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Fabula Duorum Mercatorum


1 Lines 24–29: The yearly overflowing of the Nile makes the land fertile and abundant with corn and grain

2 Things that are alike seek each other out

3 Nothing could lighten my heart more; (i.e., I have nothing more to wish for now that I have seen you)

4 Lines 160–61: A summer’s day would not be enough time to count up all the courses and variety of food

5 I cannot shape my wit to describe all of it

6 He shows him manors, castles, and also towers

7 I spoke in error; the word slipped out inadvertently

8 Lines 237–38: She does not know the woe that I endure, / And for fear of my life, I dare not disclose my love

9 Thus must I die: what is the use of further complaining?

10 That cares little about [forcing someone to] forsake his friend

11 To examine his urine (or to test his pulse; see note) and to determine the category of his illness

12 But it continued hot and at a consistently high temperature

13 Lines 285–87: They were certain it was none of the three [types of fevers], / unless it were (i.e., if it were, it could only be) Effymora; not Etyk or Putrida (See note)

14 When the humours are imbalanced

15 When there is too much of any one humor

16 Or heat or blood exceeds a moderate or intermediate level

17 Lines 321–22: That he had fallen, as near as they could tell / Because of [distorted] thinking or because of love

18 Nature wanted to promote her as an example

19 At the risk of being slain, I cannot stop loving her

20 Lines 416–17: Why are you so dismayed about your love, since you may immediately have her here?

21 Lines 447–48: I have never yet read / of one friend rewarding another one so well

22 Lines 449–50: He has released the glory of his heart / and divested himself of his inward joy

23 Who could soothe him when he was irritated by providing comfort

24 Who could not refrain from fulfilling his [friend’s] pleasure

25 There was never, under any circumstances, a better wife.

26 My [subject] matter precludes all joy in [poetic] creation

27 Lines 542–43: Thus has he fallen down many a stair from his high degree into wretchedness

28 Have by contempt at my need forsaken me

29 Without warning follows my former abundance

30 Then, shortly, you will most readily fail him

31 Grain (as in fruit or produce) overburdens too much fruitfulness

32 But why God wanted to visit [trials] on the merchant

33 He thought he would prove his friend by testing at [this] time of distress

34 Lines 650–651: To save my life, I dare not, for shame, show him one bit of my distress

35 So weak, so weary, exhausted with wandering, and thoroughly dejected and discouraged

36 Lines 667–69: With planned slyness and deceit [just] when a man might most expect to [be able to] withstand [her] / [Fortune] has also dismantled their habergeons [mail jacket armor] / For all their trust [in her], she would not hesitate in the least

37 For who has ever been so secure / that his rank could not be questioned by some

38 In their descent, moving westward to set beneath the waves

39 Few of them are always apparent to us

40 Lines 689–92: But whoever wishes to win the palm of victory / must despise earthly pleasures that shine only to warn us

41 Who beheld him with a grave and sober face

42 Where he was convicted in accordance with the law

43 To inflict vengeance upon me afterward

44 let their sentence be wholly reserved for me

45 There would be little reason to fear treason

46 Lines 867–68: A true seal [as in heraldry] or engrave the imprint / Without a band on his coat of arms to save them

47 Too many times it is just vanity [to rehearse something already well-proven]


Abbreviations: CP: Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy; CT: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; FP: Lydgate, Fall of Princes; Ha: London, British Library, MS Harley 2251; KnT: Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; TB: Lydgate, Troy Book; TC: Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; Trevisa: Trevisa, On the Properties of Things; TG: Lydgate, Temple of Glas; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

7 of his woord as any centre stable. Compare The Squire’s Tale: “sooth of his word, benigne, and honurable; / Of his corage as any centre stable” (CT V[F] 21–22). For Lydgate’s use of the phrase elsewhere, see also Reinecke, ed., Saint Albon and Amphibalus (2.1012), and FP (4.1310).

14 as myn auctour seith, riht so sey I. A common topos and a favorite saying of Lydgate’s.

15–35 Lydgate’s source for this geographical description may have been a version of Mandeville’s Travels, as Seaton suggests (Roos, p. 275); the Cotton (British Library MS Cotton Titus c. xvi) and Egerton (British Library, MS Egerton 1982) versions are closest. However, the description in Trevisa, book 15, chapter 53 (ed. Seymour, 2:755–56) seems closer to Fabula than the Mandeville does:
In þe eeste syde vnder þe Reede See þis londe ioyneth to Siria, and hath Libia in þe west syde, and þe Grete See in þe norþe syde, and passeth inwarde in þe southe syde and streccheþ anoone to þe Ethiopes. . . . And is a cuntre vnvsynge to dewe and vnknowynge to reyne. And oneliche Nilus moisteþ þat londe and renneþ þere aboute and makith it plenteuous with risynge and wexinge. And hath plente of wylde bestees and fedeþ a grete dele of þe worlde with whete and with other corne and fruyte; and is so plenteuous of oþer marchaundises and chaffare, þat it filleþ ny3e alle þe worlde with nedeful marchaundises.
To compare, see Mandeville, Ch. 7 (Hamelius, ed., Mandeville, pp. 28–29). Perhaps Lydgate also drew on Mandeville for the very similar geographical description in lines 5–7 and lines 35–44 of his Mumming for the Mercers of London (MacCracken, ed., Minor Poems 2:695–98).

19 Who castith the coostys of the firmament. Whoever reckons or calculates the divisions of the heavens into quarters (in order to ascertain direction). Compare Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe (Benson, Riverside, 1.19.8–9, p. 667).

39 Spak of his name which gladly wol nat hyde. The phrase gladly wol is defined in the MED (gladli (adv.), sense 2) as “would like to,” though the word gladly also frequently means “willingly,” “with pleasure,” or “customarily” (senses 2a, b, c). The general sense of the line seems to be that the merchant’s name is well known and that people speak of him with approval. Part of the difficulty in rendering a literal sense for the line rests on determining the referent for which. It seems to refer to name, yielding an implied reflexive sense: “the name did not wish to hide [itself].” It could also refer to or stand in for many oon (line 38), yielding the only slightly less awkward “they spoke his name which they did not like to hide.” Both, however, convey the same general sense that his name was well known and spoken with approval.

48–49 by report and by noon othir mene / Of her two lovys was maad a stable chene. According to Cicero, falling in love from a distance is enabled by virtue: “on account of their virtue and uprightness we can in some sense love even those whom we have never seen” (quoted in Jaeger, Ennobling Love, p. 124). Jaeger goes on to note that “For Cicero, presence is not necessary.” Compare also line 85, which reiterates that it was the “Repoort of vertu oonly by audience,” that is, it was only by hearsay that the two merchants came to love each other.

stable chene. One of the several references in the first part of the poem to the chain of nature which binds all things in harmony, also known as the Great Chain of Being or the golden chain. See also line 74, the myhty cord of nature, and line 84: nothyng bynde hem but natur by hir lawe. The idea has a long literary history which seems to have started with Homer’s Iliad (Lattimore, trans., 8.19). For some well-known medieval examples, see Romance of the Rose (lines 16785–87) and KnT (I [A] 2987–94). For the golden chain in English literature, see A. O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being. For Lydgate’s use of the chain metaphor in TG, see Norton-Smith’s edition (Poems, p. 190), and his article “Lydgate’s Metaphors.”

50–53 These lines and those following depend on medieval theories of perception. See the Introduction to Fabula, pp. 15–16, for further explanation.

54 hertys eye. This striking phrase may have been suggested by TC: “His herte, which that is his brestez yë / Was ay on hire” (1.453–54). Compare also Ephesians 1:18: "The eyes of your heart enlightened . . .” The MED (herte, sense 2a) glosses this phrase as meaning “mind,” but here the phrase has a stronger meaning. The idea of enlightenment and intuitive knowledge is contextually appropriate as Lydgate describes the merchants’ ability to perceive and love each other without having met.

did alwey her message. To “do message” is to deliver a message or carry out a command or wish (MED message n. 1, sense 2b). "Do" is a causative aspect of "don."

55–56 memorial . . . fantastical. The third and first cells in the brain. The other is the estimatyf (See note to line 338 below). The fantasticall is the cell of imagination, sometimes defined as phantasm; memorial that of memory. Here and in the following stanza Lydgate is using the imagery of perception to describe the growth of affection between the two merchants. For more on this imagery, see the Introduction to Fabula, pp. 15–16.

63 myndys selle. The “memorial” cell.

64 The connection of virtue with friendship is ultimately a classical idea. The fullest and most influential expression of the association is found throughout Cicero’s De Amicitia, particularly in the book’s final section:
Virtue . . . Virtue, I say, both creates the bond of friendship and preserves it. For in Virtue is complete harmony, in her is permanence, in her is fidelity; and when she has raised her head and shown her own light and has seen and recognized the same light in another, she moves towards it and in return receives its beams; as a result love or friendship leaps into flame. . . . I exhort you both so to esteem virtue (without which friendship cannot exist), that, excepting virtue, you will think nothing more excellent than friendship. (De Amicitia, chapters 26–27; see Falconer, Cicero, pp. 206–211)
See also the Introduction to Fabula, pp. 12–13, for more on classical ideals of friendship.

69–84 That “like draws to like” is proverbial; see Whiting L272. The ultimate source is Cicero, De Amicitia. The notion was a familiar one and would have been well known from Boethius’ CP; see Chaucer’s Boece 3.pr11.130–40. Pearsall (John Lydgate, p. 202) remarks that the sentiment was one of Lydgate’s “favorite themes”; compare line 260 of the “Churl and the Bird” (MacCracken, ed., Minor Poems 2:468) and the short poem “Every Thing to his Semblable” (MacCracken, ed., Minor Poems 2:801). Purdy notes that the principle of similarity, “like attracts to like,” is a “logical outgrowth” of the association of virtue and friendship (“Friendship Motif,” p. 114).

97–98 As oon in two and two in oon. Lydgate makes use of the classical idea of two friends having but one soul between them. Purdy provides a useful overview, noting Plato (Aristophanes’ myth of the divided soul in Plato’s Symposium 192a–193a 4.301), Aristotle (“a friend is another self”; Nicomachean Ethics 9.4), Cicero (man seeks out “another whose soul he may so mingle with his own as almost to make one out of two”; De Amicitia chapter 21; see Falconer, Cicero, pp. 188–89), and Plutarch (“Two friends, though severed in body, yet have their souls joined and as it were melted together, and neither desire to be two nor believe themselves to be separate persons”; Morals 4.301). See Purdy, “Friendship Motif,” pp. 116–18. As Purdy explains, the idea could also be applied to the love between man and woman (p. 117), and Lydgate does so in much the same language at lines 482–83, describing the love between the Syrian merchant and his new wife. For a verbal similarity to line 483, see TG, line 1270.

100 fortune . . . and . . . necessité. In philosophical terms, necessité refers to something which must happen. The idea is central to Boethius’s discussion of predestination and free will in 5.pr6, where Lady Philosophy makes a distinction between “symple” and “condicionel” necessity to explain how, even given God’s foreknowledge, free will can still operate. Chaucer uses the distinction in TC (4.958–1078) and the Nun’s Priest’s Tale (CT VII[B2] 3245–250). Here, Lydgate links fortune and “necessité,” implying that fortune is working in accordance with God’s will. While “fortune” here seems simply to be a conventional reference to the normal events of everyday experience, it will become an increasingly important idea as the poem unfolds. Lady Fortune, whose turning wheel can suddenly turn happiness into misery — or vice versa — is a familiar personage in medieval literature. Her main features are her fickleness, unpredictability, and instability. This is the first of many references to Fortune in the poem. For more on the development of the medieval personage of Fortune, whose roots lie in the ancient Roman goddess Fortuna, see H.R. Patch, Goddess Fortuna and Frankes, Fate of Fortune.

104 wynd into his seyl. The connection between Fortune and wind is a “favourite medieval metaphor” (Stevens, “Winds of Fortune,” p. 286). Chaucer makes frequent use of this metaphor in TC; see especially 2.1–7. See also TB 2:241, lines 3387–92 and 5:791, lines 631–35.

113–18 riht as . . . Riht so. A correlative construction, “just as . . . so also.” See also lines 127–29, But as . . . Riht so, “just as . . . likewise, in that same way.” The construction is similar to an epic simile, a comparison that extends across several lines. Note here as well the presence of the “doctrine of contraries,” a way of defining something according to its opposite. Compare TG lines 394–416, 1250–56 and Norton-Smith’s helpful explanatory notes to the Temple of Glas, (Norton-Smith, Poems, pp. 185, 190–91).

120 out on: a curse on, fie on, somebody or something. See MED out(e (interj.).

124 hangyng in ballaunce. Lydgate frequently uses the image of the balance to describe risk or danger, as he does here, or uncertainty, as in line 833. See, for example, TG: “Atwixen two so hang I in balaunce” (line 348) and “Hanging in balaunce bitwix hope and drede” (line 641). Compare TB 4:720, lines 5348–49 and FP 1:86, lines 3123–24. See also Schleich and Zupitza (ed., Fabula Duorum Mercatorum, p. 73) for other examples in Lydgate, and Whiting B17 for other writers’ uses of the figure.

127–28 itastyd galle . . . hoony soote. The “doctrine of contraries” again. The use of juxtapositional imagery such as galle and hoony, bitter and sweet, is found throughout the poem; compare lines 446–47, 540–41, and especially lines 697–700. See the note below to lines 697–707.

159 it snowyd doun plenté. Compare Chaucer’s Franklin’s hospitality: “It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke” (CT I[A] 345).

171 lat hym in the boundys. All other MSS have lad. There is really only a slight difference either way. The Egyptian is allowing his guest the freedom of his territory, or he led him throughout his land. Either way, he is showing his guest everything within the boundaries of his land, and his generosity is clear.

184 Nay, straunge nat; allas, why seid I soo? Although Pearsall (John Lydgate, p. 203) considers this to be the rhetorical figure of dubitatio, or feigned hesitation, it more nearly resembles correctio, “the retraction of what has just been said.” See Geoffrey of Vinsauf, pp. 105, 58. Since “straunge” can mean both “foreign, other” and “unfriendly, hostile” (MED straunge, (adj.), senses 1, 3), Lydgate wants to clarify that only the former sense applies to the Syrian merchant.

187 wele and woo. Proverbial. See Whiting W132–W140. For good and bad; for welfare or misfortune.

190 with al herte entieer. Perhaps a conflation of two common phrases, “with hert enter,” sincerely, devotedly, devoutly (MED enter, (adj.), sense 1); and “with al herte,” without dissimulation, unaffectedly, sincerely, fervently (MED herte, (n.), sense 2b). The phrase means, then, something like “with the greatest sincerity and fervour.”

191 of entent ful cleene. Literally, the phrase means that the merchant thanked his friend with very pure wishes or intentions. Taken as a whole, the phrase probably means “wholeheartedly, sincerely.” “Entent(e)” is often used in adverbial phrases to modify action; for example, “in his entente” means “at his will” Specifically, “of hol entente” means “wholeheartedly, without reservation” (MED entente, (n.), senses 3a, b). And “ful cleene” as an adverbial phrase means “fully, completely” (MED clene (adv.), sense 3a). We should probably take entent ful cleene, then, to mean “altogether and totally sincerely.”

193 mystis ful of teene. Note here and in the rest of the stanza the continuation of weather and seasonal imagery as well as the familiar device of contrast, here between presence and absence, to describe the emotional state of the two merchants. The mists of irritability are banished by the clear weather brought on by the presence together of the two friends. The sense in this line is that absence, signified by the “mystis full of tene,” has been chased away by the clear weather, the sunny presence of the friends. Compare Chaucer’s Boece, 1.m7.

194 tapited. To be hung with tapestry. This striking and unusual word conveys a sense of richness and freshness to the merchants’ “joyful summer.” It is used in a similar sense by Lydgate in TB to describe Medea’s ability to transform winter, to “araye þe erþe and tapite hym in grene” (1:61, line 1659); and it also appears in line 2766 of Resoun and Sensuallyte, a work attributed to Lydgate (ed. Sieper, p. 73). In Book of the Duchess, Chaucer uses the word in a non-figurative sense: “al hys halles / I wol . . . tapite hem ful many fold” (lines 258–60).

195 stable blew. According to medieval color symbolism, blue signified constancy and fidelity, as in accord with the Virgin Mary. See Ferguson, Signs and Symbols, p. 151.

198 Tyl that fortune to them had enmyté. Though fortune is often figured as blind and disinterested, turning her wheel randomly, she can also be presented as a persecuting figure who actively seeks the destruction of happiness, as she is here.

200 unwarly cometh adversité. Misfortune comes without warning. No doubt proverbial. Compare “Death comes without warning” (Whiting D92) and numerous proverbs about the changeability of Fortune. Compare also lines 666–67, which express the similar idea that fortune assails those who feel on sure ground. See Whiting F507 (“Fortune assails many a man”). See Whiting for other proverbs expressing similar sentiments, for example, F514 (“Fortune fails at the most need”), F530 (“Fortune is uncertain to all mortal folk”), F531 (“Fortune makes a man (soonest) to fall when he is most on height”), S669 (“He that weens to stand stithest”), and so on.

205 gan to sike and groone. Compare the description of Troilus’s lovesickness: “And first he gan to sike, and eft to grone” (TC 1.360).

209 for woo began to melte. Compare Pandarus, “that neigh malt for wo and routhe” (TC 1.582).

211 to freendys entirparte. Compare Pandarus’s words on friends: “I wol parten with the al thi peyne / . . . As it is frendes right, soth for to seyne / To entreparten wo as glad desport” (TC 1.589–92); see also line 216 in Fabula for repetition of the same sentiment.

222 Now hoot, now coold. Compare Troilus’s symptoms: “For hote of cold, for cold of hote, I dye” (TC 1.420).

225 but closyd is my wounde. Compare TG: “That hatter brenne [th]at closid is my wounde” (line 362). Lines 356–62 of the TG contain several close verbal similarities to Fabula at this point.

230–31 cleer streemys . . . of an ye . . . causith for to dye. Compare the “subtile stremes” of Criseyde’s eyes, which have a similar effect on Troilus (TC 1.305–06). See also TG, lines 582, 815. Also note the implicit allusion to Cupid, who strikes with his arrows to make us fall in love.

237–38 In a letter to John Paston, Marjery Brews (later Paston) uses similar phrasing: “And there wotteth no creature what pain I endure; / And for to be dead, I dare it not discure” (See Davis, ed. Paston Letters, 1:662). Compare also TB 1:73, line 2057.

255 Love can no frenship. Love knows no friendship. Proverbial; see Whiting L501; see L495 (“Love and lordship will have no fellowship”) for other examples. The sense is that love and friendship cannot exist simultaneously, being totally incompatible. Compare KnT 1[A] 1625–26: “Ful sooth is seyd that love ne lordshipe / Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe.” The MED gloss, “love ignores friendship,” does not quite convey the sense that there is no possibility of love and friendship can co-exist. See MED connen (v.), sense 8c.

270 poorys. Internal channels for bodily fluids such as blood or urine (MED pore (n.1), sense 2a). This may, however, be a scribal error for pouse, “pulse”; C reads pulse, A and Ha pounce. To “tasten pulse” is a common phrase for testing the pulse, a way for doctors to diagnose lovesickness. See Wack, Lovesickness, pp. 135–39. In Peter Alfonsi’s tale, Lydgate’s narrative source, the doctors test the sick man’s pulse. Nevertheless, poorys may have been what Lydgate intended; the doctors could be testing the merchant’s urine. Since the word can make sense as it is, it has been left unemended.

271 roote and rynde. Proverbial, completely. See Whiting R193.

272 humour. Bodily fluid. The belief that there were four bodily fluids, blood, phlegm, bile (also choler, or red or yellow bile) and black bile, had been dominant in medieval medical theory since Galen. The proportion in which these humors were present in the body determined physical type and temperament: the dominance of blood (hot and moist) engendered a sanguine personality; that of phlegm (cold and moist) made one phlegmatic; bile (hot and dry) gave one a choleric disposition, and black bile (cold and dry) rendered one melancholic. To make a proper diagnosis, physicians had first to determine the patient’s dominant humor.

286–87 Effymora . . . Etyk . . . Putrida. Three different kinds of fevers. Effymora is ephemeral, lasting just a day or so. An Etyk fever is caused by emotional disturbance, and Putrida, by putrefaction of the humors, though Lydgate goes on to tell us that a putrid fever is caused by excess or disproportion in the humor. The physicians are agreed that the fever, if it is any of the three, is Effymora, not Etyk or Putrida. Bartholomaeus explains the three types of fever as corresponding to each of the three things which make up the body: “sotile þinges as of spirits and fletinge þinges [Effymora, stanza 42], and of humours [Putrida, stanza 43–44], and more bodiliche þinges and of þe membres [Etyk, stanza 45]” (Trevisa, book 7, chapter 33, ed. Seymour, 1:379). See also MED, effimera (n.), quoting Bartholomaeus: “Þe firste maner feuere is whan þe spiritis beþ distempred in hete, and hatte effimera, one daies feuere. . . Alway if [sic] failleþ sone aftir a day oþir turneþ in to feuere putrida or Etik.”

288–301 The description of the three kinds of fever and their causes is based on Giles de Corbeil’s Viaticus: De signis et symptomatiubs aegritudinum (Rose, ed., Viaticus, p. 275). See Introduction to Fabula, p. 16n40. Bartholomaeus’s chapter on fevers also contains much relevant information. See Trevisa, book 7, chapters 33–43 (ed. Seymour, 1:379–91).

295–305 This passage distinguishes between the two causes and types of putrida, which can be caused when the quantity of any humor or its quality, that is, its property (wetness, coldness, dryness, or heat), is out of proportion. If there is an excess, particularly of blood, the variety of putrid fever that results is sinochus; if, on the other hand, the problem is of quality, again particularly in the case of blood or heat, synocha is the result.

306–08 Colre: choler, yellow bile, one of the four humors.

citryn: Yellowish, sallow; “colre citrine,” a variety of unnatural choler resulting from mixture of the humor choler with thin phlegm.

vitellyne: colored like egg yolk; deep yellow. “Colre citrina” and “Colre vitellina” were two kinds of “vnkindly colre” (each humour had two manifestations, kind and unkind). “Vnkindeliche colera comeþ of kynde by somme strange humour imedled þerwith. For if rede colera is imedled with wattry fleume [phlegm], þan is ibred citrina colera. . . . If þe fleume is gret and þicke, þan is bred 3elew3 [vitellyne] colera.” See Trevisa, book 4, chapter 10 (ed. Seymour, 1:158). On the relationship between choler and fever, Bartholomaeus is again enlightening, even if his terminology is slightly different:
And somtyme colera and blood rotiþ togedres in veines and pipis, and if þe more partie of blood rotiþ þan he hatte sinochides, and if þe more partie of colera rotieþ þe feuir hatte causonides. . . . And in causon . . . þe vreyne semeþ rede and sotile and þinne . . . if colera haþ a defaute in qualite. And if colra haue defaute in quantite, þan comeþ flux of þe wombe and colerik spuynge. And þe same signes and tokenes semeþ in causonide and sinochide, and þe diuersite þerof is iknowe most by vreyne. (Trevisa, book 7, chapter 41, ed. Seymour, 1:389–90)
308 Gyles. Aegidius Corboliensis, or Giles de Corbeil, French humanist and physician to Philip Augustus, d. c. 1220. See Wallis, “Gilles de Corbeil,” p. 198. In addition to Viaticus (see note 288–301 above), Giles also wrote a treatise entitled De urinis et de pulsibus, but Lydgate seems not to have borrowed from this.

309–15 When the natural heat of the body (heete natural) is deeply immersed in the vital, primary moisture of the body (radical humidity), the fuel of the fire of life, the heat burns or uses up this moisture. “And whanne hit is iwastid hit may not be restorid, and herof comeþ þe þridde maner of etik, þat is incurable” (Trevisa, book 7, chapter 35, ed. Seymour, 1:382). The consequent drying out of the body’s vital moisture may explain the reference to drye Tisyk, which is tolerable (partable), as opposed to life-threatening.

322 malencolye. The physicians have determined that the merchant suffers, on account either of thought or of love, from melancholia. See also Introduction to Fabula, pp. 13–15. The note by Vincent J. DiMarco in the Riverside Chaucer to lines 1374–76 of the KnT is helpful:
The humour malencolik, . . . engendered in some cases by passions of the soul such as “grete thoughtes of sorwe, and of to grete studie and of drede” . . . could lead to melancholia, which affects the middle cell and deprives one of judgment and reason; or to mania, which deprives one of the imagination (i.e., he can perceive no new images but thinks continually of his beloved); see Bartholomaeus Anglicus 7.6, tr. Trevisa
[ed. Seymour] 1:349.
323 uryne. Compare Bartholomaeus: “3if it [urine] is þynne in substaunce, it tokeneþ drines of humour þat haþ þe maistrie” (Trevisa, book 5, chapter 45, ed. Seymour, 1:258). Melancholy, caused by or engendering an excess of black bile, is cold and dry; this would explain the reference to “frigidite” and the “thin urine.” Rawcliffe also notes the connection between urine’s thinness, its pale color, and melancholy (Medicine and Society, p. 48).

325 veyne ryveers: An unusual combination; the only other comparable Middle English phrase is “veyne-blood” (CT I[A] 2747), but this refers to the drawing off of blood (See Vincent J. DiMarco, on his notes to KnT in Benson, Riverside, p. 839n2747). The OED gives the compound vein-riveret as an example, but this is from 1656 and is descriptive of a river (OED vein, sense C2). Perhaps the original exemplar read reyne (kidney) for veyne, yielding the reading that the passages leading to or from the kidneys were oppilat (obstructed). Contextually, this would make sense, but there is no MS support for such a reading. The only MS variant is vryn, C.

330 vertu regitiff. Although Lygate may be thinking of one of the three main virtues that operated the body — “virtus naturalis, whose seat of action is primarily in the liver; the virtus spiritualis, or vitalis, which functions chiefly in the heart; and the virtus animata, or animalis, working through the brain” (Curry, Chaucer and the Mediaeval Sciences, p. 140) — it is more likely that vertu is here a more general term meaning “power” or “faculty.” The sense is, then, that the basic, controlling faculty of one’s nature can be so greatly oppressed by melancholy that one’s life can be in danger unless a remedy is found. Bartholomaeus writes that “melancolia . . . is a suspeccioun þat haþ maistrie of þe soule . . .” (Trevisa, book 7, chapter 6, ed. Seymour, 1:349).

336 Amor ereos: the disease of lovesickness. See the Introduction to Fabula, pp. 13–17.

338–43 estimatiff: The estimative virtue or faculty, located in the second cerebral ventricle or cell. See note to lines 55–56 above, and the Introduction to Fabula, pp. 15–16. Wack also explains succinctly:
[L]ovesickness was caused by a misfunctioning of the estimative faculty, which is responsible for judgement: [it misfunctions] because it is misled by an excessively pleasing sense perception, so strong that it eclipses other sense impressions that might contradict it. Hence the estimation judges a form to be better, more noble, and more desirable than all the others: it has ‘overestimated’ the object (Lovesickness, p. 56).
344 manye. Mania is often associated with melancholy. See Trevisa, book 4, chapter 11 (ed. Seymour, 1:161–62), book 7, chapter 6 (ed. Seymour, 1:349–50), and note to line 322 above.

351–71 The Egyptian’s liveliness and persistence may be compared to that of Pandarus; see TC 1.617ff. Compare also Fabula, line 360 with TC 1.730ff. and Fabula, lines 367–68 with TC 1.619–20.

413 My liff, my deeth, is portrayed in hir face. The line is almost directly translated from Peter Alfonsi: “Ex hac est mihi mors et ex hac mea vita” (quoted in Schleich and Zupitza, ed., Fabula Duorum Mercatorum, p. 18). Compare TG: “my life, my deþ and eke my cure / Is in hir hond . . .” (lines 590–91) and “al vertues be portreid in hir face” (line 678).

438 I wante witt . . . The rhetorical figure of occupatio, an apparent refusal or inability to describe something which, by its very presence, draws attention to the description.

439 Ymeneus. Hymen, god of marriage. See also Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale for a reference to Hymen’s presence at a wedding, though the tone there is markedly different (CT IV[E] 1730).

446–47 His freend to hym abrochyd hath the tonne / Of freendly triacle . . . See note to lines 697–707 below.

456 what shuld I write mor? The figure of occupatio again.

472 the riht weye. On this phrase, see Guy, Explanatory Note to line 328.

480 Compare Chaucer’s Merchant’s fanciful definition of a good wife (CT IV[E] 1345).

484–86 The lines are antiphrastic. For woman as the target of this satirical device, see Lydgate’s “Ballade per antiphrasim” (MacCracken, ed., Minor Poems 2:432) and “Beware of doubleness” (Minor Poems 2:438). Lydgate also employs standard antifeminist criticisms in, for example, “Ballade on an Ale Seller” (Minor Poems 2:429), “Examples Against women” (Minor Poems 2:442), “The Pain and Sorrow of an Evil Marriage” (Minor Poems 2:456), and parts of the FP, some of them excerpted in Ha. For an analysis of these excerpts, see A. S. G. Edwards, “Medieval Antifeminism.” For an excellent overview of the medieval antifeminist tradition, see Alcuin Blamires, ed. Woman Defamed and Woman Defended, particularly Blamires’s introduction. Another useful discussion of medieval antifeminism as it pertains to Chaucer is Jill Mann, Geoffrey Chaucer, pp. 48–86.

488–89 make experience / Of her lownesse. The MED glosses the phrase maken experience as “to make an investigation or experiment of” (MED experience (n.), sense 2a), but a more appropriate interpretation is provided by the third meaning, “personal or practical experience, practice” (sense 3) for which lines 488–89 are given as illustration. To paraphrase, “women do not love for men to experience their meekness.” The line is clearly an ironic understatement continuing the antiphrastic thrust of lines 484–86 above. Compare these antiphrastic lines in Resoun and Sensuallyte: “Recorde I take of her husbondys / That knowe best experience / Of her mekenesse and pacience” (quoted in Pearsall, John Lydgate, p. 118).

498–501 Compare Lydgate’s Complaint of a Lover’s Life (Norton-Smith, Poems, p. 47): “But who shal helpe me now to compleyn? / Or who shal now my stile guy or lede?” (lines 176–77). Norton-Smith notes this as “the rhetorical figure invocatio” (Poems, p. 168); it is also helpful to see these and the following lines as a kind of “modesty topos,” whereby the author confesses his trepidation regarding the task which lies ahead (Curtius, European Literature, pp. 83–84).

502–03 Me into stoon transmued hath Meduse / For verray stonyng. In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the three Gorgons who had serpents for hair and eyes that turned onlookers into stone. There is a pun here on stoon and the two meanings of stonyng as astonishment and stupefaction or paralysis. The modern English word “stunned” nicely illustrates both meanings. Fortune’s fickleness and instability will play a central thematic role over the next 150 lines detailing the downfall of the Egyptian merchant.

505–11 Meggera . . . Thesiphone . . . Mirre. In Greek mythology, Megaera and Tisiphone are two of the three vengeful Erinys or Furies (the other is Alecto), sent from the underworld to punish crime. Myrrha was cursed by Aphrodite with an incestuous love for her father; fleeing his anger, she was changed into a myrrh tree. Compare TG, lines 956–63, especially line 961: “Nou lete [y]oure teris into myn inke reyne,” and Complaint of a Lover’s Life lines 178–82, especially lines 178–79: “O Nyobe, let now thi teres reyn / Into my pen” (Norton-Smith, Poems, p. 52). Compare also TC 1.6–10 and 4.22–24 for invocations to the Furies; in the first instance Thesiphone specifically is singled out. For Alecto, Lydgate substitutes Myrrha, whose tears are also used in TC 4.1134–41 to illustrate bitter sorrow. Here, the poet asks Myrrha to let her tears rain into the ink clogging his pen so that it may flow freely and both help him complain and assuage his sorrow. The quaking pen is a commonplace. Compare TC 4.13–14.

516–525 For how this . . . is sool ilefft aloon. These stanzas neatly articulate the medieval idea of Fortune as well as underline the Egyptian merchant’s desolation. Fortune is here figured as the active agent of the Egyptian merchant’s loss; the turning of her wheel has plunged the merchant into poverty and left him entirely alone, without riches or friends. The dichotomy is important: the merchant will discover that only material riches are actually subject to the turn of fortune’s wheel; friendship, on the other hand, always remains outside the world of fortune, the only stability in an unstable world ruled by Fortune.

526 Job. The biblical Book of Job describes the variety of misfortunes God visits upon Job, a sinless and upright man, as a way of testing his faith.

533–36 For remembraunce . . . did hym smerte. Compare Boece, 2.pr4.7–9: “For in alle adversites of fortune the moost unzeely kynde of contrarious fortune is to han ben weleful.” See also TC 3.1625–28 and Dante, Inferno canto 5, lines 121–23 (ed. Grandgent, p. 50). Compare also Fabula, lines 566–67.

542–43 Thus is he valyd adoun from hih degré / Ful many a steiher lowe into wrechydnesse. The metaphor of stairs climbing up to prosperity or down to lowliness embeds an implicit comparison to the random turnings of Fortune’s wheel. See also TC, where the image brilliantly suggests both Troilus’s culpability and his ultimate powerlessness in the face of life’s vicissitudes: “This Troilus is clomben on the staire, / And litel weneth that he moot descenden” (1.215–16). In Fabula, lines 635–36, the image reappears to underline the merchant’s sense of helplessness.

545 For now Fortune hath chaungid newe his weede. The literal meaning is that Fortune has changed the merchant’s clothes (weede). A change in garb often signifies an inner change in outlook, attitude, or intention, and/or a corresponding change in status. Here, it is both literal and metaphorical, reflecting the merchant’s changed outward social status and inner emotional state. Lydgate also makes use of this clothing metaphor in Guy of Warwyk; see Guy in this volume, lines 190–91 and line 203. For another striking example, see Chaucer’s Clerk’s Tale, in which Griselda must be stripped of her clothes twice to reify her change in status. Initially, her peasant rags are exchanged for the grand gown of a Marquess after Walter chooses her for his wife (CT IV[E] 374–85). Later, poignantly, she must put off her fine garments and return to her hovel in only her shift when Walter apparently discards her (CT IV[E] 890–96).

555 of the peeple fable. According to the MED (fable (n.), sense 3b), “the subject of idle talk or chatter.” Lydgate’s use of the word in this way seems to be unique.

565–66 O worldly blisse . . . / Thy sodeyn turn. Here, worldly blisse seems to be a synonym for fortune, as evidenced by the direct address and the verb turn.

568 Now hongir, thrust . . . to me. According to the OED, from 1200–1590 the metathetic thrist, thrust was interchangeable with thirst, thurst. See the headnote to OED, thirst.

sueth. Both previous editors emend this word (see Textual Note), probably because it is possible that scribal error accounts for its appearance here and immediately again in line 569. However, the sense of the line as it appears in the MS is perfectly appropriate: hunger and thirst, formerly unknown to the merchant, now pursue him.

574 forwhirlyd. According to the MED, the prefix for with past participles usually has intensive force (MED for- (pref. 1)). The effect here is thus of an intense, vigorous revolution, like that of a weathervane, an appropriate metaphor for the merchant’s confusion and dismay. Although forwhirlyd technically modifies fulle, we are clearly meant to understand that it is the merchant, not the fulle [moon], that is being spun madly like a weathervane.

muaunt: From Old French muant, present participle of muer (MED muaunt (adj.)). Another unique word, although the noun, muaunce (change, mutation) is found in Barbour’s Bruce 1.134 and Caxton’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses xiv.xii (as quoted in OED, muance).

fane: the weather vane was often used as a symbol of fickleness or mutability (MED fane (n.1), sense 3).

579–80 Now up, now doun . . . travailed with solicitude. Compare TG for similarities in phrasing: “Now vp now dovne with wind it is so blowe / So am I possid and almost ouer[th]rowe” (lines 607–08). These lines in turn echo Fabula, lines 532 and 563.

579 curraunt goute. A running gout; i.e., a type of gout that passes from one part of the body to another.

582 thee. The pronoun may refer either to worldly blisse, a synonym for fortune, whom the merchant has directly addressed in line 565, or the world in general, the subject of the immediately preceding stanza.

589–90 O seely marchaunt, myn hand I feele quake, / To write thy woo in my translacioun. A modesty topos. See note to lines 497–501 above.

601 No wele is worthy. Prosperity and good fortune are meaningless if they cannot withstand misfortune. Proverbial. See Whiting W143 for a similar sentiment: “He knows not what weal is that never suffered woe.” See also Whiting W134, W144, and S141.

603–609 The reference is to Seneca’s Dialogue on Providence. In his dialogue, the speaker explains to one Lucilius just why and how misfortune is good for us. The whole essay is relevant but see especially 3.3: “Nothing . . . seems to me more unhappy than the man who has no experience of adversity” (Davie, trans., Dialogues and Essays, p. 7, and Reynolds, Dialogorum Libri Duodecim, 3.3, p. 6).

610–15 The reference is to Seneca’s 39th letter to Lucilius, in which Seneca explains that too much of a good thing is bad for us: in excess there can be harm. Soil that is too rich will cause a plant to grow too quickly, overburdening it and preventing the fruit from ripening. In the same way, too much prosperity is detrimental to a man’s soul. See Gummere, ed. and trans., Moral Letters, p. 260–61.

622 this world was ful unstable, / And nat abydyng, but evirmor variable. The instability of the world is a commonplace. See Whiting W671. That the world under the sphere of the moon is unstable, subject to variance under the dominion of Fortune, is a central premise in Boethius’s CP and a significant theme in the poem. As Lady Philosophy explains to Boethius, all material goods and riches — the gifts of fortune — are fleeting and unstable. Stability can be found only by transcending fortune in placing one’s reliance in virtue, love, and friendship. The stability of the merchants’ friendship has been stressed several times in the first part of the poem (see, for example, lines 7, 49, 189, 195, 214), and the merchant must learn to acknowledge that this is what is truly of value.

635 ther be no grees isteyred / Tascenden up. There are no stairs upon which to climb up and out of despair. See also note to lines 542–43.

642 preeve his freend at neede. This is a variant of two well-known proverbial ideas: that one should prove, or test, his friends before he has need; and the more commonplace “friend at need” proverb; that is, adversity, or need, brings out the true friend. See Whiting F625 (“Assay your friend ere you have need”), and F634 (“A friend in need”).

664–65 Take heed . . . your myrour ye may see. The merchant’s position is here offered as a myrour, that is, as an example, illustration, and warning to those who might consider themselves exempt from fortune’s machinations. Lydgate uses the mirror in exactly the same way in his prologue to FP, whose exemplary and “noble stories” will show “a merour how al the world shal faile, / And how Fortune, for al ther hih renoun, / Hath vpon pryncis iurediccioun [jurisdiction]” (FP 1:5, lines 159–61). The use of the mirror as exemplary and/or admonitory has a long history; see Grabes’s The Mutable Glass, especially Chapters 3 and 4, for examples. The full title of The Mirror for Magistrates, the sixteenth-century continuation of Lydgate’s FP, illustrates this conception of the mirror: “A Myrroure for Magistrates. Wherein may be seen by example of other, with howe greuous plages vices are punished: and howe frayle and vnstable worldly prosperitie is founde, even of those, whom Fortune seemeth most highly to fauour. Fælix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum”(original italicization; Farnham, Medieval Heritage, p. 281).

673–74 Nature . . . Which is of God mynystir and vikeer. For nature as God’s vicar on earth, see, for example, Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls (line 379) and Physician’s Tale (line 20), and the Romance of the Rose (lines 16782–87, 19505–12). The main source is Alain de Lille’s De Planctu Naturae, especially Pr. 4. On the goddess Natura, see Economou, The Goddess Natura in Medieval Literature.

675 beware. Interestingly, the MED says that there are very few occurrences in Middle English in which be and ware are written together as one word. However, the force of the single word here rather paradoxically is the one we would expect were they written as two words. That is, the sense here is indeed be aware of, be cognizant of, rather than the expected beware as warning. See MED ware (adj.), sense 1a. Note that at line 707, the phrase rather than the word appears.

678 westyng undir wavys. A striking and evocative image of the stars setting below the waves on the western horizon. Schleich and Zupitza unnecessarily emend to westyn (ed., Fabula Duorum Mercatorum). This image may have been suggested by Boethius, CP, 4.m6, as well as 1.m2. See Introduction to Fabula, pp. 21–22 for further discussion.

680 hem. Perhaps a deliberate ambiguity referring to both the stars and to Nature’s laws. Nature’s laws and thus God’s order declare themselves in the movements of the stars. These lines and those following show a strong connection to Boethius, CP, 4.m5 and 6, as well as perhaps to 1.m2 and 5. See Introduction to Fabula, pp. 21–22 for further discussion.

681–82 the bere . . . Arthow. Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper, also known as the plow. Arthow, or Arcturus, is the brightest star in the constellation Boetes, or Boötes, “which is also known as . . . Bear-keeper because the wagon it drives [here the plow] is the constellation of the Great Bear.” Both constellations are high in the sky, hugging the North Pole. See Walsh, ed. Consolation, p. 151n7.

685 Lucifeer. Lucifer is the name often given to the planet Venus, which appears just before sunrise. The word Lucifer quite literally means “light-bearer” (Latin lux, meaning “light”; fero, meaning “to carry”).

morowhil. The period of time around or before sunrise.

prymycere. “First candle-bearer,” a bishop’s chief official. See OED primicery (n.). Figuratively, the word is particularly appropriate to describe Lucifer, the morning star. The double metaphor is strikingly effective: Lucifer, the light bringer, is first candle-bearer at dawn.

686 empeere.The empyrean. In medieval cosmology, the highest part of heaven, the exalted realm of God and the angels. See MED empiri (n.) and OED empyrean, empyre, and empyreal for the etymology and history of this interesting word. Here Lydgate reinforces the theme of this cluster of stanzas, that celestial movements are evidence of a celestial plan.

694 Evir entirmedlyd is merthe and hevynesse. Proverbial. See Whiting J59.

697–707 As Jubiter . . . wol approche. The story that Jupiter placed two tuns (casks), one of joy and one of sorrow, in his cellar, is in CP 2.pr2. The ultimate source is Homer’s Iliad. Here and in the following stanza note also the commonplace that one cannot have sweet without sour or bitterness; see Whiting, S942, S947.

743–46 “O deth, desyred . . . that thee nothyng desire?” The source for these lines is probably Boethius, CP. See the Introduction, p. 18–23 for a discussion of the CP’s influence on Fabula.

747 Feere In some counties, including Suffolk, feer(e) is a variant spelling of fire. See McIntosh, Linguistic Atlas, 4:170. The scribe may have seen feere in his exemplar and written fire. On the other hand, he may simply have changed the word to rhyme with desire in line 746, forgetting momentarily that it needed to rhyme with heere in line 744.

795 O Sonne of Sapience. The second person of the Trinity, the Son, is sometimes referred to as the son of wisdom or Sapience, a trait associated with the Father.

802–07 Blood wil have wreche . . . in wronge. An expansion of the proverbial “mordre wol out.” See Whiting M806, Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale I (CT VII[B2] 576), and the Nun’s Priest’s Tale (CT VII[B2] 3050). The idea of innocent blood crying out is found in Genesis 4:10.

808–10 And seith, ‘O lord . . . noote and songe.’ See Habakkuk 1:2–4 for a close verbal parallel. Nor is the context entirely inappropriate, the idea being that wrong judgement might prevail without God’s help:
How long, O Lord, shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? shall I cry out to thee suffering violence, and thou wilt not save? / Why hast thou shewn me iniquity and grievance, to see rapine and injustice before me? and there is a judgment, but opposition is more powerful. / Therefore the law is torn in pieces, and judgment cometh not to the end: because the wicked prevaileth against the just, therefore wrong judgment goeth forth.
852 ye gete no mor of me. A familiar filler line. See also line 896: “what shuld I you moor seyn?”

888–89 Have heer my trouthe . . . unsondir goon. Compare Dorigen’s words to her husband in the Franklin’s Tale: “have heer my trouthe — til that myn herte breste” (CT V[F] 759).


Abbreviations: A: British Library, MS Additional 34360; C: Cambridge, University Library, MS Hh 4.12; Ha: London, British Library, MS Harley 2251; L: London, British Library, MS Lansdowne 699; M: H. N. MacCracken, ed., Lydgate’s Minor Poems; MS: London, British Library, MS Harley 2255 (base text); R: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson Poetry F. 32; SZ: Schleich and Zupitza, eds., Fabula Duorum Mercatorum; V: Leiden, University Library, MS Vossius Germ. Gall. Q.9.

Incipit V: Incipit de fideli amore duorum marcatorum. R: (in a later hand): An historye of two marchants.

1 whilom. V: whilon.

3 riche. C: wyse.

4 to hym it was. A, Ha: it was to hym.

5 in. C, R: to.

in hym wern. A, Ha: were to hym.

6 Of. V: Fro.

8 convenient. MS, A, C, L, R, V: inconvenient. Ha, M, SZ: convenient. I emend for clarity.

9 Or in this tale I. Ha: On this tale or I. V: I in this tale.

11 and. C: or.

13 heerith. A, Ha: here me. C: here.

16 With. A, Ha: Whiche.

19 the coostys. R: this cooistis.

26 which. R: while.

but. L: with.

31 list. A, Ha: list to.

38 had. C: had neuer. L, M: had neuer. V: had nevir.

39 gladly wol nat. A, Ha: wold nat gladly.

44 also. A, Ha: eke.

45 wan. R: whan.

47 began to. A: gonne. C, Ha, L, R, V: gan.

49 two. MS: too. I make the same emendation for clarity at lines 87, 97, 99, 186, 196, 419, 482, 492, 697, 708, 716, and 891.

50 ech. Ha: ech other.

51 freend. A, Ha: friendes.

52 grave. A: grate. Ha: grated.

53 othris. C: other.

56 fet his foode. A, Ha: sette his foote.

the. A, Ha: theyr. R: her.

57 of. A: a. Ha: amemory.

58 ifet. A: I sette.

59 of. A, Ha: and.

60 Forgetilnesse. V: for yentilnesse.

63 ar. MS: as ar. V: as. A, C, Ha, L, R, M, SZ: ar. In emending for clarity, I follow the majority of manuscript readings as well as previous editions.

loke. A: loken. C: loked. Ha, L, V: lokyn. R: loke. The scribes may have had some difficulty in determining whether the verb is lock, locked, or look, looked. Both are possible (see MED loken, v.1 and v.2), but lock is consistent with the sense. The V scribe in particular seems to have taken the verb as look: So as they lokyn.

myndys. A, Ha: mydes.

selle. A, Ha: welle.

65 feet. Ha: swte.

he. A, Ha: omitted.

66 shyneth. C: shewyth.

of the. A, Ha: is of. L: of.

68 fire. C: a gret fire.

ne. A, Ha: omitted.

69 into. Ha: in.

70 feer. V: frend.

or. V: and.

72 as faste been. R: be as fast.

75 is in werkyng. A, Ha: in werkyng is.

76 lynketh. A, Ha: thynkkyth. V: likneth.

77 as. So A, C, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ. MS: has.

dissolven. C: he dissolueth.

contrarious. V: gracious.

80 wo. C: who.

81 dool. A, Ha: dulle.

83 can. Ha, L, V: gan. C: omitted.

84 hem. Ha: omitted. A and Ha insert stanza 17 here.

85 by. A, Ha: omitted.

86–87 From ech to . . . disseveryd by absence. A and Ha transpose.

88 as by. Ha: of.

91 affyre. A: on fyre.

92 or. A, Ha, V: and.

the good her chapmen. A, Ha: theyr goode chapmen.

the. C: her.

her. C, L: ther. V: the.

95 Unto. A, R: one to.

tothir. A, Ha: that other.

he hath. A, Ha: omitted.

98 her love may. L: may her loue.

100 As fortune wolde and eek necessité. A, Ha: omitted.

104 blisful. V: blissid.

into. A: in.

105 theras. L: wher as.

106 And. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ: omitted.

that. R: omitted.

unto londe. A: vnto the lande. Ha: to the land.

110 any. Ha: omitted.

111 where. A, Ha: there.

his. L: her.

112 his. V: the.

113 aftir. A, Ha: a sterre.

114 suyng. A, Ha: shyneng.

the. V: omitted.

115 displayen. A, Ha: sprynggen.

116 dirknesse. R: dris[?t]resse. Damage and very light ink make it difficult to discern the missing letter, but it is possible that it is t, yielding dristresse.

117 sueth. MS: sweth. A, Ha, V: shewith.

118 fyne. V: fynde.

119 to them may. A, Ha: may to hem.

120 O. A, Ha: omitted.

on. So A, C, Ha, R, V, M, SZ. MS, L: of.

absence. V: presence.

of. C: to.

122 her. A: the.

123 of. C: on.

125 a. A, Ha: omitted.

127 that. A: than.

129 that wern. A, Ha: omitted.

myscheef. A, Ha: myscheffes.

134 that. A, Ha, V: omitted.

135 was. V: was was.

into. C: omitted.

137 hym tencontre. A, Ha: to encountre hym.

hym. C, R: omitted.

fonde. V: fong.

138 he. Ha: the.

139 and. A, C, Ha: omitted.

140 He. A, C, Ha: And.

141 I2. V: omitted.

142 rowe. C: 3ow.

144 And. R: An.

146 al wer. A, Ha: was.

be to. C: done. Ha: do.

148 chaunbre. I have supplied n rather than m on the basis of chaunbyr (lines 219, 353) and chaunpion (line 691).

149 lad. Ha: hadde.

somwhat. A, Ha: sumdel.

on. R: in. Ha: aloft, o.

151 of you have cauht. A, Ha: have caught of yow.

152 myht. R: myht be.

154 Unto. C, SZ: as to.

and to. C, SZ: vnto.

and to al that I have. V: and that ever y haue.

156 skarseté. C: skaste.

157 viaundys. R: wiandis.

apparaille. C: appaill.

158 aforn. R: toforne.

159 it. C: ther.

snowyd. A: sowned.

161 myht. A: myht it.

162 so. Ha: omitted.

163 plesyng. C, Ha: plesant.

paramentis. A, Ha: paiement.

166 disguysed. A: disguysyng.

167 and1. A, Ha: of.

168 plye. C, R: applye.

169 ryde. V: rode.

hauk. A: hawkes. C: haukys. Ha: havkys. R, V, SZ: haukis.

eek. R: omitted.

170 He. A, C, Ha, R: And.

eek. A, C, Ha, SZ: omitted.

171 Thoruh al his lordship he lat hym in the boundys. Ha: omitted.

lat. A: ladde. C, L, R, V, SZ: lad.

172 fressh. R: ful.

174 and. V: omitted.

175 made. A, Ha: made hem.

176 his. V: omitted.

and. A, Ha: and eke.

181 wolcom. C: blyth.

183 with. L: of.

186 confederat. R: feith plith. V: confident.

187 for. V: of.

and. V: and of.

191 of. R: with.

194 tapited. C: trappyd.

in. Ha: with.

195 her. C: omitted.

bothen. A, Ha: bothern. C: both ther.

196 that. Ha: in.

in love wer nevir. Ha: in love were neuer non. L: wer neuyr in love.

197 leede. R: dede leede.

198 enmyté. A, Ha: envie.

201 cauht. C: cawght an.

202 did hym. L: that hym doth. V: doth hym.

204 in haste was maad. A, Ha: was made in hast.

205 In. L: I.

sike. V: seke.

206 pitously. A, Ha: ful pitously.

211 Thus. R: This.

to freendys. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: for friendis to.

212 merthe. A, Ha: might.

214 Yif that her love be set in sikirnesse. A, Ha: omitted.

215 yif oon. C: if that oone.

drye. C, R, V: dye.

216 is. V: to.

217 wher. A, Ha: whether. C: whedyr.

they. A, Ha: it.

218 tassaye. A: assaye.

yif. R: where.

myht. A, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ: myht hym. C: myght don hym.

219 he. A, Ha: omitted.

220 Than. A, Ha: That.

223 and yit. A, Ha: omitted.

cheffest. A, Ha: chevest part.

my. R: omitted.

224 weel. C: omitted.

225 hurt. A, C, L, V, M, SZ: I hurt.

226 dethis spere. R: deth is speke.

strykith. C, SZ: stykkyth.

in. R: at. V: on.

227 it. A, Ha: I.

sounde. A, Ha: founde.

228 the. L, V: omitted.

229 arrest. L, R, V: a rest.

230 of1. L: and. V: off.

231 me causith. C: that causyth me.

232 hoolly. A, Ha: only. R: hole.

235 to. A, L: omitted.

cruel. C: cruelly.

237 that. R, V: omitted.

238 me nat. L, R: nat me.

239 moost of al. V: so well.

241 Ful. A, V: ffor.

243 I. R: omitted.

246 ladyes. A, Ha: maydens.

247 for. L: to.

248 al in dowte. L: in a doute.

251 hym. C, V: whom. R: him that.

so. R: most.

253 he. C: omitted. Ha: I.

lovyd. A: lovith.

255 no. A: omitted.

257 wrathe. A, C, Ha, R, M, SZ: to wrath.

259 his. A: he his.

260 lay in langour. A, Ha: in langoure lay.

261 wol. A, Ha, R: ful.

262 serche. A, Ha, R: seche.

aboute the lond. A, Ha: the lande aboute.

263 menee. V: men.

267 been. R: ther ben.

270 poorys. C: pulse. A, Ha: pounce. R, V, L: poris. See also explanatory note.

271 They. So A, C, Ha, R. MS: The. L, V, M, SZ: Thei. I emend for clarity.

fynd. Ha: serche.

272 his. V: al his.

273 thereon. Ha: thervpon.

werke. A, C, R: to werke.

274 yif. A, Ha: if that.

sey. A: sye. C: se. Ha: sy. L, V: sey. R: had sei.

275 Ful. Ha: fful many.

276 the. V: omitted.

277 Pelotes. A, Ha: Pellettis.

278 poudrys. A, Ha, R, SZ: omitted. C: thynges.

and. A, C, Ha, L, R, V: for.

279 maladyes. A, Ha: malice. C: hys maladyes.

280 Nouht were beyhynden to. R: nouht behynden were but to.

281–336 Whan they have . . . was in falle. Omitted in L, owing to a missing leaf.

284 contynueth. V: conteyned.

hoot. C: omitted.

and. C, V: omitted.

286–87 But yif it . . .was ne Putrida. A and Ha transpose.

286 yif. A, Ha: omitted.

289 distemperaunce. A, Ha: desperaunce.

290 excesse. Ha: excessyf.

with. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: man.

293 of2. V: or.

or. A, Ha: or. V: omitted.

maneer. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: tyme.

in any maneer. V: or metis crude.

294 tellen here. A, Ha: doth termyne. C, R: determyne. V: do conclude.

297 flowyng. V: folwyng.

too. MS, A, C, R, V, M, SZ: to. Ha: so. I make the same emendation at lines 813 and 899.

plenteuous. A: pletivous.

299 Yif by. A, Ha: If it be.

ye. MS, C, Ha: he.

it. A: omitted.

304 anoon a man. C: a man anon.

leedith. A, Ha: bedith.

306 of. Ha: omitted.

Colre. A, Ha: Colera. C: colour. M: Colra.

his. R: hir.

308 to juge. R: deme ye.

309 Also. Ha: And also.

311 degré. A, C, Ha, R, M, SZ: any degre. V: Auicenys degre.

312 is. V: his.

314 incurable. V: Inrecurable.

315 withal partable. A, Ha: therwith portabil.

316 othir. A, Ha: omitted.

thes. A, Ha: the. C: ther.

318 that. R: that that.

319 defawte noon. V: no defaute.

321 ouht they. C: owght þat they.

325 veyne. C: vryn. See Explanatory Note.

326 It was ful thynne and wannyssh for to see. Ha: omitted but added in the margin by the scribe.

328 voyde. A: avoyde.

329 to be. So A, C, Ha, R, SZ. MS: by.

333 soone be. A, Ha: som.

334 this. A, Ha, V: this.

336 Ereos. A, Ha: Ereas.

he. R: this man.

337 and. A, C, Ha, R, V, SZ: omitted.

338 Is. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, SZ: omitted.

estimatiff. So M, SZ. MS: estiantiff. A, Ha, R, V, L: estiantif. C: estimatyfe. I emend for clarity, following M and SZ.

340 ovirlordshipith. A, Ha: ouerbede shippith.

341 be forth. A, Ha: byfore the. C: by fore.

successyf. So A, Ha, V, M, SZ. MS: succesfyf. C: successyfe. L, R: successiff.

342 for love. A, Ha: more for love. V: omitted.

for love mor fayr. R: more fair for loue.

343 hath God. A, Ha: god hath.

or. V: of.

344 This. A: Thus.

man. R: a man.

in. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: in siknes.

345 by. C: with.

346 man. A: he. Ha: omitted.

frenesye. C: a frenesye.

347 woman. C: women.

349 of. A, Ha: on.

othir. A, Ha: omitted.

350 was hool. Ha: hole was.

352 this. A, Ha: his.

nat ne wolde. C: wold nat.

353 the. Ha: this.

he is. V: is he.

355 to. L: fro.

thu. A, Ha: omitted. C: 3e. L, R, V, SZ: ne.

357 lat. V: omitted.

thouht. L: thyng.

dreryness. A, Ha, V: distresse.

358 Yif. Ha: Of.

359 rake. MS, Ha: Reke. C: stake.

nat. A: it nat.

361 uncloose. A, Ha: ye vncloose.

363 mystrust. R: mystrust ye.

to lokke it up. C: why lok3e it.

365 mystruste. A, C, Ha: to mystrust.

366 concele. A, Ha: counsaile.

372 alle. A, Ha: omitted.

375 hir2. A, Ha: omitted. R: his.

377 The. A, Ha: ffor.

379 Ful. R: ffor.

of so tendir. A, Ha: and tendre of. L: and of so tendre.

380 war. L, V: wis.

of. R: omitted.

381 Devoyde. C: deuote.

383 Plesaunt. V: plesance.

384 and. Ha: omitted.

welle. R: weel.

386 hir. L: omitted.

387 ful. L: filll.

389 forwar. MS: for war. A, C, Ha, R, V, M, SZ: ful war.

390 hir lyst. A, C, Ha: list hir.

avaunce. A: to avaunce.

422 so. C: omitted.

423 liht. C: blith.

425 fully the costage. Ha: and fully the costage.

426 spousayl. C: spousage.

iknet. L: be kneet.

428 supportyd. A: supprised.

429 on. C: upon.

431 the. A, Ha: omitted.

hath. L: he.

432 whan. A, Ha: what.

433 freely. V: frendly.

434 hool. A, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ: and hool.

hool and sound. C: sownd and hool.

437 giftys, the cheer. V: cheer the yefftis.

the2. A, Ha: and.

439 Ymeneus. MS: yineneus. A, Ha: Imeyne. C: Imeneus. L, R, V, M, SZ: Ymeneus.

the. A, Ha: omitted.

441 I trowe that. A, Ha, M, SZ: Therto. C, R: ther to. L, V: And ther to.

therat. A: there. Ha: theyrto.

443 bounté. V: beute.

444 hertly. C, L: erthly.

is. Ha: now is. L: as.

445 nat. C: omitted.

446 the. L: a.

448 weel. A, Ha: omitted.

449 hath. V: hartly.

hertly. L: hertis.

450 Hymsilf. L: his silf.

451 liht. V: lyffe.

452 refut. V: rancour.

coye. A: akoye.

453 his. A, Ha: omitted.

454 lives. Ha: lightes.

457 this. L: the.

processe. So A, C, Ha, R, L, V, M, SZ. MS: mateer. I emend on the basis of all other manuscripts. This is very likely the scribal error of eyeskip; note the phrase “this mateer” in line 456 immediately above.

462 feyne. Ha: steyne.

plesaunce. C: plesure. R: wil.

463 ther. A: the.

is. V: was.

that is. M: omitted.

for. A, L: omitted.

467 lyst. C: list3e.

469 love. Ha: the love.

nyh. R: nyht. V: ner.

476 For with a bettir no man ne myht mete. A, Ha: For noman myght with a better mete.

ne. C: omitted.

478 nyht and day. L: day & nyht.

479 erlich. A, Ha, V: both erly.

480 he. C: she.

481 was. L: omitted.

483 her love may fordoo. C: love may for doo. R: may her hertis for doo.

484–90 For alle wyves . . . is an ese. A, Ha: omitted.

486 new. R: now.

487 hem doon. C: don hem. R: hem do.

488 men. C: that men.

489 lownesse. V: lovnesse.

490 pass ovir. C: of me as now it.

491 leve. V: love. A, Ha: I leve.

492 ech lykyng othir. A, C: eche lovyng other. Ha: eche other lykyng.

495 But. A: But if.

were. A: wore. R: omitted.

496 For. C: and.

wil I. A: I wil.

497 I lefte. Ha: left I.

499 Or. A, Ha: ffrom.

501 mateer. L: makyng.

502 stoon. A, Ha: astowne. C: a stone. V: astone.

503 stonyng. Ha: sykenes.

fikylnesse. A, Ha: sikenes.

506 compleyne. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: to compleyne.

507 eek. V: omitted.

Thesiphone. MS: the Siphone. A, Ha: Tysophone. L: Tessiphone. V: the sophye. M, SZ: Thesiphone.

508 goddessys. L: goddesse.

510 clubbyd. MS: cubbed.

511 swaggyng. A, Ha: swagenyng.

renne. V: kenne.

513 al. Ha: omitted.

of. C: on.

516 whilom. A, Ha: somtyme.

517 meene. V: me.

518 remenaunt. A, Ha, C, L, M, SZ: the remenaunt.

519 To. C: from.

hir. V: omitted.

falsnesse. C: face. L, R: falnesse.

hath. Ha: doth.

overt. C: auert.

520 turned. A, Ha: hath tourned.

522 possessioun. V: procession.

523 al. A, Ha: omitted.

into. A, Ha: vnto.

524 ifeere. A, Ha: in feere. C: ferre.

525 in mischeef is. A: is in mischef.

sole. Ha: foule.

527 wayleth. L: & wailith.

528 Allone. C: omitted.

drouh hym. C: withdrawith hymself.

530 on. C: of.

534 with a darte hym woundid. A, Ha: withouten darte wounded hym.

535 was to hym. Ha: to hym was.

537 For. So M, SZ. A, C, Ha, L, R, V: ffor. MS: ffo.

for. C: and.

sterte. C: stret.

538 ne hadde. C: had.

540 Thus. A, Ha, V: This.

542 Thus. R: This.

543 into. A, Ha: vnto.

545 hath. V: hat hath.

weede. Ha: nede.

546 Freend nor foo ne took of hym noon heede. Ha: an interesting gloss by a later hand in the left hand margin reads 3 Negatives used in our Language, even by this Author.

547 Out. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ: But.

walkyng. C: now walkyng.

wildirnesse. R: wildenesse.

548 poore. V: pleyn.

551 sool. A, Ha: the foole.

556 calle. C, V: to call.

557 so glorious somtyme. R: somtyme so glorious.

558 than wer to me. A: to me than were. Ha: to me than were so. C: than to me wer.

servisable. R: seruyable.

559 by. C: in. V: omitted.

560 for. A: omitted.

561 O. A, Ha: omitted.

on. So A, C, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ. MS: of.

hauhtesse. A, Ha, L: hauntesse. C: hertys.

562 O. A, Ha: omitted.

on. V: of.

lordship. V: worschip.

563 O. A, Ha: omitted.

out. R: out out.

565–66 O worldly blisse . . . doublith my grevaunce. L transposes these lines.

566 Thy. A, Ha: The.

sodeyn. Ha: souerayne.

567 nevir hadde had. A: neuer hadde. C: had had neuer.

568 thrust. A, Ha, L, R, V: thurst. C: now thrust. See Explanatory Note.

unkouth. R: vnknouht.

sueth to. A, Ha, SZ: swete to. C: vnto. L: seweth. M: as vnto.

572 grevaunce. A, Ha, SZ: penaunce. C, L, R, V: penaunce.

574 is. A, C: omitted.

muaunt. A: a mevand. Ha: amevand. V: ajant.

fane. A: vaane. C: fan. V: fame.

575 werynesse. C: heuynes.

576 torment. Ha: tournement.

577 besynesse. A, Ha, C, R, SZ: hevynesse. V: besimesse.

581 so weel can us. R: can vs so weel.

582 weel. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, SZ: omitted.

583 he to thee. C: to the he.

to. Ha: of.

neede. V: most neede.

584 the. V: thy.

cry. C: crak.

585 skyes. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ: the skyes.

beede. C: bete.

586 Who servyth thee. A: What servith he.

587 most. C: omitted.

588 the hand. V: thi handes.

rathest thu. L: thou rathest.

594 bet diffence. V: better fense.

595 thee. A, Ha: omitted.

601 is. A, C: is he. Ha: is hym.

603 seith. C: omitted.

605 thylke. C: thik.

made. L: may.

of. A, C, Ha, R: omitted.

607 ne. L, V: omitted.

nor. A: and. C, Ha: ne.

608 Of. A, Ha: on.

pleynly. V: privily.

610 ovirlade. Ha: lade.

613 And. C: and of.

615 yif. A, Ha, SZ: of.

616 Than. Ha: That.

is. A, Ha: it is.

619 he was the lasse. A, Ha: the lasse he was.

wite. A, C, Ha, V, SZ: to wite.

621 wantrust. C: vayn trust.

623 And. A, Ha: omitted.

626 devout. C: full gret.

627 and. A: omitted.

628 had. A, Ha: omitted.

634 am. A, Ha: I am.

so. A: omitted.

635 thouh. L: omitted.

636 I. R: omitted.

doone. R: doune.

638 his. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: this.

639 in. C: and in.

642 freend. V: friendis.

644 rihte. C: omitted.

645 And whan he was comen to that londe. A: Vnto my friende to shew out my peyne. This mistakenly copied and canceled text is at line 648. The correct text appears the next line down.

And. C: omitted.

646 for. A, C, Ha, L, V, SZ: omitted.

647 dar. V: I dar.

nat. L: nar.

fonde. A, Ha: founde.

650 nat. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, SZ, M: omitted.

651 shew a poynt to hym. A: shew to hym oone poynt. C: shew to hym oo poynt. Ha: shew to hym on poynt.

a. V: o.

654 the. V: omitted.

656 therfor he lefte be. C: and therfor left he.

658 man. R: a man.

spye. Ha: man.

659 by. A: be. Ha: of.

660 al. L: full. R: omitted.

662 forwandryd and format. C: for wandryng and for wate. L: so wandred & so mat.

663 elat. A, Ha: late.

665 this. L: the.

your myrour ye may see. A, Ha: ye may your myrrour.

666 hath fortune. A: fortune hath. V: fortune had.

667 sleihte. R: fleihte.

icast. C: I cast doun.

he. C: they.

whan he best wende ha stonde. A, Ha: he wenyth best to stonde.

ha stonde. L: astonde. R: a stond.

668 also unmayled. C: and also mailed.

669 nolde. A, Ha: wold.

670 bothe. A, Ha: omitted.

bonde. A: with bonde.

671 who. R: omitted.

yit. C: omitted.

sureté. C: suchue suerte.

672 That. C, SZ: But that.

in. A, Ha: omitted.

siht. A, C, Ha, R, SZ: tyme. L, V: sithe.

675 beware. A: by ware.

676 that. C: there.

677 concours. L: cours.

678 westyng. A, Ha: wastyng. V: wassyng. SZ: westyn. See Explanatory Note.

679 chaungyng. C: tokynnyng.

680 And. A, C, Ha, L, R, SZ: For. V: For always to us. C: to us alway. L: to vs alwey.

681 bere. V: Bore.

682 it. Ha, C, L, V, SZ: to. R: omitted.

683 wondir keene. A, Ha: sharp and keen. L: wondir sheene.

684 Somwhile. L: som tyme.

men may nat. L: men nat may.

hym. C: hem.

685 at. R: that.

morowhil. C: morow.

686 empeere. C: emispere.

689 wynne. A, Ha: to wynne.

by. C: of.

691 a. R: omitted.

692 Al. Ha: And.

694 Evir entirmedlyd is. C: Entirmedlyd is euer.

entirmedlyd. A, Ha: entremelled.

695 soory. L: heuy.

now A: and now.

696 aloffte. A, Ha, V: on lofte.

697 tonnes. A, Ha: stones.

699 That oon. V: the toon.

is. A, Ha: omitted.

700 ful. A, Ha: is ful.

701 of. C: on.

703 taste. L, V: cast.

in. A, C, SZ: the.

or. A, Ha: if.

705 nat. C: omitted.

706 For. So M, SZ. A, C, Ha, L, R, V: ffor. MS: ffo.

that. V: so.

wil. A, Ha, omitted. V: wel.

first. R: frust.

707 or. L, V: of.

709 of spak. L: spak of.

spak. A, Ha: omitted. R: spook.

erwhyle. C: here while.

710 bevere. C: omitted.

so. C: omitted.

hed. C: hert.

to. A, Ha: omitted. C: so.

711 ne. R: omitted.

713 he his beddyng whilom. C, R: he whilam hys beddyng.

714 now. C: omitted.

nakyd. A: omitted.

715 that. R: omitted.

lay sleepyng. L, V: sleepyng lay.

in. C: on.

717 the. A, Ha: omitted.

contek. C: conflict.

rise. A: riche. A later hand writes rise in right hand margin.

719 boredoun. A: born downe. Ha: born adowne.

720 as. A: omitted. Ha: that.

this. C, L, V: this.

721 hym. Ha: hem.

his way. A, C, Ha: away.

722 rumour. C: the rumour.

723 renne. A, Ha, L: they renne.

725 hadde wrouht. A, Ha: wrought hath.

this. V: that.

726 han. A, Ha: omitted.

727 as. A, Ha: omitted.

729 for. A, C, Ha, L, V, SZ, M: soore.

733 or. L: of.

734 thouh. C: yf.

and. C, L: or.

735 with. A, Ha: man.

736 to ha. R: for to.

737 myht. R: my. V: fynde.

739 so. A, Ha: omitted.

740 hook. L: bothe hook.

741 las. C: place.

742 on. R: in.

took. A, Ha: toke on.

this. A, Ha: that. C: the.

744 nylt thu. A: wiltow nat. Ha: nyltow.

747 now. V: thou.

feere. So A, C, Ha, L, R, SZ, M, V. MS: fire. I emend on the basis of sense as well as other MSS and previous editors. In some counties, including Suffolk, feer(e) is a variant spelling of fire (McIntosh, Linguistic Atlas, 4:170). The H scribe may have written fire because of his own spelling predilection or because of contamination from desire in line 746 above.

748 crieth. A, Ha: omitted.

751 in. R: on.

on. R: omitted.

752 as. R: and.

they hym founde. C: he was found.

753 justice. A, Ha: iuge.

754 To seen a fyn he hopith of his sorwe. V: omitted.

he. L: omitted.

755 owne. C: onne.

756 the. A, Ha: omitted.

757 deth. V: the deth.

758 forby. A, Ha: to forby.

759 The. A, Ha: omitted.

cheer. A, Ha: face.

761 And. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, SZ: omitted.

hym. V: haue.

leyseer to hym. A: to hym leysour.

762 For. A, Ha: And.

764 seith. V: sith.

nat yow. C, L, R: yow nat.

766 this. A, Ha: omitted.

767 have. L omitted.

wrouht. A, C, Ha: done.

769 to. C: I.

770 his. A, Ha, V: hym.

dedly. C: dethes.

771 His herte. C: He.

772 for. A, Ha: omitted.

774 sure. A: sore.

775 al. V: omitted.

her. Ha: the.

meekly he. A: mekely they. Ha, R, SZ: mekely he.

779 many hym. A: manyon.

781 Which. L, V: that.

glyde. C: dyd glyd.

783 that. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, SZ: the.

deede. Ha: deth.

784 in. A, Ha: and in.

785 hard as. A: harder than. V: as hard as.

786 cruelté. A, Ha: cruel.

to seen. So L, M, SZ, V. MS, C, R: seen. A, Ha: tene.

787 ne were. C: ner. L, R: were.

788 The. A, Ha: that. C: of the.

to. A, Ha: omitted.

789 I. V: it.

thus. A, Ha: thus.

susteen. V: sustrene.

790 ungilté thus. C: thus vngilty.

itake. A, Ha: one I take.

794 that. R: thou.

hyd. A, Ha: omitted.

796 hih. L: omitted.

797 concelyd. A, Ha: couered.

799 weel. A, Ha: why.

that. Ha: omitted.

800 me. R: omitted.

801 in. A, Ha: omitted.

esynesse. L: he[?]synesse. A very faint and indiscernible letter here.

802 wrongfully is. C: is wrongfully.

804 gon. A: omitted.

805 the. A, Ha: omitted.

aftir on me. A, Ha: on me after.

812 me. Ha: omitted.

817 to. A, Ha: for to.

fonge. C: take.

818 and pleynly. A, Ha: plainly and.

819 And for my gilt receyven the redresse. L: the scribe needlessly corrects the line by inserting de and me above the line after receyven and the, respectively.

for. A, Ha: of.

823 ne. C, L: omitted.

his. C, L, V: in his.

825 let. A: lato.

reserved. A, Ha: obserued.

827 loos. A, Ha: omitted.

he of gilt. A: of gilt he.

828 the. C: thys.

829 verité. C: vertue.

830 falsnesse. C: falshede. R: falnesse.

large. A, Ha: larges.

831 to. A, C, Ha: omitted.

wondren. C: maruell.

tho. A, Ha: so. V: sore.

832 justices. A, C, Ha: iustice. SZ: justice.

835 they. MS: the. A, C, Ha: they. L, R, V, M, SZ: thei.

836 assent. C: thassent.

hem. R: hym.

837 the. C: ther.

839 for. A, C, Ha: omitted.

840 To. A, Ha: And.

for. Ha: omitted.

842 bothe. R: omitted.

eek. Ha: omitted.

843 And made mercy to goon aforn his myht. R: omits line but copies it at end of stanza.

myht. L: riht.

844 ful. C: both. R: for.

resonable. A, Ha: mesurable. R: eek resonable.

846 withyne. C: with.

847 so. A, Ha: for.

trouthe. C: sothe.

shewe. R: sewe.

849 frenship, joye. V: ioye frensshipe.

850 declaryd. V: doth clare.

852 that hard. V: hard that.

853 a. A, Ha: omitted.

854 so. C: of.

855 on. R: in.

858 wisshe. So C, M, SZ. MS: voisshe. A, Ha: wisshen. L, R: woish. V: wysse.

863 such. R: a soche.

864 the aeyer. R: Their. V: the heyre.

the wedir. A, Ha: whiche.

865 ne. A, Ha, R: omitted.

867 seel. A, Ha: ful seale.

thenpreent. A, Ha: the prynte.

868 armes. A, Ha: armour.

armes hool. V: hool armys for.

save. L: have.

869 whan. C: whan that.

hath thus. A, Ha: thus hath.

871 hath. MS: hat. A, C, Ha, L, R, V, M, SZ: hath.

hoom. A: hym. Ha: omitted.

873 He. A: And.

rayeth. L: raicht.

875 ne. A, Ha: omitted.

877 halvendeel. C: half dele.

878 departyd be. A, V: be departed.

880 our. V: your.

every. R: at euery.

882 restooryd be ageyn. C: be storyd agayne. Ha: restored begayne.

883 avised. A, Ha: omitted.

884 contré. L: whedir contre.

885 your. A, Ha: my.

dwelle. V: to dwelle.

886 choys. C: ioyse.

no more ye. R: ye no more.

887 whersobe. A, Ha: whether so. V: whether so be.

888 trouthe. C: hert.

hertys. C: trouthys.

889 laste. V: lest.

890 witt. C: wehgte.

896 you. C, Ha: omitted.

you moor. V: more you.

R ends here because the next leaf has been lost, as indicated by the catchwords I sai you platly.

897 platly. Ha: plainly.

so. Ha: omitted.

900 tediousté. L: tediousness.

902 more. A: omitted.

divyne. A, C, Ha, V: to devyne.

903 gonne. C: began.

904 Thus of this tale to you I make an eende. H: lenvoye appears in right-hand margin.

905 On. C: of.

906 that. A: omitted.

he. L: god.

907 That. A, Ha: And.

909 This. A, Ha: This is.

910 seith. A, Ha: sey al.

Explicit A, Ha: explicit ffabula duorum mercatorum De et super gestis romanorum. C: ffinit. L: Explicit de fideli amore duorum mecatorum. V: Explicit de ffideli amore duorum marcatorum.

H: Explicit quod lidgate appears in right-hand margin.























































































































































































In Egipt whilom as I reede and fynde, once
Ther dwellyd a marchaunt of hih and gret estat,
Nat oonly riche but bounteuous and kynde,
As of nature to hym it was innat.
For alle vertues in hym wern aggregat,
Of vices voyd, pitous, and merciable
And of his woord as any centre stable.


But as me thynkith it were convenient
Or in this tale I any ferther passe,
For to descryve to you that be present
Wher that this contré stant and in what place,
And if I erre I put me in your grace;
Forberith me now and heerith paciently,
For as myn auctour seith, riht so sey I.


This riche lond, moost passaunt of plenté,
With Surry marchith toward thorient,
On which syde is eek the Rede Se
And Libye stant ful in the Occident.
Who castith the coostys of the firmament,
The Grete Se northward shal he fynde,
And ferre by south, Ethiope and Ynde.


As auctours witnesse, this lond is desolat
Of cloude and reynes aboute in every yle,
But yeer by yeer the soil is irrigat
And ovyrflowyd with the flood of Nyle,
The which endurith but a certeyn whyle,
As for a norshyng her frutys to fecunde,
With corn and greyn to make the lond habounde. 1


Of sondry frutys and of marchaundise,
Thoruhout envyroun it is so plenteuous,
What mercymony that men list devise
Is ther ful reedy and ful copious.
I hold it best to be compendious:
Of al richesse ther is such habundaunce
That every wiht hath ther suffisaunce.


This worthy marchaunt, this Egipcien
Which I of spak, was named ferre and wyde,
For many oon that hym had seen
Spak of his name which gladly wol nat hyde;
And in a contré cald Baldac ther besyde
Anothir marchaunt, as by relacioun,
Of hym hadde herd and of his hih renoun.


This latter marchaunt was eek a worthy man,
Ful weel belovid also in his contré.
In trouthe he hadde al that evyr he wan,
And hym governyd evirmore in honesté.
From ech to othir the name began to fle,
That by report and by noon othir mene
Of her two lovys was maad a stable chene.


Revolvyth ech by contemplacioun,
Al of his freend the lyknesse and ymage,
Thynkyng hath grave with deep impressioun
Ech othris fourme, stature, and visage.
Her hertys eye did alwey her message,
And mynde medleth in the memorial,
And fet his foode in the fantastical.


Thoruhout her erys, wellyd of memorye,
The soun of fame of hem so ferre ifet from far and wide
Hath past and wonne the castel of victorye;
Forgetilnesse ne may it nat unshet.
Love berith the keye and also the cliket
As trewe porteer, that they mot needys dwelle;
So ar they loke withyne myndys selle.


Vertu goth ferre; he may nat hyde his liht.
Withoute feet, a gret paas doth he renne,
And wher he shyneth, no dirknesse of the nyht
His beemys dymmen, nor no cloude of synne.
Withoute smoke, fire ne may nat brenne,
And gladly vertu wil into vertu trace
To seeke his feer in every coost or place.


For riht as falsnesse anoon fyndith out his feere,
So trouthe and trouthe as faste been at accorde.
Tweyne of o kynde togidre drawe neere,
So strong of nature is the myhty corde.
Kynde is in werkyng a ful myhty lorde,
In love he lynketh hem that be vertuous
Riht as dissolven thynges that be contrarious.


For lich of lich is serchyd and enqueerid:2
To merthe longith to fynden out gladnesse,
And wo can weepe thouh he be nat leryd,
And dool eek drawith unto drerynesse,
Honour is weddyd unto worthynesse.
Unto his semblable thus every thyng can drawe,
And nothyng bynde hem but natur by hir lawe.


Repoort of vertu, oonly by audience,
From ech to othir hath brouht the blisful soun
Of thes two marchauntis disseveryd by absence,
That they been oon as by affeccioun;
Ther may be maad no divisioun.
Withoute siht, ech is to othir deere,
Love hath her hertys so soore set affyre.


By lond or se the good her chapmen carye
Was entircomownyd by her bothys assent.
Yif oon hadde ouht plesaunt or necessarye,
Unto the tothir anoon he hath it sent,
So ful they were of oon accordement.
As oon in two and two in oon forevere,
That nouht but deth her love may dissevere.


Ferthere to telle how it fel of thes two,
As fortune wolde and eek necessité,
That he of Baldac to Egipt must goo
For marchaundise that was in that contré.
Ful glad he was that he his freend shal see.
A blisful wynd into his seyl hath blowe,
His ship to dryve theras he may hym knowe.


And whan that he was arryved unto londe,
For joye hym thouhte he was in Paradys,
For every lovere may weel undirstonde,
That of frenship the moost sovereyn blys
Is for to be, withouten any mys,
In thilke place where rootid is his herte,
For to relese of love his peynes smerte.


For, riht as aftir the blake nyht of sorwe
Gladnesse folwith thoruh suyng of the day,
And fressh flourys displayen by the morwe
That wern toforn in dirknesse and affray,
And aftir wyntir sueth greene May,
Riht so of freendys, her tristesse for to fyne,
Is liht of presence whan it to them may shyne.


O out on absence of hem that loven trewe!
O out on partyng by disseveraunce!
O ground of woo of her fevere newe!
I meene of freendys that langour in distaunce.
O bittir bale hangyng in ballaunce,
On thee a clamour now I wil begynne,
That causist lovers assondir for to twynne!


But as to them that han itastyd galle,
Mor aggreable is the hoony soote,
Riht so to them that wern in myscheef falle
Is whan they heryn kalendys of her boote.
Of lovers art ful bittir is the roote,
But weel is hym that may the frute atteyne,
As whilom diden thes noble marchauntis tweyne.


For whan that he of Egipt herde seye
How that his freend was entryd into the londe,
For verray joye he felte his herte pleye,
And hym tencontre he seyde he wolde fonde.
And whan they mette, he took hym by the honde
And kist hym aftir, and with unfeyned cheere
He seide, “Wolcom my feithful freend so deere!


Now have I found that I so longe have souht!
Wolcom!” he seide, by rowe an hundryd sithe.
And to his place anoon he hath hym brouht,
And hym receyved with herte glad and blithe.
He maad his menee her deveer doon as swithe
That al wer reedy that myht be to hym ese,
So fayn he was his freend to queeme and plese.


Unto a chaunbre ful riche and weel arrayed
Anoon he lad hym, which stood somwhat on heihte,
And seide, “Freend, I am ful weel appayed well satisfied
That I be grace of you have cauht a sihte,
For nothyng moore myn herte myht lihte. 3
Wherfore wolcom, also, God me save,
Unto your owne and to al that I have.”


Of mete and drynk, deyntees and vitaille,
Of divers wynes, ther was no skarseté;
Of straunge viaundys in sondry apparaille,
That nevir aforn was seen such roialté.
To moore and lasse it snowyd doun plenté.
To rekken the fare and cours in thrifty wyse,
A somerys day ne myht nat suffise. 4


The riche beddyng of sute so weel beseyne,
Passaunt and plesyng, eek the roial paramentis
That for his freend this marchaunt did ordeyne,
With al the soun of dyvers instrumentys,
Revel disguysed with chaung of garnementis,
Of song and musyk, the merthe and melodye,
Al to reherse my witt I can nat plye. 5


They ryde aboute with hauk and eek with houndys,
He shewith hym maneers, castellis, and eek tours; 6
Thoruh al his lordship he lat hym in the boundys,
By park, by forest, by meedwys fressh of flowrs.
And list he were pryked with paramours,
Ful many a lady and maiden by his side
On white palfreys he made for to ryde.


Of al his tresour withyne and withoute,
Nothyng he hidith; of al he hadde a siht.
He saide, “Freend, withouten any doute,
What so I have is platly in your myht,
I feffe you fully in al my good and riht.
Beth glad and wolcom! I can sey you no more,
Have her myn hand for now and evirmore.”


This straunge marchaunt thankyth hym with herte,
Nay, straunge nat; allas, why seid I soo?
I spak amys; this woord now me asterte, 7
Sith in accord confederat been they two,
The boond is maad bothe for wele and woo.
I erryd foule to speke of straungenesse,
Of tweyne allyed so kneet in stabilnesse.


But as I seyde, with al herte entieer
His freend he thankith of entent ful cleene.
For now presence hath maad the wedir cleer,
Of absence chacyd the mystis ful of teene,
Her joiful somer is tapited al in greene.
Of stable blew is her bothen hewe,
To shewe that two in love wer nevir so trewe.


This blisful lyf from day to day they leede,
Tyl that fortune to them had enmyté;
Allas, for dool myn herte I feele bleede, sorrow
For evir unwarly cometh adversité.
This straunge marchaunt hath cauht infirmyté,
A brennyng fevere so soore did hym shake,
That fro the deth he trowith nat to skape.


A bed in haste was maad ful softely,
In which he cowchyd and gan to sike and groone;
His prayeer was to alle pitously
That by hymsilf he myhte been alloone,
So kowde he best geven issu to his moone.
But than his freend for woo began to melte,
That al his peynes he seemyd that he felte.


Thus longith it to freendys entirparte
Nat oonly merthe, but wo and hevynesse;
Yif oon hath peyne, bothe hertis it doth thoruh darte,
Yif that her love be set in sikirnesse;
And yif oon drye, bothe they have distresse.
This is the ballaunce oonly of freendys riht,
Evenly to deele wher they be glad or liht.


And for tassaye yif it myht ese,
The chaunbre is voyded and he is left al sool.
Than to hymselven he spak in his disese,
And seid, “Allas! My langour and my dool!
Now hoot, now coold, I erre as doth a fool,
Allas, and yit the cheffest of my peyne
Is that I dar to no wiht weel compleyne.


I am hurt but closyd is my wounde,
My dethis spere strykith in my brest.
My bollyng festrith that it may nat sounde,
And yit no cicatrice shewith at the lest.
Cupidis darte on me hath maad arrest,
The cleer streemys of castyng of an ye,
This is tharwe me causith for to dye.


And at myn herte is hoolly that I feele,
But aftir cure, God wot, I dar nat seche,
My sweete fo is hard as any steele,
Allas, unmercy doth to cruel wreche.
For thilke flour that myhte be my leche,
She wot rihtnouht what wo that I endure,
And to be ded I dar me nat discure. 8


And eek my freend, whom I love moost of al,
Yif that he knewh my secre maladye,
Ful cruel vengaunce shuld upon me fal
For myn outrage, despiht, and velanye,
That I durst evir clymbyn up so hihe dared
To love that maiden kept for his owne stoor,
Thus must I deyen: what shuld I pleynen mor? 9


I sauh ful many ladyes in the rowte,
So fayr, so fressh, ibrouht for my plesaunce,
But now for oon my liff lith al in dowte,
That of my deth ther is noon avoidaunce.
And yit the thyng that doth me moost grevaunce
Is that I shulde to hym I am so bounde,
Disnatural or traitour been ifounde.


For thilke goodly that he lovyd moost,
I am abowte falsly hym to reve.
Love can no frenship, I se weel in no coost.
Allas, Cupide, disseyvable for to leve!
Love rechchith nat his freend wrath and greve.
Allas of love! Such is the fervent heete
That litil chargith his freend for to leete.” 10


And whil he lay in langour thus musyng,
His freend wol besy was with al his myht
To serche aboute the lond envirounnyng;
His menee riden bothe day and niht
To founden som man that wer expert arriht,
Or phisicien, for no cost wold he spare
To have restoored the sike to weelfare.


Assemblyd been of leechis many oon,
The beste and wisest that he coude fynde;
Unto the sike they been icomen echoon,
To taste his poorys and for to deeme his kynde; 11
They were ful besy to fynd out roote and rynde
Of what humour was causyd his dissese,
And theron werke his accesse to appese.


With hem they brouhte, yif they sey neede,
Ful goode siropys to make dygestyves;
And therwithal the sonnere for to speede,
Pelotes expert for evacuatyves,
Ful precious poudrys and confortatives,
That whan they knew of maladyes the roote,
Nouht were behynden to werken for his boote.


Whan they have serchid by signes his estat,
They merveyle gretly what it myht be,
That his fevere was nat interpollat,
But ay contynueth hoot and in oo degre. 12
They seide certeyn it was noon of the thre,
But yif it were oonly Effymora
For neithir Etyk it was ne Putrida. 13


Effymera hath his original
Whan mannys spiritys been in distemperaunce, 14
Or into excesse yif a wiht be fal,
Of mete and drynk thoruh mysgovernaunce,
Of accidentis, of thouht, of perturbaunce,
Of hoot, of cold, or greef in any maneer,
This fevere cometh as auctours tellen heer.


And Putrida is causyd gladly thus:
Whan any humour synneth in quantité, 15
Or whan his flowyng is too plenteuous
That he excedith mesoure in qualité;
Yif by blood anoon ye may it see.
Yif quantité ouht erre, espyeth it thus:
The fevere in phisyk is callyd Sinochus.


And yif the humour in qualité exceedith,
Or heete or blood passe his temperament, 16
Into a fevere anoon a man it leedith
Clepid Synocha, by putrefaccioun shent.
And yif of Colre he take his groundement,
Pure or unpure, citryn or vitellyne,
Gyles you techith to juge it by uryne.


Also of Étikes ther be kyndes thre,
But oon ther is pereilous in special,
The which is whan, by degré,
Deeply profoundid is heete natural
In thilke humydité icallyd radical;
The which fevere is gladly incurable,
For drye tisyk is withal partable.


Of othir humours han thes leechys eek
Ful deepe enqueeryd to serchen
By every weye that they cowde seek;
In hem was founde defawte noon nor slouthe.
But atte laste of o thyng ha they routhe,
That he were falle, for ouht they cowd espye,
For thouht or love into malencolye. 17


His uryne was remys, attenuat
By resoun gendryd of frigidité,
The veyne ryveers for they wern oppilat,
It was ful thynne and wannyssh for to see.
The streihte passage causyd aquosité,
Withoute substaunce to voyde hym of colour,
That they dispeired been to be his socour.


For whan nature of vertu regitiff controlling
Thoruh malencolye is pressyd and bordoun,
It is to dreede gretly of the lif,
But soone be ordeyned opposicioun;
For it was likly that this passioun
Was eithir thouht, or love that men calle
Amor ereos, that he was in falle;


The roote wherof and the corrupcioun
Is of thilke vertu callid estimatiff,
As yif a man have deep impressioun
That ovirlordshipith his imagynatif;
And that the cours be forth successyf,
To trowe a wiht for love mor fayr or pure,
Than evir hym ordeyned hath God or nature.


This causith man to fallen in manye,
So arn his spiritis vexid by travayle.
Allas, that man shuld fallen in frenesye
For love of woman; that litil may avayle.
For now thes leechys, as by supposayle,
Konne of this man noon othir fevir espye,
But that for love was hool his malladye.


And whan his freend the sothe gan undirgrope
Of this myscheef, he nat ne wolde abide,
But into the chaunbyr anoon he is ilope,
And kneelyd adoun by his beddys syde.
He seyd, “Freend, to me nothyng thu hyde;
Telle me your herte, telle me your hevynesse,
And lat no thouht causen your drerynesse.


Yif loves fevere do yow ouht to quake,
Telle me the soth and rake nat in the fyre;
Out of your slombre for shame why nyl ye wake?
To me uncloose the somme of your desyre!
Be what she be, I shal do my deveere.
Allas, mystrust, to lokke it up fro me,
Telle on, for shame! Com of and lat me see.


Your freend mystruste it is an hih repreeff,
Or to concele from hym your privyté,
Paraventure he may to your myscheeff
Fynde remedye sonnere than may ye.
And sith in feith so deepe isworn be we,
I wol it weten withouten mor delay
What may you helpyn, by God and by my fay.”


And alle the ladyes and maydenys of his hous,
Bothe oold and yong, were brouht to his presence.
And oon ther was so fair and vertuous,
That for hir wysdam and hir excellence
Was moost of alle had in reverence,
The which this marchaunt for oon the beste alyve,
Kept in his hous in purpoos hir to wyve.


Ful wys she was of so tendir age,
Prudent and war and ful of honesté,
Devoyde cleene of vices and outrage,
Whos beauté flouryd and virginité,
Plesaunt of poort, roote of humylité,
Of maneer myrour and welle of womanheede,
Goodly abayssht and femynyn of dreede.


Hool of hir herte, benygne and immutable,
Nat frel fadyng, but ful of affiaunce;
In moral vertu mesuryd and tretable,
Housoold to guye forwar of governaunce;
To been exaunple Kynde hir lyst avaunce, 18
That yif I shal hir shortly comprehende,
In hir was nothyng that Nature myht amende.


The sike marchaunt, whan he hir beheeld,
With dreedful herte and voys ful tymerous,
He seide, “Certis, but mercy be my sheeld!
To you, my freend, that ye be gracious,
That on my trespas ye be nat rigerous
To take vengaunce on myn hih folye,
That I was boold to sette myn herte so hihe.


O mercy, freend, and rewe upon my lif!
Deth fro my gilt I wot is resounable,
Love is gynnere and ground of al my strif,
But in o thyng I am inexcusable,
That I so love that fayr incomperable,
Which is to you so plesaunt and so meete,
And to be slayn, to love I can nat leete. 19


Do what yow list, for tyl myn herte ryve,
I may nat chesyn that I am hir man;
For with mysilf thouh I evirmor stryve,
Ther is noon othir that I love can.
For hir in syknesse I am so pale and wan,
Thus I me confesse and put me in your grace,
My liff, my deeth, is portrayed in hir face.”


This freendly marchaunt of this nat dysmayed,
But with good herte saide as ye may heere:
“Allas, my freend, why art thu so dismayed
For love, anoon, sith thu maist han hir heere? 20
With al hir beauté and cristal eyen cleere,
Betwix yow two in love to make a boond,
I gyf hir thee; have, tak hir by the hond.


And ful and hool, as I have any riht,
I give hir thee, which is so wys and sage.
Rys up anoon, and be riht glad and liht,
For I wil makyn between yow the maryage,
And bere thexpence fully and costage
Of your weddyng”; and hath a day iset
Of hir spousayl, to see the knotte iknet.


Anoon he ros, supportyd by gladnesse,
And doun he fel lowly on his kne,
And hym he thankyd for his gentillesse,
That fro the deth hath maad hym skapid fre.
“Allas,” he seide, “Whan shal I thanken thee,
That hast so freely thyn owne love forsake,
Thy freend to save hool and sound to make?”


The passaunt costys, the feeste of her weddyng,
Justys and revel and al the purveiaunce,
The grete giftys, the cheer so surmountyng,
I wante witt to telle the circumstaunce;
For Ymeneus that hath the governaunce
Of such feestys to make accordement,
I trowe that Fortune was therat present.


Thus is the syke of his langour lissyd,
The blosme of bounté by frenshipe hath he wonne,
For hertly merthe to hym is now nat myssyd,
No shadwe of sorwe forfarith nat his sonne;
His freend to hym abrochyd hath the tonne
Of freendly triacle, for nevir I radde yit,
O freend to anothir that so weel hath hym quyt. 21


To hym relesyd he hath his hertly glorye,
Hymsilf dismyttid of his inward joye, 22
The briht myrour, the liht of his memorye,
Which al his rancour by refut cowde coye; 23
He hath forsake the guyere of his joye,
His lives lanterne, staff of his crokyd age,
To bryng his freend in quiete out of rage.


Of this mateer what shuld I write mor?
I wil entrete this processe forth in pleyn:
Hir and hir jowellys, hir richesse and hir stor,
He hath hym yoven, the stoory seith certeyn,
And hom with al repayred is ageyn,
And lad hir with hym, as was his freendys wyl,
Which cowde nat feyne his plesaunce to fulfyl. 24


At ther departyng, the moornyng that is for to wite,
The wooful teerys, dolour, and hevynesse,
Myn herte bleedith whan I therof endite,
To knowe her trouble, turment, and distresse.
But of this marchaunt, lyst the kyndenesse:
His freendys partyng did hym mor to smerte
Than love of hir that sat so nyh his herte.


Moornyng for absence he is left allone,
The tothir streiht to Baldoc, his contré,
With wyf and catel the riht weye is gone,
And ther receyved with gret solennyté.
Her lyf they ledde in gret prosperité,
His wif and he of oon herte in quyete,
For with a bettir no man ne myht mete.


Ther was no stryf between hem, nor debate,
But ful accordid they be bothe nyht and day.
She hym obeyeth in al, erlich and late,
Whan he seid “ya,” she coud nat sey “nay”;
A bettir wyf was nevir at al assay. 25
Joyned in oon, thus been her hertys two
That nouht but deth her love may fordoo.


For alle wyves, as ferre as evir I kneuh,
Withyne her brest hath growyng pacience,
Suffryng and meeke they been ilich new.
But yif so be that men hem doon offence,
They love nat men make experience
Of her lownesse; but lyst I hem displese
Ye gete no more; passe ovir is an ese.


Thus leve I hem in her jolité,
I meene thes two, ech lykyng othir weel,
I speke no mor of her felicité,
For no man may such joye and merthe feel,
But he were expert to telle it everydeel.
For to the marchaunt of Egipt wil I turne,
Which for his freend in woo I lefte moorne.


But now, allas, who shal my stile guye?
Or hensforth who shall be my muse?
For verray dool I stond in jupartye,
Al merthe of makyng my mateer mot refuse, 26
Me into stoon transmued hath Meduse,
For verray stonyng of Fortunys fikylnesse,
That for the merveyle no woord I can expresse.


Allas, Meggera, I mot now unto thee
Of herte calle to helpe me compleyne,
And to thy sustir eek Thesiphone,
That aftir joye Goddessys been of peyne.
O weepyng Mirre, now lat thy teerys reyne
Into myn ynke, so clubbyd in my penne,
That rowthe in swaggyng abrood make it renne.


It sitt thee nat enlumyned for to be
Of othir colour, but oonly al of sable.
O doolful mateer! Who so now reede thee,
He may weel seyn this world is ful chaungable!
For how this marchaunt, whilom so worshipable,
I meene of Egipt, Fortune did avale,
Mot be as now remenaunt of my tale.


To hym Fortune hir falsnesse hath overt,
Hir swift wheel turned up so doun,
For he is fallen and plonget in povert,
Thoruh vanysshyng of his possessioun.
Now al is brouht into destruccioun,
Rychesse and freendys been alle ifeere goon,
And he in myscheef is sool ilefft aloon.


This newe Job, icast in indigence,
He weepith, wayleth, soleyn and solitarye,
Allone he drouh hym, fleeyng al presence,
And evir his lif he gan to curse and warye.
“O out on neede, of malys multipharye!”
He gan to crye in his ire and woo,
Lych a man in furye forpoosyd to and froo.


For remembraunce of oold prosperité
Hath with a darte hym woundid to the herte.
Mor unkouth was to hym adversité,
That nevir toforn no trouble did hym smerte.
For mor despeyred he was for a sterte,
That he ne hadde of woo noon excersise,
Hym thouhte it was to hym a newe emprise.


Thus is the sweete of his tranquyllité,
Ful neewly turned into bittirnesse;
Thus is he valyd adoun from hih degré
Ful many a steiher lowe into wrechydnesse. 27
His lyf he leedith al in werynesse,
For now Fortune hath chaungid newe his weede,
Freend nor foo ne took of hym noon heede.


Out by hymsilf, walkyng in wildirnesse,
He gan to pleyne his sodeyn poore estaat,
And seide, “Allas, wher is the kyndenesse
Of alle my freendys to me, disconsolaat?
I pley sool; I am almoost chekmaat,
That whilom hadde my menee me aboute,
Now destitut, I am beshet withoute.


Now am I repreef to my freendys alle,
Markyd of many and of the peeple fable,
Now wot I nat to whom for helpe calle,
That sat so glorious somtyme at my table.
And they that than wer to me servisable,
Han by despit at myscheef me forsake, 28
Gret cause have I an outcry for to make.


O out on shame, of hauhtesse plongid lowe!
O out on dolour, of lordship brouht to nouht!
O out on richesse, with vanyté forblowe,
Forsakyng soone and with gret travayle souht!
O worldly blisse of me ful dere abouht,
Thy sodeyn turn now doublith my grevaunce,
Mor than of it I nevir hadde had plesaunce.


Now hongir, thrust, unkouth sueth to me,
Unwarly sueth my passyd habundaunce; 29
Now cold, now nakyd in necessité,
I walke aboute for my sustenaunce,
Whilom in plenté and now al in grevaunce.
Allas! My fulle is derkyd into wane,
With wynd forwhirlyd as is a muaunt fane.


O, in this world what woo and werynesse!
What mortal torment assaileth al aboute!
What grevous molest and what besynesse,
With many assaut in dreed doth us to doute!
Now up, now doun as doth a curraunt goute,
So ar we travailed with solicitude!
The world with mowhes so weel can us delude


But I knowe weel, who trustith on thee moost,
Shal be deceyved whan he to thee hath neede.
Wher is the clarioun of thy cry and boost,
That to skyes my fame did beede?
Who servyth thee, what shal be his meede,
Whan that he wenyth thu maist hym most availe,
Than in the hand rathest thu wilt hym fayle?” 30


O seely marchaunt, myn hand I feele quake,
To write thy woo in my translacioun,
Ful ofte I weepe also for thy sake
For to beholde the revolucioun
Of thy degree and transmutacioun.
Allas, to thee I can no bet diffence,
Than thee to arme strongly in pacience.


Nat oonly thu, but every man on lyve,
How hih in throne he sittith exaltat,
Lat hym nat tempte ageyns God to stryve,
But take His sonde meekly withoute debat,
For who so do, he is infortunat;
No wele is worthy that may no woo endure,
Wherfor ech man tak paciently his ewre.


For Senek seith with ful hih sentence,
Of preef in povert, who so that hym reede
In thylke book he made of providence,
That he unhappy is, withouten dreede,
Which nevir ne hadde adversité nor neede.
Of whom the goddys dempten pleynly thus:
“Withouten assay no man is vertuous.”


And yif a tre with frut be ovirlade,
In his Epistles he seith as ye may see:
Both braunche and bouh wol enclyne and fade,
And greyne oppressith too moche uberté.31
Riht so it farith of fals felicité,
That yif his weihte mesure do exceede,
Than of a fal gretly is to dreede.


But why that God this marchaunt list visite, 32
As I suppose, it was hym for to preeve;
Thouh he were wooful, he was the lasse wite,
Sith nevir afforn Fortune did hym greeve.
From his wantrust he was brouht in beleeve,
That he weel kneuh this world was ful unstable,
And nat abydyng, but evirmor variable.


And whan he kneuh the grete unsikyrnesse
Of worldly lust, by preef in special,
On knees he fel with devout humblesse,
Ful lowe of herte, and thankyd God of al,
And sayde, “Lord, thouh I have had a fal,
Ne put me nat fro thy proteccioun,
Sith I it take for my probacioun.


But, goode Lord, lat me thy grace fynde,
And guye my wittis that I be nat despeyred;
But me enspeere, puttyng in my mynde
Som hoope of refut that am so soore appeyred.
And thouh to richesse ther be no grees isteyred
Tascenden up, as I was wont to doone,
Yit, goode Lord, do confort to my boone.”


And whil he lay thus in his orisoun,
Ful poorly clad in ful symple weede,
His herte was brouht in consolacioun,
Which into lissyng his langour did leede.
He thouhte he wolde preeve his freend at neede, 33
And unto Baldac, for to make assay,
In pilgrym wise he took the rihte way.


And whan he was comen to that londe,
Ful soore afferd he was for to compleyne.
“Allas!” he seide, “Myn herte dar nat fonde
Unto my freend to shewen out my peyne,
That whiloom was in richesse so hauhteyne;
For to be ded, I dar nat for shamfastnesse
Nat shewe a poynt to hym of my distresse.” 34


And eek that it was somwhat late
Whan he was entryd into that cité,
Hym liked nat to knocken at the gate,
And namly in so poore degré,
And it was nyht; therfor he lefte be,
List of his freend he were anoon refusyd
As man unknowe, or for som spye accusyd.


Into a temple foundid by dayes olde,
He is ientryd a place al desolat,
And leyd hym doun by the wallys colde,
So weyk, so wery, forwandryd, and format. 35
O pompe unporisshyd, whilom so elat!
Take heed, ye ryche, of what estat ye bee,
For in this marchaunt your myrour ye may see.


How many a man hath fortune assayled tested
With sleihte icast, whan he best wende ha stonde,
Her habiriownys of steel also unmayled;
For al her trust she nolde the lasse wonde 36
To pleye this pleye bothe with free and bonde.
For who stood evir yit in sureté, security
That in som siht infect was his degré? 37


For by exaumplys Nature doth declare,
Which is of God mynystir and vikeer,
Withoute tonge she biddith us beware
By thylke sterrys that shynen briht and cleer,
Which, by her concours and mevyng circuleer
In her discens, westyng undir wavys, 38
Us to enfourmen by chaungyng of hir lawys.


And fewe of hem alway to us appeere, 39
But yif it be the bere briht and sheene
In thilke plow that Arthow doth it steere;
For yit Boetes, that twynkelith wondir keene,
Somwhile is dym that men may nat hym seene;
Eek Lucifeer, at morowhil prymycere,
By nyht hym hidith undir our empeere.


The day doth passe of vanité and glorye,
And nyht approchith whan Titan is gon doun,
But who list wynne the palme by victorye,
The world to venquyssh ful of elacioun,
Lat hym despise as a chaunpioun
Al erthly lustys that shynen but in dreede, 40
And of this marchaunt evir among tak heede.


Evir entirmedlyd is merthe and hevynesse,
Now liht, now soory, now joiful,
Now cleer aloffte, now lowe in dirknesse;
As Jubiter hath couchyd tonnes two
Withyne his ceeleer, platly and no moo,
That oon is ful of joye and gladnesse,
That othir ful of sorwe and bittirnesse.


Who that wil entren to tamen of the sweete
He must as weel taken his aventure
To taste in bittir, or he the vessel leete,
And bothe ilich of strong herte endure.
He may nat clense the thykke from the pure;
For who that wil swetnesse first abroche,
He mot be war or bittir wol approche.


Of thes two idronken at the fulle
Hath this marchaunt that I of spak erwhyle.
The laste bevere so maad his hed to dulle
That he ne lest but litil lawh or smyle.
Expert he was bothe of trust and guyle,
For wher that he his beddyng whilom chees,
Slept on the ground now nakyd herberwelees.


And whil that he lay sleepyng in this wise,
An hap befel of two men in the toun,
Betwix the which a contek gan to ryse
Riht ther besyde, with gret noyse and soun;
That oon his felawe hath slayn and boredoun,
Undir the temple wher as this marchaunt lay,
And left hym ther and fled anoon his way.


The toun was reised with rumour riht anoon,
And to the temple faste gonne renne,
Now heer, now ther, ful swyftly they goon,
To taken hym that hadde wrouht this synne;
Tyl atte laste they souhte han hym withynne,
And with the noyse, as they gonne in threste,
The poore marchaunt abrayd out of his reste.


Riht for astonyd, palen gan his hewe
Whan they hym asken what mystirman he were,
Or yif that he thomycide knewe
That hadde slayn the man that liggith there.
And he anoon withouten dreed or fere
Seyde, “Certeynly, thouh ye me hange and drawe,
No wiht but I hath this man islawe.”


His covetise was to ha be ded,
That he by deth hys myserye myht fyne;
His woo heeng on hym hevyere than led,
And poverté did hym so moche pyne,
He wolde that deth had leyd hook and lyne
Tacacchyd hym into his bittir las.
Therfor on hym he took this hih trespas.


“O deth, desyred in adversité,
Whan thu art callyd, why nylt thu wrecchys heere?
And art so reedy in felicité
To come to them that thee nothyng desire?
O com now, deth, and maak of me thy feere!”
This marchaunt crieth in his wooful herte,
So ful he was of inward peynes smerte.


Anoon he was itaken and ibounde,
And cast in prisoun, tyl on the nexte morwe,
And than itaken and brouht as they hym founde,
Aforn the justice for no man wold hym borwe;
To seen a fyn he hopith of his sorwe,
Fordempt he was thoruh his owne speche,
By jugement to han for deth the wreche.


And than as faste as he to deth was lad,
His oold freend happyd forby passe,
The which beheeld hym with cheer demure and sad, 41
And kneuh the feturys and signes of his face;
And anoon he prayeth leyseer to hym, and space,
For to been herd of hem in pacience,
And stynt awhyle to give hym audience.


“Sires,” he seith, “So it nat yow displese,
This man is dampned, so ful of innocence,
And giltles ye don hym this disese.
For I mysilf have wrouht this gret offence,
To me it fallith tencurren the sentence
Of deth, the trouthe weel to founde,
For with myn hand I gaff his dedly wounde.”


His herte was meevyd of oold naturesse
To save his freend, and for hym for to deye,
And he was hent anoon and pullyd by duresse;
With sure arrest they handys on hym leye
And al her lust meekly he did obeye.
Tofore the juge he was ilad and drawe,
Wher he was dampned by concours of the lawe. 42


Thoo was he lad with weepyng and pité Thereupon
Toward his deth, of many hym besyde;
His poore freend was loos at liberté,
Which thouhte for woo deth thoruh his herte glyde.
Whyls in the prees, the verray homycide,
That sothfastly that deede hadde iwrouht,
Spak to hymsylf thus in his owne thouht:


“Allas, myn herte, hard as the dyamaunt!
How maist thu suffre this cruelté to seen?
Allas, thoruh remors, why ne were I repentaunt,
The southfast trouthe to be confessyd cleen?
Allas this wrong! How may I thus susteen
To see afore me ungilté thus itake,
And lad to dethward oonly for my sake?


O rihtwys God, to whom ech pryvyté
Is pleyn and open to Thy magnyficence,
O Lord that knowyst myn hyd iniquité,
Beholdyng al, O Sonne of Sapience,
Ne take no vengaunce of myn hih offence,
That I so longe concelyd have the trouthe,
But of thy mercy, Lord, have on me routhe!


For weel I wot that of thy rihtwysnesse,
Thu must me punysshen at thy jugement,
And thouh thu suffre awhile in esynesse,
Blood wil have wreche that wrongfully is spent.
O blood ungilté! O blood so innocent!
How canst thu gon to deth and nat compleyne,
To wreke thee aftir on me with cruel peyne? 43


To the hih God, eternal in His see,
Blood crieth out that is ishad in wronge,
And seith, ‘O lord, whan wilt Thu vengyd bee
Upon our deth? Why bydist Thu so longe?’
Of innocentys, this is the noote and songe.
Wherfor I wol, whil I have lif and space,
The sothe be knowe, and put me in Thy grace.


It is too moche that I have slayn oon,
And but I speke, toward is anothir,
The which is domb and stille as ony stoon,
For verray love for to save his brothir;
Everych is reedy to fonge deth for othir.
Now wyl I goon and pleynly me confesse,
And for my gilt receyven the redresse.”


With open mouth, lowde he gan to crye:
“O ye disceyved peeple by errour,
That innocent, allas, why shal he dye,
Which nevir ne was his lyve trespasour?
Turneth ageyn and let be this clamour,
And let to me her doom been hool reserved, 44
For I am he that hath the deth disserved.


Let hym go loos, sith he of gilt is fre;
It is mysilf that hath the deede ido!
Why wyl ye erren and punysshen verité,
And let falsnesse at his large go?”
The peeple of this gan for to wondren tho,
And eek the justices, of this sodeyn chaunce,
That alle here wittis wer hangid in ballaunce.


Yit nevirtheles thus they iwrouhte:
The firste they unbounde, and this othir take,
And by assent hem everychon ibrouhte
Tofore the kyng, and ther a processe make:
How ech of thes hath don for othrys sake,
And prayn hym good juge for to bee
To fynde a wey the trouthe for to see.


This worthy kyng, to serchyn out the riht,
Shewith hymsilf bothe wys and eek tretable,
And made mercy to goon aforn his myht
Shapyng a mene ful just and resonable.
To alle thre he shewyd hym merciable
Of al the crym; withyne woordys fewe,
Pardon he grauntith so they the trouthe shewe.


Of al the cas they have no poynt isparyd:
First of her frenship, joye, and adversité,
But woord by woord, the stoory hool declaryd,
Bothe of thes tweyne the love and unyté —
Ye han that herd; ye gete no mor of me —
And how the thrydde hadde a conscience
For his trespace so dampned innocence.


With gret merveile they wondryn on this thyng,
To seen in frenship so hool affeccioun;
And specially this wise, worthy kyng
Gan wisshe of herte that thoruh his regioun
Were ful affermyd an obligacioun
Of such enteernesse fro man to man aboute;
Of tresoun than ful litil wer to doute. 45


Ful hard it were tacomplisshen his desyr,
Or in his rewm such a bargeyn dryve,
The aeyer infect, the wedir is nat cleer,
Ne nevir ne shal whil tresoun is so ryve.
For now, of trowthe, no man can contryve
A verray seel, or thenpreent igrave,
Withoute a label his armes hool to save. 46


But whan thys kyng hath thus doon hem grace,
He let hem goo at her eleccioun; free will
And he of Baldac hath lad hoom to his place
His poore freend with gret processioun,
He rayeth hym newe with good affeccioun,
And seide, “Freend, your pensiffheed asswage,
And for povert ne beeth no more in rage.


But here anoon, as ferre as it may laste,
Of al my good, halvendeel is youre.
I wyl that it departyd be as faste
At your devise, your povert to socoure.
For our frenship shal every sesoun floure,
And in short tyme, I telle it you in pleyn,
Ye shul to richesse restooryd be ageyn.


And than, at erst avised, ye may telle,
Unto your contré whedir ye wil returne,
Or heer with me al your lyff dwelle;
The choys is your, look no more ye moorne,
And whersobe ye goon, or heer sojourne,
Have heer my trouthe: our hertys shul been oon
Whil breeth may laste, and nevir unsondir goon.”


By egal witt his goodys everychon equal judgment
Wer tho departyd betwix thes freendys two,
Bycause this marchaunt wold algatys gon
Hom to his contré that he lovyd soo.
The stoory tellith withoute woordys moo,
Riht into Egipt he is goon ageyn.
Of her frenship what shuld I you moor seyn?


I say you platly, so as it seemyth me,
Of thyng weel preevyd to maken rehersayl
Too oftyn sith it were but vanyté, 47
Lest tediousté your erys did assayl;
Sith ye it knowe, it may nothyng avayl
Of her frenship ferther more divyne,
For as they gonne, so in love they fyne.



Thus of this tale to you I make an eende.
On my rewde tellyng of curtesye ye rewe.
And God I prey that He His grace sende
That every freend to othir be as trewe
As were thes marchauntis, alway ilich newe.
This my desyr in al degrees of men.
That it so be, I pray you seith “Amen.”


once (long ago); (t-note)

generous; (t-note)
gathered together; (t-note)
benevolent and merciful; (t-note)
(see note)

Before; (t-note)


listen; (t-note)
(see note)

(see note)
Syria; the Orient (East); (t-note)
also the Red Sea
Libya; West
calculates (see note); (t-note)

far toward the south

to make fertile

the region
goods; wish for; (t-note)

man has enough

Of whom I have spoken; renowned
a person; (t-note)
would not like to; (see note); (t-note)
by word of mouth

other; also
he had looked after all of his profits; (t-note)
(see note)
their; (t-note)

(see note)(t-note)
engraved a deep impression [of]; (t-note)
face; (t-note)
imagination; carried their messages (see note)
intermingled; (see note)
found its emotional satisfaction; (t-note)

ears; resounding with (filled with); (t-note)
from far and wide; (t-note)
Forgetfulness; (t-note)
must necessarily
Thus are they locked (see note); (t-note)

(see note)
great pace; run; (t-note)

burn (t-note)
(see note), (t-note)
peer; region; (t-note)

soon; its
quickly; (t-note)

Nature; (t-note)
those; (t-note)
Just as; (t-note)

educated; (t-note)
sorrow draws towards; (t-note)

Toward that which is similar; (t-note)

by word of mouth; (t-note)
report; (t-note)
one; (t-note)

keenly; (t-note)

goods; agents (t-note)
intermingled; their common
If; anything
immediately; (t-note)

(see note)
nothing; sever; (t-note)

willed (required); (see note); (t-note)

(see note), (t-note)
to the place where; (t-note)


without exception; (t-note)
that; (t-note)
alleviate; sharp; (t-note)

just as; (see note); (t-note)
because of the ensuing day; (t-note)
follows; (t-note)
Just so; their sadness; end; (t-note)

away with (fie on); (see note); (t-note)

fate; (see note)

have; bitterness; (see note); (t-note)
have fallen into trouble; (t-note)
news of a remedy


he said he would meet him; (t-note)
sincere; (t-note)

what; (t-note)
a hundred times in a row; (t-note)

servants do their duty; quickly
eager; make comfortable

well-appointed; (t-note)
rather high; (t-note)
well satisfied

You are welcome to whatever I have; (t-note)

delicacies, meat
exotic foods presented elaborately; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)


suite; well furnished; (t-note)
Excellent; decorations; (t-note)

sound, music
costumed revels; (t-note)

property (lands); (see note); (t-note)
meadows; (t-note)
lest; aroused by the desire to love


I have is all yours

foreign; (t-note)
(see note)

united; (t-note)
for good and bad (for wealth or misfortune); (see note); (t-note)
erred badly
two; knit

wholeheartedly; (see note)
very sincerely; (see note); (t-note)

troubles; (see note)
decorated (as with tapestry); (see note); (t-note)
Both take on the stable color of blue; (see note); (t-note)

(see note); (see t-note)
Always unexpectedly; (see note)
burning ; (t-note)
from; he believed he could not

lay; sigh and groan; (see note); (t-note)

give issue to
(see note)

it is appropriate for friends to share; (see note), (t-note)

stability; (t-note)
shrivels; (t-note)
share whether; (t-note)

to test (try); (t-note)
chamber; emptied; alone; (t-note)

(see note)
worst (t-note)
no one; (t-note)

closed (i.e., secret, hidden); (see note); (t-note)
morbid swelling festers; heal; (t-note)
scar; (t-note)
has rested on me; (t-note)
eye; (see note); (t-note)
the arrow; (t-note)

I feel it entirely in my heart; (t-note)
God knows; seek
the cruelty to a poor wretch; (t-note)
doctor (cure)
(see note); (t-note)

secret ailment;
effrontery; disobedience
dared; (t-note)

company; (t-note)
my life is in doubt; (t-note)


that lovely [one]; (t-note)
knows; (see note); (t-note)
deceitful to trust
cares not; (t-note)


wretchedness; fretting; (t-note)
fully occupied; (t-note)
retainers; (t-note)
To find someone who was indeed expert

sick man; well-being

doctors; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
completely; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
work to alleviate his illness; (t-note)

saw; (t-note)
furthermore; the more quickly to heal; (t-note)
Pills appropriate; (t-note)
the root of the illness; (t-note)
Were not slow to work for his cure; (t-note)

condition; (t-note)


Except (i.e., Unless it were; (see note); (t-note)

originates; (see note)
or if a man has fallen into excess; (t-note)


as a rule; (see note)

its; (t-note)
If it errs in quantity, note it thus
medical science

corrupted by putrifying
if bile is the cause [of the fever]; (see note); (t-note)
pale yellow or deep yellow
(see note); (t-note)

recurrent wasting fevers; (see note); (t-note)
particularly perilous
The body’s natural heat deeply penetrates; (t-note)
Into the primary moisture of the body
as a rule; (t-note)
severe cough; tolerable; (t-note)


no fault or laziness; (t-note)
had; pity (compassion)
(see note)

watery thin; (see note)
caused by
blocked; (see note); (t-note)
narrow; too much fluid
help; (t-note)

controlling virtue; (see note)
borne down
The life is in danger
Unless an antidote can be prescribed quickly; (t-note)
anxiety (mental distress)
The disease of lovesickness; (see note); (t-note)

origin; misfunctioning; (t-note)
the faculty of reason; (see note); (t-note)

overpowers the faculty of imagination; (t-note)
as the course of the disease progresses; (t-note)
believe; (t-note)

mania; (see note); (t-note)
are; troubled by suffering; (t-note)
frenzy; (t-note)
Could; (t-note)

truth; began to grasp; (see note)
arrived; (t-note)

you; (t-note)


makes you quake; (t-note)
truth; suffer; (t-note)
why won’t you wake up
from; (t-note)
Come on

reproof; (t-note)

faith (i.e., most certainly, truly)



to marry

capable (wise); (t-note)
Completely free; sin; (t-note)

demeanour; (t-note)
source of womanliness; (t-note)
modest and shy

Sincere; benign; calm; (t-note)
not fragile or frail; confidence; (t-note)
guide; very careful; (t-note)
briefly describe

when he saw her
a heart full of dread
Indeed, may mercy protect me

have pity on my life
for; know
the origin of

wish; break

(see note)



bear the expense and costs; (t-note)
has set a day; (t-note)
their marriage; knot knit

noble behavior
completely escape; (t-note)


surpassing; their
Jousts; revelry; provisions
the great cheer; (t-note)
lack; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
feasts to create accord
believe; (t-note)

sick [man]; relieved of his suffering
disfigures; (t-note)
has tapped the cask; (see note); (t-note)
triacle [i.e., a remedy]; read

divested; (t-note)
refuge [i.e. comfort]; soothe; (t-note)
guide; (t-note)
life’s; (t-note)

(see note)
plainly give an account; (t-note)
jewels, riches, and goods
given; as the story says
everything is returned

mourning; know; (t-note)
listen [to]; (t-note)
hurt him more

other straight
chattels; (see note)


early; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

destroy; (t-note)

as far as I ever knew; (see note); (t-note)

ever constant; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
obedience (humility) lest I displease them; (t-note)
it is better to pass over this matter; (t-note)

Thus I leave them in their happiness; (t-note)

Unless; entirely; (t-note)
mourning; (t-note)

guide; (see note)
henceforth; (t-note)
transformed; (see note); (t-note)
astonishment; (t-note)
because of this wonderment

must; (see note)
let your tears rain
ink; clogged; pen; (t-note)
assuaging; flow; (t-note)

black; (t-note)
Whoever reads you

honorable (noble);(see note); (t-note)
treat; (t-note)
Must; the remainder; (t-note)

revealed; (t-note)
upside down; (t-note)
Riches; together; (t-note)

(see note)
drew himself; (t-note)
angrily lament
malice of many kinds; (t-note)

agitated (severely troubled)

(see note)
cause him pain
for a time; (t-note)


fallen down; (see note); (t-note)
stair; (t-note)

clothing; (see note); (t-note)

complain; condition; (t-note)

alone; checkmated; (t-note)
once; household
shut out

subject of gossip; (see note)
know; not; (t-note)
willing to serve; (t-note)

pride; (t-note)
nothing; (t-note)
puffed-up; (t-note)

dearly bought; (see note); (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

My full moon is waning
whirled about; shifting weathervane; (t-note)

affliction; anxiety; (t-note)
assault; puts us into doubt
running gout; (see note); (see note)
troubled with care
mockery (deceptions) well; (t-note)

whoever; (see note); (t-note)
proclaim; (t-note)
Whoever serves; reward; (t-note)
thinks you will most help him; (t-note)

wretched; (see note)

position and great change
know no better defense; (t-note)


who does so (i.e., debates)
prosperity; misfortune; (see note); (t-note)

Seneca; with great wisdom; (see note); (t-note)
that; (t-note)

judge; (t-note)

laden; (see note); (t-note)

incline and fade
It is the same way with false happiness
is likely; (t-note)

to test him
the less to blame; (t-note)

lack of confidence; to believe; (t-note)
knew; (see note)

pleasure; particular experience

testing (trial by adversity)


relief; sorely diminished (damaged); (t-note)
steps arranged in the form of stairs; (see note); (t-note)
as I used to do; (t-note)
please grant my prayer

prayer; (t-note)
garments; (t-note)

relief; distress
(see note); (t-note)
to make trial (i.e., to test his friendship)
Like a pilgrim; (t-note)

attempt; (t-note)
expose; pain


particularly in so low a rank
Lest his friend refused him
As a stranger; spy; (t-note)

ancient temple; (t-note)
has entered; (t-note)

dejected; (t-note)
impoverished, formerly so exalted; (t-note)
rank (position); (see note)

tested; (t-note)
game; free and bound (i.e., everyone); (t-note)
security; (t-note)

(see note)
minister and vicar
be aware; (see note); (t-note)
those; (t-note)
their courses and circular motion; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
inform us; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
Unless it is the bear (the Big Dipper); (see note); (t-note)
Arcturus; (t-note)
In addition; Boötes; wonderfully bright; (t-note)
Sometimes; (t-note)
the morning star (see note); (see note); (t-note)
hides himself under the empyrean; (see note); (t-note)

the sun
vanquish; elation
champion; (t-note)
as a warning; (t-note)

intermingled; (see note); (t-note)
put down two casks; (see note); (t-note)
cellar; precisely; more

broach (i.e., open); (t-note)
before; relinquish; (t-note)
separate the impurities; (t-note)
tap; (t-note)
be careful; (t-note)

formerly; (t-note)
beverage made his head so dazed; (t-note)
cared little for laughing or smiling; (t-note)
Whereas; formerly chose; (t-note)
without shelter; (t-note)

in this way; (t-note)
chance event
Between whom conflict arose; (t-note)
overcome; (t-note)
behind; (t-note)
immediately; (t-note)

ran very quickly; (t-note)

committed; (t-note)
they have sought him within; (t-note)
thrust in; (t-note)
awoke suddenly

Completely astonished, he turned pale; (t-note)
what kind of person he was
the murderer
person; slain; (t-note)

wish; have; (t-note)
end; (t-note)
hung; lead
gave him so much pain (t-note)
wished; (t-note)
To have caught him in his bitter noose; (t-note)
on himself; serious transgression; (t-note)

adversity; (see note)
happiness (prosperity)

partner; (see note); (t-note)
sharp inner pains

taken and bound
Before; give surety (i.e., bail); (t-note)
end; (t-note)
Convicted; (t-note)
to have death as punishment; (t-note)

just as; led; (t-note)
happened to pass nearby; (t-note)

leisure; (t-note)
to be heard by them patiently; (t-note)

guiltless; you wrong him; (t-note)
to incur
to pursue the truth; (t-note)
gave; (t-note)

fellow-feeling; (t-note)
secure (firm); lay; (t-note)
will; (t-note)
Before; led and dragged

with many beside him; (t-note)

Who; (t-note)
crowd; true murderer
Who had truly done the deed; (t-note)
Spoke; (t-note)

diamond; (t-note)
allow; see; (t-note)
am I not repentant; (t-note)
To be confessed of the genuine truth; (t-note)
[the] unguilty [one] taken thus; (t-note)


hidden iniquity; (t-note)
(see note)
concealed; (t-note)

know; justice (precepts); (t-note)
you will allow mercy sometimes; (t-note)
vengeance; (see note); (t-note)


seat (throne)
wrongly shed
(see note)
Why do you wait so long?
innocent people; note
Therefore I will
truth; (t-note)

too much
unless; imminent [is the death of] another
dumb; quiet
Each one; undergo; (t-note)
punishment; (t-note)


leave off

since (t-note)
who has done the deed; (t-note)
err and punish truth; (t-note)
and let falseness go free?; (t-note)
then began to marvel; (t-note)
also; at this sudden occurrence; (t-note)

this is what they did
brought all three of them; (t-note)
related the tale; (t-note)


to search out the truth
wise and reasonable; (t-note)
put mercy before might; (t-note)
solution very; (t-note)
himself merciful
in a few words; (t-note)
as long as they told the truth; (t-note)

spared no detail

have; (see note); (t-note)
for his sin of condemning innocence; (t-note)

such complete affection


complete loyalty

It would be hard
realm; (t-note)
is infected; (t-note)
nor will it be; rife; (t-note)
contrive (produce)

granted them mercy; (t-note)
free will
procession (with the sense of celebration)
arrayed; (t-note)
be relieved of your vexation (anxiety)
distress; (t-note)

half is yours; (t-note)
will have it divided immediately; (t-note)
at your discretion (i.e., as you like); cure


having first considered [the matter]; (t-note)
(t-note); wherever
pledge; (see note); (t-note)
asunder; (t-note)

equal judgment (wisdom); (t-note)
particularly wanted to go


plainly to you; (t-note)
made evident

describe; (t-note)
as they began, so they end in love; (t-note)

unsophisticated; have pity; (t-note)
always unchanging (i.e., constant)

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