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Confessio Amantis: Book 1

The marginal Latin glosses, identified by a capital L in the left margin next to the text, are transcribed and translated in the notes and can be accessed by clicking on (see note) at the corresponding line.


1 Love fashioned for nature’s ends subjects the world to the laws of nature, and incites harmonized ones to wildness [or: incites wild ones to harmony]. Love is seen to be the prince of this world, whose bounty rich man, poor man, and every man demand. Equal in the contest are Love and Fortune, both of which turn their blind wheels to entrap the people. Love is a sharp salvation, a troubled quiet, a pious error, a warring peace, a sweet wound, a soothing ill.

2 I do not outdo Sampson’s powers or Hercules’ arms; but I am conquered as they were, by a love equal to theirs. Experience of the deed teaches so that others might learn what path should be held amidst uncertain circumstances. The twisting progress of one leading instructs another following at his back in the dangers already met, so that he too should not fall. Therefore, those disasters by which Venus ensnared me as a lover I strive to write, publicly, as example for the world.

3 Having confessed to Genius, I will try to discover whether that is the healing medicine for the diseases that Venus herself has transmitted. Even limbs wounded by the knife may be brought to health by treatment; yet rarely does the wound of love have a physician.

4 Vision and hearing are fragile gateways of the mind, which no vice-weakened hand can keep shut. A wide path is there by which an enemy strides to the inner cave of the heart and, entering, seizes the buried coin. These first principles Genius the Confessor offers me, while my vexed life is in deadly peril. But now as much as a half-living speech might be uttered, I will fearfully press out through my mouth words privy to my thoughts.

5 Higher than an eagle and more fierce than a lion is that one whom the swelling of a heart, borne upwards, moves to the heights. There are five species over which Pride clamors that she is the leader, and the world clings to those in many ways. By enchanting the face with a feigned paleness, Hypocrisy decks out honey-sweet words with his frauds. And thus time and again he overwhelms pious, womanly souls by means of humble speech with deceit hidden underneath.

6 To bend is thought better than to break, and the attack of the earthen pot cannot prevail over the cauldron. Many a time the man whom neither human nor divine law is strong enough to bend is bent over in his heart by love. The man whom love cannot bend cannot be bent by anything, for his inflexibility stands firmer than an elephant. Love disdains those he can recognize as rebels, and he sees to it that the uncivil have an uncivil fate. But he who, a pious man, freely subjects himself to Love in his heart, in adversities shatters all fates.

7 The proud man generates grumbling in adversities in such a way that the penalty from a twofold fate presses down upon him. When ready hope in love struggles against fortune, not without grumbling in the mind does the lover complain.

8 All things Presumption thinks he knows, but he does not know himself, nor does he think that anyone similar to him is his equal. He who thinks himself more astute in winning the battle falls all the more tightly into Venus’s snares. Often Cupid betrays the man who presupposes a lover for himself, and Hope itself turns back down empty roads.

9 The boasting of a bombastic tongue diminishes the genuine fame that being silent would, with honor, confirm as stable. That one does not perceive praise of his merit, so he openly extolls himself in his own words to the world. There is moreover a man's sinful boasting that makes the guilty cheeks on a woman redden.

10 Worldly glory engenders continual sorrows, but he who is vain desires vain joys. A plain and simple man will not gain without flattery the friendship of a man whom empty glory has raised up. He who knows how to curry Favel with carefully composed words will succeed in mounting up the saddled laws as a knight. Thus in love, the one who fashions more flattering words in his mouth takes by this the prize that another cannot. And nonetheless elaborate songs and varied adornments and cheerful hearts — these love selects for its laws.

11 Even when the human race possesses greater glory, sorrow is often likely to be at hand. An exalted spirit will often drop down dangerous descents; a humble spirit establishes a reliable and gentle path. Fortune turns with innumerable movements through the world-wheel; when you seek the greater heights, fear the places that are all the lower.

12 It is a humble power by which high God carried himself to the depths, and possessed the bowels of our flesh. Thus the humble is exalted, and love subdues all to itself, whose power the proud by no chance possesses. The earth hates the proud, even heaven itself expels him, and he remains in the regions of hell where he has been received.


Abbreviations: Anel.: Chaucer, Anelida and Arcite; BD: Chaucer, Book of the Duchess; CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; HF: Chaucer, House of Fame; LGW: Chaucer, Legend of Good Women; Mac: Macaulay (4 vol. Complete Works); MED: Middle English Dictionary; Met.: Ovid, Metamorphoses; MO: Gower, Mirour de l’Omme; MS(S): manuscript(s); OED: Oxford English Dictionary; PF: Chaucer, Parliament of Fowls; PL: Patrologia Latina; RR: Lorris and de Meun, Roman de la Rose; TC: Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; Tilley: Tilley, Dictionary of Proverbs in England; Vat. Myth.: Vatican Mythographer I, II, or III; VC: Gower, Vox Clamantis; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases. For manuscript abbreviations, see Textual Notes, below.

Latin verses i (before line 1). Line 1: Naturatus amor. The translation presented for the enigmatic and crucial phrase naturatus amor is informed by Winthrop Wetherbee's discussion of this phrase (1991, pp. 7-35) in terms of the self-conflicting presentations of human love in Boethius, Alanus de Insulis, and Jean de Meun that Gower mines throughout the CA. Wetherbee remarks that Gower's phrase "conveys a sense of scholastic authority that is belied by close scrutiny" (p. 7). Yet the translation here is also informed by an analogous phrase from medieval Latin discussions of Aristotle, natura naturata, which may be understood as "nature instantiated in specific forms of life," or in a broader sense as the means by which nature has furthered its inherent purpose of creating life, as shown by twelfth-century Latin translations of Averroës' Arabic commentary on Aristotle, the means by which Aristotle's works were known in the west: "for this is the end of Nature, namely that it does not act except on account of something, just as artifice does not act except on account of something. Then [Aristotle] has declared that that on account of which, having been [specifically] instantiated [naturata], Nature acts, is seen to be the soul [or: life force, anima] in living things [animalibus]" (Averrois Cordubensis Commentarium Magnum in Aristotelis De Anima Libros, ed. Crawford, p. 187). The teleological and instantiating freight of the medieval Aristotelian tradition of natura naturata has at least indirectly influenced Gower's Latin, and perhaps more pervasively his historical and ethical outlook on nature and love, available to Gower in the works of the thirteenth-century popular purveyers of medieval Aristotelianism, Brunetto Latini, Giles of Rome, and Bartholomeus Anglicus, although none of these uses the phrase natura naturata or, less surprisingly, naturatus amor (Brunetto Latini comes close to the former when he defines Nature as "double: that which gives birth, and that which is born" [une ki fet naistre, et une de ce ki est net]— Li Livres dou tresor 3.52, ed. Carmody, p. 360). Significantly, elsewhere Gower novelly adapted the Latin verb naturare to English, evidently to mean "to give a species specific traits": "He which natureth every kinde, / The myhti god" (CA 7.393-94). He is the only writer attested before the sixteenth century to have used this word in English. Line 2: vnanimes concitat esse feras. The syntax is perfectly ambiguous, so the diametrically opposed alternate meanings have been printed in the translation itself. Line 3 Huius enim mundi Princeps. White (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 219) notes that huius princeps mundi is also the title of the Devil.
Translation of the epigram is also assisted by the marginal gloss (see the next note), where Gower states that he is discussing “that love by which not only the human species but indeed every living thing is naturally subjected.” Yet an in­herent contradiction and instability lies in the phrase, as Wetherbee cor­rectly emphasizes: human love, in Gower’s and the medieval Christian per­ception of the post-lapsarian world, is the very thing that most resists harmony with Nature’s positive, pristine purposes. In the context of the CA, the two terms of the phrase resist reconciliation as few other pairings might. The radi­cal am­biguity of the rest of Gower’s sentence emphasizes this irreconcil­ability.

9 ff. Latin marginalia: Postquam in Prologo tractatum hactenus existit, qualiter hodierne condicionis diuisio caritatis dileccionem superauit, intendit auctor ad presens suum libellum, cuius nomen Confessio Amantis nuncupatur, componere de illo amore, a quo non solum humanum genus, sed eciam cuncta animancia naturaliter subiciuntur. Et quia nonnulli amantes ultra quam expedit desiderii passionibus crebro stimulantur, materia libri per totum super hiis specialius diffunditur. [After he has set forth the Prologue's treatment up to this point, of how the division of today's condition has overcome the love of charity, the author now intends to compose his little book, whose name is "The Confession of a Lover," concerning that love by which not only the human species but indeed every living thing is naturally subjected. And since some lovers are often goaded by the passions of desire beyond what is appropriate, the matter of the book throughout is set forth especially for these.] For a picture of this gloss in the manuscript itself, see Illustration 3.

18–24 loves lawe is out of reule . . . ther is no man . . . that can / Of love tempre the mesure. See White, Nature, Sex, and Goodness, pp. 218–19, on the potency of desire that affects all people in defiance of Aristotelian ideas of balance and measure. Loves lawe (line 18) here equates with that cupiditas that Boethius says is born into all creatures that could lead to the true good but seldom does (De cons. 3.p2).

35 love is maister wher he wile. Proverbial. See Whiting L518.

59 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic quasi in persona aliorum, quos amor alligat, fingens se auctor esse Amantem, varias eorum passiones variis huius libri distinccionibus per singula scribere proponit. [Here the author, fashioning himself as a Lover, as if in the role of those others whom love binds, proposes to write about their various passions one by one in the various sections of this book.] For discussion of this passage as Gower projects a persona and an epistemology of make-believe for his narrative, see Peck, “Phenomenology of Make Believe,” pp. 257 ff.

62 I am miselven on of tho. N.b., the Latin marginal gloss (above). From this point on, Gower projects a persona who is not simply a moral commentator on society but an embodiment of human stresses, a dramatic component of his "proof" (see line 61). In the Prologue he had announced that he would provide a "Mirour of ensamplerie" (Prol.496); henceforth the "ensample" will be complicated through a first-person drama as well as a textual one — an empirical mean between the abstract and the personal. See Spitzer, “Note on the Poetic and Empirical ‘I’ in Medieval Authors”; and Strohm, “Note on Gower’s Personas,” pp. 293–95. For discussion of the narrative of CA in terms of its framing devices, see Pearsall, “Gower’s Narrative Art”: “The poem as a whole gains enormously from the dramatic scheme, just as Gower himself gained from the freedom it gave him” (p. 477).

72 To hem that ben lovers. In defining a new dramatic function for his persona Gower likewise provides a dramatic role for his audience. On this love trope Staley raises the question “was Richard’s court during this period a place of love talk,” talk that was not simply a matter of sexual practice but rather a “lan­guage that expressed relationships of power?” (Languages of Power, p. 51). Compare love tropes in Usk, Chaucer, and the Gawain-poet (pp. 42–59).

79 That every man ensample take. On the philosophical premises of Gower's use of examples for instruction, see notes to Prol.7, 196, and 1.1339–40. Simpson, Sciences and the Self, using Alan de Lille’s Anti-claudianus as a text parallel in many ways with CA, explores Alan’s notion that narrative images provide the soul with a means of picturing itself (pp. 244–48). Such “ensamples” function as a kind of inducted “‘scientific’ information by which the soul can place itself in the cosmos and society” (p. 230).

88 jolif wo. Compare le jolif mal sanz cure of Gower's Cinkante Balades 13, line 24. The courtly phrase is a favorite. See also CA 6.84 and 8.2360, with variants such as "jolif peine" in 7.1910.

Latin verses ii (before line 93). Line 1: Non ego . . . . Latin proverbs often list powerful or wise men deceived by women; see Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, lines 2416-28, for a Middle English rendition of this tradition. Gower's passage resembles the longer discussion of lust's power in the Architrenius, where Hercules, rare in other Latin proverbs of this kind, appears along with Sampson, Solomon, and Ulysses as a victim of Venus (7.116-33).

98 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic declarat materiam, dicens qualiter Cupido quodam ignito iaculo sui cordis memoriam graui vlcere perforauit, quod Venus percipiens ipsum, vt dicit, quasi in mortis articulo spasmatum, ad confitendum se Genio sacerdoti super amoris causa sic semiuiuum specialiter commendauit. [Here he declares the substance of his story, saying how Cupid pierced through the memory of his heart by means of a certain burning missile, leaving a serious wound; whereby Venus, perceiving him, as he states, twitching as if in his death throes, particularly recommended that, half-alive, he confess to Genius the priest about the topic of love.]

100-39 in the monthe of Maii . . . And with that word I sawh anon / The kyng of love and qweene bothe. The poet imagines a characteristic dream vision situation when, in the month of May, the dreamer sets out into a wood, prays while listening to the birds, and sleeps to dream of the King and Queen of Love; except that here the "dreamer/lover" never goes to sleep. But this is not to say that he is "awake," either. As Olsson so aptly puts it, "The lover, though 'awake,' does not know he lives in a dream" (Structures of Conversion, p. 47).

124 [Amans.] The scribe of Fairfax 3 regularly places speech tags in the margin. The brackets indicate speech markers that do not appear in the MS but have been added to the edition for clarity.

O thou Cupide, O thou Venus. For discussion of Gower's use of these amorous deities, see Tinkle, Medieval Venuses and Cupids, especially pp. 178-97, though her remarks throughout the book are germane.

138 with that word I sawh anon. The important thing to notice here is that ideas appear as visual personifications to the lover. On the prominence of visual imaginings in medieval thought processes see Kolve, Chaucer and the Imagery of Nar­rative, especially pp. 24-42. See the Latin gloss on sight and hearing as doors of the mind (preceding 1.289) and Genius' discussion of eyes and ears as the dominant intuitive senses. See also footnotes 29-31 in the Introduction.

140 yhen wrothe. The situation is similar in ways to Chaucer's Prol. to LGW, where Cupid, the God of Love, with his queen, comes upon Geoffrey near the daisy and looks upon him with angry, piercing eyes. Chaucer's queen is Alceste, rather than Venus, but in neither instance is Cupid presented as blind.

145 herte rote. MED glosses the term as the seat of the passions, or the vital center of life. Exactly what the anatomical designations might be is unclear. MED suggests the hollow of the heart or perhaps the “apex.” The conclusion to Plato’s Timaeus (91 a–e) describes a conduit that runs down the spine to the scrotum, from which living sperm, seeking egress, take their path. Conceivably the herte rote may extend even to that depth. In the RR (lines 1679–2008) Cupid shoots five arrows into the lover’s heart, two (Beauty and Simplicity) through the eye, and three (Courtesy, Company, and Fair Seem­ing) through the side or below the breast. This pattern seems evident in CA 1.144–45, where “A firy dart me thoghte he [Cupid] hente / And threw it thurgh myn herte rote.” If it enters through the side and lodges in the heart’s inner chamber that would pre­cip­itate a sympathetic response in the lower region. Another organ linked to the concept of herte rote is the “reines,” which are also regarded the seat of passions and can refer to the kidneys, heart, or the male generative organ (MED reine n.[2]. 2a and 2b). E.g., in the treatise Sidrak and Bokkus we learn that if a lecher overexerts his lechery, “Of his reynes he leseþ þe might. / Þan is þe seed feble and veyne / And to engendre haþ no mayne [strength]” (lines 6874–76 in Bodleian Laud MS 559). According to the Middle English version of The Anatomy of Guy de Chauliae, “Þe sperme takeþ þe sauour off þe harte, of þe liuer, and þe Reynes, and bi þe nerues þe whiche, be cause of delectacioun, des­cenden fro þe braines to þe ballockes” (ed. Wallner, p. 73). Similarly The Prose Salernitan Questions (c. 1200) observes: “The natural heat is . . . aroused by the psychic virtue, and by their combined action, the blood contained in the liver moves and in moving emits heat; from it there evap­orates a smoky cloud which, when it has been made subtle, spreads from the liver to the heart. From the heart the spirit moves to the penis by means of the arteries and makes it stiffen” (see Jacquart and Thomasset, Sexuality and Medicine in the Middle Ages, p. 83). That is, Cupid’s arrow piercing the side and lodging in the heart might thus be thought to affect the whole emotional system, from the chambers of the heart to the kidneys and male organs, the herte rote.

148-49 source and welle / Of wel or wo. Traditionally, Venus carries two cups, one sweet, the other bitter, from which the lover drinks; thus, in medieval courtly poetry she is the source and welle of the lover's joy and/or pain.

161 caitif. It is noteworthy that two early MSS, Bodley 294 and Egerton 1991, identify the speaker here as Iohn Gowere, rather than caitif.

178 Mi world stod on an other whiel. Proverbial. See Whiting W208.

196 O Genius myn oghne clerk. The originals behind Gower’s Genius may be found in Jean de Meun’s portion of RR and Alanus de Insulis’ De Planctu Naturae. Gower’s Genius defines several voices in the poem. He is pre­sented as an agent of memory who can compile and relate afresh the stories and materials of history; he is a creative agent, capable of formulating propo­sitions accord­ing to nature and moral concepts as well; he is a priest of both the emotional and rational capacities of the individual, though his capacities as a philo­sopher are limited by the circumstances of the occasion; and he is usually be­nevolent in his role as intermediary between Amans, momen­tary situations, and Nature. See the Introduction, pp. 5–6, 7–10, 17, 18, 34. For further discussion of Genius, see Economou, “Character Genius”; Schueler, “Gower’s Characterization of Genius”; Nitzsche, Genius Figure; Baker, “Priest­hood of Genius”; Wetherbee, “Theme of Imagination” and “Genius and Inter­pre­tation”; Peck, Kingship and Common Profit and “Prob­lematics of Irony,” pp. 212–24; Olsson, Structures of Conversion, pp. 52–62; and Simpson, Sciences and the Self, pp. 148–97.

Latin verses iii (before line 203). The "wound" of love (line 4) is a topos reaching far back in medieval and classical writing. A widely influential classical instance is Dido in Aeneid 4.1-2, and much French poetry elaborated the metaphor. Boethius’ Consolation, whose dialogue form was a direct model for CA, invokes through­out its first book the metaphor of the narrator’s “illness” of false love for the goods of Fortune, and Philosophy’s “cure” by means of the “medicine” of her teach­ings. At the end of CA, Gower revisits the same issues in English (8.3152– 56). Simpson (Sciences and the Self, pp. 200–01) links this passage to Ovid’s Remedia amoris as a warning against love’s catastrophes.

203 This worthi prest, this holy man. On Genius as confessor to Amans, see Simpson, Sciences and the Self, especially pp. 148-66 ( "Genius, praeceptor amoris"). Simpson sees Genius and Amans as two aspects of a single person, with Genius as a figure of imagination and Amans as the will in an unstable relationship richly informed with Ovidian irony and what Gower calls elsewhere "double speche" (7.1733).

205 Benedicité. "Bless you." The standard form of address of the priest to the one confessing, answered by the penitent with Dominus, "Lord [father, I have sinned]."

209 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic dicit qualiter Genio pro Confessore sedenti prouolutus Amans ad confitendum se flexis genibus incuruatur, supplicans tamen, vt ad sui sensus informacionem confessor ille in dicendis opponere sibi benignius dignaretur. [Here he tells how the Lover, bowled over, kneels on bent knees to confess to Genius seated as a confessor, beseeching nonetheless that, to inform his understanding, the Confessor would graciously deign to question him in matters that ought to be said.] Pearsall (“Gower’s Latin,” pp. 22–24) reads this marginal com­men­tary as a means to establish a clerical code that underlies much of the poem. See also Craun on Gower’s methodology in querying the deviant speaker (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, pp. 131 ff.).

236 Latin marginalia: Sermo Genii sacerdotis super confessione ad Amantem. [The sermon of Genius the priest to the Lover about confession.]

275-76 See note to lines 1339-40.

284 trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte. Proverbial. See Whiting T515.

Latin verses iv (before line 289). The buried coin, fossa talenta (line 4), recalls the Gospel parable of the talents where the sinful servant takes the talent his lord has given him and buries it in the earth (Matthew 25:14-30).

294 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic incipit confessio Amantis, cui de duobus precipue quinque sensuum, hoc est de visu et auditu, confessor pre ceteris opponit. [Here begins the confession of the Lover, to whom the Confessor particularly inquires concerning two of the five senses, that is, sight and sound.]

299-308 This passage begins in the third person, then, by line 304, modulates into the voice of the confessor as he addresses Amans as "mi sone." It is not until line 530 that the MS starts using marginal speech tags, though beside line 233 the marginal Latin gloss identifies the speakers, along with their activities.

304-08 See Timaeus 45b-47e for Plato's explanation of why the eye is man's principal sense organ and the ear next in importance. These two senses enable man to perceive the numbers, motions, harmonies, and rhythms of the universe, whereby the soul is illuminated. Plato ignores the other three senses entirely as agencies for illuminating the soul, although later (61d-68d) he discusses all five senses as part of man's physical mechanism for understanding physical phenomena. Plato's premises constitute one basis for medieval preoccupations with vision and harmony (see the Latin verses after CA1.288). They also explain why Genius exorcizes only these two of the Lover's five senses. They are the doors to his soul, which Genius hopes to restore. See Introduction, notes 25 and 26, for citation of medieval medical treatises linking the eye to the frontal lobe of the brain, where Imagination and Fantasy reside.

333 ff. Compare Ovid, Met. 3.130-259. Genius omits from the story Acteon's companions and his friendly gesture of giving them the rest of the day off, the account of Diana's disrobing, the efforts of the nymphs to hide their mistress from the eyes of the intruder, the throwing of water on Acteon to distract him, the catalog of hounds, Acteon's efforts to speak, and the debate of the gods on the justice of Diana's revenge. Genius adds the detail of Acteon's pride (1.341). Ovid puts the blame on Fortune, but Genius implies that Acteon might have turned his eye away had he chosen to do so (1.366). The conventional romance description of his entering the forest (1.352-60) suggests why he did not: he turns the enclosed garden (hortus conclusus) into a garden of delight and does not get out. Amans fares better, thanks to Genius, and, ultimately, accepts the trials of old age.

334 touchende of mislok. See Schutz's discussion of the issues of seeing in her analysis of the stories of Acteon and Medusa as mirror images of each other (“Absent and Present Images,” pp. 108-15).

334 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat Confessor exemplum de visu ab illicitis preseruando, dicens qualiter Acteon Cadmi Regis Thebarum nepos, dum in quadam Foresta venacionis causa spaciaretur, accidit vt ipse quendam fontem nemorosa arborum pulcritudine circumuentum superueniens, vidit ibi Dianam cum suis Nimphis nudam in flumine balneantem; quam diligencius intuens oculos suos a muliebri nuditate nullatenus auertere volebat. Vnde indignata Diana ipsum in cerui figuram transformauit; quem canes proprii apprehendentes mortiferis dentibus penitus dilaniarunt. [Here the Confessor relates an instructive example concerning the guarding of sight from illicit things, saying how Acteon the nephew of Cadmus the king of the Thebans, while he was walking in a certain forest to go hunting, happened to come upon a certain stream surrounded by the woodsy beauty of trees where he saw Diana nude with her nymphs bathing in the river, whom he carefully examined, not at all wishing to turn away his eyes from her womanly nudity. Wherefore Diana, indignant, transformed him into the form of a stag, whom his own dogs caught and tore to pieces with their lethal teeth.]

384 Betre is to winke than to loke. Proverbial. See Whiting W366.

389 ff. Compare Ovid, Met. 4.772–803. Gower is apparently using additional sources, however. Genius names Medusa’s sisters, as Ovid does, though he calls Stheno, “Stellibon,” and Euryale, “Suriale.” Moreover, he combines the story of the Graeae, who share one tooth and one eye, with the story of the Gorgons. Mac­aulay (2:468) notes that this confusion appears in Boccaccio, Genealogiae Deorum Gentilium 10.10, which Gower may have known. Whether Gower fol­lows Boc­caccio or not, the mingling of the two stories is fortuitous for Genius’ purpose in demonstrating the evil of “misloke” and the wisdom of looking well.

391 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit aliud exemplum de eodem, vbi dicit quod quidam princeps nomine Phorceus tres progenuit filias, Gorgones a vulgo nuncupatas, que uno partu exorte deformitatem Monstrorum serpentinam obtinuerunt; quibus, cum in etatem peruenerant, talis destinata fuerat natura, quod quicumque in eas aspiceret in lapidem subito mutabatur. Et sic quam plures incaute respicientes visis illis perierunt. Set Perseus miles clipeo Palladis gladioque Mercurii munitus eas extra montem Athlantis conhabitantes animo audaci absque sui periculo interfecit. [Here he presents another instructive example about the same thing, where he says that a certain prince, Phorceus by name, bore three daughters, commonly called the Gorgons, who, appearing all in one birth, acquired the serpentine deformity of monsters. Their nature had been so designated that, when they had come to maturity, whoever looked at them was suddenly turned into a stone. And thus all those who incautiously glanced at them died at the sight. But Perseus, a knight furnished with the shield of Pallas and the sword of Mercury, with a bold spirit and without any danger to himself killed them as they were dwelling beyond Mount Athlans.]

423 Lente him a swerd. Macaulay notes that Mercury's sword is not mentioned by Ovid or Boccaccio (2:468).

463 ff. The legend of Aspidis derives from Psalm 57:5–6, which speaks of “the deaf asp that stoppeth her ears.” In his commentary on the psalm Augustine ex­plains how the serpent can stop two ears with one tail; his suggestion is fol­lowed by Isidore in Etymologies 12.4, though neither mentions the carbuncle (see also MO, lines 15253–64). That detail may come from the legendary jewel in the toad’s head, or perhaps from Brunetto Latini’s Trésor. Compare the jewel-bearing serpent in the Tale of Adrian and Bardus (CA 5.5060 ff.), or the serpent who carries a jewel of health in his mouth in the English Gesta Romanorum (cap. 7). For discussion of the ambiguity of the asp as an in bono (prudence) and in malo (obstinence) figure of the senses, see Ols­son, Structures of Conversion, pp. 63–72.

465–67 The ston noblest of alle / . . . carbuncle calle / Berth in his hed. On the folk-type of the serpent with a crown or precious jewel in/on/about his head, see Aarne-Thompson, Types of the Folktale 672 (the serpent’s crown), 672A (a man who steals a serpent’s crown), 672B (a little girl takes away the serpent’s gold crown), 672C (serpent at wedding leaves crown), and, especially, 672D (the stone of the snake). See also Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, vol.1, B103.42 (serpent with jewel in his mouth), B103.4.2.1 (grateful snake spits out lump of gold for his rescuer), B103.4.2.2 (snake vomits jewels), B108.1 (ser­pent as patron of wealth), B112 (treasure-producing serpent’s crown); and vol. 2 D1011.3.1 (magic serpent’s crown). The Epistola Alexandri ad Aristo­telem de Mirabilibus Indiae speaks of serpents with emeralds around their necks who, in the spring, sometimes fight, leaving behind “emeralds of enormous size” (Katz, Romances of Alexander, p. 123).

466 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat Confessor exemplum, vt non ab auris exaudicione fatua animus deceptus inuoluatur. Et dicit qualiter ille serpens, qui aspis vocatur, quendam preciosissimum lapidem nomine Carbunculum in sue frontis medio gestans, contra verba incantantis aurem vnam terre affigendo premit, et aliam sue caude stimulo firmissime obturat. [Here the Confessor recounts an instructive example in order that a deceived soul might not be assailed by the ear's foolish overhearing. And he says how the serpent who is called Aspis, carrying a certain most precious stone, Carbuncle by name, in the middle of its forehead, protected himself against the words of an enchanter by pressing down one ear and fixing it to the ground, and closing off the other most firmly with the point of its tail.]

481 ff. Gower follows Guido delle Colonne, Hist. Troiae III (Gest Historiale lib. 32), in presenting his Tale of the Sirens. Benoît tells the story in Roman de Troie, but he does not include all the details that Gower includes, though Vat. Myth. II (101) does.

483 ff. Latin marginalia : Aliud exemplum super eodem, qualiter rex Vluxes cum a bello Troiano versus Greciam nauigio remearet, et prope illa Monstra marina, Sirenes nuncupata, angelica voce canoras, ipsum ventorum aduersitate nauigare oporteret, omnium nautarum suorum aures obturari coegit. Et sic salutari prouidencia prefultus absque periculo saluus cum sua classe Vluxes pertransiuit. [Another instructive example about the same thing: how King Ulysses, when he was returning toward Greece from the Trojan war travelled back on a ship. When approaching those seaside monsters called the Sirens, singers with angelic voices, he was forced to sail against the winds, and he ordered the ears of all his sailors to be stopped up. And thus assisted by a saving providence and safe from danger, Ulysses with his vessel passed through.]

576 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur quod septem sunt peccata mortalia, quorum caput Superbia varias species habet, et earum prima Ypocrisis dicitur, cuius proprietatem secundum vicium simpliciter Confessor Amanti declarat. [Here he says that there are seven mortal sins, whose head, Pride, has various species, and the first of these is called Hypocrisy, whose properties as a vice the Confessor declares to the Lover in simple terms.]

608 Ipocrisis Religiosa. [Religious Hypocrisy.]

627-28 Ipocrisis Ecclesiastica. [Ecclesiastic Hypocrisy.]

648 Ipocrisis Secularis. [Secular Hypocrisy.]

674 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor cum Amante super illa presertim Ipocrisia, que sub amoris facie fraudulenter latitando mulieres ipsius ficticiis credulas sepissime decipit innocentes. [Here the Confessor discourses with the Lover particularly about that Hypocrisy that, fraudulently hiding under a face of love, too often deceives innocent, credulous women with his fictions.]

704-06 berth lowest the seil . . . to beguile / The womman. Proverbial. See Whiting S14.

708 Opponit Confessor. [The Confessor inquires.]

712 Respondet Amans. [The Lover replies.]

752 To love is every herte fre. Proverbial. See Whiting L516. See also CA 1.1929-30. Compare Chaucer, CT I(A)1606 and CT V(F)767.

759 a croniqe. Precisely what chronicle Genius alludes to is unclear. The story of Mundus and Paulina is said to be historical by Josephus, Antiquitatum Judai­carum 18. Hegesippus, 2.4, follows Josephus, who in turn is followed by Vin­cent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale 7.4, any of which may have been Gower’s source. The story is told in verse by Godfrey of Viterbo, Pantheon 15, but Mac­aulay says this version was certainly not Gower’s source (2:470).

763 ff. Latin marginalia: Quod Ipocrisia sit in amore periculosa, narrat exemplum qualiter sub regno Tiberii Imperatoris quidam miles nomine Mundus, qui Romanorum dux milicie tunc prefuit, dominam Paulinam pulcherrimam castitatisque famosissimam mediantibus duobus falsis presbiteris in temple Ysis deum se esse fingens sub ficte sanctitatis ypocrisi nocturno tempore viciauit. Vnde idem dux in exilium, presbiteri in mortem ob sui criminis enormitatem dampnati extiterant, ymagoque dee Ysis a templo euulsa vniuerso conclamante populo in flumen Tiberiadis proiecta mergebatur. [Showing that Hypocrisy is most dangerous in love, he presents an instructive example how under the reign of Tiberius the Emperor a certain knight, Mundus by name, who then was preeminent before all others as a duke of the army of the Romans, defiled the most beautiful and most famously chaste lady Paulina in the temple of Isis, with two false priests as go-betweens, fashioning himself to be a god under the hypocrisy of a feigned sanctity at night. Wherefore the same duke was condemned to exile, and the priests to death on account of the enormity of their crime, while the image of the goddess, pulled from the temple with the people's universal approval, was thrown into the Tiber river and sunk.]

767 of al the cité the faireste. An analogue to the Tale of Mundus and Paulina may be found in the Hebrew Tales of Alexander the Macedonian found in a compilation of the eleventh-century Chronicles of Jerahmeel. The surviving MS, now in the Bodleian Library, dates from about 1325. A very beautiful woman, the fairest on earth, goes once a month to the temple of the god Atzilin to offer sacrifice. The priest, Matan, smitten by her beauty, tells her that the god would beget a son upon her, “for there is no other woman in the entire world worthy to be with him” (Reich, ed., Tales of Alexander the Mace­donian, p. 75). She gets per­mission from her husband, who sends pillows, coverings, mattresses, and silk­en garments to adorn the occasion. Matan accepts the gifts and sends the woman’s maid away. At midnight he enters to perform his rites, but the maid slips into the room to watch. Matan has inter­course with the woman nine times. After he has exhausted his strength and rises to leave, the maid strikes him on the head with a statue of Atzilin, killing him. The beautiful woman is scandalized by the deception and insists on telling her husband, who goes to the king. He takes the case to Alexander who says the temple should be de­stroyed, since it has been defiled. He then asks to see the woman himself, and, amazed at her beauty, demands that she be given to him. The king would protect the woman and her husband, but is over­whelmed by Alexander, who locks the woman in a portable temple where he has his way with her night and day. She gives birth to a son whom he names Alexander. But the child dies at the age of nine months on the same day that Alexander’s horse Bucephalus dies. Alexander builds a mausoleum for his horse and son, then consoles his wife, who conceives a second child. She dies in childbirth. See Reich, ed., Tales of Alexander the Macedonian, pp. 73–79. This analogue ties in as well with Gower’s Tale of Nectanabus, CA 6.1789–2366. Gower’s knowledge of Alexan­der lore is extensive, though it is doubtful that he could have known the Hebrew manuscript directly, which was still in Italy during his lifetime.

773 Of thilke bore frele kinde. Macaulay observes: "Human nature is described as frail from birth, and by its weakness causing blindness of the heart" (2:470).

775 Just as the eye is the most important sense organ for human revelation (see note to lines 1.304-08 above), so too it is the principal sense organ for guiding reason. Augustine's three steps toward virtue (visio, contemplatio, actio) mark also the three steps toward sin. In both instances the process begins with the eye's response to beauty or the desirable, which in turn stimulates the will and desire. The process is one, though the ends are different. See all cupidinous lovers who are first struck through the eye by Cupid's first arrow — beauty. See RR, lines 1681 ff.

786–88 noght . . . That . . . ne. See notes to Prol. 989–90, 1.1295–96, 1.2046–47, 1.2091–93, 1.2629–30, 1.2722–24, 1.3366–67. Gower’s construction here and in the other cited examples is unusual in Middle English, where the ne fol­lowing that serves as a calque rather than a simple negative. Andrew Gal­loway (correspondence May 2, 2005) suggests that the construction is parallel to the Old French construction “pres (que) ne,” “por poi (que) ne,” etc., where ne denotes not a negative but instead “an action that has/had almost occurred” (see Kibler, Introduction to Old French, pp. 264–65). The Old French analogy is insightful, it seems to me, in that it takes what might otherwise be regarded as a medial negative conjunction and binds it to the relative conjunction (“but that,” “than that”). The sense of “almost,” however, does not hold precisely. We could translate: “But yet he was not of such strength / To withstand the power of love / But that he was almost reined in [by love], / Despite whether he would or not,” though the so in line 788 displaces the adverbial sense of almost. I.e., the sense is more likely “But he was so reined in [by love] / That despite whether he would or not” (lines 788–89). Compare 1.1296, where the algate like­wise obliterates any sense of almost. In some instances the preceding “noght” is not required, though the sense is still “But that”: e.g., 1.1321. In other instances, instead of “noght,” Gower uses “non”: e.g., 1.1465, 1.1778– 79; or a neither/nor construction as in 1.2470–71. And there are several in­stances when the ne simply functions as a negative after That, as in 1.1379, where the for cancels the conjunctive function of ne; or 1.2800 and 1.3045, where it is part of a double negative. But there are instances in which it simply functions as a negative adverb: 1.3168 and 1.3307.

852 Glad was hire innocence tho. Gower’s Paulina “which in hire lustes grene / Was fair and freissch and tendre of age” (1.778–79) is innocent in her youth and of “humble cheire” (1.854). As Olsson observes, Gower presents Paulina in an entirely positive light: “Genius has left out the boasts of her counterparts in tra­di­tion: the Paulina of Josephus’ Antiquities (18.3.4), the foolish Madonna Lisetta da Ca’ Quirino of Boccaccio’s Decameron (4.2), and the Olympias of Gower’s later story of Nectanabus (6.1789–2366) all, to some degree, have an exaggerated sense of self-worth, and they easily succumb to the blandishments of a pretender-god or angel” (Structures of Conversion, p. 74).

966 Hire faire face and al desteigneth. N.b. the medial coordinating conjunction: “And stains her face all over.”

975 honeste. Of persons or their hearts, honest signifies virtuousness or chastity (MED). A wife is said to be chaste if she has to do only with her husband in a seemly manner. When Pauline learns "Now I defouled am of tuo" (line 977), she fears that she can no longer claim that honor. See Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale (X[I]940). On tensions between communal honor and manipulative deceit, see Craun, Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, pp. 129–31.

1003 til that sche was somdiel amended. See Rytting, “In Search of the Perfect Spouse,” p. 119, on the importance of compassion and appropriate displays of af­fection in Gower’s perception of what constitutes a good marriage like that epi­to­mized in the relationship of Paulina and her spouse.

1077 ff. The story of the Trojan Horse is found in Dictys, De Bello Trojano V.II,12; Benoît, Roman de Troie 25620 ff.; and Guido, Hist. Troiae III (Gest Historiale 29.11846 ff.), all of which Gower may have known. Guido and his translators (not Dictys or Benoît) describe the horse as made of brass.

1081 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic vlterius ponit exemplum de illa eciam Ypocrisia, que inter virum et virum decipiens periculosissima consistit. Et narrat, qualiter Greci in obsidione ciuitatis Troie, cum ipsam vi comprehendere nullatenus potuerunt, fallaci animo cum Troianis pacem vt dicunt pro perpetuo statuebant: et super hoc quendam equum mire grossitudinis de ere fabricatum ad sacrificandum in templo Minerue confingentes, sub tali sanctitatis ypocrisi dictam Ciuitatem intrarunt, et ipsam cum inhabitantibus gladio et igne comminuentes pro perpetuo penitus deuastarunt. [Here he presents a further instructive example concerning that same Hypocrisy, who stands as most dangerous when bringing deceit between man and man. And he tells how the Greeks in the siege of the city of Troy, although they were not able to take it by any means of force, with a false spirit established peace with the Trojans, in perpetuity, as they say. And in addition to this, fashioning a certain horse of miraculous size made from brass for sacrificing in the temple of Minerva, they entered the said city, under such hypocrisy of sanctity, and threatening it along with its inhabitants with fire and the sword they utterly and permanently destroyed it.]

1085 The treachery of Calcas and of Crise is part of the medieval invention that ultimately culminated in Chaucer's Troilus. In Homer he is the son of Thestor, a diviner who accompanies the Greek army to Troy (Iliad 1.69 ff.), and in Virgil he helps build the Wooden Horse (Aeneid 2.185). But once he is made a Trojan who betrays the city and claims the return of his daughter in exchange for Antenor, his treachery becomes a key component of all retellings.

1087 hors of bras. An unusual detail, given the prominence of the wooden horse myth in Virgil. Perhaps Gower found the forging of a brass horse, as in Guido (see note to lines 1077 ff.), rather than the building of a wooden horse, as in Dares and Dictys and Benoît, to be more compatible with the machinations of hypocrisy. Hypocrites are forgers (lines 1087-88), not carpenters. Brass horses are not unknown in romance literature. See Chaucer's Squire's Tale.

1091 Epius. The name Epius (i.e., Epeius) appears to come from Virgil through Benoît (as opposed to Apius in Guido), as does the account of the destruction of Neptune's gates (lines 1151-55). In Homer's Odyssey 8.493, Epeius is the maker of the Wooden Horse, with the help of Athena.

1095 Anthenor . . . Enee. The treachery of Antenor and Aeneas is scarcely mentioned in Virgil, but it is much emphasized in Dictys, Benoît, and Guido. On Antenor's deceit see Chaucer's TC 4.197-205.

Latin verses vi (before line 1235). The reference in line 2 is to Ecclesiasticus 13:3.

1241 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de secunda specie Superbie, que Inobediencia dicitur: et primo illius vicii naturam simpliciter declarat, et tractat consequenter super illa precipue Inobediencia, que in curia Cupidinis exosa amoris causam ex sua imbecillitate sepissime retardat. In cuius materia Confessor Amanti specialius opponit. [Here he speaks concerning a second species of Pride, which is called Disobedience; and first he declares in general terms the nature of that vice, and consequently discourses about that Disobedience in particular, which, despising the cause of love in the court of Cupid, is very often impeded because of its stupidity. In this matter the Confessor particularly questions the Lover.]

1273 Opponit Confessor. [The Confessor inquires.]

1274 Respondet Amans. [The Lover replies.]

1293 For specheles may no man spede. Proverbial. Macaulay compares CA 6.447, “For selden get a domb man lond” (2:472). See Whiting S554. See also CA 4.439–40.

1295–96 See note to 1.786–88.

1328 retenue. The gloss "engagement of service" is Macaulay's, who compares Balades 8.17: "Q'a vous servir j'ai fait ma retenue" (2:472).

1339-40 forme . . . enforme. See Simpson, Sciences and the Self, pp. 1–10, on Gower’s use of “information” as a component of self-formation in CA. (Compare 1.275–76, 1973–74, 2669–70 and 8.817–18.) Simpson reads CA as a fable of the soul “in which the impetus of the soul to reach its own perfection, or form, determines the narrative form” (Sciences and the Self, p. 230). Form informing form is a reciprocal inside-outside paradigm in which exemplary matter provides peda­gogical information that impresses the heart as text “follows the soul’s con­tours” (p. 7). “The peda­gogic sense lies in wait behind the artistic” (p. 8), a paradigm that makes pos­sible an “information” of the reader by the simul­taneous processes of under­standing backwards and forwards (inwards and outwards) required in any creative process. Simpson presents the argu­ment in terms of twelfth- and four­teenth-century philosophical/empirical theory.

1344 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de Murmure et Planctu, qui super omnes alios Inobediencie secreciores vt ministri illi deseruiunt. [Here he speaks about Grumbling and Complaint, which above all others serve Disobedience very intimately as his ministers.]

1345 ff. See Echard, “With Carmen’s Help,” pp. 32-34, on the ambiguous relationships between the Latin marginal gloss and the English text as Genius shifts the topic from murmur and complaint to truth and obedience in the exemplary Tale of Florent.

1403–06 Unique to third recension manuscripts. See textual note. Hahn cites the first recension couplet, where, instead of Fairfax’s “In a cronique as it is write” (1.1404), we get: “And in ensample of this matiere / A tale I fynde, as thou shalt hiere.” Hahn concludes: “This revision transforms the pedigree of Gow­er’s retelling from a popular tale — perhaps Ragnelle, in its surviving form, or some other performative text — to literate narrative” (“Old Wives Tales,” p. 100).

1407 ff. The Tale of Florent is apparently based on the same source as Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale; or, more likely, Chaucer drew upon Gower’s story as he put together the marriage group of CT in the 1390s. See Peck, “Folklore and Powerful Women.” The tale joins two folk motifs, the loathly lady trans­formed through love and the answering of a riddle to save one’s life. See Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, D732, and Whiting’s dis­cussion in Bryan and Dempster, eds., Sources and Analogues of Chaucer’s Canter­bury Tales, pp. 223–68. A similar story is found in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle; see Hahn, ed., Sir Gawain, pp. 41–80. Macaulay (2:473) notes Shakespeare’s allusion to Gower’s version of the story in Taming of the Shrew, I.ii.69. For comparison of the three Middle English versions of the tale and the possibility that The Wife of Bath’s tale is a playful inversion of Gower’s more sober narrative, see Lindahl, “Oral Undertones,” pp. 72–75. Dimmick notes that Florent is the only one of the analogues that does not use an Arthurian setting (“‘Redinge of Romance,’” p. 135).

1408 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic contra amori inobedientes ad commendacionem Obediencie Confessor super eodem exemplum ponit; vbi dicit quod, cum quedam Regis Cizilie filia in sue iuuentutis floribus pulcherrima ex eius Nouerce incantacionibus in vetulam turpissimam transformata extitit, Florencius tunc Imparatoris Claudi Nepos, miles in armis strenuissimus amorosisque legibus intendens, ipsam ex sua obediencia in pulcritudinem pristinam mirabiliter reformauit. [Here against those disobedient to love and as commendation to obedience, the Confessor presents an instructive example on the same thing, where he tells that, when a certain daughter of the King of Sicily who was most beautiful in the bloom of her youth but transformed into a most ugly old woman by her stepmother's incantation, Florent, then the nephew of the Emperor Claudius, a knight most strenuous in fighting and committed to the laws of love, miraculously refashioned her, because of his obedience, into her original beauty.] For discussion of the juxtaposition of this Latin text with the vernacular Tale of Florent to create a dynamic ambiguity, a kind of mise-en-page disputatio between the two texts, see Batchelor, “Feigned Truth and Exemplary Method,” pp. 3-10.

1409 nevoeu to th’emperour. Gower has shifted the location of some portions of the story from the Celtic Arthurian world found in Irish loathly lady narratives to the continent with its emperour. See the Latin marginal gloss where Florencius (Florent) is identified with his uncle, the Roman Emperor Claudius (Imparatoris Claudi). When the grantdame tells Florent to seek the answer to her question “in th’empire / Wher as thou hast most nowlechinge” (1.1482–83), she, in effect, sends him home to the familiar patriarchial terrain of his uncle, in whom Florent confides, but also whom he cautions against retaliation when he fails to obtain the answer. The grantdame’s strategy misleads the youth by returning him to the patriarchal ignorance of his roots, while, at the same time, co-opting the emperor’s revenge. That the hag (the wild card against the grantdame’s scheme) comes from “Cizile” (1.1841) also locates the story on the continent as do Florent’s learned but futile attempts to find the answer “be constellacion [and] kinde” (1.1508); such academic schemes help him no more than does Aurelius’ trip to the “tregetour” of Orleans in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale.

1413 ff. See Dimmick, “‘Redinge of Romance,’” pp. 128-30, on Florent as a tale of "wish-fulfilment disguised as an exemplum" (p. 128).

1417 marches. “Borderlands,” i.e., marginal areas where Florent seeks adventures. They could be the western marches of England, though not necessariy, given the fact that their location is unspecified. Thomas Hahn has suggested to me that perhaps Florent, like Arveragus in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale, seeks to make his name “In Engelond, that cleped was eek Briteyne / To seke in armes worshipe and honour” (CT V[F]810–11).

1474 under seales write. On the precision of legal contracts and procedures through­out the tale, see Peck, “Folklore and Powerful Women.”

1509 is al shape unto the lere. Macaulay glosses “‘prepared for the loss’ (OE. lyre)” (2:473). But see MED leir n.1b, meaning “burial place.” I.e., Florent is “prepared for his death”; or, he is “all set (resigned) to be brought to his grave.”

1533 redely. “Quickly” is an obvious gloss; but “carefully” perhaps makes better sense, based on MED red n.1a, 5a, or 6a, implying “advice, deliberation, prudence.”

1634 that olde mone. “Consort” is perhaps too gentle a gloss. Clearly, the phrase is meant to be derogatory. Given the root of the word (gemaene: intercourse), “old fuck” might be more apt. See also MED mon n.2: “evil personified, the Devil,” which is likewise an apt pejorative description.

1686 a More. Used here as a sign of ugliness. Compare Dunbar’s disparaging wit in his short poem “Of a Black Moor,” with its refrain “My lady with the mickle lips.”

1714 nede he mot that nede schal. Proverbial. See Whiting N61. Compare Prol.698 and 8.1020.

1769 go we. See Green, “Speech Acts and the Art of the Exemplum,” pp. 178–79, on Gower’s use of subjunctive mood rather than imperative mood, which he uses very little.

Latin verses viii (before line 1883). On the importance of self-knowledge in Gower and its medieval tradition, see Simpson, Sciences and the Self, pp. 125-33, 203-211.

1887 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de tercia specie Superbie, que Presumpcio dicitur, cuius naturam primo secundum vicium Confessor simpliciter declarat. [Here he speaks about the third species of Pride, which is called Presumption, whose nature as a vice the Confessor first declares in simple terms.]

1911 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor cum Amante super illa saltem presumpcione, ex cuius superbia quam plures fatui amantes, cum maioris certitudinis in amore spem sibi promittunt, inexpediti cicius destituuntur. [Here the Confessor discourses with the Lover especially about presumption from whose pride a great many foolish lovers, when they promise themselves hope of greater certainty in love, are suddenly and unpreparedly made destitute.]

1917 heweth up so hihe. Proverbial. See Whiting H221.

1977 ff. The story of Capaneus’ presumption was a favorite exemplum of pride among medieval writers. See Chaucer, Anel. line 59; TC 5.1504. His story is told in Statius, Thebaid 3.598 ff., 4.165 ff., 6.731 ff., and 10 passim, especially 738 to the end. Statius is probably Gower’s main source, though the story is men­tioned in varying degrees of completeness in Hyginus, Fabularum Liber LXVIII, LXX, LXXI; Boccaccio, Genealogie deorum gentilium libri 9.36; and Ovid, Met. 9.404. See Shaw (“Gower’s Illustrative Tales,” pp. 439–40) on the tale’s service as an exemplum.

1978 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra ilos, qui de suis viribus presumentes debiliores efficiuntur. Et narrat qualiter ille Capaneus, miles in armis probatissimus, de sua presumens audacia inuocacionem ad superos tempore necessitatis ex vecordia tantum et non aliter primitus prouenisse asseruit. Vnde in obsidione Ciuitatis Thebarum, cum ipse quodam die coram suis hostibus ad debellandum se obtulit, ignis de celo subito superveniens ipsum armatum totaliter in cineres combussit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who, presuming on their own powers, are made weaker. And he tells how that Capaneus, a knight most tested in arms, presuming on his boldness, asserted that a vow to the gods at a time of need proceeded only from madness and nothing else. Wherefore in the seige of the city of the Thebans, when he himself on a certain day threw himself into fighting before his enemies, a fire descending from heaven suddenly burned him, fully armed, to ashes.]

2021 ff. Versions of the Trump of Death occur in the Latin Gesta Romanorum (cap. 143), Vita Barlaam et Josaphat, cap. vi (PL 74.462), exemplum 42 of Jacques de Vitry’s Exempla (ed. Crane, p. 151), and other sermon books, etc. Shaw (“Gow­er’s Illustrative Tales,” pp. 440–47) offers a detailed examination of Gower’s adaptation of his sources in shaping his “ensample” (1.2019). See Schutz (“Absent and Present Images,” pp. 115–18) on binary mirroring in the tale.

2031 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor contra illos, qui de sua sciencia presumentes aliorum condiciones diiudicantes indiscrete redarguunt. Et narrat exemplum de quodam principe Regis Hungarie germano, qui cum fratrem suum pauperibus in publico vidit humiliatum, ipsum redarguendo in contrarium edocere presumebat: set Rex omni sapiencia prepollens ipsum sic incaute presumentem ad humilitatis memoriam terribili prouidencia micius castigauit. [Here the Confessor speaks against those who, presuming on their own knowledge and judging carelessly, rebuke the condition of others. And he offers an instructive example concerning a certain prince, the brother of the king of Hungary, who when he saw his brother abase himself in public to paupers, by rebuking him presumed to instruct him to the contrary. But the king, preeminent in every wisdom, punished more gently than terrible providence does the one presuming so incautiously, so that he would remember humility.]

2046–47 “There was such a small account of natural vitality left / That they seemed almost totally dead.” See Galloway, “Middle English Poetics.” Galloway ex­plains the syntactic oddity of the “Bot a lite . . . That . . . ne” clause as a calque of the Old French “presque . . . ne” where the ne denotes not a negative but, instead, “an action that has almost occurred,” citing examples in Chrétien’s Le Chevalier de la Charette. See also the explanatory note to 1.786–88.

2091–93 noght . . . That . . . ne. The ne functions with That as a relative con­junction “Than that.” See notes to Prol.989–90 and 1.786–88.

2214 ff. Macaulay (2:474) cites Vita Barlaam et Josephat, cap. vi, here:

O stulte ac demens, si fratris tui, cum quo idem tibi genus et par honos est, in quem nullius omnino sceleris tibi conscius es, praeconem ita extimuisti, quonam modo mihi reprehensionis notam idcirco inussisti, quod Dei mei praecones, qui mortem, ac Domini, in quem me multa et gravia scelera per­petrasse scio, pertimescendum adventum mihi quavis tuba vocalius altiusque denuntiant, humiliter ac demisse salutarim? [“O mad fool, if you are so ter­rified at the herald of your brother, with whom you are equal in family and rank, against whom you are aware of no crime at all of yours, might I pay respects humbly and meekly to the heralds of my God, who announce to me vocally and loudly, with whatever sort of trumpet, my death and the fearsome arrival of my lord, against whom I know I have committed many terrible crimes?”]

2247 al schal deie. Proverbial. See Whiting D101.

2274 clerk Ovide. See Met. 3.344–510, for the story of Narcissus; also Boccaccio’s Genealogie deorum gentilium libri 7.59. Genius alters the conclusion to suit his heterosexual vision. Medieval writers commonly present Narcissism as a dan­gerous component of erotic love. Guillaume de Lorris’ RR, lines 1439–1614, was an influential text in this regard. See Schutz (“Absent and Present Images,” pp. 109, 118–20) on Gower’s alteration of his source to use specular effects to create introspection.

2279 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in speciali tractat Confessor cum Amante contra illos, qui de propria formositate presumentes amorem mulieris dedignantur. Et narrat exemplum qualiter cuiusdam Principis filius nomine Narcizus estiuo tempore, cum ipse venacionis causa quendam ceruum solus cum suis canibus exagitaret, in grauem sitim incurrens necessitate compulsus ad bibendum de quodam fonte pronus se inclinauit; vbi ipse faciem suam pulcherrimam in aqua percipiens, putabat se per hoc illam Nimpham, quam Poete Ekko vocant, in flumine coram suis oculis pocius conspexisse; de cuius amore confestim laqueatus, vt ipsam ad se de fonte extraheret, pluribus blandiciis adulabatur. Set cum illud perficere nullatenus potuit, pre nimio languore deficiens contra lapides ibidem adiacentes caput exuerberans cerebrum effudit. Et sic de propria pulcritudine qui fuerat presumptuosus, de propria pulcritudine fatuatus interiit. [Here in particular the Confessor discourses with the Lover against those who, presuming on their own beauty, disdain the love of a woman. And he narrates an instructive example about how the son of a certain prince, Narcissus by name, when hunting alone with his hounds during the springtime pursued a certain stag, and running with severe thirst, compelled by necessity to drink from a certain stream, lowered himself flat to the ground. There, perceiving in the water his own most beautiful face, he thought instead that he was regarding that nymph whom poets call Echo, in the river before his eyes. Instantly snared by love of her, in order that he might draw her out from the stream he wooed her with many seductions. But when he could not at all achieve that, growing weak from too great an illness, he struck his head against the stones lying around in that same place, pouring out his brains. And thus he who had been presumptuous about his own beauty died infatuated by it.]

2304-21 Genius introduces a Celtic component of fairy magic to his version of Nar­cissus’ downfall as he dismounts at heat of day and under a tree drinks from a well. Compare Sir Orfeo, in Laskaya and Salisbury, eds., Middle English Breton Lays, pp. 15–60, especially lines 65–174, where Herodis (Eury­dice) sleeps under “a fair ympe-tre” (line 70) at the heat of day and is taken by the king of fairies. See Severs, “Antecedents of Sir Orfeo,” for discussion of the Celtic/Irish tradi­tion. Compare Celtic fairy motifs in the Tale of Florent.

2343-58 "This pretty passage is a late addition, appearing only in the third recension MSS. and one other copy, so far as I know" (Mac, 2:475). The application of the story to the fact that the narcissus blooms in early spring (1.2355-57) appears to be Gower's invention.

2406 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de quarta specie Superbie, que Lactancia dicitur, ex cuius natura causatur, vt homo de seipso testimonium perhibens suarum virtutum merita de laude in culpam transfert, et suam famam cum ipse extollere vellet, illam proprio ore subvertit. Set et Venus in amoris causa de isto vicio maculatos a sua Curia super omnes alios abhorrens expellit, et eorum multiloquium verecunda detestatur. Vnde Confessor Amanti opponens materiam plenius declarat. [Here he speaks concerning the fourth species of Pride, which is called Boasting, by whose nature it is brought about that a man, offering testimonial about himself, transforms the merits of his own virtues from praise to blame, and when he himself would wish to extoll his own fame overturns it with his own mouth. But Venus, abhorring above all others those stained by this vice in the cause of love, expells them and, ashamed of their blabbing, execrates them. Whence the Confessor, querying the Lover, explains the matter more fully.]

2443 daunger. Daunger personifies the woman's aloofness in courtly relationships. In RR he is presented as a somewhat churlish figure who perpetually thwarts the aggressions of male desire.

2459 ff. The popular story of Albinus and Rosemund is first told by Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum 2.28. See also Godfrey of Viterbo, Pantheon, 23.5-6.

2462 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos, qui vel de sua in armis probitate, vel de suo in amoris causa desiderio completo se iactant. Et narrat qualiter Albinus primus Rex Longobardorum, cum ipse quendam alium Regem nomine Gurmundum in bello morientem triumphasset, testam capitis defuncti auferens ciphum ex ea gemmis et auro circumligatum in sue victorie memoriam fabricari constituit: insuper et ipsius Gurmundi filiam Rosemundam rapiens, maritali thoro in coniugem sibi copulauit. Vnde ipso Albino postea coram sui Regni nobilibus in suo regali conuiuio sedente, dicti Gurmundi ciphum infuso vino ad se inter epulas afferri iussit; quem sumptum vxori sue Regine porrexit dicens, "Bibe cum patre tuo." Quod et ipsa huiusmodi operis ignara fecit. Quo facto Rex statim super hiis que per prius gesta fuerant cunctis audientibus per singula se iactauit. Regina vero cum talia audisset, celato animo factum abhorrens in mortem domini sui Regis circumspecta industria conspirauit; ipsumque auxiliantibus Glodesida et Helmege breui subsecuto tempore interfecit: cuius mortem Dux Rauennensis tam in corpus dicte Regine quam suorum fautorum postea vindicauit. Set et huius tocius in infortunii sola superbie iactancia fomitem ministrabat. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who boast either about their trials in war or about their fulfilled desires in the cause of love. And he narrates how Albinus, the first king of the Lombards, when he himself was triumphant over a certain other king dying in battle, Gurmund by name, carried away the top of the dead man's skull and caused a goblet to be fabricated from it, bound with gems and gold, in memory of his victory. In addition to this, he captured the daughter of this same Gurmund, Rosemund, and coupled her to himself as a spouse in the marital bedchamber. Wherefore when this Albinus was later sitting before the nobles of his kingdom at his royal banquet, amidst the feasting he ordered the goblet of the said Gurmund to be brought filled with wine to him. When he had received it, he offered it to his wife the queen, saying, "Drink with your father," which indeed she, ignorant of a piece of work of this kind, unknowingly did. Once done, the king immediately boasted to all those listening about those things that he had formerly accomplished, one by one. But when the queen had heard such things she, abhorring in her concealed thoughts his deed, conspired the death of her lord the king by a circumspect endeavor, and with Glodesida and Helmege helping her, she killed him soon after. The duke of Ravenna later revenged his death on the bodies both of the said queen and of her helpers. And of this whole misfortune a single boast of pride furnished the kindling-wood.] Macaulay notes that the wording "Bibe cum patre tuo" is exactly that of the prose account in the Pantheon (2:477).

2565 thilke unkynde Pride. MED unkinde 4c cites this line in Gower with the meaning “lacking natural affection or concern for or loyalty to a spouse; of a wife: un­dutiful toward her husband, fractious; of a husband, husband’s pride: lacking proper respect for his wife, indifferent to his wife’s feelings.” N.b. CA 3.2055, where Orestes condemns Clytemnestra: “O cruel beste unkinde” for the slaugh­ter of her own lord. See also MED unkynde 6a and 4d. That the duke of Ravenna quietly poisons Rosemund (1.2644–46) would seem to be the result of an unspoken law: wives don’t kill husbands, lest they be unkynde.

2629–30 noght . . . That . . . ne. See note to 1.786–88.

2642 ff. Macaulay observes that Gower winds the story up abruptly. "According to the original story, Longinus the Prefect of Ravenna conspired with Rosemunda to poison Helmichis, and he, having received drink from her hand and feeling himself poisoned, compelled her to drink also of the same cup" (2:477).

Latin verses x (before line 2681). Line 5: fauellum. Favel, a medieval creation, is generally related to flattery (from Latin fabella) and is bodied forth as a horse to be “cur­ried” by his followers (because fauvel is ‘fawn colored’ in Old French, hence a fawn-colored horse): see the fourteenth-century French Roman de Fauvel (ed. Langförs). In that poem Fauvel is acrostically defined as the pro­genitor of flattery, avarice, villainy, variety (changeability), envy, and lazi­ness; he seeks to marry Fortune but is denied because of Fortune’s higher lineage and so must settle for Vaine Gloire. Piers Plowman introduces Favel to English litera­ture, but not specifically as a horse (B.2.158 ff.). The “saddled laws” that Gower places on Favel’s back could show some connection with the passage in Piers Plowman, where saddled sheriffs and professional jury members carry Meed and False (so Echard and Fanger, Latin Verses in the Confessio Amantis). More likely, however, Gower’s saddling Favel with laws and climbing on Favel as a knight are simply elaborations of the allegory of the Roman de Fauvel, a connection confirmed by Gower’s association of Favel with Vain Glory whom Favel marries in the Roman. Yet by the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century the dramatized idea of “currying favor” was very widespread in England and in more literal terms than our own cliché usually conveys; the chronicler Thomas Walsingham describes a public sermon in 1406 where a lord ordered his servant to present to the preacher a currying comb, “sug­gesting that he was fawning on the prelates of the church.” The archbishop of Canterbury, less amused than the other spectators, ordered the servant to walk naked for several days as penance with a curry-comb in one hand and a candle in the other. Obviously the symbolism of the curry-comb in both events was clear to many without any specific literary source (see Walsingham, St. Albans Chronicle, ed. Galbraith, p. 2).

2657 His pourpos schal ful ofte faile. See Bakalian, Aspects of Love, pp. 12–20, on Al­binus’ avantance (boasting) and the swiftness of his demise once he “over-reaches himself and is swept away by his pride” (p. 18).

2682 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur de quinta specie superbie, que Inanis gloria vocatur, et eiusdem vicii naturam primo describens super eodem in amoris causa Confessor Amanti consequenter opponit. [Here he speaks about the fifth species of pride, which is called empty (or vain) glory, and first describing the nature of this same vice, the Confessor consequently questions the Lover about it in the cause of love.]

2698 camelion. Probably the lizard but not necessarily. The MED cites Gower's line here to signify a creature of diverse colors and notes various references in Gower's contemporary, John Trevisa, where the chameleon is "a litel beste of dyverse coloures" like a stellio (gecko) or the lusardis; or an evete (lizard, salamander, or newt); or "a flekked beste" like a leopard or basilisk. Trevisa also uses the word to indicate a giraffe, while Mandeville uses the word for "a lytill best as a Goot." See Whiting C137 for proverbial underpinning.

2706 ff. Latin marginalia: Salomon. Amictus eius annunciat de eo. [Solomon: "His cloak declares what he is."] See Ecclesiasticus 19:27, which Gower abbreviates.

2722–24 noght . . . That . . . ne. See note to 1.786–88.

2727 Rondeal, balade and virelai. Burrow (“Portrayal of Amans,” p. 21) notes that in Gower “these compositions are not incorporated in the text of the poem itself as we would expect in Machaut or Froissart.”

2785 ff. Based on Daniel 4:1-34 (Dan. 4:4-37, King James). The story was a popular exemplum of pride (e.g., VC 7; MO, lines 1885-95 and 21979–96; and Chaucer's Monk's Tale, CT VII[B2]2143-82). For detailed discussion of the passage, see Peck, “John Gower and the Book of Daniel.”

2788 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra vicium inanis glorie, narrans qualiter Nabugodonosor Rex Caldeorum, cum ipse in omni sue maiestatis gloria celsior extitisset, deus eius superbiam castigare volens ipsum extra formam hominis in bestiam fenum comedentem transmutauit. Et sic per septennium penitens, cum ipse potenciorem se agnouit, misertus deus ipsum in sui regni solium restituta sanitate emendatum graciosius collocauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against the vice of empty (or vain) glory, relating how, when Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Chaldeans, was established very high in all the glory of his majesty, God, wishing to chastize his pride, transmuted him into a grass-eating beast. And thus. with the king making penance for seven years, when he acknowledged [God] to be more powerful, God took pity and graciously placed him again on the soil of his kingdom, freed from blemish and with his health restored.]

2925 The weder schal upon thee reine. "The weather shall rain upon you." But it also could mean, "The sheep shall rule over you."

3067 ff. No specific source has been identified for "The Tale of Three Questions."

3068 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic narrat Confessor exemplum simpliciter contra Superbiam; et dicit quod nuper quidam Rex famose prudencie cuidam militi suo super tribus questionibus, vt inde certitudinis responsionem daret, sub pena capitalis sentencie terminum prefixit. Primo, quid minoris indigencie ab inhabitantibus orbem auxilium maius obtinuit. Secundo, quid maioris valencie meritum continens minoris expense reprisas exiguit. Tercio, quid omnia bona diminuens ex sui proprietate nichil penitus valuit. Quarum vero questionum quedam virgo dicti militis filia sapientissima nomine patris sui solucionem aggrediens taliter Regi respondit. Ad primam dixit, quod terra nullius indiget, quam tamen adiuuare cotidianis laboribus omnes intendunt. Ad secundam dixit, quod humilitas omnibus virtutibus prevalet, que tamen nullius prodegalitatis expensis mensuram excedit. Ad terciam dixit, quod superbia omnia tam corporis quam anime bona deuastans maiores expensarum excessus inducit. Et tamen nullius valoris, ymmo tocius perdicionis, causam sua culpa ministrat. [Here the Confessor narrates an instructive example against pride in general; and he says that in recent times a certain king, famous for his prudence, presented to one of his knights a logical challenge comprising three questions, whence he might give a correct response under pain of capital punishment: first, what having less need has obtained greater help from inhabitants on earth; second, what having merit of greater value demands less expense; third, what diminishes all good things but is worth utterly nothing in itself. Of these questions, however, the most wise virgin daughter of the said knight, advancing a solution in the name of her father, responded thus to the king. To the first, she said that the earth has need of nothing, but all strive to help it with daily labors. To the second, she said that humility is worth more than all virtues, but it does not exceed any expense of prodigality. To the third, she said that pride devastating all good things both of the body and the soul induces excessive expenses. And nonetheless its guilt furnishes the source of no value but instead of total loss.] In the phrase minoris expense reprisas, reprisa means “expenses lost, cost,” but, like its Old French and ME versions (both reprise), it is com­monly found in legal documents and normally with the technical legal sense of “a fixed charge de­ducted annually from an estate’s revenue” (Latham, Re­vised Medieval Latin Word-List, and MED ). Gower is the only writer attested as broadening the meaning of the word in English to mean, as here, simply “cost” (see explan­atory notes to 1.3308 and 5.4708). His usage was not followed by other writers.

3308 To stanche . . . the reprise. Macaulay glosses reprise as “trouble”; i.e., “To stop the trouble of Pride” (2:479). But the MED favors “To pay the cost of Pride” (see MED s.v. reprise b; and s.v. staunchen 3c). See also the comment on the Latin reprisa above.

3366–67 noght . . . That . . . ne. See note to 1.786–88.

3369 ff. Macaulay (2:479) notes that Gower has heavily corrected these lines.

3397-3400 The MS is torn here, with line 3397 ending gr; line 3398 ending plac; and line 3400 ending qwee.


Abbreviations: A: Bodleian Library MS Bodley 902 (SC 27573), fols. 2r–183r; B: Bodleian Library MS Bodley 294 (SC 2449), fols. 1r–197r; C: Corpus Christi College, Oxford MS 67, fols. 1r–209r; F: Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 3 (SC 3883; copy text for this edition), fols. 2r–186r; J: St. John’s College, Cambridge MS B.12 (34), fols. 1r–214r; Mac: G. C. Macaulay; S: Stafford, now Ellesmere 26, fols. 1r–169v; T: Trinity College, Cambridge MS R.3.2 (581), fols. 1r–147v.

1–106 Omitted in S (lost leaf).

17 no man. Here and elsewhere in the MS the scribe writes noman. I have regularly expanded the compound into two words, according to modern usage.

19 to moche . . . to lite. F: tomoche . . . tolite. Here and hereafter I expand such compounds into two words. See note to line 17.

125 Thow. So F. S, B, J, Mac: Thou.

130 wis man. F: wismam. S, B, Mac: wisman. J: wysmon.

154 sone. F usually capitalizes Sone and Mac always does when it refers to Amans. I have followed modern practice and ignored the capital.

183 thanne wold. So F, S. J: þenne wold. B: þan wold. Mac emends to than wolde.

234 Mi sone. So S. F: Mi sone sone. B, J, Mac: My Sone.

293 the. So S, B, J, Mac. F: ther.

295 shryve. So F. S: schryue. B, Mac: shrive. J: schriue.

298 mispended. So F. S: mysdespended. B, J: mysdispended. Mac emends to misdis­pended; but hadde is disyllabic and the emendation is unnecessary.

310 manye such a man. So F. S, A, Mac: manye suche a man. B: many such a man. J: mony such a mon.

334 ff. Latin marginalia: line 4: superveniens. So Mac. F reads superueveniens (the repetition of ve occurs at a line break).

335 whilom. So S, B, J, Mac. F: whilon.

355 throstle. So S, B, Mac. F: Trostle. J: þrestele.

377 houndes. So S, J, B, Mac. F: hondes.

393–94 constellacioun . . . nacioun. So S, B. F: constellacioun . . . nacion. J, Mac: constellacion . . . nacion.

397 bore. So S, B, J, Mac. F: bothe. I have followed Mac’s emendation on the basis of other MSS, but also because of the mention of nativité in line 392.

483 ff. Latin marginalia: line 5: pertransiit. So F. Mac: pertransiuit. Mac’s form, while certainly the more common, is not necessary given the legitimacy of F.

531 myht. So S, J, Mac. F: myhte. B: might.

Latin verses v (before line 575). Line 1: Aquila que. F: Aquilaque.

580 ferste. So S, Mac. F, J: ferst. B: first. I have followed S to maintain the parallel in line 585.

584 I. So S, B, J, Mac. Omitted by F.

631–814 Omitted in J.

673 Ornamental capital on Ther; thus my division at the syntactic break.

823 wynne. So B, J, Mac. F: wynme. S: winne.

1023 seid. So S, A, Mac. F: seide. B, J: seyd.

1068 tobroken. So F. S, B, J, Mac: tobreken.

1172 Synon. So S, B, J, Mac. F: Symon.

1216 which. So S, B, Mac. F: wich. J: whech.

1225 Bot. So S, Mac. F: Byt. B: But. J: Bote.

1257 schalt. So S, B, Mac. F: schat. J: shalt.

1301 Mi. So F, S. B, J, Mac: My.

1344 ff. Latin marginalia: line 2: deseruiunt. So Mac. F: deseruiant (induced by preceding ut).

1345 Compleignte. So S, Mac. F, J: Compleingte. B: compleynte.

1378 Compleignte. So S, Mac. F, J: Compleingte. B: compleignt.

1403–06 Lines only in third recension. Others (S, B, J) have: And in ensample of þis matiere / A tale I fynde as þou schalt hiere (text from B).

1464 Omitted in B.

1500 othre. So F, S. B, J, Mac: other. But see 1.1496.

1625 th’unsemylieste. So F, S. B: þunsemelieste. J: þe vnsemelieste. Mac: thunsemlieste.

1648 Gif his ansuere. So F. S: õive his ansuere. B, Mac: Yive his answere. J: õeue his answere.

1719 womanhiede. So F. S, Mac: wommanhiede. B: wommanhede. J: wommonhede.

1747 Sche. So F, S, B. J: Heo. Mac: She.

1785 fole. So F. S, B, J, Mac: foule.

1881–82 Omitted in S.

2017–20 S has only two lines: Wherof þou miht þiselue lere / I þenke telle as þou schalt hiere.

2043 Thei. So Mac. F: That. S: þe. B: þey. J: They.

2105 And. So S, B, J, Mac. F: An.

2159 Here. So S, Mac. F: Hire. B: Her. J: Heor.

2171 sherte. So F. S: schert. B, J, Mac: scherte.

2267–74 This transition was altered in the third recension. Others (S, B, J) have: Forþi eschew it I þe rede / For in Ouide a tale I rede / how þat a man was ouertake / Wherof þou might ensample take (text from B).

2311–12 branche . . . stanche. So F. S, B, J, Mac: braunche . . . staunche.

2343–58 Omitted in S, B, J.

2360 alle. So F, S, J, B. Mac: all.

2369–72 Omitted in S, B, J.

2398 have his wille. Mac emends to have al his wille, from S, B, J. Metrically the emendation is unnecessary if scholde is disyllabic.

2457 myhte. So F, S. B: might. J, Mac: myht.

2460 ferst. So F, J. S, Mac: ferste.

2462 ff. Latin marginalia: line 14: Ravenni. So F. Mac: Rauennensis.

2676 Til. So F, S, B. J: Tyl. Mac: Till. See also 8.370.

Latin verses x (before line 2681). Line 5: scit. So B, Mac. F, S, J: sit.

2713–14 Lines only in third recension. Others (S, B, J) have: So ouerglad þat purgatoire / Ne might abregge his veinegloire (text from B).

2827 ek. So F, S. B: eek. J, Mac: eke.

2829 tree. So F, S, B, J. Mac: tre.

2847 thurghknowe. So A, Mac. F: thurgknowe. S, B: thurgh knowe. J: þorouh knowe.

2932 exposicioun. So S, B, Mac. F, J: exposicion.

3068 ff. Latin marginalia: line 5: obtinuit. So Mac. F: obtitinuit.

3351 mai. So S, J, Mac. F: mar. B: may.

3357 sesed. So S, B, J, Mac. F: seled.

3398 sene. So Mac. F, S: scene. B: seene. J: schene (omits was).


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Confessio Amantis: Book 1

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


205 [Confessor]
215 [Amans]
530 Confessor
Opponit Confessor
Respondet Amans
575 [Confessor]
Opponit Confessor
Respondet Amans

1210 Confessor
Opponit Confessor
Respondet Amans

2670 Confessor
2785 [Confessor]

         Incipit Liber Primus
[On Love]
Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem
   Subdit, et vnanimes concitat esse feras:
Huius enim mundi Princeps amor esse videtur,
   Cuius eget diues, pauper et omnis ope.
Sunt in agone pares amor et fortuna, que cecas
   Plebis ad insidias vertit vterque rotas.
Est amor egra salus, vexata quies, pius error,
   Bellica pax, vulnus dulce, suaue malum.
   I may noght strecche up to the hevene
Min hand, ne setten al in evene
This world, which evere is in balance:
It stant noght in my sufficance
So grete thinges to compasse,
Bot I mot lete it overpasse
And treten upon othre thinges.
Forthi the stile of my writinges
Fro this day forth I thenke change
And speke of thing is noght so strange,
Which every kinde hath upon honde,
And wherupon the world mot stonde,
And hath don sithen it began,
And schal whil ther is any man;
And that is love, of which I mene
To trete, as after schal be sene.
In which ther can no man him reule,
For loves lawe is out of reule,
That of to moche or of to lite
Wel nyh is every man to wyte,
And natheles ther is no man
In al this world so wys, that can
Of love tempre the mesure,
Bot as it falth in aventure.
For wit ne strengthe may noght helpe,
And he which elles wolde him yelpe
Is rathest throwen under fote,
Ther can no wiht therof do bote.
For yet was nevere such covine,
That couthe ordeine a medicine
To thing which God in lawe of kinde
Hath set, for ther may no man finde
The rihte salve of such a sor.
It hath and schal ben everemor
That love is maister wher he wile,
Ther can no lif make other skile;
For wher as evere him lest to sette,
Ther is no myht which him may lette.
Bot what schal fallen ate laste,
The sothe can no wisdom caste,
Bot as it falleth upon chance.
For if ther evere was balance
Which of fortune stant governed,
I may wel lieve as I am lerned
That love hath that balance on honde,
Which wol no reson understonde.
For love is blind and may noght se,
Forthi may no certeineté
Be set upon his jugement,
Bot as the whiel aboute went
He gifth his graces undeserved,
And fro that man which hath him served
Ful ofte he takth aweye his fees,
As he that pleieth ate dees;
And therupon what schal befalle
He not, til that the chance falle,
Wher he schal lese or he schal winne.
And thus ful ofte men beginne,
That if thei wisten what it mente,
Thei wolde change al here entente.
   And for to proven it is so,
I am miselven on of tho,
Which to this scole am underfonge.
For it is siththe go noght longe,
As for to speke of this matiere,
I may you telle, if ye woll hiere,
A wonder hap which me befell,
That was to me bothe hard and fell,
Touchende of love and his fortune,
The which me liketh to comune
And pleinly for to telle it oute.
To hem that ben lovers aboute
Fro point to point I wol declare
And wryten of my woful care,
Mi wofull day, my wofull chance,
That men mowe take remembrance
Of that thei schall hierafter rede:
For in good feith this wolde I rede,
That every man ensample take
Of wisdom which him is betake,
And that he wot of good aprise
To teche it forth, for such emprise
Is for to preise; and therfore I
Woll wryte and schewe al openly
How love and I togedre mette
Wherof the world ensample fette
Mai after this, whan I am go,
Of thilke unsely jolif wo,
Whos reule stant out of the weie,
Nou glad and nou gladnesse aweie,
And yet it may noght be withstonde
For oght that men may understonde.
[Complaint to Cupid and Venus]
Non ego Sampsonis vires, non Herculis arma
   Vinco, sum sed vt hii victus amore pari.
Vt discant alii, docet experiencia facti,
   Rebus in ambiguis que sit habenda via.
Deuius ordo ducis temptata pericla sequentem
   Instruit a tergo, ne simul ille cadat.
Me quibus ergo Venus, casus, laqueauit amantem,
   Orbis in exemplum scribere tendo palam.
   Upon the point that is befalle
Of love, in which that I am falle,
I thenke telle my matiere:
Now herkne, who that wol it hiere,
Of my fortune how that it ferde.
This enderday, as I forthferde
To walke, as I yow telle may,
And that was in the monthe of Maii,
Whan every brid hath chose his make
And thenkth his merthes for to make
Of love that he hath achieved;
Bot so was I nothing relieved,
For I was further fro my love
Than erthe is fro the hevene above.
As for to speke of eny sped,
So wiste I me non other red,
Bot as it were a man forfare
Unto the wode I gan to fare,
Noght for to singe with the briddes,
For whanne I was the wode amiddes,
I fond a swote grene pleine,
And ther I gan my wo compleigne
Wisshinge and wepinge al myn one,
For other merthes made I none.
So hard me was that ilke throwe,
That ofte sithes overthrowe
To grounde I was withoute breth;
And evere I wisshide after deth,
Whanne I out of my peine awok,
And caste up many a pitous lok
Unto the hevene, and seide thus:
"O thou Cupide, O thou Venus,
Thow god of love and thou goddesse,
Wher is pité? wher is meknesse?
Now doth me pleinly live or dye,
For certes such a maladie
As I now have and longe have hadd,
It myhte make a wis man madd,
If that it scholde longe endure.
O Venus, queene of loves cure,
Thou lif, thou lust, thou mannes hele,
Behold my cause and my querele,
And yif me som part of thi grace,
So that I may finde in this place
If thou be gracious or non."
And with that word I sawh anon
The kyng of love and qweene bothe;
Bot he that kyng with yhen wrothe
His chiere aweiward fro me caste,
And forth he passede ate laste.
Bot natheles er he forth wente
A firy dart me thoghte he hente
And threw it thurgh myn herte rote:
In him fond I non other bote,
For lenger list him noght to duelle.
Bot sche that is the source and welle
Of wel or wo, that schal betide
To hem that loven, at that tide
Abod, bot for to tellen hiere
Sche cast on me no goodly chiere:
Thus natheles to me sche seide,
"What art thou, sone?" and I abreide
Riht as a man doth out of slep,
And therof tok sche riht good kep
And bad me nothing ben adrad:
Bot for al that I was noght glad,
For I ne sawh no cause why.
And eft scheo asketh, what was I:
I seide, "A caitif that lith hiere:
What wolde ye, my ladi diere?
Schal I ben hol or elles dye?"
Sche seide, "Tell thi maladie:
What is thi sor of which thou pleignest?
Ne hyd it noght, for if thou feignest,
I can do thee no medicine."
"Ma dame, I am a man of thyne,
That in thi court have longe served,
And aske that I have deserved,
Som wele after my longe wo."
And sche began to loure tho,
And seide, "Ther is manye of yow
Faitours, and so may be that thow
Art riht such on, and be feintise
Seist that thou hast me do servise."
And natheles sche wiste wel,
Mi world stod on an other whiel
Withouten eny faiterie:
Bot algate of my maladie
Sche bad me telle and seie hir trowthe.
"Ma dame, if ye wolde have rowthe,"
Quod I, "thanne wold I telle yow."
"Sey forth," quod sche, "and tell me how;
Schew me thi seknesse everydiel."
"Ma dame, that can I do wel,
Be so my lif therto wol laste."
With that hir lok on me sche caste,
And seide: "In aunter if thou live,
Mi will is ferst that thou be schrive;
And natheles how that it is
I wot miself, bot for al this
Unto my prest, which comth anon,
I woll thou telle it on and on,
Bothe all thi thoght and al thi werk.
O Genius myn oghne clerk,
Com forth and hier this mannes schrifte,"
Quod Venus tho; and I uplifte
Min hefd with that and gan beholde
The selve prest which as sche wolde
Was redy there and sette him doun
To hiere my confessioun.
[Confessio Amantis, the Lover's Confession]
Confessus Genio si sit medicina salutis
   Experiar morbis, quos tulit ipsa Venus.
Lesa quidem ferro medicantur membra saluti,
   Raro tamen medicum vulnus amoris habet.
   This worthi prest, this holy man
To me spekende thus began,
And seide: "Benedicité,
Mi sone; of the felicité
Of love and ek of all the wo
Thou schalt thee schrive of bothe tuo.
What thou er this for loves sake
Hast felt, let nothing be forsake,
Tell pleinliche as it is befalle."
And with that word I gan doun falle
On knees, and with devocioun
And with full gret contricioun
I seide thanne: "Dominus,
Min holi fader Genius;
So as thou hast experience
Of love, for whos reverence
Thou schalt me schriven at this time,
I prai thee let me noght mistime
Mi schrifte, for I am destourbed
In al myn herte, and so contourbed,
That I ne may my wittes gete,
So schal I moche thing forgete.
Bot if thou wolt my schrifte oppose
Fro point to point, thanne, I suppose,
Ther schal nothing be left behinde.
Bot now my wittes ben so blinde,
That I ne can miselven teche."
Tho he began anon to preche,
And with his wordes debonaire
He seide to me softe and faire:
"Thi schrifte to oppose and hiere,
Mi sone, I am assigned hiere
Be Venus the godesse above,
Whos prest I am touchende of love.
Bot natheles for certein skile
I mot algate and nedes wile
Noght only make my spekynges
Of love, bot of othre thinges,
That touchen to the cause of vice.
For that belongeth to th'office
Of prest, whos ordre that I bere,
So that I wol nothing forbere,
That I the vices on and on
Ne schal thee schewen everychon;
Wherof thou myht take evidence
To reule with thi conscience.
Bot of conclusion final
Conclude I wol in special
For love, whos servant I am,
And why the cause is that I cam.
So thenke I to don bothe tuo,
Ferst that myn ordre longeth to,
The vices for to telle arewe,
Bot next above alle othre schewe
Of love I wol the propretes,
How that thei stonde be degrees
After the disposicioun
Of Venus, whos condicioun
I moste folwe, as I am holde.
For I with love am al withholde,
So that the lasse I am to wyte,
Thogh I ne conne bot a lyte
Of othre thinges that ben wise:
I am noght tawht in such a wise;
For it is noght my comun us
To speke of vices and vertus,
Bot al of love and of his lore,
For Venus bokes of no more
Me techen nowther text ne glose.
Bot for als moche as I suppose
It sit a prest to be wel thewed,
And schame it is if he be lewed,
Of my presthode after the forme
I wol thi schrifte so enforme,
That ate leste thou schalt hiere
The vices, and to thi matiere
Of love I schal hem so remene,
That thou schalt knowe what thei mene.
For what a man schal axe or sein
Touchende of schrifte, it mot be plein,
It nedeth noght to make it queinte,
For trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte:
That I wole axe of thee forthi,
Mi sone, it schal be so pleinly,
That thou schalt knowe and understonde
The pointz of schrifte how that thei stonde."
[Senses of Sight and Sound]
Visus et auditus fragilis sunt ostia mentis,
   Que viciosa manus claudere nulla potest.
Est ibi larga via, graditur qua cordis ad antrum
   Hostis, et ingrediens fossa talenta rapit.
Hec michi confessor Genius primordia profert,
   Dum sit in extremis vita remorsa malis.
Nunc tamen vt poterit semiviua loquela fateri,
   Verba per os timide conscia mentis agam.

   Betwen the lif and deth I herde
This prestes tale er I answerde,
And thanne I preide him for to seie
His will, and I it wolde obeie
After the forme of his apprise.
Tho spak he to me in such a wise,
And bad me that I scholde schryve
As touchende of my wittes fyve,
And schape that thei were amended
Of that I hadde hem mispended.
For tho be proprely the gates,
Thurgh whiche as to the herte algates
Comth alle thing unto the feire,
Which may the mannes soule empeire.
And now this matiere is broght inne:
"Mi sone, I thenke ferst beginne
To wite how that thin yhe hath stonde,
The which is, as I understonde,
The moste principal of alle,
Thurgh whom that peril mai befalle.
   And for to speke in loves kinde,
Ful manye such a man mai finde,
Whiche evere caste aboute here yhe,
To loke if that thei myhte aspie
Ful ofte thing which hem ne toucheth,
Bot only that here herte soucheth
In hindringe of an other wiht;
And thus ful many a worthi knyht
And many a lusti lady bothe
Have be ful ofte sythe wrothe.
So that an yhe is as a thief
To love, and doth ful gret meschief;
And also for his oghne part
Ful ofte thilke firy dart
Of love, which that evere brenneth,
Thurgh him into the herte renneth:
And thus a mannes yhe ferst
Himselve grieveth alther werst,
And many a time that he knoweth
Unto his oghne harm it groweth.
Mi sone, herkne now forthi
A tale, to be war therby
Thin yhe for to kepe and warde,
So that it passe noght his warde.
[The Tale of Acteon]
   Ovide telleth in his bok
Ensample touchende of mislok,
And seith hou whilom ther was on,
A worthi lord, which Acteon
Was hote, and he was cousin nyh
To him that Thebes ferst on hyh
Up sette, which king Cadme hyhte.
This Acteon, as he wel myhte,
Above alle othre caste his chiere,
And used it fro yer to yere,
With houndes and with grete hornes
Among the wodes and the thornes
To make his hunting and his chace:
Where him best thoghte in every place
To finde gamen in his weie,
Ther rod he for to hunte and pleie.
So him befell upon a tide
On his hunting as he cam ride,
In a forest alone he was:
He syh upon the grene gras
The faire freisshe floures springe,
He herde among the leves singe
The throstle with the nyhtingale:
Thus er he wiste into a dale
He cam, wher was a litel plein,
All round aboute wel besein
With buisshes grene and cedres hyhe;
And ther withinne he caste his yhe.
Amidd the plein he syh a welle,
So fair ther myhte no man telle,
In which Diana naked stod
To bathe and pleie hire in the flod
With many a nimphe, which hire serveth.
Bot he his yhe awey ne swerveth
Fro hire which was naked al,
And sche was wonder wroth withal.
And him, as sche which was godesse,
Forschop anon, and the liknesse
Sche made him taken of an hert,
Which was tofore hise houndes stert,
That ronne besiliche aboute
With many an horn and many a route,
That maden mochel noise and cry:
And ate laste, unhappely,
This hert his oghne houndes slowhe
And him for vengance al todrowhe.
   Lo now, my sone, what it is
A man to caste his yhe amis,
Which Acteon hath dere aboght;
Be war forthi and do it noght.
For ofte, who that hiede toke,
Betre is to winke than to loke.
And for to proven it is so,
Ovide the poete also
A tale which to this matiere
Acordeth seith, as thou schalt hiere.
[The Tale of Medusa]
   In Metamor it telleth thus,
How that a lord which Phorceus
Was hote, hadde dowhtres thre.
Bot upon here nativité
Such was the constellacioun,
That out of mannes nacioun
Fro kynde thei be so miswent,
That to the liknesse of serpent
Thei were bore, and so that on
Of hem was cleped Stellibon,
That other soster Suriale,
The thridde, as telleth in the tale,
Medusa hihte, and natheles
Of comun name Gorgones
In every contré ther aboute,
As monstres whiche that men doute,
Men clepen hem; and bot on yhe
Among hem thre in pourpartie
Thei hadde, of which thei myhte se:
Now hath it this, now hath it sche;
After that cause and nede it ladde,
Be throwes ech of hem it hadde.
A wonder thing yet more amis
Ther was, wherof I telle al this.
What man on hem his chiere caste
And hem behield, he was als faste
Out of a man into a ston
Forschape, and thus ful manyon
Deceived were, of that thei wolde
Misloke, wher that thei ne scholde.
Bot Perseus that worthi knyht,
Whom Pallas of hir grete myht
Halp, and tok him a schield therto,
And ek the god Mercurie also
Lente him a swerd, he, as it fell,
Beyende Athlans the hihe hell
These monstres soghte, and there he fond
Diverse men of thilke lond
Thurgh sihte of hem mistorned were,
Stondende as stones hiere and there.
Bot, he, which wisdom and prouesse
Hadde of the god and the godesse,
The schield of Pallas gan enbrace,
With which he covereth sauf his face,
Mercuries swerd and out he drowh,
And so he bar him that he slowh
These dredful monstres alle thre.
   Lo now, my sone, avise thee,
That thou thi sihte noght misuse:
Cast noght thin yhe upon Meduse,
That thou be torned into ston:
For so wys man was nevere non,
Bot if he wel his yhe kepe
And take of fol delit no kepe,
That he with lust nys ofte nome,
Thurgh strengthe of love and overcome.
   Of mislokynge how it hath ferd,
As I have told, now hast thou herd,
Mi goode sone, and tak good hiede.
And over this yet I thee rede
That thou be war of thin heringe,
Which to the herte the tidinge
Of many a vanité hath broght,
To tarie with a mannes thoght.
And natheles good is to hiere
Such thing wherof a man may lere
That to vertu is acordant,
And toward al the remenant
Good is to torne his ere fro;
For elles, bot a man do so,
Him may ful ofte mysbefalle.
I rede ensample amonges alle,
Wherof to kepe wel an ere
It oghte pute a man in fere.
[Aspidis the Serpent]
   A serpent, which that Aspidis
Is cleped, of his kynde hath this,
That he the ston noblest of alle,
The which that men carbuncle calle,
Berth in his hed above on heihte.
For which whan that a man be sleyhte
The ston to winne and him to daunte,
With his carecte him wolde enchaunte,
Anon as he perceiveth that,
He leith doun his on ere al plat
Unto the ground, and halt it faste,
And ek that other ere als faste
He stoppeth with his tail so sore,
That he the wordes lasse or more
Of his enchantement ne hiereth;
And in this wise himself he skiereth,
So that he hath the wordes weyved
And thurgh his ere is noght deceived.
[The Sirens]
   An othre thing, who that recordeth,
Lich unto this ensample acordeth,
Which in the tale of Troie I finde.
Sirenes of a wonder kynde
Ben monstres, as the bokes tellen,
And in the grete se thei duellen:
Of body bothe and of visage
Lik unto wommen of yong age
Up fro the navele on hih thei be,
And doun benethe, as men mai se,
Thei bere of fisshes the figure.
And over this of such nature
Thei ben, that with so swete a stevene
Lik to the melodie of hevene
In wommanysshe vois thei singe,
With notes of so gret likinge,
Of such mesure, of such musike,
Wherof the schipes thei beswike
That passen be the costes there.
For whan the schipmen leie an ere
Unto the vois, in here avys
Thei wene it be a paradys,
Which after is to hem an helle.
For reson may noght with hem duelle,
Whan thei tho grete lustes hiere;
Thei conne noght here schipes stiere,
So besiliche upon the note
Thei herkne, and in such wise assote,
That thei here rihte cours and weie
Forgete, and to here ere obeie,
And seilen til it so befalle
That thei into the peril falle,
Where as the schipes be todrawe,
And thei ben with the monstres slawe.
Bot fro this peril natheles
With his wisdom king Uluxes
Ascapeth and it overpasseth;
For he tofor the hond compasseth
That no man of his compaignie
Hath pouer unto that folie
His ere for no lust to caste;
For he hem stoppede alle faste,
That non of hem mai hiere hem singe.
So whan thei comen forth seilinge,
Ther was such governance on honde,
That thei the monstres have withstonde
And slain of hem a gret partie.
Thus was he sauf with his navie,
This wise king, thurgh governance.
   Wherof, my sone, in remembrance
Thou myht ensample taken hiere,
As I have told, and what thou hiere
Be wel war, and gif no credence,
Bot if thou se more evidence.
For if thou woldest take kepe
And wisly cowthest warde and kepe
Thin yhe and ere, as I have spoke,
Than haddest thou the gates stoke
Fro such sotie as comth to winne
Thin hertes wit, which is withinne,
Wherof that now thi love excedeth
Mesure, and many a peine bredeth.
Bot if thou cowthest sette in reule
Tho tuo, the thre were eth to reule:
Forthi as of thi wittes five
I wole as now no more schryve,
Bot only of these ilke tuo.
Tell me therfore if it be so,
Hast thou thin yhen oght misthrowe?"
   "Mi fader, ye, I am beknowe,
I have hem cast upon Meduse,
Therof I may me noght excuse:
Min herte is growen into ston,
So that my lady therupon
Hath such a priente of love grave,
That I can noght miselve save."
"What seist thou, sone, as of thin ere?"
"Mi fader, I am gultyf there;
For whanne I may my lady hiere,
Mi wit with that hath lost his stiere:
I do noght as Uluxes dede,
Bot falle anon upon the stede,
Wher as I se my lady stonde;
And there, I do yow understonde,
I am topulled in my thoght,
So that of reson leveth noght,
Wherof that I me mai defende."
   "Mi goode sone, God th'amende!
For as me thenketh be thi speche
Thi wittes ben riht feer to seche.
As of thin ere and of thin yhe
I woll no more specefie,
Bot I woll axen over this
Of othre thing how that it is."
Celsior est Aquila que Leone ferocior ille,
   Quem tumor elati cordis ad alta mouet.
Sunt species quinque, quibus esse Superbia ductrix
   Clamat, et in multis mundus adheret eis.
Laruando faciem ficto pallore subornat
   Fraudibus Ypocrisis mellea verba suis.
Sicque pios animos quamsepe ruit muliebres
   Ex humili verbo sub latitante dolo.
   "Mi sone, as I thee schal enforme,
Ther ben yet of an other forme
Of dedly vices sevene applied,
Wherof the herte is ofte plied
To thing which after schal him grieve.
The ferste of hem thou schalt believe
Is Pride, which is principal,
And hath with him in special
Ministres five ful diverse,
Of whiche, as I thee schal reherse,
The ferste is seid Ypocrisie.
If thou art of his compaignie,
Tell forth, my sone, and schrif thee clene."
   "I wot noght, fader, what ye mene:
Bot this I wolde you beseche,
That ye me be som weie teche
What is to ben an ypocrite;
And thanne if I be for to wyte,
I wol beknowen, as it is."
   "Mi sone, an ypocrite is this:
A man which feigneth conscience,
As thogh it were al innocence
Withoute, and is noght so withinne;
And doth so for he wolde winne
Of his desir the vein astat.
And whanne he comth anon therat,
He scheweth thanne what he was.
The corn is torned into gras,
That was a rose is thanne a thorn,
And he that was a lomb beforn
Is thanne a wolf, and thus malice
Under the colour of justice
Is hid; and as the poeple telleth,
These ordres witen where he duelleth,
As he that of here conseil is,
And thilke world which thei er this
Forsoken, he drawth in agein:
He clotheth richesse, as men sein,
Under the simplesce of poverte,
And doth to seme of gret decerte
Thing which is litel worth withinne:
He seith in open, fy! to sinne,
And in secre ther is no vice
Of which that he nis a norrice:
And evere his chiere is sobre and softe,
And where he goth he blesseth ofte,
Wherof the blinde world he dreccheth.
Bot yet al only he ne streccheth
His reule upon religioun,
Bot next to that condicioun
In suche as clepe hem holy cherche
It scheweth ek how he can werche
Among tho wyde furred hodes,
To geten hem the worldes goodes.
And thei hemself ben thilke same
That setten most the world in blame,
Bot yet in contraire of her lore
Ther is nothing thei loven more;
So that semende of liht thei werke
The dedes whiche are inward derke.
And thus this double Ypocrisie
With his devolte apparantie
A viser set upon his face,
Wherof toward this worldes grace
He semeth to be riht wel thewed,
And yit his herte is al beschrewed.
Bot natheles he stant believed,
And hath his pourpos ofte achieved
Of worschipe and of worldes welthe,
And takth it, as who seith, be stelthe
Thurgh coverture of his fallas.
And riht so in semblable cas
This vice hath ek his officers
Among these othre seculers
Of grete men, for of the smale
As for t'acompte he set no tale,
Bot thei that passen the comune
With suche him liketh to comune,
And where he seith he wol socoure
The poeple, there he woll devoure;
For now aday is manyon
Which spekth of Peter and of John
And thenketh Judas in his herte.
Ther schal no worldes good asterte
His hond, and yit he gifth almesse
And fasteth ofte and hiereth Messe:
With mea culpa, which he seith,
Upon his brest fullofte he leith
His hond, and cast upward his yhe,
As thogh he Cristes face syhe;
So that it semeth ate syhte,
As he alone alle othre myhte
Rescoue with his holy bede.
Bot yet his herte in other stede
Among hise bedes most devoute
Goth in the worldes cause aboute,
How that he myhte his warisoun
Hypocrisy of Lovers
            And in comparisoun
Ther ben lovers of such a sort,
That feignen hem an humble port,
And al is bot Ypocrisie,
Which with deceipte and flaterie
Hath many a worthi wif beguiled.
For whanne he hath his tunge affiled,
With softe speche and with lesinge,
Forth with his fals pitous lokynge,
He wolde make a womman wene
To gon upon the faire grene,
Whan that sche falleth in the mir.
For if he may have his desir,
How so falle of the remenant,
He halt no word of covenant;
Bot er the time that he spede,
Ther is no sleihte at thilke nede,
Which eny loves faitour mai,
That he ne put it in assai,
As him belongeth for to done.
The colour of the reyni mone
With medicine upon his face
He set, and thanne he axeth grace,
As he which hath sieknesse feigned.
Whan his visage is so desteigned,
With yhe upcast on hire he siketh,
And many a contenance he piketh,
To bringen hire into believe
Of thing which that he wolde achieve,
Wherof he berth the pale hewe;
And for he wolde seme trewe,
He makth him siek, whan he is heil.
Bot whanne he berth lowest the seil,
Thanne is he swiftest to beguile
The womman, which that ilke while
Set upon him feith or credence."
"Mi sone, if thou thi conscience
Entamed hast in such a wise,
In schrifte thou thee myht avise
And telle it me, if it be so."
"Min holy fader, certes no.
As for to feigne such sieknesse
It nedeth noght, for this witnesse
I take of God, that my corage
Hath ben mor siek than my visage.
And ek this mai I wel avowe,
So lowe cowthe I nevere bowe
To feigne humilité withoute,
That me ne leste betre loute
With alle the thoghtes of myn herte;
For that thing schal me nevere asterte,
I speke as to my lady diere
To make hire eny feigned chiere.
God wot wel there I lye noght,
Mi chiere hath be such as my thoght;
For in good feith, this lieveth wel,
Mi will was betre a thousendel
Than eny chiere that I cowthe.
Bot, sire, if I have in my yowthe
Don otherwise in other place,
I put me therof in your grace:
For this excusen I ne schal,
That I have elles overal
To love and to his compaignie
Be plein withoute Ypocrisie.
Bot ther is on the which I serve,
Althogh I may no thonk deserve,
To whom yet nevere into this day
I seide onlyche or ye or nay,
Bot if it so were in my thoght.
As touchende othre seie I noght
That I nam somdel for to wyte
Of that ye clepe an ypocrite."
   "Mi sone, it sit wel every wiht
To kepe his word in trowthe upryht
Towardes love in alle wise.
For who that wolde him wel avise
What hath befalle in this matiere,
He scholde noght with feigned chiere
Deceive love in no degré.
To love is every herte fre,
Bot in deceipte if that thou feignest
And therupon thi lust atteignest,
That thow hast wonne with thi wyle,
Thogh it thee like for a whyle,
Thou schalt it afterward repente.
And for to prove myn entente,
I finde ensample in a croniqe
Of hem that love so beswike.
[The Tale of Mundus and Paulina]
   It fell be olde daies thus,
Whil th'emperour Tiberius
The monarchie of Rome ladde,
Ther was a worthi Romein hadde
A wif, and sche Pauline hihte,
Which was to every mannes sihte
Of al the cité the faireste,
And as men seiden, ek the beste.
It is and hath ben evere yit,
That so strong is no mannes wit,
Which thurgh beauté ne mai be drawe
To love, and stonde under the lawe
Of thilke bore frele kinde,
Which makth the hertes yhen blinde,
Wher no reson mai be comuned:
And in this wise stod fortuned
This tale, of which I wolde mene;
This wif, which in hire lustes grene
Was fair and freissh and tendre of age,
Sche may noght lette the corage
Of him that wole on hire assote.
   Ther was a duck, and he was hote
Mundus, which hadde in his baillie
To lede the chivalerie
Of Rome, and was a worthi knyht;
Bot yet he was noght of such myht
The strengthe of love to withstonde,
That he ne was so broght to honde,
That malgré wher he wole or no,
This yonge wif he loveth so,
That he hath put al his assay
To wynne thing which he ne may
Gete of hire graunt in no manere,
Be gifte of gold ne be preiere.
And whanne he syh that be no mede
Toward hir love he myhte spede,
Be sleyhte feigned thanne he wroghte;
And therupon he him bethoghte
How that ther was in the cité
A temple of such auctorité,
To which with gret devocioun
The noble wommen of the toun
Most comunliche a pelrinage
Gon for to preie thilke ymage
Which the godesse of childinge is,
And cleped was be name Ysis:
And in hire temple thanne were,
To reule and to ministre there
After the lawe which was tho,
Above alle othre prestes tuo.
This duck, which thoghte his love gete,
Upon a day hem tuo to mete
Hath bede, and thei come at his heste;
Wher that thei hadde a riche feste,
And after mete in privé place
This lord, which wolde his thonk pourchace,
To ech of hem gaf thanne a gifte,
And spak so that be weie of schrifte
He drowh hem unto his covine,
To helpe and schape how he Pauline
After his lust deceive myhte.
And thei here trowthes bothe plyhte,
That thei be nyhte hire scholden wynne
Into the temple, and he therinne
Schal have of hire al his entente;
And thus acorded forth thei wente.
   Now lest thurgh which ypocrisie
Ordeigned was the tricherie,
Wherof this ladi was deceived.
These prestes hadden wel conceived
That sche was of gret holinesse;
And with a contrefet simplesse,
Which hid was in a fals corage,
Feignende an hevenely message
Thei come and seide unto hir thus:
"Pauline, the god Anubus
Hath sent ous bothe prestes hiere,
And seith he woll to thee appiere
Be nyhtes time himself alone,
For love he hath to thi persone:
And therupon he hath ous bede,
That we in Ysis temple a stede
Honestely for thee pourveie,
Wher thou be nyhte, as we thee seie,
Of him schalt take avisioun.
For upon thi condicioun,
The which is chaste and ful of feith,
Such pris, as he ous tolde, he leith,
That he wol stonde of thin acord;
And for to bere hierof record
He sende ous hider bothe tuo."
Glad was hire innocence tho
Of suche wordes as sche herde
With humble chiere, and thus answerde,
And seide that the goddes wille
Sche was al redy to fulfille,
That be hire housebondes leve
Sche wolde in Ysis temple at eve
Upon hire goddes grace abide,
To serven him the nyhtes tide.
The prestes tho gon hom agein,
And sche goth to hire sovereign,
Of goddes wille and as it was
Sche tolde him al the pleine cas,
Wherof he was deceived eke,
And bad that sche hire scholde meke
Al hol unto the goddes heste.
And thus sche, which was al honeste
To godward after hire entente,
At nyht unto the temple wente,
Wher that the false prestes were;
And thei receiven hire there
With such a tokne of holinesse,
As thogh thei syhen a godesse,
And al withinne in privé place
A softe bedd of large space
Thei hadde mad and encourtined,
Wher sche was afterward engined.
Bot sche, which al honour supposeth,
The false prestes thanne opposeth,
And axeth be what observance
Sche myhte most to the plesance
Of godd that nyhtes reule kepe.
And thei hire bidden for to slepe,
Liggende upon the bedd alofte,
For so, thei seide, al stille and softe
God Anubus hire wolde awake.
The conseil in this wise take,
The prestes fro this lady gon;
And sche, that wiste of guile non,
In the manere as it was seid
To slepe upon the bedd is leid,
In hope that sche scholde achieve
Thing which stod thanne upon bilieve,
Fulfild of alle holinesse.
Bot sche hath failed, as I gesse,
For in a closet faste by
The duck was hid so prively
That sche him myhte noght perceive;
And he, that thoghte to deceive,
Hath such arrai upon him nome,
That whanne he wolde unto hir come,
It scholde semen at hire yhe
As thogh sche verrailiche syhe
God Anubus, and in such wise
This ypocrite of his queintise
Awaiteth evere til sche slepte.
And thanne out of his place he crepte
So stille that sche nothing herde,
And to the bedd stalkende he ferde,
And sodeinly, er sche it wiste,
Beclipt in armes he hire kiste:
Wherof in wommanysshe drede
Sche wok and nyste what to rede;
Bot he with softe wordes milde
Conforteth hire and seith, with childe
He wolde hire make in such a kynde
That al the world schal have in mynde
The worschipe of that ilke sone;
For he schal with the goddes wone,
And ben himself a godd also.
With suche wordes and with mo,
The whiche he feigneth in his speche,
This lady wit was al to seche,
As sche which alle trowthe weneth:
Bot he, that alle untrowthe meneth,
With blinde tales so hire ladde,
That all his wille of hire he hadde.
And whan him thoghte it was ynowh,
Agein the day he him withdrowh
So prively that sche ne wiste
Wher he becom, bot as him liste
Out of the temple he goth his weie.
And sche began to bidde and preie
Upon the bare ground knelende,
And after that made hire offrende,
And to the prestes giftes grete
Sche gaf, and homward be the strete.
The duck hire mette and seide thus:
"The myhti godd which Anubus
Is hote, he save thee, Pauline,
For thou art of his discipline
So holy, that no mannes myht
Mai do that he hath do to nyht
Of thing which thou hast evere eschuied.
Bot I his grace have so poursuied,
That I was mad his lieutenant:
Forthi be weie of covenant
Fro this day forth I am al thin,
And if thee like to be myn,
That stant upon thin oghne wille."
   Sche herde his tale and bar it stille,
And hom sche wente, as it befell,
Into hir chambre, and ther sche fell
Upon hire bedd to wepe and crie,
And seide: "O derke ypocrisie,
Thurgh whos dissimilacion
Of fals ymaginacion
I am thus wickedly deceived!
Bot that I have it aperceived
I thonke unto the goddes alle;
For thogh it ones be befalle,
It schal nevere eft whil that I live,
And thilke avou to godd I give."
And thus wepende sche compleigneth,
Hire faire face and al desteigneth
With wofull teres of hire ye,
So that upon this agonie
Hire housebonde is inne come,
And syh how sche was overcome
With sorwe, and axeth what hire eileth.
And sche with that hirself beweileth
Welmore than sche dede afore,
And seide, "Helas, wifhode is lore
In me, which whilom was honeste,
I am non other than a beste,
Now I defouled am of tuo."
And as sche myhte speke tho,
Aschamed with a pitous onde
Sche tolde unto hir housebonde
The sothe of al the hole tale,
And in hire speche ded and pale
Sche swouneth wel nyh to the laste.
And he hire in hise armes faste
Uphield, and ofte swor his oth
That he with hire is nothing wroth,
For wel he wot sche may ther noght:
Bot natheles withinne his thoght
His herte stod in sori plit,
And seide he wolde of that despit
Be venged, how so evere it falle,
And sende unto hise frendes alle.
And whan thei weren come in fere,
He tolde hem upon this matiere,
And axeth hem what was to done:
And thei avised were sone,
And seide it thoghte hem for the beste
To sette ferst his wif in reste,
And after pleigne to the king
Upon the matiere of this thing.
Tho was this wofull wif conforted
Be alle weies and desported,
Til that sche was somdiel amended;
And thus a day or tuo despended;
The thridde day sche goth to pleigne
With many a worthi citezeine,
And he with many a citezein.
   Whan th'emperour it herde sein,
And knew the falshed of the vice,
He seide he wolde do justice:
And ferst he let the prestes take
And, for thei scholde it noght forsake,
He put hem into questioun;
Bot thei of the suggestioun
Ne couthen noght a word refuse,
Bot for thei wolde hemself excuse,
The blame upon the duck thei leide.
Bot theragein the conseil seide
That thei be noght excused so,
For he is on and thei ben tuo,
And tuo han more wit then on,
So thilke excusement was non.
And over that was seid hem eke,
That whan men wolden vertu seke,
Men scholde it in the prestes finde;
Here ordre is of so hyh a kinde,
That thei be duistres of the weie:
Forthi, if eny man forsueie
Thurgh hem, thei be noght excusable.
And thus be lawe resonable
Among the wise jugges there
The prestes bothe dampned were,
So that the privé tricherie
Hid under fals Ipocrisye
Was thanne al openliche schewed,
That many a man hem hath beschrewed.
And whan the prestes weren dede,
The temple of thilke horrible dede
Thei thoghten purge, and thilke ymage,
Whos cause was the pelrinage,
Thei drowen out and als so faste
Fer into Tibre thei it caste,
Wher the rivere it hath defied:
And thus the temple purified
Thei have of thilke horrible sinne,
Which was that time do therinne.
Of this point such was the juise,
Bot of the duck was other wise:
For he with love was bestad,
His dom was noght so harde lad;
For love put reson aweie
And can noght se the rihte weie.
And be this cause he was respited,
So that the deth him was acquited,
Bot for al that he was exiled,
For he his love hath so beguiled,
That he schal nevere come agein:
For who that is to trowthe unplein,
He may noght failen of vengance.
   And ek to take remembrance
Of that Ypocrisie hath wroght
On other half, men scholde noght
To lihtly lieve al that thei hiere,
Bot thanne scholde a wis man stiere
The schip, whan suche wyndes blowe:
For ferst, thogh thei beginne lowe,
At ende thei be noght menable,
Bot al tobroken mast and cable,
So that the schip with sodein blast,
Whan men lest wene, is overcast,
As now ful ofte a man mai se.
And of old time how it hath be
I finde a gret experience,
Wherof to take an evidence
Good is, and to be war also
Of the peril, er him be wo.
[The Trojan Horse]
   Of hem that ben so derk withinne,
At Troie also if we beginne,
Ipocrisie it hath betraied:
For whan the Greks hadde al assaied,
And founde that be no bataille
Ne be no siege it myhte availe
The toun to winne thurgh prouesse,
This vice feigned of simplesce
Thurgh sleyhte of Calcas and of Crise
It wan be such a maner wise:
An hors of bras thei let do forge,
Of such entaile, of such a forge,
That in this world was nevere man
That such an other werk began.
The crafti werkman Epius
It made, and for to telle thus,
The Greks, that thoghten to beguile
The kyng of Troie, in thilke while
With Anthenor and with Enee,
That were bothe of the cité
And of the conseil the wiseste,
The richeste and the myhtieste,
In privé place so thei trete
With fair beheste and giftes grete
Of gold, that thei hem have engined
Togedre; and whan thei be covined,
Thei feignen for to make a pes,
And under that yit natheles
Thei schopen the destruccioun
Bothe of the kyng and of the toun.
And thus the false pees was take
Of hem of Grece and undertake.
And therupon thei founde a weie,
Wher strengthe myhte noght aweie,
That sleihte scholde helpe thanne;
And of an ynche a large spanne
Be colour of the pees thei made,
And tolden how thei weren glade
Of that thei stoden in acord;
And for it schal ben of record,
Unto the kyng the Gregois seiden,
Be weie of love and this thei preiden,
As thei that wolde his thonk deserve,
A sacrifice unto Minerve,
The pes to kepe in good entente,
Thei mosten offre er that thei wente.
The kyng, conseiled in this cas
Be Anthenor and Eneas,
Therto hath goven his assent:
So was the pleine trowthe blent
Thurgh contrefet Ipocrisie
Of that thei scholden sacrifie.
   The Greks under the holinesse
Anon with alle besinesse
Here hors of bras let faire dihte,
Which was to sen a wonder sihte;
For it was trapped of himselve,
And hadde of smale whieles twelve,
Upon the whiche men ynowe
With craft toward the toun it drowe,
And goth glistrende agein the sunne.
Tho was ther joye ynowh begunne,
For Troie in gret devocioun
Cam also with processioun
Agein this noble sacrifise
With gret honour, and in this wise
Unto the gates thei it broghte.
Bot of here entré whan thei soghte,
The gates weren al to smale;
And therupon was many a tale,
Bot for the worschipe of Minerve,
To whom thei comen for to serve,
Thei of the toun, whiche understode
That al this thing was do for goode,
For pes, wherof that thei ben glade,
The gates that Neptunus made
A thousend wynter ther tofore,
Thei have anon tobroke and tore;
The stronge walles doun thei bete,
So that in to the large strete
This hors with gret solempnité
Was broght withinne the cité,
And offred with gret reverence,
Which was to Troie an evidence
Of love and pes for everemo.
The Gregois token leve tho
With al the hole felaschipe,
And forth thei wenten into schipe
And crossen seil and made hem yare,
Anon as thogh thei wolden fare:
Bot whan the blake wynter nyht
Withoute mone or sterre lyht
Bederked hath the water stronde,
Al prively thei gon to londe
Ful armed out of the navie.
Synon, which mad was here aspie
Withinne Troie, as was conspired,
Whan time was a tokne hath fired;
And thei with that here weie holden,
And comen in riht as thei wolden,
Ther as the gate was tobroke.
The pourpos was full take and spoke:
Er eny man may take kepe,
Whil that the cité was aslepe,
Thei slowen al that was withinne,
And token what thei myhten wynne
Of such good as was sufficant,
And brenden up the remenant.
And thus cam out the tricherie,
Which under fals Ypocrisie
Was hid, and thei that wende pees
Tho myhten finde no reles
Of thilke swerd which al devoureth.
   Ful ofte and thus the swete soureth,
Whan it is knowe to the tast.
He spilleth many a word in wast
That schal with such a poeple trete;
For whan he weneth most begete,
Thanne is he schape most to lese.
And riht so if a womman chese
Upon the wordes that sche hiereth
Som man, whan he most trewe appiereth,
Thanne is he forthest fro the trowthe:
Bot yit ful ofte, and that is rowthe,
Thei speden that ben most untrewe
And loven every day a newe,
Wherof the lief is after loth
And love hath cause to be wroth.
Bot what man that his lust desireth
Of love, and therupon conspireth
With wordes feigned to deceive,
He schal noght faile to receive
His peine, as it is ofte sene.
   Forthi, my sone, as I thee mene,
It sit thee wel to taken hiede
That thou eschuie of thi manhiede
Ipocrisie and his semblant,
That thou ne be noght deceivant,
To make a womman to believe
Thing which is noght in thi believe:
For in such feint Ipocrisie
Of love is al the tricherie,
Thurgh which love is deceived ofte;
For feigned semblant is so softe,
Unethes love may be war.
Forthi, my sone, as I wel dar,
I charge thee to fle that vice,
That many a womman hath mad nice;
Bot lok thou dele noght withal."
   "Iwiss, fader, no mor I schal."
   "Now, sone, kep that thou hast swore:
For this that thou hast herd before
Is seid the ferste point of Pride.
And next upon that other side,
To schryve and speken over this
Touchende of Pride, yit ther is
The point seconde, I thee behote,
Which Inobedience is hote."
Flectere quam frangi melius reputatur, et olle
   Fictilis ad cacabum pugna valere nequit.
Quem neque lex hominum, neque lex diuina valebit
   Flectere, multociens corde reflectit amor.
Quem non flectit amor, non est flectendus ab vllo,
   Set rigor illius plus Elephante riget.
Dedignatur amor poterit quos scire rebelles,
   Et rudibus sortem prestat habere rudem;
Set qui sponte sui subicit se cordis amore,
   Frangit in aduersis omnia fata pius.
   "This vice of Inobedience
Agein the reule of conscience
Al that is humble he desalloweth,
That he toward his God ne boweth
After the lawes of His heste.
Noght as a man bot as a beste,
Which goth upon his lustes wilde,
So goth this proude vice unmylde,
That he desdeigneth alle lawe:
He not what is to be felawe,
And serve may he noght for pride;
So is he badde on every side,
And is that selve of whom men speke,
Which wol noght bowe er that he breke.
I not if love him myhte plie,
For elles for to justefie
His herte, I not what mihte availe.
   Forthi, my sone, of such entaile
If that thin herte be disposed,
Tell out and let it noght be glosed:
For if that thou unbuxom be
To love, I not in what degree
Thou schalt thi goode world achieve."
   "Mi fader, ye schul wel believe,
The yonge whelp which is affaited
Hath noght his maister betre awaited,
To couche, whan he seith 'Go lowe!'
That I, anon as I may knowe
Mi ladi will, ne bowe more.
Bot other while I grucche sore
Of some thinges that sche doth,
Wherof that I woll telle soth:
For of tuo pointz I am bethoght,
That, thogh I wolde, I myhte noght
Obeie unto my ladi heste;
Bot I dar make this beheste,
Save only of that ilke tuo
I am unbuxom of no mo."
"What ben tho tuo? tell on," quod he.
"Mi fader, this is on, that sche
Comandeth me my mowth to close,
And that I scholde hir noght oppose
In love, of which I ofte preche,
Bot plenerliche of such a speche
Forbere, and soffren hire in pes.
Bot that ne myht I natheles
For al this world obeie ywiss;
For whanne I am ther as sche is,
Though sche my tales noght alowe,
Agein hir will yit mot I bowe,
To seche if that I myhte have grace:
Bot that thing may I noght enbrace
For ought that I can speke or do;
And yit ful ofte I speke so,
That sche is wroth and seith, 'Be stille.'
If I that heste schal fulfille
And therto ben obedient,
Thanne is my cause fully schent,
For specheles may no man spede.
So wot I noght what is to rede;
Bot certes I may noght obeie,
That I ne mot algate seie
Somwhat of that I wolde mene;
For evere it is aliche grene,
The grete love which I have,
Wherof I can noght bothe save
Mi speche and this obedience:
And thus ful ofte my silence
I breke, and is the ferste point
Wherof that I am out of point
In this, and yit it is no pride.
   Now thanne upon that other side
To telle my desobeissance,
Ful sore it stant to my grevance
And may noght sinke into my wit;
For ofte time sche me bit
To leven hire and chese a newe,
And seith, if I the sothe knewe
How ferr I stonde from hir grace,
I scholde love in other place.
Bot therof woll I desobeie;
For also wel sche myhte seie,
'Go tak the mone ther it sit,'
As bringe that into my wit:
For ther was nevere rooted tre,
That stod so faste in his degré,
That I ne stonde more faste
Upon hire love, and mai noght caste
Min herte awey, althogh I wolde.
For God wot, thogh I nevere scholde
Sen hir with yhe after this day,
Yit stant it so that I ne may
Hir love out of my brest remue.
This is a wonder retenue,
That malgré wher sche wole or non
Min herte is everemore in on,
So that I can non other chese,
Bot whether that I winne or lese,
I moste hire loven til I deie;
And thus I breke as be that weie
Hire hestes and hir comandinges,
Bot trewliche in non othre thinges.
Forthi, my fader, what is more
Touchende to this ilke lore
I you beseche, after the forme
That ye pleinly me wolde enforme,
So that I may myn herte reule
In loves cause after the reule."
[Murmur and Complaint]
Murmur in aduersis ita concipit ille superbus,
   Pena quod ex bina sorte perurget eum.
Obuia fortune cum spes in amore resistit,
   Non sine mentali murmure plangit amans.
   "Toward this vice of which we trete
Ther ben yit tweie of thilke estrete,
Here name is Murmur and Compleignte:
Ther can no man here chiere peinte
To sette a glad semblant therinne,
For thogh fortune make hem wynne,
Yit grucchen thei, and if thei lese,
Ther is no weie for to chese
Wherof thei myhten stonde appesed.
So ben thei comunly desesed;
Ther may no welthe ne poverté
Attempren hem to the decerte
Of buxomnesse be no wise:
For ofte time thei despise
The goode fortune as the badde,
As thei no mannes reson hadde,
Thurgh pride, wherof thei be blinde.
   And ryht of such a maner kinde
Ther be lovers, that thogh thei have
Of love al that thei wolde crave,
Yit wol thei grucche be som weie,
That thei wol noght to love obeie
Upon the trowthe, as thei do scholde;
And if hem lacketh that thei wolde,
Anon thei falle in such a peine,
That evere unbuxomly thei pleigne
Upon fortune, and curse and crie,
That thei wol noght here hertes plie
To soffre til it betre falle.
Forthi if thou amonges alle
Hast used this condicioun,
Mi sone, in thi confessioun
Now tell me pleinly what thou art."
   "Mi fader, I beknowe a part,
So as ye tolden hier above
Of Murmur and Compleignte of love,
That for I se no sped comende,
Agein fortune compleignende
I am, as who seith, everemo:
And ek ful ofte tyme also,
Whan so is that I se and hiere
Or hevy word or hevy chiere
Of my lady, I grucche anon;
Bot wordes dar I speke non,
Wherof sche myhte be desplesed.
Bot in myn herte I am desesed
With many a Murmur, God it wot;
Thus drinke I in myn oghne swot,
And thogh I make no semblant,
Min herte is al desobeissant;
And in this wise I me confesse
Of that ye clepe unbuxomnesse.
Now telleth what youre conseil is."
   "Mi sone, and I thee rede this,
What so befalle of other weie,
That thou to loves heste obeie
Als ferr as thou it myht suffise:
For ofte sithe in such a wise
Obedience in love availeth,
Wher al a mannes strengthe faileth;
Wherof, if that thee list to wite
In a cronique as it is write,
A gret ensample thou myht fynde,
Which now is come to my mynde.
[The Tale of Florent]
   Ther was whilom be daies olde
A worthi knyht, and as men tolde
He was nevoeu to th'emperour
And of his court a courteour.
Wifles he was, Florent he hihte.
He was a man that mochel myhte;
Of armes he was desirous,
Chivalerous and amorous,
And for the fame of worldes speche,
Strange aventures for to seche,
He rod the marches al aboute.
And fell a time, as he was oute,
Fortune, which may every thred
Tobreke and knette of mannes sped,
Schop, as this knyht rod in a pas,
That he be strengthe take was,
And to a castell thei him ladde,
Wher that he fewe frendes hadde.
For so it fell that ilke stounde
That he hath with a dedly wounde
Feihtende, his oghne hondes slain
Branchus, which to the capitain
Was sone and heir, wherof ben wrothe
The fader and the moder bothe.
That knyht Branchus was of his hond
The worthieste of al his lond,
And fain thei wolden do vengance
Upon Florent, bot remembrance
That thei toke of his worthinesse
Of knyhthod and of gentilesse,
And how he stod of cousinage
To th'emperour, made hem assuage,
And dorsten noght slen him for fere.
In gret desputeisoun thei were
Among hemself, what was the beste.
Ther was a lady, the slyheste
Of alle that men knewe tho,
So old sche myhte unethes go,
And was grantdame unto the dede:
And sche with that began to rede,
And seide how sche wol bringe him inne,
That sche schal him to dethe winne
Al only of his oghne grant,
Thurgh strengthe of verray covenant
Withoute blame of eny wiht.
Anon sche sende for this kniht,
And of hire sone sche alleide
The deth, and thus to him sche seide:
"Florent, how so thou be to wyte
Of Branchus deth, men schal respite
As now to take vengement,
Be so thou stonde in juggement
Upon certein condicioun,
That thou unto a questioun
Which I schal axe schalt ansuere;
And over this thou schalt ek swere,
That if thou of the sothe faile,
Ther schal non other thing availe,
That thou ne schalt thi deth receive.
And for men schal thee noght deceive,
That thou therof myht ben avised,
Thou schalt have day and tyme assised
And leve saufly for to wende,
Be so that at thi daies ende
Thou come agein with thin avys."
   This knyht, which worthi was and wys,
This lady preith that he may wite,
And have it under seales write,
What questioun it scholde be
For which he schal in that degree
Stonde of his lif in jeupartie.
With that sche feigneth compaignie,
And seith: "Florent, on love it hongeth
Al that to myn axinge longeth:
What alle wommen most desire
This wole I axe, and in th'empire
Wher as thou hast most knowlechinge
Tak conseil upon this axinge."
   Florent this thing hath undertake,
The day was set, the time take,
Under his seal he wrot his oth,
In such a wise and forth he goth
Hom to his emes court agein;
To whom his aventure plein
He tolde, of that him is befalle.
And upon that thei weren alle
The wiseste of the lond asent,
Bot natheles of on assent
Thei myhte noght acorde plat,
On seide this, an othre that.
After the disposicioun
Of naturel complexioun
To som womman it is plesance,
That to an othre is grevance;
Bot such a thing in special,
Which to hem alle in general
Is most plesant, and most desired
Above alle othre and most conspired,
Such o thing conne thei noght finde
Be constellacion ne kinde:
And thus Florent withoute cure
Mot stonde upon his aventure,
And is al schape unto the lere,
As in defalte of his answere.
This knyht hath levere for to dye
Than breke his trowthe and for to lye
In place ther as he was swore,
And schapth him gon agein therfore.
Whan time cam he tok his leve,
That lengere wolde he noght beleve,
And preith his em he be noght wroth,
For that is a point of his oth,
He seith, that no man schal him wreke,
Thogh afterward men hiere speke
That he par aventure deie.
And thus he wente forth his weie
Alone as knyht aventurous,
And in his thoght was curious
To wite what was best to do:
And as he rod alone so,
And cam nyh ther he wolde be,
In a forest under a tre
He syh wher sat a creature,
A lothly wommannysch figure,
That for to speke of fleisch and bon
So foul yit syh he nevere non.
This knyht behield hir redely,
And as he wolde have passed by,
Sche cleped him and bad abide;
And he his horse heved aside
Tho torneth, and to hire he rod,
And there he hoveth and abod,
To wite what sche wolde mene.
And sche began him to bemene,
And seide: "Florent be thi name,
Thou hast on honde such a game,
That bot thou be the betre avised,
Thi deth is schapen and devised,
That al the world ne mai thee save,
Bot if that thou my conseil have."
   Florent, whan he this tale herde,
Unto this olde wyht answerde
And of hir conseil he hir preide.
And sche agein to him thus seide:
"Florent, if I for thee so schape,
That thou thurgh me thi deth ascape
And take worschipe of thi dede,
What schal I have to my mede?"
"What thing," quod he, "that thou wolt axe."
"I bidde nevere a betre taxe,"
Quod sche, "bot ferst, er thou be sped,
Thou schalt me leve such a wedd,
That I wol have thi trowthe in honde
That thou schalt be myn housebonde."
"Nay," seith Florent, "that may noght be."
"Ryd thanne forth thi wey," quod sche,
"And if thou go withoute red,
Thou schalt be sekerliche ded."
Florent behihte hire good ynowh
Of lond, of rente, of park, of plowh,
Bot al that compteth sche at noght.
Tho fell this knyht in mochel thoght,
Now goth he forth, now comth agein,
He wot noght what is best to sein,
And thoghte, as he rod to and fro,
That chese he mot on of the tuo,
Or for to take hire to his wif
Or elles for to lese his lif.
And thanne he caste his avantage,
That sche was of so gret an age,
That sche mai live bot a while,
And thoghte put hire in an ile,
Wher that no man hire scholde knowe,
Til sche with deth were overthrowe.
And thus this yonge lusti knyht
Unto this olde lothly wiht
Tho seide: "If that non other chance
Mai make my deliverance,
Bot only thilke same speche
Which, as thou seist, thou schalt me teche,
Have hier myn hond, I schal thee wedde."
And thus his trowthe he leith to wedde.
With that sche frounceth up the browe:
"This covenant I wol allowe,"
Sche seith; "if eny other thing
Bot that thou hast of my techyng
Fro deth thi body mai respite,
I woll thee of thi trowthe acquite,
And elles be non other weie.
Now herkne me what I schal seie.
Whan thou art come into the place
Wher now thei maken gret manace
And upon thi comynge abyde,
Thei wole anon the same tide
Oppose thee of thin answere.
I wot thou wolt nothing forbere
Of that thou wenest be thi beste,
And if thou myht so finde reste,
Wel is, for thanne is ther no more.
And elles this schal be my lore,
That thou schalt seie, upon this molde
That alle wommen lievest wolde
Be soverein of mannes love:
For what womman is so above,
Sche hath, as who seith, al hire wille;
And elles may sche noght fulfille
What thing hir were lievest have.
With this answere thou schalt save
Thiself, and other wise noght.
And whan thou hast thin ende wroght,
Com hier agein, thou schalt me finde,
And let nothing out of thi minde."
   He goth him forth with hevy chiere,
As he that not in what manere
He mai this worldes joie atteigne:
For if he deie, he hath a peine,
And if he live, he mot him binde
To such on which of alle kinde
Of wommen is th'unsemylieste:
Thus wot he noght what is the beste:
Bot be him lief or be him loth,
Unto the castell forth he goth
His full answere for to give,
Or for to deie or for to live.
Forth with his conseil cam the lord,
The thinges stoden of record,
He sende up for the lady sone,
And forth sche cam, that olde mone.
In presence of the remenant
The strengthe of al the covenant
Tho was reherced openly,
And to Florent sche bad forthi
That he schal tellen his avis,
As he that woot what is the pris.
Florent seith al that evere he couthe,
Bot such word cam ther non to mowthe,
That he for gifte or for beheste
Mihte eny wise his deth areste.
And thus he tarieth longe and late,
Til that this lady bad algate
That he schal for the dom final
Gif his ansuere in special
Of that sche hadde him ferst opposed;
And thanne he hath trewly supposed
That he him may of nothing yelpe,
Bot if so be tho wordes helpe,
Whiche as the womman hath him tawht;
Wherof he hath an hope cawht
That he schal ben excused so,
And tolde out plein his wille tho.
And whan that this matrone herde
The manere how this knyht ansuerde,
Sche seide, "Ha! Treson! Wo thee be,
That hast thus told the privité,
Which alle wommen most desire!
I wolde that thou were afire."
Bot natheles in such a plit
Florent of his answere is quit:
And tho began his sorwe newe,
For he mot gon, or ben untrewe,
To hire which his trowthe hadde.
Bot he, which alle schame dradde,
Goth forth in stede of his penance,
And takth the fortune of his chance,
As he that was with trowthe affaited.
   This olde wyht him hath awaited
In place wher as he hire lefte:
Florent his wofull heved uplefte
And syh this vecke wher sche sat,
Which was the lothlieste what
That evere man caste on his yhe:
Hire nase bass, hire browes hyhe,
Hire yhen smale and depe set,
Hire chekes ben with teres wet,
And rivelen as an emty skyn
Hangende doun unto the chin,
Hire lippes schrunken ben for age,
Ther was no grace in the visage.
Hir front was nargh, hir lockes hore,
Sche loketh forth as doth a More,
Hire necke is schort, hir schuldres courbe -
That myhte a mannes lust destourbe!
Hire body gret and nothing smal,
And schortly to descrive hire al,
Sche hath no lith withoute a lak;
Bot lich unto the wollesak
Sche proferth hire unto this knyht,
And bad him, as he hath behyht,
So as sche hath ben his warant,
That he hire holde covenant,
And be the bridel sche him seseth.
Bot Godd wot how that sche him pleseth
Of suche wordes as sche spekth:
Him thenkth wel nyh his herte brekth
For sorwe that he may noght fle,
Bot if he wolde untrewe be.
   Loke, how a sek man for his hele
Takth baldemoine with canele,
And with the mirre takth the sucre,
Ryht upon such a maner lucre
Stant Florent, as in this diete:
He drinkth the bitre with the swete,
He medleth sorwe with likynge,
And liveth, as who seith, deyinge;
His youthe schal be cast aweie
Upon such on which as the weie
Is old and lothly overal.
Bot nede he mot that nede schal:
He wolde algate his trowthe holde,
As every knyht therto is holde,
What happ so evere him is befalle.
Thogh sche be the fouleste of alle,
Yit to th'onour of womanhiede
Him thoghte he scholde taken hiede;
So that for pure gentilesse,
As he hire couthe best adresce,
In ragges, as sche was totore,
He set hire on his hors tofore
And forth he takth his weie softe.
No wonder thogh he siketh ofte
Bot as an oule fleth be nyhte
Out of alle othre briddes syhte,
Riht so this knyht on daies brode
In clos him hield, and schop his rode
On nyhtes time, til the tyde
That he cam there he wolde abide;
And prively withoute noise
He bringth this foule grete coise
To his castell in such a wise
That no man myhte hire schappe avise,
Til sche into the chambre cam:
Wher he his privé conseil nam
Of suche men as he most troste,
And tolde hem that he nedes moste
This beste wedde to his wif,
For elles hadde he lost his lif.
   The privé wommen were asent,
That scholden ben of his assent:
Hire ragges thei anon of drawe,
And, as it was that time lawe,
Sche hadde bath, sche hadde reste,
And was arraied to the beste.
Bot with no craft of combes brode
Thei myhte hire hore lockes schode,
And sche ne wolde noght be schore
For no conseil, and thei therfore,
With such atyr as tho was used,
Ordeinen that it was excused,
And hid so crafteliche aboute,
That no man myhte sen hem oute.
Bot when sche was fulliche arraied
And hire atyr was al assaied,
Tho was sche foulere on to se.
Bot yit it may non other be:
Thei were wedded in the nyht.
So wo begon was nevere knyht
As he was thanne of mariage.
And sche began to pleie and rage,
As who seith, I am wel ynowh;
Bot he therof nothing ne lowh,
For sche tok thanne chiere on honde
And clepeth him hire housebonde,
And seith, "My lord, go we to bedde,
For I to that entente wedde,
That thou schalt be my worldes blisse,"
And profreth him with that to kisse,
As sche a lusti lady were.
His body myhte wel be there,
Bot as of thoght and of memoire
His herte was in purgatoire.
Bot yit for strengthe of matrimoine
He myhte make non essoine,
That he ne mot algates plie
To gon to bedde of compaignie.
And whan thei were abedde naked,
Withoute slep he was awaked;
He torneth on that other side,
For that he wolde hise yhen hyde
Fro lokynge on that fole wyht.
The chambre was al full of lyht,
The courtins were of cendal thinne,
This newe bryd which lay withinne,
Thogh it be noght with his acord,
In armes sche beclipte hire lord,
And preide, as he was torned fro,
He wolde him torne ageinward tho;
"For now," sche seith, "we ben bothe on."
And he lay stille as eny ston,
Bot evere in on sche spak and preide,
And bad him thenke on that he seide,
Whan that he tok hire be the hond.
   He herde and understod the bond,
How he was set to his penance,
And, as it were a man in trance,
He torneth him al sodeinly
And syh a lady lay him by
Of eyhtetiene wynter age,
Which was the faireste of visage
That evere in al this world he syh:
And as he wolde have take hire nyh,
Sche put hire hand and be his leve
Besoghte him that he wolde leve,
And seith that for to wynne or lese
He mot on of tuo thinges chese,
Wher he wol have hire such on nyht,
Or elles upon daies lyht,
For he schal noght have bothe tuo.
And he began to sorwe tho,
In many a wise and caste his thoght,
Bot for al that yit cowthe he noght
Devise himself which was the beste.
And sche, that wolde his hertes reste,
Preith that he scholde chese algate,
Til ate laste longe and late
He seide: "O ye, my lyves hele,
Sey what you list in my querele,
I not what ansuere I schal give:
Bot evere whil that I may live,
I wol that ye be my maistresse,
For I can noght miselve gesse
Which is the beste unto my chois.
Thus grante I yow myn hole vois,
Ches for ous bothen, I you preie;
And what as evere that ye seie,
Riht as ye wole so wol I."
   "Mi lord," sche seide, "grant merci,
For of this word that ye now sein,
That ye have mad me soverein,
Mi destiné is overpassed,
That nevere hierafter schal be lassed
Mi beauté, which that I now have,
Til I be take into my grave;
Bot nyht and day as I am now
I schal alwey be such to yow.
The kinges dowhter of Cizile
I am, and fell bot siththe awhile,
As I was with my fader late,
That my stepmoder for an hate,
Which toward me sche hath begonne,
Forschop me, til I hadde wonne
The love and sovereineté
Of what knyht that in his degré
Alle othre passeth of good name.
And, as men sein, ye ben the same,
The dede proeveth it is so.
Thus am I youres evermo."
Tho was plesance and joye ynowh,
Echon with other pleide and lowh;
Thei live longe and wel thei ferde,
And clerkes that this chance herde
Thei writen it in evidence,
To teche how that obedience
Mai wel fortune a man to love
And sette him in his lust above,
As it befell unto this knyht.
   Forthi, my sone, if thou do ryht,
Thou schalt unto thi love obeie,
And folwe hir will be alle weie."
   "Min holy fader, so I wile:
For ye have told me such a skile
Of this ensample now tofore,
That I schal evermo therfore
Hierafterward myn observance
To love and to his obeissance
The betre kepe: and over this
Of pride if ther oght elles is,
Wherof that I me schryve schal,
What thing it is in special,
Mi fader, axeth, I you preie."
   "Now lest, my sone, and I schal seie:
For yit ther is Surquiderie,
Which stant with Pride of compaignie;
Wherof that thou schalt hiere anon,
To knowe if thou have gult or non
Upon the forme as thou schalt hiere:
Now understond wel the matiere."
Omnia scire putat, set se Presumpcio nescit,
   Nec sibi consimilem quem putat esse parem.
Qui magis astutus reputat se vincere bellum,
   In laqueos Veneris forcius ipse cadit.
Sepe Cupido virum sibi qui presumit amantem
   Fallit, et in vacuas spes redit ipsa vias.
   "Surquiderie is thilke vice
Of Pride, which the thridde office
Hath in his court, and wol noght knowe
The trowthe til it overthrowe.
Upon his fortune and his grace
Comth 'Hadde I wist' ful ofte aplace;
For he doth al his thing be gesse,
And voideth alle sikernesse.
Non other conseil good him siemeth
Bot such as he himselve diemeth;
For in such wise as he compasseth,
His wit alone alle othre passeth;
And is with pride so thurghsoght,
That he alle othre set at noght,
And weneth of himselven so,
That such as he ther be no mo,
So fair, so semly, ne so wis;
And thus he wolde bere a pris
Above alle othre, and noght forthi
He seith noght ones 'grant mercy'
To Godd, which alle grace sendeth,
So that his wittes he despendeth
Upon himself, as thogh ther were
No godd which myhte availe there.
Bot al upon his oghne witt
He stant, til he falle in the pitt
So ferr that he mai noght arise.
   And riht thus in the same wise
This vice upon the cause of love
So proudly set the herte above,
And doth him pleinly for to wene
That he to loven eny qwene
Hath worthinesse and sufficance;
And so withoute pourveance
Ful ofte he heweth up so hihe,
That chippes fallen in his yhe;
And ek ful ofte he weneth this:
Ther as he noght beloved is,
To be beloved alther best.
Now, sone, tell what so thee lest
Of this that I have told thee hier."
   "Ha, fader, be noght in a wer!
I trowe ther be no man lesse,
Of eny maner worthinesse,
That halt him lasse worth thanne I
To be beloved; and noght forthi
I seie in excusinge of me,
To alle men that love is fre.
And certes that mai no man werne;
For love is of himself so derne,
It luteth in a mannes herte.
Bot that ne schal me noght asterte,
To wene for to be worthi
To loven, bot in hir mercy.
Bot, sire, of that ye wolden mene,
That I scholde otherwise wene
To be beloved thanne I was,
I am beknowe as in that cas."
   "Mi goode sone, tell me how."
   "Now lest, and I wol telle yow,
Mi goode fader, how it is.
Ful ofte it hath befalle or this
Thurgh hope that was noght certein,
Mi wenynge hath be set in vein
To triste in thing that halp me noght,
Bot onliche of myn oughne thoght.
For as it semeth that a belle
Lik to the wordes that men telle
Answerth, riht so ne mor ne lesse,
To yow, my fader, I confesse,
Such will my wit hath overset,
That what so hope me behet,
Ful many a time I wene it soth,
Bot finali no spied it doth.
Thus may I tellen, as I can,
Wenyng beguileth many a man.
So hath it me, riht wel I wot:
For if a man wole in a bot
Which is withoute botme rowe,
He moste nedes overthrowe.
Riht so wenyng hath ferd be me,
For whanne I wende next have be,
As I be my wenynge caste,
Thanne was I furthest ate laste,
And as a foll my bowe unbende,
Whan al was failed that I wende.
Forthi, my fader, as of this,
That my wenynge hath gon amis
Touchende to Surquiderie,
Gif me my penance er I die.
Bot if ye wolde in eny forme
Of this matiere a tale enforme,
Which were agein this vice set,
I scholde fare wel the bet."
[The Tale of Capaneus]
   "Mi sone, in alle maner wise
Surquiderie is to despise,
Wherof I finde write thus.
The proude knyht Capaneus
He was of such Surquiderie,
That he thurgh his chivalerie
Upon himself so mochel triste,
That to the goddes him ne liste
In no querele to beseche,
Bot seide it was an ydel speche,
Which caused was of pure drede,
For lack of herte and for no nede.
And upon such presumpcioun
He hield this proude opinioun,
Til ate laste upon a dai,
Aboute Thebes wher he lay,
Whan it of siege was belein,
This knyht, as the Croniqes sein,
In alle mennes sihte there,
Whan he was proudest in his gere,
And thoghte how nothing myhte him dere,
Ful armed with his schield and spere
As he the cité wolde assaile,
Godd tok himselve the bataille
Agein his Pride, and fro the sky
A firy thonder sodeinly
He sende, and him to pouldre smot.
And thus the Pride which was hot,
Whan he most in his strengthe wende,
Was brent and lost withouten ende:
So that it proeveth wel therfore,
The strengthe of man is sone lore,
Bot if that he it wel governe.
And over this a man mai lerne
That ek ful ofte time it grieveth,
Whan that a man himself believeth,
As thogh it scholde him wel beseme
That he alle othre men can deme,
And hath forgete his oghne vice.
A tale of hem that ben so nyce,
And feigne hemself to be so wise,
I schal thee telle in such a wise,
Wherof thou schalt ensample take
That thou no such thing undertake.
[The Trump of Death]
   I finde upon Surquiderie,
How that whilom of Hungarie
Be olde daies was a king
Wys and honeste in alle thing:
And so befell upon a dai,
And that was in the monthe of Maii,
As thilke time it was usance,
This kyng with noble pourveance
Hath for himself his charr araied,
Wherinne he wolde ride amaied
Out of the cité for to pleie,
With lordes and with gret nobleie
Of lusti folk that were yonge:
Wher some pleide and some songe,
And some gon and some ryde,
And some prike here hors aside
And bridlen hem now in now oute.
The kyng his yhe caste aboute,
Til he was ate laste war
And syh comende agein his char
Two pilegrins of so gret age,
That lich unto a dreie ymage
Thei weren pale and fade hewed,
And as a bussh which is besnewed,
Here berdes weren hore and whyte;
Ther was of kinde bot a lite,
That thei ne semen fulli dede.
Thei comen to the kyng and bede
Som of his good par charité;
And he with gret humilité
Out of his char to grounde lepte,
And hem in bothe hise armes kepte
And keste hem bothe fot and hond
Before the lordes of his lond,
And gaf hem of his good therto:
And whanne he hath this dede do,
He goth into his char agein.
Tho was Murmur, tho was Desdeign,
Tho was Compleignte on every side,
Thei seiden of here oghne Pride
Eche until othre: "What is this?
Oure king hath do this thing amis,
So to abesse his realté
That every man it myhte se,
And humbled him in such a wise
To hem that were of non emprise."
Thus was it spoken to and fro
Of hem that were with him tho
Al prively behinde his bak;
Bot to himselven no man spak.
The kinges brother in presence
Was thilke time, and gret offence
He tok therof, and was the same
Above alle othre which most blame
Upon his liege lord hath leid,
And hath unto the lordes seid,
Anon as he mai time finde,
Ther schal nothing be left behinde,
That he wol speke unto the king.
   Now lest what fell upon this thing.
The day was merie and fair ynowh,
Echon with othre pleide and lowh,
And fellen into tales newe,
How that the freisshe floures grewe,
And how the grene leves spronge,
And how that love among the yonge
Began the hertes thanne awake,
And every bridd hath chose hire make:
And thus the Maies day to th'ende
Thei lede, and hom agein thei wende.
The king was noght so sone come,
That whanne he hadde his chambre nome
His brother ne was redi there,
And broghte a tale unto his ere
Of that he dede such a schame
In hindringe of his oghne name,
Whan he himself so wolde drecche,
That to so vil a povere wrecche
Him deigneth schewe such simplesce
Agein th'astat of his noblesce:
And seith he schal it no mor use,
And that he mot himself excuse
Toward hise lordes everychon.
The king stod stille as eny ston,
And to his tale an ere he leide,
And thoghte more than he seide.
Bot natheles to that he herde
Wel cortaisly the king answerde,
And tolde it scholde be amended.
And thus whan that her tale is ended,
Al redy was the bord and cloth,
The king unto his souper goth
Among the lordes to the halle;
And whan thei hadden souped alle,
Thei token leve and forth thei go.
The king bethoghte himselve tho
How he his brother mai chastie,
That he thurgh his Surquiderie
Tok upon honde to despreise
Humilité, which is to preise,
And therupon gaf such conseil
Toward his king that was noght heil;
Wherof to be the betre lered,
He thenkth to maken him afered.
   It fell so that in thilke dawe
Ther was ordeined be the lawe
A trompe with a sterne breth,
Which cleped was the trompe of deth:
And in the court wher the king was
A certein man this trompe of bras
Hath in kepinge, and therof serveth,
That whan a lord his deth deserveth,
He schal this dredful trompe blowe
Tofore his gate, and make it knowe
How that the jugement is gove
Of deth, which schal noght be forgove.
The king, whan it was nyht, anon
This man asente and bad him gon
To trompen at his brother gate;
And he, which mot so don algate,
Goth forth and doth the kynges heste.
This lord, which herde of this tempeste
That he tofore his gate blew,
Tho wiste he be the lawe and knew
That he was sikerliche ded:
And as of help he wot no red
Bot sende for hise frendes alle
And tolde hem how it is befalle.
And thei him axe cause why
Bot he the sothe noght forthi
Ne wiste, and ther was sorwe tho:
For it stod thilke tyme so,
This trompe was of such sentence,
That theragein no resistence
Thei couthe ordeine be no weie,
That he ne mot algate deie,
Bot if so that he may pourchace
To gete his liege lordes grace.
Here wittes therupon thei caste,
And ben apointed ate laste.
   This lord a worthi ladi hadde
Unto his wif, which also dradde
Hire lordes deth, and children five
Betwen hem two thei hadde alyve,
That weren yonge and tendre of age,
And of stature and of visage
Riht faire and lusty on to se.
Tho casten thei that he and sche
Forth with here children on the morwe,
As thei that were full of sorwe,
Al naked bot of smok and sherte,
To tendre with the kynges herte,
His grace scholden go to seche
And pardoun of the deth beseche.
Thus passen thei that wofull nyht,
And erly, whan thei sihe it lyht,
Thei gon hem forth in such a wise
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
Al naked bot here schortes one.
Thei wepte and made mochel mone,
Here her hangende aboute here eres;
With sobbinge and with sory teres
This lord goth thanne an humble pas,
That whilom proud and noble was;
Wherof the cité sore afflyhte,
Of hem that sihen thilke syhte:
And natheles al openly
With such wepinge and with such cri
Forth with hise children and his wif
He goth to preie for his lif.
Unto the court whan thei be come,
And men therinne have hiede nome,
Ther was no wiht, if he hem syhe,
Fro water mihte kepe his yhe
For sorwe which thei maden tho.
The king supposeth of this wo,
And feigneth as he noght ne wiste;
Bot natheles at his upriste
Men tolden him how that it ferde:
And whan that he this wonder herde,
In haste he goth into the halle,
And alle at ones doun thei falle,
If eny pité may be founde.
The king, which seth hem go to grounde,
Hath axed hem what is the fere,
Why thei be so despuiled there.
His brother seide: "Ha! lord, mercy!
I wot non other cause why,
Bot only that this nyht ful late
The trompe of deth was at my gate
In tokne that I scholde deie;
Thus be we come for to preie
That ye mi worldes deth respite."
   "Ha! fol, how thou art for to wyte,"
The king unto his brother seith,
"That thou art of so litel feith,
That only for a trompes soun
Hast gon despuiled thurgh the toun,
Thou and thi wif in such manere
Forth with thi children that ben here,
In sihte of alle men aboute,
For that thou seist thou art in doute
Of deth, which stant under the lawe
Of man, and man it mai withdrawe,
So that it mai par chance faile.
Now schalt thou noght forthi mervaile
That I doun fro my charr alihte,
Whanne I behield tofore my sihte
In hem that were of so gret age
Min oghne deth thurgh here ymage,
Which God hath set be lawe of kynde,
Wherof I mai no bote finde:
For wel I wot, such as thei be,
Riht such am I in my degree,
Of fleissh and blod, and so schal deie.
And thus, thogh I that lawe obeie
Of which the kinges ben put under,
It oghte ben wel lasse wonder
Than thou, which art withoute nede
For lawe of londe in such a drede,
Which for t'acompte is bot a jape,
As thing which thou miht overscape.
Forthi, mi brother, after this
I rede, sithen that so is
That thou canst drede a man so sore,
Dred God with al thin herte more.
For al schal deie and al schal passe,
Als wel a leoun as an asse,
Als wel a beggere as a lord,
Towardes deth in on acord
Thei schullen stonde." And in this wise
The king hath with hise wordes wise
His brother tawht and al forgive.
   Forthi, mi sone, if thou wolt live
In vertu, thou most vice eschuie,
And with low herte humblesce suie,
So that thou be noght surquidous."
   "Mi fader, I am amorous,
Wherof I wolde you beseche
That ye me som ensample teche,
Which mihte in loves cause stonde."
   "Mi sone, thou schalt understonde,
In love and othre thinges alle
If that Surquiderie falle,
It may to him noght wel betide
Which useth thilke vice of Pride,
Which torneth wisdom to wenynge
And sothfastnesse into lesynge
Thurgh fol ymaginacion.
And for thin enformacion,
That thou this vice as I thee rede
Eschuie schalt, a tale I rede,
Which fell whilom be daies olde,
So as the clerk Ovide tolde.
[The Tale of Narcissus]
   Ther was whilom a lordes sone,
Which of his Pride a nyce wone
Hath cawht, that worthi to his liche,
To sechen al the worldes riche,
Ther was no womman for to love.
So hihe he sette himselve above
Of stature and of beauté bothe,
That him thoghte alle wommen lothe:
So was ther no comparisoun
As toward his condicioun.
This yonge lord Narcizus hihte:
No strengthe of love bowe mihte
His herte, which is unaffiled.
Bot ate laste he was beguiled,
For of the goddes pourveance
It fell him on a dai par chance,
That he in all his proude fare
Unto the forest gan to fare,
Amonges othre that ther were
To hunte and to desporte him there.
And whanne he cam into the place
Wher that he wolde make his chace,
The houndes weren in a throwe
Uncoupled and the hornes blowe.
The grete hert anon was founde,
Which swifte feet sette upon grounde,
And he with spore in horse side
Him hasteth faste for to ride,
Til alle men be left behinde.
And as he rod, under a linde
Beside a roche, as I thee telle,
He syh wher sprong a lusty welle:
The day was wonder hot withalle,
And such a thurst was on him falle,
That he moste owther deie or drinke;
And doun he lihte and be the brinke
He teide his hors unto a branche,
And leide him lowe for to stanche
His thurst: and as he caste his lok
Into the welle and hiede tok,
He sih the like of his visage,
And wende ther were an ymage
Of such a nimphe as tho was faie,
Wherof that love his herte assaie
Began, as it was after sene,
Of his sotie, and made him wene
It were a womman that he syh.
The more he cam the welle nyh,
The nerr cam sche to him agein;
So wiste he nevere what to sein;
For whanne he wepte, he sih hire wepe,
And whanne he cride, he tok good kepe,
The same word sche cride also:
And thus began the newe wo,
That whilom was to him so strange.
Tho made him love an hard eschange:
To sette his herte and to beginne
Thing which he mihte nevere winne.
And evere among he gan to loute,
And preith that sche to him come oute;
And otherwhile he goth a ferr,
And otherwhile he draweth nerr,
And evere he fond hire in o place.
He wepth, he crith, he axeth grace,
There as he mihte gete non;
So that agein a roche of ston,
As he that knew non other red,
He smot himself til he was ded.
Wherof the Nimphes of the welles,
And othre that ther weren elles
Unto the wodes belongende,
The body, which was ded ligende,
For pure pité that thei have
Under the grene thei begrave.
And thanne out of his sepulture
Ther sprong anon par aventure
Of floures such a wonder syhte,
That men ensample take myhte
Upon the dedes whiche he dede,
As tho was sene in thilke stede;
For in the wynter freysshe and faire
The floures ben, which is contraire
To kynde, and so was the folie
Which fell of his Surquiderie.
   Thus he, which love hadde in desdeign,
Worste of alle othre was besein,
And as he sette his pris most hyhe,
He was lest worth in loves yhe
And most bejaped in his wit:
Wherof the remembrance is yit,
So that thou myht ensample take,
And ek alle othre for his sake."
   "Mi fader, as touchende of me,
This vice I thenke for to fle,
Which of his wenynge overtroweth;
And nameliche of thing which groweth
In loves cause or wel or wo.
Yit pryded I me nevere so,
Bot wolde God that grace sende,
That toward me my lady wende
As I towardes hire wene!
Mi love scholde so be sene,
Ther scholde go no pride a place.
Bot I am ferr fro thilke grace,
As for to speke of tyme now;
So mot I soffre, and preie yow
That ye wole axe on other side
If ther be eny point of Pride,
Wherof it nedeth to be schrive."
   "Mi sone, Godd it thee forgive,
If thou have eny thing misdo
Touchende of this, bot overmo
Ther is an other yit of Pride,
Which never cowthe hise wordes hide,
That he ne wole himself avaunte;
Ther mai nothing his tunge daunte,
That he ne clappeth as a belle:
Wherof if thou wolt that I telle,
It is behovely for to hiere,
So that thou myht thi tunge stiere,
Toward the world and stonde in grace,
Which lacketh ofte in many place
To him that can noght sitte stille,
Which elles scholde have his wille."
Magniloque propriam minuit iactancia lingue
   Famam, quam stabilem firmat honore cilens.
Ipse sui laudem meriti non percipit, vnde
   Se sua per verba iactat in orbe palam.
Estque viri culpa iactancia, que rubefactas
   In muliere reas causat habere genas.
   "The vice cleped Avantance
With Pride hath take his aqueintance,
So that his oghne pris he lasseth,
When he such mesure overpasseth
That he his oghne herald is.
That ferst was wel is thanne mis,
That was thankworth is thanne blame,
And thus the worschipe of his name
Thurgh pride of his avantarie
He torneth into vilenie.
I rede how that this proude vice
Hath thilke wynd in his office,
Which thurgh the blastes that he bloweth
The mannes fame he overthroweth
Of vertu, which scholde elles springe
Into the worldes knowlechinge;
Bot he fordoth it alto sore.
And riht of such a maner lore
Ther ben lovers: forthi if thow
Art on of hem, tell and sei how.
Whan thou hast taken eny thing
Of loves gifte, or nouche or ring,
Or tok upon thee for the cold
Som goodly word that thee was told,
Or frendly chiere or tokne or lettre,
Wherof thin herte was the bettre,
Or that sche sende thee grietinge,
Hast thou for Pride of thi likinge
Mad thin avant wher as thee liste?"
   "I wolde, fader, that ye wiste,
Mi conscience lith noght hiere:
Yit hadde I nevere such matiere,
Wherof myn herte myhte amende,
Noght of so mochel that sche sende
Be mowthe and seide, "Griet him wel!"
And thus for that ther is no diel
Wherof to make myn avant,
It is to reson acordant
That I mai nevere, bot I lye,
Of love make avanterie.
I wot noght what I scholde have do,
If that I hadde encheson so,
As ye have seid hier manyon;
Bot I fond cause nevere non:
Bot daunger, which wel nyh me slowh,
Therof I cowthe telle ynowh,
And of non other Avantance.
Thus nedeth me no repentance.
Now axeth furthere of my lif,
For hierof am I noght gultif."
   "Mi sone, I am wel paid withal;
For wite it wel in special
That love of his verrai justice
Above alle othre agein this vice
At alle times most debateth,
With al his herte and most it hateth.
And ek in alle maner wise
Avantarie is to despise,
As be ensample thou myhte wite,
Which I finde in the bokes write.
[The Tale of Albinus and Rosemund]
   Of hem that we Lombars now calle
Albinus was the ferst of alle
Which bar corone of Lombardie,
And was of gret chivalerie
In werre agein diverse kinges.
So fell amonges othre thinges,
That he that time a werre hadde
With Gurmond, which the Geptes ladde,
And was a myhti kyng also,
Bot natheles it fell him so,
Albinus slowh him in the feld:
Ther halp him nowther swerd ne scheld,
That he ne smot his hed of thanne,
Wherof he tok awey the panne,
Of which he seide he wolde make
A cuppe for Gurmoundes sake,
To kepe and drawe into memoire
Of his bataille the victoire.
And thus whan he the feld hath wonne,
The lond anon was overronne
And sesed in his oghne hond,
Wher he Gurmondes dowhter fond,
Which maide Rosemounde hihte,
And was in every mannes sihte
A fair, a freissh, a lusti on.
His herte fell to hire anon,
And such a love on hire he caste,
That he hire weddeth ate laste.
And after that long time in reste
With hire he duelte, and to the beste
Thei love ech other wonder wel.
Bot sche which kepth the blinde whel,
Venus, whan thei be most above,
In al the hoteste of here love,
Hire whiel sche torneth, and thei felle
In the manere as I schal telle.
   This king, which stod in al his welthe
Of pes, of worschipe, and of helthe,
And felte him on no side grieved,
As he that hath his world achieved,
Tho thoghte he wolde a feste make;
And that was for his wyves sake,
That sche the lordes ate feste,
That were obeissant to his heste,
Mai knowe: and so forth therupon
He let ordeine, and sende anon
Be lettres and be messagiers,
And warnede alle hise officiers
That every thing be wel arraied:
The grete stiedes were assaied
For joustinge and for tornement,
And many a perled garnement
Embroudred was agein the dai.
The lordes in here beste arrai
Be comen ate time set:
On jousteth wel, an other bet,
And otherwhile thei torneie,
And thus thei casten care aweie
And token lustes upon honde.
And after, thou schalt understonde,
To mete into the kinges halle
Thei come, as thei be beden alle:
And whan thei were set and served,
Thanne after, as it was deserved,
To hem that worthi knyhtes were,
So as thei seten hiere and there,
The pris was gove and spoken oute
Among the heraldz al aboute.
And thus benethe and ek above
Al was of armes and of love,
Wherof abouten ate bordes
Men hadde manye sondri wordes,
That of the merthe which thei made
The king himself began to glade
Withinne his herte and tok a pride,
And sih the cuppe stonde aside,
Which mad was of Gurmoundes hed,
As ye have herd, whan he was ded,
And was with gold and riche stones
Beset and bounde for the nones,
And stod upon a fot on heihte
Of burned gold, and with gret sleihte
Of werkmanschipe it was begrave
Of such werk as it scholde have,
And was policed ek so clene
That no signe of the skulle is sene,
Bot as it were a gripes ey.
The king bad bere his cuppe awey,
Which stod tofore him on the bord,
And fette thilke. Upon his word
This skulle is fet and wyn therinne,
Wherof he bad his wif beginne:
"Drink with thi fader, Dame," he seide.
And sche to his biddinge obeide,
And tok the skulle, and what hire liste
Sche drank, as sche which nothing wiste
What cuppe it was: and thanne al oute
The kyng in audience aboute
Hath told it was hire fader skulle,
So that the lordes knowe schulle
Of his bataille a soth witnesse,
And made avant thurgh what prouesse
He hath his wyves love wonne,
Which of the skulle hath so begonne.
Tho was ther mochel Pride alofte,
Thei speken alle, and sche was softe,
Thenkende on thilke unkynde Pride,
Of that hire lord so nyh hire side
Avanteth him that he hath slain
And piked out hire fader brain,
And of the skulle had mad a cuppe.
Sche soffreth al til thei were uppe,
And tho sche hath seknesse feigned,
And goth to chambre and hath compleigned
Unto a maide which sche triste,
So that non other wyht it wiste.
This mayde Glodeside is hote,
To whom this lady hath behote
Of ladischipe al that sche can,
To vengen hire upon this man,
Which dede hire drinke in such a plit
Among hem alle for despit
Of hire and of hire fader bothe;
Wherof hire thoghtes ben so wrothe,
Sche seith, that sche schal noght be glad,
Til that sche se him so bestad
That he no more make avant.
And thus thei felle in covenant,
That thei acorden ate laste,
With suche wiles as thei caste
That thei wol gete of here acord
Som orped knyht to sle this lord:
And with this sleihte thei beginne,
How thei Helmege myhten winne,
Which was the kinges boteler,
A proud, a lusti bacheler,
And Glodeside he loveth hote.
And sche, to make him more assote,
Hire love granteth, and be nyhte
Thei schape how thei togedre myhte
Abedde meete: and don it was
This same nyht; and in this cas
The qwene hirself the nyht secounde
Wente in hire stede, and there hath founde
A chambre derk withoute liht,
And goth to bedde to this knyht.
And he, to kepe his observance,
To love doth his obeissance,
And weneth it be Glodeside;
And sche thanne after lay aside,
And axeth him what he hath do,
And who sche was sche tolde him tho,
And seide: "Helmege, I am thi qwene,
Now schal thi love wel be sene
Of that thou hast thi wille wroght:
Or it schal sore ben aboght,
Or thou schalt worche as I thee seie.
And if thou wolt be such a weie
Do my plesance and holde it stille,
For evere I schal ben at thi wille,
Bothe I and al myn heritage."
Anon the wylde loves rage,
In which no man him can governe,
Hath mad him that he can noght werne,
Bot fell al hol to hire assent:
And thus the whiel is al miswent,
The which Fortune hath upon honde;
For how that evere it after stonde,
Thei schope among hem such a wyle,
The king was ded withinne a whyle.
So slihly cam it noght aboute
That thei ne ben descoevered oute,
So that it thoghte hem for the beste
To fle, for there was no reste:
And thus the tresor of the king
Thei trusse and mochel other thing,
And with a certein felaschipe
Thei fledde and wente awey be schipe,
And hielde here rihte cours fro thenne,
Til that thei come to Ravenne,
Wher thei the dukes helpe soghte.
And he, so as thei him besoghte,
A place granteth for to duelle;
Bot after, whan he herde telle
Of the manere how thei have do,
This duk let schape for hem so,
That of a puison which thei drunke
Thei hadden that thei have beswunke.
   And al this made avant of Pride:
Good is therfore a man to hide
His oghne pris, for if he speke,
He mai lihtliche his thonk tobreke.
In armes lith non avantance
To him which thenkth his name avance
And be renomed of his dede.
And also who that thenkth to spede
Of love, he mai him noght avaunte;
For what man thilke vice haunte,
His pourpos schal ful ofte faile.
In armes he that wol travaile
Or elles loves grace atteigne,
His lose tunge he mot restreigne,
Which berth of his honour the keie.
   Forthi, my sone, in alle weie
Tak riht good hiede of this matiere."
   "I thonke you, my fader diere,
This scole is of a gentil lore;
And if ther be oght elles more
Of Pride, which I schal eschuie,
Now axeth forth, and I wol suie
What thing that ye me wole enforme."
   "Mi sone, yit in other forme
Ther is a vice of Prides lore,
Which lich an hauk whan he wol sore,
Fleith upon heihte in his delices
After the likynge of his vices,
And wol no mannes resoun knowe,
Til he doun falle and overthrowe.
This vice veine gloire is hote,
Wherof, my sone, I thee behote
To trete and speke in such a wise,
That thou thee myht the betre avise."
Gloria perpetuos pregnat mundana dolores,
   Qui tamen est vanus gaudia vana cupit.
Eius amiciciam, quem gloria tollit inanis,
   Non sine blandiciis planus habebit homo:
Verbis compositis qui scit strigilare fauellum,
   Scandere sellata iura valebit eques.
Sic in amore magis qui blanda subornat in ore
   Verba, per hoc brauium quod nequit alter habet.
Et tamen ornatos cantus variosque paratus
   Letaque corda suis legibus optat amor.
   "The proude vice of veine gloire
Remembreth noght of purgatoire;
Hise worldes joyes ben so grete,
Him thenkth of hevene no beyete:
This lives pompe is al his pes.
Yit schal he deie natheles,
And therof thenkth he bot a lite,
For al his lust is to delite
In newe thinges, proude and veine,
Als ferforth as he mai atteigne.
I trowe, if that he myhte make
His body newe, he wolde take
A newe forme and leve his olde!
For what thing that he mai beholde,
The which to comun us is strange,
Anon his olde guise change
He wole and falle therupon,
Lich unto the camelion,
Which upon every sondri hewe
That he beholt he moste newe
His colour, and thus unavised
Ful ofte time he stant desguised.
Mor jolif than the brid in Maii
He makth him evere freissh and gay,
And doth al his array desguise,
So that of him the newe guise
Of lusti folk alle othre take;
And ek he can carolles make,
Rondeal, balade and virelai.
And with al this, if that he may
Of love gete him avantage,
Anon he wext of his corage
So overglad, that of his ende
Him thenkth ther is no deth comende:
For he hath thanne at alle tide
Of love such a maner pride,
Him thenkth his joie is endeles.
   Now schrif thee, sone, in Godes pes,
And of thi love tell me plein
If that thi gloire hath be so vein."
   "Mi fader, as touchinge of al
I may noght wel ne noght ne schal
Of veine gloire excuse me,
That I ne have for love be
The betre adresced and arraied;
And also I have ofte assaied
Rondeal, balade and virelai
For hire on whom myn herte lai
To make, and also for to peinte
Caroles with my wordes qweinte,
To sette my pourpos alofte;
And thus I sang hem forth ful ofte
In halle and ek in chambre aboute,
And made merie among the route,
Bot yit ne ferde I noght the bet.
Thus was my gloire in vein beset
Of al the joie that I made;
For whanne I wolde with hire glade,
And of hire love songes make,
Sche saide it was noght for hir sake,
And liste noght my songes hiere
Ne witen what the wordes were.
So for to speke of myn arrai,
Yit couthe I nevere be so gay
Ne so wel make a songe of love,
Wherof I myhte ben above
And have encheson to be glad;
Bot rathere I am ofte adrad
For sorwe that sche seith me nay.
And natheles I wol noght say,
That I nam glad on other side;
For fame, that can nothing hide,
Alday wol bringe unto myn ere
Of that men speken hier and there,
How that my ladi berth the pris,
How sche is fair, how sche is wis,
How sche is wommanlich of chiere;
Of al this thing whanne I mai hiere,
What wonder is thogh I be fain?
And ek whanne I may hiere sain
Tidinges of my ladi hele,
Althogh I may noght with hir dele,
Yit am I wonder glad of that;
For whanne I wot hire good astat,
As for that time I dar wel swere,
Non other sorwe mai me dere,
Thus am I gladed in this wise.
Bot, fader, of youre lores wise,
Of whiche ye be fully tawht,
Now tell me if yow thenketh awht
That I therof am for to wyte."
   "Of that ther is I thee acquite,
Mi sone, he seide, and for thi goode
I wolde that thou understode:
For I thenke upon this matiere
To telle a tale, as thou schalt hiere,
How that agein this proude vice
The hihe God of his justice
Is wroth and gret vengance doth.
Now herkne a tale that is soth:
Thogh it be noght of loves kinde,
A gret ensample thou schalt finde
This veine gloire for to fle,
Which is so full of vanité."
[Nebuchadnezzar's Punishment]
Humani generis cum sit sibi gloria maior,
   Sepe subesse solet proximus ille dolor:
Mens elata graues descensus sepe subibit,
   Mens humilis stabile molleque firmat iter.
Motibus innumeris volutat fortuna per orbem;
   Cum magis alta petis, inferiora time
   "Ther was a king that mochel myhte,
Which Nabugodonosor hihte,
Of whom that I spak hier tofore.
Yit in the Bible his name is bore,
For al the world in orient
Was hol at his comandement:
As thanne of kinges to his liche
Was non so myhty ne so riche;
To his empire and to his lawes,
As who seith, alle in thilke dawes
Were obeissant and tribut bere,
As thogh he godd of erthe were.
With strengthe he putte kinges under,
And wroghte of Pride many a wonder;
He was so full of veine gloire,
That he ne hadde no memoire
That ther was eny good bot he,
For pride of his prosperité;
Til that the hihe king of kinges,
Which seth and knoweth alle thinges,
Whos yhe mai nothing asterte -
The privetés of mannes herte
Thei speke and sounen in his ere
As thogh thei lowde wyndes were -
He tok vengance upon this pride.
Bot for He wolde awhile abide
To loke if he him wolde amende,
To him a foretokne He sende,
And that was in his slep be nyhte.
This proude kyng a wonder syhte
Hadde in his swevene, ther he lay:
Him thoghte, upon a merie day
As he behield the world aboute,
A tree fulgrowe he syh theroute,
Which stod the world amiddes evene,
Whos heihte straghte up to the hevene;
The leves weren faire and large,
Of fruit it bar so ripe a charge,
That alle men it myhte fede:
He sih also the bowes spriede
Above al erthe, in whiche were
The kinde of alle briddes there;
And ek him thoghte he syh also
The kinde of alle bestes go
Under this tree aboute round
And fedden hem upon the ground.
As he this wonder stod and syh,
Him thoghte he herde a vois on hih
Criende, and seide aboven alle:
"Hew doun this tree and lett it falle,
The leves let defoule in haste
And do the fruit destruie and waste,
And let of schreden every braunche,
Bot ate rote let it staunche.
Whan al his Pride is cast to grounde,
The rote schal be faste bounde,
And schal no mannes herte bere,
Bot every lust he schal forbere
Of man, and lich an oxe his mete
Of gras he schal pourchace and ete,
Til that the water of the hevene
Have waisshen him be times sevene,
So that he be thurghknowe ariht
What is the heveneliche myht,
And be mad humble to the wille
Of Him which al mai save and spille."
   This king out of his swefne abreide,
And he upon the morwe it seide
Unto the clerkes whiche he hadde:
Bot non of hem the sothe aradde,
Was non his swevene cowthe undo.
And it stod thilke time so,
This king hadde in subjeccioun
Judee, and of affeccioun
Above alle othre on Daniel
He loveth, for he cowthe wel
Divine that non other cowthe:
To him were alle thinges cowthe,
As he it hadde of Goddes grace.
He was before the kinges face
Asent, and bode that he scholde
Upon the point the king of tolde
The fortune of his swevene expounde,
As it scholde afterward be founde.
Whan Daniel this swevene herde,
He stod long time er he ansuerde,
And made a wonder hevy chiere.
The king tok hiede of his manere,
And bad him telle that he wiste,
As he to whom he mochel triste,
And seide he wolde noght be wroth.
Bot Daniel was wonder loth,
And seide: "Upon thi fomen alle,
Sire king, thi swevene mote falle;
And natheles touchende of this
I wol thee tellen how it is,
And what desese is to thee schape:
God wot if thou it schalt ascape.
   The hihe tree, which thou hast sein
With lef and fruit so wel besein,
The which stod in the world amiddes,
So that the bestes and the briddes
Governed were of him alone,
Sire king, betokneth thi persone,
Which stant above all erthli thinges.
Thus regnen under thee the kinges,
And al the poeple unto thee louteth,
And al the world thi pouer doubteth,
So that with vein honour deceived
Thou hast the reverence weyved
Fro Him which is thi king above,
That thou for drede ne for love
Wolt nothing knowen of thi Godd,
Which now for thee hath mad a rodd
Thi veine gloire and thi folie
With grete peines to chastie.
And of the vois thou herdest speke,
Which bad the bowes for to breke
And hewe and felle doun the tree,
That word belongeth unto thee:
Thi regne schal ben overthrowe,
And thou despuiled for a throwe,
Bot that the rote scholde stonde.
Be that thou schalt wel understonde,
Ther schal abyden of thi regne
A time agein whan thou schalt regne.
And ek of that thou herdest seie -
To take a mannes herte aweie
And sette there a bestial,
So that he lich an oxe schal
Pasture, and that he be bereined
Be times sefne and sore peined,
Til that he knowe his Goddes mihtes,
Than scholde he stonde agein uprihtes -
Al this betokneth thin astat,
Which now with God is in debat:
Thi mannes forme schal be lassed,
Til sevene yer ben overpassed,
And in the liknesse of a beste
Of gras schal be thi real feste.
The weder schal upon thee reine,
And understond that al this peine,
Which thou schalt soffre thilke tide,
Is schape al only for thi pride
Of veine gloire, and of the sinne,
Which thou hast longe stonden inne.
   So upon this condicioun
Thi swevene hath exposicioun.
Bot er this thing befalle in dede,
Amende thee, this wolde I rede:
Gif and departe thin almesse,
Do mercy forth with rihtwisnesse;
Besech and prei the hihe grace,
For so thou myht thi pes pourchace
With Godd, and stonde in good acord."
   Bot Pride is loth to leve his lord,
And wol noght soffre humilité
With him to stonde in no degree;
And whan a schip hath lost his stiere,
Is non so wys that mai him stiere
Agein the wawes in a rage.
This proude king in his corage
Humilité hath so forlore,
That, for no swevene he sih tofore,
Ne yit for al that Daniel
Him hath conseiled everydel,
He let it passe out of his mynde,
Thurgh veine gloire, and as the blinde,
He seth no weie, er him be wo.
And fell withinne a time so,
As he in Babiloine wente,
The vanité of Pride him hente;
His herte aros of veine gloire,
So that he drowh into memoire
His lordschipe and his regalie
With wordes of Surquiderie.
And whan that he him most avaunteth,
That lord which veine gloire daunteth,
Al sodeinliche, as who seith treis,
Wher that he stod in his paleis,
He tok him fro the mennes sihte.
Was non of hem so war that mihte
Sette yhe wher that he becom.
And thus was he from his kingdom
Into the wilde forest drawe,
Wher that the myhti Goddes lawe
Thurgh His pouer dede him transforme
Fro man into a bestes forme;
And lich an oxe under the fot
He graseth, as he nedes mot,
To geten him his lives fode.
Tho thoghte him colde grases goode,
That whilom eet the hote spices.
Thus was he torned fro delices:
The wyn which he was wont to drinke
He tok thanne of the welles brinke
Or of the pet or of the slowh,
It thoghte him thanne good ynowh.
In stede of chambres wel arraied
He was thanne of a buissh wel paied,
The harde ground he lay upon,
For othre pilwes hath he non;
The stormes and the reines falle,
The wyndes blowe upon him alle,
He was tormented day and nyht,
Such was the hihe Goddes myht,
Til sevene yer an ende toke.
Upon himself tho gan he loke;
In stede of mete, gras, and stres,
In stede of handes, longe cles,
In stede of man a bestes lyke
He syh; and thanne he gan to syke
For cloth of gold and for perrie,
Which him was wont to magnefie.
Whan he behield his cote of heres,
He wepte and with ful woful teres
Up to the hevene he caste his chiere
Wepende, and thoghte in this manere;
Thogh he no wordes myhte winne,
Thus seide his herte and spak withinne:
"O mihti Godd, that al hast wroght
And al myht bringe agein to noght,
Now knowe I wel, bot al of Thee,
This world hath no prosperité:
In Thin aspect ben alle liche,
The povere man and ek the riche;
Withoute Thee ther mai no wight,
And Thou above alle othre miht.
O mihti lord, toward my vice
Thi merci medle with justice;
And I woll make a covenant,
That of my lif the remenant
I schal it be Thi grace amende,
And in Thi lawe so despende
That veine gloire I schal eschuie,
And bowe unto thin heste and suie
Humilité, and that I vowe."
And so thenkende he gan doun bowe,
And thogh him lacke vois and speche,
He gan up with his feet areche,
And wailende in his bestly stevene
He made his pleignte unto the hevene.
He kneleth in his wise and braieth,
To seche merci and assaieth
His God, which made him nothing strange,
Whan that he sih his pride change.
Anon as he was humble and tame,
He fond toward his God the same,
And in a twinklinge of a lok
His mannes forme agein he tok,
And was reformed to the regne
In which that he was wont to regne;
So that the Pride of veine gloire
Evere afterward out of memoire
He let it passe. And thus is schewed
What is to ben of Pride unthewed
Agein the hihe Goddes lawe,
To whom no man mai be felawe.
   Forthi, my sone, tak good hiede
So for to lede thi manhiede,
That thou ne be noght lich a beste.
Bot if thi lif schal ben honeste,
Thou most humblesce take on honde,
For thanne myht thou siker stonde.
And for to speke it otherwise,
A proud man can no love assise;
For thogh a womman wolde him plese,
His Pride can noght ben at ese.
   Ther mai no man to mochel blame
A vice which is for to blame;
Forthi men scholde nothing hide
That mihte falle in blame of Pride,
Which is the werste vice of alle:
Wherof, so as it was befalle,
The tale I thenke of a cronique
To telle, if that it mai thee like,
So that thou myht humblesce suie
And ek the vice of Pride eschuie,
Wherof the gloire is fals and vein;
Which God Himself hath in desdeign,
That thogh it mounte for a throwe,
It schal doun falle and overthrowe."
[Humility and the Tale of Three Questions]
Est virtus humilis, per quam deus altus ad yma
   Se tulit et nostre viscera carnis habet.
Sic humilis superest, et amor sibi subditur omnis,
   Cuius habet nulla sorte superbus opem:
Odit eum terra, celum deiecit et ipsum,
   Sedibus inferni statque receptus ibi.
   "A king whilom was yong and wys,
The which sette of his wit gret pris.
Of depe ymaginaciouns
And strange interpretaciouns,
Problemes and demandes eke,
His wisdom was to finde and seke;
Wherof he wolde in sondri wise
Opposen hem that weren wise.
Bot non of hem it myhte bere
Upon his word to geve answere,
Outaken on, which was a knyht.
To him was every thing so liht,
That also sone as he hem herde,
The kinges wordes he answerde;
What thing the king him axe wolde,
Therof anon the trowthe he tolde.
The king somdiel hadde an envie,
And thoghte he wolde his wittes plie
To sette som conclusioun,
Which scholde be confusioun
Unto this knyht, so that the name
And of wisdom the hihe fame
Toward himself he wolde winne.
And thus of al his wit withinne
This king began to studie and muse,
What strange matiere he myhte use
The knyhtes wittes to confounde;
And ate laste he hath it founde,
And for the knyht anon he sente,
That he schal telle what he mente.
Upon thre pointz stod the matiere
Of questions, as thou schalt hiere.
   The ferste point of alle thre
Was this: "What thing in his degré
Of al this world hath nede lest,
And yet men helpe it althermest?"
The secounde is: "What most is worth,
And of costage is lest put forth?"
The thridde is: "Which is of most cost,
And lest is worth and goth to lost?"
   The king thes thre demandes axeth,
And to the knyht this lawe he taxeth,
That he schal gon and come agein
The thridde weke, and telle him plein
To every point, what it amonteth.
And if so be that he misconteth,
To make in his answere a faile,
Ther schal non other thing availe,
The king seith, bot he schal be ded
And lese hise goodes and his hed.
The knyht was sori of this thing
And wolde excuse him to the king,
Bot he ne wolde him noght forbere,
And thus the knyht of his ansuere
Goth hom to take avisement:
Bot after his entendement
The more he caste his wit aboute,
The more he stant therof in doute.
Tho wiste he wel the kinges herte,
That he the deth ne scholde asterte,
And such a sorwe hath to him take,
That gladschipe he hath al forsake.
He thoghte ferst upon his lif,
And after that upon his wif,
Upon his children ek also,
Of whiche he hadde dowhtres tuo;
The yongest of hem hadde of age
Fourtiene yer, and of visage
Sche was riht fair, and of stature
Lich to an hevenely figure,
And of manere and goodli speche,
Thogh men wolde alle londes seche,
Thei scholden noght have founde hir like.
Sche sih hire fader sorwe and sike,
And wiste noght the cause why;
So cam sche to him prively,
And that was where he made his mone
Withinne a gardin al him one;
Upon hire knes sche gan doun falle
With humble herte and to him calle,
And seide: "O goode fader diere,
Why make ye thus hevy chiere,
And I wot nothing how it is?
And wel ye knowen, fader, this,
What aventure that you felle
Ye myhte it saufly to me telle,
For I have ofte herd you seid,
That ye such trust have on me leid,
That to my soster ne my brother,
In al this world ne to non other,
Ye dorste telle a privité
So wel, my fader, as to me.
Forthi, my fader, I you preie,
Ne casteth noght that herte aweie,
For I am sche that wolde kepe
Youre honour." And with that to wepe
Hire yhe mai noght be forbore,
Sche wissheth for to ben unbore,
Er that hire fader so mistriste
To tellen hire of that he wiste:
And evere among merci sche cride,
That he ne scholde his conseil hide
From hire that so wolde him good
And was so nyh his fleissh and blod.
So that with wepinge ate laste
His chiere upon his child he caste,
And sorwfulli to that sche preide
He tolde his tale and thus he seide:
"The sorwe, dowhter, which I make
Is noght al only for my sake,
Bot for thee bothe and for you alle:
For such a chance is me befalle,
That I schal er this thridde day
Lese al that evere I lese may,
Mi lif and al my good therto:
Therfore it is I sorwe so."
"What is the cause, helas!" quod sche,
"Mi fader, that ye scholden be
Ded and destruid in such a wise?"
And he began the pointz devise,
Whiche as the king told him be mowthe,
And seid hir pleinly that he cowthe
Ansuere unto no point of this.
And sche, that hiereth how it is,
Hire conseil gaf and seide tho:
"Mi fader, sithen it is so,
That ye can se non other weie,
Bot that ye moste nedes deie,
I wolde preie of you a thing:
Let me go with you to the king,
And ye schull make him understonde
How ye, my wittes for to fonde,
Have leid your ansuere upon me;
And telleth him, in such degré
Upon my word ye wole abide
To lif or deth, what so betide.
For yit par chaunce I may pourchace
With som good word the kinges grace,
Your lif and ek your good to save.
For ofte schal a womman have
Thing which a man mai noght areche."
The fader herde his dowhter speche,
And thoghte ther was resoun inne,
And sih his oghne lif to winne
He cowthe don himself no cure;
So betre him thoghte in aventure
To put his lif and al his good,
Than in the maner as it stod
His lif in certein for to lese.
And thus thenkende he gan to chese
To do the conseil of this maide,
And tok the pourpos which sche saide.
   The dai was come and forth thei gon,
Unto the court thei come anon,
Wher as the king in juggement
Was set and hath this knyht assent.
Arraied in hire beste wise
This maiden with hire wordes wise
Hire fader ladde be the hond
Into the place, wher he fond
The king with othre whiche he wolde,
And to the king knelende he tolde
As he enformed was tofore,
And preith the king that he therfore
His dowhtres wordes wolde take,
And seith that he wol undertake
Upon hire wordes for to stonde.
Tho was ther gret merveile on honde,
That he, which was so wys a knyht,
His lif upon so yong a wyht
Besette wolde in jeupartie,
And manye it hielden for folie:
Bot ate laste natheles
The king comandeth ben in pes,
And to this maide he caste his chiere,
And seide he wolde hire tale hiere,
He bad hire speke, and sche began:
"Mi liege lord, so as I can,"
Quod sche, "the pointz of whiche I herde,
Thei schul of reson ben ansuerde.
   The ferste I understonde is this,
What thing of al the world it is,
Which men most helpe and hath lest nede.
Mi liege lord, this wolde I rede:
The erthe it is, which everemo
With mannes labour is bego;
Als wel in wynter as in Maii
The mannes hond doth what he mai
To helpe it forth and make it riche,
And forthi men it delve and dyche
And eren it with strengthe of plowh,
Wher it hath of himself ynowh,
So that his nede is ate leste.
For every man and bridd and beste,
And flour and gras and rote and rinde,
And every thing be weie of kynde
Schal sterve, and erthe it schal become;
As it was out of erthe nome,
It schal to th'erthe torne agein:
And thus I mai be resoun sein
That erthe is the most nedeles,
And most men helpe it natheles.
So that, my lord, touchende of this
I have ansuerd hou that it is.
   That other point I understod,
Which most is worth and most is good,
And costeth lest a man to kepe:
Mi lord, if ye woll take kepe,
I seie it is humilité,
Thurgh which the hihe Trinité
As for decerte of pure love
Unto Marie from above,
Of that He knew hire humble entente,
His oghne sone adoun He sente,
Above alle othre and hire He ches
For that vertu which bodeth pes.
So that I may be resoun calle
Humilité most worth of alle.
And lest it costeth to maintiene,
In al the world as it is sene;
For who that hath humblesce on honde,
He bringth no werres into londe,
For he desireth for the beste
To setten every man in reste.
Thus with your hihe reverence
Me thenketh that this evidence
As to this point is sufficant.
   And touchende of the remenant,
Which is the thridde of youre axinges,
What leste is worth of alle thinges,
And costeth most, I telle it, Pride;
Which mai noght in the hevene abide,
For Lucifer with hem that felle
Bar Pride with him into helle.
Ther was Pride of to gret a cost,
Whan he for Pride hath hevene lost;
And after that in paradis
Adam for Pride loste his pris:
In midelerthe and ek also
Pride is the cause of alle wo,
That al the world ne mai suffise
To stanche of Pride the reprise:
Pride is the heved of alle sinne,
Which wasteth al and mai noght winne;
Pride is of every mis the pricke,
Pride is the werste of alle wicke,
And costneth most and lest is worth
In place where he hath his forth.
Thus have I seid that I wol seie
Of myn answere, and to you preie,
Mi liege lord, of youre office
That ye such grace and such justice
Ordeigne for mi fader hiere,
That after this, whan men it hiere,
The world therof mai speke good."
   The king, which reson understod
And hath al herd how sche hath said,
Was inly glad and so wel paid
That al his wraththe is overgo:
And he began to loke tho
Upon this maiden in the face,
In which he fond so mochel grace,
That al his pris on hire he leide,
In audience and thus he seide:
"Mi faire maide, wel thee be!
Of thin ansuere and ek of thee
Me liketh wel, and as thou wilt,
Forgive be thi fader gilt.
And if thou were of such lignage,
That thou to me were of parage,
And that thi fader were a pier,
As he is now a bachilier,
So seker as I have a lif,
Thou scholdest thanne be my wif.
Bot this I seie natheles,
That I wol schape thin encress;
What worldes good that thou wolt crave,
Axe of my gifte and thou schalt have."
And sche the king with wordes wise
Knelende thonketh in this wise:
"Mi liege lord, God mot you quite!
Mi fader hier hath bot a lite
Of warison, and that he wende
Hadde al be lost; bot now amende
He mai wel thurgh your noble grace."
With that the king riht in his place
Anon forth in that freisshe hete
An erldom, which thanne of eschete
Was late falle into his hond,
Unto this knyht with rente and lond
Hath gove and with his chartre sesed;
And thus was al the noise appesed.
   This maiden, which sat on hire knes
Tofore the king, hise charitees
Comendeth, and seide overmore:
"Mi liege lord, riht now tofore
Ye seide, as it is of record,
That if my fader were a lord
And pier unto these othre grete,
Ye wolden for noght elles lete
That I ne scholde be your wif;
And this wot every worthi lif,
A kinges word it mot ben holde.
Forthi, my lord, if that ye wolde
So gret a charité fulfille,
God wot it were wel my wille.
For he which was a bacheler,
Mi fader, is now mad a pier;
So whenne as evere that I cam,
An erles dowhter now I am."
   This yonge king, which peised al,
Hire beauté and hir wit withal,
As he that was with love hent,
Anon therto gaf his assent.
He myhte noght the maide asterte,
That sche nis ladi of his herte;
So that he tok hire to his wif,
To holde whyl that he hath lif:
And thus the king toward his knyht
Acordeth him, as it is riht.
   And over this good is to wite,
In the cronique as it is write,
This noble king of whom I tolde
Of Spaine be tho daies olde
The kingdom hadde in governance,
And as the bok makth remembrance,
Alphonse was his propre name:
The knyht also, if I schal name,
Danz Petro hihte, and as men telle,
His dowhter wyse Peronelle
Was cleped, which was full of grace:
And that was sene in thilke place,
Wher sche hir fader out of teene
Hath broght and mad hirself a qweene,
Of that sche hath so wel desclosed
The pointz wherof sche was opposed.
   "Lo now, my sone, as thou myht hiere,
Of al this thing to my matiere
Bot on I take, and that is Pride,
To whom no grace mai betide:
In hevene he fell out of his stede,
And paradis him was forbede,
The goode men in erthe him hate,
So that to helle he mot algate,
Where every vertu schal be weyved
And every vice be received.
Bot Humblesce is al otherwise,
Which most is worth, and no reprise
It takth agein, bot softe and faire,
If eny thing stond in contraire,
With humble speche it is redresced.
Thus was this yonge maiden blessed,
The which I spak of now tofore.
Hire fader lif sche gat therfore,
And wan with al the kinges love.
Forthi, my sone, if thou wolt love,
It sit thee wel to leve Pride
And take Humblesce upon thi side;
The more of grace thou schalt gete."
   "Mi fader, I woll noght forgete
Of this that ye have told me hiere,
And if that eny such manere
Of humble port mai love appaie,
Hierafterward I thenke assaie:
Bot now forth over I beseche
That ye more of my schrifte seche."
   "Mi goode sone, it schal be do:
Now herkne and ley an ere to;
For as touchende of Prides fare,
Als ferforth as I can declare
In cause of vice, in cause of love,
That hast thou pleinly herd above,
So that ther is no mor to seie
Touchende of that; bot other weie
Touchende Envie I thenke telle,
Which hath the propre kinde of helle:
Withoute cause to misdo
Toward himself and othre also,
Hierafterward as understonde
Thou schalt the spieces, as thei stonde."
Explicit Liber Primus.
(see note)

stands not; ability
must; go by
discourse on
Therefore; style
plan to; (see note)
something [that] is not; foreign
nature has at hand
no one can govern himself; (t-note)
unruly passion causes disorder; (see note)
too much; too little; (t-note)
For, in truth,
falls by chance
Neither intelligence nor
who otherwise; boast
most quickly; foot
Where no one; be of help
Who knew how to concoct
natural law
remedy; ailment
(see note)
no creature do otherwise
wherever he chooses to set himself
power that may stop him
truth; wise man forecast
Except; accidentally
believe; taught
wheel [of Fortune] turns
knows not; happens
Whether; lose
knew; (see note)
myself one of those; (see note)
made a member of
wondrous adventure
explain (communicate)
(see note)
what; read next
(see note)
to him is allotted
knows by sound learning
obtain (fetch)
unfortunate happy woe; (see note)

   (see note)
happened (fared)
other day; went forth; (see note)
(see note)
bird; mate
any success
know; council
worn out with travel
wood; go
alone by myself
[for] me; very pain (circumstance)
many times
(see note)
life; delight; well-being
(see note)
angry eyes; (see note)
before he left
deepest part of my heart; (see note)
relief (reward)
[it] pleased; dwell
well; (see note)
gladness (weal); happen
them; time
Awaited; speak of here
started; (t-note)
then (after) she
captive (wretch); lies; (see note)
be made well (whole); die
sorrow; complain
hide the truth
help you with
scowl then
Imposters (OF faiteor, "contriver")
by deceit
wheel [of Fortune]; (see note)
false pretense
in any case
Provided that; should last to that extent
In doubt
be confessed/absolved
priest, who will arrive immediately
one thing at a time
(see note)
hear; confession
then; raised up
(see note)
(see note)
Bless you; (see note)
before; (see note)
question me about my confession
left unexamined
Then; soon
pertaining to; (see note)
But nonetheless; specific reasons
must continuously
leave out
point by point
in succession (a row)
in bondage
less; blame
know only a little
custom (use)
becomes; instructed
(see note)
recount (bring back)
Regarding confession; must be complete
cover over; (see note)
That [which]; ask you therefore
(see note)
teaching; (t-note)
Then; manner; (see note)
confess; (t-note)
see to it that
In whatever way I had abused (misspent) them; (t-note)
those are; (see note)
our dealings (market-fair)
(see note)
know; your eye has fared
of all [the senses]
their eye
that does not pertain to them
their heart suspects
been many times angry
its own
that same fiery
Through; runs (pierces)
eye first
worst of all
listen to; therefore
made aware
its domain
(see note)
inappropriate looking; (see note)
how once there was one; (t-note)
Was named; near-relative
Cadmus was called
set his heart
amuse himself
came to ride
Thus, before he knew it
green bushes; tall cedars
bathe herself; play; water
who served her
eye did not turn away
From her who was stark naked
intensely angry
take on [the likeness] of
in front of; was surprised
horn-blast; company of hunters
Who made great hue and cry
his own hounds slew the hart; (t-note)
utterly tore him apart
dearly bought
(see note)
(see note)
Was called; (see note)
their nativity
From nature; askew
born; one; (t-note)
them was called
was called
only one eye
to share
By turns
countenance cast
beheld them
Transformed; full many a one
Pallas Athena
gave him
as it happened; (see note)
Beyond Atlas; high hill
placed on his arm
he so carried himself
take heed
wonton delight
is not often taken
advise you
With which to vex
What; in agreement
ear [away] from
(see note)
(see note)
(see note)
Bears; in the upper part of his body
by cunning
conjuration (charm)
As soon as
places; one ear; flat
also; ear just as tightly
[So] that
doesn't hear
manner; defends
excluded (avoided)
if one calls it to mind; (see note)
(see note)
marvellous nature
give ear
their judgment
stay with them
those great delights hear
do not know how to steer their ships
busily; song
listen; are befuddled
to their ear obey
broken apart
gets past
beforehand devises
[So] that none of them; them
slew a great many of them
know how to protect and preserve
gates (eyes and ears) locked up
Unless; understand how to govern
Those two; [other] three; easy
eyes ever misused
I admit guilt
mark of love engraved
guilty there [too]
its rudder
collapse immediately on the spot
Where [I am] when I see
pulled to pieces
remains nothing
defend myself
God help you
far to seek
ask beyond this
(see note)
called Hypocrisy
confess yourself completely
to blame
who feigns
in order that he might gain
as soon as he arrives at [his goal]
clerks know; he (the hypocrite); (see note)
the same; that they before
disguises wealth
causes; value
is not nurse
religious orders
appears also
[of monks]; (see note)
most accuse; of fault
contradiction of their teaching; (t-note)
devout appearance
places (sets)
evilly disposed
By concealment of his falsity
similar manner
men of the world also; (see note)
He makes no reckoning (tally) in his account
surpass the ordinary
many a person
in like manner; (t-note)
bearing; (see note)
Whatever happens as a consequence
watery (pale)
eye; sighs
expressive posture he assumes
the [lover's] pallid complexion
makes himself [seem] sick; well
sail; (see note)
at that same moment
(see note)
(see note)
As regards feigning
There is no need
sick; countenance
I could never bow so low
That I did not want to bow better
will never occur to me
[That] I [would]
desire was a thousand-times better
expression (cheer) I knew
I shall not declare
Been direct
said only yes or no
other [kinds of hypocrisy]
am not somewhat to blame
With regard to what you call
behooves; person
(see note)
desire obtain
your deviousness
chronicle; (see note)
Of those who thus defraud love
(see note)
Roman citizen [who] had
was called
(see note)
also the most virtuous
Of such nature, created frail; (see note)
heart's eyes
shared; (see note)
her youthful charm
hinder the sexual desire
on her become besotted
duke; called
charge (duty)
(see note)
But that he was so reined in [by love]
despite whether he would
might not
Obtain with her consent
By; nor by supplication
By sneaky tricks; proceeded
on pilgrimage
in order to pray to that
was called by
In conformity with; then
duke who thought to obtain
requested; came; command
gratitude purchase
them gave
secret plan (conspiracy)
their troth; pledged
succeed in bringing; (t-note)
Now hear
will appear to you
commanded us
shall have a vision
personal character
value; puts
agree in sentiment with you
(see note)
lord (husband)
should submit herself
Wholly; command
Toward the god with full integrity
prepared; draped
asked by
bade her
manner given
who knew of no treachery
which then was thought to be possible
private room near by
duke; secretly
put such clothing upon himself
truly saw
stalking he went
before she knew it
Embraced in arms, he kissed her
knew not what to think
impregnate her [with a child] of such a nature
same son
lady's wit was gone
faith believes
unfaithfulness intends
deceitful tales; seduced
At dawn; withdrew himself
did not know
Where he went; pleased him
pray; pray
gave; [goes] homeward by
called; may he save you
That thing; avoided
depends; your own determination
bore it quietly
once has happened
again (after)
this vow
stains; (see note)
asks what ails her
who once was virtuous (chaste); (see note)
truth; whole story
faints nearly to death
could do nothing
together sent (in company)
asked them
it seemed best to them
reassure his wife
subsequently complain
ways; cheered
(see note)
went to lament
worthy female citizen
male citizen
heard the account
had the priests arrested
in order that they; deny
them under interrogation
wanted to excuse themselves
duke they laid
he (the duke) is one [person]
that excuse
And beyond that; (t-note)
Their; noble
Therefore; goes astray
Because of them
by law
were condemned
[So] that; cursed
thought to purge; that same
aim (end); [Paulina's] journey
duke was treated differently
Since; beset
relieved of the death penalty
pay attention
To what
at first; they (winds of hypocrisy)
In the end; not fit to guide [the ship]
least expect
from time past how it has been
get a clue
before disaster befalls him
Concerning those who are so blind within; (see note)
it (Troy)
tried everything
by; (see note)
trickery; (see note)
conquered in this way
had forged; (see note)
design; workmanship
(see note)
Antenor; Aeneas; (see note)
secret; negotiate
[so] that; deceived
By; agreed upon
from an inch; span (fabrication)
By deceptive appearance
concealed (darkened; blinded)
deceitful Hypocrisy
Their; had beautifully constructed
furnished with its own trap-doors
glistening against
entirely too
much discussion
broken to pieces; torn down
Greeks departed then
whole company
set the sails; made them (sails) ready
go [home]
Enveloped in darkness; shore
was made their spy; (t-note)
signal [light]; lit
take their way
became known
sweet becomes sour
thinks to gain the most
destined to lose most
should choose
that is a pity
succeed who are
beloved is later the enemy
pain (punishment)
advise you
It behooves; heed
[So] that; avoid
conviction; (t-note)
so quiet
Scarcely may love beware
has made many a woman foolish
(see note)
follows; (see note)
does not know what it is
same thing
bend before he is broken
do not know; might bend
do not know
acquire; (t-note)
cower timidly; Lie down!
as soon as I may know
My lady's wish, nor [does a trained dog]
grumble wretchedly
the truth
my lady's command
That except for these same two
disobedient; more
those two; (see note)
one; (see note)
should not allow
succeed; (see note)
(see note)
But that I must certainly say
out of step
second point
new [lover]
with respect to that
she might as well say
moon where
But that I stood
God knows
engagement of service; (see note)
despite whether she
Regardless whether
by that manner
according to the proper procedure; (see note)
vice (i.e., Pride)
the same extraction; (see note)
Their; (see note); (t-note)
their countenance depict
even if; succeed
grumble; lose
Whereby; appeased
obedience by any means
as [well as]
As if
grumble about something
[So] that
Instantly; discomfort
[So] that; their hearts submit
manner of behavior
success coming
Either; or
I show no sign of it
you call inobedience
often times
provides help
if you desire to know; (see note); (t-note)
once in days of old; (see note)
(see note)
nephew; (see note)
Wifeless; was called
who had great power
(see note)
Foreign; seek
borderlands; (see note)
Sever and tie; success
Contrived; narrow passageway
forceably captured
befell at that time
Fighting, by his own military prowess slain
military governor of the castle
are angry
in his military prowess
made them grow calm
slay him because of fear
most sly
scarcely get about
grandmother to the dead man (Branchus)
him (Florent)
lure him to his death
Exclusively by his own consent
true (binding)
any man
even though you are to blame
For; delay
For the time being
Provided that you
ask [you] shall answer
And in addition to this you; also
right answer (truth)
But that you shall
so that men
[In order] that; advised
permission safely to go
Provided that
your opinion
(see note)
question pertains
sent for
agree entirely
craved for
By the stars nor by nature
Must take his fortune
prepared for his death; (see note)
would rather die
break his pledge and lie
prepared himself to return again
uncle that he not be angry
Even though
by chance should die
hitherto saw
carefully; (see note)
called to him and told him to stop
horse's head
Then turned; rode
paused and waited
To find out what she intended
to take pity on him
unless; better informed
may not save you
for you so devise
achieve honor for your behavior
as my reward
ask for; payment
are helped
grant me such a pledge
certainly be killed
promised her plenty of goods
land; income; game-reserve; plowland
counts she as nothing
must one
Either to
Or else to lose
loathly creature
gave as a pledge
wrinkled up
agreement; accept
if any other means
Except that [which]
release you of your vow
But by no other means
will swiftly at that very moment
Ask you for
not at all hold back
From what you think your best [effort]
That is fine; no more [to do]
But otherwise; teaching
would most desire
To be
that woman [who] is thus of a higher rank
her desire
For otherwise
she would most desire to have
i.e., do not forget
glum looks
does not know
must bind himself
such a one who
the most unbecoming; (t-note)
glad; sad
Either; or
at once
consort (OE gemana, "intercourse"); (see note)
demanded continuously
final judgment (doom)
Give; precisely; (t-note)
first asked
Woe be to you
Who have; secret
in flames
justified in his answer
then his grief began to renew
who had his promise
shame feared
Goes forth on behalf of
woeful head raised up
saw; hag
cast his eye upon
nose low; brows high-arched
i.e., beady eyes
forehead; narrow; gray
Moor; (see note)
stooped (curved)
limb; deficiency
offered herself
[horse's] bridle; seizes him
Only God knows; pleases him
It seems to him
sick; health
gentian root; cinnamon
sort of gain
(see note)
the honor; (t-note)
It seemed to him
Providing for her as best he could array
since she was all tattered
before [him]
often sighs
owl flies by night
in broad daylight
Kept himself hidden; did his riding
At night; time
ugly woman (rump; OF cuisse, "thigh")
her figure observe
best (lovely lady)/beast
personal serving women; sent for
soon took off
hoary locks comb through (divide)
did not want to be shorn
attire as then was the custom
Decided; it (the custom)
craftily covered
them (her hoary locks)
more foul to look on [than before]
began to be merry
let us go; (see note)
offers to kiss him
But that he need[s] must comply
amorously in bed
lay awake
turned his back to her
eyes hide
ugly creature; (t-note)
(OF cendal, a costly fabric)
prayed; turned away
[That] he would turn himself; then
steadfastly (intently)
what he had said
married her
must one of two things choose
Whether; by night
who wanted his peace of mind
chose nevertheless
life's salvation
Say what you please; debate
do not know
my whole voice
Just as you might wish
Since you have made
it befell but a while ago
out of hatred
transformed; until
you are that one
Then; enough
Each; played; laughed
fared together
in a state of prosperity
desire in all ways
reasonable thing
(see note)
Presumption is that [particular]
until it falls into calamity
(see note)
Had I known
carries out all his business by supposition
drives away all certainty
[he] is; pervaded
nor so wise [as he is]
take the prize
used up
(see note)
causes him; think
chops so high up; (see note)
also very often he thinks
Where [i.e., by whom]
best of all
you wish
you here
that [idea] will not occur to me
think that I am
except at her authority
I should think differently
I admit [my guilt] in that case
before now
thinking has been determined in vain
To trust
desire my intellect has
whatever hope might promise
believe it true
success it brings about
Thinking beguiles
go down
what would happen next
by my thinking imagined
(see note)
(see note)
military prowess
In himself so much trusted
it pleased him not
conflict to pray
it [prayer] was a useless utterance
powder pulverized
most trusted in his strength
proves clearly
it is injurious
be proper for him
forgotten his own
those who are so stupid
(see note)
(see note)
played [games]
were walking; were riding
were spurring their; alongside
now reining them in, now releasing the reins
became aware
saw coming toward
withered effigy
covered with snow
Their beards; hoary
so little natural vitality left; (see note)
they seemed almost totally dead
made supplication for
kissed them
gave them
Then; Disdain
in their own Pride
degrade his kingship
himself; manner
By those who
He took in response to that, and
sovereign had laid
As soon as
listen to what befell
bird; her mate
went; (see note)
had no sooner come [home]
Than that when; taken
His brother was already there
It seemed to him worthy to show such humility
behave that way no more
must excuse himself
To each one of his lords
listened carefully to his tale; (t-note)
to what he heard
said it should
their complaint
thought to himself then
may reprove (chasten)
It occurred to him to frighten him
that time
trumpet; fierce sound
called; trumpet of death
in [his] keeping, and has the job of using it
[Such] that
sent for
who must do so regardless
Then he understood by the law
assuredly dead
since for help he knew no plan
Except [that he should] send
And [that he should] tell them
Knew not
by no means
might not have to die nonetheless
Unless he succeed
In getting; forgiveness
Their; inclined; (t-note)
came to a decision
Then they planned
except for; (t-note)
move to tenderness
except for their shirts alone
great lament
Their hair hanging about their ears
became sorely distressed (afflicted)
On the part of those who
taken heed
person [who] if he saw them
feigns as if he knew nothing
[To see] if
who sees them drop to the ground
despoiled (naked)
As a sign; had to die
my earthly death cancel
fool; blame; (see note)
Because you see; in fear
With the result that it (the law) may
therefore marvel
chariot got down
own; their features
established by nature's law
respite (remedy)
that [human] law
Because of common law [to be]
by evaluation is
That is to say, a thing you might escape from
advise since
(see note)
in steadfast accord
humble heart follow humility
this same vice
wishful thinking; (t-note)
truth into lying
in olden days
man of letters; (see note)
foolish attitude
[namely] that worthy as his peer
world's territory
(see note)
moral disposition
was called
might humble
by chance
entertain himself
hart soon
[Narcissus] hastened himself
tree; (see note)
tied; (t-note)
took heed
saw; likeness (peer)
magical (enchanted/of fairy)
From his besottedness; think
knew; to say
love made with him; exchange
bow down
sometimes; away
As one who; counsel
(see note); (t-note)
grass; buried
deeds; did
that place
flowers are present
To nature
endowed; (t-note)
premium most high
least; eye
Of one who believes too much in his thinking; (t-note)
either gladness or sadness
prided myself never
[if only] God would send that grace
lady should turn wishful thinking
As I do toward her
other [aspect] yet
[Such] that; boast
makes noise
worth he diminishes
What at first; amiss
worthy of thanks; blameworthy
fame; (see note)
official function
destroys it all too sorely
one of them
either brooch or
chilling anguish [of love]
sent you greeting
boast; it pleased you
improve in spirit
By mouth
nothing (no portion)
unless I lie
grounds for so [doing]
many times
[her] aloofness; has nearly killed me; (see note)
could tell plenty
know; (t-note)
those who; (see note)
the crown
prowess; (see note)
war against
who led the Geptes
turned out for him thus [that]
But that he smote his head off
cut off the brain-pan
Gurmond's destruction
"legally" transferred to his own use
was called
at peace
to the highest degree
on high
most passionate condition of their love
peace; fame
in no respect unhappy
[So] that
Might know [the lords]
gave orders
steeds were readied
in preparation for the day
One; better
grew interested in pleasures
all had been invited to do
those who
prize was given; announced
below and above [according to social status]
Whereof in several places
saw; standing out of the way
[the size of] a griffin's egg
ordered to be borne away
[ordered] that other one to be fetched
the amount that pleased her
boast; prowess
Which with
Thinking; cruel (disrespectful); (see note)
finished (got up)
whom she trusted
person knew it
Who made her drink; circumstance
situated (beset)
[So] that he should boast no more
chief servant in charge of drink
dutiful worship
Either; paid for
tell you
can govern himself
(see note)
But that they were discovered
it seemed best to them
load up
their straight
(see note)
what they; labored for [i.e., reste, line 2632]
praise (fame)
easily his reward destroy
lies no advantage
who intends
(see note)
guards (bears the key)
follow (pursue)
is called
(see note)
Thinks not of; (see note)
Heaven seems no profit to him
common use
Soon; ways (fashion)
(see note)
in newfangled clothing
bird in May
from him; latest fashion; (see note)
Of people of pleasure
also; compose
death coming
confess yourself; peace
(see note)
arranged and adorned
(see note)
devise; embellish
wished not; to hear
Nor to know
[may] say no to me
am not
bears the prize
News of my lady's health
[drawing] from your wise teachings
if anything occurs to you
to blame
should ponder [this]
love's nature
could wield great power; (see note)
was called
Even; fame is upheld; (see note)
compared to him
So to speak; those days
subdued empires
except himself
eye; escape
resound; ear
directly in the center
stretched up
up high
louder than
allow every branch to be hacked off
root; be left intact
gather and eat
be made to know absolutely correctly; (t-note)
dream awoke
truth interpreted
dream knew how to explicate
it happened at that time
Judea; friendship
knew well how
To elucidate as no others knew how to
Since he it (understanding) had by
Sent for; commanded
Upon matter the king would speak of
future destiny in his dream expound
an extraordinarily dire expression
what he knew
As if to someone he greatly trusted
reluctant [to reply]
all your enemies
[if only] your dream would befall
how it is [for you]
discomfort is fashioned for you
under you the [other] kings
empty honor
for neither fear nor
made a [chastening] rod
pains to chastize
boughs to be broken
despoiled for a time
Except that the root
heard said
bestial [heart]
Feed; rained upon
For seven times; sorely afflicted
in conflict
human shape shall be diminished
royal feast
weather; rain; (see note)
fashioned entirely
before; should occur indeed
Change your ways; advise
Give and distribute; alms
along with righteousness
completely lost
dream he saw beforehand
had instructed him in every point
before he have disaster
[it] befell
most boasts of himself
whom; conquers
quick as one, two, three
withdrew himself
none of them so shrewd who might
drawn (taken)
caused him to change
grazes; must
Then seemed to him
[He] who once ate
Either; pit; slough
bush well pleased
came to an end
prepared food; straw
beast's likeness
saw; sigh
precious stones (OF pierre, "stone")
coat of hair
except for You alone
all are the same
creature [be]
have power
remaining days
by Your
command; follow
began upward; reach up
manner and brays
appeals to
who did not ignore him
restored; dominion
(see note)
value; (see note)
questions also
Question those who were learned
To his statement; give
Except one
became somewhat envious
[So] that
least need [of help]
most of all
worth most
expense; least of all
greatest cost
of least value; goes to ruin
questions asks
prescribed duty he imposes
third week
And fails in his answer
lose; head
think it over
Then knew
should not escape
might seek throughout the world
one who could compare to her
saw; sigh
all by himself
chance event
private confidence
love and trust away
eyes; restrained
again and again
desired good for him
by mouth
told her; could
gave; then
in order to test (discover)
You will abide by my word
yet perchance; obtain
saw [that]; gain
in a gamble
sent for
others whom he wanted
response hear
shall be answered reasonably
worked upon
cultivate; plow
its need [of him] is least of all
root and bark
earth; die
without need
second point
take heed
From [the fact] that
signifies peace
It seems to me
those who fell
To pay the cost of Pride; (see note)
of every wrong the sting
reward (praise); laid
equal rank
As certainly as
would in that case
fashion your prosperity
Ask from my gift
may God requite you
property; thought
fresh passion
escheat (forfeiture)
given; endowed; (t-note)
quarrel reconciled
great men
prevent; (see note)
But that I should be
must; (see note)
knows; desire
however I arrived formerly
weighed (assessed)
escape [the cleverness of] the maiden
[Such] that she is not
moreover it is good to know
was called
Was called, who; (see note)
for my concern
Only one
must assuredly go
financial charge
takes back; quiet
plan to try
characteristic nature
As hereafter; recognize


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