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X.: A BALADE; IN COMMENDATION OF OUR LADY. - 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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A BALADE; IN COMMENDATION OF OUR LADY.
(A devoute balade by Lidegate of Bury, made at the reverence of oure lady, Qwene of mercy.—A.)
From Th.; collated with A. (Ashmole 59); and Sl. (Sloane 1212).
[1. ]A. I kouþe to you.
[2. ]A. clerkis (for poetes); the (for this).
[3. ]A. cane mens hertes presse (!).
[4. ]Th. hem; A. þeire hertes. Th. in fere; A. a fuyre.
[5. ]A. With ful daunger payeþe his subgettes hyre. Sl. weere; Th. fere.
[7. ]Th. Sl. euer; A. aye. Sl. A. his . . doth; Th. her . . do.
[8. ]Th. nowe; A. om. Sl. redresse.
[10. ]A. Ellas I ne can ne may not ful expresse.
[11. ]Th. Sl. and that; A. the whiche.
[12. ]Th. wynde. Sl. into; Th. unto. A. þou blowe nowe to my.
[13. ]Th. auryate; A. aureate. A. om. of.
[14. ]A. tenspyre of whiche I thenk to wryte. Sl. wold; Th. wol.
[15. ]A. But sith I am sonworthy (!).
[16. ]Sl. on; Th. A. one.
[17. ]A. To; Th. Sl. But she.
[18. ]A. Whiche of pytee is welle.
[19. ]Th. Sl. of; A. to.
[20. ]Th. Sl. can; A. am.
[22. ]A. O souereine sterre.
[24. ]Sl. lemand (for living). Sl. most; Th. A. moste.
[25. ]Th. Whose bright beames. Th. Sl. may; A. cane.
[26. ]A. lyff; Th. Sl. lyfe.
[27. ]A. frome; Th. Sl. after.
[29. ]Sl. rote; Th. A. bote.
[31. ]A. gynnyng of grace and; Th. Sl. begynning of grace and al.
[32. ]A. Clennest; Th. And clenest. Th. Sl. ins. most bef. sovereyne.
[33. ]A. Moder; Th. Mother.
[34. ]A. al cloose closette; Th. Sl. and closet clennest.
[35. ]Th. herbrough; Sl. herberwe. A. The hyest herber (!) of al the.
[36. ]A. holsome; Th. Sl. closed. A. om. al.
[37. ]A. Welle cristallyne. A. Sl. clennesse; Th. clerenesse.
[38. ]A. Fructyff; Th. Fructyfyed. Th. fayre; A. so feyre.
[39. ]A. om. And. A. om. most.
[40. ]A om. on. Sl. pecchours (for sinners). A. unto; Th. Sl. that to the be.
[41. ]Th. Sl. Or wikked; A. Er foule. A. on hem þeire wrathe. Sl. upon; Th. on.
[42. ]Th. om. be.
[43. ]A. Thou Paradys plesante, gladnesse of goode.
[44. ]A. And benigne braunche.
[45. ]A. Vyneyerde vermayle; Th. Sl. Vynarie enuermayled. Sl. food; Th. A. bote.
[46. ]Th. ayen al langour; A. geyne langoure. A. palde that; Th. Sl. that palled.
[47. ]Sl. Blisful bawme; A. Thou blessed; Th. Blysful blomy.
[48. ]Sl. misericord on our myschef. Th. on our myserie; A. vppon vs spilt thou.
[49. ]Th. awake. A. wake and wrappe vs ay vnder.
[50. ]A. O rede roos raylling withouten. Th. without.
[51. ]Th. al fylthlesse; A. om. al. A. currant as beryle. Th. byrel.
[52. ]Th. Sl. of thy; I omit thy. A. Grace of thy dewe til vs thou do propyne.
[53. ]Th. O light; Sl. Thou lyght. A. Thou louely light, shynynge in bright spere.
[54. ]A. missers; Th. mischeues; Sl. myscheuows. A. withouten; Th. without.
[55. ]Th. Flambe; A. Dryve. Sl. to; Th. A. the. A. om. doleful.
[56. ]A. On; Th. Sl. Remembring.
[58. ]Sl. Retour; Th. Returne; A. Recure. A. Sl. in; Th. in the.
[59. ]A. To therroures of the pathe sequele.
[60. ]A. For (for To). Sl. wandrid; Th. forwandred; A. wandering.
[61. ]So A. Th. To faynte and to fresshe the.
[62. ]A. To wery wightes ful reste.
[63. ]Th. tho that; A. that hem. A. omits ll. 64–119.
[64. ]Th. arte.
[66. ]Sl. thou art; Th. she is. Th. dioume.
[68. ]Th. Laureate.
[69. ]Th. put; palastre.
[71. ]Sl. Thow; Th. O. Th. myrthe; swetter; sytole.
[72. ]Sl. om. also. Th. donatyfe.
[74. ]Th. -tyfe.
[75. ]Th. Mother; wyfe.
[76. ]Sl. In all this. Sl. noon; Th. none.
[78. ]Sl. trewest; Th. truefastest.
[81. ]Sl. plumed; Th. pured.
[82. ]Sl. larke.
[83. ]Sl. in; Th. on.
[83, 84. ]lyght, dyght.
[86. ]Sl. Alle; Th. om. Th. sonne. Sl. among haue us; Th. vs haue amonge.
[87. ]Sl. dyamaunt; Th. dyametre.
[88. ]Sl. that; Th. any.
[92. ]Th. saphre (sic); Sl. saffyr.
[95. ]So Sl.; Th. unchaunged hem.
[96. ]Sl. writhyng; Th. varyeng.
[97. ]arte; her.
[98. ]hert; see note.
[102. ]goste; the.
[103. ]Sl. vtterly; Th. bytterly.
[104. ]wemlesse. Th. in; Sl. with.
[107. ]Th. prophete; Sl. prophetys. Sl. spak so long aforn; Th. so longe spake beforne.
[109, 110. ]borne, corne.
[111. ]Th. of lyfe in to bilde; Sl. that list to onbelde.
[113. ]Sl. o vitre; Th. and vyte. Th. inuyolate.
[115. ]Th. om. thy; vibrate.
[116. ]Sl. his; Th. the.
[117. ]Sl. kyngdamys; Th. kynges dukes. Sl. remys; Th. realmes.
[118. ]Sl. o; Th. om.
[120. ]A. souereine. Th. A. sought; Sl. sowth. Th. out of; Sl. of out; A. fer oute.
[121. ]Sl. alle.
[121–127. ]In Sl. only.
[122. ]Sl. auryat; book and born (!); see note.
[125. ]Sl. victory.
[126. ]Sl. moost.
[127. ]Sl. ony.
[128. ]Th. golde dewe; A. glorie.
[129. ]A. Sl. Thou; Th. Dewe (!). Sl. ferlett (!) set affere; A. fuyrles thou sette vppon; Th. fyrelesse fyre set on.
[130. ]Sl. peyned; A. empeyred (!).
[131. ]Sl. Th. om. Thou. A. with; Th. that. Th. A. wether. A. disteyned.
[132. ]Th. Fleece. A. gentyle; Th. gentylest.
[133. ]Th. Sl. insert fayrest after fructifyeng (sic). A. yerde thowe; Th. Sl. the yerde.
[134. ]A. Thowe; Sl. Th. The. Sl. mysti; Th. A. mighty. Sl. probatyk; Th. probatyfe; A. the probatyf.
[135. ]A. Aurora; Th. aurore. A. tholyve; Sl. Th. olyue.
[136. ]A. Pillor from base beryng from abysme.
[137. ]A. Why nad I langage. Sl. the for; A. hir for; Th. here.
[138. ]Th. toke. A. Chosen of god, whome Joseph gaf (!) to wyve.
[139. ]Th. Sl. childyng; A. bare Cryste. Th. Sl. om. greet.
[140. ]Th. And of our manly figure the; Sl. And of oure mar (!) figure; A. And of Ihesus manhode truwe.
[4, 5.]In l. 4, fere is the Kentish form of ‘fire.’ In l. 5, Thynne again prints fere, but MS. A. has hyre (not a rime), and MS. Sl. has were, which means ‘doubt,’ and is the right word.
[7.]For her, we must read his, as in l. 4. The reference is to Love or Cupid; see VIII. 354, and the note.
[12.]Cf. ‘O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere,’ &c.; Troil. ii. 2. Observe that Chaucer invokes Cleo (Clio) in his next stanza.
[22.]We may compare this invocation with Chaucer’s ABC, and his introduction to the Second Nonnes Tale; but there is not much resemblance. Observe the free use of alliteration throughout ll. 22–141.
[24.]‘O pleasant ever-living one’ seems to be meant; but it is very obscure. Notice that the excellent Sloane MS. has O lusty lemand (=leming), O pleasant shining one. Perhaps we should read leming for living; cf. l. 25.
[27.]Cf. ‘Haven of refut’; ABC, 14. up to ryve, to arrive at; see rive in Halliwell.
[28.]The five joys of the Virgin are occasionally alluded to. See the poem on this subject in An Old Eng. Miscellany, ed. Morris, p. 87. The five joys were (1) at the Annunciation; (2) when she bore Christ; (3) when Christ rose from the dead; (4) when she saw Him ascend into heaven; (5) at her own Assumption into heaven.
[30.]‘And cheering course, for one to complain to for pity.’ Very obscure.
[52.]propyne, give to drink; a usage found in the Vulgate version of Jer. xxv. 15: ‘Sume calicem . . . et propinabis de illo cunctis gentibus.’
[56.]Cf. magnificence in Ch. Sec. Nonnes Tale, G 50.
[58.]put in prescripcioun, i. e. prescribed, recommended.
[60.]Cf. ‘I flee for socour to thy tente’; ABC, 41.
[64.]itinerárie, a description of the way.
[65.]bravie, prize, especially in an athletic contest; Lat. brauium, Gk. βραβει̑ον, in 1 Cor. ix. 24. See note to C. T., D 75.
[66.]diourn denárie, daily pay, as of a penny a day; referring to Matt. xx. 2: ‘Conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno.’
[68.]Laureat crowne, crown of laurel.
[69.]palestre, a wrestling-match; cf. Troil. v. 304.
[70.]lake, fine white linen cloth; as in C. T., B 2048.
[71.]citole, harp; as in C. T., A 1959.
[78.]‘The wedded turtel, with her herte trewe’; Parl. Foules, 355.
[83.]Phebus; here used, in an extraordinary manner, of the Holy Spirit, as being the spirit of wisdom; perhaps suggested by the mention of the columbe (or dove) in l. 79.
[87.]Here Thynne prints dyametre, but the Sloane MS. corrects him.
[88.]Fewe feres, few companions; i. e. few equals.
[92, 93.]loupe; cf. F. loupe, an excrescence, fleshy kernel, knot in wood, lens, knob. It was also a term in jewellery. Littré has: ‘pierre précieuse que la nature n’a pas achevée. Loupe de saphir, loupe de rubis, certaines parties imparfaites et grossières qui se trouvent quelquefois dans ces pierres.’ Hence it is not a very happy epithet, but Lydgate must have meant it in a good sense, as expressing the densest portion of a jewel; hence his ‘stable (i. e. firm) as the loupe.’ Similarly he explains ewage as being ‘fresshest of visage,’ i. e. clearest in appearance. Ewage was a term applied to a jacinth of the colour of sea-water; see New E. Dict. and P. Plowman, B. ii. 14; but it is here described as blue, and must therefore refer to a stone of the colour of water in a lake.
[98.]Read hértè for the scansion; but it is a bad line. It runs:—And hém . recéyvest . wíth . hértè . ful tréwe.
[99.]gladded, gladdened; referring to the Annunciation.
[102.]obumbred, spread like a shadow; ‘uirtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi’; Luke, i. 35. This explains to thee, which answers to tibi.
[106.]This stanza refers to Christ rather than to Mary; see l. 112. But Mary is referred to as the ground on which He built (l. 111).
[107.]Cf. Isaiah, xi. 1; Jerem. xxiii. 5.
[110.]corn, grain; ‘suscitabo Dauid germen iustum’; Jer. xxiii. 5. Cf. ‘ex semine Dauid uenit Christus; John, vii. 42.
[111.]ground; the ground upon which it pleased Him to build. Referring to Mary.
[113.]vytre, glass; Lat. uitreum. The Virgin was often likened to glass; sun-rays pass through it, and leave it pure.
[114.]Tytan, sun; curiously applied. Christ seems to be meant; see l. 116. But thy in l. 115 again refers to Mary. Hence, in l. 114 (as in 116) we should read his for thy.
[118.]Sunamyte, Shunammite; Lat. Sunamitis, 2 Kings, iv. 25. She was an emblem of the Virgin, because her son was raised from the dead.
[119.]Mesure, moderate, assuage. Margaryte, pearl; as an epithet of the Virgin.
[121.]punical pome, pomegranate; Pliny has Punicum malum in this sense; Nat. Hist. xiii. 19.
[122.]bouk and boon, body and bone; see Bouk in the New E. Dict.
[123.]agnelet, little lamb; not in the New E. Dict., because this stanza is now first printed.
[126.]habounde, abundant; of this adj. the New E. Dict. gives two examples.
[128.]Cockle, shell; referring to the shell in which the pearl was supposed to be generated by dew. See note to I. ii. 12. 47, p. 475.
[129.]‘O bush unbrent’; C. T., B 1658; see the note. fyrles, set on fire without any fire (i. e. without visible cause).
[132.]Referring to Gideon’s fleece; Judges, vi. 39.
[133.]Referring to Aaron’s rod that budded; Heb. ix. 4.
[134.]misty, mystic; cf. ‘mysty, misticus,’ in Prompt. Parv.
[135.]Aurora, dawn; mentioned in Ch. L. G. W. 774. Cf. ‘al the orient laugheth’; C. T., A 1494. And cf. ‘Th’olyve of pees’; Parl. Foules, 181.
[136.]‘Column, with its base, which bears up (or supports) out of the abysmal depth.’
[137.]‘Why could I not be skilful?’
[140.]I make up this line as best I can; the readings are all bad.