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The Life of Saint Katherine: Book 2


1 Lines 56-60: The Greek word "Cata" means, in English, / "Over all" or "all"; "ryne," in our language, / Means "falling." Together (i.e., "Catherine") they connote that, within her, / All the turmoil of sin and shame / Was vanquished and never approached near her

2 I have professed a completely different lifestyle [than they wish for me]

3 Are about to be dispersed and ruined because of me

4 Say what they want, as they are used to doing

5 Lines 234-35: A clerk there had carefully taught him what to say, down to the least detail

6 Lines 246-47: Lady, you could have thought this over well enough / By now, if you had wanted to

7 Lines 284-85: Even if he still lived, by God, he would be no more / Than one man: without others what could he

8 We think these practices are not suitable to you

9 Lines 394-95: Your lordships (i.e., the titles and properties) were nobly won / Before you could walk, even before you existed, and only later came into your hands

10 I accept your arguments, when they amount to anything

11 Lines 564-65: And I hate / Having to say this; I do so only because of my oath

12 Lines 605-06: I.e., Were you to marry, you would not have so many annoying duties

13 Lines 616-18: If only God would allow that at whatever cost - / Upon my body - things ran as smoothly / Throughout my land as they do in Cyprus

14 Lines 698-700: It would not be to my advantage, / For though it (failure to govern) would vex everyone here, / I know very well that it would affect me most

15 Lines 743-45: But though such bad fortune [in marriage] is often found among the poor, / It is not thus among such great royalty / As those with whom we now wish to promote you

16 Lines 806-07: And in not one of my words do I misrepresent, / With a meaning other than the word should have

17 But nothing has turned out as we expected

18 Lines 855-56: Also, even if we labored to please him, / He would not please us, with you alive

19 Lines 967-68: In past times, on account of the strife and conflict / That reigned everywhere among the people

20 Lines 974-76: Because, when all are equal (peers), / There is no one who will do anything for anyone else: / One person argues for one opinion, another argues for the opposite

21 Do not set your mind on a plan of such great peril

22 As far as I am concerned, the horse is stuck in the mire (i.e., I am at a loss)

23 Lines 1133-34: Every action, truly, has two parts: / Planning the deed, and actually carrying it out

24 Both wisdom when serious and power in obtaining his will

25 Lines 1193-96: No man, unless he is really stupid, / Will do otherwise than agree with me and say / That it is better, when there is no alternative, / To take the one thing (wisdom) / Than to lack both (wisdom and strength)

26 Lines 1241-42: And the very tree that once bore green (unripe fruit) / Now bears red or white fruits of different sorts

27 Lines 1272-73: By common consent, he had composed an argument / Which, if he has any luck, he will present

28 Lines 1319-20: To tell the truth, she was appointed, by patent letter, / To be God's viceroy

29 I will not settle for less than you rated me

30 It is the logical conclusion of your arguments

31 Lines 1410-11: Know how to set right everything [that might go wrong] / Before it completely collapses (goes completely wrong)

32 Lines 1432-33: It is reasonable that his shining face / Should surpass the brightness of her who is his servant

33 May God never send any realm a king who wears a caul (woman's cap)


11 found. MS: foud.

14 Sche knowyth not yet the rode. A crucifixion pun: rode means both way and cross.

24 us. Not in MS.

36 othyr. MS: odyr.

55-66 For thus it menyth . . . and thi love. Capgrave is adapting the etymology of Katherine's name provided in Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda aurea.

250 It is more sykyr a bryd in youre fyste. The first known record of the popular proverb,"A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." See Whiting, Proverbs, B301. The speaker continues with two more proverbs,"The gray hors whyl his gras growyth / May sterve for hunger" (lines 253-54; compare Proverbs, G437) and"The sore may swelle long or the herbe / Is growe or rype" (lines 256-57; compare Proverbs, S504).

260 now. Deleted in MS.

267-71 To se the boweles cut oute of his wombe . . . be foure and be fyve. Reference to the method of executing traitors by hanging, drawing, and quartering.

276 se men flete and also se hem synk. Probable allusion to a judicial ordeal (the"cold-water ordeal"), dating from c. 800, wherein the accused was cast into water; sinking indicated innocence, floating guilt. See Henry Charles Lea, The Ordeal (1866; rpt. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1973), pp. 72-88.

307 And yet of this punchyng oft he knew ryght nowt. In other words, Costus did not personally supervise each and every execution.

of. Repeated in MS.

470 you. Not in MS.

476 I wepe so sore I may no lengere ryme! Here and elsewhere (for example, 3.1251, 4.1666), Capgrave's characters betray an almost Brechtian consciousness that their stories are unfolding in rhyme royal stanzas.

510-23 Nabugodonoser . . . Goddys grace. Daniel's dealings with Nebuchadnezzar are recounted in Daniel 1-4. According to Daniel 6, Darius (not Nebuchadnezzar) threw Daniel to the lions.

510-67 Capgrave is establishing Katherine's propensity towards conversion: her know-ledge of and respect for Scripture (Genesis, Daniel), her desire to know more about Daniel's god, and her purely perfunctory reverence for her own pagan gods (lines 564-67). Katherine's study of Scripture, however, might have made her a problematic example for fifteenth-century lay readers.

580 Ovyde seyde. Capgrave is paraphrasing views in the introduction to the Remedium Amoris.

582 medecyn comyth ovyr late. Proverbial: Whiting, Proverbs, M484.

735-42 Valerye . . . in this forsayd werke. The Dissuasio Valerii ad Ruffinum philo-sophum ne uxorem ducat was a popular misogamous tract written by Walter Map in the late twelfth century.

786 that astate I trede all undyr fote. Capgrave may be alluding to popular representations of Katherine of Alexandria trampling the emperor Maxentius. See Introduction, p. 2.

825 Aristoteles Elenkes. Aristotle's De sophisticis elenchis (On Sophistical Refutations) was a standard textbook for late-medieval students of dialectic. Aristotle dissects the various rhetorical tricks employed by sophists, whom he defines as people who wish to appear wise without actually being so. In so doing he pro-vides a veritable treasure trove of rhetorical fallacies, which Katherine accuses her opponent of using.

883 ye. MS: eye.

909 othir that have abyden long. Capgrave evokes the stories of various lovers (Troilus, for example, or Dido) whose initial resistance to love resulted in a tragic romance.

958-59 mo wyse hedes . . . the bettir is it. Proverbial. See Whiting, Proverbs, H227.

961-93 qwy / That o man above many shall have governing . . . cuntré abowte. The view that kingship results from the voluntary submission of free people to another's authority (pactum subjectionis) is found in the work of various late-medieval political theorists, including Marsilius of Padua (Defensor pacis, especially 1.8-9), Duns Scotus (Ordinatio 4.15.2), and Nicholas of Cusa (Concordantia, especially 2.21-41, 3.4). The idea goes back to Greek and Roman times, for example, Cicero's De officiis (especially 2.21-41) and Aristotle's Politics (especially 3.14). For general discussions of consent theories and related matters, see Jeannine Quillet, "Community, Counsel and Representation," in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought, c. 350-c. 1450, ed. J. H. Burns (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 520-72; and Anthony Black, Political Thought in Europe, 1250-1450 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 136-85.

994 thei. Not in MS.

1106 whil. Rawlinson reads wyll, a careless scribal error. I have emended for sense according to Arundel.

1116 grype ne take. The lord is literally saying that no one can overcome Katherine's arguments, but, since the overall debate concerns Katherine's marriage, we may infer a sexual innuendo.

1124 To Gorgalus tyme. See 1.568 ff. for Capgrave's account of Gorgalus, king of Syria, and his descendants.

1154 as wyse. Repeated in MS.

1159 he. Not in MS.

1167-68 ten or twelve / Schuld geve exaumple rathere than schall oone. John Gower expresses the same opinion in his discussion of government in the Confessio Amantis (Prologue, lines 157-58).

1191-92 syth ye sey that I am now so wys, / Than have I o thing. See line 1148.

1204 in2. Not in MS.

1231 Athenes, of wysdam it beryth the key. Athens was the home of such renowned philosophers as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. In Chaucer's Knight's Tale, when Theseus is said to be"lord and governour" of Athens (I [A] 861), the implication is that he is wise, a man renowned for"his wysdom and his chivalrie"(line 865).

1247 ff. lych a griff am I. The Apostle Paul develops and explores this simile in Romans 11:13-24.

1286 Mynerve. Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom.

1304 Babel. See 1.533-95. Alexandria was founded by the sultan Babel, who named the city Babylon after himself. When Alexander the Great conquered Babylon, he renamed it Alexandria.

1354 The Fyrst Mevere. See Aristotle, Natural Science, Book 8, and Metaphysics, Book 12.

1371 do. Not in MS.

1467 we2. Not in MS.













































































































































































































































































































Loke, whanne ye see the sparkes fayre and bryth
Spryng fro the fyre and upward fast to goo,
Ye may suppose be reson and be ryth
Summe fyre is nye; experiens telleth you soo.
There go no sparkes, neithir to ne fro,
But there as fyre is; this se we ryth at eye.
In this same maner of this same lady I sey:

These holy wordes, these holy dedes eke,
Whech sche spake and used here lyvand,
Alle thoo were tokenys that hir hert gan seke
Hir gostly spouse; sche lefte not tyll sche found
That blyssyd Lord. Sche knowyth not yet His hand
As sche schall aftyr, but sche have tokenys gode,
And all of God. Sche knowyth not yet the rode,

Sche knowyth not Crist, sche hath not herd His lore,
But yet the fyre of charité and of love
Brennyth in hir so that evyr more and more
Hir hert is sette on oon that sytte above.
I trowe that dowe the whech upon Crist dide hove
Whanne He was baptized had mad in hir His nest.
This wote I wele: sche cannot now have rest,

But all hir spech is now to comend
The grete vertu whech we virginité
Amongys us name. Who coude thanne a wende
That on this vertu so dewly thynk wold sche,
For swech exaumples want in that cuntré.
Ther is no man desyryth sche be a mayde -
"Sche mote be weddyd nedys," thus thei sayde.

And as we see, the more is leyde to brenne,
The gretter fyre there is, it is no dowte,
For drawe awey the schydys fro it then,
Sone wyll the fyre be qwenchyd and be owte.
The more this lady vertues is aboute,
The more thei grow; thei have a full gode grownde.
Her cours, thei sey, as sercle it is rownd,

For every vertu folowyth ryth aftyr othyr:
Whanne on is come he callyth ine his felaw;
Thei love togydir as systir or as the brother,
Ech of hem all his besynesse doth to draw
Tyll all be come; ryth swech, lo, is her law.
Begynne ageyn whan thu hast used the last;
Her serculed cours ryth thus lo have thei cast.

Thys made hir hate these fleschly lustys alle,
For in this sercle sche is so farre i-paste
That from that whele sche cast hir not to falle.
Hir hert and thei be teyd so wondyr fast,
Of hem it hath take so swetly the tast,
Thei are mette and mates now and evyr more,
Thei are now bownd togedyr wondyr sore.

It acordeth full weel, me thynk, to hir name
That vicyous lyfe in hir schuld have no place;
These Latyn bokys, I suppose, sey this same.
Hir name, thei seyn, it is so full of grace
That synfull lyfe it can distroy and race,
For thus it menyth, certeyn, it is no nay:
"Cata" in Grew in Englysch is thus to say,

"Ovyr all" or "all"; and "ryne" in oure langage
Sownd "fallyng," as who schuld sey, in hir
Of synne and schame all the sory rage
Destroyd was; it neyhyd hir not nere.1
These holy vertues were to hir so dere,
Thei putte awey of synne all the flok;
Thei are schyt owt and sche speryd the lok.

O noble lady that art now us above,
Suffyr oure tungys, thow thei unworthy be,
To telle thi lyfe, thi langoure, and thi love,
That thu had here in thi devoute secré,
To telle the sorowe eke and that adversité
Whech with thi Lordys thu suffyrd as a clerk.
We wyll now streyte dresse us to that werk.

Chapter 1

Now is not ellys but ryde, go, and ren:
Messagerys are oute on hasty wyse
To calle to parlement alle maner menne,
That thei come alle now in her best gyse.
Clerkis must come, for thei be so wyse,
And lordes, eke, becawse thei be strong.
This gaderyng hardely was not taryd long,

For, as I rede, withinne wekys thre
Thei be come thydir, and that with gret pryde:
The Prince of Capadoce wyth a gret mené;
The Erl of Joppen cam ryth be his syde -
There myght men se who can best sytte and ryde.
The Prince of Paphon is come thedyr allsoo;
The Duke of Damask, with many another moo.

The Duke of Salence, the Duke of Garacen,
Thei were there reall, and eke so was he,
The Erle of Lymason: ful many strong men
Had thei with hem, these reall lordes thre.
The Amerell of Alysaundyr, with solemnité
He hath receyvyd hem; he was a full strong syre.
He is come also, the noble Duke of Tyre.

Last of all thedyr gan aproche
A worthy man, hir owyn ny cosyne,
Thei call him there the Duke of Antioche.
All this matere he schall now determyne,
Thus wene thei alle, for oute of o lyne
Are thei come bothe; he may ryght nowt wante.
His wyll in hir hert ful sone schall he plante.

The day is come now whech assygned was.
The lordes are gadred togedyr all in fere.
The lenghe of the halle fully too hundyrd pace
So was it, certen, in whech thei gadered were,
Syttyng in her cownsell. Thoo men that were there,
Thei mett it hemself, thei seyd it was soo -
Swech howses in this world ar not many moo.

A grete lorde was chose there amongis hem alle
To tell her wylle; spekere thei sey he was -
I wot not veryly what that men him calle.
He went ful esyly forth a ful soft pas
Tyll he was come ryght befor the face
Of this meke lady and than thus he seyd:
"Myn sovereyn lady, ye schull not be dysmayde.

"Ye schall forgeve - and that I pray yow here -
Thow I to yow sey treuth as I must nede.
I am a servaunt, for I hafe take wage and hyre
Of yow, my lady, and that in many stede.
I am chose eke the nedys for to bede
Of all youre reume, of lordys and of othyr.
I except ryght noon, for certenly youre modyr

"As in this case is ryght on of hem:
Sche wyll and thei, that ye, my lady dere -
So wyll my lord the Duke of Tyre, youre hem
(I sey not fals, for he is present here) . . . .
What schuld I lengere hyde now my matere:
Ye must now leve youre stody and youre bokys
And tak youre solace be feldys and be brokys.

"Thynk on youre kyn, thynk on youre hye lyne:
If ye lef thus the elde auncetrye
Schall fayle in yow. There is no dyvyne
Ne phylysophre here wyll sey that I lye,
For I sey thus: onto oure goddys hardylye
It is not plesaunce that ye schuld thus doo;
It pleseth hem bettyr and ye consent ther-too

"And eke youre puple that ye a husbond have,
A real lorde whech may us alle defende.
The goddys frenchep if ye wyll kepe and save,
Onto this purpose ye mote nede condescende -
Youre puple gretly therby schuld ye mende.
Excuseth not that wyll noght be excusede;
There is swech choys, it may not be refusede.

"What lord is that if onys he myght yow see
But he wold have yow? Mech more, dare I sey,
If he knew youre cunnynge, as now do we,
He wold desyre yow in all manere weye -
His crown, his kyngdam, wold he rathere leye
Than he schuld want youre noble wyse presence.
Who se yow onys desyryth not youre absence!

"Therfore, lady, youre servauntis are now here
Besekyng that ye wyll of youre grace
Ope youre eres and lyst to oure prayere.
For this cause only came we to this place
Ryght all in feere. Ye may us graunte solace
Or peyne and sorow, ryght as ye lyst to chese:
Youre answere, lady, schall cause on of these."

Chapter 2

Ful astoyned and all abasched sore
Was this lady whan sche herd him than.
"O noble Godd," thowt sche, "that I now wore
No qwen ne lady, for I ne wote ne can
Voyde the sentens of this ilke wyse man.
My pryvy counsell, whech I hafe bore long,
Now must it owte, and that thynkyth me wrong,

"For if I schewe that I so long hafe bore,
The pryvyest poynt of my perfeccyoun,
Me thynkyth swyrly than that I hafe lore
The hye degré of my devocyoun.
Whan veynglorye comth, vertu is than gon;
Vertu serveth to plese Godd only
And not the puple - ryght thus redd hafe I.

"If I concelle my counsell, than schall I falle
In indignacyon of all my puple here;
If I denye her askyng in this halle
And tell no cause, I put hem more in dwere:
Whech thing I do I fall evyr in dawngere.
Yet wondyr I sore that my hert is sett
On swech a poynte that I cannot lett,

"And yet it is ageyns myne owyn lawe
Whech I am swore to kepe and to defende.
My mynd it faryth ryght as on the wawe
A grete schyppe doth, for whan he best wende
To be escaped, than comth the wawys ende,
He fyllyth the schyppe and forth anon is goo.
Onto this poynt I drede I am browte too.

"I supposed ful welle to leve now at myn ese;
Now must I leeve my stody and my desyre,
My modyr, my kyn, my puple, if I wyll plese.
I mote leeve stody and wasch my boke in myre,
Ryde owte on huntyng, use all new atyre.
Godd, Thu knowyst my pryvy confessyoun:
I have made all anothyr professyoun.2

"If I myght kepe it, I schall yet, and I may
Contynue the same, to Godd I make a vowe.
Schuld I now chaunge my lyffe and myn aray
And trace the wodes abowte undyr the bow?
I loved it nevyr; how schuld I love it now?"
Thus thowt this mayde be hirself alone,
And aftyr softly with syhynge gan sche grone.

Sche spak than lowde - thei myght here at onys:
"Gramercy, lordes," sche seyd, "of youre good wylle!
Ye sey youre feldys and youre wonys
Are in poynt for me to scatyr and spylle3
But if I take a lorde now me untylle
Whech may put all this in governaunce;
Than schuld ye hafe bothe rest and abundaunce.

"I suppose weele that it schulde be soo.
Yet wyll ye graunte, pardé, of curtesye,
That syth this thing muste nedys goo ther-too
That I myselfe in whom all this doth lye
May hafe avysement. I am not schape to flye
Ne to fle neyther. Me thinkyth ye everychon
Have ful gret hast and I haf ryght noon.

"I am but yunge; I may full weel abyde:
Thus schuld ye sey to me if I had hast.
Lete all this matere as for a whyle now slyde
Tyll mo yerys of myn age be past.
Therwhyles wyll I bothe lok and tast
Where I wyll sett me and telle yow myn avyse.
I wold noght men seyd I were hasty or nyce,

"For hasty schall I noght be in this matere.
I sewyre yow here I wyll no husbond take
But if I telle my frendys whech be here,
Lest that I renne in daunger and in wrake.
What schuld I lengere to yow tale now make?
Tyme goth fast - it is full lyght of lope -
And in abydyng, men seyn, there lyghte hope.

"Thus schall we bothe with avysement werk.
Best it is, me thinkyt, that we do soo.
Late the puple for a whyle jangyll and berk,
Spek at her lust, so are thei won to doo.4
The choys is myne; I mote consent ther-too.
Tyme of avysement to have, I pray yow.
Thys is all and sum that I wyll sey as now."

Chapter 3

Than ros a lord, a man of gret stature,
A rych man, eke, thei sey that he was.
His wordes were taut him with ful besy cure
Of a clerke there, the more and eke the lasse.5
His wytte was not sufficient as in this cas
To speke in this matere, ryth thus he thouth.
"Myn owe lady," he seyde, "it is ful dere abowth,

"The absens of youre fader now in this land.
I have lost myselve, and so have othir moo,
A thousand pownd that was thoo in my hand
Whan that he deyed and went us thus froo -
The same have othir men; I am sekyr it is soo.
We are come heder to here now youre entent
In this matere, and ye haske avysement.

"Ye myth a be vysyd lady wele i-now
Long or this tyme if ye had lyste.6
In long abydyng is ful lytyl prowe
All that evyr I mene I wold that ye wyste:
It is more sykyr a bryd in youre fyste
Than to have thre in the sky above
And more profitabyl to youre behove.

"'The gray hors whyl his gras growyth
May sterve for hunger,' thus seyth the proverbe.
Every wyse man as weele as I now knowyth
The sore may swelle long or the herbe
Is growe or rype - a grete clerke of Viterbe
Seyd so sumtyme and wroot it in his boke.
We have ful grete nede to spye and to loke

"That we now may have a kyng to rewle us and yow,
To governe the lawe that it schuld not erre,
To be to traytourys both cruel and row,
To lede the lordys whan thei go to werre:
Fro youre kend this governauns is full ferre!
Youre blod is not so myty for to abyde
To se man be slayn be youre owyn syde,

"To se the boweles cut oute of his wombe
And brent befor him whyll he is on lyve,
To se man served as thei serve a lombe,
Thorowoute his guttys bothe rende and ryve,
To se hem draw oute be foure and be fyve.
Youre pytous hert myght not se this chaunce,
For it wold mak yow to fall in a trauns.

"Therfore it is best to yow, thus we think,
To take a lord that may suffyr all thys -
Whech may se men flete and also se hem synk,
Suffyr hem to smert whan thei do amys,
Whan thei do weell, to hafe reward and blys.
Ryght thus I mene, I mak no lengere tale:
But ye do thus, grettere growyth oure bale."

Chapter 4

Thys lady answerd onto this lord ageyn,
"My faderes absence is more grevous to me
Than to yow alle; this dare I savely seyn.
And thow he levyd, he were no more, pardé,
But o man: withoute men what myght he7
Doo or sey but as o man alone?
What nedyth yow now for to make swech mone

"For losse of o man? Ye coude whyll he was here
Defende youreself thow he with yow not yede.
Youre enemyes alle ye put in full grete dwere;
Than were thei kept full low in full grete drede.
My lord my fadyr whan dyd he you lede?
Not many yerys befor that he went hens.
As ye dyd than, dothe now in his absence.

"Ye chose a capteyn thoo, so may ye now,
To whom obeyd as in that jornay
Every lord, loked he nevyr so row -
Thei durst not onys to him than sey nay!
Goode serys all, of pacyens I yow pray,
Why may ye not do now as ye dyd thanne?
What nedyth yow thus to gruch and to banne?

"Ye sey it is lost all that was sumetyme
Wonne with swerde: I wote as weell as ye
That many a theft and many a gret cryme
Was hyd fro him be craft and sotelté.
And summe were punychyd - he wold it schuld so be -
And yet of this punchyng oft he knew ryght nowt.
May it not now in the same case be wrowte?

"I vouch save ye ryd and eke ye renne
To seke youre enmyes whech do yow this wrong,
Distroye her cuntré, her houses down ye brenne,
The traytours eke be the nek ye hem hong.
What word seyd I evyr, eythere schort or long,
Schuld let your corage? I pray yow tell me now!
Be good to me ryght as I am to yow."

Chapter 5

Than ros a reall, a rych lord ther-with-alle;
Thei called him Clarus, Prince of Capados.
Upon his knees anoon he gan down falle.
"Madame," he seyd, "youre conseytes are full clos.
Youre name is spronge, your cunnyng and youre los,
All these are know; thei may not now be hyd.
And yet ye may neyther doo ne byd

"As may a man. Your fadyr - God hafe his sowle -
As seyd this lord is ded and go us froo.
Whatsoevyr men crye or elles gaule,
We are full lykly to falle in care and woo.
Come now who schall, he is i-pased and goo,
And ye be left for to be oure qween.
It lykyght us weel that it schuld so been,

"But yet the chaunge is wondyrfull, me think:
For a man a woman now we have -
And that a mayde. It may in no wey synk
In oure hertys that ye myght us save.
I schall sey treuthe, thow ye think I rave:
Ye wyll wepe and ye youre fyngyr kytte!
How schuld it than setyll in oure wytte

"Ye myght redresse all that was now spoke?
A kyng is ordeynd ryght to this entent:
To kepe his castelys that thei be not broke,
To kepe his puple that it be not schent.
Now is this werk all othyrwyse i-went:
To kepe all this a woman is not strong enow -
We must enforce us therfore to kep yow.

"And thow ye be the fayrest that beryth lyffe
(For so wene I and so wene many moo)
It wyll become yow full welle to be a wyffe,
Myn owne lady, and ye wold enclyne ther-too
To bryng forthe frute eythere on or too -
It schuld plese us thow that ye had twelve!
It schuld plese your modyr and eke youreselve.

"All youre rychesse, what schall it us avayle
Hyd in youre cophyr and kept now thus clos?
Ye may therwith make plate and mayle.
I dare well sey the lond of Capadoos,
If ye had on whech myght bere up your loos,
Wold pay a raunson with full good entent
So that ye wold onto this thing consent.

"And thow ye be the wysest of this worlde,
Yet have ye not o thing that ye wante:
Therof youreself wyll bere me recorde.
Nature can not - ne wyll not, pardé - plante
Myght and strength in women, for thei it want.
In stede of strength, of nature thei hafe beuté.
Thow ye be fayre and wyse, yet want ye

"Bodyly strength wer-with ye schuld oppresse
Thoo wykkyd dedys whech reygne now ful ryve.
With deth and vengeaunce schuld ye thoo so dresse,
Were it in man, in mayden, or in wyffe.
I tell yow sekyr, this is a kyngys lyffe:
He may not hafe his worchepe all with ese;
Summe of his puple oft he must dysplese.

"Theyse thingis fall not, us thinkyth, to youre persone.8
Wherfore we wyll and ye consent ther-too
Ordeyn a meen: ye schall not lyve alone -
Spouseles I mene - as ye yet evyr hafe doo.
This is oure erand; my tale is fully doo.
Sped this matere, hold us not long suspens,
Than is it weele wared, bothe labour and oure expens."

Chapter 6

"Gramercy, syr," to him than seyd the qween,
"Be the tendyrnesse that ye to me have,
Ye love me weell and that is now i-sene;
Ye love my worchep, my londys wold ye save.
I thank you, syre, I sey not that ye rave,
But wysely spek all that ye have told.
And for this talkyng, I am to yow behold.

"But evyr me thynkyth whan I avyse me weell,
If it so streyt were as ye sey with yow -
Whech dyssese wold lek me nevyr a deell -
For if it were thus as ye pretendyn now
Ye schuld not hafe neyther feld ne plow
In no pes, if it were all as ye sey.
Therfore me thynkyth ye walk no trew wey.

"And as for conquest, seres, care ye ryght nowte.
Youre lordchepys frely wune were to your handys
Or ye coude goo and or that ye were wrowte.9
Ye fawte nevyr yet for townes ne for no landys.
Where ar your prisoneres whech ye led in bandys?
There was no werre syth that I was bore
But on oure borderes, and ye care not therfore,

"For we fynde the sowdyoures that be there.
Ye pay ryght not - ne nowte I coveyte ye doo.
Pluk up youre hertes and be nothing in fere!
Arme yow not but if we send yow too.
Ye dwelle in pees and so do many moo;
Pleyn yow nowte untyll ye fynd grevaunce.
Ye sey also that I wold falle in trauns

"If domys were kepte evene as thei schuld be
And peynes gove to hem that schuld be ded.
I am a woman; therfore, it semyth not me
Ovyr swech bochery for to hold my hed -
Myn hert wold drupe hevy as any led
For very pyté: thus ye gune replye
Ryght for ye wold I schuld be wedded in hye.

"Her-to I answere as ye mote nede sey alle:
A kyng, ye wote weell, hath so gret powere
Ovyr his puple that whom he wyll he schall
To mak hem fre or make hem prysonere;
He may graunt lyffe to hem that be in dwere
And ek in hope for to be hang and drawe.
Thus may he doo; he is above the lawe.

"Than I myselve, rathere than I schuld swonne,
Myght graunt hem lyffe, thow thei not worthy were:
Thus dyd my fadyr full often in this towne -
Loke wel abowte for sume of hem be here
Whech were thus saved, I am nothing in dwere.
I alowe youre motyves whan that thei be owte.10
I merveyle also that ye consydyr nowte

"That for because a kyngys gentyll hert
Hath swech fredam growyng ryght withinne,
Whan he may not se men blede or smert,
Therfor his deputees, the more and ek the mynne,
Schuld punysch thoo schrewys that can not cese ne blynne
Of her evyl dedys. Ilk day ye may this se -
It nedyth not herfore to legge auctorité.

"Swech deputees, sere, hafe we many and fele
That of swech materys nedys mote hem melle.
What man that sle, fyght, robbe, or stele,
Oure offyceres ful sikirly schul him qwelle -
Nay not thei, but the lawe that is so felle,
He sleth this meny; thei ar in this cas
Servauntys to lawe, the more and eke the las.

"All her powere, ye wote weell, of us thei have,
As thei had evyr in my fadyres lyffe.
Let hem deme, lette hem spylle and save:
This longyth to hem - I kepe not of this stryffe.
Be it to man, be it to mayde or wyffe,
That do amys, be hem thei dampned bene.
I schall be to juges bothe kyng and qween."

Chapter 7

The Erle of Jaff was called Syr Ananye.
He stode up than and to this lady sayde,
Agens hir answere he gan ryght thus replye:
"It is full perlyous," he seyd, "to be a mayde
And eke a qween. Ye may be full sone afrayde
If any rysyng or ony scisme were sterde,
For of a kyng men wold be more ferde

"Than thei of yow are, it is no dowte.
The puple erryth: behold ye not how fele
Thorowowte youre londe in every town abowte
Renn as woodemen? Ye may it not consele:
Thei fyght, thei flyght, thei robbe, and thei stele.
All this aray me thynkyth ye sett at nowte;
It faryth as ye of all this thing ne rowte!

"Ye sett more, be Godd that sytt above,
Be on old boke and eke more deynté have
Than be werre or justys, lust or elles love.
Men sey thei schall bryng yow to your grave.
What do your bokys? Pardé thei wyll not save
Neyther man ne best; thei dull a mannys mende,
Apeyre his body, his eyne thei make blynde.

"He that taute you fyrst this scole, I pray
He mote be hangyd - I trow he is worthy:
He hath yow browte and put in sweche aray
That myrth and joye ye late hem slyde forby!
Evyr at bokes ye sytte, knele, and lye.
Alas, madame, who lese ye youre tyme -
I wepe so sore I may no lengere ryme!

"For Goddys lofe and for youre puples sake,
Chaunge now youre lyff and let your bok be stylle.
Loke no lengere upon thoo letteres blake,
For, be my trowth, stody schall yow spylle.
Tend onto myrth; tak a lord you tylle:
Than schal your body be full heyll and qwert,
And mech more ese schull ye haf at hert."

Chapter 8

"Ye wold allgate that I schuld wedded be
Ryght for this skylle: ye sey men drede me nowte;
If any scysme were reysyd in this cuntré
It were not likly be me for to be browt
To ony good end - men sett at me ryth nowt.
Ye schuld drede more a man than ye do me.
And I sey thus: I knowe as wele as ye

"A man alone, be he nevyr so wyse
Ne eke so strong, he may no more, iwys,
But evyn as I may. His puple shal be nyse
And eke evele tetched; the powere is not his
To amend alone all that is amys:
His lordes must help to his governayle
And elles his labour it wil lytyl avayle.

"Help ye on youre syde as I shal on myn!
Loke ye be trew onto my crowne and me,
Lete no treson in youre hertys lyn,
Than schal this lond ful wele demened be.
O noble God, who grete felicité
Shuld be with us if we were in this plyth;
We myth sey than oure levyng were ful ryght.

"Wyl ye now here how puple may make her kyng
To erre sumtyme and sumtyme to do amys?
Ryth be ensaumple shal I prove this thing:
There was a kyng here besyde, iwys,
Fere in the est, that lyved in joy and blys
In Babilony; evene Nabugodonoser he hyth.
His puple made him to do ageyn the ryth,

"For he had with him in maner of a preest,
A ful goode man and of grete abstinense.
Ful pryvy thingis bare he in his breest;
He coude telle all of derth and of pestilence.
O thing there was in whech he dede offence:
He worchiped not swech goddes as we doo.
Danyel he hyth. But among lyones too

"Was he putt, ryth for the puple so wolde.
The kyng durst not wythstand hem in that cas;
He must do soo, thow he wold or nolde.
Ful sore repentaunt aftyrward he was,
For Danyell was saved ryth be Goddys grace.
(Whech God he servyd God, wold I myght Him know,
That noble Godd that made His myght so growe

"In swech lowe puple.) Here may ye see and ken
For puples crying a kyng may oftyn erre.
The woode opynyon of swech fonned men
Makyth a lord oft tyme to do the werre,
To make him mevyd, to sett him oute of herre.
Fy on her cry whan thei no reson hafe!
Ye sey alsoo, for that ye wold me save,

"I must leve book, I must leve stody eke.
My bokes, seres, Godd help, what greve thei yow?
This wordly governaunce were not worth a leke
Ne were these bokes; thei are to mannes prow
Full necessarye, for oure myndys are swech now
It slydyth forby, all that evyr thei know,
And be oure bokes ageyn full fast thei grow.

"How schuld we wete that the fyrst man of alle
Had hyght Adam and eke his wyff Eve
Save that in a booke whech Genesis thei calle?
(I sey it onys wrete and red it on a eve;
Yet is that book not of oure beleve
Receyved as yet; me thinkyth it must nede,
Because he tellyth the begynnyng and the dede

"Of oure olde faderes.) Who schuld eke know
The worthy conquestys of elderys that were here
If bokes teld hem not only be rowe?
We can forgete that we dyd this yere!
Wherfore oure bookes tell to us ful clere
Swech manere thinges as we had forgete.
Youre opynyon, therfore, sere, now must ye lette,

"For Goddys lawe, ne mannys, schuld not be know
Ne were oure bokes, this dare I savely say.
Oure preestes arn fayn to loke hem be row
Ageyn a feest, ageyn an holyday,
Whan thei wyll preche of any swech aray,
Eythere of Jubiter or Neptune, his brothyr.
Leve we than this matere and carp of summe othyr.

"Blame not swech thing that stant in full grete stede!
Curse not my mayster, for than wyll I be wrothe.
It semyth you bettir for to bydde youre bedde
Than to sey swech wordes. (Eke it is ful lothe
To me to sey thus, but only for myn othe11
Whech that I made to meynteyn al maner thing
Whech longe to our goddis and to her offring.)"

Chapter 9

Than spake a lord thei called Ser Hercules,
The Prince of Paphon, of that gret cuntré.
Every man sat stille and held his pees
To here the speche, the tale whech that he
Began to telle, for his auctorité
Was thoo ful gret in special for his age.
His wordes were acordyng to his visage.

Thus he began: "It is bettir, my lady dere,
In swech a caas whan it mote nedis be doo,
To do it at onys than for to lyve in dwere
And for to abyde eythir yer or too.
Take ye no heed? Consyder ye not ther-too,
How Ovyde seyde and wrote it in his booke:
'Whan thing is newe bewar betyme and looke

"'For to amende it, for medecyn comyth ovyr late
Whan that the man his ded and hens i-goo
And with his frendes born oute at the gate'?
Youre londes, lady, if ye take heed ther-too,
Ly fer asunder, for fro this cuntré, loo,
Whech we be inne rith onto Famagost
Is many a myle. How schuld ye with your host

"Ryde sweche a way? And if that ye schuld sayle,
It wold yow fese the salt watter row.
Youre hert wold drede, withoutyn ony fayle;
That I sey now, me thinkyth it for youre prow.
The lond of Cipre that I cam thorow now
Is eke ful ferre. It mote nedes be a man
Whech schal, wil, and eke that may and can,

"Do al this labour both in flesch and gost,
Ryde and seyle, labour to se his lande,
Sumtyme here, sumtyme at Famagost.
Thus shal he governe the lond, the see, the sand.
Than may ye have youre bokes in youre hand
And stody youre fille; it shal not greve us.
Me thinkyth sewyrly that ye shul wil thus:

"Ye shul desyre to be more at youre ese,
To weld youre leysere as ye desyre to have.
There is mech thing that doth you oft displese
Whech shuld not than.12 Therfor, if ye will save
Youre owne astate and thus no lenger wave
Both too and fro, doth be oure counsayle.
In tyme comyng it may yow mech avayle."

Chapter 10

"Gramercy, sere, of youre goode counsayle,"
Thus seyd the qween, "if ye be as ye were,
Youre myth and cunnyng may us mech avayle,
And, as me thinkith, no man schal us dere.
On Paphon or Cipre shal there be no were
Whil that ye lyve - herof I drede ryth nowth!
Now, wold God so, it were ful dere iboute

"Upon my body, in case that it stood soo
Thorow all my lond as it in Cipre stant!13
I mith than stody, than myth I tend ther-to,
And al my wil therof now I want.
Ye shuld plese God if ye wold set and plant
Youre knythly maneres in yong men that be here
To lern hem just, I wolde wele qwite youre hyere.

"Of that gret godd ek whech governeth all batayle -
Mars I mene - whos knyght ye hafe be founde,
Ye schall haf worchep, thow ye hafe non avayle,
To tech hem holde the schaftes that be rounde.
With youre praysyng my tale schuld more abunde
But that we schuld noght preyse men in presence.
Than in youre londe I lak not now the absence

"Of my lorde my fadyr; it is noght gretly aspyed
His deth with yow. I sette cas ferthermore
That if I were, as ye wolde, now newe alyede -
Weddyd I mene - what schuld than youre sore
Therby be esed? That man is not yet bore,
Were he nevyr so wys, manfull, or stronge,
Of hert fell, of body broode and longe,

"That myght at onys be in all these places
Whech ye spak of ryght now in youre tale.
Thow he had plenteuously all the grete graces
Whech kepe a man fro byttyr peynes bale
And save him harmles, as withinne the wale
Of a strong schyppe a man is bore alofte,
Yet myght he noght, rode he nevyr so softe,

"Be in too places at onys. For ryght as a stone
Whan he is layd in his naturall place
May not that tyme be founde but there alone
Where he was leyd, ryght so in this cas
O man may not be in dyverse place
And that at ones, fore be oure phylosophye
It is condempned as for an heresye.

"Therfore, ryght thus we conclude oure clause:
Every body hath his naturall rest
Aftyr his kende or aftyr his pryvy cause
Whech that the goddes ryght evene as hem lest
Have departed. To opyne thus than holde I best:
He that is here, he is here and noowhere ellys.
Example, lo, I mene, whosoevyr that dwelles

"At grete Alysaundyr, he dwelleth not in Famagost.
Than must every man nedys himself remeve
And cary his men thorowowte all the coost,
Ete at noone, rest him eke at eve,
Here and there as his jornay wyll preve.
Ryght so may I, thow I a woman be.
Than in your argument me thynkyth no difficulté."

Chapter 11

The Duk of Damaske was wroth with this answere.
He stoode up tho and thus he gan to sey,
"In my yong age ryght thus dyd I lere:
The pupyll must nedys onto the kyng obeye,
Love him and drede him evyr tyll thei deye,
For thei are bounde full sore thus to do,
And we wyll evyr hertly bowe ther-too.

"So is a kyng swore eke ful depe
To love his pupyll, be thei heye or lowe,
Ryght and trowth amonge hem alle to kepe
So that noo wrong schuld hem ovyrthrowe.
Thus are ye swore, madame; ye it knowe
Bettyr than I what is to breke an othe.
Reson may not, ne schall not, make yow wrothe.

"Youre othe was this, if ye remembyr yow welle,
To ordeyn so for londe, for man and town,
That alle these thingys at every tyme and seele
Schuld be redressed, be it up or down,
For that thei longe alle onto youre crown.
This othe may ye not save non other wey
But if ye wyll onto oure wyll obeye

"For to be weddyd onto summe worthy man.
'Where is no lorde there is no lawe,' men say.
Now, be my trowth, in no wey think I can
That ony woman if there come a fray
Schuld sese us sone, and specyaly a may.
Ye bere us down with youre philosophye,
But at the last ye must bowe hardylye."

Chapter 12

"Sere," seyd the qwene, "ye make now swech a skyll
Ryght in your tale whech ye enforsed now
That I wold thus, and that it were my wylle,
That ye no governauns had. And I sewyre yow
I thowte it nevyre; it were not to my prow,
For thow I schuld noye alle oure oost,
Thys wote I well, it schuld touche me moste.14

"I kepe and schall myn othe whech I made -
Tyll that I deye I schall it nevyr breke.
Ye may wel carpe and in your langage wade,
New wordes reherse and new resones speke
Whech were rehersyd and have her answers eke.
Me lyst not for to remembre swech thyng ageyn,
But thus mech, sere, to yow dare I seyn:

"As for my fadyr, he left yow in rest and pes
And in noo debate, ne lykely for to be.
If there ryse ony, ye may youreself it ses
And but ye do ye be ontrewe to me,
Not to me oonly but to the magesté
Of my crown and gylty for to deye.
Avyse yow bettyr whan that ye lyst to seye."

Chapter 13

A gret clerk thoo stod up be himselve
That was ful scharp in wytte as I wene.
In this matere he thowte thoo for to delve
A lytyll deppere; therfor unto the qwene
Thus he spake: "These lordes all bedene,
Thei can not, lady, aspye as yet youre art,
Who pregnantly ye can kepe youre part.

"Ye arn lerned and so be thei nowte;
It is less wondyr thow thei concluded be.
But evyr wondyr I gretly in my thowte,
Ye sett no more be that hye degré -
Grettest of all, I mene the regalté.
Who schuld preys it but ye? I supposyd,
Aftyr the name with whech ye are losed,

"That ye wold enhaunse this ilk degré
Most of all women. What eylyth now your wytte?
I am in poynt to leve it is noght ye.
This matere, lady, onto myn hert it sytte
So sore, iwys, me thynkyth it will it kytte.
Ye drynk so sore, I trowe, of poetrye
And most in specyale of him, Valerye,

"Whech wold, it semyth, that no man wedded schulde be:
He counseled so to on Ruffyn, ye know it welle.
'Ya ovyrwelle, what nede is for me
For to rehers the sorow, the langoure everydelle,
Whech that longyth unto that fykil whelle
Of spousalye,' as wrytyth this hold clerke,
Valerye, the moost in this forsayd werke.

"But thow in the pore be often swech myschauns,
It is not thus in swech grete magesté
With whech we wolde yow, lady, now avauns.15
And evyr contrarye onto oure wylle are ye.
Thynk ye not what ye seyd wole late, pardé?
Ye spake not long sythe and seyd ryght even thus:
Ye wold, ye seyd, have on to governe us.

"What schuld he be but he were a kyng?
There may no man governe this grete reem
But swech a man that is able in all thing
To wedd you, and for my lord your em
May not wed you, neyther in whech ne drem,
Therfore he may not here as in this place
Bere noo crown, for it stant in your grace

"Who schall it bere; it longeth onto your ryght.
Syth ye have graunted than that we schall have
A governoure to sett us in good plyth,
Than have ye graunted all that evyr we crave;
And fro this purpos efte ye turn and wave
And sey ye wyll no husbonde have as yitte.
Beholdeth now wysely if so be that your wytte

"Be stedefastly i-sett evyr upon o poynt.
Me thynkyth nay, ye changen too and froo:
Now wyll ye, now are ye in another joynte,
And than wyll ye not. Who schuld we come ther-too
To know youre purpos whan ye vary soo?
Let us know pleynly, lady, what ye mene!
We be youre men; thinkyth ye be oure qwene."

Chapter 14

"Sere," seyd the qwene, "ye be lordes fele
And wyse also. What nedyth yow thus to care
Whan ye be yung, lusty, and in good hele?
Eke your countres beth as now not bare
Neyther of corn, of men, ne of welfare.
But to yow, syr, I wondir mych more than ye,
For ye sey in this matere ye hafe merveyle of me;

"And where ye sey that I wold now disseyve
With my termes, my lordes, whech I love,
I pray yow hertly that ye wyll noght conceyve
Of me swech thing. For truly, it wold not prove.
Swech japes to make were not to behove,
Neythyr to me ne to non other wyght.
To be a dysseyvoure, it is a grett despyte.

"Ye sayd eftsone that I dyspyse a kyng,
Eke that astate I trede all undyr fote.
Thow I be not enclyned to your askyng
As for to be weddyd whan I schall, Godd wote,
Yet am I come bothe of that stok and rote -
I may not hyde it for it is know so wyde -
Bothe on my faderes and on my moderes syde.

"Schuld I than dyspyse that hye degré
Whech that is ordeynd be Goddys providens,
Whech is eke come be descense to me?
Godd forbede in me that gret offens,
Or that I were founde in swech neclygens.
I wote full weele a kyng is all above,
Ovyr his ligys, bothe in fere and love,

"And thei be to him, as it were, botraces
To schove and holde fast and stedefastly,
To meyten ryght ageyn all wrong traces.
A kyngis myght full small is, hardyly,
Withoute swech help, ye wote as weel as I.
But that ye lyst to seye as for youre part,
Than semeth it, sere, that I use treuly myn art

"And not pretende in no manere terme
Non othyr sentens than the terme schuld have16
But use my langage stabyly and ferme.
Myn entent is swech, so Godd me save,
And evyr schall be, I trow, nevyr to wave
Fro that purpos whylys that I am here.
This is my mynde, if ye wyll it here.

"Ye list also me efte to reprove
For I graunted yow to have a governoure;
Therfore ye sey fully I gave you leve
To have a kyng, lord of town and toure.
Lett be youre sophym! Your termes are but soure,
For thow ye bryng forth alle your hool bunch
Ye schall not mak an elne of a unch.

"I sett cas a man hath gove to you a best:
It folowyth not ther-of that he gave yow an ox
He may as weell paye the more as the lest,
He may chese to geve yow a hors or a fox.
Your termes come owte of that sotyll box
Of Aristoteles Elenkes, made in swych wyse
Who so that lerneth hem, he schall seme wyse.

"So graunted I to yow to have youre choys fre,
To chese a duke whech that schuld lede yow,
Not for to have no governauns upon me,
But to my byddyng he must lowte and bowe.
All this entent yet eft I new alowe:
Thus schull ye have your wylle and I schall have myne,
For of myn answere, sere, here is the fyne."

Chapter 15

"Madame," quod the Erle thoo of Lymasones,
"Alle these lordes that now here sitte
Wondyr full sore of your grete resones.
Thei wayle, eke, that ye have swech a wytte.
Youre wordes are scharpe - thei can bynde and kytte -
But had ye ben as other women are
Than schuld ye a ferde as other women fare.

"Youre scole wyll schath us, iwys, we skape it nowte.
We hoped of you to have had summe grete empryse,
But all is turned nothing as we thowte.17
In many materes men may be ovyre wyse.
Youre conceytes, madame, set hem in summe syse.
For love of Godd, whech is oure governoure,
Accepte oure wyttes and leve sumewhat of youre.

"We may weel doo rith as ye sayn,
Chese us now a ledere, if that we list,
Whech schall be to us in manere of a chevetayn.
But in this lond it was yet nevyr wyst;
He myght be swech, paraventure, that he schuld fro your fyst
Drawe mech of youre lande evyn unto him.
Avyse yow ryght weele; this matere is full dym.

"Eke thow we peyned us alle him to plese,
He schuld noght lyke us, certeyn, lyvyng yow;18
Oure hertes schuld not have no rest ne no ese
But he were lorde, ryght as ye be lady now.
It is full harde ageyn wylle to bowe.
He cowde not be chose eke among ony of us,
And hard it is to leve in langoure thus."

Chapter 16

Than answeryd schortely that fayre, swete may:
"Sere erl," sche sayde, "ye may full wele tryst
There is but o poynt to whech I sey nay,
And my cawse is this: I have yet no list
That ony man my maydynhod schuld twyst
But if I knew bettir what that he were.
Thus say I now and thus sayde I ere:

"I wyll abyde tyll bettir tyme may come,
A yere or two tyll that I elder be,
For to wedde yet me thynk it full sone,
And to youre governawns thus I demene me.
If ye lyst not to have on, I graunt you two or thre
Whych men may governe withowtyn envye.
I profyr yow reson whatsoevyr ye crye."

Chapter 17

Than spak the Amyrell of gret Alisaundre.
Thus he gan sey, ryght in this manere:
"Youre wordis to your wysdam are but slaundre,
Thus thynk your frendis all that sytte here.
Loke that ye throw not now all in the mere,
Loke that ye lese not now your gret namyd lose
Whan that ye may so heyly it endoos.

"How honour ye youre owne grete astate!
Why hate ye now that ilk lady must have?
Wherfore have ye swech thing in hate
That may youre londes and eke yourself save?
If ye were not my lady, I wold wene ye rave,
For yf all these conceytes had come of wyt
Mo folk than ye wold have usyd it!

"Men seyn, madame, that he maddyth more
That doth lich no man, and is more oute of herre
Than is a foole that can not se before,
Ne can not knowe the best fro the werre.
Be ye ware betyme that ye no lengere erre.
Schape not youreself ne youre lond to schend;
Thynk now betyme what shal be the ende!

"Ye wote that I am keper of this grete cité,
And in this same cité, as now standyth it soo,
There is many a man and many dyverse degré,
Both Cristen and hethen frely com ther-too.
I woote not sumtyme what is best to doo.
I dwelle here soo in swech maner drede,
I knowe not my frend whan I have nede.

"I se also here anothir grete myscheffe
In you, madame, and ye lyst to here:
Ye be to every man both deynty and leffe,
And ye no man cownt not at a pere.
It wyll not prove, swech solen daungere.
Thinke on othir that have abyden long,
And at the last thei have walkyd wrong."

Chapter 18

"And dede thei so," seyd this noble qwene,
"So shal I not wyth grace of God above.
My wyttes, I telle you, nothing besy been
In swech matere, neythir to lust ne to love.
Fy on tho hertes that evyr on swech thing hove!
Dred yow not of me in this matere:
Beth not aferd tyl ye more thing here.

"And as for youre puple that amonges you dwelle,
Have ye not powere and ful auctoryté
To put out hem whech beth of hert so felle,
Or hem that use falshed or sotylté
Be whech oure rewme happyly harmed myth be?
Syth that ye may, why do ye not youre dede?
Thei that lett yow are worthy to be dede!

"Ye are a man large and grete of bones:
Yf youre hert be as youre grete body is,
Ye ar ful lyckly to do more note at onys
Than othir thre men. A schame for soth it is
That swech a man schuld fere ony of his
Whan that he may correct hem himselve -
I wold wene ye alone shuld oppresse twelve!"

Chapter 19

An othir duke gan than to approche.
Ser Clamadoure thei calle his ryth name,
A worthi man and Duke of Antioche,
The qwenes cosyn, a lord of ful grete fame.
"Thei that lerned you ar ful mech to blame,
As in my conceyt," thus seyd he to the qwene,
"For of swech wytt and of swech cunnyng ye been,

"It passith oure wittis; there is no more to say.
Lych to an egle ye flye us all above,
Yete in as mech as ye be yet a may
And eke a qwene, it fallyth to youre behove
To fostre hem whech you drede and love.
Despise hem nowt thow that thei be dulle -
Nout lich to you, for ye be in the fulle,

"As I suppose. I pray God, as for me,
Grow ye no hiere - youre wyt is hye inow.
Than thow oure wytt be not in swech degré,
Yet oure good wyll must ye nedes alow -
What shal men ellys wryte and sey of yow,
That ye dysdeyne the pore creature
And hauns youre witt out of all mesure.

"What thing letteth yow that ye wil not us leve?
And be we youre men and youre servauntis alle,
Youre counsayl, lady, whech shal yow not greve,
Ye shuld tel us, for it may so falle
That the bettir end that mater schale
Be browt to, for the mo wyse hedes there be
In ony matere, the bettir is it, as thinkyth mee."

Chapter 20

"Cosyn," sche seyd, "ye preyse sore a kyng,
But I wold wete of you the cause qwy
That o man above many shall have governing,
To byd and comaund, send both fer and nye.
What is the cause that he hath swech maystry
Ovyr all men and no man hath ovyr him -
He his lord of lond, of body, and of lym?

"In elde tyme, for stryff and for debate
Amongys the puple that reygned to and froo,19
And for to staunch bothe envye and hate,
For to have reule, thei were compellyd ther-too
To chese a leedere hem for to governe thoo.
This was the cause why thei chose a kyng:
Thei schuld ellys a streve for many a thyng,

"For whan there is not ellys but pere and pere,
There is non as than wyll do for othyr:
On seyth here, another seyth it schall be there.20
This stryffe, it fallyth betwyx brother and brother;
Ageyn the son sumtyme stryvyth the modyr.
Than were thei chose ryght for this entent:
To bryng in reule thing that was wrong went.

"Summe were chose for wysdam and for wytt,
Summe for strenght, summe for humanyté.
That I sey treuth, cronycles wytness it.
So than a kyng as in auctorité
Excellyth his puple, for there be as wyse as he
Oft tyme seyn ryth withinne his londe.
Than may ye se that all this servyle bonde

"Came oute of fredam; the puple was sumetyme fre
And had noo lord, but ych man reuled himselfe.
Thus cam thei than oute of her liberté:
Be her fre choys, ten of hem or twelve
Were draw awey; thei schuld no lengere delve
Ne do no laboure but reule the cuntré abowte;
And to her heed hemself yet must thei lowte.

"But for ye wyll allgate know myn hert,
What that I thynk, I tell you platt and pleyn:
There schall nevyr man, be he nevyr so smert
Ne eke so strong, wynne me - that is to seyn,
Have me to spowse - I wyll no lengere feyn,
But if he be so strong himself alone
That he be able to fyght with all his fone.

"Thys is the ende and this my wyll now is;
Let us no more as in this matere speke.
So God my soule bryng onto his blys,
This covenaund made ne schall I nevyr breke.
Ye may well carp, stryve, clatyr, and creke;
Whan all is doo, this schall be the ende.
Your wordys therfore lett hem falle fro mende."

Chapter 21

Than was there woo and waylyng eke enowe.
Thei morned alle and made mekyl mone
Whan that thei sey where-to the matere drowe.
Carefull wytys were thei than ilkone.
The qween hir modyr gan to syghe and grone.
Sche seyd, "Doghtyr, this is noght your avayle;
Put not your purpos in swych grete perayle.21

"Your dotyng dayes, I trow, now be come!
What wold ye hafe? Wote ye what ye say?
Thorowoute this worlde, in Grece ne in Rome,
Is no swych man that this thyng do may,
Schuld kepe a londe of so gret aray,
And he alone. What wene ye for to hafe?
It is impossible that ye desyre and crafe!

"Avyse yow bettyr and take another day
Tyll that your wytte is chaunged and your thowte.
Is your wysdam now turned to swech aray
For to desyre swych thing as is nowte?
Cursyd be thei that yow here-to browte
Onto this errour, to do as no man dothe,
That every poynt thei varye fro the sothe."

Chapter 22

"Madame," sche seyd, "this thing whech I schall doo,
I not who sett it in myn hert, treuly:
It is so fast I may not fle ther-froo;
It clevyth so sore it wyll not slyde forby;
Wheythyr I goo, sytte, knele, or elles ly,
For noo counseyll I may it not forsake,
Ne for noo crafte awey I can it schake."

Chapter 23

Than wept the qween and was in care and woo,
And to the lordes sche sayd, "All is i-lorn!
What schall we say? What schall we speke or doo?
I wayle the tyme that evyr sche was born:
Hir hert is harde and tow as is the thorn;
Hir wytte is sett so hye I wot not where.
There is no man that may hir here answere!

"What sey ye cosyn, lord and duk of Tyre?
What comyth herof? Can ye owte ferther say?
For as wyth me, dunne is in the myre.22
Sche hath me stoyned and browte me to abay:
Sche wyll not wedde; sche wyll be styll a may.
It schall cause my deth but mech sonere, loo,
Because I leve thus in swech care and woo!"

Chapter 24

Than roos this lord, em to the qween,
Gaufron he hyght. He was hir omagere
And Duke of Tyre. Mech thing had he seen;
He had passed, eke, many a grete daungere.
He was the next of hir kynrod there;
He myght more boldly sey all his entent.
"Madame," he seyd, "a thing that was nevyr ment,

"What ayles yow that ye desyre so sore
(And ye so yung and wys woman alsoo)
A thing that lawe forbedyth evyrmore?
(Nature eke wyll geve no leve ther-too!)
This ye desyre, ye wyll not twynn ther-froo.
What is youre wyll - I wolde wyte what ye mene -
Wyll ye youre bodye fro alle men kepe clene?

"What boote was it to us that ye were born
If that ye wyll not do ryght as thei dede -
I mene youre fadyr and modyr yow beforn?
Ye had not come ne sote now in this stede
Had not your modyr with mech care and drede
Browt yow forth and to this lyght yow bore.
Folow ye the steppys of hem that went before!

"Ye do wrong ellys onto tho chyldryn alle
Whech ye are lykly to bryng forthe and bere.
What desese and what myschefe may falle
But if ye do thus I trow youreself wot nere:
To put all this thyng oute of drede and fere
And that this synne in yow schuld not be sene,
A kynges doghtyr to dey bothe mayd and qween,

"I counsell yow thus and ye receyve it wold,
To fle this chauns of feyned chastité,
Hewe not so hye but if ye may it holde,
Desyre no thyng that may not goten be.
Lerneth this lessoun if that ye lyst of me:
Sche is not born, me thynkyth, that myght wynne
To grype a degré so grete as ye begynne."

Chapter 25

"Uncle," sche seyd, "and that were me full lothe
To clyme so hye that I myght not come down,
For, as I wene, that matere wold greve us bothe
And lese oure londe be cyté and eke be town,
It were destruccyoun eke to oure crown,
God He lede us that we come not there
To ley oure worchep so lowe undyr brere.

"But for ye say to me it schuld be joye
To hafe a lord schuld governe both yow and me,
I sey yow nay, it schulde be but a noye
Onto myn hert. For if it were so that he
Were lovyng and gentyll and all his hert on me
That he lovyd me and I him best of alle,
What sorow hope ye onto myn hert schuld falle

"If that he deyd or ellys were slayn in felde
And I forgo that thing that I loved best?
It myght fall also, thow it hap but selde,
That this love betwyx us too myth brest
And part asundyr; this were a full hard rest
Onto oure hert! Therfore to put alle oute of dowte:
I wyll not entere whil I may kepe me owte.

"What, counsell ye me swech game to begynne
Whech is not stedfast in lowe ne in astate?
In all her gladeness, sorow is evyr withinne,
And with her plesaunce eft medeleth debate.
Therfore that lyfe I despyce and hate
That hath noo sewyrté but evyr is variable;
I wold hafe lyffe and love that evyr is stable."

Chapter 26

"O mercy Godd," seyd the gret Baldake,
He was thoo lord and prince of Palestyne,
"There may no man my lady grype ne take;
Hir craft is swech we may hir not enclyne.
There is no philosophyre ne ek noo divine
Whech sche dredyth - hir termys be so wyse.
Whatevyr we say, sche gevyth of it no pryce.

"I sey yow, madame, as it is seyd before,
We want a leedere, if we owte schuld doo.
Bethynk yourself: fro tyme that ye were bore
To Gorgalus tyme thre hundred yere and moo
It is, certeyn, and yet stod it nevyr soo
As it stant now, madame, in no lond of youre.
Of thing that ye rejoye we schall hafe langoure!"

Chapter 27

"What wold ye hafe," seyd this noble qween,
"Have ye not gove to me bothe crown and londe?
I am your lady; my subjectis all ye been:
I wot full wele what longyth to the bonde
Of regalté whech I hold in myn honde.
For every werk, sothely, it stant in too:
In good councell and eke in werkyng alsoo.23

"The wytt and councell, syre, that schall be oure -
We schall telle how we wyll hafe it wrowte -
And all the labour and werke, that schall be youre.
Youre grete lordchype ye schul nogt have for nowte:
The lond of Palestyne, it was nevyr to yow boute;
It was gove youre elderes yow before
To serve my crown and ther-to be ye swore."

Chapter 28

Than spake anothyr, lord of Nychopolye;
He seyd wordys whech sempt full wyse.
His name was called thoo Syre Eugeny.
To the qween he spake than ryght on this wyse:
"The estate of regalté is of swych a pryce
Ther may no man sothly to it atteyne
But if he hath both powere and wytte, certeyne.

"Therfor, sey I yett that we nedys muste
Be rewled be on whech that hath these too,
Bothe wytt in sadnesse and powere eke in lust,24
And elles oure reule sone wyll breke in two.
As other londys are reuled, let us be reulyd soo;
Let us suppose thei be as wyse as we,
For thus he wrytyth, the astronomere Tholomé,

"'Who-so wyll not doo as his neyboure werk
Ne wyll not be ware be hem whan thei do amys,
Of him schul other men bothe carp and berke
And sey, "Beholde this man, lo, he it is,
Wheythyr he do weel or wheyther he do amys,
He wyll none exaumple of other men i-take;
Exaumple to othyr mene he schall be for that sake.

"'"All othir mene schul be ware be him,
For thei schul se and fele in hemselve
That his werkys were bothe derk and dyme."'
Therfore, madame, what schuld I lengere delve
In this matere? Me thynkyth ten or twelve
Schuld geve exaumple rathere than schall oone.
Ye have my mocyoun, for my tale is doone."

Chapter 29

The qween full sadly answerd to this lord:
"I wold wyte," sche seyd, "of yow whyll ye be here
And alle, I trowe, togyder mote acorde,
If that I dede this tyme at youre prayere,
To leve my wyll and put me in daungere,
I sett cas the man whech that I schall chese
To be youre lord, that he have non of these -

"That is to sey neythyr wytte ne strength.
What sey ye now? Who schall reule yow than
Youre londys that ly so fer in brede and length?
The febyll may nott, the fool eke ne can
Demene swych thing; than wyll ye curs and bane
That evyr were ye subjectys to swech a foole
And to youre hert it wolde be full grete dole.

"Ye schuld be fayn, than, for to reule him,
To councell and rede that he do not amys.
This were noo worchepe to me ne to my kyn!
And sekyrly a full grete cause it is
That I wedde nowte, for owte of joye and blis
Schuld I than passe and make myselve a thralle;
Held me excused, for sykyrly I ne schalle!

"For syth ye sey that I am now so wys,
Than have I o thing whech longeth to regalté.
There is no man but if he be ovyr nys
But if he wyll sey and held with me
That it is bettyr whan it non other wyll be
To chese the on than for to want bothe.25
Chese ye now; we be no lengere wrothe."

Chapter 30

Yet gan to knele eft befor the qween,
Bothe maystir and Duke of Athenes, that cyté;
Mayster he was in scole and long had been,
And duke i-chose be the puple thoo was he,
For her choys there as than was fre,
To have what man whech hem liked to heed.
Thus in his tale began he in that steed:

"We supposyd, lady, evyr onto this tyme,
That ye had come of that gentyll bloode
Of your modyr descendyd down be lyne,
And of your fadyr that was ful gentyll and good,
But oure opynyoun is chaunged and oure moode,
For as it semyth ye are nothing of kyne,
And if ye were, ye coude not cese ne blyne

"To folow the steppes of your elderys before,
As grayn reall growyn oute of her grounde,
For nature wolde, thow ye the revers had swore,
That ye were lych hem, certeyn, in every stownde.
And in oure philosophye, I hope, thus it is founde
That naturaly the braunch oute of the rote
Schall tak his savour, be it soure or swote.

"Ferthermore, yet sey oure bokys thus:
That every lych his lych he schall desyre.
Be all these menes, it semeth than to us,
Eyther ye cam nevyr duly to this empyre,
Or ellys your hert dyspysyth joye as myre!
I can no more - I speke oncurteslye.
I may not chese, I am so vexed trulye."

Chapter 31

Onto the duk thus answerd thoo the qween:
"Ye make a resoun of ful gret apparens;
Ye schew full wele where that ye hafe been,
In the grete nest of bysy dylygens,
Where stody and wytt is in experiens -
I mene Athenes, of wysdam it beryth the key;
Who will oute lerne, lat him take thedyr the wey.

"But nevyrthelasse, thow that ye be endewyd
With wordly wysdam and can all thing pleynly
So that ye may with no sophym be pursewyd,
Yet to your motyff answere thus may I
And voyd youre resoun well and pregnantly,
If ye wyll here and take entent to me,
For if men take heed, oft tyme thei may se

"Owte of a tre growyng dyverse frute,
And that same tre that sumetyme bare the grene,
Now bereth he reed or whyte of dyverse sute.26
Be this example pleynly thus I mene:
My modyr is and so am I a qween,
In this we acord, and that I am a may,
In that we dyverse, I can not ther-to sey nay.

"It semeth me that lych a griff am I,
I-planted be God upon an elde stoke
Of anothir kynde, anothyr savour hardyly,
And evene as be miracle the elde blok
Whech is clovyn in foure with many a knok
Schall rathere folow the gryff than the gryff him,
So faryth it be me and be my eldere kyn:

"Thei schul rathere consent to leve all sole,
As I do now, than schall I folow hem,
For certeynly I kepe not of that scole
Where that her joye is but lych a drem.
Farwell fadyr, farwell modyr, and eem:
Whan that her counsell is not profitable,
I take swych lyffe, I hope, is ferm and stabyll."

Chapter 32

Whan thei had sayd all that evyr thei coude,
Thei went asundir and parted for a space,
Comound her wyttys styll and nothing lowde,
Evyr hopyng and lokyng aftyr grace
Of this same mayde, if thei it myght purchase.
And at a day sette, thei cam togedyr ageyn
To have an answere of hir, plat and pleyn.

Thei chose a clerke to telle hir alders tale,
Whech was full wys and of full grete cunnyng.
For very stody his vysage was full pale;
Alle his delyte and joye was in lernyng.
Be alle her consent, he had enformyd a thyng
Whech he wyll uttyr if he may owte spede,27
And all is lost but sche ther-to take hede.

"Foure thinges," he seyde, "madame, be in yow,
Whech schuld excite yow wedded for to be.
If ye comaunde, I wyll declare hem nowe:
The fyrst of hem is that grete dygnyté
Of your bloode ryall; I trow that there non be
In all this world whech is so hye alyed.
The secunde also may be sone aspyed,

"For it is open to every mannes eye,
I mene your beuté, God mote it preserve.
There lyvyth no man that evyr fayrere syye -
Evyr lest it tyll tyme that ye sterve!
That blessed lady whech we clepe Mynerve,
Sche hath gove yow the thryd that I of sayde,
Whech is cunnyng-it is so on yow layde

"It may not fall fro yow be no weye.
And eke the fourt is the gret rychesse
Whech that ye welde - I can not tell ne seye,
For, as I suppose, no man may hem gesse.
Suffyr me, lady, my resones to expresse
So that thei may be onto yow plesaunce,
And eke your puple, I hope, it schuld avaunce.

"The fyrst of alle, as I seyd before,
Is youre bloode, your reall stok and lyne
Owte of whech ye were begote and bore.
This schuld your hert bothe drawe and enclyne
For to spede oure purpos well and fyne.
Wote ye nott welle of what lordes ye came?
Kyng Alysaundyr that all this worlde wan

"Was of your kyn, and so was that noble kyng
Whech made this cyté, Babel, I mene, be name.
Eke many another that here in her lyvyng
Were enhaunshed hyely with gret fame.
Take heed herto, for Goddys sake, madame:
Syth thei weddyd were and ech on had a make,
Doth ye the same for youre kynrod sake!

"On the other syde, of your bryth beuté,
Thus dare I say and I dare stand therby:
There is no man that evyr with eye yet see
Swech anothyr as ye be hardyly.
I flatyr not; I am non of thoo, sewyrly -
It is not presyd in noo book that I rede.
Than sey I thus, that Nature, withoute drede,

"Whan sche wyll peynt, there can no man do bettyr,
For sche schapyth parfytely all that evyr sche dothe;
Sche is undyr Godd made be patent lettyr
His vycere generall, if I schall sey sothe,28
To geve mankynd bothe nase, eye, and tothe,
Of what schape that hir lykyth to geve,
And of hir werk, no man hir to repreve.

"Sche hath gove, lady, ryght onto your persone
Youre bryght colour and fayre schap eke withalle
To this entent: ye schuld not leve alone
But with charyté departe this gyfte ye schall;
But ye do thus, ye may sone have a fall,
For sche may take thing that sche gafe, certeyn,
And doth allday fro hem that are dysdeyn,

"Whech can not thank hir of hir hye grace.
Therfore, madame, taketh heed herto I pray:
Lese not your holde, lese not your purchase,
Lete mekenesse dwelle with swych a fresch may,
Than schall we sykyrly of yow syng and say
That all is well, ryght as we wold it have.
Ferthermore, so Godd my sowle mote save,

"I trow thow Nature had coupled in o persone
All hir gyftis, as if sche wyll sche kan,
Than trowe I welle ye have hem all alone.
Of youre charyté, than, take to yow summe man:
Lete him have parte of swech thing as ye han.
Swech goodely gyftis wold not evyr be hyd -
If Nature were here, the same sche wold byd!

"And for the thyrd poynt in whech I yow commende,
Whych is your wysdam and your gret lernyng:
Youre wyttys are swech there can no man amende
Youre conceytes hye, for if ye had a kyng
He myght ful well trost in your cunnyng
Thow he himself had not as ye have,
And, as me thinkyth, your soule can ye not save

"But if ye comoun this gyfte to other mene:
It is not gove yow to have it all alone!
The Fyrst Mevere, as oure bokes us ken,
Whech syttyth above the sterrys in His trone,
He gevyth summe man more wysdam be his one
Than have twenti only for this entent:
That he to other schall comoun that Godd him sent.

"Take heed, herto, for perellis that may falle
If ye dysplese that Mevere whych sitt above:
His gyftis fro yow draw awey He schall.
That I spek now, I sey it of very love,
And, as me thinkyth, mech to youre behove.
The fourt poynt of theyse and last of alle
Is the rychesse whech is onto yow falle.

"Ye be so rych the world wondyrth of it.
What schall ye do with alle this welth alone?
I sey of this as I seyd of youre wytt:
Thei were i-graunted of Godd to youre persone
That ye schuld part all this welth and woone;
That schall ye best do if ye take a kyng.
Here is my tale, here is myn askyng."

Chapter 33

Than answerd sone that swete gracyous wyght,
And to this mayster sche seyd thus ageyn:
"Youre commendacyoun whech ye dyd endyth,
If it be soth as ye sayd, plat and pleyn,
Schall cause me, there is no more to seyn,
To plese that Lord with all hert and mynde,
That in His gyftis hath be to me so kynde

"And sent me graces whech othir women want.
Ye seyd efte for that I am so fayre
And eke so wys and rych as ye warant,
Therfore me must purpos to have a ayre,
To chese an husbond, good and debonayre.
Avyse yow, syre, what that ye have sayde:
We wyll not lyght lowere than ye us layde.29

"Ye have sett oure loos above so hye
We pase all women that now formed are.
And on youre grounde ageyn I thus replye:
I wold know to me who that worthy ware.
This is your argument, this is your owne lare,
That I am worthyest lyvyng of all women,
Than must I hafe the worthyest of all men:

"It folowyth full evene ryght of your tale,30
If ye take heed. I pray yow, where dwellyth he,
So wyse, so fayre, so rych, withouten bale,
And of swech lynage born as we be?
But if ye fynde swech on, ye may leve me,
I wyll non haf; therfore, loke well aboute -
The more ye plete, the more ye stand in doute.

"But ye wyll wyte allgate what I desyre;
I schall dyscryve myn husbond whom I wyll hafe.
Above all lordes he must be withoute pere,
Whom he wyll to spylle or elles to save;
He must be stable and nevyr turn ne wave
Fro noo purpos that he set him on.
But he be swech, husbond schall he be none

"As onto us, whom ye hafe so commended.
He must be wyse alsoo that he knowe alle,
Every thing, that it may be amendyd
And reryd ageyn or it fully falle.31
If there be swech on, receyve him sone we schall,
And ellys, sekyr, we wyll have husbond none.
Loke well aboute if ye can fynd swych on!

"Ferthermore, yet must he have swech myght
That him nedyth no help of no creature
But he himself be suffycyent to do the ryght
And evyr his myght demened with mesure.
If that ye wyll swech on me ensure,
I wyll him hafe; I schall nevyr sey nay.
Herkenyth also more what I wyll say:

"I wold eke that he schuld be so rych
That him neded not of othir mennys goode.
No lorde in erthe I wold have him lych.
I desyre eke he schuld be so large of goode,
Fre of hert, and manfull eke of moode,
That what man onys asked him any thing,
He schuld hem graunte more than her askyng.

"He must be fayre also, he whom I desyre,
So fayre and amyable that he must pase me,
For syth he schall to me be lord and syre,
It is good resoun that his schynyng ble
Pase hir coloure whech schall his servaunt be32
And onto his lordchype bothe servaunt, spouse, and wyffe.
Ferthermore, yet schall this lordes lyffe

"Be eterne - elles all this is nowte,
All that is sayd, but he have this -
For syth he schall with so gret labour be sowte,
As me semeth, the game went sore amys
Whan all were well and all in joye and blys
Sodenly to fayle and falle fro swech welth.
Therfor, I tell yow, I dysyre that his helthe,

"His age, his strength, that all these fayl nevyr
But evermore lest, for sorow that it wold make
To me, whech tyme that we schuld dyssevyr,
For other lord wold I nevyrmore take,
But wepe and morne all in clothys blake.
Therfor ye schull me warant he schall not deye,
This lord to whom ye wold me newe alye.

"And than consent I to all that evyr ye crave -
Elles nowt. Wene ye that I wold fare
As many other do, and have as thei have,
Lych to my modyr, the sorow, the wo, the care,
Whech sche had whan thei departed ware,
My lord, my fadyr, and eke my lady, asundyr?
That I fle this, me thinkyth it is no wondyr!"

Chapter 34

Whan sche had seyd these wordes all alowde
And uttyrd hir conceyte pleynly to hem alle,
There was no man as than that him kepe cowde
Fro wepyng; teres full sore thei gun down falle.
Hir modyr fel down as rownd as any balle -
For very sorow sche swounyd in that place,
For now sche seeth there is non othyr grace.

Sche was lyft up and comforted new agayn,
And at the last, whan sche had caut wynde,
"Alas," sche seyd, "sorow hath me nye slayn!
Where schall we seke? Where schall we swych on fynde?
My dowtyr, I trowe, hath not well hir mynde -
Sche wote not what sche seyth, sche is so made!
Who may it be? Where may swech on be hadde

"As sche desyryth? It is not, pardé, possible.
Ther is non swech, than schall sche nevyr have non!"
"Nevyr deye, nevyr seke? He must be impassible!
We may well see sche scornyth us echon.
Go we fast hens, let hir have it aloon.
Worchep and rychesse, sche schall ful soone lese;
No defaute in us for we may not chese":

Thus wayled the lordes as thei sote bedeen,
Cursyng hir maysterys, cursyng hir bokes alle.
"Alas," thei seyd, "that evyr any qween
Thus schuld be comered! Oure worchep is down falle.
God send nevyr rem kyng that wereth a calle.33
We pray Godd that he nevyr woman make
So gret a mayster as sche is, for oure sake."

Thus with wo, mych care, and grucchyng,
Thei parte asoundyr, ech man onto his home.
Thei goo, or ryde, or sayle, at her lykyng,
For with the qween wroth thei are echon.
Sche is now left for hem to dwell alon:
Sche may stody, rede, reherse, and wryght.
Thus is the parlement fynchyd and every wyght

Is in drede and leveth with hert suspens,
Lokyng alwey aftyr new chaungyng.
Alle her wyttes and all her grete expens
Are now but lost. And here schall be the endyng
Of this same boke, whech tretyth of the pletyng
Betwyx this qween and all hir lychemen.
God send us parte of hir prayere. Amen.


we see this with our eyes

did while she lived
those; tokens; did
spiritual; stopped; (see note)

and yet; tokens
way; (see note)


i.e., Christ
dove; hover


have thought; (see note)
duly, i.e., conscientiously
are lacking


shides, i.e., firewood


(see note)

their nature


she has so greatly excelled
i.e., virtues; tied


is appropriate

(see note)

shut out; closed the lock

i.e., inner-most heart

immediately apply ourselves

ride, go, and run
in a hurry
all kinds of men


Cappadocia; company

Paphos (in Cyprus)



he will now settle the issue

cannot fail

in company


very quietly

wages and salary
on many occasions
to voice the needs


live thus
die out




in every way
Whoever lays eyes on you

Open; listen

it pleases you

astonished; taken aback

if only I were
do not know how nor am able to
Refute the wisdom; same
private plan
be revealed

reveal; borne privately
most intimate
surely; will have lost


Whatever I do

goes; waves
ship; thought
at once

live as I please

fashionable dress
intimate thoughts

if I may

ride through the woods; boughs

to herself
sighing; to groan

fields; dwellings


by God!
since this must be done

deliberation; about to
every one of you


Meanwhile; try
attach myself; plans

Without telling
come to harm

it has a light step





dearly paid for


here to hear
ask for a waiting period


certain a bird in hand; (see note)



Viterbo, Italy


(see note)

nature; far

(see note)
tear and cut


float; (see note)
hurt; wrong

Unless; harm

by God!



during that campaign

complain and curse

i.e., King Costus; cunning

(see note)
be done in the same manner

vouchsafe, i.e., permit; run




thoughts; secret
renowned; wisdom; fame




if you; cut
could we be persuaded


strengthen; protect

is alive

if you would be so inclined

coffer; guarded

ransom; humor

bear witness


with which
Those; rife
set right

if you
course of action

will rewarded




consider well

would not please me at all

i.e., you mislead me

do not mind about that


war since
about that

provide for the soldiers
nothing, nor do I desire you to


judgments were rendered
punishments given; those who; executed
it is not fitting for me
Over such butchery to preside

Because you wished; in haste

must all agree

expectation; drawn




wretches; desist

to cite authorities

sir; lots
must occupy themselves
kills, fights
certainly; subdue
executes; group [of trespassers]

they have from us

judge; execute and pardon
is their duty; concern myself

wrong; condemned


In response to

schism; stirred up

do wrong; how many

Run; wildmen; conceal
fight; flee
disturbance; treat as nothing
do not care about

You set more store

Impair; eyes

educated you; (see note)

let them pass you by

(see note)

unto you
healthy; sound

on all sides
for this reason
schism; raised

take no account of me

Indeed, he may do no more than I; foolish





Nebuchadnezzar; was called; (see note)
do wrong


the same
was called; two

oppose them
whether or not he wished to

Because of
crazy; foolish
incite him; off his hinge


leek (i.e., worth nothing)
Were it not for; improvement

passes by forgotten

in writing; read; evening

must be
it tells

rehearse; one after another

sir; abandon

Without our books; safely
eager; systematically
In preparation for


great respect
   You would do better to say your prayers


Paphos (in Cyprus)


matched his appearance

When something must be done

What; (see note)

too late; (see note)
is dead; gone hence

apart; indeed

scare; rough


body and spirit

surely; wish

manage; leisure time

rank; waver

benefit you much

Thank you, sir
i.e., if you have not changed
challenge us

do as I wish, as I now cannot

joust; reward; labors

been found [to be]

I would praise you further
to their faces
do not feel the absence


newly allied
how; grievances


suffering bitter pains
preserve; gunwale (plank)

just as
it; its
but only there

nature; individual reasons
just as it pleases them
To conclude [an argument]


turn out


sworn also very deeply




are all subject to


subdue; immediately; maiden


set forth



speak; wallow

be reminded


A little deeper
cogently; hold your own

not at all

In keeping with; honored

inclined; believe

so ardently, I daresay
especially; (see note)

Who wishes
to a certain Rufinus
But indeed,
every bit

marriage; old
most of all; aforesaid


just recently


in every way
because; uncle
awake nor asleep

it is up to you

it is your right to decide



bear in mind that you

Why; worry

I am much more amazed

heartily; imagine
prove true
jests; befitting
deceiver; really despicable

office (i.e., kingship); (see note)

stock; root (i.e., royalty)
so well known

has been passed on to me


prop up
maintain; paths


in a fixed and stable manner

trust; waver


ell (about 45 inches); inch


such a way; (see note)



Earl of Limousin

impressive reasoning

have fared

learning; harm; escape
noble act

too wise
views; moderate them


it is unheard of

Think carefully; very uncertain

to submit willingly


take my virginity


still; too soon
submit myself
one [regent]

no matter what you argue


are a disgrace to your wisdom

throw everything into the sea
lose; reputation
increase it so highly

Look how you honor; rank; (see note)
what each lady
despise such a thing (marriage)

held them

is crazier
like; off-hinge
look ahead
before it is too late
Drive; ruin

such a state of dread

if it pleases you to listen
esteemed; beloved
pear (i.e., deem worthless)
succeed; singular resistance
waited (i.e., put off love); (see note)
have chosen the wrong path


have not been occupied


hinder; dead

good; alone
in truth
fear any of his subjects


who taught
In my opinion


behoves you
To take care of those who
even though; stupid
replete [with wisdom]




keeps you from believing us
council; distress

(see note)

why; (see note)

is; limb

To restore order

have striven

into order

testify to it
in terms of
though there are [people]


By their
around them
head; bow; (see note)

in any case
plainly and simply



final word

talk, argue, clatter; creak

i.e., be forgotten

woe; enough
much moaning
matter was concluded
Unhappy creatures; each one


days of dotage; believe

who may do this thing
manage; complicated affairs
all by himself
what; crave

such a condition

In every detail; truth

know not
fixed so firmly
clings; slide by

i.e., Katherine's mother



stunned; to bay

sooner, indeed

uncle; i.e., Katherine


will not consent


before you
would not have; sat; place


distress; trouble; befall
you have no idea

so that

if you would accept it
venture; affected
be gotten
from me


I would hate


God grant

an annoyance

do you expect


turn out; happen; seldom
rough resting place

enter; stay out; (see note)

commoners; nobility

pleasures; mixes


grip; overcome; (see note)
cunning; persuade

she thinks it worth nothing

need; anything

(see note)


you all are my subjects

not have for nothing
bought by you


exactly in this way
truly; attain it

these two [qualities]

(see note)

learn from their mistakes

(see note)


dark and dim (i.e., misguided)
(see note)
provide examples
I have said my piece

know; from you
as you request
someone else's power
Suppose (Imagine the proposition)

Govern; curse; lament

Then you would want


(see note)


as ruler
place; (see note)


no kin to them
cease nor

before you
royal grain
I believe
from the root
flavor; sweet

like seeks like
For all these reasons
as if it were mire
I cannot help it

an argument that looks good

put to use
bears; (see note)
learn anything; go there

know everything
sophistry; answered
pay attention

agree; maiden

graft; (see note)
just as; stump

goes it with me

live all alone


Pooled their wits
some concession
plain and simple

to speak for all of them
Who; very
From so much studying

i.e., nobly born
readily apparent

saw a fairer one
May it last; die
Minerva; (see note)
I spoke of

wield; count

please you

royal stock and lineage

to support

(see note)

exalted highly


   For my next point, about your shining beauty

Another woman like you
i.e., flatterers; surely
I.e., Flattery; praised
without a doubt


whatever; that it pleases her

For this reason; live
take back things
every day; ungrateful


within; young

if; combined
as she can do if she wishes

lofty thoughts

You are not meant to hoard it
First Mover; teach; (see note)
by himself
for this reason alone
share with others

for love of you
for your own good

share; property
(see note)



i.e., the First Mover

plan; heir

surpass; who now exist
on your own terms
is worthy of me

beyond measure

Unless; such a man; believe


nonetheless know
   Able to kill or spare whomever he wishes

set himself to

so that


managed; moderation



worth nothing



ally me



caught her breath

(see note)

knows; mad

each one of us

No fault of ours

sat together
her teachers





in suspense



Go To The Life of Saint Katherine, Book 3