Confessio Amantis: Book 2
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.
JOHN GOWER, CONFESSIO AMANTIS, BOOK 2: FOOTNOTES
1 The sin of Envy is greatly chafed by sorrow, for his mind does not stay happy for any time at all; what others rejoice in, he laments. He has not a single friend whose desire he would carry out from simple helpfulness. A neighbor's glory vexes his thoughts, and every delight of others is a sorrow to him. Indeed, this vice frequently assails a lover, when Venus sheds favor not on him but on the rest. It is a love that is delusional by its own workings, and the joys that another carries he believes are an injury to himself.
2 Envy feels joy, born in mind from itself alone, when it sees another's pain of sorrow. The envious man chortles today at others' weeping, for whom tomorrow's outcomes prepare his own laments. Thus in love, the man who is joyous when he sees baffled lovers stands in the same circumstance as the envious man. Even if in vain, and even if he himself is destroyed at the same time, he nonetheless hopes for solace by another's ruin.
3 The worst part of Envy is Detraction, which stirs up a plague of infamy with the mouth's ill winds. The tongue resounds in the air with poisonous speech, just as Rumor flies forth, scandalizing someone else. The faithful ones whom she inflicts unawares with bites from behind often lack a medicine for the wound. But noble love guards a tongue, so that the word he speaks produces nothing baleful.
4 Whose tongue neither tower nor cross (i.e., head or tail of a coin, hence, "no money")
5 Lines 970-72: I.e., we replaced it with a healthy child of poor parents
6 A double-talker will undertake nothing without singing with a forked tongue, and while he speaks in daylight, night covers his intentions. His face holds light, his mind shadows; his words offer healing, but his action produces grave illness. The peace that he solemnly promises you instead foreshadows war; if he should offer helpfulness, learn what guile lies beneath it. What lies displayed as faith is fraud within, and the conclusion of a crafted truce negates its first impression. Oh, how such a condition deforms a lover, who, appearing to be in love, instead is not at all.
7 The envious man is a supplanter of another's honor, and where he plows he turns over your rows. There is a secret work he carries out that lies hidden like a snake in the grass: and all of a sudden the venomous thing is present. Thus a cunning lover supplants another lover, and seizes hiddenly what he cannot openly possess. And often, the supplanter grafts onto his plant of love what another thinks he possesses among his own goods.
8 Lines 2872-78: And then make yourself so sly / As to blow a note of such a pitch / Through the trumpet into his ear, / As if it were a voice from heaven, / [So] that he might consider it and believe / It was by God's command
9 The ill-born goad of envy hurts without cause, for it possesses sin without sin tempting it. There is no need for Cupid's bow to tempt him when the heathen flame of Aetna devours Venus' torches. The cheeks, drained of red and obscured by dusky pallor, reveal that the other limbs of nature are stone cold.
JOHN GOWER, CONFESSIO AMANTIS, BOOK 2: EXPLANATORY NOTES
*For MS abbreviations, see head of textual notes.
9 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in secundo libro tractat de Inuidia et eius speciebus, quarum dolor alterius gaudii prima nuncupatur, cuius condicionem secundum vicium Confessor primitus describens, Amanti, quatenus amorem concernit, super eodem consequenter opponit. [Here in the second book he discourses about Envy and its species, the first of which is called Sorrow for Another's Joy; and the Confessor, initially describing to the Lover its condition as a vice as far as love is concerned, subsequently interrogates him about this.]
10 hot Envie. See Braswell's discussion in "Confession as Characterization" on similarities between Gower's method of interrogation and fourteenth-century penitential manuals (Medieval Sinner, pp. 81-87). See Olsson (Structures of Conversion, pp. 92 ff.) on Genius' use of "conventional modes of the forma tractandi - definition, proof and refutation, division, and the positing of examples" in his confessional discourse on the vices.
11 my sone. See Craun (p. 133) on Gower's extensive use of the phrase throughout CA as a formula of subordination derived from practices of confession.
16 ff. So God avance my querele. From the beginning of Book 2 Amans is more fully developed as a "character," representing what Burrow calls "the inconsistencies of an undisinterested mind" (1983, p. 10). From this point on in Books 2-4 Amans himself becomes as interesting in his dramatically convoluted responses to questions of his behavior as the tales Genius tells for his instruction. His origin shares more with Machaut's Le Livre dou Voir Dit and Froissart's Espinette Amoureuse than with the RR (1983, p. 6). The querele - a dispute, debate, complaint, lament, argument - becomes a genre in its own right in the later fourteenth century, especially for lovers with their perpetual questions and sallies into arenas of contention. The term carries connotations of battle as well as legal strife. Gower uses the term a couple dozen times in CA, and it defines most of Amans' postures in the middle books of the poem.
20 Ethna. Gower often uses the volcanic Mt. Etna as a sign of the eruptive nature of Envy and also Wrath. Compare Prol.329-30, and 2.163-66, 2837-39. Stockton (Gower, Major Latin Works, p. 477n21) cites comparable passages in MO, lines 3805 ff., and Tripartite Chronicle 2.207. The idea perhaps originates in Ovid, Met. 5.346-58, where the proud and envious giant Typhoesus, buried under Sicily, vents his rage by means of the volcano's eruptions, and 13.867-69, where Cyclops, with Etna in his breast, pleads with Galatea to love him rather than Acis.
83 Write in Civile. That is, in civil law (the Roman law used in England only in special property cases, especially the transmission of clerical property; other kinds of property were governed by English common law). As Macaulay (2:480) shrewdly suggests, the proverbial statement Gower presents seems ultimately dependent on Justinian's Institutes 1.7, which repeals the law passed under Augustus Caesar (3 AD). The Fufian Caninian Act restricted the proportion of an owner's slaves who could be freed at the owner's death (a restriction apparently originally intended to keep down the numbers of new citizens at a time when the empire "still seemed to be expanding" (Robinson, "Persons," p. 21); for a text and translation of the act in Justinian, see Justinian, Institutes (trans. Birks and McLeod), pp. 40-41. The proverbial notion alluded to in lines 83-87 evidently emerged from an early misreading: the text of Justinian that medieval authors read usually corrupted the names used to identify the law to read "Lex Fusia Canina" ("the Fusian canine law," with both a misreading of minims to make Caninia into canina, and a misreading of f as s to make Fusia from Fufia - both errors that probably dated back early in the textual tradition of Justinian and remained uncertain until more recent editions: Macaulay's own source-text apparently read "Furia Caninia"). Since the text in Justinian argued that the law should be repealed "quasi libertatibus impedientem et quodammodo invidam" ("as a hindrance to and in some sense an invidious enemy of freedoms"), medieval authors found ways to link the idea of invidia (in context "invidious enemy" but also simply the sin "envy") to this "Fusian canine law," and thence to the useless envy of dogs who protect property from which they do not themselves benefit. Thus, as Macaulay (2:480) notes, John Bromyard in the later fourteenth century under Invidia in his Summa confessorum states that "omnes isti sunt de professione legis Fusie canine. Ille enim Fusius inventor fuit legis cuius exemplum seu casus est iste. Quidam habet fontem quo non potest proprium ortum irrigare . . . Posset tamen alteri valere sine illius nocumento, ipse tamen impedit ne alteri prosit quod sibi prodesse non potest, ad modum canis, sicut predictum est: a cuius condicione lex canina vocata est inter leges duodecim tabularum, que quia iniqua fuit, in aliis legibus correcta est, sicut patet Institut. lib. i de lege Fusia canina tollenda" ("all those of the legal profession are Fusian canines. For this Fusius was the founder of a law whose pattern or circumstance was this: a certain man owned a spring from which he could not water his own fields. . . . Even though he would have been able to help another without harming himself, he nonetheless prevented anyone else from profiting from what could not profit him, just like a dog, according to the saying. From this the law was called the 'canine law' among the laws of the twelve tables, but because it was iniquitous, it was corrected in other laws, just as is said in the Institutes, book 1, 'concerning the repeal of the Fusian canine law'") (Galloway, "Literature of 1388"). See also Fisher, John Gower, pp. 155-56, 365n38, who compares dog-in-the-manger passages in MO and VC.
101 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum saltem contra istos qui in amoris causa aliorum gaudiis inuidentes nequaquam per hoc sibi ipsis proficiunt. Et narrat, qualiter quidam iuuenis miles nomine Acis, quem Galathea Nimpha pulcherrima toto corde peramauit, cum ipsi sub quadam rupe iuxta litus maris colloquium adinuicem habuerunt, Poliphemus Gigas concussa rupe magnam inde partem super caput Acis ab alto proiciens ipsum per inuidiam interfecit. Et cum ipse super hoc dictam Galatheam rapere voluisset, Neptunus Giganti obsistens ipsam inuiolatam salua custodia preseruauit. Set et dii miserti corpus Acis defuncti in fontem aque dulcissime subito transmutarunt. [Here the Confessor presents an illustrative example at least against those who, while in the cause of love being envious of the joys of others, do not at all profit themselves by this. And he tells about a certain young knight named Acis, whom the most beautiful nymph Galatea deeply loved with her whole heart. When they were under a certain rock next to the shores of the sea holding conversation with one another, Polyphemos the giant, having broken a rock, threw a huge part of it from above onto Acis' head, killing him through envy. And although after this the giant wanted to rape the aforesaid Galatea, Neptune prevented him, preserving her inviolate by his safe custody. But even the gods, pitying dead Acis, instantly transformed his body into a spring of sweetest water.]
104 ff. The story of Acis and Galatea may be found in Ovid, Met. 13.738-897. N.b. also Vat. Myth. II 201. Macaulay notes that Polyphemous' running around Etna in a jealous rage before killing Acis is Gower's addition (2:480). See Runacres' discussion of the tale as an exemplum that balances artistry of narrative with ethics, particularly in its focus on Polipheme's voyeuristic obsession ("Art and Ethics," pp. 111-14) that leads to his hatred not of Galatea herself but of her capacity to love another (pp. 130-34).
106 As Ovide in his bok recordeth. Ovid is Gower's major literary source for CA. Pearsall ("Gower's Narrative Art," p. 478) notes that Ovid "provides 38 of the 133 stories in the poem." See also Simpson ("Genius's 'Enformacioun'").
107-84 Chaucer's Ghoast (1672) borrows these lines as Arg. 5 in the "love of antiquity"'s "twelve pleasant fables of Ovid penn'd after the ancient manner of writing in England."
145 grete see. I.e., the Mediterranean. See CA 3.2488. Compare CT I(A)59.
150 fyre. See MED s. v. vire n. 1, i.e., a bolt from a crossbow. But Gower could be punning: Itô (John Gower, p. 38n21) reads as fire, thinking perhaps of a flaming arrow, relating the passage to MO, lines 3805-19, where Envy, Etna, and burning are affiliated. See also Runacres on Poliphemous: "His heart burns, and he flees like some huge flaming arrow, burning like Etna" (p. 131).
224 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor de secunda specie Inuidie, que gaudium alterius doloris dicitur, et primo eiusdem vicii materiam tractans amantis conscienciam super eodem vlterius inuestigat. [Here the Confessor speaks about the second species of Envy, which is called Joy for Another's Sorrow, and, at first treating the substance of that vice, he then investigates further the Lover's conscience in terms of it.] Burrow ("Portrayal of Amans," p. 9) emphasizes the orderly, point-by-point manner of Genius' questions, noting that delight in the poem lies less in the systematic opposing of the lover's conscience than the unpredictable ingenuity of Amans' responses.
246-47 of that thei brewe soure / I drinke swete. Proverbial. Not cited by Whiting.
261 ff. Latin marginalia: Boicius: Consolacio miserorum est habere consortem in pena. [Boethius: "A consolation of the wretched is to have company in their pain."] Proverbial, but not in fact by Boethius ("misery loves company"). A common proverb. See Whiting W715. Reidy (Riverside Chaucer, note to lines 746-47 of The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, p. 949) observes: "A Latin marginal note in Ellesmere and one other MS have the beginning of the common Latin proverb 'The solace of the wretched is to have companions in grief' (Walther 29943), quoted in slightly different form (Walther, Nova Series, 35687) in some other MSS." See also TC 1.708-09, with Latin marginal glosses in MSS Rawlinson Poet. 163 and Arch. Selden. B.24, both in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
291 ff. The Tale of the Travelers and the Angel derives from the widely known Fables of Avianus, fable 22. The Latin text and translation may be found in Minor Latin Poets, ed. Duff and Duff, pp. 715-17. A lively translation appears by Slavitt in The Fables of Avianus, p. 30. In Latin the fable is only 20 lines long (13 lines of prose in Crane's edition). See also Jacques de Vitry's Exemplum 196 on the avaricious and envious men; Robert Holcot, In Librum Sapientiae Regis Solomonis, lectio 29; Guilelmus Peraldus, Summa Virtutum ac Vitiorum; and John Bromyard, Summa Prædicantium l.6.19, to name a few. See Crane's edition of Jacques de Vitry (Exempla, p. 212) for more.
293 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum presertim contra illum, qui sponte sui ipsius detrimentum in alterius penam maiorem patitur. Et narrat quod, cum Iupiter angelum suum in forma hominis, vt hominum condiciones exploraret, ab excelso in terram misit, contigit quod ipse angelus duos homines, quorum vnus cupidus, alter inuidus erat, itinerando spacio quasi vnius dici comitabatur. Et cum sero factum esset, angelus eorum noticie seipsum tunc manifestans dixit, quod quicquid alter eorum ab ipso donari sibi pecierit, illud statim obtinebit, quod et socio suo secum comitanti affirmat duplicandum. Super quo cupidus impeditus auaricia, sperans sibi diuicias carpere duplicatas, primo petere recusauit. Quod cum inuidus animaduerteret, naturam sui vicii concernens, ita vt socius suus vtroque lumine priuaretur, seipsum monoculum fieri constanter primus ab angelo postulabat. Et sic vnius inuidia alterus auariciam maculauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example especially against that man who willingly endures his own detriment for the sake of another's greater pain. And he narrates how, when Jupiter sent his angel in a man's form from on high down to earth in order to investigate the circumstances of men, it happened that this angel journeyed around for about the span of a day in the company of two men, one of whom was covetous, the other envious. And when it had become late, the angel, then making clear his identity to their understanding, said that whatever one of them should petition him for, that he would obtain immediately, and he swore that it would be doubled for the companion traveling with him. Whereupon the covetous man, snared by avarice, refused to petition first, hoping to receive double wealth for himself. When the envious man, perceiving the nature of his vice, had noticed this, he unflinchingly demanded that he himself might first be one-eyed in order that his companion might be deprived of both eyes. And thus the envy of the one spoiled the avarice of the other.]
298 An angel. Sidrak and Bokkus labels the covetous man "þe deuelis gripe [griffen] of helle"; the angels would be a better model for man since in heaven no angels "coueiteþ oþeris blis / But holdeþ hem paide [pleased] eche of his" (1.285, lines 4766, 4779-80). Thus it is that angels are particularly shrewd at investigating this particular sin and serve as "Goddes sonde" (2.324).
387 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de tercia specie Inuidie, que Detraccio dicitur, cuius morsus vipereos lesa quamsepe fama deplangit. [Here the Confessor discourses about the third species of Envy, which is called Detraction, whose venomous bites very often a wounded reputation bewails.]
Craun (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 136n63) relates Genius' remarks on Detraction, Malebouche, and backbiting to to Peyraut's Summa de Vitiis, fols. G8r-H2v; the Speculum Vitae, lines 14143-228; De Lingua, fols. 165v-168v; Etienne de Bourbon's Tractatus, fols. 228v-230v; the Speculum Morale, cols. 1144-51; Carpenter's Destructorium, fols. 507v-508v; the Fasciculus Morum, pp. 158-62; John Bromyard's Summa Prædicantium, fols. 71r-84v; and Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne, lines 1239-1306 and 3529-646.
389 Malebouche. "Wicked-tongue," a dangerous slanderer of lovers in RR (e.g., lines 2847 ff.), becomes a common prop in courtly literature for malicious gossip that degrades the lofty feelings the would-be lover wishes to engage in. See MO, lines 2677 ff. Chaucer uses only the anglicized form "Wikkid-Tunge" (Rom. 3871, 3878, 4141, 4233, 4267, 4484, 5851, 7355, 7422, 7474, 7476, 7498; compare TC 1.39, 2.785, 804, 5.755). But Lydgate follows Gower's French vocabulary with Malebouche in The Complaint of the Black Knight, line 260, as does Roos in La Belle Dame sans Mercy, line 741.
398 jangle. Gower devotes considerable attention to the sin of jangling, especially as a feature of Detraction (see 2.425, 452, and 526); but also of Cheste and Envy (3.832, 887), Idleness (4.1474), Jealousy (5.519 ff.), Stealth and Michery (5.6532), and Gossip (7.4774). Usually it is a woman, like the Wife of Bath or Dame Sirith, or the women in Dunbar's "Twa Mariit Wemen and the Wedo": all of whom are presented as archjanglers. (See Trevisa, Governance of Kings 2.2.21, pp. 248-49, on the evil of women janglers, or Jacques de Vitry for dozens of exempla on quarrelsome women.) In Gower, however, every instance of the vice exemplifies a negative trait in men.
399 heraldie. "Office of herald"; or perhaps "livery." See Macaulay (2.481).
417-32 Craun (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 138) notes that the same image of flying dung beetles as a commentary on detraction occurs in the fourteenth-century Book of Vices and Virtue: "[detractors] ben þe biteles þat flen þe floures and loueþ þe dong of an hors or a best, as men seen alday bi þe weye" (as quoted by Craun).
452 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa huius vicii crimen ad memoriam reducens Confessor Amanti super eodem plenius opponit. [Here in the cause of love, the Confessor rehearses for remembrance the sin of this vice, more fully questioning the Lover.]
454-551 Gower has received praise for his lively presentation of Amans in this third confession in Book 2. Burrow (1983) sees it as one of the best illustrations of Gower's "penetrating, but always general, psychological perception," a portrayal of what Burrow wittily calls "the inconsistencies of an undisinterested mind" (p. 10). See Nicholson's useful summary of critical observations on the passage (p. 184).
467 unknowe unkest. Proverbial. See Whiting U5. Compare Chaucer, TC 1.809: "Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is unsought." The idiom also occurs in Usk and Charles of Orleans (see Whiting). Evidently its purview is courtly and literary. As is often the case in CA, proverbs come in clusters. Compare the proverbial effects of 2.470 and 473.
479 evere I am adrad of guile. "In speaking against detractors, the lover asks for [his lady's] good, but ironically, his own speech, as he colors 'the wordes of his sawe,' includes the deceit and enchantment he fears his lady is subjected to by others." Besides, she is "a knowing person and not a mere innocent, and . . . does not really need his protection" (Olsson, 1992, p. 94).
513-14 Burrow comments on this dramatic moment as Amans' comic inconsistency shifts from "self-righteous claims" to open confession (1983, p. 10).
529 I wolde save. The lover's protecting of his beloved's good name is a commonplace requirement of courtesy. See Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, trans. John Jay Parry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941), the first case (pp. 167-68), and rule 13, "When made public love rarely endures" (p. 185).
587 ff. Chaucer's Man of Law also tells the "Tale of Constance" (see Schlauch's discussion in Sources and Analogues, ed. Bryan and Dempster, pp. 155-206; and Hibbard, Mediæval Romance). Olsson (Structures of Conversion, pp. 92-106) comments on the radical differences between the complex narration of Chaucer and the plain style of Gower. Unlike Chaucer's heroine, surrounded with the "ring of protective, talismanic texts" of the Man of Law, Gower's Constance is "self-possessed" (Olsson, Structures of Conversion, p. 95). Although both Gower's and Chaucer's poems are derived from Trivet's Chronique, Gower's version is closer to the source and was apparently written earlier than Chaucer's. See Correale on the relationship of Gower to Trivet. Macaulay enumerates Gower's variations from his original (2:482-484). An analogue of the story of Constance, which includes a moral commentary, may be found in the English Gesta Romanorum (cap. 69). For further discussion of the tale, see Wetherbee, "Constance and the World"; Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, pp. 62-70; Esch, "John Gower's Erzählkunst"; Archibald, "Flight from Incest," pp. 259-72; and Yeager, "Gower's Images." See Wetherbee ("John Gower," pp. 605-06) and Dimmick ("'Redinge of Romance,'" pp. 132-36) for links with the Tale of Apollonius. See also Hibbard (Mediæval Romance, pp. 23-34), for comparisons with the Middle English romance Emaré; and Dimmick (pp. 130-37) on the tale in terms of conventions of romance narrative.
587 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic loquitur Confessor contra istos in amoris causa detrahentes, qui suis obloquiis aliena solacia perturbant. Et narrat exemplum de Constancia Tiberii Rome Imparatoris filia, omnium virtutum famosissima, ob cuius amorem Soldanus tunc Persie, vt eam in vxorem ducere posset, Cristianum se fieri promisit; cuius accepta caucione consilio Pelagii tunc pape dicta filia vna cum duobus Cardinalibus aliisque Rome proceribus in Persiam maritagii causa nauigio honorifice destinata fuit: que tamen obloquencium postea detraccionibus variis modis, prout inferius articulatur, absque sui culpa dolorosa fata multipliciter passa est. [Here the Confessor speaks against those making detractions in the cause of love, who by their slurs disturb others' comforts. And he narrates an instructive example about Constance, daughter of Tiberius the emperor of Rome, a woman most famous for every virtue, on account of whose love the one who was then sultan of Persia promised to make himself Christian, in order that he might take her as a bride. With his pledge having been accepted, by the counsel of Pelagius, the pope at that time, the said daughter along with two cardinals and other dignitaries of Rome was sent with full ceremony on the voyage for the sake of the marriage in Persia. She, however, by the detractions in various manners of those casting slurs on her, as is detailed below, later without any guilt of her own suffered in many ways wretched travails.]
590 Tiberie Constantin. For discussion of the father-daughter relationship between Constance and her father, particularly in terms of power and authority issues, see Bullón-Fernández (pp. 75-101).
601-10 Sche hath converted. In Chaucer Christ does the converting. See also 4.597-98. Wetherbee contrasts Gower's Constance with Chaucer's, emphasizing the "measure of reality" (1989, p. 72), that she has in Gower. She is "continually engaged with the world around her through the medium of social institutions." Although she is "in many respects a representation of the mission of the church," carrying with her
the threat or promise of radical transformation . . . the prevailing emphasis is on how she fulfils her evangelical mission, how her influence is mediated by the attraction her human presence exerts on others, and by the institutions of the different cultures with which she comes in contact. Her strength involves not only her constancy in faith but her humanity and intelligence, and it expresses itself best in situations which call her womanhood into action and enable her to function as daughter, wife, and mother as well as saint. (P. 70)
In the end, she does not simply transcend earthly confines, she becomes "in effect the Church itself" (p. 81).
641 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter adueniente Constancia in Barbariam Mater Soldani, huiusmodi nupcias perturbare volens, filium suum vna cum dicta Constancia Cardinalibusque et aliis Romanis primo die ad conuiuium inuitauit: et conuescentibus illis in mensa ipsum Soldanum omnesque ibidem preter Constanciam Romanos ab insidiis latitantibus subdola detraccione interfici procurauit. Ipsam que Constanciam in quadam naui absque gubernaculo positam per altum mare ventorum flatibus agitandam in exilium dirigi solam constituit. [How, when Constance had arrived in Barbary, the sultan's mother, desiring to disturb this marriage, on the first day invited her son along with the said Constance and the cardinals and other Romans to a feast. And while they were all gorging together at the table, she procured that, by hidden treachery with sly detraction, the sultan and all the Romans there, apart from Constance, would be killed. She ordered that Constance be cast into exile, placed onto the high seas in a ship without a steering-oar, assailed by the blasts of the winds.]
656 be double weie. Several have commented on Gower's keen awareness and strong asseverations on double talk (Sins of the Tongue) in the Tale of Constance. Elizabeth Allen compares Gower with Chaucer "as a fellow muddier of moral waters" (p. 629), who, as a moral poet, explores contingencies rather than positing answers and uses this tale in particular to trouble audiences rather than reassure them. Gower seems fully aware of "the moral value of narrative instability" as he "destabilizes" Trivet (p. 641).
693-94 what . . .God wol spare / It mai for no peril misfare. Proverbial. See Whiting, G276. Compare 5.2426 and 8.1160.
699-700 The dissh forth with the coppe and al / Bebled thei weren overal. The grotesque uses of sacramental imagery "provides a measure of the alienation of the culture of Barbarie, not only from Christianity, but from simply human pietas" (Wetherbee, 1989, p. 71).
714 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter nauis cum Constancia in partes Anglie, que tunc pagana fuit, prope Humber sub quodam castello Regis, qui tunc Allee vocabatur, post triennium applicuit, quam quidam miles nomine Elda, dicti castelli tunc custos, e naui lete suscipiens vxori sue Hermynghelde in custodiam honorifice commendauit. [How after three years, the ship with Constance arrived in the regions of England, which was then pagan, near the Humber under a castle of the king at that time, who was called Allee. A certain knight, Elda by name, at that time the guardian of the said castle, happily taking her from the ship, commended her to the keeping of his wife Hermynghelda with all honor.]
749-834 Trivet has Hermyngeld baptized before she dies. In Gower she is murdered before baptism. Dulak ("Gower's 'Tale of Constance,'" pp. 368-69) remarks that the alteration is significant in that Gower thus represents the three kinds of baptism in his conversion narrative: baptism of blood (the Sultan), baptism of desire (Hermyngeld), and baptism of water (Alla). In Chaucer "Jhesu hath converted [her] thurgh his grace" (CT II[B1]538).
751 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Constancia Eldam cum vxore sua Her-mynghelda, qui antea Cristiani non extiterant, ad fidem Cristi miraculose conuertit. [How Constance miraculously converted Elda and his wife Hermynghelda, who had not been Christians before then, to the faith of Christ.]
769-71 'In trust of Cristes lawe . . . behold and se.' That Hermyngeld through her "creance" (2.754) can assist in miracles without having been baptized of water supports Dulak's notion that her desire constitutes baptism. See explanatory note to lines 749-834.
779 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter quidam miles iuuenes in amorem Contancie exardescens, pro eo quod ipsa assentire noluit, eam de morte Hermynghelde, quam ipsemet noctanter interfecit, verbis detractoriis accusauit. Set Angelus domini ipsum sic detrahentem in maxilla subito percuciens non solum pro mendace comprobauit, set ictu mortali post ipsius confessionem penitus interfecit. [How a young knight burning with love for Constance, to which she did not want to assent, accused her with detracting words of the death of Hermynghelda, whom he himself had killed by night. But an angel of the Lord, striking him suddenly in the jaw while he was detracting her, not only convicted him for his lie but also, with a mortal blow after his confession, utterly killed him.]
811-13 Craun notes that the knight chiefly defames Constance because he envies her advancement of the chamberlain who had previously had to rely on him; such political motivation is not evident in Trivet, where the knight seemingly "acts to cover his sexual advances" (Lies, Slander, and Obscenity, p. 149).
847 stille as eny ston. Proverbial. See Whiting S772 and variants "dumb as any stone," S762, and "mute as any stone," S765. Compare CA 1.1794 and 2104.
890 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Rex Allee ad fidem Cristi conuersus baptismum recepit et Contanciam super hoc leto animo desponsauit; que tamen qualis vel vnde fuit alicui nullo modo fatebatur. Et cum infra breue postea a domino suo impregnata fuisset, ipse ad debellandum cum Scotis iter arripuit, et ibidem super guerras aliquamdiu permansit. [How King Allee, having been converted to the faith of Christ, received baptism, and after this married Constance with a joyous soul; but she did not at all declare to anyone what she was or where she was from. And when, after a short time, she had become pregnant by her lord, he left to fight with the Scots, and he remained there for a time engaged in battles.]
905 Lucie. Macaulay observes that the name appears to be trisyllabic: Lucíe (2.485).
911 She tolde hem nevere what sche was. Several have commented on Constance's maintaining an aura of mystery about her origins. See Nicholson (p. 192). Of particular interest is Esch's suggestion that Constance's silence creates a Märchenmotif about her that adds to Domilde's accusation that she is "of fairie" (2.964). Gower heightens the fairytale quality of the story when, upon the death of Constance, we are told that God takes her "fro this worldes faierie" into his own "compaignie" (2.1593-94).
916-17 Kelly (pp. 140-41) compares the role of nature in conception here with natures role in the impregnation of Canacee in 3.143 ff.
931 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Regina Constancia infantem masculum, quem in baptismo Mauricium vocant, Rege absente enixa est. Set inuida Regis mater Domilda super isto facto condolens litteris mendacibus Regi certificauit quod vxor sua demoniaci et non humani generis quoddam monstrosum fantasma loco geniture ad ortum produxit; huius modique detraccionibus aduersus Contanciam in tanto procurauit, quod ipsa in nauim, qua prius venerat, iterum ad exilium vna cum suo partu remissa desolabatur. [How while the king was absent Queen Constance gave birth to a male infant, whom in baptism they call Maurice. But the envious queen mother Domilda, lamenting because of this, certified with lying letters to the king that his wife had brought into the world a monstrous phantasm of demonic and not human species in the place of an offspring; and by means of these detractions against Constance so managed it that she was abandoned again to exile in the ship in which she had first arrived, along with her tender offspring.]
947 Domilde. In Trivet her name is given as "Deumylde," "Doumilde," "Dounylde," "Domulde," and "Domylde." In Chaucer she is "Donegild." Macaulay notes that the Rawlinson manuscript has "Downilde" (2:485).
960 ff. Latin marginalia: Prima littera in commendacionem Constancie ab Episcopo Regi missa per Domildam in contrarium falsata. [First letter in commendation of Constance, sent by the bishop to the king, falsified to its opposite by Domilda.]
964 faierie. See explanatory note to 2.749-834, above.
1013 ff. Latin marginalia: Secunda littera per Regem Episcopo remissa a Domilda iterum falsata. [Second letter sent back by the king to the bishop, again falsified by Domilda.]
1048 Brent in a fyr before here yhen. Elizabeth Allen (p. 644) comments on the irony of Constance's "imagined public burning" as a result of Domilde's deceit. Domilde will ultimately be the one "caste" into the fire (2.1287).
1078-83 Dimmick notes the "delicate pathos" of the lines as "an emblem of human love informed by the divine" ("'Redinge of Romance,'" p. 131).
1084 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Nauis Constancie post biennium in partes Hispanie superioris inter Sarazenos iactabatur, a quorum manibus deus ipsam conseruans graciosissime liberauit. [How after two years Constance's ship was tossed into the regions of upper Spain among the Saracens, from whose hands God, preserving her, liberated her by His grace.]
1084-1125 Chaucer's heroine is more placid than Gower's. In Chaucer an unnamed thief boards the boat to make her his leman, but Mary helps her, the thief falls overboard, and "Crist unwemmed kept Custance" (CT II[B1]924). Gower's heroine is closer to Trivet's, where when Constance convinces Theloüs, the "fals knyht and a renegat" (2.1093), to look out at the port to see if anyone is near, he, as a result of Constance's prayer, is blown overboard.
1126 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter nauicula Constancie quodam die per altum mare vagans inter copiosam Nauium multitudinem dilapsa est, quarum Arcennus Romanorum Consul, Dux et Capitaneus ipsam ignotam suscipiens vsque ad Romam secum perduxit; vbi equalem vxori sue Helene permansuram reuerenter associauit, necnon et eiusdem filium Mauricium in omni habundancia quasi proprium educauit. [How Constance's little ship, wandering through the high seas, one day fell in among an abundant multitude of ships, whose leader and captain, Arcennus, the consul of the Romans, led her unrecognized all the way with him to Rome. There he reverently associated her as an equal with his wife Helen, so long as she would remain there, and he also reared her son Maurice with every benefit as if he were his own.]
1148-49 I am / A womman wofully bestad. Constance's point is injustice done, not self-pity. See Grennen's discussion of Chaucer's Custance as the "embodiment of the virtue of constantia, a virtue she is given innumerable opportunities to demonstrate precisely because of the failure of human legal structures to protect her" ("Chaucer's Man of Law," p. 498). The same is true of Gower's heroine. But, as Olsson points out, her security lies in her nature. "Her eyes are always open, and her tale never betrays in her an attitude of 'hadde I wiste'" ("Love, Intimacy and Gower," p. 96).
1226 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Rex Allee inita pace cum Scotis a guerris rediens et non inuenta vxore sua causam exilii diligencius perscrutans, cum Matrem suam Domildam inde culpabilem sciuisset, ipsam in igne proiciens comburi fecit. [How King Allee, returning from the wars after peace had been entered into with the Scots, and with his wife not to be found, and diligently inquiring into the cause of her exile, caused his mother Domilda to be burned by throwing her into the fire when he discovered her in that matter to be guilty.]
1264 At Knaresburgh. Edwards (pp. 306-09) argues that, because of its affiliations with the murder of Thomas à Becket, Knaresburgh still bore the aroma of treachery and treason in Gower's day, hence Gower's addition of the detail.
1278-93 O beste of helle . . . thi bacbitinge . . . to dethe broght / And brent tofore hire sones yhe. Chaucer simply says "that Alla, out of drede, / His mooder slow" (CT II[B1]893-94). Itô (John Gower, pp. 32-33) links Gower's more violent account to "Trivet's lurid description of the matricide" but notes that Gower, appropriately, shifts the mode of execution from the sword to the fire, as befits the volcanic rage of Domilde's backbiting. Compare Gower's affiliation of Envy and Wrath with Mt. Etna elsewhere in CA (2.163, 2037, and Prol.329), and also MO, lines 3805-18.
1285 I schal be venged. Macaulay notes that "the first and second recensions have 'It shal'" (2.486).
1310 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter post lapsum xii annorum Rex Allee absolucionis causa Romam proficiscens vxorem suam Constanciam vna cum filio suo diuina prouidencia ibidem letus inuenit. [How after the passage of twelve years, King Allee, making his way to Rome for the sake of absolution, joyously discovered by divine providence his wife Constance there, along with his son.]
1355-63 Peck notes that Gower, unlike Chaucer or Trivet, places Alla's encounter with Constance on the return trip, after visiting the pope, as if to link the king's shriven condition with his recovery of his family. "The king sets his life in hierarchical order so that other reorderings may follow" (1978, p. 68).
1370-82 Moris is not the only child in CA who makes possible the denouement. Gower often uses children as guides to their stumbling parents. Compare his role with that of Peronelle in the Tale of Three Questions (1.3067 ff.), and Thais in the Tale of Apollonius (8.271 ff.).
1473 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Constancia, que antea per totum tempus exilii sui penes omnes incognitam se celauit, tunc demum patri suo Imperatori seipsam per omnia manifestauit: quod cum Rex Allee sciuisset, vna cum vniuersa Romanorum multitudine inestimabili gaudio admirantes cunctipotentem laudarunt. [How Constance, who previously for the entire time of her exile had concealed herself unrecognized from everyone, finally then revealed herself in all ways to her father the emperor. And when King Allee had understood, he, along with the entire multitude of Romans, marveling in inestimable joy, together praised the Almighty.]
1516 my querele. See Bullón-Fernández's remarks on the significance of Constance's querele with her father (pp. 83-86), which to some degree reflects the perpetual debate between the Church and spiritual ideology, and political and lay power invested in the state.
1524-25 thogh his moder were come / Fro deth to lyve out of the grave. This striking metaphor, in which the father sees his mother in his daughter (a passage original with Gower), perpetrates a number of provocative innuendoes. Bullón-Fernández compares Constance to Mary vis-à-vis her father as "she becomes her father's mother" (Fathers and Daughters, p. 92). The passage also strengthens Genius' emphasis on the law of nature so central to his ideology.
1555 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Mauricius cum Imperatore vt heres Imperii remansit, et Rex Allee cum Constancia in Angliam regressi sunt. [How Maurice remained with the emperor as the heir of the empire, and King Allee returned with Constance to England.]
1572 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Rex Allee post biennium in Anglia humane carnis resolucionem subiens nature debitum persoluit, post cuius obitum Constancia cum patre suo Rome se transtulit moraturam. [How King Allee, after two years in England, underwent the decline of human flesh and paid his debt to nature; after his death Constance betook herself to stay in Rome with her father.]
1572-77 Bot he (death) which hindreth . . . And for no gold mai be forboght . . . Tok with this king such aqueintance . . . he parteth from his wif. Tatlock (p. 184n) suggests that this passage lies behind Chaucer's flourish, "For Deeth, that taketh of heigh and logh his rente, / Whan passed was a yeer . . . / Out of this world this kyng Alla he hente" (CT II[B1]1142-44).
1589 Latin marginalia: De morte Imperatoris. [Concerning the emperor's death.]
1592 Latin marginalia: De morte Constancie. [Concerning Constance's death.]
1594 ff. Latin marginalia: De coronacione Mauricii, qui adhuc in Cronicis Mauricius Imperator Cristianissimus nuncupatus est. [Concerning the coronation of Maurice, who to this day is called in chronicles "Maurice the most Christian emperor."]
1595 Moris hir sone was corouned. Bullón-Fernández speculates that there may be a hint of "a kind of incestuous love" here, "that Moris's inheriting from Constantine suggests that he is the offspring of the father and the daughter" (p. 92). But the point seems rather to be that Constantine, who sought an heir by marrying Constance to the Sultan, simply accepts his only child's offspring, which fortunately is male. He, in his long-standing grief over the alleged death of Constance, finds that his lineage is not barren after all - a provocative Christian motif of the grafted-on heritage, especially since Moris is "the Cristeneste of alle" (2.1598).
1613 ff. The story of Demetrius and Perseus is found in several potential sources, including Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 32; Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium 1.5.3; Orosius, Commonitorium 5.20; and perhaps Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale 5.65 ff. (see Macaulay 2.487 for discussion).
1613 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos detractores, qui in alterius vituperium mendacia confingentes diffamacionem fieri procurant. Et narrat qualiter Perseus, Philippi Regis Macedonie filius, Demetrio fratri suo ob eius probitatem inuidens, composito detraccionis mendacio ipsum apud patrem suum mortaliter accusauit, dicens quod ipse non solum patrem set et totum Macedonie regnum Romanis hostibus proditorie vendidisset: quem super hoc in iudicium producens, testibus que iudicibus auro subornatis, quamuis falsissime morte condempnatum euicit: quo defuncto eciam et pater infra breue postea mortuus est. Et sic Perseo successiue regnante deus huiusmodi detraccionis inuidiam abhorrens ipsum cum vniuersa suorum pugnatorum multitudine extra Danubii fluuium ab Emilio tunc Romanorum Consule euentu bellico interfici fortunauit. Ita quod ab illo die Macedonie potestas penitus destructa Romano Imperio subiugata deseruiuit, et eius detraccio, quam contra alium conspirauerat, in sui ipsius diffamacionem pro perpetuo diuulgata consistit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those detractors who, fashioning lies in vituperation of another, cause defamation to be made. And he tells how Perseus, son of Philip, king of the Macedonians, being envious of his brother Demetrius on account of his probity, lethally accused him before his father, composing a lie of detraction, declaring that Demetrius was selling by treachery not only his father but also the whole kingdom of Macedonia to their enemies, the Romans. Bringing him to the judicial court on these grounds, and with witnesses and judges having been suborned by money, he destroyed him by having him condemned to death, however falsely. And after he died, his father within a short time had died as well. And thus with Perseus taking the throne as successor, God, abhorring the envy of this kind of detraction, destined him to be killed as a consequence of war along with the entire multitude of his warriors beyond the Danube River by Emilius, then consul of the Romans. Wherefore from that day on the power of Macedonia, having been entirely destroyed and subjugated, was subservient to the Roman Empire; and his detraction, which he had conspired against the other, became well known in perpetuity to his own defamation.]
1706 Godd wode noght it were unknowe. Gower often presents God as an overseer who sets things straight after deceitful men pervert them. E.g., 1.2776-79, where God uses Nebuchadnezzar to show just vengeance; also the several proverbs on truth, including "For trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte" (1.284). See also explanatory note to 2.1752-53, below.
1728 th'envious belle runge. Proverbial. See Whiting B233.
1745-51 The maladie (line 1747) that the king catches, a malady that catches all men, is apparently not in this instance death but rather a deep depression that is the result of his distraught and sorrowful condition (lines 1745-46). And whan this king was passed thus (line 1749) does not mean that he died but rather that he sojourns in his debilitating condition. Perseus thus must seize the regiment (line 1751), rather than inherit it. We are told subsequently that the king dies by starvation in prison in Albe (2.1853-57).
1752-53 Proverbial. Whiting does not cite this specific passage, but it is akin to such truth proverbs in CA as Prol.369, 3.205, 5.4604, and 7.1957-60.
1884 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor super quarta specie Inuidie, que dissimilacio dicitur, cuius vultus quanto maioris amicicie apparenciam ostendit, tanto subtilioris doli fallacias ad decipiendum mens ymaginatur. [Here the Confessor discourses about the fourth species of Envy, which is called Dissimulation. The more his face displays an appearance of friendship, the more his mind schemes tricks for deceiving by subtler guile.]
1912 Genius uses the term semblant as an equivalent to "good intention"; "that is, Genius is suggesting that Amans attempt to see without prejudice what is being intuited, knowing that that is impossible" (Peck, 1994, p. 259).
1921-22 See explanatory note to 3.1076-78.
1926 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic in amoris causa Confessor super isto vicio Amanti opponit. [Here in the cause of love the Confessor questions the Lover about that vice.]
1928-29 custummer / To Falssemblant. On the capitalistic metaphor linking Falssemblant to the merchants and Lombard bankers as well as lovers, see Peck (1994, pp. 259-60).
1938 if evere was thi thought. See Galloway, "Middle English as a Foreign Language," on Gower's use of French construction in shaping, for comic effect, the spirit of conjecture in hypothetical situations and thoughts on what nearly was true (pp. 96-97).
2090 asay. Macaulay follows F to read a say, then views say as a shortened form meaning "trial." But given the a- here and the common word asay (from French assai) it is more likely that the scribe left a space accidentally and that asay is the intended form (AG).
2100-22 Gower's hostility toward Lombard bankers and their Falssemblant and Fa-crere (make-believe, deception) resonates throughout the poem and is echoed in Chaucer too (e.g., The Shipman's Tale). Lombard values seek gain and mercantile profit, rather than common profit, "to cheat men of the profits from their own land" and to usurp the rights of others (Peck, Kingship and Common Profit, p.70).
2145 ff. The story of Deianira and Nessus is found in Ovid, Met. 9.8-272. It also appears in Hyg. 34-36; Vat. Myth. I 58; Ovid, Heroides 9; and Boccaccio, Genealogie Deorum Gentilium Libri 9.17. Mainzer ("Gower's Use of the 'Mediaeval Ovid,'" p. 217) identifies two details in Gower's version that are found in Ovidius Moralizatus but not in Ovid's narrative, namely that Iole is the daughter of King Eurytus and that "Hercules changed clothes with her." The idea of Falssemblant comes mainly from Jean de Meun's allegorical representation in RR, where he is one of the principal agents in Jean's attack on hypocrisy amongst the friars, as well as lovers (lines 10467-12380). In Gower, Deianara is more clearly a victim than she is in the sources, suggesting once again his sympathy for women. See Brown ("Tale of Deinira and Nessus," pp. 15-19).
2148 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos, qui sub dissimilate beneuolencie speculo alios in amore defraudant. Et narrat qualiter Hercules, cum ipse quoddam fluuium, cuius vada non nouit, cum Deianira transmeare proposuit, superueniens Nessus Gigas ob amiciciam Herculis, vt dixit, Deianiram in vlnas suas suscipiens trans ripam salvo perduxit. Et statim cum ad litus peruenisset, quamcito currere potuit, ipsam tanquam propriam in preiudicium Herculis asportare fugiens conabatur: per quod non solum ipsi set eciam Herculi mortis euentum fortuna postmodum causauit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who defraud others in love under a falsified image of benevolence. And he narrates how, when Hercules tried with Deianira to cross a certain river whose fords he did not know, Nessus the Giant intervened on behalf of his friendship for Hercules (as he claimed), and, lifting Deianira up onto his shoulders, transported her across the stream to safety. But as soon as he had arrived at the shore he fled as fast as he could, trying to carry her away for himself to Hercules' disadvantage. By this means he later brought about, by chance, the result of his own as well as Hercules' death.]
2227 lief or loth. Proverbial. See Whiting L232. The sense might also be "friend or foe," i.e., "everyone."
2270 he him clotheth in hire cote. Gower makes emphatically clear the maxim that each man must wear what he chooses, setting up the conclusion, 2.2279-2302, where Hercules willfully clothes himself in the shirt that destroys him. See Peck (1978, pp. 61-62).
2270-71 clotheth . . . clothed. On the interstices between make-believe, false-seeming, feigned "chiere" (2.2143), clothing, and staged fantasies in the tale, see Peck, "Phenomenology of Make Believe," pp. 260-62.
2331 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic tractat Confessor de quinta specie Inuidie, que Supplantacio dicitur, cuius cultor, priusquam percipiatur, aliene dignitatis et officii multociens intrusor existit. [Here the Confessor discourses about the fifth species of Envy, which is called Supplantation, whose plowshare, before it might be noticed, often gouges as an intruder another's dignity and duty.]
2346 chalk for chese. Proverbial. See Whiting C134. Compare CA Prol.416.
2366 The gloss is Macaulay's (2:489).
2382 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa opponit Confessor Amanti super eodem. [Here in the cause of love the Confessor asks the Lover about that same thing.]
2430 tant ne quant. Macaulay compares MO, lines 3654 and 23358 (2.489).
2452 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Agamenon de amore Brexeide Achillem, et Diomedes de amore Criseide Troilum supplantauit. [How Agamenon supplanted Achilles from Brisede's love, and Diomedes supplanted Troilus from Criseyde's love.] Gower may have gotten the story from Hyginus (Fab. CVI) or Ovid (Heroides 3). Macaulay notes that "In Benoît and Guido the name is 'Briseida,' but Boccaccio was aware that Briseis was a different person (Gen. Deorum, xii. 52)" (2.489).
2459-95 Gower's story of Geta and Amphitrion relates to the legend of Hercules' conception. See Met. 6.112, Hyg. 29, and Vat. Myth I 50, where Jupiter lies with Alcmene disguised as Amphitrion, her husband, while he is away in battle. Gower substitutes Amphitrion for the supplanter, though the wife Alcmene remains the same; where he gets Geta, the new husband, is not known. Nor is there reference to the conception of Hercules. In Hyginus, Amphitrion accepts the fact that Jove must have lain with his wife and from that day he does not lie with her himself. Perhaps in Gower we are to understand that Amphitrion follows Jove's example and seeks out other women who might "undo" the door (line 2483) for a husband in disguise. Genius' making of Geta and Amphitrion close friends adds to the villainy of Amphitrion's behavior. See Wright on links with Vitalis of Blois' twelfth-century Latin comedy, Geta, particularly with regard to names and motifs of supplantation ("Gower's Geta," pp. 214-17).
2459 ff. Latin Marginalia: Qualiter Amphitrion socium suum Gentam, qui Almeenam peramavit, seipsum loco alterius cautelosa supplantacione substituit. [How Amphitrion substituted himself for his companion Geta by a deceptive supplantation in another's place.]
2483 Undo. The undo-the-door trope is a favorite fabliaux convention, as the virtuous one asks for entry but is frustrated by circumstances on the other side. N.b., the comic variation in The Squire of Low Degree, lines 534 ff. See Stith Thompson, The Folktale (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), p. 323, on the false bridegroom motif.
2499-2500 enforme . . . forme. See Simpson (Sciences and the Self, pp. 1-6) on Gower's wordplay on enforme/forme/enformasioun. "Genius is not simply passing on 'information' passively; he is instead actively informing a tale" (p. 4). (N.b. also 4.924-25.) Simpson emphasizes the polysemous wordplay on form as "shape," "material," "a process of filling the shape," an imparting process. "[I]n practice Genius's literary act of informing stories is designed to teach, or inform, Amans, and so the act of literary information shades into a pedagogic sense" (p. 5). See 5.450 on Genius who "wolde enforme and teche."
2501 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic in amoris causa contra fraudem detraccionis ponit Confessor exemplum. Et narrat de quodam Romani Imparatoris filio, qui probitates armorum super omnia excercere affectans nesciente patre vltra mare in partes Persie ad deseruiendum Soldano super guerras cum solo milite tanquam socio suo ignotus se transtulit. Et cum ipsius milicie fama super alios ibidem celsior accreuisset, contigit ut in quodam bello contra Caliphum Egipti inito Soldanus a sagitta mortaliter vulneratus, priusquam moreretur, quendam anulum filie sue secretissimum isti nobili Romano tradidit, dicens qualiter filia sua sub paterne benediccionis vinculo adiurata est, quod quicumque dictum anulum ei afferret, ipsam in coniugem pre omnibus susciperet. Defuncto autem Soldano, versus Ciuitatem que Kaire dicitur itinerantes, iste Romanus commilitoni suo huius misterii secretum reuelauit; qui noctanter a bursa domini sui anulum furto surripiens, hec que audiuit usui proprio falsissima Supplantacione applicauit. Et sic seruus pro domino desponsata sibi Soldani filia coronatus Persie regnauit. [Here in the cause of love the Confessor presents an instructive example against the fraud of detraction. And he tells about a certain son of the Roman emperor, who, desiring above all things to engage in deeds of arms, betook himself across the sea, without his father's knowledge, into regions of Persia to serve the sultan in the wars, remaining anonymous and with only one knight as his companion. And when the repute of his knightly prowess had grown higher there than any others, it happened that in a certain war that had broken out against the caliph of Egypt, the sultan was mortally wounded by an arrow; before he died, he passed a certain most secret ring of his daughter's to the nobleman, saying how his daughter had sworn under the bond of paternal blessing that whoever offered her the said ring would gain her as wife ahead of all others. After the Sultan had died, the Roman, traveling with his companion toward the city which is called Cairo, revealed to him the secret of his mystery. And his companion knight, stealing the ring furtively from his lord's purse at night, applied what he had heard to his own purposes, by most false Supplantation. And thus the servant instead of the lord, having married the sultan's daughter, was crowned and reigned over Persia.]
2501 ff. The cronique (line 2504) that Genius cites as source for the Tale of the False Bachelor has not been found. Thorpe (pp. 175-81) suggests that Gower may have known an early sequel to The Seven Sages of Rome, Le Roman de Marques de Rome, which has numerous parallels with Gower's tale, up to line 2714. Minnis (1983, p. 60) proposes a juxtaposition of two Roman tales, one pagan and one Christian, in this tale and the Tale of Constantine and Sylvester that follows.
2741 ded as eny ston. Proverbial. See Whiting S759 and S759a. Compare "still as any stone," S771. See note to line 847.
2795 ff. Gower might have found accounts of Boniface's corruption of the papacy in various chronicles, including those of Rishanger, Higden, and Walsingham. See Macaulay's discussion (2:490-91) of both historical and legendary materials on Boniface. The tale includes a number of inaccuracies, particularly the capture at Avignon, but suits Genius' purposes well. See Scanlon's discussion of the anticlerical critique in CA that begins in the Prologue and culminates in the tales of Boniface and Constantine in Book 2, where Gower demonstrates shrewdly the necessity of lay authority in the face of clerical corruption (Narrative, Authority, and Power, pp. 248-67).
2804 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum contra istos in causa dignitatis adquirende supplantatores. Et narrat qualiter Papa Bonefacius predecessorem suum Celestinum a papatu coniectata circumuencione fraudulenter supplantauit. Set qui potentes a sede deponit, huiusmodi supplantacionis fraudem non sustinens, ipsum sic in sublime exaltatum postea in profundi carceris miseriam proici, fame que siti cruciari, necnon et ab huius vite gaudiis dolorosa morte explantari finali conclusione permisit. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example against those who are supplanters in the cause of acquiring dignity. And he tells how Pope Boniface supplanted his predecessor Celestine from the papacy, with a scheme fraudulently constructed. But He Who deposes the powerful from their seats, not tolerating the fraud of this sort of supplantation, allowed the one who had been sublimely exalted to be thrown later into the wretchedness of deep prison, tortured by hunger and thirst, and at the last end to be uprooted from the joys of this life in a sorrowful death.] Gower's shift of the exempla from romance traditions to historical exempla, such as Boniface and Constantine, links the conclusion of Book 2 to the earlier chronicle of Constance and illustrates well Gower's perception of the close relationships between "history" and "tale-making" as components of ethical reflection. See Macaulay's extended discussion of English chronicle accounts of Boniface, particularly those of Walsingham and Higden (2:490-91).
2966 Lowyz. The French king who deposed Boniface VIII, when the pope threatened him with excommunication, was Philip the Fair (Philip IV, 1268-1314), not Louis.
2983 miht with miht schal be withstonde. Proverbial. See Whiting M535.
2995 Guilliam de Langharet. Guillaume de Nogaret, whom Philip sent to arrest the pope and bring him to trial by a church council in France. For discussion of events surrounding the two "quarelles" (n.b. 2.2967), see Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State, 1050-1300: with Selected Documents (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988); Joseph R. Strayer, The Reign of Philip the Fair (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980); and Charles T. Wood, Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII: State vs. Papacy (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1967).
3028-29 The image of the envious man devouring himself evokes Gower's strong conviction that "the church destroys itself when its officials supplant Christ and, with Envy and Avarice, devour their own members. Such robbing of the people is a form of cannibalism" (Peck 1978, p. 73).
3033 ff. Latin marginalia: Cronica Bonefacii: Intrasti ut vulpis, regnasti ut leo, et mortuus es ut canis. [Chronicle of Boniface: "You have entered like a wolf, reigned like a lion, and died like a dog."]
3055 kepe Simon fro the folde. I.e., protected the people from simony; that is, the buying and selling of ecclesiastical preferments and benefices, or any form of making profit from sacred things, a practice named after Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24).
3056 ff. Latin marginalia: Nota de prophecia Ioachim Abbatis. [Note concerning the prophecy of Abbot Joachim.] Macaulay (2.491) notes that the marginal notation is in a different hand and that the Latin is omitted altogether in some MSS.
3058 ff. Latin marginalia: Quanti Mercenarii erunt in ouile dei, tuas aures meis narracionibus fedare nolo. [I do not wish to befoul your ears with my declarations of how many merchants there will be in the sheepfold of God.]
3059 mercerie. On the basis of this passage MED, n. (a), suggests figuratively "the stock in trade of simoniacs."
3085 ff. Latin marginalia: Qualiter Ioab princeps milicie Dauid inuidie causa Abner subdole interfecit. Et qualiter eciam Achitofell ob hoc quod Cusy in consilio Absolon preferebatur, accensus inuidia laqueo se suspendit. [How Joab, a leader in David's army, because of envy killed Abner by guile. And how also Achitophel hanged himself with a noose, burning in envy because Cusy was exalted among Absolon's counselors.] See 2 Kings (2 Samuel) 3:27 and 17:23.
3085-94 Abbot Joachim's warning has not been identified. Accounts of Joab's treachery and Achitophel's death occur in 2 Kings (2 Samuel) 3:6-39; 16:20-17:23. The reference to Seneca in line 3095 is based on Dante, Inferno 13.64. Compare Gower's earlier mention of the business in MO (lines 3831 ff.). See Stollreither's discussion of eighteen passages that Gower draws from the Old Testament in compiling the exempla of CA (see Strollreither, Quellen-Nachweise).
3095-99 Compare Chaucer, LGW F.358-60, where Envy is compared to a "lavendere [washerwoman] of court."
Latin verses vi (before line 3111). Line 4: The ethnica flamma is, literally, a "heathen flame" (from the Vulgate Bible on); but Macaulay takes it as possibly an adjective for "Mt. Ethna," described at several spots in Gower's texts as a metaphor for Envy. A pun on such a sense is very likely. Yet here the literal sense "heathen" seems primary, because the cult of Venus is described throughout the CA in quasi-Christian terms (with Genius as priest, etc.), so any force that competed with that quasi-religion would be (quasi-) heathen. The Christian scope of what follows in this section of Book 2, with the story of Constantine and Pope Sylvester, strongly reinforces the intersection, here at least, between Venus' teachings and those of Christianity (Galloway, "Literature of 1388").
3114 ff. Latin Marginalia: Hic describit Confessor naturam Inuidie tam in amore quam aliter secundum proprietatem vicii sub compendio. [Here the Confessor describes the nature of Envy, as much in love as in a summary of the vice according to its properties.]
3122-25 thilke blod . . . / Is drye . . . / Thurgh whiche Envie is fyred ay. See Fox (Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 32-33) on the destructive effects that Envy can have on the physiology of the body.
3174 moder of Pité. In MO charity is presented as the remedy. Thus the strong emphasis in the story of Constantine and Sylvester makes a fitting conclusion to Book 2. On thematic links between the story and that of Constance at the beginning of Book 2, see Bullón-Fernández, pp. 42-45, 83-86, and 97-100; and Yeager (2001), where the theme of "motherhood" links the mother Constance to the mother church. On the political potency of the ethics of pity in the latter 1380s, see Galloway, pp. 90-104.
3187 ff. The story of Constantine and Sylvester is based on the Legenda Aurea. See Porter's remarks on Amans as "surrogate for Richard II" in this section of the poem, where "the Donation of Constantine . . . sow[s] the seeds of dissolution within the Church," a topic he had previously explored in VC (p. 147).
3190 ff. Latin marginalia: Hic ponit Confessor exemplum de virtute caritatis contra Inuidiam. Et narrat de Constantino Helene filio, qui cum Imperii Romani dignitatem optinuerat, a morbo lepre infectus, medici pro sanitate recuperanda ipsum in sanguine puerorum masculorum balneare proposuerunt. Set cum innumera multitudo matrum cum filiis huiusmodi medicine causa in circuitu palacii affuisset, Imparatorque eorum gemitus et clamores percepisset, caritate motus ingemiscens sic ait: "O vere ipse est dominus, qui se facit seruum pietatis." Et hiis dictis statum suum cunctipotentis medele committens, sui ipsius morbum pocius quam infancium mortem benignus elegit. Vnde ipse, qui antea Paganus et leprosus extiterat, ex vnda baptismatis renatus vtriusque materie, tam corporis quam anime, diuino miraculo consecutus est salutem. [Here the Confessor presents an instructive example concerning the virtue of charity against envy. And he narrates about Constantine, the son of Helen, who when he had obtained high office in the Roman Empire became infected by the illness of leprosy; and for the sake of recovering his health, the physicians proposed to bathe him in the blood of male children. But when an innumerable multitude of mothers with sons had arrived in the courtyard of the palace on account of this medicine, and the emperor had perceived their moaning and outcries, he, groaning and moved by charity, thus spoke: "O truly he is a lord who makes himself the servant of charity." And with these words committing his condition to the healing of the Almighty, he benignly chose his own illness rather than the death of infants. Whence he who previously had been pagan and leprous emerged from the waves of baptism having been reborn in both substances of his being, body and soul, and was consequently healed by divine miracle.]
3220 leche. The sense here may be simply "physician" or "cure," but the more technical sense of the term may be more precise, where leche refers to a solution poured over something to draw out a particular substance; hence, my gloss "solution," with reference to the blood of infants in which Constantine is to bathe to draw out the leprosy.
3243-73 Pearsall (1966, p. 478) singles out this passage as an example of Gower's narrative power: "Gower's special achievement is to embody, in Constantine's soliloquy and in the description of the working of his mind and heart, the very substance of human charity and pity, and not only that, but also to convey, through Constantine's meditation on the essential equality of all men in the sight of the 'divine pourveance' (lines 3243-73) the justness of moral discrimination which precedes virtuous action."
3249-59 White cites this passage as evidence for Gower's aligning of nature with the body. The And ek of line 3257 "marks a movement away from the sphere of kinde toward the reasonable soul," which is of God's shaping jurisdiction that lies beyond nature (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, pp. 185-86).
3251 kinde hath in hire lawe. Yeager (John Gower's Poetic) attempts to differentiate Gower's use of kinde and nature. But White, citing Gower's use of the feminine adjective in this line, challenges the distinction: "Gower conceives of Kinde here in terms of Romance literature's Goddess Nature (contrast Langland's male personification Kinde), demonstrating how the native and romance terms can be equivalent for Gower in at least one very important area" (Nature, Sex, and Goodness, p. 174n2).
3257-59 Fisher (p. 196) sees the passage on equality as "one of Gower's favorite adages," derived "ultimately from Cassiodorus' Varia xii.3."
3263-64 The universal enfranchisement of people, regardless of estate, is a common topic in Gower. Compare 8.2109-20.
3275-79 Genius echoes Matthew 7:12 (also Luke 6:31), the "Golden Rule," a biblical passage that Gratian, in his discussion of natural law, picked up from Isidore: "Ius naturae est quod in lege et in euangelio continetur, quo quisque iubetur alii facere, quod sibi uult fieri, et prohibetur alii inferre, quod sibi nolit fieri" [Natural law is what is contained in the law and the Gospels, by which each person is commanded to do to another what he would wish done to himself, and is prohibited from doing to another what he would not wish done to himself]. Dist. I ante c. 1 (Gratian, Corpus Iuris Canonici, ed. Friedberg and Richter, 1.1). I am indebted to Barr ("Treatment of Natural Law," p. 50) for the reference and translation. Gower's phrasing reflects his interest in law even as much as his interest in Scripture.
3432 The ground of al the Newe Lawe. On the intersection of Christian charity and natural law as a focal topic in the Tale of Constantine and Sylvester, see Olsson (1992), pp. 102-06.
3491-92 Compare Piers Plowman B.15.556-68. The claim about the Donation of Constantine was significant to the Lollards, who (unlike Gower) sought to strip the church altogether of its "poisonous" worldly possessions. The story of the angel appears as early as Gerald of Wales in the twelfth century; some accounts present the voice as the devil's. For references to further reading, see Hudson, Premature Reformation, pp. 330-35).
JOHN GOWER, CONFESSIO AMANTIS, BOOK 2: TEXTUAL NOTES
Abbreviations: A = Bodleian Library MS Bodley 902 (SC 27573), fols. 2r-183r; B = Bodleian Library MS Bodley 294 (SC 2449), fols. 1r-197r; C = Oxford, Corpus Christi College MS 67, fols. 1r-209r; F = Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 3 (SC 3883; copy-text for this edition), fols. 2r-186r; J = Cambridge, St. John's College MS B.12 (34), fols. 1r-214r; Mac = G. C. Macaulay; S = Stafford, now Ellesmere 26, fols. 1r-169v; T = Cambridge, Trinity College MS R.3.2 (581), fols. 1r-147v.
44 Mi. Mac reads My, as in B. So too in lines 48, 79, and 1998. B often reads My, but F, S, and J usually read Mi, as in this instance.
71 othre. So in F, A, J, C, S, and B; Mac: other.
117 Bot. So in S and Mac; F: Bo; J: Bote; B: But.
149 sette. So in F and A. Mac emends to set on the basis of J, S, and B.
352 Envie. F: Ennvie; J: enuie; S: Enuie; B: enuye. Mac's emendation.
Latin Verses iii (before line 383). Line 2: infamem. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: infamen.
409 suche. Mac emends to such, as in J, S, and B.
674 sche. So in F, S, and B; J: heo; Mac: she. So too in lines 678, 848, and 1587.
710 hire. So in J, S, and Mac; F: hiere; B: hir.
844 cast. So in F, J, and B. Mac emends to caste, as in A, C, and S.
890 dai. So in F, J, and S; B and Mac: day.
949 thonk. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: thong. So also in line 2562.
1039 forfet. So in B; F: forffet; J: forfeet. Mac reads forsfet, as in S.
1103 mo men sih sche. So in A, S, and Mac; F: no men seih sche; J: no men seith hire.
1151 forth with. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: forthwith. So too in lines 1479, 1495, and 1803.
1169 ne. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: no.
1353 which. So in S, B, and Mac; F: wich; J: whech. See also line 3492.
1441 kiste. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: keste.
1539 the. So in J, S, B, and Mac; omitted in F.
1640 knihthode. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: knithode.
1675 hath. F: as. Mac's emendation, largely on the authority of S.
1778 And he. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: As he.
1788 his hed. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: is hed.
1856 hungre. So in F, A, and J. Mac emends to hunger, as in S and B.
1860 detraccioun. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: detractioun.
1896 be told. So in J, B, and Mac; F, A, and S: betold.
2072 told. So in F and B; Mac: tolde, as in A, J, and S.
2214 The. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: Thei.
2247 Al. So in S, B, and Mac; F: And; J: All.
2328 manye. So in F, A, and S. Mac emends to many, as in J and B.
2477 a wise. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F and A: awise.
2537 And. So in F, A, J, S, and B. Mac emends to As, but see MED: and 5b.
2698 therupon. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F, A: thervpon.
2822 With. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: Wit.
2903 is. So in J, S, B, and Mac; omitted in F.
2917 schop. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: schap.
3119 And. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: An.
3486 For. So in J, S, B, and Mac; F: ffro.
3492 Which. So in S, B, and Mac; F: Wich; J: Whech.
[Sorrow for Another's Joy]
Inuidie pars est detraccio pessima, pestem
[Charity and Pity as Remedy]
"Now understond, my sone, and se,