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The Tale of Melibeus. - Geoffrey Chaucer, Notes to the Canterbury Tales (Works vol. 5) 
The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols. Vol. 5.
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The Tale of Melibeus.
For the sources of the Tale of Melibeus, see vol. iii. p. 426. It may suffice to say here that Chaucer’s Tale is translated from the French version entitled Le Livre de Mellibee et Prudence, ascribed by M. Paul Meyer to Jean de Meung. Of this text there are two MS. copies in the British Museum, viz. MS. Reg. 19 C. vii. and MS. Reg. 19 C. xi, both of the fifteenth century; the former is said by Mr. T. Wright to be the more correct. It is also printed, as forming part of Le Menagier de Paris, the author of which embodied it in his book, written about 1393; the title of the printed book being—‘Le Menagier de Paris; publié pour la première fois par la Société des Bibliophiles François; a Paris m.d. ccc. xlvi’; (tome i. p. 186); ed. J. Pichon. In the following notes, this is alluded to as the French text.
This French version was, in its turn, translated from the Liber Consolationis et Consilii of Albertano of Brescia, excellently edited for the Chaucer Society in 1873 by Thor Sundby, with the title ‘Albertani Brixiensis Liber Consolationis et Consilii.’ This is alluded to, in the following notes, as the Latin text. Thor Sundby’s edition is most helpful, as the editor has taken great pains to trace the sources of the very numerous quotations with which the Tale abounds; and I am thus enabled to give the references in most cases. I warn the reader that Albertano’s quotations are frequently inexact.
Besides this, the Tale of Melibeus has been admirably edited, as a specimen of English prose, in Mätzner’s Altenglische Sprachproben, ii. 375, with numerous notes, of which I here make considerable use. Owing to the great care taken by Sundby and Mätzner, the task of explaining the difficulties in this Tale has been made easy. The more important notes from Mätzner are marked ‘Mr.’
The first line or clause (numbered 2157) ends with the word ‘Sophie,’ as shewn by the slanting stroke. The whole Tale is thus divided into clauses, for the purpose of ready reference, precisely as in the Six-text edition; I refer to these clauses as if they were lines. The ‘paragraphs’ are the same as in Tyrwhitt’s edition.
2157.Melibeus. The meaning of the name is given below (note to l. 2600).
Prudence. ‘It is from a passage of Cassiodorus, quoted by Albertano in cap. vi., that he [Albertano] has taken the name of his heroine, if we may call her so, and the general idea of her character:—“Superauit cuncta infatigabilis et expedita prudentia”; Cass. Variarum lib. ii. epist. 15.’—Sundby.
Sophie, i. e. wisdom, σοϕία. Neither the Latin nor the French text gives the daughter’s name.
2159.Inwith, within; a common form in Chaucer; see note to B. 1794. Y-shette, pl. of y-shet, shut; as in B. 560.
2160.Thre; Lat. text, tres; Fr. text, trois. Tyrwhitt has foure, as in MSS. Cp. Ln.; yet in l. 2562, he prints ‘thin enemies ben three,’ and in l. 2615, he again prints ‘thy three enemies.’ Again, in l. 2612, it is explained that these three enemies signify, allegorically, the flesh, the world, and the devil.
2164.As ferforth, as far; as in B. 19, 1099, &c. Mätzner also quotes from Troilus, ii. 1106—‘How ferforth be ye put in loves daunce.’
2165. Mätzner would read—‘ever the lenger the more’; but see E. 687, F. 404.
2166.Ovide, Ovid. The passage referred to is—
2172.Warisshe, recover; Cp. Ln. Hl. be warisshed, be cured. Chaucer uses this verb elsewhere both transitively and intransitively, so that either reading will serve. For the transitive use, see below, ll. 2207, 2466, 2476, 2480; also F. 856, 1138, 1162; Book of Duch. 1104. For the intransitive use, observe that, in F. 856, Cp. Pt. Ln. have—‘then wolde myn herte Al waryssche of this bitter peynes smerte’; and cf. Morte Arthure, 2186—‘I am wathely woundide, waresche mon I neuer!’—M.
Lat. text—‘Filia tua, dante Domino, bene liberabitur.’
2174.Senek, Seneca. ‘Non affligitur sapiens liberorum amissione, non amicorum; eodem animo enim fert illorum mortem quo suam expectat’; Epist. 74, § 29.
2177.Lazarus; see John, xi. 35.
2178.Attempree, moderate; Lat. text, ‘temperatus fletus.’ Hl. attemperel, which Mätzner illustrates. Cf. D. 2053, where Hl. has attemperelly; and E. 1679, where Hl. has attemperely. Cf. ll. 2570, 2728 below.
Nothing defended, not at all forbidden.
2179. See Rom. xii. 15.
2181. ‘According to the doctrine that Seneca teaches us.’ Cf. ‘Non sicci sint oculi, amisso amico, nec fluant; lacrimandum est, non plorandum’; Epist. 63, § 1.
2183. This is also, practically, from Seneca: ‘Quem amabis extulisti, quaere quem ames; satius est amicum reparare, quam flere’; Epist. 63, § 9.
2185.Iesus Syrak, Jesus the son of Sirach. ‘Ecclesiasticus is the title given in the Latin version to the book which is called in the Septuagint The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach’; Smith, Dict. of the Bible. Compare the title ‘A prayer of Jesus the son of Sirach’ to Ecclus. ch. li. But the present quotation is really from Prov. xvii. 22. It is the next quotation, in l. 2186, that is from Ecclus. xxx. 25 (Vulgate), i. e. xxx. 23 in the English version. The mistake is due to misreading the original Lat. text, which quotes the passages in the reverse order, as being from ‘Jesus Sirac’ and ‘alibi.’
2187. From Prov. xxv. 20; but the clause is omitted in the modern Eng. version, though Wycliffe has it. The Vulgate has:—‘Sicut tinea uestimento, et uermis ligno: ita tristitia uiri nocet cordi.’ The words in the shepes flees (in the sheep’s fleece) are added by Chaucer, apparently by way of explanation. But the fact is that, according to Mätzner, the Fr. version here has ‘la tigne, ou lartuison, nuit a la robe,’ where artuison is the Mod. F. artison, explained by Cotgrave as ‘a kind of moth’; and I strongly suspect that ‘in the shepes flees’ is due to this ‘ou lartuison,’ which Chaucer may have misread as en la toison. It looks very like it. I point other similar mistakes further on.
Anoyeth, harms; F. nuit, L. nocet. The use of to here is well illustrated by Mätzner, who compares Wycliffe’s version of this very passage; ‘As a moghe to the cloth, and a werm to the tree, so sorewe of a man noyeth to the herte’; whereas Purvey’s later version thrice omits the to. In the Persones Tale, Group I. 847, anoyeth occurs both with to and without it.
2188.Us oghte, it would become us; oghte is in the subjunctive mood. Cf. hem oughte, it became them, in l. 2458; thee oughte, it became thee, in l. 2603.—Mr. The pres. indic. form is us oweth.
Goodes temporels; F. text, biens temporels. Chaucer uses the F. pl. in -es or -s for the adjective in other places, and the adj. then usually follows the sb. Cf. lettres capitals, capital letters, Astrolabe, i. 16. 8; weyes espirituels, spiritual ways, Pers. Tale, I. 79; goodes espirituels, id. 312; goodes temporeles, id. 685; thinges espirituels, id. 784.—Mr.
2190. See Job, i. 21. Hath wold, hath willed (it); see 2615.
2193. Quotations from Solomon and from Ecclesiasticus are frequently confused, both throughout this Tale, and elsewhere. The reference is to Ecclus. xxxii. 24, in the Vulgate (cf. A. V. xxxii. 19); here Wycliffe has:—‘Sone, withoute counseil no-thing do thou; and after thi deede thou shalt not othynke’ (i. e. of-thinke, repent).
Thou shalt never repente; here Hl. has—‘the thar neuer rewe,’ i. e. it needeth never for thee to rue it.
2202.With-holde, retained. Cf. A. 511; Havelok, 2362.—Mr.
2204.Parties, &c.; Fr. text: supporter partie.—Mr.
2205.Hool and sound; a common phrase. Cf. Rob. of Glouc. pp. 163, 402, ed. Hearne (ll. 3417, 8301, ed. Wright); King Horn, l. 1365 (in Morris’s Specimens of English); also l. 2300 below.—Mr.
2207. ‘Heal, put a stop to, war by taking vengeance; a literal and very happy translation from the French—aussi doit on guerir guerre par vengence.’—Bell. Tyrwhitt omits the words by vengeaunce, and Lounsbury (Studies in Chaucer, i. 320) defends him, arguing that ‘the physicians are represented as agreeing with the surgeons’; whereas Chaucer expressly says that ‘they seyden a fewe wordes more.’ The words ‘by vengeaunce’ are in all the seven MSS. and in the French original. Admittedly, they make nonsense, but the nonsense is expressly laid bare and exposed afterwards, when it appears that the physicians did not really add this clause, but Melibeus dreamt that they did (2465–2480). The fact is, however, that the words par vengence were wrongly interpolated in the French text. Chaucer should have omitted them, but the evidence shews that he did not. I decline to falsify the text in order to set the author right. We should then have to set the French text right also!
2209. ‘Made this matter much worse, and aggravated it.’
2210.Outrely, utterly, entirely, i. e. without reserve; Fr. text tout oultre. Not from A. S. ūtor, outer, utter, but from F. oultre, outre, moreover; of which one sense, in Godefroy, is ‘excessivement.’ See E. 335, 639, 768, 953; C. 849; &c.
2216. Fr. text—‘en telle maniere que tu soies bien pourveu d’espies et guettes.’—Mr.
2218.To moeve; Fr. text, de mouvoir guerre; cf. the Lat. phrase mouere bellum.—Mr.
2220. The Lat. text has here three phrases for Chaucer’s ‘common proverb.’ It has: ‘non enim subito uel celeriter est iudicandum, “omnia enim subita probantur incauta,” et “in iudicando criminosa est celeritas,” et “ad poenitendum properat qui cito iudicat.” ’ Of these, the first is from Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. c. 17; and the second and third from Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, 254 and 32 (ed. Friedrich, Berolini, 1880). For iudicando, as in some MSS., Friedrich has the variant vindicando. Cf. the Proverbs of Hending, l. 256: ‘Ofte rap reweth,’ haste often rues. See note to 2244.
2221.Men seyn; this does not necessarily mean that Chaucer is referring to a proverb. He is merely translating. The Lat. text has; ‘quare dici consueuit, Optimum iudicem existimem, qui cito intelligit et tarde iudicat.’ It also quotes two sentences (nos. 311 and 128) from Publilius Syrus: ‘Mora omnis odio est, sed facit sapientiam’; and—‘Deliberare utilia mora est tutissima.’ Mätzner points out that there are two other sentences (nos. 659 and 32) in Publilius, which come very near the expression in the text, viz. ‘Velox consilium sequitur poenitentia’; and—‘Ad poenitendum properat, qui cito iudicat.’
2223. See John, viii. 3-8. For he wroot, Hl. has ‘hem wrot,’ which is obviously wrong.
2227.Made contenaunce, made a sign, made a gesture. Among the senses of F. contenance, Cotgrave gives: ‘gesture, posture, behaviour, carriage.’
2228. Fr. text—‘qui ne scevent que querre se monte.’—Mr.
2229. ‘The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water’; Prov. xvii. 14.
2231. ‘The chylde may rue that is vnborn’; Chevy Chase, l. 9.
2235. ‘A tale out of season is as music in mourning’; Ecclus. xxii. 6.
2237. Not from ‘Solomon,’ but from ‘Jesus, son of Sirach,’ as before. The Lat. text agrees with the Vulgate version of Ecclus. xxxii. 6: ‘ubi auditus non est, ne effundas sermonem’; the E. version (verse 4) is somewhat different, viz. ‘Pour not out words where there is a musician, and shew not forth wisdom out of time.’ Chaucer gives us the same saying again in verse; see B. 3991.
2238. Lat. text: ‘semper consilium tunc deest, quando maxime opus est’; from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 594. (Read cum opus est maxime.)
2242. Cf. F. text—‘Sire, dist elle, je vous prie que vous ne vous hastez, et que vous pour tous dons me donnez espace.’—Wright.
2243.Piers Alfonce, Petrus Alfonsi. ‘Peter Alfonsus, or Alfonsi, was a converted Spanish Jew, who flourished in the twelfth century, and is well known for his Disciplina Clericalis, a collection of stories and moralisations in Latin prose, which was translated afterwards into French verse, under the title of the Chastoiement d’un pere a son fils. It was a book much in vogue among the preachers from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century.’—Wright. Tyrwhitt has a long note here; he says that a copy of this work is in MS. Bibl. Reg. 10 B. xii in the British Museum, and that there is also a copy of another work by the same author, entitled Dialogus contra Judaeos, in MS. Harl. 3861. He also remarks that the manner and style of the Disciplina Clericalis ‘show many marks of an Eastern original; and one of his stories Of a trick put upon a thief is entirely taken from the Calilah a Damnah, a celebrated collection of Oriental apologues.’ All the best fables of Alfonsus were afterwards incorporated (says Tyrwhitt) into the Gesta Romanorum. He was born at Huesca, in Arragon, in 1062, and converted to Christianity in 1106.
The words here referred to are the following: ‘Ne properes ulli reddere mutuum boni uel mali, quia diutius expectabit te amicus, et diutius timebit te inimicus’; Disc. Cler. xxv. 15; ed. F. W. V. Schmidt, Berlin, 1827, 4to., p. 71.
2244.The proverbe, &c.; not in either the Latin or the French texts. Cf. the proverb of Hending—‘ofte rap reweth,’ often haste rues it. Heywood has—‘The more haste, the worse speed’; on which Ray notes—‘Come s’ha fretta non si fa mai niente che stia bene’; Ital. Qui trop se hâte en cheminant, en beau chemin se fourvoye souvent; Fr. Qui nimis properè minus prosperè; et nimium properans serius absoluit.
‘Tarry a little, that we may make an end the sooner, was a saying of Sir Amias Paulet. Presto e bene non si conviene; Ital.’ See 2325 below, and observe that Chaucer has the same form of words in Troil. i. 956.
2247. From Ecclesiastes, vii. 28. Cf. A. 3154.
2249. From Ecclus. xxv. 30 (Vulgate): ‘Mulier, si primatum habeat, contraria est uiro suo.’ Not in the A.V.; cf. v. 22 of that version.
2250. From Ecclus. xxxiii. 20–22 (Vulgate); 19–21 (A.V.).
2251. After noght be, ed. 1550 adds—‘if I shuld be counsayled by the’; but this is redundant. See next note.
2252–3. These clauses are omitted in the MSS. and black-letter editions, but are absolutely necessary to the sense. The French text has—‘car il est escript: la jenglerie des femmes ne puet riens celer fors ce qu’elle ne scet. Apres, le philosophe dit: en mauvais conseil les femmes vainquent les hommes. Pour ces raisons, je ne doy point user de ton conseil.’ It is easy to turn this into Chaucerian English, by referring to ll. 2274, 2280 below, where the missing passage is quoted with but slight alteration.
The former clause is quoted from Marcus Annaeus Seneca, father of Seneca the philosopher, Controversiarum Lib. ii. 13. 12:—‘Garrulitas mulierum id solum nouit celare, quod nescit.’ Cf. P. Plowman, B. v. 168; xix. 157; and see the Wyf of Bathes Tale, D. 950. The second clause is from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 324:—‘Malo in consilio feminae uincunt uiros.’
2257. ‘Non est turpe cum re mutare consilium’; Seneca, De Beneficiis, iv. 38, § 1.
Maketh no lesing, telleth no lie; compare the use of lyer just above.
Turneth his corage, changes his mind. Mätzner quotes a similar phrase from Halliwell’s Dict., s. v. Torne:—
2258.Thar ye nat, it needs not that ye; i. e. you are not obliged. But yow lyke, unless you please (lit. unless it please you).
2259.Ther, where. What that him lyketh, whatever he likes.
2260.Save your grace, with the same sense as the commoner phrase ‘save your reverence.’ The Lat. text has ‘salua reuerentia tua’; which shews the original form of the phrase.
As seith the book. Here ‘the book’ probably means no more than the Latin text, which has ‘nam qui omnes despicit, omnibus displicet’; without any reference.
2261.Senek. Mätzner says this is not to be found in Seneca; in fact, the Latin text refers us to ‘Seneca, De Formula Honestae Vitae’; but Sundby has found it in Martinus Dumiensis, Formula Honestae Vitae, cap. iii. This shews that it was attributed to Seneca erroneously. Moreover, the original is more fully expressed, and runs thus—‘Nullius imprudentiam despicias; rari sermonis ipse, sed loquentium patiens auditor; seuerus non saeuus, hilares neque aspernans; sapientiae cupidus et docilis; quae scieris, sine arrogantia postulanti imperties; quae nescieris, sine occultatione ignorantiae tibi benigne postula impertiri.’ Cf. Horace, Epist. vi. 67, 68.
2265.Rather, sooner. See Mark, xvi. 9. The weakness of this argument for the goodness of woman appears by comparison with P. Plowman, C. viii. 138: ‘A synful Marye the seyh er seynt Marie thy moder,’ i.e. Christ was seen by St. Mary the sinner earlier than by St. Mary His mother, after His resurrection.
2266–9. This reappears in verse in the March. Tale, E. 2277–2290.
2269. Alluding to Matt. xix. 17; Luke xviii. 19.
2273.Or noon, or not. So elsewhere; see B. 2407, F. 778, I. 962, 963, 964.
2276. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xx. 297, on which my note is as follows. ‘Perhaps the original form of this commonly quoted proverb is this:—“Tria sunt enim quae non sinunt hominem in domo permanere; fumus, stillicidium, et mala uxor”; Innocens Papa, de Contemptu Mundi, i. 18. It is a mere compilation from Prov. x. 26, xix. 13, and xxvii. 15. Chaucer refers to it in his Tale of Melibeus, Prologue to Wife of Bathes Tale (D. 278), and Persones Tale (I. 631); see also Kemble’s Solomon and Saturn, pp. 43, 53, 63; Walter Mapes, ed. Wright, p. 83.’ Cf. Wright’s Bibliographia Britannica, Anglo-Norman Period, pp. 333, 334; Hazlitt’s Proverbs, pp. 114, 339; Ida von Düringsfeld, Sprichwörter, vol. i. sect. 303; Peter Cantor, ed. Migne, col. 331; &c. A medieval proverbial line expresses the same thus:—
‘Sunt tria dampna domus, imber, mala femina, fumus.’
2277. From Prov. xxi. 9; cf. Prov. xxv. 24. See D. 775.
2286. The Lat. text has: ‘uulgo dici consueuit, Consilium feminile nimis carum aut nimis uile.’ Cf. B. 4446, and the note.
2288. The examples of Jacob, Judith, Abigail, and Esther are again quoted, in the same order, in the March. Tale, E. 1362–74. See Gen. xxvii; Judith, xi-xiii; 1 Sam. xxv. 14; Esther, vii.
2293.Forme-fader, first father. Here forme represents the A. S. forma, first, cognate with Goth. fruma, Lat. primus. Cf. ‘Adam ure forme fader’; O. E. Homilies, ed. Morris, ii. 101; so also in Hampole, Pr. Cons. 483; Legends of the Holy Rood, ed. Morris, p. 62; Allit. Poems, A. 639.
2294.To been a man allone, for a man to be alone; for this idiom, cf. I. 456, 469, 666, 849, 935.—Mr. See Gen. ii. 18.
2296.Confusioun; see B. 4354, and the note.
2297. Lat. text:—‘quare per uersus dici consueuit:
Sundby quotes from Ebrardi Bituniensis Graecismus, cum comm. Vincentii Metulini, fol. C. 1, back—
(A better reading is Auro quid melius.)
In MS. Harl. 3362, fol. 67, as printed in Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 91, we find:—
And these lines are immediately followed by the second quotation above, with the variations ‘Auro quid melius,’ ‘Sensu quid,’ and ‘nichil’ for ‘Deus.’
2303. From Prov. xvi. 24.
2306. For the use of to with biseken, cf. 2940 below.—Mr.
2308. From Tobit, iv. 20 (Vulgate); iv. 19 (A. V.). Dresse, direct; Lat. ‘ut uias tuas dirigat.’
2309. From James, i. 5. At this point the Fr. text is much shortened, pp. 20–30 of the Latin text being omitted.
2311. Lat. text (p. 33):—‘a te atque consiliariis tuis remoueas illa tria, quae maxime sunt consilio contraria, scilicet iram, uoluptatem siue cupiditatem atque festinantiam.’
2315. Lat. text:—‘iratus semper plus putat posse facere, quam possit.’
2317. The Lat. text shews that the quotation is not from Seneca’s De Ira, but from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 281:—‘Iratus nil non criminis loquitur loco.’ Cf. D. 2005, I. 537.
2320. From 1 Tim. vi. 10. See C. 334, I. 739.
2325. Lat. ‘Ad poenitendum properat, qui cito iudicat’; from Publil. Syrus, Sent. 32. (Read cito qui.) See l. 2244 above, and the note.
2331. From Ecclus. xix. 8, 9 (A. V.).
2333. Lat. text (p. 40):—‘Et alius dixit: Vix existimes ab uno posse celari secretum.’
2334.The book. Lat. text:—‘Consilium absconditum quasi in carcere tuo est retrusum, reuelatum uero te in carcere suo tenet ligatum.’ Compare Petrus Alfonsi, Disciplina Clericalis, iv. 3. Cf. Ecclus. viii. 22 (Vulgate); viii. 19 (A. V.).
2337. Lat. text:—‘Ait enim Seneca: Si tibi ipse non imperasti, ut taceres, quomodo ab alio silentium quaeris?’ This, however, is not from Seneca, but from Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, Sent. 16. Sundby further quotes from Plutarch (Opera, ed. Hutten. Tubingae, 1814, vol. xiv. p. 395):—Ὅπερ ἂν σιωπα̑σθαι βούλῃ, μηδενὶ εἵπῃς· ἢ πω̑ς παρά τινος ἀπαιτήσεις τὸ πιστὸν τη̑ς σιωπη̑ς, ὃ μὴ παρέσχες σεαυτῳ̑;
2338.Plyt, plight, condition. It rimes with appetyt, E. 2336, and wyte, G. 953. It occurs again in the Complaint of Anelida, 297, and Parl. of Foules, 294; and in Troilus, ii. 712, 1738, iii. 1039. The modern spelling is wrong, as it is quite a different word from the verb to plight. See it discussed in my Etym. Dict., Errata and Addenda, p. 822.
2342.Men seyn. This does not appear to be a quotation, but a sort of proverb. The Lat. text merely says:—‘Et haec est ratio quare magnates atque potentes, si per se nesciunt, consilium bonum uix aut nunquam capere possunt.’
2348. From Prov. xxvii. 9.
2349. From Ecclus. vi. 15:—‘Amico fideli non est comparatio; et non est digna ponderatio auri et argenti contra bonitatem fidei illius.’ L. 2350 is a sort of paraphrase of the latter clause.
2351. From Ecclus. vi. 14:—‘Amicus fidelis, protectio fortis; qui autem inuenit illum, inuenit thesaurum.’ ‘He [Socrates] was wonte to saie, that there is no possession or treasure more precious then a true and an assured good frende.’—N. Udall, tr. of Erasmus’ Apophthegmes, Socrates, § 13.
2352. Cf. Prov. xxii. 17; Ecclus. ix. 14.
2354. Cf. Job xii. 12.
2355. From Cicero, De Senectute, vi. 17:—‘Non uiribus aut uelocitatibus aut celeritate corporum res magnae geruntur, sed consilio, auctoritate, sententia; quibus non modo non orbari, sed etiam augeri senectus solet.’
2357. From Ecclus. vi. 6.
2361. From Prov. xi. 14; cf. xv. 22.
2363. From Ecclus. viii. 17.
2364. Lat. text:—‘Scriptum est enim, Proprium est stultitiae aliena uitia cernere, suorum autem obliuisci.’ From Cicero, Disput. Tusc. iii. 30. 73.
2366. ‘Sic habendum est, nullam in amicitia pestem esse maiorem quam adulationem, blanditiam, assentationem’; Cicero, Laelius, xxvi. 97 [or xxv.]
2367. Lat. text:—‘In consiliis itaque et in aliis rebus non acerba uerba, sed blanda timebis.’ The last six words are from Martinus Dumiensis, De Quatuor Virtutibus Cardinalibus, cap. iii. Cf. Prov. xxviii. 23.
2368. From Prov. xxix. 5. The words in the next clause (2369) seem to be merely another rendering of the same passage.
2370. ‘Cauendum est, ne assentatoribus patefaciamus aures neue adulari nos sinamus’; Cicero, De Officiis, i. 26.
2371. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. iii. 6:—‘Sermones blandos blaesosque cauere memento.’
2373. ‘Cum inimico nemo in gratiam tuto [al. tute] redit’; Publilius Syrus, Sent. 91.
2374. Lat. text:—‘Quare Ysopus dixit:
2375. Not from Seneca, but from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 389:—‘Nunquam ubi diu fuit ignis deficit uapor’; but the MSS. differ in their readings. ‘There is no fire without some smoke’; Heywood’s Proverbs.
2376. From Ecclus. xii. 10.
2379. The passage alluded to is the following:—‘Ne te associaueris cum inimicis tuis, cum alios possis repperire socios; quae enim mala egeris notabunt, quae uero bona fuerint deuitabunt [Lat. text, deuiabunt]’; cf. Petrus Alfonsi, Disciplina Clericalis, iv. 4. The words ‘they wol perverten it’ seem to be due to the reading deuiabunt, taken to mean ‘they will turn aside,’ in a transitive sense.
2381. Lat. text (pp. 50, 51); ‘ut quidam philosophus dixit, Nemo ei satis fidus est, quem metuit.’
2382. Inexactly quoted from the Latin text, taken from Cicero, De Officiis, ii. 7:—‘Malus custos diuturnitatis est metus, contraque beniuolentia fidelis uel ad perpetuitatem . . . Nulla uis imperii tanta est, quae premente metu possit esse diuturna.’
2384. From Prov. xxxi. 4, where the Vulgate has: ‘Noli regibus, o Lamuel, noli regibus dare uinum; quia nullum secretum est ubi regnat ebrietas.’ Cf. C. 561 (and note), 585, 587.
2386.Cassidorie, Cassiodorus, who wrote in the time of Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths ( 475–526). The quotation is from his Variarum lib. x. epist. 18:—‘quia laesionis instar est occulte consulere, et aliud uelle monstrare.’ In the Latin text, cap. xxiii, the heading of the chapter is:—‘De Vitando consilium illorum, qui secreto aliud consulunt, et palam aliud seuelle ostendunt.’ Chaucer’s rendering is far from being a happy one.
2387. Cf. Prov. xii. 5; but note that the Lat. text has:—‘Malus homo a se nunquam bonum consilium refert’; which resembles Publilius Syrus, Sent. 354:—‘Malus bonum ad se nunquam consilium refert.’
2388. From Ps. i. 1.
2391.Tullius. The reference is to Cicero’s De Officiis, ii. 5, as quoted in the ‘Latin text’:—‘quid in unaquaque re uerum sincerumque sit, quid consentaneum cuique rei sit, quid consequens, ex quibus quaeque gignantur, quae cuiusque rei caussa sit.’ This is expanded in the English, down to l. 2400.
2405. For distreyneth, MS. Hl. has the corrupt reading destroyeth. The reading is settled by the lines in Chaucer’s Proverbs (see the Minor Poems, vol. i. p. 407):—
The Lat. text has: ‘Qui nimis capit parum stringit’; the Fr. text has: ‘Qui trop embrasse, pou estraint.’
2406.Catoun, Dionysius Cato; Distich. iii. 15:—
2408. The Lat. text has:—‘Ait enim Petrus Alfunsus, Si dicere metuas unde poeniteas, semper est melius non quam sic.’ From his Disciplina Clericalis, vi. 12.
2411.Defenden, forbid, i. e. advise one not to do. This passage is really a quotation from Cicero, De Officiis, i. 9:—‘Bene praecipiunt qui uetant quidquid agere, quod dubites aequum sit an iniquum.’
2413. The Lat. text has:—‘Nunc superest uidere, quando consilium uel promissum mutari possit uel debeat.’ This shews that the reading counseil, as in Hl., is correct.
2415. Lat. text:—‘Quae de nouo emergunt, nouo indigent consilio, ut leges dicunt.’
2416. Lat. text:—‘Inde et Seneca dixit, Consilium tuum si audierit hostis, consilii dispositionem permutes.’ But no such sentence has been discovered in Seneca.
2419. Lat. text:—‘Generaliter enim nouimus, Turpes stipulationes nullius esse momenti, ut leges dicunt,’ for which Sundby refers us to the Digesta, xlv. 1. 26.
2421. ‘Malum est consilium, quod mutari non potest’: Publilius Syrus, Sent. 362.
2431.First and forward; so in l. 2684. We now say ‘first and foremost.’
2436. See above, ll. 2311–2325; vol. iv. p. 208.
2438.Anientissed, annulled, annihilated, done away with. In Rom. iv. 14, where Wycliffe’s earlier text has anentyschid, the later text has distried. The Prompt. Parv. has: ‘Anyyntyschyn, or enyntyschyn, Exinanio.’ From O. F. anientiss-, pres. pt. stem of anientir, to bring to nothing, variant of anienter, a verb formed from prep. a, to, and O. F. nient (Ital. niente, mod. F. néant), nothing. The form nient answers to Lat. *ne-entem or *nec-entem, from ne, nec, not, and entem, acc. of ens, being. See the New E. Dict. Cf. anyente in P. Plowman, C. xx. 267, xxi. 389. As yow oghte, as it behoved you; Hl. as ye oughte. Both phrases occur.
2439.Talent; Fr. text, ‘ta voulonte’; i.e. your desire, wish. ‘Talent, . . . will, desire, lust, appetite, an earnest humour unto’; Cotgrave. Cf. C. 540, and l. 2441 below.
2444. This paragraph is omitted in MS. Hl.
2447.Hochepot; Hl. hochepoche, whence E. hodgepodge. From F. hochepot, ‘a hotch-pot, or gallimaufrey, a confused mingle-mangle of divers things jumbled or put together’; Cotgrave. This again is from the M. Du. hutspot, with the same sense; from hutsen, to shake, and pot. See Hotchpot in my Etym. Dict. Ther been ye condescended, and to that opinion ye have submitted.
2449.Reward, regard; for reward is merely an older spelling of ‘regard.’ So in Parl. of Foules, 426; Leg. of Good Women, 375, 399, 1622.
2454. Lat. text:—‘Humanum enim est peccare, diabolicum uero perseuerare.’ Sundby refers us to St. Chrysostom, Adhortatio ad Theodorum lapsum, I. 14 (Opera, Paris, 1718, fol.; i. 26); where we find (in the Lat. version):—‘Nam peccare quidem, humanum est; at in peccatis perseuerare, id non humanum est, sed omnino satanicum.’ It is also quoted by Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale, lib. xvii. c. 45.
2459. Lat. text:—‘ad illorum officium spectat omnibus prodesse et nulli nocere.’ This (says Sundby) is quoted from the Decretals of Gregory IX., lib. i. tit. 37. cap. 3.
2467. Cf. Lat. text:—‘scilicet Contraria contrariis curantur.’
2473. Fr. text:—‘Or veez, dist Prudence, comment un chascun croist legierement ce qu’il veut et desire!’—Mr.
2479.For good, &c., ‘namely, in the sense that good,’ &c.
2482. See Rom. xii. 17; cf. 1 Thess. v. 15; 1 Cor. iv. 12. The Lat. text quotes part of verses 17–21 of Rom. xii. But it is clear that Chaucer has altered the wording, and was thinking of 1 Pet. iii. 9.
2485. After wyse folk, Cp. inserts ‘and olde folk,’ and Ln. ‘and the olde folke.’ The Fr. text has: ‘les advocas, les sages, et les anciens.’ Ed. 1532 also inserts ‘and olde folke’; and perhaps it should be inserted.
2487.Warnestore, to supply with defensive materials, to garrison, protect; see 2521, 2523, 2525 below. ‘And wel thei were warnestured of vitailes inow’; Will. of Palerne, 1121. We also find a sb. of the same form. ‘In eche stude hii sette ther strong warnesture and god’; Rob. of Glouc. 2075 (ed. Hearne, p. 94). ‘The Sarazins kept it [a castle] that tym for ther chefe warnistour’; Rob. of Brunne, tr. of Langtoft, ed. Hearne, p. 180. ‘I will remayn quhill this warnstor be gane’; Wallace, bk. ix. l. 1200, where ed. 1648 has ‘till all the stuffe be gone.’ Correctly warnisture; a derivative of O. F. warnir, garnir, to supply (E. garnish). Godefroy gives O. F. ‘garnesture, garnisture, garniture, warnesture, s. f. provisions, ressource; authentication; garnison, forteresse’; with eight examples. Cf. E. garrison (M. E. garnison), garment (M. E. garnement), and garniture. The last of these is, in fact, nothing but the O. F. warnisture in a more modern form. Hence we obtain the sense by consulting Cotgrave, who gives: ‘Garniture, garniture, garnishment, furniture; provision, munition, store, necessary implements.’ It also appears that the word is properly a substantive, with the spelling warnisture; it became warnistore or warnestore by confusion with O. F. estor, a store; and, as the word store was easily made into a verb, it was easy to treat warnestore in the same way. It is a sb. in Rob. of Gloucester, as shewn above, but appears as a verb in Will. of Palerne. MS. Hl. has warmstore (with m for ni); and the same error is in the editions of Wright, Bell, and Morris. Ed. 1532 has warnstore.
2494. From Ps. cxxvii. 1 (cxxvi. 1, Vulgate).
2496. From Dionysius Cato, lib. iv. dist. 14:—‘Auxilium a nobis petito, si forte laboras; Nec quisquam melior medicus quam fidus amicus.’
2499.Piers Alfonce, Petrus Alfonsi, in his Disciplina Clericalis, xviii. 10:—‘Ne aggrediaris uiam cum aliquo nisi prius eum cognoueris; si quisquam ignotus tibi in uia associauerit, iterque tuum inuestigauerit, dic te uelle longius ire quam disposueris; et si detulerit lanceam, uade ad dextram; si ensem, ad sinistram.’
2505. The repetition of that before ye, following the former that before for, is due to a striving after greater clearness. It is not at all uncommon, especially in cases where the two thats are farther apart. Cf. the use of he and him in l. 2508.
Lete the keping, neglect the protection; A. S. lǣtan.
2507. ‘Beatus homo qui semper est pauidus; qui uero mentis est durae, corruet in malum’; Prov. xxviii. 14. Hence the quotation-mark follows bityde.
2509.Counterwayte embusshements, ‘be on the watch against lyings in ambush.’ ‘Contregaitier, v. act. épier, guetter de son côté; refl. se garder, se mettre en garde’; Godefroy. Three examples are given of the active use, and four of the reflexive use. Espiaille, companies of spies; it occurs again in the sense of ‘a set of spies’ in D. 1323. Mätzner well remarks that espiaille does not mean ‘spying’ or ‘watching,’ as usually explained, but is a collective sb., like O. F. rascaille, poraille, pedaille. Godefroy, in his O. F. Dict., makes the same mistake, though his own example is against him. He has: ‘Espiaille, s. f. action d’épier: Nous avons ja noveles par nos espiailles’; i. e. by means of our spies (not of our spyings). This quotation is from an A. F. proclamation made in London, July 26, 1347.
2510.Senek, Seneca; but, as before, the reference is really to the Sentences of Publilius Syrus. Of these the Lat. text quotes no less than four, viz. Nos. 542, 607, 380, and 116 (ed. Dietrich); as follows:—
2514.Senek; this again is from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 255:—‘Inimicum, quamuis humilem, docti est metuere.’
2515. The Lat. and Fr. texts both give the reference, correctly, to Ovid’s Remedia Amoris; see l. 421:—
Chaucer has here interpolated the reference to ‘the thorn pricking the king’ between his translations of these two lines. The interpolation occurs neither in the French nor in the Latin text.
Wesele, weasel. The origin of this queer mistake is easily perceived. The Fr. text has: ‘La petite vivre occist le grant torel.’ Here vivre represents Lat. uipera, a viper (cf. E. wivern); but Ch. has construed it as if it represented Lat. uiuerra, a ferret.
2518.The book. The quotation is from Seneca, Epist. 111. § 3:—‘Quidam fallere docuerunt, dum falli timent.’ (For Quidam read Nam multi). Tyrwhitt’s text is here imperfect, and he says he has patched it up as he best could; but the MSS. (except Cp. and Ln.) give a correct text.
2520. Lat. text:—‘Cum irrisore consortium non habeas; loquelae eius assiduitatem quasi toxica fugias.’ From Albertano of Brescia, who here quotes from his own work, De Arte Eloquendi, p. cviii.; according to Sundby.
2521.Warnestore, protect; see note to 2487 above, and see 2523.
2523.Swiche as han, ‘such as castles and other kinds of edifices have.’
Artelleries, missile weapons; cf. 1 Sam xx. 40, 1 Macc. vi. 51 (A.V.). ‘Artillarie now a dayes is taken for ii. thinges: Gunnes and Bowes’; Ascham, Toxophilus, ed. Arber, p. 65. In Chaucer’s time it referred to bows, crossbows, and engines for casting stones. Cotgrave explains F. artillier as ‘one that maketh both bowes and arrowes.’
2525–6. Owing to the repetition of the words grete edifices, one of the early scribes (whom others followed) passed from one to the other, thus omitting the words ‘apperteneth som tyme to pryde and eek men make heighe toures and grete edifices.’ But MSS. Cp. and Ln. supply all but the last three words ‘and grete edifices,’ and as we know that ‘grete edifices’ must recur, they really supply all but the sole word ‘and,’ which the sense absolutely requires. Curiously enough, these very MSS. omit the rest of clause 2525, so that none of the MSS. are perfect, but the text is easily pieced together. It is further verified by the Lat. text, which has:—‘Munitio turrium et aliorum altorum aedificiorum ad superbiam plerumque pertinet . . . . praeterea turres cum magno labore et infinitis expensis fiunt; et etiam cum factae fuerint, nihil ualent, nisi cum auxilio prudentium et fidelium amicorum et cum magnis expensis defendantur.’ The F. text supplies the gap with—‘appartiennent aucune fois a orgueil: apres on fait les tours et les grans edifices.’—MS. Reg. 19 C. vii. leaf 133, back. Hence there is no doubt as to the reading.
All former editions are here defective, and supply the gap with the single word is, which is found in ed. 1532.
2526.With gret costages, at great expense: Fr. text, ‘a grans despens.’
Stree, straw; MS. Hl. has the spelling straw. We find the phrase again in the Book of the Duch. 671; also ‘ne roghte of hem a stree,’ id. 887; ‘acounted nat a stree,’ id. 1237; ‘ne counted nat three strees,’ id. 718.
2530. Lat. text:—‘unum est inexpugnabile munimentum, amor ciuium.’ Not from Cicero; but from Seneca, De Clementia, i. 19. 5.
2534. ‘In omnibus autem negotiis, prius quam aggrediare, adhibenda est praeparatio diligens’; Cicero, De Officiis, i. 21.
2537. Lat. text:—‘Longa praeparatio belli celerem uictoriam facit.’ But the source is unknown; it does not seem to be in Cicero. Mätzner quotes a similar saying from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 125:—‘Diu apparandum est bellum, ut uincas celerius.’
2538. ‘Munitio quippe tunc efficitur praeualida, si diuturna fuerit excogitatione roborata’; Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 17.
2545.Tullius. This refers to what has already preceded in 2391–2400, the passage referred to being one from Cicero’s De Officiis, ii. 5, where we are bidden to consider several points, viz. (1) ‘quid in quaque re uerum sincerumque sit; (2) quid consentaneum cuique rei sit; (3) quid consequens; (4) ex quo quidque gignatur; (5) quae cuiusque rei caussa sit.’ All these five points are taken below in due order; viz. (1) in 2546; (2) in 2550; (3) in 2577; (4) in 2580; and (5) in 2583.
2546.Trouthe; referring to uerum in clause (1) in the last note.
2550.Consentinge; i. e. consentaneum in clause (2) in note to 2545. Cf. 2571. MS. Hl. has here the false reading couetyng, but in l. 2571 it has consentynge.
2551. Lat. text:—‘qui et quot et quales.’ Thus whiche means ‘of what sort.’ The words and whiche been they, omitted in MS. E. only, are thus seen to be necessary; cf. l. 2552, where the phrase is repeated.
2558.Cosins germayns; Lat. ‘consanguineos germanos.’ Neigh kinrede, relations near of kin; cf. ‘nis but a fer kinrede’ in 2565.
2561.Reward, regard, care; as above, in 2449; (see the note).
2565.Litel sib, slightly related; ny sib, closely related. Cf. ‘ne on his mæges láfe þe swa néah sib wǽre,’ nor with the relict of his kinsman who was so near of kin; Laws of King Cnut, § vii; in Thorpe’s Ancient Laws, i. 364.
2570.As the lawe; Sundby refers to Justinian’s Codex, VIII. iv. 1.
2573.That nay; Fr. text—‘que non.’
2577.Consequent; i. e. ‘consequens’ in clause (3), note to 2545.
2580.Engendringe; i. e. ‘ex quo quidque gignatur’ in clause (4), note to 2545.
2582. Mätzner says this is corrupt; but it is quite right, though obscure. The sense is—‘and, out of the taking of vengeance in return for that, would arise another vengeance’; &c. Engendre is here taken in the sense of ‘be engendred’ or ‘breed’; see the New E. Dict. The Fr. text is clearer: ‘de la vengence se engendrera autre vengence.’
2583.Causes; i. e. ‘caussa’ in clause (5), note to 2545.
2585. The Lat. text omits Oriens, which seems to be here used as synonymous with longinqua. ‘Caussa igitur iniuriae tibi illatae duplex fuit efficiens, scilicet remotissima et proxima.’
2588. ‘Occasio uero illius caussae, quae dicitur caussa accidentalis, fuit odium,’ &c. So below, the Lat. text has caussa materialis, caussa formalis, and caussa finalis.
2591.It letted nat, it tarried not; Lat. text, ‘nec per eos remansit.’ This intransitive use of letten is awkward and rare. It occurs again in P. Plowman, C. ii. 204, xx. 76, 331.
2594.Book of Decrees; Sundby refers us to the Decretum Gratiani; P. ii, Caussa 1, Qu. 1. c. 25:—‘uix bono peraguntur exitu, quae malo sunt inchoata principio.’
2596.Thapostle, the apostle Paul. The Lat. text refers expressly to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, meaning 1 Cor. iv. 5; but Chaucer has accommodated it to Rom. xi. 33.
2600. The Lat. text informs us that Melibeus signifies mel bibens. For similar curiosities of derivation, see note to G. 87. There was a town called Meliboea (Μελίβοια) on the E. coast of Thessaly.
2605. From Ovid, Amor. i. 8. 104:—‘Impia sub dulci melle uenena latent.’
2606. From Prov. xxv. 16.
2611.The three enemys, i. e. the flesh, the devil and the world. The entrance of these into man through the five senses is the theme of numerous homilies. See especially Sawles Warde, in O. Eng. Homilies, ed. Morris, First Series, p. 245; and the Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. Morris, p. 263.
2614.Deedly sinnes, the Seven Deadly Sins; see the Persones Tale. Fyve wittes, five senses; cf. P. Plowman, C. ii. 15, xvi. 257.
2615.Wold, willed; pp. of willen. F. text—‘a voulu.’ See 2190 above; Leg. of Good Women, 1209; Compl. of Venus, 11; P. Plowman, B. xv. 258; Malory’s Morte Arthure, bk. xviii. c. 15—‘[he] myghte haue slayne vs and he had wold’; and again, in c. 19—‘I myght haue ben maryed and I had wolde.’ Gower has—‘if that he had wold’; Conf. Amantis, ii. 9.
2618.Falle, befall, come to pass; F. text—‘advenir.’
2620.Were, would be; F. text—‘ce seroit moult grant dommage.’
2623–4. The missing portion is easily supplied. The French text (MS. Reg. 19 C. vii, leaf 136) has:—‘Et a ce respont Dame Prudence, Certes, dist elle, Ie t’octroye que de vengence vient molt de maulx et de biens; mais vengence n’appartient pas a vn chascun, fors seulement aux iuges et a ceulx qui ont la iuridicion sur les malfaitteurs.’ Here ‘mais vengence’ should rather be ‘mais faire vengence,’ as in MS. Reg. 19 C. xi. leaf 59, back, and in the printed edition. It is clear that the omission of this passage is due to the repetition of trespassours at the end of 2622 and 2624.
2627. Lat. text—‘nam, ut ait Seneca, Bonis nocet, qui malis parcit.’ This corresponds to—‘Bonis necesse est noceat, qui parcit malis’; Pseudo-Seneca, De Moribus, Sent. 114; see Publilius Syrus, ed. Dietrich, p. 90. The Fr. text has:—‘Cellui nuit [al. nuist] aux bons, qui espargne les mauvais.’ Chaucer’s translation is so entirely at fault, that I think his MS. must have been corrupt; he has taken nuist aux as maistre, and then could make but little of espargne, which he makes to mean ‘proveth,’ i. e. tests, tries the quality of; perhaps his MS. had turned espargne (or esparne) into esprouve. MSS. Cp. Pt. Ln. turn it into reproveth; this makes better sense, but contradicts the original still more.
2628. ‘Quoniam excessus tunc sunt in formidine, cùm creduntur iudicibus displicere’; Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 4.
2629. Lat. text:—‘Et alibi dixit, Iudex, qui dubitat ulcisci, multos improbos facit’; slightly altered from Publ. Syrus, Sent. 526:—‘Qui ulcisci dubitat, inprobos plures facit.’
2630. From Rom. xiii. 4. For spere, as in all the copies, Chaucer should have written swerd. The Fr. text has glaive; Lat. gladium.
2632.Ye shul retourne or have your recours to the Iuge; explanatory of the F. text—‘tu recourras au iuge.’
2633.As the lawe axeth and requyreth; explanatory of the Fr. text—‘selon droit.’ For this use of axeth (= requires), cf. P. Plowman, C. i. 21, ii. 34.
2635.Many a strong pas; Fr. text—‘moult de fors pas.’ MS. Hl. has:—‘many a strayt passage.’
2638. Not from Seneca, but (as in other places where Seneca is mentioned) from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 320 (ed. Dietrich):—‘Male geritur, quicquid geritur fortunae fide.’
2640. Again from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 189 (ed. Dietrich):—‘Fortuna uitrea est; tum quum splendet frangitur.’
2642.Seur (E. sure) and siker are mere variants of the same word; the former is O. F. seur, from Lat. acc. secūrum; the latter is from Lat. sécŭrus, with a different accentuation and a shortening of the second vowel. We also have a third form, viz. secure.
2645. Again from Publ. Syrus, Sent. 173:—‘Fortuna nimium quem fouet, stultum facit.’
2650. From Rom. xii. 19; cf. Deut. xxxii. 35, Ps. xciv. 1.
2653. From Publ. Syrus, Sent. 645:—‘Veterem ferendo iniuriam inuites nouam.’
2655.Holden over lowe, esteemed too low, too lightly.
2656. From Publ. Syrus, Sent. 487:—‘Patiendo multa [al. inulta] eueniunt [al. ueniunt] quae nequeas pati.’ Mowe suffre, be able to endure. For mowe, Wright wrongly prints nowe; MS. Hl. has mowe, correctly.
2663. From Caecilii Balbi Sententiae, ed. Friedrich, 1870, no. 162:—‘Qui non corripit peccantem gnatum, peccare imperat.’
2664. ‘And the judges and sovereign lords might, each in his own land, so largely tolerate wicked men and evil-doers,’ &c. Lat. text:—‘si multa maleficia patiuntur fieri.’
2667.Let us now putte, let us suppose; Fr. text—‘posons.’ A more usual phrase is ‘putte cas,’ put the case; cf. note to 2681.
2668.As now, at present; see 2670.
2671. From Seneca, De Ira, ii. 34, § 1:—‘Cum pare contendere, anceps est; cum superiore, furiosum; cum inferiore, sordidum.’
2675. From Prov. xx. 3.
2678. From Publilius Syrus, Sent. 483:—‘Potenti irasci sibi periclum est quaerere.’
2679. From Dion. Cato, Dist. iv. 39:—
2681.Yet sette I caas, but I will suppose; Fr. text—‘posons,’ as in 2667 above.
2684.First and foreward; Fr. text—‘premierement.’ See note to 2431 above.
2685.The poete; Fr. text, ‘le poete.’ Not in the Latin text, and the source of the quotation is unknown. Cf. Luke, xxiii. 41.
2687.Seint Gregorie. Not in the Lat. text; source unknown.
2692. From 1 Pet. ii. 21.
2700. Referring to 2 Cor. iv. 17.
2702. From Prov. xix. 11, where the Vulgate has:—‘Doctrina uiri per patientiam noscitur.’
2703. From Prov. xiv. 29, where the Vulgate has:—‘Qui patiens est multa gubernatur prudentia.’
2704. From Prov. xv. 18.
2705. From Prov. xvi. 32.
2707. From James, i. 4:—‘Patientia autem opus perfectum habet.’
2713.Corage, desire, inclination; cf. E. 1254.
2715. The Fr. text is fuller: ‘et si ie fais un grant exces, car on dit que exces n’est corrige que par exces, c’est a dire que oultrage ne se corrige fors que par oultrage.’—Mr. Perhaps part of the clause has been accidentally omitted, owing to repetition of ‘exces.’
2718. ‘Quid enim discrepat a peccante, qui se per excessum nititur uindicare?’—Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 30.
2721. Lat. text:—‘ait enim Seneca, Nunquam scelus scelere uindicandum.’ Not from Seneca; Sundby refers us to Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, S. 139.
2723.Withouten intervalle . . . delay; the Fr. text merely has ‘sans intervalle.’ Chaucer explains the word intervalle.
2729. ‘Qui impatiens est sustinebit damnum’; Prov. xix. 19.
2730.Of that that, in a matter that.
2731. Lat. text (p. 95):—‘Culpa est immiscere se rei ad se non pertinenti.’ Sundby refers us to the Digesta, l. xvii. 36.
2732. From Prov. xxvi. 17.
2733.Outherwhyle, sometimes, occasionally; cf. 2857. So in Ch. tr. of Boethius, bk. iii. pr. 12. 119 (vol. ii. p. 89); P. Plowman, C. vi. 50, vii. 160, xxii. 103, &c.
2740. From Ecclesiastes, x. 19:—‘pecuniae oboediunt omnia.’
2741. All the copies have power; but, as Mätzner remarks, we should read poverte; the Fr. text has povrete.
2743.Richesses ben goode; the Lat. text here quotes 1 Tim. iv. 4.
2744. ‘Homo sine pecunia est quasi corpus sine anima’ is written on a fly-leaf of a MS.; see my Pref. to P. Plowman, C-text, p. xx.
2746. All the MSS. have Pamphilles instead of Pamphilus. The allusion is to Pamphilus Maurilianus, who wrote a poem, well-known in the fourteenth century, entitled Liber de Amore, which is extant in MSS. (e. g. in MS. Bodley 3703) and has been frequently printed. Tyrwhitt cites the lines here alluded to from the Bodley MS.
Sundby quotes the same (with ipsa for illa) from the Paris edition of 1510, fol. a iiii, recto. Chaucer again refers to Pamphilus in F. 1110, on which see the note.
2748. This quotation is not in the Latin text, and is certainly not from Pamphilus; but closely follows Ovid’s lines in his Tristia, i. 9. 5:—
See notes to B. 120 and B. 3436.
2751. Neither is this from Pamphilus, but from some author quoted by Petrus Alfonsi, Discip. Cler. vi. 4, who says:—‘ait quidam uersificator, Clarificant [al. Glorificant] gazae priuatos nobilitate.’
2752. We know, from the Lat. text, that there is here an allusion to Horace, Epist. i. 6. 37:—
‘Et genus et formam regina pecunia donat.’
2754. The Lat. text has mater criminum, and the Fr. text, mere des crimes. It is clear that Chaucer has misread ruines for crimes, or his MS. was corrupt; and he has attempted an explanation by subjoining a gloss of his own—‘that is to seyn . . . overthrowinge or fallinge doun.’ The reference is to Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. ix. epist. 13:—‘Ut dum mater criminum necessitas tollitur, peccandi ambitus auferatur.’
2756. ‘Est una de aduersitatibus huius saeculi grauioribus libero homini, quod necessitate cogitur, ut sibi subueniat, requirere inimicum’; Petrus Alfonsi, Disciplina Clericalis, iv. 4.
2758. Lat. text:—‘O miserabilis mendicantis conditio! Nam, si petit, pudore confunditur; et si non petit, egestate consumitur; sed ut mendicet necessitate compellitur’; Innocentius III (Papa), De Contemptu Mundi, lib. i. c. 16. See note to B. 99, at p. 142.
2761. ‘Melius est enim mori quam indigere’; Ecclus. xl. 29; cf. A.V., Ecclus, xl. 28. See note to B. 114, at p. 142.
2762. ‘Melior est mors quam uita amara’; Ecclus. xxx. 17. The Fr. text has:—‘Mieulx vault la mort amere que telle vie’; where, as in Chaucer, the adjective is shifted.
2765.How ye shul have you, how you ought to behave yourself. In fact, behave is merely a compound of be- and have.
2766.Sokingly, gradually. In the Prompt. Parv. we find ‘Esyly, or sokyngly, Sensim, paulatim.’ And compare the following:—‘Domitius Corbulo vsed muche to saie, that a mannes enemies in battaill are to be ouercomed (sic) with a carpenters squaring-axe, that is to saie, sokingly, one pece after another. A common axe cutteth through at the first choppe; a squaring-axe, by a little and a little, werketh the same effecte.’—Udall, tr. of Erasmus’ Apophthegmes, Julius Caesar, § 32.
2768. From Prov. xxviii. 20.
2769. From Prov. xiii. 11.
2773. Not in the Latin text.
2775. ‘Detrahere igitur alteri aliquid, et hominem hominis incommodo suum augere commodum, magis est contra naturam, quam mors, quam paupertas, quam dolor, quam cetera, quae possunt aut corpori accidere aut rebus externis’; Cicero, De Officiis, iii. 5.
2779. ‘For idleness teacheth much evil’; Ecclus. xxxiii. 27.
2780. From Prov. xxviii. 19; cf. xii. 11.
2783. Cf. Prov. xx. 4.
2784. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. i. 2:—
2785. Quoted again in G. 6, 7; see note to G. 7.
2789.Fool-large, foolishly liberal; Fr. text, ‘fol larges.’ Cf. 2810.
2790.Chincherye, miserliness, parsimony; from the adj. chinche, which occurs in 2793. Chinche, parsimonious, miserly, is the nasalised form of chiche; see Havelok, 1763, 2941; and see Chinch in the New E. Dictionary. To the examples there given add:—‘A Chinche, tenax: Chinchery, tenacitas’; Catholicon Anglicum.
2792. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. iv. 16:—
2795. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. iii. 22:—
2796.Folily, foolishly. We find M. E. folliche, both adj. and adv., and follichely, folily as adv. It is spelt folily in Wycliffe, Num. xii. 11, and in the Troy-book, 573; also folili, Will. of Palerne, 4596; folyly, Rom. of the Rose, 5942 (see the footnote).
2800.Weeldinge (so in E., other MSS. weldinge), wielding, i. e. power.
2802. Not in the Latin text.
2807. Compare Prov. xxvii. 20.
2811. ‘Quamobrem nec ita claudenda est res familiaris, ut eam benignitas aperire non possit; nec ita reseranda, ut pateat omnibus’; Cicero, De Officiis, ii. 15.
2818. See Prov. xv. 16; xvi. 8.
2820.The prophete, i. e. David; see Ps. xxxvii. 16.
2824. See 2 Cor. i. 12.
2825. ‘Riches are good unto him that hath no sin’; Ecclus. xiii. 24.
2828. From Prov. xxii. 1.
2829. The reference seems to be to Prov. xxv. 10 in the Vulgate version (not in the A. V.):—‘Gratia et amicitia liberant; quas tibi serua, ne exprobrabilis fias.’
2832. The reference is clearly to the following:—‘Est enim indigni [al. digni] animi signum, famae diligere commodum’; Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 4. This is quoted by Albertano (p. 120), with the reading ingenui for indigni; hence Chaucer’s ‘gentil.’ Mätzner refers us to the same, lib. v. epist. 12:—‘quia pulchrum est commodum famae.’
2833. ‘Duae res sunt conscientia et fama. Conscientia tibi, fama proximo tuo’; Augustini Opera, ed. Caillou, Paris, 1842, tom. xxi. p. 347.—Mr.
2837. Fr. text:—‘il est cruel et villain.’—Mr.
2841. Lat. text:—‘nam dixit quidam philosophus, Nemo in guerra constitutus satis diues esse potest. Quantumcunque enim sit homo diues, oportet illum, si in guerra diu perseuerauerit, aut diuitias aut guerram perdere, aut forte utrumque simul et personam.’—p. 102.
2843. See Ecclesiastes, v. 11.
2851. ‘With the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company: For the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from heaven.’ 1 Macc. iii. 18, 19.
2854. The gap is easily detected and filled up by comparison with the Fr. text, which Mätzner cites from Le Menagier de Paris, i. 226, thus:—‘pour ce . . . que nul n’est certain s’il est digne que Dieu lui doint victoire ne plus que il est certain se il est digne de l’amour de Dieu ou non.’ We must also compare the text from Solomon, viz. Ecclesiastes, ix. 1, as it stands in the Vulgate version.
2857.Outher-whyle, sometimes; see note to 2733.
2858.The seconde book of Kinges, i. e. Liber secundus Regum, now called ‘the second book of Samuel.’ The reference is to 2 Sam. xi. 25, where the Vulgate has: ‘uarius enim euentus est belli; nunc hunc et nunc illum consumit gladius.’ The A. V. varies.
2860.In as muchel; Fr. text:—‘tant comme il puet bonnement.’ This accounts for goodly, i. e. meetly, fitly, creditably. Cotgrave has: ‘Bonnement, well, fitly, aptly, handsomely, conveniently, orderly, to the purpose.’
2861.Salomon; rather Jesus son of Sirach. ‘He that loveth danger shall perish therein’; Ecclus. iii. 26.
2863.The werre . . nothing, ‘war does not please you at all.’
2866.Seint Iame is a curious error for Senek, Seneca. For the Fr. text has:—‘Seneque dit en ses escrips,’ according to Mätzner; and MS. Reg. 19 C. xi (leaf 63, col. 2) has ‘Seneques.’ There has clearly been confusion between Seneques and Seint iaques. Hence the use of the pl. epistles is correct. The reference is to Seneca, Epist. 94, § 46; but Seneca, after all, is merely quoting Sallust:—‘Nam concordia paruae res crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur’; Sallust, Jugurtha, 10.
2870. From Matt. v. 9.
2872.Brige, strife, contention; F. brigue, Low Lat. briga. ‘Brigue, s. f. . . . debate, contention, altercation, litigious wrangling about any matter’; Cotgrave. See Brigue in the New E. Dict.
2876. Here Hl. has pryde and despysing for homlinesse and dispreysinge, thus spoiling the sense. The allusion is to our common saying—Familiarity breeds contempt.
2879.Syen, saw; Cm. seyen; Ln. sawe; Cp. saugh.
2881. Lat. text (p. 107):—‘scriptum est enim, Semper ab aliis dissensio incipiat, a te autem reconciliatio.’ From Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, Sent. 49.
2882.The prophete, i. e. David; Ps. xxxiv. 14.
2883. The words ‘as muchel as in thee is’ are an addition, due to the Fr. text:—‘tant comme tu pourras.’—Mr.
2884. The use of to after pursue is unusual; Mätzner compares biseke to, in 2940 below and 2306 above.
2886. From Prov. xxviii. 14.
2891. Fr. text:—‘Pour ce dit le philosophe, que les troubles ne sont pas bien cler voyans.’ Cf. the Fr. proverb:—‘À l’œil malade la lumière nuit, an eie distempered cannot brook the light; sick thoughts cannot indure the truth’; Cotgrave.
2895. From Prov. xxviii. 23.
2897. This quotation is merely an expansion of the former part of Eccles. vii. 3, viz. ‘sorrow is better than laughter’; the latter part of the same verse appears in 2900, immediately below.
2901.I shal not conne answere, I shall not be able to answer; Fr. text:—‘ie ne sauroie respondre.’—Mr.
2909. From Prov. xvi. 7.
2915. Fr. text:—‘ie met tout mon fait en vostre disposition.’—Mr.
2925. Referring to Ps. xx. 4 (Vulgate)—‘in benedictionibus dulce-dinis’; A. V.—‘with the blessings of goodness,’ Ps. xxi. 3.
2930. From Ecclus. vi. 5:—‘Verbum dulce multiplicat amicos, et mitigat inimicos.’ The A. V. omits the latter clause, having only:—‘Sweet language will multiply friends.’
2931. Fr. text:—‘nous mettons nostre fait en vostre bonne voulente.’—Mr.
2936.Hise amendes, i.e. amends to him. For hise or his, Cp. Ln. have him, which is a more usual construction. Cf. ‘What shall be thy amends For thy neglect of truth?’ Shak., Sonnet 101. ‘If I have wronged thee, seek thy mends at the law’; Greene, Looking-Glass for London, ed. Dyce, 1883, p. 122.
2940.Biseke to; so in 2306; see note to 2884.
2945. From Ecclus. xxxiii. 18, 19:—‘Hear me, O ye great men of the people, and hearken with your ears, ye rulers of the congregation: Give not thy son and wife, thy brother and friend, power over thee while thou livest.’
2965. Not from Seneca, but from Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, S. 94 (Sundby). The Lat. text has:—‘ubi est confessio, ibi est remissio.’
2967. Neither is this from Seneca, but from the same source as before. The Lat. text has:—‘Proximum ad innocentiam locum tenet uerecundia peccati et confessio.’
2973. Lat. text:—‘Nihil enim tam naturale est, quam aliquid dissolui eo genere, quo colligatum est.’ From the Digesta, lib. xvii. 35.
2984. Lat. text:—‘Semper audiui dici, Quod bene potes facere, noli differre.’ Fr. text:—‘Le bien que tu peus faire au matin, n’attens pas le soir ne l’endemain.’
2986.Messages, messengers; Cp. messagers; Hl. messageres. See B. 144, 333. In 2992, 2995, we have the form messagers.
2997.Borwes, sureties; as in P. Plowman, C. v. 85. In 3018 it seems to mean ‘pledges’ rather than ‘sureties.’
3028.A coveitous name, a reputation for covetousness.
3030. From 1 Tim. vi. 10. See C. 334.
3032. Lat. text (p. 120):—‘Scriptum est enim, Mallem perdidisse quam turpiter accepisse.’ This is from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 479:—
‘Perdidisse ad assem mallem, quam accepisse turpiter.’
3036. Also from P. Syrus, Sent. 293:—
‘Laus noua nisi oritur, etiam uetus amittitur.’
3040. For ‘it is writen,’ the Fr. text has ‘le droit dit.’ This indicates the source. The Lat. text has:—‘priuilegium meretur amittere, qui concessa sibi abutitur potestate.’ This Sundby traces to the Decretalia Gregorii IX., iii. 31. 18.
3042.Which I trowe . . do; Lat. ‘quod non concedo.’
3045.Ye moste . . curteisly; Lat. ‘remissius imperare oportet.’
3047. Lat. text:—‘Remissius imperanti melius paretur’; from Seneca, De Clementia, i. 24. 1.
3049. ‘Ait enim Seneca’; the Lat. text then quotes from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 64:—‘Bis uincit, qui se uincit in uictoria.’
3050. Lat. text:—‘Nihil est laudabilius, nihil magno et praeclaro uiro dignius, placabilitate atque clementia.’ From Cicero, De Officiis, i. 25. 88.
3054.Of mercy, i.e. on account of your mercy.
3056. ‘Male uincit iam quem poenitet uictoriae’; Publilius Syrus, Sent. 366. Attributed to Seneca in the Latin text.
3059. From James, ii. 13.
3066.Unconninge, ignorance; cf. Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 131; Prick of Conscience, l. 169.
3067.Misborn, borne amiss, misconducted. See Life of Beket, l. 1248.