Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins
Incipit Liber Primus: Part 1
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4
Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem Subdit, et vnanimes concitat esse feras: Huius enim mundi Princeps amor esse videtur, Cuius eget diues, pauper et omnis ope. Sunt in agone pares amor et fortuna, que cecas Plebis ad insidias vertit vterque rotas. Est amor egra salus, vexata quies, pius error, Bellica pax, vulnus dulce, suaue malum. 1 I may noght strecche up to the hevene 2 Min hand, ne setten al in evene 3 This world, which evere is in balance: 4 It stant noght in my sufficance 5 So grete thinges to compasse, 6 Bot I mot lete it overpasse 7 And treten upon othre thinges. 8 Forthi the Stile of my writinges 9 Fro this day forth I thenke change 10 And speke of thing is noght so strange, 11 Which every kinde hath upon honde, 12 And wherupon the world mot stonde, 13 And hath don sithen it began, 14 And schal whil ther is any man; 15 And that is love, of which I mene 16 To trete, as after schal be sene. 17 In which ther can noman him reule, 18 For loves lawe is out of reule, 19 That of tomoche or of tolite 20 Welnyh is every man to wyte, 21 And natheles ther is noman 22 In al this world so wys, that can 23 Of love tempre the mesure, 24 Bot as it falth in aventure: 25 For wit ne strengthe may noght helpe, 26 And he which elles wolde him yelpe 27 Is rathest throwen under fote, 28 Ther can no wiht therof do bote. 29 For yet was nevere such covine, 30 That couthe ordeine a medicine 31 To thing which god in lawe of kinde 32 Hath set, for ther may noman finde 33 The rihte salve of such a Sor. 34 It hath and schal ben everemor 35 That love is maister wher he wile, 36 Ther can no lif make other skile; 37 For wher as evere him lest to sette, 38 Ther is no myht which him may lette. 39 Bot what schal fallen ate laste, 40 The sothe can no wisdom caste, 41 Bot as it falleth upon chance; 42 For if ther evere was balance 43 Which of fortune stant governed, 44 I may wel lieve as I am lerned 45 That love hath that balance on honde, 46 Which wol no reson understonde. 47 For love is blind and may noght se, 48 Forthi may no certeinete 49 Be set upon his jugement, 50 Bot as the whiel aboute went 51 He yifth his graces undeserved, 52 And fro that man which hath him served 53 Fulofte he takth aweye his fees, 54 As he that pleieth ate Dees, 55 And therupon what schal befalle 56 He not, til that the chance falle, 57 Wher he schal lese or he schal winne. 58 And thus fulofte men beginne, 59 That if thei wisten what it mente, 60 Thei wolde change al here entente. 61 And forto proven it is so, 62 I am miselven on of tho, 63 Which to this Scole am underfonge. 64 For it is siththe go noght longe, 65 As forto speke of this matiere, 66 I may you telle, if ye woll hiere, 67 A wonder hap which me befell, 68 That was to me bothe hard and fell, 69 Touchende of love and his fortune, 70 The which me liketh to comune 71 And pleinly forto telle it oute. 72 To hem that ben lovers aboute 73 Fro point to point I wol declare 74 And wryten of my woful care, 75 Mi wofull day, my wofull chance, 76 That men mowe take remembrance 77 Of that thei schall hierafter rede: 78 For in good feith this wolde I rede, 79 That every man ensample take 80 Of wisdom which him is betake, 81 And that he wot of good aprise 82 To teche it forth, for such emprise 83 Is forto preise; and therfore I 84 Woll wryte and schewe al openly 85 How love and I togedre mette, 86 Wherof the world ensample fette 87 Mai after this, whan I am go, 88 Of thilke unsely jolif wo, 89 Whos reule stant out of the weie, 90 Nou glad and nou gladnesse aweie, 91 And yet it may noght be withstonde 92 For oght that men may understonde. 93 Upon the point that is befalle 94 Of love, in which that I am falle, 95 I thenke telle my matiere: 96 Now herkne, who that wol it hiere, 97 Of my fortune how that it ferde. 98 This enderday, as I forthferde 99 To walke, as I yow telle may,- 100 And that was in the Monthe of Maii, 101 Whan every brid hath chose his make 102 And thenkth his merthes forto make 103 Of love that he hath achieved; 104 Bot so was I nothing relieved, 105 For I was further fro my love 106 Than Erthe is fro the hevene above, 107 As forto speke of eny sped: 108 So wiste I me non other red, 109 Bot as it were a man forfare 110 Unto the wode I gan to fare, 111 Noght forto singe with the briddes, 112 For whanne I was the wode amiddes, 113 I fond a swote grene pleine, 114 And ther I gan my wo compleigne 115 Wisshinge and wepinge al myn one, 116 For other merthes made I none. 117 So hard me was that ilke throwe, 118 That ofte sithes overthrowe 119 To grounde I was withoute breth; 120 And evere I wisshide after deth, 121 Whanne I out of my peine awok, 122 And caste up many a pitous lok 123 Unto the hevene, and seide thus: 124 "O thou Cupide, O thou Venus, 125 Thou god of love and thou goddesse, 126 Wher is pite? wher is meknesse? 127 Now doth me pleinly live or dye, 128 For certes such a maladie 129 As I now have and longe have hadd, 130 It myhte make a wisman madd, 131 If that it scholde longe endure. 132 O Venus, queene of loves cure, 133 Thou lif, thou lust, thou mannes hele, 134 Behold my cause and my querele, 135 And yif me som part of thi grace, 136 So that I may finde in this place 137 If thou be gracious or non." 138 And with that word I sawh anon 139 The kyng of love and qweene bothe; 140 Bot he that kyng with yhen wrothe 141 His chiere aweiward fro me caste, 142 And forth he passede ate laste. 143 Bot natheles er he forth wente 144 A firy Dart me thoghte he hente 145 And threw it thurgh myn herte rote: 146 In him fond I non other bote, 147 For lenger list him noght to duelle. 148 Bot sche that is the Source and Welle 149 Of wel or wo, that schal betide 150 To hem that loven, at that tide 151 Abod, bot forto tellen hiere 152 Sche cast on me no goodly chiere: 153 Thus natheles to me sche seide, 154 "What art thou, Sone?" and I abreide 155 Riht as a man doth out of slep, 156 And therof tok sche riht good kep 157 And bad me nothing ben adrad: 158 Bot for al that I was noght glad, 159 For I ne sawh no cause why. 160 And eft scheo asketh, what was I: 161 I seide, "A Caitif that lith hiere: 162 What wolde ye, my Ladi diere? 163 Schal I ben hol or elles dye?" 164 Sche seide, "Tell thi maladie: 165 What is thi Sor of which thou pleignest? 166 Ne hyd it noght, for if thou feignest, 167 I can do the no medicine." 168 "Ma dame, I am a man of thyne, 169 That in thi Court have longe served, 170 And aske that I have deserved, 171 Some wele after my longe wo." 172 And sche began to loure tho, 173 And seide, "Ther is manye of yow 174 Faitours, and so may be that thow 175 Art riht such on, and be feintise 176 Seist that thou hast me do servise." 177 And natheles sche wiste wel, 178 Mi world stod on an other whiel 179 Withouten eny faiterie: 180 Bot algate of my maladie 181 Sche bad me telle and seie hir trowthe. 182 "Ma dame, if ye wolde have rowthe," 183 Quod I, "than wolde I telle yow." 184 "Sey forth," quod sche, "and tell me how; 185 Schew me thi seknesse everydiel." 186 "Ma dame, that can I do wel, 187 Be so my lif therto wol laste." 188 With that hir lok on me sche caste, 189 And seide: "In aunter if thou live, 190 Mi will is ferst that thou be schrive; 191 And natheles how that it is 192 I wot miself, bot for al this 193 Unto my prest, which comth anon, 194 I woll thou telle it on and on, 195 Bothe all thi thoght and al thi werk. 196 O Genius myn oghne Clerk, 197 Com forth and hier this mannes schrifte," 198 Quod Venus tho; and I uplifte 199 Min hefd with that, and gan beholde 200 The selve Prest, which as sche wolde 201 Was redy there and sette him doun 202 To hiere my confessioun. 203 This worthi Prest, this holy man 204 To me spekende thus began, 205 And seide: "Benedicite, 206 Mi Sone, of the felicite 207 Of love and ek of all the wo 208 Thou schalt thee schrive of bothe tuo. 209 What thou er this for loves sake 210 Hast felt, let nothing be forsake, 211 Tell pleinliche as it is befalle." 212 And with that word I gan doun falle 213 On knees, and with devocioun 214 And with full gret contricioun 215 I seide thanne: "Dominus, 216 Min holi fader Genius, 217 So as thou hast experience 218 Of love, for whos reverence 219 Thou schalt me schriven at this time, 220 I prai the let me noght mistime 221 Mi schrifte, for I am destourbed 222 In al myn herte, and so contourbed, 223 That I ne may my wittes gete, 224 So schal I moche thing foryete: 225 Bot if thou wolt my schrifte oppose 226 Fro point to point, thanne I suppose, 227 Ther schal nothing be left behinde. 228 Bot now my wittes ben so blinde, 229 That I ne can miselven teche." 230 Tho he began anon to preche, 231 And with his wordes debonaire 232 He seide tome softe and faire: 233 "Thi schrifte to oppose and hiere, 234 My Sone, I am assigned hiere 235 Be Venus the godesse above, 236 Whos Prest I am touchende of love. 237 Bot natheles for certein skile 238 I mot algate and nedes wile 239 Noght only make my spekynges 240 Of love, bot of othre thinges, 241 That touchen to the cause of vice. 242 For that belongeth to thoffice 243 Of Prest, whos ordre that I bere, 244 So that I wol nothing forbere, 245 That I the vices on and on 246 Ne schal thee schewen everychon; 247 Wherof thou myht take evidence 248 To reule with thi conscience. 249 Bot of conclusion final 250 Conclude I wol in special 251 For love, whos servant I am, 252 And why the cause is that I cam. 253 So thenke I to don bothe tuo, 254 Ferst that myn ordre longeth to, 255 The vices forto telle arewe, 256 Bot next above alle othre schewe 257 Of love I wol the propretes, 258 How that thei stonde be degrees 259 After the disposicioun 260 Of Venus, whos condicioun 261 I moste folwe, as I am holde. 262 For I with love am al withholde, 263 So that the lasse I am to wyte, 264 Thogh I ne conne bot a lyte 265 Of othre thinges that ben wise: 266 I am noght tawht in such a wise; 267 For it is noght my comun us 268 To speke of vices and vertus, 269 Bot al of love and of his lore, 270 For Venus bokes of nomore 271 Me techen nowther text ne glose. 272 Bot for als moche as I suppose 273 It sit a prest to be wel thewed, 274 And schame it is if he be lewed, 275 Of my Presthode after the forme 276 I wol thi schrifte so enforme, 277 That ate leste thou schalt hiere 278 The vices, and to thi matiere 279 Of love I schal hem so remene, 280 That thou schalt knowe what thei mene. 281 For what a man schal axe or sein 282 Touchende of schrifte, it mot be plein, 283 It nedeth noght to make it queinte, 284 For trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte: 285 That I wole axe of the forthi, 286 My Sone, it schal be so pleinly, 287 That thou schalt knowe and understonde 288 The pointz of schrifte how that thei stonde." 289 Betwen the lif and deth I herde 290 This Prestes tale er I answerde, 291 And thanne I preide him forto seie 292 His will, and I it wolde obeie 293 After the forme of his apprise. 294 Tho spak he tome in such a wise, 295 And bad me that I scholde schrive 296 As touchende of my wittes fyve, 297 And schape that thei were amended 298 Of that I hadde hem misdispended. 299 For tho be proprely the gates, 300 Thurgh whiche as to the herte algates 301 Comth alle thing unto the feire, 302 Which may the mannes Soule empeire. 303 And now this matiere is broght inne, 304 Mi Sone, I thenke ferst beginne 305 To wite how that thin yhe hath stonde, 306 The which is, as I understonde, 307 The moste principal of alle, 308 Thurgh whom that peril mai befalle. 309 And forto speke in loves kinde, 310 Ful manye suche a man mai finde, 311 Whiche evere caste aboute here yhe, 312 To loke if that thei myhte aspie 313 Fulofte thing which hem ne toucheth, 314 Bot only that here herte soucheth 315 In hindringe of an other wiht; 316 And thus ful many a worthi knyht 317 And many a lusti lady bothe 318 Have be fulofte sythe wrothe. 319 So that an yhe is as a thief 320 To love, and doth ful gret meschief; 321 And also for his oghne part 322 Fulofte thilke firy Dart 323 Of love, which that evere brenneth, 324 Thurgh him into the herte renneth: 325 And thus a mannes yhe ferst 326 Himselve grieveth alther werst, 327 And many a time that he knoweth 328 Unto his oghne harm it groweth. 329 Mi Sone, herkne now forthi 330 A tale, to be war therby 331 Thin yhe forto kepe and warde, 332 So that it passe noght his warde. 333 Ovide telleth in his bok 334 Ensample touchende of mislok, 335 And seith hou whilom ther was on, 336 A worthi lord, which Acteon 337 Was hote, and he was cousin nyh 338 To him that Thebes ferst on hyh 339 Up sette, which king Cadme hyhte. 340 This Acteon, as he wel myhte, 341 Above alle othre caste his chiere, 342 And used it fro yer to yere, 343 With Houndes and with grete Hornes 344 Among the wodes and the thornes 345 To make his hunting and his chace: 346 Where him best thoghte in every place 347 To finde gamen in his weie, 348 Ther rod he forto hunte and pleie. 349 So him befell upon a tide 350 On his hunting as he cam ride, 351 In a Forest al one he was: 352 He syh upon the grene gras 353 The faire freisshe floures springe, 354 He herde among the leves singe 355 The Throstle with the nyhtingale: 356 Thus er he wiste into a Dale 357 He cam, wher was a litel plein, 358 All round aboute wel besein 359 With buisshes grene and Cedres hyhe; 360 And ther withinne he caste his yhe. 361 Amidd the plein he syh a welle, 362 So fair ther myhte noman telle, 363 In which Diana naked stod 364 To bathe and pleie hire in the flod 365 With many a Nimphe, which hire serveth. 366 Bot he his yhe awey ne swerveth 367 Fro hire, which was naked al, 368 And sche was wonder wroth withal, 369 And him, as sche which was godesse, 370 Forschop anon, and the liknesse 371 Sche made him taken of an Hert, 372 Which was tofore hise houndes stert, 373 That ronne besiliche aboute 374 With many an horn and many a route, 375 That maden mochel noise and cry: 376 And ate laste unhappely 377 This Hert his oghne houndes slowhe 378 And him for vengance al todrowhe. 379 Lo now, my Sone, what it is 380 A man to caste his yhe amis, 381 Which Acteon hath dere aboght; 382 Be war forthi and do it noght. 383 For ofte, who that hiede toke, 384 Betre is to winke than to loke. 385 And forto proven it is so, 386 Ovide the Poete also 387 A tale which to this matiere 388 Acordeth seith, as thou schalt hiere. 389 In Metamor it telleth thus, 390 How that a lord which Phorces 391 Was hote, hadde dowhtres thre. 392 Bot upon here nativite 393 Such was the constellacion, 394 That out of mannes nacion 395 Fro kynde thei be so miswent, 396 That to the liknesse of Serpent 397 Thei were bore, and so that on 398 Of hem was cleped Stellibon, 399 That other soster Suriale, 400 The thridde, as telleth in the tale, 401 Medusa hihte, and natheles 402 Of comun name Gorgones 403 In every contre ther aboute, 404 As Monstres whiche that men doute, 405 Men clepen hem; and bot on yhe 406 Among hem thre in pourpartie 407 Thei hadde, of which thei myhte se, 408 Now hath it this, now hath it sche; 409 After that cause and nede it ladde, 410 Be throwes ech of hem it hadde. 411 A wonder thing yet more amis 412 Ther was, wherof I telle al this: 413 What man on hem his chiere caste 414 And hem behield, he was als faste 415 Out of a man into a Ston 416 Forschape, and thus ful manyon 417 Deceived were, of that thei wolde 418 Misloke, wher that thei ne scholde. 419 Bot Perses that worthi knyht, 420 Whom Pallas of hir grete myht 421 Halp, and tok him a Schield therto, 422 And ek the god Mercurie also 423 Lente him a swerd, he, as it fell, 424 Beyende Athlans the hihe hell 425 These Monstres soghte, and there he fond 426 Diverse men of thilke lond 427 Thurgh sihte of hem mistorned were, 428 Stondende as Stones hiere and there. 429 Bot he, which wisdom and prouesse 430 Hadde of the god and the godesse, 431 The Schield of Pallas gan enbrace, 432 With which he covereth sauf his face, 433 Mercuries Swerd and out he drowh, 434 And so he bar him that he slowh 435 These dredful Monstres alle thre. 436 Lo now, my Sone, avise the, 437 That thou thi sihte noght misuse: 438 Cast noght thin yhe upon Meduse, 439 That thou be torned into Ston: 440 For so wys man was nevere non, 441 Bot if he wel his yhe kepe 442 And take of fol delit no kepe, 443 That he with lust nys ofte nome, 444 Thurgh strengthe of love and overcome. 445 Of mislokynge how it hath ferd, 446 As I have told, now hast thou herd, 447 My goode Sone, and tak good hiede. 448 And overthis yet I thee rede 449 That thou be war of thin heringe, 450 Which to the Herte the tidinge 451 Of many a vanite hath broght, 452 To tarie with a mannes thoght. 453 And natheles good is to hiere 454 Such thing wherof a man may lere 455 That to vertu is acordant, 456 And toward al the remenant 457 Good is to torne his Ere fro; 458 For elles, bot a man do so, 459 Him may fulofte mysbefalle. 460 I rede ensample amonges alle, 461 Wherof to kepe wel an Ere 462 It oghte pute a man in fere. 463 A Serpent, which that Aspidis 464 Is cleped, of his kynde hath this, 465 That he the Ston noblest of alle, 466 The which that men Carbuncle calle, 467 Berth in his hed above on heihte. 468 For which whan that a man be sleyhte, 469 The Ston to winne and him to daunte, 470 With his carecte him wolde enchaunte, 471 Anon as he perceiveth that, 472 He leith doun his on Ere al plat 473 Unto the ground, and halt it faste, 474 And ek that other Ere als faste 475 He stoppeth with his tail so sore, 476 That he the wordes lasse or more 477 Of his enchantement ne hiereth; 478 And in this wise himself he skiereth, 479 So that he hath the wordes weyved 480 And thurgh his Ere is noght deceived. 481 An othre thing, who that recordeth, 482 Lich unto this ensample acordeth, 483 Which in the tale of Troie I finde. 484 Sirenes of a wonder kynde 485 Ben Monstres, as the bokes tellen, 486 And in the grete Se thei duellen: 487 Of body bothe and of visage 488 Lik unto wommen of yong age 489 Up fro the Navele on hih thei be, 490 And doun benethe, as men mai se, 491 Thei bere of fisshes the figure. 492 And overthis of such nature 493 Thei ben, that with so swete a stevene 494 Lik to the melodie of hevene 495 In wommanysshe vois thei singe, 496 With notes of so gret likinge, 497 Of such mesure, of such musike, 498 Wherof the Schipes thei beswike 499 That passen be the costes there. 500 For whan the Schipmen leie an Ere 501 Unto the vois, in here avys 502 Thei wene it be a Paradys, 503 Which after is to hem an helle. 504 For reson may noght with hem duelle, 505 Whan thei tho grete lustes hiere; 506 Thei conne noght here Schipes stiere, 507 So besiliche upon the note 508 Thei herkne, and in such wise assote, 509 That thei here rihte cours and weie 510 Foryete, and to here Ere obeie, 511 And seilen til it so befalle 512 That thei into the peril falle, 513 Where as the Schipes be todrawe, 514 And thei ben with the Monstres slawe. 515 Bot fro this peril natheles 516 With his wisdom king Uluxes 517 Ascapeth and it overpasseth; 518 For he tofor the hond compasseth 519 That noman of his compaignie 520 Hath pouer unto that folie 521 His Ere for no lust to caste; 522 For he hem stoppede alle faste, 523 That non of hem mai hiere hem singe. 524 So whan they comen forth seilinge, 525 Ther was such governance on honde, 526 That thei the Monstres have withstonde 527 And slain of hem a gret partie. 528 Thus was he sauf with his navie, 529 This wise king, thurgh governance. 530 Wherof, my Sone, in remembrance 531 Thou myht ensample taken hiere, 532 As I have told, and what thou hiere 533 Be wel war, and yif no credence, 534 Bot if thou se more evidence. 535 For if thou woldest take kepe 536 And wisly cowthest warde and kepe 537 Thin yhe and Ere, as I have spoke, 538 Than haddest thou the gates stoke 539 Fro such Sotie as comth to winne 540 Thin hertes wit, which is withinne, 541 Wherof that now thi love excedeth 542 Mesure, and many a peine bredeth. 543 Bot if thou cowthest sette in reule 544 Tho tuo, the thre were eth to reule: 545 Forthi as of thi wittes five 546 I wole as now nomore schryve, 547 Bot only of these ilke tuo. 548 Tell me therfore if it be so, 549 Hast thou thin yhen oght misthrowe? 550 Mi fader, ye, I am beknowe, 551 I have hem cast upon Meduse, 552 Therof I may me noght excuse: 553 Min herte is growen into Ston, 554 So that my lady therupon 555 Hath such a priente of love grave, 556 That I can noght miselve save. 557 What seist thou, Sone, as of thin Ere? 558 Mi fader, I am gultyf there; 559 For whanne I may my lady hiere, 560 Mi wit with that hath lost his Stiere: 561 I do noght as Uluxes dede, 562 Bot falle anon upon the stede, 563 Wher as I se my lady stonde; 564 And there, I do yow understonde, 565 I am topulled in my thoght, 566 So that of reson leveth noght, 567 Wherof that I me mai defende. 568 My goode Sone, god thamende: 569 For as me thenketh be thi speche 570 Thi wittes ben riht feer to seche. 571 As of thin Ere and of thin yhe 572 I woll nomore specefie, 573 Bot I woll axen overthis 574 Of othre thing how that it is. 575 Mi Sone, as I thee schal enforme, 576 Ther ben yet of an other forme 577 Of dedly vices sevene applied, 578 Wherof the herte is ofte plied 579 To thing which after schal him grieve. 580 The ferste of hem thou schalt believe 581 Is Pride, which is principal, 582 And hath with him in special 583 Ministres five ful diverse, 584 Of whiche, as I the schal reherse, 585 The ferste is seid Ypocrisie. 586 If thou art of his compaignie, 587 Tell forth, my Sone, and schrif the clene. 588 I wot noght, fader, what ye mene: 589 Bot this I wolde you beseche, 590 That ye me be som weie teche 591 What is to ben an ypocrite; 592 And thanne if I be forto wyte, 593 I wol beknowen, as it is. 594 Mi Sone, an ypocrite is this,- 595 A man which feigneth conscience, 596 As thogh it were al innocence, 597 Withoute, and is noght so withinne; 598 And doth so for he wolde winne 599 Of his desir the vein astat. 600 And whanne he comth anon therat, 601 He scheweth thanne what he was, 602 The corn is torned into gras, 603 That was a Rose is thanne a thorn, 604 And he that was a Lomb beforn 605 Is thanne a Wolf, and thus malice 606 Under the colour of justice 607 Is hid; and as the poeple telleth, 608 These ordres witen where he duelleth, 609 As he that of here conseil is, 610 And thilke world which thei er this 611 Forsoken, he drawth in ayein: 612 He clotheth richesse, as men sein, 613 Under the simplesce of poverte, 614 And doth to seme of gret decerte 615 Thing which is litel worth withinne: 616 He seith in open, fy! to Sinne, 617 And in secre ther is no vice 618 Of which that he nis a Norrice: 619 And evere his chiere is sobre and softe, 620 And where he goth he blesseth ofte, 621 Wherof the blinde world he dreccheth. 622 Bot yet al only he ne streccheth 623 His reule upon religioun, 624 Bot next to that condicioun 625 In suche as clepe hem holy cherche 626 It scheweth ek how he can werche 627 Among tho wyde furred hodes, 628 To geten hem the worldes goodes. 629 And thei hemself ben thilke same 630 That setten most the world in blame, 631 Bot yet in contraire of her lore 632 Ther is nothing thei loven more; 633 So that semende of liht thei werke 634 The dedes whiche are inward derke. 635 And thus this double Ypocrisie 636 With his devolte apparantie 637 A viser set upon his face, 638 Wherof toward this worldes grace 639 He semeth to be riht wel thewed, 640 And yit his herte is al beschrewed. 641 Bot natheles he stant believed, 642 And hath his pourpos ofte achieved 643 Of worschipe and of worldes welthe, 644 And takth it, as who seith, be stelthe 645 Thurgh coverture of his fallas. 646 And riht so in semblable cas 647 This vice hath ek his officers 648 Among these othre seculers 649 Of grete men, for of the smale 650 As for tacompte he set no tale, 651 Bot thei that passen the comune 652 With suche him liketh to comune, 653 And where he seith he wol socoure 654 The poeple, there he woll devoure; 655 For now aday is manyon 656 Which spekth of Peter and of John 657 And thenketh Judas in his herte. 658 Ther schal no worldes good asterte 659 His hond, and yit he yifth almesse 660 And fasteth ofte and hiereth Messe: 661 With mea culpa, which he seith, 662 Upon his brest fullofte he leith 663 His hond, and cast upward his yhe, 664 As thogh he Cristes face syhe; 665 So that it seemeth ate syhte, 666 As he al one alle othre myhte 667 Rescoue with his holy bede. 668 Bot yet his herte in other stede 669 Among hise bedes most devoute 670 Goth in the worldes cause aboute, 671 How that he myhte his warisoun 672 Encresce. And in comparisoun 673 Ther ben lovers of such a sort, 674 That feignen hem an humble port, 675 And al is bot Ypocrisie, 676 Which with deceipte and flaterie 677 Hath many a worthi wif beguiled. 678 For whanne he hath his tunge affiled, 679 With softe speche and with lesinge, 680 Forth with his fals pitous lokynge, 681 He wolde make a womman wene 682 To gon upon the faire grene, 683 Whan that sche falleth in the Mir. 684 For if he may have his desir, 685 How so falle of the remenant, 686 He halt no word of covenant; 687 Bot er the time that he spede, 688 Ther is no sleihte at thilke nede, 689 Which eny loves faitour mai, 690 That he ne put it in assai, 691 As him belongeth forto done. 692 The colour of the reyni Mone 693 With medicine upon his face 694 He set, and thanne he axeth grace, 695 As he which hath sieknesse feigned. 696 Whan his visage is so desteigned, 697 With yhe upcast on hire he siketh, 698 And many a contenance he piketh, 699 To bringen hire in to believe 700 Of thing which that he wolde achieve, 701 Wherof he berth the pale hewe; 702 And for he wolde seme trewe, 703 He makth him siek, whan he is heil. 704 Bot whanne he berth lowest the Seil, 705 Thanne is he swiftest to beguile 706 The womman, which that ilke while 707 Set upon him feith or credence. 708 Mi Sone, if thou thi conscience 709 Entamed hast in such a wise, 710 In schrifte thou thee myht avise 711 And telle it me, if it be so. 712 Min holy fader, certes no. 713 As forto feigne such sieknesse 714 It nedeth noght, for this witnesse 715 I take of god, that my corage 716 Hath ben mor siek than my visage. 717 And ek this mai I wel avowe, 718 So lowe cowthe I nevere bowe 719 To feigne humilite withoute, 720 That me ne leste betre loute 721 With alle the thoghtes of myn herte; 722 For that thing schal me nevere asterte, 723 I speke as to my lady diere, 724 To make hire eny feigned chiere. 725 God wot wel there I lye noght, 726 Mi chiere hath be such as my thoght; 727 For in good feith, this lieveth wel, 728 Mi will was betre a thousendel 729 Than eny chiere that I cowthe. 730 Bot, Sire, if I have in my yowthe 731 Don other wise in other place, 732 I put me therof in your grace: 733 For this excusen I ne schal, 734 That I have elles overal 735 To love and to his compaignie 736 Be plein withoute Ypocrisie; 737 Bot ther is on the which I serve, 738 Althogh I may no thonk deserve, 739 To whom yet nevere into this day 740 I seide onlyche or ye or nay, 741 Bot if it so were in my thoght. 742 As touchende othre seie I noght 743 That I nam somdel forto wyte 744 Of that ye clepe an ypocrite. 745 Mi Sone, it sit wel every wiht 746 To kepe his word in trowthe upryht 747 Towardes love in alle wise. 748 For who that wolde him wel avise 749 What hath befalle in this matiere, 750 He scholde noght with feigned chiere 751 Deceive Love in no degre. 752 To love is every herte fre, 753 Bot in deceipte if that thou feignest 754 And therupon thi lust atteignest, 755 That thow hast wonne with thi wyle, 756 Thogh it thee like for a whyle, 757 Thou schalt it afterward repente. 758 And forto prove myn entente, 759 I finde ensample in a Croniqe 760 Of hem that love so beswike. 761 It fell be olde daies thus, 762 Whil themperour Tiberius 763 The Monarchie of Rome ladde, 764 Ther was a worthi Romein hadde 765 A wif, and sche Pauline hihte, 766 Which was to every mannes sihte 767 Of al the Cite the faireste, 768 And as men seiden, ek the beste. 769 It is and hath ben evere yit, 770 That so strong is no mannes wit, 771 Which thurgh beaute ne mai be drawe 772 To love, and stonde under the lawe 773 Of thilke bore frele kinde, 774 Which makth the hertes yhen blinde, 775 Wher no reson mai be comuned: 776 And in this wise stod fortuned 777 This tale, of which I wolde mene; 778 This wif, which in hire lustes grene 779 Was fair and freissh and tendre of age, 780 Sche may noght lette the corage 781 Of him that wole on hire assote. 782 Ther was a Duck, and he was hote 783 Mundus, which hadde in his baillie 784 To lede the chivalerie 785 Of Rome, and was a worthi knyht; 786 Bot yet he was noght of such myht 787 The strengthe of love to withstonde, 788 That he ne was so broght to honde, 789 That malgre wher he wole or no, 790 This yonge wif he loveth so, 791 That he hath put al his assay 792 To wynne thing which he ne may 793 Gete of hire graunt in no manere, 794 Be yifte of gold ne be preiere. 795 And whanne he syh that be no mede 796 Toward hir love he myhte spede, 797 Be sleyhte feigned thanne he wroghte; 798 And therupon he him bethoghte 799 How that ther was in the Cite 800 A temple of such auctorite, 801 To which with gret Devocioun 802 The noble wommen of the toun 803 Most comunliche a pelrinage 804 Gon forto preie thilke ymage 805 Which the godesse of childinge is, 806 And cleped was be name Ysis: 807 And in hire temple thanne were, 808 To reule and to ministre there 809 After the lawe which was tho, 810 Above alle othre Prestes tuo. 811 This Duck, which thoghte his love gete, 812 Upon a day hem tuo to mete 813 Hath bede, and thei come at his heste; 814 Wher that thei hadde a riche feste, 815 And after mete in prive place 816 This lord, which wolde his thonk pourchace, 817 To ech of hem yaf thanne a yifte, 818 And spak so that be weie of schrifte 819 He drowh hem unto his covine, 820 To helpe and schape how he Pauline 821 After his lust deceive myhte. 822 And thei here trowthes bothe plyhte, 823 That thei be nyhte hire scholden wynne 824 Into the temple, and he therinne 825 Schal have of hire al his entente: 826 And thus acorded forth thei wente. 827 Now lest thurgh which ypocrisie 828 Ordeigned was the tricherie, 829 Wherof this ladi was deceived. 830 These Prestes hadden wel conceived 831 That sche was of gret holinesse; 832 And with a contrefet simplesse, 833 Which hid was in a fals corage, 834 Feignende an hevenely message 835 Thei come and seide unto hir thus: 836 "Pauline, the god Anubus 837 Hath sent ous bothe Prestes hiere, 838 And seith he woll to thee appiere 839 Be nyhtes time himself alone, 840 For love he hath to thi persone: 841 And therupon he hath ous bede, 842 That we in Ysis temple a stede 843 Honestely for thee pourveie, 844 Wher thou be nyhte, as we thee seie, 845 Of him schalt take avisioun. 846 For upon thi condicioun, 847 The which is chaste and ful of feith, 848 Such pris, as he ous tolde, he leith, 849 That he wol stonde of thin acord; 850 And forto bere hierof record 851 He sende ous hider bothe tuo." 852 Glad was hire innocence tho 853 Of suche wordes as sche herde, 854 With humble chiere and thus answerde, 855 And seide that the goddes wille 856 Sche was al redy to fulfille, 857 That be hire housebondes leve 858 Sche wolde in Ysis temple at eve 859 Upon hire goddes grace abide, 860 To serven him the nyhtes tide. 861 The Prestes tho gon hom ayein, 862 And sche goth to hire sovereign, 863 Of goddes wille and as it was 864 Sche tolde him al the pleine cas, 865 Wherof he was deceived eke, 866 And bad that sche hire scholde meke 867 Al hol unto the goddes heste. 868 And thus sche, which was al honeste 869 To godward after hire entente, 870 At nyht unto the temple wente, 871 Wher that the false Prestes were; 872 And thei receiven hire there 873 With such a tokne of holinesse, 874 As thogh thei syhen a godesse, 875 And al withinne in prive place 876 A softe bedd of large space 877 Thei hadde mad and encourtined, 878 Wher sche was afterward engined. 879 Bot sche, which al honour supposeth, 880 The false Prestes thanne opposeth, 881 And axeth be what observance 882 Sche myhte most to the plesance 883 Of godd that nyhtes reule kepe: 884 And thei hire bidden forto slepe 885 Liggende upon the bedd alofte, 886 For so, thei seide, al stille and softe 887 God Anubus hire wolde awake. 888 The conseil in this wise take, 889 The Prestes fro this lady gon; 890 And sche, that wiste of guile non, 891 In the manere as it was seid 892 To slepe upon the bedd is leid, 893 In hope that sche scholde achieve 894 Thing which stod thanne upon bilieve, 895 Fulfild of alle holinesse. 896 Bot sche hath failed, as I gesse, 897 For in a closet faste by 898 The Duck was hid so prively 899 That sche him myhte noght perceive; 900 And he, that thoghte to deceive, 901 Hath such arrai upon him nome, 902 That whanne he wolde unto hir come, 903 It scholde semen at hire yhe 904 As thogh sche verrailiche syhe 905 God Anubus, and in such wise 906 This ypocrite of his queintise 907 Awaiteth evere til sche slepte. 908 And thanne out of his place he crepte 909 So stille that sche nothing herde, 910 And to the bedd stalkende he ferde, 911 And sodeinly, er sche it wiste, 912 Beclipt in armes he hire kiste: 913 Wherof in wommanysshe drede 914 Sche wok and nyste what to rede; 915 Bot he with softe wordes milde 916 Conforteth hire and seith, with childe 917 He wolde hire make in such a kynde 918 That al the world schal have in mynde 919 The worschipe of that ilke Sone; 920 For he schal with the goddes wone, 921 And ben himself a godd also. 922 With suche wordes and with mo, 923 The whiche he feigneth in his speche, 924 This lady wit was al to seche, 925 As sche which alle trowthe weneth: 926 Bot he, that alle untrowthe meneth, 927 With blinde tales so hire ladde, 928 That all his wille of hire he hadde. 929 And whan him thoghte it was ynowh, 930 Ayein the day he him withdrowh 931 So prively that sche ne wiste 932 Wher he becom, bot as him liste 933 Out of the temple he goth his weie. 934 And sche began to bidde and preie 935 Upon the bare ground knelende, 936 And after that made hire offrende, 937 And to the Prestes yiftes grete 938 Sche yaf, and homward be the Strete. 939 The Duck hire mette and seide thus: 940 "The myhti godd which Anubus 941 Is hote, he save the, Pauline, 942 For thou art of his discipline 943 So holy, that no mannes myht 944 Mai do that he hath do to nyht 945 Of thing which thou hast evere eschuied. 946 Bot I his grace have so poursuied, 947 That I was mad his lieutenant: 948 Forthi be weie of covenant 949 Fro this day forth I am al thin, 950 And if thee like to be myn, 951 That stant upon thin oghne wille." 952 Sche herde his tale and bar it stille, 953 And hom sche wente, as it befell, 954 Into hir chambre, and ther sche fell 955 Upon hire bedd to wepe and crie, 956 And seide: "O derke ypocrisie, 957 Thurgh whos dissimilacion 958 Of fals ymaginacion 959 I am thus wickedly deceived! 960 Bot that I have it aperceived 961 I thonke unto the goddes alle; 962 For thogh it ones be befalle, 963 It schal nevere eft whil that I live, 964 And thilke avou to godd I yive." 965 And thus wepende sche compleigneth, 966 Hire faire face and al desteigneth 967 With wofull teres of hire ije, 968 So that upon this agonie 969 Hire housebonde is inne come, 970 And syh how sche was overcome 971 With sorwe, and axeth what hire eileth. 972 And sche with that hirself beweileth 973 Welmore than sche dede afore, 974 And seide, "Helas, wifhode is lore 975 In me, which whilom was honeste, 976 I am non other than a beste, 977 Now I defouled am of tuo." 978 And as sche myhte speke tho, 979 Aschamed with a pitous onde 980 Sche tolde unto hir housebonde 981 The sothe of al the hole tale, 982 And in hire speche ded and pale 983 Sche swouneth welnyh to the laste. 984 And he hire in hise armes faste 985 Uphield, and ofte swor his oth 986 That he with hire is nothing wroth, 987 For wel he wot sche may ther noght: 988 Bot natheles withinne his thoght 989 His herte stod in sori plit, 990 And seide he wolde of that despit 991 Be venged, how so evere it falle, 992 And sende unto hise frendes alle. 993 And whan thei weren come in fere, 994 He tolde hem upon this matiere, 995 And axeth hem what was to done: 996 And thei avised were sone, 997 And seide it thoghte hem for the beste 998 To sette ferst his wif in reste, 999 And after pleigne to the king 1000 Upon the matiere of this thing. 1001 Tho was this wofull wif conforted 1002 Be alle weies and desported, 1003 Til that sche was somdiel amended; 1004 And thus a day or tuo despended, 1005 The thridde day sche goth to pleigne 1006 With many a worthi Citezeine, 1007 And he with many a Citezein. 1008 Whan themperour it herde sein, 1009 And knew the falshed of the vice, 1010 He seide he wolde do justice: 1011 And ferst he let the Prestes take, 1012 And for thei scholde it noght forsake, 1013 He put hem into questioun; 1014 Bot thei of the suggestioun 1015 Ne couthen noght a word refuse, 1016 Bot for thei wolde hemself excuse, 1017 The blame upon the Duck thei leide. 1018 Bot therayein the conseil seide 1019 That thei be noght excused so, 1020 For he is on and thei ben tuo, 1021 And tuo han more wit then on, 1022 So thilke excusement was non. 1023 And over that was seid hem eke, 1024 That whan men wolden vertu seke, 1025 Men scholde it in the Prestes finde; 1026 Here ordre is of so hyh a kinde, 1027 That thei be Duistres of the weie: 1028 Forthi, if eny man forsueie 1029 Thurgh hem, thei be noght excusable. 1030 And thus be lawe resonable 1031 Among the wise jugges there 1032 The Prestes bothe dampned were, 1033 So that the prive tricherie 1034 Hid under fals Ipocrisie 1035 Was thanne al openliche schewed, 1036 That many a man hem hath beschrewed. 1037 And whan the Prestes weren dede, 1038 The temple of thilke horrible dede 1039 Thei thoghten purge, and thilke ymage, 1040 Whos cause was the pelrinage, 1041 Thei drowen out and als so faste 1042 Fer into Tibre thei it caste, 1043 Wher the Rivere it hath defied: 1044 And thus the temple purified 1045 Thei have of thilke horrible Sinne, 1046 Which was that time do therinne. 1047 Of this point such was the juise, 1048 Bot of the Duck was other wise: 1049 For he with love was bestad, 1050 His dom was noght so harde lad; 1051 For Love put reson aweie 1052 And can noght se the rihte weie. 1053 And be this cause he was respited, 1054 So that the deth him was acquited, 1055 Bot for al that he was exiled, 1056 For he his love hath so beguiled, 1057 That he schal nevere come ayein: 1058 For who that is to trowthe unplein, 1059 He may noght failen of vengance. 1060 And ek to take remembrance 1061 Of that Ypocrisie hath wroght 1062 On other half, men scholde noght 1063 To lihtly lieve al that thei hiere, 1064 Bot thanne scholde a wisman stiere 1065 The Schip, whan suche wyndes blowe: 1066 For ferst thogh thei beginne lowe, 1067 At ende thei be noght menable, 1068 Bot al tobreken Mast and Cable, 1069 So that the Schip with sodein blast, 1070 Whan men lest wene, is overcast; 1071 As now fulofte a man mai se: 1072 And of old time how it hath be 1073 I finde a gret experience, 1074 Wherof to take an evidence 1075 Good is, and to be war also 1076 Of the peril, er him be wo. 1077 Of hem that ben so derk withinne, 1078 At Troie also if we beginne, 1079 Ipocrisie it hath betraied: 1080 For whan the Greks hadde al assaied, 1081 And founde that be no bataille 1082 Ne be no Siege it myhte availe 1083 The toun to winne thurgh prouesse, 1084 This vice feigned of simplesce 1085 Thurgh sleyhte of Calcas and of Crise 1086 It wan be such a maner wise. 1087 An Hors of Bras thei let do forge 1088 Of such entaile, of such a forge, 1089 That in this world was nevere man 1090 That such an other werk began. 1091 The crafti werkman Epius 1092 It made, and forto telle thus, 1093 The Greks, that thoghten to beguile 1094 The kyng of Troie, in thilke while 1095 With Anthenor and with Enee, 1096 That were bothe of the Cite 1097 And of the conseil the wiseste, 1098 The richeste and the myhtieste, 1099 In prive place so thei trete 1100 With fair beheste and yiftes grete 1101 Of gold, that thei hem have engined; 1102 Togedre and whan thei be covined, 1103 Thei feignen forto make a pes, 1104 And under that yit natheles 1105 Thei schopen the destruccioun 1106 Bothe of the kyng and of the toun. 1107 And thus the false pees was take 1108 Of hem of Grece and undertake, 1109 And therupon thei founde a weie, 1110 Wher strengthe myhte noght aweie, 1111 That sleihte scholde helpe thanne; 1112 And of an ynche a large spanne 1113 Be colour of the pees thei made, 1114 And tolden how thei weren glade 1115 Of that thei stoden in acord; 1116 And for it schal ben of record, 1117 Unto the kyng the Gregois seiden, 1118 Be weie of love and this thei preiden, 1119 As thei that wolde his thonk deserve, 1120 A Sacrifice unto Minerve, 1121 The pes to kepe in good entente, 1122 Thei mosten offre er that thei wente. 1123 The kyng conseiled in this cas 1124 Be Anthenor and Eneas 1125 Therto hath yoven his assent: 1126 So was the pleine trowthe blent 1127 Thurgh contrefet Ipocrisie 1128 Of that thei scholden sacrifie. 1129 The Greks under the holinesse 1130 Anon with alle besinesse 1131 Here Hors of Bras let faire dihte, 1132 Which was to sen a wonder sihte; 1133 For it was trapped of himselve, 1134 And hadde of smale whieles twelve, 1135 Upon the whiche men ynowe 1136 With craft toward the toun it drowe, 1137 And goth glistrende ayein the Sunne. 1138 Tho was ther joie ynowh begunne, 1139 For Troie in gret devocioun 1140 Cam also with processioun 1141 Ayein this noble Sacrifise 1142 With gret honour, and in this wise 1143 Unto the gates thei it broghte. 1144 Bot of here entre whan thei soghte, 1145 The gates weren al to smale; 1146 And therupon was many a tale, 1147 Bot for the worschipe of Minerve, 1148 To whom thei comen forto serve, 1149 Thei of the toun, whiche understode 1150 That al this thing was do for goode, 1151 For pes, wherof that thei ben glade, 1152 The gates that Neptunus made 1153 A thousend wynter ther tofore, 1154 Thei have anon tobroke and tore; 1155 The stronge walles doun thei bete, 1156 So that in to the large strete 1157 This Hors with gret solempnite 1158 Was broght withinne the Cite, 1159 And offred with gret reverence, 1160 Which was to Troie an evidence 1161 Of love and pes for everemo. 1162 The Gregois token leve tho 1163 With al the hole felaschipe, 1164 And forth thei wenten into Schipe 1165 And crossen seil and made hem yare, 1166 Anon as thogh thei wolden fare: 1167 Bot whan the blake wynter nyht 1168 Withoute Mone or Sterre lyht 1169 Bederked hath the water Stronde, 1170 Al prively thei gon to londe 1171 Ful armed out of the navie. 1172 Synon, which mad was here aspie 1173 Withinne Troie, as was conspired, 1174 Whan time was a tokne hath fired; 1175 And thei with that here weie holden, 1176 And comen in riht as thei wolden, 1177 Ther as the gate was tobroke. 1178 The pourpos was full take and spoke: 1179 Er eny man may take kepe, 1180 Whil that the Cite was aslepe, 1181 Thei slowen al that was withinne, 1182 And token what thei myhten wynne 1183 Of such good as was sufficant, 1184 And brenden up the remenant. 1185 And thus cam out the tricherie, 1186 Which under fals Ypocrisie 1187 Was hid, and thei that wende pees 1188 Tho myhten finde no reles 1189 Of thilke swerd which al devoureth. 1190 Fulofte and thus the swete soureth, 1191 Whan it is knowe to the tast: 1192 He spilleth many a word in wast 1193 That schal with such a poeple trete; 1194 For whan he weneth most beyete, 1195 Thanne is he schape most to lese. 1196 And riht so if a womman chese 1197 Upon the wordes that sche hiereth 1198 Som man, whan he most trewe appiereth, 1199 Thanne is he forthest fro the trowthe: 1200 Bot yit fulofte, and that is rowthe, 1201 Thei speden that ben most untrewe 1202 And loven every day a newe, 1203 Wherof the lief is after loth 1204 And love hath cause to be wroth. 1205 Bot what man that his lust desireth 1206 Of love, and therupon conspireth 1207 With wordes feigned to deceive, 1208 He schal noght faile to receive 1209 His peine, as it is ofte sene. 1210 Forthi, my Sone, as I thee mene, 1211 It sit the wel to taken hiede 1212 That thou eschuie of thi manhiede 1213 Ipocrisie and his semblant, 1214 That thou ne be noght deceivant, 1215 To make a womman to believe 1216 Thing which is noght in thi bilieve: 1217 For in such feint Ipocrisie 1218 Of love is al the tricherie, 1219 Thurgh which love is deceived ofte; 1220 For feigned semblant is so softe, 1221 Unethes love may be war. 1222 Forthi, my Sone, as I wel dar, 1223 I charge thee to fle that vice, 1224 That many a womman hath mad nice; 1225 Bot lok thou dele noght withal. 1226 Iwiss, fader, nomor I schal. 1227 Now, Sone, kep that thou hast swore: 1228 For this that thou hast herd before 1229 Is seid the ferste point of Pride: 1230 And next upon that other side, 1231 To schryve and speken overthis 1232 Touchende of Pride, yit ther is 1233 The point seconde, I thee behote, 1234 Which Inobedience is hote. 1235 This vice of Inobedience 1236 Ayein the reule of conscience 1237 Al that is humble he desalloweth, 1238 That he toward his god ne boweth 1239 After the lawes of his heste. 1240 Noght as a man bot as a beste, 1241 Which goth upon his lustes wilde, 1242 So goth this proude vice unmylde, 1243 That he desdeigneth alle lawe: 1244 He not what is to be felawe, 1245 And serve may he noght for pride; 1246 So is he badde on every side, 1247 And is that selve of whom men speke, 1248 Which wol noght bowe er that he breke. 1249 I not if love him myhte plie, 1250 For elles forto justefie 1251 His herte, I not what mihte availe. 1252 Forthi, my Sone, of such entaile 1253 If that thin herte be disposed, 1254 Tell out and let it noght be glosed: 1255 For if that thou unbuxom be 1256 To love, I not in what degree 1257 Thou schalt thi goode world achieve. 1258 Mi fader, ye schul wel believe, 1259 The yonge whelp which is affaited 1260 Hath noght his Maister betre awaited, 1261 To couche, whan he seith "Go lowe," 1262 That I, anon as I may knowe 1263 Mi ladi will, ne bowe more. 1264 Bot other while I grucche sore 1265 Of some thinges that sche doth, 1266 Wherof that I woll telle soth: 1267 For of tuo pointz I am bethoght, 1268 That, thogh I wolde, I myhte noght 1269 Obeie unto my ladi heste; 1270 Bot I dar make this beheste, 1271 Save only of that ilke tuo 1272 I am unbuxom of no mo. 1273 Whan ben tho tuo? tell on, quod he. 1274 Mi fader, this is on, that sche 1275 Comandeth me my mowth to close, 1276 And that I scholde hir noght oppose 1277 In love, of which I ofte preche, 1278 Bot plenerliche of such a speche 1279 Forbere, and soffren hire in pes. 1280 Bot that ne myhte I natheles 1281 For al this world obeie ywiss; 1282 For whanne I am ther as sche is, 1283 Though sche my tales noght alowe, 1284 Ayein hir will yit mot I bowe, 1285 To seche if that I myhte have grace: 1286 Bot that thing may I noght enbrace 1287 For ought that I can speke or do; 1288 And yit fulofte I speke so, 1289 That sche is wroth and seith, "Be stille." 1290 If I that heste schal fulfille 1291 And therto ben obedient, 1292 Thanne is my cause fully schent, 1293 For specheles may noman spede. 1294 So wot I noght what is to rede; 1295 Bot certes I may noght obeie, 1296 That I ne mot algate seie 1297 Somwhat of that I wolde mene; 1298 For evere it is aliche grene, 1299 The grete love which I have, 1300 Wherof I can noght bothe save 1301 My speche and this obedience: 1302 And thus fulofte my silence 1303 I breke, and is the ferste point 1304 Wherof that I am out of point 1305 In this, and yit it is no pride. 1306 Now thanne upon that other side 1307 To telle my desobeissance, 1308 Ful sore it stant to my grevance 1309 And may noght sinke into my wit; 1310 For ofte time sche me bit 1311 To leven hire and chese a newe, 1312 And seith, if I the sothe knewe 1313 How ferr I stonde from hir grace, 1314 I scholde love in other place. 1315 Bot therof woll I desobeie; 1316 For also wel sche myhte seie, 1317 "Go tak the Mone ther it sit," 1318 As bringe that into my wit: 1319 For ther was nevere rooted tre, 1320 That stod so faste in his degre, 1321 That I ne stonde more faste 1322 Upon hire love, and mai noght caste 1323 Min herte awey, althogh I wolde. 1324 For god wot, thogh I nevere scholde 1325 Sen hir with yhe after this day, 1326 Yit stant it so that I ne may 1327 Hir love out of my brest remue. 1328 This is a wonder retenue, 1329 That malgre wher sche wole or non 1330 Min herte is everemore in on, 1331 So that I can non other chese, 1332 Bot whether that I winne or lese, 1333 I moste hire loven til I deie; 1334 And thus I breke as be that weie 1335 Hire hestes and hir comandinges, 1336 Bot trewliche in non othre thinges. 1337 Forthi, my fader, what is more 1338 Touchende to this ilke lore 1339 I you beseche, after the forme 1340 That ye pleinly me wolde enforme, 1341 So that I may myn herte reule 1342 In loves cause after the reule. 1343 Toward this vice of which we trete 1344 Ther ben yit tweie of thilke estrete, 1345 Here name is Murmur and Compleignte: 1346 Ther can noman here chiere peinte, 1347 To sette a glad semblant therinne, 1348 For thogh fortune make hem wynne, 1349 Yit grucchen thei, and if thei lese, 1350 Ther is no weie forto chese, 1351 Wherof thei myhten stonde appesed. 1352 So ben thei comunly desesed; 1353 Ther may no welthe ne poverte 1354 Attempren hem to the decerte 1355 Of buxomnesse be no wise: 1356 For ofte time thei despise 1357 The goode fortune as the badde, 1358 As thei no mannes reson hadde, 1359 Thurgh pride, wherof thei be blinde. 1360 And ryht of such a maner kinde 1361 Ther be lovers, that thogh thei have 1362 Of love al that thei wolde crave, 1363 Yit wol thei grucche be som weie, 1364 That thei wol noght to love obeie 1365 Upon the trowthe, as thei do scholde; 1366 And if hem lacketh that thei wolde, 1367 Anon thei falle in such a peine, 1368 That evere unbuxomly thei pleigne 1369 Upon fortune, and curse and crie, 1370 That thei wol noght here hertes plie 1371 To soffre til it betre falle. 1372 Forthi if thou amonges alle 1373 Hast used this condicioun, 1374 Mi Sone, in thi Confessioun 1375 Now tell me pleinly what thou art. 1376 Mi fader, I beknowe a part, 1377 So as ye tolden hier above 1378 Of Murmur and Compleignte of love, 1379 That for I se no sped comende, 1380 Ayein fortune compleignende 1381 I am, as who seith, everemo: 1382 And ek fulofte tyme also, 1383 Whan so is that I se and hiere 1384 Or hevy word or hevy chiere 1385 Of my lady, I grucche anon; 1386 Bot wordes dar I speke non, 1387 Wherof sche myhte be desplesed, 1388 Bot in myn herte I am desesed: 1389 With many a Murmur, god it wot, 1390 Thus drinke I in myn oghne swot, 1391 And thogh I make no semblant, 1392 Min herte is al desobeissant; 1393 And in this wise I me confesse 1394 Of that ye clepe unbuxomnesse. 1395 Now telleth what youre conseil is. 1396 Mi Sone, and I thee rede this, 1397 What so befalle of other weie, 1398 That thou to loves heste obeie 1399 Als ferr as thou it myht suffise: 1400 For ofte sithe in such a wise 1401 Obedience in love availeth, 1402 Wher al a mannes strengthe faileth; 1403 Wherof, if that the list to wite 1404 In a Cronique as it is write, 1405 A gret ensample thou myht fynde, 1406 Which now is come to my mynde. 1407 Ther was whilom be daies olde 1408 A worthi knyht, and as men tolde 1409 He was Nevoeu to themperour 1410 And of his Court a Courteour: 1411 Wifles he was, Florent he hihte, 1412 He was a man that mochel myhte, 1413 Of armes he was desirous, 1414 Chivalerous and amorous, 1415 And for the fame of worldes speche, 1416 Strange aventures forto seche, 1417 He rod the Marches al aboute. 1418 And fell a time, as he was oute, 1419 Fortune, which may every thred 1420 Tobreke and knette of mannes sped, 1421 Schop, as this knyht rod in a pas, 1422 That he be strengthe take was, 1423 And to a Castell thei him ladde, 1424 Wher that he fewe frendes hadde: 1425 For so it fell that ilke stounde 1426 That he hath with a dedly wounde 1427 Feihtende his oghne hondes slain 1428 Branchus, which to the Capitain 1429 Was Sone and Heir, wherof ben wrothe 1430 The fader and the moder bothe. 1431 That knyht Branchus was of his hond 1432 The worthieste of al his lond, 1433 And fain thei wolden do vengance 1434 Upon Florent, bot remembrance 1435 That thei toke of his worthinesse 1436 Of knyhthod and of gentilesse, 1437 And how he stod of cousinage 1438 To themperour, made hem assuage, 1439 And dorsten noght slen him for fere: 1440 In gret desputeisoun thei were 1441 Among hemself, what was the beste. 1442 Ther was a lady, the slyheste 1443 Of alle that men knewe tho, 1444 So old sche myhte unethes go, 1445 And was grantdame unto the dede: 1446 And sche with that began to rede, 1447 And seide how sche wol bringe him inne, 1448 That sche schal him to dethe winne 1449 Al only of his oghne grant, 1450 Thurgh strengthe of verray covenant 1451 Withoute blame of eny wiht. 1452 Anon sche sende for this kniht, 1453 And of hire Sone sche alleide 1454 The deth, and thus to him sche seide: 1455 "Florent, how so thou be to wyte 1456 Of Branchus deth, men schal respite 1457 As now to take vengement, 1458 Be so thou stonde in juggement 1459 Upon certein condicioun, 1460 That thou unto a questioun 1461 Which I schal axe schalt ansuere; 1462 And over this thou schalt ek swere, 1463 That if thou of the sothe faile, 1464 Ther schal non other thing availe, 1465 That thou ne schalt thi deth receive. 1466 And for men schal thee noght deceive, 1467 That thou therof myht ben avised, 1468 Thou schalt have day and tyme assised 1469 And leve saufly forto wende, 1470 Be so that at thi daies ende 1471 Thou come ayein with thin avys. 1472 This knyht, which worthi was and wys, 1473 This lady preith that he may wite, 1474 And have it under Seales write, 1475 What questioun it scholde be 1476 For which he schal in that degree 1477 Stonde of his lif in jeupartie. 1478 With that sche feigneth compaignie, 1479 And seith: "Florent, on love it hongeth 1480 Al that to myn axinge longeth: 1481 What alle wommen most desire 1482 This wole I axe, and in thempire 1483 Wher as thou hast most knowlechinge 1484 Tak conseil upon this axinge." 1485 Florent this thing hath undertake, 1486 The day was set, the time take, 1487 Under his seal he wrot his oth, 1488 In such a wise and forth he goth 1489 Hom to his Emes court ayein; 1490 To whom his aventure plein 1491 He tolde, of that him is befalle. 1492 And upon that thei weren alle 1493 The wiseste of the lond asent, 1494 Bot natheles of on assent 1495 Thei myhte noght acorde plat, 1496 On seide this, an othre that. 1497 After the disposicioun 1498 Of naturel complexioun 1499 To som womman it is plesance, 1500 That to an other is grevance; 1501 Bot such a thing in special, 1502 Which to hem alle in general 1503 Is most plesant, and most desired 1504 Above alle othre and most conspired, 1505 Such o thing conne thei noght finde 1506 Be Constellacion ne kinde: 1507 And thus Florent withoute cure 1508 Mot stonde upon his aventure, 1509 And is al schape unto the lere, 1510 As in defalte of his answere. 1511 This knyht hath levere forto dye 1512 Than breke his trowthe and forto lye 1513 In place ther as he was swore, 1514 And schapth him gon ayein therfore. 1515 Whan time cam he tok his leve, 1516 That lengere wolde he noght beleve, 1517 And preith his Em he be noght wroth, 1518 For that is a point of his oth, 1519 He seith, that noman schal him wreke, 1520 Thogh afterward men hiere speke 1521 That he par aventure deie. 1522 And thus he wente forth his weie 1523 Alone as knyht aventurous, 1524 And in his thoght was curious 1525 To wite what was best to do: 1526 And as he rod al one so, 1527 And cam nyh ther he wolde be, 1528 In a forest under a tre 1529 He syh wher sat a creature, 1530 A lothly wommannysch figure, 1531 That forto speke of fleisch and bon 1532 So foul yit syh he nevere non. 1533 This knyht behield hir redely, 1534 And as he wolde have passed by, 1535 Sche cleped him and bad abide; 1536 And he his horse heved aside 1537 Tho torneth, and to hire he rod, 1538 And there he hoveth and abod, 1539 To wite what sche wolde mene. 1540 And sche began him to bemene, 1541 And seide: "Florent be thi name, 1542 Thou hast on honde such a game, 1543 That bot thou be the betre avised, 1544 Thi deth is schapen and devised, 1545 That al the world ne mai the save, 1546 Bot if that thou my conseil have." 1547 Florent, whan he this tale herde, 1548 Unto this olde wyht answerde 1549 And of hir conseil he hir preide. 1550 And sche ayein to him thus seide: 1551 "Florent, if I for the so schape, 1552 That thou thurgh me thi deth ascape 1553 And take worschipe of thi dede, 1554 What schal I have to my mede?" 1555 "What thing," quod he, "that thou wolt axe." 1556 "I bidde nevere a betre taxe," 1557 Quod sche, "bot ferst, er thou be sped, 1558 Thou schalt me leve such a wedd, 1559 That I wol have thi trowthe in honde 1560 That thou schalt be myn housebonde." 1561 "Nay," seith Florent, "that may noght be." 1562 "Ryd thanne forth thi wey," quod sche, 1563 "And if thou go withoute red, 1564 Thou schalt be sekerliche ded." 1565 Florent behihte hire good ynowh 1566 Of lond, of rente, of park, of plowh, 1567 Bot al that compteth sche at noght. 1568 Tho fell this knyht in mochel thoght, 1569 Now goth he forth, now comth ayein, 1570 He wot noght what is best to sein, 1571 And thoghte, as he rod to and fro, 1572 That chese he mot on of the tuo, 1573 Or forto take hire to his wif 1574 Or elles forto lese his lif. 1575 And thanne he caste his avantage, 1576 That sche was of so gret an age, 1577 That sche mai live bot a while, 1578 And thoghte put hire in an Ile, 1579 Wher that noman hire scholde knowe, 1580 Til sche with deth were overthrowe. 1581 And thus this yonge lusti knyht 1582 Unto this olde lothly wiht 1583 Tho seide: "If that non other chance 1584 Mai make my deliverance, 1585 Bot only thilke same speche 1586 Which, as thou seist, thou schalt me teche, 1587 Have hier myn hond, I schal thee wedde." 1588 And thus his trowthe he leith to wedde. 1589 With that sche frounceth up the browe: 1590 "This covenant I wol allowe," 1591 Sche seith: "if eny other thing 1592 Bot that thou hast of my techyng 1593 Fro deth thi body mai respite, 1594 I woll thee of thi trowthe acquite, 1595 And elles be non other weie. 1596 Now herkne me what I schal seie. 1597 Whan thou art come into the place, 1598 Wher now thei maken gret manace 1599 And upon thi comynge abyde, 1600 Thei wole anon the same tide 1601 Oppose thee of thin answere. 1602 I wot thou wolt nothing forbere 1603 Of that thou wenest be thi beste, 1604 And if thou myht so finde reste, 1605 Wel is, for thanne is ther nomore. 1606 And elles this schal be my lore, 1607 That thou schalt seie, upon this Molde 1608 That alle wommen lievest wolde 1609 Be soverein of mannes love: 1610 For what womman is so above, 1611 Sche hath, as who seith, al hire wille; 1612 And elles may sche noght fulfille 1613 What thing hir were lievest have. 1614 With this answere thou schalt save 1615 Thiself, and other wise noght. 1616 And whan thou hast thin ende wroght, 1617 Com hier ayein, thou schalt me finde, 1618 And let nothing out of thi minde." 1619 He goth him forth with hevy chiere, 1620 As he that not in what manere 1621 He mai this worldes joie atteigne: 1622 For if he deie, he hath a peine, 1623 And if he live, he mot him binde 1624 To such on which of alle kinde 1625 Of wommen is thunsemlieste: 1626 Thus wot he noght what is the beste: 1627 Bot be him lief or be him loth, 1628 Unto the Castell forth he goth 1629 His full answere forto yive, 1630 Or forto deie or forto live. 1631 Forth with his conseil cam the lord, 1632 The thinges stoden of record, 1633 He sende up for the lady sone, 1634 And forth sche cam, that olde Mone. 1635 In presence of the remenant 1636 The strengthe of al the covenant 1637 Tho was reherced openly, 1638 And to Florent sche bad forthi 1639 That he schal tellen his avis, 1640 As he that woot what is the pris. 1641 Florent seith al that evere he couthe, 1642 Bot such word cam ther non to mowthe, 1643 That he for yifte or for beheste 1644 Mihte eny wise his deth areste. 1645 And thus he tarieth longe and late, 1646 Til that this lady bad algate 1647 That he schal for the dom final 1648 Yive his answere in special 1649 Of that sche hadde him ferst opposed: 1650 And thanne he hath trewly supposed 1651 That he him may of nothing yelpe, 1652 Bot if so be tho wordes helpe, 1653 Whiche as the womman hath him tawht; 1654 Wherof he hath an hope cawht 1655 That he schal ben excused so, 1656 And tolde out plein his wille tho. 1657 And whan that this Matrone herde 1658 The manere how this knyht ansuerde, 1659 Sche seide: "Ha treson, wo thee be, 1660 That hast thus told the privite, 1661 Which alle wommen most desire! 1662 I wolde that thou were afire." 1663 Bot natheles in such a plit 1664 Florent of his answere is quit: 1665 And tho began his sorwe newe, 1666 For he mot gon, or ben untrewe, 1667 To hire which his trowthe hadde. 1668 Bot he, which alle schame dradde, 1669 Goth forth in stede of his penance, 1670 And takth the fortune of his chance, 1671 As he that was with trowthe affaited. 1672 This olde wyht him hath awaited 1673 In place wher as he hire lefte: 1674 Florent his wofull heved uplefte 1675 And syh this vecke wher sche sat, 1676 Which was the lothlieste what 1677 That evere man caste on his yhe: 1678 Hire Nase bass, hire browes hyhe, 1679 Hire yhen smale and depe set, 1680 Hire chekes ben with teres wet, 1681 And rivelen as an emty skyn 1682 Hangende doun unto the chin, 1683 Hire Lippes schrunken ben for age, 1684 Ther was no grace in the visage, 1685 Hir front was nargh, hir lockes hore, 1686 Sche loketh forth as doth a More, 1687 Hire Necke is schort, hir schuldres courbe, 1688 That myhte a mannes lust destourbe, 1689 Hire body gret and nothing smal, 1690 And schortly to descrive hire al, 1691 Sche hath no lith withoute a lak; 1692 Bot lich unto the wollesak 1693 Sche proferth hire unto this knyht, 1694 And bad him, as he hath behyht, 1695 So as sche hath ben his warant, 1696 That he hire holde covenant, 1697 And be the bridel sche him seseth. 1698 Bot godd wot how that sche him pleseth 1699 Of suche wordes as sche spekth: 1700 Him thenkth welnyh his herte brekth 1701 For sorwe that he may noght fle, 1702 Bot if he wolde untrewe be. 1703 Loke, how a sek man for his hele 1704 Takth baldemoine with Canele, 1705 And with the Mirre takth the Sucre, 1706 Ryht upon such a maner lucre 1707 Stant Florent, as in this diete: 1708 He drinkth the bitre with the swete, 1709 He medleth sorwe with likynge, 1710 And liveth, as who seith, deyinge; 1711 His youthe schal be cast aweie 1712 Upon such on which as the weie 1713 Is old and lothly overal. 1714 Bot nede he mot that nede schal: 1715 He wolde algate his trowthe holde, 1716 As every knyht therto is holde, 1717 What happ so evere him is befalle: 1718 Thogh sche be the fouleste of alle, 1719 Yet to thonour of wommanhiede 1720 Him thoghte he scholde taken hiede; 1721 So that for pure gentilesse, 1722 As he hire couthe best adresce, 1723 In ragges, as sche was totore, 1724 He set hire on his hors tofore 1725 And forth he takth his weie softe; 1726 No wonder thogh he siketh ofte. 1727 Bot as an oule fleth be nyhte 1728 Out of alle othre briddes syhte, 1729 Riht so this knyht on daies brode 1730 In clos him hield, and schop his rode 1731 On nyhtes time, til the tyde 1732 That he cam there he wolde abide; 1733 And prively withoute noise 1734 He bringth this foule grete Coise 1735 To his Castell in such a wise 1736 That noman myhte hire schappe avise, 1737 Til sche into the chambre cam: 1738 Wher he his prive conseil nam 1739 Of suche men as he most troste, 1740 And tolde hem that he nedes moste 1741 This beste wedde to his wif, 1742 For elles hadde he lost his lif. 1743 The prive wommen were asent, 1744 That scholden ben of his assent: 1745 Hire ragges thei anon of drawe, 1746 And, as it was that time lawe, 1747 She hadde bath, sche hadde reste, 1748 And was arraied to the beste. 1749 Bot with no craft of combes brode 1750 Thei myhte hire hore lockes schode, 1751 And sche ne wolde noght be schore 1752 For no conseil, and thei therfore, 1753 With such atyr as tho was used, 1754 Ordeinen that it was excused, 1755 And hid so crafteliche aboute, 1756 That noman myhte sen hem oute. 1757 Bot when sche was fulliche arraied 1758 And hire atyr was al assaied, 1759 Tho was sche foulere on to se: 1760 Bot yit it may non other be, 1761 Thei were wedded in the nyht; 1762 So wo begon was nevere knyht 1763 As he was thanne of mariage.