Thomas Usk, The Testament of Love: Book One
THOMAS USK, THE TESTAMENT OF LOVE: FOOTNOTES
2 stoundes, times; tene, sorrow.
3 leve, believe.
4 ynempned, named.
5 yexynge, sobbing; gynne, begin; spylle syth, decline since.
7 sternyng, languishing (see note); myneth, means.
8 murthed, gave me mirth.
9 hent, take; swynke, labor.
10 that, where.
11 thoughtful, anxious.
12 caytisned, incarcerated (lit. captured; see note).
13 Straunge, Weirdness (quasi-personified); there me shulde be, where I should be.
14 Neverthelater, Nevertheless.
16 brennende, burning; bewent, departed; atwene, between.
17 suffre, permit.
18 wyl of, while (see note).
19 dede, dying.
20 traveyle, suffering; here, hear.
22 sterve, die.
24 God wote, God knows.
25 noriture, nurture.
26 sterne, rudder.
29 welth, wealth, abundance.
30 beswynke, work for.
31 pynynge, (causing) suffering; ystocked, imprisoned in stocks; tene, sorrow.
32 hye from thens, i.e., so vast a distance between where.
33 steyers, stairs.
34 recover, rescue; purveyde, am destined.
35 chere, look.
35-36 to me wardes, towards me.
39 no force of, it's no matter regarding.
40 wote, know; spylleth, dies.
41 hestes, commands.
43 ferdness, fearfulness.
44 wreche, vengeance; daunger, haughtiness.
45 nobley, nobleness.
46 veyned, abandoned (see note).
47 tene, grief; shapte, destined.
48 brennyng, burning.
49 defased, defaced; sette prise, value, esteem; connynge, understanding.
54 wemme, stain.
55 there, where; haboundeth, abounds.
58 wot, know; flytte, be moved, prove flighty; gemetrye, measurement.
59 sadly, solemnly, committedly; sonded, ordained, fixed (see note).
62 can, know, am capable.
64 mowen, may; duresse, duration and duress.
66 departe, part in twain.
68 th'entent, the purpose.
70-71 wolde conne, would like to be able to.
71 mener, meaner, lower in status.
73 wenynge, expecting; as galle and aloes, i.e., since bitter substances.
75 noriture nyl, nurture will not.
76 brennande, burning.
79 renne, run; lyggen, lie; importable burthen, unsupportable burden.
80 meve, move, go.
81 even forthe, straight on (or forward); lyft, left.
82 wanhope, despair; ronne, run.
83 leve, believe.
84 tene, sorrow; halte styl awayward, holds still in the opposite direction.
85 no force, no matter.
86 nobley, nobleness.
87 but ther ben, unless there be something; not, do not know.
88 purely, completely; mated . . . thorough sought, penetrated.
89 caytife, prisoner, wretch; inrest, most inward.
92 joleynynge, encouraging, cheering (see note).
93 gynneth, begins [to]; ebbe, decrease; sowne, sound.
95 yeve, give; deynous, disdainful.
96 chere, aspect; avoyde, go away.
97 springe, be rumored about; routh, pity; Pardé, Indeed.
98 kynde, nature.
98-99 right naught worthe, worth nothing.
101-02 me semed, it seemed to me.
104 drede, dread; light, lit.
105 wolde hem greve, would aggrieve; done hem, cause them.
107 ferdenesse, fear or awe.
108 pardé, indeed.
109 adradde, full of dread.
110 blyssed, blessed.
113 astonyed, astonished; semelyest, most comely.
114 blustrynge, sense blowing as in heraldic blason.
115 yave, gave.
116 wyght, person.
117 somdele, somewhat; wexte, grew.
118 durste, dared; salved, greeted.
119 dayned, condescended.
121 after that faculties ben had, according as faculties are (i.e., as far as is possible under the circumstances).
123 caytifnesse, captivity.
124 heavy, depressed.
124-25 somdele fapperceyved, somewhat perceived.
125 besyed, busied.
127 nory, disciple (lit., one being nursed or nourished); wenyst, do you suppose; foryet, forget.
130 sithen, since; fewe especial trewe, i.e., especially true friends.
131 leysar, leisure.
133 reynynge honny, raining honey.
135 mokel, many; enpight, established.
140 forayne, alien, i.e., not natural to human kind.
141 mokyl, much; wernynges, warnings.
142 lyste, were pleased.
143 vyse, counsel.
144 gynne, begin; ne wotte, do not know.
145 tene, grief.
148 teneth, grieves.
149 gan, began, or, did; certes, certainly.
150 me overthynketh, I regret.
151 dote, be insane.
152 maked, caused, made; rue, regret; Wottest, Know.
153 sperkelande, scattered.
154 ronne, run.
155 ayen bringe, bring back; privy, intimate, special; cure, care; unconnynge, unknowing.
156 rennyng, running; drawe, drawn.
158 put him forthe, exert himself.
159 for, in order that.
160 wene, suspect; everych, everyone; tho, those.
162 spylte, lost, destroyed; me lyste, it pleases me; me lyketh, I like.
163 cleped, called; Wost, Know; wight, creature.
164 pardé, indeed; holpe, helped; releved, relieved.
165 begyled, deceived.
166 radde, read.
167 falsed, betrayed; behest, promise; swonke, pomp (see note); tene, sorrow.
168 troned, enthroned.
169 lovedaye, day of accord; chese, chose; nompere, umpire.
170 lyst me not, it does not please me.
171 and I, if I; werche, work.
172 assayes, attempts; redy, ready.
173 ones, once.
174 ayenwarde, in return; daungerous chere, disdainful demeanor; in propre person, in my own person.
176 thee amaistry, overcome you.
177 thylke, that same.
178 ensamples, examples.
179 worthyed, caused to become worthy; felde, (battle)field; boure, bower, bedchamber.
180 voyde, avoid.
181 cyties, cities; the lyste, it pleases you.
182 cleape ayen, recall; coudest, could.
183 be, been.
184 iwys, certainly.
185 beestes, beasts.
186 for I se the, since I see you.
187 wote, know; nories, disciples.
188 shende, ruin.
189 fere, companion; charge, burden.
190 the sorye, the sorrowful person; moned, commiserated with; wight, person.
191 sorie, the sorrowful.
192 hem, them; counterpaysyng, counterbalancing.
193 mokyl, much; passed hevynesse, recent depression; tene, sorrow.
194 besyed me, busied myself.
195 hertes, hearts; playnte, complaints.
196 endyten, compose; queynt, ornate, involved.
197 lerne, learn.
198 maner, comportment; meke, meek.
199 yeve, give; yeftes, gifts; that, so that; renome, renown.
200 springen, spring up; costages, costs.
201 nedy arne, needy are.
202 norture, nurture.
203 deynous, disdainful.
204 wretches, wretches'; hastelyche, hastily.
206 avaunce, advance.
207 dignely, worthily; thee lythe, you lie.
209 wellen, wells up; brokes, brooks.
210 by kynde, naturally; thresten, thrust.
211 kyndely, natural, innate.
212 beestes, beasts; forfete, forfeit, transgress.
212-13 devyne purveyaunce, divine providence.
214 wote, know.
215 al, although.
216 fayned, pretended.
217 made chere to, played the sycophant to.
218 aldaye, continually; trowe, believe; vayled, availed; Certes, Certainly.
219 wete, know.
220 eke, also; raket, a game of racquets; nettyl in docke out, i.e., have not been inconstant.
221 waved, vacillated; sette, placed, positioned.
222 aperte, open.
223 tho, those; sythen, since; moch, much.
224 a, have.
226 sothe, truth, fidelity, truthfulness; ayenst, against.
229 voyde, cast off.
231 a dradde, have fear; sothe, truth.
232 withsay thilke, contradict those.
233 I wol, I desire.
234 mowe, may.
235 dreden, dread.
235-36 stryve conne, are able to contend.
236 yeve, give.
237 wol, will.
239 trowe, believe.
240 transvers, cross.
241 drede, have dread.
242 tho, then; wexen somdele, grown somewhat.
243 sykernesse, certainty.
245 nobley, nobleness.
246 sythe, since.
247 amased, confused, confusing.
248 myght light out of, relieve of.
248-49 after knowyng of thyn owne helpe, [be] conducive to knowing how.
249 styrre, utter.
250 Come of, Come on.
251 purvey, provide.
252 certes, certainly; wete, to know.
253 me, myself.
254 dureth, lasts.
255 mysplesaunce, grievance, aggravation.
256 weten, know.
257 but if, unless.
258 ne spedde, did not profit.
259 sythen, since.
260 bernes, barns.
261 halke, cavity, i.e., shell; londe tyllers, farmers (land-tillers); shape for, till, cultivate.
264 mervayles, marvels; seche, seek; lothe, unattractive (see note).
266 of luste, desire; wyndyng, pathways, circumstances.
267 stretes, roadways.
268 ladels, acorns (see note); maste, food.
270 heerdes gone, herds [were] gone; neyghed, approached, drew nigh.
271 ferde, fear; beestes, beasts'; `shypcrafte, "Ship ahoy!" "All aboard!" "To sea!"; trowe, believe; wete, know.
272 catche her, revert to their.
273 gynne, begin; ayen, again; waxe ramage, grow wild; aferde, afraid.
274 me hyed, hastened myself; ynowe, enough; lache, seize.
276 mayster, master.
277 gan to, began to (or, simply, did).
278 overthwartly, upside-down; welken, sky.
278-79 wawes semeden, waves seemed.
279 kyste, kissed; mokel, much.
280 prively, secretly.
281 date, day.
283 wethers, [harsh] weather; avowyng, promising (i.e., if I survive).
284 yle, isle; wende, expected; rescowed, rescued.
285 the haven to catche, to reach the haven.
286 thorowe, through; dispayred, despaired.
288 weten, know; deynous, disdainful; chere, demeanour.
289 alyght, soften your countenance; drede, dread; disease, discomfiting.
290 lenger, longer.
291 dradde, feared.
292 lad, led; ware, aware.
293 muskel, mussel; blewe, blue.
294 to forne, heretofore.
295 ylke, same; his, its.
296 al, even though.
297 sythen, since.
299 bye, buy; Iwys, Indeed.
300 seche, seek.
301 stynte, cease.
302 sythen, since; wyste, know.
305 sayne, say; pardé, indeed.
306 wete, know.
307 me lyst, it pleases me.
308 thronge, thrust; wene, expect.
309 beshet, shut.
310 brennyng, burning; hewe, color, complexion.
311 me disporte, preoccupy myself, fret; combred, encumbered; I seme, it seems to me.
312 mased, amazed; dured, lasted; speking, speaking; els, else.
313 lest, least; enmoysed, comforted.
314 and he durst, if it dared; pleyne, complain; sythen, since.
315 yolden, exchanged; save, saving; mowe, may.
317 rue, take pity; caytife, prisoner, wretch; of nothyng, for nought.
318 if ye lyste, if it pleases you.
319 assayes, attempts.
320 loke, look.
322 renyant, heretic; forjuged, condemned.
323 wayle, wail; nere, were not.
324 sterve, die.
325 hap, fortune (i.e., it's grace, not luck).
326 bye, buy; if, even if; her, their.
327 let games, hinderers; purpose brekers, liars; wayters, watchmen.
328 lettours, hinderers.
330 maistrye, mastery.
331 leful, lawful; playne, complain.
332 moeble, movables, wealth.
334 peres, peers.
335 nobley, nobleness.
336 wayle, wail.
338 ther thorowe holpen, thereby helped.
339 voyde, escape.
341 strayte, straight; sir Daunger, Sir Haughtiness.
342 leve, believe.
344 mowe, may; you lyste, it pleases you; feld, felled, brought down.
345 cope, cope, garment.
345-46 stondyng is me best, it is easiest for me to stand.
346 unneth, hardly; lygge, lie; miseasy, uncomfortable.
347 ernest sylver, pledge-money; forwarde, contract; mokel, much.
349 yeve, give.
350 rennyng, running; waylen, bewail.
351 lykyng tene, pleasant sorrow.
352 harse, harshness (see note); not, know not; brenne, burn.
353 thrist, thirst; yeve, give.
354 stanche, staunch, stop; drenche, drown.
355 reversed yvel, paradoxical evil (i.e., seeming evil); lyches, physicians.
356 unconnyng, ignorant, unable.
357 brast, burst.
358 bal, eyeball.
359 thought me, it seemed to me; heavy, to become depressed.
360 avysinge, considering.
361 skylles, reasons.
362 avysement, advice, suggestions.
363 eke, also; yeven, give.
366 Mervayle, Marvellous; semblaunt, appearance.
367 thou lyst, you care; recour, succour; playnest, complain.
368 thee lyste, you care; next, close.
369 inwytte, conscience.
370 fyne, end; for of, for out of; is; comes; helded, yielded (obs. sp.).
371 felynge, feeling; tenes, sorrows.
372 enfourmen, inform; adnullynge, annulling.
373 seare, dry, depressing.
375 commensal, a companion of the dining table; mykel, much.
376 potages, foods; soukyng, sucking, nursing.
377 amaystred, overcome; lorn, lost.
379 woxe, grew; reed, red.
380 astonyed, astonished; dyvers stoundes, diverse times, turns; sodainly, suddenly.
381 kynde, nature.
382 hestes, orders.
383 hyngen, hung.
385 stedshyp, stability; but if, unless.
386 unshet, unlock; lerne, teach; heven, heaven.
387 done, follow (lit., "do").
388 beestes, beasts.
388-89 imperciable harneys, impenetrable armor.
389 hardynesse, courage and endurance.
390 wern, deny (lit., warn).
392 nye, near; badde chere, depressed demeanor; sorily, sorely.
393 playnyng, complaining; allegest, alleged; lettyng, hindering.
394 wanhope, despair.
395 is crope, has crept; nyse, foolish; unthrifty, unprofitable.
398 thylke, those same.
400 lette games, hinderers; overlokers, jailors.
401 moeble, moveables, wealth; not, do not know.
402 janglers, tattle-tales.
404 avaunce, advance; steeryng, steering, leading.
405 her, their.
406 leved, believed; for, despite; sothnesse, truthfulness.
407 thilke, that same.
409 countrevayle, to be equal in worth to; to match in value.
410 most, must; wenyng, assumption.
411 caytives, wretches, prisoners; Certes, Certainly.
412 mowe, may; let, hinder.
413 leest, least; wight, person; pricke, isolate to emphasize.
414 ensample, example; preve, prove.
416 raddest, read.
417 entrecomuned, communicated.
418 tour, tower.
419 maistry, mastery.
422 twey, two; entremellen, intermix.
423 preven, prove; yeven, given.
424 devyne, divine.
426 janglynge, tattle-telling; welny, nearly all? willful? villainous? see note; efte, often.
427 esployte, advantage and success.
428 and moun, if [you] may; ye lyst, it pleases you.
429 unworship, disgrace.
430 disease, frustration, illness, anxiety.
432 wende, go; marcial, martial.
433 rathest, soonest.
434 lest, lasted; thilke, that same.
435 voydeth, quits.
436 respireth, breathes again.
437 lyst me, it pleases me.
438 kynde, nature; Loke, Look.
440 worche, work.
441 lych, like.
443 hele, heel (foot); sothe, truth.
449 assay, experience.
453 Wyste, Knew; kynde, nature.
454 dure, endure.
455 underputte, subject; kyndely, natural.
457 proved, validated.
458 mowen, may; defased, defaced; contrariauntes, contrary [to].
460 contrary, contradict.
463 jangelers, tattle-tellers.
464 wayters, hinderers; dere, do harm.
465 porte, comportment; wightes, person's.
466 the fayne, pretend.
467 sleyght, sleight; dequace, quash.
468 flye, [to] fly; otherwhyle, at times.
472 jangleres, tattle-tellers.
473 viage, journey; rayne, rain; cornes, grains of corn.
474 bernes, barns.
476 clatering, loud talk; rownyng, whispering.
478 graffed, dug; groubed, dug around the roots of a plant.
479 a fed, have fed.
481 blere eyed, bleary-eyed; tene, sorrow.
482 clippynges, hugs.
483 swete, sweet; barayne, barren.
485 sythen, since; sone, soon [come] (see note).
486 eyght, eighth, a date of completion (octave); kynrest, kingdom; masseday, feast-day.
488 thilke, that same.
490 mowe, may.
491 sothed, proved true; edefye, build; for, since; foundement, foundation.
493 conysance, badge; lyvery, livery, uniform.
494 wenyst, suppose; me lyst, it pleases me; avaunce, advance.
495 feestes, feasts; stoles, stools, chairs; loutynges, bowings.
496 byde, abide; wenyng, supposing.
498 parten of, share in.
500 styl, secretive, politic.
501 arered, raised.
503 bole, bull.
504 fere, mate.
506 beryng therafter, comporting [yourself] accordingly.
507 janglyng, tattle-telling; greve, grieve; jangles, jangling.
507-08 at a cresse, worth a bladeof cress.
510 fame, reputation.
511 ayen, against.
513 leasynges, lies; enfamé, infamy; wenest, suppose; enpeyred, damaged; wenyng, assumption.
515 soth, truth; apeyred, damaged.
516 mokyl, much; sothly, truly; of, by, from.
517 glosyng, flattering.
518 maketh, renders [void] (see note).
519 Ergo, Therefore; apeyred, damaged.
520 loketh . . . to, considers.
521 aventure, fortuitous event.
522 yeven, give; loken, consider.
524 welfulnesse, prosperity.
525 weaked, wicked.
526 thilke anoye, that same misfortune, distress.
528 alegen, allege.
531 not, know not.
532 yeve, give.
535 enfamé, infamy.
536 sawes, wise sayings.
537 toforne, before.
538 laude, praise or glorification.
542 kynde, native; him semyng, it seeming to him.
543 alyes, allies.
544 discomfyted, frustrated; maner why, reasons.
545 assentaunt, assenting.
547 drawers in, inducers or seducers; exitours, agitators.
547-48 prime face, i.e., prima facie.
548 wenyng mykel, assuming much.
549 besyed, busied [myself].
550 thylke, those same.
551 me rought, I myself cared.
552 comunes, commons'; skylles, reasons.
553 for, because.
555 inwytte, intuition.
557 medlynge, meddling; in ronne, run into.
558 tho teeres, those tears [that] (see note).
559 fornecaste, forecast.
560 of mokyl, by many.
561 feled, felt.
562 caste, planned.
563 shopen me, caused me; pynande, grievous; threde, thread.
564 twyne, weave; me lyste, it pleased me.
565 frenesse of, freedom from; endused, induced, brought about.
566 ful, complete.
570 enpeche, impeach; fere, friend or companion; assentaunt, assenting.
571 frende, friend; deyeth, dies.
572 nere, never.
575 elde, old age; ferforthe, far.
577 adnulled, nullified.
578 cytie of London, city of London [was about to have peace nullified].
579 kyndely, natural; kyndely, native.
580 engendrure, begetting; wylne, wish, desire.
581 stede, place; thylke, that same.
582 knowe, known.
584 entrynge, entering.
586 amonesteth, admonishes.
589 heed, head; one body, [as] one body.
591 styred, steered.
592 nempned, named.
593 thilke, those same; wetyng, knowing.
595 gubernatyfe, governmental; clamure, clamor.
597 styred, directed; connyng, knowledge, shrewdness.
598 comen, common.
600 hyndrers, hinderers.
602 torcencious, extortionate.
605 chastice, chastise, punish; forferde, afraid.
607 menynges, motives; Never-the-latter, Nevertheless.
608 apeched, impeached.
611 stoden, stood.
613 meyny, groups.
614 voluntary, willful; faynynge, pretending.
615 shope, arranged; letted, prevented.
616 mokyl rore, great outcry, roar; arered, raised up.
618 degree, [member of a] social rank.
619 tofornehande, beforehand.
621 toforne, before; coarted, coerced.
622 paynynge dures, painful duress; apertely, openly; preveth, proves.
623 leasynges, lies.
624 greveth, grieves; dyvers, various; janglynge, chattering.
625 shepy, sheep-like.
627 sothe, truth.
628 leigeaunce, allegiance.
629 covyns, bands.
630 wight, person.
631 assentaunt, assenting.
632 apparaylen, make preparations; cleapen, call.
633 mowen, may; plyte nempne, conditions name.
634 thylke, that same.
635 tho, then; yave, gave.
636 nyghe, near; wightes eere, person's ear.
637 yevynge, giving.
638 loos, reputation.
639 sothe, truth.
640 reply her, retract their.
641 aleged, alleged.
642 thilke, that same; hemselfe, themselves.
643 wote, knows; avaunte, boast.
644 lese, lose; secré, secrecy or intimacy.
646 sothe, truth.
647 mayster, master.
648 comers, those living; denwere, danger (? "daengier"; see note).
649 werne, were.
652 flyeth, flies.
655 sadly, sombrely.
656 holpen, helped.
657 Pardé, Indeed.
658 knowleged hemselfe, acknowledged [it] themselves.
659 nayed, said no.
662 sothnesse, truthfulness; durste, dared; thylke, that.
663 marcial, martial; pleasen to, please.
664 sythen, since.
665 dede, deed; take, endurance.
666 wight, person.
668 prise, honor, prize; leaned, left.
669 he, i.e., infamy; none, no.
670 greveth, grieves.
671 loos, praise; ayenward, to the contrary.
672 dequace, quash; thilke, that same.
673 bataile, battle.
674 yolden, yielded.
676 feled, felt; wyse, manner.
678 knowlegeth, acknowledges.
680 knette, knit (as in a net).
681 queyntyses, contrivances.
683 hayne, hatred; here me, listen to.
685 chargyng, charging (with responsibility).
687 nempned, named.
689 serment, oath.
690 but, unless.
691 forsworne, perjured; holdynge, maintaining; dampned, damned.
692 otherwhile, at times, occasionally; forboden, forbidden; by that, because.
694 up, upon; knowyng, acknowledgment; of, pertained to.
695 dey, die; al, although.
697 reyse, raise.
698 commens, the commons; derke, dark.
700 be, by.
701 cleapen, call; mowen, may.
702 sklaundrynge, slandering (see line 709); shendyn, destroy.
704 shulden, [they] should; legen, lay.
706 demest, judge.
707 wene, suppose.
708 tofore, heretofore.
709 beames, trumpets.
711 skorned, scorned, ridiculed.
712 trowe, believe.
714 wotte, know; her asterte, make her move or go away.
715 othe, oath.
715-16 if thou woldest nat greve, if you wouldn't mind.
716 trowe, believe.
718 inrest, innermost.
719 flytte, fly away.
721 walketh, circulates.
722 rewth, pity; getten, got.
723 hawe, trifle.
724 hyed, hastened; wene, suppose; yeve but lyte, cared but a little.
725 lyste, are pleased.
726 meyny, troop; brigge, trouble; lokeden . . . after, had regard to; helpes, [the] help [you could give them].
728 commens, provisions.
729 dispences, expenses.
730 rydynge, journeys; pardye, indeed.
731 unwetynge, unconscious (i.e., indifferent); renter, proprietor.
732 medlest, were busy.
733 of, because of.
734 but if, unless.
735 wene, assume.
736 helest, held (see note).
737 ought, owed; wende, assumed.
738 hem proved, proven them [for what they are].
739 meddle, get involved.
740 Efte, Again; sterne, guide.
742 meditation . . . revolve, essay [shall] in no way shift ground.
743 loos, praise.
744 raysed, elevated; alowed, lowered.
749 and thou, if you.
750 outwaye goynge, i.e., being lost.
751 Lothes, Lot's; ayen lokynge, looking back; hoole, entire.
752 gadre, gather; Neverthelater, Nevertheless.
753 wantrust, despair.
755 thee lyste, it pleases you.
756 cure, care, attention; lightly, easily.
760 apertely, overtly.
761 countreplete, rebut; wystyst, know.
762 leave, leave off; wyght, person.
763 clappen, call out.
764 rightwysed, justified.
765 certes, certainly.
765-66 in good meanynge, sincerely.
768 shul, [she] shall.
769 rentest, tear; sowe, mend.
770 commended, [is] commended (see note); mochefolde, manyfold.
771 forgoyng, abandonment.
772 playted, ornate, intricate.
774 thynges, thing's.
776 ylke, same; in double of, doubled in.
777 wenyste, suppose you.
778 wotte, knows.
779 Wost, Know.
782 by, with (intercourse).
784 slawe, slain.
786 lacketh, is lacking to.
787 leaveth, evades [lit., leaves]; withsay, contradict.
788 as he graunted, as if he had assented (i.e., silence is consent).
793 gate, begat.
795 before dede, early deeds.
796 rede, counsel.
799 weten, know.
804 ydel, idle.
805 noble, nobility.
806 commune, common-folk.
807 leude, ignorant; sithe, since.
810 pricke, point.
811 peersyng, piercing; for, on account of.
813 letted, prevented.
815 Londenoys, Londoner.
817 lacked, found fault with.
819 lacken, detract.
820 Slepe, Relax; dele, deal.
821 thylke, that same; sothe, truth.
822 apere, appear.
823 losed, praised.
824 clenely, completely; elde, age.
825 defased, defaced.
826 pees, piece.
827 grayne, grain; charged, laden.
828 mowe, may.
829 ende, a termination.
830 thynges ended, things with definite limits.
832 losed, praised.
834 healed, sown or broadcast, or perhaps praised (see note); wightes, person's.
836 lesest, lose; guerdon, reward.
837 uphap, perhaps; renome, renown.
839 guerdonyng, rewarding.
842 twey, two.
845 skylles, arguments; leve, believe.
846 greve, frustrate; lette, hinder.
848 steered, manipulated; lest, least.
849 leneth, incline, turn.
850 letting, hindrance.
851 moebles, wealth; thynkest, think [yourself].
854 leged, alleged; heweth, chops, hews; hye, high.
856 seke, seek.
857 lerned, taught.
859 chauntementes, enchantments.
861 daunced behynde, failed, lagged.
863 sort, relationship.
865 lyste, desire.
866 semblable, similar; Wost, Know.
867 lyvelych, vital; purveyaunce, providence; underputte, ordained.
868 a thishalfe god, i.e., made here below; buxome, obedient.
870 wexyng, growth.
873 unyversytee, universality or universal nature.
875 mountenaunce, extent.
877 lyche, like; heyght, stature (moral sense); sythen, since.
878 underputte, [are] subjected.
880 innominable, unnameable; wene, assume.
881 wote, know; thylke, that same.
882 lyne of degree, i.e., rank.
884 dome, judgment.
886 travaylyng, laboring; sette, pose [as a proposition].
887 deydest, died.
889 fere, mate, companion.
890 flytte, fly.
891 routh, pity.
895 chese, choose.
896 benommen, take, remove; thylke, that same.
897 by that, because.
899 wene, assume, suspect; lyste, it please.
900 sothely, truly.
902 thorowe, through.
903 trowest, believe; ydeot wotte, idiot knows.
904 wene, assume.
908 thylke twaye, those two.
909 ensealed, sealed.
910 spousayle, marriage; forwarde, contract.
913 wende, go; cleped, called.
914 mente no flesshly luste, did not intend to partake of any fleshly pleasure.
916 adherande, adhering.
917 this wyse, [in] this way.
918 in gree, reconciled, in agreement.
919 lyche, like.
920 cleaped, called.
922 pryme, first.
926 paynyms, pagans.
927 nuncupacion, nomenclature, act of naming.
928 cleapen, call.
931 longeth, belongs.
932 kynde, nature; nobley, nobility.
933 werche, work.
934 to, too; hye, high.
936 be thee aleged, alleged by you; lette, hinder.
937 forther, further.
938 greve, grieve.
941 loos, renown.
942 prise, praise; yeven, give; louteden, flattered; blasours, flatterers, or "trumpeters"; curreyden, curried favor; glosours, flatterers.
943 thylke, those very ones; deynen, deign; wight, person.
944 wele, fortune.
947 welthed, wealthy.
948 sotted, besotted; aver, payment; cleaped, called.
949 wantyng, lack; mykel, much.
950 out, out [of office]; pere, peer; trowe, believe.
952 wotte, know.
953 thilke, that same.
955 kyndely, natural; happyous, fortuitous.
957 slydyng, variable.
960 but if, unless.
962 chayres of domes, judges' seats.
963 shynende, shining.
964 aver, payment; yeftes, gifts.
965 peynture, painting.
968 miscleapyng, misnaming; folyche, foolish.
969 wenest, suppose.
971 wotte, know.
972 lede, lead.
973 dispent, spent; berafte out of, deprived of, booted from, expelled.
976 loke, look [after].
977 mokel, much; glosing, lying, coloring the truth; deyneth, deign.
978 greveth, grieve.
979 abated, lessened, reduced in status; lesers, losers.
980 wenest, assume.
981 renne, collapse, run out of control.
982 woste, know; chalenge, claim.
986 nys, it is not; chalenge, claim.
987 yeve, give.
988 playnest, complain.
991 laudest, praise; joyest, glorify; for, since.
992 beleve, belief, conviction; wenest, assume; selynesse, fortune.
993 happes, circumstances; unsely, miserable, unfortunate.
994 to preise, to [be] praised; the contrary, on the other hand.
995 lacked, blamed; Unsely, Misery, Misfortune, Infelicity.
996 Et e contra, As for the contrary; Selynesse, Fortune; jape, joke, jest.
997 wyndeth, winds (as about "her little finger").
999 bytande, biting; dispitous, spiteful; gloseth, flatters.
1000 commende, praise; lacke, blame.
1001 dispice, despise.
1002 voydeth, departs.
1003 do thee tene, cause you grief; bytande, biting.
1006 lese, lose.
1007 mokel, much.
1008 haleth, hauls.
1009 wenyst, suppose.
1011 sothfast, trustworthy; Pardy, Indeed.
1012 discevered, separated.
1013 ylke, same; brotel, changeable; yede, went.
1014 leaveth, leaves.
1016 flatterynge flyes, grovelling courtiers, parasites, flatterers; glosed, deceived.
1017 sely, fortunate; playnest, complain.
1018 dereworthy, valuable; cleapest, call; unsely, unfortunate, miserable.
1019 leaveth, withdraws.
1020 denyeth, deigns (see note).
1022 somdele, somewhat.
THOMAS USK, THE TESTAMENT OF LOVE: NOTESAs readers will have already surmised from the Introduction to the edition as a whole, annotating TL is no easy task. This is a matter of great concern to me. There are about 800 annotations in the edition. On the one hand, we can argue that, of course, there should be no upper limit to the explanatory matter offered. On the other hand, however, realistically speaking, there has to be some limit. Knowing that practically there is an upper limit, I have endeavored to include information, wherever it is needed, that will get the reader started: from simple definitions to core bibliography and across a wide spectrum of information between, I have followed the guiding principle of helping readers know enough to decide when they need to know more.
All annotations originating with me are unmarked. All material originating with other editors and/or scholars is marked typically by their surnames (Skeat's surname refers, unless otherwise indicated, to his 1897 edition of TL). Regarding the work of Jellech, Leyerle, and Skeat, I should observe that material originating with them usually refers to their notes on a particular word, phrase, or moment in TL within the sequence of their textual notes. I am particularly grateful to Schaar for his closely reasoned emendations of corrupt passages.
Of Skeat's annotations, I have retained generally those that provide source and background information and have omitted those that are primarily his speculations. With the work of Jellech, Leyerle, and Schaar, I have exercised my judgment always on the principle of helping the reader get started.
Abbreviations: Boece: Chaucer's translation of the Consolation of Philosophy; BD: Book of the Duchess; CA: Confessio Amantis; CT: Canterbury Tales; Conc.: De Concordia Praescientiae et Praedestinationis et Gratiae Dei cum Libero Arbitrio; Conf.: Confessions; Cons.: Consolation of Philosophy; EETS: Early English Text Society (o.s., Original Series and e.s., Extra Series); HF: House of Fame; MED: Middle English Dictionary; N&Q: Notes and Queries; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; PPl: Piers Plowman; PL: Patrologia Latina; Purg.: Purgatorio; T&C: Troilus and Criseyde; Th: Thynne; TL: The Testament of Love
1 Fortune. There are six references to Fortune in Book 1, eight in Book 2, and none in Book 3. There are three references to selynesse ("felicity") in Book 1, seven to unsely, and two to sely; in Book 2, there are six references to selynesse and one to sely. The word does not occur in Book 3. Thus, if Fortune plays a less dominant role in TL than in Cons. (Jellech's argument, p. 140 and elsewhere), still it is not a negligible role. Moreover, it is noteworthy that in Boethius, Fortune is more prominent in Cons. Books 1 and 2 than it is in 3-5, which concern issues beyond Fortune's purview. If TL seeks more to define the "knot in the heart" than to complain against Fortune, Fortune is still recognized as an impediment to the "knot in the heart," if an impediment that, as in the case of Boethius, too, can and must be overcome.
6 Certes, her absence is to me an hell. Compare T&C 5.1396: "`For though to me youre absence is an helle.'"
6-7 my sternyng. Skeat emends to sterving, i.e., languishing (lit., dying). Leyerle argues that "the protest to Fortune in language implicitly referring to her wheel and the use of the verb turne at line  suggest that the correct reading is mysternyng, `turning amiss' . . ." (p. 227).
8 thyng. Skeat suggests that thyng means "person," the sense being, "the person that cannot now embrace me when I wish for comfort" (p. 453).
12 caytisned. Skeat emends to caitived, observing "the correction of caytisned (with f for s) to caytifued (better spelt caitived) is obvious" (p. 453). Jellech and Leyerle agree.
wode. Skeat emends to word, needlessly.
18 Margarite precious. See Introduction iii c; and Appendix 1 below. Note that this is the first mention of the Margarite. Farmer (pp. 318-19) writes:
Very popular in the later Middle Ages in England and elsewhere, Margaret probably never existed as a historical person, but only as a character in pious fiction. . . . At the end of her life, she promised, as the Sarum breviary relates: that those who write or read her "history" will receive an unfading crown in heaven, that those who invoke her on their death-beds will enjoy divine protection and escape from the devils, that those who dedicate churches or burn lights in her honour will obtain anything useful they pray for, and that pregnant women who invoke her will escape the dangers of childbirth, as will their infants. These apocryphal promises contributed powerfully to the spread of her cult. This can be traced back before the Norman Conquest in England, when the first of seven vernacular Lives were [sic] written. Well over 200 ancient English churches were dedicated to her, including fifty-eight in Norfolk. She was frequently depicted in wall paintings and stained-glass windows. . . .18-19 yet wyl of that . . . my luste to have. Leyerle argues: "The single emendation of wyl to [y]wy[s] gives the sentence adequate coherence. The meaning is `yet, indeed, my desire is to have nought else of that (comfort for me in sorrow) at this time'" (p. 228).
19 dede. Skeat emends to d[r]ede, needlessly.
20-21 to here of a twynckelynge in your disease. Skeat: "to hear of a small matter tending toward your discomfort."
25 kyndly noriture. Compare T&C 4.766-68 (emphasis added): "What is Crisyede worth, from Troilus? How sholde a plaunte or lyves creature Lyve withouten his
32 It is so hye. Skeat paraphrases: "Paradise is so far away from the place where I am lying and from the common earth, that no cable (let down from it) can reach me."
34 I purveyde. Skeat: I [am] purveyed, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
36-37 weareth his olde clothes. Schaar (p. 32) observes:
The reference to the olde clothes is puzzling, and there must be something wrong with the last sentence. It seems that the author has in mind a passage in Joshua (9. 5), telling how the inhabitants of Gibeon, desiring a covenant with the Israelites, went to their camp in old garments and with dry bread (callide cogitantes . . . induti veteribus vestimentis: panes quoque . . . durierant) in order to make them believe that they came from a far off country (otherwise no covenant would be possible). This act appears in the commentaries of some of the Fathers as a symbol of false spiritual friendship; those coming to the Church in their "old garments" are the people who do not seriously seek the Christian truth but are full of their old vices; who do not really want the friendship of God . . . those, in other words, who have outward friendship only and none in the heart. Hence, probably, Usk's reflection, about the false friend, that the soul of friendship is Ydrawn out from his other spirits. The passage should probably read: But ever, me thinketh, he wereth his olde clothes, and that soule in the whiche the lyfe of frendship was in, is drawen out from his other spirites.37 that the soule. Schaar would emend to that soule.
43 chere, ferdness. Th: chere/ frendes. Observing the placement of the vergule in Thynne, Skeat places a full stop after chere and emends frendes to ferdnes, observing: "ferdnes is obviously the right word, though misprinted frendes. It signifies `fear,' and occurs again in lines  and ; besides, it is again misprinted as frendes in the same chapter, line " (p. 453). Jellech and Leyerle follow Skeat's suggestion and emend to ferdness, as I do also.
46 veyned. Skeat: weyved, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
51-52 your mercy than passeth right. Compare T&C 3.1282-88: "Here may men seen that mercy passeth right; Th'experience of that is felt in me, That am unworthi to so swete a wight.
52 God graunt that proposycion to be verifyed in me. Jellech observes: "The proposycion is, that your mercy than passeth right. Note the scholastic terminology of proposycion and verifyed," and cites John Conley's note on neologisms (p. 146).
56 unymagynable. Th: ymaginable. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
58 wot. Th: wol. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
59 sonded. Skeat emends to souded ("fixed"), the n/u being a common compositor's error. Jellech and Leyerle follow him. But sonded occasionally occurs as the past participle of senden, in which case the sense might be "ordained" or "placed." (See MED senden [n. 7b]). Though Skeat is probably right, I have glossed the term "ordained," and not emended it.
59-60 O love . . . O charyté. Compare T&C 3.1254-60:
Than seyde he thus, "O Love, O Charite!61 do. Skeat glosses as "cause" and reads, "cause the lucky throw of comfort to fall upward," alluding to dice-play (p. 454).
Thi moder ek, Citheria the swete,
After thiself next heried be she
-- Venus mene I, the wel-willy planete! --
And next that, Imeneus, I the grete,
For nevere man was to yow goddes holde
As I, which ye han brought fro cares colde."
66 knotte. Here the knot is introduced, anticipating its extended development in Book 2; it is mentioned again in Book 1 at lines 902 and 906.
67 endelesse in. Th: is endeless in. Skeat emends to in endeles blisse. Jellech and Leyerle, also, as do I, omit is.
73 as. Skeat emends to [ther]-as; Leyerle emends to a[la]s.
76 amonges. Th: amomges.
82-83 Trewly, I leve. Th: trewly and leve. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
86 O, alas that your nobley. Leyerle proposes (p. 232): "`Oh, alas! that your noble quality -by continuing stream, by all manner of powers -so much commended among all other creatures, only there is wonderful' [i.e., `among all other creatures']."
92 joleynynge. Skeat emends to joleyiynge, i.e., cheering, making joyous.
109 ferdnes. Th: frendes. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
110 as affection. According to Leyerle, "the phrase beginning with as is to be taken with adradde and the intervening material is parenthetical" (p. 233). In other words, their dread is "as" or "like" affection of wonderfulnesse, etc.
113 a lady. Skeat compares Cons. 1. pr. 1, line 3. See my Introduction iii b, for further commentary.
127 O my nory. Compare Chaucer's Boece III, pr. 9, line 159: O my nory, as Philosophy praises the aptness of her student (alumnae in the original, which Chaucer [and Usk] convert into a suckling, Philosophy being the wet nurse). Love as wet nurse becomes an important trope for Usk. See lines 187 and 202 below, and especially, lines 376-77, where his lady scolds him for forgetting "the olde soukyng whiche thou haddest of me."
133-34 Nowe, good lady . . . are thy movynges. Jellech sees a possible allusion to Canticles 4.10-12:
Favus distillans labra tua sponsa, mel et lac sub lingua tua; et odor vestimentorum tuorum sicut odor thuris. Hortus conclusus, fons signatus! [Thy lips, my spouse, are as a dropping honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments, as the smell of frankincense. My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.]See p. 154.
146 For that me comforteth. The sense is "Because [it] comforts me to think on passed gladness, it annoys me to be doing it again [experiencing gladness since I can assume it will become passed gladness again]."
152ff. See Matthew 18.12; Luke 15.4; John 10.11.
165ff. Haste thou not radde. Skeat observes: "Love was kind to Paris, because he succeeded in gaining Helen. Jason was false to Love, because he deserted Hypsipyle and Medea" (p. 454).
167 false behest. Leyerle comments: "Skeat proposes to emend false to faire in order to provide the contrast implied by for. A reading of faste would offer fewer paleographical difficulties than faire does. No emendation is needed, if false is taken as a repetition of falsed in order to gain emphasis" (pp. 235-36).
Sesars swonke. Th: Sesars sonke. Jellech observes: "The meaning is obscure. Skeat emended sonke to `swynk,' but we cannot be sure that is correct. Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars (in Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum Historiale 6.38) reads `Armorum et equitandi peritissimus, laboris ultra fidem patiens erat.' This `endurance of effort' might have been transformed into `Sesars swynk' in some alliterative version of Caesar's life, but no such work has been found. The earliest life of Caesar in English seems to be Lydgate's Serpent of Division" (p. 157). Sonke could be a misprint for sonde, ME "message" or "errand," with the possible meaning in TL then being, "How Caesar's errand or mission I abandoned it for no grief until he was throned. . . ." Or perhaps the reading should be swonke, which OED sees as an archaic term for "ostentation" or "presumption" (n.b., swank), in which case the sense is, "How Caesar's pomp I abandoned . . ." I have followed this possibility, as it makes the best sense of the passage. Leyerle (p. 236) offers a different reading, based in the Polychronicon.
169 nompere. Skeat suggests, "And chose a maid to be umpire between God and man" -alluding to the Virgin Mary (p. 455).
171 whome. Th: home. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
189 wo is him. Skeat suggests an allusion to Ecclesiastes 4.10.
189-90 and to the sorye. Compare T&C 1.12-14:
For wel sit it, the sothe for to seyne,203 wolde ben deynous. Th: wolde endeynous. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
A woful wight to han a drery feere,
And to a sorwful tale, a sory chere.
210-11 appetyte of desyre. Compare St. Augustine's concept of the pondus amoris ("weight of love") in, e.g., City of God 11.28:
For the specific gravity of a body is, in a manner, its love, whether a body tends downwards by reason of its heaviness or strives upwards because of its lightness. A material body is borne along by its weight in a particular direction, as a soul is by its love. (p. 463)And see further Conf. 7.17 (p. 151).
220 playde raket nettyl in docke out. Compare T&C 4.460-61:
"But kanstow playen raket, to and fro,224 a. Skeat notes that this is an unemphatic form of have -"thou wouldest have made me" (p. 455). See also line 231.
Netle in, dok out, now this, now that, Pandare?"
229 voyde. Skeat: "voyde, do away with; webbes; the web, also called the pin and web, or the web and pin, is a disease of the eyes" (p. 455).
237-38 truste on Mars. Skeat: "trust to Mars, i.e., be ready with wager of battle -alluding to the common practice of appealing to arms when a speaker's truthfulness was called in question" (p. 455). See line 668 below.
258ff. The narrator's recollection of his nightmare journey into the wilderness, where he encounters terrifying beasts that once were domestic but now have turned vicious and then takes refuge on a ship, bears a remarkable likeness to John Gower's allegorical allusion to the Peasant's Revolt, Vox Clamantis, Book I, especially lines 1612059, where the poet in the fourth year of the reign of King Richard (i.e., 1381) encounters domestic beasts gone wild (that is, the rabble turned into vicious asses, oxen, swine, dogs, etc.) that assail him, driving him through the woods and then on to a ship, where he finds small comfort once the storm arises. Gower's victim does not find security in a great pearl at the bottom of the sea, as Usk's persona does, but he does find refuge through the Virgin Mary, stella Maria maris (I, 2083ff.), a pearl in her own right, who calms the rough waters and saves him from the fearful jaws of wild beasts and fishes. Rather than the Peasant's Revolt, Usk's allusion is to the political aggressions of the Merciless Parliament, through which his life is in jeopardy. That he seems to have read Gower's Latin poem, for whatever reason, is in itself remarkable, for the light it sheds on Gower, Chaucer, and Usk as a literary group. For reference to the Vox Clamantis, see G. C. Macaulay, The Complete Works of John Gower (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902), IV: The Latin Works, lines 1-2092 (pp. 22-78). For a translation of the passage, see Eric W. Stockton, The Major Latin Works of John Gower (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1962), pp. 54-94.
261 halke. Skeat glosses as "nook"; MED offers "corner," "hiding place," and "cavity" as well, though the term remains troublesome. Analogy with the "full barn" trope earlier in the sentence clearly suggests the tight container of the nut, thus the shell. See James Orchard Halliwell, A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the XIV Century (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1924), p. 465, where "hulk" is glossed as "a hull or husk."
264-66 Oft the lothe thyng . . . of luste to travayle. Observing that both Skeat and Schaar comment on these lines without coming to an acceptable conclusion, Jellech proposes the adding of "I" between opynyon and whiche and then emending wolden to wolde and take to toke to mean: "often the loath thing is done by excitation of another man's opinion; I which would fayne have my abiding [in one place] took in heart a lust to labor and see" (p. 168). Leyerle, like Jellech, rejects Skeat and Schaar. Construing of lust as a rare past participle, oflust, meaning "affected with longing," and construing take as a past participle, too, he would read: "in such a time of plenty, he who has a home and is wise, does not want to wander about seeking miracles, unless he is constrained or incited. Often the hateful thing is done at the incitement of other men, who willingly would have my staying taken to heart. Affected with a desire to travel, etc." (p. 243). In this reading, a new sentence begins with Ofluste (line 266), and "I" (line 268) is the subject of this sentence. I remain at this time skeptical of all proposals, though I have none better myself to offer.
265-66 . . . abydynge may here have a concrete meaning; if so, whiche wolden fayne haue myn abydynge take in herte etc. would mean: . . . "wanted me, who was staying at home, to take a mind to travel." Wolden seems to owe its n to the following fayne; otherwise we may let the passage stand as it is:
In suche tyme of plentee he that hath an home and is wyse, list not to wander mervayles to seche, but he be constrayned or excited. Oft the lothe thing is doon, by excitacion of other mannes opinion, whiche wolde fayne have myn abydinge take in herte of luste to travayle. . . . (Schaar, p. 10)266 take in herte. Skeat emends to [Tho gan] take in herte, which perhaps makes the syntax more gracious.
268 ladels. "applied to the cup of an acorn" (OED L, p. 581, "ladel," br. 3). Hence, "by small paths that swine and hogs had made, as lanes with acorns, [there] to seek out their mast [food]."
270 gone to wylde. "to grow wild." Skeat cites gynne ayen waxe ramage, in Book 1, line 273, for the like sense (p. 456).
275 many. Skeat: "many is here used in place of meynee, referring to the ship's company" (p. 456). See Siennicki, p. 91 especially.
Syght was the first. Compare 1 John 2:16: "For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life."
283 For consistency of dialect, Skeat emends wethers to weders, and to ease the syntax adds [of] after avowyng. Leyerle follows Skeat; Jellech does not.
285 as. Skeat emends to at, and Leyerle concurs.
292 my shyppe was out of mynde. Skeat glosses: "I forgot all about my previous danger."
293-94 a muskel in a blewe shel. Jellech notes that "natural historians from antiquity conveyed to medieval encyclopaedists the tradition that the pearl was engendered by a drop of dew enclosed in a shellfish or cockle." See Appendix 1 below, for specific historical comments on pearls. At the risk, I know, of eliciting scorn from some, I nonetheless feel obliged to call the reader's attention to the following datum. In the entire TL, as Thynne prints it (i.e., before Book 3 is re-arranged to accord with the acrostic), the only occurrence of the name "Usk" is in the word "mUSKel." In trying to understand Usk and what he wrote, I think it would be mistaken to ignore this datum.
298-99 the man that sought . . . to bye that jewel. I.e., the merchant-man in Matthew 13.4546, who sold all that he had to buy the pearl of great price. Biblical commentaries equate the pearl in the parable with the soul.
304-07 Your might . . . I wonder . . . knoweth. Note how my punctuation recognizes Usk's loose ablative absolute.
312 lady, myne desyre. Skeat punctuates: lady mine, desire, which makes good sense too, though Usk normally refers to Margarite simply as lady, not lady mine (e.g., lines 292 and 315), and here it is his desire that is under scrutiny.
317 of nothyng now may serve. Skeat (p. 456): "is now of no use (to you)."
319 under your wynges of protection. A Marian analogue, where wings or robes signify the aegis of comfort. See John V. Fleming's discussion of the trope in "Anticlerical Satire as Theological Essay: Chaucer's Summoner's Tale," Thalia, 6 (1983), 5-22.
322 A renyant forjuged. Jellech asserts that forjuged is used to signify "exile." "For renyant, the OED gives a `renegade, apostate,' from French renay. Thus, we would be closer to Usk's meaning by paraphrasing, `a convicted traitor,' or merely `criminal'" (p. 174).
341 sir Daunger. A personification in the fin'amors or "courtly love" tradition, referring to the Beloved's standoffishness or haughtiness. Leyerle suggests, in one of his major theoretical arguments about TL, that "Usk's usage [of Daunger] illustrates the tendency in late medieval work for the language of power and the language of love to be applied to each other, In particular, Usk transfers the language of love to the subject of political power . . ." (p. 246). This latter point is perhaps the key to Leyerle's understanding of TL; see, further, p. 17n38, above.
348 For he . . . suffer. Skeat: "a perfect alliterative line." Skeat goes on to argue (p. 456) that the line is "imitated from PPl C.21.212"; but see my Introduction, section iv "Usk and his Contemporaries."
352 harse. Skeat emended the form to "harm." Jellech notes, however, that the MED "has not accepted Skeat's emendation, for it has an entry, harse n. (Compare OF herce a harrow). Grief, vexation. 1532 rev [c.1385] Usk TL (Skeat) 18/158" (p. 177).
355 lyches. Skeat emends to leches, presumably for dialect consistency. Probably the vowel /e/ had not yet moved upward to /i/ in the fourteenth century as it had done in Thynne's era.
370 for of disease . . . vessel. Th: or of disease . . . nessel. Skeat's emendation: "For or read for, to make sense; for of disease, for out of such disease come gladness and joy, so poured out by means of a full vessel that such gladness quenches the feeling of former sorrows. Here gladnesse and joy is spoken of as being all one thing, governing the singular verb is, and being alluded to as it" (p. 457). Jellech and Leyerle follow Skeat, as do I.
375 O where haste thou be. Compare the identical phrasing in T&C 4.496-97: "`O, where hastow ben hid so longe in muwe, / That kanst so wel and formely arguwe?'"
376 soukyng. Skeat emends needlessly to soukinges. Usk is alluding here to Philosophy's chastizing of Boethius who had been "norisched with my melk" (Cons. 1. pr. 2, lines 5-6). This section of Usk draws extensively on this passage. See notes to lines 380 and 382.
380 astonyed. The wording comes from Chaucer's Boece I, pr. 2, lines 12-15. See also Boece I, pr. 1, line 81.
382 clothe. See Cons. 1. pr. 2. lines 25-30, where Philosophy wipes the tears from Boethius's eyes -"the wawes of my wepynges," as Chaucer puts it (Boece, p. 399).
385-89 ye . . . ye . . . ye . . . ye. Compare T&C 3.15, 22-36 (emphasis added):
Ye Joves first to thilke effectes glade, . . .387-88 us beestes. Skeat (p. 457) traces the power that governs beasts and heavenly bodies to Boethian Love controlling the universe (Cons. 2. m. 8).
Ye fierse Mars apaisen of his ire,
And as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
Algates hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
They dreden shame, and vices they resygne;
Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne;
And heighe or lowe, after a wight entendeth,
The joies that he hath, youre myght him sendeth.
390 Yet al thynge desyreth ye wern . . . wele. Skeat emends wele to wol and suggests: "Read werne (refuse) and wol (will ) -`yet all things desire that you should refuse help to no one who is willing to do as you direct him'" (p. 457).
396-97 sythen . . . by an impossyble. Jellech suggests that contyngent, impossyble, and proposycion are "terms from the vocabulary of the schoolmen" (p. 181). See Conley (1964). "The suggestion of future contingency anticipates the Anselmian discussion of God's providence in Book 3" (p. 181).
404-06 Also false wordes . . . sothnesse. Compare HF 2108-09: "Thus saugh I fals and soth compound / Togeder fle for oo tydynge"; see further Strohm (1989), p. 76.
407 no. Th: uo. Leyerle's emendation.
414 maner. Skeat emends to maneres.
418 Acrisyus. Skeat notes: "Acrisius shut his daughter Danaë up in a tower, to keep her safe; nevertheless she became the mother of Perseus, who afterwards killed Acrisius accidentally" (p. 457).
423 so. Skeat emends to to.
424-25 Lady Love's defense of Divine Providence for permitting evil to function on earth is similar to Lady philosophy's argument in Cons. Bks 4 and 5.
426 welny people . . . efte. Skeat emends to wel ny [al] people . . . ofte. Jellech glosses as "well-nigh." Leyerle claims that "welny is a form, well recorded in ME, of villainy, insult, indignity, discredit,' and may be kept" (p. 252), but he cites no sources. Another possibility might be some form of wilne, thus "willful," "desirous," or "obstinate." "Villainous" is probably the likeliest sense, though in a less pejorative implication than one would associate with the term in modern usage -i.e., deceitful, but without the twirling of moustaches.
431 and who that . . . I helpen. See Matthew 10.22: "he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."
432 into blysse to wende. Skeat supplies don before blysse and translates: "and I will cause him to come to bliss, as being one of my own servants." He then rewrites the syntax in what follows: As [in] marcial doing in Grece, who was ycrowned? By god, nat the strongest . . . . (p. 22).
433-34 rathest come . . . play lest. See 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
435 Skeat inserts [and] before therin and [is] before redy.
436 and into water. Skeat: "and jumps into the water and immediately comes up to breathe, like an unsuccessful diver" (p. 457). But Leyerle objects and offers the alternative repriseth, "withdraws," as a possible emendation of respireth (p. 252).
441 this countré. Skeat: "a common saying"; see T&C 2.28, 42 (p. 457).
443 healed with his hele. Skeat (p. 457) and Jellech (p. 186) cite HF, line 290, as a parallel.
betwixe two thynges lyche. Compare T&C 3.404-6:
"Departe it so, for wyde-wher is wist446 dyversyté cometh in by the contrarious malyce. See St. Augustine, City of God 16.11.
How that ther is diversite requered
Bytwixen thynges like, as I have lered."
448 lawes. Skeat emends to lawe.
450 and to what. Skeat emends to and [founden] to what.
455 lawe of kynde. Leyerle: "The gist of Love's legal argument as it applies to Usk's situation, is that the ordinance by which Usk was imprisoned is mere mannes lawe (lex positiva), which should be underputte, `subordinated' to the law of Love, lex naturalis, which Usk professed to be following in those actions for which he was condemned" (p. 254).
462 exployte. Skeat: exployte[s].
474 thin. Th: than. Leyerle's emendation.
475 nothyng undertaketh . . . nothyng acheveth. The proverb is common, as Leyerle observes (p. 256), but, as he also notes, and I would, too, Chaucer uses it twice in T&C (2.807-08; 5.784).
480 a. "have" (as before).
480-85 I have this seven yere . . . fayled. Genesis 29.17-30. Jellech notes that later exegetes read the story of Rachel and Leah in terms of the active life and the contemplative life, citing e.g., Richard of St. Victor, Liber Exceptionum, pp. 240-42; Usk, she observes, has adapted the "Biblical account to his own purposes, but his mode of interpreting it seems to show he was drawing on patristic concepts" (p. 190). Perhaps the most memorable adaptation of the story in medieval literature is Dante's, in Purgatorio, in the relationship between Matelda and Beatrice (Purg. 27.100-08); see also the commentary in Singleton 2.2, p. 659.
481 Lya, Leah. See Genesis 29.17.
484 wepe with Rachel. See Matthew 2.18.
485 sone. Skeat emends to [come] sone, which makes good sense; Leyerle concurs with Skeat. I have imagined come to be implicit in sone, though such an ellipsis perhaps stretches credibility too far.
486-87 eyght yere: this eighteth mowe . . . of travayle. Skeat emends eyght to eight[eth] needlessly (p. 458). See Chaucer's BD, line 37, where eight also means eighth. That Usk had this specific passage from Chaucer in mind in constructing his riddle on eight and reward through the agency of a lady (the good faire White, who has gone to her reward, though the narrator's boote, line 38, is no nearer in BD; and, in Usk, for Margarite, kynrest and masseday -a form of reward), see Russell A. Peck, "Theme and Number in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess," in Silent Poetry, ed. Alastair Fowler (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970), pp. 98-99. Eight is the number of eternity, marking the eighth sphere of the fixed stars, beyond the seven moving spheres. It is the Easter number (the dies octavus, the new beginning after Christ's seven days of labor in Jerusalem) and the number of Resurrection (first day after the Jewish Sabbath, Matthew 28.1, Mark 16.2, 9, Luke 24.1, John 20.1); likewise it is affiliated with massday (where the eighth day after seven becomes one again), baptism (octagonal font), Christ's circumcision marking His presentation into His new life (Luke 2.21), the Transfiguration (Luke 9.28) at the end of the eighth day of Jesus's ministry preaching by the Sea of Galilee, Christ's revelation to Thomas (John 20.26), the New Jerusalem and thus justice in the eighth age, after time ceases to be. It is a number of Pentecost (the eighth day after a week of weeks), hence a sign of new beginning, grace, and reward; and (apart from one) as the only cube in the decad, a sign of justice and justification. On the general numerological properties of eight, see Russell A. Peck, "Number as Cosmic Language," in Essays in the Numerical Criticism of Medieval Literature, ed. Caroline D. Eckhardt (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1980), p. 62; also Fowler, p. 53, and Meyer, p. 140.
486 kynrest. The MED offers "a general cessation of work, a holiday with particular reference to the ancient Jewish sabbatical year"; however, the only citation is this passage in TL. See numerological explanation in the previous note.
488-90 Thynne reduplicates in this case . . .," quod she, which I have deleted. Skeat does not acknowledge the dittography.
493 the conysance of my lyvery. On the nature of livery -"Liveried retainers were clad in a distinctive uniform that marked them out as the men of a particular lord" (Hicks, p. 63) -and its political importance in late Middle English culture, see, in addition to Hicks (pp. 63-65), Horrox (p. 68) and Strohm, "The Literature of Livery" (1992, pp. 179-85) in Hochon's Arrow.
498-99 ben worshyp. Skeat emends to ben [to] worship[pe]; Leyerle concurs.
501 a bridge. Skeat glosses: "to serve by way of retreat for such as trust them" (p. 458).
wolves. "destroyers"; here meant as a complimentary epithet.
503-05 Jupiter . . . Rome is nowe stondyng. Skeat: "This idea, of Jupiter's promotion, from being a bull, to being the mate of Europa, is extremely odd; still more so is that of the promotion of Aeneas from being in hell" (p. 458). I can find no source for this passage either. In my opinion, though, here as elsewhere (see, e.g., line 541), Usk may be inventing images for his own particular use.
504 lowest degré. Skeat observes: "not true, as Caesar's father was praetor, and his aunt married Marius" (p. 458). But compare CT VII.2671-73:
By wisedom, manhede, and by greet labour,See, further, Suetonius (p. 34):
From humble bed to roial magestee
Up roos he Julius, the conquerour.
Caesar's first home was a modest house . . . one story goes, he found certain features in [a house he built] to his dislike, so that, although poor at the time and heavily in debt, he tore the whole place down.507 that their jangles. Th: that are their janghes. Skeat emends: that [suche] are their jangles. Leyerle disagrees and proposes "jang[linge]s for jangles is. The sense would be as follows: `their pratings are not to count worth a blade of cress to your disadvantage'" (p. 258).
510 fame. Skeat emends to [en]famé so that the form corresponds with lines 512 and 513. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
516-17 thy frende to thee. Skeat emends: they frende [is] to the. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
517 false kyssyng. See Proverbs 27.6: "Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy."
518 maketh suche. Skeat emends: maketh [voyd] suche. Jellech concurs; Leyerle emends maketh to ma[t]eth.
534-35 by goodnesse or enfamé. Th: or by goodnesse enfame. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
535 For every. Skeat emends For [of] every, which is more graceful (parallel), though not necessary.
541 Zedeoreys (or 3edeoreys). Skeat notes that he "can find nothing resembling this strange name, nor any trace of its owner's dealings with Hannibal" (p. 458). I can find nothing either. Bressie argues that "Antiochus the Great is certainly meant. See Usk's probable source, Higden's Polychronicon, IV, 88-92" (p. 23). But it is not beyond possibility, in my opinion, that, given the personal remarks that follow, Usk invented this character and this "episode" in Roman history as a parallel to his own historical situation: for a while he was on Northampton's side, then he turned against Northampton (to side with Brembre), and "by his wytte after was [Northampton] discomfyted" -only, as we know in hindsight, the wheel turned yet once more and crushed Usk. But see Leyerle who, following Bressie, writes: "The actions of Antiochus fit the reference in the Testament . . .: the name Antiochus was probably lost and his title, Syria rex, corrupted in transmission to the one word, 3edioreys, which was then taken as his name" (p. 260).
547 exitours. Skeat: ex[c]itours.
558 tho teeres lasshed. Skeat emends to tho [the] teres [that] lasshed, thus changing tho from "those" to "though" and altering the syntax.
563 Lachases. See T&C 5.6-7: "shal dwellen in pyne / Til Lachesis his threed no lenger twyne." Lachesis is one of the three Fates in classical mythology, the others being Clotho and Atropos, who "spin" the thread of an individual's life. Like Boethius, Usk seems to be writing from prison, cognizant of the harm that awaits him. His extended defense of his behavior is not unlike that of Boethius, Cons. I. pr. 4, which is one of the longest sections in the Consolation. Reference to those who imprisoned him as Senatoures effects a similar circumstance to that of Boethius, who was betrayed by the Roman Senate.
564 And ever I was sought. Bressie (p. 21) suggests that Usk's defense proper begins here. Jellech offers the following paraphrase of the reasons Usk gives for changing sides (Jellech, p. 200, lines 564 through line 592):
He was pressed to confess so that he would have his life and freedom. / He considered it his duty to help the city. / His soul would have been lost if he had died in falseness. / He did not deserve hatred except insofar as he upheld the errors of the Northampton group and kept their secrets. / All the Northampton faction were prejudiced against their opponents, so that they created broils in order to destroy them. / If he had not exposed the faction, the peace of the city of London, which he dearly loved, would have been broken. / Peace is enjoined on us by Scripture and the example of history.See, further, Appendix 2 below.
568 helpe to ben saved. Jellech understands to ben saved as "ought to do so," the sense being that "any man who can legitimately help the commonalty to be saved ought to do so" (p. 201). Skeat emends helpe to wele. I punctuate with a dash to suggest a broken thought that can easily be completed -i.e., "he ought to do so."
583ff. perfyte peace. See John 14.27 on the passing of the peace. Jellech notes that Dante in the Monarchia, I.4, also remarks: "`Peace be with you' was the salutation of the one who was the salvation of man. . . . And also his disciples and among them Paul, saw fit to preserve this custom" (p. 202).
584-89 This peace . . . one body we shulde perfourme. Jellech notes that Dante, Monarchia, I.4, "adduces the same example of the angel's song at Christ's nativity to argue that peace is necessary for society's perfection" (p. 202).
585 Testament. The reader should notice that Usk here uses the same word as figures in the title of his book -he does not use "covenant" or "pact," for example, but the word, "testament," that aligns his book with the Savior's benediction.
590 Athenes. "Athene was the goddess who maintained the authority of law and order, and in this sense was `a god of peace.' But she was certainly also a goddess of battles" (Skeat, p. 459). Jellech observes that "the specific notions here of Athena as a god and as an upholder of peace do not have any traceable origin. The tradition seems to have emphasized Athens as a center of art and learning" (p. 203). But see also Downing, p. 490:
[Athena's] central concern is the well-being of the community. "Cities are," it was said, "the gifts of Athena." She nurtures the children on whom the city's future depends and encourages its citizens in the arts and crafts so integral to civilized existence.From such a perspective, it is not difficult to imagine Athena as "god of peace."
592 certayne poyntes. Jellech notes that several of these poyntes follow rather closely the articles declared in Usk's Appeal. See Appendix 2 below.
593 thilke persones. I.e., members of the Northampton faction.
593-95 drawen to . . . prudence. Jellech compares these lines with the Appeal: "tho they drewe to hem many craftes & mochel smale people that konne non skyl of governance ne of god conseyl" (p. 204). See Appendix 2, lines 149-50.
597-607 whiche,' quod they, '. . . and al other good menynges. Jellech points out that the point of view of this speech is that of Northampton and his followers.
598-99 and auctorité of execucion by comen election. Jellech observes: "That is, election of the Common Council by crafts instead of by wards as in the past. This was one of the issues created by Northampton" (p. 204).
599-601 for we, out . . . in such subjection. Jellech compares Appeal: "& yt was seide thus to the poeple that ever the grete men wolden have the poeple be oppression in lowe degree" (p. 205). See Appendix 2, lines 50-51.
605-07 There ben cytezens . . . good menynges. Jellech: "The reference is to charges made by John More, sheriff under Northampton, that Sir John Philipot had borrowed money from the city during his mayoralty and never repaid it; see Appeal [Appendix 2, lines 54-59]. Other men were to be charged with usury, under a patent to chastise usurers, and so be discredited and exiled from the city, leaving Northampton's men free in charge" (p. 205). See Appeal, Appendix 2, lines 75-91.
608 the mighty senatoures. I.e., the leaders of the victuallers, such as Sir William Walworth, Sir John Philipot, and Sir Nicholas Brembre (Jellech, p. 206).
609-10 free election. Skeat adds [was mad] after free eleccion and [that] before for greet, which alters the sense needlessly. Usk's point is that the manipulated mob, by its clamorous voice, in effect controls the vote. As Leyerle notes (p. 264), "that free election [is] in apposition to it and [is the] subject of fel."
609-14 And so, lady, . . . withouten reason. Jellech suggests that Usk's evident purpose here is to say that the outcome of the election was against the dissidents, but some part of the passage has been lost (p. 206). She reads the sense of the passage to be:
So, when the free election was held, by clamor of many people because of great injury from misgovernance, they (i.e., Northampton and his associates) remained so steadfast in their choice that they underwent every kind of fate rather than allow the hated regimen to rule. Nevertheless, many of the common mass, who have consideration only to their wilful desires, without reason, held to the contrary (i.e., the Northampton faction lost their popular following).611 face. Skeat (p. 459) emends to fate, observing, "We must read fate, not face; the confusion between c and t is endless." But every maner face, as sign of fickleness, makes good sense, given Usk's appeal against the clamorous mob. Jellech emends to fate (p. 206), as does Leyerle too (p. 43).
614 thylke governour. I.e., John de Northampton (Jellech, p. 207).
614-15 faynynge toforne his undoynge for misrule in his tyme. I.e., "pretending, before his undoing, on account of misrule in his time [i.e., inventing misrule as an excuse], arranged to have."
615-16 shope . . . ben chosen. Jellech compares Appeal, where Usk relates that Northampton sent a delegation, Usk amongst them, to the Duke of Lancaster asking him for a royal writ proclaiming a new election. They were refused. See Appendix 2, lines 118-33.
616 rore have. Skeat: rore [to] have, which is okay too.
617-20 These thynges . . . furthered and holde. Jellech observes: "The clause these thynges . . . to the people seems to be an ablative absolute, meaning `when these things were made known among the princes and opened to the people, then there was brought about an improvement, with the result that every degree . . . 'etc." (p. 207).
621 their moste soverayne juge. I.e., the king.
632 my selven apparaylen. I would expand to my selven [, how they] apparaylen.
648 out of denwere. Leyerle solves this crux: "The form is a nonce spelling of ME denier, `denial, refusal,' MED 2. The MED takes denier to be from OF denïier, a variant of denoiier; Usk's spelling reflects the latter word with the oi represented by w. The phrase out of denwere thus means beyond `denial'" (p. 256).
651 submytten. Skeat: submitted.
652 But nowe than the false fame. With Leyerle (p. 256) I agree that here TL participates directly in the medieval tradition of fame (Leyerle cites Aeneid 4.172ff. and Chaucer's HF 349-50); see, further, my Introduction, Section vi f, page 25, note 44.
668-69 the prise leaned on thy syde. Leyerle: "The sense is, `You spoke truth because your adversaries have affirmed your words [by their refusal to join combat]. Even if you had lied [in the affirmations you had offered to prove by combat], they are still discomfited. The lever leaned on your side so that fame will hold down infamy.' The image in the last sentence is of a prise, `lever,' that raises a thing at one end while pressing down on the other. The final sentence in the passage is Love's commentary on the words every wight [line 666]. The reference of he . . . [line 669] is to wight in line ; bringe up means `to invent or tell lies,' MED 6(b): `He will be lying in no way'" (p. 266).
672 without a stroke or fighting. Schaar suggests the meaning to be: "without a single stroke"; the right reading, thus, must be: without a stroke of fighting (p. 10).
679 maysters. Th: maystresse. Jellech's emendation (p. 214), with which I concur.
685 that sacrament of swearyng. Jellech suggests that "to charge by oath" merely means "to swear," or "to pledge" (MED 10a), not "to be under oath." The suggestion here seems to be that Usk "was not perjured or forsworn by his oath - presumably the one binding him to Northampton, because it lacked either truth, judgment, or righteousness. It was on account of his being thought disloyal to Northampton and his friends that Usk was considered by his fellow citizens to have been unkind and unnatural. The issue is . . . one of social pressure and custom" (p. 215).
688 trewe jugement. Skeat argues that trewe is an error for trewthe; the statement is copied from Jeremiah 4.2: "Et iurabis . . . in veritate, et in iudicio, et in justitia" [And you shall swear . . . in truth, and in judgment, and in justice] (p. 460). So in line 693, we have in jugement in trouth, and rightwisenesse; and in lines 690-91, for ofte tymes a man, to saye sothe, but jugement and justyce folowe, he is forsworne.
691 Herodes. Herod swore to give Salome whatever she asked for. Her request was for the head of John the Baptist. See Matthew 14.7. Skeat inserts [he] before dampned.
692-93 Also, to saye truthe . . . to sayne. Skeat paraphrases: "it is sometimes forbidden to say truth rightfully -except in a trial -because all truths are not to be disclosed" (p. 460).
695 that worde. Skeat suggests Tobit 3.6: "expedit mihi mori magis quam vivere" [for it is better for me to die, than to live] (p. 460).
696 fame. Skeat: [en]fame, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
702 sklaundrynge. Th: sklaundynge. Emended by all.
704 shulden. Skeat: [they] shulden.
706 demest, therin thy selfe. See Romans 2.1 -"For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself."
728 commens. Possibly, a truncation of commensal, "sustenance" ("?as contributed by or to a community or group of people" -see the MED C, p. 446 "communes," branch 4).
729 Selande. Zealand (Zeeland) the southwesternmost province of the Netherlands, almost, to the naked eye, due east of London, across the Channel. Skeat suggests the port of Middleburg, in the isle of Walcheren: "The reference must be to some companions of the author who had fled to Zealand to be out of the way of prosecution" (p. 460). See, further, Leyerle, pp. 268-69.
730-31 Yet, pardye, . . . renter. Jellech: "Love's sardonic accusation is that Usk's associates took money set aside by his superiors for his expenses so he had to pay out of his own pocket. Usk was their `renter' or `landlord'" (p. 219).
732-33 neyther . . . for to have. Skeat places a semicolon after unkyndnesse, where Thynne prints a virgule (slash). Jellech rearranges the virgule to produce a "superior reading which needs no explanation [neyther the ne them selfe myghten helpe/ of unkyndnesse nowe they beare the name. . .]. Unkyndnesse or unnatural disloyalty seems to have been one of the main accusations made against Usk" (p. 220). I have followed Jellech.
736 helest. Skeat emends to hele[de]st. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
740 Efte. Th: Ofte. Skeat's emendation which Jellech and Leyerle support. Jellech writes: "Ofte in this position, [is] clearly an error, both in what the sense of the passage calls for [i.e., Efte] and in failing to conform to the acrostic" (p. 221). See Introduction, iii c.
sterne me these. Skeat: steren me [with] these. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
748 flocke. See Matthew 18.12.
751 but in hoole. Th: but hoole. Skeat's emendation, followed by Leyerle, but not Jellech. The story of Lot's life is found in Genesis 19.
758-59 in their mouthes . . . habundaunce of the herte. See Matthew 12.34.
759 stones. Th: stones stones. Emended by all.
763 use Jacobes wordes. Skeat suggests an allusion to the conciliatory conduct of Jacob towards Esau (Genesis 33.8, 10, 11): "Similarly the author is to be patient, and to say `I will endure my lady's wrath, which I have deserved,' etc." (p. 461).
768 shul. Skeat: [she] shul. But no emendation is necessary. Headless clauses are not uncommon in ME usage.
768-70 For ryght . . . commended. Jellech notes that Skeat inserted "is" in front of commended and suggested that Thynne's his (line 768) might be an error for "her" (p. 224). Schaar rejected on paleographical grounds the possibility of mistaking his for "her" and suggested that Thynne's words at his were a misreading of a ms. "alle is." But, Jellech concludes "a misreading of a t h for `alle' is as hard to support paleographically as Skeat's proposal. If we knew the origin of the saying we could perhaps make an intelligent emendation. I have left the sentence in its imperfect state" (p. 224) But although I am insecure about the "origin" of the phrase, I do think we should consider the remarkable similarity between this passage and the climax of the great alliterative poem Patience, when God speaks to Jonah and says "For he þat is to rakel to renden his cloþes / Mot efte sitte wiþ more unsounde to sewe hem togeder" (lines 526-27). Here the counsel is to patience - "don't rip up your clothes in a fit of pique." We might think of the sentence in TL, with the aid of the idea in Patience, as meaning something like: "For just as you tear your clothes in plain sight [of God], having reason to do so because of your error, so openly to repair them at his, God's, worship, without further reproof, is [to be] commended."
769 at. Schaar would emend to alle.
771-72 so good savour . . causeth. Skeat emended Thynne's al errour to of errour and thus omitted distroyeng as a gloss on forgoyng, though he noted that the terms are not synonymous. He glosses forgoyng as "abandonment." Jellech assumes that "Forgoyng and distroyeng do have overlapping meanings, in that sin or error can be both avoided and destroyed, and Usk's original phrase, now hopelessly corrupt, probably read, `good savour to forgoyng and distroyeng of errour.' Skeat's omission of distroyeng, as a gloss, is inexcusable. There are no other glosses, there is apparently no one who could have made one, and no reason to gloss the not obscure word forgoyng" (p. 224). Although Jellech's sharp tone is perhaps deplorable, her position is certainly sound and fundamental, given the corruption of the text of TL: there really is no evidence of glossing or any other form of interpolation in TL, and so much needs to be duly recorded for the reader to know what editorial decisions are necessary.
774-75 every thynges contrary in kynde. On this very ancient idea, which I have called "epistemology by contraries" (Shoaf , pp. 22-24), see, among many possible examples, T&C 1.637: "`By his contrarie is every thyng declared.'" Its origin is ultimately Platonic and neo-Platonic; a very good example can be found in City of God 11.18.
780 Adam. See Genesis 3.6.
781 Noe. See Genesis 9.21.
782 Lothe. See Genesis 19.35.
782 Abraham. See Genesis 22.1.
783 Davydes. See II Samuel 11.2-15.
784 Hector. Skeat notes that Hector, according to Guido delle Colonne in his Destruction of Troy, gave counsel against going to war with the Greeks, but was overborne by Paris (p. 461).
788 He that is stylle. In Proverbia Sententiaeque Latinitatis Medii Aevi, Walther records as number 24843a "Qui tacet, consentire videtur" (Part 4, Q-Sil, p. 291).
792-93 howe necessary was Adams synne. Skeat (p. 461) sees an allusion to the canticle "Exultet" sung upon Easter Eve, in the Sarum Missal (p. 118), "O certe necessarium Ade peccatum" [O truly necessary sin of Adam (p. 272 in the Sarum Missal in English)]. Commonly known as the felix culpa ("fortunate fall," "happy guilt" [Sarum Missal in English, p. 272, as well]), this idea is widespread in the Middle Ages and Renaissance - had Adam not fallen, Christ would not have been born God incarnate; for bibliography, see Shoaf (1993), p. 199n71.
793 Salomon. See II Samuel 12.24, on the conceiving and birth of Solomon.
809 at the hardest suche fame into. Jellech (p. 228) emends to at the farthest . . . is.
814 reason hyndred. Schaar emends reason to renoun: "Reson is not the proper word here; the corresponding passage in Chaucer's Boece (II, p. VII, 64 ff.) reads:
(to the whiche naciouns . . .) nat only the names of singuler men ne may nat strecchen, but eek the fame of citees ne may nat strecchen.The Latin text gives:
ad quas (nationes) . . . non modo fama hominum singulorum, sed ne urbium quidem peruenire queat. (lines 26 ff)The original reading of our passage, then, seems to be . . . but also citees and realmes of prosperité ben letted to be knowe, and their renoun hindred" (p. 12).
818 London. Skeat notes that London is substituted for "Rome" in Chaucer's Boece (p. 461), further evidence to suggest that Usk is working from Chaucer's translation, rather than the Latin.
819 praysen . . . lacken. Here and elsewhere (e.g., Book 2, line 742; Book 3, lines 21011), Usk uses the ancient formula, laudando et vituperando ("praising and blaming"), that derives from epideictic rhetoric (see Curtius, p. 69n and p. 182). Although space prohibits a lengthy demonstration, I want nonetheless to register here my sense that Usk's reliance on this rhetorical tradition is one key to understanding TL, especially where the issue of fame is concerned (see the note to Book 1, line 652).
830 ofte. For Skeat ofte is a misprint for of the; Jellech and Leyerle concur.
834 healed. Conceivably the term is a corruption of heilen as a salutation of praise, as one might hope of rumors. Or perhaps it is a figurative form of helen, an agricultural metaphor for "planted," as in the "sowing" or "broadcasting" of seed. Or perhaps it is akin to a medieval metaphor for cure, i.e., "improved." Skeat says "heled (lit. hidden) is quite inadmissible; the right reading is probably deled, i.e., dealt round" (p. 462). Jellech proposes heard, "but the case is uncertain," she says (p. 230). Leyerle follows Skeat.
838-39 for werkes of vertue asketh. Th: of werkes of vertue asketh. Skeat emends to: of vertue. [Trewly, vertue] asketh.
849 leneth. Skeat emends to leveth, "cease." Jellech and Leyerle concur.
854 olde proverbe. Skeat compares the form of the proverb to Hazlitt's "Who-so heweth over-high, / The chips will fall in his eye." See also Gower, CA 1.1917-18; and Stevenson 57.1.
856 ere. Th: are. Skeat emends to that. I propose ere (before).
864-65 See Boece I. pr. 4. 260-62, where the saying is attributed to Pythagoras.
886-87 I sette now the hardest. Leyerle (p. 279) notes a similarity with T&C 2.367, "I sette the worste" (Pandarus to Criseyde).
891-92 in this persone. Skeat suggests on this persone, but Schaar notes, "the passage is still not in order. Love is continually speaking to the prisoner, and we cannot avoid reading [. . .] thilk Margarite, that no routh had on thy persone etc." (p. 12). Leyerle has in th[y] persone.
897 For she hath hem. Leyerle (pp. 280-81) argues at length that a dislocation of text has occurred here. His re-arrangement yields:
shal benommen from thylke perle/ al the vertues that firste here were taken/ for she hath hem forfeyted/ by that on the my seruaunt in thy lyue she wolde not suffre to worche al vertues with order whiche to me was ordayned/ sothely none age/ none ouertournynge tyme/ but withdrawen/ by might of the hygh bodyes: Why than shuldest thou wene so any more. And if the lyste to loke vpon the lawe<334vb> <335ra> of kynde/ and hytherto had no tyme ne power to chaunge the weddyng/ ne the knotte to vnbynde of two hertes thorowe one assent in my presence/ togyther accorden to endure tyl dethe hem departe.He then punctuates, heavily, to the following sense (p. 60):
shal ben[i]men from thylke perle al the vertues that firste her were taken, for she hath hem forfeyted by that on the, my servaunt, in thy lyve, she wolde not suffre to worche al vertues [with order whiche to me was ordayned. Sothely none age, none ouertournynge but] withdrawen by might of the hygh bodyes. Why, than, shuldest thou wene so any more, and, if the lyste to loke upon the lawe of kynde, and hyt herto had no tyme ne power to chaunge the weddyng, ne the knotte to unbynde of two hertes thorowe one assent in my presence togyther accorden to enduren tyl dethe hem departe?The reader can compare my own construction (next note) and quickly appreciate the staggering difficulty of "editing" TL.
898 withdrawen by might. Understand "all those virtues withdrawn (see benommen, line 896), if she so behaves, by might . . . etc."
899 Why than shuldest. Jellech: "That is, why should Usk any longer fear that he is loving above his degree?" (p. 238).
902 hertes thorowe. Skeat: hertes [that] thorowe.
905-06 Do waye, do waye . . . nothyng of this. Compare T&C 2.890-04 (emphasis added):
"But wene ye that every wrecche woot906 consente of two hertes alone. On the role of consent in marriage in the Middle Ages, see Baldwin, pp. 6-7, 75-76.
The parfite blisse of love? Why, nay, iwys!
They wenen all be love, if oon be hoot.
Do wey, do wey, they woot no thyng of this!"
920 haven the. Skeat: haven [by] the, followed by Leyerle.
922 He is. Th: he his. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
925 they. Th: thy. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
926 prophete. David, in Psalm 95.5: "For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils."
929 nowe reasonable. Skeat: now [art thou a] resonable, followed by Leyerle.
936 abjection. Skeat: objeccion, followed by Jellech.
937 last objection. I.e., his poverty, see chapter 3, lines 331-32.
960-61 Alas, thou that knyttest . . . amenden these defautes? Compare Boece I. m 5.1-2, 31-35.
974 and yet dyddest. Skeat inserted "before that" in front of any thing, but, as Jellech observes, "the mere addition that [after any thing], possibly omitted by the printer by repetition of true were in the following line, completes the meaning; i.e., `you performed in that office by advice of superiors all the business that was transacted.'" (p. 245).
975 ended. Leyerle emends to [ne]ded (p. 284).
1012-15 Leyerle construes the sense as follows: "He (that false friend) was never separated easily from fair fortune." The point is that a false friend follows fortune. No emendation is needed. The next sentence follows the same logic, but is elliptical in sense. "Your own good (i.e., worldly adversity), therefore, leaves it (i.e., what is properly yours) yet with you" (p. 286).
1014 never from that. Schaar emends to ever from thee.
1020 if that Margarite denyeth. Schaar: "it is very probable that there is a simple transposition of letters, and that the correct reading is: And if that Margarite deyneth now nat to suffre her vertues shyne to thee-wardes with spredinge bemes etc. Deynen, moreover, is a word that exactly fits in with the idea of the unresponsive lady, the standard figure of Courtly Love" (p. 13).
1024 lette us syngen. Skeat suggests an imitation of the metres in Boethius, "which break the prose part of the treatise at frequent intervals" (p. 463).
Alas, Fortune, alas; I that somtyme in delycyous houres was wont to enjoy blysful
stoundes am nowe dryve by unhappy hevynesse to bewayle my sondrye yvels in tene.
Trewly, I leve in myn herte is writte of perdurable letters al the entencyons of lamentacion
that nowe ben ynempned, for any maner disease outwarde in sobbyng maner sheweth
sorowful yexynge from within. Thus from my comforte I gynne to spylle syth she that
shulde me solace is ferre fro my presence. Certes, her absence is to me an hell; my
sternyng dethe thus in wo it myneth that endelesse care is throughout myne herte
clenched; blysse of my joye that ofte me murthed is turned into galle to thynke on thyng
that may not at my wyl in armes me hent. Myrth is chaunged into tene, whan swynke
is there contynually that reste was wont to sojourne and have dwellynge place. Thus
wytlesse, thoughtful, syghtlesse lokynge, I endure my penaunce in this derke prisone,
caytisned fro frendshippe and acquayntaunce, and forsaken of al that any wode dare
speke. Straunge hath by waye of intrucyoun made his home there me shulde be if
reason were herde as he shulde. Neverthelater, yet hertly, lady precious Margarit have
mynde on thy servaunt and thynke on his disease how lyghtles he lyveth, sithe the
beames brennende in love of thyn eyen arn so bewent that worldes and cloudes atwene
us twey wol nat suffre my thoughtes of hem to be enlumyned. Thynke that one vertue
of a Margarite precious is amonges many other the sorouful to comforte, yet wyl of
that me sorouful to comforte is my luste to have nought els at this tyme; dede ne dethe,
ne no maner traveyle hath no power myne herte so moche to fade as shulde to here of
a twynckelynge in your disease. Ah, God forbede that; but yet lette me dey, lette me
sterve withouten any measure of penaunce, rather than myne hertely thynking comforte
in ought were diseased. What maye my servyce aveyle in absence of her that my
servyce shulde accepte? Is this nat endlesse sorowe tothynke? Yes, yes, God wote;
myne hert breaketh nygh asonder. Howe shulde the grounde without kyndly noriture
bringen forthe any frutes? Howe shulde a shippe withouten a sterne in the great see be
governed? Howe shulde I withouten my blysse, my herte, my desyre, my joye, my
goodnesse endure in this contrarious prison, that thynke every hour in the day an hun-
dred wynter? Wel may nowe Eve sayne to me, "Adam, in sorowe fallen from welth,
driven arte thou out of paradise, with sweate thy sustenaunce to beswynke." Depe in
this pynynge pytte with wo I lygge ystocked, with chaynes lynked of care and of tene.
It is so hye from thens I lye and the commune erth, there ne is cable in no lande maked,
that myght stretche to me to drawe me into blysse, ne steyers to stey on is none, so that
without recover endlesse here to endure I wotte wel I purveyde. O, where arte thou nowe,
frenshyppe, that somtyme with laughande chere madest bothe face and countenaunce to
me wardes? Truely nowe arte thou went out of towne, but ever me thynketh he weareth
his olde clothes and that the soule in the whiche the lyfe of frendshyppe was in is
drawen out from his other spyrites. Nowe than farewel frendshyp, and farewel felawes.
Me thynketh ye al han taken your leave; no force of you al at ones. But lady of love ye
wote what I mene, yet thinke on thy servaunt, that for thy love spylleth; al thynges have
I forsake to folowen thyn hestes. Rewarde me with a thought, though ye do naught els.
Remembraunce of love lythe so sore under my brest that other thought cometh not in
my mynde but gladnesse to thynke on your goodnesse and your mery chere, ferdness
and sorowe to thynke on your wreche and your daunger from whiche Christe me save.
My great joye it is to have in meditacion the bounties, the vertues, the nobley in you
printed; sorowe and hel comen at ones to suppose that I be veyned. Thus with care
sorowe and tene am I shapte, myn ende with dethe to make. Nowe good goodly thynke
on this. O wretched foole that I am fallen in to so lowe: the heate of my brennyng tene
hath me al defased. How shulde ye, lady, sette prise on so foule fylthe? My connynge
is thynne, my wytte is exiled. Lyke to a foole naturel am I comparysoned. Trewly,
lady, but your mercy the more were, I wote wel al my labour were in ydel; your
mercy than passeth right. God graunt that proposycion to be verifyed in me, so that by
truste of good hope I mowe come to the haven of ease. And sythe it is impossyble the
colours of your qualyties to chaunge, and, forsothe, I wote wel wemme ne spotte maye
not abyde there so noble vertue haboundeth, so that the defasyng to you is verily
unymagynable, as countenaunce of goodnesse with encresynge vertue is so in you
knytte to abyde by necessary maner; yet, if the revers might fal, which is ayenst kynde,
I wot wel myn herte ne shulde therfore naught flytte by the leste poynt of gemetrye, so
sadly is it sonded that away from your servyce in love maye he not departe. O love,
whan shal I ben pleased? O charyté, whan shal I ben eased? O good goodly, whan shal
the dyce turne? O ful of vertue, do the chaunce of comforte upwarde to fal. O love,
whan wolt thou thynke on thy servaunt? I can no more but here, outcaste of al welfare,
abyde the daye of my dethe, or els to se the syght that might al my wellynge sorowes
voyde and of the flodde make an ebbe. These diseases mowen wel by duresse of
sorowe make my lyfe to unbodye and so for to dye; but certes ye lady in a ful perfectyon
of love ben so knytte with my soule that dethe may not thilke knotte unbynde ne departe,
so that ye and my soule togyther endelesse in blysse shulde dwel, and there shal my
soule at the ful ben eased that he may have your presence to shewe th'entent of his
desyres. Ah, dere God, that shal be a great joye. Nowe erthely goddesse take regarde
of thy servant, though I be feble, for thou arte wonte to prayse them better that wolde
conne serve in love, al be he ful mener than kynges or princes that wol not have that
vertue in mynde. Nowe precious Margaryte that with thy noble vertue haste drawen
me into love first, me wenynge therof to have blisse, as galle and aloes are so moche
spronge, that savour of swetnesse may I not ataste. Alas, that your benigne eyen in
whiche that mercy semeth to have al his noriture nyl, by no waye, tourne the clerenesse
of mercy to mewardes. Alas, that your brennande vertues shynyng amonges al folke
and enlumynynge al other people by habundaunce of encreasing sheweth to me but
smoke and no light. These thynges to thinke in myn herte maketh every day wepyng in
myn eyen to renne. These lyggenon my backe so sore that importable burthen me
semeth on my backe to be charged; it maketh me backwarde to meve whan my steppes
by comune course even forthe pretende. These thynges also on right syde and lyft
have me so envolved with care that wanhope of helpe is throughout me ronne. Trewly,
I leve that gracelesse is my fortune whiche that ever sheweth it mewardes by a cloudy
disease, al redy to make stormes of tene, and the blysful syde halte styl awayward, and
wol it not suffre to mewardes to turne; no force, yet wol I not ben conquered.
O, alas that your nobley so moche among al other creatures commended by flowynge
streme by al maner vertues, but ther ben wonderful, I not whiche that let the flode to
come in to my soule; wherfore, purely mated with sorowe thorough sought, myselfe I
crye on your goodnesse to have pyté on this caytife that in the inrest degré of sorowe
and disease is lefte, and, without your goodly wyl, from any helpe and recovery. These
sorowes maye I not sustene but if my sorowe shulde be tolde and to you wardes shewed;
although moche space is bytwene us twayne, yet me thynketh that by suche joleynynge
wordes my disease gynneth ebbe. Trewly me thynketh that the sowne of my lamentacious
wepyng is right nowe flowe into your presence, and there cryeth after mercy and
grace, to which thing me semeth thee lyst none answere to yeve, but with a deynous
chere ye commaunden it to avoyde. But God forbyd that any worde shuld of you
springe to have so lytel routh. Pardé, pyté and mercy in every Margarite is closed by
kynde amonges many other vertues by qualites of comforte. But comfort is to me right
naught worthe withouten mercy and pyté of you alone, whiche thynges hastely God me
graunt for his mercy.
Rehersynge these thynges and many other without tyme or moment of rest me
semed for anguysshe of disease that altogyder I was ravysshed, I can not tel howe; but
holy al my passyons and felynges weren loste as it semed for the tyme and sodainly a
maner of drede light in me al at ones. Nought suche feare as folke have of an enemy that
were myghty and wolde hem greve or done hem disease. For I trowe this is wel knowe
to many persones that otherwhyle, if a man be in his soveraignes presence, a maner of
ferdenesse crepeth in his herte not for harme but of goodly subjection, namely as men
reden that aungels ben aferde of our savyour in heven. And pardé, there ne is ne maye
no passyon of disease be, but it is to meane that angels ben adradde not by ferdnes of
drede, sythen they ben perfytely blyssed as affection of wonderfulnesse and by servyce
of obedyence; suche ferde also han these lovers in presence of their loves and subjectes
aforne their soveraynes. Right so with ferdenesse myn herte was caught. And, I sodainly
astonyed, there entred into the place there I was lodged a lady, the semelyest and moste
goodly to my syght that ever toforne apered to any creature, and trewly in the blustrynge
of her looke she yave gladnesse and comforte sodaynely to al my wyttes, and ryght so
she dothe to every wyght that cometh in her presence. And for she was so goodly (as
me thought) myne herte beganne somdele to be enbolded and wexte a lytel hardy to
speke, but yet with a quakynge voyce as I durste, I salved her and enquired what she
was, and why she, so worthy to syght, dayned to entre into so foule a dongeon, and
namely a prisone without leave of my kepers. For certes, althoughe the vertue of dedes
of mercy stretchen to vysyten the poore prisoners, and hem after that faculties ben had
to comforte, me semed that I was so ferre fallen into myserye and wretched hyd
caytifnesse, that me shulde no precyous thynge neyghe; and also, that for my sorowe
every wyght shulde ben heavy and wysshe my recovery. But whan this lady had somdele
apperceyved as wel by my wordes as by my chere what thought besyed me within,
with a good womanly countenaunce she sayde these wordes:
"O my nory, wenyst thou that my maner be to foryet my frendes or my servauntes?
Naye," quod she, "it is my ful entente to vysyte and comforte al my frenshippes and
alyes as wel in tyme of perturbation as of moost propertye of blysse. In me shal
unkyndnesse never be founden. And also, sithen I have so fewe especial trewe nowe in
these dayes, wherfore I maye wel at more leysar come to hem that me deserven. And
if my comynge maye in any thynge avayle, wete wel I wol come often."
"Nowe, good lady," quod I, "that art so fayre on to loke, reynynge honny by thy
wordes, blysse of paradise arn thy lokynges, joye and comforte are thy movynges.
What is thy name? Howe is it that in you is so mokel werkynge vertues enpight, as me
semeth, and in none other creature that ever sawe I with myne eyen?" "My disciple,"
quod she, "me wondreth of thy wordes and on thee that for a lytel disease haste foryeten
my name: Woste thou not wel that I am Love, that first thee brought to thy servyce?"
"O good lady," quod I, "is this worshyppe to thee or to thyne excellence for to come
into so foule a place? Pardé, somtyme tho I was in prosperyté and with forayne goodes
envolved, I had mokyl to done to drawe thee to myn hostel; and yet many wernynges
thou madest er thou lyste fully to graunt thyne home to make at my dwellyng place;
and nowe thou comest goodly by thyne owne vyse to comforte me with wordes, and
so there thoroughe I gynne remembre on passed gladnesse. Trewly, lady, I ne wotte
whether I shal say welcome or none sythen thy comyng wol as moche do me teneand
sorowe as gladnesse and myrthe. Se why. For that me comforteth to thynke on passed
gladnesse that me anoyeth efte to be in doynge. Thus thy comynge bothe gladdeth and
teneth, and that is cause of moche sorowe: Lo, lady howe than I am comforted by your
commynge?" And with that I gan in teeres to distylle and tenderly wepe. "Nowe certes,"
quod Love, "I se wel, and that me overthynketh, that wytte in thee fayleth and arte in
poynte to dote."
"Trewly," quod I, "that have ye maked and that ever wol I rue." "Wottest thou not
wel," quod she, "that every shepeherde ought by reson to seke his sperkelande shepe
that arne ronne into wyldernesse amonge busshes and peryls and hem to their pasture
ayen bringe and take on hem privy besy cure of kepyng? And tho the unconnynge
shepe scattred wolde ben loste rennyng to wyldernesse and to desertes drawe, or els
wolden put hem selfe to the swalowyng wolfe, yet shal the shepeherde by busynesse
and travayle so put him forthe that he shal not let hem be loste by no waye. A good
shepeherde putteth rather hys lyfe to ben loste for his shepe. But for thou shalte not
wene me beyng of werse condycion, trewly, for everych of my folke, and for al tho
that to mewarde be knyt in any condycion, I wol rather dye than suffre hem throughe
errour to ben spylte. For me lyste and it me lyketh of al myne a shepherdesse to be
cleped. Wost thou not wel I fayled never wight but he me refused and wolde neglygently
go with unkyndenesse? And yet, pardé, have I many such holpe and releved, and they
have ofte me begyled; but ever at the ende, it discendeth in their owne neckes. Haste
thou not radde howe kynde I was to Paris, Priamus sonne of Troy? How Jason me
falsed, for al his false behest? Howe Sesars swonke, I lefte it for no tene tyl he was
troned in my blysse for his servyce? What," quod she, "most of al maked I not a
lovedaye bytwene God and mankynde, and chese a mayde to be nompere to put the
quarel at ende? Lo, howe I have travayled to have thanke on al sydes, and yet lyst me not
to rest and I might fynde on whome I shulde werche. But trewly myn owne disciple
bycause I have thee founde at al assayes in thy wyl to be redy myn hestes to have
folowed and haste ben trewe to that Margaryte perle that ones I thee shewed and she
alwaye ayenwarde hath made but daungerous chere, I am come in propre person to put
thee out of errours and make thee gladde by wayes of reason, so that sorow ne disease
shal no more hereafter thee amaistry. Wherthrough I hope thou shalte lyghtly come
to the grace that thou longe haste desyred of thylke jewel. Haste thou not herde
many ensamples howe I have comforted and releved the scholers of my lore? Who
hath worthyed kynges in the felde? Who hath honoured ladyes in boure by a perpetuel
myrrour of their truthe in my servyce? Who hath caused worthy folke to voyde
vyce and shame? Who hath holde cyties and realmes in prosperyté? If thee lyste
cleape ayen thyn olde remembraunce, thou coudest every poynte of this declare in
especial and say that I thy maystresse have be cause, causyng these thynges and
many mo other." "Nowe, iwys, madame," quod I, "al these thynges I knowe wel my
selfe and that thyn excellence passeth the understandyng of us beestes, and that no
mannes wytte erthely may comprehende thy vertues." "Wel than," quod she, "for I se
thee in disease and sorowe I wote wel thou arte one of myn nories. I maye not
suffre thee so to make sorowe thyn owne selfe to shende; but I myselfe come to be
thy fere, thyne hevy charge to make to seme the lesse. For wo is him that is alone; and
to the sorye, to ben moned by a sorouful wight it is great gladnesse. Right so, with my
sycke frendes I am sicke, and with sorie I can not els but sorowe make tyl whan I have
hem releved in suche wyse that gladnesse in a maner of counterpaysyng shal restore as
mokyl in joye as the passed hevynesse byforne dyd in tene. And also," quod she, "whan
any of my servauntes ben alone in solytary place, I have yet ever besyed me to be with
hem in comforte of their hertes, and taught hem to make songes of playnte and of
blysse, and to endyten letters of rethorike in queynt understondynges, and to bethynke
hem in what wyse they might best their ladyes in good servyce please, and also to lerne
maner in countenaunce in wordes and in bearyng, and to ben meke and lowly to every
wight, his name and fame to encrease, and to yeve gret yeftes and large, that his renome
maye springen. But thee therof have I excused, for thy losse and thy great costages
wherthroughe thou arte nedy arne nothinge to me unknowen, but I hope to God somtyme
it shal ben amended, as thus as I sayd. In norture have I taught al myne and in curtesye
made hem expert their ladyes hertes to wynne, and if any wolde ben deynous or proude,
or be envyous or of wretches acqueyntaunce, hastelyche have I suche voyded out of
my schole. For al vyces trewly I hate; vertues and worthynesse in al my power I
avaunce." "Ah, worthy creature," quod I, "and by juste cause the name of Goddesse
dignely ye mowe beare. In thee lythe the grace thorough whiche any creature in this
worlde hath any goodnesse. Trewly, al maner of blysse and preciousnesse in vertue out
of thee springen and wellen as brokes and ryvers proceden from their springes, and like
as al waters by kynde drawen to the see, so al kyndely thynges thresten by ful appetyte
of desyre to drawe after thy steppes and to thy presence aproche as to their kyndely
perfection: howe dare than beestes in this worlde aught forfete ayenst thy devyne
purveyaunce? Also, lady, ye knowen al the privy thoughtes: in hertes no counsayle
maye ben hydde from your knowyng. Wherfore I wote wel, lady, that ye knowe your
selfe that I in my conscience am and have ben wyllynge to your servyce, al coude I
never do as I shulde, yet, forsothe, fayned I never to love otherwyse than was in myn
herte; and if I coude have made chere to one and ythought another as many other doone
aldaye afore myn eyen, I trowe it wolde not me have vayled." "Certes," quod she,
"haddest thou so done, I wolde not nowe have thee here vysited." "Ye wete wel, lady,
eke," quod I, "that I have not playde raket nettyl in docke out and with the wethercocke
waved, and trewly there ye me sette by acorde of my conscience I wolde not flye tyl ye
and reason by aperte strength maden myn herte to tourne." "In good faythe," quod she,
"I have knowe thee ever of tho condycions, and sythen thou woldest (in as moch as in
thee was) a made me privy of thy counsayle and juge of thy conscience, though I
forsoke it in tho dayes tyl I saw better my tyme, wolde never God that I shuld nowe
fayle, but ever I wol be redy wytnessyng thy sothe in what place that ever I shal ayenst
al tho that wol the contrary susteyne. And for as moche as to me is naught unknowen
ne hyd of thy privy hert but al hast thou tho thynges made to me open at the ful, that hath
caused my comynge into this prison to voyde the webbes of thyne eyen to make thee
clerely to se the errours thou hast ben in. And bycause that men ben of dyvers condycions,
some a dradde to saye a sothe, and some for a sothe anone redy to fyght, and also that
I maye not myselfe ben in place to withsay thilke men that of thee speken otherwyse
than the sothe, I wol, and I charge thee, in vertue of obedyence that thou to me owest,
to writen my wordes and sette hem in writynges that they mowe as my witnessynge
ben noted amonge the people. For bookes written neyther dreden ne shamen ne stryve
conne, but onely shewen the entente of the writer and yeve remembraunce to the herer;
and if any wol in thy presence saye any thynge to tho writers, loke boldely: truste on
Mars to answere at the ful. For certes, I shal hym enfourme of al the trouthe in thy love
with thy conscience, so that of his helpe thou shalte not varye at thy nede. I trowe the
strongest and the beste that maye be founde wol not transvers thy wordes, wherof than
woldest thou drede."
Gretly was I tho gladed of these wordes, and, as who sayth, wexen somdele light in
herte, both for the auctorité of witnesse, and also for sykernesse of helpe of the forsayd
beheste. And sayd: "Trewly, lady, nowe am I wel gladded through comforte of your
wordes. Be it nowe lykynge unto your nobley to shewe whiche folke diffame your
servauntes sythe your servyce ought above al other thynges to ben commended." "Yet,"
quod she, "I se wel thy soule is not al out of the amased cloude. Thee were better to here
thyng that thee myght light out of thyn hevy charge and after knowyng of thyn owne
helpe than to styrre swete wordes and such resons to here. For in a thoughtful soule
(and namely suche one as thou arte) wol not yet suche thynges synken. Come of,
therfore, and let me sene thy hevy charge that I may the lyghtlyer for thy comforte purvey."
"Nowe, certes, lady," quod I, "the moste comforte I myght have were utterly to wete
me be sure in herte of that Margaryte I serve, and so I thinke to don with al mightes
whyle my lyfe dureth." "Than," quod she, "mayste thou therafter in suche wyse that
mysplesaunce ne entre?" "In good fayth," quod I, "there shal no misplesaunce be caused
through trespace on my syde." "And I do thee to weten," quod she, "I set never yet
person to serve in no place (but if he caused the contrary in defautes and trespaces) that
he ne spedde of his servyce." "Myn owne erthly lady," quod I tho, "and yet remembre
to your worthynesse howe long sythen by many revolvyng of yeres in tyme whan
Octobre his leave gynneth take and Novembre sheweth hym to syght whan bernes ben
ful of goodes as is the nutte on every halke, and than good londe tyllers gynne shape for
the erthe with great travayle to bringe forthe more corne to mannes sustenaunce ayenst
the nexte yeres folowyng. In suche tyme of plentie he that hath an home and is wyse
lyste not to wander mervayles to seche, but he be constrayned or excited. Oft the lothe
thyng is doone by excytacion of other mannes opynyon whiche wolden fayne have
myn abydynge take in herte of luste to travayle, and se the wyndyng of the erthe in that
tyme of wynter — by woodes that large stretes werne in, by smale pathes that swyne
and hogges hadden made as lanes with ladels their maste to seche. I walked thynkynge
alone a wonder great whyle, and the great beestes that the woode haunten and adorneth
al maner forestes and heerdes gone to wylde. Than, er I was ware, I neyghed to a see
banke and, for ferde of the beestes, `shypcrafte,' I cryde. For lady, I trowe ye wete wel
yourselfe nothyng is werse than the beestes that shulden ben tame, if they catche her
wyldenesse and gynne ayen waxe ramage. Thus, forsothe, was I aferde and to shyppe
me hyed. Than were there ynowe to lache myn handes and drawe me to shyppe of
whiche many I knewe wel the names. Syght was the first, Lust was a nother, Thought
was the thirde, and Wyl eke was there a mayster: these broughten me within borde of
this shyppe of traveyle. So whan the sayle was sprad and this shyppe gan to move the
wynde and water gan for to ryse and overthwartly to turne the welken; the wawes
semeden as they kyste togyder, but often under colour of kyssynge is mokel olde hate
prively closed and kepte. The storme so straungely and in a devouring maner gan so
faste us assayle that I supposed the date of my deth shulde have made there his gynnyng.
Nowe up, nowe downe, nowe under the wawe, and nowe aboven was my shyppe a
great whyle. And so by mokel duresse of wethers and of stormes and with great avowyng
pylgrimages, I was driven to an yle where utterly I wende first to have be rescowed,
but trewly, as the first gynnyng, it semed me so peryllous the haven to catche that but
thorowe grace I had ben comforted of lyfe I was ful dispayred. Trewly, lady, if ye
remembre a right, of al maner thynges yourselfe came hastely to sene us see driven and
to weten what we weren. But first ye were deynous of chere, after whiche ye gonne
better alyght, and ever, as me thought, ye lyved in great drede of disease — it semed so
by your chere. And whan I was certifyed of your name, the lenger I loked in you the
more I you goodly dradde and ever myn herte on you opened the more, and so in a lytel
tyme my shyppe was out of mynde. But, lady, as ye me lad I was ware bothe of beestes
and of fysshes a great nombre throngyng togyder: amonge whiche a muskel in a blewe
shel had enclosed a Margaryte perle, the moste precious and best that ever to forne
came in my syght, and ye tolden your selfe that ylke jewel in his kynde was so good and
so vertuous that her better shulde I never fynde al sought I therafter to the worldes
ende. And with that I helde my peace a great whyle; and ever sythen I have me bethought
on the man that sought the precious Margarytes, and whan he had founden one to his
lykyng he solde al his good to bye that jewel. Iwys, thought I, and yet so I thynke, nowe
have I founden the jewel that myne herte desyreth, wherto shulde I seche further?
Trewly nowe wol I stynte and on this Margaryte I sette me for ever. Nowe than also,
sythen I wyste wel it was your wyl that I shulde so suche a servyce me take, and so to
desyre that thing of whiche I never have blisse, there lyveth none but he hath disease.
Your might than that brought me to suche servyce that to me is cause of sorowe and of
joye, I wonder of your worde that ye sayne to bringen men in to joye, and, pardé, ye
wete wel that defaut ne trespace may not reasonably ben put to me wardes as ferre as
my conscience knoweth. But of my disease me lyst now a whyle to speke and to
enforme you in what maner of blysse ye have me thronge. For truly I wene that al
gladnesse al joye and al myrthe is beshet under locke and the keye throwe in suche place
that it may not be founde; my brennyng wo hath altred al my hewe. Whan I shulde
slepe, I walowe and I thynke and me disporte. Thus combred I seme that al folke had
me mased. Also, lady, myne desyre hath longe dured some speking to have, or els at the
lest have ben enmoysed with syght, and for wantynge of these thinges my mouthe
wolde, and he durst, pleyne right sore sythen yvels for my goodnesse arne manyfolde
to me yolden. I wonder, lady, trewly, save evermore your reverence, howe ye mowe
for shame suche thynges suffre on your servaunt to be so multyplied. Wherfore, knelyng
with a lowe herte I pray you to rue on this caytife that of nothyng now may serve.
Good lady, if ye lyste, nowe your helpe to me shewe that am of your privyest servantes
at al assayes in this tyme and under your wynges of protection. No helpe to me wardes
is shapen: howe shal than straungers in any wyse after socoure loke, whan I that am so
privy yet of helpe I do fayle? Further maye I not but thus in this prison abyde: what
bondes and chaynes me holden, lady, ye se wel yourselfe? A renyant forjuged hath not
halfe the care. But thus syghyng and sobbyng I wayle here alone, and nere it for comforte
of your presence, right here wolde I sterve. And yet a lytel am I gladed that so goodly
suche grace and none hap have I hente graciously to fynde the precious Margarite that,
al other lefte, men shulde bye if they shulde therfore sel al her substaunce. Wo is me that
so many let games and purpose brekers ben maked wayters, suche prisoners as I am
evermore to overloke and to hynder, and for suche lettours it is harde any suche jewel
to wynne. Is this, lady, an honour to thy deytie? Me thynketh by right suche people
shulde have no maistrye ne ben overlokers over none of thy servauntes. Trewly, were
it leful unto you to al the Goddes wolde I playne that ye rule your devyne purveyaunce
amonges your servantes nothyng as ye shulde. Also, lady, my moeble is insuffysaunt to
countervayle the price of this jewel, or els to make th'eschange. Eke no wight is worthy
suche perles to weare but kynges or princes or els their peres. This jewel for vertue
wold adorne and make fayre al a realme; the nobley of vertue is so moche that her
goodnesse overal is commended. Who is it that wolde not wayle but he might suche
rychesse have at his wyl? The vertue therof out of this prison may me delyver and
naught els. And if I be not ther thorowe holpen, I se myselfe withouten recovery: Although
I might hence voyde, yet wolde I not. I wolde abyde the daye that destenye hath me
ordeyned, whiche I suppose is without amendement. So sore is myn herte bounden that
I maye thynken none other. Thus strayte, lady, hath sir Daunger laced me in stockes, I
leve it be not your wyl; and for I se you taken so lytel hede as me thynketh and wol not
maken by your might the vertue in mercy of the Margaryte on me for to stretche, so as
ye mowe wel in case that you lyste, my blysse and my mirthe arne feld. Sicknesse and
sorowe ben alwaye redy. The cope of tene is wounde aboute al my body that stondyng
is me best; unneth maye I lygge for pure miseasy sorowe, and yet al this is lytel ynoughe
to be the ernest sylver in forwarde of this bargayne; for treblefolde so mokel muste I
suffer er tyme come of myn ease. For he is worthy no welthe that maye no wo suffer.
And certes I am hevy to thynke on these thynges. But who shal yeve me water ynough
to drinke lest myn eyen drie for rennyng stremes of teares? Who shal waylen with me
myne owne happy hevynesse? Who shal counsaile me nowe in my lykyng tene, and in
my goodly harse? I not. For ever the more I brenne the more I coveyte; the more that
I sorow the more thrist I in gladnesse. Who shal than yeve me a contraryous drinke to
stanche the thurste of my blysful bytternesse? Lo, thus I brenne and I drenche. I shyver
and I sweate. To this reversed yvel was never yet ordeyned salve: for soth, al lyches ben
unconnyng save the Margaryte alone any suche remedye to purvey."
And with these wordes I brast out to wepe that every teere of myne eyen for greatnesse
semed they boren out the bal of my syght and that al the water had ben out ronne. Than
thought me that Love gan a lytel to heavy for miscomfort of my chere and gan soberly
and in easy maner speke, wel avysinge what she sayd. Comenly the wyse speken easyly
and softe for many skylles: One is their wordes are the better byleved; and also, in easy
speakynge, avysement men may catche what to put forthe and what to holden in. And
also the auctorité of easy wordes is the more, and eke they yeven the more understandynge
to other intencion of the mater. Right so this ladye easely and in a softe maner gan say
"Mervayle," quod she, "great it is that by no maner of semblaunt as ferre as I can
espye thou lyst not to have any recour, but ever thou playnest and sorowest, and wayes
of remedye, for folysshe wylfulnesse, thee lyste not to seche. But enquyre of thy next
frendes, that is, thyne inwytte and me, that have ben thy maystresse and therecour and
fyne of thy disease: for of disease is gladnesse and joy, with a ful vessel so helded that
it quencheth the felynge of the firste tenes. But thou that were wonte not onely these
thynges remembre in thyne herte, but also fooles therof to enfourmen in adnullynge of
their errours and distroyeng of their derke opynions, and in comforte of their seare
thoughtes, now canst thou not ben comforte of thyn owne soule in thynkyng of these
thynges. O where haste thou be so longe commensal that hast so mykel eeten of the
potages of foryetfulnesse and dronken so of ignorance that the olde soukyng whiche
thou haddest of me arne amaystred and lorn fro al maner of knowyng? O this is a
worthy person to helpe other that can not counsayle him selfe." And with these wordes
for pure and stronge shame I woxe al reed.
And she than seyng me so astonyed by dyvers stoundes, sodainly (whiche thynge
kynde hateth) gan deliciously me comforte with sugred wordes, puttyng me in ful hope
that I shulde the Margarite getten if I folowed her hestes, and gan with a fayre clothe to
wypen the teares that hyngen on my chekes. And than sayd I in this wyse: "Nowe, wel
of wysedom and of al welthe, withouten thee may nothyng ben lerned. Thou bearest the
keyes of al privy thinges. In vayne travayle men to catche any stedshyp, but if ye, lady,
first the locke unshet, ye, lady, lerne us the wayes and the by pathes to heven; ye, lady,
maken al the hevenly bodyes goodly and benignely to done her course that governen us
beestes here on erthe. Ye armen your servauntes ayenst al debates with imperciable
harneys; ye setten in her hertes insuperable blode of hardynesse; ye leaden hem to the
parfyte good. Yet al thynge desyreth ye wern no man of helpe that wele done your lore.
Graunt me nowe a lytel of your grace al my sorowes to cease." "Myne owne servaunt,"
quod she, "trewly thou syttest nye myne herte, and thy badde chere gan sorily me
greve. But amonge thy playnyng wordes me thought thou allegest thynges to be lettyng
of thyne helpynge and thy grace to hynder, wherthroughe me thynketh that wanhope
is crope thorough thyn hert. God forbyd that nyse unthrifty thought shulde come in thy
mynde thy wyttes to trouble, sythen every thyng in comyng is contyngent. Wherfore
make no more thy proposycion by an impossyble. But nowe I praye thee reherse me
ayen tho thynges that thy mistrust causen, and thylke thynges I thynke by reason to
distroyen and put ful hope in thyn herte. What understondest thou there," quod she,
"by that thou saydest many lette games are thyn overlokers? And also by that thy
moeble is insuffysant. I not what thou therof meanest."
"Trewly," quod I, "by the first I say that janglers evermore arne spekynge rather of
yvel than of good, for every age of man rather enclyneth to wickednesse than any
goodnesse to avaunce. Also false wordes spryngen so wyde by the steeryng of false
lyeng tonges that fame als swiftely flyeth to her eares and sayth many wicked tales,
and as soone shal falsenesse ben leved as truthe, for al his gret sothnesse. Now by that
other," quod I, "me thynketh thilke jewel so precious that to no suche wretche as I am
wolde vertue therof extende and also I am to feble in worldly joyes any suche jewel to
countrevayle. For suche people that worldly joyes han at her wyl ben sette at the highest
degree and most in reverence ben accepted. For false wenyng maketh felycité therin to
be supposed, but suche caytives as I am evermore ben hyndred." "Certes,"quod she,
"take good hede and I shal by reason to thee shewen that al these thynges mowe nat let
thy purpose by the leest poynt that any wight coude pricke."
"Remembrest nat," quod she, "ensample is one of the strongest maner as for to preve
a mannes purpose. Than if I nowe, by ensample, enduce thee to any proposytion, is it
nat proved by strength?" "Yes, forsothe," quod I. "Wel," quod she, "raddest thou never
howe Paris of Troye and Heleyne loved togyder, and yet had they not entrecomuned of
speche? Also Acrisyus shette Dane his doughter in a tour for suertie that no wight
shulde of her have no maistry in my servyce; and yet Jupiter, by signes without any
speche, had al his purpose ayenst her fathers wyl. And many suche mo have ben knytte
in trouthe, and yet spake they never togyder, for that is a thyng enclosed under secretnesse
of pryvité why twey persons entremellen hertes after asight. The power in knowyng of
such thynges so preven shal nat al utterly be yeven to you beestes, for many thynges in
suche precious maters ben reserved to jugement of devyne purveyaunce. For among
lyveng people, by mannes consyderacion moun they nat be determyned. Wherfore I
saye the envy, al the janglynge that welny people upon my servauntes maken efte, is
rather cause of esployte than of any hyndringe." "Why than," quod I, "suffre ye such
wrong and moun whan ye lyst lightly al such yvels abate? Me semeth to you it is a great
unworship." "O," quod she, "holde nowe thy peace. I have founden to many that han
ben to me unkynde, that trewly I wol suffre every wight in that wyse to have disease;
and who that contynueth to the ende wel and trewly, hem wol I helpen and as for one
of myne into blysse to wende. As marcial doyng in Grece. Who was ycrowned by God?
Nat the strongest, but he that rathest come and lengest abode and contynued in the
journey and spared nat to traveyle as long as the play lest. But thilke person that profred
him nowe to my servyce, therin is a while and anon voydeth and redy to another and
so nowe one he thynketh and nowe another and into water entreth and anon respireth.
Such one lyst me nat into perfyte blysse of my servyce bringe. A tree ofte set in dyvers
places wol nat by kynde endure to bringe forth frutes. Loke nowe, I pray thee, howe
myne olde servauntes of tyme passed contynued in her servyce, and folowe thou after
their steppes, and than myght thou not fayle in case thou worche in this wyse." "Certes,"
quod I, "it is nothyng lych this worlde to tyme passed; eke this countré hath one maner,
and another countré hath another. And so may nat a man alwaye put to his eye the salve
that he healed with his hele. For this is sothe: betwixe two thynges lyche, ofte dyversité
"Nowe," quod she, "that is sothe: dyversité of nation, dyversité of lawe, as was
maked by many reasons, for that dyversyté cometh in by the contrarious malyce of
wicked people that han envyous hertes ayenst other. But, trewly, my lawe to my
servauntes ever hath ben in general, whiche may nat fayle. For right as mannes lawes
that is ordayned by many determinations may nat be knowe for good or badde tyl assay
of the people han proved it and to what ende it draweth, and than it sheweth the necessité
therof, or els the impossibilyté, right so the lawe of my servauntes so welhath ben
proved in general that hytherto hath it not fayled.
"Wyste thou not wel that al the lawe of kynde is my lawe and by God ordayned and
stablisshed to dure by kynde reasoun, wherfore al lawe by mannes wytte purveyde
ought to be underputte to lawe of kynde, whiche yet hath be commune to every kyndely
creature that my statutes and my lawe that ben kyndely arne general to al peoples? Olde
doynges and by many turnynges of yeres used, and with the peoples maner proved,
mowen nat so lightly ben defased, but newe doynges, contrariauntes suche olde, often
causen diseases and breaken many purposes. Yet saye I nat therfore that ayen newe
mischefe men shulde nat ordaynen a newe remedye, but alwaye looke it contrary not
the olde no ferther than the malyce stretcheth. Than foloweth it — the olde doynges in
love han ben unyversal — as for most exployte forthe used. Wherfore I wol not yet that
of my lawes nothynge be adnulled. But thanne to thy purpose, suche jangelers and
lokers and wayters of games, if thee thynke in aught they mowe dere, yet love wel
alwaye and sette hem at naught, and lette thy porte ben lowe in every wightes presence,
and redy in thyne herte to maynteyne that thou hast begonne, and a lytel thee fayne with
mekenesse in wordes; and thus with sleyght shalt thou surmount and dequace the yvel
in their hertes. And wysdome yet is to seme flye otherwhyle there a man wol fyght.
Thus with suche thynges the tonges of yvel shal ben stylled, els fully to graunt thy ful
meanynge, for sothe, ever was and ever it shalbe that myn enemyes ben aferde to truste
to any fightynge. And therfore have thou no cowardes herte in my servyce, no more
than somtyme thou haddest in the contrarye, for if thou drede suche jangleres thy
viage to make, understande wel, that he that dredeth any rayne to sowe his cornes he
shal have thin bernes. Also he that is aferde of his clothes, let him daunce naked. Who
nothyng undertaketh and namely in my servyce nothyng acheveth. After great stormes
the wether is often mery and smothe. After moche clatering, there is mokyl rownyng;
thus after jangling wordes cometh `huysshte,' `peace,' and `be styl.'" "O good lady,"
quod I than, "se nowe howe seven yere passed and more have I graffed and groubed a
vyne, and with al the wayes that I coude I sought to a fed meof the grape. But frute have
I none founde. Also I have this seven yere served Laban to a wedded Rachel his doughter,
but blere eyed Lya is brought to my bedde whiche alway engendreth my tene and is ful
of chyldren in trybulacion and in care. And although the clippynges and kyssynges of
Rachel shulde seme to me swete, yet is she so barayne that gladnesse ne joye by no way
wol springe so that I may wepe with Rachel. I may not ben counsayled with solace
sythen issue of myn hertely desyre is fayled. Nowe than I pray that to me sone fredom
and grace in this eyght yere: this eighteth mowe to me bothe be kynrest and masseday
after the seven werkedays of travayle to folowe the Christen lawe; and, whatever ye do
els, that thilke Margaryte be holden so, lady, in your privy chambre that she in this case
to none other person be commytted." "Loke than," quod she, "thou persever in my
servyce in whiche I have thee grounded that thilke skorne in thyn enemyes mowe this on
thy person be not sothed: lo this man began to edefye, but, for his foundement is bad,
to the ende may he it not bringe. For mekenesse in countenaunce with a manly hert in
dedes and in longe contynuaunce is the conysance of my lyvery to al my retynue
delyvered. What wenyst thou that me lyst avaunce suche persons as loven the first
syttynges at feestes, the highest stoles in churches and in hal, loutynges of peoples in
markettes and fayres, unstedfaste to byde in one place any whyle togyder wenyng his
owne wyt more excellent than other, scornyng al maner devyse but his own. Nay, nay,
God wot these shul nothing parten of my blysse. Truly, my maner here toforne hath ben
worshyp with my blysse lyons in the felde and lambes in chambre, egles at assaute and
maydens in halle, foxes in counsayle styl in their dedes, and their protection is graunted
redy to ben a bridge, and their baner is arered like wolves in the felde. Thus by these
wayes shul men ben avaunced; ensample of David that from kepyng of shepe was
drawen up into the order of kyngly governaunce, and Jupiter, from a bole, to ben
Europes fere, and Julius Cesar from the lowest degré in Rome to be mayster of al erthly
princes, and Eneas from hel to be king of the countré there Rome is nowe stondyng.
And so to thee I say, thy grace by beryng therafter may set thee in suche plyght that no
janglyng may greve the lest tucke of thy hemmes, that their jangles is not to counte at a
cresse in thy disavauntage."
"Ever," quod she, "hath the people in this worlde desyred to have had great name in
worthynesse and hated foule to beare any fame, and that is one of the objections thou
alegest to be ayen thyne hertely desyre." "Ye, forsothe," quod I, "and that so comenly
the people wol lye and bringe aboute suche enfamé." "Nowe," quod she, "if men with
leasynges put on thee enfamé, wenest thyselfe therby ben enpeyred? That wenyng is
wronge, se why: for as moche as they lyen thy meryte encreaseth and make thee ben
more worthy to hem that knowen of thee the soth; by what thyng thou art apeyred, that
in so mokyl thou arte encreased of thy beloved frendes. And sothly a wounde of thy
frende to thee lasse harme, ye sir, and better than a false kyssyng in disceyvable glosyng
of thyne enemye; above that than to be wel with thy frende maketh suche enfamé.
Ergo, thou art encresed and not apeyred." "Lady," quod I, "somtyme yet if a man be in
disease th'estymacion of the envyous people ne loketh nothyng to desertes of men ne to
the merytes of their doynges, but only to the aventure of fortune, and therafter they
yeven their sentence. And some loken the voluntary wyl in his herte and therafter telleth
his jugement, not takyng hede to reason ne to the qualité of the doyng, as thus: If a man
be ryche and fulfylde with worldly welfulnesse, some commenden it and sayne it is so
lente by juste cause. And he that hath adversyté they sayne he is weaked and hath
deserved thilke anoye. The contrarye of these thinges some men holden also and sayne
that to the ryche prosperyté is purvayed into his confusyon, and upon this mater many
autorites of many and great-wytted clerkes they alegen. And some men sayn though al
good estymacion forsaken folk that han adversyté, yet is it meryte and encrease of his
blysse, so that these purposes arne so wonderful in understandyng that trewly for myn
adversyté nowe, I not howe the sentence of the indifferent people wyl jugen my fame."
"Therfore," quod she, "if any wyght shulde yeve a trewe sentence on suche maters,
the cause of the disease maist thou se wel. Understande therupon after what ende it
draweth, that is to sayne good or badde, soought it to have his fame by goodnesse or
enfamé by badnesse. For every reasonable person and namely of a wyse man, his wytte
ought not without reason to forne herde sodainly in a mater to juge. After the sawes of
the wise, thou shalt not juge ne deme toforne thou knowe." "Lady," quod I, "ye remembre
wel that in moste laude and praysyng of certayne sayntes in holy churche is to rehersen
their convercion from badde into good, and that is so rehersed as by a perpetual myrrour
of remembraunce in worshyppynge of tho sayntes and good ensample to other misdoers
in amendement. Howe turned the Romayne Zedeoreys fro the Romaynes to be with
Hanybal ayenst his kynde nacion; and afterwardes him semyng the Romayns to be at
the next degré of confusyon turned to his olde alyes, by whose wytte after was Hanybal
discomfyted. Wherfore, to enfourme you, lady, the maner why I meane, se nowe. In
my youth I was drawe to ben assentaunt and, in my mightes, helpyng to certayn
conjuracions and other great maters of ruling of cytezins, and thilke thynges ben my
drawers in, andexitours to tho maters werne so paynted and coloured that, at the prime
face, me semed them noble and glorious to al the people. I than, wenyng mykel meryte
have deserved in furtheryng and mayntenaunce of tho thynges, besyed and laboured
with al my dyligence in werkynge of thylke maters to the ende. And trewly, lady, to tel
you the sothe, me rought lytel of any hate of the mighty senatours in thilke cyté, ne of
comunes malyce, for two skylles: One was I had comforte to ben in suche plyte that bothe
profyte were to me and to my frendes. Another was for commen profyte in comynaltie is
not but peace and tranquylité with just governaunce proceden from thylke profyte,
sythen by counsayle of myne inwytte me thought the firste paynted thynges malyce and
yvel meanynge, withouten any good avaylyng to any people, and of tyrannye purposed.
And so for pure sorowe and of my medlynge and badde infamé that I was in ronne,
tho teeres lasshed out of myne eyen were thus awaye wasshe; than the under hydde
malyce and the rancoure of purposynge envye, fornecaste and ymagyned in distruction
of mokyl people, shewed so openly that had I ben blynde with myne hondes al the
circumstaunce I might wel have feled.
Nowe than tho persones that suche thynges have caste to redresse for wrathe of my
first medlynge shopen me to dwel in this pynande prison tyl Lachases my threde no
lenger wolde twyne. And ever I was sought if me lyste to have grace of my lyfe and
frenesse of that prison, I shulde openly confesse howe peace myght ben endused to
enden al the firste rancours. It was fully supposed my knowyng to be ful in tho maters.
Than, lady, I thought that every man that by any waye of right rightfully done, maye
helpe any comune helpe to ben saved — whiche thynge to kepe above al thynges I am
holde to mayntayne; and namely in distroyeng of a wrong, al shulde I therthrough
enpeche myn owne fere if he were gylty and to do misdede assentaunt. And mayster ne
frende maye nought avayle to the soule of him that in falsnesse deyeth, and also that I
nere desyred wrathe of the people ne indignacion of the worthy, for nothynge that ever
I wrought or dyd in any doyng myselfe els but in the mayntenaunce of these foresayd
errours and in hydynge of the privytees therof. And that al the peoples hertesholdynge
on the errours syde weren blynde and of elde so ferforthe begyled that debate and stryfe
they maynteyned and in distruction on that othersyde, by whiche cause the peace, that
moste in comunaltie shulde be desyred, was in poynte to be broken and adnulled. Also
the cytie of London, that is to me so dere and swete, in whiche I was forthe growen;
and more kyndely love have I to that place than to any other in erthe, as every kyndely
creature hath ful appetyte to that place of his kyndly engendrure, and to wylne reste and
peace in that stede to abyde: thylke peace shulde thus there have ben broken — and of
al wyse it is commended and desyred. For knowe thynge it is, al men that desyren to
comen to the perfyte peace everlastyng must the peace by God commended bothe
mayntayne and kepe. This peace by angels voyce was confyrmed, our God entrynge in
this worlde. This as for His Testament He left to al His frendes whanne He retourned to
the place from whence He came: this His Apostel amonesteth to holden, without whiche
man perfytely may have none insyght. Also this God by His comyng made not peace
alone betwene hevenly and erthly bodyes, but also amonge us on erthe so He peace
confyrmed, that in one heed of love onebody we shulde perfourme. Also I remembre
me wel howe the name of Athenes was rather after the god of peace than of batayle,
shewynge that peace moste is necessarye to comunalties and cytes. I than so styred by
al these wayes toforne nempned, declared certayne poyntes in this wyse. Firste that
thilke persones that hadden me drawen to their purposes and, me not wetyng the privy
entent of their meanynge, drawen also the feoble-wytted people, that have none insyght
of gubernatyfe prudence, to clamure and to crye on maters that they styred; and under
poyntes for comune avauntage they enbolded the passyfe to take in the actyves doynge,
and also styred innocentes of connyng to crye after thynges whiche, quod they, 'may
not stande but we ben executours of tho maters, and auctorité of execucion by comen
election to us be delyvered. And that muste entre by strength of your mayntenaunce, for
we, out of suche degree put, oppressyon of these olde hyndrers shal agayne surmounten
and putten you in such subjection that in endelesse wo ye shul complayne. The
governementes,' quod they, 'of your cyté, lefte in the handes of torcencious cytezyns,
shal bringe in pestylence and distruction to you, good men; and therfore let us have the
comune admynistracion to abate suche yvels. Also,' quod they, 'it is worthy the good
to commende and the gylty desertes to chastice. There ben cytezens many, forferde of
execucion that shal be doone, for extorcions by hem commytted ben evermore ayenst
these purposes and al other good menynges.' Never-the-latter, lady, trewly the meanynge
under these wordes was fully to have apeched the mighty senatoures whiche hadden
heavy herte for the misgovernaunce that they seen. And so, lady, whan it fel that free
election by great clamour of moche people for great disease of misgovernaunce so
fervently stoden in her election that they hem submytted to every maner face, rather
than have suffred the maner and the rule of the hated governours, not withstandynge
that in the contrary helden moche comune meyny that have no consyderacion but onely
to voluntary lustes withouten reason. But than thylke governour so forsaken, faynynge
toforne his undoynge for misrule in his tyme, shope to have letted thilke electyon and
have made anewe himselfe to have ben chosen, and under that mokyl rore have arered.
These thynges, lady, knowen amonge the princes andmade open to the people, draweth
in amendement that every degree shal ben ordayned to stande there as he shulde, and
that of errours comyng herafter men may lightly tofornehande purvaye remedye, in this
wyse peace and rest to be furthered and holde. Of the whiche thynges, lady, thylke
persones broughten in answere toforne their moste soverayne juge, not coarted by
paynynge dures openly knowlegeden, and asked therof grace, so that apertely it preveth
my wordes ben sothe without forgynge of leasynges.
But nowe it greveth me to remembre these dyvers sentences in janglynge of these
shepy people. Certes me thynketh they oughten to maken joye that a sothe maye be
knowe. For my trouthe and my conscience ben wytnesse to me bothe that this knowynge
sothe have I sayde, for no harme ne malyce of tho persones but onely for trouthe of my
sacrament in my leigeaunce by whiche I was charged on my kynges behalfe. But se ye
not nowe, lady, how the felonous thoughtes of this people and covyns of wicked men
conspyren ayen my sothfast trouth? Se ye not every wight that to these erronyous
opinyons were assentaunt and helpes to the noyse and knewen althese thynges better
than I my selven apparaylen to fynden newe frendes and cleapen me false and
studyen howe they mowen in her mouthes werse plyte nempne? O God, what maye
this be that thylke folke whiche that in tyme of my mayntenaunce and whan my might
avayled to stretch to the forsayd maters, tho me commended and yave me name of
trouth in so manyfolde maners that it was nyghe in every wightes eere there as any of
thilke people weren; and, on the other syde, thilke company somtyme passed yevynge
me name of badde loos. Nowe bothe tho peoples turned the good into badde and badde
into good, whiche thyng is wonder, that they knowynge me sayng but sothe arne nowe
tempted to reply her olde praysynges, and knowen me wel in al doynges to ben trewe,
and sayne openly that I false have sayd many thynges. And they aleged nothynge me to
ben false or untrewe, save thilke mater knowleged by the parties hemselfe. And, God
wote, other mater is none. Ye also, lady, knowe these thynges for trewe: I avaunte not
in praysyng of myselfe, therby shulde I lese the precious secré of my conscience. But
ye se wel that false opinyon of the people for my trouthe in tellyng out of false conspyred
maters; and after the jugement of these clerkes I shulde not hyde the sothe of no maner
person, mayster ne other. Wherfore Iwolde not drede were it put in the consyderacion
of trewe and of wyse. And for comers hereafter shullen fully out of denwere al the
sothe knowe of these thinges in acte, but as they werne I have put it in scripture, in
perpetuel remembraunce of true meanynge. For trewly, lady, me semeth that I ought to
beare the name of trouthe that for the love of rightwysnesse have thus me submytten.
But nowe than the false fame which that clerkes sayn flyeth as faste as dothe the fame
of trouthe shal so wyde sprede tyl it be brought to the jewel that I of meane, and so shal
I ben hyndred withouten any measure of trouthe."
Than gan Love sadly me beholde and sayd in a chaunged voyce, lower than she had
spoken in any tyme: "Fayne wolde I," quod she, "that thou were holpen, but haste thou
sayd any thynge whiche thou myght not proven?" "Pardé," quod I, "the persones
every thyng as I have sayd han knowleged hemselfe." "Yea," quod she, "but what if
they hadden nayed? Howe woldest thou have maynteyned it?" "Sothely," quod I, "it is
wel wyste bothe amongest the greatest and other of the realme that I profered my body
so largely into provynge of tho thynges, that Mars shulde have juged the ende. But for
sothnesse of my wordes they durste not to thylke juge truste." "Nowe certes," quod she,
"above al fames in this worlde the name of marcial doynges moste pleasen to ladyes of
my lore, but sythen thou were redy, and thyne adversaryes in thy presence refused
thilke doyng, thy fame ought to be so borne as if in dede it had take to the ende. And
therfore every wight that any droppe of reason hath and hereth of thee infamé for these
thynges hath this answere to saye: `trewly thou saydest, for thyne adversaryes thy
wordes affirmed.' And if thou haddest lyed, yet are they discomfyted, the prise leaned
on thy syde, so that fame shal holde down infamé: he shal bringe upon none halfe.
"What greveth thee thyne enemye to sayne their owne shame as thus: `We arne
discomfyted, and yet our quarel is trewe?' Shal not the loos of thy frendes ayenward
dequace thilke enfamé and saye they graunted a sothe without a stroke or fighting?
Many men in bataile ben discomfyted and overcome in a rightful quarel that is Goddes
privy jugement in heven; but yet although the partie be yolden he may with wordes saye
his quarel is trewe and to yelde him in the contrarye, for drede of dethe he is compelled;
and he that graunteth and no stroke hath feled, he maye not crepe away in this wyse by
none excusacion. Indifferent folke wyl say, `ye, who is trewe, who is false, himselfe
knowlegeth tho thinges.' Thus in every syde fame sheweth to thee good and no badde."
"But yet," quod I, "some wyl say I ne shulde for no dethe have discovered my maysters,
and so by unkyndnesse they wol knette infamé to pursue me aboute. Thus enemyes of
wyl in manyfolde maner wol seche privy serpentynes queyntyses to quenche and distroye
by venym of many besynesses the light of truthe to make hertes to murmure ayenst my
persone to have me in hayne withouten any cause." "Nowe," quod she, "here me a
fewe wordes, and thou shalte fully ben answerde I trowe. Me thynketh," quod she,
"right nowe by thy wordes that sacrament of swearyng, that is to say, chargyng by
othe, was one of the causes to make thee discover the malicious ymaginatyons tofore
nempned. Every othe, by knyttynge of copulation, muste have these lawes, that is
trewe jugement and rightwysenesse, in whiche thynge, if any of these lacke, the othe is
ytourned into the name of perjury. Than to make a trewe serment, most nedes these
thynges folowe, for ofte tymes a man, to saye sothe, but jugement and justyce folowe,
he is forsworne: ensample of Herodes for holdynge of his serment was dampned.
"Also, to saye truthe rightfullyche but in jugement otherwhile is forboden by that al
sothes be nat to sayne. Therfore in jugement in truthe and rightwisenesse is every
creature bounden up payne of perjury, ful knowyng to make tho it were of his owne
persone for drede of synne. After that worde, `better is it to dey than lyve false,' and al
wolde perverted people false reporte make, in unkyndnesse in that entent thy fame to
reyse, whan lyght of truthe in these maters is forthe sprongen and openly publysshed
among commens, than shal nat suche derke enfamé dare appere, for pure shame ofhis
falsnesse, as some men ther ben that their owne enfamé can none otherwyse voide or
els excuse, but be hyndringe of other mennes fame, which that by non other cause
cleapen other men false. But for with their owne falsnesse mowen they nat ben avaunsed
or els by false sklaundrynge wordes other men shendyn, their owne trewe sklaunder to
make seme the lasse, for if such men wolden their eyen of their conscience revolven,
shulden sene the same sentence they legen on other springe out of their sydes with so
many braunches it were impossyble to nombre. To whiche, therfore, maye it be sayd in
that thynge this man thou demest, therin thy selfe thou condempnest. But," quod she,
"understande nat by these wordes that thou wene me saye thee to be worthy sclaunder,
for any mater tofore written truely I wolde wytnesse the contrary. But I saye that the
beames of sclaundryng wordes may nat be done awaye tyl the daye of dome. For howe
shulde it nat yet amonges so great plentie of people ben many shrewes, sithen whan no
mo but eight persons in Noes shippe were closed, yet one was a shrewe and skorned
his father. These thynges," quod she, "I trowe shewen that false fame is nat to drede ne
of wyse persons to accepte and namely nat of thy Margarite, whose wysedom here-
after I thynke to declare, wherfore, I wotte wel, suche thynge shal nat her asterte; than
of unkyndnesse thyne othe hath thee excused at the fulle. But nowe if thou woldest nat
greve me lyst a fewe thynges to shewe." "Say on," quod I, "what ye wol. I trowe ye
meane but trouthe and my profyte in tyme comynge." "Trewly," quod she, "that is
sothe, so thou con wel kepe these wordes and, in the inrest secré chambre of thyne
herte, so faste hem close that they never flytte than shalte thou fynde hem avaylyng.
Loke nowe what people haste thou served, whiche of hem al in tyme of thyne exile ever
thee refresshed by the valewe of the leste coyned plate that walketh in money. Who was
sorye or made any rewth for thy disease? If they hadden getten their purpose, of thy
misaventure sette they nat an hawe. Lo, whan thou were enprisonned howe faste they
hyed in helpe of thy delyveraunce. I wene of thy dethe they yeve but lyte. They loked
after nothynge but after their owne lustes.And if thou lyste say the sothe, al that
meyny that in this brigge thee broughten lokeden rather after thyne helpes than thee to
"Owen nat yet some of hem money for his commens? Paydest nat thou for some of
her dispences tyl they were tourned out of Selande? Who yave thee ever ought for any
rydynge thou madest? Yet, pardye, some of hem token money for thy chambre and
putte tho pens in his purse, unwetynge of the renter.
"Lo for which a company thou medlest that neyther thee ne themselfe myghten helpe;
of unkyndnesse nowe they beare the name that thou supposest of hem for to have.
What myght thou more have done than thou dyddest, but if thou woldest in a false
quarel have been a stynkynge martyr? I wene thou fleddest as longe as thou myght their
pryvité to counsayle whiche thynge thou helest lenger than thou shuldest. And thilke that
ought thee money no penny wolde paye; they wende thy returne hadde ben an impossyble.
Howe might thou better have hem proved but thus in thy nedy diseases? Nowe haste
thou ensaumple for whom thou shalte meddle: trewly, this lore is worthe many goodes.
Efte gan Love to sterne me these wordes: "thynke on my speche, for trewly hereafter
it wol do thee lykynge, and howesoever thou se Fortune shape her wheele to tourne,
this meditation by no waye revolve. For certes, Fortune sheweth her fayrest whan she
thynketh to begyle. And as me thought heretoforne thou saydest thy loos in love (for
thy rightwysenesse ought to be raysed) shulde be alowed in tyme comynge. Thou
myght in love so thee have that loos and fame shul so ben raysed that to thy frendes
comforte, and sorowe to thyne enemys, endlesse shul endure.
"But if thou were the one shepe amonges the hundred were loste in deserte and out of
the way hadde erred and nowe to the flocke arte restoored, the shepeheerd hath in thee
no joye and thou ayen to the forrest tourne. But that right as the sorowe and anguysshe
was great in tyme of thyne outwaye goynge, ryght so joye and gladnesse shal be doubled
to sene thee converted, and nat as Lothes wyfe ayen lokynge, but in hoole counsayle
with the shepe folowynge, and with them grasse and herbes gadre. Neverthelater,"
quod she, "I saye nat these thynges for no wantrust that I have in supposynge of thee
otherwyse thanne I shulde. For trewly, I wotte wel that nowe thou arte sette in suche a
purpose out of whiche thee lyste nat to parte. But I saye it for many men there bene that
to knowynge of other mennes doynges setten al their cure and lightly desyren the badde
to clatter rather than the good and have no wyl their owne maner to amende. They also
hate of olde rancoure lightly haven, and there that suche thynge abydeth sodaynly in
their mouthes procedeth the habundaunce of the herte and wordes as stones out throwe.
Wherfore my counsayle is ever more openly and apertely in what place thou sytte
countreplete th'errours and meanynges in as ferre as thou hem wystyst false and leave
for no wyght to make hem be knowe in every bodyes eare. And be alwaye pacient and
use Jacobes wordes whatsoever menne of thee clappen, `I shal sustayne my ladyes
wrathe whiche I have deserved, so longeas my Margarite hath rightwysed my cause.'
And certes," quod she, "I wytnesse myselfe if thou thus converted sorowest in good
meanynge in thyne herte, wolte from al vanyté parfitely departe, in consolatyoun of al
good pleasaunce of that, Margaryte whiche that thou desyrest after wyl of thyn
herte, in a maner of a mothers pyté, shul fully accepte thee into grace. For ryght as thou
rentest clothes in open syghte, so openly to sowe hem at his worshippe withouten
reprofe commended. Also, right as thou were ensample of mochefolde errour, right so
thou must be ensample of manyfolde correctioun, so good savour to forgoyng al errour
distroyeng causeth dilygent love with many playted praysynges to folowe, and than shal
al the fyrste errours make the folowynge worshyppes to seme hugely encreased. Blacke
and white sette togyder every for other more semeth, and so dothe every thynges
contrary in kynde. But infamé that gothe alwaye tofore and praysynge worshippe by
any cause folowynge after maketh to ryse the ylke honour in double of welth, and that
quencheth the spotte of the fyrst enfamé. Why wenyste, I saye, these thinges in hyndringe
of thy name? Naye, nay, God wotte, but for pure encreasyng worshyp thy rightwysenesse
to commende, and thy trouthe to seme the more. Wost nat wel thyselfe that thou in
fourme of making passeth nat Adam that ete of the apple? Thou passeth nat the
stedfastnesse of Noe, that eatynge of the grape become dronke. Thou passyst nat the
chastyté of Lothe, that lay by his doughter. Eke the nobley of Abraham, whom God
reproved by his pride. Also Davydes mekenesse, whiche for a woman made Urye be
slawe. What also Hector of Troye in whome no defaute myght be founde, yet is he
reproved that he ne hadde with manhode nat suffred the warre begon, ne Paris to have
went into Grece, by whom ganne al the sorowe. For trewly hym lacketh no venym of
pryvé consentyng whiche that openly leaveth a wronge to withsay. Lo eke an olde
proverbe amonges many other: `He that is stylle, semeth as he graunted.'
"Nowe by these ensamples thou myght fully understonde that these thynges ben
wrytte to your lernyng and in rightwysenesse of tho persones, as thus: To every wight
his defaute commytted made goodnesse afterwardes done be the more in reverence and
in open shewyng. For ensample, is it nat song in holy churche, `Lo, howe necessary
was Adams synne'? Davyd the kyng gate Salomon the kyng of her that was Uryes
wyfe. Truly, for reprofe is none of these thynges writte. Right so, tho I reherce thy
before dede I repreve thee never the more, ne for no vyllany of thee are they rehersed but
for worshippe, so thou contynewe wel hereafter, and for profyte of thy selfe I rede
thou on hem thynke."
Than sayde I right thus. "Lady of unyté and accorde, envy and wrathe lurken there
thou comest in place, ye weten wel yourselve, and so done many other, that whyle I
admynystred the offyce of commen doynge, as in rulyng of the stablysshmentes
amonges the people I defouled never my conscyence for no maner dede, but ever by
wytte and by counsayle of the wysest the maters weren drawen to their right endes.
And thus trewly for you, lady, I have desyred suche cure, and certes in your servyce
was I nat ydel as ferre as suche doynge of my cure stretcheth."
"That is a thyng," quod she, "that may drawe many hertes of noble and voice of
commune into; glory and fame is nat but wretched and fyckle. Alas, that mankynde
coveyteth in so leude a wyse to be rewarded of any good dede, sithe glorie of fame in
this worlde is nat but hyndrynge of glorye in tyme commynge. And certes," quod she,
"yet at the hardest suche fame into heven is nat the erthe but a centre to the cercle of
heven. A pricke is wonder lytel in respecte of al the cercle, and yet in al this pricke may
no name be borne in maner of peersyng, for many obstacles, as waters and wyldernesse
and straunge langages; and nat onely names of men ben stylled and holden out of
knowlegynge by these obstacles, but also cytees and realmes of prosperité ben letted
to be knowe and their reason hyndred so that they mowe nat ben parfitely in mennes
proper understandynge. Howe shulde than the name of a synguler Londenoys passe
the gloryous name of London, whiche by many it is commended, and by many it is
lacked, and in many mo places in erthe nat knowen than knowen? For in many countrees
lytel is London in knowyng or in spech, and yet among one maner of people may nat
such fame in goodnes come, for as many as praysen commenly as many lacken. Fye
than on such maner fame. Slepe and suffre him that knoweth prevyté of hertes to dele
suche fame in thylke place there nothynge ayenst a sothe shal neyther speke ne dare
apere by attourney ne by other maner. Howe many great named and many great in
worthynesse losed han be tofore this tyme that nowe out of memorie are slydden and
clenely forgeten for defaute of writynges? And yet scriptures for great elde so ben
defased that no perpetualté maye in hem ben juged. But if thou wolte make comparisoun
to ever, what joye mayst thou have in erthly name? It is a fayre lykenesse, a pees or one
grayne of wheate to a thousande shippes ful of corne charged.
"What nombre is betwene the one and thother? And yet mowe bothe they be nombred,
and ende in rekenynge have. But trewly, al that may be nombred is nothyng to recken as
to thilke that maye nat be nombred. For ofte thynges ended is made comparison, as one
lytel another great, but in thynges to have an ende and another no ende, suche
comparisoun may nat be founden. Wherfore in heven to ben losed with God hath none
ende, but endlesse endureth, and thou canste nothynge done aright, but thou desyre the
rumoure therof be healed and in every wightes eare, and that dureth but a pricke in
respecte of the other. And so thou sekest rewarde of folkes smale wordes and of vayne
praysynges. Trewly, therin thou lesest the guerdon of vertue, and lesest the grettest
valoure of consyence, and uphap thy renome everlastyng. Therfore, boldely renome of
fame of the erthe shulde be hated, and fame after deth shulde be desyred, for werkes of
vertue asketh guerdonyng, and the soule causeth al vertue. Than the soule delyvered
out of prisone of erthe is most worthy suche guerdone among to have in the everlastynge
fame, and nat the body that causeth al mannes yvels.
"Of twey thynges arte thou answered as me thynketh," quod Love, "and if any thynge
be in doute in thy soule, shewe it forth thyne ignoraunce to clere and leave it for no
shame." "Certes," quod I, "there ne is no body in this worlde that aught coude saye by
reason ayenst any of your skylles, as I leve, and by my wytte nowe fele I wel that yvel
spekers or bearers of enfamé may lytel greve or lette my purpose, but rather by suche
thynge my quarel to be forthered." "Yea," quod she, "and it is proved also that the ilke
jewel in my kepynge shal nat there thorowe be steered of the lest moment that myght be
ymagyned." "That is soth," quod I. "Wel," quod she, "than leneth there to declare that
thy insuffysance is no maner letting, as thus: for that she is so worthy thou shuldest not
clymbe so highe, for thy moebles and thyne estate arne voyded; thou thynkest fallen in
suche myserie that gladnesse of thy pursute wol nat on thee discende." "Certes," quod I,
"that is sothe: right suche thought is in myne hert, for commenly it is spoken, and for an
olde proverbe it is leged: `He that heweth to hye, with chyppes he maye lese his syght.'
Wherfore I have ben about in al that ever I myght to studye wayes of remedye by one
syde or by another." "Nowe," quod she, "God forbede ere thou seke any other doynges
but suche as I have lerned thee in our restynge whyles, and suche herbes as ben planted
in oure gardyns. Thou shalte wel understande that above man is but one God alone."
"Howe," quod I, "han men toforne this tyme trusted in writtes and chauntementes and
in helpes of spirites that dwellen in the ayre, and therby they han getten their desyres,
whereas first for al his manly power, he daunced behynde?"
"O," quod she, "fye on suche maters. For trewly that is sacrilege, and that shal have
no sort with any of my servauntes. In myne eyen shal suche thynge nat be loked after.
Howe often is it commaunded by these passed wyse that to one God shal men serve and
nat to goddes? And who that lyste to have myne helpes shal aske none helpe of foule
spirites. Alas, is nat man maked semblable to God? Wost thou nat wel that al vertue of
lyvelych werkynge by Goddes purveyaunce is underputte to resonable creature in erthe?
Is nat every thynge a thishalfe god, made buxome to mannes contemplation, under-
standynge in heven and in erthe, and in helle? Hath not manne beynge with stones, soule
of wexyng with trees and herbes? Hath he nat soule of felynge, with beestes, fysshes,
and foules? And he hath soule of reason and understandyng with aungels, so that in him
is knytte al maner of lyvenges by a reasonable proporcioun. Also man is made of al the
foure elementes. Al unyversytee is rekened in him alone. He hath under God pryncipalité
above al thynges. Nowe is his soule here, nowe a thousande myle hence; nowe ferre,
nowe nygh, nowe hye, nowe lowe, as ferre in a momente as in mountenaunce of tenne
wynter, and al this is in mannes governaunce and disposytion. Than sheweth it that men
ben lyche unto goddes, and chyldren of moost heyght. But nowe sythen al thynges
underputte to the wyl of reasonable creatures, God forbede any man to wynne that
lordshippe and aske helpe of anythynge lower than himselfe, and than namely of foule
thynges innominable. Now than why shuldest thou wene to love to highe, sythen
nothynge is thee above but God alone? Trewly, I wote wel that thylke jewel is in a maner
evyn in lyne of degree there thou arte thyselve and nought above save thus. Aungel
upon angel, manne upon manne, and devyl upon devyl han a maner of soveraygntie and
that shal cease at the daye of dome. And so I say, thoughe thou be putte to serve the
ylke jewel durynge thy lyfe, yet is that no servage of underputtynge, but a maner of
travaylyng plesaunce to conquere and gette that thou haste not. I sette nowe the hard-
est: in my service nowe thou deydest for sorowe of wantynge in thy desyres; trewly, al
hevenly bodyes with one voyce shul come and make melody in thy comynge and saye,
`Welcome, our fere, and worthy to entre into Jupyters joye, for thou with myght haste
overcome dethe. Thou woldest never flytte out of thy servyce, and we al shul nowe
pray to the goddes, rowe by rowe, to make thilk Margarite that no routh had in this
persone, but unkyndely without comforte lette thee deye shal besette herselfe in suche
wyse that in erthe, for parte of vengeaunce, shal she no joye have in loves servyce. And
whan she is deed, than shal her soule ben brought up into thy presence, and whyder
thou wylte chese thilke soule shal ben commytted.' Or els after thy dethe, anone al the
foresayd hevenly bodyes by one accorde shal benommen from thylke perle al the vertues
that firste her were taken. For she hath hem forfeyted by that on thee, my servaunt, in
thy lyve she wolde not suffre to worche al vertues withdrawen by might of the hygh
bodyes. Why than shuldest thou wene so any more? And if the lyste to loke upon the
lawe of kynde and with order whiche to me was ordayned, sothely none age none
overtournynge tyme but hytherto had no tyme ne power to chaunge the weddyng, ne
the knotte to unbynde of two hertes thorowe one assent, in my presence, togyther
accorden to enduren tyl dethe hem departe. What, trowest thou every ydeot wotte the
menynge and the privy entent of these thynges? They wene, forsothe, that suche accorde
may not be, but the rose of maydenhede be plucked. Do waye, do waye. They knowe
nothyng of this; for consente of two hertes alone maketh the fastenynge of the knotte.
Neyther lawe of kynde ne mannes lawe determyneth neyther the age ne the qualyté of
persones, but onely accorde bytwene thylke twaye. And trewly after tyme that suche
accorde by their consent in hert is ensealed and put in my tresorye amonges my privy
thynges: than gynneth the name of spousayle, and although they breaken forwarde
bothe, yet suche mater ensealed is kepte in remembrance forever. And se nowe that
spouses have the name anon after accorde, though the rose be not take. The aungel
bade Joseph take Marye his spouse and to Egypte wende. Lo, she was cleped spouse,
and yet toforne ne after neyther of hem bothe mente no flesshly luste knowe. Wherfore
the wordes of trouthe acorden that my servauntes shulden forsake bothe father and
mother and be adherande to his spouse, and they two in unyté of one flesshe shulden
accorde. And this wyse two that werne firste in a lytel maner disacordaunt, hygher that
one and lower that other, ben made evenlyche in gree to stonde. But nowe to enfourme
thee that ye ben lyche to goddes, these clerkes sayne and in determynacion shewen that
thre thynges haven the names of goddes ben cleaped: that is to sayn, man, dyvel, and
ymages, but yet is there but one God of whom al goodnesse, al grace, and al vertue
cometh, and He is lovyng and trewe and everlastyng and pryme cause of al beyng
thynges. But men ben goddes lovynge and trewe, but not everlastyng, and that is by
adopcyoun of the everlastynge God. Dyvels ben goddes styrrynge by a maner of lyveng,
but neyther ben they trewe ne everlastynge, and their name of godlyheed they han by
usurpacion, as the prophete saythe: `Al goddes of gentyles, that is to say, paynyms, are
dyvels.' But ymages ben goddes by nuncupacion, and they ben neyther lyvynge, ne
trewe, ne everlastynge: After these wordes they cleapen goddes ymages wrought with
mennes handes. But nowe reasonable creature that by adopcion alone arte to the great
God everlastynge, and therby thou arte god cleped: lette thy Fathers maners so entre
thy wyttes that thou myght folowe in as moche as longeth to thee thy Fathers worshyppe,
so that in nothynge thy kynde from His wyl declyne ne from His nobley perverte. In this
wyse if thou werche, thou arte above al other thynges save God alone, and so say no
more thyn herte to serve in to hye a place.
"Fully have I nowe declared thyn estate to be good, so thou folow therafter and that
the abjection first be thee aleged in worthynesse of thy Margaryte shal not thee lette, as
it shal forther thee and encrease thee. It is nowe to declare the last objection in
nothing may greve."
"Yes, certes," quod I, "bothe greve and let muste it nedes. The contrarye maye not
ben proved, and se nowe why. Whyle I was glorious in worldly welfulnesse and had
suche goodes in welth as maken men ryche, tho was I drawe into companyes that loos,
prise, and name yeven. Tho louteden blasours, tho curreyden glosours, tho welcomeden
flatterers, tho worshypped thylke that nowe deynen nat to loke. Every wight in such
erthly wele habundant is holde noble, precious, benigne, and wyse to do what he shal in
any degree that men hym set, albeit that the sothe be in the contrarye of al tho thynges.
But he that can ne never so wel him behave and hath vertue habundaunt in manyfolde
maners, and be nat welthed with suche erthly goodes, is holde for a foole and sayd his
wytte is but sotted. Lo, how false for aver is holde trewe. Lo, howe trewe is cleaped
false for wantyng of goodes. Also, lady, dignytees of office maken men mykel comended,
as thus: he is so good, were he out, his pere shulde men not fynde. Trewly I trowe of
some suche that are so praysed, were they out ones, another shulde make him so be
knowe he shulde of no wyse no more ben loked after: but onely fooles, wel I wotte,
desyren suche new thynges. Wherfore I wonder that thilke governour out of whome
alone the causes proceden that governen al thynges whiche that hath ordeyned this
worlde in werkes of the kyndely bodyes so be governed, not with unstedfast or happyous
thyng, but with rules of reason whiche shewen the course of certayne thynges: why
suffreth he suche slydyng chaunges that misturnen suche noble thynges as ben we
men that arne a fayre parsel of the erthe and holden the upperest degré under God, of
benigne thinges, as ye sayden right nowe yourselfe — shulde never man have ben set in
so worthy a place but if his degré were ordayned noble. Alas, thou that knyttest the
purveyaunce of al thynges, why lokest thou not to amenden these defautes? I se shrewes
that han wicked maners sytten in chayres of domes lambes to punysshen there wolves
shulden ben punisshed. Lo, vertue shynende naturelly for povertie lurketh and is hydde
under cloude. But the moone false, forsworne as I knowe myselfe for aver and yeftes,
hath usurped to shyne by day light with peynture of other mens praysinges: and trewly
thilke forged lyght fouly shulde fade were the trouth away of colours feyned. Thus is
nyght turned into daye and daye into night, wynter into sommer, and sommer into
wynter, not in dede but in miscleapyng of folyche people."
"Now," quod she, "what wenest thou of these thinges? How felest thou in thyn hert,
by what governaunce that this cometh aboute?"
"Certes," quod I, "that wotte I never but if it be that Fortune hath graunt from above
to lede the ende of man as her lyketh." "Ah, nowe I se," quod she, "th'entent of thy
meanyng. Lo, bycause thy worldly goodes ben fullyche dispent, thou berafte out of
dignité of office in whiche thou madest the gatherynge of thilke goodes, and yet dyddest
in that office by counsaile of wyse any thing were ended, and true were unto hem
whose profyte thou shuldest loke, and seest nowe many that in thilke hervest made of
thee mokel and nowe, for glosing of other, deyneth thee nought to forther, but enhaunsen
false shrewes by wytnessynge of trouthe, these thynges greveth thyn herte to sene
thyselfe thus abated. And than fraylté of mankynde ne setteth but lytel by the lesers of
suche rychesse, have he never so moche vertue. And so thou wenest of thy jewel to
renne in dispyte and not ben accepted into grace. Al this shal thee nothing hynder. Nowe,"
quod she, "first thou woste wel thou lostest nothyng that ever mightest thou chalenge
for thyn owne. Whan nature brought thee forthe come thou not naked out of thy moth-
ers wombe? Thou haddest no rychesse, and whan thou shalt entre into the ende of
every flesshly body, what shalt thou have with thee than? So every rychesse thou haste
in tyme of thy lyvynge nys but lente. Thou might therin chalenge no propertie. And se
nowe, everything that is a mannes owne he may do therwith what him lyketh, to yeve
or to kepe. But richesse thou playnest from thee lost, if thy might had stretched so
ferforth, fayne thou woldest have hem kept, multyplied with mo other. And so ayenst
thy wyl ben they departed from the — wherfore they were never thyn. And if thou
laudest and joyest any wight, for he is stuffed with suche maner richesse, thou arte in
that beleve begiled, for thou wenest thilke joye to be selynesse or els ease and he that hath
loste suche happes to ben unsely." "Ye forsoth," quod I. "Wel," quod she, "than wol I
prove that unsely in that wise is to preise, and so the t'other is, the contrary, to be
lacked." "Howe so?" quod I. "For Unsely," quod she, "begyleth nat but sheweth th'entent
of her workyng. Et e contra. Selynesse begyleth, for in prosperité she maketh a jape in
blyndnesse; that is, she wyndeth him to make sorowe whan she withdraweth. Wolte
thou nat," quod she, "preise him better that sheweth to thee his herte, tho it be with
bytande wordes and dispitous than him that gloseth and thinketh in their absence to do
thee many harmes?" "Certes," quod I, "the one is to commende and the other to lacke
and dispice." "A ha," quod she, "right so Ease while he lasteth, gloseth and flatereth,
and lightly voydeth whan she most plesauntly sheweth, and ever in her absence she is
aboute to do thee tene and sorowe in herte. But Unsely albeit with bytande chere, sheweth
what she is, and so doth not that other, wherfore Unsely dothe not begyle. Selynesse
disceyveth; Unsely put awaye doute. That one maketh men blynde; that other openeth
their eyen in shewynge of wretchydnesse. The one is ful of drede to lese that is not his
owne; that other is sobre and maketh men discharged of mokel hevynesse in burthen.
The one draweth a man from very good, the other haleth hym to vertue by the hookes
of thoughtes. And wenyst thou nat that thy disease hath done thee mokel more to wynne
than ever yet thou lostest, and more than ever the contrary made thee wynne? Is nat a
great good to thy thynking for to knowe the hertes of thy sothfast frendes? Pardy, they
ben proved to the ful, and the trewe have discevered from the false. Trewly, at the
goynge of the ylke brotel joye ther yede no more awaye than the ylke that was nat thyne
proper. He was never from that lyghtly departed. Thyne owne good, therfore, leaveth it
stylle with thee. Nowe good," quod she, "for howe moche woldest thou somtyme have
bought this verry knowyng of thy frendes from the flatterynge flyes that thee glosed
whan thou thought thyselfe sely? But thou that playnest of losse in rychesse hast founden
the most dereworthy thynge. That thou cleapest unsely hath made thee moche thynge to
wynnen. And also, for conclusyoun, of al he is frende that nowe leaveth nat his hert
from thyne helpes. And if that Margarite denyeth nowe nat to suffre her vertues
shyne to thee wardes with spreadynge beames as farre or farther than if thou were sely
in worldly joye; trewly I saye nat els but she is somdele to blame."
"Ah, peace," quod I, "and speke no more of this. Myne herte breaketh nowe thou
touchest any suche wordes." "A, wel," quod she, "thanne lette us syngen: thou herest
no more of these thynges at this tyme."
Thus endeth the firste booke of the Testament of Love, and herafter foloweth the
Go To Thomas Usk, The Testament of Love, Book II