Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK IV. - The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 2 (Boethius, Troilus)
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BOOK IV. - 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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Hec cum Philosophia, dignitate uultus.
Whan Philosophye hadde songen softely and delitably the forseide thinges, kepinge the dignitee of hir chere and the weighte of hir wordes, I thanne, that ne hadde nat al-outerly foryeten the wepinge and the mourninge that was set in myn5 herte, forbrak the entencioun of hir that entendede yit to seyn[ ]some othre thinges. ‘O ,’ quod I, ‘thou that art gyderesse of verrey light; the thinges that thou hast seid me hider-to ben so clere to me and so shewinge by the devyne lookinge of hem, and by thy resouns, that they ne mowen ben overcomen. And10 thilke thinges that thou toldest me, al-be-it so that I hadde whylom foryeten hem, for the sorwe of the wrong that hath ben don to me, yit natheles they ne weren nat al-outrely unknowen to me. But this same is, namely, a right greet cause of my sorwe,[ ]so as the governour of thinges is good, yif that yveles mowen ben by any weyes; or elles yif that yveles passen with-oute punisshinge.15 The whiche thing only, how worthy it is to ben wondred up-on, thou considerest it wel thy-self certeinly. But yit to this thing ther is yit another thing y-ioigned, more to ben wondred up-on. For felonye is emperesse , and floureth ful ofrichesses ; and vertu nis nat al-only with-oute medes, but it is cast under and20 fortroden under the feet of felonous folk; and it abyeth the torments in stede of wikkede felounes. Of alle whiche thinges ther nis no wight that may merveylen y-nough, ne compleine, that swiche thinges ben doon in the regne of god, that alle thinges woot and alle thinges may, and ne wole nat but only gode[ ]25 thinges.’
Thanne seyde she thus: ‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘that were a greet merveyle, and an enbasshinge with-outen ende, and wel more[ ]horrible than alle monstres, yif it were as thou wenest; that is to seyn, that in the right ordenee hous of so mochel a fader and an[ ]30 ordenour of meynee, that the vesseles[ ] that ben foule and vyle sholden ben honoured and heried , and the precious vesseles sholden ben defouled and vyle; but it nis nat so. For yif tho thinges that I have concluded a litel her-biforn ben kept hole and unraced , thou shalt wel knowe by the autoritee of god, of the35 whos regne I speke, that certes the gode folk ben alwey mighty, and shrewes ben alwey out-cast and feble; ne the vyces ne ben never-mo with-oute peyne, ne the vertues ne ben nat with-oute mede; and that blisfulnesses comen alwey to goode folk, and infortune comth alwey to wikked folk. And thou shalt wel40 knowe many thinges of this kinde, that shollen cesen thy pleintes,[ ] and strengthen thee with stedefast sadnesse. And for thou hast seyn the forme of the verray blisfulnesse by me, that have whylom shewed it thee, and thou hast knowen in whom blisfulnesse 45 is y-set, alle thinges y-treted that I trowe ben necessarie to[ ] putten forth, I shal shewe thee the wey that shal bringen thee ayein un-to thyn hous. And I shal ficchen fetheres in thy thought,[ ] by whiche it may arysen in heighte, so that, alle tribulacioun y-don awey, thou, by my gydinge and by my path and by my50sledes , shalt mowe retorne hool and sound in-to thy contree.[ ]
Sunt etenim pennae uolucres mihi.
I have, forsothe, swifte fetheres that surmounten the heighte of hevene. Whan the swifte thought hath clothed it-self in tho[ ] fetheres, it despyseth the hateful erthes, and surmounteth the roundnesse of the grete ayr; and it seeth the cloudes behinde his5 bak; and passeth the heighte of the region of the fyr, that[ ] eschaufeth by the swifte moevinge of the firmament, til that he areyseth him in-to the houses that beren the sterres, and ioyneth his weyes with the sonne Phebus, and felawshipeth the wey of the olde colde Saturnus ; and he y-maked a knight of the clere[ ]10 sterre; that is to seyn, that thethoughtis maked goddes knight by the sekinge of trouthe to comen to the verray knowleche of god. And thilke thought renneth by the cercle of the sterres, in alle places ther-as the shyninge night is peinted ; that is to seyn, the night that is cloudeles; for on nightes that ben cloudeles it semeth as15the hevene were peinted with dyverse images of sterres. And[ ]whanne he hath y-doon ther y-nough, he shal forleten the laste hevene, and he shal pressen and wenden on the bak of the swifte firmament, and he shal ben maked parfit of the worshipful light[ ]of god. Ther halt the lord of kinges the ceptre of his20 might, and atempreth the governements of the world, and the shyninge Iuge of thinges, stable in him-self, governeth the swifte cart or wayn , that is to seyn, the circuler moevinge of the sonne.[ ] And yif thy wey ledeth thee ayein so that thou be brought thider, thanne wolt thou seye now that that is the contree that thou requerest , of which thou ne haddest no minde: “but now it[ ]25 remembreth me wel, heer was I born, heer wol I fastne my[ ] degree, heer wole I dwelle.” But yif thee lyketh thanne to loken[ ] on the derknesse of the erthe that thou hast forleten, thanne shalt thou seen that thise felonous tyraunts, that the wrecchede peple dredeth, now shollen ben exyled fro thilke fayre contree.’30
Tum ego, Papae, inquam.
Than seyde I thus: ‘owh ! I wondre me that thou bihetest me[ ] so grete thinges; ne I ne doute nat that thou ne mayst wel performe that thou bihetest. But I preye thee only this, that thou ne tarye nat to telle me thilke thinges that thou hast moeved.’5
‘First,’ quod she, ‘thou most nedes knowen, that goode folk ben alwey stronge and mighty, and the shrewes ben feble and desert and naked of alle strengthes . And of thise thinges, certes, everich of hem is declared and shewed by other. For so as good and yvel ben two contraries, yif so be that good be stedefast ,10 than sheweth the feblesse of yvel al openly; and yif thou knowe cleerly the frelenesse of yvel, the stedefastnesse of good is knowen. But for as moche as the fey of my sentence shal be the[ ] more ferme and haboundaunt, I will gon by that oo wey and by that other; and I wole conferme the thinges that ben purposed,15 now on this syde and now on that syde. Two thinges ther ben in whiche the effect of alle the dedes of mankinde standeth, that is to seyn, wil and power; and yif that oon of thise two fayleth, ther nis nothing that may be don. For yif that wil lakketh , ther 20 nis no wight that undertaketh to don that he wol nat don; and yif power fayleth, the wil nis but in ydel and stant for naught. And ther-of cometh it, that yif thou see a wight that wolde geten that he may nat geten, thou mayst nat douten that power ne fayleth him to haven that he wolde.’
25‘This is open and cleer,’ quod I; ‘ne it may nat ben deneyed in no manere.’
30‘No,’ quod I.
‘And in that that every wight may, in that men may holden[ ] him mighty; as who seyth, in so moche as man is mighty to don a thing, in so mochel menhalthim mighty; and in that that he ne may, in that men demen him to be feble.’
35‘I confesse it wel,’ quod I.
‘Remembreth thee,’ quod she, ‘that I have gadered and shewed by forseyde resouns that al the entencioun of the wil of mankinde, which that is lad by dyverse studies, hasteth to[ ] comen to blisfulnesse?’
40‘It remembreth me wel,’ quod I, ‘that it hath ben shewed.’
‘And recordeth thee nat thanne,’ quod she, ‘that blisfulnesse is thilke same good that men requeren; so that, whan that blisfulnesse is requered of alle, that good also is requered and desired of alle?’
45‘It ne recordeth me nat ,’ quod I; ‘for I have it gretly alwey ficched in my memorie.’
‘Alle folk thanne,’ quod she, ‘goode and eek badde, enforcen hem with-oute difference of entencioun to comen to good?’
‘This is a verray consequence,’ quod I.
50‘And certein is,’ quod she, ‘that by the getinge of good ben men y-maked goode?’
‘This is certein,’ quod I.
‘Thanne geten goode men that they desiren?’
‘So semeth it,’ quod I.
‘But wikkede folk,’ quod she, ‘yif they geten the good that55 they desiren, they ne mowe nat be wikkede?’
‘So is it,’ quod I.
‘Thanne, so as that oon and that other,’ quod she, ‘desiren good; and the goode folk geten good, and nat the wikke folk; thanne nis it no doute that the goode folk ne ben mighty and60 the wikkede folk ben feble?’
‘Who-so that ever,’ quod I, ‘douteth of this, he ne may nat considere the nature of thinges ne the consequence of resouns .’
And over this quod she, ‘yif that ther be two thinges that han oo same purpose by kinde, and that oon of hem pursueth65 and parformeth thilke same thing by naturel office, and that other ne may nat doon thilke naturel office, but folweth, by other manere thanne is convenable to nature, him that acomplissheth his purpos kindely, and yit he ne acomplissheth nat his owne purpos: whether of thise two demestow for more mighty?’70
‘Yif that I coniecte,’ quod I, ‘that thou wolt seye, algates yit[ ] I desire to herkne it more pleynly of thee.’
‘No, forsothe,’ quod I.75
‘Ne thou ne doutest nat,’ quod she, ‘that thilke naturel office of goinge ne be the office of feet?’
‘I ne doute it nat,’ quod I.
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘yif that a wight be mighty to moeve and goth upon his feet, and another, to whom thilke naturel office of80 feet lakketh, enforceth him to gon crepinge up-on his handes: whiche of thise two oughte to ben holden the more mighty by right?’
‘Knit forth the remenaunt,’ quod I; ‘for no wight ne douteth[ ] that he that may gon by naturel office of feet ne be more mighty85 than he that ne may nat.’
‘But the soverein good,’ quod she, ‘that is eveneliche purposed to the gode folk and to badde, the gode folk seken it by naturel office of vertues, and the shrewes enforcen hem to geten it by 90 dyverse coveityse of erthely thinges, which that nis no naturel office to geten thilke same soverein good. Trowestow that it be any other wyse ?’
‘Nay,’ quod I; ‘for the consequence is open and shewinge of[ ] thinges that I have graunted; that nedes gode folk moten ben95 mighty, and shrewes feeble and unmighty.’
‘Thou rennest a-right biforn me,’ quod she, ‘and this is the Iugement; that is to seyn, I iuge of thee right as thise leches ben[ ] wont to hopen of syke folk, whan they aperceyven that nature is redressed and withstondeth to the maladye . But, for I see thee100 now al redy to the understondinge, I shal shewe thee more thikke and continuel resouns. For loke now how greetly sheweth the feblesse and infirmitee of wikkede folk, that ne mowen nat comen to that hir naturel entencioun ledeth hem, and yit almost thilke[ ] naturel entencioun constreineth hem . And what were to demen[ ]105thanne of shrewes, yif thilke naturel help hadde forleten hem, the which naturel help of intencioun goth awey biforn hem, and is so greet that unnethe it may ben overcome? Consider thanne how greet defaute of power and how greet feblesse ther is in wikkede felonous folk; as who seyth,the gretter thing thatis coveited and110the desire natacomplisshed , of the lasse might is he that coveiteth it and may nat acomplisshe. And forthy Philosophie seyth thus by soverein good: Ne shrewes ne requeren nat lighte medes ne veyne[ ] games, whiche they ne may folwen ne holden; but they failen of thilke somme and of the heighte of thinges, that is to seyn, soverein115good; ne thise wrecches ne comen nat to the effect of soverein good, the which they enforcen hem only to geten, by nightes and by dayes; in the getinge of which good the strengthe of good folk is ful wel y-sene. For right so as thou mightest demen him mighty of goinge, that gooth on his feet til he mighte come to thilke120 place, fro the whiche place ther ne laye no wey forther to ben[ ] gon; right so most thou nedes demen him for right mighty, that geteth and ateyneth to the ende of alle thinges that ben to desire , biyonde the whiche ende ther nis nothing to desire. Of the which power of good folk men may conclude, that the wikked men semen to be bareine and naked of alle strengthe. For-why125 forleten they vertues and folwen vyces? Nis it nat for that they ne knowen nat the goodes? But what thing is more feble and more caitif thanne is the blindnesse of ignoraunce? Or elles they knowen ful wel whiche thinges that they oughten folwe, but lecherye and coveityse overthroweth hem mistorned; and certes,130 so doth distemperaunce to feble men, that ne mowen nat wrastlen ayeins the vyces. Ne knowen they nat thanne wel that they forleten the good wilfully, and tornen hem wilfully to vyces? And in this wyse they ne forleten nat only to ben mighty, but they forleten al-outrely in any wyse for to ben. For they that forleten135 the comune fyn of alle thinges that ben, they forleten also ther-with-al for to ben.[ ]
And per-aventure it sholde semen to som folk that this were a merveile to seyen: that shrewes, whiche that contienen the more partye of men, ne ben nat ne han no beinge; but natheles, it is so,140 and thus stant this thing. For they that ben shrewes, I deneye nat that they ben shrewes; but I deneye, and seye simplely and pleinly, that they ne ben nat, ne han no beinge. For right as thou mightest seyen of the carayne of a man, that it were a deed man, but thou ne mightest nat simplely callen it a man; so graunte145 I wel forsothe, that vicious folk ben wikked, but I ne may nat graunten absolutly and simplely that they ben. For thilke thing that with-holdeth ordre and kepeth nature, thilke thing is and hath beinge; but what thing that faileth of that, that is to seyn, that he forleteth naturel ordre, he forleteth thilke thing that is set150 in his nature. But thou wolt seyn, that shrewes mowen. Certes,[ ] that ne deneye I nat; but certes, hir power ne descendeth nat of strengthe, but of feblesse. For they mowen don wikkednesses; the whiche they ne mighte nat don, yif they mighten dwellen in the forme and in the doinge of good folk. And thilke power155 sheweth ful evidently that they ne mowen right naught. For so as I have gadered and proeved a litel her-biforn, that yvel is naught; and so as shrewes mowen only but shrewednesses , this conclusioun is al cleer, that shrewes ne mowen right naught, ne han no power.160
‘That is sooth,’ quod I.
165‘And thilke same soverein good may don non yvel?’
‘Certes, no,’ quod I.
‘Is ther any wight thanne,’ quod she, ‘that weneth that men mowen doon alle thinges?’
‘No man,’ quod I, ‘but-yif he be out of his witte.’
170‘But, certes, shrewes mowen don yvel,’ quod she.
‘Ye, wolde god,’ quod I, ‘that they mighten don non!’
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘so as he that is mighty to doon only but goode thinges may don alle thinges; and they that ben mighty to don yvele thinges ne mowen nat alle thinges: thanne is it open175 thing and manifest, that they that mowen don yvel ben of lasse power. And yit, to proeve this conclusioun, ther helpeth me this, that I have y-shewed her-biforn, that alle power is to be noumbred among thinges that men oughten requere. And I have shewed that alle thinges, that oughten ben desired, ben referred to good,180 right as to a maner heighte of hir nature. But for to mowen don yvel and felonye ne may nat ben referred to good. Thanne nis nat yvel of the noumbir of thinges that oughte ben desired. But alle power oughte ben desired and requered. Than is it open and cleer that the power ne the mowinge of shrewes nis no power; and185 of alle thise thinges it sheweth wel, that the goode folke ben certeinly mighty, and the shrewes douteles ben unmighty. And it is cleer and open that thilke opinioun of Plato is verray and sooth, that[ ] seith, that only wyse men may doon that they desiren; and shrewes mowen haunten that hem lyketh, but that they desiren,190that is to seyn, to comen to sovereign good, they ne han no power to acomplisshen that. For shrewes don that hem list, whan, by tho thinges in which they delyten, they wenen to ateine to thilke good that they desiren; but they ne geten ne ateinen nat ther-to, for vyces ne comen nat to blisfulnesse.
Quos uides sedere celsos.
Who-so that the covertoures of hir veyne aparailes mighte strepen[ ] of thise proude kinges, that thou seest sitten on heigh in hir chaires gliteringe in shyninge purpre, envirouned with sorwful armures, manasinge with cruel mouth, blowinge by woodnesse of herte, he shulde seen thanne that thilke lordes beren with-inne hir5 corages ful streite cheines. For lecherye tormenteth hem in that oon syde with gredy venims; and troublable ire, that araiseth in him the flodes oftroublinges , tormenteth up-on that other syde hir thought; or sorwe halt hem wery and y-caught; or slydinge and deceivinge hope tormenteth hem. And therfore, sen thou10 seest oon heed, that is to seyn, oon tyraunt, beren so manye tyrannyes , thanne ne doth thilke tyraunt nat that he desireth, sin[ ] he is cast doun with so manye wikkede lordes; that is to seyn, with so manye vyces, that han sowikkedlylordshipes over him.
Videsne igitur quanto in coeno.
Seestow nat thanne in how grete filthe thise shrewes ben y-wrapped, and with which cleernesse thise good folk shynen? In this sheweth it wel, that to goode folk ne lakketh never-mo hir medes, ne shrewes lakken never-mo torments. For of alle thinges that ben y-doon, thilke thing, for which any-thing is don, it semeth5 as by right that thilke thing be the mede of that; as thus: yif a man renneth in the stadie, or in the forlong, for the corone,[ ] thanne lyth the mede in the corone for which he renneth. And I have shewed that blisfulnesse is thilke same good for which that alle thinges ben doon. Thanne is thilke same good purposed[ ]10 to the workes of mankinde right as a comune mede; which mede ne may ben dissevered fro good folk. For no wight as by right, fro thennes-forth that him lakketh goodnesse, ne shal ben cleped good. For which thing, folk of goode maneres, hir medes[ ]15 ne forsaken hem never-mo. For al-be-it so that shrewes wexen as wode as hem list ayeins goode folk, yit never-the-lesse the corone of wyse men shal nat fallen ne faden . For foreine shrewednesse ne binimeth nat fro the corages of goode folk hir propre honour. But yif that any wight reioyse him of goodnesse that he20 hadde take fro with-oute (as who seith, yif that any wight hadde his goodnesse of any other man than of him-self), certes, he that yaf him thilke goodnesse, or elles som other wight, mighte binime it him. But for as moche as to every wight his owne propre bountee yeveth him his mede, thanne at erst shal he failen of mede whan25 he forleteth to ben good. And at the laste , so as alle medes ben[ ] requered for men wenen that they ben goode, who is he that wolde deme, that he that is right mighty of good were part-les [ ]of mede ? And of what mede shal he be guerdoned ? Certes, of right faire mede and right grete aboven alle medes. Remembre30 thee of thilke noble corolarie that I yaf thee a litel her-biforn; and gader it to-gider in this manere:—so as good him-selfis blisfulnesse, thanne is it cleer and certein, that alle good folk ben maked blisful for they ben goode; and thilke folk that ben blisful, it acordeth and is covenable to ben goddes. Thanne is the mede35 of goode folk swich that no day shal enpeiren it, ne no wikkednesse[ ] ne shal derken it, ne power of no wight ne shal nat amenusen it, that is to seyn, to ben maked goddes.
And sin it is thus, that goode men ne failen never-mo of hirmede ,[ ] certes, no wys man ne may doute of undepartable peyne of the40 shrewes; that is to seyn, that the peyne of shrewes ne departeth nat from hem-self never-mo. For so as goode and yvel, and peyne and medes ben contrarye, it mot nedes ben, that right as we seen bityden in guerdoun of goode, that also mot the peyne of yvel answery , by the contrarye party, to shrewes. Now thanne, so as bountee and prowesse ben the mede to goode folk, al-so is45 shrewednesse it-self torment to shrewes. Thanne, who-so that ever is entecched and defouled with peyne, he ne douteth nat, that he is entecched and defouled with yvel. Yif shrewes thanne wolen preysen hem-self, may it semen to hem that they ben withouten[ ] party of torment, sin they ben swiche that the uttereste50 wikkednesse (that is to seyn, wikkede thewes, which that is theutteresteand the worste kinde of shrewednesse) ne defouleth ne enteccheth nat hem only, but infecteth and envenimeth hem gretly? And also look on shrewes, that ben the contrarie party of goode men, how greet peyne felawshipeth and folweth hem!55 For thou hast lerned a litel her-biforn, that al thing that is and hath beinge is oon, and thilke same oon is good; thanne is this the consequence, that it semeth wel, that al that is and hath beinge is good; this is to seyn, as who seyth, that beinge and unitee and goodnesse is al oon. And in this manere it folweth thanne, that al60 thing that faileth to ben good, it stinteth for to be and for to han any beinge; wherfore it is, that shrewes stinten for to ben that they weren. But thilke other forme of mankinde, that is to seyn, the forme of the body with-oute, sheweth yit that thise shrewes weren whylom men; wher-for, whan they ben perverted and65 torned in-to malice, certes, than han they forlorn the nature of mankinde. But so as only bountee and prowesse may enhaunsen every man over other men; thanne mot it nedes be that shrewes, which that shrewednesse hath cast out of the condicioun of mankinde, ben put under the merite and the desert of men. Thanne[ ]70 bitydeth it, that yif thou seest a wight that be transformed into vyces, thou ne mayst nat wene that he be a man.
For yif he be ardaunt in avaryce, and that he be a ravinour by violence of foreine richesse, thou shalt seyn that he is lyke to the wolf . And yif he be felonous and with-oute reste, and exercyse75 his tonge to chydinges, thou shalt lykne him to the hound. And yif he be a prevey awaitour y-hid, and reioyseth him to ravisshe by wyles , thou shalt seyn him lyke to the fox-whelpes. And yif he be distempre and quaketh for ire, men shal wene that he bereth80 the corage of a lyoun. And yif he be dredful and fleinge, and dredeth thinges that ne oughten nat to ben dred, men shal holden him lyk to the hert. And yif he be slow and astoned and lache, he liveth as an asse. And yif he be light and unstedefast of corage, and chaungeth ay his studies, he is lykned to briddes. And if he be85 plounged in foule and unclene luxuries, he is with-holden in the foule delyces of the foule sowe. Thanne folweth it, that he that forleteth bountee and prowesse, he forleteth to ben a man; sin he may nat passen in-to the condicioun of god, he is torned in-to a beest.
Vela Neritii dulcis.
Eurus thewind aryvede the sailes of Ulixes, duk of the contree[ ] of Narice , and his wandringe shippes by the see, in-to the ile ther-as Circes , the faire goddesse, doughter of the sonne,[ ] dwelleth; that medleth to hir newe gestes drinkes that ben5 touched and maked with enchauntements. And after that hir hand, mighty over the herbes, hadde chaunged hir gestes in-to dyverse maneres; that oon of hem, is covered his face with forme[ ] of a boor ; that other is chaunged in-to a lyoun of the contree of Marmorike , and his nayles and his teeth wexen; that other of[ ]10 hem is neweliche chaunged in-to a wolf, and howleth whan he wolde wepe; that other goth debonairely in the hous as a tygre of Inde.
But al-be-it so that the godhed of Mercurie, that is cleped the[ ] brid of Arcadie , hath had mercy of the duke Ulixes, biseged with15 dyverse yveles, and hath unbounden him fro the pestilence of his ostesse , algates the roweres and the marineres hadden by this[ ] y-drawen in-to hir mouthes and dronken the wikkede drinkes. They that weren woxen swyn hadden by this y-chaunged hir mete of breed, for to eten akornes of okes. Non of hir limes ne[ ] dwelleth with hem hole , but they han lost the voice and the20 body; only hir thought dwelleth with hem stable, that wepeth and biweileth the monstruous chaunginge that they suffren. O overlight hand (as who seyth, O! feble and light is the hand of[ ] Circes the enchaunteresse, that chaungeth the bodyes of folkes in-to bestes, to regard and to comparisoun of mutacioun that is maked by25vyces); ne the herbes of Circes ne ben nat mighty. For al-be-it so that they may chaungen the limes of the body, algates yit they may nat chaunge the hertes; for with-inne is y-hid the strengthe and vigor of men, in the secree tour of hir hertes; that is to seyn, the strengthe of resoun. But thilke venims of vyces to-drawen30 a man to hem more mightily than the venim of Circes; for vyces ben so cruel that they percen and thorugh-passen the[ ] corage with-inne; and, thogh they ne anoye nat the body, yit vyces wooden to destroye men by wounde of thought.’
Tum ego, Fateor, inquam.
Than seyde I thus: ‘I confesse and am a-knowe it ,’ quod I; ‘ne I ne see nat that men may sayn, as by right, that shrewes[ ]ne ben chaunged in-to bestes by the qualitee of hir soules, al-be-it so that they kepen yit the forme of the body of mankinde. But I[ ] nolde nat of shrewes, of which the thought cruel woodeth al-wey5 in-to destruccioun of goode men, that it were leveful to hem to don that.’
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘ne is nis nat leveful to hem, as I shal wel shewe thee in covenable place; but natheles, yif so were that thilke that men wenen be leveful to shrewes were binomen hem, so that10they ne mighte nat anoyen or doon harm to goode men, certes, a gre partye of the peyne to shrewes sholde ben allegged and releved. For al-be-it so that this ne seme nat credible thing, per-aventure, to some folk, yit moot it nedes be, that shrewes ben 15 more wrecches and unsely whan they may doon and performe that they coveiten, than yif they mighte nat complisshen that they coveiten . For yif so be that it be wrecchednesse to wilne to don yvel, than is more wrecchednesse to mowen don yvel; with-oute[ ] whiche mowinge the wrecched wil sholde languisshe with-oute20 effect. Than, sin that everiche of thise thinges hath his wrecchednesse, that is to seyn, wil to don yvel and mowinge to don yvel, it moot nedes be that they ben constreyned by three[ ] unselinesses, that wolen and mowen and performen felonyes and shrewednesses.’
‘So shullen they,’ quod she, ‘soner, per-aventure, than thou[ ] woldest; or soner than they hem-self wene to lakken mowinge to30don yvel . For ther nis no-thing so late in so shorte boundes of[ ] this lyf, that is long to abyde, nameliche, to a corage inmortel; of whiche shrewes the grete hope, and the hye compassinges of shrewednesses, is ofte destroyed by a sodeyn ende, or they ben war; and that thing estableth to shrewes the ende of hir35 shrewednesse. For yif that shrewednesse maketh wrecches, than mot he nedes ben most wrecched that lengest is a shrewe; the whiche wikked shrewes wolde I demen aldermost unsely and caitifs, yif that hir shrewednesse ne were finisshed , at the leste wey, by the outtereste deeth. For yif I have concluded sooth of the unselinesse[ ]40 of shrewednesse, than sheweth it cleerly that thilke wrecchednesse is with-outen ende, the whiche is certein to ben perdurable.’[ ]
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘this conclusioun is hard and wonderful to graunte; but I knowe wel that it acordeth moche to the thinges45 that I have graunted her-biforn.’
‘Thou hast,’ quod she, ‘the right estimacioun of this; but who-so-ever wene that it be a hard thing to acorde him to a conclusioun, it is right that he shewe that some of the premisses ben false; or elles he moot shewe that the collacioun of proposiciouns nis nat speedful to a necessarie conclusioun. And yif it50 be nat so, but that the premisses ben y-graunted, ther is not why[ ] he sholde blame the argument.
For this thing that I shal telle thee now ne shal nat seme lasse wonderful; but of the thinges that ben taken also it is necessarie;’[ ]as who seyth, it folweth of that which that is purposed biforn.55
‘What is that?’ quod I.
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘that is, that thise wikked shrewes ben more blisful, or elles lasse wrecches, that abyen the torments that they han deserved, than yif no peyne of Iustice ne chastysede hem. Ne this ne seye I nat now, for that any man mighte60thenke , that the maners of shrewes ben coriged and chastysed by veniaunce, and that they ben brought to the right wey by the drede of the torment, ne for that they yeven to other folk ensaumple to fleen fro vyces; but I understande yit in another[ ] manere, that shrewes ben more unsely whan they ne ben nat65punisshed , al-be-it so that ther ne be had no resoun or lawe of correccioun , ne non ensaumple of lokinge.’
‘And what manere shal that ben,’ quod I, ‘other than hath be told her-biforn?’
‘Have we nat thanne graunted,’ quod she, ‘that goode folk70 ben blisful, and shrewes ben wrecches?’
‘Yis,’ quod I.
‘Thanne,’ quod she, ‘yif that any good were added to the wrecchednesse of any wight, nis he nat more weleful than he that ne hath no medlinge of good in his solitarie wrecchednesse?’75
‘So semeth it,’ quod I.
‘And what seystow thanne,’ quod she, ‘of thilke wrecche that lakketh alle goodes, so that no good nis medled in his wrecchednesse, and yit, over al his wikkednesse for which he is a wrecche, that ther be yit another yvel anexed and knit to him, shal nat men80 demen him more unsely than thilke wrecche of whiche the unselinesse is releved by the participacioun of som good?’
‘Why sholde he nat?’ quod I.
‘Thanne, certes,’ quod she, ‘han shrewes, whan they ben punisshed, som-what of good anexed to hir wrecchednesse, that is85 to seyn, the same peyne that they suffren, which that is good by the resoun of Iustice; and whan thilke same shrewes ascapen with-oute torment, than han they som-what more of yvel yit over the wikkednesse that they han don, that is to seyn, defaute of90 peyne; which defaute of peyne, thou hast graunted, is yvel for[ ] the deserte of felonye.’ ‘I ne may nat denye it,’ quod I. ‘Moche more thanne,’ quod she, ‘ben shrewes unsely, whan they ben wrongfully delivered fro peyne, than whan they ben punisshed by rightful veniaunce. But this is open thing and cleer, that it is95 right that shrewes ben punisshed, and it is wikkednesse and wrong that they escapen unpunisshed.’
‘Who mighte deneye that?’ quod I.
‘But,’ quod she, ‘may any man denye that al that is right nis good; and also the contrarie, that al that is wrong is wikke ?’
100‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘these thinges ben clere y-nough; and that we han concluded a litel her-biforn. But I praye thee that thou telle me, yif thou acordest to leten no torment to sowles, after that[ ] the body is ended by the deeth;’ this is to seyn, understandestow aught that sowles han any torment after the deeth of the body?
105‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘ye; and that right greet; of which sowles,’ quod she, ‘I trowe that some ben tormented by asprenesse of peyne; and some sowles, I trowe, ben exercised by a purginge mekenesse. But my conseil nis nat to determinye of thise peynes . But I have travailed and told yit hiderto, for thou sholdest knowe110 that the mowinge of shrewes, which mowinge thee semeth to ben unworthy, nis no mowinge: and eek of shrewes, of which thou pleinedest that they ne were nat punisshed, that thou woldest seen that they ne weren never-mo with-outen the torments of hir wikkednesse: and of the licence of the mowinge to don yvel,115 that thou preydest that it mighte sone ben ended, and that thou woldest fayn lernen that it ne sholde nat longe dure : and that shrewes ben more unsely yif they were of lenger duringe, and most unsely yif they weren perdurable. And after this, I have shewed thee that more unsely ben shrewes, whan they escapen120 with-oute hir rightful peyne, than whan they ben punisshed by rightful veniaunce. And of this sentence folweth it, that thanne ben shrewes constreined at the laste with most grevous torment, whan men wene that they ne be nat punisshed.’
‘Whan I consider thy resouns ,’ quod I, ‘I ne trowe nat that men seyn any-thing more verayly. And yif I torne ayein to the125 studies of men, who is he to whom it sholde seme that he ne sholde nat only leven thise thinges, but eek gladly herkne hem?’
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘so it is; but men may nat. For they han hir eyen so wont to the derknesse of erthely thinges, that they ne130 may nat liften hem up to the light of cleer sothfastnesse; but they ben lyke to briddes, of which the night lightneth hir lokinge,[ ] and the day blindeth hem. For whan men loken nat the ordre of thinges, but hir lustes and talents, they wene that either the leve or the mowinge to don wikkednesse, or elles the scapinge with-oute135 peyne, be weleful. But consider the Iugement of the perdurable lawe. For yif thou conferme thy corage to the beste thinges, thou ne hast no nede of no Iuge to yeven thee prys or mede; for thou hast ioyned thy-self to the most excellent thing. And yif thou have enclyned thy studies to the wikked thinges, ne140 seek no foreyne wreker out of thy-self; for thou thy-self hast thrist thy-self in-to wikke thinges: right as thou mightest loken by[ ]dyverse tymes the foule erthe and the hevene, and that alle other thinges stinten fro with-oute, so that thounere neither in hevene ne in erthe , ne saye no-thing more; than it sholde semen to145 thee, as by only resoun of lokinge, that thou were now in the sterres and now in the erthe. But the poeple ne loketh nat on thise thinges. What thanne? Shal we thanne aprochen us to hem that I have shewed that they ben lyk to bestes ? And what woltow seyn of this: yif that a man hadde al forlorn his sighte150 and hadde foryeten that he ever saugh, and wende that no-thing ne faylede him of perfeccioun of mankinde, now we that mighten seen the same thinges , wolde we nat wene that he were blinde?[ ] Ne also ne acordeth nat the poeple to that I shal seyn, the which thing is sustened by a stronge foundement of resouns, thatisto155seyn, that more unsely ben they that don wrong to othre folk than they that the wrong suffren.’
‘I wolde heren thilke same resouns,’ quod I.
‘Denyestow ,’ quod she, ‘that alle shrewes ne ben worthy to160 han torment?’
‘Nay,’ quod I.
‘But,’ quod she, ‘I am certein, by many resouns, that shrewes ben unsely.’
‘It acordeth,’ quod I.
165‘Thanne ne doutestow nat,’ quod she, ‘that thilke folk that ben worthy of torment, that they ne ben wrecches?’
‘It acordeth wel,’ quod I.
‘I ne doute nat,’ quod I, ‘that I nolde don suffisaunt satisfaccioun to him that hadde suffred the wrong by the sorwe of him that hadde don the wrong.’
‘That folweth wel,’ quod I.
‘Than,’ quod she, ‘by these causes and by othre causes that ben enforced by the same rote, filthe or sinne, by the propre180 nature of it, maketh men wrecches; and it sheweth wel, that the wrong that men don nis nat the wrecchednesse of him that receyveth the wrong, but the wrecchednesse of him that doth the wrong . But certes,’ quod she, ‘thise oratours or advocats don al the contrarye; for they enforcen hem to commoeve the Iuges to185 han pitee of hem that han suffred and receyved the thinges that ben grevous and aspre, and yit men sholden more rightfully han pitee of hem that don the grevaunces and the wronges; the whiche shrewes, it were a more covenable thing, that the accusours or advocats, nat wroth but pitous and debonair, ledden tho shrewes that han don wrong to the Iugement, right as men190 leden syke folk to the leche, for that they sholde seken out the maladyes of sinne by torment. And by this covenaunt, either the entente of deffendours or advocats sholde faylen and cesen in al,[ ] or elles, yif the office of advocats wolde bettre profiten to men, it sholde ben torned in-to the habite of accusacioun; that is to195seyn, they sholden accuse shrewes, and nat excuse hem. And eek the shrewes hem-self, yif hit were leveful to hem to seen at any[ ] clifte the vertu that they han forleten, and sawen that they sholden putten adoun the filthes of hir vyces, by the torments of peynes, they ne oughte nat, right for the recompensacioun for to[ ]200 geten hem bountee and prowesse which that they han lost, demen ne holden that thilke peynes weren torments to hem; and eek they wolden refuse the attendaunce of hir advocats, and taken hem-self to hir Iuges and to hir accusors. For which it bitydeth that, as to the wyse folk, ther nis no place y-leten to[ ]205 hate; that is to seyn, that ne hate hath no place amonges wyse men. For no wight nil haten goode men, but-yif he were over-mochel a fool; and for to haten shrewes, it nis no resoun. For right so as languissinge is maladye of body, right so ben vyces and sinne maladye of corage. And so as we ne deme nat, that they that ben210 syke of hir body ben worthy to ben hated, but rather worthy of pitee: wel more worthy, nat to ben hated, but for to ben had in pitee, ben they of whiche the thoughtes ben constreined by felonous wikkednesse, that is more cruel than any languissinge of[ ]215 body.
Quid tantos iuuat excitare motus.
What delyteth you to excyten so grete moevingesof hateredes,[ ] and to hasten and bisien the fatal disposicioun of your deeth with your propre handes? that is to seyn, by batailes or by contek. For yif ye axen the deeth, it hasteth him of his owne wil; ne deeth ne tarieth nat his swifte hors . And the men that the serpent and5 the lyoun and the tygre and the bere and the boor seken to sleen with hir teeth, yit thilke same men seken to sleen everich of hem other with swerd. Lo! for hir maneres ben dyverse and descordaunt , they moeven unrightful ostes and cruel batailes, and wilnen[ ]10 to perisshe by entrechaunginge of dartes. But the resoun[ ] of crueltee nis nat y-nough rightful.
Wiltow thanne yelden a covenable guerdoun to the desertes of men? Love rightfully goode folk, and have pitee on shrewes.’
Hic ego uideo inquam.
‘Thus see I wel,’ quod I, ‘either what blisfulnesse or elles what unselinesse is establisshed in the desertes of goode men and of shrewes. But in this ilke fortune of poeple I see somwhat of good and somwhat of yvel. For no wyse man hath lever ben5 exyled, poore and nedy, and nameles, than for to dwellen in his citee and flouren of richesses, and be redoutable by honour, and strong of power. For in this wyse more cleerly and more witnesfully is the office of wyse men y-treted, whan the blisfulnesse and the poustee of governours is, as it were, y-shad amonges poeples[ ]10 that be neigheboursand subgits; sin that, namely, prisoun, lawe, and thise othre torments of laweful peynes ben rather owed to felonous citezeins, for the whiche felonous citezeins tho peynes ben establisshed, than for good folk. Thanne I mervaile me greetly,’ quod I, ‘why that the thinges ben so mis entrechaunged,15 that torments of felonyes pressen and confounden goode folk, and shrewes ravisshen medes of vertu, and ben in honours and in gret estats. And I desyre eek for to witen of thee, what semeth thee to ben the resoun of this so wrongful a conclusioun? For I wolde wondre wel the lasse, yif I trowede that al thise thinges20 weren medled by fortunous happe; but now hepeth and encreseth[ ] myn astonyinge god, governour of thinges, that, so as god yeveth ofte tymes to gode men godes and mirthes, and to shrewes yveles and aspre thinges: and yeveth ayeinward to gode folk hardnesses, and to shrewes he graunteth hem hir wil and that they desyren: what difference thanne may ther be bitwixen that that25 god doth, and the happe of fortune, yif men ne knowe nat the cause why that it is?’
‘Ne it nis no mervaile,’ quod she, ‘though that men wenen that ther be somewhat folissh and confuse, whan the resoun of the ordre is unknowe. But al-though that thou ne knowe nat the30 cause of so greet a disposicioun, natheles, for as moche as god, the gode governour, atempreth and governeth the world, ne doute thee nat that alle thinges ben doon a-right.
Si quis Arcturi sidera nescit.
Who-so that ne knowe nat the sterres of Arcture , y-torned neigh[ ][ ] to the soverein contree or point, that is to seyn, y-torned neigh to the soverein pool of the firmament, and wot nat why the sterre[ ]Bootes passeth or gadereth his weynes, and drencheth his late flambes in the see, and why that Bootes the sterre unfoldeth his5 over-swifte arysinges, thanne shal he wondren of the lawe of the heye eyr.
And eek, yif that he ne knowe nat why that the hornes of the fulle[ ] mone wexen pale and infect by the boundes of the derke night;[ ] and how the mone, derk and confuse, discovereth the sterres that10 she hadde y-covered by hir clere visage. The comune errour[ ] moeveth folk, and maketh wery hir basins of bras by thikke[ ] strokes; that is to seyn, that ther is a maner of oeple that highteCoribantes , that wenen that, whan the mone is in the eclipse, that it be enchaunted; and therfore, for to rescowe the mone, they beten hir15basins with thikke strokes.
Ne no man ne wondreth whan the blastes of the wind Chorus beten the strondes of the see by quakinge flodes; ne no man ne[ ] wondreth whan the weighte of the snowe , y-harded by the colde, is resolved by the brenninge hete of Phebus the sonne; for heer20 seen men redely the causes.
But the causes y-hid, that is to seyn, in hevene, troublen the brestes of men; the moevable poeple is astoned of alle thinges[ ] that comen selde and sodeinly in our age. But yif the troubly[ ]25 errour of our ignoraunce departede fro us, so that we wisten the causes why that swiche thinges bi-tyden, certes, they sholden cese to seme wondres.’
Ita est, inquam.
‘Thus is it,’ quod I. ‘But so as thou hast yeven or bi-hight me to unwrappen the hid causes of thinges, and to discovere me the resouns covered with derknesses, I prey thee that thou devyse and iuge me of this matere, and that thou do me to understonden5 it; for this miracle or this wonder troubleth me right gretly.’
And thanne she, a litel what smylinge, seyde: ‘thou clepest me,’ quod she, ‘to telle thing that is grettest of alle thinges that mowen ben axed, and to the whiche questioun unnethes is ther aught y-nough to laven it; as who seyth, unnethes is ther suffisauntly[ ]10anything to answere parfitly to thy questioun. For the matere of it is swich, that whan o doute is determined and cut awey, ther wexen other doutes with-oute number; right as the hevedes wexen of Ydre, the serpent thatErculesslowh . Ne ther[ ] ne were no manere ne non ende, but-yif that a wight constreinede[ ]15 tho doutes by a right lyfly and quik fyr of thought; that is to seyn, by vigour and strengthe of wit. For in this manere men weren wont to maken questions of the simplicitee of the purviaunce of god, and of the order of destinee, and of sodein happe, and of the knowinge and predestinacioun divyne, and of20 the libertee of free wille; the whiche thinges thou thy-self aperceyvest wel, of what weight they ben. But for as mochel as the knowinge of thise thinges is a maner porcioun of the medicine of thee , al-be-it so that I have litel tyme to don it, yit natheles I wol enforcen me to shewe somwhat of it. But[ ]25 al-thogh the norisshinges of ditee of musike delyteth thee, thou most suffren and forberen a litel of thilke delyte, whyle that I weve to thee resouns y-knit by ordre.’
‘As it lyketh to thee,’ quod I, ‘so do.’ Tho spak she right as by another biginninge, and seyde thus. ‘The engendringe of alle thinges,’ quod she, ‘and alle the progressiouns of muable[ ]30 nature, and al that moeveth in any manere, taketh his causes, his ordre, and his formes, of the stablenesse of the divyne thoght; and thilke divyne thought, that is y-set and put in the tour, that[ ] is to seyn, in the heighte, of the simplicitee of god, stablissheth many maner gyses to thinges that ben to done; the whiche35 maner, whan that men loken it in thilke pure clennesse of the divyne intelligence, it is y-cleped purviaunce; but whan thilke maner is referred by men to thinges that it moveth and disponeth, thanne of olde men it was cleped destinee. The whiche thinges, yif that any wight loketh wel in his thought the strengthe of that40 oon and of that other, he shal lightly mowen seen, that thise two thinges ben dyverse. For purviaunce is thilke divyne reson that is establisshed in the soverein prince of thinges; the whiche purviaunce disponeth alle thinges. But destinee is the disposicioun and ordinaunce clyvinge to moevable thinges, by the whiche45 disposicioun the purviaunce knitteth alle thinges in hir ordres; for purviaunce embraceth alle thinges to-hepe, al-thogh that they ben dyverse, and al-thogh they ben infinite ; but destinee departeth[ ] and ordeineth alle thinges singulerly, and divyded in moevinges, in places, in formes, in tymes , as thus: lat the50 unfoldinge of temporel ordinaunce, assembled and ooned in the lokinge of the divyne thought, be cleped purviaunce; and thilke same assemblinge and ooninge, divyded and unfolden by tymes, lat that ben called destinee. And al-be-it so that thise thinges ben dyverse, yit natheles hangeth that oon on that other; for-why55 the order destinal procedeth of the simplicitee of purviaunce. For right as a werkman, that aperceyveth in his thoght the forme of the thing that he wol make, and moeveth the effect of the werk, and ledeth that he hadde loked biforn in his thoght simply[ ] and presently, by temporel ordinaunce : certes, right so god60 disponeth in his purviaunce, singulerly and stably , the thinges that ben to done, but he aministreth in many maneres and in dyverse tymes, by destinee, thilke same thinges that he hath disponed .
65Thanne, whether that destinee be exercysed outher by some divyne spirits, servaunts to the divyne purviaunce, or elles by som sowle , or elles by alle nature servinge to god, or elles by the[ ] celestial moevinges of sterres, or elles by thevertu of angeles, or[ ] elles by the dyverse subtilitee of develes, or elles by any of hem,70 or elles by hem alle, the destinal ordinaunce is y-woven and acomplisshed . Certes, it is open thing, that the purviaunce is an unmoevable and simple forme of thinges to done; and the moveable bond and the temporel ordinaunce of thinges, whiche that the divyne simplicitee of purviaunce hath ordeyned to done,75 that is destinee. For which it is, that alle thinges that ben put under destinee ben, certes, subgits to purviaunce, to whiche purviaunce destinee itself is subgit and under. But some thinges ben put under purviaunce, that surmounten the ordinaunce of destinee; and tho ben thilke that stably ben y-ficched negh to the80 firste godhed: they surmounten the ordre of destinal moevabletee . For right as of cercles that tornen a-boute[ ] a same centre or a-boute a poynt, thilke cercle that is innerest or most with-inne ioyneth to the simplesse of the middel, and is, as it were, a centre or a poynt to that other cercles that tornen a-bouten him; and thilke that is85 outterest, compassed by larger envyronninge, is unfolden by larger spaces, in so moche as it is forthest fro the middel simplicitee of the poynt; and yif ther be any-thing that knitteth and[ ] felawshippeth him-self to thilke middel poynt, it is constreined in-to simplicitee, that is to seyn, in-to unmoevabletee, and it ceseth90 to be shad and to fleten dyversely: right so, by semblable resoun, thilke thing that departeth forthest fro the first thoght of god, it is unfolden and summitted to gretter bondes of destinee: and in so moche is the thing more free and laus fro destinee, as it axeth and[ ] holdeth him ner to thilke centre of thinges, that is to seyn, god.95 And yif the thing clyveth to the stedefastnesse of the thoght of god, and be with-oute moevinge, certes, it sormounteth the necessitee of destinee. Thanne right swich comparisoun as it is of skilinge to[ ] understondinge, and of thing that is engendred to thing that is, and of tyme to eternitee, and of the cercle to the centre, right so is the ordre of moevable destinee to the stable simplicitee of purviaunce.100
Thilke ordinaunce moeveth the hevene and the sterres, and atempreth the elements to-gider amonges hem-self, and transformeth hem by entrechaungeable mutacioun ; and thilke same ordre neweth ayein alle thinges growinge and fallinge a-doun, by semblable progressiouns of sedes and of sexes, that is to seyn,105male andfemele . And this ilke ordre constreineth the fortunes and the dedes of men by a bond of causes, nat able to ben unbounde ; the whiche destinal causes, whan they passen out fro the biginninges[ ] of the unmoevable purviaunce, it mot nedes be that they ne be nat mutable. And thus ben the thinges ful wel y-governed,110 yif that the simplicitee dwellinge in the divyne thoght sheweth forth the ordre[ ] of causes, unable to ben y-bowed; and this ordre constreineth by his propre stabletee the moevable thinges, or elles they sholden fleten folily. For which it is, that alle thinges semen[ ] to ben confus and trouble to us men, for we ne mowen nat considere115 thilke ordinaunce; natheles, the propre maner of every[ ] thinge, dressinge hem to goode, disponeth hem alle.
For ther nis no-thing don for cause of yvel; ne thilke thing that is don by wikkede folk nis nat don for yvel. The whiche shrewes, as I have shewed ful plentivously, seken good, but120 wikked errour mistorneth hem, ne the ordre cominge fro the[ ] poynt of soverein good ne declyneth nat fro his biginninge. But thou mayst seyn, what unreste may ben a worse confusioun than[ ] that gode men han somtyme adversitee and somtyme prosperitee, and shrewes also now han thinges that they desiren, and now125 thinges that they haten? Whether men liven now in swich hoolnesse of thoght, (as who seyth, ben men now so wyse), that swiche folk as they demen to ben gode folk or shrewes, that it moste nedes ben that folk ben swiche as they wenen? But in this manere the domes of men discorden, that thilke men that130 some folk demen worthy of mede, other folk demen hem worthy of torment. But lat us graunte, I pose that som man may wel demen or knowen the gode folk and the badde; may he thanne knowen and seen thilke innereste atempraunce of corages, as it hath ben135 wont to be seyd of bodies; as who seyth, may a man speken and determinen of atempraunces in corages, as men were wont to demen or speken of complexiouns and atempraunces ofbodies? Ne it ne is nat an unlyk miracle, to hem that ne knowen it nat, (as who seith, but it[ ] is lykeamerveil oramiracle to hem that ne knowen it nat), why that140 swete thinges ben covenable to some bodies that ben hole, and to some bodies bittere thinges ben covenable; and also, why that some syke folk ben holpen with lighte medicynes, and some folk ben holpen with sharpe medicynes . But natheles, the leche that knoweth the manere and the atempraunce of hele and of maladye,145 ne merveileth of it no-thing. But what other thing semeth hele[ ] of corages but bountee and prowesse? And what other thing semeth maladye of corages but vyces? Who is elles kepere of good or dryver awey of yvel, but god, governour and lecher of[ ] thoughtes? The whiche god, whan he hath biholden from the150 heye tour of his purveaunce, he knoweth what is covenable to[ ] every wight, and leneth hem that he wot that is covenable to hem. Lo, her-of comth and her-of is don this noble miracle of the ordre destinal, whan god, that al knoweth, doth swiche thing, of which thing that unknowinge folk ben astoned. But for to constreine,[ ]155as who seyth, but for to comprehende and telle a fewe thinges of the divyne deepnesse, the whiche that mannes resoun may understonde, thilke man that thou wenest to ben right Iuste and right[ ] kepinge of equitee, the contrarie of that semeth to the divyne purveaunce, that al wot. And Lucan, my familer , telleth that[ ]160 “the victorious cause lykede to the goddes, and the cause overcomen lykede to Catoun.” Thanne, what-so-ever thou mayst seen that is don in this werld unhoped or unwened, certes, it is the right ordre of thinges; but, as to thy wikkede opinioun, it is a confusioun. But I suppose that som man be so wel y-thewed,165 that the divyne Iugement and the Iugement of mankinde acorden hem to-gider of him; but he is so unstedefast of corage, that, yif any adversitee come to him, he wol forleten, par-aventure, to continue innocence, by the whiche he ne may nat with-holden[ ] fortune. Thanne the wyse dispensacioun of god spareth him, the whiche man adversitee mighte enpeyren; for that god wol nat170 suffren him to travaile, to whom that travaile nis nat covenable. Another man is parfit in alle vertues, and is an holy man, and negh to god, so that the purviaunce of god wolde demen, that it were a felonye that he were touched with any adversitees; so that he wol nat suffre that swich a man be moeved with any175bodily maladye. But so as seyde a philosophre,[ ]the more excellent by me : he seyde in Grek, that “vertues han edified the body[ ] of the holy man.” And ofte tyme it bitydeth, that the somme of thinges that ben to done is taken to governe to gode folk, for that[ ] the malice haboundaunt of shrewes sholde ben abated. And god180 yeveth and departeth to othre folk prosperitees and adversitees y-medled to-hepe, after the qualitee of hir corages, and remordeth[ ] som folk by adversitee, for they ne sholde nat wexen proude by longe welefulnesse. And other folk he suffreth to ben travailed with harde thinges, for that they sholden confermen the vertues185 of corage by the usage and exercitacioun of pacience. And[ ] other folk dreden more than they oughten [that] whiche they mighten wel beren; and somme dispyse that they mowe nat beren ; and thilke folk god ledeth in-to experience of himself by aspre and sorwful thinges. And many othre folk han bought190 honourable renoun of this world by the prys of glorious deeth. And som men, that ne mowen nat ben overcomen by torments, have yeven ensaumple to othre folk, that vertu may nat ben overcomen by adversitees; and of alle thinges ther nis no doute, that they ne ben don rightfully and ordenely , to the profit of hem to195 whom we seen thise thinges bityde. For certes, that adversitee comth somtyme to shrewes, and somtyme that that they desiren, it comth of thise forseide causes. And of sorwful thinges that bityden to shrewes, certes, no man ne wondreth; for alle men wenen that they han wel deserved it, and that they ben of200 wikkede merite; of whiche shrewes the torment somtyme agasteth[ ] othre to don felonyes , and somtyme it amendeth hem that suffren the torments. And the prosperitee that is yeven to shrewes sheweth a greet argument to gode folk, what thing they sholde205 demen of thilke welefulnesse, the whiche prosperitee men seen ofte serven to shrewes. In the which thing I trowe that god[ ] dispenseth; for, per-aventure, the nature of som man is so overthrowinge[ ]to yvel, and so uncovenable, that the nedy povertee of his houshold mighte rather egren him to don felonyes. And to[ ]210 the maladye of him god putteth remedie, to yeven him richesses . And som other man biholdeth his conscience defouled with sinnes, and maketh comparisoun of his fortune and of him-self; and dredeth, per-aventure, that his blisfulnesse, of which the usage is Ioyeful to him, that the lesinge of thilke blisfulnesse ne be nat215 sorwful to him; and therfor he wol chaunge his maneres, and, for he dredeth to lese his fortune, he forleteth his wikkednesse. To othre folk is welefulnesse y-yeven unworthily, the whiche overthroweth hem in-to distruccioun that they han deserved. And to som othre folk is yeven power to punisshen , for that it shal be[ ]220 cause of continuacioun andexercysinge to gode folk and cause of torment to shrewes. For so as ther nis non alyaunce by-twixe gode folk and shrewes, ne shrewes ne mowen nat acorden amonges hem-self. And why nat? For shrewes discorden of hem-self by hir vyces, the whiche vyces al to-renden hir consciences; and don225 ofte tyme thinges, the whiche thinges, whan they han don hem, they demen that tho thinges ne sholden nat han ben don. For which thing thilke soverein purveaunce hath maked ofte tyme fair miracle; so that shrewes han maked shrewes to ben gode men. For whan that som shrewes seen that they suffren wrongfully230 felonyes of othre shrewes, they wexen eschaufed in-to hate of hem that anoyeden hem, and retornen to the frut of vertu, whan they studien to ben unlyk to hem that they han hated. Certes, only this is the divyne might, to the whiche might yveles ben thanne gode, whan it useth tho yveles covenably, and draweth out the235 effect of any gode; as who seyth, that yvel is good onlytothe might of god, for the might of god ordeyneth thilke yvel to good.
For oon ordre embraseth alle thinges, so that what wight that departeth fro the resoun of thilke ordre which that is assigned to him, algates yit he slydeth in-to another ordre, so that no-thing nis leveful to folye in the reame of the divyne purviaunce; as who240seyth, nothing nis with-outen ordinaunce in the reame of the divyne purviaunce; sin that the right stronge god governeth alle thinges[ ] in this world. For it nis nat leveful to man to comprehenden by wit, ne unfolden by word, alle the subtil ordinaunces and disposiciouns of the divyne entente. For only it oughte suffise to245 han loked, that god him-self, maker of alle natures, ordeineth and dresseth alle thinges to gode; whyl that he hasteth to with-holden[ ] the thinges that he hath maked in-to his semblaunce, that is to seyn, for to with-holden thinges in-to good, for he him-self is good, he chaseth out al yvel fro the boundes of his comunalitee by the250 ordre of necessitee destinable. For which it folweth, that yif thou loke the purviaunce ordeininge the thinges that men wenen ben outrageous or haboundant in erthes, thou ne shalt nat seen in no[ ] place no-thing of yvel. But I see now that thou art charged with the weighte of the questioun, and wery with the lengthe of my255 resoun; and that thou abydest som sweetnesse of songe. Tak thanne this draught; and whan thou art wel refresshed and refect ,[ ] thou shal be more stedefast to stye in-to heyere questiouns.
Si uis celsi iura tonantis.
If thou, wys , wilt demen in thy pure thought the rightes or the[ ] lawes of the heye thonderer, that is to seyn, of god, loke thou and bihold the heightes of the soverein hevene. There kepen the sterres, by rightful alliaunce of thinges, hir olde pees. The sonne, y-moeved by his rody fyr, ne distorbeth nat the colde cercle of[ ]5 the mone. Ne the sterre y-cleped “the Bere,” that enclyneth his[ ] ravisshinge courses abouten the soverein heighte of the worlde, ne the same sterre Ursa nis never-mo wasshen in the depe westrene see, ne coveiteth nat to deyen his flaumbes in the see of the occian, al-thogh he see othre sterres y-plounged in the see. And Hesperus[ ]10the sterre bodeth and telleth alwey the late nightes; and Lucifer the sterre bringeth ayein the clere day.
And thus maketh Love entrechaungeable the perdurable courses;[ ] and thus is discordable bataile y-put out of the contree of the15 sterres. This acordaunce atempreth by evenelyk maneres the elements, that the moiste thinges, stryvinge with the drye thinges , yeven place by stoundes; and the colde thinges ioynen hem by feyth to the hote thinges; and that the lighte fyr aryseth in-to heighte; and the hevy erthes avalen by hir weightes. By thise20 same causes the floury yeer yildeth swote smelles in the firste[ ] somer-sesoun warminge; and the hote somer dryeth the cornes; and autumpne comth ayein, hevy of apples; and the fletinge reyn bideweth the winter. This atempraunce norissheth and bringeth forth al thing that [bretheth] lyf in this world; and thilke same[ ][ ]25 atempraunce, ravisshinge, hydeth and binimeth, and drencheth under the laste deeth, alle thinges y-born.
Amonges thise thinges sitteth the heye maker, king and lord, welle and biginninge, lawe and wys Iuge, to don equitee; and governeth and enclyneth the brydles of thinges. And tho thinges[ ]30 that he stereth to gon by moevinge, he withdraweth and aresteth;[ ] and affermeth the moevable or wandringe thinges. For yif that he ne clepede ayein the right goinge of thinges, and yif that he ne constreinede hem nat eft-sones in-to roundnesses enclynede, the thinges that ben now continued by stable ordinaunce, they sholden35 departen from hir welle, that is to seyn, from hirbiginninge , and faylen, that is to seyn, torne in-to nought.
This is the comune Love to alle thinges; and alle thinges axen[ ] to ben holden by the fyn of good. For elles ne mighten they nat lasten, yif they ne come nat eft-sones ayein, by Love retorned, to40 the cause that hath yeven hem beinge, that is to seyn, to god.
Iamne igitur uides.
Seestow nat thanne what thing folweth alle the thinges that I have seyd?’ Boece. ‘What thing?’ quod I.
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘al-outrely, that alle fortune is good.’
‘And how may that be?’ quod I.
‘Now understand,’ quod she, ‘so as alle fortune, whether so it5be Ioyeful fortune or aspre fortune, is yeven either by cause of guerdoning or elles of exercysinge of good folk, or elles by cause to punisshen or elles chastysen shrewes; thanne is alle fortune good, the whiche fortune is certein that it be either rightful or elles profitable.’10
‘Forsothe, this is a ful verray resoun,’ quod I; ‘and yif I consider the purviaunce and the destinee that thou taughtest me a litel her-biforn, this sentence is sustened by stedefast resouns. But yif it lyke unto thee, lat us noumbren hem amonges thilke thinges, of whiche thou seydest a litel her-biforn, that they ne were15 nat able to ben wened to the poeple.’ ‘Why so?’ quod she.
‘For that the comune word of men,’ quod I, ‘misuseth this maner speche of fortune, and seyn ofte tymes that the fortune of som wight is wikkede.’
‘Wiltow thanne,’ quod she, ‘that I aproche a litel to the wordes20 of the poeple, so that it seme nat to hem that I be overmoche departed as fro the usage of mankinde?’
‘As thou wolt,’ quod I.
‘Yis,’ quod I.25
‘I confesse it wel,’ quod I.
‘Thanne is it good?’ quod she.
‘Why nat?’ quod I.
‘But this is the fortune,’ quod she, ‘of hem that either ben put30 in vertu and batailen ayeins aspre thinges, or elles of hem that eschuen and declynen fro vyces and taken the wey of vertu.’
‘This ne may I nat denye,’ quod I.
‘Nay, forsothe,’ quod I; ‘but they demen, as it sooth is, that it is right good.’
‘And what seystow of that other fortune,’ quod she, ‘that, al-thogh that it be aspre, and restreineth the shrewes by rightful40 torment, weneth aught the poeple that it be good?’
‘Nay,’ quod I, ‘but the poeple demeth that it is most wrecched of alle thinges that may ben thought.’
‘War now, and loke wel,’ quod she, ‘lest that we, in folwinge the opinioun of the poeple, have confessed and concluded thing45 that is unable to be wened to the poeple.’
‘What is that?’ quod I.
‘Certes,’ quod she, ‘it folweth or comth of thinges that ben graunted, that alle fortune, what-so-ever it be, of hem that ben either in possessioun of vertu, or in the encres of vertu , or elles in50 the purchasinge of vertu, that thilke fortune is good; and that alle fortune is right wikkede to hem that dwellen in shrewednesse;’ as who seyth, and thus weneth nat the poeple.
‘That is sooth,’ quod I, ‘al-be-it so that no man dar confesse it ne biknowen it.’
55‘Why so?’ quod she; ‘for right as the stronge man ne semeth nat to abaissen or disdaignen as ofte tyme as he hereth the noise of the bataile, ne also it ne semeth nat, to the wyse man, to beren[ ] it grevously, as ofte as he is lad in-to the stryf of fortune. For bothe to that oon man and eek to that other thilke difficultee is60 the matere; to that oon man, of encres of his glorious renoun,[ ] and to that other man, to confirme his sapience, that is to seyn, to[ ] the asprenesse of his estat. For therefore is it called “vertu,” for[ ] that it susteneth and enforseth, by hise strengthes, that it nis nat overcomen by adversitees. Ne certes, thou that art put in the[ ]65 encres or in the heighte of vertu, ne hast nat comen to fleten with delices, and for to welken in bodily luste; thou sowest or plauntest a ful egre bataile in thy corage ayeins every fortune: for that the sorwful fortune ne confounde thee nat, ne that the merye fortune ne corumpe thee nat, occupye the mene by stedefast strengthes.70 For al that ever is under the mene, or elles al that overpasseth the mene, despyseth welefulnesse (as who[ ] seyth, it is vicious), and ne hath no mede of his travaile. For it is set in your hand (as who seyth, it lyth in your power) what fortune yow is levest, that is toseyn, good or yvel. For alle fortune that semeth sharp or aspre, yif it ne exercyse nat the gode folk ne chastyseth the wikked folk, it75punissheth .
Bella bis quinis operatus annis.
The wreker Attrides, that is to seyn, Agamenon, that wroughte[ ] and continuede the batailes by ten yeer, recovered and purgede[ ]in wrekinge, by the destruccioun of Troye, the loste chaumbres of mariage of his brother; this is to seyn, thathe , Agamenon, wan ayein Eleyne, that was Menelaus wyf his brother. In the mene[ ]5 whyle that thilke Agamenon desirede to yeven sayles to the Grekissh navye, and boughte ayein the windes by blood, he unclothede him of pitee of fader ; and the sory preest yiveth in sacrifyinge the wrecched cuttinge of throte of the doughter; that[ ] is to seyn, that Agamenon let cutten the throte of his doughter by the10preest, to maken allyaunce with his goddes, and for to han winde with whiche he mighte wenden to Troye.
Itacus, that is to seyn, Ulixes, biwepte his felawes y-lorn,[ ] the whiche felawes the ferse Poliphemus, ligginge in his grete cave, hadde freten and dreynt in his empty wombe. But natheles[ ]15 Poliphemus, wood for his blinde visage, yald to Ulixes Ioye by his sorwful teres; this is to seyn, that Ulixes smoot out the eye of Poliphemus that stood in his forehed, for which Ulixes hadde Ioye, whan he say Poliphemus wepinge and blinde.
Hercules is celebrable for his harde travailes; he dauntede the[ ]20 proude Centaures, half hors, half man; and he birafte the dispoylinge[ ] fro the cruel lyoun, that is to seyn, heslowhthe lyoun and[ ] rafte him his skin. He smoot the briddes that hightenArpyes[ ] with certein arwes. He ravisshede apples fro the wakinge dragoun, and his hand was the more hevy for the goldene metal.[ ]25 He drow Cerberus, the hound of helle, by his treble cheyne. He,[ ] overcomer, as it is seyd, hath put an unmeke lord foddre to his[ ] cruel hors; this isto seyn, that HerculesslowhDiomedes, and made his hors tofretenhim. And he, Hercules, slowh Ydra the serpent,[ ]30 and brende the venim. And Achelous the flood, defouled in his[ ] forhed, dreynte his shamefast visage in his strondes; this isto seyn, that Achelous coude transfigure him-self in-to dyverse lyknesses; and, as he faught with Hercules, at the laste he tornede him in-to a bole; and Hercules brak of oon of his hornes, andhe , for shame,35hidde him in his river. And he, Hercules, caste adoun Antheus[ ] the gyaunt in the strondes of Libie; and Cacus apaysede the[ ] wratthes of Evander; this isto seyn, that Hercules slowh the monstre Cacus, and apaysede with that deeth the wratthe of Evander. And the bristlede boor markede with scomes the[ ]40 shuldres of Hercules, the whiche shuldres the heye cercle of[ ] hevene sholde thriste. And the laste of his labours was, that he sustened the hevene up-on his nekke unbowed; and he deservede eft-sones the hevene, to ben the prys of his laste travaile.
Goth now thanne, ye stronge men, ther-as the heye wey of the45 grete ensaumple ledeth yow. O nyce men, why nake ye youre[ ] bakkes? As who seyth: O ye slowe and delicat men, why flee ye adversitees, and ne fighten nat ayeins hem by vertu, to winnen themede of thehevene? For the erthe, overcomen, yeveth the sterres’ ; this isto seyn, that, whan that erthely lust is overcomen, a man is50maked worthy to the hevene.
[P. 111.]The side-number 215 is one line too high.
[P. 122, Book IV, met. 6, l. 24.]Delete the square brackets; see pp. xlii, xliii.
[P. 124, Book IV, pr. 7, l. 61. MS. C.]has confirme; and MS. A. has conferme. But the right reading must be conforme; for the Latin text has conformandae.
[6. ]A. om. some. A. Se (for O); Lat. o. C. om. that.
[7. ]A. om. me.
[9. ]A. Ed. thy; C. the.
[14. ]C. so as; Ed. so that as; A. that so as.
[19. ]C. imperisse; A. emperisse; Ed. emperesse. A. rycchesse.
[20. ]A. vertues (badly).
[22. ]Ed. stede; C. stide; A. sted.
[25. ]C. good; A. goode.
[28. ]A. enbaissynge; Ed. abasshyng.
[29. ]C. horible. C. al; A. alle.
[31. ]A. Ed. vyle; C. vyl (twice).
[32. ]C. he heryed (mistake for heryed).
[33. ]C. tho; A. Ed. the.
[35. ]Ed. vnaraced.
[37. ]A. yuel (for out-cast).
[42. ]C. strengthyn; A. stedfast (!). C. stidfast; A. stedfast.
[45. ]C. I tretyd; A. I treted; Ed. treated; Lat. decursis omnibus.
[48. ]C. areysen.
[50. ]C. sledys; A. Ed. sledes. C. shal (for shalt).
[1. ]C. swife (for swifte).
[4. ]A. hey;enesse (for roundnesse); Lat. globum. A. hir (for his).
[6. ]A. til that she areisith hir in-til . . . hir weyes.
[9. ]C. saturnis; A. saturnus. A. she (for he).
[10. ]A. soule (for thought); twice.
[12. ]C. alle; A. alle the; Ed. al the.
[13. ]Ed. ypaynted; A. depeynted.
[16. ]A. And whan the soule hath gon ynouȝ she shal forleten the last poynt of the heuene, and she.
[17. ]A. Ed. wenden; C. wyndyn.
[18. ]A. she (for he).
[18, 19. ]C. Ed. worshipful lyht; A. dredefulle clerenesse. A. haldeth.
[20. ]A. this; for the (2).
[22. ]A. om. or wayn.
[25. ]C. requerest; Ed. requirest; A. requeredest.
[27. ]A. lyke (for lyketh).
[28. ]C. dyrknesses; A. derkenesse; Lat. noctem.
[1. ]C. owh; Ed. O; A. om.; Lat. Papae.
[8. ]C. dishert; A. desert; Ed. deserte; Lat. desertos. All strengthes; Lat. uiribus.
[10, 11. ]C. stidefast; A. stedfast.
[12. ]C. stidefastnesse; A. stedfastnesse.
[13 ]C. A. fey; Ed. faythe.
[19. ]C. lakkit; A. lakketh.
[25. ]C. denoyed.
[28. ]C. om. he bef. ne.
[33. ]C. halt; A. halden; Ed. holde. A. Ed. that that; C. that.
[42. ]A. whan that; C. Ed. om. that.
[45. ]C. It ne . . nat; A. It recordeth me wel; Lat. Minimè . . recordor.
[48. ]C. defference; A. Ed. difference.
[63. ]A. resoun; Lat. rationum.
[67. ]C. by (for but; by mistake).
[68. ]Ed. accomplyssheth; A. acomplisith; C. a-complesseth (twice).
[70. ]A. demest thou.
[73. ]C. denoye (for deneye); A. Ed. denye. A. moeuementz; Lat. motum.
[88. ]C. good folk (1st time); goode folk (2nd time).
[91. ]A. trowest thou.
[92. ]A. wyse; C. whise.
[99. ]C. maledie; A. maladie.
[104. ]C. om. hem after constreineth.
[109. ]A. the gretter thinges that ben.
[110. ]C. acomplised; A. accomplissed; Ed. accomplysshed.
[112. ]C. veyn; A. veyne.
[120. ]A. lay.
[122. ]C. desired (for desire, by mistake).
[135. ]A. wise; C. whise.
[141. ]C. denoye (for deneye); A. denye (thrice).
[142. ]C. sympeli (1st time).
[149. ]C. Ed. what; A. that.
[151. ]C. shrewen (by mistake).
[152. ]A. descendeth; C. dessendit (sic).
[158. ]A. shrewednesse; Lat. mala.
[160. ]A. to han (for ne han no).
[162. ]C. diffinissed; A. diffinised; Ed. defynisshed; Lat. definiuimus.
[169. ]A. but yif; Ed. but if; C. but.
[186. ]A. om. ben.
[188. ]A. om. doon.
[192. ]C. the; A. Ed. tho.
[194. ]C. om. to.
[1. ]Ed. vayne; C. A. veyn.
[2. ]A. Ed. in; C. on.
[3. ]Ed. chayres; C. (miswritten) charyes; A. chayeres.
[4. ]A. manasyng; C. manassinge.
[8. ]A. troublynges; C. trwblynges.
[9. ]C. hym (for hem).
[12. ]C. Ed. tyrannyes; A. tyrauntis.
[14. ]A. wicked (for wikkedly).
[1. ]A. Seest thou.
[16. ]A. les; C. leese (error for lesse).
[17. ]C. faaden.
[25. ]A. laste; C. last.
[27. ]A. wolde; C. Ed. nolde; Lat. quis . . iudicet.
[27, 28. ]A. Ed. of mede; C. of the mede. C. A. gerdoned; Ed. reguerdoned.
[30. ]C. yat (miswritten for yaf).
[31. ]C. good him-self; A. Ed. god him-self; Lat. ipsum bonum. C. his (error for is); after him-self.
[36. ]A. endirken (for derken).
[38. ]A. medes.
[43. ]C. gerdown; A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdone.
[44. ]A. Ed. answere. A. Ed. by the; C. om. the.
[45. ]A. medes; Lat. praemium.
[47. ]C. entechched. Both MSS. om. peyne . . . defouled with; but Ed. has: payne, he ne douteth not, that he is entetched and defouled with; Lat. quisquis afficitur poena, malo se affectum esse non dubitat.
[50. ]A. om. uttereste . . . which that is the.
[52. ]C. vtteriste (1st time); owttereste (2nd time).
[55. ]C. folueth.
[56. ]C. alle; A. al.
[58. ]C. alle; A. al (twice).
[67. ]A. Ed. so as; C. om. as. C. enhawsen (for enhawnsen).
[73. ]A. rauynour; Ed. rauenour; C. ranaynour.
[75. ]A. Ed. a wolf. C. excersise.
[77. ]A. rauysshe; C. rauysse.
[78. ]A. Ed. wyles; C. whiles; Lat. fraudibus.
[81. ]C. dredd.
[82. ]A. Ed. slowe; C. slowh.
[83. ]C. vnstidefast.
[1. ]C. A. Ed. wynde.
[2. ]C. A. Ed. Narice; Lat. Neritii.
[3. ]C. Ed. Circes; A. Circe.
[8. ]C. boer; A. boor.
[9. ]C. A. Ed. Marmorike; Lat. Marmaricus leo.
[14. ]A. Arcadie; C. Ed. Archadie; Lat. Arcadis alitis.
[15. ]A. Ed. vnbounden; C. vnbounded. A. pestilence; C. pestelence.
[16. ]A. oosterease (!).
[18. ]A. Ed. woxen; C. wexen.
[19. ]C. akkornes; A. acorns. C. lemes; A. lymes; Ed. lymmes.
[20. ]A. Ed. hoole; C. hool.
[1. ]A. om. it.
[3. ]C. ne ben; A. ne ben nat; Ed. ben.
[10. ]C. to; A. for.
[16. ]A. om. than yif . . . coveiten.
[19. ]C. languesse.
[22. ]A. thre; C. the; Lat. triplici.
[26. ]Ed. vnselynesse; C. A. vnselynysses; Lat. hoc infortunio.
[29. ]A. to lakken . . yvel; C. Ed. omit.
[30. ]A. Ed. so short; C. the shorte; Lat. tam breuibus.
[38. ]A. yfinissed.
[49. ]A. colasioun; Ed. collacyon; C. collacions; Lat. collationem.
[58. ]A. byen (for abyen).
[59. ]A. chastied.
[61. ]A. thenk; C. thinke. C. A. Ed. coriged
[64. ]A. yitte; Ed. yet; C. yif.
[66. ]Ed. punysshed; C. A. punyssed.
[67. ]C. correcsioun.
[78. ]C. lakked; A. lakketh.
[80. ]A. knyt; C. knytte.
[96. ]A. escapin.
[99. ]A. nis wicked.
[101. ]A. a litel; C. alyter.
[103. ]A. dedid (for ended).
[108. ]A. this peyne; Lat. de his.
[109. ]C. yit; Ed. yet; A. it.
[110. ]C. mowynge, i. myght.
[113. ]A. seen; C. seyn; uideres.
[116. ]C. dure; A. endure.
[120. ]A. om. hir.
[124. ]A. resouns; C. resoun; rationes.
[135. ]A. escaping; C. schapynge (for scapynge).
[138. ]C. of no; A. to no.
[142. ]A. threst the.
[143. ]C. puts the foule erthe before by dyverse tymes.
[145. ]A. om. nere neither . . . erthe; Ed. were in neyther (om. in hevene . . erthe).
[147. ]A. Ed. on; C. in.
[149. ]A. to the bestes.
[150. ]A. wilt thou.
[153. ]A. thing; eadem.
[155. ]C. om. is.
[159. ]A. Deniest thou.
[165. ]A. dowtest thou.
[168. ]C. Ed. om. quod she.
[169. ]C. om. whether. A. trowest thou.
[172. ]C. om. suffisaunt.
[176. ]C. that (for than). A. that hath suffred the wrong.
[179. ]C. wrongly ins. of bef. enforced. A. ins. that bef. filthe.
[182, 3. ]C. om. but the . . wrong.
[198. ]A. Ed. sawen; C. sawh.
[199. ]C. felthes.
[209. ]A. languissing; C. langwissynges. C. maledye; A. maladie.
[1 ]A. deliteth it yow. A. moewynges; C. moeuynge; motus.
[5. ]hors is plural; Lat. equos. A. serpentz.
[6. ]A. lyouns.
[8. ]A. discordaunt.
[10. ]Ed. perysshe; A. perisse; C. perise. A. Ed. -chaungynge; C. -chaungynges.
[12. ]C. A. gerdoun; Ed. guerdon.
[4. ]C. hath leuere; A. hath nat leuer; Ed. had not leuer.
[8. ]A. Ed. witnes-; C. witnesse-.
[10. ]A. neyȝbours; C. nesshebors.
[17. ]A. witen; C. weten.
[21. ]C. A. astonyenge.
[25. ]C. defference.
[28. ]C. Ne it nis; A. it nis.
[33. ]C. ben; A. ne ben.
[1. ]Ed. Arcture; C. Arctour; A. aritour.
[4. ]Ed. Bootes; C. A. boetes (twice).
[9. ]A. Ed. by the; C. by.
[11. ]A. Ed. had; C. hadde.
[12. ]C. basynnes (1st time); basyns (2nd).
[14. ]Ed. Coribantes; C. A. coribandes.
[17. ]A. Ed. blastes; C. blases.
[18. ]A. Ed. man ne; C. manne.
[19. ]A. Ed. the snowe; C. sonwh (sic; om. the).
[4. ]A. Ed. do; C. don.
[5. ]C. meracle.
[6. ]A. om. what.
[13. ]A. Ed. Hercules. C. slowh; A. Ed. slough.
[21. ]C. wyht.
[22, 3. ]A. to the medicine to the.
[25. ]C. norysynges.
[27. ]C. A. weue; glossed contexo.
[28. ]A. Tho; C. So.
[30. ]A. progressiouns; C. progressioun; progressus.
[48. ]C. Ed. intynyte; A. with-outen fyn.
[49. ]C. dynydyd; A. Ed. diuideth; distributa.
[50. ]After tymes A. ins. departith (om. as). C. lat; Ed. Let; A. so that.
[52. ]Ed. be cleaped; C. A. is (see 54).
[55. ]A.Ed. on; C. of.
[57. ]C. om. a.
[59. ]C. symplely.
[60. ]C. Ed. ordinaunce; A. thouȝt.
[61. ]C. stablely.
[64. ]C. desponed.
[65. ]C. weyther. C. destyn (miswritten).
[67. ]C. A. sowle; glossed anima mundi.
[68. ]C. om. the bef. vertu.
[71. ]C. acomplyssed; A. accomplissed.
[79. ]C. stablely. A. yficched; C. y-fechched; Ed. fyxed.
[80. ]Ed. monablyte; A. moeuablite.
[81. ]A. Ed. om. of.
[85. ]A. Ed. larger; C. a large.
[86. ]C. Ed. fertherest; A. forthest.
[91. ]C. A. fyrthest (see 86).
[93. ]A. lovs; Ed. loce.
[96. ]C. necissite.
[103. ]C. mutasioun.
[105. ]A. Ed. progressiouns; C. progressioun; Lat. progressus.
[106. ]A. female.
[107. ]A. unbounden; glossed indissolubili.
[137. ]After bodies, A. has ‘quasi non.’
[139. ]C. om. 2nd a.
[142, 3. ]A. om. and some . . medicynes.
[148. ]A. leecher.
[159. ]A. familier.
[160. ]Ed. victoriouse; C. A. victories; uictricem.
[164. ]C. sopose.
[166. ]C. om. so.
[176. ]bodily] A. manere. A. om. the more . . by me; me quoque excellentior. A. has: the aduersites comen nat, he seide in grec, there that vertues.
[186. ]C. corages (animi). C. excercitacion.
[187. ]All the (for that.)
[188, 9. ]Ed. and some . . not beare; C. A. om.
[191. ]C. of the; A. Ed. of.
[195. ]A. ordeinly.
[202. ]C. Ed. felonies; A. folies.
[210. ]A. puttith; C. pittyth. A. rychesse.
[213. ]A. his; C. is.
[219. ]C. A. punyssen; Ed. punysshen.
[220. ]C. excercisynge.
[222. ]A. Ed. accorden; C. acordy.
[228. ]After maked A. ins. oftyme (not in Lat.).
[232. ]C. om. studien.
[235. ]A. by (for to).
[238. ]C. assyngned.
[240. ]A. realme (twice).
[243. ]A. to no man.
[247. ]C. wyl; A. while.
[253. ]Ed. outragyous; C. outraious; A. om.
[255. ]C. the lengthe; A. Ed. om. the.
[257. ]A. refet.
[258. ]C. stydefast.
[1. ]A. om. wys; Lat. sollers.
[3. ]C. the souereyn; A. om. the.
[5. ]C. clerke (!); for cercle.
[7. ]C. cours (meatus); see 13.
[9. ]A. dyȝen; C. deeyn, glossed tingere; Ed. deyen.
[10. ]A. in-to (for in).
[16. ]A. striuen nat with the drye thinges, but yiuen.
[24. ]A. al; C. alle. A. bredith; C. Ed. bereth; read bretheth (spirat).
[31. ]C. om. the.
[35. ]A. bygynnynge; C. bygynge.
[1. ]A. Sest thou; C. Sestow.
[5, 6. ]A. om. alle . . aspre.
[7. ]Ed. guerdonyng; C. A. gerdonynge. C. excersisinge.
[16. ]A. ywened.
[20. ]A. proche.
[24. ]A. Demest thou; Ed. Wenest thou. A. al; C. alle.
[26. ]C. excersiseth. C. corigit; A. corigith; Ed. corrygeth.
[34. ]A. seist thou.
[35. ]Ed. guerdon; C. A. gerdoun. C. Ed. demeth; A. deuinith; decernit. A. poeples; uulgus.
[38. ]A. seist thou.
[41. ]C. Ed. is; A. be.
[49. ]A. om. or in . . vertu.
[55. ]C. the stronge; A. no strong.
[56. ]Ed. abasshen; A. abassen.
[66. ]A. welken; Ed. walken; C. wellen; emarcescere.
[69. ]A. Ed. corrumpe. C. Ocupye; A. Occupy. C. stydefast.
[75. ]C. excersyse.
[76. ]C. punysseth; A. punisseth.
[4. ]A. Ed. om. he.
[8. ]A. pite as fader.
[16. ]A. yeld.
[22. ]A. slouȝ.
[23. ]Ed. Arpyes; C. A. arpiis; glossed—in the palude of lyrne.
[26. ]C. drowh; A. drouȝ.
[28, 31, 37, 49. ]C. this (for this is)
[28. ]C. slowgh; A. slouȝ (thrice).
[29. ]A. etyn (for freten).
[30. ]C. achelows (1st time); achelous (2nd); A. achelaus (twice).
[34. ]C. he, glossed achelous; A. achelaus (om. he).
[39. ]Ed. vomes (for scomes).
[40. ]A. Ed. cercle; C. clerke (!).
[48. ]A. mede of the. A. Ed. the sterres; C. om. the.
[Prose 1. 5.]forbrak, broke off, interrupted: ‘abrupi.’
[14.]so as, seeing that, since: ‘cùm.’
[25.]alle thinges may, is omnipotent: ‘potentis omnia.’
[27.]an enbasshinge . . ende: ‘infiniti stuporis.’
[30.]right ordenee, well ordered: ‘dispositissima domo.’
[32.]heried, praised. This resembles the language of St. Paul; 2 Tim. ii. 20.
[41.]cesen, cause to cease: ‘sopitis querelis.’
[45.]alle thinges, all things being treated of: ‘decursis omnibus.’
[47.]fetheres, wings; ‘pennas.’ The A. S. pl. fethera sometimes means wings.
[50.]sledes, sleds, i. e. sledges: ‘uehiculis.’ The Vulgate version of 1 Chron. xx. 3 has: ‘et fecit super eos tribulas, et trahas, et ferrata carpenta transire.’ Wycliffe translates trahas by sledis (later version, sleddis).
[Metre 1. 2-5.]Quoted in Ho. Fame, 973-8.
[5.]fyr, fire. In the old astronomy, the region of air was supposed to be surrounded by a region of fire, which Boethius here says was caused by the swift motion of the ether: ‘Quique agili motu calet aetheris Transcendit ignis uerticem.’ Beyond this region were the planetary spheres, viz. those of the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This explains the allusion to the passage of Thought (Imagination) through ‘the houses that bear the stars’ (i. e. planets), in Latin astriferas domos, and so, past the sun, to the seventh sphere of Saturn. After this, Thought soars to the eighth sphere, called the Sphere of the Fixed Stars (denoted below by ‘the circle of the stars’ or ‘the firmament’); and after ‘wending on the back of it,’ i. e. getting beyond it, reaches the primum mobile, where ‘the lord of kings holds the sceptre of his might.’
[9.]Saturnus, the planet Saturn; which Chaucer rightly gives as the sense of ‘senis.’
[15.]images of sterres, i. e. constellations, which were fancifully supposed to represent various objects.
[18.]worshipful light. MS. A has dredefulle clerenesse. Both are translations of ‘uerendi luminis.’
[22.]swifte cart: ‘uolucrem currum.’ Cart is sometimes used for car or chariot.
[25.]but now, &c. These words are supposed to be spoken by Boethius, when he remembers all the truth. ‘Haec dices, memini, patria est mihi.’
[26.]heer wol I fastne my degree: ‘hic sistam gradum.’ The sense is rather, ‘here will I [or, let me] fix my step,’ or ‘plant my foot’; i. e. remain. Cf. ‘Siste gradum,’ i. e. stop; Verg. Aen. vi. 465.
[Prose 2. 1.]owh, an exclamation; ‘Papae.’
[13.]fey, the faith, the certainty: ‘fides.’ sentence, opinion.
[31.]And in that: ‘Quod uero quisque potest.’ may, can do.
[38.]lad, led; studies, desires: ‘quae diuersis studiis agitur.’
[71.]Yif that: ‘Etsi coniecto, inquam, quid uelis.’
[84.]knit forth: ‘Contexe, inquam, cetera.’
[93.]shewinge, evident; is open and shewinge: ‘patet.’
[97.]Iugement. Evidently meant to translate iudicium. But Chaucer misread his text, which has indicium. ‘Idque, ut medici sperare solent, indicium est erectae iam resistentisque naturae.’
[103.]ledeth hem, i. e. leads them to: ‘qui ne ad hoc quidem peruenire queunt, ad quod eos naturalis ducit, ac pene compellit, intentio.’
[104.]And what: ‘Et quid? si hoc tam magno ac pene inuicto praeeuntis naturae desererentur auxilio?’
[112.]Ne shrewes: ‘Neque enim leuia aut ludicra praemia petunt, quae consequi atque obtinere non possunt.’
[120.]laye, might lie (subjunctive): ‘quo nihil ulterius peruium iaceret incessui.’
[137.]for to ben, even to exist. So below, ben frequently means ‘to exist,’ as appears from the argument.
[151.]mowen, have power to act: ‘possunt.’
[161.]understonde, mayest understand: ‘ut intelligas.’
[187.]Plato, viz. in the Gorgias and Alcibiades I, where many of the arguments here used may be found.
[Metre 2.]The subject of this metre is from Plato, De Republica, x. Chaucer’s translation begins with the 7th line of the Latin.
[12.]tyrannyes. This reading (in C ed.) gives the sense better than the reading tyrauntis (in A); although the latter is quite literal.
[Prose 3. 7.]stadie, race-course: ‘in stadio’; which Chaucer explains by ‘furlong.’
[10.]purposed, equivalent to proposed; ‘praemium commune propositum.’
[14.]For which thing: ‘quare probos mores sua praemia non relinquunt.’
[25, 26.]so as, whereas. for men, because men.
[27.]part-les, without his share of: ‘praemii . . . expertem.’
[35.]no day: ‘quod nullus deterat dies.’
[39.]undepartable, inseparable: ‘inseparabili poena.’
[49.]may it semen: ‘possuntne sibi supplicii expertes uideri, quos omnium malorum extrema nequitia non afficit modò, verumetiam uehementer inficit?’
[70.]under, beneath, below: ‘infra hominis meritum.’
[Metre 3. 1.]aryvede, cause to arrive, drove: ‘appulit.’
[3.]Circes, Circe, as in Ho. Fame, 1272; inserted by Chaucer.
[7.]that oon of hem: ‘Hunc apri facies tegit.’—‘One of them, his face is covered,’ &c.
[9.]Marmorike: ‘Marmaricus leo.’ This refers to the country of Barca, on the N. African coast, to the W. of Egypt.
[13.]But al-be-it: ‘Sed licet uariis modis Numen Arcadis alitis Obsitum miserans ducens Peste soluerit hospitis.’ Arcas ales, the winged Arcadian, i. e. Mercury, because born on the Arcadian mountain Cyllene.
[16.]algates, at any rate; by this, already.
[19.]akornes of okes; this is not tautology, for an acorn was, originally, any fruit of the field, as the etymology (from acre) shews.
[23.]over-light, too light, too feeble: ‘O leuem nimium manum, Nec potentia gramina, Membra quae ualeant licet, Corda uertere non ualent.’
[32.]for vyces: ‘Dira, quae penitus meant, Nec nocentia corpori Mentis uulnere saeuiunt.’
[Prose 4. 2.]ne I ne see nat: ‘nec iniuria dici uideo uitiosos, tametsi humani corporis speciem seruent, in belluas tamen animorum qualitate mutari.’ Chaucer’s ‘as by right’ should rather be ‘as by wrong.’ It means ‘I do not see that it is wrongly said.’
[4, 5.]But I nolde, but I would rather that it were not so with regard to evil men: ‘eis licere noluissem.’
[18.]to mowen don, to be able to do: ‘potuisse.’
[22.]three, i. e. the triple misfortune of wishing to do evil, of being able to do it, and of doing it.
[26.]thilke unselinesse: ‘hoc infortunio’; i. e. the ability to sin.
[28.]So shullen: ‘Carebunt, inquit, ocius, quàm uel tu forsitan uelis, uel illi sese existiment esse carituros.’
[30.]For ther: ‘Neque enim est aliquid in tam breuibus uitae metis ita serum, quod exspectare longum immortalis praesertim animus putet.’
[39.]by the outtereste: ‘eorum malitiam . . mors extrema finiret.’
[42.]ben perdurable, i. e. to exist eternally: ‘infinitam liquet esse miseriam, quam constat esse aeternam.’
[51.]ther is not why, there is no reason why.
[54.]but of the thinges: ‘sed ex his, quae sumpta sunt, aeque est necessarium.’
[64.]but I understande: ‘sed alio quodam modo infeliciores esse improbos arbitror impunitos, tametsi nulla ratio correctionis, nullus respectus habeatur exempli.’ Thus ‘non ensaumple of lokinge’ is wrong; it should rather be ‘non lokinge of ensaumple,’ i. e. no regard to the example thus set.
[90.]which defaute: ‘quam iniquitatis merito malum esse confessus es.’ Hence ‘for the deserte of felonye’ means ‘when we consider what wickedness deserves.’
[102.]to leten, to leave: ‘nullane animarum supplicia . . relinquis?’
[132.]briddes, i. e. owls. See Parl. Foules, 599.
[142.]right as thou: ‘ueluti si uicibus sordidam humum caelumque respicias, cunctis extra cessantibus, ipsa cernendi ratione nunc coeno nunc sideribus interesse uidearis.’
[153.]Wrong. It should rather run: ‘sholde we wene that we were blinde?’ Lat. ‘num uidentes eadem caecos putaremus?’
[193.]in al, altogether: ‘tota,’ sc. opera defensorum.
[197, 8.]at any clifte: ‘aliqua rimula.’
[200.]right for: ‘compensatione adipiscendae probitatis.’ Hence for to geten hem means ‘of obtaining for themselves.’
[205.]y-leten, left: ‘nullus prorsus odio locus relinquatur.’
[Metre 4. 1.]What delyteth you, Why does it delight you? ‘Quid tantos iuuat excitare motus?’
[9.]and wilnen: ‘Alternisque uolunt perire telis.’
[10.]But the resoun: ‘Non est iusta satis saeuitiae ratio.’
[Prose 5. 9.]y-shad, shed, spread abroad: ‘transfunditur.’
[20.]hepeth: ‘Nunc stuporem meum Deus rector exaggerat.’
[Metre 5.]The Latin text begins thus:—
[1.]sterres of Arcture, the stars of the constellation Arcturus. Arcturus was (as here) another name for Boötes, though it properly meant the brightest star in that constellation. It is at no great distance from the north pole, and so appears to revolve round it. The passage, which is somewhat obscure, seems to refer to the manner of the rising and setting of Boötes; and the argument is, that a person ignorant of astronomy, must be puzzled to understand the laws that rule the motions of the sky.
[3.]the sterre, the constellation. Chaucer uses sterre in this sense in several passages; see Kn. Tale, A 2059, 2061, and the notes.
[8.]the fulle mone. This alludes to an eclipse of the moon, as appears from below.
[9.]infect: ‘Infecta metis noctis opacae.’
[11.]The comune errour: ‘Commouet gentes publicus error.’ The people who do not understand an eclipse, are excited by it; they bring out basins, and beat them with a loud din, to frighten away the spirit that is preying on the moon. Chaucer calls them Corybantes, but these were the priests of Cybele. Still, they celebrated her rites to the sound of noisy music; and he may have been thinking of a passage in Ovid, Fasti, iv. 207-14. C. adds a gloss: ‘i. vulgaris error, quo putatur luna incantari.’
[12.]thikke strokes, frequent strokes. The word resembles thilke in C., because lk is not unfrequently written for kk in the fifteenth century, to the confusion of some editors; see my paper on Ghost-words, in the Philol. Soc. Trans. 1886, p. 370.
[18.]by quakinge flodes: ‘frementi . . fluctu.’
[23.]alle thinges: ‘Cuncta, quae rara prouehit aetas.’
[24.]troubly errour: ‘nubilus error.’
[Prose 6. 9.]laven it, to exhaust the subject: ‘cui uix exhausti quidquam satis sit.’ As to lave, see note to Bk. iii. Met. 12-16.
[13.]Ydre, Hydra; see note below to Met. 7. The form is due to hydrae (MS. hydre) in the Latin text.
[14.]but-yif: ‘nisi quis eas uiuacissimo mentis igne coërceat.’
[24, 5.]But althogh: ‘Quòd si te musici carminis oblectamenta delectant, hanc oportet paullisper differas uoluptatem, dum nexas sibi ordine contexo rationes.’ This is said, because this ‘Prose’ is of unusual length. For sibi, another reading is tibi; hence Chaucer’s ‘weve to thee resouns.’
[30.]muable, mutable, changeable: ‘mutabilium naturarum.’ Cf. Kn. Tale, A 2994-3015.
[33.]in the tour: ‘Haec in suae simplicitatis arce composita, multiplicem rebus gerendis modum statuit.’
[48.]but destinee: ‘fatum uero singula digerit in motum, locis, formis, ac temporibus distributa.’
[59.]and ledeth: ‘et quod simpliciter praesentarieque prospexit, per temporales ordines ducit.’ Cf. Troilus, i. 1065-9.
[67.]by some sowle; glossed ‘anima mundi.’ This idea is from Plato, De Legibus, bk. x: ψυχὴν δὴ διοικον̂σαν καὶ ἐνοικον̂σαν ἐν ἅπασι τοɩ̂ς πάντῃ κινουμένοις μω̂ν οὐ καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνάγκη διοικεɩ̂ν ϕάναι; (896 D).
[68.]by the celestial, &c.; alluding to the old astrology.
[81.]a same centre; i. e. concentric circles, as on a target.
[87.]and yif ther be: ‘si quid uero illi se medio connectat et societ, in simplicitatem cogitur, diffundique ac diffluere cessat.’
[93.]laus, loose; from Icel. lauss. Also spelt loos, los. it axeth: ‘quantò illum rerum cardinem uicinius petit.’ Thus it axeth is due to ‘petit,’ i. e. seeks, tends to.
[97.]Thanne right swich: ‘Igitur uti est ad intellectum ratiocinatio; ad id quod est, id quod gignitur; ad aeternitatem tempus; ad puncti medium circulus: ita est fati series mobilis ad prouidentiae stabilem simplicitatem.’
[108.]whan they passen: ‘cùm . . proficiscantur.’ Thus whan should rather be so as, i. e. whereas, because.
[112.]unable to ben ybowed: ‘indeclinabilem caussarum ordinem promat.’
[114.]sholden fleten: ‘res . . . temerè fluituras.’
[116.]natheles: ‘nihilominus tamen suus modus ad bonum dirigens cuncta disponat.’
[121.]ne the ordre: ‘ne dum ordo de summi boni cardine proficiscens, a suo quoquam deflectat exordio’ MS. C. has ‘deflectatur.’
[123.]‘Quae uero, inquies, potest ulla iniquior esse confusio.’ For ‘iniquior,’ MS. C. has the extraordinary reading ‘inquiescior,’ which Chaucer seems to have tried to translate.
[138.]Ne it ne is nat: ‘Non enim dissimile est miraculum nescienti.’
[145.]hele of corages: ‘animorum salus.’
[148.]lecher, i. e. leech-er, healer: ‘medicator mentium Deus.’
[151.]leneth hem, gives them: ‘quod conuenire nouit, accommodat.’ Printed leueth in Dr. Furnivall’s print of MS. C., but leneth in Morris’s edition of MS. A. There is no doubt as to the right reading, because accommodare and lenen are both used in the sense ‘to lend.’
[154.]for to constreine: ‘ut pauca . . perstringam,’ i. e. ‘to touch lightly on a few things.’ Chaucer has taken it too literally, but his paraphrase is nearly right.
[157.]right kepinge: ‘aequi seruantissimum.’
[159.]my familer: ‘familiaris noster Lucanus.’ Alluding to the famous line:—‘Victrix caussa deis placuit, sed uicta Catoni’; Pharsalia, i. 128.
[168.]with-holden, retain: ‘retinere fortunam.’
[176.]by me, by my means, by my help: ‘Nam ut quidam me quoque excellentior ait.’ This looks like a slip on the part of Boethius himself, for the supposed speaker is Philosophy herself. The philosopher here alluded to still remains unknown. MS. C. has ‘me quidem’; and ‘me’ is glossed by ‘philosophus per me.’
[177.]in Grek. Some MSS. have: ἀνδρὸς ἱερον̂ σω̂μα δυνάμεις οἰκοδομον̂σι. There are various readings, but Chaucer had before him only the interpretation: ‘Viri sacri corpus aedificauerunt uirtutes.’ Such is the reading in MS. C.
[179.]taken, delivered, entrusted. ‘Fit autem saepe, uti bonis summa rerum gerenda deferatur.’
[182.]remordeth: ‘remordet,’ i.e. plagues, troubles.
[186.]And other folk: ‘Alii plus aequo metuunt, quod ferre possunt.’
[201.]of wikkede merite: ‘eos male meritos omnes existimant.’
[206.]serven to shrewes: ‘famulari saepe improbis.’ I trowe: ‘illud etiam dispensari credo.’
[207, 8.]overthrowinge to yvel: ‘praeceps.’
[209.]egren him: ‘eum . . exacerbare possit.’
[219.]shal be cause: ‘ut exercitii bonis, et malis esset caussa supplicii.’ Hence continuacion seems to mean ‘endurance’ or ‘continuance.’
[242.]sin that: the original is in Greek, with (in MS. C.) the false gloss:—‘fortissimus in mundo Deus omnia regit.’ The Greek is—Ἀργαλέον δέ με ταν̂τα θεὸν ὣς πάντ’ ἀγορεύειν. From Homer, Il. xii. 176, with the change from ἀγορεν̂σαι to ἀγορεύειν.
[247.]with-holden, to retain, keep, maintain; ‘retinere.’
[253.]ben outrageous or haboundant: ‘abundare.’ Hence outrageous is ‘superfluous’ or ‘excessive.’
[257.]and whan: ‘quo refectus, firmior in ulteriora contendas.’
[Metre 6. 1.]‘Si uis celsi iura tonantis Pura sollers cernere mente, Adspice summi culmina caeli’; &c.
[5.]cercle: ‘Non Sol . . Gelidum Phoebes impedit axem.’
[6.]Ne the sterre: ‘Nec quae summo uertice mundi Flectit rapidos Ursa meatus, Numquam occiduo lota profundo, Cetera cernens sidera mergi, Cupit Oceano tingere flammas.’ Hence deyen is to dye, to dip.
[10.]Hesperus, the evening-star; Lucifer, the morning-star.
[13.]And thus: ‘Sic aeternos reficit cursus Alternus amor; sic astrigeris Bellum discors exsulat oris. Haec concordia temperat aequis Elementa modis, ut pugnantia Vicibus cedant humida siccis’; &c.
[20, 1.]in the firste somer-sesoun warminge: ‘uere tepenti.’ This is not the only place where uer is translated somer-sesoun, a phrase used as applicable to May in P. Plowman, Prol. 1. Another name for ‘spring’ was Lent or Lenten.
[24.]and thilke: ‘Eadem rapiens condit et aufert Obitu mergens orta supremo.’
[29.]And tho: ‘Et quae motu concitat ire, Sistit retrahens, ac uaga firmat.’
[31.]For yif: ‘Nam nisi rectos reuocans itus, Flexos iterum cogat in orbes, Quae nunc stabilis continet ordo, Dissepta suo fonte fatiscant.’
[37.]This is: ‘Hic est cunctis communis amor Repetuntque boni fine teneri, Quia non aliter durare queunt, Nisi conuerso rursus amore Refluant caussae, quae dedit esse.’
[Prose 7. 57.]ne also it: ‘ita uir sapiens molestè ferre non debet, quotiens in fortunae certamen adducitur.’
[60.]matere, material, source.
[62.]vertu. Boethius here derives uirtus from uires: ‘quod suis uiribus nitens non superetur aduersis.’
[64.]Ne certes: ‘Neque enim uos in prouectu positi uirtutis, diffluere deliciis, et emarcescere uoluptate uenistis; proelium cum omni fortuna nimis acre conseritis, ne uos aut tristis opprimat, aut iucunda corrumpat: firmis medium uiribus occupate.’
[72.]in your hand: ‘In uestra enim situm est manu.’
[Metre 7. 1.]wreker, avenger; Attrides, Atrides, i. e. Agamemnon, son of Atreus. Chaucer derived the spelling Agamenon from a gloss in MS. C. Gower (C. A. ii. 344) has the same form.
[2.]recovered: ‘Fratris amissos thalamos piauit.’
[5.]Menelaus, &c.; ‘that was his brother Menelaus’ wife.’ The usual idiom; see note to Squieres Tale, E 209.
[9.]doughter, i. e. Iphigenia; Ovid, Met. xii. 27-38.
[13.]Itacus: ‘Fleuit amissos Ithacus sodales.’ The well-known story of Ulysses of Ithaca; from Homer, Od. ix.
[15.]empty; as if translating ‘inani.’ But the right reading is inmani (or immani); i. e. ‘vast.’ MS. C. ‘inmani,’ glossed ‘magno.’
[20.]Hercules. See Monkes Tale, B 3285, and the notes. In the first note, this passage from Boethius is given at length.
[21.]Centaures, Centaurs; Hercules was present at the fight between the Centauri and Lapithae; Ovid, Met. xii. 541; ix. 191.
[22.]lyoun, the Nemean lion; Ovid, Met. ix. 197, 235; Her. ix. 61.
[23.]Arpyes, the Harpies; with reference to the destruction of the Stymphalian birds, who ate human flesh; Met. ix. 187. The gloss in the footnote—in the palude of lyrne (in the marsh of Lerna) is a mistake; it should refer to the Hydra mentioned below.
[25.]dragoun, the dragon in the garden of the Hesperides; Met. ix. 190. The ‘golden metal’ refers to the golden apples.
[26.]Cerberus; Ovid, Met. ix. 185.
[27.]unmeke, proud; see note to Monkes Tale, B 3293; and Ovid, Met. ix. 194-6. Note that hors (= horses) is plural.
[29.]Ydra, Hydra; Ovid, Met. ix. 192.
[30.]Achelous; see the story in Ovid, Met. ix. 1-97. Boethius imitates Ovid, l. 97, viz. ‘Et lacerum cornu mediis caput abdidit undis.’
[35.]Antheus, Antaeus; Ovid, Met. ix. 184. For the story, see Lucan, Phars. iv. 590-660; Lucan refers to Lybia as the place of combat; l. 582.
[36.]Cacus; see the story in Ovid, Fasti, i. 543-86.
[39.]boor, the boar of Erymanthus; Ovid, Her. ix. 87. For scomes (lit. scums), Caxton and Thynne have vomes, for fomes (foams).
[40.]the whiche, ‘which shoulders were fated to sustain (lit. thrust against) the high sphere of heaven.’ Alluding to Hercules, when he took the place of Atlas.
[45.]nake, expose your unarmed backs (Lat. nudatis), like one who runs away. An unarmed man was usually said to be naked; as in Othello, v. 2. 258; 2 Hen. VI. iii. 2. 234; &c.