Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK II. - The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 2 (Boethius, Troilus)
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BOOK II. - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 2 (Boethius, Troilus) 
The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols.
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Postea paulisper conticuit.
After this she stinte a litel ; and, after that she hadde gadered by atempre stillenesse myn attencioun , she seide thus: (As who mighte seyn thus: After thise thinges she stinte a litel; and whan sheaperceivedby atempre stillenesse that I was ententif to herkenehir , she bigan to speke in thiswyse ): ‘Yif I,’ quod she, ‘have5 understonden and knowen outrely the causes and the habit of thy maladye , thou languissest and art defeted for desyr and talent of thy rather fortune. She, that ilke Fortune only, that is chaunged , as thou feynest, to thee-ward, hath perverted the cleernesse and the estat of thy corage. I understonde the10fele-folde colours and deceites of thilke merveilous monstre Fortune, and how she useth ful flateringe familaritee with hem that she enforceth to bigyle; so longe, til that she confounde[ ] with unsufferable sorwe hem that she hath left in despeyr unpurveyed. And yif thou remembrest wel the kinde, the maneres,15 and the desert of thilke Fortune, thou shalt wel knowe that , as in hir, thou never ne haddest ne hast y-lost any fair thing . But, as I trowe, I shal nat gretly travailen to do thee remembrenon thise thinges. For thou were wont to hurtelen and despysen20 hir, with manly wordes, whan she was blaundissinge and present, and pursewedest hir with sentences that were drawen out of myn entree, that is to seyn, out of myn informacioun. But no sodein[ ] mutacioun ne bitydeth nat with-oute a manere chaunginge of corages; and so is it befallen that thou art a litel departed25 fro the pees of thy thought.
But now is tyme that thou drinke and ataste some softe and delitable thinges; so that, whan they ben entred with-in thee, it mowe maken wey to strengere drinkes of medicynes. Com[ ] now forth therefore the suasioun of swetenesse rethorien, whiche30 that goth only the right wey, whyl she forsaketh nat myne estatuts . And with Rhetorice com forth Musice, a damisel of our hous, that singeth now lighter moedesorprolaciouns , now hevyer.[ ] What eyleth thee, man? What is it that hath cast thee in-to morninge and in-to wepinge? I trowe that thou hast seyn35 som newe thing and uncouth. Thou wenest that Fortune be[ ] chaunged ayein thee; but thou wenest wrong, yif thou that wene. Alwey tho ben hir maneres; she hath rather kept, as to thee-ward, hir propre stablenesse in the chaunginge of hirself. Right swich was she whan she flatered thee, and deceived40 thee with unleveful lykinges of fals welefulnesse. Thou hast now knowen and ataynt the doutous or double visage of thilke blinde goddesse Fortune. She, that yit covereth hir and wimpleth hir to other folk, hath shewed hir every-del to thee. Yif thou aprovest hir and thenkest that she is good , use hir45 maneres and pleyne thee nat. And yif thou agrysest hir false[ ] trecherye, despyse and cast awey hir that pleyeth so harmfully; for she, that is now cause of so muche sorwe to thee, sholde ben cause to thee of pees and of Ioye. She hath forsaken[ ] thee, forsothe; the whiche that never man may ben siker that she ne shal forsake him.50
Holdestow than thilke welefulnesse precious to thee that shal passen? And is present Fortune dereworthe to thee, which that55 nis nat feithful for to dwelle; and, whan she goth awey, that she bringeth a wight in sorwe? For sin she may nat ben withholden at a mannes wille, she maketh him a wrecche whan she departeth fro him. What other thing is flittinge Fortune but a maner shewinge of wrecchednesse that is to comen? Ne it ne60 suffyseth nat only to loken on thinge that is present biforn the eyen of a man. But wisdom loketh and amesureth the ende of thinges; and the same chaunginge from oon in-to an-other, that istoseyn, from adversiteein-toprosperitee, maketh that the manaces of Fortune ne ben nat for to dreden, ne the flateringes65 of hir to ben desired. Thus, at the laste, it bihoveth thee to suffren with evene wille in pacience al that is don in-with the floor of Fortune, that is toseyn , in this world, sin thou hast[ ] ones put thy nekke under the yok of hir. For yif thou wolt wryten a lawe of wendinge and of dwellinge to Fortune, whiche70 that thou hast chosen frely to ben thy lady, artow nat wrongful in that, and makest Fortune wroth and aspere by thyn inpatience, and yit thou mayst nat chaunge hir?
Yif thou committest and bitakest thy sailes to the winde, thou shalt be shoven, not thider that thou woldest, but whider that the75wind shoveth thee. Yif thou castest thy sedes in-to the feldes , thou sholdest han in minde that the yeres ben, amonges , other-whyle[ ] plentevous and other-whyle bareyne . Thou hast bitaken thy-self to the governaunce of Fortune, and for-thy it bihoveth 80 thee to ben obeisaunt to the maneres of thy lady. Enforcest thou thee to aresten or withholden the swiftnesse and the sweigh of hir turninge whele ? O thou fool of alle mortal fooles, if Fortune bigan to dwelle stable, she cesede thanne to ben[ ] Fortune!
Hec cum superba uerterit uices dextra.
Whan Fortune with a proud right hand hath torned hir chaunginge stoundes, she fareth lyk the maneres of the boilinge Eurype . Glosa. Eurypeis an arm of the see that ebbeth and[ ]floweth; and som-tyme the streem is on o syde, and som-tyme on5theother. Text. She, cruel Fortune, casteth adoun kinges that whylom weren y-drad; and she, deceivable, enhaunseth up the humble chere of him that is discomfited. Ne she neither hereth ne rekketh of wrecchede wepinges; and she is so hard[ ] that she laugheth and scorneth the wepinges of hem, the whiche[ ]10 she hath maked wepe with hir free wille. Thus she pleyeth, and thus she proeueth hir strengthes ; and sheweth a greet wonder[ ] to alle hir servauntes, yif that a wight is seyn weleful, and overthrowe in an houre.
Vellem autem pauca tecum.
Certes, I wolde pleten with thee a fewe thinges, usinge the[ ] wordes of Fortune; tak hede now thy-self, yif that she axeth right. “O thou man, wher-fore makest thou me gilty by thyne every-dayes pleyninges? What wrong have I don thee? What[ ]5 goodes have I bireft thee that weren thyne? Stryf or plete with me, bifore what Iuge that thou wolt, of the possessioun of richesses or of dignitees. And yif thou mayst shewen me that ever any mortal man hath received any of tho thinges to ben hise in propre, than wol I graunte frely that alle thilke thinges weren thyne whiche that thou axest. Whan that nature10broughte thee forth out of thy moder wombe, I receyved thee naked and nedy of alle thinges , and I norisshede thee with my richesses, and was redy and ententif through my favour to susteyne thee; and that maketh thee now inpacient ayeins me; and I envirounde thee with alle the aboundance and shyninge15 of alle goodes that ben in my right. Now it lyketh me to with-drawen my hand; thou hast had grace as he that hath used of foreine goodes: thou hast no right to pleyne thee, as though thou haddest outrely for-lorn alle thy thinges. Why pleynest thou thanne? I have done thee no wrong. Richesses,20 honours, and swiche other thinges ben of my right. My servauntes knowen me for hir lady; they comen with me, and departen whan I wende. I dar wel affermen hardily, that yif tho thinges, of which thou pleynest that thou hast forlorn, hadde ben thyne, thou ne haddest not lorn hem. Shal I thanne only ben defended25 to usen my right?
Certes, it is leveful to the hevene to make clere dayes, and, after that, to coveren tho same dayes with derke nightes. The yeer hath eek leve to apparailen the visage of the erthe, now with floures and now with fruit , and to confounden hem som-tyme30 with reynes and with coldes. The see hath eek his right to ben som-tyme calme and blaundishing with smothe water, and som-tyme to ben horrible with wawes and with tempestes. But the covetise of men, that may nat ben stanched, shal it binde me to ben stedefast , sin that stedefastnesse is uncouth35 to my maneres? Swich is my strengthe, and this pley I pleye continuely. I torne the whirlinge wheel with the torning cercle;[ ] I am glad to chaungen the lowest to the heyest, and the heyest to the lowest. Worth up, if thou wolt, so it be by this lawe,[ ]40 that thou ne holde nat that I do thee wronge thogh thou descende adoun , whan the resoun of my pley axeth it.
Wistest thou nat how Cresus, the king of Lydiens, of whiche[ ] king Cyrus was ful sore agast a litel biforn, that this rewliche Cresus was caught of Cyrus and lad to the fyr to ben brent,45 but that a rayn descendede doun fro hevene that rescowede him? And is it out of thy minde how that Paulus, consul of Rome, whan he hadde taken the king of Perciens, weep pitously[ ] for the captivitee of the self kinge? What other thing biwailen the cryinges of tragedies but only the dedes of Fortune, that50 with an unwar stroke overtorneth realmes of grete nobley ? Glose. Tragedie is to seyn, a ditee of a prosperitee for a tyme,[ ]that endeth in wrecchednesse.
Lernedest nat thou in Greke, whan thou were yonge, that[ ] in the entree, or in thecelere , of Iupiter, ther ben couched two[ ]55 tonnes; that on is ful of good, that other is ful of harm? What right hast thou to pleyne, yif thou hast taken more plentevously of the goode syde, that is to seyn, of myrichessesand prosperites; and what eek if I ne be nat al departed fro thee? What eek yif my mutabilitee yiveth thee rightful cause of hope to han yit60 beter thinges? Natheles dismaye thee nat in thy thought; and thou that art put in the comune realme of alle, ne desyre nat to[ ] liven by thyn only propre right.
Si quantas rapidis flatibus incitus.
Though Plentee, that is goddesse ofrichesses, hielde adoun[ ] with ful horn, and withdraweth nat hir hand, as many richesses as the see torneth upward sandes whan it is moeved with ravisshinge blastes, or elles as many richesses as ther shynen5 brighte sterres on hevene on the sterry nightes ; yit, for al that, mankinde nolde not cese to wepe wrecchede pleyntes . And al be it so that god receyveth gladly hir preyers , and yiveth them (as fool-large ) moche gold, and aparaileth coveitous[ ]men with noble or clere honours: yit semeth hem haven y-geten no-thing , but alwey hir cruel ravyne, devouringe al that they10 han geten, sheweth other gapinges; that is to seyn, gapen and[ ] desyren yit after morichesses . What brydles mighten withholden, to any certein ende, the desordenee covetise of men, whan,[ ] ever the rather that it fleteth in large yiftes, the more ay brenneth in hem the thurst of havinge? Certes he that, quakinge and15 dredful, weneth him-selven nedy, he ne liveth never-more riche.”
Hiis igitur si pro se tecum Fortuna loqueretur.
Therfor, yif that Fortune spake with thee for hir-self in this manere, for-sothe thou ne haddest nat what thou mightest answere. And, if thou hast any-thing wherwith, thou mayest rightfully defenden[ ] thy compleint, it behoveth thee to shewen it; and I wol yeven thee space to tellen it.’5
‘Certeynly,’ quod I thanne, ‘thise beth faire thinges, and enointed with hony swetenesse of rethorike and musike; and only whyl they ben herd they ben delicious . But to wrecches is a depper felinge of harm; this is to seyn, that wrecches felen the harmes that they suffren more grevously than the remedies or the10delites of thise wordes mowen gladen or comforten hem; so that, whan thise thinges stinten for to soune in eres, the sorwe that is inset greveth the thought.’
‘Right so is it,’ quod she. ‘For thise ne ben yit none remedies of thy maladye ; but they ben a maner norisshinges of thy sorwe ,15 yit rebel ayein thy curacioun. For whan that tyme is, I shal moeve swiche thinges that percen hem-self depe. But natheles, that thou shalt not wilne to leten thy-self a wrecche, hast thou foryeten the noumber and the manere of thy welefulnesse? I20 holde me stille, how that the soverayne men of the citee token thee in cure and kepinge, whan thou were orphelin of fader and moder, and were chosen in affinitee of princes of the citee; and[ ] thou bigunne rather to be leef and dere than forto ben a neighbour ;[ ] the whiche thing is the most precious kinde of any propinquitee25 or alyaunce that may ben. Who is it that ne seide tho that thou were right weleful, with so grete a nobleye of thy fadres-in-lawe , and with the chastitee of thy wyf, and with the oportunitee and noblesse of thy masculin children, that is to seyn, thy sones? And over al this—me list to passen the comune thinges—how30 thou haddest in thy youthe dignitees that weren werned to olde men. But it delyteth me to comen now to the singuler uphepinge of thy welefulnesse . Yif any fruit of mortal thinges may han any weighte or prys of welefulnesse, mightest thou ever foryeten, for any charge of harm that mighte bifalle, the remembraunce of35 thilke day that thou saye thy two sones maked conseileres, and y-lad to-gedere fro thyn house under so greet assemblee of senatoures and under the blythenesse of poeple ; and whan thou saye hem set in the court in here chayeres of dignitees? Thou, rethorien or pronouncere of kinges preysinges, deservedest glorie40 of wit and of eloquence, whan thou, sittinge bitwene thy two[ ] sones, conseileres, in the place that highte Circo, fulfuldest the abydinge of the multitude of poeple that was sprad abouten thee, with so large[ ] preysinge and laude, as men singen in victories. Tho yave thou wordes to Fortune, as I trowe, that is to seyn, tho feffedest thou45Fortune with glosinge wordes anddeceivedesthir, whan she acoyede thee and norisshede thee as hir owne delyces. Thou bere away of Fortune a yifte, that is to seyn, swicheguerdoun , that she never yaf to privee man. Wilt thou therfor leye a rekeninge with Fortune?[ ] She hath now twinkled first upon thee with a wikkede eye. Yif thou considere the noumbre and the manere of thy blisses and50 of thy sorwes, thou mayst nat forsaken that thou art yit blisful. For if thou therfor wenest thy-self nat weleful, for thinges that tho semeden ioyful ben passed, ther nis nat why thou sholdest wene thy-self a wrecche; for thinges that semen now sorye passen also.
Art thou now comen first, a sodein gest, in-to the shadwe or[ ]55 tabernacle of this lyf; or trowest thou that any stedefastnesse be in mannes thinges, whan ofte a swift houre dissolveth the same man; that is to seyn, whan the soule departeth fro the body? For, al-though that selde is ther any feith that fortunous thinges wolen dwellen, yit natheles the laste day of a mannes lyf is a manere[ ]60 deeth to Fortune, and also to thilke that hath dwelt. And therfor,[ ] what, wenestow, thar [thee] recche , yif thou forlete hir in deyinge,[ ] or elles that she, Fortune, forlete thee in fleeinge awey?
Cum polo Phebus roseis quadrigis.
Whan Phebus, the sonne, biginneth to spreden his cleernesse with rosene chariettes, thanne the sterre, y-dimmed, paleth hir whyte cheres, by the flambes of the sonne that overcometh the sterre-light. This is to seyn, whan the sonne is risen, the dey-sterre wexeth pale, and leseth hir light for the grete brightnesse of the5sonne.
Whan the wode wexeth rody of rosene floures, in the first somer sesoun, thorugh the brethe of the winde Zephirus that wexeth warm, yif the cloudy wind Auster blowe felliche, than goth awey the fairenesse of thornes .[ ]10
Yif the forme of this worlde is so selde stable, and yif it turneth15 by so many entrechaunginges, wolt thou thanne trusten in the tomblinge fortunes of men? Wolt thou trowen on flittinge goodes?[ ]It is certein and establisshed by lawe perdurable, that no-thing that is engendred nis stedefast ne stable .’[ ]
Tunc ego, uera, inquam, commemoras.
Thanne seide I thus: ‘O norice of alle vertues , thou seist ful sooth; ne I ne may nat forsake the right swifte cours of my prosperitee; that is to seyn, that prosperitee ne be comen to me[ ] wonder swiftly and sone. But this is a thing that greetly smerteth5 me whan it remembreth me. For in alle adversitee of fortune,[ ] the most unsely kinde of contrarious fortune is to han ben weleful.’
‘But that thou,’ quod she, ‘abyest thus the torment of thy[ ] false opinioun, that mayst thou nat rightfully blamen ne aretten10 to thinges: as who seith, for thou hast yit manyhabundauncesof thinges.
Text. For al be it so that the ydel name of aventurous[ ] welefulnesse moeveth thee now, it is leveful that thou rekne with me of how manye grete thinges thou hast yit plentee. And15 therfor, yif that thilke thing that thou haddest for most precious in al thy richesse of fortune be kept to thee yit, by the grace of god, unwemmed and undefouled, mayst thou thanne pleyne rightfully upon the meschef of Fortune, sin thou hast yit thy beste thinges? Certes, yit liveth in good point thilke precious20 honour of mankinde, Symacus, thy wyves fader, which that is[ ] a man maked alle of sapience and of vertu; the whiche man thou woldest byen redely with the prys of thyn owne lyf. He biwayleth the wronges that men don to thee, and nat for him-self; for he liveth in sikernesse of any sentences put ayeins him. And yit liveth thy wyf, that is atempre of wit, and passinge other[ ]25 wimmen in clennesse of chastetee; and for I wol closen shortely hir bountees, she is lyk to hir fader. I telle thee wel, that she liveth looth of this lyf, and kepeth to thee only hir goost; and is al maat and overcomen by wepinge and sorwe for desyr of thee, in the whiche thing only I moot graunten that thy welefulnesse is30amenused . What shal I seyn eek of thy two sones, conseilours,[ ] of whiche, as of children of hir age, ther shyneth the lyknesse of the wit of hir fader or of hir elder fader? And sin the sovereyn cure of alle mortel folk is to saven hir owen lyves, O how weleful art thou, yif thou knowe thy goodes! For yit ben ther35 thinges dwelled to thee-ward , that no man douteth that they ne ben more dereworthe to thee than thyn owen lyf. And for-thy drye thy teres, for yit nis nat everich fortune al hateful to thee-ward, ne over greet tempest hath nat yit fallen upon thee, whan that thyn ancres cleven faste, that neither wolen suffren the[ ]40 counfort of this tyme present ne the hope of tyme cominge to passen ne to faylen .’
‘And I preye,’ quod I, ‘that faste moten they halden ; for whyles that they halden , how-so-ever that thinges ben, I shal wel fleten forth and escapen; but thou mayst wel seen how grete45 aparayles and aray that me lakketh, that ben passed away fro me.’
‘I have som-what avaunsed and forthered thee,’ quod she, ‘yif that thou anoye nat or forthinke nat of al thy fortune: as who seith, I have som-what comforted thee, so that thou tempest thee nat50thus with al thy fortune, sin thou hast yit thy beste thinges. But I may nat suffren thy delices , that pleynest so wepinge and[ ] anguissous, for that ther lakketh som-what to thy welefulnesse. For what man is so sad or of so parfit welefulnesse, that he ne stryveth and pleyneth on som halve ayen the qualitee of his55 estat? For-why ful anguissous thing is the condicioun of mannes[ ] goodes; for either it cometh nat al-togider to a wight, or elles it last nat perpetuel . For sum man hath grete richesses , but he is ashamed of his ungentel linage; and som is renowned of noblesse60 of kinrede, but he is enclosed in so grete anguisshe of nede of thinges, that him were lever that he were unknowe. And som man haboundeth both in richesse and noblesse, but yit he bewaileth his chaste lyf, for he ne hath no wyf. And som man is wel and selily y-maried, but he hath no children, and norissheth65 his richesses to the eyres of strange folkes. And som man is gladed with children, but he wepeth ful sory for the trespas of his sone or of his doughter. And for this ther ne acordeth no wight lightly to the condicioun of his fortune; for alwey to every[ ] man ther is in som-what that, unassayed, he ne wot nat; or elles70 he dredeth that he hath assayed. And adde this also, that every weleful man hath a ful delicat felinge; so that, but-yif alle thinges bifalle at his owne wil, for he is impacient, or is nat used to han non adversitee, anon he is throwen adoun for every litel thing. And ful litel thinges ben tho that withdrawen the somme or the75 perfeccioun of blisfulnesse fro hem that ben most fortunat. How many men, trowest thou, wolden demen hem-self to ben almost in hevene, yif they mighten atayne to the leest party of the remnaunt of thy fortune? This same place that thou clepest exil, is contree to hem that enhabiten heer, and forthy nothing [is][ ]80 wrecched but whan thou wenest it: aswhoseith, thou thy-self, ne no wight elles, nisawrecche, but whan he weneth him-self a wrecche by reputacioun of his corage. And ayeinward, alle fortune is blisful[ ] to a man by the agreabletee or by the egalitee of him that suffreth it.
85What man is that, that is so weleful, that nolde changen his estat whan he hath lost pacience? The swetnesse of mannes[ ] welefulnesse is sprayned with many biternesses ; the whiche welefulnesse, al-though it seme swete and ioyful to hem that useth it, yit may it nat ben with-holden that it ne goth away whan it wole .[ ] Thanne is it wel sene, how wrecched is the blisfulnesse of mortal90 thinges, that neither it dureth perpetuel with hem that every fortune receiven agreablely or egaly, ne it delyteth nat in al to hem that ben anguissous. O ye mortal folk, what seke ye thanne blisfulnesse out of your-self, whiche that is put in your-self? Errour and folye confoundeth yow.95
I shal shewe thee shortely the poynt of sovereyne blisfulnesse. Is ther any-thing more precious to thee than thy-self? Thou wolt answere, “nay.” Thanne, yif it so be that thou art mighty over thy-self, that is to seyn, by tranquillitee of thy sowle, than hast thou thing in thy power that thou noldest never lesen, ne Fortune100 ne may nat beneme it thee. And that thou mayst knowe that blisfulnesse ne may nat standen in thinges that ben fortunous and temporel, now understonde and gader it to-gidere thus: Yif blisfulnesse be the sovereyn good of nature that liveth by resoun, ne thilke thing nis nat sovereyn good that may be taken105 awey in any wyse, (for more worthy thing and more digne is thilke thing that may nat ben taken awey); than sheweth it wel,[ ] that the unstablenesse of fortune may nat atayne to receiven verray blisfulnesse. And yit more-over: what man that this toumbling welefulnesse ledeth, either he woot that it is chaungeable,[ ]110 or elles he woot it nat. And yif he woot it nat, what blisful fortune may ther be in the blindnesse of ignorance? And yif he woot that it is chaungeable, he moot alwey ben adrad that he ne lese that thing that he ne doubteth nat but that he may lesen it; as who seith, he mot ben alwey agast,lesthe lese that he wot wel he[ ]115may leseit . For which, the continuel dreed that he hath ne suffreth him nat to ben weleful. Or yif he lese it, he weneth to be dispysed and forleten . Certes eek, that is a ful litel good that is born with evene herte whan it is lost; that is to seyn, that men[ ] do no more fors of thelostthan of the havinge. And for as moche[ ]120 as thou thy-self art he, to whom it hath ben shewed and proved by ful manye demonstraciouns, as I wot wel, that the sowles of men ne mowe nat deyen in no wyse; and eek sin it is cleer and certein, that fortunous welefulnesse endeth by the deeth of the 125 body; it may nat ben douted that, yif that deeth may take awey blisfulnesse, that alle the kinde of mortal thinges ne descendeth in-to wrecchednesse by the ende of the deeth. And sin we kuowen wel, that many a man hath sought the fruit of blisfulnesse nat only with suffringe of deeth, but eek with suffringe of peynes and130 tormentes; how mighte than this present lyf maken men blisful, sin that, whan thilke selve lyf is ended, it ne maketh folk no[ ] wrecches?
Quisquis uolet perennem Cautus ponere sedem.
What maner man, stable and war , that wole founden him a perdurable sete, and ne wole nat ben cast down with the loude blastes of the wind Eurus; and wole despyse the see, manasinge with flodes; lat him eschewen to bilde on the cop of the mountaigne5 or in the moiste sandes. For the felle wind Auster tormenteth the cop of the mountaigne with all his strengthes; and the lause sandes refusen to beren the hevy wighte .[ ]
And forthy, if thou wolt fleen the perilous aventure, that is to[ ] seyn, of the worlde; have minde certeinly to ficchen thyn hous of10 a merye site in a lowe stoon. For al-though the wind, troubling the see, thondre with over-throwinges, thou that art put in quiete, and weleful by strengthe of thy palis , shalt leden a cleer age,[ ] scorninge the woodnesses and the ires of the eyr.
Set cum rationum iam in te.
But for as moche as the norisshinges of my resouns descenden now in-to thee, I trowe it were tyme to usen a litel strenger medicynes. Now understond heer, al were it so that the yiftes of Fortune ne were nat brutel ne transitorie, what is ther in hem that may be thyn in any tyme, or elles that it nis foul, yif that it5 be considered and loked perfitly? Richesses , ben they precious by the nature of hem-self, or elles by the nature of thee? What is most worth of richesses ? Is it nat gold or might of moneye assembled? Certes, thilke gold and thilke moneye shyneth and yeveth betere renoun to hem that despenden it thanne to thilke[ ]10 folk that mokeren it; for avarice maketh alwey mokereres to ben[ ] hated, and largesse maketh folk cleer of renoun. For sin that swich thing as is transferred fram o man to another ne may nat dwellen with no man; certes, thanne is thilke moneye precious whan it is translated into other folk and stenteth to ben had, by[ ]15 usage of large yevinge of him that hath yeven it. And also: yif[ ] that al the moneye that is over-al in the worlde were gadered toward o man, it sholde maken alle other men to ben nedy as of that.[ ] And certes a voys al hool , that is to seyn, with-oute amenusinge, fulfilleth[ ] to-gidere the hering of moche folk; but certes, youre20richesses ne mowen nat passen in-to moche folke with-oute amenusinge. And whan they ben apassed, nedes they maken hem pore that for-gon the richesses.
O! streite and nedy clepe I this richesse , sin that many folk ne may nat han it al, ne al may it nat comen to o man with-outen25 povertee of alle other folk! And the shyninge of gemmes, that I clepe precious stones, draweth it nat the eyen of folk to hemward, that is to seyn,forthebeautee ? But certes, yif ther were beautee or bountee in the shyninge of stones, thilke cleernesse is of the stones hem-self, and nat of men; for whiche I wondre30gretly that men mervailen on swiche thinges. For-why, what thing is it, that yif it wanteth moeving and Ioynture of sowle and[ ] body, that by right mighte semen a fair creature to him that hath a sowle of resoun? For al be it so that gemmes drawen to hem-self a litel of the laste beautee of the world, through the entente of[ ]35 hir creatour and through the distinccioun of hem-self; yit, for as[ ] mochel as they ben put under youre excellence, they ne han nat deserved by no wey that ye sholden mervailen on hem. And the beautee of feldes, delyteth it nat mochel un-to yow?’
40Boece. ‘Why sholde it nat delyten us, sin that it is a right fair[ ] porcioun of the right faire werke, that is to seyn, of this world? And right so ben we gladed som-tyme of the face of the see whan it is cleer; and also mervailen we on the hevene and on the sterres, and on the sonne and on the mone.’
45Philosophye. ‘Aperteneth,’ quod she, ‘any of thilke thinges to thee? Why darst thou glorifyen thee in the shyninge of any swiche thinges? Art thou distingwed and embelised by the springinge floures of the first somer sesoun, or swelleth thy plentee in the fruites of somer? Why art thou ravisshed with50 ydel Ioyes? Why embracest thou straunge goodes as they weren thyne? Fortune ne shal never maken that swiche thinges ben thyne, that nature of thinges hath maked foreine fro thee. Sooth is that, with-outen doute, the frutes of the erthe owen to ben to the norissinge of bestes. And yif thou wolt fulfille thy nede after55 that it suffyseth to nature, than is it no nede that thou seke after the superfluitee of fortune. For with ful fewe things and with ful litel thinges nature halt hir apayed; and yif thou wolt achoken the fulfillinge of nature with superfluitees, certes, thilke thinges that thou wolt thresten or pouren in-to nature shullen ben unioyful60 to thee, or elles anoyous . Wenest thou eek that it be a fair thing to shyne with dyverse clothinge? Of whiche clothinge yif the beautee be agreeable to loken up-on, I wol mervailen on the nature of the matere of thilke clothes, or elles on the werkman that wroughte hem. But also a long route of meynee, maketh65 that a blisful man? The whiche servants, yif they ben vicious of condiciouns, it is a great charge and a distruccioun to the hous, and a greet enemy to the lord him-self. And yif they ben goode men, how shal straunge or foreine goodnesse ben put in the noumbre of thy richesse? So that, by all these forseide thinges,70 it is clearly y-shewed, that never oon of thilke thinges that thou acountedest for thyne goodes nas nat thy good. In the whiche thinges, yif ther be no beautee to ben desyred, why sholdest thou ben sory yif thou lese hem, or why sholdest thou reioysen thee to holden hem? For yif they ben faire of hir owne kinde, what aperteneth that to thee? For al so wel sholden they han ben75 faire by hem-selve, though they weren departed fram alle thyne richesses . Forwhy faire ne precious ne weren they nat, for that they comen among thy richesses ; but, for they semeden faire and precious, ther-for thou haddest lever rekne hem amonges thy richesses .80
But what desirest thou of Fortune with so grete a noise, and with so grete a fare? I trowe thou seke to dryve awey nede with habundaunce of thinges; but certes, it torneth to you al in the contrarie. Forwhy certes, it nedeth of ful manye helpinges to kepen the diversitee of precious ostelments. And sooth it is,[ ]85 that of manye thinges han they nede that manye thinges han; and ayeinward, of litel nedeth hem that mesuren hir fille after the nede of kinde, and nat after the outrage of coveityse. Is it thanne so, that ye men ne han no proper good y-set in you, for which ye moten seken outward youre goodes in foreine and subgit[ ]90 thinges? So is thanne the condicioun of thinges torned up-so-down, that a man, that is a devyne beest by merite of his resoun,[ ] thinketh that him-self nis neither faire ne noble, but-yif it be thorugh possessioun of ostelments that ne han no sowles. And certes, al other thinges ben apayed of hir owne beautee; but ye95 men, that ben semblable to god by your resonable thought, desiren to aparailen your excellent kinde of the lowest thinges;[ ]ne ye understonden nat how greet a wrong ye don to your creatour. For he wolde that mankinde were most worthy and noble of any othre erthely thinges; and ye threste adoun your100 dignitees benethe the lowest thinges. For yif that al the good of[ ] every thinge be more precious than is thilke thing whos that the good is: sin ye demen that the fouleste thinges ben youre goodes, thanne submitten ye and putten your-selven under tho fouleste thinges by your estimacioun; and certes, this tydeth nat[ ]105 with-oute youre desertes . For certes, swiche is the condicioun of alle mankinde, that only whan it hath knowinge of it-selve, than passeth it in noblesse alle other thinges; and whan it forleteth the knowinge of it-self, than is it brought binethen alle beestes. For-why110 al other livinge beestes han of kinde to knowe nat hem-self ; but whan that men leten the knowinge of hemself, it cometh hem[ ] of vice. But how brode sheweth the errour and the folye of yow men, that wenen that any thing may ben aparailed with straunge aparailements! But for sothe that may nat ben doon. For yif115 a wight shyneth with thinges that ben put to him, as thus, if thilke thinges shynen with which a man is aparailed, certes, thilke thinges ben comended and preysed with which he is aparailed; but natheles, the thing that is covered and wrapped under that dwelleth in his filthe .
120And I denye that thilke thing be good that anoyeth him that hath it. Gabbe I of this? Thou wolt seye “nay.” Certes,[ ]richesses han anoyed ful ofte hem that han tho richesses; sin that every wikked shrewe, (and for his wikkednesse the more gredy after other folkes richesses, wher-so ever it be in any place, be it125 gold or precious stones), weneth him only most worthy that hath[ ] hem. Thou thanne, that so bisy dredest now the swerd and now the spere, yif thou haddest entred in the path of this lyf a voide[ ]wayferinge man, than woldest thou singe beforn the theef; as who seith, a pore man, that berth no richesse on him by the weye,[ ]130may boldely singe biforn theves, for he hath nat wherof to ben robbed. O precious and right cleer is the blisfulnesse of mortal richesses , that, whan thou hast geten it, than hast thou lorn thy sikernesse!
Felix nimium prior etas.
Blisful was the first age of men! They helden hem apayed[ ] with the metes that the trewe feldes broughten forth. They ne distroyede nor deceivede nat hem-self with outrage. They weren wont lightly to slaken hir hunger at even with acornes of okes. They ne coude nat medly the yifte of Bachus to the[ ]5 cleer hony; that is to seyn, they coude make no pimentnorclarree;[ ] ne they coude nat medle the brighte fleeses of the contree of[ ]Seriens with the venim of Tyrie; this is to seyn, they coude nat deyen whytefleesesofSeriencontree with the blode of a manershelfisshethat men finden in Tyrie, with whiche blood men deyen10purpur. They slepen hoolsom slepes up-on the gras, and dronken of the renninge wateres; and layen under the shadwes of the heye pyn-trees. Ne no gest ne straungere ne carf yit[ ] the heye see with ores or with shippes; ne they ne hadde seyn yit none newe strondes, to leden marchaundyse in-to dyverse15 contrees. Tho weren the cruel clariouns ful hust and ful stille, ne blood y-shad by egre hate ne hadde nat deyed yit armures .[ ] For wher-to or which woodnesse of enemys wolde first moeven[ ] armes, whan they seyen cruel woundes, ne none medes be of blood y-shad?20
I wolde that oure tymes sholde torne ayein to the olde maneres! But the anguissous love of havinge brenneth in folk[ ] more cruely than the fyr of the mountaigne Ethna , that ay brenneth. Allas! what was he that first dalf up the gobetes or the weightes[ ] of gold covered under erthe, and the precious stones that wolden25 han ben hid? He dalf up precious perils. That is to seyn, that[ ] he that hem first up dalf,hedalf up a precious peril; for-why for the preciousnesse of swichethinge , hath many manbenin peril.
Quid autem de dignitatibus.
But what shal I seye of dignitees and of powers, the whiche ye men, that neither knowen verray dignitee ne verray power, areysen hem as heye as the hevene? The whiche dignitees and powers, yif they comen to any wikked man, they don as grete5 damages and destrucciouns as doth the flaumbe of the mountaigne Ethna, whan the flaumbe walweth up; ne no deluge ne doth so cruel harmes. Certes, thee remembreth wel, as I trowe, that thilke dignitee that men clepen the imperie of consulers, the[ ] whiche that whylom was biginninge of fredom, youre eldres10 coveiteden to han don away that dignitee, for the pryde of the consulers . And right for the same pryde your eldres, biforn that tyme, hadden don awey, out of the citee of Rome, the kinges name; that is to seyn, they nolde han no lenger noking . But now, yif so be that dignitees and powers be yeven to goode men,15 the whiche thing is ful selde , what agreable thing is ther in tho dignitees or powers but only the goodnesse of folkes that usen hem? And therfor it is thus, that honour ne comth nat to vertu for cause of dignitee, but ayeinward honour comth to dignitee for cause of vertu. But whiche is thilke youre dereworthe power,20 that is so cleer and so requerable? O ye ertheliche bestes,[ ] considere ye nat over which thinge that it semeth that ye han power? Now yif thou saye a mous amonges other mys , that chalaunged to him-self-ward right and power over alle other mys , how greet scorn woldest thou han of it! Glosa. So fareth it by25men; the body hath power over the body. For yif thou loke wel up-on the body of a wight, what thing shalt thou finde more freele than is mankinde ; the whiche men wel ofte ben slayn with bytinge of smale flyes, or elles with the entringe of crepinge wormes in-to the privetees of mannes body ? But wher shal man[ ]30 finden any man that may exercen or haunten any right up-on another man, but only up-on his body, or elles up-on thinges that ben lowere than the body, the whiche I clepe fortunous[ ] possessiouns? Mayst thou ever have any comaundement over a free corage? Mayst thou remuen fro the estat of his propre35 reste a thought that is clyvinge to-gidere in him-self by stedefast[ ] resoun? As whylom a tyraunt wende to confounde a free man[ ] of corage, and wende to constreyne him by torment, to maken him discoveren and acusen folk that wisten of a coniuracioun, which I clepe a confederacie, that was cast ayeins this tyraunt; but this free man boot of his owne tonge and caste it in the40 visage of thilke wode tyraunt; so that the torments that this tyraunt wende to han maked matere of crueltee , this wyse man maked it matere of vertu.
But what thing is it that a man may don to another man,[ ] that he ne may receyven the same thing of othre folk in him-self:45or thus, what may a man don to folk, that folk ne may don him the same? I have herd told of Busirides, that was wont to sleen his[ ] gestes that herberweden in his hous; and he was sleyn him-self of Ercules that was his gest. Regulus hadde taken in bataile[ ] many men of Affrike and cast hem in-to feteres; but sone after50 he moste yeve his handes to ben bounde with the cheynes of hem that he hadde whylom overcomen. Wenest thou thanne that he be mighty, that hath no power to don a thing , that othre ne may don in him that he doth in othre? And yit more-over, yif it so were that thise dignitees or poweres hadden any propre55 or natural goodnesse in hem-self, never nolden they comen to shrewes. For contrarious thinges ne ben nat wont to ben y-felawshiped to-gidere. Nature refuseth that contrarious thinges ben y-ioigned. And so, as I am in certein that right wikked folk han dignitees ofte tyme, than sheweth it wel that dignitees and60 powers ne ben nat goode of hir owne kinde; sin that they suffren hem-self to cleven or ioinen hem to shrewes. And certes, the same thing may I most digneliche iugen and seyn of alle the[ ] yiftes of fortune that most plentevously comen to shrewes; of the whiche yiftes, I trowe that it oughte ben considered, that no65 man douteth that he nis strong in whom he seeth strengthe; and in whom that swiftnesse is, sooth it is that he is swift. Also musike maketh musiciens , and phisike maketh phisiciens , and rethorike rethoriens. For-why the nature of every thing maketh his propretee, ne it is nat entremedled with the effects of the70 contrarious thinges; and, as of wil, it chaseth out thinges that[ ]ben to it contrarie. But certes, richesse may not restreyne avarice unstaunched; ne power ne maketh nat a man mighty over him-self, whiche that vicious lustes holden destreyned with75 cheynes that ne mowen nat be unbounden. And dignitees that ben yeven to shrewede folk nat only ne maketh hem nat digne, but it sheweth rather al openly that they ben unworthy and undigne. And why is it thus? Certes, for ye han Ioye to clepen thinges with false names that beren hem alle in the contrarie;80 the whiche names ben ful ofte reproeved by the effecte of the[ ] same thinges; so that thise ilke richesses ne oughten nat by right to ben cleped richesses ; ne swich power ne oughte nat ben cleped power; ne swich dignitee ne oughte nat ben cleped dignitee.
85And at the laste, I may conclude the same thing of alle the yiftes of Fortune, in which ther nis nothing to ben desired, ne that hath in him-self naturel bountee, as it is ful wel y-sene . For neither they ne ioignen hem nat alwey to goode men, ne maken hem alwey goode to whom that they ben y-ioigned.
Nouimus quantas dederit ruinas.
We han wel knowen how many grete harmes and destrucciouns weren don by the emperor Nero. He leet brenne the citee of[ ] Rome, and made sleen the senatoures. And he, cruel, whylom slew his brother; and he was maked moist with the blood of[ ]5 his moder; that is to seyn, heleetsleen and slitten the body of his moder, to seen wher he wasconceived ; and he loked on every halve up-on her colde dede body, ne no tere ne wette his face, but[ ]he was so hard-herted that he mighte ben domes-man or Iuge of hir dede beautee. And natheles , yit governede this Nero by10 ceptre alle the poeples that Phebus the sonne may seen, cominge from his outereste arysinge til he hyde his bemes under the wawes; that is to seyn, he governed alle the poeples byceptreimperial that the sonne goth aboute, from est to west. And eek this Nero governed by ceptre alle the poeples that ben under the colde sterres that highten “septem triones” ; this is to seyn, he[ ]15governede alle the poeples that ben under thepartyof the north. And eek Nero governed alle the poeples that the violent wind Nothus scorkleth , and baketh the brenning sandes by his drye hete; that is to seyn, alle the poeples in the south.But yit ne[ ] mighte nat al his hye power torne the woodnesse of this wikked20Nero. Allas! it is a grevous fortune , as ofte as wikked swerd is ioigned to cruel venim; that is to seyn, venimouscruelteeto lordshippe.’[ ]
Tum ego, scis, inquam.
Thanne seyde I thus: ‘Thou wost wel thy-self that the coveitise of mortal thinges ne hadde never lordshipe of me; but I have wel desired matere of thinges to done, as who seith,[ ] Idesireto han matere of governaunce over comunalitees, for vertu, stille, ne sholde nat elden;’ that is to seyn, that [him] lestethat,5or hewexolde, his vertu, that lay now ful stille, ne should natperisshe unexercisedin governaunce of comune; for which men mighten speken or wryten of his goode governement.
Philosophye. ‘For sothe, quod she, ‘and that is a thing that may drawen to governaunce swiche hertes as ben worthy and[ ]10 noble of hir nature; but natheles, it may nat drawen or tollen swiche hertes as ben y-brought to the fulle perfeccioun of vertu, that is to seyn, coveitise of glorie and renoun to han wel administred the comune thinges or don gode desertes to profit of the comune. For see now and considere, how litel and how voide of15 alle prys is thilke glorie. Certein thing is, as thou hast lerned by the demonstracioun of astronomye, that al the environinge of the erthe aboute ne halt nat but the resoun of a prikke at regard of the[ ] greetnesse of hevene; that is to seyn, that yif ther were maked20 comparisoun of the erthe to the greetnesse of hevene, men wolden iugen in al, that the erthe ne helde no space. Of the whiche litel regioun of this worlde, the ferthe partye is enhabited with livinge bestes that we knowen, as thou thyself hast y-lerned by Tholomee[ ] that proveth it. And yif thou haddest with-drawen and abated in25 thy thought fro thilke ferthe partye as moche space as the see and the mareys contenen and over-goon, and as moche space as the regioun of droughte over-streccheth, that is to seyn, sandes and[ ] desertes,wel unnethe sholde ther dwellen a right streit place to the habitacioun of men. And ye thanne, that ben environed and30 closed with-in the leste prikke of thilke prikke, thinken ye to manifesten your renoun and don youre name to ben born forth? But your glorie, that is so narwe and so streite y-throngen in-to so litel boundes, how mochel coveiteth it in largesse and in greet doinge? And also sette this there-to: that many a nacioun,[ ]35 dyverse of tonge and of maneres and eek of resoun of hir livinge, ben enhabited in the clos of thilke litel habitacle; to the whiche naciouns, what for difficultee of weyes and what for dyversitee of langages, and what for defaute of unusage and entrecomuninge of[ ] marchaundise, nat only the names of singuler men ne may nat40 strecchen, but eek the fame of citees ne may nat strecchen. At the laste, certes, in the tyme of Marcus Tullius , as him-self writ in[ ] his book, that the renoun of the comune of Rome ne hadde nat yit passed ne cloumben over the mountaigne that highte Caucasus;[ ] and yit was, thilke tyme, Rome wel waxen and greetly redouted of45 the Parthes and eek of other folk enhabitinge aboute. Seestow[ ] nat thanne how streit and how compressed is thilke glorie that ye travailen aboute to shewe and to multiplye? May thanne the glorie of a singuler Romaine strecchen thider as the fame of the name of Rome may nat climben ne passen? And eek, seestow nat that the maneres of dyverse folk and eek hir lawes ben discordaunt50 among hem-self; so that thilke thing that som men iugen worthy of preysinge, other folk iugen that it is worthy of torment? And ther-of comth it that, though a man delyte him in preysinge of his renoun, he may nat in no wyse bringen forth ne spreden his name to many maner poeples. There-for every man55 oughte to ben apayed of his glorie that is publisshed among his owne neighbours ; and thilke noble renoun shal ben restreyned within the boundes of o manere folke. But how many a man, that was ful noble in his tyme, hath the wrecched and nedy[ ] foryetinge of wryteres put out of minde and don awey! Al be60 it so that, certes, thilke wrytinges profiten litel; the whiche wrytinges long and derk elde doth awey, bothe hem and eek hir autours . But ye men semen to geten yow a perdurabletee, whan ye thenken that, in tyme to-cominge , your fame shal lasten. But natheles, yif thou wolt maken comparisoun to the endeles spaces65 of eternitee, what thing hast thou by whiche thou mayst reioysen thee of long lastinge of thy name? For yif ther were maked comparisoun of the abydinge of a moment to ten thousand winter, for as mochel as bothe the spaces ben ended, yit hath the[ ] moment som porcioun of it, al-though it litel be. But natheles,70 thilke selve noumbre of yeres, and eek as many yeres as ther-to may be multiplyed, ne may nat, certes, ben comparisoned to the perdurabletee that is endeles ; for of thinges that han ende[ ] may be maked comparisoun, but of thinges that ben with-outen ende, to thinges that han ende, may be maked no comparisoun .75 And forthy is it that, al-though renoun, of as long tyme as ever thee list to thinken, were thought to the regard of eternitee, that[ ] is unstaunchable and infinit, it ne sholde nat only semen litel, but pleynliche right naught. But ye men, certes, ne conne don nothing a-right, but-yif it be for the audience of poeple and for80 ydel rumours; and ye forsaken the grete worthinesse of conscience and of vertu, and ye seken your guerdouns of the smale wordes of straunge folk.
Have now heer and understonde, in the lightnesse of swich85 pryde and veine glorie, how a man scornede festivaly and merily swich vanitee. Whylom ther was a man thas hadde assayed[ ] with stryvinge wordes another man, the whiche, nat for usage of verray vertu but for proud veine glorie, had taken up-on him falsly the name of a philosophre. This rather man that Ispak[ ]90of thoughte he wolde assaye, wher he, thilke, were a philosophre or no; that is to seyn, yif that he wolde han suffred lightly in pacience the wronges that weren don un-to him. This feynede philosophre took pacience a litel whyle, and, whan he hadde received wordes of outrage, he, as in stryvinge ayein and reioys95 inge of him-self, seyde at the laste right thus: “understondest[ ] thou nat that I am a philosophre?” That other man answerde ayein ful bytingly, and seyde: “I hadde wel understonden it , yif thou haddest holden thy tonge stille.” But what is it to thise noble worthy men (for, certes, of swiche folke speke I) that seken100 glorie with vertu? What is it?’ quod she; ‘what atteyneth fame to swiche folk, whan the body is resolved by the deeth at the laste? For yif it so be that men dyen in al, that is to seyn, body and sowle, the whiche thing our resoun defendeth us to bileven, thanne is ther no glorie in no wyse. For what sholde thilke glorie105ben,whan he, of whom thilke glorie is seyd to be, nis right naught in no wyse? And yif the sowle, whiche that hath in it-self science of goode werkes, unbounden fro the prison of the erthe , wendeth frely to the hevene, despyseth it nat thanne alle erthely[ ] occupacioun; and, being in hevene, reioyseth that it is exempt fro alle110 erthely thinges? As who seith, thanne rekketh the sowle of no glorie of renoun of this world .
Quicunque solam mente praecipiti petit.
Who-so that, with overthrowinge thought, only seketh glorie of[ ] fame, and weneth that it be sovereyn good: lat him loken up-on the brode shewinge contrees of hevene, and up-on the streite site[ ] of this erthe; and he shal ben ashamed of the encrees of his name, that may nat fulfille the litel compas of the erthe. O!5 what coveiten proude folk to liften up hir nekkes in ydel in the dedly yok of this worlde? For al-though that renoun y-sprad,[ ] passinge to ferne poeples, goth by dyverse tonges; and al-though[ ]that grete houses or kinredes shynen with clere titles of honours; yit, natheles, deeth despyseth alle heye glorie of fame: and deeth10 wrappeth to-gidere the heye hevedes and the lowe, and maketh egal and evene the heyeste to the loweste. Wher wonen now the bones of trewe Fabricius? What is now Brutus, or stierne[ ] Catoun? The thinne fame, yit lastinge, of hir ydel names, is[ ] marked with a fewe lettres; but al-though that we han knowen15 the faire wordes of the fames of hem, it is nat yeven to knowe hem that ben dede and consumpte . Liggeth thanne stille, al[ ]outrely unknowable; ne fame ne maketh yow nat knowe. And yif ye wene to liven the longer for winde of your mortal name, whan o cruel day shal ravisshe yow, thanne is the seconde deeth[ ]20 dwellinge un-to yow.’ Glose. The first deeth he clepeth heerthedepartinge of the body and the sowle; and the seconde deeth he clepeth, as heer, the stintinge of the renoun of fame.
Set ne me inexorabile contra fortunam.
A.omits to end of bk. ii. pr. 1.
‘But for as mochel as thou shalt nat wenen’, quod she, ‘that I bere untretable bataile ayeins fortune, yit som-tyme it bifalleth that[ ] she, deceyvable , deserveth to han right good thank of men; and that is, whan she hir-self opneth, and whan she descovereth hir frount, and sheweth hir maneres. Peraventure yit understondest5 thou nat that I shal seye. It is a wonder that I desire to telle, and forthy unnethe may I unpleyten my sentence with wordes; for[ ] I deme that contrarious Fortune profiteth more to men than Fortune debonaire. For alwey, whan Fortune semeth debonaire,10 than she lyeth falsly in bihetinge the hope of welefulnesse; but forsothe contrarious Fortune is alwey soothfast, whan she sheweth hir-self unstable thorugh hir chaunginge. The amiable Fortune deceyveth folk; the contrarie Fortune techeth. The amiable Fortune bindeth with the beautee of false goodes the hertes of15 folk that usen hem; the contrarie Fortune unbindeth hem by the knowinge of freele welefulnesse. The amiable Fortune mayst thou seen alwey windinge and flowinge, and ever misknowinge of[ ][ ] hir-self; the contrarie Fortune is atempre and restreyned, and wys thorugh exercise of hir adversitee. At the laste, amiable Fortune20 with hir flateringes draweth miswandringe men fro the sovereyne good; the contrarious Fortune ledeth ofte folk ayein to soothfast goodes, and haleth hem ayein as with an hooke. Wenest thou thanne that thou oughtest to leten this a litel thing, that this aspre[ ] and horrible Fortune hath discovered to thee the thoughtes of thy25 trewe freendes? For-why this ilke Fortune hath departed and uncovered to thee bothe the certein visages and eek the doutous[ ] visages of thy felawes. Whan she departed awey fro thee, she took awey hir freendes, and lafte thee thyne freendes. Now whan thou were riche and weleful, as thee semede, with how mochel30woldest thou han bought the fulle knowinge of this, that is to seyn, the knowinge of thy verray freendes? Now pleyne thee nat thanne of richesse y-lorn, sin thou hast founden the moste precious kinde of richesses, that is to seyn, thy verray freendes.
Quod mundus stabili fide.
That the world with stable feith varieth acordable chaunginges,[ ] that the contrarious qualitee of elements holden among hem-self aliaunce perdurable; that Phebus the sonne with his goldene chariet bringeth forth the rosene day; that the mone hath commaundement5 over the nightes, which nightes Hesperus the evesterre hath brought; that the see, greedy to flowen, constreyneth[ ] with a certein ende hise flodes, so that it is nat leveful to strecche[ ] hise brode termes or boundes up-on the erthes , that is to seyn, to[ ]covere al the erthe:—al this acordaunce of thinges is bounden with Love, that governeth erthe and see, and hath also commaundements[ ]10 to the hevenes. And yif this Love slakede the brydeles,[ ] alle thinges that now loven hem to-gederes wolden maken a bataile continuely, and stryven to fordoon the fasoun of this worlde, the whiche they now leden in acordable feith by faire moevinges. This Love halt to-gideres poeples ioigned with an holy bond, and15 knitteth sacrement of mariages of chaste loves; and Love endyteth lawes to trewe felawes. O! weleful were mankinde, yif thilke Love that governeth hevene governed youre corages!’
Explicit Liber secundus.
[P. 26, Book II, met. 1, l. 11.]For proeueth read proeveth.
[P. 29, Book II, pr. 3, l. 3.]Delete the comma after wherwith.
[P. 48, Book II, pr. 7, l. 86.]For thas read that.
[P. 50, Book II, pr. 8, l. 17.]For windinge read windy. See pp. xlii, 434.
[1. ]C. lytul; A. litel; (and so below). A. she; C. I (wrongly).
[2. ]C. atencioun.
[4. ]C. aperseynyd; A. aperceiued.
[5. ]C. here; A. hire. C. whise.
[6. ]A. vtterly.
[7. ]C. maledye. A. talent and desijr.
[9. ]C. changed; A. chaunged.
[10. ]A. astat.
[11. ]C. feelefold; A. felefolde. A. colour. C. mernayles; A. merueillous.
[14. ]C. onsufferabele; A. vnsuffreable. C. dyspeyr; A. despeir.
[15. ]C. remenbrest.
[16. ]A. om. that.
[17. ]C. thinge.
[18. ]C. remenbre; A. remembren.
[19. ]C. on; A. of. C. hurtelyn; A. hurtlen.
[20. ]C. wan. C. om. was.
[21. ]C. purswedest; A. pursewedest.
[24. ]A. departed a litel.
[26. ]C. ataast; A. atast.
[29. ]C. suacyoun; A. suasioun.
[30. ]C. estatutes; A. estatutz.
[31. ]A. damoisel.
[32. ]C. A. moedes (Lat. modos). C. probasyons; A. prolaciouns.
[36. ]C. weenes.
[38. ]C. stabylnesse; A. stablenes. C. ins. standeth. bef. in. C. chaunuynge.
[40. ]C. desseyued; A. desseiued. C. vnlefful; A. vnleueful.
[42. ]C. coueryht.
[43. ]C. hat (for hath).
[44. ]C. thinkest; A. thenkest. C. god; A. goode.
[48. ]A. to the cause.
[53. ]C. forsake; A. forsaken.
[54. ]C. holdestow; A. holdest thou. C. presyes; A. preciouse.
[56. ]C. feythfulle; A. feithful.
[57. ]C. whitholden.
[62. ]A. om. a. A. mesureth.
[63. ]C. fram.
[64. ]C. in-to; A. to.
[65. ]C. manesses; A. manaces.
[67. ]C. wit.
[68. ]C. syn; A. sythen.
[69. ]C. welt; A. wilt; Ed. wolt.
[71. ]C. artow; A. art thou.
[75. ]C. thedyr; A. thider. C. whedyr.
[76. ]C. A. wynde. C. in-to; A. in. C. feeldes.
[77. ]A om. amonges.
[78. ]C. barayne.
[81. ]C. sweyȝ; A. sweyes (Lat. impetum).
[82. ]C. wheel; A. whele.
[3. ]C. A. Eurippe (twice); Ed. Eurype.
[5.]C. the; A. that.
[6.]C. whilom; A. somtyme. C. enhanseth; A. enhaunseth.
[7.]C. vmble; A. humble. C. descounfited; A. discomfited. C. Ne; A. and.
[9.]C. lyssheth; A. lauȝeth; Ed. laugheth (Lat. ridet).
[11.]A. preueth. A. strengthe (Lat. uires). C. A. grete.
[12.]C. whiht; A. wyȝt.
[3.]C. makes; A. makest.
[4.]A. wronges (Lat. iniuriam).
[5.]C. pleten; A. plete (Lat. contende).
[8. ]C. reseyued. C. tho; A. these.
[9. ]C. thykke; A. thilke.
[11. ]C. browht; A. brouȝt. C. resseyued.
[12. ]A. al thing. C. noryssede; A. norysshed.
[13. ]C. fauor; A. fauour.
[19. ]A. vtterly lorn.
[20. ]C. pleynes.
[25. ]C. I shal; A. Shal I. C. deffendyd.
[28. ]C. coeueryn; A. keuere (better coveren). C. dirk; A. derke.
[29. ]C. apayrelyn; A. apparaile.
[30. ]C. frut; A. fruyt.
[32. ]C. kalm; A. calme. C. blawndyssynge; A. blaundyshing.
[33. ]C. om. 2nd with.
[35. ]C. stidefast; A. stedfast. So stide(sted-)fastnesse.
[41. ]C. dessende. A. doun. A. om. the.
[42. ]C. wistesthow; A. Wost thou (Lat. Nesciebas). A. om. the.
[44. ]C. kawth; A. cauȝt.
[45. ]C. dessendede; A. descended.
[48. ]C. kapteuite; A. captiuitee. C. thinge; A. thinges.
[49. ]C. cryenges; A. criinges.
[50. ]A. the realmes; C. om. the. C. noblye; A. nobley.
[54. ]A. seler. C. cowched; A. couched (Lat. iacere).
[56. ]C. hasthow.
[57. ]A. rycchesse.
[58. ]A. om. be and al.
[59. ]C. yeueth; A. ȝiueth.
[60. ]A. desmaye.
[61. ]A. om. the.
[1. ]A. rycches. Both hielde; Ed. hylde.
[2. ]A. recches (!).
[4. ]C. rauyssynge. A. rycches.
[5. ]A. nyȝt (Lat. noctibus).
[6. ]C. plentes; A. pleyntes.
[7. ]C. resseyueth. C. preyres; A. prayers.
[8. ]C. A. yeueth. A. ful (for fool).
[9. ]A. folk (for men).
[10. ]C. thinge; A. thing. C. crewel.
[12. ]A. rycchesse.
[15. ]A. threst.
[16. ]C. leueth; A. lyueth. A. -mo.
[2. ]A. om. nat.
[4. ]A. tellen (for defenden).
[6. ]C. bet (for beth); A. ben.
[8. ]C. delysyos; A. deliciouse.
[15. ]C. maledye. C. noryssynges; A. norissinges. C. sorwes; A. sorwe (Lat. doloris).
[17. ]C. swych; A. swiche.
[20. ]C. souerane; A. souerayn.
[23. ]C. begunne; A. bygunne.
[24. ]C. neysshebour; A. neyȝbour. C. presyous.
[26. ]A. om. tho that. A. nere (for were). C. fadyris.
[27. ]C. castete; A. chastite.
[29. ]C. lyste; A. lyst. C. the; A. of.
[30. ]A. thought (for youthe); Ed. youthe.
[32. ]C. wel-; A. wele-. C. frute; A. fruyt.
[36. ]C. A semble; A. Ed. assemble.
[37. ]C. peeple; A. poeple.
[39. ]C. des-; A. de-.
[40. ]C. bitwyen; A. bytwix; Ed. bytwene.
[41. ]C. hihte; A. hyȝt. C. A. Ed. all insert and before fulfuldest; I omit it, because it obscures the sense.
[42. ]A. om. the and so.
[44. ]C. to; A. of.
[45. ]So Ed.; C. A. desseiuedest.
[46. ]C. noryssede; A. norsshed; Ed. norisshed. A. hast had (for bere away). C. bar.
[47. ]C. A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdon.
[48. ]C. lye; A. leye; Ed. laye (Lat. ponere).
[49. ]C. om. a.
[50. ]C. blysse (wrongly); A. Ed. blisses.
[51. ]C. art; A. Ed. nart. C. blysse-; A. blys-.
[53. ]C. the; A. tho (Lat. tunc).
[57. ]C. dyssoluede; A. Ed. dissolueth.
[59. ]C. al that thowgh; A. Ed. although that. Ed. selde; C. ȝelde (= zelde); A. yelde (= ȝelde); Lat. rara. C. fortune; A. Ed. fortunous.
[62. ]C. weenestow; A. wenest thou. C. dar; A. thar. I supply thee. C. recke; A. recche.
[1. ]C. hyr; A. Ed. his.
[2. ]C. palyt.
[3. ]A. flamus.
[7. ]C. rosyn; A. rosene.
[9. ]C. A. wynde.
[10. ]C. thornesse.
[11. ]C. floedes.
[13. ]Ed. -whelueth; C. -welueeth; A. -whelweth.
[14. ]Ed. selde; C. ȝeelde (= zeelde); A. om. (Lat. rara).
[15. ]C. wolthow; A. Ed. wilt thou.
[16. ]C. towmblynge; Ed. tomblyng; A. trublynge (Lat. caducis). C. wolthow; A. Ed. wilt thou. C. Ed. on; A. in. C. flettynge; A. flittyng.
[17. ]C. is it; A. It is. C. A. establyssed; Ed. establysshed. C. thinge; A. thing.
[18. ]C. estable; A. stable.
[1. ]C. vertuus; A. vertues.
[4. ]C. om. a.
[6. ]C. vnȝely (= vnzely); A. Ed. vnsely.
[8. ]A. abaist (!). C. tormentz; A. tourment (Lat. supplicium).
[10. ]C. -daunce; A. Ed. -daunces.
[13. ]C. leefful; A. leueful.
[15. ]C. thinge; A. thing.
[19. ]C. leueth; A. lyueth.
[21. ]C om. 2nd of
[24. ]C. leueth; A. liueth.
[29. ]C. maad; A. maat; Ed. mate.
[30. ]C. thinge; A. thing.
[31. ]C. amenyssed; A. Ed. amenused.
[32. ]C. lyke-; A. lyk-.
[33. ]A. Ed. eldefadir.
[35. ]A. But (for For).
[36. ]So C. Ed.; A. dwellyng. A. -wardes.
[40. ]A. [Editor: illegible character]liue.
[42. ]A. fallen.
[43. ]A. holden.
[44. ]C. A. halden.
[45. ]C. mayste.
[49. ]A. forthenke.
[52. ]C. delites (!); A. Ed. delices (Lat. delicias).
[55. ]C. Ed. and; A. or.
[57. ]A. om. nat.
[58. ]A. lasteth. A. perpetuely. A. rycchesse.
[59. ]A. renomed.
[60. ]anguisshe of] A. angre for.
[63. ]Ed. chaste; C. caste; A. chast.
[64. ]C. zelyly; A. Ed. selily. C. hat. C. noriseth; A. norissheth.
[66. ]C. A. sory; Ed. sore.
[69. ]A. is in mest som-what.
[71. ]A. wel (for ful).
[72. ]Ed. is; C. A. om.
[77. ]A. remenaunt.
[79. ]I supply is; Lat. nihil est miserum.
[80. ]C. ho; A. who.
[81. ]A. no (for a).
[83. ]C. egreablete; A. agreablete.
[86. ]C. what (!); A. whan. C. lost; A. lorn.
[87. ]C. sprayngd (!); A. y-spranid; Ed. spraynte. C. beter-; A. bitter-. C. weche.
[89. ]C. wan. C. woole; A. wol.
[92. ]C. resseyuen; A. receyuen.
[100, 106. ]C. thinge; A. thing.
[101. ]A. bynyme.
[102. ]A. om. ne.
[107. ]C. take; A. taken.
[108. ]C. resseyuen; A. receyue.
[110. ]A. om. it.
[115. ]C. list; A. lest.
[116. ]A. om. it.
[118. ]A. forleten hit.
[120. ]C. A. lost; Ed. losse. C. meche (for moche).
[126. ]C. dessendeth; A. descendith.
[128. ]C. frut; A. fruit.
[1. ]C. waar.
[7. ]Ed. lose; A. lowe see (!); (Lat. solutae). A. weyȝte.
[10. ]C. lowh; A. Ed. lowe.
[12. ]C. A. palys (Lat. ualli).
[1. ]C. A. noryssinges; Ed. norisshynges. C. dess-; A. desc-.
[6. ]A. Richesse.
[8. ]A. worthi. A.rycchesse. C. om. it.
[15. ]C. stenteth; A.stynteth.
[19. ]A. al hool; Ed. al hole; C. om.; (Lat. tota)
[21. ]A. rycchesse.
[24. ]A. thise rycchesses.
[25. ]A. om. 1st ne.
[27. ]A. in-to.
[28. ]C. beautes; A. Ed. beaute. C.But; A. For.
[29. ]A. om. the.
[31. ]C. gretely; A. gretly.
[32.]C. Ioyngture; A. ioynture.
[33.]C. myht; A. myȝt.
[35.]C. last; A.laste.
[36.]C. om. and.
[38.]C. A. desserued. A. shullen.
[41.]C. ryhte; A ryȝt.
[46.]C. darsthow; A. darst thou.
[47.]C. Arthow; A. Art thou.
[49.]A. om. the. C. fructes; A. fruytes. C. arthow. C. rauyssed; A. rauyshed.
[52.]A. om. hath. A. Syche (!).
[53.]A. on (for 2nd to).
[59.]C. shollen; A. shullen.
[60.]C. anoyos; A. anoies; Ed. anoyous.
[64.]C. wrowht; A. wrouȝt.
[70.]oon] A. none.
[75.]A. as (for al-so).
[77, 78, 80. ]A. rycchesse.
[98.]A. ne ye ne, &c.
[100. ]A. Ed. erthely; C. wordly.
[103. ]C. tho; A. the. C. A. foulest.
[104. ]A. summytten. C. the; A. tho.
[106. ]A. desert.
[110. ]A. om. livinge. C.hym-; A. hem-.
[111. ]C. om. that.
[119. ]So A.; C. felthe.
[122. ]A. rycchesse (thrice). C. tho; A. the.
[125. ]C. A. Ed. and weneth; but and must be omitted (see Latin text). C. hat.
[126. ]A. om. 2nd now.
[128. ]A. wayfaryng.
[132. ]A. rycchesse.
[2. ]Ed. feldes; C. feeldes; A. erthes.
[3. ]C. desseyuyd; A. desceyued.
[4. ]C. accornes; A. acornes.
[6. ]C. nor; Ed. or; A. of.
[7. ]C. fleezes; A. flies; Ed. fleces.
[8. ]A. siriens (Lat. Serum).
[9. ]C. flezes; A. flies; Ed. fleces. C. syryen; A. sirien; Ed. Syrien.
[10. ]C. shylle-; A. Ed. shel-.
[13. ]A. om. 3rd ne. C. karue; A. karf; Ed. carfe.
[16. ]C. crwel (and so again below). C. Ed. hust; A. whist.
[17. ]A. y-shed. A. armurers (!).
[18. ]C. wer to.
[19. ]C. say; A. seien.
[22. ]C. angwissos; A. anguissous.
[23. ]C. om. 2nd the. A. Ed. of Ethna; C. om. of. A. euer (for ay).
[27. ]C. om 2nd he.
[28. ]A. om. thinge. A. ben; C. be.
[1. ]A. seyne.
[2. ]A. om. ye.
[5. ]C. flawmbe; A. flamme (twice).
[6. ]A. ins. wit (!) bef. walweth.
[7. ]C. crwel. C. remenbryth.
[8. ]A. thilke; C. thikke. A. emperie; C. Imperiye.
[11. ]A. conseilers.
[13. ]A. kyng; C. kynge.
[15. ]Ed. selde; C. A. zelde. C. A. Ed. thinges; read thing (Lat. quid placet).
[19. ]A. om. thilke.
[22. ]C. musȝ; A. myse; Ed. myce.
[23. ]C. mysȝ; A. myse; Ed. myce.
[26. ]C. shalthow.
[27. ]A. mannes kynde. A. whiche ben ful ofte slayn.
[29. ]A. mennes bodyes.
[33. ]C. Maysthow.
[34. ]C. Maysthow remwen.
[35. ]A. cleuyng. C. stidefast; A. stedfast.
[40. ]Ed. caste; C. A. cast.
[42. ]C. crwelte.
[45. ]C. resseyuen; A. receyue.
[48. ]A. herburghden.
[52. ]C. om. he. C. whylom; A. somtyme. C. weenesthow.
[53. ]C. thinge; A. thing.
[54. ]A. om. 1st in. A. to (for 2nd in).
[63. ]Ed. I (after may); C. A. omit.
[67. ]C. om. it.
[68. ]So A.; C. musuciens, phisissiens.
[70. ]A. effectis; C. effect. A. om. the.
[72. ]C. A. to it ben.
[73. ]A. om. 2nd ne.
[81, 82. ]A. rycchesse (twice).
[82, 83. ]A. whiche (for swich; twice).
[87. ]C. I-seene; A. sene.
[2. ]C. let; A. letee (!).
[3. ]C. crwel. C. whylom; A. somtyme.
[5. ]C. lette (wrongly); A. let.
[6. ]C. conseyned; A. conceiued.
[7. ]A. half. C. wecte; A. wette.
[9. ]A. ȝitte neuertheles.
[11. ]A. hidde.
[12. ]C. sceptre; A. ceptre.
[15. ]C. vii. tyryones (sic); A. the seuene triones; Ed. the Septentrions.
[16. ]A. parties.
[18. ]C. Ed. scorklith; A. scorchith.
[19-21. ]A. om. But yit . . Nero; Ed. retains it, omitting hye. For Allas . . . it is, A. has—But ne how greuous fortune is; C. om. a bef. greuous, but Ed. retains it. C. repeats it is.
[22. ]C. crwel; crwelte.
[4. ]A. desired.
[5. ]I supply him (to make sense). Ed. leste; C. A. list.
[6. ]A. wex; C. wax.
[7. ]C. perise; A. perisshe. Ed. vnexercysed; C. A. vnexcercised.
[17. ]A. om. 1st the. C. om. of.
[21. ]A. that erthe helde.
[26. ]A. and mareys. C. spaces (for space).
[28. ]C. vel; A. wel.
[32. ]C. narwh; A. narwe.
[36. ]A. cloos.
[37. ]C. deficulte; A. difficulte. C. deficulte (repeated); A. Ed. diuersite.
[38. ]A. om. and after vnusage.
[39. ]Ed. synguler; C. A. syngler. A. om. nat (bef. 1st strecchen).
[41. ]C. marchus; A. Marcus. Ed. Tullius; C. A. Tulius. C. writ; A. writeth.
[43. ]C. om. yit. A. hyȝt.
[44. ]C. thikke; A. thilk. A. wexen.
[45. ]C. sestow; A. Sest thou.
[48. ]Ed. synguler; C. singler; A. singlere. A. strecchen; C. strechchen.
[49. ]C. seysthow; A. sest thou; Ed. seest thou.
[51. ]C. thinge; A. thing.
[56. ]A. paied. Ed. publysshed; C. publyssed; A. puplissed.
[57. ]A. neyȝbores; Ed. neyghbours; C. nesshebours.
[59. ]A. nedy and wrecched.
[63. ]A. autours; Ed. auctours; C. actorros (!). A. Ed. ye men semen; C. yow men semeth.
[64. ]A. thenke; C. thinken. A. comyng (om. to-).
[65. ]A. space (Lat. spatia).
[69. ]C. A. Ed. insert for bef. yit (wrongly).
[70. ]A. it a litel.
[73. ]C. -durablyte; A. -durablete. A. eenles (for endeles).
[74, 75. ]A. om. but of . . . comparisoun.
[77. ]A. by (for 2nd to).
[82. ]C. A. gerdouns; Ed. guerdones.
[84. ]A. whiche (for swich).
[89. ]A. speke.
[90. ]C. weere he; A. where he; Ed. wheder he.
[91. ]A. om. that.
[94. ]C. resseyuyd; A. receiued.
[95. ]C. vnderstondow.
[97. ]A. om. it.
[98. ]C. glosses it by s. fama.
[102. ]A. om. it.
[103. ]C. deffendeth; A. defendith.
[105. ]A. for (for whan).
[107. ]C. glosses erthe by i. corporis.
[108. ]C. glosses it by i. anima.
[110, 111. ]A. om. As who . . . this world.
[3. ]C. cyte (for site); A. sete (error for site; Lat. situm).
[6. ]A. liften vpon hire nekkes in ydel and dedely.
[7. ]A. om. that.
[9. ]A. om. that. C. cler; A. clere.
[13. ]A. stiern; Ed. sterne.
[17. ]A. Ed. consumpt.
[18. ]A. vtterly.
[21. ]Ed. to (for un-to); A. in. A. Ed. the; C. om. (after heer).
[3. ]C. desseyuable. C. desserueth.
[7. ]So C.; Ed. vnplyten.
[13. ]C. desseyueth.
[17. ]C. maysthow.
[30. ]C. woldesthow.
[6. ]C. hat.
[7. ]C. lueful; Ed. leful.
[8. ]erthes; Lat. terris.
[Prose 1. 13.]to begyle; copied in Troil. iv. 2, 3:—
[22.]myn entree: ‘de nostro adyto.’ But Chaucer has translated ‘adyto’ as if it were ‘aditu.’ He translates aditum by entree in Bk. i. Pr. 6, l. 55. Adyto is ‘sanctuary.’
[28.]Com, i. e. let (it) come; imperative: ‘Adsit igitur rhetoricae suadela dulcedinis.’
[32.]moedes, moods, strains; ‘modos.’ prolaciouns, utterances.
[35.]Compare Chaucer’s poem on Fortune; and see the long note at the beginning of the Notes to that poem.
[45.]use hir maneres; rather, make the best of her conduct: ‘utere moribus.’ agrysest, shudderest at, dreadest.
[48.]She hath forsaken: ‘Reliquit enim te, quam non relicturam nemo umquam poterit esse securus.’
[51.]The MSS. usually agree in this clause. Chaucer’s gloss is due to an obscure note in MS. C., viz. ‘vel quam non relictam, secundum alios libros.’ Other notes occur there, but do not help us.
[68.]floor: ‘intra fortunae aream.’ We say ‘area’ or ‘domain.’
[77.]amonges, at various times, from time to time, now and then; see New E. Dict., s. v. Among, B. 2.
[83.]cesede, would cease; copied in Troil. i. 848:—
[Metre 1. 3.]Eurype, Euripus; a narrow channel, with a strong current; especially that between Boeotia and Euboea. This use of the word is here seen to be far older in English than the quotation from Holland’s Pliny in the New E. Dict.
[8.]so hard: ‘Ultroque gemitus, dura quos fecit, ridet.’
[9.]laugheth, laughs at; ‘ridet.’ It is impossible to accept the reading lyssheth in C. There seems to be no such word. It probably arose from the attempt of the scribe to represent the guttural sound of gh, because we actually find him writing neysshebour for neighbour twice, viz. in Bk. ii. Pr. 3. 24, and in Pr. 7. 57. This passage is imitated in Troil. iv. 7: ‘Than laugheth she and maketh him the mowe.’
[Prose 2. 1.]Compare Chaucer’s ‘Fortune’; l. 25, &c.
[4.]every-dayes, daily: ‘cottidianis querelis.’
[37.]I torne: ‘Rotam uolubili orbe uersamus.’
[39.]Worth up, climb up: ‘Ascende.’ Cf. P. Plowman, B. vii. 91; Wars of Alexander, 2878, 2973.
[42.]Cresus, Croesus; see note to Monk. Tale, B 3917.
[47.]Perciens, Persians. But Chaucer is here wrong. The Lat. text has ‘Persi regis,’ i. e. king Perseus. Perseus, or Perses III, was the last king of Macedonia, who was defeated by L. Æmilius Paulus in a decisive battle fought near Pydna, in June, bc 168. ‘When brought before Æmilius [here, Paulus], he is said to have degraded himself by the most abject supplications; but he was treated with kindness by the Roman general;’ Smith, Class. Dict. See Livy, xl. 57; xli. 53; xliv. 32; &c.; Plutarch, Life of Æmilius.
[51.]Tragedie. Cf. the definition in the Monk. Prol. B 3163; and note to Anelida, 320.
[53.]in Greke. These two words are not in the original, but the following quotation is given in Greek: δύο τοὺς πίθους, τὸν μὲν ἕνα κακω̂ν, τὸν δὲ ἕτερον καλω̂ν. Some MSS. add: ‘duo dolia quidem malum alterum bonum.’ From Homer, Iliad, xxiv. 527:
Cf. notes to Wyf of Bathes Prol. D 170, and to Leg. of Good Women, 195.
[54.]in the entree: ‘in Iouis limine’: ἐν Διὸς οὕδει.
[61.]realme: ‘intra commune omnibus regnum locatus.’
[Metre 2. 1.]hielde, pour: ‘Tantas fundat opes, nec retrahat manum Pleno copia cornu.’
[8.]as fool-large, like one that is foolishly lavish: ‘Multi prodigus auri.’
[11.]other gapinges: ‘Alios pandit hiatus.’ Some MSS. have Altos, but Chaucer evidently read Alios, as in MS. C.
[13.]to any . . ende; rather, ‘within a prescribed boundary’; ‘Certo fine retentent.’
[Prose 3. 22.]princes. These were, in particular, Festus and Symmachus. Boethius married Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus. Hence the allusion to his fadres-in-lawe (socerorum) just below, in l. 26; where the right sense is parents-in-law. See Stewart’s Essay, p. 24.
[23.]leef: ‘delectusque in affinitatem principum ciuitatis, quod pretiosissimum propinquitatis genus est, priùs carus, quam proximus esse coepisti.’ Hence the whiche thing really refers back to affinitee, which is hardly obvious in the E. version.
[40.]whan thou: ‘cùm in Circo duorum medius consulum circumfusae multitudinis exspectationem triumphali largitione satiasti.’
[43.]gave thou wordes: ‘Dedisti . . uerba fortunae.’
[48.]privee, a man of private station, not of noble rank: ‘priuato.’ The reference is to the election of his two sons as consuls in one day.
[55.]Art thou: ‘An tu in hanc uitae scenam nunc primum subitus hospesque uenisti.’ Thus shadwe or tabernacle is meant to translate scenam.
[60.]laste day; quoted in Chaucer’s ‘Fortune,’ l. 71; see note to the line.
[61.]and also, i. e. even to such Fortune as abides and does not desert the man: ‘fortunae . . etiam manentis.’
[62.]thar recche; it is absolutely necessary to insert thee after thar; i. e. And therefore, what, do you suppose, need you care? yif thou, i. e. whether thou.
[Metre 3. 10.]the fairnesse: ‘Iam spinis abeat decus.’
[13.]over-whelveth, turns over: ‘Verso concitat aequore.’ whelveth is the right form, as noted by Stratmann; it occurs in MS. Ii. 1. 38, and in the black-letter editions. It occurs again in Palladius on Husbandry, i. 161: ‘For harme . . . may . . . perchaunce the overwhelve,’ i.e. for perhaps harm may overthrow thee. And again, in the same, i. 781: ‘overwhelve hit upsodowne,’ i. e. turn it (the land) right over.
[16.]tomblinge, fleeting, transitory; ‘caducis.’
[18.]nis, is; we must disregard the second negative.
[Prose 4. 3.]ne be comen, is not come; i. e. did not come. It refers to past time.
[5.]For in alle: ‘Nam in omni aduersitate fortunae infelicissimum genus est infortunii, fuisse felicem.’ This famous sentence has been several times copied. See, e. g., Troil. iii. 1625-8; Dante, Inferno, v. 121-3; Tennyson, Locksley Hall, 76.
[8.]But that thou, i. e. ‘but the fact that thou.’ abyest, sufferest: ‘falsae opinionis supplicium luis.’
[12.]For al be it: ‘Nam si te hoc inane nomen fortuitae felicitatis mouet.’
[20.]Symacus, Symmachus. There were several distinguished men of this family. Q. Aurelius Symmachus was a statesman and author in the latter half of the fourth century. The one here referred to is Q. Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, who had been consul under Odoacer in 485, and was involved in the fate of Boethius, being put to death by Theodoric in 525, shortly after the execution of Boethius in 524. He had two daughters, Rusticiana and Galla, of whom the former married Boethius. See Procopius, de Bello Gothico, lib. i., and several Epistles in Cassiodorus, viz. lib. iv. epist. 22, 37, 66.
[25.]thy wyf; i. e. Rusticiana, daughter of Symmachus; for there is no proof that Boethius was twice married (Stewart, p. 24). She survived the capture of Rome by the Goths under Totila, ad 546. ‘The riches of Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus and widow of Boethius, had been generously devoted to alleviate the calamities of famine. But the barbarians were exasperated by the report, that she had prompted the people to overthrow the statue of the great Theodoric; and the life of that venerable matron would have been sacrificed to his memory, if Totila had not respected her birth, her virtues, and even the pious motive of her revenge.’—Gibbon, Rom. Empire, ch. 43.
[31.]two sones; the two spoken of just above (Pr. iii. l. 35), as being both made consuls together. This was in 522.
[40.]thyne ancres. Hence the line, ‘Yit halt thyn ancre.’ Fortune, l. 38.
[52.]thy delices: ‘delicias tuas.’ The sense here intended is ‘effeminacy,’ or ‘unmanly weakness.’
[56.]ful anguissous, very full of anxieties: ‘Anxia enim res,’ &c. Repeated in Troilus, iii. 816, q. v.
[68.]for alwey, &c. Very obscure. Chaucer seems to mean—‘for always, in every man’s case, there is, in something or other, that which (if he has not experienced it) he does not understand; or else he dreads that which he has already experienced.’ The Latin is clearer: ‘inest enim singulis, quod inexpertus ignoret, expertus exhorreat.’
[79.]nothing [is] wrecched. The insertion of is completes the sense: ‘adeo nihil est miserum, nisi cùm putes.’ Observe ‘nis a wrecche’ in Chaucer’s own gloss (l. 81); and see l. 25 of ‘Fortune.’
[83.]by the agreabletee, by means of the equanimity: ‘aequanimitate tolerantis.’ Not having the word ‘equanimity’ at command, Chaucer paraphrases it by ‘agreeabletee or egalitee,’ i. e. accommodating or equable behaviour. Cf. l. 92.
[86.]The swetnesse, &c. Cf. Troilus, iii. 813-5; and Man of Lawes Tale, B 421-2, and note.
[89.]withholden, retained: ‘retineri non possit.’ that, so that.
[107.]sheweth it wel, it is plain: ‘manifestum est.’
[110.]either he woot, &c.; copied in Troilus, iii. 820-833.
[115.]lest he lese that . . it, lest he lose that which. MS. A. omits ‘it’; but the phrase is idiomatic.
[119.]this is to seyn that men, that is to say that, in such a case, men, &c.
[120.]lost, loss. This form of the sb. occurs elsewhere; as in Gower, i. 147 (goth to lost); and in P. Plowman, C. vii. 275; &c. See Stratmann.
[131.]it ne maketh, it does not make men miserable.
[Metre 4. 7.]lause, loose; Icel. lauss: ‘solutae.’ Usually loos, as in Cant. Ta. A 4064, 4352.
[8.]forthy if thou: ‘Fugiens periculosam Sortem sedis amoenae, Humili domum memento Certus figere saxo.’ Chaucer’s translation is hardly correct; sortem and sedis must be taken in close connection. ‘Avoiding the perilous condition of a fair (and exposed) situation, take care to found thy house securely on a low-lying (and sheltered) rock.’
[12.]weleful: ‘Felix robore ualli Duces serenus aeuum.’ palis, stockade, rampart; as before, Bk. i. Pr. 3. 56, Pr. 5. 22.
[Prose 5. 10.]to hem that despenden it; rather, by spending it; Lat. ‘effundendo.’ So again, in l. 11, to thilke folke that mokeren it answers to the Lat. gerund ‘coaceruando.’
[11.]mokeren it, hoard it. Perhaps related to O. F. mucier; see Curmudgeon in my Etym. Dict. See mokereres, misers, below.
[15.]stenteth to ben had, ceases to be possessed: ‘desinit possideri.’
[16.]large, lavish; ‘largiendi usu desinit possideri.’
[18.]as of that, as regards that hoard.
[19.]a voys al hool, a voice not yet dispersed: ‘uox . . tota.’
[32.]yif it wanteth, if it lacks: ‘carens animae motu atque membrorum compage.’
[35.]of the laste: ‘postremae aliquid pulcritudinis.’ Perhaps it means ‘of the lowest kind of beauty.’ Mr. Stewart, in his Essay, p. 225, reads postremo, for which I find no authority. MS. C. has postreme.[ ]
[36.]through the distinccioun: ‘suique distinctione.’
[40.]Why sholde it nat, &c. In some editions, this passage is not marked as being assigned to Boethius. In others, it is.
[85.]ostelments, furniture, household goods: ‘supellectilis.’ O. F. ostillement, oustillement, furniture; cf. mod. F. outil, a word of doubtful origin. Cf. l. 94.
[90.]subgit; as if for ‘suppositis’; but the Lat. text has ‘sepositis,’ i. e. separate, independent.
[92.]beest, animal: ‘diuinum merito rationis animal.’
[97.]of the lowest, &c., ‘by means of vilest things.’
[101.]yif that al, &c., ‘if all the good possessed is more valuable than the thing possessing it.’
[105.]and certes: ‘quod quidem haud immerito cadit.’
[111.]it cometh: ‘it arises from some defect in them.’
[121.]Gabbe I of this, do I lie concerning this?
[125.]weneth. The texts have and weneth; but I suppress and to make sense, and to make the translation agree with the Latin. ‘Atqui diuitiae possidentibus persaepè nocuerunt, cùm pessimus quisque, eóque alieni magis auidus, quidquid usquam auri gemmarumque est, se solum qui habeat dignissimum putat.’
[128.]way-feringe; MS. A, way-faryng. Both forms, feringe and faring(e) occur; see Stratmann. Feringe = A. S. fērende, from the weak verb fēran, to go, travel; whilst faringe = A. S. farende, from the strong verb faran, to go. Fēran (= *fōrian) is derived, with vowel-mutation, from the stem *fōr, appearing in fōr, the pt. t. of faran.
[130.]singe, &c. Doubtless from Juvenal, Sat. x. 22; see Wyf of Bathes Tale, D 1191, and the note.
[Metre 5.]Largely imitated in Chaucer’s poem called ‘The Former Age,’ which see. See also the Notes to the same.
[5.]They ne coude, they knew not how: ‘Non Bacchica munera norant Liquido confundere melle.’
[6.]piment, usually spiced wine; here, wine mixed with honey. See Rom. of the Rose, 6027, and the note. clarree, wine mixed with honey and spices, and then strained till it is clear; clarified wine. See Rom. of the Rose, 5967, 6026; Former Age, 16; Kn. Tale, A 1471. Chaucer uses these two words here in conjunction, for the simple reason that he was thinking of the parallel passage in the French Rom. de la Rose, which is imitated from the present passage in Boethius. Ll. 8418-9 are:—
[7.]ne they coude: ‘Nec lucida uellera Serum Tyrio miscere ueneno.’ Hence the Seriens are the Seres, or Chinese; and the venim of Tyrie should rather be the venim of Tyre, but Chaucer follows the adjectival form in the original, both here and in Bk. iii. Met. 4, l. 2. Venim is not the right word here; ‘ueneno’ merely means ‘dye.’ The reference is to the murex or purple shell-fish. See Vergil, Aen. iv. 262: ‘Tyrioque ardebat murice laena’; and Georg. ii. 465: ‘alba nec Assyrio fucatur lana ueneno.’
[13.]gest ne straungere: ‘hospes.’ Cf. Former Age, 21.
[17.]armures, defensive armour: ‘arma.’ The usual reading is arua, i. e. fields; but more than six MSS. have arma, and Chaucer’s copy had the same; as appears from MS. C.
[18.]For wherto: ‘for to what purpose, or what sort of madness of enemies would first take up arms, when they saw but cruel wounds (as the result) and no rewards for the blood that was shed?’
[22.]But the anguissous: ‘Sed saeuior ignibus Aetnae Feruens amor ardet habendi.’
[24.]Allas! &c. Cf. Former Age, 27-32. the gobetes or the weightes of gold: ‘Auri . . . pondera.’
[26.]He dalf: ‘Pretiosa pericula fodit.’
[Prose 6. 8.]the imperie of consulers, consular rank: ‘consulare imperium.’ The reference is to the creation of Decemviri; see Livy, iii. 32.
[20.]so requerable, in such request: ‘expetibilis.’
[29.]into the . . . body: ‘in secreta quaeque.’
[32.]the whiche I clepe, by which I mean; so again below, l. 39.
[35.]a thought, a mind; ‘mentem firma sibi ratione cohaerentem.’
[36.]a free man; Anaxarchus of Abdera, bc 323. The tyraunt was Nicocreon, king of Cyprus. See Valerius Maximus, iii. 3.
[44.]But what: ‘Quid autem est, quod in alium quisquam facere possit, quod sustinere ab alio ipse non possit?’
[47.]Busirides, Busiris (gen. case, Busiridis), a king of Egypt, who sacrificed all strangers on his altars. But Hercules, coming to Egypt, slew him and abolished the custom. See Vergil, Georg. iii. 5; Ovid, Tr. iii. 11. 39. In the Monkes Tale, B 3293, Chaucer calls him Busirus.
[49.]Regulus; M. Regulus, taken prisoner by the Carthaginians, bc 255. The story of his embassy to Rome is well known.
[63.]may I. It is necessary to insert I (only found in the black-letter editions) to complete the sense. ‘Quod quidem de cunctis fortunae muneribus dignius existimari potest.’
[71.]as of wil, i. e. when it can: ‘ultro.’
[80.]reproeved, disproved: ‘redarguuntur.’
[Metre 6. 2.]Nero. Cf. Monkes Tale, B 3653-84.
[4.]his brother; Britannicus, poisoned by Nero; Tacitus, Annal. xiii. 16; Suetonius, Nero, 33.
[8.]domesman, judge; see Monk. Ta. B 3680, and note.
[15.]septem triones, properly, the seven chief stars in the Lesser Bear; also sometimes used of the seven bright stars in the Greater Bear. The leading star in the Lesser Bear is the pole-star; and as that remains fixed in the north, the whole constellation came to signify the north. Hence, in the Monk. Ta. B 3657, we are told that Nero ruled over ‘Both Est and West, South and Septemtrioun’; see note to that line.
[18.]Nothus, Notus, the south wind; see below. scorkleth, scorches; MS. A has scorchith. The Prompt. Parv. has: ‘Scorkelyn, ustulo, ustillo’; and ‘Scorklyd, ustillatus.’ As Mr. Bradley notes, it is a variant of scorknen or scorpnen. The orig. Icel. verb is skorpna, to become shrivelled, allied to skorpinn, shrivelled. This is a pp. form as if from *skerpa, pt. t. *skarp; cf. skera, pt. t. skar, pp. skorinn. The adj. skarpr means ‘sharp,’ whence the weak verb skerpa, to sharpen. The sense of the primitive verb *skerpa was, doubtless, ‘to cut’; and scorklen is, lit., ‘to cause to be cut about,’ when used as a transitive verb; hence, ‘to shrivel up,’ from the appearance of plants ‘cut’ with frost or parched with heat.
More correctly, ‘lordshippe to venimous crueltee.’ MS. C has ‘gladius, i. potestas exercehdi gladium’; and ‘ueneno, i. venenose crudelitati.’
[Prose 7. 3.]I have wel desired: ‘materiam gerendis rebus optauimus, quo ne uirtus tacita consenesceret.’
[10.]drawen to governaunce: ‘allicere,’ i. e. allure (simply).
[18.]a prikke, a point; cf. Parl. of Foules, 57; Troil. v. 1815; Ho. Fame, 907. From Ptolemy, Syntaxis, lib. i. cap. 6; cf. Macrobius, In Somnium Scipionis, lib. ii. c. 9.
[23.]Tholomee, Ptolemy; viz. in the beginning of book ii. of his Megale Syntaxis. See the same in Pliny, Nat. Hist. ii. 68.
[28.]wel unnethe, scarcely, hardly at all: ‘uix angustissima inhabitandi hominibus area relinquetur.’
[34.]And also sette: ‘Adde, quod hoc ipsum breuis habitaculi septum plures incolunt nationes.’
[38.]defaute . . marchaundise; Lat. only: ‘tum conmercii insolentia.’
[41.]Marcus Tullius, i. e. Cicero, in his Somnium Scipionis, which originally formed part of the sixth book of the De Republica. See cap. vi. of that work, and Note to Parl. Foules, 31.
[43.]Caucasus; mentioned again in the Wyf of Bathes Tale, D 1140.
[59.]hath the wrecched: ‘scriptorum inops deleuit obliuio.’
[69.]ended: ‘definitum.’ We now say ‘finite.’
[73.]endeles: ‘interminabilem.’ We now say ‘infinite.’
[77.]were thought, were considered in comparison with eternity.
[89.]This rather man, this former man, the former.
[95.]seyde: ‘Iam tandem, inquit, intelligis me esse philosophum? Tum ille nimium mordaciter, Intellexeram, inquit, si tacuisses.’ This story is alluded to in Piers Plowman; see my note to that poem, C. xiv. 226.
[108.]despyseth it; cf. Troilus, v. 1821-7.
[Metre 7. 1.]with overthrowing thought: ‘mente praecipiti.’
[3.]shewinge, evident, open to the view: ‘Latè patentes . . . plagas.’
[7.]dedly, mortal, perishable: ‘mortali iugo.’
[8.]ferne, distant: ‘remotos.’ This is important, as settling the sense of ‘ferne halwes’ in the Prologue to the Tales, l. 14.
[13.]Fabricius, the conqueror of Pyrrhus; censor in bc 275. Brutus, the slayer of Cæsar.
[14.]Catoun, Cato of Utica (bc 95-46).
[17.]Liggeth, lie ye; ‘Iacetis.’ The imperative mood.
[20.]cruel; Lat. ‘sera,’ which Chaucer has taken as ‘seua.’ ‘Cum sera uobis rapiet hoc etiam dies.’ thanne is: ‘Iam uos secunda mors manet.’
[Prose 8. 2.]untretable, not to be treated with, intractable, inexorable: ‘inexorabile.’
[7.]unpleyten, unplait, explain: ‘explicare.’
[17.]windinge. Read windy, i. e. unstable; Lat. ‘uentosam.’ Caxton’s edition has wyndy, which proves the point. So also other old black-letter editions.
[23.]aspre: ‘haec aspera, haec horribilis fortuna.’
[26.]visages, faces. See Notes to the poem on Fortune.
[Metre 8. 1.]It begins ‘Quòd mundus stabile fide Concordes uariat uices; Quòd pugnantia semina Foedus perpetuum tenent.’ The whole of this metre reappears in Troilus, iii. 1744-1764.
[6.]hath brought, hath led in, introduced: ‘duxerit.’
[7.]ende, boundary: ‘fine.’
[8.]termes or boundes, borders: ‘terminos.’
[10.]Love: ‘Et caelo imperitans amor.’ On this passage is founded one in the Knightes Tale, A 2991-3.
[11.]slakede, were to relax. The last lines are:—