Thomas Usk, The Testament of Love: Book Two
THOMAS USK, THE TESTAMENT OF LOVE: FOOTNOTES1 sene, seen.
2 wende, expected.
4 wenen, assume; her, their.
5 lyft, left.
6 plyte, condition.
7 steeryng, governance; otherwysed, altered.
8 dureth, lasts.
10 hyldeth, pours out; wotte, knows.
11 throwe, mischance, fall.
12 sythe, since.
14 al, although; shende, destroy.
16 woweth, weave.
17 stoundmele, sometimes; phane, weathervane; renome, renown.
18 varyaunt, changeable; areysed, raised.
19 wenen, assume.
22 okes, oaks.
23 mowen, may.
24 byleve, faith, belief.
25 darne apere, dare appear.
26 went, departed; anoy, frustration.
29 gylynge, beguiling.
31 pursewen, pursue.
33 thilke, that same.
34 pertynacie, obstinacy; paynyms, pagans, heathens.
37 sterre, star.
38 werne, were.
39 connyng, wit.
40 sythen that, because of.
41 wotte, know; sythen, since.
43 catchende, apprehending; withsytte, resist.
44 travaylynge, laboring; misglosed, wrongly glossed.
47 ryder, horseback-rider, i.e., wealthy; goer, pedestrian, i.e., poor; leude, rude, unlearned.
48 me, people; shullen, shall.
50 apayred, denigrated (lit., damaged); sowne, sound.
51 eeres, ears; wyste, knew.
52 hede, heed.
53 asterte, start [involving itself].
56 dequace, quash.
57 trewe, truly.
58 mowe, may.
59 sithen, since; mede, reward.
61 persel, part.
63 thilke, that same.
65 feled, felt; assaye, experience.
67 sede, seed.
68 sowe, sown.
69 welawaye, alas; thilke, that same; mowen, may.
70 medlynge, mixing; cockle, weeds; stonken, stank.
72 cleape, call; kynde, nature.
73 eke names, nicknames; yeven, gives.
75 tytled of, entitled with; avowed, dedicated.
76 radde, read; mowe, may.
77 wexe, grow.
78 inseeres, lookers into, readers.
78-79 owande occasyon, owing cause.
83 leude, unlearned.
84 stered, guided.
85 connynge, intelligence.
85 crepe, creep.
89 yeve, give; endityng, composing.
90 swetter, sweeter; mowen, may.
91 laude, praise.
92 blere eyen, cloudy eyes.
93 whele, wheel.
94 discryve, describe.
95 thorowe, through; be knowe, acknowledge.
97 enditynge, composing.
98 in rhetorik wyse, rhetorically.
99 connyng, understanding; trowe, trust; somdele, somewhat.
100 swete, sweet; sowne, sound.
101 werbles, warbling.
103 yave, gave.
106 sothnesse, truthfulness; tytle, title.
107 sterre, star; clyps, eclipse.
108 sey, seen; wened, assumed; thilke, that same.
110 yle, island.
111 harberowed, harbored; wote, knows; greven, grieve.
112 disporte, please.
116 celler, cellar; gernere, granary.
117 wolle, wool.
118 pannes, pans or cloths; mouled, put away; wyche, chest; pelure, fur.
119 nete, cattle.
120 queynt, quenched.
121 woste, know; herberowed, harbored.
122 partie was smyten, part declined, or suffered eclipse; bare, bore.
123 yeve, give; a fote, on foot
125 durste, dared; grefe, grievance.
126 taylages, taxes.
127 feture, features.
128 wytte of
130 leude, unlearned; symonye, simony (i.e., sale of Church offices).
131 shendeth, destroys; achates, purchases.
132 eschetoure, collector of escheats (a kind of forfeiture); losel, flatterer; personer, partner.
133 provendre, provisions.
134 losengeour, flatterer; it acordeth, it's consistent.
135 voluntarye, voluntarily.
137 beane breed, bread made with bean meal.
138 auter, altar; lythe, lies.
140 towayle, towel; God, i.e., species of the sacrament.
141 meate borde, trestle for dining
142 clergyon, young cleric; chaunsel, chancel (part of church where sacrament is celebrated).
143 tapytes, tapestries; leude, ignorant.
144 surplyce, a priest's vestment.
146 dolven, buried; legystres, lawyers.
148 tort, law torts; hawe, worthless plant.
149 thilk, the same; torcious, injurious [men].
150 mowe, may; lyste, if it please; acorde nothynge, are congruous not at all.
153 forbode, forbidden; treaten, treat.
156 reignatyfe, governing.
157 heedes, tops, i.e., rulers; owen, ought.
158 ayenwarde, on the other hand.
160 lyche, like; shullen, shall.
161 stelen, steal, hide themselves.
165 And, And [if].
166 cleped, called.
168 cosynage, friends and relatives.
169 but if, unless; sothly, truly.
170 ther, where; nere it for, were it not for.
171 kindly, by nature; leged, lodged; behynde, i.e., lacking in kin.
173 Caynes, i.e., Ham's (see note).
176 servage, slavery.
177 sothnesse, truth.
178 gentylesse, gentility; in kynrede, by birth.
180 Pardé, Indeed.
182 tombystere, a female tumbler; gentyles, people of gentle birth; trow, believe.
185 evenliche, equal.
186 sede, seed; greyned, sprung; Wherto, Why; avaunt, boast.
187 cosynage, friends and relatives; elde fathers, elders; Loke, Consider.
189 corare, heart, spirit; leaveth, abandons; kynde, natural.
191 nempned, counted, named; mote, must; daunten, control.
192 leave, abandon; reignes, rule.
194 wight, person.
196 nyl, will not.
197 secte, sect, following; wene, make assumptions or allegations (see note).
198 haboundeth, abounds.
199 yvel, evil.
200 stynte, ceased.
201 deyne, condescend.
204 sene, see.
205 voyde, disappear.
207 lignes, rules.
208 thilke, those same.
209 aperen, appear; halte, holds.
210 mo, more.
212 upperest, highest; thilke, that same.
214 norysshe, nourish; graffen, dig, cultivate.
216 conne, can; crewel, cruel.
217 meke, meek; buxome, obedient; mevynge, moving.
219 eyther, or.
220 wenen, suppose.
221 properté, characteristic.
222 good, polite.
223 warne, deny; werchynge, working.
224 wotte, know.
226 fareth, fares.
227 fayne, pretend.
228 sely, innocent; freelté, frailty; beleven, believe.
229 gospel, i.e., the "gospel" truth; behestes, proffers.
230 lustes, desires; maystreshyp, mastery; toforne, before.
231 thralled, enslaved.
232 hede, heed.
233 traysoun, betrayal; let lyght, make light.
234 wonders, wondrously; dere, valuable.
235 wight, person; in many halfe, i.e., in many ways.
237 conseled, concealed; rede, counsel; to rathe, too soon; chere, demeanor; her, their.
238 gyleful, deceitful; assay, experiment.
239 kyndely, natural.
241 foulers, bird-catcher's; whistel, whistle.
242 beare . . . unhande, accuse of.
243 trayson, betrayal.
244 wreche, retribution; blober, blubber; wepe, weep; hem lyst stynt, [it] pleases them to stop.
245 her, their; complayne, lament; wenyng, understanding.
246 faylyng, i.e., not getting.
247 lyste, it pleases.
248 packe, bundle, suitcase.
249 wot, knows.
250 they, i.e., women; ye, i.e., men; myte, trifle.
251 wenen, expect.
252 flowe, flown; wyght, person.
253 assayes, experiences; con, can, know.
254 queynt, curious; conjectementes, pretenses.
255 gronen, groan.
256 disceyt, deceit; preveth, proves; werkynge, working.
257 lorne, lost; shent, ruined, destroyed; thorowe, through.
258 gyle, guile; dure, last; radde, read.
260 demed, judged; lightly, as light; plyte, plight; tenes, sorrows.
261 verey, true.
262 al nyghe, nearly all.
264 swetter, sweeter; behove, needs; mowe, may.
265 Loke to, Consider.
266 sawes, teachings.
268 graffed, planted.
272 perle, pearl; tenes, sorrows.
273 wyst, knew.
274 rote, root; lyen, lie, blaspheme.
275 rennogates, recreants; leasynges, lies; brenne, burn.
277 werker, worker; fortherynge, furthering.
279 stulty, stupid; sterynge, guiding [himself].
282 gylyng, deceiving.
283 thilke, those same (i.e., women); nempne, name.
284 proved, tested.
285 smertande, hurting.
286 gesse, guess.
290 tofore nempned, aforementioned.
291 sythen, since; fayrehede, beauty.
295 here, hear; lefte, left [off].
296 wene, suppose.
298 cure, care.
301 selynesse, felicity.
302 lyveth, remains.
303 howe, however.
304 her, their;
306 wote, know; wight, person.
307 weneth, assumes; thilke, that same.
308 and, if.
312 wenyng, assuming.
313 heere, hair (i.e., it goes against the grain).
316 wot, know.
317 gynnyng, beginning; mykyl, much.
319 nempnedest, named; mowen, may.
322 felest, feel [you].
323 Wenest, Assume [you].
324 con, know how to.
327 kyndly, natural.
328 wight, person.
330 cleaped, called.
332 yeveth, gives.
333 and it, if it.
335 cleped, called.
336 innominable, unnameable.
338 nempned, named.
339 lyveth in to, remain in two.
341 letter, hindrance.
343 cleaped, called; throw, while.
344 selynesse, felicity; suffisance, an adequate amount.
345 catel, chattels, belongings.
351 mowe, may; holdest, consider [you].
352 deyne, deign.
353 what, what [of]; mowe, may; Certes, Certainly.
354 holden, considered; wenest, suppose [you].
355 renome, renown.
357 Soth, True.
358 are folowed of, are consequences of.
359 wenden, assume.
360 wenyng, assumptions.
361 worchen, work.
364 entred, entered into.
365 knowe thee set in, know you [to be] set upon; hye, high.
368 as a lytel assay, as if for a short trial; songedest, dreamed.
369 tho, then.
370 thilk, that same; reve, steal; one, at one; ilke, that very.
372 wendest, assumed.
373 forther, further, promote.
374 mean, intercessor, intermediary; pardy, indeed.
375 tene, sorrow.
376 enpited, made compassionate, moved to feel pity.
380 oblyge in, commit to; Marces doyng, i.e., battle; contraried, opposed; sawes, sayings.
381 wot, know.
383 foryevenesse, forgiveness; mykel, much, great.
385 werke, work.
388 sythen, since.
389 fyned, refined.
390 heates, firings; alay, alloy.
394 wenen, suppose.
395 tyed, tied; queynt, curious.
396 thilke, that same; hote, be called.
397 inpossession (imposition), instituting a name (see note); for, since.
398 and if.
400 thilke, that other.
401 halfe, part, half (i.e., in God's name); fele, feel.
402 loke, see.
408 cleped, called.
411 kyndely, naturally; naughty, nothing, vain.
412 Ergo, Therefore.
414 nedes, needs be (i.e., therefore).
415 mote, must.
416 mowe, may.
418 wantest, lack.
421 mowen, may.
422 plee, lawsuits; but, only.
424 kyndely, natural.
425 and, if.
429 and, if.
430 goyng, i.e., departing.
431 knytten, make the knot of.
432 wenen, assume.
433 wene, suppose.
436 mykel, much.
437 ordynaunce, organic order.
438 werchynge, working, living; lymmes, limbs; ben, are; gatheryng, accumulation.
439 gynneth, begins.
440 nedy, beholden; out helpes, external aids; leveth, departs.
441 tene, grief.
442 strayte, miserly, pinched; teneful, sorrowful.
443 mowen, may.
444 gest, guest; meyny, entourage.
447 catel, wealth, possessions.
451 thilke, those same.
453 shul, shall go; wightes, person's.
454 Kynde, Nature; drawe hem, created them.
455 apayde, satisfied.
457 algates, anyway; a throted, gorged.
458 hastelych, quickly; feldes, fields.
459 meyné, entourage.
462 compted, counted; Thilke, That same.
463 wende, depart.
467 vaylance, value, worth.
468 outforth, externally; wenen, suppose; me, men.
469 wenyng, assumption.
471 Pardy, Indeed.
472 seken, seek.
474 nombre, number.
476 leve, abandon.
477 shrewde, corrupt.
479 lyth, lies.
480 wrieth, conceals.
483 throweout, thorough.
484 mowen, may; bandon, control; weneth, supposes; wight, person.
488 areysed, risen.
489 yeveth, gives.
490 ayen, again; wawe, waves; out throw, what had been sent out at first; but if, unless; pyles, foundation, stakes, pilings.
491 sadly, stably.
492 mowe, may.
493 warnyng, advance warning.
494 thorowe, through; cover, recover.
495 meve, move; tenes, sorrows.
497 in one ne in other, in one person or another.
498 trowe, believe.
501 unknytte, unravel.
503 wened, assumed; yeven, give.
505 encheynen, bind themselves to each other.
510 Ergo, Therefore.
511 mowen, may.
513 shreudnes, misdeeds.
515 at eye, visibly.
517 of, by.
518 to holde, to be held.
520 wene, suppose.
524 brende, burned; strete, street; werkes, works.
528 wote, knows.
529 queynte, weird; wottest, know.
530 tene, sorrow.
531 relyed, it (i.e., dignity) is rallied, regrouped; plyte, plight, circumstance.
532 selde, seldom; betake in, entrusted to.
533 Pardé, Indeed.
534 hers, theirs.
536 Sythen, Since.
540 magré, disdain; leneth, inclines.
542 Pardy, Indeed.
544 mowen, may; Kynde, Nature.
545 at eye, evidently.
546 syker, certain.
547 appropred, proper, appropriate; kyndly, naturally.
548 evenlych, equally.
551 throwe out, thorough.
552 burthyns, burdens.
553 shreude, wicked; werchynge, effect.
555 her, their.
557 Ergo, Therefore.
558 dame, mother; privyté, private part (i.e., womb).
559 engendrure, birth.
560 mokel, much.
561 slyly, dexterously; bytte, bit; arest, halting.
562 yeve, give.
563 clepyng, calling, naming; hete, be called; moustre, display.
566 barayne, barren; lygge, lie.
569 clips, eclipse; prevy, secret.
571 but if, unless.
572 yeven, give; thilk, those same; tene, sorrow.
573 con they on, understand.
574 suche lyghtynge, i.e., (ill-) shining.
577 brennyng, burning; hete, heat; freesed, frozen.
581 kyndly, natural.
585 not, do not know.
587 skil, reasoning; dewe, due.
588 shreudnesse, shrewishness; ferde, fear, intimidation.
591 besmyteth, harms; thilke, that.
593 kyndely, natural.
595 mayre, mayor.
600 Iwys, Certainly.
603 lyste, were pleased.
604 nempne, name.
609 wenest, suppose; thilke, that same.
610 yeven, give.
612 mowe, may; sene, seen.
615 cloude, i.e., when it turns cloudy; leaveth, quits.
616 mokel, much; appeyred, worsened.
617 croked, crooked.
618 leave, leave.
620 Avayleth, Helps; worthy, a distinguished person.
621 Pardé, Indeed; from, by.
623 syker, secure.
624 one of thilke, i.e., among those.
634 hemselfe, themselves.
641 brode, broad.
642 mokel, much, many.
646 drede, dread; lesyng, being lost; keped of, kept [on account] of.
647 ferdeth, fears.
648 ferdful, fearful; wenynge, assumption.
651 Ergo, Therefore.
653 sykernesse, certainty.
656 mowen, may.
657 wotte, knows.
659 lesen, lose.
660 leadeth him drede, dread leads him.
661 retche, cares; lese, lose.
663 withset, resisted.
664 leude, infirm.
665 croke, lean, bend.
669 adradde, afraid; gasteth, is aghast of.
670 feare, fear.
671 werchen, work, do; warnisshed, guarded; mote, must; warnysshe, guarding.
673 famulers, familiars.
674 sypher, zero; augrym, mathematics, arithmetic.
675 yeveth, gives; clepe, call.
676 Certes, Certainly; thilke, those same; skylles, reasonings; leude, uninformed; but if, unless; shorers, foundations.
677 charge, weight; her, their.
679 croken, crooked, wobbly; and, if.
680 syker, sure.
682 than, then; famulers, familiars.
684 ferre, far; cover, recover.
685 mowe, may.
686 voyde, avoid; weyve, avert.
688 mow, may.
689 naughty, full of nothing; thilk, those.
690 glosed, flattered.
692 weyve, put aside, avert.
693 cresse, trifle (lit., crease).
695 lythe to, lies in [the direction of].
696 Pardé, Indeed.
697 the selve, the same [thing, to him].
698 demeth, judges.
699 gestes, guests.
703 huyshte, hushed.
707 neverthelater, nevertheless; leudenesse, ignorance; maye, may [do what he will].
708 withsytte, resist.
709 and he wol, if he will; Ergo, Therefore.
712 ayenturnyng, wheeling about; frayler, frailer.
714 mokel, much; withsyttynge, resistance.
716 sureté, security.
722 rathe, soon.
723 rede, advise; wight, person; renome, renown.
725 trowe, believe; for, because of.
727 Fayne, Gladly; here, hear.
729 wyst, knew.
732 wotte, know; knyttyng, determining what the knot will be.
733 thilke, that same.
734 weyved, deflected.
735 espoire, hope.
736 wene, assume.
738 outforth, externally.
739 carpen, speak of.
741 veyned, in vain, shown to be false (feigned).
742 lackyng, blaming.
743 knyt, associated with the knot.
744 tho, then; here abouten, busy with this subject.
745 lacking, blaming.
746 as yerne, quickly.
747 mowe, may.
752 eke, also.
753 oned, reconciled.
754 eyre, air (see note).
758 lacking, blaming.
761 mokel, much; knyt, associated with the knot.
762 oweth not, ought not [be].
764 writen, write.
765 eeres, ears.
767 lacked, [to be] blamed; Nedes, [It] needs [be that].
770 echeth, adds.
771 slevelesse, trifling.
773 eched, increased.
777 wete, know; trowe, believe.
779 fleyng, fleeting.
781 lynage, lineage.
781-82 for why, whence, wherefore.
784 mote, must.
787 and if, if.
788 gentyled, rendered gentle (noble).
794 went, gone.
795 wendeth, goes; mowe, may.
796 duryng, enduring.
797 Very, True.
799 falowen, [lie] fallow.
801 withsytte, resist; werche, work.
802 what, whatsoever; queynt, curious, weird.
803 anguys, excruciating.
804 with holde, maintained.
805 wenyng, assumption.
808 kepe, heed; out-waye-goynge, journey, wandering; cleped, called.
809 wyght, person; wene, assume; stynteth, ceases.
810 secheth, seeks.
813 forenempned, aforementioned.
815 fayne, gladly.
818 brekynge, uttering.
819 werchyng, working.
821 mowe, may.
823 mokel, much.
829 nyghe after eye, based on experience, desire.
830 covetyse, desire.
831 wight, person; herynge, hearing; mokel, many.
832 affyched, fixed; sterynge, steering, governing.
833 lasse, less.
834 queynte, curious.
835 breakynge, articulatory; nempne, name.
836 privy, appropriate.
840 reken, reckon.
842 twey, two.
843 wenynge, presumption.
844 foryeteth, forget.
845 passyve, listless, unresponsive; sowne, lead.
847 accompted, accounted; Certes, Certainly.
848 wantrust, despair.
849 voyde, [render] void; thorowe, through; janglynge, complaint.
850 a backe, backward.
851 wight, person; Flebring, Chattering.
852 mokel, much.
853 shende, destroy.
855 waytynge, ambush; amaistreth, overcomes.
856 bye, buy; nobley, nobleness.
857 acompted, accounted.
860 wot, knows.
861 Ergo, Therefore.
863 Nedes mote, Needs must.
864 mores, superior's.
865 compted, counted.
867 longeth, belongs; mores, supervisor's.
872 mysse, error, misdeed.
873 out thresten, thrust out; lengest, longest; trowe, believe.
874 mysse meanyng, error-prone.
875 leave, leave.
876 ferre, far.
877 jangles, absurdities.
878 alege, allege, adduce.
879 wolen, will.
880 werre, war.
882 meded, satisfied; shullen, shall.
884 plyte, condition.
885 leest, least.
888 spede, prosper.
889 martred, martyred; radde, read; routhe, pity.
890 holownesse, cavity; trone, throne.
892 penaunce, pain; lyvyngly, still alive.
894 felyth, feels.
895 wyst, knew.
898 dayneth, deigns.
898-99 none . . . none hede, neither heart nor head.
899 to mewarde, toward me; throwe, cast; disporte, refresh.
900 weten, know; with . . . ymoned, that by others I am lamented; peysen, weigh.
901 her, their; peese, pea; daunger, peril.
902 hye, high.
903 wethers, storms.
905 yere, year.
906 Vere, Summer; renovel, renew.
907 wawes, waves.
909 ferde, afraid.
911 wost, know.
912 Pardé, indeed; ferre, far.
913 aleged, alleged, adduced; bale, harm; bote, remedy; nye bore, neighbor.
915 wote, know.
918 kyndely, natural.
919 werchynge, working.
924 stondmele, at regular intervals.
930 be, by.
933 stynten, ceases.
936 moten, must.
937 wele, prosperity.
938 appertly, openly; mote, must.
940 betyde, fall out.
941 leude, uninformed.
942 dere, dear, precious.
943 mokel, much.
947 leaved, left out.
950 slawe, [ready to be] slain.
951 lested, lasted.
955 sey, seen.
957 sprongen, sprung.
961 wight, person.
962 compted, accounted.
968 mote, must.
971 yelden, yield.
972 stoundes, times; smertande, smarting.
974 mote, must.
980 mokel, much.
981 weyve, forestall.
982 renome, renown.
983 in meane, in moderation; wight, person.
984 weten, know.
985 mokel, many.
987 sythen, since.
992 his, its.
994 farn, fared.
997 me lyst, it pleases me.
999 yeve, give.
1000 ferforthe, far.
1001 wyst, known; atones, at once.
1003 lynage, lineage; were lever, would rather [be].
1007 partable, not whole; houshold, i.e., place; sylde, seldom.
1009 plyte, condition; selynesse, felicity.
1011 selynesse, happiness; as nedes, necessarily.
1014 yeveth, gives.
1015 acompt, present a bill to.
1016 tene, grief.
1018 plyte, condition.
1019 wene, imagine [yourself].
1020 anguys, anxious.
1021 hostry, hostelry.
1022 sodayne, sudden; gest, guest; Wenest, Do you believe.
1024 hast, i.e., you have.
1025 sykerly, certainly.
1027 plyte, condition; reckyng, caring.
1028 Pardy, Indeed.
1029 lefe, desirable (precious).
1030 sely, felicitous.
1035 to, too.
1037 yeven, give.
1038 lesyng, [what you] lost.
1039 daunger, resistance.
1040 defautes, trespasses.
1041 ilke, same.
1042 daungerous sete, i.e., her haughty position.
1043 mote, must.
1046 meaners, i.e., people who mean ill.
1048 Certayn, See note on questionable chapter division at this point.
1053 to forne, before.
1055 Certes, Certainly.
1056 rede, counsel.
1057 outforth, externally.
1060 lese, lose; thilke, that very.
1061 mowe, may; reve, take away.
1067 yeve, give.
1068 sithen, since.
1070 steryng, guiding.
1076 wenden, assumed; me, men.
1078 leude, uninformed.
1079 outforth, externally; connyng, intelligence.
1083 smert, pain.
1085 evenforth, equally.
1087 steryng, guiding.
1089 selynesse, felicity; wende, expected [to].
1091 renome, renown.
1092 amaistrien, overcome, master.
1094 duryng, enduring.
1095 wenen, expect.
1096 partie, part; mowe, may.
1097 sechen, seek; wene, think.
1101 forleten, abandoned.
1103 and he, if he.
1104 hode, hood.
1104-05 blowe a jape, i.e., made a mockery of him, he is deceived.
1106 let, hinder.
1111 ynowe, enough.
1112 thilke, that same.
1113 reve, take it away; deth, death.
1114 a maistry, have mastery.
1115 renome, renown.
1119 gripe, grip.
1121 sodayn, sudden.
1123 quyte, requite; leasynges, lies.
1124 sey, seen.
1128 mowe, may.
1130 meke, meek; mokel, much.
1131 deden, did.
1132 plyte, in one, i.e., in the same condition.
1135 cleped, called.
1137 Evermore grounded, Well-founded.
1138 wotte, know.
1142 seer, dry, barren; burjonyng, blooming.
1143 welke, withered.
1144 A wydewhere aboute, A great region all about.
1146 conclude, confute.
1148 holpen, helped; wenyst, assume.
1149 And, If.
1150 Pardé, Indeed.
1152 werche, work.
1153 habyte, the habit [a garment].
1155 Certes, Certainly.
1156 cordiacle, heart attack, or failure; wotte, know.
1160 teneful, sorrowful.
1161 unlyche, unlike.
1162 ilke, same.
1164 yerde, branch, rod.
1167 chere, looks.
1169 worcheth, works.
1170 ycleaped, called.
1174 outforthe, externally.
1175 it neighed and, is near it if.
1178 donet, book of principles, first things.
1181 Ergo, Therefore.
1182 holpen, helped.
1183 gynnyng, [the] beginning.
1184 wete, know; spousayle, marriage.
1188 muskle, mussel; blewe, blue.
1189 kyndly, naturally.
1191 forayne, foreign, alien.
1192 congelement, congealing.
1193 and it be, providing that it be.
1194 eke, also.
1195 lynage, lineage.
1201 nobley, nobility.
1205 loken, considers; meane, mediatory.
1207 meve, means (see note).
1209 soulynge, entities endowed with souls.
1215 yeven, given.
1217 sawes, sayings.
1222 Wete, Know.
1226 Me were leaver, I would prefer.
1229 wolde, wield (see note).
1231 ferre, far.
1232 mokel, much.
1234 tene, trouble [me].
1235 wight, person.
1236 coutreplede, contradict; lyghter, easier.
1238 mowe, may.
1242 shullen, shall; han, have.
1244 hem lyste, it pleases them.
1245 wote, know.
1246 kynde, nature.
1247 lymmes, limbs; leve, believe.
1249 wyghtes, person's.
1250 deedly, mortal.
1252 Certes, Certainly.
1253 not, don't know.
1255 sythen, since.
1260 mokel, much.
1261 somwhat, something.
1266 a this halfe, on this side (i.e., here below).
1270 by, by [virtue of the fact that].
1271 onhed, unity.
1273 sythen, since, ago.
1274 eyther els, or else.
1277 ycleped, called.
1277-78 for farre fette, i.e., at a distance (metaphorically).
1279 gendre, type.
1280 Austen, St. Augustine.
1281 wete, know.
1287 apeted , appetite, expressed their desire for him; longeth, belongs.
1291 aleged, alleged; roted, rooted.
1292 wene, think.
1300 kyndely, natural.
1304 commenden, commend [by setting off].
1305 asured, painted or enameled with azure (lapis lazuli).
1308 yeven, given.
1309 mokel, much.
1315 wenest, suppose; accompte, account.
1320 yeveth, gives; lyste, pleases; sothe, true.
1321 adewe, God; deblys, devil.
1322 yeven, give.
1324 prefe, proof.
1325 Stoundemele, Sometimes.
1328 sythen, since.
1335 but, unless; kynde werchynge, natural function.
1337 sythen, since.
1338 shewed, shown.
1339 wene, know.
1341 yeve, give; demed, held, judged.
1342 accompted, accounted; but it wete, unless it be wet.
1345 leve, believe.
1346 lyen wel, are appropriate.
1349 me lyst, it pleases me.
1350 lysse, relief.
1354 lefely, permissible.
1357 collynges, embraces.
1358 queynte, curious, difficult.
1360 sechyng, seeking.
1362 connynge, understanding.
1363 wote, knows.
1364 lightly, easily.
1365 unleful, inappropriate.
1366 skleren, veil; wymplen, conceal.
1371 mokel, much.
1373 mokel, many.
1374 glose, and without any sugaring over, I called it of good worth; veyned, turned away.
1375 trowe, trust.
1379 bolne, boil, swell; novelleries, variableness.
1381 Mercurius, i.e., servants of Mercury.
1382 Veneriens, i.e., servants of Venus.
1383 leude, ignorant.
1385 mokel, many.
1386 pappes, breasts; fallas, deceitful; mowe, may; souke, suck.
1387 fallas, fallacy.
1389 collynges, embraces.
1390 sote, sweet; Nedes, Necessarily.
1391 surfettes, surfeits.
1392 sote, soot; deper, deeper.
1393 soner, sooner.
1394 faynen, pretend; conne, can, know how to.
1396 yeveth, gives.
1397 thylke, that very.
1401 amaystred, mastered.
1403 forfeytest, transgressed; Clepe, Call.
1404 mokel, much.
1406 styred, steered; wendest, assumed.
1407 wost, know; sythen, since.
1409 lache not, are not negligent.
1410 psauter, Psalter.
1412 leavyng, leaving.
1415 taryed, delayed.
1416 sythen, since.
1418 iwys, indeed; sone, soon; rede, advise.
1421 streyght her on length, reclined.
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 Very. Skeat identifies an acrostic in the first letters of initial words in the several chapters of Book II. In the Thynne text I have used a boldface font to represent what in the original are large block letters. Skeat observes,
The initials of the fourteen Chapters in this Book give the words: VIRTW HAVE MERCI. Thynne has not preserved the right division, but makes fifteen chapters, giving the words: VIRTW HAVE MCTRCI. I have set this right, by making Chapter XI begin with `Every.' [But see Leyerle, at the note to Book 2, line 1048.] Thynne makes Chapter XI begin with `Certayn' [below, line 1048], and another Chapter begin with `Trewly' [below, line 1127]. This cannot be right . . . the Chapter thus beginning would have the unusually small number of 57 lines. Chapter I really forms a Prologue to the Second Book [see Minnis, (1988), pp. 163-64], interrupting our progress. At the end of Book I we are told that Love is about to sing, but her song begins with Chapter II. Hence this first Chapter must be regarded as a digression, in which the author reviews what has gone before . . . and anticipates what is to come." (p. 463)5 chaungyng of the lyft syde to the ryght halve. Jellech: "Although no direct reference is made, the allusion is to the turning of Fortune's wheel, so often iconographically represented as having on one side man's rising to prosperity and on the other his fall. Note this passage from the Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. Richard Morris, EETS o.s. 23, p. 181:
Efter þise ui3tinge [fighting] comþ þe worlde and dame fortune mid al hare hue3el [wheel]/ þet asayleþ þane man a ri3t half and a left half /. . . ." (p. 251)7 Of. Th: O. My emendation.
wrongful steeryng. Skeat emends silently to wonderful steering.
10ff. Grevously God wotte. Schaar takes the passage to refer to Richard II. This "badly damaged passage might be restored as follows:
Grevously, god wot, have I suffred a greet throwe that the Romayne emperour, which in unité of love shulde acorde with every other, <the> cause of <love> to avaunce, <this cause dereth>; and namely, sithe this empyre <nedeth> to be corrected of so many sectes in heresies of faith, of service, o<f> rule in loves religion. Through his very weakness, the monarch harms the cause of love by giving free rein to the powers of discord; only vigorous measures against these would conform with the spirit of love . . ." (pp. 14-15).Skeat notes that there is "clearly much corruption in this unintelligible and imperfect sentence." The reference to "the Roman emperor" he calls "mysterious." Be that as it may, I agree with Jellech's rejection (p. 252) of Schaar's emendation and, like her, leave the passage as it is in Thynne. I speculate that the allusion may be to Constantine, the "Romayne emperour" who could be said to have "this empyre . . . corrected of so many sectes in heresie of faith," but this is only speculation which at this time I cannot substantiate. Leyerle proposes an entirely different solution (pp. 289-90).
12-13 to be corrected. Skeat: [nedeth] to be corrected.
13 of rule. Th: o rule. Emended by all.
15ff. that sayne love. Jellech notes that the four misplaced loves listed here are equivalent to the false goods enumerated by Lady Philosophy in Boethius, Cons. 3. pr. 2: wealth, renown, honor, and power (p. 253).
23 But. Skeat: But [of].
27 but. Skeat: but [men].
28 wo without ende. Compare Isaiah 5.20.
38-45 But I, lovers clerke . . . be enduced. Again Leyerle proposes a re-arranging of the text (pp. 291-92):
But I louers clerk in al my connyng and with al my mightes/ trewly I haue no suche grace in vertue of myracles/ ne for no discomfyte falsheedes/ suffyseth not auctorytes alone/ sythen that suche heretykes and maintaynours of falsytes./ with that auctorite misglosed by mannes reason/ to graunt shal be enduced. wherfore I wotte wel sythen that they ben men/ and reason is approued in hem/ the clowde of erroure hath her reason bewonde probable resons/ whiche that catchende wytte rightfully may not with sytte. By my trauaylynge studye I haue ordeyned hemHe then punctuates as follows (p. 72):
But I, lovers clerke, in al my connyng and with al my mightes, trewly, I have no suche grace in vertue of myracles. Ne for [t]o discomfyte falsheedes, suffyseth not auctorytes alone, sythen that suche heretykes and maintaynours of falsytes, [with that auctorie misglosed by mannes reason, to graunt shal be enduced.] Wherfore, I wotte wel, sythen that they ben men and reason is approved in hem, the clowde of erroure hath her reason bewonde. Probable resons, which that catchende wytte rightfully may not withsytte, by my travaylynge studye, I have ordeyned hem.This solution might very possibly be correct.
40 ne for no discomfyte. Schaar would emend no to to, observing: "the error here is obvious and easily eliminated: ne for to discomfit falsheedes, no being an easy mistake after ne" (p. 15). Leyerle adopts this emendation.
41 suche. Skeat: suche [arn].
42 the clowde of erroure. Jellech cites Boethius, Cons. 1. pr. 2.6: "mortalium rerum nube" (p. 256). Chaucer translates: "the cloude of mortal thynges" (p. 399).
44 with that. Skeat: whiche that.
46 Nowe gynneth my penne to quake. Compare T&C 4.13-14 (emphasis added): "And now my penne, allas, with which I write, / Quaketh for drede of that I moste endite."
50 Certes, me thynketh the sowne. Skeat: Certes, me thynketh, [of] the sowne.
59 faith hath no meryte of mede. Skeat sees this as a translation of "Fides non habet meritum ubi humana racio prebet experimentum," as quoted in PPl B.10.256a (p. 464). Alford (p. 65), like Skeat, identifies this quotation as St. Gregory's: this is "Gregory's Homily 26 on the Gospels (PL 76, p. 1197), quoted in the first lesson at matins on the Sunday after Easter (Brev. 1, p. dcclx)." My own sense, therefore, is that the latter source is just as likely to be Usk's as is Piers; and I would caution against putting much store by Skeat's "as quoted in."
66 love in hymselfe is the most. Compare 1 Corinthians 13.13.
67 The sede of suche springynge. Matthew 15.13; Mark 4.26-29, 30-32.
70 cockle. cockle, tares. Skeat sees a possible reference to the Lollards, as "puns upon the words Lollard and lolia were very rife at this period" (p. 464). We should proceed with caution here, however; the pun is possible, certainly, but inferences from it about Usk's persuasions are risky just because such puns "were very rife" -i.e., such evidence is very general, hardly specific (see further The Riverside Chaucer, p. 863).
71-74 Neverthelater . . . thilke name. According to Schaar,
The general structure and idea of the whole sentence shows that the meaning intended must be: although the name of love, by foolish and malicious people, is given to things which do not deserve it, this fact nevertheless shows that the worship of this name goes deep and is essential to man. The corrupt clause must conform with this idea; and, I think, no extensive operations are necessary to restore this sense to the passage, which presents some rather insidious errors:
Never-the-later, yet how-so-it-be that men clepe thilke thing preciousest in kynde, with many eke-names, that <to> other thinges they foule yeven the ilke noble name, it sheweth wel that in a maner men have a greet lykinge in worshippinge of thilke name.
A to, then, was dropped and that erroneously repeated; the last letter of an original they seems to have dropped out; and the easy substitution of f for s restores the author's reproach. Thilke thing, refers, then, to the before-mentioned cockle; `although people call such a thing the most precious in Nature, with many nicknames, so that they shamefully give that noble name to other things, this clearly shows that in a way people have great liking in worshipping that name.' (pp. 15-16)Leyerle (p. 73) offers the following construal of this difficult sentence: "Never-thelater, yet, howe-so it be that menne cleape thilke [li]kynge, preciousest in kynde, with many eke-names, [and] other thynges tha[n] the soule yeven the ylke noble name, it sheweth wel that in a maner men have a great lykynge in worshyppynge of thilke name."
72 thynge. Th: kynge, which makes a kind of sense, as if it were an appeal to Richard. Skeat makes the emendation, and Schaar's analysis makes sense too. But see Leyerle's conjecture, in the preceding note.
78-80 Every thynge . . . his fynal cause. Jellech "I have made no emendations in this passage, but the thought sequence is erratic. A possible source of the difficulty is the repetition of Euery thynge [line 78] and euery thynge [line 79]. Rearrangement of the phrases so as to merge the repeated `every thing' might give a clearer reading: `Aristotle supposeth that the acts of every thyng to whom is owande occasyon done as for his ende ben in a maner his fynal cause'" (p. 260).
80 fynal cause. I update Skeat's note. See OED C, p. 225, "cause," branch 4: "Final cause" is a technical term "introduced into philosophical language by the schoolmen as a translation of Aristotle's fourth cause . . . the end or purpose for which a thing is done, viewed as the cause of the act; esp. as applied in Natural Theology to the design, purpose, or end of the arrangements of the universe."
81 fynally to thilke ende. Skeat glosses: "is done with a view to that result."
92 putteth. Leyerle (p. 74) emends and punctuates as follows: "But who is that, in knowyng of the orders of heven, [p]utteth his resones in the erthe?"
97ff. Here Schaar argues for three pages (pp. 16-18) that Usk uses Alan of Lille as a source.
108 wened. I suggest [is] wened for sense.
109ff. I have me withdrawe. Jellech (p. 264) suggests that "Love's withdrawal from an evil and unloving mankind is similar to the departure of Astraea [Justice] in Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.149-50."
111-12 These thynges me greven . . . passed gladnesse. Jellech cites Cons. 2. pr. 4. 3-4 and Boece 2. pr. 4. 7-9.
113 They that wolden maystries. Leyerle proposes (p. 296) that "the literal sense is `in that age those, who wished me to have sway, in proper time were lodged in heaven on high above the sphere of Saturn.' . . . The phrase above Saturnes spere [sic] may refer either to the circle of the fixed stars, or to the Empyrean beyond."
113-16 Schaar would repunctuate to differentiate "then" and "now":
"Those who wanted power possess me. But then . . . they lived in Heaven; now, however etc." . . . The end of the passage seems also to have suffered some slight corruption. . . . we must read "and yet sayn some that they me have in celler with wyne shet" [--] "they say that with wine, they have locked up Love in their cellars." Shed is an easy error after wyne. (pp. 18-19)116 shet. Th: shed. Schaar's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
122 Somtyme toforn the sonne in the seventh partie was smyten. Jellech observes, "Skeat notes that seventh is possibly an error for `third,' and the allusion derived from Revelations 8.12, `percussa est tertia pars solis,' and it is not difficult to see how such an error might have come about. If the original manuscript has the numeral `iij' there would have been three strokes; if the number was not clear to the editor or printer, he may have read `vij.' However, I have not made the change" (p. 266). Leyerle does make the change. Further confirmation of Skeat's speculation derives from the gloss on Revelations 8.12 in Hugh of St. Cher (7, fol. 392v), for example, where the passage is interpreted in terms of reprobate clergy, lacking in charity; just so, a few lines hence in TL the object of Love's attack is simony -but nowe the leude for symonye. . . (line 130) -or the sale of Church office (most generally, any use of religion for personal profit and aggrandizement) as opposed to servyce in holy churche honest and devoute (line 129).
122-23 crosse and mytre, accoutrements of a bishop.
131 is. Th: it; Skeat: is. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
131-33 Nowe is . . . encrease. Skeat: "And each one gets his prebend (or share) all for himself, with which many thrifty people ought to profit" (p. 465).
131-34 Skeat observes the rimes: achates, debates; wronges, songes. He might have cited forsake, take, as well.
132 for his wronges.Skeat glosses: "on account of the wrongs which he commits"; also personer, better parsoner or parcener, participant, sharer; i.e., the steward, courtier,
escheator, and idle minstrel, all get something (p. 465).
133 and provendre. Skeat: and [hath his] provendre. Jellech concurs, but not Leyerle. Leyerle (p. 297) glosses as "prebendary," the clergyman who holds a prebend, or stipend from his church.
134 behynde. Skeat: "behindhand -even these wicked people are neglected, in comparison with the losengeour, or flatterer" (p. 465).
146 dolven. Skeat glosses as "buried," observing: "because they (the poor) always crave an alms, and never make an offering, they (the priests) would like to see them dead and buried" (p. 466).
148 forthe. Skeat: force, which makes easier sense, but not definitively. I follow Leyerle who reads forthe as a noun, a variant of fort. Leyerle (pp. 298-99) argues that "the correct form was probably forche, `the act of appearing in court, or of taking a legal step, separately rather than as a group.' This AF legal term . . . gave the compositor trouble and he replaced it with a common word nearly indistinguishable with it in handwriting, but meaningless in context. . . . [Leyerle next paraphrases the sense:] `But among lawyers I dare not come. My activity, they say, makes them poor. They would on no account have me around, for then tort and individual cases in court would not be worth a haw nearby and would please no men; but these lawyers are oppressive and extortionate in power and activity.'"
148ff. Jellech emends pleasen to pleaden and this emendation supersedes Schaar's mistaken construals, which are based in the reading pleasen (Schaar, p. 19).
150 ryme. Skeat: "The reference is not to actual jingle of rime, but to a proverb then current. In a poem by Lydgate in MS. Harl. 2251 (fol. 26), beginning `Alle thynge in kynde desirith thynge i-like,' the refrain to every stanza runs thus, `It may wele ryme, but it accordith nought'; [see the Minor Poems, pp. 792-94, `Ryme Without Accord']. The sense is that unlike things may be brought together, like riming words, but they will not on that account agree. So here: such things may seem, to all appearance, congruous, but they are really inconsistent" (p. 466). See above, lines 131-34.
151 by me. Jellech: "The phrase is ambiguous. It could mean `by me, Love' or me might be the abbreviated form of `men'" (p. 270).
166 cease.Jellech: "The meaning of cease in this passage would seem to be `to renounce or abdicate a right or office.' The thought is that although the governed may have the ability to govern and administer, still they should not try to exercise this ability until their heads call on them, notwithstanding the profit or pleasure such power might bring them" (p. 271).
172 truly, he saith he com never of Japhetes childre. Jellech: "The basic reference in this sentence and the lines following is to Genesis 9.25-27, and Noah's curse on the descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, because he was seen naked by Ham. The biblical story was given various allegorical interpretations by Christian exegetes, usually associating the line of Japhet, Noah's heirs and Shem with the faithful, or with the church, and the descendants of Ham or of Canaan variously with unbelievers, Jews, or the damned. . . . there seems to have been a vernacular tradition incorporating the interpretation Usk uses in this passage. The Cursor Mundi, lines 2133-35, interprets Noah's curse as dividing mankind into knight, freeman, and thrall:
Knyth, and thrall, and freman,See further Allen, pp. 77 and 117.
Oute of þes thre breþer began;
O sem freman, o Iaphet knyght,
Thrall of cham þe maledight." (p. 272)
173 Caynes. Leyerle (p. 300) notices that "the context shows that the form Caynes . . ., despite its appearance, means `of Ham.' The names Cain and Ham were confused in medieval orthography because of the Vulgate spelling Cham for Ham."
178 in. Th: in in.
178-93 Usk's eloquent defense of gentilesse as a matter of behavior rather than inheritance owes much to Boece III. pr. 6 and m. 6. But see also "Gentilesse: Moral Balade of Chaucer" and Chaucer's "Truth: Balade de Bon Conseyl" for similar wording and sentiment. The ideas are also prominent in the Wife of Bath's Tale CT III.1109ff. and the Roman de la Rose, lines 6579-92.
180 Perdicas. Skeat: "Perdiccas, son of Orontes, a famous general under Alexander the Great. This king, on his death-bed, is said to have taken the royal signet-ring from his finger and to have given it to Perdiccas. After Alexander's death, Perdiccas held the chief authority under the new king Arrhidaeus; and it was really Arrhidaeus (not Perdiccas) who was the son of a tombestere, or female dancer, and of Philip of Macedonia; so that he was Alexander's half brother. The dancer's name was Philinna, of Larissa." (p. 466). Jellech cites Trevisa, translating Higden's Polychronicon, as calling "Perdica, a tombester sone" (p. 273). See also Leyerle, p. 301.
189 corare. Skeat emends to corage. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
190 clerkes. Skeat emends to cherles.
191 nempned. Leyerle emends to [d]empned.
191-93 And therfore he . . . gentylmen maketh. Jellech compares the language of Boethius, Cons. 3. m. 5.1-4.
193-99 Jellech transfers the lines "And so speke . . . no maner mater," to Book 2, Chapter 3, below at line 281 between desyren. and Trewly Nero. She explains her decision thus: "These lines have been transferred from the end of the second chapter of this book because they obviously do not belong to that chapter's topic of gentilesse, and they are a fitting climax to Love's defense of women in [the third chapter]" (p. 283).
197 so wene. Leyerle (p. 302) emends to sowene, arguing that the word is the idiomatic sowne as in sowne in, meaning "tend toward, make for, be consonant with." "The sense is as follows: `I will say nothing . . . that can tend toward anything against her sex.'"
206-09 Ah good lady . . . aperen. Schaar: "The corruption here is serious. . . . I propose the reading: `Ah, good lady,' quod I, `in whom victorie of strength is proved above al other thing, after the jugement of Esdram! Whos lordship <over> alle regneth? Who is, that right as emperour hem commaundeth? Whether thilke ben not women' etc. This version seems to me to be as close as we can come to the sense of the context . . . and to the textual material extant. It would seem that the erroneous lignes was due to a contraction of syllables and to i in lordship, and that the following is was responsible for the ending" (p. 20). But see Leyerle, p. 303.
207 jugement of Esdram. 3 Esdras 4.15-17. Jellech notes: "The reference is to the story told in the apocryphal book of Esdras, of a banquet given by Darius, at which he held a contest to determine what is the strongest thing in the world. The person giving the wisest answer would be richly rewarded. One guest states that wine is strongest; another that the king is strongest; but the third, Zerubbabel, maintained that women are strongest, but Truth is victor in all things" (p. 276). The story is retold in Gower's CA, VII, 1783-1984.
210-11 al the remenaunt ben no gendres. I.e., the rest are neuter, and called gender only "of grace in facultie of grammer."
211ff. See 1 Esdras 4.15-17: "Women have borne the king and all the people that bear rule by sea and land . . . without women cannot men be."
222 that desyre to a good asker. Skeat: "That by no way can they refuse his desire to one that asks well" (p. 467).
223 of your sectes. Skeat: "of your followers, of those of your sex" (p. 467).
231 so maked. Skeat: "and that (i.e., the male sex) is so made sovereign and to be entreated, that was previously servant and used the voice of prayer. Men begin by entreating, and women then surrender the sovereignty" (p. 467).
232ff. Anon as fylled is your lust. These lines, Skeat argues, derive from HF 269-85; Jellech, however, contends that both Chaucer and Usk "used a common source" (pp. 7077). See, further, Leyerle, p. 304.
234 so. Leyerle emends to se.
235-36 every glyttryng thyng. Skeat paraphrases, "All that glisters is not gold," and compares CT VIII.962 (p. 467).
239 of. Th: on. Skeat's emendation. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
242 unhande. Skeat: on hande. Jellech and Leyerle concur.
244 blober. Th: bloder. Skeat: blobere. Leyerle concurs, but not Jellech.
245 is put into wenyng. I.e., "she [each one of them] is led to suppose" (Skeat, p. 467).
246 their wyl in. I suggest their wyl [others] in for sense.
248ff. a thirde for delyte. Copied from HF 305-10 (Skeat, p. 468).
252 Alas. Skeat: "Expanded from HF 332-59; observe how some phrases are preserved" (p. 468).
258 Ever their fame. In addition to HF, compare T&C 5.1058-62:
"Allas, of me, unto the worldes ende,radde. Skeat: [ben] radde.
Shal neyther ben ywriten nor ysonge
No good word, for thise bokes wol me shende.
O, rolled shal I ben on many a tonge!
Thorughout the world my belle shal be ronge!"
268 helper. Skeat: "Faciamus ei adiutorium simile sibi" -Genesis 2.18 [Let us make him a help like unto himself].
this tree. I.e., Eve, womankind. See City of God 14.11: "or rather it was the man himself who was that tree . . ."
274 Sarazins. Saracens, or the infidel.
275-79 If the fyre doth . . . wytte in sterynge. See City of God 12.4:
For what is more beautiful than a fire, with all the vigour of its flames and the splendours of its light? And what more useful, with its heat, its comfort, and its help in cooking? And yet nothing can cause more distress than the burns inflicted by fire. . . . So we must not give a hearing to those who praise the fire's light and find fault with its heat, because they are not thinking of its natural properties, but are judging it by the standard of their own convenience or inconvenience. They like to see the fire; but they do not like being burned.280-81 Jellech: "These lines [below] have been transferred from the end of the second chapter of this book because they obviously do not belong to that chapter's topic of gentilesse, and they are a fitting climax to Love's defense of women in this chapter:
And so speke I in feminyne gendre in general/of tho persones at the reuerence of one/ whom euery wight honoureth/for her bountie and her noblesse ymade her to god so dere/that his moder she became/and she me hath had so great in worshyp/that I nyl for nothyng in open declare/that in any thynge ayenst her secte maye so wene: for al vertue and al worthynesse of plesaunce in hem haboundeth. And although I wolde any thing speke/trewly I can not/I may fynde of yuel in her no maner mater." (p. 283)282 dames. Compare Cons. 2. m. 6. 5-8 (Jellech).
284 an herbe. This proverb is copied from HF 290-91 (Skeat, p. 468).
294 Thou desyrest. Leyerle begins chapter 4 here.
294-300 Leyerle argues, over almost two pages (pp. 307-08), for a slight modification of the chapter division (that preserves the initial T dictated by the acrostic) and for other alterations in the passage to try to clarify its sense. He concludes that the gist of the passage is that "Love's point is that women's insistence on long service is not really a delay because it reinforces the innate desire of all men, even a wretch, for complete and faultless joy in everything done" (p. 308).
296-97 Nowe . . . belongeth. Schaar: "After the restoration of two small words we get the sense obviously required:
`Now' quod she, `for thou shalt not wene that <to> womans condicions for fayre speche suche thing <ne> longeth.'An ironical sally, then, alluding to the previously mentioned contempt for woman [lines 259-61]." Compare Jellech, however: "There is some corruption here which is not to be resolved" (p. 285).
299 Skeat would strike out either my or to me.
302 lyveth. Skeat emends to leveth, which is certainly the sense.
306-07 wight weneth. Skeat: wight, [which] weneth.
308-10 but than . . . syde. Jellech: "The argument is derived from Boethius, Cons. 3. pr. 2. 510, except that Usk has substituted love for the summum bonum. Both Boethius and Usk are saying that a person is not going to have complete happiness if his happiness is lacking anything in any way. Also, if this happiness consists in love, then it follows that he who is supposed to have complete happiness should not lack happiness in love in any way" (p. 287).
308-10 lacke . . . lacke. "It is probable . . . that the second lacke is an erroneous repetition of the first, and that the correct reading should be: "Eke it foloweth than, that he that must have ful blisse <geteth> no blisse in love on no syde" (Schaar, p. 21).
311 sohte. Th: sothe. Leyerle's emendation.
313 thinges. Th: thrages. Thrages could be a variant of thronges, meaning "groups," or "dangers," or "anxieties." None complements the sense as well as "things," however; I follow Skeat's emendation. Leyerle: "The original was probably thrates, `vexations'; the word originally had a sense of `press or crowd of people,' which fits the context here very well" (p. 309).
turneth. Skeat: "It goes against the hair." Now we say, "against the grain" (p. 468).
316 wot. Th: wol. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
330-31 cleaped resonable, manlych, and bestiallich. Resonable is. Th: cleaped bestiallich resonablich. Skeat emends to: cleaped bestiallich, resonablich, [and manlich. Resonablich] is. Jellech reads: cleaped/ bestiallich/ manlich and resonablich/ resonablich is. I have emended the series to accord with the hierarchical order in which they are discussed. It is difficult to suggest a single source for Usk's argument here. Triplicities, on the one hand, and the basic idea of vegetative, animal, and rational creatures, on the other, are so ubiquitous in medieval thought that Usk could depend here on any one or a group of a vast array of sources. Readers may find it helpful to consult Lewis , 152ff., "The Human Soul."
338 holden for absolute. Skeat: "considered as free, separate, or detached; as in Boece 5. pr. 6. 203" (p. 468).
338-39 so lyveth in to. Both Skeat and Jellech emend lyveth to leveth and to to two. Thynne's spelling probably reflects early sixteenth-century pronunciation, after the front medial vowel has moved upward. This seems the case in several instances.
357 in name than preise." "Soth. Leyerle's suggestion (p. 310) I consider superior to Schaar's: "The emendation of soth to other . . . [yields] the sense . . .: `"Truly," said I, "it is shame and baseness to him who desires reputation that more people do not praise him in name than praise another".'" In this reading, the text would continue with a new sentence, "Quod she, `thou sayst soth . . . etc.'" Schaar would read: "more folk nat prayse his name than these" (p. 21).
377 thy kyng. Skeat: presumably, Richard II.
381 wot. Th: wol. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
384-85 On the importance of this announcement for understanding the possible transmission history of TL, see the Introduction vi f, "The Problem of the Broken Sequence of Book 3."
387 of this purpose. Leyerle (p. 91) emends and construes as follows: "Trewly, it was I, for haddest thou of me fayled, than [I] this purpose had never taken in this wyse."
389-90 Sylver fyned . . . werkynge. Compare Psalm 12.6.
391 disease. Th: diseases. Emended by all.
394-96 But for as moche . . . the hert. Skeat: "Love and the bliss already spoken of above [see the parfyte blysse of love, above, line 60] shall be called the `knot in the heart.' This definition of `the knot,' viz. as being the perfect bliss or full fruition of love, should be noted; because, in later chapters, the author continually uses the phrase `the knot,' without explaining what he means by it. It answers to `sovereyn blisfulnesse' in Chaucer's Boethius" (p. 468). See Boece, p. 412, and see my Introduction, pp. 10ff.
397 inpossession. Skeat: "inpossession is all one word, but is clearly an error. The right word is certainly imposition. The Lat. impositio was a grammatical term, used by Varro, signifying the imposing of a name, or the application of a name to an object. . . . It is just the word required. When Love declares that she shall give the name of `the knot' to the perfect bliss of love, the author replies, `I shall well understand the application of this name,' i.e., what you mean by it" (pp. 468-69). Further, on the ubiquitous impositio ad placitum ("imposition of the meaning of a word at the pleasure or discretion of the one doing the imposting"), see Eco and Lambertini, et al.; also Shoaf (1983), pp. 11, 33, and 247n22.
402 admyt it. Th: admytted. Skeat and Jellech's emendation, followed, with slight variation, by Leyerle.
409 Aristotle. Perhaps the reference is to the Nicomachean Ethics, 1.1, as Skeat suggests. But whether here or elsewhere, the basic Aristotelian idea, we may be sure, that that for the sake of which something is done or made, the end, is of more value than the means, informs Usk's thought: if health causes my habit of eating properly, then, in Aristotelian terms, health, the cause, is greater than the thing caused, my habit, because my habit is for the sake of health.
431-32 Thilke knytten . . . the yvel. Leyerle: "They accept the riches and not the evil" (p. 313). Schaar would change yvel to lyve, explaining:
Lyf in the sense "person" or "body" is not uncommon. . . The same error, yvel for lyve, recurs in a passage later in the same chapter, where the author speaks of those who love a person not for her own sake, but for her property's (line 478). . . . The reading "that loven non lyve for dereworthinesse of the persone" is quite as indispensable here as in the other passage; it seems that the scribe or the printer was led astray by the spelling lyve, the word otherwise being spelt lyf in Usk [another instance of the spelling lyve, however, is found in line 1028] (p. 22).434 than. Th: that. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
437 thynges precious or noble that neyther han lyfe ne soule. Compare Boece II pr. 5, 130-33, where Philosophy laments that some think themselves neither fair nor noble except by riches, "ostelementz that ne han no soules."
438 whan they ben in gatheryng. Jellech: "Such riches are more worthy when they are in the process of being gathered; in giving them away begins man's love of other men's praising" (p. 300).
439 avaryce gatheryng. "Avaricious gathering." The subject of be would be an impersonal "one," unexpressed (Jellech, p. 300).
442-43 and in the gatheryng of hem make men nedy. This is very typical anti-venality lore and can be found in many examples of venality satire (especially those referring to the image of the hydroptical avaricious, who thirsts the more the more he drinks - see Yunck, pp. 16 and 32): the evil of riches is that they excite endless desire for more riches. See also Little, pp. 35-41.
456 to kynde suffiseth lytel thing. Compare Chaucer's "Truth: Balade de Bon Conseyl," lines 2 and 10 -"Suffyce unto thy thing, though it be smal" and "Gret reste stant in litel besinesse."
489 gravel and sande. To understand the following extended metaphor, which is rather clumsy, the reader needs to realize that "gravel and sand" amount to a figure for riches, that arrive with the flow of the sea and depart with its ebb.
491 the. Th: to. Skeat's emendation, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
493-95 And certes . . . ayen meve. In a lengthy note (pp. 313-14), Leyerle proposes warnysh, "the state of being guarded," for warnyng, "probably an error resulting from the substitution of a common noun for a very rare one." Schaar suggests:
warning was miswritten for the very rare word warpinge, "silt" . . . Being an obvious lectio difficilior, it is natural enough that it should be misunderstood by the scribe or the printer. . . . If we accept the reading warpinge . . . the sentence would read: "And certes, ful warping in love shalt thou never thorow hem get ne cover, that lightly with an ebbe, er thou be ware, it wol ayen meve." (pp. 22-24)517 contrarie. Skeat emends to [the] contrarie, followed by Leyerle; Jellech follows Thynne.
522 whiche thynge. Skeat emends to [of] whiche thing, followed by Leyerle but not by Jellech.
526-27 governour shulde. Leyerle: " . . . apparently a misdivision for governours hulde; hulde is the past participle of hilen, `concealed' MED 2, and modifies rancours" (p. 315).
528 but. Th: by. Leyerle's emendation.
have ben trusted. Jellech: "The sentence, Thou wottest wel what I meane, [line 529], is probably an oblique reference to the Northampton affair" (p. 309).
529-31 "Ye," quod I, ". . . in doyng." Jellech: "the meaning and syntax are perfectly clear without emendation: `. . . as dignity wrought such a harmful thing [as the queynte thynges of line 529], so, the substance of dignity being changed, they would rely on them to bring again a good effect'" (p. 309).
542 hadden. Jellech points out that the unexpressed subject of hadden is "dignities" (p. 310).
557 Nero. Skeat: "The name was evidently suggested by the mention of Nero immediately after the end of Boethius, Cons. 3. pr. 4 (viz. in met. 4); but the story of Nero killing his mother is from an earlier passage in Boethius, viz. 2. met. 6" (p. 469).
559 kyng John. Skeat observes that by asserting his "dignity" as king against prince Arthur, John brought about a war in which "the greater part of the French possessions of the crown were lost" (p. 469). By strict primogeniture, Prince Arthur should have succeeded to the throne instead of John; John may have killed Arthur (in the spring of 1203) after capturing him at Mirabeau in 1202, but the matter is uncertain. As Skeat implies, John's warfaring in France was spectacularly unsuccessful -hence
his nickname, "Lackland."
573 such maner planettes. "planets such as those," referring to the sun and moon mentioned just above (lines 564-67). The sun and moon were then accounted as being among the seven planets (Skeat, p. 469). Although Usk almost certainly did not know Dante's works firsthand, the reader may want to bear in mind that Dante engages in the Monarchia (3.4) the long-standing allegory of the sun and the moon (the two luminaries) for his arguments regarding the relationship between the Empire and the Papacy.
574-75 that any desyre . . . shewe. "that have any desire for such (ill) shining planets to appear any more in that way" (Skeat, p. 469).
590 to contrarious. Skeat: [that] to contrarious.
598-600 And if reverence . . . grounded. Jellech: "As Skeat has said, the difficulty begins in the clause for that, [line 599]. The subject of ben shewed is `reverence nor worship.' The general sense of the period is, `if worship or reverence are not in dignities and if reverence and worship are no more revealed in dignities that [sic; than] is goodness revealed in them (but goodness is not revealed in them), then it proves that goodness is not grounded in them by nature'" (p. 316). See, further, Leyerle, p. 319. Schaar, on the other hand, proposes: "And if reverence ne worshippe kyndely be not set in dignitees, and they more therein ben <not> shewed than goodnesse-for that in dignité is <not> shewed-it but proveth that goodnesse kyndely in hem is not grounded," observing,
In this way we arrive at a syllogism, rather heavy but free from contradiction: if reverence and honour are not naturally placed in dignities, and if they are not shown to be there any more than goodness -for that is not shown to be in dignity -this only proves that goodness is not naturally rooted in them (i.e. dignities) either. For if a thing is naturally associated with another, we must be able to show that it is always there; if this cannot be shown (as in the case of honour, reverence, and goodness, in relation to dignities), it cannot be naturally "grounded" in it. (pp. 24-25)605 ne. Th: he. Leyerle's emendation.
614 that. Th: that that. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
615-16 What . . . shynynge. Schaar proposes: "What bountee mowe the <moone> yeve that, with cloude, lightly leveth his shyninge," suggesting that "moone may have been dropped in an early MS, which would more easily explain the fact that y in yeve was attached to the" (p. 25).
618 lefte syde. Conventionally in the Middle Ages, the left is associated with evil and that which is to be shunned or evaded -see the essays in Needham, especially that by Hertz, pp. 3-31.
620 of worthy. Skeat: of [men, to maken hem] worthy.
629 Henry Curtmantyl. "Among his Anglo-Norman barons, he always wore the short Angevin cloak, which by contrast with their long robes earned him the name of Curtmantle" (Barber, pp. 56 and 264n3).
He had not so moche. "The attendants, knowing that his desperate state meant that there would be none of the traditional rewards for them, stripped the body, plundered all they could find, and left the despoiled corpse to be found by William the Marshal soon afterwards. One of the knights, William de Trihan, had to take off his cloak to cover the corpse, and even the faithful marshal was hard put to it to arrange matters as befitted a royal funeral" (Barber, p. 232).
674 a sypher in augrym. Jellech: "The zero in arithmetic, which has no power of meaning in itself, yet gives signification to other numbers. This was a stock definition in medieval arithmetic: `nil cifra significat sed dat signare sequenti'" (p. 325). (See Steele, p. 5.)
679 great. Th: graet.
680 for as the. Skeat emends to: for as, [if] the.
683 Thou haste knowe many. It is difficult not to think here of "the turbulent London of Richard II" (Bird's phrase).
699 Buserus. Chaucer has Busyrides in Boece 2. pr. 6. 67; but Busirus in the Monk's Tale, CT VII 3293. The true name is Busiris, of which Busiridis is the genitive case (Skeat, p. 471).
Hugest. Skeat suggests this is an error for Hengest, and that the reference is to his slaughter of the Britons. But Jellech cites the example of "Hugest" for Boethius's example of Regulus (Boece, p. 417). On Hengest and related "origin myths" in early Britain, see Brooks (pp. 58-64), who notes that the numerous accounts may be "myth" (p. 58) but are nonetheless widely attested; there can be little doubt, then, that Usk could have come by familiarity with one account or another in his wide if superficial reading among various sources.
700-01 See Matthew 26.52: "Omnes enim, qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt" -[for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword].
707-09 He is mighty . . . not withsytte. Jellech: "He is powerful who can act without bringing anxiety or injury to himself, and he is impotent who cannot resist wretchedness; but then he who has power over you, if he wishes to impose wretchedness on you, you cannot resist it." Skeat believed something to be missing, but, as Jellech observes, the form and thought are whole (p. 328).
719-20 Why there . . . as he shulde. Jellech: "Skeat inserted `for him' before that loketh. Schaar disagreed as to the comprehensibility of this change, and would insert at the same place, `but for him,' so as to say `Why, there is no way to the knot except for him who seeks for the high way.' However, neither emendation is supported by any principle of textual criticism. No, [line 719], may be an error for `one' or `oon' but no straightforward way of improving the passage suggests itself" (p. 329). For Schaar the only possible restoration is: "Why, there is no way to the knotte <but for him> that loketh aright after the hye way, as he shulde" (p. 25). I would venture the suggestion that we add here for him: "[Which is] why there is no way to the knot here [in the dimension of power] for him that looks aright after the high way as he should" -i.e., I think Skeat is close to the mark. Leyerle posits a similar solution.
741 veyned. Skeat emends to weyved; followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
744 our. Jellech emends to your, as does Leyerle, too, following her.
746-49 An excellent introduction to and overview of the theory of the elements will be found in Lindberg, pp. 55-56 and 332ff; on page 55 is a helpful diagram of the "square of opposition of the Aristotelian elements and qualities," which I reproduce here:
cold and dry = earth
cold and wet = water
hot and wet = air
hot and dry = fire
751 cloudes. Leyerle emends to c[old]nes.
753 by. Th: my. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
754 eyre. Th: erth, in both places in the line. Skeat labels Thynne's erth as "an obvious error" for eyre, and so emends both instances; followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
761 oweth. Skeat: [it] oweth, though the vergules (marked here by commas) suggest that emendation is unnecessary.
772-73 Schaar would read: "And if it be fayr, a mans name be eched by moche folkes praysing, <than it is> fouler thing that mo folk <it> not praysen" (p. 26).
775 obstacles. They are enumerated in Book 1, chapter 8, lines 809-14 (Skeat, p. 472).
777 than renome. Leyerle emends to [and] renome.
791-93 And if . . . a foule syght. Leyerle (p. 329), as part of a lengthy note, emends hewe to he3ed ("exalted") and modernizes as follows: "And if your eyes were as good as those of the lynx that can see through stone walls, both ugly and handsome in their inwardness would appear in no way exalted; that would be an ugly spectacle." Schaar suggests: "The transition from `many stone walles' to `bothe fayre and foule' has an abruptness unparalleled in Usk, and probably an addition should be made: "And if thyne eyen weren as good as the lynx, that may seen thorow many stone walles, <and> bothe fayre and foule, in their entrayles, of no maner hewe shulde apere to thy sight, that were a foule sight'" (p. 26).
799 falowen. Th: folowen. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
804-05 al daye . . . fooles wende. Jellech: "A proverbial expression; see Skeat, Early English Proverbs, 63" (p. 338). See too T&C 1.217.
806 de polo antartico. Th: autartico. Skeat's emendation, followed universally. Jellech (pp. 338-39) notes that the belief in a southern polar star corresponding to the North Star is also found in one version of Mandeville's Travels (pp. 132-34). The idea lived on into the fifteenth century among navigators; see Taylor (second ed.), pp. 124 and 161-62.
817 a melodye in heven. Jellech notes that belief in the melody of the harmony of the spheres was, of course, widespread until the eighteenth century. "In order to understand Usk's analogy between the harmony of lovers and the harmony of the spheres it is important to know that music of the spheres, both in its scientific and its spiritual interpretation, was not to be heard by ordinary ears under ordinary circumstances" (p. 340).
819 joye. Skeat emends, needlessly, to joye[s].
820-21 God made al thyng. See Wisdom 11.21.
824-37 Swetenesse . . . endure. Jellech argues (pp. 341-42) for a rearrangement of several sentences here. Her proposed order would run as follows: lines 802-23 (as text now stands), 833-37, 824-33, 837 etc.:
This blysse is a maner of sowne delycious in a queynte voyce touched and no dynne of notes: there is none impressyon of breakynge laboure. I canne it not otherwyse nempne for wantynge of privy wordes but paradyse terrestre ful of delycious melody withouten travayle in sown perpetual servyce in ful joye coveyted to endure. Swetenesse of this paradyse hath you ravisshed it semeth ye slepten rested from al other diseases so kyndely is your hertes therin ygrounded. Blysse of two hertes in ful love knytte may not aright ben ymagyned: ever is their contemplacion in ful of thoughty studye to plesaunce mater in bringynge comforte everyche to other. And therfore of erthly thinges mokel mater lightly cometh in your lerning. Knowledge of understonding that is nyghe after eye but not so nyghe the covetyse of knyttynge in your hertes: More soveraine desyre hath every wight in lytel herynge of hevenly connynge than of mokel materyal purposes in erthe. Right so it is in propertie of my servauntes that they ben more affyched in sterynge of lytel thynge in his desyre than of mokel other mater lasse in his conscience. Onely kynde maketh hertes in understonding so to slepe that otherwyse may it nat be nempned ne in other maner names for lykyng swetnesse can I nat it declare al sugre and hony al mynstralsy and melody ben but soote and galle in comparison by no maner proporcion to reken <344rb><344va>in respecte of this blysful joye. This armony this melody/ etc.827 plesaunce, mater. Leyerle emends to plesaun[t]e mater.
829-30 Knowledge . . . hertes. Jellech: "the idea being expressed would be, `and, therefore, with regard to earthly things, a great deal of material comes easily in your learning. Knowledge of understanding (i.e., comprehension) that is based on experience comes easily, but not the desire to be united in your hearts'" (p. 342).
829-37 Inexplicably these lines are missing from Jellech's edition: her text goes from "Knowledge of understonding" directly to "Onely kynde maketh" (pp. 342-43, continuous pagination). I speculate that in working out her re-ordering of lines (see note to lines 824-37), she inadvertently omitted this section which was in question. I base this speculation on the fact that her note on page 342 does contain her construal of the sentence "Knowledge of understonding . . .", which I cited in the previous note -i.e., presumably the omitted lines were there in a draft (they were annotated), but then were subsequently dropped inadvertently.
835-38 Schaar: "Usk must here have used a word for the process in the hearts that produces the wonderful harmony, for whose sweetness even Love cannot find adequate words: I can it not otherwyse nempne . . . but paradyse terrestre ful of delicious melody . . . Only kynde maketh hertes in understonding so to stere, that otherwyse may it not be nempned etc. Only Nature, who establishes eternal law and concord, makes hearts stir in mutual understanding, like strings of a sensitive instrument, so that a music of unspeakable beauty is produced, a harmony comparable only to the music of the spheres" (pp. 27-28).
839-40 sugre . . . soote. Skeat compares "sucre be or soot," T&C 3.1194.
851 Flebring. Skeat: "Mr. Bradley suggests flekring or fleckering, which is probable enough. The Middle English flekren, also spelt flikeren, meant not only to flutter, but to be in doubt, to vacillate, and even to caress. We may take it to mean `light speech' or `gossip'" (p. 473).
853 innocentes. Th: innoctenes. Skeat's emendation, accepted also by Jellech and Leyerle.
866-69 Right so . . . to tourne. Leyerle (pp. 119 and 333) emends do (line 868) to to and out (line 868) to oweth; he then modernizes as follows: "Just as the knot is greater than all other goods, so you can reckon all things less. And what belongs to the knot ought to turn into a cause of honor and desire for its greater part; otherwise, it is rebel and ought to void away from defending its superior."
871 hem. Schaar would read <by> hem (p. 28).
894 he that is in heven felyth. Compare T&C 3.1656-59:
Pandare answerd, and seyde thus, "he900 to weten . . . me ben ymoned. Jellech: "Skeat erroneously read Thynne's ymoned as `ymoved,' though the text clearly has ymoned. Then, after making this error he was forced to make some sense of the line and altered me to `men.' Schaar, seeing that there was still something lacking, proposed a new word order: `a lytel other with me . . .,' but this syntax is still strained syntax. The correct reading removes all these difficulties. According to the OED the verb `moan' is rare before the sixteenth century, but two instances are recorded" (p. 349).
That ones may in hevene blisse be,
He feleth other weyes, dar I leye,
Than thilke tyme he first herde of it seye."
903-09 "O, for," quod she, . . . "were so ferde. Jellech: "Skeat considered this `the finest passage in the treatise, but not very original,' and referred his readers to parallel passages in PPl C.21.456-57 and to Boethius, Cons. 4. m.6. 25-29" (p. 349).
905 yeres. Skeat emends to yere.
912 proverbe. Th: pronerbe. Leyerle's emendation. See Proverbs of Hending: "When bale is hext (highest), then bote is next"(in Singer, p. 130). "For hext our author substitutes a nyebore, i.e., a neighbour, nigh at hand" (Skeat, p. 473).
923 to suffre. Leyerle (p. 336) plausibly suggests adding "change" -to suffre [change], of whiche changes cometh . . .
925-28 Of which worchynges . . . taketh his name. I replace Skeat's explanation of the "planetary hours" with North's, which is more economical. In understanding the "planetary hours," it helps to remember that the order in use was the reverse order of distance from the earth (which was considered the center of the planetary system): Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon.
Suppose we divide the days, each into twenty-four hours. . . . If we give the first hour of Sunday to the governance of the Sun, the second hour of the same day to Venus, the third to Mercury, and so on through the cycle again and again, we shall eventually come to the first hour of the following day, which by the rules will turn out to be governed by the Moon [English Monday]. Continuing, we shall find that Mars governs the first hour of the third day [hence French Mardi], Mercury the first hour of the fourth [hence French Mercredi], then Jupiter [hence French Jeudi], and Venus [hence French Vendredi], and finally Saturn [English Saturday]. The names of the days of our week are a relic of this arrangement of so-called "planetary hours." (p. 29)936 Wherefore the. Skeat: wherfore [in] the, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
940 contingence. Th: contygence. Emended by all.
956 one of thre. Skeat emends to [of] one of thre, and makes cross-reference to Book 2, chapter 4, line 328, above. Leyerle follows Skeat but Jellech does not.
964 first sayde. I.e., Book 2, chapter 4 (lines 333-35).
965 But manly. Skeat emends to but [by] `manly.'
969 is more . . . by clerkes. Jellech reads: "is reckoned by clerkes to be the more reasonable way than is the manly way" (p. 358).
972 wele. Skeat emends to wol. Schaar observes: "the meaning, if wel is retained and remembre considered a subjunctive, appears to be: `anyone who carefully contemplates the consequences of sensual enjoyment, is bound to admit that ultimately, they give melancholy and sorrow'" (p. 29).
973-75 Right as . . . at her goynge. Jellech compares Boethius, Cons. 3. m. 7. Schaar suggested that Thynne's "hadde" might be an error for shadde, which term conforms to the Latin "fundit" of Boethius [. . .] as well as to Chaucer's "hath sched" (Boece, p. 428).
975 entreth. Leyerle emends to en[d]eth.
975-76 stynge . . . knot. Schaar: "the bliss of the knot, after the sting of fleshly lust, cannot enter and disappear at the same time. Here also a slight emendation seems indispensable: `. . . and than stinge they at her goinge, wherthrough endeth and clene voydeth al blisse of this knot'" (p. 29).
986 glorien. Skeat supplies the head: [they] glorien. Leyerle follows Skeat.
990 stongen. As in line 986 Skeat loses the syntax by supplying the auxillary: [is] stongen. Leyerle follows Skeat.
1016 at the. Th: at he. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1023-28 Heyworth (p. 143) would re-punctuate as follows:
Ben these nat mortal thynges agon with ignorance of beestial wyt, and hast receyved reason in knowyng of vertue? What comforte is in thy hert, the knowinge sykerly in my servyce be grounded. And woste thou nat wel, as I said, that deth maketh ende of al fortune? What than? Standest thou in noble plyte, lytel hede or reckyng to take if thou let fortune passe dyng, or els that she fly whan her lyst, now by thy lyve.He comments: "The last sentence . . . is not a question but an answer to the preceding What than?" (p. 142).
1027 reckyng. Th: rcekyng. Emended by all.
1027-28 Schaar: "Love must rather be asking if it would not be a noble attitude to care little whether fortune passes away, either at our death or leaving us during our lifetime: `Standest thou <not> in noble plyte, litel hede or recking to take,'" etc. (p. 30).
1028 dying. Th: dyng. Skeat's emendation, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
1028-31 Pardy, a man . . . than thy lyfe? Jellech sees an adaption here from Boethius, Cons. 2. pr. 4. 22-25:
Cum igitur praecipua sit mortalibus vitae cura retinendae, o te, si tua bona cognoscas, felicem, cui suppetunt etiam nunc quae vita nemo dubitat esse cariora. (Therefore, since the sovereign care of mortals is to retain life, O you are a happy man if you know your goods, you to whom goods are at hand even now which no one doubts to be dearer than life.)1030 be loved. Leyerle emends to be[n] l[e]ved.
Usk's unclear clause if thou knowe thy goodes that thou hast yet be loued whiche nothynge may doute is a translation of "si tua bona cognoscas tuas suppetunt etiam nunc quae vita nemo dubitat esse cariora," but the antecedent for both the relative pronouns that and which is the same -goods. Boethius's "nemo" may have become the unintelligible nothyng through faulty reading of an abbreviation. (p. 364)
1039 daunger. Th: dauuger. Leyerle follows Skeat.
1043 Lo. Skeat mistranscribes: to.
1045 whyle. Leyerle emends to w[e]le.
1046 for in this. Th: for this. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech but not Leyerle.
1048 "Certayn," quod I. Thynne begins a new chapter here, but, since the initial letter "C" does not follow the acrostic, this chapter has been incorporated into chapter 10. (See Jellech, p. 366, and Skeat, p. 479).
amonge. In a major alteration of Thynne and Skeat, Leyerle (p. xxvii) intervenes here as follows (I quote only the essential part of a lengthy explanation):
For the sake of the acrostic, Skeat puts the chapter divisions at a word beginning with E, every, at [line 1070 -i.e., 22 lines later]. A break at this point seems dubious because it divides Love's discourse on the resonable lyf and makes an awkward interruption in the middle of one of her remarks. . . . Chapter 11 is best started with the word Amonge [line 1048], emended to its common by-form Emonge to provide the necessary E for the acrostic. Thus the third word of the acrostic in Book II becomes
M E R C I
10 11 12 13 14
A further result is that Book II has 14 chapters in its edited version, not the 15 chapters in Thynne.1055-56 there thou hast myswent, eschewe the pathe. Compare T&C 1.633-35 (emphasis added):
"And there thow woost that I have aught myswent,1057 confounded. Th: coufouded. Leyerle's emendation.
Eschuw thow that, for swich thing to the scole is;
Thus often wise men ben war by foolys."
1070 Every soule. Jellech notes there is no capital or ornate capital to mark a chapter division at this point in Thynne and follows Skeat in selecting this sentence as the beginning of a new chapter, because it is the only sentence in this portion of the text beginning with the letter "E" required by the acrostic (p. 369). But see Leyerle, above, note to line 1048.
1075-77 These olde philosophers . . . th'other lyvenges. Jellech: "Who these old philosophers were is not easy to say; presumably Boethius was one. The reference is to the idea that grace perfects nature; compare St. Thomas (pp. 142-43):
We may say, accordingly, that in the state of pure nature man did not need a gift of grace added to his power, in order to love God above all things, although he did need the help of God in moving him to do so. But in the state of corrupt nature he needs further help of grace, that his nature may be healed. (p. 369)Consult further Vitto, pp. 5-50.
1077 Resonably have I lyved. Skeat notes that "the author forgets that Love is supposed to be the speaker, and speaks in his own person" (p. 475).
1079 connyng. Skeat: [his] conning. Jellech: the connynge. Leyerle follows Skeat.
1085 as in knowing a wake. Jellech notes that something has gone wrong here. "I suspect that in should be `his' and a wake should be `awaketh' -as his knowing awakes" (p. 369).
1107 if he. Th: he. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1110 is. Th: as. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1114 power and suffisaunce. Th: power suffisaunce. Jellech's emendation. Skeat emends to power with suffisaunce. Leyerle concurs with Jellech.
1135 servant. Th: servant (with the a upside down). Leyerle calls attention to and corrects the upside-down a.
1135-37 Plato. Skeat suggests Seneca, De Ira, lib. i.c. 15, as the source (p. 145).
1146 conclude. The sense "confute" is found in the OED C, p. 665, "conclude," branch 4.
1153 habyte maketh no monke. "Cucullus non facit monachum," a common medieval proverb, Skeat observes (p. 475), of which Shakespeare is also fond -see Twelfth Night 1.5.56. See also Tilley, p. H586.
1156 cordiacle. Skeat (p. 475) sees cordiacle to be Thynne's misprint for cardiacle. See CT VI 313, and also the note to CT VI 313, where cardiacle is defined as quaking of the heart ("herte quakyng"). See, further, Appendix 1, p. 415 below.
1157 praye to enforme. Skeat emends to praye [thee] to enforme, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
1171-72 If fyre . . . shal suffre. Jellech: "If fire is in a place where there is something capable of being burned or heated, and the two -fire and the combustible material -are set at such a distance from each other that the fire can act, the combustible material will be acted upon" (p. 378).
1176 wercheth. Th: wrethe. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1177-78 and no . . . I fynde. "And I cannot find any passive except you in all my Donet." Jellech notes that a donet is a "colloquial expression for a book of principles, after the Roman grammarian Donatus, who wrote a book of elementary Latin grammar, widely used in medieval schools" (p. 379).
1188 muskle with a blewe shel. See Appendix 1 below.
1189-90 shel, by excellence. Th: shel excellence. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1200 thus sayth kynde of this perle. See Appendix 1 below.
1200-05 This precious Margaryte . . . vertues loken. See Appendix 1 below.
1205ff. Al thyng that hath soule . . . . Jellech remarks: "The relationship of the mussel, as an example of humility, to the good in man may have been suggested by Boethius's example of `conchis maris' as creatures which feel but cannot move" (p. 382). She then continues: "The whole passage is extremely obscure." Indeed it is. It will help, however, to note that "meane" is quasi-technical in this passage. "It is not possible to passe from one extreme to another but by a meane" (cited in Lewis , p. 166). "This is the old maxim from Timaeus 31b-c," Lewis continues; and the maxim will help us understand TL at this point. The point of the passage, its destination, so to speak, is the meekness or lowness of the mussel (lines 1201-02); and Usk is driving to this point with the idea of the different souls -vegetative, animal, rational. Each higher soul contains the lower soul(s), and this is the "mean"-ing by which one soul is "reduced" into another: because man has a rational soul, "in to god [he] is reduced" (line 1206). We see that "reduced" must also be a quasi-technical term; Skeat offers "connected," which is hardly wrong, but I think we can get a better grasp on the passage if we use instead "made to participate in." If we use these definitions and accept Skeat's emendation of meue to mene (line 1207), we can construe the passage, roughly (and only roughly) as follows:
Everything that has a soul is made to participate in the good (or God) by mediation, an intermediary, as thus: in God, man is made to participate by his reasonable soul; and so further, creatures that may not move [like mussels] according to their place, are made to participate in man by the beasts' mediation [i.e., the animal soul, the soul to which motion is appropriate], the mediation of those creatures that move from place to place [in other words, between the creatures that do not move and man comes the "mean" or mediation of creatures that do move, the animal soul's category, which "contains" the vegetative soul and thus "reduces" it along with itself into man, who contains both animal and vegetative souls]: so that those bodies that have feeling souls [vegetative] and move not from their places hold the lowest degree of creatures endowed with vegetative souls; and such are made to participate in man by mediation. So it follows that the mussel as mother of all virtues holds the place of meekness.1205 good. Leyerle emends to G[o]d.
1207 beestes. Skeat: "living things that cannot move, the very word used by Chaucer, Boece 5. pr. 5. 20" (p. 476).
meve. Skeat emends to mene, which helps a little.
1211 discendeth downe. Skeat: "There is something wrong; either discendeth should be discended, or we should understand and before to; and perhaps downe should be dewe. . . . The reference seems to be to the Incarnation" (p. 476). Continuing my effort from the previous note, I would propose adopting Skeat's suggestion of and before to and his emendation of dewe for downe. We may then read:
So it follows that the mussel as mother of all virtues holds the place of meekness and to its lowest degree descends dewe of heaven; and there by a manner of virgin birth are these Margarites/Pearls born, and afterward congealed.I wish to insist that this reading is imperfect in both emendatory practice and syntactical construction. But, as the preceding and as the following notes suggest, it has at least the modest virtue of consistency of thought.
1213-14 Made not mekenesse . . . a dewe. Jellech finds these lines obscure: "There does not seem to be a subject for Made [line 1213]" (p. 383). But headless sentences are common in Middle English writing. Continuing my effort from the previous two notes, I would propose that Skeat is correct in his punctuation: Made is a verb in the interrogative position, and, pace Jellech, the subject of the sentence is mekenesse. We may then read:
Did not meekness [itself, i.e., God incarnate] make the high heaven so low so as to enclose and catch out of it so noble a dew [i.e., Christ] that, after congealment [i.e., the Virgin birth] a Margarite/Pearl with endless virtue and everlasting joy, with a full vessel of grace, was given to every creature that in goodness would receive it?My proposed readings depend ultimately on the iconography represented in the illumination that serves as the frontispiece to this edition. Basically, to evaluate my proposals, the reader needs to keep in mind the following (simplified) schema (see, further, Manning in Luria and Hoffman, pp. 330-36): the Virgin Mary is the mussel, the dew is the Trinity, principally in his Spiritship, and the Pearl is the Son as incarnate in the body of Mary, the whole schema functioning to insist, in this particular part of TL, on the meekness or lowliness of the site of the Incarnation (since this provides the optimum contrast with the previously discussed candidates -wealth, power, renown -for attaining the "knot in the heart"). Observe especially that the consistency achieved by this reading has another notable strand to it, or congruence with Usk's final definition of the Margarite (Margarite a woman betokeneth grace lernyng or wisdom of God or els holy church" -Book 3, chapter 9, lines 112324): the Pearl may be "both" the Son incarnate (Wisdom) and the Church, His Body/ Members as left on earth (see Vona, p. 158 for a commentary that glosses the pearl as holy Church; see also Wailes, p. 123).
1220 yet wolde I have better declared. Skeat: This does not mean "I would have explained it better," but "I should like to have it better explained" (p. 476).
1225 thilke jewel. Skeat: [of] thilke jewel, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
1229 wolde. Skeat emends to welde, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
1233 God. Th: good. Skeat's emendation.
1236 coutreplede. Skeat emends to countreplede.
1244-51 For trewly, al this . . . hath erred. Jellech and others have quarreled with Skeat over these lines. He says (p. 476),
this shews that Margarete does not mean a woman; for it is declared to be as precious as a woman, to whom it is likened.I agree that Skeat is mistaken here. I think the matter has to be more carefully nuanced: Margarite is sometimes a woman, sometimes the Church, sometimes Christ incarnate, sometimes "grace/lernyng/or wisdom of God." We need to understand, I think, that Usk is finally incapable of resolving these terminologies into one -moreover, he may have not desired such resolution.
1253 saw. Th: save. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle. See also line 1272 where saw is save in Th.
1256-58 everyche qualyté . . . badnesse. Sanderlin (p. 70) notes that this sentence translates material from Anselm's Conc. (I.7). The following several sentences also depend on, sometimes paraphrase, Conc. I.7 (through line 1264).
1258 Badde to be is naught. This is the classic Augustinian formulation of evil as "privatio boni" -for a particularly clear expression of it, see City of God 11.22:
There is no such entity in nature as "evil"; "evil" is merely a name for the privation of good. (p. 454)See also, cited by Jellech (p. 387), Cons. 4. pr. 2 180-200 (Boece, p. 443).
1262 beyng hath. Skeat emends to beyng [it] hath.
1267 that in every. Th: that every. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1271 determission. Skeat emends to determinison with which Leyerle concurs; Jellech reads determinacion, i.e., determination, conclusion.
1273 yourselfe sayd. I.e., at the beginning of this chapter.
1276 nothynge but good. Leyerle emends to nothynge but G[o]d.
1278 goodly goodnesse. Leyerle emends to G[o]dly goodnesse.
1280 Austen saythe. See Civitas Dei 12.5, and De Natura Boni 2.
1284 Boece sheweth. Cons. 3. pr. 10. 233-50 (Boece, p. 433).
1286 God, knotte of al goodnesse.This is a key moment in TL; see my Introduction, pp.10ff.
Every creature cryeth. See, e.g., St. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 144.10 (Expositions 6, p. 328):
When thou has thought on the universal beauty of this world, doth not its very beauty as it were with one voice answer thee, "I made not myself, God made me?"1287 apeted . . . affection. Leyerle (p. 349) emends apeted to aptes and then comments: "The words aptes and affection are used in special senses derived from [St. Anselm's] De concordia: aptes means `aptitudes, inclinations'; and affection means `the propensity or inclination of the will.'"
1288 This. Skeat: "This stands for This is, as usual" (p. 477).
1290 badnesse. Th: baddesse. Emended by all.
1290-91 in the grounde . . .roted. Leyerle addresses the confusion here by putting a full stop after menynge. A new sentence then begins with In, and [good] is inserted after aleged, with a semi-colon following roted.
1294-1307 Al thyng . . . in vertue. This long passage repays careful comparison with St. Augustine's arguments on opposition and harmony in the creation; see especially City of God 11.18-23, perhaps most especially 11.23: "A picture may be beautiful when it has touches of black in appropriate places. . ." (p. 455).
1296 God hath in. Skeat emends to God hath [ordeyned] in. Leyerle concurs; Jellech does not. Leyerle (p. 350), following Sanderlin, observes that lines 1296-99 depend on Conc. I.7.
1300 betterer. Skeat (p. 477): "`better,' but not necessarily a misprint. The form bettyrer occurs in the Catholicon Anglicum (p. 31)."
1308 yeven by the ayre. See Appendix 1 below.
1309 ryght mokel. Skeat emends to [maken] right mokel. "Although there is no paleograph ical justification for that particular word," Jellech notes, "some such verb of causation must be understood" (p. 392). Leyerle follows Skeat also.
1310-11 Howe shulde ever goodnesse . . . wrothe. See City of God 11.18:
The opposition of such contraries gives an added beauty to speech; and in the same way there is beauty in the composition of the world's history arising from the antithesis of contraries -a kind of eloquence in events, instead of in words. (p. 449)1316 Pallas . . . Mercurye. According to Leyerle, "the allusions are almost certainly to figures in Usk's London" (p. 351). He argues, at some length, for an identification of Pallas as Gaunt, Mercury ("the classical god of trade") as Brembre, and the hym of line 1315 as Northampton.
1318 weneth. Skeat emends to weyveth, followed by Leyerle but not Jellech.
1321 adewe and a deblys his name is entred. Jellech: "His name is assigned to God and to the devil; i.e., he is given over to them" (p. 393). Leyerle: "The sense seems to be: `good-by and to the devil' his name is entered" (p. 351).
1334-39 Heyworth (p. 143) would re-punctuate as follows:
But the sonne is not knowe but he shyne; ne vertuous herbes but they have her kynde werchynge; ne vertue but it stretche in goodnesse or profyte to another. Is no vertue than, by al wayes of reason (sythen mercy and pytie ben moste commended amonge other vertues) and they myght never ben shewed, refresshement of helpe and of comforte, but nowe at my moste nede. And that is the kynde werkynge of these vertues.He then continues to explain (pp. 143-44):
The sense, confused in Usk's prose, is that virtue unless manifested in action is no virtue; it cannot be passive, it must "strecche in goodnesse or profyte to another." Hence help and comfort cannot reasonably be accounted praiseworthy unless they are extended to someone (in this case the Dreamer) in the moment of his greatest need; mercy and pity (pre-eminent among virtues) dictate this.1336ff. Schaar: "What must the author have said about their effects to be able to continue `but now at my moste nede?' [line 1338]. Obviously: `Than, by al wayes of reson, sithen mercy and pitee ben moste commended among other vertues, they might never ben <more> shewed, <with> refresshement of helpe and of comfort, but now at my moste nede etc.' If mercy and pity are the greatest virtues, it follows that their effects are never more clearly perceived than at the greatest need. And, then, seems to have been anticipated; more is necessary, and I suggest that a with has dropped out before refresshement" (pp. 30-31).
1348 these. Th: chese. Skeat's emendation, followed by Leyerle.
1352 Proverbes. See Proverbs 7.7-22.
1365 unleful. Skeat emends to [of] unlefful. Leyerle concurs; Jellech does not.
1366 skleren and wymplen. "veil and cover over." Skeat hesitantly suggests that Usk probably found the word skleire, a veil, in PPl C.9.5 (see also B.6.7, A.7.7), as that is the only known example of the substantive. The verb occurs here only (pp. 477-78).
1366-67 Austen wytnesseth. Jellech notes that no source in St. Augustine has been found for this reference (p. 398). James Marchand, in a private communication to me (April 21, 1996), suggests that wytnesseth here means "offers an example of" -a meaning arguably appropriate to the context: Augustine the rhetorician, in his youth, "right expert in resons and swete in his wordes," behaved like a heretic (a Manichean, most especially) until he could no longer bear the life he was leading (Conf. 7-8), and thus he "offers the example of a heretic." I am insecure in this reading but believe it is worth recording. Leyerle (p. 355), pace Jellech and me, suggests the source is Confessions 5.3-7, and especially 6, where Augustine narrates his encounter with the Manichean bishop Faustus of Mileve: "His discourse was eloquent and sweet, but his inadequacy in face of Augustine's questions revealed the discrepancy between his speech and his performance." Leyerle acknowledges that the allusion is "vague."
1374 veyned. Skeat emends to weyved. Jellech and Leyerle concur. See note to Book 2, line 741 above.
1377 Syloe. Siloam. Skeat: "It is a wonder where the author found this description of the waters of the pool of Siloam; but I much suspect that it arose from a gross misunderstanding of Isaiah 8.6, 7, thus:
the waters of Shiloah that go softly . . . shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.In the Vulgate:
aquas Siloë, quae uadunt cum silentio . . . ascendet super omnes riuos eius, et fluet super uniuersas ripas eius.Hence cankes in [line 1380] is certainly an error for bankes; the initial c was caught from the preceding circuit" (p. 478).
1380 bankes. Th: cankes. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
1381 stormes. Leyerle emends to storme[th].
Skeat emends Mercurius to mercurious [servants], explaining that "The children or servants of Mercury mean the clerks or writers. The expression is taken from CT III.697: `The children of Mercurie and of Venus / Ben in hir wirking ful contrarious'" (p. 478). Jellech emends to Mercuriens, a formation analogous with Veneriens in the next line.
1381-90 Mercurius . . . fayned love. Leyerle argues at length (pp. 354-55) for a continuing political allegory, with thinly veiled references to Gaunt, Brembre, and Northampton.
1382 Veneriens. I.e., followers of Venus. Skeat compares CT III.609.
1392 sote of the smoke. Skeat suggests the soot of the smoke of the fire prepared for the sacrificed ox and cites Proverbs 7.22, "bos ductus ad uictimam" (p. 478). There might also be an allusion here to the defacement of Philosophy by the soot of time in Boece, I, pr. 1. 20-28.
1405-09 Heyworth (p. 144) would re-punctuate as follows:
Were thou not goodly accepted in to grace? By my pluckynge was she to foryeuenesse enclyned. And after, I her styred to drawe the to house; and yet wendest thou vtterly for euer haue ben refused. But wel thou wost sythen, that I in suche sharpe disease might so greatly auayle. What thynkest in thy wyt? Howe ferre maye my wytte stretche? And thou lache not on thy syde, I wol make the knotte.He comments (p. 144):
. . . take the second wit in the sense "practical talent, clever management" (OED under wit sb. II 5b) and understand it as a question imputed to the Dreamer by the Lady. That is, "What are you thinking? Just how far my clever management extends?"1408 my. Schaar would emend to thy, noting that the error would be very easy after may.
1410 founde. Th: foude. Skeat's emendation, followed by Leyerle.
1411 holy oyle of peace. Psalm 88.21.
1412 leavyng. Th: leanyng. Skeat's emendation, followed by Jellech and Leyerle.
Very welth may not be founden in al this worlde, and that is wel sene: Lo, howe in my
mooste comforte as I wende and moost supposed to have hadde ful answere of my
contrary thoughtes sodaynly it was vanysshed. And al the workes of man faren in the
same wyse, whan folke wenen best her entent for to have and wylles to perfourme,
anone, chaungyng of the lyft syde to the ryght halve tourneth it so clene into another
kynde that never shal it come to the fyrst plyte in doynge.
Of this wrongful steeryng so soone otherwysed out of knowynge, but for my purpose
was at my begynnynge and so dureth yet, if God of His grace tyme wol me graunt, I
thynke to perfourme this worke as I have begonne in love, after as my thynne wytte with
inspyracion of Hym that hyldeth al grace wol suffre. Grevously God wotte have I suffred
a great throwe that the Romayne emperour whiche in unyté of love shulde acorde and
every with other in cause of other to avaunce, and namely sythe this empyre to be
corrected of so many sectes in heresie of faith, of servyce, of rule in loves relygion.
Trewly, al were it but to shende erronyous opinyons, I maye it no lenger suffre. For
many menne there ben that sayne love to ben in gravel and sande that with see ebbynge
and flowynge woweth as riches that sodaynly vanissheth. And some sayn that love
shulde be in wyndy blastes that stoundmele turneth as a phane and glorie of renome
whiche after lustes of the varyaunt people is areysed or stylled.
Many also wenen that in the sonne and the moone and other sterres love shulde ben
founden, for amonge al other planettes moste soverainly they shynen as dignytees in
reverence of estates rather than good han and occupyen. Ful many also there ben that
in okes and in huge postes supposen love to ben grounded, as in strength and in might
whiche mowen not helpen their owne wretchydnesse whan they gynne to fal. But
suche dyversyté of sectes ayenst the rightful byleve of love these errours ben forthe
spredde that loves servantes in trewe rule and stedfaste faythe in no place darne apere.
Thus irrecuperable joy is went, and anoy endlesse is entred. For no man aright reproveth
suche errours, but confyrmen their wordes and sayn that badde is noble good, and
goodnesse is badde: to which folke the prophete byddeth wo without ende.
Also manye tonges of great false techynges in gylynge maner, principally in my tymes
not onely with wordes but also with armes, loves servauntes and professe in his relygion
of trewe rule pursewen to confounden and to distroyen. And for as moche as holy
fathers that our christen fayth aproved and strenghthed to the Jewes as to men resonable
and of divynité lerned proved thilke faythe with resones and with auctorites of the Olde
Testament and of the Newe her pertynacie to distroy. But to paynyms that for beestes
and houndes were holde to put hem out of their errour was myracles of God shewed.
These thynges were fygured by comynge of th'angel to the shepeherdes and by the
sterre to paynyms kynges, as who saythe: angel resonable to resonable creature and
sterre of myracle to people bestyal (not lerned) werne sent to enforme. But I, lovers
clerke, in al my connyng and with al my mightes, trewly I have no suche grace in vertue
of myracles ne for no discomfyte falsheedes suffyseth not auctorytes alone sythen that
suche heretykes and maintaynours of falsytes. Wherfore I wotte wel, sythen that they
ben men and reason is approved in hem, the clowde of erroure hath her reason bewonde
probable resons whiche that catchende wytte rightfully may not withsytte. By my
travaylynge studye I have ordeyned hem with that auctorité misglosed by mannes rea-
son to graunt shal be enduced.
Nowe gynneth my penne to quake to thinken on the sentences of the envyous people
whiche alwaye ben redy, bothe ryder and goer, to skorne and to jape this leude booke,
and me for rancoure and hate in their hertes they shullen so dispyse, that althoughe my
booke be leude, yet shal it ben more leude holden and by wicked wordes in many maner
apayred. Certes, me thynketh the sowne of their badde speche right nowe is ful bothe
myne eeres. O good precious Margaryte, myne herte shulde wepe if I wyste ye token
hede of suche maner speche, but trewly I wotte wel in that your wysdome shal not
asterte. For of God, maker of kynde, wytnesse I toke that for none envy ne yvel have
I drawe this mater togyder, but only for goodnesse to maintayn, and errours in falsetees
to distroy. Wherfore (as I sayd) with reason I thynke thylke forsayd errours to distroye
These reasons and suche other if they enduce men in loves servyce trewe to beleve
of parfyte blysse, yet to ful faithe in credence of deserte fully mowe they nat suffyse,
sithen faith hath no meryte of mede whan mannes reason sheweth experyence in doyng.
For utterly no reason the parfyte blysse of love by no waye maye make to be compre-
hended. Lo, what is a persel of lovers joye? Parfyte science in good servyce of their
desyre to comprehende in bodily doynge the lykynge of the soule, not as by a glasse to
have contemplacion of tyme comynge, but thilke first ymagyned and thought after
face to face in beholdyng. What herte, what reason, what understandynge can make
his heven to be feled and knowe without assaye in doynge? Certes, none, sythen
thanne of love cometh suche fruite in blysse, and love in hymselfe is the most amonge
other vertues, as clerkes sayne: "The sede of suche springynge in al places, in al
countreys, in al worldes shulde ben sowe."
But o, welawaye, thilke sede is forsake and mowen not ben suffred the londe tyllers
to set a werke without medlynge of cockle: badde wedes whiche somtyme stonken
hath caught the name of love amonge ydiotes and badde meanynge people. Neverthe-
later, yet howe so it be that menne cleape thilke thynge preciousest in kynde with many
eke names that other thynges that the soule yeven the ylke noble name it sheweth wel
that in a maner men have a great lykynge in worshyppynge of thilke name. Wherfore
this worke have I writte, and to thee, tytled of loves name, I have it avowed in a maner
of sacrifyse, that whereever it be radde it mowe in meryte by the excellence of thilke
name the more wexe in authorité and worshyppe of takynge in hede, and to what entent
it was ordayned the inseeres mowen ben moved. Every thynge to whom is owande
occasyon done as for his ende, Aristotle supposeth that the actes of every thynge ben in
a maner his fynal cause. A fynal cause is noblerer, or els even as noble, as thilke thynge
that is fynally to thilke ende, wherfore accion of thynge everlastyng is demed to be
eternal and not temporal sythen it is his fynal cause. Ryght so the actes of my boke
Love, and love is noble. Wherfore, though my boke be leude, the cause with whiche I
am stered and for whom I ought it done, noble forsothe ben bothe. But bycause that in
connynge I am yonge and canne yet but crepe, this leude A B C have I sette into
lernyng. For I can not passen the tellyng of thre as yet. And if God wyl, in shorte tyme
I shal amende this leudnesse in joynynge syllables, whiche thynge for dulnesse of wytte
I maye not in thre letters declare. For trewly I saye the goodnesse of my Margaryte
perle wolde yeve mater in endityng to many clerkes. Certes, her mercy is more to me
swetter than any lyvynges, wherfore my lyppes mowen not suffyse in spekyng of her
ful laude and worshyppe as they shulde. But who is that in knowyng of the orders of
heven and putteth his resones in the erthe? I forsothe maye not with blere eyen the
shynyng sonne of vertue in bright whele of this Margaryte beholde; therfore, as yet I
maye her not discryve in vertue as I wolde. In tyme comynge, in another tretyse,
thorowe Goddes grace, this sonne in clerenesse of vertue to be knowe, and howe she
enlumyneth al this day I thynke to declare.
In this meane whyle this comfortable lady ganne synge a wonder mater of enditynge in
Latyn. But trewly the noble colours in rethorik wyse knytte were so craftely that my
connyng wol not stretche to remembre; but the sentence I trowe somdele have I in
mynde. Certes, they were wonder swete of sowne, and they were touched al in
lamentacion wyse and by no werbles of myrthe. Lo, thus ganne she synge in Latyn, as
I may constrewe it in our Englysshe tonge:
"Alas, that these hevenly bodyes their lyght and course shewen as nature yave hem in
commaundement at the gynnyng of the first age, but these thynges in free choyce of
reson han none understondynge. But man that ought to passe al thynge of doynge of
right course in kynde overwhelmed sothnesse by wrongful tytle and hath drawen the
sterre of envye to gon by his syde, that the clyps of me that shulde be his shynande
sonne so ofte is sey that it wened thilke errour thorowe hem come in shulde ben myn
owne defaute. Trewly therfore, I have me withdrawe and made my dwellynge out of
lande in an yle by myselfe in the occian closed, and yet sayne there many they have me
harberowed, but God wote they faylen. These thynges me greven to thynke, and namely
on passed gladnesse that in this worlde was wonte me disporte of hyghe and lowe. And
nowe it is fayled. They that wolden maystries me have in thilke stoundes, in heven on
hyghe above Saturnes sphere in seasonable tyme were they lodged, but now come
queynte counsaylours that in no house wol suffre me sojourne, wherof is pyté; and yet
sayne some that they me have in celler with wyne shet, in gernere there corne is layde
covered with whete, in sacke sowed with wolle, in purse with money faste knytte,
amonge pannes mouled in a wyche, in presse amonge clothes layde with ryche pelure
arayed, in stable amonge horse and other beestes, as hogges, shepe, and nete, and in
other many wyse. But thou maker of lyght (in wynking of thyn eye the sonne is queynt)
woste right wel that I in trewe name was never thus herberowed.
"Somtyme toforn the sonne in the seventh partie was smyten, I bare both crosse and
mytre to yeve it where I wolde. With me the pope went a fote, and I tho was wor-
shyped of al holy church. Kynges baden me their crownes holden. The law was set as
it shuld: tofore the juge as wel the poore durste shewe his grefe as the ryche, for al his
money. I defended tho taylages and was redy for the poore to pay. I made great feestes
in my tyme and noble songes and maryed damoselles of gentyl feture withouten golde
or other rychesse. Poore clerkes for wytte of schole I sette in churches and made
suche persones to preache: and tho was servyce in holy churche honest and devoute in
plesaunce bothe of God and of the people. But nowe the leude for symonye is avaunced
and shendeth al holy churche. Nowe is stewarde for his achates, nowe is courtyour for
his debates, nowe is eschetoure for his wronges, nowe is losel for his songes personer,
and provendre alone with whiche manye thrifty shulde encrease. And yet is this shrewe
behynde; free herte is forsake, and losengeour is take. Lo, it acordeth, for suche there
ben that voluntarye lustes haunten in courte with rybaudye that tyl mydnight and more
wol playe and wake, but in the churche at matyns he is behynde, for yvel disposycion
of his stomake; therfore, he shulde eate beane breed, and so dyd his syre his estate ther
with to strenghthen. His auter is broke and lowe lythe in poynte to gone to the erthe, but
his horse muste ben easy and hye to beare him over great waters. His chalyce poore,
but he hath ryche cuppes. No towayle but a shete there God shal ben handled. And on
his meate borde there shal ben borde clothes and towelles many payre. At masse serveth
but a clergyon; fyve squiers in hal. Poore chaunsel, open holes in every syde, beddes of
sylke with tapytes goyng al aboute his chambre. Poore masse boke and leude chapelayne
and broken surplyce with many an hole, good houndes and many to hunte after harte
and hare to fede in their feestes. Of poore men have they great care, for they ever crave
and nothynge offren: they wolden have hem dolven. But amonge legystres there dare I
not come: my doynge, they sayne, maken hem nedy. They ne wolde for nothyng have
me in town, for than were tort and forthe nought worthe an hawe about and pleasen no
men but thilk grevous and torcious ben in might and in doyng. These thynges toforne
sayd mowe wel, if men lyste, ryme. Trewly, they acorde nothynge. And for as moch as
al thynges by me shulden of right ben governed, I am sorye to se that governaunce
fayleth as thus: to sene smale and lowe governe the hye and bodies above. Certes, that
polesye is naught. It is forbode by them that of governaunce treaten and enformen. And
right as beestly wytte shulde ben subjecte to reason, so erthly power in itselfe the lower
shulde ben subject to the hygher. What is worth thy body but it be governed with thy
soule? Right so lytel or naught is worthe erthely power, but if reignatyfe prudence in
heedes governe the smale, to whiche heedes the smale owen to obey and suffre in their
governaunce. But soverainnesse ayenwarde shulde thynke in this wyse: `I am servaunt
of these creatures to me delyvered, not lorde, but defendour; not mayster, but enfourmer;
not possessoure, but in possessyon; and to hem lyche a tree in whiche sparowes shullen
stelen her byrdes to norisshe and forthe bring under suretie ayenst al raveynous foules
and beestes, and not to be tyraunt themselfe.' And than the smale, in reste and quyete,
by the heedes wel disposed, owen for their soveraynes helth and prosperyté to pray,
and in other doynges in maintenaunce therof performe withouten other admynistracion
in rule of any maner governaunce. And they wyt have in hem and grace to come to
suche thynges, yet shulde they cease tyl their heedes them cleped, although profyte and
pleasaunce shulde folowe. But trewly, other governaunce ne other medlynge ought they
not to clayme, ne the heedes on hem to put. Trewly, amonges cosynage dare I not come
but if rychesse be my meane; sothly, she and other bodily goodes maketh nigh cosinage
ther never propynquité ne alyaunce in lyve was ne shuld have be, nere it for her medling
maners, wherfore kindly am I not ther leged. Povert of kynred is behynde, rychesse
suffreth him to passe: truly, he saith he com never of Japhetes childre. Wherof I am
sory that Japhetes children for povert in no linage ben rekened, and Caynes children for
riches be maked Japhetes heires. Alas, this is a wonder chaunge bytwene tho two Noes
chyldren, sythen that of Japhetes ofspring comeden knightes and of Cayn discended
the lyne of servage to his brothers childre. Lo, howe gentyllesse and servage as cosyns
bothe discended out of two bretherne of one body. Wherfore I sayein sothnesse that
gentylesse in kynrede maken not gentyl lynage in successyon without deserte of a mans
own selfe. Where is nowe the lyne of Alysaundre the noble or els of Hector of Troye?
Who is discended of right bloode of lyne fro king Artour? Pardé, sir Perdicas whom
that kynge Alysandre made to ben his heire in Grece was of no kynges bloode — his
dame was a tombystere. Of what kynred ben the gentyles in our dayes? I trow therfore
if any good be in gentylesse, it is only that it semeth a maner of necessyté be input to
gentylmen that they shulden not varyen fro the vertues of their auncestres. Certes, al
maner lynage of men ben evenliche in byrth, for one father, maker of al goodnes,
enformed hem al, and al mortal folke of one sede arne greyned. Wherto avaunt men of
her lynage in cosynage or in elde fathers? Loke now the gynnyng and to God, maker of
mans person; there is no clerke ne no worthy in gentilesse; and he that norissheth his
corare with vyces and unresonable lustes and leaveth the kynde course to whiche ende
him brought forthe his byrthe, trewly, he is ungentyl and amonge clerkes may ben
nempned. And therfore he that wol ben gentylhe mote daunten his flesshe fro vyces
that causen ungentylnesse and leave also reignes of wicked lustes and drawe to him
vertue, that in al places gentylnesse gentylmen maketh. And so speke I, in feminyne
gendre in general, of tho persones at the reverence of one whom every wight honoureth,
for her bountie and her noblesse ymade her to God so dere that His moder she became,
and she me hath had so great in worshyp that I nyl for nothyng in open declare that in
any thynge ayenst her secte maye so wene. For al vertue and al worthynesse of plesaunce
in hem haboundeth. And although I wolde any thing speke, trewly, I can not. I may
fynde in yvel of hem no maner mater."
Right with these wordes she stynte of that lamentable melodye, and I ganne with a
lyvely herte to praye if that it were lykyng unto her noble grace, she wolde her deyne to
declare me the mater that firste was begonne in whiche she lefte and stynte to speke
beforne she gan to synge.
"O," quod she, "this is no newe thynge to me to sene you menne desyren after
mater whiche your selfe caused to voyde."
"Ah good lady," quod I, "in whom victorie of strength is proved above al other
thynge after the jugement of Esdram whose lordshyp al lignes: who is that right as
emperour hem commaundeth whether thilke ben not women in whose lykenesse to me
ye aperen? For right as man halte the principalté of al thyng under his beynge in the
masculyne gender, and no mo genders ben there but masculyn and femenyne, al the
remenaunt ben no gendres but of grace in facultie of grammer, right so in the femenyne
the women holden the upperest degree of al thynges under thilke gendre conteyned.
Who bringeth forthe kynges whiche that ben lordes of see and of erthe? And al peoples
of women ben borne: they norysshe hem that graffen vynes, they maken men comforte
in their gladde cheres. Her sorowe is dethe to mannes herte. Without women the beyng
of men were impossyble. They conne with their swetnesse the crewel herte ravysshe
and make it meke buxome and benigne without vyolence mevynge. In beautie of their
eyen or els of other maner fetures is al mens desyres, ye, more than in golde, precious
stones, eyther any rychesse. And in this degree, lady, yourselfe many hertes of men
have so bounden that parfyte blysse in womankynde to ben men wenen and in nothynge
els. Also, lady, the goodnesse, the vertue of women by properté of discrecion, is so wel
knowen by lytelnesse of malyce that desyre to a good asker by no waye conne they
warne. And ye thanne that wol not passe the kynde werchynge of your sectes by
general discrecion, I wotte wel ye wol so enclyne to my prayere that grace of my
requeste shal fully ben graunted."
"Certes," quod she, "thus for the more parte fareth al mankynde to praye and to crye
after womans grace and fayne many fantasies to make hertes enclyne to your desyres,
and whan these sely women for freelté of their kynde beleven your wordes and wenen
al be gospel the promise of your behestes, than graunt they to you their hertes and
fulfyllen your lustes wherthrough their lyberté in maystreshyp that they toforne had is
thralled and so maked soverayn and to be prayed that first was servaunt and voice of
prayer used. Anon as fylled is your lust, many of you be so trewe that lytel hede take ye
of suche kyndnesse, but with traysoun anon ye thynke hem begyle, and let lyght of that
thyng whiche firste ye maked to you wonders dere, so what thing to women it is to love
any wight er she hym wel knowe and have him proved in many halfe. For every glyttryng
thyng is nat golde, and under colour of fayre speche many vices may be hyd and
conseled. Therfore, I rede no wyght to trust on you to rathe. Mens chere and her
speche right gyleful is ful ofte. Wherfore, without good assay it is nat worthe on many
of you to truste. Trewly, it is right kyndely to every man that thynketh women betraye
and shewen outwarde al goodnesse tyl he have his wyl performed. Lo, the birde is
begyled with the mery voice of the foulers whistel. Whan a woman is closed in your
nette, than wol ye causes fynden and beare unkyndenesse her unhande, or falseté upon
her putte, your owne malycious trayson with suche thynge to excuse. Lo, than han
women none other wreche in vengeaunce but blober and wepe tyl hem lyst stynt and
sorily her mishap complayne, and is put into wenyng that al men ben so untrewe. Howe
often have men chaunged her loves in a lytel while or els for faylyng their wyl in their
places hem sette! For frenship shal be one, and fame with another him lyste for to have,
and a thirde for delyte, or els were he lost bothe in packe and in clothes. Is this faire?
Nay, God wot. I may nat tel by thousande partes the wronges in trechery of suche false
people, for make they never so good a bonde, al sette ye at a myte whan your hert
tourneth. And they that wenen for sorowe of you dey, the pité of your false herte is
flowe out of towne. Alas, therfore that ever any woman wolde take any wyght in her
grace tyl she knowe at the ful on whom she might at al assayes trust. Women con no
more crafte in queynt knowynge to understande the false disceyvable conjectementes
of mannes begilynges. Lo, howe it fareth: though ye men gronen and cryen certes, it is
but disceyt and that preveth wel by th'endes in your werkynge. Howe many women
have ben lorne and with shame foule shent by longe lastynge tyme whiche thorowe
mennes gyle have ben disceyved? Ever their fame shal dure andtheir dedes radde and
songe in many londes that they han done, recoveren shal they never, but alway ben
demed lightly in suche plyte ayen shulde they fal, of whiche slaunders and tenes ye false
men and wicked ben the verey causes. On you by right ought these shames and these
reproves al holy discende. Thus arne ye al nyghe untrewe, for al your fayre speche
your herte is ful fyckel. What cause han ye women to dispyse? Better fruite than they
ben, ne swetter spyces to your behove, mowe ye not fynde as farre as worldly bodyes
stretchen. Loke to their formynge at the makyng of their persones by God in joye of
paradyce, for goodnesse of mans propre body were they maked after the sawes of the
Byble, rehersyng Goddes wordes in this wyse: `It is good to mankynde that we make to
him an helper.' Lo, in paradyse for your helpe was this tree graffed out of whiche al
lynage of man discendeth. If a man be noble frute, of noble frute it is sprongen: the
blysse of paradyse to mennes sory hertes yet in this tree abydeth. O noble helpes ben
these trees, and gentyl jewel to ben worshypped of every good creature. He that hem
anoyeth dothe his owne shame. It is a comfortable perle ayenst al tenes. Every com-
pany is myrthed by their present beyng. Trewly, I wyst never vertue but a woman were
therof the rote. What is heven the worse though Sarazins on it lyen? Is your faythe
untrewe thoughe rennogates maken theron leasynges? If the fyre doth any wight brenne,
blame his owne wytte that put himselfe so farre in the heate. Is not fyre gentyllest and
moste element comfortable amonges al other? Fyre is chefe werker in fortherynge
sustenaunce to mankynde. Shal fyre ben blamed for it brende a foole naturelly by his
own stulty wytte in sterynge? Ah, wicked folkes, for your propre malyce and shreudnesse
of your selfe: ye blame and dispyse the precioust thyng of your kynde, and whiche
thynges amonge other moste ye desyren. Trewly, Nero and his children ben shrewes
that dispysen so their dames. The wickednesse and gylyng of men in disclaundring of
thilke that moste hath hem gladed and pleased were impossyble to write or to nempne.
Neverthelater yet I say, he that knoweth a way may it lightly passe. Eke an herbe proved
may safely to smertande sores ben layde: So I say in him that is proved is nothyng
suche yvels to gesse. But these thynges have I rehersed to warne you women al at ones
that to lyghtly, without good assaye, ye assenten not to mannes speche. The sonne in
the daylyght is to knowen from the moone that shyneth in the nyght. Nowe to thee
thyselfe," quod she, "as I have ofte sayd I knowe wel thyne herte. Thou arte none of al
the tofore nempned people, for I knowe wel the contynuaunce of thy servyce that never
sythen I set thee a werke myght thy Margaryte for plesaunce, frendeshyp, ne fayrehede
of none other, be in poynte moved from thyne herte, wherfore into myne housholde
hastely I wol that thou entre and al the parfyte privyté of my werkyng make it be knowe
in thy understondyng as one of my privy famyliers. Thou desyrest," quod she, "fayne
to here of tho thynges there I lefte." "Ye forsothe," quod I, "that were to me a great
blysse." "Nowe," quod she, "for thou shalt not wene that womans condycions for
fayre speche suche thyng belongeth."
"[T]hou shalte," quod she, "understonde first amonge al other thynges that al the cure
of my servyce to me in the parfyte blysse in doyng is desyred in every mannes herte, be
he never so moche a wretche. But every man travayleth by dyvers studye and seke
thylke blysse by dyvers wayes. But al the endes are knyt in selynesse of desyre in the
parfyte blysse that is suche joye whan men it have gotten there lyveth no thynge more
to ben coveyted. But howe that desyre of suche perfection in my servyce be kyndely
set in lovers hertes, yet her erronyous opinyons misturne it by falsenesse of wenyng.
And although mennes understandyng be misturned to knowe whiche shuld ben the way
unto my person and whyther it abydeth; yet wote they there is a love in every wight
weneth by that thyng that he coveyteth moste, he shulde come to thilke love, and that is
parfyte blysse of my servauntes, but than fulle blysse maye not be, and there lacke any
thynge of that blysse in any syde. Eke it foloweth than that he that must have ful blysse
lacke no blysse in love on no syde."
"Therfore lady," quod I tho, "thylke blysse I have desyred and sohte toforne this
myselfe by wayes of riches of dignité of power and of renome, wenyng me in tho
thinges had ben thilke blysse, but ayenst the heere it turneth. Whan I supposed beste
thilke blysse have get and come to the ful purpose of your servyce, sodaynly was I
hyndred and throwen so fer abacke that me thynketh an inpossyble to comethere
I lefte." "I wot wel," quod she, "and therfore hast thou fayled, for thou wentest not by
the hye way: a lytel misgoyng in the gynnyng causeth mykyl errour in the ende, wherfore
of thilke blysse thou fayledest, for havyng of rychesse, ne non of the other thynges
thou nempnedest mowen nat make suche parfite blisse in love as I shal shewe. Therfore
they be nat worthy to thilke blysse, and yet somwhat must ben cause and way to thilke
blysse. Ergo, there is some suche thing and some way, but it is lytel in usage and that is
nat openly iknowe. But what felest in thyne hert of the service in whiche by me thou art
entred? Wenest aught thy selfe yet be in the hye way to my blisse? I shal so shewe it to
thee thou shalte nat con saye the contrary."
"Good lady," quod I, "altho I suppose it in my herte, yet wolde I here thyn wordes
howe ye meanen in this mater." Quod she, "That I shal with my good wyl. Thilke
blysse desyred, some deale ye knowen, altho it be nat parfitly, for kyndly entention
ledeth you therto, but in thre maner lyvenges is al suche wayes shewed. Every wight in
this world, to have this blisse, one of thilke thre wayes of lyves must procede, whiche
after opynions of great clerkes arne by names cleaped resonable, manlych, and bestiallich.
Resonablich is vertuous; manlych is worldlich; bestialliche is lustes and delytable,
nothynge restrayned by bridel of reason. Al that joyeth and yeveth gladnesse to the hert,
and it be ayenst reason, is lykened to bestial lyveng whiche thynge foloweth lustes and
delytes; wherfore in suche thinge maye nat that precious blysse that is maister of al
vertues abyde. Your fathers toforne you have cleped such lusty lyvenges after the
flessh passions of desyre, which are innominable tofore God and man both. Than
after determination of suche wyse we accorden that suche passions of desyre shul nat
be nempned, but holden for absolute from al other lyvenges and provynges, and so
lyveth in to lyvenges, manlich and resonable, to declare the maters begonne. But to
make thee fully have understandyng in manlich lyvenges, whiche is holden worldlich in
these thynges so that ignorance be made no letter, I wol," quod she, "nempne these
forsayd wayes be names and conclusions. First riches, dignité, renome, and power shul
in this worke be cleaped bodily goodes, for in hem hath ben a gret throw mannes trust
of selynesse in love: as in riches, suffisance to have maintayned that was begon by
worldly catel; in dignité, honour, and reverence ofhem that werne underput by maistry
therby to obey; in renome, glorie of peoples praysyng after lustes in their hert, without
hede takyng to qualité and maner of doing; and in power, by trouth of lordships
mayntenaunce thyng to procede forth in doyng. In al whiche thynges a longe tyme
mannes coveytise in commune hath ben greatly grounded to come to the blysse of my
service, but trewly they were begyled, and for the principal muste nedes fayle, and in
helping mowe nat availe. Se why: for holdest him not poore that is nedy?" "Yes, pardé,"
quod I. "And him for dishonored that moche folke deyne nat to reverence?" "That is
soth," quod I. "And what him that his mightes faylen and mowe nat helpen?" "Certes,"
quod I, "me semeth of al men he shulde be holden a wretch." "And wenest nat," quod
she, "that he that is lytel in renome but rather is out of the praysynges of mo men than
a fewe be nat in shame?" "For soth," quod I, "it is shame and villany to him that
coveyteth renome, that more folk nat prayse in name than preise." "Soth," quod
she, "thou sayst soth, but al these thinges are folowed of suche maner doynge and
wenden in riches suffisaunce; inpower, might; in dignyté, worship; and in renome, glorie,
wherfore they discended into disceyvable wenyng, and in that service disceite is folowed.
And thus in general thou and al suche other that so worchen faylen of my blysse that ye
long han desyred, wherfore truly, in lyfe of reason is the hye way to this blysse, as I
thynke more openly to declare herafter. Neverthelater, yet in a lytel to comforte thy
herte in shewyng of what waye thou arte entred thyselfe, and that thy Margarite may
knowe thee set in the hye way, I wol enforme thee in this wise. Thou hast fayled of thy
first purpose, bicause thou wentest wronge and leftest the hye waye on thy right syde,
as thus: thou lokedest on worldly lyveng, and that thyng thee begyled, and lightly therfore
as a lytel assay thou songedest, but whan I turned thy purpose and shewed thee a parte of
the hye waye, tho thou abode therin, and no dethe ne ferdnesse of non enemy might thee
out of thilk way reve. But ever one in thyne hert, to come to the ilke blysse, whan thou
were arested and fyrste tyme enprisoned, thou were loth to chaunge thy way, for in thy
hert thou wendest to have ben there thou shuldest; and for I had routhe to sene thee
myscaried, and wyst wel thyne ablenesse my servyce to forther and encrease, I come
myselfe without other mean to visyt thy person in comforte of thy hert. And pardy in
my commyng thou were greatly gladed, after whiche tyme no disease, no care, no tene
might move me out of thy hert. And yet am I gladde and greatly enpited howe contynually
thou haddest me in mynde with good avysement of thy conscience whan thy kyng and
his princes by huge wordes and great loked after variaunce in thy speche. And ever
thou were redy for my sake in plesaunce of the Margarite peerle and many mo other thy
body to oblyge into Marces doyng, if any contraried thy sawes. Stedfast way maketh
stedfast hert, with good hope in the ende. Trewly, I wot that thou it wel knowe, for I se
thee so set and not chaungynge herte haddest in my servyce, and I made thou haddest
grace of thy kynge, in foryevenesse of mykel misdede. To the gracious kyng arte thou
mykel holden, of whose grace and goodnesse somtyme herafter I thinke thee enforme
whan I shew the grounde where as moral vertue groweth. Who brought thee to werke?
Who brought this grace aboute? Who made thy hert hardy? Trewly it was I, for haddest
thou of me fayled, than of this purpose haddest thou never taken in this wyse. And
therfore I say thou might wel truste to come to thy blysse, sythen thy gynnynge hath
ben harde, but ever graciously after thy hertes desyre hath proceded. Sylver fyned with
many heates men knowen for trew, and safely men may trust to the alay in werkynge.
This disease hath proved what waye hence forwarde thou thynkest to holde." "Nowe in
good fayth lady," quod I tho, "I am nowe in. Me semeth it is the hye way and the
ryght." "Ye forsothe," quod she, "and nowe I wol disprove thy first wayes, by whiche
many men wenen to gette thilke blysse. But for as moche as every herte that hath
caught ful love is tyed with queynt knyttynges, thou shalt understande that love and
thilke foresayd blysse toforne declared in this provynges shal hote the knot in the hert."
"Wel," quod I, "this inpossession I wol wel understande." "Nowe also," quod she, "for
the knotte in the herte muste ben from one to another, and I knowe thy desyre, I wol
thou understande these maters to ben sayd of thyselfe in disprovyng of thy first servyce,
and in strengthynge of thilke that thou haste undertake to thy Margaryte perle." "A
Goddes halfe," quod I, "ryght wel I fele that al this case is possyble and trewe, and
therfore I admyt it al togyther." "Understanden wel," quod she, "these termes, and loke
no contradyction thou graunt."
"If God wol," quod I, "of al these thynges wol I not fayle, and if I graunt contra-
dyction, I shulde graunte an impossyble and that were a foule inconvenyence for whiche
thynges, ladye, iwys herafter I thinke me to kepe."
"Wel," quod she, "thou knowest that every thynge is a cause wherthroughe any thyng
hath beyng that is cleped `caused.' Than if richesse causen knot in herte, thilke rychesse
arne cause of thilke precious thynge beyng. But after the sentence of Aristotle, every
cause is more in dignyté than his thynge caused. Wherthrough it foloweth rychesse to
ben more in dignyté than thilke knot. But rychesses arne kyndely naughty, badde, and
nedy, and thilke knotte is thynge kyndely good, moste praysed and desyred. Ergo,
thynge naughty, badde, and nedy in kyndely understandynge is more worthy than thynge
kyndely good moste desyred and praysed. The consequence is false: nedes, the ante-
cedent mote ben of the same condycion. But that rychesses ben bad, naughty, and nedy
that wol I prove, wherfore they mowe cause no suche thyng that is so glorious and
good: The more richesse thou haste, the more nede hast thou of helpe hem to kepe.
Ergo, thou nedest in rychesse whiche nede thou shuldest not have if thou hem wantest.
Than muste rychesse ben nedy, that in their havyng maken thee nedy to helpes, in suretie
thy rychesse to kepen wherthrough foloweth rychesse to ben nedy. Everything causynge
yvels is badde and naughty; but rychesse in one causen misease in another they mowen
not evenly stretchen al about. Wherof cometh plee, debate, thefte, begylinges but rychesse
to wynne whiche thynges ben badde, and by richesse arne caused: Ergo, thylke rychesse
ben badde, whiche badnesse and nede ben knyt into rychesse by a maner of kyndely
propertie, and every cause and caused accorden, so that it foloweth thilke richesse to
have the same accordaunce with badnesse and nede that their cause asketh. Also,
every thynge hath his beyng by his cause. Than if the cause be distroyed, the
beyng of caused is vanysshed. And so if rychesse causen love, and rychesse weren
distroyed, the love shulde vanysshe. But thylke knotte, and it be trewe, may not vanysshe
for no goyng of no rychesse. Ergo, rychesse is nocause of the knot. And many men,
as I sayd, setten the cause of the knotte in rychesse. Thilke knytten the rychesse and
nothynge the yvel. Thilke persons, whatever they ben, wenen that ryches is most wor-
thy to be had, and that make they the cause; and so wene they thilke ryches be better
than the person. Commenly, suche asken rather after the quantyté than after the qualyté,
and suche wenen as wel by hemselfe as by other that conjunction of his lyfe and of his
soule is no more precious but in as mykel as he hath of rychesse. Alas, howe maye he
holden suche thynges precious or noble that neyther han lyfe ne soule ne ordynaunce of
werchynge lymmes! Suche rychesse ben more worthy whan they ben in gatheryng; in
departing gynneth his love of other mens praysyng. And avaryce gatheryng maketh be
hated, and nedy to many out helpes. And whan leveth the possessyon of such goodes,
and they gynne vanyssh, than entreth sorowe and tene in their hertes. O, badde and
strayte ben thilke that at their departynge maketh men teneful and sory, and in the
gatheryng of hem make men nedy. Moche folke at ones mowen not togyder moche
therof have. A good gest gladdeth his hoste and al his meyny, but he is a badde gest that
maketh his hoste nedy and to be aferde of his gestes goyng." "Certes," quod I, "me
wondreth therfore that the comune opinyon is thus: `He is worthe no more than that he
hath in catel.'" "O," quod she, "loke thou be not of that opynion, for if golde or money
or other maner of riches shynen in thy sight, whose is that? Nat thyn. And tho they
have a lytel beautie, they be nothyng in comparison of our kynde. And therfore, ye
shulde nat set your worthynesse in thyng lower than yourselfe, for the riches, the
fairnesse, the worthynesse of thilke goodes, if ther be any suche preciousnesse in hem,
are nat thyne. Thou madest hem so never; from other they come to thee, and to other
they shul from thee. Wherfore enbracest thou other wightes goodes as tho they were
thyn? Kynde hath drawe hem by hemselfe. It is sothe the goodes of the erth ben ordayned
in your fode and norisshynge, but if thou wolte holde thee apayde with that suffiseth to
thy kynde thou shalt nat be in daunger of no suche riches; to kynde suffiseth lytel thing
who that taketh hede. And if thou wolt algates with superfluité of riches be a throted,
thou shalt hastelych beanoyed or els yvel at ease. And fairnesse of feldes ne of
habytations, ne multytude of meyné, maye nat be rekened as riches that are thyn owne.
For if they be badde, it is great sclaunder and villany to the ocupyer. And if they be
good or faire, the mater of the workeman that hem made is to prayse. Howe shulde
otherwyse bountie be compted for thyne? Thilke goodnesse and fairnesse be proper to
tho thinges hemselfe. Than if they be nat thyne, sorow nat whan they wende, ne glad
thee nat in pompe and in pride whan thou hem hast. For their bountie and their beautes
cometh out of their owne kynde and nat of thyne owne person. As faire ben they in
their not havyng as whan thou haste hem. They be nat faire for thou haste hem, but
thou haste geten hem for the fairnesse of themselfe. And there the vaylance of men is
demed in richesse outforth, wenen me to have no proper good in themselfe, but seche
it in straunge thinges. Trewly the condytion of good wenyng is in thee mistourned to
wene your noblesse be not in yourselfe, but in the goodes and beautie of other thynges.
Pardy, the beestes that han but felyng soules have suffisaunce in their owne selfe; and
ye, that ben lyke to God, seken encrease of suffisaunce from so excellent a kynde of so
lowe thynges. Ye do great wrong to Him that you made lordes over al erthly thynges,
and ye put your worthynesse under the nombre of the fete of lower thynges and foule.
Whan ye juge thilke riches to be your worthynesse than put ye your selfe by estimacion
under thilke foule thynges, and than leve ye the knowyng of yourselfe, so be ye viler
than any dombe beest that cometh of shrewde vice. Right so thilke persons that loven
non yvel for dereworthynesse of the persone, but for straunge goodes, and saith the
adornement in the knot lyth in such thing his errour is perilous and shreude, and he
wrieth moche venym with moche welth, and that knot maye nat be good whan he hath
"Certes, thus hath riches with flyckering sight anoyed many; and often whan
there is a throweout shrewe he coyneth al the golde, al the precious stones that
mowen be founden, to have in his bandon. He weneth no wight be worthy to have
suche thynges but he alone. Howe manye haste thou knowe nowe in late tyme that in
their rychesse supposed suffysance have folowed, and nowe it is al fayled?" "Ye lady,"
quod I, "that is for misse medlyng, and otherwyse governed thilke rychesse than they
shulde." "Ye," quod she tho, "had not the floode greatly areysed and throwe to hemwarde
both gravel and sande, he had made no medlynge. And right as see yeveth floode, so
draweth see ebbe and pulleth ayen under wawe al the firste out throw, but if good pyles
of noble governaunce in love in wel meanynge maner ben sadly grounded, the whiche
holde thilke gravel as for a whyle, that ayen lightly mowe not it turne. And if the pyles
ben trewe, the gravel and sande wol abyde. And certes, ful warnyng in love shalte thou
never thorowe hem get ne cover that lightly with an ebbe, er thou beware it, wol ayen
meve. In rychesse many men have had tenes and diseases whiche they shulde not have
had if therof they had fayled. Thorowe whiche nowe declared partely it is shewed that
for rychesse shulde the knotte in herte neyther ben caused in one ne in other. Trewly,
knotte maye ben knytte, and I trowe more stedfast in love though rychesse fayled. And
els in rychesse is the knotte and not in herte. And than suche a knotte is false whan the
see ebbeth and withdraweth the gravel, that such rychesse voydeth, thilke knotte wol
unknytte. Wherfore no trust, no way, no cause, no parfyte beyng is in rychesse of no
suche knotte; therfore another way muste we have."
"Honour in dignyté is wened to yeven a ful knot." "Ye certes," quod I, "and of that
opinyon ben many, for they sayne dignyté with honour and reverence causen hertes to
encheynen and so abled to be knytte togyther for the excellence in soveraynté of such
"Nowe," quod she, "if dignyté, honour, and reverence causen thilke knotte in herte,
this knot is good and profytable. For every cause of a cause is cause of thyng caused.
Than thus good thynges and profytable ben by dignyté honour and reverence caused.
Ergo, they accorden and dignytes ben good with reverences and honour, but
contraryes mowen not accorden. Wherfore by reason there shulde no dignytee no
reverence none honour acorde with shrewes, but that is false. They have ben cause to
shrewes in many shreudnes, for with hem they accorden. Ergo, from begynnyng to
argue ayenwarde tyl it come to the laste conclusyon, they are not cause of the knot. Lo,
al day at eye arne shrewes not in reverence, in honour, and in dignyté? Yes, forsothe,
rather than the good. Than foloweth it that shrewes rather than good shul ben cause of
this knot. But of this contrarie of al lovers is byleved and for a sothe openly determyned
"Nowe," quod I, "fayne wolde I here howe suche dignytees acorden with shrewes."
"O," quod she, "that wol I shewe in manyfolde wise. Ye wene," quod she, "that
dignytes of offyce here in your cyté is as the sonne; it shyneth bright withouten any
cloude, whiche thynge, whan they comen in the handes of malycious tyrauntes, there
cometh moche harme and more grevaunce therof than of the wylde fyre though it
brende al a strete. Certes, in dignyté of offyce the werkes of the occupyer shewen the
malyce and the badnesse in the person. With shrewes they maken manyfolde harmes,
and moche people shamen. Howe often han rancours for malyce of the governour
shulde ben mainteyned? Hath not than suche dignytees caused debate, rumours, and
yvels? Yes, God wote, but suche thynges have ben trusted to make mens understandyng
enclyne to many queynte thynges. Thou wottest wel what I meane." "Ye," quod I,
"therfore, as dignyté suche thynge in tene ywrought, so ayenwarde the substaunce in
dignité chaunged, relyed to bring ayen good plyte in doyng." "Do way, do way," quod
she, "if it so betyde, but that is selde that suche dignyté is betake in a good mannes
governaunce. What thynge is to recken in the dignytees goodnesse? Pardé, the bountie
and goodnesse is hers that usen it in good governaunce, and therfore cometh it that
honoure and reverence shulde ben done to dignyté bycause of encreasynge vertue in the
occupyer, and not to the ruler bycause of soverayntie in dignité. Sythen dignité may no
vertue cause who is worthy worshyp for suche goodnesse? Not dignyté, but person
that maketh goodnesse in dignyté to shyne." "This is wonder thyng," quod I, "for me
thynketh as the person in dignité is worthy honour for goodnesse, so tho a person for
badnesse magré hath deserved, yet the dignité leneth to be commended." "Let be," quod
she, "thou errest right foule. Dignité with badnesse is helper to performe the felonous
doyng. Pardy, were it kyndly good or any properté of kyndly vertue hadden in hemselfe,
shrewes shulde hem never have; with hem shulde they never accorde. Water and fire
that ben contrarious mowen nat togider ben assembled. Kynde wol nat suffre such
contraries to joyn. And sithen at eye by experience in doyng we sene that shrewes have
hem more often than good menne, syker mayste thou be that kyndly good in suche
thynges is nat appropred. Pardy, were they kyndly good, as wel one as other shulden
evenlych in vertue of governaunce ben worthe. But one fayleth in goodnesse, an-
other dothe the contrary; and so it sheweth kyndly goodnesse in dignyté nat be grounded.
And this same reason," quod she, "may be made in general on al the bodily goodes, for
they comen ofte to throwe out shrewes. After this, he is strong that hath might to have
great burthyns, and he is lyght and swifte that hath soverainté in ronnyng to passe
other. Right so he is a shrewe on whom shreude thynges and badde han most werchynge.
And right as philosophy maketh philosophers, and my service maketh lovers, right so if
dignytes weren good or vertuous, they shulde maken shrewes good, and turne her
malyce, and make hem be vertuous, but that do they nat as it is proved, but causen
rancour and debate. Ergo, they be nat good but utterly badde. Had Nero never ben
Emperour, shulde never his dame have be slayn to maken open the privyté of his
engendrure. Herodes, for his dignyté slewe many children. The dignité of kyng John
wolde have distroyed al Englande. Therfore mokel wysedom and goodnesse both nedeth
in a person the malice in dignité slyly to bridel, and with a good bytte of arest to
withdrawe, in case it wolde praunce otherwise than it shulde. Trewly, ye yeve to dignites
wrongful names in your clepyng. They shulde hete nat dignité, but moustre of badnesse
and mayntenour of shrewes. Pardy, shyne the sonne never so bright, and it bring forthe
no heate ne sesonably the herbes out bringe of the erthe, but suffre frostes and colde
and the erthe barayne to lygge by tyme of his compas in cyrcute about, ye wolde
wonder, and dispreyse that son. If the mone be at ful and sheweth no lyght, but derke
and dymme to your syght appereth, and make distruction of the waters, wol ye nat
suppose it be under cloude or in clips? And that some prevy thing unknowen to your
wittes is cause of suche contrarious doynge? Than, if clerkes that han ful insyght and
knowyng of suche impedimentes enforme you of the sothe, very idiottes ye ben but if
ye yeven credence to thilk clerkes wordes. And yet it doth me tene to sene many
wretches rejoycen in such maner planettes. Trewly, lytel con they on philosophy or els
on my lore that any desyre haven suche lyghtynge planettes in that wyse any more to
shewe." "Good lady," quod I, "tel ye me howe ye mean in these thynges." "Lo," quod
she, "the dignites of your cyté, sonne and mone, nothyng in kynde shew their shynyng
as they shulde. For the sonne made no brennyng hete in love, but freesed envye in
mennes hertes for feblenesse of shynyng hete. And the moone was about under an olde
cloude, the lyvenges by waters to distroye."
"Lady," quod I, "it is supposed they had shyned as they shulde." "Ye," quod she, "but
nowe it is proved at the ful their beauté in kyndly shynyng fayled wherfore dignyté of
hym selven hath no beautie in fairnesse ne dryveth nat awaye vices, but encreaseth and
so be they no cause of the knotte. Now se in good trouth: holde ye nat such sonnes
worthy of no reverence and dignites worthy of no worshyp, that maketh men to do the
more harmes?" "I not," quod I. "No," quod she, "and thou se a wyse good man for his
goodnesse and wysenesse wolte thou nat do him worship? Therof he is worthy." "That
is good skil," quod I, "it is dewe to suche both reverence and worship to have." "Than,"
quod she, "a shrewe for his shreudnesse, altho he be put forthe toforne other for ferde,
yet is he worthy for shrewdnesse to be unworshipped. Of reverence no parte is he
worthy to have, to contrarious doyng belongeth. And that is good skyl, for right as he
besmyteth the dignites, thilke same thyng ayenwarde him smyteth, or else shulde
smyte. And over this thou woste wel," quod she, "that fyre in every place heateth
where it be, and water maketh wete. Why? For kyndely werkyng is so yput in hem to
do suche thynges. For every kyndely in werkyng sheweth his kynde. But though a
wight had ben mayre of your cytie many wynter togyder and come in a straunge place
there he were not knowen he shulde for his dignyté have no reverence. Than neyther
worshyppe ne reverence is kyndely propre in no dignité sythen they shulden don their
kynde in suche doynge if any were. And if reverence ne worshyppe kyndely be not set
in dignytees, and they more therin ben shewed than goodnesse for that in dignyté is
shewed, but it proveth that goodnesse kyndely in hemis not grounded. Iwys, neyther
worshyppe, ne reverence, ne goodnesse in dignyté done none offyce of kynde. For
they have none suche propertie in nature of doynge but by false opinyon of the people.
Lo, howe somtyme thilke that in your cytie werne in dignyté noble, if thou lyste hem
nempne, they ben nowe overturned bothe in worshyp, in name, and in reverence.
Wherfore such dignites have no kyndly werchyng of worshyppe and of reverence, ne
that hath no worthynesse on itselfe. Nowe it ryseth and nowe it vanissheth, after the
varyaunt opinyon in false hertes of unstable people. Wherfore, if thou desyre the knotte
of this jewel, or els if thou woldest suppose she shulde sette the knotte on thee for
suche maner dignyté, than thou wenest beautie or goodnesse of thilke somwhat encreaseth
the goodnesse or vertue in the body: But dignyté of hemselfe ben not good, ne yeven
reverence ne worshyppe by their owne kynde. Howe shulde they than yeve to any other
a thynge, that by no waye mowe they have hemselfe? It is sene in dignyté of the
emperour and of many mo other that they mowe not of hem selve kepe their worshyppe
ne their reverence, that in a lytel whyle it is nowe up and nowe downe by unstedfaste
hertes of the people. What bountie mowe they yeve that with cloude lightly leaveth his
shynynge? Certes, to the occupier is mokel appeyred, sythen suche doynge dothe villanye
to him that maye it not mayntayne. Wherfore thilke waye to the knotte is croked. And
if any desyre to come to the knot he must leave this waye on his lefte syde, or els shal
he never come there."
"Avayleth aught," quod she, "power of might in mayntenaunce of worthy to come to
this knot?" "Pardé," quod I, "ye, for hertes ben ravysshed from suche maner thinges."
"Certes," quod she, "though a fooles herte is with thyng ravysshed, yet therfore is no
general cause of the powers ne of a syker parfyte herte to be loked after. Was not Nero
the moste shrewe one of thilke that men rede, and yet had he power to make senatours,
justyces, and princes of many landes? Was not that great power?" "Yes, certes," quod I.
"Wel," quod she, "yet might he not helpe himselfe out of disease whan he gan fal. Howe
many ensamples canste thou remembre of kynges great and noble, and huge power
holden and yet they might not kepe hemselve from wretchydnesse? Howe wretched
was kyng Henry Curtmantyl er he deyde? He had not so moche as to cover with his
membres, and yet was he one of the greatest kynges of al the Normandes ofspring and
moste possessyon had. O, a noble thynge and clere is power that is not founden myghty
to kepe himselfe. Nowe, trewly, a great fole is he that for suche thyng wolde sette the
knotte in thyne herte. Also, power of realmes is not thylke greatest power amonges the
worldly powers reckened? And if suche powers han wretchydnesse in hemselfe, it
foloweth other powers of febler condycion to ben wretched and than that wretchydnesse
shulde be cause of suche a knotte. But every wyght that hath reason wote wel that
wretchydnesse by no way may ben cause of none suche knotte; wherfore, suche
power is no cause. That powers have wretchydnesse in hemselfe may right lyghtly ben
preved. If power lacke on any syde on that syde is no power, but no power is
wretchydnesse. For al be it so the power of emperours or kynges or els of their realmes
(whiche is the power of the prince) stretchen wyde and brode, yet besydes is ther
mokel folke of whiche he hath no commaundement ne lordshyppe; and there as lacketh
his power his nonpower entreth, whereunder springeth that maketh hem wretches. No
power is wretchydnesse and nothing els. But in this maner hath kynges more porcion
of wretchydnesse than of power. Trewly, suche powers ben unmighty, for ever they
ben in drede howe thilke power from lesyng may be keped of sorow; so drede sorily
prickes ever in their hertes: litel is the power whiche careth and ferdeth it selfe to
mayntayne. Unmighty is that wretchydnesse whiche is entred by the ferdful wenynge
of the wretche himselfe, and knot ymaked by wretchydnesse is betwene wretches; and
wretches al thyng bewaylen. Wherfore the knot shulde be bewayled, and there is no
suche parfyte blysse that we supposed at the gynnyng. Ergo, power in nothyng shulde
cause suche knottes. Wretchydnesse is a kyndely propertie in suche power as by way
of drede whiche they mowe not eschewe ne by no way lyve in sykernesse. For thou
woste wel," quod she, "he is nought mighty that wolde done that he may not done ne
perfourme." "Therfore," quod I, "these kynges and lordes that han suffysaunce at the
ful of men and other thynges mowen wel ben holden mighty. Their comaundementes
ben done, it is nevermore denyed." "Foole," quod she, "or he wotte himselfe mighty or
wotte it not. For heis nought mighty that is blynde of his might and wote it not." "That
is sothe," quod I. "Than if he wot it, he must nedes ben a dradde to lesen it. He that
wotte of his might is in doute that he mote nedes lese, and so leadeth him drede to ben
unmighty. And if he retche not to lese, lytel is that worthe that of the lesyng reason
retcheth nothyng. And if it were mighty in power or in strength, the lesyng shulde ben
withset; and whan it cometh to the lesyng he may it not withsytte. Ergo thilke might is
leude and naughty. Such mightes arne ilyke to postes and pyllers that upright stonden
and great might han to beare many charges; and if they croke on any syde, lytel thynge
maketh hem overthrowe." "This is a good ensample," quod I, "to pyllers and postes
that I have sene overthrowed myselfe, and hadden they ben underput with any helpes
they had not so lightly fal." "Than holdest thou him mighty that hath many men armed
and many servauntes and ever he is adradde of hem in his herte, and, for he gasteth hem
somtyme, he mote the more feare have. Comenly he that other agasteth other in
him ayenwarde werchen the same, and thus warnisshed mote he be and of warnysshe
the hour drede. Lytel is that might and right leude who so taketh hede." "Than semeth
it," quod I, "that suche famulers aboute kynges and great lordes shulde great might
have. Althoughe a sypher in augrym have no might in signifycacion of it selve, yet he
yeveth power in signifycacion to other and these clepe I the helpes to a poste to kepe
him from fallyng." "Certes," quod she, "thilke skylles ben leude. Why? but if the shorers
be wel grounded, the helpes shullen slyden and suffre the charge to fal; her myght lytel
avayleth." "And so me thynketh," quod I, "that a poste alone stonding upright upon a
basse may lenger in great burthen endure than croken pylers for al their helpes, and her
grounde be not syker." "That is soth," quod she, "for as the blynde in bearyng of the
lame gynne stomble, bothe shulde fal, right so suche pyllers so envyroned with helpes
in fallyng of the grounde fayleth al togyther. Howe ofte than suche famulers in their
moste pride of prosperyté ben sodainly overthrowen. Thou haste knowe many in a
moment so ferre overthrowe that cover might they never. Whan the hevynesse of such
faylyng cometh by case of fortune, they mowe it not eschue; and might and power, if
ther were any, shulde of strength such thinges voydeand weyve, and so it is not. Lo,
than whiche thing is this power that tho men han it they ben agast, and in no tyme of ful
having be they syker. And if they wold weyve drede, as they mow not, litel is in
worthynes. Fye therfore on so naughty thing any knot to cause. Lo, in adversité thilk
ben his foes that glosed and semed frendes in welth. Thus arn his famyliers his foes
and his enemyes; and nothyng is werse ne more mighty for to anoy than is a famylier
enemye, and these thynges may they not weyve. So trewly, their might is not worthe a
cresse. And over al thynge he that maye not withdrawe the bridel of his flesshly lustes
and his wretched complayntes (nowe thynke on thy selfe) trewly he is not mighty. I
can sene no waye that lythe to the knotte. Thilke people than that setten their hertes
upon suche mightes and powers often ben begyled. Pardé he is not mighty that may do
any thyng that another maye doone hym the selve and that men have as great power
over him as he over other. A justyce that demeth men ayenwarde hath ben often demed.
Buserus slewe his gestes, and he was slayne of Hercules his geste. Hugest betraysshed
many men and of Collo was he betrayed. He that with swerde smyteth, with swerde
shal be smytten."
Than gan I to studyen a whyle on these thinges and made a countenaunce with my
hande in maner to ben huyshte. "Nowe let sene," quod she, "me thynketh somwhat
there is within thy soule that troubleth thy understandyng. Saye on what it is." Quod I
tho, "Me thynketh that although a man by power have suche might over me as I have
over other that disproveth no myght in my person, but yet may I have power and myght
neverthelater." "Se nowe," quod she, "thyne owne leudenesse. He is mighty that maye
without wretchydnesse, and he is unmyghty that may it not withsytte. But than he, that
might over thee, and he wol put on thee wretchydnesse thou might it not withsytte. Ergo,
thou seest thyselfe what foloweth. But nowe," quod she, "woldest thou not skorne, and
thou se a flye han power to done harme to another flye and thilke have no myght ne
ayenturnyng him selfe to defende?" "Yes certes," quod I. "Who is a frayler thyng,"
quod she, "than the fleshly body of a man over whiche have oftentyme flyes and yet
lasse thyng than a flye mokel might in grevaunce and anoyeng withouten any withsyttynge,
for al thilke mannes mightes? And sythen thou seest thyne flesshly body in kyndely
power fayle, howe shulde than the accydent of a thynge ben in more sureté of beynge
than substancial? Wherfore, thilke thynges that we clepe power is but accident to the
flesshly body, and so they may not have that suretie in might whiche wanteth in the
substancial body. Why there is no waye to the knotte that loketh aright after the hye
waye, as he shulde.
"Verily, it is proved that rychesse dignyté and power ben not trewe waye to the knotte
but as rathe by suche thynges the knotte to be unbounde. Wherfore on these thynges I
rede no wight truste to gette any good knotte. But what shul we saye of renome in the
peoples mouthes? Shulde that ben any cause? What supposest thou in thyn herte?"
"Certes," quod I, "yes, I trowe, for your slye resons I dare not safely it saye."
"Than," quod she, "wol I preve that shrewes as rathe shul ben in the knotte as the good,
and that were ayenst kynde." "Fayne," quod I, "wolde I that here. Me thinketh wonder
howe renome shuld as wel knytte a shrewe as a good person. Renome in every degré
hath avaunced, yet wyst I never the contrarye. Shulde than renome accorde with a
shrewe? It maye not synke in my stomake tyl I here more." "Nowe," quod she, "have
I not sayd alwayes that shrewes shul not have the knotte?" "What nedeth," quod I, "to
reherse that any more? I wotte wel every wight by kyndely reason shrewes in knyttyng
wol eschewe." "Than," quod she, "the good ought thilke knotte to have." "Howe els!"
quod I. "It were great harme," quod she, "that the good were weyved and put out of
espoire of the knotte, if he it desyred." "O," quod I, "alas, on suche thing to thinke I
wene that heven wepeth to se such wronges here ben suffred on erthe. The good ought
it to have and no wight els." "The goodnesse," quod she, "of a person may not ben
knowe outforth but by renome of the knowers. Wherfore he must be renomed of
goodnesse to come to the knot." "So must it be," quod I, "or els al lost that we carpen."
"Sothly," quod she, "that were great harme, but if a good man myght have his desyres
in servyce of thilke knot and a shrewe to be veyned, and they ben not knowen in general
but by lackyng and praysing and in renome. And so by the consequence it foloweth a
shrewe to ben praysed and knyt, and a good to be forsake and unknyt." "Ah," quod I
tho, "have ye, lady, ben here abouten. Yet wolde I se by grace of our argumentes better
declared howe good and bad do acorden by lacking and praysyng. Me thynketh it
ayenst kynde." "Nay," quod she, "and that shalt thou se as yerne. These elementes han
contraryous qualyties in kynde by whiche they mowe not acorde no more than good
and badde; and in qualytees they acorde so that contraries by qualyté acorden by qualyté.
Is not erthe drie and water that is next and bytwene th'erthe is wete? Drie and wete ben
contrarie and mowen not acorde, and yet this discordaunce is bounde to acorde by
cloudes, for bothe elementes ben colde. Right so the eyre that is next the water is wete,
and eke it is hotte. This eyre by his hete contraryeth water that is colde, but thilke
contrariousty is oned by moysture, for bothe be they moyst. Also the fyre that is next
the eyre and it encloseth al about is drie, wherthrough it contraryeth eyre that is wete;
and in hete they acorde, for bothe they ben hote. Thus by these acordaunces discordantes
ben joyned, and in a maner of acordaunce they acorden by connection that is knyttyng
togyther. Of that accorde cometh a maner of melodye that is right noble. Right so good
and bad arne contrarie in doynges by lacking and praysyng: good is bothe lacked and
praysed of some and badde is bothe lacked and praysed of some. Wherfore their
contraryoustie acorde bothe by lackyng and praysing. Than foloweth it, though good
be never so mokel praysed, oweth more to ben knyt than the badde; or els bad for the
renome that he hath must be taken as wel as the good, and that oweth not." "No,
forsothe," quod I. "Wel," quod she, "than is renome no waye to the knot. Lo, foole,"
quod she, "howe clerkes writen of suche glorie of renome. `O glorie, glorie, thou arte
none other thynge to thousandes of folke but a great sweller of eeres.' Many one hath
had ful great renome by false opinyon of varyaunt people. And what is fouler than folke
wrongfully to ben praysed or by malyce of the people gyltlesse lacked? Nedes shame
foloweth therof to hem that with wrong prayseth, and also to the desertes praysed and
vylanye and reprofe of hym that disclaundreth.
"Good chylde," quod she, "what echeth suche renome to the conscience of a wyse
man that loketh and measureth his goodnesse not by slevelesse wordes of the people
but by sothfastnesse of conscience? By God, nothyng. And if it be fayre a mans name
be eched by moche folkes praysing and fouler thyng that mo folke not praysen. I sayd
to thee a lytel herebeforne that no folke in straunge countreyes nought praysen; suche
renome may not comen to their eeres bycause of unknowyng and other obstacles as I
sayde: wherfore more folke not praysen, and that is right foule to him that renome
desyreth, to wete, lesse folke praisen than renome enhaunce. I trowe the thanke of a
people is naught worthe in remembraunce to take, ne it procedeth of no wyse jugement.
Never is it stedfast pardurable. It is veyne and fleyng, with wynde wasteth and encreaseth.
Trewly, suche glorie ought to be hated. If gentyllesse be a clere thynge renome and
glorie to enhaunce, as in reckenyng of thy lynage, than is gentylesse of thy kynne; for
why it semeth that gentylesse of thy kynne is but praysynge and renome that come of
thyne auncestres desertes: and if so be that praysyng and renome of their desertes make
their clere gentyllesse, than mote they nedes ben gentyl for their gentyl dedes and not
thou. For of thyselfe cometh not such maner gentylesse praysynge of thy desertes.
Than gentyllesse of thyne auncesters, that forayne is to thee, maketh thee not gentyl,
but ungentyl and reproved, and if thou contynuest not their gentylesse. And therfore a
wyse man ones sayde: `Better is it thy kynne to ben by thee gentyled than thou to
glorifye of thy kynnes gentylesse and haste no deserte therof thyselfe.'
"Howe passynge is the beautie of flesshly bodyes? More flyttynge than movable
floures of sommer. And if thyne eyen weren as good as the lynx, that maye sene
thorowe many stone walles bothe fayre and foule in their entrayles of no maner hewe
shulde apere to thy syght that were a foule syght. Than is fayrnesse by feblesse of eyen,
but of no kynde. Wherfore thilke shulde be no way to the knot. Whan thilke is went the
knotte wendeth after. Lo, nowe at al proves none of al these thynges mowe parfytly ben
in understandyng to ben waye to the duryng blysse of the knotte. But nowe, to conclusyon
of these maters herkeneth these wordes. Very sommer is knowe from the wynter: in
shorter cours draweth the dayes of Decembre than in the moneth of June. The springes
of Maye faden and falowen in Octobre. These thinges ben not unbounden from their
olde kynde. They have not loste her werke of their propre estate. Men of voluntarious
wyl withsytte that hevens governeth. Other thynges suffren thynges paciently to werche.
Man, in what estate he be, yet wolde he ben chaunged. Thus by queynt thynges blysse
is desyred, and the fruite that cometh of these springes nys but anguys and bytter.
Although it be a whyle swete, it maye not be with holde, hastely they departe: thus al
daye fayleth thynges that fooles wende. Right thus haste thou fayled in thy first wenyng.
He that thynketh to sayle and drawe after the course of the sterre de polo antartico shal
he never come northwarde to the contrarye sterre of polus articus; of whiche thynges
if thou take kepe, thy first out-waye-goynge prison and exile may be cleped. The grounde
falsed underneth and so hast thou fayled. No wyght, I wene, blameth him that stynteth
in mysgoyng and secheth redy way of his blisse. Nowe me thynketh," quod she, "that
it suffiseth in my shewyng the wayes by digneté rychesse renome and power if thou
loke clerely arn no ways to the knotte."
"Every argument, lady," quod I tho, "that ye han maked in these forenempned maters,
me thynketh hem in my ful wytte conceyved; shal I no more, if God wyl, in the contrarye
be begyled. But fayne wolde I, and it were your wyl, blysse of the knotte to me were
declared. I might fele the better howe my herte myght assente to pursue the ende in
servyce as he hath begonne." "O," quod she, "there is a melodye in heven whiche
clerkes clepen `armony,' but that is not in brekynge of voyce, but it is a maner swete
thing of kyndely werchyng that causeth joye out of nombre to recken, and that is
joyned by reason and by wysdome in a quantyté of proporcion of knyttyng. God made
al thyng in reason, and in wytte of proporcion of melody we mowe not suffyse to
shewe. It is written by great clerkes and wise that in erthly thynges lightly by studye
and by travayle the knowynge may be getten. But of suche hevenly melody mokel
travayle wol bringe out in knowyng right lytel. Swetenesse of this paradyse hath you
ravisshed. It semeth ye slepten, rested from al other diseases, so kyndely is your
hertes therin ygrounded. Blysse of two hertes in ful love knytte may not aright ben
ymagyned. Ever is their contemplacion in ful of thoughty studye to plesaunce, mater in
bringynge, comforte everyche to other. And, therfore, of erthly thinges mokel mater
lightly cometh in your lerning. Knowledge of understonding that is nyghe after eye but
not so nyghe the covetyse of knyttynge in your hertes. More soveraine desyre hath
every wight in lytel herynge of hevenly connynge than of mokel materyal purposes in
erthe. Right so it is in propertie of my servauntes that they ben more affyched in sterynge
of lytel thynge in his desyre than of mokel other mater lasse in his conscience. This
blysse is a maner of sowne delycious in a queynte voyce touched and no dynne of
notes. There is none impressyon of breakynge laboure. I canne it not otherwyse nempne
for wantynge of privy wordes, but paradyse terrestre ful of delycious melody, withouten
travayle in sown, perpetual servyce in ful joye coveyted to endure. Onely kynde maketh
hertes in understonding so to slepe that otherwyse may it nat be nempned, ne in other
maner names for lykyng swetnesse can I nat it declare. Al sugre and hony, al mynstralsy
and melody ben but soote and galle in comparison, by no maner proporcion to reken in
respecte of this blysful joye. This armony, this melody, this perdurable joye may nat be
in doynge, but betwene hevens and elementes or twey kyndly hertes ful knyt in trouth
of naturel understondyng, withouten wenynge and disceit as hevens and planettes,
whiche thynges contynually for kyndly accordaunces foryeteth al contrarious mevynges
that into passyve diseases may sowne. Evermore it thyrsteth after more werkyng.
These thynges in proporcion be so wel joyned that it undoth al thyng whiche into
badnesse by any way may be accompted." "Certes," quod I, "this is a thyng precious
and noble. Alas, that falsnesse ever or wantrust shulde ever be maynteyned this joye to
voyde. Alas, that ever any wretch shulde thorowe wrath or envy janglynge dare make
to shove this melody so farre a backe that openly dare it nat ben used. Trewly, wretches
ben fulfylled with envy and wrathe and no wight els. Flebring and tales in such wretches
dare appere openly in every wightes eare, with ful mouth so charged, mokel malyce
moved many innocentes to shende — God wolde their soule therwith were strangled.
Lo, trouth in this blysse is hyd and overal under covert him hydeth. He dare nat come a
place for waytynge of shrewes. Commenly badnesse goodnesse amaistreth; with myselfe
and my soule this joye wolde I bye if the goodnesse were as moche as the nobley in
melody." "O," quod she, "what goodnesse may be acompted more in this material
worlde? Truly, non. That shalt thou understonde. Is nat every thing good that is contrariant
and distroyeng yvel?" "Howe els!" quod I. "Envy, wrathe, and falsnesse ben general,"
quod she, "and that wot every man beyng in his ryght mynde. The knotte the whiche we
have in this blysse is contraryaunt and distroyeth such maner yvels. Ergo, it is good.
What hath caused any wight to don any good dede? Fynde me any good, but if this
knotte be the chefe cause. Nedes mote it be good that causeth so many good dedes.
Every cause is more and worthyer than thynge caused, and in that mores possessyon al
thinges lesse ben compted. As the king is more than his people and hath in possessyon
al his realme after. Right so the knot is more than al other goodes. Thou myght recken
al thynges lasse and that to hym longeth oweth into his mores cause of worshyp and of
wyl do turne. It is els rebel and out of his mores defendyng to voyde. Right so of every
goodnesse into the knot and into the cause of his worshyp oweth to tourne. And trewly
every thyng that hath beyng profytably is good, but nothyng hath to ben more profytably
than this knot. Kynges it maintayneth and hem their powers to mayntayne: It maketh
mysse to ben amended with good governaunce in doyng. It closeth hertes so togyder
that rancour is out thresten. Who that it lengest kepeth, lengest is gladed." "I trowe,"
quod I, "heretykes and mysse meanyng people hence forwarde wol maintayne this
knotte, for therthorough shul they ben maintayned and utterly wol turne and leave their
olde yvel understandyng, and knytte this goodnesse and profer so ferre in servyce that
name of servauntes myght they have. Their jangles shal cease. Me thynketh hem lacketh
mater nowe to alege." "Certes," quod Love, "if they of good wil thus turned, as thou
sayst, wolen trewly perfourme, yet shul they be abled party of this blysse to have. And
they wol not, yet shul my servauntes the werre wel susteyne in myn helpe of
maintenaunce to the ende. And they for their good travayle shullen in rewarde so ben
meded, that endelesse joye, body and soule togyther, in this shullen abyden. There is
ever action of blysse withouten possyble corrupcion; there is action perpetuel in werke
without travayle; there is everlastyng passyfe withouten any of labour. Contynuel plyte,
without ceasynge, coveyted to endure. No tonge may tel ne hert may thinke the leest
poynte of this blysse."
"God bring me thyder," quod I than. "Contynueth wel," quod she, "to the ende, and
thou might not fayle than, for though thou spede not here, yet shal the passyon of thy
martred lyfe ben written and radde toforne the great Jupyter, that god is of routhe, an
hygh in the holownesse of heven, there he sytte in his trone: and ever thou shalt
forwarde ben holden amonge al these hevyns for a knyght that mightest with no
penaunce ben discomfyted. He is a very martyr that lyvyngly goynge is gnawen to
the bones." "Certes," quod I, "these ben good wordes of comforte; a lytel myne herte is
rejoyced in a mery wyse." "Ye," quod she, "and he that is in heven felyth more joye than
whan he firste herde therof speke." "So it is," quod I, "but wyst I the sothe that after
disease comforte wolde folowe with blysse, so as ye have often declared, I wolde wel
suffre this passyon with the better chere, but my thoughtful sorowe is endelesse to
thinke howe I am cast out of a welfare, and yet dayneth not this yvel none herte none
hede to mewarde throwe which thynges wolde greatly me by wayes of comforte disporte
to weten in myselfe a lytel with other me ben ymoned; and my sorowes peysen not in
her balaunce the weyght of a peese. Slynges of her daunger so hevyly peysen, they
drawe my causes so hye, that in her eyen they semen but lyght and right lytel."
"O, for," quod she, "heven with skyes that foule cloudes maken and darke wethers
with gret tempestes and huge, maketh the mery dayes with softe shynyng sonnes. Also
the yere with draweth floures and beautie of herbes and of erth. The same yeres maketh
springes and jolyté in Vere so to renovel with peynted coloures, that erthe semeth as gay
as heven. Sees that blasteth and with wawes throweth shyppes, of whiche the lyvyng
creatures for great peryl for hem dreden. Right so the same sees maketh smothe waters
and golden saylyng and comforteth hem with noble haven that firste were so ferde. Hast
thou not," quod she, "lerned in thy youth, that Jupyter hath in his warderobe bothe garmentes
of joye and of sorowe? What wost thou howe soone hewol turne of thee the garment of
care, and clothe thee in blysse? Pardé, it is not ferre fro thee. Lo, an olde proverbe aleged
by many wyse: `Whan bale is greatest than is bote a nye bore.' Wherof wylte thou
dismaye? Hope wel and serve wel, and that shal thee save, with thy good byleve."
"Ye, ye," quod I, "yet se I not by reason howe this blysse is comyng — I wote it is
contyngent. It may fal on other." "O," quod she, "I have mokel to done to clere thyne
understandyng and voyde these errours out of thy mynde. I wol prove it by reason thy
wo may not alway enduren. Every thyng kyndely," quod she, "is governed and ruled by
the hevenly bodyes, whiche haven ful werchynge here on erthe, and after course of
these bodyes, al course of your doynges here ben governed and ruled by kynde.
"Thou wost wel by cours of planettes al your dayes proceden, and to everich of
synguler houres be enterchaunged stondmele about, by submytted worchyng naturally
to suffre, of whiche changes cometh these transitory tymes that maketh revolvyng of
your yeres thus stondmele. Every hath ful might of worchynge, tyl al seven han had her
cours about. Of which worchynges and possessyon of houres the dayes of the weke
have take her names after denomination in these seven planettes. Lo, your Sonday
gynneth at the first hour afternoon on the Saturday, in whiche hour is than the sonne in
ful might of worchyng, of whom Sonday taketh his name. Next him foloweth Venus
and after Mercurius, and than the Moone, so than Saturnus after whom Jovis, and than
Mars, and ayen than the Sonne, and so forth, be twenty-four houres togider, in whiche
hour gynnyng in the seconde day stante the Moone, as maister for that tyme to rule, of
whom Monday taketh his name. And this course foloweth of al other dayes generally in
doyng. This course of nature of these bodyes chaungyng stynten at a certayne terme,
lymytted by their first kynde. And of hem al governementes in this elemented worlde
proceden, as in springes, constellacions, engendrures, and al that folowen kynde and
reson. Wherfore the course that foloweth sorowe and joy, kyndely moten entrechangen
their tymes, so that alway on wele as alway on wo may not endure. Thus seest thou
appertly thy sorowe into wele mote ben chaunged; wherfore in suche case to better
syde evermore enclyne thou shuldest. Trewly, next the ende of sorowe anon entreth
joy. By maner of necessyté it wol ne may non other betyde, and so thy contingence is
disproved. If thou holde this opinion any more, thy wyt is right leude. Wherfore in ful
conclusyon of al this, thilke Margaryte thou desyrest hath ben to thee dere in thy herte,
and for her hast thou suffred many thoughtful diseases, herafter shal be cause of mokel
myrth and joye, and loke howe glad canste thou ben, and cease al thy passed hevynesse
with manyfolde joyes. And than wol I as blythly here thee speken thy myrthes in joy as
I nowe have yherde thy sorowes and thy complayntes. And if I mowe in aught thy joye
encrease, by my trouthe, on my syde shal nat be leaved for no maner traveyle that I
with al my myghtes right blythly wol helpe, and ever ben redy you bothe to plese." And
than thanked I that lady with al goodly maner that I worthely coude, and trewly I was
greatly rejoysed in myne hert of her fayre behestes, and proferd me to be slawe, in al that
she me wolde ordeyne, while my lyfe lested.
"Me thynketh," quod I, "that ye have right wel declared, that way to the knot shuld not
ben in none of these disprovynge thynges, and nowe order of our purpose this asketh,
that ye shulde me shewe if any way be thyther, and whiche thilke way shulde ben, so
that openly maye be sey the verry hye waye in ful confusyoun of these other thynges."
"Thou shalt," quod she, "understande that one of thre lyves (as I fyrst sayd) every
creature of mankynde is sprongen, and so forth procedeth. These lyves ben thorowe
names departed in thre maner of kyndes, as bestiallyche, manlyche, and resonablyche,
of whiche two ben used by flesshely body, and the thirde by his soule. Bestial among
resonables is forboden in every lawe and every secte, bothe in Christen and other, for
every wight dispyseth hem that lyveth by lustes and delytes, as him that is thral and
bounden servaunt to thynges right foule. Suche ben compted werse than men; he shal
nat in their degré ben rekened ne for suche one alowed. Heritykes, sayne they, chosen
lyfe bestial, that voluptuously lyven, so that (as I first sayde to thee) in manly and resonable
lyvenges, our mater was to declare. But manly lyfe in lyveng after flesshe or els flesshly
wayes to chese may nat blysse in this knotte be conquered, as by reason it is proved.
Wherfore by resonable lyfe he must nedes it have, sithe a way is to this knotte, but nat
by the firste tway lyves, wherfore nedes mote it ben to the thirde. And for to lyve in
flesshe but nat after flessh is more resonablich than man lyche rekened by clerkes.
Therfore howe this waye cometh in I wol it blythely declare.
"Se nowe," quod she, "that these bodily goodes of manliche lyvenges yelden soroufully
stoundes and smertande houres. Whoso wele remembre him to their endes, in their
worchinges they ben thoughtful and sorie. Right as a bee that hath hadde his hony
anone at his flyght begynneth to stynge; so thilke bodily goodes at the laste mote awaye,
and than stynge they at her goynge, wherthrough entreth and clene voydeth al blisse of
"Forsothe," quod I, "me thynketh I am wel served in shewyng of these wordes.
Although I hadde lytel in respecte amonge other great and worthy, yet had I a faire
parcel as me thought for the tyme in forthering of my sustenauce whiche, while it
dured, I thought me havynge mokel hony to myne estate. I had richesse suffisauntly to
weyve nede; I had dignité to be reverenced in worship. Power me thought that I had to
kepe fro myne enemyes and me semed to shyne in glorie of renome as manhode asketh
in meane. For no wight in myne admynistration coude non yvels ne trechery by sothe
cause on me putte. Lady, yourselve weten wel that of tho confederacies maked by my
soverayns I nas but a servaunt, and yet mokel meane folke wol fully ayenst reason
thilke maters maynteyne, in whiche mayntenaunce glorien themselfe; and as often ye
haven sayde therof ought nothynge in yvel to be layde to mewardes, sythen as repentaunt
I am tourned, and no more I thynke, neither tho thynges ne none suche other to sustene
but utterly distroye without medlynge maner in al my mightes. Howe am I nowe caste
out of al swetnesse of blysse and myschevously stongen my passed joy? Soroufully
muste I bewayle and lyve as a wretche.
"Every of tho joyes is tourned into his contrary: For richesse nowe have I poverté, for
dignité, nowe am I enprisoned. Instede of power, wretchednesse I suffre, and for
glorye of renome I am nowe dispised and foulych hated. Thus hath farn fortune, that
sodaynly am I overthrowen and out of al welth dispoyled. Trewly, me thynketh this
way in entre is right harde. God graunt me better grace er it be al passed. The other way,
ladye, me thought right swete." "Nowe certes," quod Love, "me lyst for to chide.
What ayleth thy darke dulnesse? Wol it nat in clerenesse ben sharped? Have I nat by
many reasons to the shewed suche bodily goodes faylen to yeve blysse, their might so
ferforthe wol nat stretche? Shame," quod she, "it is to say thou lyest in thy wordes.
Thou ne hast wyst but right fewe that these bodily goodes had al atones. Commenly
they dwellen nat togider. He that plenté hath in riches, of his kynne is ashamed; another
of lynage right noble and wel knowe; but povert him handleth, he were lever unknowe.
Another hath these, but renome of peoples praysyng may he nat have. Overal he is
hated and defamed of thynges right foule. Another is faire and semely, but dignité him
fayleth, and he that hath dignyté is croked or lame or els misshapen and fouly dispysed.
Thus partable these goodes dwellen commenly; in one houshold ben they but sylde. Lo,
howe reetched is your truste on thyng that wol nat accorde. Me thinketh thou clepest
thilke plyte thou were in selynesse of fortune, and thou sayest for that the selynesse is
departed, thou arte a wretch. Than foloweth this upon thy wordes: every soule resonable
of man may nat dye, and if dethe endeth selynesse and maketh wretches, as nedes of
fortune maketh it an ende. Than soules after dethe of the body in wretchednesse shulde
lyven. But we knowe many that han geten the blysse of heven after their dethe. Howe
than may this lyfe maken men blysful, that whan it passeth it yeveth no wretchednesse,
and many tymes blysse, if in this lyfe he con lyve as he shulde? And wolte thou acompt
with fortune, that nowe at the first she hath done thee tene and sorowe? If thou loke to
the maner of al glad thynges and sorouful, thou mayst nat nay it, that yet, and namely
nowe, thou standest in noble plyte in a good ginnyng with good forth goyng herafter.
And if thou wene to be a wretch, for such welth is passed, why than art thou nat wel
fortunate for badde thynges and anguys wretchednesse ben passed? Art thou nowe
come first in to the hostry of this lyfe, or else the both of this worlde? Art thou nowe a
sodayne gest into this wretched exile? Wenest there be any thynge in this erthe stable?
Is nat thy first arest passed that brought thee in mortal sorowe? Ben these nat mortal
thynges agon with ignorance of beestial wyt and hast receyved reason in knowyng of
vertue? What comforte is in thy hert? The knowinge sykerly in my servyce be grounded.
And woste thou nat wel as I said that deth maketh ende of al fortune? What than?
Standest thou in noble plyte, lytel hede or reckyng to take, if thou let fortune passe
dying, or els that she fly whan her lyst, now by thy lyve? Pardy, a man hath nothyng so
lefe as his lyfe, and for to holde that he doth al his cure and dilygent traveyle. Than say
I thou art blysful and fortunat sely, if thou knowe thy goodes that thou hast yet be loved
whiche nothynge may doute, that they ne ben more worthy than thy lyfe." "What is
that?" quod I. "Good contemplation," quod she, "of wel doing in vertue in tyme comyng,
bothe in plesaunce of me and of thy Margarit peerl. Hastely thyn hert in ful blysse with
her shalbe eased. Therfore, dismay thee nat. Fortune in hate grevously ayenst thy bodily
person, ne yet to gret tempest hath she nat sent to thee, sithen the holdyng cables and
ankers of thy lyfe holden by knyttyng so faste that thou discomforte thee nought of tyme
that is now, ne dispayre thee not of tyme to come, but yeven thee comforte in hope of
wel doyng and of gettyng agayne the double of thy lesyng with encreasyng love of thy
Margarite perle therto. For this hyderto thou hast had al her ful daunger, and so thou
myght amende al that is mysse, and al defautes that somtyme thou dyddest, and that
now in al thy tyme to that ilke Margaryte in ful servyce of my lore thyne herte hath
contynued, wherfore she ought moche the rather enclyne fro her daungerous sete.
These thynges ben yet knyt by the holdyng anker in thy lyve, and holden mote they. Lo
God, I pray al these thynges at ful ben performed. For whyle this anker holdeth I hope
thou shalte safely escape, and whyle thy trewe meanyng servyce aboute bringe, in
dispyte of al false meaners, that thee of newe haten; for in this trewe servyce thou arte
"Certayn," quod I, "amonge thynges I asked a question, whiche was the way to the
knot. Trewly, lady, howe so it be I tempt you with questions and answers in spekyng of
my first service, I am nowe in ful purpose in the pricke of the hert, that thilke service
was an enprisonment and alway bad and naughty, in no maner to be desyred. Ne that in
gettyng of the knot may it nothyng aveyle. A wyse gentyl hert loketh after vertue and
none other bodily joyes alone. And bycause to forne this in tho wayes I was sette, I
wote wel myselfe I have erred and of the blysse fayled, and so out of my way hugely have
I ron." "Certes," quod she, "that is sothe, and there thou hast myswent, eschewe the
pathe from hens forwarde, I rede. Wonder I trewly why the mortal folke of this worlde
seche these wayes outforth, and it is proved in yourselfe. Lo, howe ye ben confounded
with errour and folly. The knowing of very cause and way is goodnesse and vertue. Is
there any thynge to thee more precious than thyselfe? Thou shalt have in thy power that
thou woldest never lese and that in no way may be taken fro thee, and thilke thyng is that
is cause of this knot. And if dethe mowe it nat reve more than an erthly creature, thilke
thynge than abydeth with thyselfe soule. And so our conclusion to make suche a knot
thus getten, abydeth with this thynge and with the soule, as long as they last. A soule
dieth never. Vertu and goodnesse evermore with the soule endureth, and this knot is
perfite blysse. Than this soule in this blysse endlesse shal enduren. Thus shul hertes of
a trewe knot ben eased; thus shul their soules ben pleased; thus perpetually in joye shul
they synge." "In good trouth," quod I, "here is a good beginnyng, yeve us more of this
way." Quod she, "I said to thee nat longe sithen, that resonable lyfe was one of thre
thynges and it was proved to the soule.
"Every soule of reason hath two thynges of steryng lyfe, one in vertue and another in
the bodily workynge. And whan the soule is the maister over the body, than is a man
maister of himselfe. And a man to be a maister over himselfe lyveth in vertue and in
goodnesse. And as reson of vertue techeth, so the soule and the body worching vertue
togider lyven resonable lyfe, whiche clerkes clepen felycité in lyveng. And therin is the
hye way to this knot. These olde philosophers, that hadden no knowing of divine grace
of kyndly reason alone, wenden that of pure nature, withouten any helpe of grace, me
might have yshoned th'other lyvenges. Resonably have I lyved; and for I thynke herafter,
if God wol (and I have space) thilke grace after my leude knowyng declare, I leave it as
at this tyme. But, as I said, he that outforth loketh after the wayes of this knot, connyng
with whiche he shulde knowe the way inforth, slepeth for the tyme. Wherfore, he that
wol this way knowe must leave the lokyng after false wayes outforth, and open the
eyen of his conscience and unclose his herte. Seest nat he that hath trust in the bodily
lyfe is so besy bodily woundes to anoynt, in keping from smert (for al out may they nat
be healed), that of woundes in his true understanding he taketh no hede. The knowing
evenforth slepeth so harde, but anon as in knowing a wake than gynneth the prevy
medicines for healyng of his trewe entent, inwardes lightly healeth conscience if it be
wel handled. Than must nedes these wayes come out of the soule by steryng lyfe of the
body, and els maye no man come to perfyte blysse of this knotte. And thus by this waye
he shal come to the knotte and to the perfyte selynesse that he wende have had in bodily
goodes outforth." "Ye," quod I "shal he have both knot, riches, power, dignité, and
renome in this maner waye?" "Ye," quod she, "that shal I shewe thee. Is he nat riche that
hath suffisaunce, and hath the power that no man may amaistrien? Is nat great dignité to
have worshyp and reverence? And hath he nat glorie of renome whose name per-
petual is duryng, and out of nombre in comparation?" "These be thynges that men
wenen to getten outforth," quod I. "Ye," quod she, "they that loken after a thynge that
nought is, therof, in al ne in partie, longe mowe they gapen after." "That is sothe," quod
"Therfore," quod she, "they that sechen golde in grene trees and wene to gader
precious stones amonge vynes, and layne her nettes in mountayns to fysshe, and thinken
to hunt in depe sees after hart and hynde, and sechen in erth thilke thynges that sur-
mounteth heven — what may I of hem say? but folysshe ignoraunce mysledeth wandring
wretches by uncouth wayes that shulden be forleten, and maketh hem blynde fro the
right pathe of trewe way that shulde ben used. Therfore, in general, errour in mankynde
departeth thilke goodes by mysse sechyng, whiche he shulde have hole and he sought
by reason. Thus goth he begyled of that he sought. In his hode men have blowe a
jape." "Nowe," quod I, "if a man be vertuous and al in vertue lyveth, howe hath he al
these thynges?" "That shal I proven," quod she. "What power hath any man to let
another of lyveng in vertue? For prisonment or any other disese, if he take it paciently,
discomfiteth he nat. The tyrant over his soule no power maye have. Than hath that man
so tourmented suche power, that he nyl be discomfit. Ne overcome may he nat ben,
sithen pacience in his soule overcometh and is nat overcomen. Suche thyng that may
nat be a maistred, he hath nede to nothing, for he hath suffisaunce ynowe to helpe
himselfe. And thilke thyng that thus hath power and suffysance, and no tyrant may it
reve, and hath dignité to sette at nought al thynges, here it is a great dignité that deth
may a maistry. Wherfore, thilke power and suffisaunce so enclosed with dignité by al
reson renome must have. This is thilke riches with suffisance ye shulde loke after: this
is thilke worshipful dignité ye shulde coveyt; this is thilke power of myght, in whiche ye
shulde truste. This is the ilke renome of glorie that endlesse endureth, and al nys but
substaunce in vertuous lyveng." "Certes," quod I, "al this is sothe, and so I se wel that
vertue with ful gripe encloseth al these thynges. Wherfore, in sothe I may saye by my
trouth, vertue of my Margarite brought me first in to your service, to have knyttyng
with that jewel, nat sodayn longynges ne folkes smale wordes, but onely our conversa-
tion togider. And than I seinge th'entent of her trewe menyng with florisshing vertue of
pacience that she used nothynge in yvel to quyte the wicked leasynges that false tonges
ofte in her have layde, I have sey it myselfe, goodly foryevenesse hath spronge out of
her hert. Unité and accorde above al other thinges she desyreth in a good meke maner,
and suffereth many wicked tales.
"Trewly, lady, to you it were a gret worship that suche thynges by due chastysment
were amended." "Ye," quod she, "I have thee excused. Al suche thynges as yet mowe
nat be redressed: thy Margarites vertue I commende wel the more that paciently suche
anoyes suffreth. David kyng was meke and suffred mokel hate and many yvel speches.
No dispite ne shame that his enemys him deden might nat move pacience out of his
herte, but ever in one plyte mercy he used. Werfore God Himselfe toke rewarde to the
thynges and theron suche punysshment let fal. Trewly, by reason it ought be ensample
of drede to al maner peoples myrth. A man vengeable in wrath no governance in
punisshment ought to have. Plato had a cause his servant to scoure, and yet cleped he
his neighbour to performe the doynge; himselfe wolde nat, lest wrath had him a maistred,
and so myght he have layde on to moche. Evermore grounded vertue sheweth th'entent
fro within. And trewly I wotte wel for her goodnesse and vertue thou hast desyred my
service to her plesance wel the more and thyselfe therto fully haste profered." "Good
lady," quod I, "is vertue the hye waye to this knot that long we have yhandled?" "Ye for
soth," quod she, "and without vertue goodly this knot may nat be goten." "Ah, nowe I
se," quod I, "howe vertu in me fayleth, and I as a seer tre without burjonyng or frute
alwaye welke, and so I stonde in dispeyre of this noble knot for vertue in me hath no
maner workynge. A wydewhere aboute have I traveyled." "Peace," quod she, "of thy
first way thy traveyle is in ydel, and as touchynge the seconde way, I se wel thy
meanyng. Thou woldest conclude me if thou coudest bycause I brought thee to service,
and every of my servantes I helpe to come to this blysse, as I sayd here beforne. And
thou saydest thyselfe thou mightest nat be holpen as thou wenyst, bycause that vertue
in thee fayleth. And this blysse perfitly without vertue maye nat be goten, thou wenest
of these wordes contradiction to folowe. Pardé, at the hardest I have no servant but he
be vertuous in dede and thought. I brought thee in my service, yet arte thou nat my
servant. But I say thou might so werche in vertue herafter that than shalt thou be my
servaunt, and as for my servant acompted. For habyte maketh no monke, ne wearynge
of gylte spurres maketh no knyght. Neverthelater in conforte of thyne herte, yet wol I
otherwyse answere." "Certes, lady," quod I tho, "so ye must nedes, or els I had nyghe
caught suche a cordiacle for sorowe, I wotte it wel I shulde it never have recovered.
And therfore nowe I praye to enforme me in this, or els I holde me without recoverye.
I may nat long endure tyl this lesson be lerned and of this myschefe the remedy knowen."
"Nowe," quod she, "be nat wrothe, for there is no man on lyve that maye come to a
precious thyng longe coveyted but he somtyme suffre teneful diseases, and wenyst
thy selfe to ben unlyche to al other? That maye nat ben. And with the more sorowe that
a thynge is getten, the more he hath joye the ilke thyng afterwardes to kepe, as it fareth
by chyldren in schole, that for lernynge arne beaten whan their lesson they foryetten.
Commenly, after a good disciplynyng with a yerde, they kepe right wel doctryne of
Right with these wordes on this lady I threwe up myne eyen to se her countenaunce
and her chere, and she, aperceyvyng this fantasye in myne herte, gan her semblaunt
goodly on me caste and sayde in this wyse.
"It is wel knowe, bothe to reason and experience in doynge every actyve worcheth
on his passyve, and whan they ben togider actyve and passyve ben ycleaped by these
philosophers. If fyre be in place chafynge thynge able to be chafed or hete and thilke
thynges ben sette in suche a distaunce that the one may werche, the other shal suffre.
Thilke Margarite thou desyrest is ful of vertue and able to be actyve in goodnesse. But
every herbe sheweth his vertue outforthe from within. The sonne yeveth lyght that
thynges may be sey. Every fyre heteth thilke thyng that it neighed and it be able to be
hete. Vertue of this Margarite outforth wercheth, and nothynge is more able to suffre
worching or worke catche of the actyfe, but passyfe of the same actyfe, and no passyfe
to vertues of this Margaryte, but thee, in al my donet can I fynde. So that her vertue
muste nedes on thee werche in what place ever thou be, within distaunce of her
worthynesse, as her very passyfe thou arte closed. But vertue may thee nothynge profyte,
but thy desyre be perfourmed and al thy sorowes ceased. Ergo, through werchynge of
her vertue thou shalte easely ben holpen and driven out of al care, and welcome to this
longe by thee desyred." "Lady," quod I, "this is a good lesson in gynnyng of my joye. But
wete ye wel, forsothe, thoughe I suppose she have moche vertue, I wolde my spousayle
were proved, and than maye I lyve out of doute and rejoyce me greatly in thynkyng of
tho vertues so shewed." "I herde thee say," quod she, "at my begynnyng whan I receyved
thee firste for to serve, that thy jewel thilke Margaryte thou desyrest was closed in a
muskle with a blewe shel." "Ye, forsothe," quod I, "so I sayd, and so it is." "Wel," quod
she, "everything kyndly sheweth it selfe: this jewel, closed in a blewe shel, by
excellence of coloures sheweth vertue from within, and so every wight shulde rather
loke to the propre vertue of thynges than to his forayne goodes. If a thyng be engendred
of good mater, comenly and for the more parte, it foloweth, after the congelement,
vertue of the first mater, and it be not corrupt with vyces, to procede with encrease of
good vertues: eke right so it fareth of badde. Trewly, great excellence in vertue of
lynage, for the more parte, discendeth by kynde to the successyon in vertues to folowe.
Wherfore I saye, the colours of every Margarit sheweth from within the fynesse in
vertue. Kyndely heven, whan mery wether is a lofte, apereth in mannes eye of coloure
in blewe, stedfastnesse in peace betokenyng within and without. Margaryte is engendred
by hevenly dewe and sheweth in itselfe by fynenesse of coloure whether the engendrure
were maked on morowe or on eve: thus sayth kynde of this perle. This precious Margaryte
that thou servest sheweth itselfe discended by nobley of vertue from this hevenlych
dewe, norisshed and congeled in mekenesse, that mother is of al vertues, and by werkes
that men sene withouten, the signyfication of the coloures ben shewed, mercy and
pytie in the herte, with peace to al other. And al this is yclosed in a muskle, who so
redily these vertues loken. Al thyng that hath soule is reduced into good by meane
thynges as thus: Into God man is reduced by soules resonable, and so forthe beestes or
bodyes that mowe not moven after place ben reduced into manne by beestes meve that
movyn from place to place. So that thilke bodyes that han felynge soules and move not
from places holden the lowest degree of soulynge thynges in felynge, and suche ben
reduced into man by meanes. So, it foloweth, the muskle, as mother of al vertues, halte
the place of mekenesse, to his lowest degree discendeth downe of heven, and there, by
a maner of virgyne engendrure, arne these Margarytes engendred and afterwarde
congeled. Made not mekenesse so lowe the hye heven to enclose and catche out therof
so noble a dewe, that after congelement a Margaryte, with endelesse vertue and
everlastyng joy, was with ful vessel of grace yeven to every creature that goodly wolde
it receyve?" "Certes," quod I, "these thynges ben right noble. I have er this herde these
same sawes." "Than," quod she, "thou woste wel these thynges ben sothe?" "Ye,
forsothe," quod I, "at the ful." "Nowe," quod she, "that this Margaryte is ful of vertue
it is wel proved, wherfore some grace some mercy amonge other vertues, I wotte ryght
wel, on thee shal discende?" "Ye," quod I, "yet wolde I have better declared vertues in
this Margaryte kyndely to ben grounded." "That shal I shew thee," quod she, "and thou
woldest it lerne?" "Lerne?" quod I, "what nedeth suche wordes? Wete ye nat wel, lady,
yourselfe that al my cure, al my dyligence, and al my might have turned by your counsayle
in plesaunce of that perle? Al my thought and al my studye, with your helpe, desyreth in
worshyppe thilke jewel to encrease al my travayle and al my besynesse in your servyce,
this Margaryte to gladde in somehalve. Me were leaver her honour, her pleasaunce, and
her good chere thorowe me for to be mayntayned and kepte, and I of suche thynge in
her lykynge to be cause, than al the welthe of bodyly goodes ye coude recken. And
wolde never God, but I put myselfe in great jeoperdye of al that I wolde, that is nowe no
more but my lyfe alone, rather than I shulde suffre thylke jewel in any poynte ben
blemisshed as ferre as I may suffre and with my mightes stretche." "Suche thyng,"
quod she, "maye mokel further thy grace, and thee in my servyce avaunce. But nowe,"
quod Love, "wylte thou graunte me thilke Margaryte to ben good?" "O good God,"
quod I, "why tempte ye me and tene with suche maner speche? I wolde graunt that
thoughe I shulde anone dye and by my trouthe fyght in the quarel if any wight wolde
coutreplede. It is so moche the lyghter," quod Love, "to prove our entent."
"Ye," quod I, "but yet wolde I here howe ye wolde prove that she were good by
reasonable skyl, that it mowe not ben denyed. For althoughe I knowe, and so dothe
many other, manyfolde goodnesse and vertue in this Margaryte ben printed, yet some
men there ben that no goodnesse speken. And wherever your wordes ben herde and
your reasons ben shewed, suche yvel spekers, lady, by auctorité of your excellence
shullen be stopped and ashamed. And more, they that han none acquayntaunce in her
persone, yet mowe they knowe her vertues and ben the more enfourmed in what wyse
they mowe sette their hertes whan hem lyste into your servyce any entré make. For
trewly, al this to begynne, I wote wel myselfe that thilke jewel is so precious perle, as a
womanly woman in her kynde, in whome of goodnesse of vertue and also of answerynge
shappe of lymmes and fetures so wel in al poyntes acordyng, nothynge fayleth. I leve
that kynde her made with great studye, for kynde in her person nothyng hath foryet,
and that is wel sene. In every good wyghtes herte she hath grace of commendyng and
of vertuous praysyng. Alas, that ever kynde made her deedly, save onely in that I wot
wel that Nature in fourmynge of her in nothynge hath erred."
"Certes," quod Love, "thou haste wel begonne and I aske thee this questyon: Is not, in
general, every thynge good?" "I not," quod I. "No," quod she, "saw not God every
thynge that He made and werne right good?" "Than is wonder," quod I, "howe yvel
thynges comen a place, sythen that al thynges weren right good." "Thus," quod she, "I
wol declare everyche qualyté and every action and every thyng that hath any maner of
beynge, it is of God, and God it made, of Whom is al goodnesse and al beyng. Of Him
is no badnesse. Badde to be is naught; good to be is somwhat, and therfore good and
beyng is one in understandyng." "Howe may this be?" quod I, "for often han shrewes
me assailed, and mokel badnesse therin have I founden, and so me semeth bad to be
somwhat in kynde." "Thou shalt," quod she, "understande that suche maner badnesse
whiche is used to purifye wronge doers is somwhat, and God it made and beyng hath.
And that is good. Other badnesse no beyng hath utterly. It is in the negatyve of somwhat,
and that is naught and nothyng beyng. The parties essencial of beyng arne sayd in
double wyse, as that it is, and these parties ben founde in every creature. For al thyng,
a this halfe the first beyng, is beyng through partycipacion, takyng partie of beyng, so
that in every creature is difference bytwene beynge and of him through whom it is and
his own beyng. Right as every good is a maner of beyng, so is it good thorowe beyng,
for it is naught other to be. And every thyng though it be good is not of himselfe good,
but it is good by that it is ordynable to the great goodnesse. This dualyte after clerkes
determission is founden in every creature, be it never so syngle of onhed." "Ye," quod
"but there as it is ysayde that God saw everythynge of his makyng, and were right
good, as yourselfe sayd to me not longe tyme sythen, I aske whether every creature is
ysayde good throughe goodnesse unfourmed eyther els fourmed, and afterwarde if it be
accepte utterly good?" "I shal say thee," quod she, "these great passed clerkes han
devyded good into good beyng alone, and that is nothynge but good. For nothynge is
good in that wyse but God. Also in good by partycipacion, and that is ycleped good, for
farre fette and representatyve of goodly goodnesse, and after this manyfolde good is
sayd, that is to saye, good in kynde and good in gendre, and good of grace, and good
of joy. Of good in kynde Austen saythe, `al that ben ben good.' But peraunter thou
woldest wete whether of hemselfe it be good or els of anothers goodnesse, for naturel
goodnesse of every substaunce is nothing els than his substancial beyng, whiche is
ycleaped goodnesse after comparyson that he hath to his first goodnesse, so as it is
inductatife by meanes into the first goodnesse. Boece sheweth this thynge at the ful that
this name `good' is, in general, name in kynde, as it is comparysoned generally to his
principal ende, whiche is God, knotte of al goodnesse. Every creature cryeth `God us
made,' and so they han ful apeted to thilke God by affection suche as to hem longeth.
And in this wyse al thynges ben good of the gret God, whiche is good alone." "This
wonder thyng," quod I, "howe ye have by many reasons proved my first waye to be
errour and misgoyng, and cause of badnesse and feble menynge in the grounde ye
aleged to be roted. Whence is it that suche badnesse hath springes, sythen al thynges
thus in general ben good, and badnesse hath no beyng, as ye have declared? I wene, if
al thynges ben good, I might than with the first way in that good have ended, and so by
goodnesse have comen to blysse in your servyce desyred." "Al thyng," quod she, "is
good by beyng in partycipacion out of the firste goodnesse, whiche goodnesse is
corrupte by badnesse and badde-meanyng maners. God hath in good thynges that they
ben good by beyng, and not in yvel, for there is absence of rightful love. For badnesse
is nothynge but onely yvel wyl of the user and through giftes of the doer wherfore at
the gynnyng of the worlde every thyng by himselfe was good, and in unyversal they
werne right good. An eye or a hande is fayrer and betterer in a body sette in his kyndely
place than from the body discevered. Everythyng in his kyndly place being kyndly
good dothe werche, and out of that place voyded it dissolveth and is defouled himselve.
Our noble God, in glyterande wyse, by armony this worlde ordeyned as in purtreytures
storied with colours medled, in whiche blacke and other derke coloures commenden
the golden and the asured paynture. Every putte in kyndely place, one besyde another,
more for other glytereth: ryght so lytle fayre maketh right fayre more glorious, and
right so of goodnesse and of other thynges in vertue. Wherfore, other badde and not so
good perles as this Margaryte that we han of this matier yeven by the ayre lytel
goodnesse and lytel vertue, ryght mokel goodnesse and vertue in thy Margaryte to ben
proved in shynynge wyse to be founde and shewed. Howe shulde ever goodnesse of
peace have ben knowe but if unpeace somtyme reigne and mokel yvel wrothe? Howe
shulde mercy ben proved and no trespeace were by due justifycacion to be punysshed?
Therfore grace and goodnesse of a wight is founde the sorouful hertes in good meanynge
to endure ben comforted; unyté and acorde bytwene hertes knytte in joye to abyde.
What, wenest thou I rejoyce or els accompte hym amonge my servauntes that pleaseth
Pallas in undoynge of Mercurye, albeit that to Pallas he be knytte by tytle of lawe, not
accordyng to reasonable conscience, and Mercurie in doynge have grace to ben suf-
fered? Or els hym that weneth the moone for fayrenesse of the eve sterre? Lo, otherwhyle
by nyghtes, lyght of the moone greatly comforteth in derke thoughtes and blynde.
Understandyng of love yeveth great gladnesse. Whoso lyste not byleve whan a sothe
tale is shewed adewe and a deblys his name is entred. Wyse folke and worthy in
gentyllesse, bothe of vertue and of lyvynge, yeven ful credence in sothnesse of love
with a good hert, thereas good evydence or experyence in doynge sheweth not the
contrarye. Thus mightest thou have ful prefe in thy Margarytes goodnesse, by
commendement of other jewels badnesse and yvelnesse in doyng. Stoundemele dis-
eases yeveth several houres in joye."
"Nowe by my trouthe," quod I, "this is wel declared that my Margaryte is good, for
sythen other ben good, and she passeth manye other in goodnesse and vertue,
wherthroughe by maner necessarye she muste be good. And goodnesse of this Margaryte
is no thynge els but vertue, wherfore she is vertuous. And if there fayled any vertue in
any syde, there were lacke of vertue. Badde nothynge els is, ne may be, but lacke and
wante of good and goodnesse, and so shulde she have that same lacke, that is to saye,
badde, and that maye not be, for she is good, and that is good, methynketh al good.
And so by consequence, me semeth vertuous and no lacke of vertue to have. But the
sonne is not knowe but he shyne, ne vertuous herbes but they have her kynde werchynge
ne vertue, but it stretche in goodnesse or profyte to another, is no vertue. Than, by al
wayes of reason, sythen mercy and pytie ben moste commended amonge other vertues,
and they myght never ben shewed refresshement of helpe and of comforte, but nowe
at my moste nede and that is the kynde werkynge of these vertues; trewly, I wene I
shal not varye from these helpes.
"Fyre, and if he yeve none heate, for fyre is not demed. The sonne, but he shyne, for
sonne is not accompted. Water, but it wete, the name shal ben chaunged. Vertue but it
werche of goodnesse dothe it fayle, and into his contrarye the name shal ben reversed.
And these ben impossyble, wherfore the contradictorie that is necessarye, nedes muste
"Certes," quod she, "in thy person and out of thy mouthe these wordes lyen wel to
ben said and in thyne understandyng to be leved as in entent of this Margaryte alone.
And here nowe my speche in conclusyon of these wordes.
"In these thinges," quod she, "that me lyst nowe to shewe openly, shal be founde the
mater of thy sicknesse, and what shal ben the medicyn that may be thy sorowes lysse
and comfort, as wel thee as al other that amysse have erred and out of the way walked,
so that any drope of good wyl in amendement ben dwelled in their hertes. Proverbes of
Salomon openly teacheth howe somtyme an innocent walkyd by the way in blyndnesse
of a derke night, whom mette a woman (if it be lefely to saye) as a strumpet arayed
redily purveyed in turnynge of thoughtes with veyne janglynges, and of rest inpacient,
by dissymulacion of my termes, sayeng in this wyse: `Come and be we dronken of our
swete pappes; use we coveytous collynges.' And thus drawen was this innocent as an
oxe to the larder." "Lady," quod I, "to me this is a queynte thynge to understonde. I
praye you, of this parable declare me the entent." "This innocent," quod she, "is a
scholer lernynge of my lore in sechyng of my blysse, in whiche thynge the daye of his
thought turnyng enclyneth into eve, and the sonne, of very lyght faylinge, maketh
derke nyght in his connynge. Thus in derknesse of many doutes he walketh, and for
blyndenesse of understandynge, he ne wote in what waye he is in. Forsothe, suche one
may lightly ben begyled. To whome came love fayned, not clothed of my lyvery, but
unleful lustye habyte, with softe speche and mery, and with fayre honyed wordes
heretykes and misse-menynge people skleren and wymplen their errours. Austen
wytnesseth of an heretyke that, in his first begynnynge, he was a man right experte in
resones and swete in his wordes, and the werkes miscorden. Thus fareth fayned love in
her firste werchynges. Thou knowest these thynges for trewe. Thou haste hem proved
by experience, somtyme in doyng to thyne owne person, in whiche thyng thou hast
founde mater of mokel disease. Was not fayned love redily purveyed, thy wyttes to
catche and tourne thy good thoughtes? Trewly, she hath wounded the conscience of
many with florisshynge of mokel janglyng wordes, and goodworthe thanked I it for no
glose. I am gladde of my prudence thou haste so manly her veyned. To me arte thou
moche holden that in thy kynde course of good meanyng I returne thy mynde. I trowe
ne had I shewed thee thy Margaryte, thou haddest never returned. Of first in good
parfyte joye was ever fayned love impacient, as the water of Syloe whiche evermore
floweth with stylnesse and privy noyse tyl it come nyghe the brinke, and than gynneth
it so out of measure to bolne with novelleries of chaungyng stormes that in course of
every rennyng it is in poynte to spyl al his circuite of bankes. Thus fayned love prively
at the fullest of his flowynge newe stormes debate to arayse. And albeit that Mercurius
often with hole understandynge knowen suche peryllous maters, yet Veneriens so lusty
ben and so leude in their wyttes that in suche thynges right lytel or naught don they fele,
and writen and cryen to their felawes: `here is blysse here is joye,' and thus into one
same errour mokel folke they drawen. `Come,' they sayne and `be we dronken of our
pappes,' that ben fallas and lyeng glose, of whiche mowe they not souke mylke of
helthe, but deedly venym and poyson corrupcion of sorowe. Mylke of fallas is venym
of disceyte: Mylke of lyeng glose is venym of corrupcion. Lo, what thynge cometh out
of these pappes: `Use we coveyted collynges, desyre we and meddle we false wordes
with sote, and sote with false.' Trewly this is the sorynesse of fayned love. Nedes of
these surfettes sicknesse must folowe. Thus, as an oxe to thy langoring deth were thou
drawen. The sote of the smoke hath thee al defased. Ever the deper thou somtyme
wadest, the soner thou it founde. If it had thee kylled, it had be lytel wonder. But on that
other syde, my trewe servaunt not faynen ne disceyve conne. Sothly, their doynge is
open, my foundement endureth, be the burthen never sogreat. Ever in one it lasteth. It
yeveth lyfe and blysful goodnesse in the laste endes, though the gynnynges ben sharpe.
Thus of two contraries, contrarye ben the effectes. And so thylke Margaryte thou
servest shal sene thee, by her servyce out of peryllous trybulacion delyvered, bycause
of her servyce into newe disease fallen, by hope of amendement in the laste ende, with
joye to be gladded. Wherfore, of kynde pure, her mercy with grace of good helpe shal
she graunt, and els I shal her so strayne that with pyté shal she ben amaystred. Remembre
in thyne herte howe horrybly somtyme to thyne Margaryte thou trespasest, and in a
great wyse ayenst her thou forfeytest. Clepe ayen thy mynde, and knowe thyne owne
gyltes. What goodnesse, what bountie with mokel folowyng pyté founde thou in that
tyme? Were thou not goodly accepted into grace? By my pluckynge was she to
foryevenesse enclyned. And after I her styred to drawe thee to house, and yet wendest
thou utterly for ever have ben refused. But wel thou wost sythen that I in suche sharpe
disease might so greatly avayle what thynkest in thy wyt? Howe ferre maye my wytte
stretche? And thou lache not on thy syde, I wol make the knotte: Certes, in thy good
beryng I wol acorde with the psauter. I have founde David in my servyce true, and with
holy oyle of peace and of rest longe by him desyred, utterly he shal be anoynted. Truste
wel to me, and I wol thee not fayle. The leavyng of the first way with good herte of
contynuance that I se in thee grounded, this purpose to parfourme, draweth me by
maner of costrainyng that nedes must I ben thyne helper. Although myrthe a whyle be
taryed, it shal come at suche season that thy thought shal ben joyed. And wolde never
God, sythen thyne herte to my reasones arne assented and openly haste confessed
thyne amysse-goynge and nowe cryest after mercy, but if mercy folowed. Thy blysse
shal ben redy, iwys thou ne wost how sone. Now be a good chylde I rede. The kynde
of vertues in thy Margaryte rehersed by strength of me in thy person shul werche.
Comforte thee in this, for thou mayst not miscary."
And these wordes sayde, she streyght her on length and rested a whyle.
Thus endeth the seconde booke, and here after foloweth the thirde boke.
Go To Thomas Usk, The Testament of Love, Book III