Confessio Amantis: Book 7


1 In every matter, wise doctrine gains well-being, nor does anyone except the learned man acquire wealth. Doctrine surpasses nature; whatever ancestry ripe for learning does not provide a clever man, doctrine will give him. No man of discretion rules anywhere in the world's regions who would not impoverish himself by schooling in order to learn more.

2 The first branch of learning allows one to know the highest creator: who recognizes the head, that suffices for him. Not knowing more than that is sometimes good for men; but what he sees useful, he very prudently comes to know.

3 The omnipotent Beginning created the four elements and gave mouths to the regions of the four winds. Our constitution too is fashioned in a four-fold manner, and thus in his body man exists in a varied state.

4 Things lower down are ruled by the law of the planets, and sometimes that governance foils endeavor. With God's intervention the wise man will rule the stars, and the fates will not cause anything suddenly unfavorable.

5 Lovely words of crafted speech can please at the beginning, but true ones please at the end. Herb, stone, speech are all three full of power; but the force from the weight of a word does more.

6 Lines 1520-21: For in Philosophy, language (proper word use) is called the teacher of virtue

7 Practice, the third part of Philosophy, guides each estate on earth by its regimen of a good life: but by as much as a King is greater, by that much the more this study, by which he rules his kingdom, pertains to him.

8 He who rules modern kingdoms adorned with virtues more securely looks toward the future rule above. And because truth-telling stands above all virtues, so no lying fable is heard from the mouth of a good king.

9 Let Avarice be absent, lest it touch the royal heart, for the ground is stripped bare by its plunderings. Flying through the ages, fame honors a liberal King; but gifts must be moderated by appropriate means.

10 Laws are established on earth on account of transgressors, so that righteous men might live by the King's honor. Law without justice makes the people deviant under the shadow of the ruler, so that no one will see the straight path.

11 Lacking all reason, a tyrant's will strips bare the kingdom, and the people's love roams as an exile there. But Pity, and the kingdom it will preserve for eternity, is pleasing both to the people and to God.

12 Every sort of honorableness of body and mind is proper for a king, so that no lust destroys his name's repute. Sensuous indulgence effeminizes everything there is in a man, unless he be a great-hearted man who can oppose it.


Book 7 has provoked a wide critical response, from charges of artless digression, "absolutely irrelevant to the main subject" (Macaulay, "John Gower," p. 149), to praise as structurally "the most important" in the whole poem (Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, p. 140). For a summary of positions see Nicholson, Annotated Index, pp. 423-26. For seminal discussion on the book's function as advice-to-kings literature, see Coffman, "John Gower in His Most Significant Role"; Pearsall, Gower and Lydgate, pp. 16-17; Coleman, Medieval Readers and Writers, pp. 126-56; Olsson, John Gower and the Structures of Conversion, pp. 191-214; and Ferster, Fictions of Advice, pp. 108-36. Simpson suggests that the book provides from its inside position the actual framework of CA: "The whole poem outside of Book VII is a discussion of ethics and economics . . . [that] leads inevitably to the explicit political discourse of Book VII" (Sciences and the Self, p. 220); "the real 'frame' of the Confessio . . . is not the confession of Amans, but rather the divisio philosophiae of Book VII" (p. 223). Macaulay points out that the most important source for the book is the Trésor of Brunetto Latini, a work based largely on Aristotle, "with whose works Latini was exceptionally well acquainted" (3.522). My citations of Brunetto are based on the translation by Barrette and Baldwin and are cited by book, chapter, and page number to this edition. Astell notes also derivations from Giles of Rome's De regimine principum and the pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum Secretorum (Chaucer and the Universe of Learning, pp. 76-83). See Wetherbee on the "integrative function" of Book 7 ("John Gower," p. 604), and Porter, "Gower's Ethical Microcosm," especially p. 154.

5 Alisandre. In Book 7 Alexander is given a more positive treatment than elsewhere in CA. In MO, lines 22849 ff., David is presented as the exemplary king; Alexander is the tyrant, fortune's fool (MO, lines 22051-80). Similarly, in the Tale of Diogenes (CA 3.1201 ff.), Alexander and the Pirate (3.2363 ff.), the Wars of Alexander (3.2438 ff.), and Alexander as the student of Nectanabus (6.2271 ff.), he is presented as one who wields power without much intelligence. But in Book 7, where he is mainly the occasion for Aristotle's instruction in the tools of self-governance and kingship, he fares better. On the popularity of the pedagogical trope of Aristotle teaching kingly virtues to young Alexander, see Secretum Secretorum along with various Latin texts, originally translated from a tenth-century pseudo-Aristotelian Arabic teaching text, the Kitab sirr al-asrar (The Book of the Secret of Secrets).

7 For it is noght to the matiere. Gower makes a rather subtle point here through the complex voicing of his poem. Genius is concerned about his contract with Venus. But in the reciprocity of that contract with his client he is obliged to digress. Yet what is digression for him may be central to the poet, since his confessor's voice reaches into matter touched on prior to this, mainly in the Prologue and the Latin voicing of the poem. The paradox enables him to approach doctrine directly, yet still within his fictive framework. For Genius, it is the "gladness" of the digression that justifies it (see line 10).

9 ff. Latin marginalia: Quia omnis doctrina bona humano regimini salutem confert, in hoc septimo libro ad instanciam Amantis languidi intendit Genius illam ex qua Philosophi et Astrologi philosophie doctrinam Regem Alexandrum imbuerunt, secundum aliquid declarare. Diuidit enim philosophiam in tres partes, quarum prima Theorica, secunda Rethorica, tercia Practica nuncupata est, de quarum condicionibus subsequenter per singula tractabit. [Since all good doctrine confers well-being on the human condition, in this seventh book, at the prompting of the languishing Lover, Genius intends to declare in some respects the doctrine of philosophy with which philosophers and astrologers imbued King Alexander. Thus he divides philosophy into three parts, the first of which is called Theory, the second Rhetoric, and the third Practice, concerning whose natures one by one he will subsequently discourse.]

20 See the explanatory note to 6.2274. Calistre, a second-century Greek work purportedly written by Callisthenes (Pseudo-Callisthenes), became the base text for various medieval renditions of Alexander's travels, including Historia de Preliis and Epistola Alexandri ad Aristotelem. See The Greek Alexander Romance, trans. Stoneman.

28 intelligences. Macaulay relates the term intelligencias in the margin at 1.149, where the sense seems to be the same as "sciences," that is, divisions or provinces of knowledge (2.522n26ff.).

51-52 Gower probably did not know Aristotle's work firsthand. Genius' account of Aristotle's division of Philosophy into "Theorique," "Rethorique," and "Practique" (lines 30-46) is based mainly on the third book of Brunetto Latini's Trésor.

54-55 conserve / And kepere. See Simpson, Sciences and the Self, pp. 217-29, on the theoretical and practical sciences of philosophy as the conserve / And kepere of the remenant. Politics, even more than the theoretical sciences, focuses ethical and economic themes of the poem so "that we can understand how a mediation between body and soul might be possible" (p. 225). In his humanism Gower always seems aware of the demands of the body (p. 229).

61 On the divisions of Theorique, see Trésor 1.3.1-8. See also Did., appendix A (trans. Taylor, p. 153), for additions Hugh made on the divisions of the theoretical into Theology, Physics, and Mathematics.

66 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat de prima parte Philosophie, que Theorica dicitur, cuius natura triplici dotata est sciencia, scilicet Theologia, Phisica, et Mathematica: set primo illam partem Theologie declarabit. [Here he discourses concerning the first part of Philosophy, which is called Theory, whose learning is endowed by a triple nature, namely Theology, Natural Science ("Physics"), and Mathematics; and first he will declare Theology's part.]

70 The science of Theologie. "The first and highest" branch of theory, dealing with that which "goes beyond heaven and shows us the nature of those things which have no corporeal existence," and concerns such matters as God the All Powerful, the Holy Trinity, the Catholic faith, and the law of Holy Church, that is, "everything pertaining to divinity" (Trésor 1.3.2, p. 3). See CA 7.73-134.

71 Phisique. Discourse on the nature of things; the physical sciences. Brunetto (Trésor 1.3.3) argues that through physics "we know the nature of those things which have corporeal existence and are related to corporeal things, that is, of men and beasts and birds, of fish, of plants, of stones and of the other corporeal things which are around us" (p. 3). See also Did. 2.16: "Physics searches out . . . the causes of things as found in their effects . . . The word physis means nature, and therefore Boethius places natural physics in the higher division of the theoretical knowledge," as part of a triumvirate with ethics and logic (p. 71). See CA 7.135-44.

72 Mathematique, akin to Practique, should not be confused with modern implications of mathematics. For Aristotle it is used to identify what later came to be called the quadrivium, that is, the study of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. These sciences all deal with ratios, proportions, and kinds of ennumerations. The separate treatises by Augustine and Boethius entitled De musica, for example, do not deal with music as we think of it, but are primarily concerned with meter, what we might call prosody, along with matters of proportion (what we might extend into harmony) and categories of metrics and ratio (modes). See also the note to lines 7.145-202.

73-134 See the explanatory note to 7.70.

82 as olde bokes telle. Gower reminds us on several occasions that, although the frame of Book 7 may be the Secretum Secretorum, he draws upon various bokes to give us his full account of Aristotle's teaching. That teaching is, of course, as important for us and Amans as it was for Alexander, who may or may not have been a good student. (See note to 7.5.)

86 ferste cause. See Aristotle, Posterior Analytics 1.1-8, on simpliciter, the number base from which all follows, and 2.1-2 on causes. The idea becomes commonplace, though central to theology and logic. See Boethius, De Consolatione 2.m.8,, and 4.m.6, especially on yearning for the simplicity of God. Compare Chaucer's Knight's Tale (CT I[A]2987-89) on "The Firste Moevere of the cause above" and the "faire cheyne of love" which is the "effect" of his "entente"; or, Chaucer's balade "Gentilesse" and "The firste stok, fader of gentilesse," from whose "trace" all who would be gentle must derive. See Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being.

88 Withoute whom nothing is good. Christ, "the ferste cause," is the orderer of all creation. Take Christ out of the creation and chaos ensues. N.b., Chaucer's Parson's Tale (CT X[I]217-18). Evil is absence of Christ, a nothingness without substance. See Trésor 1.11 ("How Evil Was Invented," p. 9): "Evil was invented by the Devil; it was not created, and therefore it is nothing, for that which is without God is nothing, and God did not make Evil."

89-90 every creature . . . his beinge and his nature. Olsson cites this passage as part of his demonstration that one's "title to existence, moral or otherwise, is not a person's own, and neither are his or her secrets. Existence and the 'privetes of mannes herte' (1.2806) belong to God" ("Love, Intimacy, and Gower," p. 94).

91 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota quod triplex dicitur essencia: Prima temporanea, que incipit et desinit, Secunda perpetua, que incipit et non desinit, Tercia sempiterna, que nec incipit nec desinit. [Note that being is called triple: First temporal, which begins and ceases; Second perpetual, which begins and does not cease, and Third eternal, which neither begins nor ends.]

92 ff. thre formes of beinges. The division of what is "born and dies," what is "born but does not die," and what is "not born and does not die" was a traditional academic (and thus theological) hierarchy of being, ultimately based on Aristotle's ideas of what is moved and moves others, what is moved and does not move others, and what is not moved but moves others (the Prime Mover). Thirteenth- and fourteenth-century scholasticism was much concerned with issues of causality which elaborated these issues of being. See Gilson's History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, pp. 250-545. A good reference for distinctions between forms and causes moving beyond Aristotle is the third chapter of Duns Scotus' Treatise on God as First Principle. See the selection in Baird and Kaufmann's Philosophic Classics Volume II: Medieval Philosophy, pp. 425-30.

98 Here beinge is perpetuel. The idea is that of God as deus conservans, who perpetually sustains creation through His presence.

121-30 Here Theology insists that things may be "credible," even though they may not be "prieve by weie of argument sensible" (7.126-28). The proposition behind Genius' point regarding the preeminence of faith over sensible proof echoes Augustine's Credo ut intelligam ("I believe in order to understand"). Chaucer lends support to the idea at the beginning of LGW (F.1-16).

135 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de secunda parte Theorice, que Phisica dicitur. [Note concerning the second part of Theory, which is called Natural Science ("Physics").]

135-44 Phisique. See note to 7.71, above.

145 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de tercia parte Theorice, que Mathematica dicitur, cuius condicio quatuor in se continent intelligencias, scilicet Arsmeticam, Musicam, Geometriam et Astronomiam: set primo de Artismetice natura dicere intendit. [Note concerning the third part of Theory, which is called Mathematics, whose nature contains in itself four branches of knowledge (intelligenciae; compare "intelligences," lines 28 and 176), namely Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and Astronomy; and first he intends to speak about the nature of Arithmetic.]

145-202 The four subdivisions of mathematics are usually referred to as the Quadrivium (see note to 7.72). That all four depend upon line, measure, time, and space explains their relationship with "mathematics." On the divisions of mathematics, see Trésor 1.3.4-8 (pp. 3-4); De nuptiis 6-9; and Did., Appendix A. The fourfold classification is ancient, though Boethius provides the designation quadrivium and prepared texts for each that became standard curricula in medieval universities. Gower's ordering of the four differs from that of Boethius in that he places musica second rather than third, thus reversing it with geometria.

153 Arsmetique. See Trésor 1.3.5 (p. 3) on arithmetic as the first subject of mathematics. See De nuptiis 7 ("Arithmetic") for a more full account of the subject.

155 Algorisme. Macaulay (3.522) notes: "This stands properly for the decimal system of numeration, but the use of the word in the plural, l.158, shows that Gower did not use it in this sense only. The association of the word 'Algorismes' below with the letters a, b, c ('Abece') seems to suggest some kind of algebraical expression, but this is perhaps due to a misunderstanding by Gower of the word 'abaque' (or 'abake') in the Trésor . . . : 'Et de ce sont li enseignement de l'abaque et de l'augorisme.'"

163 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Musica, que secunda pars Artis Mathematice dicitur. [Note concerning Music, which is called the second part of the Mathematic Art.]

163 See the explanatory note to 7.72.

163-64 The seconde . . . is the science of Musique. "The second is music, which teaches us to make musical sounds, by singing, playing stringed instruments, and on organs and other harmonizing instruments, combining the sounds for the pleasure of the people, or in Church the service of our Lord" (Trésor 1.3.6; compare Did. 2.12). See also De nuptiis 9 ("Harmony"). Augustine and Boethius both produced tractates on the science of music, which concerned primarily discussion of metrics. (Boethius' text was still in use at Oxford in the eighteenth century.) Genius' description focuses more on what we would think of as music, namely, harmony (line 165), melody (line 166), voice and instruments, and the relationship of notes. (Compare Chaucer's account of the singing birds in BD, lines 294-315, with some notes high, some low, but all of one accord with harmonies and melodies sweet.) But Genius also comments on Boethian subjects of prolation (duration), pronunciation, rhythm, and tone (lines 170-74).

175 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de tercia specie Artis Mathematice, quam Geometriam vocant. [Note concerning the third species of the Mathematic Art, which they call Geometry.]

176-90 the thridde intelligence / Full of wisdom and of clergie / And cleped . . . Geometrie. See Trésor 1.3.7: "The third [division of Mathematics] is geometry, through which we know the measurements and proportions of things: their length, width and height. It was through the subject of geometry that the ancient sages attempted to find the relative dimensions of heaven and earth, and the distance from the one to the other, and many other proportions which are truly marvellous." See also De nuptiis 6 ("Geometry").

191-202 Astronomie. See Trésor 1.3.8: "The fourth subject is astronomy, which teaches us the entire organization of heaven and the firmament and the stars, and the movement of the seven planets through the zodiac, that is, through the twelve signs, and how the weather changes from hot to cold to rain to drought to wind, by reason of what is established in the stars." See also De nuptiis 8 ("Astronomy").

209 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic interim tractat de creacione quatuor Elementorum, scilicet terre, aque, aeris et ignis, necnon et de eorum naturis, nam et singulis proprietates singule attribuuntur. [Here meanwhile he discourses about the creation of the four Elements, namely earth, water, air, and fire, and also about their natures, for to each particular one are attributed particular properties.]

216 ylem. "Hyle" is the term used by the twelfth-century author Bernardus Silvestris for primordial matter; see his widely copied Cosmographia, ed. and trans. Wetherbee, pp. 67-75: "Hyle was Nature's most ancient manifestation, the inexhaustible womb of generation, the primary basis of formal existence, the matter of all bodies, the foundation of substance" (p. 70).

223 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Terra, quod est primum elementum. [Note concerning the Earth, which is the first element.]

223 On the four elements, four complexions, four humors, and four seasons and nature's role in perpetually harmonizing and ordering discordant matters, see Trésor 1.99-107. Brunetto's categories derive ultimately from the first book of Aristotle's Meteorologica. On the creation of the elements, see Bernardus Sylvestris, Cosmographia, ch. 2, especially pp. 72-73, where first comes fire, then earth, then water, then air. Gower begins at the center, with earth, then water, air, and fire.

232 ff. Latin marginalia: Philosophus. Vnumquodque naturaliter appetit suum centrum. [The Philosopher: Each thing naturally desires its center.]

234-35 centre drawe . . . every worldes thing. See Trésor 1.104.6-10, where Brunetto explains why heaviest things are closest to the center and lighter things more distant, but still are drawn toward the center according to their natures.

237 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Aqua, quod est secundum elementum. [Note concerning Water, which is the second element.]

238 water. See Trésor 1.105. Genius' comparison of the streams of earth with veins of blood in men (7.245-46) comes from the opening section of this chapter: "the earth . . . is all perforated and full of veins and caverns, which is why the waters which flow from the sea go out and come back through the earth . . . which is similar to what happens to the blood in man, which spreads into veins, so that the blood flows up and down through the whole body." On water springing from high hills (7.247-53), see Trésor 1.105.2.

254 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Aere, quod est tercium elementum. [Note concerning Air, which is the third element.]

255 Air. See Trésor 1.106, though Brunetto does not discuss air in terms of "periferies."

265 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter Aer in tribus Periferiis diuiditur. [Note how Air is divided into three Atmospheric Layers (Periferia).] Macaulay (3.523) suggests that Gower's three "periferies" are perhaps a refinement of the two strata of air laid out in Aristotle's Meteorologica 1.3, but the parallels are thin. On knowledge of the Meteorologica in the fourteenth century and the commentaries of Averroes and Albertus Magnus on Aristotle picked up by others like Jacobus Angeli and John of Damascus, and Blasius in his lectures on Meteorologica at Pavia in 1385, see Thorndike, vol. 4, especially pp. 67, 83, 102, 158, 367, and especially 653-54.

280 ff. Latin marginalia: De prima Aeris Periferia. [Concerning the first Layer of Air.]

285 ff. Latin marginalia: De secunda Aeris Periferia. [Concerning the second Layer of Air.]

297 ff. Latin marginalia: De tercia Aeris Periferia. [Concerning the third Layer of Air.]

312-13 A further proof of the preeminence of sight over the other senses. See the discussion of lightning, 7.307-18. That the sight is nearer to the eye than the sound is to the ears is evident by the fact that we see the lightning before we hear the thunder. See 1.304 ff. on sight being "the most principal of alle" the senses (n.b., 1.304-08n); also Trésor 1.106.8 and Bart. Ang. 3.17 (De sensu visus).

319-67 On fiery exhalations, lightning, firedrakes, and other airy demonstrations, see Trésor 1.106, especially 7-9, although Gower's remarks about Assub (line 334), Capra saliens (line 347), Eges (line 351), and Daaly (line 361) are not in Brunetto. Aristotle (i.e., the "philosophre" Genius cites in 7.228) speaks in Meteorologica 1.4.2-3 of "the appearance of burning flames in the sky, of shooting stars and of what some people call 'torches' and 'goats'" (p. 559).

319 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic qualiter Ignes, quos noctanter in Aerer discurrere videmus, secundum varias apparencie formas varia gestant nomina; quorum primus Assub, secundus Capra saliens, tercius Eges et quartus Daali in libris Philosphorum nuncupatus est. [Note here how Fires, which we see traveling at night through the Air, carry various names according to various apparitions of forms: the first is called in philosophers' books Assub, the second Capra saliens ("skipping Goat"), third Eges, and the fourth Daali.]

334 Assub. Macaulay notes that "this word is used in Latin translations of Aristotle as an equivalent of 'stella cadens,'" or falling star, as if Gower is repeating authorities "without understanding them" (Mac 3.523), though Genius is talking about the variant terms in slightly different contexts and may simply have preferred the more descriptive term for his goat analogy. He is talking about names of the "same kinde" (line 340) but of another "forme" (line 341), as if to say that comets do not always behave in the same way, some falling, some "skippende" (line 345), some reaching earth and some not, thus "semende" (line 346) to be different.

375 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Igne, quod est quartum elementum. [Note concerning Fire, which is the fourth element.] On fire as the fourth element, see Trésor 1.107.

393-489 God has given the four complexions as aspects of human nature, but, though Nature affects human behavior through these conditions, the soul is governed by God alone. See 7.490-520. Gower appears to be working from Trésor 1.101.1-6, though Brunetto is more brief; he remarks on the conditions of the humors but does not discuss body parts in conjunction with the humors as Genius does (7.449-75). Perhaps the more useful text for comparison and contextualization of Gower's views in conjunction with Aristotle, Augustine, Avicenna, etc., is Bart. Ang. 4, which deals extensively with the conditions of the body and the humors (vol. 1, pp. 129-62). White points out that, in the debate between body and soul, the two are, in some instances, at loggerheads; but that does not mean that the influence of Nature cannot be benign. "In fact, it may be that the idea of Nature is for Gower the focus of a vision of the healing of the fundamental division between soul and body and hence a talismanic concept" (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 187). Genius holds together the two poles between the sacred and erotic (p. 188; and Baker, "The Priesthood of Genius").

396-400 See White on man as victim of his own "divided constitution" ("Division and Failure," p. 602). Compare 7.490-510, 515-20; and also, of course, Prol. 575-78, 827-33, 851-53, and 967-1011.

397 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic qualiter secundum naturam quatuor elementorum quatuor in humano corpore complexiones, scilicet Malencolia, Fleuma, Sanguis et Colera, naturaliter constituuntur: vnde primo de Malencolia dicendum est. [Note here how according to the nature of the four elements are naturally constituted four humors (complexiones) in the human body, namely Melancholy, Phlegm, Blood, and Choler (Bile). Wherefore first there is a discussion about Melancholy.] See Bart. Ang. 4.11.

414 ff. Latin marginalia: De complexione Fleumatis. [Concerning the humor of Phlegm.] See Bart. Ang. 4.9.

421 ff. Latin marginalia: De complexione Sanguinis. [Concerning the humor of Blood.] See Bart. Ang. 4.7.

429 ff. Latin marginalia: De complexione Colere. [Concerning the humor of Bile.] See Bart. Ang. 4.10.

441 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter quatuor complexiones quatuor in homine habitaciones diuisim possident. [Note how the four humors respectively possess four habitations in man.]

449 ff. Latin marginalia: Splen domus est Malencolie. [The spleen is Melancholy's home.]

451 ff. Latin marginalia: Pulmo domus Fleumatis. [The lung is Phlegm's home.]

455 ff. Latin marginalia: Epar domus Sanguinis. [The liver is the home of Blood.]

459 ff. Latin marginalia: Fel domus Colere. [The gall-bladder is the home of Bile.]

463 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Stomacho, qui vna cum aliis cordi specialius deseruit. [Note concerning the Stomach, which along with the others particularly serves the heart.] Gower looks on the parts of the body as a community, each member of which has specific obligations to keep the estate functioning in a healthy way. Bartholomaeus provides the most detailed Middle English analysis of the body parts, their nature, and how they function, starting at the head and its several parts and proceeding downward to the feet, in Book 5 of Properties. Each part of the anatomy is given a separate chapter, not just for head, but skull, hair, eyes, eyelids, etc. The approach is more Aristotelian than Platonic, with little attention given to the metaphysics and sociology of the body that so interests Gower. Bartholomaeus works primarily from a Latin version of Aristotle's Parts of Animals.

473-75 This is "Gower's most explicit statement about the nature and physical origin of laughter" (Burke, "Genial Gower," p. 42), thereby asserting his belief in the legitimacy of laughter as a means of expression. "Explaining that each bodily organ has a rightful purpose to fulfill on behalf of the heart, the poet echoes the medical traditions of his day in locating the source of laughter in the spleen."

479-80 stomach . . . the boc. In Gower the stomach is a comun coc [cook] / Ordeined, as seith the boc. In Bartholomaeus it is "the dore of þe wombe, and fongiþ mete and drynke, and sendiþ to þe guttis" (Bart. Ang. 5.38, 1.29-30). What precisely the boc is that Gower speaks of I have been unable to determine, but such personification is not unusual, even in medical texts. E.g., Master Nicolaus of Salerno, a twelfth-century follower of Galen, presents the digestive system as a kitchen in which staples, ground at the mill, are prepared to sustain the rest of the community (i.e., the body). The mouth is the mill, the teeth the mill-stones, and the tongue is the miller, "for just as grain is received into a mill, so is food taken into the mouth; and in the same way that the grain is cast by the hand of the miller under the grindstones (molares) to be ground, so is food cast by the tongue beneath the molar teeth to be masticated." The stomach is the receiving kettle: "It has the liver below it like a fire underneath a caldron; and thus the stomach is like a kettle of food, the gall-bladder is the cook, and the liver is the fire" (Corner, Anatomical Texts of the Earlier Middle Ages, pp. 78-79).

485-89 For as a king in his empire / . . . So is the herte principal, / . . . for the governance. Compare Chaucer, BD, lines 495-96: "[the hert] ys membre principal / Of the body." The dreamer, observing the pallid color of the Black Knight, notes that in his grief his blood has all "fled for pure drede" (line 490) down to his heart. This passage is in its way key to the whole of Book 7 of the Confessio, where the sound education of the king is, for Gower, essentially the education of the heart of man, king of his empire attempting to define the proper governance of the soul. See 8.2109-20. Burnley, discussing Gower and a Stoic tradition that sees the heart as "principal" member of the body, remarks that although Gower may not be aware of the technical import of the word, he certainly adopts the same administrative metaphor that draws an analogy between individual man and the state. For Gower, "The heart governs the rest of the body by reason, just as a king rules a kingdom" (Chaucer's Language, p. 66).

490-520 That Gower follows his Stoic paradigm of heart/king/rule with a discussion of the soul's "hyh noblesse / Appropred to his oghne kinde" (7.498-99) where, unlike the soul of beasts, it "to reson . . . serveth" (7.517), adds specific support to Burnley's observation in the explanatory note to 7.485-89, above. Gower's awareness of the "technical import of the word" principal seems, in this instance, to be quite precise. See VC 2.217-348, where Gower discusses the relationship between men, animals, and morality. See also note to 7.396-400.

521-600 Gower seems to be following Trésor 1.121-24 (pp. 85-98) in his division of the map of the world into three parts (Asia, Europe, and Africa), surrounded by Ocean. See also Trevisa's translation of Higden's Polychronicon 1.6.

522 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur vlterius de diuisione Terre que post diluvium tribus filiis Noe in tres partes, scilicet Asiam, Affricam et Europam diuidebatur. [Here he speaks further about the division of the Earth, which after the flood was divided by the three sons of Noah into three parts, namely Asia, Africa, and Europe.]

523 if it be spoke plein. Schmitz, Middel Weie, p. 38n39, reads plein as "plainness, clarity, simplicity," to suggest irony as Gower uses the term in introducing the most scholarly sections of the poem. But the sense is more likely that of the adverbial form of the adj. plein(e), i.e., "completely, entirely; fully, clearly." See MED plein adv.

554 Latin marginalia: De Asia. [Concerning Asia.]

558-74 Gower's discussion of the seisine of Asia is based on Trésor 1.121.2, where we learn that "Asia contains half of the whole earth, from the place where the Nile empties into the sea in Alexandria and from the place where the Tanain River empties into the sea in the branch called Saint George, towards the Orient, extending as far as the Ocean and the earthly paradise" (p. 86).

566 Canahim. An error for Tanain. See note to 7.558-74.

575 ff. Latin marginalia: De Aufrica et Europa. [Concerning Africa and Europe.]

587 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de mari quod magnum Occeanum dicitur. [Note concerning the sea which is called the Great Ocean.]

601 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic secundum philosophum de quinto Elemento, quod omnia sub celo creata infra suum ambitum continet, cui nomen Orbis specialiter appropriatum est. [Note here according to the philosopher concerning the fifth Element, which contains everything created under heaven within its orbit, to whom the name Orbis is uniquely granted.]

613-20 orbis. See Trésor 1.103.2. The fifth element, ether: "it is a round heaven which surrounds and encloses within itself all other elements and the other things which do not partake of divinity; and it is to the world as the shell is to the egg, which encloses and contains what is inside, and because it is completely round, it is necessary inevitably that the earth and the shape of the world be round" (p. 64).

630-32 as an egle . . . Fleth above . . . So doth this science. One is reminded of Chaucer's eagle in HF, who is well grounded in mathematics, especially those parts dealing with astronomy and geometry. On astronomy as the winged "maiden of the sky," see De nuptiis 8.807. Martianus does not use the metaphor of an eagle, however.

639 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de Artis Mathematice quarta specie, que Astronomia nuncupata est, cui eciam Astrologia socia connumeratur: set primo de septem planetis, que inter astra potenciores existunt, incipiendo a luna seorsum tractare intendit. [Here he speaks concerning the fourth species of the Art of Mathematics, which is called Astronomy, with whom Astrology is counted a companion. And first he intends to discourse concerning the seven planets, which are the more powerful ones among the stars, beginning specifically with the moon.]

651-54 Bot the divin seith otherwise. Theology is a component of sapientia, while astronomy falls under the classification of scientia, a lower kind of knowledge useful for understanding the body, but not capable of overriding theological insights. Thus men scholden noght the sterres drede (line 654). On the superiority of sapientia, see Augustine, De Trinitate 12. Macaulay notes that line 652 echoes "Sapiens dominabitur astris" (VC 2.217 ff.). See Jean Gerson, Trilogium astrologie theologizate, where all the sciences are handmaids of theology. Though astrology is a noble science, some people abuse it by superstitious observations and sacrilegious errors. Gerson's authorities include Alkindi, Oresme, Augustine, and d'Ailly (Thorndike 4.116-17).

670 Astronomie. See De nuptiis 8 on astronomy as sixth of the liberal arts. Macaulay states that Gower's "astronomy is for the most part independent of the Trésor" (3.522), but see the numerous parallels between 7.685-709, 721-27, 731-35, 774-75, 782, 865-70, 889-94, 909-12, 935-39, 973-78 and Trésor noted by Hamilton ("Some Sources," p. 341n7).

694 Bot. Macaulay suggests that bot might mean out, though it would be unusual as a southern form. The MED, s. v. orisont(e (n.) 2, thinks the line should read Be [i.e., "by"] th'orizonte, the reading in several manuscripts and one which Macaulay suggests as a possibility, though he prefers "beyond."

717-20 Gower often puns on tauhte and betauhte (e.g., 5.3575-76, 6.2411-12), but seldom does he create quadruple puns, as he does here, to celebrate Aristotle's learned role as instructor.

721 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de prima planeta, que aliis inferior Luna dicitur. [Note here concerning the first planet, lower than the others, which is called the Moon.]

721 ff. Benethe alle othre stant the mone. An excellent source for medieval planetary lore to set against Genius' discussion of the seven planets is Bart. Ang., 8.12-18. Bartholomaeus works from Saturn to the moon (the seventh sphere to the first), rather than from the inside out (first to the seventh), as Gower does. Chapters 17-18 discuss luna. To explain water's love of the moon (see CA 7.23-24) Bartholomaeus draws an analogy between iron and a magnet (8.17, lines 20-27 [p. 490]).

725-30 every fissh which hath a schelle / Mot. . . / wexe and wane in his degré / As be the mone. See Trésor 1.117.2: "for when it [the moon] waxes, marrow begins to increase in bones, and the marrow of crabs and crawfish and all animals and fish grows; even the sea swells and produces great waves. When the moon wanes, all things decrease and are smaller than before" (p. 79).

739-946 Gower is not actually following Ptolemy's Almagest, although that work certainly underlay the sources he was working with, namely Alchandrus. Part of his material may have been gleaned from Brunetto Latini's Trésor, part from Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum naturale and from Fulgentius' Mythologicon, part from redactions of De nuptiis, and part from astronomical lists and treatises such as the Speculum astronomiae (variously ascribed to Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus). See Fox, Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 65-83.

The association of planets with man's elemental character was maintained on the best authority, though usually the writers were careful to maintain free will, too. (For example, John of Salisbury, Polycraticus, 2.18-19; Herman of Dalmatia's translation of Albumazar's Introductium in astronomiam, which became the basis for Aquinas' views on astrology in Summa theologiae; and the Speculum astronomiae. Medieval theory of planetary influence may be ultimately traced back through Ptolemy to the Timaeus, where the planets are viewed as instruments of time.) Theories of planetary influence provided a convenient means for characterizing men and circumstances and are thus commonly alluded to in medieval literature. See, for example, Chaucer's use of Saturn as a malignant influence beyond which there is only Higher Love in The Knight's Tale; and Gower's VC 2.221 ff., where we are told that God will hold the heavens in check and make Saturn pleasing if men become willing to observe His precepts.

755 ff. Latin marginalia: De secunda planeta, que Mercurius dicitur. [Concerning the second planet, which is called Mercury.]

755-70 Because his course is the quickest of the other planets, apart from the moon, Mercury is often said to be the messenger of the gods and is praised for his eloquence. See The Assembly of Gods, lines 365-71; or Martianus Capella's elaborate allegory in De nuptiis (The Marriage of Philology and Mercury). Gower goes a different path, however; those born under his influence are studious (line 759, i.e., "zealous") in reading and writing, but slouh and lustles to travaile / In thing which elles myhte availe (lines 761-62). Andrew Galloway has suggested by correspondence that the implication here is perhaps akin to Nicholas' delight in lying around reading and enjoying music rather than doing work as John the carpenter does in Chaucer's Miller's Tale, being rather more particular about doing what might be considered strenuous. The source of Gower's idea affiliating Mercury with business perhaps comes from De formis (see p. 25, where Berchorius derives the name Mercury from mercatorum currus, asserting that he is thus said to be god of merchants and thieves [Iste ergo dicebatur deus marcatorum, deus eciam furtorum]). See also "The Wise Book of Philosophy and Astronomy" (Cambridge University Library MS Ll.4.14) in Krochalis and Peters, World of Piers Plowman, pp. 5-15, which notes that Mercury makes men "grette geters, and gladliche spending" (p. 15); such passages explain why Gower says Mercury's children have besinesse in pursuit of wealth, with their hearts set upon richesse (CA 7.765-66). I have not found a source for the national connections that Gower affiliates with each planet. Galloway wonders whether the linking of Mercury with Burgundy and France might not be an acknowledgment of the literary skills of Froissart and Machaut.

771 ff. Latin marginalia: De tercia planeta, que Venus dicitur. [Concerning the third planet, which is called Venus.]

773 The linking of Venus with the nacion / Of lovers (lines 774-75) is universal. Genius acknowledges variously that she provokes lechery, though Gower's presentation of her in Books 1 and 8 suggests a concern that reaches beyond promiscuity, which she scorns when it is manifested in Amans. On the climate of her lechery being most commun in Lombardie (line 800) one might think of the boastful Syr Valentyne "yn Lumbardye" in Thomas Chestre's Sir Launfal (lines 505 ff.), who jousts "for love of his lemman" (line 523).

801 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Sole, qui medio planetarum residens Astrorum principatum obtinet. [Note concerning the Sun, who residing in the middle of the planets possesses a princely authority over the Stars.]

815 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de curru Solis necnon et de vario eiusdem apparatu. [Note concerning the chariot of the Sun and also its various features.]

815-47 On the fifteen stars and their relative stones and herbs, see Heather, pp. 224-27. The description of the sun's crown draws upon De nuptiis 1.75, though other sources are used as well. See Hamilton ("Some Sources," p. 345).

822-26 Thre stones . . . cleped Licuchis . . . Astrices and Ceramis. Hamilton ("Some Sources," p. 345) identifies the source as Martianus Capella's De nuptiis 22.5-6 (ed. Eyssenhardt, 1886): quippe tres fuerant a fronte gemmae Lychnis, Astrites, et Ceraunos (see also Book 1.75, The Betrothal, in the Stahl, Johnson, Burge translation, vol. 2, p. 27). The three gems in Sol's crown all possess powers of light and and the capacity to heal dark illnesses. The MED glosses licuchis as [? error for lychnites], which seems likely, given Martianus' term lychnis in the Latin. De dea Syria, attributed to Lucian of Samosata, identifies the stone in the headpiece of the Syrian goddess at Hieropolis as lychnis, a stone with the brightness of fire. Pseudo-Callisthenes, The Greek Alexander Romance, 2.24, tells of lychnis, a gleaming white stone that Alexander found in the belly of a monstrous lake fish who pursued Alexander and jumped right out of the water after him. Alexander speared the fish, cut it open, and found inside "a gleaming stone . . . as bright as a lantern. Alexander took the stone, set it in gold and used it at night instead of a lamp" (p. 124). According to the Peterborough Lapidary, astrites is a stone like a star in clearness that contains an enclosed light, "as it were a ster goinge withyne, & maketh the sonne bemes lyõt" (21, p. 71). According to the London Lapidary Ceraunius comes in many colors and protects anyone who carries it from lightning and fire; the North Midland Lapidary likewise tells how the stone protects one from lightning, lightens burdens, and "schynes as it wer byrnynge" (25, p. 54).

835 ydriades. I have been unable to identify this stone. It is not a term found in the lapidaries that Evans and Serjeantson consider in English Mediaeval Lapidaries. The stem of the word suggests a watery appearance (Greek hydro). The MED simply glosses the term as "a kind of precious stone." De nuptiis also identifies the other two, besides Gower's ydriades (which Martianus calls "hydatis," and which is translated as "a water-colored stone" [1.75]), as adamant and crystal. This particular grouping could suggest that "water-colored" means clear rather than blue or green. See also Hamilton ("Some Sources," p. 345).

842 dendides and jacinctus. Dendrides, from a Latin term pertaining to trees, are stones with sprig-like crystals and arborescent forms (e.g., oxides of iron and manganese). Jacinth in the lapidaries are called blue gems, probably sapphires, as distinct from the variety of zircon with a reddish orange tinge now called jacinth. See the grouping of a sapphire, dendritis, and striped jasper in De nuptiis (1.75). The term is also used for varieties of topaz and garnet (OED).

853-64 Macaulay notes that the sun's horses (Erythreus, Actaeon, Lampros, and Philogeus) are named by Fulgentius (1.12) in the same order that they are named in Gower and that they represent the four divisions of the day: Erythreus, taking his name from the red light of morning and Philogeus from the sun's inclination at evening; "Ovid gives a different set of names" (3.524). Hyginus, De Planetis 4.108-10 (Basel, 1535), offers a handsome drawing of Sol with bright stones in his crown (compare CA 7.818); the chariot wheel bears the sign of Leo. His four horses are not named.

889 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de quinta planeta, que Mars dicitur. [Note concerning the fifth planet, which is called Mars.]

907 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de sexta planeta, que Iupiter dicitur. [Note concerning the sixth planet, which is called Jupiter.]

935 ff. Latin marginalia: De septima planeta, que reliquis celsior Saturnus dictus est. [Note concerning the seventh planet, which, higher than all others, is called Saturn.]

955 ff. Latin marginalia: Postquam dictum est de vii. Planetis, quibus singuli septimane dies singulariter attitulantur, dicendum est iam de xii. Signis, per que xii. Menses Anni variis temporibus effectus varios assequntur. [After there has been discussion about the seven Planets, by each of which the seven days are individually named, there must be discussion about the twelve Signs, through which the twelve Months of the Year follow their various outcomes at various times.]

955-78 He which departeth dai fro nyht. Gower is careful to present the shaping of the zodiac in a Christian context. Commentaries abound upon God's creating the planetes sevene upon the hevene to accord (acordant) with the making of the earth in seven days (7.963-64). Compare VC 7.587-90. Stockton cites Psalm 8:4-10 as a supporting text. See also St. Augustine, De civitate Dei 11.31, on seven as a number and measure of completeness, or De formis 15.1, pp. 40-41, on complementary sevens in nature, as Berchorius contemplates the natural realm of Pan.

955-1280 See Fox, Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 65-80, on Gower's use of Alchandrus, rather than Ptolemy, on the signs of the zodiac, even though he cites the Almageste (line 983). Where Macaulay thought Gower to be floundering and getting it mixed up (see Mac 3.525), he is "actually following his source very carefully" (Fox, Mediaeval Sciences, p. 68). See note to 7.739-946, above.

979 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de primo Signo, quod Aries dicitur, cui Mensis Marcii specialiter appropriatus est. Quo deus in primo produxit ad esse creata. [Note here concerning the first Sign, which is called Aries, to whom the Month of March specifically belongs. "Under him God first brought creation into being."]

In this and the following eleven sets of Latin glosses, the second sentences describing each of the twelve zodiacal signs scan as regular poetic lines. In the translation, I use quotation marks to indicate those lines that are cast in poetic form. A Latin poem on the seasons is thus spread across these marginal notes, which probably should be added to the list of Gower's own Latin poetry. The meter varies between dactylic hexameter and dactylic pentameter (as two hemiepes?), which, taken two by two, present standard elegiac couplets, Gower's most common Latin meter. This regular elegiac pattern begins this "poem" but it is varied in the second half, by a doubled hexameter, closing with five successive hexameters. Thus, with hexameter lines marked as "h" and the pentameters necessary for an elegiac couplet marked as "p," the assembled poem on the seasons has the following overall pattern:
979ff. (h) Quo deus in primo produxit ad esse creata;

1015ff. (p) Quo prius occultas invenit herba vias.

1031ff. (h) Quo volucrum cantus gaudet de floribus ortis;

1051ff. (p) Quo falcat pratis pabula tonsor equis.

1067ff. (h) Quo magis ad terras expandit Lucifer ignes;

1081ff. (h) Quo vacuata prius pubes replet horrea messis.

1101ff. (p) Vinea quo Bachum pressa liquore colit.

1121ff. (h) Floribus exclusis yemis qui ianitor extat.

1141ff. (h) Quo mustum bibulo linquit sua nomina vino.

1169ff. (h) Ipse diem Nano noctemque Gigante figurat.

1185ff. (h) Quo Ianus vultum duplum conuertit in annum.

1215ff. (h) Quo pluuie torrens riparum concitat ampnes.

(Andrew Galloway)
979-81 The ferste . . . is cleped Aries . . . a wether of stature. Aries, the wether, is first because, like the lead ram, he guides the flock of other signs through the heavens. See Allen, Star Names, p. 76. Gower makes certain that credit for this orderly fact is not simply a matter of astrology but rather a part of God's design. See note to lines 994-96. On the structure of Gower's presentation of the signs of the zodiac, see also the note to 1141-63, below.

989 hot and drye. Macaulay observes: "According to the astrologers, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius preside over the element of fire, and are hot and dry by nature; Taurus, Virgo, Capricornus over that of earth, being dry and cold; Gemini, Libra, Aquarius preside over air, and are hot and moist; while Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are moist and cold, having dominion over water (Albumasar, cited by Vincent of Beauvais, Spec. nat. xv. 36)" (3.525). See Bart. Ang. 8.9 (vol. 1, pp. 460-65), on the nature of the zodiac; and 8.10 (vol. 1, pp. 465-73), on the signs of the zodiac.

991 See Bart. Ang. 8.11-18 (vol. 1, pp. 473-95), on the planets, their refuge, and their relationships with earth and the zodiac; their marriages, conditions, humors, and, especially in ch. 11, their motions and effects on weather, health, nations, etc.

992 Of myhty Mars the bataillous. Aries and Mars (Ares) are linked in two ways besides the verbal punning in their names: Allen notes that "among astrologers Aries was a dreaded sign indicating passionate temper and bodily hurt" (Star Names, p. 79), whereby March, the first month, is often stormy and blustery, thus bataillous; but also, because of the story of Phrixus (Ovid refers to Aries as Phrixea ovis in Fasti 3.852), where Phrixus, son of Athamas, fled on the back of the ram (aries - Fasti 3.867) with his sister Helle toward Colchis, to escape the wrath of Ino. Helle fell off and was drowned (thus the Hellespont), and Phrixus sacrificed the ram and hung its fleece in the Grove of Ares, where it turned to gold (another of Aries' titles is Ovis aurea), thereby further linking Aries and Mars. See Allen, Star Names, p. 76. The golden fleece became the object of Jason's quest (n.b., Gower's Tale of Jason and Medea). See also Gower's Tale of Phrixus and Helle (5.4243-4361).

994-96 The Creatour of alle kinde / Upon this signe ferst began / The world. Man was created in the sign of Aries, which signifies beginnings (see 7.1000), as part of God's design, "Whan every bridd schall chese his make, / And every neddre and every snake / And every reptil which mai moeve, / His myht assaieth for to proeve, / To crepen out agein the sonne, / Whan ver his seson hath begonne" (7.1009-14). Allen notes biblical commentators who link Aries with Abraham's ram, caught in the thicket as substitute sacrifice for Isaac (Star Names, p. 78), a sign of the greatest new beginning.

1015 ff. Latin marginalia: Secundum Signum dicitur Taurus, cuius Mensis est Aprilis. Quo prius occultas invenit herba vias. [The second Sign is called Taurus, whose Month is April. "Under him the greenery first discovers the hidden pathways."]

1020 somdiel descordant. Macaulay notes that the hot and moist Libra (7.1111) is more accordant to Venus than is the "dreie and cold" Taurus (7.1017) with which she is affiliated here (3.525).

1029-30 Though Taurus may be "dreie and cold" (7.1017), his month, April, is proverbially known for his schoures that ministreth weie unto the floures, not only in the modern "April showers bring May flowers" proverb, but in Lydgate's "holsom as the Aprile shour / Fallyng on the erbes newe" (Reson, lines 6310-11); Hawes' "More sweter fer than the Aprell shour" (Oxford 13); or Chaucer's Anelida and Arcite (lines 309-10): "I myghte as wel holde Aperill fro reyn, / As holde yow, to make yow be stidfast." See Whiting, A173 and A176.

1033 ff. Latin marginalia: Tercium Signum dicitur Gemini, cuius Mensis Maiius est. Quo volucrum cantus gaudet de floribus ortis. [The third Sign is called Gemini, whose Month is May. "Under him the song of birds rejoices at the emergence of flowers."]

1036 ff. "This statement and the others like it below, 1073, 1089, 1127, 1147, 1198, 1222, may be taken to indicate that the division of the signs was very uncertain in our author's mind. It may be observed that the usual representation of Taurus in star-maps is with his head, not his tail, towards Gemini" (Mac 3.525).

1043 wise Tholomeus wrot. I.e., the Almagest. See note to lines 1239-40, below.

1044-50 Gower's celebration of youth, love, and May has reminded readers of the opening of Chaucer's CT. See Fisher, John Gower, p. 253, who compares the passage to MO, lines 939-46. The "vivid verbal miniatures" in this section on the months (Manzalaoui, "'Noght in the Registre of Venus,'" p. 160) add a lyric quality to this otherwise technical section of Book 7. See also 7.1009-14 and 7.1159-68 for other lovely examples of Gower's skills at vignette composition. Manzalaoui suggests that this use of poetic description is a pictorial practice Gower seems to have learned from the Secretum (p. 175).

1051 ff. Latin marginalia: Quartum Signum Cancer dicitur, cuius Mensis Iunius est. Quo falcat pratis pabula tonsor equis. [The fourth Sign is called Cancer, whose Month is June. "Under him the shearer cuts the hay from the flat fields."]

1069 ff. Latin marginalia: Quintum signum Leo dicitur, cuius Mensis Iulius est. Quo magis ad terras expandit Lucifer ignes. [The fifth sign is called Leo, whose Month is July. "Under him the morning star spreads his fires more across the earth."]

1081 ff. Latin marginalia: Sextum Signum Virgo dicitur, cuius Mensis Augustus est. Quo vacuata prius pubes replet horrea messis. [The sixth Sign is called Virgo, whose Month is August. "Under him the youth refill the emptied granaries with the harvests."] The scansion requires one false quantity (the second syllable of replet must be scanned short); but the line is clearly hexameter like the others in this "seasons poem."

1103 ff. Latin marginalia: Septimum Signum Libra dicitur, cuius Mensis Septembris est. Vinea quo Bachum pressa liquore colit. [The seventh Sign is called Libra, whose Month is September. "Under him the vineyard, squeezed, honors Bacchus with its fluid."]

1106-09 "There is grave doubt in my mind whether Gower was aware that there are two zodiacs - the zodiac of the signs and the zodiac of the constellations. He calls his divisions 'signs,' although he clearly thinks of his 'signs' as constellations to be seen in the heavens," as these lines on Virgo make evident (Fox, Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 79-80).

1121 ff. Latin marginalia: Octauum Signum Scorpio dicitur, cuius Mensis October est. Floribus exclusis yemis qui ianitor extat. [The eighth Sign is called Scorpio, whose Month is October. "He stands as the gatekeeper of winter, keeping flowers out."]

1132-34 eighte . . . unbehovely. Eight is usually regarded as a benevolent number, a sign of new beginning, baptism, and new life; but its being unbehovely (unfitting, improper, unsuitable) for the tail of Scorpio may be one further sign of the treacherous felonies of this deceitful mansion.

1141-43 ff. The nynthe signe . . . cleped Sagittarius. Fox, Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 66-68, analyzes Gower's description of Sagittarius to demonstrate how Gower's discussion of the zodiac signs works. The elements Gower considers include 1) the figure of the constellation (in this instance a centaur), 2) the number of stars in each of the three subdivisions of the sign (head, body, tail), 3) the "quality" of the sign (hot and dry, in this instance), 4) the dignity or debility of certain planets when residing in the sign (here Sagittarius is the house of Jupiter), and 5) an account of the month over which the sign rules. This latter feature "may even permit one to notice that the descriptions of the months embedded in this unpromising matrix are among the loveliest and freshest that Gower ever wrote" (p. 66).

1141 ff. Latin marginalia: Nonum signum Sagittarius dicitur, cuius Mensis Nouember est. Quo mustum bibulo linquit sua nomina vino. [The ninth Sign is called Sagittarius, whose Month is November. "Under him the wine-must changes its name to drinkable wine."]

1165-68 must into the wyn . . . larder of the swyn; / That is Novembre which I meene, / Whan that the lef hath lost his greene. The duke of Berry's Très Riches Heures, pl. 10, depicts September as the month for harvest of grapes; thus the fermentation period (must into wyn) imagined here would be two months. Pl. 12, November, when the trees have lost their green and the acorns fall, depicts hogs devouring the acorns as their final fattening for slaughter in late November and December. Compare Bart. Ang. 9.17, De septembri: "In þis monthe grapis beþ ripe and þerfore he is ipeint in a vineʒerd as a gardeynere gadringe grapis in a basket"; and 9.19, De nouembre: "þat tyme beestis waxiþ fatte and nameliche swyne; and þerfore he is ipeynt as a cherle betynge okes and fedinge his swyne wiþ mast and ackornis." In Trevisa and most books of hours, December is identified as the time of slaughter and the salting of the meat, a time in closer proximity to Christmas feasts.

1169 ff. Latin marginalia: Decimum Signum Capricorus dicitur, cuius Mensis December est. Ipse diem Nano noctemque Gigante figurat. [The tenth Sign is called Capricorn, whose Month is December. "He fashions day as a dwarf, and night as a giant."]

1174 Satorne. Saturn's sour disposition is wintry, therefore suitable to Capricorn and Aquarius (see 7.1188).

1175 Bot to the mone it liketh noght. Macaulay notes that "Capricorn is the 'fall' of the Moon, being opposite to her house, Cancer, as the next sign Aquarius is that of the Sun, see line 1190" (3.525). Martianus observes that the winter tropic begins in the eighth degree of Capricorn, passes through the entire body of Capricorn "to the feet of Aquarius, thence to the end of the tail of Cetus, then to Lepus and the front paws of Canis; then through Argo and the back of Centaurus to the sting of Scorpio; next through the last part of Sagitta, and back again to the eighth degree of Capricornus" (De nuptiis 8.830).

1187 ff. Latin marginalia: Vndecimum Signum Aquarius dicitur, cuius Mensis Ianuarius est. Quo Ianus vultum duplum conuertit in annum. [The eleventh Sign is called Aquarius, whose Month is January. "Under him Janus turns his double-face toward the year."]

1207-14 Janus with his double face. Winter storms appear most fiercely in the latter days of Aquarius, and thus are Janus-like as they look back to the ferocity of winter but forward also to the ferste primerole (line 1214).

1217 ff. Latin marginalia: Duodecimum Signum Piscis dicitur, cuius Mensis Februarius est. Quo pluuie torrens riparum concitat ampnes. [The twelfth Sign is called Pisces, whose Month is February. "Under him the torrent of rain showers incites the rivers from their banks."]

1239-40 Albumazar . . . Seith. The allusion is to Abu'Ma'sar's Introductorium in astronomiam. Hamilton ("Some Sources") asserts that Gower's whole "detailed account of the influence of the planets on the men and countries under their control, and a description of the signs of the zodiac, the planets in their mansions, and the months tributary to them" (7.685-1236) was suggested by a short section of the Secretum, based on Abu'Ma'sar (p. 342), the same passage from which Gower drew his references to "Tholemeus" (7.1043, 1201).

1271 ff. Gower's discussion of the universe moves from earth, through the planets, to the fixed stars which occupy the eighth sphere and are immutable. That the fixed stars are fifteen in number perhaps suggests through number symbolism the conjoining of heaven (8) and earth (7) - eternity and temporality. (See Hugh of St. Victor's discussion of the number fifteen in De arca Noe morali 3.16.) Because of the stars' permanence (and thus potency), more magicians than Nectanabus based wonder-working calculations on them. (See Chaucer's "tregetour" in The Franklin's Tale, CT F[V]1280). Gower's account of the fifteen stars with their respective herbs and stones is taken from Liber hermetis de XV stellis et de XV lapidibus et de XV herbis, XV figuris, etc., which, Macaulay notes, is found in several fourteenth-century manuscripts. Ideler's Untersuchungen über den Ursprung und die Bedeutung der Sternnamen, provides information on a number of the names (Mac 3.526). Vincent of Beauvais observes (Speculum naturale 16.53) that every herb on earth has a star in the sky which is concerned with it and causes it to grow.

1281-1438 These lines on the fifteen stars are included in Longleat House MS 174, a fifteenth-century collection of letters and Middle English medical treatises. See Harris, who remarks on minor changes in the Longleat text, concluding that "the purposes behind the inclusion of the extract . . . [in Longleat] must have been practical" ("The Longleat House Extracted Manuscript," p. 88).

1285 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat super doctrina Nectanabi, dum ipse iuuenem Alexandrum instruxit, de illis precipue xv stellis vna cum earum lapidibus et herbis, que ad artis magice naturalis operacionem specialius conueniunt. [Here he discourses on the doctrine of Nectanabus while he instructed the young Alexander, specifically concerning the fifteen stars along with their stones and herbs that are particularly conducive to the operation of the art of natural magic.]

1295-1308 See Hamilton ("Studies in the Sources," pp. 511-12), on various versions of Liber hermetis that attribute authorship of the treatise to Nectanabus, as does Gower.

1296 Nectanabus. Alexander's natural father. See CA 6.1789-2366. Minnis, commenting on Gower's use of the Nectanabus story to set up Book 7 in a cohesive way, points out that "Calistre and Aristote taught the young king philosophy," while it was Nectanabus who taught him astronomy and magic (7.1295-1308), which may not have been the most wise move by Nectanabus, given the fact that it was on a fair and starry night while they were observing the heavens from a tower that, to prove the old astrologer wrong, Alexander pushed Nectanabus off the tower, thus proving him right ("'Moral Gower,'" pp. 74-75).

1309 ff. Latin marginalia: Prima stella vocatur Aldeboran, cuius lapis Carbunculus et herba Anabulla est. [The first star is called Aldeboran, whose stone is Carbuncle and herb Anabulla.]

1319 ff. Latin marginalia: Secunda stella vocatur Clota seu Pliades, cuius lapis Cristallum et herba Feniculus est. [The second star is called Clota or Pliades, whose stone is Crystal and herb Fennel.]

1320-23 Clota . . . Mars. Clota is a Celtic goddess of the river Clyde. It is a curious coincidence that one of the valleys on Mars has, in modern times, been given the name Clota, suggesting that not only has Clota taken Mars' complexion, but Mars is now under the influence of Clota!

1328 ff. Latin marginalia: Tercia stella vocatur Algol, cuius lapis Dyamans et herba Eleborum nigrum est. [The third star is called Algol, whose stone is Diamond and herb black Hellebore.] Macaulay 3.526 is helpful in identifying Arabic meanings to star names and in linking Gower's phrasing to Liber Hermetis.

1337 ff. Latin marginalia: Quarta stella vocatur Alhaiot, cuius lapis Saphirus et herba Marrubium est. [The fourth star is called Alhaiot, whose stone is Sapphire and herb Horehound.]

1345 ff. Latin marginalia: Quinta stella vocatur Canis maior, cuius lapis Berillus et herba Savina est. [The fifth star is called the greater Dog Star, whose stone is Beryl and herb Savin.]

1355 ff. Latin marginalia: Sexta stella vocatur Canis minor, cuius lapis Achates et herba Primula est. [The sixth star is called the lesser Dog Star, whose stone is Agate and herb Cowslip.]

1363 ff. Latin marginalia: Septima stella vocatur Arial, cuius lapis Gorgonza et herba Celidonia est. [The seventh star is called Arial, whose stone is Gorgonza and herb Celandine.]

1364 Arial. Macaulay suggests "Cor Leonis" or Regulus (3.526); North links cor leonis with Calbelezed (Chaucer's Universe, p. 271, caption to figure 33, which includes a drawing of a rampant lion).

1371 ff. Latin marginalia: Octaua stella vocatur Ala Corui, cuius lapis Honochinus et herba Lapacia est. [The eighth star is called Crow's Wing, whose Stone is Honochinus and herb Sorrel.]

1379 ff. Latin marginalia: Nona stella vocatur Alaezel, cuius lapis Smaragdus et herba Salgea est. [The ninth star is called Alaezel, whose stone is Emerald and herb Sage.]

1386 ff. Latin marginalia: Decima stella vocatur Almareth, cuius lapis Iaspis et herba Plantago est. [The tenth star is called Almareth, whose stone is Jasper and herb Plantain.]

1393 ff. Latin marginalia: Vndecima stella vocatur Venenas, cuius lapis Adamans et herba Cicorea est. [The eleventh star is called Venenas, whose stone is Adamant and herb Chicory.]

1397 adamant. "lodestone (magnet)" is the sense here, given the stone's affiliation with Venus and the moon, with their powerful powers of attraction (tides, love, etc.). Gower also uses the term to mean "diamond," as in 7.833, when speaking of the precious gem in a royal crown. See MED adamant n. 1 and 2.

1401 ff. Latin marginalia: Duodecima stella vocatur Alpheta, cuius lapis Topazion et herba Rosa marina est. [The twelfth star is called Alpheta, whose stone is Topaz and herb Rosemary.]

1401 Alpheta, from Arabic for the beggar's dish (Mac 3.526).

1409 ff. Latin marginalia: Terciadecima stella vocatur Cor Scorpionis, cuius lapis Sardis et herba Aristologia est. [The thirteenth star is called the Scorpion's Heart, whose stone is Sardis and herb Birthwort.]

1417 ff. Latin marginalia: Quartadecima stella vocatur Botercadent, cuius lapis Crisolitus et herba Satureia est. [The fourteenth star is called Botercadent, whose stone is Chrysolite and herb Savory.]

1419 Botercadent. Macaulay notes that the Latin source (Liber hermetis) reads "'Vultur cadens,' that is perhaps Vega; but 'Botercadent' would probably be a different star, namely that called in Arabic 'Batn-Kaitos' or Whale's belly" (Mac 3.526-27). The "Falling Vulture" (vultur cadens) could indeed be Vega (the brightest star in the constellation Lyra), derived from Arabic al-Waqi and so named for the story of the bird that swoops down to grab Orpheus' lyre from the river at Jupiter's request. MED glosses the term to mean "falling Bittern (name of a star or constellation); ? The Whale's Belly (star in Cetus)." According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, "Animals in the Bible," the bittern (Lat. botháurus vulgaris) is sometimes substituted for the pelican, which, "of his kinde," is a swooping bird as it feeds. But perhaps Macaulay's first option (Vega) is the better identification, since the next line comments on his being obedient "of his kinde" to Mercury and Venus.

1425 ff. Latin marginalia: Quintadecima stella vocatur Cauda Scorpionis, cuius lapis Calcedonia et herba Maiorana est. [The fifteenth star is called the Scorpion's Tail, whose stone is Chalcedony and herb Marjoram.]

1426 tail of Scorpio. In Liber Hermetis, the phrase is 'Cauda Capricorni' (Mac 3.527).

1439 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de Auctoribus illis, qui ad Astronomie scienciam pre ceteris studiosius intendentes libros super hoc distinctis nominibus composuerunt. [Note here concerning his Authorities, who, striving very zealously beyond all others towards the science of Astronomy, composed books about this under various names.]

Here, in his naming of the astronomers, Gower seems to be following Albertus Magnus' De libris licitis et illicitis, the Speculum astronomiae, and, perhaps, Michael Scot's Introductio astrologiae. See Fox, Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 80-83.

1449 ff. Macaulay notes that the names of the chief authors of books on astronomy seem to be taken from Albertus Magnus' Speculum astronomiae or De libris licitis et illicitis, cap. ii (3.527).

1461 Alfraganus. Author of Rudimenta astronomica.

1507-87 Since Christ Himself is God's Word, the Second Person being the expression of the First Person, abuse of language is a sin against Truth. Gower follows the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition in which truth (not simply persuasion) is a fundamental requisite of Rhetoric. Words used for persuasion, regardless of truth, are false rhetoric.

1507-1640 Murphy identifies this passage as the first discussion of rhetoric in the English language. Gower's source is Trésor 3. On Gower's shift away from Brunetto's praise of ornateness in favor of a plain style, see Schmitz (Middel Weie, pp. 28-37). Gower links Rhetoric with Ethics rather than Politics, where it serves as a guide to all people, not just rulers (pp. 168-97). For Gower, language is the universal gift of the Creator, a primary means of discovering divine likeness in the ethics of self rule (pp. 32-33). See Nicholson's annotations of scholars on this passage (Annotated Index, pp. 440-41). Craun notes that Gower begins treating rhetoric "exactly where pastoral treatises on deviant speech begin: with the origin and function of speech" (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 118).

1511 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat de secunda parte Philosophie, cuius nomen Rethorica facundos efficit. Loquitur eciam de eiusdem duabus speciebus, scilicet Grammatica et Logica, quarum doctrina Rethor sua verba perornat. [Here he discourses about the second part of Philosophy, Rhetoric by name, which produces eloquent speakers. He speaks especially about two of its species, namely Grammar and Logic, by whose doctrine the Orator adorns his words.]

1522-25 touchende . . . Rethorique . . . that ben resonable. See Watt (Amoral Gower, pp. 38-60) on Gower's linking of rhetoric and reason as concepts gendered masculine, drawing on Trésor, which he then subverts in various ways. Gower "is concerned with his own reputation and the notoriety or eminence of his patron, forefathers, and other authorities, and also with the questions of whether writing is a legitimate and moral activity, what is the proper way to do it, and what are the difficulties in achieving a virile rhetorical style" (p. 60).

1558-63 On Ulysses as rhetorician, see Gittes, "Ulysses," p. 13.

1588 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de Eloquencia Iulii in causa Cateline contra Cillenum et alios tunc vrbis Rome Conciues. [Note concerning the Eloquence of Julius in the case of Cateline against Cillenus and others who were then Citizens of the city of Rome.]

1588-1640 Rather than Tullius (line 1589), Gower is following Brunetto Latini in the Trésor, 1.36.5, which also uses the Roman Senate's discussion of the fate of Cataline as a model of right use of Rhetoric.

1607 Cillenus. "D. Junius Silanus, who as consul-designate gave his opinion first. It is tolerably evident in this passage, as it is obvious in 4.2647 ff., that Gower did not identify Tullius with Cicero" (Mac 3.527).

1641 ff. The three part division of Practique ultimately comes from Aristotle and is found in Giles of Rome's De regimine principium, Bromyard's "regimen" in his Summa praedicantium, and Bonaventure's De reductione Artium ad Theologiam and Secretum Secretorum, though in this instance his source is probably Brunetto Latini's Trésor 1.3.4.

1647 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat de tercia parte Philosophie, que Practica vocatur, cuius species sunt tres, scilicet Etica, Ichonomia, et Policia, quarum doctrina regia magestas in suo regimine ad honoris magnificenciam per singula dirigitur. [Here he discourses about the third part of Philosophy, which is called Practice, whose species are three, namely Ethics, Economics, and Policy, by whose doctrine the royal majesty is directed point by point in his governance toward his honor's magnificence.]

1650 Gower's main source for practices of the governance of kinges is Giles of Rome's De regimine principium. See David Fowler's edition of Trevisa's translation.

1670-78 Iconomique. See Simpson on economies as a central idea in the Confessio, particularly with reference to familia (i.e., domestic economies), but also the inner life of "conseil," "wit," and "resoun," the familia of the soul (Sciences and the Self, pp. 221-23).

1673 [a king] His wif and child schal reule and guie. Burke ("Women," pp. 240, 253n6) notes that this is the only reference in the poem to female submission in marriage, a further demonstration of the poet's kind disposition toward women.

1706 The five points of policy that Genius explores - Truth (lines 1723 ff.), Liberality (lines 1985 ff.), Justice (lines 2695 ff.), Pity (lines 3103 ff.), and Chastity (lines 4215 ff.) - follow vaguely the model of kingly instruction in the Secretum Secretorum. There the recommended virtues are liberality, wisdom, chastity, mercy, truth, and also justice. In the Secretum, Aristotle is less systematic than Genius is. This portion of the Confessio is pointedly directed towards the English throne. See Coffman, "John Gower, Mentor for Royalty," pp. 953-64; and Hamilton, "Some Sources".

1715 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic secundum Policiam tractare intendit precipue super quinque regularum Articulis, que ad Principis Regimen obseruande specialius existunt, quarum prima veritas nuncupatur. Per quam veridicus fit sermo Regis ad omnes. [Here in respect to Policy he intends to discourse particularly about five Elements of rules, which must especially be observed for the Governance of a Ruler, the first of which is named truth. Through this a King's speech is made faithfully true to all.]

1716 And for it stant upon his wille. The Will, the third of the human faculties, the others being Memory and Intellect, was especially emphasized in fourteenth-century philosophical discourse as the starting point of ethics. Thus the will (desire) of the king is especially important. Compare, for example, Chaucer's "Lak of Stedfastnesse," where the will is repeatedly singled out as the crux of the problem (n.b. lines 6, 9, 13, 22).

1733 double speche. The implicit point here is that God gave humankind language for communication. But in his predatory sins, humankind uses language to deceive, rather than clarify. Double speech is thus an aspect of fallen nature. See Chaucer's remarks on the Fall where "mannes word," which once was obligation, is now "nothing lyk" ("Lak of Stedfastnesse," lines 2-6) or his recurrent proverb on the importance of words being "cosyn to the dede" (CT I[A]742). For Gower the phrase is tied to the evils of division that characterize corrupt behavior in modern times. See Prol. 850-55 and 967-1052. At the same time, given the fallen condition of the world, equivocal language may be the best tool for understanding the confusion. See Peck, "Phenomenology of Make Believe"; Simpson, Sciences and the Self, pp. 198 ff.; and Olsson, "Rhetoric, Gower, and the Late Medieval Exemplum," pp. 187-94, especially p. 189.

1735-36 On failure of truth in a king as an unsittende thing, see Peck, "Politics and Psychology," p. 238.

1741-43 Avise . . . tofore, / And be wel war . . . / For afterward it is to late. Proverbial. See Whiting, Chaucer's Use of Proverbs, p. 151.

1750 corone. On the crown as a symbol of kingship, see Peck, "Politics and Psychology," p. 238.

1751 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota super hiis que in corona Regis designantur. [Note concerning those things which are signified in a King's crown.]

The various significances of the parts of a king's crown are also elaborated in the alliterative poem Richard the Redeless, passus 1, lines 35-48.

1782 cronique. The reference is to 1 Esdras 3-4:41. Utley notes that Gower's is the earliest full treatment of this theme in English (Crooked Rib, p. 313). See also Gower's use of the story in MO, lines 2276-800. The attitude toward women is less benevolent in MO where Gower uses the figure of woman overcoming the king as a jibe at Alice Perrers (MO, lines 22801-72). See Stillwell, "John Gower," pp. 457-58, on the more negative attitude toward women in MO. In CA the anti-feminist components of his sources have been removed. See Burke, "Sources and Significance," p. 11.

1786 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat, qualiter Darius filius Ytaspis Soldanus Percie a tribus suis Cubiculariis, quorum nomina Arpaghes, Manachaz et Zorobabel dicta sunt, nomine questionis singillatum interrogauit, vtrum Rex aut mvlier aut vinum maioris fortitudinis vim obtineret: ipsis vero varia opinione respondentibus, Zorobabel vltimus asseruit quod mulier sui amoris complacencia tam Regis quam vini potenciam excellit. Addidit insuper pro finali conclusione dicens, quod veritas super omnia vincit. Cuius responsio ceteris laudabilior acceptabatur. [Here he narrates how the Sultan of Persia, Darius the son of Ytaspis, separately interrogated with a question three of his Chamberlains, whose names are said to be Arpaghes, Manachaz, and Zorobabel, about whether a king, a woman, or wine possessed the greatest strength. The others responded with various opinions, but Zorobabel, the last one, asserted that a woman by the delight of her love exceed the power both of a king and of wine. He added moreover as a final conclusion the statement that truth conquers all. His response was accepted by all as more praiseworthy.] The story of Darius and the three counselors is based on 1 Esdras 3-4:41. The story is popular among fourteenth-century and early fifteenth-century English writers. Compare Lydgate, Siege of Thebes, lines 1721-45. See also Chaucer's Dame Prudence, who gives an amusing variation on the story, where jasper is declared stronger than gold, wisdom stronger than jasper, and woman strongest of all (The Tale of Melibee, CT VII[B2] 1106-08). Gower has added Zorobabel's illustrative account of Alcestis (lines 1917 ff.). Compare Chaucer's use of Alcestis as the model of virtue in LGW. A further variation of the story of Darius' questions occurs in the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. cclviii. For critical discussion of the illustrative example, see Burke ("Sources and Significance"), who suggests Flavius Josephus, Peter Comestor, and Vincent of Beauvais as possible additional sources. Wetherbee considers the tale, followed by the extended analysis of the five points of policy, to be "a summarial statement of the problems of self-governance and social order posed by the earlier books" ("John Gower," p. 604).

1800-02 Arpaghes . . . Manachaz . . . Zorobabel. Zorobabel appears in 1 Esdras, but Gower's source for the other names is unknown. They do not appear in Esdras, Peter Comestor, or Flavius Josephus.

1884 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de vigore amoris, qui inter Cirum Regem Persarum et Apemen Besazis filiam ipsius Regis Concubinam spectante tota Curia experiebatur. [Note here concerning the power of love, which was experienced between Cyrus, the king of the Persians, and Apemen, daughter of Besazis, the concubine of this king, while the entire court watched.]

1884-99 Bakalian suggests that Apemen's dominance of the besotted Cyrus reflects Gower's lingering distaste of Edward III's later years under the influence of Alice Perrers. Yet, "however angry Gower may still be with the irresponsible behavior of the deceased Edward, in the Confessio he recognizes that women can be accomplished helpmeets to men" (Aspects of Love, p. 54). E.g., 7.1890-91, where Apemen subdues the tyrant's notorious anger.

1904-07 Thurgh hem [women] men finden out the weie / To knihthode and to worldes fame . . . Bakalian contrasts the voice of Genius that acknowledges women's usefulness in making knights fear shame and desire honor with the position against women as a detrimental influence on knighthood in VC 5.1.20 ff. and MO, lines 22801 ff. (Aspects of Love, pp. 52-57).

1912 bote. A term rich with connotations: salvation, reward, deliverance, amends; advantage, profit; but also penance, expiation, cure. There could be a pun on vessel (boat), as well.

1917 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de fidelitate Coniugis, qualiter Alcesta vxor Ameti, vt maritum suum viuificaret, seipsam morti spontanee subegit. [Note the fidelity of married partners, how Alceste the wife of Ametus subjected herself by her own will to death in order that her husband might be revived.]

1917-49 Gallacher discusses Alcestis as a synecdoche for "trouthe" itself, "a culmination of Gower's 'legend of good women'" (Love, the Word, and Mercury, p. 105). Her generosity in giving her life for her husband's recovery "clarifies Gower's purpose in intermeshing the classical with the biblical story" (p. 104). See CA 7.1944-49.

1934-40 Burke ("Sources and Significances," pp. 12-13) remarks on the wholeheartedness of Alcestis' self-sacrifice; her tenderness toward her husband epitomizes Gower's esteem for a good marriage. He omits the story of Hercules' rescue of Alcestis, perhaps to emphasize the dedication and pathos of her commitment.

1957-60 The trouthe . . . schal be knowe. Proverbial. See Whiting, T509. Compare CA Prol. 369. See also Whiting, S490-491, and CA 3.205 and 5.4604.

1990 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat de regie maiestatis secunda Policia, quam Aristotiles largitatem vocat: cuius virtute non solum propulsata Auaricia Regis nomen magnificum extollitur, set et sui subditi omni diuiciarum habundancia iocundiores efficiuntur. [Here he discourses about the second Policy of royal majesty, which Aristotle calls Liberality, by whose virtue is Avarice repelled, and not only is the King's name extolled as magnificent, but also his subjects are made happier by every abundance of wealth.]

2003 ff. On the evolution of kingship and the current necessity of kings, see RR, lines 9603-36, 18545-18606; and Piers Plowman B.Pro.113, 132-38, 141-42, where kings are also looked on, not as part of the original order, but rather as an expedience, a necessary evil which resulted from the fall.

2031 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota super hoc quod Aristotiles Alexandrum exemplificauit de exaccionibus Regis Chaldeorum [Note, concerning this, that Aristotle instructed Alexander by an example about the exactions of the King of the Chaldeans.]

2061 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic secundum gesta Iulii exemplum ponit, qualiter Rex suorum militum, quos probos agnouerit, indigenciam largitatis sue beneficiis releuare tenetur. [Here following the deeds of Julius he presents an instructive example, how the King was led to relieve his knight's poverty, since he saw they (his deeds) were worthy, by the beneficence of his liberality.]

The account of the king of Chaldee's prodigality may be found in the Secretum Secretorum. The story of Julius and the Poor Knight, which comes next, is based ultimately on Seneca, De beneficiis 5.24, though it is retold in the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. lxxxvii. The story of King Antigonus, which follows, may originate with Brunetto Latini's Trésor, though there the story is an example of hypocritical excuses.

2110 every service axeth mede. Proverbial. See Whiting, S168. Compare CA 4.2023-24: "Bot every labour axeth why / Of som reward," and 8.2012: "The mede arist of the service." Perhaps the source is Matthew 10:10b: "for the workman is worthy of his meat."

2115-30 Hamilton ("Some Sources," p. 339) suggests the Tractatus de diversis historiis Romanorum as a source for this story and others in Book 7, namely, the tales of Codrus (7.3163-3214), Fabricius (7.2783-2832), the Roman Triumph (7.2355-2411), Julius Caesar and the Poor Knight (7.2061-2114), the Emperor and the Masons (7.2412-31), and the story of Alexander and the Pirate in 3.2363-2437. But see also the notes to 7.2061 ff., 7.2328-2490, 7.2765 ff., and 7.3163 ff.

2119 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum de Rege Antigono, qualiter dona regia secundum maius et minus equa discrecione moderanda sunt. [Here he presents an instructive example concerning King Antigonus, how royal gifts must be moderated in respect to more and less equal discretion.]

2142 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic quod Regius status a suis fidelibus omni fauore supportandus est. [Note here that the Royal estate must be supported with all goodwill by the king's faithful.]

2149 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic secundum Aristotilem, qualiter Principum Prodegalitas paupertatem inducit communem. [Note here following Aristotle, how the Prodigality of Rulers induces poverty for all.]

2155 ff. Latin marginalia: Seneca. Sic aliis benefacito, vt tibi non noceas. [Seneca: Be thus beneficent to others, so you may not be harmful to yourself.]

2162-63 Prodegalité . . . is the moder of poverte. Proverbial. See Whiting, P405.

2177 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter in principum curiis adulatores triplici grauitate offendunt. [Note how in the courts of rulers, flatterers offend by a triple gravity.]

2181 ff. Latin marginalia: Primo contra deum. [First, against God.]

2185 ff. Latin marginalia: Secundo contra Principem.[Second, against the Prince.]

2199 ff. Latin marginalia: Tercio contra populum. [Third, against the people.]

2217 ff. Based on an anecdote in Val. Max. 4.3, ext. 4b.

2219 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic contra vanitates adulantum loquitur, et narrat quod cum Arisippus de Cartagine Philosophus scole studium relinquens sui Principis obsequio in magnis adulacionibus pre ceteris carior assistebat, accidit vt ipse quodam die Diogenem Philosophum nuper socium suum, virum tam moribus quam sciencia probatissimum, herbas ad olera sua collectas lauantem ex casu ad ripam inuenit: cui ait, "O Diogenes, vere si tu sicut et ego Principi tuo placere scires, huiusmodi herbas aut colligere aut lauare tibi minime indigeret." Cui alter respondit, "O Arisippe, certe et si tu sicut et ego olera tua colligere et lauare scires, principem tuum ob inanis glorie cupiditatem blandiri nullatenus deberes." [Here he speaks against the vanities of flatterers, and he narrates how when Arisippus, the Philosopher from Carthage, left his studies at school, he very painstakingly contributed to the obsequiousness given to his Ruler even beyond others among the important flatterers. It happened that one day he found by chance at a riverbank Diogenes the Philosopher, not long ago his companion, a man most worthy both in manners and learning, washing herbs he had collected as his cooking-vegetables. To him Arisippus said, "O Diogenes, truly if you knew as I do how to please your Ruler, there would hardly be need for you either to collect or wash such herbs." To him the other answered, "O Arisippus, certainly also if you knew how to collect and wash cooking-vegetables, you would not at all need to blandish your ruler on account of empty lust for glory."]

2328-2490 Of these accounts of the Roman triumphal processions Macaulay (3.530) notes: "The Roman Triumph as here related was a commonplace of preachers and moralists, cf. Bromyard, Summa praedicantium, I.v.36." See also the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. xxx. Precisely which "Chronicle" Genius speaks of is not known. Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes mentions the custom of masons visiting the emperor to plan his sepulcher; a marginal note there refers the reader to Vita Johannis Eleemosynarii. That custom is also described in Jofroi's Secretum Secretorum.

2355 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat super eodem, qualiter nuper Romanorum Imperator, cum ipse triumphator in hostes a bello Rome rediret, tres sibi laudes in signum sui triumphi precipue debebantur: primo quatuor equi albissimi currum in quo sedebat veherent, secundo tunica Iovis pro tunc indueretur, tercio sui captiui propre cvrrum as vtrumque latus cathenati deambularent. Set ne tanti honoris adulacio eius animum in superbiam extolleret, quidam scurra linguosus iuxta ipsum in curru sedebat, qui quasi continuatis vocibus improperando ei dixit, "Notheos," hoc est nosce teipsum, "quia si hodie fortuna tibi prospera fuerit, cras forte versa rota mutabilis aduersabitur." [Here he narrates about the same thing, how not long ago the Roman Emperor, when as a triumpher against enemies returned home from war to Rome, three signs of his triumph were particularly due: first, that four pure-white horses should draw the chariot in which he was sitting; second, that the coat of Jupiter should be put on him for that time; and third, that his captives should walk in chains near the chariot on both sides. But lest the adulation of such honor should inflate his spirit with pride, a certain man with facility in scurrilities sat next to him in the chariot, and chastised him with a steady stream, saying, "Notheos," that is, know yourself, "because if fortune will have been prosperous to you today, tomorrow perhaps its mutable wheel turned downwards will throw you below."]

2359 unto thin ere. Since Flattery's primary means of entering the mind of its victim is through the ear, the wise emperor has his "Ribald" beside him to occupy his ear with warnings against the folly of "his gloire," causing him to "Tak into memoire" the vanity of victory, which Fortune can "overthrowe" in "nothing bot a throwe" (lines 2385-96).

2388-89 This concept of self-knowledge (n.b. the marginal gloss cites the Delphi Oracle's nosce teipsum) is implicit in the structure of the whole poem (see Simpson, Sciences and the Self, p. 204), especially as it moves through the refocusings of "self" in Book 8, leading to the naming of John Gower and his communal sense of self manifest in his prayer for England.

2412 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic eciam contra adulacionem scribit quod primo die quo nuper Imperator intronizatus extitit, latomi sui ab ipso constanter peterent, de quali lapide sue sepulture tumulum fabricarent; vt sic futuram mortem commemorans vanitates huius seculi transitorias facilius reprimeret. [Here he also writes against adulation, that on the first day when a former Emperor was enthroned his masons continually sought to know from him from what stone they should construct the tomb of his sepulcher; so that thus commemorating his future death he might more easily resist the transitory vanities of this world.]

2449 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic inter alia gesta Cesaris narrat vnum exemplum precipue contra illos qui, cum in aspectu principis aliis sapienciores apparere vellent, quandoque tamen similate sapiencie talia committunt, per que ceteris stulciores in fine comprobantur. [Here among other deeds of Caesar he narrates an instructive example especially against those who wished to appear wiser than others in the ruler's presence, but sometimes commit such things of pretended wisdom that through these they were finally proven stupider than others.]

2470 On the king's wise use of discretion to answer the flatterer, see Peck (Kingship and Common Profit, pp. 146-47). Porter sees this exemplum as the third of three on self-knowledge, the surest defense against flattery, the first two being the Roman Triumph and the Emperor and the Masons ("Gower's Ethical Microcosm," pp. 156-57).

2491 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota, qualiter isti circa Principem adulatores pocius a Curia expelli, quam ad regie maiestatis munera acceptari, Policia suadente deberent. [Note how those flatterers around a Ruler ought, by the argument of Policy, to be expelled from the Court rather than accepted as adornments of a king's majesty.]

2493 ff. See Burnley, who cites lines 2495-508 of Chaucer's Monk's Tale in connection with his assessment of Gower's changing attitude toward Richard as a king become tyrant: "As a moral philosopher whose concern was with the 'commune profit,' Gower would begin to see himself no longer as the philosophic instructor of a young prince, as an Aristotle to Richard's Alexander, but rather he would begin to share the rôle that he allots also to Arundel who, by his moral teaching, endeavoured 'to deflect the king from his fury.' No longer an Aristotle, he might well see himself instead as a Seneca restraining the madness of his own contemporary Nero" (Chaucer's Language, p. 15).

2527 ff. See 3 Kings (1 Kings) 22.

2530 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur vlterius de consilio adulantum, quorum fabulis principis aures organizate veritatis auditum capere nequiunt. Et narrat exemplum de Rege Achab, qui pro eo quod ipse prophecias fidelis Michee recusauit blandiciisque adulantis Zedechie adhesit, Rex Sirie Benedab in campo bellator ipsum diuino iudicio deuictum interfecit. [Here he speaks further about the counsel of flatterers, by means of whose fables a ruler's ears are not able to receive the sound of harmonious truth. And he narrates an instructive example about King Ahab, who because of the fact that he rejected the prophecies of faithful Micaiah and clung to the blandishments and flatteries of Zedekiah, King Benedab of Syria as a warrior in the field killed him, condemned by divine judgment.]

2541 Ramoth Galaath. Ramoth-Gilead was the site of King Ahab's last battle (4 Kings [2 Kings] 8:28 ff.; compare 3 Kings [1 Kings] 22:3 ff.). Ramah means "heights" and appears in several biblical place-names, e.g., the place where the cry of Rachel was heard as she wept for her lost children (Jeremias 31:15).

Latin verses ix (before line 2695). Line 4: Deuiat. A nearly verbatim translation here seems best, although it obscures the pun: deuiat (a post-Classical word) means both "stray from the path" (a metaphor that the rest of the verse repeats), and "be transgressive" in a moral or legal sense.

2695-2701 What is . . . What ben . . .What is . . .What is . . . Bot if . . . This magnificent use of anaphora marks a rhetorical triumph for Gower as he moves toward the culmination of his poem in its celebration of Law epitomized in the Tale of Lycurgus, lines 2917 ff., a tale skillfully set up by a sequence of exempla on good and bad rulers - Maximin, Gaius Fabricius, Emperor Conrad, Consul Carmidotirus, and Cambyses - all of whom demonstrate "th'experience" of "What thing it is to kepe lawe" (7.2704-05).

2695-3102 Fisher sees Gower's discussion of justice as the "climax in Gower's treatment of the themes of law and order," noting close echoes with MO, lines 205 ff., and VC 6.469 ff. (pp. 200-01 ff.).

2699 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat de tercia Principum regis Policia, que Iusticia nominata est, cuius condicio legibus incorrupta vnicuique quod suum est equo pondere distribuit. [Here he discourses about the third Policy of the Governance of rulers, which is called Justice, whose nature, uncorrupted by laws, distributes to each human being with an equal weight what is properly his.]

2709-24 Gower is careful to differentiate the king's relationship with law from that of the commons, noting that in some instances the king has power that stant above the lawe (line 2719), but emphasizing with equal conviction that the king must governe with rihtwisnesse / As he which schal the lawe guide (lines 2716-17); see also lines 2732 ff., demonstrating that "if the lawe torne amis, / The poeple also mistorned is" (7.2763-64).

2727 ff. Latin marginalia: Imperatoriam maiestatem non solum armis, set eciam legibus oportet esse armatam. [It is necessary for imperial majesty to be armed not only with weapons but also with laws.]

2730 That he himself ferst justefie. Compare 8.2109-20 on each man's kingdom of the self that he must "justefie" (8.2112) or else lose his estate.

2732-64 "Gower's most lucid and earnest comment on the interdependence of the king, the legal system, and a peaceful nation" (Fisher, John Gower, p. 201). Compare VC 6.487-94.

2762 menable. MED adj. 1b glosses: "pliant; controllable." But those terms have more negative connotations that apply less well than "compliant (in agreement)." If, of course, the law is turned amiss, then the people will be "mistorned" (7.2764) as well and will become "uncontrollable."

2765 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de iusticia Maximini Imperatoris, qui cum alicuius prouincie custodem sibi substituere volebat, primo de sui nominis fama proclamacione facta ipsius condicionem diligencius inuestigabat. [Note here concerning the justice of Emperor Maximin, who when he wanted to substitute a governor of some province of his, first, making proclamation, would investigate very diligently his repute.]

Macaulay (3.530) notes that the account of Maximin is found in Godfrey of Viterbo, Speculum Regum. The accounts of Gaius Fabricius and Consul Carmidotirus are based on Val. Max. 4.3.5a and 6.5, ext. 4, respectively. Emperor Conrad is mentioned in Godfrey.

2788 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum de iudicibus incorruptis. Et narrat qualiter Gayus Fabricus nuper Rome Consul aurum a Sampnitibus sibi oblatum renuit, dicens quod nobilius est aurum possidentes dominio subiugare, quam ex auri cupiditate dominii libertatem amittere. [Here he presents an instructive example about uncorrupted judges. And he narrates how Gaius Fabricius, who not long ago was the Consul of Rome, rejected gold brought to him by the Sampnites, saying that it was more noble to subjugate those possessing gold to dominion, than to lose the freedom of dominion by the love of gold.]

2833 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat de iusticia nuper Conradi Imperatoris, cuius tempore alicuius reuerencia persone, aliqua seu precum interuencione quacunque vel auri redempcione, legum Statuta commutari seu redimi nullatenus potuerunt. [Here he narrates about the justice of the recent Emperor Conrad, in whose days the Statutes of law could not at all be revoked or commuted on the grounds of anyone's social status, of any intervention of pleas, or any sort of payment of gold.]

2849 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota exemplum de constancia iudicis; vbi narrat de Carmidotiro Rome nuper Consule, qui cum sui statuti legem nescius offendisset, Romanique super hoc penam sibi remittere voluissent, ipse propria manu, vbi nullus alius in ipsum vindex fuit, sui criminis vindictam executus est. [Note an instructive example about the constancy of a judge, where it tells about Carmidotirus the recent Consul of Rome, who, when he had unknowingly broken the law of his own statute, and when the Romans wanted to remit him from the penalty, carried out by his own hand the retribution of his crime, when no one else would be his executioner.]

2889 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota quod falsi iudices mortis pena puniendi sunt, narrat enim qualiter Cambises Rex Persarum quendam iudicem corruptum excoriari viuum fecit, eiusque pelle cathedram iudicialem operiri constituit: ita quod filius suus super patris pellem postea pro tribunali cessurus iudicii equitatem euidencius memoraretur. [Note that false judges must be punished with the penalty of death. For he narrates how Cambises, King of the Persians, caused a certain corrupt judge to be flayed alive, and caused his skin to be fashioned into a judicial chair, so that his son, who would later sit as a tribunal on his father's skin, would be more sharply mindful of equity in judgment.]

The story of Cambyses and his judge, first told by Herodotus (5.25), was popular with medieval audiences. Macaulay (3.531) notes its recurrence in Val. Max. 6.3, ext. 3; the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. xxix; and Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes. See Chaucer's Summoner's Tale (CT III[D]2043-78) for another story of the legendary tyrant.

2918 Ligurgius. The tale is well known. See the Latin Gesta Romanorum 169. Val. Max. 2.6.1, 5.3.ext.2, and 7.2.ext.15 all contain references to his laws. Gower's version offers "the most eloquent statement in all Gower's writing of the legal foundation of society and the ideal relationship of the king to the law" (Fisher, John Gower, p. 202), an evaluation of the story supported by Gallacher (Love, the Word, and Mercury, pp. 118-20), who sees the pact with the Athenians as "an anagnorisis, a movement from ignorance to knowledge in regard to the divine authority of their ruler," and Peck (Kingship and Common Profit, pp. 148-49), who contrasts Ligurgius' sense of peace and the common good with that of Amans. See also Street ("John Gower," p. 232), who identifies Lygurgus as Gower's favorite hero, given his love of the people and the common good.

2921 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum de Principibus illis, qui non solum legem statuentes illem conseruant, set vt commune bonum adaugeant, propriam facultatem diminvunt. Et narrat quod, cum Ligurgius Athenarum princeps subditos suos in omni prosperitatis habundancia diuites et vnanimes congruis legibus stare fecisset, volens ad vtilitatem rei publice leges illas firmius obseruari, peregre proficisci se finxit; set prius iuramentum solempne a legiis suis sub hac forma exegit, quod ipsi vsque in reditum suum leges suas nullatenus infringerent: quibus iuratis peregrinacionem suam in exilium absque reditu pro perpetuo delagauit. [Here he presents an instructive example concerning those Rulers who not only having established a law preserve it, but also in order that they might augment the common good diminish their own power. And he tells that Ligurgius the ruler of the Athenians had established his subjects in every abundance of prosperity, wealth, and unanimity by means of appropriate laws, when, wishing those laws to be more firmly observed for the utility of the commonwealth, caused himself to depart to foreign lands. But first he extracted a solemn oath from his lieges in this manner: that they would not break his laws in any way until he returned. With these things sworn, he commuted his pilgrimage into exile to be permanent, without return.]

3019 The goode lawes to avance. To the question of which is higher, the law or the king, Sidrak replies: "Lawe is of more auctorite / Thenne Kyng or any prince may be" - Sidrak and Bokkus 2.448 (Laud B lines 6559-60).

3029 ff. The list of lawgivers is based on Trésor 1.17.

3033 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ad eorum laudem, qui iusticie causa leges primo statuerunt, aliquorum nomina specialius commemorat. [Here in praise of those who for the sake of justice first established laws, he specifically commemorates some of their names.]

3054 ff. Macaulay notes (3.531):
Chasteau d'Amour (lines 275-566 in the Middle English translation), Piers Plowman B.18.110-24, where the daughters meet at a crossroad to debate the fate of humankind after the Crucifixion; or The Castle of Perseverance, lines 3129-3560.

3135-36 the Philosophre. Itô (John Gower, pp. 183-85) identifies the Philosopher as Cassiodorus on grounds of similar passages in MO, lines 23059-61 and 13918- 20, where "Cassodre" is specified, and also in 7.*3161-*62 (found only in MSS B, T, ?), which reads "Cassodre in his apprise telleth, / The regne is sauf, wher pite duelleth," with a Latin marginal gloss: Cassodorus. Vbi regnat pietas, consolidatur regnum [Where pity (or piety) reigns, the reign is secure] (Mac 3.319), and is clearly akin to the idea that Pity [h]is regne in good astat confermeth (line 3136).

3137 ff. Latin marginalia: Constantinus Imperator ait: "Vere se dominum esse comprobat, qui seruum pietatis se facit." [Emperor Constantine said, "Truly he proves himself a lord who makes himself pity's servant."]

See the story of Constantine and Sylvester (CA 2.3187 ff.) for a further exemplum of Constantine's pity. An account of Troian may be found in Godfrey of Viterbo, Spec. reg. 2.14.

3142 ff. Latin marginalia: Troianus ait, quod ipse subditos suos solite pietatis fauore magis quam austeritatis rigore regere, eorumque benevolenciam pocius quam timorem penes se attractare proponebat. [Trajan said that he proposed to rule his subjects more by the good wishes of pity than by the rigor of austerity, and to attract their benevolence toward him rather than their fear.]

3144 Troian the worthi debonaire. Roman emperor from A.D. 98-117. Trajan gained a reputation as a virtuous ruler and patron of the arts - learned, fair-minded, and orderly. Jacobus de Voragine, in the life of St. Ignatius, tells of Trajan's having repented the torment and execution of St. Ignatius, upon learning from Pliny the Younger that Ignatius was a virtuous man (Golden Legend, Feb. 1). John the Deacon (Sancti Gregorii Magni vita 2.44, eighth century) tells of Pope Gregory weeping and praying for Trajan's soul, a prayer answered by God, whereby Trajan was returned to life long enough to know Christ, believe, and, upon his second death, be received into heaven. (See Aquinas, Summa theol. III, Suppl., q. 71, a, 5. ad 5.) The story was picked up in Fiore di filosofi, an account used by Dante who mentions the virtuous Trajan in Purgatorio 10.76 ff. as an example of humility (Trajan helped a widow whose son had been slain, even while he was in the midst of battle). Fiore's account is reprinted in Singleton's translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 211-12. Following the lead of Fiore and Aquinas, Dante places Trajan in heaven, the first of the five virtuous rulers: "Of the five which make an arch for my brow, he who is nearest to my beak consoled the poor widow for her son. Now, he knows by experience of this sweet life and the opposite, how dear it costs not to follow Christ" (Paradiso 20.43-48, Singleton, vol. 3, pt.1, p. 223). The fifth of the five is also a pagan, the Trojan Ripheus; Dante's point demonstrates the power of grace beyond institutions or human understanding. (See Aquinas, Summa theol. II.II, q. 2, a. 7, ad 3, on Christ's revelation to virtuous gentiles, including the Sibyl, who foretold things about Christ.) In Piers Plowman B.11.140 Trajan appears as one "broken oute of helle," "a trewe knyʒte" (B.11.141) whose salvation did not depend on clerks and their books, but rather only on "loue and leaute and my lawful domes" (B.11.145), a fact known by St. Gregory, who desired Trajan's salvation (B.11.146-47), whereby the emperor was saved by grace "withoute syngyng of masses" (B.11.151) and "by loue, and by lernyne of my lyuyng in treuthe" (B.11.152).

3162 Six manuscripts of the second recension, including S, B, and T, follow line 3162 with the Tale of the Jew and the Pagan (based on the Secretum Secretorum), which Macaulay includes in 3.320 ff., and which may be summarized as follows: To exemplify Pity, Aristotle told King Alexander how two men met one hot summer in the wilderness between Cairo and Babylon. One asked the other about his faith. The other said he was a Pagan whose law bade him to be gracious and debonair and to love all men alike, whether they be rich or poor. The first man then said he was a Jew who by his law would be a true fellow to no man unless he be another Jew. For if the fellow were not a Jew, he might take both life and goods from him. The Pagan marveled at so strange a law. As they traveled on under the hot sun, the Jew, who was on foot, schemed how he might ride. So he said to the Pagan, who rode upon an ass to which he had tied all his goods: "If your law is as you say you are beholden to me in my weariness and distress to let me ride a mile or two that I might rest my body." The Pagan, who would not displease his companion, saw his plight and in pity let him ride full soft. On they went, chatting away about this and that until at last the Pagan could go no further. When he asked the Jew to let him ride again, the Jew hastened on ahead, saying: "You upheld your law by giving me succor; now I will do my duty according to the law of Jewry: 'Thin asse schal go forth with me / With al thi good, which I have sesed; / And that I wot thou art desesed, / I am riht glad and noght mispaid'" (lines *3294-*97). The deserted Pagan knelt on the ground, raised his hands to heaven, and prayed: "O highest Trust, who loves righteousness, I beseech with humble heart that you see and judge this quarrel. Mercy or vengeance I leave to your judgment." So he went on "with drery chiere," (line *3312) hoping to catch sight of the Jew, but without success until nightfall. Then from the highway he at last beheld the Jew, lying all bloody in a valley, slain by a lion. Looking about he found his ass nearby, still in harness, safe and sound. See how the piteous man deserves pity, as Aristotle bears witness. Pity is the source of all virtue, and God will repress under foot its enemies. See Ames, "Source and Significance."

3163 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de Principis pietate erga populum, vbi narrat quod, cum Codrus Rex Athenarum contra Dorences bellum gerere deberet, consulto prius Appolline responsum accepit, quod vnum de duobus, videlicet aut seipsum in prelio interfici et populum suum saluari, aut populum interfici et se saluum fieri, eligere oporteret. Super quo Rex pietate motus plebisque sue magis quam proprii corporis salutem affectans, mortem sibi preelegit; et sic bellum aggrediens pro vita multorum solus interiit. [Note here concerning the pity of a Ruler toward his people, where he narrates that, when Codrus, King of the Athenians, had to wage war against the Dorians, he first consulted Apollo. He received the answer that it was necessary to choose one of two things: namely, either that he be killed in battle and his people saved, or his people be killed and he be kept safe. Whereupon the King, moved by pity and desiring the safety of his people more than his own body, chose death for himself. And thus going into battle he alone died for the lives of many.]

3181 Valeire. See Val. Max. 5.6.ext.1, where the tale of Codrus is told as an example of piety. See also MO, lines 19981-20004 where the story is also attributed to Valerius. The story of Codrus also occurs in the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. xli, and Jofroi's Secretum Secretorum. On Codrus' Christ-like willingness to sacrifice his life for his people see Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, pp. 149-50, and Porter, "Gower's Ethical Microcosm," p. 158.

3201 lemes. Compare the Reeve's Prologue (CT I[A]3886): "Oure olde lemes mowe wel been unweelde."

3215 A source for The Tale of Pompeius and the King of Armenia might be Val. Max. 5.1.9-10.

3219 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum de victoriosi Principis pietate erga aduersarios suos. Et narrat quod, cum Pompeius Romanorum Imperator Regem Armenie aduersarium suum in bello victum cepisset, captumque vinculis alligatum Rome tenuisset, tirannidis iracundie stimulos postponens, pietatis mansuetudinem operatus est. Dixit enim quod nobilius est Regem facere quam deponere: super quo dictum Regem absque vlla redempcione non solum a vinculis absoluit, set ad sui regni culmen gratuita voluntate coronatum restuit. [Here he presents an instructive example concerning the pity of a victorious Ruler toward his adversaries. And he narrates that, when Pompey, the Emperor of the Romans, had taken captive in battle the King of Armenia, his adversary, and bound him captive in chains at Rome, he put aside the goads of tyrannical wrath and devoted himself to the clemency of pity. For he said that it was more noble to make a King than to depose one; whereupon he not only released the said King from his chains without any ransom, but he also by free will restored him, crowned, to fullest height of power in his own kingdom.]

3230 conscience. I have followed Lewis (Studies in Words, p. 183) in glossing conscience as "tenderness."

3266 merel. MED notes that a merel is a counter used in the game of merels, and thus, with drowhe means "to make a move."

3267 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur contra illos, qui tirannica potestate principatum obtinenetes in iniquitatis sue malicia gloriantur. Et narrat exemplum, qualiter Leoncius tirannus pium Iustinianum non solum a solio imperatorie maiestatis fraudulenter expulit, set vt ipse inhabilis ad regnum in aspectu plebis efficeretur, naso et labris abscisis, ipsum tirannice mutulauit. Deus tamen, qui super omnia pius est, Tiberio superueniente vna cum adiutorio Terbellis Bulgarie Regis, Iustinianum interfecto Leoncio ad imperium restitui misericorditer procurauit. [Here he speaks against those who, obtaining a principality by tyrannical power, glory in the malice of their iniquity. And he narrates an instructive example, how Leontius the tyrant fraudulently not only expelled Justinian from the majesty of his imperial throne but also, that he might be made unsuitable for reign in the appearance of a commoner, tyrannically mutilated him, cutting off his nose and lips. Nonetheless God, who is pitying beyond all, with Tiberius intervening along with the help of Terbelis the King of Bulgaria, mercifully caused Justinian to be restored to his empire, after Leontius had been killed.]

Macaulay (3.532) notes: "Justinian II is described by Gibbon as a cruel tyrant, whose deposition by Leontius was fully deserved, and who, when restored by the help of Terbelis, took a ferocious vengeance on his opponents: 'during the six years of his new reign, he considered the axe, the cord, and the rack as the only instruments of royalty.' Nothing apparently could be less appropriate than the epithet 'pietous,' which Gower bestows upon him."

3295 ff. Gower apparently read the story in Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon, where Barillus is the name given to Perillus, as in the CA, though the story was a favorite of late Roman authors. See the Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. xlviii; Cicero often cited the story of Phalaris and his brass bull (e.g., De Divinatione 3.33, Verrine Orations 4.73); and Diod. 9.19.1.

3297 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur vlterius de crudelitate Siculi tiranni, necnon et de Berillo eiusdem Consiliario, qui ad tormentum populi quendam taurum eneum tirannica coniectura fabricari constituit; in quo tamen ipse prior, proprio crimine illud exigente, vsque ad sui interitus expiracionem iudicialiter torquebatur. [Here he speaks moreover about the cruelty of Siculus the tyrant, and also about Berillus his Counselor, who for the torment of the people tyrannically caused to be constructed a certain brass bull, in which nonetheless he first, by the means of his own criminal creation, was judicially tortured to the last gasp of his annihilation.]

3341 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de Dionisio tiranno, qui mire crudelitatis seueritate eciam hospites suos ad deuorandum equis suis tribuit: cui Hercules tandem superveniens victum impium in impietate sua pari morte conclusit. [Note here concerning Dionysius the tyrant, who by an extraordinary severity of cruelty gave even his guests to his horses to be devoured; finally, Hercules overcame him, and brought the impious captive by his own impiety to an equally impious death.]

The tyrant Dionysius has been confused with Diomedes, whom Hercules overthrew. Mainzer ("John Gower's Use of the 'Mediaeval Ovid,'" pp. 223-24) suggests Ovid's Ibis as the source on the basis of a verbal parallel - the marginal gloss at lines 3345 ff. - as well as the substitution of Dionysus for Diomedes, though the story also occurs in Met. 1.221-43.

3346 Devoureden the mennes blod. Compare Alexander's horse Bucephalus, who was also a man-eater, though the dramatic irony of Gower's exemplum, where the one who feeds his guests to his horse is eaten by his horse himself (line 3354), is uniquely satisfying. See note 6.1935.

3357 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic de consimili Lichaontis tirannia, qui carnes hominum hominibus in suo hospicio ad vescendum dedit; cuius formam condicioni similem Iupiter coequans ipsum in lupum transformauit. [Note here concerning the similar tyranny of Lichaon, who gave the flesh of men to the men in his household for eating; Jupiter, making his form similar to his nature, transformed him into a wolf.] See Met. 1.209-43. Hamilton ("Some Sources," pp. 333-34) suggests Trésor 1.173.5 as source, with the piteous lion coming from the French Secretum Secretorum.

3387 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter Leo hominibus stratis parcit. [Note how the Lion spares fallen men.]

3417-3517 The story of Spartacus occurs in Justin, Epitome 1.8, and Orosius, Historiarum 2.7. Macaulay (3.532) suggests that the names in Gower's account apparently come from Peter Comestor (PL 198.1471).

3419 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur precipue contra tirannos illos qui, cum in bello vincere possunt, humani sanguinis effusione saturari nequiunt. Et narrat in exemplum de quodam Persarum Rege, cuius nomen Spertachus erat, qui pre ceteris tunc in Oriente bellicosus et victoriosus, quoscumque gladio vincere poterat, absque pietate interfici constituit. Set tandem sub manu Thamaris Marsegetarum Regine in bello captus, quod a diu quesivit, seueritatem pro seueritate finaliter invenit. Nam et ipsa quosdam vas de sanguine Persarum plenum ante se afferri decreuit, in quo caput tiranni vsque ad mortem mergens dixit: "O tirannorum crudelissime, semper esuriens sanguinem sitisti: ecce iam ad saturitatem sanguinem bibe." [Here he speaks especially against those tyrants who, when they are able to conquer in battle, cannot be satiated by the effusion of human blood. And he narrates in an instructive example about a certain King of the Persians, whose name was Spertachus, who, more warlike and victorious than others in the East, killed without pity whomever he was able to conquer by the sword. Finally, however, he was captured in battle by the hand of Thamaris the Queen of the Marsegetes which she had long sought, he finally received severity for his severity. For she decreed that a certain container full of Persian blood be brought before him, in which, submerging the head of the tyrant until he died, she said, "O most cruel of tyrants, always thirstily you have drunk blood; behold now, drink blood to your fill."]

3444 queene of Marsagete. Macaulay (3.532-33) notes that most histories call Thamyris "queen of the Scythians." The name Marsagete apparently comes from Peter Comestor, who also gives "Spartachus" as the youthful name of the Persian King Cyrus. See note to 7.3417-3517. This story of Thamyris is also found in Christine de Pizan's Book of the City of Ladies, 1.17.2, where she is called the Amazon queen.

3520-31 Pité . . . Makth that the God is merciable, / If ther be cause resonable. Gower is "certainly arguing in scholastic terms the importance of a rationally defined mean as the arbiter of virtue. Pitee is an emotion which leads on in suitable circumstances to mercy. It seems to be considered a virtue, and is opposed to the vice of excess which is labelled pusillamite, and which inhibits the enforcement of true justice" (Burnley, Chaucer's Language, p. 129).

3557 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur secundum Philosophum, dicens quod sicut non decet Principes tirannica impetuositate esse crudeles, ita nec decet timorosa pusillanimitate esse vecordes. [Here he speaks according to the Philosopher, saying that just as it is not fitting for Rulers to be cruel with tyrannical impetuosity, so it is not fitting for them to be cowardly with timid faint-heartedness.]

3575 For thei withoute cause dradde. Part of the wit of this fearsome tale is its inversion of the proverb "as fearful as a mouse" (see Whiting, M732).

3581 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic secundum Oracium de magnanimo Yacide et pusillanime Thersite. [Note here according to Horace concerning the great-heartedness of Aeacida and the faint-heartedness of Thersites.] The reference should be to Juvenal, Satires 8.269 ff., instead of Horace. Stollreither (Quellen-Nachweise, p. 57) notes a similar false attribution to Horace in MO, line 23370, and also in the marginal gloss to CA 6.1513-14.

3594 ff. Latin marginalia: Salomon. Tempus belli, tempus pacis. [Solomon: "A time of war, a time of peace."] (Ecclesiastes 3:8.)

3595 ther is a time of pes is the culmination verse for the "All things have their season" passage (Ecclesiastes 3.1-8). Barnie notes that Gower "was a man of peace, but not a pacifist," pointing out that the poet, like many of his contemporaries, differentiated with thoughtful discretion between just and unjust war (War in Medieval English Society, p. 122). Not only is this the topic of 7.3594-3622 but also of 3.2230-40, and MO, lines 23608 ff.

3605 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter inter duo extrema consistit virtus. [Note how virtue is what stands between two extremes.]

3627-3942 For Gideon's story, see Judges 7; the story of Saul and Agag occurs in 1 Kings (1 Samuel) 15. For David's advice to Solomon and Solomon's wisdom in following it, see 3 Kings (1 Kings) 2-12.

3630 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit quod Princeps iusticie causa bellum nullo modo timere debet. Et narrat qualiter dux Gedeon cum solis tricentis viris quinque Reges, scilicet Madianitarum, Amalechitarum, Amonitarum, Amoreorum et Iebuseorum, cum eorum excercitu, qui ad lxxxxta Milia numeratus est, gracia cooperante diuina, victoriose in fugam conuertit. [Here he says that a Ruler for the sake of justice in the cause of war ought never to be timid. And he narrates how the leader of Gideon with three hundred men, and with the help of divine grace, victoriously drove in flight five Kings, namely of the Midianites, of the Amalachites, of the Ammonites, of the Amorites, and of the Jebusites along with their army, who numbered ninety thousand.]

3807-3912 Hamilton ("Some Sources," pp. 337-38) notes that all three of the biblical exempla in this passage (Saul and Agag, David and Joab, and Solomon's Wisdom) are, along with the detailed story of Diogenes and Aristippus, found in Jofroi's French Secretum Secretorum as examples of Justice and Wisdom, suitable to royal Prudence.

3809 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit quod vbi et quando causa et tempus requirunt, princeps illos sub potestate sua, quos iusticie aduersarios agnouerit, occidere de iure tenetur. Et narrat in exemplum qualiter, pro eo quod Saul Regem Agag in bello deuictum iuxta Samuelis consilium occidere noluit, ipse diuino iudicio non solum a regno Israel priuatus, set et heredes sui pro perpetuo exheredati sunt. [Here he says that where and when cause and time require, a ruler is compelled by right to kill those under his power whom he recognizes to be adversaries of justice. And he narrates in an instructive example how, because Saul following Samuel's counsel did not want to kill King Agag when he was conquered in war, not only was he deprived by divine right of the rule of Israel, but also his heirs were disinherited forever.]

3835-37 feigneth . . . feigneth. False pity is the worst since it corrupts truth and turns virtue into a mockery.

3847 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat vlterius super eodem, qualiter Dauid in extremis iusticie causa vt Ioab occideretur absque vlla remissione filio suo Salomoni iniunxit. [Here he narrates further on the same thing, how David, under duress because of justice, enjoined his son Solomon that Joab might be killed without any remission.]

3891 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit quod populum sibi commissum bene regere super omnia Principi laudabilius est. Et narrat in exemplum qualiter, pro eo quod Salomon, vt populum bene regeret, ab altissimo sapienciam specialius postulauit, omnia bona pariter cum illa sibi habundancius aduenerunt. [Here he says that it is very praiseworthy above all things for a Ruler to rule well the people entrusted to him. And he narrates in an instructive example how, because Solomon asked particularly for wisdom from the Almighty so that he might rule well the people, all good things along with that wisdom came in great abundance.]

3914 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit secundum Salomonem, quod regie maiestatis imperium ante omnia sano consilio dirigendum est. [Here he says according to Solomon that an empire of royal majesty must be guided before all other things by salutary counsel.]

3928 ff. Latin marginalia: Quicquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achiui. [In respect to whatever thing kings rave about, the Achaeans are punished.] See Horace, Odes 3.3.26-28.

3945 Macaulay notes (3.533) that Gower's "chronicle" is Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon.

3949 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic de Lucio Imperatore exemplum ponit, qualiter Princeps sui nominis famam a secretis consiliariis sapienter inuestigare debet; et si quid in ea sinistrum inuenerit, prouisa discrecione ad dexteram conuertat. [Here he presents an instructive example about Emperor Lucius, how a Ruler ought wisely to investigate his reputation by secret counselors; and if he should find anything sinister in his repute, he should transform it by discreet provision to something righteous.]

4027-4146 The account of Rehoboam occurs in 3 Kings (1 Kings) 12. Notice that throughout this portion of the poem, where his criticism of the king and his counsel becomes most pointed, Gower makes extensive use of biblical sources; his argument rests on the highest authority, of which there can be no dispute. See Ferster (Fictions of Advice, pp. 123-34) on Gower's use of Rehoboam in his advice to kings as he addresses crises in Richard II's reign.

4031 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit quod Seniores magis experti ad Principis consilium admittendi pocius existunt. Et narrat qualiter, pro eo quod Roboas Salomonis filius et heres senium sermonibus renuncians dicta inuenum preelegit, de xii. tribubus Israel a dominio suo x. penitus amisit, et sic cum duabus tantummodo illusus postea regnauit. [Here he says that Older Men more expert in advising the Ruler should be particularly embraced. And he narrates how, because Rehoboam, son of Solomon and heir, renounced the advice of older men and chose the sayings of younger men, he utterly lost from his dominion ten tribes of Israel from the twelve, and thus deceived, he later reigned with only two.]

4069 Latin marginalia: De consilio Senium. [Concerning the counsel of the Old.]

4077-78 yonge were and nothing wise / . . . olde men despise. On youth ignoring the wisdom of the elderly, see notes to 7.4134 ff. and 4137.

4079 Latin marginalia: De consilio iuuenum. [Concerning the counsel of the young.]

4134-43 Compare VC 6.755-60, which counsels youth to take advice for peace from wise men, rather than harming themselves by turning from peaceful good to wickedness. Compare the wise counsel of the elderly to those who are young and eager for war in Chaucer's Tale of Melibee (VII[B2]1035-41).

4137 Old age for the conseil serveth. Proverbial. See Whiting, A70.

4147-4214 The king with his wise counselor is Antoninus Pius, whose story Macaulay believes Gower probably knew from Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon (3.533).

4149 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota questionem cuiusdam Philosophi, vtrum regno conueniencius foret principem cum malo consilio optare sapientem, quam cum sano consilio ipsum eligere insipientem. [Note the question of a certain Philosopher, whether it would be better for a kingdom to prefer a wise ruler surrounded by bad counsel, or to choose a foolish ruler with astute counsel.]

4181 Anthonius. Macaulay (3.533) cites the biographer Capitolinus who presents Antoninus Pius as one who loved peace (Historiae Augustae, ed. 1620, p. 20).

4181 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota adhuc precipue de principis erga suos subditos debita pietate. Legitur enim qualiter Anthonius a Cipione exemplificatus dixit, quod mallet vnum de populo sibi commisso virum saluare, quam centum ex hostibus alienigenis in bello perdere. [Note up to this point especially concerning the necessary pious pity of rulers in respect to their subjects. For it is written how Antony, instructed by an example from Scipio, said that he would prefer to save one man from among the people entrusted to him, than to lose a hundred from foreign enemies in battle.]

4195 due. "Bound by duty," as glossed by Macaulay (3.533).

Latin verses xi (before line 4215). Line 4: magnanimi. Magnanimitas, mention of which Gower reserves for his final Latin verses in this "mirror for princes," was a fundamental virtue in later, Aristotelian Christian culture. It often denoted a species of strength (hence was sometimes classed under "fortitude"). It is keyed here to the king's repute (fama), in a wholly positive sense of "fame." Brunetto Latini's Trésor states, "The person who is magnanimous is the greatest and most honorable man there is; he will never be troubled by a trivial thing, and his heart is not concerned with an ugly thing. Therefore magnanimity is the crown and beacon of all virtues" (Book 2, ch. 23). Its virtue is its balance between extremes, and theme that reverberates with Gower's own poetic goal of "the middel weie" (Prol. 17).

4215-5438 See Nicholson's summary review (Annotated Index, pp. 472-76) of scholarly discussions of Chastity as conclusion to Book 7, ranging from Dodd's remarks on chastity in marriage, as an account that perhaps has bearing on the duties of the sovereign, especially young Richard (Courtly Love, pp. 74-75); Utley's suggestion that "Gower and Chaucer helped make marriage respectable material for belles lettres" (Nicholson, Annotated Index, p. 472); to Murphy's suggestion that Gower uses Chastity as a means of bridging his discussions on the education of the king back to his survey of the seven deadly sins ("John Gower's Confessio Amantis," p. 403n).

4215-17 "[P]erhaps the implication [is] that nature is providing a moral lesson [in monogamy] for human beings, who should follow the example of the birds as the poet represents himself doing" (White, Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 190n50).

4221 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat secundum Aristotelem de quinta principum regiminis Policia, que Castitatem concernit, cuius honestas impudicicie motus obtemperans tam corporis quam anime mundiciam specialius perseruat. [Here he discourses according to Aristotle about the fifth Policy of governance of rulers, which concerns Chastity, whose honorableness, impeding impudent activity, preserves both body and soul.]

4226-29 Forthi . . . in mariage / His trouthe plight lith in morgage, / Which if he breke, it is falshode. Bakalian relates this "truth-in-marriage" concept to Traitié 18.2. 8-14, which reads in her translation: "Of the three blessed estates it is the second which disposes itself to marriage in righteous love; and he who brings to ruin this order in wantonness has much to fear if he does not lead himself back. Therefore it is good that each one prepare himself to love with unblemished fidelity. He is not loving who misguides his love" (Aspects of Love, p. 34).

4233-37 Minnis ("'Moral Gower,'" pp. 77-78) notes that despite Gower's frequent citation of Secretum Secretorum in Book 7, in his discussion of Chastity he draws mainly on other sources like Giles of Rome. Compare CA 7.4257-61 and 5384-88. See also VC 6.12 on the control of desire, abstention from voluptuousness, and lawful companionship with one's wife.

4239-40 The fifte point . . . Is Chasteté. Here the term enjoys a broader definition than we normally give it. Chastity is the proper maintenance of just marriages. It is a virtue that depends on what one is married to and what the rationale behind that marriage is. The discussion begins with a general admonition against lechery, the seventh of the deadly sins (Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, p. 150). As in MO, Chastity in its five points (Bonnegarde, Virginite, Matrimonie, Continence, and Aspre [hard life]), all of which are exemplified in Genius' discussion at the end of Book 7, is the antidote for Lechery.

4257 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de doctrina Aristotilis, qualiter Princeps, vt animi sui iocunditatem prouocet, mulieres formosas crebro aspicere debet. Caueat tamen, ne mens voluptuosa torpescens ex carnis fragilitate in vicium dilabatur. [Note concerning the doctrine of Aristotle, how a Ruler, that he might provoke his spirit to joy, ought to look frequently at beautiful women. Let him take care, however, lest his voluptuous mind, becoming indolent, slide into vice because of the flesh's weakness.]

4298-4302 it is noght kinde . . . that Decembre schal ben hot. Pearsall emphasizes that "the moral message of the poem is clear: the unqualified endorsement of reason over passion, and of marriage as the proper and only sanction of love" ("The Gower Tradition," p. 182). See Utley, Crooked Rib, pp. 101-02, 286, on Gower's use of the May/December trope that anticipates Chaucer's elaborate development of the motif in The Merchant's Tale.

4313-4405 The story of Sardanapulus occurs in Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon, where the conqueror Arbaces is referred to as Barbatus (Mac 3.534). The account of Cyrus' conquest over the Lydians occurs in Herodotus 1.154-55 and in Justin, Epistle a.7, though in those versions Cyrus' corruption of the Lydians takes place after he has had to put down (successfully) a revolt.

4314 ff. Sardana Pallus. On gender transgressions and the price of effeminacy for King Sardanapalus (the falle fro chivalerie - 7.4337), see Watt (Amoral Gower, pp. 70-71). Collins presents him in his fyri rage (7.4318) as one subdued by Love, "a tyrannous monarch whose laws are based on unreason," who, when he is "deprive[d] . . . of self-sovereignty," becomes an extreme example of a ruler made womanish (p. 122). Compare TC 4.3515 ff. and 8.2111-20 on the loss of self and personal domain to self-misgovernance.

4317 ff. Latin marginalia:Hic ponit exemplum qualiter, pro eo quod Sardana Pallus Assiriorum Princeps muliebri oblectamento effeminatus sue concupiscencie torporem quasi ex consuetudine adhibebat, a Barbaro Rege Medorum super hoc insidiante in sui feruoris maiori voluptate subitis mutacionibus extinctus est. [Here he presents an instructive example how, because Sardanapalus the Ruler of the Assyrians was effeminized by womanly delight and habitually lapsed into the slothfulness of his lust, by suddenly changed circumstances he was treacherously destroyed amidst his great voluptuousness of passion by Barbarus, King of the Medes.]

4344 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota qualiter Dauid amans mulieres propter hoc probitatem Armorum non minus excercuit. [Note how David, loving women, exerted no less excellence in arms because of this.]

4361 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur qualiter regnum lasciuie voluptatibus deditum de facili vincitur. Et ponit exemplum de Ciro Rege Persarum, qui cum Liddos mire probitatis strenuissimos sibique in bello aduersantes nullo modo vincere potuit, cum ipsis tandem pacis tractatum dissimilans concordiam finalem stabiliri finxit. Super quo Liddi postea per aliquod tempus armis insoliti sub pacis torpore voluptatibus intendebant: quod Cirus percipiens in eos armatus subito irruit, ipsosque indefenbiles vincens sub imperio tributarios subiugauit. [Here he tells how a kingdom given to the voluptuousnesses of lust is easily conquered. And he presents an instructive example concerning Cyrus the King of the Persians, who when he was not at all able in battle to conquer his enemies - the most strenuous Lydians of extraordinary military excellence - deceived them, fashioning a treaty of peace with them. Whereupon the Lydians later for a certain time became unaccustomed to weapons, and under the sloth of peace turned themselves to voluptuousnesses. Cyrus, perceiving this, armed his army and suddenly rushed upon them. He thus conquered them while they were incapable of defending themselves and subjugated them as tributaries to the empire.]

4384-86 worldes ese . . . is the norrice / Of every lust. Proverbial. A variation of "idleness is nurse of vices." See Whiting, I6. See also CA 4.1086-89 and MO, lines 5266-68, which cites Cato's Distichs. Compare CT VII(B2)1589, and VIII (G)1-3.

4406 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic qualiter fata bellica luxus infortunat. Et narrat quod cum Rex Amalech Hebreis sibi insultantibus resistere nequiit, consilio Balaam mulieres regni sui pulcherrimas in castra Hebreorum misit; qui ab ipsis contaminati graciam statim amiserunt. Et sic ab Amalech deuicti in magna multitudine gladio ceciderunt. [Note here how sensual indulgence makes for bad outcomes in battle. And he narrates that when King Amalech was not able to resist the Hebrews assailing him, by Balaam's counsel he sent the most beautiful women of his kingdom into the camps of the Hebrews, who, contaminated by the women, immediately lost their divine grace. And thus conquered by Amalech, they died by the sword in a vast multitude.]

4406-4573 On the counsel of Balaam, see Numbers 22-25, where the pagan king is Balac, not Amalech, and Balaam refuses to curse or otherwise harm the Israelites. Gower's version is a mixture of Balac's desire to defend himself from Israel and the Israelites' weakness as described in Numbers 25:1-2. Balac, in the Bible, never actually sends the women. For the account of Phinees, see Numbers 25.

4418 With yhen greye and browes bente. Amalech's women set off their grey eyes with plucked eyebrows (a conventional sign of female beauty) as a weapon against the Hebrews, whose unchaste response they are counting on. They might have succeeded were it not for Phinees, who kills the first two who succumb to temptation as a warning to others. That sight is more potent than yhen greye and browes bente. One basis of Chastity is Bonnegarde ("Good Care" or "Right Watchmanship," devoted to guarding of the five senses, those "special doors and windows through which the devil enters the soul," so that they go not astray or admit the enemy - MO, lines 16585-16608; see note to 7.4239-40); n.b., Bonnegarde as a virtue well exemplified in the Tale of Tobias and Sara which follows shortly (7.5307 ff.), though it does not help Lucrece much, despite all her care. Here see also discussions of "mislok" and the failure to guard the eyes elsewhere in CA (especially 1.304 ff.). See note to 6.1858.

4469 ff. Based on 3 Kings (1 Kings) 11.

4469-77 Wickert (Studies in John Gower) notes that reflections on death are not common in royal instruction books though such material is found in VC and Waltenham's Myrour of Synners (p. 154).

4473 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur qualiter Principum irregulata voluptas eos a semita recta multociens deuiare compellit. Et narrat exemplum de Salomone, qui ex sue carnis concupiscencia victus mulierum blandiementis in sui scandalum deos alienos colerre presumebat. [Here he speaks how the unregulated lusts of Rulers often compels them to deviate from the straight path. And he narrates an instructive example about Solomon, who was conquered by the blandishments of women because of the lust of his flesh and thereby was led to worship strange gods, to his scandal.]

4477 whos appetit. MED glosses "appetite" in this line as "sexual craving." Medieval writers differentiate kinds of appetite, depending upon the impetus of the desire. Gower seems to have in mind here the desire of the "soule vegetablis" that "haþ a vertu of gendringe þat is nedeful to multiplie and bringe forþ þinges in kinde," the "vertu of appetit" being to take whatever "foode" is "nedeful" (Bart. Ang. 3, cap. 8). This craving to satisfy natural necessities or body functions is what Chaucer's Parson refers to as "the appetites of the fyve wittes" (CT X[I]207), or what the Wife of Bath means when she says she "evere folwede myn appetit" (CT III[D]623). Compare Januarie, who "folwed ay his bodily delyt / On wommen, ther as was his appetyt" (CT IV[E]1249-50).

4499 ff. Latin marginalia: De filia Regis Cidonie. [Concerning the daughter of King Sidonia.]

4501 Astrathen. Ashtart, Ashtoreth, Astarte: a Semitic goddess worshiped by Canaanites, Hebrews, Phoenicians; a goddess of untrammeled sexual love; in some colonies honored by religious prostitution and temple harlots; linked to Ishtar, she is a goddess of maternity and fertility, who suckles the child Tammuz at her breast; a creatrix of men; a war-goddess among Phoenicians but also in early matriarchal communities. See Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics 2.115-18. Gower bases his names Astrathen, Chamos (line 4506), and Moloch (line 4509) on 3 Kings (1 Kings) 11:33. Sidon was a Phoenician seaport.

4503 ff. Latin marginalia: De filia Regis Moab. [Concerning the daughter of King Moab.]

4506 Chamos. Chemosh, the national god of Moab, mentioned in the Moabite Stone. The name was often compounded with other names, such as Ashtar-Chemosh or Chemosh-nadab or Chemosh-yahi. The term was used in the same way Hebrews used the term Yahweh. Numbers 21:29 warns: "Woe to thee Moab: thou art undone, O people of Chamos." See Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics 8.759-61.

4507 ff. Latin marginalia: De filia Regis Amon. [Concerning the daughter of King Amon.]

4509 Moloch. "A Canaanite god to whom children were sacrificed by being burned alive" (see Sol Liptzin's entry on Moloch in the Dictionary of Biblical Tradition, pp. 516-17). N.b., Leviticus 18:21, 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 12:31, 18:9-10; 4 Kings (2 Kings) 23:10.

4515 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota hic qualiter Achias propheta, in signum quod regnum post mortem Salomonis ob eius peccatum a suo herede diminueretur, pallium suum in xii, partes scidit, vnde x. partes Ieroboe filio Nabal, qui regnaturus postea successit, precepto dei tribuit. [Note here how Achias the prophet, in sign that the kingdom would be diminished after Solomon's death by his heir, tore his mantle into twelve pieces, from which he gave as tribute ten pieces by God's command to Jeroboah the son of Nabal, who, about to reign, succeeded him later.] See 3 Kings (1 Kings) 11:29-32.

4559 ff. Latin marginalia: Aristotiles. O Alexander, super omnia consulo, conserua tibi calorem naturalem. [Aristotle: "O Alexander, I counsel you above all, preserve your natural warmth for yourself."] Macaulay (3.534) relates the Latin quotation to the Secretum Secretorum: "O summe rex, studeas modis omnibus custodire et retinere calorem naturalem" (ed. 1520, f. 25v) [O highest king, be zealous by every means to preserve and retain your natural warmth].

4569-71 "[H]ere one might say that natural sexual appetite provides moral guidance, its satisfaction, and no more, indicating what is legitimate" (White, Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 190).

4570-71 dueliche served, / It oghte of reson to suffise. See White (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 201) on the possible accommodation of "the natural sexual urge" and the "necessity of restraint" in Gower's view of Nature. Compare Chaucer's Parson, CT X(I)935-42, on measure in sexual behavior and matters of paying the debt to the body within the privileges of chaste behavior. Toby, CA 7.5361-65, exemplifies precisely the proposition, where "bothe lawe and kinde is served" (7.5363).

4574 ff. Latin marginalia: De voluptuoso Antonio. [Concerning Antonius the voluptuary.]

4574 Anthonie. Macaulay (3.534) notes: "Caracalla, son of Severus, is here meant. His name was Aurelius Antonius, and he is called Aurelius Antonius in the Pantheon (Mon. Germ. Hist. xxii. p.166). Caracalla is called by Orosius 'omnibus hominibus libidine intemperantior, qui etiam novercam suam Iuliam uxorem duxerit' (Hist. vii.18 [more intemperate in lust than any other man, and who indeed took his stepmother Julia as his wife]), and this character of him is repeated in the Pantheon."

4593 Gower's story of Tarquin, Aruns, and Lucrece is much enlarged from Ovid, Fasti 2.687-852. See also Chaucer's LGW, lines 1680-1885; Latin Gesta Romanorum, cap. cxxxv; and Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece. For the story in fourteenth-century chronicles and commentaries, see Galloway, "Chaucer's Legend of Lucrece." Livy 1.53-54 (Sextus) and 1.57-59 (Lucrece) might also be a source.

4599 ff. Latin marginalia:Hic loquitur de Tarquino nuper Rome Imperatore, necnon et de eiusdem filio nomine Arrons, qui omni viciorum varietate repleti tam in homines quam in mulieres innumera scelera perpetrarunt: set specialiter super hiis que contra Gabinos fraudulenter operati sunt tractare intendit. [Here he speaks about Tarquin, not long ago Emperor of Rome, and also about his son Aruns by name, who replete with every variety of vice perpetrated innumerable sins both against men and women; but particularly he intends to discourse about those which they fraudulently carried out against the Gabines.]

4598 Arrons. Macaulay: "[n]either Aruns nor Sextus is named in Ovid, who speaks only of 'Tarquinius iuvenis.' Gower gives to Aruns the place of Sextus throughout this and the following story" (3.534). For various arguments regarding the confusion of Aruns and Sextus, see Nicholson, Annotated Index, p. 479.

4694-95 hefdes of Gabie / Hath smiten of. The decapitation of the Gabines is fit punishment in that they foolishly brought Aruns into their fold of their own volition. The slaughter is Gower's addition to the narrative, as if to demonstrate that when the king errs the people suffer. See Peck (Kingship and Common Profit, pp. 153-56).

4754 In Ovid (Fasti 2.721-852), the rape of Lucrece is not a separate story but simply a continuation of the account of Tarquin's sons that concludes with the banishment of the lot of them. Chaucer also presents Lucrece as a separate story in LGW, lines 1680-1885. Root, "Chaucer's Legend of Medea," pp. 146-48, suggests that Chaucer draws some details from Gower. Pearsall ("Gower's Narrative Art," p. 481) suggests that "[i]n his story of Lucrece, Gower achieves perhaps his most perfect realisation of womanliness." See also note 7.4888.

4757 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat quod, cum Tarquinus in obsidione Ciuitatis Ardee, vt eam destrueret, intentus fuit, Arrons filius eius Romam secreto adiens in domo Collatini hospitatus est; vbi de nocte illam castissimam dominam Lucreciam ymaginata fraude vi oppressit: vnde illa pre dolore mortua, ipse cum Tarquino patre suo tota conclamante Roma in perpetuum exilium delegati sunt. [Here he narrates that, when Tarquin was striving to beseige the City of Ardea so that he might destroy it, his son Aruns secretly journeyed to Rome and was put up in the house of Collatine, where by night (Aruns) forced himself upon the most chaste lady Lucretia, by calculated deception. Wherefore she, having died for sorrow, (Aruns) with Tarquin his father were sent into perpetual exile, by the clamoring of all of Rome.]

4778-85 Collatine is guilty of the same error as the Gabiens when he foolishly invites his enemy into his home. See note 7.4694-95.

4888 Hire lacketh noght of wommanhiede. On Lucrece as living embodiment of a praiseworthy woman, see Bakalian, Aspects of Love, pp. 57-73, who compares Lucrece to the epitome of a good woman described in VC 5.6.295 ff. (p. 58). See also Burke ("Women," p. 239) and Schmitz, who sees her "tenderness" as that which sets her apart in Gower from other medieval writers (Fall of Women, p. 80).

4902 Latin marginalia. Audaces fortuna iuuat. [Fortune helps the bold.]

4902-03 Fortune unto the bolde / Is favorable. Proverbial. See Whiting, F519. N.b., also, MO, lines 22927-28, and VC 6.969.

4922-58 Lucrece's "openness and hospitality to the unexpected visitor," detailed by her timid, polite questions about the war and her husband (Pearsall, "Gower's Narrative Art," p. 481), create a stunning, bitterly ironic effect that Lucrece resolutely comprehends, albeit silently, after the betrayal. Her swoon, not found in Ovid, is Gower's means of demarcating her innocence. The brutality of Aruns' destruction of her highly civil world evokes sympathy and draws the audience close to the political complexities of her tragedy, a point that is central to Gower's book on the delicate balances of good kingship which here have been so cruelly abrogated.

4981 To slen hire and hire folk aboute. Mast ("Rape," p. 117) points to the higher stakes for Lucrece in Gower's version, where her modesty is not the only concern. This is not to say that he underestimates the "value of a wife's good reputation" (see p. 131n82). But she is keenly aware of the political issues of Aruns' assault. See also Simpson (Sciences and the Self, p. 215): "Lucrece's rape . . . reveals the violent concupiscence of territorial invasion."

4986 Wherof sche swounede in his hond. Pearsall ("Gower's Narrative Art," p. 481) makes the cogent point that in Gower's story "every suggestion of acquiescence is eliminated." She is open and hospitable when Tarquin arrives. Tarquin is in bed upon her even as she awakens and, overwhelmed by fear, she loses her voice and swoons.

4994 lecherouse pride. Pride as well as lecherouse carry sexual connotations here. See MED prid(e n.(2) 5(a) and OED pride sb.1 11, for examples of pride implying sexual desire, especially in animals. Gower's phrase has implications of a sex maniac whose one thought is to have his triumph over Collatine through the destruction of his wife.

5001 As sche which hath the world forsake. Pearsall observes: "Her actions on the morrow have the momentous, pre-ordained quality of one who has, like Clarissa, already passed beyond suffering into a different world" ("Gower's Narrative Art," p. 481).

5030 unmete. MED unmete adj. 2 suggests "unfit" and "unworthy" as glosses for this line but also with possible meanings of "displeasing" and "horrible to look at," senses which seem particularly apt for this passage, given Lucrece's concern over how the people will look upon her husband as well as herself in this disgrace. Her fears of how the event must appear constitutes her shame and "wofull chiere" (line 5032), whereby she casts down her eyes "and couthe unnethes loke" (line 5033).

5069 thurgh hire herte it throng. Mast cites St. Augustine's assessment of Lucrece's suicide in The City of God - si adultererata, cur laudata; si pudica, cur occisa (if she is adulterous, why is she praised? If chaste, why was she put to death?) - to observe that "Gower rejects this misogynistic reading and lets his heroine die with dignity and without reproach" ("Rape," p. 119). That Augustine's commentary was known in Gower's literary circle, see Chaucer's satirical allusion to Augustine's "gret compassioun" for Lucrece in LGW, line 1690.

5091 so behield him in this wise. Mast ("Rape," p. 120) suggests that Lucrece, in her look at Brutus, is cognizant of the political ramifications of her act whereby "her shameful rape is the cause of the end of the rape of her country by Tarquin's family."

5116 newe schame of sennes olde. Proverbial. See Whiting, S338. Compare CA 3.2033: "Old senne newe schame." Also VC 4.874.

5131 Like the Rape of Lucrece, the Tale of Virginia was very popular. The original version occurs in Livy. Jean de Meun includes the tale in RR, Boccaccio includes it in De mulieribus claris, and Chaucer includes it in the Canterbury Tales as The Physician's Tale. Boccaccio and Chaucer cite Livy as their sources, though in fact they follow Jean de Meun. Gower follows Livy 3.44-50 or perhaps Pierre Bersuire's Old French translation of Livy. The tale provides another example of a leader who loses his kingship through lechery. See Ferster's reading of the tale as a precaution to Richard II ("O Political Gower," p. 36).

5136 Livius Virginius. Gower's version of the Tale of Virginia gives more attention to the father than do other versions. He is a man of honor, a civic-minded knight fighting in defense of the city; he is a conscientious father who has looked after his daughter well, having arranged a distinguished marriage. When he learns of her peril and imminent disgrace he rides in from the front, slays his daughter to protect her from defilement, escapes, and musters a force to retaliate against the would-be tyrant/rapist. He is obliged to act swiftly and decisively, and he does.

5137 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit exemplum super eodem, qualiter Liuius Virginius dux excercitus Romanorum vnicam filiam pulcherimam habens cum quodam nobili viro nomine Ilicio, vt ipsam in vxorem duceret, finaliter concordauit. Set interim Apius Claudius tunc Imperator virginis formositatem, vt eam violaret, concupiscens, occasiones quibus matrimonium impedire, ipsamque ad sui vsum apprehendere posset, subdola conspiracione fieri coniectauit. Et cum propositum sui desiderii productis falsis testibus in iudicio Imperator habere debuisset, pater tunc ibidem presens extracto gladio filie sue pectus mortali vulnere per medium transfodit, dicens: "Malo michi de filia mea virginem habere mortuam, quam in sui scandalum meretricem reseruare viuentem." [Here he presents an instructive example on the same thing, how Livius Virginius, leader of the army of the Romans, having a most beautiful daughter, made a settlement with a nobleman, Ilicius by name, that he would take her as a bride. But meanwhile Apius Claudius, then Emperor, lusting after the virgin's beauty, plotted to violate her using a treacherous conspiracy: he caused circumstances that would impede the marriage, so that he might be able to seize her to his own use. And when the Emperor was owed the fulfillment of his desire, producing false witnesses in judgment, her father, present there, with a drawn sword transfixed his daughter's breast through the middle in a mortal wound, saying, "As for my daughter, I prefer to have a dead virgin than, to her own scandal, a live whore."]

5140-41 This fame . . . cam in his ere. Another instance in which Gower alters his source to fit the exemplum to the principal motifs of his poem; here, once again, we witness the infection of a mind through the senses (windows of the mind), especially the eyes or the ears, without the safekeeping of Bonnegarde. See also 1.289-574.

5307 The Tale of Tobias and Sara is found in the apocryphal book of Tobit, 6-8.

5311 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic inter alia castitatis regimen concernencia loquitur quomodo Matrimonium, cuius status Sacramentum, quasi continenciam equiperans, eciam honeste delectacionis regimine moderari debet. Et narrat in exemplum, qualiter pro eo quod illi vii.tem viri, qui Sarre Raguelis filie magis propter concupiscenciam quam propter matrimonium voluptuose nupserunt, vnus post alium omnes prima nocte a demone Asmodeo singillatim iugulati interierunt. [Here, among other things concerning the governance of chastity, he says how matrimony, whose sacramental status almost equals sexual abstinence, ought to be moderated by governance even in legitimate pleasure. And he narrates in an instructive example how, because the seven husbands who had married Sara daughter of Raguel had done so more on account of lust than voluptuousness of matrimony, all of them, one after another, had separately died, strangled at night by the demon Asmodeus.]

5361 yit Thobie his wille hadde. "Love does sometimes go right, but it is not human judgement that makes it do so. The story of Toby and Sara shows the erotic ordered by a supernatural intervention - and in so doing suggests the rarity of such ordering" (White, Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 203).

5363 bothe lawe and kinde is served. See note to 7.4570-71.

5372-81 In his appreciation of both God-given reason and the laws of nature "Genius himself undergoes a sea-change . . . from which he never retreats"; before Book 7 he is Amans' inspiration, often a "fool ymagynation"; but in Book 7 and thereafter he represents a balance between reason and nature (Simpson, Sciences and the Self, pp. 215-16). "The person who will finally be won over . . . is not the lady, but Amans himself" (p. 217).

The passage exemplifies the need to control sexuality (Benson, "Incest," p. 103).

5411-12 The tales sounen in myn ere, / Bot yit myn herte is elleswhere. Dimmick wittily identifies Amans as "the first of Gower's critics to respond to five thousand lines on the philosophy of Aristotle with distinctly muted enthusiasm" ("'Redinge of Romance,'" p. 127).


55 remenant. So F, B, J. Mac: remnant.

190 Thei. So S, J, Mac. F: The. B: They.

219 thei. So F, S, J. B, Mac: they.

340 same. So F, S, B, J. Mac: fame.

483 myhty. So F. S: myhti. B: mighty. J: mihti. Mac: myghty.

602 thei. So F, S, B, J. Mac: they.

672 knowlechinge. So B, J, Mac. F: knowechinge. S: knowleching.

979-82 Omitted in B.

1073 whiche. So F, S. B, J, Mac: which.

1274 Bot. So F, S, J. B, Mac: But. See also lines 2588, 2722, and 3784.

1289 hiere. So F, S. J, Mac: here. B: heere.

1402 tuelfthe. So F, B, J. S, Mac: twelfthe.

1671 honesté. So S. F, B, J, Mac: honestete. Meter, rhyme, and other spellings of the term favor the emendation.

1690 eke. So F, S. B: eek. J, Mac: ek.

1815 ansuere. So S, Mac. F: anssuere. B, J: answere.

1964 at. So F, S, B, J. Mac: ate.

2329-31 Altered in B and other second recension manuscripts: The Example of Dante's Rebuff of the Flatterer (see Mac 3.296).

2588 bot. So F, S, B, J. B, Mac: but.

2637 mihte. So F, S. B: might. J, Mac: miht.

2641-3004 Omitted in S (two missing leaves).

2722 bot. So F, B, J. Mac: but.

2780 thanne. So F, B. Mac: than.

2806 which. So F. B, J, Mac: whiche.

3003 schop. So C, A, J, Mac. F: schope. B: schoop.

3135 Altered in B: So as þe holy book affermeþ.

3136-37 Additional lines in B and other second recension manuscripts: The Examples of James, Cassiodorus, Cicero, and Alexander (see Mac 3.319).

Additional lines in S: The Tale of the Jew and the Pagan (see Mac 3. 320-25).

3148 conseillier. So J. F: conseilleir. S, Mac: conseiller. B: counseiler.

3162-63 Additional lines in B: The Tale of the Jew and the Pagan (see Mac 3.320-25 [S text]).

3400 thanne. So F, S, B. J: thenne. Mac: than.

3530 mai. So F, S. B, J, Mac: may.

3568 diliverance. So F. S, B, J, Mac: deliverance.

3575 cause. So S, B, J, Mac. F: causa.

3592 knyhtlihiede. So S, Mac. F: knythlihiede. B: knightlihede. J: knihtlihede.

3639 hem. So S, B, Mac. F, J: he. The reasons for the scribal error in F are easy to understand, since wolde could be singular. But the slightly more subtle phrasing"Against those who wished to assail them" is clearly correct in context. (Andrew Galloway.)

3687 als. So F, S, B, J. Mac: as.

3751 thei. so F, S, B, J. Mac: they.

3784 Bot. So F, S, J. B, Mac: But.

3808 mi. So F, S. B, J, Mac: my.

3819 myhte. So F. S, J: mihte. B: might. C, A, Mac: myht.

3861 no. So S, B, J, Mac. F: non.

4064 assissed. So F. S, B, J, Mac: assised.

4115 stered. So F. S, J, Mac: is stered. B: is stired.

4194 good. So S, B, J, Mac. F: god. Emendation to match previous line.

4357 manye. So F, A. S, B, Mac: many. J: mony.

4395 fleysshly. So Mac. F: fleyssly. S, J: fleisshly. B: fleischly.

4665 thei. So F, S, J. B, Mac: they.

4737 grounde. So S, B, J, Mac. F: ground.

4967 bot. So F, S, J. B, Mac: but.

5135 as. So S, B, J, Mac. F: and.

5267 seid. So F. S, B, A, J, Mac: seide.

5383 put. So S, B, J, Mac. F: pit.

5411 sounen. So S, B, J, Mac. F: sounnen.

5417-8.336 Omitted in S (two missing leaves).

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Confessio Amantis: Book 7

by: John Gower (Author), Russell A. Peck (Editor), Andrew Galloway (Translator)
















































































































































































































































































































































[Confessor]; Recording


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Omnibus in causis sapiens doctrina salutem
Consequitur, nec habet quis nisi doctus opem.
Naturam superat doctrina, viro quod et ortus
Ingenii docilis non dedit, ipsa dabit.
Non ita discretus hominum per climata regnat,
Quin, magis vt sapiat, indiget ipse scole.

"I, Genius, the prest of love,
Mi sone, as thou hast preid above
That I the scole schal declare
Of Aristotle and ek the fare
Of Alisandre, hou he was tauht,
I am somdel therof destrauht,
For it is noght to the matiere
Of love, why we sitten hiere
To schryve, so as Venus bad.
Bot natheles, for it is glad
So as thou seist, for thin aprise
To hiere of suche thinges wise,
Wherof thou myht the time lisse,
So as I can, I schal thee wisse.
For wisdom is at every throwe
Above alle other thing to knowe
In loves cause and elleswhere.
Forthi, my sone, unto thin ere,
Though it be noght in the registre
Of Venus, yit of that Calistre
And Aristotle whylom write
To Alisandre, thou schalt wite.

     Bot for the lores ben diverse,
I thenke ferst to thee reherce
The nature of Philosophie,
Which Aristotle of his clergie,
Wys and expert in the sciences,
Declareth thilke intelligences,
As of thre pointz in principal.
     Wherof the ferste in special
Is Theorique, which is grounded
On him which al the world hath founded,
Which comprehendeth al the lore.
     And for to loken overmore,
Next of sciences the seconde
Is Rethorique, whos faconde
Above alle othre is eloquent.
To telle a tale in juggement
So wel can no man speke as he.
     The laste science of the thre
It is Practique, whos office
The vertu tryeth fro the vice,
And techeth upon goode thewes
To fle the compaignie of schrewes,
Which stant in disposicion
Of mannes free eleccion.
Practique enformeth ek the reule,
Hou that a worthi king schal reule
His realme bothe in werre and pes.
     Lo, thus danz Aristotiles
These thre sciences hath divided
And the nature also decided,
Wherof that ech of hem schal serve.
     The ferste, which is the conserve
And kepere of the remenant,
As that which is most sufficant
And chief of the Philosophie,
If I therof schal specefie
So as the Philosophre tolde,
Nou herkne, and kep that thou it holde."

[Theory, the First Point of Philosophy]

     Prima creatorem dat scire sciencia summum:
Qui caput agnoscit, sufficit illud ei.
     Plura viros quandoque iuuat nescire, set illud
Quod videt expediens, sobrius ille sapit.

"Of Theorique principal
The Philosophre in special
The propretees hath determined,
As thilke which is enlumined
Of wisdom and of hih prudence
Above alle othre in his science.
And stant departed upon thre,
The ferste of which in his degré
Is cleped in Philosophie
The science of Theologie;
That other named is Phisique,
The thridde is seid Mathematique.


     Theologie is that science
Which unto man gifth evidence
Of thing which is noght bodely,
Wherof men knowe redely
The hihe almyhti Trinité,
Which is o God in unité
Withouten ende and beginnynge
And creatour of alle thinge,
Of hevene, of erthe and ek of helle.
Wherof, as olde bokes telle,
The Philosophre in his resoun
Wrote upon this conclusioun,
And of his wrytinge in a clause
He clepeth God the ferste cause,
Which of Himself is thilke good,
Withoute whom nothing is good,
Of which that every creature
Hath his beinge and his nature.
After the beinge of the thinges
Ther ben thre formes of beinges:
Thing which began and ende schal,
That thing is cleped temporal;
Ther is also be other weie
Thing which began and schal noght deie,
As soules, that ben spiritiel:
Here beinge is perpetuel.
Bot ther is on above the sonne,
Whos time nevere was begonne,
And endeles schal evere be;
That is the God, whos magesté
Alle othre thinges schal governe,
And His beinge is sempiterne.
The God, to whom that al honour
Belongeth, He is creatour,
And othre ben Hise creatures.
The God commandeth the natures
That thei to Him obeien alle;
Withouten Him, what so befalle,
Her myht is non, and He mai al.
The God was evere and evere schal,
And thei begonne of His assent;
The times alle be present
To God, to hem and alle unknowe,
Bot what Him liketh that thei knowe.
Thus bothe an angel and a man,
The whiche of al that God began
Be chief, obeien Goddes myht,
And he stant endeles upriht.
To this science ben privé
The clerks of divinité,
The whiche unto the poeple prechen
The feith of holi cherche and techen,
Which in som cas upon believe
Stant more than thei conne prieve
Be weie of argument sensible.
Bot natheles it is credible,
And doth a man gret meede have,
To him that thenkth himself to save.
Theologie in such a wise
Of hih science and hih aprise
Above alle othre stant unlike,
And is the ferste of Theorique.


     Phisique is after the secounde,
Thurgh which the Philosophre hath founde
To techen sondri knowlechinges
Upon the bodiliche thinges.
Of man, of beste, of herbe, of ston,
Of fissch, of foughl, of everychon
That ben of bodely substance,
The nature and the circumstance
Thurgh this science it is ful soght,
Which vaileth and which vaileth noght.


     The thridde point of Theorique,
Which cleped is Mathematique,
Devided is in sondri wise
And stant upon diverse aprise.
The ferst of whiche is Arsmetique,
And the secounde is seid Musique,
The thridde is ek Geometrie,
Also the ferthe Astronomie.
     Of Arsmetique the matiere
Is that of which a man mai liere
What Algorisme in nombre amonteth,
Whan that the wise man acompteth
After the formel propreté
Of Algorismes abecé.
Be which multiplicacioun
Is mad and diminucioun
Of sommes be th'experience
Of this art and of this science.
     The seconde of Mathematique,
Which is the science of Musique,
That techeth upon Armonie
A man to make melodie
Be vois and soun of instrument
Thurgh notes of acordement,
The whiche men pronounce alofte,
Nou scharpe notes and nou softe,
Nou hihe notes and nou lowe,
As be the gamme a man mai knowe,
Which techeth the prolacion
Of note and the condicion.
     Mathematique of his science
Hath yit the thridde intelligence
Full of wisdom and of clergie
And cleped is Geometrie,
Thurgh which a man hath thilke sleyhte,
Of lengthe, of brede, of depthe, of heyhte
To knowe the proporcion
Be verrai calculacion
Of this science; and in this wise
These olde philosophres wise,
Of al this worldes erthe round,
Hou large, hou thikke was the ground,
Controeveden th'experience;
The cercle and the circumference
Of everything unto the hevene;
Thei setten point and mesure evene.
     Mathematique above th'erthe
Of hyh science hath yit the ferthe,
Which spekth upon Astronomie
And techeth of the sterres hihe,
Beginnynge upward fro the mone.
Bot ferst, as it was for to done,
This Aristotle in other thing
Unto this worthi yonge king
The kinde of every element
Which stant under the firmament,
Hou it is mad and in what wise,
Fro point to point he gan devise."

[Four-fold Creation]

Qvatuor omnipotens elementa creauit origo,
Quatuor et venti partibus ora dabat.
Nostraque quadruplici complexio sorte creatur.
Corpore sicque suo stat variatus homo

"Tofore the creacion
Of eny worldes stacion,
Of hevene, of erthe, or eke of helle,
So as these olde bokes telle,
As soun tofore the song is set
And yit thei ben togedre knet,
Riht so the hihe pourveance
Tho hadde under his ordinance
A gret substance, a gret matiere,
Of which he wolde in his manere
These othre thinges make and forme.
For yit withouten eny forme
Was that matiere universal,
Which hihte ylem in special.
Of ylem, as I am enformed,
These elementz ben mad and formed,
Of ylem elementz thei hote
After the Scole of Aristote,
Of whiche if more I schal reherce,
Foure elementz ther ben diverse.

[Four Elements]

     The ferste of hem men erthe calle,
Which is the lowest of hem alle,
And in his forme is schape round,
Substancial, strong, sadd and sound,
As that which mad is sufficant
To bere up al the remenant.
For as the point in a compas
Stant evene amiddes, riht so was
This erthe set and schal abyde,
That it may swerve to no side,
And hath his centre after the lawe
Of kinde, and to that centre drawe
Desireth every worldes thing,
If ther ne were no lettyng.
     Above th'erthe kepth his bounde
The water, which is the secounde
Of elementz, and al withoute
It environeth th'erthe aboute.
Bot as it scheweth, noght forthi
This soubtil water myhtely,
Thogh it be of himselve softe,
The strengthe of th'erthe perceth ofte;
For riht as veines ben of blod
In man, riht so the water flod
Th'erthe of his cours makth ful of veines,
Als wel the helles as the pleines.
And that a man may sen at ye,
For wher the hulles ben most hyhe,
Ther mai men welle stremes finde.
So proveth it be weie of kinde
The water heyher than the lond.
     And over this nou understond,
Air is the thridde of elementz,
Of whos kinde his aspirementz
Takth every lifissh creature,
The which schal upon erthe endure.
For as the fissh, if it be dreie,
Mot in defaute of water deie,
Riht so withouten air on lyve
No man ne beste myhte thryve,
The which is mad of fleissh and bon.
There is outake of alle non.
     This air in periferies thre
Divided is of such degré,
Benethe is on and on amidde,
To whiche above is set the thridde,
And upon the divisions
There ben diverse impressions
Of moist and ek of drye also,
Whiche of the sonne bothe tuo
Ben drawe and haled upon hy,
And maken cloudes in the sky,
As schewed is at mannes sihte;
Wherof be day and ek be nyhte
After the times of the yer
Among ous upon erthe her
In sondri wise thinges falle.
     The ferste periferie of alle
Engendreth myst and overmore
The dewes and the frostes hore,
After thilke intersticion
In whiche thei take impression.
     Fro the seconde, as bokes sein,
The moiste dropes of the reyn
Descenden into middilerthe,
And tempreth it to sed and erthe,
And doth to springe grass and flour.
And ofte also the grete schour
Out of such place it mai be take,
That it the forme schal forsake
Of reyn, and into snow be torned;
And ek it mai be so sojorned
In sondri places up alofte,
That into hail it torneth ofte.
     The thridde of th'air after the lawe
Thurgh such matiere as up is drawe
Of dreie thing, as it is ofte,
Among the cloudes upon lofte,
And is so clos, it may noght oute;
Thanne is it chased sore aboute,
Til it to fyr and leyt be falle,
And thanne it brekth the cloudes alle,
The whiche of so gret noyse craken,
That thei the feerful thonder maken.
The thonderstrok smit er it leyte,
And yit men sen the fyr and leyte,
The thonderstrok er that men hiere:
So mai it wel be proeved hiere
In thing which schewed is fro feer,
A mannes yhe is there nerr
Thanne is the soun to mannes ere.
And natheles it is gret feere
Bothe of the strok and of the fyr,
Of which is no recoverir
In place wher that thei descende,
Bot if God wolde His grace sende.
     And for to speken over this,
In this partie of th'air it is
That men fulofte sen be nyhte
The fyr in sondri forme alyhte.
Somtime the fyrdrake it semeth,
And so the lewed poeple it demeth;
Somtime it semeth as it were
A sterre, which that glydeth there:
Bot it is nouther of the tuo,
The Philosophre telleth so,
And seith that of impressions
Thurgh diverse exalacions
Upon the cause and the matiere
Men sen diverse forme appiere
Of fyr, the whiche hath sondri name.
     Assub, he seith, is thilke same,
The which in sondry place is founde,
Whanne it is falle doun to grounde,
So as the fyr it hath aneled,
Lich unto slym which is congeled.
     Of exalacion I finde
Fyr kinled of the same kinde,
Bot it is of another forme;
Wherof, if that I schal conforme
The figure unto that it is,
These olde clerkes tellen this,
That it is lik a got skippende,
And for that it is such semende,
It hatte Capra saliens.
     And ek these astronomiens
Another fyr also, be nyhte
Which scheweth him to mannes syhte,
Thei clepen Eges, the which brenneth
Lik to the corrant fyr that renneth
Upon a corde, as thou hast sein,
Whan it with poudre is so besein
Of sulphre and othre thinges mo.
     Ther is another fyr also,
Which semeth to a mannes yhe
Be nyhtes time as thogh ther flyhe
A dragon brennende in the sky,
And that is cleped proprely
Daaly, wherof men sein fulofte,
'Lo, wher the fyri drake alofte
Fleth up in th'air!' and so thei demen.
Bot why the fyres suche semen
Of sondri formes to beholde,
The wise Philosophre tolde,
So as tofore it hath ben herd.
Lo thus, my sone, hou it hath ferd:
Of air the due propreté
In sondri wise thou myht se,
And hou under the firmament
It is ek the thridde element,
Which environeth bothe tuo,
The water and the lond also.
     And for to tellen overthis
Of elementz which the ferthe is,
That is the fyr in his degré,
Which environeth th'other thre
And is withoute moist al drye.
Bot lest nou what seith the clergie;
For upon hem that I have seid
The creatour hath set and leid
The kinde and the complexion
Of alle mennes nacion.
Foure elementz sondri ther be,
Lich unto whiche of that degré
Among the men ther ben also
Complexions foure and no mo,
Wherof the Philosophre treteth,
That he nothing behinde leteth,
And seith hou that thei ben diverse,
So as I schal to thee reherse.

[Four Complexions]

He which natureth every kinde,
The myhti God, so as I finde,
Of man, which is his creature,
Hath so devided the nature,
That non til other wel acordeth;
And be the cause it so discordeth,
The lif which fieleth the seknesse
Mai stonde upon no sekernesse.
     Of th'erthe, which is cold and drye,
The kinde of man Malencolie
Is cleped, and that is the ferste,
The most ungoodlich and the werste;
For unto loves werk on nyht
Him lacketh bothe will and myht:
No wonder is, in lusty place
Of love though he lese grace.
What man hath that complexion,
Full of ymaginacion
Of dredes and of wrathful thoghtes,
He fret himselven al to noghtes.
     The water, which is moyste and cold,
Makth Fleume, which is manyfold
Forgetel, slou and wery sone
Of everything which is to done.
He is of kinde sufficant
To holde love his covenant,
Bot that him lacketh appetit,
Which longeth unto such delit.
     What man that takth his kinde of th'air,
He schal be lyht, he schal be fair,
For his complexion is blood.
Of alle ther is non so good,
For he hath bothe will and myht
To plese and paie love his riht:
Wher as he hath love undertake,
Wrong is if that he be forsake.
     The fyr of his condicion
Appropreth the complexion
Which in a man is Colre hote,
Whos propretes ben dreie and hote.
It makth a man ben enginous
And swift of fote and ek irous;
Of contek and folhastifnesse
He hath a riht gret besinesse,
To thenke of love and litel may.
Though he behote wel a day,
On nyht whan that he wole assaie,
He may ful evele his dette paie.
     After the kinde of th'element,
Thus stant a mannes kinde went
As touchende his complexion,
Upon sondri division
Of dreie, of moiste, of chele, of hete,
And ech of hem his oghne sete
Appropred hath withinne a man.
And ferst to telle as I began,
     The splen is to Malencolie
Assigned for herbergerie.
     The moiste Fleume with his cold
Hath in the lunges for his hold
Ordeined him a propre stede,
To duelle ther as he is bede.
     To the Sanguin complexion
Nature of hire inspeccion
A propre hous hath in the livere
For his duellinge mad delivere.
     The dreie Colre with his hete
Be weie of kinde his propre sete
Hath in the galle, wher he duelleth,
So as the Philosophre telleth.

[Four Servants of the Heart]

     Nou over this is for to wite,
As it is in Phisique write
Of livere, of lunge, of galle, of splen,
Thei alle unto the herte ben
Servantz, and ech in his office
Entendeth to don him service,
As he which is chief lord above.
The livere makth him for to love,
The lunge gifth him weie of speche,
The galle serveth to do wreche,
The splen doth him to lawhe and pleie,
Whan al unclennesse is aweie.
Lo, thus hath ech of hem his dede.
And to sustienen hem and fede
In time of recreacion,
Nature hath in creacion
The stomach for a comun coc
Ordeined, so as seith the boc.
The stomach coc is for the halle,
And builleth mete for hem alle,
To make hem myhty for to serve
The herte, that he schal noght sterve,
For as a king in his empire
Above alle othre is lord and sire,
So is the herte principal,
To whom reson in special
Is gove as for the governance.
     And thus nature his pourveance
Hath mad for man to liven hiere;
Bot God, which hath the soule diere,
Hath formed it in other wise.
That can no man pleinli devise;
Bot as the clerkes ous enforme,
That lich to God it hath a forme,
Thurgh which figure and which liknesse
The soule hath many an hyh noblesse
Appropred to his oghne kinde.
Bot ofte hir wittes be mad blinde
Al onliche of this ilke point,
That hir abydinge is conjoint
Forth with the bodi for to duelle.
That on desireth toward helle,
That other upward to the hevene;
So schul thei nevere stonde in evene,
Bot if the fleissh be overcome
And that the soule have holi nome
The governance, and that is selde,
Whil that the fleissh him mai bewelde.
Al erthli thing which God began
Was only mad to serve man;
Bot He the soule al only made
Himselven for to serve and glade.
Alle othre bestes that men finde
Thei serve unto here oghne kinde;
Bot to reson the soule serveth,
Wherof the man His thonk deserveth
And get him with hise werkes goode
The perdurable lyves foode.

[Four Divisions of the World]

     Of what matiere it schal be told,
A tale lyketh manyfold
The betre, if it be spoke plein:
Thus thinke I for to torne agein
And telle plenerly therfore
Of th'erthe, wherof nou tofore
I spak, and of the water eke,
So as these olde clerkes spieke,
And sette proprely the bounde
After the forme of mappemounde,
Thurgh which the ground be pourparties
Departed is in thre parties,
That is Asie, Aufrique, Europe,
The whiche under the hevene cope,
Als ferr as streccheth eny ground,
Begripeth al this erthe round.
Bot after that the hihe wrieche
The water weies let out seche
And overgo the helles hye,
Which every kinde made dye
That upon middelerthe stod,
Outake Noe and his blod -
His sones and his doughtres thre -
Thei were sauf and so was he.
Here names, who that rede rihte,
Sem, Cam, Japhet the brethren hihte;
And whanne thilke almyhty hond
Withdrouh the water fro the lond,
And al the rage was aweie
And erthe was the mannes weie,
The sones thre, of whiche I tolde,
Riht after that hemselve wolde,
This world departe thei begonne.
     Asie, which lay to the sonne
Upon the marche of Orient,
Was graunted be comun assent
To Sem, which was the sone eldeste;
For that partie was the beste
And double as moche as othre tuo,
And was that time bounded so
Wher as the flod which men Nil calleth
Departeth fro his cours and falleth
Into the See Alexandrine,
Ther takth Asie ferst seisine
Toward the West, and over this
Of Canahim wher the flod is
Into the Grete See rennende;
Fro that into the worldes ende
Estward, Asie it is algates,
Til that men come unto the gates
Of Paradis, and there ho.
And schortly for to speke it so,
Of Orient in general
Withinne his bounde Asie hath al.
     And thanne upon that other syde
Westward, as it fell thilke tyde,
The brother which was hote Cham
Upon his part Aufrique nam.
Japhet Europe tho tok he,
Thus parten thei the world on thre.
Bot yit ther ben of londes fele
In Occident as for the chele,
In Orient as for the hete,
Which of the poeple be forlete
As lond desert that is unable,
For it mai noght ben habitable.
     The water eke hath sondri bounde,
After the lond wher it is founde,
And takth his name of thilke londes
Wher that it renneth on the strondes:
Bot thilke see which hath no wane
Is cleped the gret Occeane,
Out of the which arise and come
The hyhe flodes alle and some.
Is non so litel welle spring,
Which ther ne takth his beginnyng,
And lich a man that haleth breth
Be weie of kinde, so it geth
Out of the see and in agein,
The water, as the bokes sein.
     Of elementz the propretes
Hou that thei stonden be degres,
As I have told, nou myht thou hiere,
Mi goode sone, al the matiere
Of erthe, of water, air, and fyr.
And for thou saist that thi desir
Is for to witen overmore
The forme of Aristotles lore,
He seith in his entendement,
That yit ther is an element
Above the foure, and is the fifte,
Set of the hihe Goddes gifte,
The which that orbis cleped is.
And therupon he telleth this,
That as the schelle hol and sound
Encloseth al aboute round
What thing withinne an ey belongeth,
Riht so this orbis underfongeth
These elementz alle everychon,
Which I have spoke of on and on.
     Bot overthis nou tak good hiede,
Mi sone, for I wol procede
To speke upon Mathematique,
Which grounded is on Theorique.
The science of Astronomie
I thinke for to specefie,
Withoute which, to telle plein,
Alle othre science is in vein
Toward the scole of erthli thinges.
For as an egle with his winges
Fleth above alle that men finde,
So doth this science in his kinde."


Lege planetarum magis inferiora reguntur,
Ista set interdum regula fallit opus.
Vir mediante deo sapiens dominabitur astris,
Fata nec immerito quid nouitatis agunt

"Benethe upon this erthe hiere
Of alle thinges the matiere,
As tellen ous thei that ben lerned,
Of thing above it stant governed,
That is to sein of the planetes.
The cheles bothe and ek the hetes,
The chances of the world also,
That we fortune clepen so,
Among the mennes nacion
Al is thurgh constellacion,
Wherof that som man hath the wele,
And som man hath deseses fele
In love als wel as othre thinges.
The stat of realmes and of kinges
In time of pes, in time of werre
It is conceived of the sterre:
And thus seith the naturien
Which is an astronomien.
Bot the divin seith otherwise,
That if men weren goode and wise
And plesant unto the Godhede,
Thei scholden noght the sterres drede.
For o man, if him wel befalle,
Is more worth than ben thei alle
Towardes Him that weldeth al.
Bot yit the lawe original,
Which He hath set in the natures,
Mot worchen in the creatures,
That therof mai be non obstacle,
Bot if it stonde upon miracle
Thurgh preiere of som holy man.
And forthi, so as I began
To speke upon Astronomie,
As it is write in the clergie,
To telle hou the planetes fare,
Som part I thenke to declare,
Mi sone, unto thin audience.
     Astronomie is the science
Of wisdom and of hih connynge,
Which makth a man have knowlechinge
Of sterres in the firmament,
Figure, cercle, and moevement
Of ech of hem in sondri place,
And what betwen hem is of space,
Hou so thei moeve or stonde faste,
Al this it telleth to the laste.
     Assembled with Astronomie
Is ek that ilke Astrologie,
The which in juggementz acompteth
Th'effect, what every sterre amonteth,
And hou thei causen many a wonder
To tho climatz that stonde hem under.
     And for to telle it more plein,
These olde philosophres sein
That orbis, which I spak of err,
Is that which we fro th'erthe a ferr
Beholde, and firmament it calle,
In which the sterres stonden alle,
Among the whiche in special
Planetes sefne principal
Ther ben, that mannes sihte demeth,
Bot th'orizonte, as to ous semeth.
And also ther ben signes tuelve.
Whiche have her cercles be hemselve
Compassed in the zodiaque,
In which thei have here places take.
And as thei stonden in degré,
Here cercles more or lasse be,
Mad after the proporcion
Of th'erthe, whos condicion
Is set to be the foundement
To sustiene up the firmament.
And be this skile a man mai knowe,
The more that thei stonden lowe,
The more ben the cercles lasse;
That causeth why that some passe
Here due cours tofore another.
Bot nou, mi lieve dere brother,
As thou desirest for to wite
What I finde in the bokes write,
To telle of the planetes sevene,
Hou that thei stonde upon the hevene
And in what point that thei ben inne,
Tak hiede, for I wol beginne,
So as the Philosophre tauhte
To Alisandre and it betauhte,
Wherof that he was fulli tawht
Of wisdom, which was him betawht.

[Seven Planets]

     Benethe alle othre stant the mone,
The which hath with the see to done.
Of flodes hihe and ebbes lowe
Upon his change it schal be knowe.
And every fissh which hath a schelle
Mot in his governance duelle,
To wexe and wane in his degré,
As be the mone a man mai se;
And al that stant upon the grounde
Of his moisture it mot be founde.
Alle othre sterres, as men finde,
Be schynende of here oghne kinde
Outake only the monelyht,
Which is noght of himselve bright,
Bot as he takth it of the sonne.
And yit he hath noght al fulwonne
His lyht, that he nys somdiel derk;
Bot what the lette is of that werk
In Almageste it telleth this:
The mones cercle so lowe is,
Wherof the sonne out of his stage
Ne seth him noght with full visage,
For he is with the ground beschaded,
So that the mone is somdiel faded
And may noght fully schyne cler.
Bot what man under his pouer
Is bore, he schal his places change
And seche manye londes strange.
And as of this condicion
The mones disposicion
Upon the lond of Alemaigne
Is set, and ek upon Bretaigne,
Which nou is cleped Engelond;
For thei travaile in every lond.
     Of the planetes the secounde
Above the mone hath take his bounde,
Mercurie, and his nature is this,
That under him who that bore is,
In boke he schal be studious
And in wrytinge curious,
And slouh and lustles to travaile
In thing which elles myhte availe:
He loveth ese, he loveth reste,
So is he noght the worthieste;
Bot yit with somdiel besinesse
His herte is set upon richesse.
And as in this condicion,
Th'effect and disposicion
Of this planete and of his chance
Is most in Burgoigne and in France.
     Next to Mercurie, as wol befalle,
Stant that planete which men calle
Venus, whos constellacion
Governeth al the nacion
Of lovers, wher thei spiede or non,
Of whiche I trowe thou be on:
Bot whiderward thin happes wende,
Schal this planete schewe at ende,
As it hath do to many mo,
To some wel, to some wo.
And natheles of this planete
The moste part is softe and swete;
For who that therof takth his berthe,
He schal desire joie and merthe,
Gentil, courteis, and debonaire,
To speke his wordes softe and faire,
Such schal he be be weie of kinde,
And overal wher he may finde
Plesance of love, his herte boweth
With al his myht and there he woweth.
He is so ferforth amourous,
He not what thing is vicious
Touchende love, for that lawe
Ther mai no maner man withdrawe,
The which venerien is bore
Be weie of kinde, and therefore
Venus of love the goddesse
Is cleped: bot of wantounesse
The climat of hir lecherie
Is most commun in Lombardie.
     Next unto this planete of love
The brighte sonne stant above,
Which is the hindrere of the nyht
And forthrere of the daies lyht,
As he which is the worldes ÿe,
Thurgh whom the lusti compaignie
Of foules be the morwe singe,
The freisshe floures sprede and springe,
The hihe tre the ground beschadeth,
And every mannes herte gladeth.
And for it is the hed planete,
Hou that he sitteth in his sete,
Of what richesse, of what nobleie,
These bokes telle, and thus thei seie.
     Of gold glistrende spoke and whiel
The sonne his carte hath faire and wiel,
In which he sitt, and is coroned
With brighte stones environed;
Of whiche if that I speke schal,
Ther be tofore in special
Set in the front of his corone
Thre stones, whiche no persone
Hath upon erthe, and the ferste is
Be name cleped licuchis;
That othre tuo be cleped thus,
Astrices and ceramius.
In his corone also behinde,
Be olde bokes as I finde,
Ther ben of worthi stones thre
Set ech of hem in his degré,
Wherof a cristall is that on,
Which that corone is set upon;
The seconde is an adamant;
The thridde is noble and avenant,
Which cleped is ydriades.
And over this yit natheles
Upon the sydes of the werk,
After the wrytinge of the clerk,
Ther sitten fyve stones mo:
The smaragdine is on of tho,
Jaspis and elitropius
And dendides and jacinctus.
Lo, thus the corone is beset,
Wherof it schyneth wel the bet;
And in such wise his liht to sprede
Sit with his diademe on hede
The sonne schynende in his carte.
And for to lede him swithe and smarte
After the bryhte daies lawe,
Ther ben ordeined for to drawe
Foure hors his char and him withal,
Wherof the names telle I schal:
Eritheus the ferste is hote,
The which is red and schyneth hote,
The seconde Acteos the bryhte,
Lampes the thridde coursier hihte,
And Philogeus is the ferthe,
That bringen lyht unto this erthe,
And gon so swift upon the hevene,
In foure and twenty houres evene
The carte with the bryhte sonne
Thei drawe, so that overronne
Thei have under the cercles hihe
Al middelerthe in such an hye.
And thus the sonne is overal
The chief planete imperial,
Above him and benethe him thre:
And thus betwen hem regneth he,
As he that hath the middel place
Among the sevene, and of his face
Be glade alle erthly creatures,
And taken after the natures
Here ese and recreacion.
And in his constellacion
Who that is bore in special,
Of good will and of liberal
He schal be founde in alle place,
And also stonde in mochel grace
Toward the lordes for to serve
And gret profit and thonk deserve.
And over that it causeth yit
A man to be soubtil of wit
To worche in gold, and to be wys
In everything which is of pris.
Bot for to speken in what cost
Of al this erthe he regneth most
As for wisdom, it is in Grece,
Wher is apropred thilke spiece.
     Mars the planete bataillous
Next to the sonne glorious
Above stant, and doth mervailes
Upon the fortune of batailes.
The conquerours be daies olde
Were unto this planete holde.
Bot who that his nativité
Hath take upon the propreté
Of Martes disposicioun
Be weie of constellacioun,
He schal be fiers and folhastif
And desirous of werre and strif.
Bot for to telle redely
In what climat most comunly
That this planete hath his effect,
Seid is that he hath his aspect
Upon the Holi Lond so cast,
That there is no pes stedefast.
     Above Mars upon the hevene,
The sexte planete of the sevene,
Stant Jupiter the delicat,
Which causeth pes and no debat.
For he is cleped that planete
Which of his kinde softe and swete
Attempreth al that to him longeth;
And whom this planete underfongeth
To stonde upon his regiment,
He schal be meke and pacient
And fortunat to marchandie
And lusti to delicacie
In everything which he schal do.
This Jupiter is cause also
Of the science of lyhte werkes,
And in this wise tellen clerkes
He is the planete of delices.
Bot in Egipte of his offices
He regneth most in special:
For ther be lustes overal
Of al that to this lif befalleth;
For ther no stormy weder falleth,
Which myhte grieve man or beste,
And ek the lond is so honeste
That it is plentevous and plein,
Ther is non ydel ground in vein;
And upon such felicité
Stant Jupiter in his degré.
     The heyeste and aboven alle
Stant that planete which men calle
Saturnus, whos complexion
Is cold, and his condicion
Causeth malice and crualté
To him the whos nativité
Is set under his governance.
For alle hise werkes ben grevance
And enemy to mannes hele,
In what degré that he schal dele.
His climat is in Orient,
Wher that he is most violent.
     Of the planetes by and by,
Hou that thei stonde upon the sky,
Fro point to point as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere.
Bot overthis touchende his lore,
Of thing that thei him tawhte more
Upon the scoles of clergie
Now herkne the philosophie.

[Twelve Signs of the Zodiac]

     He which departeth dai fro nyht,
That on derk and that other lyht,
Of sevene daies made a weke,
A monthe of foure wekes eke
He hath ordeigned in His lawe,
Of monthes tuelve and ek forthdrawe
He hath also the longe yeer.
And as He sette of his pouer
Acordant to the daies sevene
Planetes sevene upon the hevene,
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
To speke riht in such a wise,
To every monthe be Himselve
Upon the hevene of signes tuelve
He hath after His ordinal
Assigned on in special,
Wherof, so as I schal rehersen,
The tydes of the yer diversen.
Bot pleinly for to make it knowe
Hou that the signes sitte arowe,
Ech after other be degré
In substance and in propreté
The zodiaque comprehendeth
Withinne his cercle, as it appendeth.
     The ferste of whiche natheles
Be name is cleped Aries,
Which lich a wether of stature
Resembled is in his figure.
And as it seith in Almageste,
Of sterres tuelve upon this beste
Ben set, wherof in his degré
The wombe hath tuo, the heved hath thre,
The tail hath sevene, and in this wise,
As thou myht hiere me divise,
Stant Aries, which hot and drye
Is of himself, and in partie
He is the receipte and the hous
Of myhty Mars the bataillous.
And overmore ek, as I finde,
The Creatour of alle kinde
Upon this signe ferst began
The world, whan that He made man.
And of this constellacioun
The verray operacioun
Availeth, if a man therinne
The pourpos of his werk beginne.
For thanne he hath of propreté
Good sped and gret felicité.
     The tuelve monthes of the yeer
Attitled under the pouer
Of these tuelve signes stonde;
Wherof that thou schalt understonde
This Aries on of the tuelve
Hath March attitled for himselve,
Whan every bridd schal chese his make,
And every neddre and every snake
And every reptil which mai moeve,
His myht assaieth for to proeve,
To crepen out agein the sonne,
Whan ver his seson hath begonne.
     Taurus the seconde after this
Of signes, which figured is
Unto a bole, is dreie and cold;
And as it is in bokes told,
He is the hous appourtienant
To Venus, somdiel descordant.
This bole is ek with sterres set,
Thurgh whiche he hath hise hornes knet
Unto the tail of Aries,
So is he noght ther sterreles.
Upon his brest ek eyhtetiene
He hath, and ek, as it is sene,
Upon his tail stonde othre tuo.
His monthe assigned ek also
Is Averil, which of his schoures
Ministreth weie unto the floures.
     The thridde signe is Gemini,
Which is figured redely
Lich to tuo twinnes of mankinde,
That naked stonde; and as I finde,
Thei be with sterres wel bego:
The heved hath part of thilke tuo
That schyne upon the boles tail,
So be thei bothe of o parail;
But on the wombe of Gemini
Ben fyve sterres noght forthi,
And ek upon the feet be tweie,
So as these olde bokes seie,
That wise Tholomeus wrot.
His propre monthe wel I wot
Assigned is the lusti Maii,
Whanne every brid upon his lay
Among the griene leves singeth,
And love of his pointure stingeth
After the lawes of nature
The youthe of every creature.
     Cancer after the reule and space
Of signes halt the ferthe place.
Like to the crabbe he hath semblance,
And hath unto his retienance
Sextiene sterres, wherof ten,
So as these olde wise men
Descrive, he berth on him tofore,
And in the middel tuo be bore,
And foure he hath upon his ende.
Thus goth he sterred in his kende,
And of himself is moiste and cold,
And is the propre hous and hold
Which appartieneth to the mone,
And doth what longeth him to done.
The monthe of Juin unto this signe
Thou schalt after the reule assigne.
     The fifte signe is Leo hote,
Whos kinde is schape dreie and hote,
In whom the sonne hath herbergage.
And the semblance of his ymage
Is a leoun, which in baillie
Of sterres hath his pourpartie:
The foure, whiche as Cancer hath
Upon his ende, Leo tath
Upon his heved, and thanne nest
He hath ek foure upon his brest,
And on upon his tail behinde,
In olde bokes as we finde.
His propre monthe is Juyl be name,
In which men pleien many a game.
     After Leo Virgo the nexte
Of signes cleped is the sexte,
Wherof the figure is a maide;
And as the Philosophre saide,
Sche is the welthe and the risinge,
The lust, the joie and the likinge
Unto Mercurie; and soth to seie
Sche is with sterres wel beseie,
Wherof Leo hath lent hire on,
Which sit on hih hir heved upon,
Hire wombe hath fyve, hir feet also
Have other fyve: and overmo
Touchende as of complexion,
Be kindly disposicion
Of dreie and cold this maiden is.
And for to tellen over this
Hir monthe, thou schalt understonde,
Whan every feld hath corn in honde
And many a man his bak hath plied,
Unto this signe is Augst applied.
     After Virgo to reknen evene
Libra sit in the nombre of sevene,
Which hath figure and resemblance
Unto a man which a balance
Berth in his hond as for to weie:
In boke and as it mai be seie,
Diverse sterres to him longeth,
Wherof on hevede he underfongeth
Ferst thre, and ek his wombe hath tuo,
And doun benethe eighte othre mo.
This signe is hot and moiste bothe,
The whiche thinges be noght lothe
Unto Venus, so that alofte
Sche resteth in his hous fulofte,
And ek Saturnus often hyed
Is in this signe and magnefied.
His propre monthe is seid Septembre,
Which gifth men cause to remembre,
If eny sor be left behinde
Of thing which grieve mai to kinde.
     Among the signes upon heighte
The signe which is nombred eighte
Is Scorpio, which as feloun
Figured is a scorpioun.
Bot for al that yit natheles
Is Scorpio noght sterreles;
For Libra granteth him his ende
Of eighte sterres, wher he wende,
The whiche upon his heved assised
He berth, and ek ther ben divised
Upon his wombe sterres thre,
And eighte upon his tail hath he.
Which of his kinde is moiste and cold
And unbehovely manyfold;
He harmeth Venus and empeireth,
Bot Mars unto his hous repeireth,
Bot war whan thei togedre duellen.
His propre monthe is, as men tellen,
Octobre, which bringth the kalende
Of wynter, that comth next suiende.
     The nynthe signe in nombre also,
Which folweth after Scorpio,
Is cleped Sagittarius,
The whos figure is marked thus,
A monstre with a bowe on honde,
On whom that sondri sterres stonde,
Thilke eighte of whiche I spak tofore,
The whiche upon the tail ben bore
Of Scorpio, the heved al faire
Bespreden of the Sagittaire;
And eighte of othre stonden evene
Upon his wombe, and othre sevene
Ther stonde upon his tail behinde.
And he is hot and dreie of kinde.
To Jupiter his hous is fre,
Bot to Mercurie in his degré,
For thei ben noght of on assent,
He worcheth gret empeirement.
This signe hath of his propreté
A monthe, which of dueté
After the sesoun that befalleth
The plowed oxe in wynter stalleth;
And fyr into the halle he bringeth,
And thilke drinke of which men singeth,
He torneth must into the wyn.
Thanne is the larder of the swyn;
That is Novembre which I meene,
Whan that the lef hath lost his greene.
     The tenthe signe, dreie and cold,
The which is Capricornus told,
Unto a got hath resemblance:
For whos love and whos aqueintance
Withinne hise houses to sojorne
It liketh wel unto Satorne,
Bot to the mone it liketh noght,
For no profit is there wroght.
This signe as of his propreté
Upon his heved hath sterres thre,
And ek upon his wombe tuo,
And tweie upon his tail also.
Decembre after the yeeres forme,
So as the bokes ous enforme,
With daies schorte and nyhtes longe
This ilke signe hath underfonge.
     Of tho that sitte upon the hevene
Of signes in the nombre ellevene
Aquarius hath take his place,
And stant wel in Satornes grace,
Which duelleth in his herbergage,
Bot to the sonne he doth oultrage.
This signe is verraily resembled
Lich to a man which halt assembled
In eyther hand a water spoute,
Wherof the stremes rennen oute.
He is of kinde moiste and hot,
And he that of the sterres wot
Seith that he hath of sterres tuo
Upon his heved, and ben of tho
That Capricorn hath on his ende;
And as the bokes maken mende,
That Tholomeus made himselve,
He hath ek on his wombe tuelve,
And tweie upon his ende stonde.
Thou schalt also this understonde,
The frosti colde Janever,
Whan comen is the newe yeer,
That Janus with his double face
In his chaiere hath take his place
And loketh upon bothe sides,
Somdiel toward the wynter tydes,
Somdiel toward the yeer suiende,
That is the monthe belongende
Unto this signe, and of his dole
He gifth the ferste primerole.
     The tuelfthe, which is last of alle
Of signes, Piscis men it calle,
The which, as telleth the scripture,
Berth of tuo fisshes the figure.
So is he cold and moiste of kinde,
And ek with sterres, as I finde,
Beset in sondri wise, as thus:
Tuo of his ende Aquarius
Hath lent unto his heved, and tuo
This signe hath of his oghne also
Upon his wombe, and over this
Upon his ende also ther is
A nombre of twenty sterres bryghte,
Which is to sen a wonder sighte.
Toward this signe into his hous
Comth Jupiter the glorious,
And Venus ek with him acordeth
To duellen, as the bok recordeth.
The monthe unto this signe ordeined
Is Februer, which is bereined,
And with londflodes in his rage
At fordes letteth the passage.
     Nou hast thou herd the propreté
Of signes, bot in his degré
Albumazar yit over this
Seith, so as th'erthe parted is
In foure, riht so ben divised
The signes tuelve and stonde assised,
That ech of hem for his partie
Hath his climat to justefie.
Wherof the ferst regiment
Toward the part of Orient
From Antioche and that contré
Governed is of signes thre,
That is Cancer, Virgo, Leo:
And toward Occident also
From Armenie, as I am lerned,
Of Capricorn it stant governed,
Of Pisces and Aquarius:
And after hem I finde thus,
Southward from Alisandre forth
Tho signes whiche most ben worth
In governance of that doaire,
Libra thei ben and Sagittaire
With Scorpio, which is conjoint
With hem to stonde upon that point.
Constantinople the cité,
So as the bokes tellen me,
The laste of this division
Stant untoward Septemtrion,
Wher as be weie of pourveance
Hath Aries the governance
Forth with Taurus and Gemini.
Thus ben the signes propreli
Divided, as it is reherced,
Wherof the londes ben diversed.

[Fifteen Stars]

Lo thus, mi sone, as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere
Of hem that weren for his lore.
Bot nou to loken overmore,
Of othre sterres hou thei fare
I thenke hierafter to declare,
So as king Alisandre in youthe
Of him that suche thinges couthe
Enformed was tofore his yhe
Be nyhte upon the sterres hihe.
     Upon sondri creacion
Stant sondri operacion,
Som worcheth this, som worcheth that;
The fyr is hot in his astat
And brenneth what he mai atteigne,
The water mai the fyr restreigne,
The which is cold and moist also.
Of other thing it farth riht so
Upon this erthe among ous hiere;
And for to speke in this manere,
Upon the hevene, as men mai finde,
The sterres ben of sondri kinde
And worchen manye sondri thinges
To ous, that ben here underlinges.
Among the whiche forth withal
Nectanabus in special,
Which was an astronomien
And ek a gret magicien,
And undertake hath thilke emprise
To Alisandre in his aprise
As of magique naturel
To knowe, enformeth him somdel
Of certein sterres what thei mene;
Of whiche, he seith, ther ben fiftene,
And sondrily to everich on
A gras belongeth and a ston,
Wherof men worchen many a wonder
To sette thing bothe up and under.
     To telle riht as he began,
The ferste sterre Aldeboran,
The cliereste and the moste of alle,
Be rihte name men it calle;
Which lich is of condicion
To Mars, and of complexion
To Venus, and hath therupon
Carbunculum his propre ston:
His herbe is anabulla named,
Which is of gret vertu proclamed.
     The seconde is noght vertules;
Clota or elles Pliades
It hatte, and of the mones kinde
He is, and also this I finde,
He takth of Mars complexion:
And lich to such condicion
His ston appropred is cristall,
And ek his herbe in special
The vertuous fenele it is.
     The thridde, which comth after this,
Is hote Algol the clere rede,
Which of Satorne, as I may rede,
His kinde takth, and ek of Jove
Complexion to his behove.
His propre ston is dyamant,
Which is to him most acordant;
His herbe, which is him betake,
Is hote eleborum the blake.
     So as it falleth upon lot,
The ferthe sterre is Alhaiot,
Which in the wise as I seide er
Of Satorne and of Jupiter
Hath take his kinde; and therupon
The saphir is his propre ston,
Marrubium his herbe also,
The whiche acorden bothe tuo.
     And Canis Major in his like
The fifte sterre is of magique,
The whos kinde is Venerien,
As seith this astronomien.
His propre ston is seid berille,
Bot for to worche and to fulfille
Thing which to this science falleth,
Ther is an herbe which men calleth
Saveine, and that behoveth nede
To him that wole his pourpos spede.
     The sexte suiende after this
Be name Canis Minor is;
The which sterre is Mercurial
Be weie of kinde, and forth withal,
As it is writen in the carte,
Complexion he takth of Marte.
His ston and herbe, as seith the Scole,
Ben achates and primerole.
     The sefnthe sterre in special
Of this science is Arial,
Which sondri nature underfongeth.
The ston which propre unto him longeth,
Gorgonza proprely it hihte:
His herbe also, which he schal rihte
Upon the worchinge as I mene,
Is celidoine freissh and grene.
     Sterre Ala Corvi upon heihte
Hath take his place in nombre of eighte,
Which of his kinde mot parforne
The will of Marte and of Satorne:
To whom lapacia the grete
Is herbe, bot of no beyete;
His ston is honochinus hote,
Thurgh which men worchen gret riote.
     The nynthe sterre faire and wel
Be name is hote Alaezel,
Which takth his propre kinde thus
Bothe of Mercurie and of Venus.
His ston is the grene amyraude,
To whom is goven many a laude.
Salge is his herbe appourtenant
Aboven al the remenant
     The tenthe sterre is Almareth,
Which upon lif and upon deth
Thurgh kinde of Jupiter and Mart
He doth what longeth to his part.
His ston is jaspe, and of planteine
He hath his herbe sovereine.
     The sterre ellefthe is Venenas,
The whos nature is as it was
Take of Venus and of the mone,
In thing which he hath for to done.
Of adamant is that perrie
In which he worcheth his maistrie;
Thilke herbe also which him befalleth,
Cicorea the bok it calleth.
     Alpheta in the nombre sit,
And is the tuelfthe sterre yit;
Of Scorpio which is governed,
And takth his kinde, as I am lerned;
And hath his vertu in the ston
Which cleped is topazion:
His herbe propre is rosmarine,
Which schapen is for his covine.
     Of these sterres, whiche I mene,
Cor Scorpionis is thritiene;
The whos nature Mart and Jove
Have goven unto his behove.
His herbe is aristologie,
Which folweth his astronomie.
The ston which that this sterre alloweth,
Is sardis, which unto him boweth.
     The sterre which stant next the laste,
Nature on him this name caste
And clepeth him Botercadent;
Which of his kinde obedient
Is to Mercurie and to Venus.
His ston is seid crisolitus,
His herbe is cleped satureie,
So as these olde bokes seie.
     Bot nou the laste sterre of alle
The tail of Scorpio men calle,
Which to Mercurie and to Satorne
Be weie of kinde mot retorne
After the preparacion
Of due constellacion.
The calcedoine unto him longeth,
Which for his ston he underfongeth;
Of majorane his herbe is grounded.
Thus have I seid hou thei be founded,
Of every sterre in special,
Which hath his herbe and ston withal,
As Hermes in his bokes olde
Witnesse berth of that I tolde.

[Authors of Astronomy]

     The science of Astronomie,
Which principal is of clergie
To dieme betwen wo and wel
In thinges that be naturel,
Thei hadde a gret travail on honde
That made it ferst ben understonde;
And thei also which overmore
Here studie sette upon this lore,
Thei weren gracious and wys
And worthi for to bere a pris.
And whom it liketh for to wite
Of hem that this science write,
On of the ferste which it wrot
After Noe, it was Nembrot,
To his disciple Ychonithon
And made a bok forth therupon
The which Megaster cleped was.
Another auctor in this cas
Is Arachel, the which men note;
His bok is Abbategnyh hote.
Danz Tholomé is noght the leste,
Which makth the bok of Almageste;
And Alfraganus doth the same,
Whos bok is Chatemuz be name.
Gebuz and Alpetragus eke
Of Planisperie, which men seke,
The bokes made: and over this
Ful many a worthi clerc ther is,
That writen upon this clergie
The bokes of Altemetrie,
Planemetrie and ek also,
Whiche as belongen bothe tuo,
So as thei ben naturiens,
Unto these Astronomiens.
Men sein that Habraham was on;
Bot whether that he wrot or non,
That finde I noght; and Moises
Ek was another: bot Hermes
Above alle othre in this science
He hadde a gret experience;
Thurgh him was many a sterre assised,
Whos bokes yit ben auctorized.
I mai noght knowen alle tho
That writen in the time tho
Of this science; bot I finde,
Of jugement be weie of kinde
That in o point thei alle acorden:
Of sterres whiche thei recorden
That men mai sen upon the hevene,
Ther ben a thousend sterres evene
And tuo and twenty, to the syhte
Whiche aren of hemself so bryhte,
That men mai dieme what thei be,
The nature and the propreté.
     Nou hast thou herd, in which a wise
These noble philosophres wise
Enformeden this yonge king,
And made him have a knowleching
Of thing which ferst to the partie
Belongeth of Philosophie,
Which Theorique cleped is,
As thou tofore hast herd er this.
Bot nou to speke of the secounde,
Which Aristotle hath also founde,
And techeth hou to speke faire,
Which is a thing full necessaire
To contrepeise the balance,
Wher lacketh other sufficance."

[Rhetoric, the Second Part of Philosophy]

Compositi pulcra sermonis verba placere
Principio poterunt, veraque fine placent.
Herba, lapis, sermo, tria sunt virtute repleta,
Vis tamen ex verbi pondere plura facit

     "Above alle erthli creatures
The hihe makere of natures
The word to man hath gove alone,
So that the speche of his persone,
Or for to lese or for to winne,
The hertes thoght which is withinne
Mai schewe, what it wolde mene;
And that is noghwhere elles sene
Of kinde with non other beste.
So scholde he be the more honeste,
To whom God gaf so gret a gifte,
And loke wel that he ne schifte
Hise wordes to no wicked us;
For word the techer of vertus
Is cleped in Philosophie.6
Wherof touchende this partie,
Is Rethorique the science
Appropred to the reverence
Of wordes that ben resonable.
And for this art schal be vailable
With goodli wordes for to like,
It hath Gramaire, it hath Logiqe,
That serven bothe unto the speche.
Gramaire ferste hath for to teche
To speke upon congruité.
Logique hath eke in his degré
Betwen the trouthe and the falshode
The pleine wordes for to schode,
So that nothing schal go beside,
That he the riht ne schal decide,
Wherof full many a gret debat
Reformed is to good astat,
And pes sustiened up alofte
With esy wordes and with softe,
Wher strengthe scholde lete it falle.
The Philosophre amonges alle
Forthi commendeth this science,
Which hath the reule of eloquence.
     In ston and gras vertu ther is,
Bot yit the bokes tellen this,
That word above alle erthli thinges
Is vertuous in his doinges,
Wher so it be to evele or goode.
For if the wordes semen goode
And ben wel spoke at mannes ere,
Whan that ther is no trouthe there,
Thei don fulofte gret deceipte;
For whan the word to the conceipte
Descordeth in so double a wise,
Such Rethorique is to despise
In every place, and for to drede.
For of Uluxes thus I rede,
As in the bok of Troie is founde,
His eloquence and his facounde
Of goodly wordes whiche he tolde,
Hath mad that Anthenor him solde
The toun, which he with tresoun wan.
Word hath beguiled many a man;
With word the wilde beste is daunted,
With word the serpent is enchaunted,
Of word among the men of armes
Ben woundes heeled with the charmes,
Wher lacketh other medicine;
Word hath under his discipline
Of sorcerie the karectes.
The wordes ben of sondri sectes,
Of evele and eke of goode also;
The wordes maken frend of fo,
And fo of frend, and pes of werre,
And werre of pes, and out of herre
The word this worldes cause entriketh,
And reconsileth whan him liketh.
The word under the coupe of hevene
Set everything or odde or evene;
With word the hihe God is plesed,
With word the wordes ben appesed,
The softe word the loude stilleth;
Wher lacketh good, the word fulfilleth,
To make amendes for the wrong;
Whan wordes medlen with the song,
It doth plesance wel the more.
     Bot for to loke upon the lore
Hou Tullius his Rethorique
Componeth, ther a man mai pike
Hou that he schal hise wordes sette,
Hou he schal lose, hou he schal knette,
And in what wise he schal pronounce
His tale plein withoute frounce.
Wherof ensample if thou wolt seche,
Tak hiede and red whilom the speche
Of Julius and Cithero,
Which consul was of Rome tho,
Of Catoun eke and of Cillene,
Behold the wordes hem betwene,
Whan the tresoun of Cateline
Descoevered was, and the covine
Of hem that were of his assent
Was knowe and spoke in parlement,
And axed hou and in what wise
Men scholde don hem to juise.
Cillenus ferst his tale tolde,
To trouthe and as he was beholde,
The comun profit for to save,
He seide hou tresoun scholde have
A cruel deth; and thus thei spieke,
The consul bothe and Catoun eke,
And seiden that for such a wrong
Ther mai no peine be to strong.
Bot Julius with wordes wise
His tale tolde al otherwise,
As he which wolde her deth respite,
And fondeth hou he mihte excite
The jugges thurgh his eloquence
Fro deth to torne the sentence
And sette here hertes to pité.
Nou tolden thei, nou tolde he;
Thei spieken plein after the lawe,
Bot he the wordes of his sawe
Coloureth in another weie
Spekende, and thus betwen the tweie,
To trete upon this juggement,
Made ech of hem his argument.
Wherof the tales for to hiere,
Ther mai a man the scole liere
Of Rethoriqes eloquences,
Which is the secounde of sciences
Touchende to Philosophie;
Wherof a man schal justifie
Hise wordes in disputeisoun,
And knette upon conclusioun
His argument in such a forme,
Which mai the pleine trouthe enforme
And the soubtil cautele abate,
Which every trewman schal debate."

[Practice, the Third Part of Philosophy]

Practica quemque statum pars tercia Philosophie
Ad regimen recte ducit in orbe vie:
Set quanto maior Rex est, tanto magis ipsum
Hec scola concernit, qua sua regna regat

     "The ferste, which is Theorique,
And the secounde Rethorique,
Sciences of Philosophie,
I have hem told as in partie,
So as the Philosophre it tolde
To Alisandre: and nou I wolde
Telle of the thridde what it is,
The which Practique cleped is.
     Practique stant upon thre thinges
Toward the governance of kinges;
Wherof the ferst Etique is named,
The whos science stant proclamed
To teche of vertu thilke reule,
Hou that a king himself schal reule
Of his moral condicion
With worthi disposicion
Of good livinge in his persone,
Which is the chief of his corone.
It makth a king also to lerne
Hou he his bodi schal governe,
Hou he schal wake, hou he schal slepe,
Hou that he schal his hele kepe
In mete, in drinke, in clothinge eke:
Ther is no wisdom for to seke
As for the reule of his persone,
The which that this science alone
Ne techeth as be weie of kinde,
That ther is nothing left behinde.
     That other point which to Practique
Belongeth is Iconomique,
Which techeth thilke honesté
Thurgh which a king in his degré
His wif and child schal reule and guie,
So forth with al the companie
Which in his houshold schal abyde,
And his astat on every syde
In such manere for to lede,
That he his houshold ne mislede.
     Practique hath yit the thridde aprise,
Which techeth hou and in what wise
Thurgh hih pourveied ordinance
A king schal sette in governance
His realme, and that is Policie,
Which longeth unto regalie
In time of werre, in time of pes,
To worschipe and to good encress
Of clerk, of kniht and of marchant,
And so forth of the remenant
Of al the comun poeple aboute,
Withinne burgh and eke withoute,
Of hem that ben artificiers,
Whiche usen craftes and mestiers,
Whos art is cleped mechanique.
And though thei ben noght alle like,
Yit natheles, hou so it falle,
O lawe mot governe hem alle,
Or that thei lese or that thei winne,
After th'astat that thei ben inne.
     Lo, thus this worthi yonge king
Was fulli tauht of everything,
Which mihte give entendement
Of good reule and good regiment
To such a worthi prince as he.
Bot of verray necessité
The Philosophre him hath betake
Fyf pointz, whiche he hath undertake
To kepe and holde in observance,
As for the worthi governance
Which longeth to his regalie,
After the reule of Policie."

[Truth, the First Part of Policy]

Moribus ornatus regit hic qui regna moderna,
Cercius expectat ceptra futura poli.
Et quia veridica virtus supereminet omnes,
Regis ab ore boni fabula nulla sonat

     "To every man behoveth lore,
Bot to no man belongeth more
Than to a king, which hath to lede
The poeple; for of his kinghede
He mai hem bothe save and spille.
And for it stant upon his wille,
It sit him wel to ben avised,
And the vertus whiche are assissed
Unto a kinges regiment,
To take in his entendement.
Wherof to tellen, as thei stonde,
Hierafterward nou woll I fonde.
     Among the vertus on is chief,
And that is Trouthe, which is lief
To God and ek to man also.
And for it hath ben evere so,
Tawhte Aristotle, as he wel couthe,
To Alisandre, hou in his youthe
He scholde of Trouthe thilke grace
With al his hole herte embrace,
So that his word be trewe and plein,
Toward the world and so certein
That in him be no double speche.
For if men scholde trouthe seche
And founde it noght withinne a king,
It were an unsittende thing.
The word is tokne of that withinne,
Ther schal a worthi king beginne
To kepe his tunge and to be trewe,
So schal his pris ben evere newe.
Avise him every man tofore,
And be wel war, er he be swore,
For afterward it is to late,
If that he wole his word debate.
For as a king in special
Above all othre is principal
Of his pouer, so scholde he be
Most vertuous in his degré;
And that mai wel be signefied
Be his corone and specified.
     The gold betokneth excellence,
That men schull don him reverence
As to here liege soverein.
The stones, as the bokes sein,
Commended ben in treble wise:
Ferst thei ben harde, and thilke assisse
Betokneth in a king constance,
So that ther schal no variance
Be founde in his condicion;
And also be descripcion
The vertu which is in the stones
A verrai signe is for the nones
Of that a king schal ben honeste
And holde trewly his beheste
Of thing which longeth to kinghede.
The bryhte colour, as I rede,
Which in the stones is schynende,
Is in figure betoknende
The cronique of this worldes fame,
Which stant upon his goode name.
The cercle which is round aboute
Is tokne of al the lond withoute,
Which stant under his gerarchie,
That he it schal wel kepe and guye.
     And for that Trouthe, hou so it falle,
Is the vertu soverein of alle,
That longeth unto regiment,
A tale, which is evident
Of trouthe in comendacioun,
Toward thin enformacion,
Mi sone, hierafter thou schalt hiere
Of a cronique in this matiere.

[Esdras on the King, Wine, Women, and Truth]

     As the cronique it doth reherce,
A soldan whilom was of Perce,
Which Daires hihte, and Ytaspis
His fader was; and soth it is
That thurgh wisdom and hih prudence
Mor than for eny reverence
Of his lignage as be descente
The regne of thilke empire he hente.
And as he was himselve wys,
The wisemen he hield in pris
And soghte hem oute on every side,
That toward him thei scholde abide.
Among the whiche thre ther were
That most service unto him bere,
As thei which in his chambre lyhen
And al his conseil herde and syhen.
Here names ben of strange note,
Arpaghes was the ferste hote,
And Manachaz was the secounde,
Zorobabel, as it is founde
In the cronique, was the thridde.
This soldan, what so him betidde,
To hem he triste most of alle,
Wherof the cas is so befalle:
This lord, which hath conceiptes depe,
Upon a nyht whan he hath slepe,
As he which hath his wit desposed,
Touchende a point hem hath opposed.
     The kinges question was this:
Of thinges thre which strengest is,
The wyn, the womman, or the king?
And that thei scholde upon this thing
Of here ansuere avised be,
He gaf hem fulli daies thre,
And hath behote hem be his feith
That who the beste reson seith,
He schal resceive a worthi mede.
     Upon this thing thei token hiede
And stoden in desputeison,
That be diverse opinion
Of argumentz that thei have holde
Arpaghes ferst his tale tolde,
And seide hou that the strengthe of kinges
Is myhtiest of alle thinges.
For king hath pouer over man,
And man is he which reson can,
As he which is of his nature
The moste noble creature
Of alle tho that God hath wroght;
And be that skile it semeth noght,
He seith, that eny erthly thing
Mai be so myhty as a king.
A king mai spille, a king mai save,
A king mai make of lord a knave
And of a knave a lord also.
The pouer of a king stant so,
That he the lawes overpasseth;
What he wol make lasse, he lasseth,
What he wol make more, he moreth;
And as the gentil faucon soreth,
He fleth, that no man him reclameth;
Bot he alone alle othre tameth,
And stant himself of lawe fre.
Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he,
So as his reson can argue,
Is strengest and of most value.
     Bot Manachaz seide otherwise,
That wyn is of the more emprise;
And that he scheweth be this weie.
The wyn fulofte takth aweie
The reson fro the mannes herte;
The wyn can make a krepel sterte,
And a delivere man unwelde;
It makth a blind man to behelde,
And a bryht yhed seme derk;
It makth a lewed man a clerk,
And fro the clerkes the clergie
It takth aweie, and couardie
It torneth into hardiesse;
Of avarice it makth largesse.
The wyn makth ek the goode blod,
In which the soule which is good
Hath chosen hire a resting place,
Whil that the lif hir wole embrace.
And be this skile Manachas
Ansuered hath upon this cas,
And seith that wyn be weie of kinde
Is thing which mai the hertes binde
Wel more than the regalie.
     Zorobabel for his partie
Seide, as him thoghte for the beste,
That wommen ben the myhtieste.
The king and the vinour also
Of wommen comen bothe tuo;
And ek he seide hou that manhede
Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede
Of love, wher he wole or non,
Obeie schal; and therupon,
To schewe of wommen the maistrie,
A tale which he syh with yhe
As for ensample he tolde this:
     Hou Apemen, of Besazis
Which dowhter was, in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis,
Whan he was hotest in his ire
Toward the grete of his empire,
Cirus the king tirant sche tok,
And only with hire goodly lok
Sche made him debonaire and meke,
And be the chyn and be the cheke
Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste,
That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste,
And doth with him what evere hir liketh;
Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh,
And whan sche gladeth, he is glad:
And thus this king was overlad
With hire which his lemman was.
Among the men is no solas,
If that ther be no womman there;
For bot if that the wommen were,
This worldes joie were aweie:
Thurgh hem men finden out the weie
To knihthode and to worldes fame;
Thei make a man to drede schame,
And honour for to be desired.
Thurgh the beauté of hem is fyred
The dart of which Cupide throweth,
Wherof the jolif peine groweth,
Which al the world hath under fote.
A womman is the mannes bote,
His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel;
And this thing mai be schewed wel,
Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde,
For in ensample this I finde.

[Tale of Alcestis]

     Whan that the duk Ametus lay
Sek in his bedd, that every day
Men waiten whan he scholde deie,
Alceste his wif goth for to preie,
As sche which wolde thonk deserve,
With sacrifice unto Minerve,
To wite ansuere of the goddesse
Hou that hir lord of his seknesse,
Wherof he was so wo besein,
Recovere myhte his hele agein.
Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide,
Til ate laste a vois hir seide,
That if sche wolde for his sake
The maladie soffre and take,
And deie hirself, he scholde live.
Of this ansuere Alceste hath give
Unto Minerve gret thonkinge,
So that hir deth and his livinge
Sche ches with al hire hole entente,
And thus acorded hom sche wente.
Into the chambre and whan sche cam,
Hire housebonde anon sche nam
In bothe hire armes and him kiste,
And spak unto him what hire liste;
And therupon withinne a throwe
This goode wif was overthrowe
And deide, and he was hool in haste.
So mai a man be reson taste,
Hou next after the God above
The trouthe of wommen and the love,
In whom that alle grace is founde,
Is myhtiest upon this grounde
And most behovely manyfold.
     Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told
The tale of his opinion.
Bot for final conclusion
What strengest is of erthli thinges,
The wyn, the wommen, or the kinges,
He seith that trouthe above hem alle
Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle.
The trouthe, hou so it evere come,
Mai for nothing ben overcome;
It mai wel soffre for a throwe,
Bot ate laste it schal be knowe.
The proverbe is, who that is trewe,
Him schal his while nevere rewe.
For hou so that the cause wende,
The trouthe is schameles at ende,
Bot what thing that is troutheles,
It mai noght wel be schameles,
And schame hindreth every wyht.
So proveth it, ther is no myht
Withoute trouthe in no degré.
And thus for trouthe of his decré
Zorobabel was most commended,
Wherof the question was ended,
And he resceived hath his mede:
For trouthe, which to mannes nede
Is most behoveliche overal.
Forthi was trouthe in special
The ferst point in observance
Betake unto the governance
Of Alisandre, as it is seid:
For therupon the ground is leid
Of every kinges regiment,
As thing which most convenient
Is for to sette a king in evene
Bothe in this world and ek in hevene."

[Largess, the Second Part of Policy]

Absit Auaricia, ne tangat regia corda,
Eius enim spoliis excoriatur humus.
Fama colit largum volitans per secula Regem,
Dona tamen licitis sunt moderanda modis

     "Next after Trouthe the secounde,
In Policie as it is founde,
Which serveth to the worldes fame
In worschipe of a kinges name,
Largesse it is, whos privilegge
Ther mai non Avarice abregge.
The worldes good was ferst comune,
Bot afterward upon fortune
Was thilke comun profit cessed,
For whan the poeple stod encresced
And the lignages woxen grete,
Anon for singulier begete
Drouh every man to his partie;
Wherof cam in the ferste envie
With gret debat and werres stronge,
And laste among the men so longe,
Til no man wiste who was who,
Ne which was frend ne which was fo,
Til ate laste in every lond
Withinne hemself the poeple fond
That it was good to make a king,
Which mihte appesen al this thing
And give riht to the lignages
In partinge of here heritages
And ek of al here other good.
And thus above hem alle stod
The king upon his regalie,
As he which hath to justifie
The worldes good fro covoitise.
So sit it wel in alle wise
A king betwen the more and lesse
To sette his herte upon largesse
Toward himself and ek also
Toward his poeple; and if noght so,
That is to sein, if that he be
Toward himselven large and fre
And of his poeple take and pile,
Largesse be no weie of skile,
It mai be seid, bot Avarice,
Which in a king is a gret vice.
     A king behoveth ek to fle
The vice of Prodegalité,
That he mesure in his expence
So kepe, that of indigence
He mai be sauf; for who that nedeth,
In al his werk the worse he spedeth.
As Aristotle upon Chaldee
Ensample of gret auctorité
Unto king Alisandre tauhte
Of thilke folk that were unsauhte
Toward here king for his pilage.
Wherof he bad, in his corage
That he unto thre pointz entende,
Wher that he wolde his good despende.
Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod,
That al were of his oghne good
The giftes whiche he wolde give,
So myhte he wel the betre live.
     And ek he moste taken hiede
If ther be cause of eny nede,
Which oghte for to be defended,
Er that his goodes be despended.
He mot ek, as it is befalle,
Amonges othre thinges alle
Se the decertes of his men;
And after that thei ben of ken
And of astat and of merite,
He schal hem largeliche aquite,
Or for the werre, or for the pes,
That non honour falle in descres
Which mihte torne into defame,
Bot that he kepe his goode name,
So that he be noght holde unkinde.
For in cronique a tale I finde,
Which spekth somdiel of this matiere,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere.

[Tale of Julius and the Poor Knight]

     In Rome, to poursuie his riht,
Ther was a worthi povere kniht,
Which cam alone for to sein
His cause, when the court was plein,
Wher Julius was in presence.
And for him lacketh of despence,
Ther was with him non advocat
To make ple for his astat.
Bot thogh him lacke for to plede,
Him lacketh nothing of manhede;
He wiste wel his pours was povere,
Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere,
And openly poverté alleide,
To th'emperour and thus he seide:
'O Julius, lord of the lawe,
Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe
For lacke of gold; do thin office
After the lawes of justice.
Help that I hadde conseil hiere
Upon the trouthe of mi matiere.'
And Julius with that anon
Assigned him a worthi on,
Bot he himself no word ne spak.
This kniht was wroth and fond a lak
In th'emperour, and seide thus:
'O thou unkinde Julius,
Whan thou in thi bataille were
Up in Aufrique, and I was there,
Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede
And putte no man in my stede;
Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde.
Bot hier I finde thee so badde,
That thee ne liste speke o word
Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord
To give a florin me to helpe.
Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe
Fro this dai forth of thi largesse,
Whan such a gret unkindenesse
Is founde in such a lord as thou?'
     This Julius knew wel ynou
That al was soth which he him tolde;
And for he wolde noght ben holde
Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde,
And as it were of Goddes sonde,
He gaf him good ynouh to spende
Forevere into his lives ende.
And thus scholde every worthi king
Take of his knihtes knowleching,
Whan that he syh thei hadden nede,
For every service axeth mede.
Bot othre, whiche have noght deserved
Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served,
A king schal noght deserve grace,
Thogh he be large in such a place.

[Tale of Antigonus and Cinichus]

     It sit wel every king to have
Discrecion, whan men him crave,
So that he mai his gifte wite,
Wherof I finde a tale write,
Hou Cinichus a povere kniht
A somme which was over myht
Preide of his king Antigonus.
The king ansuerde to him thus,
And seide hou such a gifte passeth
His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth,
And axeth bot a litel peny,
If that the king wol give him eny.
The king ansuerde, it was to smal
For him, which was a lord real;
To give a man so litel thing
It were unworschipe in a king.
     Be this ensample a king mai lere
That for to give is in manere:
For if a king his tresor lasseth
Withoute honour and thonkles passeth,
Whan he himself wol so beguile,
I not who schal compleigne his while,
Ne who be rihte him schal relieve.
Bot natheles this I believe,
To helpe with his oghne lond
Behoveth every man his hond
To sette upon necessité.
And ek his kinges realté
Mot every liege man conforte,
With good and bodi to supporte,
Whan thei se cause resonable.
For who that is noght entendable
To holde upright his kinges name,
Him oghte for to be to blame.


     Of policie and overmore
To speke in this matiere more,
So as the Philosophre tolde,
A king after the reule is holde
To modifie and to adresce
Hise giftes upon such largesce
That he mesure noght excede.
For if a king falle into nede,
It causeth ofte sondri thinges
Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges.
What man wol noght himself mesure,
Men sen fulofte that mesure
Him hath forsake: and so doth he
That useth Prodegalité,
Which is the moder of poverte,
Wherof the londes ben deserte;
And namely whan thilke vice
Aboute a king stant in office
And hath withholde of his partie
The covoitouse flaterie,
Which many a worthi king deceiveth,
Er he the fallas aperceiveth
Of hem that serven to the glose.
For thei that cunnen plese and glose,
Ben, as men tellen, the norrices
Unto the fostringe of the vices,
Wherof fulofte natheles
A king is blamed gulteles.
     A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere,
Spak to a king of this matiere,
And seide him wel hou that flatours
Coupable were of thre errours.
On was toward the goddes hihe,
That weren wrothe of that thei sihe
The meschief which befalle scholde
Of that the false flatour tolde.
Toward the king another was,
Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas
Of feigned wordes make him wene
That blak is whyt and blew is grene
Touchende of his condicion.
For whanne he doth extorcion
With manye another vice mo,
Men schal noght finden on of tho
To groucche or speke theragein,
Bot holden up his oil and sein
That al is wel, whatevere he doth.
And thus of fals thei maken soth,
So that here kinges yhe is blent
And wot not hou the world is went.
The thridde errour is harm comune,
With which the poeple mot commune
Of wronges that thei bringen inne:
And thus thei worchen treble sinne,
That ben flatours aboute a king.
Ther myhte be no worse thing
Aboute a kinges regalie,
Thanne is the vice of flaterie.
     And natheles it hath ben used,
That it was nevere yit refused
As for to speke in court real;
For there it is most special,
And mai noght longe be forbore.
Bot whan this vice of hem is bore,
That scholden the vertus forthbringe,
And trouthe is torned to lesinge,
It is, as who seith, agein kinde,
Wherof an old ensample I finde.

[Tale of Diogenes and Aristippus]

     Among these othre tales wise
Of philosophres, in this wise
I rede, how whilom tuo ther were,
And to the scole for to lere
Unto Athenes fro Cartage
Here frendes, whan thei were of age,
Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe,
Til thei such lore have underfonge,
That in here time thei surmonte
Alle othre men, that to acompte
Of hem was tho the grete fame.
The ferste of hem his rihte name
Was Diogenes thanne hote,
In whom was founde no riote.
His felaw Arisippus hyhte,
Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte.
Bot ate laste, soth to sein,
Thei bothe tornen hom agein
Unto Cartage and scole lete.
This Diogenes no beyete
Of worldes good or lasse or more
Ne soghte for his longe lore,
Bot tok him only for to duelle
At hom; and as the bokes telle,
His hous was nyh to the rivere
Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere.
Ther duelleth he to take his reste,
So as it thoghte him for the beste,
To studie in his philosophie,
As he which wolde so defie
The worldes pompe on every syde.
     Bot Arisippe his bok aside
Hath leid, and to the court he wente,
Wher many a wyle and many a wente
With flaterie and wordes softe
He caste, and hath compassed ofte
Hou he his prince myhte plese;
And in this wise he gat him ese
Of vein honour and worldes good.
The londes reule upon him stod,
The king of him was wonder glad,
And all was do, what thing he bad,
Bothe in the court and ek withoute.
With flaterie he broghte aboute
His pourpos of the worldes werk,
Which was agein the stat of clerk,
So that philosophie he lefte
And to richesse himself uplefte.
Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille.
     Bot Diogenes duelte stille
At home and loked on his bok.
He soghte noght the worldes crok,
For vein honour ne for richesse,
Bot all his hertes besinesse
He sette to be vertuous;
And thus withinne his oghne hous
He liveth to the sufficance
Of his havinge. And fell per chance,
This Diogene upon a day,
And that was in the monthe of May,
Whan that these herbes ben holsome,
He walketh for to gadre some
In his gardin, of whiche his joutes
He thoghte have, and thus aboutes
Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh,
He satte him thanne doun and pyketh
And wyssh his herbes in the flod
Upon the which his gardin stod,
Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er.
And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther,
Cam Arisippes be the strete
With manye hors and routes grete,
And straght unto the bregge he rod,
Wher that he hoved and abod;
For as he caste his yhe nyh,
His felaw Diogene he syh,
And what he dede he syh also,
Wherof he seide to him so:
'O Diogene, God thee spede
It were certes litel nede
To sitte there and wortes pyke,
If thou thi prince couthest lyke,
So as I can in my degré.'
'O Arisippe,' agein quod he,
'If that thou couthist, so as I,
Thi wortes pyke, trewely
It were als litel nede or lasse,
That thou so worldly wolt compasse
With flaterie for to serve,
Wherof thou thenkest to deserve
Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace
Hou thou myht stonden in his grace,
For getinge of a litel good.
If thou wolt take into thi mod
Reson, thou myht be reson deeme
That so thi prince for to queeme
Is noght to reson acordant,
Bot it is gretly descordant
Unto the scoles of Athene.'
Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene
Agein the clerkes flaterie.
     Bot yit men sen th'essamplerie
Of Arisippe is wel received,
And thilke of Diogene is weyved.
Office in court and gold in cofre
Is nou, men sein, the philosophre
Which hath the worschipe in the halle.
Bot flaterie passeth alle
In chambre, whom the court avanceth;
For upon thilke lot it chanceth
To be beloved nou aday.
I not if it be ye or nay,
Bot as the comun vois it telleth;
Bot wher that flaterie duelleth
In eny lond under the sonne,
Ther is ful many a thing begonne
Which were betre to be left -
That hath be schewed nou and eft.
     Bot if a prince wolde him reule
Of the Romeins after the reule,
In thilke time as it was used,
This vice scholde be refused,
Wherof the princes ben assoted.
Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted,
Ther may a prince wel conceive,
That he schal noght himself deceive,
Of that he hiereth wordes pleine;
For him thar noght be reson pleigne,
That warned is er him be wo.
And that was fully proeved tho,
Whan Rome was the worldes chief,
The sothseiere tho was lief,
Which wolde noght the trouthe spare,
Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare
To th'emperour hise sothes tolde,
As in cronique is yit withholde,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere
Acordende unto this matiere.

[Triumph, Humility, and the Roman Emperors]

     To se this olde ensamplerie,
That whilom was no flaterie
Toward the princes wel I finde;
Wherof so as it comth to mynde,
Mi sone, a tale unto thin ere,
Whil that the worthi princes were
At Rome, I thenke for to tellen.
For whan the chances so befellen
That eny Emperour as tho
Victoire hadde upon his fo,
And so forth cam to Rome agein,
Of treble honour he was certein,
Wherof that he was magnefied.
The ferste, as it is specefied,
Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde,
The charr in which he scholde ryde
Foure whyte stiedes scholden drawe;
Of Jupiter be thilke lawe
The cote he scholde were also;
Hise prisoners ek scholden go
Endlong the charr on eyther hond,
And alle the nobles of the lond
Tofore and after with him come
Ridende and broghten him to Rome,
In thonk of his chivalerie
And for non other flaterie.
And that was schewed forth withal;
Wher he sat in his charr real,
Beside him was a ribald set,
Which hadde hise wordes so beset,
To th'emperour in al his gloire
He seide, 'Tak into memoire,
For al this pompe and al this pride
Let no justice gon aside,
Bot know thiself, what so befalle.
For men sen ofte time falle
Thing which men wende siker stonde.
Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde,
Fortune mai noght stonde alway;
The whiel per chance another day
Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe;
Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe.'
With these wordes and with mo
This ribald, which sat with him tho,
To th'emperour his tale tolde.
And overmor whatevere he wolde,
Or were it evel or were it good,
So pleinly as the trouthe stod,
He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute;
And so myhte every man aboute
The day of that solempneté
His tale telle als wel as he
To th'emperour al openly.
And al was this the cause why;
That whil he stod in that noblesse,
He scholde his vanité represse
With suche wordes as he herde.

[The Emperor and the Masons]

     Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde
Toward so hih a worthi lord:
For this I finde ek of record,
Which the cronique hath auctorized.
What Emperour was entronized,
The ferste day of his corone,
Wher he was in his real throne
And hield his feste in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis
With al the lust that mai be gete,
Whan he was gladdest at his mete,
And every menstral hadde pleid,
And every disour hadde seid
What most was plesant to his ere,
Than ate laste comen there
Hise macons, for thei scholden crave
Wher that he wolde be begrave,
And of what ston his sepulture
Thei scholden make, and what sculpture
He wolde ordeine therupon.
     Tho was ther flaterie non
The worthi princes to bejape;
The thing was otherwise schape
With good conseil; and otherwise
Thei were hemselven thanne wise,
And understoden wel and knewen.
Whan suche softe wyndes blewen
Of flaterie into here ere,
Thei setten noght here hertes there;
Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned,
The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned
Of hem that weren so discrete.
So tok the flatour no beyete
Of him that was his prince tho.
And for to proven it is so,
A tale which befell in dede
In a cronique of Rome I rede.
     Cesar upon his real throne
Wher that he sat in his persone
And was hyest in al his pris,
A man, which wolde make him wys,
Fell doun knelende in his presence,
And dede him such a reverence,
As thogh the hihe God it were.
Men hadden gret mervaille there
Of the worschipe which he dede.
This man aros fro thilke stede,
And forth with al the same tyde
He goth him up and be his side
He set him doun as pier and pier,
And seide, 'If thou that sittest hier
Art God, which alle thinges myht,
Thanne have I do worschipe ariht
As to the God; and otherwise,
If thou be noght of thilke assisse,
Bot art a man such as am I,
Than mai I sitte faste by,
For we be bothen of o kinde.'
     Cesar ansuerde and seide, 'O blinde,
Thou art a fol, it is wel sene
Upon thiself, for if thou wene
I be a God, thou dost amys
To sitte wher thou sest God is;
And if I be a man, also
Thou hast a gret folie do,
Whan thou to such on as schal deie
The worschipe of thi God aweie
Hast goven so unworthely.
Thus mai I prove redely,
Thou art noght wys.' And thei that herde
Hou wysly that the king ansuerde,
It was to hem a newe lore;
Wherof thei dradden him the more,
And broghten nothing to his ere,
Bot if it trouthe and reson were.
So be ther manye, in such a wise
That feignen wordes to be wise,
And al is verray flaterie
To him which can it wel aspie.
     The kinde flatour can noght love
Bot for to bringe himself above;
For hou that evere his maister fare,
So that himself stonde out of care,
Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte
Deceived ben with wordes softe
The kinges that ben innocent.
Wherof as for chastiement
The wise Philosophre seide,
What king that so his tresor leide
Upon such folk, he hath the lesse,
And yit ne doth he no largesse,
Bot harmeth with his oghne hond
Himself and ek his oghne lond,
And that be many a sondri weie.
Wherof if that a man schal seie,
As for to speke in general,
Wher such thing falleth overal
That eny king himself misreule,
The Philosophre upon his reule
In special a cause sette,
Which is and evere hath be the lette
In governance aboute a king
Upon the meschief of the thing,
And that, he seith, is Flaterie.
Wherof tofore as in partie
What vice it is I have declared;
For who that hath his wit bewared
Upon a flatour to believe,
Whan that he weneth best achieve
His goode world, it is most fro.
And for to proeven it is so
Ensamples ther ben manyon,
Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on,
It is behovely for to hiere
What whilom fell in this matiere.

[Tale of Ahab and Micaiah]

     Among the kinges in the Bible
I finde a tale, and is credible,
Of him that whilom Achab hihte,
Which hadde al Irahel to rihte;
Bot who that couthe glose softe
And flatre, suche he sette alofte
In gret astat and made hem riche;
Bot thei that spieken wordes liche
To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere,
For hem was non astat to bere,
The court of suche tok non hiede.
Til ate laste upon a nede,
That Benedab king of Surie
Of Irahel a gret partie,
Which Ramoth Galaath was hote,
Hath sesed; and of that riote
He tok conseil in sondri wise,
Bot noght of hem that weren wise.
And natheles upon this cas
To strengthen him, for Josaphas,
Which thanne was king of Judee,
He sende for to come, as he
Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance
Was next to him of aqueintance;
For Joram sone of Josaphath
Achabbes dowhter wedded hath,
Which hihte faire Godelie.
And thus cam into Samarie
King Josaphat, and he fond there
The king Achab: and whan thei were
Togedre spekende of this thing,
This Josaphat seith to the king,
Hou that he wolde gladly hiere
Som trew prophete in this matiere,
That he his conseil myhte give
To what point that it schal be drive.
     And in that time so befell,
Ther was such on in Irahel,
Which sette him al to flaterie,
And he was cleped Sedechie.
And after him Achab hath sent,
And he at his comandement
Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte
He hath upon his heved on heyhte
Tuo large hornes set of bras,
As he which al a flatour was,
And goth rampende as a leoun
And caste hise hornes up and doun,
And bad men ben of good espeir,
For as the hornes percen th'eir,
He seith, withoute resistence,
So wiste he wel of his science
That Benedab is desconfit.
Whan Sedechie upon this plit
Hath told this tale to his lord,
Anon ther were of his acord
Prophetes false manye mo
To bere up oil, and alle tho
Affermen that which he hath told,
Wherof the king Achab was bold
And gaf hem giftes al aboute.
Bot Josaphat was in gret doute,
And hield fantosme al that he herde,
Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde,
If ther were eny other man,
The which of prophecie can,
To hiere him speke er that thei gon.
Quod Achab thanne, 'Ther is on,
A brothell, which Micheas hihte;
Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte,
For he hath longe in prison lein.
Him liketh nevere yit to sein
A goodly word to mi plesance;
And natheles at thin instance
He schal come oute, and thanne he may
Seie as he seide many day;
For yit he seide nevere wel.'
Tho Josaphat began somdel
To gladen him in hope of trouthe,
And bad withouten eny slouthe
That men him scholden fette anon.
And thei that weren for him gon,
Whan that thei comen wher he was,
Thei tolden unto Micheas
The manere hou that Sedechie
Declared hath his prophecie;
And therupon thei preie him faire
That he wol seie no contraire,
Wherof the king mai be desplesed,
For so schal every man ben esed,
And he mai helpe himselve also.
     Micheas upon trouthe tho
His herte sette, and to hem seith,
Al that belongeth to his feith
And of non other feigned thing,
That wol he telle unto his king,
Als fer as God hath gove him grace.
Thus cam this prophete into place
Wher he the kinges wille herde;
And he therto anon ansuerde,
And seide unto him in this wise:
'Mi liege lord, for mi servise,
Which trewe hath stonden evere yit,
Thou hast me with prisone aquit;
Bot for al that I schal noght glose
Of trouthe als fer as I suppose;
And as touchende of this bataille,
Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile.
For if it like thee to hiere,
As I am tauht in that matiere,
Thou mihte it understonde sone;
Bot what is afterward to done
Avise thee, for this I sih.
I was tofor the throne on hih,
Wher al the world me thoghte stod,
And there I herde and understod
The vois of God with wordes cliere
Axende, and seide in this manere:
"In what thing mai I best beguile
The king Achab?" And for a while
Upon this point thei spieken faste.
Tho seide a spirit ate laste,
"I undertake this emprise."
And God him axeth, "In what wise?"
"I schal," quod he, "deceive and lye
With flaterende prophecie
In suche mouthes as he lieveth."
And He which alle thing achieveth
Bad him go forth and don riht so.
And over this I sih also
The noble peple of Irahel
Dispers as schep upon an hell,
Withoute a kepere unarraied;
And as thei wente aboute astraied,
I herde a vois unto hem sein,
"Goth hom into your hous agein,
Til I for you have betre ordeigned."'
     Quod Sedechie, 'Thou hast feigned
This tale in angringe of the king.'
And in a wraththe upon this thing
He smot Michee upon the cheke;
The king him hath rebuked eke,
And every man upon him cride.
Thus was he schent on every side,
Agein and into prison lad,
For so the king himselve bad.
The trouthe myhte noght ben herd;
Bot afterward as it hath ferd,
The dede proveth his entente.
Achab to the bataille wente,
Wher Benedab for al his scheld
Him slouh, so that upon the feld
His poeple goth aboute astray.
Bot God, which alle thinges may,
So doth that thei no meschief have;
Here king was ded and thei ben save,
And hom agein in Goddes pes
Thei wente, and al was founde les
That Sedechie hath seid tofore.
     So sit it wel a king therfore
To loven hem that trouthe mene;
For ate laste it wol be sene
That flaterie is nothing worth.
Bot nou to mi matiere forth,
As for to speken overmore
After the Philosophres lore,
The thridde point of policie
I thenke for to specifie."

[Justice, the Third Part of Policy]

Propter transgressos leges statuuntur in orbe,
Vt viuant iusti Regis honore viri.
Lex sine iusticia populum sub principis vmbra
Deuiat, vt rectum nemo videbit iter

     "What is a lond wher men ben none?
What ben the men whiche are alone
Withoute a kinges governance?
What is a king in his ligance,
Wher that ther is no lawe in londe?
What is to take lawe on honde,
Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
These olde worldes with the newe
Who that wol take in evidence,
Ther mai he se th'experience,
What thing it is to kepe lawe,
Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe
And rihtwisnesse stant commended,
Wherof the regnes ben amended.
For wher the lawe mai comune
The lordes forth with the commune,
Ech hath his propre dueté;
And ek the kinges realté
Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth,
To his astat as it belongeth,
Which of his hihe worthinesse
Hath to governe rihtwisnesse,
As he which schal the lawe guide.
And natheles upon som side
His pouer stant above the lawe,
To give bothe and to withdrawe
The forfet of a mannes lif;
Bot thinges whiche are excessif
Agein the lawe, he schal noght do
For love ne for hate also.
     The myhtes of a king ben grete,
Bot yit a worthi king schal lete
Of wrong to don al that he myhte;
For he which schal the poeple ryhte,
It sit wel to his regalie
That he himself ferst justefie
Towardes God in his degré:
For his astat is elles fre
Toward alle othre in his persone,
Save only to the God alone,
Which wol himself a king chastise,
Wher that non other mai suffise.
So were it good to taken hiede
That ferst a king his oghne dede
Betwen the vertu and the vice
Redresce, and thanne of his justice
So sette in evene the balance
Towardes othre in governance,
That to the povere and to the riche
Hise lawes myhten stonde liche,
He schal excepte no persone.
Bot for he mai noght al him one
In sondri places do justice,
He schal of his real office
With wys consideracion
Ordeigne his deputacion
Of suche jugges as ben lerned,
So that his poeple be governed
Be hem that trewe ben and wise.
For if the lawe of covoitise
Be set upon a jugges hond,
Wo is the poeple of thilke lond,
For wrong mai noght himselven hyde.
Bot elles on that other side,
If lawe stonde with the riht,
The poeple is glad and stant upriht.
Wher as the lawe is resonable,
The comun poeple stant menable,
And if the lawe torne amis,
The poeple also mistorned is.

[Emperor Maximin]

     And in ensample of this matiere
Of Maximin a man mai hiere,
Of Rome which was emperour,
That whanne he made a governour
Be weie of substitucion
Of province or of region,
He wolde ferst enquere his name,
And let it openly proclame
What man he were, or evel or good.
And upon that his name stod
Enclin to vertu or to vice,
So wolde he sette him in office,
Or elles putte him al aweie.
Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie,
Which fond no let of covoitise:
The world stod thanne upon the wise,
As be ensample thou myht rede;
And hold it in thi mynde, I rede.

[Gaius Fabricius]

     In a cronique I finde thus,
Hou that Gayus Fabricius,
Which whilom was Consul of Rome,
Be whom the lawes yede and come,
Whan the Sampnites to him broghte
A somme of gold, and him besoghte
To don hem favour in the lawe,
Toward the gold he gan him drawe,
Wherof in alle mennes lok
A part up in his hond he tok,
Which to his mouth in alle haste
He putte it for to smelle and taste,
And to his yhe and to his ere,
Bot he ne fond no confort there.
And thanne he gan it to despise,
And tolde unto hem in this wise:
'I not what is with gold to thryve,
Whan non of all my wittes fyve
Fynt savour ne delit therinne.
So is it bot a nyce sinne
Of gold to ben to covoitous;
Bot he is riche and glorious,
Which hath in his subjeccion
Tho men which in possession
Ben riche of gold, and be this skile:
For he mai aldai whan he wile,
Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe,
Justice don upon hem bothe.'
Lo, thus he seide, and with that word
He threw tofore hem on the bord
The gold out of his hond anon,
And seide hem that he wolde non:
So that he kepte his liberté
To do justice and equité,
Withoute lucre of such richesse.
     Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse,
For it was thilke times used,
That every jugge was refused
Which was noght frend to comun riht.
Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht
For trouthe only to do justice
Preferred were in thilke office
To deme and jugge commun lawe,
Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe.
To sette a lawe and kepe it noght
Ther is no comun profit soght;
Bot above alle natheles
The lawe, which is mad for pes,
Is good to kepe for the best,
For that set alle men in reste.

[Emperor Conrad]

     The rihtful Emperour Conrade
To kepe pes such lawe made
That non withinne the cité
In destorbance of unité
Dorste ones moeven a matiere.
For in his time, as thou myht hiere,
What point that was for lawe set
It scholde for no gold be let,
To what persone that it were.
And this broghte in the comun fere
Why every man the lawe dradde,
For ther was non which favour hadde.


     So as these olde bokes sein,
I finde write hou a Romein,
Which Consul was of the Pretoire,
Whos name was Carmidotoire,
He sette a lawe for the pes
That non, bot he be wepneles,
Schal come into the conseil hous,
And elles as malicious
He schal ben of the lawe ded.
To that statut and to that red
Acorden alle it schal be so,
For certein cause which was tho.
Nou lest what fell therafter sone.
This consul hadde for to done,
And was into the feldes ride;
And thei him hadden longe abide,
That lordes of the conseil were,
And for him sende, and he cam there
With swerd begert, and hath forgete,
Til he was in the conseil sete.
Was non of hem that made speche,
Til he himself it wolde seche,
And fond out the defalte himselve;
And thanne he seide unto the tuelve,
Whiche of the senat weren wise,
'I have deserved the juise,
In haste that it were do.'
And thei him seiden alle no;
For wel thei wiste it was no vice,
Whan he ne thoghte no malice,
Bot onliche of a litel slouthe.
And thus thei leften as for routhe
To do justice upon his gilt,
For that he scholde noght be spilt.
And whanne he sih the maner hou
Thei wolde him save, he made avou
With manfull herte, and thus he seide,
That Rome scholde nevere abreide
His heires, whan he were of dawe,
That here ancestre brak the lawe.
Forthi, er that thei weren war,
Forth with the same swerd he bar
The statut of his lawe he kepte,
So that al Rome his deth bewepte.


     In other place also I rede,
Wher that a jugge his oghne dede
Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke,
The king it hath himselven wroke.
The grete king which Cambises
Was hote, a jugge laweles
He fond, and into remembrance
He dede upon him such vengance:
Out of his skyn he was beflain
Al quyk, and in that wise slain,
So that his skyn was schape al meete,
And nayled on the same seete
Wher that his sone scholde sitte.
Avise him, if he wolde flitte
The lawe for the coveitise,
Ther sih he redi his juise.
     Thus is defalte of other jugge
The king mot otherwhile jugge,
To holden up the rihte lawe.
And for to speke of th'olde dawe,
To take ensample of that was tho,
I finde a tale write also,
Hou that a worthi prince is holde
The lawes of his lond to holde,
Ferst for the hihe Goddes sake,
And ek for that him is betake
The poeple for to guide and lede,
Which is the charge of his kinghede.

[Tale of Lycurgus]

     In a cronique I rede thus
Of the rihtful Ligurgius,
Which of Athenis prince was,
Hou he the lawe in every cas,
Wherof he scholde his poeple reule,
Hath set upon so good a reule,
In al this world that cité non
Of lawe was so wel begon
Forth with the trouthe of governance.
Ther was among hem no distance,
Bot every man hath his encress;
Ther was withoute werre pes,
Withoute envie love stod;
Richesse upon the comun good
And noght upon the singuler
Ordeigned was, and the pouer
Of hem that weren in astat
Was sauf: wherof upon debat
Ther stod nothing, so that in reste
Mihte every man his herte reste.
     And whan this noble rihtful king
Sih hou it ferde of al this thing,
Wherof the poeple stod in ese,
He, which forevere wolde plese
The hihe God, whos thonk he soghte,
A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte,
And schop if that it myhte be,
Hou that his lawe in the cité
Mihte afterward forevere laste.
And therupon his wit he caste
What thing him were best to feigne,
That he his pourpos myhte atteigne.
     A parlement and thus he sette,
His wisdom wher that he besette
In audience of grete and smale,
And in this wise he tolde his tale.
'God wot, and so ye witen alle,
Hierafterward hou so it falle,
Yit into now my will hath be
To do justice and equité
In forthringe of comun profit;
Such hath ben evere my delit.
Bot of o thing I am beknowe,
The which mi will is that ye knowe:
The lawe which I tok on honde,
Was altogedre of Goddes sonde
And nothing of myn oghne wit;
So mot it nede endure yit,
And schal do lengere, if ye wile.
For I wol telle you the skile;
The god Mercurius and no man
He hath me tawht al that I can
Of suche lawes as I made,
Wherof that ye ben alle glade;
It was the god and nothing I,
Which dede al this, and nou forthi
He hath comanded of his grace
That I schal come into a place
Which is forein out in an yle,
Wher I mot tarie for a while,
With him to speke, as he hath bede.
For as he seith, in thilke stede
He schal me suche thinges telle,
That evere, whyl the world schal duelle,
Athenis schal the betre fare.
Bot ferst, er that I thider fare,
For that I wolde that mi lawe
Amonges you ne be withdrawe
Ther whyles that I schal ben oute,
Forthi to setten out of doute
Bothe you and me, this wol I preie,
That ye me wolde assure and seie
With such an oth as I wol take,
That ech of you schal undertake
Mi lawes for to kepe and holde.'
Thei seiden alle that thei wolde,
And therupon thei swore here oth,
That fro the time that he goth,
Til he to hem be come agein,
Thei scholde hise lawes wel and plein
In every point kepe and fulfille.
     Thus hath Ligurgius his wille,
And tok his leve and forth he wente.
Bot lest nou wel to what entente
Of rihtwisnesse he dede so:
For after that he was ago,
He schop him nevere to be founde;
So that Athenis, which was bounde,
Nevere after scholde be relessed,
Ne thilke goode lawe cessed,
Which was for comun profit set.
And in this wise he hath it knet;
He, which the comun profit soghte,
The king, his oghne astat ne roghte;
To do profit to the comune,
He tok of exil the fortune,
And lefte of prince thilke office
Only for love and for justice,
Thurgh which he thoghte, if that he myhte,
Forevere after his deth to rihte
The cité which was him betake.
Wherof men oghte ensample take
The goode lawes to avance
With hem which under governance
The lawes have for to kepe;
For who that wolde take kepe
Of hem that ferst the lawes founde,
Als fer as lasteth eny bounde
Of lond, here names yit ben knowe.
And if it like thee to knowe
Some of here names hou thei stonde,
Nou herkne and thou schalt understonde.

[First Lawgivers]

     Of every bienfet the merite
The God himself it wol aquite;
And ek fulofte it falleth so,
The world it wole aquite also,
Bot that mai noght ben evene liche.
The God he gifth the heveneriche,
The world gifth only bot a name,
Which stant upon the goode fame
Of hem that don the goode dede.
And in this wise double mede
Resceiven thei that don wel hiere;
Wherof if that thee list to hiere
After the fame as it is blowe,
Ther myht thou wel the sothe knowe,
Hou thilke honeste besinesse
Of hem that ferst for rihtwisnesse
Among the men the lawes made,
Mai nevere upon this erthe fade.
Forevere, whil ther is a tunge,
Here name schal be rad and sunge
And holde in the cronique write;
So that the men it scholden wite,
To speke good, as thei wel oghten,
Of hem that ferst the lawes soghten
In forthringe of the worldes pes.
Unto th'Ebreus was Moises
The ferste, and to th'Egipciens
Mercurius, and to Troiens
Ferst was Neuma Pompilius,
To Athenes Ligurgius
Gaf ferst the lawe, and to Gregois
Foroneus hath thilke vois,
And Romulus to the Romeins.
For suche men that ben vileins
The lawe in such a wise ordeigneth,
That what man to the lawe pleigneth,
Be so the jugge stonde upriht,
He schal be served of his riht.
And so ferforth it is befalle
That lawe is come among ous alle.
God lieve it mote wel ben holde,
As every king therto is holde;
For thing which is of kinges set,
With kinges oghte it noght be let.
What king of lawe takth no kepe,
Be lawe he mai no regne kepe.
Do lawe awey, what is a king?
Wher is the riht of eny thing,
If that ther be no lawe in londe?
This oghte a king wel understonde,
As he which is to lawe swore,
That if the lawe be forbore
Withouten execucioun,
It makth a lond torne up so doun,
Which is unto the king a sclandre.
Forthi unto king Alisandre
The wise Philosophre bad,
That he himselve ferst be lad
Of lawe, and forth thanne overal
So do justice in general,
That al the wyde lond aboute
The justice of his lawe doute,
And thanne schal he stonde in reste.
For therto lawe is on the beste
Above alle other erthly thing,
To make a liege drede his king.
Bot hou a king schal gete him love
Toward the hihe God above,
And ek among the men in erthe,
This nexte point, which is the ferthe
Of Aristotles lore, it techeth.
Wherof who that the scole secheth,
What policie that it is
The bok reherceth after this."

[Pity, the Fourth Part of Policy]

Nil racionis habens vbi velle tirannica regna
Stringit, amor populi transiet exul ibi.
Set Pietas, regnum que conseruabit in euum,
Non tantum populo, set placet illa deo

     "It nedeth noght that I delate
The pris which preised is algate,
And hath ben evere and evere schal,
Wherof to speke in special,
It is the vertu of Pité,
Thurgh which the Hihe Magesté
Was stered, whan His Sone alyhte,
And in Pité the world to rihte
Tok of the maide fleissh and blod.
Pité was cause of thilke good,
Wherof that we ben alle save.
Wel oghte a man Pité to have
And the vertu to sette in pris,
Whan He Himself which is al wys
Hath schewed why it schal be preised.
Pité may noght be conterpeised
Of tirannie with no peis;
For Pité makth a king courteis
Bothe in his word and in his dede.
     It sit wel every liege drede
His king and to his heste obeie,
And riht so be the same weie
It sit a king to be pitous
Toward his poeple and gracious
Upon the reule of governance,
So that he worche no vengance,
Which mai be cleped crualté.
Justice which doth equité
Is dredfull, for he no man spareth.
Bot in the lond wher Pité fareth
The king mai nevere faile of love,
For Pité thurgh the grace above,
So as the Philosophre affermeth,
His regne in good astat confermeth.
     Thus seide whilom Constantin:
'What Emperour that is enclin
To Pité for to be servant,
Of al the worldes remenant
He is worthi to ben a lord.'
     In olde bokes of record
This finde I write of essamplaire:
Troian the worthi debonaire,
Be whom that Rome stod governed,
Upon a time as he was lerned
Of that he was to familier,
He seide unto that conseillier,
That for to ben an emperour
His will was noght for vein honour,
Ne yit for reddour of justice;
Bot if he myhte in his office
Hise lordes and his poeple plese,
Him thoghte it were a grettere ese
With love here hertes to him drawe,
Than with the drede of eny lawe.
For whan a thing is do for doute,
Fulofte it comth the worse aboute;
Bot wher a king is pietous,
He is the more gracious,
That mochel thrift him schal betyde,
Which elles scholde torne aside.

[Tale of Codrus]

     Of Pité for to speke plein,
Which is with mercy wel besein,
Fulofte he wole himselve peine
To kepe another fro the peine,
For Charité the moder is
Of Pité, which nothing amis
Can soffre, if he it mai amende.
It sit to every man livende
To be pitous, bot non so wel
As to a king, which on the whiel
Fortune hath set aboven alle.
For in a king, if so befalle
That his Pité be ferme and stable,
To al the lond it is vailable
Only thurgh grace of his persone.
For the Pité of him alone
Mai al the large realme save.
So sit it wel a king to have
Pité; for this Valeire tolde,
And seide hou that be daies olde
Codrus, which was in his degré
King of Athenis the cité,
A werre he hadde agein Dorrence:
And for to take his evidence
What schal befalle of the bataille,
He thoghte he wolde him ferst consaille
With Appollo, in whom he triste;
Thurgh whos ansuere this he wiste,
Of tuo pointz that he myhte chese,
Or that he wolde his body lese
And in bataille himselve deie,
Or elles the seconde weie,
To sen his poeple desconfit.
Bot he, which Pité hath parfit
Upon the point of his believe,
The poeple thoghte to relieve,
And ches himselve to be ded.
Wher is nou such another hed,
Which wolde for the lemes dye?
And natheles in som partie
It oghte a kinges herte stere,
That he hise liege men forbere.
And ek toward hise enemis
Fulofte he may deserve pris,
To take of Pité remembrance,
Wher that he myhte do vengance.
For whanne a king hath the victoire,
And thanne he drawe into memoire
To do Pité in stede of wreche,
He mai noght faile of thilke speche
Wherof arist the worldes fame,
To give a prince a worthi name.

[Tale of Pompeius and the King of Armenia]

     I rede hou whilom that Pompeie,
To whom that Rome moste obeie,
A werre hadde in jeupartie
Agein the king of Ermenie,
Which of long time him hadde grieved.
Bot ate laste it was achieved
That he this king desconfit hadde,
And forth with him to Rome ladde
As prisoner, wher many a day
In sori plit and povere he lay,
The corone of his heved deposed,
Withinne walles faste enclosed;
And with ful gret humilité
He soffreth his adversité.
Pompeie sih his pacience
And tok pité with conscience,
So that upon his hihe deis
Tofore al Rome in his paleis,
As he that wolde upon him rewe,
Let give him his corone newe
And his astat al full and plein
Restoreth of his regne agein,
And seide it was more goodly thing
To make than undon a king,
To him which pouer hadde of bothe.
Thus thei, that weren longe wrothe,
Acorden hem to final pes;
And yit justice natheles
Was kept and in nothing offended,
Wherof Pompeie was comended.
Ther mai no king himself excuse,
Bot if justice he kepe and use,
Which for t'eschuie crualté
He mot attempre with Pité.
     Of crualté the felonie
Engendred is of tirannie,
Agein the whos condicion
God is himself the champion,
Whos strengthe mai no man withstonde.
Forevere yit it hath so stonde,
That God a tirant overladde.
Bot wher Pité the regne ladde,
Ther mihte no fortune laste
Which was grevous, bot ate laste
The God himself it hath redresced.
Pité is thilke vertu blessed
Which nevere let his maister falle;
Bot crualté, thogh it so falle
That it mai regne for a throwe,
God wole it schal ben overthrowe.
Wherof ensamples ben ynowhe
Of hem that thilke merel drowhe.
     Of crualté I rede thus:
Whan the tirant Leoncius
Was to th'empire of Rome arrived,
Fro which he hath with strengthe prived
The pietous Justinian,
As he which was a cruel man,
His nase of and his lippes bothe
He kutte, for he wolde him lothe
Unto the poeple and make unable.
Bot he which is al merciable,
The hihe God, ordeigneth so,
That he withinne a time also,
Whan he was strengest in his ire,
Was schoven out of his empire.
Tiberius the pouer hadde,
And Rome after his will he ladde,
And for Leonce in such a wise
Ordeigneth, that he tok juise
Of nase and lippes bothe tuo,
For that he dede another so,
Which more worthi was than he.
     Lo, which a fall hath crualté,
And Pité was set up agein.
For after that the bokes sein,
Therbellis king of Bulgarie
With helpe of his chivalerie
Justinian hath unprisoned
And to th'empire agein coroned.

[Cruelty of Siculus]

     In a cronique I finde also
Of Siculus, which was ek so
A cruel king lich the tempeste,
The whom no Pité myhte areste,
He was the ferste, as bokes seie,
Upon the see which fond galeie
And let hem make for the werre,
As he which al was out of herre
Fro Pité and misericorde;
For therto couthe he noght acorde,
Bot whom he myhte slen, he slouh,
And therof was he glad ynouh.
He hadde of conseil manyon,
Among the whiche ther was on
Be name which Berillus hihte,
And he bethoghte him hou he myhte
Unto the tirant do likinge,
And of his oghne ymaginynge
Let forge and make a bole of bras,
And on the side cast ther was
A dore, wher a man mai inne,
Whan he his peine schal beginne
Thurgh fyr, which that men putten under.
And al this dede he for a wonder,
That whanne a man for peine cride,
The bole of bras, which gapeth wyde,
It scholde seme as thogh it were
A belwinge in a mannes ere
And noght the criinge of a man.
Bot he which alle sleihtes can,
The devel, that lith in helle faste,
Him that this caste hath overcast,
That for a trespas which he dede
He was putt in the same stede,
And was himself the ferste of alle
Which was into that peine falle
That he for othre men ordeigneth:
Ther was no man which him compleigneth.
     Of tirannie and crualté
Be this ensample a king mai se,
Himself and ek his conseil bothe,
Hou thei ben to mankinde lothe
And to the God abhominable.
Ensamples that ben concordable
I finde of othre princes mo,
As thou schalt hiere, of time go.

[Dionysius and His Horse]

     The grete tirant Dionys,
Which mannes lif sette of no pris,
Unto his hors fulofte he gaf
The men in stede of corn and chaf,
So that the hors of thilke stod
Devoureden the mennes blod,
Til fortune ate laste cam
That Hercules him overcam,
And he riht in the same wise
Of this tirant tok the juise.
As he til othre men hath do,
The same deth he deide also,
That no Pité him hath socoured,
Til he was of hise hors devoured.


     Of Lichaon also I finde
Hou he agein the lawe of kinde
Hise hostes slouh, and into mete
He made her bodies to ben ete
With othre men withinne his hous.
Bot Jupiter the glorious,
Which was commoeved of this thing,
Vengance upon this cruel king
So tok, that he fro mannes forme
Into a wolf him let transforme:
And thus the crualté was kidd,
Which of long time he hadde hidd;
A wolf he was thanne openly,
The whos nature prively
He hadde in his condicion.
     And unto this conclusioun,
That tirannie is to despise,
I finde ensample in sondri wise,
And nameliche of hem fulofte,
The whom Fortune hath set alofte
Upon the werres for to winne.
Bot hou so that the wrong beginne
Of tirannie, it mai noght laste,
Bot such as thei don ate laste
To othre men, such on hem falleth;
For agein suche Pité calleth
Vengance to the God above.
For who that hath no tender love
In savinge of a mannes lif,
He schal be founde so gultif,
That whanne he wolde mercy crave
In time of nede, he schal non have.

[Nobleness of the Lion]

     Of the natures this I finde,
The fierce leon in his kinde,
Which goth rampende after his preie,
If he a man finde in his weie,
He wole him slen, if he withstonde.
Bot if the man coude understonde
To falle anon before his face
In signe of mercy and of grace,
The leon schal of his nature
Restreigne his ire in such mesure,
As thogh it were a beste tamed,
And torne awey halfvinge aschamed,
That he the man schal nothing grieve.
Hou scholde thanne a prince achieve
The worldes grace, if that he wolde
Destruie a man whanne he is yolde
And stant upon his mercy al?
Bot for to speke in special,
Ther have be suche and yit ther be
Tirantz, whos hertes no pité
Mai to no point of mercy plie,
That thei upon her tirannie
Ne gladen hem the men to sle;
And as the rages of the see
Ben unpitous in the tempeste,
Riht so mai no Pité areste
Of crualté the gret oultrage,
Which the tirant in his corage
Engendred hath: wherof I finde
A tale, which comth nou to mynde.

[Tale of Spertachus and Thameris]

     I rede in olde bokes thus,
Ther was a duk, which Spertachus
Men clepe, and was a werreiour,
A cruel man, a conquerour
With strong pouer the which he ladde.
For this condicion he hadde,
That where him hapneth the victoire,
His lust and al his moste gloire
Was for to sle and noght to save.
Of rancoun wolde he no good have
For savinge of a mannes lif,
Bot al goth to the swerd and knyf,
So lief him was the mannes blod.
And natheles yit thus it stod,
So as fortune aboute wente,
He fell riht heir as be descente
To Perse, and was coroned king.
And whan the worschipe of this thing
Was falle, and he was king of Perse,
If that thei weren ferst diverse,
The tirannies whiche he wroghte,
A thousendfold welmore he soghte
Thanne afterward to do malice.
The God vengance agein the vice
Hath schape: for upon a tyde,
Whan he was heihest in his pride,
In his rancour and in his hete
Agein the queene of Marsagete,
Which Thameris that time hihte,
He made werre al that he myhte.
And sche, which wolde hir lond defende,
Hir oghne sone agein him sende,
Which the defence hath undertake.
Bot he desconfit was and take;
And whan this king him hadde in honde,
He wol no mercy understonde,
Bot dede him slen in his presence.
The tidinge of this violence
Whan it cam to the moder ere,
Sche sende anon ay wydewhere
To suche frendes as sche hadde,
A gret pouer til that sche ladde.
In sondri wise and tho sche caste
Hou sche this king mai overcaste;
And ate laste acorded was,
That in the danger of a pass,
Thurgh which this tirant scholde passe,
Sche schop his pouer to compasse
With strengthe of men be such a weie
That he schal noght eschape aweie.
And whan sche hadde thus ordeigned,
Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned,
For feere as thogh sche wolde flee
Out of hir lond: and whan that he
Hath herd hou that this ladi fledde,
So faste after the chace he spedde,
That he was founde out of array.
For it betidde upon a day,
Into the pas whanne he was falle,
Th'embuisschementz tobrieken alle
And him beclipte on every side,
That fle ne myhte he noght aside,
So that ther weren dede and take
Tuo hundred thousend for his sake,
That weren with him of his host.
And thus was leid the grete bost
Of him and of his tirannie.
It halp no mercy for to crie
To him which whilom dede non;
For he unto the queene anon
Was broght, and whan that sche him sih,
This word sche spak and seide on hih:
'O man, which out of mannes kinde
Reson of man hast left behinde
And lived worse than a beste,
Whom Pité myhte noght areste,
The mannes blod to schede and spille
Thou haddest nevere yit thi fille.
Bot nou the laste time is come,
That thi malice is overcome:
As thou til othre men hast do,
Nou schal be do to thee riht so.'
Tho bad this ladi that men scholde
A vessel bringe, in which sche wolde
Se the vengance of his juise,
Which sche began anon devise;
And tok the princes whiche he ladde,
Be whom his chief conseil he hadde,
And whil hem lasteth eny breth,
Sche made hem blede to the deth
Into the vessel wher it stod.
And whan it was fulfild of blod,
Sche caste this tirant therinne,
And seide him, 'Lo, thus myht thou wynne
The lustes of thin appetit.
In blod was whilom thi delit,
Nou schalt thou drinken al thi fille.'
     And thus onliche of Goddes wille,
He which that wolde himselve strange
To Pité, fond mercy so strange,
That he withoute grace is lore.
So may it schewe wel therfore
That crualté hath no good ende;
Bot Pité, hou so that it wende,
Makth that the God is merciable,
If ther be cause resonable
Why that a king schal be pitous.
Bot elles, if he be doubtous
To slen in cause of rihtwisnesse,
It mai be said no pitousnesse,
Bot it is pusillamité,
Which every prince scholde flee.
For if Pité mesure excede,
Kinghode mai noght wel procede
To do justice upon the riht,
For it belongeth to a knyht
Als gladly for to fihte as reste,
To sette his liege poeple in reste,
Whan that the werre upon hem falleth.
For thanne he mote, as it befalleth,
Of his knyhthode as a leon
Be to the poeple a champioun
Withouten eny Pité feigned.
For if manhode be restreigned,
Or be it pes or be it werre,
Justice goth al out of herre,
So that knyhthode is set behinde.
Of Aristotles lore I finde,
A king schal make good visage,
That no man knowe of his corage
Bot al honour and worthinesse.
For if a king schal upon gesse
Withoute verrai cause drede,
He mai be lich to that I rede;
And thogh that it be lich a fable,
Th'ensample is good and resonable.

[Tale of the Mountain and the Mouse]

     As it be olde daies fell,
I rede whilom that an hell
Up in the londes of Archade
A wonder dredful noise made;
For so it fell that ilke day,
This hell on his childinge lay,
And whan the throwes on him come,
His noise lich the day of dome
Was ferfull in a mannes thoght
Of thing which that thei sihe noght,
Bot wel thei herden al aboute
The noise, of which thei were in doute,
As thei that wenden to be lore
Of thing which thanne was unbore.
The nerr this hell was upon chance
To taken his diliverance,
The more unbuxomliche he cride;
And every man was fledd aside,
For drede and lefte his oghne hous.
And ate laste it was a mous
The which was bore and to norrice
Betake; and tho thei hield hem nyce,
For thei withoute cause dradde.
     Thus if a king his herte ladde
With everything that he schal hiere,
Fulofte he scholde change his chiere
And upon fantasie drede,
Whan that ther is no cause of drede.
     Orace to his prince tolde,
That him were levere that he wolde
Upon knihthode Achillem suie
In time of werre, thanne eschuie,
So as Tersites dede at Troie.
Achilles al his hole joie
Sette upon armes for to fihte;
Tersites soghte al that he myhte
Unarmed for to stonde in reste:
Bot of the tuo it was the beste
That Achilles upon the nede
Hath do, wherof his knyhtlihiede
Is yit comended overal.

[A Time for War]

     King Salomon in special
Seith, as ther is a time of pes,
So is a time natheles
Of werre, in which a prince algate
Schal for the comun riht debate
And for his oghne worschipe eke.
Bot it behoveth noght to seke.
Only the werre for worschipe,
Bot to the riht of his lordschipe,
Which he is holde to defende,
Mote every worthi prince entende.
Betwen the simplesce of Pité
And the folhaste of crualté,
Wher stant the verray hardiesce,
Ther mote a king his herte adresce,
Whanne it is time to forsake,
And whan time is also to take
The dedly werres upon honde,
That he schal for no drede wonde,
If rihtwisnesse be withal.
For God is myhty overal
To forthren every mannes trowthe,
Bot it be thurgh his oghne slowthe;
And namely the kinges nede
It mai noght faile for to spede,
For he stant one for hem alle.
So mote it wel the betre falle
And wel the more God favoureth,
Whan he the comun riht socoureth.
And for to se the sothe in dede,
Beholde the Bible and thou myht rede
Of grete ensamples manyon,
Wherof that I wot tellen on.


     Upon a time, as it befell,
Agein Judee and Irahel
Whan sondri kinges come were
In pourpos to destruie there
The poeple which God kepte tho,
And stod in thilke daies so,
That Gedeon, which scholde lede
The Goddes folk, tok him to rede
And sende in al the lond aboute,
Til he assembled hath a route
With thritti thousend of defence,
To fihte and make resistence
Agein the whiche hem wolde assaille.
And natheles that o bataille
Of thre that weren enemys
Was double mor than was al his;
Wherof that Gedeon him dradde,
That he so litel poeple hadde.
Bot He which alle thing mai helpe,
Wher that ther lacketh mannes helpe,
To Gedeon His angel sente,
And bad, er that he forther wente,
Al openly that he do crie
That every man in his partie
Which wolde after his oghne wille
In his delice abide stille
At hom in eny maner wise,
For pourchas or for covoitise,
For lust of love or lacke of herte,
He scholde noght aboute sterte,
Bot holde him stille at hom in pes.
Wherof upon the morwe he les
Wel twenty thousend men and mo,
The whiche after the cri ben go.
Thus was with him bot only left
The thridde part, and yit God eft
His angel sende and seide this
To Gedeon: 'If it so is
That I thin help schal undertake,
Thou schalt yit lasse poeple take,
Be whom mi will is that thou spede.
Forthi tomorwe tak good hiede,
Unto the flod whan ye be come,
What man that hath the water nome
Up in his hond and lapeth so,
To thi part ches out alle tho;
And him which wery is to swinke,
Upon his wombe and lith to drinke,
Forsak and put hem alle aweie.
For I am myhti alle weie,
Wher as me list myn help to schewe
In goode men, thogh thei ben fewe.'
     This Gedeon awaiteth wel,
Upon the morwe and everydel,
As God him bad, riht so he dede.
And thus ther leften in that stede
With him thre hundred and no mo,
The remenant was al ago.
Wherof that Gedeon merveileth,
And therupon with God conseileth,
Pleignende als ferforth as he dar.
And God, which wolde he were war
That he schal spede upon his riht,
Hath bede him go the same nyht
And take a man with him, to hiere
What schal be spoke in his matiere
Among the hethen enemis;
So mai he be the more wys,
What afterward him schal befalle.
     This Gedeon amonges alle
Phara, to whom he triste most,
Be nyhte tok toward thilke host,
Which logged was in a valleie,
To hiere what thei wolden seie;
Upon his fot and as he ferde,
Tuo Sarazins spekende he herde.
Quod on, 'Ared mi swevene ariht,
Which I mette in mi slep tonyht.
     Me thoghte I sih a barli cake,
Which fro the hull his weie hath take,
And cam rollende doun at ones;
And as it were for the nones,
Forth in his cours so as it ran,
The kinges tente of Madian,
Of Amalech, of Amoreie,
Of Amon and of Jebuseie,
And many another tente mo
With gret noise, as me thoghte tho,
It threw to grounde and overcaste,
And al this host so sore agaste
That I awok for pure drede.'
     'This swevene can I wel arede,'
Quod th'other Sarazin anon:
'The barli cake is Gedeon,
Which fro the hell doun sodeinly
Schal come and sette such ascry
Upon the kinges and ous bothe,
That it schal to ous alle lothe.
For in such drede he schal ous bringe,
That if we hadden flyht of wynge,
The weie on fote in desespeir
We scholden leve and flen in th'eir,
For ther schal nothing him withstonde.'
     Whan Gedeon hath understonde
This tale, he thonketh God of al,
And priveliche agein he stal,
So that no lif him hath perceived.
And thanne he hath fulli conceived
That he schal spede, and therupon
The nyht suiende he schop to gon
This multitude to assaile.
Nou schalt thou hiere a gret mervaile,
With what voisdie that he wroghte.
The litel poeple which he broghte,
Was non of hem that he ne hath
A pot of erthe, in which he tath
A lyht brennende in a kressette,
And ech of hem ek a trompette
Bar in his other hond beside;
And thus upon the nyhtes tyde
Duk Gedeon, whan it was derk,
Ordeineth him unto his werk,
And parteth thanne his folk in thre,
And chargeth hem that thei ne fle,
And tawhte hem hou thei scholde ascrie
Alle in o vois per compaignie,
And what word ek thei scholden speke,
And hou thei scholde here pottes breke
Ech on with other, whan thei herde
That he himselve ferst so ferde;
For whan thei come into the stede,
He bad hem do riht as he dede.
     And thus stalkende forth a pas
This noble duk, whan time was,
His pot tobrak and loude ascride,
And tho thei breke on every side.
The trompe was noght for to seke;
He blew, and so thei blewen eke
With such a noise among hem alle,
As thogh the hevene scholde falle.
The hull unto here vois ansuerde,
This host in the valleie it herde,
And sih hou that the hell alyhte;
So what of hieringe and of sihte,
Thei cawhten such a sodein feere,
That non of hem belefte there.
The tentes hole thei forsoke,
That thei non other good ne toke,
Bot only with here bodi bare
Thei fledde, as doth the wylde hare.
And evere upon the hull thei blewe,
Til that thei sihe time, and knewe
That thei be fled upon the rage;
And whan thei wiste here avantage,
Thei felle anon unto the chace.
     Thus myht thou sen hou Goddes grace
Unto the goode men availeth;
Bot elles ofte time it faileth
To suche as be noght wel disposed.
This tale nedeth noght be glosed,
For it is openliche schewed
That God to hem that ben wel thewed
Hath gove and granted the victoire:
So that th'ensample of this histoire
Is good for every king to holde;
Ferst in himself that he beholde
If he be good of his livinge,
And that the folk which he schal bringe
Be good also, for thanne he may
Be glad of many a merie day,
In what as evere he hath to done.
For he which sit above the mone
And alle thing mai spille and spede,
In every cause, in every nede
His goode king so wel adresceth,
That alle his fomen he represseth,
So that ther mai no man him dere;
And als so wel he can forbere,
And soffre a wickid king to falle
In hondes of his fomen alle.

[Saul and Agag]

     Nou forthermore if I schal sein
Of mi matiere, and torne agein
To speke of justice and pité
After the reule of realté,
This mai a king wel understonde,
Knihthode mot ben take on honde,
Whan that it stant upon the nede:
He schal no rihtful cause drede,
No more of werre thanne of pes,
If he wol stonde blameles;
For such a cause a king mai have
That betre him is to sle than save,
Wherof thou myhte ensample finde.
The hihe makere of mankinde
Be Samuel to Saul bad,
That he schal nothing ben adrad
Agein king Agag for to fihte;
For this the Godhede him behihte,
That Agag schal ben overcome;
And whan it is so ferforth come,
That Saul hath him desconfit,
The God bad make no respit,
That he ne scholde him slen anon.
Bot Saul let it overgon
And dede noght the Goddes heste.
For Agag made gret beheste
Of rancoun which he wolde give,
King Saul soffreth him to live
And feigneth pité forth withal.
Bot He which seth and knoweth al,
The hihe God, of that he feigneth
To Samuel upon him pleigneth,
And sende him word, for that he lefte
Of Agag that he ne berefte
The lif, he schal noght only dye
Himself, bot fro his regalie
He schal be put foreveremo,
Noght he, bot ek his heir also,
That it schal nevere come agein.

[David and Joab]

     Thus myht thou se the sothe plein,
That of to moche and of to lyte
Upon the princes stant the wyte.
Bot evere it was a kinges riht
To do the dedes of a knyht;
For in the handes of a king
The deth and lif is al o thing
After the lawes of justice.
To slen it is a dedly vice,
Bot if a man the deth deserve;
And if a king the lif preserve
Of him which oghte for to dye,
He suieth noght th'ensamplerie
Which in the Bible is evident:
Hou David in his testament,
Whan he no lengere myhte live,
Unto his sone in charge hath give
That he Joab schal slen algate;
And whan David was gon his gate,
The yonge wise Salomon
His fader heste dede anon,
And slouh Joab in such a wise,
That thei that herden the juise
Evere after dradden him the more,
And God was ek wel paid therfore,
That he so wolde his herte plye
The lawes for to justefie.
And yit he kepte forth withal
Pité, so as a prince schal,
That he no tirannie wroghte;
He fond the wisdom which he soghte,
And was so rihtful natheles,
That al his lif he stod in pes,
That he no dedly werres hadde,
For every man his wisdom dradde.
And as he was himselve wys,
Riht so the worthi men of pris
He hath of his conseil withholde;
For that is every prince holde
To make of suche his retenue
Whiche wise ben, and to remue
The foles: for ther is nothing
Which mai be betre aboute a king
Than conseil, which is the substance
Of all a kinges governance.

[Solomon's Wisdom]

     In Salomon a man mai see
What thing of most necessité
Unto a worthi king belongeth.
Whan he his kingdom underfongeth,
God bad him chese what he wolde,
And seide him that he have scholde
What he wolde axe, as of o thing.
And he, which was a newe king,
Forth therupon his bone preide
To God, and in this wise he seide:
'O King, be whom that I schal regne,
Gif me wisdom, that I my regne,
Forth with Thi poeple which I have,
To Thin honour mai kepe and save.'
Whan Salomon his bone hath taxed,
The God of that which he hath axed
Was riht wel paid, and granteth sone
Noght al only that he his bone
Schal have of that, bot of richesse,
Of hele, of pes, of hih noblesse,
Forth with wisdom at his axinges,
Which stant above alle othre thinges.
     Bot what king wole his regne save,
Ferst him behoveth for to have
After the God and his believe
Such conseil which is to believe,
Fulfild of trouthe and rihtwisnesse.
Bot above alle in his noblesse
Betwen the reddour and pité
A king schal do such equité
And sette the balance in evene,
So that the hihe God in hevene
And al the poeple of his nobleie
Loange unto his name seie.
For most above all erthli good,
Wher that a king himself is good
It helpeth, for in other weie
If so be that a king forsueie,
Fulofte er this it hath be sein,
The comun poeple is overlein
And hath the kinges senne aboght,
Althogh the poeple agulte noght.
Of that the king his God misserveth,
The poeple takth that he descerveth
Hier in this world, bot elleswhere
I not hou it schal stonde there.
Forthi good is a king to triste
Ferst to himself, as he ne wiste
Non other help bot God alone;
So schal the reule of his persone
Withinne himself thurgh providence
Ben of the betre conscience.
And for to finde ensample of this,
A tale I rede, and soth it is.

[Courtiers and the Fool]

     In a cronique it telleth thus:
The king of Rome Lucius
Withinne his chambre upon a nyht
The steward of his hous, a knyht,
Forth with his chamberlein also,
To conseil hadde bothe tuo,
And stoden be the chiminee
Togedre spekende alle thre.
And happeth that the kinges fol
Sat be the fyr upon a stol,
As he that with his babil pleide,
Bot yit he herde al that thei seide,
And therof token thei non hiede.
The king hem axeth what to rede
Of such matiere as cam to mouthe,
And thei him tolden as thei couthe.
Whan al was spoke of that thei mente,
The king with al his hole entente
Thanne ate laste hem axeth this,
What king men tellen that he is.
Among the folk touchende his name,
Or be it pris, or be it blame,
Riht after that thei herden sein,
He bad hem for to telle it plein,
That thei no point of soth forbere,
Be thilke feith that thei him bere.
     The steward ferst upon this thing
Gaf his ansuere unto the king
And thoghte glose in this matiere,
And seide, als fer as he can hiere,
His name is good and honourable.
Thus was the stieward favorable,
That he the trouthe plein ne tolde.
The king thanne axeth, as he scholde,
The chamberlein of his avis.
     And he, that was soubtil and wys,
And somdiel thoghte upon his feith,
Him tolde hou al the poeple seith
That if his conseil were trewe,
Thei wiste thanne wel and knewe
That of himself he scholde be
A worthi king in his degré.
And thus the conseil he accuseth
In partie, and the king excuseth.
     The fol, which herde of al the cas
That time, as Goddes wille was,
Sih that thei seiden noght ynowh,
And hem to skorne bothe lowh,
And to the king he seide tho:
'Sire king, if that it were so,
Of wisdom in thin oghne mod
That thou thiselven were good,
Thi conseil scholde noght be badde.'
The king therof merveille hadde,
Whan that a fol so wisly spak,
And of himself fond out the lack
Withinne his oghne conscience.
And thus the foles evidence,
Which was of Goddes grace enspired,
Makth that good conseil was desired.
He putte awey the vicious
And tok to him the vertuous;
The wrongful lawes ben amended,
The londes good is wel despended,
The poeple was no more oppressed,
And thus stod everything redressed.
For where a king is propre wys,
And hath suche as himselven is
Of his conseil, it mai noght faile
That everything ne schal availe.
The vices thanne gon aweie,
And every vertu holt his weie;
Wherof the hihe God is plesed,
And al the londes folk is esed.
For if the comun poeple crie,
And thanne a king list noght to plie
To hiere what the clamour wolde,
And otherwise thanne he scholde
Desdeigneth for to don hem grace,
It hath be sen in many place,
Ther hath befalle gret contraire;
And that I finde of ensamplaire.

[Folly of Rehoboam]

     After the deth of Salomon,
Whan thilke wise king was gon,
And Roboas in his persone
Receive scholde the corone,
The poeple upon a parlement
Avised were of on assent,
And alle unto the king thei preiden,
With comun vois and thus thei seiden:
     'Oure liege lord, we thee beseche
That thou receive oure humble speche
And grante ous that which reson wile,
Or of thi grace or of thi skile.
Thi fader, whil he was alyve
And myhte bothe grante and pryve,
Upon the werkes whiche he hadde
The comun poeple streite ladde.
Whan he the temple made newe,
Thing which men nevere afore knewe
He broghte up thanne of his taillage,
And al was under the visage
Of werkes whiche he made tho.
Bot nou it is befalle so,
That al is mad, riht as he seide,
And he was riche whan he deide;
So that it is no maner nede,
If thou therof wolt taken hiede,
To pilen of the poeple more,
Which long time hath be grieved sore.
And in this wise as we thee seie,
With tendre herte we thee preie
That thou relesse thilke dette,
Which upon ous thi fader sette.
And if thee like to don so,
We ben thi men foreveremo,
To gon and comen at thin heste.'
     The king, which herde this requeste,
Seith that he wole ben avised,
And hath therof a time assissed;
And in the while as he him thoghte
Upon this thing, conseil he soghte.
And ferst the wise knyhtes olde,
To whom that he his tale tolde,
Conseilen him in this manere;
That he with love and with glad chiere
Forgive and grante al that is axed
Of that his fader hadde taxed;
For so he mai his regne achieve
With thing which schal him litel grieve.
     The king hem herde and overpasseth,
And with these othre his wit compasseth,
That yonge were and nothing wise.
And thei these olde men despise,
And seiden: 'Sire, it schal be schame
Forevere unto thi worthi name,
If thou ne kepe noght the riht,
Whil thou art in thi yonge myht,
Which that thin olde fader gat.
Bot seie unto the poeple plat
That whil thou livest in thi lond,
The leste finger of thin hond
It schal be strengere overal
Than was thi fadres bodi al.
And this also schal be thi tale,
If he hem smot with roddes smale,
With scorpions thou schalt hem smyte;
And wher thi fader tok a lyte,
Thou thenkst to take mochel more.
Thus schalt thou make hem drede sore
The grete herte of thi corage,
So for to holde hem in servage.'
     This yonge king him hath conformed
To don as he was last enformed,
Which was to him his undoinge.
For whan it cam to the spekinge,
He hath the yonge conseil holde,
That he the same wordes tolde
Of al the poeple in audience;
And whan thei herden the sentence
Of his malice and the manace,
Anon tofore his oghne face
Thei have him oultreli refused
And with ful gret reproef accused.
So thei begunne for to rave,
That he was fain himself to save;
For as the wilde wode rage
Of wyndes makth the see salvage,
And that was calm bringth into wawe,
So for defalte of grace and lawe
This poeple stered al at ones
And forth thei gon out of hise wones;
So that of the lignages tuelve
Tuo tribes only be hemselve
With him abiden and no mo.
So were thei foreveremo
Of no retorn withoute espeir
Departed fro the rihtfull heir.
Al Irahel with comun vois
A king upon here oghne chois
Among hemself anon thei make,
And have here yonge lord forsake;
A povere knyht Jeroboas
Thei toke, and lefte Roboas,
Which rihtfull heir was be descente.
     Lo, thus the yonge cause wente:
For that the conseil was noght good,
The regne fro the rihtfull blod
Evere afterward divided was.
So mai it proven be this cas
That yong conseil, which is to warm,
Er men be war doth ofte harm.
Old age for the conseil serveth,
And lusti youthe his thonk deserveth
Upon the travail which he doth;
And bothe, for to seie a soth,
Be sondri cause for to have,
If that he wole his regne save
A king behoveth every day.
That on can and that other mai,
Be so the king hem bothe reule,
For elles al goth out of reule.

[Wisdom and the King]

     And upon this matiere also
A question betwen the tuo
Thus writen in a bok I fond;
Wher it be betre for the lond
A king himselve to be wys,
And so to bere his oghne pris,
And that his consail be noght good,
Or otherwise if it so stod,
A king if he be vicious
And his conseil be vertuous.
It is ansuerd in such a wise,
That betre it is that thei be wise
Be whom that the conseil schal gon,
For thei be manye, and he is on;
And rathere schal an one man
With fals conseil, for oght he can,
From his wisdom be mad to falle,
Thanne he alone scholde hem alle
Fro vices into vertu change,
For that is wel the more strange.
     Forthi the lond mai wel be glad,
Whos king with good conseil is lad,
Which set him unto rihtwisnesse,
So that his hihe worthinesse
Betwen the reddour and Pité
Doth mercy forth with equité.
A king is holden overal
To Pité, bot in special
To hem wher he is most beholde;
Thei scholde his Pité most beholde
That ben the lieges of his lond,
For thei ben evere under his hond
After the Goddes ordinaunce
To stonde upon his governance.
     Of th'emperour Anthonius
I finde hou that he seide thus,
That levere him were for to save
Oon of his lieges than to have
Of enemis a thousend dede.
And this he lernede, as I rede,
Of Cipio, which hadde be
Consul of Rome. And thus to se
Diverse ensamples hou thei stonde,
A king which hath the charge on honde
The comun poeple to governe,
If that he wole, he mai wel lerne.
Is non so good to the plesance
Of God as is good governance.
And every governance is due
To Pité: thus I mai argue
That Pité is the foundement
Of every kinges regiment,
If it be medled with justice.
Thei tuo remuen alle vice,
And ben of vertu most vailable
To make a kinges regne stable.
     Lo, thus the foure pointz tofore,
In governance as thei ben bore,
Of Trouthe ferst and of Largesse,
Of Pité forth with Rihtwisnesse,
I have hem told; and over this
The fifte point, so as it is
Set of the reule of Policie,
Wherof a king schal modefie
The fleisschly lustes of nature,
Nou thenk I telle of such mesure,
That bothe kinde schal be served
And ek the lawe of God observed."

[Chastity, the Fifth Part of Policy]

Corporis et mentis regem decet omnis honestas,
Nominis vt famam nulla libido ruat.
Omne quod est hominis effeminat illa voluptas,
Sit nisi magnanimi cordis, vt obstet ei

     "The madle is mad for the femele,
Bot where as on desireth fele,
That nedeth noght be weie of kinde:
For whan a man mai redy finde
His oghne wif, what scholde he seche
In strange places to beseche
To borwe another mannes plouh,
Whan he hath geere good ynouh
Affaited at his oghne heste,
And is to him wel more honeste
Than other thing which is unknowe?
Forthi scholde every good man knowe
And thenke, hou that in mariage
His trouthe plight lith in morgage,
Which if he breke, it is falshode,
And that descordeth to manhode,
And namely toward the grete,
Wherof the bokes alle trete.
So as the Philosophre techeth
To Alisandre, and him betecheth
The lore hou that he schal mesure
His bodi, so that no mesure
Of fleisshly lust he scholde excede.
And thus forth if I schal procede,
The fifte point, as I seide er,
Is Chasteté, which sielde wher
Comth nou adaies into place;
And natheles, bot it be grace
Above alle othre in special,
Is non that chaste mai ben all.
Bot yit a kinges hihe astat,
Which of his ordre as a prelat
Schal ben enoignt and seintefied
He mot be more magnefied
For digneté of his corone,
Than scholde another low persone,
Which is noght of so hih emprise.
Therfore a prince him scholde avise,
Er that he felle in such riote,
And namely that he n'assote
To change for the wommanhede
The worthinesse of his manhede.
     Of Aristotle I have wel rad
Hou he to Alisandre bad
That for to gladen his corage
He schal beholde the visage
Of wommen, whan that thei ben faire.
Bot yit he set an essamplaire,
His bodi so to guide and reule,
That he ne passe noght the reule,
Wherof that he himself beguile.
For in the womman is no guile
Of that a man himself bewhapeth;
Whan he his oghne wit bejapeth,
I can the wommen wel excuse.
Bot what man wole upon hem muse
After the fool impression
Of his ymaginacioun,
Withinne himself the fyr he bloweth,
Wherof the womman nothing knoweth,
So mai sche nothing be to wyte.
For if a man himself excite
To drenche, and wol it noght forbere,
The water schal no blame bere.
What mai the gold, thogh men coveite?
If that a man wol love streite,
The womman hath him nothing bounde;
If he his oghne herte wounde,
Sche mai noght lette the folie;
And thogh so felle of compainie
That he myht eny thing pourchace,
Yit makth a man the ferste chace,
The womman fleth and and he poursuieth:
So that be weie of skile it suieth,
The man is cause, hou so befalle,
That he fulofte sithe is falle
Wher that he mai noght wel aryse.
And natheles ful manye wise
Befoled have hemself er this,
As nou adaies yit it is
Among the men and evere was,
The stronge is fieblest in this cas.
It sit a man be weie of kinde
To love, bot it is noght kinde
A man for love his wit to lese.
For if the monthe of Juil schal frese
And that Decembre schal ben hot,
The yeer mistorneth, wel I wot.
To sen a man fro his astat
Thurgh his sotie effeminat,
And leve that a man schal do,
It is as hose above the scho,
To man which oghte noght ben used.
Bot yit the world hath ofte accused
Ful grete princes of this dede,
Hou thei for love hemself mislede,
Wherof manhode stod behinde,
Of olde ensamples as I finde.


     These olde gestes tellen thus,
That whilom Sardana Pallus,
Which hield al hol in his empire
The grete kingdom of Assire,
Was thurgh the slouthe of his corage
Falle into thilke fyri rage
Of love, which the men assoteth,
Wherof himself he so rioteth,
And wax so ferforth womannyssh,
That agein kinde, as if a fissh
Abide wolde upon the lond,
In wommen such a lust he fond,
That he duelte evere in chambre stille,
And only wroghte after the wille
Of wommen, so as he was bede,
That selden whanne in other stede
If that he wolde wenden oute,
To sen hou that it stod aboute.
Bot ther he keste and there he pleide,
Thei tawhten him a las to breide,
And weve a pours, and to enfile
A perle: and fell that ilke while,
On Barbarus, the Prince of Mede,
Sih hou this king in wommanhede
Was falle fro chivalerie,
And gat him help and compaignie,
And wroghte so, that ate laste
This king out of his regne he caste,
Which was undon foreveremo.
And yit men speken of him so,
That it is schame for to hiere.


     Forthi to love is in manere.
King David hadde many a love,
Bot natheles alwey above
Knyhthode he kepte in such a wise,
That for no fleisshli covoitise
Of lust to ligge in ladi armes
He lefte noght the lust of armes.
For where a prince hise lustes suieth,
That he the werre noght poursuieth
Whan it is time to ben armed,
His contré stant fulofte harmed,
Whan th'enemis ben woxe bolde,
That thei defence non beholde.
Ful manye a lond hath so be lore,
As men mai rede of time afore
Of hem that so here eses soghten,
Which after thei full diere aboghten.

[Cyrus and the Lydians]

     To mochel ese is nothing worth,
For that set every vice forth
And every vertu put abak,
Wherof priss torneth into lak,
As in cronique I mai reherse
Which telleth hou the king of Perse,
That Cirus hihte, a werre hadde
Agein a poeple which he dradde,
Of a contré which Liddos hihte;
Bot yit for oght that he do mihte
As in bataille upon the werre,
He hadde of hem alwey the werre.
And whan he sih and wiste it wel,
That he be strengthe wan no del,
Thanne ate laste he caste a wyle
This worthi poeple to beguile,
And tok with hem a feigned pes,
Which scholde lasten endeles,
So as he seide in wordes wise,
Bot he thoghte al in other wise.
For it betidd upon the cas,
Whan that this poeple in reste was,
Thei token eses manyfold;
And worldes ese, as it is told,
Be weie of kinde is the norrice
Of every lust which toucheth vice.
Thus whan thei were in lustes falle,
The werres ben forgeten alle;
Was non which wolde the worschipe
Of armes, bot in idelschipe
Thei putten besinesse aweie
And token hem to daunce and pleie.
Bot most above alle othre thinges
Thei token hem to the likinges
Of fleysshly lust, that chasteté
Received was in no degré,
Bot every man doth what him liste.
And whan the king of Perse it wiste,
That thei unto folie entenden,
With his pouer, whan thei lest wenden,
Mor sodeinly than doth the thunder
He cam, forevere and put hem under.
And thus hath lecherie lore
The lond, which hadde be tofore
The beste of hem that were tho.

[Counsel of Balaam]

     And in the Bible I finde also
A tale lich unto this thing,
Hou Amalech the paien king,
Whan that he myhte be no weie
Defende his lond and putte aweie
The worthi poeple of Irael,
This Sarazin, as it befell,
Thurgh the conseil of Balaam
A route of faire wommen nam,
That lusti were and yonge of age,
And bad hem gon to the lignage
Of these Hebreus: and forth thei wente
With yhen greye and browes bente
And wel arraied everych on;
And whan thei come were anon
Among th'Ebreus, was non insihte,
Bot cacche who that cacche myhte,
And ech of hem hise lustes soghte,
Whiche after thei full diere boghte.
For grace anon began to faile,
That whan thei comen to bataille
Thanne afterward, in sori plit
Thei were take and disconfit,
So that withinne a litel throwe
The myht of hem was overthrowe,
That whilom were wont to stonde.
Til Phinees the cause on honde
Hath take, this vengance laste,
Bot thanne it cessede ate laste,
For God was paid of that he dede:
For wher he fond upon a stede
A couple which misferde so,
Thurghout he smot hem bothe tuo,
And let hem ligge in mennes yhe;
Wherof alle othre whiche hem sihe
Ensamplede hem upon the dede,
And preiden unto the Godhiede
Here olde sennes to amende:
And He, which wolde His mercy sende,
Restorede hem to newe grace.
     Thus mai it schewe in sondri place,
Of chasteté hou the clennesse
Acordeth to the worthinesse
Of men of armes overal;
Bot most of alle in special
This vertu to a king belongeth,
For upon his fortune it hongeth
Of that his lond schal spede or spille.
Forthi bot if a king his wille
Fro lustes of his fleissh restreigne,
Agein himself he makth a treigne,
Into the which if that he slyde,
Him were betre go besyde.
For every man mai understonde,
Hou for a time that it stonde,
It is a sori lust to lyke,
Whos ende makth a man to syke
And torneth joies into sorwe.
The brihte sonne be the morwe
Beschyneth noght the derke nyht,
The lusti youthe of mannes myht,
In age bot it stonde wel,
Mistorneth al the laste whiel.

[Lecherous Solomon and the Division of the Kingdom]

     That every worthi prince is holde
Withinne himself himself beholde,
To se the stat of his persone,
And thenke hou ther be joies none
Upon this erthe mad to laste,
And hou the fleissh schal ate laste
The lustes of this lif forsake,
Him oghte a gret ensample take
Of Salomon, whos appetit
Was holy set upon delit,
To take of wommen the plesance.
So that upon his ignorance
The wyde world merveileth yit,
That he, which alle mennes wit
In thilke time hath overpassed,
With fleisshly lustes was so tassed
That he which ladde under the lawe
The poeple of God, himself withdrawe
He hath fro God in such a wise,
That he worschipe and sacrifise
For sondri love in sondri stede
Unto the false goddes dede.
This was the wise ecclesiaste,
The fame of whom schal evere laste,
That he the myhti God forsok,
Agein the lawe whanne he tok
Hise wyves and hise concubines
Of hem that weren Sarazines,
For whiche he dede ydolatrie.
For this I rede of his sotie:
     Sche of Sidoyne so him ladde,
That he knelende hise armes spradde
To Astrathen with gret humblesse,
Which of hire lond was the goddesse.
     And sche that was a Moabite
So ferforth made him to delite
Thurgh lust, which al his wit devoureth,
That he Chamos hire god honoureth.
     Another Amonyte also
With love him hath assoted so,
Hire god Moloch that with encense
He sacreth, and doth reverence
In such a wise as sche him bad.
Thus was the wiseste overlad
With blinde lustes whiche he soghte;
Bot he it afterward aboghte.
     For Achias Selonites,
Which was prophete, er his decess,
Whil he was in hise lustes alle,
Betokneth what schal after falle.
For on a day, whan that he mette
Jeroboam the knyht, he grette
And bad him that he scholde abyde,
To hiere what him schal betyde.
And forth withal Achias caste
His mantell of, and also faste
He kut it into pieces twelve,
Wherof tuo partz toward himselve
He kepte, and al the remenant,
As God hath set His covenant,
He tok unto Jeroboas,
Of Nabal which the sone was
And of the kinges court a knyht,
And seide him, 'Such is Goddes myht,
As thou hast sen departed hiere
Mi mantell, riht in such manere
After the deth of Salomon
God hath ordeigned therupon,
This regne thanne he schal divide:
Which time thou schalt ek abide,
And upon that division
The regne as in proporcion
As thou hast of mi mantell take,
Thou schalt receive, I undertake.
And thus the sone schal abie
The lustes and the lecherie
Of him which nou his fader is.'
     So for to taken hiede of this,
It sit a king wel to be chaste,
For elles he mai lihtly waste
Himself and ek his regne bothe,
And that oghte every king to lothe.
O, which a senne violent,
Wherof so wys a king was schent,
That the vengance in his persone
Was noght ynouh to take alone,
Bot afterward, whan he was passed,
It hath his heritage lassed,
As I more openli tofore
The tale tolde. And thus therfore
The Philosophre upon this thing
Writ and conseileth to a king,
That he the surfet of luxure
Schal tempre and reule of such mesure,
Which be to kinde sufficant
And ek to reson acordant,
So that the lustes ignorance
Because of no misgovernance,
Thurgh which that he be overthrowe,
As he that wol no reson knowe.
For bot a mannes wit be swerved,
Whan kinde is dueliche served,
It oghte of reson to suffise;
For if it falle him otherwise,
He mai tho lustes sore drede.
     For of Anthonie thus I rede,
Which of Severus was the sone,
That he his lif of comun wone
Gaf holy unto thilke vice,
And ofte time he was so nyce,
Wherof nature hire hath compleigned
Unto the God, which hath desdeigned
The werkes whiche Antonie wroghte
Of lust, whiche he ful sore aboghte.
For God his forfet hath so wroke
That in cronique it is yit spoke.
Bot for to take remembrance
Of special misgovernance
Thurgh covoitise and injustice
Forth with the remenant of vice,
And nameliche of lecherie,
I finde write a gret partie
Withinne a tale, as thou schalt hiere,
Which is th'ensample of this matiere.

[Tale of Tarquin and Aruns]

     So as these olde gestes sein,
The proude tirannyssh Romein
Tarquinus, which was thanne king
And wroghte many a wrongful thing,
Of sones hadde manyon,
Among the whiche Arrons was on,
Lich to his fader of maneres;
So that withinne a fewe yeres
With tresoun and with tirannie
Thei wonne of lond a gret partie,
And token hiede of no justice,
Which due was to here office
Upon the reule of governance.
Bot al that evere was plesance
Unto the fleisshes lust thei toke.
And fell so, that thei undertoke
A werre, which was noght achieved,
Bot ofte time it hadde hem grieved,
Agein a folk which thanne hihte
The Gabiens: and al be nyhte
This Arrons, whan he was at home
In Rome, a privé place he nom
Withinne a chambre, and bet himselve
And made him woundes ten or tuelve
Upon the bak, as it was sene.
And so forth with hise hurtes grene
In al the haste that he may
He rod, and cam that other day
Unto Gabie the cité,
And in he wente. And whan that he
Was knowe, anon the gates schette,
The lordes alle upon him sette
With drawe swerdes upon honde.
This Arrons wolde hem noght withstonde,
Bot seide, 'I am hier at your wille,
Als lief it is that ye me spille,
As if myn oghne fader dede.'
And forthwith in the same stede
He preide hem that thei wolde se,
And schewede hem in what degré
His fader and hise brethren bothe,
Whiche, as he seide, weren wrothe,
Him hadde beten and reviled,
Forevere and out of Rome exiled.
And thus he made hem to believe,
And seide, if that he myhte achieve
His pourpos, it schal wel be yolde,
Be so that thei him helpe wolde.
     Whan that the lordes hadde sein
Hou wofully he was besein,
Thei token pité of his grief;
Bot yit it was hem wonder lief
That Rome him hadde exiled so.
These Gabiens be conseil tho
Upon the goddes made him swere,
That he to hem schal trouthe bere
And strengthen hem with al his myht;
And thei also him have behiht
To helpen him in his querele.
Thei schopen thanne for his hele
That he was bathed and enoignt,
Til that he was in lusti point;
And what he wolde thanne he hadde,
That he al hol the cité ladde
Riht as he wolde himself divise.
And thanne he thoghte him in what wise
He myhte his tirannie schewe;
And to his conseil tok a schrewe,
Whom to his fader forth he sente
In his message, and he tho wente,
And preide his fader for to seie
Be his avis, and finde a weie,
Hou thei the cité myhten winne,
Whil that he stod so wel therinne.
And whan the messager was come
To Rome, and hath in conseil nome
The king, it fell per chance so
That thei were in a gardin tho,
This messager forth with the king.
And whanne he hadde told the thing
In what manere that it stod,
And that Tarquinus understod
Be the message hou that it ferde,
Anon he tok in honde a yerde,
And in the gardin as thei gon,
The lilie croppes on and on,
Wher that thei weren sprongen oute,
He smot of, as thei stode aboute,
And seide unto the messager:
'Lo, this thing, which I do nou hier,
Schal ben in stede of thin ansuere;
And in this wise as I me bere,
Thou schalt unto mi sone telle.'
And he no lengere wolde duelle,
Bot tok his leve and goth withal
Unto his lord, and told him al,
Hou that his fader hadde do.
Whan Arrons herde him telle so,
Anon he wiste what it mente,
And therto sette al his entente,
Til he thurgh fraude and tricherie
The princes hefdes of Gabie
Hath smiten of, and al was wonne:
His fader cam tofore the sonne
Into the toun with the Romeins,
And tok and slowh the citezeins
Withoute reson or pité,
That he ne spareth no degré.
And for the sped of this conqueste
He let do make a riche feste
With a sollempne sacrifise
In Phebus temple; and in this wise
Whan the Romeins assembled were,
In presence of hem alle there,
Upon th'alter whan al was diht
And that the fyres were alyht,
From under th'alter sodeinly
An hidous serpent openly
Cam out and hath devoured al
The sacrifice, and ek withal
The fyres queynt, and forth anon,
So as he cam, so is he gon
Into the depe ground agein.
And every man began to sein,
'Ha lord, what mai this signefie?'
And therupon thei preie and crie
To Phebus, that thei mihten knowe
The cause: and he the same throwe
With gastly vois, that alle it herde,
The Romeins in this wise ansuerde,
And seide hou for the wikkidnesse
Of pride and of unrihtwisnesse,
That Tarquin and his sone hath do,
The sacrifice is wasted so,
Which myhte noght ben acceptable
Upon such senne abhominable.
And over that yit he hem wisseth,
And seith that which of hem ferst kisseth
His moder, he schal take wrieche
Upon the wrong. And of that speche
Thei ben withinne here hertes glade,
Thogh thei outward no semblant made.
     Ther was a knyht which Brutus hihte,
And he with al the haste he myhte
To grounde fell and th'erthe kiste,
Bot non of hem the cause wiste,
Bot wenden that he hadde sporned
Per chance, and so was overtorned.
Bot Brutus al another mente;
For he knew wel in his entente
Hou th'erthe of every mannes kinde
Is moder. Bot thei weren blinde,
And sihen noght so fer as he.
Bot whan thei leften the cité
And comen hom to Rome agein,
Thanne every man which was Romein
And moder hath, to hire he bende
And keste, and ech of hem thus wende
To be the ferste upon the chance,
Of Tarquin for to do vengance,
So as thei herden Phebus sein.

[Tale of the Rape of Lucrece]

     Bot every time hath his certein,
So moste it nedes thanne abide,
Til afterward upon a tyde
Tarquinus made unskilfully
A werre, which was fasteby
Agein a toun with walles stronge
Which Ardea was cleped longe,
And caste a siege theraboute,
That ther mai no man passen oute.
So it befell upon a nyht,
Arrons, which hadde his souper diht,
A part of the chivalerie
With him to soupe in compaignie
Hath bede: and whan thei comen were
And seten at the souper there,
Among here othre wordes glade
Arrons a gret spekinge made,
Who hadde tho the beste wif
Of Rome. And ther began a strif,
For Arrons seith he hath the beste.
So jangle thei withoute reste,
Til ate laste on Collatin,
A worthi knyht, and was cousin
To Arrons, seide him in this wise:
'It is,' quod he, 'of non emprise
To speke a word, bot of the dede,
Therof it is to taken hiede.
Anon forthi this same tyde
Lep on thin hors and let ous ryde:
So mai we knowe bothe tuo
Unwarli what oure wyves do,
And that schal be a trewe assay.'
This Arrons seith noght ones nay.
On horse bak anon thei lepte
In such manere, and nothing slepte,
Ridende forth til that thei come
Al prively withinne Rome;
In strange place and doun thei lihte,
And take a chambre, and out of sihte
Thei be desguised for a throwe,
So that no lif hem scholde knowe.
And to the paleis ferst thei soghte,
To se what thing this ladi wroghte
Of which Arrons made his avant.
And thei hire sihe of glad semblant,
Al full of merthes and of bordes;
Bot among alle hire othre wordes
Sche spak noght of hire housebonde.
And whan thei hadde al understonde
Of thilke place what hem liste,
Thei gon hem forth, that non it wiste,
Beside thilke gate of bras,
Collacea which cleped was,
Wher Collatin hath his duellinge.
Ther founden thei at hom sittinge
Lucrece his wif, al environed
With wommen, whiche are abandoned
To werche, and sche wroghte ek withal,
And bad hem haste, and seith, 'It schal
Be for mi housebondes were,
Which with his swerd and with his spere
Lith at the siege in gret desese.
And if it scholde him noght displese,
Nou wolde God I hadde him hiere;
For certes til that I mai hiere
Som good tidinge of his astat,
Min herte is evere upon debat.
For so as alle men witnesse,
He is of such an hardiesse,
That he can noght himselve spare,
And that is al my moste care,
Whan thei the walles schulle assaile.
Bot if mi wisshes myhte availe,
I wolde it were a groundles pet,
Be so the siege were unknet,
And I myn housebonde sihe.'
With that the water in hire yhe
Aros, that sche ne myhte it stoppe,
And as men sen the dew bedroppe
The leves and the floures eke,
Riht so upon hire whyte cheke
The wofull salte teres felle.
Whan Collatin hath herd hire telle
The menynge of hire trewe herte,
Anon with that to hire he sterte,
And seide, 'Lo, mi goode diere,
Nou is he come to you hiere,
That ye most loven, as ye sein.'
And sche with goodly chiere agein
Beclipte him in hire armes smale,
And the colour, which erst was pale,
To beauté thanne was restored,
So that it myhte noght be mored.
     The kinges sone, which was nyh,
And of this lady herde and syh
The thinges as thei ben befalle,
The resoun of hise wittes alle
Hath lost; for love upon his part
Cam thanne, and of his fyri dart
With such a wounde him hath thurghsmite,
That he mot nedes fiele and wite
Of thilke blinde maladie,
To which no cure of surgerie
Can helpe. Bot yit natheles
At thilke time he hield his pes
That he no contienance made,
Bot openly with wordes glade,
So as he couthe in his manere,
He spak and made frendly chiere,
Til it was time for to go.
And Collatin with him also
His leve tok, so that be nyhte
With al the haste that thei myhte
Thei riden to the siege agein.
Bot Arrons was so wo besein
With thoghtes whiche upon him runne,
That he al be the brode sunne
To bedde goth, noght for to reste,
Bot for to thenke upon the beste
And the faireste forth withal
That evere he syh or evere schal,
So as him thoghte in his corage,
Where he pourtreieth hire ymage:
Ferst the fetures of hir face,
In which nature hadde alle grace
Of wommanly beauté beset,
So that it myhte noght be bet;
And hou hir yelwe her was tresced
And hire atir so wel adresced,
And hou sche spak, and hou sche wroghte,
And hou sche wepte, al this he thoghte,
That he forgeten hath no del,
Bot al it liketh him so wel,
That in the word nor in the dede
Hire lacketh noght of wommanhiede.
And thus this tirannysshe knyht
Was soupled, bot noght half ariht,
For he non other hiede tok,
Bot that he myhte be som crok,
Althogh it were agein hire wille,
The lustes of his fleissh fulfille;
Which love was noght resonable,
For where honour is remuable,
It oghte wel to ben avised.
Bot he, which hath his lust assised
With melled love and tirannie,
Hath founde upon his tricherie
A weie which he thenkth to holde,
And seith, 'Fortune unto the bolde
Is favorable for to helpe.'
And thus withinne himself to yelpe,
As he which was a wylde man,
Upon his treson he began:
And up he sterte, and forth he wente
On horsebak, bot his entente
Ther knew no wiht, and thus he nam
The nexte weie, til he cam
Unto Collacea the gate
Of Rome, and it was somdiel late,
Riht evene upon the sonne set,
As he which hadde schape his net
Hire innocence to betrappe.
And as it scholde tho mishappe,
Als priveliche as evere he myhte
He rod, and of his hors alyhte
Tofore Collatines in,
And al frendliche he goth him in,
As he that was cousin of house.
And sche, which is the goode spouse,
Lucrece, whan that sche him sih,
With goodli chiere drowh him nyh,
As sche which al honour supposeth,
And him, so as sche dar, opposeth
Hou it stod of hire housebonde.
And he tho dede hire understonde
With tales feigned in his wise,
Riht as he wolde himself devise,
Wherof he myhte hire herte glade,
That sche the betre chiere made,
Whan sche the glade wordes herde,
Hou that hire housebonde ferde.
And thus the trouthe was deceived
With slih tresoun, which was received
To hire which mente alle goode.
For as the festes thanne stode,
His souper was ryht wel arraied.
Bot yit he hath no word assaied
To speke of love in no degré;
Bot with covert soubtilité
His frendly speches he affaiteth,
And as the tigre his time awaiteth
In hope for to cacche his preie.
Whan that the bordes were aweie
And thei have souped in the halle,
He seith that slep is on him falle,
And preith he moste go to bedde.
And sche with alle haste spedde,
So as hire thoghte it was to done,
That everything was redi sone.
Sche broghte him to his chambre tho
And tok hire leve, and forth is go
Into hire oghne chambre by,
As sche that wende certeinly
Have had a frend, and hadde a fo,
Wherof fell after mochel wo.
     This tirant, thogh he lyhe softe,
Out of his bed aros fulofte,
And goth aboute, and leide his ere
To herkne, til that alle were
To bedde gon and slepten faste.
And thanne upon himself he caste
A mantell, and his swerd al naked
He tok in honde; and sche unwaked
Abedde lay, bot what sche mette,
God wot; for he the dore unschette
So prively that non it herde,
The softe pas and forth he ferde
Unto the bed wher that sche slepte,
Al sodeinliche and in he crepte,
And hire in bothe his armes tok.
With that this worthi wif awok,
Which thurgh tendresce of wommanhiede
Hire vois hath lost for pure drede,
That o word speke sche ne dar,
And ek he bad hir to be war,
For if sche made noise or cry,
He seide, his swerd lay faste by
To slen hire and hire folk aboute.
And thus he broghte hire herte in doute,
That lich a lomb whanne it is sesed
In wolves mouth, so was desesed
Lucrece, which he naked fond,
Wherof sche swounede in his hond,
And, as who seith, lay ded oppressed.
And he, which al him hadde adresced
To lust, tok thanne what him liste,
And goth his wey, that non it wiste,
Into his oghne chambre agein,
And clepede up his chamberlein,
And made him redi for to ryde.
And thus this lecherouse pride
To horse lepte and forth he rod.
And sche, which in hire bed abod,
Whan that sche wiste he was agon,
Sche clepede after liht anon
And up aros long er the day,
And caste awey hire freissh aray,
As sche which hath the world forsake,
And tok upon the clothes blake.
And evere upon continuinge,
Riht as men sen a welle springe,
With yhen fulle of wofull teres,
Hire her hangende aboute hire eres,
Sche wepte, and no man wiste why.
Bot yit among full pitously
Sche preide that thei nolden drecche
Hire housebonde for to fecche
Forth with hire fader ek also.
     Thus be thei comen bothe tuo,
And Brutus cam with Collatin,
Which to Lucrece was cousin,
And in thei wenten alle thre
To chambre, wher thei myhten se
The wofulleste upon this molde,
Which wepte as sche to water scholde.
The chambre dore anon was stoke,
Er thei have oght unto hire spoke;
Thei sihe hire clothes al desguised,
And hou sche hath hirself despised,
Hire her hangende unkemd aboute,
Bot natheles sche gan to loute
And knele unto hire housebonde;
And he, which fain wolde understonde
The cause why sche ferde so,
With softe wordes axeth tho,
'What mai you be, mi goode swete?'
And sche, which thoghte hirself unmete
And the lest worth of wommen alle,
Hire wofull chiere let doun falle
For schame and couthe unnethes loke.
And thei therof good hiede toke,
And preiden hire in alle weie
That sche ne spare for to seie
Unto hir frendes what hire eileth,
Why sche so sore hirself beweileth,
And what the sothe wolde mene.
And sche, which hath hire sorwes grene,
Hire wo to telle thanne assaieth,
Bot tendre schame hire word delaieth,
That sondri times as sche minte
To speke, upon the point sche stinte.
And thei hire bidden evere in on
To telle forth, and therupon,
Whan that sche sih sche moste nede,
Hire tale betwen schame and drede
Sche tolde, noght withoute peine.
And he, which wolde hire wo restreigne,
Hire housebonde, a sory man,
Conforteth hire al that he can,
And swor, and ek hire fader bothe,
That thei with hire be noght wrothe
Of that is don agein hire wille;
And preiden hire to be stille,
For thei to hire have al forgive.
Bot sche, which thoghte noght to live,
Of hem wol no forgivenesse,
And seide, of thilke wickednesse
Which was unto hire bodi wroght,
Al were it so sche myhte it noght,
Nevere afterward the world ne schal
Reproeven hire; and forth withal,
Er eny man therof be war,
A naked swerd, the which sche bar
Withinne hire mantel priveli,
Betwen hire hondes sodeinly
Sche tok, and thurgh hire herte it throng,
And fell to grounde, and evere among,
Whan that sche fell, so as sche myhte,
Hire clothes with hire hand sche rihte,
That no man dounward fro the kne
Scholde eny thing of hire se:
Thus lay this wif honestely,
Althogh she deide wofully.
     Tho was no sorwe for to seke.
Hire housebonde, hire fader eke
Aswoune upon the bodi felle;
Ther mai no mannes tunge telle
In which anguisshe that thei were.
Bot Brutus, which was with hem there,
Toward himself his herte kepte,
And to Lucrece anon he lepte,
The blodi swerd and pulleth oute,
And swor the goddes al aboute
That he therof schal do vengance.
And sche tho made a contienance,
Hire dedlich yhe and ate laste
In thonkinge as it were up caste,
And so behield him in the wise,
Whil sche to loke mai suffise.
And Brutus with a manlich herte
Hire housebonde hath mad up sterte
Forth with hire fader ek also
In alle haste, and seide hem tho
That thei anon withoute lette
A beere for the body fette;
Lucrece and therupon bledende
He leide, and so forth out criende
He goth into the marketplace
Of Rome: and in litel space
Thurgh cry the cité was assembled,
And every mannes herte is trembled,
Whan thei the sothe herde of the cas.
And therupon the conseil was
Take of the grete and of the smale,
And Brutus tolde hem al the tale.
And thus cam into remembrance
Of senne the continuance,
Which Arrons hadde do tofore,
And ek, long time er he was bore,
Of that his fadre hadde do
The wrong cam into place tho;
So that the comun clamour tolde
The newe schame of sennes olde.
And al the toun began to crie,
'Awey, awey the tirannie
Of lecherie and covoitise!'
And ate laste in such a wise
The fader in the same while
Forth with his sone thei exile,
And taken betre governance.
Bot yit another remembrance
That rihtwisnesse and lecherie
Acorden noght in compaignie
With him that hath the lawe on honde,
That mai a man wel understonde,
As be a tale thou shalt wite,
Of olde ensample as it is write.

[Tale of Virginia]

     At Rome whan that Apius,
Whos other name is Claudius,
Was governour of the cité,
Ther fell a wonder thing to se
Touchende a gentil maide, as thus,
Whom Livius Virginius
Begeten hadde upon his wif.
Men seiden that so fair a lif
As sche was noght in al the toun.
This fame, which goth up and doun,
To Claudius cam in his ere,
Wherof his thoght anon was there,
Which al his herte hath set afyre,
That he began the flour desire
Which longeth unto maydenhede,
And sende, if that he myhte spede
The blinde lustes of his wille.
Bot that thing mai he noght fulfille,
For sche stod upon mariage.
A worthi kniht of gret lignage,
Ilicius which thanne hihte,
Acorded in hire fader sihte
Was, that he scholde his douhter wedde.
Bot er the cause fully spedde,
Hire fader, which in Romanie
The ledinge of chivalerie
In governance hath undertake,
Upon a werre which was take
Goth out with al the strengthe he hadde
Of men of armes whiche he ladde.
So was the mariage left,
And stod upon acord til eft.
     The king, which herde telle of this,
Hou that this maide ordeigned is
To mariage, thoghte another.
And hadde thilke time a brother,
Which Marchus Claudius was hote,
And was a man of such riote
Riht as the king himselve was.
Thei tuo togedre upon this cas
In conseil founden out this weie,
That Marchus Claudius schal seie
Hou sche be weie of covenant
To his service appourtenant
Was hol, and to non other man;
And therupon he seith he can
In every point witnesse take,
So that sche schal it noght forsake.
Whan that thei hadden schape so,
After the lawe which was tho,
Whil that hir fader was absent,
Sche was somouned and assent
To come in presence of the king
And stonde in ansuere of this thing.
Hire frendes wisten alle wel
That it was falshed everydel,
And comen to the king and seiden,
Upon the comun lawe and preiden,
So as this noble worthi knyht
Hir fader for the comun riht
In thilke time, as was befalle,
Lai for the profit of hem alle
Upon the wylde feldes armed,
That he ne scholde noght ben harmed
Ne schamed, whil that he were oute;
And thus thei preiden al aboute.
     For al the clamour that he herde,
The king upon his lust ansuerde,
And gaf hem only daies tuo
Of respit; for he wende tho,
That in so schorte a time appiere
Hire fader mihte in no manere.
Bot as therof he was deceived,
For Livius hadde al conceived
The pourpos of the king tofore,
So that to Rome agein therfore
In alle haste he cam ridende,
And lefte upon the field liggende
His host, til that he come agein.
And thus this worthi capitein
Appiereth redi at his day,
Wher al that evere reson may
Be lawe in audience he doth,
So that his dowhter upon soth
Of that Marchus hire hadde accused
He hath tofore the court excused.
     The king, which sih his pourpos faile,
And that no sleihte mihte availe,
Encombred of his lustes blinde
The lawe torneth out of kinde,
And half in wraththe as thogh it were,
In presence of hem alle there
Deceived of concupiscence
Gaf for his brother the sentence,
And bad him that he scholde sese
This maide and make him wel at ese;
Bot al withinne his oghne entente
He wiste hou that the cause wente,
Of that his brother hath the wyte
He was himselven for to wyte.
Bot thus this maiden hadde wrong,
Which was upon the king along,
Bot agein him was non appel,
And that the fader wiste wel.
Wherof upon the tirannie,
That for the lust of Lecherie
His douhter scholde be deceived,
And that Ilicius was weyved
Untrewly fro the mariage,
Riht as a leon in his rage,
Which of no drede set acompte
And not what pité scholde amounte,
A naked swerd he pulleth oute,
The which amonges al the route
He threste thurgh his dowhter side,
And al alowd this word he cride:
'Lo, take hire ther, thou wrongfull king,
For me is levere upon this thing
To be the fader of a maide,
Thogh sche be ded, than if men saide
That in hir lif sche were schamed
And I therof were evele named.'
     Tho bad the king men scholde areste
His bodi, bot of thilke heste,
Lich to the chaced wylde bor,
The houndes whan he fieleth sor,
Tothroweth and goth forth his weie,
In such a wise for to seie
This worthi kniht with swerd on honde
His weie made, and thei him wonde,
That non of hem his strokes kepte;
And thus upon his hors he lepte,
And with his swerd droppende of blod,
The which withinne his douhter stod,
He cam ther as the pouer was
Of Rome, and tolde hem al the cas,
And seid hem that thei myhten liere
Upon the wrong of his matiere,
That betre it were to redresce
At hom the grete unrihtwisnesse,
Than for to werre in strange place
And lese at hom here oghne grace.
For thus stant every mannes lif
In jeupartie for his wif
Or for his dowhter, if thei be
Passende another of beauté.
     Of this merveile which thei sihe
So apparant tofore here yhe,
Of that the king him hath misbore,
Here othes thei have alle swore
That thei wol stonde be the riht.
And thus of on acord upriht
To Rome at ones hom agein
Thei torne, and schortly for to sein,
This tirannye cam to mouthe,
And every man seith what he couthe,
So that the privé tricherie,
Which set was upon lecherie,
Cam openly to mannes ere;
And that broghte in the comun feere,
That every man the peril dradde
Of him that so hem overladde.
Forthi, er that it worse falle,
Thurgh comun conseil of hem alle
Thei have here wrongfull king deposed,
And hem in whom it was supposed
The conseil stod of his ledinge
Be lawe unto the dom thei bringe,
Wher thei receiven the penance
That longeth to such governance.
And thus th'unchaste was chastised,
Wherof thei myhte ben avised
That scholden afterward governe,
And be this evidence lerne,
Hou it is good a king eschuie
The lust of vice and vertu suie.

[Tale of Tobias and Sara]

     To make an ende in this partie,
Which toucheth to the Policie
Of Chastité in special,
As for conclusion final
That every lust is to eschue
Be gret ensample I mai argue:
Hou in Rages a toun of Mede
Ther was a mayde, and as I rede,
Sarra sche hihte, and Raguel
Hir fader was; and so befell,
Of bodi bothe and of visage
Was non so fair of the lignage,
To seche among hem alle, as sche;
Wherof the riche of the cité,
Of lusti folk that couden love,
Assoted were upon hire love,
And asken hire for to wedde.
On was which ate laste spedde,
Bot that was more for likinge,
To have his lust, than for weddinge,
As he withinne his herte caste,
Which him repenteth ate laste.
For so it fell the ferste nyht,
That whanne he was to bedde dyht,
As he which nothing God besecheth
Bot al only hise lustes secheth,
Abedde er he was fully warm
And wolde have take hire in his arm,
Asmod, which was a fend of helle,
And serveth, as the bokes telle,
To tempte a man of such a wise,
Was redy there, and thilke emprise,
Which he hath set upon delit,
He vengeth thanne in such a plit,
That he his necke hath writhe atuo.
This yonge wif was sory tho,
Which wiste nothing what it mente;
And natheles yit thus it wente
Noght only of this ferste man,
Bot after, riht as he began,
Sexe othre of hire housebondes
Asmod hath take into hise bondes,
So that thei alle abedde deiden
Whan thei her hand toward hir leiden,
Noght for the lawe of mariage,
Bot for that ilke fyri rage
In which that thei the lawe excede.
For who that wolde taken hiede
What after fell in this matiere,
Ther mihte he wel the sothe hiere.
Whan sche was wedded to Thobie,
And Raphael in compainie
Hath tawht him hou to ben honeste,
Asmod wan noght at thilke feste,
And yit Thobie his wille hadde;
For he his lust so goodly ladde,
That bothe lawe and kinde is served,
Wherof he hath himself preserved,
That he fell noght in the sentence.
O which an open evidence
Of this ensample a man mai se,
That whan likinge in the degré
Of mariage mai forsueie,
Wel oghte him thanne in other weie
Of lust to be the betre avised.
For God the lawes hath assissed
Als wel to reson as to kinde,
Bot he the bestes wolde binde
Only to lawes of nature,
Bot to the mannes creature
God gaf him reson forth withal,
Wherof that he nature schal
Upon the causes modefie,
That he schal do no lecherie,
And yit he schal hise lustes have.
So ben the lawes bothe save
And everything put out of sclandre;
As whilom to king Alisandre
The wise Philosophre tawhte,
Whan he his ferste lore cawhte,
Noght only upon chasteté,
Bot upon alle honesteté;
Wherof a king himself mai taste,
Hou trewe, hou large, hou joust, hou chaste
Him oghte of reson for to be,
Forth with the vertu of Pité,
Thurgh which he mai gret thonk deserve
Toward his Godd, that he preserve
Him and his poeple in alle welthe
Of pes, richesse, honour and helthe
Hier in this world and elles eke.
     Mi sone, as we tofore spieke
In schrifte, so as thou me seidest,
And for thin ese, as thou me preidest,
Thi love throghes for to lisse,
That I thee wolde telle and wisse
The forme of Aristotles lore,
I have it seid, and somdiel more
Of othre ensamples, to assaie
If I thi peines myhte allaie
Thurgh eny thing that I can seie."
     "Do wey, mi fader, I you preie!
Of that ye have unto me told
I thonke you a thousendfold.
The tales sounen in myn ere,
Bot yit myn herte is elleswhere,
I mai miselve noght restreigne,
That I nam evere in loves peine.
Such lore couthe I nevere gete,
Which myhte make me forgete
O point, bot if so were I slepte,
That I my tydes ay ne kepte
To thenke of love and of his lawe;
That herte can I noght withdrawe.
Forthi, my goode fader diere,
Lef al and speke of my matiere
Touchende of love, as we begonne:
If that ther be oght overronne
Or oght forgete or left behinde
Which falleth unto loves kinde,
Wherof it nedeth to be schrive,
Nou axeth, so that whil I live
I myhte amende that is mys."
     "Mi goode diere sone, yis.
Thi schrifte for to make plein,
Ther is yit more for to sein
Of love which is unavised.
Bot for thou schalt be wel avised
Unto thi schrifte as it belongeth,
A point which upon love hongeth
And is the laste of alle tho,
I wol thee telle, and thanne 'Ho.'"

Explicit Liber Septimus

since; entreated

[educational] circumstances
(see note)
(see note)


inform (guide)

book of rules
what Callisthenes; (see note)
once wrote



categories (branches of learning); (see note)

understands all matters of wisdom

skill in language

present a case at trial

Which (i.e., Practique); disposal

kingdom; war; peace
don (professor)
(see note)

(see note)

(i.e., Aristotle)
listen; mark (be sure)

particular; (see note)


(see note)
second; (see note)
called; (see note)

(see note)


(see note)
(i.e., Aristotle)

(see note)

(see note)
(see note)
Has come into existence
essential nature
entities; (see note)

Their manner of existence (essence); (see note)
one; sun



(see note)

determinant argument (logic)

causes one to have; reward

lofty wisdom; learning

(see note)


physical (material)

fully investigated
is beneficial/profits

(see note)

fields of learning
art of measuring (calculating)

(see note)
computing with Arabic numbers signifies; (see note)

the A,B,Cs of Arabic numbering

(see note)

Art of Composition (Harmony)

piercing; gentle

musical scale
combination and rhythmic arrangement

(see note)

expertise (skill in calculation)

Discovered by observation

(see note)
allows understanding of
teaches about


made; manner

sound before

is called hyle (primordial matter); (see note)

are called; (t-note)

(see note)

firmly established and undivided

right in the middle

nature; to fall toward that center; (see note)


(see note)

thin (pure)
fortified matter

hills; plains
hills; high


(see note)
nature its breathing

Must for lack of

atmospheric layers




interstice (slot)

causes to flower




The lightning bolt strikes before it flashes
before they hear the thunder

is perceived from a distance
[That]; eye; nearer; (see note)
sound; ear

safety (shelter)

(see note)

see by night

fiery dragon
ignorant; judge

i.e., Aristotle

vaporous emanations

come into being
many names
A falling star; (see note)


ignited; (t-note)

skipping goat

is called "leaping goat"

St. Elmo's fire

provided (furnished)

By; flies


i.e., Aristotle




lacking moisture
hear; learned traditions

nature; constitution


[Such] that; leaves

gives particular traits to; (see note)

(see note)


Is called
unhappy (unfortunate)

should lose

wears himself out; nothing

Forgetful; slow; weary

perform sexually

is appropriate


pay; its just desserts

Is a characteristic symptom of the constitution
Choler called

ingenious (cunning)

And have little ability to think about love
promises well by day
exert himself
poorly perform sexually

natural inclination

cold; hot


prescribed [to do]

free (unencumbered)
gall bladder



causes one to inflict harm
laugh; (see note)
its behavior (function)

cook; (see note)

cooks food
die (starve)
(see note)

the governor

preparations; (see note)

holds the soul dearly

lofty perfection (excellence)
Characteristic of its own

entirely because of
their destiny

one yearns for

wholly taken over
may dominate him


God's blessing obtains
gets [for] himself by
eternal life's

(see note)
(see note)

more completely

map of the world
by sections

mantle of heaven


high hills
brought death to every creature

Except; kin

Their; understands correctly
were called


According to what they themselves
region of the East

greatest; (see note)

set with boundaries


(see note)
Mediterranean running

in every way (continuously)

stops (whoa!)

befell at that time

the West; cold
the East; heat
not usable


its; the same lands
along the shore
called; Ocean

high tides

its origin
draws breath
According to nature; goes



sphere; (see note)

sphere; contains

one by one


(see note)

its nature

cold weather; hot


good fortune
distresses many

caused by
natural philosopher
theologian; (see note)

if he is lucky



in learned sources

(see note)
advanced learning




sphere; spoke of earlier

Beyond the celestial vault; (see note)

spheres by themselves





taught; (see note)

At the base of; (see note)

(see note)


receives it from

so that; is not
i.e., Ptolemy's astronomical treatise; (see note)
close to earth




(see note)
its planetary orbit


prosper (be sufficient)

diligence (industry)

its influences

as it so happens

(see note)

whether; succeed or not
fortunes turn

gladness (bliss); woe

benevolent; pleasurable

by; nature

to such a degree
knows not

is born under Venus

region of influence


birds at

tall; shades
makes glad

(see note)

all around

(see note)

By name called lychnites(?)

Cat's eye; thunderstone

beautiful (pleasant)
(see note)

Jasper; heliotrope
(see note)


called; (see note)

is called



characteristic; attribute
excelling in combat

loyal (beholden)

impetuous; foolhardy



sensual (luxurious)

Tempers; pertains
takes in
Under the control of its planetary influence

lucky in commercial business
eager for pleasure (luxury)

easy (frivolous?)

pleasures (delights)

i.e., every living creature
excellent (rich)

happiness (comfort)
In whatever way he (Saturn) is involved
the East

made to learn

schools of learning

(see note)
The one


book of rules
one [month]


are ordered

its; as is proper
(see note); (t-note)


sign of the zodiac (beast)

belly; head

(see note)

refuge; (see note)
(see note)

(see note)

true influence
Is propitious; in [that sign]


Assigned; power

bird; choose its mate


spring its

bull; dry

somewhat; (see note)

without stars

April; (see note)

well endowed
(see note)
one make-up


Ptolemy; (see note)
(see note)

green leaves
with his pricking

assigned position











seen; (see note)

head; undertakes


often times
in its exaltation

any hurt

on high

treacherous evildoer

without stars

arranged on his head

(see note)



(see note)

Studded [with stars]

by nature


plow oxen [are] brought in

unfermented grape juice; (see note)
slaughter of the pigs


(see note)
moon; is unpleasing; (see note)

same; claimed

injury (outrage)

who has brought together

by nature



(see note)

to come (following)

contribution (alms giving)

supplied with rain


(see note)

put in place



control of that region entitled to them

not in a northerly direction


hear; (see note)
caused to learn
About those; instruction

By he who knew such things

(see note)



(see note)
(see note)


plant pertains to

(brightest star in Taurus)

Its; spurge (wartweed)

not without power
(the Seven Sisters); (see note)


The stone attributed [to him]

(brightest star in Perseus)

for his benefit

allotted to him
called hellebore

manner; before

common or white horehound

Sirius (the dog star)

nature pertains to Venus


Juniper berries
By; Algomeiza (Procyon)

School [of Aristotle]
agate; primrose

(see note)

[in the constellation Corvus]

lappacium maius

called Spica

great praise



Benenais (second star in Ursa Major)

lodestone (magnet); stone; (see note)

Alphecca (Gemma, in Corona Borealis); (see note)

suited; its character (nature)

Calbalacrab (Antares, Scorpio's heart)

given for his benefit (use)
(a medicinal plant)

has as an attribute

(see note)
by its nature


Denebalgedi (cauda capricorni); (see note)

previous setting in order



Their; teaching

(see note)



(see note)

science of measuring altitude
Plane geometry

Abraham; one


put in place (located)
regarded as correct (trustworthy)

are of themselves

counterweight (balance)

(see note)

spoken language; given




(see note)

Dedicated to (Reserved for)






powerful; its activities


deceitful a manner

(see note)

linguistic facility


written charms

friend; foe
peace; war
from disorder
it pleases him
either; or

alleviated (allayed)

(see note)
Constructs; select

release; construe [an argument]


[Caesar]; Cicero
Who; then
Cato; Silanus

conspiracy (collusion)
were associated [with him]

bring them to justice
(see note)
was bound in duty






true man; combat

(see note)

(see note)

health maintain
food; also


Economics; (see note)

govern; rule; (see note)

field of instruction

pertains to kingship


In town and out (i.e., everywhere); (t-note)
craftsmen (tradesmen, workmen)
craft (occupation)



Five; (see note)

royal status

learning is necessary

royal power
(see note)


Fidelity (Troth); dear

knew how to do


(see note)

(see note)
unseemly (inappropriate)

repute; fresh
(see note)
bound by solemn compact

make unstable (dispute)

By; (see note)

this distinctive feature
Symbolizes; constancy

pertains to royalty



rule (guide)

[most] sovereign

(see note)

sultan; Persia
Darius was called




was called; (see note)

those he trusted

concepts (thoughts)

made up his mind
put the question

most powerful

their; take counsel; (t-note)


took heed
controversial debate



calls him back

free from law (unchallengeable)

account; make clear

greater potency

cripple leap
vigorous; weak
to have eyesight
bright-eyed [person]; scholar
ignorant (lay)






(see note)


dragged him; it pleased her
fondles; kissed
it pleases her
scowls; sighs

By; lover

(see note)



deliverance (remedy); (see note)

Admetus; (see note)

goodwill attain


woefully afflicted

(see note)


what she wished

immediately well

most necessary many times over

(see note)






useful (profitable)

settle (situate); at rest

Generosity (Munificence)
reduce in strength
held in common


Soon; private gain


(see note)

resolve (settle)
division; their

royal power

rob; pillage
by; logic
but rather

is constrained also
excessive extravagance
from poverty

out of accord (hostile)

must also

according to how; kinship

pursue; privilege

duly constituted

because; cash flow
counsel (attorney)
To plead


legal counselor


Assigned [for service]; one

outraged; fault


myself be proud



requires reward; (see note)


(see note)


overly great

reduced his request

dishonorable (undignified)


know not



(see note)

false becomes aware of

angry; what they saw

deceit; falsehood

flattery and say

eye is blinded

royal court

[Such] that

against nature

(see note)

learning; achieved


unruly behavior
was called
knew and had the power to do much


bridge; hear

wile; devious path

devised often

done; commanded

against the proper role of a learned man

opulent splendor; elevated




vegetable soup
in all directions

washes; stream


eye nearby

herbs (plants)
knew how to please

knew how, as I do

by reason judge




know not; (see note)
Except; (t-note)

time and again

befuddled (deceived)

truth-teller; beloved


ear; (see note)

unforseen circumstances


triumphal cloak; wear

royal chariot

go astray (deviate); (see note)

think secure



Whether; or



high dais



masons; desire to know


their ear






blind man; (see note)

(see note)

own hand



many a one

once happened

(see note)

was called Ahab
Israel; govern
knew how to use fair words courteously

them wealthy (powerful)

called; (see note)

in fellowship



leaping about (rampant)



To speak flatteringly; those


scoundrel (whoreson); called


fetch immediately

predict no misfortune




lay [before me]; (t-note)



sheep; hill
in disarray





despite all his [Ahab's] protective soldiers

out of formation

found to be lies

(see note)

(see note)

kingdoms; restored (reformed)
unite; (see note)

honor receives

Has the inherent right to govern


From doing wrong

(see note)

(see note)

judged impartially

the same
show favoritism to no one


compliant (in agreement); (see note)

are skewed


either; or

found no impediment from


come and go

eye; ear

know not

foolish sin

according to this reason

Whether [it] be pleasing or displeasing to them

said to them; wanted none

what is fair

stir up trouble


commander of the Praetorian Guard

unless; weaponless

on the grounds of intending malice
put to death by law

listen to

waited for him to arrive






upbraid (censure)
dead (lit., at the end of his days)



Will not take vengeance for a broken law

entirely skinned


judgment [that would befall him]

olden days



(see note)

for personal gain

uncertainty (instability)



knows; know

I acknowledge

entirely; sent by God



far removed


All the while

contrived; (t-note)


did not care about

entrusted to him

improve (advance, encourage); (see note)


meritorious action; (see note)

kingdom of heaven

widely acclaimed


Hebrews; (see note)


is plaintiff

evaded (nullified)
pays no heed
(see note)




(see note)

describe at length
esteemed renown; continually

moved; descended to earth
amend (atone for)
maiden (i.e., the Virgin Mary)


By; weight

It is suitable for; [to] fear

It befits

(see note)

(see note); (t-note)

Trajan; (see note)




success to him; come about
otherwise; (see note); (t-note)

befits; living


Valerius Maximus; (see note)

the Dorians

seek advice
From; trusted



limbs; (see note)

show respect for




(see note)

war; uncertainty



tenderness; (see note)
take pity


angry [at each other]
Came to terms; peace



stand against

pleasing to God
(i.e., one who is piteous)
may happen
for a little bit

those who move that game piece; (see note)

descended upon
deprived [of power]

nose off
render him loathsome

driven out

should receive judicial punishment

(see note)

sea; invented the galley
had them made; war
out of kilter (unhinged)

kill; killed

was called

ingratiate himself


door; enter

bellowing; ear

deceptions knows
who lies
brought about; overthrown


lamented for him


from time past


(see note)

So that



Who; roused to anger by



books on natural history
lion; nature


somewhat (halfway)
So that; injure

has yielded
depends on; entirely


(see note)


dear to him


they (tyrannical acts); hostile (vicious)

(see note)
was called


conceive of

mother's ear
far and wide


devised a means; surround

herself (in her own person) disguised

out of ranks

Those lying in ambush disperse

dead; captured

cut down (laid to rest); pride (boast)

who once gave no [mercy]


judicial penalty

From; distant

(see note)





in disorder

put a good face on things
So that
without due consideration
true cause

once; hill

in childbirth
birth pains
judgment (doom)

thought; lost

nearer; by chance
be delivered; (t-note)

That was born
deemed themselves stupid
were afraid; (see note); (t-note)


follow Achilles
war; avoid (eschew)


(see note)


own honor also


true bravery
must; direct (control)

turn away

Unless; sloth

Since he [the king] represents them all


(see note)
Judah; Israel

whom; looked after then
And [as] it happened in those days thus

betook himself to give advice


attack (assault); (t-note)

twice as many

so few

pleasant life

set out
keep himself quietly; peace

proclamation had departed




[And] falls onto his stomach to drink

pays close attention

just so he did

takes counsel



speaking; heard
Interpret; dream correctly
saw a barley cake




be hateful


stole away
living person

fare well
following; prepared

cunning; worked
small group

An earthen pot; takes
lamp (metal cup)

Set himself to

raise the battle cry; (t-note)
one voice in unison

their pots break

That Gideon himself; did so

smashed; cried out

The trumpet [blast] was not far behind

hill; their

hill glowed with fire


their bare bodies


knew their position


virtuous (well-bred)

destroy; cause to succeed


(see note)





disregarded it
Because; promise

(see note)


apart from his royal office

excess and insufficiency


an order has given
at once
had passed on

command did immediately

judicial punishment

well pleased
make submissive (mollify)





petition prayed

by; rule

prayer; demanded



it is obligatory for him




goes astray

dearly paid for (suffered)
are not guilty

suffer what; deserves

know not


(see note)


jester's scepter played


What sort of

Whether; praise


thought to flatter

thoughts [on the matter]



holds its

chooses not to relent

seen repeatedly

(see note)


Either; or

take away

oppressively caused hardship

arbitrary taxation


seek advise


made up his mind
(see note)


keep them


sea wild
turn into a rough sea

stirred themselves all simultaneously; (t-note)
territory (place of dwelling)
twelve tribes
by themselves




(see note)
too zealous
Before; become prudent
(see note)

one possesses knowledge, another power
Provided that

(see note)




especially so

(see note)

Scipio; been

bound by duty; (see note)
basis (foundation)

Those two get rid of

sexual urge

(see note)

male; made; female; (see note)
one; many

seek (entreat)
implements; enough
Fashioned; command
noble (appropriate)

(see note)
stands as a pledge

(Aristotle); (see note)

(see note)



achievement (glory)
take into consideration (advise himself)
dissipation (debauchery)
behave not foolishly

(see note)

the limit


whoever; muse upon them




reason; follows


Deluded; themselves before

by way of nature
natural; (see note)

goes awry; know
see; [apart] from
By his foolishness [made] effeminate
cease doing what

old stories; (see note)
(see note)

makes fatuous


kissed; played
train; cord to braid
purse; string
it so happened
One; Media

love is [i.e., should be] in moderation

desire follows

are grown overconfident (rash)

lost; (t-note)

sets aside (impede)
excellence; deficiency

was called




(see note)




pleases him

least expected



(see note)

group; took

arched; (see note)


were misbehaving thus

them lie; sight

Their; absolve


succeed; fail


It were better for him to escape



Changes for the worse

(see note)


(see note)





Astarte; (see note)

(see note)

(see note)
sacrificed to


paid for

before; demise




pay for



diminished (lessened)

excess of luxury

turned aside; (see note)
(see note)

(see note)

practice (habit)

who was offended by


tales; (see note)

many a one
(see note)


it so happened
war; won

secret; took

fresh wounds

were shut

pleasant it would be if; kill




wondrously pleasant to them


prepared then; health
vigorous condition

villainous rascal




lily blossoms one by one


Immediately he knew

heads; (see note)
cut off

fires; kindled



made known to them


was called

thought; tripped

a different thing meant



its duration; (see note)
without discretion
war; nearby

for a long time




who was

useless; (see note)




no living person might know them



they desired
in such a way that no one knew

utterly devoted
To [their] work; worked

wearing apparel
Lies; discomfort

If only God wanted that
in turmoil


it (Ardea); bottomless pit

as [when]; besprinkle



greater (made more)

feel; know

woefully afflicted

broad daylight

best [woman]


yellow hair; arranged (braided)

no detail

(see note)

moved (made supple)

by some stratagem


(see note)


person; took
fastest (closest)

Just as

Before; residence (inn)
quite friendly
[a] relative
(see note)


caused her to understand


prepared (cooked)



as she thought proper

near at hand
who thought
but [she] had an enemy


remained asleep
dreamed; (t-note)
knows; unlatched

And all suddenly in



(see note)
intimidated her

(see note)
completely overwhelmed
had prepared himself
pleased him

arrogant lecher; (see note)



(see note)

hair; ears

would not delay

most woeful; earth
as if she would [turn] into water

all in disarray
hair; uncombed

who was eager to know
What is wrong
unfit (horrible to look upon); (see note)
most worthless
scarcely make eye contact




saw; needs must do it




pierced; (see note)

So that




(see note)

bier (coffin); obtain


done before


(see note)

Away, away with


(see note)

Concerning; (t-note)
(see note)

(see note)


was engaged to be married

was called
father's view

before the endeavor was finished


by agreement [to be pursued] later


was called
lecherous disposition



sent for

utterly false

figured then


army till he should come

Misled by


to be blamed
was wronged
caused by the king
against; recourse (appeal)


knows not; lead to


capture (seize)
hunted wild boar



make war; foreign
lose; their own

In danger

clearly before their eyes

was spoken of (came to mouth)



(see note)

was called



Who knew

died in bed
their; laid


(see note)
desire so seemly governed
(see note)

go wrong

submitted; (see note)



teaching received


throes; relieve


Enough of this

resound; ear; (see note); (t-note)

am not

unless; (t-note)



skipped over



[say] "stop"