Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins
Incipit Liber Sextus: Part 1
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4
Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo Hec agit, ut corpus anime contraria spirat, Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer. Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur, Potibus ebrietas conviciata ruit. Mersa sopore labis, que Bachus inebriat hospes, Indignata Venus oscula raro premit. 1 The grete Senne original, 2 Which every man in general 3 Upon his berthe hath envenymed, 4 In Paradis it was mystymed: 5 Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot, 6 His swete morscel was to hot, 7 Which dedly made the mankinde. 8 And in the bokes as I finde, 9 This vice, which so out of rule 10 Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule; 11 Of which the branches ben so grete, 12 That of hem alle I wol noght trete, 13 Bot only as touchende of tuo 14 I thenke speke and of no mo; 15 Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe, 16 Which berth the cuppe felaschipe. 17 Ful many a wonder doth this vice, 18 He can make of a wisman nyce, 19 And of a fool, that him schal seme 20 That he can al the lawe deme, 21 And yiven every juggement 22 Which longeth to the firmament 23 Bothe of the sterre and of the mone; 24 And thus he makth a gret clerk sone 25 Of him that is a lewed man. 26 Ther is nothing which he ne can, 27 Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde, 28 He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde, 29 He is a noble man of armes, 30 And yit no strengthe is in his armes: 31 Ther he was strong ynouh tofore, 32 With Dronkeschipe it is forlore, 33 And al is changed his astat, 34 And wext anon so fieble and mat, 35 That he mai nouther go ne come, 36 Bot al togedre him is benome 37 The pouer bothe of hond and fot, 38 So that algate abide he mot. 39 And alle hise wittes he foryet, 40 The which is to him such a let, 41 That he wot nevere what he doth, 42 Ne which is fals, ne which is soth, 43 Ne which is dai, ne which is nyht, 44 And for the time he knowth no wyht, 45 That he ne wot so moche as this, 46 What maner thing himselven is, 47 Or he be man, or he be beste. 48 That holde I riht a sori feste, 49 Whan he that reson understod 50 So soudeinliche is woxe wod, 51 Or elles lich the dede man, 52 Which nouther go ne speke can. 53 Thus ofte he is to bedde broght, 54 Bot where he lith yit wot he noght, 55 Til he arise upon the morwe; 56 And thanne he seith, "O, which a sorwe 57 It is a man be drinkeles!" 58 So that halfdrunke in such a res 59 With dreie mouth he sterte him uppe, 60 And seith, "Nou baillez ‡a the cuppe." 61 That made him lese his wit at eve 62 Is thanne a morwe al his beleve; 63 The cuppe is al that evere him pleseth, 64 And also that him most deseseth; 65 It is the cuppe whom he serveth, 66 Which alle cares fro him kerveth 67 And alle bales to him bringeth: 68 In joie he wepth, in sorwe he singeth, 69 For Dronkeschipe is so divers, 70 It may no whyle stonde in vers. 71 He drinkth the wyn, bot ate laste 72 The wyn drynkth him and bint him faste, 73 And leith him drunke be the wal, 74 As him which is his bonde thral 75 And al in his subjeccion. 76 And lich to such condicion, 77 As forto speke it other wise, 78 It falleth that the moste wise 79 Ben otherwhile of love adoted, 80 And so bewhaped and assoted, 81 Of drunke men that nevere yit 82 Was non, which half so loste his wit 83 Of drinke, as thei of such thing do 84 Which cleped is the jolif wo; 85 And waxen of here oghne thoght 86 So drunke, that thei knowe noght 87 What reson is, or more or lesse. 88 Such is the kinde of that sieknesse, 89 And that is noght for lacke of brain, 90 Bot love is of so gret a main, 91 That where he takth an herte on honde, 92 Ther mai nothing his miht withstonde: 93 The wise Salomon was nome, 94 And stronge Sampson overcome, 95 The knihtli David him ne mihte 96 Rescoue, that he with the sihte 97 Of Bersabee ne was bestad, 98 Virgile also was overlad, 99 And Aristotle was put under. 100 Forthi, mi Sone, it is no wonder 101 If thou be drunke of love among, 102 Which is above alle othre strong: 103 And if so is that thou so be, 104 Tell me thi Schrifte in privite; 105 It is no schame of such a thew 106 A yong man to be dronkelew. 107 Of such Phisique I can a part, 108 And as me semeth be that art, 109 Thou scholdest be Phisonomie 110 Be schapen to that maladie 111 Of lovedrunke, and that is routhe. 112 Ha, holi fader, al is trouthe 113 That ye me telle: I am beknowe 114 That I with love am so bethrowe, 115 And al myn herte is so thurgh sunke, 116 That I am verrailiche drunke, 117 And yit I mai bothe speke and go. 118 Bot I am overcome so, 119 And torned fro miself so clene, 120 That ofte I wot noght what I mene; 121 So that excusen I ne mai 122 Min herte, fro the ferste day 123 That I cam to mi ladi kiththe, 124 I was yit sobre nevere siththe. 125 Wher I hire se or se hire noght, 126 With musinge of min oghne thoght, 127 Of love, which min herte assaileth, 128 So drunke I am, that mi wit faileth 129 And al mi brain is overtorned, 130 And mi manere so mistorned, 131 That I foryete al that I can 132 And stonde lich a mased man; 133 That ofte, whanne I scholde pleie, 134 It makth me drawe out of the weie 135 In soulein place be miselve, 136 As doth a labourer to delve, 137 Which can no gentil mannes chere; 138 Or elles as a lewed Frere, 139 Whan he is put to his penance, 140 Riht so lese I mi contienance. 141 And if it nedes to betyde, 142 That I in compainie abyde, 143 Wher as I moste daunce and singe 144 The hovedance and carolinge, 145 Or forto go the newefot, 146 I mai noght wel heve up mi fot, 147 If that sche be noght in the weie; 148 For thanne is al mi merthe aweie, 149 And waxe anon of thoght so full, 150 Wherof mi limes ben so dull, 151 I mai unethes gon the pas. 152 For thus it is and evere was, 153 Whanne I on suche thoghtes muse, 154 The lust and merthe that men use, 155 Whan I se noght mi ladi byme, 156 Al is foryete for the time 157 So ferforth that mi wittes changen 158 And alle lustes fro me strangen, 159 That thei seie alle trewely, 160 And swere, that it am noght I. 161 For as the man which ofte drinketh, 162 With win that in his stomac sinketh 163 Wext drunke and witles for a throwe, 164 Riht so mi lust is overthrowe, 165 And of myn oghne thoght so mat 166 I wexe, that to myn astat 167 Ther is no lime wol me serve, 168 Bot as a drunke man I swerve, 169 And suffre such a Passion, 170 That men have gret compassion, 171 And everich be himself merveilleth 172 What thing it is that me so eilleth. 173 Such is the manere of mi wo 174 Which time that I am hire fro, 175 Til eft ayein that I hire se. 176 Bot thanne it were a nycete 177 To telle you hou that I fare: 178 For whanne I mai upon hire stare, 179 Hire wommanhede, hire gentilesse, 180 Myn herte is full of such gladnesse, 181 That overpasseth so mi wit, 182 That I wot nevere where it sit, 183 Bot am so drunken of that sihte, 184 Me thenkth that for the time I mihte 185 Riht sterte thurgh the hole wall; 186 And thanne I mai wel, if I schal, 187 Bothe singe and daunce and lepe aboute, 188 And holde forth the lusti route. 189 Bot natheles it falleth so 190 Fulofte, that I fro hire go 191 Ne mai, bot as it were a stake, 192 I stonde avisement to take 193 And loke upon hire faire face; 194 That for the while out of the place 195 For al the world ne myhte I wende. 196 Such lust comth thanne unto mi mende, 197 So that withoute mete or drinke, 198 Of lusti thoughtes whiche I thinke 199 Me thenkth I mihte stonden evere; 200 And so it were to me levere 201 Than such a sihte forto leve, 202 If that sche wolde yif me leve 203 To have so mochel of mi wille. 204 And thus thenkende I stonde stille 205 Withoute blenchinge of myn yhe, 206 Riht as me thoghte that I syhe 207 Of Paradis the moste joie: 208 And so therwhile I me rejoie, 209 Into myn herte a gret desir, 210 The which is hotere than the fyr, 211 Al soudeinliche upon me renneth, 212 That al mi thoght withinne brenneth, 213 And am so ferforth overcome, 214 That I not where I am become; 215 So that among the hetes stronge 216 In stede of drinke I underfonge 217 A thoght so swete in mi corage, 218 That nevere Pyment ne vernage 219 Was half so swete forto drinke. 220 For as I wolde, thanne I thinke 221 As thogh I were at myn above, 222 For so thurgh drunke I am of love, 223 That al that mi sotye demeth 224 Is soth, as thanne it to me semeth. 225 And whyle I mai tho thoghtes kepe, 226 Me thenkth as thogh I were aslepe 227 And that I were in goddes barm; 228 Bot whanne I se myn oghne harm, 229 And that I soudeinliche awake 230 Out of my thought, and hiede take 231 Hou that the sothe stant in dede, 232 Thanne is mi sekernesse in drede 233 And joie torned into wo, 234 So that the hete is al ago 235 Of such sotie as I was inne. 236 And thanne ayeinward I beginne 237 To take of love a newe thorst, 238 The which me grieveth altherworst, 239 For thanne comth the blanche fievere, 240 With chele and makth me so to chievere, 241 And so it coldeth at myn herte, 242 That wonder is hou I asterte, 243 In such a point that I ne deie: 244 For certes ther was nevere keie 245 Ne frosen ys upon the wal 246 More inly cold that I am al. 247 And thus soffre I the hote chele, 248 Which passeth othre peines fele; 249 In cold I brenne and frese in hete: 250 And thanne I drinke a biter swete 251 With dreie lippe and yhen wete. 252 Lo, thus I tempre mi diete, 253 And take a drauhte of such reles, 254 That al mi wit is herteles, 255 And al myn herte, ther it sit, 256 Is, as who seith, withoute wit; 257 So that to prove it be reson 258 In makinge of comparison 259 Ther mai no difference be 260 Betwen a drunke man and me. 261 Bot al the worste of everychon 262 Is evere that I thurste in on; 263 The more that myn herte drinketh, 264 The more I may; so that me thinketh, 265 My thurst schal nevere ben aqueint. 266 God schilde that I be noght dreint 267 Of such a superfluite: 268 For wel I fiele in mi degre 269 That al mi wit is overcast, 270 Wherof I am the more agast, 271 That in defaulte of ladischipe 272 Per chance in such a drunkeschipe 273 I mai be ded er I be war. 274 For certes, fader, this I dar 275 Beknowe and in mi schrifte telle: 276 Bot I a drauhte have of that welle, 277 In which mi deth is and mi lif, 278 Mi joie is torned into strif, 279 That sobre schal I nevere worthe, 280 Bot as a drunke man forworthe; 281 So that in londe where I fare 282 The lust is lore of mi welfare, 283 As he that mai no bote finde. 284 Bot this me thenkth a wonder kinde, 285 As I am drunke of that I drinke, 286 So am I ek for falte of drinke; 287 Of which I finde no reles: 288 Bot if I myhte natheles 289 Of such a drinke as I coveite, 290 So as me liste, have o receite, 291 I scholde assobre and fare wel. 292 Bot so fortune upon hire whiel 293 On hih me deigneth noght to sette, 294 For everemore I finde a lette: 295 The boteler is noght mi frend, 296 Which hath the keie be the bend; 297 I mai wel wisshe and that is wast, 298 For wel I wot, so freissh a tast, 299 Bot if mi grace be the more, 300 I schal assaie neveremore. 301 Thus am I drunke of that I se, 302 For tastinge is defended me, 303 And I can noght miselven stanche: 304 So that, mi fader, of this branche 305 I am gultif, to telle trouthe. 306 Mi Sone, that me thenketh routhe; 307 For lovedrunke is the meschief 308 Above alle othre the most chief, 309 If he no lusti thoght assaie, 310 Which mai his sori thurst allaie: 311 As for the time yit it lisseth 312 To him which other joie misseth. 313 Forthi, mi Sone, aboven alle 314 Thenk wel, hou so it the befalle, 315 And kep thi wittes that thou hast, 316 And let hem noght be drunke in wast: 317 Bot natheles ther is no wyht 318 That mai withstonde loves miht. 319 Bot why the cause is, as I finde, 320 Of that ther is diverse kinde 321 Of lovedrunke, why men pleigneth 322 After the court which al ordeigneth, 323 I wol the tellen the manere; 324 Nou lest, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere. 325 For the fortune of every chance 326 After the goddes pourveance 327 To man it groweth from above, 328 So that the sped of every love 329 Is schape there, er it befalle. 330 For Jupiter aboven alle, 331 Which is of goddes soverein, 332 Hath in his celier, as men sein, 333 Tuo tonnes fulle of love drinke, 334 That maken many an herte sinke 335 And many an herte also to flete, 336 Or of the soure or of the swete. 337 That on is full of such piment, 338 Which passeth all entendement 339 Of mannes witt, if he it taste, 340 And makth a jolif herte in haste: 341 That other biter as the galle, 342 Which makth a mannes herte palle, 343 Whos drunkeschipe is a sieknesse 344 Thurgh fielinge of the biternesse. 345 Cupide is boteler of bothe, 346 Which to the lieve and to the lothe 347 Yifth of the swete and of the soure, 348 That some lawhe, and some loure. 349 Bot for so moche as he blind is, 350 Fulofte time he goth amis 351 And takth the badde for the goode, 352 Which hindreth many a mannes fode 353 Withoute cause, and forthreth eke. 354 So be ther some of love seke, 355 Whiche oghte of reson to ben hole, 356 And some comen to the dole 357 In happ and as hemselve leste 358 Drinke undeserved of the beste. 359 And thus this blinde Boteler 360 Yifth of the trouble in stede of cler 361 And ek the cler in stede of trouble: 362 Lo, hou he can the hertes trouble, 363 And makth men drunke al upon chaunce 364 Withoute lawe of governance. 365 If he drawe of the swete tonne, 366 Thanne is the sorwe al overronne 367 Of lovedrunke, and schalt noght greven 368 So to be drunken every even, 369 For al is thanne bot a game. 370 Bot whanne it is noght of the same, 371 And he the biter tonne draweth, 372 Such drunkeschipe an herte gnaweth 373 And fiebleth al a mannes thoght, 374 That betre him were have drunke noght 375 And al his bred have eten dreie; 376 For thanne he lest his lusti weie 377 With drunkeschipe, and wot noght whider 378 To go, the weies ben so slider, 379 In which he mai per cas so falle, 380 That he schal breke his wittes alle. 381 And in this wise men be drunke 382 After the drink that thei have drunke: 383 Bot alle drinken noght alike, 384 For som schal singe and som schal syke, 385 So that it me nothing merveilleth, 386 Mi Sone, of love that thee eilleth; 387 For wel I knowe be thi tale, 388 That thou hast drunken of the duale, 389 Which biter is, til god the sende 390 Such grace that thou miht amende. 391 Bot, Sone, thou schalt bidde and preie 392 In such a wise as I schal seie, 393 That thou the lusti welle atteigne 394 Thi wofull thurstes to restreigne 395 Of love, and taste the swetnesse; 396 As Bachus dede in his distresse, 397 Whan bodiliche thurst him hente 398 In strange londes where he wente. 399 This Bachus Sone of Jupiter 400 Was hote, and as he wente fer 401 Be his fadres assignement 402 To make a werre in Orient, 403 And gret pouer with him he ladde, 404 So that the heiere hond he hadde 405 And victoire of his enemys, 406 And torneth homward with his pris, 407 In such a contre which was dreie 408 A meschief fell upon the weie. 409 As he rod with his compainie 410 Nyh to the strondes of Lubie, 411 Ther myhte thei no drinke finde 412 Of water nor of other kinde, 413 So that himself and al his host 414 Were of defalte of drinke almost 415 Destruid, and thanne Bachus preide 416 To Jupiter, and thus he seide: 417 "O hihe fader, that sest al, 418 To whom is reson that I schal 419 Beseche and preie in every nede, 420 Behold, mi fader, and tak hiede 421 This wofull thurst that we ben inne 422 To staunche, and grante ous forto winne, 423 And sauf unto the contre fare, 424 Wher that oure lusti loves are 425 Waitende upon oure hom cominge." 426 And with the vois of his preiynge, 427 Which herd was to the goddes hihe, 428 He syh anon tofore his yhe 429 A wether, which the ground hath sporned; 430 And wher he hath it overtorned, 431 Ther sprang a welle freissh and cler, 432 Wherof his oghne boteler 433 After the lustes of his wille 434 Was every man to drinke his fille. 435 And for this ilke grete grace 436 Bachus upon the same place 437 A riche temple let arere, 438 Which evere scholde stonde there 439 To thursti men in remembrance. 440 Forthi, mi Sone, after this chance 441 It sit thee wel to taken hiede 442 So forto preie upon thi nede, 443 As Bachus preide for the welle; 444 And thenk, as thou hast herd me telle, 445 Hou grace he gradde and grace he hadde. 446 He was no fol that ferst so radde, 447 For selden get a domb man lond: 448 Tak that proverbe, and understond 449 That wordes ben of vertu grete. 450 Forthi to speke thou ne lete, 451 And axe and prei erli and late 452 Thi thurst to quenche, and thenk algate, 453 The boteler which berth the keie 454 Is blind, as thou hast herd me seie; 455 And if it mihte so betyde, 456 That he upon the blinde side 457 Per cas the swete tonne arauhte, 458 Than schalt thou have a lusti drauhte 459 And waxe of lovedrunke sobre. 460 And thus I rede thou assobre 461 Thin herte in hope of such a grace; 462 For drunkeschipe in every place, 463 To whether side that it torne, 464 Doth harm and makth a man to sporne 465 And ofte falle in such a wise, 466 Wher he per cas mai noght arise. 467 And forto loke in evidence 468 Upon the sothe experience, 469 So as it hath befalle er this, 470 In every mannes mouth it is 471 Hou Tristram was of love drunke 472 With Bele Ysolde, whan thei drunke 473 The drink which Brangwein hem betok, 474 Er that king Marc his Eem hire tok 475 To wyve, as it was after knowe. 476 And ek, mi Sone, if thou wolt knowe, 477 As it hath fallen overmore 478 In loves cause, and what is more 479 Of drunkeschipe forto drede, 480 As it whilom befell in dede, 481 Wherof thou miht the betre eschuie 482 Of drunke men that thou ne suie 483 The compaignie in no manere, 484 A gret ensample thou schalt hiere. 485 This finde I write in Poesie 486 Of thilke faire Ipotacie, 487 Of whos beaute ther as sche was 488 Spak every man, - and fell per cas, 489 That Pirotos so him spedde, 490 That he to wyve hire scholde wedde, 491 Wherof that he gret joie made. 492 And for he wolde his love glade, 493 Ayein the day of mariage 494 Be mouthe bothe and be message 495 Hise frendes to the feste he preide, 496 With gret worschipe and, as men seide, 497 He hath this yonge ladi spoused. 498 And whan that thei were alle housed, 499 And set and served ate mete, 500 Ther was no wyn which mai be gete, 501 That ther ne was plente ynouh: 502 Bot Bachus thilke tonne drouh, 503 Wherof be weie of drunkeschipe 504 The greteste of the felaschipe 505 Were oute of reson overtake; 506 And Venus, which hath also take 507 The cause most in special, 508 Hath yove hem drinke forth withal 509 Of thilke cuppe which exciteth 510 The lust wherinne a man deliteth: 511 And thus be double weie drunke, 512 Of lust that ilke fyri funke 513 Hath mad hem, as who seith, halfwode, 514 That thei no reson understode, 515 Ne to non other thing thei syhen, 516 Bot hire, which tofore here yhen 517 Was wedded thilke same day, 518 That freisshe wif, that lusti May, 519 On hire it was al that thei thoghten. 520 And so ferforth here lustes soghten, 521 That thei the whiche named were 522 Centauri, ate feste there 523 Of on assent, of an acord 524 This yonge wif malgre hire lord 525 In such a rage awei forth ladden, 526 As thei whiche non insihte hadden 527 Bot only to her drunke fare, 528 Which many a man hath mad misfare 529 In love als wel as other weie. 530 Wherof, if I schal more seie 531 Upon the nature of the vice, 532 Of custume and of exercice 533 The mannes grace hou it fordoth, 534 A tale, which was whilom soth, 535 Of fooles that so drunken were, 536 I schal reherce unto thine Ere. 537 I rede in a Cronique thus 538 Of Galba and of Vitellus, 539 The whiche of Spaigne bothe were 540 The greteste of alle othre there, 541 And bothe of o condicion 542 After the disposicion 543 Of glotonie and drunkeschipe. 544 That was a sori felaschipe: 545 For this thou miht wel understonde, 546 That man mai wel noght longe stonde 547 Which is wyndrunke of comun us; 548 For he hath lore the vertus, 549 Wherof reson him scholde clothe; 550 And that was seene upon hem bothe. 551 Men sein ther is non evidence, 552 Wherof to knowe a difference 553 Betwen the drunken and the wode, 554 For thei be nevere nouther goode; 555 For wher that wyn doth wit aweie, 556 Wisdom hath lost the rihte weie, 557 That he no maner vice dredeth; 558 Nomore than a blind man thredeth 559 His nedle be the Sonnes lyht, 560 Nomore is reson thanne of myht, 561 Whan he with drunkeschipe is blent. 562 And in this point thei weren schent, 563 This Galba bothe and ek Vitelle, 564 Upon the cause as I schal telle, 565 Wherof good is to taken hiede. 566 For thei tuo thurgh her drunkenhiede 567 Of witles excitacioun 568 Oppressede al the nacion 569 Of Spaigne; for of fool usance, 570 Which don was of continuance 571 Of hem, whiche alday drunken were, 572 Ther was no wif ne maiden there, 573 What so thei were, or faire or foule, 574 Whom thei ne token to defoule, 575 Wherof the lond was often wo: 576 And ek in othre thinges mo 577 Thei wroghten many a sondri wrong. 578 Bot hou so that the dai be long, 579 The derke nyht comth ate laste: 580 God wolde noght thei scholden laste, 581 And schop the lawe in such a wise, 582 That thei thurgh dom to the juise 583 Be dampned forto be forlore. 584 Bot thei, that hadden ben tofore 585 Enclin to alle drunkenesse,- 586 Here ende thanne bar witnesse; 587 For thei in hope to assuage 588 The peine of deth, upon the rage 589 That thei the lasse scholden fiele, 590 Of wyn let fille full a Miele, 591 And dronken til so was befalle 592 That thei her strengthes losten alle 593 Withouten wit of eny brain; 594 And thus thei ben halfdede slain, 595 That hem ne grieveth bot a lyte. 596 Mi Sone, if thou be forto wyte 597 In eny point which I have seid, 598 Wherof thi wittes ben unteid, 599 I rede clepe hem hom ayein. 600 I schal do, fader, as ye sein, 601 Als ferforth as I mai suffise: 602 Bot wel I wot that in no wise 603 The drunkeschipe of love aweie 604 I mai remue be no weie, 605 It stant noght upon my fortune. 606 Bot if you liste to comune 607 Of the seconde Glotonie, 608 Which cleped is Delicacie, 609 Wherof ye spieken hier tofore, 610 Beseche I wolde you therfore. 611 Mi Sone, as of that ilke vice, 612 Which of alle othre is the Norrice, 613 And stant upon the retenue 614 Of Venus, so as it is due, 615 The proprete hou that it fareth 616 The bok hierafter nou declareth. 617 Of this chapitre in which we trete 618 There is yit on of such diete, 619 To which no povere mai atteigne; 620 For al is Past of paindemeine 621 And sondri wyn and sondri drinke, 622 Wherof that he wole ete and drinke: 623 Hise cokes ben for him affaited, 624 So that his body is awaited, 625 That him schal lacke no delit, 626 Als ferforth as his appetit 627 Sufficeth to the metes hote. 628 Wherof this lusti vice is hote 629 Of Gule the Delicacie, 630 Which al the hole progenie 631 Of lusti folk hath undertake 632 To feede, whil that he mai take 633 Richesses wherof to be founde: 634 Of Abstinence he wot no bounde, 635 To what profit it scholde serve. 636 And yit phisique of his conserve 637 Makth many a restauracioun 638 Unto his recreacioun, 639 Which wolde be to Venus lief. 640 Thus for the point of his relief 641 The coc which schal his mete arraie, 642 Bot he the betre his mouth assaie, 643 His lordes thonk schal ofte lese, 644 Er he be served to the chese: 645 For ther mai lacke noght so lyte, 646 That he ne fint anon a wyte; 647 For bot his lust be fully served, 648 Ther hath no wiht his thonk deserved. 649 And yit for mannes sustenance, 650 To kepe and holde in governance, 651 To him that wole his hele gete 652 Is non so good as comun mete: 653 For who that loketh on the bokes, 654 It seith, confeccion of cokes, 655 A man him scholde wel avise 656 Hou he it toke and in what wise. 657 For who that useth that he knoweth, 658 Ful selden seknesse on him groweth, 659 And who that useth metes strange, 660 Though his nature empeire and change 661 It is no wonder, lieve Sone, 662 Whan that he doth ayein his wone; 663 For in Phisique this I finde, 664 Usage is the seconde kinde. 665 And riht so changeth his astat 666 He that of love is delicat: 667 For though he hadde to his hond 668 The beste wif of al the lond, 669 Or the faireste love of alle, 670 Yit wolde his herte on othre falle 671 And thenke hem mor delicious 672 Than he hath in his oghne hous: 673 Men sein it is nou ofte so; 674 Avise hem wel, thei that so do. 675 And forto speke in other weie, 676 Fulofte time I have herd seie, 677 That he which hath no love achieved, 678 Him thenkth that he is noght relieved, 679 Thogh that his ladi make him chiere, 680 So as sche mai in good manere 681 Hir honour and hir name save, 682 Bot he the surplus mihte have. 683 Nothing withstondende hire astat, 684 Of love more delicat 685 He set hire chiere at no delit, 686 Bot he have al his appetit. 687 Mi Sone, if it be with thee so, 688 Tell me. Myn holi fader, no: 689 For delicat in such a wise 690 Of love, as ye to me devise, 691 Ne was I nevere yit gultif; 692 For if I hadde such a wif 693 As ye speke of, what scholde I more? 694 For thanne I wolde neveremore 695 For lust of eny wommanhiede 696 Myn herte upon non other fiede: 697 And if I dede, it were a wast. 698 Bot al withoute such repast 699 Of lust, as ye me tolde above, 700 Of wif, or yit of other love, 701 I faste, and mai no fode gete; 702 So that for lacke of deinte mete, 703 Of which an herte mai be fedd, 704 I go fastende to my bedd. 705 Bot myhte I geten, as ye tolde, 706 So mochel that mi ladi wolde 707 Me fede with hir glad semblant, 708 Though me lacke al the remenant, 709 Yit scholde I somdel ben abeched 710 And for the time wel refreched. 711 Bot certes, fader, sche ne doth; 712 For in good feith, to telle soth, 713 I trowe, thogh I scholde sterve, 714 Sche wolde noght hire yhe swerve, 715 Min herte with o goodly lok 716 To fede, and thus for such a cok 717 I mai go fastinge everemo: 718 Bot if so is that eny wo 719 Mai fede a mannes herte wel, 720 Therof I have at every meel 721 Of plente more than ynowh; 722 Bot that is of himself so towh, 723 Mi stomac mai it noght defie. 724 Lo, such is the delicacie 725 Of love, which myn herte fedeth; 726 Thus have I lacke of that me nedeth. 727 Bot for al this yit natheles 728 I seie noght I am gylteles, 729 That I somdel am delicat: 730 For elles were I fulli mat, 731 Bot if that I som lusti stounde 732 Of confort and of ese founde, 733 To take of love som repast; 734 For thogh I with the fulle tast 735 The lust of love mai noght fiele, 736 Min hunger otherwise I kiele 737 Of smale lustes whiche I pike, 738 And for a time yit thei like; 739 If that ye wisten what I mene. 740 Nou, goode Sone, schrif thee clene 741 Of suche deyntes as ben goode, 742 Wherof thou takst thin hertes fode. 743 Mi fader, I you schal reherce, 744 Hou that mi fodes ben diverse, 745 So as thei fallen in degre. 746 O fiedinge is of that I se, 747 An other is of that I here, 748 The thridde, as I schal tellen here, 749 It groweth of min oghne thoght: 750 And elles scholde I live noght; 751 For whom that failleth fode of herte, 752 He mai noght wel the deth asterte. 753 Of sihte is al mi ferste fode, 754 Thurgh which myn yhe of alle goode 755 Hath that to him is acordant, 756 A lusti fode sufficant. 757 Whan that I go toward the place 758 Wher I schal se my ladi face, 759 Min yhe, which is loth to faste, 760 Beginth to hungre anon so faste, 761 That him thenkth of on houre thre, 762 Til I ther come and he hire se: 763 And thanne after his appetit 764 He takth a fode of such delit, 765 That him non other deynte nedeth. 766 Of sondri sihtes he him fedeth: 767 He seth hire face of such colour, 768 That freisshere is than eny flour, 769 He seth hire front is large and plein 770 Withoute fronce of eny grein, 771 He seth hire yhen lich an hevene, 772 He seth hire nase strauht and evene, 773 He seth hire rode upon the cheke, 774 He seth hire rede lippes eke, 775 Hire chyn acordeth to the face, 776 Al that he seth is full of grace, 777 He seth hire necke round and clene, 778 Therinne mai no bon be sene, 779 He seth hire handes faire and whyte; 780 For al this thing withoute wyte 781 He mai se naked ate leste, 782 So is it wel the more feste 783 And wel the mor Delicacie 784 Unto the fiedinge of myn yhe. 785 He seth hire schapthe forth withal, 786 Hire bodi round, hire middel smal, 787 So wel begon with good array, 788 Which passeth al the lust of Maii, 789 Whan he is most with softe schoures 790 Ful clothed in his lusti floures. 791 With suche sihtes by and by 792 Min yhe is fed; bot finaly, 793 Whan he the port and the manere 794 Seth of hire wommanysshe chere, 795 Than hath he such delice on honde, 796 Him thenkth he mihte stille stonde, 797 And that he hath ful sufficance 798 Of liflode and of sustienance 799 As to his part for everemo. 800 And if it thoghte alle othre so, 801 Fro thenne wolde he nevere wende, 802 Bot there unto the worldes ende 803 He wolde abyde, if that he mihte, 804 And fieden him upon the syhte. 805 For thogh I mihte stonden ay 806 Into the time of domesday 807 And loke upon hire evere in on, 808 Yit whanne I scholde fro hire gon, 809 Min yhe wolde, as thogh he faste, 810 Ben hungerstorven al so faste, 811 Til efte ayein that he hire syhe. 812 Such is the nature of myn yhe: 813 Ther is no lust so deintefull, 814 Of which a man schal noght be full, 815 Of that the stomac underfongeth, 816 Bot evere in on myn yhe longeth: 817 For loke hou that a goshauk tireth, 818 Riht so doth he, whan that he pireth 819 And toteth on hire wommanhiede; 820 For he mai nevere fulli fiede 821 His lust, bot evere aliche sore 822 Him hungreth, so that he the more 823 Desireth to be fed algate: 824 And thus myn yhe is mad the gate, 825 Thurgh which the deyntes of my thoght 826 Of lust ben to myn herte broght. 827 Riht as myn yhe with his lok 828 Is to myn herte a lusti coc 829 Of loves fode delicat, 830 Riht so myn Ere in his astat, 831 Wher as myn yhe mai noght serve, 832 Can wel myn hertes thonk deserve 833 And fieden him fro day to day 834 With suche deyntes as he may. 835 For thus it is, that overal, 836 Wher as I come in special, 837 I mai hiere of mi ladi pris; 838 I hiere on seith that sche is wys, 839 An other seith that sche is good, 840 And som men sein, of worthi blod 841 That sche is come, and is also 842 So fair, that nawher is non so; 843 And som men preise hire goodli chiere: 844 Thus every thing that I mai hiere, 845 Which souneth to mi ladi goode, 846 Is to myn Ere a lusti foode. 847 And ek min Ere hath over this 848 A deynte feste, whan so is 849 That I mai hiere hirselve speke; 850 For thanne anon mi faste I breke 851 On suche wordes as sche seith, 852 That full of trouthe and full of feith 853 Thei ben, and of so good desport, 854 That to myn Ere gret confort 855 Thei don, as thei that ben delices. 856 For al the metes and the spices, 857 That eny Lombard couthe make, 858 Ne be so lusti forto take 859 Ne so ferforth restauratif, 860 I seie as for myn oghne lif, 861 As ben the wordes of hire mouth: 862 For as the wyndes of the South 863 Ben most of alle debonaire, 864 So whan hir list to speke faire, 865 The vertu of hire goodly speche 866 Is verraily myn hertes leche. 867 And if it so befalle among, 868 That sche carole upon a song, 869 Whan I it hiere I am so fedd, 870 That I am fro miself so ledd, 871 As thogh I were in paradis; 872 For certes, as to myn avis, 873 Whan I here of hir vois the stevene, 874 Me thenkth it is a blisse of hevene. 875 And ek in other wise also 876 Fulofte time it falleth so, 877 Min Ere with a good pitance 878 Is fedd of redinge of romance 879 Of Ydoine and of Amadas, 880 That whilom weren in mi cas, 881 And eke of othre many a score, 882 That loveden longe er I was bore. 883 For whan I of here loves rede, 884 Min Ere with the tale I fede; 885 And with the lust of here histoire 886 Somtime I drawe into memoire 887 Hou sorwe mai noght evere laste; 888 And so comth hope in ate laste, 889 Whan I non other fode knowe. 890 And that endureth bot a throwe, 891 Riht as it were a cherie feste; 892 Bot forto compten ate leste, 893 As for the while yit it eseth 894 And somdel of myn herte appeseth: 895 For what thing to myn Ere spreedeth, 896 Which is plesant, somdel it feedeth 897 With wordes suche as he mai gete 898 Mi lust, in stede of other mete. 899 Lo thus, mi fader, as I seie, 900 Of lust the which myn yhe hath seie, 901 And ek of that myn Ere hath herd, 902 Fulofte I have the betre ferd. 903 And tho tuo bringen in the thridde, 904 The which hath in myn herte amidde 905 His place take, to arraie 906 The lusti fode, which assaie 907 I mot; and nameliche on nyhtes, 908 Whan that me lacketh alle sihtes, 909 And that myn heringe is aweie, 910 Thanne is he redy in the weie 911 Mi reresouper forto make, 912 Of which myn hertes fode I take. 913 This lusti cokes name is hote 914 Thoght, which hath evere hise pottes hote 915 Of love buillende on the fyr 916 With fantasie and with desir, 917 Of whiche er this fulofte he fedde 918 Min herte, whanne I was abedde; 919 And thanne he set upon my bord 920 Bothe every syhte and every word 921 Of lust, which I have herd or sein. 922 Bot yit is noght mi feste al plein, 923 Bot al of woldes and of wisshes, 924 Therof have I my fulle disshes, 925 Bot as of fielinge and of tast, 926 Yit mihte I nevere have o repast. 927 And thus, as I have seid aforn, 928 I licke hony on the thorn, 929 And as who seith, upon the bridel 930 I chiewe, so that al is ydel 931 As in effect the fode I have. 932 Bot as a man that wolde him save, 933 Whan he is seck, be medicine, 934 Riht so of love the famine 935 I fonde in al that evere I mai 936 To fiede and dryve forth the day, 937 Til I mai have the grete feste, 938 Which al myn hunger myhte areste. 939 Lo suche ben mi lustes thre; 940 Of that I thenke and hiere and se 941 I take of love my fiedinge 942 Withoute tastinge or fielinge: 943 And as the Plover doth of Eir 944 I live, and am in good espeir 945 That for no such delicacie 946 I trowe I do no glotonie. 947 And natheles to youre avis, 948 Min holi fader, that be wis, 949 I recomande myn astat 950 Of that I have be delicat. 951 Mi Sone, I understonde wel 952 That thou hast told hier everydel, 953 And as me thenketh be thi tale, 954 It ben delices wonder smale, 955 Wherof thou takst thi loves fode. 956 Bot, Sone, if that thou understode 957 What is to ben delicious, 958 Thou woldest noght be curious 959 Upon the lust of thin astat 960 To ben to sore delicat, 961 Wherof that thou reson excede: 962 For in the bokes thou myht rede, 963 If mannes wisdom schal be suied, 964 It oghte wel to ben eschuied 965 In love als wel as other weie; 966 For, as these holi bokes seie, 967 The bodely delices alle 968 In every point, hou so thei falle, 969 Unto the Soule don grievance. 970 And forto take in remembrance, 971 A tale acordant unto this, 972 Which of gret understondinge is 973 To mannes soule resonable, 974 I thenke telle, and is no fable. 975 Of Cristes word, who wole it rede, 976 Hou that this vice is forto drede 977 In thevangile it telleth plein, 978 Which mot algate be certein, 979 For Crist himself it berth witnesse. 980 And thogh the clerk and the clergesse 981 In latin tunge it rede and singe, 982 Yit for the more knoulechinge 983 Of trouthe, which is good to wite, 984 I schal declare as it is write 985 In Engleissh, for thus it began. 986 Crist seith: "Ther was a riche man, 987 A mihti lord of gret astat, 988 And he was ek so delicat 989 Of his clothing, that everyday 990 Of pourpre and bisse he made him gay, 991 And eet and drank therto his fille 992 After the lustes of his wille, 993 As he which al stod in delice 994 And tok non hiede of thilke vice. 995 And as it scholde so betyde, 996 A povere lazre upon a tyde 997 Cam to the gate and axed mete: 998 Bot there mihte he nothing gete 999 His dedly hunger forto stanche; 1000 For he, which hadde his fulle panche 1001 Of alle lustes ate bord, 1002 Ne deigneth noght to speke a word, 1003 Onliche a Crumme forto yive, 1004 Wherof the povere myhte live 1005 Upon the yifte of his almesse. 1006 Thus lai this povere in gret destresse 1007 Acold and hungred ate gate, 1008 Fro which he mihte go no gate, 1009 So was he wofulli besein. 1010 And as these holi bokes sein, 1011 The houndes comen fro the halle, 1012 Wher that this sike man was falle, 1013 And as he lay ther forto die, 1014 The woundes of his maladie 1015 Thei licken forto don him ese. 1016 Bot he was full of such desese, 1017 That he mai noght the deth eschape; 1018 Bot as it was that time schape, 1019 The Soule fro the bodi passeth, 1020 And he whom nothing overpasseth, 1021 The hihe god, up to the hevene 1022 Him tok, wher he hath set him evene 1023 In Habrahammes barm on hyh, 1024 Wher he the hevene joie syh 1025 And hadde al that he have wolde. 1026 And fell, as it befalle scholde, 1027 This riche man the same throwe 1028 With soudein deth was overthrowe, 1029 And forth withouten eny wente 1030 Into the helle straght he wente; 1031 The fend into the fyr him drouh, 1032 Wher that he hadde peine ynouh 1033 Of flamme which that evere brenneth. 1034 And as his yhe aboute renneth, 1035 Toward the hevene he cast his lok, 1036 Wher that he syh and hiede tok 1037 Hou Lazar set was in his Se 1038 Als ferr as evere he mihte se 1039 With Habraham; and thanne he preide 1040 Unto the Patriarch and seide: 1041 "Send Lazar doun fro thilke Sete, 1042 And do that he his finger wete 1043 In water, so that he mai droppe 1044 Upon my tunge, forto stoppe 1045 The grete hete in which I brenne." 1046 Bot Habraham answerde thenne 1047 And seide to him in this wise: 1048 "Mi Sone, thou thee miht avise 1049 And take into thi remembrance, 1050 Hou Lazar hadde gret penance, 1051 Whyl he was in that other lif, 1052 Bot thou in al thi lust jolif 1053 The bodily delices soghtest: 1054 Forthi, so as thou thanne wroghtest, 1055 Nou schalt thou take thi reward 1056 Of dedly peine hierafterward 1057 In helle, which schal evere laste; 1058 And this Lazar nou ate laste 1059 The worldes peine is overronne, 1060 In hevene and hath his lif begonne 1061 Of joie, which is endeles. 1062 Bot that thou preidest natheles, 1063 That I schal Lazar to the sende 1064 With water on his finger ende, 1065 Thin hote tunge forto kiele, 1066 Thou schalt no such graces fiele; 1067 For to that foule place of Sinne, 1068 For evere in which thou schalt ben inne, 1069 Comth non out of this place thider, 1070 Ne non of you mai comen hider; 1071 Thus be yee parted nou atuo." 1072 The riche ayeinward cride tho: 1073 "O Habraham, sithe it so is, 1074 That Lazar mai noght do me this 1075 Which I have axed in this place, 1076 I wolde preie an other grace. 1077 For I have yit of brethren fyve, 1078 That with mi fader ben alyve 1079 Togedre duellende in on hous; 1080 To whom, as thou art gracious, 1081 I preie that thou woldest sende 1082 Lazar, so that he mihte wende 1083 To warne hem hou the world is went, 1084 That afterward thei be noght schent 1085 Of suche peines as I drye. 1086 Lo, this I preie and this I crie, 1087 Now I may noght miself amende." 1088 The Patriarch anon suiende 1089 To his preiere ansuerde nay; 1090 And seide him hou that everyday 1091 His brethren mihten knowe and hiere 1092 Of Moi5ses on Erthe hiere 1093 And of prophetes othre mo, 1094 What hem was best. And he seith no; 1095 Bot if ther mihte a man aryse 1096 Fro deth to lyve in such a wise, 1097 To tellen hem hou that it were, 1098 He seide hou thanne of pure fere 1099 Thei scholden wel be war therby. 1100 Quod Habraham: "Nay sikerly; 1101 For if thei nou wol noght obeie 1102 To suche as techen hem the weie, 1103 And alday preche and alday telle 1104 Hou that it stant of hevene and helle, 1105 Thei wol noght thanne taken hiede, 1106 Thogh it befelle so in dede 1107 That eny ded man were arered, 1108 To ben of him no betre lered 1109 Than of an other man alyve." 1110 If thou, mi Sone, canst descryve 1111 This tale, as Crist himself it tolde, 1112 Thou schalt have cause to beholde, 1113 To se so gret an evidence, 1114 Wherof the sothe experience 1115 Hath schewed openliche at ije, 1116 That bodili delicacie 1117 Of him which yeveth non almesse 1118 Schal after falle in gret destresse. 1119 And that was sene upon the riche: 1120 For he ne wolde unto his liche 1121 A Crumme yiven of his bred, 1122 Thanne afterward, whan he was ded, 1123 A drope of water him was werned. 1124 Thus mai a mannes wit be lerned 1125 Of hem that so delices taken; 1126 Whan thei with deth ben overtaken, 1127 That erst was swete is thanne sour. 1128 Bot he that is a governour 1129 Of worldes good, if he be wys, 1130 Withinne his herte he set no pris 1131 Of al the world, and yit he useth 1132 The good, that he nothing refuseth, 1133 As he which lord is of the thinges. 1134 The Nouches and the riche ringes, 1135 The cloth of gold and the Perrie 1136 He takth, and yit delicacie 1137 He leveth, thogh he were al this. 1138 The beste mete that ther is 1139 He ett, and drinkth the beste drinke; 1140 Bot hou that evere he ete or drinke, 1141 Delicacie he put aweie, 1142 As he which goth the rihte weie 1143 Noght only forto fiede and clothe 1144 His bodi, bot his soule bothe. 1145 Bot thei that taken otherwise 1146 Here lustes, ben none of the wise; 1147 And that whilom was schewed eke, 1148 If thou these olde bokes seke, 1149 Als wel be reson as be kinde, 1150 Of olde ensample as men mai finde. 1151 What man that wolde him wel avise, 1152 Delicacie is to despise, 1153 Whan kinde acordeth noght withal; 1154 Wherof ensample in special 1155 Of Nero whilom mai be told, 1156 Which ayein kinde manyfold 1157 Hise lustes tok, til ate laste 1158 That god him wolde al overcaste; 1159 Of whom the Cronique is so plein, 1160 Me list nomore of him to sein. 1161 And natheles for glotonie 1162 Of bodili Delicacie, 1163 To knowe his stomak hou it ferde, 1164 Of that noman tofore herde, 1165 Which he withinne himself bethoghte, 1166 A wonder soubtil thing he wroghte. 1167 Thre men upon eleccioun 1168 Of age and of complexioun 1169 Lich to himself be alle weie 1170 He tok towardes him to pleie, 1171 And ete and drinke als wel as he. 1172 Therof was no diversite; 1173 For every day whan that thei eete, 1174 Tofore his oghne bord thei seete, 1175 And of such mete as he was served, 1176 Althogh thei hadde it noght deserved, 1177 Thei token service of the same. 1178 Bot afterward al thilke game 1179 Was into wofull ernest torned; 1180 For whan thei weren thus sojorned, 1181 Withinne a time at after mete 1182 Nero, which hadde noght foryete 1183 The lustes of his frele astat, 1184 As he which al was delicat, 1185 To knowe thilke experience, 1186 The men let come in his presence: 1187 And to that on the same tyde, 1188 A courser that he scholde ryde 1189 Into the feld, anon he bad; 1190 Wherof this man was wonder glad, 1191 And goth to prike and prance aboute. 1192 That other, whil that he was oute, 1193 He leide upon his bedd to slepe: 1194 The thridde, which he wolde kepe 1195 Withinne his chambre, faire and softe 1196 He goth now doun nou up fulofte, 1197 Walkende a pass, that he ne slepte, 1198 Til he which on the courser lepte 1199 Was come fro the field ayein. 1200 Nero thanne, as the bokes sein, 1201 These men doth taken alle thre 1202 And slouh hem, for he wolde se 1203 The whos stomak was best defied: 1204 And whanne he hath the sothe tryed, 1205 He fond that he which goth the pass 1206 Defyed best of alle was, 1207 Which afterward he usede ay. 1208 And thus what thing unto his pay 1209 Was most plesant, he lefte non: 1210 With every lust he was begon, 1211 Wherof the bodi myhte glade, 1212 For he non abstinence made; 1213 Bot most above alle erthli thinges 1214 Of wommen unto the likinges 1215 Nero sette al his hole herte, 1216 For that lust scholde him noght asterte. 1217 Whan that the thurst of love him cawhte, 1218 Wher that him list he tok a drauhte, 1219 He spareth nouther wif ne maide, 1220 That such an other, as men saide, 1221 In al this world was nevere yit. 1222 He was so drunke in al his wit 1223 Thurgh sondri lustes whiche he tok, 1224 That evere, whil ther is a bok, 1225 Of Nero men schul rede and singe 1226 Unto the worldes knowlechinge, 1227 Mi goode Sone, as thou hast herd.