Confessio Amantis: Book 4
JOHN GOWER, CONFESSIO AMANTIS: FOOTNOTES
1 The sin of Envy is greatly chafed by sorrow, for his mind does not stay happy for any time at all; what others rejoice in, he laments. He has not a single friend whose desire he would carry out from simple helpfulness. A neighbor's glory vexes his thoughts, and every delight of others is a sorrow to him. Indeed, this vice frequently assails a lover, when Venus sheds favor not on him but on the rest. It is a love that is delusional by its own motives, and the joys that another carries he believes are an injury to himself.
2 Spite, when he sees another's joyous thoughts, stirs up injuries of sorrow, born from himself alone. The envious man today ridicules the weepings of others, for whom tomorrow's fates prepare his own laments. Thus in love, the man who is joyous when he sees baffled lovers stands in the same circumstance as the envious man. Even if in vain, and even if he himself at the same time is destroyed, he nonetheless hopes for solace by another's ruin.
3 The worst part of Envy is Detraction, which stirs up a plague of infamy with the gustings of the mouth. The tongue resounds in the air with poisonous speech, just as Rumor flies away, in scandal to another. The faithful ones whom she inflicts unawares with bites from the back often lack a medicine for the wound. But noble love guards a tongue, so that the word he speaks produces nothing sinister.
4 Whose tongue neither tower nor cross (i.e., head or tail of a coin, hence, "no money")
5 Lines 970-72: I.e., we replaced it with a healthy child of poor parents
6 A double-talker will undertake nothing without singing with a double mouth, and while he speaks in daylight, night covers his intentions. His face holds light, his mind shadows; his words healing, but his action produces grave illness. The peace that he solemnly promises you is a foreshadowing of greater war; if he should offer helpfulness, learn that guile lies underneath it. What lies displayed as faith is fraud inside, and the conclusion of a crafted truce denies the beginning it had. Oh, how such a condition deforms a lover, who, appearing to be more in love, is not at all.
7 Supplanter of Another's Honor is an envious man, and where he plows he turns over your rows. What he makes is a secret work, and it lies hidden like a snake in the grass: then, in a sudden twist of fate, the evil one is present. Thus a cunning lover supplants another lover, and seizes hiddenly what he cannot have in public. And often, the supplanting one grafts to the plant of love what another thinks he possesses among his own goods.
8 Lines 2872-78: And then make yourself so sly / As to blow a note of such a pitch / Through the trumpet into his ear, / As if it were a voice from heaven, / [So] that he might consider it and believe / It was by God's command
9 The goad of envy, an ill-timed birth, hurts without cause; for it possesses sin without sin tempting it. He has no need for Cupid's bow to tempt him, since the heathen flame devours Venus' torches. The cheeks, drained of red, which a dusky pallor obscures, reveal the other limbs to be frigid in nature.
1 Wrath along with its peers is on par with the furies of Acheron; by means of it, Fury has no pity for the moment. Wrath disturbs melancholic souls, so that no scale holds its weights in equal judgment. Wrath weighs heavily in every cause; among lovers it stirs up weighty grievances on little grounds. Where a man is full of discord and lightly assails love, lamentation instead of playfulness often fills his face.
2 Wrath stirs up conflict, which, released and loosening the tongue's reins, runs everywhere through the paths of infamy. The nursemaid of quarrels, she informs those chatterers, and Venus releases them from her side to be wanderers. But he who deals patiently and keeps things concealed with a silent mouth conquers, and he follows the path of a desired love.
3 Hatred is like the devil's scribe, to whom Wrath will give the substance of the inscription for the heart's inner sanctum. Love will not release whomever the reins of hatred hold [or: The love of hatred will not release whomever its reins hold], nor will it permit entry to the secrets of its law.
4 He who cannot restrain his hand and whose "spirit is in his nostrils" will often be fearsome to the people. And more often Venus transforms joys into sorrow when such a friend is present in the wedding-bed. Love must be enticed by a caress not by blows, and a hasty hand shatters friendships.
5 The creature that God himself creates, Homicide slays, sprinkling the ground with human blood as an avenger. A human being's bloodthirstiness is like a beast's: once - alas! - it is poured out, pity lies conquered, and rage urges on the work. The Angel said "peace on earth," and the final words of Christ express a peace from which wars now depart.
1 They say that Sloth is the nurse of the vices, and, tardy and sluggish, it is also torpid in all good matters. What might be done today it transfers, indolent, to tomorrow, and after the horse is stolen it closes the doors. Cupid denies his rewards to the one asking tardily, but Venus plays at merry love for one who is prompt.
2 How I-Showed-Up-Too-Late came to the distribution of alms
3 He who tries nothing accomplishes nothing, and a man rarely collects the reward of Friendship with a silent mouth. There is moderation in words; but love does not favor the man who is stingy in uttering words to his love.
4 The forgetful one, whom Sloth reveals not to remember himself, slips from others' minds. Thus negligent love, who is not mindful of time passing, loses and offends what he cannot obtain.
5 When it is the proper time to plant, let the farmer who neglects the garden hold himself responsible if fruit should be lacking. The right moment will have passed, nor is a later one efficacious; the man tardy in his love lacks this teaching.
6 I know not what good this life will be to the useless man, drifting far from any labor and weaving his idlenesses. Love does not thrive in such a wretch, but Love rather claims as his own those who do deeds of valor.
7 Venus approves the man whom prowess in arms tests; and the reprobate man whom torpor possesses she disapproves. Mad sluggishness does not know the banners of love, for, lazy, he arrives too slowly at the victory prize.
8 Labor with the hands is productive, such that in daily life and actions a man might be able to live. But he who for the sake of wisdom bears labors in the mind prevails further and obtains perpetual merit.
9 A man yielding to sleep his rights loses his case, and his side wins, as it were, but a half-death. Venus is a sentry guard in love, and, awakened, she carries to her bed that service which she keeps for the wakeful.
10 Lines 3259-65: Without the sleep of sluggardiness, / Whom Venus from her companionship / Has exiled on the grounds that he is the very one who has often miserably treated those / Who [are] pleasureless, far from any playfulness, / In bed in their chamber where it happens / That love should have been expected
11 No fortune is pleasing when despair has delivered its wound; where moisture has dried up, the ground will not green up. But greathearted love deposits hope and therefore achieves deliverance, since good fortunes then favor him.
JOHN GOWER, CONFESSIO AMANTIS: EXPLANATORY NOTES
*For MS abbreviations, see head of textual notes.
Notes to Book 2
9 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in secundo libro tractat de Inuidia et eius speciebus, quarum dolor alterius gaudii prima nuncupatur, cuius condicionem secundum vicium Confessor primitus describens, Amanti, quatenus amorem concernit, super eodem consequenter opponit. [Here in the second book he discourses about Envy and its species, the first of which is called Sorrow for Another's Joy; and the Confessor, initially describing to the Lover its condition as a vice as far as love is concerned, subsequently interrogates him about this.]
10 hot Envie. See Braswell's discussion in "Confession as Characterization" on similarities between Gower's method of interrogation and fourteenth-century penitential manuals (Medieval Sinner, pp. 81-87). See Olsson (Structures of Conversion, pp. 92 ff.) on Genius' use of "conventional modes of the forma tractandi - definition, proof and refutation, division, and the positing of examples" in his confessional discourse on the vices.
11 my sone. See Craun (p. 133) on Gower's extensive use of the phrase throughout CA as a formula of subordination derived from practices of confession.
16 ff. So God avance my querele. From the beginning of Book 2 Amans is more fully developed as a "character," representing what Burrow calls "the inconsistencies of an undisinterested mind" (1983, p. 10). From this point on in Books 2-4 Amans himself becomes as interesting in his dramatically convoluted responses to questions of his behavior as the tales Genius tells for his instruction. His origin shares more with Machaut's Le Livre dou Voir Dit and Froissart's Espinette Amoureuse than with the RR (1983, p. 6). The querele - a dispute, debate, complaint, lament, argument - becomes a genre in its own right in the later fourteenth century, especially for lovers with their perpetual questions and sallies into arenas of contention. The term carries connotations of battle as well as legal strife. Gower uses the term a couple dozen times in CA, and it defines most of Amans' postures in the middle books of the poem.
20 Ethna. Gower often uses the volcanic Mt. Etna as a sign of the eruptive nature of Envy and also Wrath. Compare Prol.329-30, and 2.163-66, 2837-39. Stockton (Gower, Major Latin Works, p. 477n21) cites comparable passages in MO, lines 3805 ff., and Tripartite Chronicle 2.207. The idea perhaps originates in Ovid, Met. 5.346-58, where the proud and envious giant Typhoesus, buried under Sicily, vents his rage by means of the volcano's eruptions, and 13.867-69, where Cyclops, with Etna in his breast, pleads with Galatea to love him rather than Acis.
83 Write in Civile. That is, in civil law (the Roman law used in England only in special property cases, especially the transmission of clerical property; other kinds of property were governed by English common law). As Macaulay (2:480) shrewdly suggests, the proverbial statement Gower presents seems ultimately dependent on Justinian's Institutes 1.7, which repeals the law passed under Augustus Caesar (3 AD). The Fufian Caninian Act restricted the proportion of an owner's slaves who could be freed at the owner's death (a restriction apparently originally intended to keep down the numbers of new citizens at a time when the empire "still seemed to be expanding" (Robinson, "Persons," p. 21); for a text and translation of the act in Justinian, see Justinian, Institutes (trans. Birks and McLeod), pp. 40-41. The proverbial notion alluded to in lines 83-87 evidently emerged from an early misreading: the text of Justinian that medieval authors read usually corrupted the names used to identify the law to read "Lex Fusia Canina" ("the Fusian canine law," with both a misreading of minims to make Caninia into canina, and a misreading of f as s to make Fusia from Fufia - both errors that probably dated back early in the textual tradition of Justinian and remained uncertain until more recent editions: Macaulay's own source-text apparently read "Furia Caninia"). Since the text in Justinian argued that the law should be repealed "quasi libertatibus impedientem et quodammodo invidam" ("as a hindrance to and in some sense an invidious enemy of freedoms"), medieval authors found ways to link the idea of invidia (in context "invidious enemy" but also simply the sin "envy") to this "Fusian canine law," and thence to the useless envy of dogs who protect property from which they do not themselves benefit. Thus, as Macaulay (2:480) notes, John Bromyard in the later fourteenth century under Invidia in his Summa confessorum states that "omnes isti sunt de professione legis Fusie canine. Ille enim Fusius inventor fuit legis cuius exemplum seu casus est iste. Quidam habet fontem quo non potest proprium ortum irrigare . . . Posset tamen alteri valere sine illius nocumento, ipse tamen impedit ne alteri prosit quod sibi prodesse non potest, ad modum canis, sicut predictum est: a cuius condicione lex canina vocata est inter leges duodecim tabularum, que quia iniqua fuit, in aliis legibus correcta est, sicut patet Institut. lib. i de lege Fusia canina tollenda" ("all those of the legal profession are Fusian canines. For this Fusius was the founder of a law whose pattern or circumstance was this: a certain man owned a spring from which he could not water his own fields. . . . Even though he would have been able to help another without harming himself, he nonetheless prevented anyone else from profiting from what could not profit him, just like a dog, according to the saying. From this the law was called the 'canine law' among the laws of the twelve tables, but because it was iniquitous, it was corrected in other laws, just as is said in the Institutes, book 1, 'concerning the repeal of the Fusian canine law'") (Galloway, "Literature of 1388"). See also Fisher, John Gower, pp. 155-56, 365n38, who compares dog-in-the-manger passages in MO and VC.
101 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum saltem contra istos qui in amoris causa aliorum gaudiis inuidentes nequaquam per hoc sibi ipsis proficiunt. Et narrat, qualiter quidam iuuenis miles nomine Acis, quem Galathea Nimpha pulcherrima toto corde peramauit, cum ipsi sub quadam rupe iuxta litus maris colloquium adinuicem habuerunt, Poliphemus Gigas concussa rupe magnam inde partem super caput Acis ab alto proiciens ipsum per inuidiam interfecit. Et cum ipse super hoc dictam Galatheam rapere voluisset, Neptunus Giganti obsistens ipsam inuiolatam salua custodia preseruauit. Set et dii miserti corpus Acis defuncti in fontem aque dulcissime subito transmutarunt. [Here the Confessor presents an illustrative example at least against those who, while in the cause of love being envious of the joys of others, do not at all profit themselves by this. And he tells about a certain young knight named Acis, whom the most beautiful nymph Galatea deeply loved with her whole heart. When they were under a certain rock next to the shores of the sea holding conversation with one another, Polyphemos the giant, having broken a rock, threw a huge part of it from above on Acis' head, killing him through envy. And although after this the giant wanted to rape the aforesaid Galatea, Neptune prevented him, preserving her inviolate by his safe custody. But even the gods, pitying dead Acis, instantly transformed his body into a spring of sweetest water.]
104 ff. The story of Acis and Galatea may be found in Ovid, Met. 13.738-897. N.b. also Vat. Myth. II 201. Macaulay notes that Polyphemous' running around Etna in a jealous rage before killing Acis is Gower's addition (2:480). See Runacres' discussion of the tale as an exemplum that balances artistry of narrative with ethics, particularly in its focus on Polipheme's voyeuristic obsession ("Art and Ethics," pp. 111-14) that leads to his hatred not of Galatea herself but of her capacity to love another (pp. 130-34).
106 As Ovide in his bok recordeth. Ovid is Gower's major literary source for CA. Pearsall ("Gower's Narrative Art," p. 478) notes that Ovid "provides 38 of the 133 stories in the poem." See also Simpson ("Genius's 'Enformacioun'").
107-84 Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) borrows these lines as Arg. 5 in the "love of antiquity"'s "twelve pleasant fables of Ovid penn'd after the ancient manner of writing in England."
145 grete see. I.e., the Mediterranean. See CA 3.2488. Compare CT I(A)59.
150 fyre. See MED s. v. vire n. 1, i.e., a bolt from a crossbow. But Gower could be punning: Itô (John Gower, p. 38n21) reads as fire, thinking perhaps of a flaming arrow, relating the passage to MO, lines 3805-19, where Envy, Etna, and burning are affiliated. See also Runacres on Poliphemous: "His heart burns, and he flees like some huge flaming arrow, burning like Etna" (p. 131).
224 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor de secunda specie Inuidie, que gaudium alterius doloris dicitur, et primo eiusdem vicii materiam tractans amantis conscienciam super eodem vlterius inuestigat. [Here the Confessor speaks about the second species of Envy, which is called Joy for Another's Sorrow, and, at first treating the substance of that vice, he then investigates further the Lover's conscience in terms of it.] Burrow ("Portrayal of Amans," p. 9) emphasizes the orderly, point-by-point manner of Genius' questions, noting that delight in the poem lies less in the systematic opposing of the lover's conscience than the unpredictable ingenuity of Amans' responses.
246-47 of that thei brewe soure / I drinke swete. Proverbial. Not cited by Whiting.
261 ff. Latin marginalia: Boicius: Consolacio miserorum est habere consortem in pena. [Boethius: "A consolation of the wretched is to have company in their pain."] Proverbial, but not in fact by Boethius ("misery loves company"). A common proverb. See Whiting W715. Reidy (Riverside Chaucer, note to lines 746-47 of The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, p. 949) observes: "A Latin marginal note in Ellesmere and one other MS have the beginning of the common Latin proverb 'The solace of the wretched is to have companions in grief' (Walther 29943), quoted in slightly different form (Walther, Nova Series, 35687) in some other MSS." See also TC 1.708-09, with Latin marginal glosses in MSS Rawlinson Poet. 163 and Arch. Selden. B.24, both in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
291 ff. The Tale of the Travelers and the Angel derives from the widely known Fables of Avianus, fable 22. The Latin text and translation may be found in Minor Latin Poets, ed. Duff and Duff, pp. 715-17. A lively translation appears by Slavitt in The Fables of Avianus, p. 30. In Latin the fable is only 20 lines long (13 lines of prose in Crane's edition). See also Jacques de Vitry's Exemplum 196 on the avaricious and envious men; Robert Holcot, In Librum Sapientiae Regis Solomonis, lectio 29; Guilelmus Peraldus, Summa Virtutum ac Vitiorum; and John Bromyard, Summa Prædicantium l.6.19, to name a few. See Crane's edition of Jacques de Vitry (Exempla, p. 212) for more.
293 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum presertim contra illum, qui sponte sui ipsius detrimentum in alterius penam maiorem patitur. Et narrat quod, cum Iupiter angelum suum in forma hominis, vt hominum condiciones exploraret, ab excelso in terram misit, contigit quod ipse angelus duos homines, quorum vnus cupidus, alter inuidus erat, itinerando spacio quasi vnius dici comitabatur. Et cum sero factum esset, angelus eorum noticie seipsum tunc manifestans dixit, quod quicquid alter eorum ab ipso donari sibi pecierit, illud statim obtinebit, quod et socio suo secum comitanti affirmat duplicandum. Super quo cupidus impeditus auaricia, sperans sibi diuicias carpere duplicatas, primo petere recusauit. Quod cum inuidus animaduerteret, naturam sui vicii concernens, ita vt socius suus vtroque lumine priuaretur, seipsum monoculum fieri constanter primus ab angelo postulabat. Et sic vnius inuidia alterus auariciam maculauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example especially against that man who willingly endures his own detriment for the sake of another's greater pain. And he narrates how, when Jupiter sent his angel in a man's form from on high down to earth in order to investigate the circumstances of men, it happened that this angel journeyed around for about the span of a day in the company of two men, one of whom was covetous, the other envious. And when it had become late, the angel, then making clear his identity to their understanding, said that whatever one of them should petition him for, that he would obtain immediately, and he swore that it would be doubled for the companion traveling with him. Whereupon the covetous man, snared by avarice, refused to petition first, hoping to receive double wealth for himself. When the envious man, perceiving the nature of his vice, had noticed this, he unflinchingly demanded that he himself might first be one-eyed in order that his companion might be deprived of both eyes. And thus the envy of the one spoiled the avarice of the other.]
298 An angel. Sidrak and Bokkus labels the covetous man "þe deuelis gripe [griffen] of helle"; the angels would be a better model for man since in heaven no angels "coueiteþ oþeris blis / But holdeþ hem paide [pleased] eche of his" (1.285, lines 4766, 4779-80). Thus it is that angels are particularly shrewd at investigating this particular sin and serve as "Goddes sonde" (2.324).
387 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de tercia specie Inuidie, que Detraccio dicitur, cuius morsus vipereos lesa quamsepe fama deplangit. [Here the Confessor discourses about the third species of Envy, which is called Detraction, whose venomous bites very often a wounded reputation bewails.]
Craun (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 136n63) relates Genius' remarks on Detraction, Malebouche, and backbiting to to Peyraut's Summa de Vitiis, fols. G8r-H2v; the Speculum Vitae, lines 14143-228; De Lingua, fols. 165v-168v; Etienne de Bourbon's Tractatus, fols. 228v-230v; the Speculum Morale, cols. 1144-51; Carpenter's Destructorium, fols. 507v-508v; the Fasciculus Morum, pp. 158-62; John Bromyard's Summa Prædicantium, fols. 71r-84v; and Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne, lines 1239-1306 and 3529-646.
389 Malebouche. "Wicked-tongue," a dangerous slanderer of lovers in RR (e.g., lines 2847 ff.), becomes a common prop in courtly literature for malicious gossip that degrades the lofty feelings the would-be lover wishes to engage in. See MO, lines 2677 ff. Chaucer uses only the anglicized form "Wikkid-Tunge" (Rom. 3871, 3878, 4141, 4233, 4267, 4484, 5851, 7355, 7422, 7474, 7476, 7498; compare TC 1.39, 2.785, 804, 5.755). But Lydgate follows Gower's French vocabulary with Malebouche in The Complaint of the Black Knight, line 260, as does Roos in La Belle Dame sans Mercy, line 741.
398 jangle. Gower devotes considerable attention to the sin of jangling, especially as a feature of Detraction (see 2.425, 452, and 526); but also of Cheste and Envy (3.832, 887), Idleness (4.1474), Jealousy (5.519 ff.), Stealth and Michery (5.6532), and Gossip (7.4774). Usually it is a woman, like the Wife of Bath or Dame Sirith, or the women in Dunbar's "Twa Mariit Wemen and the Wedo": all of whom are presented as archjanglers. (See Trevisa, Governance of Kings 2.2.21, pp. 248-49, on the evil of women janglers, or Jacques de Vitry for dozens of exempla on quarrelsome women.) In Gower, however, every instance of the vice exemplifies a negative trait in men.
399 heraldie. "Office of herald"; or perhaps "livery." See Macaulay (2.481).
417-32 Craun (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 138) notes that the same image of flying dung beetles as a commentary on detraction occurs in the fourteenth-century Book of Vices and Virtue: "[detractors] ben þe biteles þat flen þe floures and loueþ þe dong of an hors or a best, as men seen alday bi þe weye" (as quoted by Craun).
452 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa huius vicii crimen ad memoriam reducens Confessor Amanti super eodem plenius opponit. [Here in the cause of love, the Confessor rehearses for remembrance the sin of this vice, more fully questioning the Lover.]
454-551 Gower has received praise for his lively presentation of Amans in this third confession in Book 2. Burrow (1983) sees it as one of the best illustrations of Gower's "penetrating, but always general, psychological perception," a portrayal of what Burrow wittily calls "the inconsistencies of an undisinterested mind" (p. 10). See Nicholson's useful summary of critical observations on the passage (p. 184).
467 unknowe unkest. Proverbial. See Whiting U5. Compare Chaucer, TC 1.809: "Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is unsought." The idiom also occurs in Usk and Charles of Orleans (see Whiting). Evidently its purview is courtly and literary. As is often the case in CA, proverbs come in clusters. Compare the proverbial effects of 2.470 and 473.
479 evere I am adrad of guile. "In speaking against detractors, the lover asks for [his lady's] good, but ironically, his own speech, as he colors 'the wordes of his sawe,' includes the deceit and enchantment he fears his lady is subjected to by others." Besides, she is "a knowing person and not a mere innocent, and . . . does not really need his protection" (Olsson, 1992, p. 94).
513-14 Burrow comments on this dramatic moment as Amans' comic inconsistency shifts from "self-righteous claims" to open confession (1983, p. 10).
529 I wolde save. The lover's protecting of his beloved's good name is a commonplace requirement of courtesy. See Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, trans. John Jay Parry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941), the first case (pp. 167-68), and rule 13, "When made public love rarely endures" (p. 185).
587 ff. Chaucer's Man of Law also tells the "Tale of Constance" (see Schlauch's discussion in Sources and Analogues, ed. Bryan and Dempster, pp. 155-206; and Hibbard, Mediæval Romance). Olsson (Structures of Conversion, pp. 92-106) comments on the radical differences between the complex narration of Chaucer and the plain style of Gower. Unlike Chaucer's heroine, surrounded with the "ring of protective, talismanic texts" of the Man of Law, Gower's Constance is "self-possessed" (Olsson, Structures of Conversion, p. 95). Although both Gower's and Chaucer's poems are derived from Trivet's Chronique, Gower's version is closer to the source and was apparently written earlier than Chaucer's. See Correale on the relationship of Gower to Trivet. Macaulay enumerates Gower's variations from his original (2:482-484). An analogue of the story of Constance, which includes a moral commentary, may be found in the English Gesta Romanorum (cap. 69). For further discussion of the tale, see Wetherbee, "Constance and the World"; Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, pp. 62-70; Esch, "John Gower's Erzählkunst"; Archibald, "Flight from Incest," pp. 259-72; and Yeager, "Gower's Images." See Wetherbee ("John Gower," pp. 605-06) and Dimmick ("'Redinge of Romance,'" pp. 132-36) for links with the Tale of Apollonius. See also Hibbard (Mediæval Romance, pp. 23-34), for comparisons with the Middle English romance Emaré; and Dimmick (pp. 130-37) on the tale in terms of conventions of romance narrative.
587 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor contra istos in amoris causa detrahentes, qui suis obloquiis aliena solacia perturbant. Et narrat exemplum de Constancia Tiberii Rome Imparatoris filia, omnium virtutum famosissima, ob cuius amorem Soldanus tunc Persie, vt eam in vxorem ducere posset, Cristianum se fieri promisit; cuius accepta caucione consilio Pelagii tunc pape dicta filia vna cum duobus Cardinalibus aliisque Rome proceribus in Persiam maritagii causa nauigio honorifice destinata fuit: que tamen obloquencium postea detraccionibus variis modis, prout inferius articulatur, absque sui culpa dolorosa fata multipliciter passa est. [Here the Confessor speaks against those making detractions in the cause of love, who by their slurs disturb others' comforts. And he narrates an instructive example about Constance, daughter of Tiberius the Emperor of Rome, a woman most famous for every virtue, on account of whose love the one who was then sultan of Persia promised to make himself Christian, in order that he might take her as a bride. With his pledge having been accepted, by the counsel of Pelagius, the pope at that time, the said daughter along with two cardinals and other dignitaries of Rome was sent with full ceremony on the voyage for the sake of the marriage in Persia. She, however, by the detractions in various manners of those casting slurs on her, as is detailed below, later without any guilt of her own suffered in many ways wretched travails.]
590 Tiberie Constantin. For discussion of the father-daughter relationship between Constance and her father, particularly in terms of power and authority issues, see Bullón-Fernández (pp. 75-101).
601-10 Sche hath converted. In Chaucer Christ does the converting. See also 4.597-98. Wetherbee contrasts Gower's Constance with Chaucer's, emphasizing the "measure of reality" (1989, p. 72), that she has in Gower. She is "continually engaged with the world around her through the medium of social institutions." Although she is "in many respects a representation of the mission of the church," carrying with her
the threat or promise of radical transformation . . . the prevailing emphasis is on how she fulfils her evangelical mission, how her influence is mediated by the attraction her human presence exerts on others, and by the institutions of the different cultures with which she comes in contact. Her strength involves not only her constancy in faith but her humanity and intelligence, and it expresses itself best in situations which call her womanhood into action and enable her to function as daughter, wife, and mother as well as saint. (P. 70)In the end, she does not simply transcend earthly confines, she becomes "in effect the Church itself" (p. 81).
641 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter adueniente Constancia in Barbariam Mater Soldani, huiusmodi nupcias perturbare volens, filium suum vna cum dicta Constancia Cardinalibusque et aliis Romanis primo die ad conuiuium inuitauit: et conuescentibus illis in mensa ipsum Soldanum omnesque ibidem preter Constanciam Romanos ab insidiis latitantibus subdola detraccione interfici procurauit. Ipsam que Constanciam in quadam naui absque gubernaculo positam per altum mare ventorum flatibus agitandam in exilium dirigi solam constituit. [How, when Constance had arrived in Barbary, the sultan's mother, desiring to disturb this marriage, on the first day invited her son along with the said Constance and the cardinals and other Romans to a feast. And while they were all gorging together at the table, she procured that, by hidden treachery with sly detraction, the sultan and all the Romans there, apart from Constance, would be killed. She ordered that Constance be cast into exile, placed onto the high seas in a ship without a steering-oar, assailed by the blasts of the winds.]
656 be double weie. Several have commented on Gower's keen awareness and strong asseverations on double talk (Sins of the Tongue) in the Tale of Constance. Elizabeth Allen compares Gower with Chaucer "as a fellow muddier of moral waters" (p. 629), who, as a moral poet, explores contingencies rather than positing answers and uses this tale in particular to trouble audiences rather than reassure them. Gower seems fully aware of "the moral value of narrative instability" as he "destabilizes" Trivet (p. 641).
693-94 what . . .God wol spare / It mai for no peril misfare. Proverbial. See Whiting, G276. Compare 5.2426 and 8.1160.
699-700 The dissh forth with the coppe and al / Bebled thei weren overal. The grotesque uses of sacramental imagery "provides a measure of the alienation of the culture of Barbarie, not only from Christianity, but from simply human pietas" (Wetherbee, 1989, p. 71).
714 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter nauis cum Constancia in partes Anglie, que tunc pagana fuit, prope Humber sub quodam castello Regis, qui tunc Allee vocabatur, post triennium applicuit, quam quidam miles nomine Elda, dicti castelli tunc custos, e naui lete suscipiens vxori sue Hermynghelde in custodiam honorifice commendauit. [How after three years, the ship with Constance arrived in the regions of England, which was then pagan, near the Humber under a castle of the king at that time, who was called Allee. A certain knight, Elda by name, at that time the guardian of the said castle, happily taking her from the ship, commended her to the keeping of his wife Hermynghelda with all honor.]
749-834 Trivet has Hermyngeld baptized before she dies. In Gower she is murdered before baptism. Dulak ("Gower's 'Tale of Constance,'" pp. 368-69) remarks that the alteration is significant in that Gower thus represents the three kinds of baptism in his conversion narrative: baptism of blood (the Sultan), baptism of desire (Hermyngeld), and baptism of water (Alla). In Chaucer "Jhesu hath converted [her] thurgh his grace" (CT II[B1]538).
751 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Constancia Eldam cum vxore sua Her-mynghelda, qui antea Cristiani non extiterant, ad fidem Cristi miraculose conuertit. [How Constance miraculously converted to the faith of Christ Elda, along with his wife Hermynghelda, who had hitherto not been Christian.]
769-71 'In trust of Cristes lawe . . . behold and se.' That Hermyngeld through her "creance" (2.754) can assist in miracles without having been baptized of water supports Dulak's notion that her desire constitutes baptism. See explanatory note to lines 749-834.
779 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter quidam miles iuuenes in amorem Contancie exardescens, pro eo quod ipsa assentire noluit, eam de morte Hermynghelde, quam ipsemet noctanter interfecit, verbis detractoriis accusauit. Set Angelus domini ipsum sic detrahentem in maxilla subito percuciens non solum pro mendace comprobauit, set ictu mortali post ipsius confessionem penitus interfecit. [How a young knight burning with love for Constance, to which she did not want to assent, accused her with detracting words of the death of Hermynghelda, whom he himself had killed by night. But an angel of the Lord, striking him suddenly in the jaw while he was detracting her, not only convicted him for his lie but also, with a mortal blow after his confession, utterly killed him.]
811-13 Craun notes that the knight chiefly defames Constance because he envies her advancement of the chamberlain who had previously had to rely on him; such political motivation is not evident in Trivet, where the knight seemingly "acts to cover his sexual advances" (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 149).
847 stille as eny ston. Proverbial. See Whiting S772 and variants "dumb as any stone," S762, and "mute as any stone," S765. Compare CA 1.1794 and 2104.
890 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Rex Allee ad fidem Cristi conuersus baptismum recepit et Contanciam super hoc leto animo desponsauit; que tamen qualis vel vnde fuit alicui nullo modo fatebatur. Et cum infra breue postea a domino suo impregnata fuisset, ipse ad debellandum cum Scotis iter arripuit, et ibidem super guerras aliquamdiu permansit. [How King Allee, having been converted to the faith of Christ, received baptism, and after this married Constance with a joyous soul; but she did not at all declare to anyone what she was or from where. And when, after a short time, she had become pregnant by her lord, he left to fight with the Scots, and he remained there for a time engaged in battles.]
905 Lucie. Macaulay observes that the name appears to be trisyllabic: Lucíe (2.485).
911 She tolde hem nevere what sche was. Several have commented on Constance's maintaining an aura of mystery about her origins. See Nicholson (p. 192). Of particular interest is Esch's suggestion that Constance's silence creates a Märchenmotif about her that adds to Domilde's accusation that she is "of fairie" (2.964). Gower heightens the fairytale quality of the story when, upon the death of Constance, we are told that God takes her "fro this worldes faierie" into his own "compaignie" (2.1593-94).
916-17 Kelly (pp. 140-41) compares the role of nature in conception here with natures role in the impregnation of Canacee in 3.143 ff.
931 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Regina Constancia infantem masculum, quem in baptismo Mauricium vocant, Rege absente enixa est. Set inuida Regis mater Domilda super isto facto condolens litteris mendacibus Regi certificauit quod vxor sua demoniaci et non humani generis quoddam monstrosum fantasma loco geniture ad ortum produxit; huius modique detraccionibus aduersus Contanciam in tanto procurauit, quod ipsa in nauim, qua prius venerat, iterum ad exilium vna cum suo partu remissa desolabatur. [How while the king was absent Queen Constance gave birth to a male infant, whom in baptism they call Maurice. But the envious queen mother Domilda, lamenting because of this, certified with lying letters to the king that his wife had brought into the world a monstrous phantasm of demonic and not human species in the place of an offspring; and by means of these detractions against Constance so managed it that she was abandoned again to exile in the ship in which she had first arrived, along with her tender offspring.]
947 Domilde. In Trivet her name is given as "Deumylde," "Doumilde," "Dounylde," "Domulde," and "Domylde." In Chaucer she is "Donegild." Macaulay notes that the Rawlinson manuscript has "Downilde" (2:485).
960 ff. Latin marginalia: Prima littera in commendacionem Constancie ab Episcopo Regi missa per Domildam in contrarium falsata. [First letter in commendation of Constance, sent by the bishop to the king, falsified to its opposite by Domilda.]
964 faierie. See explanatory note to 2.749-834, above.
1013 ff. Latin marginalia: Secunda littera per Regem Episcopo remissa a Domilda iterum falsata. [Second letter sent back by the king to the bishop, again falsified by Domilda.]
1048 Brent in a fyr before here yhen. Elizabeth Allen (p. 644) comments on the irony of Constance's "imagined public burning" as a result of Domilde's deceit. Domilde will ultimately be the one "caste" into the fire (2.1287).
1078-83 Dimmick notes the "delicate pathos" of the lines as "an emblem of human love informed by the divine" ("'Redinge of Romance,'" p. 131).
1084 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Nauis Constancie post biennium in partes Hispanie superioris inter Sarazenos iactabatur, a quorum manibus deus ipsam conseruans graciosissime liberauit. [How Constance's ship was tossed after two years into the regions of upper Spain among the Saracens, from whose hands God, preserving her, liberated her by His grace.]
1084-1125 Chaucer's heroine is more placid than Gower's. In Chaucer an unnamed thief boards the boat to make her his leman, but Mary helps her, the thief falls overboard, and "Crist unwemmed kept Custance" (CT II[B1]924). Gower's heroine is closer to Trivet's, where when Constance convinces Theloüs, the "fals knyht and a renegat" (2.1093), to look out at the port to see if anyone is near, he, as a result of Constance's prayer, is blown overboard.
1126 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter nauicula Constancie quodam die per altum mare vagans inter copiosam Nauium multitudinem dilapsa est, quarum Arcennus Romanorum Consul, Dux et Capitaneus ipsam ignotam suscipiens vsque ad Romam secum perduxit; vbi equalem vxori sue Helene permansuram reuerenter associauit, necnon et eiusdem filium Mauricium in omni habundancia quasi proprium educauit. [How Constance's little ship, wandering through the high seas, one day fell in among an abundant multitude of ships, whose leader and captain, Arcennus, the consul of the Romans, led her unrecognized all the way with him to Rome. There he reverently joined her as an equal to his wife Helen, so long as she would remain there, and he also reared her son Maurice with every benefit as if he were his own.]
1148-49 I am / A womman wofully bestad. Constance's point is injustice done, not self-pity. See Grennen's discussion of Chaucer's Custance as the "embodiment of the virtue of constantia, a virtue she is given innumerable opportunities to demonstrate precisely because of the failure of human legal structures to protect her" ("Chaucer's Man of Law," p. 498). The same is true of Gower's heroine. But, as Olsson points out, her security lies in her nature. "Her eyes are always open, and her tale never betrays in her an attitude of 'hadde I wiste'" ("Love, Intimacy and Gower," p. 96).
1226 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Rex Allee inita pace cum Scotis a guerris rediens et non inuenta vxore sua causam exilii diligencius perscrutans, cum Matrem suam Domildam inde culpabilem sciuisset, ipsam in igne proiciens comburi fecit. [How King Allee, returning from the wars after peace had been entered into with the Scots, and with his wife not to be found, and diligently inquiring into the cause of her exile, caused his mother Domilda to be burned by throwing her into the fire when he discovered her in that matter to be guilty.]
1264 At Knaresburgh. Edwards (pp. 306-09) argues that, because of its affiliations with the murder of Thomas à Becket, Knaresburgh still bore the aroma of treachery and treason in Gower's day, hence Gower's addition of the detail.
1278-93 O beste of helle . . . thi bacbitinge . . . to dethe broght / And brent tofore hire sones yhe. Chaucer simply says "that Alla, out of drede, / His mooder slow" (CT II[B1]893-94). Itô (John Gower, pp. 32-33) links Gower's more violent account to "Trivet's lurid description of the matricide" but notes that Gower, appropriately, shifts the mode of execution from the sword to the fire, as befits the volcanic rage of Domilde's backbiting. Compare Gower's affiliation of Envy and Wrath with Mt. Etna elsewhere in CA (2.163, 2037, and Prol.329), and also MO, lines 3805-18.
1285 I schal be venged. Macaulay notes that "the first and second recensions have 'It shal'" (2.486).
1310 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter post lapsum xii annorum Rex Allee absolucionis causa Romam proficiscens vxorem suam Constanciam vna cum filio suo diuina prouidencia ibidem letus inuenit. [How after the passage of twelve years, King Allee, making his way to Rome for the sake of absolution, joyously discovered by divine providence his wife Constance there, along with his son.]
1355-63 Peck notes that Gower, unlike Chaucer or Trivet, places Alla's encounter with Constance on the return trip, after visiting the pope, as if to link the king's shriven condition with his recovery of his family. "The king sets his life in hierarchical order so that other reorderings may follow" (1978, p. 68).
1370-82 Moris is not the only child in CA who makes possible the denouement. Gower often uses children as guides to their stumbling parents. Compare his role with that of Peronelle in the Tale of Three Questions (1.3067 ff.), and Thais in the Tale of Apollonius (8.271 ff.).
1473 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Constancia, que antea per totum tempus exilii sui penes omnes incognitam se celauit, tunc demum patri suo Imperatori seipsam per omnia manifestauit: quod cum Rex Allee sciuisset, vna cum vniuersa Romanorum multitudine inestimabili gaudio admirantes cunctipotentem laudarunt. [How Constance, who previously for the entire time of her exile had concealed herself unrecognized from everyone, finally then revealed herself in all ways to her father the emperor. And when King Allee had understood, he, along with the entire multitude of Romans, marveling in inestimable joy, together praised the Almighty.]
1516 my querele. See Bullón-Fernández's remarks on the significance of Constance's querele with her father (pp. 83-86), which to some degree reflects the perpetual debate between the Church and spiritual ideology, and political and lay power invested in the state.
1524-25 thogh his moder were come / Fro deth to lyve out of the grave. This striking metaphor, in which the father sees his mother in his daughter (a passage original with Gower), perpetrates a number of provocative innuendoes. Bullón-Fernández compares Constance to Mary vis-à-vis her father as "she becomes her father's mother" (Fathers and Daughters, p. 92). The passage also strengthens Genius' emphasis on the law of nature so central to his ideology.
1555 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Mauricius cum Imperatore vt heres Imperii remansit, et Rex Allee cum Constancia in Angliam regressi sunt. [How Maurice remained with the emperor as the heir of the empire, and King Allee returned with Constance to England.]
1572 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Rex Allee post biennium in Anglia humane carnis resolucionem subiens nature debitum persoluit, post cuius obitum Constancia cum patre suo Rome se transtulit moraturam. [How King Allee, after two years in England, underwent the decline of human flesh and paid his debt to nature; after his death Constance betook herself to stay in Rome with her father.]
1572-77 Bot he (death) which hindreth . . . And for no gold mai be forboght . . . Tok with this king such aqueintance . . . he parteth from his wif. Tatlock (p. 184n) suggests that this passage lies behind Chaucer's flourish, "For Deeth, that taketh of heigh and logh his rente, / Whan passed was a yeer . . . / Out of this world this kyng Alla he hente" (CT II[B1]1142-44).
1589 Latin marginalia: De morte Imperatoris. [Concerning the emperor's death.]
1592 Latin marginalia: De morte Constancie. [Concerning Constance's death.]
1594 ff. Latin marginalia: De coronacione Mauricii, qui adhuc in Cronicis Mauricius Imperator Cristianissimus nuncupatus est. [Concerning the coronation of Maurice, who to this day is called in chronicles "Maurice the most Christian emperor."]
1595 Moris hir sone was corouned. Bullón-Fernández speculates that there may be a hint of "a kind of incestuous love" here, "that Moris's inheriting from Constantine suggests that he is the offspring of the father and the daughter" (p. 92). But the point seems rather to be that Constantine, who sought an heir by marrying Constance to the Sultan, simply accepts his only child's offspring, which fortunately is male. He, in his long-standing grief over the alleged death of Constance, finds that his lineage is not barren after all - a provocative Christian motif of the grafted-on heritage, especially since Moris is "the Cristeneste of alle" (2.1598).
1613 ff. The story of Demetrius and Perseus is found in several potential sources, including Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 32; Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium 1.5.3; Orosius, Commonitorium 5.20; and perhaps Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale 5.65 ff. (see Macaulay 2.487 for discussion).
1613 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos detractores, qui in alterius vituperium mendacia confingentes diffamacionem fieri procurant. Et narrat qualiter Perseus, Philippi Regis Macedonie filius, Demetrio fratri suo ob eius probitatem inuidens, composito detraccionis mendacio ipsum apud patrem suum mortaliter accusauit, dicens quod ipse non solum patrem set et totum Macedonie regnum Romanis hostibus proditorie vendidisset: quem super hoc in iudicium producens, testibus que iudicibus auro subornatis, quamuis falsissime morte condempnatum euicit: quo defuncto eciam et pater infra breue postea mortuus est. Et sic Perseo successiue regnante deus huiusmodi detraccionis inuidiam abhorrens ipsum cum vniuersa suorum pugnatorum multitudine extra Danubii fluuium ab Emilio tunc Romanorum Consule euentu bellico interfici fortunauit. Ita quod ab illo die Macedonie potestas penitus destructa Romano Imperio subiugata deseruiuit, et eius detraccio, quam contra alium conspirauerat, in sui ipsius diffamacionem pro perpetuo diuulgata consistit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those detractors who, fashioning lies in vituperation of another, cause defamation to be made. And he tells how Perseus, son of Philip, king of the Macedonians, being envious of his brother Demetrius on account of his probity, lethally accused him before his father, composing a lie of detraction, declaring that Demetrius was selling by treachery not only his father but also the whole kingdom of Macedonia to their enemies, the Romans. Bringing him to the judicial court on these grounds, and with witnesses and judges having been suborned by money, he destroyed him by having him condemned to death, however falsely. And after he died, his father within a short time had died as well. And thus with Perseus taking the throne as successor, God, abhorring the envy of this kind of detraction, destined him to be killed as a consequence of war along with the entire multitude of his warriors beyond the Danube River by Emilius, then consul of the Romans. Wherefore from that day on the power of Macedonia, having been entirely destroyed and subjugated, was subservient to the Roman Empire; and his detraction, which he had conspired against the other, became well known in perpetuity to his own defamation.]
1706 Godd wode noght it were unknowe. Gower often presents God as an overseer who sets things straight after deceitful men pervert them. E.g., 1.2776-79, where God uses Nebuchadnezzar to show just vengeance; also the several proverbs on truth, including "For trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte" (1.284). See also explanatory note to 2.1752-53, below.
1728 th'envious belle runge. Proverbial. See Whiting B233.
1745-51 The maladie (line 1747) that the king catches, a malady that catches all men, is apparently not in this instance death but rather a deep depression that is the result of his distraught and sorrowful condition (lines 1745-46). And whan this king was passed thus (line 1749) does not mean that he died but rather that he sojourns in his debilitating condition. Perseus thus must seize the regiment (line 1751), rather than inherit it. We are told subsequently that the king dies by starvation in prison in Albe (2.1853-57).
1752-53 Proverbial. Whiting does not cite this specific passage, but it is akin to such truth proverbs in CA as Prol.369, 3.205, 5.4604, and 7.1957-60.
1884 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor super quarta specie Inuidie, que dissimilacio dicitur, cuius vultus quanto maioris amicicie apparenciam ostendit, tanto subtilioris doli fallacias ad decipiendum mens ymaginatur. [Here the Confessor discourses about the fourth species of Envy, which is called Dissimulation. The more his face displays an appearance of friendship, the more his mind schemes tricks for deceiving by subtler guile.]
1912 Genius uses the term semblant as an equivalent to "good intention"; "that is, Genius is suggesting that Amans attempt to see without prejudice what is being intuited, knowing that that is impossible" (Peck, 1994, p. 259).
1921-22 See explanatory note to 3.1076-78.
1926 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic in amoris causa Confessor super isto vicio Amanti opponit. [Here in the cause of love the Confessor questions the Lover about that vice.]
1928-29 custummer / To Falssemblant. On the capitalistic metaphor linking Falssemblant to the merchants and Lombard bankers as well as lovers, see Peck (1994, pp. 259-60).
1938 if evere was thi thought. See Galloway, "Middle English as a Foreign Language," on Gower's use of French construction in shaping, for comic effect, the spirit of conjecture in hypothetical situations and thoughts on what nearly was true (pp. 96-97).
2090 asay. Macaulay follows F to read a say, then views say as a shortened form meaning "trial." But given the a- here and the common word asay (from French assai) it is more likely that the scribe left a space accidentally and that asay is the intended form (AG).
2100-22 Gower's hostility toward Lombard bankers and their Falssemblant and Fa-crere (make-believe, deception) resonates throughout the poem and is echoed in Chaucer too (e.g., The Shipman's Tale). Lombard values seek gain and mercantile profit, rather than common profit, "to cheat men of the profits from their own land" and to usurp the rights of others (Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, p.70).
2145 ff. The story of Deianira and Nessus is found in Ovid, Met. 9.8-272. It also appears in Hyg. 34-36; Vat. Myth. I 58; Ovid, Heroides 9; and Boccaccio, Genealogie Deorum Gentilium Libri 9.17. Mainzer ("Gower's Use of the 'Mediaeval Ovid,'" p. 217) identifies two details in Gower's version that are found in Ovidius Moralizatus but not in Ovid's narrative, namely that Iole is the daughter of King Eurytus and that "Hercules changed clothes with her." The idea of Falssemblant comes mainly from Jean de Meun's allegorical representation in RR, where he is one of the principal agents in Jean's attack on hypocrisy amongst the friars, as well as lovers (lines 10467-12380). In Gower, Deianara is more clearly a victim than she is in the sources, suggesting once again his sympathy for women. See Brown ("Tale of Deinira and Nessus," pp. 15-19).
2148 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos, qui sub dissimilate beneuolencie speculo alios in amore defraudant. Et narrat qualiter Hercules, cum ipse quoddam fluuium, cuius vada non nouit, cum Deianira transmeare proposuit, superueniens Nessus Gigas ob amiciciam Herculis, vt dixit, Deianiram in vlnas suas suscipiens trans ripam salvo perduxit. Et statim cum ad litus peruenisset, quamcito currere potuit, ipsam tanquam propriam in preiudicium Herculis asportare fugiens conabatur: per quod non solum ipsi set eciam Herculi mortis euentum fortuna postmodum causauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who defraud others in love under a falsified image of benevolence. And he narrates how, when Hercules tried with Deianira to cross a certain river whose fords he did not know, Nessus the Giant intervened on behalf of his friendship for Hercules (as he claimed), and, lifting Deianira up onto his shoulders, transported her across the stream to safety. But as soon as he had arrived at the shore he fled as fast as he could run, trying to carry her away for himself to Hercules' disadvantage. By this means he later brought about, by chance, the result of his own as well as Hercules' death.]
2227 lief or loth. Proverbial. See Whiting L232. The sense might also be "friend or foe," i.e., "everyone."
2270 he him clotheth in hire cote. Gower makes emphatically clear the maxim that each man must wear what he chooses, setting up the conclusion, 2.2279-2302, where Hercules willfully clothes himself in the shirt that destroys him. See Peck (1978, pp. 61-62).
2270-71 clotheth . . . clothed. On the interstices between make-believe, false-seeming, feigned "chiere" (2.2143), clothing, and staged fantasies in the tale, see Peck, "Phenomenology of Make Believe," pp. 260-62.
2331 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de quinta specie Inuidie, que Supplantacio dicitur, cuius cultor, priusquam percipiatur, aliene dignitatis et officii multociens intrusor existit. [Here the Confessor discourses about the fifth species of Envy, which is called Supplantation, whose plowshare, before it might be noticed, often gouges as an intruder another's dignity and duty.]
2346 chalk for chese. Proverbial. See Whiting C134. Compare CA Prol.416.
2366 The gloss is Macaulay's (2:489).
2382 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa opponit Confessor Amanti super eodem. [Here in the cause of love the Confessor asks the Lover about that same thing.]
2430 tant ne quant. Macaulay compares MO, lines 3654 and 23358 (2.489).
2452 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Agamenon de amore Brexeide Achillem, et Diomedes de amore Criseide Troilum supplantauit. [How Agamenon supplanted Achilles from Brisede's love, and Diomedes supplanted Troilus from Criseyde's love.] Gower may have gotten the story from Hyginus (Fab. CVI) or Ovid (Heroides 3). Macaulay notes that "In Benoît and Guido the name is 'Briseida,' but Boccaccio was aware that Briseis was a different person (Gen. Deorum, xii. 52)" (2.489).
2459-95 Gower's story of Geta and Amphitrion relates to the legend of Hercules' conception. See Met. 6.112, Hyg. 29, and Vat. Myth I 50, where Jupiter lies with Alcmene disguised as Amphitrion, her husband, while he is away in battle. Gower substitutes Amphitrion for the supplanter, though the wife Alcmene remains the same; where he gets Geta, the new husband, is not known. Nor is there reference to the conception of Hercules. In Hyginus, Amphitrion accepts the fact that Jove must have lain with his wife and from that day he does not lie with her himself. Perhaps in Gower we are to understand that Amphitrion follows Jove's example and seeks out other women who might "undo" the door (line 2483) for a husband in disguise. Genius' making of Geta and Amphitrion close friends adds to the villainy of Amphitrion's behavior. See Wright on links with Vitalis of Blois' twelfth-century Latin comedy, Geta, particularly with regard to names and motifs of supplantation ("Gower's Geta," pp. 214-17).
2459 ff. Latin Marginalia: Qualiter Amphitrion socium suum Gentam, qui Almeenam peramavit, seipsum loco alterius cautelosa supplantacione substituit. [How Amphitrion substituted himself for his companion Geta by a deceptive supplantation in another's place.]
2483 Undo. The undo-the-door trope is a favorite fabliaux convention, as the virtuous one asks for entry but is frustrated by circumstances on the other side. N.b., the comic variation in The Squire of Low Degree, lines 534 ff. See Stith Thompson, The Folktale (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), p. 323, on the false bridegroom motif.
2499-2500 enforme . . . forme. See Simpson (Sciences and the Self, pp. 1-6) on Gower's wordplay on enforme/forme/enformasioun. "Genius is not simply passing on 'information' passively; he is instead actively informing a tale" (p. 4). (N.b. also 4.924-25.) Simpson emphasizes the polysemous wordplay on form as "shape," "material," "a process of filling the shape," an imparting process. "[I]n practice Genius's literary act of informing stories is designed to teach, or inform, Amans, and so the act of literary information shades into a pedagogic sense" (p. 5). See 5.450 on Genius who "wolde enforme and teche."
2501 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa contra fraudem detraccionis ponit Confessor exemplum. Et narrat de quodam Romani Imparatoris filio, qui probitates armorum super omnia excercere affectans nesciente patre vltra mare in partes Persie ad deseruiendum Soldano super guerras cum solo milite tanquam socio suo ignotus se transtulit. Et cum ipsius milicie fama super alios ibidem celsior accreuisset, contigit ut in quodam bello contra Caliphum Egipti inito Soldanus a sagitta mortaliter vulneratus, priusquam moreretur, quendam anulum filie sue secretissimum isti nobili Romano tradidit, dicens qualiter filia sua sub paterne benediccionis vinculo adiurata est, quod quicumque dictum anulum ei afferret, ipsam in coniugem pre omnibus susciperet. Defuncto autem Soldano, versus Ciuitatem que Kaire dicitur itinerantes, iste Romanus commilitoni suo huius misterii secretum reuelauit; qui noctanter a bursa domini sui anulum furto surripiens, hec que audiuit usui proprio falsissima Supplantacione applicauit. Et sic seruus pro domino desponsata sibi Soldani filia coronatus Persie regnauit. [Here in the cause of love the Confessor presents an instructive example against the fraud of detraction. And he tells about a certain son of the Roman emperor, who desiring above all things to engage in deeds of arms, betook himself across the sea, without his father's knowledge, into regions of Persia to serve the Sultan in the wars, remaining anonymous and with only one knight as his companion. And when the repute of his knightly prowess had grown higher there than any others, it happened that in a certain war that had broken out against the caliph of Egypt, the Sultan was mortally wounded by an arrow; before he died, he passed a certain most secret ring of his daughter to the nobleman, saying how his daughter had sworn under the bond of paternal blessing that whoever offered her the said ring would gain her as wife ahead of all others. With the Sultan dying, the Roman, traveling with his companion toward the city which is called Cairo, revealed to him the secret of his mystery. And his companion knight, stealing the ring furtively from his lord's purse at night, applied what he had heard to his own purposes, by most false Supplantation. And thus the servant instead of the lord, with the Sultan's daughter married to him, was crowned and reigned over Persia.]
2501 ff. The cronique (line 2504) that Genius cites as source for the Tale of the False Bachelor has not been found. Thorpe (pp. 175-81) suggests that Gower may have known an early sequel to The Seven Sages of Rome, Le Roman de Marques de Rome, which has numerous parallels with Gower's tale, up to line 2714. Minnis (1983, p. 60) proposes a juxtaposition of two Roman tales, one pagan and one Christian, in this tale and the Tale of Constantine and Sylvester that follows.
2741 ded as eny ston. Proverbial. See Whiting S759 and S759a. Compare "still as any stone," S771. See note to line 847.
2795 ff. Gower might have found accounts of Boniface's corruption of the papacy in various chronicles, including those of Rishanger, Higden, and Walsingham. See Macaulay's discussion (2:490-91) of both historical and legendary materials on Boniface. The tale includes a number of inaccuracies, particularly the capture at Avignon, but suits Genius' purposes well. See Scanlon's discussion of the anticlerical critique in CA that begins in the Prologue and culminates in the tales of Boniface and Constantine in Book 2, where Gower demonstrates shrewdly the necessity of lay authority in the face of clerical corruption (Narrative, Authority, and Power, pp. 248-67).
2804 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos in causa dignitatis adquirende supplantatores. Et narrat qualiter Papa Bonefacius predecessorem suum Celestinum a papatu coniectata circumuencione fraudulenter supplantauit. Set qui potentes a sede deponit, huiusmodi supplantacionis fraudem non sustinens, ipsum sic in sublime exaltatum postea in profundi carceris miseriam proici, fame que siti cruciari, necnon et ab huius vite gaudiis dolorosa morte explantari finali conclusione permisit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those supplanters in the cause of acquiring dignity. And he tells how Pope Boniface supplanted his predecessor Celestine from the papacy, with a scheme fraudulently constructed. But He Who deposes the powerful from their seats, not tolerating the fraud of this sort of supplantation, allowed the one who had been sublimely exalted to be thrown later into the wretchedness of deep prison, tortured by hunger and thirst, and at the last end to be uprooted from the joys of this life in a sorrowful death.] Gower's shift of the exempla from romance traditions to historical exempla, such as Boniface and Constantine, links the conclusion of Book 2 to the earlier chronicle of Constance and illustrates well Gower's perception of the close relationships between "history" and "tale-making" as components of ethical reflection. See Macaulay's extended discussion of English chronicle accounts of Boniface, particularly those of Walsingham and Higden (2:490-91).
2966 Lowyz. The French king who deposed Boniface VIII, when the pope threatened him with excommunication, was Philip the Fair (Philip IV, 1268-1314), not Louis.
2983 miht with miht schal be withstonde. Proverbial. See Whiting M535.
2995 Guilliam de Langharet. Guillaume de Nogaret, whom Philip sent to arrest the pope and bring him to trial by a church council in France. For discussion of events surrounding the two "quarelles" (n.b. 2.2967), see Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State, 1050-1300: with Selected Documents (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988); Joseph R. Strayer, The Reign of Philip the Fair (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980); and Charles T. Wood, Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII: State vs. Papacy (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1967).
3028-29 The image of the envious man devouring himself evokes Gower's strong conviction that "the church destroys itself when its officials supplant Christ and, with Envy and Avarice, devour their own members. Such robbing of the people is a form of cannibalism" (Peck 1978, p. 73).
3033 ff. Latin marginalia: Cronica Bonefacii: Intrasti ut vulpis, regnasti ut leo, et mortuus es ut canis. [Chronicle of Boniface: "You have entered like a wolf, reigned like a lion, and died like a dog."]
3055 kepe Simon fro the folde. I.e., protected the people from simony; that is, the buying and selling of ecclesiastical preferments and benefices, or any form of making profit from sacred things, a practice named after Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24).
3056 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de prophecia Ioachim Abbatis. [Note concerning the prophecy of Abbot Joachim.] Macaulay (2.491) notes that the marginal notation is in a different hand and that the Latin is omitted altogether in some MSS.
3058 ff. Latin marginalia: Quanti Mercenarii erunt in ouile dei, tuas aures meis narracionibus fedare nolo. [I do not wish to befoul your ears with my declarations of how many merchants there will be in the sheepfold of God.]
3059 mercerie. On the basis of this passage MED, n. (a), suggests figuratively "the stock in trade of simoniacs."
3085 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Ioab princeps milicie Dauid inuidie causa Abner subdole interfecit. Et qualiter eciam Achitofell ob hoc quod Cusy in consilio Absolon preferebatur, accensus inuidia laqueo se suspendit. [How Joab, a leader in David's army, for the sake of envy killed Abner by guile. And how also Achitophel because Cusy was exalted in Absolon's council hanged himself with a noose, burning in envy.] See 2 Kings (2 Samuel) 3:27 and 17:23.
3085-94 Abbot Joachim's warning has not been identified. Accounts of Joab's treachery and Achitophel's death occur in 2 Kings (2 Samuel) 3:6-39; 16:20-17:23. The reference to Seneca in line 3095 is based on Dante, Inferno 13.64. Compare Gower's earlier mention of the business in MO (lines 3831 ff.). See Stollreither's discussion of eighteen passages that Gower draws from the Old Testament in compiling the exempla of CA (see Strollreither, Quellen-Nachweise).
3095-99 Compare Chaucer, LGW F.358-60, where Envy is compared to a "lavendere [washerwoman] of court."
Latin verses vi (before line 3111). Line 4: The ethnica flamma is, literally, a "heathen flame" (from the Vulgate Bible on); but Macaulay takes it as possibly an adjective for "Mt. Ethna," described at several spots in Gower's texts as a metaphor for Envy. A pun on such a sense is very likely. Yet here the literal sense "heathen" seems primary, because the cult of Venus is described throughout the CA in quasi-Christian terms (with Genius as priest, etc.), so any force that competed with that quasi-religion would be (quasi-) heathen. The Christian scope of what follows in this section of Book 2, with the story of Constantine and Pope Sylvester, strongly reinforces the intersection, here at least, between Venus' teachings and those of Christianity (Galloway, "Literature of 1388").
3114 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic describit Confessor naturam Inuidie tam in amore quam aliter secundum proprietatem vicii sub compendio. [Here the Confessor describes the nature of Envy, as much in love as in a summary of the vice according to its properties.]
3122-25 thilke blod . . . / Is drye . . . / Thurgh whiche Envie is fyred ay. See Fox (Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 32-33) on the destructive effects that Envy can have on the physiology of the body.
3174 moder of Pité. In MO charity is presented as the remedy. Thus the strong emphasis in the story of Constantine and Sylvester makes a fitting conclusion to Book 2. On thematic links between the story and that of Constance at the beginning of Book 2, see Bullón-Fernández, pp. 42-45, 83-86, and 97-100; and Yeager (2001), where the theme of "motherhood" links the mother Constance to the mother church. On the political potency of the ethics of pity in the latter 1380s, see Galloway, pp. 90-104.
3187 ff. The story of Constantine and Sylvester is based on the Legenda Aurea. See Porter's remarks on Amans as "surrogate for Richard II" in this section of the poem, where "the Donation of Constantine . . . sow[s] the seeds of dissolution within the Church," a topic he had previously explored in VC (p. 147).
3190 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum de virtute caritatis contra Inuidiam. Et narrat de Constantino Helene filio, qui cum Imperii Romani dignitatem optinuerat, a morbo lepre infectus, medici pro sanitate recuperanda ipsum in sanguine puerorum masculorum balneare proposuerunt. Set cum innumera multitudo matrum cum filiis huiusmodi medicine causa in circuitu palacii affuisset, Imparatorque eorum gemitus et clamores percepisset, caritate motus ingemiscens sic ait: "O vere ipse est dominus, qui se facit seruum pietatis." Et hiis dictis statum suum cunctipotentis medele committens, sui ipsius morbum pocius quam infancium mortem benignus elegit. Vnde ipse, qui antea Paganus et leprosus extiterat, ex vnda baptismatis renatus vtriusque materie, tam corporis quam anime, diuino miraculo consecutus est salutem. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example concerning the virtue of charity against envy. And he narrates about Constantine, the son of Helen, who when he had obtained high office in the Roman Empire became infected by the illness of leprosy; and for the sake of recovering his health, the physicians proposed to bathe him in the blood of male children. But when an innumerable multitude of mothers with sons had arrived in the courtyard of the palace on account of this medicine, and the emperor had perceived their moaning and outcries, he, groaning and moved by charity, thus spoke: "O truly he is a lord who makes himself the servant of charity." And with these words committing his condition to the healing of the Almighty, he benignly chose his own illness rather than the death of infants. Whence he who previously had been pagan and leprous emerged from the waves of baptism having been reborn in both substances of his being, body and soul, and was consequently healed by divine miracle.]
3220 leche. The sense here may be simply "physician" or "cure," but the more technical sense of the term may be more precise, where leche refers to a solution poured over something to draw out a particular substance; hence, my gloss "solution," with reference to the blood of infants in which Constantine is to bathe to draw out the leprosy.
3243-73 Pearsall (1966, p. 478) singles out this passage as an example of Gower's narrative power: "Gower's special achievement is to embody, in Constantine's soliloquy and in the description of the working of his mind and heart, the very substance of human charity and pity, and not only that, but also to convey, through Constantine's meditation on the essential equality of all men in the sight of the 'divine pourveance' (lines 3243-73) the justness of moral discrimination which precedes virtuous action."
3249-59 White cites this passage as evidence for Gower's aligning of nature with the body. The And ek of line 3257 "marks a movement away from the sphere of kinde toward the reasonable soul," which is of God's shaping jurisdiction that lies beyond nature (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, pp. 185-86).
3251 kinde hath in hire lawe. Yeager (John Gower's Poetic) attempts to differentiate Gower's use of kinde and nature. But White, citing Gower's use of the feminine adjective in this line, challenges the distinction: "Gower conceives of Kinde here in terms of Romance literature's Goddess Nature (contrast Langland's male personification Kinde), demonstrating how the native and romance terms can be equivalent for Gower in at least one very important area" (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 174n2).
3257-59 Fisher (p. 196) sees the passage on equality as "one of Gower's favorite adages," derived "ultimately from Cassiodorus' Varia xii.3."
3263-64 The universal enfranchisement of people, regardless of estate, is a common topic in Gower. Compare 8.2109-20.
3275-79 Genius echoes Matthew 7:12 (also Luke 6:31), the "Golden Rule," a biblical passage that Gratian, in his discussion of natural law, picked up from Isidore: "Ius naturae est quod in lege et in euangelio continetur, quo quisque iubetur alii facere, quod sibi uult fieri, et prohibetur alii inferre, quod sibi nolit fieri" [Natural law is what is contained in the law and the Gospels, by which each person is commanded to do to another what he would wish done to himself, and is prohibited from doing to another what he would not wish done to himself]. Dist. I ante c. 1 (Gratian, Corpus Iuris Canonici, ed. Friedberg and Richter, 1.1). I am indebted to Barr ("Treatment of Natural Law," p. 50) for the reference and translation. Gower's phrasing reflects his interest in law even as much as his interest in Scripture.
3432 The ground of al the Newe Lawe. On the intersection of Christian charity and natural law as a focal topic in the Tale of Constantine and Sylvester, see Olsson (1992), pp. 102-06.
3491-92 Compare Piers Plowman B.15.556-68. The claim about the Donation of Constantine was significant to the Lollards, who (unlike Gower) sought to strip the church altogether of its "poisonous" worldly possessions. The story of the angel appears as early as Gerald of Wales in the twelfth century; some accounts present the voice as the devil's. For references to further reading, see Hudson, Premature Reformation, pp. 330-35).
Notes to Book 3
1 If thou the vices lest to knowe. See Simpson (1995), ch. 6 (pp. 167-97) on the "psychological information" of Book 3 and of the limitations of both Genius' and Amans' abilities to sort through the limitations of what they can understand.
5 A vice forein fro the lawe. The MED glosses forein in this line as "contrary, inimical" (see adj. 3 [d]). The "foreignness" of wrath to law makes it particularly dangerous to social and political structure. See Fisher, p. 196, who sees the line as Gower's means of focusing on legal issues throughout his canon.
8 And yit to kinde no plesance. See note to 3.2263-64 on the contrariness of pride, envy, and wrath to nature.
8 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in tercio libro tractat super quinque speciebus Ire, quarum prima Malencolia dicitur, cuius vicium Confessor primo describens Amanti super eodem consequenter opponit. [Here in the third book he discusses the five types of Wrath, the first of which is called Melancholy, which the Confessor first describes then asks the Lover concerning it.]
18 For his servantz ben evere wrothe. On violence in Book 3, particularly against women - Canace, Cornide, Laar, Daphne, Clytemnestra - in which men seem to feel that such rage is their special prerogative, see Donavin, "'When reson torneth into rage.'" The victims expose mechanisms behind taboos against such behavior as "Gower builds a case against violence" (p. 216). "Women's bodies are pierced, sliced, dismembered, and metamorphosed to expiate a men's frustration about love" (p. 219).
27 Malencolie. On melancholy as a mental or emotional disorder affiliated with wrath in Gower's day, see Mary F. Wack, Lovesickness and Its Commentaries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990), pp. 11-13, 162.
47-48 mennes game . . . pure grame. Itô (John Gower, pp. 244-45), sees Gower's prominent use of adnominatio (a paronomasia - punning and word-play through phrasal rhymes) as a means of sharpening the contrast of ideas. Gower uses comparable word play in MO. For other examples, see CA 2.55-56, 5.4885-86, 5.5327-28, 5.7053-54, 6.1379-81, 6.3571-72, and 8.479-80.
128 angri snoute. A fine example of Gower's persona surpassing, through "comical deformity," "self-satire," and "dramatic self-parody," the literary mold in which he has been cast. See Peck (1978, p. 81).
131 In loves stede. Compare the Latin construction in vicem amoris, which defines a role, rather than a physical location.
143 Gower's source for the Tale of Canace and Machaire is Ovid, Heroides 11. Genius softens the story and appeals to the reader's sympathy for Canace by adding her speech to her father and her letter to her brother. To heighten the pathos and focus on the father's cruel anger, he places the death of the child, bathed in his mother's blood, after the mother's death. See Chaucer's witty allusion to this "wikke ensample" in the introduction to The Man of Law's Tale, CT II(B1)77-80. Lydgate retells Gower's version in his Fall of Princes (1.6833- 7070). The tale reveals "none of the stock responses of the narrow moralist, but a sober and compassionate meditation on the blind instinctual nature of sexual passion" (Pearsall, "Gower's Narrative Art," p. 481). "Melancholy, not incest, is the topic governing the tale" (Olsson, Structures of Conversion, p. 112).
143 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos, qui cum vires amoris non sunt realiter experti, contra alios amantes malencolica seueritate ad iracundiam vindicte prouocantur. Et narrat qualiter Rex Eolus filium nomine Macharium et filiam nomine Canacem habuit, qui cum ab infancia vsque ad pubertatem inuicem educati fuerant, Cupido tandem ignito iaculo amborum cordis desideria amorose penetrauit, ita quod Canacis natura cooperante a fratre suo inpregnata parturit: super quo pater, intollerabilem iuuentutis concupiscenciam ignorans nimiaque furoris malencolia preuentus, dictam filiam cum partu dolorosissimo casu interfici adiudicauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who, although they have not really experienced the powers of love, are vindictively provoked to wrathfulness against other lovers, in a melancholic severity. And he narrates how King Eolus had a son, Macharius by name, and a daughter, Canace by name. After they had been raised together from infancy up to adolescence, Cupid at length penetrated the desires of both their hearts amorously with a burning arrow, such that Canace, with nature cooperating, became pregnant by her brother and gave birth. Whereupon their father, ignorant of the unbearable lusts of youth and prepossessed by an excessive melancholy of fury, judged that the said daughter with her offspring in this most mournful case be put to death.] The story is attractively told in Gower, despite the quibbling of Chaucer's Man of Law. Lydgate was evidently moved by Gower's version, as he somewhat incongruously inserts it into Fall of Princes as the conclusion to Book 1 (1.6835-7070). As in Gower, the heart of Lydgate's narrative is Canacee's touching letter of complaint to her brother.
148-81 See White's discussion of the basic natural sexual instinct (CA 8.68-70) where, before the positing of laws to the contrary, incest was accepted behavior, a perspective that remains present in nature and that is "certainly operative of Genius' account of what happened to Canace and Machaire" (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 194).
154-57 In Book 3, especially, Gower explores richly the complex ambiguities of nature. On questions of whether persons may go against the lawes of nature (line 157) without punishment - "fordon the lawe of kynde," as Chaucer puts it (TC 1.238) - see Olsson (1982, pp. 232-34). But although Gower grants some allowances toward leges naturae, neither he nor his priest "is content merely to exonerate the impulses of animalic 'kinde'" (p. 233).
172 lawe positif. "Nature informed by reason." (Kelly, Love and Marriage, p. 141). Macaulay notes:
Gower's view is that there is nothing naturally immoral about incestuous marriage, but that it is made wrong by the "lex positiva" of the Church. This position he makes clear at the beginning of the eighth book, by showing that in the first ages of the world such marriages must have been sanctioned by divine authority, and that the idea of kinship as a bar to marriage had grown up gradually, cousins being allowed to marry among the Jews, though brother and sister might not, and that finally the Church had ordered:As Schueler emphasizes, in this tale Gower does not defend incest but rather acknowledges the power of natural love ("Gower's Characterization," p. 253).
That non schal wedden of his kenIf attacked by Chaucer with regard to the subject of this story, he would no doubt defend himself by arguing that the vice with which it dealt was not against nature, and that the erring brother and sister were in truth far more deserving of sympathy than the father who took such cruel vengeance. (2:493)
Ne the seconde, ne the thridde.
178 enchaunted. Gower's term here has received considerable commentary, from "overlaid with the nostalgia of his own loss but instinct with a pity and understanding" (Fison, p. 21); the blinding of creatures as blind Cupid does (Bennett, 1986, p. 108); and a spell cast on people regardless of law and reason (Collins, p. 120); to children "innocently blind" (Runacres, p. 125). The enchantment does not exculpate the lovers, however; as C. David Benson points out, the term "usually carried a clearly sinister meaning" (pp. 103-04). See Nicholson (1989), p. 221.
205 The sothe, which mai noght ben hid. Proverbial. See Whiting S490.
213 he was to love strange. See Bullón-Fernández's reading of the tale (pp. 158-72) on levels as diverse as confinement of the body politic by an absolutist king to the confinement of Canacee, whose subtext is confined by patriarchy and Genius, her "literary father." In this respect "Canacee exemplifies literary creativity" (p. 160). See explanatory note to line 268.
225 ff. When Eolus ignores Canacee's touching plea, Olsson suggests, "he rejects a basic good in nature, the good of cognatio. . . . The extraordinary power of this tale is that while it exposes a weakness in kinde itself, it also builds that perception into a dissuasion from melancholic wrath" (1992, p. 113).
248 naked swerd. It is "as though [Eolus] is proposing incest at a double remove, substituting the knight for himself and the sword for the phallus" (Spearing, p. 217).
268 I wole a lettre unto mi brother. Bullón-Fernández sees Canacee as a woman locked in a private sphere. In Ovid she has a nurse to talk to. In Gower she is totally isolated, able only to write a letter with ink and, ultimately, with the blood of her body. "Writing the letter can . . . be seen as Canacee's attempt to create a private space for herself . . . . [P]erhaps both Chaucer and Gower explored and developed a sense of privacy of the self in their work partly as a response to Richard's pretense that he owned both everybody's goods and their lives. Both writers may have seen a need . . . to erase the line between private and public" (p. 165). C. David Benson makes the point that the tale is "a 'wikke ensample' of one who loved sinfully," which "does not invite our sympathy for the couple so much as our horror at the sin they have committed and the evil it produces." Gower, he points out, has added to Ovid the secrecy of their passion, "inspired by irrational desire," which all recognize, "including the couple themselves, as wrong, and disastrous in its consequences" (pp. 102-03). Olsson observes that incest may be "inordinatus, but it is not innaturalis": "Nature 'kepth hire lawes al at large' (3.174), but the human being is obligated to temper or 'modifie' those laws by reason and, as derived from it, the 'lawe positif'" (1992, p. 113).
312-15 See Nolan ("Lydgate's Literary History," pp. 61-69) on Lydgate's borrowing from Gower in his Fall of Princes.
322 ne bad to do juise. Literally: "would not order [someone] to impose judicial punishment," the infinitive setting up a sequence of parallel infinitives in the next lines, ". . . to bear . . . to seek . . . to cast." Perhaps the sequence begins with "to win" in line 316.
337-59 "The moral perspective that Gower adopts for the Canace and Machaire story tends to protect Nature from censure by turning over attention to the father's culpability, as he overreacts to something presented as a natural necessity" (White, Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 197), which from the position of positive law seems to proclaim "Nature's potential moral anarchy" (p. 199). On love as "a disease endemic in the natural God-given order, the lawe of kinde," see pp. 204-05.
342-59 Kelly observes that the proposition that Amans has no power to alter the laws of nature (see 3.154-57) simply demonstrates once again that "Gower has let his confessor run away with himself. . . . Genius is not speaking the truth but merely the opinion of lovers" (p. 144).
344-50 Simpson compares Genius' excusing the incestuous lovers to Dante's Francesca "in her claims for moral leniency in . . . her technically incestuous love" ("Genius's 'Enformacioun,'" p. 173).
352 That nedes mot that nede schal. Proverbial. See Whiting N61. The fatalistic maxim is a favorite of Gower. See also 1.1714 and 8.1020.
355 Bennett notes that "law of kind" and "kindly law" were "the earliest English equivalents to lex naturae; 'laws of nature' first occurring in Gower" (1957, pp. 197-98n3). He goes on to note that "natural law" first occurs in Cursor Mundi.
361 The details for the story of Tiresias and the snakes occur in Ovid, Met. 3.324-27, Hyg. 75, and Vat. Myth I 16, all of which Gower probably had access to, though it is Ovid that he cites. The tale is a good follow-up to Canacee and Machaire in defining the virtues and limitations of nature. See explanatory note to lines 373-75.
364 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat qualiter Tiresias in quodam monte duos serpentes inuenit pariter commiscentes, quos cum virga percussit. Irati dii ob hoc quod naturam impediuit, ipsum contra naturam a forma virili in muliebrem transmutarunt. [Here he narrates how Tiresias discovered on a certain mountain two serpents mingling together, whom he struck with a rod. The gods, wrathful on account of the fact that he had impeded nature, transmogrified him unnaturally from a male into a womanly form.]
369-94 The author of Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) borrows these lines as his "translation/retelling" in an ancient manner of the tale of Socrates' patience in Arg. 11. Chaucer's Wife of Bath does allude to the tale, but the source of the seventeenth-century poet's ghostly version is Gower, not Chaucer.
373-75 Fisher (John Gower, p. 196), cites this passage to demonstrate the interface between law and nature: the Tale of Tiresias and the Snakes "illustrates the all-embracing virtue of legitimate sexual intercourse." "Tiresias is punished for disrupting nature by having his own nature disrupted" (Cresswell, "tales of Acteon and Narcissus," p. 37, as cited by Nicholson, Annotated Index, p. 224).
383 More is a man than such a beste. Simpson (Sciences and the Self, pp.176-77) juxtaposes the act of Tiresias against the snakes with that of Aeolus, who destroys Canacee and her baby for her incestuous coupling with Machaire, to show how man is more than beast and thus lives by more complex rules.
398-99 Let every man love as he wile, / Be so it be noght my ladi. Earlier, Amans recognizes his own destructive impulses as he terrorizes his household (2.87-98). But now he seems more moderate, even potentially sympathetic of Canacee and Machaire, providing he gets his way. This leads to his invoking his wrath "Alone upon miself" (3.402), which Elizabeth Allen ("Chaucer Answers Gower," pp. 634-35) likens to the progress of Canacee's suicide, as she brings home her guilt. The point is that "Amans's limitations encourage us to face a particular danger of self-examination: the risk of an obsessive, self-destructive, disconnection from an outside world where every man can 'love as he will' as long as it does not touch others. . . . The Confessio insists not only on the reader's inward turn but also, in response, on a search for willed interconnections, however tenuous or tangential: the Confessio seeks to make self-examination socially responsible" (p. 636).
417 ff. See Craun (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, pp. 117-18) on Cheste and Detraction as Sins of the Tongue in penitential manuals.
421 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor super secunda specie Ire, que Lis dicitur, ex cuius contumeliis innumerosa dolorum occasio tam in amoris causa quam aliter in quampluribus sepissime exorta est. [Here the Confessor treats the second species of Wrath, which is called Conflict, from whose aggressions very often arises many an occasion of sorrows both in the cause of love and elsewhere in very many things.]
433 as a sive kepeth ale. Proverbial. See Whiting S305. Stockton, p. 405n3, notes other examples in VC 3.1546, 6.1359, and MO 17656-58.
463-65 the harde bon / Althogh himselven have non, / A tunge brekth. For the proverbial idea, see the Latin verses at the opening of CA (Prol.i, and note on p. 284 of vol. 1 of this edition).
502-03 instede of chese, / For that is helplich to defie. Soft and semisoft cheese was considered an aid to digestion: "mylky chese moysteþ þe wombe (stomach) . . . . And chese y-ete after mete þrusteþ dounward the mete" (Trevisa, trans., On the Properties of Things 2.1334.15-20). Seymour emends mylky to [newe], but I have preferred to follow the reading of the six principal manuscripts.
532 agein the pes. A legal phrase. Any crime is something done "against the [king's] peace" (contra pacem). For references, see John Alford, Piers Plowman: A Glossary of Legal Diction (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1988), s. v. pes.
577-78 no man mai his time lore / Recovere. Proverbial. See Whiting T307. Compare CA 4.1485-87. Perhaps the most amusing expression of the proverb is Harry Bailey's in CT II(B1)28-31.
585 oule on stock and stock on oule. Proverbial. See Whiting O69. The implication is that the branch (stock) on which the owl roosts becomes beshitten and thus befouls the bird in return.
616 ff. Latin marginalia: Seneca: Paciencia est vindicta omnium iniuriarum. [Seneca: Patience is the conquerer of all injuries.] The thought is consistent with the moral essays of Seneca popular in the Middle Ages (esp. "On Wrath" and "On Mercy"), but the precise formulation does not come from those, nor from the apocryphal collection of "proverbs" associated with Seneca (Proverbia Senecae) (AG).
621 wol noght bowe er that he breke. Proverbial. See Whiting B484. Compare Chaucer's TC 1.257-58: "The yerde is bet that bowen wole and wynde / Than that that brest."
640 Chaucer's Jankyn puts his chiding Wife of Bath in her place with the same story (CT III[D]727-32). He learned the story from Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum 1.48 (PL 23, col. 278), whence Gower may also have learned it, though the story was a commonplace epitome of patience.
643 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum de paciencia in amore contra lites habenda. Et narrat qualiter vxor Socratis ipsum quodam die multis sermonibus litigauit; set cum ipse absque vlla responsione omnia probra pacienter sustulit, indignata vxor quandam ydriam plenam aque, quam in manu tenebat, super caput viri sui subito effudit, dicens, "Euigila et loquere": qui respondens tunc ait, "O vere iam scio et expertus sum quia post ventorum rabiem sequuntur ymbres": et isto modo litis contumeliam sua paciencia deuicit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example concerning the necessity in love of keeping patience against attacks. And he narrates how Socrates' wife attacked him one day with many speeches; but when he endured all trials patiently without any response, the wife, indignant, suddenly poured out on her husband a pot full of water that she was holding in her hand, saying, "Wake up and speak." He then responding said, "O truly now I know and have experienced, that after a frenzy of winds follow rains." And by this means he conquered the invective of the strife with his patience.]
671 swelle. Wrath is the pent-up vice; often in medieval lore the angry man is said to swell to bursting. The idea dates at least as early as Seneca (first century), "On Anger" 1.20 and 2.36.
693 Chaucer's Xantippa is less gentle than Gower's. In her rage she dumps a pisspot upon Socrates' head; he calmly wipes his beard and observes: "Er that thonder stynte, comth a reyn!" CT III(D)732.
731-64 "A lover of antiquity," the author of Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) "borrows" these lines for his Arg. 3 on Ovid's Tiresias, as if they were his own "penn'd after the ancient manner of writing in England."
734 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum, quod de alterius lite intromittere cauendum est. Et narrat qualiter Iupiter cum Iunone super quadam questione litigabat, videlicet vtrum vir an mulier in amoris concupiscencia feruencius ardebat; super quo Tiresiam eorum iudicem constituebant. Et quia ille contra Iunonem in dicte litis causa sentenciam diffiniuit, irata dea ipsum amborum oculorum lumine claritatis absque remissione priuauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example how one must take care not to interfere in another's quarrel. And he tells how Jupiter was arguing with Juno on a certain question: whether a man or a woman felt hotter passion in the lust of love; for this they established Tiresias as their judge. And since he declared against Juno in the case of the said conflict, the irate goddess deprived him forever of sight in both eyes.]
781-814 These lines are plagiarized as Arg. 4 of Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) as the "antiquarian" poet attempts to effect "Chaucer's" style.
783 ff. Chaucer's Manciple also rehearses a version of this tale. It is a story from Ovid, Metam. 2.531-632, often told by medieval authors: e.g., Ovide Moralisé; Machaut, Le Livre dou Voir Dit, lines 7773-8110; Seven Sages of Rome, lines 2193-2292; and various allusions in RR. See James Work, in Sources and Analogues of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, pp. 699-722.
784 ff. Latin marginalia: Quia litigantes ora sua cohibere nequiunt, hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos qui in amoris causa alterius consilium reuelare presumunt. Et narrat qualiter quedam auis tunc albissima nomine coruus consilium domine sue Cornide Phebo denudauit; vnde contigit non solum ipsam Cornidem interfici, set et coruum, qui antea tanquam nix albus fuit, in piceum colorem pro perpetuo transmutari. [Since disputants cannot conceal their utterances, here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who in the cause of love presume to reveal the counsel of another. And he narrates how a certain bird who was the whitest of white, the crow [corvus] by name, laid bare to Phoebus the counsel of his mistress Cornida; whence it happened that not only was Cornida killed, but also Corvus, who had previously been snow white, was transmuted forever into pitch black.]
815 Be war therfore and sei the beste. "Beware, therefore, and speak only the best." Compare 3.768. The admonitory phrases bear some resonances with the repeated injunctions to "beware" by Chaucer's Manciple, who admonishes the Cook: "My sone, keep wel thy tonge, and keep thy freend. / A wikked tonge is worse than a feend" (CT IX[H]319-20); see also "Beth war, and taketh kep what that ye seye" (IX[H]310) and "Kepe wel thy tonge and thenk upon the crowe" (IX[H]362). Some have held that Chaucer, with his ten "my sone's" in forty lines, is sending up Gower's story.
Ultimately the point derives from early medieval sayings about guarding the tongue, e.g., "maledicus ne esto" (pseudo-Cato, "Do not be abusive" [Minor Latin Poets, p. 596, line 41]). Translations of such advice poetry were popular in the later fourteenth through the fifteenth centuries, and sometimes emphasize Gower's phrase about careful restraint of the tongue. For a direct parallel, see Lydgate's "Say the Best, and Never Repent" (in The Minor Poems, pp. 795-99). While Lydgate's short advice poem clearly draws on Chaucer's many comments on the same topic, his collection of notions more often parallels Gower, and Lydgate's poem may even be inspired by this moment in the CA. For broad discussion of the pastoral background of the topic of "sins of the tongue" and aspects of its place in Middle English literature, see Craun (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity).
818 another place. I.e., Ovid's Fasti 2.585-616, where the story is told at greater length. In Ovid, Laar is not condemned as a jangler, except by Jupiter.
818 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur super eodem: Et narrat qualiter Laar Nimpha de eo quod Iupiter Iuturnam adulterauit, Iunoni Iouis vxori secretum reuelauit. Quapropter Iupiter ira commotus lingua Laaris prius abscisa ipsam postea in profundum Acherontis exulem pro perpetuo mancipauit. [Here he speaks about the same thing: and he narrates how Laar the Nymph had secretly revealed to Juno, Jupiter's wife, how Jupiter had committed adultery with Juterna. On account of this Jupiter, moved to wrath, first had Laar's tongue cut away, then committed her perpetually to exile in deepest Acheron.]
838 reule. With his keen interest in law, Gower uses the noun reule with technical precision in diverse ways. In CA Prol.108 "reule" connotes "jurisdiction"; in 1.883 its sense is that of "a religious practice." In 4.2642 it implies "a norm of procedure within an academy"; or in 7.1051, "the law of nature." In 7.47, it suggests "a set of rules governing morality in general." In expressions like "oghe reule" (3.1169) or "oute of reule" (6.1283), the sense is "lack of control" or "disorder." Here, given the terms of confession that Genius has established, Amans uses the word to suggest the regulation governing the religious contract he has set up with Genius, his priest.
847 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de tercia specie Ire, que Odium dicitur, cuius natura omnes Ire inimicicias ad mentem reducens, illas vsque ad tempus vindicte velud Scriba demonis in cordis papiro commemorandas inserit. [Here the Confessor discourses about the third species of Wrath, which is called Hatred, whose nature, summarizing all enmities of Wrath in its mind like the devil's scribe, inserts them into the heart's paper as memoranda until the time of inflicting them.]
973 The story of Nauplius' revenge occurs in Benoît, Le Roman de Troie, lines 27671-930, Gest Hyst. 32.12552-704, Hyg. 116; and Vat. Myth. II (201 ff.). Gower appears to have followed more than one source.
973 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos qui, cum Ire sue odium aperte vindicare non possint, ficta dissimilacione vindictam subdole assequuntur. Et narrat quod cum Palamades princeps Grecorum in obsidione Troie a quibusdam suis emulis proditorie interfectus fuisset, paterque suus Rex Namplus in patria sua tunc existens huiusmodi euentus certitudinem sciuisset, Grecos in sui cordis odium super omnia recollegit. Vnde contigit quod, cum Greci deuicta Troia per altum mare versus Greciam nauigio remeantes obscurissimo noctis tempore nimia ventorum tempestate iactabantur, Rex Namplus in terra sua contra litus maris, vbi maiora saxorum eminebant pericula, super cacumina montium grandissimos noctanter fecit ignes: quos Greci aspicientes saluum portum ibidem inuenire certissime putabant, et terram approximantes diruptis nauibus magna pars Grecorum periclitabatur. Et sic, quod Namplus viribus nequiit, odio latitante per dissimilacionis fraudem vindicauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who, when they are not able openly to inflict their wrath's hate, pursue their punishment surreptitiously. And he narrates that when Palamades, prince of the Greeks, had been treacherously killed by certain of his rivals at the siege of Troy, his father King Namplus, when he had learned while he was in his own country the certainty of this event, collected in his heart a hatred for the Greeks above all others. Whence it happened that, after Troy was sacked, when the Greeks were returning home by ship toward Greece across the deep ocean, at the darkest point of night they were tossed about by a tempest of extraordinarily strong winds; and King Namplus, in his land across from the seashore where the greatest dangers of rocks jutted out, caused great fires to be set on the peaks of mountains. The Greeks, seeing those, firmly believed that they had discovered a safe harbor there, and approaching the land with the ships torn apart, the majority of the Greeks were endangered. And thus, what Namplus was not able to do by force, he inflicted through fraud of dissimulation by means of a hidden hatred.] Runacres cites the opening of this gloss as an example of moralitas that serves "as a constant reminder of the importance of the ethical purpose of the poem" that may not be "closely linked to the . . . narraciones" (p. 121).
977 tornen hom agein. See Olsson ("Love, Intimacy, and Gower," pp. 86-92) on the centrality of the woman and home to Gower's ideology of return and repose. He notes perceptively the large number of rough homecomings, such as those of the Greeks here (compare the tales of Leucothoe, 5.6722-51, or Elda's desperate circumstance as he would wake his wife, 2.836-38, or Jephthah's unhappy return, 4.1517). "Life at home can be disrupted or destroyed by domestic tyranny, external assault, random misfortune, and, perhaps most tragically, betrayal" (p. 92). But regardless of circumstances, the quality of the return is likely to be bound up in memory, that Boethian domicile possessed well by Gower's four good wives in 8.2617-18, "a memory that . . . fully acknowledges their own unsettled condition and their suffering. They understand their humanity [as the Greeks in these lines do not], and they also understand what it means to be rooted in relationship: their lives 'at home,' for all they must remember, help give them, unsentimentally, both constancy and stability" (p. 93). It is this sense of home and repose upon which Gower builds the conclusion to his poem in Book 8.
981-1000 "Ships and the sea, indeed, are always good in Gower . . . . This excellence in Gower's sea-pieces has led some to suppose that he was familiar with sea travel - as he may well have been; but it is, in fact, only one manifestation of his devotion to movement and progression, his preoccupation with things that change as you watch them" (Lewis, Allegory of Love, p. 207). See also 4.1741 ff., 4.3063, and 8.1928-29.
1073-75 Proverbial. A variant of Whiting J75.
1076-78 Compare 2.1921-22. Mitchell, remarking on the intrinsic deception of mirrors to which Gower alludes, notes the common use of mirror imagery in didactic discourse on memory and meditation in the later Middle Ages and suggests that by means of such recurring remarks, Gower craftily "implicates the specular supposition of exemplary rhetoric itself" (p. 130). For a summary of uses of mirrors in speculation on mental behavior see Herbert Grabes, The Mutable Glass: Mirror-Imagery in the Titles and Texts of the Middle Ages and English Renassance, trans. Gordon Collier (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). Gower uses the idea of a mirror's illusory reflection that has nothing therinne (3.1078) to underscore the trickiness of imagination as it feeds such illusions as hatred, a self-deception that can overthrow a person (3.1079-80), or sustains Falssemblant, who, indeed, offers a treacherous "glas" (2.1921).
Latin verses iv (before line 1089). Lines 1-2: sit spiritus eius / Naribus, "whose spirit is in his nostrils," a biblical phrase for an angry man; see Isaiah 2:22 (AG).
1094 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor super quarta et quinta specie Ire, que impetuositas et homicidium dicuntur. Set primo de impetuositate specialius tractare intendit, cuius natura spiritum in naribus gestando ad omnes Ire mociones in vindictam parata pacienciam nullatenus obseruat. [Here the Confessor treats the fourth and fifth species of Wrath, which are called Aggressiveness and Homicide. And first he intends particularly to discuss Aggressiveness, whose nature, bearing its "spirit in his nostrils," prepares it to inflict all manner of wrath in its readiness for vengeance and makes it not at all act with patience.] For the phrase "spirit in his nostrils," see above, note on Latin verses iv (before line 1089).
1141-44 al my time in vein despended. See Galloway ("gower's Quarrel") on Amans' assessment of lost labor in love as "almost purely mercantile" (p. 247). See also 5.4438-75 on the failure of his usurious investments (p. 248).
1193-99 See White on the power of natural love, whose influence may sometimes be overwhelming ("Naturalness of Amans' Love," p. 319). "Gower does not seem to see the universe as a place considerately arranged so that the man of goodwill shall move reasonably smoothly towards salvation; rather he sees it as a battleground on which man in his weakness must face adversaries immensely superior to him and by no means wholeheartedly committed to his spiritual good" (p. 321). See also White ("Division and Failure," p. 605).
1194-99 love is of so gret a miht . . . Will scholde evere be governed / Of Reson more than of Kinde. A focal passage on the potential destructive powers of blind Nature without the good governance of Reason. On the proverbial wisdom of line 1194, see Whiting L518, L534, L538, L540, and L544, on CA 1.18, 1.35, and 5.4556. See also Chaucer's The Franklin's Tale, CT V(F)764-66, and PF, line 12.
1201 The story of Diogenes' confrontation with Alexander is a favorite medieval tale. See Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale 3.68 ff.; Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. 183; Walter Burley, De Vita Philosophorum, cap. 1. The messenger and the axletree are apparently Gower's additions to the story. Pfister suggests that Gower draws on Valerius Maximus ("Spuren Alexanders des Grossen," p. 86). But see also Dicts and Sayings, which includes many questions and sayings not found in Gower.
1204 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum, quod hominis impetuosa voluntas sit discrecionis moderamine gubernanda. Et narrat qualiter Diogenes, qui motus animi sui racioni subiugarat, Regem Alexandrum super isto facto sibi opponentem plenius informauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example showing that a man's aggressive will must be guided by discretion's rudder. And he narrates how Diogenes, who had subjugated the motions of his mind to reason, very fully informed King Alexander when he questioned him about this.]
1331 Chaucer also tells the story of Pyramus and Thisbe in LGW. The story is based on Ovid, Metam. 4.55-166. Of the two, Chaucer follows the source more closely, in a mood of high sentiment. For a brief comparison of these two Middle English accounts with Ovid, see Macaulay (2.497-98). See Harbert (pp. 91-93) for an insightful comparison of Gower and Ovid.
1331 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos qui in sua dampna nimis accelerantes ex impetuositate seipsos multociens offendunt. Et narrat qualiter Piramus, cum ipse Tisbee amicam suam in loco inter eosdem deputato tempore aduentus sui promptam non inuenit, animo impetuoso seipsum pre dolore extracto gladio mortaliter transfodit: que postea infra breue veniens cum ipsum sic mortuum inuenisset, eciam et illa in sui ipsius mortem impetuose festinans eiusdem gladii cuspide sui cordis intima per medium penetrauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who in the cause of love very often offend by rushing excessively from aggressive impetuosity to their own destruction. And he narrates how Piramus, when he did not find his girlfriend Thisbee ready at the time of his arrival in the place designated by both, with a spirit impetuous from anguish drew his sword and fatally transfixed himself. And when she, arriving later within a short time, found him thus dead, she too hastening to her death pierced the innermost regions of her heart with the point of the same sword.]
1370-71 In Gower the lovers work together to make a hole in the wall, unlike in Ovid, where the chink is simply found.
1375-76 . . . hote / . . . hote. Kim Zarins, in her unpublished essay "Poetic Justice: Rime Riche and Wordplay in Gower's Confessio Amantis" (presented at the Cornell/Rochester graduate student symposium at the University of Rochester, April 13, 2002), explores the extended resonances of Gower's prominent use of this device. Pyramus is not just hote [called] Pyramus, "he is hot and hotly desired," as his name, derived from the Greek word for fire, implies. It is as if "hote" "determines Pyramus's character and fate" (p. 4). See also the puns on "hote" in 4.87-88, which anticipate Dido's fiery doom, and 3.21-22, where wrath is presented as burning passion.
1386 the softe pas. Gower's Middle English uses some case inflections for certain idioms; here, softe has a final -e because it is in a dative or residually instrumental case.
1420-23 A. B. taylor notes Gower's use of 1 Cor 2:9, proposing that Shakespeare, who also draws on the same passage in Midsummer Night's Dream, may well have been using Gower's version of the story as well as Ovid's as a source for the rude mechanicals' sentimental farce ("John Gower," p. 382). Shakespeare, like Gower, changes Ovid's lioness (leaena) to a ravenous male lion (lines 1398-1400) with his "blodi snoute."
1469 what hath he deserved? Pearsall emphasizes Gower's ignoring of Ovid's metamorphoses to focus instead on moral issues as his characters perceive them. The word deserved provides "an index of Gower's preoccupation with human actions as responsible, as part of a meaningful pattern" (1966, p. 480).
1537 Daunger. The personification of female insecurity, resistance, and aloofness in RR, who repeatedly thwarts Amans in his love quest. See Maxwell Luria, A Reader's Guide to the Roman de la Rose (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1982), pp. 42-44; and John V. Fleming, The Roman de la Rose: A Study in Allegory and Iconography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), pp. 187-89.
1615-58 This tour de force of proverbs is unusual even for the sententious Genius. The point seems to be that therapy often begins in commonplace wisdom, out of which something more substantial may come. Compare Philosophy's use of proverbs as she begins to engage the confused Boece in Consolation of Philosophy 1.m.6 and 3.m.1. Several of the wise sayings are cited in Whiting, though not all.
1630-31 Thanne if he felle and overthrewe - / The hors. The syntax seems awkward because of the delayed antecedent (it is the horse that falls, not the rider) and the use of overthrewe as an intransitive verb (see Macaulay 2.499 on overthrewe). The passage, beginning at line 1629, is proverbial, combining two proverbs - the chaffing at the bridle (see Whiting B533) and "Dun is in the myre" (see Chaucer's The Manciple's Tale, CT IX[H]5; and Whiting D434).
1639-40 Suffrance hath ever...That secheth reste. Proverbial. See Whiting, S859.
1658 He hath noght lost that wel abitt. Proverbial. See Whiting A6. Compare CA 4.1776.
1680 Folhaste doth non avantage. Proverbial. See Whiting F463. Compare 3.1861.
1685 ff. The source may be Ovid, Metam. 1.452-567.
1688 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos qui in amoris causa nimia festinacione concupiscentes tardius expediunt. Et narrat qualiter pro eo quod Phebus quamdam virginem pulcherimam nomine Daphnem nimia amoris acceleracione insequebatur, iratus Cupido cor Phebi sagitta aurea ignita ardencius vulnerauit: et econtra cor Daphne quadam sagitta plumbea, que frigidissima fuit, sobrius perforauit. Et sic quanto magis Phebus ardencior in amore Daphnem prosecutus est, tanto magis ipsa frigidior Phebi concupiscenciam toto corde fugitiua dedignabatur. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who in the cause of love desire too hastily and too slowly carry it out. And he narrates how since Phebus pursued a certain very beautiful virgin, Daphne by name, with too great a hastiness for love, Cupid irritably wounded Phebus' heart with a golden arrow burning very hotly, but in contrast pierced Daphne's heart more somberly with a certain lead arrow which was exceedingly cold. And thus the more ardently in love Phebus pursued Daphne, the more coldly she disdained him, wholeheartedly fleeing Phebus' lust.]
1716-20 Genius' remarks on the significance of the laurel tree seem to be based on Ovide Moralisé rather than Ovid. See Mainzer, ("Gower's Use of the 'Mediaeval Ovid,'" pp. 217-18).
1729-35 Amans' response reveals "a flicker of wit sometimes [to be found] in the lover's literal-minded responses" (Pearsall, "Gower's Narrative Art," p. 477). The wry humor is part of Gower's dramatic sense of narrative voice. See also Runacres, ("Art and Ethics," p. 128) and Bennett (Middle English Literature, p. 413) cited by Nicholson (Annotated Index, pp. 242-43).
1757-1862 Gower's story of Athemas (Acamas) and Demephon is based chiefly on Le Roman de Troie, lines 28147 ff., though it is found also in the Troy stories of Dictys and Guido.
1760 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos qui nimio furore accensi vindictam Ire sue vltra quam decet consequi affectant. Et narrat qualiter Athemas et Demephon Reges, cum ipsi de bello Troiano ad propria remeassent et a suis ibidem pacifice recepti non fuissent, congregato aliunde pugnatorum excercitu, regiones suas non solum incendio vastare set et omnes in eisdem habitantes a minimo vsque ad maiorem in perpetuam vindicte memoriam gladio interficere feruore iracundie proposuerunt. Set Rex Nestor, qui senex et sapiens fuit, ex paciencia tractatus inter ipsos Reges et eorum Regna inita pace et concordia huiusmodi impetuositatem micius pacificauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who, inflamed by excessive fury, desire to inflict the punishment of their wrath beyond what is appropriate. And he tells how Kings Athemas and Demephon, having returned from the Trojan war to their own people and having not been received peacefully there by their own populace, collected from elsewhere an army and, in a frenzy of anger, proposed not only to devastate their own regions but also to put to the sword everyone living in them, from the least to the most important, as a permanent memorial to their revenge. But King Nestor, who was old and wise, allowed patience to lead him and mildly pacified this aggressiveness, initiating a peace and a treaty between the kings and their kingdoms.]
1772 soghten frendes ate nede. Proverbial. See Whiting F634. Compare 5.4912-14, for variant.
1792-1800 Of yonge men the lusti route . . . / Of hem that there weren yonge. Compare the portrayal of the hasty foolishness of the young in matters of war in Chaucer's Tale of Melibee CT VII(B2)1034-35, as they oppose the wise counsel of the elderly.
1861 Folhaste is cause of mochel wo. Proverbial. See Whiting F463. Compare 3.1680.
1885 Gower's most direct source for the story of Orestes seems to be Benoît, Le Roman de Troie, lines 28047-112, 28285-412, 28469-533. For a lively modern English translation see Meek, Historia Destructionis Troiae, pp. 243-46. See also Gest Hyst., ed. Panton and Donaldson, 33.12937-13042, and Lydgate's adaptation, Troy Book, 5.1467-1780. This is one of the few instances in which Gower's story, with its conflict of religious and political obligations and its intimations of later Renaissance elaborations of royal family tragedy, is longer than his author's. Its reception by critics has been mixed. Pearsall ("Gower's Narrative Art," p. 483) remarks that Gower's retelling "fails completely to make its point or to extract any simple story line" and refers to it as "a sad mangling of high tragedy." Hiscoe ("Ovidian Comic Strategy") sees the omission of the murder of Agamemnon as comic. See Nicholson (Annotated Index, pp. 244-45) for a review of critical opinions.
1885-2195 See Wetherbee ("Rome, Troy, and Culture," pp. 27-29) on the "latent violence" that becomes a recurrent theme in tales of chivalric values in CA. The "anti-social aspect of knightly conduct is presented as a function of chivalric education itself and serves to reinforce Gower's treatment of . . . the uneasy relationship between chivalric prerogative and obligation on the one hand and the institutions of family, society, and civic government on the other" (p. 27). Gower goes beyond Benoît in introducing Idomeneus as guardian to the child Orestes to shape the boy's purpose; in Gower Menestheus interrupts the trial with a vehement attack on Clytemnestra that cuts off the judicial proceedings "in a sort of coda, Aegisthus's daughter Egiona is driven to suicide" at the failure of parliament to banish Orestes, "but Genius sees in this only a divine judgment on her complicity in the murder of Agamemnon" (p. 28). "The harshness of Menetheus's uncontested judgments on Clytemnestra and the virtual equation of justice with violence against women in the subsequent action leave the story conspicuously unresolved" (p. 29).
1887 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra illos qui ob sue concupiscencie desiderium homicide efficiuntur. Et narrat qualiter Climestra vxor Regis Agamenontis, cum ipse a bello Troiano domi redisset, consilio Egisti, quem adultera peramauit, sponsum suum in cubili dormientem sub noctis silencio trucidabat; cuius mortem filius eius Horestes tunc minoris etatis postea diis admonitus seueritate crudelissima vindicauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who, on account of the desire of their lust, are made murderers. And he narrates how Climestra the wife of King Agamemnon, when he had returned home from the Trojan war, stabbed her spouse to death in the silence of the night while he was sleeping, by the counsel of Egistus, whom she, adulterer, doted on. Afterwards, Horestes, then of tender age and alerted by the gods, with a most cruel severity, revenged his death.]
1899-1901 Who that is slyh . . . makth the ferre lieve loth.' Compare Chaucer's The Miller's Tale (I[A]3392-93); see Whiting S395 for other variants.
1920 moerdre, which mai noght ben hedd. Proverbial; see Whiting M806. Compare Chaucer's The Prioress's Tale, "Mordre wol out" (CT VII[B2]576), and The Nun's Priest's Tale (CT VII[B2]3052 ff.).
2033 'Old senne newe schame.' Proverbial. See Whiting S338. Compare CA 6.5116 and VC 4.874.
2055 O cruel beste unkinde. White cites this line, along with 1.2565 (Rosamund and Albinus), 5.5906 (Philomela, Procne, and Tereus), and 8.222 (Amon, Thamer, and Absolon), to define Gower's regard for "the high dignity of the natural order," that order being the "action and feeling conceived as normal and appropriate to the relationship between man and wife" (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 177). Simpson (Sciences and the Self, pp. 190-91) sees this as "a critical moment in the argument of Book III" as the question is raised, "is one 'unkynde' act justly dealt with by another?" The question goes back to the Tale of Canacee and Machaire at the beginning of the book and stands in contrast to the behavior of Tiresias and the snakes, where an "'unkinde' act of disturbing natural law is readily understandable." The implication in such passages is that natural law is insufficient in itself, demanding "a politics" formed out of personal ethics that places constraint on human relationships (Simpson, pp. 191-92). See also Olsson, "Natural Law," pp. 229-61.
2121-22 worste speche is rathest herd / And lieved. Proverbial. See Whiting S619. Compare Chaucer's The Squire's Tale (CT V[F]222-23), where the adage defines that cynical component of the "lewednesse" of the press as "[t]hey demen gladly to the badder ende."
2206 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic queritur quibus de causis licet hominem occidere. [Here is asked what causes justify killing a man.]
2220 ff. Latin marginalia: Seneca: Iudex qui parcit vlcisci, multos improbos facit. [Seneca: A judge who is sparing in retribution makes many shameless men.] I have not found the precise source, though the passage resembles mottos from the pseudo-Seneca Proverbs (AG).
2225 ff. Latin marginalia: Apostolus: Non sine causa Iudex gladium portat. [Apostle: Not without cause does the Judge bear a sword.] Adapting Romans 13:4, describing the prince (not the judge).
2235 ff. Latin marginalia: Pugna pro patria. [Fight for your country.] Found among the short sayings attributed to Cato (Minor Latin Poets, p. 594, line 23). Conrad Mainzer ("Albertano of Brescia's Liber Consolationis et Consilii as a Source-Book of Gower's Confessio Amantis," Medium Ævum 47 , 88-90), p. 89, suggests Albertano of Breccia's Liber Consolationis as another possible source.
2249-50 Mitchell ("Reading for the Moral," p. 134) notes the frequency with which Gower rhymes evidence and conscience (no fewer than eight times; see especially 1.247-48 and 5.2919-20). The pairing magnifies the contingency of rule of conscience because of the instability of intuited particulars. But, as Mitchell observes, "Judgement exists because of the uncertainty of moral application" (p. 137).
Latin verses v (before line 2251). Line 1: there is an obvious echo in the creature that God creates (creatum/creat); line 2: a more subtle punning echo appears in the earth (humum) that is sprinkled with human blood (humano). The second pun emphasizes, among other things, the origins of human flesh from earth (Gen. 2:7); the line recalls Cain's murder of Abel, whose blood calls out from the earth to God (Gen. 4:8-10). Line 5: In terra pax. "Peace on earth"; see Luke 2:14. Lines 5-6: vltima Cristi / Verba. The reference to Jesus' "final words" invokes Paul's summary of Jesus' message rather than the gospels' description of his actual last words; see especially 1 Corinthians 7:15, Ephesians 2:17.
2252 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur contra motores guerre, que non solum homicidii set vniuerse mundi desolacionis mater existit. [Here he speaks against those who instigate war, which is the mother of homicide and of the world's total destruction.] On the debate over war, at the center of which were Richard's peace efforts in 1389, see Saul (Richard II, pp. 205-34).
2263-64 That Nature loves peace is a featured proposition in Gower. Compare 3.386-87. Olsson (1982, p. 244) suggests that pride, envy, and wrath are the most unnatural vices. But wrath is especially unkind.
2263-2437 The story of Alexander and the Pirate was popular; see, for example, St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei 4.4; the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. 146; and Jofroi of Waterford's Secretum Secretorum. Chaucer alludes to the story in The Manciple's Tale. See note to 3.2393.
2299 ff. Latin marginalia: Apostolus: Stipendium peccati mors est. [Apostle: The wages of sin are death.] Romans 6:23.
2317 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota, quod Greci omnem terram fertilem debellabant, set tantum Archadiam, pro eo quod pauper et sterilis fuit, pacifice dimiserunt. [Note that the Greeks attacked every fertile land, and only left Arcady in peace, because it was poor and sterile.]
2342-60 alwei som cause he feigneth . . . / For lucre and for non other skyle. For an ironic illustration of hypocritical militaristic arguments to gain lucre of the sort Genius condemns, see Piers Plowman B.3.175-208. Pacifist sentiment was high among intellectuals in the late fourteenth century, especially after the failure of the 1360 Treaty of Bretingny in 1377, followed by successive English defeats in the Hundred Years' War. The most extreme pacifists were the Lollards (see Hudson, Premature Reformation, pp. 369-70), whose views on this as on some other topics are paralleled by Gower (Galloway, "Literature of 1388"). See also Gower's Latin poem O Deus Immense (Mac 4:362-64), appealing to the king at the end of the century, after he had returned England to military solutions for problems, to seek peaceful solutions. Saul summarizes the point of the poem well: the people suffer because of the king's commitment to war. Instead of initiating purges and imposing censorship, he should hasten into the highways and byways and listen to what his subjects had to tell him. He should let them speak openly, for to suppress their talk was to store up danger. Above all, he should avoid avarice, for the treasure to be collected in people's hearts was more valuable than any amount of treasure he could collect in coin" (Richard II, p. 288). See also pp. 436-37 on Gower's disillusionment with the king.
2366 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic declarat per exemplum contra istos Principes seu alios quoscumque illicite guerre motores. Et narrat de quodam pirata in partibus marinis spoliatore notissimo, qui cum captus fuisset, et in iudicium coram Rege Alexandro productus et de latrocinio accusatus, dixit, "O Alexander, vere quia cum paucis sociis spoliorum causa naues tantum exploro, ego latrunculus vocor; tu autem, quia cum infinita bellatorum multitudine vniuersam terram subiugando spoliasti, Imperator diceris. Ita quod status tuus a statu meo differt, set eodem animo condicionem parilem habemus." Alexander vero eius audaciam in responsione comprobans, ipsum penes se familiarem retinuit; et sic bellicosus bellatori complacuit. [Here he speaks through an instructive example against those princes or any others who instigate illicit wars. And he tells about a certain pirate who was a most notorious pillager in the ocean regions, who, when he was captured and brought in judgment before King Alexander and accused of robbery, said, "O Alexander, truly, since I venture forth with only a few associates for the sake of robbing ships, I am called a pillager; but you, since you have pillaged by subjugating the whole earth with a vast multitude of soldiers, are called an emperor. Thus your estate differs from mine, but we possess an equal circumstance and the same intention." And Alexander, approving his audacity in this response, retained him among his household affinity; and thus the warlike one was pleased with another warlike one.] Yeager ("Oure English,'", p. 47) cites this gloss as a characteristic example of Gower's use of marginalia to create a double voicing, one inside, the other (the Latin) looking in as if from a different world. The story may be found in Augustine, De Civ. Dei 4.4 and Cicero, De repubblica 3.14. In Gesta Romanorum 146, the pirate is named Diomede.
2393 art named "Emperour." Chaucer's Manciple offers the idea in miniature as he describes the relativity of words and deeds, using Alexander and the Outlaw as his example (CT IX[H]223-39).
2438 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic secundum gesta Regis Alexandri de guerris illicitis ponit Confessor exemplum, dicens quod quamuis Alexander sua potencia tocius mundi victor sibi subiugarat imperium, ipse tandem mortis victoria subiugatus cunctipotentis sentenciam euadere non potuit. [Here according to the deeds of King Alexander, the Confessor presents an instructive example, saying that although Alexander by his power subjugated to himself an empire as the conqueror of the whole world, he was nonetheless subjugated by the victory of death, and was not able to avoid the sentence of the Almighty.]
2461 Thus was he slain that whilom slowh. Alexander is not a victim of chance but of his own choices. He epitomizes the unwise king tyrannized by his own will. See Peck (1978, pp. 87-89) on Gower's views on will, choice, and fate. See, especially, VC 2.4.203-08 on this matter.
2484 Withoute cause resonable. For a balanced view of when to wage war but of the preferability of peace, see VC 5.13.961-76.
2490-2515 Gower's attack on the crusades reflects his general disaffection for clerical abuse. See Peck (Kingship and Common Profit, p. 89). Coleman (Medieval Readers, pp. 91-92 and pp. 300-01n88) sees Gower's lack of military ethic to be part of a "disappointment in England's chivalry," where chivalric romance leans toward complaint, and where anticrusade sentiments (e.g., CA 4.1608 ff.) echo "the opinions of the Lollards" (p. 301).
2547 ff. Latin marginalia: Facilitas venie occasionem prebet delinquendi. [Ease of lust offers occasion for sinning.]
2580-98 "The law of nature is here defined by the behaviour of animals" (White, Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 183). Compare 5.4917-31 and 3.2631-32, "where kinde may refer to impulse of an instinctive nature"; see also MO 4885-87 (White, p. 184n32). The point is that Nature does not give reason to human beings. That comes from God in conjunction with humankind's immortal soul. Compare 7.490-93. See also Baker ("Priesthood of Genius," p. 290) on Gower's condemnation of war as part of his affirmation of "kinde" and reason.
2588-89 Olsson (1982, p. 234) suggests that, for Gower, these lines show that a "lawe of kinde" as well as reason "should keep man from injuring others".
2597 honeste. Olsson (1982, p. 232) suggests that the term implies "a generic moral probity (honestum)" (compare 8.1994-97); Genius expressly uses the term here in his accommodation of natural law to reason. It refers to the relationships of shamefastness to reasonability. Compare Gower's use of the term in 7.5388 and 8.2026. See also the Latin marginal gloss at 7.4218.
2599 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota secundum Solinum contra homicidas de natura cuiusdam Auis faciem ad similitudinem humanam habentis, que cum de preda sua hominem juxta fluuium occiderit videritque in aqua similem sibi occisum, statim pre dolore moritur. [Note according to Solinus against homicides concerning the nature of a certain bird having a face like a human one, which, when it killed a man for its prey next to a river and saw in the water that he was similar to the one he had killed, immediately died for grief.]
2600-01 Solyns spekth of . . . fowhles. Compare MO 5029-40. The reference appears to be to Solinus' Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium, which describes strange lands, peoples, and other creatures of the world; but I have been unable to identify the specific passage. Much of Solinus is copied from Philip's Natural History, but I find no reference to such a bird there either. Perhaps he has in mind some form of vulture, with "a face of blod and bon / Lich to a man in resemblance" (3.2602-03) but the point is that the bird serves as a figure of remorse that is deep-seated within its nature, a kind of conscience.
2639-2717 Apparently Gower follows Benoît, Roman de Troie, lines 6519-6612, though the story also occurs in Dares, De Excidio Troiae Historia 16, and Guido, Historia Destructionis Troiae (Gest Hyst. 13.5225 ff.). The moral He mai noght failen of his mede / That hath merci (lines 2639-40) is Augustinian. See Yeager (Pax Poetica, pp. 105-06). The tale itself shows how to end war and stands in opposition to the foolish and fatal war-making of Alexander (see Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, p. 90).
2642 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum de pietate contra homicidum in guerris habenda. Et narrat qualiter Achilles vna cum Thelapho filio suo contra Regem Mesee, qui tunc Theucer vocabatur, bellum inierunt; et cum Achilles dictum Regem in bello prostratum occidere voluisset, Thelaphus pietate motus ipsum clipeo suo cooperiens veniam pro Rege a patre postulauit: pro quo facto ipse Rex adhuc viuens Thelaphum Regni sui heredem libera voluntate constituit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example concerning maintaining a pitying [or pious] restraint against killing in war. And he tells how Achilles along with Thelaphus his son waged war against King Mesea who then was called Theucer; and when Achilles wanted to kill the said king who had fallen in the battle, Thelaphus, moved by pity [or piousness], covered him with his shield and begged mercy from his father on behalf of the king; for which deed the king, still living, willingly established Thelaphus as the heir to his kingdom.]
2703-06 Immoderate love is only partially successful in teaching benevolence. Nonetheless, "by nature man should be inclined to graciousness, trust, and a liberality modeled on the 'fre largesse' of Nature" (Olsson, "Natural Law," p. 246). In Books 1, 2, and 3 Genius "discovered a good in the 'lawe of kinde' independent of its power to offset the sins of malice" (p. 246); in Books 5, 6, and 8, he identifies a "reson" that is "independent of its power to remedy the sins of 'nature'" (p. 247).
2722 Tak pité and compassioun. Pity is the fifth daughter of Patience, the remedy against homicide and wrath in general. See MO 13897-969, where Gower compares it to treacle, a remedy that cures the heart of poisonous swelling and the abscess of old rancor. On the troubled nature of this topic, especially during the machinations of the Merciless Parliament, see Galloway, "Literature of 1388."
Notes to Book 4
Latin Verses i (before line 1). Line 1: Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum ("They say that sloth is the nurse of the vices"). Proverbial. See Whiting S392. Gower's source could be Distichs of Cato. He plays variations on the adage in MO 5266-68 and CA 4.3380-82 and 7.4384-86. Line 4: Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo ("After the horse is stolen [Sloth] closes the doors"). Proverbial. See Whiting S697. Compare CA 4.901-03. Bennett suggests that gnomic phrases such as this lend credit to the idea that the Latin rubrics are Gower's (Gower's Middle English, p. 414).
4 Lachesce, and is the chief of all. Compare Langland, Piers Plowman A 9.25-47, the parable of the man in a boat amidst a storm who is "lost for laccheise of hymselve" (A 9.32).
8 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in quarto libro loquitur Confessor de speciebus Accidie, quarum primam Tardacionem vocat, cuius condicionem pertractans Amanti super hoc consequenter opponit. [Here in the fourth book the Confessor speaks about the species of Sloth, the first of whom he calls Tarrying, and, elaborating its nature to the Lover, he then inquires regarding this.]
9 Tomorwe. Macaulay (2.501) notes the borrowing from MO, line 5606: "Lachesce dist, 'Demein, demein.'"
77-312 Gower bases his adaptation of Dido's story on Ovid's Heroides 7, or some version of Ovid's story with commentary. He also may make use Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum Naturale. See Schmitz, "Gower, Chaucer, and the Classics," for discussion of Gower's use of source materials in composing this account of Dido's response to Aeneas' betrayal. Other medieval retellings of Dido's grief, like Gower's mostly based on Ovid's Heroides rather than the original account by Virgil, may be found in Chaucer's HF, lines 219-432; LGW, lines 924-1367; Jean de Meun's RR, lines 13173 ff., and Pynson's "Letter of Dydo to Eneas" (242 lines with a 63-line prologue and 14-line Envoy), in his Boke of Fame Made by Geffrey Chaucer with dyverse other of his works, 1526?, STC 5088, a poem independent of Gower, Chaucer, and Heroides, though pleasantly affiliated.
On the yoking of Dido and Aeneas, Penelope and Ulysses, Grosseteste, and the Foolish Virgins to exemplify Lachesce, Burrow (Ricardian Poetry, pp. 84-85) observes:
Gower creates a primary effect of wit and ingeniousness. What, the riddle might run, do Aeneas, Ulysses, Bishop Grosseteste, and the Foolish Virgins have in common? But there is also humour, in the relation of the two Ovidian examples to the lover's case. Aeneas and Ulysses each enjoyed the devotion of his lady, and any "lachesse" in such circumstances is unimaginable to Amans. He would not delay for a moment . . . if only his mistress would take the slightest notice of him . . . . Beyond this humour, again, lie possibilities of irony. Both Aeneas and Ulysses were "delayed." . . . [Perhaps] "lachesse in loves cas" is not a vice at all.See also Peck ("Problematics of Irony," pp. 216-18) for a more detailed analysis of irony in Book 4.
80 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos qui in amoris causa tardantes delinquunt. Et narrat qualiter Dido Regina Cartaginis Eneam ab incendiis Troie fugitiuum in amorem suum gauisa suscepit: qui cum postea in partes Ytalie a Cartagine bellaturum se transtulit, nimiamque ibidem moram faciens tempus reditus sui ad Didonem vltra modum tardauit, ipsa intollerabili dolore concussa sui cordis intima mortali gladio transfodit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who are delinquent in the cause of love by tarrying. And he narrates how Dido the Queen of Carthage, rejoicing, wrapped in her love Eneas fleeing from the fires of Troy. When he afterwards betook himself from Carthage to battles in the regions of Italy and, making there too great a delay, unreasonably extended the time of his return to Dido, she, stricken by an unbearable sorrow, stabbed the innermost regions of her heart with a lethal sword.]
99 ff. On Gower's dialogic craftsmanship in shaping the ethical ironies of sloth in Dido's busy letter writing with its swan example, see Peck (1993), pp. 216-18.
104 ff. "This picture seems to be constructed partly from a misreading or misunderstanding of Ovid, Her. Ep. vii.1.f., 'Sic ubi fata vocant, udis, abiectus in herbis / Ad vada Mæandri concinit albus olor.' ["Thus, at the summons of fate, casting himself down amid the watery grasses by the shallows of Maeander, sings the white swan" - trans. Showerman.] It is difficult to see how our author translated these lines, but the result, which must have been chiefly due to his imagination, is rather creditable to him. Chaucer gives the true sense in LGW, lines 1355 ff.: 'Ryght so,' quod she, 'as that the white swan / Ayenst his deth begynneth for to synge: / Ryght so to yow I make my compleynynge'" (Mac 2:502).
147-234 Gower's version of Ulysses' return vaguely follows Heroides 1, though the story is so common and here so brief that he probably wrote from memory.
152 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur super eodem qualiter Penolope Vlixem maritum suum, in obsidione Troie diucius morantem, ob ipsius ibidem tardacionem Epistola sua redarguit. [Here he speaks about the same thing, how Penelope complained in her letter against her husband Ulysses on account of his tardiness, since he was delaying too long at the siege of Troy.]
153 his trewe wif. Bakalian (Aspects of Love, pp. 35-44) sees the Tale of Penelope as part of Gower's celebration of true marriage and "deep and caring love," which the poet characterizes as "honeste" love. It is reciprocal love, as she reminds Ulysses (4.195), showing her "friskey side" as she "wolde his love aquite" as soon as he gets home. Bakalian draws parallels between Gower's views on marriage here and in the tales of Alceone, Alcestis, and Lucrece: all four good wives have strong affinities with the poet's attitude toward marriage in his Traitié.
204-06 On the kinship of imagination, ingenium, the gentil herte (line 206), and "resonable entencion" (4.2270) on the peripheries of sloth, see Olsson ("Aspects of Gentilesse," pp. 242-45). On the loose ties of gentilesse with ingenium, see pp. 253-54. Amans' busyness leads to many forms of invention but without full engagement of his "wittes alle" (4.2387); nor is Genius much help in his sorting out the distinctions. Olsson's essay is quite fine in its relating of matters of idleness and gentilesse of a self-indulgent kind in the tales of Ulysses, Pygmalion, and Araxarathen.
234 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota adhuc super eodem de quodam Astrologo, qui quoddam opus ingeniosum quasi ad complementum septennio perducens, vnius momenti tardacione omnem sui operis diligenciam penitus frustrauit. [Note moreover about the same matter, concerning a certain astrologer who, pursuing for seven years a certain most cunning labor almost to its completion, totally negated all the diligence of his work by the delay of a single moment.] Many apocryphal stories of magic grew up around the reputations of Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon and their experiments. See, e.g., Robert Greene's play, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, which offers a more elaborate version of the story of the talking head of brass: as in Gower, the head talked, but the experimenter slept through his success.
250 ff. The source for the story of the Foolish Virgins is Matthew 25:1-13.
Latin marginalia: Nota adhuc contra tardacionem de v. virginibus fatuis, que nimiam moram facientes intrante sponso ad nupcias cum ipso non introierunt. [Note moreover against delay the account of the five foolish virgins, who taking too much of a delay did not enter the wedding ceremony with the groom when he arrived.]
271 Me was nevere assigned place. Amans' "problem is not in keeping his appointments but getting them" (Pearsall, 1966, p. 476).
317 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor de quadam specie Accidie, que pusillanimitas dicta est, cuius ymaginatiua formido neque virtutes aggredi neque vicia fugere audet; sicque vtriusque vite, tam actiue quam contemplatiue, premium non attingit. [Here the Confessor speaks about a certain type of Sloth which is called Cowardice, whose imaginary fear does not dare to embrace virtues or flee vices. And thus it does not attain the reward of either kind of life, the active or the contemplative.]
365-69 Simpson (1995, pp. 160-61) compares Genius' advocacy of boldness in love to Ovid's Ars Amatoria 1.607-08, where the rustic lover is advised by the praeceptor amoris to go for it, that Chance and Venus help the brave. See also 4.723-25 and 4.1776-85, where Genius' advice is "stickingly close" to that of Ovid's teacher (p. 161).
371 ff. The Tale of Pygmalion and the Statue could be based on Ovid, Met. 10.243-97, or Jean de Meun, RR, lines 20817-21210. The tale was well known, though Genius embellishes it nicely. See Peck ("Problematics of Irony," pp. 222-23). Kuczynski ("Gower's Metaethics," pp. 201-05) offers an analysis of the dangerous role of fantasy in the tale. See also explanatory note to line 1155.
Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa loquitur contra pusillanimes, et dicit quod Amans pre timore verbis obmutescere non debet, set continuando preces sui amoris expedicionem tucius prosequatur. Et ponit Confessor exemplum, qualiter Pigmaleon, pro eo quod preces continuauit, quandam ymaginem ebvrneam, cuius pulcritudinis concupiscencia illaqueatus extitit, in carnem et sanguinem ad latus suum transformatam senciit. [Here he speaks against cowards in the cause of love, and he says that the Lover ought not to keep muted his words because of fear, but by continuing his prayers would more securely pursue the fulfillment of his love. And the Confessor presents an instructive example how Pigmaleon, because of the fact that he continued his prayers, perceived that a certain ivory statue - by the lust of whose beauty he was ensnared - was transformed by his side into flesh and blood.]
448 solein. The gloss "lonely (strange)" is Macaulay's, based on Gower's recurrent use of the term solein/soulein in MO in the sense of "alone, lonely." Macaulay challenges Pauli's reading of "solempne," which "gives neither sense nor metre" (2.503).
451ff. The story of Iphis is from Ovid, Met. 9.666-797. The account of the ring of oblivion, which follows, is perhaps based on Peter Comestor's commentary on Exodus 6 (PL 198, col. 1144). The story also appears (from Comestor) in Ranulf Higden's popular Polychronicon 2:322-25.
451ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum super eodem, qualiter Rex Ligdus vxori sue Thelacuse pregnanti minabatur, quod si filiam pareret, infans occideretur: que tamen postea cum filiam ediderat, Isis dea partus tunc presens filiam nomine filii Yphim appellari ipsamque more masculi educari admonuit: quam pater filium credens, ipsam in maritagium filie cuiusdam principis etate solita copulauit. Set cum Yphis debitum sue coniugi vnde soluere non habuit, deos in sui adiutorium interpellabat; qui super hoc miserti femininum genus in masculinum ob affectum nature in Yphe per omnia transmutarunt. [Here he presents an instructive example about the same thing, how King Ligdus threatened his pregnant wife Thelacuse, that if she bore a daughter he would kill the baby. But nonetheless later, when she had issued forth a baby girl, Isis the goddess of birth, then being present, instructed her to call her daughter Yphis by name and to raise her in the manner of a son. The father, believing he had a son, joined her at the usual age in marriage to the daughter of a certain prince. But when Yphis did not possess the wherewithal to render her debt to her bride, she called upon the gods for help; and these, taking pity on this on account of what nature desires, entirely transformed Yphis' gender from feminine to masculine.]
461 of childinge is the goddesse. In Ovid Isis is identified as Io, in her transformed state. She is the one who reassures Thelacuse that her child will be safe and who, when the time comes, changes her into a male. Gower gives the power of transformation to Cupid (4.488), but here specifies that Isis is goddess of childbirth. In Ovid, she only says she is a goddess who will bring help to those who call upon her (Metam. 9.699-701). The Assembly of Gods (ed. Jane Chance [Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999]) comes closer to Genius' interpretation by observing that "[o]f all maner frute she had the governaunce" (line 335).
475 ten yer age. In Ovid the two are married at age thirteen. See Watt on Gower's having them marry before they are sexually active (pp. 542-46), but also the culture's different attitudes toward females with females and men with men. Female sodomy "seems to have been more or less invisible in Gower's own society; there is little or no surviving evidence in England or Wales of women being examined about sexual misconduct with women" (pp. 543-44).
478-505 The story of Iphis and Iante raises the question of potential homosexuality. White (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 193) suggests that "Nature may be so intent on sexual activity that she is even prepared to operate against her own arrangements for its channelling. The presentation hints that at the bottom of the human psyche lies a naked, unconditioned, undifferentiating sexual impulse - and that suggests something morally anarchic at the bottom of the totality one calls Nature." That is, Nature is reassuringly moral and simultaneously troublingly unreliable. Compare MO, lines 8629-40 and 17185-91, and also the Tale of Canacee and Machaire (3.143-336).
488 Cupide. See note to line 461. By giving the agency of transformation to Cupid, rather than Isis, Genius shifts the emphasis to the power of love rather than women among women, where (in Ovid) Isis remembers her life as Io and argues that if she could be protected by transformation, so too can Thelacuse. Whenever she speaks to Thelacuse the signs of her intention are figured in her horns (recalling the cow, but also the moon, another figure for childing and change).
501 Transformeth Iphe into a man. Trevisa/Higden suggests that such a transformation might be possible within the jurisdiction of nature. After commenting on hermaphrodites and androgony he observes: "we haueþ i-seie and i-herde þat some haueþ i-chaunged hir schap; for we sighe in Affrica a mayde þe same day þat sche scholde haue be i-wedded, i-chaunged and i-torned into a man, and was i-berded anon, and anoon hadde alle lymes as a man schulde haue, and wedded a wyf with inne a schort tyme after. Also Seynte Austyn de civitate Dei, libro 3, capitulo 29, toucheþ þat A. Gellius [libro] Atticarum noctium seiþ þat wommen beeþ somtyme i-torned into men: hit is no made tale, but hit is sooþ as þe lettre is i-write" (Polychronicon 2:195). I have not been able to find the passage in Augustine to which Higden alludes. See also Watt, who observes that according to medieval medical theory "the transformation from female to male was not in itself contrary to nature" ("Sins of Omission," p. 544), citing Thomas Laquer, Making Sex, especially pp. 134-42; and also Joan Cadden, Meaning of Sex Difference, p. 3.
544 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de vicio Obliuionis, quam mater eius Accidia ad omnes virtutum memorias necnon et in amoris causa immemorem constituit. [Here the Confessor treats about the vice of Forgetfulness, whose mother, Sloth, makes her forgetful of every memory of virtue even in the cause of love.]
626 betwen tuo stoles. Proverbial. See Whiting S794. Compare CA Prol.336.
629 Betwen forgetelnesse and drede. Juxtaposition of opposites, "Betwen the tuo extremites" (5.7641), is a common feature of gnomic observation. Compare TC 3.1315: "bitwixen drede and sikernesse." In Gower, e.g., "Betwen the vertu and the vice" (Prol.79, 7.2739); "betwen ernest and game" (Prol.462 - commonplace in Chaucer); "lif and deth" (1.289, 5.5466); "dai and nyht" (4.2994); "the corps and the spirit" (4.2499); "whyt and red" (5.3016); "to moche and lyte" (5.7689); "angel and man" (6.1531); "wel or wo" (4.639, 7.1441, 8.1028); "the trouthe and the falshode" (7.1533); "more and lesse" (7.2015); and "Betwen the reddour and pité" (7.3919, 7.4171), to cite a few.
647 ff. Macaulay notes (2:503):
For the Ring of Forgetfulness here spoken of see Petrus Comestor, Exodus vi., where it is related that Moses in command of the Egyptians captured the chief city of the Ethiopians by the help of Tarbis, daughter of their king, and married her in recompense of her services. Then, wishing to return to Egypt and being detained by his wife, "tanquam vir peritus astrorum duas imagines sculpsit in gemmis huius efficaciae, ut altera memoriam, altera oblivionem conferret. Cumque paribus anulis eas inseruisset, alterum, scilicet oblivionis anulum, uxori praebuit, alterum ipse tulit; ut sic pari amore sic paribus anulis insignirentur. Coepit ergo mulier amoris viri oblivisci, et tandem libere in Aegyptum regressus est" (Migne, Patrol. vol. 198, p. 1144). ["as a man most learned about the stars, he carved gemstones into two images with the following powers: namely that one would produce memory, the other forgetfulness. And when he had inserted these into two similar rings, he offered the ring of forgetfulness to his wife and took the other himself, so that thus they would be engraved with an equal love by equal rings. The woman therefore proceeded to forget her love of her husband, and he finally departed freely into Egypt," trans. Galloway.] Compare Godfr. Viterb., Pantheon, v. (p. 155).
731 ff. The Tale of Demephon and Phyllis was well known. See RR, lines 13211 ff., and Chaucer, LGW, lines 2394-2561. Gower's version seems to be derived from Ovid, Heroides 2, and Remedia Amoris, lines 591-604, though he might also have consulted works such as Hyg. 59; Vat. Myth. I 156 or II 258, or Boccaccio, Genealogie Deorum Gentilium Libri 10.52 and 11.25. Gower alters several details (for example, he reverses Demephon's itinerary so that he is on his way to Troy instead of returning). Gower may have been the first to translate "amygdalus" as "fillibert," thereby creating the pun. Lydgate follows Gower's suggestion in The Temple of Glas, line 88, and The Complaint of the Black Knight, lines 68-70.
733 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa contra obliuiosos ponit Confessor exemplum, qualiter Demephon versus bellum Troianum itinerando a Phillide Rodopeie Regina non tantum in hospicium, set eciam in amorem, gaudio magno susceptus est: qui postea ab ipsa Troie discendens rediturum infra certum tempus fidelissime se compromisit. Set quia huiusmodi promissionis diem statutum postmodum oblitus est, Phillis obliuionem Demephontis lacrimis primo deplangens, tandem cordula collo suo circumligata in quadam corulo pre dolore se mortuam suspendit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against Forgetfulness in the cause of love, telling how Demephon in traveling toward the Trojan war was received with great joy by Phillis, queen of Rodopeia, taken not only in hospitality but also in love, and who subsequently departing from her for Troy faithfully promised that he would return within a certain time. But because he later forgot the established day of this promise, Phillis, at first bewailing tearfully Demephon's forgetfulness, finally, wrapping a rope around her neck, for sorrow hanged herself to death on a hazel tree.]
823-26 Remarking on the constancy of Phillis' vigil, and in reference to Gower's tender regard for Canacee, Medea, and Lucrese, Pearsall observes: "It is . . . women who draw forth Gower's largest humanity and his most deeply effective expressions of that humanity" (1966, p. 481).
Latin verses iv (before line 887). Sowing and bearing fruit are common metaphors for sexual relations and bearing offspring; see, e.g., RR, lines 19701-35.
892 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de vicio Necgligencie, cuius condicio Accidiam amplectens omnes artes sciencie, tam in amoris causa quam aliter, ignominiosa pretermittens, cum nullum poterit eminere remedium, sui ministerii diligenciam expostfacto in vacuum attemptare presumit. [Here the Confessor discourses about the vice of Negligence, whose nature it is to embrace Sloth and ignominiously neglect all the skills of knowledge, both in love's case and elsewhere. Then, when no remedy is found in his case, he attacks groundlessly and after the fact assails the courtroom officer's diligence.] Note: remedium, minister, and expostfacto are all legal terms, in keeping with the metaphor of a badly handled court case.
901-03 grete stiede . . . stable dore fast. Proverbial. See Whiting S697.
979-1034 The story of Phaeton was well known. See Ovid, Metam. 2.1-328; Hyginus, Fab. CLIV; Vat. Myth II (57); and Boccaccio, Genealogie Deorum Gentilium Libri 7.41. Macaulay notes (2.504): "The moral drawn by Gower from the story of Phaeton is against going too low, that is abandoning the higher concerns of love owing to slothful negligence. The next story is against aiming too high and neglecting the due claims of service."
982 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic contra vicium necgligencie ponit Confessor exemplum; et narrat quod cum Pheton filius Solis currum patris sui per aera regere debuerat, admonitus a patre vt equos ne deviarent equa manu diligencius refrenaret, ipse consilium patris sua negligencia preteriens, equos cum curru nimis basse errare permisit; vnde non solum incendio orbem inflammauit, set et seipsum de curru cadentem in quoddam fluuium demergi ad interitum causauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against the vice of Negligence; and he narrates that when Phaeton, the son of the Sun, was about to steer his father's chariot through the air, he was admonished by his father that, lest he misguide his horses, he should rein them in with an equal hand. But he ignored his father's counsel by his negligence, and allowed the horses and the chariot to wander too far down; whence not only did he burn the earth with fire, but he also caused his own demise by falling from the chariot into a certain river.]
1035-71 For the story of Icarus see Ovid, Metam. 8.183-259, though the story was common, e.g., Vat. Myth. II (61). See CA 4.5286.
1039 ff. Latin marginalia: Exemplum super eodem de Icharo Dedali filio in carcere Minotauri existente, cui Dedalus, vt inde euolaret, alas componens, firmiter iniunxit ne nimis alte propter Solis ardorem ascenderet: quod Icharus sua negligencia postponens, cum alcius sublimatus fuisset, subito ad terram corruens expirauit. [An instructive example on the same thing, concerning Icarus, the son of Daedalus: while they were in the Minotaur's prison, Daedalus, fashioning wings that he might escape, firmly enjoined him not to rise too high on account of the sun's heat. But Icarus dismissed this because of his negligence, and when he had risen up too high, he rushed suddenly down to the earth and died.]
1087 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor super illa specie Accidie, que Ocium dicitur, cuius condicio in virtutum cultura nullius occupacionis diligenciam admittens, cuiuscumque expedicionem cause non attingit. [Here the Confessor speaks about that species of Sloth which is called Idleness, whose condition it is to take on no diligence of any labor in the cultivation of virtues, and not to attain to the fulfillment of any cause whatsoever.]
1155 besinesse. See Kuczynski, "Gower's Metaethics," on Gower's double-valenced use of the term besinesse here and elsewhere in Book 4 as part of his discussion of the Tale of Pygmalion and the Statue and its relationship to the ethics of choice.
1167 nede hath no lawe. Proverbial, and (apparently) a legal maxim. See Whiting N51. See also CA 8.75, and Piers Plowman B.20.10 ff.
1180 mi contienance I pike. Macaulay (2.505) glosses the sense to be: "thus I keep up a pretence (for staying)," comparing the line to 1.698, "And many a contenance he piketh." Certainly he is concerned with such a pretense, but his means seems to be preparing an agreeable countenance to meet the occasion with his best face on.
1196 mi busi whiel. An image of playing Fortune's game, but also of the busy circumnavigation of his gaze, as she is the hub that he watches from all angles.
1245 ff. No specific source is known for the Tale of Rosiphilee, though stories of punishment for aloof ladies are common in medieval literature. See Neilson, "Purgatory of Cruel Beauties." The plot is somewhat akin to that of Dame Sirith, where a woman is frightened by a terrifying alternative into becoming sexually active, though here the moral is more gentle. The tale has been regarded by many as among Gower's best-told stories. See Nicholson (Annotated Index, pp. 274-79).
1249 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos qui amoris occupacionem omittentes, grauioris infortunii casus expectant. Et narrat de quadam Armenie Regis filia, que huiusmodi condicionis in principio iuuentutis ociosa persistens, mirabili postea visione castigata in amoris obsequium pre ceteris diligencior efficitur. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who, omitting attention to love, have in store a fall of graver misfortune. And he narrates about a daughter of the king of Armenia, who, persisting lazily in this condition in early youth, and then chastised by a miraculous vision, is made more diligent than anyone in servility to love.]
1301 madle. From Anglo-Norman madl(e), a variant of "mâle." Gower uses the word again in CA 7.4215: "The madle is mad for the femele." See also "Femelle et madle en un enfant" (MO, line 1029); and "la mort depose / Son madle, soule se dispose" (MO, line 17884-85).
1321-22 J offers the following couplet instead of the lines in F: The beaute of hire face schon / Wel brihter þen þe cristel ston, an attractive alternative followed in some other manuscripts.
1396-402 Kendall, in his discussion of women as household exchange notes that the groom's princess laments the "loss of status" (Lordship and Literature, p. 144) due to her refusal to love/marry thus warning Rosiphilee of the cost of her "independent agency. . . . To serve household interests with her own will is to write herself out of household activity after marriage. Rosiphelee's vision instructs her to decide to become a sign of the bond by which patrimonies are transferred and men achieve lordship" (p. 145). She will join the adorned procession of exemplary ladies who "appear as personally empty signs of marriage" (p. 145).
1452-54 Love is an occupacion . . . . Love, gentilesse, and idleness all seem to be ambiguously linked here, pointing to a subversion of aristocratic notions of ease and the games surrounding demandes d'amour, as Genius argues both sides of the questions. See Olsson (1989), pp. 230-41. The model behind these subjective courtly equivocations is RR and the courtesies of Oiseuse (Idleness) and the Garden of Deduit (Pleasure). See Fleming (pp. 78-80) on idleness, otium, and luxuria.
1454 ff. Latin marginalia: Non quia sic se habet veritas, set opinio Amantum. [For the truth is not thus, but this is the opinion of Lovers.]
1467-84 In exploring Genius' cultural relationship with Venus, White amusingly suggests: "One might try to see Genius as priest-in-charge of a very difficult parish: he can legitimately lament Venus' moral shortcomings and still be determined to serve her, perhaps to bring her into a more satisfactory moral state"; nevertheless, "telling evidence that Genius finds his double loyalty unsustainable comes with [his] final recommendation that Amans should abandon love . . . his double status . . . seems to suggest that while his priesthood presses him toward nature, his association with love is an association with vice" ("Division and Failure," p. 609). See 8.2075-88.
1495-96 Whyl sche the charge myhte bere / Of children. Genius suggests that the woman who is "slow to marry" might have children in the meantime anyway, and he notes that marriage would impose onto her the full burden of supporting them. Although the passage strays increasingly far from the initial point of the tale of Rosiphelee, Genius addresses a pressing economic reason for marriage from an unmarried mother's point of view. Women were apparently marrying much later or not at all in the later fourteenth century, evidently in part because of attractive wages after the population decline from the Black Death. Many women in late fourteenth century England kept working (as servants or others) into their mid-twenties, and perhaps up to 17 percent never did marry: see Goldberg (Women, Work and Life Cycle, e.g., pp. 20, 329). Goldberg's evidence suggests that sexual involvement was assumed in many of the disputes about marriage contracts that reached law courts (p. 329), implying that illegitimate children might be common; but Goldberg also hypothesizes (in contrast to Genius) that one reason women did delay marriage in this period was precisely to put off the burden of many children that an early marriage would more likely impose (p. 352). Goldberg argues that, by the late fifteenth century, the drop in procreation was severe enough that English culture began emphasizing women as wives and mothers and disparaging them as workers, a pattern of social prejudice against working women that, with periods of exception, obtained for centuries (see e.g., p. 352). Yet this prejudice against women who married late or never is already apparent in Genius' comments here. (See Galloway, "Literature of 1388.")
1505 The Tale of Jephthah's Daughter is based on Judges 11. The story is also briefly retold in Chaucer's Physician's Tale, though with a reversal of the moral as Virginia offers prayers of gratitude for preserving her virginity. Genius' account adheres more closely to the Vulgate.
1508 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum super eodem: Et narrat de filia Iepte, que cum ex sui patris voto in holocaustum deo occidi et offerri deberet, ipsa pro eo quod virgo fuit et prolem ad augmentacionem populi dei nondum genuisset, xl dierum spacium vt cum suis sodalibus virginibus suam defleret virginitatem, priusquam moreretur, in exemplum aliarum a patre postulauit. [Here he presents an instructive example about the same thing, and he narrates about Jephthah's daughter, who, when by her father's vow she ought to have been offered in a sacrifice to God and killed, besought from her father a span of forty days to lament with her companions her virginity, as an example for other women - because she was a virgin and had not yet given birth for the augmentation of the people of God - before she would die.]
1524 Mai no man lette that schal falle. Proverbial and ancient, evidently predating Christian ethics (compare Beowulf, line 455, "Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel!" [fate always proceeds as it must]).
1562-89 In his discussion of "bourgeois didactisism" in Gower, Galloway ("Gower's Quarrel") writes: "By framing [Jephtha's daughter's] death in terms of lost productivity and situating it with other economic morals in the book of Sloth, Gower emphasizes an ethic in which material and population gain is the selfless goal of community, by which the people might be encressed." . . . Such an ethic is obviously alienated from the immediate self-interest of survival. She acquieses in her death . . . without complaint about that" (p. 249). Galloway then contrasts Chaucer's adaptation of the story in The Physician's Tale, which converts the sense from common profit to one of proper governance (pp. 249-562).
1619 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur quod in amoris causa milicie probitas ad armorum laboris excercicium nullatenus torpescat. [Here he declares that in the cause of love, probity of military service for the exertion of labor in arms should by no means become lax.]
1633 lo, wher he goth! The line has resonances of Troilus' fame as he passes Criseyde's window in Chaucer's poem, while the people exclaim over his valor (TC 2.610-58); certainly his fame serves him well in the busy-ness of love. As he passes the window a second time, Pandarus asserts, "Lo, yond he rit!" (TC 2.1284), to which Criseyde replies, "Ye, so he doth!"
1650-55 Amans' sheepish faintheartedness (see 5.6945) derives more from fourteenth-century French dits amoreux than from the heartier RR. See Burrow (1983), especially pp. 6-11.
1682 Bot nou ho ther, I seie no more. The Lover's ideas have drifted close to a topic of great controversy in the 1380s and 1390s: clerics on crusade. Most dangerously, his views echo the complaints of the heretical and pacifist Lollards concerning crusades. On the broader topic of Gower's pacifism see explanatory note to 3.2342-60. Many orthodox writers and intellectuals as well as Lollards were incensed by the "crusade" mounted by bishop Henry Despenser of Norwich in 1383 against the "schismatic" (French-supported) Pope Clement VII, on behalf of the English-supported Pope Urban VI. For good reason, the endeavor was controversial in the English parliament and court, before, during, and after its miserable failure. Bishop Despenser took five months to be utterly defeated in the battle on behalf of the pope, fighting Flemish supporters of Clement even though most of the Flemish supported Urban. For discussion and listing of the Lollard writings against this, see Hudson and Gradon, English Wycliffite Sermons, pp. 146-51. (See also Galloway, "Literature of 1388.")
1693 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic allegat Amans in sui excusacionem, qualiter Achilles apud Troiam propter amorem Polexenen arma sua per aliquod tempus dimisit. [Here the Lover alleges in his excuse, how Achilles at Troy on account of love for Polyxena put away his arms for a certain time.]
1710 To winne chaf and lese whete. An inversion of the proverb "Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille" (CT VII[B2]3443). See Whiting W205. The metaphor is biblical; see Jeremiah 23:28, Matthew 3:12, and Luke 3:17, but also Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:6. Compare also CT II(B1)701-02, X(I)35-36, and LGW G.312, G.529. See Robertson, A Preface to Chaucer, pp. 58, 316-17, and Peck, "St. Paul and the Canterbury Tales" (Mediaevalia 7 , 92-96).
1757-60 besinesse. See Kuczynski on besinesse as a metaphysical concept reaching back to Abelard. See also Gower's treatment of the idea in his Tale of Pygmalion.
1815-95 The story of Nauplus and Ulysses is referred to in Ovid, Metam. 8.39, and Hyginus, Fab. XCV, though both name Palamedes, son of Nauplius, as the exposer of Ulysses. Gower also adds the foxes to pull the plow instead of the horse and oxen, as in Hyginus.
1818 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit quod amoris delectamento postposito miles arma sua preferre debet: Et ponit exemplum de Vlixe, cum ipse a bello Troiano propter amorem Penolope remanere domi voluisset, Nauplus pater Palamades eum tantis sermonibus allocutus est, quod Vlixes thoro sue coniugis relicto labores armorum vna cum aliis Troie magnanimus subibat. [Here he says that, postponing the pleasure of love, a knight ought to prefer taking up arms; and he presents an instructive example about when Ulysses wanted to remain at home from the Trojan war on account of his love for Penelope, that Nauplus the father of Palamades spoke to him with such speeches that Ulysses, leaving behind the bed of his wife, magnanimously took up the labors of arms, along with the others to Troy.]
1901-34 The worth of King Protesilaus is recorded in Ovid, Heroides 13.
1901 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat super eodem qualiter Laodomia Regis Protheselai vxor, volens ipsum a bello Troiano secum retinere, fatatam sibi mortem in portu Troie prenunciauit: set ipse miliciam pocius quam ocia affectans, Troiam adiit, vbi sue mortis precio perpetue laudis Cronicam ademit. [Here he narrates about the same thing, how Laodomia, the wife of King Protesilaus, wishing to keep him away from the Trojan war and with her, prognosticated his destined death in the port of Troy. But he, desiring militarism over idleness, went to Troy, where he purchased a historical record of perpetual fame for himself, at the price of his death.]
1935 ff. The account of Saul is based on 1 Kings 27-31 (1 Samuel 27-31, KJV).
Latin marginalia: Adhuc super eodem, qualiter Rex Saul, non obstante quod per Samuelem a Phitonissa suscitatum et coniuratum responsum, quod ipse in bello moreretur, accepisset, hostes tamen suos aggrediens milicie famam cunctis huius vite blandimentis preposuit. [Moreover on the same thing: how King Saul, even though he had received the response from Samuel (raised from the dead by Phitonissa and conjured to answer) that he would die in war, nonetheless, he attacked his enemies, putting the fame of military achievement before all pleasures of this life.]
1963-2013. The education of Achilles by Chiron is based upon Statius is based upon Statius, Achilleid 2.110-28. See note to 3.1923-81 on the violence of chivalric education. N.b., Wtherbee, "Rome, Troy, and Culture" (pp. 29-31), on Gower's subsequent modifications of Statius in the Tale of Achilles and Deidamia (5.2961-2301), as Achilles, withdrawn from the context of the male chivalry he learned from Chiron, "adapts to life as a girl with remarkable and wholly uncanonical ease" that is quite apart from chivalry. He is "both graceful and . . . innocent" in his new role and so convincingly assimilated into the feminine virtues of "honour, servise and reverence" that even Ulysses is unable to recognize him.
Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur quod miles in suis primordiis ad audaciam prouocari debet. Et narrat qualiter Chiro Centaurus Achillem, quem secum ab infancia in monte Pileon educauit, vt audax efficeretur, primitus edocuit, quod cum ipse venacionibus ibidem insisteret, leones et tigrides huiusmodique animalia sibi resistencia et nulla alia fugitiua agitaret. Et sic Achilles in iuuentute animatus famosissime milicie probitatem postmodum adoptauit. [Here he states that a knight in his beginning years ought to be stirred to valor. And he tells how Chiron the centaur, who had taken Achilles unto himself from infancy to educate him to be bold, from the beginning taught him, when he was in pursuit of game, to attack lions and tigers and other animals of that sort which offered resistance to him, and not any others that fled him. And Achilles thus disposed from youth later most famously acquired his excellence in arms.]
2014-2134 The story of Hercules and Achelous may be found in Ovid, Met. 9.1-97, though Gower relies on other sources for making Mercury his father (elsewhere in classical sources it is Jupiter) and for mention of the pillars of Hercules. The latter were well known in the fourteenth century; see, e.g., Higden, Polychronicon 1, cap. 11, pp. 302-05; and Chaucer, The Monk's Tale, CT VII(B2)2117-18. Gower is apparently unique in naming Achelous "Achelons" (a form repeated in the Traitié 7 where the same story is found [Mac 1:383-84]). Gower's misreading of u as n in the Latin sources he used for the name was a common sort of error in some medieval scripts; "textura" script, for example (often used for elegant Latin), makes u and n nearly indistinguishable (Galloway, "Literature of 1388").
2045-2131 The author of Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) adopts these lines as his own in Arg. 6 on Hercules, Achilous and Deianire.
2048 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit, quod Miles priusquam amoris amplexu dignus efficiatur, euentus bellicos victoriosus amplectere debet. Et narrat qualiter Hercules et Achelons propter Deianiram Calidoinie Regis filiam singulare duellum adinuicem inierunt, cuius victor Hercules existens armorum meritis amorem virginis laudabiliter conquestauit. [Here he says that before a knight may be made worthy for the embrace of love, he ought to grasp military actions most victoriously. And he tells how Hercules and Achelon entered into single combat with one another on account of Deianira, daughter of the king of Calidonia, and as the victor in this by merit of arms Hercules most praiseworthily conquered the virgin's love.]
2135 ff. The accounts of Penthesilea and Philemenis derive from Benoît, Roman de Troie, lines 24309 ff. and 25767 ff.
Latin marginalia: Nota de Pantasilea, Amazonie Regina, que Hectoris amore colligata contra Pirrum Achillis filium apud Troiam arma ferre eciam personaliter non recusauit. [Note concerning Penthesilea, queen of Amazonia, who, bound to love of Hector, did not excuse herself from personally bearing arms at Troy against Pirrus the son of Achilles.]
2148 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter Philemenis propter milicie famam a finibus terre in defensionem Troie veniens tres puellas a Regno Amazonie quolibet anno percipiendas sibi et heredibus suis imperpetuum ea de causa habere promeruit. [Note how Philemenis, for the fame of military glory, came from the boundaries of his own land in defense of Troy; and for that reason he merited having three young women provided each year in perpetuity from the kingdom of Amazonia, to be possessed by himself and his heirs.]
2183 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota pro eo quod Eneas Regem Turnum in bello deuicit, non solum amorem Lavine, set et regnum Ytalie sibi subiugatum obtinuit. [Note that since Aeneas conquered King Turnus in battle, he obtained not only Lavinia's love but also the subjection of the kingdom of Italy.]
2199 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit, quod generosi in amoris causa sepius preferuntur. Super quo querit Amans, Quid sit generositas: cuius veritatem questionis Confessor per singula dissoluit. [Here he states that nobles are more often preferable in the cause of love. Regarding this, the Lover asks what nobility is; the truth of the matter the Confessor elaborates point by point.]
2204-2319 Genius' discussion of gentilesse is Boethian in origin (see especially Consolation of Philosophy 3.pr.6 and m.6) and bears many details in common with Chaucer's views. See Chaucer's "Gentilesse," as well as the discussion of the subject in The Wife of Bath's Tale (CT III[D]1109-64) and The Franklin's Tale. Gower first expressed the ideas in MO, lines 23389 ff. See also Dante, Convivio 4.10 ff., and Jean de Meun's RR, lines 18607-946, both of whom draw upon Boethius. For discussion of Gower's debate on gentilesse as an ambiguous courtly virtue see Olsson (Structures of Conversion, pp. 119-46). Also see note to 4.2270, below.
2209-11 long time is falle in age . . . hih lignage / After the forme. Compare Chaucer's "Gentilesse," where the lineage of the virtue is traced back to the "firste stok" (line 1), that is to Christ ("the firste fader in magestee" - line 19), in whose "forme" (to borrow Gower's term), rather than in public offices such as pope, king, or cardinal ("Al were he mytre, croune, or diademe" - lines 7, 14, 21), the "traces" of the virtue may be found (line 3).
2226 Al was aliche gentil tho. Compare the popular adage: "Whan Adam delve and Eve span, / Who was then the gentleman?" The couplet was used in the Rising of 1381 but had a long lineage before that time. See Albert Friedman, "'Whan Adam Delved . . .': Contexts of a Historical Proverb," in Larry Benson, ed., Learned and the Lewed, pp. 213-30.
2245 ff. Latin marginalia: Omnes quidem ad vnum finem tendimus, set diuerso tramite. [We all are indeed headed to one end, though by diverse pathways.]
2269-70 after the condicion / Of resonable entencion. Olsson (Structures of Conversion, p. 131), cites Dante's Purgatorio to exemplify the inner workings of gentilesse, apprehension, and intentionality in these lines. As Dante puts it: "Each one apprehends vaguely a good wherein the mind may find rest, and this it desires" (Purgatorio 17.127-28), and "Your faculty of apprehension draws an image from a real existence and displays it within you, so that it makes the mind turn to it; and if, thus turned, the mind inclines toward it, that inclination is love" (18.22-26; Singleton trans. as cited by Olsson). J. D. Burnley's discussion of medieval cognitive psychology is useful in understanding what Gower means by the condicion (Chaucer's Language, pp. 103-06).
2312-15 no beste, / . . . with love scholde aqueinte, / . . . make it queinte / . . . while that it laste. Genius engages in wordplay of a courtly/sexual kind that is well suited to the refined sensibility of gentilesse he wishes to convey. Compare Chaucer's HF, lines 239-52, where, in describing the initial lovemaking of Dido and Aeneas, the narrator gets caught up to the point of embarrassment in his "queynte" words describing "[h]ow they aqueynteden in fere" (lines 245, 250; with a pun on "that faculte" [line 248] as well) to conclude, somewhat self-righteously: "Hyt were a long proces to telle, / And over-long for yow to dwelle" (lines 251-52). Gower's remarks on the effects of love as beasts with love scholde aqueinte ("become intimate with" each other - MED aqueinten v. 1 [a]) and make it queinte (i.e., behave charmingly, or, perhaps, friskily) share in this playful idea of sex. For Genius, as a force of nature, the sexual connotations of courtesy are positive; but as he presents them, they are also noble, appropriate to gentilesse and fin amour. [W]hile that it laste acknowledges the transience of such physical love and emotional highs.
2321 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de amore caritatis, vbi dicit, Qui non diligit, manet in morte. [Note concerning the love of charity, where it says, "Who does not love remains in death."] See explanatory note to line 2325.
2325 1 John 3:14: "He that loveth not, abideth in death."
2342-44 Job 5:7.
2348 ff. Latin marginalia: Apostolus: Quecumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt. [Apostle: "Whatever things are written, they are written for our wisdom." See Romans 15:4. Compare Chaucer's Nun's Priest: "For Seint Paul seith that al that writen is, / To oure doctrine it is ywrite, ywis; / Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille" (CT VII[B2] 3441-43).
2363 ff. That man must labor is one of the primary conditions of postlapsarian existence (Gen. 3:17-19). In Gower's scheme, each man must reclaim Paradise for himself, and that effort involves mental as well as physical cultivation. (Compare Chaucer's PF, lines 15-18, and his Canon's Yeoman's philosophy of labor.) Many of the founders of the various arts, industries, and sciences which Genius enumerates are found in Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon, though not all occur there. See Macaulay (2:508-11). Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon, ch. 3, also has such a passage.
2377 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur contra ociosos quoscumque, et maxime contra istos, qui excellentis prudencie ingenium habentes absque fructu operum torpescunt. Et ponit exemplum de diligencia predecessorum, qui ad tocius humani generis doctrinam et auxilium suis continuis laboribus et studiis, gracia mediante diuina, artes et sciencias primitus inuenerunt. [Here he speaks against idle men of whatever sort, and particularly against those who, possessing an intellect of excellent power, grow languid without gaining the fruit of any labor. And he presents an instructive example concerning the diligence of those who have come before, who originally discovered the arts and sciences for the wisdom and assistance of the entire human race, by their continual labors and inquiries, and with the assistance of divine grace.]
2396-98 Cham . . . wrot in Hebreu. Cham was the first and oldest son of Noah. St. Augustine, Civ. Dei 16.11, identifies Heber, a descendent of the fifth generation of Cham (Sem, Ham) as the one through whom Hebrew survives (thus the name Hebrew, called after him). Augustine argues that after the flood, when the languages were divided, Hebrew survived only with Cham and his descendents. Augustine does not provide Gower's specific source for the idea, however, and different sources give different inventors for the Hebrew alphabet. According to Hugh of St. Victor (Hugh, Didascalicon 2.3), "The letters of the Hebrews are believed to have taken start with Moses through the written Law" (trans. Taylor, p. 85). Higden/Trevisa's Polychronicon gives the credit to Enoch (2:223).
2399-2400 Of naturel philosophie / He (Cham) fond ferst also the clergie. Remigius' commentary on Donatus' Ars Minor gives Cham credit for erecting two columns that preserve the arts (see Didascalicon 3.2, trans. Taylor, p. 210, note to line 34). The idea is given more full treatment in Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon:
Temporibus Nini legitur Cham, sistere uita.2401 Cadmus. On Cadmus as inventor of the Greek alphabet, see Godfrey of Viterbo, Pantheon 6, col. 157: "Tunc Cadmus Graecas literas sedecim fecit. Apollo etiam cytharam condidit, et artem medicinalem inuenit. Eo tempore orti sunt Theologi, qui de dijs falsis carmina composuerunt, ut Orpheus, Museus, Linus . . ." ["Then Cadmus made the 16 Greek letters; Apollo invented the harp, and the art of medicine; at that time theologians arose who composed songs about false gods, such as Orpheus, Museus, Linus . . . "], trans. AG. See also Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae 1.3.5-6, as adapted by Hugh of St. Victor, which tells how "Cadmus brought the alphabet from Phoenicia into Greece" (Hugh, Didascalicon 3.2, trans. Taylor, p. 86).
Abstulit et regnum sibi Ninus rex Niniuita,
Primus in astrologis Cham sua scripta tulit,
Ninus eum pepulit, ne rex foret ipse rebellis,
Omnibur exustis quos scripserat ipse libellis,
Nam timet arte sua, ne sua regna ruant.
Septem quas legimus, Cham, primus scripserat artes
Philosophos docuit per sydera noscere partes,
Quas iterum reliqui, post didicere uiri.
Has artes, longis Cham scripserat ipse columnis,
Ne uel ab igne simul pereant, uel hiantibus undis
Aerea uel lateris, quaeque columha fuit.
[Cham is said to have passed his life in Ninus' time: Ninus, king of the Ninevites, took his kingdom from him. Cham first undertook to write about astrology, and Ninus expelled him, lest Cham become a king to rebels, and caused all the writings Cham had produced to be burned; for Ninus feared his art, lest his kingdom be destroyed. Cham first wrote down the seven arts that we learn, and through them he had taught philosophers to know the parts of the heavens and to leave them again to others, and after for men to teach them. These arts Cham had written onto long columns, lest they perish either by fire or the engulfing waves; each column was of bronze or brick.] Pantheon 3, col. 105 (trans. Galloway).
2403 Theges. For Tages on augury see Hugh of St. Victor: "Mercury is reported the first discoverer of illusions; the Phrygians discovered auguries; Tages first gave soothsaying to the Etruscans; hydromancy first came from the Persians" (Hugh, Didascalicon, ed. Charles Henry Buttimer, vi.xv, as cited in trans. Taylor, p. 155).
2405 Philemon be the visage. On Philemon, inventor of physiognomy, see Secretum Secretorum, under the heading "Certeyne rewles of phisnomy, to knowe by onely thoght when men lokes on any man, of what condicions he es," where we learn that "Aristotal sais howe þat in tyme of Ypocras þer was a philosopher hight Philomon, þat was chefe mayster and hyest doctur of þis science." The passage goes on to discuss Philomon's disquisition on "þe complexion" pertaining to people who are "lucherus, deceitus, auarus, and lyfyng liccherie" and such "thynges filthy and reprouable" (British Library MS Sloane 213, fol. 118, Secretum Secretorum, ed. Manzalaoui, pp. 10-11).
2407 Cladyns. Claudian, an Alexandrian writer who came to Italy c. 395 A.D. and was admired as the last representative of the classical tradition in Latin poetry by such writers as Orosius and Augustine. In the later Middle Ages he is known mainly through the De raptu Proserpinae (The Rape of Proserpine), which was a common school-text for learning Latin.
Esdras. "After the Law had been burned by the Chaldeans and when the Jews had returned to Jerusalem, Esdras the scribe, inspired by the Divine Spirit, restored the books of the Old Testament, corrected all the volumes of the Law and the Prophets which had been corrupted by the gentiles, and arranged the whole of the Old Testament into twenty-two books, so that there might be just as many books of the Law as there were letters in the alphabet" (Isidore, Etymologiae 6.3.1-2, as quoted by Hugh, Didascalicon 4.4, trans. Taylor, p. 105).
Sulpices. Possibly Sulpicius Servius, author of love poems, mentioned by Horace and Ovid, or Sulpicius Camerinus, an epic poet mentioned by Ovid; though more likely Sulpicius Apollinaris, scholar, teacher of Aulus Gellius, author of learned letters, and verse summaries of the Aeneid and the plays of Terence. (See Oxford Classical Dictionary, p. 1023.) Recueil de Textes sur Saint Martin (Épinal, MS 73, fol.1) has an early twelfth-century illumination of Sulpitius dictating to Abbot Richer. Jean Porcher (French Miniatures, pl. 13) identifies the figure as Sulpicius Severus.
2407-12 Lists of authors, whether chroniclers or inditers, often appear in medieval works for edification. E.g., see Machaut's Le Livre dou Voir Dit, lines 5709-42, on inventors and lawgivers; 5743-60 on the seven wise men of Rome; and 5779-94, where the king instructs the lover through a list of writers on the difficulty that even the wisest men have in dealing with women who drive them mad with love and flirtation. Or TC 5.1792, where Chaucer sends his "litel bok" (5.1786) to kiss the steps of writers he would emulate. Here, in lines 2407 ff., Gower instructs his audience in the names of diverse early writers, without specifying their kinds of writing or intentions.
2408 Termegis. Macaulay (2.508) suggests that Termegis refers to Termegistus (i.e., Hermes Trismegistus) and is disyllabic with the stress on the final syllable. In his translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus' De Proprietatibus Rerum Trevisa cites Trismegistus variously as an authority on the soul, alchemy, and the geometry of God.
Pandulf. Curial historian, author of Liber Pontificalis, a collection of biographies of popes, beginning with St. Peter and continuing to the early twelfth century. Pandulf was nephew to Hugo of Alatari.
Frigidilles. I have not been able to establish who he might be. Dares of Phrygia, author of De Excidio Troiae Historia, on the fall of Troy, might be a possibility.
2409 Menander. The most famous Greek poet of the New Comedy, which prevailed after the death of Alexander the Great. Though he wrote over one hundred plays, only one survives. He was quoted by writers as diverse as Propertius and St. Paul. Most of the plays of Terence are avowedly derived from him. In the Middle Ages his name became synonymous with the writing of comedy, though no one in England would have seen a copy or read a translation. It is just a name with which to conjure.
Ephiloquorus. Hamilton suggests that "the name of Eutropius may be hidden under 'Ephiloquerius,'" a chronicler of "the stories of Romanes" mentioned in Jofroi's version of the Secreta Secretorum (pp. 340-41), a "chronique" Gower appears to have drawn upon repeatedly in Books 4 and 7. For Eutropius in lists of various medieval authorities see Hamilton, p. 341n3.
2410 Solins. Probably refers to Solinus rather than Solon, the sixth-century (B.C.) Athenian lawmaker, though Machaut cites "Solons dathennes" (Solon of Athens) in his list of the seven wise men of Rome (Machaut's Le Livre dou Voir Dit, lines 5751-52). But in CA 3.2600 ff., he is cited as a wise man of natural science, which suggests Solinus, the author of Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium, with all its curiosities of the natural world.
Pandas. I have been unable to identify this writer.
Josephus. First-century author of history of the Jews, often cited by early Christian commentators. He is frequently referred to by Higden and Trevisa (Polychronicon). He is mentioned by Chaucer, HF: "The Ebrayk Josephus the olde, / That of Jewes gestes tolde; / And he bar on hys shuldres hye / The fame up of the Jewerye" (lines 1433-36).
2413 Heredot. Herodotus, ancient Greek historian, called by some the "father of history," who recorded cultural events through observations of place and the construction of heroes, like Solon, Croesus, or Cleomenes. He was admired by Cicero, Lucius, and Quintillian for his sweet and beauteous style as well as his grandeur and emotional power.
2418 Jubal. According to Genesis 4:21, Jubal, brother to Tubalcain, is the inventor of the art of harp and organ playing. His name was commonly confused with that of his brother in the Middle Ages, the distinction being between Tubal and Tubalcain. E.g., Chaucer, "Tubal, / That found out first the art of songe; / For as hys brothres hamers ronge / Upon hys anvelt up and doun, / Therof he took the firste soun" (BD 1162-66). Or as Lydgate puts it: "Tubal was fadyr & fynder of song, / Of consonantes, and of armony. . . . For Tubal came furst þe melody / Of sugryd musyk, and of mynstralsy" ("A Pageant of Knowledge," in Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pp. 724-38, lines 66-70). Cursor Mundi refers to them as Cubal and Cubaltain. (I, T, and C are not always easily distinguishable in medieval hands.) As far as Jubal is concerned, however, Gower has it right.
2420 Poulins. Macaulay is surely right in identifying Poulins as Apollo, citing Pantheon 6, col. 157: "Apollo etiam citharam condidit et artem medicinalem invenit" (2:508) [Apollo invented the harp and the art of medicine]. See also Pantheon 6, col. 133: "Illis temporibus, Moses erat orbe superstes, / Tunc et Apollo fuit remouens medicamine pestes. / In cunctis medicus primus Apollow fuit" ["In those days Moses was living on earth, and then Apollo was taking away disease with medicine: Apollo was first of all as a doctor"], trans. Galloway. Lydgate, in "A Pageant of Knowledge," a work directly influenced by Gower's discussion of discovers and inventors, writes: "Phebus fond furst craft of medicine, / By touche of pounce, veyne, & inspeccions" (in Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pp. 724-38, lines 108-09). The initial vowel in Gower's naming of him has simply been dropped by aphaeresis.
2421 Zenzis. Zeuxis is commonly cited as the founder of portrait painting. See RR, lines 16155-79, a passage often fittingly illuminated with pictures of him painting from diverse models.
2422 Promotheus the sculpture. Trevisa explains the matter this way: "Me[n] saiþ þat Prometheus, Raptus his sone, and Atlas þe astronomere, his broþer, made men; so seiþ Ouidius in Magno; naþeles þat is i-seide, for of men þat were vnkonnynge and boistrous as bestes he made konnynge [men] and wise. Isidorus 13o. Also for me[n] redeþ þat he made ymages of men goo and walke in þe grounde by a certeyn craft" (Polychronicon 2:311). Macaulay (2:508) cites Godfrey of Viterbo. The passage is Pantheon 5, col. 143: "Tunc et Prometheus, qui filius est Atlantis / Dat statuas hominis humano more meantis" ["And then Prometheus, who is Atlas' son, provides statues of a man moving in a human manner"], trans. Galloway.
2425 Tubal in iren and in stel. See explanatory note to 4.2418 on the confusion of Tubal with his brother Jubal. Tubalcain, according to Genesis 4:22, is the first artificer in brass and iron. Cursor Mundi calls him "þe formast smyth" (line 1518).
2427 Jadahel. Jabal, son of Ada (Genesis 4:20). Macaulay (2:508-09) notes that Godfrey of Viterbo (Pantheon 2 col. 91) "calls him by the same name and makes the same statement about his hunting and fishing: In mundo Iadahel posuit tentoria primus, / Venator prior ipse fuit, feritate ferinus, / Primus et invalidid retia mersit aquis" ["Jadahel first established tents on earth; savage in his brutality, he was the first hunter; and he first submerged nets into yielding waters"], trans. Galloway.
2433 Verconius. I have not been able to identify this reference.
2435 Minerve. Compare 5.1202-03. The tradition of Minerva as inventor of cloth-making is strong: "They tell that the practice of fabric making was first shown the Greeks by Minerva, and they believe too that she designed the first loom, dyed fleece, and was the inventress of olive-growing and of handicraft" - Isidore, Etymologiae 19.20.1-2, as adapted by Hugh, Didascalicon 3.2 (trans. Taylor, p. 85). Or, Trevisa, Polychronicon: "þis mayde Pallas, þat heet Mynerua also, fonde vp meny craftes, and specialliche wolcraft, and was the li3tloker i-trowed a goddes. For me (men) wiste litel whennes sche come" (2:297). Compare Lydgate, "A Pageant of Knowledge" (in Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pp. 724-38), lines 87-88.
2437 Delbora made it of lyn. In CA 8.62 ff., she is identified as Adam and Eve's second daughter, who marries Abel. A prominent source for the idea is Methodius' Apocalypse, which is a principal source for Higden, in Polychronicon (2:221). Trevisa picks up on the idea in "Methodius: 'þe Bygynnyng of þe World and þe Ende of Worldes'" ("Methodius: 'þe Bygynnyng," p. 95). According to Polychronicon (2:221), Delbora and Abel were born in the thirtieth year (Brunetto, Tresor 1.20.2 says thirty-second year) of Adam's life and Seth in the hundred and thirtieth year. In Cursor Mundi, "Seth spoused his sister delbora" (line 1449), an idea that is repeated in line 1502, the idea being that after her first husband's death, she marries the brother, according to Hebrew law. I have found no precedent for her discovering how to make linen, though Lydgate follows Gower in declaring that "Delbora of lynen cloþe makyng / The practyke sought, bokes bere wytnesse" ("A Pageant of Knowledge," in Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pp. 724-38, lines 89-90). Given the purity of Seth's line in the ancestry of Christ, it makes sense to give the invention of linen to Delbora, since it is regarded as the purest of cloths, one not made from animals. See Gilroy (History of Silk), who cites Apuleius, Jerome, and Plutarch on the purity of the fabric and its use in religious vestments. Machaut's Le Livre dou Voir Dit says that Noema (a child of Lamech, see Genesis 4:22) invented linen-making and in her name fabric and cloth are fashioned (lines 5727-30). On the history of linen-making and its uses see Pliny, Naturalis historiae, 19.i-vi.
2439-56 Saturn is usually portrayed as cold, cruel, and malicious. See CA 7.935-41. Compare Chaucer's Knight's Tale CA 1(A)2443-78; or The Assembly of Gods, lines 279-87. But, under the governance of Jupiter he also has a gentle, benevolent side which Genius alludes to here. Bartholomaeus Anglicus' De Proprietatibus Rerum (trans. Trevisa, 8, cap. 12) begins: "Saturnus haþ þat name of saturando 'makynge fulness and plente: His wif hatte Opis of opulencia 'fulnes and plente' þat sche 3eueþ to man and beest, as Isidir seiþ and Marcianus also" (1.478). Given his affinity for opulence, mining and thus coin-making (lines 2448-55) are under his jurisdiction. See also Godfrey's Pantheon 6, cols. 117-18, cited in part by Macaulay (2:509):
Saturnus statuit super aequora vela moueri,2457 Latin marginalia: Nota de Alconomia. [Note concerning Alchemy.]
Denarios posuit commercia rite mereri.
Ipse prior clypeos mulitiis ante gerit.
Navibus Italiam prior hic ornasse putatur.
Aedificans Sutrium, dum vivit ibi dominatur,
Triticeum semen primus in urbe serens.
Saturnus natum latuisse Iovem recitatur.
In Sutrio latuit, Latium locus ille vocatur.
[Saturn established that sails would be moved across the waters; he established that commerce would properly merit using money. He first carried forward the shields of a soldier. He is thought to have first ornamented Italy with ships. Building Sutrium, he was lord there as long as he lived, first sowing wheat seed in the city. Saturn is said to have hidden his son Jupiter: in Sutrium he lay hidden; he calls the place "Latium"] (trans. Galloway).
2468-78 In alchemy each of the seven planets is affiliated with a metal whose properties it shares. Compare Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman:
And, as in Gower, the planets and their metals are affiliated with four spirits - quicksilver, orpyment, sal ammoniac, and brimstone. See CT VIII[G]820-24, and John Reidy's note to VIII[G]820 (The Riverside Chaucer, p. 950) along with his introduction to the tale (pp. 946-48), delineating possible sources (mainly translations from Arabic) for passages such as these in Chaucer and Gower, especially sources such as Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum Naturale and Arnaldus de Villanova.
Sol gold is, and Luna silver we threpe,
Mars iren, Mercurie quyksilver we clepe,
Saturnus leed, and Juppiter is tyn,
And Venus coper, by my fader kyn! (CT VIII[G]826-29) assert
2472 Jupiter the bras bestoweth. Usually Jupiter is linked with tin. (See note to 4.2468-78, where Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman says tin and also the Lydgatian Assemblie of Gods, lines 269-71, where Jupiter has a crown of tin upon his head.) Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper. Perhaps the idea is that Jupiter is in one of his amorous or delicate moods, copper being "set . . . to Venus" (4.2473). This characterization of Jupiter is unusual. The only other instance linking Jupiter with bronze that I have been able to locate is in Christian de Pisan's Epistle of Othea (fable 6), which was written about a decade after Gower composed the line in CA. Chaucer uses double metals - "tynned yron" or "led and yron" in HF (lines 1482 and 1431) - to comment on Virgil (guided by Jupiter and Mars) and Josephus (under the influence of Saturn and Mars), though use of alloys in which the primary affiliation is hidden is less common.
2501 sevene formes. The seven are enumerated in lines 2513-18.
2533 Thre stones. Compare Lydgate, Secrees of Old Philisoffres, lines 530-34: "And of stoonys / Specially of three - / Oon myneral / Another vegatatyff . . . [and] Oon / was Callyd anymal." Steele suggests that "stoonys" here does not mean "stone," but rather "compound" and that these were three compounds used in medicine. He cites the Rosarium Philosophorum as a parallel text: "Tres sunt lapides, et tres sales sunt, exquibus totum magisterium consistis: Scilicet mineralis, plantalis, & animalis" (p. 93). [There are three stones, and three salts, from which all teaching is set firm: namely mineral, plant, and animal.] Some argued that there is only one potent stone, the philosopher's stone, called the Elixir, a three-in-one stone, with powers to cure the sick.
2534 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de tribus lapidibus, quos philosophi composuerunt, quorum primus dicitur lapis vegetabilis, qui sanitatem conseruat, secundus dicitur lapis animalis, qui membra et virtutes sencibiles fortificat, tercius dicitur lapis mineralis, qui omnia metalla purificat et in suum perfectum naturali potencia deducit. [Note concerning the three stones that philosophers created, the first of which is called the vegetative stone, which preserves health; the second the animal stone, which fortifies the limbs and the senses; the third the mineral stone, which purifies all metals and leads them into its own perfection by its natural power.]
2571 to the rede and to the whyte. The final stages in alchemical transformation, to red gold or to white silver. In the most elaborate alchemical schemes, a "marriage" must occur between the Red Man and the White Woman-two forms of the philosopher's stone-to transform a base metal into gold or silver. It is not clear that Gower understands the more arcane symbolism of this science; for a late fifteenth-century effort to make it all clear to "lay-men" (line 2, p. 5), see Thomas Norton's Ordinal of Alchemy: e.g., "Then is the faire white woman / Mariede to the rodie mane" (5.2663-64). Gower's syntax shows that here rede is (as often in nonalchemical contexts) simply gold itself, and whyte is (as also in nonalchemical contexts) simply silver, in respect to both of which the philosopher's stone has "pouer to profite" (line 2572) (Galloway "Literature of 1388").
2606 Hermes. Presumably Hermes Trismegistus, the "inventer of alchemy," to whom many thirteenth and fourteenth century alchemal treatises such as the Emerald Tablet are attributed.
2608 Geber. Of the early Islamic alchemists, Geber is the most often cited, with over five hundred works attributed to him. One tenth-century Arab alchemist claimed he never existed; others have attempted to link him with Jabir (Abu Musa Dschabir Ben Hayan Ben Abdullah el-Sufi el-Tarsusi el-Kufi, an alchemist from the ancient city of Kufa, now in present-day Iraq), though some have attempted to place him in eighth-century Spain. Others say he traveled a lot, fearing to be in one place too long because of his skills in the arts. The work most often linked with his name in the fourteenth century is the Summa Perfectionis, a work M. P. E. Berthelot says is thoroughly Latin in origin and derives from the thirteenth century ("Géber et ses œvres alchimiques," 1:336-50). Macaulay (2:510) cites Super Artem Alkemie, a work on the refining of gold and silver, attributed to Geber in Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 1384 (SC 7578-87).
2609 Ortolan and Morien. Ortolan (also cited in alchemical treatises as Hortolanus) is a name sometimes used for John Garland, who was primarily a rhetorician. A treatise on alchemy, Compendium Alchimiae, was often attributed to him, though it was actually by one Martin Ortolan. Garland, it seems, gained not only an item for his bibliography but a new name as well. See Thorndike (History of Magic, vol. 3 , ch. 11), on Ortolanus and his influence.
Morien "is said to have been a hermit in the mountains near Jerusalem. The two 'books of Morien' in the form of dialogues between him and Kalid the son of Gesid may be read in Latin (translated from Arabic) in MS. Digby 162" (Mac 2:510). See also Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 1416 (SC 7609-11), fols. 90r and 91r. Hermes, Geber, Ortolon, Morien, and Avicenna are frequently cited together in popular early to mid-fourteenth-century alchemical treatises such as Arnald of Villanova's various Rosaries, the Desiderabile Desiderium, attributed to John Dastin (mid-fourteenth century), and Petrus Bonus' Pretiosa Margarita Novella (c. 1330). See Thorndike (History of Magic, vol. 3, chs. 3-5).
2610 Avicen. Avicenna (980-1037) lived in Persia, the district of Bokhara. A great deal is known about his childhood and latter life. About one hundred treatises are attributed to him, many of which circulated in England in the fourteenth century. His best-known and most-copied work is his Canon of Medicine. Macaulay notes that a "short treatise of Avicen on Alchemy may be found in MS. Ashmole 1420" (2:510).
2624 the parfite medicine. The perfect medicine is that which has the capacity to transform the imperfect to completeness. As an alchemical idea it pertains to the "elixir" with its capacity to "werk to be parfit" (4.2576-77), the power to change base metals or alloys to silver or gold; it may also be affiliated with the philosopher's stone that can transmute metals or be medicine to restore (refine) health or life, whether to metals or creatures.
2637 Carmente. Evander's wife, a prophetess, and, according to Hyg. 278, the mother of Cadmus. She brought an alphabet of fifteen letters, based on Cadmus' Greek alphabet, to the Latins. See Godfrey of Viterbo, Pantheon 6, col. 159: "Post [Faunum] regnavit Latinus, cuius mater nomine Carmentis, nympha, literas Latinas invenit" ["after Faunus Latinus reigned, whose mother was the nymph Carmentis, who invented Latin letters"], trans. Galloway. See also Tacitus, Annales 11.14, and Isidore, Etymologiae 1.4.l, 5.39.1. Martianus Capella derives her name from carmen (a song or prophetic chant) because she "got her name from the songs she poured out as prophesies" (vol. 2, p. 53). Gower referred to Carmente earlier in the CA Prologue, Latin verses i, line 4; see explanatory note, vol. 1, p. 284.
2640 Aristarchus. Aristarchus of Samothrace, head of the library at Alexandria, was reputed to be "extremely scholarly," the one with whom scientific scholarship began (Oxford Classical Dictionary, p. 159). He wrote commentaries on Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, and Greek dramatists. He was viewed by medieval writers as a great schoolman.
2641 Donat and Dindimus. Aelius Donatus, fourth-century teacher of St. Jerome, was the most influential grammarian. His Ars Minor introduces beginning students of Latin to the eight parts of speech and grammatical functions; the Ars Maior is more advanced and includes sections on flaws and virtues of speech. He also wrote commentaries on Terence and Virgil (Oxford Classical Dictionary, pp. 494-95). Dindimus is Didymus (first century B.C.), a student of Aristarchus at Alexandria, who is said to have written between thirty-five and four thousand works - redactions, commentaries, lexicography, grammar studies on orthography and inflections, synopses of Solon, and others (Oxford Classical Dictionary, pp. 467-68).
2648 Tullius with Cithero. Gower seems to consider Tully and Cicero to be two different people. See Macaulay's note (2:510). Compare CA 7.1588-1606, where Tullius is a rhetorician and watchman over rules of order, and Cithero a Roman consul in debate over the execution of Catiline and his coconspirators.
2654 Jerom. The translator of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate). He was a student of Donatus.
2668-69 in poesie / To the lovers Ovide wrot. The allusion is to such works in general as Amores, Ars Amatoria, and the Remedia Amoris, though love lies at the heart of the Heroides and many of the tales in the Metamorphosis, Gower's two most favored sources.
2669-71 To the lovers Ovide wrote / . . . if love be to hot, / In what manere it scholde akiele. Ovid's Remedium Amoris parodically sets itself to disenchant lovers; it was much revered in medieval culture as an indication that Ovid at some point had transformed his licentious morality, evident in such works as the Ars Amatoria, into a more nearly Christian morality (AG).
2675-79 See Simpson (1995, pp. 150-51) on reading and consent. "Amans's reply insists on the connection between desire and literary understanding . . . Amans, then, as desire, desires only the fulfillment of his very self" (p. 151). Genius, as "enformer" (see 2.2496-500), must find the means whereby he can "enforme" him.
2676 I wolde his bokes rede. See Simpson (Sciences and the Self, pp. 230-71) on issues of reading as a key factor in Gower's poetic, a poetic rooted in imagination: "What else is the Confessio Amantis than, at one level, an extended and extremely subtle account of the psychology of reading?" (p. 254). See also 4.875-88 as an account of the components of reading, and 7.5411-19 on Amans' difficulty in being an attentive reader/listener. "The end of the play . . . reveals the way in which the imagination plays an intricate part in the process of psychic reintegration" (p. 269).
2706 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de Sompnolencia, que Accidie Cameraria dicta est, cuius natura semimortua alicuius negocii vigilias obseruare soporifero torpore recusat: vnde quatenus amorem concernit Confessor Amanti diligencius opponit. [Here he speaks concerning Somnolence, which is called the chamberlain of Sloth, whose half-dead nature it is to excuse itself by sleepy torpor from observing the vigils of any business. Wherefore the Confessor very diligently questions the Lover as far as this concerns love.] The phrasing "observing the vigils" metaphorically invokes an evening religious service that Somnolence has missed by falling asleep.
2795 rede and here of Troilus. Lovers are often presented as wishful readers where the subject of their text offers an unheeded warning. E.g., in Dante's Inferno 5, lines 127-38, where Paolo and Francesca are reading the romance of Lancelot ("Galeotto fu l'libro e chi lo scrisse" - "A pimp was the book and he who wrote it") when they are caught and murdered by her husband. In Chaucer's TC Criseyde is reading the ominous "romaunce . . . of Thebes" (2.100) when Pandarus approaches her with his "uncle" proposition. In a felicitous touch Gower has Amans' fantasy feasting on the story of Troilus (presumably from Chaucer's text, which was dedicated to Gower), as the lover panders his imagination with happy love thoughts, heedless of the poem's dark conclusion.
2855 Ha, whi ne were it day? Gower gives Amans' alba a comic twist. In most auroral complaints, lovers are conventionally happily in bed together, lamenting the approach of dawn. E.g., the Prayer of Cephalus (CA 4.3187-3252), which fulfills the conventions exactly, as Cephalus literally lies in bed with Aurora, beseeching Apollo to hold back the sun. See also TC 3.1450-63, where Troilus bemoans the coming of "cruel day" (3.1450) that will separate him from his Criseyde; or The Reeve's Tale, where Aleyn laments "Fare weel, Malyne, sweete wight! / The day is come; I may no lenger byde" (CT I[A]4236-37); or where Romeo and Juliet, in Shakespeare's play (3.5), try to convince themselves that the lark is a nightingale so that the night might last. Here the poor solitary Amans laments the duration of night, yearning for day, though also thinking, in his restless frustration "upon the nyhtingale" (4.2872).
2876-83 See Olsson ("Love, Intimacy, and Gower," pp. 73-77) on Amans' fantasies of stolen love, his fear of opposition, and the marketplace conception of his desires, which are intimate and secure for him only insofar as they remain mental, fictive, and private. In their "world of unsecured truths and shape-shifting fictions, the only constant is an unstable carnal appetite that willy-nilly fosters physical intimacy" (p. 78).
2903 Danger is left behinde. Loss of inhibition is often a feature of the psychology of medieval literary dreams. See RR, lines 2411-35, where the lover, in his dreams, holds his beloved quite naked in his arms; or the condition where, in his mind, he does all that he desires to do, with no constraint from the woman (lines 21553-750).
2927 ff. The story of Ceïx and Alceone is based on Ovid, Met. 11.266-748. Compare Chaucer's retelling of the tale in Book of the Duchess, lines 62-220, especially the descent into the cave of sleep, and also the storm scene in VC 1.1663-94. Gower may be working from Chaucer here, but that does not inhibit his own powers of invention.
Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum, qualiter Sompnia prenostice veritatis quandoque certitudinem figurant. Et narrat quod, cum Ceix Rex Trocinie pro reformacione fratris sui Dedalionis in Ancipitrem transmutati peregre proficiscens in mari longius a patria dimersus fuerat, Ivno mittens Yridem nunciam suam in partes Chymerie ad domum Sompni, iussit quod ipse Alceone dicti Regis vxori huius rei euentum per Sompnia certificaret. Quo facto Alceona rem perscrutans corpus mariti sui, vbi super fluctus mortuus iactabatur, inuenit; que pre dolore angustiata cupiens corpus amplectere, in altum mare super ipsum prosiliit. Vnde dii miserti amborum corpora in aues, que adhuc Alceones dicte sunt, subito conuerterunt. [Here he presents an instructive example, how dreams sometimes represent the certainty of truth, prognosticatively. And he narrates that when Ceix, king of Trocinia, was drowned while traveling abroad on the sea very far from his country on behalf of his brother Dedalion, who had been transformed into a hawk, Juno, sending Yris her messenger into the regions of Chymeria to the house of Sleep, ordered that her messenger should certify through dreams the outcome of this matter to Alceona, the wife of the said king. When this was done, Alceona, investigating the matter, discovered the body of her husband where it had been tossed up dead on the waves; and she, desiring to embrace the body, for wrenching grief threw herself into the deep sea after it. Wherefore the gods, pitying them, immediately transformed both of their bodies into birds, which to this day are called "halcyons."]
2930 hire oghne hertes lif. Bakalian reiterates her proposition that this tale, like those of Penelope, Alcestis, and Lucrece, emphasizes the virtues of true marriage - the authority, dignity, holiness, and honor. Neither Ceix nor Alceone are guilty of Sloth, but, rather, they embody its remedy (Aspects of Love, p. 46). Indeed, we might turn to the Mirour de L'Omme to understand the virtuous behavior they embody that cures Sloth - their Prouesce (MO, lines 14101-15180) and her children: Alceone in her diligence stands "Vigile, contre le vice de Sompnolence" (MO, lines 14101-10); she is magnanimous rather than indolent (Peresce, MO, lines 14197-98) as she pursues her lost husband through prayers and vision; and her love is constant, rather than lazy (Lacheté, MO, lines 14318-19), and solicitous rather than idle (Oedivesce, MO, lines 14401-06), as she flies over the water to reach him. In sum, her/their behavior is knowing and wise (Science), rather than negligent, full of conscience and intelligence, reason and remembrance (MO, lines 14592-604).
2979-81 Bennett points out that Caxton, in his translation of Ovid, follows Gower's account of Iris' visit to the cave of Morpheus, borrowing such descriptive phrases as reyny cope (line 2979) and colours of diverse hewe (line 2981) in his "And dyde on his rayne cope" and description of the bend of the rainbow "dyversly colowred" ("Caxton and Gower," p. 216). See also note to 4.3014b-19.
3009-14a The soporific effects of the running stream of Lethe Gower takes from Ovid, Met. 2.602-04: "muta quies habitat; saxo tamen exit ab imo / rivus aquae Lethes, per quem cum murmure labens" [ "There mute silence dwells. But from the bottom of the cave there flows the stream of Lethe, whose waves gently murmuring over the gravelly bed, invite to slumber"], 4.163.
3014b-19 Again, the details follow Ovid, Met. 11.610-12:
at medio torus est ebano sublimis in antro,Gower's hebenus that slepi tree (line 3017) is a felicitous touch, as if, besides its soft, black, nighttime properties, it has a medicinal slepi quality. Trevisa/Bartolomaeus, De Proprietatibus Rerum 17.52, says that ebenus makes a soft, sweet-smelling smoke and that it is good as a purge and for "comforte"; in a salve (collirium), it "helpeþ yhen" (2.944), but no mention is made of its being a soporific. Caxton admired the line and borrowed from it in his "The cowche was made of Hebenus that sleepy tree" (Bennett, "Caxton and Gower," p. 216). Henry Bradley ("'Cursed Hebenon,'" pp. 85-86) suggests Gower's line as source for Marlowe's "jouyce of Hebon" (Jew of Malta 3.4.103), which in turn lies behind Shakespeare's potent juice of hebona that Claudius pours in old Hamlet's ear. Spenser may also have hebonus that slepi tree in mind in Faerie Queene 2.7.52, where the tree of "Heben sad" grew in the Garden of Proserpina, surrounded by "a blacke flood which . . . is the river of Cocytus deepe." All three Renaissance writers could have, of course, been drawing upon Caxton, without knowing the original source of the phrase.
plumeus, atricolor, pullo velmine tectus,
quo cubat ipse deus membris languore solutis.
[But in the cavern's central space there is a high couch of ebony, downy soft, black-hued, spread with a dusky coverlet] (trans. Miller, 4.163).
3020-21 fethrebed alofte . . . with many a pilwe of doun. Compare Chaucer's BD, lines 248-55, where the narrator offers gifts of a featherbed, black satin coverlet, pillows, and striped pillowcases to the gods if they will grant him sleep. Apparently Gower's Iris made her journey after Chaucer's narrator fulfilled his pledge! Ovid mentions no featherbed or pillows, though the ebony bed is "plumeus" and has a dark coverlet (Met. 2.611).
3059-62 In liknesse of hir housebonde . . . / These othre tuo it schewen al. The orchestration of the dream, with Morpheus' different helpers playing different roles and maneuvering stage-scenery, resembles a courtly "Disguising" or "Interlude," various names for brief plays. For brief descriptions and further references, see Wickham (Medieval Theatre, pp. 159-66, 169-75.) (See also Galloway, "Literature of 1388.")
3088 double harm. A grief two times over. Compare TC 1.1: "The double sorwe of Troilus."
3114 Hir will stod as it was tofore. Pearsall contrasts Ovid's transformations with Gower's, where though her body changes to "briddes forme" (line 3109), Alcyone's will remains unchanged, "an affirmation of the pathetic endurance of wifely fidelity" (1966, p. 480).
3187 ff. Amans' Prayer of Cephalus is based, perhaps, on Ovid's Amores, 1.13.39-40, though there the situation is reversed, with Aurora invoking the steeds of night. The lover's aubade is apparently original for the most part with Gower. Saturn's metal is lead; it is thus associated with dullness and slowness. Cephalus would have the sun residing under Saturn's influence in order that it might be slow getting up. See Specht on the rhetorical prescriptions of adlocutio (dramatic soliloquy that impersonates an appeal for pity).
3190 ff. Latin Marginalia. Hic dicit quod vigilia in Amantibus et non Sompnolencia laudanda est. Et ponit exemplum de Cephalo filio Phebi, qui nocturno cilencio Auroram amicam suam diligencius amplectens, Solem et lunam interpellabat, videlicet quod Sol in circulo ab oriente distanciori currum cum luce sua retardaret, et quod luna spera sua longissima orbem circuiens noctem continuaret; ita vt ipsum Cephalum amplexibus Aurore volutum, priusquam dies illa illucesceret, suis deliciis adquiescere diucius permittere dignarentur. [Here he says that wakefulness not Somnolence should be praised among lovers. And he presents an instructive example concerning Cephalus the son of Phebus, who, in the silence of night embracing his girlfriend Aurora very diligently, called out to the sun and moon, asking, namely, that the sun might slow down its chariot with his light in making an orbit more distant from the east, and that the moon, traveling an orbit with a very long trajectory, might prolong the night, so that they might deign to permit Cephalus, wrapped in the embraces of Aurora, to enjoy his pleasures longer before the day might shine.]
3240-42 nyhtes mone and the goddesse . . . in Cancro thin oghne hous. Luna (moon, Diana) is at home only in Cancer, the fourth mansion, the house of treasures and terminations. If Luna and Venus share Cancer in gladness (4.3245), it is a happy and profitable time for lovers (Walter Clyde Curry, Chaucer and the Medieval Sciences [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1926], pp. 173-75).
3269 Of all his dette he paieth non. The "conjugal debt" is sex, as the common medieval interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:3 asserted; for contemporary literary comments, see, e.g., The Wife of Bath's Prologue, CT III(D)129-30, and The Parson's Tale CT X(I)375.
3317 ff. For the story of Mercury and Argus see Ovid, Metam. 1.588-721. The author of Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) uses lines 3317-52 as the basis of his "translation" of Ovid's story of Io and Argus.
Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur in amoris causa contra istos qui Sompnolencie dediti ea que seruare tenentur amittunt. Et narrat quod, cum Yo puella pulcherima a Iunone in vaccam transformata et in Argi custodiam sic deposita fuisset, superueniens Mercurius Argum dormientem occidit, et ipsam vaccam a pastura rapiens, quo voluit secum perduxit. [Here he speaks in the cause of love against those who, having given themselves over to Somnolence, lose those things which they are held to preserve. And he narrates that, when Io, a very beautiful young woman, was transformed into a cow by Juno and had been thus deposited in the custody of Argus, Mercury intervened, killing Argus while he was asleep, and snatching the cow from the pasture, leading her with him where he wanted.]
3321 the goddesse. In Ovid, Jupiter turns Io into a cow to hide her from Juno. In Gower Juno turns her into a cow, setting up Argus as watchman, as a punishment for infidelity.
3354 mochel Slep doth ofte wo. Genius' aptitude for gnomic statements serves well to conclude the narrative in terms of his particular goals. The tale becomes a survey of sleepy choices in which its folk lose themselves through somnolence.
3390 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur super vltima specie Accidie, que Tristicia siue Desperacio dicitur, cuius obstinata condicio tocius consolacionis spem deponens, alicuius remedii, quo liberari poterit, fortunam sibi euenire impossibile credit. [Here he speaks against the last species of Sloth, which is called Sadness or Despair, whose obstinate character it is to put away the hope of any consolation, and to believe that the good fortune of any remedy, by which it might be freed, could not possibly come to it.]
3396 Tristesce. "Gower's addition of Despair as a seventh child of Envy is a master stroke. It provides fitting conclusion to the first half of the Confessio . . . . Amans shares more than he would like to see with Dido and Phyllis, those lovers strung up between hope and suicide" (Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, p. 96). N.b., the variety of terms Genius uses to define this sin: obstinacie (4.3434), wanhope (4.3443), desesperance (4.3499), despeire (4.3541), which he twice rhymes with empeire (4.3505, 4.3542), to get at the potent impairment of dwindling effects caused by tristesce, as it leans toward suicide.
3434 ff. Latin marginalia: Obstinacio est contradiccio veritatis agnite. [Obstinacy is the rejection of recognizing the truth.]
3489-95 David Allen, remarking on the analogy of Amans' love of his lady, who offers him no hope, and the penitent Christian's hope for divine grace, suggests that Amans makes a stride forward by intuiting "the flaw in the analogy between earthly and heavenly love upon which his entire confession is based" ("God's Faithfulness," p. 210).
3498-99 I am in Tristesce al amidde / And fulfild of Desesperance. "Genius ends the book with the tale of Iphis' suicide outside the gate of his would-be mistress, Araxarathen, who refuses to recognize him. It is a fit emblem of the lover of fantasy's fate. Though Genius may not have a very full understanding of the moral implications of this tale of self-destruction through indulgence of willful fantasy, his example at least shows Amans the futility of despondency. That is in itself some consolation" (Peck 1978, p. 97).
3515 ff. See Ovid, Met. 14.698-761. Gower reverses the social rank of the lover and his mistress. In Ovid, Anaxarete is highborn while the youth is lowborn. Ovid's lady feels no remorse; she is simply turned into a stone as she sees the funeral pass by her window. See Macaulay's discussion (2:513), but, especially that of David Allen, who argues thoughtfully that Gower uses the tale in its altered form to introduce theological considerations on the efficacy of God's volition. The Tale of Iphis at the beginning of Book 4 suggested that the god of love is favorable to those stable in love (see 4.443-44). The opposite seems to be the case here, as nothing this Iphis does can move Araxarathen. By reversing the social rank of the lover and mistress Gower ties the story more directly into the debate over God's potential and absolute powers. (See explanatory note to 4.3577-80.) "Amans has given himself over to a being . . . of absolute power" who rejects him absolutely; but all the while he imagines that "the lady has ordained a way for him to win her favors," according to the ordination of the Christian God ("God's Faithfulness," p. 218). Amans thus stands "in a state of complete contradiction" (p. 219), his labor being sloth rather than true "busynesse." See also Burke ("Women in John Gower's Confessio," pp. 248-50).
3518 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat qualiter Iphis, Regis Theucri filius, ob amorem cuiusdam puelle nomine Araxarathen, quam neque donis aut precibus vincere potuit, desperans ante patris ipsius puelle ianuas noctanter se suspendit. Vnde dii commoti dictam puellam in lapidem durissimum transmutarunt, quam Rex Theucer vna cum filio suo apud Ciuitatem Salamynam in templo Veneris pro perpetua memoria sepeliri et locari fecit. [Here he narrates how Iphis, the son of King Theucer, on account of love for a certain girl, Araxarathen by name, whom he was not able to conquer by gifts or pleas, in despair hanged himself one night before the doors of the father of the said girl. Wherefore, the gods, moved, transmuted the said girl into a most hard stone, which King Theucer caused to be located and buried along with his son in the temple of Venus in the city of Salamyna, in perpetual memory.]
3577-80 David Allen links the wording here to the death of another king's son, Christ, who dies "showing his love for an inferior, humanity" ("God's Faithfulness," p. 213). Similar readings of the story are found in the Ovide Moralisé, especially 14.5601-05; whereas William Donald Reynolds points out that the reader is instructed to "say allegorically that this girl is the soul, this young man Christ who was hung on the gibbet of the cross for love of her" ("Ovidius Moralizatus," p. 414).
3627-28 And as I dede, do to me. / For I ne dede no pité. In Ovid, Anaxarete is "unmoved by her lover's fate." In Gower, "stricken with remorse" over her lack of pity, Araxarathen follows the golden rule and begs for punishment. "She behaves, in fact, like a lady" (Pearsall, "Gower's Narrative Art," pp. 480-81).
3648-66 See Lynch's discussion of this vivid description with which Genius concludes his tale. The descriptive technique differs from the rest of the tale, written in a plain style, with little pictorial material (pp. 173-76). Lynch calls the tale an epitome of the way Gower points his narratives.
JOHN GOWER, CONFESSIO AMANTIS: TEXTUAL NOTES
44 Mi. Mac reads My, as in B. So too in lines 48, 79, and 1998. B often reads My, but F, S, and J usually read Mi, as in this instance.
71 othre. So in F, A, J, C, S, and B; Mac: other.
117 Bot. So in S and Mac; F: Bo; J: Bote; B: But.
149 sette. So in F and A. Mac emends to set on the basis of J, S, and B.
352 Envie. F: Ennvie; J: enuie; S: Enuie; B: enuye. Mac's emendation.
Latin Verses iii (before line 383). Line 2: infamem. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: infamen.
409 suche. Mac emends to such, as in J, S, and B.
674 sche. So in F, S, and B; J: heo; Mac: she. So too in lines 678, 848, and 1587.
710 hire. So in J, S, and Mac; F: hiere; B: hir.
844 cast. So in F, J, and B. Mac emends to caste, as in A, C, and S.
890 dai. So in F, J, and S; B and Mac: day.
949 thonk. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: thong. So also in line 2562.
1039 forfet. So in B; F: forffet; J: forfeet. Mac reads forsfet, as in S.
1103 mo men sih sche. So in A, S, and Mac; F: no men seih sche; J: no men seith hire.
1151 forth with. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: forthwith. So too in lines 1479, 1495, and 1803.
1169 ne. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: no.
1353 which. So in S, B, and Mac; F: wich; J: whech. See also line 3492.
1441 kiste. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: keste.
1539 the. So in J, S, B, and Mac; omitted in F.
1640 knihthode. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: knithode.
1675 hath. F: as. Mac's emendation, largely on the authority of S.
1778 And he. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: As he.
1788 his hed. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: is hed.
1856 hungre. So in F, A, and J. Mac emends to hunger, as in S and B.
1860 detraccioun. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: detractioun.
1896 be told. So in J, B, and Mac; F, A, and S: betold.
2072 told. So in F and B; Mac: tolde, as in A, J, and S.
2214 The. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: Thei.
2247 Al. So in S, B, and Mac; F: And; J: All.
2328 manye. So in F, A, and S. Mac emends to many, as in J and B.
2477 a wise. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F and A: awise.
2537 And. So in F, A, J, S, and B. Mac emends to As, but see MED: and 5b.
2698 therupon. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F, A: thervpon.
2822 With. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: Wit.
2903 is. So in J, S, B, and Mac; omitted in F.
2917 schop. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: schap.
3119 And. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: An.
3486 For. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: ffro.
3492 Which. So in S, B, and Mac; F: Wich; J: Whech.
446He. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: His.
663 axeth. So in J, B, and Mac; F: axex.
847 ff. Latin marginalia, line 3: velut. F: velud. Mac's emendation.
858 gaderende. F: gadarende. Mac's emendation.
901 here. So in J and Mac; F: hire; B: her.
1174 wisshinge. So in C and B; F, A, and J: wihssinge. Mac adhers to F.
1503 loves. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: loue.
1605 in such. Mac: such, as in B, despite F, S, A, J, and T.
1731 bot. So in F and J; Mac: but, as in S and B.
1771 thei. So in F, J, S, and B; Mac: they. So too in line 1812.
1866 Thurgh. So in S, B, and Mac; F: Thourgh; J: Thorouh.
1914 ferste. So in A, S, B, and Mac; F: ferst; J: firste.
1930 herd. So in F and S; A, J, B, and Mac: herde.
1968 Unto. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: Vnto to.
2538 al. So in F, J, S, and B; Mac: all.
2252 ff. Latin marginalia, line 2: vniversi. So S and Mac; F and B: uniuerse.
2544 manslawte. So in F; J, S, and Mac: manslawhte; B: manslaughter.
65 Lachesse. So F, S, and B; Mac: lachesce.
86 remembrance. So in S; F: remebrance; J and B: remembraunce.
138 mihte. So in F and A. Mac emends to miht as in J and S.
170 Hath. F: Had. Mac's emendation on the basis of other good MSS.
187 Lachesce. So in F, S, and B; Mac: Lachesse.
269 Althogh. So in J and S; F: All thogh, followed by Mac; B: Al þough.
317 Latin marginalia, line 2: ymaginatiua. F: ymaginatitiua; B: ymaginatiue.
514 mihte. So in F, A, and S; Mac: miht; J: myht; B: might.
584 out. So in B and Mac; F: ouht; S: out fro.
586 al. So in F, S, and B; Mac: all.
684 To. So in F; J, S, B, and Mac: That.
708 what. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: whatt.
833 al. So in F, J, S, and B; Mac: all.
1031 necligent. So in F and B; S and Mac: necgligent.
1222 Mi. So in F and S; Mac: my, as in B. Also in line 2675.
1224 Mac omits the speech marker.
1321 faye. Several good MSS read: faire. See Mac 2.337.
1321-22 J reads: The beaute of hir face shon / Wel brihtur þen þe cristel ston.
1336 thei. So in F, S, and B; Mac: they.
1568 hir. So in F, S, and B; Mac: her.
1592 mai. So in F and S; Mac and B: may. So too in lines 2308 and 3176.
1619 ff. Latin marginalia, line 2: torpescat. F: nultenus. Mac's emendation.
1805 knyhthode. So in S and Mac; F: knyhode; J: knyghthode; S: knighthode.
1838 Bot. So in S; Mac and B: But; J: Bote. So too in line 3266.
1875 to the(e) (two words). So in J, C, and B; F, A, and Mac: tothe.
1893 lust. So in J, S, B, A, and Mac; F: luste.
1944 be slain. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: beslain.
2010 made. So in F and B. Mac emends to mad, as in A, J, C, and T.
2183ff. Latin marginalia, line 1: Turnum. So in B; F: Turnuum. Mac emends silently.
2251 eldemoder. Several good MSS read eldirmodor, or some variant. J: elde modor; S: eldemoder; B: olde moder. See Mac 2.362.
2324 a wise. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: awise.
2503 remenant. So in B and Mac; F: rememant.
2512 left. So in J, B, and Mac; F: lefte.
2534 ferst. So in F, J, and A. Mac emends to ferste, with support from S.
2534 ff. Latin marginalia, line 3: qui membra. So in B and Mac; F: que membra.
2642 and. Mac emends to as, following S and B.
2743 schal. So in J, B, and Mac; F: shal.
2867 him. So in J and Mac; F and B: hem.
3233 Thi. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: This.
3427 grete. So in F and A. Mac emends to gret, with support from J, C, and B.
3437 resoun. So in F and B; Mac: reson.
3445 Til. So in F, J, and B; Mac: Till.
3515 Whilom. So in S, B, and Mac; J: Somtyme.
3560 mannes. So in S, B, and Mac; F: manes; J: monnes.
3576 slepest. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: sleplest.
3596 syh. Mac emends to syhe, in accord with A, J, S, and B.
3607-08 vengance/chance. So in S; F and Mac: vengance/chaunce; B: vengaunce/chaunce.
3678 a man. So in J, B, and Mac; F: aman.
- Alchemy, 4.2435-2525 - Read by : Winthrop Wetherbee, Gyöngyi Werthmüller
- Tale of Ulysses and Penelope, 4.147-233 - Read by : Winthrop Wetherbee, Gyöngyi Werthmüller
- Tale of Rosiphelee 4.1245-1446 - Read by : Winthrop Wetherbee, Gyöngyi Werthmüller
- Besischipe, 4.1118–1235 - Read by : Gyöngyi Werthmüller, Winthrop Wetherbee
[The Great Clerk Grosseteste]
For of the grete clerc Grossteste
[The Foolish Virgins]
Bot Slowthe mai no profit winne,
[Examples of Prowess: Protesilaus]
The worthi king Protheselai
Of king Saul also I finde,
[Penthesilea, Philemenis, Aeneas]
And overthis if thou wolt hiere
Be these ensamples here above,
[Letters and Language]
Bot toward oure marches hiere,