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Confessio Amantis

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Now herkne the Philosophie.
He which departeth dai fro nyht,
That on derk and that other lyht,
Of sevene daies made a weke,
A Monthe of foure wekes eke
He hath ordeigned in his lawe,
Of Monthes tuelve and ek forthdrawe 960
He hath also the longe yeer.
And as he sette of his pouer
Acordant to the daies sevene
Planetes Sevene upon the hevene,
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
To speke riht in such a wise,
To every Monthe be himselve
Upon the hevene of Signes tuelve
He hath after his Ordinal
Assigned on in special, 970
Wherof, so as I schal rehersen,
The tydes of the yer diversen.
Bot pleinly forto make it knowe
Hou that the Signes sitte arowe,
Ech after other be degre
In substance and in proprete
The zodiaque comprehendeth
Withinne his cercle, as it appendeth.
The ferste of whiche natheles
Be name is cleped Aries, 980
Which lich a wether of stature
Resembled is in his figure.
And as it seith in Almageste,
Of Sterres tuelve upon this beste
Ben set, wherof in his degre
The wombe hath tuo, the heved hath thre,
The Tail hath sevene, and in this wise,
As thou myht hiere me divise,
Stant Aries, which hot and drye
Is of himself, and in partie 990
He is the receipte and the hous
Of myhty Mars the bataillous.
And overmore ek, as I finde,
The creatour of alle kinde
Upon this Signe ferst began
The world, whan that he made man.
And of this constellacioun
The verray operacioun
Availeth, if a man therinne
The pourpos of his werk beginne; 1000
For thanne he hath of proprete
Good sped and gret felicite.
The tuelve Monthes of the yeer
Attitled under the pouer
Of these tuelve Signes stonde;
Wherof that thou schalt understonde
This Aries on of the tuelve
Hath March attitled for himselve,
Whan every bridd schal chese his make,
And every neddre and every Snake 1010
And every Reptil which mai moeve,
His myht assaieth forto proeve,
To crepen out ayein the Sonne,
Whan Ver his Seson hath begonne.
Taurus the seconde after this
Of Signes, which figured is
Unto a Bole, is dreie and cold;
And as it is in bokes told,
He is the hous appourtienant
To Venus, somdiel descordant. 1020
This Bole is ek with sterres set,
Thurgh whiche he hath hise hornes knet
Unto the tail of Aries,
So is he noght ther sterreles.
Upon his brest ek eyhtetiene
He hath, and ek, as it is sene,
Upon his tail stonde othre tuo.
His Monthe assigned ek also
Is Averil, which of his schoures
Ministreth weie unto the floures. 1030
The thridde signe is Gemini,
Which is figured redely
Lich to tuo twinnes of mankinde,
That naked stonde; and as I finde,
Thei be with Sterres wel bego:
The heved hath part of thilke tuo
That schyne upon the boles tail,
So be thei bothe of o parail;
But on the wombe of Gemini
Ben fyve sterres noght forthi, 1040
And ek upon the feet be tweie,
So as these olde bokes seie,
That wise Tholomes wrot.
His propre Monthe wel I wot
Assigned is the lusti Maii,
Whanne every brid upon his lay
Among the griene leves singeth,
And love of his pointure stingeth
After the lawes of nature
The youthe of every creature. 1050
Cancer after the reule and space
Of Signes halt the ferthe place.
Like to the crabbe he hath semblance,
And hath unto his retienance
Sextiene sterres, wherof ten,
So as these olde wise men
Descrive, he berth on him tofore,
And in the middel tuo be bore,
And foure he hath upon his ende.
Thus goth he sterred in his kende, 1060
And of himself is moiste and cold,
And is the propre hous and hold
Which appartieneth to the Mone,
And doth what longeth him to done.
The Monthe of Juin unto this Signe
Thou schalt after the reule assigne.
The fifte Signe is Leo hote,
Whos kinde is schape dreie and hote,
In whom the Sonne hath herbergage.
And the semblance of his ymage 1070
Is a leoun, which in baillie
Of sterres hath his pourpartie:
The foure, which as Cancer hath
Upon his ende, Leo tath
Upon his heved, and thanne nest
He hath ek foure upon his brest,
And on upon his tail behinde,
In olde bokes as we finde.
His propre Monthe is Juyl be name,
In which men pleien many a game. 1080
After Leo Virgo the nexte
Of Signes cleped is the sexte,
Wherof the figure is a Maide;
And as the Philosophre saide,
Sche is the welthe and the risinge,
The lust, the joie and the likinge
Unto Mercurie: and soth to seie
Sche is with sterres wel beseie,
Wherof Leo hath lent hire on,
Which sit on hih hir heved upon, 1090
Hire wombe hath fyve, hir feet also
Have other fyve: and overmo
Touchende as of complexion,
Be kindly disposicion
Of dreie and cold this Maiden is.
And forto tellen over this
Hir Monthe, thou schalt understonde,
Whan every feld hath corn in honde
And many a man his bak hath plied,
Unto this Signe is Augst applied. 1100
After Virgo to reknen evene
Libra sit in the nombre of sevene,
Which hath figure and resemblance
Unto a man which a balance
Berth in his hond as forto weie:
In boke and as it mai be seie,
Diverse sterres to him longeth,
Wherof on hevede he underfongeth
Ferst thre, and ek his wombe hath tuo,
And doun benethe eighte othre mo. 1110
This Signe is hot and moiste bothe,
The whiche thinges be noght lothe
Unto Venus, so that alofte
Sche resteth in his hous fulofte,
And ek Saturnus often hyed
Is in this Signe and magnefied.
His propre Monthe is seid Septembre,
Which yifth men cause to remembre,
If eny Sor be left behinde
Of thing which grieve mai to kinde. 1120
Among the Signes upon heighte
The Signe which is nombred eighte
Is Scorpio, which as feloun
Figured is a Scorpioun.
Bot for al that yit natheles
Is Scorpio noght sterreles;
For Libra granteth him his ende
Of eighte sterres, wher he wende,
The whiche upon his heved assised
He berth, and ek ther ben divised 1130
Upon his wombe sterres thre,
And eighte upon his tail hath he.
Which of his kinde is moiste and cold
And unbehovely manyfold;
He harmeth Venus and empeireth,
Bot Mars unto his hous repeireth,
Bot war whan thei togedre duellen.
His propre Monthe is, as men tellen,
Octobre, which bringth the kalende
Of wynter, that comth next suiende. 1140
The nynthe Signe in nombre also,
Which folweth after Scorpio,
Is cleped Sagittarius,
The whos figure is marked thus,
A Monstre with a bowe on honde:
On whom that sondri sterres stonde,
Thilke eighte of whiche I spak tofore,
The whiche upon the tail ben bore
Of Scorpio, the heved al faire
Bespreden of the Sagittaire; 1150
And eighte of othre stonden evene
Upon his wombe, and othre sevene
Ther stonde upon his tail behinde.
And he is hot and dreie of kinde:
To Jupiter his hous is fre,
Bot to Mercurie in his degre,
For thei ben noght of on assent,
He worcheth gret empeirement.
This Signe hath of his proprete
A Monthe, which of duete 1160
After the sesoun that befalleth
The Plowed Oxe in wynter stalleth;
And fyr into the halle he bringeth,
And thilke drinke of which men singeth,
He torneth must into the wyn;
Thanne is the larder of the swyn;
That is Novembre which I meene,
Whan that the lef hath lost his greene.
The tenthe Signe dreie and cold,
The which is Capricornus told, 1170
Unto a Got hath resemblance:
For whos love and whos aqueintance
Withinne hise houses to sojorne
It liketh wel unto Satorne,
Bot to the Mone it liketh noght,
For no profit is there wroght.
This Signe as of his proprete
Upon his heved hath sterres thre,
And ek upon his wombe tuo,
And tweie upon his tail also. 1180
Decembre after the yeeres forme,
So as the bokes ous enforme,
With daies schorte and nyhtes longe
This ilke Signe hath underfonge.
Of tho that sitte upon the hevene
Of Signes in the nombre ellevene
Aquarius hath take his place,
And stant wel in Satornes grace,
Which duelleth in his herbergage,
Bot to the Sonne he doth oultrage. 1190
This Signe is verraily resembled
Lich to a man which halt assembled
In eyther hand a water spoute,
Wherof the stremes rennen oute.
He is of kinde moiste and hot,
And he that of the sterres wot
Seith that he hath of sterres tuo
Upon his heved, and ben of tho
That Capricorn hath on his ende;
And as the bokes maken mende, 1200
That Tholomes made himselve,
He hath ek on his wombe tuelve,
And tweie upon his ende stonde.
Thou schalt also this understonde,
The frosti colde Janever,
Whan comen is the newe yeer,
That Janus with his double face
In his chaiere hath take his place
And loketh upon bothe sides,
Somdiel toward the wynter tydes, 1210
Somdiel toward the yeer suiende,
That is the Monthe belongende
Unto this Signe, and of his dole
He yifth the ferste Primerole.
The tuelfthe, which is last of alle
Of Signes, Piscis men it calle,
The which, as telleth the scripture,
Berth of tuo fisshes the figure.
So is he cold and moiste of kinde,
And ek with sterres, as I finde, 1220
Beset in sondri wise, as thus:
Tuo of his ende Aquarius
Hath lent unto his heved, and tuo
This Signe hath of his oghne also
Upon his wombe, and over this
Upon his ende also ther is
A nombre of twenty sterres bryghte,
Which is to sen a wonder sighte.
Toward this Signe into his hous
Comth Jupiter the glorious, 1230
And Venus ek with him acordeth
To duellen, as the bok recordeth.
The Monthe unto this Signe ordeined
Is Februer, which is bereined,
And with londflodes in his rage
At Fordes letteth the passage.
Nou hast thou herd the proprete
Of Signes, bot in his degre
Albumazar yit over this
Seith, so as therthe parted is 1240
In foure, riht so ben divised
The Signes tuelve and stonde assised,
That ech of hem for his partie
Hath his climat to justefie.
Wherof the ferste regiment
Toward the part of Orient
From Antioche and that contre
Governed is of Signes thre,
That is Cancer, Virgo, Leo:
And toward Occident also 1250
From Armenie, as I am lerned,
Of Capricorn it stant governed,
Of Pisces and Aquarius:
And after hem I finde thus,
Southward from Alisandre forth
Tho Signes whiche most ben worth
In governance of that doaire,
Libra thei ben and Sagittaire
With Scorpio, which is conjoint
With hem to stonde upon that point: 1260
Constantinople the Cite,
So as the bokes tellen me,
The laste of this division
Stant untoward Septemtrion,
Wher as be weie of pourveance
Hath Aries the governance
Forth with Taurus and Gemini.
Thus ben the Signes propreli
Divided, as it is reherced,
Wherof the londes ben diversed. 1270
Lo thus, mi Sone, as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere
Of hem that weren for his lore.
But nou to loken overmore,
Of othre sterres hou thei fare
I thenke hierafter to declare,
So as king Alisandre in youthe
Of him that suche thinges couthe
Enformed was tofore his yhe
Be nyhte upon the sterres hihe. 1280
Upon sondri creacion
Stant sondri operacion,
Som worcheth this, som worcheth that;
The fyr is hot in his astat
And brenneth what he mai atteigne,
The water mai the fyr restreigne,
The which is cold and moist also.
Of other thing it farth riht so
Upon this erthe among ous here;
And forto speke in this manere, 1290
Upon the hevene, as men mai finde,
The sterres ben of sondri kinde
And worchen manye sondri thinges
To ous, that ben here underlinges.
Among the whiche forth withal
Nectanabus in special,
Which was an Astronomien
And ek a gret Magicien,
And undertake hath thilke emprise
To Alisandre in his aprise 1300
As of Magique naturel
To knowe, enformeth him somdel
Of certein sterres what thei mene;
Of whiche, he seith, ther ben fiftene,
And sondrily to everich on
A gras belongeth and a Ston,
Wherof men worchen many a wonder
To sette thing bothe up and under.
To telle riht as he began,
The ferste sterre Aldeboran, 1310
The cliereste and the moste of alle,
Be rihte name men it calle;
Which lich is of condicion
To Mars, and of complexion
To Venus, and hath therupon
Carbunculum his propre Ston:
His herbe is Anabulla named,
Which is of gret vertu proclamed.
The seconde is noght vertules;
Clota or elles Pliades 1320
It hatte, and of the mones kinde
He is, and also this I finde,
He takth of Mars complexion:
And lich to such condicion
His Ston appropred is Cristall,
And ek his herbe in special
The vertuous Fenele it is.
The thridde, which comth after this,
Is hote Algol the clere rede,
Which of Satorne, as I may rede, 1330
His kinde takth, and ek of Jove
Complexion to his behove.
His propre Ston is Dyamant,
Which is to him most acordant;
His herbe, which is him betake,
Is hote Eleborum the blake.
So as it falleth upon lot,
The ferthe sterre is Alhaiot,
Which in the wise as I seide er
Of Satorne and of Jupiter 1340
Hath take his kinde; and therupon
The Saphir is his propre Ston,
Marrubium his herbe also,
The whiche acorden bothe tuo.
And Canis maior in his like
The fifte sterre is of Magique,
The whos kinde is venerien,
As seith this Astronomien.
His propre Ston is seid Berille,
Bot forto worche and to fulfille 1350
Thing which to this science falleth,
Ther is an herbe which men calleth
Saveine, and that behoveth nede
To him that wole his pourpos spede.
The sexte suiende after this
Be name Canis minor is;
The which sterre is Mercurial
Be weie of kinde, and forth withal,
As it is writen in the carte,
Complexion he takth of Marte. 1360
His Ston and herbe, as seith the Scole,
Ben Achates and Primerole.
The sefnthe sterre in special
Of this science is Arial,
Which sondri nature underfongeth.
The Ston which propre unto him longeth,
Gorgonza proprely it hihte:
His herbe also, which he schal rihte
Upon the worchinge as I mene,
Is Celidoine freissh and grene. 1370
Sterre Ala Corvi upon heihte
Hath take his place in nombre of eighte,
Which of his kinde mot parforne
The will of Marte and of Satorne:
To whom Lapacia the grete
Is herbe, bot of no beyete;
His Ston is Honochinus hote,
Thurgh which men worchen gret riote.
The nynthe sterre faire and wel
Be name is hote Alaezel, 1380
Which takth his propre kinde thus
Bothe of Mercurie and of Venus.
His Ston is the grene Amyraude,
To whom is yoven many a laude:
Salge is his herbe appourtenant
Aboven al the rememant.
The tenthe sterre is Almareth,
Which upon lif and upon deth
Thurgh kinde of Jupiter and Mart
He doth what longeth to his part. 1390
His Ston is Jaspe, and of Planteine
He hath his herbe sovereine.
The sterre ellefthe is Venenas,
The whos nature is as it was
Take of Venus and of the Mone,
In thing which he hath forto done.
Of Adamant is that perrie
In which he worcheth his maistrie;
Thilke herbe also which him befalleth,
Cicorea the bok it calleth. 1400
Alpheta in the nombre sit,
And is the twelfthe sterre yit;
Of Scorpio which is governed,
And takth his kinde, as I am lerned;
And hath his vertu in the Ston
Which cleped is Topazion:
His herbe propre is Rosmarine,
Which schapen is for his covine.
Of these sterres, whiche I mene,
Cor Scorpionis is thritiene; 1410
The whos nature Mart and Jove
Have yoven unto his behove.
His herbe is Aristologie,
Which folweth his Astronomie:
The Ston which that this sterre alloweth,
Is Sardis, which unto him boweth.
The sterre which stant next the laste,
Nature on him this name caste
And clepeth him Botercadent;
Which of his kinde obedient 1420
Is to Mercurie and to Venus.
His Ston is seid Crisolitus,
His herbe is cleped Satureie,
So as these olde bokes seie.
Bot nou the laste sterre of alle
The tail of Scorpio men calle,
Which to Mercurie and to Satorne
Be weie of kinde mot retorne
After the preparacion
Of due constellacion. 1430
The Calcedoine unto him longeth,
Which for his Ston he underfongeth;
Of Majorane his herbe is grounded.
Thus have I seid hou thei be founded,
Of every sterre in special,
Which hath his herbe and Ston withal,
As Hermes in his bokes olde
Witnesse berth of that I tolde.
The science of Astronomie,
Which principal is of clergie 1440
To dieme betwen wo and wel
In thinges that be naturel,
Thei hadde a gret travail on honde
That made it ferst ben understonde;
And thei also which overmore
Here studie sette upon this lore,
Thei weren gracious and wys
And worthi forto bere a pris.
And whom it liketh forto wite
Of hem that this science write, 1450
On of the ferste which it wrot
After Noe5, it was Nembrot,
To his disciple Ychonithon
And made a bok forth therupon
The which Megaster cleped was.
An other Auctor in this cas
Is Arachel, the which men note;
His bok is Abbategnyh hote.
Danz Tholome is noght the leste,
Which makth the bok of Almageste; 1460
And Alfraganus doth the same,
Whos bok is Chatemuz be name.
Gebuz and Alpetragus eke
Of Planisperie, which men seke,
The bokes made: and over this
Ful many a worthi clerc ther is,
That writen upon this clergie
The bokes of Altemetrie,
Planemetrie and ek also,
Whiche as belongen bothe tuo, 1470
So as thei ben naturiens,
Unto these Astronomiens.
Men sein that Habraham was on;
Bot whether that he wrot or non,
That finde I noght; and Moi5ses
Ek was an other: bot Hermes
Above alle othre in this science
He hadde a gret experience;
Thurgh him was many a sterre assised,
Whos bokes yit ben auctorized. 1480
I mai noght knowen alle tho
That writen in the time tho
Of this science; bot I finde,
Of jugement be weie of kinde
That in o point thei alle acorden:
Of sterres whiche thei recorden
That men mai sen upon the hevene,
Ther ben a thousend sterres evene
And tuo and twenty, to the syhte
Whiche aren of hemself so bryhte, 1490
That men mai dieme what thei be,
The nature and the proprete.
Nou hast thou herd, in which a wise
These noble Philosophres wise
Enformeden this yonge king,
And made him have a knowleching
Of thing which ferst to the partie
Belongeth of Philosophie,
Which Theorique cleped is,
As thou tofore hast herd er this. 1500
Bot nou to speke of the secounde,
Which Aristotle hath also founde,
And techeth hou to speke faire,
Which is a thing full necessaire
To contrepeise the balance,
Wher lacketh other sufficance.
Above alle erthli creatures
The hihe makere of natures
The word to man hath yove alone,
So that the speche of his persone, 1510
Or forto lese or forto winne,
The hertes thoght which is withinne
Mai schewe, what it wolde mene;
And that is noghwhere elles sene
Of kinde with non other beste.
So scholde he be the more honeste,
To whom god yaf so gret a yifte,
And loke wel that he ne schifte
Hise wordes to no wicked us;
For word the techer of vertus 1520
Is cleped in Philosophie.
Wherof touchende this partie,
Is Rethorique the science
Appropred to the reverence
Of wordes that ben resonable:
And for this art schal be vailable
With goodli wordes forto like,
It hath Gramaire, it hath Logiqe,
That serven bothe unto the speche.
Gramaire ferste hath forto teche 1530
To speke upon congruite:
Logique hath eke in his degre
Betwen the trouthe and the falshode
The pleine wordes forto schode,
So that nothing schal go beside,
That he the riht ne schal decide.
Wherof full many a gret debat
Reformed is to good astat,
And pes sustiened up alofte
With esy wordes and with softe, 1540
Wher strengthe scholde lete it falle.
The Philosophre amonges alle
Forthi commendeth this science,
Which hath the reule of eloquence.
In Ston and gras vertu ther is,
Bot yit the bokes tellen this,
That word above alle erthli thinges
Is vertuous in his doinges,
Wher so it be to evele or goode.
For if the wordes semen goode 1550
And ben wel spoke at mannes Ere,
Whan that ther is no trouthe there,
Thei don fulofte gret deceipte;
For whan the word to the conceipte
Descordeth in so double a wise,
Such Rethorique is to despise
In every place, and forto drede.
For of Uluxes thus I rede,
As in the bok of Troie is founde,
His eloquence and his facounde 1560
Of goodly wordes whiche he tolde,
Hath mad that Anthenor him solde
The toun, which he with tresoun wan.
Word hath beguiled many a man;
With word the wilde beste is daunted,
With word the Serpent is enchaunted,
Of word among the men of Armes
Ben woundes heeled with the charmes,
Wher lacketh other medicine;
Word hath under his discipline 1570
Of Sorcerie the karectes.
The wordes ben of sondri sectes,
Of evele and eke of goode also;
The wordes maken frend of fo,
And fo of frend, and pes of werre,
And werre of pes, and out of herre
The word this worldes cause entriketh,
And reconsileth whan him liketh.
The word under the coupe of hevene
Set every thing or odde or evene; 1580
With word the hihe god is plesed,
With word the wordes ben appesed,
The softe word the loude stilleth;
Wher lacketh good, the word fulfilleth,
To make amendes for the wrong;
Whan wordes medlen with the song,
It doth plesance wel the more.
Bot forto loke upon the lore
Hou Tullius his Rethorique
Componeth, ther a man mai pike 1590
Hou that he schal hise wordes sette,
Hou he schal lose, hou he schal knette,
And in what wise he schal pronounce
His tale plein withoute frounce.
Wherof ensample if thou wolt seche,
Tak hiede and red whilom the speche
Of Julius and Cithero,
Which consul was of Rome tho,
Of Catoun eke and of Cillene,
Behold the wordes hem betwene, 1600
Whan the tresoun of Cateline
Descoevered was, and the covine
Of hem that were of his assent
Was knowe and spoke in parlement,
And axed hou and in what wise
Men scholde don hem to juise.
Cillenus ferst his tale tolde,
To trouthe and as he was beholde,
The comun profit forto save,
He seide hou tresoun scholde have 1610
A cruel deth; and thus thei spieke,
The Consul bothe and Catoun eke,
And seiden that for such a wrong
Ther mai no peine be to strong.
Bot Julius with wordes wise
His tale tolde al otherwise,
As he which wolde her deth respite,
And fondeth hou he mihte excite
The jugges thurgh his eloquence
Fro deth to torne the sentence 1620
And sette here hertes to pite.
Nou tolden thei, nou tolde he;
Thei spieken plein after the lawe,
Bot he the wordes of his sawe
Coloureth in an other weie
Spekende, and thus betwen the tweie,
To trete upon this juggement,
Made ech of hem his Argument.
Wherof the tales forto hiere,
Ther mai a man the Scole liere 1630
Of Rethoriqes eloquences,
Which is the secounde of sciences
Touchende to Philosophie;
Wherof a man schal justifie
Hise wordes in disputeisoun,
And knette upon conclusioun
His Argument in such a forme,
Which mai the pleine trouthe enforme
And the soubtil cautele abate,
Which every trewman schal debate. 1640
The ferste, which is Theorique,
And the secounde Rethorique,
Sciences of Philosophie,
I have hem told as in partie,
So as the Philosophre it tolde
To Alisandre: and nou I wolde
Telle of the thridde what it is,
The which Practique cleped is.
Practique stant upon thre thinges
Toward the governance of kinges; 1650
Wherof the ferst Etique is named,
The whos science stant proclamed
To teche of vertu thilke reule,
Hou that a king himself schal reule
Of his moral condicion
With worthi disposicion
Of good livinge in his persone,
Which is the chief of his corone.
It makth a king also to lerne
Hou he his bodi schal governe, 1660
Hou he schal wake, hou he schal slepe,
Hou that he schal his hele kepe
In mete, in drinke, in clothinge eke:
Ther is no wisdom forto seke
As for the reule of his persone,
The which that this science al one
Ne techeth as be weie of kinde,
That ther is nothing left behinde.
That other point which to Practique
Belongeth is Iconomique, 1670
Which techeth thilke honestete
Thurgh which a king in his degre
His wif and child schal reule and guie,
So forth with al the companie
Which in his houshold schal abyde,
And his astat on every syde
In such manere forto lede,
That he his houshold ne mislede.
Practique hath yit the thridde aprise,
Which techeth hou and in what wise 1680
Thurgh hih pourveied ordinance
A king schal sette in governance
His Realme, and that is Policie,
Which longeth unto Regalie
In time of werre, in time of pes,
To worschipe and to good encress
Of clerk, of kniht and of Marchant,
And so forth of the remenant
Of al the comun poeple aboute,
Withinne Burgh and ek withoute, 1690
Of hem that ben Artificiers,
Whiche usen craftes and mestiers,
Whos Art is cleped Mechanique.
And though thei ben noght alle like,
Yit natheles, hou so it falle,
O lawe mot governe hem alle,
Or that thei lese or that thei winne,
After thastat that thei ben inne.
Lo, thus this worthi yonge king
Was fulli tauht of every thing, 1700
Which mihte yive entendement
Of good reule and good regiment
To such a worthi Prince as he.
Bot of verray necessite
The Philosophre him hath betake
Fyf pointz, whiche he hath undertake
To kepe and holde in observance,
As for the worthi governance
Which longeth to his Regalie,
After the reule of Policie. 1710
To every man behoveth lore,
Bot to noman belongeth more
Than to a king, which hath to lede
The poeple; for of his kinghede
He mai hem bothe save and spille.
And for it stant upon his wille,
It sit him wel to ben avised,
And the vertus whiche are assissed
Unto a kinges Regiment,
To take in his entendement: 1720
Wherof to tellen, as thei stonde,
Hierafterward nou woll I fonde.
Among the vertus on is chief,
And that is trouthe, which is lief
To god and ek to man also.
And for it hath ben evere so,
Tawhte Aristotle, as he wel couthe,
To Alisandre, hou in his youthe
He scholde of trouthe thilke grace
With al his hole herte embrace, 1730
So that his word be trewe and plein,
Toward the world and so certein
That in him be no double speche:
For if men scholde trouthe seche
And founde it noght withinne a king,
It were an unsittende thing.
The word is tokne of that withinne,
Ther schal a worthi king beginne
To kepe his tunge and to be trewe,
So schal his pris ben evere newe. 1740
Avise him every man tofore,
And be wel war, er he be swore,
For afterward it is to late,
If that he wole his word debate.
For as a king in special
Above alle othre is principal
Of his pouer, so scholde he be
Most vertuous in his degre;
And that mai wel be signefied
Be his corone and specified. 1750
The gold betokneth excellence,
That men schull don him reverence
As to here liege soverein.
The Stones, as the bokes sein,
Commended ben in treble wise:
Ferst thei ben harde, and thilke assisse
Betokneth in a king Constance,
So that ther schal no variance
Be founde in his condicion;
And also be descripcion 1760
The vertu which is in the stones
A verrai Signe is for the nones
Of that a king schal ben honeste
And holde trewly his beheste
Of thing which longeth to kinghede:
The bryhte colour, as I rede,
Which in the stones is schynende,
Is in figure betoknende
The Cronique of this worldes fame,
Which stant upon his goode name. 1770
The cercle which is round aboute
Is tokne of al the lond withoute,
Which stant under his Gerarchie,
That he it schal wel kepe and guye.
And for that trouthe, hou so it falle,
Is the vertu soverein of alle,
That longeth unto regiment,
A tale, which is evident
Of trouthe in comendacioun,
Toward thin enformacion, 1780
Mi Sone, hierafter thou schalt hiere
Of a Cronique in this matiere.
As the Cronique it doth reherce,
A Soldan whilom was of Perce,
Which Daires hihte, and Ytaspis
His fader was; and soth it is
That thurgh wisdom and hih prudence
Mor than for eny reverence
Of his lignage as be descente
The regne of thilke empire he hente: 1790
And as he was himselve wys,
The wisemen he hield in pris
And soghte hem oute on every side,
That toward him thei scholde abide.
Among the whiche thre ther were
That most service unto him bere,
As thei which in his chambre lyhen
And al his conseil herde and syhen.
Here names ben of strange note,
Arpaghes was the ferste hote, 1800
And Manachaz was the secounde,
Zorobabel, as it is founde
In the Cronique, was the thridde.
This Soldan, what so him betidde,
To hem he triste most of alle,
Wherof the cas is so befalle:
This lord, which hath conceiptes depe,
Upon a nyht whan he hath slepe,
As he which hath his wit desposed,
Touchende a point hem hath opposed. 1810
The kinges question was this;
Of thinges thre which strengest is,
The wyn, the womman or the king:
And that thei scholde upon this thing
Of here ansuere avised be,
He yaf hem fulli daies thre,
And hath behote hem be his feith
That who the beste reson seith,
He schal receive a worthi mede.
Upon this thing thei token hiede 1820
And stoden in desputeison,
That be diverse opinion
Of Argumentz that thei have holde
Arpaghes ferst his tale tolde,
And seide hou that the strengthe of kinges
Is myhtiest of alle thinges.
For king hath pouer over man,
And man is he which reson can,
As he which is of his nature
The moste noble creature 1830
Of alle tho that god hath wroght:
And be that skile it semeth noght,
He seith, that eny erthly thing
Mai be so myhty as a king.
A king mai spille, a king mai save,
A king mai make of lord a knave
And of a knave a lord also:
The pouer of a king stant so,
That he the lawes overpasseth;
What he wol make lasse, he lasseth, 1840
What he wol make more, he moreth;
And as the gentil faucon soreth,
He fleth, that noman him reclameth;
Bot he al one alle othre tameth,
And stant himself of lawe fre.
Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he,
So as his reson can argue,
Is strengest and of most value.
Bot Manachaz seide otherwise,
That wyn is of the more emprise; 1850
And that he scheweth be this weie.
The wyn fulofte takth aweie
The reson fro the mannes herte;
The wyn can make a krepel sterte,
And a delivere man unwelde;
It makth a blind man to behelde,
And a bryht yhed seme derk;
It makth a lewed man a clerk,
And fro the clerkes the clergie
It takth aweie, and couardie 1860
It torneth into hardiesse;
Of Avarice it makth largesse.
The wyn makth ek the goode blod,
In which the Soule which is good
Hath chosen hire a resting place,
Whil that the lif hir wole embrace.
And be this skile Manachas
Ansuered hath upon this cas,
And seith that wyn be weie of kinde
Is thing which mai the hertes binde 1870
Wel more than the regalie.
Zorobabel for his partie
Seide, as him thoghte for the beste,
That wommen ben the myhtieste.
The king and the vinour also
Of wommen comen bothe tuo;
And ek he seide hou that manhede
Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede
Of love, wher he wole or non,
Obeie schal; and therupon, 1880
To schewe of wommen the maistrie,
A tale which he syh with yhe
As for ensample he tolde this,-
Hou Apemen, of Besazis
Which dowhter was, in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis,
Whan he was hotest in his ire
Toward the grete of his empire,
Cirus the king tirant sche tok,
And only with hire goodly lok 1890
Sche made him debonaire and meke,
And be the chyn and be the cheke
Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste,
That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste,
And doth with him what evere hir liketh;
Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh,
And whan sche gladeth, he is glad:
And thus this king was overlad
With hire which his lemman was.
Among the men is no solas, 1900
If that ther be no womman there;
For bot if that the wommen were,
This worldes joie were aweie:
Thurgh hem men finden out the weie
To knihthode and to worldes fame;
Thei make a man to drede schame,
And honour forto be desired:
Thurgh the beaute of hem is fyred
The Dart of which Cupide throweth,
Wherof the jolif peine groweth, 1910
Which al the world hath under fote.
A womman is the mannes bote,
His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel;
And this thing mai be schewed wel,
Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde,
For in ensample this I finde.
Whan that the duk Ametus lay
Sek in his bedd, that every day
Men waiten whan he scholde deie,
Alceste his wif goth forto preie, 1920
As sche which wolde thonk deserve,
With Sacrifice unto Minerve,
To wite ansuere of the goddesse
Hou that hir lord of his seknesse,
Wherof he was so wo besein,
Recovere myhte his hele ayein.
Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide,
Til ate laste a vois hir seide,
That if sche wolde for his sake
The maladie soffre and take, 1930
And deie hirself, he scholde live.
Of this ansuere Alceste hath yive
Unto Minerve gret thonkinge,
So that hir deth and his livinge
Sche ches with al hire hole entente,
And thus acorded hom sche wente.
Into the chambre and whan sche cam,
Hire housebonde anon sche nam
In bothe hire Armes and him kiste,
And spak unto him what hire liste; 1940
And therupon withinne a throwe
This goode wif was overthrowe
And deide, and he was hool in haste.
So mai a man be reson taste,
Hou next after the god above
The trouthe of wommen and the love,
In whom that alle grace is founde,
Is myhtiest upon this grounde
And most behovely manyfold.
Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told 1950
The tale of his opinion:
Bot for final conclusion
What strengest is of erthli thinges,
The wyn, the wommen or the kinges,
He seith that trouthe above hem alle
Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle.
The trouthe, hou so it evere come,
Mai for nothing ben overcome;
It mai wel soffre for a throwe,
Bot ate laste it schal be knowe. 1960
The proverbe is, who that is trewe,
Him schal his while nevere rewe:
For hou so that the cause wende,
The trouthe is schameles ate ende,
Bot what thing that is troutheles,
It mai noght wel be schameles,
And schame hindreth every wyht:
So proveth it, ther is no myht
Withoute trouthe in no degre.
And thus for trouthe of his decre 1970
Zorobabel was most commended,
Wherof the question was ended,
And he resceived hath his mede
For trouthe, which to mannes nede
Is most behoveliche overal.
Forthi was trouthe in special
The ferste point in observance
Betake unto the governance
Of Alisandre, as it is seid:
For therupon the ground is leid 1980
Of every kinges regiment,
As thing which most convenient
Is forto sette a king in evene
Bothe in this world and ek in hevene.
Next after trouthe the secounde,
In Policie as it is founde,
Which serveth to the worldes fame
In worschipe of a kinges name,
Largesse it is, whos privilegge
Ther mai non Avarice abregge. 1990
The worldes good was ferst comune,
Bot afterward upon fortune
Was thilke comun profit cessed:
For whan the poeple stod encresced
And the lignages woxen grete,
Anon for singulier beyete
Drouh every man to his partie;
Wherof cam in the ferste envie
With gret debat and werres stronge,
And laste among the men so longe, 2000
Til noman wiste who was who,
Ne which was frend ne which was fo.
Til ate laste in every lond
Withinne hemself the poeple fond
That it was good to make a king,
Which mihte appesen al this thing
And yive riht to the lignages
In partinge of here heritages
And ek of al here other good;
And thus above hem alle stod 2010
The king upon his Regalie,
As he which hath to justifie
The worldes good fro covoitise.
So sit it wel in alle wise
A king betwen the more and lesse
To sette his herte upon largesse
Toward himself and ek also
Toward his poeple; and if noght so,
That is to sein, if that he be
Toward himselven large and fre 2020
And of his poeple take and pile,
Largesse be no weie of skile
It mai be seid, bot Avarice,
Which in a king is a gret vice.
A king behoveth ek to fle
The vice of Prodegalite,
That he mesure in his expence
So kepe, that of indigence
He mai be sauf: for who that nedeth,
In al his werk the worse he spedeth. 2030
As Aristotle upon Chaldee
Ensample of gret Auctorite
Unto king Alisandre tauhte
Of thilke folk that were unsauhte
Toward here king for his pilage:
Wherof he bad, in his corage
That he unto thre pointz entende,
Wher that he wolde his good despende.
Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod,
That al were of his oghne good 2040
The yiftes whiche he wolde yive;
So myhte he wel the betre live:
And ek he moste taken hiede
If ther be cause of eny nede,
Which oghte forto be defended,
Er that his goodes be despended:
He mot ek, as it is befalle,
Amonges othre thinges alle
Se the decertes of his men;
And after that thei ben of ken 2050
And of astat and of merite,
He schal hem largeliche aquite,
Or for the werre, or for the pes,
That non honour falle in descres,
Which mihte torne into defame,
Bot that he kepe his goode name,
So that he be noght holde unkinde.
For in Cronique a tale I finde,
Which spekth somdiel of this matiere,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere. 2060
In Rome, to poursuie his riht,
Ther was a worthi povere kniht,
Which cam al one forto sein
His cause, when the court was plein,
Wher Julius was in presence.
And for him lacketh of despence,
Ther was with him non advocat
To make ple for his astat.
Bot thogh him lacke forto plede,
Him lacketh nothing of manhede; 2070
He wiste wel his pours was povere,
Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere,
And openly poverte alleide,
To themperour and thus he seide:
"O Julius, lord of the lawe,
Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe
For lacke of gold: do thin office
After the lawes of justice:
Help that I hadde conseil hiere
Upon the trouthe of mi matiere." 2080
And Julius with that anon
Assigned him a worthi on,
Bot he himself no word ne spak.
This kniht was wroth and fond a lak
In themperour, and seide thus:
"O thou unkinde Julius,
Whan thou in thi bataille were
Up in Aufrique, and I was there,
Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede
And putte noman in my stede, 2090
Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde:
Bot hier I finde thee so badde,
That thee ne liste speke o word
Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord
To yive a florin me to helpe.
Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe
Fro this dai forth of thi largesse,
Whan such a gret unkindenesse
Is founde in such a lord as thou?"
This Julius knew wel ynou 2100
That al was soth which he him tolde;
And for he wolde noght ben holde
Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde,
And as it were of goddes sonde,
He yaf him good ynouh to spende
For evere into his lives ende.
And thus scholde every worthi king
Take of his knihtes knowleching,
Whan that he syh thei hadden nede,
For every service axeth mede: 2110
Bot othre, which have noght deserved
Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served,
A king schal noght deserve grace,
Thogh he be large in such a place.
It sit wel every king to have
Discrecion, whan men him crave,
So that he mai his yifte wite:
Wherof I finde a tale write,
Hou Cinichus a povere kniht
A Somme which was over myht 2120
Preide of his king Antigonus.
The king ansuerde to him thus,
And seide hou such a yifte passeth
His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth,
And axeth bot a litel peny,
If that the king wol yive him eny.
The king ansuerde, it was to smal
For him, which was a lord real;
To yive a man so litel thing
It were unworschipe in a king. 2130
Be this ensample a king mai lere
That forto yive is in manere:
For if a king his tresor lasseth
Withoute honour and thonkles passeth,
Whan he himself wol so beguile,
I not who schal compleigne his while,
Ne who be rihte him schal relieve.
Bot natheles this I believe,
To helpe with his oghne lond
Behoveth every man his hond 2140
To sette upon necessite;
And ek his kinges realte
Mot every liege man conforte,
With good and bodi to supporte,
Whan thei se cause resonable:
For who that is noght entendable
To holde upriht his kinges name,
Him oghte forto be to blame.
Of Policie and overmore
To speke in this matiere more, 2150
So as the Philosophre tolde,
A king after the reule is holde
To modifie and to adresce
Hise yiftes upon such largesce
That he mesure noght excede:
For if a king falle into nede,
It causeth ofte sondri thinges
Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges.
What man wol noght himself mesure,
Men sen fulofte that mesure 2160
Him hath forsake: and so doth he
That useth Prodegalite,
Which is the moder of poverte,
Wherof the londes ben deserte;
And namely whan thilke vice
Aboute a king stant in office
And hath withholde of his partie
The covoitouse flaterie,
Which many a worthi king deceiveth,
Er he the fallas aperceiveth 2170
Of hem that serven to the glose.
For thei that cunnen plese and glose,
Ben, as men tellen, the norrices
Unto the fostringe of the vices,
Wherof fulofte natheles
A king is blamed gulteles.
A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere,
Spak to a king of this matiere,
And seide him wel hou that flatours
Coupable were of thre errours. 2180
On was toward the goddes hihe,
That weren wrothe of that thei sihe
The meschief which befalle scholde
Of that the false flatour tolde.
Toward the king an other was,
Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas
Of feigned wordes make him wene
That blak is whyt and blew is grene
Touchende of his condicion:
For whanne he doth extorcion 2190
With manye an other vice mo,
Men schal noght finden on of tho
To groucche or speke therayein,
Bot holden up his oil and sein
That al is wel, what evere he doth;
And thus of fals thei maken soth,
So that here kinges yhe is blent
And wot not hou the world is went.
The thridde errour is harm comune,
With which the poeple mot commune 2200
Of wronges that thei bringen inne:
And thus thei worchen treble sinne,
That ben flatours aboute a king.
Ther myhte be no worse thing
Aboute a kinges regalie,
Thanne is the vice of flaterie.
And natheles it hath ben used,
That it was nevere yit refused
As forto speke in court real;
For there it is most special, 2210
And mai noght longe be forbore.
Bot whan this vice of hem is bore,
That scholden the vertus forthbringe,
And trouthe is torned to lesinge,
It is, as who seith, ayein kinde,
Wherof an old ensample I finde.
Among these othre tales wise
Of Philosophres, in this wise
I rede, how whilom tuo ther were,
And to the Scole forto lere 2220
Unto Athenes fro Cartage
Here frendes, whan thei were of Age,
Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe,
Til thei such lore have underfonge,
That in here time thei surmonte
Alle othre men, that to acompte
Of hem was tho the grete fame.
The ferste of hem his rihte name
Was Diogenes thanne hote,
In whom was founde no riote: 2230
His felaw Arisippus hyhte,
Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte.
Bot ate laste, soth to sein,
Thei bothe tornen hom ayein
Unto Cartage and scole lete.
This Diogenes no beyete
Of worldes good or lasse or more
Ne soghte for his longe lore,
Bot tok him only forto duelle
At hom; and as the bokes telle, 2240
His hous was nyh to the rivere
Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere.
Ther duelleth he to take his reste,
So as it thoghte him for the beste,
To studie in his Philosophie,
As he which wolde so defie
The worldes pompe on every syde.
Bot Arisippe his bok aside
Hath leid, and to the court he wente,
Wher many a wyle and many a wente 2250
With flaterie and wordes softe
He caste, and hath compassed ofte
Hou he his Prince myhte plese;
And in this wise he gat him ese
Of vein honour and worldes good.
The londes reule upon him stod,
The king of him was wonder glad,
And all was do, what thing he bad,
Bothe in the court and ek withoute.
With flaterie he broghte aboute 2260
His pourpos of the worldes werk,
Which was ayein the stat of clerk,
So that Philosophie he lefte
And to richesse himself uplefte:
Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille.
Bot Diogenes duelte stille
A home and loked on his bok:
He soghte noght the worldes crok
For vein honour ne for richesse,
Bot all his hertes besinesse 2270
He sette to be vertuous;
And thus withinne his oghne hous
He liveth to the sufficance
Of his havinge. And fell per chance,
This Diogene upon a day,
And that was in the Monthe of May,
Whan that these herbes ben holsome,
He walketh forto gadre some
In his gardin, of whiche his joutes
He thoghte have, and thus aboutes 2280
Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh,
He satte him thanne doun and pyketh,
And wyssh his herbes in the flod
Upon the which his gardin stod,
Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er.
And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther,
Cam Arisippes be the strete
With manye hors and routes grete,
And straght unto the bregge he rod.
Wher that he hoved and abod; 2290
For as he caste his yhe nyh,
His felaw Diogene he syh,
And what he dede he syh also,
Wherof he seide to him so:
"O Diogene, god thee spede.
It were certes litel nede
To sitte there and wortes pyke,
If thou thi Prince couthest lyke,
So as I can in my degre."
"O Arisippe," ayein quod he, 2300
"If that thou couthist, so as I,
Thi wortes pyke, trewely
It were als litel nede or lasse,
That thou so worldly wolt compasse
With flaterie forto serve,
Wherof thou thenkest to deserve
Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace
Hou thou myht stonden in his grace,
For getinge of a litel good.
If thou wolt take into thi mod 2310
Reson, thou myht be reson deeme
That so thi prince forto queeme
Is noght to reson acordant,
Bot it is gretly descordant
Unto the Scoles of Athene."
Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene
Ayein the clerkes flaterie.
Bot yit men sen thessamplerie
Of Arisippe is wel received,
And thilke of Diogene is weyved. 2320
Office in court and gold in cofre
Is nou, men sein, the philosophre
Which hath the worschipe in the halle;
Bot flaterie passeth alle
In chambre, whom the court avanceth;
For upon thilke lot it chanceth
To be beloved nou aday.
I not if it be ye or nay,
Bot as the comun vois it telleth;
Bot wher that flaterie duelleth 2330
In eny lond under the Sonne,
Ther is ful many a thing begonne
Which were betre to be left;
That hath be schewed nou and eft.
Bot if a Prince wolde him reule
Of the Romeins after the reule,
In thilke time as it was used,
This vice scholde be refused,
Wherof the Princes ben assoted.
Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted, 2340
Ther may a Prince wel conceive,
That he schal noght himself deceive,
Of that he hiereth wordes pleine;
For him thar noght be reson pleigne,
That warned is er him be wo.
And that was fully proeved tho,
Whan Rome was the worldes chief,
The Sothseiere tho was lief,
Which wolde noght the trouthe spare,
Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare 2350
To Themperour hise sothes tolde,
As in Cronique is yit withholde,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere
Acordende unto this matiere.
To se this olde ensamplerie,
That whilom was no flaterie
Toward the Princes wel I finde;
Wherof so as it comth to mynde,
Mi Sone, a tale unto thin Ere,
Whil that the worthi princes were 2360
At Rome, I thenke forto tellen.
For whan the chances so befellen
That eny Emperour as tho
Victoire hadde upon his fo,
And so forth cam to Rome ayein,
Of treble honour he was certein,
Wherof that he was magnefied.
The ferste, as it is specefied,
Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde,
The Charr in which he scholde ryde 2370
Foure whyte Stiedes scholden drawe;
Of Jupiter be thilke lawe
The Cote he scholde were also;
Hise prisoners ek scholden go
Endlong the Charr on eyther hond,
And alle the nobles of the lond
Tofore and after with him come
Ridende and broghten him to Rome,
In thonk of his chivalerie
And for non other flaterie. 2380
And that was schewed forth withal;
Wher he sat in his Charr real,
Beside him was a Ribald set,
Which hadde hise wordes so beset,
To themperour in al his gloire
He seide, "Tak into memoire,
For al this pompe and al this pride
Let no justice gon aside,
Bot know thiself, what so befalle.
For men sen ofte time falle 2390
Thing which men wende siker stonde:
Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde,
Fortune mai noght stonde alway;
The whiel per chance an other day
Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe;
Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe."
With these wordes and with mo
This Ribald, which sat with him tho,
To Themperour his tale tolde:
And overmor what evere he wolde, 2400
Or were it evel or were it good,
So pleinly as the trouthe stod,
He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute;
And so myhte every man aboute
The day of that solempnete
His tale telle als wel as he
To Themperour al openly.
And al was this the cause why;
That whil he stod in that noblesse,
He scholde his vanite represse 2410
With suche wordes as he herde.
Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde
Toward so hih a worthi lord:
For this I finde ek of record,
Which the Cronique hath auctorized.
What Emperour was entronized,
The ferste day of his corone,
Wher he was in his real Throne
And hield his feste in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis 2420
With al the lust that mai be gete,
Whan he was gladdest at his mete,
And every menstral hadde pleid,
And every Disour hadde seid
What most was plesant to his Ere,
Than ate laste comen there
Hise Macons, for thei scholden crave
Wher that he wolde be begrave,
And of what Ston his sepulture
Thei scholden make, and what sculpture 2430
He wolde ordeine therupon.
Tho was ther flaterie non
The worthi princes to bejape;
The thing was other wise schape
With good conseil; and otherwise
Thei were hemselven thanne wise,
And understoden wel and knewen.
Whan suche softe wyndes blewen
Of flaterie into here Ere,
Thei setten noght here hertes there; 2440
Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned,
The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned
Of hem that weren so discrete.
So tok the flatour no beyete
Of him that was his prince tho:
And forto proven it is so,
A tale which befell in dede
In a Cronique of Rome I rede.
Cesar upon his real throne
Wher that he sat in his persone 2450
And was hyest in al his pris,
A man, which wolde make him wys,
Fell doun knelende in his presence,
And dede him such a reverence,
As thogh the hihe god it were:
Men hadden gret mervaille there
Of the worschipe which he dede.
This man aros fro thilke stede,
And forth with al the same tyde
He goth him up and be his side 2460
He set him doun as pier and pier,
And seide, "If thou that sittest hier
Art god, which alle thinges myht,
Thanne have I do worshipe ariht
As to the god; and other wise,
If thou be noght of thilke assisse,
Bot art a man such as am I,
Than mai I sitte faste by,
For we be bothen of o kinde."
Cesar ansuerde and seide, "O blinde, 2470
Thou art a fol, it is wel sene
Upon thiself: for if thou wene
I be a god, thou dost amys
To sitte wher thou sest god is;
And if I be a man, also
Thou hast a gret folie do,
Whan thou to such on as schal deie
The worschipe of thi god aweie
Hast yoven so unworthely.
Thus mai I prove redely, 2480
Thou art noght wys." And thei that herde
Hou wysly that the king ansuerde,
It was to hem a newe lore;
Wherof thei dradden him the more,
And broghten nothing to his Ere,
Bot if it trouthe and reson were.
So be ther manye, in such a wise
That feignen wordes to be wise,
And al is verray flaterie
To him which can it wel aspie. 2490
The kinde flatour can noght love
Bot forto bringe himself above;
For hou that evere his maister fare,
So that himself stonde out of care,
Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte
Deceived ben with wordes softe
The kinges that ben innocent.
Wherof as for chastiement
The wise Philosophre seide,
What king that so his tresor leide 2500
Upon such folk, he hath the lesse,
And yit ne doth he no largesse,
Bot harmeth with his oghne hond
Himself and ek his oghne lond,
And that be many a sondri weie.
Wherof if that a man schal seie,
As forto speke in general,
Wher such thing falleth overal
That eny king himself misreule,
The Philosophre upon his reule 2510
In special a cause sette,
Which is and evere hath be the lette
In governance aboute a king
Upon the meschief of the thing,
And that, he seith, is Flaterie.
Wherof tofore as in partie
What vice it is I have declared;
For who that hath his wit bewared
Upon a flatour to believe,
Whan that he weneth best achieve 2520
His goode world, it is most fro.
And forto proeven it is so
Ensamples ther ben manyon,
Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on,
It is behovely forto hiere
What whilom fell in this matiere.
Among the kinges in the bible
I finde a tale, and is credible,
Of him that whilom Achab hihte,
Which hadde al Irahel to rihte; 2530
Bot who that couthe glose softe
And flatre, suche he sette alofte
In gret astat and made hem riche;
Bot thei that spieken wordes liche
To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere,
For hem was non astat to bere,
The court of suche tok non hiede.
Til ate laste upon a nede,
That Benedab king of Surie
Of Irahel a gret partie, 2540
Which Ramoth Galaath was hote,
Hath sesed; and of that riote
He tok conseil in sondri wise,
Bot noght of hem that weren wise.
And natheles upon this cas
To strengthen him, for Josaphas,
Which thanne was king of Judee,
He sende forto come, as he
Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance
Was next to him of aqueintance; 2550
For Joram Sone of Josaphath
Achabbes dowhter wedded hath,
Which hihte faire Godelie.
And thus cam into Samarie
King Josaphat, and he fond there
The king Achab: and whan thei were
Togedre spekende of this thing,
This Josaphat seith to the king,
Hou that he wolde gladly hiere
Som trew prophete in this matiere, 2560
That he his conseil myhte yive
To what point that it schal be drive.
And in that time so befell,
Ther was such on in Irahel,
Which sette him al to flaterie,
And he was cleped Sedechie;
And after him Achab hath sent:
And he at his comandement
Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte
He hath upon his heved on heyhte 2570
Tuo large hornes set of bras,
As he which al a flatour was,
And goth rampende as a leoun
And caste hise hornes up and doun,
And bad men ben of good espeir,
For as the hornes percen their,
He seith, withoute resistence,
So wiste he wel of his science
That Benedab is desconfit.
Whan Sedechie upon this plit 2580
Hath told this tale to his lord,
Anon ther were of his acord
Prophetes false manye mo
To bere up oil, and alle tho
Affermen that which he hath told,
Wherof the king Achab was bold
And yaf hem yiftes al aboute.
But Josaphat was in gret doute,
And hield fantosme al that he herde,
Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde, 2590
If ther were eny other man,
The which of prophecie can,
To hiere him speke er that thei gon.
Quod Achab thanne, "Ther is on,
A brothell, which Micheas hihte;
Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte,
For he hath longe in prison lein.
Him liketh nevere yit to sein
A goodly word to mi plesance;
And natheles at thin instance 2600
He schal come oute, and thanne he may
Seie as he seide many day;
For yit he seide nevere wel."
Tho Josaphat began somdel
To gladen him in hope of trouthe,
And bad withouten eny slouthe
That men him scholden fette anon.
And thei that weren for him gon,
Whan that thei comen wher he was,
Thei tolden unto Micheas 2610
The manere hou that Sedechie
Declared hath his prophecie;
And therupon thei preie him faire
That he wol seie no contraire,
Wherof the king mai be desplesed,
For so schal every man ben esed,
And he mai helpe himselve also.
Micheas upon trouthe tho
His herte sette, and to hem seith,
Al that belongeth to his feith 2620
And of non other feigned thing,
That wol he telle unto his king,
Als fer as god hath yove him grace.
Thus cam this prophete into place
Wher he the kinges wille herde;
And he therto anon ansuerde,
And seide unto him in this wise:
"Mi liege lord, for mi servise,
Which trewe hath stonden evere yit,
Thou hast me with prisone aquit; 2630
Bot for al that I schal noght glose
Of trouthe als fer as I suppose;
And as touchende of this bataille,
Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile.
For if it like thee to hiere,
As I am tauht in that matiere,
Thou miht it understonde sone;
Bot what is afterward to done
Avise thee, for this I sih.
I was tofor the throne on hih, 2640
Wher al the world me thoghte stod,
And there I herde and understod
The vois of god with wordes cliere
Axende, and seide in this manere:
"In what thing mai I best beguile
The king Achab?" And for a while
Upon this point thei spieken faste.
Tho seide a spirit ate laste,
"I undertake this emprise."
And god him axeth in what wise. 2650
"I schal," quod he, "deceive and lye
With flaterende prophecie
In suche mouthes as he lieveth."
And he which alle thing achieveth
Bad him go forth and don riht so.
And over this I sih also
The noble peple of Irahel
Dispers as Schep upon an hell,
Withoute a kepere unarraied:
And as thei wente aboute astraied, 2660
I herde a vois unto hem sein,
"Goth hom into your hous ayein,
Til I for you have betre ordeigned."
Quod Sedechie, "Thou hast feigned
This tale in angringe of the king."
And in a wraththe upon this thing
He smot Michee upon the cheke;
The king him hath rebuked eke,
And every man upon him cride:
Thus was he schent on every side, 2670
Ayein and into prison lad,
For so the king himselve bad.
The trouthe myhte noght ben herd;
Bot afterward as it hath ferd,
The dede proveth his entente:
Achab to the bataille wente,
Wher Benedab for al his Scheld
Him slouh, so that upon the feld
His poeple goth aboute astray.
Bot god, which alle thinges may, 2680
So doth that thei no meschief have;
Here king was ded and thei ben save,
And hom ayein in goddes pes
Thei wente, and al was founde les
That Sedechie hath seid tofore.
So sit it wel a king therfore
To loven hem that trouthe mene;
For ate laste it wol be sene
That flaterie is nothing worth.
Bot nou to mi matiere forth, 2690
As forto speken overmore
After the Philosophres lore,
The thridde point of Policie
I thenke forto specifie.
What is a lond wher men ben none?
What ben the men whiche are al one
Withoute a kinges governance?
What is a king in his ligance,
Wher that ther is no lawe in londe?
What is to take lawe on honde, 2700
Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
These olde worldes with the newe
Who that wol take in evidence,
Ther mai he se thexperience,
What thing it is to kepe lawe,
Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe
And rihtwisnesse stant commended,
Wherof the regnes ben amended.
For wher the lawe mai comune
The lordes forth with the commune, 2710
Ech hath his propre duete;
And ek the kinges realte
Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth,
To his astat as it belongeth,
Which of his hihe worthinesse
Hath to governe rihtwisnesse,
As he which schal the lawe guide.
And natheles upon som side
His pouer stant above the lawe,
To yive bothe and to withdrawe 2720
The forfet of a mannes lif;
But thinges whiche are excessif
Ayein the lawe, he schal noght do
For love ne for hate also.
The myhtes of a king ben grete,
Bot yit a worthi king schal lete
Of wrong to don, al that he myhte;
For he which schal the poeple ryhte,
It sit wel to his regalie
That he himself ferst justefie 2730
Towardes god in his degre:
For his astat is elles fre
Toward alle othre in his persone,
Save only to the god al one,
Which wol himself a king chastise,
Wher that non other mai suffise.
So were it good to taken hiede
That ferst a king his oghne dede
Betwen the vertu and the vice
Redresce, and thanne of his justice 2740
So sette in evene the balance
Towardes othre in governance,
That to the povere and to the riche
Hise lawes myhten stonde liche,
He schal excepte no persone.
Bot for he mai noght al him one
In sondri places do justice,
He schal of his real office
With wys consideracion
Ordeigne his deputacion 2750
Of suche jugges as ben lerned,
So that his poeple be governed
Be hem that trewe ben and wise.
For if the lawe of covoitise
Be set upon a jugges hond,
Wo is the poeple of thilke lond,
For wrong mai noght himselven hyde:
Bot elles on that other side,
If lawe stonde with the riht,
The poeple is glad and stant upriht. 2760
Wher as the lawe is resonable,
The comun poeple stant menable,
And if the lawe torne amis,
The poeple also mistorned is.
And in ensample of this matiere
Of Maximin a man mai hiere,
Of Rome which was Emperour,
That whanne he made a governour
Be weie of substitucion
Of Province or of region, 2770
He wolde ferst enquere his name,
And let it openly proclame
What man he were, or evel or good.
And upon that his name stod
Enclin to vertu or to vice,
So wolde he sette him in office,
Or elles putte him al aweie.
Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie,
Which fond no let of covoitise:
The world stod than upon the wise, 2780
As be ensample thou myht rede;
And hold it in thi mynde, I rede.
In a Cronique I finde thus,
Hou that Gayus Fabricius,
Which whilom was Consul of Rome,
Be whom the lawes yede and come,
Whan the Sampnites to him broghte
A somme of gold, and him besoghte
To don hem favour in the lawe,
Toward the gold he gan him drawe, 2790
Wherof in alle mennes lok
A part up in his hond he tok,
Which to his mouth in alle haste
He putte, it forto smelle and taste,
And to his yhe and to his Ere,
Bot he ne fond no confort there:
And thanne he gan it to despise,
And tolde unto hem in this wise:
"I not what is with gold to thryve,
Whan non of all my wittes fyve 2800
Fynt savour ne delit therinne.
So is it bot a nyce Sinne
Of gold to ben to covoitous;
Bot he is riche and glorious,
Which hath in his subjeccion
Tho men whiche in possession
Ben riche of gold, and be this skile;
For he mai aldai whan he wile,
Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe,
Justice don upon hem bothe." 2810
Lo, thus he seide, and with that word
He threw tofore hem on the bord
The gold out of his hond anon,
And seide hem that he wolde non:
So that he kepte his liberte
To do justice and equite,
Withoute lucre of such richesse.
Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse;
For it was thilke times used,
That every jugge was refused 2820
Which was noght frend to comun riht;
Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht
For trouthe only to do justice
Preferred were in thilke office
To deme and jugge commun lawe:
Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe.
To sette a lawe and kepe it noght
Ther is no comun profit soght;
Bot above alle natheles
The lawe, which is mad for pes, 2830
Is good to kepe for the beste,
For that set alle men in reste.
The rihtful Emperour Conrade
To kepe pes such lawe made,
That non withinne the cite
In destorbance of unite
Dorste ones moeven a matiere.
For in his time, as thou myht hiere,
What point that was for lawe set
It scholde for no gold be let, 2840
To what persone that it were.
And this broghte in the comun fere,
Why every man the lawe dradde,
For ther was non which favour hadde.
So as these olde bokes sein,
I finde write hou a Romein,
Which Consul was of the Pretoire,
Whos name was Carmidotoire,
He sette a lawe for the pes,
That non, bot he be wepneles, 2850
Schal come into the conseil hous,
And elles as malicious
He schal ben of the lawe ded.
To that statut and to that red
Acorden alle it schal be so,
For certein cause which was tho:
Nou lest what fell therafter sone.
This Consul hadde forto done,
And was into the feldes ride;
And thei him hadden longe abide, 2860
That lordes of the conseil were,
And for him sende, and he cam there
With swerd begert, and hath foryete,
Til he was in the conseil sete.
Was non of hem that made speche,
Til he himself it wolde seche,
And fond out the defalte himselve;
And thanne he seide unto the tuelve,
Whiche of the Senat weren wise,
"I have deserved the juise, 2870
In haste that it were do."
And thei him seiden alle no;
For wel thei wiste it was no vice,
Whan he ne thoghte no malice,
Bot onliche of a litel slouthe:
And thus thei leften as for routhe
To do justice upon his gilt,
For that he scholde noght be spilt.
And whanne he sih the maner hou
Thei wolde him save, he made avou 2880
With manfull herte, and thus he seide,
That Rome scholde nevere abreide
His heires, whan he were of dawe,
That here Ancestre brak the lawe.
Forthi, er that thei weren war,
Forth with the same swerd he bar
The statut of his lawe he kepte,
So that al Rome his deth bewepte.
In other place also I rede,
Wher that a jugge his oghne dede 2890
Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke,
The king it hath himselven wroke.
The grete king which Cambises
Was hote, a jugge laweles
He fond, and into remembrance
He dede upon him such vengance:
Out of his skyn he was beflain
Al quyk, and in that wise slain,
So that his skyn was schape al meete,
And nayled on the same seete 2900
Wher that his Sone scholde sitte.
Avise him, if he wolde flitte
The lawe for the coveitise,
Ther sih he redi his juise.
Thus in defalte of other jugge
The king mot otherwhile jugge,
To holden up the rihte lawe.
And forto speke of tholde dawe,
To take ensample of that was tho,
I finde a tale write also, 2910
Hou that a worthi prince is holde
The lawes of his lond to holde,
Ferst for the hihe goddes sake,
And ek for that him is betake
The poeple forto guide and lede,
Which is the charge of his kinghede.
In a Cronique I rede thus
Of the rihtful Ligurgius,
Which of Athenis Prince was,
Hou he the lawe in every cas, 2920
Wherof he scholde his poeple reule,
Hath set upon so good a reule,
In al this world that cite non
Of lawe was so wel begon
Forth with the trouthe of governance.
Ther was among hem no distance,
Bot every man hath his encress;
Ther was withoute werre pes,
Withoute envie love stod;
Richesse upon the comun good 2930
And noght upon the singuler
Ordeigned was, and the pouer
Of hem that weren in astat
Was sauf: wherof upon debat
Ther stod nothing, so that in reste
Mihte every man his herte reste.
And whan this noble rihtful king
Sih hou it ferde of al this thing,
Wherof the poeple stod in ese,
He, which for evere wolde plese 2940
The hihe god, whos thonk he soghte,
A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte,
And schop if that it myhte be,
Hou that his lawe in the cite
Mihte afterward for evere laste.
And therupon his wit he caste
What thing him were best to feigne,
That he his pourpos myhte atteigne.
A Parlement and thus he sette,
His wisdom wher that he besette 2950
In audience of grete and smale,
And in this wise he tolde his tale:
"God wot, and so ye witen alle,

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