Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK III. - The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 2 (Boethius, Troilus)
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BOOK III. - 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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Iam cantum illa finierat.
By this she hadde ended hir song, whan the sweetnesse of hir ditee hadde thorugh-perced me that was desirous of herkninge, and I astoned hadde yit streighte myn eres, that is to seyn, to[ ] herkne the bet what she wolde seye; so that a litel here-after I seyde thus: ‘O thou that art sovereyn comfort of anguissous5 corages, so thou hast remounted and norisshed me with the[ ]weighte of thy sentences and with delyt of thy singinge; so that I trowe nat now that I be unparigal to the strokes of Fortune:[ ]as who seyth, I dar wel now suffren al the assautes of Fortune, and weldefendeme fro hir. And tho remedies whiche that thou10 seydest her-biforn weren right sharpe, nat only that I am nat[ ] a-grisen of hem now, but I, desirous of heringe, axe gretely to[ ] heren the remedies.’
Than seyde she thus: ‘That felede I ful wel,’ quod she, ‘whan that thou, ententif and stille, ravisshedest my wordes; and I[ ]15 abood til that thou haddest swich habite of thy thought as thou hast now; or elles til that I my-self hadde maked to thee the same habit, which that is a more verray thing. And certes, the remenaunt of thinges that ben yit to seye ben swiche, that first20 whan men tasten hem they ben bytinge, but whan they ben receyved withinne a wight, than ben they swete. But for thou seyst that thou art so desirous to herkne hem, with how gret brenninge woldest thou glowen, yif thou wistest whider I wol leden thee!’
25‘Whider is that?’ quod I.
‘To thilke verray welefulnesse,’ quod she, ‘of whiche thyn herte dremeth; but for as moche as thy sighte is ocupied and distorbed by imaginacioun oferthelythinges, thou mayst nat yit seen thilke selve welefulnesse.’
30‘Do,’ quod I, ‘and shewe me what is thilke verray welefulnesse, I preye thee, with-oute taryinge .’
‘That wole I gladly don,’ quod she, ‘for the cause of thee;[ ] but I wol first marken thee by wordes and I wol enforcen me to[ ] enformen thee thilke false cause of blisfulnesse that thou more35 knowest; so that, whan thou hast fully bi-holden thilke false goodes, and torned thyn eyen to that other syde, thou mowe knowe the cleernesse of verray blisfulnesse.
Qui serere ingenuum uolet agrum.
Who-so wole sowe a feeld plentivous, lat him first delivere it fro thornes, and kerve asunder with his hook the busshes and the[ ] fern, so that the corn may comen hevy of eres and of greynes. Hony is the more swete, yif mouthes han first tasted savoures that[ ]5 ben wikkid . The sterres shynen more agreably whan the wind Nothus leteth his ploungy blastes; and after that Lucifer the[ ] day-sterre hath chased awey the derke night, the day the fairere ledeth the rosene hors of the sonne.And right so thou, biholdinge first the false goodes, bigin to with-drawen thy nekke[ ] fro the yok of erthely affecciouns; and after-ward the verray goodes10 shollen entren in-to thy corage.’
Tunc defixo paullulum uisu.
Tho fastnede she a litel the sighte of hir eyen, and with-drow hir right as it were in-to the streite sete of hir thought; and bigan[ ] to speke right thus: ‘Alle the cures,’ quod she, ‘of mortal folk,[ ] whiche that travaylen hem in many maner studies, goon certes by diverse weyes, but natheles they enforcen hem alle to comen only5 to oon ende of blisfulnesse. And blisfulnesse is swiche a good, that who-so that hath geten it, he ne may, over that, no-thing[ ] more desyre. And this thing is forsothe the sovereyn good that[ ] conteyneth in hi-self alle maner goodes; to the whiche good yif ther failede any thing, it mighte nat ben cleped sovereyn good:10 for thanne were ther som good, out of this ilke sovereyn good, that[ ] mighte ben desired. Now is it cleer and certein thanne, that blisfulnesse is a parfit estat by the congregacioun of alle goodes; the whiche blisfulnesse, as I have seyd, alle mortal folk enforcen hem to geten by diverse weyes. For-why the coveitise of verray15 good is naturelly y-plaunted in the hertes of men; but the miswandringe errour mis-ledeth hem in-to false goodes. Of the whiche men, som of hem wenen that sovereyn good be to liven with-oute nede of any thing, and travaylen hem to be haboundaunt of richesses. And som other men demen that sovereyn good be ,20 for to ben right digne of reverence; and enforcen hem to ben reverenced among hir neighbours by the honours that they han y-geten. And some folk ther ben that holden , that right heigh power be sovereyn good, and enforcen hem for to regnen, or elles to ioignen hem to hem that regnen. And it semeth to some other25 folk, that noblesse of renoun be the sovereyn good; and hasten hem to geten glorious name by the arts of werre and of pees. And many folk mesuren and gessen that sovereyn good be Ioye[ ] and gladnesse, and wenen that it be right blisful thing to ploungen30 hem in voluptuous delyt. And ther ben folk that entrechaungen the causes and the endes of thise forseyde goodes, as they that desiren richesses to han power and delytes; or elles they desiren power for to han moneye, or for cause of renoun. In thise thinges, and in swiche othre thinges, is torned alle the entencioun of[ ]35 desiringes and of werkes of men; as thus: noblesse and favour of people, whiche that yeveth to men , as it semeth hem , a maner cleernesse of renoun; and wyf and children, that men desiren for cause of delyt and of merinesse. But forsothe, frendes ne sholden[ ] nat be rekned a-mong the godes of fortune, but of vertu; for it is40 a ful holy maner thing. Alle thise othre thinges, forsothe, ben taken for cause of power or elles for cause of delyt.
Certes, now am I redy to referren the goodes of the body to thise forseide thinges aboven; for it semeth that strengthe and gretnesse of body yeven power and worthinesse, and that beautee45 and swiftnesse yeven noblesses and glorie of renoun; and hele of body semeth yeven delyt. In alle thise thinges it semeth only that blisfulnesse is desired. For-why thilke thing that every man desireth most over alle thinges, he demeth that it be the sovereyn good; but I have defyned that blisfulnesse is the sovereyn good;50 for which every wight demeth, that thilke estat that he desireth[ ] over alle thinges, that it be blisfulnesse.
Now hast thou thanne biforn thyn eyenalmest al the purposed forme of the welefulnesse of man-kinde, that is to seyn, richesses, honours, power, and glorie, and delyts. The whiche delyt only55 considerede Epicurus, and iuged and establisshed that delyt is[ ] the sovereyn good; for as moche as alle othre thinges, as him thoughte, bi-refte awey Ioye and mirthe fram the herte. But I[ ] retorne ayein to the studies of men, of whiche men the corage[ ] alwey reherseth and seketh the sovereyn good , al be it so that[ ]60 it be with a derked memorie; but he not by whiche path , right[ ] as a dronken man not nat by whiche path he may retorne him to his hous. Semeth it thanne that folk folyen and erren that enforcen hem to have nede of nothing? Certes, ther nis non other thing that may so wel performe blisfulnesse, as an estat plentivous of alle goodes, that ne hath nede of non other thing, but that is65 suffisaunt of himself unto him-self. And folyen swiche folk thanne, that wenen that thilke thing that is right good, that it be eek right[ ] worthy of honour and of reverence? Certes, nay. For that thing nis neither foul ne worthy to ben despised, that wel neighal the entencioun of mortal folk travaylen for to geten it. And power,70 oughte nat that eek to ben rekened amonges goodes? What elles? For it is nat to wene that thilke thing, that is most worthy of alle thinges, be feble and with-oute strengthe. And cleernesse of renoun, oughte that to ben despised? Certes, ther may no man forsake, that al thing that is right excellent and noble, that it ne[ ]75 semeth to ben right cleer and renomed. For certes, it nedeth nat to seye, that blisfulnesse be [nat]anguissous ne drery, ne subgit to[ ] grevaunces ne to sorwes, sin that in right litel thinges folk seken to have and to usen that may delyten hem. Certes, thise ben the thinges that men wolen and desiren to geten. And for this80 cause desiren they richesses , dignitees, regnes, glorie, and delices. For therby wenen they to han suffisaunce, honour, power, renoun, and gladnesse. Than is it good, that men seken thus by so many[ ] diverse studies. In whiche desyr it may lightly ben shewed how gret is the strengthe of nature; for how so that men han diverse85 sentences and discordinge, algates men acorden alle in lovinge the[ ] ende of good.
Quantas rerum flectat habenas.
It lyketh me to shewe, by subtil song, with slakke and delitable[ ] soun of strenges, how that Nature, mighty, enclineth and flitteth[ ]the governements of thinges, and by whiche lawes she, purveyable,[ ] kepeth the grete world; and how she, bindinge, restreyneth alle thinges by a bonde that may nat ben unbounde. Al be it so that5 the lyouns of the contre of Pene beren the faire chaynes, and[ ] taken metes of the handes of folk that yeven it hem, and dreden hir sturdy maystres of whiche they ben wont to suffren betinges :[ ] yif that hir horrible mouthes ben be-bled, that is to seyn, of bestes10devoured, hir corage of time passed, that hath ben ydel and rested, repeyreth ayein; and they roren grevously and remembren on hir nature, and slaken hir nekkes fram hir chaynes unbounde; and hir mayster, first to-torn with blody tooth, assayeth the wode[ ] wrathes of hem; this is to seyn, they freten hir mayster. And the15iangelinge brid that singeth on the heye braunches, that is to seyn,[ ] in the wode, and after is enclosed in a streyt cage: al-though that the pleyinge bisinesse of men yeveth hem honiede drinkes and[ ] large metes with swete studie, yit natheles, yif thilke brid, skippinge out of hir streyte cage, seeth the agreables shadewes of the[ ]20 wodes, she defouleth with hir feet hir metes y-shad, and seketh mourninge only the wode; and twitereth, desiringe the wode, with hir swete vois. The yerde of a tree, that is haled a-doun by mighty strengthe, boweth redily the crop a-doun: but yif that the hand of him that it bente lat it gon ayein, anon the crop loketh25 up-right to hevene. The sonne Phebus, that falleth at even in the westrene wawes, retorneth ayein eftsones his carte, by privee[ ] path, ther-as it is wont aryse. Alle thinges seken ayein to hir propre cours, and alle thinges reioysen hem of hir retorninge ayein to hir[ ] nature. Ne non ordinaunce nis bitaken to thinges, but that30 that hath ioyned the endinge to the beginninge, and hath maked the cours of it-self stable, that it chaungeth nat from his propre kinde.
Vos quoque, o terrena animalia.
Certes also ye men, that ben ertheliche beestes, dremen alwey[ ]youre beginninge , al-though it be with a thinne imaginacioun; and by a maner thoughte, al be it nat cleerly ne parfitly, ye loken fram a-fer to thilke verray fyn of blisfulnesse; and ther-fore naturel entencioun ledeth you to thilke verray good, but many maner5 errours mis-torneth you ther-fro. Consider now yif that by thilke thinges, by whiche a man weneth to geten him blisfulnesse, yif that he may comen to thilke ende that he weneth to come by nature. For yif that moneye or honours, or thise other forseyde thinges bringen to men swich a thing that no good ne fayle hem10 ne semeth fayle, certes than wole I graunte that they ben maked blisful by thilke thinges that they han geten. But yif so be that thilke thinges ne mowen nat performen that they bi-heten, and that ther be defaute of manye goodes, sheweth it nat thanne cleerly that fals beautee of blisfulnesse is knowen and ateint in[ ]15 thilke thinges? First and forward thou thy-self, that haddest habundaunces of richesses nat long agon, I axe yif that, in the[ ] habundaunce of alle thilke richesses, thou were never anguissous or sory in thy corage of any wrong or grevaunce that bi-tidde thee on any syde?’20
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘it ne remembreth me nat that evere I was so free of my thought that I ne was alwey in anguissh of somwhat.’
‘Right so is it,’ quod I.
‘Thanne desiredest thou the presence of that oon and the absence of that other?’
‘I graunte wel,’ quod I.30
‘Forsothe,’ quod she, ‘than nedeth ther som-what that every man desireth?’
‘Ye, ther nedeth,’ quod I.
‘No,’ quod I.[ ]
‘And thou,’ quod she, ‘in al the plentee of thy richesses haddest thilke lakke of suffisaunse?’
‘What elles?’ quod I.
‘Thanne may nat richesses maken that a man nis nedy, ne that[ ]40 he be suffisaunt to him-self; and that was it that they bi-highten, as it semeth. And eek certes I trowe, that this be gretly to considere, that moneye ne hath nat in his owne kinde that it ne may ben bi-nomen of hem that han it, maugre hem?’
45‘I bi-knowe it wel,’ quod I.
‘Why sholdest thou nat bi-knowen it,’ quod she, ‘whan every day the strenger folk bi-nemen it fro the febler , maugre hem? For whennes comen elles alle thise foreyne compleyntes or[ ] quereles of pletinges, but for that men axen ayein here moneye50 that hath ben bi-nomen hem by force or by gyle, and alwey maugre hem ?’
‘Right so is it,’ quod I.
‘Than,’ quod she, ‘hath a man nede to seken him foreyne helpe by whiche he may defende his moneye?’
55‘Who may sey nay?’ quod I.
‘Certes,’ quod she; ‘and him nedede non help, yif he ne hadde no moneye that he mighte lese?’
‘That is douteles,’ quod I.
‘Than is this thinge torned in-to the contrarye,’ quod she.60 ‘For richesses , that men wenen sholde make suffisaunce, they maken a man rather han nede of foreyne help! Which is the manere or the gyse,’ quod she, ‘that richesse may dryve awey nede? Riche folk, may they neither han hunger ne thurst ? Thise riche men, may they fele no cold on hir limes on winter?65 But thou wolt answeren, that riche men han y-now wher-with they may staunchen hir hunger, slaken hir thurst , and don a-wey cold. In this wyse may nede be counforted by richesses; but certes, nede ne may nat all outrely ben don a-wey. For though this nede,[ ] that is alwey gapinge and gredy, be fulfild with richesses, and axe[ ]70 any thing, yit dwelleth thanne a nede that mighte be fulfild . I holde me stille, and telle nat how that litel thing suffiseth to[ ] nature; but certes to avarice y-nough ne suffiseth no-thing. For sin that richesses ne may nat al don awey nede, but richesses maken nede, what may it thanne be, that ye wenen that richesses[ ]75 mowen yeven you suffisaunce?
Quamvis fluente diues auri gurgite.
Al were it so that a riche coveytous man hadde a river fletinge[ ] al of gold, yit sholde it never staunchen his coveitise ; and though[ ] he hadde his nekke y-charged with precious stones of the rede[ ] see, and though he do ere his feldes plentivous with an hundred oxen, never ne shal his bytinge bisinesse for-leten him whyl he5liveth , ne the lighte richesses ne sholle nat beren him companye whan he is ded.
But dignitees, to whom they ben comen, maken they him honorable and reverent? Han they nat so gret strengthe, that they may putte vertues in the hertes of folk that usen the lordshipes of hem? Or elles may they don a-wey the vyces? Certes, they[ ]ne be nat wont to don awey wikkednesse , but they ben wont5 rather to shewen wikkednesse. And ther-of comth it that I have right grete desdeyn , that dignitees ben yeven ofte to wikked men; for which thing Catullus cleped a consul of Rome, that highteNonius , “postum ” or “boch”; as who seyth, he cleped him a congregacioun of vyces in his brest, as a postum is ful of corupcioun,10 al were this Nonius set in a chayre of dignitee. Seest thou nat thanne how gret vilenye dignitees don to wikked men? Certes, unworthinesse of wikked men sholde be the lasse y-sene, yif they nere renomed of none honours. Certes, thou thyself ne mightest[ ] nat ben brought with as manye perils as thou mightest suffren15 that thou woldest beren themagistrat with Decorat; that is to[ ] seyn, that for no peril that mighte befallen theeby offenceof the kingTheodorike, thou noldest nat be felawe in governaunce with Decorat; whan thou saye that he hadde wikked corage of a likerous shrewe20 and of an accusor. Ne I ne may nat, for swiche honours, iugen hem worthy of reverence, that I deme and holde unworthy to han thilke same honours. Now yif thou saye a man that were fulfild of wisdom, certes, thou ne mightest nat deme that he were unworthy to the honour, or elles to the wisdom of which he is25 fulfild?’—‘No,’ quod I.—‘Certes, dignitees,’ quod she , ‘apertienen proprely to vertu; and vertu transporteth dignitee anon to thilke man to which she hir-self is conioigned. And for as moche as honours of poeple ne may nat maken folk digne of honour, it is wel seyn cleerly that they ne han no propre beautee of dignitee.
30-5. A. For if it so be that he that is most outcast that most folk dispisen. or as dignite ne may nat maken shrewes worthi of no reuerences. than maketh dignites shrewes more dispised than preised. the whiche shrewes dignit (sic) scheweth to moche folk. and forsothe not vnpunissed; Ed. for if a wight be in so muche the more outcast, that he is dispysed of moste folke, so as dignyte ne may not maken shrewes worthy of no reuerence, than maketh dignite shrewes rather dispysed than praysed, the whiche shrewes dignite sheweth to moche folk. And forsothe not vnpunisshed.
30And yit men oughten taken more heed in this. For yif it so be that a wikked wight be so mochel the foulere and the more outcast, that he is despysed of most folk, so as dignitee ne may nat[ ] maken shrewes digne of reverence, the which shrewes dignitee sheweth to moche folk, thanne maketh dignitee shrewes rather so35 moche more despysed than preysed; and forsothe nat unpunished:[ ]that is for to seyn, that shrewes revengen hem ayeinward up-on dignitees; for they yilden ayein to dignitees as gret guerdoun , whan they bi-spotten and defoulen dignitees with hir vilenye. And for as mochel as thou mowe knowe that thilke40 verray reverence ne may nat comen by thise shadewy transitorie[ ] dignitees, undirstond now thus : yif that a man hadde used and had many maner dignitees of consules, and were comen peraventure[ ] amonge straunge naciouns, sholde thilke honour maken him worshipful and redouted of straunge folk? Certes, yif that45 honour of poeple were a naturel yift to dignitees, it ne mighte never cesen nowher amonges no maner folk to don his office,[ ] right as fyr in every contree ne stinteth nat to eschaufen and to ben hoot. But for as moche as for to ben holden honourable or reverent ne cometh nat to folk of hir propre strengthe of nature, but only of the false opinioun of folk, that is to seyn,that wenen[ ]50that dignitees maken folk digne of honour; anon therfore whan that they comen ther-as folk ne knowen nat thilke dignitees, hir honours vanisshen awey, and that anon. But that is amonges straunge folk, mayst thou seyn; but amonges hem ther they weren born, ne duren nat thilke dignitees alwey? Certes, the55 dignitee of the provostrie of Rome was whylom a gret power;[ ] now is it nothing but an ydel name, and the rente of the senatorie[ ] a gret charge. And yif a wight whylom hadde the office to taken[ ] hede to the vitailes of the people, as of corn and other thinges, he was holden amonges grete; but what thing is now more out-cast60 thanne thilke provostrie? And, as I have seyd a litel her-biforn, that thilke thing that hath no propre beautee of him-self receiveth som-tyme prys and shyninge, and som-tyme leseth it by the opinioun of usaunces. Now yif that dignitees thanne ne mowen[ ] nat maken folk digne of reverence, and yif that dignitees[ ] wexen65 foule of hir wille by the filthe of shrewes, and yif that dignitees lesen hir shyninge by chaunginge of tymes, and yif they wexen foule by estimacioun of poeple: what is it that they han in hemself[ ] of beautee that oughte ben desired? as who seyth, non; thanne ne mowen they yeven no beautee of dignitee to non other.70
Quamvis se, Tyrio superbus ostro.
Al be it so that the proude Nero, with alle his wode luxurie,[ ]kembde him and aparailede him with faire purpres of Tirie,[ ] and with whyte perles, algates yit throf he hateful to alle folk:[ ]this is to seyn, that al was he behated of alle folk. Yit this wikked Nero hadde gretlordship , and yaf whylom to the5reverents senatours the unworshipful[ ] setes of dignitees. Unworshipful setes he clepeth here, for that Nero, that was so wikked, yafthodignitees. Who-so wolde thanne resonably wenen, that blisfulnesse10 were in swiche honours as ben yeven by vicious shrewes?
An vero regna regumque familiaritas.
But regnes and familiaritees of kinges, may they maken a[ ] man to ben mighty? How elles, whan hir blisfulnesse dureth[ ]perpetuely ? But certes, the olde age of tyme passed, and eek of present tyme now, is ful of ensaumples how that kinges ben[ ][ ]5 chaunged in-to wrecchednesse out of hir welefulnesse. O! a noble thing and a cleer thing is power, that is nat founden mighty to kepen it-self! And yif that power of reaumes be auctour and maker of blisfulnesse, yif thilke power lakketh on any syde, amenuseth it nat thilke blisfulnesse and bringeth in10 wrecchednesse? But yit, al be it so that the reaumes of mankinde strecchen brode, yit mot ther nede ben moche folk, over whiche that every king ne hath no lordshipe ne comaundement. And certes, up-on thilke syde that power faileth, which that[ ] maketh folk blisful, right on that same syde noun-power entreth[ ]15 under-nethe, that maketh hem wrecches; in this manere thanne moten kinges han more porcioun of wrecchednesse than of welefulnesse. A tyraunt, that was king of Sisile, that hadde[ ] assayed the peril of his estat, shewede by similitude the dredes of reaumes by gastnesse of a swerd that heng over the heved20of hisfamilier . What thing is thanne this power, that may nat don awey the bytinges of bisinesse, ne eschewe the prikkes of drede? And certes, yit wolden they liven in sikernesse, but they may nat; and yit they glorifye hem in hir power. Holdest thou thanne that thilke man be mighty, that thou seest that25 he wolde don that he may nat don? And holdest thou thanne him a mighty man, that hath envirownede his sydes with men of armes or seriaunts , and dredeth more hem that he maketh[ ] agast than they dreden him, and that is put in the handes of his servaunts for he sholde seme mighty? But of familieres or servaunts of kinges what sholde I telle thee anything, sin[ ]30 that I myself have shewed thee that reaumes hem-self ben ful of gret feblesse ? The whiche familieres, certes, the ryal power of kinges, in hool estat and in estat abated, ful ofte[ ] throweth adown. Nero constreynede Senek, his familier and[ ] his mayster, to chesen on what deeth he wolde deyen. Antonius[ ]35 comaundede that knightes slowen with hir swerdes Papinian hisfamilier , which Papinian hadde ben longe tyme ful mighty amonges hem of the court. And yit, certes, they wolden bothe han renounced hir power; of whiche two Senek enforcede him[ ] to yeven to Nero his richesses, and also to han gon in-to40solitarie exil. But whan the grete weighte, that is to seyn, of[ ][ ]lordes power or of fortune, draweth hem that shullen falle, neither of hem ne mighte do that he wolde. What thing is thanne thilke power, that though men han it, yit they ben agast; and whanne thou woldest han it, thou nart nat siker; and45 yif thou woldest forleten it, thou mayst nat eschuen it? But whether swiche men ben frendes at nede, as ben conseyled by fortune and nat by vertu? Certes, swiche folk as weleful[ ] fortune maketh freendes, contrarious fortune maketh hem enemys. And what pestilence is more mighty for to anoye a[ ]50 wight than a familier enemy?
Qui se uolet esse potentem.
Who-so wol be mighty, he mot daunten his cruel corage,[ ] ne putte nat his nekke, overcomen, under the foule reynes of lecherye. For al-be-it so that thy lordshipe strecche so fer,[ ]that the contree of Inde quaketh at thy comaundements or at thy lawes, and that the lastile in the see, that hight Tyle,5 be thral to thee, yit, yif thou mayst nat putten awey thy foule derke desyrs, and dryven out fro thee wrecched complaintes,8 certes, it nis no power that thou hast.
Gloria uero quam fallax saepe.
But glorie, how deceivable and how foul is it ofte! For which thing nat unskilfully a tragedien, that is to seyn, a maker of ditees that highten tragedies, cryde and seide: “O glorie,[ ][ ] glorie,” quod he , “thou art nothing elles to thousandes of folkes5 but a greet sweller of eres!” For manye han had ful greet renoun by the false opinioun of the poeple , and what thing may ben thought fouler than swiche preysinge? For thilke folk that ben preysed falsly, they moten nedes han shame of hir preysinges. And yif that folk han geten hem thonk or preysinge10 by hir desertes, what thing hath thilke prys eched or encresed to the conscience of wyse folk, that mesuren hir good, nat by the rumour of the poeple, but by the soothfastnesse of conscience? And yif it seme a fair thing, a man to han encresed and spred his name, than folweth it that it is demed15 to ben a foul thing, yif it ne be y-sprad and encresed . But, as I seyde a litel her-biforn that, sin ther mot nedes ben many folk, to whiche folk the renoun of a man ne may nat comen, it befalleth that he, that thou wenest be glorious and renomed, semeth in the nexte partie of the erthes to ben with-oute glorie20 and with-oute renoun.
And certes, amonges thise thinges I ne trowe nat that the prys and grace of the poeple nis neither worthy to ben remembred , ne cometh of wyse Iugement, ne is ferme perdurably. But now, of this name of gentilesse , what man is it[ ]25 that ne may wel seen how veyn and how flittinge a thing it is? For yif the name of gentilesse be referred to renoun and cleernesse of linage, thanne is gentil name but a foreine thing, that is to seyn, to hem that glorifyen hem of hir linage. For it semeth that gentilesse be a maner preysinge that comth of the deserte of ancestres. And yif preysinge maketh gentilesse,30 thanne moten they nedes be gentil that ben preysed. For which thing it folweth , that yif thou ne have no gentilesse of thy-self, that is to seyn, preyse that comth of thy deserte, foreine gentilesse ne maketh thee nat gentil. But certes, yif ther be any good in gentilesse, I trowe it be al-only this, that it semeth35 as that a maner necessitee be imposed to gentil men, for that they ne sholden nat outrayen or forliven fro the virtues of hir noble kinrede.
Omne hominum genus in terris.
Al the linage of men that ben in erthe ben of semblable birthe. On allone is fader of thinges. On allone ministreth alle thinges. He yaf to the sonne hise bemes; he yaf to the mone hir hornes . He yaf the men to the erthe; he yaf the sterres to the hevene. He encloseth with membres the soules5 that comen fro his hye sete. Thanne comen alle mortal folk of noble sede; why noisen ye or bosten of youre eldres? For yif thou lokeyour biginninge, and god your auctor and your[ ] maker, thanne nis ther no forlived wight, but-yif he norisshe[ ] his corage un-to vyces, and forlete his propre burthe.10
Quid autem de corporis uoluptatibus.
But what shal I seye of delices of body, of whiche delices the[ ] desiringes ben ful of anguissh, and the fulfillinges of hem ben ful of penaunce? How greet syknesse and how grete sorwes unsufferable, right as a maner fruit of wikkednesse, ben thilke delices wont to bringen to the bodies of folk that usen hem! Of whiche5 delices I not what Ioye may ben had of hir moevinge. But this wot I wel, that who-so-ever wole remembren him of hise luxures, he shal wel understonde that the issues of delices ben sorwful and sorye. And yif thilke delices mowen maken folk blisful,10 than by the same cause moten thise bestes ben cleped blisful; of whiche bestes al the entencioun hasteth to fulfille hir bodily Iolitee. And the gladnesse of wyf and children were an honest[ ] thing, but it hath ben seyd that it is over muchel ayeins kinde, that children han ben founden tormentours to hir fadres, I not[ ]15 how manye: of whiche children how bytinge is every condicioun,[ ] it nedeth nat to tellen it thee, that hast or this tyme assayed[ ] it, and art yit now anguissous. In this approve I the sentence of my disciple Euripidis , that seyde, that “he that hath no[ ] children is weleful by infortune.”
Habet omnis hoc uoluptas.
Every delyt hath this, that it anguissheth hem with prikkes that usen it. It resembleth to thise flyinge flyes that we clepen been, that, after thathe hath shad hise agreable honies, he fleeth[ ] awey, and stingeth the hertes, of hem that ben y-smite, with5 bytinge overlonge holdinge.
Nihil igitur dubium est.
Now is it no doute thanne that thise weyes ne ben a maner[ ] misledinges to blisfulnesse, ne that they ne mowe nat leden folk thider as they biheten to leden hem. But with how grete harmes thise forseyde weyes ben enlaced, I shal shewe thee5 shortly. For-why yif thou enforcest thee to asemble moneye, thou most bireven him his moneye that hath it. And yif thou wolt shynen with dignitees, thou most bisechen and supplien hem that yeven tho dignitees. And yif thou coveitest[ ] by honour to gon biforn other folk, thou shalt defoule thy-self10thorugh humblesse of axinge. Yif thou desirest power, thou shalt by awaytes of thy subgits anoyously ben cast under manye[ ] periles. Axest thou glorie? Thou shalt ben so destrat by aspre[ ] thinges that thou shalt forgoon sikernesse. And yif thou wolt leden thy lyf in delices, every wight shal despisen thee and forleten thee, as thou that art thral to thing that is right foul15 and brotel ; that is to seyn, servaunt to thy body. Now is it[ ] thanne wel seen, how litel and how brotel possessioun they coveiten, that putten the goodes of the body aboven hir owne resoun. For mayst thou sormounten thise olifaunts in gretnesse or weight of body? Or mayst thou ben stronger than the bole?20 Mayst thou ben swifter than the tygre? Bihold the spaces and the stablenesse and the swifte cours of the hevene, and stint som-tyme to wondren on foule thinges; the which hevene, certes, nis nat rather for thise thinges to ben wondred up-on, than for the resoun by which it is governed. But the shyning of thy25 forme, that is to seyn, the beautee of thy body, how swiftly passinge is it, and how transitorie; certes, it is more flittinge than the mutabilitee of flowers of the somer-sesoun. For so Aristotle[ ] telleth, that yif that men hadden eyen of a beest that highte lynx, so that the lokinge of folk mighte percen thorugh the30 thinges that with-stonden it, who-so loked thanne in the entrailes of the body of Alcibiades, that was ful fayr in the superfice with-oute, it shold seme right foul. And forthy, yif thou semest fayr, thy nature maketh nat that, but the desceivaunce of the feblesse of the eyen that loken. But preyse the goodes of the35 body as mochel as ever thee list; so that thou knowe algates that, what-so it be, that is to seyn, ofthe goodes of thybody, which that thou wondrest up-on, may ben destroyed or dissolved by the hete of a fevere of three dayes. Of alle whiche forseyde thinges I may reducen this shortly in a somme , that thise worldly40 goodes, whiche that ne mowen nat yeven that they biheten, ne ben nat parfit by the congregacioun of alle goodes; that they ne ben nat weyes ne pathes that bringen men to blisfulnesse, ne maken men to ben blisful.
Eheu! quae miseros tramite deuios.
Allas! which folye and which ignoraunce misledeth wandringe wrecches fro the path of verray goode!
Certes, ye ne seken no gold in grene trees, ne ye ne gaderen nat precious stones in the vynes, ne ye ne hyden nat your5 ginnes in the hye mountaignes to cacchen fish of whiche ye[ ] may maken riche festes. And yif yow lyketh to hunte to roes , ye ne gon nat to the fordes of the water that highte Tyrene.[ ] And over this, men knowen wel the crykes and the cavernes of the see y-hid in the flodes, and knowen eek which water10 is most plentivous of whyte perles, and knowen which water haboundeth most of rede purpre, that is to seyn, of a maner shelle-fish with which men dyen purpre; and knowen which strondes habounden most with tendre fisshes, or of sharpe fisshes that highten echines . But folk suffren hem-self to ben so blinde,[ ]15 that hem ne reccheth nat to knowe where thilke goodes ben y-hid whiche that they coveiten, but ploungen hem in erthe and seken there thilke good that sormounteth the hevene that bereth the sterres. What preyere may I maken that be digne to the nyce thoughtes of men? But I preye that they coveiten20 richesse and honours, so that, whan they han geten tho false goodes with greet travaile, that ther-by they mowe knowen the verray goodes.
Hactenus mendacis formam.
It suffyseth that I have shewed hider-to the forme of false welefulnesse, so that, yif thou loke now cleerly, the order of myn entencioun requireth from hennes-forth to shewen thee the verray welefulnesse.’
‘Certes, me semeth,’ quod I, ‘that I see hem right as though[ ] it were thorugh a litel clifte; but me were levere knowen hem10 more openly of thee.’
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘the resoun is al redy. For thilke thing that simply is o thing, with-outen any devisioun, the errour and folye of mankinde departeth and devydeth it, and misledeth[ ] it and transporteth from verray and parfit good to goodes that15 ben false and unparfit . But sey me this. Wenest thou that[ ] he, that hath nede of power, that him ne lakketh no-thing?’
‘Nay,’ quod I.
‘Right so is it,’ quod I.
‘Suffisaunce and power ben thanne of o kinde?’
‘So semeth it,’ quod I.
‘And demest thou ,’ quod she, ‘that a thing that is of this25 manere, that is to seyn, suffisaunt and mighty, oughte ben despysed, or elles that it be right digne of reverence aboven alle thinges?’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘it nis no doute, that it is right worthy to ben reverenced.’30
‘Lat us,’ quod she, ‘adden thanne reverence to suffisaunce and to power, so that we demen that thise three thinges ben al o thing.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘lat us adden it, yif we wolen graunten the sothe.’35
‘What demest thou thanne?’ quod she; ‘is that a derk thing and nat noble, that is suffisaunt, reverent, and mighty, or elles that it is right noble and right cleer by celebritee of renoun? Consider[ ] thanne,’ quod she, ‘as we han graunted her-biforn, that he that 40 ne hath nede of no-thing, and is most mighty and most digne of honour, yif him nedeth any cleernesse of renoun, which cleernesse he mighte nat graunten of him-self, so that, for lakke of thilke cleernesse, he mighte seme the febeler on any syde or the more out-cast?’ Glose. This is to seyn, nay; for who-so45that is suffisaunt, mighty, and reverent, cleernesse of renoun floweth of the forseyde thinges; he hath it al redy of his suffisaunce.
Boece. ‘I may nat,’ quod I, ‘denye it; but I mot graunte as it is, that this thing be right celebrable by cleernesse of renoun and noblesse.’
50‘Thanne folweth it,’ quod she, ‘that we adden cleernesse of renoun to the three forseyde thinges, so that ther ne be amonges hem no difference?’
‘But whennes ,’ quod I, ‘that any sorwe mighte comen to this thing that is swiche, certes, I may nat thinke.’
60‘Thanne moten we graunte,’ quod she, ‘that this thing be ful of gladnesse, yif the forseyde thinges ben sothe; and certes, also mote we graunten that suffisaunce, power, noblesse, reverence, and gladnesse ben only dyverse by names, but hir substaunce hath no diversitee.’
65‘It mot needly been so,’ quod I.
‘Thilke thing thanne,’ quod she, ‘that is oon and simple in his nature, the wikkednesse of men departeth it and devydeth it; and whan they enforcen hem to geten partye of a thing that ne hath no part, they ne geten hem neither thilke partye that[ ]70 nis non, ne the thing al hool that they ne desire nat.’
‘In which manere?’ quod I.
‘Thilke man,’ quod she, ‘that secheth richesses to fleen povertee, he ne travaileth him nat for to gete power; for he hath levere ben derk and vyl; and eek withdraweth from75 him-self many naturel delyts , for he nolde lese the moneye that he hath assembled. But certes, in this manere he ne geteth him nat suffisaunce that power forleteth, and that molestie[ ] prikketh, and that filthe maketh out-cast, and that derkenesse hydeth. And certes, he that desireth only power, he wasteth and scatereth richesse, and despyseth delyts , and eek honour80 that is with-oute power, ne he ne preyseth glorie no-thing. Certes, thus seest thou wel, that manye thinges faylen to him; for he hath som-tyme defaute of many necessitees, and many anguisshes byten him; and whan he ne may nat don tho defautes a-wey, he forleteth to ben mighty, and that is the thing that85 he most desireth. And right thus may I maken semblable resouns of honours, and of glorie, and of delyts. For so as every of thise forseyde thinges is the same that thise other thinges ben, that is to seyn, al oon thing, who-so that ever seketh to geten that oon of thise, and nat that other , he ne90 geteth nat that he desireth.’
Boece. ‘What seyst thou thanne, yif that a man coveiteth to geten alle thise thinges to-gider?’
Philosophie. ‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘I wolde seye, that he wolde geten him sovereyn blisfulnesse; but that shal he nat finde in[ ]95 tho thinges that I have shewed, that ne mowen nat yeven that they beheten.’
‘Certes, no,’ quod I.
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘ne sholden men nat by no wey seken blisfulnesse in swiche thinges as men wene that they ne mowen100 yeven but o thing senglely of alle that men seken.’
‘I graunte wel,’ quod I; ‘ne no sother thing ne may ben sayd.’
‘Now hast thou thanne,’ quod she, ‘the forme and the causes of false welefulnesse. Now torne and flitte the eyen of thy105 thought; for ther shalt thou sen anon thilke verray blisfulnesse that I have bihight thee.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘it is cleer and open, thogh it were to a blinde man; and that shewedest thou me ful wel a litel herbiforn, whan thou enforcedest thee to shewe me the causes110 of the false blisfulnesse. For but-yif I be bigyled, thanne is thilke the verray blisfulnesse parfit, that parfitly maketh a man suffisaunt, mighty, honourable, noble, and ful of gladnesse. And, for thou shalt wel knowe that I have wel understonden115 thise thinges with-in my herte, I knowe wel that thilke blisfulnesse, that may verrayly yeven oon of the forseyde thinges, sin they ben al oon, I knowe, douteles, that thilke thing is the fulle blisfulnesse.’
‘What is that?’ quod I.
‘Trowest thou that ther be any thing in thise erthely mortal toumbling thinges that may bringen this estat?’
125‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘I trowe it naught; and thou hast shewed me wel that over thilke good ther nis no-thing more to ben desired.’
‘Thise thinges thanne,’ quod she, ‘that is to sey, erthely suffisaunce and power and swiche thinges, either they semen130lykenesses of verray good, or elles it semeth that they yeve to mortal folk a maner of goodes that ne ben nat parfit; but thilke good that is verray and parfit, that may they nat yeven.’
‘I acorde me wel,’ quod I.
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘for as mochel as thou hast knowen135 which is thilke verray blisfulnesse, and eek whiche thilke thinges ben that lyen falsly blisfulnesse, that is to seyn, that by deceite[ ] semen verray goodes, now behoveth thee to knowe whennes and where thou mowe seke thilke verray blisfulnesse.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘that desire I greetly, and have abiden longe140 tyme to herknen it.’
‘But for as moche,’ quod she, ‘as it lyketh to my disciple Plato, in his book of “in Timeo ,” that in right litel thinges men[ ] sholden bisechen the help of god, what iugest thou that be now to done, so that we may deserve to finde the sete of thilke145 verray good?’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘I deme that we shollen clepen the fader of alle goodes; for with-outen him nis ther no-thing founden a-right.’
‘Thou seyst a-right,’ quod she; and bigan anon to singen right thus:—150
O qui perpetua mundum ratione gubernas.
‘O thou fader, creator of hevene and of erthes, that governest this world by perdurable resoun, that comaundest the tymes to gonfrom sin that age hadde beginninge; thou that dwellest[ ] thy-self ay stedefast and stable, and yevest alle othre thinges to ben moeved; ne foreine causes necesseden thee never to[ ]5 compoune werk of floteringe matere, but only the forme of[ ] soverein good y-set with-in thee with-oute envye, that moevede thee freely. Thou that art alder-fayrest, beringe the faire world[ ] in thy thought, formedest this world to the lyknesse semblable of that faire world in thy thought. Thou drawest al thing of10 thy soverein ensaumpler, and comaundest that this world, parfitliche y-maked, have freely and absolut his parfit parties. Thou bindest the elements by noumbres proporcionables , that[ ] the colde thinges mowen acorden with the hote thinges, and[ ] the drye thinges with the moiste thinges; that the fyr, that15 is purest, ne flee nat over hye, ne that the hevinesse ne drawe nat adoun over-lowe the erthes that ben plounged in the wateres. Thou knittest to-gider the mene sowle of treble kinde, moevinge[ ] alle thinges, and devydest it by membres acordinge; and whan it is thus devyded, it hath asembled a moevinge in-to two20 roundes; it goth to torne ayein to him-self, and envirouneth a ful deep thought, and torneth the hevene by semblable image. Thou by evene-lyke causes enhansest the sowles and the lasse lyves, and, ablinge hem heye by lighte cartes, thou sowest hem[ ] in-to hevene and in-to erthe; and whan they ben converted to25 thee by thy benigne lawe, thou makest hem retorne ayein to thee by ayein-ledinge fyr.
O fader, yive thou to the thought to styen up in-to thy streite sete, and graunte him to enviroune the welle of good; and, the30 lighte y-founde, graunte him to fichen the clere sightes of his corage in thee. And scater thou and to-breke thou the weightes and the cloudes of erthely hevinesse, and shyne thou by thy brightnesse. For thou art cleernesse; thou art peysible reste to debonaire folk; thou thy-self art biginninge, berer, leder, path ,[ ]35 and terme; to loke on thee, that is our ende.
Quoniam igitur quae sit imperfecti.
For as moche thanne as thou hast seyn, which is the forme of good that nis nat parfit, and which is the forme of good that is parfit, now trowe I that it were good to shewe in what this perfeccioun of blisfulnesse is set. And in this thing, I trowe5 that we sholden first enquere for to witen, yif that any swiche maner good as thilke good that thou has diffinisshed a litel[ ] heer-biforn, that is to seyn, soverein good, may ben founde in the nature of thinges; for that veyn imaginacioun of thought ne[ ] deceyve us nat, and putte us out of the sothfastnesse of thilke10 thing that is summitted unto us . But it may nat ben deneyed that thilke good ne is, and that it nis right as welle of alle[ ] goodes. For al thing that is cleped inparfit is proeved inparfit[ ] by the amenusinge of perfeccioun or of thing that is parfit. And ther-of comth it, that in every thing general, yif that men[ ]15 sen any-thing that is inparfit, certes, in thilke general ther mot ben som-thing that is parfit; for yif so be that perfeccioun is don awey, men may nat thinke ne seye fro whennes thilke thing is that is cleped inparfit. For the nature of thinges ne took nat hir beginninge of thinges amenused and inparfit, but it procedeth of thinges that ben al hoole and absolut , and20descendeth so doun in-to outterest thinges, and in-to thinges[ ] empty and with-outen frut. But, as I have y-shewed a litel her-biforn, that yif ther be a blisfulnesse that be freele and veyn and inparfit, ther may no man doute that ther nis som blisfulnesse that is sad, stedefast, and parfit.’25
Boece. ‘This is concluded,’ quod I, ‘fermely and sothfastly.’
Philosophie. ‘But considere also,’ quod she, ‘in wham this blisfulnesse enhabiteth. The comune acordaunce and conceite of the corages of men proeveth and graunteth, that god, prince of alle thinges, is good. For, so as nothing ne may ben thought30 bettre than god, it may nat ben douted thanne that he, that[ ] nothing nis bettre , that he nis good. Certes, resoun sheweth[ ] that god is so good, that it proveth by verray force that parfit good is in him. For yif god ne is swich, he ne may nat ben prince of alle thinges; for certes som-thing possessing in it-self35 parfit good, sholde ben more worthy than god, and it sholde semen that thilke thing were first, and elder than god. For we han shewed apertly that alle thinges that ben parfit ben first or thinges that ben unparfit ; and for-thy, for as moche as[ ]that my resoun or my proces ne go nat a-wey with-oute an40 ende, we owen to graunten that the soverein god is right ful of soverein parfit good. And we han establisshed that the soverein good is verray blisfulnesse: thanne mot it nedes be, that verray blisfulnesse is set in soverein god.’
‘This take I wel,’ quod I, ‘ne this ne may nat ben withseid45 in no manere.’
‘But I preye,’ quod she, ‘see now how thou mayst proeven, holily and with-oute corupcioun, this that I have seyd, that the soverein god is right ful of soverein good.’
‘Wenest thou aught ,’ quod she, ‘that this prince of alle[ ] thinges have y-take thilke soverein good any-wher out of himself, of which soverein good men proveth that he is ful, right as thou mightest thinken that god, that hath blisfulnesse in 55 him-self, and thilke blisfulnesse that is in him, weren dyvers in substaunce? For yif thou wene that god have received thilke good out of him-self, thou mayst wene that he that yaf thilke good to god be more worthy than is god. But I am bi-knowen and confesse, and that right dignely, that god is right worthy60 aboven alle thinges; and, yif so be that this good be in him by nature, but that it is dyvers fro him by weninge resoun, sin we speke of god prince of alle thinges: feigne who-so[ ] feigne may, who was he that hath conioigned thise dyverse thinges to-gider? And eek, at the laste, see wel that a thing65 that is dyvers from any thing, that thilke thing nis nat that same thing fro which it is understonden to ben dyvers. Thanne folweth it, that thilke thing that by his nature is dyvers fro soverein good, that that thing nis nat soverein good; but certes, that were a felonous corsednesse to thinken that of him that70 nothing nis more worth. For alwey, of alle thinges, the nature of hem ne may nat ben bettre than his biginning; for which I may concluden, by right verray resoun, that thilke that is biginning of alle thinges, thilke same thing is soverein good in his substaunce.’
75Boece. ‘Thou hast seyd rightfully,’ quod I.
Philosophie. ‘But we han graunted,’ quod she, ‘that the soverein good is blisfulnesse.’
‘And that is sooth,’ quod I.
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘moten we nedes graunten and confessen80 that thilke same soverein good be god.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘I ne may nat denye ne withstonde the resouns purposed; and I see wel that it folweth by strengthe of the premisses.’
‘Loke now,’ quod she, ‘yif this be proved yit more fermely85 thus: that ther ne mowen nat ben two soverein goodes that ben dyverse amonge hem-self. For certes, the goodes that ben dyverse amonges hem-self , that oon nis nat that that other is; thanne ne[may] neither of hem ben parfit, so as either of[ ] hem lakketh to other. But that that nis nat parfit, men may seen apertly that it nis nat soverein. The thinges, thanne, that90 ben sovereinly goode, ne mowen by no wey ben dyverse. But I have wel concluded that blisfulnesse and god ben the soverein good; for whiche it mot nedes ben, that soverein blisfulnesse is soverein divinitee.’
‘Nothing,’ quod I, ‘nis more soothfast than this, ne more95 ferme by resoun; ne a more worthy thing than god may nat ben concluded.’
‘Up-on thise thinges thanne,’ quod she, ‘right as thise geometriens,[ ] whan they han shewed hir proposiciouns, ben wont to bringen in thinges that they clepen porismes, or declaraciouns[ ]100of forseide thinges, right so wole I yeve thee heer as a corollarie,[ ]or a mede of coroune. For-why, for as moche as by the getinge of blisfulnesse men ben maked blisful, and blisfulnesse is divinitee: thanne is it manifest and open, that by the getinge of divinitee men ben maked blisful. Right as by the getinge105 of Iustice [they ben maked iust ], and by the getinge of sapience[ ] they ben maked wyse: right so, nedes, by the semblable resoun, whan they han geten divinitee, they ben maked goddes. Thanne is every blisful man god; but certes, by nature, ther nis but o god; but, by the participacioun of divinitee, ther ne let ne110 desturbeth nothing that ther ne ben manye goddes.’
‘This is,’ quod I, ‘a fair thing and a precious, clepe it as thou wolt; be it porisme or corollarie,’ or mede of coroune or declaringes.
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘nothing nis fayrer than is the thing that115 by resoun sholde ben added to thise forseide thinges.’
‘What thing?’ quod I.
‘So,’ quod she, ‘as it semeth that blisfulnesse conteneth many thinges, it were for to witenwhether that alle thise thinges maken or conioignen as a maner body of blisfulnesse, by dyversitee of120 parties or of membres; or elles, yif that any of alle thilke thinges be swich that it acomplisshe by him-self the substaunce of blisfulnesse, so that alle thise othre thinges ben referred and brought to blisfulnesse,’ that is to seyn, as to the cheef of hem.
‘I wolde,’ quod I, ‘that thou makedest me cleerly to understonde125 what thou seyst, and that thou recordedest me the forseyde thinges.’
‘Have I nat iuged,’ quod she, ‘that blisfulnesse is good?’
‘Yis, forsothe,’ quod I; ‘and that soverein good.’
130‘Adde thanne,’ quod she, ‘thilke good, that is maked blisfulnesse, to alle the forseide thinges; for thilke same blisfulnesse that is demed to ben soverein suffisaunce, thilke selve is soverein power, soverein reverence, soverein cleernesse or noblesse, and soverein delyt. Conclusio. What seyst thou thanne of alle thise135 thinges, that is to seyn, suffisaunce, power, and this othre thinges; ben they thanne as membres of blisfulnesse, or ben they referred and brought to soverein good, right as alle thinges that ben brought to the chief of hem?’
‘I understonde wel;’ quod I, ‘what thou purposest to seke;140 but I desire for to herkne that thou shewe it me.’
‘Tak now thus the discrecioun of this questioun,’ quod she. ‘Yif alle thise thinges,’ quod she, ‘weren membres to felicitee, than weren they dyverse that oon from that other; and swich is the nature of parties or of membres, that dyverse membres compounen145 a body.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘it hath wel ben shewed heer-biforn, that alle thise thinges ben alle o thing.’
‘Thanne ben they none membres,’ quod she; ‘for elles it sholde seme that blisfulnesse were conioigned al of on membre150 allone; but that is a thing that may nat be don.’
‘This thing,’ quod I, ‘nis nat doutous; but I abyde to herknen the remnaunt of thy questioun.’
‘This is open and cleer,’ quod she, ‘that alle othre thinges ben referred and brought to good. For therefore is suffisaunce requered,155 for it is demed to ben good; and forthy is power requered, for men trowen also that it be good; and this same thing mowen we thinken and coniecten of reverence, and of noblesse, and of delyt. Thanne is soverein good the somme and the cause of al that aughte ben desired; for-why thilke thing that with-holdeth160 no good in it-self, ne semblaunce of good, it ne may nat wel in no manere be desired ne requered . And the contrarie: for thogh that thinges by hir nature ne ben nat goode, algates, yif men wene that ben goode, yit ben they desired as though that they weren verrayliche goode. And therfor is it that men oughten to wene by right, that bountee be the soverein fyn, and the cause[ ]165 of alle the thinges that ben to requeren. But certes, thilke that is cause for which men requeren any thing, it semeth that thilke same thing be most desired. As thus: yif that a wight wolde ryden for cause of hele, he ne desireth nat so mochel the moevinge to ryden, as the effect of his hele. Now thanne, sin that170 alle thinges ben requered for the grace of good, they ne ben nat desired of alle folk more thanne the same good. But we han graunted that blisfulnesse is that thing, for whiche that alle thise othre thinges ben desired; thanne is it thus: that, certes, only blisfulnesse is requered and desired. By whiche thing it sheweth175 cleerly, that of good and of blisfulnesse is al oon and the same substaunce.’
‘I see nat,’ quod I, ‘wherfore that men mighten discorden in this.’
‘And we han shewed that god and verray blisfulnesse is al oo180 thing.’
‘That is sooth,’ quod I.
‘Thanne mowen we conclude sikerly, that the substaunce of god is set in thilke same good, and in non other place.184
Huc omnes pariter uenite capti.
O cometh alle to-gider now, ye that ben y-caught and y-bounde with wikkede cheynes, by the deceivable delyt of erthely thinges enhabitinge in your thought! Heer shal ben the reste of your labours, heer is the havene stable in peysible quiete; this allone is the open refut to wrecches. Glosa. This is to seyn, that ye5that ben combred anddeceivedwith worldely affecciouns, cometh now to this soverein good, that is god, that is refut to hem that wolen comen to him. Textus. Alle the thinges that the river Tagus[ ] yeveth yow with his goldene gravailes, or elles alle the thinges that the river Hermus yeveth with his rede brinke, or that Indus[ ]10 yeveth, that is next the hote party of the world, that medleth the[ ]grene stoneswith the whyte , ne sholde nat cleeren the lookinge of your thought, but hyden rather your blinde corages with-in hir derknesse . Al that lyketh yow heer, and excyteth and moeveth15 your thoughtes, the erthe hath norisshed it in hise lowe caves. But the shyninge, by whiche the hevene is governed and whennes he hath his strengthe, that eschueth the derke overthrowinge of[ ] the sowle; and who-so may knowen thilke light of blisfulnesse, he shal wel seyn, that the whyte bemes of the sonne ne ben nat20 cleer.’
Boece. ‘I assente me,’ quod I; ‘for alle thise thinges ben strongly bounden with right ferme resouns.’
5‘I wol preyse it,’ quod I, ‘by prys with-outen ende, yif it shal bityde me to knowe also to-gider god that is good.’
10‘They dwellen graunted to thee,’ quod I; this is to seyn, as who seith: I graunte thy forseide conclusiouns.
‘Have I nat shewed thee,’ quod she, ‘that the thinges that ben requered of many folkes ne ben nat verray goodes ne parfite, for they ben dyverse that oon fro that othre; and so as ech of hem15 is lakkinge to other, they ne han no power to bringen a good that is ful and absolut? But thanne at erst ben they verray good, whanne they ben gadered to-gider alle in-to o forme and in-to oon wirkinge, so that thilke thing that is suffisaunce, thilke same be power, and reverence, and noblesse, and mirthe; and forsothe,20 but-yif alle thise thinges ben alle oon same thing, they ne han nat wherby that they mowen ben put in the noumber of thinges that oughten ben requered or desired.’
‘It is shewed,’ quod I; ‘ne her-of may ther no man douten.’
‘The thinges thanne,’ quod she, ‘that ne ben no goodes[ ] whanne they ben dyverse, and whan they beginnen to ben alle25 oon thing thanne ben they goodes, ne comth it hem nat thanne by the getinge of unitee, that they ben maked goodes?’
‘So it semeth,’ quod I.
‘But al thing that is good,’ quod she, ‘grauntest thou that it be good by the participacioun of good, or no?’30
‘I graunte it,’ quod I.
‘Thanne most thou graunten,’ quod she, ‘by semblable resoun, that oon and good be oo same thing. For of thinges, of whiche that the effect nis nat naturelly diverse, nedes the substance mot be oo same thing.’35
‘I ne may nat denye that,’ quod I.
‘Hast thou nat knowen wel,’ quod she, ‘that al thing that is hath so longe his dwellinge and his substaunce as longe as it is oon; but whan it forleteth to ben oon, it mot nedes dyen and corumpe to-gider?’40
‘In which manere?’ quod I.
‘Right as in bestes,’ quod she, ‘whan the sowle and the body ben conioigned in oon and dwellen to-gider, it is cleped a beest. And whan hir unitee is destroyed by the disseveraunce of that oon from that other, than sheweth it wel that it is a ded thing, and45 that it nis no lenger no beest. And the body of a wight, whyl it dwelleth in oo forme by coniuncccioun of membres, it is wel seyn that it is a figure of man-kinde. And yif the parties of the body ben so devyded and dissevered, that oon fro that other, that they destroyen unitee, the body forleteth to ben that50 it was biforn. And, who-so wolde renne in the same manere by alle thinges, he sholde seen that, with-oute doute, every thing is in his substaunce as longe as it is oon; and whan it forleteth to ben oon, it dyeth and perissheth .’
‘Whan I considere,’ quod I, ‘manye thinges, I see non other.’[ ]55
‘Is ther any-thing thanne,’ quod she, ‘that, in as moche as it liveth naturelly, that forleteth the talent or appetyt of his beinge, and desireth to come to deeth and to corupcioun?’
‘Yif I considere,’ quod I, ‘the beestes that han any maner60 nature of wilninge and of nillinge, I ne finde no beest, but-yif it be constreined fro with-oute forth, that forleteth or despyseth the entencioun to liven and to duren, or that wole,[ ] his thankes, hasten him to dyen. For every beest travaileth him to deffende and kepe the savacioun of his lyf, and eschueth deeth65 and destruccioun.
But certes, I doute me of herbes and of trees, that is to seyn, that I am in a doute of swiche thinges as herbes or trees, that ne han no felinge sowles , ne no naturel wirkinges servinge toappetytesas bestes han, whether they han appetyt to dwellen70and to duren.’
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘ne ther-of thar thee nat doute. Now[ ] loke up-on thise herbes and thise trees; they wexen first in swiche places as ben covenable to hem, in whiche places they ne mowen nat sone dyen ne dryen, as longe as hir nature may75 deffenden hem. For som of hem waxen in feeldes, and som in mountaignes, and othre waxen in mareys , and othre cleven on roches, and somme waxen plentivous in sondes; and yif that any wight enforce him to beren hem in-to othre places, they wexen drye. For nature yeveth to every thing that that80 is convenient to him, and travaileth that they ne dye nat, as longe as they han power to dwellen and to liven. What woltow[ ] seyn of this, that they drawen alle hir norisshinges by hir rotes, right as they hadden hir mouthes y-plounged with-in the erthes, and sheden by hir maryes hir wode and hir bark? And what85 woltow seyn of this, that thilke thing that is right softe, as the marye is, that is alwey hid in the sete , al with-inne, and that is defended fro with-oute by the stedefastnesse of wode; and that the uttereste bark is put ayeins the destemperaunce of the hevene, as a defendour mighty to suffren harm? And thus, certes, maystow wel seen how greet is the diligence of nature;90 for alle thinges renovelen and puplisshen hem with seed y-multiplyed;[ ] ne ther nis no man that ne wot wel that they ne[ ] ben right as a foundement and edifice, for to duren nat only for a tyme, but right as for to duren perdurably by generacioun. And the thinges eek that men wenen ne haven none sowles,95 ne desire they nat ech of hem by semblable resoun to kepen that is hirs, that is to seyn, that is acordinge to hir nature in conservacioun of hir beinge and enduringe? For wher-for elles bereth lightnesse the flaumbes up, and the weighte presseth the erthe a-doun, but for as moche as thilke places and thilke100 moevinges ben covenable to everich of hem? And forsothe every thing kepeth thilke that is acordinge and propre to him, right as thinges that ben contraries and enemys corompen hem. And yit the harde thinges, as stones, clyven and holden hir parties to-gider right faste and harde, and deffenden hem in105 withstondinge that they ne departe nat lightlya-twinne . And the thinges that ben softe and fletinge, as is water and eyr, they departen lightly, and yeven place to hem that breken or devyden hem; but natheles, they retornen sone ayein in-to the same thinges fro whennes they ben arraced . But fyr fleeth[ ]110 and refuseth al devisioun. Ne I ne trete nat heer now of wilful moevinges of the sowle that is knowinge, but of the[ ] naturel entencioun of thinges, as thus: right as we swolwe the mete that we receiven and ne thinke nat on it, and as we drawen our breeth in slepinge that we wite it nat whyle we115slepen . For certes, in the beestes, the love of hir livinges ne of hir beinges ne comth nat of the wilninges of the sowle, but of the biginninges of nature. For certes, thorugh constreininge causes, wil desireth and embraceth ful ofte tyme the deeth that nature dredeth; that is to seyn as thus: that a man may120ben constreyned so, by som cause, that his wil desireth and taketh the deeth which that nature hateth and dredeth ful sore. And somtyme we seeth the contraye, as thus: that the wil[ ] of a wight destorbeth and constreyneth that that nature desireth125 and requereth al-wey, that is to seyn, the werk of generacioun, by the whiche generacioun only dwelleth and is sustened the long durabletee of mortal thinges.[ ]
And thus this charitee and this love, that every thing hath to him-self, ne comth nat of the moevinge of the sowle, but130 of the entencioun of nature. For the purviaunce of god hath yeven to thinges that ben creat of him this, that is a ful gret cause to liven and to duren; for which they desiren naturelly hir lyf as longe as ever they mowen. For which thou mayst nat drede, by no manere, that alle the thinges135 that ben anywhere, that they ne requeren naturelly the ferme stablenesse of perdurable dwellinge, and eek the eschuinge of destruccioun.’
Boece. ‘Now confesse I wel,’ quod I, ‘that I see now wel certeinly, with-oute doutes, the thinges that whylom semeden140 uncertain to me.’
145‘That is sooth,’ quod I.
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘desiren alle thinges oon?’
‘I assente,’ quod I.
‘And I have shewed,’ quod she, ‘that thilke same oon is thilke that is good?’
150‘Ye, for sothe,’ quod I.
‘Ther ne may be thought,’ quod I, ‘no more verray thing.155 For either alle thinges ben referred and brought to nought, and floteren with-oute governour, despoiled of oon as of hir[ ] propre heved; or elles, yif ther be any thing to which that alle thinges tenden and hyen, that thing moste ben the soverein good of alle goodes.’
160Thanne seyde she thus: ‘O my nory,’ quod she, ‘I have gret gladnesse of thee; for thou hast ficched in thyn herte[ ] the middel soothfastnesse, that is to seyn, the prikke; but this thing hath ben descovered to thee, in that thou seydest that[ ] thou wistest nat a litel her-biforn.’
‘What was that ?’ quod I.165
‘That thou ne wistest nat,’ quod she, ‘which was the ende of thinges; and certes, that is the thing that every wight desireth; and for as mochel as we han gadered and comprehended that good is thilke thing that is desired of alle, thanne moten we nedes confessen, that good is the fyn of alle thinges.170
Quisquis profunda mente uestigat uerum.
Who-so that seketh sooth by a deep thought, and coveiteth nat to ben deceived by no mis-weyes, lat him rollen and trenden[ ] with-inne him-self the light of his inward sighte; and lat him gadere ayein, enclyninge in-to a compas, the longe moevinges of his thoughtes; and lat him techen his corage that he hath5 enclosed and hid in his tresors, al that he compasseth or seketh fro with-oute. And thanne thilke thinge, that the blake cloude[ ] of errour whylom hadde y-covered, shal lighten more cleerly[ ] thanne Phebus him-self ne shyneth.
Glosa.Who-so wole seken the deep grounde of sooth in his[ ]10thought, and wol nat be deceived by false proposiciouns that goon amis fro the trouthe, lat him wel examine and rolle with-inne himself the nature and the propretees of the thing; and lat him yit eftsones examine and rollen his thoughtes by good deliberacioun, or that he deme; and lat him techen his sowle that it hath, by natural15principles kindeliche y-hid with-in it-self, alle the trouthe the whiche he imagineth to ben in thinges with-oute. And thanne alle thederknesseof his misknowinge shalsememore evidently to sighte of his understondinge thanne the sonne ne semeth to sighte with-oute-forth.20
For certes the body, bringinge the weighte of foryetinge, ne hath nat chased out of your thoughte al the cleernesse of your knowinge; for certeinly the seed of sooth haldeth and clyveth with-in your corage, and it is awaked and excyted by the winde25 and by the blastes of doctrine. For wherfor elles demen ye of your owne wil the rightes, whan ye ben axed , but-yif so were that the norisshingeof resoun ne livede y-plounged in the depthe of your herte? this is to seyn, how sholden men demen the sooth of any thing that wereaxed , yif ther nere a rote of soothfastnesse that30were y-plounged and hid innaturelprinciples, the whiche soothfastnesse lived with-in the deepnesse of the thought. And yif so be that the Muse and the doctrine of Plato singeth sooth, al that[ ] every wight lerneth, he ne doth no-thing elles thanne but recordeth, as men recorden thinges that ben foryeten.’
Tum ego, Platoni, inquam.
Thanne seide I thus: ‘I acorde me gretly to Plato, for thou remembrest and recordest me this thinges yit the secounde tyme ; that is to seyn, first whan I loste my memorie by the contagious coniunccioun of the body with the sowle; and5 eftsones afterward, whan I loste it, confounded by the charge and by the burdene of my sorwe.’
And thanne seide she thus: ‘yif thou loke,’ quod she, ‘first the thinges that thou hast graunted, it ne shal nat ben right fer that thou ne shalt remembren thilke thing that thou seydest that10 thou nistest nat.’
‘What thing?’ quod I.
‘By whiche governement,’ quod she, ‘that this world is governed.’
‘Me remembreth it wel,’ quod I; ‘and I confesse wel that I15 ne wiste it naught. But al-be-it so that I see now from a-fer what thou purposest, algates, I desire yit to herkene it of thee more pleynly.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘ne yit ne doute I it naught, ne I nel never20 wene that it were to doute; as who seith, but I wot wel that god governeth this world; and I shal shortly answeren thee by what resouns I am brought to this. This world,’ quod I, ‘of so manye dyverse and contrarious parties, ne mighte never han ben assembled in o forme, but-yif ther nere oon that conioignede so25 manye dyverse thinges; and the same dyversitee of hir natures, that so discorden that oon fro that other, moste departen and unioignen the thinges that ben conioigned, yif ther ne were oon[ ] that contenede that he hath conioined and y-bounde. Ne the certein ordre of nature ne sholde nat bringe forth so ordenee[ ]30 moevinges, by places, by tymes, by doinges, by spaces , by qualitees, yif ther ne were oon that were ay stedefast dwellinge, that ordeynede and disponede thise dyversitees of moevinges. And thilke thing, what-so-ever it be, by which that alle thinges ben y-maked and y-lad, I clepe him “god”; that is a word that35 is used to alle folk.’
Thanne seyde she: ‘sin thou felest thus thise thinges,’ quod she, ‘I trowe that I have litel more to done that thou, mighty of[ ] welefulnesse, hool and sounde, ne see eftsones thy contree. But lat us loken the thinges that we han purposed her-biforn.40 Have I nat noumbred and seyd,’ quod she, ‘that suffisaunce is in blisfulnesse, and we han acorded that god is thilke same blisfulnesse?’
‘Yis, forsothe,’ quod I.
‘And that, to governe this world,’ quod she, ‘ne shal he never45 han nede of non help fro with-oute? For elles, yif he hadde nede of any help, he ne sholde nat have no ful suffisaunce?’
‘Yis, thus it mot nedes be,’ quod I.
‘Thanne ordeineth he by him-self al-one alle thinges?’ quod she.
‘That may nat be deneyed ,’ quod I.50
‘And I have shewed that god is the same good?’
‘It remembreth me wel,’ quod I.
‘Thanne ordeineth he alle thinges by thilke good,’ quod she; ‘sin he, which that we han acorded to be good, governeth alle 55 thinges by him-self; and he is as a keye and a stere by which[ ] that the edifice of this world is y-kept stable and with-oute coroumpinge .’
‘I acorde me greetly,’ quod I; ‘and I aperceivede a litel herbiforn that thou woldest seye thus; al-be-it so that it were by60 a thinne suspecioun.’
‘I trowe it wel,’ quod she; ‘for, as I trowe, thou ledest now more ententifly thyne eyen to loken the verray goodes. But natheles the thing that I shal telle thee yit ne sheweth nat lasse to[ ] loken.’
65‘What is that?’ quod I.
‘So as men trowen,’ quod she, ‘and that rightfully, that god governeth alle thinges by the keye of his goodnesse, and alle thise[ ] same thinges, as I have taught thee, hasten hem by naturel entencioun to comen to good: ther may no man douten that they70 ne be governed voluntariely, and that they ne converten hem of hir owne wil to the wil of hir ordenour, as they that ben acordinge and enclyninge to hir governour and hir king.’
‘It mot nedes be so,’ quod I; ‘for the reaume ne sholde nat[ ] semen blisful yif ther were a yok of misdrawinges in dyverse75 parties; ne the savinge of obedient thinges ne sholde nat be.’
‘Thanne is ther nothing,’ quod she, ‘that kepeth his nature, that enforceth him to goon ayein god?’
‘No,’ quod I.
‘And yif that any-thing enforcede him to with-stonde god,80 mighte it availen at the laste ayeins him, that we han graunted to ben almighty by the right of blisfulnesse?’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘al-outrely it ne mighte nat availen him .’
‘Thanne is ther no-thing,’ quod she, ‘that either wole or may with-stonden to this soverein good?’
85‘I trowe nat,’ quod I,
‘Thanne is thilke the soverein good,’ quod she, ‘that alle thinges governeth strongly, and ordeyneth hem softely.’[ ]
Thanne seyde I thus: ‘I delyte me,’ quod I, ‘nat only in the endes or in the somme of the resouns that thou hast concluded90 and proeved, but thilke wordes that thou usest delyten me moche more; so, at the laste, fooles that sumtyme renden grete thinges[ ] oughten ben ashamed of hem-self;’ that is to seyn, that we fooles thatreprehendenwikkedly the thinges that touchen goddes governaunce, we oughten ben ashamed of our-self: as I, that seyde that god refuseth only the werkes of men, and ne entremeteth nat of95hem .’
‘Thou hast wel herd,’ quod she, ‘the fables of the poetes, how the giaunts assaileden the hevene with the goddes; but forsothe,[ ] the debonair force of goddeposede hem, as it was worthy; that is to seyn, destroyede the giaunts, as it was worthy. But wilt100 thou that we ioignen to-gider thilke same resouns? For peraventure, of swich coniuncioun may sterten up som fair sparkle of sooth.’
‘Do,’ quod I, ‘as thee liste.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘no wight ne douteth it, yif he be in his minde.’
‘But he,’ quod she, ‘that is almighty, ther nis nothing that he ne may ?’110
‘That is sooth,’ quod I.
‘May god don yvel?’ quod she.
‘Nay, forsothe,’ quod I.
‘Thanne is yvel nothing,’ quod she, ‘sin that he ne may nat don yvel that may don alle thinges.’115
‘Scornest thou me?’ quod I; ‘or elles pleyest thou or deceivest thou[ ]me, that hast so woven me with thy resouns the hous of[ ]Dedalus , so entrelaced that it is unable to be unlaced; thou that other-whyle entrest ther thou issest , and other-whyle issest ther thou entrest, ne foldest thou nat to-gider, by replicacioun of120wordes, a maner wonderful cercle or environinge of the simplicitee devyne? For certes, a litel her-biforn, whan thou bigunne at blisfulnesse, thou seydest that it is soverein good; and seydest that it is set in soverein god; and seydest that god him-self is soverein good; and that god is the fulle blisfulnesse; for which[ ]125 thou yave me as a covenable yift, that is to seyn, that no wight nis blisful but-yif he be god also ther-with. And seidest eek, that the forme of good is the substaunce of god and of blisfulnesse; and seidest, that thilke same oon is thilke same good, that is130 requered and desired of alle the kinde of thinges. And thou proevedest, in disputinge, that god governeth all the thinges of the world by the governements of bountee , and seydest, that alle[ ] thinges wolen obeyen to him; and seydest, that the nature of yvel nis no-thing. And thise thinges ne shewedest thou nat with none135 resouns y-taken fro with-oute, but by proeves in cercles and hoomlich[ ] knowen; the whiche proeves drawen to hem-self hir feith and hir acord, everich of hem of other.’
Thanne seyde she thus: ‘I ne scorne thee nat, ne pleye, nedeceivethee; but I have shewed thee the thing that is grettest140 over alle thinges by the yift of god, that we whylom preyeden. For this is the forme of the devyne substaunce, that is swich that it ne slydeth nat in-to outterest foreine thinges, ne ne receiveth no straunge thinges in him; but right as Parmenides seyde[ ]in Greek of thilke devyne substaunce; he seyde thus: that “thilke145 devyne substaunce torneth the world and the moevable cercle of thinges, whyl thilke devyne substaunce kepeth it-self with-oute moevinge;” that is to seyn, that it ne moeveth never-mo, and yit it moeveth alle othre thinges. But natheles, yif I have stired resouns that ne ben nat taken fro with-oute the compas of thing of which150 we treten, but resouns that ben bistowed with-in that compas, ther nis nat why that thou sholdest merveilen; sin thou hast lerned by the sentence of Plato, that “nedes the wordes moten[ ] be cosines to the thinges of which they speken.”
Felix, qui potuit boni.
Blisful is that man that may seen the clere welle of good; blisful is he that may unbinden him fro the bondes of the hevy erthe. The poete of Trace, Orpheus, that whylom hadde right greet sorwe[ ] for the deeth of his wyf, after that he hadde maked, by his weeply[ ] songes, the wodes, moevable, to rennen; and hadde maked the[ ]5 riveres to stonden stille; and hadde maked the hertes and the hindes to ioignen, dredeles, hir sydes to cruel lyouns, for to herknen his songe; and hadde maked that the hare was nat agast of the hounde, which that was plesed by his songe: so, whan the moste ardaunt love of his wif brende the entrailes of his brest, ne the10 songes that hadden overcomen alle thinges ne mighten nat asswagen hir lord Orpheus, he pleynede him of the hevenegoddes[ ] that weren cruel to him; he wente him to the houses of helle. And there he temprede hise blaundisshinge songes by resowninge strenges, and spak and song in wepinge al that ever he hadde15received and laved out of the noble welles of his moder[ ]Calliope[ ] the goddesse; and he song with as mochel as he mighte of wepinge,[ ] and with as moche as love, that doublede his sorwe, mighte yeve him and techen him; and he commoevede the helle, and requerede and bisoughte by swete preyere the lordes of sowles20 in helle, of relesinge; that is to seyn, to yilden him his wyf.[ ]
Cerberus, the porter of helle, with his three hevedes, was caught[ ] and al abayst for the newe song; and the three goddesses, Furies ,[ ] and vengeresses of felonyes, that tormenten and agasten the sowles by anoy, woxen sorwful and sory, and wepen teres for pitee.25 Tho ne was nat the heved of Ixion y-tormented by the overthrowinge[ ] wheel; and Tantalus , that was destroyed by the woodnesse[ ] of longe thurst , despyseth the flodes to drinke; the fowl that highte voltor, that eteth the stomak or the giser of Tityus , is so[ ] fulfild of his song that it nil eten ne tyren no more. At the laste30 the lord and Iuge of sowles was moeved to misericordes and cryde, “we ben overcomen,” quod he; “yive we to Orpheus his wyf to bere him companye; he hath wel y-bought hir by his song and his ditee; but we wol putte a lawe in this, and covenaunt in[ ]35 the yifte: that is to seyn, that, til he be out of helle, yif he loke behinde him, that his wyf shal comen ayein unto us.”
But what is he that may yive a lawe to loveres? Love is[ ] a gretter lawe and a strenger to him-self than any lawe that men may yeven. Allas! whan Orpheus and his wyf weren almest at the40 termes of the night, that is to seyn, at the laste boundes of helle, Orpheus lokede abakward on Eurydice his wyf, and loste hir, and was deed.[ ]
This fable aperteineth to yow alle, who-so-ever desireth or seketh to lede his thought in-to the soverein day, that is to seyn,45to cleernesse of sovereingood . For who-so that ever be so overcomen that he ficche his eyen into the putte of helle, that is to seyn, who-sosette histhoughtes in erthely thinges, al that ever he hath drawen of the noble good celestial, he leseth it whan he loketh the helles,’ that is to seyn,in-tolowe thinges of theerthe .[ ]
Explicit Liber tercius.
[P. 58, Book III, pr. 3, l. 68.]For all read al.
[P. 62, l. 4.]Counted as l. 10; it is really l. 9.
[P. 63, Book III, pr. 5, l. 41.]For of read of (in italics).
[P. 74, Book III, pr. 10, l. 6.]For has read hast.
[3. ]C. streyhte; Ed. streyght.
[5. ]C. angwissos.
[7. ]C. weyhte; Ed. weight. C. sentenses; Ed. sentences.
[8. ]C. vnparygal; Ed. vnperegall.
[10. ]C. deffende; Ed. defende.
[11. ]C. hir-; Ed. here-.
[12. ]C. desiros; Ed. desyrous.
[17. ]C. Ed. had.
[21. ]C. resseyued.
[22. ]C. wit; Ed. with.
[23. ]C. woldesthow; Ed. woldest thou.
[26. ]C. thynge (!); Ed. thyn; Lat. tuus.
[28. ]C. herthely; Ed. erthly.
[31. ]C. tarynge; Ed. taryeng; Lat. cunctatione.
[33. ]C. the (for thee); Ed. om.
[1. ]A. of (for fro).
[2. ]A. bushes; Ed. busshes; C. bosses.
[3. ]C. heres; A. eres.
[5. ]A. wikke. C. agreablely.
[7. ]C. dirke; A. derke.
[8. ]A. om. And.
[10. ]C. verre; A. verrey.
[2. ]C. cyte; A. sete; Lat. sedem.
[5. ]C. enforsen; A. enforced; Ed. enforcen.
[6. ]A. om. And blisfulnesse.
[10. ]A. om. cleped.
[14. ]C. enforsen; A. enforcen.
[18. ]A. is (for be).
[20. ]C. ben; A. be.
[22. ]C. nesshebors; A. neyghbours.
[23. ]A. halden. C. heyh; A. heyȝe; Ed. hye.
[24. ]A. to b (for be).
[28. ]C. by (for be); A. Ed. be.
[29. ]A. om. thing.
[32. ]A. rycchesse.
[35. ]A. om. 1st of. C. fauor; A. fauour.
[36. ]A. om. to men and hem.
[38. ]A. shollen.
[39. ]A. Ed. the; C. tho.
[45. ]C. sweft-; A. swifte-.
[49. ]C. deffyned; A. Ed. diffined.
[52. ]A. om. thy eyen; C. thy (for thyn); Ed. thyn. A. almost.
[55. ]A. om. and bef. iuged. C. A. establyssed; Ed. establysshed.
[59. ]A. ins. of after good (wrongly).
[60. ]C. dirkyd; A. derke; Ed. dyrked. A. om. but he . . path. C. paath (twice).
[62. ]C. foleyen; A. folyen.
[65. ]C. A. ins. it bef. is; Ed. om.
[66. ]C. A. foleyen; Ed. folyen.
[69. ]C. wel neyh; Ed. wel nygh; A. om. C. alle; A. Ed. al.
[77. ]I supply nat. C. angwyssos. C. subgyd; A. subgit.
[81. ]A. rycches.
[86. ]C. allegates; A. algates. A. lyuynge (!).
[3. ]A. om. the.
[8. ]A. om. betinges.
[9. ]C. horyble.
[11. ]A. that (for 1st and).
[13. ]A. to-teren.
[15. ]A. Iangland. A. this (for 2nd that).
[16. ]A. inclosed. C. streyht; A. streit.
[17. ]C. pleynynge; A. pleiyng; Lat. ludens.
[19. ]A. Ed. agreable.
[24. ]C. bent; A. bente.
[27. ]A. in-to (for to).
[30. ]C. hat; A. hath.
[2. ]A. om. youre biginninge.
[15. ]C. ataynt; A. a-teint.
[24. ]A. that (for And). A. om. nat that . . for. A. thou lakkedest; Ed. the lacked.
[34. ]A. a wyȝt (for aught).
[35. ]C. suffysaunte; A. suffisaunt.
[37, 40. ]A. rycchesse.
[46. ]C. sholdesthow.
[47. ]A. bynymen. C. febelere; A. febler.
[50. ]C. om. hem.
[54. ]C. deffende.
[56. ]A. nedith.
[60. ]A. rycchesse.
[63. ]A. threst.
[64. ]C. the; A. thei.
[65. ]A. y-nouȝ.
[66. ]A. threst.
[68. ]C. om. nat. C. vtrely; A. outerly.
[69, 70. ]C. fulfyd; A. fulfilled (twice).
[72. ]C. aueryce; A. auarice.
[73. ]C. rychesse (1st time only); A. rychesse (twice). C. alwey; A. awey.
[1. ]A. om. 2nd a.
[2. ]A. couetise.
[4. ]A. erye. C. feeldes.
[6. ]C. leuith; A. lyueth. C. shol; A. shal. C. A. compaignie.
[2. ]C. honorable, glossed ironice.
[3. ]C. lordshippys; A. lordshipes.
[5. ]A. om. ne. A. wikkednesses (twice); Lat. nequitiam.
[6. ]C. om. to bef. shewen.
[7. ]C. desdaign; A. desdeyne.
[9. ]C. nomyus; A. nonius. Ed. postome.
[11. ]C. nomyus. C. om. a. C. Sesthow.
[12. ]C. fylonye; A. vylenye; Ed. vylonies; Lat. dedecus.
[16. ]C. Ed. the; A. thi. A. magistrat; C. magestrat.
[17. ]A. by the offence; C. by offense; Ed. by offence.
[19. ]Ed. saw. C. lykoros; A. likerous.
[22. ]Ed. sawe.
[25. ]A. Ed. quod she; C. om.
[29. ]C. they, glossed, s. honurs.
[30. ]A. more; C. mor. C. om. it.
[38. ]C. A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdons. C. by-spetten; A. byspotten; Lat. commaculant.
[40. ]C. thyse shadwye; A. the shadewy.
[41. ]A. this (for thus).
[47. ]A. enchaufen.
[50. ]C. om. that bef. wenen.
[53. ]C. vanesshen; A. vanissen.
[54. ]C. maysthow. A. but; C. Ed. ne.
[56, 58. ]C. whylom; A. som-tyme (twice).
[57. ]C. om. the bef. senatorie.
[59. ]A. and what other; Ed. and of other.
[62. ]C. resseyueth; A. resceyueth.
[66. ]C. felthe; A. filthe. C. om. that after yif (3rd time only).
[70. ]C. dignete.
[2. ]A. kembed; apparailed.
[5. ]C. lorshippe; A. lordship. C. Ed. whylom; A. som-tyme.
[6. ]C. reuerentz; Ed. reuerent; A. dredeful; Lat. uerendis.
[8. ]A. tho; C. Ed. the. A. om. so.
[10. ]C. vysios; A. vicious.
[3. ]C. perpetualy; A. perpetuely.
[7. ]A. realmes.
[8. ]C. auctor; A. auctour.
[10. ]A. realmes (om. the).
[11. ]C. node (for nede).
[12. ]C. lorshipe.
[14. ]C. A. nounpower.
[19. ]A. realmes.
[20. ]C. famyler.
[23. ]A. yit; C. yif.
[24. ]C. seyst; A. seest; Lat. uideas.
[27. ]A. sernauntes. A. om. hem.
[31. ]A. realmes.
[32. ]A. feblenesse. A. real; Ed. royal.
[34. ]C. hyr famyler (sic); A. his familier.
[37. ]C. famyler; A. familier. C. that hadde; A. om. that.
[41. ]C. solutarie; A. solitarie.
[42. ]C. sholen; Ed. shullen; A. sholden; Lat. ruituros.
[44. ]C. yit; Ed. yet; A. that.
[47. ]C. wheyther.
[1. ]C. wole; Ed. wol; A. wolde.
[4. ]C. thath (!). A. contre Inde. A. comaundement.
[5. ]A. leest (for last); Lat. ultima.
[4. ]A. Ed. he; C. she (!).
[6. ]A. om. the bef. poeple.
[9. ]C. of (for or).
[15. ]A. ne encresed.
[19. ]A. parties of the erthe; Lat. parte terrarum.
[23. ]C. remenbred.
[24, 26, 29. ]C. gentellesse; A. gentilesse.
[26. ]C. refferred.
[30. ]A. decert; Ed. desertes.
[32. ]A. folweth; C. folueth.
[36. ]C. inposed.
[4. ]A. Ed. hir hornes; C. hyse hornes.
[5. ]C. menbrys.
[8. ]Ed. ye loke; Lat. spectes. A. thy (for 1st your); Lat. uestra.
[12. ]A. om. an.
[15. ]A. Ed. euery; C. euere.
[18. ]Ed. Euripidis; C. Eurydyppys; A. Euridippus; Lat. Euripidis (gen.).
[1. ]C. A. anguisseth.
[3. ]C. om. 2nd that. A. the bee (for he).
[9. ]C. shal.
[10. ]A. by (for thorugh).
[12. ]C. A. destrat; Ed. distracte.
[16. ]C. brwtel (for brotel; 1st time).
[19. ]A. mayst thou; C. maysthow.
[20. ]C. weyhty (!).
[32. ]C. in superfyce (om. the).
[34. ]A. desceiuaunce of the; Ed. disceyuaunce of; C. deceyuable or (!).
[37. ]A. the goodes of thi; Ed. the goodes of the; C. godes of the.
[40. ]A. Ed. a somme; C. om. a. C. wordly.
[42. ]C. ne ne ben. A. Ed. by the; C. om. the.
[43. ]C. man (for men; 1st time).
[4. ]A. om. nat.
[5. ]C. hyye mountaygnes; A. heyȝe mountaignes. C. kachche; A. kachen; Ed. catchen (= cacchen).
[6. ]C. honte; A. Ed. hunte. C. rooes; Ed. roes; A. roos.
[8. ]A. crikes; Ed. crekes; C. brykes; Lat. recessus.
[9. ]A. Ed. in the; C. om. the.
[14. ]Ed. Echines; C. A. echynnys.
[15. ]C. rechcheth; A. recchith. C. weere (for where).
[5. ]A. om. sothe and 2nd I.
[6. ]A. richesse. A. Ed. realmes.
[8. ]A. hast thou; C. hasthow. A. cause; Lat. caussas.
[16. ]A. inparfit. C. Wenesthow.
[20. ]A. fieble; C. Ed. febler; Lat. imbecillioris ualentiae.
[21. ]C. mot; Ed. mote; A. most.
[25. ]C. demesthow.
[29. ]A. nis (twice).
[36. ]C. demesthow. Ed. derke; C. dyrk; A. dirke.
[38. ]A. of (for by).
[53. ]A. And this (for This). C. consequens; Ed. consequence; A. consequente or consequence.
[54. ]C. hat (for hath). A. no nede.
[58. ]Ed. whence; A. wenest (!); Lat. unde.
[72. ]A. rychesse.
[74. ]Ed. derke; C. dyrk; A. dirk.
[75. ]C. delices (or delites); A. delitz; Ed. delytes.
[77. ]Ed. molestie; C. A. moleste; Lat. molestia.
[78. ]A. derknesse; C. dyrkenesse.
[80. ]C. schatereth. C. delytz; A. delices (or delites).
[83. ]C. Ed. defaute; A. faute.
[84. ]Ed. anguysshes; A. anguysses; C. angwyssos.
[86. ]A. semblable; C. semlable.
[90. ]C. oothre.
[92. ]C. seysthow.
[101. ]C. A. senglely.
[104. ]C. hasthow.
[106. ]C. shalthow.
[109. ]A. om. ful wel.
[115. ]C. Ed. that thilke; A. om. that.
[118. ]A. the fulle of (wrongly).
[119. ]C. norye; A. nurry.
[130. ]A. likenesse; Lat. imagines.
[141. ]A. disciple; C. dissipule.
[142. ]C. in tymeo; A. in thimeo; Lat. uti in Timaeo Platoni.
[143. ]C. byshechen. A. om. now.
[3. ]A. for to gon. C. from sin that; A. from tyme that; Ed. syth that.
[7. ]A. om. thee after with-in.
[10. ]A. alle thinges.
[11. ]A. comaundedist.
[12. ]C. om. and absolut.
[13. ]A. Ed. proporcionables; C. porcionables.
[16. ]A. fleye (for flee). A. Ed. drawe; C. drawen.
[18. ]C. glosses sowle by anima mundi.
[19. ]C. menbres.
[20. ]C. in to two; A. in two; Ed. in to.
[22. ]C. tornet; A. tournith.
[24. ]C. Ed. sowest; A. sewest.
[26. ]A. Ed. benigne; C. bygynnynge (!).
[28. ]A. thi thouȝt (wrongly); C. has the gloss: s. boecii. A. thi streite; Ed. thy strayte; C. the streite.
[29. ]A. om. him. C. enuerowne; A. enuiroune.
[31. ]A. om. 2nd thou.
[33. ]A. om. reste.
[34. ]C. paath.
[35. ]A. om. that.
[6. ]A. diffinissed; C. dyffynnyssed; Ed. diffynished.
[10. ]After us, A. ins. this is to seyne (needlessly). C. A. denoyed (error for deneyed); Ed. denyed.
[12. ]A. al; C. alle.
[14. ]C. ther-of; A. Ed. her-of. C. comht (for comth).
[20. ]C. absolut, i. laws.
[21. ]C. dessendeth.
[28. ]C. conseite; A. conceite.
[31. ]A. om. he that.
[32. ]A. is bettre.
[35. ]C. Ed. it-self; A. hym self.
[36. ]A. om. it.
[39. ]A. inperfit.
[40. ]C. as that; A. om. that. A. Ed. proces; C. processes.
[41. ]owen] A. ouȝt.
[44. ]A. om. that . . is.
[50. ]A. om. In which . . I.
[51. ]C. Wenesthow awht.
[56. ]A. receyued; C. resseyud.
[58. ]A. goode (for worthy).
[61. ]A. it is; C. is is (sic). fro him] A. om. him.
[63. ]A. om. hath.
[70. ]A. Ed. nis; C. is.
[73. ]A. om. soverein.
[84. ]A. om. yit.
[86, 87. ]A. om. For certes . . . hem-self. C. othre.
[88. ]A. om. ne. C. A. Ed. mowen; read may.
[90. ]A. Ed. nis; C. is.
[106. ]I supply they ben maked iust; Lat. iusti.
[110. ]C. by thy (wrongly); A. Ed. by the.
[119. ]A. witen; C. whyten. C. wheyther that; A. om. that. A. thise; C. this.
[120. ]A. Ed. by; C. be.
[121. ]C. or of; A. om. of.
[122. ]Ed. accomplysshe; C. acomplyse; A. acomplise.
[126. ]A. recordest.
[134. ]C. om. thise.
[141. ]Ed. discrecion; A. discressioun; C. descressioun.
[143. ]C. swhych.
[157. ]C. coniecten; A. coueiten; Lat. coniectare.
[159. ]C. awht; A. auȝt.
[161. ]A. requered; C. required.
[171. ]A. requered; C. required.
[176. ]C. of good; A. om. of; Lat. boni.
[3. ]A. Ed. Here; C. He.
[6. ]A. deceyued; C. desseyued.
[10. ]A. Ed. Hermus; C. Herynus (!).
[12. ]C. grene stones, i. smaragdes; with the whyte, i. margaretes.
[14. ]Ed. derkenesse; C. dyrknesse.
[16. ]A. by the whiche.
[17. ]C. eschueth; A. chaseth; Lat. uitat. A. derke; C. dyrke.
[3. ]C. wylthow.
[5. ]C. preys; A. Ed. price.
[6. ]A. Ed. bytyde; C. betydde.
[7. ]C. om. that. A. Ed. resoun; C. resouns; Lat. ratione.
[17. ]C. in on; A. in to oon; Ed. in to one.
[23. ]C. om. ther.
[29. ]C. grauntisthow.
[32. ]Ed. muste thou; C. mosthow; A. mayst thou. Ed. semblable; A. sembleable; C. semlable.
[37. ]C. Hasthow.
[43. ]A. conioigned; C. conioigne.
[44. ]A. disseueraunce; C. desseueraunce; after which C. A. om. of, which Ed. retains.
[51. ]A. Ed. who so; C. who.
[54. ]Ed. perissheth; C. periseth; A. perissith.
[60. ]C. wylnynge; A. Ed. willynge.
[62. ]A. om. the entencioun.
[64. ]C. om. and bef. eschueth.
[68. ]A. soule.
[69. ]A. Ed. appetite; C. apetid.
[76. ]Ed. mareys; A. mareis; C. marys. A. has here lost a leaf, from and othre to past end of Met. xi.
[84. ]C. maryes, i. medulle.
[86. ]Ed. seete; C. feete (!); Lat. sede.
[87. ]Ed. is; C. is is (sic). C. stidefastnesse.
[88. ]C. om. the bef. destemperaunce; Ed. has it.
[91. ]C. pupllisen; Ed. publysshen.
[94. ]Ed. perdurably; C. perdurablely.
[103. ]Ed. corrumpen.
[106. ]Ed. om. nat lightly . . departen. C. a twyne.
[110. ]Ed. araced. Ed. fleeth and; C. and (om. fleeth); Lat. refugit.
[112. ]Ed. wylful; C. weleful; Lat. uoluntariis.
[114. ]Ed. receyuen; C. resseyuen.
[116. ]Ed. slepen; C. slepyt.
[127. ]Ed. durabylite.
[142. ]Ed. perdurablye; C. perdurablely.
[152. ]Ed. thou; C. om. Ed. discryuen.
[161. ]C. fichched; Ed. fyxed.
[163. ]Ed. discouered.
[165. ]Ed. is that (for was that).
[2. ]Ed. om. nat. Ed. treaten (for trenden).
[18. ]Ed. derknesse; C. dyrknesse. Ed. seme; C. seen (but note semeth below).
[24. ]Ed. wyndes.
[26. ]Ed. asked.
[27. ]Ed. norisshyng; C. noryssynges; Lat. fomes.
[29. ]Ed. asked.
[30. ]Ed. naturel; C. the nature (sic).
[2. ]A. begins again with the seconde tyme.
[4. ]A. coniunccioun; C. coniuncsioun.
[12. ]C. wordyl (for world).
[19. ]C. world nis; Ed. A. worlde is.
[26. ]A. om. dyverse.
[27. ]A. discordeden.
[30. ]C. ordene; A. ordinee.
[31. ]A. Ed. spaces; C. splaces (!).
[32. ]C. stidefast; A. stedfast.
[35. ]Ed. ymaked; C. A. maked.
[40. ]A. han; C. ha (for hā).
[47. ]A. om. no.
[50. ]C. denoyed (for deneyed); A. Ed. denied.
[55. ]A. Ed. om. as; Lat. ueluti. C. A. stiere (better stere).
[57. ]A. corumpynge.
[63. ]A. natheles; C. natles.
[82. ]C. hem; A. Ed. hym.
[84. ]A. this; C. Ed. his.
[93. ]C. reprehendnen.
[96. ]A. hem; C. Ed. it.
[99. ]C. desposede; A. Ed. disposed; read deposed; Lat. deposuit.
[100. ]A. wilt; Ed. wylte; C. wil.
[105. ]C. Ed. be; A. is. A. Ed. No man; C. non.
[107. ]A. Ed. if he; C. yif it.
[110. ]A. may do.
[116. ]C. scornesthow . . pleyesthow . . desseyuesthow.
[118. ]Ed. Dedalus; C. dydalus; A. didalus.
[119. ]C. A. issest; Ed. issuest.
[120. ]C. fooldesthow.
[125. ]C. fulle the; A. the ful; Lat. plenam beatiludinem.
[127. ]Ed. god (Deus); C. A. good.
[132. ]A. bountee; C. bowonte.
[139. ]C. A. desseyue.
[142. ]C. resseiueth.
[143. ]C. aparmanides; Ed. Permenides; A. parmaynws; Lat. Parmenides.
[148. ]C. Ed. styred; A. stered.
[2. ]A. bonde; Lat. uincula. A. Ed. om. 2nd the.
[4. ]C. wepply; A. Ed. wepely.
[7. ]A. cruel; C. cruwel.
[10. ]A. Ed. ardaunt; C. ardent.
[12. ]C. goodes; A. godes (om. hevene); Lat. superos.
[14. ]C. blaundyssynge; A. blaundissyng.
[15. ]C. soonge; A. song (twice).
[16. ]C. resseyued; A. resceyued. C. calyope; A. calliope.
[17. ]A. as mychel as he myȝt; C. om. he.
[19. ]C. thechen; after techen him, A. adds in his seke herte (not in Lat.)
[23. ]Ed. Furyes; C. A. furijs.
[27. ]C. tatalus (for tātalus).
[28. ]A. thrust.
[29. ]Ed. Tityus; C. A. ticius: Lat. Tityi.
[33. ]A. his faire song: Lat. carmine.
[38. ]A. gretter; C. gret; Lat. maior.
[41. ]C. A. Erudice; Ed. Euridice; Lat. Eurydicen.
[43. ]C. apartienyth; A. apperteineth.
[45. ]C. god; A. goode.
[46. ]C. fychche.
[47. ]C. om. his after sette.
[49. ]A. to (for in-to). C. om. the bef. erthe.
[Prose 1. 3.]streighte, pp., i. e. stretched; ‘adrectis . . auribus.’ The form streight-e is plural.
[6.]so, i. e. so much. Better ‘how much’; Lat. quantum.
[8.]unparigal, unequal; ‘imparem.’
[11.]nat only that, it is not only the case that. It would be clearer if that were omitted.
[12.]agrisen, filled with dread; pp., with short i, of agrysen. Cf. agryseth, Bk. i. Met. 6, l. 7.
[15.]ravisshedest, didst greedily receive; ‘rapiebas.’
[32.]for the cause of thee, for thy sake; ‘tui caussa.’
[33.]but I wol, &c.; ‘sed quae tibi caussa notior est, eam prius designare uerbis atque informare conabor.’
[Metre 1. 2.]hook, sickle; ‘falce.’
[4.]Hony; cf. Troilus, i. 638, iii. 1219.
[6.]Nothus, Notus, the South wind. ploungy, stormy, rainy; ‘imbriferos.’
[9.]bigin, do thou begin; imperative; ‘incipe.’
[Prose 2. 2.]streite sete, narrow (retired) seat; ‘in angustam sedem.’
[3.]cures, endeavours; ‘omnis mortalium cura.’
[7.]over that, beyond it; ‘ulterius.’
[8.]sovereyn good; ‘omnium summum bonorum.’
[11.]out of . . . good; ‘extrinsecus.’
[28.]mesuren, &c.; ‘Plurimi uerò boni fructum gaudio laetitiâque metiuntur.’
[34.]is torned; a bad translation of ‘uersatur,’ i. e. ‘resides.’
[38.]merinesse, enjoyment; ‘iocunditatis.’
[50.]for which, on which account; ‘quare.’
[55.]Epicurus. See Cant. Tales, Prol. 336-8, where this is quoted; and see Merch. Ta. E 2021; Troil. iii. 1691; ‘Epicurus . . sibi summum bonum uoluptatem esse constituit.’
[57.]birefte awey. But the Lat. text has precisely the opposite sense: ‘quod caetera omnia iocunditatem animo uideantur adferre.’ For adferre [MS. C afferre], Chaucer has given us the sense of auferre.
[58.]studies, i. e. endeavours; ‘studia.’ corage; ‘animus.’
[59.]al be it, &c.; ‘et si caligante memoria.’
[60.]not, knows not; ‘uelut ebrius, domum quo tramite reuertatur, ignorat.’ See Cant. Tales, A 1262.
[67.]that . . it: ‘qui quod sit optimum, id etiam . . . putant.’
[75.]forsake, deny; ‘sequestrari nequit.’
[77.]be anguissous, i. e. ‘be neither full of anxiety.’ The neither is implied in the following ne; ‘non esse anxiam tristemque.’ It is clearer if we supply nat, as in the text.
[83.]Than is it good, then it is the summum bonum.
[86.]lovinge, as if translating diligendo, which occurs in many MSS.; but the better reading is ‘deligendo,’ i. e. selecting.
[Metre 2. 1.]with slakke . . strenges; ‘fidibus lentis.’
[2.]enclineth and flitteth; ‘flectat.’ flitteth here means ‘shifts.’
[3.]purveyable, with provident care; ‘prouida.’
[6.]of the contre of Pene; ‘Poeni leones’; lions of North Africa, supposed to be extremely ferocious.
[8.]sturdy, cruel, hard; ‘trucem . . magistrum.’
[13.]and hir mayster: ‘Primusque lacer dente cruento Domitoi rabidas imbuit iras.’
[15.]Iangelinge, garrulous; ‘garrula.’ This passage is imitated twice in the Cant. Tales, F 607-617, H 163-174.
[17.]pleyinge bisinesse; ‘ludens cura.’
[19.]agreables; this form of the pl. adj. is only used in the case of words of French origin. Examples are not very common; cf. reverents below, Bk. iii. Met. 4, l. 6; and delitables, C. T. F 899.
[26.]by privee path, by an unseen route; ‘secreto tramite.’ Alluding to the apparent passage of the sun below the horizon and, as it were, underneath the world. Cf. Troil. iii. 1705.
[27.]Alle thinges: ‘Repetunt proprios quaeque recursus.’
[Prose 3. 1.]beestes, animals; ‘animalia.’ Chaucer always uses beest for ‘animal.’
[15.]fals beautee, a false beauty; ‘falsa . . beatitudinis species.’ But ‘species’ may simply mean ‘semblance.’
[17.]After axe, Caxton and Thynne insert the, i. e. thee; ‘te ipsum.’
[24.]thee lakked: ‘uel aberat quod abesse non uelles, uel aderat quod adesse noluisses.’ This sentence much impressed Chaucer. He again recurs to it in the Complaint to Pite, 99-104; Parl. Foules, 90, 91; and Complaint to his Lady, 47-49. This fact helps to prove the genuineness of the last-named poem.
[36.]No. Observe the use of no after a sentence containing nis nat. If there had been no negative in the preceding sentence, the form would have been Nay. Such is the usual rule.
[40, 41.]maken, cause, bring it about. bihighten, promised.
[48.]foreyne . . pletinges; ‘forenses querimoniae.’ But forenses means ‘public.’
[69.]be fulfild . . and axe any thing; rather paraphrastic; ‘aliquid poscens opibus expletur.’ fulfild here means ‘plentifully supplied,’ not ‘completely satisfied,’ whereas in the very next line it means ‘completely satisfied.’
[71.]I holde me stille, and telle nat, I say nothing about; ‘Taceo.’ Seven E. words for one of Latin.
[74.]what may . . be, why is it; ‘quid est quod,’ &c.
[Metre 3. 1.]After river, Caxton and Thynne insert or a gutter; Lat. ‘gurgite.’
[2.]yit sholde it never. This gives quite a false turn to the translation, and misses the sense intended. I quote the whole Metre.
[3.]rede see; lit. ‘red shore.’ However, the Red Sea is alluded to. Chaucer’s translation of baccis by ‘stones’ is not happy; for ‘pearls’ are meant. Cf. Horace, Epod. viii. 14; Sat. ii. 3. 241. Pliny praises the pearls from the Red Sea; Nat. Hist. lib. xii. c. 18.
[Prose 4. 9.]postum, short for apostume, i. e. imposthume. boch, botch, pustule. Lat. struma. Catullus is the well-known poet, and the allusion is to his lines addressed to himself (Carm. 52):—
[14.]Certes, thou, &c. Rather involved. ‘Tu quoque num tandem tot periculis adduci potuisti, ut cum Decorato gerere magistratum putares, cùm in eo mentem nequissimi scurrae delatorisque respiceres?’ With is used for by: ‘by so many perils’ is intended. See Chaucer’s gloss.
[16.]Decorat, Decoratus. He seems to have been in high favour with king Theodoric, who wrote him a letter which is preserved in Cassiodorus, lib. v. 31. It is clear that Boethius thought very ill of him.
[32.]that he is despysed, i. e. because he is despised. The argument is, that a wicked man seems the more wicked when he is despised by a very great number of people; and if he be of high rank, his rank makes him more conspicuous, and therefore the more generally contemned. The MSS. vary here; perhaps the scribes did not see their way clearly. See the footnote.
[35.]and . . nat unpunisshed; ‘Verùm non impunè.’
[40.]comen by, arise from; ‘per has umbratiles dignitates non posse contingere.’ See Chaucer’s Balade on Gentilesse, l. 5.
[42.]many maner, a mistranslation: ‘Si quis multiplici consulatu functus.’
[46.]to don his office, to perform its function. Cf. Wyf of Bathes Tale, D 1144.
[50.]that wenen, i. e. (folk or people) who suppose.
[56.]provostrie, i. e. the prætorship; ‘praetura.’
[57.]rente, income; ‘et senatorii census grauis sarcina.’
[58.]the office; this alludes to the Praefectus annonae, once an honourable title. It was borne by Augustus, when emperor.
[64.]by the opinioun of usaunces; ‘opinione utentium.’ Chaucer’s phrase seems to mean ‘by estimation of the mode in which it is used.’ He should have written ‘by the opinioun of hem that usen it.’
[66.]of hir wille, of their own accord (as it were); ‘ultro.’
[68.]what is it; ‘quid est, quòd in se expetendae pulcritudinis habeant, nedum aliis praestent?’
[Metre 4.]Cf. Monkes Tale, B 3653-60.
[2.]Tirie, Tyre; lit. ‘Tyrian,’ the adjectival form; ‘Tyrio superbus ostro.’ So above, Bk. ii. Met. 5, l. 8.
[3.]throf he, he flourished (lit. throve); ‘uigebat.’
[6.]reverents, the pl. form of the adj. See above, Bk. iii. Met. 2, l. 19. unworshipful, &c.; ‘indecores curules.’
[Prose 5. 1.]regnes, kingdoms; familiaritees, friendships.
[2.]How elles, why not? ‘Quidni?’ whan, whenever.
[4.]kinges ben chaunged. This is the subject of Chaucer’s Monkes Tale. Examples are certainly numerous. In the time of Boethius (470-524), they were not wanting. Thus Basiliscus, emperor of the East, had a reign which Gibbon describes as ‘short and turbulent,’ and perished miserably of hunger in 476; and Odoacer was killed by Theodoric in 493; see Gibbon’s History.
[13.]upon thilke syde that, on whichever side.
[14.]noun-power . . undernethe; ‘impotentia subintrat.’ nounpower, lack of power, occurs in P. Plowman, C. xx. 292; see my note.
[17.]A tyraunt; Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, in Sicily, who caused a sword to be hung by a slender thread over the head of his favourite Damocles, to teach him that riches could not make happy the man whose death was imminent. See Cicero, Tuscul. v. 21. 6; Horace, Carm. iii. 1. 17; Persius, Sat. iii. 40. And see Ch. Kn. Tale, A 2029.
[27.]seriaunts, serjeants (satellite), different from servauntes (seruientium) below. The difference is one of use only; for the form seriaunt, E. serjeant, represents the Lat. seruientem, whilst servaunt, E. servant, represents the O. F. pres. part. of the O. F. verb servir; which comes to much about the same thing.
[30.]what, why; what . . anything answers to Lat. ‘quid.’
[33.]in hool, &c., whether that power is unimpaired or lost; Lat. ‘incolumis . . lapsa.’
[34.]Nero; see note to Monkes Tale, B 3685.
[35.]Antonius, a mistake for Antoninus, as in the Lat. text. By Antoninus is meant the infamous emperor Caracalla, on whom Septimius Severus had conferred the title of Antoninus. Papinianus was a celebrated Roman jurist, who was put to death at the command of Caracalla; see Gibbon, Roman Empire, ch. vi.
[39.]Senek, Seneca; see Tacitus, Annal. xiv.
[41.]But whan; ‘Sed dum ruituros moles ipsa trahit, neuter, quod uoluit, effecit.’ I. e. neither Papinian nor Seneca found it possible to forego their position.
[48.]Certes, swiche folk; see Monkes Ta. B 3434-5.
[50.]pestilence; see Merch. Ta. E. 1784, and 1793-4.
[Metre 5. 1.]For corage, Caxton and Thynne have corages, but this may be an alteration due to the Latin which they quote as a heading: ‘Qui se uolet esse potentem, Animos,’ &c.
[5.]Tyle; ‘ultima Thule.’ Supposed to be Iceland, or one of the Shetland Islands.
[Prose 6. 3.]tragedies; see note to Cant. Ta. B 3163.
[3, 4.]O glorie. The original has: [Editor: illegible character] δόξα δόξα μυρίοισι δὴ βροτω̂ν, οὐδὲν γεγω̂σι βίοτον ὤγκωσας μέγαν. See Euripides, Andromache, 319. For this, MS. C. gives, as the Latin equivalent—‘o gloria, gloria, in milibus hominum nichil aliud facta nisi auribus inflatio magna’; an interpretation which Chaucer here follows.
[24.]gentilesse. See remarks (in the notes) on Chaucer’s Balade of Gentilesse.
[Metre 6. 8.]For yif thou loke your; the change from thy to your is due to the Latin: ‘Si promordia uestra Auctoremque Deum spectes.’
[9.]forlived, degenerate; ‘degener.’ In Prose 6 (above), l. 37, outrayen or forliven translates ‘degenerent.’
[Prose 7. 1.]delices; ‘uoluptatibus.’ The MSS. so confuse the words delices and delyts that it is hardly possible to say which is meant, except when the Lat. text has deliciae. Both E. words seem to correspond to uoluptates.
[12.]Iolitee: intended to translate ‘lasciuiam,’ a reading of some MSS.; MS. C. has this reading, glossed ‘voluptatem.’ Most MSS. read lacunam, i. e. void, want. were, would be; ‘foret.’
[14.]that children: ‘nescio quem filios inuenisse tortores.’
[15.]bytinge; ‘mordax.’ anguissous: ‘anxium.’
[16.]or, ere; in fact, Caxton has ere, and Thynne, er.
[18.]Euripidis; in the gen. case, as in the Lat. text. The reference is to Euripides, Andromache, 418: πα̂σι δ’ ἀνθρώποις ἄρ’ ἠ̂ν ψυχὴ, τεκν’· ὅστις δ’ αὔτ’ ἄπειρος [Editor: illegible character]ν ψέγει, ἡ̂σσον μὲν ἀλγεɩ̂, δυστυχω̂ν δ’ εὐδαιμονεɩ̂.
[Metre 7. 3.]he fleeth: ‘Fugit et nimis tenaci Ferit icta corda morsu.’ As to the use of flyes for ‘bees,’ see note to Parl. Foules, 353.
[Prose 8. 1.]that thise weyes: ‘quin hae ad beatitudinem uiae deuiae quaedam sint.’
[8.]supplien, supplicate, beg: ‘danti supplicabis.’
[11.]awaytes, snares: ‘subiectorum insidiis obnoxius periculis subiacebis.’ anoyously; a mistranslation of ‘obnoxius,’; see above.
[12.]destrat, distracted: ‘distractus.’
[16.]brotel, brittle, frail: ‘fragilissimae.’
[28.]of the somer-sesoun: ‘uernalium.’ So elsewhere, somer-sesoun really means the spring. Cf. P. Plowman, line 1.
[Metre 8. 5.]ginnes, snares: ‘laqueos.’
[7.]Tyrene; ‘Tyrrhena . . uada’; see Vergil, Aen. i. 67.
[14.]echines: ‘uel asperis Praestent echinis litora.’
[Prose 9. 10.]thorugh a litel clifte: ‘rimulâ.’
[14.]misledeth it and transporteth: ‘traducit.’
[16.]Wenest thou: ‘An tu arbitraris, quod nihilo indigeat, egere potentia?’
[38.]Consider: ‘Considera uero, ne, quod nihilo indigere, quod potentissimum, quod honore dignissimum esse concessum est, egere claritudine, quam sibi praestare non possit, atque ob id aliqua ex parte uideatur abiectius.’
[53.]This is a consequence: ‘Consequitur.’
[69.]they ne geten hem: ‘nec portionem, quae nulla est, nec ipsam, quam minimè affectat, assequitur.’
[77.]that power forleteth: ‘ei, quem ualentia deserit, quem molestia pungit, quem uilitas abicit, quem recondit obscuritas.’ Hence that means ‘whom,’ and refers to the man.
[95.]that shal he nat finde. This is turned into the affirmative instead of the interrogative form: ‘sed num in his eam reperiet, quae demonstrauimus, id quod pollicentur, non posse conferre?’
[119.]norie, pupil; Lat. ‘alumne.’
[136.]that lyen: ‘quae autem beatitudinem mentiantur.’
[142.]in Timeo; ‘uti in Timaeo Platoni.’ Here Chaucer keeps the words in Timaeo without alteration, as if they formed the title of Plato’s work. The passage is: ἀλλ’ [Editor: illegible character] Σώκρατες, τον̂τό γε δὴ πάντες ὅσοι καὶ κατὰ βραχύ σωϕροσύνης μετέχουσιν ἐπὶ πάσῃ ὁρμῃ̑ καὶ σμικρον̂ καὶ μεγάλου πράγματος θεὸν ἀεί που καλον̂σιν (27 C).
[Metre 9. 3.]from sin that age hadde biginninge, since the world began: ‘ab aeuo.’ thou that dwellest: cf. Kn. Tale, A 3004.
[5.]necesseden, compelled, as by necessity: ‘pepulerunt.’
[6.]floteringe matere: ‘materiae fluitantis’; see below, Pr. xi. 156.
[8.]beringe, &c.; see Leg. of Good Women, 2229, and note.
[13.]Thou bindest: ‘Tu numeris elementa ligas.’
[14.]colde. Alluding to the old doctrine of the four elements, with their qualities. Thus the nature of fire was thought to be hot and dry, that of water cold and moist, that of air cold and dry, that of earth hot and moist. Cf. Ovid, Met. i. 19:—
Sometimes the four elements are represented as lying in four layers; the earth at the bottom, and above it the water, the air, and the fire, in due order. This arrangement is here alluded to. Cf. Kn. Ta. A 2992.
[18.]Thou knittest, &c.
[24.]cartes, vehicles; the bodies which contain the souls.
[34.]berer: ‘uector, dux, semita, terminus idem.’
[Prose 10. 8.]for that veyn, in order that vain, &c.
[11.]ne is, exists. We should now drop the negative after ‘deny.’ nis right as, is precisely as.
[12.]is proeved: ‘id imminutione perfecti imperfectum esse perhibetur.’
[14.]in every thing general: ‘in quolibet genere.’
[21.]descendeth: ‘in haec extrema atque effeta dilabitur.’ Cf. Kn. Ta. 3003-10.
[31, 2.]that nothing nis bettre, i.e. than whom nothing is better. So below (l. 70) we have—‘that nothing nis more worth.’
[32.]nis good, is good. The ne is due to the preceding ‘douted.’
[39.]for as moche: ‘ne in infinitum ratio procedat.’
[51.]this prince; Caxton and Thynne have the fader; Lat. ‘patrem.’
[62.]feigne: ‘fingat qui potest.’
[88.]thanne ne may: ‘quare neutrum poterit esse perfectum, cum alterutri alterum deest.’ Thus we must read may (sing.), not mowen (pl.).
[98.]Upon thise thinges, besides this: ‘Super haec.’
[100.]porismes: ‘πορίσματα’; corollaries, or deductions from a foregoing demonstration.
[101.]as a corollarie: ‘ueluti corollarium.’ Corollary is derived from corolla, dimin. of corona, a garland. It meant money paid for a garland of flowers; hence, a gift, present, gratuity; and finally, an additional inference from a proposition. Chaucer gives the explanation mede of coroune, i.e. gift of a garland.
[106.]they ben maked iust: these four words must be added to make sense; it is plain that they were lost by the inadvertence of the scribes. Lat. text: ‘Sed uti iustitiae adeptione iusti, sapientiae sapientes fiunt, ita diuinitatem adeptos, Deos fieri simili ratione necesse est.’
[165.]the soverein fyn; Lat. text: ‘ut summa, cardo, atque caussa.’ Chaucer seems to have taken summa to be the superl. adjective; and fyn, i.e. end, is meant to represent cardo.
[Metre 10. 8.]Tagus; the well-known river flowing by Toledo and Lisbon, once celebrated for its golden sands; see Ovid, Am. i. 15. 34; Met. ii. 251, &c.
[10.]Hermus, an auriferous river of Lydia, into which flowed the still more celebrated Pactolus. ‘Auro turbidus Hermus;’ Verg. Georg. ii. 137.
[11.]that medleth: ‘candidis miscens uirides lapillos’; which Chaucer explains as mingling smaragdes (emeralds) with margaretes (pearls); see footnote on p. 80.
[17.]that eschueth: ‘Vitat obscuras animae ruinas.’
[Prose 11. 3.]How mochel; i.e. at what price will you appraise it: ‘quanti aestimabis.’
[24.]The thinges thanne: ‘Quae igitur, cùm discrepant, minimè bona sunt; cùm uero unum esse coeperint, bona fiunt: nonne haec ut bona sint, unitatis fieri adeptione contingit?’
[55.]non other; i.e. no other conclusion: ‘minimè aliud uidetur.’
[63.]travaileth him, endeavours: ‘tueri salutem laborat.’
[71.]thar thee nat doute, thou needst not doubt.
[81.]What woltow: ‘Quid, quod omnes, uelut in terras ore demerso trahunt alimenta radicibus, ac per medullas robur corticemque diffundunt?’ (maryes, marrows.)
[91.]renovelen and puplisshen hem: ‘propagentur.’
[92.]that they ne ben, that they are; the superfluous ne is due to the ne preceding.
[110.]But fyr: ‘Ignis uero omnem refugit sectionem.’
[112.]wilful: ‘de uoluntariis animae cognoscentis motibus.’
[123.]som-tyme: ‘gignendi opus . . interdum coërcet uoluntas.’
[128.]And thus: ‘Adeò haec sui caritas.’
[142.]for yif that that oon: ‘hoc enim sublato, nec esse quidem cuiquam permanebit.’
[156.]floteren, fluctuate, waver; ‘fluitabunt’; see above, Met. ix. 6.
[161.]for thou hast: ‘ipsam enim mediae ueritatis notam mente fixisti.’
[163.]in that, in that thing which: ‘in hoc . . quod.’
[Metre 11. 2.]mis-weyes, by-paths: ‘nullis . . deuiis.’
[7.]Cf. Troilus, iv. 200.
[8.]lighten, i. e. shine: ‘Lucebit.’
[10.]Glosa. This gloss is an alternative paraphrase of all that precedes, from the beginning of the Metre.
[32.]Plato. From Plato’s Phaedo, where Socrates says: ὅτι ἡμɩ̂ν ἡ μάθησις οὐκ ἄλλο τι ἢ ἀνάμνησις τυγχάνει ον̂̔σα (72 E).
[Prose 12. 18.]Wendest, didst ween: ‘Mundum, inquit, hunc â Deo regi paullo antè minimè dubitandum putabas.’ Surely Chaucer has quite mistaken the construction. He should rather have said: ‘Thou wendest, quod she, a litel her-biforn that men ne sholden nat doute,’ &c.
[19.]nis governed, is governed; the same construction as before. So also but-yif there nere=unless there were (l. 25).
[28.]yif ther ne were: ‘nisi unus esset, qui quod nexuit contineret.’
[30.]bringe forth, bring about, dispose, arrange: ‘disponeret.’
[38.]that thou: ‘ut felicitatis compos, patriam sospes reuisas.’
[55.]a keye and a stere: ‘ueluti quidam clauus atque gubernaculum.’ Here Chaucer unluckily translates clauus as if it were clauis.
[63.]ne sheweth: ‘non minùs ad contuendum patet’; i. e. is equally plain to be seen.
[67.]by the keye: ‘bonitatis clauo’; see note to l. 55.
[73.]It mot nedes be so: ‘Ita, inquam, necesse est; nec beatum regimen esse uideretur, si quidem detrectantium iugum foret, non obtemperantium salus.’ The translation has here gone wrong.
[87.]softely, gently, pleasurably: ‘suauiter.’
[91.]so at the laste: ‘ut tandem aliquando stultitiam magna lacerantem sui pudeat.’ Another common reading is latrantem, but this was evidently not the reading in Chaucer’s copy; MS. C. has lacerantem.
[97.]the poetes. See Ovid, Met. i. 151-162; Vergil, Georg. i. 277-283.
[116.]Scornest thou me: ‘Ludisne, inquam, me, inextricabilem labyrinthum rationibus texens, quae nunc quidem, qua egrediaris, introeas; nunc uerò qua introieris, egrediare; an mirabilem quemdam diuinae simplicitatis orbem complicas?’
[117.]the hous of Dedalus; used to translate ‘labyrinthum.’ See Vergil, Aen. vi. 24-30, v. 588. No doubt Boethius borrowed the word inextricabilis from Aen. vi. 27.
[125.]for which: ‘ex quo neminem beatum fore, nisi qui pariter Deus esset, quasi munusculum dabas.’ Here munusculum refers to corollarium, which Chaucer translates by ‘a mede of coroune’; see above, Pr. x. 101.
[132.]by the governements: ‘bonitatis gubernaculis.’
[135.]by proeves in cercles and hoomlich knowen: ‘atque haec nullis extrinsecus sumptis, sed altero ex altero fidem trahente insitis domesticisque probationibus.’ Chaucer inserts in cercles and, by way of reference to arguments drawn from circles; but the chief argument of this character really occurs later, viz. in Bk. iv. Pr. vi. 81.
[143.]Parmenides, a Greek philosopher who, according to Plato, accompanied Zeno to Athens, where he became acquainted with Socrates, who was then but a young man. Plato, in his Sophistes, quotes the line of Parmenides which is here referred to: πάντοθεν εὐκύκλου σϕαίρας ἐναλίγκιον ὄγκῳ. This the MSS. explain to mean: ‘rerum orbem mobilem rotat, dum se immobilem ipsa conseruat.’ The Greek quotation is corruptly given in the MSS., but is restored by consulting Plato’s text (244 E); hence we do not know what reading Boethius adopted. It can hardly have been the one here given, which signifies that God is ‘like the mass of a sphere that is well-rounded on all sides.’ Perhaps he took the idea of God’s immobility from the next two verses:—
i. e. ‘equidistant from the centre in all directions; for there is nothing greater (than Him), and nothing more immoveable.’
[152.]Plato. From Plato’s Timaeus, 29 B: ὡς ἄρα τοὺς λόγους [Editor: illegible character]νπερ εἰσὶν ἐξηγηταί, τούτων αὐτω̂ν καὶ συγγενεɩ̂ς ὄντας. Chaucer quotes this saying twice; see Cant. Tales, A 741-2, H 207-210.
[Metre 12. 3.]Orpheus. This well-known story is well told in Vergil, Georg. iv. 454-527; and in Ovid, Met. x. 1-85.
[4.]weeply, tearful, sorrowful: ‘flebilibus.’
[5.]moevable should precede riveres; ‘Silvas currere, mobiles Amnes stare coegerat.’ Chaucer took these two lines separately.
[12.]hevene goddes, gods of heaven: ‘superos.’
[16.]laved out, drawn up (as from a well). The M. E. laven, to draw up water, to pour out, is from the A. S. lafian, to pour; for which see Cockayne’s A. S. Leechdoms, ii. 124, ii. 74, iii. 48. It is further illustrated in my Etym. Dict., s. v. Lavish, its derivative. No doubt it was frequently confused with F. laver, to wash; but it is an independent Teutonic word, allied to G. laben. In E. Friesic we find lafen sük or laven sük, to refresh oneself. It is curious that it appears even in so late an author as Dryden, who translates Lat. egerit (Ovid, Met. xi. 488) by laves, i. e. bales out. And see laven in Mätzner.
[16.]Calliope. Orpheus was son of Oeagrus, king of Thrace, and of Calliope, chief of the Muses; cf. Ovid, Ibis, 484.
[17.]and he song. This does not very well translate the Latin text; see note to l. 12.
[21.]of relesinge: ‘ueniam’; i. e. for the release (of Eurydice).
[22.]Cerberus, the three-headed dog; cf. Verg. Georg. iv. 483; Aen. vi. 417; Ovid, Met. iv. 449.
[23.]Furies; the Eumenides; cf. Verg. Georg. iv. 483; Ovid, Met. x. 46.
[26.]Ixion, who was fastened to an ever-revolving wheel; see Georg. iv. 484; iii. 38; Ovid, Met. iv. 460.
[27.]Tantalus, tormented by perpetual thirst; Ovid, Met. x. 41; iv. 457.
[29.]Tityus: ‘Vultur dum satur est modis Non traxit Tityi iecur.’ Cf. Verg. Aen. vi. 595-600; Ovid, Met. iv. 456. And see Troilus, i. 786-8.
[34.]But we wol: ‘Sed lex dona coërceat.’
[37.]But what; quoted in Kn. Tale, A 1164.
[42.]and was deed: ‘occidit.’ The common story does not involve the immediate death of Orpheus.
[49.]loketh, beholds: ‘uidet inferos.’ The story of Orpheus is excellently told in King Alfred’s translation of Boethius, cap. xxxv. § 6.