Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins
Incipit Liber Quartus: Part 1
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4
Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum, Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis: Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in cras, Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo. Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido, Set Venus in celeri ludit amore viri. 1 Upon the vices to procede 2 After the cause of mannes dede, 3 The ferste point of Slowthe I calle 4 Lachesce, and is the chief of alle, 5 And hath this propreliche of kinde, 6 To leven alle thing behinde. 7 Of that he mihte do now hier 8 He tarieth al the longe yer, 9 And everemore he seith, "Tomorwe"; 10 And so he wol his time borwe, 11 And wissheth after "God me sende," 12 That whan he weneth have an ende, 13 Thanne is he ferthest to beginne. 14 Thus bringth he many a meschief inne 15 Unwar, til that he be meschieved, 16 And may noght thanne be relieved. 17 And riht so nowther mor ne lesse 18 It stant of love and of lachesce: 19 Som time he slowtheth in a day 20 That he nevere after gete mai. 21 Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing, 22 If thou have eny knowleching, 23 That thou to love hast don er this, 24 Tell on. Mi goode fader, yis. 25 As of lachesce I am beknowe 26 That I mai stonde upon his rowe, 27 As I that am clad of his suite: 28 For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite 29 To make, and therto sette a day 30 To speke unto the swete May, 31 Lachesce bad abide yit, 32 And bar on hond it was no wit 33 Ne time forto speke as tho. 34 Thus with his tales to and fro 35 Mi time in tariinge he drowh: 36 Whan ther was time good ynowh, 37 He seide, "An other time is bettre; 38 Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre, 39 And per cas wryte more plein 40 Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein." 41 Thus have I lete time slyde 42 For Slowthe, and kepte noght my tide, 43 So that lachesce with his vice 44 Fulofte hath mad my wit so nyce, 45 That what I thoghte speke or do 46 With tariinge he hield me so, 47 Til whanne I wolde and mihte noght. 48 I not what thing was in my thoght, 49 Or it was drede, or it was schame; 50 Bot evere in ernest and in game 51 I wot ther is long time passed. 52 Bot yit is noght the love lassed, 53 Which I unto mi ladi have; 54 For thogh my tunge is slowh to crave 55 At alle time, as I have bede, 56 Min herte stant evere in o stede 57 And axeth besiliche grace, 58 The which I mai noght yit embrace. 59 And god wot that is malgre myn; 60 For this I wot riht wel a fin, 61 Mi grace comth so selde aboute, 62 That is the Slowthe of which I doute 63 Mor than of al the remenant 64 Which is to love appourtenant. 65 And thus as touchende of lachesce, 66 As I have told, I me confesse 67 To you, mi fader, and beseche 68 That furthermor ye wol me teche; 69 And if ther be to this matiere 70 Som goodly tale forto liere 71 How I mai do lachesce aweie, 72 That ye it wolden telle I preie. 73 To wisse thee, my Sone, and rede, 74 Among the tales whiche I rede, 75 An old ensample therupon 76 Now herkne, and I wol tellen on. 77 Ayein Lachesce in loves cas 78 I finde how whilom Eneas, 79 Whom Anchises to Sone hadde, 80 With gret navie, which he ladde 81 Fro Troie, aryveth at Cartage, 82 Wher for a while his herbergage 83 He tok; and it betidde so, 84 With hire which was qweene tho 85 Of the Cite his aqueintance 86 He wan, whos name in remembrance 87 Is yit, and Dido sche was hote; 88 Which loveth Eneas so hote 89 Upon the wordes whiche he seide, 90 That al hire herte on him sche leide 91 And dede al holi what he wolde. 92 Bot after that, as it be scholde, 93 Fro thenne he goth toward Ytaile 94 Be Schipe, and there his arivaile 95 Hath take, and schop him forto ryde. 96 Bot sche, which mai noght longe abide 97 The hote peine of loves throwe, 98 Anon withinne a litel throwe 99 A lettre unto hir kniht hath write, 100 And dede him pleinly forto wite, 101 If he made eny tariinge, 102 To drecche of his ayeincomynge, 103 That sche ne mihte him fiele and se, 104 Sche scholde stonde in such degre 105 As whilom stod a Swan tofore, 106 Of that sche hadde hire make lore; 107 For sorwe a fethere into hire brain 108 Sche schof and hath hireselve slain; 109 As king Menander in a lay 110 The sothe hath founde, wher sche lay 111 Sprantlende with hire wynges tweie, 112 As sche which scholde thanne deie 113 For love of him which was hire make. 114 "And so schal I do for thi sake," 115 This qweene seide, "wel I wot." 116 Lo, to Enee thus sche wrot 117 With many an other word of pleinte: 118 Bot he, which hadde hise thoghtes feinte 119 Towardes love and full of Slowthe, 120 His time lette, and that was rowthe: 121 For sche, which loveth him tofore, 122 Desireth evere more and more, 123 And whan sche sih him tarie so, 124 Hire herte was so full of wo, 125 That compleignende manyfold 126 Sche hath hire oghne tale told, 127 Unto hirself and thus sche spak: 128 "Ha, who fond evere such a lak 129 Of Slowthe in eny worthi kniht? 130 Now wot I wel my deth is diht 131 Thurgh him which scholde have be mi lif." 132 Bot forto stinten al this strif, 133 Thus whan sche sih non other bote, 134 Riht evene unto hire herte rote 135 A naked swerd anon sche threste, 136 And thus sche gat hireselve reste 137 In remembrance of alle slowe. 138 Wherof, my Sone, thou miht knowe 139 How tariinge upon the nede 140 In loves cause is forto drede; 141 And that hath Dido sore aboght, 142 Whos deth schal evere be bethoght. 143 And overmore if I schal seche 144 In this matiere an other spieche, 145 In a Cronique I finde write 146 A tale which is good to wite. 147 At Troie whan king Ulixes 148 Upon the Siege among the pres 149 Of hem that worthi knihtes were 150 Abod long time stille there, 151 In thilke time a man mai se 152 How goodli that Penolope, 153 Which was to him his trewe wif, 154 Of his lachesce was pleintif; 155 Wherof to Troie sche him sende 156 Hire will be lettre, thus spekende: 157 "Mi worthi love and lord also, 158 It is and hath ben evere so, 159 That wher a womman is al one, 160 It makth a man in his persone 161 The more hardi forto wowe, 162 In hope that sche wolde bowe 163 To such thing as his wille were, 164 Whil that hire lord were elleswhere. 165 And of miself I telle this; 166 For it so longe passed is, 167 Sithe ferst than ye fro home wente, 168 That welnyh every man his wente 169 To there I am, whil ye ben oute, 170 Hath mad, and ech of hem aboute, 171 Which love can, my love secheth, 172 With gret preiere and me besecheth: 173 And some maken gret manace, 174 That if thei mihten come in place, 175 Wher that thei mihte here wille have, 176 Ther is nothing me scholde save, 177 That thei ne wolde werche thinges; 178 And some tellen me tidynges 179 That ye ben ded, and some sein 180 That certeinly ye ben besein 181 To love a newe and leve me. 182 Bot hou as evere that it be, 183 I thonke unto the goddes alle, 184 As yit for oght that is befalle 185 Mai noman do my chekes rede: 186 Bot natheles it is to drede, 187 That Lachesse in continuance 188 Fortune mihte such a chance, 189 Which noman after scholde amende." 190 Lo, thus this ladi compleignende 191 A lettre unto hire lord hath write, 192 And preyde him that he wolde wite 193 And thenke hou that sche was al his, 194 And that he tarie noght in this, 195 Bot that he wolde his love aquite, 196 To hire ayeinward and noght wryte, 197 Bot come himself in alle haste, 198 That he non other paper waste; 199 So that he kepe and holde his trowthe 200 Withoute lette of eny Slowthe. 201 Unto hire lord and love liege 202 To Troie, wher the grete Siege 203 Was leid, this lettre was conveied. 204 And he, which wisdom hath pourveied 205 Of al that to reson belongeth, 206 With gentil herte it underfongeth: 207 And whan he hath it overrad, 208 In part he was riht inly glad, 209 And ek in part he was desesed: 210 Bot love his herte hath so thorghsesed 211 With pure ymaginacioun, 212 That for non occupacioun 213 Which he can take on other side, 214 He mai noght flitt his herte aside 215 Fro that his wif him hadde enformed; 216 Wherof he hath himself conformed 217 With al the wille of his corage 218 To schape and take the viage 219 Homward, what time that he mai: 220 So that him thenketh of a day 221 A thousand yer, til he mai se 222 The visage of Penolope, 223 Which he desireth most of alle. 224 And whan the time is so befalle 225 That Troie was destruid and brent, 226 He made non delaiement, 227 Bot goth him home in alle hihe, 228 Wher that he fond tofore his yhe 229 His worthi wif in good astat: 230 And thus was cessed the debat 231 Of love, and Slowthe was excused, 232 Which doth gret harm, where it is used, 233 And hindreth many a cause honeste. 234 For of the grete Clerc Grossteste 235 I rede how besy that he was 236 Upon clergie an Hed of bras 237 To forge, and make it forto telle 238 Of suche thinges as befelle. 239 And sevene yeres besinesse 240 He leyde, bot for the lachesse 241 Of half a Minut of an houre, 242 Fro ferst that he began laboure 243 He loste all that he hadde do. 244 And otherwhile it fareth so, 245 In loves cause who is slow, 246 That he withoute under the wow 247 Be nyhte stant fulofte acold, 248 Which mihte, if that he hadde wold 249 His time kept, have be withinne. 250 Bot Slowthe mai no profit winne, 251 Bot he mai singe in his karole 252 How Latewar cam to the Dole, 253 Wher he no good receive mihte. 254 And that was proved wel be nyhte 255 Whilom of the Maidenes fyve, 256 Whan thilke lord cam forto wyve: 257 For that here oyle was aweie 258 To lihte here lampes in his weie, 259 Here Slowthe broghte it so aboute, 260 Fro him that thei ben schet withoute. 261 Wherof, my Sone, be thou war, 262 Als ferforth as I telle dar. 263 For love moste ben awaited: 264 And if thou be noght wel affaited 265 In love to eschuie Slowthe, 266 Mi Sone, forto telle trowthe, 267 Thou miht noght of thiself ben able 268 To winne love or make it stable, 269 All thogh thou mihtest love achieve. 270 Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve. 271 Bot me was nevere assigned place, 272 Wher yit to geten eny grace, 273 Ne me was non such time apointed; 274 For thanne I wolde I were unjoynted 275 Of every lime that I have, 276 If I ne scholde kepe and save 277 Min houre bothe and ek my stede, 278 If my ladi it hadde bede. 279 Bot sche is otherwise avised 280 Than grante such a time assised; 281 And natheles of mi lachesse 282 Ther hath be no defalte I gesse 283 Of time lost, if that I mihte: 284 Bot yit hire liketh noght alyhte 285 Upon no lure which I caste; 286 For ay the more I crie faste, 287 The lasse hire liketh forto hiere. 288 So forto speke of this matiere, 289 I seche that I mai noght finde, 290 I haste and evere I am behinde, 291 And wot noght what it mai amounte. 292 Bot, fader, upon myn acompte, 293 Which ye be sett to examine 294 Of Schrifte after the discipline, 295 Sey what your beste conseil is. 296 Mi Sone, my conseil is this: 297 Hou so it stonde of time go, 298 Do forth thi besinesse so, 299 That no Lachesce in the be founde: 300 For Slowthe is mihti to confounde 301 The spied of every mannes werk. 302 For many a vice, as seith the clerk, 303 Ther hongen upon Slowthes lappe 304 Of suche as make a man mishappe, 305 To pleigne and telle of hadde I wist. 306 And therupon if that thee list 307 To knowe of Slowthes cause more, 308 In special yit overmore 309 Ther is a vice full grevable 310 To him which is therof coupable, 311 And stant of alle vertu bare, 312 Hierafter as I schal declare. 313 Touchende of Slowthe in his degre, 314 Ther is yit Pusillamite, 315 Which is to seie in this langage, 316 He that hath litel of corage 317 And dar no mannes werk beginne: 318 So mai he noght be resoun winne; 319 For who that noght dar undertake, 320 Be riht he schal no profit take. 321 Bot of this vice the nature 322 Dar nothing sette in aventure, 323 Him lacketh bothe word and dede, 324 Wherof he scholde his cause spede: 325 He woll no manhed understonde, 326 For evere he hath drede upon honde: 327 Al is peril that he schal seie, 328 Him thenkth the wolf is in the weie, 329 And of ymaginacioun 330 He makth his excusacioun 331 And feigneth cause of pure drede, 332 And evere he faileth ate nede, 333 Til al be spilt that he with deleth. 334 He hath the sor which noman heleth, 335 The which is cleped lack of herte; 336 Thogh every grace aboute him sterte, 337 He wol noght ones stere his fot; 338 So that be resoun lese he mot, 339 That wol noght auntre forto winne. 340 And so forth, Sone, if we beginne 341 To speke of love and his servise, 342 Ther ben truantz in such a wise, 343 That lacken herte, whan best were 344 To speke of love, and riht for fere 345 Thei wexen doumb and dar noght telle, 346 Withoute soun as doth the belle, 347 Which hath no claper forto chyme; 348 And riht so thei as for the tyme 349 Ben herteles withoute speche 350 Of love, and dar nothing beseche; 351 And thus thei lese and winne noght. 352 Forthi, my Sone, if thou art oght 353 Coupable as touchende of this Slowthe, 354 Schrif thee therof and tell me trowthe. 355 Mi fader, I am al beknowe 356 That I have ben on of tho slowe, 357 As forto telle in loves cas. 358 Min herte is yit and evere was, 359 As thogh the world scholde al tobreke, 360 So ferful, that I dar noght speke 361 Of what pourpos that I have nome, 362 Whan I toward mi ladi come, 363 Bot let it passe and overgo. 364 Mi Sone, do nomore so: 365 For after that a man poursuieth 366 To love, so fortune suieth, 367 Fulofte and yifth hire happi chance 368 To him which makth continuance 369 To preie love and to beseche; 370 As be ensample I schal thee teche. 371 I finde hou whilom ther was on, 372 Whos name was Pymaleon, 373 Which was a lusti man of yowthe: 374 The werkes of entaile he cowthe 375 Above alle othre men as tho; 376 And thurgh fortune it fell him so, 377 As he whom love schal travaile, 378 He made an ymage of entaile 379 Lich to a womman in semblance 380 Of feture and of contienance, 381 So fair yit nevere was figure. 382 Riht as a lyves creature 383 Sche semeth, for of yvor whyt 384 He hath hire wroght of such delit, 385 That sche was rody on the cheke 386 And red on bothe hire lippes eke; 387 Wherof that he himself beguileth. 388 For with a goodly lok sche smyleth, 389 So that thurgh pure impression 390 Of his ymaginacion 391 With al the herte of his corage 392 His love upon this faire ymage 393 He sette, and hire of love preide; 394 Bot sche no word ayeinward seide. 395 The longe day, what thing he dede, 396 This ymage in the same stede 397 Was evere bi, that ate mete 398 He wolde hire serve and preide hire ete, 399 And putte unto hire mowth the cuppe; 400 And whan the bord was taken uppe, 401 He hath hire into chambre nome, 402 And after, whan the nyht was come, 403 He leide hire in his bed al nakid. 404 He was forwept, he was forwakid, 405 He keste hire colde lippes ofte, 406 And wissheth that thei weren softe, 407 And ofte he rouneth in hire Ere, 408 And ofte his arm now hier now there 409 He leide, as he hir wolde embrace, 410 And evere among he axeth grace, 411 As thogh sche wiste what he mente: 412 And thus himself he gan tormente 413 With such desese of loves peine, 414 That noman mihte him more peine. 415 Bot how it were, of his penance 416 He made such continuance 417 Fro dai to nyht, and preith so longe, 418 That his preiere is underfonge, 419 Which Venus of hire grace herde; 420 Be nyhte and whan that he worst ferde, 421 And it lay in his nakede arm, 422 The colde ymage he fieleth warm 423 Of fleissh and bon and full of lif. 424 Lo, thus he wan a lusti wif, 425 Which obeissant was at his wille; 426 And if he wolde have holde him stille 427 And nothing spoke, he scholde have failed: 428 Bot for he hath his word travailed 429 And dorste speke, his love he spedde, 430 And hadde al that he wolde abedde. 431 For er thei wente thanne atwo, 432 A knave child betwen hem two 433 Thei gete, which was after hote 434 Paphus, of whom yit hath the note 435 A certein yle, which Paphos 436 Men clepe, and of his name it ros. 437 Be this ensample thou miht finde 438 That word mai worche above kinde. 439 Forthi, my Sone, if that thou spare 440 To speke, lost is al thi fare, 441 For Slowthe bringth in alle wo. 442 And over this to loke also, 443 The god of love is favorable 444 To hem that ben of love stable, 445 And many a wonder hath befalle: 446 Wherof to speke amonges alle, 447 If that thee list to taken hede, 448 Therof a solein tale I rede, 449 Which I schal telle in remembraunce 450 Upon the sort of loves chaunce. 451 The king Ligdus upon a strif 452 Spak unto Thelacuse his wif, 453 Which thanne was with childe grete; 454 He swor it scholde noght be lete, 455 That if sche have a dowhter bore, 456 That it ne scholde be forlore 457 And slain, wherof sche sory was. 458 So it befell upon this cas, 459 Whan sche delivered scholde be, 460 Isis be nyhte in privete, 461 Which of childinge is the goddesse, 462 Cam forto helpe in that destresse, 463 Til that this lady was al smal, 464 And hadde a dowhter forth withal; 465 Which the goddesse in alle weie 466 Bad kepe, and that thei scholden seie 467 It were a Sone: and thus Iphis 468 Thei namede him, and upon this 469 The fader was mad so to wene. 470 And thus in chambre with the qweene 471 This Iphis was forthdrawe tho, 472 And clothed and arraied so 473 Riht as a kinges Sone scholde. 474 Til after, as fortune it wolde, 475 Whan it was of a ten yer age, 476 Him was betake in mariage 477 A Duckes dowhter forto wedde, 478 Which Iante hihte, and ofte abedde 479 These children leien, sche and sche, 480 Whiche of on age bothe be. 481 So that withinne time of yeeres, 482 Togedre as thei ben pleiefieres, 483 Liggende abedde upon a nyht, 484 Nature, which doth every wiht 485 Upon hire lawe forto muse, 486 Constreigneth hem, so that thei use 487 Thing which to hem was al unknowe; 488 Wherof Cupide thilke throwe 489 Tok pite for the grete love, 490 And let do sette kinde above, 491 So that hir lawe mai ben used, 492 And thei upon here lust excused. 493 For love hateth nothing more 494 Than thing which stant ayein the lore 495 Of that nature in kinde hath sett: 496 Forthi Cupide hath so besett 497 His grace upon this aventure, 498 That he acordant to nature, 499 Whan that he syh the time best, 500 That ech of hem hath other kest, 501 Transformeth Iphe into a man, 502 Wherof the kinde love he wan 503 Of lusti yonge Iante his wif; 504 And tho thei ladde a merie lif, 505 Which was to kinde non offence. 506 And thus to take an evidence, 507 It semeth love is welwillende 508 To hem that ben continuende 509 With besy herte to poursuie 510 Thing which that is to love due. 511 Wherof, my Sone, in this matiere 512 Thou miht ensample taken hiere, 513 That with thi grete besinesse 514 Thou miht atteigne the richesse 515 Of love, if that ther be no Slowthe. 516 I dar wel seie be mi trowthe, 517 Als fer as I my witt can seche, 518 Mi fader, as for lacke of speche, 519 Bot so as I me schrof tofore, 520 Ther is non other time lore, 521 Wherof ther mihte ben obstacle 522 To lette love of his miracle, 523 Which I beseche day and nyht. 524 Bot, fader, so as it is riht 525 In forme of schrifte to beknowe 526 What thing belongeth to the slowe, 527 Your faderhode I wolde preie, 528 If ther be forthere eny weie 529 Touchende unto this ilke vice. 530 Mi Sone, ye, of this office 531 Ther serveth on in special, 532 Which lost hath his memorial, 533 So that he can no wit withholde 534 In thing which he to kepe is holde, 535 Wherof fulofte himself he grieveth: 536 And who that most upon him lieveth, 537 Whan that hise wittes ben so weyved, 538 He mai full lihtly be deceived. 539 To serve Accidie in his office, 540 Ther is of Slowthe an other vice, 541 Which cleped is Foryetelnesse; 542 That noght mai in his herte impresse 543 Of vertu which reson hath sett, 544 So clene his wittes he foryet. 545 For in the tellinge of his tale 546 Nomore his herte thanne his male 547 Hath remembrance of thilke forme, 548 Wherof he scholde his wit enforme 549 As thanne, and yit ne wot he why. 550 Thus is his pourpos noght forthi 551 Forlore of that he wolde bidde, 552 And skarsly if he seith the thridde 553 To love of that he hadde ment: 554 Thus many a lovere hath be schent. 555 Tell on therfore, hast thou be oon 556 Of hem that Slowthe hath so begon? 557 Ye, fader, ofte it hath be so, 558 That whanne I am mi ladi fro 559 And thenke untoward hire drawe, 560 Than cast I many a newe lawe 561 And al the world torne up so doun, 562 And so recorde I mi lecoun 563 And wryte in my memorial 564 What I to hire telle schal, 565 Riht al the matiere of mi tale: 566 Bot al nys worth a note schale; 567 For whanne I come ther sche is, 568 I have it al foryete ywiss; 569 Of that I thoghte forto telle 570 I can noght thanne unethes spelle 571 That I wende altherbest have rad, 572 So sore I am of hire adrad. 573 For as a man that sodeinli 574 A gost behelde, so fare I; 575 So that for feere I can noght gete 576 Mi witt, bot I miself foryete, 577 That I wot nevere what I am, 578 Ne whider I schal, ne whenne I cam, 579 Bot muse as he that were amased. 580 Lich to the bok in which is rased 581 The lettre, and mai nothing be rad, 582 So ben my wittes overlad, 583 That what as evere I thoghte have spoken, 584 It is out fro myn herte stoken, 585 And stonde, as who seith, doumb and def, 586 That all nys worth an yvy lef, 587 Of that I wende wel have seid. 588 And ate laste I make abreid, 589 Caste up myn hed and loke aboute, 590 Riht as a man that were in doute 591 And wot noght wher he schal become. 592 Thus am I ofte al overcome, 593 Ther as I wende best to stonde: 594 Bot after, whanne I understonde, 595 And am in other place al one, 596 I make many a wofull mone 597 Unto miself, and speke so: 598 "Ha fol, wher was thin herte tho, 599 Whan thou thi worthi ladi syhe? 600 Were thou afered of hire yhe? 601 For of hire hand ther is no drede: 602 So wel I knowe hir wommanhede, 603 That in hire is nomore oultrage 604 Than in a child of thre yeer age. 605 Whi hast thou drede of so good on, 606 Whom alle vertu hath begon, 607 That in hire is no violence 608 Bot goodlihiede and innocence 609 Withouten spot of eny blame? 610 Ha, nyce herte, fy for schame] 611 Ha, couard herte of love unlered, 612 Wherof art thou so sore afered, 613 That thou thi tunge soffrest frese, 614 And wolt thi goode wordes lese, 615 Whan thou hast founde time and space? 616 How scholdest thou deserve grace, 617 Whan thou thiself darst axe non, 618 Bot al thou hast foryete anon?" 619 And thus despute I loves lore, 620 Bot help ne finde I noght the more, 621 Bot stomble upon myn oghne treine 622 And make an ekinge of my peine. 623 For evere whan I thenke among 624 How al is on miself along, 625 I seie, "O fol of alle foles, 626 Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles 627 That wolde sitte and goth to grounde. 628 It was ne nevere schal be founde, 629 Betwen foryetelnesse and drede 630 That man scholde any cause spede." 631 And thus, myn holi fader diere, 632 Toward miself, as ye mai hiere, 633 I pleigne of my foryetelnesse; 634 Bot elles al the besinesse, 635 That mai be take of mannes thoght, 636 Min herte takth, and is thorghsoght 637 To thenken evere upon that swete 638 Withoute Slowthe, I you behete. 639 For what so falle, or wel or wo, 640 That thoght foryete I neveremo, 641 Wher so I lawhe or so I loure: 642 Noght half the Minut of an houre 643 Ne mihte I lete out of my mende, 644 Bot if I thoghte upon that hende. 645 Therof me schal no Slowthe lette, 646 Til deth out of this world me fette, 647 Althogh I hadde on such a Ring, 648 As Moises thurgh his enchanting 649 Som time in Ethiope made, 650 Whan that he Tharbis weddid hade. 651 Which Ring bar of Oblivion 652 The name, and that was be resoun 653 That where it on a finger sat, 654 Anon his love he so foryat, 655 As thogh he hadde it nevere knowe: 656 And so it fell that ilke throwe, 657 Whan Tharbis hadde it on hire hond, 658 No knowlechinge of him sche fond, 659 Bot al was clene out of memoire, 660 As men mai rede in his histoire; 661 And thus he wente quit away, 662 That nevere after that ilke day 663 Sche thoghte that ther was such on; 664 Al was foryete and overgon. 665 Bot in good feith so mai noght I: 666 For sche is evere faste by, 667 So nyh that sche myn herte toucheth, 668 That for nothing that Slowthe voucheth 669 I mai foryete hire, lief ne loth; 670 For overal, where as sche goth, 671 Min herte folwith hire aboute. 672 Thus mai I seie withoute doute, 673 For bet, for wers, for oght, for noght, 674 Sche passeth nevere fro my thoght; 675 Bot whanne I am ther as sche is, 676 Min herte, as I you saide er this, 677 Som time of hire is sore adrad, 678 And som time it is overglad, 679 Al out of reule and out of space. 680 For whan I se hir goodli face 681 And thenke upon hire hihe pris, 682 As thogh I were in Paradis, 683 I am so ravisht of the syhte, 684 That speke unto hire I ne myhte 685 As for the time, thogh I wolde: 686 For I ne mai my wit unfolde 687 To finde o word of that I mene, 688 Bot al it is foryete clene; 689 And thogh I stonde there a myle, 690 Al is foryete for the while, 691 A tunge I have and wordes none. 692 And thus I stonde and thenke al one 693 Of thing that helpeth ofte noght; 694 Bot what I hadde afore thoght 695 To speke, whanne I come there, 696 It is foryete, as noght ne were, 697 And stonde amased and assoted, 698 That of nothing which I have noted 699 I can noght thanne a note singe, 700 Bot al is out of knowlechinge: 701 Thus, what for joie and what for drede, 702 Al is foryeten ate nede. 703 So that, mi fader, of this Slowthe 704 I have you said the pleine trowthe; 705 Ye mai it as you list redresce: 706 For thus stant my foryetelnesse 707 And ek my pusillamite. 708 Sey now forth what you list to me, 709 For I wol only do be you. 710 Mi Sone, I have wel herd how thou 711 Hast seid, and that thou most amende: 712 For love his grace wol noght sende 713 To that man which dar axe non. 714 For this we knowen everichon, 715 A mannes thoght withoute speche 716 God wot, and yit that men beseche 717 His will is; for withoute bedes 718 He doth his grace in fewe stedes: 719 And what man that foryet himselve, 720 Among a thousand be noght tuelve, 721 That wol him take in remembraunce, 722 Bot lete him falle and take his chaunce. 723 Forthi pull up a besi herte, 724 Mi Sone, and let nothing asterte 725 Of love fro thi besinesse: 726 For touchinge of foryetelnesse, 727 Which many a love hath set behinde, 728 A tale of gret ensample I finde, 729 Wherof it is pite to wite 730 In the manere as it is write. 731 King Demephon, whan he be Schipe 732 To Troieward with felaschipe 733 Sailende goth, upon his weie 734 It hapneth him at Rodopeie, 735 As Eolus him hadde blowe, 736 To londe, and rested for a throwe. 737 And fell that ilke time thus, 738 The dowhter of Ligurgius, 739 Which qweene was of the contre, 740 Was sojournende in that Cite 741 Withinne a Castell nyh the stronde, 742 Wher Demephon cam up to londe. 743 Phillis sche hihte, and of yong age 744 And of stature and of visage 745 Sche hadde al that hire best besemeth. 746 Of Demephon riht wel hire qwemeth, 747 Whan he was come, and made him chiere; 748 And he, that was of his manere 749 A lusti knyht, ne myhte asterte 750 That he ne sette on hire his herte; 751 So that withinne a day or tuo 752 He thoghte, how evere that it go, 753 He wolde assaie the fortune, 754 And gan his herte to commune 755 With goodly wordes in hire Ere; 756 And forto put hire out of fere, 757 He swor and hath his trowthe pliht 758 To be for evere hire oghne knyht. 759 And thus with hire he stille abod, 760 Ther while his Schip on Anker rod, 761 And hadde ynowh of time and space 762 To speke of love and seche grace. 763 This ladi herde al that he seide, 764 And hou he swor and hou he preide, 765 Which was as an enchantement 766 To hire, that was innocent: 767 As thogh it were trowthe and feith, 768 Sche lieveth al that evere he seith, 769 And as hire infortune scholde, 770 Sche granteth him al that he wolde. 771 Thus was he for the time in joie, 772 Til that he scholde go to Troie; 773 Bot tho sche made mochel sorwe, 774 And he his trowthe leith to borwe 775 To come, if that he live may, 776 Ayein withinne a Monthe day, 777 And therupon thei kisten bothe: 778 Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe, 779 To Schipe he goth and forth he wente 780 To Troie, as was his ferste entente. 781 The daies gon, the Monthe passeth, 782 Hire love encresceth and his lasseth, 783 For him sche lefte slep and mete, 784 And he his time hath al foryete; 785 So that this wofull yonge qweene, 786 Which wot noght what it mihte meene, 787 A lettre sende and preide him come, 788 And seith how sche is overcome 789 With strengthe of love in such a wise, 790 That sche noght longe mai suffise 791 To liven out of his presence; 792 And putte upon his conscience 793 The trowthe which he hath behote, 794 Wherof sche loveth him so hote, 795 Sche seith, that if he lengere lette 796 Of such a day as sche him sette, 797 Sche scholde sterven in his Slowthe, 798 Which were a schame unto his trowthe. 799 This lettre is forth upon hire sonde, 800 Wherof somdiel confort on honde 801 Sche tok, as she that wolde abide 802 And waite upon that ilke tyde 803 Which sche hath in hire lettre write. 804 Bot now is pite forto wite, 805 As he dede erst, so he foryat 806 His time eftsone and oversat. 807 Bot sche, which mihte noght do so, 808 The tyde awayteth everemo, 809 And caste hire yhe upon the See: 810 Somtime nay, somtime yee, 811 Somtime he cam, somtime noght, 812 Thus sche desputeth in hire thoght 813 And wot noght what sche thenke mai; 814 Bot fastende al the longe day 815 Sche was into the derke nyht, 816 And tho sche hath do set up lyht 817 In a lanterne on hih alofte 818 Upon a Tour, wher sche goth ofte, 819 In hope that in his cominge 820 He scholde se the liht brenninge, 821 Wherof he mihte his weies rihte 822 To come wher sche was be nyhte. 823 Bot al for noght, sche was deceived, 824 For Venus hath hire hope weyved, 825 And schewede hire upon the Sky 826 How that the day was faste by, 827 So that withinne a litel throwe 828 The daies lyht sche mihte knowe. 829 Tho sche behield the See at large; 830 And whan sche sih ther was no barge 831 Ne Schip, als ferr as sche may kenne, 832 Doun fro the Tour sche gan to renne 833 Into an Herber all hire one, 834 Wher many a wonder woful mone 835 Sche made, that no lif it wiste, 836 As sche which all hire joie miste, 837 That now sche swouneth, now sche pleigneth, 838 And al hire face sche desteigneth 839 With teres, whiche, as of a welle 840 The stremes, from hire yhen felle; 841 So as sche mihte and evere in on 842 Sche clepede upon Demephon, 843 And seide, "Helas, thou slowe wiht, 844 Wher was ther evere such a knyht, 845 That so thurgh his ungentilesce 846 Of Slowthe and of foryetelnesse 847 Ayein his trowthe brak his stevene?" 848 And tho hire yhe up to the hevene 849 Sche caste, and seide, "O thou unkinde, 850 Hier schalt thou thurgh thi Slowthe finde, 851 If that thee list to come and se, 852 A ladi ded for love of thee, 853 So as I schal myselve spille; 854 Whom, if it hadde be thi wille, 855 Thou mihtest save wel ynowh." 856 With that upon a grene bowh 857 A Ceinte of Selk, which sche ther hadde, 858 Sche knette, and so hireself sche ladde, 859 That sche aboute hire whyte swere 860 It dede, and hyng hirselven there. 861 Wherof the goddes were amoeved, 862 And Demephon was so reproeved, 863 That of the goddes providence 864 Was schape such an evidence 865 Evere afterward ayein the slowe, 866 That Phillis in the same throwe 867 Was schape into a Notetre, 868 That alle men it mihte se, 869 And after Phillis Philliberd 870 This tre was cleped in the yerd, 871 And yit for Demephon to schame 872 Into this dai it berth the name. 873 This wofull chance how that it ferde 874 Anon as Demephon it herde, 875 And every man it hadde in speche, 876 His sorwe was noght tho to seche; 877 He gan his Slowthe forto banne, 878 Bot it was al to late thanne. 879 Lo thus, my Sone, miht thou wite 880 Ayein this vice how it is write; 881 For noman mai the harmes gesse, 882 That fallen thurgh foryetelnesse, 883 Wherof that I thi schrifte have herd. 884 Bot yit of Slowthe hou it hath ferd 885 In other wise I thenke oppose, 886 If thou have gult, as I suppose. 887 Fulfild of Slowthes essamplaire 888 Ther is yit on, his Secretaire, 889 And he is cleped Negligence: 890 Which wol noght loke his evidence, 891 Wherof he mai be war tofore; 892 Bot whanne he hath his cause lore, 893 Thanne is he wys after the hond: 894 Whanne helpe may no maner bond, 895 Thanne ate ferste wolde he binde: 896 Thus everemore he stant behinde. 897 Whanne he the thing mai noght amende, 898 Thanne is he war, and seith at ende, 899 "Ha, wolde god I hadde knowe!" 900 Wherof bejaped with a mowe 901 He goth, for whan the grete Stiede 902 Is stole, thanne he taketh hiede, 903 And makth the stable dore fast: 904 Thus evere he pleith an aftercast 905 Of al that he schal seie or do. 906 He hath a manere eke also, 907 Him list noght lerne to be wys, 908 For he set of no vertu pris 909 Bot as him liketh for the while; 910 So fieleth he fulofte guile, 911 Whan that he weneth siker stonde. 912 And thus thou miht wel understonde, 913 Mi Sone, if thou art such in love, 914 Thou miht noght come at thin above 915 Of that thou woldest wel achieve. 916 Mi holi fader, as I lieve, 917 I mai wel with sauf conscience 918 Excuse me of necgligence 919 Towardes love in alle wise: 920 For thogh I be non of the wise, 921 I am so trewly amerous, 922 That I am evere curious 923 Of hem that conne best enforme 924 To knowe and witen al the forme, 925 What falleth unto loves craft. 926 Bot yit ne fond I noght the haft, 927 Which mihte unto that bladd acorde; 928 For nevere herde I man recorde 929 What thing it is that myhte availe 930 To winne love withoute faile. 931 Yit so fer cowthe I nevere finde 932 Man that be resoun ne be kinde 933 Me cowthe teche such an art, 934 That he ne failede of a part; 935 And as toward myn oghne wit, 936 Controeve cowthe I nevere yit 937 To finden eny sikernesse, 938 That me myhte outher more or lesse 939 Of love make forto spede: 940 For lieveth wel withoute drede, 941 If that ther were such a weie, 942 As certeinliche as I schal deie 943 I hadde it lerned longe ago. 944 Bot I wot wel ther is non so: 945 And natheles it may wel be, 946 I am so rude in my degree 947 And ek mi wittes ben so dulle, 948 That I ne mai noght to the fulle 949 Atteigne to so hih a lore. 950 Bot this I dar seie overmore, 951 Althogh mi wit ne be noght strong, 952 It is noght on mi will along, 953 For that is besi nyht and day 954 To lerne al that he lerne may, 955 How that I mihte love winne: 956 Bot yit I am as to beginne 957 Of that I wolde make an ende, 958 And for I not how it schal wende, 959 That is to me mi moste sorwe. 960 Bot I dar take god to borwe, 961 As after min entendement, 962 Non other wise necgligent 963 Thanne I yow seie have I noght be: 964 Forthi per seinte charite 965 Tell me, mi fader, what you semeth. 966 In good feith, Sone, wel me qwemeth, 967 That thou thiself hast thus aquit 968 Toward this vice, in which no wit 969 Abide mai, for in an houre 970 He lest al that he mai laboure 971 The longe yer, so that men sein, 972 What evere he doth it is in vein. 973 For thurgh the Slowthe of Negligence 974 Ther was yit nevere such science 975 Ne vertu, which was bodely, 976 That nys destruid and lost therby. 977 Ensample that it hath be so 978 In boke I finde write also. 979 Phebus, which is the Sonne hote, 980 That schyneth upon Erthe hote 981 And causeth every lyves helthe, 982 He hadde a Sone in al his welthe, 983 Which Pheton hihte, and he desireth 984 And with his Moder he conspireth, 985 The which was cleped Clemenee, 986 For help and conseil, so that he 987 His fader carte lede myhte 988 Upon the faire daies brihte. 989 And for this thing thei bothe preide 990 Unto the fader, and he seide 991 He wolde wel, bot forth withal 992 Thre pointz he bad in special 993 Unto his Sone in alle wise, 994 That he him scholde wel avise 995 And take it as be weie of lore. 996 Ferst was, that he his hors to sore 997 Ne prike, and over that he tolde 998 That he the renes faste holde; 999 And also that he be riht war 1000 In what manere he lede his charr, 1001 That he mistake noght his gate, 1002 Bot up avisement algate 1003 He scholde bere a siker yhe, 1004 That he to lowe ne to hyhe 1005 His carte dryve at eny throwe, 1006 Wherof that he mihte overthrowe. 1007 And thus be Phebus ordinance 1008 Tok Pheton into governance 1009 The Sonnes carte, which he ladde: 1010 Bot he such veine gloire hadde 1011 Of that he was set upon hyh, 1012 That he his oghne astat ne syh 1013 Thurgh negligence and tok non hiede; 1014 So mihte he wel noght longe spede. 1015 For he the hors withoute lawe 1016 The carte let aboute drawe 1017 Wher as hem liketh wantounly, 1018 That ate laste sodeinly, 1019 For he no reson wolde knowe, 1020 This fyri carte he drof to lowe, 1021 And fyreth al the world aboute; 1022 Wherof thei weren alle in doubte, 1023 And to the god for helpe criden 1024 Of suche unhappes as betyden. 1025 Phebus, which syh the necgligence, 1026 How Pheton ayein his defence 1027 His charr hath drive out of the weie, 1028 Ordeigneth that he fell aweie 1029 Out of the carte into a flod 1030 And dreynte. Lo now, hou it stod 1031 With him that was so necgligent, 1032 That fro the hyhe firmament, 1033 For that he wolde go to lowe, 1034 He was anon doun overthrowe. 1035 In hih astat it is a vice 1036 To go to lowe, and in service 1037 It grieveth forto go to hye, 1038 Wherof a tale in poesie 1039 I finde, how whilom Dedalus, 1040 Which hadde a Sone, and Icharus 1041 He hihte, and thogh hem thoghte lothe, 1042 In such prison thei weren bothe 1043 With Minotaurus, that aboute 1044 Thei mihten nawher wenden oute; 1045 So thei begonne forto schape 1046 How thei the prison mihte ascape. 1047 This Dedalus, which fro his yowthe 1048 Was tawht and manye craftes cowthe, 1049 Of fetheres and of othre thinges 1050 Hath mad to fle diverse wynges 1051 For him and for his Sone also; 1052 To whom he yaf in charge tho 1053 And bad him thenke therupon, 1054 How that his wynges ben set on 1055 With wex, and if he toke his flyhte 1056 To hyhe, al sodeinliche he mihte 1057 Make it to melte with the Sonne. 1058 And thus thei have her flyht begonne 1059 Out of the prison faire and softe; 1060 And whan thei weren bothe alofte, 1061 This Icharus began to monte, 1062 And of the conseil non accompte 1063 He sette, which his fader tawhte, 1064 Til that the Sonne his wynges cawhte, 1065 Wherof it malt, and fro the heihte 1066 Withouten help of eny sleihte 1067 He fell to his destruccion. 1068 And lich to that condicion 1069 Ther fallen ofte times fele 1070 For lacke of governance in wele, 1071 Als wel in love as other weie. 1072 Now goode fader, I you preie, 1073 If ther be more in the matiere 1074 Of Slowthe, that I mihte it hiere. 1075 Mi Sone, and for thi diligence, 1076 Which every mannes conscience 1077 Be resoun scholde reule and kepe, 1078 If that thee list to taken kepe, 1079 I wol thee telle, aboven alle 1080 In whom no vertu mai befalle, 1081 Which yifth unto the vices reste 1082 And is of slowe the sloweste. 1083 Among these othre of Slowthes kinde, 1084 Which alle labour set behinde, 1085 And hateth alle besinesse, 1086 Ther is yit on, which Ydelnesse 1087 Is cleped, and is the Norrice 1088 In mannes kinde of every vice, 1089 Which secheth eases manyfold. 1090 In Wynter doth he noght for cold, 1091 In Somer mai he noght for hete; 1092 So whether that he frese or swete, 1093 Or he be inne, or he be oute, 1094 He wol ben ydel al aboute, 1095 Bot if he pleie oght ate Dees. 1096 For who as evere take fees 1097 And thenkth worschipe to deserve, 1098 Ther is no lord whom he wol serve, 1099 As forto duelle in his servise, 1100 Bot if it were in such a wise, 1101 Of that he seth per aventure 1102 That be lordschipe and coverture 1103 He mai the more stonde stille, 1104 And use his ydelnesse at wille. 1105 For he ne wol no travail take 1106 To ryde for his ladi sake, 1107 Bot liveth al upon his wisshes; 1108 And as a cat wolde ete fisshes 1109 Withoute wetinge of his cles, 1110 So wolde he do, bot natheles 1111 He faileth ofte of that he wolde. 1112 Mi Sone, if thou of such a molde 1113 Art mad, now tell me plein thi schrifte. 1114 Nay, fader, god I yive a yifte. 1115 That toward love, as be mi wit, 1116 Al ydel was I nevere yit, 1117 Ne nevere schal, whil I mai go. 1118 Now, Sone, tell me thanne so, 1119 What hast thou don of besischipe 1120 To love and to the ladischipe 1121 Of hire which thi ladi is? 1122 Mi fader, evere yit er this 1123 In every place, in every stede, 1124 What so mi lady hath me bede, 1125 With al myn herte obedient 1126 I have therto be diligent. 1127 And if so is sche bidde noght, 1128 What thing that thanne into my thoght 1129 Comth ferst of that I mai suffise, 1130 I bowe and profre my servise, 1131 Somtime in chambre, somtime in halle, 1132 Riht as I se the times falle. 1133 And whan sche goth to hiere masse, 1134 That time schal noght overpasse, 1135 That I naproche hir ladihede, 1136 In aunter if I mai hire lede 1137 Unto the chapelle and ayein. 1138 Thanne is noght al mi weie in vein, 1139 Somdiel I mai the betre fare, 1140 Whan I, that mai noght fiele hir bare, 1141 Mai lede hire clothed in myn arm: 1142 Bot afterward it doth me harm 1143 Of pure ymaginacioun; 1144 For thanne this collacioun 1145 I make unto miselven ofte, 1146 And seie, "Ha lord, hou sche is softe, 1147 How sche is round, hou sche is smal] 1148 Now wolde god I hadde hire al 1149 Withoute danger at mi wille]" 1150 And thanne I sike and sitte stille, 1151 Of that I se mi besi thoght 1152 Is torned ydel into noght. 1153 Bot for al that lete I ne mai, 1154 Whanne I se time an other dai, 1155 That I ne do my besinesse 1156 Unto mi ladi worthinesse. 1157 For I therto mi wit afaite 1158 To se the times and awaite 1159 What is to done and what to leve: 1160 And so, whan time is, be hir leve, 1161 What thing sche bit me don, I do, 1162 And wher sche bidt me gon, I go, 1163 And whanne hir list to clepe, I come. 1164 Thus hath sche fulliche overcome 1165 Min ydelnesse til I sterve, 1166 So that I mot hire nedes serve, 1167 For as men sein, nede hath no lawe. 1168 Thus mot I nedly to hire drawe, 1169 I serve, I bowe, I loke, I loute, 1170 Min yhe folweth hire aboute, 1171 What so sche wole so wol I, 1172 Whan sche wol sitte, I knele by, 1173 And whan sche stant, than wol I stonde: 1174 Bot whan sche takth hir werk on honde 1175 Of wevinge or enbrouderie, 1176 Than can I noght bot muse and prie 1177 Upon hir fingres longe and smale, 1178 And now I thenke, and now I tale, 1179 And now I singe, and now I sike, 1180 And thus mi contienance I pike. 1181 And if it falle, as for a time 1182 Hir liketh noght abide bime, 1183 Bot besien hire on other thinges, 1184 Than make I othre tariinges 1185 To dreche forth the longe dai, 1186 For me is loth departe away. 1187 And thanne I am so simple of port, 1188 That forto feigne som desport 1189 I pleie with hire litel hound 1190 Now on the bedd, now on the ground, 1191 Now with hir briddes in the cage; 1192 For ther is non so litel page, 1193 Ne yit so simple a chamberere, 1194 That I ne make hem alle chere, 1195 Al for thei scholde speke wel: 1196 Thus mow ye sen mi besi whiel, 1197 That goth noght ydeliche aboute. 1198 And if hir list to riden oute 1199 On pelrinage or other stede, 1200 I come, thogh I be noght bede, 1201 And take hire in min arm alofte 1202 And sette hire in hire sadel softe, 1203 And so forth lede hire be the bridel, 1204 For that I wolde noght ben ydel. 1205 And if hire list to ride in Char, 1206 And thanne I mai therof be war, 1207 Anon I schape me to ryde 1208 Riht evene be the Chares side; 1209 And as I mai, I speke among, 1210 And otherwhile I singe a song, 1211 Which Ovide in his bokes made, 1212 And seide, "O whiche sorwes glade, 1213 O which wofull prosperite 1214 Belongeth to the proprete 1215 Of love, who so wole him serve] 1216 And yit therfro mai noman swerve, 1217 That he ne mot his lawe obeie." 1218 And thus I ryde forth mi weie, 1219 And am riht besi overal 1220 With herte and with mi body al, 1221 As I have said you hier tofore. 1222 My goode fader, tell therfore, 1223 Of Ydelnesse if I have gilt. 1224 Mi Sone, bot thou telle wilt 1225 Oght elles than I mai now hiere, 1226 Thou schalt have no penance hiere. 1227 And natheles a man mai se, 1228 How now adayes that ther be 1229 Ful manye of suche hertes slowe, 1230 That wol noght besien hem to knowe 1231 What thing love is, til ate laste, 1232 That he with strengthe hem overcaste, 1233 That malgre hem thei mote obeie 1234 And don al ydelschipe aweie, 1235 To serve wel and besiliche. 1236 Bot, Sone, thou art non of swiche, 1237 For love schal the wel excuse: 1238 Bot otherwise, if thou refuse 1239 To love, thou miht so per cas 1240 Ben ydel, as somtime was 1241 A kinges dowhter unavised, 1242 Til that Cupide hire hath chastised: 1243 Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere 1244 Acordant unto this matiere. 1245 Of Armenye, I rede thus, 1246 Ther was a king, which Herupus 1247 Was hote, and he a lusti Maide 1248 To dowhter hadde, and as men saide 1249 Hire name was Rosiphelee; 1250 Which tho was of gret renomee, 1251 For sche was bothe wys and fair 1252 And scholde ben hire fader hair. 1253 Bot sche hadde o defalte of Slowthe 1254 Towardes love, and that was rowthe; 1255 For so wel cowde noman seie, 1256 Which mihte sette hire in the weie 1257 Of loves occupacion 1258 Thurgh non ymaginacion; 1259 That scole wolde sche noght knowe. 1260 And thus sche was on of the slowe 1261 As of such hertes besinesse, 1262 Til whanne Venus the goddesse, 1263 Which loves court hath forto reule, 1264 Hath broght hire into betre reule, 1265 Forth with Cupide and with his miht: 1266 For thei merveille how such a wiht, 1267 Which tho was in hir lusti age, 1268 Desireth nother Mariage 1269 Ne yit the love of paramours, 1270 Which evere hath be the comun cours 1271 Amonges hem that lusti were. 1272 So was it schewed after there: 1273 For he that hihe hertes loweth 1274 With fyri Dartes whiche he throweth, 1275 Cupide, which of love is godd, 1276 In chastisinge hath mad a rodd 1277 To dryve awei hir wantounesse; 1278 So that withinne a while, I gesse, 1279 Sche hadde on such a chance sporned, 1280 That al hire mod was overtorned, 1281 Which ferst sche hadde of slow manere: 1282 For thus it fell, as thou schalt hiere. 1283 Whan come was the Monthe of Maii, 1284 Sche wolde walke upon a dai, 1285 And that was er the Sonne Ariste; 1286 Of wommen bot a fewe it wiste, 1287 And forth sche wente prively 1288 Unto the Park was faste by, 1289 Al softe walkende on the gras, 1290 Til sche cam ther the Launde was, 1291 Thurgh which ther ran a gret rivere. 1292 It thoghte hir fair, and seide, "Here 1293 I wole abide under the schawe": 1294 And bad hire wommen to withdrawe, 1295 And ther sche stod al one stille, 1296 To thenke what was in hir wille. 1297 Sche sih the swote floures springe, 1298 Sche herde glade foules singe, 1299 Sche sih the bestes in her kinde, 1300 The buck, the do, the hert, the hinde, 1301 The madle go with the femele; 1302 And so began ther a querele 1303 Betwen love and hir oghne herte, 1304 Fro which sche couthe noght asterte. 1305 And as sche caste hire yhe aboute, 1306 Sche syh clad in o suite a route 1307 Of ladis, wher thei comen ryde 1308 Along under the wodes syde: 1309 On faire amblende hors thei sete, 1310 That were al whyte, fatte and grete, 1311 And everichon thei ride on side. 1312 The Sadles were of such a Pride, 1313 With Perle and gold so wel begon, 1314 So riche syh sche nevere non; 1315 In kertles and in Copes riche 1316 Thei weren clothed, alle liche, 1317 Departed evene of whyt and blew; 1318 With alle lustes that sche knew 1319 Thei were enbrouded overal. 1320 Here bodies weren long and smal, 1321 The beaute faye upon her face 1322 Non erthly thing it may desface; 1323 Corones on here hed thei beere, 1324 As ech of hem a qweene weere, 1325 That al the gold of Cresus halle 1326 The leste coronal of alle 1327 Ne mihte have boght after the worth: 1328 Thus come thei ridende forth. 1329 The kinges dowhter, which this syh, 1330 For pure abaissht drowh hire adryh 1331 And hield hire clos under the bowh, 1332 And let hem passen stille ynowh; 1333 For as hire thoghte in hire avis, 1334 To hem that were of such a pris 1335 Sche was noght worthi axen there, 1336 Fro when they come or what thei were: 1337 Bot levere than this worldes good 1338 Sche wolde have wist hou that it stod, 1339 And putte hire hed alitel oute; 1340 And as sche lokede hire aboute, 1341 Sche syh comende under the linde 1342 A womman up an hors behinde. 1343 The hors on which sche rod was blak, 1344 Al lene and galled on the back, 1345 And haltede, as he were encluyed, 1346 Wherof the womman was annuied; 1347 Thus was the hors in sori plit, 1348 Bot for al that a sterre whit 1349 Amiddes in the front he hadde. 1350 Hir Sadel ek was wonder badde, 1351 In which the wofull womman sat, 1352 And natheles ther was with that 1353 A riche bridel for the nones 1354 Of gold and preciouse Stones. 1355 Hire cote was somdiel totore; 1356 Aboute hir middel twenty score 1357 Of horse haltres and wel mo 1358 Ther hyngen ate time tho. 1359 Thus whan sche cam the ladi nyh, 1360 Than tok sche betre hiede and syh 1361 This womman fair was of visage, 1362 Freyssh, lusti, yong and of tendre age; 1363 And so this ladi, ther sche stod, 1364 Bethoghte hire wel and understod 1365 That this, which com ridende tho, 1366 Tidinges couthe telle of tho, 1367 Which as sche sih tofore ryde, 1368 And putte hir forth and preide abide, 1369 And seide, "Ha, Suster, let me hiere, 1370 What ben thei, that now riden hiere, 1371 And ben so richeliche arraied?" 1372 This womman, which com so esmaied, 1373 Ansuerde with ful softe speche, 1374 And seith, "Ma Dame, I schal you teche. 1375 These ar of tho that whilom were 1376 Servantz to love, and trowthe beere, 1377 Ther as thei hadde here herte set. 1378 Fare wel, for I mai noght be let: 1379 Ma Dame, I go to mi servise, 1380 So moste I haste in alle wise; 1381 Forthi, ma Dame, yif me leve, 1382 I mai noght longe with you leve." 1383 "Ha, goode Soster, yit I preie, 1384 Tell me whi ye ben so beseie 1385 And with these haltres thus begon." 1386 "Ma Dame, whilom I was on 1387 That to mi fader hadde a king; 1388 Bot I was slow, and for no thing 1389 Me liste noght to love obeie, 1390 And that I now ful sore abeie. 1391 For I whilom no love hadde, 1392 Min hors is now so fieble and badde, 1393 And al totore is myn arai, 1394 And every yeer this freisshe Maii 1395 These lusti ladis ryde aboute, 1396 And I mot nedes suie here route 1397 In this manere as ye now se, 1398 And trusse here haltres forth with me, 1399 And am bot as here horse knave. 1400 Non other office I ne have, 1401 Hem thenkth I am worthi nomore, 1402 For I was slow in loves lore, 1403 Whan I was able forto lere, 1404 And wolde noght the tales hiere 1405 Of hem that couthen love teche." 1406 "Now tell me thanne, I you beseche, 1407 Wherof that riche bridel serveth." 1408 With that hire chere awei sche swerveth, 1409 And gan to wepe, and thus sche tolde: 1410 "This bridel, which ye nou beholde 1411 So riche upon myn horse hed,- 1412 Ma Dame, afore, er I was ded, 1413 Whan I was in mi lusti lif, 1414 Ther fel into myn herte a strif 1415 Of love, which me overcom, 1416 So that therafter hiede I nom 1417 And thoghte I wolde love a kniht: 1418 That laste wel a fourtenyht, 1419 For it no lengere mihte laste, 1420 So nyh my lif was ate laste. 1421 Bot now, allas, to late war 1422 That I ne hadde him loved ar: 1423 For deth cam so in haste bime, 1424 Er I therto hadde eny time, 1425 That it ne mihte ben achieved. 1426 Bot for al that I am relieved, 1427 Of that mi will was good therto, 1428 That love soffreth it be so 1429 That I schal swiche a bridel were. 1430 Now have ye herd al myn ansuere: 1431 To godd, ma Dame, I you betake, 1432 And warneth alle for mi sake, 1433 Of love that thei ben noght ydel, 1434 And bidd hem thenke upon mi brydel." 1435 And with that word al sodeinly 1436 Sche passeth, as it were a Sky, 1437 Al clene out of this ladi sihte: 1438 And tho for fere hire herte afflihte, 1439 And seide to hirself, "Helas] 1440 I am riht in the same cas. 1441 Bot if I live after this day, 1442 I schal amende it, if I may." 1443 And thus homward this lady wente, 1444 And changede al hire ferste entente, 1445 Withinne hire herte and gan to swere 1446 That sche none haltres wolde bere. 1447 Lo, Sone, hier miht thou taken hiede, 1448 How ydelnesse is forto drede, 1449 Namliche of love, as I have write. 1450 For thou miht understonde and wite, 1451 Among the gentil nacion 1452 Love is an occupacion, 1453 Which forto kepe hise lustes save 1454 Scholde every gentil herte have: 1455 For as the ladi was chastised, 1456 Riht so the knyht mai ben avised, 1457 Which ydel is and wol noght serve 1458 To love, he mai per cas deserve 1459 A grettere peine than sche hadde, 1460 Whan sche aboute with hire ladde 1461 The horse haltres; and forthi 1462 Good is to be wel war therbi. 1463 Bot forto loke aboven alle, 1464 These Maidens, hou so that it falle, 1465 Thei scholden take ensample of this 1466 Which I have told, for soth it is. 1467 Mi ladi Venus, whom I serve, 1468 What womman wole hire thonk deserve, 1469 Sche mai noght thilke love eschuie 1470 Of paramours, bot sche mot suie 1471 Cupides lawe; and natheles 1472 Men sen such love sielde in pes, 1473 That it nys evere upon aspie 1474 Of janglinge and of fals Envie, 1475 Fulofte medlid with disese: 1476 Bot thilke love is wel at ese, 1477 Which set is upon mariage; 1478 For that dar schewen the visage 1479 In alle places openly. 1480 A gret mervaile it is forthi, 1481 How that a Maiden wolde lette, 1482 That sche hir time ne besette 1483 To haste unto that ilke feste, 1484 Wherof the love is al honeste. 1485 Men mai recovere lost of good, 1486 Bot so wys man yit nevere stod, 1487 Which mai recovere time lore: 1488 So mai a Maiden wel therfore 1489 Ensample take, of that sche strangeth 1490 Hir love, and longe er that sche changeth 1491 Hir herte upon hir lustes greene 1492 To mariage, as it is seene. 1493 For thus a yer or tuo or thre 1494 Sche lest, er that sche wedded be, 1495 Whyl sche the charge myhte bere 1496 Of children, whiche the world forbere 1497 Ne mai, bot if it scholde faile. 1498 Bot what Maiden hire esposaile 1499 Wol tarie, whan sche take mai, 1500 Sche schal per chance an other dai 1501 Be let, whan that hire lievest were. 1502 Wherof a tale unto hire Ere, 1503 Which is coupable upon this dede, 1504 I thenke telle of that I rede. 1505 Among the Jewes, as men tolde, 1506 Ther was whilom be daies olde 1507 A noble Duck, which Jepte hihte. 1508 And fell, he scholde go to fyhte 1509 Ayein Amon the cruel king: 1510 And forto speke upon this thing, 1511 Withinne his herte he made avou 1512 To god and seide, "Ha lord, if thou 1513 Wolt grante unto thi man victoire, 1514 I schal in tokne of thi memoire 1515 The ferste lif that I mai se, 1516 Of man or womman wher it be, 1517 Anon as I come hom ayein, 1518 To thee, which art god sovereign, 1519 Slen in thi name and sacrifie." 1520 And thus with his chivalerie 1521 He goth him forth, wher that he scholde, 1522 And wan al that he winne wolde 1523 And overcam his fomen alle. 1524 Mai noman lette that schal falle. 1525 This Duc a lusti dowhter hadde, 1526 And fame, which the wordes spradde, 1527 Hath broght unto this ladi Ere 1528 How that hire fader hath do there. 1529 Sche waiteth upon his cominge 1530 With dansinge and with carolinge, 1531 As sche that wolde be tofore 1532 Al othre, and so sche was therfore 1533 In Masphat at hir fader gate 1534 The ferste; and whan he com therate, 1535 And sih his douhter, he tobreide 1536 Hise clothes and wepende he seide: 1537 "O mihti god among ous hiere, 1538 Nou wot I that in no manere 1539 This worldes joie mai be plein. 1540 I hadde al that I coude sein 1541 Ayein mi fomen be thi grace, 1542 So whan I cam toward this place 1543 Ther was non gladdere man than I: 1544 But now, mi lord, al sodeinli 1545 Mi joie is torned into sorwe, 1546 For I mi dowhter schal tomorwe 1547 Tohewe and brenne in thi servise 1548 To loenge of thi sacrifise 1549 Thurgh min avou, so as it is." 1550 The Maiden, whan sche wiste of this, 1551 And sih the sorwe hir fader made, 1552 So as sche mai with wordes glade 1553 Conforteth him, and bad him holde 1554 The covenant which he is holde 1555 Towardes god, as he behihte. 1556 Bot natheles hire herte aflihte 1557 Of that sche sih hire deth comende; 1558 And thanne unto the ground knelende 1559 Tofore hir fader sche is falle, 1560 And seith, so as it is befalle 1561 Upon this point that sche schal deie, 1562 Of o thing ferst sche wolde him preie, 1563 That fourty daies of respit 1564 He wolde hir grante upon this plit, 1565 That sche the whyle mai bewepe 1566 Hir maidenhod, which sche to kepe 1567 So longe hath had and noght beset; 1568 Wherof her lusti youthe is let, 1569 That sche no children hath forthdrawe 1570 In Mariage after the lawe, 1571 So that the poeple is noght encressed. 1572 Bot that it mihte be relessed, 1573 That sche hir time hath lore so, 1574 Sche wolde be his leve go 1575 With othre Maidens to compleigne, 1576 And afterward unto the peine 1577 Of deth sche wolde come ayein. 1578 The fader herde his douhter sein, 1579 And therupon of on assent 1580 The Maidens were anon asent, 1581 That scholden with this Maiden wende. 1582 So forto speke unto this ende, 1583 Thei gon the dounes and the dales 1584 With wepinge and with wofull tales, 1585 And every wyht hire maidenhiede 1586 Compleigneth upon thilke nede, 1587 That sche no children hadde bore, 1588 Wherof sche hath hir youthe lore, 1589 Which nevere sche recovere mai: 1590 For so fell that hir laste dai 1591 Was come, in which sche scholde take 1592 Hir deth, which sche may noght forsake. 1593 Lo, thus sche deiede a wofull Maide 1594 For thilke cause which I saide, 1595 As thou hast understonde above. 1596 Mi fader, as toward the Love 1597 Of Maidens forto telle trowthe, 1598 Ye have thilke vice of Slowthe, 1599 Me thenkth, riht wonder wel declared, 1600 That ye the wommen have noght spared 1601 Of hem that tarien so behinde. 1602 Bot yit it falleth in my minde, 1603 Toward the men hou that ye spieke 1604 Of hem that wole no travail sieke 1605 In cause of love upon decerte: 1606 To speke in wordes so coverte, 1607 I not what travaill that ye mente. 1608 Mi Sone, and after min entente 1609 I woll thee telle what I thoghte, 1610 Hou whilom men here loves boghte 1611 Thurgh gret travaill in strange londes, 1612 Wher that thei wroghten with here hondes 1613 Of armes many a worthi dede, 1614 In sondri place as men mai rede. 1615 That every love of pure kinde 1616 Is ferst forthdrawe, wel I finde: 1617 Bot natheles yit overthis 1618 Decerte doth so that it is 1619 The rather had in mani place. 1620 Forthi who secheth loves grace, 1621 Wher that these worthi wommen are, 1622 He mai noght thanne himselve spare 1623 Upon his travail forto serve, 1624 Wherof that he mai thonk deserve, 1625 There as these men of Armes be, 1626 Somtime over the grete Se: 1627 So that be londe and ek be Schipe 1628 He mot travaile for worschipe 1629 And make manye hastyf rodes, 1630 Somtime in Prus, somtime in Rodes, 1631 And somtime into Tartarie; 1632 So that these heraldz on him crie, 1633 "Vailant, vailant, lo, wher he goth]" 1634 And thanne he yifth hem gold and cloth, 1635 So that his fame mihte springe, 1636 And to his ladi Ere bringe 1637 Som tidinge of his worthinesse; 1638 So that sche mihte of his prouesce 1639 Of that sche herde men recorde, 1640 The betre unto his love acorde 1641 And danger pute out of hire mod, 1642 Whanne alle men recorden good, 1643 And that sche wot wel, for hir sake 1644 That he no travail wol forsake. 1645 Mi Sone, of this travail I meene: 1646 Nou schrif thee, for it schal be sene 1647 If thou art ydel in this cas. 1648 My fader ye, and evere was: 1649 For as me thenketh trewely 1650 That every man doth mor than I 1651 As of this point, and if so is 1652 That I have oght so don er this, 1653 It is so litel of acompte, 1654 As who seith, it mai noght amonte 1655 To winne of love his lusti yifte. 1656 For this I telle you in schrifte, 1657 That me were levere hir love winne 1658 Than Kaire and al that is ther inne: 1659 And forto slen the hethen alle, 1660 I not what good ther mihte falle, 1661 So mochel blod thogh ther be schad. 1662 This finde I writen, hou Crist bad 1663 That noman other scholde sle. 1664 What scholde I winne over the Se, 1665 If I mi ladi loste at hom? 1666 Bot passe thei the salte fom, 1667 To whom Crist bad thei scholden preche 1668 To al the world and his feith teche: 1669 Bot now thei rucken in here nest 1670 And resten as hem liketh best 1671 In all the swetnesse of delices. 1672 Thus thei defenden ous the vices, 1673 And sitte hemselven al amidde; 1674 To slen and feihten thei ous bidde 1675 Hem whom thei scholde, as the bok seith, 1676 Converten unto Cristes feith. 1677 Bot hierof have I gret mervaile, 1678 Hou thei wol bidde me travaile: 1679 A Sarazin if I sle schal, 1680 I sle the Soule forth withal, 1681 And that was nevere Cristes lore. 1682 Bot nou ho ther, I seie nomore. 1683 Bot I wol speke upon mi schrifte; 1684 And to Cupide I make a yifte, 1685 That who as evere pris deserve 1686 Of armes, I wol love serve; 1687 And thogh I scholde hem bothe kepe, 1688 Als wel yit wolde I take kepe 1689 Whan it were time to abide, 1690 As forto travaile and to ryde: 1691 For how as evere a man laboure, 1692 Cupide appointed hath his houre. 1693 For I have herd it telle also, 1694 Achilles lefte hise armes so 1695 Bothe of himself and of his men 1696 At Troie for Polixenen, 1697 Upon hire love whanne he fell, 1698 That for no chance that befell 1699 Among the Grecs or up or doun, 1700 He wolde noght ayein the toun 1701 Ben armed, for the love of hire. 1702 And so me thenketh, lieve Sire, 1703 A man of armes mai him reste 1704 Somtime in hope for the beste, 1705 If he mai finde a weie nerr. 1706 What scholde I thanne go so ferr 1707 In strange londes many a mile 1708 To ryde, and lese at hom therwhile 1709 Mi love? It were a schort beyete 1710 To winne chaf and lese whete. 1711 Bot if mi ladi bidde wolde, 1712 That I for hire love scholde 1713 Travaile, me thenkth trewely 1714 I mihte fle thurghout the Sky, 1715 And go thurghout the depe Se, 1716 For al ne sette I at a stre 1717 What thonk that I mihte elles gete. 1718 What helpeth it a man have mete, 1719 Wher drinke lacketh on the bord? 1720 What helpeth eny mannes word 1721 To seie hou I travaile faste, 1722 Wher as me faileth ate laste 1723 That thing which I travaile fore? 1724 O in good time were he bore, 1725 That mihte atteigne such a mede. 1726 Bot certes if I mihte spede 1727 With eny maner besinesse 1728 Of worldes travail, thanne I gesse, 1729 Ther scholde me non ydelschipe 1730 Departen fro hir ladischipe. 1731 Bot this I se, on daies nou 1732 The blinde god, I wot noght hou, 1733 Cupido, which of love is lord, 1734 He set the thinges in discord, 1735 That thei that lest to love entende 1736 Fulofte he wole hem yive and sende 1737 Most of his grace; and thus I finde 1738 That he that scholde go behinde, 1739 Goth many a time ferr tofore: 1740 So wot I noght riht wel therfore, 1741 On whether bord that I schal seile. 1742 Thus can I noght miself conseile, 1743 Bot al I sette on aventure, 1744 And am, as who seith, out of cure 1745 For ought that I can seie or do: 1746 For everemore I finde it so, 1747 The more besinesse I leie, 1748 The more that I knele and preie 1749 With goode wordes and with softe, 1750 The more I am refused ofte, 1751 With besinesse and mai noght winne. 1752 And in good feith that is gret Sinne; 1753 For I mai seie, of dede and thoght 1754 That ydel man have I be noght; 1755 For hou as evere I be deslaied, 1756 Yit evermore I have assaied. 1757 Bot thogh my besinesse laste, 1758 Al is bot ydel ate laste, 1759 For whan theffect is ydelnesse, 1760 I not what thing is besinesse. 1761 Sei, what availeth al the dede, 1762 Which nothing helpeth ate nede? 1763 For the fortune of every fame 1764 Schal of his ende bere a name. 1765 And thus for oght is yit befalle, 1766 An ydel man I wol me calle 1767 As after myn entendement: 1768 Bot upon youre amendement, 1769 Min holi fader, as you semeth, 1770 Mi reson and my cause demeth. 1771 Mi Sone, I have herd thi matiere, 1772 Of that thou hast thee schriven hiere: 1773 And forto speke of ydel fare, 1774 Me semeth that thou tharst noght care, 1775 Bot only that thou miht noght spede. 1776 And therof, Sone, I wol thee rede, 1777 Abyd, and haste noght to faste; 1778 Thi dees ben every dai to caste, 1779 Thou nost what chance schal betyde. 1780 Betre is to wayte upon the tyde 1781 Than rowe ayein the stremes stronge: 1782 For thogh so be thee thenketh longe, 1783 Per cas the revolucion 1784 Of hevene and thi condicion 1785 Ne be noght yit of on acord. 1786 Bot I dar make this record 1787 To Venus, whos Prest that I am, 1788 That sithen that I hidir cam 1789 To hiere, as sche me bad, thi lif, 1790 Wherof thou elles be gultif, 1791 Thou miht hierof thi conscience 1792 Excuse, and of gret diligence, 1793 Which thou to love hast so despended, 1794 Thou oghtest wel to be comended. 1795 Bot if so be that ther oght faile, 1796 Of that thou slowthest to travaile 1797 In armes forto ben absent, 1798 And for thou makst an argument 1799 Of that thou seidest hiere above, 1800 Hou Achilles thurgh strengthe of love 1801 Hise armes lefte for a throwe, 1802 Thou schalt an other tale knowe, 1803 Which is contraire, as thou schalt wite. 1804 For this a man mai finde write, 1805 Whan that knyhthode schal be werred, 1806 Lust mai noght thanne be preferred; 1807 The bedd mot thanne be forsake 1808 And Schield and spere on honde take, 1809 Which thing schal make hem after glade, 1810 Whan thei ben worthi knihtes made. 1811 Wherof, so as it comth to honde, 1812 A tale thou schalt understonde, 1813 Hou that a kniht schal armes suie, 1814 And for the while his ese eschuie. 1815 Upon knyhthode I rede thus, 1816 How whilom whan the king Nauplus, 1817 The fader of Palamades, 1818 Cam forto preien Ulixes 1819 With othre Gregois ek also, 1820 That he with hem to Troie go, 1821 Wher that the Siege scholde be, 1822 Anon upon Penolope 1823 His wif, whom that he loveth hote, 1824 Thenkende, wolde hem noght behote. 1825 Bot he schop thanne a wonder wyle, 1826 How that he scholde hem best beguile, 1827 So that he mihte duelle stille 1828 At home and welde his love at wille: 1829 Wherof erli the morwe day 1830 Out of his bedd, wher that he lay, 1831 Whan he was uppe, he gan to fare 1832 Into the field and loke and stare, 1833 As he which feigneth to be wod: 1834 He tok a plowh, wher that it stod, 1835 Wherinne anon in stede of Oxes 1836 He let do yoken grete foxes, 1837 And with gret salt the lond he siew. 1838 But Nauplus, which the cause kniew, 1839 Ayein the sleihte which he feigneth 1840 An other sleihte anon ordeigneth. 1841 And fell that time Ulixes hadde 1842 A chyld to Sone, and Nauplus radde 1843 How men that Sone taken scholde, 1844 And setten him upon the Molde, 1845 Wher that his fader hield the plowh, 1846 In thilke furgh which he tho drowh. 1847 For in such wise he thoghte assaie, 1848 Hou it Ulixes scholde paie, 1849 If that he were wod or non. 1850 The knihtes for this child forthgon; 1851 Thelamacus anon was fett, 1852 Tofore the plowh and evene sett, 1853 Wher that his fader scholde dryve. 1854 Bot whan he sih his child, als blyve 1855 He drof the plowh out of the weie, 1856 And Nauplus tho began to seie, 1857 And hath half in a jape cryd: 1858 "O Ulixes, thou art aspyd: 1859 What is al this thou woldest meene? 1860 For openliche it is now seene 1861 That thou hast feigned al this thing, 1862 Which is gret schame to a king, 1863 Whan that for lust of eny slowthe 1864 Thou wolt in a querele of trowthe 1865 Of armes thilke honour forsake, 1866 And duelle at hom for loves sake: 1867 For betre it were honour to winne 1868 Than love, which likinge is inne. 1869 Forthi tak worschipe upon honde, 1870 And elles thou schalt understonde 1871 These othre worthi kinges alle 1872 Of Grece, which unto thee calle, 1873 Towardes thee wol be riht wrothe, 1874 And grieve thee per chance bothe: 1875 Which schal be tothe double schame 1876 Most for the hindrynge of thi name, 1877 That thou for Slouthe of eny love 1878 Schalt so thi lustes sette above 1879 And leve of armes the knyhthode, 1880 Which is the pris of thi manhode 1881 And oghte ferst to be desired."