2190
Lo, now, mi Sone, as I have told,
Thou miht wel se, who that is bold
And dar travaile and undertake
The cause of love, he schal be take
The rathere unto loves grace;
For comunliche in worthi place
The wommen loven worthinesse
Of manhode and of gentilesse,
For the gentils ben most desired.
Mi fader, bot I were enspired 2200
Thurgh lore of you, I wot no weie
What gentilesce is forto seie,
Wherof to telle I you beseche.
The ground, Mi Sone, forto seche
Upon this diffinicion,
The worldes constitucion
Hath set the name of gentilesse
Upon the fortune of richesse
Which of long time is falle in age.
Thanne is a man of hih lignage 2210
After the forme, as thou miht hiere,
Bot nothing after the matiere.
For who that resoun understonde,
Upon richesse it mai noght stonde,
For that is thing which faileth ofte:
For he that stant to day alofte
And al the world hath in hise wones,
Tomorwe he falleth al at ones
Out of richesse into poverte,
So that therof is no decerte, 2220
Which gentilesce makth abide.
And forto loke on other side
Hou that a gentil man is bore,
Adam, which alle was tofore
With Eve his wif, as of hem tuo,
Al was aliche gentil tho;
So that of generacion
To make declaracion,
Ther mai no gentilesce be.
For to the reson if we se, 2230
Of mannes berthe the mesure,
It is so comun to nature,
That it yifth every man aliche,
Als wel to povere as to the riche;
For naked thei ben bore bothe,
The lord nomore hath forto clothe
As of himself that ilke throwe,
Than hath the povereste of the rowe.
And whan thei schulle both passe,
I not of hem which hath the lasse 2240
Of worldes good, bot as of charge
The lord is more forto charge,
Whan god schal his accompte hiere,
For he hath had hise lustes hiere.
Bot of the bodi, which schal deie,
Althogh ther be diverse weie
To deth, yit is ther bot on ende,
To which that every man schal wende,
Als wel the beggere as the lord,
Of o nature, of on acord: 2250
Sche which oure Eldemoder is,
The Erthe, bothe that and this
Receiveth and alich devoureth,
That sche to nouther part favoureth.
So wot I nothing after kinde
Where I mai gentilesse finde.
For lacke of vertu lacketh grace,
Wherof richesse in many place,
Whan men best wene forto stonde,
Al sodeinly goth out of honde: 2260
Bot vertu set in the corage,
Ther mai no world be so salvage,
Which mihte it take and don aweie,
Til whanne that the bodi deie;
And thanne he schal be riched so,
That it mai faile neveremo;
So mai that wel be gentilesse,
Which yifth so gret a sikernesse.
For after the condicion
Of resonable entencion, 2270
The which out of the Soule groweth
And the vertu fro vice knoweth,
Wherof a man the vice eschuieth,
Withoute Slowthe and vertu suieth,
That is a verrai gentil man,
And nothing elles which he can,
Ne which he hath, ne which he mai.
Bot for al that yit nou aday,
In loves court to taken hiede,
The povere vertu schal noght spiede, 2280
Wher that the riche vice woweth;
For sielde it is that love alloweth
The gentil man withoute good,
Thogh his condicion be good.
Bot if a man of bothe tuo
Be riche and vertuous also,
Thanne is he wel the more worth:
Bot yit to putte himselve forth
He moste don his besinesse,
For nowther good ne gentilesse 2290
Mai helpen him whiche ydel be.
Bot who that wole in his degre
Travaile so as it belongeth,
It happeth ofte that he fongeth
Worschipe and ese bothe tuo.
For evere yit it hath be so,
That love honeste in sondri weie
Profiteth, for it doth aweie
The vice, and as the bokes sein,
It makth curteis of the vilein, 2300
And to the couard hardiesce
It yifth, so that verrai prouesse
Is caused upon loves reule
To him that can manhode reule;
And ek toward the wommanhiede,
Who that therof wol taken hiede,
For thei the betre affaited be
In every thing, as men may se.
For love hath evere hise lustes grene
In gentil folk, as it is sene, 2310
Which thing ther mai no kinde areste:
I trowe that ther is no beste,
If he with love scholde aqueinte,
That he ne wolde make it queinte
As for the while that it laste.
And thus I conclude ate laste,
That thei ben ydel, as me semeth,
Whiche unto thing that love demeth
Forslowthen that thei scholden do.
And overthis, mi Sone, also 2320
After the vertu moral eke
To speke of love if I schal seke,
Among the holi bokes wise
I finde write in such a wise,
"Who loveth noght is hier as ded";
For love above alle othre is hed,
Which hath the vertus forto lede,
Of al that unto mannes dede
Belongeth: for of ydelschipe
He hateth all the felaschipe. 2330
For Slowthe is evere to despise,
Which in desdeign hath al apprise,
And that acordeth noght to man:
For he that wit and reson kan,
It sit him wel that he travaile
Upon som thing which mihte availe,
For ydelschipe is noght comended,
Bot every lawe it hath defended.
And in ensample therupon
The noble wise Salomon, 2340
Which hadde of every thing insihte,
Seith, "As the briddes to the flihte
Ben made, so the man is bore
To labour," which is noght forbore
To hem that thenken forto thryve.
For we, whiche are now alyve,
Of hem that besi whylom were,
Als wel in Scole as elleswhere,
Mowe every day ensample take,
That if it were now to make 2350
Thing which that thei ferst founden oute,
It scholde noght be broght aboute.
Here lyves thanne were longe,
Here wittes grete, here mihtes stronge,
Here hertes ful of besinesse,
Wherof the worldes redinesse
In bodi bothe and in corage
Stant evere upon his avantage.
And forto drawe into memoire
Here names bothe and here histoire, 2360
Upon the vertu of her dede
In sondri bokes thou miht rede.
Of every wisdom the parfit
The hyhe god of his spirit
Yaf to the men in Erthe hiere
Upon the forme and the matiere
Of that he wolde make hem wise:
And thus cam in the ferste apprise
Of bokes and of alle goode
Thurgh hem that whilom understode 2370
The lore which to hem was yive,
Wherof these othre, that now live,
Ben every day to lerne newe.
Bot er the time that men siewe,
And that the labour forth it broghte,
Ther was no corn, thogh men it soghte,
In non of al the fieldes oute;
And er the wisdom cam aboute
Of hem that ferst the bokes write,
This mai wel every wys man wite, 2380
Ther was gret labour ek also.
Thus was non ydel of the tuo,
That on the plogh hath undertake
With labour which the hond hath take,
That other tok to studie and muse,
As he which wolde noght refuse
The labour of hise wittes alle.
And in this wise it is befalle,
Of labour which that thei begunne
We be now tawht of that we kunne: 2390
Here besinesse is yit so seene,
That it stant evere alyche greene;
Al be it so the bodi deie,
The name of hem schal nevere aweie.
In the Croniqes as I finde,
Cham, whos labour is yit in minde,
Was he which ferst the lettres fond
And wrot in Hebreu with his hond:
Of naturel Philosophie
He fond ferst also the clergie. 2400
Cadmus the lettres of Gregois
Ferst made upon his oghne chois.
Theges of thing which schal befalle,
He was the ferste Augurre of alle:
And Philemon be the visage
Fond to descrive the corage.
Cladyns, Esdras and Sulpices,
Termegis, Pandulf, Frigidilles,
Menander, Ephiloquorus,
Solins, Pandas and Josephus 2410
The ferste were of Enditours,
Of old Cronique and ek auctours:
And Heredot in his science
Of metre, of rime and of cadence
The ferste was of which men note.
And of Musique also the note
In mannes vois or softe or scharpe,
That fond Jubal; and of the harpe
The merie soun, which is to like,
That fond Poulins forth with phisique. 2420
Zenzis fond ferst the pourtreture,
And Promothes the Sculpture;
After what forme that hem thoghte,
The resemblance anon thei wroghte.
Tubal in Iren and in Stel
Fond ferst the forge and wroghte it wel:
And Jadahel, as seith the bok,
Ferst made Net and fisshes tok:
Of huntynge ek he fond the chace,
Which now is knowe in many place: 2430
A tente of cloth with corde and stake
He sette up ferst and dede it make.
Verconius of cokerie
Ferst made the delicacie.
The craft Minerve of wolle fond
And made cloth hire oghne hond;
And Delbora made it of lyn:
Tho wommen were of great engyn.
Bot thing which yifth ous mete and drinke
And doth the labourer to swinke 2440
To tile lond and sette vines,
Wherof the cornes and the wynes
Ben sustenance to mankinde,
In olde bokes as I finde,
Saturnus of his oghne wit
Hath founde ferst, and more yit
Of Chapmanhode he fond the weie,
And ek to coigne the moneie
Of sondri metall, as it is,
He was the ferste man of this. 2450
Bot hou that metall cam a place
Thurgh mannes wit and goddes grace
The route of Philosophres wise
Controeveden be sondri wise,
Ferst forto gete it out of Myne,
And after forto trie and fyne.
And also with gret diligence
Thei founden thilke experience,
Which cleped is Alconomie,
Wherof the Selver multeplie 2460
Thei made and ek the gold also.
And forto telle hou it is so,
Of bodies sevene in special
With foure spiritz joynt withal
Stant the substance of this matiere.
The bodies whiche I speke of hiere
Of the Planetes ben begonne:
The gold is titled to the Sonne,
The mone of Selver hath his part,
And Iren that stant upon Mart, 2470
The Led after Satorne groweth,
And Jupiter the Bras bestoweth,
The Coper set is to Venus,
And to his part Mercurius
Hath the quikselver, as it falleth,
The which, after the bok it calleth,
Is ferst of thilke fowre named
Of Spiritz, whiche ben proclamed;
And the spirit which is secounde
In Sal Armoniak is founde: 2480
The thridde spirit Sulphur is;
The ferthe suiende after this
Arcennicum be name is hote.
With blowinge and with fyres hote
In these thinges, whiche I seie,
Thei worchen be diverse weie.
For as the philosophre tolde
Of gold and selver, thei ben holde
Tuo principal extremites,
To whiche alle othre be degres 2490
Of the metalls ben acordant,
And so thurgh kinde resemblant,
That what man couthe aweie take
The rust, of which thei waxen blake,
And the savour and the hardnesse,
Thei scholden take the liknesse
Of gold or Selver parfitly.
Bot forto worche it sikirly,
Betwen the corps and the spirit,
Er that the metall be parfit, 2500
In sevene formes it is set;
Of alle and if that on be let,
The remenant mai noght availe,
Bot otherwise it mai noght faile.
For thei be whom this art was founde
To every point a certain bounde
Ordeignen, that a man mai finde
This craft is wroght be weie of kinde,
So that ther is no fallas inne.
Bot what man that this werk beginne, 2510
He mot awaite at every tyde,
So that nothing be left aside,
Ferst of the distillacion,
Forth with the congelacion,
Solucion, descencion,
And kepe in his entencion
The point of sublimacion,
And forth with calcinacion
Of veray approbacion
Do that ther be fixacion 2520
With tempred hetes of the fyr,
Til he the parfit Elixir
Of thilke philosophres Ston
Mai gete, of which that many on
Of Philosophres whilom write.
And if thou wolt the names wite
Of thilke Ston with othre tuo,
Whiche as the clerkes maden tho,
So as the bokes it recorden,
The kinde of hem I schal recorden. 2530
These olde Philosophres wyse
Be weie of kinde in sondri wise
Thre Stones maden thurgh clergie.
The ferste, if I schal specefie,
Was lapis vegetabilis,
Of which the propre vertu is
To mannes hele forto serve,
As forto kepe and to preserve
The bodi fro siknesses alle,
Til deth of kinde upon him falle. 2540
The Ston seconde I thee behote
Is lapis animalis hote,
The whos vertu is propre and cowth
For Ere and yhe and nase and mouth,
Wherof a man mai hiere and se
And smelle and taste in his degre,
And forto fiele and forto go
It helpeth man of bothe tuo:
The wittes fyve he underfongeth
To kepe, as it to him belongeth. 2550
The thridde Ston in special
Be name is cleped Minerall,
Which the metalls of every Mine
Attempreth, til that thei ben fyne,
And pureth hem be such a weie,
That al the vice goth aweie
Of rust, of stink and of hardnesse:
And whan thei ben of such clennesse,
This Mineral, so as I finde,
Transformeth al the ferste kynde 2560
And makth hem able to conceive
Thurgh his vertu, and to receive
Bothe in substance and in figure
Of gold and selver the nature.
For thei tuo ben thextremetes,
To whiche after the propretes
Hath every metal his desir,
With help and confort of the fyr
Forth with this Ston, as it is seid,
Which to the Sonne and Mone is leid; 2570
For to the rede and to the whyte
This Ston hath pouer to profite.
It makth mulptiplicacioun
Of gold, and the fixacioun
It causeth, and of his habit
He doth the werk to be parfit
Of thilke Elixer which men calle
Alconomie, as is befalle
To hem that whilom weren wise.
Bot now it stant al otherwise; 2580
Thei speken faste of thilke Ston,
Bot hou to make it, nou wot non
After the sothe experience.
And natheles gret diligence
Thei setten upon thilke dede,
And spille more than thei spede;
For allewey thei finde a lette,
Which bringeth in poverte and dette
To hem that riche were afore:
The lost is had, the lucre is lore, 2590
To gete a pound thei spenden fyve;
I not hou such a craft schal thryve
In the manere as it is used:
It were betre be refused
Than forto worchen upon weene
In thing which stant noght as thei weene.
Bot noght forthi, who that it knewe,
The science of himself is trewe
Upon the forme as it was founded,
Wherof the names yit ben grounded 2600
Of hem that ferste it founden oute;
And thus the fame goth aboute
To suche as soghten besinesse
Of vertu and of worthinesse.
Of whom if I the names calle,
Hermes was on the ferste of alle,
To whom this art is most applied;
Geber therof was magnefied,
And Ortolan and Morien,
Among the whiche is Avicen, 2610
Which fond and wrot a gret partie
The practique of Alconomie;
Whos bokes, pleinli as thei stonde
Upon this craft, fewe understonde;
Bot yit to put hem in assai
Ther ben full manye now aday,
That knowen litel what thei meene.
It is noght on to wite and weene;
In forme of wordes thei it trete,
Bot yit they failen of beyete, 2620
For of tomoche or of tolyte
Ther is algate founde a wyte,
So that thei folwe noght the lyne
Of the parfite medicine,
Which grounded is upon nature.
Bot thei that writen the scripture
Of Grek, Arabe and of Caldee,
Thei were of such Auctorite
That thei ferst founden out the weie
Of al that thou hast herd me seie; 2630
Wherof the Cronique of her lore
Schal stonde in pris for everemore.
Bot toward oure Marches hiere,
Of the Latins if thou wolt hiere,
Of hem that whilom vertuous
Were and therto laborious,
Carmente made of hire engin
The ferste lettres of Latin,
Of which the tunge Romein cam,
Wherof that Aristarchus nam 2640
Forth with Donat and Dindimus
The ferste reule of Scole, as thus,
How that Latin schal be componed
And in what wise it schal be soned,
That every word in his degre
Schal stonde upon congruite.
And thilke time at Rome also
Was Tullius with Cithero,
That writen upon Rethorike,
Hou that men schal the wordes pike 2650
After the forme of eloquence,
Which is, men sein, a gret prudence:
And after that out of Hebreu
Jerom, which the langage kneu,
The Bible, in which the lawe is closed,
Into Latin he hath transposed;
And many an other writere ek
Out of Caldee, Arabe and Grek
With gret labour the bokes wise
Translateden. And otherwise 2660
The Latins of hemself also
Here studie at thilke time so
With gret travaile of Scole toke
In sondri forme forto boke,
That we mai take here evidences
Upon the lore of the Sciences,
Of craftes bothe and of clergie;
Among the whiche in Poesie
To the lovers Ovide wrot
And tawhte, if love be to hot, 2670
In what manere it scholde akiele.
Forthi, mi Sone, if that thou fiele
That love wringe thee to sore,
Behold Ovide and take his lore.
My fader, if thei mihte spede
Mi love, I wolde his bokes rede;
And if thei techen to restreigne
Mi love, it were an ydel peine
To lerne a thing which mai noght be.
For lich unto the greene tree, 2680
If that men toke his rote aweie,
Riht so myn herte scholde deie,
If that mi love be withdrawe.
Wherof touchende unto this sawe
There is bot only to poursuie
Mi love, and ydelschipe eschuie.
Mi goode Sone, soth to seie,
If ther be siker eny weie
To love, thou hast seid the beste:
For who that wolde have al his reste 2690
And do no travail at the nede,
It is no resoun that he spede
In loves cause forto winne;
For he which dar nothing beginne,
I not what thing he scholde achieve.
Bot overthis thou schalt believe,
So as it sit thee wel to knowe,
That ther ben othre vices slowe,
Whiche unto love don gret lette,
If thou thin herte upon hem sette. 2700
Toward the Slowe progenie
Ther is yit on of compaignie,
And he is cleped Sompnolence,
Which doth to Slouthe his reverence,
As he which is his Chamberlein,
That many an hundrid time hath lein
To slepe, whan he scholde wake.
He hath with love trewes take,
That wake who so wake wile,
If he mai couche a doun his bile, 2710
He hath al wowed what him list;
That ofte he goth to bedde unkist,
And seith that for no Druerie
He wol noght leve his sluggardie.
For thogh noman it wole allowe,
To slepe levere than to wowe
Is his manere, and thus on nyhtes,
Whan that he seth the lusti knyhtes
Revelen, wher these wommen are,
Awey he skulketh as an hare, 2720
And goth to bedde and leith him softe,
And of his Slouthe he dremeth ofte
Hou that he stiketh in the Myr,
And hou he sitteth be the fyr
And claweth on his bare schanckes,
And hou he clymbeth up the banckes
And falleth into Slades depe.
Bot thanne who so toke kepe,
Whanne he is falle in such a drem,
Riht as a Schip ayein the Strem, 2730
He routeth with a slepi noise,
And brustleth as a monkes froise,
Whanne it is throwe into the Panne.
And otherwhile sielde whanne
That he mai dreme a lusti swevene,
Him thenkth as thogh he were in hevene
And as the world were holi his:
And thanne he spekth of that and this,
And makth his exposicion
After the disposicion 2740
Of that he wolde, and in such wise
He doth to love all his service;
I not what thonk he schal deserve.
Bot, Sone, if thou wolt love serve,
I rede that thou do noght so.
Ha, goode fader, certes no.
I hadde levere be mi trowthe,
Er I were set on such a slouthe
And beere such a slepi snoute,
Bothe yhen of myn hed were oute. 2750
For me were betre fulli die,
Thanne I of such a slugardie
Hadde eny name, god me schilde;
For whan mi moder was with childe,
And I lay in hire wombe clos,
I wolde rathere Atropos,
Which is goddesse of alle deth,
Anon as I hadde eny breth,
Me hadde fro mi Moder cast.
Bot now I am nothing agast, 2760
I thonke godd; for Lachesis,
Ne Cloto, which hire felawe is,
Me schopen no such destine,
Whan thei at mi nativite
My weerdes setten as thei wolde;
Bot thei me schopen that I scholde
Eschuie of slep the truandise,
So that I hope in such a wise
To love forto ben excused,
That I no Sompnolence have used. 2770
For certes, fader Genius,
Yit into nou it hath be thus,
At alle time if it befelle
So that I mihte come and duelle
In place ther my ladi were,
I was noght slow ne slepi there:
For thanne I dar wel undertake,
That whanne hir list on nyhtes wake
In chambre as to carole and daunce,
Me thenkth I mai me more avaunce, 2780
If I mai gon upon hir hond,
Thanne if I wonne a kinges lond.
For whanne I mai hire hand beclippe,
With such gladnesse I daunce and skippe,
Me thenkth I touche noght the flor;
The Ro, which renneth on the Mor,
Is thanne noght so lyht as I:
So mow ye witen wel forthi,
That for the time slep I hate.
And whanne it falleth othergate, 2790
So that hire like noght to daunce,
Bot on the Dees to caste chaunce
Or axe of love som demande,
Or elles that hir list comaunde
To rede and here of Troilus,
Riht as sche wole or so or thus,
I am al redi to consente.
And if so is that I mai hente
Somtime among a good leisir,
So as I dar of mi desir 2800
I telle a part; bot whanne I preie,
Anon sche bidt me go mi weie
And seith it is ferr in the nyht;
And I swere it is even liht.
Bot as it falleth ate laste,
Ther mai no worldes joie laste,
So mot I nedes fro hire wende
And of my wachche make an ende:
And if sche thanne hiede toke,
Hou pitousliche on hire I loke, 2810
Whan that I schal my leve take,
Hire oghte of mercy forto slake
Hire daunger, which seith evere nay.
Bot he seith often, "Have good day,"
That loth is forto take his leve:
Therfore, while I mai beleve,
I tarie forth the nyht along,
For it is noght on me along
To slep that I so sone go,
Til that I mot algate so; 2820
And thanne I bidde godd hire se,
And so doun knelende on mi kne
I take leve, and if I schal,
I kisse hire, and go forth withal.
And otherwhile, if that I dore,
Er I come fulli to the Dore,
I torne ayein and feigne a thing,
As thogh I hadde lost a Ring
Or somwhat elles, for I wolde
Kisse hire eftsones, if I scholde, 2830
Bot selden is that I so spede.
And whanne I se that I mot nede
Departen, I departe, and thanne
With al myn herte I curse and banne
That evere slep was mad for yhe;
For, as me thenkth, I mihte dryhe
Withoute slep to waken evere,
So that I scholde noght dissevere
Fro hire, in whom is al my liht:
And thanne I curse also the nyht 2840
With al the will of mi corage,
And seie, "Awey, thou blake ymage,
Which of thi derke cloudy face
Makst al the worldes lyht deface,
And causest unto slep a weie,
Be which I mot nou gon aweie
Out of mi ladi compaignie.
O slepi nyht, I thee defie,
And wolde that thou leye in presse
With Proserpine the goddesse 2850
And with Pluto the helle king:
For til I se the daies spring,
I sette slep noght at a risshe."
And with that word I sike and wisshe,
And seie, "Ha, whi ne were it day?
For yit mi ladi thanne I may
Beholde, thogh I do nomore."
And efte I thenke forthermore,
To som man hou the niht doth ese,
Whan he hath thing that mai him plese 2860
The longe nyhtes be his side,
Where as I faile and go beside.
Bot slep, I not wherof it serveth,
Of which noman his thonk deserveth
To gete him love in eny place,
Bot is an hindrere of his grace
And makth him ded as for a throwe,
Riht as a Stok were overthrowe.
And so, mi fader, in this wise
The slepi nyhtes I despise, 2870
And evere amiddes of mi tale
I thenke upon the nyhtingale,
Which slepeth noght be weie of kinde
For love, in bokes as I finde.
Thus ate laste I go to bedde,
And yit min herte lith to wedde
With hire, wher as I cam fro;
Thogh I departe, he wol noght so,
Ther is no lock mai schette him oute,
Him nedeth noght to gon aboute, 2880
That perce mai the harde wall;
Thus is he with hire overall,
That be hire lief, or be hire loth,
Into hire bedd myn herte goth,
And softly takth hire in his arm
And fieleth hou that sche is warm,
And wissheth that his body were
To fiele that he fieleth there.
And thus miselven I tormente,
Til that the dede slep me hente: 2890
Bot thanne be a thousand score
Welmore than I was tofore
I am tormented in mi slep,
Bot that I dreme is noght of schep;
For I ne thenke noght on wulle,
Bot I am drecched to the fulle
Of love, that I have to kepe,
That nou I lawhe and nou I wepe,
And nou I lese and nou I winne,
And nou I ende and nou beginne. 2900
And otherwhile I dreme and mete
That I al one with hire mete
And that Danger is left behinde;
And thanne in slep such joie I finde,
That I ne bede nevere awake.
Bot after, whanne I hiede take,
And schal arise upon the morwe,
Thanne is al torned into sorwe,
Noght for the cause I schal arise,
Bot for I mette in such a wise, 2910
And ate laste I am bethoght
That al is vein and helpeth noght:
Bot yit me thenketh be my wille
I wolde have leie and slepe stille,
To meten evere of such a swevene,
For thanne I hadde a slepi hevene.
Mi Sone, and for thou tellest so,
A man mai finde of time ago
That many a swevene hath be certein,
Al be it so, that som men sein 2920
That swevenes ben of no credence.
Bot forto schewe in evidence
That thei fulofte sothe thinges
Betokne, I thenke in my wrytinges
To telle a tale therupon,
Which fell be olde daies gon.
This finde I write in Poesie:
Cei5x the king of Trocinie
Hadde Alceone to his wif,
Which as hire oghne hertes lif 2930
Him loveth; and he hadde also
A brother, which was cleped tho
Dedalion, and he per cas
Fro kinde of man forschape was
Into a Goshauk of liknesse;
Wherof the king gret hevynesse
Hath take, and thoghte in his corage
To gon upon a pelrinage
Into a strange regioun,
Wher he hath his devocioun 2940
To don his sacrifice and preie,
If that he mihte in eny weie
Toward the goddes finde grace
His brother hele to pourchace,
So that he mihte be reformed
Of that he hadde be transformed.
To this pourpos and to this ende
This king is redy forto wende,
As he which wolde go be Schipe;
And forto don him felaschipe 2950
His wif unto the See him broghte,
With al hire herte and him besoghte,
That he the time hire wolde sein,
Whan that he thoghte come ayein:
"Withinne," he seith, "tuo Monthe day."
And thus in al the haste he may
He tok his leve, and forth he seileth
Wepende, and sche hirself beweileth,
And torneth hom, ther sche cam fro.
Bot whan the Monthes were ago, 2960
The whiche he sette of his comynge,
And that sche herde no tydinge,
Ther was no care forto seche:
Wherof the goddes to beseche
Tho sche began in many wise,
And to Juno hire sacrifise
Above alle othre most sche dede,
And for hir lord sche hath so bede
To wite and knowe hou that he ferde,
That Juno the goddesse hire herde, 2970
Anon and upon this matiere
Sche bad Yris hir Messagere
To Slepes hous that sche schal wende,
And bidde him that he make an ende
Be swevene and schewen al the cas
Unto this ladi, hou it was.
This Yris, fro the hihe stage
Which undertake hath the Message,
Hire reyny Cope dede upon,
The which was wonderli begon 2980
With colours of diverse hewe,
An hundred mo than men it knewe;
The hevene lich into a bowe
Sche bende, and so she cam doun lowe,
The god of Slep wher that sche fond.
And that was in a strange lond,
Which marcheth upon Chymerie:
For ther, as seith the Poesie,
The god of Slep hath mad his hous,
Which of entaille is merveilous. 2990
Under an hell ther is a Cave,
Which of the Sonne mai noght have,
So that noman mai knowe ariht
The point betwen the dai and nyht:
Ther is no fyr, ther is no sparke,
Ther is no dore, which mai charke,
Wherof an yhe scholde unschette,
So that inward ther is no lette.
And forto speke of that withoute,
Ther stant no gret Tree nyh aboute 3000
Wher on ther myhte crowe or pie
Alihte, forto clepe or crie:
Ther is no cok to crowe day,
Ne beste non which noise may
The hell, bot al aboute round
Ther is growende upon the ground
Popi, which berth the sed of slep,
With othre herbes suche an hep.
A stille water for the nones
Rennende upon the smale stones, 3010
Which hihte of Lethes the rivere,
Under that hell in such manere
Ther is, which yifth gret appetit
To slepe. And thus full of delit
Slep hath his hous; and of his couche
Withinne his chambre if I schal touche,
Of hebenus that slepi Tree
The bordes al aboute be,
And for he scholde slepe softe,
Upon a fethrebed alofte 3020
He lith with many a pilwe of doun:

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