James I of Scotland, The Kingis Quair

1 Lines 29-32: Because of which [the content of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy], though I began at that time on purpose to read in order to fall asleep, / [I was so caught up in the text that] before I ever stopped, my best [course of action] was to read further / Upon the writing of this noble man

2 Lines 62-63: So mysteriously does she distribute fates, / Specifically to the young, to whom [she] seldom provides anything [of good]

3 Lines 69-70: I began to think over again, so that no longer could I sleep or rest, so [badly] were my wits twisted

4 And made (wrote) [the sign of] a cross [at the top of the page] and thus began my book

5 Lines 188-89: I would argue with my attendants - but all for nothing, / [Since there] was no one who might sympathize, who cared about (pitied) my pains

6 Lines 209-10: Since for awhile, although I might not get any more of mirth's food (i.e., joy), it did me good to look

7 Lines 215-17: Was the whole place, and [with] hawthorn hedges knit [with intertwining branches], / [Such] that [there] was no person walking past there / Who might scarcely see anyone inside

8 Awake, for shame! [you] who have won your heavens (i.e., merry companions)

9 Thank Love who desires that you call upon his mercy

10 Can I no other [explanation] find, except that he

11 Lines 276-77: Quite privately newly arrived to express her complaint [about love or life], / The fairest or the freshest young flower

12 Now if there was a good contract [between the red and white], God [alone] knows it!

13 Lines 414-16: I also thought this: if I clap my hands / Or if I throw [something], then she (the nightingale) will fly away. / And if I hold my peace, then she will drowse [or continue to be idle]

14 Lines 417-18: And if I call out, she will not know what I say, / Thus I did not know what is the best [thing to do], [swearing] by this day

15 Pitifully [worn out] with too much weeping and complaining

16 Lines 515-16: And it so passed over all my body / That it completely blinded the property of my sight

17 When suddenly - as one says, "at a thought"

18 And taken by [their] friends (relations), without their knowing anything about it

19 In [a situation that] both their hearts grudged against

20 Lines 638-39: And [in the cases] where their hearts were given away and set [upon another] / [They] were coupled (forced into marriage) with another with whom they could not accord

21 Lines 748-49: Occasionally on things both [yet] to come and [that have already] gone / It falls not to me alone to control

22 During which [events] through true service [to Love] you [will] have her (your lady) won

23 Friend of all of you, to keep you from mourning

24 Lines 922-23: Accord thereto, and uttered with discretion, / The [choice of] place, hour, manner, and means

25 Lines 1006-08: So that she who has thy heart should have pity on thy distress and anguish, I will pray most fervently / That Fortune be no more contrary thereto

26 Spotted with the same [black tips of the ermine] in black spots

27 Lines 1188-90: Though your beginning has followed a backward course, / Be aggressive, directly opposite to that [backward movement]; / Now shall they turn and look at the dart (i.e., they shall be caught off guard)

28 Lines 1271-72: Whoever from Hell has crept [but] once into Heaven / Would, after one expression of thanks, for [sheer] joy make six or seven

29 When they would most readily advance with what they may spurn

30 Where you would most wish to be released of blame

31 Colophon: "Here ends etc. etc. / Said James the First, most Illustrious king of the Scots"


Abbreviations: B: Julia Boffey (2003); L: Alexander Lawson (1910); Mac: W. Mackay MacKenzie (1939); McD: Matthew P. McDiarmid (1973); Mor: Robert Morison (1786); MS: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24, fols. 192-211; NS: John Norton-Smith (1971); R: Rev. Charles Rogers (1873); S: Jean Robert Simon (1967); Sk: Walter W. Skeat (1911); Tyt: W. Tytler (1783). For other common abbreviations, see Introduction.

Heading This heading, attributing authorship to James, was added by a later hand to blank space on folio 191v.

1 Heigh in the hevynnis figure circulere. The line is repeated at the end ("Hich in the hevynnis figure circulere," line 1372) to complete the poem's frame, thus, through its allusion to the epilogue to TC (viewed from the eighth sphere and with its dedication to Gower), setting up the poem's tribute to Chaucer and Gower in the final stanza.

1-14 hevynnis figure circulere. During much of the Middle Ages, the universe was envisioned as a series of crystalline spheres with the earth at the center, each sphere with a planet embedded in its surface, the innermost being our moon. These spheres were nested within a larger sphere, that of the fixed stars (planets were thus thought to be "wandering stars"). Beyond this sphere was the eighth sphere, the primum mobile or "First Mover," a sphere turned by the hand of God, which in turn caused the motion of all within it (except for earth, which was stationary). Chaucer provides the poetic model for this view in the last twelve stanzas of TC.
The Kingis Quair's speaker sets his story in the context of the movement of the heavens: the figure circulere (line 1) is the vaulted heavens of the fixed stars, which were thought to influence life on earth (the extreme version of which is astrology). This cosmic perspective indicates that the theme of his poem, like that of Chaucer's TC, will be broader than simply a love story, or even a release from prison. Like Boethius, the poet is addressing the huge mystery of life: Why are things constantly changing? Why is there injustice in the world? Who is in charge of it all, anyway?
Compare the opening of Henryson's Testament of Cresseid, where the poet contemplates Venus, then retires to his bedchamber to reflect upon Chaucer, Boethius, and "The fatall destenie / Of fair Cresseid" (lines 62-63).

3 Aquary. Norton-Smith, p. 51, compares Gower, CA 7.1185-1214, and Hyginus, Poeticon Astronomicon l.viii, 2.xxx, 3.xxviii, noting that the direct source seems to be TG 4-9. This astrological dating would fall between 21 January and 18 February.

Citherea. Venus. Some editors emend to "Cinthia" (the moon) because of the reference in line 6 to "hir hornis bright." See Skeat, p. 58, who compares TC 3. 624-65 and 5.652, a position followed by Lawson (see explanatory note to line 6, below), and MacKenzie, p. 103. See also the explanatory note to line 4. Carretta (p. 16) argues that this misattribution of "horns" to Venus "casts doubt on the narrator-persona's reliability as a spiritual guide by emphasizing how limited his classical knowledge is."

clere. See lines 358, 377, 696, 888, 1045, where the epithet celebrates Venus' brightness.

4 Rynsid hir tressis. The phrase builds on the allegorical representation of Venus, who might wash her golden hair when in the sign of Aquarius, the Waterbearer. That she appeared "late tofore, in fair and fresche atyre" (line 5) perhaps alludes to her being recently the evening star in Capricorn (early January). See Norton-Smith, p. 52: "Between 10 and 18 Frebuary 1424 . . . Venus was a morning star near the boundary between Aquarius and Capricornus. Having been an evening star through the later half of 1423, the planet passed through inferior conjunction on about 30 January and appeared as a morning star a few days later. For five weeks after conjunction it moved only slowly with respect to the stars and so remained in the Aquarius/Capricornus area during the whole of February."

6 hir hornis bright. Lawson, following Skeat (see note to Citherea, line 3), discusses this phrase in terms of Cinthia, the moon. The whole opening passage is"modelled on Temple of Glas, and the meaning is that the poet had this experience in the month of January when the moon was full, which shortly before in the month of December had, as a new moon, shewn herself in crescent form" (p. 129). Henryson, The Testament of Cresseid, presents "Lady Cynthia" (the moon) as "buskit with hornis twa" (lines 253-55). But Norton-Smith's suggestion (p. 52) that hornis refers to"the elaborate dressing of women's hair in a horn shape, popular at this time (cf. Lydgate, Hornes Away?)" has merit and maintains the extensive allusions to Venus elsewhere in the poem. She is fashionably horned and a great horn maker, as well.

7 North northward approchit the mydnyght. The phrase has caused much editorial discussion. Skeat (p. 58) hyphenates myd-nyght and observes:"the meridian. A part of the meridian, as marked on an astrolabe, was called 'the north lyne, or elles the lyne of midnight'; Chaucer, On the Astrolable, pt. i. § 4." Following Skeat, Norton-Smith suggests that mydnyght is thus antithetical to midday, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky and goes on to note that astronomical midday was called"south" (Latin meridies for"south"), so midnight would be"north" (p. 52). This astronomical setting, like so much of The Kingis Quair's beginning, imitates TG.

8-14 In BD (lines 44-59), Chaucer provides similar motivation for the actions of the narrator to follow:
So whan I saw I might not slepe
Til now late this other night
Upon my bed I sat upright
And bad oon reche me a book,
A romaunce, and he it me tok
To rede and drive the night away.
Compare Henryson's Testament of Cresseid, lines 39-40, where the narrator"tuik ane quair" to read in order"[t]o cut the winter nicht and mak it schort." In the course of the fifteenth century this opening gambit becomes commonplace.

16 Boece. Boethius, or Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius (A.D. 480- 524), Roman statesman and philosopher whose De consolatione philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy) is intended here. Transferring the author's name to the work itself has the sanction of Chaucer in Adam Scriveyn, The Nun's Priest's Tale, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Parson's Tale, HF, LGW, and Rom., as well as in several glosses that he adds to his own translation of The Consolation of Philosophy (Boece). McDiarmid suggests that James is probably using Walton's Boethius, the 1410 version, on the basis of references to Rome and senatorship (lines 18-19) which are not so emphatically spelled out in Chaucer (p. 118); given the prominence of Chaucer references in KQ, however, he may well have known Chaucer's translation, as well. Walton draws heavily on Chaucer's translation at any rate. See also the note to line 23, below.

16-18 compiloure . . . Compilit. On poetry as"compilation" and the poet as"compilator," see Alastair J. Minnis,"Late-Medieval Discussions of Compilatio and the Role of the Compilator," in Beiträge zur Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache und Literatur 101 (1979), 385-421.

21 Forjugit was to povert in exile. Like James, Boethius wrote his Consolation in exile as a man condemned to prison.

23 His metir suete. This phrase supports the view that James is using Walton's translation, which is entirely in verse, rather than Chaucer's, which is in prose. The original alternates prose and verse in the manner of Menippean satire. See F. Anne Payne, Chaucer and Menippean Satire (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981).

24 flourit pen. The pen is"ornate" (Latin floridus) because employed in the writing of rhetorically ornate verse.

35 And in tham set."Them" here refers to the things recovered (fortune, wealth, happiness) within himself through the teachings of Philosophy.

42 suffisance. Sufficiency (sufficientia) is a key virtue in Boethian therapy, linked to happiness (laetitia), reverence (reverentia), and strength (potentia), which, though they have different names, are one in substance."'Than is it,' quod sche, 'consequent and pleyn / Þat noble[ne]sse haþ no difference / ffro suffisaunce, pouer and reuerence / Wiche þat we han assembled into one'" (CP 3.pr9.440.3-6). The concept is central in Chaucer's representation of mental health, anxiety, and the search for steadfastness.

46 my scole. Skeat glosses:"my skull, my head" (p. 60). We follow Tytler's gloss:"my learning."

54 rolling. A Boethian notion of contemplation in the language of Chaucer's translation; for example:"Whoso that seketh sooth by a deep thought, and coveyteth not to ben disseyvid by no mysweyes, lat hym rollen and trenden withynne hymself the lyght of his ynwarde sighte" (Boece 3.m.11.1-4; emphasis ours). In Walton the verb is"reuolue" (3.m11.536.4).

55-61 Compare these lines from Chaucer's Knight's Tale:"Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene, / Thanked by Fortune and hire false wheel, / That noon estaat assureth to be weel" (CT I[A]924-26).

70 so were my wittis wrest. At this point, he is in the same mental state that Boethius found himself in when Lady Philosophy appeared to him. This is a crisis of emotion and understanding that often precedes revelation in the literatures of dream vision.

91 maid a cross. Medieval scribes sometimes began a work by making a sign of the cross at the head of the text, or, sometimes, by writing a brief prayer to Mary, to ask divine assistance with the writing.

93 The association of windis variable (line 93) with youth (unrypit fruyte, line 93) and the passage that follows, with its rudderless boat on a stormy sea, evoke Boethius' realm of Fortune's wheel where"wawis of this warld" (line 111) are ever-changing and unpredictable. The image of the dangerous rocks against which the boat might be dashed (line 102) is an especially rich one, for, as he explains, he is using the sea both as a metaphor for his writing, and as a comment on his youthful lack of comprehension of the nature of the world, as well.

101-33 This common topos of Fortune's victim being likened to a rudderless ship in a storm is prominent in Boethius, though James may have been influenced more directly by Chaucer, who uses it to describe his inability to express the situation in which Troilus found himself at the beginning of Book 2 of TC. See also Curtius, pp. 128-30, Spearing (2000), pp. 126-28, and Scheps, pp. 145-49.

113-21 the rokkis blake . . . doith my wittis pall. The protagonist's lament against the rokkis blake (line 113) that with their prolixitee / Of doubilnesse (lines 120-21) threaten the security of his feeble boat echoes Dorigen's lament in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale, where the"grisly rokkes blake" (CT V[F]857; see also lines 868-91 and 1158) seem to threaten Dorigen as she cries out against God's creation, her wit impaired by the possibilities of disaster.

119 Calyope. The muse of epic poetry and lofty verse, invoked in the Proem to Book 3 of Chaucer's TC. See note to lines 128-33, below.

120 prolixitee. For use of prolixitee as a term of rhetoric, compare Chaucer's usage in The Squire's Tale (CT V[F]405), HF 2.348, or TC 2.1564.
Skeat points out that stanzas 18 and part of 19 imitate the Proem to Book Two of Chaucer's TC (lines 1-10):
Owt of thise blake wawes for to saylle,
O wynd, o wynd, the weder gynneth clere;
For in this see the boot hath swych travaylle,
Of my connyng, that unneth I it steer.
This see clepe I the tempestous matere
Of disespeir that Troilus was inne;
But now of hope the kalendes bygynne.

O lady myn, that called art Cleo,
Thow be my speed fro this forth, and my Muse,
To ryme wel this book til I have do.
But see also Chaucer's Franklin's Tale and the note to lines 113-21, above.

128-33 To yow, Cleo . . . my joye. Cleo, Polymye, and Thesiphone appear (because of the reference to nine sisters, line 130) to be an allusion to the Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory). Clio was muse of history, Polyhymnia the muse of hymns to the gods. Thesiphone was not a muse but rather one of the furies. Clair James (pp. 96-97) argues that the narrator's error here - calling a fury a muse - is further evidence of his unreliability. It is also possible that this is a genuine mistake on the part of poet or scribe: conceivably, James (the poet) intended Terpsichore, muse of choral dancing and song, or Thalia, muse of comedy and bucolic poetry. But the narrator does speak of his torment (line 133), so more likely James is following Chaucer in thinking of Thesiphone as"goddesse of torment" (TC 1.8) and, like Chaucer, includes her with other muses like Cleo (TC 2.8) and Caliope (TC 3.45), upon whom he calls in the happier books of his poem. That is, James is looking for inspiration for both my turment and my joye (line 133). For Polymye, see Chaucer's Anelida and Arcite, lines 15-16.

134-54 In Ver . . . myn aventure. James is imitating time-telling flourishes as introduced by Chaucer. Compare TC 1.155-57:"whan comen was the tyme / Of Aperil, whan clothed is the mede / With newe grene, of lusty Veer the pryme." See also the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales and the Introduction to The Man of Law's Tale. Synthius (line 138) is another name for Apollo, the sun, from Mt. Cynthus, where he and Diana were born. As in Chaucer's work, it is spring when Apollo, the sun, is rising in Aries, that is, March-April.

140 Ariete. The sign of Aries. Compare TC 4.1592 and 5.1190. See Wood, pp. 233-35.

154 tuke I myn aventure. Here the frame ends and story begins, almost seamlessly, from the metaphor for the insecurities of life as a ship sailing without rudder (lines 101-26) to the actual sailing passage he begins to describe here.

159 Sanct Johne to borowe. A favorite phrase of valediction in Chaucer and Gower. Compare Complaint of Mars, line 9 ("Taketh your leve, and with Seint John to borowe"), and The Squire's Tale (CT V[F]596):"And took hym by the hond, Seint John to borwe." See also CA 5.3415-16:"And thus he ros up be the morwe / And tok himself, Seint John to borwe." Lydgate uses the phrase in Troy Book 1.3082 and Complaint of the Black Knight, line 12.

162 The association of the"to and fro" of the ocean's waves with vagaries of (ill) fortune is a commonplace in the fifteenth century, but James is doing more here than repeating clichés. The speaker has told us that he lay in bed with his thoughts"rolling to and fro" (line 64), which caused him to think of"fortune and ure [destiny]" (line 65). Then he has created the picture of the boat"Amang the wawis of this warld" (line 111), using the image of the boat with empty sails (an image familiar from the poetry of Chaucer and that of many other medieval poets) to explain his inability at the time to deal with the experiences because he lacked reason. Here he is describing a (supposedly) real life experience; he describes himself as having been"infortunate," and concludes the stanza with"Fortune it schupe [destined] non othir wayis to be" (line 168). James could hardly have drawn a closer parallel between the physical circumstances of his capture and the philosophical problem at hand.

170-72 So ferforth . . . secund sister. The three Fates, or Parcae, were represented as old women spinning. The second sister, Lachesis, was believed to unwind the thread of life for each person. The lines here would mean,"So forward the second sister has chosen to unwind the sad thread of my life, without comfort, abandoned in sorrow, for nearly the period of eighteen years."

183-85 The bird, the beste . . . lyve in fredome . . . I a man, and lakkith libertee! A Boethian commonplace based on CP 1.pr4. Compare the lyric"Fowles in the frith, / The fisshes in the flood, / And I mon waxe wood" (IMEV 864).

187 Fortune. The first explicit mention of Fortune in the poem, which, in the context of prison, strongly evokes the first two books of Boethius' CP.

188 My folk. The attendants on James, not only the guards but his personal attendants.

194 figuris nyne. The Arabic numerals one through nine (excluding zero, which is no number). He implies that he himself is the zero, or"Cipher," standing alone surrounded by others of more consequence. Compare Charles d'Orléans:"Me thynkith right as a sypher now I serve / That nombre makith [as zero makes 1 into 10] and is himself noon" (FS, lines 2042-43). Compare also Richard the Redeless 4.53-54:"Than satte summe as sipre doth in awgrym [Arabic numerals], / That noteth a place and no thing availith" (Richard the Redeless and Mum and the Sothsegger, ed. James M. Dean [Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2000], p. 47).

204 Bewailing in my chamber thus allone. Compare TC 1.547:"Bywayling in his chambre thus allone." For a list of parallels between this scene and Chaucer's Knight's Tale, see Scheps, p. 160.

204 ff. The viewing of the lady through a window as she"Full secretly new cummyn hir to pleyne" (line 276) in her garden"fast by the touris wall" (line 211) imitates Chaucer's Knight's Tale, where Palamon and Arcite are smitten with love as they look from their prison windows and see Emelye near the"gardyn wal" where she"hadde hir pleyynge" (CT I[A]1060-61).

211-13 Now was there maid . . . / Ane herber grene. The description of the"gardyn fair" (lines 212-31) resonates with imagery from several of Chaucer's poems: e.g., TC 2.820-26, with its"blosmy bowes grene, / And benched newe" (i.e., with newly refurbished benches topped with fine grass); or PF, lines 183-210, with its birds, greenery and flowers.
The placement of the garden by the touris wall (lines 211) recalls The Knight's Tale, line 1056-60:"The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong, . . . / Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal." The garden in RR casts a long shadow over such descriptions; see Chaucer's Rom., lines 1349-1444; and compare the description of the garden in The Floure and the Leafe, lines 27-70.

225-38 On the loudness of the bird song, compare Lydgate, Complaint of the Black Knight, lines 42-46:"the briddes song, / . . . So loude songe, that al the wode rong / Lyke as it shulde shiver in peces smale," and Charles d'Orléans, FS, lines 1694-95:"Ther shall we here the birdis synge and pley / Right as the wood therwith shulde forshyuere." For the fact that there were words to their song (i.e., that they sing a song with an understandable text), see the ending of PF, where the birds sing,"Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe" (lines 685 ff).

232 Cantus is written in the left margin of the beginning of the hymn to May.

234-35 Away, winter, away! / Cum, somer, cum. See PF, lines 685-86, 690-93, the birds' joyous song welcoming summer after winter.

293-308 So also Palamon in Chaucer's Knight's Tale (CT I[A]1101-11) wonders if Emelye is a goddess when he first sees her walking in the garden outside his prison tower:"I noot wher she be womman or goddesse, / But Venus is it soothly, as I gesse" (lines 1101-02).

312 For the idea of falling into Love's dance, see Chaucer's TC 2.1106 and the Wife of Bath in Chaucer's General Prologue, CT I[A]475-76:"Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce, / For she koude ["knew,""understood"] of that art the olde daunce."

316-43 Wood suggests parallels with the late medieval Court of Love, but much closer parallels (in time and in specificity) are to be found in Charles d'Orléans' description of the figure of Fortune (FS, lines 4974-5050); see note to lines 1107-55, below.

317 atyre. Atyre means headdress, that which decorated the hair and held it in shape. Here, it is a kind of netting adorned with pearls, golden balls, emeralds, and sapphires.

324 amorettis. The word has been translated"love knot," a knotted ribbon tied in a particular way and supposed to be a token of love, but the word derives from French, where, in the fifteenth century, it still meant some kind of field flower (as do"jonette" and"burnette"; see Greimas and Keane, Dictionnaire du moyen français).

326-27 flour jonettis . . . flour burnettis. In both instances the manuscript reads flour jonettis, repeated, no doubt, through scribal error. Various interpretations have been given for flour jonette, including the flower St. John's wort, the French"jaulnet d'eau" or yellow marsh lily, and the flower of the jonette pear tree, all white or yellow. Another possibility is yellow loosestrife, Lysimachia, called"herbe jaunnez" in a list of Synonyma (see Hunt, p. 114). The second instance of the phrase, an example of scribal dittography, is here altered (as a possible restoration) to flour burnettis or burnet flower, a flower of dark blue color.

332-33 a ruby . . . / Lyke to ane hert schapin. Compare the brooch Criseyde gives to Troilus, made of"gold and asure, / In which a ruby set was lik an herte" (TC 3.1370-71).

336 gud partye. Various interpretations have been offered for this phrase, including (as here) a sixteenth-century Scottish meaning"of a good contest," that is between the white of her throat and red of her necklace, and"a good portion," or"fair prize," referring to the lady herself.

344-50 The description of his lady's beauty and virtues resonates with the pleasures of convention. Compare the Black Knight's account of his first looking upon the"goode faire White" in Chaucer's BD, lines 817-1041.

348 mesure."Measure" is both an Aristotelian and a Christian virtue - Aristotelian in terms of the mean, and Christian in terms of God's creation of the universe according to"measure, and number, and weight" (Wisdom 11:21). James' lady's behavior, In every poynt so guydit hir mesure, recalls perhaps the good fair White's behavior, as she does all things by"mesure" (BD, line 881), even opening and closing her eyes"by mesure" (BD, line 872), as Dame Nature has taught her to do.

352 a warldly creature. The lover's uncertainty as to whether the lady is a goddess or a real woman echoes the amusing debate between Palamon and Arcite in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, in which Palamon, thinking Emilye, the woman in the garden, might be divine, praises her as a goddess, perhaps a transformation of Venus (CT I[A]1104-11), to which Arcite replies that his kinsman may love her that way, but he will love her as a"creature" (lines 1156-59). See explanatory note to lines 293-308, above. James' lover incorporates both sides of the debate, talking instead to his lady's"lytill hound" (line 368).

368 hir lytill hound. The idea of the little hound as love mediator perhaps originates in Chaucer's BD, lines 387-99, where the"whelp" leads the dreamer to the Black Knight in his love torment.

379-92 Though the story of Philomela and Procne is a common one (e.g., Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.424-605; Gower, CA 5.5551-6052; Chaucer, LGW 7.2228- 2393, TC 2.64-70), James seems to be following Gower's version of the story. According to this sequence, the two women were sisters, daughters of the king of Athens. Procne was married to Tereus, king of Thrace. He desired and raped her sister Philomela, then cut out her tongue so that she could not tell of the deed. Nevertheless, she managed to report it to her sister by weaving the story into a tapestry; the sisters conspired to avenge the rape by killing Itys, Tereus' son and heir, and serving up his body to Tereus. When he realized what they had done, he sought to kill them, but he was changed to a hoopoe, they to a nightingale and a swallow. James asks Philomela to sing about all the pains she felt when she was raped, and what her sister Procne felt when betrayed by her husband. Her song is to chide false husbands and bid thame mend (line 392) their ways. It is also to cheer James' newfound beloved.

392 the twenti devil way. An expression of impatience, an intensification of"right away." Compare Chaucer's Miller's Tale, CT I[A]3713; Reeve's Tale, CT I[A] 4257; LGW, line 2177; or Lydgate's Siege of Thebes, line 162. On twenty as an unlucky number or, with devils, an oath or curse, see Russell A. Peck,"Numbers as Cosmic Language," in Essays in the Numerical Criticism of Medieval Literature, ed. Caroline D. Eckhardt (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1980), p. 59.

402 he . . . he. See textual note on Edwards' emendation.

414-20 The narrator's sense of utter helplessness and indecision is reminiscent of that of Troilus in Book Four of TC (lines 148-75) when he hears that Criseyde is to be traded to the enemy for Antenor.

428 philomene. MED cites this line and line 766 as instances where the name of the mythological maiden has become the word for nightingale. The Kingis Quair is the only authority the MED cites for such a usage, however. Similarly, the OED cites, apart from these two references in The Kingis Quair, only the proper names of the maiden who is transformed into the bird. See explanatory note to line 766.

484 Tantalus. The son of Zeus and the titaness Pluto. Because of some offence to the gods (various offences are named in various myths), he was punished by being placed in or below fruit trees whose branches blew aside whenever he reached to pluck the fruit and near a pool of water which receded whenever he tried to drink from it. Like Tantalus, James says he tries to draw water from a well using a bottomless bucket: he is thirsty for some positive response from his lady, but his attempts to get it are hopeless. The parallel between James' plight and that of Tantalus is not exact, and it is possible, as Claire James points out (p. 96), that this discrepancy underscores a lack on the part of the narrator.

491-95 From RR; compare BD, lines 599-617, and Charles d'Orléans, FS, lines 5846-51:
But all my wele, . . .
In his aumferse me turnyth in disese.

For all my joy is turnyd to hevynes,
Myn ese in harme, my wele in woo,
Mi hope in drede, in dowt my sikirnes,
And my delite in sorrow, loo, . . .

turns for me into its opposite

499 Phebus. This is another name for the sun: at the end of day, Phebus ceased casting forth his bright beams.

501-02 This kind of elaborate description of day and night was considered elegant. Compare Chaucer's description in TC 2.904-09:
The dayes honour, and the hevenes yë,
The nyghtes foo - al this clepe I the sonne -
Gan westren faste, and downward for to wrye,
As he that hadde his dayes cours yronne,
And white thynges wexen dymme and donne
For lak of lyght, and sterres for t'apere . . .
eye (the sun)

dun (grey-brown)
Esperus (line 502), or Hesperus, is another name for Venus as the evening star, which appears in the western sky after sunset.

523-32 Compare the ascent of the narrator in the claws of a huge eagle in Chaucer's HF (lines 541-53):
And with hys grymme pawes stronge,
Withyn hys sharpe nayles longe,
Me, fleynge, in a swap he hente,
And with hys sours ayen up wente,
Me caryinge in his clawes starke
As lyghtly as I were a larke. . .

at a stroke; grabbed

526 spere to spere. James' ascent upward"from sphere to sphere" follows the Ptolemaic model of the universe in which earth is at the center, encircled by crystalline spheres bearing the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the fixed stars (including the band of the zodiac, see note to line 529). He first passes through the rings of air, water, and fire (the other three elements besides earth) before reaching the first sphere, that of the moon. Such ascents (which derive directly or indirectly from Macrobius) are fairly commonplace in medieval dream vision literature; Dante, Chaucer, and later Charles d'Orléans employ versions of them.

529 Signifer. The "sign-bearer" is the band of sky in which the signs of the zodiac appear. It is also referred to as the sphere of the fixed stars.

536 at a thoght. "Swift as thought." Compare Geoffrey's flight "as swyft as thought" as he approaches the House of Rumor in HF, line 1924.

538-74 In HF (lines 1214-84) the narrator likewise sees hoards of people, all seeking fame.

540-43 The speaker's flight on high to a residence from which he can look down on lovers of every nation in "love's service" is perhaps reminiscent of TC 5.1807 ff., where Troilus looks down on the little spot of earth to observe humankind.

549 martris and confessour. From the hierarchies of saints: a martyr is one who dies for his/her faith; a confessor is one who continues to affirm faith under torture but does not ultimately die for that faith.

575-651 This list of lovers, their stories and their complaints, is reminiscent of Lydgate's TG, lines 44-246.

592 bukis newe. In the first half of the fifteenth century there was a great vogue for narratives about great battles, among them The Siege of Jerusalem and Lydgate's Troy Book, complementing the recent stories of Henry V's triumphs in France.

595 Ovide and Omer. Ovid, or Publius Ovidius Naso, any number of whose works, Ars Amatoria, Heroides, Amores, or Metamorphoses, may be referred to here. Homer, not known directly but cited in Statius' Achilleid and the Troy books of Dares, Dictys, and Lydgate, may be referred to in this context because of his description of the faithful Penelope, wife of Ulysses.

612 folk of religioun. Although the allusion may be mainly to those of the"religion of love," the reference could well be to prelates, given their"capis wyde" (line 611) and the sneakiness of their worldly behavior (lines 613-16). Compare Lydgate's TG, lines 196-208.

666-79 Chaucer makes a similar distinction between kinds of sighs. Troilus sighs"Naught swiche sorwfull sikes as men make / For wo, or elles when that folk ben sike, / But esy sykes, swiche as ben to like, / That shewed his affeccioun withinne" (TC 3.1361-64).
James' description of Venus"upon her bed" (line 670) is less provocative than Chaucer's in PF, lines 246-50, 260-73:
Withinne the temple, of sykes hoote as fyr
I herde a swogh that gan aboute renne,
Whiche sikes were engendered with desyr,
That maden every auter for to brenne
Of newe flaume . . .

And in a prive corner in disport
Fond I Venus and hire porter Richesse,
That was ful noble and hautayn of hyre port -
Derk was that place, but afterward lightnesse
I saw a lyte, unnethe it myghte be lesse -
And on a bed of gold she lay to reste,
Til that the hote sonne gan to weste.

Hyre gilte heres with a golden thred
Ibounden were, untressed as she lay,
And naked from the brest unto the hed
Men myghte hire sen; and, sothly for to say,
The remenaunt was wel kevered to my pay,
Ryght with a subtyl coverchef of Valence -
Ther was no thikkere cloth of no defense.



i.e., her lower body; pleasure
offering protection
673 Fair Calling. A variant on Fair Welcome (Bel Acueil), from RR, whose blessing is necessary for any happy progress in love.

689-90 Venus is addressed in both her forms as planet and as goddess, in both of which capacities she was thought able to appease the wrath and malevolence of Mars. See, for example, Chaucer's Complaint of Mars. As god of war, Mars is responsible for James' imprisonment. Aspectis in line 690 refers to the astronomical positions of the planet, that is, the angles of its relationships to other planets or houses.

762 cremesye. A fine crimson cloth. In other words, James is as unworthy in comparison with the lady he loves as rough sackcloth is to expensive crimson cloth.

763 doken. Dock is a common weed. James here compares his unworthy state to that of dock-weed in comparison with daisies, or other fine, delicate flowers one would grow in a garden.

764-65 Unlike . . . Januarye is . . . unto May. The dissimilarity is perhaps an allusion to Chaucer's Merchant's Tale.

766 phylomene. Philomela, the nightingale. See explanatory note to line 428. James here continues his comparisons of unworthy varieties of things with noble varieties to express his sense of his unworthiness in comparison with his lady's nobility and beauty: moonlight is as unworthy in comparison with sunlight, as January is to May, as the cuckoo is to the nightingale, as the crow to the popinjay, as (in goldsmith's work) the fish's eye (or beading) is to the pearl. Medieval writers loved these kinds of oppositions, as we see in debate poems between sun and moon, cuckoo and nightingale, soul and body, heart and eye, etc.

767 of one array."Of one appearance" (having the same arms or rank): the outer clothing of the cuckoo and the nightingale, signifying their family and breeding, is not the same.

768 papejay. The poppinjay, or parrot. The parrot is here contrasted with the crow's blackness not only because of its bright plumage but because it figuratively symbolized a lady or the Virgin Mary, qualities not associated with the lowly crow.

769 a fischis eye. The fish-eye stone has a semi-opaque gray-white appearance, like the eye of a cooked fish; this stone is clearly inferior to the pearl.

781 Mynerve. Minerva appears here in her capacity as goddess of wisdom, since Venus sends the dreamer James to her so that she can give him"counsele" (line 791) and be his"gude lady, help, and counseilour" (line 793), giving him her"gude avise" (line 794). She is reminiscent of Boethius' Lady Philosophy.

806-12 In mock admonition to his friend Scogan, Chaucer describes Venus' tears:"now so wepith Venus in hir spere [sphere] / That with hir teeres she wol drenche [drown] us here. / Allas! Scogan, this is for thyn offence [i.e., failing to love]; / Thow causest this diluge of pestilence" ("Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan," lines 11-14).

848-51 On the association of Venus and Saturn, compare Gower, CA 8.2273-76.

925 Ecclesiastes 3:1: "All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven."

953-59 On the decline of virtue to the present day, compare Chaucer's Clerk's Tale (CT IV[E]1163-69), and Boethius 2.m5. The idea is originally Ovidian.

1014 hir that has the cuttis two. A reference to Fortune, this time not with wheel but with "two lots" (two straws cut to different lengths, as in "to draw lots") in her hand that will decide one's fate for good or ill.

1060-71 Compare the scene in Chaucer's PF (lines 183-89):
A gardyn saw I ful of blosmy bowes
Upon a ryver, in a grene mede,
There as swetnesse everemore inow is,
With floures white, blewe, yelwe, and rede,
And colde welle-stremes, nothyng dede,
That swymmen ful of smale fishes lighte,
With fynnes rede and skales sylver bryghte.

not sluggish

The garden that underlies many such descriptions is that of Guillaume de Lorris at the opening of RR.

1074-1101 James refers briefly to a long rawe / Of treis (lines 1074-75) followed by a long catalogue of animals. Chaucer before him had described the animals in the garden of PF briefly (lines 190-96), but names the trees of the garden in a similar, though more compressed, catalogue: "The byldere ok, and ek the hardy asshe; / The piler elm, the cofre unto carayne [coffin for corpses]; / The boxtre pipere [for making pipes]" (lines 176 ff.). Lydgate, in his own extensive garden description in The Complaint of the Black Knight, lines 36-84, follows Chaucer in cataloguing the trees in the garden (lines 64-74), and includes a stream lined with "gravel gold, the water pure as glas" (line 78).

1080 smaragdyne. The panther here is said to be like an emerald: the color of panthers in medieval bestiaries varies, and they are sometimes said to be multi-colored, as are also emeralds. See Hassig, pp. 156-66 (n.b. figures 161-74). As noted by MacKenzie, McDiarmid, Norton-Smith, and other editors, Apocalypse 4:3 describes the rainbow around God's throne as"like unto an emerald." Bain drew attention to symbolic traditions associated with both the panther and emerald and concluded that they were here compared"because both, by symbolic association with the highest truths of the faith of that day, were emblems of a sovereign virtue which offered comfort and healing to mankind" (p. 422). Another aspect of the panther as described in medieval bestiaries was that it exuded a wonderful odor in its breath which attracted all other creatures except the dragon; likewise, the emerald's green color was said to be attractive to human sight (see Bain and Hassig).

1083 werely porpapyne. The porcupine is here called "warlike" because of its quills. This practice of identifying animals, birds, or trees by a characteristic adjective is a favorite rhetorical practice. Compare Chaucer's PF, lines 176-82 and 337-64.

1084 lufare unicorne. The unicorn was attracted to virgins (and could only be tamed by one), and its horn was thought to have many wondrous properties, one of which was clearing water of "venym" (line 1085) or harmful impurities, poisons, etc.

1088 standar oliphant. Medieval bestiaries describe the elephant as having jointless legs, such that it always had to stand; such a misconception may have originally grown out of observation of elephants sleeping while standing and leaning against a tree.

1089 wedowis inemye. A reference to fables of the cock and the fox. Compare Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale

1090 elk for alblastrye. Alblastrye is crossbowmanship; Skeat cites a reference to elk skins being used to cover shields; Kinghorn suggests that "elk's hide [was] used to cover targets at shooting-butts" (p. 55); Norton-Smith cites John Trevisa's translation of Bartholomeus, De Proprietatibus Rerum, for use of ox-horn (though not elk-horn) for tipping and notching the bolts of crossbows.

1091 herknere bore. Wild boar are known for keen hearing.
holsum grey for hortis. I.e., "wholesome gray [badger] for wounds (hurts)." McDiarmid cites Jamieson's Dictionary for a reference to the grease of the badger being mixed with other ingredients in a plaster to be placed on wounds.

1093 drawar by his hornis grete. Presumably this refers to attaching hauling lines to the horns of the ox.

1107-55 It is interesting that this figure of Fortune is described so elaborately, but not as elaborately as that of Charles d'Orléans, whose Fortune appears above the earth, wearing a "surcot" of diverse hues and a cloak trimmed with ermine. Like James' Fortune, her countenance is changeable, and like her she carries a wheel on which are many people, some climbing, some falling (FS, lines 4964-5049).

1175-76 Compare BD, lines 659-61; FS, lines 2110-14.

1188 retrograde. In the Ptolemaic model of the universe, some planets, in relation to others, appear to move backward in their otherwise regular movement across the sky.

1195 prime. Time of day equivalent to about 6:00 a.m. in modern reckoning, or sometimes to the period from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Since Fortune tells James that an hour and more have passed since Prime, and that therefore almost half the time has gone so he should spend the rest of the day well, it seems that James is referring to the three-hour period of prime, an hour and more after which would bring the time to past 10:00 a.m., nearing midday. He is figuratively referring to his life, of course, and at the age of twenty-nine he had already spent between a third and a half of his expected life span. He could not know that he was to be murdered in 1437, so he had, in fact, already lived two-thirds of his life at age twenty-nine.

1205 O besy goste. Skeat compares TC 4.302 ff., from which it"is directly copied" (p. 91).

1224 of my forethoght impressioun. This harks back to the passage in which Minerva explains foreknowledge versus free will (lines 1009-43); James wonders whether his dream was created by what he had been thinking before he went to sleep or by a heavenly vision sent by the gods (see lines 1226 ff.) or God Himself.

1240-53 The dove presents a branch of gillyflowers, or a scroll on which gillyflowers have been painted, or both. Editors have differed in their interpretations, but since there is clearly some form of writing in gold letters, which he then hangs at his bed's head, some form of scroll must be intended, whether wrapped around a branch of live flowers (as is suggested more clearly by lines 1252-53) or some depiction of them. Lines 1243-44 suggest that either the lettering (said to be on the edges, perhaps as a border) or the depiction of stalks of gillyflowers have been arranged in a circle on the scroll.

1241 jorofflis. The gillyflower, "giroflower," "gylofre," or "Gariofilus," the carnation, had been recently introduced into northern Europe and so was a rare plant. See Hunt, pp. 120, 125, etc. See also line 1329, where it is spelled "gerafloure."

1278 his goldin cheyne. Speaking of God (though he was, of course, a pagan), Chaucer's Theseus, in The Knight's Tale, says:
The Firste Moevere of the cause above,
Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
Greet was th'effect, and heigh was his entente.
Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente,
For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee. (CT I[A]2987-93)

(i.e., the four elements)
The idea that the world would"fall apart" without the continuing hand of God upon it derives from Boethius, De cons. 2.m8 (compare Troilus' reference to God's"bond" of love in TC 3.1744-71).

1333 sanctis marciall. The martial saints included such figures as St. Martin of Tours, Longinus (who pierced Christ's side with his spear), Marcellus the centurian, and of course St. George. Alternatively, the phrase could refer to the saints of the month of March.

after 1351 [Envoy]. Not in MS, but we have followed other editors in making the link to Chaucer more clear. An envoy is an addition to the end of a poem (or prose work) by which the author"sends on" or directs the poem to its destination. In the manner of Chaucer's envoy to TC, it offers the author an opportunity to praise the patron of the work and to confess humbly his own unworthiness to write a poem addressed to such a person. Here James speaks as if sending his litill tretise to his beloved ("in the presence / Quhare as of blame faynest thou wald be quite," lines 1359-60) and to a more general audience ("the reder," line 1354). He admits to the shortcomings of the treatise (lines 1352-58, 1361), but hopes that general readers will be tolerant of its faults and that his mistress will still have mercy on him. Compare Lydgate's envoy to The Complaint of the Black Knight (lines 675-81) and Chaucer's lengthy envoy to TC (5.1786-1869).

1372 Hich in the hevynnis figure circulere. I.e., God, having written or created all of our lives, could have read James' poem at any time through His foreknowledge. By repeating the first line of this poem (as does the Pearl-poet in both The Pearl and in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), the poet frames his account with the largest of all settings, God's arching firmament. This also indicates that what follows is to be seen as a coda or envoy to the poem proper.

1374 on the steppis satt. James echoes Chaucer as he sends his verses to sit"on the steps" of greater poets. See TC 5.1791-92:"kis the steppes, where as thow seest pace / Virgile, Ovide, Omer, Lucan, and Stace."

1378 my buk in lynis sevin. Schep relates the number seven here to the figure of Minerva (p. 159n39), through Macrobius, and explains how the number symbolism was considered to work. James is specifically calling attention to his seven-line stanzaic pattern, ababbcc, which, as noted in the Introduction above, was named"rhyme royal" for its use here by him, though used extensively by others before him, first in English by Chaucer. He may be drawing attention to it because of its use by Chaucer, thereby making a comparison between his work and Chaucer's. See note to line 357 above.

after 1379 This colophon is written by the scribe who copied lines 1240-1375 of the poem, and is therefore contemporary with the writing of the manuscript, though this may have been as long as seventy-five years after the composition of the poem.


Abbreviations: See Explanatory Notes.

Headnote majestee. MS: ma.

17 the. MS omits. R's emendation, followed by Sk, NS, McD. Tyt retains manuscript reading, as does Mor, Mac, S, B. L: gude counsele.

20 Fortunes quhile. MS: Fortune a quhile. This phrase has caused some editorial difficulty, and seems to involve a scribal miscopying. Most editors have read quhile as modern"while" interpreting the phrase to mean"by Fortune for awhile" or"after a time"; but in line 1323, the scribe spells"wheel," as in"Fortune's wheel" in the same way. We have therefore emended the manuscript a to s:"by Fortune's wheel." Tyt, R, Mor, Mac, S, NS, B: fortune a quhile. L: fortune so a quhile. Sk, McD: fortune for a quhile.

22 And thereto here this worthy lord and clerk."And thereto [in reference to his fall from Fortune] here [in this place in the poem, Boece], this worthy clerk set to work his rhetorically eloquent pen, his verses sweetly rendered, full of moral teaching." In this reading of the difficult lines 1-28 we follow most nearly NS, who argued for"here" as referring to"in this place in the poem." This reading differs considerably from Sk's, who read"here" as a verb,"hear," referring to line 14"But took up a book to read for a while" with all of stanza 3 being treated as an apostrophe. Thus Sk's reading,"And there (I seemed) to hear, etc." or the alternative reading,"And there! (what a joy it was) to hear, etc." (p. 59). Sk agrees with L 's first rendering (p. 130) but notes that Wischmann agreed more nearly with Sk's second,"And what joy it gives to hear there (i.e., in his banishment) this worthy lord and clerk." McD follows L. The reading we have adopted simplifies the syntax somewhat by making stanza 3 an integral part of the sentence, but such iterative syntax, imitating the syntax of Latin rhetorical writings, is nevertheless difficult to interpret: it does not work as well in an uninflected language like English.

29 thogh. MS: thoght. Sk's emendation, followed by Mac, NS, B. S follows the MS. Tyt, Mor: thot. R: thought. L, McD: though.

39 quit is. Sk, Mac, NS and B read as two words, quit is, followed by Of in the next line, the idiom being"is finished with." Tyt, Mor, R, S, and McD read as one word; McD argues that breaking quitis into two words spoils the rhyme, and that quitis / Off means literally"quits in respect of," i.e.,"abandons" (p. 119).

40 their. Tyt, followed by Mor, R, L: theire. Sk, NS, McD, emends to thir. Mac, S, B: their. Clearly the sense is"these," but MED lists their as a variant of thir, hence no emendation is necessary. NS notes the verbal parallel of unsekir warldis appetites with Chaucer's TC 5.1581:"thire wrecched worldes appetites" (p. 55).

48 my. McD, L: the. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: my.

51 Myn. NS: My. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: Myn.

eyne. So MS. L, Sk, NS, McD, B: eyen. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S follow MS.

54 new. Sk, followed by NS, reads new as an adverb and emends to newe. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: new.

56 thame will. L, McD: thame sche. NS: will ay. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, B: thame will.

61 prynce. NS: prince; L: prynce noght. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: prynce.

than. NS: than is. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: than.

91 cross. Rendered by symbol in MS.

92 Thou sely. MS: Though. The line is short one foot. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, Sk, Mac, NS, and McD. R, S omit sely. L: Thou tendir. B: Thou youth.

102 rok. L: rokkis, an emendation followed by Sk, Mac, NS and McD. Tyt, R, Mor, S, B follow the MS.

108 lakit. MS: lak. Sk's emendation, followed by NS and McD. Tyt, Mor, R, S follow the MS. L, Mac, B: lakkit.

114 to. Added above line.

138 Synthius. R, L: Cynthius. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: Synthius.

gynneth. Tyt, Mor, R: gyneth. L, McD: begynneth. Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: gynneth.

aryse. Mac: arys. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: aryse.

141 bot mydday four. Mor, R, B: foure; L, McD: mydday bot foure. Tyt, Sk, Mac, S, NS: bot mydday four.

144 confort. Originally freschenesse but this is deleted and a caret inserted to point to confort, which is written by the scribe in the right margin.

159 Johne. MS: Iohnen. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B. S: Johnn.

162 wawis. Tyt, Mor, R: wevis. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD: wawis. B: wavis.

163 us. Tyt, Mor, R: we; McD omits. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: us.

170 ferforth. Tyt, Mor, R: fere forth. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ferforth.

171 abandoun. Tyt, Mor, R, L: abandoune; McD: and bandoune. Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: abandoun.

192 me. Editorial addition for sense: comprisit requires an object. So emended by Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B. Mac omits. Tyt: he more me.

196 help hath. MS: help in drede hath. I.e., in drede deleted.

207 And to. L, Mac, McD: unto. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, S, NS, B: And to.

212 fair. Tyt, Mor, R, L, McD, B: faire. Sk, Mac, S, NS: fair.

corneris. McD: cornere. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: corneris.

230 of2. MS: on. R's emendation, so too in Sk, NS, McD. Tyt, Mor, Mac, S, B follow the MS. L: in.

232 Cantus, or "Song," is written in the left margin as a heading.

277 yong. L emends to yonge, to clarify the adjective and improve the meter. Followed by Sk and NS. Mac, S, McD, B: yong. Tyt, Mor, R: zoung.

292 Than gan. MS: Than gam gan. I.e., gam deleted, then written correctly.

293 A. Tyt, Mor, R: Ah. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: A.

suete. B: swete. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD: suete.

ye. Tyt, Mor, R: ze. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ye.

311 Unknawing. MS: unknawin. Sk's emendation, followed by NS. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: Unknawin

312 ferr. Tyt, Mor, R, L, McD, B: ferre. Sk, Mac, S, NS: ferr.

fallyng. L: fallyng was. Sk: fallen was. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: fallyng.

into. McD: was in. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: into.

318 wise. Mac: wis. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: wise.

couchit. L: couchit was. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: couchit.

perllis. Tyt, Mor, R: perlis. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: perllis.

323 Full. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: Full. L: And full. McD: All full.

bryght. Tyt, Mor: bryt; R: brycht. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: bryght.

golde. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: gold.

327 flour burnettis. MS: flour jonettis. I.e., repeats end of preceding line. First adjusted by Sk to round crokettis. Mac and NS change to flour burnettis, as do we. McD changes to floure margarettis, thus avoiding the repetition. L changes to floure-violettis. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B follow the MS.

330 fyne. MS: fyre. Perhaps fyre refers to the enameling process, in which case emendation is unnecessary. Tyt, Mor, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: fyre amaille. R: fayre enamel. McD: fyne amaille.

333 Lyke. Mor, R: Like. Tyt, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: Lyke.

hert. Sk, NS, and McD emend for meter to herte. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, B: hert.

schapin. L: y-schapin. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: schapin.

341 Lo. MS: to. L's emendation, followed by NS and B. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, McD follow the MS.

361 suich wise. So L, followed by Mac, S. Sk, NS, and McD emend to suich a wise, for meter. Tyt, Mor, R: such wise. B: swich wise.

387 thy notis. MS: thy nt notis. I.e., nt deleted.

391 Chide. L: chideth. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: Chide.

ar. L, Mac, McD: are. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, S, NS, B: ar.

402 he . . . he. MS: sche . . . sche. The nightingale is female, thus presumably requiring a male lover. See A. S. G. Edwards and Elizabeth Robertson,"The Kingis Quair, 402," N&Q n.s. 41 (1994), 307.

421 sche. MS: he. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B. S follows the MS.

432 sanct, walking. Sk emends to sanct there walking, followed by McD. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: sanct walking.

434 Devotly. L: Devotely. McD: Devotly than. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: Devotly.

454 new. L emends for meter: newe; followed by Sk and NS. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, McD, B: new.

456 song. Tyt, Mor, R: sang. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: song.

460 myght. Mor, R: might. Tyt, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: myght.

allane. Tyt, Mor, R, B: alone; McD: allone. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS: allane.

470 Quhareto. Tyt, Mor, R: Quharto; L, Sk: Quhare-unto. Mac, S, NS, McD, B: Quhareto.

477 noght. Tyt, Mor, R: not. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: noght.

478 cald. L, Sk, NS, McD emend to calde, for meter. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: cald.

479 hensfurth. So Tyt, Mor, R. L, NS, McD: hennesfurth. Sk, Mac, S, B: hennsfurth.

484 butles. MS: but les. Tyt, Mor, R: buteles. L, Sk, mac, NS, McD, B: butles. S follows the MS.

495 feere. MS: seere. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, S, McD, NS, B. Mac: feer.

498 long day. Sk and NS emend to longe day for adjective and meter. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: long day.

500 every lef. MS: euery ly lef. I.e., ly deleted.

501 approchen. MS: approch with mark of abbreviation: as emended by L, Sk, NS, McD. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B follow the MS.

508 cold stone. Sk, NS, and McD emend to colde stone. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, B: cold stone.

531 caryit. MS: cryit. Sk adds quhar before cryit, as does McD. NS's emendation, followed by B. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, McD: cryit.

533 Of. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: Off. L, NS: Of.

quhich. McD: quhiche. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: quhich.

place. Mor: n place. L: palace. Tyt, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: place.

quhen. Sk, McD: quhen as. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: quhen.

nye. L: a-nye. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: nye.

542 that. S: yat. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: that.

endit. L, Sk, McD: endit had. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: endit.

thair. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD: thaire. Mac, S, NS, B: thair.

552 mony a solempt. L reads solempnit, followed by Sk. NS: solempit. McD emends to mony a sad and solempt. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: mony a solempt.

553 lykit to. MS: lykit had to. I.e., had marked for deletion.

554 Of. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD: Off.

fair. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD, B: faire.

555 order. McD: ordour. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: order.

577 Yonder. Tyt, Mor, R: Zonder. L: Yond there. McD: Yond. Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: Yonder.

593 ben. Mor, R, L, McD: bene. Tyt, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: ben.

that. S: yat; McD: omitted. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, B: that.

597 yong. Tyt, Mor, R: zong; L, Sk, NS, McD: yonge. Mac, S, B: yong.

610 yone. Tyt: zone. Mor, R: zong. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: yone.

doun. L, Sk: adoun. McD: doune.Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: doun.

620 half. L and McD emend to halflynge. Sk emends to halfdel. NS emends to halfe. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: half.

629 ar. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, McD, B: are. S, NS: ar.

cummyn. McD: cum vnreconsilit. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: cummyn.

634 gruchen. MS: gruch. Sk's emendation, followed by NS. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: gruch. McD: gruche. L: gruchit.

636 othir. Tyt, Mor, R: other. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: othir.

and. L, Sk, McD: and in. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: and.

645 othir. Tyt, Mor, R: other. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: othir.

649 So. Sk: Sche. McD: Scho. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: So.

thair. L, Sk, McD: thaire. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: thair.

682 last. Sk and NS emend to laste. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: last.

683 my kneis. MS: my han kneis. I.e., han deleted.

690 pure. McD: sure. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: pure.

your. Tyt, R: zour. Mor: youre. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: your.

725 Me. Tyt, Mor, R: She; L, Sk, McD: Sche. Mac, S, NS, B: Me.

735 I smyte bot. MS: I smyte full bot. I.e., full deleted.

739 humily. McD observes:"MS, as elsewhere in MS, has its sign for m above i" (p. 129). Michael Livingston, MA Thesis, Western Michigan University, 2001, reads the MS as hinely, which would be an otherwise unattested adjectival form of the common ME hine (see MED hine, n.2), a term James would have come across many times in Chaucer, meaning"servant." Thus hinely would be "servant-like." DOST hyne (n.) notes that the word's modern Scots descendant hynd means "a married and skilled farm workman . . . [who] ranks above the farm servants and labourers." Tyt, Mor, R: truely. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: humily.

747 to bynd. MS: bynd; as emended by NS. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S: bynd. L, Sk, McD, B: byndand.

meynes. MS: mynes; as emended by NS. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, McD, B: mynes. L: menys. Sk: menes.

755 courses. MS: course; as emended by NS. L, Sk, Mac, McD, B read coursis. Tyt, Mor, R, S: course.

756 hir iwone. Originally ended hir grace but scribe or someone else marked the failed rhyme and added iwone after grace, perhaps intending that grace be deleted for the sake of meter, and, in fact, it is so marked. Tyt, Mor, R, L: hir I-wonne. NS: hir iwone. Sk, Mac, S, B: hir graice I-wone. McD: hir graice wonne.

763 foule doken. MS: foule added above line. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, S, McD omit foule. L, Mac, McD, B: doken foule.

onto. MS: on added above line. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, S and NS omit on. L, Mac, B: onto. McD: vnto.

765 like unto. L: unlike unto, followed by McD; Sk, Mac: unlike to. These emendations fail to account for the fact that the"unlike" at the head of the stanza (line 764) controls the sense; thus, no emendation is necessary. The like here refers to the unlikeness of the moon and the sun, not the likeness of May and January. Tyt, Mor, R, S, NS, B: like unto.

767 bothe maid of one array. MS: bothe maid of array. One needed for sense, and probably bothe could be omitted for the meter. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, B follow MS. NS emends to bothe maid of a ray. McD inserts one and deletes bothe.

770 preese. MS: pererese. Tyt, Mor, R read purcress. L, McD, B: prese. Mac: peres. S: pure rese. NS: preese. Sk: preisse.

771 unto. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: unto. L: yit unto. Sk: now unto.

775 that. MS: than. Sk's emendation, followed by L, Mac, S, NS, McD, B. Tyt, S follow the MS. Mor: than one. R: the.

788 letten. MS: let. NS's emendation. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B follow the MS. L: lat. Sk: lette. McD: lete.

804 breken. Originally bresten but that deleted and breken written above line.

805 Is ther none. MS: Is non eft none. I.e., non eft deleted. NS adds ther, as do I. Tyt, Mac: Is none. Mor, R, S: Is none that. L, Sk: nocht eft. McD: nought left. B: now left.

806 MS: nota in margin, written by an undated hand.

811 ye. Tyt, Mor, R: ze. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ye.

fast. McD: faste. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: fast.

ybete. Tyt, Mor, R: yvete; L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: ybete. McD: bete.

813 stynten. L: stynt. NS: stynting. B: stynt in. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, McD: stynten.

othir. L: anothir. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: othir.

818 men. Tyt, Mor, R: me. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: men.

in. L: into. Sk: as in. McD, B: ryght in. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS: in.

thair. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD, B: thaire. S, NS: thair.

830 folk to renewe. L, Sk, S, NS, and McD omit to. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, B: folke to renewe.

836 or. MS omits. NS's emendation, followed by B. Tyt, Mor, R, S follow the MS. L emends to al forget, followed by Sk. Mac: is and forget. McD: is all forget.

838 bidden. MS: bid. L's emendation, followed by Sk, NS, McD. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, and B follow the MS.

864 hir. Sk: hir hy. McD: hir hie. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: hir.

867 redy. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS: redy. L, Sk: the redy. McD, B: by redy.

ryght. Tyt, Mor: ryt. R: rycht. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ryght.

873 renown. MS: renewe. L's emendation, followed by NS. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, B follow the MS. McD: renowne.

875 and. The scribe originally wrote am, then crossed out these two letters and wrote and after them.

891 hert. Sk, NS, McD: herte. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, B: hert.

ground. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ground. L: grounden.

suich. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD: suich. B: swich.

893 othir. Tyt, Mor, R: other. L: another. Sk, McD: anothir. Mac, S, NS, B: othir.

902 on lufe thy. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: on lufe thy. L, McD: thy lufe on.

903 sal. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac: sall. S, NS, McD, B: sal.

916 Ground. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: Ground. L: Groundith. Sk, McD: Ground thou.

therfore. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD: therefore. Mac, S, NS, B: therfore.

926 wil. Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, and B emend to wel(e). Tyt: will.

930 wele. Tyt, Mor, R: well. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: wele.

931 wisedome. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk: wisedom. L, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: wisedome.

to. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: to. Sk, NS: unto.

938 heid. Added above line in MS. Tyt, Mor, R, McD omit. L, Sk: hid. Mac, S, NS, B: heid.

941 a. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: a. NS: and.

suete. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD: suete. B: swete.

958 ar. MS: and. L's emendation, followed by Sk, NS, and McD, B. Tyt, Mor, R: are. Mac: and.S follows the MS.

962 labour. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: labour. L, Sk, McD: laboure.

me. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: me. L: me wel. Sk: me ful. McD: me than.

978 Nald. MS: Wald. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S follow the MS. L: Nold. NS, McD, B: Nald.

983 faynt. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS: faynt. McD: faute. B: faynte.

noght. Tyt, Mor, R: not. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: noght. McD: nought.

991 quod. Tyt, Mor, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: quod. R: quoth.

trew. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: trew. L: trewly. McD omits.

withoutin. M Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: withoutin. L: without. McD: withoutin any.

fantise. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: fantise. Mac: fantis.

992 Another short line. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: sall I never uprise. L: sall I neuer desire vp-rise. Sk: sall neuer be I sall vp-rise. NS: to sall I neuer [se] vp-rise; McD: sall I, trewly, neuer vprise.

997 it. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: it. Sk, McD: I.

myght. Tyt, Mor: myt. R: mycht. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS: myght. McD, B: might.

processe. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: processe. Mac: process.

1000 and therto. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S: and therto. L, Sk: therevnto. NS: and eke thereto. McD: and therto wolde. B: and thereto.

1005 hensforth. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: hensforth. L, Sk, NS, McD: hennesforth.

1007 hert. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: hert. NS: herte.

will. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: will. L, Sk, McD: will hir.

fair. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD: faire. Mac, S, NS, B: fair.

1009 ye. MS: the written first, then deleted and ye written above line. Tyt, Mor: ze. R omits. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ye.

1013 Appertenit. MS: Apperit. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B follow the MS. McD: Afferand.

1016 be. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: be. L, Sk, McD: be it.

that. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: that. S: yat.

1020 Quhare. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: Quhare. L: Thar.

that. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: that. S: yat.

therfore. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD, B: therefore. Mac, S, NS: therfore.

1026 necessitee. The scribe originally wrote ec, then crossed out these two letters and wrote necessitee after them.

1031 Of. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: Off. NS: Of.

that. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: that. S: yat.

fall. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: fall. McD: falle. L, Sk: fallen.

purposely. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: purposely. Mac: purposly.

1034 it. Tyt, Mor, R, S, NS: it. L, Sk, Mac, McD, B: that.

1036 foreknawing. MS: foreknawin. NS's emendation. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B follow the MS.

1048 schewit here. L: schewit I here. Sk, McD: schewit have here. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: schewit here.

myn avise. NS emends to myn gud avise. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: myn avise.

therfore. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, McD: therefore. Mac, NS, B: therfore.

1053 I. MS: he. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B. S follows the MS.

1068 and dressit. After and, the scribe originally began to repeat part of the preceding line, in a rout can, but then deleted these four words.

1073 fand. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: fand. L, Sk: thar fand.

I. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: I. McD: I ever.

like. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, B: like. NS: like for. McD: ylike.

1076 That full of fruyte. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: That full of fruyte. McD: And fruyte that.

1077 come. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: come. McD: cummys.

1086 sawe. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: sawe. NS: saw.

new. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: new. NS: newe.

of. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: of. L, Sk, McD: of his.

haunt. Tyt, Mor, R, McD, B: hant. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS: haunt.

1097 that. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, Mcd, B: that. S: yat.

noght. Tyt, Mor, R: not. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS: noght. B, McD: nought.

say. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: say. L, Sk: sayis.McD: says.

1108 round. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B: round. Sk, NS: rounde.

place. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: place. McD: place and a.

wallit. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: wallit. L, Sk: y-wallit.

1109 eftsone. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: eftsone. L, McD: eftsones.

1112 on. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: on. L: onto.

quhich. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: quhich. Sk: quhich than. McD: quhich there.

1115 to. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: to. Sk, McD: unto.

diverse. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: diverse. Mac: divers.

1116 Quhilum thus. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: Quhilum thus. L: And quhilum thus. McD: Thus quhilum.

wald. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: wald. Sk, McD: wald hir.

turn. So Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, and NS. L, S, McD, B: turne.

1117 renewis. Blank space in MS. Tyt, Mor, S leave blank. R: askewis. L:of lewis. Sk emends: of glewis, i.e.,"of destiny," citing Barbour 6.658, where"glew" means"fortune of war" (p. 103), followed by Mac, McD. NS, B: remewis.

1126 And. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: And. McD: As.

at. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: at. L, Sk, McD: for at.

1127 noght. Tyt, Mor: not. R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: noght. L: hir noght. McD: nought.

bot. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: bot. Sk, McD: bot was.

1129 Ane. Tyt, R, L, S, NS, B: An. Mor: And. Sk, Mac, McD: Ane.

depe. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: depe. L: as depe. Sk: was depe. McD: als depe.

1132 Com. So Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, NS, B. L, Mac, S, McD: Come.

1137 strong. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, McD, B: strong. L, NS: stronge. Sk: strange.

1138 sawe. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS: sawe. McD, B: saw.

that. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: that. S: yat.

than. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: than. L: thareon.

clymben. Tyt, Mor: clumben. R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: clymben. McD: up clymben.

1143 ourstraught. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, B: ourestraught. L: overstraught. Mac, S, NS: ourstraught. McD: ourestraught it was.

1146 Clymbe. So NS, McD, and B. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S: clymb. L, Sk: clymben.

ryght. Tyt, Mor: ryt. R, L, Sk, Mac: ryght. S: rycht. NS, McD, B: right.

dounward. Tyt, Mor, R: downward. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: dounward.

1147 had. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, B: had. Sk, McD: had so. NS: hadde.

sore. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: sore. L: tofore. Sk, McD: so sore.

1149 sawe. Tyt, Mor, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: sawe. R: saw.

that. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: that. S: yat.

quhere. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS: quhere. Sk: quhere as. McD, B: quhare.

slungin. Tyt, Mor, Sk, Mac, S, NS: slungin. R: flungin. L, McD: yslungin.

1151 hath. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: hath. McD: hath thame. L: hath it. Sk: hath thaim.

1154 thoght. MS omits; added for sense. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S omit. L: socht. Sk's emendation, followed by NS, B. McD: thought.

1156 presence. MS: presene. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B. S follows the MS.

1159 hailsing. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: hailsing. L: halflyng.

1165 It. MS: As written first (McD misreads Are), then deleted.

1171 bringen. MS: bring. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B follow the MS. McD: bringe. Sk's emendation, followed by L, NS.

1180 clymben. MS: clymb. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, McD, B: clymbe. Sk's emendation, followed by L, NS.

1182 werdis. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: werdis. McD: warldis.

1184 wrechit. Tyt, Mor, R: wretchit. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: wrechit.

callit. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: callit. L, Sk, McD: ycallit. NS: icallit.

1185 that. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, NS, McD, B: that. S: yat. L, Sk: omitted.

thy hert. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: thy hert. Sk: thy herte. McD: the.

1189 quhare till. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: quhare till. L: thare-till. McD: quhirlit.

1190 thai. McD: thou. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: thai.

turn. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS: turn. L, McD, B: turne.

luken on. MS: luke on. L's emendation, followed by Sk, NS. Tyt, Mor, Mac, S: luke on. R, McD, B: luke upon.

1199 That fro. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: That fro. McD: Fro that.

1210 waking. MS: walking. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S follow the MS. NS's emendation, followed by McD, B.

1212 Covert. So MS, followed by Tyt, Mor, R, L, S, NS. Sk emends to Touert, followed by Mac, McD. B: Towert.

1214 suevenyng. MS: suevyng. L's emendation, followed by Sk, NS. Tyt, Mor, R: suenyng. Mac, S follow the MS. B: swevyng.

1222-23 Reversed in MS, with inversion marked b and a in the margin. See also lines 1292-93. NS ignores the correction.

1235 turtur. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, McD, B: turture. Mac, S, NS: turtur.

1240 The second scribe begins copying here.

fair. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: fair. Sk, McD: faire.

ryght. Tyt, Mor: ryt. R: rycht. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ryght.

1243 with. MS: witht, followed by Mac, S, McD. Tyt, Mor, R: wicht. L's emendation, followed by Sk, NS, B.

1246 ryght. Tyt, Mor, R: ryt. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: ryght.

on. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: on. McD: apon; L, Sk: upon.

wise. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: wise. Mac: wis.

1256 hertfull. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS: hertfull. L, McD, B: hert full of. Sk: hertefull.

glaidnese. Tyt, Mor, R, McD: glaidnesse. L, Sk, S, NS, B: glaidnese. Mac: glaidnes.

1263Quhich. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS: Quhich. L, McD, B: From. Sk: Quhiche.

hensferth. Tyt, Mor, R: he offerth; McD, NS: hennesferth. L, Sk, Mac, S, B: hensferth.

1271 croppin. MS: r inserted above the line.

1279 thus. MS: this. NS's emendation, followed by B. Tyt, Mor, R, S follow the MS. L emends to thinkis, followed by Sk, Mac, McD.

1281 sufficiaunce. Tyt, Mor, R, L, McD: sufficiance. Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: sufficiante.

1292-93 These lines are transposed in MS, but marked b and a in margin for reversal.

1294 cunnyng. So S. Tyt, Mor, R: cumyng. McD, B: cummyng. L, Sk, Mac: cummyn.

1299 lif. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: lyf. Sk: lif.

mend. Tyt, Mor, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: mend. R: mynd; L: menden.

1305 wofull. L, Sk: al my wofull; NS, McD: my wofull. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, B: wofull.

1306 long. Scribe 2 underscores the term with a flourish unique to this single occasion. It is possible that this is merely a decorative act, but it may also be the scribe showing his resentment of the length of the king's imprisonment or even of the length of the poem itself.

1307 flour. MS: flouris, followed by S, L. Sk's emendation, followed by Mac, NS, B. Tyt, Mor, R, McD: floure.

seye. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: seye. Sk, McD: seye you.

1308 attendit. MS: actendit. L's emendation, followed by Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B. Tyt, Mor, R follow the MS.

1312 halely. McD: hale. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: halely.

myn. Tyt, Mor, R: myne. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: myn.

1315 quhome. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD: quhom. Sk, NS, B: quhome.

laud. Tyt, Mor, R: land. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: laud.

prise. Mac: pris. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: prise.

1317 mot. NS emends mot to moten, also for reasons of meter. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, McD, B: mot.

the goddis. L, McD: the blisfull goddis. Sk emends to: the heyë goddis, thus preserving the meter. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: the goddis.

1318 glateren. L, Sk, McD, B: glitteren. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS: glateren.

the. S: ye. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: the.

1321 so. MS omits. L's emendation, added for sense, followed by Sk, S, NS, McD, B. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac follow the MS.

1322 exiltree. MS: exilkee. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD. B: exilte.

1323 quhele. MS: quhile. Tyt's emendation, followed by mor, R, L, Sk, NS, McD, B. Mac, S follow the MS.

1324 in. MS: and. NS's emendation, followed by McD, B. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S follow the MS.

1335 the. McD: the suete. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, B: the.

1336 fortunyt me. MS: fortunyt one. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B.

1344 cum. L: cumin. Tyt, Mor, R, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: cum.

and. Sk, McD: and yit. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, NS, B: and.

wise. Mac: wis. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, S, NS, McD, B: wise.

1347 guerdoun. L: guerdoun fair. Sk: guerdoun eke. McD: guerdoun dere. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S, NS, B: guerdoun.

1357 reule. Tyt, R, Mac, S, NS, McD, B: reule. Mor: ruele. L, Sk: reulen.

1359 cummyst. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac: cumyst. L, Sk, S, NS, B: cummyst. McD: cum.

the. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Sk, Mac, NS, McD, B: the. S: ye.

1363 gif. MS: geve. Tyt's emendation, followed by mor, R. L, Sk, Mac, S, NS, McD, B follow the MS.

1366 fatall. MS: fotall. Tyt's emendation, followed by Mor, R, L, Sk, NS, McD, B. Mac, S follow the MS.

1370 thank. MS: think. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S follow the MS. L's emendation, followed by Sk, NS, McD, B.

oure. MS might be read onre ("honor"), in which case the emendation adding lif (which spoils the meter) would be unnecessary.

lif. MS omits. Tyt, Mor, R, Mac, S follow the MS. L: lyf, followed by McD. Sk: lif, followed by NS, B.

1371 couth. MS: coutht. Sk's emendation, followed by NS. Tyt, Mor, R, L, Mac, S, McD, B follow the MS.

1373 the impnis. So Sk. MS: inpnis. Tyt, Mor, R, McD: impnis; L: the ympis; NS: th'inpnis. NS, B follow the MS.
Print Copyright Info Purchase

James I of Scotland, The Kingis Quair

Heirefter followis the quair maid be King James of Scotland the first callit the kingis quair and maid quhan his majestee wes in Ingland (see note); (t-note)






















































































































































































































































































Heigh in the hevynnis figure circulere
The rody sterres twynklyng as the fyre,
And, in Aquary, Citherea the clere
Rynsid hir tressis like the goldin wyre
That late tofore in fair and fresche atyre
Through Capricorn heved hir hornis bright,
North northward approchit the mydnyght,

Quhen, as I lay in bed allone waking,
New partit out of slepe a lyte tofore,
Fell me to mynd of many diverse thing,
Of this and that, can I noght say quharfore,
Bot slepe for craft in erth myght I no more,
For quhich as tho coude I no better wyle,
Bot toke a boke to rede apon a quhile,

Of quhich the name is clepit properly
Boece, eftir him that was the compiloure,
Schewing the counsele of Philosophye,
Compilit by that noble senatoure
Of Rome, quhilom that was the warldis floure,
And from estate by Fortunes quhile
Forjugit was to povert in exile,

And thereto here this worthy lord and clerk,
His metir suete, full of moralitee,
His flourit pen so fair he set awerk,
Discryving first of his prosperitee,
And out of that his infelicitee,
And than how he, in his poetly report,
In philosophy can him to confort;

For quhich, thogh I in purpose at my boke
To borowe a slepe at thilke tyme began,
Or ever I stent, my best was more to loke
Upon the writing of this noble man,1
That in himself the full recover wan
Of his infortune, povert, and distresse,
And in tham set his verray sekernesse.

And so the vertew of his youth before
Was in his age the ground of his delytis.
Fortune the bak him turnyt, and therfore
He makith joye and confort that he quit is
Of their unsekir warldis appetitis;
And so aworth he takith his penance,
And of his vertew maid it suffisance

With mony a noble resoun, as him likit,
Enditing in his fair Latyne tong,
So full of fruyte and rethorikly pykit,
Quhich to declare my scole is over yong.
Therfore I lat him pas, and in my tong
Procede I will agayn to my sentence
Of my mater, and leve all incidence.

The long nyght beholding, as I saide,
Myn eyne gan to smert for studying.
My buke I schet and at my hede it laide
And doun I lay but ony tarying,
This mater new in my mynd rolling:
This is to seyne, how that eche estate,
As Fortune lykith, thame will translate.

For sothe it is that on hir tolter quhele,
Every wight cleverith in his stage,
And failyng foting oft, quhen hir lest rele -
Sum up, sum doun - is non estate nor age
Ensured, more the prynce than the page,
So uncouthly hir werdes sche devidith,
Namly in youth, that seildin ought providith.2

Among thir thoughtis rolling to and fro,
Fell me to mynd of my fortune and ure:
In tender youth how sche was first my fo
And eft my frende, and how I gat recure
Of my distresse; and all myn aventure
I gan ovr-hayle, that langer slepe ne rest
Ne myght I nat, so were my wittis wrest.3

Forwakit and forwalowit, thus musing,
Wery forlyin, I lestnyt sodaynlye,
And sone I herd the bell to matyns ryng
And up I rase, no langer wald I lye.
Bot now (how trowe ye?) suich a fantasye
Fell me to mynd that ay me thoght the bell
Said to me, "Tell on, man, quhat thee befell."

Thoght I tho to myself, "Quhat may this be?
This is myn awin ymagynacioun,
It is no lyf that spekis unto me,
It is a bell; or that impressioun
Of my thoght causith this illusioun
That dooth me think so nycely in this wise."
And so befell as I schall you devise.

Determyt furth therwith in myn entent,
Sen I thus have ymagynit of this soun
(And in my tyme more ink and paper spent
To lyte effect), I tuke conclusioun
Sum new thing to write. I set me doun
And furthwithall my pen in hand I tuke
And maid a cross and thus begouth my buke.4

Thou sely youth, of nature indegest,
Unrypit fruyte, with windis variable,
Like to the bird that fed is on the nest
And can noght flee, of wit wayke and unstable,
To fortune both and to infortune hable,
Wist thou thy payne to cum and thy travaille,
For sorow and drede wele myght thou wepe and waille.

Thus stant thy confort in unsekernesse
And wantis it that suld thee reule and gye,
Ryght as the schip that sailith stereles
Upon the rok most to harmes hye
For lak of it that suld bene hir supplye,
So standis thou here in this warldis rage
And wantis that suld gyde all thy viage.

I mene this by myself, as in partye,
Though nature gave me suffisance in youth,
The rypenesse of resoun lakit I
To governe with my will, so lyte I couth,
Quhen stereles to travaile I begouth,
Amang the wawis of this warld to drive,
And how the case anon I will discrive.

With doutfull hert amang the rokkis blake,
My feble bote full fast to stere and rowe,
Helples, allone, the wynter nyght I wake,
To wayte the wynd that furthward suld me throwe.
O empti saile, quhare is the wynd suld blowe
Me to the port, quhar gynneth all my game?
Help, Calyope, and wynd, in Marye name!

The rokkis clepe I the prolixitee
Of doubilnesse that doith my wittis pall:
The lak of wynd is the deficultee
In enditing of this lytill trety small;
The bote I clepe the mater hole of all;
My wit, unto the saile that now I wynd
To seke connyng, though I bot lytill fynd.

At my begynnyng first I clepe and call
To yow, Cleo, and to yow, Polymye,
With Thesiphone, goddis and sistris all,
In nowmer nyne, as bokis specifye;
In this processe my wilsum wittis gye,
And with your bryght lanternis wele convoye
My pen, to write my turment and my joye.

In Ver, that full of vertu is and gude,
Quhen Nature first begynneth hir enprise,
That quhilum was be cruell frost and flude
And schouris scharp opprest in many wyse,
And Synthius gynneth to aryse
Heigh in the est, a morow soft and suete,
Upward his course to drive in Ariete,

Passit bot mydday four greis evin,
Of lenth and brede his angel wingis bryght
He spred upon the ground doun fro the hevin.
That, for gladnesse and confort of the sight
And with the tiklyng of his hete and light,
The tender flouris opnyt thame and sprad
And in thair nature thankit him for glad.

Noght ferr passit the state of innocence
Bot nere about the nowmer of yeris thre -
Were it causit throu hevinly influence
Of Goddis will or othir casualtee
Can I noght say - bot out of my contree,
By thair avise that had of me the cure
Be see to pas tuke I myn aventure.

Purvait of all that was us necessarye,
With wynd at will, up airly by the morowe,
Streight unto schip, no longer wold we tarye,
The way we tuke, the tyme I tald toforowe.
With mony "fare wele" and "Sanct Johne to borowe"
Of falowe and frende, and thus with one assent
We pullit up saile and furth oure wayis went.

Upon the wawis weltering to and fro,
So infortunate was us that fremyt day
That maugré, playnly, quhethir we wold or no,
With strong hand, by forse, schortly to say,
Of inymyis takin and led away
We weren all, and broght in thair contree:
Fortune it schupe non othir wayis to be.

Quhare as in strayte ward and in strong prisoun,
So ferforth of my lyf the hevy lyne,
Without confort, in sorowe abandoun,
The secund sister lukit hath to twyne
Nere by the space of yeris twise nyne;
Till Jupiter his merci list advert
And send confort in relesche of my smert.

Quhare as in ward full oft I wold bewaille
My dedely lyf, full of peyne and penance,
Saing ryght thus, "Quhat have I gilt, to faille
My fredome in this warld and my plesance?
Sen every wight has therof suffisance
That I behold, and I a creature
Put from all this, hard is myn aventure!

"The bird, the beste, the fisch eke in the see,
They lyve in fredome, everich in his kynd;
And I a man, and lakkith libertee!
Quhat schall I seyne? Quhat resoun may I fynd
That Fortune suld do so?" Thus in my mynd
My folk I wold argewe - bot all for noght,
Was non that myght, that on my peynes rought.5

Than wold I say, "Gif God me had devisit
To lyve my lyf in thraldome thus and pyne,
Quhat was the cause that he me more comprisit
Than othir folk to lyve in suich ruyne?
I suffer allone amang the figuris nyne,
Ane wofull wrecche that to no wight may spede,
And yit of every lyvis help hath nede."

The long dayes and the nyghtis eke
I wold bewaille my fortune in this wise,
For quhich, agane distresse confort to seke,
My custom was on mornis for to ryse
Airly as day - O happy exercise,
By thee come I to joye out of turment!
Bot now to purpose of my first entent.

Bewailing in my chamber thus allone,
Despeired of all joye and remedye,
Fortirit of my thoght and wo begone,
And to the wyndow gan I walk in hye
To se the warld and folk that went forby;
As for the tyme, though I of mirthis fude
Myght have no more, to luke it did me gude.6

Now was there maid fast by the touris wall
A gardyn fair, and in the corneris set
Ane herber grene with wandis long and small
Railit about; and so with treis set
Was all the place, and hawthorn hegis knet,
That lyf was non walking there forby
That myght within scarse ony wight aspye,7

So thik the bewis and the leves grene
Beschadit all the aleyes that there were.
And myddis every herber myght be sene
The scharp grene suete jenepere,
Growing so fair with branchis here and there,
That, as it semyt to a lyf without,
The bewis spred the herber all about.

And on the small grene twistis sat
The lytill suete nyghtingale and song
So loud and clere the ympnis consecret
Of lufis use, now soft, now lowd among,
That all the gardyng and the wallis rong
Ryght of thair song and of the copill next
Of thair suete armony; and lo the text:

"Worschippe, ye that loveris bene, this May,
For of your blisse the kalendis ar begonne,
And sing with us, 'Away, winter, away!
Cum, somer, cum, the suete sesoun and sonne!'
Awake, for schame! that have your hevynnis wonne,8
And amorously lift up your hedis all:
Thank Lufe that list you to his merci call."9

Quhen thai this song had song a lytill thrawe,
Thai stent a quhile and therwith unaffraid,
As I beheld and kest myn eyne a lawe,
From beugh to beugh thay hippit and thai plaid,
And freschly in thair birdis kynd arraid
Thair fetheris new, and fret thame in the sonne,
And thankit Lufe that had thair makis wonne.

This was the plane ditee of thair note,
And therwithall unto myself I thoght,
"Quhat lyf is this, that makis birdis dote?
Quhat may this be? How cummyth it of ought?
Quhat nedith it to be so dere ybought?
It is nothing, trowe I, bot feynit chere,
And that men list to counterfeten chere."

Eft wald I think, "O Lord, quhat may this be,
That Lufe is of so noble myght and kynde,
Lufing his folk? And suich prosperitee,
Is it of him, as we in bukis fynd?
May he oure hertes setten and unbynd?
Hath he upon oure hertis suich maistrye?
Or all this is bot feynyt fantasye?

"For gif he be of so grete excellence
That he of every wight hath cure and charge,
Quhat have I gilt to him or doon offense
That I am thrall and birdis gone at large,
Sen him to serve he myght set my corage?
And gif he be noght so, than may I seyne,
'Quhat makis folk to jangill of him in veyne?'

"Can I noght elles fynd, bot gif that he10
Be lord, and as a god may lyve and regne
To bynd and louse and maken thrallis free,
Than wold I pray his blisfull grace benigne
To hable me unto his service digne,
And evermore for to be one of tho
Him trewly for to serve in wele and wo."

And therwith kest I doun myn eye ageyne,
Quhare as I sawe, walking under the tour,
Full secretly new cummyn hir to pleyne,
The fairest or the freschest yong floure11
That ever I sawe, me thoght, before that houre;
For quhich sodayn abate anon astert
The blude of all my body to my hert.

And though I stude abaisit tho a lyte
No wonder was, forquhy my wittis all
Were so overcom with plesance and delyte,
Onely throu latting of myn eyen fall,
That sudaynly my hert became hir thrall
Forever, of free wyll; for of manace
There was no takyn in hir suete face.

And in my hede I drewe ryght hastily
And eft sones I lent it forth ageyne
And sawe hir walk, that verray womanly,
With no wight mo, bot onely wommen tueyne.
Than gan I studye in myself and seyne,
"A, suete, ar ye a warldly creature
Or hevinly thing in liknesse of nature?

"Or ar ye god Cupidis owin princesse
And cummyn ar to louse me out of band?
Or ar ye verray Nature the goddesse
That have depaynted with your hevinly hand
This gardyn full of flouris, as they stand?
Quhat sall I think? Allace, quhat reverence
Sall I minster to your excellence?

"Gif ye a goddesse be, and that ye like
To do me payne, I may it noght astert.
Gif ye be warldly wight that dooth me sike,
Quhy lest God mak you so, my derrest hert,
To do a sely prisoner thus smert
That lufis yow all and wote of noght bot wo?
And therfore merci, suete, sen it is so."

Quhen I a lytill thrawe had maid my moon,
Bewailling myn infortune and my chance,
Unknawing how or quhat was best to doon,
So ferr I fallyng into Lufis dance
That sodeynly my wit, my contenance,
My hert, my will, my nature, and my mynd,
Was changit clene ryght in anothir kynd.

Of hir array the form gif I sall write
Toward, hir goldin hair and rich atyre
In fret wise couchit with perllis quhite
And grete balas lemyng as the fyre,
With mony ane emeraut and fair saphire;
And on hir hede a chaplet fresch of hewe,
Of plumys partit rede and quhite and blewe.

Full of quaking spangis bryght as golde,
Forgit of schap like to the amorettis,
So new, so fresch, so plesant to beholde,
The plumys eke like to the flour jonettis,
And othir of schap like to the flour burnettis,
And above all this there was, wele I wote,
Beautee eneuch to mak a world to dote.

About hir nek, quhite as the fyne amaille,
A gudely cheyne of smale orfeverye
Quhareby there hang a ruby, without faille,
Lyke to ane hert schapin verily,
That, as a sperk of lowe, so wantonly
Semyt birnyng upon hir quhyte throte.
Now gif there was gud partye, God it wote!12

And for to walk that fresche Mayes morowe
An huke sche had upon hir, tissew quhite,
That gudeliar had noght bene sene toforowe,
As I suppose, and girt sche was alyte,
Thus halflyng louse for haste. Lo suich delyte
It was to see hir youth in gudelihede
That for rudenes to speke therof I drede.

In hir was youth, beautee with humble aport,
Bountee, richesse, and wommanly facture -
God better wote than my pen can report;
Wisedome, largesse, estate, and connyng sure
In every poynt so guydit hir mesure
In word, in dede, in schap, in contenance,
That Nature myght no more hir childe avance.

Throw quhich anon I knew and understude
Wele that sche was a warldly creature
On quhom to rest myn eye, so mich gude
It did my wofull hert, I yow assure,
That it was to me joye without mesure.
And, at the last, my luke unto the hevin
I threwe furthwith and said thir versis sevin:

"O Venus clere, of goddis stellifyit,
To quhom I yelde homage and sacrifise;
Fro this day forth your grace be magnifyit,
That me ressavit have in suich wise,
To lyve under your law and do servise.
Now help me furth, and for your merci lede
My hert to rest, that deis nere for drede."

Quhen I with gude entent this orisoun
Thus endit had, I stynt a lytill stound.
And eft myn eye full pitously adoun
I kest, behalding unto hir lytill hound
That with his bellis playit on the ground:
Than wold I say and sigh therwith a lyte,
"A, wele were him that now were in thy plyte!"

Anothir quhile the lytill nyghtingale
That sat apon the twiggis wold I chide,
And say ryght thus: "Quhare ar thy notis smale
That thou of love has song this morowe tyde?
Seis thou noght hir that sittis thee besyde?
For Venus sake, the blisfull goddesse clere,
Sing on agane and mak my lady chere.

"And eke I pray, for all the paynes grete
That for the love of Proigne, thy sister dere,
Thou sufferit quhilom, quhen thy brestis wete
Were, with the teres of thyne eyen clere
All bludy ronne, that pitee was to here
The crueltee of that unknyghtly dede
Quhare was fro thee bereft thy maidenhede,

"Lift up thyne hert and sing with gude entent,
And in thy notis suete the tresoun telle
That to thy sister trewe and innocent
Was kythit by hir husband false and fell;
For quhois gilt, as it is worthy wel,
Chide thir husbandis that ar false, I say,
And bid thame mend, in the twenti devil way.

"O lytill wrecch, allace, maist thou noght se
Quho commyth yond? Is it now tyme to wring?
Quhat sory thoght is fallin upon thee?
Opyn thy throte; hastow no lest to sing?
Allace, sen thou of resoun had felyng,
Now, suete bird, say ones to me 'pepe.'
I dee for wo, me think thou gynnis slepe.

"Hastow no mynde of lufe? Quhare is thy make?
Or artow seke, or smyt with jelousye?
Or is he dede, or hath he thee forsake?
Quhat is the cause of thy malancolye
That thou no more list maken melodye?
Sluggart, for schame! Lo here thy goldin hour
That worth were hale all thy lyvis laboure!

"Gyf thou suld sing wele ever in thy lyve,
Here is, in fay, the tyme and eke the space.
Quhat wostow than? Sum bird may cum and stryve
In song with thee the maistry to purchace.
Suld thou than cesse, it were grete schame, allace!
And here, to wyn gree happily forever,
Here is the tyme to syng or ellis never."

I thoght eke thus: gif I my handis clap
Or gif I cast, than will sche flee away.
And gif I hald me pes, than will sche nap,13
And gif I crye, sche wate noght quhat I say:
Thus quhat is best wate I noght, be this day,14
Bot, "Blawe wynd, blawe, and do the levis schake,
That sum twig may wag and mak hir to wake."

With that anon ryght sche toke up a sang,
Quhare com anon mo birdis and alight.
Bot than, to here the mirth was tham amang!
Over that, to, to see the suete sicht
Of hyr ymage, my spirit was so light
Me thoght I flawe for joye without arest,
So were my wittis boundin all to fest.

And to the notis of the philomene
Quhilkis sche sang, the ditee there I maid
Direct to hir that was my hertis quene,
Withoutin quhom no songis may me glade.
And to that sanct, walking in the schade,
My bedis thus with humble hert entere
Devotly I said on this manere:

"Quhen sall your merci rew upon your man
Quhois service is yit uncouth unto yow?
Sen quhen ye go, there is noght ellis than.
Bot hert, quhere as the body may noght throu,
Folow thy hevin: quho suld be glad bot thou
That suich a gyde to folow has undertake?
Were it throu Hell, the way thou noght forsake!"

And efter this the birdis everichone
Tuke up anothir sang full loud and clere,
And with a voce said, "Wele is us begone
That with oure makis ar togider here.
We proyne and play without dout and dangere,
All clothit in a soyte full fresche and newe,
In lufis service besy, glad and trewe.

"And ye, fresche May, ay mercifull to bridis,
Now welcum be ye, flour of monethis all;
For noght onely your grace upon us bydis
Bot all the warld to witnes this we call,
That strowit hath so playnly over all
With new, fresche, suete, and tender grene,
Oure lyf, oure luste, oure governoure, oure quene."

This was thair song, as semyt me, full heye,
With full mony uncouth suete note and schill,
And therwithall that fair upward hir eye
Wold cast amang, as it was Goddis will,
Quhare I myght se, standing allane full still,
The fair facture that Nature for maistrye
In hir visage wroght had full lufingly.

And quhen sche walkit had a lytill thrawe
Under the suete grene bewis bent,
Hir fair fresche face, as quhite as ony snawe,
Scho turnyt has and furth hir wayis went.
Bot tho began myn axis and turment:
To sene hir part and folowe I na myght.
Me thoght the day was turnyt into nyght.

Than said I thus: "Quhareto lyve I langer?
Wofullest wicht and subject unto peyne -
Of peyne? No - God wote, ya! For thay no stranger
May wirken ony wight, I dar wele seyne.
How may this be, that deth and lyf, bothe tueyne,
Sall bothe atonis in a creature
Togidder duell and turment thus nature?

"I may noght ellis done bot wepe and waile
Within thir cald wallis thus ilokin.
From hensfurth my rest is my travaile,
My drye thrist with teris sall I slokin,
And on myself bene all my harmys wrokin.
Thus bute is none, bot Venus of hir grace
Will schape remedé or do my spirit pace.

"As Tantalus I travaile ay butles
That ever ylike hailith at the well
Water to draw with buket botemles
And may noght spede, quhois penance is an hell.
So by myself this tale I may wele telle,
For unto hir that herith noght I pleyne,
Thus like to him my travaile is in veyne."

So sore thus sighit I with myself allone
That turnyt is my strenth in febilnesse,
My wele in wo, my frendis all in fone,
My lyf in deth, my lyght into dirknesse,
My hope in feere, in dout my sekirnesse,
Sen sche is gone; and God mote hir convoye
That me may gyde to turment and to joye.

The long day thus gan I prye and pour
Till Phebus endit had his bemes bryght,
And bad go farewele every lef and flour,
This is to say, approchen gan the nyght,
And Esperus his lampis gan to light,
Quhen in the wyndow, still as any stone,
I bade at lenth and kneling maid my mone,

So lang till evin for lak of myght and mynd,
Forwepit and forpleynit pitously,15
Ovrset so sorow had bothe hert and mynd,
That to the cold stone my hede on wrye
I laid, and lent amaisit verily,
Half sleping and half suoun in suich a wise;
And quhat I met I will you now devise:

Me thoght that thus all sodeynly a lyght
In at the wyndow come quhare that I lent,
Of quhich the chamber wyndow schone full bryght,
And all my body so it hath overwent
That of my sicht the vertew hale iblent;16
And that withall a voce unto me saide,
"I bring thee confort and hele, be noght affrayde."

And furth anon it passit sodeynly
Quhere it come in, the ryght way ageyne;
And sone, me thoght, furth at the dure in hye
I went my weye, nas nothing me ageyne,
And hastily by bothe the armes tueyne
I was araisit up into the air,
Clippit in a cloude of cristall clere and fair,

Ascending upward ay fro spere to spere
Through air and water and the hote fyre
Till that I come unto the circle clere
Of Signifer, quhare fair, bryght, and schire
The signis schone; and in the glade empire
Of blisfull Venus ane caryit now
So sudaynly, almost I wist noght how.

Of quhich the place quhen I com there nye
Was all, me thoght, of cristall stonis wroght.
And to the port I liftit was in hye,
Quhare sodaynly - as quho sais, "at a thoght" -17
It opnyt and I was anon in broght
Within a chamber large, rowm, and fair,
And there I fand of peple grete repair.

This is to seyne, that present in that place
Me thoght I sawe of every nacioun
Loveris that endit thair lyfis space
In lovis service, mony a mylioun.
Of quhois chancis maid is mencioun
In diverse bukis, quho thame list to se,
And therfore here thair namys lat I be.

The quhois aventure and grete labour
Above thair hedis writin there I fand:
This is to seyne, martris and confessour
Ech in his stage, and his make in his hand,
And therwithall, thir peple sawe I stand
With mony a solempt contenance,
After as lufe thame lykit to avance.

Of gude folkis that fair in lufe befill
There saw I sitt in order by thame one
With hedis hore, and with thame stude Gude Will
To talk and play; and after that anon
Besyde thame and next there saw I gone
Curage amang the fresche folkis yong,
And with thame playit full merily and song.

And in ane othir stage endlong the wall
There saw I stand in capis wyde and lang
A full grete nowmer, bot thair hudis all -
Wist I noght quhy - atour thair eyen hang,
And ay to thame come Repentance amang
And maid thame chere, degysit in his wede;
And dounward efter that yit I tuke hede.

Ryght overthwert the chamber was there drawe
A trevesse thin and quhite, all of plesance,
The quhich behynd, standing there I sawe
A warld of folk, and by thair contenance
Thair hertis semyt full of displesance,
With billis in thair handis, of one assent,
Unto the juge thair playntis to present.

And therwithall apperit unto me
A voce, and said, "Tak hede, man, and behold,
Yonder there thou seis the hiest stage and gree
Of agit folk with hedis hore and olde;
Yone were the folk that never change wold
In lufe, bot trewly servit him alway
In every age unto thair ending day.

"For fro the tyme that thai coud understand
The exercise of lufis craft, the cure,
Was non on lyve that toke so moch on hand
For lufis sake, nor langer did endure
In lufis service, for, man, I thee assure,
Quhen thay of youth ressavit had the fill,
Yit in thair age tham lakkit no gude will.

"Here bene also of suich as in counsailis
And all thare dedis were to Venus trewe.
Here bene the princis faucht the grete batailis,
In mynd of quhom ar maid the bukis newe.
Here ben the poetis that the sciencis knewe,
Throwout the warld, of lufe in thair suete layes,
Suich as Ovide and Omer in thair dayes.

"And efter thame, down in the next stage,
There as thou seis the yong folkis pleye,
Lo, thise were they that in thair myddill age
Servandis were to lufe in mony weye,
And diversely happinnit for to deye,
Sum soroufully for wanting of thare makis
And sum in armes for thair ladyes sakis.

"And othir eke by othir diverse chance,
As happin folk all day, as ye may se:
Sum for dispair without recoverance,
Sum for desyre surmounting thair degree,
Sum for dispite and othir inmytee,
Sum for unkyndenes without a quhy,
Sum for to moch, and sum for jelousye.

"And efter this upon yone stage doun
Tho that thou seis stond in capis wyde,
Yone were quhilum folk of religioun
That from the warld thair governance did hide,
And frely servit lufe on every syde
In secrete, with thair bodyis and thair gudis.
And lo, quhy so thai hingen doun thair hudis,

"For though that thai were hardy at assay
And did him service quhilum prively,
Yit to the warldis eye it semyt nay
So was thair service half cowardy,
And for thay first forsuke him opynly
And efter that therof had repenting,
For schame thair hudis ovr thair eyne thay hyng.

"And seis thou now yone multitude on rawe
Standing behynd yone traverse of delyte?
Sum bene of tham that haldin were full lawe
And take by frendis, nothing thay to wyte,18
In youth from lufe into the cloister quite,
And for that cause ar cummyn recounsilit,
On thame to pleyne that so tham had begilit.

"And othir bene amongis thame also
That cummyn ar to court on Lufe to pleyne,
For he thair bodyes had bestowit so,
Quhare bothe thair hertes gruchen there ageyne,19
For quhich in all thair dayes, soth to seyne,
Quhen othir lyvit in joye and plesance
Thair lyf was noght bot care and repentance.

"And quhare thair hertis gevin were and set
Were coplit with othir that coud noght accord.20
Thus were thai wrangit that did no forfet,
Departing thame that never wold discord.
Of yong ladies fair and mony lord,
That thus by maistry were fro thair chose dryve,
Full redy were thair playntis there to gyve."

And othir also I sawe compleynyng there
Upon Fortune and hir grete variance
That, quhere in love so wele they coplit were,
With thair suete makis coplit in plesance,
So sodeynly maid thair disseverance
And tuke thame of this warldis companye
Withoutin cause, there was non othir quhy.

And in a chiere of estate besyde
With wingis bright, all plumyt bot his face,
There sawe I sitt the blynd god Cupide
With bow in hand that bent full redy was.
And by him hang thre arowis in a cas
Of quhich the hedis grundyn were full ryght
Of diverse metals forgit fair and bryght.

And with the first that hedit is of gold
He smytis soft and that has esy cure;
The secund was of silver, mony fold
Wers than the first and harder aventure;
The thrid of stele is schot without recure.
And on his long yalow lokkis schene
A chaplet had he all of levis grene.

And in a retrete lytill of compas,
Depeyntit all with sighis wonder sad -
Noght suich sighis as hertis doith manace
Bot suich as dooth lufaris to be glad -
Fond I Venus upon hir bed, that had
A mantill cast over hir schuldris quhite:
Thus clothit was the goddesse of delyte.

Stude at the dure Fair Calling, hir uschere,
That coude his office doon in connyng wise,
And Secretee, hir thrifty chamberere,
That besy was in tyme to do servise,
And othir mo that I can noght on avise.
And on hir hede, of rede rosis full suete,
A chapellet sche had, fair, fresch, and mete.

With quaking hert astonate of that sight,
Unnethis wist I quhat that I suld seyne;
Bot at the last, febily as I myght,
With my handis on bothe my kneis tueyne,
There I begouth my caris to compleyne.
With ane humble and lamentable chere,
Thus salute I that goddesse bryght and clere:

"Hye quene of lufe, sterr of benevolence,
Pitouse princes, and planet merciable,
Appesar of malice and violence,
By vertew pure of your aspectis hable,
Unto your grace lat now ben acceptable
My pure request, that can no forthir gone
To seken help, bot unto yow allone.

"As ye that bene the socour and suete well
Of remedye, of carefull hertes cure,
And in the huge weltering wawis fell
Of lufis rage, blisfull havin and sure,
O anker and keye of oure gude aventure,
Ye have your man with his gude will conquest.
Merci, therfore, and bring his hert to rest!

"Ye knaw the cause of all my peynes smert
Bet than myself, and all myn aventure
Ye may convoye, and, as yow list, convert
The hardest hert that formyt hath Nature.
Sen in your handis all hale lyith my cure,
Have pitee now, o bryght blisfull goddesse,
Of your pure man, and rew on his distresse.

"And though I was unto your lawis strange
By ignorance and noght by felonye,
And that your grace now likit hath to change
My hert to serven yow perpetualye,
Forgeve all this and schapith remedye
To saven me, of your benigne grace,
Or do me sterven furthwith in this place.

"And with the stremes of your percyng lyght
Convoy my hert that is so wo begone
Ageyne unto that suete, hevinly sight
That I within the wallis cald as stone
So suetly saw on morow walk and gone,
Law in the gardyn ryght tofore myn eye.
Now merci, quene, and do me noght to deye!"

Thir wordis said, my spirit in dispair,
A quhile I stynt, abiding efter grace.
And therwithall hir cristall eyen fair
Me kest asyde, and efter that a space
Benignely sche turnyt has hir face
Towardis me full plesantly conveide,
And unto me ryght in this wise sche seide:

"Yong man, the cause of all thyne inward sorowe
Is noght unknawin to my deité;
And thy request, bothe now and eke toforowe,
Quhen thou first maid professioun to me,
Sen of my grace I have inspirit thee
To knawe my lawe, contynew furth; for oft
There as I mynt full sore, I smyte bot soft.

"Paciently thou tak thyne aventure,
This will my son Cupide and so will I:
He can the stroke, to me langis the cure,
Quhen I se tyme. And therfore humily
Abyde and serve and lat Gude Hope thee gye.
Bot, for I have thy forehede here present,
I will thee schewe the more of myn entent.

"This is to say, though it to me pertene
In lufis lawe the septre to governe -
That the effectis of my bemes schene
Has thair aspectis by ordynance eterne
With otheris to bynd and meynes to discerne -
Quhilum in thingis bothe to cum and gone
That langis noght to me to writh allone.21

"As in thyne awin case now may thou se,
Forquhy, lo, that otheris influence
Thy persone standis noght in libertee.
Quharfore, though I geve thee benevolence,
It standis noght yit in myn advertence
Till certeyne courses endit be and ronne,
Quhill of trew servis thow have hir iwone.22

"And yit, considering the nakitnesse
Bothe of thy wit, thy persone, and thy myght,
It is no mach of thyne unworthynesse
To hir hie birth, estate, and beautee bryght:
Als like ye bene as day is to the nyght,
Or sek cloth is unto fyne cremesye,
Or foule doken onto the fresche dayesye.

Unlike the mone is to the sonne schene,
Eke Januarye is like unto May,
Unlike the cukkow to the phylomene,
Thair tavartis ar noght bothe maid of one array,
Unlike the crow is to the papejay,
Unlike in goldsmythis werk a fischis eye
To preese with perll or maked be so heye.

"As I have said, unto me belangith
Specialy the cure of thy seknesse;
Bot now thy mater so in balance hangith
That it requerith to thy sekernesse
The help of othir mo that bene goddes,
And have in thame the menes and the lore
In this mater to schorten with thy sore.

And for thou sall se wele that I entend
Unto thy help, thy welefare to preserve,
The streight weye thy spirit will I send
To the goddesse that clepit is Mynerve;
And se that thou hir hestis wele conserve,
For in this case sche may be thy supplye
And put thy hert in rest als wele as I.

"Bot for the way is uncouth unto thee
There as hir duelling is and hir sojurne,
I will that Gud Hope servand to thee be,
Your alleris frend, to letten thee to murn,23
Be thy condyt and gyde till thou returne,
And hir besech that sche will in thy nede
Hir counsele geve to thy welefare and spede.

"And that sche will, as langith hir office,
Be thy gude lady, help, and counseilour,
And to thee schew hir rype and gude avise,
Throw quhich thou may, be processe and labour,
Atteyne unto that glad and goldyn flour
That thou wald have so fayn with all thy hart.
And forthirmore, sen thou hir servand art,

"Quhen thou descendis doun to ground ageyne,
Say to the men that there bene resident
How long think thay to stand in my disdeyne
That in my lawis bene so negligent
From day to day, and list tham noght repent
Bot breken louse and walken at thair large?
Is ther none that therof gevis charge?

"And for," quod sche, "the angir and the smert
Of thair unkyndenesse dooth me constreyne,
My femynyne and wofull tender hert,
That than I wepe, and to a token pleyne,
As of my teris cummyth all this reyne
That ye se on the ground so fast ybete
Fro day to day, my turment is so grete!

"And quhen I wepe and stynten othir quhile
For pacience that is in womanhede,
Than all my wrath and rancour I exile;
And of my cristall teris that bene schede
The hony flouris growen up and sprede
That preyen men, in thair flouris wise,
Be trewe of lufe and worschip my servise.

"And eke in takin of this pitouse tale,
Quhen so my teris dropen on the ground,
In thair nature the lytill birdis smale
Styntith thair song and murnyth for that stound;
And all the lightis in the hevin round
Of my grevance have suich compacience
That from the ground they hiden thair presence.

"And yit in tokenyng forthir of this thing,
Quhen flouris springis and freschest bene of hewe,
And that the birdis on the twistis sing,
At thilke tyme ay gynnen folk to renewe
That servis unto love, as ay is dewe,
Most commonly has ay his observance,
And of thair sleuth tofore have repentance.

"Thus maist thou seyne that myn effectis grete,
Unto the quhich ye aught and maist weye,
No lyte offense to sleuth is or forget.
And therfore in this wise to tham seye
As I thee here have bidden, and conveye
The mater all the better tofore said:
Thus sall on thee my charge bene ilaid.

"Say on than, quhare is becummyn for schame
The songis new, the fresch carolis and dance,
The lusty lyf, the mony change of game,
The fresche array, the lusty contenance,
The besy awayte, the hertly observance
That quhilum was amongis thame so ryf?
Bid tham repent in tyme and mend thair lyf.

"Or I sall, with my fader old Saturne
And with al hale oure hevinly alliance,
Oure glad aspectis from thame writh and turne,
That all the warld sall waile thair governance.
Bid thame be tyme that thai have repentance,
And thair hertis hale renew my lawe,
And I my hand fro beting sall withdrawe.

"This is to say, contynew in my servise,
Worschip my law and my name magnifye
That am your hevin and your paradise,
And I your confort here sall multiplye,
And for your meryt here, perpetualye
Ressave I sall your saulis, of my grace,
To lyve with me as goddis in this place."

With humble thank and all the reverence
That feble wit and connyng may atteyne,
I tuke my leve; and from hir presence
Gude Hope and I togider, bothe tueyne,
Departit ar; and, schortly for to seyne,
He hath me led redy wayis ryght
Unto Minervis palace fair and bryght.

Quhare as I fand, full redy at the gate,
The maister portar callit Pacience,
That frely lete us in unquestionate.
And there we sawe the perfyte excellence,
The said renown, the state, the reverence,
The strenth, the beautee, and the ordour digne
Of hir court riall, noble, and benigne.

And straught unto the presence sodeynly
Of Dame Minerve, the pacient goddesse,
Gude Hope my gyde led me redily;
To quhom anon with dredefull humylnesse,
Of my cummyng the cause I gan expresse,
And all the processe hole unto the end
Of Venus charge, as likit hir to send.

Of quhich ryght thus hir ansuer was in bref:
"My son, I have wele herd and understond,
Be thy reherse, the mater of thy gref,
And thy request to procure and to fond
Of thy pennance sum confort at my hond,
Be counsele of thy lady Venus clere,
To be, with hir, thyne help in this matere.

"Bot in this case thou sall wele knawe and witt
Thou may thy hert ground on suich a wise,
That thy labour will be bot lytill quit.
And thou may set it in othir wise
That wil be to thee grete worschip and prise;
And gif thou durst unto that way enclyne
I will thee geve my lore and disciplyne.

"Lo, my gude sone, this is als mich to seyne
As, gif thy lufe be sett all uterly
Of nyce lust, thy travail is in veyne.
And so the end sall turne of thy folye
To payne and repentance: lo, wate thou quhy?
Gif thee ne list on lufe thy vertew set,
Vertu sal be the cause of thy forfet.

"Tak Him before in all thy governance,
That in His hand the stere has of you all,
And pray unto His hye purveyance
Thy lufe to gye, and on Him traist and call
That cornerstone and ground is of the wall
That failis noght; and trust, withoutin drede,
Unto thy purpose sone He sall thee lede.

"For lo, the werk that first is foundit sure
May better bere a pace and hyar be
Than othirwise, and langer sall endure
Be monyfald, this may thy resoun see,
And stronger to defend adversitee.
Ground thy werk therfore upon the stone
And thy desire sall forthward with thee gone.

"Be trewe and meke, and stedfast in thy thoght,
And diligent hir merci to procure:
Noght onely in thy word (for word is noght)
Bot gif thy werk and all thy besy cure
Accord therto, and utrid be mesure,
The place, the hour, the maner, and the wise,24
Gif mercy sall admitten thy servise.

"'All thing has tyme,' thus sais Ecclesiaste,
And wele is him that his tyme wil abit.
Abyde thy tyme, for he that can bot haste
Can noght of hap, the wise man it writ;
And oft gud fortune flourith with gude wit:
Quharefore, gif thou will be wele fortunyt,
Lat wisedom ay to thy will be iunyt.

"Bot there be mony of so brukill sort
That feynis treuth in lufe for a quhile,
And setten all thair wittis and disport
The sely innocent woman to begyle,
And so to wynne thair lustis with a wile.
Suich feynit treuth is all bot trechorye
Under the umbre of heid ypocrisye.

"For as the fouler quhistlith in his throte
Diversely to counterfete the brid,
And feynis mony a suete and strange note,
That in the busk for his desate is hid,
Till sche be fast lok in his net amyd,
Ryght so the fatour, the false theif I say,
With suete tresoun oft wynnith thus his pray.

"Fy on all suich! Fy on thair doubilnesse!
Fy on thair lust and bestly appetite,
Thair wolfis hertis in lambis liknesse,
Thair thoughtis blak hid under wordis quhite!
Fy on thair labour! Fy on thair delyte,
That feynen outward all to hir honour
And in thair hert hir worschip wold devour!

"So hard it is to trusten now on dayes
The warld, it is so double and inconstant,
Of quhich the suth is kid be mony assayes.
More pitee is, for quhich the remanant
That menen wele and ar noght variant,
For otheris gilt ar suspect of untreuth
And hyndrit oft; and treuely that is reuth.

"Bot gif the hert be groundit ferm and stable
In Goddis law, thy purpose to atteyne,
Thy labour is to me agreable,
And my full help, with counsele trew and pleyne,
I will thee schewe, and this is thee certeyne.
Opyn thy hert, therfore, and lat me se
Gif thy remede be pertynent to me."

"Madame," quod I, "sen it is your plesance
That I declare the kynd of my loving,
Treuely and gude withoutin variance,
I lufe that flour abufe all othir thing;
And wold bene he that to hir worschipping
Myght ought availe, be Him that starf on Rude,
And nouthir spare for travaile, lyf, nor gude.

"And, forthirmore, as touching the nature
Of my lufing, to worschip or to blame,
I darr wele say and therein me assure,
For ony gold that ony wight can name
Nald I be he that suld of hir gude fame
Be blamischer in ony point or wyse,
For wele nor wo, quhill my lyf may suffise.

"This is th'effect, trewly, of myn entent,
Touching the suete that smertis me so sore.
Giff this be faynt, I can it noght repent
Allthough my lyf suld forfaut be therfore.
Blisfull princes, I can seye you no more,
Bot so desire my wittis dooth compace,
More joy in erth kepe I noght bot your grace."

"Desire?" quod sche. "I nyl it noght deny
So thou it ground and set in Cristin wise,
And therfor, son, opyn thy hert playnly."
"Madame," quod I, "trew, withoutin fantise,
That day sall I never up-rise
For my delyte to covate the plesance
That may hir worschip putten in balance.

"For ovr all thing, lo, this were my gladnesse:
To sene the fresche beautee of hir face.
And gif it myght deserve, be processe,
For my grete lufe and treuth to stond in grace,
Hir worschip sauf, lo, here the blisful cace
That I wold ask, and therto attend,
For my most joye unto my lyfis end."

"Now wele!" quod sche. "And sen that it is so,
That in vertew thy lufe is set with treuth,
To helpen thee I will be one of tho
From hensforth, and hertly without sleuth,
Of thy distresse and excesse to have reuth
That has thy hert I will pray full fair
That Fortune be no more therto contrair.25

"For suth it is that all ye creaturis
Quhich under us beneth have your duellyng,
Ressaven diversely your aventuris,
Of quhich the cure and principall melling
Appertenit is, withoutin repellyng,
Onely to hir that has the cuttis two
In hand, bothe of your wele and of your wo.

"And how so be that sum clerkis trete
That all your chance causit is tofore
Heigh in the hevin, by quhois effectis grete
Ye movit ar to wrething, lesse or more,
Quhare in the warld, thus calling that therfore
'Fortune,' and so that the diversitee
Of thair wirking suld cause necessitee.

"Bot othir clerkis halden that the man
Has in himself the chose and libertee
To cause his awin fortune, how or quhan
That him best lest, and no necessitee
Was in the hevin at his nativitee,
Bot yit the thingis happin in commune
Efter purpose, so cleping thame 'Fortune.'

"And quhare a persone has tofore-knawing
Of it that is to fall purposely,
Lo, Fortune is bot wayke in suich a thing,
Thou may wele wit, and here ensample quhy:
To God, it is the First Cause onely
Of everything, there may no fortune fall;
And quhy? For He foreknawing is of all.

"And therfore thus I say to this sentence:
Fortune is most and strangest evermore
Quhare leste foreknawing or intelligence
Is in the man; and, sone, of wit or lore
Sen thou art wayke and feble, lo, therfore,
The more thou art in dangere and commune
With hir that clerkis clepen so 'Fortune.'

"Bot for the sake and at the reverence
Of Venus clere, as I thee said tofore,
I have of thy distresse compacience.
And in confort and relesche of thy sore
Thee schewit here myn avise therfore:
Pray Fortune help, for mich unlikly thing
Full oft about sche sodeynly dooth bring.

"Now go thy way and have gude mynd upon
Quhat I have said in way of thy doctryne."
"I sall, madame," quod I. And ryght anon
I tuke my leve als straught as ony lyne:
Within a beme that fro the contree dyvine
Sche, percyng throw the firmament, extendit,
To ground ageyne my spirit is descendit

Quhare, in a lusty plane, tuke I my way
Endlang a ryver plesant to behold,
Enbroudin all with fresche flouris gay,
Quhare throu the gravel bryght as ony gold
The cristall water ran so clere and cold
That in myn ere maid contynualy
A maner soun, mellit with armony,

That full of lytill fischis by the brym
Now here, now there, with bakkis blewe as lede,
Lap and playit, and in a rout can swym
So prattily and dressit tham to sprede
Thair curall fynnis as the ruby rede
That in the sonne on thair scalis bryght
As gesserant ay glitterit in my sight.

And by this ilke ryver syde alawe
Ane hye-way fand I like to bene,
On quhich on every syde a long rawe
Of treis saw I, full of levis grene,
That full of fruyte delitable were to sene.
And also, as it come unto my mynd,
Of bestis sawe I mony diverse kynd:

The lyoun king and his fere lyonesse,
The pantere like unto the smaragdyne,
The lytill squerell full of besynesse,
The slawe ase (the druggar beste of pyne),
The nyce ape, the werely porpapyne,
The percyng lynx, the lufare unicorne
That voidis venym with his evour horne.

There sawe I dresse him new out of haunt
The fery tiger full of felonye,
The dromydare, the standar oliphant,
The wyly fox (the wedowis inemye),
The clymbare gayte, the elk for alblastrye,
The herknere bore, the holsum grey for hortis,
The hair also that oft gooth to the wortis,

The bugill drawar by his hornis grete,
The martrik sable, the foynyee, and mony mo:
The chalk quhite ermyn tippit as the jete,
The riall hert, the conyng, and the ro,
The wolf that of the murthir noght say "ho,"
The lesty bever and the ravin bare,
For chamelot the camel full of hare,

With mony anothir beste diverse and strange
That cummyth noght as now unto my mynd.
Bot now to purpose: straucht furth the range
I held a way, ovrhailing in my mynd
From quhens I come and quhare that I suld fynd
Fortune the goddesse - unto quhom in hye
Gude Hope, my gyde, has led me sodeynly.

And at the last, behalding thus asyde,
A round place wallit have I found,
In myddis quhare, eftsone, I have spide
Fortune the goddesse, hufing on the ground.
And ryght before hir fete, of compas round,
A quhele, on quhich clevering I sye
A multitude of folk before myn eye.

And ane surcote sche werit long that tyde,
That semyt to me of diverse hewis.
Quhilum thus, quhen sche wald turn asyde,
Stude this goddesse of fortune and renewis:
A chapellet with mony fresche anewis
Sche had upon hir hed, and with this hong
A mantill on hir schuldris large and long

That furrit was with ermyn full quhite,
Degoutit with the self in spottis blake.26
And quhilum, in hir chier thus a lyte
Louring sche was, and thus sone it wold slake
And sodeynly a maner smylyng make
And sche were glad; at one contenance
Sche held noght, bot ay in variance.

And underneth the quhele sawe I there
Ane ugly pit, depe as ony helle,
That to behald thereon I quoke for fere.
Bot o thing herd I, that quho therein fell
Com no more up agane, tidingis to telle;
Of quhich, astonait of that ferefull syght,
I ne wist quhat to done, so was I fricht.

Bot for to se the sudayn weltering
Of that ilk quhele that sloppar was to hold,
It semyt unto my wit a strong thing,
So mony I sawe that than clymben wold
And failit foting and to ground were rold,
And othir eke that sat above on hye
Were overthrawe in twinklyng of an eye.

And on the quhele was lytill void space,
Wele nere ourstraught fro lawe to hye,
And they were war that long sat in place:
So tolter quhilum did sche it to wrye
There was bot "Clymbe," and ryght dounward "Hye!"
And sum were eke that, fallyng, had sore;
Therefor, to clymbe thair corage was no more.

I sawe also that, quhere sum were slungin
Be quhirlyng of the quhele unto the ground,
Full sudaynly sche hath up ythrungin
And set thame on agane full sauf and sound.
And ever I sawe a new swarm abound
That thoght to clymbe upward upon the quhele
In stede of thame that myght no langer rele.

And at the last, in presence of thame all
That stude about, sche clepit me be name,
And therwith apon kneis gan I fall
Full sodaynly hailsing, abaist for schame.
And, smylyng, thus sche said to me in game,
"Quhat dois thou here? Quho has thee hider sent?
Say on anon and tell me thyn entent.

"I se wele by thy chere and contenance
There is sum thing that lyis thee on hert:
It stant noght with thee as thou wald, perchance?"
"Madame," quod I, "for lufe is all the smert
That ever I fele, endlang and overthwert;
Help of your grace me, wofull, wrechit wight,
Sen me to cure ye powere have and myght."

"Quhat help," quod sche, "wold thou that I ordeyne
To bringen thee unto thy hertis desire?"
"Madame," quod I, "bot that your grace dedeyne
Of your grete myght my wittis to enspire
To win the well that slokin may the fyre
In quhich I birn; a, goddesse fortunate,
Help now my game that is in poynt to mate."

"Of mate?" quod sche. "O verray sely wreche,
I se wele by thy dedely colour pale
Thou art to feble of thyself to streche
Upon my quhele, to clymben or to hale
Withoutin help; for thou has fundin stale
This mony day, withoutin werdis wele,
And wantis now thy veray hertis hele.

"Wele maistow be a wrechit man callit
That wantis the confort that suld thy hert glade,
And has all thing within thy hert stallit
That may thy youth oppressen or defade.
Though thy begynnyng hath bene retrograde,
Be froward, opposyt quhare till aspert;
Now sall thai turn and luken on the dert."27

And therwithall unto the quhele in hye
Sche hath me led, and bad me lere to clymbe,
Upon the quhich I steppit sudaynly.
"Now hald thy grippis," quod sche, "for thy tyme,
An hour and more it rynnis over prime,
To count the hole the half is nere away:
Spend wele, therfore, the remanant of the day.

"Ensample," quod sche, "tak of this tofore
That fro my quhele be rollit as a ball;
For the nature of it is evermore,
After ane hicht, to vale and geve a fall:
Thus, quhen me likith, up or doun to fall.
Fare wele," quod sche, and by the ere me toke
So ernestly that therwithall I woke.

O besy goste ay flikering to and fro,
That never art in quiet nor in rest
Till thou cum to that place that thou cam fro,
Quhich is thy first and verray proper nest:
From day to day so sore here artow drest
That with thy flesche ay waking art in trouble,
And sleping eke; of pyne so has thou double.

Covert myself, all this mene I to loke;
Though that my spirit vexit was tofore
In suevenyng, alssone as ever I woke,
By twenti-fold it was in trouble more,
Bethinking me with sighing hert and sore
That nan othir thingis bot dremes had,
Nor sekernes, my spirit with to glad.

And therwith sone I dressit me to ryse,
Fulfild of thoght, pyne, and adversitee.
And to myself I said in this wise:
"A, merci lord, quhat will ye do with me?
Quhat lyf is this? Quhare hath my spirit be?
Is this of my forethoght impressioun
Or is it from the hevin a visioun?

"And gif ye goddis, of your purviance,
Have schewit this for my reconforting,
In relesche of my furiouse pennance,
I yow beseke full humily of this thing
That of your grace I myght have more takenyng
Gif it sal be, as in my slepe before
Ye schewit have." And forth withoutin more

In hye unto the wyndow gan I walk,
Moving within my spirit of this sight,
Quhare, sodeynly, a turtur quhite as calk
So evinly upon my hand gan lyght,
And unto me sche turnyt hir full ryght,
Of quham the chere in hir birdis aport
Gave me in hert kalendis of confort.

This fair bird ryght in hir bill gan hold
Of red jorofflis with thair stalkis grene
A fair branche, quhare writtin was with gold
On every list, with branchis bryght and schene,
In compas fair, full plesandly to sene,
A plane sentence, quhich as I can devise
And have in mynd, said ryght on this wise:

"Awak, awake! I bring, lufar, I bring
The newis glad that blisfull ben and sure
Of thy confort. Now lauch and play and syng,
That art besid so glad ane aventure,
For in the hevyn decretit is the cure."
And unto me the flouris fair present,
With wyngis spred hir wayis furth sche went.

Quhilk up anon I tuke and, as I gesse,
Ane hundreth tymes or I forthir went
I have it red with hertfull glaidnese.
And, half with hope and half with dred it hent,
And at my beddis hed with gud entent
I have it fair pynnit up; and this
First takyn was of all my help and blisse.

The quhich, treuly efter, day be day,
That all my wittis maistrit had tofore,
Quhich hensferth the paynis did away,
And schortly, so wele Fortune has hir bore
To quikin treuly day by day my lore,
To my larges that I am cumin agayne
To blisse with hir that is my sovirane.

Bot for als moche as sum micht think or seyne,
"Quhat nedis me apoun so litill evyn
To writt all this?" I ansuere thus ageyne:
"Quho that from Hell war croppin onys in Hevin
Wald, efter o thank, for joy mak six or sevin!28
And every wicht his awin suete or sore
Has maist in mynde; I can say you no more.

"Eke quho may in this lyfe have more plesaunce
Than cum to largesse from thraldom and peyne?
And by the mene of luffis ordinaunce,
That has so mony in his goldin cheyne,
Quhich thus to wyn his hertis sovereyne
Quho suld me wite to write tharof, lat se!"
Now sufficiaunce is my felicitee.

Beseching unto fair Venus abufe
For all my brethir that ben in this place -
This is to seyne, that servandis ar to lufe
And of his lady can no thank purchase -
His pane relesch and sone to stand in grace,
Boith to his worschip and to his first ese,
So that it hir and resoun noght displese.

And eke for tham that ar noght entrit inne
The dance of lufe bot thidder-wart on way,
In gude tyme and sely to begynne
Thair prentissehed, and forthirmore I pray
For thame that passit ben the mony affray
In lufe and cunnyng ar to full plesance,
To graunt tham all, lo, gude perseverance.

And eke I pray for all the hertis dull
That lyven here in sleuth and ignorance,
And has no curage at the rose to pull,
Thair lif to mend and thair saulis avance
With thair suete lore and bring thame to gude chance;
And quho that will noght for this prayer turn
Quhen thai wald faynest speid that thai may spurn.29

To rekyn of every thing the circumstance
As hapnit me quhen lessen gan my sore
Of my rancoure and wofull chance
It war to long; I lat it be tharefor.
And thus this flour - I can seye no more -
So hertly has unto my help attendit
That from the deth hir man sche has defendit.

And eke the goddis mercifull uirking,
For my long pane and trewe service in lufe,
That has me gevin halely myn asking,
Quhich has my hert forevir sett abufe
In perfyte joy, that nevir may remufe
Bot onely deth, of quhome in laud and prise
With thankfull hert I say richt in this wise:

"Blissit mot be the goddis all,
So fair that glateren in the firmament!
And blissit be thare myght celestiall
That have convoyit hale with one assent
My lufe, and to so glade a consequent!
And thankit be Fortunys exiltree
And quhele, that thus so wele has quhirlit me!

"Thankit mot be - and fair in lufe befall -
The nychtingale that with so gud entent
Sang thare of lufe the notis suete and small,
Quhair my fair hertis lady was present,
Hir with to glad or that sche forthir went.
And thou, gerafloure, mot ithankit be
All othir flouris for the lufe of thee!

"And thankit be the fair castell wall
Quhare as I quhilom lukit furth and lent.
Thankit mot be the sanctis marciall
That me first causit hath this accident.
Thankit mot be the grene bewis bent
Throu quhom and under first fortunyt me
My hertis hele and my confort to be."

For to the presence suete and delitable
Rycht of this floure that full is of plesance,
By processe and by menys favorable,
First of the blisfull goddis purveyance,
And syne throu long and trew contynuance
Of veray faith in lufe and trew service
I cum am, and forthir in this wise,

Unworthy, lo, bot onely of hir grace,
In lufis yok that esy is and sure,
In guerdoun of all my lufis space,
Sche hath me tak, hir humble creature.
And thus befell my blisfull aventure
In youth of lufe that now frome day to day
Flourith ay newe; and yit forthir I say:

Go litill tretis nakit of eloquence,
Causing simplese and povertee to wit,
And pray the reder to have pacience
Of thy defaute and to supporten it,
Of his gudnese thy brukilnese to knytt,
And his tong for to reule and to stere,
That thy defautis helit may ben here.

Allace, and gif thou cummyst in the presence
Quhare as of blame faynest thou wald be quite,30
To here thy rude and crukit eloquens,
Quho sal be thare to pray for thy remyt?
No wicht, bot gif hir merci will admytt
Thee for gud will, that is thy gyd and stere,
To quhame for me thou pitousely requere.

And thus endith the fatall influence
Causit from Hevyn quhare powar is commytt
Of govirnance, by the magnificence
Of Him that hiest in the hevine sitt.
To quham we thank that all oure lif hath writt,
Quho couth it red agone syne mony a yere:
"Hich in the hevynnis figure circulere."

Unto the impnis of my maisteris dere,
Gowere and Chaucere, that on the steppis satt
Of rethorike quhill thai were lyvand here,
Superlative as poetis laureate
In moralitee and eloquence ornate,
I recommend my buk in lynis sevin,
And eke thair saulis unto the blisse of Hevin. Amen.

Explicit etc. etc.

High; heaven's circular schema; (see note)
ruddy (red)
Aquarius, Venus; (see note)
Rinsed; (see note)
before; attire
heaved; (see note)
approached; (see note)

When; (see note)
Newly parted; a bit
There came to my mind
by any device on earth
which for then; pass the time
But took [up]; a while

which; called
Boethius; author; (see note)
Showing the counsel (instruction); (t-note)
who once was
prosperity; Fortune's wheel; (t-note)
Condemned; poverty; (see note)

His verse sweetly rendered; (see note)
His ornate pen; set to work

versified retelling
began to comfort himself


Who; gained full recovery
true security; (see note)

basis; delights
Fortune turned her back to
is freed (released); (t-note)
With these insecure worldly; (t-note)
patiently he bears
made sufficiency; (see note)

many; as it pleased him
Composing; tongue
rhetorically adorned
my learning is insufficient; (see note)
matter; digression

beholding [the book]
hurt; (t-note)
shut; head
without any delay
(see note); (t-note)
estate (class of people); (see note)
pleases, she will change them; (t-note)

true; her insecure wheel
Everyone clambers; turn
footing; when she wishes to turn

Safe (Assured); (t-note)

those thoughts
I fell to thinking about; destiny
after; recovered

(see note)

Too long awake and restless
weary having lain so long; listened
rose; would
(can you believe it?)
it seemed to me that
what happened to you

then; What
own imagination
living person

makes (causes) me; foolishly; manner
explain [to] you

Determined from then on
Since; imagined; sound

little; I made
sat myself down
without delay
(see note); (t-note)

naive; immature; (t-note)
Unripened; blown about; (see note)

fly; weak and insecure
To both; able (available)
If you knew the pain
well might

stands; instability
is lacking what should; guide
Just; rudderless; (see note)
must hasten toward harms; (t-note)
lack of what should have helped it
lack what should guide; voyage (i.e., life)

I refer here to myself, in part
maturity; lacked; (t-note)
my will with, I understood so little
When rudderless; began
how the event [befell]

heart; rocks; (see note)
feeble boat; (t-note)
stayed awake
wait [for]
where; wind [that] should
begins; adventure
Calliope; Mary's; (see note)

I call; prolixity; (see note)
Of deceitfulness; impair
lack of inspiration
writing; treatise
boat I call; whole matter
now I hoist
seek cunning; but little

invoke; call
(see note)
gods and sisters
number; books
willful wits guide
well convey (guide)
[about] my torment

Spring; virtue; good; (see note)
When; her enterprise
once was by; flood
sharp showers; ways
Cynthius (Apollo); (t-note)
in [the] morning; sweet
Northward; Aries; (see note)

degrees exactly; (t-note)
length and breadth
down from heaven
flowers opened themselves
out of gladness

Not far past
round about; number
through [the]
not; but
their advice; care
By sea to journey I took; (see note)

Purveyed; [to] us
early in the morning
Straight onto; tarry
told already
for protection; (see note); (t-note)

waves being tossed; (see note); (t-note)
unfortunate [to] us; unlucky; (t-note)
in spite of, obviously, whether
By enemies

destined (shaped)

Where under close guard
forward; (see note); (t-note)
applied herself to unwind
Nearly for the period of
Until; chose to direct
release; pain

Where in a guarded room
done wrong, to lose
Since; person

chance (lot)

also in the sea; (see note)
each according to its nature

should; (see note)
debate; (see note)

If; devised for me
in imprisonment; torment
reason; selected; (t-note)
such degradation
nine numerals; (see note)
to no person may give assistance
yet has need of every necessity; (t-note)

way (manner)
which, against; seek


(see note)

I walked quickly; (t-note)
by [there]

laid out near by the tower's; (see note)
green arbor; twigs
Railed (fenced); trees

thickly; boughs
Shaded; paths
amidst; arbor
sweet juniper tree

person from outside
boughs spread over all the arbor

branches; (see note)
hymns consecrated
To the practice of love
garden; rung
Just; couplet (verses); (t-note)
harmony; behold

Honor; are (be); (see note); (t-note)
first days have begun
(see note)
summer; sun

sung a little while
stopped awhile
cast my eyes downward
bough to bough; hopped; played
birds' manner set forth
preened themselves
won their mates

lyric to go with their notes
with this
dote [upon love]
Where does it come from
Why; so dearly bought
I trust; feigned appearance
choose; gladness

fix [on one object]
over our hearts
false imagination

person; [the] care
incurred guilt; done
imprisoned; go
Since; set my heart
if; then; say
talk about

loose; prisoners
[If so] then I would
allow me to enter; worthy
good times and bad

[To] where I saw

it seemed to me
weakness soon [caused to] flee

discomposed then a little

prisoner (slave)
menace (threat)
token (sign); sweet

withdrew very
soon after I leaned it out

person else; two
I began to reason; (t-note)
Ah, sweet; worldly; (see note); (t-note)

have come to free me of my bonds
painted (created)

minister (devote)

If; and if you desire
pain; escape
earthly being; causes me to sigh
Why does God form you thus
cause a poor prisoner; such pain
completely and knows

When; while; moan

Not knowing; what; to do; (t-note)
far was I falling; Love's; (see note); (t-note)

completely changed into another form

appearance; if; (see note)
write / Toward (describe); (see note)
In a netted style [was] inlaid; (t-note)
balls gleaming
many an emerald

plumes; white

spangles; (t-note)
Made in [a] shape similar; love-knots; (see note)

jonette flower; (see note)
burnette flower; (t-note)
I know well

enamel; (t-note)
delicate gold work
From which there hung; (see note)
shaped; (t-note)
spark of love; extravagantly
burning; white
(see note)

cape; [of] white fabric
better; before
lightly fastened
half flyingloose; (t-note)

bearing; (see note)
Virtue; feminine form
generosity, class; cleverness
guided her in balanced behavior; (see note)


earthly; (see note)

these seven lines of verse


rescued; such a way; (t-note)

nearly dies

was still a little while
afterward; down
cast; (see note)

well would he be; place

A while later

gentle (soft)
this morning
Do you not see

gladden my lady

great pains; (see note)
once, when

run all bloody, that it was

By which


committed; cruel
whose guilt
those; (t-note)
(i.e., immediately); (see note)

have you no desire
since; rightfully (reasonably)
once; peep
die; it seems to me; begin

Have you; mate
(see note); (t-note)

wish to make

If; should; well
in faith (truly)
What do you know then?
to win the prize
Should; would be

(see note)

Only, Blow
twig may wave [in the wind]

immediately she (the nightingale); (t-note)
To which
hear; [that] was among them
Beyond that, too; sweet sight

It seemed to me I flew; stop
bound all to celebration

nightingale; (see note)
Which; lyrics; wrote
heart's queen
whom; gladden
saint (his beloved); (t-note)
in this manner; (t-note)

take pity on
Whose; yet unknown
Since when; nothing else
where the body may not go

do not forsake the way

each one
a second (another) song
one voice; We are well begun
preen [our feathers]; fear
suit (of livery)

flower of all months
Not only does; call upon us

That [grace] has strewn
our desire

it seemed to me, [sung] very loud; (t-note)
unknown, sweet; shrill
that fair [one] (the lady)

Where; alone; (t-note)
feature; with great skill
face had made so lovingly

a little while
any snow
She has turned [away]
see her depart; might not
It seemed to me

Why do I live still; (t-note)
God knows, yea; stronger
May torment any man; say
both two (together)
Shall; at once

these cold; locked; (t-note)
labor; (t-note)
thirst; tears; slake
wreaked (inflicted)
help (reward); unless
remedy; make my; pass [from life]

work always without benefit; (see note); (t-note)
ever the same stands

may not succeed, whose
who hears not I complain

sadly; sighed; (see note)
welfare; foes

safety (stability); (t-note)
Since; convey

peer and look out; (t-note)
(see note)
(see note); (t-note)

remained a long time

Sorrow had so overcome
at an angle; (t-note)
leaned, truly stunned
and half in a swoon
what I dreamed

It seemed to me that
where I leaned

with that

immediately passed on
where it had come in
it seemed; door in haste
there was nothing hindered
two; (see note)
Held tightly

sphere to sphere; (see note)

beautiful; (see note)
signs of the Zodiac
alone carried now; (t-note)
I knew not how

when I got closer; (t-note)
door (portal); quickly
(see note)
opened; brought in
roomy; (see note)
found; large number

to say; (see note)
It seemed to me

fates mention is made
for whoever wishes to see them
I pass over

[Each of] whose adventure
heads; found
martyrs; (see note)
level (platform); mate
solemn expression; (t-note)
Accordingly as love them chose; (t-note)

for whom love turned out well; (t-note)
one by one; (t-note)
With hoary-white heads


very great number, but their hoods
I knew not why - over; eyes hung
ever; came; among
encouraged them, disguised

curtain; pleasure

hearts seemed
pleas; asking the same thing
judge; complaints

became apparent; (see note)
level and degree; (t-note)
aged people
him (Love)

love's; cares
There was no one alive

there was lacking in them

Here are also such persons
And [in] all their deeds
[who] fought
(see note)
knowledgeable skills [of love]; (t-note)
in their sweet poems
Ovid and Homer; (see note)

There where you see; (t-note)


others [dying] also
As happen to folk
desiring above their station
without explanation
too much [unkindness]

the next stage (step down); (t-note)
Those whom you see
once; religion [of love]; (see note)

which is why they hang

when tested
sometimes secretly


their hoods over; eyes

in a row
were held (kept) very low

right into the cloister
reconciled [with Love]; (t-note)
To complain against those

truth to tell
While others lived; (t-note)
nothing but

wronged; wrong

by force; chosen [loves] driven


where (when)
[Fortune] so; separated them; (t-note)
there was no reason why

chair of state
covered with feathers except

arrowheads were sharpened

many times
third; steel; shot; recovery

small recess; (see note)
Adorned; very grave sighs
as do trouble hearts
cause lovers


door; usher; (see note)
in a clever way
Secrecy; skillful

cannot speak of


astonished by
I hardly knew what I
two; (t-note)

High; love, star
Appeaser; (see note)
able characteristics; (t-note)
let now be
[I] who can no further go

of hearts full of care the cure
rolling cruel waves
[a] blissful and safe haven
anchor; good luck

sharp pains
Better; situation (experience)
guide; as you please
that Nature has formed
Since; whole

On your loyal; rue

not by willful misdoing
has now chosen to

craft [a] remedy

cause me to die


in the morning walk and leave
Low; before
cause me not

I stopped a while

She cast aside from me; while; (t-note)

in just this manner

unknown; deity
also before

Where I aim; (t-note)

has power of; belongs
humbly; (t-note)
But, since; reason (forehead)

love's; scepter
[the] means to find [to do this]; (t-note)

Because; [through] others'

Wherefore; give
It is not yet in my power
Until; run; (t-note)

bareness (inadequacy)


sack cloth; (see note)
foul dockweed; daisy; (see note); (t-note)

moon; (see note)
similarly [unlike]; (t-note)
nightingale; (see note)
coats of arms; (see note); (t-note)
parrot; (see note)
fish-eye gemstone; (see note)
[be] praised alike with pearl; valuable; (t-note)


case (situation)
others besides those; (t-note)
with [which] to; suffering

so that you shall see clearly

who is called; (see note)
biddings; keep

as well as

because; unknown
Where her; place
[I will] ask her that

belongs [to]

mature (ready); advice

to remain in disdain of me

[who] do not wish [to] repent
But to break loose; (t-note)
takes charge (heed); (t-note)

And because; pain; (see note); (t-note)
Of their; constrain

then; complain

at other times; (t-note)
Out of patience

in their flowers' way; (t-note)


Stop; for that time


that same; begin; (t-note)
That service; due
their neglect beforehand

must weigh [the importance of]
It is no little; neglect (sloth); (t-note)
in this manner
[which I have] before said
my command be laid

then, what has for shame become of

many changes
appearance; countenance
attention; heartfelt
once; among them so habitual

shall; (see note)
all our whole
bend away
bewail; conduct
in time (immediately)
beating [them]

Receive I shall; souls


to put it briefly
[by] direct, straight ways; (t-note)


stately; class (estate); (t-note)
due order
royal court; (t-note)


quaking humility
began to express
Venus'; as it pleased

About which
By your rehearsal; grief
find (receive)
[That I should] be, with her

know and understand [that though]
base on such a manner; (t-note)
ways; (t-note)

as much to say
if; is grounded entirely
On foolish
out [because] of
do you know why?
If you do not choose; [to] set; (t-note)
loss (forfeit); (t-note)

first in
Who; steering

guide; trust
Who; foundation

soon; lead

work (building)
bear a weight; higher

defend [against] adversity

her (i.e., the beloved's)
Unless; assiduous diligence

(see note)
abide; (t-note)
who knows only haste
Knows nothing of good luck
always; united; (t-note)

are many; so frail [a] sort
That [they] feign; while
with a wile (trick)
nothing but treachery
shadow of hidden; (t-note)

bird-catcher whistles
In diverse ways to trick; bird
bush; deceit
caught in the middle of his net

her reputation

(see note)

truth is revealed; trials
Who mean well
others' guilt; (t-note)
hindered often; pity


certain to you

remedy is

since; pleasure
nature of

And [I] wish to be
by Him who died on the Cross
neither; goods (expense)

I dare well say
For any; any person
I would not be; (t-note)
blemisher; way
For good fortune or bad

the end, truly
With respect to the sweet one
weak; (t-note)
should be forfeit
without (but for)

I will not deny it

truly, without falsehood; (t-note)
May I never get up that day; (t-note)
[When]; covet the pleasure
honor put in the balance (jeopardy)

above all things; would be
To see
by process (in time); (t-note)

Saving her reputation

since it is so

I will be one of those to help you
without neglect (slowness); (t-note)


truth it is; (t-note)

Receive; experiences
care; mixing [of good and ill]
Is appropriate; (t-note)
two lots; (see note)
good fortune; woe

And even if it is that; explain; (t-note)

heavens; whose

working (movements)


best pleases him; (t-note)

According [to a] purpose

befall (happen); (t-note)
well know
who is; (t-note)


[the] least
Since; weak

comfort and release
showed; advice; (t-note)
many unlikely things
Very often; bring about

think well upon

as straight as any line

[Which] she, piercing

on a joyous plain
Embroidered; (see note)

ear made
A sort of sound, blended

blue as lead
Leaped; group did
prettily; took care to spread; (t-note)

Like scale armor

along this same river side
A highway; (t-note)
row; (see note)


panther; emerald; (see note)

slow; drudging; burden
foolish; warlike porcupine; (see note)
keen-eyed; loving; (see note)
clears; ivory

emerge; habitat; (t-note)
fiery; treachery
camel; standing; (see note)
widow's enemy; (see note)
climber goat; (see note)
listening boar; badger; wounds; (see note)
hare; vegetables

wild ox; (see note)
marten; beech marten
with black tips
royal hart; rabbit; roe deer
murder; "stop"; (t-note)
vigorous; hungry bear
camelhair cloth; hair



looking around; (see note)
walled; (t-note)
of which, pretty soon; spied; (t-note)
round in shape
wheel; clambering I saw; (t-note)

a long surcoat she wore at that time
hues; (t-note)
Sometimes; when; (t-note)
changes; (t-note)

completely white

sometimes; facial expression
Glowering; diminish

As if; expression; (t-note)
but always; (t-note)

beneath; wheel
quaked for fear
one thing
stunned by
what to do; frightened

same wheel; slippery
strong (dangerous/violent); (t-note)
then would climb on; (t-note)
[whose] footing failed; rolled
others also
overthrown (tossed down)

covered over; low to high; (t-note)
unsteadily sometimes; turn
"Yeow!"; (t-note)
in falling, were hurt; (t-note)

slung; (t-note)
By [the] whirling of the wheel
thrust; (t-note)

In place; spin

called me by
my knees I fell
making obeisance, abashed; (t-note)
in teasing manner


expression and countenance
lies on your heart
as thou would wish, perhaps; (t-note)
throughout my whole being
[a] woeful, wretched one

wellspring that may put out
burn; (see note)
[chess] game; in danger of checkmate

checkmate; helpless wretch
I see well
too feeble to stretch yourself
wheel; haul [yourself on]; (t-note)
come to stalemate
For many a day; good words; (t-note)

Well may you; called; (t-note)
Who is lacking; gladden; (t-note)
shut inside

(see note)

wheel in haste
Upon which

past prime; (see note)
whole [of your time]

As an example; these before
Who; (t-note)

height; fall and descend
when it pleases me

spirit; (see note)

so badly are you oppressed here
always waking up are; (t-note)
also; pain

Hidden [like] myself; lock; (t-note)

dreaming, as soon; (t-note)

Since I thought to myself
I had nothing besides dreams
Nor [did I have any] stability; gladden

prepared to rise
Filled with; pain
in this way (manner)

(see note)

shown; comforting

without delay

haste; I walked
My spirit moved by this vision
turtledove white as chalk; (t-note)
smoothly; alighted
turned herself directly
whom; expression; manner
the beginnings

did hold; (see note); (t-note)
gillyflowers (carnations); (see note)

On every edge; (t-note)
In circular fashion; see
exactly this; (t-note)


beside (near)
heavens decreed
having presented

Which (i.e., the flowers)
before I went further
I read it
the head of my bed

Which; had mastered
well; borne
enliven (increase)

might; say
even upon so little [a thing]
back (in return)

man; own delights or woes

prosperity; imprisonment
(see note)
Whoever; heart's; (t-note)
teach me to write thereof
sufficient; (t-note)

For each of my brothers
Release him of his pain
for his honor; ease

not [yet] entered into
[are] thither-ward
good and happy time
apprenticeship; (t-note)
the many tribulations
knowledgeable about; (t-note)

Their; souls' advance; (t-note)
their sweet

To relate all the things
That happened to me when
would be too; (t-note)
flower; (t-note)
wholeheartedly; (t-note)
she has saved me from death


wholly what I asked; (t-note)
Which; above
remove (cause to move)
whom; praise; (t-note)

may (must); (t-note)
glitter; (t-note)
conveyed whole
happy an ending; (t-note)
axle; (t-note)
wheel; well has whirled; (t-note)

may (must); (t-note)

gentle (high-pitched)
gladden before

once looked and leaned forth
martial saints; (see note)

green boughs; (t-note)
Through and under which [it]; (t-note)

sweet and delightful

favorable means

then through
true faith
I am come; (t-note)

except only by her
Into love's yoke
reward for; (t-note)
accepted me

bare of; (see note)

brittleness to repair
tongue; rule and guide; (t-note)

Alas; if; (t-note)

hear; crooked
Who shall be there; release
No one, unless; (t-note)
guide and steerer
To whom; pray (request)

fateful; (t-note)
where power is given
for governing [things]
heavens sits
To whom; (t-note)
could [have] read (known) it ago; (t-note)
High (see line 1); (see note)

poems (lit., hymns); (t-note)
(see note)
rhetoric while; living

book in seven-line stanzas; (see note)

(see note)

Go to Charles d'Orleans, Fortunes Stabilnes Introduction
Go to Charles d'Orleans, Fortunes Stabilnes Text