Banquet of Gods and Goddesses
THE ASSEMBLY OF GODS: FOOTNOTES
1 When Phebus had nearly finished his circuit in Cancer (that is, the poem begins at the end of July)
2 Through which, the game (deer) is likely to diminish
3 A boring tool (corkscrew) and a vent-peg for a cask thereupon stood
4 Also, were it not for Phebe, Ceres would be sullied (see note)
5 Idle talkers, hypocrites, liars, and perverts (see note)
6 That no kind of lure or impediment were therein (see note)
7 Hydromancy, Ornithomancy (augury by birds' cries and flights), with Divination by fire
8 Vertu would not tarry, but hastened himself thither at once
THE ASSEMBLY OF GODS: EXPLANATORY NOTES
The Interpretation of the Names of the Gods and Goddesses (Table of Gods and Goddesses)
24 harneyse. I.e., personal fighting equipment, armor. Wynkyn de Worde mistranscribes as harveyste, an error that is reduplicated in all subsequent editions and reprintings, including Triggs'. See Hawes' The Pastime of Pleasure, lines 225-31, on Minerva as goddess of "harneys."
Banquet of Gods and Goddesses
1 Whan. The reference to Phebus running his cours echoes the beginning of the Canterbury Tales, although in this instance the circuit is nearly finished, with Phebus in the astrological sign of Cancer, which ends in July. The unconventional time of the dream vision - summer or Indian summer - echoes those of The Assembly of Ladies (September) and Pearl (August); see also Hawes' The Example of Vertu in The Minor Poems, which is set in September.
3 Pictagoras speere. The ninth sphere, as described by Pythagoras who, according to Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess, "the first fynder was / Of the art" (lines 1168-69) of music with its harmonic intervals, was thought to reflect the music of the spheres. Pythagoras is viewed here as a great arithmetician who established the principles of ratio and spherical geometry. The sphere signifies the harmony in which all discord is resolved. See Triggs' note. It is a "Pictagoras" who notes that "liche as oure begynnyng cometh of God, oure ende muste nedis be there," in the fable about "Acropos" (Atropos, or Death), in Christine de Pizan's The Epistle of Othea (fable 34, p. 45). In The Courte of Sapyence (line 1970) he is the observer of "a multytude of unytees" (see note to line 7) and the one who "by the soune of hamers in a forge . . . fyrst musik ganne to forge" (lines 2036-37).
7 monacorde. In Pythagorean/Boethian lore, everything yearns for and moves toward the One. But amidst temporalities such conjoining is never complete, thus the narrator's frustration. See notes to lines 3, 1872, and 2030. See also Boethius, Consolatio Philosophiae 3.m.9, on the world soul that unifies all. Boethius was the medieval authority on such matters in his De musica. See Elizabeth Teviotdale, "Music and Pictures in the Middle Ages," in Companion to Medieval and Renais-sance Music, ed. Tess Knighton and David Fellows (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992; rpt. 1997), p. 187, for a depiction of a monachord as a one-stringed instrument used to explain musical theory in a twelfth-century illumination of Boethius, who holds one in his lap as he explains ratios, number, intervals, and harmony.
12 To rowne with a pylow. To share secrets or commune with a pillow implies meditation or dialogic consultation of an intimate, mysterious sort. To sleep might also lead to visionary dreams, an oraculum (oracle), visio (vision), or somnium (enigmatic dream), according to Macrobius' well-known fourth-century commentary on the Somnium Scipionis (Dream of Scipio), 1.3.2
14 Morpheus. Morpheus comes as a guide, as is evident by his leading the narrator by the sleeve. Compare Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess, where he is sought as a counselor. Morpheus is "the messangere / Of the god of slepe and dremys sere" in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 78, p. 95), who both makes dreams and causes men to dream. See also The Assembly of Gods, lines 1849-54; for "Morpheus stremes" see line 1855: as reward for his "labour," the god is granted the keys to five posterns, or gates, that is, control of the fantasies, idle tales, illusions, and dreams that occupy the five "inwarde wyttes" (or senses) while humans sleep. See note to line 35 on Morpheus' capacities for insight.
18 Mynos the justyse. In Dante's Inferno, the judge Minos awaits the confessions of sinners at the entrance to the second circle, after which he decides where the sinner will be sent and "encircles himself with his tail as many times as the grades he will have it sent down" (5.11-12; trans. Charles S. Singleton). Minos is similarly termed the "maister and iusticere of Helle" in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 4, p. 13) and also a "provost or a chef bailie, and a-fore him is broughte alle [the soules] descending into that valeye; and aftir that thei have deserved of penaunce, as many degrees as he will that thei be sette deepe, as ofte he turnyth his taile aboute him" (fables 4-5, p. 13). In Chaucer's Troilus 4.1188, Troilus, seeing Crisyede swoon and imagining she is dead, longs to die so that he can follow Criseyde's soul where "the doom of Mynos wolde it dighte."
19 sylogyse. To engage in ratiocination, the making up of syllogisms. The OED cites this line as the earliest use of the term, noting Stephen Hawes, The Pastime of Pleasure (1509), as the next, with "But rude people, opprest with blyndnes / Agaynst your fables, wyll often solisgyse [sic]" (lines 792-93). The term implies some degree of precious futility.
21 "He must nedys go that the devell dryves." A common proverb. See Morris Palmer Tilley, A Dictionary of the Proverbs in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1950), D278, p. 154, which cites John Skelton's Garland of Laurel, "Nedes must he sin that the deuyll dryvith" (1523) and eighteen other instances in the following centuries.
27 Pluto. The ruler of hell (see Boethius, Consolatio Philosophiae 3.m.12), Pluto is also identified in commentaries on Boethius as god of the underworld, or of earth, and therefore of wealth or riches. Pluto's relationship with the "juge desperate" (i.e., Minos in line 28) exists in analogue with that of God's relationship with Judge Minos in Dante's Inferno: hell was created by God for the unrepentant sinner, as the gate of hell reminds those who pass through ("Justice moved my maker on high, / Divine power made me and supreme wisdom and primal love" [3.4-6, trans. Singleton]). For his mythographic significance in the Middle Ages, see especially the long sixth book on Pluto as fourth child of Saturn and ruler of the underworld in the influential Third Vatican Mythographer (Bode, pp. 174-97).
35 a lytyll corner callyd 'Fantasy.' To place Morpheus' dwelling place in fantasy is to link him with dreams. Compare Chaucer's The Hous of Fame, lines 66-80. The term derives from an ancient Greek concept of showing or making visible. Phantasos, who according to Pierre Bersuire's fourteenth-century commentary on Ovid's Metamorphoses (11.633), is one of the three sons of Somnus, or Sleep; he governs the lowest appetites - gluttony and sloth - just as brother Morpheus governs desire for fame and brother Icelos, lust. Dreams in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 78) are sometimes troublesome and dark, sometimes meaningful or meaningless, but no one is wise enough to interpret them except the expositors themselves. See also Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess (lines 136-95) and John Gower's Confessio Amantis (4.2985 ff.), both of which discuss Morpheus' dwelling in the cave of sleep near the strange land of Chymerie.
37 Cerberus. The "porter of hell," with his "cheyne," is called "Serebrus" in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 3, p. 10) and associated with his master Pluto or with his conqueror Hercules, who tames him in his fifth Labor. Cerberus is often depicted as a three-headed "hell-hound" whose three heads allegorically represent the three continents of earth, the three ages of human life, or three kinds of envy, and as earth, a flesh-eater, he is ever greedy for new meat (that is, sinners), according to commentaries on Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae (3.m.12). See also Chance, Medieval Mytho-graphy, on King Alfred's Cerberus in the Anglo-Saxon translation of Boethius (pp. 211-12); the influential Boethius glosses on Cerberus by Remigius of Auxerre (p. 237); William of Conches (p. 412); and Bernardus Silvestris on the Aeneid (p. 460).
38 Eolus, in raggys evyll arayd. Eolus changed from A: Colus. "Colus" is also the name for Eolus, "god of wyndes," in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fables 12 and 79), and in Hawes'The Example of Vertu, which also begins with the roaring of Eolus' "blastes" (line 132). Eolus, or Aeolus, is responsible for the fatal shipwreck of Ceys (Seys), husband of Alchion (Halcyon). In commentaries on the Aeneid, Aeolus is linked with Juno, who governs the aerial region and is responsible for honors and fame. See also Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 121, 336-37, 447, and 462. In The Assembly of Gods, lines 585-88, he is released and called upon to attack Vertu. Her constancy is unaffected by his blasts, however, just as she is immune to all assaults of Fortune. See lines 1646 ff. for Dame Doctryne's explication of Eolus.
39 Neptunus and Diana. Neptune is god of the sea; Diana is goddess of the wood and hunting and identified with the moon. Saturn's four children govern the four cosmological regions: Jupiter, the ether, or fire; Juno, the air; Neptune, the water; and Pluto, the earth. For Neptune, Christine reminds the knight that he should pay his devotions to this god to protect him from tempests (fable 33, pp. 44-45). For the genealogy of Neptune and his role in medieval mythographies, see the note to line 337.
Diana is glossed in Christine's The Epistle of Othea as the moon who "yeveth chaste condicion; and thei named it after a ladi that so was callid, the which was ful chaste and was ever a virgin" (fable 23, p. 35). In the "Allegorie" for this fable she represents the "God of hevyn." For the mythographic significance of Diana as the moon, see Chance, Medieval Mythography, especially in Cicero (p. 79); the First Vatican Mythographer (pp. 191-92); and Martianus (p. 291). See also the chapter on Diana in the Third Vatican Mythographer, 8.3 (Bode, pp. 200-01).
66 roote and rynde. The sense is root and bark, or the whole plant, i.e., entirely.
164 Appollo. Apollo played an especially important role in Macrobius' Saturnalia, Fulgentius' Mitologiae, and Martianus Capella's De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, in part because in the last work he aided his friend, the bridegroom Mercury, in his search for a bride. School commentaries on Martianus and Boethius (3.m.9) up to the twelfth century helped to disseminate the basically Neoplatonic reading of the god Apollo as a planet signifying light and truth. See Chance, Medieval Mytho-graphy, on Apollo in the Saturnalia (pp. 77-80); in Fulgentius (pp. 106-07, 121); in the First Vatican Mythographer (pp. 191-92); and in Remigius of Auxerre (pp. 272-75, 292). Known as "Phoebus," the sun, Apollo is prominent in Chaucer, especially in The Franklin's Tale, where Aurelius appeals to him for help, and in The Manciple's Tale, where he appears as a central character. See also the eighth book on the god Apollo in the Third Vatican Mythographer (Bode, pp. 210-13). In Christine's The Epistle of Othea, he represents the clarity of truth and is linked with Sunday and gold (fables 9, 40, and 81). About Apollo Christine writes, "The sonne be his clernes schewith thinges that be hidde; and therfore / Trouthe, the which is clere and schewith secrete thinges, may be yeven to him" (fable 9, p. 19). In her "Allegorie" he signifies the truth of Christ opposed to all falsity. In Lydgate he is commonly used to signify governance in the daytime world of nature, much as he is here.
167 banket. Triggs (p. 62) notes, "In the fourteenth century the cloth or cushion covering a bank or bench on which dessert was served was called a 'banker'; a feast came to be called a 'banket' (Mem. of Lond., ed. Riley, I, p. 179 and p. 44)."
203 Bothe her compleyntes. See lines 194 and 195 where Diane asks why Eolus is permitted to remain with the gods and what action should be taken against his crimes.
220 teares from hys eyen go. Proof of repentence or sincerity by pointing to tears is a common literary device. Compare Aurelius' proof to Apollo in his prayer for grace from Dorigen: "Lord Phebus se the tearis on my cheke" (CT V[F]1078); or Dorigen's touching appeal to "Eterne God," with "many a pitous tear " (CT V[F]894).
243 Phebe. The sister of the sun, Apollo (or Phoebus), Phebe is similarly identified as the moon and linked with folly and unsteadfastness, in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 10). There she is associated with Monday and silver and called by the masculine name of her brother, Phebus, as she is in The Assembly of Gods (see textual note to lines 243 and 358). Identified by a variety of names in the Middle Ages, as Diana her name is said to derive (according to the First Vatican Mythographer in myth 37) from duana, because the moon is two and appears both at night and during the day; she was also known as Vesta, from vestita, in that she dresses in grasses. As Lucina, goddess of childbirth, and Proserpina, goddess of the underworld, she has a tripartite role, which supports her name as "Trivia," meaning (according to some sources) a place where three roads meet and referring to the fact that Diana was worshipped at the crossroads (tri and via) (see Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 191 and 584n14). In The Franklin's Tale Chaucer refers to her as "Lucina the sheene" who is "emperisse aboven [Neptune]" (CT V [F] 1045-48). See below, note to line 362.
248 aboorde. The term derives from the practice of placing boards on trestles to create tables, which then could be removed as the clearing took place.
249 Othea. Referred to in line 304 as the "chyef grounde of polyty." Although Triggs equates Othea with Athena (p. 68), a passage cited by Bühler in his edition of Scrope's translation of Christine, that equation is doubtful. Christine, in her The Epistle of Othea, invented the name "Othea," probably to denote the goddess, "O Thea," although Othea also appears as "goddesse of prudence" in Lydgate's Troy Book (Prol. 38) and in The Assembly of Ladies, where she is a different goddess, quite separate from Athena. In The Assembly of Gods, Minerva more likely equates with Athena. See note to lines 344-49.
250 A dew ordre in every place ys expedyent. The seating of the gods at the Assembly places Apollo, the sun, governor of the middle of the translunary realm, rather than Jupiter, penultimate planet, at the head of the assembly. That adjustment of hierarchy identifies the natural concerns of the poem, as the assemblage attempts to deal with changes provoked by Eolus' blasts that occur below the moon and the sun and therefore are not the concern of the region designated by the upper planets. (Note that Juno, consort of Jupiter, is also silent, perhaps because she governs the aerial region dominated by Aeolus as god of winds.) The paradigm applies to the Christian perspective of the microcosm back on earth, as well as the translunary and cosmological realm, where Dame Nature becomes a factor in the decision to release Sensualité, despite his errant behavior (see lines 1268 ff.).
254-55 Aurora the goddesse, / . . . "Thowgh ye wepe. Aurora is "Spryng of the day" in the "Interpretation of the Names of Gods and Goddesses" (line 12) and also in Christine's The Epistle of Othea. Christine's Aurora "in hir-silf hath sorowe and wepyng" because she lost her son Tynus in the battle of Troy (fable 44, pp. 55-56). See the First Vatican Mythographer, fable 139 (Bode, pp. 44-45). As Daybreak she also represents the new day. See Chance, Medieval Mythography, p. 458, where in Bernardus Silvestris' commentary on the Aeneid, book 6, she represents the first glow of understanding that illumines the eyes of the mind.
260 Mars, myghty god and strong. In Christine's The Epistle of Othea, the followers of Mars love and pursue arms and the deeds of knighthood; the god is linked there with Tuesday and iron (fable 11 - see also The Hous of Fame, line 1459). For the etymology of his name and its association with Mors, death, see Chance, Medieval Mythography, p. 318; for his mythographic definitions in the First and Second Vatican Mythographers, see pp. 201 and 318; for his role as a planet, see p. 382; and for his significance in Martianus Capella, see p. 296. Mars figures prominently in Chaucer's writings. See especially The Knight's Tale, The Complaint of Mars, and The Complaint of Venus; in Troilus 5.1853 he is cited as one of the "rascaille" pagan gods. In Lydgate's Troy Book Mars is a war god and a cuckolder of Vulcan (see, for example, Prol. 1-37). In The Courte of Sapyence he is "cruel," like a "tempestuous fury" (line 474).
267 mantell and the ryng. Triggs (p. 68) cites similar lines relating to mantle and ring (along with the color black) as signs of widowhood in Lydgate's Dance of Macabre (Bodl. 686) and elsewhere in his Minor Poems.
269 good Jupyter. Christine notes, "Jovis or Jubiter is a planete of softe condicion, amyable and ful gladde and figure to sangwen complexion," in The Epistle of Othea (fable 6, pp. 16-17), as in he is a "mankyndely planete." In Gower Jupiter is said to be "softe and swete" by nature (Confessio Amantis 7.912) and an opponent to "stormy weder" (7.928). Allegorically, Christine's Jupiter signifies the mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ. Jupiter is normally associated with tin (line 270), as in Chaucer (The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, CT VIII [G] 828), but Christine oddly links him with copper and brass, which differs from the tradition followed by The Assembly of Gods, Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate (see Bühler, pp. 252-53). One might think, given his supremacy among the gods and his place at the head of a similar assembly in Martianus Capella, that Diana and Neptune would have taken their plight to him and that he would have called the feast. See the notes to lines 164 and 250.
275 Juno, full rychely beseene. Juno represents riches and fame, just as Venus represents love and beauty, and Minerva, wisdom, in the medieval glosses on the Judgment of Paris. In the Aeneid commentaries, because Juno was spurned by Paris in his Judgment of the three goddesses, she retaliates against the Trojans by delaying Aeneas in Carthage, with Dido, in his flight from Troy and his journey toward his ultimate goal, the founding of Italy. For her antipathy to Paris and the Argives, see Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 313, 315, and 425; for her role in the Judgment of Paris in Chaucer, see Patricia R. Orr, pp. 159-76. For her various names as Diana, Proserpina, and Lucina, see also Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 249, 286-87, and 384-85; for her role in Stoic myth, pp. 10-11, 429, and 432; for her role as ruler of air, pp. 248, 284, 287-90, 313, and 318; and as goddess of childbirth and marriage, pp. 287, 375, and 385.
276 sercote. "An outer coat or garment, commonly of rich material, worn by people of rank of both sexes" (OED).
280 oon. For proof that Saturn causes many oon to morne, see Chaucer's The Knight's Tale (CT I [A] 2454-69).
282 frost and snow. Because Saturn is the slowest and most distant planet in the Ptolemaic scheme, he is presented as being most wintry (n.b., his "bawdryk of isykles" in line 285) and leaden (line 287). Compare Chaucer's The Knight's Tale, cited in notes to lines 280 and 287. See also Robert Henryson, The Testament of Cresseid, ed. Robert L. Kindrick (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997), lines 151-68.
283 fawchon. A falchion is "a broad sword, more or less curved, with the edge on the convex side; in later use and in poetry, sword of any kind" (OED). Saturn's son Jupiter cut off his privy members, which may explain the blood on the blade. For this reason Saturn often represents prudence in medieval commentaries; from his testicles, thrown into the sea, his daughter Venus, also known as Aphrodite, born from foam, sprang. The poet may have forgotten Saturn's association with a scythe that mows down, as does time; or, perhaps, fawchon is simply a synonym for "scythe."
287 leede. Saturn is similarly associated with lead and Saturday in Chaucer's The Knight's Tale (CT I [A] 2454-69) and Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 8, pp. 18-19). For Christine he is cold because he is a "planete of slowe condicion" that controls the outermost of the planetary spheres. The outermost planet of the seven in the Ptolemaic system of cosmology, Saturn has the longest path and is therefore often represented as cold, distant, and old. On his important planetary signification and role in Chaucer's The Knight's Tale, see Chance, The Mythographic Chaucer, especially pp. 185-213. See also Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art (London: Thomas Nelson, 1964).
289-94 Ceres . . . / . . . hervest horne. Ceres is the goddess of corn who invented the craft of tilling in Christine's The Epistle of Othea: "because that the lande bare the more plenteuouslye after that it was eried, they seide that sche was a goddes of cornys; and thei callid the lande after here name" (fable 25, p. 36). Because Ceres as a goddess of grain appears, along with Bacchus as god of the vine, in Virgil's Georgics, a work much less well known in the Middle Ages than his much-glossed Aeneid, she plays a less significant role in the early medieval mythographies; on her role in com-mentaries on the Georgics, see Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 177-79; on her Terentian association with bread and grain, which reappears in Remigius of Auxerre and Martianus, p. 282; for her coupling with Bacchus, god of wine, in Macrobius glosses, pp. 423-25 and 442-43. Ceres is identified as the wife of Saturn in the Third Vatican Mythographer, book 2. For her important role in Christine, see Judith Kellogg, "Christine de Pizan as Chivalric Mythographer: L'Epistre Othea," in The Mythographic Art, ed. Chance, pp. 100-24; and "Christine de Pizan's Le Livre de la Cité des Dames: Feminist Myth and Community," Essays in Arts and Sciences 18 (1989), 1-15; for Chaucer's Ceres, see Chance, The Mythographic Chaucer, pp. 15, 41, 85, and 135.
290 sak clothe. Usually sackcloth implies poverty, penance, or humility. Here it suggests harvest and the purveyance of Ceres' bounty. The OED cites this line as its example for the agricultural use of sackcloth (a coarse linen fabric used for bales or bagging of grain).
295-99 Cupido, / . . . helme ay. The Latinate spelling of Cupid's name recurs in the Middle Ages in three poems, one Middle French and two Middle English, one of which is a translation. In Christine's The Epistle of Othea, the god of love is "yong and ioly" (fable 47, p. 59); Cupido is also the speaker in her Epistre au Dieu d'Amours (Letter to the God of Love) (1399). In The Assembly of Gods, Cupido's pairing with Ceres, goddess of corn, resembles those of the God of Love and Alceste the daisy and of Mars and Cybele, in Chaucer's Prologue to The Legend of Good Women. See Chance, The Mythographic Chaucer, pp. 39 and 40-41; for Cupid's role in the Troilus, see pp. 116, 129-36, and 156-57.
299 kerchyef of pleasaunce. This phrase is also found in the English ballads of Charles of Orleans. See lines 1168, 4764, and 5170.
316 Fortune the goddesse, with her party face. The goddess Fortune is often depicted with a face of different colors to show her variable and inconstant behavior. Associated with an ever-turning wheel in medieval mythographies and commentaries, the goddess Fortune is called "the greet goddesse" in Christine's The Epistle of Othea because worldly things are governed by her (fable 74, p. 91). Her multicolored face in The Assembly of Gods suggests her association with mutability and change, the conditions governing the sublunary region; thus, for Christine, "in a litel space sche chaungith" (p. 91). Fortune as a goddess predominates in the second book of Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae; she also appears to have both philosophic and mythographic significance throughout Chaucer: for example, he refers to her as "pley of enchauntement, / That semeth oon and ys not soo" (The Book of the Duchess, lines 648-49); in addition Fortune appears in "Fortune: Balades de Visage sanz Peinture," The Monk's Tale, and The Knight's Tale. See her role in Bernard L. Jefferson, Chaucer and the 'Consolation of Philosophy' of Boethius (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1917; rpt. New York: Gordian Press, 1968), pp.130-32 and 142-44; see also Howard Rollins Patch, The Goddess Fortuna in Mediaeval Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927; rpt. New York: Octagon Books, 1967).
320 gowne was of gawdy grene chamelet. The term gawdy grene may suggest vitality as it does in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where it describes the Green Knight's garb, "embrauded abof, wyth bryddes and fly3es / With gay gaudi of grene ay in myddes" (lines 167-68). But as Fortune's dress the yellowish green gown (see OED on gaudy-green), which is "Chaungeable of sondry dyverse colowres" (line 321), may characterize Dame Fortune's instability and newfangledness. See Tamotsu Kurose, Miniatures of Goddess Fortuna in Mediaeval Manuscripts (Tokyo: Sanseido Co., Ltd., 1977), where color miniatures of Dame Fortune commonly depict the goddess clothed in particolors, often (about 30 instances) with a green gown, or green sleeves, or green stripes, or green hat, or green girdle, sometimes even with green wings. Figures of inconstancy, Fortune, and green become somewhat interchangeable. See, for example, the Chaucerian "Against Women Unconstant," where newfangledness, ever yearning for variety, is told "in stede of blew, thus may ye were al grene" (balade refrain, lines 7, 14, and 21).
323-24 though he unworthy were, / The rewde god Pan, of sheperdys the gyde. A god whom Isidore identifies with Nature because of his name, "All," Pan shares with Ceres and Bacchus a small role in the evolution of medieval mythography because of his appearance in the little-read Virgilian Georgics. See Chance, Medieval Mythography, for his mythographies in Macrobius (p. 81); Isidore (pp. 144-45); the First Vatican Mythographer (p. 179); Martianus Capella and his commentators, including Notker Labeo (pp. 290 and 383); the Second Vatican Mythographer (p. 321); and William of Conches (p. 440).
325 russet frese. This is a coarse rust-colored woolen cloth (frieze) napped on one side.
breched lyke a bere. The phrase means wearing sloppy breeches.
326 tar-box. The tar box was once commonly used by shepherds (OED).
328 pryk-eryd. Prick-eared dogs were used for hunting (OED).
330-36 Ysys . . . / . . . sustynaunce. Ysys (Isis) bears Pan the shepherd company because, in Christine's The Epistle of Othea, she is "goddes of plantis and graffis and she yeveth them strengthe and growinge to multiplie" (fable 25, p. 37). There her fable appears next to those of Ceres (24) and Diana (23), allegorically the three representing the Trinity. An Egyptian goddess whom Christine links with Io, she also appears in Giovanni Boccaccio's De claris mulieribus; for her significance in Christine, see Chance, trans., Christine de Pizan's Letter of Othea to Hector, pp. 122 and 128. Although Isis was not very mainstream in medieval mythography, glosses about her were disseminated through the works of North African Roman Martianus Capella and school commentaries on his prosimetrum; see Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 289 and 474.
337 Neptunus. Neptune, the god of the sea, so important in the Greek epics of Homer, played a relatively inconspicuous role in the medieval mythographies; see above, note to line 39 and below note to line 360. The third child of Saturn, Neptune also governs imaginary creatures and the fluidity of imagining and image-making. His Greek name, Poseidon, means "making an image or likeness" in Latin (faciens imaginem), according to the Third Vatican Mythographer, "quod aqua imagines formet in se spectantium, quod nulli alii de quatuor elementis accidit" [because water alone of all the four elements may form images, because no others of the four elements reaches by falling] (5.1; Bode, p. 171). He also appears in Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate. See especially The Franklin's Tale (CT V [F] 1047); Gower, Confessio Amantis 1.1152, 2.180, 5.983 ff., 1146, 6162 ff., and 8.623; and Lydgate's Troy Book 2.568 ff. (on Troy being Neptune's city).
342 A shyp with a toppe. "A platform near the head of each of the lower masts of a ship. In early fighting ships, a platform at the head of the mast, fenced with a rail, stored with missiles and occupied by archers" (OED).
344-49 Mynerve . . . / . . . by her syde. As goddess of "harneyse" ("Interpretation of the Names," line 24) Minerva bears her armorial iconography. Gauntlettes are leather gloves reinforced with steel (part of medieval armor) and sabatouns are broad-toed foot coverings worn by warriors in full armor (see OED). Christine describes her as figurative mother of the exemplar of chivalry, the Trojan prince Hector, in The Epistle of Othea (fable 1, p. 5); see also Chance, "Christine's Minerva, the Mother Valorized," in Christine's The Letter of Othea to Hector, pp. 121-33. Although Christine differentiates Minerva, the inventor of armor, from Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom, nevertheless, Minerva is "ladi of grete connynge and fonde the crafte to make armure" (fable 13, pp. 23-24). Usually equivalent in the Middle Ages to Pallas Athena, the daughter of Jupiter who burst forth fully grown from his head, Minerva represents the goddess of peace and wisdom and is often depicted holding an olive branch because, in a contest with Neptune (Poseidon) over who should name Athens, her gift to civilization, the olive tree, was deemed greater than his, the horse. For her perpetual virginity, see Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 266-67; for her gift to Athens, p. 391; for her very important allegorical role in Martianus Capella, see pp. 258-59 and 295-96; for the mythographers' glosses on her, see, for Fulgentius, p. 114; for the First Vatican Mythographer, pp. 189, 193-94; for the Second Vatican Mythographer, pp. 319, 321, 332-33, and 342-43. For her role in the Judgment of Paris and Chaucer's Troilus, see especially Orr. Note that The Courte of Sapyence presents Minerva as "the goddess of wysedom ful of all lyght" (line 1745) and also describes her luminous armor at length (lines 1744-78); of the ancient deities, Minerva is the one most akin to Sapience herself: "Y-gete she was of Jupyteres brayne" (line 1761).
345 curas. Literally, "boiled leather," from cuirass (ME curas; MF curasse, "leather," "skin"), identified as what warriors wore before Minerva invented armor, in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 13, p. 23) and also in the Epistre Othea.
358 Phebe. "Phebe" is the name given to the moon in Christine's The Epistle of Othea (fable 10), but gendered male (pp. 20-21), a mistake perhaps picked up and corrected inaccurately by A.
360 to avale. Neptunus' "availing" to Phebe alludes to tidal responsiveness to the moon's attraction. The power of the sea is therefore linked to the pull of gravity by the moon, so that Phebe can also be said to make him "prevail." See note to line 362.
361 meynt. The word meynt (from the verb meng) usually means "to be mingled together in intercourse; or with, among, others; to be joined in battle; to have sexual intercourse; to be united in marriage" (OED). Because the moon and the sun (Diana/ Phebe, and Apollo/Phebus) are sister and brother and the context is astrological, most likely what is meant is "conjoined," as when planets are in conjunction, or in the same house, therefore, housed. See also Chaucer's The Franklin's Tale (CT V [F] 1041-54) for Aurelius' petition to Phoebus and Phoebe.
362 ne were she, Ceres were ateynt. Phoebe controls tides and, in conjunction with Phoebus, affects the germination of seed. That is why farmers would plant according to the phases of the moon. This passage implies that, without Phebe, Ceres (goddess of corn), who invents cultivation (line 1710), would be "ateynt," i.e., sullied, hindered, less procreative or less heat intensive. See various MED and OED glosses on the term.There is a possibility that ateynt means "accused" or "convicted," with the suggestion of wrongdoing by Ceres without Phebe, either because of her abrogation of function or because, given the identification of Ceres in the commentaries with the Magna Mater cult and its orgiastic rites and sexual activity, without the validation of philosophical and cosmological purpose.
365-71 Mercurius . . . / . . . every land. This god takes a seat next to Phebe because the planet Mercury is situated next to the moon, Phoebe or Diana (Luna), and is closest to the earth, around which all the planets (including the sun) circle in the Ptolemaic system. Because his course is the quickest, Mercury is known as the messenger of the gods and for his eloquence (quick speech): Christine describes him in The Epistle of Othea as "a planete that yeveth influence of pontificalle behavynge and of faire langage arayed with retorik," allegorically, "god of langage" bearing "good prechinges and wordes" (fable 12, pp. 22-23). A flute player who lulls the many-eyed Argus to sleep, Mercury also allows Jupiter's beloved, Io, to escape from Juno's shepherd (fable 30, pp. 41-42). Mercury is similarly associated in Christine with Wednesday and quicksilver (line 370). See also Chance, Medieval Mythography, for discussions of his importance to Fulgentius and the First and Second Vatican Mythographers (pp. 106-08, 121, 192-93, 318, 322, and 330); and Martianus Capella and his commentators (pp. 34, 106, and 272-75). Chaucer uses this planet as a character in The Complaint of Mars (see Chance, The Mythographic Chaucer, pp. 88-89); and as a guide to Troilus in the Troilus (pp. 107-08, 110-11, 113-14, 151, 159, 161, and 166-67). See also his Virgilian and Ovidian associations, especially in The Hous of Fame (pp. 51-52 and 54), The Knight's Tale (pp. 189, 198, and 200), and The Wife of Bath's Prologue (pp. 219-20).
371 Multyplyers know hit well. Alchemists use mercury to dissolve gold or silver in the first stage of the alchemical process. See the digest of Arnald of Villanova's Rosarium in the Aldine edition of Pretiosa Margarita Novella, cited by John Reidy in his introduction to the edition of Thomas Norton's Ordinal of Alchemy, EETS o.s. 272 (London: Oxford University Press, 1975), p. lxiv.
372-78 Venus . . . / . . . wanton ey. This goddess of love, much glossed in medieval mythographies and commentaries, is daughter of Saturn (or time, mutability) and mother of Cupid, desire (from the Latin cupiditas, "concupiscence," "greed"). Unlike the other planets in The Assembly of Gods associated with a metal and a day of the week and also found in Christine's The Epistle of Othea, she is not numbered among Christine's significant deities, perhaps because of her lascivious nature. But she is certainly prominent in English courtly romance traditions, especially in Chaucer and Gower. For her genealogy, see Chance, Medieval Mythography, p. 467; for her adulterous role in Chaucer's The Complaint of Mars, see Chance, The Mythographic Chaucer, pp. 84-85 and 87-91; for her undressed and generative significance in The Parlement of Foules, see pp. 83-87 and 95-104; for her association with Palamon in The Knight's Tale and her Berchorian Ovidian signification, see pp. 185-86, 190-97, 200, 204-05, and 209; for her profound but bifurcated role in the Troilus, see pp. 84, 109-10, 129-38, 156-57, 163-64, and 182; and for Alisoun's astrological and psychological affinities with Venus, expressed both in her Prologue and by means of the Ovidian allusions in The Wife of Bath's Tale, see pp. 84, 217-21, and 231.
374 her eyen, columbyne. Compare Januarie's yearning after May - "com forth now, with thyne eyen columbine" - in The Merchant's Tale (CT IV [E] 2141). Januarie's love song echoes Song of Songs 4:1, as does the line here.
389-99 sage phylosophyrs and poetes . . . / goddesses plesaunce. In the catalog that follows, the poet lists Greek, Turkish, Egyptian, Roman, Arabian, and medieval European poets and philosophers, their roles stretched to include physicians, scientists, historians, astrologers, and magicians. Their duty here is to serve the pagan gods and goddesses summoned for the banquet. Many of them are cited in Christine in her glosses on fables from the Middle English The Epistle of Othea; she would not have known their works individually but instead sampled excerpts found in the collection, Dits moraulx des philosophes (The Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers), like The Epistle, translated into Middle English by Stephen Scrope in the early- to mid-fifteenth century. See the edition by C. F. Bühler, EETS o.s. 211 (London: Oxford University Press, 1941). Bühler's notes in The Epistle identify the source of each gloss in The Dicts. For convenience I will refer to the appropriate fable and page citation in Christine in the notes that follow. For a comparable list of philosophers, see The Courte of Sapyence, lines 1881-89; for rhetoricians and poets, see lines 1915-32.
391 Tholomé, Dorothé with Dyogenes. Christine cites "Tholome" in her gloss on fable 97, The Epistle of Othea, p. 117, and "Diogenes" in her glosses on fables 12, p. 23, and 26, p. 38. "Ptolomy" names the Macedonian kings in Egypt; Ptolemy I (fourth to third century BC) was a friend of Alexander the Great whose histories record his reign. Dorothé may refer to Dorotheus of Sidon (AD first century), an astrological poet in vogue with later Islamic astrologers (Oxford Classical Dictionary). It is possible his name appeared in a list with Avicenna and Averroës; he is also included in The Dicts. Diogenes of Sinope, known as the "mad Socrates," was an Athenian street philosopher born in Turkey (404 BC).
392 Messehala. An unknown poet or philosopher, apparently Greek because of his position here between Plato and Socrates, but possibly either Marcus Valerius Messal(la) (Rufus) (d. 26 BC), author of once esteemed and well-known but now lost books on history and religion, or else Marcus Valerius Messal(l)a Corinus (64 BC-AD 8), supporter of Brutus and Cassius, who penned a pastoral poem and was part of a literary circle.
393 Sortes and Saphyrus with Hermes. The name Sortes, a word for ancient oracles, also appears in Gower's Confessio Amantis 3.366 and 8.2718. The editor Macaulay explains that the latter name refers to a magician who personifies the Sortes sanctorum (Works 3:547), meaning the Sortes Virgilianae, that is, the works of Virgil opened randomly for the selection of an arbitrary but oracular line, although on what basis Macaulay concludes so remains unclear (see the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, s.v. Oracles). Even though the name appears in the list above, Sortes is probably a corruption for Socrates, as it is in Piers Plowman (B Text, 12.268), according to a note by editor Walter W. Skeat in his edition of Piers Plowman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1886; rpt. with addition of bibliography, 1954, 2.187). Sortes may also represent the title Soter, used initially for a protective deity and later for Hellenistic kings, most prominently Ptolemy I (see line 391). Saphyrus may refer to Sarapis or Serapis, the deity brought from Sinope to Egypt by Ptolemy I. Hermes refers to Hermes Trismegistus, the Egyptian Thoth the Great reputed to be the author of the Hermetica. Christine cites Hermes more than any other philosopher included in The Dicts, to gloss the following fables in The Epistles21 : 7 (p. 18), 8 (p. 19), 9 (p. 20), 10 (p. 20), 14 (p. 25), 19 (p. 31), 23 (p. 35), 25 (p. 37), 29 (p. 41), 30 (p. 42), 35 (p. 46), 48 (p. 60), 49 (p. 61), 54 (p. 67), 61 (p. 75), 62 (p. 77), 66 (p. 80), 71 (p. 87), 76 (p. 93), 77 (p. 94), 82 (p. 100), 84 (p. 102), 91 (p. 110), and 100 (p. 112).
395 Galyen and Ipocras. Christine cites Galyen (Galien) to gloss fable 45 in The Epistle, p. 57, and Ipocras (Ypocras) to gloss fable 21, p. 33. Galen and Hippocrates were regarded as fathers of natural philosophy in the Middle Ages and accordingly appear in The Dicts. "Hippocrates," a physician of Cos, is the name given to the authors of a collection of Greek texts from the fifth to fourth century BC, the most famous of which was an anthology of medical sayings known as the Aphorisms, on which Galen, a Greek physician from Asia Minor (b. 130 BC), also commented. See Joan Cadden, Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages: Medicine, Science, and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993; rpt. 1995), especially pp. 1-37.
396 Esculapion. Christine cites Aesculapius in her gloss on fable 39, The Epistle of Othea, p. 51.
400 Orpheus. Orpheus commonly represents the poet/musician. See The Courte of Sapyence, line 2034. For a comprehensive discussion of Orpheus in the Middle Ages see John Block Friedman, Orpheus in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970).
425 what, in the devyllys date? The phrase is proverbial, parodying words used to date normal events, that is, "in the year of our Lord," to suggest an inversion of usual practice, and ironically implying a connection with Satan. See Bartlett Jere Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases From English Writings Mainly Before 1500 (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968), D 200, p. 130; Whiting cites Piers Plowman A.2.81 (Schmidt, A.2.77) as the earliest instance. See also Skelton's The Bowge of Courte, lines 375 and 455, where the phrase is used as part of the scurrilous squabble between such vices as Ryotte, Drede, and Dyssymulation. Compare later proverbs on "the devil in the horologue" (clock) in Morris P. Tilley, A Dictionary of Proverbs in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1950), D302, p. 155.
449 ye seelyd my patent. "You sealed my patent letter," i.e., accorded me my right.
463-69 Ector of Troy . . . Boleyn. Attropos enumerates the Nine Worthies, though without the usual ranking according to pagans, Jews, and Christians. Perhaps the demand for a rhyme displaces the order of Arthur and Judas Maccabee. The Nine Worthies, famous ancient and medieval nobles found in history and legend, are included among the crowned knights who support the company of the Leaf in The Floure and the Leafe, line 504, because they exemplify the honor of chivalry (said to have been instituted by Julius Caesar; line 530). The three Jews are Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabee; the three pagans are Trojan Hector, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar; the three Christians are King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon (also cited as of Boulogne). See also The Alliterative Morte Arthure, lines 3250-3327, for Arthur's dream of Lady Fortune's wheel and the Nine Worthies, and lines 3408-45, for the philosopher's expanation of the Worthies; and The Parlement of the Thre Ages, lines 295-583, for the dreamer's chilling vision of the Worthies as explained by Elde. The Nine Worthies are also mentioned in Hawes' The Example of Vertu, line 260.
473 Cosdras. Codrus was a wise king of Athens who, in the Doric Wars, pitied his people and chose death for himself rather than affliction for them. See Gower, Confessio Amantis 7.3163-3214.
494 For graunt of your patent of offyce, ner of fee. "For privilege of your right of office, despite the fee," meaning "letter patent office," the right to sell a product.
527 yet had I forgete. It is hard to say whether this "forgetting" is a calculated flashback or mere ineptitude on the part of the poet. The placement underscores well Othea's counseling of prudence rather than her following the premature judgments of the other gods against Eolus, which in turn sets up the arrival of Attropos with his complaint against Vertu. That counsel leads to the release of Eolus so that he might direct his blasts against Vertu, who persists in evading Attropos. That is, the flashback sets up the next section of the poem, with its calling upon the assistance of Vyce and his minions, the seven deadly sins, to undo Vertu.
599 breede ryght nygh your althrys eere. The idiom is difficult. The sense is that Vertu will spring up (regardless of efforts to repress it) right in front of one's nose (to use a modern idiom). Breede means "grow," "inseminate"; nygh your althrys eere means "near the ear of all of you." At the Annunciation the Virgin Mary was "bred with Virtue through the ear." The recurrent line in dozens of Latin hymns is quae per aurem concepicti (who conceived through the ear). See, e.g., hymn entries in the Index to Guido Maria Dreves, Analecta hymnica medii aevi (Bern: Francke, 1978), under "Gaude virgo mater Christi." For a fine ME rendition of such hymns, see lyric 87 in Marian Lyrics, ed. Karen Saupe (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1998), pp. 162-63; 275-76; and Lydgate's "Gaude virgo mater christi," with its rendition "Whiche conceyvedest oonly by hering" (line 3), in The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pt. 1, p. 288. For discussion of the aural phenomenon, see David L. Jeffrey, pp. 489-95. Perhaps Pluto, without Christian insight, reflects upon such frustrating mysteries (frustrating from his point of view).
620 croppe and roote. "Bud and root" implies "top to bottom," or "the whole thing, or totality" (of mischief). See OED. Compare Lydgate, Troy Book 1.229 and 4.5220.
620-34 unhappy capteyns . . . On a roryng lyon . . . on the chase. The mounting of Vices and Virtues on animals with attendant iconography was an exercise in the delights of moral edification in early literature. See, for example, Langland's Piers Plowman B.2.171 ff., Gower's Mirour de l'omme (book 1), and Spenser's The Faerie Queene 1.iv.16-36 (lines 136-324). The illustrator of Cambridge University Library MS GG.4.27 depicts three of the seven deadly sins in Chaucer's Parson's Tale as riding animals, though the virtuous remedies for each are not depicted on beasts. See Poetical Works: Geoffrey Chaucer: A Facsimile of Cambridge University Library MS GG.4.27, with Introductions by M. B. Parkes and Richard Beadle, vol. 2 (Norman, OK: Pilgrim Books, 1980), fols. 389r (Invidia and Charity), 401r (Gluttony and Abstinence), and 402r (Lechery and Chastity). Also see Stephen Hawes, The Example of Vertu, with woodblocks on Sensuality and Pride riding beasts (The Minor Poems, opposite pp. 39 and 40). Adolf Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Mediaeval Art (London: The Warburg Institute, 1939), pp. 57-74 and Index, p. 96, suggests patristic sources for such matter. But especially see Morton Bloomfield, The Seven Deadly Sins (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1952), appendix 1, on animals and the seven deadly sins (pp. 245-49); and, for processions of sins on animals, his discussion of the Austrian Lumen animae (pp. 138-39), Gower's works (pp. 193-96), Langland's Piers Plowman (pp. 196-98), The Assembly of Gods (pp. 227-28), and Spenser's The Faerie Queene (pp. 241-43). For animal iconography, see George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art (London: Oxford University Press, 1954) and T. H. White, A Bestiary: A Book of Beasts (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1954). For a beautifully illustrated bestiary, see Richard Barber, Bestiary, Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford MS. Bodley 764 (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1993).
626 Covetyse. See William Langland's vividly physical portrait of the ugly personification in Piers Plowman B.5.188-94). Dante places the covetous in the fourth circle of hell in the Inferno (canto 7), defined as the tonsured orders (including popes and cardinals) "in cui usa avarizia il suo soperchio" (in whom avarice wreaks its excess [line 48], trans. Singleton, The Divine Comedy, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 70-71).
635-714 As for pety capteyns . . . / . . . thryve for shame. Allegorical literature of the later fifteenth century thrives on lists of names and personification, a sort of educational agenda that instructs through classification and affiliation. See, for example, the catalogue of moral and ethical personifications in The Courte of Sapyence (lines 1499-1652); or the companions to the "Quene of Sapience" in Gavin Douglas' Palis of Honour (lines 240-62), and the companions of Venus (lines 562-94); or the wedding of Dame Clennes attended by Dame Grace with her fifteen attendant ladies in Hawes' The Example of Vertu (lines 1773-93); or Dunbar's list of the attendants of the Queen of Love, Mars, tender youth, etc., in The Golden Targe (lines 136-80). None of these examples are as replete as the congregation of pety capteyns assembled in The Assembly of Gods, however, which provides an encyclopedic anatomy of what constitutes for the poet unseemly behavior.
673 bosters, braggars, and brybores. According to Triggs' note on lines 673 ff., this list compares with Langland's "bakbiteris, brewecheste, brawleris and chideris" in Piers Plowman B.16.42.
674 Praters, fasers, strechers, and wrythers. Praters are idle talkers; fasers are hypo-crites (people who falsify); strechers are literally fabric stretchers, thus, figuratively, liars; and wrythers are those who twist or pervert the facts.
675 shaveldores. Shaveldores are wanderers, particularly gentlemen robbers near the Scottish border; or minstrels or entertainers (OED).
676 crakers. "Crackers," from Kraghers, an obsolete form of "crag," refers to boasters (OED).
678 traytours. The traitors are housed in Dante's ninth circle, the deepest in hell, in the Inferno (cantos 32-34).
herytykes. Dante places the heretics in the sixth circle of hell (Inferno, cantos 9-10), after the incontinent (representing weakness of flesh) and before the violent (representing premeditated sin). The Epicurean is heretical because he denies immortality to the soul.
679 sorcerers . . . scismatykes. Dante places sorcerers in the eighth circle, of the fraudulent, tenth bolgia (Inferno, cantos 29-30), for example, the alchemist Griffolino of Arezzo; and schismatics in the ninth bolgia (canto 28), for example, prophet Mahomet. Langland couples "Sar3enes and scismatikes" with the Jews in Piers Plowman B.11.120.
680 symonyakes. Dante places the simonists in the third bolgia of the eighth circle of hell, of the fraudulent (Inferno, canto 19). For him, Pope Nicholas III (1277-80) typifies the simonist, that is, someone who purchases his ecclesiastical office.
usurers. Dante places the usurers in the seventh circle of hell (Inferno, canto 17), as a type of the third round, the violent against God, nature, and art; they represent in particular the violent against art.
681 coyn-wasshers, and clyppers. A coin washer "sweats" metal from around the edges of a coin, while a clipper is one who clips or shaves metal from coins (MED).
685 Tregetours. This word is used by Chaucer in The Franklin's Tale to describe illusionists (CT V [F] 413-28).
686 lurdeyns and pykers of males. A lurdeyn is an "evildoer, wicked person, criminal, good-for-nothing." A male is a purse or wallet (MED).
687 Rowners. According to the OED, a rowner is a "whisperer, a tattler, a tale-bearer."
692 lofedayes. On love days, when courts were not in session, suits could be settled out of court; or, in an impasse, a love day was a day when both sides were forgiven.
694 Tytyvyllys. "Titivilus" is the name of a devil who collected mumbled bits of divine service and took them to hell as evidence against the mumbler. The name is also found in France and Germany in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. "Titinillus" is the earliest form of the name (OED). He appears as one of Satan's minions in the Towneley Judgment play and as a boasting buffoon in the popular morality play Mankind, both from the mid-fifteenth century.
697 Tyburne. Tyburn was a place in Middlesex used for public executions until 1738.
coloppys. Coloppys, usually a piece of meat, bacon, or fat rendering, could also refer to offspring (OED). Here the sense is of the offspring of dangerous criminals.
700 baudys. Pimps and "Brothelles brokers" (line 702) join panders and seducers in Dante's eighth circle, of the fraudulent, first round (Inferno, canto 18).
708 Pseudo-prophetes, false sodomytes. The sodomites appear in Dante's seventh circle, third round, the violent against nature, of whom the famous scholar Brunetto Latini is an example (Inferno, canto 15).
710 Wetewoldes. Men who are aware of and complacent about the infidelity of their wives, thus "contented cuckolds."
732 shoure. Implied is an assault by Satan, a vice, or death.
evesong. The term is short for "evensong-bell."
773 trayne. The trayne refers to baggage; procession; something dragged on the ground, often to make a trail to lure wild beasts into a trap, though the noun more generally refers to treachery, guile, deceit, betrayal, trickery, fraud. See MED, n.1: as a verb it means to entice, reduce, ensnare, entrap. See MED, v.1.: A "train can also be a line of gunpowder, etc., laid as a fuse to detonate a charge." Black powder was first used in Europe in the early 1300s. See, for example, Chaucer's The Hous of Fame, lines 1643-44.
caltrop. A "caltrop" involves strewing the field with iron spikes to impede cavalry.
782 defaute. In hunting, when the scent of the prey cannot be followed or picked up.
792 ff. Foure dowty knyghtys. Vertu's four companions - Ryghtwysnes, Prudence, Streyngth, and Temperaunce - are the four cardinal virtues, commonly cited in moral treatises and identified as "classical," as opposed to the three Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. See, for example, the four seeds for sowing given by Grace to Piers in Piers Plowman B.19.275-311; or Dante's Chariot of the Church in the Purgatorio (canto 24, lines 121 ff.), with its three dancing ladies on the right in red, white, and green (faith, charity, and hope) and four on the left in purple, led by prudence (along with righteousness, strength, and temperance).
815 hys trapure. A trapper was a metal or leather covering for a horse or other beast of burden used in defense or as shelter or adornment; trapping; housing (OED).
817 popynjay. The popynjay was the name for a parrot or its representation in ornamental design and tapestries in the fourteenth century; in heraldic charges in the fifteenth century; and as the figure atop a pole used for target practice in the sixteenth century (OED). The papiayez in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are painted or embroidered among flowers on the borders of the silk band on the helmet of Sir Gawain (line 611). In Hawes' The Example of Vertu "popinjays," described as "wanton fowlys," along with "pyes, Iays and owlys," adorn designs in the roof of Fortune's palace (line 249-50).
827 pety capteyns. See note to lines 635-714.
855-61 Compare Konnyng's entourage with the elaborate catalogue of Sapyence's companions in the arts in The Courte of Sapyence (lines 1807-2205). Encyclopedic detail of this kind held a special place in the hearts of proto-humanists as their topics are purveyed to a broader audience of readers in vernacular literature. The effect is similar to the alchemist's lists in Chaucer's The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, where the categories of science are celebrated as "knowledge."
931 Nede and Konnyng in armure. According to St. Paul (Ephesians 6:10-17), the virtuous person is armed in the armor of faith; Konnyng (intelligence), like faith, provides Vertu true security ("full sewre / To trust on," lines 930-31). See note to lines 855-61 above on the protective, courtly role of Konnynge in The Courte of Sapyence.
932 "Macrocosme." The OED and Triggs gloss this term as "microcosm," because of the ensuing allegorical battle sequence that involves faculties of the soul in line with the Prudentian psychomachia tradition. (See also lines 1250, 1276, 1281, 1295, 1298, 1341, and 1828.) According to the OED, The Assembly of Gods poet is the first to use the term "macrocosm" in English; the term "microcosm" had been in use for a hundred years. The poet seems to be referring to the "felde" (line 931) of battle as earth, that is, humankind's domain. Given the other scribal errors - "Colus" for "Eolus" and "Morpleus" for "Morpheus" - there seems to be scribal misprision at work here, too. In the twelfth century, Bernardus Silvestris in his Neoplatonic Cosmographia, or De mundi universitate, constructed an epic poem about the creation of the Megacosmos, or "great world," and the Microcosmus, or mankind himself, the "little world" whose body and soul parallel the material (earthly) and celestial regions of the great world. The poet in The Assembly of Gods is attempting a similar correspondence, between cosmological disturbance and human sin, or the ordering of the heavens and human society and the psychological hierarchy of the human soul. Hence the synoptic crossing of borders and blurring of boundaries between "Macrocosm" and "Microcosm" passim.
937 Synderesys . . . as in a parke. "Synderesis" denotes moral guardianship, the watchful keeping of conscience, a "sense of guilt, remorse" (OED). De anima et de potenciis eius, an Avicennian treatise of c. 1220-30, presents sinderesis, along with ratio, as two parts of the practical intellect. It is an inborn quality naturally moving toward the good (naturaliter movens ad bonum) that abhors evil (abhorrens malum). See R. A. Gauthier, "Le Traité De anima et de potenciis eius d'un Mâitre ès arts (vers 1225)," Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques 66 (1982), 54-55. Here in The Assembly of Gods he is a tabulator, a court clerk "with his tables in hye hand, her dedys to marke" (line 938). Synderesys' enclosed park resembles those in The Floure and the Leafe and The Assembly of Ladies. The fifteenth-century park implied "an enclosed tract of land held by royal grant or prescription for keeping beasts of the chase" (OED).
957 new daunce. Vyce is being wittily perverse. The "new dance" that he would teach is really the "old dance" of lechery (novelty). St. Augustine and subsequent theologians usually speak of the "old daunce" as sin and the "new dance" as correspondent to the new song of faith. See David L. Jeffrey, p. 566. N.b., St. Augustine's sermon De cantico novo on the new song of chastity and the old song of cupidity, cited by D. W. Robertson, Jr., in Preface to Chaucer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 127, as well as references in Romance of the Rose and Chaucer to "the olde daunce," see, for example, the Wife of Bath in the General Prologue, who knows the "remedies of love . . . and of that art the olde daunce" (CT I [A] 495-96).
970 penowns. A penown is identified in the MED as "a long narrow flag, attached to a lance, with distinguishing marking for identification; borne especially by knights and bachelors but also by men of higher rank."
974-80 He dubbyd Falshood / . . . These fourteen knyghtes. . . / they wold asay. When Vyce dubs fourteen knights, Vertu responds by dubbing fourteen of his own (lines 981 ff.). The reciprocal symmetry defines one of Vertu's characteristics, which is responsive as well as initiative. In the postlapsarian world, Vertu is to some degree defensive.
1094 Vertew hys rerewarde. The poet commonly creates a genitive by following a noun with hys, imagining that the -s genitive is a contraction with the h dropped. See also lines 1155, 1192, and 2074.
Good Perseveraunce. Good Perseverance, who chides even as he reinforces Vertu, reminding him that he is "Crystis Champyon" (line 1103), is a prominent concept in later fifteenth-century moral treatises. The battle of virtues and vices in The Assembly of Gods shares much in common with morality plays such as The Castle of Perseverance, Mankind, Wisdom, and Everyman as a kind of personification allegory. "Perseverance" is an ethical category that blossomed in the Reformation.
1135 Frewyll came to Conscience. In their victory, the warriors of Vertu specifically affirm Christian doctrine, in this instance the staging of penance, with its tripartite pilgrimage from Confession to Contrition to Satisfaction. See Chaucer's The Parson's Tale (CT X [I] 106, 111-26), where the paradigm moves from contrition to confession to satisfaction. Chaucer's pattern is more psychological, moving from desire to reaction to result; The Assembly of Gods' paradigm is more doctrinal, moving from institution to effect and result.
1154 Dyspeyre with hym met. In defeat, Vyce is confronted with Dyspeyre, again a common theological topic that is explored, especially in reform doctrine, with its strong emphasis on faith. See, for example, Langland's Piers Plowman C.22.165-68, on the struggle with Wanhope; and compare Redcrosse Knight's dilemma in Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1.ix), where, even in victory, he is, in the presence of Conscience and his own guilt, threatened by Despair.
1178 Predestinacion. Once again the theological proposition implicit here accords with late fifteenth-century concerns on such issues as the triumph of the one true contender, who can never be defeated by Dethe. In Vertu, the contradictions of Frewyll and Predestinacion are resolved. Both abide in his household, along with his other lady, Prescience (foreknowledge). One might be reminded of the one good man who characterizes God's plan of continuance of virtue in the alliterative poem Death and Life, or, later, in Milton's Paradise Lost (books 11 and 12).
1205-06 Som eke for socour drew to Circumcysion / But by hym cowde they gete but small favour. The reason for Circumcysion's small favor is explained in Acts 15, where Christian faith is deemed more important than old Hebrew rites.
1228 'Sensualité' hys propre name. The summons recalls the central theme of the poem, the reconciliation of Reson and Sensualité. Here, just as Eolus was tried by the pagan council at the outset of the poem, that part of humankind that dwells primarily in the classical world, i.e., the senses, will be addressed in another trial.
1233 Sadnesse with hys sobre chere. Given the volatility of the senses and their need for good governance, Sadnes (steadfastness, prudence, right reason) is the suitable warden for Sensualité (see lines 1261-65). Sadnes works well with Reson, Vertu's "lyeftenaunt" (line 1254), and when properly guided by Frewyll the senses lead to sane, healthy human behavior. Thus Dame Nature (line 1268) rightly asks for "Gentyll" Sensualité's freedom (lines 1269-74) within the Microcosme, and Vertu grants the petition (lines 1280-81). Sensualité is not some "underlowte," to be a "castaway, or a shoo clowte" (lines 1273-74, see note below), but rather, if well-governed by Sadnes, a key component of human nature, even when marred by Cryme Oryginall (line 776).
1242 finaunce. The word conveys a range of meanings, from "ransom," "settlement," and "recompense," to "punishment" or "outcome." See the OED.
1274 shoo clowte. The clouted shoe was a sole protected by iron plates or nails that might denote a patched shoe or, more figuratively, a clown or boor (that is, someone who wears clouted shoes) (OED).
1296 ff. fyve posternes. That Morpheus is given the keeping of the fyve posternes (i.e., the five senses) is tribute to his steady vision as he sits in his little corner of fantasy and illuminates situations. See line 35. Morpheus has also guided the narrator through the poem's various sections. For example, when Vertu, at Dame Nature's behest, grants Sensualité freedom (lines 1286 ff.), Morpheus suddenly appears in his "corner" (line 1284) and is praised for his vision.
1310-11 Attropos . . . astonyed as he stood. Dethe is once again thwarted by Vertu. See line 591. With Vertu, Dame Nature allows even the senses to triumph. In his anger, Attropos' only hope is Residivacion (Backsliding, line 1359), which cannot thrive as long as Sensualité abides in the care of Sadnes.
1361 wedehokes. Weed-hooks are hooks for cutting away weeds. The term could be used figuratively.
1382 ff. Attropos, voyde of all gladnes. Perceiving the futility of his role in the classical world, where Christian virtue remains untouchable, Attropos asks Reson the way to the Lorde of Lyght (line 1384), where he is given a new name, Dethe (line 1403). With the new name comes a new franchise. Now, rather than agent of hell, he becomes agent of heaven (n.b., lines 1420-21). Compare the position of Death in the contemporary morality play Everyman: God calls upon Death to go to mankind as a friend, to help him keep macrocosmic/microcosmic matters in the right perspective.
1429-67 Confession, Contricion, and Satisfaccion / . . . Oo omnipotens. As in Everyman, the virtuous person is protected by the sacraments of "hooly Eukaryst" (line 1439) and "Holy Unccion" (line 1444), under the governance of "Presthoode" and "Good Remembraunce" (line 1452), despite the wages of Dethe, who ultimately vanishes as a threat (line 1464). Vertu wears the "crowne of glory" (line 1466) and bears the "swete frute of Macocrosme" (Microcosm) (line 1468) to heaven "above the firmament" (line 1465). See notes to lines 932 and 1135.
1444 crysmatory. "The vessel containing the chrism or consecrated oil, in R. C. Ch., a case containing three flasks of oil for baptism, confirmation, and anointing of sick" (OED).
1455 sesyne. There are two meanings: the first, "to wall up the doors of; to stop the means of access to"; and second, "to shut up or enclose within walls; to imprison" (OED).
1470 ff. Agayn fro the felde to me came Morpheus. Having completed the exemplary drama reconciling Reson and Sensualité, the poet now shifts the scene to review the matter through introspection. The new setting, in "a fouresquare herber wallyd round about" (line 1479), tended by Wytte and Stody and under the supervision of Dame Doctryne, is similar to the shift in Langland's Piers Plowman from the Visio section (B passus1-7) to the Vita de Dowel, Dobet, Dobest section (B passus 8 ff.), where a different kind of journey - an introspective one - begins. In The Assembly of Gods it is here that Holy Texte (line 1500) will come to his assistance, along with prefigurations and types of Christ in the Old and New Testaments.
1515-20 on tho walles was made memory / . . . of every creature / . . . in portrature. The poet's representing of biblical history on walls in portrature is well suited to establishing the new direction of the poem as the pagan gods are about to be displaced by the Christian God. The battle between pagan and Christian doctrine is presented as a contest in iconography. The figurae in the murals that follow are keyed to prominent biblical scenes that are pervasively represented in English fifteenth-century popular culture, from wall paintings, ceiling bosses, and church sculpture to tales, romances, plays, books of hours, and instruction manuals, all of which use popular biblical stories for exemplary effect. Compare Gavin Douglas' The Palis of Honoure, which also explores the debate between sacred and pagan (worldly) domain by means of murals adorning temple walls. Literary use of murals became a fifteenth-century rhetorical fashion. As Triggs wittily observes, "[a] secondary poet like Stephen Hawes [The Pastime of Pleasure] cannot mention a wall without covering it with pictures" (p. lvii). The formulation of literary murals is established by Guillaume de Lorris in the Roman de la Rose, and it flourishes in Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess and, in a brass variant, in The Hous of Fame, from whence it is imitated profusely in works like Lydgate's The Temple of Glass, Barclay's Toure of Vertue and Honour, and Dunbar's Dreamain , as well as in Douglas' The Palis of Honoure, Hawes' The Pastime of Pleasure, The Assembly of Ladies, and The Assembly of Gods.
1521 Adam and Eve . . . appyll round. Adam and Eve caused the fall of humankind when they disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. See Genesis 3.1-7. This scene was a key component in all the Corpus Christi cycles and was a favorite subject for windows, murals, and tile work in chapel floors.
1522 Noe in a shyp. Noah built the ark in obedience to God's commands and thereby saved his family from the Flood (see Genesis 6-7). This is another key scene in the mystery plays, church windows, and ceiling bosses. See Chaucer's amusing send-up in The Miller's Tale, where John the carpenter knows the story of Noah from the plays.
1522-23 Abraham . . . and Isaac lay bound. In obedience to God's command, Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac to God (see Genesis 22:2-13) This constitutes another key play in the cycle plays. In Augustine's parsing of time, the figures of Adam, Noah, and Abraham mark the first three ages. See note to line 1737. All three are featured in the forty-plate block book known as the Biblia pauperum. Several modern facsimile editions of this important text are available. See, in particular, The Bible of the Poor (Biblia pauperum): A Facsimile Edition of the British Library Block Book C.9.d2, trans. with commentary by Albert C. Labriola and John W. Smeltz; and also Avril Henry's edition (see note to lines 1536-37).
1524-25 Jacob . . . a long laddyr stood hym besyde. Jacob, son of Isaac, was also father of the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel (see Genesis 25-50). Although Jacob is not featured in the plays, Jacob's ladder and Jacob's well figure prominently in moral treatises, Books of Hours, and the Biblia pauperum.
1526 Joseph in a cysterne. His envious brothers took his many-colored coat and threw him into a well. He was thereafter sold into slavery in Egypt (see Genesis 37:3-24). This scene is featured in the Biblia pauperum to prefigure the entombment of Christ.
1527 Moyses. Moses, by accepting from God the two tablets (i.e., the Ten Commandments), is regarded as the founder of the Law. He is said to be the author of the first five books of the Bible. See Exodus 20.
1528 Aaron and Urré, hys armes supportyng. According to the book of Exodus, Aaron was Moses' brother and the first Jewish high priest (regarded as the founder of the Hebrew priesthood). When called to his mission by God, Moses doubted his own capabilities. He found assurance through the promise of support from Aaron (hys armes supportyng). Urré may be Hur, in that he and Aaron supported Moses (Exodus 17:10-121), or perhaps Beseleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur (Exodus 31:2), who, filled with the spirit of God, made the tabernacle that the Israelites carried before them in the desert. Thus he, too, supports Moses' armes.
1529 Ely. Elijah (Elias in the Douay/Vulgate) rode the fiery chariot to the third heaven; see 1 Kings 19:8 and 2 Kings 2:11 (Douay/Vulgate 3 Kings 19:8, 4 Kings 2:11). Both he and Elisha (line 1530) are linked to the Resurrection in the Biblia pauperum, since both brought the dead back to life. See plate l on the raising of Lazarus.
1530 Elyze . . . in an hermytes clothyng. Elisha (Eliseus in the Douay/Vulgate), a prophet of Israel whom Elijah designated as his successor. He dwelt in the desert and is thus clad in an hermytes clothyng. See 1 Kings 19:16 and 19 and 2 Kings 2 (Vulgate 3 Kings 19:16 and 4 Kings 2).
1531 David with an harpe and a stoone slyng. King David was a composer of psalms who also slew the giant Goliath with his slingshot. David's harp becomes a sign of good kingship, the capacity to bring peace and harmony to the state. The sling is a sign of prowess under God. See Douay/Vulgate 1 Kings 16:16-23 and 1 Kings 17:40-51.
1532 Isaye, Jeremy, and Ezechiell. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are all biblical prophets in the Old Testament. Isaiah (Isaias in the Douay/Vulgate) foretold the coming of Christ; Jeremiah (Jeremias in the Douay/Vulgate) was a priest whose suffering prefigured that of Christ. Ezekiel envisioned the Lord as a burning wheel ascending into heaven (Ezekiel 1).
1533 closyd with lyons . . . Danyell. A biblical prophet, Daniel interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. After his enemies engineered a law forbidding prayer, Daniel was cast into the lions' den, from which he was rescued by God. See Daniel 6:16-24. Biblia pauperum, plate .l., juxtaposes the scene with Jesus' appearing to Mary Magdalene in John 22:11-17.
1534 Abacuc, Mychee with Malachy. Habakkuk (Habacuc or Habaccus in the Douay/ Vulgate) was a Hebrew prophet of Juda in the seventh century BC who foretold the invasion of the Chaldeans; Micah (Micheas in the Douay/Vulgate), a Hebrew prophet from Juda, was contemporary with Isaiah; Malachi was contemporary with Nemehiah and the last of the prophets (around 400 BC). All three appear repeatedly in the Biblia pauperum as prophets of Christ.
1535 Jonas out of a whales body commyng. Jonah, the Old Testament prophet of Galilee, was the only prophet to preach to the gentiles. In the Biblia pauperum he is associated with the entombment of Christ and the Resurrection as he enters the great fish and then is disgorged, out of a whales body commyng. The scene commonly appears in church windows.
1536-37 Samuell in a temple . . . Zakary / Besyde an awter. Samuel was a Hebrew judge and prophet; see 1 and 2 Samuel (1 and 2 Kings in the Douay/Vulgate). Zacharias, Zechariah, or Zachary, was a sixth-century BC Hebrew prophet who wanted the temple rebuilt and whose visions anticipate the future of the Church. In the Biblia pauperum he appears with Sophonias (see line 1551) in plate d, which celebrates the presentation of Mary in the Temple. His verse (Zacharias 2:10) reads, "See, I am coming and shall live among you." Zacharias and Sophonias also appear together in plate f, on the destruction of the Egyptian idols after Christ's flight into Egypt, where Zacharias says (Zacharias 13:2), "At that time I shall eradicate the names of the idols from the earth." The fall of the Egyptian idols is nonbiblical, deriving from eighth- and ninth-century legends of the type. See Avril Henry, Biblia pauperum (Ithaca: Cornell University Press: 1987), p. 59. Altogether Zacharias appears nine times in the Biblia pauperum, in plates i (on the Baptism of Christ), n (on Mary Magdalene's repentance), o (on Jesus' entry into Jerusalem - twice), p (on Christ's purifying of the temple), r (Judas' selling of Jesus), and .h. (on the Harrowing of Hell).
1538-39 Osee with Judyth . . . / . . . Oloferne. Ozias was the high priest of Bethulia who encouraged Judith in her foray to destroy Holofernes. See the book of Judith 8-16, in the Douay/Vulgate.
1539-40 Salomon . . . / A chylde with hys swerde dyvydyng in two. That is, dividing a child into two with his sword. Solomon was a king of Israel (974-c. 937 BC) and the alleged author of the Song of Solomon, written, according to Christian commentators, in celebration of the wedding of the bridegroom (Christ) to the bride (the Church). Renowned for his wisdom, Solomon was famous for his judgment that decided the identity of a baby's mother: when he informed two quarreling mothers that he would cut the baby in half so each would be satisfied, the true mother refused her half, thus preserving her baby's life.
1543-44 Melchisedech . . . / Bred and wyne offryng. Melchizedek, or Melchizedec, was a priest and king of Salem who blessed Abraham. See Genesis 14:18. His offering of Bred and wyne was viewed as a prefiguration of the Eucharist. See Biblia pauperum, plate s, which juxtaposes Melchizedec offering bread and wine with the Last Supper (John 13:1-30) and with Moses receiving the manna in the desert.
1545-46 Joachym and Anne . . . / Embrasyd in armes to the gyldyn gate. Joachim and Anne were parents of the Virgin Mary (hence the reference to the golden gate, presumably of Paradise, that is, the intermediary or liaison through whose mercy true Christians obtain grace and thereby pass into Paradise).
1547 John Baptyst in a desert sate. The son of Zacharias and Elizabeth through a miraculous conception, John lived in the desert of Judea from early manhood. Because he baptizes Jesus in Jerusalem, John is presented in the Gospel as the forerunner of Christ. In Luke 1, when the pregnant Virgin Mary visits Elizabeth, John leaps in his mother's womb and she is filled with the Holy Ghost. He is associated with the voice crying in the wilderness (n.b., the opening of the baptism scene in each of the Synoptic Gospels) and thus is usually represented as wearing a camel's hair coat, signifying how he in a desert sate. He was beheaded while a prisoner at Herod's fortress and his head was offered to Salome on a plate. He was, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, immensely popular in England, with no fewer than 496 ancient churches dedicated to his honor, "a total exceeded only by SS. Mary, Peter, Michael, Andrew, and All Saints" (p. 215). In The Assembly of Gods he is of especial importance, given the prominence of Baptym in the poet's scheme of redemption.
1549 Sodechy. Sedecias, or Zedekiah, originally called Matthanias, uncle of Jechonias or Joachin; Sedacias reigned as king of Juda for eleven years, after which he revolted against the king of Babylon, fled, and was captured, blinded, and enslaved. At this important juncture Jerusalem was also captured, the temple burned, and its people sent to Babylon. See 4 Kings 24:17-25:21.
1550 Amos . . . with sobre countenaunce. This Old Testament prophet denounces the crimes of the people of Israel. He appears in the Biblia pauperum as one who anticipates Christ's purification of the temple (plate p), who prophesies the Jews' condemnation of Christ (plate .b.), and who foretells the piercing of Christ's side (plate .f.).
1551 Sophony. Zephaniah (Sophonias in the Douay/Vulgate) prophesies the Jews' punishment for idolatry and other crimes. In the Biblia pauperum, plate d, his verse (Sophonias 3:15) reads, "The King of Israel, the Lord, is among you." On plate f he says, "The Lord will bring low all the gods of the earth" (Sophonias 2:11). See also plates .i. (on the Resurrection) and .n. (on doubting Thomas).
1552 Neemy and Esdras. Nehemiah and Ezra (Nehemias and Esdras in the Douay/ Vulgate) were authors of books of the Old Testament; each describes the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple. Ezra, a priest and doctor of the law, wrote two books, 1 and 2 Esdras, although the Douay calls 2 Esdras "Nehemias" (cupbearer to king of Persia) while retaining "Second book of Esdras" under the "Book of Nehemii."
1553 Joob as an impotent. Job, in the Old Testament book of the same name, was known for his patience in the face of increasing tribulation and persecution. The allusion is to Job's powerlessness while under the constraint of Satan.
1554 Thoby pacyent. Tobias, prophet of the Old Testament, was known for his patience and resignation to the will of God. Eighth husband of Sara, Tobias waited until Sara's first seven husbands were each slain by the fiend when they tried to possess her too soon; and then, as Gower puts it, "Thobie his wille hadde" (Confessio Amantis 7.5361).
1560 Than I me turnyd. The poet juxtaposes Old Testament images with New, the one on the left, the other on the right.
1562 Petyr with hys keyes. St. Peter was the fisherman whom Christ found at the Sea of Galilee and the apostle whose name means "rock," upon whom Christ built his church. Founder of the Roman Church and its first pope, he holds two keys, for the gates of heaven and hell.
1563 Poule with a swerde. St. Paul is the author of the Pauline epistles in the New Testament and apostle of Christianity to the gentiles. A Jew of Tarsus known originally as Saul, he carries the sword with which he was murdered. Namesake of the principal cathedral in England, his influence on theology and literature is enormous. Chaucer refers to him as "the Apostle" and cites his writings more than he does those of any other patriarch.
1563-64 James also, / With a scalop. One of the original twelve apostles, linked with the New Testament's epistle of St. James and the shrine of Compostela, in Galicia, Spain (a favored pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages), James is depicted wearing a scallop shell on his cloak. A pilgrim who had visited the shrine of St. James at Compostela often wore a cockleshell as a sign (OED).
1564 Thomas holdyng in hys hande / A spere. According to John, the doubting apostle, born in Galilee as a twin and present at the sea of Galilee when Christ manifested himself, is holding a spear because, doubting the physical presence of the resur-rected Christ, he touched the spear wound in Christ's side with his fingers. His life is marked by contradictions. At the Last Supper he is the one of greatest faith, willing to die with Christ; then, after the Resurrection, he doubts the resurrected Christ's word. According to the Weaver's play in the York Cycle (play 46, on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary), word of Mary's translation comes first to Thomas who, filled with the joy of faith, tells the good news to the other apostles, who doubt the truth of his vision. Legends say that he preached in India, where he died. See Mandeville's wondrous account of his encounter with "the arm and the hond that he putte in oure lordes syde," which are preserved in a vessel without a tomb in India, where it passes judgment in trials: petitions for and against a case are placed in the hand and it casts away the false (Mandeville's Travels, ed. M. C. Seymour [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967], p. 127). Mandeville also describes the tomb.
1565 Phylyp aprochyd hym, too. Among the first of the twelve apostles, Philip brought Greeks to Jesus and during Christ's discourse after the Last Supper requested, in a tone of doubt, that Jesus show the apostles the Father. Like Thomas, with whom he is linked here, he provokes a response from Jesus, in this instance, "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also" (Douay/Vulgate, John 14:8-9).
1566 James the Lesse. James the less is usually identified as Christ's brother or the author of the Epistle of St. James or the son of the woman who stood by Christ at the Cross. His standing "loo" (i.e., in the lesser position, line 1566) appears to be a pun on his name. The Golden Legend says he was beaten to death with a fuller's club while he knelt, praying for his enemies. He had just been thrown from the top of the temple, in mockery of Christ's temptation scene. His feast day is May 1.
1567 Bartylmew . . . all flayn. A martyred apostle, Bartholomew is linked with Philip (line 1565). He was flayed alive at his martyrdom; his skin became his iconographic sign.
1568 Symon and Thadee shewyd how they were slayn. Simon Zelotes and Thaddeus (also called Jude, the brother of James) were both said to have been martyred in Persia. Traditions vary on the martyrdom of Thaddeus. Some accounts indicate that he was beaten to death with a club; others have him impaled with a lance (see George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols of Christian Art, p. 127); while others still depict him as beheaded with a halbard (Golden Legend). Regardless, he becomes the "patron of hopeless cases" (Oxford Book of Saints, p. 225). Simon's iconography usually depicts him with a boat or holding a fish, perhaps because he was thought to be cousin to the Zebedees, the group of fisherman to which Simon Peter belonged. According to the Golden Legend he was crucified; in other legends he was hewn to death with a falchion, which sometimes becomes his sign. In Western Europe, Simon and Thaddeus share a common feast day, October 28, the day on which their relics were marvelously translated to Rome. Since the line indicates that they shewyd how they were slayn, we are apparently to imagine Simon holding a fish or falchion and Thaddeus holding a club, a lance, or a halbard.
1569 Mathy and Barnabe, drawyng lottys. According to Acts 1:21-26, Matthias and Barsabas, two who witnessed the Resurrection, were the chosen candidates to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve. They were given lots, and the lot fell to Matthias. The poet apparently confuses Barsabas with St. Barnabas, Paul's com-panion and disciple, known for his charity.
1570 Marke, a lyon. Mark was one of the four evangelists and his symbol is the lion. As author of the second Gospel he is often depicted at a writing desk or holding his book (see line 1571). His gospel begins with the voice crying in the wilderness, of which the lion was held to be the sign.
1571-72 Mathew in hys mood / . . . an aungell with wynges. Matthew was the evangelist whose symbol is the angel. He is said to have written the first book of the New Testament, about Christ's life.
1573 Luke had a calfe. This evangelist's symbol is an ox, perhaps because of his unique account of the sacrifice in the temple at the Presentation. This companion of Paul wrote the third book of the New Testament and the Acts of the Apostles.
1574-75 John . . . / An egle bare hys book. The fourth evangelist, John, is known by the symbol of the eagle because of the keen vision with which John perceived celestial truths regarding the Word. In addition to the fourth book of the New Testament, he was thought to have written three epistles and the Book of Revelation.
1576 Gregory . . . Ambrose. The four Fathers of the Western Church were Ambrose (340?-97), bishop of Milan, who was Augustine's teacher; Jerome (340?-420), who translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate; Augustine (354-430), author of The City of God and On Christian Doctrine, who was later claimed to be the founder of the Austin friars; and Pope Gregory (560-604), who was the author of the Moralia. In Piers Plowman, this same combination of patriarchs is identified as the "foure stottes" (bullocks, stallions) who plow the fields of Grace for Piers' sowing in man's soul the seeds of the four cardinal virtues, namely prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice (19.269ff.). Compare The Courte of Sapyence, lines 1793-99.
1578 Bernard with Anselme. St. Bernard (1092-1153), abbot of Clairvaux, was one of the founders of the Cistercian order; St. Anselm (1033-1109) was archbishop of Canterbury and author of numerous popular theological tracts.
1579 Thomas of Alquyne and Domynyk. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225?-74), scholastic author of the Summa theologica, was one of the greatest of the Domincans, an order of friars known for its preaching and scholarship founded by St. Dominic (1170-1221).
1580 Benet and Hew, relygyous governours. St. Benedict (480?-543?) was founder of a monastic rule that dominated Western spirituality to the twelfth century; Hugh of St. Victor in the twelfth century wrote a famous manual on education entitled Didascalion, as well as treatises on the soul and the sacraments.
1581 Martyne and John, with bysshops tweyne. St. Martin was bishop of Tours (c. 316-400) and patron saint of France and of innkeepers; "John" is the name of twenty-three popes, including St. John I (470?-526), sent by Theodoric the Ostrogoth in 525 to Constantinople to help convince the Byzantine emperor to be more tolerant of the Arians. See Webster's Biographical Dictionary.
1582 Crysostom. John Chrysostom of Antioch lived between 347 and 407. He was a famous preacher and commentator on Scripture, who became archbishop of Constantinople in 398. In the West he was celebrated as one of the four Greek Doctors, along with Athanasius, Basil (the Great), and Gregory Nazianzus (Oxford Dictionary of Saints).
1584-86 Orygene / Hydyng hys face . . . / . . .what I mene). In an act of assumed piety Origen emasculated himself, for which he was subsequently condemned; thus, his shame.
1589 "Sybyll." The sibyl was the priestess/prophet to whom Aeneas went for guidance into the future and the underworld (Aeneid 6). In commentaries, she becomes a pagan visionary who foresees the coming of Christ. Thus, in the mystery plays, she joins the patriarchal prophets in the processions foretelling Advent. She also appears as a wise woman at the end of Christine's The Epistle of Othea, where she converts Caesar Augustus to Christianity (fable 100). All the sibyls appear in Book 2 of The City of Ladies.
1595 Andrew the Apostyll with hys crosse. The brother of Simon Peter, Andrew was crucified in Achaea. While on the cross he witnessed for Christ and preached the Gospel for two days to 20,000 people. When his persecutor Aegeus attempted to take him down out of fear of the people, Andrew prayed for release by God and his soul flew to heaven in a ball of light. A demon seized Aegeus, however, and he died in the street (Jacobus de Voraigne, Golden Legend).
1608 Over her heede hovyd a culver, fayre and whyte. The implication is that Dame Doctryne provides official access to the Holy Spirit.
1657 made her beerdys on the new gete. Apollo, as sun god and source of light, can make beards grow, here, in the new gete, or "newe jet," that is, "according to the latest fashion," a term also applied to the way the fashionable Pardoner rides bareheaded, having folded up his hood in his "walet," in his portrait in Chaucer's General Prologue (line 682). The sense is that Apollo convinced them to change their minds, that is, literally to trim their beards according to the lastest fashion or style. "To make a beard" in late medieval England is also "to trick" or "to deceive"; a "beard" is a joke or trick, as in Chaucer's The Miller's Tale, where the barber Absolon is himself bearded by "hende" Nicholas and willing Alisoun.
1683 Tyme of Devyacion. See note to lines 1737 ff.
1695-97 sevyn planettys / . . . goddys were they callyd. The seven planets in the Ptolemaic cosmological system are also regarded as gods, as witnessed in the first part of the poem. Counting from the outside in, the planets begin with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; then the sun (Apollo) is in the fourth position, while Venus, Mercury, and the moon (Diana) follow. See Macrobius' classification in the Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, pp. 155-68 (1.17-19); and Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 82-91, 191, 374-75, 382, and 467.
1707-08 a god shuld hym call, / Or a goddesse.This practice is known as "euhemerism," from Euhemerus of Messina (fl. 316), who opposed the allegorists and rationalized the gods as historical persons. His Sacred History acknowledges the holy sites of the gods as burial places of real men and women. Ennius translated this Greek work into Latin. See Chance, Medieval Mythography, pp. 25-26.
1723-24 undyr coverture / Of fable. The use of coverture is reminiscent of Christine's The Epistle of Othea, from which the mention of grafting and Ceres, the goddess of corn (around lines 1710-14), may have also come.
1737 ff. the Tyme of Devyacion. Triggs (p. 91) sees this discussion of the Times as an allusion to the seven ages, which he misreads from the calendar in Cursor mundi, where he confuses the sixth and seventh ages, calling the sixth age the life of Christ and placing humankind now in the seventh age. In fact Cursor mundi follows the Augustinian scheme, where the ages are: (1) Adam to Noah, (2) Noah to Abraham, (3) Abraham to David, (4) David to Solomon (Augustine says the Exile), (5) Solomon (or, in Augustine, the Exile) to the birth of Christ, (6) the Resurrection to the Last Judgment, (7) The Last Judgment. The eighth age is that of the New Jerusalem, when time and the seas shall be no more. See St. Augustine, Tractate 9 of his sermons On the Gospel of St. John, where, discussing the six vessels of water at the marriage of Cana that were turned by Christ into wine, he identifies them as the six ages, "this being the sixth, as you have often heard and know" (trans. John Gibb and James Innes, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers [Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1991], vol. 7, p. 65). See also Mary Dove, The Perfect Age of Man's Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). But in The Assembly of Gods Dame Doctryne does not follow Augustine. Here the time scheme, rather, fits the three- and fourfold scheme of a proscenium theater, where history is beheld on three walls and enacted on the fourth. This first period, "the Tyme of Devyacion," is a time of separation and division. See the Prologue to Gower's Confessio Amantis on division as the cause of evil (lines 848-1052); "divisioun" is "moder of confusion" (\pard f2Confessio Prol. 851-52), and sin is "moder of divisioun" (line 1030). The Assembly of Gods' scheme behind the time of "Devyacion" corresponds fairly directly with Gower's theory of division. Gower, in lines 633-821 of his Prologue, also acknowledges the Times (or Ages) but personified in the figure of Time in Nebuchednezzer's dream, as expanded in Daniel 2:19-45. The Ages of Gold, Silver, and Brass continue with those of Steel and Earth. This personification of time is akin to Dante's figure of Father Time, a symbol of human history, in the "Old Man of Crete," or Saturn, found in Inferno (canto 14.94-120). "Saturn" has three epochs of time, Oriental, Greco-Roman, and Christian. In Dante the four rivers of hell derive from the sins and tears of human history.
1746 the Tyme of Revocacion. This period, marked by Moses and the receiving of the Law, is a time of recalling. OED lists this line as the first instance of the word in English.
1758 Thys Reconsylyacion was the Tyme of Grace. In an Augustinian time scheme Reconsylyacion would allude to the seventh age of the Last Judgment (see note to lines 1737 ff.) when, as Cursor mundi puts it, the saints rest after the final defeat of Satan, at the day of the "dome," an age "calde the tyme of grace" (line 21848) in the Trinity and Fairfax manuscripts of the poem. But here the poet follows a different time scheme based on three ages (see notes to lines 1737 ff. and 1765-92), where the present time is considered to be the time of Reconsylycion, when, because of Christ's sacrifice, humankind has a new access to Grace, a new law displacing the time of Revocacion. Compare Langland's Piers Plowman B.19.264 ff., when, after the Resurrection, Grace gives Piers four oxen (the Gospels) and "foure stottes" (bullocks, stallions) of the patriarchs (Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory, and Jerome) to plow his fields. He can then sow the four virtues in the human souls to help establish and maintain the house of Unité called "Holy Chirche on Englissh" (Piers Plowman B.19.331). The time of Reconsylyacion is now. See note to line 1576.
1765-92 thre tymes asondry devydyd. Here Dame Doctryne looks at time as a triptych, a not uncommon practice: compare the layout of the pages of the Biblia pauperum, where Christ holds the center panel, with wing panels on either side presenting symbolic analogies within time, and the wings announcing the sentence through the voices of the prophets. Here the poet introduces his ideas as murals, the "pycture ys provydyd" (line 1767) by his poem as the center panel, then on the left the explication of the prophets, and on the right, his explanation in which he presents the Devyacion (see line 1737) now in terms of the three ages of man: first, from Adam to Moses (line 1773, i.e., the time establishing the Law); second, the time from Moses to the Incarnation (line 1774, i.e., the time of the Prophets, concluding in John the Baptist); and third, the time from Christ to the present, which "[w]yll dure from thens to the worldes ende" (line 1777). He then adds a fourth wall, which shifts rather subtly the concept of time from a historical plane to a psychological one. He calls this plane "Tyme of Pylgremage" (line 1779) and a "Tyme of Daungerous Passage" (line 1781), which one must print on one's mind (line 1784) to remember personally within the heart (line 1786). This new focus, where time becomes personal and where the battle of Vyce and Vertu occurs daily "in thyne hert" (line 1786), leads to a positive construction of the role of Attropos (Dethe) in history and the renovation of the psyche. From this perspective the battle within the microcosm is indeed one of the "lesse worlde" (line 1829).
1778 fourth. In this time scheme, the fourth "Tyme" marks eternity and the New Jerusalem, when Alpha and Omega join and time shall be no more (Revelation 21). See note to lines 1765-92.
1849 keyes of the posterns fyve. That is, the five senses. Pierre Bersuire's commentary on Ovid's Metamorphoses (11.633; The Ovidius moralizatus of Petrus Berchorius : An Introduction and Translation, William Donald Reynolds, [Ph.D. Diss. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1971], pp. 374-75) identifies the desires governed by the sons of Sleep, or Somnus: for fame and honor (Morpheus), lust (Icelos), and gluttony (Phantasos).
1872 stood I in a wyre. Compare Chaucer's The Hous of Fame, line 979, where the dreamer falls into a state of confusion about who and where he is. In this passage in The Assembly of Gods, Morpheus confronts the dreamer with the images of his dream and thereby leaves him in a state of confusion, similar to the conclusion of Gower's Confessio Amantis, where Venus confronts Amans with the wisdom of philosophers and poets and then with a confounding mirror image of himself. Here, as in the Confessio, the dreamer is caught up in his confusion (in a wyre), while Morpheus scolds him - "How long shalt thow looke" (line 1885). As in Chaucer and Gower, poets and philosophers appear before him, but it takes Dame Doctryne to make sense of the four walls (lines 1905 ff.). And even then the dreamer remains in a doubt (see lines 1929, 1948, 1985, 1995), lacking his conclusion. See notes to lines 1930-31, 1987-88, 1995.
1897 Dyogenes sate in a tonne. Diogenes equates with the "philosopher" who rejects King Alexander's invitation to join the court in favor of sitting in his tub and contemplating the sun (compare the functions of Apollo in The Assembly of Gods). For a lively account of that story, see Gower's Confessio Amantis, 3.1201-1316.
1930-31 canst thow nat withoute / Me that conclusion bryng to an ende? Dame Doctryne asks if the dreamer cannot reasonably come to terms with the problem of human desire without recourse to doctrine, i.e., theology. In logic, to be lost in contradictory particularities of the minor premise without ability to arrive at a conclusion is the essence of frustration. Without certainty within the minor premise no cause can be ascertained; e.g., see the dreamer's preoccupation with finding the "cause" at the outset of Chaucer's The Hous of Fame, which leaves him in a doubt. Here the conclusion to "that doute" (line 1929) is sought, but the conclusion remains, as it does with other poets of the time, paradoxical (see note to lines 1987-88). Faith in religious authority does not seem to help the dreamer reconcile reason and sensuality, nor is he able to rely solely on his flawed ability to ratiocinate.
1987-88 as a parable, / Derke as a myste, or a feyned fable. The dreamer's doute is not resolved "[c]lerely and opynly" (line 1986) as he had hoped, but rather as a dark mystery. The ambiguity is characteristic of medieval humanist epistemologies, where the limitations of human understanding are defined by riddles and confined by the limitations of temporalities.The poet seems to suggest that the ontological problem of human nature - rational yet sensual - is a conundrum best expressed by means of the emblem of the Macrobian fabula and, therefore, best understood through poetry, not doctrine.
1995 Declare thy dowte. Even though the dreamer can enjoy debates amongst the gods of the classical world regarding changeabilities figured through Eolus and dwell enclosed within Christian walls covered with explanatory murals and the explications of Dame Doctryne, the dowte remains, a doubt bound up in the dreamer's wit "so thynne" (line 1997) and his sensual fear of Dethe (line 1998). What began as a boisterous squabble against the traitor Eolus, who "[d]ystroyed with hys blastes" many places and, according to Diana, "dayly me manaces" (line 61), concludes with a chilling confrontation with the menace of Dethe, whose blasts decimate humankind with even more ruthlessness than the weather. But note it is here Sensualité, a suspect influence, who insists on the fear of Dethe (lines 1961-64). Fear of Death is a favorite topic with Lydgate, so prominent, in fact, that it becomes one of Triggs' focal reasons for concluding that The Assembly of Gods must be by Lydgate (pp. xiii, xlv-l, and liii). The illustrator of Lydgate's poem, entitled in MacCracken (Minor Poems, pt. 2, pp. 655-57) "Death's Warning," depicts Death with a spear in his right hand and a bell in his left, announcing, "lo, here thys manace, / Armour ys noon that may withstande hys wounde / Ne whom I merke ther ys non other grace" (lines 9-11); the drawing is filled with words proclaiming the bell's sharp message: "Dethe, dethe, deye, deye"; for so the bell tolls (Douce MS 322, fol. 19v). That drawing would make a fitting epilogue for The Assembly of Gods. See also Lydgate's "Timor mortis conturbat me" ("Fear of death confounds me"), written according to the formulas of mortality in dozens of other fifteenth-century poems, or his Dance of Macabre, translated from an Old French text and belonging to a long tradition of macabre literature (see also the ending of Hawes' The Pastime of Pleasure).
2012-16 Bothe Sensualyté and Reson . . . / . . . thy doutfull monacorde. Doctrine means the fear of death and the rational explanation of its significance bring both body and soul together, united in one common purpose, of avoidance.
2030 a generall answere. The dreamer's doubts lie "in especiall" (lines 116, 1445, and 1599), that is, in the particularities of temporalities that he is not able to comprehend. He has a generall sense of what is what - Dame Doctryne has taught that to him (it is the major premise) - but he still lacks confidence amidst the particularities (the minor premise - see note to lines 1930-31). Morpheus can show (see note to line 35), but he cannot make him understand. Compare Chaucer's Boece (5.m.3), which puts the problem well:
But whanne the soul byholdeth and seeth the heye thought (that is to seyn, God), thanne knoweth it togidre the somme and the singularities (that is to seyn, the principles and everyche by hymself). But now, while the soule is hidd in the cloude and in the derknesse of the membres of the body, it ne hath nat al foryeten itself, but it witholdeth the somme of the thinges and lesith the singularities. Thanne who so that sekith sothnesse, he nis in neyther nother habite, for he not nat al, ne he ne hath nat al foryeten, but yit hym remem-breth the somme of thinges that he witholdeth, and axeth conseile, and retretith deepliche thinges iseyn byforn (that is to seyn, the grete somme in his mynde) so that he mowe adden the parties that he hath foryeten to thilke that he hath witholden. (lines 38-56)
2035 As good ys ynowgh as a gret feste. Proverbial. See Tilley, A Dictionary of Proverbs, E158: "Enough is as good as a feast," p. 188.
2038-40 he hade me brought agene to my bedde . . . / then pryvyly / He stale awey. The dreamer's awakening bears some similarity to Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess, where the poet/dreamer/Black Knight, whose love/hart/solace "sta(a)l away" (lines 381, 1251), awakens to find himself in his bed, still caught up in his study. His only alternative is to tell his dream, to "[p]ut hit in wrytyng" (line 2061). In The Book of the Duchess Chaucer ends with the telling of his dream - "now hit ys doon" (line 1334). The Assembly of Gods poet goes further, to admonish the reader to walk with Vertu (line 2074) and to fight the good fight against the three enemies (the World, Flesh, and Devil - lines 2079-82) in hope of "triumphall guerdon" (line 2087) in God's "celestiall mansioun" (line 2089). (Compare the dreamer in The Book of the Duchess at the outset of the poem, with his desire for reward: though at the outset he knows "my boote is never the ner" [line 38], ultimately he is blessed with an ambiguous glimpse of the New Jerusalem as he accepts the fact that the good fair White had gone to her reward [lines 1314-23], her "triumphall guerdoun" in God's "celestial mansioun," indeed.)
2053-54 For what cause shewyd was thys vysyon. / I knew nat; wherfore, I toke pen and ynke. Like Chaucer at the end of so many of his dream visions, for example, The Parlement of Foules, or the female narrator at the end of the visionary The Assembly of Ladies, the dreamer here particularizes his general lesson by means of writing down his vision exactly as he experienced it. The "fantasy" to which he has been led by Morpheus, god of dreams, thus becomes both an expression and sign of his anxiety about the human condition and also the means of his recuperation and regeneration. It is also the means by which others may learn how to fight Dethe (see lines 2068-69, where the deciphering of the poem is "for your owne wele").
2064 myne ey bodyly. Medieval mystics frequently distinguish between physical sight and the inner eye that allows them to "see" spiritual truths more clearly and to commune with God.
2070-71 Take therof the best and let the worst be; / Try out the corne clene from the chaff. Compare Chaucer's The Nun's Priest's Tale (CT VII [ B2 ] 3443-44): "Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille"; that is, learn from the morality and ignore the merely entertaining and trivial. This particular admonition has long been used by poets to suggest the bifurcated nature of poetry, which has a pleasing exterior but a truthful core hidden inside.
2080-81 the Devyll and the Flesshe, / And also the Worlde. These enemies of humankind who attack the body through the five senses also appear as the three beasts who try to waylay the exiled Dante at the beginning of the Inferno (canto 1), according to Giovanni Boccaccio's commentary on the first book of Dante's Inferno. See also Chaucer's The Tale of Melibeus (CT VII [ B2] 1420 ff., 2610 ff.). The Devil works through Pride, Wrath, and Sloth; the World, through Covetousness and Envy; and the Flesh, through Gluttony and Lechery. See Donald R. Howard, The Three Temptations: Medieval Man in Search of the World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966).
2106-07 The prayer for eternall joy for those who give their audyence to his vision reflects a common formula for concluding visionary poems. Chaucer, in Troilus and Criseyde and the Canterbury Tales, asks for prayers on behalf of his own soul. Here The Assembly of Gods poet shifts the concern from the poet's soul to the welfare of his audience, the implication being that we, as audience, read for our own good, despite our doubts. Prayers for the audience, rather than the poet, characterize several of Lydgate's poems as well. See, for example, the conclusion to The Life of Our Lady and the several shorter Marian poems, with their prayers of intercession for "us"; or the mutual prayers "To sende us pes" at the end of The Siege of Thebes (line 4713); or the Envoy to Troy Book, with its prayer to the king that he have the grace to rule well according to God's pleasure and our benefit; or the prayers on behalf of Duke Humphrey at the end of The Fall of Princes.
THE ASSEMBLY OF GODS: TEXTUAL NOTES
A: Cambridge, Trinity College Library MS R.3.19, fols. 67b–97b.
B: British Library, Royal MS 18.d, fols. 167a–180b (alleged copy of D).
C: British Library, printed edition of Le Assemble de Dyeus by Wynkyn de Worde, G.11587 (tract 2) (1498).
D: British Library, printed edition of Le Assemble de Dyeus by Wynkyn de Worde, C.13.a.21 (tract 2) (1500?).
E: Cambridge University Library, printed edition by Wynkyn de Worde (c. 1500), reprinted in facsimile by Francis Jenkinson, Cambridge University Press, 1906 (latest of the three printed editions published around 1500).
F: Huntington Library printed edition by Richard Pynson (c. 1505). Missing lines 764–1099.
G: Huntington Library printed edition by [J. Skot for] Robert Redman (after 1529).
H: Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce MS, fragment f. 51 (1), "Vertu," lines 1213–1323 (fragmentary copy of F).
T: Triggs' edition (1895; 1896).
R: Ringler's corrections (1953).
Fl: Fletcher's corrections (1977).
The Interpretation of the Names of the Gods and Goddesses (Table of Gods and Goddesses) (in ACDEFG).
Because the poem is based on the A text, only significant exceptions in other texts or emendations of A have been cited in the textual notes. Where A has been emended on the basis of practice in other texts, I have indicated A's practice.
1–2 Here foloweth . . . as poetes wryte. In EF these lines follow the table: Here endeth the interpretacyon of the names of Goddes and Goddesses as is rehearsed hereafter in this treatyse folowyng as poetes wryte, with E, at what would be line 31; and FG, at the opening of Banquet, instead of at lines 1–2. E substitutes reherced, the for this in this treatyse, and folowynge.
5 Morpheus. ACDEFG: Morpleus; emended by T.
9 Eolus. ACDEFG: Colus; emended by T. "Colus" also appears for Eolus in Christine's The Epistle of Othea, trans. Stephen Scrope.
12 the Spryng. E omits the.
16–26 Lines missing in F.
19 Goddesse. CT: Goddes.
21 of shepardes. E omits of; D: Shepardis.
26 Mercurius. A: Marcurius; DG: Marcuryus; E: Mercuryus; emended by T.
28 and stryfe. G: or of varyans.
Banquet of Gods and Goddesses.
The title here, along with an attribution to Lydgate, is found in A. See Introduction.
1 Whan. A: a four-line space for an ornamental W has been left, but the capital has not been added.
in. EG omit.
8 me gan. F: gan me.
13 leyde I me. G: I leyde me.
14 Morpheus. Morpleus in ABCDEFG here and throughout, an obvious mistake.
24 me leede. F: lede me.
33 in erthe. F omits in.
outher. B: either; DEFG: eyther.
47 her: their. Although Middle English hie and hem have usually become they and them in A, the genitive plural is most resistant to change and remains as her. The female singular pronoun is usually spelled hyr, though sometimes her in The Assembly of Gods.
57 a goddesse. F omits a.
59 take. EG omit.
70 Where thorough. F: Wherethroughe.
lykly to fade. F: likely for to fade.
71 a reproche. F: aproche.
78 thus. EG omit.
84 to. BCDEFG omit.
89 yef. EFG omit.
90 me. F: so.
92 as mekyll. C: as moche; F: so moche.
104 fome. A: from, which makes little sense; BG: come; DE: com; C: fome, which correction I have followed; see also F: scome (scum) or foome; T: foom (for which there is no basis).
swet. G: tyme.
hit. EG omit.
106 as. EFG omit.
107 Bothe. A: Abothe; BC: Bothe; DEFG: Both.
115 me be. EG omit be.
117 worst was. CF: was worst.
118 as. EG omit.
119 Ay. F: Ever.
120 of sylfewyll. G omits of.
123 To. EG: For to.
all. T omits, as noted by Fl.
124 to. C omits.
127 sythe. F: tymes.
130 er. EFG: or.
131 they me. C omits.
132 pepyll. F: tyme.
133 shame. EG: blame.
140 avysement. T: avysment.
141 had. C omits.
142 to know. EG omit.
145 mevyd. EG omit.
147 compleyn. B: spleyne; G: to compleyne.
155 here. E: see; G: se.
157 he. EG omit.
164 Appollo. BDFT: Apollo; EG: Appolo; generally the names remain consistent throughout each text, and generally A writes Apollo, though not in this instance. T mistranscribes as Apollo.
166 in feere. T brackets in as his emendation of A; T's mistake is noted by Fl; B: fere; DEG: in fere; F: i fere.
169 the god, Apollo. ABF: to the god; E reads to for to the, while G substitutes that for to the. Fl acknowledges both variants and notes T's failure to correct the line for sense after T deletes to.
175 offence. F: defence.
179 Neptunus. G: god Neptunus.
186 alther last. BE: alderlast; C: alder last, D: alder laste; F: althe last; G: alderlaste.
187 the. B: be.
198 that. C omits.
199 yow pray. E: pray you; G: praye you.
202 to. G omits.
205 a. F omits.
208 To here. G: For to here.
210 owne wele, sey. B: one well say; D: one wele sey; E: own wele say; G: owne wele say. R notes that B agrees in its error with D, and therefore B must be copied from D.
212 Her to an. F: Hir to.
an. F omits.
213 her. B: here; F: hir; G: theyr.
214 entrete. G: to entrete.
215 her. G: their.
217 grogyng. B: grutching; CDE: grutchyng; F: grutchinge; G: grutchynge.
218 Loo. T reads Lo, as in BEG.
Madame. E: dame.
222 gloryous. F: gracious.
goddesse. BG: goddes.
224 All we. F: Alwey.
226 to forgeve. EG: so to foryeve.
228 Yef he eft. EG: If he ought.
235 mery. BCDF: emend to mercy. R notes that B agrees with D in this error and therefore that B must have been copied from D.
236 of hys. G: in this.
mater. EG: maner.
240 my. G omits.
goddesse. B: goddes; E: godd’esse.
243 Phebe. Phebus in ABCDEFG, but clearly incorrect. T lists Pheb[e]. So too in line 358 (see explanatory note).
247 goddesses eke, that be heere. G: goddesse; CE omit eke; EG substitute ben for be.
255 yet. EG: ye.
ye. EG omit.
256 prees. B: press; G: prease; T: presse, as in E (abbreviated) and F.
262 hys hand. B: his hede; D: his honde; C: honde, with hys omitted; E: his hond; G: his hande.
262–315 These lines are missing from F.
265 Sate the goddesse. B: Sad the goddes.
267 she. According to Fl, she in AC; but also in G; BDE: he.
268 hyr. CEG: her.
280 oft sythe. B: oft sith; C: tyme; E: oftsyth; G: ofte syth.
293 the. E omits.
goddesse. E: goddes.
301 hyr dyd. C: dyde her.
304 polyty. B: policy; ET: polycy; G: polyce.
305 goddesse. BT: goddese; E: goddes.
316 party. E: perty.
320 chamelet. E: clamelet.
328 pryk-eryd. E: prekered; G: prycke ered.
331 hys. G omits.
332 kyrtyll. E: kyr ell.
337 Next hyr. E: Next to her; G: Nexte to her.
was then. BDEF: than was, which, according to R, attests that D does not derive from A. A, once again, is unique.
342 and seyle. G: and a sayle.
346 hyr handys. BCD: her hondis; E: hondes; F: hir handes; G: her hondes.
347 ever. EG omit.
355 chase. EG: chose.
358 Phebe. A: Phebus, but clearly Apollo’s sister is meant.
360 to avale. EG: vayl.
366 course: wytnesse. F: cours as witnesseth.
369 fynde lak. FG: fynde no lacke.
374 skyne; her. C reads and her.
375 She ravysshyd. Emended from Ravysshyd on basis of F.
390 There. T mistranscribes as ther.
391 with. C substitutes and.
398 her. G: theyr.
402 gan. Fl: han.
403 whyche. C: that.
404 mo. C omits.
409 made. E omits.
412 she. ABDEG: he. T’s emendation, based on F.
417 that. B: the; C omits.
418 shuld they. G: they sholde.
419 Attropos. See also lines 565 and 1322. G: Antropos, throughout.
420 a wyndyng. BCD omit a.
423 and. Fl notes T’s mistake (and also in EG) in omitting and and corrects on the basis of A.
she had. C: had she.
425 quod. C: sayd.
the. C omits.
427 yet. C omits.
432 went. B omits.
434 yn. EG omit.
436 woode. EG: mad.
439 carpyng. E: spekyng; G: spekynge.
440 hit. B: he.
442 He stood forthe boldly, with grym countenaunce. F deletes boldly and changes grym to bolde.
443 on. T: in.
444 gret. EG omit.
445 all. G: ony.
449 ye. EG omit.
453 hit nat. E: not it.
460 defaute. EG: faute.
475 no grace. G: they gate no grace.
476 all be. F omits be. G deletes all be.
hem. G: them all.
478 foule. G omits.
479 every. F: in every.
490 have. EG omit.
493 two. AT: roman numerals. EG: you ii; F spells out.
494 offyce, ner. E: offycenere; F: nor for ner; G: offycynere.
497 good wyll. E: gode wy.
lo. EG omit.
499 they brayde up. G: brayde up all.
502 they swere. G: they dyde swere.
507 yef. EF omit.
508 full. EG: well; F omits.
sone. EG omit.
510 That. G: That and.
513 leyte. E: lyghtning; F: lightnynge; G: lyghtnynge.
518 be. EG omit.
522 to. E omits.
525 all. EG omit.
woll he. EG: he wyll.
526 But for to tell. F: For to tell.
534 a kravers. CF omit a; C: cravers.
537 weet. G: were.
541 have. F omits.
goon out. F: go oute; EG omit out.
fer. G: terre.
542 oon. B: on; CDEG: one.
545 Tyll. B: This; E: Tyl; T: Till.
546 of. F: for.
553 as. EG omit.
554 a. E omits.
556 bothe. EG omit.
560 efte. G: agayne.
rekke. EG: care.
nat. F: nat of.
561 to returne. E omits to.
564 he. E: it; F: they.
565 that. EG omit.
Attropos. G: Antropos.
566 Phebe. EFG: Phebus. See also line 358.
570 alone. BD: alove.
571 Er. G: Other.
or elles. One word in A; CF: ellys; E: ellie.
573 sese. E: seale; G: sease.
574 lyketh. F: thinke.
577 hygh plesure. G: hyght pleyser.
585 shall ye. E omits ye; G: ye shall.
587 defaute. BDEFG: the faute; C: the fawte. R suggests that D does not derive from A here.
588 so. F omits.
591 mykyll. G: mothe.
595 thys mater ageyn hym take. F: ageyne hym this mater take.
599 your althrys eere. G changes to althers tre.
601 oon. EG omit.
607 Armyd. BDEFG: Armed; for R, this indicates that D does not correspond with A and that B agrees with D and is therefore copied from D.
at all. BCD omit all, according to Fl (though BD retain all and omit at); F: in all.
609 batayll. G: that batayle.
611 And. EG omit.
612 Ageyn. G: Ayenst.
617 cure. F: ever.
617–714 The capitalization in A of the names of the capteyns of Vyce and all the pepyll (line 671) in the entourage is quite irregular. I have capitalized the officers' names and used lowercase for the types and classes of persons.
618 any. EG omit.
621 next hym roode. F: rode next hym.
623 on a wolfe. E omits a.
625 nakyd. EG omit.
634 Best. A: Bost; corrected to Best by T in agreement with CDEFG; B: Bist.
on. F omits; G: in.
635 ther. A: the. Emended to ther(e) by CT; BDEFG: there.
640 Gret Jelacy. F: and greate.
648 Yll, and with Foule Rybaudy. BCD: and precedes Rybaudy, which disrupts the meter. R notes that D does not derive from A in this line (because D adds and) and that B agrees with D in its error and therefore must be derived from D.
651 Worldly Vanyté. Emended on basis on FG from A: wordly.
661 Horryble. B: horribly; D: horrybly; F: horrible.
662 alther-last. F: all the last.
671 pepyll. EG omit.
673 braggars. Fl notes that AC: Braggers; DBE: kraghers; but in fact, EG: crakers; F: braggers.
674 fasers. E: sasers.
675 shakerles. F: shakelers.
soleyn. C: sol eyn; F: soleyne.
680 usurers. G: users.
682 gret. F omits.
686 Lascyvyous. A: Lastyvyous.
687 of. E: and.
691 Stalkers. E: Sralkers.
693 Getters. F: Fetters.
702 Brothelles. BCDEFG: Brothellers.
709 Quesmers. T mistranscribes Quelmers. Fl notes that Quesmers in The Assembly of Gods appears as the only Oxford English Dictionary citation. Also BDF.
715 comons. EG: comons that.
717 for. EG omit.
721 for sowght he. BCEG: forsoth it; D: forsothe hit; F: forsothe.
723 then. EG: that.
732 er. G: or.
733 him nat. BCDEG: hym not. R concludes that B copies from D because B agrees with D in this "error."
736 hym. EG omit.
he. G: be.
737 begynnyng. G: bothe begynnyng.
739 wende. EG: go how.
742 mater. E: mat.
750 the. EG omit.
753 do. B omits.
754 a long. E: a gret; F: a longe; G: a grete.
756 yowre. G: you your.
758 frendys. E: and frendis.
760 mowte. EG: myght.
764–1099 Lines are missing in F.
767 he. DEG omit.
773 no. B omits.
caltrop. E: cotlrop.
788 boost. B: oste; E: host; T: hoost; Fl notes T's mistake.
791 laurer. G: Laurel.
792 dowty. EG: doubty.
794 hys. C omits.
798 hys. G omits.
805 to. G: for.
812 Syttyng . . . good and free. Entire line is missing in B.
813 hys crest. B omits hys.
815 hert. E: hete.
hys trapure was gay. AG read was for hys; T emends to hys, which I follow here; E omits hys. C: trappured and agy; E: and gay.
819 Armyd. BCDEG: Armed; T: Arymd; Fl notes mistake in T.
821 the. Emended from A: tho on basis of EFGT, although tho could mean "those."
826 aftyr. G: to.
828–89 I have capitalized names of personifications.
853 gret. EG omit.
862 came. E: nean.
873 with. EG omit.
875 be. T emends to he, and Fl agrees.
he. E: ge.
877 hys. CG omit.
880 they wold. E substitutes this for they; G: wolde they.
881 theym . . . be. T: they . . . he, incorrectly.
891 com pyson. The sense is obscure. CT solve the problem with comparyson; E: came pyson; G: came poyson.
897 notable. EG: noble.
900 declarers. A: declares. Expanded on the basis of BCDEGT. Fl follows T.
902 sowles. D: foules; T: fowles. It seems likely that the long s in A was read as f in later witnesses.
914 feythfull. E: feyth; G: fayth.
923 Solytary. E: Salytary.
924 rychesses. B: richesses; G: ryches; T: rychesse.
927 fyll. G: fell.
932 Macrocosme. The word should read Microcosme, and passim including lines 952, 1255, 1420, and 1468 (where EG: Macrocosme). A writes, incorrectly, Macocrosme, as in lines 952 and 1468.
937 Synderesys . . . as in a parke. C omits as; EG omit in. Omissions in CE noted by Fl.
938 to marke. G: for to marke.
943 he was. G: was he.
944 nat. EG omit.
945 have. C omits.
946 In. C omits.
953 than. EG omit.
I se. C: see I.
962 heynous. G: hydeous.
966 ye. BCDE omit. Because B agrees in error with D, B must be copied from D.
970 Among whom . . . a score. For R, this line indicates that B agrees in error with D and is therefore copied from D.
971 But as . . . tell yow more. C: you tell more. EG omit line.
972 pety. C omits.
974 dubbyd. BD: doubled, also in line 981, according to Fl; EG: doubed. See also line 981, where R notes that this shows the linkage between A and C, and B and D.
976 with. ABD: without; CE: wythout; emended in GT.
981 dubbyd. In BD: doubled; EG: doubed. R notes that this shows the linkage between A and C, and B and D.
982 hys. EG omit.
983 her. C: ther; G: theyr.
984 hit shuld. EG: shold it.
1017 answere. G: mater.
1024 mykyll. G: moche.
1031 Frewyll, Vertew. G: Vertu Frewyll.
1033 be. T: he; Fl notes T's mistake.
1034 then. G: them.
1044 nerer. C: nere.
1051 stood. BT omit, a mistake noted by Fl. B is the only manuscript in which this omission occurs, which suggests that T used B here rather than A or simply reduplicated the error.
1053 last. G: the last.
1054 Vertu wold. G: wolde Vertu.
1058 sy. E: see; G corrects to sawe.
1060 that. C omits.
1063 tyne. G: tyme.
1074 Howe be hyt the slepyr grasse made many of hem fall. DE: How . . . sleper; B: slepper; C: slypper. G: How . . . the grasse . . . them. R notes that B agrees in error with D and concludes therefore that B is copied from D.
1083 comons. EG omit.
1087 his. EG omit.
1092 ours. Emended from A: our, as in BCEG.
elles. E omits.
1095 hogy. E: hugy; G: huge.
behelde. In A only: behold. I follow the correction in BCDGT. E: beheld.
1100 thus. EG omit.
1103 Crystis. A: Cryste; emended on the basis of variants in BC: Cristis; E: chrystys; G: Chrystes; T: Cristes.
1113 gret meryt. B: might; CE: my3t; DG: myght; F: myghte, which also omits gret. R suggests that this line shows that D does not derive from A.
1117 Geve. A: yeve; C: yone; F: yonder; G: you.
1118 no lengor. F: nat longe.
1123 a lowde. F omits a.
1124 hys. G omits.
for. B omits.
1132 Vertew hys ost. G: Vertues hoost.
1138 armee. B: harm.
1144 a. F omits.
1145 hym sent. G: sent hym.
1148 forthe. G omits.
1149 for to tell yow. C omits for and yow.
1154 they hym. EG omit hym.
1161 scourge. In AT; BCG: stronge; DE: strong.
1169 beshut. C: beshyt; G: be shyt.
1176 hathe. T mistranscribes as have; Fl corrects so.
1184 agene togedyr. C: togyder agayn.
1185 fly. ABCDEG: sty; F: stye; T’s emendation.
1192 hys. EG omit.
1193 seke. T mistranscribes as seek.
1194 whatsoever. A: what so ever; G: what ever.
1195 Vertew; elles. G: vertu or els.
1198 also to. EG omit to.
be her. G: theyr.
1199 they. C omits.
1201 as they came by Conscience, he theym bad goo lyght. B inverts word order — And as thei to conscience cam. CDEFG: to instead of by. FG reverse word order in theym bad.
1202 Er than. G: Left that.
1203 he. B omits.
1204 ys. E omits.
late then. B: let hem.
1209 socour. G: to socour.
1211 for. C: to.
1219 mervayll. B: mivel.
1223 swemfully. G corrects to shamefully.
1230 stant hym noon awe. G emends to standes he in none awe.
1237 ys hit. EG: it is.
1238 and wylde. EG omit.
1239 made. EG omit.
1240 But. C omits.
1243 The. C: they.
1245 Must ye. E: muit and omits ye.
other. E omits.
1246 that. F omits.
see. E omits.
1257 to angre. CFG omit to.
1259 bayll. B: baille; T: bayll[e]; E: bayl; F: bailly; G: bayle.
1260 for. CF omit.
1265 shalt thow. E: thu shalt; G: thu shalte.
1267 jugement. E: Jugementis; G: iugementes.
ys. G omits.
1274 castaway. BD: cast awaye; CE: cast a way; G: cast way
1279 restrayn. G: to restrayne.
1283 tyne. F omits.
1284 sy. BD: see; C: sawe; EG: se.
1287 may. G: that may.
1293 I thanke God . . . myn honour. Stand-alone line in A.
1296 fyve. Expanded from .v.
shall ye. F: ye shall.
1309 let. G: to let.
hyt. BDFG: hym.
be lore. F: be lorne.
1314 And ran to the palyse as he had be wood. Line missing EG.
1316 worthy. G: whyrly.
1317 a devyllway. G substitutes the for a; F: a devylwey.
1322 Attropos. G: Antropos.
god. G: the god.
1331 I se. C: see I.
1336 yef. F omits.
1348 hym commaundyd. C: commaunded hym.
pyke hym. G: to pyke hym; C omits hym.
1350 undyr. F: hym under.
1353 best. G: the best.
1362 of. E omits.
1365 fro . . . fro. EFGT: for . . . for.
1370 be. G: it.
1373 menetyme. B: meane.
1374 therof had. C: had therof.
1379 bade hym. G: hym bad.
1385 men. E omits; G: he.
1387 Vertu hys. CF: vertues; G: Vertues, with hys omitted.
soone. G emends to sonest.
1389 shall ye. F: ye shall.
1400 ar dysusyd. F substitutes ben for ar; G substitutes abused for dysusyd.
1404 thow shalt be. BD: that shall be; CF: that shalbe; E: that shal be; G: thou shall be.
1406 thow become. G: ever thou come.
1408 as. C omits.
1416 of. G: on.
1421 redy loke thow. F: loke redy thou; G: loke thou redy.
1425 the. F: that.
1438 bodyly. F: holy.
1442 hys. E omits.
sygne. G: thynge.
1445 fyve. AT: v.
1451 herte. G: thwarte.
1459 seere. G: dyed.
1462 also were. BCDEFG: were also.
1463 fyn. G: all.
1466 ys ay. G: shall last aye.
1467 omnipotens. T emends A to omnipotent, as in B; CDEG: omnypotent; F: omnypotente.
1475 to. F omits.
therof. BD: theroft.
1477 have. G: thou shalte have.
1478 hym folowyd. F: folowed hym.
had. G omits.
1485 in, I. Fl notes in omitted in C; E omits I.
1486 there. EG omit.
1493 thre. Expanded from iii in ABCDEGT.
1494 about. B: above.
1498 tell. G: shewe.
1502 next. G: hym nexte.
1507 aqueyntaunce. F: antyquyte.
1511 were. G: we.
1514 I yet. C: yet I.
1519 mynde. G: my mynde.
1525 hym. E omits.
1526 there. G omits.
1530 an. EG omit.
1539 also. EG omit.
1543 aspyed I. E: I espyed; G: I aspyed.
1547 a. EG omit.
1563 James. EG: and James.
1566 next hem. F: next to hym.
1572 wynges. G: his wynges.
1582 Crysostom. F: grysostome; G: Crysostony.
1586 hem. C: them; FG: ben.
1587 was he. EG: he was.
1590 me remembre. Only in AT does a second me follow after me remembre, clearly a mistake, and I have deleted on the basis of the correction in BCDEFG.
yow. C: yon.
1591 brayne. BD: barayne; E: barayn. R notes that B agrees in error with D, so that B perhaps copied from D.
1593 whyle have I. EG: whyle to have.
1597 moo. EG omit.
1598 now. EG omit.
1608 hovyd. A: honyd; CEFG: hoved; Fl is incorrect in noting the appearance of honyd only in D since D agrees with A. Changed to hovyd for sense.
1609 whos. EG: her.
1620 hys. CF omits; G: is.
1622 now I. F reads nowe, with I deleted.
1630 dayly. EG omit.
1636 sythe. C: tyme; F: tymes.
1638 then. BCEFGT: than.
overmykyll. C: overmoch; F: overmoche; T: over mykyll.
1640 be. T: he; Fl notes T’s mistake.
1645 be fooles. F: be by fooles.
1647 me. F: brought; G: meved.
1652 overmekyll. C: overmoche.
1659 to scoole. F: to the scole; G: to scole.
1664 amendyd. BDE: amendeth.
1669 her. E: hed.
1672 set at. F: set it at.
1676 thys. E: his.
1678 shuldest. E: holdest.
1684 paynym. G: the paynym.
1693 Som. G: So.
1700 for as. G: as for.
1705 and. BG: or.
1714 cornys. F: goddys; G: corne.
1716 In lyke maner . . . goddesse. In G, this line appears as the last line of the previous stanza.
1718 meane. BCDE: name; F: mene.
gryffyng. E: graffyng; G: graffynge.
1719 deyfy. G: edyfy.
1720 furst founde. F: fonde first.
1723 that. G: the.
1734 whoo. F: who so.
1736 hyd. C: dyd; F: he did; G: he dyd.
1741 awayters. G: wayters.
1744 sesyd. F: saide.
1751 duryd to the. to added to A for sense, as in BCT. F omits to.
1752 to. F omits.
1755 Man. F: god.
1761 then. EG omit.
1764 That the . . . present. This entire line is missing in EG; pencilled in in G.
1765 thre. Emended from roman numeral; F: thre. See also line 1771.
asondry. F: asonder; G: a sondre.
1767 thee yn pycture ys. F: in picture.
1769 thirde. A: iii, emended as in F.
hit ys to. B omits hit. G omits to.
1775 cure. G: oure.
1777 to. C: tyll.
1778 fourth. ABCD: iiiith; EG: .iiii; emended as in F.
1782 Tyme. EG omit.
1783 benamyd. G: be name.
1785 fygure. F: figure se.
thow se. A: thow me. G: thou se. Both F and G’s emendations disrupt the meter. B, C, and D follow A.
1791 no. F omits.
1798 hathe ay. G: aye hath.
1799 For. D omits.
1802 so moche. F: for as.
1804 that. C omits.
1809 or. G: and.
1810 he. G omits.
1813 awake. G: to awake.
1814 chargeth. F: careth; T: changeth. Fl notes T’s mistake.
1815 As. E: Ap; G: Up.
1817 nat. E: nor.
1819 oon. G: that one.
lorde ys. G: is lorde.
1821 Vyce and. E omits.
1826 fowtyn. E: fowtyve; G: fawtyve.
1828 as. C omits.
1829 the comon. B omits the.
1842 Prescience and Predestinacion. E omits Prescience and; substitutes Prestynacyon.
1844 Ys. F: It.
1846 they fro Vertu wolde pervert. F: they wolde fro vertu perverte.
1858 Whyche. G: Unto whiche.
1870 Hast thow nat now thyne hertes desyre? C omits now; EG: Hast thou properly the verey sentence? G generally follows E.
1871 yon. B: thou; D: you; F: the. See also line 1886.
1886 yon. D: you; F: that.
1889 fourth. A: iiijuth; BEG: fourthe; C: fourth.
1903 sayde. G: sayd she.
1906 thee the present. C omits thee, probably because in A both thee and the are spelled the.
1909 dyrectly. BC: discretly; D: dyscrettly; E: dyserettly; F: discretely; G: dyscretely.
1922 last. E: law.
1925 loute. E: lute; T: lowte.
1932 mende. F: mynde.
1934 though. B: thought.
1938 with hym comon. G: comon with hym.
1942 claymed. F: clawed.
1960 Yet ys. G: It is.
1977 mevyd. G: mened.
1978 me then. G: then me.
1988 myste. E: myhe.
1990 seyde she. G: she sayd.
1995 Declare. BCDEFG: Declared.
1999 went. E: vent.
2008 knette in oon. F adds in: knytte in in one.
2018 And. BCT: An. Fl notes T’s mistake in reading and as an.
2019 vouchesafe. G: wolde vouchesafe.
2023 of thys. G deletes of.
2024 for. G omits.
2029 heere tary. G: tary here.
2034 that hold I best. B deletes that; BDE: sholde; F: that is for the best; Fl incorrectly notes that hold appears in AC, shold in BDET.
2041 Where. E: were.
he. F omits.
2044 for to. G: to a.
2048 The. BCDEFG: That.
and Vertew. F adds a second and before vertue.
2049 hit, hit. C omits one hit and reads it.
2055 paper to make therof. BCDG: therof to make; E: thereof to make. F: papere therof to make.
2061 where thorow. F: wherethrough.
2074 hys. CEFG omit.
loore. EG omit.
2079 thre. AEG: iii.
2080 the Flesshe. F: the[m] flesshe.
2086 exylyd. G: exyle.
2091 fayne. C: feyne.
2093 That oft sythe causeth the good Lorde to be wrothe. G: That ofte tymes causeth god w[ith] us to be wrothe.
2101 regeneracion. F: generacion; G: generacyon.
2103 descendyd. CG: descended; BDEF: descendeth. R declares that B agrees with D in error, therefore B must have been copied from D.
2108 Amen. After this word, C adds, Thus endeth this lytell moralized treatyse compiled by dan John Lydgat somtyme monke of Bury on whose soule god have mercy; D: There endeth a lytyll Tratyse named Le assemble de dyeus; E: Here endeth alytyll Treatyse named The assemble of goddes; F: Emprynted by Richarde Pynson; G emends E, i.e., separates a lytyll, lower-cases treatyse, expands namede, and en- titles it the assemble of goddes and goddesses. The printer in G acknowledges this was “Imprynted at London in Fletestrete by me Robert Redman.”
Whan Phebus in the Crabbe had nere hys cours ronne 1
And toward the leon his journé gan take,
To loke on Pictagoras speere I had begonne,
Syttyng all solytary alone besyde a lake,
Musyng on a manere how that I myght make
Reason and Sensualyté in oon to acorde.
But I cowde nat bryng about that monacorde.
For long er I myght, slepe me gan oppresse
So ponderously I cowde make noon obstacle,
In myne heede was fall suche an hevynesse.
I was fayne to drawe to myn habytacle:
To rowne with a pylow me semyd best tryacle.
So leyde I me downe, my dyssese to releve.
Anone came in Morpheus, and toke me by the sleve.
And as I so lay half in a traunse
Twene slepyng and wakyng, he bad me aryse,
For he seyde I must geve attendaunse
To the gret court of Mynos the justyse.
Me nought avaylyd agene hym to sylogyse,
For hit ys oft seyde by hem that yet lyves,
"He must nedys go that the devell dryves."
When I sy no bettyr but I must go,
I seyde I was redy at hys commaundment,
Whedyr that he wold me leede, to or fro.
So up I aroose and forthe with hym went,
Tyll he had me brought to the parlyament
Where Pluto sate and kept hys estate,
And with hym Mynos, the juge desperate.
But as we thedyrward went by the way,
I hym besought hys name me to tell.
"Morpheus," he seyde, "thow me call may."
"A, syr," seyd I than, "where do ye dwell,
In heven, or in erthe, outher elles in hell?"
"Nay," he seyde, "myn abydyng most comonly
Ys in a lytyll corner callyd 'Fantasy.'"
And as sone as he these wordys had sayd,
Cerberus, the porter of hell wyth hys cheyne,
Brought thedyr Eolus, in raggys evyll arayd,
Agayn whom Neptunus and Diana dyd compleyne,
Seying thus, "O Mynos, thow juge sovereyne,
Geve thy cruell jugement ageyn thys traytour, soo
That we may have cause to preyse thy lord Pluto."
Then was there made a proclamasion;
In Plutoys name commaundyd silence,
Uppon the peyne of strayte correccion,
That Diana and Neptunus myght have audience
To declare her greefe of the gret offence
To theym done by Eolus, wheron they compleynyd.
And to begyn, Diana was constreynyd,
Whyche thus began, as ye shall here,
Seying in thys wyse, "O thow, lord Pluto,
With thy juge Mynos, syttyng wyth thee in fere,
Execute your fury uppon Eolus so,
Accordyng to the offence that he to me hath do,
That I have no cause forther to apele,
Whyche yef I do shall nat be for your wele.
"Remembre furst howe I, a goddesse pure,
Over all desertys, forestes, and chases
Have take the guydyng. And undyr my cure
Thys traytour Eolus hath many of my places
Dystroyed with hys blastes, and dayly me manaces.
Where any wood ys, he shall make hyt pleyne
Yef he to hys lyberté may resorte ageyne.
"The grettest trees that any man may fynde
In forest to shade the deere for her comfort,
He breketh hem asondre, or rendeth hem, roote and rynde,
Out of the erthe. Thys ys hys dysport,
So that the deere shall have no resort,
Withyn short tyme, to no manere shade.
Where thorough, the game ys lykly to fade. 2
"Whyche to my name a reproche syngler
Shuld be for ever, whyle the world last,
And to all the goddes an hygh dyspleser,
To see the game so dystroyed by hys blast.
Wherfore, a remedy purvey in hast,
And let hym be punysshyd aftyr hys offence.
Consyder the cryme and geve your sentence."
And when thus Diana had made her compleynt
To Mynos the juge in Plutoys presence,
Came forthe Neptunus, wyth vysage pale and feynt,
Desyryng of favour to have audyence,
Saying thus, "Pluto, to thy magnyfycence
I shall reherse what thys creature
Eolus hath doon to me, out of mesure.
"Thow knowest well that I have the charge
Over all the see, and therof god I am.
No shyp may sayle, kervell, boot ner barge,
Gret karyk, nor hulke, wyth any lyvyng man,
But yef he have my safe condyte than.
Who me offendeth withyn my jurysdiccion
Oweth to submyt hym to my correccion.
"But in as mekyll as hit ys now soo,
That ye hym here have as your prysonere,
I shall yow shew my compleynt, loo!
Wherfore I pray yow that ye woll hit here,
And let hym nat escape out of your daungere
Tyll he have made full seethe and recompence,
For hurt of my name, thorough thys gret offence.
"Furst to begynne: thys Eolus hath oft
Made me to retourne my course agayn nature
With hys gret blastys, when he hath be a loft,
And chargyd me to labour, ferre out of mesure,
That hit was gret merveyle how I myght endure.
The fome of my swet wyll hit testyfy,
That on the see bankes lythe betyn full hy.
"Secundly, whereas my nature ys
Bothe to ebbe and flowe, and so my course to kepe,
Oft of myn entent hath he made me mys -
Whereas I shuld have fyllyd dykes depe,
At a full watyr I myght nat thedyr crepe
Before my seson came to retorne ageyne,
And then went I fastyr than I wold, certeyne!
"Thus he hath me dryven agen myn entent,
And contrary to my course naturall.
Where I shuld have be, he made me be absent,
To my gret dyshonour. And in especiall,
Oo thyng he usyd that worst was of all:
For where as I my savegard grauntyd,
Ay in that cost he comonly hauntyd.
"Of verrey pure malyce and of sylfewyll
Theym to dystroy, in dyspyte of me,
To whom I promysyd bothe in good and yll
To be her protectour in all adversyté,
That to theym shuld fall opon the see,
And evyn sodenly, er they coude beware,
Wyth a sodeyn pyry he lappyd hem in care.
"And full oft sythe wyth hys boystous blast,
Er they myght be ware, he drofe hym on the sande,
And otherwhyle he brak top seyle and mast,
Whyche causyd theym to perysshe er they came to lande.
Then cursyd they the tyme that ever they me fande.
Thus among the pepyll lost ys my name,
And so by hys labour put I am to shame.
"Consydre thys mater and ponder my cause;
Tendre my compleynt as rygour requyreth;
Shew forthe your sentence with a breef clause.
I may nat long tary; the tyme fast expyreth.
The offence ys gret. Wherfore hyt desyreth
The more grevous peyne and hasty jugement,
For offence doon wylfully woll noon avysement."
And, when the god Pluto awhyle had hym bethought,
He rownyd with Mynos to know what was to do.
Then he seyd opynly, "Loke thow, fayle nought
Thy sentence to geve wythout favour, so
Lyke as thow hast herde the causys mevyd thee to,
And so evenly dele twene these partyes tweyn
That noon of hem have cause on the other compleyn."
Then seyd Mynos, full indyfferently,
To Dyane and Neptunus, "Ys there any more
That ye wyll declare agayn hym opynly?"
"Nay. In dede," they seyde, "we kepe noon in store.
We have seyde ynough to punysshe hym sore,
Yef ye in thys matyr be nat parciall.
Remembre your name was wont to be egall."
"Well, then," seyd Mynos, "now let us here
What thys boystous Eolus for hymsylf can sey,
For here, prima facie, to us he doth apere
That he hath offendyd; no man can sey nay.
Wherfore thow, Eolus, wythout more delay,
Shape us an answer to thyne accusement,
And ellys I most procede opon thy jugement."
And evyn as Eolus was onwarde to have seyde
For hys excuse, came yn a messynger
Fro god Appollo to Pluto, and hym prayde
On hys behalfe that he wythout daungere
Wold to hym come, and bryng with hym in feere
Diane and Neptunus on to hys banket.
And yef they dysdeynyd, hymsylf he wold hem fet.
Moreover, he seyde the god, Apollo,
Desyryd to have respyte of the jugement
Of Eolus, bothe of Mynos and Pluto.
So Dyane and Neptunus were therwith content,
And yef they were dysposyd to assent,
That he myght come unto hys presence -
He hit desyryd to know hys offence.
"What sey ye herto?" seyd Pluto to hem tweyn.
"Wyll ye bothe assent that hit shall be thus?"
"Ye," seyde the goddesse, "for my part, certeyn."
"And I also," seyde thys Neptunus.
"I am well plesyd," quod thys Eolus.
And when they had a whyle thus togedyr spoke,
Pluto commaundyd the court to be broke.
And then togedyr went they in fere,
Pluto and Neptunus ledyng the goddesse,
Whom folowyd Cerberus with hys prysonere.
And alther last, with gret hevynesse,
Came I and Morpheus to the forteresse
Of the god Apollo, unto hys banket,
Where many goddys and goddesses met.
When Apollo sye that they were come,
He was ryght glad, and prayed hem to syt.
"Nay," seyd Diane, "thys ys all and some.
Ye shall me pardone, I shall nat syt yet.
I shall fyrst know why Eolus abyte,
And what execucion shall on hym be do
For hys offence." "Well," seyd Apollo,
"Madame, ye shall have all your plesere,
Syth that hit woll none otherwyse be.
But, furst, I yow pray let me the mater here
Why he ys brought in thys perplexyté."
"Well," seyde Pluto, "that shall ye sone se,"
And gan to declare even by and by
Bothe her compleyntes ordynatly.
And when Appollo had herd the report
Of Pluto, in a maner smylyng he seyde,
"I see well, Eolus, thow hast small comfort
Thy sylf to excuse; thow mayst be dysmayde
To here so gret compleyntes agene thee layde,
That, natwithstandyng, yef thow can sey ought
For thyne owne wele, sey, and tary nought."
"Forsothe," seyd Eolus, "yef I had respyte,
Her to an answere cowde I counterfete.
But to have her grace, more ys my delyte.
Wherfore, I pray yow all for me entrete
That I may, by your request, her good grace gete,
And what pyne or greef ye for me provyde.
Without any grogyng I shall hit abyde."
"Loo, good Madame," seyd god Apollo,
"What may he do more but sew to your grace?
Beholde how the teares from hys eyen go!
Hit ys satysfaccion half for hys trespase.
Now, gloryous goddesse, shewe your pyteous face
To thys poore prysoner, at my request.
All we for your honour thynke thus ys best,
"And yef hit lyke yow to do in thys wyse,
And to forgeve hym clerely hys offense,
Oon thyng suerly I wyll yow promyse:
Yef he eft rebelle and make resystence,
Or dysobey unto your sentence,
For every tree that he maketh fall,
Out of the erthe, an hundred aryse shall,
"So that your game shall nat dyscrese
For lak of shade, I dar undyrtake."
"Well, syr Apollo," seyde she than, "woll I cese
Of all my rancour and mery with yow make."
And then god Neptunus of hys mater spake,
Seying thus, "Apollo, though Diana hym relese,
Yet shall he sue to me to have hys pese."
"A," seyde Apollo, "ye wend I had forgete
Yow for my lady Diane, the goddesse.
Nay, thynke nat so, for I woll yow entrete
As well as hyr without long processe.
Wyll ye agre that Phebe, your mastresse,
May have the guydyng of your varyaunce?"
"I shall abyde," quod he, "her ordynaunce."
"Well, then," quod Apollo, "I pray yow, goddes all,
And goddesses eke, that be heere present,
That ye compaygnably wyll aboorde fall."
"Nay, then," seyd Othea, "hit ys nat convenyent.
A dew ordre in every place ys expedyent
To be had, wherfore ye may nat let
To be your owne marchall at your owne banket."
And when Apollo sy hit wold noon other be,
He callyd to hym Aurora the goddesse,
And seyde, "Thowgh ye wepe, yet shall ye before me
Ay kepe your course and put yoursylf in prees."
So he her set furst at hys owne messe,
With her moyst clothes with teares all bespreynt;
The medewes in May shew therof her compleynt.
Next hyr sate Mars, myghty god and strong.
With a flame of fyre envyround all about,
A crowne of iron on hys hede, a spere in hys hand.
Hyt semyd by hys chere as he wold have fought.
And next unto hym, as I perceve mought,
Sate the goddesse Diana, in a mantell fyne
Of blak sylke, purfylyd with poudryd hermyne,
Lyke as she had take the mantell and the ryng.
And next unto hyr, arayed royally,
Sate the good Jupyter; in hys demenyng
Full sad and wyse he semyd, sykerly.
A crown of tynne stood on hys hede,
And that I recorde of all philosophres
That lytyll store of coyne kepe in her cofres.
Joynyd to hym in sytting next ther was
The goddesse Juno, full rychely beseene
In a sercote that shone as bryght as glas,
Of goldsmythes werke with spanglys wrought bedene.
Of royall rychesse wantyd she noone, I wene.
And next by her sate the god Saturne,
That oft sythe causeth many oon to morne.
But he was clad, me thought, straungely,
For of frost and snow was all his aray.
In hys hand he helde a fawchon all blody.
Hyt semyd by hys chere as he wold make afray.
A bawdryk of isykles about hys nek gay
He had, and above, an hygh on hys hede,
Cowchyd with hayle stonys, he weryd a crowne of leede.
And next in ordre was set by hys syde
Ceres the goddesse, in a garment
Of sak clothe made with sleves large and wyde,
Embrowderyd with sheves and sykelys bent.
Of all maner greynes she sealyd the patent,
In token that she was the goddesse of corne.
Olde poetys sey she bereth the hervest horne.
Then was there set the god Cupido,
All fresshe and galaunt and costlew in aray.
With ouches and rynges he was beset so,
The paleys therof shone as though hit had be day.
A kerchyef of plesaunce stood over hys helme ay;
The goddesse Ceres he lookyd in the face
And with oon arme he hyr dyd enbrace.
Next to Cupido in ordyr, by and by,
Of worldly wysdom sate the forteresse,
Callyd Othea, chyef grounde of polyty,
Rewler of knyghthode, of prudence the goddesse.
Clad all in purpur was she, more and lesse;
Safe on her hede a crowne ther stood,
Cowchyd with perles oryent fyne and good.
And next to her was god Pluto set,
With a derke myst envyrond all aboute;
Hys clothyng was made of a smoky net.
Hys colour was, bothe withyn and withoute,
Foule, derke, and dymme; hys eyen, gret and stoute.
Of fyre and sulphure all hys odour wase,
That wo was me whyle I beheld hys fase.
Fortune the goddesse, with her party face,
Was unto Pluto next in ordre set.
Varyaunt she was, ay in short space;
Hyr whele was redy to turne without let.
Hyr gowne was of gawdy grene chamelet,
Chaungeable of sondry dyverse colowres,
To the condycyons accordyng of hyr shoures.
And by her sate, though he unworthy were,
The rewde god Pan, of sheperdys the gyde,
Clad in russet frese and breched lyke a bere,
With a gret tar-box hangyng by hys syde.
A shepecrook in hys hand, he sparyd for no pryde,
And at hys feete lay a pryk-eryd curre.
He ratelyd in the throte as he had the murre.
Ysys the goddesse bare hym company,
For at the table next she sat by hys syde
In a close kyrtyll, enbrowderyd curyously
With braunches and leves, brood, large, and wyde,
Grene as any gresse in the somertyde.
Of all maner frute she had the governaunce.
Of saverys odoryferous was her sustynaunce.
Next hyr was then god Neptunus set.
He savoryd lyke a fyssher; of hym I spake before.
Hyt semyd by hys clothes as they had be wet.
Aboute hym, in hys gyrdyll stede, hyng fysshes many a score
Of hys straunge aray mervelyd I sore.
A shyp with a toppe and seyle was hys crest.
Me thought he was gayly dysgysyd at that fest.
Then toke Mynerve the goddesse her sete,
Joyntly to Neptunus, all in curas clad,
Gauntlettes on hyr handys and sabatouns on hyr fete.
She loked ever about as though she had be mad.
An hamer and a sythe on her hede she had.
She weryd two bokelers, oone by her syde,
That other, ye wote where; thys was all her pryde.
Then came the good Bachus and by her set hym downe,
Holdyng in hys hande a cup full of wyne.
Of grene vyne leves he weryd a joly crowne;
He was clad in clustres of grapes good and fyne;
A garland of yvy he chase for hys sygne.
On hys hede he had a thredebare kendall hood;
A gymlot and a fauset theropon stood 3
Next hym sate Phebe, with hyr colour pale.
Fat she was of face, but of complexyon feynt.
She seyde she rewlyd Neptunus, and made hym to avale,
And ones in the moneth with Phebus was she meynt.
Also, ne were she, Ceres were ateynt. 4
Thus she sate and tolde the myght of her nature,
And on hyr hede she weryd a crowne of sylvyr pure.
Joyntly to her Mercurius tooke hys see,
As came to hys course: wytnesse the zodyak.
He had a gyldyn tong, as fyll for hys degree.
In eloquence of langage he passyd all the pak,
For in hys talkyng no man cowde fynde lak.
A box with quyksylver he had in hys hand;
Multyplyers know hit well in every land.
By hym sate Dame Venus with colour crystallyne,
Whoos long here shone as wyre of goold bryght.
Cryspe was her skyne; her eyen, columbyne;
She ravysshyd myn hert, her chere was so lyght.
"Patronesse of plesaunce" be namyd - well se myght!
A smokke was her wede, garnysshyd curyously.
But above all other, she had a wanton ey.
On her hede she weryd a rede copyr crowne.
A nosegay she had made full pleasauntly.
Betwene her and Aurora, Apollo set hym downe.
With hys beames bryght he shone so fervently
That he therwith gladyd all the company.
A crowne of pure gold was on hys hede set,
In sygne that he was mastyr and lord of that banket.
Thus was the table set rownde aboute
With goddys and goddesses, as I have yow tolde.
Awaytyng on the boorde was a gret route
Of sage phylosophyrs and poetes many folde:
There was sad Sychero and Arystotyll olde,
Tholomé, Dorothé with Dyogenes,
Plato, Messehala, and wyse Socrates.
Sortes and Saphyrus with Hermes stood behynde;
Avycen and Averoys with hem were in fere.
Galyen and Ipocras, that physyk have in mynde,
With helpe of Esculapion toward hem drow nere.
Virgyle, Orace, Ovyde, and Omere,
Euclyde and Albert gave her attendaunce,
To do the goddys and goddesses plesaunce.
Whore-berdyd Orpheus was there with hys harpe,
And as a poet musykall made he melody.
Othyr mynstrall had they none, safe Pan gan to carpe
Of hys lewde bagpype, whyche causyd the company
To lawe. Yet many mo ther were, yef I shuld nat ly,
Som yong, som olde, bothe bettyr and werse,
But mo of her names can I not reherse.
Of all maner deyntees there was habundaunce,
Of metys and drynkes, foyson plenteuous.
In came Dyscord, to have made varyaunce,
But ther was no rome to set hyr in that hous.
The goddys remembryd the scisme odyous
Among the three goddesses that she had wrought
At the fest of Peleus, wherfor they thought
They wold nat with her dele in aventure,
Lest she theym brought to som inconvenyent.
She, seyng thys, was wrothe out of mesure,
And in that gret wrethe out of the paleyce went,
Seying to hersylf that chere shuld they repent.
And anone with Attropos happyd she to mete,
As he had bene a goste came in a wyndyng shete.
She toke hym by the hande and rownyd in hys eare,
And told hym of the banket that was so delycate,
Howe she was rescevyd, and what chere she had there,
And howe every god sate in hys estate.
"Ys hit thus?" quod Attropos, "what, in the devyllys date?"
"Well," he seyde, "I see well howe the game gooth.
Ones yet for your sake shall I make hem wrooth."
And when she had hym all togedyr tolde,
From her he departyd and of hyr toke hys leve,
Seying that, for hyr sake, hys wey take he wolde
In to the paleyce, hys matyrs to meve.
And er he thens went, he trowyd hem to greve
With suche tydynges as he shuld hem tell.
So forthe yn he went and spake wordys fell.
When he came in the presence of the goddes all,
As he had be woode he lookyd hym about.
Hys shete from hys body down he let fall,
And on a rewde maner he salutyd all the rout,
With a bold voyse, carpyng wordys stout.
But he spake all holow, as hit had be oon
Had spoke in another world that had woo begoon.
He stood forthe boldly, with grym countenaunce,
Saying on thys wyse, as ye shall here:
"All ye gret goddys, geve attendaunce
Unto my wordys, without all daungere.
Remembre howe ye made me your offycere,
All tho with my dart fynally to chastyse
That yow dysobeyed, or wold your law dyspyse!
"And for the more sewerté, ye seelyd my patent,
Gevyng me full power soo to occupy,
Wherto I have enployed myn entent,
And that can Dame Nature well testyfy.
Yef she be examynyd, she woll hit nat deny.
For when she forsaketh any creature,
I am ay redy to take hym to my cure.
"Thus have I dewly, with all my dilygence,
Executyd the offyce of olde antiquyté,
To me by yow grauntyd by your comon sentence.
For I spared noon, hygh nor low degré,
So that on my part no defaute hath be.
For as sone as any to me commyttyd wase,
I smete hym to the hert; he had noone other grase.
"Ector of Troy, for all hys chyvalry,
Alexaunder the grete, and myghty conquerour
Julius Cesar, with all hys company,
David nor Josue nor worthy Artour,
Charles the noble that was so gret of honour,
Nor Judas Machabee, for all hys trew hert,
Nor Godfrey of Boleyn cowde me nat astert.
"Nabugodonozor, for all hys gret pryde,
Nor the kyng of Egypt, cruell Pharao,
Jason ne Hercules, went they never so wyde;
Cosdras, Hanyball, nor gentyll Sypio,
Cirus, Achilles, nor many another mo,
For feyre or foule, gat of me no grace.
But all be, at the last, I sesyd hem with my mace.
"Thus have I brought every creature
To an ende, bothe man, fysshe, foule, and beste,
And every other thyng in whom Dame Nature
Hath any jurysdiccion, owther most or leste.
Except oonly oon, in whom your beheste
Ys to me broke, for ye me promysyd
That my myght of noon shuld have be dyspysyd.
"Wherof the contrary, dar I well avowe,
Ys trew, for oon there ys that wyll nat apply
Unto my correccion, nor in no wyse bowe
To the dynt of my dart, for doole nor destyny.
What comfort he hath, nor the cause why
That he so rebelleth, I can nat thynke of ryght,
But yef ye have hym grauntyd your aldyrs safecondyght.
"And yef ye so have, then do ye nat as goddys,
For a goddes wrytyng may nat reversyd be.
Yef hit shuld, I wold nat geve two pesecoddys
For graunt of your patent of offyce, ner of fee.
Wherfore in thys mater do me equyté
Accordyng to my patent, for tyll thys be do,
Ye have no more my servyce nor my good wyll, lo!"
And when all the goddes had Attropos herde,
As they had be woode, they brayde up at oonys,
And seyde they wold nat reste tyll he were conqueryd,
Taken and dystroyed, boody, blood, and boonys.
And that they swere gret othes, for the noonys,
Her lawe to dyspyce, that was so malapert.
They seyde he shuld be taught for to be so pert.
"Well," seyde Apollo, "yef he on erthe bee,
Wyth my brennyng chare I shall hym confound."
"In feythe," quod Neptunus, "and yef he kepe the see,
He may be full sure, he shall sone be drownde."
"A, syr," seyd Mars, "thys have we well fownde,
That any dysobeyed owre godly precept;
We may well thynke we have to long slept.
"But, neverthelese, where I may hym fynde,
With thundre and leyte about I shall hym chase."
"And I," quod Saturnus, "before and behynde,
With my bytter colde shall shew hym harde grase."
"Well," seyd Mercurius, "yef I may see hys fase,
For ever of hys speche I shall hym depryve,
So that hym were bettyr be dede than a lyve."
"Ye," quod Othea, "yet may he well be
In the eyre where he woll, and ax yow no leve.
Wherfore my counsell ys that all we
May entrete Neptunus hys rancour to forgeve,
And then I dowte not Eolus wyll hym myscheve,
So may ye be sewre he shall yow nat escape.
And elles of all your angre woll he make but a jape."
But for to tell yow how Eolus was brought
In daunger of Pluto, yet had I forgete.
Wherfore, on thys mater ferther wyll I nought
Procede, tyll I therof have knowleche yow lete.
Hyt fell on a day the wedyr was wete,
And Eolus thought he wold, on hys dysport,
Go to rejoyse hys spyrytes and comfort.
He thought he wold see what was in the grownd,
And in a kravers forthe he gan hym dresse.
A drowthe had the erthe late before fownd
That causyd hit to chyne and krany, more and lesse.
Sodeynly by weet constreynyd, by duresse
Was the ground to close hys superfyciall face
So strayte that, to scape, Eolus had no space.
Thys seyng Eolus, he styll withyn aboode,
Sekyng where he myght have goon out, fer or nere.
Anone he was aspyed, and oon to Pluto roode,
And told hym how Eolus was in hys daungere.
Then seyde he to Cerberus, "Fet me that prysonere!
Tyll I have hym seene, let hym nat go at large.
As thow wylt answer, of hym I geve thee charge."
Thus was thys Eolus take prysoner.
Then happyd hit so, that the same day
Pluto had prefyxyd for a gret mater,
Mynos to syt in his roob of ray,
Wherfore Cerberus tooke the next way,
And led hym to the place where the court shal be,
Whedyr, as I tolde yow, Morpheus brought me.
So thedyr came Diana, caryed in a carre,
To make her compleynt, as I told yow all,
And so dyd Neptunus, that dothe bothe make and marre,
Walewyng with hys wawes and tomblyng as a ball.
Her matyrs they mevyd, fall what may befall.
There was the furst syght that ever I theym sawe,
And yef I never do efte, I rekke nat a strawe.
Bot now to my matyr to returne ageyn.
And to begynne, newe, where I left:
When all the goddes had done her besy peyn,
The wey to contryve howe he shuld be reft
Of hys lyfe, that Attropos had no cause eft
To compleyn, than Phebe styrt uppon her fete
And seyd, "I pray yow, let me speke a worde yete."
"Othea meneth well, to sey on thys wyse.
But all to entrete Neptunus, I hope, shall nat nede.
Me semeth I alone durst take that entyrpryse;
Er I am begylyd, or elles I shall spede.
How say ye, Neptunus? Shall I do thys dede?
Wyll ye your rancour sese at my request?"
"Madame," quod he, "reule me as ye lyketh best."
"Gramercy," seyd she, "of your good wyll
That hit pleseth yow to shew me that favour.
Wherfore the goddes hygh plesure to fulfyll,
Performe my desyre, and leeve all olde rancour,
For our aldyrs wele and savyng of our honour,
Ageyn thys Eolus that ye long have had."
"Hyt ys doon," quoth he, "forsoth; then am I glad."
Seyde he, "now, then, Eolus, be thow to us trew,
Kepe well the eyr, and owre gret rebell
May we then soone ever to us subdew."
"Yes; and that," quod Eolus, "shall ye here tell:
Nowhere in the eyre shall he reste nor dwell;
Yef he do therof, put me in defaute;
With my bytter blastys, so shall I hym asaute."
"What!" seyde the god Pluto, "what ys hys name
That thus presumeth ageyn us to rebell?"
"Vertew," quod Attropos, "that have he mykyll shame,
He ys never confoundyd; thus of hym here I tell."
"A," seyde thys Pluto, "in dede I know hym well.
He hathe be ever myn utter enemy.
Wherfore thys mater ageyn hym take wyll I.
"For all the baytys that ye for hym have leyde
Without myn helpe, be nat worthe a peere.
For though ye all the contrary had seyde,
Yet wolde he breede ryght nygh your althrys eere.
No maner of thyng can hym hurt nor dere,
Save oonly oon, a son of myn bastarde,
Whos name ys Vyce: he kepeth my vawarde.
"Wherfore yow, Cerberus, now I thee dyscharge
Of Eolus, and wyll that thow hydyr fette
My dere son Vyce, and sey that I hym charge
That he to me come without any lette,
Armyd at all poyntes. For a day ys sette
That he with Vertew, for all the goddes sake,
In our defense, must on hym batayll take."
Forthe then went Cerberus with hys fyry cheyne,
And brought thedyr Vyce, as he commaundyd was,
Ageyn noble Vertew, that batayll to dereygne,
On a glydyng serpent, rydyng a gret pas,
Formyd lyke a dragon, scalyd harde as glas,
Whos mouth flamyd feere without fayll.
Wyngys had hit, serpentyne, and a long tayll.
Armyd was Vyce, all in cure boyle,
Hard as any horn, blakker fer then soot.
An ungoodly soort folowyd hym, pardé,
Of unhappy capteyns, of myschyef, croppe and roote:
Pryde was the furst, that next hym roode, God woote,
On a roryng lyon; next whom came Envy,
Syttyng on a wolfe; he had a scornfull ey.
Wrethe bestrode a wylde bore, and next hem gan ryde;
In hys hand he bare a blody, nakyd swerde.
Next whom came Covetyse, that goth so fer and wyde,
Rydyng on a olyfaunt, as he had ben aferde.
Aftyr whom rood Glotony, with hys fat berde,
Syttyng on a bere, with hys gret bely.
And next hym on a goot folowyd Lechery.
Slowthe was so slepy, he came all behynde,
On a dull asse, a full wery pase.
These were the capyteyns that Vyce cowde fynde
Best, to set hys felde and folow on the chase.
As for pety capteyns, many mo ther wase -
As Sacrylege, Symony, and Dyssimulacion,
Manslaughter, Mordre, Theft, and Extorcion,
Arrogaunce, Presumpcion, with Contumacy,
Contempcion, Contempt, and Inobedience,
Malyce, Frowardnes, Gret Jelacy,
Wodnesse, Hate, Stryfe, and Impacience,
Unkyndnesse, Oppression, with Wofull Neglygence,
Murmour, Myschyef, Falshood, and Detraccion,
Usury, Perjury, Ly, and Adulacion,
Wrong, Ravyne, Sturdy Vyolence,
False Jugement, with Obstynacy,
Dysseyte, Dronkenes, and Improvydence,
Boldnes in Yll, and with Foule Rybaudy,
Fornycacion, Incest, and Avoutry,
Unshamefastnes, with Prodygalyté,
Blasphemé, Veynglory, and Worldly Vanyté,
Ignoraunce, Diffydence, with Ipocrysy,
Scysme, Rancour, Debate, and Offense,
Heresy, Errour, with Idolatry,
Newfangylnes, and sotyll False Pretense,
Inordinat Desyre of Worldly Excellense,
Feynyd Povert, with Apostasy,
Disclaundyr, Skorne, and unkynde Jelousy,
Hoordam, Bawdry, False Mayntenaunce,
Treson, Abusion, and Pety Brybry.
Usurpacion, with Horryble Vengeaunce,
Came alther-last of that company.
All these pety capteyns folowyd by and by,
Shewyng theymsylf in the palyse wyde,
And seyde they were redy that batayll to abyde.
Idylnesse set the comons in aray,
Without the paleyse on a fayre felde.
But there was an oost for to make a fray!
I trow suche another never man behelde!
Many was the wepyn among hem that they welde.
What pepyll they were that came to that dysport,
I shall yow declare of many a sondry sort.
Ther were bosters, braggars, and brybores,
Praters, fasers, strechers, and wrythers, 5
Shamefull shakerles, soleyn shaveldores,
Oppressours of pepyll and myghty crakers,
Meyntenours of querelles, horryble lyers,
Theves, traytours, with false herytykes,
Charmers, sorcerers, and many scismatykes,
Pryvy symonyakes with false usurers,
Multyplyers, coyn-wasshers, and clyppers,
Wrong usurpers with gret extorcioners,
Bakbyters, glosers, and fayre flaterers,
Malycious murmurers with grete claterers,
Tregetours, tryphelers, feyners of tales,
Lascyvyous lurdeyns and pykers of males,
Rowners, vagaboundes, forgers of lesynges,
Robbers, revers, ravenouse ryfelers,
Choppers of churches, fynders of tydynges,
Marrers of maters and money makers,
Stalkers by nyght with evesdroppers,
Fyghters, brawlers, brekers of lofedayes,
Getters, chyders, causers of frayes,
Tytyvyllys, tyrauntes with turmentoures,
Cursyd apostates, relygyous dyssymulers,
Closshers, carders with comon hasardoures,
Tyburne coloppys and pursekytters,
Pylary knyghtes, double-tollyng myllers,
Gay joly tapsters with hostelers of the stewes,
Hoores and baudys that many bale brewes,
Bolde blasphemers with false ipocrytes,
Brothelles brokers, abhomynable swerers,
Dryvylles dastardes, dyspysers of ryghtes,
Homycydes, poyseners and comon morderers,
Skoldes, caytyffys, comborouse clappers,
Idolatres, enchauntours with false renegates,
Sotyll ambidextres and sekers of debates,
Pseudo-prophetes, false sodomytes,
Quesmers of chyldren with fornycatours,
Wetewoldes that suffre syn in her syghtes,
Avouterers and abhominable avauntours,
Of syn gret clappers and makers of clamours,
Unthryftys and unlustes came also to that game,
With luskes and loselles that myght nat thryve for shame.
These were the comons came thedyr that day,
Redy bowne in batayll Vertew to abyde.
Apollo, theym beholdyng, began for to say
To the goddes and goddesses beyng there that tyde,
"Me semeth convenyent an herowde to ryde
To Vertew, and byd hym to batayll, make hym bone
Hymsylf to defende, for sowght he shal be sone.
"And let hym nat be sodenly take
All dyspurveyde, or then he be ware,
For then shuld our dyshonour awake,
Yef he were cowardly take in a snare."
"Ee!" quod Vyce, "for that have I no care;
I wyll avauntage take where I may."
That heryng, Morpheus pryvyly stale away,
And went to warne Vertew of all thys afray,
And bade hym awake and make hymsylf strong,
For he was lyke to endure that day
A gret mortall shoure, er hit were evesong,
With Vyce, wherfore he bade him nat long
Tary to sende aftyr more socour -
Yef he dede, hit shuld turne hym to dolour.
And brefely the matyr to hym he declaryd,
Lyke as ye have herde, begynnyng and ende.
"Well," quoth Vertu, "he shall nat be sparyd.
To the felde I wyll wende how hit wende.
But gramercy, Morpheus, myn owne dere frende,
Of your trew hert and feythefull entent
That ye in thys mater to meward have ment."
Thys doon, Morpheous departyd away
Fro Vertu, to the palyce retornyng ageyn.
Noone hym aspyed, that I dare well say,
In whyche tyme Vertew dyd hys besy peyn
Pepyll to reyse, hys quarell to menteyn.
Ymaginacion was hys messyngere:
He went to warne pepyll bothe fer and nere,
And bade hem come in all the haste they myght
For to streyngthe Vertu, for, without fayll,
He seyde he shuld have, long or hit were nyght,
With Vyce to do a myghty strong batayll.
Of ungracious gastes he bryngeth a long tayll,
"Wherfore hit behoveth to helpe at thys nede,
And aftyr thys shall Vertu rewarde yowre mede."
When Imaginacion had goon hys cyrcute
To Vertews frendys thus all aboute,
Withyn short tyme many men of myght
Gaderyd to Vertew in all that they mowte.
They hym comfortyd and bad hym put no dowte
Hys uttyr enemy Vyce to overthrow,
Though he with hym brought never so gret arow.
And when Vertew sy the substaunce of hys oost,
He prayed all the comons to the felde hem hy
With her pety capteynys, bothe lest and moost,
And he with hys capteynys shuld folow redyly,
For he seyde he knew well that Vyce was full ny,
And who myght furst of the felde recover the centre
Wold kepe out that other he shuld nat esyly entre.
Then sent he forthe Baptym to the felde before,
And prayed hym hertyly hit to overse,
That no maner trayne nor caltrop theryn wore 6
To noy nor hurt hym nor hys meyné.
And when he thedyr came, he began to see
How Vyce hys pursevaunt Cryme Oryginall
Was entryd before, and had sesyd up all.
But as sone as herof Baptym had a syght,
He fled fast awey and left the felde alone.
And anone Babtym entred with hys myght,
Serchyng all about where thys Cryme had gone.
But the felde was clene defaute; fonde he none.
Then cam Vertew aftyr with hys gret oost,
And hys myghty capytayns, bothe leste and moost.
But to enforme yow howe he thedyr came,
And what maner capyteyns he to the felde brought,
Hymsylfe, sekerly, was the furst man
Of all hys gret boost that thedyrward sought,
Syttyng in a chare that rychely was wrought
With golde and peerles and gemmes precious,
Crownyd with laurer as lord vyctoryous.
Foure dowty knyghtys about the chare went
At every corner, on hit for to gyde
And convey acordyng to Vertew hys entent.
At the furst corner was Ryghtwysnes that tyde;
Prudence at the second, was set to abyde;
At the thryd, Streyngth; the fourth kept Temperaunce.
These the chare gydyd to Vertew hys plesaunce.
Next to the chare, seven capteyns there roode,
Ychone aftyr other, in ordre, by and by.
Humylyté was the furst; a lambe he bestroode.
With countenaunce demure he roode full soburly.
A fawcon gentyll stood on hys helme on hy.
And next aftyr hym came there Charyté,
Rydyng on a tygre, as fyll to hys degré.
Roody as a roose ay he kept hys chere.
On hys helme on hygh a pellycan he bare.
Next whom came Pacyence, that nowhere hath no pere,
On a camell rydyng, as voyde of all care.
A fenyx on hys helme stood. So forthe gan he fare.
Who next hym folowyd, but Lyberalyté,
Syttyng on a dromedary that was bothe good and free.
On hys helme for hys crest he bare an ospray.
And next aftyr hym folowyd Abstynence,
Rydyng on an hert; hys trapure was gay.
He semyd a lorde of ryght gret excellence.
A popynjay was hys crest; he was of gret dyffence.
Next hym folowyd Chastyté, on an unycorn,
Armyd at all poyntes, behynde and beforn.
A turtyldove he bare an hygh for hys crest.
Then came Good Besynesse, last of the sevyn,
Rydyng on a panter, a sondry colouryd best,
Gloryously beseene, as he had come from hevyn;
A crane on hys hede stood hys crest for to stevyn.
All these sevyn capteynes had standardes of pryce,
Eche of hem acordyng aftyr hys devyse.
Many pety capteyns aftyr these went,
As Trew Feythe and Hoope, Mercy, Peese, and Pyté,
Ryght Trowthe, Mekenesse, with Good Entent,
Goodnes, Concorde, and Parfyte Unyté,
Honest Trew Love, with Symplycyté,
Prayer, Fastyng, Prevy Almysdede,
Joynyd with the Artycles of the Crede;
Confession, Contrycion, and Satysfaccion,
With Sorow for Synne and Gret Repentaunce,
Forgevenes of Trespas, with Good Dysposicion,
Resystence of Wrong, Performyng of Penaunce,
Hooly Devocion, with Good Contynuaunce.
Preesthood theym folowyd, with the Sacramentes,
And Sadnesse also, with the Commaundementis;
Sufferaunce in Trowble, with Innocency,
Clennesse, Continence, and Virginité,
Kyndnesse, Reverence, with Curtesy,
Content and Plesyd with Pyteous Poverté,
Entendyng Well, Mynystryng Equyté
Twene Ryght and Wrong, Hoole Indyfferency,
And Laboryng the Servyce of God to Multyply;
Refuse of Rychesse and Worldly Veynglory,
Perfeccion with Parfyte Contemplacion,
Relygyon, Profession Well Kept in Memory,
Verrey Drede of God, with Holy Predycacion,
Celestiall Sapience, with Goostly Inspiracion.
Grace was the guyde of all thys gret meyny,
Whom folowyd Konnyng with hys genalogy.
(That ys to sey, Gramer and Sophystry,
Philosophy Naturall, Logyk, and Rethoryk,
Arsmetry, Geometry, with Astronomy,
Canon and Cyvyle, melodyous Musyk,
Nobyll Theology, and corporall Physyk,
Moralizacion of Holy Scripture,
Profounde Poetry, and Drawyng of Picture.)
These folowyd Konnyng, and thedyr with hym came,
With many oone moo, offryng her servyce
To Vertew at that nede. But natwithstandyng than,
Som he refusyd, and seyde in nowyse
They shuld with hym go, and as I coude avyse,
These were her names: fyrst, Nygromansy,
Geomansy, Magyk, and Glotony,
Adryomancy, Ornomancy, with Pyromancy, 7
Fysenamy also, and Pawmestry,
And all her sequelys, yef I shult nat ly.
Yet Konnyng prayed Vertu he wold nat deny
Theym forto know, nor Dysdeyne with hys ey
On hem to loke, wherto Vertew grauntyd;
How be hit in hys werres, he wold nat they hauntyd.
So had they Connyng lyghtly to depart
From Vertew hys felde, and they, seyng thys,
By comon assent hyryd theym a cart,
And made hem be caryed toward Vyce, y-wys.
Fro thensforth, to serve hym they wold nat mys;
Full lothe theym were to be mastyrles.
In stede of the bettyr, the worse ther they ches.
But foorthe to relese all the remenaunt
Of pety capteyns that with Vertu were -
Moderat Dyete and Wysdom avenaunt,
Evyn Wyght and Mesure, Ware of Contagious Geere,
Lothe to Offende and Lovyng Ay to Lere,
Worshyp and Profyt, with Myrthe in Manere -
These pety capteyns with Vertew were in fere.
Comones hem folowyd, a gret multitude;
But in com pyson to that other syde,
I trow ther was nat (brefely to conclude)
The tenth man that batayll to abyde.
Yet, neverthelese, I shall nat fro yow hyde
What maner pepyll they were, and of what secte,
As neere as my wyt therto wyll me dyrecte.
There were notable and famous doctours,
Example gevers of lyvyng gracyous,
Perpetuell prestes and dyscrete confessours,
Of Holy Scripture declarers fructuous,
Rebukers of synne and myschefes odyous,
Fysshers of sowles and lovers of clennes,
Dyspysers of veyn and worldly ryches,
Pesyble prelates, justyciall governours,
Founders of churches, with mercyfull peeres,
Reformers of wrong of her progenitours,
On peynfull poore, pyteous compassioneres,
Well menyng merchauntes, with trew artyfyceres,
Vyrgyns pure, and also innocentes,
Hooly matronys, with chaste contynentes,
Pylgryms and palmers, with trew laborers,
Hooly heremytes, Goddes solycitours,
Monasteriall monkes and well dysposyd freres,
Chanons and nonnes, feythfull professoures,
Of worldly peple trew conjugatoures,
Lovers of Cryst, confounders of yll,
And all that to godward geve her good wyll,
Mayntenours of ryght, verrey penytentes,
Distroyers of errour, causers of unyté,
Trew actyf-lyvers that set her ententes
The dedes to performe of mercy and pyté,
Contemplatyf peple that desyre to be
Solytary servauntes unto God alone,
Rather then to habounde in rychesses everychone.
These, with many mo then I reherse can,
Were come thedyr redy that batayll to abyde,
And take suche part as fyll to Vertew than.
Vyce to overcome they hopyd, for all hys pryde,
All though that he had more pepyll on hys syde,
For the men that Vertu had were full sewre
To trust on at Nede and Konnyng in armure.
"Macrocosme" was the name of the felde
Where thys gret batayle was set for to be.
In the myddes therof stood Conscience, and behelde
Whyche of hem shuld be brought to captyvyté;
Of that nobyll tryumphe, juge wold he be.
Synderesys sate hym wythyn, closyd as in a parke,
With hys tables in hys hand, her dedys to marke.
To come in to the felde were hygh weyes fyve,
Free to bothe partyes, large, broode, and wyde.
Vertu wold nat tary, but hyghyd hym thydyr blyve, 8
Lest he were by Vyce decevyd at that tyde.
Long out of the felde, lothe he was to abyde
In aventure that he out of hyt were nat kept,
For then wolde he have thought he had to long slept.
In thys mene tyme whyle, Vertu thus prevydyd
For hym and hys pepyll the feld for to wynne.
He chargyd every man by Grace to be guydyd,
And all that ever myght the felde to entre ynne.
In all that seson went Orygynall Synne,
To lete Vyce know, how Baptym, with hys oost,
Had entryd Macocrosme, and serchyd every coost.
"A," seyde Vyce, "than I se well hit ys tyme
Baners to dysplay and standardys to avaunce.
Allmost to long haddyst thow taryed, Cryme,
To let us have knowlege of thys purvyaunce.
Yet I trow I shall lerne hem a new daunce!
Wherfore I commaunde yow all, without delay,
Toward the felde drawe, in all the haste ye may."
Then seyde the god Pluto, that all men myght here,
"Vyce, I thee charge, as thow wylt eschew
Our heynous indignacion, thow draw nat arere,
But put thee forthe boldly, to overthrow Vertew."
"In feythe," quoth Attropos, "and I shall aftyr sew,
For yef he escape your handys thys day,
I tell yow, my servyce have ye lost for ay."
Forthe, then, rode Vyce, with all hys hoole streyngth,
On hys steede serpentyn, as I tolde yow before.
The oost that hym folowyd was of a gret leyngth,
Among whom were penowns and guytornes many a score.
But as he went thederward (I shall tell yow more
Of hys pety capteyns) he made many a knyght,
For they shuld nat fle, but manly with hym fyght.
He dubbyd Falshood, with Dyssymulacion,
Symony, Usuré, Wrong, and Rebawdy,
Malyce, Deceyte, Ly, with Extorcion,
Perjury, Diffidence, and Apostasy,
With Boldnesse in Yll to bere hem company -
These fourteen knyghtes made Vyce that day
To wynne theyr spores they seyde they wold asay.
In lyke wyse, Vertew dubbyd on hys syde
Of hys pety capteynes other fourtene,
Whyche made her avowe with hym to abyde.
Her spores wold they wynne that day, hit shuld besene.
These were her names, yef hit be as I wene:
Feythe, Hope, and Mercy, Trouthe, and also Ryght,
With Resystence of Wrong, a full hardy wyght,
Confession, Contricion, with Satisfaccion,
Verrey Drede of God, Performyng of Penaunce,
Perfeccion, Konnyng, and Good Dysposicion,
And all knyt to Vertu they were, by allyaunce.
Wherfore to hym they made assewraunce
That felde to kepe as long as they myght,
And in hys quarell ageyn Vyce to fyght.
The lord of Macocrosme and rewler of that fee
Was callyd Frewyll, chaunger of the chaunse,
To whom Vertew sent embassatours three,
Reson, Discresion, and good Remembraunse,
And prayed hym be favorable hys honour to enhaunse,
For but he had hys favour at that poynt of nede,
He stoode in gret doute he coude nat lyghtly spede.
In lyke wyse Vyce embassatours thre
For hys party unto Frewyll sent,
Temptacion, Foly, and Sensualyté,
Praying hym of favour that he wold assent
To hym, as he wolde, at hys commaundment,
Have hym eftsones when he lyst to call
On hym, for any thyng that aftyrward myght fall.
Answere gave he noone to neyther party,
Save oonly he seyde the batayle wold he se,
To wete whyche of hem shuld have the victory.
Hit hyng in hys balaunce, the ambyguyté.
He seyde he wold nat restrayne hys lyberté
When he come where sorow shuld awake.
Then hit shuld be know what part he woll take.
Whan Vertew and Vyce be her embassatours
Knew of thys answere, they stood in gret doute.
Neverthelese, they seyde they wold endure tho shoures,
And make an ende shortly of that they went aboute.
So forthe came Vyce with all hys gret route.
Er he came at the felde, he sent yet pryvyly
Sensualyté before, in maner of a spy,
Whyche sewe the felde with hys unkynde seede.
That causyd Vertu aftyr mykyll woo to feele.
For therof grew nought but all oonly weede,
Whyche made the grounde as slepyr as an yele.
He went agene to Vyce and told hym every dele
How he had done, and bade hym com away,
For he had so purveyde that Vyce shuld have the day.
Soo as hit happyd at the felde they mete
Frewyll, Vertew, and Vyce, as trypartyte.
Safe Vertew a lytell before the felde had gete,
And elles hys avauntage, forsothe, had be full lyght.
Nat for then encombryd so was never wyght
As Vertew and hys men were, with the ranke wede
That in the felde grew of Sensualytees sede.
But as sone as Vyce of Vertu had a syght,
He gan swage gonnes as he had be woode.
That heryng, Vertew commaundyd every wyght
To pauyse hym undyr the sygne of the roode,
And bad hem nat drede, but kepe styll wher they stoode.
Hyt was but a shoure shuld soone confound,
Wherfore he commaundyd theym stand and kepe her ground.
And when Vyce came nerer to the felde,
He callyd soore for bowes and bade hem shote faste.
But Vertew and hys meyny bare of with the shelde
Of the blessyd Trynyté, ay tyll shot was paste.
And when shot was doon, Vyce came forthe at laste,
Purposyng the felde with assawte to wyn.
But Vertew kept hit long; he myght nat entyr theryn.
All that tyme, Frewyll stood and hym bethought
To whyche he myght leve, and what part he wold take.
At last Sensualyté had hym so fer brought
That he seyde pleynly he Vertu wold forsake,
And in Vyce hys quarell all hys power make.
"Ywys," quoth Reason, "that ys nat for the beste."
"No forse," seyde Frewyll, "I wyll do as my lyste."
Vertu was full hevy when he sy Frewyll
Take part with Vyce, but yet, neverthelesse,
He dyd that he myght the felde to kepe styll,
Tyll Vyce with Frewyll so sore gan hym oppresse
That he was constreynyd clerely by duresse
A lytyll tyne abak to make a bew retret.
All thyng consyderyd hit was the best feet,
Furst, to remembre how Vyces part was
Ten agene oon, strengor by lyklynes;
And than how Frewyll was with hym, allas!
Whoo cowde deme Vertew, but in hevynes,
Moreover, to thynke how that slyper gres,
That of Sensualyté hys unkynde seede grew,
Undyr foote in standyng encombryd Vertew.
Yet, natwithstandyng, Vertew hys men all
Nobully theym bare and faught myghtyly,
Howe be hyt the slepyr grasse made many of hem fall,
And from thense in maner depart sodeynly.
That seyng, Vyce hys oost began to showt and cry,
And seyde, "On, in Pluto name! On, and all ys owre.
For thys day shall Vyce be made a conquerour!"
Thus Vertew was by myght of Vyce and Frewyll
Dreven out of the felde. Hit was the more pyté!
Howe be hit, yet Baptym kept hys ground styll,
And with hym aboode Feythe, Hoope, and Unyté,
And Kunnyng also, with comons a gret meyné,
Confessyon, Contricion, were redy at her hande,
And Satysfaccion, Vyce to wythstande.
But all the tyme, whyle Vertew was away,
A myghty conflycte kept they with Vyce his rowte.
And yet, neverthelese, for all that gret affray,
Hoope stood upryght and Feythe wold never lowte,
And evermore seyd Baptym, "syres, put no dowte:nobr>
Vertu shall retorne and have hys entent.
Thys felde shal be ours, and elles let me be shent!"
And whyle these pety capteynes susteynyd thus the feelde,
With Vertew hys rerewarde came Good Perseveraunce,
An hogy myghty hoost, and when he behelde
How Vertew hym withdrew, he toke dysplesaunce.
And when he to hym came, he seyde, "ye shall your chaunce
Take, as hit falleth, wherfore returne ye must.
Yet oonys for your sake with Vyce shall I just.
"Allas, that ever ye shuld leese thus your honour,
And therwith also the hygh perpetuell crowne
Whyche ys for yow kept in the celestiall tour,
Wherfore be ye callyd 'Crystis Champyon.'
How ys hit that ye have no compassyon
On Baptym, Feythe, and Hoope, Konnyng and Unyté,
That stant so harde be stadde, and fyght, as ye may see?
"All the tresour erthely undyr the fyrmament
That ever was made of Goddes creacion
To rewarde theym evynly were nat equyvalent
For her noble labour in hys afflyccion.
Wherfore take uppon yow your jurysdyccion -
Rescu yondyr knyghtes and recontynu fyght,
And elles, a dew your crowne, for all your gret meryt."
With these and suche wordys, as I have yow tolde,
By good Perseveraunce uttryd in thys wyse,
Vertu hym remembryd and gan to wex bolde,
And seyd, "Geve trew knyghtes to rescu, I avyse;
Let us no lengor tary from thys entrepryse."
Agayn to the felde so Vertew retornyd,
That causyd hem be mery that long afore had mornyd.
"Avaunt baner," quoth he, "in the name of Jhesu!"
And with that, hys pepyll set up a gret showte
And cryed with a lowde voyce, "A, Vertew! A, Vertew!"
Then began Vyce hys hooste for to loke abowte.
But I trowe Perseveraunce was nat long withowte.
He bathyd hys swerde in hys foes blood;
The boldyst of hem all nat oonys hym withstood.
Constaunce hym folowyd and brought hym hys spere.
But when Perseveraunce saw Vyce on hys stede,
No man cowde hym let tyll he came there.
For to byd hym ryde, I trow, hit was no nede;
All Vertew hys ost prayde for hys good spede.
Agayn Vyce he roode with hys gret shaft
And hym overthrew for all hys sotyll craft.
That seyng, Frewyll came to Conscience,
And gan hym to repent that he with hym had bee,
Praying hym of counsell for hys gret offence,
That he agayn Vertew had made hys armee;
What was best to do? "To Humylyté,"
Quoth Conscience, "must thou go," so he hym thedyr sent
Disguysyd, that he were nat knowen as he went.
And when he thedyr came, Humylyté hym took
A token and bad hym go to Confessyon,
And shew hym hys mater with a peteous look.
Whyche doon, he hym sent to Contrycion.
And fro thensforth to Satysfaccion.
Thus fro poost to pylour was he made to daunce,
And at the last he went forthe to Penaunce.
But now for to tell yow: when Vyce was overthrow,
A gret parte of his oost about hym gan resorte.
But he was so febyll that he cowde no man know,
And when they sy that they knew no comforte,
But caryed hym awey be a pryvy porte.
And as they hym caryed, Dyspeyre with hym met.
With Vyce hys rewarde, he came theym for to fet.
Then came ther downe goodly ladyes tweyne
From the hygh hevyn above the firmament,
And seyde the gret Alpha and Oo most sovereyne
For that nobyll tryumphe had hem thedyr sent,
Oone of hem to dryve Vyce to gret torment
With a fyry scourge that she bare in her hande;
And so he dede dyspeyre, and all hys hoole bande.
The name of thys lady was callyd Prescience.
She never left Vyce, ne noone that wold hym folow,
Tyll they were commyttyd by the divine sentence
All to peyne perpetuell and infynyte sorow.
Ryghtwysnes went to see, that no man shuld hem borow.
Thus all entretyd sharpely were they tyll Cerberus
Had hem beshut withyn hys gates tenebrus.
And all the whyle that Prescience with her scorge smert
To rewarde Vyce gan hyr thus occupy,
With all hys hoole bende aftyr her desert,
That other gloryous lady that came fro hevyn on hy,
Havyng in her hande the palme of vyctory,
Came downe to Vertu and toke hym to that present,
Seying thus, that Alpha and Oo hathe hym sent.
And as ferre as I aryght cowde undyrstande,
That ladyes name was Predestinacion.
Vertu and hys hoost she blessyd with her hande,
And in heven grauntyd hem habitacion,
Where to eche of hem reservyd was a crown.
She seyde in token that they enherytours
Of the glory were, and gracious conquerours.
Whyche doon, thoo ladyes agene togedyr met
And toward hevyn up they gan to fly,
Embrasyd in armes as they had be knet
Togedyr with a gyrdyll, but so sodenly
As they were vanysshyd saw I never thyng with ey.
And anon Vertew with all hys company
Knelyd downe, and thankyd God of that vyctory.
Yet had I forgete, when Vyce was overthrow,
To have tolde yow how many of Vyce hys oost
Gan to seke Peese, and darkyd downe full low,
And besought Mercy, whatsoever hys cost,
To be her mene to Vertew; elles they were but lost.
And som in lyke wyse to Feythe and Hoope sought.
What to do for Peese they seyde they ne rought.
Som also to Baptym sewyd to be her mene;
Som to oon, som to other, as they hem gete myght.
But all to Confession went to make hem clene,
And, as they came by Conscience, he theym bad goo lyght,
Er than olde Attropos of hem had a syght,
For yef he so theym tooke, lost they were forever.
He seyde Vyce to forsake, ys bettyr late then never.
Som eke for socour drew to Circumcysion,
But by hym cowde they gete but small favour,
For he in that company was had but in derysion.
Neverthelese, to Feythe he bade hem go labour,
Praying theym for olde acqueyntance theym socour.
"Well," quoth Feythe, "for hys sake I shall do that I may do,
But furst, for the best wey, Baptym go ye to.
"For by hym sonnest shull ye recover grace,
Whyche shall to Vertu bryng yow by processe,
Wherfore in any wyse looke ye make good face,
And let no man know of your hevynes."
So they were by Baptym brought out of dystres -
Turnyd all to Vertew, and when thys was doon,
Vertu commaundyd Frewyll before hym com.
To whom thus he seyde, "I have gret mervayll
Ye durst be so bolde Vyces part to take.
Who bade yow do so and gave yow that counsayll?
Justly unto that ye shall me pryvy make."
Then seyde Frewyll, and swemfully spake,
Knelyng on hys kne with a chere benygne,
"I pray yow, syr, let pyté your eares to me enclyne,
"And I shall yow tell the verrey sothe of all,
Howe hit was and who made me that wey drawe.
Forsothe, 'Sensualité' hys propre name they call."
"A," seyde Reason, "then I know well that felawe.
Wylde he ys, and wanton; of me stant hym noon awe."
"Ys he soo?" quod Vertu, "Well he shal be taught,
As a pleyer shuld, to drawe another draught."
And with that came Sadnesse with hys sobre chere,
Bryngyng Sensualyté, beyng full of thought,
And seyde that he had take hym prysonere.
"A, welcome," seyde Vertew. "Now have I that I sought;
Blessyd be that good lord; as thow wolde, ys hit nought.
Why art thow so wantoun and wylde?" he seyde, "for shame;
Er thow go at large, thow shalt be made more tame.
"But stande apart awhyle tyll I have spoke a woorde
With Frewyll, a lytell, and then shalt thow know
What shal be thy finaunce." And then he seyde in boorde
Unto Frewyll, "The bende of your bowe
Begynneth to slake, but suche as ye have sowe
Must ye nedes reepe; ther ys noon other way.
Nat withstandyng that, let see what ye can say.
"What ys your habylyté me to recompense
For the gret harme that ye to me have do?"
"Forsothe," seyd Frewyll in opyn audyense,
"But oonly Macrocosme; more have I nat, lo;
Take that, yef hit plese yow; I wyll that hit be so.
Yef I may undyrstand, ye be my good lorde."
"In dede," seyde Vertu, "to that wyll I acorde."
Then made Vertu Reson hys lyeftenaunt,
And gave hym a gret charge Macocrosme to kepe.
That doone, Sensualyté yelde hym recreaunt,
And began for to angre, byttyrly to wepe,
For he demyd sewerly hys sorow shuld nat slepe.
Then made Vertu Frewyll bayll undyr Reson,
The felde for to occupy to hys behove that seson.
And then seyde Vertu to Sensualyté,
"Thow shalt be rewardyd for thy besynesse.
Undyr thys fourme, all fragylyté
Shalt thow forsake, bothe more and lesse,
And undyr the guydyng shalt thow be of Sadnesse,
All though hit somwhat be ageyn thy hert.
Thy jugement ys gevyn; thow shalt hit nat astert."
And even with that, came in Dame Nature,
Saying thus to Vertew, "Syr, ye do me wrong
By duresse and constreynt to put thys creature,
Gentyll Sensualyté, that hath me servyd long,
Cleerly from hys liberté and set hym among
Theym that love hym nat, to be her underlowte,
As hit were a castaway, or a shoo clowte."
"And, pardé, ye know well a rewle have I must
Withyn Macrocosme; forsoth, I sey nat nay,"
Quoth Vertu, "but Sensualyté shall nat performe your lust
Lyke as he hath do before thys, yef I may.
Therfro, hym restrayn Sadnesse shall assay.
Howe be hit, ye shall have your hoole lyberté
Withyn Macrocosme, as ye have had fré."
And when Vertu had to Nature seyd thus,
A lytyll tyne, hys ey castyng hym besyde,
He sy in a corner standyng Morpheus,
That hym before warnyd of the verryly tyde.
"A, syres," seyd Vertu, "yet we must abyde.
Here ys a frende of owre may nat be forgete.
Aftyr hys desert we shall hym entrete.
"Morpheus," seyd Vertu, "I thanke yow hertyly
For your trew hert and your gret laboure,
That ye lyst to come to me soo redyly.
When ye undyrstood the commyng of that shoure,
I thanke God and yow of savyng of myn honour.
Wherfore thys pryvylege now to you I graunt,
That withyn Macrocosme ye shall have your haunt.
"And of fyve posternes, the keyes shall ye kepe,
Lettyng in and out at hem whom ye lyst,
As long as in Macrocosme your fadyr woll crepe.
Blere whos ey ye woll, hardyly, with your myst,
And kepe your werkes close there as in a chyst.
Safe I wold desyre yow spare Pollucion,
For nothyng may me plese that sowneth to corrupcion."
And when he had thus seyde, the keyes he hym tooke
And toward hys castell with hys pepyll went,
Byddyng Reason take good heede and about looke
That Sensualyté by nature were nat shent.
"Kepe hym short," he seyde, "tyll hys lust be spent,
For bettyr were a chylde to be unbore,
Then let hyt have the wyll and forever be lore."
And when olde Attropos had seen and herde all thys,
How Vertew had opteynyd, astonyed as he stood
He seyd to hymsylf, "Somwhat ther ys amys.
I trow well my patent be nat all good."
And ran to the palyse as he had be wood,
Seying to the goddes, "I see ye do but jape.
Aftyr a worthy whew have ye made me gape.
"Howe a devyllway shuld I Vertu overthrow,
When he dredyth nat all your hoole rowte!
How can ye make good your patent, wold I know
Hyt ys to impossybyll to bryng that abowte,
For stryke hym may I nat; that ys out of dowte."
"A, good Attropos," seyd god Apollo,
"An answere convenyent shalt thow have herto.
"The wordys of thy patent, dare I well say,
Streche to no ferther but where Dame Nature
Hath jurysdiccion there to have thy way,
And largesse to stryke as longeth to thy cure.
And as for Vertu, he ys no creature
Under the predicament conteynyd of quantyté;
Wherfore hys destruccion longeth nat to thee."
"A, haa," seyd Attropos, "then I se well
That all ye goddes be but counterfete.
For oo God ther ys that can everydell
Turne as hym lyst, bothe dry and whete,
Into whos servyce I shall assay to gete.
And yef I may ones to hys servyce come,
Youre names shal be put to oblyvyone."
Thus went Attropos fro the paleyce wrooth.
But in the mene tyme, whyle that he there was,
Glydyng by the palyce, Resydyvacion gooth
Toward Macrocosme with a peyntyd fase,
Clad lyke a pylgryme, walkyng a gret pase
In the forme as he had bene a man of Ynde.
He wende have made Reson and Sadnesse bothe blynde.
With Sensualyté was he soone aqueyntyd,
To whome he declaryd hys matyr pryvyly.
Yet he was espyed, for all hys face peyntyd.
Then Reson hym commaundyd pyke hym thens lyghtly.
"For hys ease," quoth Sadnes, "so counseyll hym wyll I."
So was Sensualyté ay kept undyr foote,
That to Resydyvacion myght he doo no boote.
Then went he to Nature and askyd hyr avyse,
Hys entent to opteygne what was best to do.
She seyde, "Ever syth Vertew of Vyce wan the pryse,
Reson with Sadnes hath rewlyd the fylde so,
That I and Sensualyté may lytyll for thee do.
For I may no more, but oonly kepe my cours,
And yet ys Sensualyté strengor kept, and wours."
Thus heryng, Residivacion fro thens he went ageyn,
Full of thought and sorow that he myght nat spede.
Then Reson and Sadnesse toke wedehokes tweyn,
And all wylde wantones out of the fylde gan wede
With all the slyper grasse that grew of the sede
That Sensualyté before theryn sew,
And fro thensforthe, kept hit clene fro Vertew.
Then began new gresse in the fylde to spryng,
All unlyke that other, of colour fayre and bryght.
But then I aspyed a mervelous thyng -
For the grounde of the felde gan wex hoore and whyte.
I cowde nat conceyve how that be myght,
Tyll I was enformyd and taught hit to know.
But where Vertew occupyeth, must nedys well grow.
Yet in the menetyme, whyle the fylde thus grew,
And Reson with Sadnesse therof had governaunce,
Many a pryvy messynger thedyr sent Vertew,
To know yef hit were guydyd to hys plesaunce.
Now Prayer efte Fastyng, and oftyn tyme Penaunce,
And when he myght goo pryvyly, Almesdede,
And bade hym to hys power helpe wher he sy nede.
Whyle that fylde thus rewlyd Reson with Sadnes,
Mawgre Dame Nature, for all her carnall myght,
Came thedyr Attropos, voyde of all gladnes,
Wrappyd in hys shete, and axyd yef any wyght
Cowde wysshe hym the wey to the Lorde of Lyght,
Or ellys where men myght fynd Ryghtwysnesse.
"Forsothe," seyde Reason, "I trow, as I gesse,
"At Vertu hys castell ye may soone hym fynde,
Yef ye lyst the labour thedyr to take,
And there shall ye know, yef ye be nat blynde,
The next wey to the Lorde of Lyght, I undyrtake."
So thedyr went Attropos, peticion to make
To Ryghtwysnes, praying that he myght
Be take in to the servyce of the Lord of Lyght.
"What!" seyde Ryghtwysnes, "Thow olde dotyng foole!
Whom hast thow servyd syth the world began,
But oonly hym? where hast thow go to scoole,
Whether art thow double, or elles the same man
That thow were furst?" "A, syr," seyde he than,
"I pray yow hertyly holde me excusyd.
I am olde and febyll; my wyttes ar dysusyd."
"Well," seyde Ryghtwysnes, "for as moche as thow
Knowest nat thy mastyr, thy name shall I chaunge.
'Dethe' shalt thow be callyd from hens forward now.
Among all the pepyll thow shalt be had straunge,
But when thow begynnest to make thy chalaunge,
Dredde shalt thow be where so thow become,
And to no creature shalt thow be welcome.
"And as for theym whom thow dedyst serve,
For as moche as they presume on hem to take
That hygh name of God, they shall as they deserve
Therfore be rewardyd, I dare undyrtake,
With peyn perpetuell among fendes blake,
And her names shall be put to oblyvyon -
Among men, but hyt be in derysyon."
"Aha!" seyde Attropos, "Now begyn I wex gladde
That I shall thus avengyd of hem be,
Syth they so long tyme have made me so madde."
"Yee," quoth Ryghtwysnes, "here what I sey to thee:
The Lord of Lyght sent thee worde by me
That in Macocrosme sesyne shalt thow take,
Wherfore thy darte redy loke thow make."
And as sone as Vertu that undyrstood,
He seyde he was plesyd that hit shuld so be,
And evyn forthewith he commaundyd Presthood
To make hym redy the felde for to se.
Soo thedyr went Presthood with benygnyté,
Conveying thedyr the blessyd sacrament
Of Eukaryst. But furst were theder sent
Confession, Contricion, and Satisfaccion,
Sorow for Synne and Gret Repentaunce,
Holy Devocion with Good Dysposicion;
All these thedyr came and also Penaunce,
As her dewté was to make purvyaunce
Ageyn the commyng of that blessyd lorde.
Feythe, Hoope, and Charyté therto were acorde.
Reason with Sadnes dyd hys dylygence
To clense the fylde withyn and without,
And when they sy the bodyly presence
Of that hooly Eukaryst, lowly gan they lowte.
So was that lord recevyd, out of dowte,
With all humble chere debonayre and benygne,
Lykly to hys plesure; hit was a gret sygne.
Then came to the fylde the mynystre fynall,
Callyd Holy Unccion, with a crysmatory.
The fyve hygh weyes in especiall
Therof he anoyntyd, and made hit sanctuary
Whom folowyd Dethe, whyche wold nat tary
Hys fervent power there to put in ure,
As he was commaundyd, grauntyng Dame Nature,
He toke hys darte (callyd hys mortall launce)
And bent hys stroke toward the feldys herte.
That seyng, Presthoode bade Good Remembraunce
Toward the felde turne hym, and adverte,
For except hym, all vertues thense must sterte.
And evyn with that, Dethe there sesyne took,
And then all the company clerely hit forsook.
And as sone as Dethe thus had sesyne take,
The colour of the felde was chaungyd sodenly:
The grasse theryn, seere as though hit had be bake,
And the fyve hygh weyes were muryd opon hy,
That fro thensforward no one entre shuld therby.
The posternes also were without lette,
Bothe inward and outward fyn fast shette.
Whyche doon, sodenly Dethe vanysshyd away,
And Vertu exaltyd was above the firmament,
Where he toke the crowne of glory that ys ay,
Preparate by Alpha and Oo omnipotens.
The swete frute of Macocrosme thedyr with hym went.
And on all thys matyer, as I stood musyng thus,
Agayn fro the felde to me came Morpheus,
Seying thus, "What chere, howe lyketh thee thys syght?
Hast thow sene ynowgh, or wyll thow se more?"
"Nay, syr," I seyde, "my trouthe I yow plyght,
Thys ys suffysyent yef I knew wherfore
Thys was to me shewyd, for therof the lore
Coveyte I to have, yef I gete myght."
"Folow me," quod he, "and have thy delyght."
So I hym folowyd tyll he had me brought
To a fouresquare herber wallyd round about.
"Loo," quoth Morpheus, "here mayst thow that thow sought
Fynde, yef thow wyll, I put thee out of dout."
A lytyll whyle we stood styll ther without,
Tyll Wytte, chyef porter of that herber gate,
Requyryd by Stody, let us in therate.
But when I came in, I mervelyd gretly
Of that I behelde, and herde there reporte,
For furst in a chayar, apparaylyd royally,
There sate Dame Doctryne, her chyldren to exorte.
And about her was many a sondry sorte,
Som wyllyng to lerne dyverse scyence,
And som for to have perfyte intellygence.
Crownyd she was lyke an emperesse,
With thre crownes standyng on her hede on hy;
All thyng about hyr, an infynyte processe
Were to declare, I tell yow certeynly.
Neverthelese, som in mynde therof have I,
Whyche I shall to yow, as God wyll geve me grace,
As I sawe and herde tell in short space.
Fast by Doctryne on that oone syde,
As I remembre, sate Holy Texte,
That openyd hys mouthe to the pepyll wyde,
But nat in comparyson to Glose, that sate next.
Moralyzacion with a cloke context
Sate, and Scrypture was scrybe to theym all.
He sate ay wrytyng of that that shuld fall.
These were tho that I there knew,
By no maner wey of olde aqueyntaunce.
But as I before saw theym with Vertew,
Company in felde and havyng dalyaunce,
And as I thus stood half in a traunce
Whyle they were occupyed in her besynesse,
Abowte the walles myn ey gan I dresse
Where I behelde the mervelous story
That ever I yet saw in any pycture.
For on tho walles was made memory
Singlerly of every creature
That there had byn, bothe forme and stature,
Whos names reherse I wyll, as I can
Bryng theym to mynde, in ordre, every man.
Furst to begynne, there was in portrature
Adam and Eve, holdyng an appyll round;
Noe in a shyp, and Abraham havyng sure
A flyntstone in hys hand, and Isaac lay bound;
On an hygh mount Jacob slepyng sound
And a long laddyr stood hym besyde.
Joseph in a cysterne was also there that tyde,
Next whom stood Moyses with hys tables two,
Aaron and Urré, hys armes supportyng;
Ely in a brennyng chare was there also.
And Elyze stood clad in an hermytes clothyng;
David with an harpe and a stoone slyng;
Isaye, Jeremy, and Ezechiell,
And, closyd with lyons, holy Danyell,
Abacuc, Mychee with Malachy,
And Jonas out of a whales body commyng,
Samuell in a temple, and holy Zakary,
Besyde an awter, all blody standyng;
Osee with Judyth stoode there conspyryng
The dethe of Oloferne; and Salomon also,
A chylde with hys swerde dyvydyng in two.
Many moo prophetys certeynly there were,
Whos names now come nat to my mynde.
Melchisedech also aspyed I there,
Bred and wyne offryng as fyll to hys kynde;
Joachym and Anne stood all behynde,
Embrasyd in armes to the gyldyn gate,
And holy John Baptyst in a desert sate.
And now commyth to my remembraunce,
I am avysyd, I saw Sodechy,
And Amos also, with sobre countenaunce,
Standyng with her faces toward Sophony;
Neemy and Esdras bare hem company;
The holy man Joob as an impotent
Then folowyd in pycture with Thoby pacyent.
These, with many mo, on that oon syde
Of that grene herber portrayed were.
"A," seyde Morpheous, "a lytyll tyme abyde.
Turne thy face where thy bak was ere,
And beholde well what thow seest there."
Than I me turnyd as he me bade
With hert stedefast and countenaunce sade,
Where I saw Petyr with hys keyes stande,
Poule with a swerde, James also,
With a scalop, and Thomas holdyng in hys hande
A spere, and Phylyp aprochyd hym, too.
James the Lesse next hem in pycture, loo,
Stood with Bartylmew, whyche was all flayn;
Symon and Thadee shewyd how they were slayn.
Mathy and Barnabe, drawyng lottys, stood,
Next whom was Marke, a lyon hym by,
Hys booke holdyng, and Mathew in hys mood
Resemblyd an aungell with wynges, gloryosly.
Luke had a calfe to holde hys booke on hy,
And John, with a cupp and palme in hys hande.
An egle bare hys book; thus sawe I hem stande:
Gregory and Jerome, Austyn and Ambrose,
With pylyons on her hedys, stood lyke doctours;
Bernard with Anselme, and as I suppose,
Thomas of Alquyne and Domynyk, confessours;
Benet and Hew, relygyous governours;
Martyne and John, with bysshops tweyne,
Were there also, and Crysostom, certeyne.
Behynde all these was worshipfull Beede.
All behynde and next hym stood Orygene,
Hydyng hys face as he of hys deede
Had hem ashamyd (ye woot what I mene),
For of errour was he nat all clene;
And on that syde stood there last of all
The nobyll prophetyssa; "Sybyll," men hyr call.
Let me remembre now, I yow pray
(My brayne ys so thynne, I deme in myn hert),
Som of the felyshyp that I there say.
In all thys whyle have I overstert,
A benedycyté, no one ere cowde I advert.
To thynke on Andrew the Apostyll with hys crosse,
Whom to forgete were a gret losse.
Many oone moo were peyntyd on that wall,
Whos names now come nat to my remembraunce.
But these I markyd in especiall,
And moo cowde I tell in contynuaunce
Of tyme, but forthe to shewe yow the substaunce
Of thys matyr, in the myddes of that herbere
Sate Doctryne, coloryd as any crystall clere,
Crownyd, as I tolde yow, late here before,
Whos apparayll was worthe tresour infynyte;
All erthely rychesse count I no more
To that in comparyson valewyng then a myte.
Over her heede hovyd a culver, fayre and whyte,
Out of whos byll procedyd a gret leme
Downward to Doctryne lyke a son beme.
The wordys of Doctryne gave gret redolence
In swetnes of savour to her dysaples all.
Hyt ferre excedyd myrre and frankensence,
Or any other tre spyce, or ellys gall.
And when she me aspyed, anon she gan me call,
And commaundyd Morpheus that he shuld bryng me neere,
For she wolde me shew the effecte of my desyre.
She seyde, "I know the cause of thy commyng
Ys to undyrstand, be myn enformacion,
Sensybly the mater of Morpheus hys shewyng,
As he hath thee ledde aboute in vysyon.
Wherfore now I apply thy naturall reson
Unto my wordys, and er thow hens wende,
Thow shalt hit know begynnyng and ende.
"Furst, where Eolus to Pluto was brought,
By hys owne neglygence takyn prysonere
Withyn the erthe, for he to ferre sought,
Sygnyfyed ys no more, be that matere,
But oonly to shew thee howe hit dothe apere
That welthe unbrydelyd, dayly, at thyne ey
Encreseth mysrewle and oft causyth foly.
"For, lyke as Eolus, beyng at hys large,
Streytyd hymsylf thorow his owne lewdenesse,
For he wold deele where he had no charge,
Ryght so wantons by her wyldenesse
Oft sythe bryng hemsylf in dystresse
Because they somtyme to largely deele.
What may worse be suffryd then overmykyll weele?
"By Mynos, the juge of hell desperate,
May be undyrstand Goddis ryghtwysnes,
That to every wyght hys peyne deputate
Assygneth acordyng to hys wykydnes,
Wherfore he ys callyd juge of crewelnes;
And as for Diana and Neptunus compleynt,
Fyguryd may be fooles reson feynt.
"For lyke as they made her suggestion,
To have me Eolus from course of hys kynde,
Whyche was impossible to bryng to correccion,
For evermore hys liberté have wyll the wynde,
In lyke wyse, fooles otherwhyle be blynde,
Wenyng to subdew with her oone hande
That ys overmekyll for all an hoole lande.
"But what foloweth therof that shall thow heere,
When they were come to the banket,
The gret Apollo with hys sad chere
So fayre and curteysly gan theym entrete
That he made her beerdys on the new gete.
Loo, what wysdome dothe to a foole!
Wherfore ar chyldren put to scoole?
"Oft ys hit seene with sobre contenaunce
That wyse men fooles overcome, ay
Turnyng as hem lyst, and all her varyaunce
Chaunge from ernest into mery play.
What were they bothe amendyd that day,
When they were drevyn to her wyttes ende?
Were they nat fayne to graunt to be hys frende?
"Ryght so, fooles, when they have doone
All that they can, than be they fayne
Geve up her mater to oblyvyone.
Without rewarde they have no more brayne,
And yet full oft hath hit be seyne
When they hit have forgete, and set at nought,
That they full deere have aftyrward hit bought.
"And as for all tho that represent
To be callyd 'goddys' at that banket,
Resemble false ydollys, but to thys entent:
Was Morpheous commaundyd thedyr thee to fet,
That thow shuldest know the maner and the get
Of the paynym lawe and of her beleve;
How false Idolatry ledeth hem by the sleve.
"For soone uppon the worldys creacion,
When Adam and Eve had broke the precept,
Whyche clerkes call the Tyme of Devyacion,
The worldly pepyll in paynym law slept,
Tyll Moyses undyr God the tables of stone kept.
In whyche Tyme poetys feynyd many a fable
To dyscrete Reson ryght acceptable.
"And to the entent that they shuld sownde
To the eares of hem the more plesauntly,
That theym shuld reede or here, they gave theym a grounde,
And addyd names unto theym naturally
Of whom they spake, and callyd hem goddes hy,
Som for the streyngthe and myght of her nature,
And som for her sotyll wytty conjecture.
"By nature thus, as the sevyn planettys
Have her propre names by astronomers,
But goddys were they callyd by oold poetys
For her gret fervency of wyrkyng in her speres;
Experyence preveth thys at all yeres.
And for as other that goddes callyd be,
For sotyll wytte that shall I teche thee
"How they by that hygh name of god came.
In thys seyd Tyme, the pepyll was so rude
That what maner creature man or woman
Cowde any novelté contryve, and conclude,
For the comon wele, all the multitude
Of the comon peple a god shuld hym call,
Or a goddesse, aftyr hit was fall.
"Of the same thyng that was so new founde
As Ceres, for she the craft of tylthe founde,
Wherby more plenteuosly corne dyd habounde;
The pepyll her callyd thorout every londe
'Goddesse of corne,' wenyng in her honde
Had leyn all power of cornys habundaunce.
Thus were the paynemes deceyvyd by ignoraunce.
"In lyke maner Isys was callyd the goddesse
Of frute, for she fyrst made hit multyply
By the meane of gryffyng, and so by processe
The name of Pan gan to deyfy,
For he furst founde the mene shepe to guy.
Som tooke hit also by her condicion,
As Pluto, Fortune, and suche other don.
"Thus, all that poetys put undyr coverture
Of fable, the rurall pepyll hit took
Propyrly as acte, refusyng the fygure.
Whyche errour som of hem never forsook.
Oft a false myrrour deceyveth a mannys look,
As thow mayst dayly prove at thyne ey.
Thus were the paynyms desevyd generally.
"That seyng, the dedely enemy of mankynde,
By hys power permyssyve, entryd the ymages
Withyn the temples, to make the pepyll blynde
In her idolatry, standyng on hygh stages.
In so moche, whoo usyd daungerous passages
Any maner wey, by watyr or be londe,
When hyd hys sacryfyce, hys answere redy founde.
"Thus, duryng the Tyme of Devyacion,
From Adam to Moyses, was idolatry,
Thorow the world usyd in comon opynyon.
These were the goddys that thow there sy,
And as for the awayters that stood hem by,
They polytyk philosophyrs and poetes were
Whyche feynyd the fables that I speke of here.
"Then sesyd the Tyme of Devyacion.
When Moyses recevyd that tables of stone,
Entryng the Tyme of Revocacion,
On the mount of Synay stondyng alone,
God gave hym myght agene all hys fone,
And then began the Olde Testament,
Whyche to the pepyll, by Moyses, was sent.
"And that Tyme duryd to the Incarnacion
Of Cryst, and then began hit to sese,
For then came the Tyme of Reconsylyacion
Of man to God. I tell thee doutlese,
When the Son of Man put Hym in prese
Wylfully to suffre dethe for mankynde,
In Holy Scrypture thys mayst thow fynde.
"Thys Reconsylyacion was the Tyme of Grace,
When foundyd was the Churche uppon the feyr stoon,
And to holy Petyr the key delyveryd was
Of hevyn; then hell dyspoylyd was anoon.
Thus was mankynde delyveryd from hys foon,
And then began the New Testament
That the Crystyn pepyll beleve in present.
"Whyche thre tymes asondry devydyd,
Mayst thow here see, yef thow lyst beholde:
The furst behynde thee yn pycture ys provydyd;
The second of the lyft hande shewe prophetes olde;
The thirde on the ryght hande here hit ys to thee tolde.
Thus hast thow in vysyon the verrey fygure
Of these thre tymes here shewyd in purtrayture.
"That ys to sey, furst, of Devyacion,
From Adam to Moyses, recordyng Scripture;
Secund, fro Moyses to the Incarnacion
Of Cryst, kepeth Revocacions cure;
And as for the thryd, thow mayst be verrey sure,
Wyll dure from thens to the worldes ende.
But now the fourth must thow have in mynde,
"Whyche ys callyd propurly the Tyme of Pylgremage
Aftyr som, and som name hit otherwyse,
And call hyt the Tyme of Daungerous Passage,
And som, Tyme of Werre, that fully hyt dyspyse.
But what so hit benamyd, I woll thee avyse:
Remembre hit well and prynte hit in thy mynde,
Wherof the fygure mayst thow se behynde.
"And elles, remembre thysylf in thyne hert,
Howe Vyce and Vertu dayly theym occupy,
In maner oone of hem, hym to pervert,
Another to bryng hym to endeles glory.
Thus they contynu, fyght for the victory.
Hyt ys no nede herof to tell the moore,
For in thys short vysyon, thow hast seen hit before.
"And as for Attropos grevous compleynt
Unto the goddes, betokeneth no more,
But oonly to shewe thee how frendely constreynt
On a stedfast hert weyeth full soore.
Good wyll requyreth, good wyll agene therfore.
Dyscorde to Dethe hathe ay byn a frende,
For Dyscorde bryngeth many to her ende.
"Wherfore, Dethe thought he wolde avengyd be
On hys frendes quarell, yef that he myght,
For her gret unkyndnes, in so moche as she
Was, among hem all, had so in despyte,
And at that banket made of so lyte,
Whyche causyd hym among hem to cast in a boone
That found theym gnawyng ynough, everychoone.
"Thus oft ys seen oo frende for a nother
Wyll say and do and somtyme matyrs feyne,
And also kynnysmen, a cosyn or a brother
Woll for hys aly, er he have cause, compleyne.
And where that he loveth, do hys besy peyne,
Hys frendes matyr as hys owne to take,
Whyche oft sythe causeth mochyll sorow awake.
"Be hyt ryght or wrong, he chargeth nat a myte,
As toward that poynt he taketh lytell heede;
So that he may have hys froward appetyte
Performyd, he careth nat howe hys soule speede,
Of God or Devyll have suche lytyll dreede.
Howe be hyt, oon ther ys that lorde ys of all,
Whyche to every wyght at last rewarde shall.
"And as for the batayll betwene Vyce and Vertew, holde
So pleynly, appereth to thee inwardly
To make exposicion therof, new or olde
Were but superfluyté; therfore refuse hit I.
In man shall thow fynde that werre kept dayly,
Lyke as thow hast seen hit fowtyn before thy face.
The pycture me behynde shewyth hit in lytyll space.
"And as for Macrocosme, hit ys no more to say
But the lesse worlde to the comon entent,
Whyche applyed ys to man both nyght and day,
So ys man the felde to whyche all were sent
On bothe partyes, and they that thedyr went,
Sygnyfy no more but aftyr the condicion
Of every mans opynyon.
"And as for the nobyll knyght Perseveraunce,
Whyche gate the felde when hit was almost goon,
Betokeneth no more but the contynuaunce
Of vertuous lyvyng tyll dethe hath overgoon.
Who so wyll doo, rewardyd ys anon,
As Vertu was with the crowne on hy,
Whyche ys no more but everlastyng glory.
"And as for Prescience and Predestinacion,
That eche of hem rewardyd aftyr hys desert
Ys to undyrstond no more but dampnacion
To vycyous pepyll ys the verrey scourge smert.
Rewarde for they fro Vertu wolde pervert,
And endelese joy ys to hem that be electe,
Rewardyd and to all that folow the same secte.
"And as for the keyes of the posterns fyve,
Whyche were to Morpheus rewardyd for hys labour,
Sygnyfy nat ellys but whyle man ys on lyve,
Hys fyve inwarde wyttes shal be every houre
In hys slepe occupyed, in hele and in langoure,
With fantasyes, tryfyls, illusions, and dremes,
Whyche poetys call 'Morpheus stremes.'
"And as for Resydivacion, ys no more to sey,
But aftyr confession, turnyng agene to syn,
Whyche to every man retorneth, saunz deley,
To vycyous lyvyng ageyn hym to wyn.
Whyle any man lyveth, wyll hit never blyn
That cursyd conclusion for to bryng abowte,
But Reson with Sadnes kepe hit styll owte.
"Here hast thow propurly the verrey sentence
Herde now declaryd of thys vysyon;
The pycture also geveth clere intellygence.
Therof beholdyn with good discresyon;
Loke well aboute and take consyderasion,
As I have declaryd, whether hit so be."
"A, syr," quoth Morpheus, "what tolde I thee?
"Hast thow nat now thyne hertes desyre?
Loke on yon wall yonder before."
And all that tyme stood I in a wyre,
Whyche way furst myn hert wold geve more
To looke; in a stody stood I therfore.
Neverthelese, at last, as Morpheus me badde,
I lokyd forward with countenaunce sadde,
Where I behelde in portrayture
The maner of the felde evyn as hit was
Shewyd me before, and every creature
On boothe sydes beyng drawyn in small space,
So curyously, in so lytell a compace.
In all thys world was never thyng wrought,
Hit were impossyble in erthe to be thought.
And when I had long beholde that pycture:
"What!" quoth Morpheous, "How long shalt thow looke,
Daryng as a dastard on yon portrayture?
Come of, for shame! Thy wytte stant a crooke!"
I, heryng that, myn hert to me tooke
Towarde the fourth wall, turnyng my vysage
Where I sawe poetys and phylosophyrs sage.
Many oon mo then at the banket
Servyd the goddes, as I seyde before.
Som were made standyng and som in chayeres set;
Som lookyng on bookes, as they had stodyed sore;
Som drawyng almenakes, and in her handes bore
Astyrlabes, takyng the altytude of the sonne,
Among whom Dyogenes sate in a tonne.
And as I was lokyng on that fourthe wall,
Of Dyogenes beholdyng the ymage,
Sodeynly Doctryne began me to call,
And bad me turne toward hyr my vysage.
And so then I dyd with humble corage.
"What thynkest thow?" she sayde, "hast thow nat th'entent
Yet of these foure wallys? what they represent?
"The pycture on the fyrst, that standeth at my bake,
Sheweth thee the present Tyme of Pylgremage,
Of whyche before I unto thee spake,
Whyche ys the Tyme of Daungerus Passage.
The secund, dyrectly ageyne my vysage,
The Tyme expresseth of Devyacion,
Whyle paynyme lawe had the domynacion.
"The thryd wall, standyng on my lyft hande,
The Tyme representeth of Revocacion,
And the fourth, standyng on my ryght hande,
Determyneth the Tyme of Reconsylyacion.
Thys ys the effect of thy vysion.
Wherfore thee nedyth no more theron to muse;
Hit were but veyn thy wittes to dysuse.
"But duryng the Tyme of Reconsiliacion,
Thy Tyme of Pylgremage looke well thow spende,
And then woll gracious Predestinacion
Bryng thee to glory at thy last ende."
And evyn with that, cam to my mynde
My furst conclusion that I was abowte,
To have drevyn er slepe made me to loute.
That ys to sey, howe Sensualyté
With Reason to acorde myght be brought aboute,
Whyche causyd me to knele downe on my kne
And beseke Doctryne determyne that doute.
"Oo, Lord God," seyde Doctryne, "canst thow nat withoute
Me that conclusion bryng to an ende?
Ferre ys fro thee wytte, and ferther, good mende."
And even with that, Dethe gan appere,
Shewyng hymsylf as though that he wolde
Hys darte have occupyed withyn that herbere.
But there was noone for hym, yong nor olde,
Save oonly I, Doctryne hym tolde.
And when I herde hyr with hym comon thus,
I me withdrew behynde Morpheus,
Dredyng full soore lest he with hys dart,
Thorow Doctrynes wordes, any entresse
In me wolde have had, or claymed any part,
Whyche shuld have causyd me gret hevynesse.
Withyn whyche tyme and short processe,
Came theder Reason and Sensualyté.
"A," quoth Doctryne, "ryght welcome be ye.
"Hyt ys nat long syth we of yow spake.
Ye must, er ye go, determyne a dowte."
And evyn with that, she the mater brake
To theym and tolde hit every where abowte
I wold have be thens, yef I had mowte.
For feere I lookyd as blak as a coole;
I wold have cropyn in a mouse hoole.
"What!" quoth Doctryne, "where ys he now,
That mevyd thys mater straunge and diffuse?
He ys a coward! I make myn avow,
He hydeth hys hede, hys mocion to refuse."
"Blame hym nat," quoth Reson, "alwey that to use,
When he seeth Dethe so neere at hys hande.
Yet ys hys part hym to wythstande."
"Or at the leste way, ellys fro hym flee
As long as he may; who dothe otherwyse,
Ys an ydiote," quoth Sensualyté.
"Who dredyth nat Dethe, wyse men hym dyspyse."
"What!" seyde Doctryne, "how long hathe thys gyse
Be holdyn and usyd thus, atwyx yow tweyne?
Yee were nat wont to acorde, certeyne."
"Yes," quoth Reson, "in thys poynt alway
To every man have wee geven our counsayll,
Dethe for to flee as long as they may.
All though we otherwyse have done our travayll,
Yche other to represse yet withoute fayll,
In that poynt oonly dyscordyd we never,
Thus condescendyd theryn be we for ever."
"A, a!" seyde Doctryne, "then ys the conclusion
Clerely determynyd of the gret dowte
That here was mevyd," and halfe in derysion
She me then callyd and bade me loke owte.
"Come forthe," she seyde, "and feere nat thys rowte."
And even with that, Reson and Sensualyté
And Dethe fro thens were vanysshyd, all thre.
Then lokyd I forthe, as Doctryne me badde.
When Dethe was goone, me thought I was bolde
To shew mysylf, but yet was I sadde.
Me thought my dowte was nat as I wolde,
Clerely and opynly declaryd and tolde.
Hit sownyd to me as a parable,
Derke as a myste, or a feynyd fable.
And Doctryne my conceyte gan espy.
"Wherfore," seyde she, "standyst thow so styll?
Whereyn ys thy thought? Art thow in stody
Of thy quescion? Hast thow nat thy fyll
To thee declaryd? Tell me thy wyll:
Herdest thow nat Reson and Sensualyté
Declare thy dowte here before thee?"
"Forsothe," quoth I, "I herde what they seyde,
But, neverthelese, my wyt ys so thynne,
And also of Dethe I was so afrayed,
That hit ys oute where hyt went ynne,
And so that matyr can I nat wynne
Without your helpe and benyvolence
Therof to expresse the verray sentence."
"Well," quoth Doctryne, "then geve attendaunce
Unto my wordes, and thow shalt here
Opynly declaryd the concordaunce
Atwene Sensualyté and Reson in fere.
Yef thow take hede, hit clerely dothe apere
How they were knette in oon opynyon:
Bothe agayn Dethe helde contradyccyon.
"Whyche concordaunce no more sygnyfyeth
To pleyne undyrstandyng, but in every mane
Bothe Sensualyté and Reson applyeth,
Rather Dethe to fle then with hit to be tane.
Loo, in that poynt accorde they holly thane,
And in all other they clerely dyscorde.
Thus ys trewly set thy doutfull monacorde."
I, heryng that, knelyd on my kne,
And thankyd her lowly for hyr dyscyplyne,
That she vouchesafe of hyr benygnyté
Of tho gret dowtys me to enlumyne.
Well was she worthy to be callyd Doctryne,
Yef hit had be no more, but for the solucion
Of my demaunde, and of thys straunge vysyon.
And as I with myne heede began for to bow,
As me well ought to do hyr reverence,
She thens departyd, I cannot tell how,
But withyn a moment goone was she thens.
Then seyde Morpheus, "Let us go hens.
What shuld we heere tary lengere?
Hast thow nat herde a generall answere
"To all thy matyrs that thow lyst to meve?
My tyme draweth nere that I must rest."
And evyn therwith he tooke me by the sleve
And seyde, "goo we hens, for that hold I best,
As good ys ynowgh as a gret feste.
Thow hast seen ynowgh; hold thee content."
And evyn with that, forthe with hym I went,
Tyll he hade me brought agene to my bedde
Where he me founde, and then pryvyly
He stale awey. I cowde nat undyrstande
Where he became, but sodenly
As he came, he went; I tell yow veryly,
Whyche doone, fro slepe I gan to awake;
My body all in swet began for to shake
For drede of the syght that I had seene,
Wenyng to me all had be trew,
Actuelly doon, where I had beene,
The batayll holde twene Vyce and Vertew.
But when I sy hit, hit was but a whew,
A dreme, a fantasy, and a thyng of nought.
To study theron I had no more thought,
Tyll at the last I gan me bethynke
For what cause shewyd was thys vysyon.
I knew nat; wherfore, I toke pen and ynke
And paper to make therof mencion
In wrytyng, takyng consideracion
That no defaute were founde in me,
Wheron accusyd I ought for to be
For slowthe that I had left hit untolde,
Nowthyr by mowthe nor in remembraunce,
Put hit in wrytyng, where thorow manyfolde
Weyes of accusacion myght turne me to grevaunce.
All thys I saw as I lay in a traunce.
But whedyr hit was with myne ey bodyly,
Or nat, in certayn, God knoweth and nat I.
That to dyscerne, I purpose nat to deele.
So large by my wyll, hit longeth nat to me,
Were hit dreme or vysion, for your owne wele.
All that shall hit rede, here rad or se;
Take therof the best and let the worst be;
Try out the corne clene from the chaff,
And then may ye say ye have a sure staff
To stand by at nede, yef ye woll hit holde,
And walke by the way of Vertu hys loore.
But alwey beware, be ye yong or olde,
That your Frewyll ay to Vertu moore
Apply than to Vyce, the eysyer may be boore
The burdyn of the fylde, that ye dayly fyght
Agayn your thre enemyes, for all her gret myght:
That ys to sey, the Devyll and the Flesshe,
And also the Worlde, with hys glosyng chere,
Whyche on yow looketh ever newe and fresshe;
But he ys nat as he doth apere.
Loke ye, kepe yow ay out of hys daungere,
And so the vyctory shall ye obteyne,
Vyce fro yow exylyd and Vertew in yow reyne.
And then shall ye have the triumphall guerdoun
That God reserveth to every creature,
Above in Hys celestiall mansioun,
Joy and blys infinite eternally to endure.
Wherof we say we wold fayne be sure,
But the wey thedyrward to holde be we lothe,
That oft sythe causeth the good Lorde to be wrothe.
And by oure desert, oure habitacion chaungeth
Fro joy to peyne and woo perpetuelly;
From Hys gloryous syght thus He us estraungeth
For our vycyous lyvyng thorough owre owne foly.
Wherfore let us pray to that Lord of Glory
Whyle we in erthe bee, that He wyll geve us grace,
So us here to guyde that we may have a place,
Accordyng to oure regeneracion
With hevynly spyrytes, Hys name to magnyfy,
Whyche downe descendyd for our redempcion,
Offryng Hymsylf on the crosse to Hys fadyr on hy.
Now benygne Jhesu, that born was of Mary,
All that to thys vysion have govyn her audyence,
Graunt eternall joy aftyr thy last sentence.
began his circuit in Leo
the means by which;
agreement; (see note)
began to overcome me;
whisper; medicine; (see note)
Immediately; (see note); (t-note)
Nothing helped me against; argue; (see note)
by the one who yet lives;
perceived no other alternative except;
judge of those past hope
in that direction
or else; (t-note)
poorly dressed; (see note)
pain of strict correction
their injury from; (t-note)
Done to them by
so moved (compelled)
together with you [in authority]
to such an extent
has done to me
wild places; hunting courses
undertaken the responsibility; care; (t-note)
them (trees); bar; (see note)
caravel (a light, fast ship)
carack; transport ship
Unless; passage of safe-conduct then; (t-note)
as much; (t-note)
will hear it
reparation (penance); reckoning
foam; sweat; (t-note)
banks of the sea; beaten; loudly
One; used [to do]; (t-note)
wherever; safe passage; (t-note)
Always on that coast; frequented; (t-note)
blast of wind he wrapped them
oftentimes; fierce; (t-note)
at other times
For which reason it demands
requires no deliberation; (t-note)
between; two sides
reputation; stand for impartiality
at first sight; appear; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
with him in company; (t-note)
banquet; (see note)
if; he would fetch them
last of all; (t-note)
the long and short of it
action; against; taken
reason hear; (t-note)
their (Diane and Neptune's); in an orderly manner; (see note)
happiness; speak; (t-note)
To her; devise (i.e., contrive); (t-note)
complaint; endure it; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
to table (that is, begin to eat); (see note)
socially proper; (see note)
legal; proper; (see note)
marshal (officiating person)
saw; no other way
Always; exert yourself; (t-note)
bordered; powdered ermine
As if; [i.e., signs of widowhood]; (see note); (t-note)
countenance; (see note)
surcoat (see note)
times; a person to grieve; (see note); (t-note)
falchion (sickle); (see note)
Set; lead; (see note)
sackcloth; (see note)
sheaves of corn; sickles
grains; controlled the seal
with expensive dress
brooches (jewelled clasps); bracelets
head-cover; helmet always; (see note)
female keeper of the fortress
foundation of governance
rich purple [cloth]; (t-note)
multicolored; (see note); (t-note)
Her [Fortune's] wheel; without ceasing
gaudy green camlet; (see note); (t-note)
conforming to what she bestows
rust-colored woolen; bear (see note)
sheep-salve container; (see note)
shepherd's crook; sparred; reason
prick-eared dog; (see note); (t-note)
growled; a cold
Isis; (see note)
close-fitting dress; intricately; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
on his belt
platform at masthead; sail; (see note); (t-note)
seat; (see note)
Next; cuirass (see note)
Gloves; foot coverings; (t-note)
gone mad; (t-note)
chose as; (t-note)
woolen [from Kendal]
(see note); (t-note)
Full (Round); pale
yield (prevail); (see note); (t-note)
housed (see note)
Next; seat (place); (see note)
In regard to his planetary circuit; (t-note)
Alchemists; (see note)
Fresh; eyes, dove-colored (gray); (see note); (t-note)
countenance; dazzling; (t-note)
shift, ornamented skillfully
dining table; group
manifold; (see note)
Ptolemy (see note); (t-note)
Soter; Sarapis; Trismegistus; (see note)
Avicenna; Averroës; together
Galen; Hippocrates; medicine; (see note)
Aesculapius; them (see note)
Albertus Magnus; their; (t-note)
White-bearded; (see note)
except; make music; (t-note)
come (appearing); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
business to advance
before; expected (intended); grieve; (t-note)
boasting with fierce words; (t-note)
as [if] it had been that one; (t-note)
without any risk(t-note)
certainty (see note); (t-note)
Codrus; Hannibal; Scipio; (see note)
destroyed them; (t-note)
nor in any way
arrow; lot (fate)
safe-conduct of all; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
were crazy; started up together; (t-note)
body; bones (i.e., entirely)
for the occasion; (t-note)
Their; despise; outspoken (bold)
To such an extent that; (t-note)
otherwise; joke; (t-note)
power; forgotten; (see note)
to you provided
for his amusement
crevice; proceed; (t-note)
drought; experienced (suffered)
wet [weather]; (t-note)
robe of striped cloth
For which reason
Wallowing (Surging); waves
care not at all; (t-note)
Either I am misled; succeed; (t-note)
as you please; (t-note)
well-being of all
flourish; near; ear (see note); (t-note)
From; desire; fetch hither
points (that is, completely); (t-note)
Against; prove; (t-note)
[at] a great pace
hardened (boiled) leather; (t-note)
far than; (t-note)
bud and root (top to bottom); (see note)
[at] a very slow pace
establish his body of warriors; (t-note)
subordinate; more there were; (see note); (t-note)
Whoredom, Pimping; Demeanor
Usurpation (Unjust or illegal possession); (t-note)
last of all; (t-note)
bribers; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
vagabonds; sullen wanderers; (see note); (t-note)
great boasters; (see note)
Maintainers of quarrels; heretics;
makers of discord; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
Alchemists; (see note)
grumblers (gossipers); tattlers
Illusionists; tellers of idle stories; (see note)
Lascivious louts; pick-pockets; (see note); (t-note)
Tattlers; deceits; (see note); (t-note)
plunderers; forceful despoilers
Dealers in ecclesiastical benefits
Spoilers of matters
love days (see note)
Braggarts; complainers; (t-note)
Scoundrels (see note)
Bowlers, card or dice players; gamblers
Tyburn criminals; cutpurses (robbers); (see note)
Pillorying (that is, punishing, insulting)
bartenders; servants of the brothels
Whores; pimps who brew much destruction; (see note)
Dastardly imbeciles (dirty persons)
sodomites (the spiritually corrupt); (see note)
Murderers (quelm: to destroy); (t-note)
Contented cuckolds; their; (see note)
talkative persons; uproars
The wasteful and slothful
bound (ready); undertake
caught off guard (unprepared), before; (t-note)
shower [of blows], before; eventide; (see note); (t-note)
toward me; (t-note)
ghosts; tale; (t-note)
saw; host; (t-note)
[so that] he
(see note); (t-note)
annoy; household company
entirely emptied; no one; (see note)
brave; (see note); (t-note)
Ruddy; rose always
osprey (bird of prey); (t-note)
deer; horse covering (see note); (t-note)
parrot; defense; (see note)
individual military flags
[heraldic] device; (t-note)
Almsgiving (Charitable donations to the poor)
Whole (Complete) Impartiality
Ecclesiastical and Civil [Law]
under no circumstances
followers (adherents), if
engaged in; (t-note)
Weight; Watchful; Jeering
Ever to Learn
believe there was not
those temperate and chaste
Microcosm; (see note); (t-note)
Moral Guardian; enclosed; park; (see note); (t-note)
tablets; their; (t-note)
heinous; draw not back; (t-note)
pennants; small flags; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
Want of Faith (Doubt)
similar manner; (t-note)
their vow; (t-note)
Their spurs; (t-note)
again (in return, immediately)
by means of their
to swing cannons as if he were crazy
pause (stop); cross
crew warded off
until every shot had passed (ended)
No matter; follow my desire
little [bit] taken aback; a good retreat; (t-note)
against one, stronger in comparison
great troop; (t-note)
Vice's company; (t-note)
Virtue's rear guard; (see note)
stand so hard assailed
adieu (farewell); (t-note)
Forward the banner
by a secret door
Despair; (see note); (t-note)
Alpha and Omega (God)
imprisoned; dark (gloomy); (t-note)
band (gang); inclination
those; again; (t-note)
eye (i.e., literally)
lay hidden; (t-note)
their intermediary; otherwise; (t-note)
petitioned; their; (t-note)
chess player; make another move
Steadfastness; expression; (see note)
recompense; in jest; (see note)
Virtue made Reason
Virtue made Freewill bailiff; (t-note)
given; escape; (t-note)
clouted or patched shoe; (see note); (t-note)
little tiny [bit]; (t-note)
gates; (see note); (t-note)
them (the gates); please
explained; to him entrusted
his way; lost; (t-note)
agreement of privilege
whirly phantom; desire; (t-note)
How in the devil; (t-note)
permission; belongs; jurisdiction
determine (obtain); (t-note)
do little for you
weed hooks; (see note)
from thenceforth; (t-note)
asked if anyone
one might; (t-note)
are abused (diseased); (t-note)
come (i.e., travel); (t-note)
possession; (see note)
scorched (baked); (t-note)
do you wish to see
arbor with four walls
chair on a dais
cloak woven (or sewn) together
always; which; come to pass
eye; cast (address)
Noah; firmly; (see note)
well (cistern); time; (see note); (t-note)
Moses; (see note)
supporting his (Moses') arms; (see note)
Elijah; chariot; (see note)
Elisha; (see note); (t-note)
slingshot; (see note)
enclosed; (see note)
Habbakuk, Micheas; Malachias; (see note)
Zacharias (Zechariah); (see note)
Ozias; (see note)
Holofernes; (see note); (t-note)
Melchizedek (Melchizedec); (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
reminded; Sedecias (Zedekiah); (see note)
their; Sophonias (Zephaniah); (see note)
Nehemiah; them; (see note)
Job; (see note)
Tobias; (see note)
Paul; (see note); (t-note)
cockle-shell; (see note)
A spear; (see note)
James the Lesser; (see note); (t-note)
Bartholomew; who; flayed; (see note)
Matthias; Barsabas; (see note)
Augustine; (see note)
Bernard of Chartres; Anselm; (see note)
Thomas Aquinas; Dominic; (see note)
Benedict; Hugh of St. Victor; (see note)
Martin; (see note)
John Chrysostom; (see note); (t-note)
as [if] he
brain; judge; (t-note)
none before could I turn away
valuing [no more] than a mite
their heads hovered a dove; (see note); (t-note)
light (flame); (t-note)
because; too far
show you how it; appear
Pressed hardily upon
excessive happiness; (t-note)
understood God's justice; (t-note)
Disguised may be fools' faint reason; (t-note)
similar manner; otherwise
Thinking; their own hands
That which is excessive; (t-note)
their beards; latest fashion; (see note)
Why; sent; (t-note)
To give up their matter; (t-note)
pagan; their belief
Deviation; (see note)
after the fact
grain's abundance; (t-note)
way to herd (guide) sheep; (t-note)
cover; (see note); (t-note)
Deviation; (see note)
ended (ceased); (t-note)
put Himself in jeopardy; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
called; advise you; (t-note)
their ends; (t-note)
everyone of them
ally, before; (t-note)
do [this]; soon
according to his due
gates; (see note)
nothing else except; alive
trifles (false or idle tales)
[there] is no more
to win him again
as if caught in a quandary; (see note)
off; stands aslant
barrel (cask); (see note)
Shows you; (t-note)
before; bend (bow); (t-note)
resolve a doubt
manner of behavior
Been held; between
accustomed to get along, certainly
sounded; like; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
Imagining; myself; been
saw; hue (will-of-the-wisp); (t-note)
Neither orally nor by memory
physical eye; (see note)
mean; read or see
Virtue's teaching; (t-note)
Despite; their; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)