The Boke of Cupide, God of Love


1 Lines 6-7: And he can make, within a short while, / Of sick (i.e., lovesick) people completely vigorous, whole, and sound [ones] (i.e., he can assuage the sorrow of lovesick people)

2 Lines 18-19: For he can gladden and grieve (make sorrowful) whomever it pleases him to, / And whomever he wishes, [he can] make laugh or sigh [with lovesickness]

3 Some sang loudly, as if they were complaining

4 Lines 141-42: For lovers are the people [of all] who are alive, / Who suffer most (have most suffering), and are most unfortunate (unsuccessful)

5 What is the point of striving against truth (i.e., of not acknowledging the truth)

6 And then will you be called by the same name as I am (i.e., a cuckold)

7 That would have been nothing [if] Love had not existed

8 And sends plenty of (enough) joy to whomever he likes (lit., to whom it pleases him)


Abbreviations: see Textual Notes.

1-2 These two lines are produced from Chaucer's Knight's Tale (CT I[A]1785-86). For details of the many resonances with The Knight's Tale, see Chamberlain and Rutherford, respectively.
1-20 Sc notes that such descriptions of "the irresistible power of the god of love" are conventional, citing RR (lines 865-906), Froissart's Cour de may (lines 699-761), and Machaut's Dit du vergier (lines 246-324). Sc adds that "[i]f these lines were derived directly it may have been from Le Dit du Vergier, for lines 3, 6-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13, 14, 16-17, 18-19 may all be paralleled there; but all are commonplace" (p. 81n1-20). The idea that "love is master" is proverbial (Whiting L518). See, for example, the opening to Book 1 of Gower's CA, where love is characterized as so powerful that "ther is no man / In al this world so wys, that can / Of love tempre the mesure," and "[i]t hath and schal ben everemor / That love is maister wher he wile" (ed. Peck, 1.21-23, 34-35).

3-5 For he can . . . make fre. Compare Chaucer's Knight's Tale: "For he kan maken, at his owene gyse, / Of everich herte as that hym list divyse" (CT I[A]1789-90). Compare also Gower's CA: "he that hihe hertes loweth / With fyri dartes whiche he throweth, / Cupide, which of love is godd" (ed. Peck, 4.1273-75). For he can make of low hertys hie (line 3) is proverbial (see Whiting L530).

9-10 He can bynde . . . and unbounde. An allusion to Matthew 16:18-19, the proof-text that defines the pope's powers: "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." The God of Love similarly acts as a kind of "pope" over lovers. Also proverbial: "love binds" (Whiting L497). Compare Gower's description of Venus in CA as "sche which mai the hertes bynde / In loves cause and ek unbinde" (ed. Peck, 8.2811- 12). See Whiting for further citations.

20 in May. Springtime is a conventional setting for many medieval narratives, and May in particular is a time of year traditionally associated with lovers and love. See the opening to RR, where the narrator dreams that he awakens in May, filled with joy and thinking of love. In Book 1 of Gower's CA, Amans tells of "[h]ow love and I togedre mette" (1.85) in May:
This enderday, as I forthferde
To walke, as I yow telle may,
And that was in the monthe of Maii,
Whan every brid hath chose his make
And thenkth his merthes for to make
Of love that he hath achieved.
(ed. Peck, 1.98-103)
other day; went forth

bird; mate

Compare also the opening lines of QJ and Lydgate's CLL, as well as Chaucer's General Prologue to CT. Chamberlain less convincingly connects the recurrence of the word May throughout the poem with Chaucer's Merchant's Tale (pp. 45- 46). For discussion of the depiction and significance of the different seasons in medieval art and literature, see Pearsall and Salter's chapter, "The Landscape of the Seasons," pp. 119-60.

26-30 For when they mow her the briddes sing . . . lusty thoghtes ful of grete longynge. The sound of the birds singing in RR inside the Garden of Diversion (Déduit) makes the narrator long to enter the garden (lines 497 ff.). Compare the opening lines of Chaucer's CT, where springtime causes restlessness in the birds and "[t]hanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages" (I[A]12). See also the Prologue to LGW: "whan that the month of May / Is comen, and that I here the foules synge, / And that the floures gynnen for to sprynge" (F.36-38; see also G.36-38, which reads similarly).

31-35 of that longynge . . . grete distresse. A description of lovesickness, typically accompanied by outward signs of sorrow, including sighing, complaining, and changing of color. Sc (p. 81n30-33) suggests a comparison with Arcite's love-sickness in Chaucer's Knight's Tale (CT I[A]1356-79). Compare CLL, lines 215-16; QJ, lines 95-98; and Roos' BDSM, lines 127-28. For a review of love-sickness in the Middle Ages, see Wack, especially pp. 40, 62-66, 101-02, and 135-39. For a discussion of lovesickness in medieval medical discourse, see John Livingston Lowes, "The Loveres Maladye of Heroes," Modern Philology 11 (1913-14), 491-546.

37 althogh I be olde and unlusty. As Sc notes, both Chaucer, in Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan (lines 29-36), and Gower (CA 8.2403) claim they are too old for love (p. 81n37). Chamberlain argues that, while the first several stanzas appear to establish "the narrator as one who is ironically praising Cupid," the narrator's age and susceptibility to love in the eighth stanza reveal him instead to be "old and nearly impotent" (p. 44).

39 Bothe hote and colde, an accesse every day. The narrator describes his suffering from lovesickness as a fever that burns hot and cold by turns. Compare the extended description of the lover's fever in CLL (lines 229-45). In Chaucer's TC 2.809-11, Criseyde suffers similarly. See also Gower's CA, where Amans des-cribes his love-drunkenness: "In cold I brenne and frese in hete" (ed. Macaulay, 6.249). Sc (p. 82n39) points out that this is the "standard terminology for referring to the cotidian fever" mentioned in Trevisa 7.38: "furst þe colde and þeraftir þe hete, and euery day axesse, 3it wers, for som day comeþ double axesse" (p. 386/ 20-21).

41 feveres white. See MED, fever, 3 (a), which explains that "blaunche fever" is "a stage of lovesickness analogous to chills." Gower describes it in CA 6.239-46. Compare Pandarus' discussion of lovers' symptoms in TC, including "a blaunche fevere" (1.917). The Riverside Chaucer adds that this is "a French technical term for a form of lovesickness, characterized by paleness and chills" (p. 1030n916). For further discussion, see David G. Byrd, "Blanche Fever: The Grene Sekeness," Ball State University Forum 19.3 (1978), 56-64.

42 Of al this May yet slept I but a lyte. Compare the Prologue to Chaucer's LGW, where the narrator imagines he might "[d]uellen alwey, the joly month of May, / Withouten slep, withouten mete or drynke" (F.176-77).

43-45 hit is unlyke for to be . . . his firy dart wol smyte. The God of Love shooting arrows into the lover is a common trope that stems from classical traditions. In RR the God of Love stalks the lover with his bow drawn and shoots him a number of times through the eye into the heart (lines 1679-2008; Romaunt, lines 1715- 2100). Compare Gower's CA, where Amans reports that, in answer to his prayer to Cupid, "[a] firy dart me thoghte he hente / And threw it thurgh myn herte rote" (ed. Peck, 1.144-45; see also 4.1274 and 7.1910). Chaucer uses the image frequently, as in The Knight's Tale, where Arcite complains, "Love hath his firy dart so brennyngly / Ystiked thurgh my trewe, careful herte" (CT I[A]1564-65); and in A Complaint to His Lady, lines 36-37: "Thus am I slayn with Loves fyry dart! / I can but love hir best, my swete fo." Chamberlain contends that the narrator's susceptibility to Cupid's dart reveals that "[i]nstead of the seemingly wise observer of stanza one, we have an old, shaking, libidinous invalid" (p. 44), whose "derogatory" reading of the cuckoo is not to be trusted (p. 51).

46 as I lay this other nyght wakyng. The narrator's sleeplessness is a commonplace of medieval dream visions and love complaints. See, for example, Chaucer's BD, where the narrator explains that he has not been able to sleep because of a "sicknesse" he has "suffred this eight yeer" (lines 36-37).

47-50 lovers had a tokenyng . . . leude cukkow syng. Proverbial; see Whiting N111. The cuckoo is also characterized as "lewde" in lines 90 and 103 (see explanatory notes to lines 90 and 270).

55 the thirde nyght of May. An unlucky day for lovers (see the Introduction to BC, p. 24n19). Chamberlain gives a more detailed discussion of May 3 in The Boke of Cupide in comparison to Chaucer (p. 46). For more on Chaucer's use of the date, see John P. McCall, "Chaucer's May 3," Modern Language Notes 76 (1961), 201-05; and Robert C. Cox and Alfred L. Kellog, "Chaucer's May 3 and Its Contexts," in Kellog, 1972, pp. 155-98.

58-60 into a wode . . . on a broke syde. The locus amoenus of medieval dream visions. This convention is borrowed from classical tradition and is typically a garden, but often the forest or even a building can perform the same function, as when Chaucer's narrator of HF finds himself in "a temple ymad of glas" (line 120). For a more detailed discussion of the convention, see Curtius, pp. 195-202, and Howes, pp. 16-18. An influential instance in medieval poetry is the opening of RR, lines 103 ff. (Romaunt, lines 110 ff.). Compare the opening of Chaucer's PF, lines 183 ff.; the beginning of Pearl; QJ, lines 19 ff.; BDSM, lines 22-25; and CLL, lines 15 ff.

63 poudred with dayse. Compare Chaucer's Prologue to LGW, where the lover/nar-rator discards his books (F.36-39) and, rising to "doon . . . alle reverence" to the daisy, "of alle floures flour" (F.52-53), afterwards goes out to hear birdsong while the daisies declare lays of love under the warm sun, singing, "Blessed be Seynt Valentyn" (F.145).

67 ff. The narrator listening to the melody of birds in the pleasant landscape or enclosed garden is a frequent trope in the love complaint or dream vision. Compare Chau-cer's BD, where the narrator dreams he is awakened by "smale foules a gret hep / That had affrayed me out of my slep" (lines 295-96); and PF: "On every bow the bryddes herde I synge, / With voys of aungel in here armonye" (lines 190-91). For detailed discussion of the birdsong in the poem and its relationship to Chaucer's use of the same, see Chamberlain, pp. 47-50. In this volume, see CLL, lines 43 ff.

70 ther houres. Devotions or prayers at set times of the day (i.e., canonical hours). In this case, given that the birds are "joyful of the dayes lyght" (line 69), this probably refers to prime, the second of the canonical hours, recited at sunrise, especially given its association with beginnings (e.g., spring; prime is also the division of the day from 6 to 9 a.m.). It could refer to matins, which, along with lauds, was the first canonical hour, said at midnight or early morning. By the fifteenth century, this is a common description of birdsong. Compare William Dunbar's The Thistle and the Rose: "lusty May . . . maid the birdis to begyn thair houris" (poem 52, lines 4-5) and The Golden Targe: "Full angellike thir birdis sang thair houris" (poem 59, line 10).

78-80 And evermore two . . . Seynt Valentynes day. The Riverside Chaucer suggests that "[t]he tradition of St. Valentine as patron of mating birds (and humans) may have been an invention of Chaucer and his literary circle. . . . [T]here is no convincing evidence of a prior popular cult, or of other connection between any of the several Saint Valentines and the subject of erotic love or fertility before Chaucer" (p. 999 n309). See also Robert C. Cox and Alfred L. Kellog, "Chaucer's St. Valentine: A Conjecture," in Kellog, 1972, pp. 108-45; Jack B. Oruch, "St. Valentine, Chau-cer, and Spring in February," Speculum 56 (1981), 534-65; and Henry Ansgar Kelly, Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986). Com-pare Chaucer's Complaint of Mars, where a bird offers to sing Mars' complaint in honor of Valentine's Day; see also PF, lines 309-10 and 386-89; Complaynt D'Amours, lines 85-91; the Prologue to LGW F.145-47; Gower's Cinkante Balades 34 and 35; and Dunbar's The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo (poem 3, line 206). For discussion of In Marche, see textual note to line 80.

81-85 the ryver that I sat upon . . . myght be herd of eny man. Compare the description of birdsong in Chaucer's PF, lines 197-203. In Chaucer's BD, the narrator describes how the birds
. . . al my chambre gan to rynge
Thurgh syngynge of her armonye;
For instrument nor melodye
Was nowhere herd yet half so swete,
Nor of acord half so mete. (lines 312-16)
See also explanatory note to lines 67 ff.

90 the lewde cukkowe. A common characterization of the cuckoo in medieval literature because it is a bird that lays its eggs in other birds' nests (for more on this, see explanatory note to line 270). The cuckoo is also called "lewde" in lines 50 and 103. Compare PF, line 616, where the Merlin enjoins the cuckoo: "Go, lewed be thow whil the world may dure." More specifically, the narrator here, at the beginning of his dream, sets up the initial opposition between the "ill-mannered" (or simply "crude") cuckoo and the more "refined" nightingale that is played out in the birds' debate with one another.
   The cuckoo is often associated with a fear of cuckoldry (see Whiting C603), but see Chamberlain's argument on the cuckoo's connection with Christ in the poem and Clanvowe's development of "a virtuous cuckoo" (p. 53) as an alternative tradition in medieval poetry (see especially pp. 50-55). Chamberlain concludes that "Clanvowe has humorously presented a virtuous cuckoo, embodying Christian truth in the tradition of 'Sumer is icumen in'" (p. 59), a thirteenth-century song that calls on the cuckoo to sing in praise of the rejuvenation of the natural world: "Murie sing, cuccu! / Cuccu! cuccu! / Wel singes thu, cuccu; / Ne swik thu naver nu!" (Middle English and Latin texts, as well as translation of the Latin, available online from Bella Millett, English Department, University of Southampton, .)

98-100 A nyghtyngale . . . grene wode wide. On the power of the nightingale's song, see Albertus Magnus, who explains that the nightingale "would sooner give up its life than lay down its song defeated. It is small of body, but its breathing has such a great vital force that it wondrously gives forth its melodious and complex song" (23.137). See also "Philomena" (or "Philomela"), the Latin poem probably by John Peckham (Philomena: A Poem, the Latin Text with an English Version, ed. and trans. William Dobell [London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 1924]). Com-pare Lydgate's CLL, lines 43-49, in which the birds sing so loudly "that al the wode ronge, / Lyke as hyt sholde shever in pesis smale" (lines 45-46) and the nightingale "[w]yth so grete myght her voys gan out wrest, / Ryght as her hert for love wolde brest" (lines 48-49). Although the narrator favors the nightingale, Chamberlain argues that the nightingale is "wholly partisan to Cupid, vengeful, willful, and not at all spiritual or mystical" (p. 58; see also pp. 55-59).

112-15 good cukkow, go . . . Thy songes be so elynge. The cuckoo's song is tedious perhaps because of its repetitive nature; proverbial sayings about the cuckoo include that it can sing only one song (Whiting C600) and that it sings only of itself (Whiting C601), both of which would make for repetitious listening.

118-20 my songe is bothe trewe and pleyn . . . As thou dost in thy throte. The owl makes a similar claim about his song in The Owl and the Nightingale (lines 260-65) and complains of the nightingale's constant trilling (lines 335-40). Albertus Magnus describes the nightingale's song as
melodious and complex. . . . Now it is drawn out long in a continuous breath and then it is varied as if with the breathing of an inflected voice. Then it is punctuated with an abrupt sound and is finally linked to a convoluted breathing. The sound is full, low, high, complex and drawn out, exalted and depressed, imitating almost every musical instrument. (23.137)
He adds that it "responds and sings back to [singers] as if trying to be victorious" and that nightingales "also provoke one another to sing in this way" (23.137), which perhaps explains its use in debate poetry.
   Sc (p. 83n118-20) suggests that the contrast here is between plainsong (i.e., monophonic music), represented by the cuckoo's pleyn singing (line 118), and polyphonic music, corresponding to the nightingale's ability to breke the song in her throte (lines 119-20). Given the cuckoo's complaint that the nightingale sings incomprehensibly in French (see explanatory note to lines 123-25), the contrast might also be between courtly French and pleyn (i.e., "unembellished") English.

123-25 mony a nyse, queynt crie . . . what that shuld be? The descriptors nyse and queynt (line 123) point to the unfamiliarity of the nightingale's cry. The cuckoo questions the nightingale's use of words that cannot be readily understood, as evident in her cry Ocy! Ocy! (line 124), which is, as Sc notes, "[a] fairly frequently used imi-tation of the nightingale's song, though this seems to be its first use in English. . . . ocy was usually taken to be the imperative of [French] occire 'to kill'" (p. 84n124-35). The difficulty in understanding the cry masks the violent nature of love that it would otherwise reveal, though the hidden meaning of the song might also allude to the story of Philomela that lies behind the nightingale in classical traditions (detailed in explanatory note to CLL, line 374). In addition, the word queynt, with its potential pun, is perhaps a reminder that the nightingale's song is not just of love, but also of sex.

127-30 When that I sey . . . agen Love amys. The nightingale's explanation illustrates that her cry requires an interpreter in order to be understood.

136 this is a queynt lawe. See explanatory note to lines 123-25 for discussion of the adjective queynt.

157 Semelyhed. According to the MED, the more common meaning of semelihed(e) n. is "beauty, attractiveness," but the MED cites this line from BC as the sole example for meaning (b) "?propriety; ?graciousness."

160 Wer lother to be schamed then to dye. Proverbial: "better to die with honor than live in shame" (see Whiting D239). Compare lines 492-96 and 525-26 in QJ; and lines 546-48 in BDSM (see explanatory note to line 492 in QJ for more details).

166-67 Nyghtyngale, thou spekest . . . is the contreyre. Sc points to The Owl and the Nightingale, lines 839-44, for a similar ploy (p. 84n166-67).

178-80 For who that geteth of love a lytil blysse . . . have his eire. "Whoever gets (begets) a little bliss of love, / Unless he is always by it (i.e., paying attention to it), indeed, / May have his heir come of age right away." These lines hint at the cuckoo's final pronouncement on the matter of love (lines 183-85): that leaving one's mate will turn one into a cuckold. See explanatory note to line 185, for more on the cuckoo's connection to cuckoldry.

185 then shalt thou hoten as do I. In other words, the nightingale will be called a cuckold, as is the cuckoo; i.e., those who follow Love will find themselves cuckolded. Presumably the cuckoo knows this from experience, as the proverbial pun on cuckoo/cuckold implies (see Whiting C603). For further discussion of the cuckoo's traditional associations, see especially David Lampe. Gregory Roscow takes the position that "there is no evidence that cuckoo and cuckold could mean the same thing at this time" (p. 183), adding that "Clanvowe in his conventional courtly treatment of romantic love steers well clear of adultery or cuckoldry as a possible consequence of the nightingale's advocacy of love" (pp. 183-84).

197 no reson but his wille. The dichotomy between reason and will was common in the Middle Ages, and is a key component of a number of medieval works, including William Langland's Piers Plowman, Gower's CA, Jean de Meun's section of RR, and Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies. Will was the faculty that encouraged lovers to love, while reason usually counseled restraint. For the proverbial saying "love puts reason away," see Whiting L533. The cuckoo's argument echoes Gower's CA, where love's lack of reason is attributed to his connection to Fortune (also frequently depicted as blind):
For if ther evere was balance
Which of fortune stant governed,
I may wel lieve as I am lerned
That love hath that balance on honde,
Which wol no reson understonde. (ed. Peck, 1.42-46)

believe; taught

202 he is blynde and may not se. Proverbial: "love is blind" (Whiting C634). Cupid, the God of Love, is frequently depicted as blind. See, for example, Romaunt, lines 3702-03: "Cupide, / The God of Love, blynde as stoon"; and Gower's CA: "For love is blind and may noght se" (ed. Peck, 1.47). See Whiting for further citations.

204 ful selde trouthe avayleth. Compare the Prologue to LGW, where Alceste argues that the God of Love's court is full of liars and slanderers (F.352-56; G.327-32).

205 So dyverse and so wilful ys he. Proverbial: "love changes oft"; see Whiting L502.

209 I can for tene sey not oon worde more. Sc (pp. 84-85n209) writes, "This is tantamount to an admission of defeat on the nightingale's part, for it was the rule of medieval school's debate that whoever argued his adversary into silence was the victor," suggesting comparisons with The Owl and the Nightingale (lines 391-410, 665-66) and Dispute between a Good Man and the Devil (lines 949-52).

222 papyngay. "Parrot." Clearly an insult. The comment perhaps carries an accusation of licentiousness, since the parrot is characterized by Chaucer as promiscuous (see PF, line 359: "The popynjay, ful of delicasye [wantonness]"). On another level, a parrot speaks without reason, only able to repeat what it learns by rote, perhaps hinting that this is the case with those who follow love. According to Trevisa, "some bestes beþ y-ordeynede for mannes mete, as scheep, hertes, and oþre suche; and [som] serueþ for seruyce of mankynde, as horse, asses, oxen, and cameles, and oþere suche; and some for mannes merþe, as apes and marmusettes and popyngayes" (p. 1110/19-23), which implies a kind of uselessness, as of a creature whose only reason for existence is to provide entertainment. In Langland's Piers Plowman, the peacock and the parrot "with here proude federes / By-tokneþ ryght riche men" (C.15.173), which points to a connection with vanity. Lee Patterson sums up these characteristics in his suggestion that this is "a shrewd critique," noting that the "parrot is a quintessential courtly bird," designating not only "the courtier but . . . the courtly over-achiever" because of "its gaudy plumage, its status as a plaything of the rich, and its ability to rehearse, with mindless enthusiasm, the phrases it has been laboriously taught," all of which make it "an apt symbol of the fawning, too-perfect courtier" (pp. 22-23). Eustache Deschamps' balade, "Plaintes d'amoureux" (3.296-97, no. 476), also associates the nightingale with the parrot in opposition to the cuckoo, as the narrator complains that even though it is May, he cannot hear much of the nightingale or the parrot, only the cuckoo's song: "Car l'en oit poy rossignol, papegay, / Fors seulement que le chant du cucu" (lines 23-24, "Because one hears little of the nightingale, parrot, / But only the song of the cuckoo").

241-45 this medecyne . . . the daysye . . . lyssen of thy pyne. Compare the Prologue to LGW F.40-209 (see explanatory note to line 63). For more on the courtly cult dedicated to the daisy and Chaucer's LGW, see John L. Lowes, "The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women as Related to the French Marguerite Poems, and the Filostrato," PMLA 19 (1904), 593-683. See also Peter W. Travis, "Chaucer's Heliotropes and the Poetics of Metaphor," Speculum 72 (1997), 399-427.

270 that foule, fals, unkynde bridde. Sc notes, "For a long account of the cuckoo's evil nature see La Messe des Oiseaus 381-416, and The Parliament of Fowls 358, 612-16" (p. 86n270). Albertus Magnus explains that "[t]he chicks of the cuckoo are never found in their own nests, nor is the cuckoo ever found to carry them to the nest, for its custom is to lay in the nests of other birds" (6.52), adding that "they first suck out the eggs of those birds and then put their own in their place. Therefore almost all other birds fight against the cuckoos" (6.53). See also 17.6. In another discussion of the cuckoo, he suggests that the cuckoo leaves its egg to be incubated by other birds, and
[t]he bird whose nest it is incubates all the eggs, its own and that of the cuckoo, until the shell of the cuckoo's egg cracks open. It is said that the cuckoo's egg opens faster than the others and that then the bird no longer incubates the other eggs, but it feeds the cuckoo chick instead. This, as it gradually grows, incubates the other eggs and hatches out the chicks of the bird that is feeding it. . . . Others say, however, that the eggs hatch together and then the mother kills her own chicks and gives them as food to the cuckoo. This is because the cuckoo chicks are prettier and larger than her own and she therefore despises her own and kills them. (8.91)
275 ff. we wol have a parlement. The nightingale asks the birds for judgment against the cuckoo, and they agree to form a parliament to decide the cuckoo's fate within this official legal setting. The birds in Chaucer's PF hold a yearly parliament on Valentine's Day (lines 320-22).

276 the egle our lorde. In PF, Nature identifies "[t]he tersel egle . . . / The foul royal" (lines 393-94) as the preeminent bird.

284-85 the quene, / At Wodestok. Given the probable date of the poem, most likely Richard II's Queen Anne (of Bohemia), "who was at Woodstock with Richard II in 1389 and almost certainly other times as well" (Sc, p. 86n284-85).

287 an hawthorn. Sc (p. 86n287) observes that the hawthorn is linked to steadfastness in love, citing The Court of Love (lines 1353-54) and Lydgate's Temple of Glass (lines 510-22) as examples. See also line 71 of CLL.

289 Terme of lyve, Love hath withholde me. Patterson suggests that withholde here means "retain" and that the line should be read "I have been retained for life by Love," reading this as an allusion to the fact that, beginning in 1389, "Richard [II] began to indulge, systematically and extensively, in life-retaining" ("Court Poli-tics," p. 10). The MED suggests the word should be understood as "sustained" or "supported" (see withholden v., 4 [c]).

290 Compare PF, where the narrator awakens similarly at the end of the poem "with the shoutyng, whan the song was do / That foules maden at here flyght awey" (lines 693-94); and BD, where the narrator dreams he is awakened by "smale foules a gret hep / That had affrayed me out of my slep / Thorgh noyse and swet-nesse of her song" (lines 295-97); and TC, when Pandarus is roused from sleep by the song of the swallow (2.64-70).


Abbreviations: B = Bodleian Library MS Bodley 638, fols. 11v-16r; Ff = Cambridge Uni-versity Ff.1.6 (Findern MS), fols. 22r-28r; F = Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 16, fols. 35v-39v [base text]; S = Bodleian Library MS Arch. Selden. B. 24, fols. 138v-141v; Sc = V. J. Scatter-good; Sk = Walter W. Skeat; T = Bodleian Library MS Tanner 346, fols. 97r-101r; Th = William Thynne (1532).

title F, B: The boke of Cupide god of love. Ff: Geffrey Chaucer's Poem of the Cuckow and the Nightingale (in later hand). T: Of þe Cuckow & þe Nightingale (in later hand). Th: Of the Cuckowe and the Nyghtyngale.

3 hertys. F: herty, though the stroke above the y may indicate that s should be added. Sc's emendation.

4 high hertis low. Ff, S, T: of hye lowe. Sc emends: highe lowe.

7 ful. T, Th: omit

12-13 T, Th transpose these lines.

14 in. T, Th: omit.

19 don him laugh or siketh. Ff, T: he laugethe or sigheth. S: laughith or he sikith. Th: he loweth or syketh. Sc emends: he laugheth or he siketh.

20 he sheweth. T, Th: he shedeþ.

24 morenynge. Ff, T, Th: some mornynge.

25 grette. T, Th: mych.

26 when. F: then. Sc's emendation.

28 bringes. F: burges. Sc's emendation.

29 ease. F, B: case. Sc's emendation.

33 And for. B: For. S: And all for, which Sc follows (And al for).
that that. F, B, Ff: that. S: it þat. Sc's emendation.

39 an. T, Th: and.

41 slayn. Ff, S, T, Th: shaken. Sc reads F, B as alayn and emends to shaken.

43 is unlyke for to be. Ff, T, Th: is not like to me. S: naught likith vnto me. Sc emends: is vnlyke to me.

50 leude. Ff: lowde.

54 I non had herd. Ff, Th: had y non herde. T: herd I none.

55 was. Ff, S, T, Th: was tho, which Sc follows.

59 prively. Ff, T, Th: boldly.

63-64 B transposes these lines.

64 gras. Ff, T, Th: grenes. S: greses.
al ilike hie. Ff, T, Th: lyke hye, which Sc follows (ilike hie).

67 the. F: thee. Sc's emendation.
crepe. Ff, T, Th: trippe. S: flee.

70 of. S: on.
May. F, B, S: Mayes.
to don ther houres. F, B: ben ther houres. S: vse thair houris. T, Th: forto done houres. Sc's emendation (to don her houres).

71 that. Ff, T: nat.

73 loude. Ff: lowe.

75 a lowde. Ff: all the ful, which Sc follows (al the fulle). S: all full. T, Th: þe ful.

76 hem. Ff: hym.
gay. Ff: gay gay.

79 they. Ff: the.

80 Marche. T, Th: Feuir3ere. Sc notes that, although it was more usual for St. Valen-tine's Day to fall in February, it could also occur in March (p. 83n80). Sk notes that"it ruins the scansion, unless we adopt the reading March. It looks as if the author really did write Marche!" (p. 527n80).

86 delyte. Ff, S: delite ther of, which Sc follows (delyte therof).

87 swowe. B, S: slow.

90 lewde. Ff: lowde. Sc emends: lewede.

94 foule. T, Th: lewde.

96 gan chide. Ff: now gan chyde. S: gan to chide. T, Th: þus gan chide, which Sc follows (thus gan chide).

97 busshe. F: busshes. S: beugh. Sc's emendation.
me. Ff, S, T, Th: omit.

99 voys. F: woys.

100 grene wode. Ff: grenes of the wode.

103 lewde. Ff, T: lowde. Sc emends: lewede.

104 then thou. Ff, S, T, Th: thanne hastowe, which Sc follows (then hast thou).

105 him. S, Th: hir.

111 And then. T: And þere. Th: There.

112 thy wey. Ff, T, Th: aweye.

113 here. T: he.

115 Thy. Ff: The.

116 What. S: Quhat bird.
he. F, B: she. Sc's emendation, which I follow here and at line 164. The context makes it clear that the cuckoo is speaking, thus the masculine rather than the feminine pronoun is needed. Although the first two pronoun references to the cuckoo in F and B use"she," all other references (lines 196, 219-225, 238, 240, and 260) make it clear that the cuckoo is male. Perhaps the scribe or the scribe's exemplar mistook the nightingale as the speaker of this line and line 164.

119 breke hit. Ff: crake. S, T, Th: crekill.

123 nyse, queynt. F, B: queynt. S: queynt feyned. Sc's emendation (nyse, queynte).

127 that. Ff: than.

131 were. Ff, T, Th: had the.

135 crede. S: cryed. B, Ff, T, Th: gred, which Sc follows (grede), but crede is a legitimate variant (see MED, greden v.).

136 ywis. Ff, S, T, Th: omit, followed by Sc.

137 eyther shal I. Ff, S, T, Th: euery wight shall.
elles be slawe. Ff, T, Th: bene to drawe.

139 neyther. Ff, T, Th: not.
for to dye. F: dye. Sc's emendation.

140 Ne. Ff, Th: Ne neuer. S: nor. T: Ne neþir.
yoke. F: loke. Sc's emendation.

141 lyven. Ff, S, T, Th: bene.
on. F: of. Sc's emendation.

142 most unthrive. F: most and vnthrive. Sc's emendation.

144 at the last, failen of her. Ff, T, Th: lest feelen of. S: alderleste haue felyng of.

146 What. S: Quhat brid.

147 cherles hert. Ff, Th: cherlnesse. S: cherlich hert. T: clerenes.

151 goodnesse. Ff: gladnesse.

153 al. F, B: omit. Sc's emendation.
hertys. F: hurtys. Sc's emendation, which I follow to avoid confusion, though this is a legitimate variant of hertys (see MED, herte n.).

154 trust. Ff: liste.

156-57 T, Th: transpose the second halves of the lines.

157 largenesse. Ff, S, T, Th: largesse, which Sc follows.

158 B: omits, but includes as line 161, with marginal notation that the line should go before 159.
and. Ff, T, Th: omit.

160 to2. Ff: do.

161 that ys. T, Th: þat þis is.
al that. Ff, T, Th: that. S: all þat euer. Sc's emendation(alle that).

162 bothe. T, Th: omit.

163 rede I thee, that thou. Ff: I rede thou. T, Th: I rede þat þou. S: rede I þat thou, which Sc follows.

164 he. F, B: she. Sc's emendation. See textual note to line 116.
God. T, Th: omit.

167 the sothe is the. Ff, T, Th: ys the soth.

168 in yong folke is. B, Ff, S, T, Th: is yn yonge folke, which Sc follows (is in yonge folke).

169 olde. T, Th: old folk.

171 disese and. F, B: mony an. Sc's emendation.

172 Sorow. Th: So sorowe.
a. Ff, S, T, Th: a grete, which Sc follows.

174 Repreve. Ff: Disproue. T, Th: Deprauyng.
and1. T, Th: omit.
untrust. F: to trust. Sc's emendation (vntrust).

175 and1. B, Ff, T, Th: omit.

176 What. Ff, T, Th: omit.

179 But he. Ff, S, T, Th: But yf he, which Sc follows (But if he).

180 eire. F, B: crie. Sc's emendation:"The F. B. reading fails to give a true rhyme or adequate sense" (p. 84n180).

182 loude. Ff, S, T, Th: queynt.

183 fer or long be. F: fer of long be. Ff, T, Th: be ferre or longe, which Sc follows (be fer or longe). S: be long and fer.

184 Thou. B: Then.

187 let. S: now lat. Ff, T, Th: ne let, which Sc follows.

189 mony is. Ff, T, Th: many on ys, which Sc follows (mony oon is). S: mony one ar.

191 Love his. Ff: loues.
servant. Ff, S, T, Th: seruaunte3.

192 tachches. Ff, T, Th: euel tacches, which Sc follows (euel tachches) S: euell scathis.
him. Ff, S, T, Th: hem.

193 him. Ff, S, T, Th: hem.
as. Ff, T: ryght as. Th: right in.

194 and in worschipful. S: honour and worschip to.

195 whom. Ff, T, Th: whanne.
him1. T, Th: hem.
joy. S: I seye.
him2. Ff, T, Th: hem. S: he.

196 Ye. Ff, S, T, Th: Thou.
holde thee. Th: he.

197 his. T, Th: it is.

198 untrew. Ff: ful vntrewe.

200 That. F, B: And. Sc's emendation.
grace. Th: corage.

201-05 T, Th: omit.

202 not. Ff: nothyng.

203 And when. Ff: And whome. S: Quhom.
lyeth. Ff: hit. S: hurtith.
when2. Ff, S: whome.
fayleth. S: helith.

207 She. Ff: And she. T, Th: Hou she.
sighe. Ff: syght.
hert. Ff, T, Th: omit.

208 ever I. F, B: I ever. Sc's emendation.

209 I can. S: And gan.

210 that. Th: þat worde.

212 fals. Th: leude.

216 I. Th: he.
out. Ff, S, T, Th: vp, which Sc follows.

217-19 T, Th: omit.

218 I. Ff: omits.

220 when. T, Th: omit.

223 thoght me. T, Th: me aloone.

224 fro tre to tre. Ff: fro the tre.

224-25 T, Th: omit.

228 thus. Ff, T, Th: omit.

229 oon avowe. S: rycht anon.
I avowe. Ff: I wol a vowe. S: I wole allowe. T, Th: make I now.

230 That. T: And.

232 amayed. T, Th: dismaied.

233 cukkow. S: false cukkow.
er then. S: greue. T: syng erst þan.

237 leve. F, B: love. Ff, Th: loue thou. S: leue thou. T: love þeir. Sc's emendation.
Loves. Ff: the loues. T, Th: ne his louys.

239 nothing. T: noman.

240 Fro. Ff, T, Th: For.
yet he doth. T, Th: it haþ do.

241 Yee, use thou. Ff, T, Th: Ye vse. S: 3a thou schalt vse.

243 flour, the daysye. Ff, T, Th: daysy. S: flour dayeseye, which Sc follows (flour daysye).

245 That. Ff: Thal.
gretly. S: mekle.
thee lyssen. Ff, T, Th: lyssen the, which Sc follows. S: lessen.

247 thy. Ff: my. T, Th: þe.

247-90 This final section of the poem is missing in S.

250 to. Ff, T, Th: of.

251 out. Ff, T, Th: omit, followed by Sc.

254 day. Ff: may.

255 ever yet he eny lover. T, Th: eny 3it louer he euer.

257 with. Ff: whele.

262 were. F: werne.
vale. F: wale. Ff, T, Th: dale.

266 Yee knowe wel. Ff: Ye wyten well for. T, Th: The cukko wel.
is not fro yow hidde. Ff: may not be yhydde. T, Th: is not forto hide.

267 have. Ff, T, Th: fast haue, which Sc follows.

271 by. Ff, T, Th: by onne.

273 fewe. Th: omits.

276 shal be the egle. Ff, T, Th: shall the Egle been, which Sc follows (shal the egle be).

277 recorde. Ff: O record.

280 make summe. Ff: maken. T, Th: fynalli make.

281 any nay. T: may. Th: nay.

282 of. Ff, T, Th: after.

285 grene. Ff: grete.

286 and. Ff: omits.
then. F: the. Sc's emendation.

287 fleye. T, Th: omit.
hawthorn. F: hawthornes. Sc's emendation.

290 awoke. Ff: began awake.

colophon B: Explicit the boke of Cupyde god of loue. Ff: Explicit Clanvowe, followed by two seven-line stanzas on the verso side of the folio. T, Th: Explicit, followed by three stanzas addressed to the book and an envoy of one stanza; in T this is followed by Explicit þe Cuck. & þe Nighting. in the same hand that added the title.

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The Boke of Cupide, God of Love


























































The God of Love, a benedicité!
How myghty and how grete a lorde is he!
For he can make of low hertys hie,
And high hertis low and like for to die,
And herde hertis he can make fre.

And he can make, within a lytel stounde,
Of seke folke ful fresh, hool, and sounde,1
And of hoole he can make seke;
He can bynde and unbynde eke,
What he wole have bounde and unbounde.

To telle his myght my wit may not suffice,
For he may do al that he can devyse;
For he can make of wise folke ful nyse,
And in lyther folke dystroye vise,
And proude hertys he can make agryse.

Shortely, al that evere he wol he may:
Agenst him ther dar no wight sey nay,
For he can glade and greve whom him lyketh,
And who that he wol, don him laugh or siketh,2
And most his myght he sheweth ever in May.

For every trew, gentil hert fre
That with him is, or thinketh to be,
Agens May now shal have somme steryng,
Other to joy, or elles to morenynge,
In no seson so grette, as thynkes me.

For when they mow her the briddes sing,
And see the floures and the leves spring,
That bringes into hertis remembraunce
A maner ease, medled with grevaunce
And lusty thoghtes ful of grete longynge.

And of that longynge cometh hevynesse,
And therof groues oft grete seknesse,
And for lak of that that they desyre;
And thus in May ben hertys set on fire,
And so they brenne forthe in grete distresse.

I speke this of felyng, truly,
For althogh I be olde and unlusty,
Yet have I felt of that sekenes in May,
Bothe hote and colde, an accesse every day,
How sore, ywis, ther wot no wight but I.

I am so slayn with the feveres white,
Of al this May yet slept I but a lyte;
And also hit is unlyke for to be
That eny hert shulde slepy be,
In whom that Love his firy dart wol smyte.

But as I lay this other nyght wakyng,
I thoght how lovers had a tokenyng,
And among hem hit was a comune tale,
That hit wer good to her the nyghtyngale
Rather then the leude cukkow syng.

And then I thoght anon as hit was day,
I wolde goo somme whedir for to assay
Yf that I myght a nyghtyngale here;
For yet I non had herd of al this yere,
And hit was the thirde nyght of May.

And anon as I the day espied,
No lenger wolde I in my bed abyde;
But into a wode that was fast by,
I went forthe allone prively,
And helde my way don on a broke syde.

Til I come into a launde of white and grene,
So feire oon had I nevere in bene.
The grounde was grene, poudred with dayse,
The floures and the gras al ilike hie,
Al grene and white - was nothing elles sene.

Ther sat I doune amonge the feire floures
And sawe the briddes crepe out of her boures,
Ther as they had rested hem al nyght.
They were so joyful of the dayes lyght,
That they began of May to don ther houres.

They coude that servise alle bye rote.
Ther was mony a lovely note:
Somme songe loude, as they had pleyned,3
And somme in other maner voys yfeyned,
And somme al out, with a lowde throte.

They pruned hem, and made hem ryght gay,
And daunseden, and lepten on the spray,
And evermore two and two in fere,
Ryght so as they had chosen hem to yere
In Marche, upoun Seynt Valentynes day.

And the ryver that I sat upon,
Hit made suche a noyse as hit ronne,
Acordaunt to the foules ermonye.
Me thoght hit was the best melodye
That myght be herd of eny man.

And for delyte - I note ner how -
I fel in such a slombre and a swowe -
Not al on slepe, ne fully wakyng -
And in that swowe me thoght I herde singe
That sory bridde, the lewde cukkowe,

And that was on a tre right fast bye;
But who was then evel apayed but I!
"Now God," quod I, "that died upoun the Croise,
Give sorowe on thee, and on thy foule voyse,
For lytel joy have I now of thy crie."

And as I with the cukkow gan chide,
I herde, in the next busshe me beside,
A nyghtyngale so lustely singe,
That with her clere voys she made rynge
Thro-out al the grene wode wide.

"A, good nyghtyngale," quod I then,
"A lytell hast thou be to longe hen,
For her hath be the lewde cukkow,
And songen songes rather then thou.
I prey to God that evel fire him brenne."

But now I wil yow tel a wonder thinge:
As longe as I lay in that swonynge,
Me thoght I wist al that the briddes ment,
And what they seyde, and what was her entent,
And of her speche I had good knouynge.

And then herd I the nyghtyngale sey,
"Now, good cukkow, go sommewhere thy wey,
And let us that can syng duel here;
For every wight escheweth thee to here;
Thy songes be so elynge, in gode fey."

"What?" quoth he, "What may thee eyle now?
Hit thynkes me I syng as wel as thow;
For my songe is bothe trewe and pleyn,
Althogh I cannot breke hit so in veyne
As thou dost in thy throte, I wote ner how.

"And every wight may understond me,
But, nyghtyngale, so may they not thee,
For thou hast mony a nyse, queynt crie.
I have herd thee seye 'Ocy! Ocy!'
Who myght wete what that shuld be?"

"O fole," quoth she, "wost thou not what that is?
When that I sey 'Ocy! Ocy!' iwisse,
Then mene I that I wolde wonder fayne
That al tho wer shamefully slayne,
That menen oght agen Love amys.

"And also I wold al tho were dede,
That thenk not her lyve in love to lede,
For who that wol the God of Love not serve,
I dar wel say he is worthy for to sterve;
And for that skille 'Ocy! Ocy!' I crede."

"Ey!" quoth the cukkow, "ywis, this is a queynt lawe,
That eyther shal I love or elles be slawe.
But I forsake al suche companye,
For myn entent is neyther for to dye,
Ne while I lyve in Loves yoke to drawe.

"For lovers be the folke that lyven on lyve,
That most disese han, and most unthrive,4
And most enduren sorowe, wo, and care,
And, at the last, failen of her welfaire.
What nedith hit agens trweth to strive?"5

"What?" quoth she, "Thou art out of thy mynde!
How maist thou in thy cherles hert fynde
To speke of Loves servauntes in this wyse?
For in this worlde is noon so good servise
To every wight that gentil ys of kynde.

"For therof truly cometh al goodnesse,
Al honour, and al gentilnesse,
Worship, ese, and al hertys lust,
Perfyt joy and ful ensured trust,
Jolité, plesaunce, and freshenesse,

"Louelyhed and trew companye,
Semelyhed, largenesse, and curtesie,
Drede of shame and for to don amys;
For he that truly Loves servaunt ys,
Wer lother to be schamed then to dye.

"And that ys sothe, al that I sey;
In that beleve I wil bothe lyve and dye,
And, cukkow, so rede I thee, that thou do, iwis."
"Ye then," quoth he, "God let me never have blis,
If evere I to thy counseyl obey.

"Nyghtyngale, thou spekest wonder faire,
But, for al that, the sothe is the contreyre.
For loving in yong folke is but rage,
And in olde hit is a grete dotage;
Who most hit useth, most he shal apeyre.

"For therof cometh disese and hevynesse,
Sorow and care and mony a seknesse,
Dispite, debate, angre, and envye,
Repreve and shame, untrust and jelosye,
Pride and myschefe, povert and wodenesse.

"What? Lovyng is an office of dispaire,
And oon thing is therin that ys not faire;
For who that geteth of love a lytil blysse,
But he be alway ther by, ywysse,
He may ful sone of age have his eire.

"And therfor, nyghtyngale, holde thee nye,
For leve me wel: for al thy loude crie,
Yf thou fer or long be fro thi make,
Thou shalt be as other that be forsake,
And then shalt thou hoten as do I."6

"Fye," quoth she, "on thi name and on thee!
The God of Love let thee nevere ythe!
For thou art wors a thousand folde then wode,
For mony is ful worthie and ful good,
That had be noght ne had Love ybe.7

"For Love his servant evermore amendeth,
And fro al tachches him defendeth,
And maketh him to brenne as eny fire,
In trouthe and in worschipful desire,
And whom him likes, joy ynogh him sendeth."8

"Ye, nyghtyngale," he seyde, "holde thee stille!
For Love hath no reson but his wille;
For ofte sithe untrew folke he esith,
And trew folke so bittirly displesith,
That for defaute of grace hee let hem spille.

"With suche a lorde wolde I never be,
For he is blynde and may not se.
And when he lyeth he not, ne when he fayleth;
In this court ful selde trouthe avayleth,
So dyverse and so wilful ys he."

Then toke I of the nyghtyngale kepe.
She kest a sighe out of her hert depe,
And seyde, "Alas, that ever I was bore!
I can for tene sey not oon worde more."
And ryght with that she brast on for to wepe.

"Alas!" quoth she, "my hert wol tobreke,
To her thus this fals birdde to speke
Of Love, and of his worshipful servyse.
Now, God of Love, thou helpe me in summe wise,
That I may on this cukkow ben awreke."

Me thoght then that I stert out anone,
And to the broke I ran and gatte a stone,
And at the cukkow hertly I cast,
And he for drede flyed awey ful fast,
And glad was I when that he was gone.

And evermore the cukkow as he fley,
He seyde, "Farewel, farewel, papyngay,"
As thogh he had scorned, thoght me.
But ay I hunted him fro tre to tre,
Till he was fer al out of syght away.

And then come the nyghtyngale to me
And seyde, "Frende, forsoth I thanke thee,
That thou hast lyked me thus to rescowe,
And oon avowe to Love I avowe,
That al this May I wol thy singer be."

I thanked her, and was ryght wel apayed.
"Yee," quoth she, "and be thou non amayed,
Thogh thou have herde the cukkow er then me,
For, if I lyve, hit shal amended be
The next May, yf I be not affrayed.

And oon thing I wol rede thee also:
Ne leve not the cukkow, Loves fo,
For al that he hath seyde is strong lesing."
"Nay," quoth I, "ther shal nothing me bring
Fro Love, and yet he doth me mekil wo."

"Yee, use thou," quoth she, "this medecyne:
Every day this May er that thou dyne,
Goo loke upon the fressh flour, the daysye,
And thogh thou be for wo in poynt to dye,
That shal ful gretly thee lyssen of thy pyne.

And loke alwey that thou be good and trewe,
And I wol singe oon of thy songes newe.
For love of thee, as loude as I may crie."
And then she began this songe ful hye:
"I shrewe hem al that be to Love untrewe."

And when she had songen hit out to the ende,
"Now fairewel," quoth she, "for I most wende.
And God of Love, that can ryght wel, and may,
As mekil joy sende yow this day,
As ever yet he eny lover sende!"

Thus toke the nyghtyngal her leve of me.
I prey to God He alwey with her be,
And joy of love He sende her ever more,
And shilde us fro the cukkow and his lore,
For ther is non so fals a bridde as he.

Forthe she fley, the gentil nyghtyngale,
To al the briddes that were in the vale,
And gat hem all into a place yn fere,
And besoght hem that they wolde here
Her dysese, and thus began her tale:

"Yee knowe wel, hit is not fro yow hidde,
How that the cukkow and Y have chidde
Ever sithe hit was dayes lyght.
I prey yow al that ye do me ryght
Of that foule, fals, unkynde bridde."

Then spake oon brid for al by assent:
"This mater asketh good avysement,
For we be fewe briddes her in fere;
And soth hit ys the cukkow is not here,
And therfore we wol have a parlement.

And therat shal be the egle our lorde,
And other perys that ben of recorde;
And the cukkow shal be after sent,
And ther shal be geven the jugement,
Or elles we shul make summe acorde.

And this shal be, withouten any nay,
The morowe of Seynt Valentynes day,
Under the maple that is feire and grene,
Before the chambre wyndow of the quene,
At Wodestok, upon the grene lay."

She thanketh hem and then her leve toke,
And fleye into an hawthorn by the broke,
And ther she sate and songe upon the tre:
"Terme of lyve, Love hath withholde me"
So loude that with that songe I awoke.

Explicit liber Cupidinis
ah bless you; (see note)

hearts high [ones]; (see note); (t-note)
stingy; generous

healthy [people]; sick (i.e., lovesick)
bind; unbind also; (see note)

conceive; (t-note)
people very foolish [ones]
wicked people destroy vice; (t-note)

In short; will (wishes); can
Against; no person dares to say no (i.e., refuse)

shows always; (see note); (t-note)

true (faithful), courteous, noble heart
plans to be [with him]
Toward; inclination
Either; else to mourning; (t-note)
it seems to me; (t-note)

may hear the birds; (see note); (t-note)
flowers; leaves spring [forth]
hearts' store of memories; (t-note)
kind [of] comfort; tempered with misery; (t-note)

sorrow; (see note)
from that results; sickness (i.e., lovesickness)
lack; desire; (t-note)
are hearts
are continuously inflamed

say; [because] of feeling
feeble; (see note)

a fever (lovesickness); (see note); (t-note)
painful, certainly, no one knows

stricken; pallid fevers (a stage of lovesickness); (see note); (t-note)
little; (see note)
it; unlikely to be [the case]; (see note); (t-note)
any heart should be lethargic
which; wishes to thrust

awake; (see note)
saying; (see note)
them; common saying
would be; hear
than the ill-mannered (crude); (t-note)

as soon as
would go somewhere to try
If; hear
so far this year I had heard none; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

longer did I want; stay (abide)
wood; close at hand; (see note)
alone secretly; (t-note)
traveled down along the bank of a brook

came; clearing
I had never been in so fair [a] one
sprinkled; daisies; (see note); (t-note)
flowers; grass; equally high; (t-note)
else seen

birds creep; their bowers; (see note); (t-note)
Where; themselves
sing their [canonical] hours (i.e., prime); (see note); (t-note)

knew; Divine Office; by; (t-note)
many; bird song
another kind [of] voice sang softly
loud voice; (t-note)

preened themselves; merry; (t-note)
pranced; skipped; branch
together; (see note)
Exactly as; this year; (t-note)

river [bank]; (see note)
noise; ran
In accordance with; birds' harmonious singing
It seemed to me it

delight; do not at all know how; (t-note)
fell; doze; state of sleep; (t-note)
completely asleep, nor fully awake

sorry bird; ill-mannered (crude); (see note); (t-note)

Heap trouble; foul voice; (t-note)

began [to] rail against the cuckoo; (t-note)
joyfully (vigorously); (see note)
magnificent (pure) song; reverberate; (t-note)
From one side to the other; leafy wood; (t-note)

You have been away a little too long
here has been; (t-note)
sung songs instead of you; (t-note)
pray; deadly; burn; (t-note)

will tell you an amazing thing
I understood (knew); birds
their meaning (intent)
their speech; understanding

some place; (see note); (t-note)
[those of] us who; stay; (t-note)
person avoids hearing you
songs are so tedious (ailing), truly; (t-note)

said; ail; (t-note)
It seems to me; you (thou)
honest (true); unembellished (plainsong); (see note)
trill (modulate) it (i.e., the song); frivolously; (t-note)
I do not at all know how

person can

strange (foolish), peculiar (deceptive); (see note); (t-note)
Ocy! Ocy! (i.e., the song of the nightingale)

fool; know
indeed; (see note); (t-note)
I mean; I very eagerly wish
all [of] them were ignominiously slain
Who intend anything wicked against Love

wish all those; dead; (t-note)
plan not their lives; lead
reason; cry; (t-note)

certainly; peculiar; (see note); (t-note)
either; else be killed; (t-note)

neither to die; (t-note)
Nor; Love's; (t-note)


finally, fail to secure their success; (t-note)

mind; (t-note)
can; find [it] in your churl's (mean) heart; (t-note)
Love's servants; way
[there] is no service so good
is noble by nature

Worthiness; comfort (gratification); heart's desire; (t-note)
Perfect; fully assured; (t-note)
Gaiety; delight; cheerfulness

Humility; faithful companionship; (t-note)
Graciousness, generosity; courtesy; (see note); (t-note)
Fear; of doing wrong (amiss); (t-note)
Love's; is
Were more reluctant (loath); disgraced than; (see note); (t-note)

is [the] truth; say; (t-note)
belief; (t-note)
I advise you; certainly; (t-note)
Yea; bliss; (t-note)

very eloquently; (see note)
truth; contrary; (t-note)
young people; rashness; (t-note)
[the] old; folly (madness); (t-note)
engage in it; be injured

misfortune (sorrow); (t-note)
sickness; (t-note)
Spite (Resentment)
Disgrace; distrust; (t-note)
wickedness, poverty; madness; (t-note)

a task; (t-note)

gets (begets); (see note)
Unless he is always by it (i.e., paying attention to it); (t-note)
right away have his heir come of age; (t-note)

stay nearby
believe; despite; (t-note)
If; from; mate; (t-note)
are forsaken; (t-note)
(see note)

let you never prosper; (t-note)
worse; crazy
many; (t-note)

Love always improves/corrects his servant; (t-note)
vices/faults protects him; (t-note)
fidelity; honorable (virtuous); (t-note)

reason; will; (see note); (t-note)
frequently; unfaithful; pleases; (t-note)
faithful; cruelly
lack; he lets them (causes them to) die; (t-note)

see; (see note); (t-note)
lies; does not know, nor; misses; (t-note)
very seldom does being in the right do any good; (see note)
(see note)

took; heed
heaved; heart deep; (t-note)
born; (t-note)
sorrow say; (see note); (t-note)
burst into tears; (t-note)

heart will shatter
hear; bird; (t-note)
honorable service
in some way
get revenge

arose from sleeping right away; (t-note)
brook; got; (t-note)
vigorously; (t-note)

parrot; (see note)
mocked [us]; (t-note)
I kept hunting; tree to tree; (t-note)

Friend, truly
chosen thus to rescue me; (t-note)
vow; make; (t-note)

not at all afraid; (t-note)
earlier than; (t-note)

if; alarmed (afraid)

will advise
Do not believe; Love's foe; (t-note)
flagrant lying
even though; great; (t-note)

medicine; (see note); (t-note)
before you dine
flower; daisy; (t-note)
on the point of dying
relieve you of your pain; (t-note)


curse; (t-note)

it; (t-note)
must go my way

much; (t-note)
sent; (t-note)

took; leave

none; bird

flew; courteous (noble)
birds; (t-note)
got; together
would hear

You; hidden; (t-note)
I; argued; (t-note)
since; daylight

foul, deceitful, unnatural bird; (see note)

bird for all; (t-note)
matter demands; counsel
birds here in a flock (together); (t-note)
it is true [that]
an assembly; (see note)

eagle; (see note); (t-note)
nobles; are officially members of parliament; (t-note)
sent for afterwards
else; some settlement; (t-note)

denial; (t-note)
morning; (t-note)

window of the queen's chamber; (see note)
Woodstock; lawn; (t-note)

leave took; (t-note)
flew; brook; (see note); (t-note)
sat; tree
[For the] term of life; retained; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)

Here ends the book of Cupid
Go To A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe, introduction
Go To A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe, text