from Fortunes Stabilnes


1 Except for Comfort [who] comes to see him [when he is] in a bad state

2 That [this whole situation] causes this: my heart's violent martyrdom

3 Where he is content to remain for the rest of his life

4 Who against his (the heart's) interests never ceases

5 But just as you first found me in a state of innocence [and did not help]

6 That you should sometimes hurt, and sometimes help

7 That I do not have the skills to gain [her] favor

8 For still you [continue to] harass me with painful deceits

9 [You] who wish always every good thing were quickly lost

10 I have often [gotten] very ill wares/goods from you

11 Now would I say you would have to conduct yourself well

12 Lines 6438-39: [You] who roll around [in your mind] the whole day the double (i.e., false) reversals of your jeopardy

13 And all the schemes you have set in motion against me


Abbreviations: MS: London, British Library MS Harley 682.

1005 welwilleris, frendis, and allyes. The scene that this lyric suggests is to be imagined as a royal or ducal court. As in much of the late medieval English and French love poetry, all lovers are taken to constitute a company of companions and sympathizers to the speaking lover. In the dream vision of Age and Love (lines 2540- 3045), which has a counterpart in Charles' French poetry, the bereaved lover travels to Love's court and asks for the return of his heart, since the only lady he will ever love has died. In this instance, the lovers are presented as courtiers to the king, Cupid. When the speaker presents his petition for his heart's return, they all cry, "Ye, ye, ye! We woll therto consent / To doon withall what that a [he] will trewly!" (lines 2900-01). The "opposing force" to this company is made up of evil characters like "Thought" [Care] and "Woo" [Woe] (line 1009), who will capture the lover and cast him into prison (line 1012). This is obviously a prison of the mind.

1014 I.e., "he is permitted to have Joy by them by a limited contract." Steele and Day find patise ("tribute, treaty," OED, c. 1500) unsatisfactory because "joy is not [the lover's] on terms, it is a stranger to him altogether" (note to their li