Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins
Incipit Liber Septimus: Part 2
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4
1827 For king hath pouer over man, 1828 And man is he which reson can, 1829 As he which is of his nature 1830 The moste noble creature 1831 Of alle tho that god hath wroght: 1832 And be that skile it semeth noght, 1833 He seith, that eny erthly thing 1834 Mai be so myhty as a king. 1835 A king mai spille, a king mai save, 1836 A king mai make of lord a knave 1837 And of a knave a lord also: 1838 The pouer of a king stant so, 1839 That he the lawes overpasseth; 1840 What he wol make lasse, he lasseth, 1841 What he wol make more, he moreth; 1842 And as the gentil faucon soreth, 1843 He fleth, that noman him reclameth; 1844 Bot he al one alle othre tameth, 1845 And stant himself of lawe fre. 1846 Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he, 1847 So as his reson can argue, 1848 Is strengest and of most value. 1849 Bot Manachaz seide otherwise, 1850 That wyn is of the more emprise; 1851 And that he scheweth be this weie. 1852 The wyn fulofte takth aweie 1853 The reson fro the mannes herte; 1854 The wyn can make a krepel sterte, 1855 And a delivere man unwelde; 1856 It makth a blind man to behelde, 1857 And a bryht yhed seme derk; 1858 It makth a lewed man a clerk, 1859 And fro the clerkes the clergie 1860 It takth aweie, and couardie 1861 It torneth into hardiesse; 1862 Of Avarice it makth largesse. 1863 The wyn makth ek the goode blod, 1864 In which the Soule which is good 1865 Hath chosen hire a resting place, 1866 Whil that the lif hir wole embrace. 1867 And be this skile Manachas 1868 Ansuered hath upon this cas, 1869 And seith that wyn be weie of kinde 1870 Is thing which mai the hertes binde 1871 Wel more than the regalie. 1872 Zorobabel for his partie 1873 Seide, as him thoghte for the beste, 1874 That wommen ben the myhtieste. 1875 The king and the vinour also 1876 Of wommen comen bothe tuo; 1877 And ek he seide hou that manhede 1878 Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede 1879 Of love, wher he wole or non, 1880 Obeie schal; and therupon, 1881 To schewe of wommen the maistrie, 1882 A tale which he syh with yhe 1883 As for ensample he tolde this,- 1884 Hou Apemen, of Besazis 1885 Which dowhter was, in the paleis 1886 Sittende upon his hihe deis, 1887 Whan he was hotest in his ire 1888 Toward the grete of his empire, 1889 Cirus the king tirant sche tok, 1890 And only with hire goodly lok 1891 Sche made him debonaire and meke, 1892 And be the chyn and be the cheke 1893 Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste, 1894 That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste, 1895 And doth with him what evere hir liketh; 1896 Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh, 1897 And whan sche gladeth, he is glad: 1898 And thus this king was overlad 1899 With hire which his lemman was. 1900 Among the men is no solas, 1901 If that ther be no womman there; 1902 For bot if that the wommen were, 1903 This worldes joie were aweie: 1904 Thurgh hem men finden out the weie 1905 To knihthode and to worldes fame; 1906 Thei make a man to drede schame, 1907 And honour forto be desired: 1908 Thurgh the beaute of hem is fyred 1909 The Dart of which Cupide throweth, 1910 Wherof the jolif peine groweth, 1911 Which al the world hath under fote. 1912 A womman is the mannes bote, 1913 His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel; 1914 And this thing mai be schewed wel, 1915 Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde, 1916 For in ensample this I finde. 1917 Whan that the duk Ametus lay 1918 Sek in his bedd, that every day 1919 Men waiten whan he scholde deie, 1920 Alceste his wif goth forto preie, 1921 As sche which wolde thonk deserve, 1922 With Sacrifice unto Minerve, 1923 To wite ansuere of the goddesse 1924 Hou that hir lord of his seknesse, 1925 Wherof he was so wo besein, 1926 Recovere myhte his hele ayein. 1927 Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide, 1928 Til ate laste a vois hir seide, 1929 That if sche wolde for his sake 1930 The maladie soffre and take, 1931 And deie hirself, he scholde live. 1932 Of this ansuere Alceste hath yive 1933 Unto Minerve gret thonkinge, 1934 So that hir deth and his livinge 1935 Sche ches with al hire hole entente, 1936 And thus acorded hom sche wente. 1937 Into the chambre and whan sche cam, 1938 Hire housebonde anon sche nam 1939 In bothe hire Armes and him kiste, 1940 And spak unto him what hire liste; 1941 And therupon withinne a throwe 1942 This goode wif was overthrowe 1943 And deide, and he was hool in haste. 1944 So mai a man be reson taste, 1945 Hou next after the god above 1946 The trouthe of wommen and the love, 1947 In whom that alle grace is founde, 1948 Is myhtiest upon this grounde 1949 And most behovely manyfold. 1950 Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told 1951 The tale of his opinion: 1952 Bot for final conclusion 1953 What strengest is of erthli thinges, 1954 The wyn, the wommen or the kinges, 1955 He seith that trouthe above hem alle 1956 Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle. 1957 The trouthe, hou so it evere come, 1958 Mai for nothing ben overcome; 1959 It mai wel soffre for a throwe, 1960 Bot ate laste it schal be knowe. 1961 The proverbe is, who that is trewe, 1962 Him schal his while nevere rewe: 1963 For hou so that the cause wende, 1964 The trouthe is schameles ate ende, 1965 Bot what thing that is troutheles, 1966 It mai noght wel be schameles, 1967 And schame hindreth every wyht: 1968 So proveth it, ther is no myht 1969 Withoute trouthe in no degre. 1970 And thus for trouthe of his decre 1971 Zorobabel was most commended, 1972 Wherof the question was ended, 1973 And he resceived hath his mede 1974 For trouthe, which to mannes nede 1975 Is most behoveliche overal. 1976 Forthi was trouthe in special 1977 The ferste point in observance 1978 Betake unto the governance 1979 Of Alisandre, as it is seid: 1980 For therupon the ground is leid 1981 Of every kinges regiment, 1982 As thing which most convenient 1983 Is forto sette a king in evene 1984 Bothe in this world and ek in hevene. 1985 Next after trouthe the secounde, 1986 In Policie as it is founde, 1987 Which serveth to the worldes fame 1988 In worschipe of a kinges name, 1989 Largesse it is, whos privilegge 1990 Ther mai non Avarice abregge. 1991 The worldes good was ferst comune, 1992 Bot afterward upon fortune 1993 Was thilke comun profit cessed: 1994 For whan the poeple stod encresced 1995 And the lignages woxen grete, 1996 Anon for singulier beyete 1997 Drouh every man to his partie; 1998 Wherof cam in the ferste envie 1999 With gret debat and werres stronge, 2000 And laste among the men so longe, 2001 Til noman wiste who was who, 2002 Ne which was frend ne which was fo. 2003 Til ate laste in every lond 2004 Withinne hemself the poeple fond 2005 That it was good to make a king, 2006 Which mihte appesen al this thing 2007 And yive riht to the lignages 2008 In partinge of here heritages 2009 And ek of al here other good; 2010 And thus above hem alle stod 2011 The king upon his Regalie, 2012 As he which hath to justifie 2013 The worldes good fro covoitise. 2014 So sit it wel in alle wise 2015 A king betwen the more and lesse 2016 To sette his herte upon largesse 2017 Toward himself and ek also 2018 Toward his poeple; and if noght so, 2019 That is to sein, if that he be 2020 Toward himselven large and fre 2021 And of his poeple take and pile, 2022 Largesse be no weie of skile 2023 It mai be seid, bot Avarice, 2024 Which in a king is a gret vice. 2025 A king behoveth ek to fle 2026 The vice of Prodegalite, 2027 That he mesure in his expence 2028 So kepe, that of indigence 2029 He mai be sauf: for who that nedeth, 2030 In al his werk the worse he spedeth. 2031 As Aristotle upon Chaldee 2032 Ensample of gret Auctorite 2033 Unto king Alisandre tauhte 2034 Of thilke folk that were unsauhte 2035 Toward here king for his pilage: 2036 Wherof he bad, in his corage 2037 That he unto thre pointz entende, 2038 Wher that he wolde his good despende. 2039 Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod, 2040 That al were of his oghne good 2041 The yiftes whiche he wolde yive; 2042 So myhte he wel the betre live: 2043 And ek he moste taken hiede 2044 If ther be cause of eny nede, 2045 Which oghte forto be defended, 2046 Er that his goodes be despended: 2047 He mot ek, as it is befalle, 2048 Amonges othre thinges alle 2049 Se the decertes of his men; 2050 And after that thei ben of ken 2051 And of astat and of merite, 2052 He schal hem largeliche aquite, 2053 Or for the werre, or for the pes, 2054 That non honour falle in descres, 2055 Which mihte torne into defame, 2056 Bot that he kepe his goode name, 2057 So that he be noght holde unkinde. 2058 For in Cronique a tale I finde, 2059 Which spekth somdiel of this matiere, 2060 Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere. 2061 In Rome, to poursuie his riht, 2062 Ther was a worthi povere kniht, 2063 Which cam al one forto sein 2064 His cause, when the court was plein, 2065 Wher Julius was in presence. 2066 And for him lacketh of despence, 2067 Ther was with him non advocat 2068 To make ple for his astat. 2069 Bot thogh him lacke forto plede, 2070 Him lacketh nothing of manhede; 2071 He wiste wel his pours was povere, 2072 Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere, 2073 And openly poverte alleide, 2074 To themperour and thus he seide: 2075 "O Julius, lord of the lawe, 2076 Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe 2077 For lacke of gold: do thin office 2078 After the lawes of justice: 2079 Help that I hadde conseil hiere 2080 Upon the trouthe of mi matiere." 2081 And Julius with that anon 2082 Assigned him a worthi on, 2083 Bot he himself no word ne spak. 2084 This kniht was wroth and fond a lak 2085 In themperour, and seide thus: 2086 "O thou unkinde Julius, 2087 Whan thou in thi bataille were 2088 Up in Aufrique, and I was there, 2089 Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede 2090 And putte noman in my stede, 2091 Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde: 2092 Bot hier I finde thee so badde, 2093 That thee ne liste speke o word 2094 Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord 2095 To yive a florin me to helpe. 2096 Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe 2097 Fro this dai forth of thi largesse, 2098 Whan such a gret unkindenesse 2099 Is founde in such a lord as thou?" 2100 This Julius knew wel ynou 2101 That al was soth which he him tolde; 2102 And for he wolde noght ben holde 2103 Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde, 2104 And as it were of goddes sonde, 2105 He yaf him good ynouh to spende 2106 For evere into his lives ende. 2107 And thus scholde every worthi king 2108 Take of his knihtes knowleching, 2109 Whan that he syh thei hadden nede, 2110 For every service axeth mede: 2111 Bot othre, which have noght deserved 2112 Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served, 2113 A king schal noght deserve grace, 2114 Thogh he be large in such a place. 2115 It sit wel every king to have 2116 Discrecion, whan men him crave, 2117 So that he mai his yifte wite: 2118 Wherof I finde a tale write, 2119 Hou Cinichus a povere kniht 2120 A Somme which was over myht 2121 Preide of his king Antigonus. 2122 The king ansuerde to him thus, 2123 And seide hou such a yifte passeth 2124 His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth, 2125 And axeth bot a litel peny, 2126 If that the king wol yive him eny. 2127 The king ansuerde, it was to smal 2128 For him, which was a lord real; 2129 To yive a man so litel thing 2130 It were unworschipe in a king. 2131 Be this ensample a king mai lere 2132 That forto yive is in manere: 2133 For if a king his tresor lasseth 2134 Withoute honour and thonkles passeth, 2135 Whan he himself wol so beguile, 2136 I not who schal compleigne his while, 2137 Ne who be rihte him schal relieve. 2138 Bot natheles this I believe, 2139 To helpe with his oghne lond 2140 Behoveth every man his hond 2141 To sette upon necessite; 2142 And ek his kinges realte 2143 Mot every liege man conforte, 2144 With good and bodi to supporte, 2145 Whan thei se cause resonable: 2146 For who that is noght entendable 2147 To holde upriht his kinges name, 2148 Him oghte forto be to blame. 2149 Of Policie and overmore 2150 To speke in this matiere more, 2151 So as the Philosophre tolde, 2152 A king after the reule is holde 2153 To modifie and to adresce 2154 Hise yiftes upon such largesce 2155 That he mesure noght excede: 2156 For if a king falle into nede, 2157 It causeth ofte sondri thinges 2158 Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges. 2159 What man wol noght himself mesure, 2160 Men sen fulofte that mesure 2161 Him hath forsake: and so doth he 2162 That useth Prodegalite, 2163 Which is the moder of poverte, 2164 Wherof the londes ben deserte; 2165 And namely whan thilke vice 2166 Aboute a king stant in office 2167 And hath withholde of his partie 2168 The covoitouse flaterie, 2169 Which many a worthi king deceiveth, 2170 Er he the fallas aperceiveth 2171 Of hem that serven to the glose. 2172 For thei that cunnen plese and glose, 2173 Ben, as men tellen, the norrices 2174 Unto the fostringe of the vices, 2175 Wherof fulofte natheles 2176 A king is blamed gulteles. 2177 A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere, 2178 Spak to a king of this matiere, 2179 And seide him wel hou that flatours 2180 Coupable were of thre errours. 2181 On was toward the goddes hihe, 2182 That weren wrothe of that thei sihe 2183 The meschief which befalle scholde 2184 Of that the false flatour tolde. 2185 Toward the king an other was, 2186 Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas 2187 Of feigned wordes make him wene 2188 That blak is whyt and blew is grene 2189 Touchende of his condicion: 2190 For whanne he doth extorcion 2191 With manye an other vice mo, 2192 Men schal noght finden on of tho 2193 To groucche or speke therayein, 2194 Bot holden up his oil and sein 2195 That al is wel, what evere he doth; 2196 And thus of fals thei maken soth, 2197 So that here kinges yhe is blent 2198 And wot not hou the world is went. 2199 The thridde errour is harm comune, 2200 With which the poeple mot commune 2201 Of wronges that thei bringen inne: 2202 And thus thei worchen treble sinne, 2203 That ben flatours aboute a king. 2204 Ther myhte be no worse thing 2205 Aboute a kinges regalie, 2206 Thanne is the vice of flaterie. 2207 And natheles it hath ben used, 2208 That it was nevere yit refused 2209 As forto speke in court real; 2210 For there it is most special, 2211 And mai noght longe be forbore. 2212 Bot whan this vice of hem is bore, 2213 That scholden the vertus forthbringe, 2214 And trouthe is torned to lesinge, 2215 It is, as who seith, ayein kinde, 2216 Wherof an old ensample I finde. 2217 Among these othre tales wise 2218 Of Philosophres, in this wise 2219 I rede, how whilom tuo ther were, 2220 And to the Scole forto lere 2221 Unto Athenes fro Cartage 2222 Here frendes, whan thei were of Age, 2223 Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe, 2224 Til thei such lore have underfonge, 2225 That in here time thei surmonte 2226 Alle othre men, that to acompte 2227 Of hem was tho the grete fame. 2228 The ferste of hem his rihte name 2229 Was Diogenes thanne hote, 2230 In whom was founde no riote: 2231 His felaw Arisippus hyhte, 2232 Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte. 2233 Bot ate laste, soth to sein, 2234 Thei bothe tornen hom ayein 2235 Unto Cartage and scole lete. 2236 This Diogenes no beyete 2237 Of worldes good or lasse or more 2238 Ne soghte for his longe lore, 2239 Bot tok him only forto duelle 2240 At hom; and as the bokes telle, 2241 His hous was nyh to the rivere 2242 Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere. 2243 Ther duelleth he to take his reste, 2244 So as it thoghte him for the beste, 2245 To studie in his Philosophie, 2246 As he which wolde so defie 2247 The worldes pompe on every syde. 2248 Bot Arisippe his bok aside 2249 Hath leid, and to the court he wente, 2250 Wher many a wyle and many a wente 2251 With flaterie and wordes softe 2252 He caste, and hath compassed ofte 2253 Hou he his Prince myhte plese; 2254 And in this wise he gat him ese 2255 Of vein honour and worldes good. 2256 The londes reule upon him stod, 2257 The king of him was wonder glad, 2258 And all was do, what thing he bad, 2259 Bothe in the court and ek withoute. 2260 With flaterie he broghte aboute 2261 His pourpos of the worldes werk, 2262 Which was ayein the stat of clerk, 2263 So that Philosophie he lefte 2264 And to richesse himself uplefte: 2265 Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille. 2266 Bot Diogenes duelte stille 2267 A home and loked on his bok: 2268 He soghte noght the worldes crok 2269 For vein honour ne for richesse, 2270 Bot all his hertes besinesse 2271 He sette to be vertuous; 2272 And thus withinne his oghne hous 2273 He liveth to the sufficance 2274 Of his havinge. And fell per chance, 2275 This Diogene upon a day, 2276 And that was in the Monthe of May, 2277 Whan that these herbes ben holsome, 2278 He walketh forto gadre some 2279 In his gardin, of whiche his joutes 2280 He thoghte have, and thus aboutes 2281 Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh, 2282 He satte him thanne doun and pyketh, 2283 And wyssh his herbes in the flod 2284 Upon the which his gardin stod, 2285 Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er. 2286 And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther, 2287 Cam Arisippes be the strete 2288 With manye hors and routes grete, 2289 And straght unto the bregge he rod. 2290 Wher that he hoved and abod; 2291 For as he caste his yhe nyh, 2292 His felaw Diogene he syh, 2293 And what he dede he syh also, 2294 Wherof he seide to him so: 2295 "O Diogene, god thee spede. 2296 It were certes litel nede 2297 To sitte there and wortes pyke, 2298 If thou thi Prince couthest lyke, 2299 So as I can in my degre." 2300 "O Arisippe," ayein quod he, 2301 "If that thou couthist, so as I, 2302 Thi wortes pyke, trewely 2303 It were als litel nede or lasse, 2304 That thou so worldly wolt compasse 2305 With flaterie forto serve, 2306 Wherof thou thenkest to deserve 2307 Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace 2308 Hou thou myht stonden in his grace, 2309 For getinge of a litel good. 2310 If thou wolt take into thi mod 2311 Reson, thou myht be reson deeme 2312 That so thi prince forto queeme 2313 Is noght to reson acordant, 2314 Bot it is gretly descordant 2315 Unto the Scoles of Athene." 2316 Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene 2317 Ayein the clerkes flaterie. 2318 Bot yit men sen thessamplerie 2319 Of Arisippe is wel received, 2320 And thilke of Diogene is weyved. 2321 Office in court and gold in cofre 2322 Is nou, men sein, the philosophre 2323 Which hath the worschipe in the halle; 2324 Bot flaterie passeth alle 2325 In chambre, whom the court avanceth; 2326 For upon thilke lot it chanceth 2327 To be beloved nou aday. 2328 I not if it be ye or nay, 2329 Bot as the comun vois it telleth; 2330 Bot wher that flaterie duelleth 2331 In eny lond under the Sonne, 2332 Ther is ful many a thing begonne 2333 Which were betre to be left; 2334 That hath be schewed nou and eft. 2335 Bot if a Prince wolde him reule 2336 Of the Romeins after the reule, 2337 In thilke time as it was used, 2338 This vice scholde be refused, 2339 Wherof the Princes ben assoted. 2340 Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted, 2341 Ther may a Prince wel conceive, 2342 That he schal noght himself deceive, 2343 Of that he hiereth wordes pleine; 2344 For him thar noght be reson pleigne, 2345 That warned is er him be wo. 2346 And that was fully proeved tho, 2347 Whan Rome was the worldes chief, 2348 The Sothseiere tho was lief, 2349 Which wolde noght the trouthe spare, 2350 Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare 2351 To Themperour hise sothes tolde, 2352 As in Cronique is yit withholde, 2353 Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere 2354 Acordende unto this matiere. 2355 To se this olde ensamplerie, 2356 That whilom was no flaterie 2357 Toward the Princes wel I finde; 2358 Wherof so as it comth to mynde, 2359 Mi Sone, a tale unto thin Ere, 2360 Whil that the worthi princes were 2361 At Rome, I thenke forto tellen. 2362 For whan the chances so befellen 2363 That eny Emperour as tho 2364 Victoire hadde upon his fo, 2365 And so forth cam to Rome ayein, 2366 Of treble honour he was certein, 2367 Wherof that he was magnefied. 2368 The ferste, as it is specefied, 2369 Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde, 2370 The Charr in which he scholde ryde 2371 Foure whyte Stiedes scholden drawe; 2372 Of Jupiter be thilke lawe 2373 The Cote he scholde were also; 2374 Hise prisoners ek scholden go 2375 Endlong the Charr on eyther hond, 2376 And alle the nobles of the lond 2377 Tofore and after with him come 2378 Ridende and broghten him to Rome, 2379 In thonk of his chivalerie 2380 And for non other flaterie. 2381 And that was schewed forth withal; 2382 Wher he sat in his Charr real, 2383 Beside him was a Ribald set, 2384 Which hadde hise wordes so beset, 2385 To themperour in al his gloire 2386 He seide, "Tak into memoire, 2387 For al this pompe and al this pride 2388 Let no justice gon aside, 2389 Bot know thiself, what so befalle. 2390 For men sen ofte time falle 2391 Thing which men wende siker stonde: 2392 Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde, 2393 Fortune mai noght stonde alway; 2394 The whiel per chance an other day 2395 Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe; 2396 Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe." 2397 With these wordes and with mo 2398 This Ribald, which sat with him tho, 2399 To Themperour his tale tolde: 2400 And overmor what evere he wolde, 2401 Or were it evel or were it good, 2402 So pleinly as the trouthe stod, 2403 He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute; 2404 And so myhte every man aboute 2405 The day of that solempnete 2406 His tale telle als wel as he 2407 To Themperour al openly. 2408 And al was this the cause why; 2409 That whil he stod in that noblesse, 2410 He scholde his vanite represse 2411 With suche wordes as he herde. 2412 Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde 2413 Toward so hih a worthi lord: 2414 For this I finde ek of record, 2415 Which the Cronique hath auctorized. 2416 What Emperour was entronized, 2417 The ferste day of his corone, 2418 Wher he was in his real Throne 2419 And hield his feste in the paleis 2420 Sittende upon his hihe deis 2421 With al the lust that mai be gete, 2422 Whan he was gladdest at his mete, 2423 And every menstral hadde pleid, 2424 And every Disour hadde seid 2425 What most was plesant to his Ere, 2426 Than ate laste comen there 2427 Hise Macons, for thei scholden crave 2428 Wher that he wolde be begrave, 2429 And of what Ston his sepulture 2430 Thei scholden make, and what sculpture 2431 He wolde ordeine therupon. 2432 Tho was ther flaterie non 2433 The worthi princes to bejape; 2434 The thing was other wise schape 2435 With good conseil; and otherwise 2436 Thei were hemselven thanne wise, 2437 And understoden wel and knewen. 2438 Whan suche softe wyndes blewen 2439 Of flaterie into here Ere, 2440 Thei setten noght here hertes there; 2441 Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned, 2442 The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned 2443 Of hem that weren so discrete. 2444 So tok the flatour no beyete 2445 Of him that was his prince tho: 2446 And forto proven it is so, 2447 A tale which befell in dede 2448 In a Cronique of Rome I rede. 2449 Cesar upon his real throne 2450 Wher that he sat in his persone 2451 And was hyest in al his pris, 2452 A man, which wolde make him wys, 2453 Fell doun knelende in his presence, 2454 And dede him such a reverence, 2455 As thogh the hihe god it were: 2456 Men hadden gret mervaille there 2457 Of the worschipe which he dede. 2458 This man aros fro thilke stede, 2459 And forth with al the same tyde 2460 He goth him up and be his side 2461 He set him doun as pier and pier, 2462 And seide, "If thou that sittest hier 2463 Art god, which alle thinges myht, 2464 Thanne have I do worshipe ariht 2465 As to the god; and other wise, 2466 If thou be noght of thilke assisse, 2467 Bot art a man such as am I, 2468 Than mai I sitte faste by, 2469 For we be bothen of o kinde." 2470 Cesar ansuerde and seide, "O blinde, 2471 Thou art a fol, it is wel sene 2472 Upon thiself: for if thou wene 2473 I be a god, thou dost amys 2474 To sitte wher thou sest god is; 2475 And if I be a man, also 2476 Thou hast a gret folie do, 2477 Whan thou to such on as schal deie 2478 The worschipe of thi god aweie 2479 Hast yoven so unworthely. 2480 Thus mai I prove redely, 2481 Thou art noght wys." And thei that herde 2482 Hou wysly that the king ansuerde, 2483 It was to hem a newe lore; 2484 Wherof thei dradden him the more, 2485 And broghten nothing to his Ere, 2486 Bot if it trouthe and reson were. 2487 So be ther manye, in such a wise 2488 That feignen wordes to be wise, 2489 And al is verray flaterie 2490 To him which can it wel aspie. 2491 The kinde flatour can noght love 2492 Bot forto bringe himself above; 2493 For hou that evere his maister fare, 2494 So that himself stonde out of care, 2495 Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte 2496 Deceived ben with wordes softe 2497 The kinges that ben innocent. 2498 Wherof as for chastiement 2499 The wise Philosophre seide, 2500 What king that so his tresor leide 2501 Upon such folk, he hath the lesse, 2502 And yit ne doth he no largesse, 2503 Bot harmeth with his oghne hond 2504 Himself and ek his oghne lond, 2505 And that be many a sondri weie. 2506 Wherof if that a man schal seie, 2507 As forto speke in general, 2508 Wher such thing falleth overal 2509 That eny king himself misreule, 2510 The Philosophre upon his reule 2511 In special a cause sette, 2512 Which is and evere hath be the lette 2513 In governance aboute a king 2514 Upon the meschief of the thing, 2515 And that, he seith, is Flaterie. 2516 Wherof tofore as in partie 2517 What vice it is I have declared; 2518 For who that hath his wit bewared 2519 Upon a flatour to believe, 2520 Whan that he weneth best achieve 2521 His goode world, it is most fro. 2522 And forto proeven it is so 2523 Ensamples ther ben manyon, 2524 Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on, 2525 It is behovely forto hiere 2526 What whilom fell in this matiere. 2527 Among the kinges in the bible 2528 I finde a tale, and is credible, 2529 Of him that whilom Achab hihte, 2530 Which hadde al Irahel to rihte; 2531 Bot who that couthe glose softe 2532 And flatre, suche he sette alofte 2533 In gret astat and made hem riche; 2534 Bot thei that spieken wordes liche 2535 To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere, 2536 For hem was non astat to bere, 2537 The court of suche tok non hiede. 2538 Til ate laste upon a nede, 2539 That Benedab king of Surie 2540 Of Irahel a gret partie, 2541 Which Ramoth Galaath was hote, 2542 Hath sesed; and of that riote 2543 He tok conseil in sondri wise, 2544 Bot noght of hem that weren wise. 2545 And natheles upon this cas 2546 To strengthen him, for Josaphas, 2547 Which thanne was king of Judee, 2548 He sende forto come, as he 2549 Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance 2550 Was next to him of aqueintance; 2551 For Joram Sone of Josaphath 2552 Achabbes dowhter wedded hath, 2553 Which hihte faire Godelie. 2554 And thus cam into Samarie 2555 King Josaphat, and he fond there 2556 The king Achab: and whan thei were 2557 Togedre spekende of this thing, 2558 This Josaphat seith to the king, 2559 Hou that he wolde gladly hiere 2560 Som trew prophete in this matiere, 2561 That he his conseil myhte yive 2562 To what point that it schal be drive. 2563 And in that time so befell, 2564 Ther was such on in Irahel, 2565 Which sette him al to flaterie, 2566 And he was cleped Sedechie; 2567 And after him Achab hath sent: 2568 And he at his comandement 2569 Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte 2570 He hath upon his heved on heyhte 2571 Tuo large hornes set of bras, 2572 As he which al a flatour was, 2573 And goth rampende as a leoun 2574 And caste hise hornes up and doun, 2575 And bad men ben of good espeir, 2576 For as the hornes percen their, 2577 He seith, withoute resistence, 2578 So wiste he wel of his science 2579 That Benedab is desconfit. 2580 Whan Sedechie upon this plit 2581 Hath told this tale to his lord, 2582 Anon ther were of his acord 2583 Prophetes false manye mo 2584 To bere up oil, and alle tho 2585 Affermen that which he hath told, 2586 Wherof the king Achab was bold 2587 And yaf hem yiftes al aboute. 2588 But Josaphat was in gret doute, 2589 And hield fantosme al that he herde, 2590 Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde, 2591 If ther were eny other man, 2592 The which of prophecie can, 2593 To hiere him speke er that thei gon. 2594 Quod Achab thanne, "Ther is on, 2595 A brothell, which Micheas hihte; 2596 Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte, 2597 For he hath longe in prison lein. 2598 Him liketh nevere yit to sein 2599 A goodly word to mi plesance; 2600 And natheles at thin instance 2601 He schal come oute, and thanne he may 2602 Seie as he seide many day; 2603 For yit he seide nevere wel." 2604 Tho Josaphat began somdel 2605 To gladen him in hope of trouthe, 2606 And bad withouten eny slouthe 2607 That men him scholden fette anon. 2608 And thei that weren for him gon, 2609 Whan that thei comen wher he was, 2610 Thei tolden unto Micheas 2611 The manere hou that Sedechie 2612 Declared hath his prophecie; 2613 And therupon thei preie him faire 2614 That he wol seie no contraire, 2615 Wherof the king mai be desplesed, 2616 For so schal every man ben esed, 2617 And he mai helpe himselve also. 2618 Micheas upon trouthe tho 2619 His herte sette, and to hem seith, 2620 Al that belongeth to his feith 2621 And of non other feigned thing, 2622 That wol he telle unto his king, 2623 Als fer as god hath yove him grace. 2624 Thus cam this prophete into place 2625 Wher he the kinges wille herde; 2626 And he therto anon ansuerde, 2627 And seide unto him in this wise: 2628 "Mi liege lord, for mi servise, 2629 Which trewe hath stonden evere yit, 2630 Thou hast me with prisone aquit; 2631 Bot for al that I schal noght glose 2632 Of trouthe als fer as I suppose; 2633 And as touchende of this bataille, 2634 Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile. 2635 For if it like thee to hiere, 2636 As I am tauht in that matiere, 2637 Thou miht it understonde sone; 2638 Bot what is afterward to done 2639 Avise thee, for this I sih. 2640 I was tofor the throne on hih, 2641 Wher al the world me thoghte stod, 2642 And there I herde and understod 2643 The vois of god with wordes cliere 2644 Axende, and seide in this manere: 2645 "In what thing mai I best beguile 2646 The king Achab?" And for a while 2647 Upon this point thei spieken faste. 2648 Tho seide a spirit ate laste, 2649 "I undertake this emprise." 2650 And god him axeth in what wise. 2651 "I schal," quod he, "deceive and lye 2652 With flaterende prophecie 2653 In suche mouthes as he lieveth." 2654 And he which alle thing achieveth 2655 Bad him go forth and don riht so. 2656 And over this I sih also 2657 The noble peple of Irahel 2658 Dispers as Schep upon an hell, 2659 Withoute a kepere unarraied: 2660 And as thei wente aboute astraied, 2661 I herde a vois unto hem sein, 2662 "Goth hom into your hous ayein, 2663 Til I for you have betre ordeigned." 2664 Quod Sedechie, "Thou hast feigned 2665 This tale in angringe of the king." 2666 And in a wraththe upon this thing 2667 He smot Michee upon the cheke; 2668 The king him hath rebuked eke, 2669 And every man upon him cride: 2670 Thus was he schent on every side, 2671 Ayein and into prison lad, 2672 For so the king himselve bad. 2673 The trouthe myhte noght ben herd; 2674 Bot afterward as it hath ferd, 2675 The dede proveth his entente: 2676 Achab to the bataille wente, 2677 Wher Benedab for al his Scheld 2678 Him slouh, so that upon the feld 2679 His poeple goth aboute astray. 2680 Bot god, which alle thinges may, 2681 So doth that thei no meschief have; 2682 Here king was ded and thei ben save, 2683 And hom ayein in goddes pes 2684 Thei wente, and al was founde les 2685 That Sedechie hath seid tofore. 2686 So sit it wel a king therfore 2687 To loven hem that trouthe mene; 2688 For ate laste it wol be sene 2689 That flaterie is nothing worth. 2690 Bot nou to mi matiere forth, 2691 As forto speken overmore 2692 After the Philosophres lore, 2693 The thridde point of Policie 2694 I thenke forto specifie. 2695 What is a lond wher men ben none? 2696 What ben the men whiche are al one 2697 Withoute a kinges governance? 2698 What is a king in his ligance, 2699 Wher that ther is no lawe in londe? 2700 What is to take lawe on honde, 2701 Bot if the jugges weren trewe? 2702 These olde worldes with the newe 2703 Who that wol take in evidence, 2704 Ther mai he se thexperience, 2705 What thing it is to kepe lawe, 2706 Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe 2707 And rihtwisnesse stant commended, 2708 Wherof the regnes ben amended. 2709 For wher the lawe mai comune 2710 The lordes forth with the commune, 2711 Ech hath his propre duete; 2712 And ek the kinges realte 2713 Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth, 2714 To his astat as it belongeth, 2715 Which of his hihe worthinesse 2716 Hath to governe rihtwisnesse, 2717 As he which schal the lawe guide. 2718 And natheles upon som side 2719 His pouer stant above the lawe, 2720 To yive bothe and to withdrawe 2721 The forfet of a mannes lif; 2722 But thinges whiche are excessif 2723 Ayein the lawe, he schal noght do 2724 For love ne for hate also. 2725 The myhtes of a king ben grete, 2726 Bot yit a worthi king schal lete 2727 Of wrong to don, al that he myhte; 2728 For he which schal the poeple ryhte, 2729 It sit wel to his regalie 2730 That he himself ferst justefie 2731 Towardes god in his degre: 2732 For his astat is elles fre 2733 Toward alle othre in his persone, 2734 Save only to the god al one, 2735 Which wol himself a king chastise, 2736 Wher that non other mai suffise. 2737 So were it good to taken hiede 2738 That ferst a king his oghne dede 2739 Betwen the vertu and the vice 2740 Redresce, and thanne of his justice 2741 So sette in evene the balance 2742 Towardes othre in governance, 2743 That to the povere and to the riche 2744 Hise lawes myhten stonde liche, 2745 He schal excepte no persone. 2746 Bot for he mai noght al him one 2747 In sondri places do justice, 2748 He schal of his real office 2749 With wys consideracion 2750 Ordeigne his deputacion 2751 Of suche jugges as ben lerned, 2752 So that his poeple be governed 2753 Be hem that trewe ben and wise. 2754 For if the lawe of covoitise 2755 Be set upon a jugges hond, 2756 Wo is the poeple of thilke lond, 2757 For wrong mai noght himselven hyde: 2758 Bot elles on that other side, 2759 If lawe stonde with the riht, 2760 The poeple is glad and stant upriht. 2761 Wher as the lawe is resonable, 2762 The comun poeple stant menable, 2763 And if the lawe torne amis, 2764 The poeple also mistorned is. 2765 And in ensample of this matiere 2766 Of Maximin a man mai hiere, 2767 Of Rome which was Emperour, 2768 That whanne he made a governour 2769 Be weie of substitucion 2770 Of Province or of region, 2771 He wolde ferst enquere his name, 2772 And let it openly proclame 2773 What man he were, or evel or good. 2774 And upon that his name stod 2775 Enclin to vertu or to vice, 2776 So wolde he sette him in office, 2777 Or elles putte him al aweie. 2778 Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie, 2779 Which fond no let of covoitise: 2780 The world stod than upon the wise, 2781 As be ensample thou myht rede; 2782 And hold it in thi mynde, I rede. 2783 In a Cronique I finde thus, 2784 Hou that Gayus Fabricius, 2785 Which whilom was Consul of Rome, 2786 Be whom the lawes yede and come, 2787 Whan the Sampnites to him broghte 2788 A somme of gold, and him besoghte 2789 To don hem favour in the lawe, 2790 Toward the gold he gan him drawe, 2791 Wherof in alle mennes lok 2792 A part up in his hond he tok, 2793 Which to his mouth in alle haste 2794 He putte, it forto smelle and taste, 2795 And to his yhe and to his Ere, 2796 Bot he ne fond no confort there: 2797 And thanne he gan it to despise, 2798 And tolde unto hem in this wise: 2799 "I not what is with gold to thryve, 2800 Whan non of all my wittes fyve 2801 Fynt savour ne delit therinne. 2802 So is it bot a nyce Sinne 2803 Of gold to ben to covoitous; 2804 Bot he is riche and glorious, 2805 Which hath in his subjeccion 2806 Tho men whiche in possession 2807 Ben riche of gold, and be this skile; 2808 For he mai aldai whan he wile, 2809 Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe, 2810 Justice don upon hem bothe." 2811 Lo, thus he seide, and with that word 2812 He threw tofore hem on the bord 2813 The gold out of his hond anon, 2814 And seide hem that he wolde non: 2815 So that he kepte his liberte 2816 To do justice and equite, 2817 Withoute lucre of such richesse. 2818 Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse; 2819 For it was thilke times used, 2820 That every jugge was refused 2821 Which was noght frend to comun riht; 2822 Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht 2823 For trouthe only to do justice 2824 Preferred were in thilke office 2825 To deme and jugge commun lawe: 2826 Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe. 2827 To sette a lawe and kepe it noght 2828 Ther is no comun profit soght; 2829 Bot above alle natheles 2830 The lawe, which is mad for pes, 2831 Is good to kepe for the beste, 2832 For that set alle men in reste. 2833 The rihtful Emperour Conrade 2834 To kepe pes such lawe made, 2835 That non withinne the cite 2836 In destorbance of unite 2837 Dorste ones moeven a matiere. 2838 For in his time, as thou myht hiere, 2839 What point that was for lawe set 2840 It scholde for no gold be let, 2841 To what persone that it were. 2842 And this broghte in the comun fere, 2843 Why every man the lawe dradde, 2844 For ther was non which favour hadde. 2845 So as these olde bokes sein, 2846 I finde write hou a Romein, 2847 Which Consul was of the Pretoire, 2848 Whos name was Carmidotoire, 2849 He sette a lawe for the pes, 2850 That non, bot he be wepneles, 2851 Schal come into the conseil hous, 2852 And elles as malicious 2853 He schal ben of the lawe ded. 2854 To that statut and to that red 2855 Acorden alle it schal be so, 2856 For certein cause which was tho: 2857 Nou lest what fell therafter sone. 2858 This Consul hadde forto done, 2859 And was into the feldes ride; 2860 And thei him hadden longe abide, 2861 That lordes of the conseil were, 2862 And for him sende, and he cam there 2863 With swerd begert, and hath foryete, 2864 Til he was in the conseil sete. 2865 Was non of hem that made speche, 2866 Til he himself it wolde seche, 2867 And fond out the defalte himselve; 2868 And thanne he seide unto the tuelve, 2869 Whiche of the Senat weren wise, 2870 "I have deserved the juise, 2871 In haste that it were do." 2872 And thei him seiden alle no; 2873 For wel thei wiste it was no vice, 2874 Whan he ne thoghte no malice, 2875 Bot onliche of a litel slouthe: 2876 And thus thei leften as for routhe 2877 To do justice upon his gilt, 2878 For that he scholde noght be spilt. 2879 And whanne he sih the maner hou 2880 Thei wolde him save, he made avou 2881 With manfull herte, and thus he seide, 2882 That Rome scholde nevere abreide 2883 His heires, whan he were of dawe, 2884 That here Ancestre brak the lawe. 2885 Forthi, er that thei weren war, 2886 Forth with the same swerd he bar 2887 The statut of his lawe he kepte, 2888 So that al Rome his deth bewepte. 2889 In other place also I rede, 2890 Wher that a jugge his oghne dede 2891 Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke, 2892 The king it hath himselven wroke. 2893 The grete king which Cambises 2894 Was hote, a jugge laweles 2895 He fond, and into remembrance 2896 He dede upon him such vengance: 2897 Out of his skyn he was beflain 2898 Al quyk, and in that wise slain, 2899 So that his skyn was schape al meete, 2900 And nayled on the same seete 2901 Wher that his Sone scholde sitte. 2902 Avise him, if he wolde flitte 2903 The lawe for the coveitise, 2904 Ther sih he redi his juise. 2905 Thus in defalte of other jugge 2906 The king mot otherwhile jugge, 2907 To holden up the rihte lawe. 2908 And forto speke of tholde dawe, 2909 To take ensample of that was tho, 2910 I finde a tale write also, 2911 Hou that a worthi prince is holde 2912 The lawes of his lond to holde, 2913 Ferst for the hihe goddes sake, 2914 And ek for that him is betake 2915 The poeple forto guide and lede, 2916 Which is the charge of his kinghede. 2917 In a Cronique I rede thus 2918 Of the rihtful Ligurgius, 2919 Which of Athenis Prince was, 2920 Hou he the lawe in every cas, 2921 Wherof he scholde his poeple reule, 2922 Hath set upon so good a reule, 2923 In al this world that cite non 2924 Of lawe was so wel begon 2925 Forth with the trouthe of governance. 2926 Ther was among hem no distance, 2927 Bot every man hath his encress; 2928 Ther was withoute werre pes, 2929 Withoute envie love stod; 2930 Richesse upon the comun good 2931 And noght upon the singuler 2932 Ordeigned was, and the pouer 2933 Of hem that weren in astat 2934 Was sauf: wherof upon debat 2935 Ther stod nothing, so that in reste 2936 Mihte every man his herte reste. 2937 And whan this noble rihtful king 2938 Sih hou it ferde of al this thing, 2939 Wherof the poeple stod in ese, 2940 He, which for evere wolde plese 2941 The hihe god, whos thonk he soghte, 2942 A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte, 2943 And schop if that it myhte be, 2944 Hou that his lawe in the cite 2945 Mihte afterward for evere laste. 2946 And therupon his wit he caste 2947 What thing him were best to feigne, 2948 That he his pourpos myhte atteigne. 2949 A Parlement and thus he sette, 2950 His wisdom wher that he besette 2951 In audience of grete and smale, 2952 And in this wise he tolde his tale: 2953 "God wot, and so ye witen alle, 2954 Hierafterward hou so it falle, 2955 Yit into now my will hath be 2956 To do justice and equite 2957 In forthringe of comun profit; 2958 Such hath ben evere my delit. 2959 Bot of o thing I am beknowe, 2960 The which mi will is that ye knowe: 2961 The lawe which I tok on honde, 2962 Was altogedre of goddes sonde 2963 And nothing of myn oghne wit; 2964 So mot it nede endure yit, 2965 And schal do lengere, if ye wile. 2966 For I wol telle you the skile; 2967 The god Mercurius and no man 2968 He hath me tawht al that I can 2969 Of suche lawes as I made, 2970 Wherof that ye ben alle glade; 2971 It was the god and nothing I, 2972 Which dede al this, and nou forthi 2973 He hath comanded of his grace 2974 That I schal come into a place 2975 Which is forein out in an yle, 2976 Wher I mot tarie for a while, 2977 With him to speke, as he hath bede. 2978 For as he seith, in thilke stede 2979 He schal me suche thinges telle, 2980 That evere, whyl the world schal duelle, 2981 Athenis schal the betre fare. 2982 Bot ferst, er that I thider fare, 2983 For that I wolde that mi lawe 2984 Amonges you ne be withdrawe 2985 Ther whyles that I schal ben oute, 2986 Forthi to setten out of doute 2987 Bothe you and me, this wol I preie, 2988 That ye me wolde assure and seie 2989 With such an oth as I wol take, 2990 That ech of you schal undertake 2991 Mi lawes forto kepe and holde." 2992 Thei seiden alle that thei wolde, 2993 And therupon thei swore here oth, 2994 That fro the time that he goth, 2995 Til he to hem be come ayein, 2996 Thei scholde hise lawes wel and plein 2997 In every point kepe and fulfille. 2998 Thus hath Ligurgius his wille, 2999 And tok his leve and forth he wente. 3000 Bot lest nou wel to what entente 3001 Of rihtwisnesse he dede so: 3002 For after that he was ago, 3003 He schop him nevere to be founde; 3004 So that Athenis, which was bounde, 3005 Nevere after scholde be relessed, 3006 Ne thilke goode lawe cessed, 3007 Which was for comun profit set. 3008 And in this wise he hath it knet; 3009 He, which the comun profit soghte, 3010 The king, his oghne astat ne roghte; 3011 To do profit to the comune, 3012 He tok of exil the fortune, 3013 And lefte of Prince thilke office 3014 Only for love and for justice, 3015 Thurgh which he thoghte, if that he myhte, 3016 For evere after his deth to rihte 3017 The cite which was him betake. 3018 Wherof men oghte ensample take 3019 The goode lawes to avance 3020 With hem which under governance 3021 The lawes have forto kepe; 3022 For who that wolde take kepe 3023 Of hem that ferst the lawes founde, 3024 Als fer as lasteth eny bounde 3025 Of lond, here names yit ben knowe: 3026 And if it like thee to knowe 3027 Some of here names hou thei stonde, 3028 Nou herkne and thou schalt understonde. 3029 Of every bienfet the merite 3030 The god himself it wol aquite; 3031 And ek fulofte it falleth so, 3032 The world it wole aquite also, 3033 Bot that mai noght ben evene liche: 3034 The god he yifth the heveneriche, 3035 The world yifth only bot a name, 3036 Which stant upon the goode fame 3037 Of hem that don the goode dede. 3038 And in this wise double mede 3039 Resceiven thei that don wel hiere; 3040 Wherof if that thee list to hiere 3041 After the fame as it is blowe, 3042 Ther myht thou wel the sothe knowe, 3043 Hou thilke honeste besinesse 3044 Of hem that ferst for rihtwisnesse 3045 Among the men the lawes made, 3046 Mai nevere upon this erthe fade. 3047 For evere, whil ther is a tunge, 3048 Here name schal be rad and sunge 3049 And holde in the Cronique write; 3050 So that the men it scholden wite, 3051 To speke good, as thei wel oghten, 3052 Of hem that ferst the lawes soghten 3053 In forthringe of the worldes pes. 3054 Unto thebreus was Moi5ses 3055 The ferste, and to thegipciens 3056 Mercurius, and to Troiens 3057 Ferst was Neuma Pompilius, 3058 To Athenes Ligurgius 3059 Yaf ferst the lawe, and to Gregois 3060 Forones hath thilke vois, 3061 And Romulus to the Romeins. 3062 For suche men that ben vileins 3063 The lawe in such a wise ordeigneth, 3064 That what man to the lawe pleigneth, 3065 Be so the jugge stonde upriht, 3066 He schal be served of his riht. 3067 And so ferforth it is befalle 3068 That lawe is come among ous alle: 3069 God lieve it mote wel ben holde, 3070 As every king therto is holde; 3071 For thing which is of kinges set, 3072 With kinges oghte it noght be let. 3073 What king of lawe takth no kepe, 3074 Be lawe he mai no regne kepe. 3075 Do lawe awey, what is a king? 3076 Wher is the riht of eny thing, 3077 If that ther be no lawe in londe? 3078 This oghte a king wel understonde, 3079 As he which is to lawe swore, 3080 That if the lawe be forbore 3081 Withouten execucioun, 3082 If makth a lond torne up so doun, 3083 Which is unto the king a sclandre. 3084 Forthi unto king Alisandre 3085 The wise Philosophre bad, 3086 That he himselve ferst be lad 3087 Of lawe, and forth thanne overal 3088 So do justice in general, 3089 That al the wyde lond aboute 3090 The justice of his lawe doute, 3091 And thanne schal he stonde in reste. 3092 For therto lawe is on the beste 3093 Above alle other erthly thing, 3094 To make a liege drede his king. 3095 Bot hou a king schal gete him love 3096 Toward the hihe god above, 3097 And ek among the men in erthe, 3098 This nexte point, which is the ferthe 3099 Of Aristotles lore, it techeth: 3100 Wherof who that the Scole secheth, 3101 What Policie that it is 3102 The bok reherceth after this. 3103 It nedeth noght that I delate 3104 The pris which preised is algate, 3105 And hath ben evere and evere schal, 3106 Wherof to speke in special, 3107 It is the vertu of Pite, 3108 Thurgh which the hihe mageste 3109 Was stered, whan his Sone alyhte, 3110 And in pite the world to rihte 3111 Tok of the Maide fleissh and blod. 3112 Pite was cause of thilke good, 3113 Wherof that we ben alle save: 3114 Wel oghte a man Pite to have 3115 And the vertu to sette in pris, 3116 Whan he himself which is al wys 3117 Hath schewed why it schal be preised. 3118 Pite may noght be conterpeised 3119 Of tirannie with no peis; 3120 For Pite makth a king courteis 3121 Bothe in his word and in his dede. 3122 It sit wel every liege drede 3123 His king and to his heste obeie, 3124 And riht so be the same weie 3125 It sit a king to be pitous 3126 Toward his poeple and gracious 3127 Upon the reule of governance, 3128 So that he worche no vengance, 3129 Which mai be cleped crualte. 3130 Justice which doth equite 3131 Is dredfull, for he noman spareth; 3132 Bot in the lond wher Pite fareth 3133 The king mai nevere faile of love, 3134 For Pite thurgh the grace above, 3135 So as the Philosphre affermeth, 3136 His regne in good astat confermeth. 3137 Thus seide whilom Constantin: 3138 "What Emperour that is enclin 3139 To Pite forto be servant, 3140 Of al the worldes remenant 3141 He is worthi to ben a lord." 3142 In olde bokes of record 3143 This finde I write of essamplaire: 3144 Troian the worthi debonaire, 3145 Be whom that Rome stod governed, 3146 Upon a time as he was lerned 3147 Of that he was to familier, 3148 He seide unto that conseiller, 3149 That forto ben an Emperour 3150 His will was noght for vein honour, 3151 Ne yit for reddour of justice; 3152 Bot if he myhte in his office 3153 Hise lordes and his poeple plese, 3154 Him thoghte it were a grettere ese 3155 With love here hertes to him drawe, 3156 Than with the drede of eny lawe. 3157 For whan a thing is do for doute, 3158 Fulofte it comth the worse aboute; 3159 Bot wher a king is Pietous, 3160 He is the more gracious, 3161 That mochel thrift him schal betyde, 3162 Which elles scholde torne aside. 3163 Of Pite forto speke plein, 3164 Which is with mercy wel besein, 3165 Fulofte he wole himselve peine 3166 To kepe an other fro the peine: 3167 For Charite the moder is 3168 Of Pite, which nothing amis 3169 Can soffre, if he it mai amende. 3170 It sit to every man livende 3171 To be Pitous, bot non so wel 3172 As to a king, which on the whiel 3173 Fortune hath set aboven alle: 3174 For in a king, if so befalle 3175 That his Pite be ferme and stable, 3176 To al the lond it is vailable 3177 Only thurgh grace of his persone; 3178 For the Pite of him al one 3179 Mai al the large realme save. 3180 So sit it wel a king to have 3181 Pite; for this Valeire tolde, 3182 And seide hou that be daies olde 3183 Codrus, which was in his degre 3184 King of Athenis the cite, 3185 A werre he hadde ayein Dorrence: 3186 And forto take his evidence 3187 What schal befalle of the bataille, 3188 He thoghte he wolde him ferst consaille 3189 With Appollo, in whom he triste; 3190 Thurgh whos ansuere this he wiste, 3191 Of tuo pointz that he myhte chese, 3192 Or that he wolde his body lese 3193 And in bataille himselve deie, 3194 Or elles the seconde weie, 3195 To sen his poeple desconfit. 3196 Bot he, which Pite hath parfit 3197 Upon the point of his believe, 3198 The poeple thoghte to relieve, 3199 And ches himselve to be ded. 3200 Wher is nou such an other hed, 3201 Which wolde for the lemes dye? 3202 And natheles in som partie 3203 It oghte a kinges herte stere, 3204 That he hise liege men forbere. 3205 And ek toward hise enemis 3206 Fulofte he may deserve pris, 3207 To take of Pite remembrance, 3208 Wher that he myhte do vengance: 3209 For whanne a king hath the victoire, 3210 And thanne he drawe into memoire 3211 To do Pite in stede of wreche, 3212 He mai noght faile of thilke speche 3213 Wherof arist the worldes fame, 3214 To yive a Prince a worthi name. 3215 I rede hou whilom that Pompeie, 3216 To whom that Rome moste obeie, 3217 A werre hadde in jeupartie 3218 Ayein the king of Ermenie, 3219 Which of long time him hadde grieved. 3220 Bot ate laste it was achieved 3221 That he this king desconfit hadde, 3222 And forth with him to Rome ladde 3223 As Prisoner, wher many a day 3224 In sori plit and povere he lay, 3225 The corone of his heved deposed, 3226 Withinne walles faste enclosed; 3227 And with ful gret humilite 3228 He soffreth his adversite. 3229 Pompeie sih his pacience 3230 And tok pite with conscience, 3231 So that upon his hihe deis 3232 Tofore al Rome in his Paleis, 3233 As he that wolde upon him rewe, 3234 Let yive him his corone newe 3235 And his astat al full and plein 3236 Restoreth of his regne ayein, 3237 And seide it was more goodly thing 3238 To make than undon a king, 3239 To him which pouer hadde of bothe. 3240 Thus thei, that weren longe wrothe, 3241 Acorden hem to final pes; 3242 And yit justice natheles 3243 Was kept and in nothing offended; 3244 Wherof Pompeie was comended. 3245 Ther mai no king himself excuse, 3246 Bot if justice he kepe and use, 3247 Which for teschuie crualte 3248 He mot attempre with Pite. 3249 Of crualte the felonie 3250 Engendred is of tirannie, 3251 Ayein the whos condicion 3252 God is himself the champion, 3253 Whos strengthe mai noman withstonde. 3254 For evere yit it hath so stonde, 3255 That god a tirant overladde; 3256 Bot wher Pite the regne ladde, 3257 Ther mihte no fortune laste 3258 Which was grevous, bot ate laste 3259 The god himself it hath redresced. 3260 Pite is thilke vertu blessed 3261 Which nevere let his Maister falle; 3262 Bot crualte, thogh it so falle 3263 That it mai regne for a throwe, 3264 God wole it schal ben overthrowe: 3265 Wherof ensamples ben ynowhe 3266 Of hem that thilke merel drowhe. 3267 Of crualte I rede thus: 3268 Whan the tirant Leoncius 3269 Was to thempire of Rome arrived, 3270 Fro which he hath with strengthe prived 3271 The pietous Justinian, 3272 As he which was a cruel man, 3273 His nase of and his lippes bothe 3274 He kutte, for he wolde him lothe 3275 Unto the poeple and make unable. 3276 Bot he which is al merciable, 3277 The hihe god, ordeigneth so, 3278 That he withinne a time also, 3279 Whan he was strengest in his ire, 3280 Was schoven out of his empire. 3281 Tiberius the pouer hadde, 3282 And Rome after his will he ladde, 3283 And for Leonce in such a wise 3284 Ordeigneth, that he tok juise 3285 Of nase and lippes bothe tuo, 3286 For that he dede an other so, 3287 Which more worthi was than he. 3288 Lo, which a fall hath crualte, 3289 And Pite was set up ayein: 3290 For after that the bokes sein, 3291 Therbellis king of Bulgarie 3292 With helpe of his chivalerie 3293 Justinian hath unprisoned 3294 And to thempire ayein coroned. 3295 In a Cronique I finde also 3296 Of Siculus, which was ek so 3297 A cruel king lich the tempeste, 3298 The whom no Pite myhte areste,- 3299 He was the ferste, as bokes seie, 3300 Upon the See which fond Galeie 3301 And let hem make for the werre,- 3302 As he which al was out of herre 3303 Fro Pite and misericorde; 3304 For therto couthe he noght acorde, 3305 Bot whom he myhte slen, he slouh, 3306 And therof was he glad ynouh. 3307 He hadde of conseil manyon, 3308 Among the whiche ther was on, 3309 Be name which Berillus hihte; 3310 And he bethoghte him hou he myhte 3311 Unto the tirant do likinge, 3312 And of his oghne ymaginynge 3313 Let forge and make a Bole of bras, 3314 And on the side cast ther was 3315 A Dore, wher a man mai inne, 3316 Whan he his peine schal beginne 3317 Thurgh fyr, which that men putten under. 3318 And al this dede he for a wonder, 3319 That whanne a man for peine cride, 3320 The Bole of bras, which gapeth wyde, 3321 It scholde seme as thogh it were 3322 A belwinge in a mannes Ere, 3323 And noght the criinge of a man. 3324 Bot he which alle sleihtes can, 3325 The devel, that lith in helle fast, 3326 Him that this caste hath overcast, 3327 That for a trespas which he dede 3328 He was putt in the same stede, 3329 And was himself the ferste of alle 3330 Which was into that peine falle 3331 That he for othre men ordeigneth; 3332 Ther was noman which him compleigneth. 3333 Of tirannie and crualte 3334 Be this ensample a king mai se, 3335 Himself and ek his conseil bothe, 3336 Hou thei ben to mankinde lothe 3337 And to the god abhominable. 3338 Ensamples that ben concordable 3339 I finde of othre Princes mo, 3340 As thou schalt hiere, of time go. 3341 The grete tirant Dionys, 3342 Which mannes lif sette of no pris, 3343 Unto his hors fulofte he yaf 3344 The men in stede of corn and chaf, 3345 So that the hors of thilke stod 3346 Devoureden the mennes blod; 3347 Til fortune ate laste cam, 3348 That Hercules him overcam, 3349 And he riht in the same wise 3350 Of this tirant tok the juise: 3351 As he til othre men hath do, 3352 The same deth he deide also, 3353 That no Pite him hath socoured, 3354 Til he was of hise hors devoured. 3355 Of Lichaon also I finde 3356 Hou he ayein the lawe of kinde 3357 Hise hostes slouh, and into mete 3358 He made her bodies to ben ete 3359 With othre men withinne his hous. 3360 Bot Jupiter the glorious, 3361 Which was commoeved of this thing, 3362 Vengance upon this cruel king 3363 So tok, that he fro mannes forme 3364 Into a wolf him let transforme: 3365 And thus the crualte was kidd, 3366 Which of long time he hadde hidd; 3367 A wolf he was thanne openly, 3368 The whos nature prively 3369 He hadde in his condicion. 3370 And unto this conclusioun, 3371 That tirannie is to despise, 3372 I finde ensample in sondri wise, 3373 And nameliche of hem fulofte, 3374 The whom fortune hath set alofte 3375 Upon the werres forto winne. 3376 Bot hou so that the wrong beginne 3377 Of tirannie, it mai noght laste, 3378 Bot such as thei don ate laste 3379 To othre men, such on hem falleth; 3380 For ayein suche Pite calleth 3381 Vengance to the god above. 3382 For who that hath no tender love 3383 In savinge of a mannes lif, 3384 He schal be founde so gultif, 3385 That whanne he wolde mercy crave 3386 In time of nede, he schal non have. 3387 Of the natures this I finde, 3388 The fierce Leon in his kinde, 3389 Which goth rampende after his preie, 3390 If he a man finde in his weie, 3391 He wole him slen, if he withstonde. 3392 Bot if the man coude understonde 3393 To falle anon before his face 3394 In signe of mercy and of grace, 3395 The Leon schal of his nature 3396 Restreigne his ire in such mesure, 3397 As thogh it were a beste tamed, 3398 And torne awey halfvinge aschamed, 3399 That he the man schal nothing grieve. 3400 Hou scholde than a Prince achieve 3401 The worldes grace, if that he wolde 3402 Destruie a man whanne he is yolde 3403 And stant upon his mercy al? 3404 Bot forto speke in special, 3405 Ther have be suche and yit ther be 3406 Tirantz, whos hertes no pite 3407 Mai to no point of mercy plie, 3408 That thei upon her tirannie 3409 Ne gladen hem the men to sle; 3410 And as the rages of the See 3411 Ben unpitous in the tempeste, 3412 Riht so mai no Pite areste 3413 Of crualte the gret oultrage, 3414 Which the tirant in his corage 3415 Engendred hath: wherof I finde 3416 A tale, which comth nou to mynde. 3417 I rede in olde bokes thus: 3418 Ther was a Duk, which Spertachus 3419 Men clepe, and was a werreiour, 3420 A cruel man, a conquerour 3421 With strong pouer the which he ladde. 3422 For this condicion he hadde, 3423 That where him hapneth the victoire, 3424 His lust and al his moste gloire 3425 Was forto sle and noght to save: 3426 Of rancoun wolde he no good have 3427 For savinge of a mannes lif, 3428 Bot al goth to the swerd and knyf, 3429 So lief him was the mannes blod. 3430 And natheles yit thus it stod, 3431 So as fortune aboute wente, 3432 He fell riht heir as be descente 3433 To Perse, and was coroned king. 3434 And whan the worschipe of this thing 3435 Was falle, and he was king of Perse, 3436 If that thei weren ferst diverse, 3437 The tirannies whiche he wroghte, 3438 A thousendfold welmore he soghte 3439 Thanne afterward to do malice. 3440 The god vengance ayein the vice 3441 Hath schape: for upon a tyde, 3442 Whan he was heihest in his Pride, 3443 In his rancour and in his hete 3444 Ayein the queene of Marsagete, 3445 Which Thameris that time hihte, 3446 He made werre al that he myhte: 3447 And sche, which wolde hir lond defende, 3448 Hir oghne Sone ayein him sende, 3449 Which the defence hath undertake. 3450 Bot he desconfit was and take; 3451 And whan this king him hadde in honde, 3452 He wol no mercy understonde, 3453 Bot dede him slen in his presence. 3454 The tidinge of this violence 3455 Whan it cam to the moder Ere, 3456 Sche sende anon ay wydewhere 3457 To suche frendes as sche hadde, 3458 A gret pouer til that sche ladde. 3459 In sondri wise and tho sche caste 3460 Hou sche this king mai overcaste; 3461 And ate laste acorded was, 3462 That in the danger of a pass, 3463 Thurgh which this tirant scholde passe, 3464 Sche schop his pouer to compasse 3465 With strengthe of men be such a weie 3466 That he schal noght eschape aweie. 3467 And whan sche hadde thus ordeigned, 3468 Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned, 3469 For feere as thogh sche wolde flee 3470 Out of hir lond: and whan that he 3471 Hath herd hou that this ladi fledde, 3472 So faste after the chace he spedde, 3473 That he was founde out of array. 3474 For it betidde upon a day, 3475 Into the pas whanne he was falle, 3476 Thembuisschementz tobrieken alle 3477 And him beclipte on every side, 3478 That fle ne myhte he noght aside: 3479 So that ther weren dede and take 3480 Tuo hundred thousend for his sake, 3481 That weren with him of his host. 3482 And thus was leid the grete bost 3483 Of him and of his tirannie: 3484 It halp no mercy forto crie 3485 To him which whilom dede non; 3486 For he unto the queene anon 3487 Was broght, and whan that sche him sih, 3488 This word sche spak and seide on hih: 3489 "O man, which out of mannes kinde 3490 Reson of man hast left behinde 3491 And lived worse than a beste, 3492 Whom Pite myhte noght areste, 3493 The mannes blod to schede and spille 3494 Thou haddest nevere yit thi fille. 3495 Bot nou the laste time is come, 3496 That thi malice is overcome: 3497 As thou til othre men hast do, 3498 Nou schal be do to thee riht so." 3499 Tho bad this ladi that men scholde 3500 A vessel bringe, in which sche wolde 3501 Se the vengance of his juise, 3502 Which sche began anon devise; 3503 And tok the Princes whiche he ladde, 3504 Be whom his chief conseil he hadde, 3505 And whil hem lasteth eny breth, 3506 Sche made hem blede to the deth 3507 Into the vessel wher it stod: 3508 And whan it was fulfild of blod, 3509 Sche caste this tirant therinne, 3510 And seide him, "Lo, thus myht thou wynne 3511 The lustes of thin appetit. 3512 In blod was whilom thi delit, 3513 Nou schalt thou drinken al thi fille." 3514 And thus onliche of goddes wille, 3515 He which that wolde himselve strange 3516 To Pite, fond mercy so strange, 3517 That he withoute grace is lore. 3518 So may it schewe wel therfore 3519 That crualte hath no good ende; 3520 Bot Pite, hou so that it wende, 3521 Makth that the god is merciable, 3522 If ther be cause resonable 3523 Why that a king schal be pitous. 3524 Bot elles, if he be doubtous 3525 To slen in cause of rihtwisnesse, 3526 It mai be said no Pitousnesse, 3527 Bot it is Pusillamite, 3528 Which every Prince scholde flee. 3529 For if Pite mesure excede, 3530 Kinghode may noght wel procede 3531 To do justice upon the riht: 3532 For it belongeth to a knyht 3533 Als gladly forto fihte as reste, 3534 To sette his liege poeple in reste, 3535 Whan that the werre upon hem falleth; 3536 For thanne he mote, as it befalleth, 3537 Of his knyhthode as a Leon 3538 Be to the poeple a champioun 3539 Withouten eny Pite feigned. 3540 For if manhode be restreigned, 3541 Or be it pes or be it werre, 3542 Justice goth al out of herre, 3543 So that knyhthode is set behinde. 3544 Of Aristotles lore I finde, 3545 A king schal make good visage, 3546 That noman knowe of his corage 3547 Bot al honour and worthinesse: 3548 For if a king schal upon gesse 3549 Withoute verrai cause drede, 3550 He mai be lich to that I rede; 3551 And thogh that it be lich a fable, 3552 Thensample is good and resonable. 3553 As it be olde daies fell, 3554 I rede whilom that an hell 3555 Up in the londes of Archade 3556 A wonder dredful noise made; 3557 For so it fell that ilke day, 3558 This hell on his childinge lay, 3559 And whan the throwes on him come, 3560 His noise lich the day of dome 3561 Was ferfull in a mannes thoght 3562 Of thing which that thei sihe noght, 3563 Bot wel thei herden al aboute 3564 The noise, of which thei were in doute, 3565 As thei that wenden to be lore 3566 Of thing which thanne was unbore. 3567 The nerr this hell was upon chance 3568 To taken his deliverance, 3569 The more unbuxomliche he cride; 3570 And every man was fledd aside, 3571 For drede and lefte his oghne hous: 3572 And ate laste it was a Mous, 3573 The which was bore and to norrice 3574 Betake; and tho thei hield hem nyce, 3575 For thei withoute cause dradde. 3576 Thus if a king his herte ladde 3577 With every thing that he schal hiere, 3578 Fulofte he scholde change his chiere 3579 And upon fantasie drede, 3580 Whan that ther is no cause of drede. 3581 Orace to his Prince tolde, 3582 That him were levere that he wolde 3583 Upon knihthode Achillem suie 3584 In time of werre, thanne eschuie, 3585 So as Tersites dede at Troie. 3586 Achilles al his hole joie 3587 Sette upon Armes forto fihte; 3588 Tersites soghte al that he myhte 3589 Unarmed forto stonde in reste: 3590 Bot of the tuo it was the beste 3591 That Achilles upon the nede 3592 Hath do, wherof his knyhtlihiede 3593 Is yit comended overal. 3594 King Salomon in special 3595 Seith, as ther is a time of pes, 3596 So is a time natheles 3597 Of werre, in which a Prince algate 3598 Schal for the comun riht debate 3599 And for his oghne worschipe eke. 3600 Bot it behoveth noght to seke 3601 Only the werre for worschipe, 3602 Bot to the riht of his lordschipe, 3603 Which he is holde to defende, 3604 Mote every worthi Prince entende. 3605 Betwen the simplesce of Pite 3606 And the folhaste of crualte, 3607 Wher stant the verray hardiesce, 3608 Ther mote a king his herte adresce, 3609 Whanne it is time to forsake, 3610 And whan time is also to take 3611 The dedly werres upon honde, 3612 That he schal for no drede wonde, 3613 If rihtwisnesse be withal. 3614 For god is myhty overal 3615 To forthren every mannes trowthe, 3616 Bot it be thurgh his oghne slowthe; 3617 And namely the kinges nede 3618 It mai noght faile forto spede, 3619 For he stant one for hem alle; 3620 So mote it wel the betre falle 3621 And wel the more god favoureth, 3622 Whan he the comun riht socoureth. 3623 And forto se the sothe in dede, 3624 Behold the bible and thou myht rede 3625 Of grete ensamples manyon, 3626 Wherof that I wol tellen on. 3627 Upon a time as it befell, 3628 Ayein Judee and Irahel 3629 Whan sondri kinges come were 3630 In pourpos to destruie there 3631 The poeple which god kepte tho,- 3632 And stod in thilke daies so, 3633 That Gedeon, which scholde lede 3634 The goddes folk, tok him to rede, 3635 And sende in al the lond aboute, 3636 Til he assembled hath a route 3637 With thritti thousend of defence, 3638 To fihte and make resistence 3639 Ayein the whiche hem wolde assaille: 3640 And natheles that o bataille 3641 Of thre that weren enemys 3642 Was double mor than was al his; 3643 Wherof that Gedeon him dradde, 3644 That he so litel poeple hadde. 3645 Bot he which alle thing mai helpe, 3646 Wher that ther lacketh mannes helpe, 3647 To Gedeon his Angel sente, 3648 And bad, er that he forther wente, 3649 Al openly that he do crie 3650 That every man in his partie 3651 Which wolde after his oghne wille 3652 In his delice abide stille 3653 At hom in eny maner wise, 3654 For pourchas or for covoitise, 3655 For lust of love or lacke of herte, 3656 He scholde noght aboute sterte, 3657 Bot holde him stille at hom in pes: 3658 Wherof upon the morwe he les 3659 Wel twenty thousend men and mo, 3660 The whiche after the cri ben go.