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BOOK I PROLOGUE. [ ] - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 7 (Supplement: Chaucerian and Other Pieces) 
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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MANY men there ben that, with eeres openly sprad, so moche swalowen the deliciousnesse of jestes and of ryme, by queynt knitting coloures , that of the goodnesse or of the badnesse of the sentence take they litel hede or els non .
Soothly , dul wit and a thoughtful soule so sore have myned5 and graffed in my spirites, that suche craft of endyting wol not ben of myn acqueyntaunce. And, for rude wordes and boystous percen the herte of the herer to the in[ne]rest point , and planten there the sentence of thinges, so that with litel helpe it is able to springe ; this book , that nothing hath of the greet flode of10 wit ne of semelich colours, is dolven with rude wordes and boystous, and so drawe togider, to maken the cacchers therof ben the more redy to hente sentence.
Some men there ben that peynten with colours riche, and some with vers, as with red inke, and some with coles and15 chalke; and yet is there good matere to the leude people of thilke chalky purtreyture, as hem thinketh for the tyme; and afterward the sight of the better colours yeven to hem more joye for the firstleudnesse . So, sothly, this leude clowdy occupacion is not to prayse but by the leude; for comunly leude20leudnesse commendeth. Eke it shal yeve sight , that other precious thinges shal be the more in reverence. In Latin and French hath many soverayne wittes had greet delyt to endyte, and have many noble thinges fulfild ; but certes, there25 ben some that speken their poysye-mater in Frenche, of whiche speche the Frenche men have as good a fantasye as we have in hering of Frenche mennes English . And many termes there ben in English , [of] whiche unneth we Englishmen connen declare the knowleginge. How shulde than a Frenche man born suche30 termes conne jumpere in his mater, but as the jay chatereth English ? Right so, trewly, the understanding of Englishmen wol not strecche to the privy termes in Frenche, what-so-ever we bosten of straunge langage. Let than clerkes endyten in Latin, for they have the propertee of science, and the knowinge in that35facultee ; and let Frenchmen in their Frenche also endyten their queynt termes, for it is kyndely to their mouthes; and let us shewe our fantasyes in suche wordes as we lerneden of our dames tonge.
And although this book be litel thank-worthy for the leudnesse40 in travaile, yet suche wrytinges excyten men to thilke thinges that ben necessarie; for every man therby may, as by a perpetual mirrour, seen the vyces or vertues of other, in whiche thing lightly may be conceyved to eschewe perils, and necessaries to cacche , after as aventures have fallen to other people or persons.
45Certes, [perfeccion is] the soveraynest thing of desyre, and moste †creatures resonable have, or els shulde have, ful appetyte to their perfeccion ; unresonable beestes mowen not, sith reson hath in hem no werking. Than resonable that wol not is comparisoned to unresonable, and made lyke hem. For-sothe, the50 most soverayne and fynal perfeccion of man is in knowing of[ ] a sothe, withouten any entent disceyvable, and in love of oon very god that is inchaungeable; that is, to knowe and love his creatour.
¶ Now , principally, the mene to bringe in knowleging and55 loving his creatour is the consideracion of thinges made by the creatour, wherthrough, by thilke thinges that ben made understonding here to our wittes, arn the unsene privitees of god made to us sightful and knowing , in our contemplacion and understonding. These thinges than, forsoth, moche bringen us to the ful knowleginge [of] sothe, and to the parfit love of the60 maker of hevenly thinges. Lo, David sayth, ‘thou hast delyted me in makinge,’ as who sayth, to have delyt in the tune, how god hath lent me in consideracion of thy makinge.
Wherof Aristotle, in the boke de Animalibus , saith to naturel philosophers: ‘it is a greet lyking in love of knowinge their65 creatour; and also in knowinge of causes in kyndely thinges .’ Considred , forsoth, the formes of kyndly thinges and the shap, a greet kindely love me shulde have to the werkman that hem made. The crafte of a werkman is shewed in the werke. Herfore, truly, the philosophers, with a lyvely studie, many70 noble thinges right precious and worthy to memory writen; and by a greet swetande travayle to us leften of causes [of] the propertees in natures of thinges. To whiche (therfore) philosophers it was more joy, more lykinge, more herty lust, in kyndely vertues and maters of reson , the perfeccion by busy75 study to knowe, than to have had al the tresour , al the richesse, al the vainglory that the passed emperours, princes, or kinges hadden. Therfore the names of hem, in the boke of perpetual memory, in vertue and pees arn writen; and in the contrarye,[ ] that is to sayne, in Styx , the foule pitte of helle, arn thilke pressed80 that suche goodnesse hated. And bycause this book shal be of love, and the pryme causes of steringe in that doinge, with passions and diseses for wantinge of desyre, I wil that this book be cleped The Testament of Love.
But now , thou reder, who is thilke that wil not in scorne85 laughe, to here a dwarfe, or els halfe a man, say he wil rende out the swerde of Hercules handes, and also he shuld sette Hercules Gades a myle yet ferther; and over that, he had power of strengthe to pulle up the spere , that Alisander the noble might never wagge? And that , passing al thinge, to ben90 mayster of Fraunce by might, there-as the noble gracious Edward the thirde, for al his greet prowesse in victories, ne might al yet conquere?
Certes, I wot wel, ther shal be mad more scorne and jape of me, that I, so unworthily clothed al-togider in the cloudy cloude95 of unconninge , wil putten me in prees to speke of love, or els of the causes in that matter, sithen al the grettest clerkes han[ ] had ynough to don, and (as who sayth) †gadered up clene toforn hem, and with their sharpe sythes of conning al mowen, and100mad therof greterekes and noble, ful of al plentees , to fede me and many another. Envye, forsothe, commendeth nought his reson that he hath in hayne , be it never so trusty. And al-though these noble repers, as good workmen and worthy their hyre , han al drawe and bounde up in the sheves, and mad many105 shockes, yet have I ensample to gadere the smale crommes, and fullen my walet of tho that fallen from the borde among the smale houndes, notwithstandinge the travayle of the almoigner, that hath drawe up in the cloth al the remissailes , as trenchours, and the relief , to bere to the almesse.
110Yet also have I leve of the noble husbande Boëce , al-though I be a straunger of conninge, to come after his doctrine, and these grete workmen, and glene my handfuls of the shedinge after their handes; and, if me faile ought of my ful, to encrese my porcion with that I shal drawe by privitees out of the shocke.115 A slye servaunt in his owne helpe is often moche commended; knowing of trouth in causes of thinges was more hardyer in the first sechers (and so sayth Aristotle ), and lighter in us that han folowed after. For their passing †studies han fresshed our wittes, and our understandinge han excyted, in consideracion of trouth,120 by sharpnesse of their resons . Utterly these thinges be no dremes ne japes, to throwe to hogges; it is lyflich mete for[ ] children of trouthe; and as they me betiden , whan I pilgrimaged out of my kith in winter; whan the †weder out of mesure was boystous, and the wylde wind Boreas , as his kind asketh, with125dryinge coldes maked the wawes of the occian-see so to aryse unkyndely over the commune bankes, that it was in poynte to spille al the erthe.
Thus endeth the Prologue; and here-after foloweth the first book of the Testament of Love.
Trewly, I leve, in myn herte is writte, of perdurable letters, al the entencions of lamentacion that now ben y-nempned! For any5 maner disese outward , in sobbing maner, sheweth sorowful yexinge from within. Thus from my comfort I ginne to spille, sith she that shulde me solace is fer fro my presence. Certes, her absence is to me an helle ; my sterving deth thus in wo it myneth, that endeles care is throughout myne herte clenched; blisse of10 my joye, that ofte me murthed, is turned in-to galle, to thinke on thing that may not, at my wil, in armes me hente ! Mirth is chaunged in-to tene, whan swink is there continually that reste was wont to sojourne and have dwelling-place . Thus witless , thoughtful, sightles lokinge, I endure my penaunce in this derke prison ,15[ ] †caitived fro frendshippe and acquaintaunce, and forsaken of al that any †word dare speke. Straunge hath by waye of intrucioun mad his home, there me shulde be, if reson were herd as he shulde. Never-the-later yet hertly, lady precious Margarit, have mynde on thy servaunt; and thinke on his disese , how lightles he20 liveth, sithe the bemes brennende in love of thyn eyen are so[ ]bewent , that worldes and cloudes atwene us twey wol nat suffre my thoughtes of hem to be enlumined! Thinke that oon vertue of a Margarite precious is, amonges many other, the sorouful to comforte; yet †whyles that, me sorouful to comforte, is my lust25 to have nought els at this tyme, d[r]ede ne deth ne no maner traveyle hath no power, myn herte so moche to fade, as shulde[ ] to here of a twinkling in your disese ! Ah! god forbede that; but yet let me deye, let me sterve withouten any mesure of penaunce, rather than myn hertely thinking comfort in ought30 were disesed ! What may my service avayle , in absence of her that my service shulde accepte? Is this nat endeles sorowe to thinke? Yes, yes, god wot; myn herte breketh nigh a-sonder. How shulde the ground , without kyndly noriture, bringen forth35 any frutes? How shulde a ship , withouten a sterne, in the grete see be governed? How shulde I, withouten my blisse, my herte, my desyre, my joye, my goodnesse, endure in this contrarious prison, that thinke every hour in the day an hundred winter? Wel may now Eve sayn to me, ‘Adam, in sorowe fallen from welth, driven40art thou out of paradise, with swete thy sustenaunce to beswinke!’ Depe in this pyninge pitte with wo I ligge y-stocked, with chaynes linked of care and of tene. It is so hye from thens I lye and the commune erth, there ne is cable in no lande maked, that might strecche to me, to drawe me in-to blisse; ne steyers45 to steye on is none; so that, without recover, endeles here to endure, I wot wel, I [am] purveyed . O, where art thou now, frendship , that som-tyme, with laughande chere, madest bothe face and countenaunce to me-wardes? Truely, now art thou went out of towne. But ever, me thinketh, he wereth his olde50 clothes, and that the soule in the whiche the lyfe of frendship was in, is drawen out from his other spirites. Now than, farewel, frendship! and farewel, felawes! Me thinketh, ye al han taken your leve ; no force of you al at ones. But, lady of love, ye wote what I mene; yet thinke on thy servaunt that for thy love55 spilleth; al thinges have I forsake to folowen thyn hestes; rewarde me with a thought, though ye do naught els. Remembraunce of love lyth so sore under my brest, that other thought cometh not in my mynde but gladnesse, to thinke on your goodnesse[ ] and your mery chere; †ferdnes and sorowe, to thinke on your60 wreche and your daunger; from whiche Christ me save! My greet joye it is to have in meditacion the bountees , the vertues, the nobley in you printed; sorowe and helle comen at ones, to[ ] suppose that I be †weyved . Thus with care, sorowe, and tene am I shapt , myn ende with dethe to make. Now, good goodly,65 thinke on this. O wrecched foole that I am, fallen in-to so lowe, the hete of my brenning tene hath me al defased. How shulde ye, lady, sette prise on so foule fylthe? My conninge is thinne, my wit is exiled; lyke to a foole naturel am I comparisoned. Trewly, lady, but your mercy the more were, I wot wel al my labour were in ydel; your mercy than passeth right. God graunt70 that proposicion to be verifyed in me; so that, by truste of good hope, I mowe come to the haven of ese . And sith it is impossible, the colours of your qualitees to chaunge: and forsothe I wot wel, wem ne spot may not abyde there so noble vertue haboundeth, so that the defasing to you is verily [un]imaginable ,75 as countenaunce of goodnesse with encresinge vertue is so in you knit , to abyde by necessary maner: yet, if the revers mighte falle (which is ayenst kynde), I †wot wel myn herte ne shulde therfore naught flitte , by the leste poynt of gemetrye; so sadly is it[ ] †souded , that away from your service in love may he not departe.80 O love, whan shal I ben plesed ? O charitee , whan shal I ben esed ? O good goodly, whan shal the dyce turne? O ful of vertue, do the chaunce of comfort upwarde to falle! O love, whan wolt thou thinke on thy servaunt? I can no more but here, out-cast of al welfare, abyde the day of my dethe, or els to see the85 sight that might al my wellinge sorowes voyde, and of the flode make an ebbe. These diseses mowen wel, by duresse of sorowe, make my lyfe to unbodye, and so for to dye; but certes ye, lady, in a ful perfeccion of love ben so knit with my soule, that deth may not thilke knotte unbynde ne departe; so that ye and my90 soule togider †in endeles blisse shulde dwelle ; and there shal my soule at the ful ben esed , that he may have your presence, to shewe th’entent of his desyres. Ah, dere god! that shal be a greet joye! Now , erthely goddesse, take regarde of thy servant, though I be feble; for thou art wont to prayse them better that95wolde conne serve in love, al be he ful mener than kinges or princes that wol not have that vertue in mynde.
Now , precious Margaryte, that with thy noble vertue hast drawen me in-to love first, me weninge therof to have blisse, [ther ]-as galle and aloes are so moche spronge, that savour of100 swetnesse may I not ataste. Alas! that your benigne eyen, in whiche that mercy semeth to have al his noriture, nil by no waye tourne the clerenesse of mercy to me-wardes! Alas! that your brennande vertues, shyning amonges al folk , and enlumininge 105 al other people by habundaunce of encresing , sheweth to me but smoke and no light! These thinges to thinke in myn herte maketh every day weping in myn eyen to renne. These liggen on my backe so sore, that importable burthen me semeth on my backe to be charged; it maketh me backwarde to meve, whan110 my steppes by comune course even-forth pretende. These thinges also, on right syde and lift, have me so envolved with care, that wanhope of helpe is throughout me ronne; trewly , †I leve , that graceles is my fortune, whiche that ever sheweth it me-wardes by a cloudy disese , al redy to make stormes of tene;115 and the blisful syde halt stil awayward, and wol it not suffre to me-wardes to turne; no force , yet wol I not ben conquered.
O, alas ! that your nobley, so moche among al other creatures[ ] commended by †flowinge streme †of al maner vertues, but ther ben wonderful, I not whiche that let the flood to come120 in-to my soule; wherefore, purely mated with sorowe thorough-sought, my-selfe I crye on your goodnesse to have pitè on this caytif , that in the in[ne]rest degree of sorowe and disese is left , and, without your goodly wil, from any helpe and recovery. These sorowes may I not sustene, but-if my sorowe shulde be125told and to you-wardes shewed; although moche space is bitwene us twayne , yet me thinketh that by suche †joleyvinge wordes my disese ginneth ebbe. Trewly, me thinketh that the sowne of my lamentacious weping is right now flowe in-to your presence, and there cryeth after mercy and grace, to which thing (me semeth)130thee list non answere to yeve, but with a deynous chere ye commaunden it to avoide; but god forbid that any word shuld of you springe, to have so litel routh! Pardè, pitè and mercy in every Margarite is closed by kynde amonges many other vertues, by qualitees of comfort ; but comfort is to me right naught worth ,135 withouten mercy and pitè of you alone; whiche thinges hastely god me graunt for his mercy!
REHERSINGE these thinges and many other, without tyme or moment of rest, me semed, for anguisshe of disese , that al-togider I was ravisshed, I can not telle how ; but hoolly all my passions and felinges weren lost , as it semed, for the tyme; and sodainly a maner of drede lighte in me al at ones; nought suche5fere as folk have of an enemy, that were mighty and wolde hem greve or don hem disese . For, I trowe, this is wel knowe to many persones, that otherwhyle, if a man be in his soveraignes presence, a maner of ferdnesse crepeth in his herte, not for harme, but of goodly subjeccion ; namely, as men reden that aungels ben aferde10 of our saviour in heven. And pardè, there ne is, ne may no passion of disese be; but it is to mene , that angels ben adradde, not by †ferdnes of drede, sithen they ben perfitly blissed, [but] as [by] affeccion of wonderfulnesse and by service of obedience. Suche ferde also han these lovers in presence of their loves, and15 subjectes aforn their soveraynes. Right so with ferdnesse myn herte was caught. And I sodainly astonied, there entred in-to the place there I was loggeda lady , the semeliest and most goodly to my sight that ever to-forn apered to any creature; and trewly, in the blustringe of her looke, she yave gladnesse and20comfort sodaynly to al my wittes; and right so she doth to every wight that cometh in her presence. And for she was so goodly, as me thought, myn herte began somdele to be enbolded, and wexte a litel hardy to speke; but yet, with a quakinge voyce, as I durste, I salued her, and enquired what she was;25 and why she, so worthy to sight, dayned to entre in-to so foule a dongeon, and namely a prison , without leve of my kepers. For certes, al-though the vertue of dedes of mercy strecchen to visiten the poore prisoners, and hem, after that facultees ben had, to comforte, me semed that I was so fer fallen in-to miserye and30wrecched hid caytifnesse, that me shulde no precious thingneighe ; and also, that for my sorowe every wight shulde ben hevy , and wisshe my recovery. But whan this lady had somdele apperceyved, as wel by my wordes as by my chere, what thought35 besied me within, with a good womanly countenance she sayde these wordes:—
‘O my nory , wenest thou that my maner be, to foryete my frendes or my servauntes? Nay ,’ quod she, ‘it is my ful entente to visyte and comforte al my frendshippes and allyes , as wel in40 tyme of perturbacion as of moost propertee of blisse; in me shal unkyndnesse never be founden: and also, sithen I have so fewe especial trewe now in these dayes. Wherefore I may wel at more leysar come to hem that me deserven; and if my cominge may in any thinge avayle, wete wel, I wol come often.’
45‘Now , good lady,’ quod I, ‘that art so fayre on to loke, reyninge hony by thy wordes, blisse of paradys arn thy lokinges, joye and comfort are thy movinges. What is thy name? How is it that in you is so mokel werkinge vertues enpight, as me semeth, and in none other creature that ever saw I with myne50 eyen?’
‘O good lady,’ quod I, ‘is this worship to thee or to thyn55 excellence, for to come in-to so foule a place? Pardè, somtyme, tho I was in prosperitè and with forayne goodes envolved, I had mokil to done to drawe thee to myn hostel; and yet many werninges thou madest er thou liste fully to graunte, thyn home to make at my dwelling-place; and now thou comest goodly by60thynowne vyse , to comforte me with wordes; and so there-thorough I ginne remembre on passed gladnesse. Trewly, lady, I ne wot whether I shal say welcome or non , sithen thy coming wol as moche do me tene and sorowe, as gladnesse and mirthe. See why: for that me comforteth to thinke on passed gladnesse,65 that me anoyeth efte to be in doinge. Thus thy cominge bothe gladdeth and teneth, and that is cause of moche sorowe. Lo, lady, how than I am comforted by your comminge’; and with that I gan in teeres to distille, and tenderly wepe.
‘Trewly,’ quod I, ‘that have ye maked, and that ever wol I rue.’
[ ] ‘Wottest thou not wel,’ quod she, ‘that every shepherde ought by reson to seke his sperkelande sheep , that arn ronne in-to75 wildernesse among busshes and perils, and hem to their pasture ayen-bringe, and take on hem privy besy cure of keping? And though the unconninge sheep scattred wolde ben lost , renning to wildernesse, and to desertes drawe, or els wolden putte hem-selfe to the swalowinge wolfe, yet shal the shepherde , by businesse and80 travayle, so putte him forth , that he shal not lete hem be lost by no waye. A good shepherde putteth rather his lyf to ben lost for his sheep . But for thou shalt not wene me being of werse condicion, trewly, for everich of my folke, and for al tho that to me-ward be knit in any condicion, I wol rather dye than suffre85 hem through errour to ben spilte. For me liste, and it me lyketh, of al myne a shepherdesse to be cleped. Wost thou not wel, I fayled never wight, but he me refused and wolde negligently go with unkyndenesse? And yet, pardè, have I many such holpe and releved, and they have ofte me begyled; but ever, at the ende,90 it discendeth in their owne nekkes. Hast thou not rad how kinde I was to Paris , Priamus sone of Troy? How Jason me falsed, for al his false behest? How Cesars †swink , I lefte it for no tene til he was troned in my blisse for his service? What!’ quod she,[ ] ‘most of al, maked I not a loveday bytwene god and mankynde,95 and chees a mayde to be nompere, to putte the quarel at ende?[ ] Lo! how I have travayled to have thank on al sydes, and yet list me not to reste , and I might fynde on †whom I shulde werche. But trewly, myn owne disciple, bycause I have thee founde, at al assayes, in thy wil to be redy myn hestes to have folowed and100hast ben trewe to that Margarite-perle that ones I thee shewed; and she alwaye, ayenward , hath mad but daungerous chere; I am come, in propre person, to putte thee out of errours, and make thee gladde by wayes of reson ; so that sorow ne disese shal 105 no more hereafter thee amaistry. Wherthrough I hope thou shalt lightly come to the grace, that thou longe hast desyred, of thilke jewel. Hast thou not herd many ensamples, how I have comforted and releved the scholers of my lore? Who hath worthyed kinges in the felde? Who hath honoured ladyes in110 boure by a perpetuel mirrour of their tr[o]uthe in my service? Who hath caused worthy folk to voyde vyce and shame? Who hath holde cytees and realmes in prosperitè? If thee liste clepe ayen thyn olde remembraunce, thou coudest every point of this declare in especial; and say that I, thy maistresse, have be cause ,115 causing these thinges and many mo other.’
120‘Wel than,’ quod she, ‘for I see thee in disese and sorowe, I wot wel thou art oon of my nories; I may not suffre thee so to make sorowe, thyn owne selfe to shende. But I my-selfe come to be thy fere, thyn hevy charge to make to seme the lesse. For wo is him that is alone; and to the sorye, to ben moned by a sorouful125 wight, it is greet gladnesse. Right so, with my sicke frendes I am[ ] sicke; and with sorie I can not els but sorowe make, til whan I have hem releved in suche wyse, that gladnesse, in a maner of counterpaysing, shal restore as mokil in joye as the passed hevinesse biforn did in tene. And also,’ quod she, ‘whan any of my130 servauntes ben alone in solitary place, I have yet ever besied me to be with hem, in comfort of their hertes, and taught hem to make songes of playnte and of blisse, and to endyten letters of rethorike in queynt understondinges, and to bethinke hem in what wyse they might best their ladies in good service plese ; and135 also to lerne maner in countenaunce, in wordes, and in bering , and to ben meke and lowly to every wight, his name and fame to encrese ; and to yeve gret yeftes and large, that his renomè may springen. But thee therof have I excused; for thy losse and thy[ ]grete costages, wherthrough thou art nedy, arn nothing to me140 unknowen; but I hope to god somtyme it shal ben amended, as thus I sayd. In norture have I taught al myne; and in curtesye made hem expert, their ladies hertes to winne; and if any wolde[ ] [b]en deynous or proude, or be envious or of wrecches acqueyntaunce, hasteliche have I suche voyded out of my scole . For al vyces trewly I hate; vertues and worthinesse in al my power145 I avaunce.’
‘Ah! worthy creature,’ quod I, ‘and by juste cause the name of goddesse dignely ye mowe bere ! In thee lyth the grace thorough whiche any creature in this worlde hath any goodnesse. Trewly, al maner of blisse and preciousnesse in vertue out of150thee springen and wellen, as brokes and rivers proceden from their springes. And lyke as al waters by kynde drawen to the see, so al kyndely thinges thresten, by ful appetyte of desyre, to drawe after thy steppes, and to thy presence aproche as to their kyndely perfeccion. How dare than beestes in this worlde aught forfete155 ayenst thy devyne purveyaunce? Also, lady, ye knowen al the privy thoughtes; in hertes no counsayl may ben hid from your knowing. Wherfore I wot wel, lady, that ye knowe your-selfe that I in my conscience am and have ben willinge to your service, al coude I never do as I shulde; yet, forsothe, fayned I never to160 love otherwyse than was in myn herte; and if I coude have made chere to one and y-thought another, as many other doon alday afore myn eyen, I trowe it wolde not me have vayled.’
[ ] ‘Ye wete wel, lady, eke,’ quod I, ‘that I have not played raket, “nettil in, docke out,” and with the wethercocke waved; and trewly, there ye me sette, by acorde of my conscience I wolde not flye, til ye and reson , by apert strength, maden myn herte to tourne.’170
‘In good fayth ,’ quod she, ‘I have knowe thee ever of tho condicions; and sithen thou woldest (in as moch as in thee was) a made me privy of thy counsayl and juge of thy conscience (though I forsook it in tho dayes til I saw better my tyme), wolde never god that I shuld now fayle; but ever I wol be redy175 witnessing thy sothe, in what place that ever I shal, ayenst al tho that wol the contrary susteyne. And for as moche as to me is naught unknowen ne hid of thy privy herte , but al hast thou tho thinges mad to me open at the ful, that hath caused my cominge180 in-to this prison, to voydethe webbes of thyne eyen, to make thee clerely to see the errours thou hast ben in. And bycause that men ben of dyvers condicions, some adradde to saye a sothe, and some for a sothe anon redy to fighte , and also that I may not myselfe ben in place to withsaye thilke men that of thee speken185 otherwyse than the sothe, I wol and I charge thee, in vertue of obedience that thou to me owest, to wryten my wordes and sette hem in wrytinges, that they mowe, as my witnessinge, ben noted among the people. For bookes written neyther dreden ne shamen, ne stryve conne; but only shewen the entente of the190 wryter, and yeve remembraunce to the herer; and if any wol in thy presence saye any-thing to tho wryters, loke boldely; truste on Mars to answere at the ful. For certes, I shal him enfourme of al the trouthe in thy love, with thy conscience; so that of his helpe thou shalt not varye at thy nede. I trowe the strongest and195 the beste that may be founde wol not transverse thy wordes; wherof than woldest thou drede?’
5‘Trewly, lady, now am I wel gladded through comfort of your wordes. Be it now lykinge unto your nobley to shewe whiche folk diffame your servauntes, sithe your service ought above al other thinges to ben commended.’
‘Yet,’ quod she, ‘I see wel thy soule is not al out of the10 amased cloude. Thee were better to here thing that thee might lighte out of thyn hevy charge and after knowing of thyn owne helpe, than to stirre swete wordes and such resons to here; for in a thoughtful soule (and namely suche oon as thou art ) wol not yet suche thinges sinken. Come of , therfore, and let me seen thy hevy charge, that I may the lightlier for thy comfort15purveye .’
‘In good fayth,’ quod I, ‘there shal no misplesaunce be caused through trespace on my syde.’
‘Myn owne erthly lady,’ quod I tho, ‘and yet remembre to your worthinesse how long sithen, by many revolving of yeres, in tyme whan Octobre his leve ginneth take and Novembre30 sheweth him to sight, whan bernes ben ful of goodes as is the nutte on every halke ; and than good lond-tillers ginne shape for the erthe with greet travayle, to bringe forth more corn to mannes sustenaunce, ayenst the nexte yeres folowing. In suche tyme of plentee he that hath an home and is wyse, list not to35 wander mervayles to seche, but he be constrayned or excited. Oft the lothe thing is doon , by excitacion of other mannes[ ] opinion, whiche wolden fayne have myn abydinge. [Tho gan I ] take in herte of luste to travayle and seethe wynding of the erthe in that tyme of winter. By woodes that large stretes wern in,40 by smale pathes that swyn and hogges hadden made, as lanes with ladels their maste to seche, I walked thinkinge alone a wonder greet whyle; and the grete beestes that the woode[ ] haunten and adorneth al maner forestes, and heerdes gonne to wilde. Than, er I was war , I neyghed to a see-banke; and for45 ferde of the beestes “shipcraft ” I cryde. For, lady, I trowe ye wete wel your-selfe, nothing is werse than the beestes that shulden ben tame, if they cacche her wildenesse, and ginne ayen waxe ramage. Thus forsothe was I a-ferd , and to shippe me hyed.50
Than were there y-nowe to lacche myn handes, and drawe me to shippe , of whiche many I knew wel the names. Sight was the first, Lust was another, Thought was the thirde; and Wil eke was there a mayster; these broughten me within-borde of this55shippe of Traveyle. So whan the sayl was sprad, and this ship gan to move, the wind and water gan for to ryse, and overthwartly to turne the welken. The wawes semeden as they kiste togider;[ ] but often under colour of kissinge is mokel old hate prively closed and kept . The storm so straungely and in a devouring60 maner gan so faste us assayle, that I supposed the date of my deth shulde have mad there his ginning. Now up, now downe, now under the wawe and now aboven was my ship a greet whyle. And so by mokel duresse of †weders and of stormes, and with greetavowing [of] pilgrimages, I was driven to an yle,65 where utterly I wende first to have be rescowed; but trewly, †at the first ginning, it semed me so perillous the haven to cacche , that but thorow grace I had ben comforted, of lyfe I was ful dispayred. Trewly, lady, if ye remembre a-right of al maner thinges, your-selfe cam hastely to sene us see-driven, and to70 weten what we weren. But first ye were deynous of chere, after whiche ye gonne better a-lighte ; and ever, as me thought, ye lived in greet drede of disese ; it semed so by your chere. And whan I was certifyed of your name, the lenger I loked in you, the more I you goodly dradde; and ever myn herte on you75[ ] opened the more; and so in a litel tyme my ship was out of mynde. But, lady, as ye me ladde , I was war bothe of beestes and of fisshes, a greet nombre thronging togider; among whiche a muskel, in a blewe shel, had enclosed a Margaryte-perle, the moste precious and best that ever to-forn cam in my sight.80 And ye tolden your-selfe, that ilke jewel in his kinde was so good and so vertuous, that her better shulde I never finde, al sought I ther-after to the worldes ende. And with that I held my pees a greet whyle; and ever sithen I have me bethought on the man that sought the precious Margarytes; and whan he had85 founden oon to his lyking, he solde al his good to bye that jewel. Y-wis, thought I, (and yet so I thinke), now have I founden the jewel that myn herte desyreth; wherto shulde I seche further? Trewly, now wol I stinte, and on this Margaryte I sette me for ever: now than also, sithen I wiste wel it was your wil that I shulde so suche a service me take; and so to desyre that thing,90 of whiche I never have blisse. There liveth non but he hath disese ; your might than that brought me to suche service, that to me is cause of sorowe and of joye. I wonder of your worde that ye sayn , “to bringen men in-to joye”; and, pardè, ye wete wel that defaut ne trespace may not resonably ben put to me-wardes,95 as fer as my conscience knoweth.
But of my disese me list now a whyle to speke, and to enforme you in what maner of blisse ye have me thronge. For truly I wene, that al gladnesse, al joye, and al mirthe is beshet under locke, and the keye throwe in suche place that it may not be100 founde. My brenning wo hath altred al my hewe. Whan I shulde slepe, I walowe and I thinke, and me disporte. Thus combred, I seme that al folk had me mased. Also, lady myne, desyre hath longe dured, some speking to have; or els at the lest have ben enmoysed with sight; and for wantinge of these thinges105 my mouth wolde, and he durst, pleyne right sore, sithen yvels for my goodnesse arn manyfolde to me yolden. I wonder, lady, trewly, save evermore your reverence, how ye mowe, for shame, suche thinges suffre on your servaunt to be so multiplied. Wherfore, kneling with a lowe herte, I pray you to rue on this110caytif , that of nothing now may serve . Good lady, if ye liste, now your help to me shewe, that am of your privyest servantes at al assayes in this tyme, and under your winges of proteccion . No help to me-wardes is shapen; how shal than straungers in any wyse after socour loke, whan I, that am so privy, yet of helpe115 I do fayle? Further may I not, but thus in this prison abyde; what bondes and chaynes me holden, lady, ye see wel your-selfe. A renyant forjuged hath not halfe the care. But thus, syghing and sobbing, I wayle here alone; and nere it for comfort of your presence, right here wolde I sterve. And yet a litel am I gladded ,120 that so goodly suche grace andnon hap have I hent , graciously to fynde the precious Margarite, that (al other left ) men shulde bye, if they shulde therfore selle al her substaunce. Wo is me, that so many let-games and purpose-brekers ben maked wayters,125 suche prisoners as I am to overloke and to hinder; and, for suche lettours, it is hard any suche jewel to winne. Is this, lady, an honour to thy deitee ? Me thinketh, by right, suche people shulde have no maistrye, ne ben overlokers over none of thy servauntes. Trewly, were it leful unto you, to al the goddes130 wolde I playne, that ye rule your devyne purveyaunce amonges your servantes nothing as ye shulde . Also, lady, my moeble is insuffysaunt to countervayle the price of this jewel, or els to make th’eschange. Eke no wight is worthy suche perles to were but kinges or princes or els their peres. This jewel, for vertue,135 wold adorne and make fayre al a realme; the nobley of vertue is so moche, that her goodnesse overal is commended. Who is it that wolde not wayle, but he might suche richesse have at his wil? The vertue therof out of this prison may me deliver, and naught els. And if I be not ther-thorow holpen, I see my-selfe140 withouten recovery. Although I might hence voyde, yet wolde I not; I wolde abyde the day that destenee hath me ordeyned, whiche I suppose is without amendement; so sore is my herte bounden, that I may thinken non other. Thus strayte, lady, hath sir Daunger laced me in stockes, I leve it be not your wil;145 and for I see you taken so litel hede, as me thinketh, and wol not maken by your might the vertue in mercy of the Margaryte on me for to strecche , so as ye mowe wel in case that you liste, my blisse and my mirthe arnfeld ; sicknesse and sorowe ben alwaye redy. The cope of tene is wounde aboute al my body,150 that stonding is me best; unneth may I ligge for pure misesy sorowe. And yet al this is litel ynough to be the ernest-silver in forwarde of this bargayne; for treble-folde so mokel muste I suffer er tyme come of myn ese . For he is worthy no welthe, that may no wo suffer . And certes, I am hevy to thinke on these thinges;155 but who shal yeve me water ynough to drinke, lest myn eyen drye, for renning stremes of teres ? Who shal waylen with me myn owne happy hevinesse ? Who shal counsaile me now in[ ] my lyking tene, and in my goodly harse ? I not. For ever the more I brenne, the more I coveyte; the more that I sorow, the160 more thrist I in gladnesse. Who shal than yeve me a contrarious drink , to stanche the thurste of my blisful bitternesse? Lo, thus I brenne and I drenche; I shiver and I swete . To this reversed yvel was never yet ordeyned salve; forsoth al †leches ben unconning, save the Margaryte alone, any suche remedye to purveye .’
AND with these wordes I brast out to wepe, that every teere of myne eyen, for greetnessesemed they boren out the bal of my sight, and that al the water had ben out-ronne. Than thought me that Love gan a litel to hevye for miscomfort of my chere; and gan soberly and in esy maner speke, wel avysinge what5 she sayd. Comenly the wyse speken esily and softe for many skilles. Oon is, their wordes are the better bileved; and also, in esy spekinge , avysement men may cacche , what to putte forth and what to holden in. And also, the auctoritè of esy wordes is the more; and eke, they yeven the more understandinge to other10 intencion of the mater. Right so this lady esely and in a softe maner gan say these wordes.
¶ ‘Mervayle,’ quod she, ‘greet it is, that by no maner of semblaunt, as fer as I can espye, thou list not to have any recour; but ever thou playnest and sorowest, and wayes of remedye, for15 folisshe wilfulnesse, thee list not to seche. But enquyre of thy next frendes, that is, thyne inwit and me that have ben thy maystresse, and the recour and fyne of thy disese ; [f]or of disese is gladnesse and joy, with a ful †vessel so helded, that it quencheth the felinge of the firste tenes. But thou that were wont not only20 these thinges remembre in thyne herte, but also fooles therof to enfourmen, in adnullinge of their errours and distroying of their derke opinions, and in comfort of their sere thoughtes; now canst thou not ben comfort of thyn owne soule, in thinking of these thinges. O where hast thou be so longe commensal , that hast so25 mikel eeten of the potages of foryetfulnesse, and dronken so of[ ] ignorance, that the olde souking[es] whiche thou haddest of me arn amaystred and lorn fro al maner of knowing? O, this is a worthy person to helpe other, that can not counsayle him-selfe!’30 And with these wordes, for pure and stronge shame, I wox al reed.
And she than, seing me so astonyed by dyvers stoundes, sodainly (which thing kynde hateth) gan deliciously me comforte with sugred wordes, putting me in ful hope that I shulde the35 Margarite getten, if I folowed her hestes; and gan with a fayre clothe to wypen the teres that hingen on my chekes; and than sayd I in this wyse.
‘Now , wel of wysdom and of al welthe, withouten thee may nothing ben lerned; thou berest the keyes of al privy thinges.40 In vayne travayle men to cacche any stedship, but-if ye, lady, first the locke unshet. Ye, lady, lerne us the wayes and the by-pathes to heven. Ye, lady, maken al the hevenly bodyes goodly and benignely to don her cours , that governen us beestes here on erthe. Ye armen your servauntes ayenst al debates with45 imperciable harneys; ye setten in her hertes insuperable blood of hardinesse; ye leden hem to the parfit good. Yet al thing[ ] desyreth ye werne no man of helpe, that †wol don your lore. Graunt me now a litel of your grace, al my sorowes to cese .’
50‘Myne owne servaunt,’ quod she, ‘trewly thou sittest nye myne herte; and thy badde chere gan sorily me greve. But amonge thy playning wordes, me thought, thou allegest thinges to be letting of thyne helpinge and thy grace to hinder; wherthrough , me thinketh, that wanhope is crope thorough thyn hert. God55 forbid that nyse unthrifty thought shulde come in thy mynde, thy wittes to trouble; sithen every thing in coming is contingent. Wherfore make no more thy proposicion by an impossible. But now , I praye thee reherse me ayen tho thinges that thy mistrust causen; and thilke thinges I thinke by reson to60 distroyen, and putte ful hope in thyn herte. What understondest thou there,’ quod she, ‘by that thou saydest, “manylet-games are thyn overlokers?” And also by “that thy moeble is insuffysaunt”? I not what thou therof menest .’
‘Trewly,’ quod I, ‘by the first I say, that janglers evermore65arn spekinge rather of yvel than of good; for every age of man rather enclyneth to wickednesse, than any goodnesse to avaunce. Also false wordes springen so wyde, by the stering of false lying tonges, that fame als swiftely flyeth to her eres and sayth many wicked tales; and as soone shal falsenesse ben leved as tr[o]uthe, for al his gret sothnesse.70
Now by that other,’ quod I, ‘me thinketh thilke jewel so precious, that to no suche wrecche as I am wolde vertue therof extende; and also I am to feble in worldly joyes, any suche jewel to countrevayle. For suche people that worldly joyes han at her wil ben sette at the highest degree, and most in reverence75 ben accepted. For false wening maketh felicitè therin to be supposed; but suche caytives as I am evermore ben hindred.’
‘Yes, forsothe,’ quod I.5
‘Wel,’ quod she, ‘raddest thou never how Paris of Troye and Heleyne loved togider, and yet had they not entrecomuned of speche? Also Acrisius shette Dane his doughter in a tour , for suertee that no wight shulde of her have no maistry in my service; and yet Jupiter by signes, without any speche, had10 al his purpose ayenst her fathers wil. And many suche mo have ben knitte in trouthe, and yet spake they never togider; for that is a thing enclosed under secretnesse of privytè, why twey persons entremellen hertes after a sight. The power in knowing, of such thinges †to preven, shal nat al utterly be yeven to you15beestes ; for many thinges, in suche precious maters, ben reserved to jugement of devyne purveyaunce; for among lyving people, by mannes consideracion, moun they nat be determined. Wherfore I saye, al the envy, al the janglinge, that wel ny [al ]20 people upon my servauntes maken †ofte , is rather cause of esployte than of any hindringe.’
‘Why, than,’ quod I, ‘suffre ye such wrong; and moun, whan ye list, lightly al such yvels abate? Me semeth, to you it is a greet unworship.’
25‘O,’ quod she, ‘hold now thy pees . I have founden to many that han ben to me unkynde, that trewly I wol suffre every wight in that wyse to have disese ; and who that continueth to the ende wel and trewly, hem wol I helpen, and as for oon of myne in-to[ ] blisse [don ] to wende. As [in ] marcial doing in Grece, who30 was y-crowned? By god, nat the strongest; but he that rathest com and lengest abood and continued in the journey, and spared nat to traveyle as long as the play leste . But thilke person, that profred him now to my service, [and] therin is a while, and anon voideth and [is ] redy to another; and so now oon he thinketh35 and now another; and in-to water entreth and anon respireth: such oon list me nat in-to perfit blisse of my service bringe. A tree ofte set in dyvers places wol nat by kynde endure to bringe forth frutes. Loke now , I pray thee, how myne olde servauntes of tyme passed continued in her service, and folowe thou after40 their steppes; and than might thou not fayle, in case thou worche in this wyse.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘it is nothing lich, this world , to tyme passed; eke this countrè hath oon maner, and another countrè hath another. And so may nat a man alway putte to his eye the45salve that he heled with his hele. For this is sothe: betwixe two thinges liche, ofte dyversitè is required.’
‘Now ,’ quod she, ‘that is sothe; dyversitè of nation, dyversitè of lawe, as was maked by many resons ; for that dyversitè cometh in by the contrarious malice of wicked people, that han envyous hertes50 ayenst other. But trewly, my lawe to my servauntes ever hath ben in general, whiche may nat fayle. For right as mannes †lawe that is ordained by many determinacions , may nat be knowe for good or badde, til assay of the people han proved it and [founded ] to what ende it draweth; and than it sheweth the necessitè therof, or els the impossibilitè: right so the lawe of my servauntes55 so wel hath ben proved in general, that hitherto hath it not fayled.
Wiste thou not wel that al the lawe of kynde is my lawe, and by god ordayned and stablisshed to dure by kynde resoun ? Wherfore al lawe by mannes witte purveyed ought to be underput to lawe of kynde, whiche yet hath be commune to every kyndely60 creature; that my statutes and my lawe that ben kyndely arn general to al peoples. Olde doinges and by many turninges of yeres used, and with the peoples maner proved, mowen nat so lightly ben defased; but newe doinges, contrariauntes suche olde, ofte causen diseses and breken many purposes. Yet saye I nat65 therfore that ayen newe mischeef men shulde nat ordaynen a newe remedye; but alwaye looke it contrary not the olde no ferther than the malice streccheth . Than foloweth it, the olde doinges in love han ben universal, as for most exployte[s] forth used; wherfore I wol not yet that of my lawes nothing be adnulled.70 But thanne to thy purpos : suche jangelers and lokers, and wayters of games, if thee thinke in aught they mowe dere, yet love wel alwaye, and sette hem at naught; and let thy port ben lowe in every wightes presence, and redy in thyne herte to maynteyne that thou hast begonne; and a litel thee fayne with75 mekenesse in wordes; and thus with sleyght shalt thou surmount[ ] and dequace the yvel in their hertes. And wysdom yet is to seme flye otherwhyle, there a man wol fighte . Thus with suche thinges the tonges of yvel shal ben stilled; els fully to graunte thy ful meninge , for-sothe ever was and ever it shal be, that myn enemyes80 ben aferde to truste to any fightinge. And therfore have thou no cowardes herte in my service, no more than somtyme thou haddest in the contrarye. For if thou drede suche jangleres, thy viage to make, understand wel, that he that dredeth any rayn , to sowe his cornes , he shal have than [bare ] bernes. Also he that85 is aferd of his clothes, let him daunce naked! Who nothing undertaketh, and namely in my service, nothing acheveth. Aftergrete stormes the †weder is often mery and smothe. After moche clatering, there is mokil rowning. Thus, after jangling wordes, cometh “huissht ! pees ! and be stille !” ’90
‘O good lady!’ quod I than, ‘see now how , seven yere passed [ ] and more, have I graffed and †grobbed a vyne; and with al the wayes that I coude I sought to a fed me of the grape; but frute have I non founde. Also I have this seven yere served Laban, to95 a wedded Rachel his doughter; but blere-eyed Lya is brought to my bedde, which alway engendreth my tene, and is ful of children in tribulacion and in care. And although the clippinges and kissinges of Rachel shulde seme to me swete, yet is she so barayne that gladnesse ne joye by no way wol springe; so that100 I may wepe with Rachel. I may not ben counsayled with solace, sithen issue of myn hertely desyre is fayled. Now than I pray that to me [come ] sone fredom and grace in this eight[eth] yere; this eighteth mowe to me bothe be kinrest and masseday, after the seven werkedays of travayle, to folowe the Christen lawe; and,105 what ever ye do els, that thilke Margaryte be holden so, lady, in your privy chambre, that she in this case to none other person be committed.’
‘Loke than,’ quod she, ‘thou persever in my service, in whiche I have thee grounded; that thilke scorn in thyn enemyes mowe110 this on thy person be not sothed : “lo! this man began to edefye, but, for his foundement is bad, to the ende may he it not bringe.” For mekenesse in countenaunce, with a manly hert in dedes and in longe continuaunce, is the conisance of my livery to al my retinue delivered. What wenest thou, that me list avaunce suche115 persons as loven the first sittinges at feestes, the highest stoles in churches and in hal, loutinges of peoples in markettes and fayres;[ ] unstedfaste to byde in one place any whyle togider; wening his owne wit more excellent than other; scorning al maner devyse but his own? Nay, nay, god wot, these shul nothing parten of120 my blisse. Truly, my maner here-toforn hath ben [to] worship[pe] with my blisse lyons in the felde and lambes in chambre; egles at assaute and maydens in halle; foxes in counsayle, stil[le] in their dedes; and their proteccioun is graunted, redy to ben a bridge ; and their baner is arered, like wolves in the felde.125 Thus, by these wayes, shul men ben avaunced; ensample of David, that from keping of shepe was drawen up in-to the order[ ] of kingly governaunce; and Jupiter, from a bole, to ben Europes fere; and Julius Cesar, from the lowest degrè in Rome, to be mayster of al erthly princes; and Eneas from hel, to be king of the countrè there Rome is now stonding. And so to thee I say;130 thy grace, by bering ther-after, may sette thee in suche plight, that no jangling may greve the leest tucke of thy hemmes; that [suche] are their †jangles , is nought to counte at a cresse in thy disavauntage.
CHAPTER VI.[ ]
EVER,’ quod she, ‘hath the people in this worlde desyred to have had greet name in worthinesse, and hated foule to bere any [en]fame ; and that is oon of the objeccions thou alegest to be ayen thyne hertely desyre.’
‘Ye, forsothe,’ quod I; ‘and that, so comenly, the people wol5 lye, and bringe aboute suche enfame.’
‘Now ,’ quod she, ‘if men with lesinges putte on thee enfame, wenest thy-selfe therby ben enpeyred? That wening is wrong ; see why; for as moche as they lyen, thy meryte encreseth , and make[th] thee ben more worthy, to hem that knowen of the soth;10 by what thing thou art apeyred, that in so mokil thou art encresed[ ] of thy beloved frendes. And sothly, a wounde of thy frende [is ] to thee lasse harm , ye, sir, and better than a fals kissing in disceyvable glosing of thyne enemy; above that than, to be wel with thy frende maketh [voyd ] suche enfame. Ergo, thou art encresed15 and not apeyred.’
[ ] ‘Lady,’ quod I, ‘somtyme yet, if a man be in disese , th’estimacion of the envyous people ne loketh nothing to desertes of men, ne to the merytes of their doinges, but only to the aventure of fortune; and therafter they yeven their sentence. And some20 loken the voluntary wil in his herte, and therafter telleth his jugement; not taking hede to reson ne to the qualitè of the[ ] doing; as thus. If a man be riche and fulfild with worldly welfulnesse, some commenden it, and sayn it is so lent by juste cause; and he that hath adversitè, they sayn he is weked ; and25 hath deserved thilke anoy . The contrarye of these thinges some [ ] men holden also; and sayn that to the riche prosperitè is purvayed in-to his confusion; and upon this mater many autoritès of many and greet-witted clerkes they alegen. And some men30[ ] sayn, though al good estimacion forsake folk that han adversitè, yet is it meryte and encrees of his blisse; so that these purposes arn so wonderful in understanding, that trewly, for myn adversitè now , I not how the sentence of the indifferent people wil jugen my fame.’
35‘Therfore,’ quod she, ‘if any wight shulde yeve a trewe sentence on suche maters, the cause of the disese maist thou see wel. Understand ther-upon after what ende it draweth, that is to sayne, good or badde; so ought it to have his fame †by goodnesse or enfame by badnesse. For [of] every resonable person, and40 namely of a wyse man, his wit ought not, without reson to-forn herd , sodainly in a mater to juge. After the sawes of the wyse, “thou shalt not juge ne deme toforn thou knowe.” ’
‘Lady,’ quod I, ‘ye remembre wel, that in moste laude and praysing of certayne seyntes in holy churche, is to rehersen their45conuersion from badde in-to good; and that is so rehersed, as[ ] by a perpetual mirrour of remembraunce, in worshippinge of tho sayntes, and good ensample to other misdoers in amendement. How turned the Romayne Zedeoreys fro the Romaynes, to be with Hanibal ayenst his kynde nacion; and afterwardes,50 him seming the Romayns to be at the next degrè of confusion, turned to his olde alyes; by whose witte after was Hanibal discomfited. Wherfore, to enfourme you, lady, the maner-why[ ]I mene, see now . In my youth I was drawe to ben assentaunt and (in my mightes) helping to certain conjuracions and other55grete maters of ruling of citizins; and thilke thinges ben my drawers in; and ex[c]itours to tho maters wern so paynted and coloured that (at the prime face) me semed them noble and glorious to al the people. I than, wening mikel meryte have deserved in furthering and mayntenaunce of tho thinges, besyed60 and laboured, with al my diligence, in werkinge of thilke maters to the ende. And trewly, lady, to telle you the sothe, me rought litel of any hate of the mighty senatours in thilke citè, ne of comunes malice; for two skilles. Oon was, I had comfort to ben in suche plyte, that bothe profit were to me and to my frendes. Another was, for commen profit in cominaltee is not but pees and65 tranquilitè, with just governaunce, proceden from thilke profit ; sithen, by counsayle of myne inwitte, me thought the firste painted thinges malice and yvel meninge , withouten any good avayling to any people, and of tyrannye purposed. And so, for pure sorowe, and of my medlinge and badde infame that I was in ronne, tho70 [the ] teres [that ] lasshed out of myne eyen were thus awaye wasshe, than the under-hidde malice and the rancour of purposing envye, forncast and imagined in distruccion of mokil people, shewed so openly, that, had I ben blind , with myne hondes al the circumstaunce I might wel have feled.75
Now than tho persones that suche thinges have cast to redresse,[ ] for wrathe of my first medlinge, shopen me to dwelle in this pynande prison, til Lachases my threed no lenger wolde twyne. And ever I was sought, if me liste to have grace of my lyfe and frenesse of that prison, I shulde openly confesse how pees might80 ben enduced to enden al the firste rancours. It was fully supposed my knowing to be ful in tho maters. Than, lady, I thought that every man that, by any waye of right, rightfully don , mayhelpe any comune †wele to ben saved; whiche thing to kepe above al thinges I am holde to mayntayne, and namely in85distroying of a wrong; al shulde I therthrough enpeche myn owne fere, if he were gilty and to do misdeed assentaunt. And mayster ne frend may nought avayle to the soule of him that in falsnesse deyeth; and also that I nere desyred wrathe of the people ne indignacion of the worthy, for nothinge that ever I90 wrought or did, in any doing my-selfe els, but in the mayntenaunce of these foresayd errours and in hydinge of the privitees therof. And that al the peoples hertes, holdinge on the errours syde, weren blinde and of elde so ferforth begyled, that debat and stryf they maynteyned, and in distruccion on that other syde;95 by whiche cause the pees , that moste in comunaltee shulde be desyred, was in poynte to be broken and adnulled. Also the citee of London, that is to me so dere and swete, in whiche I was forth growen; (and more kyndely love have I to that place than to any100 other in erthe, as every kyndely creature hath ful appetyte to that place of his kyndly engendrure, and to wilne reste and pees in that stede to abyde); thilke pees shulde thus there have ben broken, and of al wyse it is commended and desyred. For knowe thing it is, al men that desyren to comen to the perfit pees everlasting105 must the pees by god commended bothe mayntayne and kepe. This pees by angels voyce was confirmed, our god entringe[ ] in this worlde. This, as for his Testament, he lefte to al his frendes, whanne he retourned to the place from whence he cam ; this his apostel amonesteth to holden, without whiche man perfitly110 may have non insight. Also this god, by his coming, made not pees alone betwene hevenly and erthly bodyes, but also amonge us on erthe so he pees confirmed, that in one heed of love oon body we shulde perfourme. Also I remembre me wel how the name of Athenes was rather after the god of pees than of batayle,115 shewinge that pees moste is necessarie to comunaltees and citees . I than, so styred by al these wayes toforn nempned, declared certayne poyntes in this wyse. Firste, that thilke persones that hadden me drawen to their purposes, and me not weting the privy entent of their meninge , drawen also the feeble witted120 people, that have non insight of gubernatif prudence, to clamure and to crye on maters that they styred; and under poyntes for comune avauntage they enbolded the passif to take in the actives doinge; and also styred innocentes of conning to crye after thinges, whiche (quod they) may not stande but we ben125 executours of tho maters, and auctoritè of execucion by comen eleccion to us be delivered. And that muste entre by strength of your mayntenaunce. For we out of suche degree put, oppression of these olde hindrers shal agayn surmounten, and putten you in such subjeccion , that in endelesse wo ye shul complayne.
130The governementes (quod they) of your citè, lefte in the handes of torcencious citezins, shal bringe in pestilence and distruccion to you, good men; and therfore let us have the comune administracion to abate suche yvels. Also (quod they) it is worthy the good to commende, and the gilty desertes to chastice. There135 ben citezens many, for-ferde of execucion that shal be doon ; for extorcions by hem committed ben evermore ayenst these purposes and al other good mevinges. Never-the-latter, lady, trewly the meninge under these wordes was, fully to have apeched the mighty senatoures , whiche hadden hevy herte for the misgovernaunce that they seen. And so, lady, whan it fel that free140eleccion [was mad], by greet clamour of moche people, [that ] for greet disese of misgovernaunce so fervently stoden in her eleccion that they hem submitted to every maner †fate rather than have suffred the maner and the rule of the hated governours; notwithstandinge that in the contrary helden moche comune meyny,145 that have no consideracion but only to voluntary lustes withouten reson . But than thilke governour so forsaken, fayninge to-forn his undoinge for misrule in his tyme, shoop to have letted thilke eleccion , and have made a newe, him-selfe to have ben chosen; and under that, mokil rore [to] have arered. These thinges, lady,150 knowen among the princes, and made open to the people, draweth in amendement, that every degree shal ben ordayned to stande there-as he shulde; and that of errours coming herafter men may lightly to-forn-hand purvaye remedye; in this wyse pees and rest to be furthered and holde. Of the whiche thinges, lady,155 thilke persones broughten in answere to-forn their moste soverayne juge, not coarted by payninge dures , openly knowlegeden, and asked therof grace; so that apertly it preveth my wordes ben sothe, without forginge of lesinges .
But now it greveth me to remembre these dyvers sentences, in160 janglinge of these shepy people; certes, me thinketh, they oughten to maken joye that a sothe may be knowe. For my trouthe and my conscience ben witnesse to me bothe, that this (knowinge sothe) have I sayd , for no harme ne malice of tho persones, but only for trouthe of my sacrament in my ligeaunce , by whiche165 I was charged on my kinges behalfe. But see ye not now , lady, how the felonous thoughtes of this people and covins of wicked men conspyren ayen my sothfast trouth! See ye not every wight that to these erroneous opinions were assentaunt, and helpes to the noyse, and knewen al these thinges better than I my-selven,170 apparaylen to fynden newe frendes, and clepen me fals , and studyen how they mowen in her mouthes werse plyte nempne? O god, what may this be, that thilke folk whiche that in tyme of my mayntenaunce, and whan my might avayled to strecche to175 the forsayd maters, tho me commended, and yave me name of trouth, in so manyfolde maners that it was nyghe in every wightes eere, there-as any of thilke people weren; and on the other syde, thilke company somtyme passed , yevinge me name of badde loos: now bothe tho peoples turned the good in-to180 badde, and badde in-to good? Whiche thing is wonder, that they knowing me saying but sothe, arn now tempted to reply her olde praysinges; and knowen me wel in al doinges to ben trewe, and sayn openly that I false have sayd many thinges! And they aleged nothing me to ben false or untrewe, save thilke mater185 knowleged by the parties hem-selfe; and god wot , other mater is non . Ye also, lady, knowe these thinges for trewe; I avaunte not in praysing of my-selfe; therby shulde I lese the precious secrè of my conscience. But ye see wel that false opinion of the[ ] people for my trouthe, in telling out of false conspyred maters;190 and after the jugement of these clerkes, I shulde not hyde the sothe of no maner person, mayster ne other. Wherfore I wolde not drede, were it put in the consideracion of trewe and of wyse. And for comers hereafter shullen fully, out of denwere , al the sothe knowe of these thinges in acte, but as they wern , I have195 put it in scripture, in perpetuel remembraunce of true meninge . For trewly, lady, me semeth that I ought to bere the name of trouthe, that for the love of rightwysnesse have thus me †submitted . But now than the false fame, which that (clerkessayn ) flyeth as faste as doth the fame of trouthe, shal so wyde sprede200[ ] til it be brought to the jewel that I of mene ; and so shal I ben hindred, withouten any mesure of trouthe.’
CHAPTER VII.[ ]
THAN gan Love sadly me beholde, and sayd in a changed voyce, lower than she had spoken in any tyme: ‘Fayn wolde I,’ quod she, ‘that thou were holpen; but hast thou sayd any-thing whiche thou might not proven?’
‘Pardè,’ quod I, ‘the persones, every thing as I have sayd, han5 knowleged hem-selfe.’
‘Sothely,’ quod I, ‘it is wel wist , bothe amonges the greetest and other of the realme, that I profered my body so largely in-to10 provinge of tho thinges, that Mars shulde have juged the ende; but, for sothnesse of my wordes, they durste not to thilke juge truste.’
‘Now , certes,’ quod she, ‘above al fames in this worlde, the name of marcial doinges most plesen to ladyes of my lore; but15 sithen thou were redy, and thyne adversaryes in thy presence refused thilke doing; thy fame ought to be so born as if in dede it had take to the ende. And therfore every wight that any droppe of reson hath, and hereth of thee infame for these thinges, hath this answere to saye: “trewly thou saydest; for thyne20 adversaryes thy wordes affirmed.” And if thou haddest lyed, yet are they discomfited, the prise leved on thy syde; so that fame shal holde down infame; he shal bringe [it in] upon none halfe. What greveth thee thyne enemye[s] to sayn their owne shame, as thus: “we arn discomfited, and yet our quarel is25 trewe?” Shal not the loos of thy frendes ayenward dequace thilke enfame, and saye they graunted a sothe without a stroke or fighting? Many men in batayle ben discomfited and overcome in a rightful quarel, that is goddes privy jugement in heven; but yet, although the party be yolden, he may with wordes saye his30 quarel is trewe, and to yelde him, in the contrarye, for drede of dethe he is compelled; and he that graunteth and no stroke hath feled, he may not crepe away in this wyse by none excusacion. Indifferentfolk wil say: “ye, who is trewe, who is fals , him-selfe35 knowlegeth tho thinges.” Thus in every syde fame sheweth to thee good and no badde.’
‘But yet,’ quod I, ‘some wil say, I ne shulde, for no dethe, have discovered my maistresse ; and so by unkyndnesse they wol knette infame, to pursue me aboute. Thus enemyes of wil,40 in manyfolde maner, wol seche privy serpentynes queintyses, to quenche and distroye, by venim of many besinesses, the light of tr[o]uthe; to make hertes to murmure ayenst my persone, to have me in hayne withouten any cause.’
‘Now ,’ quod she, ‘here me a fewe wordes, and thou shalt fully45 ben answered , I trowe. Me thinketh (quod she) right now , by thy wordes, that sacrament of swering , that is to say, charging by othe, was oon of the causes to make thee discover the malicious imaginacions tofore nempned. Every ooth , by knittinge of copulacion , muste have these lawes, that is, trewe jugement and right-wysenesse;50 in whiche thinge if any of these lacke, the ooth is y-tourned in-to the name of perjury. Than to make a trewe serment, most nedes these thinges folowe . For ofte tymes, a man to saye sothe, but jugement and justice folowe, he is forsworn; ensample of Herodes, for holdinge of his serment was [he ]55 dampned.
[ ] Also, to saye tr[o]uthe rightfulliche (but in jugement) otherwhile is forboden, by that al sothes be nat to sayne. Therfore in jugement, in tr[o]uthe, and rightwisenesse, is every creature bounden, up payne of perjury, ful knowing to make, tho[ugh] it60 were of his owne persone, for drede of sinne; after that worde , “better is it to dey than live false .” And, al wolde perverted people fals report make in unkyndnesse, in that entent thy [en]fame to reyse, whan light of tr[o]uthe in these maters is forth sprongen and openly publisshed among commens, than shal nat suche65 derke enfame dare appere, for pure shame of his falsnesse. As some men ther ben that their owne enfame can none otherwyse voide or els excuse, but †by hindringe of other mennes fame; which that by non other cause clepen other men false, but for [that ] with their owne falsnesse mowen they nat ben avaunsed; or els70 by false sklaund[r]inge wordes other men shenden , their owne trewe sklaunder to make seme the lasse. For if such men wolden their eyen of their conscience revolven, [they ] shulden seen the[ ] same sentence they legen on other springe out of their sydes, with so many braunches, it were impossible to nombre. To whiche[ ] therefore mayit be sayd in that thinge, “this man thou demest ,75 therein thy-selfe thou condempnest.”
But (quod she) understand nat by these wordes, that thou wene me saye thee to be worthy sclaunder, for any mater tofore written; truely I wolde witnesse the contrary; but I saye that the bemes of sclaundring wordes may not be don awaye til the80 daye of dome. For how shulde it nat yet, amonges so greetplentee of people, ben many shrewes, sithen whan no mo but eight persons in Noes shippe were closed, yet oon was a shrewe and skorned his father? These thinges (quod she) I trowe, shewen that fals fame is nat to drede, ne of wyse persons to accepte, and85 namely nat of thy Margarite, whose wysdom here-after I thinke to declare; wherfore I wot wel suche thing shal nat her asterte; than of unkyndnesse thynooth hath thee excused at the fulle. But now , if thou woldest nat greve, me list a fewe thinges to shewe.’90
‘Trewly,’ quod she, ‘that is sothe, so thou con wel kepe these wordes, and in the in[ne]rest secrè chambre of thyne herte so faste hem close that they never flitte; than shalt thou fynde hem95 avayling. Loke now what people hast thou served; whiche of hem al in tyme of thyne exile ever thee refresshed, by the valewe of the leste coyned plate that walketh in money? Who was sory , or made any rewth for thy disese ? If they hadden getten their purpose, of thy misaventure sette they nat an hawe. Lo, whan100 thou were emprisonned , how faste they hyed in helpe of thy deliveraunce! I wene of thy dethe they yeve but lyte. They loked after no-thing but after their owne lustes. And if thou liste[ ] say the sothe, al that meyny that in this †brige thee broughten, lokeden rather after thyne helpesthan thee to have releved.105
Owen nat yet some of hem money for his commens? Paydest nat thou for some of her dispences, til they were tourned out of Selande ? Who yave thee ever ought for any rydinge thou madest? Yet, pardè , some of hem token money for thy chambre , and110 putte tho pens in his purse, unwetinge of the renter.
Lo for which a company thou medlest, that neither thee ne them-selfe mighten helpe of unkyndnesse ; now they bere the name that thou supposest of hem for to have. What might thou more have don than thou diddest, but-if thou woldest in a fals115 quarel have been a stinkinge martyr? I wene thou fleddest , as longe as thou might, their privitè to counsayle; which thing thou hele[de]st lenger than thou shuldest. And thilke that ought thee money no penny wolde paye; they wende thy returne hadde ben an impossible. How might thou better have hem proved, but thus120[ ] in thy nedy diseses ? Now hast thou ensaumple for whom thou shalt meddle; trewly, this lore is worth many goodes.’
CHAPTER VIII.[ ]
†EFT gan Love to †steren me [with ] these wordes: ‘thinke on my speche; for trewly here-after it wol do thee lykinge; and how-so-ever thou see Fortune shape her wheele to tourne,[ ] this meditacion [shal] by no waye revolve. For certes, Fortune5 sheweth her fayrest, whan she thinketh to begyle. And as me thought, here-toforn thou saydest, thy loos in love, for thy right-wysenesse ought to be raysed, shulde be a-lowed in tyme cominge. Thou might in love so thee have, that loos and fame shul so ben raysed, that to thy frendes comfort , and sorowe to thyne enemys,10 endlesse shul endure.
But if thou were the oon sheep , amonges the hundred, were lost in deserte and out of the way hadde erred, and now to the flocke art restoored, the shepherd hath in thee no joye and thou ayen to the forrest tourne. But that right as the sorowe and anguisshe15 was greet in tyme of thyne out-waye goinge, right so joye and gladnesse shal be doubled to sene thee converted; and nat as Lothes wyf ayen-lokinge, but [in] hool counsayle with the shepe folowinge, and with them grasse and herbes gadre. Never-the-later (quod she) I saye nat these thinges for no wantrust that I have in supposinge of thee otherwyse than I shulde. For20 trewly, I wot wel that now thou art set in suche a purpose, out of whiche thee liste nat to parte. But I saye it for many men there been , that to knowinge of other mennes doinges setten al their cure, and lightly desyren the badde to clatter rather than the good, and have no wil their owne maner to amende. They also25 hate of olde rancours lightly haven; and there that suche thing abydeth, sodaynly in their mouthes procedeth the habundaunce of the herte, and wordes as stones out-throwe. Wherfore my counsayl is ever-more openly and apertly , in what place thou sitte, counterplete th’errours and meninges in as fer as thou hem30wistest false, and leve for no wight to make hem be knowe in every bodyes ere ; and be alway pacient anduse Jacobes wordes , what-so-ever men of thee clappen: “I shal sustayne my ladyes wrathe which I have deserved, so longe as my Margarite hath rightwysed my cause.” And certes (quod she) I witnesse my-selfe,35 if thou, thus converted, sorowest in good meninge in thyne herte, [and] wolt from al vanitè parfitly departe, in consolacioun of al good plesaunce of that Margaryte, whiche that thou desyrest after wil of thyn herte , in a maner of a †moders pitè, [she ] shul fully accepte thee in-to grace. For right as thou rentest clothes in40 open sighte, so openly to sowe hem at his worshippe withouten reprofe [is ] commended. Also, right as thou were ensample of moche-folde errour, right so thou must be ensample of manyfolde[ ]correccioun ; so good savour to forgoing †of errour causeth diligent love, with many playted praisinges to folowe; and than shal al45 the firste errours make the folowinge worshippes to seme hugely encresed . Blacke and white, set togider, every for other more semeth; and so doth every thinges contrary in kynde. But infame, that goth alwaye tofore, and praysinge worship by any cause folowinge after, maketh to ryse the ilke honour in double50 of welth; and that quencheth the spotte of the first enfame. Why wenest , I saye, these thinges in hindringe of thy name? Nay, nay, god wot , but for pure encresing worship, thy rightwysenesse to commende, and thy trouthe to seme the more. Wost nat wel55[ ] thy-selfe, that thou in fourme of making †passest nat Adam that eet of the apple? Thou †passest nat the stedfastnesse of Noe, that eetinge of the grape becom dronke. Thou passest nat the chastitè of Lothe, that lay by his doughter; eke the nobley of Abraham, whom god reproved by his pryde; also Davides60 mekenesse, whiche for a woman made Urye be slawe. What?[ ] also Hector of Troye, in whom no defaute might be founde, yet is he reproved that he ne hadde with manhode nat suffred the warre begonne , ne Paris to have went in-to Grece, by whom gan al the sorowe. For trewly, him lacketh no venim of privè65[ ] consenting, whiche that openly leveth a wrong to withsaye .
[ ] Lo eke an olde proverbe amonges many other: “He that is stille semeth as he graunted.”
Now by these ensamples thou might fully understonde, that these thinges ben writte to your lerning, and in rightwysenesse of70 tho persones, as thus: To every wight his defaute committed made goodnesse afterwardes don be the more in reverence and in open shewing; for ensample, is it nat songe in holy churche,[ ] “Lo, how necessary was Adams synne!” David the king gat Salomon the king of her that was Uryes wyf . Truly, for reprofe75 is non of these thinges writte. Right so, tho I reherce thy before-dede, I repreve thee never the more; ne for no villany of thee are they rehersed, but for worshippe, so thou continewe wel here-after: and for profit of thy-selfe I rede thou on hem thinke.’
Than sayde I right thus: ‘Lady of unitè and accorde, envy80 and wrathe lurken there thou comest in place; ye weten wel your-selve, and so don many other, that whyle I administred the office of commen doinge, as in rulinge of the stablisshmentes amonges the people, I defouled never my conscience for no maner dede; but ever, by witte and by counsayle of the wysest,85 the maters weren drawen to their right endes. And thus trewly for you, lady, I have desyred suche cure; and certes, in your service was I nat ydel, as fer as suche doinge of my cure streccheth .’
‘That is a thing,’ quod she, ‘that may drawe many hertes of noble, and voice of commune in-to glory; and fame is nat but90wrecched and fickle. Alas! that mankynde coveyteth in so leude a wyse to be rewarded of any good dede, sithe glorie of fame, in this worlde, is nat but hindringe of glorie in tyme comminge! And certes (quod she) yet at the hardest suche fame, in-to heven, is nat the erthe but a centre to the cercle of heven? A pricke is95 wonder litel in respect of al the cercle; and yet, in al this pricke, may no name be born , in maner of peersing, for many obstacles, as waters, and wildernesse, and straunge langages. And nat only names of men ben stilled and holden out of knowleginge by these obstacles, but also citees and realmes of prosperitè ben letted to100 be knowe, and their reson hindred; so that they mowe nat ben parfitly in mennes propre understandinge. How shulde than the name of a singuler Londenoys passe the glorious name of London , whiche by many it is commended, and by many it is lacked, and in many mo places in erthe nat knowen than knowen? For in105 many countrees litel is London in knowing or in spech; and yet among oon maner of people may nat such fame in goodnes come; for as many as praysen, commenly as many lacken. Fy than on such maner fame! Slepe, and suffre him that knoweth previtè of hertes to dele suche fame in thilke place there nothing110 ayenst a sothe shal neither speke ne dare apere, by attourney[ ] ne by other maner. How many greet-named , and many greet in worthinesse losed, han be tofore this tyme, that now out of memorie are slidden, and clenely forgeten, for defaute of wrytinges! And yet scriptures for greet elde so ben defased, that115[ ] no perpetualtè may in hem ben juged. But if thou wolt make comparisoun to ever, what joye mayst thou have in erthly name? It is a fayr lykenesse, a pees or oon grayn of whete , to a thousand shippes ful of corne charged! What nombre is betwene the oon and th’other ? And yet mowe bothe they be nombred, and120 ende in rekening have. But trewly, al that may be nombred is nothing to recken, as to thilke that may nat be nombred. For †of the thinges ended is mad comparison; as, oon litel, another greet ; but in thinges to have an ende, and another no ende, suche comparisoun may nat be founden. Wherfore in heven to125 ben losed with god hath non ende, but endlesse endureth; and[ ] thou canst nothing don aright, but thou desyre the rumour therof be heled and in every wightes ere ; and that dureth but a pricke in respecte of the other. And so thou sekest reward of folkes130 smale wordes, and of vayne praysinges. Trewly, therin thou lesest the guerdon of vertue; and lesest the grettest valour of conscience , and uphap thy renomè everlasting. Therfore boldely renomè of fame of the erthe shulde be hated, and fame after deth[ ] shulde be desyred of werkes of vertue. [Trewly, vertue ] asketh135[ ] guerdoning, and the soule causeth al vertue. Than the soule, delivered out of prison of erthe, is most worthy suche guerdon among to have in the everlastinge fame; and nat the body, that causeth al mannes yvels.
CHAPTER IX.[ ]
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘there is no body in this worlde, that aught5 coude saye by reson ayenst any of your skilles, as I leve; and by my witte now fele I wel, that yvel-spekers or berers of enfame may litel greve or lette my purpos , but rather by suche thinge my quarel to be forthered.’
‘That is soth,’ quod I.
‘Wel,’ quod she, ‘than †leveth there, to declare that thy insuffisance is no maner letting, as thus: for that she is so worthy,15 thou shuldest not clymbe so highe; for thy moebles and thyn estate arn voyded, thou thinkest [thee ] fallen in suche miserie, that gladnesse of thy pursute wol nat on thee discende.’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘that is sothe; right suche thought is in myn herte; for commenly it is spoken, and for an olde-proverbe it is [ ] leged: “He that heweth to hye, with chippes he may lese20 his sight.” Wherfore I have ben about, in al that ever I might, to studye wayes of remedye by one syde or by another.’
‘Now ,’ quod she, ‘god forbede †that thou seke any other doinges but suche as I have lerned thee in our restinge-whyles, and suche herbes as ben planted in oure gardins. Thou shalt25 wel understande that above man is but oon god alone.’
‘How ,’ quod I, ‘han men to-forn this tyme trusted in writtes and chauntements, and in helpes of spirites that dwellen in the ayre, and therby they han getten their desyres, where-as first, for al his manly power, he daunced behynde?’30
‘O,’ quod she, ‘fy on suche maters! For trewly, that is sacrilege; and that shal have no sort with any of my servauntes; in myne eyen shal suche thing nat be loked after. How often is[ ] it commaunded by these passed wyse, that “to one god shal men serve, and not to goddes?” And who that liste to have myne35 helpes, shal aske none helpe of foule spirites. Alas! is nat man maked semblable to god? Wost thou nat wel, that al vertue of lyvelich werkinge, by goddes purveyaunce, is underput to resonable creature in erthe? Is nat every thing , a this halfe god , madbuxom to mannes contemplation, understandinge in heven and40 in erthe and in helle? Hath not man beinge with stones, soule of wexing with trees and herbes? Hath he nat soule of felinge, with beestes, fisshes, and foules? And he hath soule of reson and understanding with aungels; so that in him is knit al maner of lyvinges by a resonable proporcioun. Also man is mad of45 al the foure elementes . Al universitee is rekened in him alone; he hath, under god, principalitè above al thinges. Now is his soule here, now a thousand myle hence; now fer, now nygh; now hye, now lowe; as fer in a moment as in mountenaunce of ten winter; and al this is in mannes governaunce and disposicion .50 Than sheweth it that men ben liche unto goddes, and children of moost heyght. But now , sithen al thinges [arn] underput to the wil of resonable creatures, god forbede any man to winne that lordship , and aske helpe of any-thing lower than him-selfe; and than, namely, of foule thinges innominable. Now than, why shuldest55 thou wene to love to highe, sithen nothing is thee above but god alone? Trewly, I wot wel that thilke jewel is in a maner even in lyne of degree there thou art thy-selfe, and nought above, save thus: aungel upon angel, man upon man , and devil upon devil60 han a maner of soveraigntee ; and that shal cese at the daye of dome. And so I say: though thou be put to serve the ilke jewel duringe thy lyfe, yet is that no servage of underputtinge, but a maner of travayling plesaunce, to conquere and gette that thou hast not. I sette now the hardest: in my service65now thou deydest, for sorowe of wantinge in thy desyres; trewly, al hevenly bodyes with one voyce shul come and make melody in thy cominge, and saye—“Welcome, our fere, and worthy to entre into Jupiters joye! For thou with might hast overcome deth ; thou woldest never flitte out of thy service; and we al shul70now praye to the goddes, rowe by rowe, to make thilk Margarite, that no routh had in this persone , but unkyndely without comfortlet thee deye, shal besette her-selfe in suche wyse, that in erthe, for parte of vengeaunce, shal she no joye have in loves service; and whan she is deed, than shal her soule ben brought up in-to75 thy presence; and whider thou wilt chese, thilke soule shal ben committed.” Or els, after thy deth, anon al the foresayd hevenly bodyes, by one accorde, shal †benimen from thilke perle al the vertues that firste her were taken; for she hath hem forfeyted by that on thee , my servaunt, in thy lyve, she wolde not suffre80 to worche al vertues, withdrawen by might of the hygh bodyes. Why than shuldest thou wene so any more? And if thee liste to loke upon the lawe of kynde, and with order whiche to me was ordayned, sothely, non age, non overtourninge tyme but †hiderto had no tyme ne power to chaunge the wedding, ne85 the knotte to unbynde of two hertes [that] thorow oonassent , in my presence, †togider accorden to enduren til deth hem departe. What? trowest thou, every ideot wot the meninge and the privy entent of these thinges? They wene, forsothe, that suche accord may not be, but the rose of maydenhede be plucked. Do way ,90 do way; they knowe nothing of this. For consent of two hertes alone maketh the fasteninge of the knotte; neither lawe of kynde ne mannes lawe determineth neither the age ne the qualitè of persones, but onlyaccord bitwene thilke twaye. And trewly, after tyme that suche accord , by their consent in hert, is enseled , and put in my tresorye amonges my privy thinges, than ginneth95[ ] the name of spousayle; and although they breken forward bothe, yet suche mater enseled is kept in remembrance for ever. And see now that spouses have the name anon after accord , though[ ] the rose be not take. The aungel bad Joseph take Marye his spouse, and to Egypte wende. Lo! she was cleped “spouse,”100 and yet, toforn ne after, neither of hem bothe mente no flesshly lust knowe. Wherfore the wordes of trouthe acorden that my servauntes shulden forsake bothe †fader and moder , and be adherand to his spouse; and they two in unitè of one flesshe shulden accorde. And this wyse, two that wern firste in a litel105 maner discordaunt, hygher that oon and lower that other, ben mad evenliche in gree to stonde. But now to enfourme thee that ye ben liche to goddes, these clerkes sayn , and in determinacion shewen, that “three thinges haven [by ] the names of goddes ben cleped ; that is to sayn: man, divel, and images”;110 but yet is there but oon god, of whom al goodnesse, al grace, and al vertue cometh; and he †is loving and trewe, and everlasting, and pryme cause of al being thinges . But men ben goddes lovinge and trewe, but not everlasting; and that is by adopcioun of the everlastinge god. Divels ben goddes, stirringe by115 a maner of lyving ; but neither ben they trewe ne everlastinge; and their name of godliheed th[e]y han by usurpacion, as the prophetesayth : “Al goddes of gentyles (that is to say, paynims) are divels.” But images ben goddes by nuncupacion; and they ben neither livinge ne trewe, ne everlastinge. After these wordes120 they clepen “goddes” images wrought with mennes handes. But now [art thou a] resonable creature, that by adopcion alone art to the grete god everlastinge, and therby thou art “god” cleped: let thy †faders maners so entre thy wittes that thou might folowe, in-as-moche as longeth to thee, thy †fadersworship , so125 that in nothinge thy kynde from his wil declyne, ne from his nobley perverte. In this wyse if thou werche, thou art above al other thinges save god alone; and so say no more “thyn herte129[ ] to serve in to hye a place.”
CHAPTER X.[ ]
FULLY have I now declared thyn estate to be good, so thou folow therafter, and that the †objeccion first †by thee aleged, in worthinesse of thy Margaryte, shal not thee lette, as it shal forther thee , and encrese thee . It is now to declare, the5 last objeccion in nothing may greve.’
‘Yes, certes,’ quod I, ‘bothe greve and lette muste it nedes; the contrarye may not ben proved; and see now why. Whyle I was glorious in worldly welfulnesse, and had suche goodes in welth as maken men riche, tho was I drawe in-to companyes10 that loos, prise, and name yeven. Tho louteden blasours; tho curreyden glosours; tho welcomeden flatterers; tho worshipped[ ] thilke that now deynen nat to loke. Every wight, in such erthly wele habundant, is holde noble, precious, benigne, and wyse to do what he shal, in any degree that men him sette ; al-be-it that15 the sothe be in the contrarye of al tho thinges. But he that can never so wel him behave, and hath vertue habundaunt in manyfolde maners, and be nat welthed with suche erthly goodes, is holde for a foole, and sayd , his wit is but sotted. Lo! how fals for[ ]aver is holde trewe! Lo! how trewe is clepedfals for wanting20 of goodes! Also, lady, dignitees of office maken men mikel comended, as thus: “he is so good, were he out , his pere shulde men not fynde.” Trewly, I trowe of some suche that are so praysed, were they out ones, another shulde make him so be knowe, he shulde of no wyse no more ben loked after: but only25 fooles, wel I wot , desyren suche newe thinges. Wherfore I wonder[ ] that thilke governour, out of whom alone the causes proceden that governen al thinges, whiche that hath ordeyned this world in workes of the kyndely bodyes so be governed, not with unstedfast or happyous thing, but with rules of reson , whiche shewen the course of certayne thinges: why suffreth he suche30 slydinge chaunges, that misturnen suche noble thinges as ben we men, that arn a fayr parcel of the erthe, and holden the upperest degree, under god, of benigne thinges, as ye sayden right now your-selfe; shulde never man have ben set in so worthy a place but-if his degrè were ordayned noble. Alas! thou that knittest35 the purveyaunce of al thinges, why lokest thou not to amenden[ ] these defautes? I see shrewes that han wicked maners sitten in chayres of domes, lambes to punisshen, there wolves shulden ben punisshed. Lo! vertue, shynende naturelly, for povertee lurketh, and is hid under cloude; but the moone false, forsworn (as40 I knowe my-selfe) for aver and yeftes, hath usurped to shyne by day-light, with peynture of other mens praysinges; and trewly, thilke forged light fouly shulde fade, were the trouth away of colours feyned. Thus is night turned in-to day , and day in-to night; winter in-to sommer, and sommer in-to winter; not in45 dede, but in misclepinge of foliche people.’
‘Now,’ quod she, ‘what wenest thou of these thinges? How felest thou in thyn hert, by what governaunce that this cometh aboute?’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘that wot I never; but-if it be that Fortune50 hath graunt from above, to lede the ende of man as her lyketh.’
‘Ah! now I see ,’ quod she, ‘th’entent of thy mening ! Lo, bycause thy worldly goodes ben fulliche dispent, thou beraft out of dignitè of office, in whiche thou madest the †gaderinge of thilke goodes, and yet diddest in that office by counsaile of wyse [before55 that ] any thing were ended; and true were unto hem whos profit thou shuldest loke; and seest now many that in thilke hervest made of thee mokel, and now , for glosing of other, deyneth thee nought to forther, but enhaunsen false shrewes by witnessinge of trouthe! These thinges greveth thyn herte, to sene thy-selfe thus60 abated; and than, frayltè of mankynde ne setteth but litel by the lesers of suche richesse, have he never so moche vertue; and so thou wenest of thy jewel to renne in dispyt , and not ben accepted[ ] in-to grace. Al this shal thee nothing hinder. Now (quod she) first thou wost wel, thou lostest nothing that ever mightest thou65 chalenge for thyn owne. Whan nature brought thee forth , come thou not naked out of thy †moders wombe? Thou haddest no richesse; and whan thou shalt entre in-to the ende of every flesshly body, what shalt thou have with thee than? So, every70 richesse thou hast in tyme of thy livinge, nis but lent ; thou[ ] might therin chalenge no propertee . And see now ; every thing that is a mannes own , he may do therwith what him lyketh, to yeve or to kepe; but richesse thou playnest from thee lost; if thy might had strecched so ferforth, fayn thou woldest have hem kept,75 multiplyed with mo other; and so, ayenst thy wil, ben they departed[ ] from thee ; wherfore they were never thyn. And if thou laudest and joyest any wight, for he is stuffed with suche maner richesse, thou art in that beleve begyled; for thou wenest thilke joye to be selinesse or els ese ; and he that hath lost suche happes to ben80 unsely.’
‘Ye, forsoth,’ quod I.
‘Wel,’ quod she, ‘than wol I prove that unsely in that wise is to preise; and so the tother is, the contrary, to be lacked.’
‘How so?’ quod I.
85[ ] ‘For Unsely,’ quod she, ‘begyleth nat, but sheweth th’entent of her working. Et e contra: Selinesse begyleth. For in prosperitè she maketh a jape in blyndnesse; that is, she wyndeth him to make sorowe whan she withdraweth. Wolt thou nat (quod she) preise him better that sheweth to thee his herte, tho[ugh] it be90 with bytande wordes and dispitous, than him that gloseth and thinketh in †his absence to do thee many harmes?’
‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘the oon is to commende; and the other to lacke and dispice.’
‘A! ha!’ quod she, ‘right so Ese , while †she lasteth, gloseth95 and flatereth; and lightly voydeth whan she most plesauntly sheweth; and ever, in hir absence, she is aboute to do thee tene and sorowe in herte. But Unsely, al-be-it with bytande chere, sheweth what she is, and so doth not that other; wherfore Unsely doth not begyle. Selinesse disceyveth; Unsely put away100 doute. That oon maketh men blynde; that other openeth their eyen in shewinge of wrecchidnesse . The oon is ful of drede to lese that is not his owne; that other is sobre, and maketh men discharged of mokel hevinesse in burthen. The oon draweth a man from very good; the other haleth him to vertue by the hookes of thoughtes. And wenist thou nat that thy disese hath105don thee mokel more to winne than ever yet thou lostest, and more than ever the contrary made thee winne? Is nat a greet good, to thy thinking, for to knowe the hertes of thy sothfast frendes? Pardè , they ben proved to the ful, and the trewe have discevered fro the false. Trewly, at the goinge of the ilke brotel110 joye, ther yede no more away than the ilke that was nat thyn proper. He was never from that lightly departed; thyn owne good therfore leveth it stille with thee. Now good (quod she); for how moche woldest thou somtyme have bought this verry knowing of thy frendes from the flatteringe flyes that thee glosed,115 whan thou thought thy-selfe sely? But thou that playnest of losse in richesse, hast founden the most dere-worthy thing ; that thou clepest unsely hath made thee moche thing to winnen. And also, for conclusioun of al, he is frende that now leveth nat his herte from thyne helpes. And if that Margarite denyeth now nat120 to suffre her vertues shyne to thee-wardes with spredinge bemes , as far or farther than if thou were sely in worldly joye, trewly, I saye nat els but she is somdel to blame.’
Thus endeth the firste book of the Testament of Love; and herafter foloweth the seconde.
[P. 26, l. 45.]For conuersion read conversion.
[P. 32, l. 38.]Mr. Bradley suggests that maistresse is a misprint of Thynne’s for maistres secrè, i. e. master’s secret; alluding to John of Northampton.
[P. 33, l. 75.]For may it be sayd in that thinge ‘this man thou demest, read may it be sayd, ‘in that thinge this man thou demest,
[2. ]delyciousnesse; (and elsewhere, y is often replaced by i).
[5. ]Sothely. wytte.
[8. ]inrest poynte.
[10. ]spring. boke. great floode.
[23. ]gret delyte.
[28. ]englysshe; supply of. englyssh-.
[29. ]Howe. borne.
[31. ]englyssh. englyssh-.
[35. ]facultie. lette.
[39. ]boke. thanke worthy.
[45. ]I supply perfeccion is; to make sense. soueraynst.
[46. ]creature (sic). reasonable.
[47, 50. ]perfection.
[47. ]sythe reason.
[54. ]Nowe. meane.
[56. ]be (for by).
[60. ]I supply of. parfyte.
[62. ]delyte (this sentence is corrupt).
[66, 67. ]thynges consydred. Forsoth (sic).
[68. ]great. me (sic); for men.
[72. ]great. Supply of.
[75. ]matters of reason. perfection.
[83. ]dyseases. boke.
[94. ]wote. made.
[98. ]gathered. toforne.
[100. ]made. great. plentyes.
[102. ]reason. hayn (sic).
[106. ]fullyn. amonge.
[118. ]study (sic).
[121. ]lyfelyche meate.
[122. ]betiden (sic); past tense.
[123. ]wether. measure.
[124. ]wynde Borias. kynde.
[127. ]spyl. (rubric) boke.
[6. ]disease outwarde.
[9. ]hell. dethe.
[14. ]dwellynge-. wytlesse.
[15. ]syghtlesse. prisone.
[16. ]caytisned (for caytifued).
[17. ]wode (!); for worde; read word.
[18. ]made. reason. herde.
[22. ]For be-went, Th. has be-went.
[25. ]wyl of; apparently an error for whyles (which I adopt). luste.
[26. ]dede (for drede).
[28. ]twynckelynge. disease.
[29. ]lette (twice). dey. measure.
[30. ]myne. comforte.
[31. ]diseased. maye. aueyle.
[33. ]wote; myne hert breaketh.
[34. ]howe. grounde. forthe.
[35. ]howe. shippe. great.
[39. ]nowe. sayne.
[40. ]arte. weate.
[45. ]stey. endlesse.
[46. ]wotte. I supply am. spurveyde. arte. nowe.
[47. ]frenshyppe (sic).
[48. ]nowe arte.
[59. ]frendes (sic); for ferdnes; cf. p. 9, l. 9.
[61. ]great. bounties.
[63. ]veyned (sic); for weyued.
[64. ]shapte. Nowe.
[72. ]ease. sythe.
[74. ]wote. wemme ne spotte maye.
[75. ]Read unimaginable.
[77. ]knytte. fal.
[78. ]wol wel (for wot wel).
[80. ]sonded; read souded. maye.
[81. ]pleased. charyte.
[83. ]comforte. fal.
[85. ]out caste. daye. se.
[89. ]perfectyon. knytte. dethe.
[91. ]togyther is endelesse in blysse (!). dwel.
[94. ]great. Nowe.
[95. ]arte wonte.
[98. ]Nowe. haste.
[100. ]I supply ther.
[112, 113. ]trewly and leue; read trewly I leve.
[117. ](The sentence beginning O, alas seems hopelessly corrupt; there are pause-marks after vertues and wonderful.)
[118. ]folowynge; read flowinge. by; read of.
[122. ]caytife. inrest. disease. lefte.
[126. ]ioleynynge (sic).
[130. ]the lyst none.
[134. ]qualites of comforte. worthe.
[3. ]tel howe. holy.
[6. ]feare. folke.
[7. ]done. disease.
[12. ]disease. meane.
[13. ]frendes; read ferdnes; see l. 16. perfytely. I supply but and by.
[16. ]aforne. ferdenesse.
[18. ]lodged. moste.
[21. ]comforte sodaynely. dothe.
[23. ]myne. beganne.
[27. ]prisone. leaue.
[28. ]al-thoughe. stretchen.
[31. ]wretched hyd. thynge.
[37. ]wenyst. foryet.
[39. ]frenshippes. alyes.
[42, 43. ]maye.
[46. ]honny. paradise.
[47. ]comforte. howe.
[52. ]the. disease haste. Woste.
[54. ]worshyppe. the. thyne.
[58. ]graunt thyne.
[62. ]wotte. none.
[69. ]Nowe. se.
[70. ]wytte in the. I supply thou. arte.
[75. ]shepe. arne.
[78. ]tho. shepe. loste.
[81. ]put. forthe. let. loste.
[82. ]shepeherde. lyfe. loste.
[83. ]shepe. shalte.
[91. ]Haste. radde howe.
[93. ]For false read faire. howe Sesars sonke (sic); corrupt.
[96. ]chese. put.
[97. ]howe. thanke.
[98. ]rest. home; read whom.
[101. ]haste. the.
[102. ]ayenwarde. made.
[103. ]put the.
[104. ]the. reason. discase.
[106. ]shalte. haste.
[107. ]Haste. herde. howe.
[112. ]cyties. the. cleape.
[120. ]se the in disease.
[121. ]wote. arte one. maye. the.
[137. ]encrease. maye.
[139. ]great. wherthroughe. arte. arne no-thinge.
[141. ]thus as I; om. as.
[143. ]endeynous; read ben deynous. wretches.
[148. ]beare. the lythe.
[155. ]perfection. Howe.
[157. ]counsayle maye. hydde.
[162. ]doone aldaye.
[164. ]done. nowe.
[169. ]reason. aperte.
[171. ]faythe. the.
[183. ]anone. fyght. maye.
[184. ]withsay. the.
[195. ]maye. transners.
[1. ]gladed; see l. 5.
[5. ]nowe. comforte.
[10. ]the (twice).
[13. ]one. arte.
[15. ]sene. comforte.
[17. ]Nowe. comforte.
[25. ]the. set.
[33. ]great. forthe. corne.
[35. ]plentie. lyste.
[38. ]I supply Tho gan I.
[43. ]great. great.
[44. ]gone; read gonne.
[52. ]many; read meynee. knewe.
[55. ]sayle. shyppe.
[59. ]kepte. storme.
[61, 62. ]nowe.
[62, 64. ]great.
[63. ]wethers; read weders.
[64. ]I supply of.
[65. ]as; read at.
[72. ]great. disease.
[76. ]lad. ware.
[77. ]great. amonge.
[79. ]to-forne came.
[83. ]peace. great.
[112. ]nowe. helpe.
[114. ]helpe. howe.
[121. ]none. hente.
[139. ]ther-thorowe. se.
[141. ]daye. destenye.
[143. ]maye. none.
[153. ]ease. maye.
[157. ]myne. nowe.
[158. ]harse (sic); for harme?
[163. ]lyches (for leches).
[8. ]easy speakynge. catche. put forthe.
[11. ]ladye easely.
[16. ]the lyste.
[18. ]disease (twice).
[19. ]nessel; misprint for uessel.
[20. ]wonte. onely.
[23. ]comforte. seare.
[38. ]Nowe. wysedom. the.
[43. ]done her course.
[46. ]leaden. parfyte. thynge.
[47. ]wern. wele; read wol. done.
[58. ]nowe. the.
[67. ]steeryng. lyeng.
[79. ]the. let. purpose.
[2. ]maner; read maneres. purpose.
[3. ]nowe. the.
[15. ]so; read to.
[19. ]I supply al.
[20. ]efte; read ofte.
[25. ]holde nowe thy peace.
[29. ]one. I supply don. I supply in.
[31. ]come. abode.
[33. ]nowe. I supply and.
[34. ]I supply is. nowe one.
[36. ]one. perfyte.
[38. ]nowe. the howe.
[44. ]alwaye put.
[51. ]lawes; read lawe.
[53. ]I supply founden.
[59. ]purueyde. vnderputte.
[65. ]diseases. breaken.
[69. ]exployte forthe.
[73. ]lette. porte.
[84. ]vnderstande. rayne.
[85. ]I supply bare.
[88. ]great. wether; read weder.
[90. ]huysshte. peace. styl.
[91. ]se nowe howe.
[102. ]I supply come.
[103. ]kynrest (sic).
[110. ]this; read thus?
[121. ]worship; read worshippe (verb).
[130. ]nowe. the.
[131. ]set the.
[133. ]ianghes; read jangles.
[2. ]great. beare.
[3. ]read enfame; see l. 6. one. obiections.
[7. ]Nowe. leasynges put on the.
[9. ]se. encreaseth.
[11. ]arte encreased.
[12. ]I supply is.
[13. ]the. harme. false.
[15. ]I supply voyd. arte.
[24. ]sayne. lente.
[25. ]sayne. weaked; read wikked?
[30. ]forsaken; read forsake.
[33. ]nowe. howe.
[36. ]disease. se.
[38. ]fame or by goodnesse enfame; read fame by goodnesse or enfame.
[39. ]Supply of. reasonable.
[40. ]wytte. reason to-forne.
[48. ]Howe. zedeoreys or Ȝedeoreys.
[53. ]meane se nowe.
[56. ]exitours. werne.
[63. ]One. comforte.
[65. ]profyte. comynaltie. peace.
[71. ]I supply the and that.
[73. ]fornecaste. distruction.
[76. ]Nowe. caste.
[80. ]howe peace.
[84. ]done. maye. helpe (repeated after comen); read wele. thynge.
[88. ]frende maye.
[94. ]-forthe. debate.
[95. ]stryfe. distruction.
[96. ]peace. comunaltie.
[101–6. ]peace (five times).
[104. ]thynge. perfyte.
[111–2. ]peace (twice).
[112. ]one (twice).
[114–5. ]peace (twice).
[115. ]comunalties and cytes.
[119. ]meanynge. feoble.
[120. ]none. gubernatyfe.
[141. ]election. Supply was mad. great (twice). Supply that.
[142. ]disease. election.
[143. ]face; read fate.
[147. ]reason. to-forne.
[154. ]to forne hande. peace.
[156. ]to forne.
[165. ]onely. leigeaunce.
[166. ]se. nowe.
[171. ]cleapen. false.
[173. ]maye. folke.
[181. ]knowyuge (sic). sayng. arne nowe.
[197. ]submytten (!).
[198. ]nowe. sayne.
[7. ]Yea. Howe.
[9. ]wyste. amongest. greatest.
[15. ]moste pleasen.
[19. ]reason. the.
[23. ]Supply it in.
[24. ]the. enemye (sic). sayne.
[34. ]folke. false.
[44. ]Nowe. shalte.
[45. ]answerde. nowe.
[47. ]one. the.
[48. ]othe. copulation.
[54. ]Supply he.
[67. ]be; for by.
[68. ]cleapen. Supply that.
[70. ]sklaundynge. shendyn.
[72. ]I supply they. sene.
[73. ]legen [for aleggen].
[80. ]beames. done.
[81. ]howe. great.
[87. ]wotte. thynge.
[88. ]thyne othe. the.
[96. ]nowe. haste.
[104. ]brigge; read brige.
[104, 105. ]the.
[112. ]nowe. beare.
[114. ]done. false.
[117. ]helest; read heledest. the.
[120. ]diseases. Nowe haste.
[121. ]shalte. worthe.
[1. ]Ofte; read Eft. sterne; read steren. I supply with.
[3. ]howe. se.
[4. ]meditation. I supply shal.
[11. ]one shepe.
[12. ]loste. nowe.
[13. ]arte. shepeherd. the.
[17. ]wyfe. I supply in. hoole.
[21. ]wotte. nowe. arte sette.
[28. ]stones repeated in Th.
[29. ]counsayle. apertely.
[30. ]therrours. meanynges. ferre.
[31. ]wystyst. leaue.
[33. ]menne. the.
[37. ]I supply and. wolte. parfytely.
[39. ]hert. mothers; read moders. I supply she.
[42. ]I supply is.
[44. ]correctioun. al; read of. After errour I omit distroyeng (gloss upon forgoing).
[47. ]encreased. sette.
[49. ]gothe. worshippe.
[52. ]wenyste. Naye nay god wotte.
[55–7. ]passeth (twice); passyst (third time). ete.
[57. ]eatynge. become.
[63. ]begon. ganne.
[65. ]leaueth. wronge. withsay.
[73. ]howe. gate.
[76–7. ]the (twice).
[102. ]parfitely. Howe.
[112. ]Howe. great (twice).
[116. ]maye. wolte.
[118. ]fayre. one grayne of wheate. thousande.
[120. ]one. thother.
[123. ]ofte; read of the. made. one.
[127. ]canste nothynge done. rumoure.
[128. ]healed; read deled? care.
[131. ]valoure. consyence.
[134. ]Supply Trewly, vertue.
[136. ]prisone. guerdone.
[3. ]thyne. leaue.
[6. ]nowe. bearers.
[10. ]-thorowe. steered.
[13. ]leneth; read leueth.
[16. ]arne. I supply thee.
[18. ]myne hert.
[23. ]Nowe. are; read that.
[27. ]Howe. to forne.
[39. ]thynge. made.
[45. ]lyuenges. reasonable. made.
[48. ]nowe. nowe ferre nowe. thousande.
[49. ]nowe (twice). ferre. momente.
[50. ]tenne. disposytion.
[52. ]nowe. I supply arn. vnderputte.
[54. ]lordshippe. thynge.
[56. ]nothynge. the.
[57. ]wote. euyn.
[59. ]manne (twice).
[60. ]soueraygntie. cease.
[61. ]thoughe putte.
[68. ]haste. dethe.
[70. ]nowe pray.
[71. ]For in read on? comforte.
[72. ]lette the.
[76. ]dethe anone.
[77. ]benommen; read benimen.
[83. ]none (twice).
[85. ]Supply that. thorowe one.
[86. ]togyther. dethe.
[87. ]ydeot wotte.
[89. ]waye (twice).
[96. ]breaken forwarde.
[97. ]ensealed. kepte.
[98. ]se nowe. accorde.
[103. ]father and mother; rather, fader and moder. adherande.
[107. ]made. nowe. the.
[109. ]thre. I supply by.
[112. ]his; read is.
[117. ]thy; read they.
[122. ]nowe. I supply art thou a. reasonable.
[123. ]arte (twice). great.
[124–5. ]fathers; read faders.
[125. ]the. worshyppe.
[2. ]abiection; read objeccion. be; read by. the.
[4. ]the. encrease the. nowe.
[7. ]maye. se nowe.
[15. ]can ne never; omit ne.
[18. ]wytte. false.
[19. ]auer (sic); for aueir (avoir). howe. cleaped. false.
[25. ]wotte. new.
[32. ]arne a fayre parsel.
[40. ]hydde. forsworne.
[44. ]daye (twice).
[52. ]nowe I se. thentent. meanyng.
[55. ]I supply before that.
[56. ]whose profyte.
[58. ]the (twice). nowe.
[64. ]the. Nowe.
[66. ]the forthe.
[67. ]mothers; read moders.
[70. ]haste. lente.
[71. ]propertie. se nowe.
[74. ]stretched. fayne.
[79. ]ease. loste.
[91. ]their; read his. the.
[94. ]ease. he; read she.
[99. ]dothe. awaye.
[100–1. ]one (twice).
[106. ]done the.
[107. ]the. great.
[113. ]leaueth. the. Nowe.
[118. ]cleapest. the. thynge.
[119. ]nowe leaueth.
[120. ]hert. nowe.
[121. ]the. spreadynge beames.
[124. ]peace. myne.
[125. ]breaketh nowe.
[Prologue. 1.]The initial letters of the chapters in Book I. form the words margarete of. See the Introduction.
[3.]by queynt knitting coloures, by curious fine phrases, that ‘knit’ or join the words or verses together. For colours=fine phrases, cf. Ch., HF. 859; C. T., E 16, F 726.
[7.]for, because, seeing that; boystous, rough, plain, unadorned; cf. l. 12. The Glossary in vol. vi should be compared for further illustration of the more difficult words.
[19.]for the first leudnesse, on account of the former lack of skill.
[21.]yeve sight, enable men to see clearly.
[30.]conne jumpere suche termes, know how to jumble such terms together. Jumpere should rather be spelt jumpre; cf. jompre in the Gloss. to Chaucer. For such words, see the Glossary appended to the present volume.
[43.]necessaries to cacche, to lay hold of necessary ideas. Throughout this treatise, we frequently find the verb placed after the substantive which it governs, or relegated to the end of the clause or sentence. This absurd affectation often greatly obscures the sense.
[45.]The insertion of the words perfeccion is is absolutely necessary to the sense; cf. ll. 47, 50. For the general argument, cf. Ch. Boeth. iii. proses 10 and 11, where ‘perfection’ is represented by suffisaunce, as, e.g., in iii. pr. 11. l. 18.
[50.]Aristotle’s Metaphysics begins with the words: πάντες ἄνθρωποι του̑ εἰδέναι ὀρέγονται ϕύσει, all men by nature are actuated by the desire of knowledge. The reference to this passage is explicitly given in the Romans of Partenay, ll. 78–87; and it was doubtless a much worn quotation. And see l. 64 below.
[58.]sightful and knowing, visible and capable of being known.
[61.]David. The whole of this sentence is so hopelessly corrupt that I can but give it up. Possibly there is a reference to Ps. cxxxix. 14. me in makinge may be put for ‘in makinge me.’ Tune is probably a misprint for time; lent may be an error for sent; but the whole is hopelessly wrong.
[64.]Apparently derived from Aristotle, De Animalibus, bk. i. c. 5. The general sense is that created things like to know both their creator and the causes of natural things akin to them (οἰκει̑α).
[67.]Considred; i. e. the forms of natural things and their creation being considered, men should have a great natural love to the Workman that made them.
[68.]me is frequently written for men, the unemphatic form of man, in the impersonal sense of ‘one’ or ‘people’; thus, in King Horn, ed. Morris, 366, ‘ne recche i what me telle’ means ‘I care not what people may say.’ Strict grammar requires the form him for hem in l. 69, as me is properly singular; but the use of hem is natural enough in this passage, as me really signifies created beings in general. Cf. me in ch. i. l. 18 below.
[80.]Styx is not ‘a pit,’ but a river. The error is Chaucer’s; cf. ‘Stix, the put of helle,’ in Troil. iv. 1540. Observe the expression—‘Stygiamque paludem’; Vergil, Aen. vi. 323.
[86.]I. e. ‘rend the sword out of the hands of Hercules, and set Hercules’ pillars at Gades a mile further onward.’ For the latter allusion, see Ch. vol. ii. p. lv; it may have been taken from Guido delle Colonne. And see Poem VIII (below), l. 349. Gades, now Cadiz.
[89.]the spere, the spear. There seems to be some confusion here. It was King Arthur who drew the magic sword out of the stone, after 150 knights had failed in the attempt; see Merlin, ed. Wheatley (E. E. T. S.), pp. 100–3. Alexander’s task was to untie the Gordian knot.
[90.]And that; ‘and who says that, surpassing all wonders, he will be master of France by might, whereas even King Edward III could not conquer all of it.’ An interesting allusion.
[96.]unconninge, ignorance. There is an unpublished treatise called ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’; but it is probably not here alluded to.
[98.]gadered, gathered. Thynne almost invariably commits the anachronism of spelling the words gader, fader, moder, togider, and the like, with th; and I have usually set him right, marking such corrections with a prefixed obelus (†). Cf. weder in l. 123 below.
[100.]rekes, ricks. The idea is from Chaucer, L. G. W. 73–4.
[101, 102.]his reson, the reason of him. hayne, hatred.
[110.]Boëce, Boethius. No doubt the author simply consulted Chaucer’s translation. See the Introduction.
[115.]slye, cunning; evidently alluding to the parable of the unjust steward.
[117.]Aristotle. The allusion appears to be to the Nicomachean Ethics, bk. i. c. 7: δόξειε δ’ ἂν παντὸς εἰ̑ναι προαγαγει̑ν, . . . παντὸς γὰρ προσθει̑ναι τὸ ἐλλει̑πον.
[122.]betiden, happened to me; the i is short. This sudden transition to the mention of the author’s pilgrimage suggests that a portion of the Prologue is missing here.
[Chap. I. 1.]Copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met. 1. ll. 1, 2.
[12.]thing seems to mean ‘person’; the person that cannot now embrace me when I wish for comfort.
[15.]prison; probably not a material prison. The author, in imitation of Boethius, imagines himself to be imprisoned. At p. 144, l. 132, he is ‘in good plite,’ i. e. well off. Cf. note to ch. iii. 116.
[16.]caitived, kept as a captive; the correction of caytisned (with f for s) to caytifued (better spelt caitived) is obvious, and is given in the New E. Dict., s. v. Caitive.
[17, 18.]Straunge, a strange one, some stranger; me, one, really meaning ‘myself’; he shulde, it ought to be.
[21, 22.]bewent, turned aside; see New E. Dict., s. v. Bewend. The reading bewet, i. e. profusely wetted, occurs (by misprinting) in later editions, and is adopted in the New E. Dict., s. v. Bewet. It is obviously wrong.
[23.]of hem, by them; these words, in the construction, follow enlumined. The very frequent inversion of phrases in this piece tends greatly to obscure the sense of it.
[24.]Margarite precious, a precious pearl. Gems were formerly credited with ‘virtues’; thus Philip de Thaun, in his Bestiary (ed. Wright, l. 1503), says of the pearl—
[28.]twinkling in your disese, a small matter tending to your discomfort. Here disese=dis-ease, want of ease. Cf. l. 31 below.
[42.]‘It is so high,’ &c. The implied subject to which it refers is paradise, where the author’s Eve is supposed to be. Hence the sense is:—‘paradise is so far away from the place where I am lying and from the common earth, that no cable (let down from it) can reach me.’
[59.]ferdnes is obviously the right word, though misprinted frendes. It signifies ‘fear,’ and occurs again in ch. ii. ll. 9, 16; besides, it is again misprinted as frendes in the same chapter, l. 13.
[63.]weyved is an obvious correction for veyned; see the Glossary.
[70.]mercy passeth right, your mercy exceeds your justice. This was a proverbial phrase, or, as it is called in the next clause, a ‘proposition.’
[79.]flitte, stir, be moved; ‘not even the least bit.’
[80.]souded (misprinted sonded by Thynne), fixed; cf. Ch. C.T., B 1769. From O. F. souder, Lat. solidare.
[83.]do, cause; ‘cause the lucky throw of comfort to fall upward’; alluding to dice-play.
[96.]wolde conne, would like to be able to.
[99, 100.]me weninge, when I was expecting. ther-as, whereas.
[116.]no force, it does not matter; no matter for that.
[117–20.]Evidently corrupt, even when we read flowing for folowing, and of al for by al. Perhaps ther in l. 119 should be they; giving the sense:—‘but they (thy virtues) are wonderful, I know not which (of them it is) that prevents the flood,’ &c. Even so, a clause is lacking after vertues in l. 118.
[126.]Thynne has ioleynynge for ioleyuynge, i. e. joleyving, cheering, making joyous. The word is not given in Stratmann or in Mätzner, but Godefroy has the corresponding O. F. verb joliver, to caress.
[Chap. II. 18.]a lady; this is evidently copied from Boethius; see Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 1. l. 3. The visitor to the prison of Boethius was named Philosophy; the visitor in the present case is Love, personified as a female; see l. 53 below.
[20.]blustringe, glance. But the word is not known in this sense, and there is evidently some mistake here. I have no doubt that the right word is blushinge; for the M.E. blusshen was often used in the sense of ‘to cast a glance, give a look, glance with the eye’; as duly noted in the New E. Dict., s.v. Blush. The word was probably written bluschinge in Thynne’s MS., with a c exactly (as often) like a t. If he misread it as blusthinge, he may easily have altered it to blustringe.
[32.]neighe, approach; governing me.
[37.]O my nory, O my pupil! Copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 3. l. 10; cf. the same, bk. iii. pr. 11. l. 160. In l. 51 below, we have my disciple.
[60.]by thyn owne vyse, by thine own resolve; i.e. of thine own accord; see Advice in the New E. Dict. § 6. Vyse is put for avyse, the syllable a being dropped. Halliwell notes that vice, with the sense of ‘advice,’ is still in use.
[64.]‘Because it comforts me to think on past gladness, it (also) vexes me again to be doing so.’ Clumsily expressed; and borrowed from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 4. ll. 4–7.
[74–84.]From Matt. xviii. 12; Luke, xv. 4; John, x. 11.
[92.]Love was kind to Paris, because he succeeded in gaining Helen. Jason was false to Love, because he deserted Hypsipyle and Medea. It is probable that false is misprinted for faire in l. 93; otherwise there is no contrast, as is implied by for.
[93.]Sesars sonke (sic) should probably be Cesars swink, i.e. Caesar’s toil. I adopt this reading to make sense; but it is not at all clear why Caesar should have been selected as the type of a successful lover.
[95.]loveday, a day of reconciliation; see note to Ch. C. T., A 258.
[96.]‘And chose a maid to be umpire between God and man’; alluding to the Virgin Mary.
[114–5.]cause, causing, the primary cause, originating these things and many others besides. See note to Troil. iv. 829.
[123–4.]wo is him; Lat. ve soli, Eccl. iv. 10; quoted in Troil. i. 694.
[125.]Cf. ‘weep with them that weep’; Rom. xii. 15.
[138.]Here the author bemoans his losses and heavy expenses.
[143.]For wolde endeynous I here read wolde ben deynous, i.e. would be disdainful; see Deynous in the Gloss. to Chaucer. The New E. Dict. adopts the reading wolde [be] endeynous, with the same sense; but no other example of the adj. endeynous is known, and it is an awkward formation. However, there are five examples of the verb endeign, meaning ‘to be indignant’; see Wyclif, Gen. xviii. 30; Ex. xxxii. 22; Is. lvii. 6; Job, xxxii. 2; Wisd. xii. 27.
[166.]Copied from Troil. iv. 460–1:—
See the note on the latter line.
[173.]a, an unemphatic form of have; ‘thou wouldest have made me.’
[180.]voyde, do away with. webbes; the web, also called the pin and web, or the web and pin, is a disease of the eyes, now known as cataract. See Nares, s.v. Pin; Florio’s Ital. Dict., s.v. Cateratta; the New E. Dict., s.v. Cataract; King Lear, iii. 4. 122; Winter’s Tale, i. 2. 291.
[191, 192.]truste on Mars, trust to Mars, i.e. be ready with wager of battle; alluding to the common practice of appealing to arms when a speaker’s truthfulness was called in question. See ch. vii. 10 below (p. 31).
[Chap. III. 14.]Come of, lit. come off; but it is remarkable that this phrase is used in M.E. where we should now say rather ‘come on!’ See note to Troil. ii. 1738.
[21.]mayst thou, canst thou do (or act)?
[25–7.]‘I never yet set any one to serve anywhere who did not succeed in his service.’
[32.]‘the nut in every nook.’ Perhaps on should be in.
[37–8.]There is some corruption here. I insert Tho gan I to help out the sense, but it remains partially obscure. Perhaps the sense is:—‘Often one does what one does not wish to do, being stirred to do so by the opinion of others, who wanted me to stay at home; whereupon I suddenly began to wish to travel.’ He would rather have stayed at home; but when he found that others wanted him to do so, he perversely began to wish to travel.
[39.]the wynding of the erthe; an obscure expression; perhaps ‘the envelopment of the earth in snow.’
[40.]‘I walked through woods in which were broad ways, and (then) by small paths which the swine had made, being lanes with by-paths for seeking (there) their beech-mast.’
[42.]ladels, by-paths (?). No other example of the word appears. I guess it to be a diminutive of M.E. lade, a path, road, which occurs in the Ormulum; see Stratmann. Perhaps it is a mere misprint for lades.
[44, 45.]gonne to wilde, began to grow wild; cf. ginne ayen waxe ramage, in l. 48, with the like sense. I know of no other example of the verb to wilde.
[52.]shippe, ship; not, however, a real ship, but an allegorical one named Travail, i. e. Danger; see ll. 55, 75 below. many is here used in place of meynee, referring to the ship’s company; some of whom had the allegorical names of Sight, Lust, Thought, and Will. The ‘ship’ is a common symbol of this present life, in which we are surrounded by perils; compare the parable of ‘the wagging boat’ in P. Plowm. C. xi. 32, and the long note to that line.
[58.]old hate; probably borrowed from Ch. Pers. Tale, I 562; see the note.
[64.]avowing, vowing; because persons in peril used to vow to perform pilgrimages.
[75.]my ship was out of mynde, i. e. I forgot all about my previous danger.
[84.]the man, the merchant-man in Matt. xiii. 45.
[105.]enmoysed, comforted. Enmoise or emmoise is a variant of M.E. amese, ameise, from O.F. amaiser, amaisier, to pacify, appease, render gentle (Godefroy); answering to the Low Lat. type *ad-mitiare from mitis, gentle. See Amese in the New E. Dict. No other example of the form enmoyse is known.
[111.]of nothing now may serve, is now of no use (to you).
[116.]prison; the author has forgotten all about his adventure in the ship, and is now back in prison, as in ch. i.
[118.]renyant forjuged, a denier (of his guilt) who has been wrongfully condemned.
[121.]suche grace and non hap, such favour and no mere luck.
[124.]let-games; probably from Troil. iii. 527; spoilers of sport or happiness. wayters, watchers, watch-men, guards.
[131.]nothing as ye shulde, not at all as you ought to do.
[148.]feld, felled, put down, done away with.
[153–4.]For he . . . suffer, a perfect alliterative line; imitated from P. Plowm. C. xxi. 212:—‘For wot no wight what wele is, that never wo suffrede.’ Clearly quoted from memory; cf. notes to bk. ii. ch. 9. 178, and ch. 13. 86.
[157.]happy hevinesse, fortunate grief; a parallel expression to lyking tene, i. e. pleasing vexation, in l. 158. These contradictory phrases were much affected by way of rhetorical flourish. For a long passage of this character, cf. Rom. Rose, 4703–50.
[158.]harse is almost certainly a misprint for harme; then goodlyharme means much the same as lyking tene (see note above). So, in Rom. Rose, 4710, 4733, 4743, we find mention of ‘a sweet peril,’ ‘a joyous pain,’ and ‘a sweet hell.’
[Chap. IV. 2.]semed they boren, they seemed to bore; boren being in the infin. mood.
[18.]For or read for, to make sense; for of disese, for out of such distress come gladness and joy, so poured out by means of a full vessel, that such gladness quenches the feeling of former sorrows. Here gladnesse and joy is spoken of as being all one thing, governing the singular verb is, and being alluded to as it.
[25.]commensal, table-companion; from F. commensal, given in Cotgrave. See the New E. Dict.
[27.]soukinges, suckings, draughts of milk; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 2. l. 4.
[36.]clothe, cloth. This circumstance is copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 2. l. 19.
[42.]This reference to Love, as controlling the universe, is borrowed from Boeth. bk. ii. met. 8.
[47.]Read werne (refuse) and wol (will); ‘yet all things desire that you should refuse help to no one who is willing to do as you direct him.’
[56.]every thing in coming, every future thing. contingent, of uncertain occurrence; the earliest known quotation for this use of the word in English.
[61–2.]many let-games; repeated from above, ch. iii. ll. 124–8. thy moeble; from the same, ll. 131–2.
[64.]by the first, with reference to your first question; so also by that other, with reference to your second question, in l. 71.
[Chap. V. 8.]Acrisius shut his daughter Danaë up in a tower, to keep her safe; nevertheless she became the mother of Perseus, who afterwards killed Acrisius accidentally.
[14.]entremellen, intermingle hearts after merely seeing each other.
[16.]beestes, animals, beings; not used contemptuously; equivalent to living people in ll. 17, 18.
[20.]esployte, success, achievement; see Exploit in the New E. Dict.
[29.]Supply don; ‘and I will cause him to come to bliss, as being one of my own servants.’
[35.]and in-to water, and jumps into the water and immediately comes up to breathe; like an unsuccessful diver.
[37.]A tree, &c.; a common illustration; cf. Troil. i. 964.
[43.]this countrè; a common saying; cf. Troil. ii. 28 (and note), 42. And see l. 47 below.
[45.]‘the salve that he healed his heel with.’ From HF. 290.
[71.]jangelers; referring to l. 19 above. lokers; referring to overlokers; in ch. iii. l. 128.
[72.]wayters; referring to ch. iii. l. 128.
[77.]‘It is sometimes wise to feign flight.’ Cf. P. Plowman, C. xxii. 103.
[85.]cornes, grains of corn. I supply bare, i. e. empty.
[86–7.]Who, &c.; a proverb; from Troil. v. 784.
[87–8.]After grete stormes; see note to P. Plowman, C. xxi. 454.
[92.]grobbed, grubbed; i. e. dug about. Cf. Isaiah, v. 2.
[95.]a, have (as before). Lya, Leah; Lat. Lia, in Gen. xxix. 17 (Vulgate).
[103.]eighteth, eighth; an extraordinary perversion of the notion of the sabbatical year. So below, in l. 104, we are informed that the number of workdays is seven; and that, in Christian countries, the day of rest is the eighth day in the week! kinrest, rest for the kin or people; a general day of rest. I know of no other example of this somewhat clumsy compound.
[110.]sothed, verified; referring to Luke, xiv. 29.
[113.]conisance, badge. Badges for retainers were very common at this date. See Notes to Richard the Redeless, ii. 2.
As these lines are not found in the earlier versions, it follows that the author was acquainted with the latest version.
[124.]a bridge; i. e. to serve by way of retreat for such as trust them. wolves, destroyers; here meant as a complimentary epithet.
[127.]This idea, of Jupiter’s promotion, from being a bull, to being the mate of Europa, is extremely odd; still more so is that of the promotion of Aeneas from being in hell (l. 129). Cf. Europe in Troil. iii. 722.
[128.]lowest degrè; not true, as Caesar’s father was praetor, and his aunt married Marius. But cf. C. T., B 3862.
[Chap. VI. 3.]enfame, infamy, obloquy; from Lat. infamia. Godefroy gives enfamer, to dishonour. The word only occurs in the present treatise; see ll. 6, 7, 15.
[12.]From Prov. xxvii. 6: ‘Meliora sunt vulnera diligentis quam fraudulenta oscula odientis.’
[17.]Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 6. ll. 5–13.
[23.]Cf. the same; bk. iv. pr. 7. ll. 34–42.
[27.]Cf. the same; bk. ii. pr. 5. ll. 121, 122.
[30.]Cf. the same; bk. iv. pr. 6. ll. 184–191.
[48.]Zedeoreys (or Ȝedeoreys). I can find nothing resembling this strange name, nor any trace of its owner’s dealings with Hannibal.
[53.][ ] The (possibly imaginary) autobiographical details here supplied have been strangely handled for the purpose of insertion into the life of Chaucer, with which they have nothing to do. See Morris’s Chaucer, vol. i. p. 32 (Aldine edition). The author tells us very little, except that tumults took place in London, of which he was a native, and that he had knowledge of some secret which he was pressed to betray, and did so in order to serve his own purposes.
[77–8.]From Chaucer, Troil. v. 6, 7:—
[107.]Referring to John, xiv. 27.
[114.]Athenes; Athene was the goddess who maintained the authority of law and order, and in this sense was ‘a god of peace.’ But she was certainly also a goddess of battles.
[139.]mighty senatoures. It has been conjectured that the reference is to John of Gaunt. In the Annals of England, under the date 1384, it is noted that ‘John of Northampton, a vehement partisan of the duke, is tried and sentenced to imprisonment and forfeiture. An attempt is also made to put the duke on his trial.’ John of Northampton had been mayor of London in 1382, when there was a dispute between the court and the citizens regarding his election; perhaps the words comen eleccion (common election), in l. 125 above, may refer to this trouble; so also free eleccion in l. 140. In l. 143 we must read fate, not face; the confusion between c and t is endless. Perhaps governours in l. 144 should be governour, as in l. 147. Note that the author seems to condemn the disturbers of the peace.
[157.]coarted by payninge dures, constrained by painful duress (or torture).
[165.]sacrament, my oath of allegiance. Note that the author takes credit for giving evidence against the riotous people; for which the populace condemned him as a liar (l. 171).
[178.]passed, surpassed (every one), in giving me an infamous character.
[181.]reply, i. e. to subvert, entirely alter, recall; lit. to fold or bend back.
[189.]Here the author says, more plainly, that he became unpopular for revealing a conspiracy.
[193.]out of denwere, out of doubt, without doubt. Such is clearly the sense; but the word denwere is rejected from the New E. Dict., as it is not otherwise known, and its form is suspicious. It is also omitted in Webster and in the Century Dictionary. Bailey has ‘denwere, doubt,’ taken from Speght’s Chaucer, and derived from this very passage. Hence Chatterton obtained the word, which he was glad to employ. It occurs, for instance, in his poem of Goddwyn, ed. Skeat, vol. ii. p. 100:—
[194.]but as, only as, exactly as.
[198.]clerkes, i. e. Chaucer, HF. 350; Vergil, Aen. iv. 174.
[200.]of mene, make mention of. Cf. ‘hit is a schep[h]erde that I of mene’; Ancient Metrical Tales, ed. Hartshorne, p. 74.
[Chap. VII. 10.]profered, offered wager of battle; hence the mention of Mars in l. 11. Cf. note to ch. ii. 191 above, p. 455.
[23.]he, i. e. thine adversary shall bring dishonour upon you in no way.
[34.]Indifferent, impartial. who, whoever.
[38.]discovered, betrayed; so that the author admits that he betrayed his mistress.
[46.]that sacrament, that the oath to which you swore, viz. when you were charged upon your oath to tell the truth. That is, his oath in the court of justice made him break his private oath.
[49.]trewe is certainly an error for trewthe; the statement is copied from Jer. iv. 2:—‘Et iurabis . . . in veritate, et in iudicio, et in justitia.’ So in l. 58 below, we have: ‘in jugement, in trouthe, and rightwisenesse’; and in l. 53—‘for a man to say truth, unless judgement and righteousness accompany it, he is forsworn.’
[54.]serment, oath; as in l. 52: referring to Matt. xiv. 7.
[56.]‘Moreover, it is sometimes forbidden to say truth rightfully—except in a trial—because all truths are not to be disclosed.’
[60.]that worde: ‘melius mori quam male vivere’; for which see P. Plowman, C. xviii. 40. Somewhat altered from Tobit, iii. 6:—‘expedit mihi mori magis quam vivere.’
[61, 62.]al, although. enfame, dishonour; as in vi. 3 (see note, p. 458).
[63.]whan, yet when.
[73.]legen, short for alegen; ‘allege against others.’
[75.]Here misprinted; read:—‘may it be sayd, “in that thinge this man thou demest,” ’ &c. From Rom. ii. 1; ‘in quo enim iudicas alterum, teipsum condemnas.’
[83.]shrewe, wicked man, i. e. Ham; Gen. ix. 22.
[101.]emprisonned; so in Thynne; better, emprisouned.
[104.]brige, contention, struggle, trouble; see note to Ch. C. T., B 2872.
[105.]after thyne helpes, for your aid; i. e. to receive assistance from you.
[108.]Selande, Zealand, Zeeland. The port of Middleburg, in the isle of Walcheren, was familiar to the English; cf. note to C. T., Prol. 277. The reference must be to some companions of the author who had fled to Zealand to be out of the way of prosecution. rydinge, expedition on horseback, journey.
[109, 110.]for thy chambre, to pay the rent of your room. renter, landlord; ‘unknown to the landlord.’
[112.]helpe of unkyndnesse, relieve from unkind treatment.
[115–6.]fleddest, didst avoid. privitè to counsayle, knowledge of a secret.
[120–1.]Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 8. ll. 31–3.
[Chap. VIII. 1.]Eft, again. Thynne prints Ofte, which does not give the sense required. Fortunately, we know that the first letter must be E, in order that the initial letters of the Prologue and chapters I. to VIII. may give the word MARGARETE. The reading Ofte would turn this into MARGARETO.
[4, 5.]From Ch. Troil. iv. 3; Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 8. ll. 19–21.
[13.]and thou, if thou. Cf. Matt. xviii. 12.
[27.]in their mouthes, into their mouths; Matt. xii. 34.
[31.]leve for no wight, cease not on any one’s account.
[32.]use Jacobs wordes. The allusion seems to be to the conciliatory conduct of Jacob towards Esau; Gen. xxxiii. 8, 10, 11. Similarly the author is to be patient, and to say—‘I will endure my lady’s wrath, which I have deserved,’ &c.
[41.]sowe hem, to sew them together again. at his worshippe, in honour of him; but I can find no antecedent to his. Perhaps for his we should read her.
[44.]The text has forgoing al errour distroyeng causeth; but distroyeng (which may have been a gloss upon forgoing) is superfluous, and al should be of. But forgoing means rather ‘abandonment.’
[59.]by, with reference to.
[61.]Hector, according to Guido delle Colonne, gave counsel against going to war with the Greeks, but was overborne by Paris. See the alliterative Destruction of Troy, ed. Panton and Donaldson (E. E. T. S.), Book VI; or Lydgate’s Siege of Troye, ch. xii.
[65.]leveth, neglects to oppose what is wrong.
[66.]The modern proverb is: ‘silence gives consent.’ Ray gives, as the Latin equivalent, ‘qui tacet consentire videtur (inquiunt iuris consulti).’ This is the exact form which is here translated.
[73.]Alluding to the canticle ‘Exultet’ sung upon Easter Eve, in the Sarum Missal:—‘O certe necessarium Ade peccatum.’ See note to P. Plowman, C. viii. 126 (or B. v. 491).
[80.]lurken, creep into lurking-holes, slink away.
[95.]centre, central point; from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. ll. 18–20. The whole passage (ll. 94–105) is imitated from the same ‘prose’ of Boethius.
[103.]London is substituted for ‘Rome’ in Chaucer’s Boethius. Chaucer has—‘may thanne the glorie of a singuler Romaine strecchen thider as the fame of the name of Rome may nat climben or passen?’ See the last note.
[112–6.]From Ch. Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 7. 58–62.
[116–25.]From the same, ll. 65–79. Thus, in l. 123, the word ofte (in Thynne) is a misprint for of the; for Chaucer has—‘For of thinges that han ende may be maked comparisoun.’ The whole passage shews that the author consulted Chaucer’s translation of Boethius rather than the Latin text.
[127.]and thou canst nothing don aright; literally from Chaucer: ‘Ye men, certes, ne conne don nothing aright’; Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 79. but thou desyre the rumour therof be heled and in every wightes ere; corresponds to Chaucer’s—‘but-yif it be for the audience of the people and for ydel rumours’; Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 80. Hence heled (lit. hidden) is quite inadmissible; the right reading is probably deled, i. e. dealt round.
[134.]The words supplied are necessary; they dropped out owing to the repetition of vertue.
[135–6.]Again copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 106: ‘the sowle . . unbounden fro the prison of the erthe.’
[Chap. IX. 13.]than leveth there, then it remains.
[15.]for thy moebles, because thy goods.
[20.]This proverb is given by Hazlitt in the form—
Cf. ‘one looketh high as one that feareth no chips’; Lyly’s Euphues, ed. Arber, p. 467. And see IX. 158 (p. 270).
[34.]From Chaucer, Boeth. bk. i. pr. 4. 186. The saying is attributed to Pythagoras; see the passage in Chaucer, and the note upon it.
[39.]a this halfe god, on this side of God, i. e. here below; a strange expression. So again in bk. ii. ch. 13. 23.
[46.]the foure elementes, earth, air, fire, and water; see notes to Ch. C. T., A 420, 1247, G 1460. Al universitee, the whole universe; hence man was called the microcosm, or the universe in little; see Coriolanus, ii. 1. 68.
[64.]I sette now, I will now suppose the most difficult case; suppose that thou shouldst die in my service.
[71.]in this persone; read on this persone; or else, perhaps, in this prisoune.
[86.]til deth hem departe; according to the phrase ‘till death us depart’ in the Marriage Service, now ingeniously altered to ‘till death us do part.’
[96.]‘and although they both break the agreement.’
[98, 99.]accord, betrothal. the rose, i.e. of virginity; as in the Romance of the Rose, when interpreted.
[99, 100.]Marye his spouse. But the Vulgate has; ‘Surge, et accipe puerum et matrem eius’; Matt. ii. 13. The author must have been thinking of Matt. i. 18: ‘Cum esset desponsata mater eius Maria Ioseph.’
[113.]al being thinges, all things that exist.
[118.]prophete; David, in Ps. xcvi. 5: (xcv. 5 in the Vulgate): ‘omnes dii gentium daemonia.’
[129.]This refers back to ch. iv. 71–2, ch. ix. 14, 20, 56.
[Chap. X. 5.]last objeccion; i. e. his poverty, see ch. iii. 131, iv. 73, ix. 14.
[12–8.]Imitated from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 4. 200–17.
[18.]sayd, i. e. it is said of him.
[19.]aver, property, wealth; ‘lo! how the false man, for the sake of his wealth, is accounted true!’
[20.]dignitees; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 6.
[21.]were he out, if he were not in office; cf. l. 23.
[26–37.]Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met. 5. 22–39. Thus, slydinge chaunges in l. 31 answers to Chaucer’s slydinge fortune (l. 24); and that arn a fayr parcel of the erthe, in l. 32, to a fayr party of so grete a werk (l. 38); and yet again, thou that knittest, in l. 35, to what so ever thou be that knittest (l. 36).
[37–40.]From Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met 5. 27–30.
[64–7.]From the same; bk. ii. pr. 2. 7–12.
[71–6.]From the same; bk. ii. pr. 2. 23–5.
[76–80.]Cf. the argument in the same; bk. iii. pr. 3.
[85–120.]From Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 8. For literal imitations, compare the other haleth him to vertue by the hookes of thoughtes (l. 104–5) with Chaucer’s ‘the contrarious Fortune . . . haleth hem ayein as with an hooke’ (l. 21); and Is nat a greet good. . . for to knowe the hertes of thy sothfast frendes (ll. 107–9) with Chaucer’s ‘wenest thou thanne that thou oughtest to leten this a litel thing, that this . . . Fortune hath discovered to thee the thoughtes of thy trewe frendes’ (l. 22). Also ll. 114–6 with Chaucer (ll. 28–31).
[126.]let us singen; in imitation of the Metres in Boethius, which break the prose part of the treatise at frequent intervals. Cf. ‘and bigan anon to singen right thus’; Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 9. 149.